Thursday, April 30, 2009

Dragon Ogre Shaggoth in 40k

A mighty Dragon Ogre Shaggoth model; on a Warhammer 40,000 circular base. This model has seen plenty of action over the past couple of years in a number of armies.
Whilst I intend to talk about the paint job at a future (yet to be determined) date, today I want to focus on the subtler pros and cons of running this beastie in games of Warhammer 40,000.

Cons.
Let's start with the bad points I've encountered. Firstly, a few (VERY few) folks object to the use of the Shaggoth in 40k games. Their grounds are typically along the lines of "it doesn't belong". I'm not sure I agree as it is within the bounds of the "counts-as" rule. Moreover, it makes a splendid looking centre piece for a chaos renegade daemon prince, or a regular daemons daemon prince.

The biggest in-game disadvantage of using the Shaggoth is its size and bulk. It is a very large and tall miniature to field. It readily comes in for a lot of enemy fire power simply because it is so visible! It also weighs a fair amount - lugging him around with other heavy miniatures can be tiresome!

Pros.
On the other hand, the size and bulk of the miniature has often been a boon. It can take the incoming barrages and spare the more delicate (and perhaps threatening) components of my army (e.g. bloodletters). This ties in to a certain psychological effect - eyes are drawn toward it and it simply looks cool!

Since it is tall, it also has a good line of sight for things like daemonic gaze which it can often use despite the best (hiding) intentions of opponents. This is kind of the inverse of "it draws plenty of fire" - it can usually draw a decent line of sight to where-ever it needs to.

Overall.
I like fielding this miniature simply because of the way it looks. I don't really care so much that it hasn't got any wings (I've got other winged daemon princes to choose should they be needed).

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Counters from 5th ed. Release

When the 5th edition rules came out, I bought the set of luminous green plastic counters to go with them. I liked the idea of being able to unambiguously keep track of which vehicles were shaken, immobile and wrecked (etc.).

In truth, it took me a over a month to remove them from their frames. And today, I only use them sparingly. If I were to rank them in order of most frequent use, it would probably look something like this:

1 Objective Marker;
2 Turn Marker;
3 Weapon Destroyed;
4 Smoke Launched;
5 Immobile.

If there is one item that I don't ever use, it seems to be the "run" counters.

However, I have found that they come to be extremely useful in Apocalypse games - they really do help to keep track of everything when all mayhem is breaking loose!
Does anyone else have similar experiences?

Monday, April 27, 2009

Plague Marine with Flamer Conversion

Principally shown for posterity and inspiration, this is an older (by over 2 years) Death Guard Plague Marine with a flamer today.

The bits for this model come from a number of diverse sources: regular plastic chaos space marines, warhammer fantasy battle zombies, space marines, Death Guard Shoulder pads, and chaos tank accessories. The most obvious zombie bits (head, left arm holding the corpse and dangling innards) were simple to attach and glue in place. The head was perhaps the most troublesome as it is moulded for use with chaos space marines. Hence a little bit of a spacer was inserted in to the nook of the neck to make the zombie head sit higher up and give the illusion that the miniature has a neck. The innards required a little bit of filing of the front torso part of the marine, but was otherwise straight forward. The right arm needed a bit of greenstuff to ensure that the marine shoulder pad sat correctly on top of it. The opposite shoulder pad is metal, from the specific Death Guard shoulder pads sold online from Games Workshop.

The backpack is from a regular space marine, but with the ends chopped off and replaced with the gargoyle-like heads found on the chaos tank accessories sprue. It gives the miniature a unique flare on the battlefield and makes him stand out ... at least he stands out to my eyes, but maybe not to opponents.

The paint scheme is not my best work, but it fits in with the general "rusted or green" theme of the rest of the marines that I run alongside him. Overall, moderately happy.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Forest Screamer of Tzeentch

This screamer of Tzeentch has been painted in a "forest" camo colour set. Although variant from the lava like screamer and the water screamers that have come before, it, the forest screamer can still be picked out from a crowd of screamers (if required).

The narrative premise for the this screamer is that it gated in to real space and formed itself out of local woodland bits and pieces. The horns of the screamer are particularly pleasing: a blend of reds and yellows that could almost be mistaken for some warped fruit. The tail segment horns should probably have been completed in the same colours and technique, but the result is still acceptable.

The greens, creams and subtle blues in the recesses of the screamer's skin are intended to be suggestive of this screamer floating along a shaded woodland floor; the canopy of the upper trees shielding its movement from preying eyes above. A neat addition to the growing shoal, and perhaps highly timely as well with all the Imperial Guard tank-busting that they may need to accomplish soon.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Battle Summary: Mono-Nurgle Daemons vs. Salamanders (1500 pts)

Green, green and more green; without an ork in sight! Today is a battle report between one of my mono-Nurgle daemon army lists and a Salamanders Legionnaire Astartes detachment. The Salamanders chapter seems to be getting popular in the meta-game since the release of the new space marine codex - and why not; they're great and I've always had a soft spot for them! (Much kudos to you Salamanders players out there).

Overview:
Board: square 6' x 4'
Mission: Capture and Control
Deployment: Pitched Battle
Terrain: Medieval world with a few scattered ruins, a watch tower, and some wooded areas (we played on a table intended for Warhammer...!). There were also a few hedges and walls, but they didn't play a big role, so I've not sketched them on the maps.

Army Lists:
[The letters in square brackets denote the corresponding symbols on the maps. The X's are the objectives.]

Mono-Nurgle Daemons (me):
Epidemius (110 pts) [Epi]
Great Unclean One with cloud of flies and breath of chaos (195) [GUO]
3 beasts of Nurgle (105) [Beasts]
2 lots of 7 plaguebearers with an icon and instrument(2 x 135) [PB1 and PB2]
2 lots of 7 plaguebearers (2 x 105) [PB3 and PB4]
5 bases of nurglings (65) [Nurglings]
2 daemon princes with mark of Nurgle, Daemonic Gaze, and Iron Hide (2 x 160) [DP1 and DP2]
1 daemon prince with mark of Nurgle, Wings, Iron Hide and Aura of Decay (220) [DP3]

(=41 models; 11 killpoints)

First Wave: Epidemius deployed in one of the icon carrying plaguebearers; one of the non-icon plaguebearer squad; Beasts of Nurgle; The 2 Daemon Princes without wings
Second Wave: Great Unclean One; 1 Icon carrying plaguebearer squad; one of the non-icon plaguebearer squads; Nurglings; Daemon prince with wings


Salamanders (opponent):
Vulkan He'Stan. [VH]
5 terminators with thunder hammers and storm shields. [Term]
1 dreadnought with multi-melta and flamer. [D1]
1 dreadnought with an assault cannon. [D2]
2 lots of 10 tactical troops with multi-melta, melta and a power fist sergeant. [S1 and S2]
2 lots of 10 tactical troops with multi-melta and a flamer. [S3 and S4]
1 Vindicator [Vind]

(=49 models; 9 killpoints)

Initial thoughts:
Full marks to my opponent for taking the meltas and flamers. There's only the one dreadnought without a melta or flamer aspect on it. There's 40 troops set up, 5 terminators, Vulkan himself and three things with armour values. This should be a real test for my Epidemius list. My aim to to get the tally up as quickly as possible, so I'm intending to ignore the armoured things and make a bee line for the fleshy troops. I'm also pleased to see a lack of "fast" speeders and the like - I'm hoping that is a good thing as I wouldn't be able to catch them with this army.

Set-up:
My opponent does not reserve a thing. Fair enough really - they want to be taking as many shots as possible at my nasty Nurgle daemons. They set-up along in their deployment zone and park the vindicator directly in front of their "home" objective. One squad of marines is holed up in the watch-tower. Another is in some woodlands on a flank. The rest are in the open. I set up my "home" objective as close as possible (i.e. directly opposite) to my opponents.

My dice are favourable: not only do I get my first wave actually being my first wave (i.e. Epidemius!!!), but I also win first turn. I promptly decline and force my opponent to take the first turn.

Turn 1.
The Salamanders do nothing. They wait and talk amongst themselves. I wonder what words of wisdom the dreadnought might be sharing at this point?

My turn. I intend to fully ignore my home objective for the moment. I'm sure I can deep strike one of my reserve units close by to it when the time is right. Either that, or run some surviving units in its direction.

I choose to deep-strike Epidemius himself first (since there's little worse than him scattering in to my own troops). I'm cautious and deep-strike him a little way off my opponent's line. My scatter die land me closer to the Salamanders' line. That might work out well for aura of decay in subsequent turns, but I fully intend to run Epidemius this turn. I do the daemon princes next who deep strike in (without scatter) nearby Epidemius. Finally, the beasts and the other plaguebearers both scatter about a little bit, but land without any problems.

I choose to run the plaguebearers (including Epidemius) and the beasts a little closer to the Salamanders. The princes are in shooting range. Six shots from daemonic gaze all hit and results in five wounds at AP3 against one of the tactical squads [S2]. That's 5 for the tally already. What does this mean? My plagueswords are already wounding on 3+ from next turn. Here's the situation:
Turn 2.
My opponent politely inquires if there is anything with less than Toughness=5 in my army. Nope. Not at this stage.

The terminators, Vulkan and the first dreadnought move closer to my beasts. Everything else stays put.

In the shooting phase, the Vindicator takes a shot at Epidemius. It misses, but scatters on to the Daemon Prince behind him, causing one wound. Squads 2 and 3 rapid fire on to Epidemius' squad. At this point I'm worried that I haven't placed as many plaguebearers in to his squad as I should have done. Including the meltas, the two squads hit 14 times (out of 15) and wound 5 times. I pass my invulnerable saves against the meltas and one bolter, but suffer two bolter wounds. I then roll for feel no pain on those two bolter wounds and a single plaguebearer is chased back to the Warp. I let out a quiet sigh of relief!

Squad 1 and the first dreadnought let rip on the beasts. That results in 5 wounds, of which two save and one saves with feel no pain. That means that two of my beasts are down to 1 wound each and the third beast is uninjured. Squad 4 misses at long range, as does the second dreadnought.

Vulkan, the terminators and the dreadnought then charge the beasts. They kill two of the beasts and the remaining beast has one wound left. My random poisoned attacks don't hit. Having lost the combat, my singular beast decides he likes his new-found play-mates and stays in the corporeal realm rather than disappearing back to the Immaterium. That suits me - it means I'm tieing up those terminators and dreadnought. But I know I was very lucky - that beast shouldn't be there and won't (shouldn't!) last another combat round.

In my turn, the Great Unclean One and the Nurglings become available. I deep-stike the Nurglings just behind the beasts and they don't scatter. The Great Unclean One uses the icon in Epidemius' squad and positions himself nicely for a breath of chaos that'll hit the Vindicator as well as his squad number 2.

I move Epidemius, the plaguebearers and the daemon princes up. The nurglings run towards the beasts. I wonder if the beasts like nurglings? Cute little play-mates that don't die at their touch?

In my shooting phase, my Great Unclean One glances the vindicator and hits squad 2 behind it. The vindicator's cannon is destroyed! Oh, and two more marines perish. Tally=7.

My two deamon princes target the marines. Out of 6 shots, 4 hit and 3 wound. Three more dead. Tally=10. There's now only 2 marines left in Squad number 2.

Epidemius activates his aura of decay. All of squad 3 are hit. There's one wound caused that doesn't save. Tally=11.

The daemon princes charge, alongside Epidemius and the first plaguebearer squad. The other plaguebearers don't make it in to combat - they're rather slow afterall.
My daemon prince finished squad 2 off easily. Tally=13. My other daemon prince takes down a further 3 marines in squad 3. Tally=16. The marines try targetting the daemon prince (he's already wounded from the vindicator). They score an impressive two wounds, of which one stick. The daemon prince chortles. Epidemius and his plaguebearers finish off the job with their poisoned attacks. Tally=20, which means that it's already got as high as possible. My plan to target the "soft" targets out in the open has worked wonderfully well. I just have to take it easy and think about how to take out the rest of the marines now, whilst protecting Epidemius.

Meanwhile, the remaining beast perishes quickly with a good few thunder hammer whacks. No surprise at all to me. This is what the board looks like now:
Turn 3
The Vindicator, now weaponless, decides to do the only thing available to it and try a tank shock against Epidemius. No effect. Squad 4 and the second dreadnought move closer to my daemons.

Squad 1 opens fire on my wounded daemon prince and kills him!
The dreadnoughts cause 2 wounds on the nurglings. But no base is removed as a consequence. The first dreadnought and the terminators charge the nurglings. That suits me, and is actually what I want them to do anyhow. My Nurglings are wounding on 2+ (with re-rolls) and ignore armour saves. Things go well for the Salamanders though - they remove all but one nurgling base! However, the remaining nurgling base (with 2 wounds left) kills two terminators. The nurglings have lost combat and fail their saves - they're gone!

In my turn, the flying daemon prince comes in to play, along with the plaguebearers without the icon. I deep stike the daemon prince between squad 4 and the terminators. Meanwhile, the plaguebearers deep-strike (with a bit of scatter) close to my "home" objective. They're going to stay there for the rest of the game. I shouldn't need them further -- the can go to ground realistically.

My two movable daemon princes approach squad 1. Its clear only one of them will be charging the marines. The Great Unclean One looks witheringly at the rear of the vindicator, feeling a belch coming up. The third plaguebearer squad approaches the terminators.

In my shooting phase, the Great Unclean One bleches forth his breath of chaos attack, causing a lucky glancing hit which destroys a non-existant second weapon on the vindicator. There's nothing left, so the vehicle is now immobile and weaponless - I'll ignore it from herein! My daemon princes near squad 1 shoot them with daemonic gaze. I score 5 hits and 3 wounds. That's three dead since all my attacks ignore armour saves now.

The second daemon prince charges the marines. The marines go first since they're in cover. They cause one wound on my daemon prince. That's not going to be enough. Five more marines die, leaving two left. They still know no fear and stay put.

My third plaguebearer squad charges the terminators. The terminators hit hard - they cause 6 wounds and inflict 5 casualties. My two remaining plaguebearers inflict their maximum 4 wounds in exhange. Only one terminator makes its invulnerable save, leaving 2 terminators plus Vulkan left. Losing combat has no effect on my plaguebearers as they pass their saves with a 3+ feel no pain.
Turn 4.
The first dreadnought moves toward my home objective. Is my opponent going to try to scratch a draw from this game? I think so! The other dreadnought moves toward the daemon prince with the wings.

In the shooting phase, my winged daemon prince gets rapid fired by squad 4. Three wounds result. It doesn't get hurt by the dreadnought though! (phew!) One wound left. The other dreadnought miraculously kills two plaguebearers guarding my home objective. Darn!

In the combat phase, my daemon prince finishes off squad 1. But the terminators and Vulkan readily deal with the remaining plaguebearers.

My turn.
My last plaguebearer squad comes in to play. I deep strike it near to my home objective and then move the other plaguebearer squad out to meet the dreadnought. Every other squad apart from Epidemius then moves toward the terminators in a slow wall of rolling rot and filth closing in.

In the shooting phase, I use the winged daemon prince's aura firstly. It hits Vulkan and the terminators. One terminator dies. The other two daemon princes kill the remaining terminator and reduces Vulkan down to one wound with their daemonic gaze.

The winged daemon prince charges Vulkan and finishes the job.

At this point, my opponent concedes the game to me, seeing no way to even draw the game from herein. The dreadnoughts haven't had the effect they should have done and the plaguebearers are as good as bloodletters. Epidemius is dug in and going nowhere.

Evaluation:
Taking Epidemius in a small squad was a risk, but it paid off. Keeping him out of danger in the second half of the game was essential to the plan. The Salamander's dreadnoughts were dreadfully unlucky with their shots. Meanwhile I was lucky with my beasts surviving more than 1 round. I was lucky to tie up the terminators repeatedly - those terminators are awesome, you lucky space marine players!

If the Salamanders tactical squads were mounted in rhinos, I think I would have had a much, much harder time winning. The fact that they were deployed out in the open opened up doors to me that shouldn't have been there. I need to think about what to do with my Epidemius list so that it can take on mechanized army lists with greater ease. The Salamanders army list was very respectible and I think it would have done very well against many other armies. But Epidemius' survival turned the tide quickly. Epidemius is a character that either works fantastically well (as he did here), or fails miserably. In the latter case, I think the plan is to use the high resilience of my army to try to score a draw by contesting as many other objectives as I can and tieing up dangerous units with beasts and nurglings.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

April Army List Challenge (3): The Winner Is.....

The poll is now closed! And I can now reveal that the winner is ....

(insert drum-roll!)

SUNEOKUN!
Congratulations and good job mate.

I hope you've all got something out of this contest - those lists were innovative and well thought through. Thanks also for stopping by and voting!

A new contest will start on May 1st ... I'm not certain of the theme yet, but will get thinking about it.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Death Guard Flamer Plague Marine

++ Brother Gravatus to Command. I have secured the beacon. Insignificant resistance encountered. You may proceed when ready. ++

Merely a brief update today to show off a recently assembled plague marine carrying a flamer. I like the pose of this guy - he looks like he might be carefully considering or evaluating something: he's looking to his left with his flamer held high and his chain sword hung low.

My take on it is summarized in the opening transmission: he might have just secured an objective and is waiting patiently. Yet he remains observant for further potential threats.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Number of Swarm Creatures per Base?

When constructing a base of (nurglings / tyranid rippers / scarabs / other) swarm creatures, how many individual models do you place onto each 40mm base? Is there a minimum number that you always use? Or a maximum? What do other people in the blogosphere use?

In many Games Workshop publications, including various codex, 5 seems to be about the magic number. That is certainly the case for the nurglings pictured in codex: daemons, and other swarms too.

Personally, I tend to use 4 nurglings per base. I find that 5 makes the base look over-cluttered, compared to what it could be, and can detract from any special effort I've gone to in decorating the base. In addition, it also saves a few swarm creatures for creating more bases compared to 5 per base. I wouldn't go down to 3 nurglings per base as I think it looks too sparse. And I suspect that I'd get some negative comments about it from my mates!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Bloodcrusher and Herald of Khorne

This model was one of the ones in the Daemons codex that excited me and I couldn't wait to get my hands on it and see what I could produce. It will serve one of two purposes quite readily: a herald of Khorne mounted on a juggernaut or a bloodcrusher of Khorne. Indeed, I've used the miniature in both guises. An army list with such a herald can be found here.

Aims and Model.
The model is pretty good looking - the herald is screaming out some orders at the top of his voice, his hellblade is held aloft, and he looks like he can't wait to get stuck in to some unfortunate real-space adversary. Putting the miniature together required some easy and some hard steps. I found the juggernaut to be reasonably easy to put together, apart from the collar which was just plain fiddly. The herald was slightly tricky to position on the back of the juggernaut, but once the correct placing was figured out, it wasn't so bad. The head of the herald required some pinning however. I think it must have taken me (maybe) upward of two weeks to construct this miniature before I even got around to the painting stage. I didn't want any conversion on the miniature either - just a classic looking bloodletter herald of Khorne on a juggernaut!

Painting.
After undercoating in black, drybrushed the mechanical looking parts of the juggernaut with some silver. Then, I basecoated the red areas of the model using mechrite red foundation paint. From here on in, my painting method followed my usual bloodletter painting scheme in the main part.

For the juggernaut, I was careful with applying the basecoat so that it left a thin line of black undercoat showing through around the edges. This can be seen on the side shots of the juggernaut where the red areas meet the gold / brass edging. Speaking of the gold, this was painting in pure shining gold with a steady hand around the edges. Highlighting of the gold was accomplished using a blend of gold with skull white, up to almost pure skull white. Highlighting of the red parts was done in a red / blazing orange blend (both on the juggernaut and the bloodletter herald).

The iconography was painted in pure skull white for a sharp, crisp looking contrast with the bulk of the red. On the body of the juggernaut, I started to paint on faint Khornate symbols - perhaps akin to what can be found in the main rules book for those Khorne Possessed Marine miniatures (which is what I used for some inspiration).

Basing.
On the base, I've used some pillars from Hirst Arts Castle Moulds range. If you've not come across Hirst Arts before, I'd encourage you to take a look - the parts that the moulds make look awesome and you can easily construct awesome looking fantasy and futuristic landscapes easily.

Significantly, they also paint very well. After undercoating in black, all that is required to to drybrush in steadily whiter colours to achieve a decent finished look. Very quick and easy in my opinion.

I've positioned the broken pillar to try to make the miniature look more dynamic. The idea being that the juggernaut has crashed in to the pillar with its left shoulder and toppled down further the ruins! Or maybe the herald has had a swipe with his sword? Either way, I like the way that the base has turned out. The rest of the base is covered in fine black lode stone. Some small amounts of green scatter finish off the scene.

Evaluation.
Positives: I really like this miniature and have used it extensively in my daemons armies. I'm particularly happy with the base and the overall feel that the miniature exudes!
Negatives: The faint orange Khorne symbols on the juggernaut need more work yet.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Apocalypse: Doomsday Device

The Apocalypse datasheet for chaos space marine's Doomsday Device (PDF here) was a real treat, and totally unexpected when it appeared next to the Stompas and Shadowsword variants in the recent release of new datasheets.

It brings back a little theatrical flavour with a touch of roleplaying to the game -- somewhat reminiscent of the Rogue Trader days. The Chaos player must make an outrageous demand (world domination; Fifty trillion gigagrams of ice-cream and apple pie; etc.) to their opponents ... or threaten to activate the device. Naturally, the opponent gets a right of reply to this threat. The chaos player then goes right ahead and ignores the response and tries to activate the device.

In game terms, the device is only likely to activate toward the end turns of the game. But if (by chance) it can go off earlier, it might just be a game changing device. Short of a vortex grenade, of course. On the other hand, the device might turn out to be a complete dud! The random nature of the device is part of the appeal -- an unknown piece of alien design means that it can never be wholly trusted.

Feeling inspired by this datasheet, the only thing left to do is think about how to represent it on the gaming table! I'm thinking all those square bases that have been accumulating from daemons boxed sets are becoming appealing! I wonder how Games Workshop constructed the coffin-looking device that they have pictured on their datasheet...?

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

April Army List Challenge (2): Poll Open

At the start of the month, I decided to try out something new for Warpstone Flux: a challenge! The idea behind the challenge was to help others create army lists that are highly themed, but also effective on the battlefield. The theme for the April Army List Challenge was the Alpha Legion. I feel I have learnt a number of things from the entries; I hope you have too.

Its fair to say that I've been highly impressed by the levels of thought displayed and attention to detail that the competitors have put in to the challenge. But like all good things, the time is over -- the entries are now closed. Today the polls open for Warpstone Flux readers to decide which of the entries is the "most effective army list that also best articulates the theme". (Please feel free to interpret that statement in inverted commas as you will).

The army lists are detailed below. The poll will remain open for one week and the winner will be announced on April 21st. There are no prizes for this competition - simply honour and kudos. We hope that they've inspired you!

Here's the entries (with some cosmetic tidying up):
(EDIT: if any of the entrants want some last minute changes done, or some extra words added, then just shout!).

(1) Chris.
Here's my entry, showing the Alpha Legion in M41, and trys to capture the feel of the Alpha Legion operating in secret and then coming together to strike out at the enemy. It uses Codex: Chaos Space Marines:

HQ: Chaos Lord, Lightning Claws, Jump Pack, Melta Bombs (145)

Elites:
5 Chosen of Chaos, 5 meltaguns, Rhino (175)
5 Chosen of Chaos, 5 flamers, Rhino (155)
5 Chosen of Chaos, 5 flamers, Rhino (155)

Troops:
5 Chaos Space Marines, one upgraded to Aspiring Champion with a power fist and melta bombs, flamer, rhino (160)
5 Chaos Space Marines, one upgraded to Aspiring Champion with a power fist and melta bombs, flamer, rhino (160)
5 Chaos Space Marines, one upgraded to Aspiring Champion with a power fist, flamer, rhino (155)

Fast Attack:
10 Chaos Raptors, one upgraded to Aspiring Champion with Lightning Claws and melta bombs (245)

Heavy Support:
5 Chaos Havocs, 4 autocannons (155)

Total 1500

Let me explain the list:

-Fast: All units (except the Havocs) are either jump infantry or mechanized, enabling them to redploy and strike where the enemy is weakest, acting on intelligence for local cult spys.

-Jump packs: The Legion likes to test its strength against opponents, particularly loyal Space Marines. Often they will hold back parts of the army so they are attacking under strength. To represent this, all Jump Pack infantry would deep strike, being committed to battle when required.

-No heavy tanks: Operating secretly behind enemy lines, I didn't think the Alpha Legion would have access to massive battle tanks like Land Raiders, Vindicators, Defilers etc. so all tanks are simple Rhinos.

-Small units: I imagine the Alpha Legion marines operating in the field behind enemy lines in small cells of a few troopers, and I've represented that in the list.

-Chosen: The indepth planning and intelligence gathering done by the Legion means they can quickly anticipate enemy manouvers and rapidly outflank them. To represent this, I've maxed out on Chosen units (which can Infiltrate)

-Melta bombs: Part of the covert action of the Legion would be to disrupt enemy communications, fuel and ammo dump, transportation etc. I've given melta bombs to as many squads as I had points for to represent the kit they'd use to do this.

(2) Raptor1313.
My take's closer to M41, and uses the Chaos Space Marines codex. The list is as follows:

HQ: Chaos Lord with Bike, Combi-melta, Meltabombs, Lightning Claws (165)

Elites:
7 Chosen, with 5 Meltaguns, Meltabombs, Rhino with Dozer Blade (221)
7 Chosen, with 5 Meltaguns, Meltabombs, Rhino with Dozer Blade (221)

Troops:
7 Chaos Marines, including a Champion with Powerfist, Meltabombs, 1 Flamer, Rhino with Dozer Blade (195)
7 Chaos Marines, including a Champion with Powerfist, Meltabombs, 1 Flamer, Rhino with Dozer Blade (195)
7 Chaos Marines, including a Champion with Powerfist, Meltabombs, 1 Flamer, Rhino with Dozer Blade (195)

Heavy Support:
8 Havocs, with 2 Autocannons and 2 Missile Launchers (160)
7 Havocs, with 2 Autocannons and 2 Missile Launchers (145)

Total: 1497

I'm angling to represent the Alpha Legion as a mobile raiding force with a balanced set of capabilities.

As such, the force is mounted in Rhinos, save for the Havoc squads and Lord.

The Lord's loadout allows him to reinforce his troops against anything short of a Monstrous Creature or Dreadnought in melee. The bike lets him get there. A combi-melta and meltabomb let the Lord take out armor, and a pair of Lightning Claws lets him bail his squad out of tense melees, or zoom forward and engage choice targets in melee.

The Chosen are in there as the Legion's veterans, tasked with handling the heaviest armor and thickest fortifications. To this end, they ride Rhinos and carry what should generally be enough melta weaponry to destroy any fortification or armor. As an added bonus, melta weapons are both reliable and silent, according to the Dark Heresy books.

The core of the army is the three 'tactical' Chaos Marine squads in Rhinos. By nature, basic Chaos Marines are adept at handling infantry at shorter ranges. A flamer accentuates this, and a powerfist on the leader allows the squad to handle hardier foes like monstrous creatures, or tanks in melee. In case there's a need for demolitions work, the Aspiring Champion also carries meltabombs. You never can have too many explosives if you're a sabateour by nature.

The heavy support breaks this army's trend of speed and mobility. 7 or 8 Havocs per squad with a mix of autocannons and missile launchers gives the squad both versatility and resiliency. Armored targets get four autocannon shots and two krak missiles. Unarmored targets get four autocannon shots and two krak missiles, so the Alpha Legion heavy weapon teams can always engage the enemy at hand.

Additionally, there are a total of 5 rhinos and 50 marines, so the entire force can be mounted. Prior to battle, the Havocs can set up using intelligence from local cultists or other underhanded means.

In all, the army is mobile, versatile, and carries a heap of demolitions supplies. There is no heavy armor, as that's harder to maintain, feed, and keep concealed.

All the Rhinos have Dozer Blades, as the Legion doesn't want to rely overmuch on roads to get to their destination.

The bulk of the weapons that the Alpha Legion employ are generally reliable models. Flamers are easy to feed. Missile launchers and autocannons are cheap, easy to find, and reliable. Meltaguns are the only energy weapon used in the force, but are widespread enough to make resupply easy.

(3) Erfunk.
Modern Alpha Legion.

"Command"
HQ: Terminator Sorcerer with Mark of Slaanesh, Lash of Submission, and a Combi-Melta (145)
4 Terminators: Icon of Chaos Glory, Champion with Chainfist and Combi-melta, and 3 Combi-plasmas (175)

"Specialists"
Elites:
5 Chosen: Icon of Chaos Glory, 4 Meltaguns, and a Rhino (175)
5 Chosen: Icon of Chaos Glory, 4 Meltaguns, and a Rhino (175)

Troops:
5 chaos space marines: Icon of Chaos Glory, Champion with Power Weapon and Meltabombs, 1 with a Plasma Gun, and Rhino (170)
5 chaos space marines: Icon of Chaos Glory, Champion with Power Weapon and Meltabombs, 1 with a Plasma Gun, and Rhino (170)

"Cultists"
8 Lesser Daemons (104)
8 Lesser Daemons (104)
7 Lesser Daemons (91)

"Fire Support"
Heavy Support: 5 Havocs: Icon of Chaos Glory, 3 with Lascannons (190)

Total: 1499 points

As others have indicated, Meltabombs make a lot of sense for the Alpha Legion. I also use Icons of Chaos Glory extensively, for a few reasons. The Alpha Legion has to be one of the most determined given the awkward/delicate position they find themselves in, so rerolling LD seems appropriate. But if they also need to convince their friends and foes alike that they're serving the Ruinous Powers, what better way? Also, it seems reasonable for most of them to be able to coordinate and maintain communication with their reserves, whether it be teleporting terminators or cultists. And that the cultists aren't terribly likely to show up without some of the Alpha Legion masters close by to direct them.

I've avoided heavy armor, as it's a lot harder to sneak into places unnoticed. Hence the presence of mostly infantry, and only rhinos as armor. In general Rhinos add a lot of versatility, something Alpha Legion can appreciate.

The Termie Sorc needs to be full of cunning and deceit to have made it into Alpha leadership, so Lash seemed appropriate. There's few stronger forms of manipulation available. Depending on the foe, he can be deployed behind a rhino or deepstrike with his terminators. With the termies, they can deepstrike off any of the marks to strike a decisive first strike on a high priority target, or even drop in behind. The other HQ I considered was a Tzeentch Lord, since it would have been as close to a SM Captain as possible.

Between the Chosen and the CSMs I went for smaller more covert squads in Rhinos. Depending on the mission the CSMs can hold back on an objective or rush forwards with the Chosen's Rhinos. They each have a Plasma Gun so they'd be more useful when camping objectives. The Chosen have lots of options: infiltrating, outflanking, or deploying normally.

And the biggest oddity of the list is an idea I had when the C:CSM first came out. Since Cultists aren't in the codex anymore the closest thing to them, the Lesser Daemons, can make do. They can be Cultists springing out of hiding, sleeper agents amongst the populace of a warzone, or under-geared and disposable new recruits being called upon by one of the riskier methods of arrival (there's precident in both Legion and Ravenor for teleporting even unarmored humans). They can be represented with converted SM Scouts, Witchhunter Zealots, etc, but their statline is most similar to some form of assassin. You just have to find an explanation for the cultists that fits the models you choose. I have Zealot models, so I'd say they're cultists hopped up on combat-drugs to represent the above-human stats.

If the WH-Zealots were still tournament legal and fell under the allying rules in C:WH I'd have switched the whole army list around to using C:SM just for them. As it is, there seems to be no obvious answer as to which codex they should use. Especially if they're still emulating some of Codex Astartes and Loyalist appearances to better go unnoticed (honestly, how many random hivers would know the difference between two SM chapters unless their world had a direct tie to one?).

(4) Suneokun.
My thoughts would be for a Space Marine Army (pre-Chaotic) in line with the book. I think this actually best represents the combination of behind the scenes Alphari, with their up front 'inductees' like members of the Gene Infantry securing positions and running interference.

Combining the Deamon Hunters Codex (DH) with Codex: Space Marines (SM) allows me a totally RAW result that I think closely relates to the sort of elements that you see in the books. I'm particularly proud of including the landspeeder Storm as this actually appears in the novel.


HQs:
(SM) Space Marine Captain
(DH) Geno Commander, 2 Mystics and a squad of 7 Geno's with Hellguns

Elites:
Callidus Assassin (Jon Grammaticus)

Troops:
9 Geno squad, 2 GL.
9 Geno Squad, 2 GL.
5 man sniper scout Squad with Rhino (led by Sergeant Telion - being Omegon)
10 man Scout Squad with Rhino

Fast Attack:
Vanguard Assault Unit (10)
Vanguard Assault Unit (10)
Landspeeder Storm

Telion and his couts take the Storm or Infiltrate. The Geno Commander (Inquisitor) take a Rhino, as does the other Geno Squad (with Alpharius), the Vanguard's are the assault force with power weapons, lightning claws and relic blades all round.

I decided against Terminators in the end as they are too heavy and limited after deepstrike. The Vanguard's special 'lictor-like' abilities are more alpha legion's style...

Thank about their assault in the desert - they draw the enemy out with their sacrificial squads and then crush the enemy entirely in close assault.

I think that's the rulesboyz satisfied too. Plus we keep Gramaticus.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Beasts in Ruins

Here's an odd one for you. Beasts cannot occupy anything but the ground level of ruins.

We discovered this rule whilst playing a game of chaos marines against tyranids. I had some renegades on the upper levels of ruins, whilst my opponent had some hormagaunts ready to charge that had survived my rapid firing. After rolling a 2 for a charge movement in difficult terrain, I said I didn't mind - he can charge me readily! My opponent wasn't convinced since his critters were small (height-wise), so he looked it up in the rule book. It turns out that on page 83, beasts cannot move up or down levels inside a ruin!

I was rather surprised by this. My opponent generously held to this rule and scuttled his hormagaunts off elsewhere on his next turn to more promising prey. But not before I'd whittled them down considerably.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Sanguinius the Mutant?

This occured to me the other day when I was playing a younger opponent who was chanting the usual imperial mantra and it caused me to giggle:

Do the Blood Angels not think its just a little ironic to shout "purge the mutant" given the huge wings that their primarch had? ;-)

Friday, April 10, 2009

Epidemius Painting in Progress

A small posting today to show my Epidemius model painting-in-progress shot. I've been progressing nicely along with this model for a few months now. I've sometimes lost patience with it; at other times, made rapid progress.

The main areas that I'm most pleased with (so far) are:
(1) Epidemius' skin tone;
(2) Plaguesword and hourglass egg-timer;
(3) The wooden chair of the palanquin.

And here's the main areas that are giving me grief:
(1) The nurglings. I think it is the sheer number of them coupled with my desire that they shouldn't all be painted alike;
(2) The banner(s). I didn't attach one of the banners as it was highly fiddly. I'm going to re-read Ron's old post on what he did with pinning his version. The one that is there has a medieval styled flag rather than a Nurglesque slogan, or a tripartite of flies;
(3) Epidemius' horn needs to be a slightly different colour tone.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Crowded Building Levels and the Assault Phase

A brief discourse on a recent occurrence.

Situation: My opponent moves (the remains of) his squad on to the upper level of a ruined building. The miniatures occupy the entirety of the level, with (deliberately) no room to get in to base-to-base contact (in case I decide to charge and make a good terrain check roll).

The Issue: On my turn, declaring a charge and making the appropriate terrain check, my opponent says that the assault cannot take place since there is no room to fit any of my models in to base-to-base contact with his. That didn't feel right to me in the slightest. But I let it pass since at the time: it didn't really matter to me since my other units shot up the squad in the building on my next turn. I didn't think any more of it until later and let my opponent have their interpretation of the rules. (Clearly my Alpha Legion psyche might have been kicking in: let them have their way - you'll test yourself out more!)

The Ruling: The real rules for this situation are made clear on page 85 of the rulebook, under "ruins and assaults". The rulebook states that "...it is perfectly acceptable to place models as close to their foe as is safely possible, including the level above or below...". Case closed.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Reminder: April Army List Challenge

A quick reminder that the April Army List Challenge is still open for entries! Follow this link for more details. The entries so far are really novel and cool! - check them out.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Battle Summary: Mono-Nurgle Daemons vs. Emperor's Children (750 pts)

Overview:
Premise: Testing out two armies at a low points value with lots of "counts as" models in a friendly game!
Board: square 4' x 4'
Mission: Annihilation
Deployment: Spearhead (i.e. table quarters)
Terrain: Hills and ruins somewhere on a forgotten planet, deep in the Eye of Terror. The hills are "easy up and easy down" but cannot be seen over. The ruins offer a 4+ cover save.
Usual Caveat: I might have missed the odd detail or not reported accurately a few things that didn't affect the overall result.

Mono-Nurgle Daemons Army List:
HQ: Epidemius (110)
Elites: 1 Beast of Nurgle (35)
Troops 1: 10 plaguebearers, icon, instrument (180)
Troops 2: 10 plaguebearers, icon, instrument (180)
Troops 3: 8 plaguebearers, instrument (125)
Troops 4: 8 plaguebearers (120)

First Wave = Epidemius with Troops 1, Troops 3

Emperor's Children Legion:
HQ: Lucius the Eternal (160)
Elites: 3 Terminators, 1 with icon of slaanesh, 1 with a heavy flamer (110)
Troops 1: 6 Noise marines, 3 with sonic blasters (135)
Troops 2: 6 Noise marines, 3 with sonic blasters (135)
Troops 3: 6 Noise marines, 3 with sonic blasters (135)
Heavy Support: 1 obliterator (75)

Set up:
Naturally, the daemons do not set up - everything is in reserve.
The Emperor's Children take up placement inside one of the ruins and on a hill to give a good line of sight. They are closely clustered together to provide overlapping lines of fire. Lucius is deployed with one of the troops squads. The terminators and obliterator are held in reserve.

Turn 1.
The Nurgle daemons are forced to take turn 1. Sadly for me, Nurgle decides that he needs Epidemius' abilities elsewhere for the moment. I'm left to deep-strike my secondary wave -- without Epidemius -- in to play. Its going wrong already!

I deepstrike my troops with the icon (troops 2) in to play near to the hill with the noise marines on. The scatter backward a little way. Darn! My other plaguebearers (troops 4) scatter directly in to the line of sight of all of the sonic blasters. Double Darn! The beast almost scatters off the board. Triple Darn! At least the beast can only be seen by the noise marines on the hill. In my shooting phase, my slow and purposeful daemons don't run terribly far (probably all that slime under their feet), but move in the direction of the noise marines on the hill. This game might be over very fast. Here's a graphic of what everything looks like at the end of my turn.
My opponent doesn't move one bit. Sonic blasters can be fired as either assault 2 or heavy 3. He figures he might as well use the heavy 3 option in this, the early stage of the game. The noise marines on the hill open up on the large pack of plaguebearers (troops 2). I'm a little suprised by this (I would have shot the other two squads first at the other plaguebearers and seen what was left). There are 9 sonic blast shots and 3 bolter shots (they're not in rapid fire range just yet). Of those, 7 sonic blasters hit and 2 bolters. Against my toughness 5 plaguebearers, they all need 5+ to wound. That results in a respectible 4 wounds. Of those 4, 1 makes their invulnerable save and a further one feels no pain. There's 8 plaguebearers left in troops 2.

The other two squads open fire on the smaller plaguebearer squad. Again, the bolters are not quite in rapid fire range. Between the two squads of noise marines in the ruins, they cause 5 plaguebearers to vanish back to the warp. Not bad shooting at all really.

Turn 2.
Brilliant - Epidemius decides to put in a show, embedded in troops number 1. The other troops don't arrive yet. I use the icon already on the table to deep strike Epidemius and friends close to the noise marines on the hill. The beast shambles close to the marines on the hill. He's definitely in charge range now with a good slow and purposeful terrain roll. The other plaguebearers jigger toward the closest noise marines, slow like zombies (really ugly zombies with plagueswords).

In the assault phase, my beast manages to (just) make base to base contact with the noise marines on the hill. Unsurprisingly, the noise marines go first in the resultant combat. Every one of them scores a hit on the beast. Everyone single of them!!! An equally impressive three wounds result, of which only one is saved. The beast is dead.

The obliterator teleports in during my opponent's phase, deep-striking off Lucius' personal icon. The noise marines inside the ruins vacate and strafe to the western side of the board. I can clearly see what's going on here - my opponent is using my slow and purposeful troops against me. He knows that I'm unlikely to catch up, but can stay in range with his sonic blasters. The noise marines on the hill stay put though ... they're going to open up on Epidemius. Here's the current situation.
In the shooting phase, the obliterator shoots at the remnants of troops number 4 using a plasma cannon shot. The plasma scatters Eastward of the plaguebearers causing no harm to anything more than blades of grass. The other noise marines near Lucius target the same squad. But the sonic blasters are now assault 2, so there's less shots. Equally, some of the bolters in Lucius' squad are now in 12 inch range. Out of 9 hits, 3 wound, but every plaguebearer makes their invulnerable or feel no pain save. There's still three of them left!

Meanwhile, over on the hill, those other pesky noise marines shoot for Epidemius. Three shots from each sonic blaster plus three rapid firing bolters yield 15 shots. Ten of them hit. Four of them wound. Only a single plaguebearer in Epidemius' squad dies. Finally, luck maybe back on my side! I think my opponent has made a little mistake here - he's not moved and potentially allowed my plaguebearers to get close. I think I'm back in the game now!

Turn 3.
My final plaguebearer squad likes the immaterium too much. They don't arrive. Epidemius and chums (i.e. both squad 1 and 2) all ramble up the hill and get ready to charge the noise marines. Meanwhile, the three remaining plaguebearers from squad 4 slime their way in to potential charge range of the obliterator.

In my shooting phase, I activate Epidemius' Aura of Decay. It might only be strength 2, but it automatically hits the noise marines. One of them perishes as a result. The tally has finally got going. One down!

In the assault phase, all of the plaguebearers make it in to combat. Using a power fist, the obliterator goes last in his combat, but otherwise my plaguebearers go last. Firstly, the obliterator suffers one lucky wound from the three charging plaguebearers (failing a 2+ armour save). This is largely a result of re-rolling those poisoned weapon wounding rolls. In exhange, the obliterator slays one plaguebearer. The combat is tied.

On the hill, the five remaining noise marines only manage to kill one plaguebearer. It is not going to be enough. My plaguebearers slaughter them all. The tally is now at 6! My plagueswords are wounding on 3+.

In my opponent's turn, the Terminators become available and deep stike in near to Lucius. In turn, Lucius and the two noise marine squads retreat further back across the board. Those damned sonic blasters are in range of Epidemius and let rip. Two more plaguebearers perish. I don't think that's so bad - there are still 7 left alongside Epidemius himself. The terminators fail to add any further casualties to Epidemius' squad.

In close combat, my plaguebearers fail to make any wounds stick on the obliterator. The obliterator then proceeds to kill the remaining plaguebearers. That's two kill points to my opponent and only one to me.

Turn 4.
Still no reinforcements for me. The plaguebearers slowly move toward the remaining noise marines. Not in range of anything useful, they also run in the shooting phase a little bit further and spread out incase of incoming plasma from the obliterator.

My opponent retreats his squads toward the corner of the board. He won't have many more places to run to soon! Still, I'm in for a good dose of shooting once more. A total of 5 plaguebearers die from Epidemius' squad due to the combined fire of all those Slaaneshi worshippers (leaving Epidemius and 2 other plaguebearers left). They're enjoying themselves far too much.

Turn 5.
My last squad of plaguebearers decides to put in an appearance! About time. Where have you been? Epidemius joins this new squad.

I'm not in charge range yet. But Epidemius' opens up with another Aura of Decay. Remarkably, this takes the final wound of the obliterator. The kill points are now tied at two each.

In my opponent's turn, the Slaaneshi forces retreat further in to the corner. Here's the present situation.
The shooting phase sees the end of plaguebearer squad number 1. I'm now losing on kill points (3 to 2). Additionally, one of the plaguebearers from squad 3 dies as well due to the terminators twin-linked shooting.

Turn 6.
The game continues, much to my relief. Epidemius and his new friends (sqaud 3) get within charging range of the terminators. Before they charge, Epidemius lets off another foul smelling aura of decay. No wounds this time.

In close combat, the terminators kill two plaguebearers. In exhange, two terminators perish under the onslaught of a large number of attacks that re-roll their die to wound with 3+. That would ordinarily mean that the combat is tied. But thanks to the instrument in squad 3, the plaguebearers win. But nothing more results of the "instrumental" win. As if the terminator is scared of ringing bells! Still, the tally stands at 8 now.

My opponent reverses his retreat in to the corner and opportunistically charges Epidemius and squad 3, to help out the surviving terminator. Lucius personally reduced Epidemius down to 1 remaining wound. The terminator kills a plaguebearer. The other two squads of noise marines kill Epidemius outright (darn!) and inflict a few more unsaved wounds on plaguebearer squad 3. In exhange, my plaguebearers strike out at Lucius and the terminators. The terminator dies, but only 2 wounds are caused on Lucius. Thanks to Lucius' armour of shrieking souls another plaguebearer dies!

At this point, the game ends. The noise marines have won: 4 kill points (Beast, Epidemius and 2 squads of plaguebearers) to 3 (Obliterator, Terminators and a squad of noise marines).

Evaluation:
Mono-Nurgle daemons are SLOW. Daemon princes with wings will go some way to making up for this. Soul grinders would also help whittle the opposition down.

The noise marines played very well. They sacrificed a unit so that the bulk of the army could keep pulling back until the last possible moment, when they reversed their movement and made an "alpha-stike" on Epidemius. Good work!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Non-Green Plaguebearer

In collecting an Epidemius army, I figured that eventually I'd need to start telling my plaguebearer packs apart from one-another. Although I could paint the bases a different colour, here I've started to experiment with other colours for the plaguebearers themselves.

Usually, being old-school, I paint my plaguebearers in sickly greens. This particular plaguebearer is more of a light brown colour. After basecoating in dwarf flesh, I gave this plaguebearer a liberal amount of inking in an orange, chestnut and black mixture. After allowing some time for the ink to dry off, I started to drybrush the skin of the model to allow the texture to start to come through better. This commenced in light orange and worked upward to dheneb stone (especially around the horn).

Instead of the usual red colours for the visible innards (and tongues), I opted to go for some blues and purples. I think this provides a nice contrast to the skin tone, similar in style to my winged daemon prince. The final highlighting consisted of painting in the slit eye (again a departure from the classical plaguebearer look), the nails and giving a yellow spot disease to the model. I have, however, kept the other-worldly blue colour for the plaguesword in common with my other plaguebeaers.

Admittedly, I spent a considerably longer amount of time on the daemon prince than this miniature, but I think the overall look is similar even if it doesn't stand up to close attention as well as the daemon prince does.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Army List: 1500 points of Death Guard

This list tries to absorb the lessons that I've learnt from playing Death Guard over the past few years, updated for 5th edition. It has plenty of template weapons to make up for the Death Guard's general lack of fire-power and is fundamentally a mechanized list with an impressive 7 miniatures sporting armour values (and 7 models per troops squad - just to be fluffy). It is not as fast as (e.g.) Saim Hann, so care must be taken when playing it against intrinsically faster lists. But it is strong enough to take on many other lists and have a good probability of a win.

HQ: Daemon Prince with mark of Nurgle, wings and Nurgle's Rot (165 pts)

Elites: Dreadnought with plasma cannon (105 pts)

Troops 1: Plague champion with power fist along with 6 other plague marines (1 melta gun, 1 flamer) in a rhino with a havoc launcher (266 pts)

Troops 2: (Identical to above): Plague champion with power fist along with 6 other plague marines (1 melta gun, 1 flamer) in a rhino with a havoc launcher (266 pts)

Troops 3: Plague champion with power fist along with 6 other plague marines (2 plasma guns) in a rhino with a havoc launcher (281 pts)

Heavy Support 1: Vindicator with daemonic possession (145 pts)

Heavy Support 2: Vindicator with daemonic possession (145 pts)

Heavy Support 3: Predator with autocannon, heavy bolter sponsons, havoc launcher and dozer blade (120 pts)

Total = 1493.

That leaves a few points left over. Sometimes I swap out Nurgle's Rot on the daemon prince for warp time; depending if I know what I'll be facing or not (e.g. to face Death Wing, I'd make the swap; against tyranids and orks, I'd keep the Rot). In extensions to 1750 or 1850, I tend to add in summoned lesser daemons (along with giving my troops some icons to summon them with).

The only thing I feel that it misses are "obvious concessions". Some chaos spawn would be cool instead of the dreadnaught perhaps? Perhaps its percieved as a "hard core" army list? However, this list does allow me to field miniatures that I like / think I've painted well.

Your thoughts and criticisms welcome!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Daemonic Possession on Vindicators

One way in which chaos players can make up for the deficiencies of Death Guard (see here, or more generally these other posts: 1, 2, 3, 4) is to take vehicles, tanks and all things with armour values. Tanks are the way forward in 5th edition, until someone figures out a (land-)speedy anti-tank list that can also be a generalist army at the same time and everyone adopts such lists (i.e. until the meta-game changes to the Way of Saim Hann!).

Today, I want to talk about an upgrade that Death Guard (and chaos space marines in general) are able to have, that other armies generally are not. Or more specifically: a competitive edge or advantage that chaos marines have.

Daemonic Possession.
At 20 odd points, it is not a cheap option and is not for every tank. BUT! it gives the chaos player the ability to ignore shaken and stunned results altogether. The hidden cost is that it also reduced the ballistic skill (BS) of you marines from 4 down to 3. Is this worth it?

Let's have a look firstly at how tanks are destroyed. After getting hit with a suitably high strength weapon, your opponent (or never-to-be-again doubles team mate!) rolls on the vehicle damage chart. In the case of an unmodified glancing hit, that means your tank is going to ignore the result two thirds of the time!

That is awesome - especially when combined with cover saves or smoke launchers. It is also part of the reason I don't mind equipping a potentially crazy dreadnought to go alongside daemonically possessed AV=13 armour. Even in the case of an unmodified penetrating hit, the vehicle is going to ingore one third of the hits! That's just amazing.

On the negative side, the BS of 3 (instead of 4) is going to harm shooty tanks like predators. However, for one type of tank, daemonic possession is perfect. That tank is the vindicator. Frankly, so what if it has a BS of 3?! It's going to scatter 1 inch more than it used to? That doesn't make me too bothered. The benefits of daemonic possession far out-weigh the drawbacks here. Moreover, 20 extra points doesn't add terrifically to the overall cost of the vindicator. As for a rhino - 20 points is simply too much to pay considering what a rhino is worth in the first place.

So, if you're a chaos player looking to take a vindicator, you should also be thinking about taking daemonic possession.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

April Army List Challenge (1)

I want to try something new for Warpstone Flux this month: a challenge... just to see if anyone is interested. There are no prizes for this challenge, just kudos and honour! The real aim is to help others to think about how to build effective, but themed army lists.

Overview of The Challenge:
Design a themed 1500 points Alpha Legion army list from EITHER codex: chaos space marines or codex: space marines for a standard mission. Why Alpha Legion? Simply because it is an army that is not seen as often as other traitor legions, but has a reasonable amount of background information surrounding it (e.g. see the Horus Heresy Book, Legion).

Challenge Rules:
(1) No named characters can be used (e.g. Fabius Bile, Lysander, Abaddon, etc.).
(2) If you use codex: space marines instead of codex: chaos space marines, then state your reason(s) for doing so in a brief sentence or two. This can be as simple as "pre-heresy", or more complex reasons.
(3) Post your army lists as a comment to this posting.
(4) On April 14th 2009, I'll start a voting poll that will be open for 1 week to vote for what Warpstone Flux readers consider to be the "most effective army list that also best articulates the theme" (whatever readers interpret that to mean) out of all entrants.
(5) Winner will be tallied and announced on April 21st.

If there is sufficient interest, I might run another one of these again next month.
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