Friday, May 29, 2009

Fury of Khorne Bloodletter, Frost Brand

A slightly different painting scheme to normal for this bloodletter eneables it to stand out from the crowd (potentially as a herald or an upgraded bllodletter with the fury of Khorne gift). The concept here was to use the same standard Khorne colours (red, black, and brass) and go for a different looking hellblade: a frostbrand.

A frostbrand, at least in dungeons and dragons (or similar) linguistics, is a magical sword made from ice. But, what would a hellbound daemon like a bloodletter be doing with a frosty blade rather than a super-heated one or a very jagged and serrated one? My answer to that is that in certain mythos, the concept of "hell" is not a modern biblical "hot" place, but a cold, freezing one. Hence, there is a narrative reason to suppose (in-game) that this bloodletter is simply feeding off that.

The painted frostbrand (above and in the other pictures) was created in much the same way as the other (hot) hellblades were: a quick blending of whites, through blues, down to blacks to suggest a supernatural freezing blade.

The bloodletter itself is also different to my normal troops. Instead of a red base colour, I've opted for black. This gives a good contrast for other highlights on the miniature such as the Khorne rune and the frosty hellblade.

The black of the base coat was drybrushed with a mixture of red and black to give an indication of where the contours lay. The contours themselevs were picked out in a blend of reds and blazing oranges. The little "bumps" on the back of the bloodletter were meticulously picked out individually using bleached bone. Final highlights included the rune and the nails. The toe nails are probably a little too bright as well, but that is correctable.

The miniature is based on a portion of a rhino door. The door is in a similar colour scheme to the bloodletter: deep reds covered with muck and highlighted with oranges. Whilst I did originally think this might be a Blood Angel's wreck, I stumbled across a funnier thought: Which World Eater summoned him from inside a rhino? Come on, own up.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Battle Summary: Death Guard vs. Chaos Space Marines (1500 pts)

A brief battle report on a game that happened not so long ago. I was using my standard Death Guard force, my opponent had a mixture of general chaos marine renegades as follows:

HQ: Terminator Lord with Mark of Khorne and a bloodfeeder (155 points)
Elites: 4 terminators, Icon of Khorne, 1 champion, along with a dedicated land raider transport (380 points)
Troops: 10 Chaos space marines, Icon of Chaos Glory, 2 Melta Guns, 1 Champion with Power Fist, in a Rhino (255 points)
Troops: 10 Chaos space marines, Icon of Chaos Glory, 2 Melta Guns, 1 Champion with Power Fist, in a Rhino (255 points)
Troops: 9 Plague Marines, 2 Melta Guns, 1 Champion with Power Fist, in a Rhino (302 points)
Heavy Support: 2 Obliterators (two separate units, each of 1 obliterator) (150 points)

Seeing this list, I was terrified of the land raider and its terminator contents. I then got more worried as the mission was annihilate. My opponent had 11 killpoints, though, so the rhino's were immediately looking like prime targets. On the other hand, my list also had 11 killpoints. It also has rhinos.

My approach was to reserve everything! My younger opponent set up his units in his deployment zone (table quarters), including the obliterators. The playing table had some scattered terrain features including several imperial sector ruins and a small number of craters. On turn 1, my opponent goes first and simply moves his units toward my table quarter.

On turn 2, I get my daemon prince, 2 vindicators and 1 of my troops selections. The vindicators trundle on from the board edge and are in range of the land raider. The first shot misses, but the second barrage inflicts (a lucky) penetrating hit on the land raider that wrecks it. Very very very lucky for me. I lurk my rhino behind the vindicators for the moment so that my opponent cannot gain line of sight to it. As for my daemon prince, I take a chance and deep-strike him near to my opponent's obliterators. He scatters a little, but is otherwise intact. My hope is that the prince will distract my opponent long enough for my plague marines to finish some more units. However, Nurgle's Rot fails to hurt the obliterators.

On my opponents turn, the khorne terminators get out of the land raider and turn to shoot at the daemon prince. No wounds. The obliterators rapid fire plasma at him. That hurts and causes two wounds. Two units of rhino-mounted melta's come at the prince as well, this time finishing him off.

On my turn 3, I get the dreadnought and the remaining two lots of troops - only my predator is now held in reserve. I walk the dreadnought on the table a little bit away from my own tanks. Using his plasma cannon, he fries all 4 of the Khorne Terminators (not the lord)! The two vindicators move closer and target the opposing rhinos. Two hits and two dead rhinos. I race forward all of my plague marines and pop the smoke launchers.

On my opponent's turn, the chaos terminator lord doesn't have a good target, so he runs behind the wrecked land raider. The squads of marines move away from their broken rhinos. One squad is in range of one of my rhino's. A melta scores a hit that immobilizes it. One of the obliterators scores a las cannon hit that also immobilizes a vindicator.

Not to worry. On my turn 4, the predator arrives. It takes aim at one of the obliterators and removes one wound. The immobile vindicator smashes up one of the rhino squads well and the dreadnought (still sane) causes the rest of that squad to flee off. The mobile vindicator targets the last rhino (with the plague marines aboard) and causes a big explosion! The plague marines exit stage left, denying me line of sight. I unpack my immobilized rhino and shoot with all available rhino havoc launchers. A healthy few wounds result on the other squad that has exited its rhino.

In the next turn, the obliterators finish off the immobile vindicator and shake the other one. Since its deamonically possessed, nothing further happens. Several shots come in to my disembarked plague marine squad, but to no avail. The terminator lord head over to this squad as well but causes no wounds.

On turn 5, I use the predator to kill the chaos lord of Khorne. The remaining vindicator finishes the bulk of the other normal marine squad off. That pretty much leaves me with the plague marine squad and two obliterators to finish off. The rhino havoc launchers go for the obliterators and kill one of them off.

On my opponent's turn 5, little of consequence occurs beyond his routing troops continuing to flee and the game ends. I've more than won on kill points. But largely thanks to a remarkably lucky turn 1 shot on the land raider. In hindsight, I think it was a mistake to target the land raider. I should have ignored it and just went for racking up easy rhino killpoints. My melta gun armed plague marines could probably have thought about the land raider later. The oblierators dug in to cover were problematic to remove with a good armour, cover and invulnerable saving throw. I was also lucky to not have a crazy dreadnought shooting plasma in to a rhino's derriere. My opponent also got distracted by my daemon prince. I think that was the critical turning point as it effectively gave me an extra turn to get in range and position my army. All in all a good game and much fun was had.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Advantages of Noise Marines

This article is a follow-on from my (much earlier) article on advantages of plague marines / Death Guard. There may be little here that most of you didn't already know, but I hope that at the very minimum it will be informative for new comers to the hobby.

Basics.
The first question is what do Noise Marines (or Emperor's Children) have that other troops do not. There's two distinct answers to that. Firstly there is the statistic line: +1 Initiative compared to ordinary marines coupled with fearlessness. Secondly, there's the unique sonic weaponry that they have access to. Let's have a look at each in turn.

Higher Initiative.
How does a higher initiative help out? I have already covered some of the detail behind the mathematics of my argument when I considered what icon to give my chaos raptors some time ago. But I'm going to repeat the logic here so that you can see how a higher initiative would be of benefit.

We're going to have a unit of 10 noise marines go into melee with a squad of 10 "standard" imperial space marines.

Without any special upgrades (i.e. a power fist or power weapon) for a champion, all 10 noise marines will strike before the imperials. They'll cause 2.583 unsaved wounds on the imperials. Assuming that the imperial sergeant is still around (worst luck!) after the noise marines strike, there are the sergeant and 6.417 ordinary marines left over. The total number of attacks from the imperials is therefore reduced to (2x6.417)+3 = 15.834. These will be expected to cause 1.320 unsaved wounds. Hence the difference in wounds caused dW is 1.218 (an increase of some 46% compared to "normal" chaos marines).

What happens if the noise champion has a power fist?
This case reduces to 9 ordinary noise marines hitting first on the charge, the imperials striking back, and then the power fist. The 9 noise marines will inflict an average of 2.250 unsaved wounds on the imperials. Striking back (again, with the sergeant still alive), the imperials then inflict (2x6.75)+3 = 16.5 attacks that cause 1.375 wounds. The champion (whom we'll assume is still alive) causes an additional 1.250 unsaved wounds. The difference in wounds is 2.125 in this case.

What about the noise champion having a power weapon?
The 9 ordinary noise marines are still striking first and causing 2.250 unsaved wounds. The noise champion also gets in on the act early here, causing an additional 1.000 unsaved wounds for a total of 3.25. The opposition marines then take their turn, with (2x5.75)+3 attacks that only cause 1.208 unsaved wounds. Hence a difference in wounds of 2.04.

Although the wound difference is slight, the higher initiative means that the champion will always get to strike before any return strikes (hence avoiding any surprise wounds). Hence, if you're a chaos space marine playing that is using noise marines, I'd recommend taking a power weapon over a power fist for your noise marine champion.

Sonic Weapons.
Whether they function in deep space aside (presumably there is a psychic component to the sonic damage?!), sonic weapons have some great potential.

First up is the sonic blaster. Its basically the same as a bolter, but can be fired as assault 2, or heavy 3. That is very impressive - being on the move and able to shoot twice at strength 4 up to 24 inches means that noise marines have a troublesome range of 30 inches. Some serious maneuvering in to cover will be required to avoid a torrent of fire from them. With the alternative of heavy 3, the noise marines can lay down a withering amount of rounds. But to see exactly how good this is, let's compare it to a ten man strong chaos marine squad with bolters that are targeting 10 loyalist marines at 24 inches away.

The humble bolter will shoot once at this range, assuming that the shooters stay stationary. With BS=3, the chaos marines score 6.67 hits, cause 3.33 wounds, of which 1.11 will be likely to stick (i.e. fail the 3+ saving throw).

The sonic blaster can pump out double the amount of shots, hence it'll cause 2.22 unsaved wounds. However, the noise marines can also back off, effectively taking them out of range of return bolter fire from the loyalists! By extension, if they stay stationary, that mean 3.33 unsaved wounds using heavy 3. Quite a torrent of fire - equivalent to 3 squads of ordinary marines all with bolters.

Secondly, there's the doom siren (only available to the noise champion). It's the same as a heavy flamer, but with AP3. That means that it would be very handy in a unit of noise marines expecting to meet an opposition head on in melee -- especially when coupled with sonic blasters using the assault 2 mode.

Lastly, there is the blast master. Its great at range when staying stationary (S8, AP3, heavy 1, pinning), but can also help with moving troops (S5, AP4, assault 2, pinning). But to be honest, if you're a chaos playing utilizing noise marines, then I would expect you'd want them on the move. As such, the blast master is probably not worth the points cost since a sonic blaster can perform almost as well on the move.

Final Thoughts.
I'll leave you with this thought. Consider a unit of 10 noise marines with a noise champion. The noise champion has a power weapon and a doom siren; the other 9 all have sonic blasters. Total points cost = 295. Pricey?, most certainly.

They're approaching a unit of 10 loyalists and are ready to charge. They firstly shoot their sonic weapons (assault 2) and cause 2.00 (rounded up) wounds from the sonic blasters. The doom siren might add on to this another 2 or more wounds.
In the assault, they attack first and inflict a further 3.75 wounds. We're already up to about 7.75 (ish) wounds, and the imperials haven't even hit back yet; let alone thought about falling back and not knowing any fear. They can certainly cause superlative alpha strikes on other (marine equivalent) units!

Hope you've enjoyed this and got something from it :)

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Homebrew Apocalypse Datasheet: Nurgling Infestation

"Boss!: Dat place stinks! Get da burna boyz over 'ere for sum fumy-gation work." Attributed to Squig-eater, an Ork Nob.
Recommended for use in terrain-heavy apocalypse games. It gives a good "forward position" advantage to the Nurgle player and is very suitable for when the Nurgle player is playing the role of the "defender".

It is perhaps an entertaining Planetstrike concept as well! Imagine trying to recover a world from a Nurgle infestation with lots of nurgling infected houses and ruins all over the place. Very scary!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Planetary Empires Gets Closer

With all the recent publicity given over to Planetstrike (did anyone catch the direct order chaos bastion?!), it might be easy to overlook the other expansion that appears on the horizon and to be coming out soon: Planetary Empires.

Bell of Lost Souls has pictured a French Language advertisement for this expansion set. For one, I'm pretty enthused about this expansion. Being fully compatible with Mighty Empires, Planetary Empires basically allows a hexagonal campaign to be played out using warhammer 40,000.

Whilst the paint scheme used in the advert is a little bit gritty-bombed-imperial-planet orientated, I'm sure that other paint schemes will bring out different flavours of planets with ease. I'm thinking of a verdant planet with ancient ruins of a forgotten civilization that have been overgrown with wild xeno flora. Although, the bits look like they'd lend themselves to desert world (red like Mars, or sandy yellow), lava cracked planets (perhaps with some conversion work), ice-covered deathworlds and zero atmosphere moons that have been extensively cratered over billions of years. Plenty of possibilities await!

The Rhino Repair Rule

Whether it is the power of the machine spirit, something a little more neferious, or just tinkering by the driver who manages to find it was only fourth gear that wasn't working and first, second and third are just fine to use; the rhino repair rule can be easy to over-look.

Sure, it won't happen all that often - you have to roll a six for your rhino to come back in to play after its been immobilized. More detrimentally, the rhino also cannot shoot when it attempts this. If you've mounted havoc launchers and the like on to the rhinos, then this may be a bad idea.

But, what if there were more than a few rhinos in your army list? Not two or three, but many! I've discussed a number of hypothetical lists with local friends, but it seems that Chaos Space Marines can really spam those rhinos like nobody else (potentially 1 per troops, elites and heavy support choice gives an impressive 12 rhinos to deal with!). Such builds can take advantage of the repair rule very well given the multiple redundancy in such builds. Here's an example that we came up with that was inspired by Stelek - go see his site:

HQ: whatever you like
Elites: Three lots of: 5 chosen chaos space marines, rhino + havoc launcher, 2 flamers, 2 meltas (3x170=510)
Troops: Three lots of: 5 chaos space marines, rhino + havoc launcher, aspiring champion with power fist and combi-flamer, 1 flamer (3x180=540)
Troops: Three lots of: 5 chaos space marines, rhino + havoc launcher, aspiring champion with power fist and combi-melta, 1 melta (3x185=555)
Heavy Support: Three lots of: 5 chaos havocs, rhino + havoc launcher, 2 flamers, 2 meltas (3x155=465)

Total points value = 2070 + HQ
12 Rhinos (!!!), 60 marines, 25 kill points (oops - rhino walls are going to have to be built).

Can't see many people playing that one myself, but its an entertaining idea if nothing else. Just imagine the rolling rhino walls that could happen... Perhaps it'd do well in apocalypse? Until a strength D weapon started scoring hits.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

May Army List Challenge: Result

Voting in the May Army List Challenge is now over. Its been an exciting contest with some excellent entries. But it is now time to reveal the winner (drum roll....):

Chris!

Well done mate - your entry pulled 42 per cent of the vote! Erfunk was very, very close in second place. I hope all readers got something out of this - it certainly opened my eyes to a number of possibilites; especially about the upcoming planetstrike expansion and how to combine the new Imperial Guard Codex with old favourites.

Another contest to follow on 1st June...

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Vehicle-Only Apocalypse Games

Here's a concept that I took part in the other month: a vehicle-only apocalypse game.

The idea is simple: if it's got an armour value, it can come on to the board.

Other than that, it is a standard apocalypse game with the proviso that any tank can control (as well as contest) any objective. (An optional extra rule is to remove any immobile vehicle given they're too hard to keep a full track of).

Other variants are to keep a tally of "kills" instead of contesting objectives. Typically it might be something along the lines of 1 point for a front armour AV=10 tank and a point extra per AV pip above 10. Double for a super-heavy.

Evaluation:
The biggest positive in this style of apocalypse is the time factor. Usually, it takes absolutely ages just to get through one turn of apocalypse. Not so with this concept. The movement is especially quick without all those troops to be fiddling about with.

Secondly, it is really fun! All those tanks (etc.) on the table are wonderful to see and watch.

I feel the Tyranid players lose out though. Perhaps if they were allowed carnifexes and the like, it'd be cool.

The game doesn't get overly dominated by the super-heavy tanks either. A humble dreadnought with a multi-melta can prove to be highly effective if ignored. Even rhinos can be great if they're strategically positioned to screen lines of sight.

It's certainly something I'd get involved with again.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Ordnance Armour Penetration, 2d6 Highest Roll Statistics, and the Melta Gun

One of the positive points about taking ordnance weapons and tank-mounted ordnance weapons such as vindicators is their special rule that they get to roll two die and pick the highest score. This means that they're probably going to penetrate a target quite often. But what are the statistics on "2d6 and pick the highest?". How does a demolisher cannon stack up against a melta gun at close range?

"2d6 and pick highest statistics".
These statistics apply to other situations apart from penetrating armour with a demolisher cannon - such as moving through difficult ground and so forth.

There are 36 possible combinations for rolling 2d6. I'm going to be incredibly dull and list them all here. I'm also going to detail the highest die roll (i.e. the outcome!) alongside them.

(1,1)= 1 (1,2)=2 (1,3)=3 (1,4)=4 (1,5)=5 (1,6)=6
(2,1)= 2 (2,2)=2 (2,3)=3 (2,4)=4 (2,5)=5 (2,6)=6
(3,1)= 3 (3,2)=3 (3,3)=3 (3,4)=4 (3,5)=5 (3,6)=6
(4,1)= 4 (4,2)=4 (4,3)=4 (4,4)=4 (4,5)=5 (4,6)=6
(5,1)= 5 (5,2)=5 (5,3)=5 (5,4)=5 (5,5)=5 (5,6)=6
(6,1)= 6 (6,2)=6 (6,3)=6 (6,4)=6 (6,5)=6 (6,6)=6




So, the final probabilities for each roll are:

Prob(1) = 1 in 36 = 0.028
Prob(2) = 3 in 36 = 0.083
Prob(3) = 5 in 36 = 0.139
Prob(4) = 7 in 36 = 0.194
Prob(5) = 9 in 36 = 0.250
Prob(6) = 11 in 36 = 0.306

Or, put another way, the cumulative probabilities are:

Prob(2+) = 1 - 0.028 = 0.972
Prob(3+) = 0.972 - 0.083 = 0.889
Prob(4+) = 0.889 - 0.139 = 0.750
Prob(5+) = 0.750 - 0.194 = 0.556

That means that you've got great than even odds of rolling a 5+ on "2d6 and pick the highest".

Demolisher Cannon vs. Melta Gun.
Here's the probabilities to penetrate a given AV using both a demolisher cannon and a melta gun at close range:

AV: Prob(Demolisher), Prob(Melta)
AV=10: 1.000, 0.972
AV=11: 0.972, 0.917
AV=12: 0.889, 0.833
AV=13: 0.750, 0.722
AV=14: 0.556, 0.583

Hence, the demolisher cannon is superior at penetrating all targets except AV=14, where a close range melta gun has the upper hand by a slim margin.

But!
But the second major difference between ordnance and a melta gun is that a melta gun is a melta gun. What do I mean by that? Melta guns get a +1 on the result of the armour penetration roll since they're AP=1; conversely, at AP=2, demolisher cannons are worse at destroying vehicles. This is ultimately why meltas are so useful in 5th edition.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

For Grinding

I couldn't resist purchasing the model any longer (especially with the price increase due later in the year) -- I've got a Soul Grinder in progress.

Here's one of the front legs / claws glued together and awaiting the rest of the body. I'm impressed by the level of detail in the relatively newer plastics range. This model is also going to be rather tall by the looks of things. Exciting!

I'll post more on the Soul Grinder's progress as and when I get some free time to create and paint more of it. In terms of army building, I feel I'm going to have to get a second one of these to maximize effectiveness ... and give at least two targets for opponent's multi-melta's (or equivalent) to look at. Running just one is probably not a good idea. So far with my daemon armies, I've been focusing on daemon princes as my heavy support options, so my purchase of a soul grinder represents a departure from this paradigm. I'll have to see which I feel more comfortable playing with, and how they perform in different builds. More on the soul grinder in future posts. That's it from me for this weekend though.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Another Verdus Prime Necron

I'm beginning to like painting Necrons in Verdus Prime colours! Today is my third Verdus Prime Necron (Others can be found here and here). I originally purchased a box of plastic necrons as I wanted to create a renegade chaos marine chapter that replaced many of their mutated parts with bionic parts. But I am enjoying simply assembling these necrons "as is". Chances are that I'll never use them in games, so I'm simply regarding them as a bit of assembling and painting practise!

There's nothing exceptional about this particular fellow - the paint scheme follows the previous one that was devised some time ago. The base uses cork to give the model a bit of extra height and has been drybrushed brown to be suggestive of muddy, earthy rocks.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

May Army List Challenge: Poll Open

The entries have been closed and now it's time to vote on the May Army List Challenge for what you consider to be the "most effective army list that also best articulates the theme". The rules of the challenge can be found here. In short, the challenge was to design a 1500 point army from any codex to take on a numerically superior imperial guard and chaos space marine contingent (totalling 2000 points: 1000 points of Guard and chaos marines each) in a seize ground mission with 3 objectives in a city environment. Use a standard force organization chart. The catch? That all members of the stike team must be capable of deep-striking, infiltration or equivalent (although in the case where some codex selections do not have troops capable of deep striking, that rule may be by-passed).

There are 4 entries: Chris, Suneokun, Elliot, and Erfunk.
Here are their lists:

Chris.
For my entry I've used Codex: Witch Hunters, hope you like it.

Army background:
Inquisitor Lord Flavian was present on the world of Mordos IV investigating a suspected Slaaneshi pleasure cult amongst the world's nobility, revolving around unknown technological artefacts. Sensing they were close to being exposed, the cult revealed itself and it's influence spread far wider than Flavian had discovered. The planet rose up in revolt, and elements of the loathed Emporer's Children arrived anticipating the debauchery that was to come.

Flavian and his retinue struck as quickly as they could at the heart of the insurrection, located in the planetary capital. Arriving aboard his personal Chimera transport, the Flame of Terra, he sent part of his retinue forward to strike at the enemies leaders. Troops from his household guard were quickly summoned from Flavian's orbital battlebarge, the Emporer's Light, landing behind enemy lines and moving up to support the Inquisitor, anticipating a close range fight. Flavian's call for aid was answered by Canoness Katherine of the Order of the Bleeding Heart from thier nearby convent, who managed to arrive with her contingent of elite Seraphim in time. With thier lighting speed combined with orbital support, Flavian hopes to break the enemy. The list:

HQ:
Inquisitor Lord Flavian, combi-flamer, auspex, rosarius, melta-bombs
3 Acolytes, combi-flamers, carapace armour
3 veteran guardsmen with flamers
Chimera "Flame of Terra", 2 heavy flamers, dozer blade
(246)

Canoness Katherine, jump pack, mantle of Ophelia, eviscerator (105)

Elite:
3 Death Cult Assassins (120)

Troops:
9 Inquisitorial Stroom Trooper and 1 Veteran, 2 melta-guns. Veteran has an auspex and combi-flamer (142)
9 Inquisitorial Stroom Trooper and 1 Veteran, 2 melta-guns. Veteran has an auspex and combi-flamer (142)
9 Inquisitorial Stroom Trooper and 1 Veteran, 2 flamers. Veteran has an auspex and combi-flamer (132)
4 Inquisitorial Stroom Trooper and 1 Veteran, 2 flamers. Veteran has an auspex and combi-flamer (82)

Fast Attack:

5 Seraphim with melta bombs, 2 inferno pistols (160)
5 Seraphim with melta bombs, 2 inferno pistols (160)

Heavy support:

Orbital strike: Lance Strike (70)
Orbital strike: Lance Strike (70)
Orbital strike: Lance Strike (70)

Total: 1499

Let me explain some points:

Versatile: Units are armed to take on either armour or troops, as the enemy forces are unknown.
Cover: Attacking an entrenched enemy in cover, Flavian has deployed as many flamers as possible to root out insurrgents.
Jump packs: The Sisters will all enter play via Deep Strike.
Troops and Inquisitor: The Inquisitor is already planetside and so starts deployed, and has landed his troops at the first sign of the uprising.
Auspexes: The enemy deployment is unknown so troops are equipped with short range scanners (this is more fluff inspired than in-game useful).
Orbital Strikes: These are bombardments from Flavian's battle barge.



Suneokun.

On looking at this synopsis, I got quite excited - another excellent challenge! ... I'm working on an in depth flanking/deepstriking attack force for the Tyranids (since they lack the open ground firepower of other armies!).

The List

HQ#1: Flyrant (Tlying Tyrant) - Winged, Twin Linked Devourers (6 shots (S5), reroll to hit), Scything Talons and Bioplasma (+2 attacks, 5 in total), flesh hooks (assault grenades), warp blast and toxic miasma (-1WS to enemies) - 173pts.

HQ#2: Broodlord with feeder tendrils (preferred enemy to him and unit) and flesh hooks - 76pts

Genestealer Retinue [8] with Flesh Hooks and Toxin Sacs - 160 pts

Elite#1: 2 Lictors - 160pts

Troop#1: Genestealers [12] with Scuttlers (Scout) and Flesh Hooks - 240pts

Troop#2: Termagants [16] with fleshborers and scuttlers - 128pts

Troop#3: Spinegaunts [16] with spinefist, scuttlers, toxin sacs and flesh hooks - 160pts

Fast Attack#1: Flying Warriors [5] with Devourers, Wings, Scything Talons, Toxin Sacs - 215pts

Fast Attack #2: Gargoyles [16] with flesh borers, bioplasma attack and wings - 192

Total price: 1504pts.

Tactics: Everything in Reserve (kinda the point). Broodlord, Genestealer and Gaunts hit the flanks. If the enemy targets the Stealers/Broodlord - go to ground and then assault with the gaunts (see lictor buff below) ... the Broodlord squad is S5 acorss the board and rending so will concentrate on squads, but also capable of killing tanks.

Flying Tyrant, Warriors and Gargoyles deep strike with menace. The combined units pump out 6 S5 attacks and 24 S4 (all with reroll to wound), allowing for ultimate pre-charge carnage.

The Lictors are included as anti-tank ambush units or alternatively as 'lictor-buff' units. Effectively the lictor deep-strike adjacent to the rear of a friendly unit and gives 'preferred enemy', this turns spinegaunts into a very effective assault unit and makes Tyrant/Warriors/Gargoyle lethal.

See: http://pathfinder-devilin.blogspot.com/2009/04/tyranid-lictor-tactica-lictor-buff.html For Details.


Elliot.
The challenge really brings to mind Planetstrike coming up. This is just my go at it.

Tau Deep Strike
During Apocalypse, the battlesuit rapid response cadre was certainly the way to go, not only gaining the benefit of surprise and a superior weapons platform, they also had some radical shock and awe special rules. The potential for these to lay waste to even MEQ units and to whittle down even TEQ units is what we should bank on.

Troops

Exercise, exception 3, since as Tau we require at least one Firewarrior squad. This we can say are their secondary pathfinder squad in a sense, being the first ones in to the city. Minimize their profile in comparison to the army down to 6. Equipping them with carbines and giving them a team leader with a markerlight would be thematically nice.

HQ:
[289] Flexible Squad
Shas'el Crisis Suit
AirburstFragProjector, Plasma Rifle, HWMultitracker, HWDC: x2 Shield Drones
2 Bodyguards with Plasma Rifle, Missile Pod, HWMultitracker, Targeting Arrays

[286] Marine Hunters
Shas'el Crisis Suit
Missile Pod, Cyclic Ion blaster, Multitracker, Stimulant Injector, HWDC: x2 Shield Drones
2 Bodyguards with Plasma Rifle, Missile Pod, HWMultitracker, Targeting Arrays

Troops:
[80]
Firewarrior Squad
6 Man Fire Warrior Team, with Team Leader + Markerlight

[228]
(2x) 12 Kroot Carnivores and 5 Kroot Hounds

Elites:
[160] Infantry Killers
3 Man Crisis Suit Team
TL Flamer, Missile Pod, Team Leader HWDC; x2 Shield Drones

[244] Horde Support and Tank Surprise.
(X2) 3 Man Stealth Suit Team, w Drone Controllers, 1 Fusion Blaster
1- Networked Marklight Drone

Fast Attack
[72]
6 Man Pathfinder Squad
[140]
Devilfish with, Flechette Launcher, Sensor Spines Targeting Array, Multitracker, Disruption Pod, 2x Seeker Missile

1499

Tactics:
Each of the Crisis Suit Teams have a specialized purpose of taking out the heavier troop clumps. Taking careful use to JSJ to stay out of range of any assaulters while whittling the enemy down.
Lacking a Hammerhead, the Airbursting Fragmentation Projector is the next best thing. This team is primarily going to want to go in and prevent the hordes of infantry from advancing towards our troops with the threat of doom at ranges of 24" from the AFP, while taking on MEQ troops.
Similarly, but more empowered to do so, the Marine Hunters will be solely tasked with going after MEQ troops employing plasma and the CIB.

Kroot infiltrate in with two groups, there's a good chance that there'll be a squad near an objective if one ends up on either side of the map. Assault in necessary, but the goals are primarily to get to the objectives killing potential IG if there are any holding those points.

With only one vehicle, it's probably a good idea to have it patrolling the streets, taking up the entire roadways. Letting the drones create a temporary barricade on one side, while it maintains a good vantage point to call down the 4 battle suit teams allowing for re-roll of scatter die. After the reinforcements are down, it can help to shuttle the firewarriors/pathfinders to objective and create some moving cover for the TL Flame Crisis suits.


Erfunk.

Flight of Valkyries

Imperial Guard (Parent list)
Senior Officer: Heavy Flamer, 3 Flamers, Astropath (115)
Veterans: Gunnery Sergeant Harker, Plasma Gun, Meltagun (165)
Veterans: Plasma Gun, Autocannon, Forward Sentries (140)

Air Support
Vendetta: Squadron of 2 (260)
Vendetta: Hellfury Missiles, Heavy Bolters (140)
Vendetta: Heavy Bolters (140)

Sisters of Battle (Allied list)
10 Sisters: Heavy Flamer, Meltagun, Veteran w/ Brazier of Holy Fire, Book of St Lucius (161)
10 Sisters: Heavy Flamer, Meltagun, Veteran w/ Brazier of Holy Fire, Book of St Lucius (161)
7 Seraphim: 2 Hand Flamers, Veteran w/ Eviscerator, Brazier of Holy Fire, Book of St Lucius


Ok, so there's no actual Valkyries in the list. I think the Vendetta is simply better. The premise here is that everything arrives from reserve, either in a Vendetta or otherwise. With the Astropath they all receive a +1 to the roll and can reroll outflanks. The Vendettas can deep strike, if required, but outflanking is preferable as they can deliver their cargo to almost 2/3 of the board on the turn they arrive.

The squadron of 2 Vendettas carries the 2 squads of Sisters, who in conjunction with the Act of Faith called Divine Guidance can shred power armor very effectively. Sisters need to work in packs to be effective, so it's ok that their transports are a squadron. Ideally they outflank and deliver the Sisters 6-12" in, meanwhile punishing enemy armor with the lascannon fire. They don't have Heavy Bolters as they're not likely to stop moving for long enough to use them, as they can effectively tank shock the CSMs into nice flamer template shaped piles for the Sisters.

The Vendetta with Hellfury Missiles carries the Command Squad, and is geared to punish infantry. It can deepstrike if need be and still fire most of it's weapons on the turn it arrives. Alternately it can outflank, and would still be effective if it ended up separated from the Sisters. But it's an ideal support to escort the Sisters as they roll up an enemy flank, with the Senior Officer issuing orders to force the enemy to reroll their successful cover saves.

The Veteran squad with Harker in it gains Infiltrate, Stealth, and Move Through Cover. And Harker himself is Relentless and has a Heavy Bolter! Like the Command Squad's Vendetta, they can choose their deployment. They can infiltrate, if early anti-tank shots are needed, but this exposes them as the only target on the board for 1-2 turns of enemy fire. More ideally they outflank as well, coming in on foot to help the Sisters and Senior Officer mop up a flank. They provide a solid unit to stay behind once a forward objective is claimed as they can sit on it taking 24" Plasma and 36" Heavy Bolter (from Harker himself) shots, with Stealth and the option of going to ground to keep them hanging in.

The Seraphim are the thing I think is the most awkward in the list. To meet the requirements, they have to deep strike which isn't ideal. But once they're on the board they are pretty killer. Long reach from being jump infantry, 2 Flamers plus the 1 shot from the Brazier, hit and run, and an Eviscerator stacks up well. And with the Spirit of the Martyr act of faith it allows them to safely tie up a dangerous CSM squad for a round with their invulnerable saves before HnR'ing out and shooting it up.

The last Vendetta is the static objective-holding element. It comes on from the back-edge, or can deepstrike, and hovers in place laying down anti-tank punishment. The second veterans squad can either shelter inside it firing out the 2 hatches, or can be deployed to utilize their camo-cloaks from Forward Sentries. They're geared for long range shooting, but if need be they can easily flee from advancing foes in their Vendetta before rushing back to reclaim their own objective later.

In fact, the whole army is in theory as mobile as any other skimmer-based transport list (minus star engines). This combined with outflanking means you can outmaneuver your foe and minimize how much of their army you face at once. Leave their short range units stranded on the other side of the board, chasing you. Drop straight into their long range forces. With the number of flamers in the army, the long range elements of the Guard shouldn't last. With the number of meltas and the 10(!) twin-linked Lascannons on the Vendettas it shouldn't be hard to cripple their armor (nor to get side-shots when you arrive). All this should combine well to mitigate their 500 point advantage and to claim enough of the 3 objectives to win. Not to mention, all of the troops either have power armor or the Stealth USR. And the Sisters can turn their armor invulnerable, reliably even once they've lost a few, and provide a 6" bubble of LD 9 Stubborn.

Overall, I'm not completely pleased with the list. It's not that I think it won't perform, it's just that it wasn't quite what I set out to try to build initially. The overhead of the Guard and Valkyries proved steeper than I anticipated for an airborne Sisters list, so I gave up and committed to making it predominantly Imperial Guard. I think it could easily support a larger contingent of Sisters at 2000 points. But in the meantime Faith points will require careful management.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

A Collection of Potential Names for Thousand Sons Characters and Squads

Following on from the collection of names for the Death Guard Legion, I decided to try to assemble some names for the Thousand Sons.

In the absence of reading the upcoming Horus Heresy novel(s) about Prospero, I decided that many names for the Thousand Sons should have an Ancient Egyptian theme or feeling to them, and that their translation should reflect the legion. After scouring the internet (e.g. http://www.geocities.com/wally_mo/names.html), here's a modest list of what I came up with:

Adjo (treasure)
Adofo (fighter)
Akil (intelligent)
Ahrimose (son of Ahriman)
Amun (hidden one)
Amahté (to have power over)
Astennu (a god of the Moon)
Bomani (warrior)
Chenzira (journey-born)
Gahiji (hunter)
Kamenwati ("Dark rebel")
Kek (god of darkness)
Khaldun (immortal)
Khenti (leader)
Lukman (prophet)
Magnumes / Magnumose (son of Magnus?)
Menetnashté (power)
Mshai (traveller)
Nomti (strength)
Sefu (sword)
Runihura (destroyer)
Urshé (observer)
Wati (rebel)
Zuberi (strong)

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Painting Kharn

Kharn the Betrayer has been sat, mostly unloved, in my collection for a long time. I painted him up over the Winter break last year (in a rush, naturally) and have finally got around to writing about him today! Sorry that it has taken so long, Kharn.

Kharn has a number of interesting facets to him. Firstly, he's a Khorne Berzerker. That means that I was instantly thinking about reds, blacks and bronzes as the primary colours for his paint scheme. On top of that, he has a plasma pistol, some serious amount of clunky looking chains, an ugly looking skull collection, a naked left arm, and gorechild - the heavy looking chain-axe held high.

Whilst the reds and bronzes were painted in a similar style to my other Khorne Berzerkers, I started this model by drybrushing all those metallic looking parts with a good amount of silver on a black undercoat. This means that I can then wash my brush and not worry about metallic flecks of paint getting mixed in with my other colours (as can happen if I were to use the same pot of water to wash all my paints in!).

The next parts to get some work done were the skulls. They were drybrushed up in several stages from denheb stone, and upward to progressively more pure skull white tones. Only with them done, did the red armoured parts get started. After highlighting the edges of the red plates with bronze and highlighting the red with an orange colour, I started on the naked arm and the weaponry. The arm was painted in dwarf flesh and inked with a mixture of orange and chestnut and subsequently highlighted. The fingernails were possibly the last bit of the arm to get some attention. The handle of gorechild and the plasma coils of the pistol were then completed and I finished by touching up any overspills from other areas.

Whilst I don't think I'll be playing Kharn outside of friendly and fun games anytime soon, I like the finish of the model and he blends in with the other Khornate marines readily.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Origins of Loyalist and Traitor Backpacks

Here's one for you: Why do chaos space marines have different style backpacks to loyalist space marines?

I'm lead to believe that all the original space marine legions would have had similar backpacks / power plants in the pre-heresy time frame. Indeed, most of the illustrations I've seen in this time period (e.g. cover art of the Horus Heresy book series) picture the traitor legions with loyalist-style backpacks. Hence, I've concluded that the modern style traitor backpacks are a post-heresy innovation.

There's also an interesting wording on the illustration of a renegade marine in codex: chaos space marines: "expanded venting required for stacked cell power plant" (page 86 of the codex). What is a stacked cell power plant? Did a traitor legion invent it after fleeing to the Eye of Terror? If so, then how did the technology spread to the other shattered traitor legions that didn't retreat to the Eye? What was wrong with the original pre-heresy style backpack? This might also go against the more usual "in-world" explanation that the backpacks were simply mutated by chaos.

So many unanswered questions shrouded by the mists of time!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Daemonette with Large Claws, Painted in Blue

++ I like the way you move backward. Is it that you won't take your eyes off me, or the knowledge that you created me? We're very alike, you and I... ++
Reported heresy of a daemon; analysis from Iybraesil datavault raid by Inquisitor Thrax.
Painting.
This model is a standard plastic daemonette, mounted on plasticard with an Hirst Arts cast of a marble visage lying in ruins at the daemonette's feet.

The undercoat was done in black, followed basecoating in ultramarine blue for the garments and brown for the skin regions. A combination of inks and washes were used to give the model depth, followed by drybrushing of the skin.

The claws were highlighted in steadily lighter shades of blue until almost pure skull white in some prominent parts. The vestments on the other hand weren't given too many highlights -- indeed, some of the edging of the corsetry is a tad too thick for my liking (but that's correctable).

However, I did manage to get several very small details done with a fine triple-zero brush; such as the bobble holding the daemonette's hair in a bunch at the top of the head. A fine addition to my growing flock (is flock the right word?) of fully painted daemonettes.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Reminder: May Army List Challenge

A quick reminder that the May Army List Challenge is still open for entries! Follow this link for more details.

I'll leave you with Suneokun's words: "On looking at this synopsis, I got quite excited - another excellent challenge!" :)

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Plague Champion with Shell Painted

A while ago, I created a converted plague champion using a shell and various other parts. I've finally got around to painting him, and here's the final result.There's plenty of detail in those Forge World parts, but less so in the green stuff parts. The basic approach was to use chestnut and black ink on a fleshy-coloured basecoat and work the colour up lighter from that starting point. For the most part, I'm reasonably pleased with the outcome. However, with hindsight, the shell should have probably remained unpainted. That was tricky since flecks of paint tend to get splattered during the painting process, so the shell got wholly painted in the end.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

About the Star Child Theory

General Question: What is the status of the Star Child Theory in 5th edition Warhammer 40,000?

The older readers among you may recall a time in the Rogue Trader / Realms of Chaos era when the Star Child Theory was all the rage. If you've not heard about it before, then I'll provide a brief over-view.

The Emperor, in all his long years of living on Earth, was a man. Like other men, he fathered children. And plenty of them since he lived for so long. These offspring are known as Sensei. They have inherited immortality from the Emperor and are untouched by the taint of chaos (they don't take perils of the warp tests). They are also blanks - other psykers cannot "see" them. This means that they largely don't know of their connection to the Emperor. Still, the inquisition hunts them down as dangerous heretics when they have an opportunity.

In addition to the sensei, there are a group of radicals known as the Illuminati. They know of chaos first hand, having been daemonically possessed and subsequently able to cast out the daemon. They know of the fall of the Eldar and the fate that awaits human kind unless the Emperor is renewed. Hence they strive bring this about by sacrificing the sensei at the point in time when the Emperor finally lets go of his remaining dying cells within the golden throne. This will bring about a new Emperor - the Star Child, who will physically reincarnate as the new Emperor (slightly dissimilar to Ynnead, as Ynnead is envisioned as a new god; the new Emperor is to be made corporeal in the same manner that the original Emperor came about from ancient shamans).

On the flip side, I've read that all of the above could be a Tzeentchian manipulation. (What a great trap-door that is for many warhammer story lines!; Almost as good as entire races being devoured by Tyranids!). So, my question is this: what is the status of the Star Child Theory now? Is it still "cannon"?

Monday, May 4, 2009

Buttons as a Basing Material

My wife is one of the most talented people I know. Amongst many other things, she can knit to a very high standard. As a result, she has her own "bitz box". Unlike my own bitz box, it doesn't contain extra plasma pistols that weren't glued on / used, or cast-off spare arms of space marines. Instead, it contains a wealth of (seemingly) random items ranging from threads, to curled knitting needles, and buttons.

The buttons in her bitz box caught my eye the other day. I started to look through some of them and found quite a number that would be suitible for use with 28mm scale miniatures. Then it hit me - they'd make a great basing material to use alongside other materials. Have a look at the picture below.I'm starting to get inspired by what I see. Some of the buttons are already broken and I've been looking at them thinking "urban rubble". Others have some remarkably good looking textures on them - check out the marble-like effect on the blue-white one - those ridges of white stick out above the main part of the button (but by little more than 1mm). There are also other interesting textures in there that might make for discarded (medieval) shields. At worst, some of the larger ones could be used to raise miniatures up by a few millimetres. A new wealth of inspiration has opened up for me!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Twin-Linked Blasts

This is an old discussion, but I wanted to see how other people out there resolved the issue and whether I'm in line with how other folks play.

The issue is: how do you re-roll twin-linked blast weapons?

The most common way of playing it that I've encountered (and indeed as we play it locally) is this:

1. Roll to hit as per normal with the scatter die.
2. If it misses, note down where the first one would have landed and then re-roll the scatter die and 2d6.
3. If both have missed, choose the lowest scatter value.

The reasoning is that twin-linked is supposed to improve your chances of hitting a target. I've heard some people play it as:

1. Roll to hit as normal.
2. If it misses, you may re-roll the scatter die, but must abide by the second roll even if it is worse than the first.

Anybody got a different opinion, or support either method strongly?

Friday, May 1, 2009

May Army List Challenge

Welcome to May's army list challenge. This month, you can use your favourite codex and not necessarily be restricted to a few choices of codex that not all of you have. The theme is centred around a gaming objective - how will you go about designing an army to best fulfil that objective, knowing in advance the kinds of opposition that await you? ....It's also somewhat inspired by the forthcoming Planetstrike rumours.

Overview of the Challenge:
Your strike team is being deployed on a mission to take back technological marvels of the Dark Ages from a renegade planet. The planet has corrupted imperial guard elements and chaos space marines standing to oppose you. You don't know the exact make-up of the threat however. You will be deployed in a city environment (lots of buildings and cover available to both sides) via deep-striking or infiltration.

Rules:
(1) Design a 1500 point army from any codex to take on a numerically superior imperial guard and chaos space marine contingent (totalling 2000 points: 1000 points of Guard and chaos marines each) in a seize ground mission with 3 objectives in a city environment. Use a standard force organization chart.
(2) All members of your army must be able to deep-strike or infiltrate.
(3) If your chosen codex doesn't have troops or at least 1 HQ capable of deep-striking or infiltrating in the force organization chart (e.g. Chaos Space Marine troop selections have daemons that can deep strike, but they don't take up a slot in the force organization chart), you may ignore rule (2) for troops or HQ choices. Comment on how they will fit in with the army theme of the 100% deep-striking or infiltrating.
(4) Post your army lists as a comment to this posting.
(5) On May 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.
(6) Winner will be tallied and announced on May 21st.

Extra kudos will go to unusual entries that don't use armies that are notorious for deep-striking or infiltration (I'm looking at you, Death Wing and Daemons). Remember, in a city environment with lots of cover available, deep-striking may also be highly risky without teleport beacons and the like.

Remember, the real aim of these challenges is to help others design effective army lists that are both themed and effective. The theme here is to accomplish the mission objective using specialist warriors. There are no prizes beyond honour and kudos!
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