Monday, November 29, 2010

Wargames Gallery: Ork Crunch

Before anyone points it out: I know that the only painted element of this picture are my plastic horrors of Tzeentch. But I like the artistic merit of this shot -- the colour of my horrors really juxtaposes well against the otherwise bland background.
The orks are, frankly, crunching my Tzeentch horrors who were happily hanging out in a crater and (almost) minding their own business... it's not going well for me in this game.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Reaper Autocannons: Much maligned but still used?

The reaper autocannon is the chaos space marine terminator's equivalent of the assault cannon.

The press that the reaper autocannon gets seems to be moderately negative.  It isn't hard to see why when a quick comparison is made.  For 25 points, the reaper autocannon gives the chaos player 2 twin linked AP4, S7 shots.  In comparison, the assault cannon costs 30 points and gives 4 S6, AP4 rending shots.  The main differences are the amount of shots (double for the imperials), the accuracy of the shots (twin linked for chaos), the range of the shots (12 inches further for chaos) and the rending (for the imperials).  For 5 points more, I think I'd be tempted to ditch the twin linked and the range in favour of the rending and sheer amount of shots. 

Even still, the reaper autocannon can still be an excellent choice for the chaos terminator player.  With its increased range and twin linked statistic, it can readily pose a threat for almost any light tank sat on the board from a reasonably back position.  If taken in a combi-termicide melta squad, it can readily back up the melta shots with a pair of its own that are much more likely to hit.  Although the tank may not get as much chance of being blown to smithereens in comparison the melta hits, it is probably still worthwhile overall.  Indeed, I've been toying around with the addition of a reaper autocannon in a squad of 3 other combi-melta termicide squad and have had reasonable success with it.  The other benefit is the amount of attention that the reaper autocannon gets -- it tends to be a real fire magnet for opposition forces to try to take out.

The image above is of a chaos reaper autocannon terminator that I plan to paint up in Sons of Malice colours.  The head is a swap for a plastic chaos warriors skull helmet, but otherwise no conversion work has taken place.  The base has had multiple bits from the warhammer 40k basing kit applied to give it an urban wreck feel.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Masque of Slaanesh Evaluation

We turn today to the Masque of Slaanesh. She (He?) has a moderate points value and can shoot her pavane of Slaanesh up to three times (at different targets) every turn. Is she worth while though?

My personal opinion is that she is let down by the lack of the independent character special rule. This means that she will be out in the open and on her own. Or at best, cowering behind a squad of daemonettes for a cover save. She's as fragile as regular daemonettes (in toughness terms) and will die very quickly to massed bolter fire. Her bonuses (Musk, Instrument, and Aura) and not really worth while to make her truly noteworthy. Aura of acquiescence comes as standard on daemonettes. Instruments of chaos are not worthwhile equipped on daemonettes (see here). And the soporific musk (hit and run) is solid for her, but not brilliant.

My opinion is similar to the Blue Scribes: a well built Chariot of Slaanesh will be better the majority of the time. A Slaaneshi chariot with unholy might and soporific musk is cheaper than the Masque and much more survivable (toughness = 4; plus 5 wounds!). Take the Masque for fluffy reasons, but don't take her to serious tournament play methinks.  Build a chariot and go hunting select targets instead.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Blue Scribes Evaluation

To be fair, I haven't seen many people play the Blue Scribes. I've only ever fielded him once myself. And that was only to see how he worked, rather than to present any cool conversion I had. Granted that the official miniature for the Blue Scribes doesn't exist yet, fielding him in a tournament will require conversion work not too dissimilar to how I created my Tzeentch herald on a disk. That's a reasonably non-negligible amount of work to put in! So are the Blue Scribes worth while?

For a comparatively low points cost, the daemons player gets most of the good spells in the codex mounted on a multiple wound jump infantry model coupled with Master of Sorcery (can use one additional ranged weapon) and We Are Legion (can fire different weapons at multiple targets) at the price of the "Watch This!" special rule. Half the time, the second ranged weapon will be the same as the first due to the scribes' squabbles. The other half of the time, the player gets to decide.

In low points games (say under 1000 points), the Blue Scribes can be a fluffy and terrific choice. However, I think for tournaments and higher points games (certainly up to 2000 points), I would personally be looking at building my own herald of Tzeentch on a chariot. A Bolt of Tzeentch chariot platform only costs 95 points. Even a chariot with Bolt of Tzeentch, Breath of Chaos and Master of Sorcery costs 130 points. And they're plenty more reliable to be honest. So my opinion and advice is usually to forget about the Blue Scribes and take a well built Chariot of Tzeentch instead.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Skulltaker Evaluation

Skulltaker is a bloodletter's bloodletter. He's the great guy in the Khorne Army that all the lesser daemons look up to. They just want to be like him and be with him.
Like all bloodletters, Skulltaker is excellent at taking down power armoured marines with his hellblade. I like to use him in a squad of bloodletters to deliver him to the heart of the enemy wherein I use his large volley of attacks to cut the heart out of the opposition. He really is great at character killing. And not too shabby at taking down monstrous creatures either.

He can purchase a chariot or juggernaut (unlike other named heralds) as optional upgrades. The juggernaut is probably not quite worth the price tag unless you want him in a large mob of bloodcrushers. And then, a regular herald might be just as good depending on the points value of the game. The chariot seems the far better option. Of course, Skulltaker loses his independent character status by taking it.

Instant death by rending.
The beauty of Skulltaker is his ability to inflict instant death (and rending) on a 4+ roll to wound via the "Skulls for the skull throne!" special rule. This rule is what really makes skulltaker worth while. Place him on a chariot or juggernaut for increased potency. Head toward your favourite offending multi-wound opposing model and it's going to be taken care of in all likelihood. Perhaps apart from some lightning quick eldar or dark eldar. But that is why he has multiple wounds and a fair toughness for, coupled with both armour and invulnerable saves. Call in the Grey Knights -- they'll be needed sooner or later!

I tend to use Skulltaker in lower points games. Specifically, I've found him to be terrific in up to 1000 or 1250 points. Once 1500 points is hit, a mono-Khorne army would probably want to think about investing in a bloodthirster to be fair. But in a full pantheon army, he ca still be quite viable and dangerous. The planetstrike rules make him just awesome (along with the rest of the army!).

Monday, November 22, 2010

Epidemius Evaluation

Let's be honest: if we're taking Epidemius in an army list, we want to be playing a lot of Nurgle daemons to the exclusion of almost all others. Unless I'm involved in some Apocalypse madness, Epidemius will only be used in a mono-Nurgle army list. Frankly, he doesn't belong in many other places. That said, let's have a think about how we might use him.

The Tally.
Clearly one of his major advantages is the Tally. We want to get that up to high numbers as quickly as possible. And we want Epidemius to survive during this process. These two wants are in slight opposition to each other. To get the Tally up effectively, we should aim to have Epidemius on the table on turn 1. That may not always happen and sometimes the Tally will get stuffed because he doesn't arrive (or doesn't arrive until turn 4+!).

On the other hand, we don't want Epidemius to demise before his time. And that's a problem because he's going to get targeted. Frequently. And did we mention he's not very fast on his feet (or palanquin)?

Perhaps the best option is to place Epidemius in a moderately large squad of plaguebearers or nurglings. If the game in hand is an objective based one, then just sit Epidemius in cover (hiding) with his squad next to the objective and (preferably) leave him there. The enemy then has to come to you to finish off the squad and target Epidemius himself. And a large squad of plaguebearers is hard enough for any miniature in the game to handle in a single turn, short of a vortex grenade.

Of course, you could always go on the offensive with Epidemius. He is afterall, reasonably good against most infantry in the game. But you'll want to back him up with other Nurgle squads so that if his own squad gets whittled down, he can attach himself to a different (fresher) squad.

Use in Mono-Nurgle lists or apocalypse ... and planetstrike. He's okay, but an army list needs to be built around him and his powers, whilst simultaneously begin able to cope without him. This means daemon princes with wings and the mark of Nurgle at the very least. A Great Unclean One wouldn't be a bad idea either, alongside a metric ton of plaguebearers, coupled with some beasts of Nurgle and Nurglings to taste. Nurglings especially can be amazing once pumped up by the tally.

I don't use him outside of mono-Nurgle builds though. Unless I'm playing a fluffy game, or a humongous apocalypse game.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Dark Eldar Codex Download and Other Odd Search Terms

I decided to have a bit of a drill down into what people come to Warpstone Flux to look for by investigating search terms that link to my site.  My most popular pages have remained roughly constant compared to when I last posted on this topic, give or take a few new gems.  But lurking at the opposite end of the spectrum are dubious search terms that are downright illegal (such as the title of this post) or have very little to do with the content that I place on to my site.  Here's my top 10 examples that google analytics and webmaster tools inform me resulted in a Warpstone Flux hit.

10.  Dark Eldar Codex Download
Despite it being illegal, people still try to search for it.  I've no idea why search engines would turn up with a link to Warpstone Flux for such a search, but my guess is that other "spam" sites harvest / cookie cut content from Warpstone Flux and mash it together with other random oddities. Other search terms likewise include "Space Wolves Codex pdf Download" and so on.  

Just incase I'm not being clear: you will not find any illegal content on Warpstone Flux. 

9. Child Star Theory.
You mean the Star Child Theory, right?  In which case, here's a quick link to a previous posting about that issue, and an Alpha Legion discussion that was also had!  There is no content on academic theories as to why children become stars.  I'm a physical scientist, not a sociological scientist and hence don't feel qualified to comment!

8. Transmutation Circle List.
You want to change something in to something else by drawing a circle?  And you want multiple examples of said circle?  Well, Warpstone Flux is not the right place for you -- you probably want something a bit more Fullmetal Alchemist inclined, I'll wager.

7. Julie K Smith.
It'd be hard to make these sorts of things up, wouldn't it?  I've never met anybody by that name.  Sorry.  

6. Mortal Kombat Reptile.
Moving right along...

5. Bazooka Cafe.
According to wikipedia, it is an "erotic Japanese game for windows".  Huh?
I'm not going to delve any further in to this one.

4. Black Ops Zombie Gun Stealer.
I think this one is a little easier to explain as it is a mash-up of lots of different terms that appear on separate Warpstone Flux pages.

3. What is a Philtrum?
That's easy to answer and explain -- it is the groove above a top lip that meets the base of the nose.  An example of a philtrum can be seen on my Nurgle rhino.  It's a good question never the less!

2. Final Fantasy XIII.
I might have mentioned those letters and words, but really, this is another false positive hit!

1. Troll Face.
Initial reaction: What the?  
But actually, after a bit of investigation: this one relates to one of my commenters (Skarvald the Troll-faced).

Anyone else got any odd ball search terms that resulted in a hit on their blogs that they'd like to share?  I've got plenty more, but I might make them in to a second post on this subject matter for a future date!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Warp Rift and Daemon's Objective Marker

This creation will be an objective marker in my daemons army. It will also double up as an Apocalypse Warp Rift marker as needs be.

I originally got the idea from John's Toy Soldiers (thanks John!!). The ingredient list is simple enough: an agate crystal mounted upon a 40mm base (MDF in this case) using liberal amounts of green stuff that has been sprinkled with sand and drybrushed.

On the front of the agate crystal, I've glued on a tentacle from the chaos spawn boxed set.  I wasn't sure the glue would hold it in place, but sure enough it sticks very well.  One thing I will note is that I painted the tentacle prior to gluing it in to place and tried to choose a colour that would complement the blue of the agate crystal.

For those of you in Australia, I bought my agate crystal from "Ozzie Maid".  They sell reasonably cheap agate crystals that come well-wrapped in the post to avoid any damage.  I'd certainly use them again.  They picture the actual agate slice that you're purchasing on the web site, rather than a similar slice that just looks approximately the same -- thumbs up from me for effort!

The end result is a piece that looks like a disturbing portal of some kind to another realm. And the inhabitants of that other realm look like they're just ready to explore this one!

(Disclaimer: I'm not associated with Ozzie Maid in any way whatsoever!)

Friday, November 19, 2010

Combi Termicide, A Broad Overview

Doubtless, many of you who play with (or against) chaos space marines (and Space Wolves) are aware of the concept of the termicide squad. In brief, they are a small squad of terminators whose sole duty is to perform a single task and then perish horribly. Today, I want to briefly summarize their roles.

The most used termicide squad that I see deployed is the combi-melta one. Take 3 chaos terminators, equip each one with a combi-melta and maybe add a power fist or chain fist to taste and you're done. Deep-strike the squad near a target vehicle and take it down. If there are transported infantry inside, consider assaulting them in the next turn (which is why a power fist is often taken).
The combi-plasma squad is less used, but follows the same principles. Instead of going after tanks, it'll aim to take down a monstrous creature or opposing high armour infantry like other terminators and wraith lords. They can also takle low armour vehicles in a pinch as well. Add in at least one power fist or chain fist for taste and that's it. If the rapid firing plasma volley doesn't take the target monstrous creature down, then engage is close combat as soon as feasible. Alternative combi-plasma builds focus on ranged threat and may take a reaper autocannon for additional support.

The combi-flamer squad instead focuses on anti-infantry and may arrive on board a land raider and could have a heacy flamer in the squad as well. Using the assault ramp they then proceed to flame their target (softening them up) before charging in to them with power weapons of various flavours.

This latter option is one that I have been toying around with, but minus the land raider option. I've been having some success with the following load-out:
3 or 4 chaos terminators with combi-flamers, 1 chaos terminator with heavy flamer and one chain fist somewhere in the squad.

Without the land raider, the terminators deep-strike in and flame their opponents. They then wait for the inevitable counter strike which their armour suggests they will survive. With luck, they can wipe out the enemy in their turn, leaving them free to charge in the next. The chain fist is there to declare "I am a treat to all of your units -- not just infantry! You'd better do something about me!" In this respect, the flamer termicide squad is a neat distractor unit capable of tying enemy units up, destroying them and posing a threat to all others.  In general, they don't last very long as they attract a lot of fire power.  But it is usually enough time for my winged daemon prince to come along and join the party for added distractions and disruptions.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

W40k Rulebook Update Thoughts

Games Workshop have just released their latest Rulebook Update.  The update contains no real surprises: most of the updates are straight forward clarifications and re-wordings to make clear the original meaning of the rules.

A typical example is about set up.  The rules used to state for a spearhead deployment, the opposing player sets up "in the opposite half".  This has been clarified to mean set up in the opposite half and more than 12 inches from the table's middle line.

There are a few nuggets in there that may be of interest to those more chaotically inclined players.  Firstly is the ruling about squads that have "gone to ground", but been forced to move.  I'm thinking of Lash of Submission here. The ruling says that the moved unit does not retain its "gone to ground" status -- it simply returns to a "normal" state after moving.  This could be critical for a number of players who I know like the Lash of Submission psychic power.

Armour penetration for rending monters has also been cleared up: 2d6 + S and an extra d3 for each 6 that is rolled on rending (rather than just a maximum of one extra d3).

And the rules about co-axial weapon destruction, independent characters "making way" and Telion's stealthy nature are sure to be an worth-while read for many as well.

Overall, I think the changes won't make too much difference to the way in which I play the game.  Any different opinions?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Daemon Prince with Power Arm Conversion

A conversion with a little bit of inspiration from the original model itself. This is the new plastic daemon prince model, built in a standard manner apart from the left arm.

The original left arm -- the one that looks like it is gesticulating "come here" to some unfortunate -- didn;t really appeal to me. I'm not sure why to be honest. Maybe it was the overly long and thin fingers perhaps? So, I decided to do away with it. I then set about thinking about what to replace it with. My first thought was to attempt something like a double tyranid crushing claw / pincer conversion. But I couldn't shake the feeling that it would look too tyranid-like.

And that lead me to think about space marines themselves. Before chaos space marine lords become daemon princes, they likely use (and abuse) all kinds of technology. So why not try to fit some technology in to the daemon prince?

After that though, the solution presented itself: a power fist! From my soul grinder, I had a left-over claw that appeared as if it would fit the bill very well. I dry-fitted it, but it looked to be a little on the large side. After much head scratching and talks with friends, they convinced me that it wasn't on the "too big" side of things. Power fists are bigger than "normal" marine arms after all. Moreover, who's to say that this prince hasn't received a gift from the Forge of Souls itself?

So despite being a little worried initially, I am pleased with this conversion. The conversion work itself was a case of pinning the arm on to the torse, clipping away a little bit of the upper arm and attaching the shoulderpad to cover-up the green stuff work that had bulked-out the shoulder joint underneath. I intend to paint it up in some khorne or neutral colours when I get around to it. Although in principle, it would make a very fine daemon prince of the Iron Warriors legion.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Mighty Empires: Expansion Tiles

Today, I wanted to show the images of the Mighty Empires expansion tiles as the product on the Games Workshop web site only depicts one side of them.

The first side features a pair of forking river tile to enable your rivers to divert (or converge?) across your maps. They're pretty neat if your map needs to feature an extensive river system.

On the other side are (a) a tile with several lakes located to one edge and (b) a heavily farmed tile. In addition, 4 flags are also attached as well as 6 markers (2 orky monoliths; 2 elven towers; and 2 dwarvern ale houses).As with all the Mighty Empires tiles, they're completely compatible with the Planetary Empires tiles. The markers should also be adaptable as well. The elven towers can definitely represent exodite planets, the pubs can double up as some feudal planet marker, or even an advanced barracks. The orc monolith is also ideal for orks. But is it a monolith to Gork or Mork?

Monday, November 15, 2010

Flux Battle Objectives: Primary Missions

I am slowly putting together a series of battle objectives that I intend to write up as a downloadable pdf. The idea here I have is to create a suite of generic (i.e. not exclusively 40k) missions that can be used for both casual and tournament play.

Following on from this month's poll, it is clear that many people like a variety of mission types and objectives. I have jotted down a large number of different types of primary objectives that could be played for, ranging from the standard securing of objectives to simple annihilation and numerous items in-between. Here's a selection of what I have so far. The format is fairly straight-forward in terms of what is required during set-up and the conditions for victory (which is usually in proportion to some arbitrary amount of points that the tournament designer can determine -- say 20 points for one of the primary objectives ... the inference is that I have secondary objectives and so on that would be worth comparatively less).

If you can think of other primary battle objectives, please leave a comment! (i.e. I'm not after some random death-world-esque environment in which to play, nor a sub-plot that the enemy commander is your commander's cousin. Pure and simple military objectives). Any feedback gratefully received!

Critical targets.
The crucible has been set. The enemy is here. And your targets have taken the bait: they’re also here.
Set-up: After reviewing your opponent’s army list, determine the d3+2 most valuable targets from their list (defined by points value, or which models are wearing the most black, etc.). They may be either individual characters, or entire squads.
Success: You gain points in proportion to the number of high value targets that you take out.

The battlefield has several data storage nodes scattered around it. You must download as much information as possible from them.
Set-up: Reveal this primary objective to your opponent. Starting with yourself, take turns to designate X objectives in the playing area, where X is a number between 1 and 5. To determine X, roll of d6 and ignore a 6, or come to a mutual agreement. Each objective must be placed at least 18 inches from another, or in a different table quarter (and at the centre if a fifth is needed) (etc.).
Success: You gain one “download point” for every objective that you control every turn. You gain mission success points in proportion to download points you have scored divided by the maximum possible total of download points that you could have scored (calculated as the number of turns multiplied by the number of download objectives).

Extreme prejudice.
It’s simple: the stand happens here and now. Take the battle to the enemy and terminate them with extreme prejudice.
Set-up: No special set up required.
Success: You gain points in proportion to the number, kill points or points value of models that you kill. All things being equal, we suggest using points value, noting that wrecked and destroyed vehicles fully count, but immobilized vehicles generate only half points.

Hold at all costs.
The position(s) must not fall to the enemy. It must be held at all costs, no matter what. The war effort depends on it.
Set-up: Reveal this primary objective to your opponent. Starting with yourself, take turns to designate X objectives in the playing area, where X is a number between 1 and 5. To determine X, roll of d6 and ignore a 6, or come to a mutual agreement. Each objective must be placed at least 18 inches from another, or in a different table quarter (and at the centre if a fifth is needed) (etc.).
Success: You gain points in proportion to the number of objectives that you control at the end of the game (e.g. if you control 1 objective, you gain 1/X of the points value of this primary objective). Controlling has the normal sense: a scoring unit and no enemy models within 3 inches of the objective.

The instruction has come in from orbit. You need to be elsewhere. And fast! But the enemy knows about it.
Set-up: When defining your starting positions, also define the opposing table edge. Reveal this objective to your opponent.
Success: You get points in proportion to the number or points value of models that you manage to move off the opposite table edge. Moving off the edge is done as a standard movement – if your model has enough movement to take the entirety of its base off the edge, you may remove it.

Silence the batteries.
The defence guns are hammering your incoming battle space cruisers. Take them out or sabotage them by any means necessary so that your forces gain a better foothold on this world.
Set-up: Reveal this objective to your opponent. Place d6+2 objectives on to the playing surface. Take turns to place them and ensure that they are no closer than 18 inches to each other (if possible). Your opponent then places the remaining scenery.
Success: You gain points in proportion to the number of objectives that you destroy or wreck. Destroying or wrecking them is the same as destroying or wrecking a vehicle. In Warhammer 40,000, treat them as AV=12 and already immobile (much as a drop pod would be) and note that “weapon destroyed” results are ignored.

Territorial contest.
Sweep them before you and cleanse this territory!
Set-up: Divide the playing area up in to X equal sized areas. The number X should be chosen to be at least 4 (i.e. table quarters), but can be scaled up to 9 depending on the size of the battle being fought. The player must secretly write down X before play begins.
Success: You gain points in proportion to the number of territories you control at the end of the game. Control means that you have more of your own units (they don’t have to be scoring units) inside the table quarter than the enemy does.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Favourite Mission Poll Result

The poll for your favourite mission has been running for a fortnight and is now closed. The results are as follows:

Annihilate 33%
2 Objectives / Capture and Control 21%
3 Objectives / Seize Ground 15%
4 Objectives / Seize Ground 9%
5 Objectives / Seize Ground 21%
Kill Team / Kill Zone 21%
Table Quarters / Occupation 9%
Move to opposite deployment zone 6%
Battle Missions 27%
Homebrew Missions 12%
Narrative Campaign 15%
Other 3%

Clearly, annihilate is by far the most popular type of mission out there. It's simplicity is its strength. But in second place is Battle Missions -- it is possible to hypothesize from this that the basic missions are getting very worn very fast and that variation is the key to entertaining play. The securing of objectives has a strong showing (particularly the high numbers of objectives), as has kill team / kill zone. I'm especially excited by the strong showing and popularity that the 200 point version of the game has.

I am in the process of getting together a large variety of mission types and intend to use this poll result as inspiration. Tomorrow, I will post what I have so far on primary missions. Stay tuned!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Shadow Sword: Part X. Las Cannon Highlighting and Finishing

The Las Cannons for my Shadow Sword are now essentially complete.

Painting-wise, I've gone around the sharp corners of the las cannon turrets with (a medium thickness) mechrite red followed by a thin line of blazing orange. The washed bleached bone has had a hexagon of pure bone colour applied around the edge, but that is all -- the wash itself remains un-adulterated. The boltgun metal has been touched up and highlighted appropriately, but not excessively and the searchlight got a coat of pure white followed by yellow (the pure white coat is there to ensure the yellow remains looking vivid).

The last step was to pick out each and every nut and bolt with blazing orange. I intend to replicate this step on the entire tank and perhaps add a final wash to be suggestive of some rusting. I may even add a few runny oil marks as I did on my Verdus Prime necrons. With all those bolts to be highlighted, I've got my work cut out for me!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Statistics: How Many Bloodcrushers of Khorne?

And to finish off our examination of the elites section of the daemons codex, we finally turn to the Bloodcrushers of Khorne. Once again, in order to answer the question we will consider what role we want the bloodcrushers to play on the battlefield. For me, it boils down to icon-bearing, anti-infantry, anti-monstrous creature, and anti-elite troops, with perhaps a smattering of light tank busting. Let's have a look at each of them.

Icon Bearing.
This purpose boils down to survivability. How many standard bolter shots (fired by marines) can an icon-bearing bloodcrusher take? Well, the marine will need 3+ to hit, 5+ to wound and then the bloodcrusher to fail its 3+ armour saving throw. That amounts to 0.074 wounds per standard shot. Or put another way: 27 standard shots will be required to take two wounds away from the bloodcrusher and remove him from the game (on average). Plaguebearers eat you hearts out! (yuck on second thoughts). Even against plasma shots, they'll take 5.4 shots to kill. So the bottom line is that bloodcrushers can make reasonable icon bearers.

As usual, we'll put a bloodcrusher up against a squad of 10 space marines, with a power fist equipped sergeant. We will assume that the bloodcrushers get to charge in (which I hope is the case for you experienced players out there), meaning that furious charge is active. Given they might take some bolter fire on the way in, they have probably lost 1 wound already.

The bloodcrushers strike first with 4 attacks, hitting on 3+, and killing on 2+ (hell blades are power weapons!). That results in 2.22 wounds taken by the marines from a single bloodcrusher. Hence an unit of 4 or 5 should be readily able to alpha strike a tactical squad.

If the marines get to strike back, then they hit on 4+, wound on 5+ and cause a wound when the bloodcrusher fails its 3+ save. That means 0.11 unsaved wounds per regular space marine trooper. The bloodcrushers are not bothered at that level of pain. End of story.

Let's put a bloodcrusher up against a daemon prince of Nurgle to see what happens. They strike simultaneously (assuming the bloodcrusher charged in). The Khornate daemon hits on 4+, wounds on 3+ and makes it stick when the prince fails its 5+ invulnerable save. That gives 0.89 wounds on the charge.

The prince hits on 3+, wounds on 4+ and makes it stick when the bloodcrusher fails a 5+ invulnerable saving throw. With 4 attacks, the bloodcrusher takes a similar (0.89) amount of wounds in exchange. They're evenly matched, remarkably.

To take out the daemon prince in an alpha-strike, 4.5 bloodcrushers would be needed. Two would be needed to win the combat on the charging round.

Anti-Elite troops.
What about terminators? What about with a storm shield? Let's have a look.

The bloodcrushers strike first, hitting on 3+, wounding on 2+ and downing terminators when they fail their 3+ invulnerable save. With 4 attacks on the charge, that means 0.74 wounds. Therefore 7 bloodcrushers will be needed against a squad of 5 storm shield terminators to alpha strike them. Striking back, the terminators would hit on 4+, wound on 2+ and make it stick on failing the bloodcrushers 5+ invulnerable save. They take 0.55 wounds from 2 such attacks. Hence to statistically go better than a draw against 5 terminators, we will need at least 4 bloodcrushers.

Light tank busting.
Against AV=10, the bloodcrusher on the charge will have 4 Strength=6 attacks hitting (assuming the vehicle was not moving). Half of them will at least glance. Without going too much further, it is safe to say that even a modest number of bloodcrushers can pose a threat to light weight tanks.

It looks like 4 or 5 bloodcrushers in a squad should be enough to handle most situations described above. Their only draw-back is that they don't move as fast as fiends of Slaanesh. But hey, in a daemons army: you can have both and play tag-team.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Statistics: How Many Flamers of Tzeentch?

Flamers of Tzeentch are known to be a "glass hammer". That is usually meant in the sense that you'll get one hit out of them before they disintegrate (due to enemy fire!).

So, what role do I have for flamers on the battle field? There's two broad roles really. Firstly: tank hunting, and secondly: elite troops hunting. Combined with their jump infantry status, they should be able to let rip one volley before perishing horribly. So let's have a look at how they do.

Their main weapon is the template attack. It will automatically glance anything with an armour value on a 4+. Take two flamers, and I will statistically glance once. To get a reasonable chance of a high glancing result, about 6 flamers will suffice.

Anti-Elite Troops.
When people think of elite troops, they will often think about terminators. But plague marines are also a kind of elite troops due to their quasi-terminator saving throw and high toughness.

In one of the Warpstone Flux contests a while ago, we saw that flamers of Tzeentch were simply excellent against plague marines, even in small numbers (poetic justice or what?!).

Against terminators, they fare slightly worse due to the 5+ invulnerable save that the terminators have. Even so, a small squad of flamers can really take the fight out of a squad of terminators due to the breath of chaos. The statistics are a little hard to work out given the vagaries of template weapons, but from play experience, slightly less flamers than the terminator squad will be needed (i.e. about 4 flamers is often enough to take out or severely weaken 5 terminators, assuming optimal flamer template placement).

How many bolter rounds can flamers of Tzeentch take? Fired by marines, standard bolter rounds hit on 3+, wound on 4+ and kill on 4+. That's 0.167 dead flamers per shot; or 6 standard shots to down them. So in some ways, yes: they are something of a glass hammer.

Even 3 flamers can pose problems for tightly packed marine squads. Taking a few more for anti-tank and anti-elite jobs ... and I think that 4 or so flamers is about the right number.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Statistics: How Many Beasts of Nurgle?

Beast of Nurgle are tough. And it's also tough to know how to play them unless we're using a mono-Nurgle Epidemius list.

There are two basic, interlocking points that need to be made about beasts of Nurgle.

(1) Firstly, they are like having 2 plaguebearers on the board, wrapped in in one miniature. That is to say, they have the same statistics line apart from the wounds column and attacks column. They have 2 wounds instead of 1, and d6 attacks instead of 1. Point for point therefore, they are more deadly than plaguebearers in combat due to the extra attacks.

(2) The downside is that they're not troops. They cannot sit back on an objective and hold it -- they can only contest. But they are very good at sitting and contesting! To see this, simply check back on my plaguebearer analysis. Three beasts of Nurgle will suffice for an entire game of contesting (as long as they don't get charged).

For tar-pitting, three or four beasts will be needed against a typical space marine squad (again going by the plaguebearer analysis).

Anti-Monstrous Creature Role?
So, do beasts of Nurgle have a role to play against monsters? Let's put them up against a daemon prince of Nurgle and see what they can do.

The daemon prince will attack first with 4 attacks, of which 2.66 hit, and 1.33 wound. The beast will save a third of them with the invulnerable save (feel no pain won't work against monstrous creatures), leaving 0.89 unsaved wounds. If the prince charged, then let's round up and say 1 wound total.

The beast will get an average of 3.5 attacks against the daemon prince. Of them, 1.17 hit, 0.58 wound (no poisoned re-rolling here!) and 0.19 stick. Hence 5 or so beasts will be needed to just draw even. I think I prefer a large pack of plaguebearers to be honest.

They're like plaguebearers, but have slightly more attacks at the expense of not being able to hold objectives. If I'm going to take them, I'll do so only in a mono-Nurgle list. But if I were to take them in a mixed daemons list, then I would take about 4 or 5 -- i.e. about half of the number of plaguebearers that I would put in a pack, due to their similarity to plaguebearers.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Statistics: How Many Fiends of Slaanesh?

Continuing the daemons codex review, today we turn to the Fiends of Slaanesh. Many daemon players swear by them and many opponents swear at them. Why is that? Let's have a closer look and address the question of how many fiends should a daemons player include in a squad?

What is it that I want to achieve with Fiends? Well, there's the anti-infantry role (obviously), the anti-tank role, the anti-monstrous creature role, the all round anti-other army role (almost joking), the hit and run role, and the moving fast to contest objectives role. I'm going to ignore that last point and take it for granted that you're going to move fiends quickly. That is one of their best points and one of the strongest reasons to field them. Combined with the hit and run rule, these guys can pose a problem for many opponents across the board.

I'm going to take my usual approach of setting them up against a squad of 10 marine. They will take a round of bolter fire before charging in to the squad (whose sergeant has a power fist, of course). The marines will hit on 3+, wound on 4+ and take a wound off a fiend on a failed 5+ save. That means an average of 2.22 wounds before the fiends get the charge off. That translates as one dead fiend. On the other hand, if the daemon player is worth his or her salt, they should take zero wounds on the way in due to their immense movement and charge range potential.

In melee, the fiends will strike first with a remarkable 6 attacks each. They will hit on 4+, wound on 3+ (rending on a 6) and the marines will make armour saves where appropriate. The results in 2 wounds, 0.5 of which will be rending.

The marines get a 3+ save against the 1.5 normal wounds, resulting in 1 wound caused in total per fiend. In exchange, they will suffer attacks from 8 regular marines (assuming the 9th regular marine perished rather than the sergeant), resulting in 4 hits, of which 2 will wound and 1.33 will stick. The power fist is likely to cause an additional 0.55 wounds. That's almost a dead fiend in exchange.

Therefore the fiends need to number more than 1 in a unit to win a combat...! Ten are needed for an alpha strike. But a few less than that is usually a good number. Dare I say that six(!) is about the right balance for this anti-infantry role. The fiends stand a good chance of killing plenty of marines and taking very few wounds in exchange. Don't forget to hit and run at the right moment once you're done!

With a strength of 5 and rending, the fiends can be very damaging to opposing tanks. They can penetrate AV=13 and glance AV=14 at best, so there's not a tank in the game that is invulnerable to their claws (at some level).

Below, I give a table of probabilities to glance and penetrate a given AV value, assuming that there's a single fiend that gets 6 attacks on the charge to the (non moving) vehicle.

AV=10: 6 hits, resulting in 1 glancing and 1 penetrating hit
AV=11: 6 hits, resulting in 1 penetrating hit
AV=12: 6 hits, resulting in 0.33 glancing and 0.66 penetrating hits
AV=13: 6 hits, resulting in 0.33 glancing and 0.33 penetrating hits
AV=14: 6 hits, resulting in 0.33 glancing hits

Of course, it is very unlikely that the fiends will go for stationary or immobile tanks. So the above values should be halved if the tanks have been moving (but not flat out). I wouldn't recommend targeting flat-out tanks unless it is near the end of the game.

So if I want to penetrate AV=13 that is moving, I will require 6 fiends. But since the fiends will target the rear armour of a tank, we're mostly looking at AV=10, 11 or 12. The chances of penetrating these tanks therefore increases, but again (and from play experience) 6 fiends is about right. And did I already mention that's a fluffy number to have?

Anti-Monstrous Creature.
The main problem with figuring out how good fiends are against monstrous creatures is what creature should I put them up against? With infantry, I like to consider marines as the opposition (and therefore assume that eldar and guard miniatures will be easier!). In the absence of a good and obvious choice, I elect to put them up against a daemon prince. This is because it appears in two codices and is probably more common than carnifexes. Trygons might also be a good alternative, but let's stick with daemon princes.

The two creatures strike simultaneously (I=5).
The daemon prince strikes on 3+, wounds on 3+ and the fiend has a save of 5+. From 4 attacks, the fiends will suffer 1.19 wounds.

The fiends hit on 4+ and wound on 3+. But let's be evil and say that it is a daemon prince of Nurgle with T=5. They now wound on 4+ (rending on 6). The prince has a 3+ save against normal attacks (assuming an iron hide for a daemon's codex daemon prince) and a 5+ save against rends.
From 6 attacks, 3 will hit. Of those 3, 1.5 will wound (0.5 rending). After taking saving throws, the prince suffers 0.67 wounds.

If the prince has 4 wounds, 5.97 fiends are required to take it out on an alpha strike (let's round that up to SIX!). About three will be needed to win the combat. So again, not only is 6 fluffy, but it also works against monsters!

Take six of them for flexibility: they can alpha strike a Nurgle daemon prince (and pose serious problems to other high toughness targets), they can penetrate tanks readily and they will easily win against standard marines. And six is fluffy.

And finally, none of the above assumes the unholy strength upgrade. Said upgrade will only improve the situation! Remember also that it is the sheer speed of these guys that can hurt opponents -- maximize this advantage!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Review: Quantum Gothic Comm Dish

Quantum Gothic stormed on to the stage a few years ago with some incredible looking resin scenery pieces. Many of my long term readers will probably be familiar with Forge World resin. In comparison, Quantum Gothic scenery pieces are probably slightly cheaper, but more significantly, require much less "clean up" work than I've experienced with Forge World.

I purchased the communication dish from their web site. The picture below shows what you get.In short, exactly as advertised, and with zero air bubbles or defects in flexure (etc.). This is in contrast to Forge World where I find there is usually at least some work to be done with cleaning up the resin and flexing it back in to the shape it should be. Air bubbles are also a non-existant issue for Quantum Gothic it would seem.

The clean up of this model amounted to ensuring that a mold line around the rim of the dish was not too prominent. In all seriousness, that was about the only significant mold line that existed on the model. Other than that, there were only a few (count them on one hand "few" that is) little flashes of excess resin to trim from a couple of pieces and that was it.
The dish (as with other pieces from Quantum Gothic) comes with instructions as to how to build the piece. This is very nice and lacking from Forge World for their simpler models. The picture shows my completed dish, fully assembled. It stands a little taller than a standard terminator and looks handsome already! The assembly was a breeze. It took no more than 30 mins to create, and most of that time was waiting for the superglue to become touch dry so that I could insert the next piece.

Price wise, the communication dish is 15 UK pounds. This is not such a bad price ... and looks even better to Australian buyers at the time of writing due to the excellent exchange rate. Although I plan to use it in warhammer 40,000 games, it is clear that the dish could be useful for all kinds of other 25/28mm games out there.

Finally, let me say that I was also impressed with Quantum Gothic's customer service. They kept me up to date (by email and through my account online with them) about the status of my order. I knew when it was shipping and I knew when to expect it arrive in the post. Bravo!

(Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with Quantum Gothic in any way whatsoever. On the off-chance that Quantum Gothic reads this, I'd be only too happy to review more of your kit!)

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Green Horror of Tzeentch

Naturally, horrors of Tzeentch can come in many colours depending on the whim of their creator (both Tzeentch and the painter in question!). This particular chap turned out green. Although I had planned on making a unit of Nurgle-affected horrors, I felt that a multi-colour vibe would be better. So this one will form part of a large squad where each miniature is a different colour!

The greens were achieved through the use of several layers of green (catachan, goblin green and so forth) painted and layered on top of one another. A small amount of bleached bone was added to tone the colour lighter and gently drybrush the miniature, before a several washes of green were applied all over to bring him together. The final details and accessories were fiddly (e.g. multi-toned teeth), but manageable. My new plastic Tzeentch horror squad is growing...!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Email In: 1000 points of Khorne Daemons

I seem to get a few more emails to Warpstone Flux these days than when I started out. I try to reply to all of them, but I'm not as fast as other bloggers are (e.g., Kirby's fantastic 3++ blog). This email (reproduced with the permission of the owner) is about starting out with daemons of Khorne. Comments welcome.

Hi Jabber Jabber,
My local group is just starting out and I want to collect Khorne Daemons. Can you have a look at my list an let me know what you think please? (NB: I don't want to buy fleshhounds as they're too expensive).

Skarbrand (300 points)
3 Bloodcrushers with an icon and instrument (150 points)
10 Bloodletters with an icon and instrument (190 points)
10 Bloodletters with an icon and instrument (190 points)
Soul Grinder with Phlegm (160 points)

I'm worried by a couple of things in your list. Firstly, there is a low number of models. This is because a lot of points are invested in to Skarbrand (nearly a third in fact). Secondly, the soul grinder is on its own. Any melta gun in your opponent's armoury is going to be headed its way fast! Although I sometimes use a single soul grinder as "bait" for my opponents, it is not a highly recommended strategy these days.

For instruments, I would say do without them. Your Khorne daemons should not need them in the slightest. See a fuller discussion on instruments of chaos here. Also at 1000 points, there are three icons that chew up a total of 75 points. My suggestion is to do without them at this points level (and maybe include them in future units once you build to higher points values / and once we learn what is going on with the Grey Knights codex...!).

I'm guessing by the comment about the fleshhounds that you want to stick with plastics (perhaps apart from a Bloodthirster?). If that is the case, then we should look at using some daemon princes, heralds and more bloodcrushers.

Here's one suggestion for a re-build (and it is only a suggestion -- my readers may want to comment more and disagree!).

HQ: Herald of Khorne on Juggernaut with unholy might (120 pts)
HQ: Herald of Khorne on Juggernaut with unholy might (120 pts)
Elites: 3 Bloodcrushers (120 pts)
Troops: 10 Bloodletters (160 pts)
Troops: 10 Bloodletters (160 pts)
Heavy Support: Daemon Prince, Mark of Khorne, Daemonic Flight (155 pts)
Heavy Support: Daemon Prince, Mark of Khorne, Daemonic Flight (155 pts)

That leaves 10 points left over to purchase blessings of the blood god, or fury of Khorne here or there, as you wish. One alternative would be to ditch one of the heralds for more bloodletters to increase the bodycount. But overall, it should be okay at this points level and competitive with your group that's just starting out. The only thing it truly lacks is ranged weapons (but you're playing Khorne!). Speed wouldn't hurt either, so if you ever re-consider buying fleshhounds, I can really recommend them for your list!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


One of the good features about the Cities of Death buildings is that many smaller buildings can be made from any single kit. This particular bash is from the manufactorum kit. It features a 2 x 1 upper level platform and a manufacotrum door (left hand side) that has been hacked in to two pieces to create extra "end" bits.

I like the central (solid) wall section -- it is somewhat like a power generator and will serve well as an objective placement location. I intend to paint it to suggest that this small section has power running through its wires.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Poll: Favourite Mission

I'm currently writing a suite of flexible missions -- the "Flux Battle Objectives" system as a mini-project. I'll talk about that further in a future post. In the mean time, I'd appreciate getting your opinions on what type of battle is your favourite. I'll use your results and comments to better inform my project in progress!

So, out of the following options, which is your favourite type of battle or mission to play (you can select more than one)? The poll is up in the right hand column -- vote away!

2 objectives / Capture and Control
Seize Ground (3, 4 or 5 objectives?)
kill team / kill zone
table quarters / occupation
reach the enemy's deployment zone
battle missions (which?)
custom / homebrew missions (which?)
narrative campaign

Comments welcome! The poll will be up for 2 weeks.
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