Saturday, January 24, 2015

Deredeo Pattern Dreadnought - Preliminary Thoughts

In some of the most exciting news out of Forge World recently, the Deredeo Pattern Dreadnought was released, alongside some exciting new rules for the model. In this post, we'll look at both the experimental rules and the model.

Firstly to the rules.

The base cost of the Deredeo is not cheap, coming in at 185 points. What do we get for this though? We get a pseudo-contemptor dreadnought that exhibits a nice stat line which includes the invulnerable save that the Mortis Contemptor does, along side some rather interesting weapon systems.

The base weapons are the heavy 4 Anvilus Pattern Autocannons. At S8, these cannons are terrific, and will certainly give the Kheres a run for their money. To see how they compare, consider trying to take down an AV11 target.

The mortis contempt will get 12 shots, of which 10 will hit, and on average 1.67 will penetrate (rend) and 1.67 will glance (for 2 hull points of damage). With the Deredeo, 3.33 hits will be scored, and this will result in (on average) 2.22 glances and penetrations combined. This is clearly less Hull Points than with the Kheres. BUT: of these, 1.67 will also penetrate. Hence, its exactly the same amount of penetrations. For higher AV values, this result clearly changes.

Consider AV13. For the Mortis Kheres Contemptor, of its 10 hits, 1.67 will penetrate (and no glances). For the Deredeo, of its 3.33 hits, 0.55 will glance and 0.55 will penetrate. This makes to my mind the Kheres Mortis Contemptor have the edge. And certainly if you're going to go down the twin lascannon results, theres even more chance of penetrations that cause better damage.

The Deredeo can also be equipped with Aiolos missile system. This provides an additional Heavy 3 shots at S6 (and with pinning and can shoot at different targets). This isn't bad, but I just don't know if 35 points is a bit of a steep increase (compare with a havoc launcher upgrade on the Mortis). Armoured ceramite might almost be a given in 30k and recommended in 40k for extra survivability (particularly if you're up against lances from dark eldar).

Overall, I think the points are reasonable, but the Mortis Contemptor still has an edge over it when equipped with the Kheres.

Aside, I'm always intrigued by the presence of Anvilus equipment. I would contend that the forge world of Anvilus sided with Horus in the Heresy due to the power pack that came from there (i.e. the Anvilus pattern power pack). Hence the ability to build these Deredeos might be suspect in the time of 40k and they truly are relics left over from ten millennia ago.

To the model now.

I might be the only person in the world saying this, but I'm not actually a fan of the model. I know - I'm crazy. There are a couple of points here. Firstly, as an old timer, I don't think this incarnation is true to the original Rogue Trader era concept of the Deredeo (pictured). I like the helmet, to be fair, but the big chest just isn't needed unless you have a pair of wings on your back to justify it. Sorry!

What I do like though are the Aiolos missile launchers. I think these would make terrific conversions for Hyperios missile launchers (and the like), as well as interesting conversions for Whirlwinds (I'm not quite sure of their size in comparison to a rhino chassis, so please let me know if you have both in your possession - I'd love to know), as well as some of the more intimidating marines (terminators?) that can have similar weapon systems. I think these have terrific conversion potential!

Finally the cost. They're more than a primarch. Ouch!  I can't see me spending this much to be honest (not withstanding I don't like the model). I'd sooner spend it on a Sicaran Battle Tank, for which it is competing for the same force organisation chart slot.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Horus Heresy Review: Lord Chaplain Nomus Rhy'tan

This marine is a HQ choice for the Salamanders legion. He was one of the first generation chaplains of his legion and spread the "Voice of Fire" everywhere he went, becoming one of Vulkan's most trusted at the same time. The interesting aspect here, is that in the background Vulkan nominated him as regent of Nocturne. Hence he survived Isstvan by virtue of not being there.

In the game, Nomus is an enhanced chaplain HQ selection. He gives the inspiring presence warlord trait which is okay but not brilliant, by default. It is usual that it is his command that also wakes slumbering dreadnoughts. Hence as a force multiplier, he allows the selection of an additional HQ choice dreadnought talon as a non-compulsory selection. Hence with this HQ choice, the Salamanders player is probably going to be gunning for a dreadnought heavy force, presumably all armed with heavy flamers or the like. Add in Cassian Dracos and you have the making for an amazing force.

Finally, he doesn't have a crozius, so much as a Vulkan forged hammer to denote his rank. Naturally.

He already has an iron halo, so could potentially also add a dragon scale storm shield for added effect. But this starts bumping the points up. Already over 200 points at baseline, this is an HQ that you would want to build an entire army strategy around if you could. Hence he's not simply an HQ to be selected lightly. He's a characterful selection that must use the rest of his army to best exploit his dreadnought bonus. Otherwise, go for someone else.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Horus Heresy Review: Cassian Dracos

This is an HQ dreadnought for the Salamanders.

What stands out about him is his Vulkan-wrought armour. Not only does it feature an incredible AV14 on the front (let me say that again: AV14 on the front!), but he gets a slew of bonus rules on top of that. He can choose between firing his weapons as two heavy flamers or a twin-linked melta (in built in to his two close combat arms) that also have sunder. He doesn't care about your lance rules either. Or melta. Or Sunder. Or armour bane. Good luck against his frontal armour frankly. Hope you've brought lots of lascannons or infiltrators / deep strikers to aim at his bum. Because that's you're only chance against him frankly. 

If surrounded, then like Vulkan, he can choose to inflict a hit against everyone in base to base with him. Given he already has 4 attacks, I wouldn't be too tempted by this though, even in dire situations. 

And if he's the warlord, he automatically has a buffing trait to give feel no pain to models nearby. Place him near some terminators and you've got a near death-star being built. Plus your opponent cannot gain slay the warlord! This is game winning material frankly. 

He is very pricey though: costing more than a land raider. He certainly makes up for it. So long as you watch out for incoming fire against the rear armour, he's going to be amazing. But that rear armour is a big concern. Against the Alpha Legion and other infiltrating legions, he might be easy game to be honest. So just be careful. 

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Horus Heresy Review: Vulkan

The primarch of the Slamanders, Vulkan is a force to be reckoned with both in terms of the background materials, and in terms of the actual rules.

Firstly, he's an army force multiplier, supplying bonus leadership and adamantium will to all his sons in the same detachment. They actually probably don't really need this bonus due to the legion rules, but it certainly boosts it to a good degree.

Due to Blood of Fire, Vulkans staying power rivals Mortarions. He re-rolls all IWND and Deny the Witch rolls due to sheer bloody mindedness!

Naturally, his armour is amazing: 2+/3+ is strictly awesome even amongst primarchs, but on top of this, he halves the S of certain types of incoming fire against him. Eat your hearts out Iron Hands.

His hammer, Dawnbringer, is just amazing. S10 and AP1 in melee cannot be underestimated. He can take on anything (ANYTHING!) in the game and win with this, short of another primarch. Instead of using this in melee, he can instead use a special earth-shatter attack. This is lower S, but provides a blast marker instead which is nice for when Vulkan is in danger of being mobbed and pulled under from massed marine assaults. 

For a ranged weapon, he has the Furnace's Heart - a beam like weapon given to him by Ferrus Manus. It has a reasonable range for primarchs at 18", but can certainly cause mass wounds due to the line of effect rule. At S6 and AP1, don't count this weapon out - ever.

Overall, I feel that Vulkan is one of the best primarchs for being a sheer beatstick. His army wide buffs are not strictly required, but simply a nice addition. Hence he's not doing anything for his force that (e.g.) Alpharius might be capable of. Hence I think he's more of a Angron style character in many ways, but different in temperament to say the least. Points wise, he's probably worth it in my opinion, largely due to his staying power.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Horus Heresy Review: Firedrake Terminator Squad

Discipline and self-sacrifice - these are the qualities that make up the elite of the most humane of the legions. In essence, the Firedrakes are terminators with 2 wounds each, a bonus to WS, and all in cataphractii armour. 

The question to my mind is whether this extra wound is worthwhile in comparison to a regular legion terminator squad? I'm a bit on the fence and could be persuaded either way here to be honest. On the one hand, its a bit like having double the number of terminators in the unit. But on the other, they can still be instant killed by vindicators and the like. 

On top of this dilemma, and something that might well be the swinging factor, is the ability to create thunder hammer and storm shield terminators. But it comes at a steep cost. 

Here's the builds to think about.

5 Firedrakes, all with Thunder Hammers and Dragonscale storm shields (350 points)
That's a whole lot of points. But certainly comparable to a 10 man regular legion terminator squad in points cost if you logic that there's the same amount of wounds. Take a land raider, (or pride of the legion rite of war for teleportation purposes) and you're good to go basically.

10 Firedrakes, all with Thunder Hammers and Dragonscale storm shields (625 points)
I think you'd want a guaranteed no scatter deep strike for this lot. But a big land raider would also do in a pinch. Its a gamble: you're putting all eggs in one basket. But its very cool! Particularly if you're undertaking Istvaan mission.

5 Firedrakes, 3 combi-meltas, 1 heavy flamer, 2 chainfists (320 points)
Whilst I'd be more tempted by the thunder hammers and storm shields, this tank hunting variant is also going to be a pleasure to run. Its a bit like a termicide squad for tank hunting. But it'll last longer due to the extra wounds.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Horus Heresy Review: Pyroclast Squad.

These are the Salamanders vision for a better, more ethical, legion destroyer squad. In some ways a little bit like the Word Bearers, their thinking here is to sear the world in purifying flame. But this is not being driven by any religious viewpoint. They are genuinely purifying and giving the potential for rebirth.

As a squad, they're equipped with a special type of flamer, the Pyroclast flame projector. It can fire in two modes: both a template and a six inch range pseudo-melta mode. The problem with the latter is the reduced strength (even accounting for the effect of the Promethean Gift rule). So its only going to be good for transports like rhinos with any certainty - forget taking on land raiders. Take melta bombs if you want to go this way. 

In addition to this, they all have the mantle of ash armour. Giving a 2+ save, this kind of equipment in 30k is amazing for an entire unit outside of terminators. But on top of this is an invulnerable save which is only good against flamers, plasma, volkites and melta type weapons. Hence in many ways, the best way to think of the pyroclast squad is like a terminator unit. Sure, they can get gunned down by mass bolter rounds, just like terminators, but they're cheaper but a reasonable margin. For this reason, they are a very tempting addition to Heavy Support selections for the Salamander. If only we could teleport them on to the battlefield, it'd make such a huge difference. That said, they can take land raiders as an option, so I think that'd be compulsory outside of a descent of angels style drop assault detachment.

Here are a few build ideas.

5 Pyroclasts, the Pyroclast Warden with a Powerfist. (175 points).
I think this is a baseline squad. Given that the Salamanders special rules make them unlikely to break due to fear, they're going to hang around significantly. Use with a drop pod assault rite of war if possible. OR: Pile them in to a land raider, and you've got a good unit that can cause serious damage to enemies in cover, or just about anything short of a land raider itself. And for that, one can always upgrade to:

5 Pyroclasts, all with meltabombs,  Pyroclast Warden with a Powerfist. (200 points).
Now you're talking dangerous to almost everything in the game short of Lords of War. Place in a land raider and enjoy yourself.

10 Pyroclasts, all with meltabombs,  Pyroclast Warden with a Powerfist. (325 points).
The full version of the above. This is a great unit that benefits from the unit-upgrade cost of the melta bombs. Save points here, but remember to use them wisely. 

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Horus Heresy Review: Salamanders Legion Rules

Honour with honest toil, Master forge-men, and duty. The Salamanders are almost the polar opposite to the likes of the Night Lords in many respects. And added to this is their terrifying visage. In the older literature, the Salamanders are pictured as largely African descent marines, but in more recent times (forgive me: I'm a very old timer!), this has had a bit of a retcon to say that their skins are simply jet black due to upbringing on Nocturne coupled with the Primarch's genes. Like many of the loyalist legions, they look a bit horrific, in this case due to the red eyes. If the space wolves are the good guy werewolves, the Blood Angels the good guy vampires, then this makes the Salamanders the good guy devils with their eyes. I kind of like this: the good guys having some draw-back or obvious physical negative about them that makes them initially look like bad guys to the people they're supposed to protect.

But I digress. How do the rules in Massacre shape up to this background for the Salamanders Legion?

Firstly, and very uniquely, the Salamanders have a Strength of Will that renders them immune to fear. They also gain a bonus to pinning and other morale checks. But I want to return to the original point: immune to fear. I cannot underscore enough how brilliant this is in a 30k environment. Recall that no space marine has And They Shall Know No Fear in 30k. The effects of fear are therefore huge. Particularly if playing against the likes of the Night Lords - thats a legion that can rout an opponent off the table in the middle turns if played right. But not the Salamanders. They will stand firm, because that is what is demanded of them. (Heck, it should be demanded of every space marine, but let's not be too pedantic). Summary: awesome rule!

They also have the Promethean Gift. This gives another amazing boon army wide: +1 S to all flamers of every type (including vehicles) and -1 S to flamers used against them (again of every type). This really begs that the Salamanders select and use flamers wherever possible and will make them terrific are getting enemy units out of fortifications and tackling them head on at close range. Coupled with the above rule, it also means that smaller sized units can and should be thought about (since they're not going to be fleeing anytime soon due to fear). 

Being Nocturne Born, the Salamanders are at a severe penalty to sweeping advance rolls, and a minor penalty to run and charging distances. I don't think either of these is merited by the background material personally. But there has to be a negative to balance the superb advantages that the above rules provide.   I regret to say that this is a HUGE negative as well. They're not going to sweep opponents regularly (particularly other marines), and they're just plain slow against others like the Emperor's Children. So beware how you play them.

Taken together, I think I would be playing the Salamanders are multiple small units (unlike most other legions), with a mixture of close combat and ranged weapons, and a focus on flamers where appropriate (and without going too overboard due to the negatives of being Nocturne Born. 

In addition, they also have some nice war gear that they have access to. This includes artificer weapons for any character at a small cost, dragon scale storm shields for any terminator or any independent character - making them able to be storm shield / thunder hammer combination terminators (unlike regular legion terminator squads), they can buy eternal warrior for any praetor and they always have the option of switching out heavy bolters and twin linked bolters for heavy flamers and twin linked flamers. Or perhaps you prefer an inferno pistol to a plasma pistol - done and done for the Salamanders. 

Friday, January 16, 2015

Constructed Kheres

Just a small update today: the first Kheres cannon has been constructed.

It was fiddly getting the tubes in place, but otherwise fine. I've not glued the arms in place as I haven't quite decided whether to articulate them with brass rods and magnets, or select a pose and just roll with it. I think I might go for the latter.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Unboxing a Kheres Contemptor Cannon

I've given in to temptation and an now the owner of a contemptor dreadnought from Forge World. One of the weapons that I've selected is the Kheres. Today, I wanted to show what the bits looked like right out of the box (pictured below).

What is clear from these bits is that getting the orientation of the rods for the cannon in the correct sense is important. They are not symmetric: they must be inserted in the main body of the cannon so that the fit. At the other end, they are symmetric and will slot in to the terminus of the cannon nicely, but even so it looks fiddly to say the least.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Aegis Defence Line Camo

Its taken a while to paint these up, but here's the initial stages: a converted Aegis Defence Line painted with camp style.

I think these have been a good experiment. I use the word experiment deliberately - they were mostly painted by my daughter (who's not quite 5 yet). I'm totally thrilled with the outcome!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015


To convert a bunch of miniatures and make them stand out a bit more on the tabletop, I obtained a set of five capes from Anvil Industry recently.

The image shows four out of five of these capes (one of them reversed so you can see the detail). Every one of them is unique. Although they have been designed with their own range of miniatures in mind, these parts are entirely interchangeable with regular 40k troops. Note in particular the gap at the top of the capes. They are exactly the right size to fit behind the back of the torso and sit snugly under the power pack of any regular space marine or chaos space marine.

My intent here is to use them with some 30k reconnaissance troops as I didn't wish to purchase Forge World's own sniper marines -- I'm going to go for a bit of a different look.  More on that in posts to come!

Monday, January 12, 2015

Shaving Grey Knights

Remind me to not do this again too often. In the pursuit for novel looking torsos for my growing 30k army (and following the maxim of no model left unconverted) I some how got it in to my head that some Grey Knight torsos would look awesome. If only I could shave them down.

And that's exactly what I set out to do. The photo shows the results: 5 Grey Knight power armour torsos that have had their iconography scrubbed out through an exquisitely fine application of both the modelling knife and files. I'm pleased with the result overall here. Although the curvature of the torsos has been affected in places, with a gun slung over them it will hardly be noticeable on the tabletop. But the sheer amount of time and effort that this took: oh my. This is the main reason I really don't want to repeat this exercise again in a hurry.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Horus Heresy Review: Sevatar

Death to the False Emperor! First uttered by Sevatar, this marine is one of the deadliest in all of the space marine legions by reputation. On par with the likes of Corswain (Dark Angel), Abaddon (Sons of Horus), Eidolon (Emperor's Children), etc., if the background fluff is to be believed.

Is this justified by his rules though?

He does gain the instant death special rule for all of his melee attacks for a start. This is nice and makes him a bit of a character killer for the Night Lords. From this perspective alone, he should be at the forefront of any attack, preferably teamed up with his Atramentar (command squad of terminators) who will not scatter on deep striking, as if Sevatar has an icon of chaos or similar, when Sevatar is part of the force. This makes him not only deadly in combat, but also a force multiplier.

He's also a repressed psyker with precognition. This will give him a slight edge where it is needed the most.

In terms of equipment, the most significant negative is his penchant for going around in 3+ power armour. Didn't he ever think to have anything artificer crafted?! But he does get an iron halo to help out a bit, as well as a master crafted chainglaive.

In terms of tactics, I think he'd make a terrific HQ choice for armies wanting to go with Pride of the Legion rite. This'll make sure he gets close to the enemies he needs to be in the face of, and with serious back up from his terminators. Take several large squads, and get them to deep strike on top of Sevatar when in position, and all sorts of nasty things will no doubt be able to happen. Overall, probably worth the points cost, but must be used and played to his strengths.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Horus Heresy Review: Flaymaster Mawdrym Llansahai

As a primus medicae, he's got expertise in the apothecarion. But he's an example of what happens when medics go bad - but in a totally different way to Fabius Bile. He's twisted his skills to an art form of inflicting pain on his opponents, torturing them, interrogation techniques, and flaying them alive. Even the Night Lords think he's a bit insane really. And that's saying something.

In the rules, he is deemed Unfit for Command, as even the Night Lords won't follow him. Hence he'll never be a warlord or taken for a compulsory HQ selection.

He is a survivor as well - having bypassed multiple attempts on his life within and without of his legion. As such on the tabletop he gets re-rolls on look out and feel no pain rolls. Hence he's got a sticking power that other HQ selections simply never get. He also wields a custom, long scalpel that gives AP3 at reduced strength, which is cute, but probably not going to deal too much damage.

All that said, he's also an apothecary (an independent character) and should be used as such for Night Lords almost in preference to regular apothecaries. He's double the price though, but at least he has two wounds and slightly better stats that the ordinary apothecary. I think his special rules make him worth the cost (just) overall. So, I think a Night Lords player should be taking him to help other troops survive, even if they are all scared of him!

The only real thing that bothers me here is the pseudo-Welsh sounding name. I didn't know Wales was so well connected to Nostramo! I'm genuinely surprised!

Friday, January 9, 2015

Horus Heresy Review: Konrad Curze

Bereft of any civilising influence that the likes of Corax had during his upbringing, Konrad effectively raised himself and found a world mortal sin and filth in Nortamo. His solution was effective in the extreme: serenity through abject fear and hunting down any transgressor. Coupled with something of a split personality and mild psychic precognition, Konrad is a nasty primarch in both background and rules.

Unusually for primarchs, he comes with a jump pack, giving him the necessary freedom of movement to go where he needs to be on the battlefield.

He is a force multiplier for the Night Lords too. With him as the warlord, every Night Lord gains the fear special rule. And with a negative modifier to success rolls. This might not sound brilliant until you factor in that 30k armies do not have too much fearless troops stomping around. Just by having him on the table, the likelihood of chasing other space marines off the table through sheer terror increases significantly. This is one of the reasons (in addition to their bonus to wound rolls) that the Night Lords player should have troops that are large sized and concentrate on mobile marine forces (see the review of their special rules). But more than even that, Konrad (personally) imposes an even heavier penalty on fear rolls than his sons do when he is on the table and can cause troops within a radius of him to flee when he destroys a unit. Presumably because he does something really bad to kill them. I mean, Angron is nasty in combat, but he just isn't inventively malicious. Konrad most assuredly is. He also ensures night fighting in the first turn which Night Lords are well poised to take advantage of with their night vision abilities.

His armour is nice, and provides hit & run, plus bonus hammer of wrath attacks which dovetails very nicely in to one another (and don't forget that valuable jet pack as well). His weapons are his natural artificer selected lightning claws which have AP2 and a few other rules to boot. He's basically going to be taking down many foes in a single turn when he charges in. Hopefully the entirety of a unit and cause others to flee they see what he does to them.

And finally, he flings micro-serrated throwing blades, ninja style. They're only 12 inch range, but they are assault 3 and make precision strikes. Hence he's well capable of taking down squad sergeants before even an assault happens.

As with other Night Lords, he's looking to pick on enemies that are weaker than him, and to make sure that other units see him do it to ensure they flee before his grizzly death dealing ways. That said, he can go toe to toe with other primarchs, but he's not the strongest of them. His points cost is quite reasonable for his abilities, but one cannot overlook his force multiplying fear ability. In concert with a drop pod style assault, this could be incredibly powerful and finish an opponent in the middle turns of a game if they're not careful. The weakness of such an army would be a fully mechanised opponent (e.g., Iron Hands). Hence tactically such a Night Lords army needs counters to heavy armour and fliers.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Thoughts on the Re-Boot of Warhammer / Warhammer 9th Edition

There are HUGE rumours abounding about the potential future of Warhammer Fantasy Battle. I'm not going to repeat them here as you're perfectly capable of googling for them.

Firstly, I can understand why the Games Workshop team are doing this. The recent court cases surrounding Intellectual Property has demonstrated that generic Elves, Dwarves and fantasy Knights are simply not copyright-able. They're in the public domain. Hence to gain the copyright over the intellectual property, they really need to remould everything apart from iconic and recognisable units such as the warhammer daemons range.

The idea that the Warhammer world gets shattered in to lots of smaller segments is a good one. That those segments then collide together and battle ensues is also excellent (but maybe not unique, cf. Ravenloft from Dungeons and Dragons). 

But what it does allow are for ever faction to be redefined in a unique way after the end times. Several hundred years on, and isolated on their island planes / pocket dimensions, the populace is bound to change and morph in to something new. More than that though, it also allows a narrative for the previous factions from 8th edition and the bridging storyline of the End Times to also be used - they're going to be remnant planes that happened to also survive the sundering (or whatever this event will end up being called). I really like this idea as it allows the older works and armies to be kept, but newer ones to be forged. As older models are retired from sale, it'll mean a gradual shift from the old armies to newer ones, and a different business model that permits balancing of the game by dynamic releases of miniatures, and the old-timers with older armies will look much cooler. The only thing I think I'm a bit miffed about is the loss of square bases. I hope that they retain the square bases for units that rank up, and perhaps only use round ones for skirmishing units to distinguish them. But that's just a wild hope. 

Overall, despite not playing Warhammer Fantasy in a long time, I'm actually really tempted to purchase 9th edition to see what they've done to the background more than anything else. I suspect that if many other people feel the same as me, then WFB is going to be a big hit for GW in 9th edition! I know the move to a new premise will split the fans, but I'm actually behind it, and it may attract me back to Fantasy for the first time in over a decade.

Astulae RPG in New Year Sales!

Astulae, the roleplaying game of alternate realities megadungeon, is now on sale at DriveThruRPG and until 12/Jan/2015.

Here's what one reviewer said:
I found this game to be very intriguing and the concepts contained within to be new and fresh. The idea of parallel dimensions is not a new one, but there are enough unique aspects of this RPG to make this feel new, in particular the effect of magic and technology between the dimensions. The book itself has a huge amount of information for a GM to create some awesome adventures for their players. I like the fact that it does not tie a GM down to any particular play scheme, however there will inevitably be some work for a GM to do in mapping across thing such as player classes etc, to the classes described in the book. This would be no small undertaking for any GM, although in the appendix it does give an example game system to use. However I feel that this is also it's greatest strength and will allow great flexibility for adventuring.

This is the cheapest it'll be for some time, and an expansion has already been penned and will be released in a few weeks time! Hope you enjoy!

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Horus Heresy Review: Night Raptor Squad

This is where the Night Lords come in to their own with one of their iconic signature units. These jet-pack marines are more than likely to be chosen by the Night Lords player in preference to the assault squads as they have some really nice options and abilities. Sadly, I just don't think they're worth the points cost - even though they fit in gloriously well with the Legion's play style.

As with other Night Lords units, we want the night raptors to be as large as possible to take advantage of the legions special rules. So go large or not at all -- this means at least 10 members, but 15 is entirely do-able if you're not thinking about deep-striking (with 15 members, the squad's footprint gets worryingly large). It gets rather pricey as well compared to regular Legion assault squads (and they're not troops either!). But they are fluffy!

The only negative thing here is no power fist for the Huntmaster. So, we've got to think about lightning claws, or power axes. The other choices for the unit are power weapons all around, and some special weapons to taste.

Here are a few build ideas.

Night Raptor Squad (10 members), 5 power axes, Huntmaster with artificer armour (410 points)
This is a squad to deep-strike in to play. Very expensive here, and strictly better to take terminators. But, this is Night Lords Raptors! Enjoy.

Night Raptor Squad (15 members), 3 melta guns, Huntmaster with artificer armour (405 points)
A kind-of tank hunting, base line squad. Out priced by other units that can do the job more effectively though.

Night Raptor Squad (15 members), 3 flamers, 5 power axes, 10 lightning claws, hunt master with artificer armour (590 points)
All kitted out. Seriously: not worth the points though. Uber coolness factor however!

Night Raptor Squad (5 members), all with pairs of lightning claws, Huntmaster with artificer armour (260 points)
This is a squad that ignores my above advice, but could potentially be built using the chaos space marine plastic raptors miniatures. 

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Horus Heresy Review: Terror Squad

Flayers and torturers, the Terror Squad members epitomise the (very negative and monstrous) element of the Night Lords legion, taking fear and terror as a knife edge all to themselves.

Given they infiltrate and cause fear, the tactic here is to get them up close to the enemy and outnumber them in close combat as soon as possible (recall the Talent for Murder legion rule for the Night Lords here). They're also wanting to face off against other legion troops (not vehicles, or anything else: infantry only to take advantage of their preferred enemies). 

Secondly, since we want to outnumber the enemy, we want a large sized unit whenever possible. So, its 10 members or not at all here!

The main issue here is they are an elites selection. Hence they're competing for slots against other (more decisive) units like terminators and dreadnoughts. The only way to have them as troops is by the legion's rite of war. Hence I think they're only going to see significant competitive play when employing that rite.

Here are a few build ideas.

Terror Squad (10 members), Headsman with power fist and artificer armour (225 points)
I regard this as the baseline unit. Nothing less than this is going to do its job as well. Some players might like smaller squads for focussed fear causing, but it goes against the Talent for Murder rule.

Terror Squad (10 members), 9 with volkite chargers, 1 flamer, Headsman with power fist and artificer armour (280 points)
This is the kitted out version, at significantly more points (feel free to add a melta bomb to taste just in case you get charged by a dreadnought). The volkites are there because they're good in large numbers at close range, and the infiltrate rule is going to help there immensely. 

Monday, January 5, 2015

Horus Heresy Review: Night Lords Legion Rules

Fear and terror tactics honed to razor's edge. Monsters, even when counted as loyal (and even if you adhere to the viewpoint that they were only punishing the guilty). The Night Lords are a most reprehensible legion built upon the recruitment of the murderous (and worse) scum of the Galaxy from Nostramo.

The rules for this legion are a good reflection of the character and narrative of the marines that form a part of it.

Firstly, we have A Talent for Murder. In origin, it feels like a 3rd or 4th edition rule for how to resolve combat. But it is not. Instead, it provides the Night Lords with a bonus to wound if they outnumber their prey (ahem) opponents. The bit that reminds me of previous editions is the way that outnumbering is computed, with bulky models counting as more than one. This rule, tactically, therefore calls for maximum sized Night Lord assault units whenever possible. And it is a strong rule that cannot be understated - it is just as powerful as the Sons of Horus merciless fighters rule in its own way. Perhaps more so as it effectively means a bonus to S (or penalty to opponent's T characteristic). Therefore its on par with the Iron Hands legion rules -- with the caveat that it only counts inside of close combat. Therefore the second inference here is that the legion wants to be in close combat as soon and as often as possible. Hence we're already favouring large, swift moving units (yeah: you should be thinking jet pack equipped marines already). Really: this is a great rule that I think many players will underestimate.

The second rule is a counter-balance to this bonus. The Notraman Blood rule means a fall back distance further than other legions, on average. But on top of this, they can volunteer to fail pinning tests and flee instead. This can be used to great effect -- falling back, and then re-grouping at normal Ld values on the next turn as required. Heck, it could even help manoeuvre the squads in to better positions. Hence this might be more of a bonus than a detriment, to be perfectly honest.

Night Vision does what it does and is characteristic of the legion's home world that is bathed in darkness all the time. Little wonder these marines are pallid skinned. Combining with this, the legion Rite of War (Terror Assault) can force opponents to fight under darkness for up to the first three turns of the battle.

From the Shadows provides a cover save on the first turn of the game as an added bonus. But this is not terrific and unlikely to generate too much extra survival. Overall, it just a nice balance addition.

Finally, and significantly, is the uber-counter-weight: Seeds of Dissent. Noted for their unruly behaviour and only respecting authority (read: Night Haunter) out of fear, this rule means that when the warlord is slain they might all just say "so long and thanks for the all the fish" and turn tail to save their own hides. Very fluffy, and very annoying. The key here is to keep the commander alive as far as possible. Given that the opponent is usually needing to slay the commander, this is going to happen more frequently than not. The only way to avoid it is to ensure you kill the opponent before they do the same to you. Hence we're looking at a close combat alpha strike where possible.

The Legion has a few extra bits and pieces. Firstly, the Chainglaive (as wielded by, e.g., Sevatar) can be purchased by characters or independent characters for a small fee. An AP3 rending weapon that increases strength and goes at initiative is excellent. That said, the proliferation of 2+ armour saves on squad sergeants means that this will hardly ever be useful for challenges and the like. Hence, its probably better to ignore it and stick to a power fist or power axe all round. Only take it for fluff reasons!

The Teleportation Transponder means that terminator squads can be used with deep-strike. This sets the unit apart from other terminator units fielded by other legions. And as above, in large numbers, can cause real harm in melee.

Finally, the Trophies of Judgement mean that units can cause fear. In 40k games, fear is a bit of a non-entity as there are so many fearless units and ATSKNF rules. In 30k, fear is more significant as space marines can and do flee much more regularly. Hence, an amping up of fear across the legion can be a viable way to play a Night Lords legion detachment. Particularly in synergy with the Night Haunter.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Pretorian "Termos" Shoulder Pads from puppetswar

The Pretorian "Termos" pattern shoulder pads are retailed by puppetswar ( The clue is in the name really: all of their termos pattern shoulder pads will fit terminator style miniatures. I purchased these pads along with a few other items for use with my growing Alpha Legion warriors.

The image shows they fresh out of the packaging.

Although there are a number of resin tubes attached to the pads, they're very easy to trim off. The insides of the shoulders (see top right) are nicely curved to fit plastic terminator shoulders, but some of them do need attention to remove flash and excess resin here and there.

The quality is okay. As can be seen, there are a few issues with air bubbles (see for instance the upper left pad where one of the drapes does not come to a fine point at its terminus -- there are several like this). I can easily correct this with greenstuff, or pretend its battle damage, so not much work for me. But for less experienced hobby enthusiasts, perhaps not.

I'll be using these with the terminator sergeant I posted yesterday. With these, I hope to somewhat cure (or at least alleviate) the hunched look on the model due to the arms being positioned a bit high in comparison to the torso.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Tartaros Pattern Terminator Sergeant

One of the units in my growing 30k era army will be a terminator squad. This is the first terminator, partially built, that I thought I'd display. 

The torso is from the tartaros terminator pattern armour that was unboxed earlier. To this, I've decided to not bother with the regular arms for this terminator and just go for the regular 40k era shoulders. The right arm is a converted thunder hammer that has one of the chaos gargoyles at its head. The left arm is from the Dark Angels range, and the gaze of the head follows the (drilled) barrels of the gun as if aiming. This was about the only left handed storm bolter arm that I could locate - almost every terminator weapon is right handed, hence pairing it up with a thunder hammer is very tough without doing moderate conversion work. 

I'm not quite happy with the placing of the arms though -- in relation to the head, they make the sergeant look like he's hunching his shoulder upward which feels like an odd pose. But the curvature of the torso makes sensible placement (and indeed: pinning) of the arms a little bit tougher than it should be. Not withstanding that, I'm happy with this miniature and it has the bonus of following my maxim of "no model left unconverted".

Now, the one remaining problem is the legs. If my miniatures in this army are going to be something like "true scale", then I need to deduce a way to make this terminator true scale as well. I think the solution is not to do anything too drastic - a simple spacer between the legs and the torso might do the trick very nicely without the need to re-model the legs. I'll have to have more of a deep cogitate about this first though!
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