Friday, October 30, 2015

Betrayal at Calth - thoughts

By now, there are lots of rumours being confirmed about the impending release of the Horus Heresy: Battle of Calth board game. No doubt it'll be flying off the shelves like its Christmas or something when its released. I'm not in the business of posting pictures from other websites that probably violate copyright or embargo, so you can go and look these up for yourselves if you've somehow not seen them yet.

When I originally learnt of the game and the miniatures that it contained, I was truly excited! The sheer value of the miniatures contained inside the box in relation to what it would cost to purchase the Forge World equivalents in resin made this such a great deal - and a no brainer almost.

But now, I'm not so sure.

The lack of possibility for the contemptor dreadnought is a big issue for me personally. As you can see from some of my efforts with Forge World dreadnoughts, I really do like being able to pose the contemptors in a decent manner with running (and other) suggestive poses.

The image above is one of my Alpha Legion dreadnoughts that I'm yet to paint up. But I won't be able to get something like this out of the Battle of Calth. Sadly.

But what I would be able to get is a whole bucket load of Mark IV space marine armour as well as plastic Cataphractii terminators. I can't shake the feeling that these plastic miniatures will be released at a later date thought in a separate package. Equally, the Dark Angels and Chaos Marines from the last 40k starter set has never come along in a different set, so what would I know.

In terms of the board game itself, it clearly is in some kind of tile based vein. Perhaps something like what the extension such as Genestealer did for Space Hulk. The pieces look like they move across the board, fighting each other for territory, coupled with some kind of game specific damage and weapon ability mechanic. Obviously its Ultramarines and Word Bearers, but the pieces are all generic and need not be painted in those colours. 

Yet, although I was originally very excited to hear about the game and GW's foray in to the Horus Heresy with plastics, I'm still not certain if I'll purchase this game or not. I just can't make my mind up about its worth, whether I'll play the game, and / or whether the plastics will becomes available later and if they're exactly what I'm after - at least in comparison to FW's resin pieces. Therefore, I'm adopting a wait and see approach to this whole thing. 

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Horus Heresy Review: Questoris Knight Magaera

Rare knight chassis combined with weapons of ancient provenance make for the Magaera to be top shock knight in the Questoris Knights army list.

This beast is a bit more survivable than the cousin knights it serves with thanks to its ionic flare shield. In short, it causes the Strength of incoming shots to be reduced.

Combined with its weaponry (which is lower in strength than some of the other choices available) means that this knight is one that is dedicated for infantry hunting, rather than taking out tanks.

In a secondary role, the Magaera will also be very good at clawing down buildings thanks to its Hekaton siege claw. Again, this is not tank hunting.

This unit therefore needs to be played as a front line knight, and not one that is going to be hanging back and firing at other knights.

No appreciable weaknesses here. Its a knight. Its not suited for tank hunting. So play accordingly. Further, I would personally favour other knights over this particular build. I'm not super-keen on it as I think other knights do better jobs for the points. But if you like the model and want an anti-building or anti-infanry knight, then why not: go for it. Its just not to my taste.

The only question to my mind for the builds it whether to exchange the Hekaton siege claw in favour of a rad cleanser. The bonus of flesh bane and rad phage is immense. But equally, there are probably other weapons in a Questoris army to help do this. Plus its still a template weapon, which means one needs to get in to close range anyway. Therefore, I would personally err on the side of the Hekaton. And save the extra points for other things in the army. I would therefore favour taking a "naked" Magaera for 395 points.

In terms of household ranks, we need to look to exploit the anti-infantry and / or anti-building role of this knight. I'd personally favour Scion Implacable for the anti-building role. I could see Scion Uhlan being okay here, but otherwise, I'd simply opt for a regular Scion Martial to be honest.

Monday, October 26, 2015

30k Imperial Fists: Which Rite of War for Phall?

Email in:
I’m a huge fan of the Battle of Phall, and like the idea of a Void War themed IF army - I like Alexis Polux for a commander, but I’m struggling with a proper Rite of War.

If you go with the standard Crusade List, a thematic inclusion of lots of Breachers gets expensive, and if you’re having lots of troops come in via the Dreadclaw and Kharybdis, you’re going to be using lots of slots just for transports. On the other hand, if you use the specialized IF formation, shield-bearing types get really nice, but you’ve utterly lost out on Deep Striking, negating Polux’s rule, and some serious flavor in the form of the Dreadclaw and Kharybdis.

Reply out:
There are a number of considerations, and I can readily see from your email the dilemma. To some extent, the choice of whether to go with the Imperial Fists' legion specific rite of war, or another one, is down to personal preference and play style.

With the Stone Gauntlet rite of war, we are forced to pretty much march the troops to where they are needed to be. This is not necessarily a bad thing as the increase in toughness is amazing and means they can survive relatively intact whilst the wander around. That said, they're slow, and can be outpaced by other faster armies, or torn apart by the more infiltrating types. And, transports like Kharbdis cannot be taken as they must deep strike when entering play. So there's a bind there. 

Alternatively, we could think about a different rite. The main two that stand out to me is the pride of the legion and orbital assault.

With pride of the legion, we could imagine taking plentiful terminator squads and using Polux' ability to deep strike a large blob of them in to position near the start of the game. Load up other squads in to Kharybdis and the like, and its good to go. Alternatively, deep striking a specialist squad such as a plasma filled support squad, or a breacher squad with graviton guns, or even a destroyer squad has a strong attraction. With mechanised elements backing them up, this would be a balanced force able to tackle most things in the game.

For orbital assault, its going to be terminators again, coupled with drop podding dreadnoughts / contemptors, and other assorted infantry. At least one of these units will not require a drop pod as Polux can do it for them, as above. The advantage here is that they can readily get in to position and do not require land raiders to get where they need to be.

Stone Gauntlet plays as a slow, foot-slogging army that is very tough.
Pride of the Legion plays as a balanced, mechanised army with Kharybdis, Caetus rams, and arguably land raiders to help out.
Orbital Assault plays as a pure deep striking army with plenty of troops. 

If its the Battle of Phall, then any of these are viable to greater or lesser extents. But for ship to ship combat, I think the orbital assault rite stands out to me. The ability to deep strike the terminators and troops in to place, as well as something like a fully loaded out plasma gun support squad or graviton breacher squad is invaluable. Plus, I would contend it fits with the background of marines torpedo'ing and teleporting to where they're needed. On the other hand, I think even with the increased toughness, the Iron Warriors would be able to outmanoeuvre the Stone Gauntlet force (unless there really is a lot of dense scenery being played with in a Space Hulk / Mortalis style game board). 

(Conversation reproduced with the permission of the correspondent. Further comments, thoughts and feedback most welcome from my reader base!).

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Horus Heresy Review: Questoris Knight Errant

The Knight Errant is said to be spiteful of spirit due to the bloody nature of these marks of armour that survive long. Only the most iron willed commander being able to truly master them and survive long inside them. On the battlefield, they're basically designed to take out enemy super heavies.

These mark of knights are very similar to the Knight Paladin builds except instead of the battle cannon, they utilise a thermal cannon. This has one less shot, but provides the melta rule. Importantly, this has an AP of 1 which makes it deadly to anything in the game. Even primarchs should have cause to fear a knight errant when they see one.

To be clear, these guys are dedicated to taking out tanks, super heavies and high armour infantry targets like terminators.

One should recall at all times that many (all? because of game theory) tanks have armoured ceramite. I've actually written about why I favour melta weapons in 30k before on the grounds that they're not that common because the assumption is that everyone will have armoured ceramite. That may sound contradictory, so go read my article on it for the full background on my views!

As with the Knight Paladin, I'm unconvinced that the bio-corrosive rounds are really required. And the ocular augmetics are a bit situational with respect to night vision. But here, with the melta rule in play, they could be a huge boon.

The only real question here to my mind is whether to go for the ocular upgrades or not. I think its probably just about worth it here given the melta weaponry. Hence my suggested build is as follows.

Knight Errant, Occular Augmetics (380 points)
The household ranks that might be favoured here include the HQ selections (both Seneschel and Lord Scion) due to bringing the fight close up, as well as Aucteller in the Elites section (think: outflanking).

Friday, October 23, 2015

Horus Heresy Review: Questoris Knight Paladin

The Knight Paladin is something of a baseline entry unit in many ways. This is because in the background it is noted as the most widely employed type of armour and the array of weapons it can potentially take.

Like other knights, it can take a household rank and has an ion shield for an invulnerable saving throw.

The ocular augmetics upgrade give a situational night vision rule, but more importantly can give a re-roll of a 1 on the vehicle damage table. This is therefore a type of knight that should have enemy armour in its sights.

The basic weapon is Ordnance 3 at S=6, but this can be upgraded for free to a more common (at least in 40k) rapid fire battle cannon for two large blasts at S=8 instead. This is probably worth it to be honest. Equally, if you're facing lots of on-foot infantry (Raven Guard perhaps?), then the original battle cannon is probably superior. I would still contend that the rapid-fire cannon is a bit more generalist due to the higher strength.

Between the reaper chainsword and some stomping, the Paladin Knight is a great close combat exponent that enemies have to take seriously.

Naturally, there is a bit of a drawback to the ocular upgrade benefits, which only kick in at a range of smaller than 12 inches. Therefore the knight has to get close and fast to any enemy tanks to take advantage of the bonus associated with this.

The bio-corrosive rounds for the heavy stabbers are a bit odd to my eye in some ways. They're supposed to be a bit more of a threat to things like monsters on paper. But that's situational obviously. Just take the reaper chainsword to them instead probably.

There's probably a couple of builds in there, but I think the following one is the baseline, and probably the best as well.

Questoris Knight Paladin, Rapidfire battlecannon (375 points)
Team up with almost any household rank, and its good to go.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Horus Heresy Review: Archmagos Draykavac

Draykavac is seemingly an odd entry in the Questoris Knight army list. He is a traitor Thagmata entry who rose from relative obscurity to become a truly evil piece of work in the era of the Heresy. 

The High Techno-Arcana special rule is probably what makes this Archmagos suitable for this army. In brief, he provides a +1 to charge distances and sweeping advance rolls. This can be a good boon, but considering that some knights can run 3d6, its arguable if this is so great. 

The warlord trait he comes with automatically is sound, with preferred enemy when holding objectives against infantry. This clearly calls for a semi-defensive build of knights who are aiming to go for capturing and holding objectives, rather than an all-out alpha strike to remove every enemy from the board at all costs. Then again, is your enemy going to be primarily infantry based or not? It could be very tough if the enemy is yet more knights. On top of that, not every mission has objectives. Just saying.

The Liquifactor rule provides a neat way to turn an enemy in to, well, a liquid. Its strong in close combat, if a little unusual. 

In terms of game stats, the one thing that stands out is T=6 which is outstanding for a mechanicum infantry. His 2+ save also helps out immensely with survivability. He can also help repair knights thanks to being a battle smith. 

He has a relatively weak strength value and only 2 attacks. But this is not the reason why you are taking this character.

Overall, I'm not sure whether to like this HQ choice or not. The points cost is very steep. And he doesn't exactly fit in well with Questoris list which presumably would want knights and more knights. He's better saved for a Taghmata HQ. Equally, the ability to take a unit of Castellax or Vorax as fast attack choices could be very useful and provide a much needed alternative to more knights, if desired. Equally, if I'm playing Questoris knights, I'd personally rather like to play knights and more knights. But that's just me.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Horus Heresy Review: Questoris Household Ranks

In the Questoris Knight Crusade Army List, the controlling player is able to select a number of household ranks that can modify the abilities of a given Knight. Some of these represent tradition, whilst others are more about the current pilot of the Knight. Each is associated with a force organisation chart slot.

In this, the first part of the review of the Questoris Knight Crusade Army List, we'll look at each rank in turn.

HQ Ranks:

Seneschal. These guys are the top of the lot. Skilled in combat of most types as well as political intrigue, these guys have survived and prospered where their contemporaries have fallen by the waysides. The bonuses include increasing WS, BS as well as the invulnerable save. This is incredible in combination with close combat knights and therefore almost demands to be placed on a knight capable of leading from the front. With a bonus re roll on the warlord trait, this is an upgrade to be seriously considered if the points are available.

Lord Scion. Another HQ choice, but not quite as senior as the Seneschal. Just a basic bonus to WS and BS here. The Seneschal is much more worth it due to the extra pip in invulnerable save and the potential to get a master-crafted D class weapon from re-rolling the warlord traits.

Elite Ranks:

Preceptor. With a bonus to the reserve rolls as well as granting interceptor and overwatch rules to nearby knights (or bonus hellfire hits), this is a very tactical choice and depends largely on the overall composition of the force as to whether it should be selected or not. 

Aucteller. The player nominates a sworn enemy unit from a range of choices such as a warlord or other super-heavy. If they kill it, its worth d3 victory points. This is very situational at best, but could be a totally fluffy choice for particular army builds. It could work very well with a knight that's able to take out an enemy warlord in a single turn, so look to D class weapons here. 

Legendary Freeblade. Well, this one is fairly generic: select a knight (and or upgrade) and go with it. It is simply marked out by its armour and iconography as the last remainder / renegade / freelance of a particular household. 

Troops Ranks:

Scion Martial. Nothing here - its just a basic knight. 

Scion Aspirant. By dropping pips in WS, BS and invulnerable save, you save some points. Its probably not enough to make much of a difference in large games, but might help in lower points value games. That said, I think the points loss is not worth the loss in invulnerable save and the pips in WS and BS combined. So beware about these knights.

Fast Attack Ranks:

Scion Dolorous. By re-rolling charging distances and sweeping rolls, this upgrade will make the knight in to a close combat expert. Hence use on a knight that wants to be in close combat! This comes at the expense of preferring to charge "worthy" enemies, hence there's a cost to this upgrade as well. 

Scion Uhlan. This is a "free" upgrade, but the "price" is steep. In exchange for scout plus hit and run, the knight loses one pip of frontal AV. Snap shots at targets beyond 24" also provides a strong draw back, especially for weapons reliant on blasts. I'm personally not sure its quite worth it, but suspect other players might like it for the hit and run effect plus scouting on a close combat orientated knight.

Heavy Support:

Scion Arbalester. This is excellent! For the price, we get tank hunters as well as the potential for sky fire if the model doesn't move. Pair with a long range artillery style knight and it'll work out very well indeed. It'll also work well when parked and paired up with a Preceptor rank knight (see above).

Scion Implacable. The bonus to building damage here is situational at best -- does your battlefield feature lots of them? Or is it just fields and forests? On top of this, the infantry crusher rule gives a (sometimes needed) re-roll on the stomp table and provides a bit of extra protection against melta bomb attacks. Cute, but situational. Take the Arbalester instead most times I think!

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Forge World's Willingness to Talk

One of the highly striking things to me as a very long term gamer who has played a large number of systems over the years (as well as roleplaying, etc), is that I now think there is a very marked difference between Games Workshop core activity and Forge World's approach to things (as well as other companies).

Whereas Games Workshop shrouds its releases in almost (and arguably) a murk of secrecy that leaves bloggers and regular Joes wondering what they're up to and what the next release might or might not be, Forge World actively tries to answer questions as to where everything is up to and what their next release is. Sure, Forge World does pull surprises out of the bag (for example, the Garro release was not rumoured about much, if at all as far as I can tell), but it actively engages its customers in a conversation as to where things are at, even if it means "bad" news such as the battle for Prospero book between the Thousand Sons and Space Wolves being delayed. There are some secrets, such as where Corax' sculpt is up to. But overall, there's simply much more communication.

We see this in other lines of business. During a crisis in Qantas Airlines a few years ago, the CEO Alan Joyce could regularly be seen addressing the press - and probably against valued opinion to stay silent. I think this tactic pays a lot more dividends than remaining silent to the general public, even if it does mean some public bloodletting.

As an opinion, I would like to see Games Workshop engage its player base more as it might pay better dividends than secrecy does. Mayhaps. Caveat Emptor: I'm not in charge of any of these choices, its just what I'd prefer to see. And purely opinion.

Equally, maybe I just like Forge World!

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Garro and Leviathan Siege Dreadnoughts

Oh my!

I am giddy with delight to see the sculpt for the model of Garro appear on the 40k open day for Games Workshop HQ in Nottingham. Although I'm not there in person this time, I'm absolutely delighted to see Garro come along. But more significantly, the chance of fielding a force of Errant Knights and even Blackshields (which was something hinted at in earlier Horus Heresy publications) is terrific. Can't wait for the next instalment!

On top of this, the Leviathan Siege Dreadnought looks awesome. Somewhere between a traditional dread and a contemptor, or perhaps what an iron clad is to a dreadnought, this is to a contemptor. Priced more than a land raider, I'm not sure how this will slot in in other than a dedicated force. That said, it looks certain that a slew of new rites of war are going to descend upon us with the new release of the next Horus Heresy source book.

Can't wait to see what appears tomorrow. I still have my fingers crossed for another primarch. Who knows though.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Alpha Legion Contemptor #2, Face-On

A few people asked me to post a different angle of one of my Alpha Legion contemptors. Hence, today's post is a simple image of my second Alpha Legion contemptor dreadnought, but this time, in a face-on view point (so that you're looking down the barrel of his Space Wolf true claw!). 

I still need to do a bit of work on his sword arm, but otherwise, this is the almost complete beast as he stands.

(My other Alpha Legion contemptor is linked here).

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Matching Vallejo to Citadel Paints

Recently, I decided to start mixing up my paints, and trying to find matches between different ranges of paints. This has been something that I've actually been doing for many years to be honest. My paints now belong to multiple ranges, including (but certainly not limited to) both Citadel paint range as well as Vallejo paints. I'm also known to use to really cheap paints from bargain basement stores to cover vast areas of terrain when I need to. 

This raises a problem when one is painting armies (and one that I've only just truthfully encountered) and needs to match colours between ranges of course. In order to make an army look uniform (pardon the pun), I chanced upon a colour conversion chart on Dakka that for some reason I've not actually come across before.

Hence, this post is a back link to the article on Dakka:

Its mainly for my reference, but certainly it could be of wider use to my broader audience who want to figure out whether the old Goblin Green is the equivalent of Warboss Green (in the new Citadel range) as well as Pastel Green (Vallejo Model Colour) and Chasm Green (Rackham). 

One conversion chart that I cannot find though is the inverse: what is a Vallejo colour (or a different company) in Citadel's range? Granted, this link to Dakka completely sorts out most of the inverse problem, but some colours (e.g., blue gunmetal from Vallejo) simply don't exist in Citadel.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Tyranid Gaunt Prime Conversion

In a break and distraction from my usual pace, today I decided to mock up a "Gaunt Prime" miniature. This is a conversion featuring the standard Tyranid Gaunt body, combined with Carnifex claws to create something that looks very fearsome. 

The claws double up as not only a deadly close combat tool, but also a very rapid form of locomotion for the Gaunt to propel itself forward. I'll base it by pinning the downward pointing claw arm to a base to create a dynamic feeling for this miniature. No idea how I'll paint it just yet, this was just a simple conversion that I enjoyed doing, so thought I'd share it!

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Volkite Weapons

One of the "innovations" in 30k is the Volkite Weapon range. In short, these are ray guns that are capable of devastating flesh and organic matter with ease.

The background fluff for the Volkite weapon range notes that these nasty Martian inventions were originally intended as mass produced weapons for the space marine Legions. Due to the pressures of the ever expanding Crusade, the humble bolt gun eventually surpassed the Volkite range due to flexibility (i.e. different rounds were easy to load) and were easier to produce.

But are they any good?

Like Bolt weapons, there are a number of options. The Volkite Serpenta is the pistol equivalent, the Charger is the bolt gun analogue and the Caliver is the heavy bolter switch -- roughly speaking at any rate.

There are two major differences. The first is the range. For the Volkite weapons, they're much shorter ranges. For the pistol - its a mere 2 inches shorter, and frankly that's not much considering that bolt pistols are usually only fired on the way in to close combat. For the chargers, they are only 15 inches versus the 24 inch range of the bolt gun. That said, they are assault 2. Bolters will only get two shots if they rapid fire, and that's a 12 inch range. So they're looking rather okay here! Meanwhile for the Caliver, they're heavy 2, at a 30 inch range. This is strictly worse than the heavy bolter in both range and sheer number of shots.

The second main difference is the strength. This is where the Volkites make up for their shorter ranges. They're typically one extra pip in strength than the bolter family of weapons. This means that they're actually more effective

What really sets them apart is the deflagrate rule though. This rule causes additional automatic hits according to the number of wounds the initial volley caused. This, plus the combined strength, is what makes them deadly at taking out plenty of enemy infantry.

I regard them as worth taking, but wish that more squads in 30k had access to them!

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Seventh Serpent no longer available / Are you Alpharius?

I just noticed that the "Seventh Serpent" short novella is no longer available from the Black Library (the web page it should be on returns a 404 not found code).

Sedition's Gate is similarly gone. Clearly, they've both sold out.

However, what is still there is the quiz as to whether you are Omegon or Alpharius:

I like the outcomes very much.

For Omegon:
"Even more elusive and mysterious than your brothers, you are the dark secret of the Alpha Legion. You answer to no-one and pursue your own unknowable goals: woe betide any who stand in your way."

And for Alpharius:
"You would make a fine recruit for the Alpha Legion. Intelligent and ruthless in equal measure, as comfortable with a battle of wits as a close quarters melee or deadly firefight. Your loyalty to your Legion is unbreakable, no matter what course it is set upon."

Both very similar in some ways, but both very distinct and different. And the choices to get to them both are similarly entertaining!

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Russ doesn't hate Alpharius

Don't read any further if you plan on reading "Wolf King", the new Horus Heresy novella. Just enjoy the picture of the Space Wolves fighting warp monstrosities below and turn away!


In said novella, one of my favourite passages is the following:

"Russ hacked his was through the enemy, barely seeing those whom he slew. They were a blur: a mass of armour and muscle, inert fodder for his blade. He has already sensed the true enemy, and besides that presence, nothing else mattered. He ignored the wounds he took and the losses of his pack around him; he just kept moving, grinding through the walls of sapphire and gold.
He had never hated Alpharius, not like Guilliman had hated him. The Alpha Legion had been an irrelevance, an afterthought, a gang of shadow-huggers at the beck and call of Horus who were worthy of nothing more than faint scorn. At least a gnus had been a proper enemy, out in the open, getting his hand thick with sorcery where it could be seen. Alpharius had been … nothing. A whisper, a suspicion, an echo."

It provides a great insight in to Russ' and other primarch's thoughts on Alpharius (late to the party as he was). The novella also contains some really excellent out-maneouvering of the Space Wolves by the Alpha Legion, some very interesting introspection by Russ, and a surprise twist toward the end concerning Luther's Dark Angels faction.

The price is steep though, so I'm not sure its worth it from that point of view. But otherwise a nice novella that should have been sold for a third of the price they're charging. And one that also seemingly advances the overall plot; or at the very minimum enhances the plot by bringing in others that we hadn't considered in a long while.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Cover Story for Destroying Caliban?

After the events of the Horus Heresy, the Dark Angels returned back "home" to Caliban. Only, whilst they had been away, the powers of Chaos had whispered sweet nothings in to Luther's ears and caused him to fall under their sway. His followers ultimately went on to become the "Fallen" whilst the Dark Angels - and even their successor chapters - started to refer to themselves as the "Unforgiven" over this event.

During this encounter, the Dark Angels ultimately decide to bomb Caliban in to space debris. The largest chunk of it, The Rock, became their home with The Lion ultimately occupying its deepest recesses in deep sleep.

What has bothered me about this sequence of events recently is how the Dark Angels ultimately justified the destruction of their home world. Imagine this: you are a scribe (of a very senior rank) in the administration. The Dark Angels suddenly say they've bombed their home planet in the smithereens. You report this. You're asked to query this. Why did they do this? What justification was there to use such excessive force? They say, they dunno. Because we keep our secrets. 


How does the blowing up of a planet escape notice because "secrets"? Especially given how Istvaan III's death screams were heard from such a vast distance away by the Astronomicon. 

So, my question today, is what was the reason, or the cover story, given by the Dark Angels to destroy Caliban -- given that they want to keep quiet about Luther and the Fallen? 

Perhaps its just because Grimdark. The processing of the order to investigate the "why" and "wherefore" never got processed. Perhaps is just is "secrets". But didn't anyone notice that Caliban was now a Rock? How do they continually keep this a secret? 

(Disclaimer: my long term readers will know I have a soft spot for the Dark Angels, so please don't shoot!)

Friday, October 2, 2015

Horus Heresy Review: Auxilia Stormhammer Super-Heavy Assault Tank

At the forefront of the Auxilia's part in the Great Crusade, it is easy to see why this particular tank was the "go to" tank of choice for invading hostile territory. In essence, it is a gun tank. With lots and lots of guns.

Stormhammer cannon, dual battlecannon, coaxial multi-laser, six multi-laser sponsons (yes: SIX!) and just for fun a lascannon to the front as well. This tank can shoot most others off the board for breakfast and still have enough firepower left over to challenge a terminator squad to survive.

As with other tanks on the same chassis, the AV=12 rear armour is a worry and positioning needs attention to remedy or mitigate this issue. Its also pricey in terms of the points cost, but that is justified given the sheer firepower the tank has.

Stormhammer, armoured ceramite (580 points) 
Lots of firepower, with extra durability against melta guns!

Stormhammer, armoured ceramite, targeters (600 points)
The targeters really improve the odds of all of those multi-lasers hitting their targets and is well worth it on this type of tank

Stormhammer, armoured ceramite, six lascannon sponsons, targeters (660 points)
Add hunter killer missiles, or a command tank upgrade to taste, and its good to rock and roll with the best of them. The points cost here is getting rather steep though.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Horus Heresy Review: Auxilia Stormblade Super-Heavy Tank

Ryza is a forge world that even back in the Horus Heresy days was known for its predilections with plasma technology. To secure the allegiance of lesser forge worlds, and lacking the ability to build a shadowsword themselves, Ryza exported the Stormblade technology to seal pacts and better its own influential position.

The stormblade's plasma blast gun is a dual firing mode weapon. In its usual configuration, it has an impressive range, S8, low AP and a massive blast. In overload, the range and strength is increased as is the blast size (to an overwhelming apocalyptic blast size). Although not as strong as a shadowsword's D-class weapon, it does a fine job at posing a threat to almost everything in the game.

There's not too many weaknesses, but I'll make the same point as I made with some of the other super heavy tank options: the rear armour is vulnerable with only AV=12. Beware of positioning correctly and watch out for out flankers as well as deep strikers.

Two builds to toy with here.

Stormblade, armoured ceramite (490 points)
This is the baseline build. Don't skimp on the armoured ceramite, otherwise players like me will exploit you!

Stormblade, armoured ceramite, two las cannon sponsons (590 points)
Probably not quite worth other pintle upgrades due to the extreme range of the primary weapon here.
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