Saturday, May 20, 2017

Horus Heresy Review: Legio Custodes Sentinel Guard Squad


Background.
The Custodian Sentinel Squad is the defensive formation of the Legio. As such they come with the Praesidium shields and the already very impressive Custodes stat line. Together these make for a formidable objective camping unit or counter assault unit.

Strengths.
As with other Custodes squads, the first thing to note is the stat line which features fives across the board apart from Wounds and Attacks that feature two each. This is impressive … but standard for the Custodes of course.

They come armed with the sentinel war blade -- a brutal close combat weapon with AP3. This features a built in bolt caster. Combining with this is the aforementioned shield. This combines to make them a unit that is really hard to budge. Great for objective camping. But also formidable in assault too.

Weaknesses.
As with other Custodes squads, they cost a fair bit of points. But used well, they will earn them back. I have said above that they are great for objectives. But I think I'd really want to get them in to the action and then camp out on an objective. Or take multiple small units of them perhaps.

Builds.
3 Sentinel Guards, teleport transponders (195 points). 
Teleport in and sit on an objective. Or be a distraction unit.

5 Sentinel Guards (310 points).
Even naked they're great. Take a transport to taste.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Horus Heresy Review: Legio Custodes Custodian Guard Squad


Background.
The Custodian Guard Squad is the basic unit of Custodes that are deployed across the galaxy during the Great Crusade, Heresy and the Scouring thereafter. They are flexible and deadly to say the least.

Strengths.
The first thing to note is the stat line which features fives across the board apart from Wounds and Attacks that feature two each. This is impressive … but standard for the Custodes of course.

They come equipped with the iconic Guardian Spear. Of course, if they have charged, then they get AP2 on the spear which can be absolutely devastating in the game. The bolter fitted to the spear is nothing special though, but it can be replaced by other versions to get melta beams or adrathic destructors (the guardian equivalent of melta and plasma guns).

In general, they're great.

Weaknesses.
Okay, they are great. But there is a points cost to pay for them here. And if you want them to teleport, that costs as well. The advice here though is that they probably can and should be deployed in MSUs (multiple small units). The reason for this is that in 30k, there is usually a "tax" for a new unit purchase. But with the custodes, it is a straight cost oddly enough.

Builds.
5 Custodes (275 points).
Naked, they're still powerful.

3 Custodes, Pyrithite Spears, Teleport Transponders (215 points).
Take melta bombs to taste. Teleport in and blow up some tanks. 

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

The Green Oorookiagoths

"Any chance of some faction names we can pronounce? Please don't change Orks" asked a fan on the Warhammer 40,000 Facebook page.

The reply? 

"You mean, the green Oorookiagoths?" quipped Games Workshop to a multitude of likes. Including my own giggle.

The question was asked in response to the latest faction focus issues today -- on the Dark Eldar. Or as they seem to be calling themselves this week, the Drukhari. Drunk Hairs? Or something like that at any rate.


I get it. At least at an intellectual property (IP) level. 

To ensure that copyright is enforceable, one has to have an identifiable and unique name. Space Elves don't cut it. Neither does Space Marine. Adeptus Astartes, yes -- that is enforceable IP. Eldar. Well, I would have thought that that would be an enforceable name myself. So why change? I'm not sure. Its clear that Drukhari is a word that has never been used before, and therefore is eminently more enforceable though. I'm reminded of when Games Workshop changes all their paints. Gone was Skull White to be replaced by Corax White. And so forth.

The other item of recent news is the deep strike rules. Looks like you can come in to play on any movement phase after the first so long as you stay 9" or more away from an enemy. And no scatter either. I'm a little disappointed by the lack of scatter (or perhaps they're just withholding the full description of competitive play, but I doubt it). It has been such an iconic part of teleportation for a long time and the ways of minimising it (folks on the ground with chaos icons and so forth) have been integral parts of many army builds for a long time. How this will all pan out, I don't know, but I'm willing to wait and see at least. 

Just let's not start re-naming Orks. Okay?

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Horus Heresy Review: Sisters of Silence Oblivion Knight Cadre


Background.
Even the space marine legions find the sisters un-nerving. The Oblivion Knights are regarded as a necessary evil by them, even though they are rare. The background paints them as an elite force that is rarely seen on battlefields.

Strengths.
The Oblivion Knights possess a number of nice rules to help them on the battlefield, ranging from precision strikes through to "ex-oblivio" which is an enhanced version of the psychic null abilities.

They are armoured with a void sheen cloak that provides a minor invulnerable save coupled with a 4+ save against blast and template weapons (hopefully that will be explained in 8th at some point, we trust). The execution blade comes as standard here.

Weaknesses.
As with all sister of silence, the low toughness and strength is a worry, but one that can be overcome with tactical placements and usage. Their points cost fully factors in these weaknesses though in my opinion.

Builds.
10 Oblivion Knights, Mistress with Neuro Lash (160 points).
Full members and something of a baseline unit. I like the neuro lash for its sweeping ability, but otherwise, the points value is very attractive here.

5 Oblivion Knights, 5 power axes, Mistress with plasma pistol (125 points).
Something of a specialist build here designed to take down terminator like opponents and could be useful against the Thousand Sons in general. 

Monday, May 15, 2017

On Primaris Space Marines

Like many other people, I have been following the development of the Primaris Space Marines and the new rules that are being discussed for weeks now over at the Warhammer 40,000 community. Today, I wanted to give some assorted thoughts on the newly revealed Primaris Space Marines.

In a nut shell, they are bigger space marines that were ordered by no less than the primarch of the Ultramarines many millennia ago. It is a bit of a ret con to say the least (or perhaps it will somehow work its way in to the Black Library novels in the late days of the Horus Heresy somehow?).

In terms of stat lines, they have an extra wound compared to regular space marines and are therefore in line with 8th edition terminators. The other fact that sets them aside is the bonus attack coupled with the newly invented, manufactured and issued bolt rifle. This is better than a normal bolt gun in range and damage potential. All told, this makes the Primaris better than a space marine, but not a terminator despite gains to a number of things.

I can readily see entire chapters being built from Primaris marines. I could envision that they might also eclipse regular marines perhaps. Personally, I am hopeful that they will slot in alongside other marines in regular space marine armies with a bit of luck, as I don't want them to be over dominant for 40k.

The other thing that occurred to me is that they look reasonably like true scale marines to my modeller's eye. I therefore wonder if we will see some 30k armies (I'm looking at Alpha Legion in particular here) starting to be modelled on the Primaris design eventually? It could certainly provide a nice alternative to the usual conversions that I and many others employ to create such marines.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Horus Heresy Review: Legio Custodes Contemptor-Achillus Dreadnought


Background.
Custodes are extremely resilient. They do recover from serious wounds. But once in a while, a custode might be irrevocably injured but their mind remains intact. And so they go in to dreadnoughts in the same manner that a legion marine might.

Strengths.
The dreadnought is strong and has "echoes" of the pilots previous martial prowess and abilities. Refractor fields and extra armour pump up the base points here though.

There are not many options here though, but the achillus dreadspear is amazing. Providing the ability to have destroyer hits on a to hit roll of 6 on the charge is amazing.

Weaknesses. 
Not many weaknesses here, but they have the same issues as some other dreadnoughts such as rear armour being AV=11. Goodness knows how this will alter in 8th edition of the game. The lack of dedicated drop pod might be an issue though.

Builds.
I'll only mention one build here -- its my favourite.

Contemptor Achillus with Achillus Dreadspear (240 points).
Charge in, kill things. Rinse, repeat.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Horus Heresy Review: Legio Custodes Aquilon Terminator Squad


Background.
Custodes in terminator armour. They are rare, given that the Aquilon pattern was adapted for the Custodes from the cataphractii pattern to bear extra weight. They find use in Zone Mortalis type settings where the extra armour comes in very handy.

Strengths.
The ability to charge with hammer of wrath after rapid firing their weapons thanks to the Aquilon armour is a strong ability that is not found in too many other places in the 30k era.

With the stat line of the Custodes, these guys can take on most things in the game (not all, but certainly many) and come out on top if positioned and played well.

Weaknesses.
There's not too many weaknesses here, but do look out for instant death weapons and vindicator shots that can ruin your day.

Builds.
I really like the infernus fire pike as the optional weapon here, and the teleport transponders are a good bet as well.

3 Terminators, 3 fire pikes, 3 transponders (285 points).
This is a "termicide" squad for the custodes. Teleport in, flame everything and then try not to die in subsequent turns.

5 Terminators, 1 fire pike (390 points).
This would be my baseline unit. Take a transport as required.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Horus Heresy Review: Legio Custodes Hetaeron Squad


Background.
These men are the inner circle of the Legio Custodes. They are the confidants of the Emperor Himself and only very rarely will they leave his side.

More than this though, they are exceptionally powerful individuals. They are arguably superior to Astartes in every way, just as space marines are superior to mortal humans in every way.

Strengths. 
Let me be blunt here. This is one of the best squads in the game right now. Sure, it costs a lot of points to deploy them, but they are well worth it with a solid 5 stat line (3's for W and A).

Moreover, they gain counter attack in comparison to regular custodes. In terms of equipment, they are very configurable, including the ability to each take a paragon blade and praesidium shield.

Weaknesses.
The points cost can rapidly add up here, and a vindicator shot can really ruin your day. But otherwise, there is little that these guys cannot handle.

Builds.
Lets see:

5 Hetaeron, each with paragon blade and praesidium shield (475 points).
Yes, it is pricey. But yes: it is going to kill plenty. Take a dedicated transport to taste.

5 Hetaeron, 2 paragon blades, 2 solerite power gauntlet, vexilla and war blade, teleport transponders (420 points).
Take shields to taste. There really is very little in the game that this squad couldn't try to have a go at and generally do exceptionally well, or okay against. 

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Horus Hersey Review: Jenetia Krole


Background.
The "Soulless Queen" herself -- Knight commander of the silent sisterhood and a sinister figure to say the least. The background fluff suggests she was legend prior to the Battle of Prospero with the Thousand Sons and she stalked many battlefields like some deathly spectre hunting down psykers galore for the Emperor (or even at the Emperor's behest).

Strengths.
Increased pips above human standard (and even space marine standard) in WS, W, I, A and Ld mark her out as worthy of the mere 150 points that she costs. She has a suite of special rules to go along with her including the usual ones associated with the sisterhood (she is soulless after all) and the all important eternal warrior.

She can upgrade an oblivion knight cadre for a small points fee to make them her "raptor guard" and provides them with a WS bonus.

But for me it is the war gear and the warlord trait that make her very attractive. Her Sword of Oblivion provides a strength bonus and AP2 combined with murderous strike and a duellists' edge to make her a deadly opponent in close combat. Combined with her warlord trait of being able to grant scouts and re roll the seizing of the initiative, I can see Krole being the "go to" woman for the Sisters very readily.

Weaknesses.
Fundamentally the Toughness=3 is going to get her killed pretty fast if the owning player does not protect her (or put her in a vehicle of some kind), even with eternal warrior. Thousand Sons players would be well advised to just rapid fire her to death with bolters otherwise.

Overall.
An excellent choice for a Sisters army and one that comes wholly recommended by me. I could readily see her used as the lead HQ in many armies and tactics could readily be built around her scout warlord trait bonus.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Horus Heresy Review: Constantin Valdor


Background.
If the Emperor referred to the Primarchs by numbers, then it is arguable that he cared much more for the Custodes than he ever did for his legionary "tools". And if this is true, then of all of them, Valdor would probably be his favourite one of them all.

Being so favoured by the Emperor Himself, Valdor has a swathe of background and toys at his disposal. Indeed, the background portrayed in Inferno is very comprehensive about his role in the conflict with the Thousand Sons and who exactly he is.

Strengths.
Valdor has an excellent stat line. He is not a primarch, but he is way above a regular human or space marine. Probably he's somewhere just below a primarch in all probability. And he could give some primarchs a run for their money some of the time as well.

He has a whole suite of special rules to help him along the way including eternal warrior (which is very unusual in 30k it must be said).

His war gear is exemplary. The Apollonian spear is incredible for what it does - instant death on a 4+ to wound at enhanced strength (and that 4+ roll is good for armour penetration against tanks as well it has to be said). And successful invulnerable saves must be re-rolled. This is an incredible combination that makes Valdor supremely deadly on the battlefield. Oh, he also has an AP2 bolter with concussive on the battlefield as well.

As if this were not enough, he permits his army to all have teleporter transponders and a re-roll for seizing the initiative.

Frankly, he's cheap for what he supplies.

Weaknesses.
Primarchs. Anacharis Scoria. Titans.

Overall.
Valdor represents a way to build an entire army around him. Arming everyone with a teleport transponder means that the custodes suddenly turn in to a beefed-up Death Wing style army. Sure, they have very few models indeed, but they will be very deadly on the battlefield.


Monday, May 8, 2017

Horus Heresy Review: Sisters of Silence Excruciatus Cadre


Background.
Imagine if a conquered world decided for some reason to try to hide their resident psykers. The Excruciatus Cadre would then be called to hunt down the protected psyker and bring them in. They double up as cult suppressors and general assault troops for worlds that seem loathe to pay the correct tithe.

Strengths. 
There are a number of nice rules associated with this squad including being able to impose a -1 to hit from ranged weapons thanks to their "spectra-vestments", inflicting instant death when they're on their own in a melee.

Topping this off are flamers with compression tanks that can be bought as upgrade (I think these will be very nice in 8th edition) and a base line poisoned weapons (assault needlers).

There are other various upgrades available and, of course, the cadre rules that can be played around with. I kind of like infiltrate for almost all the sisters of silence that are not needed +1 to combat resolution. That said, crusader might be nice here as well.

Weaknesses.
The main negative here is that this squad can only be selected as compulsory HQs for detachments costing less than (yes: less than) 500 points. They operate only in small numbers after all. Plus they have human standard strength and toughness.

Builds.
Excruciatus Cadre, 5 flamers with compression tanks (150 points).
A flamer orientated squad.

Excruciatus Cadre, 4 power weapons, Judge with power fist (145 points).
A close combat squad. Replace the fist with an executioner blade to taste.

Excruciatus Cadre, 5 stake crossbows (100 points).
I like this build for their sheer anti-psyker potential!

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Horus Heresy Review: Sisters of Silence Oblivion Knight-Centura


Background.
The elite battlefield commanders of the sisterhood, and powerful psychic nulls to boot. They are deadly in their own right and reasonable choices for a sisterhood.

Strengths.
There is some customisation available here, but perhaps not quite at the same level as other generic HQ selections. The armour save and invulnerable save is very nice to have and will serve the sister very well.

Other than that, they are somewhat just a bit of an enhanced version of a regular sister.

Weaknesses.
The generic stat line is barely above standard human levels, coupled with a cheap points cost means that this commander is one for saving some points on. That's not a bad thing -- far from, its just a low points value army overall.

Builds.
Some builds to consider.

Knight-Centura, Paragon blade (master crafted) (105 points).
Given the cheap nature of the character, upgrading to master crafted is a reasonable use of points here to make her more deadly.

Knight-Centura, plasma pistol (90 points).
With 8th edition coming, I predict the resurgence of the plasma pistol. So here's a base level build with a plasma pistol in it :)

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Horus Heresy Review: Legio Custodes Shield Captain


Background.
Promoted by the Emperor perhaps, and very well respected by his peers at the very worst, the Shield Captain is a senior commander within the Legio Custodes. More than this, he has access to the truly rare items of archaeotech from the vaults of Terra.

Strengths. 
For the points value, the stat line is really amazing - easily as good or better than a space marine commander from ten thousand years later.  His abilities are similarly golden - literally. With 6 lots of strength = 6 attacks that can all have AP2, he can take out whole squads of enemies with contemptuous ease.

Worse, he can take the Tribune upgrade for a measly amount of points to gain fearless and eternal warrior. Plus they get to select warlord traits. This is by far the cheapest character in all of 30k for what they are capable of doing. I hope 8th edition corrects the points cost here myself.

Interestingly, he has to be the warlord unless people like Valdor are also present. Or the Emperor himself! This one line alone suggests in the strongest possible terms to me that one day in the far flung future that Forge World intends not only to present rules for the Emperor, but also a model. Exciting times ahead!

Weaknesses.
I can't think of any here.

Builds.
There are many builds to think about, but the question comes down to what one wants to get out of him. Clearly the best part of the answer is a one man killing machine. But in an army of one men killing machines, the commander is very similar.

Shield Captain, teleport transponder, praesidium shield, solarite power gauntlet, Tribune (255 points).
About the same points as Typhus in 40k, and much more effective. Take a paragon spear to taste?

Shield Captain, teleport transponder, praesidium shield, melta bombs, digital lasers (230 points).
I think of this one as a base line. Teleport in. Kill stuff. Survive everything. 

Friday, May 5, 2017

Tournament Software

I have a question for other tournament organisers out there (or any one who has been near the front stage of a tournament): what software is generally used these days to arranges pairings and matches?

The kind of software that I am interested in hearing about principally is one that is capable of undertaking Swiss Pairings whilst simultaneously trying to ensure that players do not play on the same game board twice.

For those unfamiliar with the idea, Swiss Pairings is a method regularly used in large format tournaments to ensure that there is a "winner" determined without having the conduct a large round-robin style event. Typically, the "winners" from the previous rounds (however they are defined: number of win vs losses, or on a points style system, all ranked in order of total accumulated points) are assigned against other winners. Those near the bottom of the rankings will face off against others near the bottom of the ranking. In this manner, the person who comes out as the overall winner will have probably played against some of the best ranked players in the tournament throughout the event, whereas the runners up are probably the people who lost once to the winner, but won all other matches against similarly strong players.

I am aware of a wide variety of software that is available on the market. I think it fair to state that of the Swiss Pairings style software, the majority is associated with professional Chess tournaments. Typically the first round is seeded and then pairings performed on the results of subsequent matches in a win vs loss style. The added bit that I like for 40k style tournaments is some way of adding scores in to the mix (rather than pure win / loss / draw), along with "soft scores" (for painting, etc.), as well as a component of not playing at the same table twice.

About the best free software that I have come across is GoePP -- The Goettinger Pairing Program. I have used this before when arranging tournaments, but that was a while ago. So my question today is whether anyone knows of anything better or more easy to use perhaps?  (*)

In the absence of anything else, I will probably continue to use GoePP as it functions very well and is easy enough to use. This is just a query then to see what other people out there are using in this day and age.

(*) and no: excel and notepad are not valid answers! ;) 

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Leviathan

After struggling with the pose a little bit, here is the final, fully assembled leviathan.


The weapons load out for this beast is slightly different to what many other people play around with. Having the melta lance is a weapon that I really wanted to choose due to its high strength. Goodness knows how it will perform in 8th edition, but I liked it enough for 7th. I have coupled this with the siege close combat arm. The purpose of this leviathan is therefore to hunt down and destroy some heavy tanks (even super heavies, or perhaps knights) and hope to at least remove a few hull points (or wounds in 8th) before succumbing itself. Paired up with a drop pod, this guy stands a good chance statistically against imperial knights and has the armour to hang around.

The pose has the dreadnought looking down the barrel of his weapon, whilst the fist is ready to come in to action with a low swing. The base has been gritted and moulded with some additions to it … almost as if the leviathan has recently dealt with a crashed aircraft, or perhaps its unfortunate occupants. 

Painting might have to wait until I get some spare parts for my airbrush sadly. But that's another tale. 

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Leviathal Beginnings

Can you tell what it is yet?


Of course you can. A Leviathan. The title of the post sort of gave it away with that invented adjective. So, I caved in and got a Leviathan from Forge World for my Alpha Legion forces. I really love the sculpt of this beast, even if I'm not precisely sold on any particular weapon load out for it. 

To start with, I knew that I wanted to base it on something a little bit less run of the mill. Hence, the legs of this Leviathan are located on the tips of a plane wing that I had lying around as spare thanks to the storm eagle build. One foot is raised and the second one is placed on the ground of the base. I have pinned the raised foot in to place to ensure that it doesn't slip. My goal here is to build upward from the waist and have the dreadnought looking down the barrel of his (left hand) weapon, whilst the right hand is poised, ready as he advances.

More on this build in future posts.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Plasma Pistols Were Always Good

The new rules for shooting and close combat in 8th Edition seem to be getting very interesting indeed. A lot of my mates are saying that plasma pistols are finally becoming worth the points cost because of that. Not withstanding that the points costs for everything are probably going to be revised very soon, my own personal take is that plasma pistols were always worth it!

Many of my current models, such as the one below, feature plasma pistols. I frequently use them on raptor or assault style squads for packing an extra punch. 


But that is not the real reason that I grew to like them.

One of the first tournaments that I remember playing in involved me using a chaos space marine lord equipped with a power fist, plasma pistol and a jump pack (or wings!). The guy is pictured below and as can be seen is a very, very old miniature that dates back to when my painting skills were not as honed as they have become over the years. 


In the tournament, I used this HQ selection to "hop" from one squad to another in relative safety -- joining one squad and then another until I was in range to do something with him. As it turned out, I jumped him close to a rhino. The plasma pistol unloaded in to the rear of the rhino and caused it to explode (yes -- it was one of *those* editions of 40k). 

The small squad of space marines had to make an emergency disembarkation. I followed this up by charging right in to them with this chaos lord. He suffered a wound for his troubles before getting to swing with his power fist, obliterating all of them off the board.

Since that day, I've been sold on plasma pistols. Okay, I know full well I got a lucky roll to kill a tank with a plasma pistol. But it worked wonders on the game I was playing at the time as a youngling taking my first forays in to the tournament scene!

Monday, May 1, 2017

TTCombat Objective Room

I picked up a number of products from Troll Trader under their line of TTCombat. Much like CNC miniatures, they make a range of MDF laser cut terrain for 28mm war-games. 

This particular example is the "Objective Room" from their science fiction range. Compared to CNC, the tabs on the MDF are fractionally larger (but not noticeable unless you've handled several of both), and the sheets are not A4 size, but significantly less. Hence there are more sheets per purchase in general making for more bulk height wise if you happen to be carrying them around. 

The major difference I've found though is the sheer lack of instructions. All I got from TTCombat was a picture on the front of the purchase that I had to go by. Now, having been building many and varied kits for decades, it wasn't long before I got on top of things and figured out how everything fitted together and an optimum assembly strategy from dry fitting everything together. I do wonder if younger hobbyists would have as much luck though. 

The parts themselves are detailed with extra embellishments which is nice to see and the quality is high and the ease of construction very nice indeed -- probably easier than CNC in fact (which is a good thing given the lack of instructions!). 

The image below shows a picture of the Objective Room having glued all the bits in to their appropriate places. I've kept the windows and doors in place as I didn't want this room to have entries of exits. However, it was tempting to saw the room in half to provide some wreck ruins, I must admit. The interior is entirely playable should one wish to do so (and should one wish to fill it with accessories, that's all good too). But for this, I just wanted some line of sight blocking buildings with a roof that could be used as well. 


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