Monday, 29 October 2012

Biker Army's First Tournament

Yet another great tournament at the weekend. Six games over 2 days is exhausting, but there were a lot of people I knew, it was a pretty relaxed tournament and it was fun.

Usual format, some brief battle reports, and an analysis on how the list performed.

Game 1

Seize Ground, Dawn of War against Orks. Ten Nob Bikers with all the fixings, 10 Nobs in a truck, 20 boyz in a battle wagon and a Dakka Jet. Gulp…..!

The table looked amazing – a ruined city scape, but was just terrible for tournament play – there was hardly any clear ground, it was all ruins and rubble. And of course my opponent rolled warlord traits that gave his biker boss and his squad move through cover……!

So the thinking was that I set up my predators in one corner, hoping he would charge them with the Nob Bikers. Their volume of fire will worry him, and I suspect he will want to silence them ASAP.  I would set up the command squad and the other bikes in the opposite corner, and hope he ran the boyz and the other Nobs at them. I fancied my command squad’s chances against the foot slogging Nobs. Essentially, sacrifice the predators in the hope that this drew the bikers away from the rest of my army, try and kill his other scoring unit (the boyz) and then just run away from the bikers, hoping I can get enough objectives for the win.

It didn’t work. Or at least it did, in that he did charge the predators with the Bikers, and he did go after the other SM Bikes with the foot slogging Nobs, but my Command squad and the other bikes failed to deal with the foot slogging Nobs. A combination of poor dangerous terrain rolls and being overwatched by 5 combi scorchers made the charge some what less than devastating, and the Nobs just ate me….!


Lessons learned – watch out for combi scorchers. Ork Nobs are really tough in a fight (no really!). More importantly however, is that to be effective I need to concentrate my bikes, on a spread out enemy. When I assaulted the Nobs, I should have concentrated all my bikes together to do so, rather than relying on the command squad alone.

Game 2

Tumbling down the rankings, I found myself on the bottom table against a marine army. Cassius, Two tactical squads, 2 devastators, one with missile launchers and the other with plasma cannons, 2 dreadnaughts with TL lazcannons, a Tri Laz predator, and an attack bike. Mission was capture and control, vanguard deployment.

One of the benefits of being on the bottom table is that you tend to be playing against less experienced players. Long story short, I won. It was a narrow win (as this mission tends to be), but a win never the less. My opponent made some mistakes which I was able to exploit, and while my dice abandoned me in the mid game, I was able to get line breaker for the win.

However, although this was a reasonably straightforward game, I started to get an idea of how this list plays, and, more importantly, how it might be improved. More on that later.

Game 3

Still in the bottom third, but moving up. Purge the alien, against space marines once again. Captain with Storm shield, artificer armour and a thunder hammer, 2 Landraiders, 2 tactical squads, a sternguard squad, a Vindicator and a couple of land speeders.

My opponent was a nice guy, and it was a fun game. However, this was his first tournament and he had only been playing for a few months. He had never played a bike army, and was simply overwhelmed by its speed. Another win.

Game 4

So day 2 and I’m mid table. Drawn against a drop podding space wolf list. Five pods in total – one with Logan, Arjac and some Multi Melta Long Fangs, and 4 others with Grey Hunters with Wulvens, and Power fist, combi melta Wolfguard. Seize Ground, 5 objectives, big guns never tire.

Hmmmm…! Those multi meltas will do a number on my predators, and Arjac and Logan together could probably take the command squad. If all his pods come down together and he gets to concentrate his forces, that would be a really tough nut to crack. What I need to do is spread out, tempting him to come down all over the board, so I can then re-concentrate my forces and pick off his grey hunter packs one at a time. One option might be to place the predators away from my bikes and all the objectives, to tempt him into alpha striking them with Logan’s squad. But that would give up first blood, so I decided to keep the predators in reserve, spread out the objectives as much as I could, and then scatter my bike squads all over the table.

It worked like a dream. Luckily I got first turn and was able to turbo boost my bikes all over the board for a 4+ cover save. He brought Logan and Co down with some grey hunters to try and kill the command squad, and another squad of grey hunters down beside another of my bike squads. A combination of the captain’s artificer armour, cover saves, storm shields and feel no pain, allowed the command squad to shrug off most of the fire, and the other bike squad did like wise. In my turn 2 all three predators came in, as did one of the storm talons. The predators came on, on the other side of the board, with clear fields of fire to three of the five objectives. One of the plasma bike squads was close by. The command squad ran away from Logan and co, combining with 2 other squads to wipe out the isolated grey hunter squad.

In my opponent’s turn 2, what he should have done is pod the other 2 grey hunter squads in beside Logan & co to support them. There were three objectives, reasonably close together, that he could have pretty much controlled. I would have really, struggled to take down 3 packs of grey hunters and Logan’s squad, if they had all been supporting each other. However, he podded in beside the predators well away from his other squads. I think a melta gun took out one of the predators, but I really wasn’t too bothered about that, as his squads were now way out of position. The other squads shot at my bikes but didn’t do much damage.

In my turn 3 I wiped out one of the grey hunter squads over by the predators (Stormtalons are really good at taking out squads in the open), and repositioned my other bikes, taking a few plasma shots at Logan’s squad. I lined up the command squad to assault the grey hunter squad that was supporting Logan & Co. It would most likely die from a counter charge from Logan and Arjac, but I would be happy to sacrifice that squad to take out his last scoring unit. A combination of a Plasma bike squad, 2 hovering Stormtalons, and the predators, wiped out the other Grey Hunter Squad over by the predators.

It was pretty much game over at this point. My opponent shot some stuff, but all he could really do was brace himself for the charge from my command squad – which I duly did, wiping out the grey hunters. In his turn Logan and Arjac counter charged the command squad, but over the space of 2 turns I managed to kill both of them, although Arjac  killed my captain with the last swing of his hammer.

Win to me. I really enjoyed this game. It involved a bit of strategic thought at the outset, and it all came together as planned. Very satisfying.

Game 5

Now on table 4, so it’s getting harder. Playing marines (again!). Librarian, 2 dreadnaughts in pods (one an iron clad), 3 tactical squads (one in a pod), a devastator squad, a Thunder Fire Cannon, a vindicator, and a squad of assault terminators. Five objectives, worth one VP each, and double VPs for kill the warlord. I had first turn.

Another tricky one. I needed to be able to deal with the dread pods coming down first turn, and then the terminator assault squad as the librarian was running with Gate of Infinity and there were locator beacons on the pods. So if I didn’t kill the dreads when they came down, next turn he will gate the terminators right into my teeth, and I’ll have to deal with all of them! After a bit of thought I decided to keep the predators on the table to try and dakka down the terminators before he could gate them forward. I used the bikes to bubble wrap the predators, but keeping the melta squad behind the preds so it could go either side, depending on where he brought in his dreads. He deploys one tactical squad all by itself on an objective, over on the right with the vindicator. The terminators are front and centre ready to be gated over once the pods come down, the other tactical squad is on the objective on the left, along with the devastators and the Thunder fire cannon.

In my first turn I moved the bikes around, turbo-boosting them so they all got a 4+ cover save. I also put a bunch of wounds onto his terminators with the predators, and he fails 3 saves, killing three of them leaving just the librarian and two left.

In his turn 1 he brings down both dreads just to the left of my predators. They shoot, and kill a few bikes, but not enough to make a difference.

In my turn 2 one of the storm talons came on. I need to kill the dreads this turn, but I’m also worried about the Vindicator. I suspect he put the tactical squad out on the right by itself as bait to tempt me to send the command squad after it, hoping he could then shell the Command Squad with the Vindicator. It would however be good to kill that squad, reducing his scoring units by one.

After a bit of thought I decided to take the bait and sent the Command Squad and a Plasma squad over to the right to deal with the tactical squad. However, I also sent the Stormtalon after the vindicator, gambling that I can take it out before it gets a chance to pulp the Command Squad (I can get everything into side armour). I also line up the melta bike squad on the Ironclad Dread, and the other Plasma bike squad into the rear armour of the normal dread. The predators draw a bead on the Libby and the remaining terminators.

This is the pivotal turn. If all goes according to plan I will cripple his army, and after that, it will simply be mopping up.

It starts well. The Predators kill the Librarian and the terminators for First Blood and Kill the Warlord, netting me 3 VPs and the Stormtalon kills the Vindicator, but then it all goes horribly wrong. All 4 melta guns (all in melta range) either fail to hit, or fail to penetrate the Ironclad. In addition, a melta gun (in melta range) plus 3 rapid firing plasma guns (and remember they were all into the rear armour) do nothing to the other dread. This leaves my bikes horribly exposed to charging dreadnaughts … which will not end well.

I’m dumbfounded. The chances against that level of fail must be huge!  

I’m reeling after such a reversal of fortune, but it gets worse. His dreads proceed to pulp the 2 bikes squads, assisted by the Tac Squad which pods in on his turn 2. I succeed in breaking away from one of the combats, only to fall back too far, and run off the board. On the right flank his tac squad Dakka’s down the plasma bike squad (aided by me rolling 4 ones in a row for armour saves!).

So at the beginning of my turn 3 I have one attack bike (all that remains of the Plasma Bike Squad) and (some of) the Command Squad over on the right flank facing down a Tactical Squad, a Predator, 2 Stormtalons, and one bike squad still locked with a Dread. Not looking good.

Long story short, my Command Squad kills the Tac Squad on the right (leaving only the Captain alive after taking some shots from the dev. squad), he kills the remaining attack bike, and while the bike squad locked with the Dread eventually kill it with the Sergeants Melta Bomb, they are dakkaed down by the Tac squad that podded in to support the dreads.

On the last turn of the game I have 2 Stormtalons and my captain left. However, I have 2 VPs from killng his Librarian, and one more because I took First Blood. He holds 3 objectives and has line breaker, so he’s winning 4 – 3. However, due to a lucky warlord trait, my Captain is a scoring unit. So I hide him behind a wall on the objective out of LOS, 4-4. I then hover my Stormtalons and draw a bead on the marines holding the centre objective …. and kill them all! I’m now ahead by 4 points to three!

In his turn he kills both my Stormtalons, leaving me with one model on the board … but still winning 4 – 3!

This was one of the narrowest victories I’ve every had. A win – while one model short of being tabled!

Game 6

Now on table 3 against marines again. Biker Captain with a squad of bikes, 2 foot slogging tac squads, 2 Stormtalons, 3 Trilaz predators, and three Dreadnaughts with autocannons and assault cannons. Kill points.

Man, but that’s a lot of shooting!

I give him first turn, wanting to be able to react to his deployment. He deploys front and centre, with the tac squads on the right. There’s a ruin over to the right of my deployment zone, which is just out of range of 2 of the tri laz predators. However, there is not enough room to deploy everything there.

After a bit of thought I decide to deploy the predators, the Command squad and one Plasma Squad in the ruin, keeping the rest in reserve. The idea was to weather his fire first turn and then blast one of the tac squads with the predators, while turbo boosting the bikes up the right flank. By doing that they would have a 4+ cover save, and be out of range of most of his shooting (the assault cannons on the Dreads at least) for a turn. Turn 2 they should be in range to assault the (hopefully) weakened tac squd. If the rest of the army comes in on turn 2 (!) I could then hopefully boost the bikes across to threaten his left flank, with the Command squad pressing in from the right.

The first part worked, in that in his turn one all he did was blow a heavy bolter off a predator, and on my turn one the Preds weakened the tac squad. But on his turn 2 both his Stormtalons came on and, combined with the rest of his army, blew away both the Command Squad and the Plasma squad that had turboed down the right flank. I was a bit surprised by this TBH. All tournament the Command Squad had been a rock, soaking up so much fire. But my saving rolls were a disaster (not helped by forgetting to roll FNP saves, something I consistently forgot all weekend!), and he did bring a lot of fire power to bare.

And that was pretty much game over there and then. I tried to fight back but that one turn of shooting crippled my army. I ended up getting tabled.

In retrospect, I lost the game on deployment. I should have taken first turn, set up everything and rushed it all across the board at full speed… and prayed! If the melta guns had survived, I would have done some damage.

So I went 4-2, coming 10th our of about 30. Interesting to note that the 2 guys who beat me came first and second (Orks first). I was also pretty please that I got quite a few nominations for best army.

Thoughts on the army

I really enjoyed playing this army. It does however have serious limitations. The first is fragility. Other than the Command squad, the bikes die just like other marines. While the 1+ toughness is helpful, the stuff that kills marines (plasma, melta, lazcannons and missile launchers), kill bikes. You need to take good care of the bikes.

In practice what this means is you need to think very carefully before committing to the attack. You can’t afford to take risks. Don’t commit to half chances – be sure when you do commit, you do so with overwhelming force so you kill your target, and then get away before the retaliation gets there. To do this you need to isolate elements of your opponent’s army, and deal with each element one at a time. This is easier said than done. It depends very much on your opponents deployment. If they concentrate their force (for example in my last game, when all that fire power was concentrated in one place) your tactical options are limited. But if you can some how get your opponent to split his forces (like in Game 4 against the podding space wolves), it can work very well.

I guess the secret is patience – you need to bide your time, wait for, or create the opportunity, and then exploit it.

As for the list, some things worked and some things didn’t.

·         The Command Squad. I was surprised how well this worked. The captain was great at tanking saves for the squad, passing AP2 saves on to his (Storm) shield bearers using Look our Sir. The power fist and lightening claw worked well, giving him options against PA troops, but not leaving him embarrassed against 2+ saves. The Storm Shield guys died every game, but they increased the over all survivability of the squad dramatically. The guys with the lances also worked. With the bike’s speed I don’t think I took a charge all weekend, so they got to use their lances a lot. Also having the axes made them much more flexible in subsequent round of combat. The only down side was that using the Squad as your hammer puts the Captain in harms way too readily, risking Slay the Warlord. Maybe another HQ as Warlord who’s job it is to hang back?
·         Bike Squads. Mixed feelings about these. The ability to have (in effect) 4 special weapons (combi on the sarg. 2 specials, and the Multi Melta attack bike) can be devastating. Combine that with their speed, and they are very handy scoring units. The problem however is that to get the benefit of the special weapons you need to put them in harms way, which can dramatically deplete your scoring units. Perhaps running 2 full squads, which can combat squad down to 2 scoring units, and 2 special weapons units?
·         Stormtalons. I quite liked how these guys worked. The turret mounted Assault Cannon make them much more flexible than flyers with fixed weapons. Also, being able to go into Hover Strike mode helps later in the game when you really need to kill stuff, and you’re not too bothered about them being blown out the sky.
·         Predators. These were a big let down. Perhaps it was because I only played marines, but they just didn’t kill stuff (other than in my 5th game when they took out the terminators, but that was more my opponents horrible saving throws!).

However, the biggest weakness in the list is if the opponent keeps their army more or less together. Then you have little option but to either keep away and try and grab objectives (which is a very valid tactic in objective games), or charge the gun line, and the bikes are just not survivable enough to do that.

I’m beginning to think the way to go is to take a couple of frightening things in drop pods. If I take a pod for the Command Squad, I can take 2 others that will come in first turn. If I drop the Stormtalons and the Predators I could take an Ironclad in one, and some Sternguard plus Lysander in the other. Alternatively I could take 2 ironclads, and (perhaps) keep a Stormtalon. So, if my opponent sticks together the Ironclad and the Sternguard come down and give them something to worry about until the bikes get there. If they spread out to avoid the “alpha strike” then my bikes can isolate the units and gang up on them one by one.

An alternative might be to take 2 Captains, and 2 Command Squads – that would certainly be more survivable.


Thursday, 25 October 2012

6th Edition Changes that Dark Eldar Don’t Care About

This post has come about as the results of my Dark Eldar 6th edition play testing. When 6th edition dropped I went back to the drawing board with my Dark Eldar but more and more I’ve found the armies I was using towards the end of 5th edition have made the transition almost whole into 6th.

As I was re-reading the rulebook I realised that it was because several of the changes in 6th have little to no impact on the Dark Eldar. Below I’m going to go through some of the rules changes that stand out the most to me.

This is also a good time to say that some aspects of 6th have massively affected Dark Eldar and I’ll be covering those in a later post.

Dark Eldar were always an army that were quite mechanised in the past. So the changes to the vehicle rules are a good place to start.

In 6th edition fast vehicles can now move at cruising speed and fire 2 weapons (at full ballistic skill) instead of firing one weapon. This is great or my Blood Angels LasPlas Razorbacks but Ravengers have aerial assault so could always fire up to 3 weapons at full ballistic skill.  The Raider and the Venom have 1 and 2 weapons respectively so also aren’t effected by the changes.

All skimmers now get a 5+ cover save when they move but Venoms come with flicker fields and most people bought them for their Raiders or Ravengers, so all this change amounts to is a points saving depending on how many flicker fields you used to purchase.

It is now impossible to assault from a vehicle that isn’t an assault vehicle or opened topped. All Dark Eldar vehicles with a transport capacity are open topped. Enough said.

The damage table is different; vehicles now only explode on a 6 after a penetrating hit. Thing is ap2 weapons now have +1 on the damage table meaning that for the majority of Dark Eldar anti-tank weapons the damage table is exactly the same.

One thing that my Blood Angels really enjoy is the randomisation of which weapon is removed when a weapon destroyed result on the damage table. Every time a storm bolter is blown off one of my vindicators instead of the demolisher cannon I let myself grin like an idiot. While this change is awesome for certain vehicles, I’ve never seen any Dark Eldar vehicles (flyers not withstanding) that have a mix of weapon options.

That’s most of the vehicle options covered I’m now going to go over some of the other changes.

Bikes now get a 5+ cover save when they move but with the changes to skilled rider, Reavers now get a 4+ cover save and can still turbo-boost to get a 3+. I used to always have my jetbikes in cover or turbo boosting so there’s very little difference for me.

The changes to power weapons (and for Dark Eldar, agonizers) were supposed to have great implications for everyone not just Dark Eldar. Thing is, I always shot terminators. Weight of fire did the job, taking them on in combat wasn’t often considered unless it was tar-pitting with Whyches or through weight of attacks from a full unit of Hellions.

We also only have the one model with a 2+ save that isn’t invulnerable, so the other side of the change isn’t really felt either.

Furious Charge has been nerfed a bit; you now no longer get the inititive bonus along with the point of strength. Being Dark Eldar out models have naturally high initiative anyway so this change hasn’t had as great an impact on Dark Eldar as it has on some other armies.

Night Fight is a pretty big deal for some people. It will make its presence felt in most games and you have to adjust. Thankfully all our units and vehicles have night vision and therefore completely ignore this entire section of the rules. I’ve found this drives other people mad.

That’s most of the basics out of the way. I’m now going to talk about three of the newest aspects of the game: Allies, Fortifications and Fliers

Allies: I’m saving this for another post but I don’t think Dark Eldar really want allies. Their play style needs units that can keep up and nothing really can. Taking allies should counteract one of your armies weaknesses (look at EYIG’s post on allies for Tau for great examples) but to counteract the major weakness of the Dark Eldar (fragility) you need to invest in durable units. These units tend to have quite a high points cost attached. They also tend to be slow and lack the raw aggression of a lot of the Dark Eldar war host.

Fortifications: Again these don’t fit with the Dark Eldar play style. I’ve never found staying still with my Dark Eldar an option so why would I want to hide behind a defence line or occupy a bastion. The Skyshield landing pad may have some potential as a Ravenger base but a lot of tournaments are disallowing them and given the ease that cover saves can be gained by vehicles (only 25% obscured to get the 4+) I can’t justify paying the points for one. The only person I can see using something like an aegis defence line is the Duke in a large warrior squad, or allies if they are taken. Unfortunately all of our vehicles are on anti grav bases so the ageis defence line is too small to offer our vehicles a cover save in the same way it seems to for everyone else. Now if Dark Eldar could get some kind of aegis badminton net I’d be all for it.

Flyers: Dark Eldar get 2 flyers, the Razorwing and the Void Raven. My preference is for the Void Raven over the Razorwing, as Dark Eldar already do anti infantry so well that I feel that using one of our heavy support slots on more anti infantry is a waste. The Void Raven comes with strength 9 lances which kind of make up for the missing shot compared to the Ravenger. That last sentence really highlights my problem with the fliers. They’re not Ravengers. For the price of 2 Void Ravens with flicker fields you could have 3 Ravengers. That’s another target to destroy and a total of 9 lances compared to 4. I may need to play test them more but I’m waiting to be convinced. One aspect of our fliers that is great however is the Flicker Field. I add them to every flier I take. The ability to still effectively gain jink without having to snap fire next turn is a great advantage in keeping your fliers alive and effective.

That’s it for this post. I’ll be adding the counter point; “6th Edition Changes That Dark Eldar Really Do Care About” next week.

As always c&c is welcome.


Monday, 22 October 2012

Rapid Fire 1850 Tournament

Next Tournament is at the end of the month. No allies and no fortifications – so I think I’ll take my bikes. Here’s the list


Captain on a bike with artificer armour, a lightening claw and a power fist

Command squad.            Bike 1, Power Lance and Power Axe
                                                Bike 2, Power Lance and Power Axe
                                                Bike 3, Storm shield
                                                Bike 4, Storm Shield
                                                Bike 5, Apothecary

Bike Squad 1                      Sergeant with Combi Plasma, melta bombs
                                                2x bikes with Plasma Gun
                                                2x standard bikes
                                                MM Attack Bike

Bike Squad 2                      Sergeant with Combi Plasma, melta bombs
                                                2x bikes with Plasma Gun
                                                2x standard bikes
                                                MM Attack Bike

Bike Squad 3                      Sergeant with Combi Melta
                                                2x bikes with Melta Guns
                                                2x standard bikes
                                                MM Attack Bike

Storm Talon with Skyhammer Missiles x 2

Dakka Predator x 3

I have only played one game with this army, last Wednesday at the non-club. It was against my regular opponent who usually plays a foot slogging space wolves list, with some drop pods. However this time he ran 4 dreadnaughts (one of them Bjorn) a couple of LCTLPlasma razorbacks and a Landraider - all full of grey hunters/wolf guard in various configurations.  We played annihilation and vanguard strike.

It was a fun game (as they always are), but it showed me there is a learning curve with a bike army. I made a lot of mistakes, and played somewhat ineptly (I kept forgetting about FNP on the Command Squad, and about the “Jink” save that all bikes get now). Also, I suspect that the command squad is a mistake (it did nothing all game) – more scoring bikes would be better I think. Also, I’m not persuaded that the predators are the way to go. The army was built as a 1500pt army, the predators are there to make up the points to 1750. They were really the only things I had that sort of worked.

So, I’m not expecting great things from this tourney in terms of wins (as opposed to my stellar performance at the last one!), but I hope to learn a lot about how the army works, and to work out how it might be built more effectively.

That’s one of the great things about tournament –the intensity of experience you get from playing 6 games with the same army in 2 days. You can’t beat it!


Friday, 12 October 2012

Prospective Blog Wars 4 Lists

Inspired by Alex talking about his army for Blog Wars 4 I thought I’d discuss my prospective Blog Wars 4 lists.

For those of you who didn’t know Blog Wars 4 is a Warhammer 40,000 tournament ran by Alex, author of the From the Fang blog. It uses the full 6th ed rules and by that I do mean full. Everything from mysterious terrain to the Fortress of Redemption is in. The only restriction is that your army must contain a special character. Further information can be found here:

I went to Blog Wars 3 this summer and it was an awesome days gaming. I took my Dark Eldar that time (led by the Baron) and to be honest I was just playing my standard Dark Elder build. The only real change was I took out some Trueborn and fielded around 18 Reaver Jetbikes.

I’ve been playing  Dark Eldar pretty much constantly for about a year now so I fancy a change, given the low amount of power armour present at the last blog wars I don’t feel too bad getting my Blood Angels out again.

I’ve got 2 lists in mind. None of them the most competitive thing in the world but they should be fun to run.

List 1: Bling Angels! 1850pts

Old Man Dante

Honour Guard: Jump Packs, 4 Plasma Guns

2 Sanguinary Priests: Jump Packs

Sanguinary Guard: 2 Infernus Pistols, Power Fist

Sanguinary Guard: 2 Infernus Pistols, Power Fist

Sanguinary Guard: 2 Infernus Pistols

Sanguinary Guard: 2 Infernus Pistols

5 Scouts: Sniper Rifles, Camo Cloaks

5 Devistators: 4 Missile Launchers

5 Devistators: 4 Missile Launchers

It’s pretty obvious what this list is all about. Can you cope with 20 flying terminators? Everything else is just support. The devs will soften things up and hopefully give me a stab at getting first blood. The scouts are the usual stay in reserve/go to ground brigade.

Dante makes the Sanguinary Guard scoring and prays that his 2+ armour save and 4++ will make up for his initiative 2 (stupid axe! Rant coming later) and lack of eternal warrior (I’ve kind of got over this one).

Priests supply furious charge and feel no pain. I honestly feel that feel no pain has got better on Sanguinary Guard. A 2+ armour save generally kept them safe from small arms fire and being able to get FNP on the ride in should help to mitigate all that plasma that seems to be around these days. After the latest FAQ I’ll be making sure there is at least one axe in ever squad of Sang Guard. I’m not sure if the price of the Fist is worth it now they can effectively get a master crafter power axe for free.

They do have a weakness to other elite infantry though but hopefully a dash of plasma fury from the honour guard will help to thin their numbers a bit. The imbedded priest is a tasty bonus.

As an aside I haven’t given the Sang Priests any other wargear bar the jump pack they need to keep up with the rest of the army because there are no characters in Sang Guard units so the priests are going to be turning down challenges left and right!     

I’m under no illusions that the list will struggle against flyers and any list with a lot of ap2 shooting, but as I said at the start of the article it’s a list that will be fun to play. The only real problem is that I’m working away during the week so finding the time to paint up 25 golden marines will be difficult. Particularly as I’d like to NMM the lot.

Ok now’s a good time for the Dante rant: Why In The Name of All That is Holy Does His Axe Make Him Strike At I1!!! Seriously! Kharn’s axe does similar things and he gets to strike at I5. Dante’s high initiative and number of attacks, was one of the ways you could hope to mitigate his lack of eternal warrior, before some jumped up Serg or Grey Knight decided it was time for the old man to head the way of his Primarch. Mysterious FAQ writers please make him strike at initiative! He was one of the better Blood Angels characters but now I’m not so sure.

Rant over. Steps off soap box. Time for list 2

List 2: Rolling Thunder or Make Your Own Cover 1850pts


Sanguinary Priest: Jump Pack

10 Assault Marines: 2 Plasma Guns, Lightning Claw

10 Assault Marines: 2 Plasma Guns, Lightning Claw    

10 Assault Marines: 2 Melta Guns, Lightning Claw

5 Scouts: Sniper Rifles, Camo Cloaks

Baal Predator: Twin Linked Assault Cannon, Heavy Bolter Sponsons

Baal Predator: Twin Linked Assault Cannon, Heavy Bolter Sponsons

Predator: Autocannon, Lascannon Sponsons



The gist of this list is fairly self-explanatory. There are 5 front armour 13 vehicles for the assault marines and Sanguinor to hide behind. There’s not as much feel no pain around but the weapons I’d normally need it for will be focusing on the tanks.

The Baal Preds can soften up hordes and light armour. They might be able to help with flyers due to a high rate of fire and twin linked on the assault cannons.

The standard pred provides long range anti-tank. I’ve always like this set up and being able to move 12” and fire both lascannons at full BS with a snap fired auto cannon is pretty awesome.

Vindicators are the terrifying machines they always were. They handle Paladins, Nob Bikers etc that this list can’t really cope with. The old one gun syndrome has been slightly mitigated by the changes to glancing/penetrating hits and random rolls for which weapon goes.

I’m starting to warm to the Sanguinor in this edition. He doesn’t do anything against 2+ armour saves unfortunately but he is a great assassin. The ability to re roll hits and wounds against one of your opponents HQ choices fits very nicely with the blog wars ethos and missions. He isn’t an independent character but can hide behind the wall of tanks until it’s time for strike.

Weakness wise this list is also going to struggle against flyers and Dark Eldar are going to laugh at it. On the plus side I do have everything bar the Sanguinor and the sergeants painted. I do want to repaint all my assault marines but I think I’ve got painting red down now it shouldn’t be too hard to paint 10 assault marines in a week.

I’ll put the lists up there for the internet to discuss. To reiterate I’m not after something crazy good, as long as there’s some teeth to the list and it’s fun to play I’ll be happy.

I expect EYIG will have some words to say on list one as I’m pretty sure he’s ran the Sanguinary Guard in large numbers before.

Hope that made for interesting reading. Until next time.


Thursday, 11 October 2012

Tau List Review

FU_2PartyBoy asked me for my thoughts on the following list

Commander Shas'o: Eject, BSF, Drone, Multi-Tracker
2x Gun Drone

10 Kroot

2x 6 Firewarrior w/ DFish (D-Pod Spines Gun Drones)

2x (seperate FOC slot) Piranhas (DPod spines fusion gundrones)

2 Broadside (shas'ver, sms, drone, mulit tracker, BSF, 2 shield drones

2x Hammerhead (Railgun, SMS, Target array, BSF, DPod, MultiTracker, Spines, TArget Lock)

Eldrad (traded powers for Divination Book powers)

2x 3 Guardian Jet Bikes (1 cannon each squad)

3 Shining Spears w/ Exarch (cannon starlance)

My initial thoughts were that for a 2000pt Tau list, there simply isn’t enough shooting, nor enough scoring units, given how fragile they are (the Kroot and Jet Bikes). So how would I change it?

I’ve already posted a little about Tau with Eldar allies. In brief they work really well at boosting the strengths of a Tau army i.e. they make Tau shooting even more deadly. Eldrad casting prescience on Fireknife squads or on large squads of fire warriors is just horrible. However, the problem is it does not “solve” the perennial Tau weakness - squishy troops with low leadership. Another aspect of the same weakness is the lack of effective bubble wrap, with the changes in cover saves making Kroot less effective. The question is how do you cover these weaknesses?

But first, comments on the list. Bear in mind that while going through it, I’m looking to save points for more guns and more troops.

HQ – Firstly, there is no need to pay the extra points for a Shaso over a Shasel. The extra point of leadership, BS, WS and a wound is not IMHO worth it. The weapons are not listed but I suspect the HQ suit is a Fireknife (plasma rifle and missile pod), as it lists a multi tracker. That’s pretty standard, and fine if your want him to run with another fire knife squad – we’ll come back to that. The ejector system is just not necessary.

Kroot – Kroot aren’t so good in 6th edition because cover saves are 5+, not 4+, and you can focus fire models that aren’t in cover. However, given the need for more troops and bubble wrap, I suspect we’re stuck with them. However, we will need more than 10.

Fire Warriors – I’m beginning to reassess my position on Firewarriors. I still think BS3 Leadership 7 Fire warriors are rubbish, but if you can get round that…..! We’ll come back to these as well.

Devilfish are expensive, but with Dpods really resilient. Not sure spines are necessary, but I could be persuaded on that.

Piranhas – In 5th piranhas were great at blocking armour before it crashed your lines. Now I’m not so sure. The ease with which they are hit in close combat, only having 2 hull points, and the fact that people are generally taking less armour, would tempt me to leave them at home and use the points elsewhere.

Broadsides – yes. Broadsides are still one of the best units in the codex and are in almost every list I run. There is no need for the multi tracker though – you are unlikely to want to shoot a rail gun and the SMS at the same time. I usually run them with targeting arrays for BS4.

Hammer heads – I’m still pretty undecided about Hammerheads in 6th. While they are super resilient with AV13 and a 3+ cover save from d pods, the fact of the matter is they’re really expensive, and their damage output is pretty rubbish for the points invested. I would be tempted to trade them in for 2 more Broadsides, and use the points saved elsewhere.

As for the Eldar allies drop the shinning spears. I used to play Eldar a lot before I fell in love with the blue fish guys. I could never get shinning spears to work. They are simply too fragile, and ever more so now that turbo boost only gives a 4+ save rather than a 3+.

So with that out of the way – what might the list look like? Well I’m going to suggest a reasonably “traditional” gunline list, using fire warriors and suits. It’s an idea I’ve been thinking about and I have not play tested it at all, but in my head it sounds good!

First up we need synergy with Eldrad rolling on the Divination table – essentially that means units that benefit from prescience. Some of the other powers are amazing, but you can’t really build an army around them as they’re random – but you can rely on prescience being cast twice per turn. The two units that benefit most from prescience are Firewarriors and Fireknife suits. If your’re taking Eldrad, IMHO you should take 2 full squads of Firewarriors, and 2 squads of Fireknives. That way you can decide what you need to boost each turn, depending on the situation– torrent of fire, or high strength, low AP weapons. But there are more choices to make before we move away from Firewarriors and Fireknives!

First the Firewarriors. The problem is low leadership and fragility. I think you can do 2 things about fragility – first, take an Aegis defense line, and second take 2 devilfish. If the FW deploy behind the defense line they get a 4+ cover save. Everybody knows that. However, devilfish have landing gear, and in any turn they don’t move can be deployed off their stand behind the defense line for a 2+ save. Fewer people know that! So you can either deploy your FWs behind the line beside the fish if you’re going first and have a juicy target to shoot at, or behind the line in their fish if you want to protect them for a turn.

Leadership is a bit trickier. The “easy” way is to put Eldrad in one squad, and your Shasel in the other, giving Eldrad’s squad leadership 10 and the Shasel’s squad leadership 9. If you go down this route you might want to give your Shasel Iridium armour and a couple of shield drones and deploy him front and centre, using him to “tank” wounds for the squad. The trickier, but perhaps more effective way, is to take an ethereal. He will make one squad fearless, and give all Tau units (sadly not Kroot) a reroll on any leadership test. The problem is you still have to take a Shasel, so it’s an additional 50pts. On balance I’m not persuaded the Ethereal is worth it.

As for the Fireknives, the decision is whether to take them as Elite slots, or as bodyguards for 2 Shasels. The issue is accuracy – you can boost body guard Fireknives to BS4 by giving them targeting arrays and HW Multi-trackers, you can’t do that with Elite Fireknives. The boost in accuracy however comes at a significant additional cost. Given we have prescience, we’ll stick with Elite Fireknives.

Next we need more troops. We could take another unit of Firewarriors, but without a way to boost their crappy BS outside of prescience, I’m not sure that’s the answer. If you could run Forge World units I might be tempted to take them with a couple of tetras, but otherwise I think we are stuck with Kroot. In addition, we need something to stop fast assault troops and deep strikers, and while not as good as they used to be, Kroot are our only option. They are also handy as a disruption unit coming on via outflank. So we will take a bunch of kroot as points allow.

Next, Broadsides and/or Hammerheads. Given that the plan is to deploy Firewarriors and Fireknives behind the Aegis, in a gunline, I think Broadsides win over Hammerheads. As points allow, 2 squads of 2 with targeting arrays and HW BSF and HW Drone Controller on the team leader, and a couple of Shield Drones.

Finally allies – and that’s reasonably easy – Eldrad with 2 squads of Guardian jet bikes. Eldrad ‘casue he’s awesome, and the Jet bikes for very fast troops for last minute objective grabs/ contesting/linebreaker. Putting a positional relay on the Shasel is also a good idea to try and keep them off the board until turn 4.

Putting it all together something like this

HQ – Shasel, Twin Linked Missile Pods, Positional Relay, Iridium Armour, HW BSF, HW Drone Controler. 2 Shield Drones


12 Fire Warriors Devilfish Disruption Pod
12 Firewarriors, Devilfish, Disruption Pod

10 Kroot
10 Kroot
10 Kroot


XV8 Team Leader, Plasma Rifle, Missile Pod, Multitracker, HW BSF, HW Drone Controller, 2 Shield Drones
2 x XV8 Plasma Rifle, Missile Pod, Multitracker

XV8 Team Leader, Plasma Rifle, Missile Pod, Multitracker, HW BSF, HW Drone Controller, 2 Shield Drones
2 x XV8 Plasma Rifle, Missile Pod, Multitracker

Heavy Support

XV88 team leader, Targeting Array, HW BSF, HW Drone Controller, 2 Shield Drones
XV88, Targeting Array

XV88 team leader, Targeting Array, HW BSF, HW Drone Controller, 2 Shield Drones
XV88, Targeting Array


Aegis Defense Line


2 x 3 Guardian Jet Bikes

This comes in a few points short (30ish), which you could use for bits and bobs, or if you feel the need, drop a couple of fire warriors and get a quad gun. The idea behind the list is that you sit behind your defense line and blow stuff away, using Eldrad’s buffing powers. You keep the ‘Fish “hull down” for a 2+ save protecting the fire warriors, unless/until they need to redeploy. The Kroot bubble wrap if necessary, or alternatively outflank if that would help. The Jet Bikes are kept off the board (using the Positional Relay) until turn 4 when they swoop in and snatch objectives.  

At least that’s the theory! As I said I have not played this list. I’ve played a variation of it without the Aegis, which was a classic “glass hammer”. The thinking behind the Aegis is to make it a little more robust.

If you think this could work for you, please let me know how you get on play testing it. My next tourni doesn’t allow allies, so I’m going to run my bikers until November so wont be playing Tau for a bit.