Friday, 14 December 2012

Drop Pod List Analysis

I really enjoyed playing this list. Despite being an all pod army, it’s reasonably flexible, but at the same time needs a bit of thought.

Things that were awesome

  • Vulcan. Being able to twin link flamers and melta guns makes the alpha strike much more reliable. Also, while not being the beast that Lysander is, with his MC Relic Blade, Digital Weapons, 2+, 3++ saves, and FNP from the Command Squad, he’s no slouch in a fight. He’s also great at “tanking” wounds from anything with Interceptor.
  • Command Squad. I only really included them to get the 7th pod, but they worked really well as a special weapons platform. They were especially good as a plasma platform with FNP from the Apothecary. I think I only lost one guy to an overheat all weekend. One think I thought about, but never did, was doubling up on special weapons. Each vet can take 2 special weapons – so I could run both melta and plasma on each guy. However, I suspect it’s too many points in one T4, 3+ single wound model. Maybe 2 flamers on the plasma guys? It’s only 5 points each. Five points for a twin linked flamer is pretty good value. Alternatively, for the same points I could run 4 melta guns and 4 flamers i.e. a melta and flamer on each guy. Makes charging them a worry (BTW I realise that I can only fire one weapon per turn!).
  • Heavy Flamers.  The 2, twin linked Heavy Flamers on the Dreads were deadly to anything not in power armour. Being able to deploy them from the Pod 6” allows you to line up the “perfect” placement.
  • Sternguard. The Swiss army knife of the Marine Codex. With some combi weapons, they have an answer to everything. Also they combine really well with Lysander. He makes their bolters twin linked, tanks wounds that might wipe them out, and makes your opponent think twice before charging them ( i.e. twin linked Vengance Rounds on Overwatch plus the Fist of Dorn!). However, not sure melta guns on the Sternguard are the way to go. I put them there because I didn’t think Vulcan’s special rule twin linked combi melta’s. However, having re read the rules, I think it does. Combi Meltas would be better as I keep the special ammo.
  • Pods. I know there is a lot of chatter on the Internet about Rhinos and Razorbacks not being as bad in 6th as everybody first thought, but IMHO pods, are much better. Being able to react to your opponent’s deployment (whether going first or second) is golden. Being able to deploy 6” on the drop makes scatter less of an issue, and storm bolters are great at knocking off the odd wound, and finishing off that last remaining squad member – not to mention knocking down FMCs! Another thing I hadn’t though of before, is that they’re great at blocking off parts of the board. In game 3 I was able to stop the Chaos Lord and Kharn getting to my army for a couple of turns. In game 4 I was able to block the Chainfist wielding Lone Wolves from getting to my Dreads (in the end it didn’t matter as they died first turn anyway), and in the last game I was able to build a “pod wall” to stop the demons getting to my troops. They are susceptible to hard counters however – specifically interceptor, warp quake and Coteaz “I’ve been expecting you”.

 Things that weren’t so good

  • Combi Plasma weapons. Not sure it’s worth the 10pts to put them on the Tac Squad Sergeants. In most games I never got to fire them. Also putting them on Sternguard risks an expensive “overheat”.
  • Iron Clads. While the Heavy Flamers were golden, the Dread’s themselves are a bit lack luster. With AV13 front and sides they are pretty robust, and they murder vehicles, but they get bogged down too easily in prolonged combats. Don’t get me wrong – that can be a good thing. In game 4 one of them tar pitted the guard blob squad for most of the game. But it can also be annoying when there are other things for them to do. I wonder whether taking more Sternguard and giving them Heavy Flamers might be better.
  • Lysander. Don’t get me wrong, he’s great at babysitting the Sternguard, and at dealing with the hard stuff (he finished off the Mauler Fiend in game 3, and Little Geek’s Fiends in game 5). However, there is an opportunity cost – can I spend the 200pts on something better?

Overall weaknesses?

  • In game 2 I was lucky I got first turn and Hesh didn’t get warp quake off before my pods came in.
  • Generally I’m weak against fast armies, but given the style of the army I can’t think of anything I can do about that.
  • I have no answer to psykers. If I could get some psychi defence it would also help against warp quake.
  • Despite my win against Little Geek, I’m weak against Demons, and Wraiths might be tricky. A Null Zone libby might help.
  • I have no flyer defence, other than twin linked multi meltas! Maybe a Stormtalon or 2?


I’ve thought about a couple of changes over the last few days. The first was to swap out the Iron Clads for more Sternguard. However, on balance I think I’ll keep the ‘clads. They are a great delivery platform for the Flamers, and having something big and scary, which can bog down stuff that might kill the rest of your army (e.g. Wraiths), is a good thing. I think I’ll  strip the Combi Plasma’s from the Sternguard, and stick with combi melta. I’m going to take out the melta guns on the Sternguard.

I’ve also thought about a more radical overhall to make the army more mobile, or to give it some anti flyer capacity. The obvious answer is to combine it with some scoring bikes, and to add in a couple of Stormtalons. However, that’s a completely different army. I like the “theme” of an all podding list (not saying I wont build the pods, bikes and ‘Talon list in the future, ‘casue I think it would be really fun).

The big decision is Lysander. I’m thinking about swapping him out for a Libby with Null Zone and Gate. Null Zone to help against Demons and Wraiths, and Gate to get the Sternguard out of tricky situations, or to give a tac squad way more mobility. That would leave me 100pts for more Sternguard. Alternatively I could ally in a Jet Bike Farseer with Runes of Warding and Fortune, along with 3 Guardian Jet Bikers for 196pts. This would give me psychic defence, and a fast scoring unit.

However, I played a couple of games against a Grey Knight List with Coteaz and strike squads at the non-club on Wednesday. This is a very bad match up for a podding list. I was lucky and won both (one of the justicars blew his head of while falling to get Warp Quake off, and “I’ve been expecting you” bounced of the Iron Clads). However, in one of the games I played a libby rather than Lysander. What it showed me is how vulnerable the Sternguard are to units with Interceptor without Lysander to tank wounds (“I’ve been expecting you” is essentially a short ranged multi shot version of interceptor).

So, is it worth giving up Lysander for a Null Zone Libby and some Sternguard? Alternatively, is it worth giving up Lysander for a Farseer and 3 guardian jet bikes? Or should I keep him to baby sit the Sternguard.

Thoughts please.


Games of War Tourni Part 2

Game 4

 Day 2 and I’m up against Space Wolves with Guard allies. Two Rune Priests, 2 Lone Wolves (TDA, Storm Shield and Chain Fist i.e. ideal for ripping my Dreads appart), 3 squads of Grey Hunters and 2 Long Fang packs. Primaris Psyker and a 40 man blob, a Collosus Mortar, and Marbo. All hiding behind an Aegis Defence Line with a Quad Gun. He rolled all sorts of horrible stuff on the Psyk charts. Seize Ground with 5 objectives. 

I got first turn and took it. I wanted to get my alpha strike in before he could cast his psychic powers. He set up behind the Aegis with pretty much everything, bar the 3 packs of Grey Hunters and Marbo who was in reserve. The problem with that of course was that it bunched everything up. The only thing he had in front of the Aegis were the 2 Lone Wolves, trying to push back my pods.

The Alpha Strike worked like a dream. The 'Clads came down and toasted a Long Fang squad, one of the Rune Priests and some of the Blob. The Command Squad came down and killed one Lone Wolf (one plasma gunner died to an over heat), while the Sternguard blew the other one off the board. In response he scratched some paint on a Drop Pod – I had deployed Vulcan in front of the Command Squad, and Lysander in Front of the Sternguard. They “tanked” all the incoming fire on their 2+, 3++.

In my turn 2 the rest of the Pods came in and it was pretty much game over. Highlights were one of the ‘Clads ripping the Mortar apart, me stupidly charging a tac squad into the blob, and then discovering there were a bunch of Power Axes in  there, and one of 2 surviving Sternguard stealing my opponents quad gun and killing Marbo after the rest of their squad were blown apart by Marbo’s demo charge. Revenge was sweet!


Game 5

 Against Little Geek’s Demons. I was dreading this. I have not yet beaten Little Geeks Demons in 6th Ed. His list is horrible (although perhaps not optimised as demon lists go). Fateweaver, Blood Thirster, Demon Prince, 6 Flamers, 2 x 5 Screamers, 2x6 fiends and 2 squads of Plague Bearers.

(If you will forgive a moment of fatherly pride – my 12 year old son was on top table!)

We were playing old Capture and Control. He got first turn and gave it to me, which is exactly what I would have done. Hmmmm….! What to do. But then a brain wave. If I was reasonably lucky with pod placement I could build a “wall of pods” round his objective and hide behind them, giving me more time to dakka down his army. If I brought the Sternguard and the Command Squad down with 2 of the tac squads, that's a load of bolt guns. It would also leave one tac squad to try and snatch my objective, and the ‘Clads to toast something once the demons came in. If the wall is round his objective, and I mange to weather the storm, then not only to I get his objective, but I also get Linebreaker.

It worked like a charm. After a couple of worrying moments with scattering pods, I built the wall. The Demons came down and were about to pounce. However, my ‘Clads came down and put so many wounds on the Flamers that I punched through the re-rollable 5++ and took them down (assisted by a rapid firing tac squad). Then another brain wave – by then I had 7 pods on the table, each of them with a storm bolter. That’s a lot of potential sixes to force grounding test on Fateweaver. So on the 3rd six, Fateweaver hits the deck and takes a wound – then the Sternguard polish him off. With Fateweaver down, suddenly the army’s not nearly so scary.

The rest of the game was pretty close – the Bloodthirster ran riot ripping my dread to bits. The Demon Prince ripped a tac squad apart, before succumbing to Vulcan and his Command Squad. In turn the Fiends massacred Vulcan and friends, and put 2 wounds on Lysander before going down to the Fist of Dorn, and I only made the other objective by the skin of my teeth before the game ended. If it had gone on, the Bloodthirster and or the other Fiend pack would have massacred the tac squad on my objective for a draw, and if he could also have taken out Lysander (likely), Little Geek would have won. But it ended Turn 5.

So in the end I held both objectives and had Kill the Warlord and Line breaker. Little Geek got first blood and Line Breaker.

Close one!

List analysis and thougths to follow.


Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Games o War Bat Reps Part 1

Game one

Against Dark Eldar….oh dear! Can’t remember exactly, but something like a Venom with trueborn, one with Incubi, 2 raiders with warriors, one with witches, a Ravager, and one of the flyers – can’t remember which one. Mission was Big Guns with 5 objectives.

My opponents should have spread out well away from the objectives forcing me to drop near him to kill his stuff, thus taking me off the objectives. With my limited mobility I would have struggled to both alpha strike him, and take objectives. Especially if he played “keep away” and just dakkaed me down at range. He sort of did this, but on the first wave I managed to kill both of the warrior’s raiders, and toast the guys inside (twin linked heavy flamers are utterly devastating to anything that doesn’t have a 3+ armour save). My second wave came in and consolidated my grasp of the objectives.

Highlights of the game – my opponent getting his witches out to assault an Iron Clad with haywire grenades and then dark lancing a nearby drop pod, blowing it up, and killing a bunch of the witches! The rest went down to overwatching heavy flamers. Another one that was particularly pleasing (!) was snap firing a multi melta at his flyer, rolling a 6 and blowing it up!

Win to me.

Game 2

Against, Hesh (who sometimes posts here), my old nemesis. We have played a number of times at these tourney’s and I think the best I’ve ever managed is a draw. Frankly, he usually wins the tounri’s at Games of War, and, if I was going to win, I needed to beat him.

Hesh always runs guard (he used to drive a tank for real in the Gulf, so you can forgive him that!). This time his list was something like, Command Squad, lots of troops, 2 Hydra Flak Turrets, 2 Manticores, 3 Vendettas with guys inside, and Marbo. He also had Grey Knight allies – an Inquisitor and a Strike Squad. Mission was Kill points.

I was worried about the Strike Squad and warp quake. However, I got first turn, so my first wave came in before Hesh could get Warp Quake off.  All the pods came in more or less where I wanted them, and the alpha strike was pretty devastating. On his turn Hesh was unlucky with his Manticores and I managed to weather the storm reasonably well, losing a couple of pods and some bodies. On my turn 2 the rest of my pods came in and landed more or less where I wanted them. More importantly, the Iron Clads had survived and did a number on the Hydra’s and the 2 Manticores. In his turn 2 I think all his reserves came in (maybe only 2 Vendettas perhaps?), but the “highlight” was Marbo turning a full tactical squad into a heap of smoking power armour and genetically engineered offal!

After, I think turn 3, it came down to whether his Vendettas could kill enough pods to claw back the kill points lost from having his gun line wiped out. They couldn’t.

Win to me.

Game 3

Against a Chaos Marine list. Khorne Lord on a Juggernaut, in a small squad of Fiends. Kharn, Maulerfiend, 2 squads of Berserkers in  Rhinos, 10 (I think) bikers, Havocs with Auto Cannons, a Vindicator and a Hell drake. Mission was Dawn of War, The Scouring.

Haven’t played a lot against new Chaos, so this would be interesting.

The objectives were spread out all over the board, but with a weighting on the right. My opponent spread out in his deployment area, with bikes and the Drake in reserve. IMHO, this was a bit of a mistake. He had 4 scary things –Kharn, the Lord, the Mauler Fiend and the Vindicator. By spreading them out it allowed me to deal with one or 2 of them at a time.  So I decided to play the game on the right hand side of the board and alpha strike the Havocs, the Fiend and a squad of Berzerkers. The Dreads hit the Havocs, the Stenguard hit the Berzerkers and the Command Squad hit the Fiend. All of them failed to a greater or lesser extent!

The dreads left 2 Havocs standing, the Sternguard left 3 or 4 Berzerkers to charge them next turn…and everything just bounced off the Fiend! But not to worry, the pods had come down in such a way as to block off the right of the board and the Lord, Kharn and the Vindi would struggle to get to my army.

This was a really close game, which swung from one side to the other, with some crazy dice rolling. On turn 2 my opponent’s bikes came on killing one of my Dreads. In turn I killed the whole squad with one and a half tactical squads. My opponents kept rolling handfuls of ones and 2s. On turn 4 his Hell Drake had to hover to draw a line on some Sternguard. That gave me a chance to fire 2 twin linked Multi Meltas and 2 twin linked melta guns at it – all of which missed!

In the end, the game turned on whether I could kill his Heldrake (which was sitting on an objective – remember it’s fast attack and scores)  with a Multi Melta, which was about 5mm in range. I did. Great game, and another win.

So on to day 2.


Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Games of War Tourni

Just back from the Games of War Tournament run by Sir67. Little Geek and I had a blast. I always enjoy these tournaments, they’re challenging, without being too “hard core”, friendly, and usually pull in a variety of armies. It also gives Little Geek and I time for just the 2 of us, away from Mrs Geek and the Geeklets.

So, I did a complete about face and took a Drop Podding Marine army! Why – well largely because I have 7 pods on the shelf that are doing nothing and also for something completely different. I also had a feeling that pods would be better now because of 2 things – first you can deploy 6 inches from the pod, and second, your opponent needs to deploy half his force on the table.

These tournaments are 1750 on day one and 2000 on day 2. My list was very similar both days. I’ll note the changes from the basic 1750 list to the 2000 list.

Lysander, ‘cause he’s a beast and he makes my sternguard twin linked

Vulcan, ‘cause who doesn’t love twin linked meltas and flamers

Command Squad, 2 melta guns, 2 plasma guns, Drop Pod

Iron Clad, with Twin Heavy Flamers, Drop Pod, at 2000pts, these guys got hunter killer missiles, which were a complete waste of points.

Iron Clad, with Twin Heavy Flamers, Drop Pod

7 Sternguard, 2 melta guns, 3 combi plasma guns, Drop Pod, at 2000 pts this became 10 man, and acquired 3 combi meltas.

Tactical Squad, Multi Melta, Plasma Gun, Combi Plasma, Drop Pod

Tactical Squad, Multi Melta, Plasma Gun, Combi Plasma, Drop Pod

5 Man Tac Squad with nothing, Drop Pod. At 2000pts this became a full tac squad same as the others.

The general tactics were that Lysander would go with the Sternguard, and Vulcan would go with the Command Squad. I would normally start everything in reserve. Nine times out of 10 (or in fact 4 times out of 5 at this tournament) the Dreads would come down first turn with the Command Squad and the Sternguard and kill stuff, while the tac squads come in later and supported the heavy hitters, while also snatching objectives.

My big worries were dark elder – they are so fast they can just run away from me all game (the longest ranged weapons in my army is 24”), flyers, especially hell drakes with baleflamers (I would just need to duck), and little Geeks Demons (really didn’t have a plan for those TBH, other than to die horribly!).

Anyway, usual format – brief bat reps to come, and then overall analysis.


Monday, 10 December 2012

Games of War Tourney Report

This weekend saw Games of War host its’ Winter tournament, ran by yours truly.
This was my first tournament as organiser. Previously the tourneys had been ran by Sean Griffis and were always a great success. Due to Sean expanding his family (congratulations by the way Sean!!) he had to take some time off from 40k. Fittingly enough the last tourney ran by Sean used the 5th Ed rules and ended up being held on the day 6th Ed arrived!
For my first go as tourney organiser and 6th edition less than a year old I didn’t want to depart too much from the rulebook. The tourney consisted of 5 games over two days. All of the missions and deployments were chosen from the 6th Ed rulebook (relic was omitted). “Warhammer 40,000 Approved” Forgeworld units were allowed. I did allow fortifications apart from the Landing Pad and the Fortress. More due to the size of the models and the fact that I would have to alter the terrain for players to fit them in and keep things balanced than any other reason.
The points limit was 1750pts on the Saturday and 2000pts on the Sunday. The day two point increase is a tradition at Games of War and not something I wanted to change. The extra 250pts doesn’t have to be bolted onto your list, as long as both armies come from the same codex anything goes. For example a Blood Angel player could use an Astorath/Death Company army day one and bring Dante and the Sanguinary Guard day 2.
Players earned 3pts for a win 2pts for a draw and 1pt for a loss. 6th Ed victory points was used as the first tie breaker and 5th Ed victory points was used as a second tie breaker.
There were 16 players in attendance and the armies were spread as follows:
Codex Space Marines (2 Players)

Codex Space Marines w/ Dark Angel Allies

Codex Space Marines w/Blood Angel Allies

Space Wolves w/Imperial Guard Allies

Chaos Space Marines (2 Players)

Imperial Guard

Imperial Guard w/Grey Knight Allies


Dark Eldar

Dark Eldar w/Eldar Allies

Chaos Demons

Grey Knights

Grey Knights w/Blood Angel Allies


As you can see on the list there were quite a few different styles of build on offer and even though half the field was some type of marine, all of the lists were very different.

After a hard fought day 1 the tourney was still anyone’s game. Things didn’t get any better on day 2 but when the dust had settled it was our very own Embrace Your Inner Geek (Dave Calder) that ended up undefeated and taking first place with a Drop Pod list led by Vulkan/Lysander.

As you can see from the results sheet below the overall grouping was still very tight and it really did come down to the last game. Dave was under an extra bit of pressure as his final game was against a vicious Daemon army led by his son Robb.  

Congratulations should also go to Connor Chidley (Space Wolves/Guard) and John Golightly (Chaos Marines) for finishing 2nd and 3rd.

 The astute among you will notice there are 17 names on the result sheet and I mentioned earlier that there were 16 guys in attendance. This is because a few people dropped out after day one. I know this is quite common in the states but it’s the first time I’ve encountered it in Britain and it was disappointing to say the least. On the bright side I’d like to thank Dan Gilcrist for stepping up at the last minute to fill a spot on day 2.

The tourney went pretty smoothly and there were no major dramas. The usual rules queries were either delt with by the players or if I had to rule on something it was accepted and players got on with their games. The majority of the games also finished within the 2.5hr time limit which helped things run smoothly.

The Top Three Army Lists are below. I’ve only included the 1750pts versions.

1st Place: Dave Calder (EYIG) Codex Space Marines

Darnath Lysander

Vulcan Hestan

Command Squad, 2 Melta Guns, 2 Plasma Guns, Apothecary
Drop Pod  

Iron Clad Dreadnaught, 2 Heavy Flamers
Drop Pod

Iron Clad Dreadnaught, Heavy Flamer, Melta Gun
Drop Pod

7 Sternguard, 2 Melta Guns, 3 Combi Plasma Guns
Drop Pod

10 man Tactical Squad, Plasma Gun, Multi Melta
Drop Pod

10 Man Tactical Squad, Plasma Gun, Multi Melta
Drop Pod

5 Man Tactical Squad
Drop Pod

2nd Place: Connor Chidley Space Wolves w/Imperial Guard

Rune Priest - Chooser of the Slain

Rune Priest - Meltabomb

Lone Wolf – Terminator Armour, Chainfist, Storm Shield

Lone Wolf – Terminator Armour, Chainfist, Storm Shield

10 x Grey Hunters - 2 x Plasma Guns, Wolf Banner

10 x Grey Hunters - 2 x Plasma Guns, Wolf Banner

10 x Grey Hunters - 2 x Meltaguns

6 x Long Fangs - 2 x Lascannons, 2 x Plasmacannons, 1 x Missile Launcher

6 x Long Fangs - 2 x Lascannons, 2 x Plasmacannons, 1 x Missile Launcher

Primaris Psyker - Force Axe

Platoon Command Squad - Autocannon

Infantry Squad - Autocannon, Power Axe

Infantry Squad - Autocannon, Power Axe

Infantry Squad - Autocannon, Power Axe

Aegis Defence Line: Quad Gun

3rd Place: John Golightly Chaos Space Marines

Chaos Lord: Mark of Khorne, Juggernaught of Khorne, Axe of Blind Fury, Burning Brand of Scalathrex, Sigil of Corruption, Gift of Mutation, Veterans of the Long War

Kharn the betrayer
8 chaos space marines: Mark of Khorne, Veterans of the Long War
8 chaos space marines: Mark of Khorne, Veterans of the Long War

Heldrake: baleflamer

4 chaos spawn

8 chaos space marine bikes: Mark of Khorne, 2xmeltaguns, power fist
8 chaos havocs: 4x autocannons
Chaos Vindicator
Aegis Defence Line: Quad Gun

If anyone has any questions on the tourney feel free to contact me through the comments section or privately via email.
Until next time.