Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Throne of Skulls List Analysis

The list worked really well. In fact I can’t think of anything I would change. It was as balanced as I could make it, within the 1500pt limit used at TofS.

Everything worked well, but the outstanding performers were the Stormtallons and the TFCs. The TFC’s murdered infantry, and to my surprise, were pretty effective against light vehicles. Also, in game 2, they hit 2 Annihilation Barges with tremor rounds and he immobilised them both!

The Stormtallons were a revelation! Skies of Blood has really buffed them. For 125pts with Skyhammer missiles they’re great value. They eat light armour (games 3 and 4), and murder infantry (games 1 and 5). With their turret mounted assault cannons they can get behind high armour value vehicles and shoot rear armour (game 2 against the Annihilating Barges), and are reasonably good against flyers (Game 5). The “new” strafing run rule makes them BS5 against anything other than a skimmer or flyer, even when flying, and giving them “Hover” make them much more flexible. Love them!

The bikes are trickier to get right. You can’t charge a gun line, or anything scary in assault. You need to play them carefully, pick your targets and concentrate your forces, hit hard and then fade away. Loads of fun.

My only bad match up was the Necron Flyer Spam, but I’m struggling to think of anything I could have done about that. I think it’s a simple fact that, at this stage in  6th edition, flyers have caused a fundamental imbalance in the game. I suspect that will change as the new codexes come out (“cough”… Tau… “cough”), but at the moment, unless you’re prepared to admit you can’t beat them and join them by taking a bunch of Vendettas or Night Scythes, you will struggle against flyer heavy armies.

So my next tourni is at the end of May at 1750pts. I’m torn – I’m enjoying playing the bike army, and have some interesting thoughts on how to bulk it up to 1750 (Ravenwing!)… but Tau are out in 2 weeks….!


Monday, 25 March 2013

Throne of Skulls Report

Got back from Throne yesterday night. As always I had a blast.

While I enjoy the more competitive events like Cally, I also enjoy Throne. It’s a very different experience. Cally (or the GT) is a tournament, where emphasis is placed on hard lists and competitive play. Throne is a hobby event, where everybody goes to have fun and painting and modelling are just as important. Two very different events, both loads of fun.

My only criticism is that they’ve done away with Swiss Paring. Even at a hobby even, I think this is a mistake. Swiss paring allows people to play at their own level – no matter what level that is. What’s the point in somebody who has won their first 4 games playing somebody who lost their first 4 games in game 5? I suspect neither of them will have much fun!

Anyway, the list I took eventually was -

Captain, Bike, Artificer Armour, Power fist, lightening claw

10 Scouts

Bike Squad, 5 man, 2 Plasma Guns, MM Attack Bike, Combi Plasma and Melta Bomb on Sarg
Bike Squad, 5 man, 2 Plasma Guns, MM Attack Bike, Combi Plasma and Melta Bomb on Sarg
Bike Squad, 5 man, 2 Melta Guns, MM Attack Bike, Combi Melta and Melta Bomb on Sarg

Stormtallon with Skyhammer Missiles
Stormtallon with Skyhammer Missiles

Thunder Fire Cannon
Thunder Fire Cannon

I went with integrating the MM Attack Bikes into the squads. It makes them scoring, beefs out squads, and disperses your anti tank threat more evenly.

Game 1

Big Guns Never Tire, Dawn of War against Chaos Marines. Sorcerer, 3 squads of Thousand Sons, 5 terminators and 6 Oblits.

Not much to tell here. He advanced on the objectives, I killed him and my bikes snatched the objectives towards the end of the game. While the Oblits were horrible as always, his army was terribly slow, and I was able to pick it apart piece by piece.

Win to me

Game 2

Relic, Vanguard Strike against Necron flyer spam. Overlord in a barge, 3 Annihilation barges and 5 night scythes with warriors and immortals inside. My opponent got first turn.

Whenever I saw his army I knew I was going to have to pull something extraordinary out of the hat to win. He had so much high strength shooting that my bikes were simply going to melt. Lots of thought required…..!

But I then rolled the warlord trait which takes one away from his reserve rolls. That would keep his scythes off the table for a bit longer perhaps. So I set up out of range of his barges, and infiltrated my scouts onto the relic . …… and then I seized the initiative. Game changer.

I had been planning to play it safe and run off with the relic, but having seized the initiative, and with his scythes hopefully delayed, I thought I might have a chance to wipe out what he had on the board in 2 turns. Caution was thrown to the wind and it became an all out charge to get his barges ASAP before his reinforcements arrived…..and I almost did it.

Shock and awe was the name of the game. In 2 turns I killed the Lord in his barge for first blood and kill the warlord and immobilized 2 barges. He had managed to get one scythe on in his turn 2. So at the beginning of turn 3 all he had on the table was one scythe and 3 barges, 2 of which were immobilized  - and my Scouts still held the relic.  However, the Barges had taken a heavy toll on my bikes and I only had one squad left. So on turn 3 I was going to try and table him and hope nothing came in from reserve for the win – a long shot, but it was my only hope, once his Scythes came on, they have so much fire power, the outcome would be inevitable. My opponent was stunned and reeling, and I was beginning to hope I might just pull if off.

The plan was that the remaining bike squad would take out 1 Barge, the Captain would detach and power fist another one, a Stormtallon would kill the last Barge, and the other one would kill the Scythe. I managed 2 out of 4. The squad killed one Barge, the ‘tallon killed another one, but the captain was 1 inch short on a 7 inch charge through cover, and the last ‘tallon failed to kill the Scythe.

In his turn 3 all his remaining Scythes came on and it was game over. He would have tabled me if we hadn’t called it at the end of turn 5. Sigh….!

A frustrating game. I can think of nothing I could have done to change the outcome. My opponent’s list beat me!

Game 3

Blood Angels. Libby, 3 x 5 assault marines in razorbacks with TL Lazcannons, Furioso in a drop pod, 3 Baal Preds and 2 Dakka Preds, and a Stormraven. Hammer and Anvil, kill points.

Wow…. Mech BA, haven’t seen this for a while! Not sure I have enough melta!

This was the game of the tourni. Fun opponent, and lots of ups and downs. First he seized and in his first turn killed about 8 bikes….. bugger! The only long range stuff I had were my Thunder Fire Cannons which bounced of his armour. All  I managed to do was stun the Furioso that had podded in - at least it wont be charging anything next turn! In his turn 2, 2 of his Baal Preds came on, one on each flank and lined up more death on my bikes….. but he couldn’t hit anything, and I made every save I took! I think his whole army killed maybe one scout!

In my turn 2 both my Stormtallons came on and I proceeded to kill a razorback, a Baal Predator, a normal predator, the Furioso, and I stunned the other Baal. The Thunder fire cannons then pounded the troops that came out of the Razorback, killing them. Five kille points in one turn! For the rest of the game my luck turned and I ripped his army apart …… until the last 2 turns.

While I was well ahead on kill points (his army had way more than mine), over the game I had steadily lost units until I think I had 5 scouts, 2 Thunder Fire Cannons, my captain and an attack bike left. In the last 2 turns he had one Baal predator and his Stormraven left …… and he very nearly tabled me! When the game ended I think I had 3 scouts left, my captain and one TFC.

A great game, and very close. Win to me.

Game 4

Against Grey Knights. Grand Master, 2 six man strike squads in razorbacks, 2 Dreadnaughts, one Dreadknight and a bunch of terminators in a Stormraven. Scouring, hammer and anvil.

The plan was to wait until he committed the Dreadknight, plasma it down, and then make sure the Terminators only kill one unit when they charge, before I kill them right back, and take out the hovering ‘Raven.

And that’s what happened. I held the bikes back first turn and I think he picked off one or 2 with the Dreadnaughts. My second turn was amazing! Both ‘tallons came on. One killed a razorback and the other killed  one of the Dreadnaughts. One TFC  killed the other Razorback, and while pounding the guys that came out, the other TFC scattered onto the last Dreadnaughts and took of a hull point! Oh and he over committed his Dreadknight and it died in a flurry of plasma  and melta shots.

At that point my opponent mentally gave up. Next turn he hovered the Stormraven, but didn’t get his Termi’s out (!). I killed it and in my next turn killed all the termis and the Grand Master. In the end I think he had 2 Grey Knights left.

Game 5

Another great game. Against death wing – Belial 3 squads of terminators, 2 squads of scouts and 2 Neaphlim fighters, one with the mega bolter and the other with TL Lazcannons. Emperors will, Vanguard strike. He had first turn.

Hmmm…. I was worried about the death wing assault. He had 2 squads in reserve that were coming down either 1st or second turn. If I had my bikes on the table they wold be shredded by the storm bolters and assault cannons. So I decided to deploy only the Thunderfire cannons and the scouts, in my deployment zone. The plan was to tempt him into deep striking both terminator squads deep into my deployment zone to kill the scouts for first blood. That would leave both squads bunched up for the TFCs to pound in my turn, and easy targets for my bikes when they come in from reserve.

It sort of worked…. I forgot that he could split fire. So he split fire, using the storm bolters to kill the scouts, and the assault cannons to kill one of the TFCs. So First Blood to him, and one dead TFC. In my turn the remaining TFC pounded Belial’s squad and put something like 18 wounds on it! That combined with the remaining scout squad killed 4 out of the 5 terminators and took all but one wound off Belial.

In his turn 2 neither of his fighters came on J! He splits Belial off from the remaining terminator and lines up a charge with both of them on the Techmarine who’s TFC they killed last turn. His plan was to charge the terminator first, draw my Techmarine’s overwatch, and then charge in Belial. He killed a TFC in shooting, and then we moved onto charging.

Now I fancied my chances here. The Techmarine has a flamer and a TL Plasma pistol on his servo harness. Couple that with 3 initial attacks, and then 2 power fist attacks, and his artificer armour (Belial’s sword is only AP3), and I reckon I have a good chance of killing Belial (remember at this point he only has one wound). If I could kill the terminator on overwatch that would be bonus – but even if I didn’t kill the terminator, I could challenge Belial and probably take him in the challenge.

So the termi charges, my Techmarine shoots his plasma pistol and I roll a 2, a 1, and another 1! So a miss, an over heat on the reroll, and a failed armour save to kill myself from the overwatch shot!


However, for the rest of the game things went to plan. In my turn 2, two bike squads and a Stormtalon come on. I kill Belial, the remaining termi from his squad ,and I think 2 from the other squad. In his turn 3 both fighters come on and kill the ‘Tallon and some bikes. My turn 3 the other bike squad and the remaining Tallon come on. The bike squad zoom across the board to contest his objective, currently held by 5 scouts. I finish off the 2nd squad of terminators, and the ‘Tallon downs the fighter with the mega bolter and is now on the other fighter’s tale. In his turn 3 he flies his remaining fighter off the board, and kills 2 bikes.

In my turn 3 I kill his remaining terminators, and move to contest his objective. In his turn 4 his fighter comes back on from ongoing reserve, and kills some bikes, but not enough. His scouts (Flakk missile) kill my ‘Tallon. In my turn 4 I kill all but 1 scout on his objective and consolidate onto mine. We call it there. Win to me.

So I went 4 wins and one loss. Third space marine player (the winner won all 5 games, and 2nd one 4 and drew one, so can’t complain about the stupid “best game” rules!). However, much to my delight (and surprise) my army was nominated for best army! I didn’t win, but I placed my bikes in the display cabinet with a degree of pride! There were over 150 people there and (I think) 10 were nominated. For those who haven’t been to TofS, the standard of painting is very high, and I was delighted with the nomination.

And BTW, Little Geek went 2 and 3 – not bad for his first “grown up” tournament!

List analysis to follow.


Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Tyranids in 6th Edition - And a little intro

Hey guys!

My names Connor Chidley (Ratwolf) and I have been welcomed onto this fine blog as of late, to bring another perspective of wargaming to the internet. I am an avid player of Warhammer 40,000 (I play atleast once a week), I own 2 “full” armies, them being Space Wolves and Tyranids. I have played in quite a few tournaments, albeit only local tournaments, so I understand what is required of a winning player and a winning list. I started playing at the beginning of 5th Edition and had mixed results throughout it. But now with the release of 6th Edition, I have decided to kick it up to 11 and start hitting bigger tournaments, playing bigger opponents and learning to understand and play the game to the level that is expected of tournament toppers. (And obviously topping tournaments).

If you have any questions feel free to contact me at

Today I'm going to be talking about how Tyranids play out in 6th edition. With the change to fleet, assault and Monstrous Creature rules, how do Tyranids fare in the current "meta".

Now bear in mind that the "meta" depends entirely on where you play/plan on playing. So this post will be in regard to Tyranids vs "optimal" builds, lists that have been built to take any other kind of list and still have a solid chance of competing with them.

I'll start with Troops:

Genestealers aren't the shock troopers they used to be. In 5th, these bad boys (things?) could infiltrate and if your opponent was going first and moved far enough then they could assault turn 1! If not then they could atleast take some of the heat off your slowly advancing army or break into enemy lines early in the game and start buggering up your opponents battle plan. Now this they can still do, the infiltrate rules have only really changed to prevent you from assaulting turn 1, which is fair on its own. However, combined with the fact that you can now no longer assault on the turn you arrive from reserves, Genestealers have undoubtedly lost their title of "scariest troop". Simply their being in your list could scare a less prepared opponent. Not to say they don't fulfill a role anymore, it is just the sad fact that the role they do fulfill  isn't a role required to make a list function. The only thing they are REALLY good for now, is to spam Broodlords for their psychic capabilities. But even then, they are unpredictable, therefore don't really have a place in competitive tournament play.

Warriors haven't changed too much. Give them swords and go hunting MEQs. Or give them guns and have them run around providing Synapse. They are only really "required" in a list that needs alot of synapse, but with the change to the rage rules, the only reason you should really care about providing synapse is to your shooty Tyranids that need to be advancing up-field and not "lurking" in terrain.

Now onto Zerglings- er, I mean Hormagaunts.
Rage buffed these guy like crazy. When they fail Synapse, the only thing that hinders them if the fact that they may not shoot. This hurts Dakkafexes but to be honest, if your Dakkafex isn't in Synapse range, then you are either a muppet, or have just lost a vital Synapse creature. So let’s see:

Fearless - no more fearless wounds, makes our hordes survive longer. You will love this rule. You will abuse this rule.
Toxin Sacs -  to abuse the new poison rules.
Adrenal Glands - Yes, I get it, Furious Charge doesn't give you +1 Initiative anymore, boohoo. These guys are Initiative 5 base. So man up. Scream "FOR THE SWARM" and just throw random amounts of dice at the table. (Or you could actually count how many attacks you are causing per turn and throw THAT amount of dice at the table.)
2 - 3 Units of 30 of these "Hypergaunts" might add up points-wise and they might get mowed down by mass bolter fire( 5+ Armour, T3 ), but that's why I'm recommending you bring around 90 of them. 90 of anything is hard to kill quickly in this game, let alone when they kill you first.

Now for the pride and joy of the Troops section. Termagants.
These little fellas are the backbone of most *tournament* lists. Being cheap at 5pts base and by buying a minimum squad of 10 you can unlock a Tervigon as a Troop, there is a reason most players favour Termagants and have since 5th Edition.

The real power of the Termagant isn't the fact that they are throw away, cheap and scoring, its the fact that they allow you to bring a Tervigon as a Troop, which in turn, scores and can poop out 3D6 Termagants per turn, who are also scoring, until she rolls a double on the spawning dice.

The Tervigon can be used in a multitude of ways, but one of the most common ways is to buy their psychic power upgrade Catalyst, which allows them to give one friendly unit Feel no Pain, then she can cast it on herself or she can cast it on a horde of Poopgants and have them sit on objectives.

Now as far as Universal Special Rules go, not a lot of other units in the codex have been massively, negatively affected.

A few units that you should look into are:

Trygons - When out of synapse, they gain Rage, which confers to them +1 Atk on the charge, stacking up with their already massive 6 attacks and the +1 they gain from the charge normally, they have 8 Str 6 Ap2 attacks when not in synapse range.

Mawloc - When they Deep Strike they drop a Str6 Ap2 Large Blast that displaces whatever it doesn't kill, and it hits Vehicles on their side armour. NICE. But not massively reliable. Bring three, hope for the best. In the best of situations you can displace your opponents castled up force and bring them a little bit further up the board. In the worst of situations, they all fall off the board and you get laughed at by EVERYONE for being too cocky.

The Doom of Malan'tai - Drop him in a pod, jump him out the pod up to 6" away, and just let him passively erode your opponents foot soldiers away. Mycetic Spores are already pretty accurate when it comes to Deep Striking, but the fact that you can deploy their contents 6" away just makes them all the safer to enter play in. Also, Doomy can replace his base power with a rulebook power. I personally go for Psychic Shriek and make sure that whatever Troop he was sent to destroy, is totally obliterated. Another tactic is to roll his single power on the Biomancy table, if he rolls iron Arm, he gets Eternal Warrior and a minimum of +1S/T, if he rolls Warp Speed, awesome, the subsequent turns after podding in and sapping up wounds, he can start charging people with a minimum of I5 and 4 Attacks. (Remember his instinctive behaviour is Feed~).

Hive Guard - FAQ'd to Ignore most types of cover, and never require LoS. Same as 5th, just a bit better.

Swarmlord - Can exchange his 4 powers for 4 Biomancy powers. If you thought the Swarmlord was hard standard. try him high on Biomancy powers. +d3 Strength/Toughness/Initiative/Attacks anyone?

Flying Hive Tyrants - If you ask me, these guys are the best thing in the codex. They can close the distance between deployment zones in a turn. They can drop two powers on Biomancy to make them even more survivable. Remember to keep 'em cheap. Wings alone are gonna add on a lot of points, so don't go overboard on their weapon upgrades. Scything Talons and a set of TL Brainleech Devourers are a common build that works efficiently. Throw in Regeneration if you have the points.

Ymgarl Genestealers - These guys are pricey Genestealers that CAN assault out of reserve. So long as the reserve they assault out of is their unique ability that allows them to simply be placed in a terrain piece. This is so good for Objective Denial, it’s good for breaking an opponent’s line, or even HQ hunting. They can also "alter" their stats for more Strength/Toughness/Attacks.

Biovore - With the rise of the "Buy-A-Wall", these guys are much more viable, with them firing Ap4 Barrage Large Blasts. Blobs of Guardsmen, 'Gaunts and Cultists cry at the sight of a 3-Man Unit of these puppies. Careful with Synapse on them.

I have no doubt that there is other builds and other units to look out for, but these guys really take the limelight.

Some other bits and bats to remember is that Tyranids CANNOT use Gun Emplacements, so we have to look into other means of Anti-Air other than the Aegis Quad Gun. (P.S., try a Carnifex with two sets of Twin Linked Brainleech Devourers, their low Ballistic Skills counts for naught when firing at a Flyer).

Monstrous Creatures don't roll 2D6 for Armour Penetration anymore, but Smash really does make up for it. Smash only makes you half your Attack Characteristic, not your total Attacks, therefore a Hive Tyrant on the charge will have 2 Str10 Atks Base, then any he would get off Warp Speed, should he cast it, and the charge bonus itself.
So on average, most Tyranid MCs should have 3 Str 10 Attacks on the charge, which VS a Non-Walker, you are Auto-Penning 90% of all Vehicles, and stripping 3 Hull Points is enough to take most Vehicles out of the game. And don't forget the subtle Carnifex when considering anti-tank. Being Str 9 Base, give him Adrenal Glands for +1Str on the charge, and he is Smashing naturally, only without halving his Attacks. (But with him not ACTUALLY Smashing, you do not get to re-roll your Armour Penetration).

I feel pretty confident that Tyranids, if built correctly, will be a force to be reckoned with in 6th edition.

Monday, 18 March 2013

It's all about the Tau - Rumour Review.

OK, so I’ve calmed down. Still excited, but calmer!

So, what do we have rumour wise at the moment? Well, here’s what I’ve read (note I have no inside sources, just what I read on the internet)
Riptide – Jump Monstrous Creature (so guessing S6, T6, W4,  Armour 2+, will probably have an invulnerable save judging by the shield the model has in the picture, maybe a 5++? So something like a Dreadknight, although the stats might be higher, given it’s size in comparison) . Has a primary weapon, and 2 secondary weapons. Comes standard with 2 Railcannons – (i.e. the new S10, AP1 version of the Railgun) and plasma rifles for 165pts. Has some sort of “super charging” rule which allows it to super charge its save (maybe to a 4++), its weapon or its stats. Can be “upgraded” with an Ion Cannon which is something like Heavy 3, S7 AP3, or Large Blast S8 AP2. Suspect that the second stat is the “super charged” version of the weapon (query – might that mean there’s a super charged version of the Railcannon – maybe with the Lance, or beam USP?).

Flyer – Bomber and Fighter. Bomber doesn’t have bombs, but builds up a “plasma charge” that it drops like a bomb (might this be the rumoured plasma charge that has a lingering corrosive effect?). It also has 2 drone fighters that can detach from the bomber to see off other flyers (how cool is that! – finally a use for my Remoras!). The fighter has some sort of Ion Cannon on a turret mount, and will probably have missiles as well.

Broadsides – What’s clear (!) is that it has a “downgraded” Rail Gun – S8 AP1 (now called the Railgun, as opposed to the S10 AP1 version which is now the Railcannon)…however, it has the Skyfire USR, but, while not having Interceptor, can still fire at ground targets at full BS. What’s not clear is whether the S8 AP1 Skyfire is an option – i.e. whether it retains the S10 AP1 when shooting at ground targets. Sadly, most of the rumours suggest it does not. From the leaked WD pictures, it looks like it can also have a seeker missile, and can be loaded out with SMS only. Other rumours I’ve read is that it’s T4 W2 and Armour 2+. You can take plasma rifles or SMS as well as the Railgun, and the SMS is twin linked. Cost 60 pts base and 85pts with the Skyfire upgrade.

Fire warriors. There is an upgrade character, and/or a piece of wargear that can boost their BS to 4, increase the pulse rifle’s range by 6 inches at full range, and, in combination, gives the pulse rifle 2 extra shots… 3 shots at 36” and 4 at 18”! Oh and if your buddies get charged, you can help by overwatching the unit charging them…..!

Some people have speculated that, given there is no 2nd troop choice in the battleforce box, stealth suits may be  troops.

Pathfinders have “experimental” ion weaponry, and don’t need to take a D’fish. Nothing about whether they are still the main platform for marker lights.

One marker light hit increases the BS of anything shooting at the target. The 2nd hit strips all cover….!

There are 2 new special characters, one an ethereal, and one Kroot (there are contradictory rumours on this one)

We’ve heard nothing, or very little, about Kroot, Vespids, XV8s (or indeed XV9s) Devilfish, Piranhas, Skyrays or Hammerheads.

Well…. What do I make of all this…! Firstly, what comes next is all entirely pointless – we don’t have the codex and we can not possible know how it’s all going to fit together. But that wont stop me…!

First up, I think the Riptide looks awesome, and the rules sound fun. What I’m not so sure about is the role it has in the army – is it a super durable long range weapons platform, or is it a “get up in your face” short range disruption unit! If it’s the latter (and it deep strikes – Jump MC, remember), deep striking 3 of them into your opponents lines would be fun!
We really don’t know enough about the Flyer’s stats to come to any sort of view on their effectiveness, however I’m intrigued by their intended role.  The bomber is obviously air to ground. But if the Broadsides have the rumoured S8 AP1 Skyfire weapons, you don’t really need a flyer for anti air. What then is the fighters role? Maybe the bomber is air to ground anti infantry, while the fighter is more of an anti armour gunship?

I’ll be sad if the Broadsides lose their S10 AP1 Railgun…but not that sad if they get the S8 AP1 with Skyfire. That would make the double Helldrake lists sweat! But I’m intrigued by the seeker missile you see on the Broadside in the leaked picture. There are no suit mounted seeker missiles at the moment. Might this mean that Seeker Missiles will be reworked to become more like Stinger Missiles i.e. ground to air missiles. Might that be the reason for the skyfiring broadside rumours (and they still keep the S10 AP1). That would give the Skyray a purpose. And maybe, just maybe, the fighter is a marker light platform for guiding the new seeker missiles to their targets! That would be kinda cool!

The rules for Firewarriors sound border line broken, and I can’t believe they’re correct (or at least perhaps for only one squad). My worry however is that the rumoured rules lend themselves to a very static gunline play style, with lots of fire warriors behind an Aegis for example. Not really the way I want to play them.

Really want to find out more about how marker lights work, and what platforms they come on. Marker lights and their use have been key to playing tau in the past, and I hope that’s retained. The rumours we have are just silly broken – 1 hit to boost BS all round, and one more to strip all cover saves! That can’t be right, unless access to marker lights is very restricted and/or very expensive points wise.

And finally, what about Kroot, Devilfish and Hammer heads – 3 iconic units that we have heard very little about? The only thing I’ve read about Kroot is that there’s a Kroot special (or maybe upgrade) character and that their strength is being reduced to 3, although they get furious charge. All I’ve read about the Hammerhead is that it retains the S10 AP1 Railcannon, and I’ve heard absolutely nothing about the D’fish.

Anybody know anything about Hammerheads and Devilfish?

On and Vespids….anybody know anything about Vespids?


Sunday, 17 March 2013

Its all about the Tau

Don't care what anybody says, I love the new models. The Riptide looks soooo...badass. I hope its rules make it a terror on the table top. And the flyers ..... well the Barracuda is nicer.... but they're still pretty cool.

Skyfiring Broadsides!

Fire warriors that can fire 3 BS4 shoots at 36 inches, 4 at 18, and can Overwatch the the squad charging their buddies!

Stealth Suits as troops!

It's going to be a long 3 weeks.


Saturday, 16 March 2013

Stormtallons are Pretty Good!

I killed a Landraider with a Stormtalon Assault Cannon last night! It turned a game that I was going to lose, into a win for me. And it made me think…Starmtalons aren’t as bad as some say.

To be perfectly honest I bought the 2 Stormtalons I run in my bike army because I liked the models, and they fitted in well with the idea of a hard hitting scouting force. However, I’ve come to realise that they’re actually pretty useful, and the recent changes have helped.

The positives are

·      A twin linked assault cannon is a very versatile weapon. There is nothing in the game it can’t kill or wound. I’ve found it reasonably effective against AV12 flyers.  

·      Also, the Assault Cannon is mounted on a turret, which is on the bottom of the flyer – so it has a 360 degree field of fire, and doesn’t have the problem that the Stormraven’s assault cannon has with being unable to depress sufficiently to hit close ground targets. This helps in “dog fights” and in hitting ground targets as (to an extent) it alleviates the problem of a flyers limited mobility. So, for example, flying over vendettas, and shooting their rear armour is pretty effective! And, flying over ground based vehicles, doing the same is also pretty good (killed 2 dreadnaughts by doing this last night!).

·       It’s cheap! The 20pt point reduction makes it pretty affordable. And with skyhammer missiles for only 15 points, 2 of them only comes to 250pts. That’s not bad.

·      Hover Strike, being changed to the standard Hover mode also helps. With Hover Strike, while you could pivot, you couldn’t move (so no jink save). In standard Hover Mode you’re a fast skimmer so you can move 12 and fire both weapons. You also automatically get a 5+ jink save.

·      Hover mode also helps when trying to avoid quad guns firing interceptor at you. Being able to move onto the board in Hover mode (i.e. you don’t need to move a minimum of 18 inches) it is easier to hide (or get out or range) from a quad gun.

I tend to use them to kill other flyers, and high priority ground targets turns 2 and 3, before switching to Hover mode in turn 4 or 5 (if they survive), to finish off scoring units.

So, these are my thoughts on having played them in a number of games so far – they’re not great (Vendettas and Helldrakes are much better of course) , but they’re not bad either.

The only thing I can’t make up my mind on is whether it’s worth an extra 20 points to upgrade to a Typhoon missile launcher (S8 AP2 Heavy 2), or just keep the basic Skyhammer Missiles (S7 AP4, Heavy 3). I would welcome thoughts on that.


Thursday, 14 March 2013

Throne of Skulls

Throne of Skulls

Of to Throne of Skulls next week, and I’m taking my bikes. List will be

Captain on a bike, Artificer Armour, Lightening Claw, Power fist

10 man Scout Squad

5 man Bike Squad, 2 Melta Guns, Combi Melta, Melta Bomb

5 Man Bike Squad, 2 Plasma Guns, Combi Plasma, Melta Bomb
5 Man Bike Squad, 2 Plasma Guns, Combi Plasma, Melta Bomb

3 Multi Melta Attack Bikes

Stormtalon, Typhoon Missiles

Stormtalon, Typhoon Missiles.

 Thunder Fire Cannon

Thunder Fire Cannon

The basic plan is pretty simple. Scouts combat squad and baby sit home objectives with the TFCs (hopefully in bolstered ruins). When the TCF dies, the Techmarine joins the scouts and baby sits them. The TFC’s kill light infantry. The plasma bikes kill heavy infantry. The Attack Bikes and the melta squad kill armour and the ‘talons kill flyers.

I played 4 games with a version of it at the weekend. More or less the same but with 2 full squads that I combat squadded.

First game was against CSM, Typhus, zombies, spawn and 2 Helldrakes, kill points. Helldrakes are just silly powerful. If you got cover saves from the vector strike, or it was AP4, or if they hadn’t turned the baleflamer into a turret weapon it might be ok, but as it stands it’s just stupid. having said that, it was closer than I thought it would be. I managed to kill one of the Helldrakes, and pretty much everything else, but the Helldrakes just murdered my bikes.

The only way I can think of countering them is to get my bikes into combat on turn 2, and hope I can  combat tactics out of that combat in my opponents turn…not the greatest of tactics!

Game 2 was against mech elder. Win to me. Realised that the best way to take down armour with bikes is in assault with krak grenades!

Game 3 was against Little Geeks demons. Interesting codex. He’s still finding his way with a new list (thank god the days of screamer and flamer spam are over!), but it looks a lot of fun . Bloodthirsters are horrible BTW, but demonic troops just hate Thunder fire cannons! Win to me.

Game 4 was against Ravenwing. Really interesting game with C:SM bikes against Ravenwing bikes. As you would expect Ravenwing bikes outclass C:SM bikes in almost every way, however, I’m not entirely persuaded they make a better army. C:SM can bring better support I think, and certainly bring better anti flyer (Stormtalons are way better than the DA flyers IMHO). It was a close game (if I had remembered to move a scout squad I would have drawn).

I need to think a bit more about whether I should “retool” my C:SM bikes as Ravenwing (would need some creative story telling to justify their colour scheme!).

List thoughts. The stand out units were the Thunder Fire Cannons. Murdering zombies in game 1, eliminating disembarked space elves in game 2, killing 19 blood letters in  one round of shooting in game 3 (they had just wiped out a bike squad and were all clumped up), and killing almost all my opponents scoring units in game 4.

However, the Captain was also a hero. While not on par with the likes of Abaddon, or Typhus, he’s still pretty hard. In game one he went through 5 nurgle spawn, in game 2 he fisted a wave serpent to death and wiped out the squad inside, in game 3 he killed 3 beasts of nurgle, and in game 4 he wiped out a 5 man squad of Dark Knights (with a little help). And (except on the last one), he did this all by himself! The way I’m tending to use him is as a bullet soak to get a melta squad in close, and then detach him to cause chaos once the meta squad has done it’s job.

The Stormtalons were also pretty useful. In 4 games I only lost one of them. In game 1 they struggled a bit against the Helldrakes, but managed to kill one and velocity lock the other one. In game 2 they mopped up Fireprisims, in Game 3 they took a few wounds off the Bloodthirster, and in game 4 they where great at picking off troops choices late in the game.

The thing that I couldn’t make my mind up about were the bike squads. The option I tried was running 3 squads of 5 bikes with attached attack bike. That didn’t really work very well at all. The problem was you had plasma guns and melta guns mixed with  multi meltas. When you were shooting the multi melta at armour it “wasted” the plasma guns, and when you were shooting the melta guns at armour, you were too close with the squad and it would get assaulted.

The next option I tried was 2 full squads of 8 bikes and an attack bike, combat squading them into 5 bikes with 2 special weapons, and 2 bikes with the attack bike and the Sargent with a combi melta. This was better, as you had one combat squad to deal with heavy infantry, and the other combat squad to deal with armour. The plasma squads in particular worked well. However, the problem was with the melta squads, you had to get too close with the combi melta to get the double dice, which endangered the whole squad.

So the option I’m going to try at Throne is 3 squads of 5 bikes with special weapons, and combi weapon to match (2 plasma and one melta), and a separate squad of 3 multi melta attack bikes.
The idea is that the captain leads out the attack bikes, tanking wounds for them until they are in position to hit their target, and then breaks off to cause mayhem.

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

It's all about theTau

I’m really trying to stay calm, but more and more rumours are pointing to a Tau release next month….!

If that happens I’ll be one of the happiest geeks in the blogosphere. Prepare for endless ramblings about the new codex, new lists, new tactics etc etc. Man it’s gonna be dull if you’re not a Tau Geek…. But if you are, drag up a chair, make yourself a coffee and jump right in.

 I’ve decided I’m going to start from scratch and buy, build and paint a completely new army. My original colour scheme was designed for speed of painting rather than elegance and style. It’s OK, (got full painting scores at Cally), but I painted it about 2 years ago, and I’m a much better painter now - I can do way better. And with rumours being that there are a bunch of new suits (and flyers….2 of them!) …….why not?

And (roll on the drums) I might actually work out how to post up some pictures (I’ll get the Geeklets to show me!).

 The big question is – if there’s a release in  April, will it be out early enough to take a new Tau army to the WPS Club Challenge? Needs to be out by 4th May.

Now that would be fun!

Man but it’s embarrassing how excited I am about some new toy soldiers.


Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Games of War Spring Tourney

At the weekend I was at the Games of War Spring Tournament. The tradition at this one is there are 2 lists – 1750pts on the Saturday and 2000pts on the Sunday. Usually I simply add some units to my 1750 list to make it up to 2000, however, as long as the primary detachments are from the same codex, there was nothing stopping me taking a completely different list … which is what I did.

On the Saturday I took

Captain with Artificer Armour, on a bike with Lightening Claw and Power fist

Biker Command Squad, 2 Storm Shields, 2 power lances and 2 power axes

10 man Scout Squad

Bike Squad, 2 Plasma Guns, 5 extra guys, Combi Melta, MM Attack Bike

Bike Squad, 2 Plasma Guns, 5 extra guys, Combi Melta, MM Attack Bike

Storm Talon with Typhoon Missile Launcher x2

Thunder Fire Cannon x2

On Sunday I took



Command Squad, 4 Melta Guns, 4 Flamers, 2 Melta Bombs, Drop Pod

Tac Squad, Melta. Multi Melta, Combi Melta, Drop Pod x3

Iron Clad, Twin Heavy Flamers, Assault Launchers, Drop Pod x2

So first is list all about manoeuvrability, hitting hard  and running away, 2nd list all about getting up close and personal, before smashing face.


Game 1

Big Guns, 5 Objectives against Blood Angles. His list was Libby with Jump Pack, a priest with a jump pack, 2 Assault Squads with Jump Packs, 2 Frag Launcher Furiosos in Pods, bunch of Death Company in  Storm Raven with Lemartes, and a DC Dread in a Pod.

Must say I was worried about this list. I don’t really have any “expendable” bubble wrap in the bike list to push back his pods, other than the scouts.

So, he got first turn and set up the assault squads with the Libby and the Priest, everything else in reserve. I set up everything , using the scouts to bubble wrap as best I could, but I also used the command squad. With the captain and 2 storm shields they should be able to take some punishment from the frag launchers. I combat squaded the bikes, 2 plasma’s in one squad for heavy infantry duty, and the combi melta and MM Attack Bike in the other one to hunt dreadnaughts. I hid the melta teams behind the bubble wrap, so they could deal with the dreads after the drop.

His first Furioso comes down and hits “bang on” right beside on of the TFCs. However, his other one scatters off the board and he rolls a “1” on the mishap table i.e. destroyed. Now this was unlucky, he wasn’t going for a particularly risky deep strike, he just scatter a long way. So we agreed that, while it would count as “first blood”, we would treat it as a “misplaced” result instead, and I placed it way over in the far corner.

The first Furioso wiped out the scout bubble wrap.

In my turn I killed the Furioso, and pounded the assault squads with the TFCs, but didn’t kill very many due to their 3+ and 5+ FNP rolls. I didn’t move around much ‘casue I wanted to see what he did with the DC dread and the ‘Raven.

In his turn 2 the DC dread stayed off, but the ‘Raven came on. The ‘Raven came straight at me, but really didn’t kill anything because most of my bikes now had a 4+ Jink save.

My next turn won the game. One of the Stormtalons came on and blew up his ‘Raven. All the death company bar one and Lemartes died in the explosion.  After that it was just mopping up. The bikes killed the DC dread when it came down, and the other Furioso after it slogged all the way across the board. The TFC’s and the ‘Talons killed the Assault Squads, and the Command squad dealt with  Lemartes.

Win to me. Learning point? Assault cannons are pretty good against Stormravens when they rend! 


Game 2

The Scouring against Ratwolf’s Nids. Two flying Hive Tyrants, 4 Hive Guard, 2 Trygons, 2  Tervigons with lots of little bugs, and the Doom in a pod.

Yikes….! This is a pretty evil list, and I’m not very good with Nids. I’ve played Ratwolf’s nids before, in 5th, and beaten them with my “old” tri Stormraven list, but nobody locally plays Nids, and I’m not very familiar with what they do. I’ve read the Codex, but that’s very different from having experience playing them.

And Ratwolf was out for revenge – we’ve played twice before at these tourney’s and its 2-0 to me……..!

I go first and I set up conservatively, giving myself as much space as possible to gun down the big bugs, while running away. He deploys as far forward as he can.

In my first turn I move all the bikes to get a 4+ cover save, but don’t really go anywhere. I kill a squad of ‘gaunts with the TFCs. This would be a feature of the game. Ratwolf would spawn some gaunts, and I would remove them! TFC’s are pretty awesome!

Anyway, the game went as one might guess it would. The big bugs rushed me and I manged to kill all of them bar one. Once the ‘Talons come on, it’s a surprisingly shooty list. It doesn’t have a huge volume of shots, but because it’s so manoeuvrable, you can get the guns to where they need to be. So at the beginning of Turn 4 I  thought I pretty much had the game in the bag …. and then the Doom came down…..!

And this is the difference between reading about what a unit does, and experiencing it. I had of course read up on what the Doom could do, but experiencing it is an entirely different matter. I had bunched up my units to try and deal with the last remaining Trygon who was on 2 wounds. The plan was then to move onto one of the Tervigons that was threatening the middle objective. But the Doom stopped all of that…!

After the dust settled I was left with the Captain and a depleted command squad, and the odd bike her and there! The Captain managed to Power Fist the Doom in assault, but it was too late – I didn’t then have enough bikes to kill the Trygon, the Tervigons and then grab some objectives.

An 8-6 win to Ratwolf.

Although it was a loss, I was actually quite pleased with how this game went. I felt  I was getting the hang of the hit and fade tactics. If had had more experience of the Doom, I might just have snatched it.


Game 3

Crusade, Hammer and Anvil, 5 objectives, against guard. Command Squad, in a Chimera, 2 other Chimeras with guys inside, a 20 man blob, the obligatory Manticore, 2 Leman Russes with scary guns, and the (2) obligatory Vendettas with guys inside (gosh, but guard armies are a bit “samey”!).

I let my opponent go first so  his ‘dettas would be on the board when my ‘talons came on turn 2. I set up as spaced out as possible and hunkered down. He set up as you would expect, all castled up behind his Aegis, and let rip…. and killed one TFC for first blood….phew!

In my turn the bikes roared forward, trying to keep behind cover as much as possible. The plan was to kill the stuff that would hurt me a range and then run away and grab objectives, leaving the Captain with his command squad to cause havoc.

In this turn 2 one of the ‘dettas came on and he killed a few bikes, but not too many. In my turn 2, both Talons came on and singularly failed to kill the one ‘detta that was on the table….! They stripped 2 hull points and forced it to jink though, which was OK I guess. The bikes fared better however, killing both Russes, with the Command Squad lining up a charge on the blob….which it then failed!

Now that I had killed all his ranged weapons (other than the Manticore, which was tucked away in the back, behind some Chimeras) the rest of the game consisted of me running away to claim objectives, while trying to kill the vendettas to stop the guys inside claiming or contesting. I was successful (although those bloody Vendettas were a pain to put down!)

Win to me.

Again, the manoeuvrability of the bikes really paid off. The key in this game was to hit the key targets quickly and then run away, while the TFCs and the Talons kill stuff.


Game 4

So day 2 and I’m on table 2 (Little Geek is on table one, having gone 3 – 0 yesterday!) against Tau, kill points, vanguard strike. Now playing the 2000pt pod army.

Now I very seldom get to play against Tau, but I obviously know the Codex very well, and how the army plays … and I have a pretty good list to play against them, so I was pretty confident going into this game…..! You can guess where this is going can’t you…!

He had a Deathrain Shas’el with  Positional relay (this is important!), a squad of twin plasma XV8s, a Stealth team,2 squads of Kroot, 3 squads of fire warriors (one in a ‘fish), a Hammerhead, 3 piranhas in a squadron, 2 Broadsides with plasma rifles and Sniper Drones. Oh, and a Bastion!

Now I’ve never thought about taking a bastion with my Tau, but it makes perfect sense. Put the Broadsides inside and the Shasel on top manning the laszcannon/quad gun. Now your Broadsides have a much better line of sight, and an AV14 building to hide in. It makes them very static, but they are pretty static anyway. Bubble wrap the bunker and you have a pretty effective gun “line”.

Long story short, I managed to “squeak” a draw. Bluntly, I was completely out played…!

My opponent set up this bastion, bubble wrapped by Kroot and a squad of fire warriors. Broadsides inside, Commander with a small squad of F’warriors on the top, manning the lazcannon. He was then able to keep everything else in reserve. I podded in to kill the bubble wrap, the Bastions etc. Over the next 2 turns he keeps most of his army of  the board using the Positional relay. Makes me work (really) hard to kill the bastion and the Broadsides (Lysander got slapped down by the Broadsides in assault, having lost 2 wounds to overwatching Railguns…!), and then brings the rest of his army on turn 4, killing 3 units in that turn, and (from memory) 2 more in turn 5 for the draw….!

A very tactically astute game by my opponent, and pretty dumb one from me ..!

I see a Bastion in my future!


Game 5

So while I drew my last game, I took enough VPs to be on top table game 5 (5thed VP’s were used to separate rankings). Up against my old nemesis Hesh and his guard. Emperor’s will, Vanguard Strike.

Now, after our last game (see the report in the last GofW tourney report), Hesh had obviously had a long think about how to counter drop pods. So this time, as well as the obligatory, Manticore, 2 Vendettas, blob squad and 3 squads of guys with melta and plasma in chimeras, he was running Coteaz in a henchman squad with 2 Jakeros, 2 plasma cannons, 2 plasma guns, some “wounds” and a multimelta. He had swapped his comms relay for a Quad gun, and kept the strike squad for warp quake…….!


Luckily, I get first turn and take it to try and get down before he gets warp quake off. I still need to contend with “I’ve been expecting you” but I have a chance.

Hesh castle’s up in a corner on his objective, with everything on the board except Marbo and the 2 dettas. I place my objective in the opposite corner (as you will see later this was a mistake). The plan is to bring one tac squad down on the objective and the other 2 down to support the first wave. Coteaz fails to seize and we’re on.

IMHO, Hesh deployed poorly (sorry mate…!). He puts Coteaz squad in a ruin which partially blocks their line of sight to the left of his line. I can bring down units on the left, out of Coteaz 12” cheese bubble, and even if I scatter into the gorgonzola, not everything will get to fire. So that’s the plan.

First dread comes down perfectly, the Pod just outside the bubble. The dread deploys inside the bubble, but the MM can’t see it and the Jokeros either can’t see it, or miss, I can’t remember. The important point is that he’s fine. I try to do the same with the next dread, but because I only have a small area to work in, I try a more risky deep strike and the pod mishaps off the table. I roll “misplaced” and he now has a very long walk to get anywhere. Vulcan and his melta team come down perfectly however, just out of the cheese bubble, but just in melta range of a chimera. I’ve now use up the “window” and Lysander needs to come in right in the middle of the gorgonzola. The pod comes in, is hit and blows up, killing (from memory) 3 sternguard. Coteaz brings out the super strong cheddar and fires the same henchman squad again at Lysander and the Sternguard (stupid rule!), killing all but 5 and putting 2 wounds on Lysander.

 Hmmm… not great, but could have been worse.

In my shooting phase, Vulcan and friends kill a Chimera, and most of the guys inside die in the explosion. The dread kills some guardsmen, and a couple of strike marines. The Sternguard play a blinder and very, very nearly kill Coteaz (he was one 4+ save away from snuffing it from a combi melta shot, but saved). However, they whittle down the henchman squad.

In Hesh’s turn he fails to get Warp Quake off (happy dance!). He also forgets to move his artillery (he was running a Colossus along with the Manticore) so he can’t draw line of sight on Vulcan, or the dread  that’s up close and personal. He lets rip, but all he does is kill the remaining Sternguard and takes Lysander down to 1 wound. He then (IMHO) makes another mistake and assaults Lysander with the strike squad. He forgets for a moment that Halberds are now AP3. This assault will last for about 4 rounds while Lysander whittles down the strike squad, but importantly, keeps him safe from shooting, until most of the other stuff is killed and he can kill the last remaining squad holding Hesh’s objective.

In my turn all 3 pods come in. One goes onto my objective, and the other 2 come down to support the front line. The misplaced Dread starts running! I kill another Chimera, immobilise the last Chimera and the front line Dread assaults Coteaz and his squad. By this time Hesh’s castle is a wreck, and all that’s left for me to do is mop up.

However, on his turn 3 both dettas come on and make a beeline for my objective. And this was my big mistake. Stupidly, I had placed the objective way over in a corner, leaving only one tac squad protecting it. Two ‘dettas filled with melta guns, flamers and plasma, and (next turn) Marbo, made short work of them, and take my objective. What I should have done is place my objective as close to Hesh’s as possible, so that I would have multiple suads available to hold it. Duh…! That lost me the game.

So, at the end of turn 4, Hesh had my objective, first blood and line breaker for 5 points, and I had line breaker and kill the warlord, for 2 points. On my turn 4 I had come up short by about 2 inches on a run roll to grab  his objective. Time had been called and I had lost, but very honourably, Hesh suggested a turn 5 and I was able to run one tac marine onto his objective, for the draw.

Well played Hesh, and a suitable ending to a tense and exciting game!


List thoughts

Neither of these list are “the best of” space marine lists, but both of them are really fun to play, but in very different ways. In fact, they couldn’t be more different. The bike list is very mobile, relying on mobility and movement to deliver a hammer blow, exactly where it’s needed, before fading away our of trouble. The Drop Pod list is a very blunt instrument, delivering a hammer blow in one location, but struggling to redeploy to cope with anything else. I love them both!

How could they be improved?


Bike List

What worked

·         Thunder Fire Cannons are awesome. They dealt with the Assault squads in game one, kept me in the game by killing loads of little bugs in game 2, and even although one of them was killed first turn, dealt with guardsmen in game 3.

·         A captain on a bike with artificer armour is really tough – he’s just great at “tanking” wounds and keeping stuff alive. In game 3 my opponent’s blob squad fired 54 las gun shots at the command squad, and killed on guy!

·         Storm talons. Jury is still out, but they did really well, killing a Stormraven in game one, dispatching big bugs in game 2, and (eventually) a Vendetta in game 3. I was worried about fragility, but they survived to the end of all three games.

·         Bike squads. Having 2 full squads allows you to split them into 2 plasama squads and 2 melta squads, increasing flexibility.

What didn’t work

·         The command squad. I’m just not persuaded that a command squad tooled up for close combat is really worth its points. As it stands it’s running at around 290pts. It never got into close combat in game 1, finally killed a grounded Hive Tyrant in game 2, and killed a blob squad in game 3. However, investing those points in more guns might be a better option.

So  I think I could lose the assault orientated command squad without really weakening the list. I’ve been thinking about 3 alternatives

·         Re tool the Command Squad, swapping the power weapons for plasma guns. That would be just terrifying, but pricy.

·         With a bit of jiggling around, I could probably squeeze in another full bike squad.

·         A second tooled out captain, with points to spare. The thinking here is that when I need to get a melta squad into position the captain can “lead them out” tanking wounds on the way in, allowing to melta to get close enough to hit it’s target



Pod List

The pod list was pretty much the same as the last time and worked pretty much the same as last time. It has serious limitations which were shown in both games. In game 4, my Tau opponent “danced rings round me”, and in Game 5, Hesh exploited my inability to redeploy to win the game. In game 5 I could have placed my objectives smarter, but there was little I could have done in game 4.

I’ve already discussed how this might be strengthened using Space Wolf allies, but, as a C:SM list, I can’t think of how to improve it, while still keeping it an all pod list. My only  thought might be to replace the tac squads multi melta’s with laz cannons. I could combat squad and keep the laz cannon half in the back field to hold objectives and provide some long range shooting – but 3 lazcannons doesn’t really scare anybody.

One thought that is intriguing, however is whether I could squeeze in a Stormraven, now that C:SM can take them. It sort of keeps the integrity of the list as everything still starts off the board, its just that some of it is in a Stormraven…….or 2!