Thursday, 28 August 2008

Hell Hath No Fury

The Hellhound goes to work
Art & Imagery© 2005 Games Workshop Ltd.

Flamer and Hellhound Tactica
by Suneokun

The hellhound is a rare beast in the Imperial Guard codex. It's a tank that actually works! In fact, alongside the basilisk, it is often regarded as the most feared tank in 40k. With the introduction of 5th edition a series of rules have made the Hellhound essential:
  • Objectives: these cheeky critters (such as the fabulous 'rending pony') have a natural affinity to densely covered areas. From a fluff perspective it fires the imagination more to be fighting over a bunker or burnt out building than 'that bit of open ground over there ... no right a bit ... gottit!' - you see? Secondly, with valuable troops holding the ground in the open the opposition will target every available and appropriate weapon in their direction. Even vaunted Space Marines fear the wrath of plasma and lascannon - and these are the weapons brought to bear - because of all the above - cover rules ok.
  • Going to ground: I haven't actually used this rule to my advantage, but for that final round survivability boost, GtG has it all. It's takes the Smurf's plasma denied 3+ saving throw and hands it back to him as a cover save ... for guard it'll give a cameoline cloaked armoured fist team a Terminator's saving throw: never were troops quite so durable.
  • Kill every last one of them: No longer can you whittle that combat squad down to two men. Even just one Imperial Guard can contest an objective (as long as he hasn't routed!), so inversely, it's not satisfactory to kill some - kill all.
So, with the above in place we face a particular situation - the chance of capturing an objective (not just contesting that objective, any numpty can do that!) is significantly reduced. Getting your guard into position is one thing, their new ability to 'run' makes them a little quicker, but Chimera's are the ultimate taxi now. Once in place however, holding an objective for guard can now take on many new forms:
  • Platoons: Cheapish and cheerful. A selection of squad armed with melta or plasma can offer some serious opposition, forcing the other player to make a break for and charge the opposition through the hail of fire. Particularly powerful if backed up by a counter attack or fire power (GL, Plasma) command squad. As mentioned before, camo gear becomes essential as it covers a 3+ or even 2+ saving throw. Remember that unlike conscript you can 'trip and fire' these squads (ie: sacrifice one squad while you line up 5 flamers to kill the enemy at point blank range).
  • Armoured Fist: The last minute tactical grab - prone to misadventure, especially if someone's already waiting. This tactic is further improved by the new ability for tanks to move their entire allowable move and then deposit troops. Generally works better for skimmers than tanks, but who's complaining (ED: Err, you mostly!).
  • Conscript Platoon: Nothing is quite as hilarious as the look of exasperated disbelief when your opponent realises just how many turns it will take him to plow through 50 conscripts. Don't waste a doctrine on Independent Commissars, just take Ibrahim Gaunt or Commissar Yarrick for 50 fearless numpties with a powerfist. Oh, and don't forget the flamers.
So with all the rule changes above, shooting at people around a cover rich objective is a wasted opportunity. Your chances of clearing that ruin are significantly reduced and in any case you need to be within 3" of the objective to claim it. This path then forks down two opportune routes which both deny this pesky cover save: Close Combat (H2H) and Flamers...

Close Combat: The guard are often underrated in close combat, after all your basic trooper costs the same as an ork, but with less WS and less attacks. However, as a wise man on IGMB (Imperial Guard Message Board) pointed out. Point for point, a basic guardsmen unit beats anything else. They're likely to die, but they actually have a better life expectancy than when under fire. Conscripts are even more satisfying, an Ork's BS2 is a real handicap, but a conscripts WS2 still means he hits most things on a 4+. In combination with "warrior weapons" - where every conscript gets a laspistol and close combat weapon - that's 150 attacks on the charge - go one terminator squad, how many 1's can you roll?!? However, guard aren't meant to win in H2H, at best they're meant to slow down the opposition so that the rest of their platoon can secure the objective. While I love the satisfaction of mashing up Harlequins and Striking Scorpions with my plasma pistol toting command squad. I could buy two more troops units for their cost - they're only value is in fluff and personal hatred.

Flamers: Guard rock when it comes to flamers, we can overdose on flamers. What we lack in powerswords and powerfists, we make up for in an abundance of cheap special weapons - and rightly so! Don't go overkill on flamers though. Nothing is an frustrating as sitting your flamer and melta command squad in cover, knowing you could make the difference - but also knowing you're shish kebab as soon as you step out of cover. I would recommend the following:
  • Conscripts and flamer: No brainer really - it's the only thing they'll actually hit something with and on the charge 5 flamers up front can cut the odds nicely. Plus the enemy will have to kill 45 other dudes to whittle them out.
  • Command squads and flamers: I have previously shied away from these beasts, but with the new 'behind another squad' cover save, the inability for enemies to 'roll up' into your flamers from the last attack and the option to flank makes this viable. I've secured the wholesale massacre of a 20 strong guardian avenger squad with 3 flamers and they are the bane of Harlequins and Pathfinders (cover save, what cover save?), not to mention their effectiveness against Orks and Tyranids. Hmmm ... food for thought. The frustrating thing is that you have such fire potential from a command squad with grenade launchers, plasma or melta - why waste it on flamers...?
  • Flamers in Squads: I don't use flamers in squads as usually I need as much fire power as possible. I'm a big supporter of putting plasma and melta in squads as a disincentive to tanks, while offering covering fire from command squad grenade launchers.
  • Chimera Flamers: Ok so you lose a heavy bolter or (heavens above!) your multilaser. But at Strength 5 and AP4 the Heavy Flamer can really clean up, as mentioned before in "Stroll on ATST - Sentinel Tactica" Flamers are a cheap and very effective option on Chugs - Especially for Orgyrns, Armoured Fists or Grenadiers trying to take an objective.
  • Sentinel Flamers: highly effective if in range, but sadly unlikely to get there - only really an option via their ability to flank. However you're better off taking "Light Infantry" doctrine and flanking your troops options with a flamer command squad.
Toasting Bacon - Hellhounds

What's not to like? For 130 points for get a tank with smoke, heavy stubber, heavy bolter and an Inferno Cannon. Unlike other ordinance tanks (ie everything else except the chimera) you can fire everything, every turn (except if you move 12"). A heavy stubber and heavy bolter offer significant firepower on the drive in, but lets give the Inferno cannon it's due - it's unbelievably awesome.

Burn baby burn, Disco Inferno.

This has got to be up there as one of the most terrifying weapons to face and the most pleasurable weapons to use. The inferno cannon is probably the best gun in the game, up there alongside the Assault Cannon, the Scatter Laser and the Shokk Attack Gun. The difference is, this one is fun AND very effective.
  • Range: what's the flamer's biggest weakness? The fact you have to be eyeballing the enemy before they're effective. Naturally, this is not the Imperial Guard's comfort zone as it leaves you vulnerable to being charged (I'd charge first if I were you!) or pin cushioned before you get to the elusive range. For the Inferno Cannon, this offers no problem, allowing you to keep pesky melta and plasma weapons at arms reach as you cook the enemy.
  • Template: One of the tricks of the flamer is getting your man lined up 'just so' to hit all 5 space marines. With the Inferno Cannon not such problem exists as you can maneurve the template into the 'optimum position' as long as one part of the template is within 24" - this is especially effective against clustered up troops in cover as it allows you to hit as many at 9 or 10 with each shot. After all the bigger the target, the bigger the impact.
  • To Hit: this gun comes with an automatic reroll to hit - on a S6 gun shooting multiple guys.
  • Strength: Don't forget that this weapon is also lethal against walkers and especially open topped vehicles like Ork trukks, jetbikes, Deffkoptas and bikes. The S6 denies them their toughness.
  • Armour Piercing: AP4 is a pretty reasonable troop killer. Eldar, Orks, Tyranids, Tau - only the Smurf and Spiky Smurf can aford to laugh in the face of this gun.
  • Ignores Cover: That's what's got them quaking in their boots. The Inferno ignores cover, allowing you to pillion Ork bikes (usually with a smoky 4+) save, or grill whatever is hiding in cover.

Such a pretty tank, but the Hellhound kinda sucked in Dawn of War.

Fry suckers, Fry!!!

So with all these advantages in it's main weapon, plus a healthy rapid rattling rifling of Anti personnel machine gun fire, the Hellhound is optimum placed to kill a whole squad of 10 Dire Avengers hiding in cover, in one pass. This unfortunately, makes the tank deeply unpopular and sadly puts the Hellhound in multiple gunsights from turn one. So here are my suggestion for survivability:
  • Numbers: One Hellhounds vulnerable, two's a charm, three will make your opponent sweat. After all, hellhounds are great value for money and multiple targets ensure you reach yours. Plus if they al make it, that ensures the enemy are really really dead.
  • Reserves: Stating the obvious, why not leave the hellhound in reserve until required. Let your durable Heavy weapon teams and flanking or deep striking elites tie up the enemy firepower, this leaves the door open for your fire hounds.
  • Support: Not only do you need to kill them all, but also you need to capture that objective. Hellhounds work well as part of a flanking column with chimera support, this gives them staying power, allows them to deliver to objective and then move onto other targets o opportunity.
  • Saving throw: No more 4+ glancing rolls! The Hellhounds profile is low and small. Hide it behind over or even take a stripped down Demolisher along for the ride. In any event, always pop smoke...
This leads me neatly onto the next section:

Essential Vehicle Upgrades

The advantage of Hellhounds is relatively inbuilt. They're cheap, small, and very effective - as such I'd only recommend taking a maximum of three (or four cheap ones) of the following:
  1. Smoke Launchers: Absolutely essential, cheap as chips. That 4+ save will give your tanks real survivability and cut all offensive potential in half. Remember to cycle your tanks if you can, popping the smoke alternatively to give maximum impact.
  2. Heavy Stubber: With a 36" range and S4, the ability to fire this defensive weapon every turn makes it essential. A selection of heavy stubbers also allow fast moving tanks some aggressive action.
  3. Extra Armour: Great, as for 5 points you can keep your tank moving in spite of incoming fire.
  4. Rough Terrain Modification: Every Hellhound needs a bulldozer blade. At 5 points this is essential. Your objective as a Hellhound driver is to get to your target ASAP. If that means driving through stuff - do it! You'll be closer to the 4+ cover save (ie: in it), you'll be making best progress, and what's the chances of rolling two 1's in a row (for me quite high, but hey?) ...
  5. Hunter Killer Missile: This one is great if you need to give your hellhound an antitank punch. A only 10 points, they're very tempting but (and its a big but) I've failed to kill anything with them yet - they do give you the chance of maximising fire for one turn, but the weapon of a desperate man.
  6. Track Guards: Theoretically great, but at 10 points I'd rather have a HK missile. Only gives you a 4+ save and you're stunned that turn anyhow, ie: you are dead next turn and there little you can do about it!
  7. Improved Comms: it's 20 points but you only need one per army - put it on something durable (like a hidden basilisk), worth taking if you're maxing out reserves, but not worth putting on your hellhound (due to life expectancy).

So get out there and secure some Hellhounds, this is arguably the Guards best tank, you're other fast attack options are Sentinels (pah!) and rough riders (don't even get me started on rough riders - grrrr!), so there's no downside.

As they say in the Fantastic Four - "It's CLOBBER TIME ... Flame on!"

Tuesday, 26 August 2008

Ok kid, you're all clear, now lets blow this thing and go home!

Warggghh ... Dakka dakka dakka!

I picked up a good proportion of the titanic order today, with my better half's blessing I popped up to GiftforGeeks and got my sticky hands on the following:
  • 6 Ogre Bull (soon to be greenstuffed to Orgrynish proportions).
  • A Cadian Battle Force (another 20 cadians, 6 Heavy weapon teams and a Leman Russ for the gristle!)
  • My second Chimera (such a pretty tank!)
  • Codex: Orks (this one thrown in for Devilin's entertainment)
I have to say the Ork codex is an absolute joy to read, finally the zany wackiness of Orks is revealed in all its glory - and it's mighty appealing. Casting a more laboured Guard eye and with a look at the Eldar weaknesses - the Orks are going to raise some serious challenges, not least because they seem to have powerweapons crawling out of everywhere.

From Burners, to Nobs, to Deffkoptas to Mek's - there's a mountain of weapons heading your way. Personally I can't wait to get my Guard to grip with these interlopers, they may be as cheap and plentiful as Guardsmen and come in limitless fearless packs - but a missile launcher, mortar, battlecannon and heavy bolter force should even things up - after all, they don't even wear flak jackets - silly things...

Can't help thinking fighting the Orks and playing them is going to be awfully dramatic...


PS: With an eye to the foreclosed poll, After the Orks and Blood Angels are complete. I'm delighted that my number one choice for our next army won out, Necron's are cute, but I want some real Bugs to get stuck in to, great modeling and fabulous modification potential - I can't wait!

Monday, 25 August 2008

Stroll on ATST.

The demise of the Sentinel Walker
by Suneokun
A selection of my Kochi 6th Light Infantry 'Stalkers'

As a fairly well seasoned 40k gamer (ED: eh, what? Lightly sprinkled with herbs of experience, slight undertone of roasted garlic!) and a passionate professor of Imperial Guard in all their many numbered might, I'm really sad about the Sentinel.

Like many of my generation, I rewound my VHS recording of Starwars and watched Luke kill the Deathstar again and again until you could practically see the holes in the magnetised tape! I lived and breathed starwars. Empire strikes back was the best of the three, its darkened tones giving a subtle counterpoint to the righteous New Hope and the OTT Jedi. After growing up on a scifi spread of BattleStar Galactica, Ulysses and Buck Rogers. Starwars was surprisingly ... well ... realistic!

The spaceships weren't shiny, they were well used and scuffed and battle scarred. The Millenium Falcon only worked if Han begged it and the snow-speeders had seen better days and needed modifying because they couldn't work in the freezing night of Hoth. By the time the Imperial walker stomped onto the scene I was well past sold. And then, during the overall derge that is Return of the Jedi, two bright sparks appeared: Speeder bikes and the ATST Scout Walker.

Everything from its wicked guns to the dinosaur like movements was brilliant. I had a second hand ATST toy scout walker with a push button that initiated jerky turkey movements. I loved it.

So ever since I got into Warhammer 40k and realised that there was a wider universe than the mucous clusters of Advanced Space Crusade - I've craved sentinels! I think I would go as far as to say that they are one of the core reasons why I chose Imperial Guard as my army.

However, like many a player, after finally purchasing my cadre of 'stalkers' last Christmas and bringing them to the fore, the question needs to be asked: why are sentinels so pants?

The weaknesses of the Sentinel are multiple. They lack the armour of a Dreadnought (well fair enough), but they're expensive - unreasonably expensive for their fragility. That would be fine if like other light vehicles like Eldar war walkers or landspeeders, they come with some awesome kickass firepower. But they don't... they ummm suck really badly. And it's making me sad.

Saving the Sentinel: Tactics

5th Edition has creaked open the door of opportunity to the broom cupboard of despair that the Sentinel had found itself in. The first crack of light has been the introduction of new cover rules, the second ray comes from the worsening impact of close combat and the third (and real) hope is the opportunity to flank.
  • Cover Rules: give your sentinels a hope in hell, get behind the cover. The new vehicle cover rules make a Sentinel more like a giant trooper and this has the added advantage of move and fire with a heavy weapon, exploit the cover and give your boys a fighting chance. Also don't forget that the majority rule also applies to vehicle squad, keep 1.5 sentinels in cover and gain a cover save for all. Exploit your ability to run now and run from cover to cover.
  • Covering Fire: As most imperial guard players will attest, the new line of sight (LOS) rules have made heavy weapon teams all the more effective. Now a heavy weapon platoon has both the durability (in cover) and the firepower to shatter an advancing assault squad. So what if they get a 4+ invulnerable save, last edition you couldn't even 'see' them! One problem still persists tho'. As every guard player knows, heavy weapon teams are notoriously static, there's just no advantage in moving them. They are therefore not the best at covering of the line of attack that the enemy troops are flooding down. A squad of three Sentinels can offer a great supporting fire squad for your heavy weapon teams, and with a 4+ save and armed with lascannons or autocannons they can play havoc behind the lines.
  • Close Combat: Another advantage of the tactic above is that if properly equipped, the Sentinel can offer reasonable close combat response. If you choose to take hardened fighters, the sentinel has 3 x S6 attacks on the charge. This makes Sentinels very handy against Ork boys (who with only S3 can't glance them), but watch out for powerfists, S4 troops or even boltguns at this range. The opportunity to slaughter a squad in close combat is highly tempting, but kill the powerfist sergeant first with your vindicare assassin. Approach close combat like Deamonhosts, pick your fights carefully. The advantage of having a vehicle squad in combat is that Shaken results count as stunned, and any multiple loss make no odds as you don't retreat and the hits multiple doesn't count - Nice.
  • Bunch of Flankers: this takes two flavours. Anti tank and anti infantry. The ability to flank has given the sentinel a new lease of life, allowing them to deploy three lascannon pointing directly at the rear armour of most vehicles. This mid game 'surprise' option is invaluable. As the Sentinels life expectancy beyond that fist volley is non-existent. Best weapon: Lascannon or Autocannon (depending on your confidence and luck). For anti infantry flanking, place an objective near the short board edge, wait until the objective is held by 4+ saving throw troops, flank and toast using heavy flamers. Rinse, repeat, charge if dead etc. The Sentinels are sacrificial, they'll probably die, but let them take as many with them as possible! Best Weapon: Heavy Flamer.

The poor maligned Sentinel is still the butt-end joke of the Guard. At 150pts for three fragile autocannon turkeys to could buy two fully equipped guard squads, a well equipped armoured fist, a hellhound or even a leman russ battle tank - what would you count on? The fact of the matter is the Sentinel is underpowered, overpriced and under-armoured - making it one of the most cherished, but least used units in the Guard arsenal.
So what could improve the situation, well I have a number of thoughts for upgrades, some original, some available at forgeworld:
  • The Missile Launcher Sentinel. Available with indirect fire for whirlwind type action.
  • Give us more guns. Twin (not twin linked) Heavy Bolters, Autocannons or Multilaser for some equality with War Walkers.
  • Twin Linked Lascannons, we only hit half the time after all!
  • Armoured Sentinel (is AV11 too much to ask as an upgrade?)
  • Close Combat Sentinel (what else is that giant chainsword for?) - give us some real punch.
And that's it, an epiphany (or derge) to the most desired and least use vehicle in W40k. Please GW, bring back our scout walker!

Friday, 22 August 2008

Staff Sergeant Hagard Munk

Independent Character - Staff Sergeant Hagard Munk

"You watch yourself boy, 'cause I ain't nice. I'm a nasty piece of work and I fight dirty and I win. You want my pipe, I'd give you better odds with the Tyranid."
Staff Sergeant Hagard Munk, prior to the securing of Tau Hill.

Background: Staff Sergeant Hagard Munk is a drill Sergeant and senior NCO of the Kochi 20th Light Infantry. Among the recruits he is a monster, to the veterans of the Kochi elite forces - he is a legend. Munk's background is vague, he came to Kochi as a child, the son of a mechanicus worker who came to work the crystal workshops of Kochi's 'Citadel'.  On coming of age Munk was accepted in to the Kochi Regulars PDF defense force.  He first came to the attention of his superiors during the cleansing of hive cluster three.  Still a Kochi conscript, or 'white blade', he led his fellow conscripts into a charge against the corrupt Servitor-Lord Tefkur.  Despite the losses of two thirds of the white blades corps, Munk carried the day and personally assisted Commissar Albrecht in torching the insane Techpriest Enginseer within his corrupted lair.

On the recommendation of Albrecht, Munk was fast-tracked to training with the Kochi Irregulars; the elite Veteran and Grenadier section.  His performance merited far above normal and further to physical tests and mental scrutiny, he was given his first command as a senior NCO.  The Kochi 20th Light Infantry Regiment were identified and allocated to help defend the Alliance Mining Sector under Adeptus command.  Munk's platoon was involved in the isolation and destruction of the Mining Sector Hive Node, further accolades were given in Munk's intelligent handling of the grenadier auxiliaries after the senior command squad was lost during the spook hunt for lictors within the Hive.  Further to this situation, Munk was given battlefield command of the Company.  Munk's rise in authority and stature rose inordinately until a political confrontation on Alliance Node #4.  Munk, in his usual bluff manner had taken command of the failing command structure and secured the evacuation of over four hundred men from the asteroid cluster. This was done, in spite of the inadequate command of the local PDF classed forces.  In revenge for the perceived slur, Commander Jennie deadlocked over one hundred men, without support or rearming in front of the Genestealer horde.  Needlessly condemning them to their deaths for no strategic advantage.

Following this, Munk challenged the Commander and in the ensuing fracar, killed the offending officer.  Following this action, the local PDF hierarchy demanded Hagard Munk's immediate court marshall and execution.  The Adeptus Mechanicus were less easily swayed, and made a demand of Munk.  Win back the asteroid, or consider yourself at their mercy.  After Munk's previous actions on behalf of the PDF forces, they willingly volunteered to assist the spearhead Kochi elite forces.  Thanks to Munks enlightened tactics and near prescient command, losses were realised at less than half the predicted amounts.  The asteroid was cleared to the price of 312 guard and 38 veteran grenadiers.  During this assault, Munk famously led the charge that defeated the Tyranid hive cluster of warriors and reclaimed the Mechnicus asteroid.  Pulling his Kochi dagger from his scabbard, he sawed a knuckle from the beast's claw, later he fashioned a pipe from the stiffened giant digit.

With such an exemplary officer and asset on their hands, the Adeptus was little inclined to accede to the Imperial Guard high command. However, while Munk fought the locale Imperial command became more vociferous.  Caught between the Adeptus Mechanicus loyalties and the Ministorum ultimatums the Kochi Command compromised.  Munk was heavily court marshaled, stripped of his officer status as Lieutenant-Colonel and given the little used title of Staff Sergeant.  Under an official cloud, but with the unofficial recognition of his respected seniors, Munk was transported back to Kochi VI, the new head of the Citadel Barracks and overseer of Irregular training.

Kochi had protected its own.

Statistics: Staff Sergeant Hagard Munk

Pts  WS BS S    T W I A Ld Sv
Munk    85 4 5 3(4) 3 3 4 3 10 4+

Any Imperial Army over 1,000 points may include Staff Sergeant Hagard Munk. If you take him he counts as one of your HQ choices. He must be used exactly as described below, and may not be given any additional equipment.

Wargear: Twin 'Carver' Hellpistols, Carapace Armour, trademark item (pipe and tabac), frag and krak grenades.

Twin Carver Hellpistols: Hagard Munk's master crafted twin 'carver' hellpistols have been modified by techpriest adepts on Kochi VI to produce a more lethal cut. As such they fire like a twin linked weapon but are +1 strength over a normal hellpistol. The carver hellpistols also count as an additional weapon in close combat and transfer a +1 strength advantage (stat included).
Trademark Item: Hagard Munk's Pipe and Tabac are carried by the perpetually frantic Private August 'twitcher' Reynolds. Reynolds carries Munk's Pipe, Tabac and trusted Meltagun "Blue Peter". See Reynolds stats below.
Leader: Any unit within 12" of Munk can use Munk's Ld characteristic for leadership and pinning tests.
Summary Execution: Kochi NCO's make Commissars look like pushovers. If any unit that Munk is attached to fail a leadership test, Munk will execute the officer to keep ranks.

Pts WS BS S T I A Ld Sv
Reynolds  - 3 3 3 3 1 3 1 6 5+

Wargear: Meltagun "Blue Peter", flak armour, trademark item (Munk's pipe and tabac), flak armour, frag grenades.

Bodyguard: If within 2" of Munk, then Reynolds may change places with him at the start of either player's Assault phase. He will then fight Munk's opponents and Munk will fight his (if any).
Reynolds Dies: If Reynolds dies, the advantage of the 'trademark item' is lost. The unit must take a pinning test immediately against Munk's leadership. If failed Munk is too busy trying to find his pipe (and kicking Reynolds corpse for dropping them).

Potential model option for Staff Sergeant Hagard Munk, shame he's got no legs!

“Reynolds , you are a nosy son of a moll, and a molls get gets a molls role, you get me?” Blank apprehension replied in the negative. “You’ve earned the exclusive right to carry my standard and particulars. Now hand me your rifle.” Reynolds reluctantly unslung his rifle. Under the NCO’s piercing glare he passed the weapon across. “Now put out your hands.” Whispered Munk.

Into Reynolds left hand Munk placed a small tin box the size of a las-cartridge. Into his other hand he pushed the gnarled rouge pipe. The brass mouthpiece was smooth and chill against his hand and the Tyranid flesh rasped on his palm. Thick purple porcine hairs jabbed into his flesh and made his hackles rise.

“That there’s my pipe and tabac. Drop my tabac and I’ll take your hand.” He laughed and slapped Reynolds on his thick arm. “Before you go putting those things in your pack. They ain’t yours, their mine. You just carrying them for me. They stay in your hands and you stay with me.” He grinned maliciously and pulled Reynolds close.

“You pack them away careful, trying to steal them, I kill you. You drop them, I will kill you. I get to the top and they’re not ready for me to take a toke, I kill you. You spill my tabac, I’m just gonna hafta take your hand. You see me and the Emperor are so alike – we all just sacrifice and mercy.”

Nork and Nark

Nork and Nark 'lead' the charge again, under the eye of the commissariat!

Master Darksol said...

oh, tell me that the Commissar was positioned with his Bolt Pistol to the Psycher's head on purpose. That pic reads SO awesome.

Thanks to DarkSol and Admiral Drax for the particularly positive responses to these models, thanks to your input - I thought it best to introduce you all properly:

Nork Deddog and Nark Muldoon

I'm a big fan of Nork Deddog as a bodyguard addition to Command Squads. See:
Nork Deddog Character Specification
for details. As part of my Kochi Light Infantry fluff I intend to introduce a friend to accompany Nork Deddog, his "pet" psyker Nark Muldoon.

Below you'll find a breakdown of how Devilin and I went about the conversion of Nork and Nark, the specification for Nark Muldoon and a cracking (if grotesque) fluff for the pair of them.


Nork Deddog: The Nork Deddog model was converted from an old Warhammer Ogre by Devilin. His Rippergun is built from RT era lasguns and (dah-dah-DAHH!) zoid bits.

Nark Muldoon: Supplemented a genestealer hybrid body with cadian heavy weapon mortar and missile launcher arms to give it that psyker "I've got a headache" look. The plasma pistol is an old rogue trader era model and therefore I've classed it as a plasma "holdout" pistol (with the same spec as a bolt pistol).

Nork and Nark

Nark Muldoon - Character Specification

o Sanctioned Psyker Advisor, ability "Psychic Ward"
o Plasma "Holdout" pistol (Boltpistol spec)
o Carapace Armour
o Pig Sticker (Master Crafted Force Weapon)
o Black Ship Survivor (Honorifa Imperalis Mundanus)


"Narky, wot you do up dere?" Nork grumbled "Captain says we go back now."

"Shush mate..." Nark replied in an urgent whisper. "I got one of my feelings, you know my feelings, don'tcha big man. They're rare wrong fella." He glanced down at Nork and winked, Nork shrugged and scuffed up ocre brown leaves with a single giant foot. "...but Narky, we gotta go." he mumbled.

Muldoon waved him to silence as he peered apprehensively from his position buried in the thick brambled foliage of the hedge. Before him lay a shallow gorge cut by a long dried out stream, on the other side of the canyon the leaf laden branches swayed softly. Still he sat quiet, trusting to his gut and not this tranquil visage.

His breath caught in his throat as in an instant two Eldar pathfinders appeared on the edge of the forest, their long rifles sweeping across the gorge and the bushes supporting Nark's weight. Suddenly Nark felt very exposed and vulnerable. He'd climbed the bush for a clear view and superb cover, but he realised with a sinking stomach that he had also cornered himself. There was no way he could dismount without giving away his position to those nasty looking sniper rifles.

His mind raced as the Eldar moved down towards the gulley. Thinking quickly Nark considered his desparate options. He looked down at Nork and exerting his will, reflected the image of the Eldar snipers onto Norks minds eye. Nork nodded silently, he understood Narks intentions, he then prodded himself in the eye, clearly trying to dislodge the image of the two Eldar. Crouching, the huge Orgryn started to edge himself along the hedges base. Trying to get a bead on the Eldar beyond.

Rolling his eyes in exasperation at the bodyguards behaviour, Nark looked back to the gorge. His "feeling" had now graduated to "headache" and he was certain the object of his discomfort was about to appear. The two rangers had slipped sinuously across the gorge and now signalled back across the clearing. Almost immediately a large contingent of Alaitoc guardians stood up and strode from the dappled shade of the trees. Under the glaring sunlight, Nark could see the details etched on their armour of lustrous blue and yellow. At their head stood an Eldar bedecked in glorious finery, hefting a rune encrusted spear, an Eldar Farseer.

Realising that their time was now upon them. Nark pulled his plasma holdout pistol from his belt and exerted his will over Norks slow thought processes. Nork's Ripper gun boomed repeatedly as barrage after barrage of buckshot ripped into the two Eldar rangers at close range, shredding their scout armour and flinging their bloodied bodies down into the wet grass. The Eldar farseer pointed at the bank as a dozen catapults were raised into position. Hundreds of razor sharp blades whirred across the gorge at the bushes, slicing through leaf, branch, trunk and bank as they filleted the cover that Nork had fired from.

But Nork had already gone, his enormous bulk punching through the thick foliage with great sweeps of his arms, he thundered down the back of the hedge towards Narks position. Nark raised his holdout plasma pistol and sighted the Farseer as shuriken blades whipped through the trees around him. His holdout pistol kicked hard as the plasma shot seared across the intervening space.

It caught the Farseer in the leg, searing through armour and flesh. The farseer piroeted as he fell, clutching his leg. The fire intensified as guardians moved to protect their leaders, plumeling the high hedge with fire.

Muldoon had already lost his balance to the holdout pistols kick and was now hanging upside-down by one leg in enemy fire. He heard crashes below him and sensed Nork's tumultuous approach. Releasing his leg from the branch, he fell briefly and landed clumsily into the bulky arms of Deddog, who thundered on without pause.

"We go back now?" Deddog roared as shuriken blades pinged through the wood and thunked into the carapace armour across his broad back. Nark Muldoon didn't reply at first, his headache had escalated to a fullblown volcanic migraine and his sinuses were filling with acid. He gazed up at Nork's concerned expression as pressure welled behind his eyeballs thanks to the farseers psychic attack. His eyes started to water and he felt the overwhelming urge to sneeze. He didn't so much sneeze as explode. Mucous and flehm spattered across Norks concerned face.

Deddog swore furiously and staggered as he squinted through his one clear eye. Nark grinned up at his accomplice's furious face as the giant's trudging gait carried them quickly away from the Alaitoc. "Sorry about the face, big man, but that flashy eldar was trying some mind tricks on us, gave me the sniffles is all."

Nork glanced down and grinned "Needed a wash anyhow." he said. Licking his lips.

Nark groaned.

The Numbers Game.

Why cheap and numerous beats clever and expensive any day!

Glancing through Bell of Lost Souls, I've been reading about the rumours on the new Space Marine codex. Needless to say, GW have again jammed up the Space Marines with "do everything" army list of doom!

However, it is interesting and I'l reserve judgement on the outcome in that price-tags are yet to be allocated. The new codex seems to be pushing player into 10 man squads (you can't have any special or heavy weapons in a smaller squad), the codex is also expanding an already impressive array of attack options, including the new and special drop pods, thunder cannons and space marine scouts with grenade launcher on bikes with minefields and teleport/drop pod/jump pack homing beacons.

Basically there will be rock hard Smurf nutters leaping, jumping, phasing, dropping and burping into existence everywhere... but is that any different from Chaos, or Eldar for that matter?

The army lists are drawing up, into one of the following:
  • Huge army, charges recklessly (Orks, Tyranids)
  • Huge Army, shoots frenetically (Guard, Tau)
  • Tough Army, everywhere (Space Marines, Chaos Space Marines and Chaos Deamons)
  • Tough Army, slow (Necron)
  • Weaker Army, everywhere (Eldar, Dark Eldar)
So how will this work out ... hopefully some of the variety and options that have benefitted all the other codex will trickle down to the Imperial Guard. We have been playing the same codex since Ed. 3 and it shows.

An Ork now costs the same as a guardsman, but he has higher toughness, more attacks, a better gun etc etc. Guard have significant advantages under 5th compared to 4th. Our accuracy with big blast templates has actually improved, and we've got a lot of them. The new cover rules are good cos we like cover, and my tanks are happier under the new rules. But our points are still 3rd Edition.

With the Smurf codex getting even more "various" and the options being expanded. The hope in my heart for Imperial Guard is two fold.
  1. The numerous get even more numerous - 4 pts per guard. 2 pts per conscript, disposable troops.
  2. If not more numerous, more flexible. The doctrines are largely a waste of time, and the new platoon doctrines look very exciting.
Perhaps as soon as Christmas, the guard will have a codex worthy of them.

Thursday, 21 August 2008

Kochi 20th Light Infantry Army List


The balance of any army is a difficult thing. WIth guard, where the majority of the structure is so rigid, the optional extras must be exploited as much as possible. It's important to note that the army list presented here represents the 'optimum' wargear setup. With Imperial Guard, there's always a balance to be struck between numbers and strength. The options presented below are still highly restricted by doctrines. While I can take storm troopers as grenadiers, the subsequent opt in options would require me to buy back ratlings, orgryns, techpriests, psykers, heavy weapon teams, special weapon squads - a nonsense. That said, as every guard player knows, you can bend the codex to take what you want and I'm not above sacrificing the Heavy Weapon Platoon and taking more HQ extras.

The Army Core

The core of this army is Easy platoon. It's five squads form the backbone of the elite forces, while the platoon command is kitted out with cheap but effective grenade launchers to give maximum move and fire support to the troops.

Previously, my use of the gun-line meant that having autocannons or heavy bolters as part of the squads was a useful way of soaking up incoming fire while keeping the units fresh. With 5th Edition and the requirement for troops to capture objectives, a heavy weapon has become an expense not worth having. I have plumped for plasma and melta in the squads as both are most effective within the rapid fire range of 12". I've steered clear of flamers in the squads, largely because while they can prove wildly successful, thy are a wasted option for most of the game and I prefer to attached such weapons to units that are close combat orientated, faster, or disposable.

The command squads of the Heavy platoon and the Troops platoon are interchangeable. The 24" grenade launcher will allow the Easy Command Squad to range behind these troop shields, enjoying a 4+ save while taking pot shots at potential adversaries with frag, or popping Dire Avengers with krak grenades. Meanwhile, the classic 3 plasma and a medic combination is strengthened further in the 5th Edition, with 'gets hot' rolls being more forgiving. I foresee this heavy weapon platoon command squad providing 'deterrence' strength to infiltrators and deep strikers at the rear of the board, while offering a back up squad with real punch to offer a satisfactory second line of offense against wraithlords etc.

Backing up this central platoon and its platoon HQ are the two 'Sturn's Specials' special weapon teams. Without melta or plasma, they'll present less of a target, while they're 4 grenade launchers will offer 'pester power'. The addition of a couple of demolition packs will hopefully give them the punch to capture objectives and seize ground.

Close Combat Options

I'm the sort of player who enjoys throwing squads into the mix, but with the new close combat rules being so destructive, I want to ensure that whatever I throw in demolishes the opposition. This can be achieved in two ways, drastically outnumbering your opponent with masses of troops; or tipping the odds in your favour with some tougher close combat squads. 5th Edition is less terrifying for the guard, as a single close combat squad can no longer roll up the line, but when fighting Orks, Tyranids or Smurfs its toughness, saving throws and attacks that win the day. Being WS7 is nice, but you still only get 3+ to hit - what a waste of points.

With this in mind I've got two toughened close combat units. The first is an overpriced dream, I've found the combination of Nork Deddog and a plasma'd up command squad essential in the past. The addition of carapace armour makes they remarkably potent, as does the essential addition of power weapons. My command squad, plus Nork and a Commissar saw off two aspect warrior squads (Striking Scorpions/Swooping Hawks) and a band of Harlequins thanks to plasma, power weapons and the commissar shooting Sturn in the head. Nice.

My second option is a bit of a pet project, I've spoken about the Orgyrns I'm purchasing and their assorted weaponry. The idea is that these Adeptus Mechanicus augmented Orgyrns will be armed with storm bolters and huge weaponry (although their stats will be basic). On top of this I've decided to create an house rules Independent Character called 'Lugger Cross", who is a Bone'Ed armed with carapace armour, a wraithlord sword (counts as +1S weapon) and (here's where we leave the annals of the codex) a heavy flamer. The model will look awesome, in toughened armour, toting a cigar! Needless to say, he'll be pricey at 56 points all in.

The second line of assault in my Deathwatch Killteam. All the fun of taking smurfs without the cheese. These guys aren't the hottest in close combat, but with five 30" Rapid Fire AP4 kraken bolts and two assault 3 heavy bolters - they're not to be sniffed at either. Oh and I gave the captain a powerfist and powersword because I like him.

Red and yellow and pink and green, well not pink obviously. The Space Marine DeafWatch Killteam come to play.

Finally, I have the unmentionable Unregulars - my conscripts. 20 guard only given Rogue Trader armour and lasguns - poor boys! I did give them two flamers! Now I just have to buy Ibrahim Gaunt ... at 45pts they're then fearless. Hmm nice.

Fire Power

Heavy Weapon Teams: With the troops options mobile and supported by special weapon fire, the positioning of the Heavy Weapon Teams becomes essential. With Guard and heavy weapons, I following one simple rule: Shoot as much as possible. Hence why I lead with two squads of Heavy Bolters mustering a total of 18 shots a turn, followed up by the six autocannon shots with their anti light tank and walker role. In addition, this firepower can be further stoked by the Sentinel Stalkers. Armed with Autocannons for maximum impact.

While many armies focus on the Lascannon as the central piece of the weapons, I prefer the flexibility of the Missile Launcher. When fighting Eldar, which I do frequently, S9 is not an advantage as it's usually sacrificed by by the skimmers bow-wave. Furthermore, while the AP2 is useful against Terminators, I'd rather use my missiles on softer targets. Three frag missiles can really flatten a squad of guardians, while the S8 AP3 missile can even make a wraithlord blush. As such I usually pack 6 of these beauties, and can field a total of 12. An interesting argument put forward by SubtleBlatancy, is to use missile launchers right across your army, that way the enemy can't 'single out' and particularly frustrating squad, plus the missile launcher on most tests outperforms all other weapons.

The Treads

Leman Russ: The final and most recent addition to the force are the tanks and armoured transports. I have personally steered clear of both the Basalisk and the Demolisher. While I respect their potential, they fall into the future purchase options for me. The core of my force is built around two Leman Russ battle tanks. These have standard armament including sponsor heavy bolters and lascannon (and the required heavy stubber). The use of ordinance weapons is essential to guard armies and these battle cannons usually focus their ire on squads. The addition of two lascannons does give the force the additional antitank punch when required.

Chimera's ... hmm where to start, they just won't die, will they? Whether because of their weaponry, seemingly weaker armour or passive calming paintjob (ED: eh?) the lowly Chimera just keeps on churning, the focus for mine is to play taxi to the objectives required. Despite being sorely underestimated, the chimera can churn out an awesome arsenal of 9 S4,S5 and S6 shots which can quickly wither away any enemy troops. Just them as mobile pillboxes, or alternatively use them as the fire screen to this bad boy.

The Hellhound. I love my hellhound, the inferno cannon is the best anti infantry hill grabbing option available. My biggest problem is that I want more of them ... Can't I take three?

And that's it. A full breakdown of the armour troops and specialist options adopted.

Army Listing

Command HQ
  • Commander Storn (plasma pistol and powersword, carapace)
  • 3 x veteran troopers (plasma pistols and close combat weapon, carapace)
  • 1 x veteran trooper (plasma pistol, carapace, close combat weapon and company standard); in a Chimera transport
Optional HQ Advisors
  • Commissar Ulbrect (Bolt Pistol and power sword, carapace)
  • Nork Deddog (As per GW spec, Rippergun, carapace)
  • Nark Muldoon: Psyker (Honorifica Imperialis; carapace; plasma holdout pistol [bolt pistol] and master crafted force weapon, psyker ability: Psychic Ward)
  • Techpriest Petark: Techpriest Enginseer advisor (counts as an elites option if he takes servitors); las pistol, power axe, servo arm, power armour.

Nork Deddog and Nark Muldoon 'lead' a charge.

HQ Extras
  • 2 x Storn's Specials: special weapon teams armed with 2 grenade launchers, demolition charge, 3 lasguns.
  • 1 x Fire Support Squad, Heavy Bolters [3]
  • 1 x Anti Tank Squad, Missile Launchers [3]
  • Kochi Stalkers [3]: Autocannon and chainsword equipped Sentinels

Veteran Sergeant complete with Storm Bolter, targeter and powersword

HQ Option: DeathWatch Killteam. Space Marines [7] led by a Captain armed with Power Fist and Power Sword, Five Space Marines armed with bolters armed with kraken bolts. Two space marines armed with Suspensor Heavy Bolters (18" Assault 3 weapon) and Hellfire Shells (2+ to wound).

Elites: Kochi Irregulars
  • Kochi veteran unit [10]: 3 grenade launchers and a missile launcher, vet sergeant with power sword, storm bolter and targeter.
  • Ratling Snipers [8]
  • Orgryn Attack Squad [6], comprising augmented stormbolters and massiveclose combat weapons (equivilent to a rippergun). Bone 'Ed 'Lugger Cross' with carapace armour, heavy flamer and mighty sword (+1S); in a Chimera transport.
Troops: Kochi Regulars

Easy Platoon:
  • Command Squad with 4 grenade launchers, lieutenant with bolt pistol and close combat weapon.
  • Easy Alpha [10]: Standard Squad with meltagun.
  • Easy Bravo [10]: Standard Squad with plasmagun.
  • Easy Charlie [10]: Standard Squad with meltagun.
  • Easy Delta [10]: Standard Squad with plasmagun.
  • Easy Squared [10]: Standard Squad with meltagun.

Colonel Sterns - Kochi Irregular Veteran Bodyguards
  • Grenadier Squad Foxtrot [6]: Plasmagun and grenade launcher.
  • Grenadier Squad Gamma [6]: powersword, meltagun and flamer.
  • Kochi Unregulars: 20 Conscripts, 2 flamers.
Fast Attack
  • Hellhound: Inferno Cannon, Heavy Bolter, Smoke, Hunter Killer Missile and Heavy Stubber.
Heavy Support
  • Leman Russ "Crystal Meth": Heavy bolter sponsons, lascannon, battle cannon, heavy stubber.
  • Leman Russ "First Doubts": Heavy Bolter Sponsons, lascannon, battle cannon, heavy stubber.
Heavy Weapon Platoon
  • Command squad with 3 plasma guns and a medic, lieutenant with bolt pistol and close combat weapon.
  • Fire Support Squad, Heavy Bolters [3]
  • Fire Support Squad, Autocannons [3]
  • Anti Tank Squad Missile Launchers [3]
Optional Extras
  • Mortar Teams [6]
  • Swap out Special Weapon Squads for second Veterans Squad [10].