Wednesday, 28 October 2009

BATREP: Light Infantry Lives!

... or, introducing the 'Leafblower Lite' ...

The Kochi 20th Light Infantry in their new incarnation


Shadowing his eyes, Captain Sharma squinted at the beautific view before him. During the briefing the spook indoctrinator had described this world as a land of medium geological value with a potential as an agriworld. Sharma ran his eyes along the line of flashing green glinted across the hilltop and felt that 'I425' didn't really hit the right note to describe the vibrancy of the azure sky, slashed across with cumulous clouds, or the way in which the virident green grass rustled in quiet harmony. The word that refocused into Sharma's mind when he looked on this world was one said in contempt by the mechanicus indoctrinator.


The hills had a certain tilt of evocation, and the valleys invited exploration. The crystal stream bore fish of which the soldier had never seen. And the Kochi 20th Light Infantry were stomping their way across it with some distain. Take somewhere beautiful, place 30,000 Crystal World mining veterans on it, and watch the glow of wonder turn to sadistic grins in the moments before the drop loader has even relocated.

Maiden, easy.

Sharma didn't regret their contempt. To an extent, it kept them on-game and in focus. His command team and NCO's were perfectly aware that Sharma's skill lay elsewhere and that his glowing appreciation of the surroundings were a small price to pay for his nuanced command.

Light Infantry were a dying breed. Such a specialist force was growing rare in a conflict zone filled with monstrous tyranids, Tau technosourcery and Chaotic Space Marines. That said, they'd found themselves deployed in city fights and hive runs. Usually strategic objectives where the tank were too afraid to venture. And now they found themselves dropped into a paradise with little transport and a bunch of Eldar no doubt looking down their noses at them.

"It's a throne-gone situation, you ask me, Sharma. How you want to play it?" Growled Commissar-Lord Jact Donagrodski. Sharma turned to shine an appreciative smile at his irreverent peer. Donagrodski was still in his prime, his peppered black hair giving out to grey. His posture looked cocksided. A Tyranid warrior had taken his 'damn best sword arm' during a campaign four years before, and the mech-assists had seen fit to attach a giant servo arm. It worked in a similar fashion to Sharma's own powerfist, which he'd left back in his command tent.

"I like the view." stated the senior officer. "but I don't like what it does for our chances." The Commissar grunted in response, pushing his hand inside the folds of his cloak and retrieving a hip flask, which he offered to Sharma.

"You've seen the reports from the sappers. We've lost a good proportion of our walkers and flyers. We lost another 2 Valkyrie last night. We're being penned in."

Commissar Jact raised an eyebrow. "Reckon somethings brewing too eh?" he grumbled. "Reckon it's soon?" he glanced speculatively at the small commander's wizen and scarred face. Sharma cleared his throat.

"Yes well, I've think I may have an idea about that..."



This game is a little bit of an experiment for me. Under the old codex I used to run with a lot of heavy weapons teams and my force was designed around the concept of a light infantry. We had one hellhound and a couple of Chimeras and could call on a Leman Russ and some Sentinels - but the army was actually all about the groundpounders and the sort of pounding they could withstand.

Lets be blunt, the old codex was pretty broken. The commander could lend a Ld9 to a 'castle' 12" across with everyone getting a reroll thanks to the regimental banner. The heavy weapon teams had 6 individual models, so it took at least 4 wounds to even affect their fire power. To top it off a commissar could add an additional +1 to every leadership test, and would shoot the commander if he blinked (and then take over). It was a nasty combination, to see it in effect, check out this battle report, where the combination of this castle and a few tanks decimated Dustins tau force at GfG's.

Under the new codex, heavy weapons have taken a serious nerf. The new two wound base means that heavy weapons are particularly vulnerable to S6 instantkill fire. In another more recent game against Mark, my hellhounds ripped his heavy weapon teams apart, killing three lascannon teams in a single shot, while the other shot killed 3 autocannons and whole command squad.

But I was facing an army I'd wanted to fight in a long time ... Eldar Saim Hann.


The plan was a simple goal but a demanding feat, create a rubix cube that Ant (commanding the Jetbikers) couldn't crack. It would either work spectacularly or fail miserably ... what to do?

My first action was to start where I always start - the opponent. Saim Hann can field:
  • ultrafast, tough (for Eldar) infantry with good saves
  • a tough uber-killy unit in the fortuned Seer council
  • lots of nasty lance weaponry which will make a mockery of my lovely AV14 tanks
So looking at my Army Selection Tactica I focused on the deniance and heat of both armies. Looking at the 'heat' in the Imperial Guard army (when looking from the Eldar POV) can give you a strong insight into what NOT to take. It was quickly clear that taking AV14 was wasting points. If the lance weapons would reduce everything to AV12 then AV12's what they would get.

Secondly, like the Tau, the Eldar lack lots of longrange firepower. If I could create an army which could hit him in hiding (something I see Fritz doing a lot) while offering long-range durable firepower AND the potential to ambush any Jetbikes that get too close ... that'd do it!

And that was the key thing. Jetbikes have a twin linked shuriken catapult with only a 12" range. That mean that even with a 'reverse course', the jetbikes would still be within melta or rapid fire range, Importantly they would be easily in range of my Rough Riders... so that's where I started.


The Origins of the 'Leafblower Lite' have been playing in my mind for a long time, as many of you will already be aware, I'm a big big fan of utilising Mortars. So much so that I dedicate a lot of time to their brilliance.
I was also inspired by Darkwynn's 'Leafblower Armylist' that appeared in the 'Ard Boyz Tournament.

Although there are many dissentors (not least of all the vitriolic Stelek) I liked the idea of an army list in guard that had both aggressive and defensive options, and most importantly - reach. I also wanted to create a cheaper version (the BoLs boys are very forgeworld orientated), which wouldn't table anyone in turn one, but would make the Light Infantry list viable.

  • Commander Sharma with Powerfist, boltpistol and refractor field. Command team with a meltagun, a regimental standard and a lascannon team in a basic Chug (Chimera).
  • Commissar Lord Jact Donagrodski with a bolt pistol, refractor field and powerfist.
  • Sly Marbo (le soldat): Ripper Pistol, Poisoned Blade, Demo charge, nearly every USR you can think of.
  • Leftenant Grub: Powerfist and laspistol, command team with a missile launcher and two grenade launchers in a Chug.
  • Squad Alpha: Sergeant with a powerweapon, Autocannon and grenade launcher. Commissar with bolt pistol and power weapon.
  • Squad Beta: Sergeant with a powerweapon, Autocannon and grenade launcher.
  • Squad Charlie: Sergeant with a powerweapon, Autocannon and meltagun.
  • Mortar Team #1
  • Mortar Team #2
  • Mortar Team #3
  • Mortar Team #4
  • Mortar Team #5
(NB: Yes, this is the first outing of all 15 mortar teams. Woop!)
  • Leftenant Holler: laspistol and powerweapon, command team with a missile launcher and two grenade launchers in a chug.
  • Squad Delta: Sergeant with a powerweapon, Missile Launcher and grenade launcher.
  • Squad Echo: Sergeant with a powerweapon, Missile Launcher and grenade launcher.
  • Squad Foxtrot: Sergeant with a powerweapon, Missile Launcher and meltagun.
Fast Attack
  • Rough Riders [5] Sergeant with a powersword
  • Rough Riders [5] Sergeant with a powersword
TOTAL: 1500pts


The ideal deployment is shown below. Effectively the two infantry platoons form two nasty tarpits with lots of ablative wounds and heavy/special/power weapons. The Commissar Lord adds an additional powerfist, but also allows the deployment to shift between a stubborn Ld10 uber unit and three Ld10 units (depending on the opponent/deployment).

The Commissar shares his 6" Ld10 with both uber-units AND anyone else in range (mortar teams for example. The commander in the middle drops Ld10 test 'bring it down' and 'fire on my target' on the MLs/ACs. To top it off the enemy needs to drop 7 men in a turn to force a Ld10 test. Oh and the regimental banner gives a reroll on both the Morale and pinning tests.

With the Eldar fielding catapults, the grenade launchers and meltagun would add additional 24" firepower ... I just hope he comes in range of my lasguns ... The rough riders, with an 18-24" range give a strong pre assault unit.

Against seercouncils the ideal is to catch them with rough riders and then pile in the 28 bodies ... even a rerollable 4+ invulnerable will still result in 4 dead seercouncil. And a stubborn 30 man unit will just tarpit or kill them.

So how would this 'oldschool' army do against Saim Hann jetbikes?


Ant had owned his jetbike army a long time, however they'd only seen the light of day once. As such a lot of half constructed jetbikes and vypers were removed from the box, with stands being 'recycled' as the casulaties were removed.
  • Autarch: Fusion Blaster and Shining Spear on jetbike.
  • 4x6 jetbikes with 2 shuriken cannons each.
  • 2 Vypers with Bright Lances
  • 2 Vypers with Starcannons
  • 1 Vyper with scatter laser
  • A Vindicator tank (pretending to be a fire prism)
The first surprise was the lack of a seer council (which was a relief) ... this would prove interesting. I'd faced Enough times to know that I shouldn't underestimate his list though, based on previous performance.


Don't worry about blinking ... they're not going to move!

Unluckily for Ant we rolled for Annihilation and Pitched Battle Deployment. Ant would have to 'crack' this rubix cube.

Ant won the roll and opted to go second.

Taking advantage I deployed nearly everything, while holding the powerfist infantry command squad (and Chug) and Mr Marbo in reserve. I castled up on the left flank, deploying the 30 man squads in a morass of cover at 8-12" onto the board. The mortars and command Chugs deployed behind them with the roughriders. The CommieLord deployed in a trenchline offering Ld10 to all. One of the advantages of a 30 man unit is that it can pick up a Ld10 bonus for a heavy weapon team positioned feet away!

Viewing Ant's list - I decided to place two groups of mortars away to the right, in cover in the middle of the board. These being two killpoints, I positioned the rough riders behind them.

Ant's deployment focused on lining up his deployment zone, usually dehind some cover. Ant's inexperience showed through here as I was expecting more reserve moves from his jetbikes, utilising deniance. He faced me squarely though with the 4 of the vypers, the tank and 2 jetbike squadrons facing the castle while the autarch led the other two jetbike squads and the remaining vyper against my vulnerable centre.


The autocannons and missile launchers let rip!

Sharma ordered the two 'uber units' to fire. The missile launchers failed to hurt the fireprism (hounded by holofields and AV12) while the autocannons managed to unarm one of the brightlances. The mortars barked across the board like a turn barrage. I suddenly realised the weakness in my plan. Due to the large bases of the bikes, I could only strike at 1-2 bikes a turn. This meant that I was scoring a maximum of 7 hits (on three hit rolls) and usually 3-5 hits. Despite this, the mortars managed to kill a couple of jetbikes in turn one and force a leadership test.

The brightlance shot out and wrecked the command tank. The crew passed their pinning test (at Ld10 with a reroll) and aimed up their lascannon. The shuriken cannons managed to down one mortar team on the right and a guardsmen on the right. Meanwhile the Prism Cannon took careful aim at the morass of guardsmen and blewa gigantic hole in the lines, hitting 8 and killing 1. Hehehe!


After my last tournie experience of Marbo, I was surprised when both he and the chug arrived from reserves, I dropped them into the right flank and took some brave shots at the incoming jetbikes, downing one. The autocannons, lascannons and missile launchers switched targets and focussed on the vulnerable vypers, destroying the brightlances and shaking the other group. A single missile launcher (from infantry command) managed to immobilise the FirePrism.

Meanwhile the rough riders did what they do best and made a 22" charge into the nearest Jetbike squad attempting to pummel the pointy ears. The attack ended dissapointingly with only one kill on a 4+ to hit, 3+ to wound! The Jetbikes retaliated with a kill of their own and the combat was tied.

'Oh look ... a lictor with a bomb...' muttered Ant.

Marbo meanwhile stepped out the pub door behind the Autarch and calmly threw his demo charge at the Autarch. BS5 on a demo charge is lovely, but Marbo rolled a 1 to wound the Autarch. So instead the jetbike warrior next to the Autarch died... boo!

The mortars opened up again, showing a remarkable hit rate again (I think I rolled one barrage scatter at the initial, and with Ant's dice!) This time they managed to wound, pin and then rout the rightmost jetbike squad. With this unit gone, the other jetbikes turbo boosted to the left, abandoning the castle. The Vypers followed suit, with only the Fire Prism holding fast (and shooting another 3 men). The roughriders depended on their power weaponed sergeant, and despite the T4 they managed to kill a single rider to the eldars failure. Despite this, the Eldar held.


Marbo stalked out from cover and moved towards the rough riders. Meanwhile the 3 Autocannons, 3 Missile Launchers and the command Lascannon gained 'bring it down' on the FirePrism. The shots pattered on the armour, but the autocannons proved to much and score another immobilised result, destroying the tank.

The Mortars fired again, peppering a few wound of the already bothered jetbikes. Marbo made it to combat and finishes off the Jetbikes single handed ('oh look a 65pt lictor with a bomb' said Ant). The roughriders wheeled about and charged the two starcannon vypers, however they needed a 6 to hit with their krak grenades... they fail.

Ant was now looking to clear up some killpoints, as I'd amassed 3 so far (two jetbike groups, a Vyper squadron) to his none. He moved forward aggressively, putting a wound on marbo (despite him going to ground) with his two starcannon vypers. Meanwhile, the Autarch shot up the Chug on the right.

Autarch epicfails at point blank range.

The Autarch failed to hit the Chug at point blank range with a fusion gun (he rolled a 1, thereby yet another example of how awesomely lucky Chugs are!), but took it out with his brightlance. The Scatter Laser on the lone vyper targetted one of the mortar squads and between it and a fast jetbikes squad they massacred a unit. The other unit remained untouched, the 'go to ground' having soaked up all the firepower Ant could muster.


The Heavy weapons teams tracked sideways and targetted. The Lascannon made a classic shot and snuffed out the Autarch with a single ***puff*** of smoke (he clearly needed taking out of his misery after the last turn epic fail)...

The Autocannons targetted the lone Vyper for an easy killpoint, but the combination of glancing and holofield proves frustratingly effective and it escaped with just a shaken result.

The Missile Launchers targetted the Jetbikes attacking the mortars and along with all the mortars on the board reduced this unit to a single member. Despite having a Ld8, the model stuck with the fluff and ran for his life!

The infantry command squad sidestepped the immolated Autarch and charged the Vyper. However, again the Vyper gained a six to hit and it proved too much for the Sergeant and his squad.

In retaliation, the Eldar targetted Marbo (failing to kill again, thanks 2+), the lone Eldar Vyper raced back behind lines while the Infantry squad felt exposed. Not as exposed as the rough riders who were hacked down by twinlinked shuriken fire.


I'd secured five killpoints to Ant's two in the last turn. Ant had a brave crack at both Marbo and the infantry squad (who'd wisely retreated back to the tank wreck for cover and gained a 3+ cover save). In retaliation I pummelled the 'hidden' jetbikes with mortar rounds and killed another couple - but to no avail.

FINAL SCORE: 5-2 to the light infantry


I don't think this proved a true representation of the anti-Saim Hann force. The potential of this many mortars is ridiculous, they comprise a lot of bases and the combination of 15 multihit, multiwound, multi-pinning indirect fire shots is great. At 300pts its a steal. I won't say they're anything stupid like autowin, but they can persistently chip away at units across the whole board.

On an objective based game, this battle would have been a lot harder. The flexibility to deploy lots of squads would have helped, but the 30 man fire base was tempting.

Half way through the game, Ant was scratching his head, trying to work out how he could possibly 'crack' this formation. Afterwards we discussed the formation and its weaknesses. He did point out that in a tournament game he would have hidden/ouranged the mortars and picked off the outlying mortars. In a tournament I would have castled up totally.

The strength of this formation is that it represents a rock and a hard place. It can hit you in hiding, or when you come out you'll face lascannon/missile launchers. Against hordes the massed mortars are far more lethal than any tank. Against mech its got plenty of durable antimech and the 'bring it down' can really hurt. Against pricey close combat specialists (like striking scorpions, harlequins, Assault marines or Terminators) the big units have enough models to make attrition a real problem. The two roughrider units are built for termie killing and can hit in waves.

The weakness is that its pretty static (which makes you vulnerable) and if your 'detterence' of melta/powerweapons and heavy weapons fail, you're wide open. The units are also only durable in cover, outside cover guardsmen die ... but that's never changed.

Marbo's an optional extra ... but as the ultimate 'swiss army knife' marbo can kill something important, distract the enemy and potentially go down fighting. Which is nice to have. He's also quite hard to kill (although only when being shot at in cover!)


Please let at it. This list isn't what I usually play and is actually quite boring to play (there's little to no risk involved), I prefer the mixed army of M&Ms (Mech and Mortars) but I was missing the old approach...

My plan is to replay Ant in a month with reversed armies ... forcing me to learn the Saim Hann.

but how would you break the cube?

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

RumourSpam: Codex Tyranids Statlist

It's a Tyranid Statlist Rumour ... but in an easy to read format. Full of harmful additives, but soooo tasty!

I've been doing some digging about the rumour spam on Codex: Tyranids ... there's some interesting titbits out there and a lot of downright lies and fabrications... My own personal port of call is always the BoLs blog and discussion thread as they'll only confirm what's actually been confirmed... the qualified rumours are as follows:

General Infomation

To be released January 2010. Written by Robbin Cruddance (Author of Codex:Imperial Guard) and is already completed.

  • 4 whole new races never before seen, one of them larger than the carnifex and also a plastic Trygon. More coming in second wave according to rumors.
  • Special characters, such as Old One Eye and possibly the Red Terror, will return. These will be survivors of wars and also have been mutated, instead of individuals .
  • Many people are saying they will be a plastic Hive Tyrant kit (with wings).
  • Malanthrope may be a new HQ choice.
  • A new broodlord was spotted at Games-Workshop design studio open day. (Any pictures will be appreciated).
  • Genestealers are going to be elite unless you take a Broodlord.
"We want a new codex!" said three generations of genestealer

  • Hormagaunts to be seperated from other gaunts as a box set.
  • Hormagaunts will be 6 points and normal Gaunts 3 points including Without Number (WON). This is without ANY other weapons, only with WON. Hormagaunts will be able to buy WON for 3 points.
  • Plastic kits are not been re-done
  • More anti-tank weaponary.
  • Warriors to be improved. They will be avilable in every slot. Wings will them Fast Attack, a Tyrant as a HQ makes them troops, heavy support have +1t, +1sv and each can take a "heavy" weapon.
  • Possible new Biovore.
  • Possible new more powerful psyker.
"Even though we don't really deserve it!" said Magneto the Carnifex

Go to: BoLS Lounge for the latest info.

DISCLAIMER: I include the following information not becuase I think its any less or more valid (in fact I think half of its probably made up...) but I personally hate reading text'd stats as they never line up and do my head in.

As such, I've zapped this through excel to give you a more easy to read format. The stats list is extraordinary, and just like with the Guard codex, a lot of Tyranid players are extrapolating stats with current buffs to assume enormous bonuses ... so don't believe the hype.

The BoLS info above should remain the guiding light, but the below is delicious food for thought, and now in an easy to read/printable format.


Monday, 26 October 2009

Tough Tacticas: Techpriest and Servitors

Continuing the Tough Tacticas route, we're now going to look at a unit which is a bit of a miss-fit when compared to all other codici. Techpriest under the old codex were a rare and unusual thing. The old option commanded an elite FOC slot, and in comparison to the oldschool stormies or vets, it was a poor choice. To further compound the problem, the Techpriest was not actually very good at fixing things (which is one of the main reasons for having him on board).

I bought a techpriest, and then purchased a Techmarine pack for the servitors (although I like the techmarine model too!)... like many of my purchases/conversions, I bought them on a 'I need that to finish the set and its cool looking' thought process.

Since then I've barely used them.


A techpriest is actually a fairly handy model in the Imperial Guard codex. At 45pts you get a T3 3+ armoured model with average BS and WS and and only one attack. He does come armed with a power weapon as standard (which is nice) ... although under the new codex he's not actually an independent character - so he can't be 'added' to a command squad etc.

Under the old codex a common trick was to drop a Imperialis buff on the Techpriest, giving you a 90pt hero stat model with a power weapon and power armour.

Now we have Straken - which makes that buff option VERY VERY silly.

Apart from the power armour and power weapon, the techpriest also has a servo-arm. This allows the techpriest to punch a S8 power weapon attack that hits at initiative 1. You can have a total of 2 techpriest and they are not part of the FOC ... in addition, these techpriests can be accompanied by up to five servitors each. These form the 'unit' for the techpriest and give some good ablative wounds. Each servitor has a servo-arm free of charge and basic guardsmen stats. The servitor can also be upgrade to mount a heavy bolter, plasma cannon or multimelta.

The techpriests trick is that it can repair immobilised or damaged weapons on a 5+. The servitors (which a servo arm ... ie: non heavy weapon boys) also add +1 each. Meaning that a 4 servitor plus techpriest retinue can autofix any vehicle. To add another reason for leaving the heavy weapons firmly in the hands of the heavy weapon teams ... this 'ommissariah' trick replaces the shooting for that turn - meaning that they can offer an 'fix and counter assault option'.

That said, 105pts for 5 models with mainly carapace and a bunch of powerfists ain't that great. 21 pts each is getting into Deathguard pricing territory - and that they ain't!

TACTICA ONE: Tank Support.

Servitors are all about the all mech list. Their 'fix during the shooting phase' trick allows them to park up adjacent to a damaged vehicle, 'leap' from their Chimera and provide a quick repair. If you are fielding a lot of armour then a techpriest may be the way forwards. That said, with the meta-game of melta obsessed weaponry, the chances of your tank getting away with just a weapon destroyed or immobilised roll is hardly likely. Also, the techpriest is a passive response unit... meaning that he's in the sidelines waiting for his 'moment'. It may be that that moment may not come and you've wasted 105pts.

So not that convincing eh?

TACTICA TWO: Counter Assault.

That S8 power weapon could be an awesome antitank weapon or even make terminators concerned. The addition of a power weapon in the unit gives you 3 power weapon and up to 10 normal attacks at S3, followed by 6 S8 power weapon attacks. This means that the unit has some good potential to nest in your ordinance pool and play counter attack to the unit of terminators incoming. The downside is that for 105pts you could have 21 S5 power attacks with a 24" charge. They are going to down 4.66 termies compared to the the servitors 2.66 kills. The roughriders also have a good chance of downing the remaining terminator, whereas the servitors will all be dead - very dead.

Against close assault tanks, the strength 8 is a bonus ... but the I1 means that its only against vanilla Termies you'll get a chance to strike. The expense and lack of a high initiative makes the Servitor crew a marginal 'last chancer' of counter attack.


The servitor crew can offer you lots of high strength attacks in a useful way. There are some monstrous creatures (such as the Wraithlord and some Carnifex builds) that have very high strength, but low attacks or low initiative. In this case, throwing a bunch of servitors at it could prove a good last minute attack. The S8 hits have a less than even chance of downing a MC.

However, it should really be noted that any guard player playing hand-to-hand with Monsterous creatures has really forgotten his strengths and on another factor it should be noted as a guard player that I've faced no MC's in the last six months. Eldar with the option of the Wraithlord will shirks away as the Guard can field too much S7/S8 antiMC firepower.


Techpriests are being hit by the melta obsessed metagame on one side, meaning their skills are less relevant, on the other side they are less effective than rough riders as a counterattack force, but with the price of over four guardsmen each... I'm struggling to find a role for the techpriest retinue.

This is the difficulty with the Guard list at the moment. The standard infantry of guardsmen
are so cheap and have so many options (power weapons, heavy weapons, special weapons, commissars and minitorium priests ... Chimera transports) that it becomes a challenge allocating even 105 pts to anything outside troopers.

As mentioned Earlier, 105 points can go a long way in a guard force:
  • 10 Roughriders
  • Veterans with three meltaguns.
  • Infantry Command with 4 Grenade Launchers in a Chimera.
  • Powerfist Commander and 4 melta toting BS4 veterans.
  • Three Multilaser Scout Sentinels
  • A Hydra Tank with HunterKiller Missile and Heavy Stubber.
  • A Valkyrie
  • 26 Conscripts
With upgrades like Camo or simple numbers (like taking more Chimeras), the benefit of the 'Ommisariat' Techpriest and Servitors becomes an unwelcome one - no wonder I'm painting them last.


What's your experience? Am I missing a trick here - is the techpriest heavily used in North America or Australia ... let me know.

Friday, 23 October 2009

Can I proudly present ... Anton

Pot Bellied Deathguard - Yeah!

Just a quick post to big up a new member of the blogosphere who's come on board recently. I've played against Anton a couple of times in 40k and he's subsequently given me a crash course in Hordes...

The Downside of being a Chaotic Princeps - an absorbing workplace!

One thing to say is that Anton is a very gifted painter. His mini's reek style and are consistently some of the 'best dressed' at GiftsforGeeks. Oh, and he's just finished painting up a chaos warhound ... which looks amazing I think you'll agree.

The Chaos Warhound ... Sans Grieves.

He's a 'multi-army' kind of guy, with a horde of chaos marines (all factions, but especially deathguard), Nids, Saim Hann and Guard. And a Warhound ... did I mention that already?

Anton's been speed painting some blood claws again ... speed painting (ED: Grrrrr...)

So go over and have a peek at 'The Anarchy of Anton!' for some premium enjoyment, add him to your blogroll for some serious amusement. Oh and as for the painting/sneezing thing...

Part of Anton's 'bodyguard' for Typhus ... I've faced them, they not nice.

... Just look at his Deathguard - it explains a lot!

Thursday, 22 October 2009

Painting Update - the end is nigh...

Oh look, a Commissar on a horse ... how 'creative' ?!?

Like the proverbial blog from the 'nearly-summit' of Everest, I'm inside the death zone and climbing...

Four mini's and one tank to go to complete Kochi Mechanised Army.

I've completed the last ten man cadian/catachan squad. I've finally completed my Rough Riders. I've got four servitors half painted, and a Chimera to build and paint. A few 'touch ups' on the heavy weapons teams - but that's it...

And I'm finding it a very hard last few steps to take.


Commissar Mogul Kamir, at your service - CHARGE BOYS!

Last night I completed the long ago converted "Commissariat Rough Rider" ... at the time I was just running him for fun, but now I can actually use him as a Kochi variant on Mogul Kamir.

Kamir is a bit of a wet lettuce. He's only armed with a bolt pistol and chainsword and the basic rough rider armament. He does have two wounds and he is fearless ... but all that will tend to do is ensure you're wiped out all the sooner with a 5+ saving throw. Kamir does get 4+D3 attacks on the charge - which is nice ... but is that worth 40pts on top of the 11? I doubt it.

Mogul 'COME 'ERE' Kamir. Mogul's biggest problem is that his unit (rather than getting say - furious assault) has the Rage USR. Last time I checked this isn't actually an advantage. Maybe for the 'free' death company for Blood Angels or T4 power armour clad Khronites - but on a T3 5+ big model, its instant death. This rule effectively allows the opposition to select which of their units Mogul Charges ... so Moguls a waste of time. Nice.

Furious Charge on ten riders would have been worth it... Rage and Fearless ... suicide.

Last Shot of Mogul 'Will always be played as a standard sergeant' Kamir.


Completing over 4500 pts of army in 22 months is a very peculiar sensation. Getting all the models bought, painted, created and finished has proven a challenge. Now the rough riders are done ... the Ogryns are done... so I bought myself a present!

No, not another battleset (That would have been a step too far as far as my better half goes) ... but a Primaris Psyker!

I'm quite proud of this one, amazing the time a model can take when you're down to your last few...

I've been finding this fellow to be a really flexible unit. Playing in a tournament, I've taken the psyker in both the agressive and defensive list. The Primaris is a bit of a dark horse, being a very cost effective HQ choice with a lot of punch, he's proving a favourite of mine.

I had been running a genestealer Magus as a close proxy, but the continued performance of the model meant that I decided to buy him properley - and I'm glad I did.

Stats: The primaris is a fairly standard guardsman 'command' specification, although like most psykers, he sacrifices a wound. He's effectively a fixed, non special character as he comes with standard equipment:
  • refractor field (a solid upgrade to all HQ choices, the refractor field was never something you'd actually put points into...),
  • laspistol (for an all powerful psychic character, this is meh?),
  • frag grenades (bet the Imperial contractor who makes MkIV frags is delighted with the new codex!)
  • Flak Armour (he's already got a refractor field, so why not go naked?)
  • Force Weapon (now we're talking)
  • Psychic Powers (what else?)
While he doesn't have the upgrade to a powerfist options of the commissar lord or the command squad, and you do miss out on some of those orders ... he's got some alternative tricks.


First up, the Psyker has his 'Lightning Arc' Psychic power. 2D6 S6 AP5 shots at 24" is not to be laughed at. Popping a Psyker in a Chimera gives you a very nice 'uber-chug' with enough mid level shots to make a MC blink. Plus the 'unknown' factor actually benefits him as most opponents won't take the time to 'weedle' him out for what might, or might not be, a decent target. I've taken to riding the Psyker out in a Chug with a command team with greande launchers (usually infantry command for objective grabbing), pumping out an average of 14 S6 shots at 24" gives most people a shock.

LEADERSHIP AND NIGHTSHROUD One of the 'weaknesses' of the new heavy weapons teams is their low leadership. The psyker gives you an immediate boost to this leadership which is equally helpful in ensuring the heavy weapons team pass 'fire on my target' or that the ratlings do not run away. Combined with this, when in this 'buff' mode, a brief casting of nightshroud can help 'lower your heat', your opponent only has to roll a couple of high leadership tests and suddenly he's reconfigured to other 'easier' targets.

As an added bonus, the Primaris Psyker can prove an effective and cheap(ish) counter attack unit from detailing with deep strikers going after your mortars/bassies. He gets an impressive 5 attacks on the charge with WS4, S3 instantkill power weapon. Dig him into a squad of guardsmen and watch the enemy squint...

Although for me, rough riders are still the option of choice here, thanks to their S5 power weapon charge at much greater range and their ultimate disposibility.

The Primaris Psyker directs the charge!


The best thing about the Primaris Psyker is its flexibility as an HQ choice. Just like the Commissar Lord, the Primaris can be used to buff a particular formation, or add a little 'oomph' to a unit. The Commissar Lord generally bring great Leadership to multiple units AND the upgrade (usually a powerfist). The Primaris Psyker gives you a cheap upgrade that can turn a medium unit into a shooting powerfest.

A true 40k pocket battleship.

What's also helpful is that this battleship can (potentially) force your opponents to play on your own terms. An opponent expecting to face a battlecannon blitzkrieg may be undone by such cheap psychic exploits. An Eldar force that has to take runes of warding, or a Space Marine chapter forced to fork out on a librarian to defend its force - can't spend it elsewhere. I just don't recommend taking this against Tyranids... shadow in the warp is nasty.

Future Options

The ending of one army is a bit of a milestone, but dones lead me down other avenues... I'm still tempted in doing a 'flaggelant' psychic choir for my guardsmen. However, maybe I'll finish the half completed Tau and Nid forces ... not long to january now!

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

"Hark the Herald" - a Stonetooth Harker Special

Sorry guys ... did the damn "forgot to update before publishing" trick and published into the back end of last week - doh!

Check out this Special on Harker ... with fluff, tactica and conversion work.


Hark the Herald - A 'Stonetooth' Harker Special


It was after I proved myself at the battle of Wykitah Ridge that I got promoted up to the vets. Shortly after that ah met ol' Stonetooth. He was picking new men for his outfit after he'd lost some out there in the Deltaland. Something about fighting a damn dreadnought. I'd heard hard but good things about the man. Most of the non-comms wouldn't talk about him, but the scuttlebutt was all about how Harker was the meanest, the biggest and the nastiest vet in the Catachan Devils ... and in that outfit, that's saying something.

I was lying on my bunk, getting some R&R after the last gig. Unlike the other guys, I'm not too hot on jesting and clawing and all after Ah been out on some serious action. The guys know this and leave me be, after a couple of times they tried to 'spread the love' and I had to set 'em straight.

Anyhow, in comes this huge shadow of a man, easily topping seven feet. I peer up at a mountain and wonder for a moment whether I'm seeing an Astartes ... never having seen Harker before in the flesh. Smoke curls up out of the man's cracked face as he grimaces down at me through the swirling ash.

"Name's Harker. You've heard of me." It was a statement, not a question. I nodded, seemed best to keep my mouth shut. Harker sucked in some more cigar and it glowed beneath his iron grey eyes. "Word is, you're tough, boy. You tough?" I stared up into those cold eyes and thought about all the bravado and shit the other spouted.

"I survive." I said. At that, his cold eyes glinted, and a couple of tight lines twitched about his eyes. Guess that'll do for a smile. The manic grin hadn't moved though, the teeth still chewing at his cigar.

"People are saying you led some men into a nest of slither slathers, and that you were the only one to walk out still kickin'. That Straken hisself was impressed with your nerve." He removed the cigar, spat on to the lino and replaced the smoking husk between his teeth. "Ahm also hearing that Strakens thinking about having you in his command as some sorta bodyguard ... now ain't that an honor?"

I'm sure Harker coulda picked up something from my face if I hadn't tied down my guts real hard at the mention of Strakens name. If Harker was the biggest, Straken was a gilt'd 'throne damned stealer of a man. None crossed him and lived, and he just kept on punching. Getting on Straken's roster was an honour ... but the sort of honour that'd get you killed.

"I heard that too." I muttered.

Harker must have seen something, either way I'll never know, but since that time I seen Harker know stuff, duck stuff and step aside from stuff that no man'd know. See with Harker, the size and the voice and the raw hates what you expect. The thinking just ain't.

Harker reached over and grabbed my carry case with one meat sized paw. Without seeming to notice he lifted the end and dragged the 400 pound bulkhead up to the edge of the bed. He sat down parallel to me. Maybe he was part Astartes after all...

"See, Ahm thinking that maybe you are smart like me, and the Commanders needs are making you a little ... thoughtful." His eyes blazed at the wall opposite my bed, his silouette wreathed in smoke.

"Ahm also thinking that you like it quiet like me and you don't want no fuss, but there's no way no pips or non-comm is gonna step in the way of Strakens chain for a pleb like you." Harker fixed me with a bullet gaze.

"But me, ya see, I got other plans. I reckon Straken owes me one, since my boy Fiddle saved his ass on the peak from that Tyrant." he paused and gave me a knowing look. "Fiddle'd about had enough of my being bossy anyhow and he decided to go out with a bang. That Demolition charge set it up just nice. Shame he couldn't really let go, seeing as how Straken was in the thick of it."

"So Straken owes Fiddle, and since he can't collect he owes me. As you know, Ironhand ain't too interested in rank and shit - so here I am. I got a squad a man down. Waddayasay?"

I said yes.



Harker rocks doesn't he. Relentless, FNP, Stealth, infiltrate and move through cover. Of all the 'upgrade' units he gives the best 'bang for the buck' at a meagre 55pts. Oh and he comes with a relentless heavy bolter - making that a 36" assault weapon. Not bad at all.

Deploying Harker in a catachan (or mobile infantry force) is a little more tricky as his specialisms don't really have cohesion. He has great options, but there's always a risk of Harker's ended up isolated and alone and frankly outnumbered. So apart from being an expensive speedbump, how do we make Harker work?

Infiltration Options

Harker turns his unit into Catachan Devils. This gives the whole unit move through cover, stealth and infiltrate. Therefore Harker can be placed in an 'inconvenient' position for the enemy and offer a signficant harassment.

The obvious special weapon for such a unit is the sniper rifle. However at 14 each (before upgrades or a heavy weapon) we have cheaper snipers ... they're called ratlings! The advantage that Harker brings is signficant more firepower potential than just ratlings. He can also deploy a heavy weapon team alongside his heavy bolter 'payback'.

I think that the Autocannon is the way forward here, offering signficant anti transport and MC options, while keeping the price tight (only 5 points). In an 'inconvenient' sniper position, this will significantly increase their harassment factor. The sniper rifle is a low-par weapon, but gives them the reach to inflict casulaties and pinning shots on the enemy.

The final option is a personal favourite of mine. Upgrading the unit to Demolitions gives you 10 meltabombs - which should keep the tanks at arms reach - and a demolition charge. This simple 30pt additional gives the squad real attitude. The observant opponent will spot the conversion, the unobservant is in for a shock.

Personally I'd accompany Harker's units with 9 ratlings. This gives the ratlings the firepower and punch to not be ignored. At 265pts for 9 ratling and Harkers squad, they can pump out 12 sniper shots, 2 S7 and 3 S5. The addition of shotguns and a demo charge means that these 3+ cover save models are fantastic objective sitters, harassers or a potent distraction.

Flanking Options

Harker can also flank. With this option, you have two choices, take a tank or hoof it.

Remember that as vets they can take a Chug, and the driveby with 3 special weapons, a demolition charge AND a heavy bolter (remember its relentless) would be a sight to see. The maximum impact here is in deploying either melta (or my personal favourite) the grenade launcher. S6 is a nice weapon at 24" and 3GL's greatly complement the medium antitank options. Meltaguns with vets are definitely the 'instantkill' option as well ... but push the potential down while pumping the 'threat factor' way up.

An alternative is to deploy the Chimera as a pillbox alongside Harker... that way you can choose to 'mount up' onto the board for extra durability or a quick 12" and smoke, or you can move on and shoot/assault a target of opportunity - like meltabombing a tank.

My personal favourite for this unit is the grenade launcher as it gives options both ways. A heavy weapon isn't really viable and the unit should max out on shotguns for that move (hit 'em with a bomb), shot, charge the remainder (if any) impact.

Anyone noticing that Harkers flanking should watch out and be guarding their sides, but this is a useful tactics in that it forces your opponent onto the back foot.

Talent Combo's
  • Harker/Marbo le Soldat: Harker and Marbo (all with demo charges and meltabombs) can be a lethal combination. Marbo is also twice as dangerous if he survives his throw away stage - try this as a combo.
  • Harker/Alra'hem: the fluff screeches, but the potential of adding Harkers accuracy to the special and normal troops in Al'rahems flankers have potential. Just be aware that they WILL be ready for you!
  • Harker + Commands: Harker can take orders, which can turn his heavy weapon team/meltaguns/demolition charge into an awesome combo. Although perhaps its better spent on a special weapon team.
  • Harker + Ratlings: as above, a nice combo.
  • Harker + Primaris Psyker: In a Chug with GLs, these boys can pump out 2D6 + 12 S5 and S6 shots from their stationary pillbox. But a bit of a 'hot' target and would need to be deployed 'conventionally'.
So there's a quick piece on your favourite man of insane heavy bolter sneaky goodness ... Gunnery Sergeant 'Stonetooth' Harker. What do you make of the model?

Monday, 19 October 2009

...and the Survey Says (ED:RESULTS)

Thanks to everyone who voted and took part. As you can see above the survey turned up largely predictable results, combined with some real surprises. The first surprise is that it was the 'lack' of response to a photo battle report that prompted this poll in the first place.

#1 Photo Battle Reports

The irony is that while batrep's can have a bad name online, 'photo battle reports' topped the list alongside the synonymous 'tactica' as most popular blogs (both collecting votes from 68% of voters). It true that certain producers can 'hit the mark'. For me, Arcadia Prime is the 'go-to-guy' for the best quality battle reports and I try to emulate his style. The cynic in me says that maybe this is a sympathy vote (as it all started over a batrep) but perhaps not. The key things I try to pull from a battle report are these:
  • Drama: build up to a dramatic moment. This may occur naturally, it might be a heroic stand, or a 'lost cause', or a triumphant arrival. 40k is all about war, war is conflict and conflict is at the centre of drama. I find that a little 'fluff' can help to bring focus to a particular moment - no matter how futile - and that moment can step the game beyond a purely 'plastic men' affair (which in our heads it so is!)
  • Easy Read Structure: Think about the way in which you write your report, in my latest Apocalyse Battle Report, instead of writing in a linear chronological fashion (IE: each turn, in turn across the whole board), I instead found it easier to divide the board into the four objective areas and describe how the battles for each were made. This had another benefit in that it underlined the close nature of the fight. The fourth conflict zone, the one I was intimately involved with then got a turn by turn breakdown as it was the 'busiest' and ultimately held the key to our victory (although the XV15's actually won that in the countryside!)
  • Keep it light: I have to fight myself to do this. Its very easy to recall every detail in an ubergeek fashion. Think about what the reader want to know and think about the drama... drama is all about pace and crescendoes. Diehard is a classic example of this, where the 'action' set pieces are well balanced between 'lulls' that slow the heartbeat. Think of it like this, when the drama is at its most cucial - focus the mind and the detail, otherwise you can largely 'skip over' the less strategically important turns - detailing the casualties.
  • Diagrams: Without comprehension, batreps can become very very dull very very quickly. Good 'overhead' shots, panoramic shots and diagrams can really play things out for the reader. I use powerpoint ... create basic shapes (buildings etc) and then recycle from one batrep to the next. Diagrams help the player keep a track of the balance of the game as well as giving the opening for the reader to say 'Ooooh ... that was a mistake!'
The usual caveats apply, I'm not the master at this... but the above is the sort of thing I look for in a batrep and try (ED: and fail a lot) to contain in my own.

Note on the other Batreps: I've bunch these two together as they performed poorly. Clearly, both should follow a lot of the input above. The 'word only' version should try to compensate with some great writing and maybe fluff, but creating a powerpoint takes like an hour - so how hard is that. For the video batrep its even more knife edge than the photo. Fritz is the king of these, creating clever, insightful 'over the shoulder' pieces that really get you in there. I've noticed a lot of 'photo-video' batreps recently... perhaps I should just start producing mine in powerpoint shows?!?

#2 Tactica Posts

Why else are we all on the internet if it isn't to glean some 'insight' into utilising our our hard built armies. The blogging arena is actually the second tier of tactica blogging, anyone who doubts that hasn't spent enough time on bolter and chainsword, the imperial guard message board or warseer.

What blogs add is a forum for taking the 'tactica' to a much deeper and darker place. A tactica's all about insight and using the models in an 'alternative' way. The 'clever buggers' are Old Shattered Hands at TauOfWar, Fritz at Wayof SaimHann and the guys at BellofLost Souls.

In my tactica's (like the new 'tough tacticas'), I try to talk about the non-mainstay units that can have a significant impact if played a little different. My particular favourite (which mirrors Jwolfs) is fielding the unloved units and finding them a little 'hole' in my force from which they can actually be very effective.... well that's the plan anyhow.

Remember to make the tactica enterprising, unusual and most of all informed.

#3/4/6 'Conversions posts', 'WIP' and 'How to guides'

I've bunched these two together as conversion posts are hugely popular and require significant input from the author. How to guide is effectively a conversion 'show-off' with the instructions attached (ED: No really?!?). The joy that people get from seeing a good conversion is great. I'd have to say these blog posts often get the most response and have a much higher 'wow' factor than either tacticas or Batreps. A great conversion simple blows you away. For me the kings of conversion are Admiral Drax for his consistently great work, Arcadia Prime for the beautifully converted tanks and Battle Fleet Gothic stuff.

#5 Opinion Posts

Everybody loves a good rant ... or discussion piece or a good bit of attitude. Opinion pieces largely revolve around the metagame, gamemanship or irksome GW decisions. The ranking of opinion directly reflects the variety of the piece. Some are better than others, but CusherJoe over at Ultramarine Blues is a particular ranter ... as is JWolf. The opinion piece should be one of those 'lightning strike' pieces that occurs to you while doing the washing up... and if doesn't stir up attention - what were you thinking!?! A good piece can create lots of attention, lots of followers and lots of comments.

#7 Show Off Posts

By far the most common on the 40k blogging tinterweb. We all do it. It's the online version of 'would you like to see my etchings?'. Depending on the artist, it can be a gobsmacking experience. I'm just going to bigup a new boy on the block (although not to painting ... oh no). I've met Ant through GiftsforGeeks and he's a top bloke with a stunning army. Just check out his Nurgle Warhound Titan conversion - ZOICKS! Also, got to give some love to Ron over at From the Warp, for keeping the blogging dream alive...

#8 Character Creation Posts

Although coming last, this one was a real surprise to me. A third of people chose 'character creation' posts as a preference...? Well without further ado, I better get on with one.


Thanks to everyone taking part - although the results weren't entirely surprising, it might give you some insight (for the Noob) or ideas (for the old crusty like me) on what to blog next. As per usual, give us a bounceback on what blog entries go down well with your readers and who you think are the 'kings' of the sector.

Also I can think of several types of blogs which fall off this list. Can you?

Now how do I classify this one...?

Thursday, 15 October 2009

Taking on the Warhound - 15000pt Batrep

This awesome battle took place about 10 days ago, unluckily for me I didn't update the timer before posting... which is a bummer ... check it out here - it's well worth the read, usual Suneokun fluff photo's and random writing...


"Taking on the Warhound" - 15000 pts Apocalypse Batrep

The XV15 Stealth Team play hide and seek with the wulfenhorde.


The meeting between the Stormbringer Space Marines and the Tau Cadre had not started well. Water caste members had struggled with the truculence of the Space Marines. Only the intervention of their own Captain had kept the meeting civil.

Maybe civil
was the wrong word, thought water caste member Gia'la brushing down his blue demi-silk robes, perhaps unbloodied.

The Tau Cadre had been dispatched to the Ko'Het system in response to a distress signal from a Kroot enclave. The name for the enclave translated loosely as 'good visibility, strong prey, good hunting', but with more emphasis on the ground walking prey.
Kroot had a lot of words for prey. This Kroot community had based their enclave on the ruins of a previous Imperial structure.

While no Gue'la presense had been notified by the Kroot, water caste Gia'la suspected that the Kroot hadn't been entirely honest in their 'specification' of kills.
On entering the system they had been advised by the locals that a Gue'la was also waiting to meet with the Kroot. This had seemed strange to the Tau, but they're meetings with Gue'la or humans as they called themselves had been interesting in this sector and the offered hand wasn't turned down.

Gia'la felt that the Stormbringers would have been less charitable if it was not clear that the Tau outnumbered them ten to one and had arrived with a full armoured interdiction force, as the Shas'O had rightly suggested.

The position the Gue'la Stormbringer captain highlighted was of some concern. Apprarently a enemy group of Gue'la earth caste (or this is how Gia'la translated in, as the Earth caste were forever ferreting around with technology and 'creating' things, half of which made the water caste jobs harder, although the suspension seats were good.) had arrived many weeks back in the frozen tundra to the north.

They had apparently identified an ancient warhound titan (a giant cumbersome broadside battlesuit the height of ten such machina), what they also discovered was a hidden horde of Necron. The Tau had had some dealing with these evil creations.

The stormbringers were unclear how it was possible, but believed that the Adeptus Mechanicus forces (including the now-operational Titan) plus a unit of brother Gue'la, the Space Wolves (some large canine, Gia'la believed) had become enthralled of the Necron menace.
To the Tau present, this was all too familiar, typical Gue'la...

Shas'O 'Clear Thought', student of farsight, decided quickly that this threat to their interest was sufficient to warrant significant force. The Shas'O instructed his water caste advisors to negociate this planet for the Kroot enclave in exchange for this obligation.

The water caste were surprised when the Gue'la agreed readily, either this was a truly horrific threat - or the Gue'la preffered the Kroot to occupy this world - blighted as it was.



Originally this was going to be an 8000 pt a-side dust up. However, three players dropped out and Hutch agreed to step into the brink with his legion of Necrons (hence the very weird army combinations fielded below!) Unusally for an Apocalypse game, only one superheavy came to the party ... but what a beast! A warhound Titan ... just arrived from ForgeWorld and painted up by the guys at minipainters...

Unlike previous battles we also had a 'gamemaster' - I'd certainly recommend it for games as a GM can keep an eye on the clock, impartially advise and make rules decisions and to top it off Ant did a great job and got the inside line on every dirty trick combo in play (there were quite a few)...

Army Lists

Necron Alliance: Necrons-Space Wolves-Guard (With a Titan)

A selection of the Necron alliance ... Space Wolves, Necron, and Titan ... a heady mix.
  • C'tan Deceiver
  • Several Necron Lords (all with toys)
  • Four large necron squads (20 each!)
  • 12 Necron Immortals
  • 3 Necron Destroyers
  • 2 Necron Monoliths
  • 4 Space Wolves Special Characters (including Lukas, Arjac, Bjorn and Njal)
  • Bloodclaws (lots)
  • 10 Terminators
  • Landraider
  • 2 Rhinos
  • Warhound Titan (no wonder the spacewolves were happy!) with Turbolasers and enormous plasmacannon death gun!
  • 2 Leman Russ and a Demolisher
  • 3 Vendettas, 2 with melta-carapace vets and 1 with 'Black Templars?!?'
The Greater Good: Tau x 2 plus Stormbringer Marines
  • Armoured Interdiction Cadre Formation: 2 Skyrays and 3 Hammerheads with D3+1 markerlight allocated per turn (LoS only, no maximum range)
  • MIRAGE Pathfinder Formation: 3 Pathfinder Squads with 4 Devilfish, all gundrones on devilfish upgraded to markerdrones. MIRAGE confers 'stealth' ability as defined in codex:Tau (2D6x3 to 'see' them) to all friendly models within 12". 3 markerlight hits on a target plus LoS (no maximum range) to formation results in 'precision strike' on target (all friendly forces can hit the target on a 2+). 3 railrifles with pathfinders.
  • 2 Fire Warrior Squads of 12 with photon grenades and Shas'Ui.
  • 4 Fire Warrior Squads of 9 with Shas'Ui and markerlight.
  • Piranha
  • 2 Kroot hordes of 15-20 models, master shaper formation (Shaper with a witchblade)
  • Stealth Team #1: 5 XV25, 5 gundrones.
  • Stealth Team #2: 3 XV15, XV25 leader with fusion blaster.
  • Shas'El (with firewarriors) with missile pods
  • Shas'El with 4 gundrones and bodyguard (flamers/AFP/Plasma)
  • Crisis Suit Team with Plasma, Fusion and Missile Pods
  • Crisis Suit Team with Missile Pods
The Action ... Preliminary

As in previous Apoc posts I'll divide the action up into the board sections where it all went down! The sections consist of four 4' by 8' boards - so plenty of space to be getting on with ...

Area #1: The Tau Home Territory Defence

The Tau home territory was the furthest away from the enemy. As such the other Tau commander and I felt this was the perfect position for our firewarriors. The 6 squads of firewarriors deployed across the board in bunkers and buildings with a strong line of sight to eachother. Our biggest concern was deep striking Wolves or Vendetta drops flanking our position. As it turned out we met both.

"It seems quiet, too quiet ... I wonder what that whistling noise is..." Said the Shas'la.

In turn one, a drop pod crashed into the earth a bare few inches from the home objective ruin and a small horde of blood claws (led by the mighty Ulrik "Very Deadly and must be shot immeidately") The claws managed to shoot up and kill a few firewarriors from Dustin's 12 strong group in the bottom of the objective ruin.

In return the firewarriors fired. We had a total of 4 markerlight (on the squads Shas'la (sergeants)) within 36" and managed 2 hits. The hits were given to the two largest squads within 12" and they opened fire. Despite a blistering fusilade of over 78 shots, the luck was with the wirey warriors and only 4 died, but we did manage to put a wound on Ulrik. This left Ulrik and a good 8 warriors attacking the 10 firewarriors in the bottom of the building. My 9 man firewarriors squads had markerlights, Dustin's had proton grenades.

The dust settles over the objective ruin as the burning Vendetta crashes

Despite refusing the spacewolves any additional attacks, the noble Tau were cut down by the bunch of nutters in turn two. The Tau responded by repeating their previous turns fusilade, this this they massacred the space-puppies to a man. For the majority of squads in area #1 that was the total excitement of the game. The only addendum being in Turn 5 where a Vendetta, devoid of its cargo of veterans reverted to 'skimmer' mode to challenge the objective. Unluckily it had positioned with its rear armour facing 9 firewarriors. A markerlight hit later, the firewarriors score over 12 hits and 1 glancing and 3 penetrating hits. The penetratings rolled all 5's and 6's as the firewarriors shots sheered through the fragile interior of the Vendetta and evicerated the flight crew. Mark rolled for his 'saving throw' - first roll, a 3 ... oh dear. The Tau firewarriors held their objective and held of all comers.

Objective 1-0 to the Greater Good

Area #2: The countryside

Out in the Countryside, all was not so peaceful...

Across the ravine from the Tau homeland, the grassy plains were onarmented with trees, a ruined church and a farmstead. This tranquil setting was infiltrate by two large Kroot carnivore hordes and 2 smaller squads of stealthsuits.

The larger Kroot unit were led by a master shaper (complete with 30pt upgrade witchblade!) and held the objective (the church), the other Kroot unit nestled in the courtyard of the farmstead, supported by a small squad of XV15 stealthsuits, led by their XV25 fusion blaster Shas'ui. The other larger XV25 unit had ranged out with its gundrones, and was looking to challenge the other objective.

The Kroot look strong, but only if they don't bring flamers...

These brave natives were subsequently attacked by none other than The spacewolf Psyker uberdeath man AND the uber dreadnought of death too! The farmhouse Kroot took two turns of shooting and then feld. The XV15 stealthers and a group of stingwings scored multiple kills on the bloodclaws accompanying these behemoths and even managed to destroy Bjorn's Assault Cannon.

Black Templars - where'd they come from, and how'd they learnt to charter flights on Vendettas...

Then uber spam cheat death (ED: He's joking, no really he is, honest, he's smiling ... or is that a grimace?) arrived in the form of one squad of 'Black Templars' in a Vendetta which deepstruck onto the objective. Hang-on a minute... I'm struggling with a Necron-Guard-Space Wolf-Titan army. Let alone an army with just one squad of double hitting black templars!?! Smallest crusade in history? Clearly.

The Kroot get crisis suit backup ... is it enough?

The Kroot in the objective gave reasonably good account, but even their multitude of attacks couldn't overcome powerarmour and prefferred enemy and they folded. Meanwhile the larger stealth team had run into a battlecannon cannoner with 20:20 vision and been battlecannoned out of the game.

Dustin had to steal one objective from half a squad of black templars, a mob of space wolves and Bjorn the fellhanded (the Dreadnought one anyway ... just pull anyname from Abba or Beowulf and then add a reasonably ridiculously violent surname ... Grindalwald the wife beater ... you get the idea.)

Dustin called in his reserves of one crisis suit battlesquad. These guys (including drones) managed to shoot up the black templars enough to stop them 'capturing the objective' - meanwhile he played a breathtaking (and I'm sure highly annoying for the SW player) game of cat and mouse with the space puppies and his XV15 team. They then made an 18" move-run-assault move across the whole board to get within 3" of the objective. The team had not lost a single member.

Objectives 2-0 to the Greater Good

Area #3: The City

Hot in the city, hot in the city tonight...

The city was the part of the battle I had least to do with. This is where the Stormbringer Space Marines targetted their strikeforce. Terminators, grey knights and power armoured forces fought the Space Wolves in this desparate city fight. The Battle Cannons of the Imperial Guard proved as much a hindrance as a help as shot after shot scattered onto the Space Wolves. The battle proved such a challenge, that even the denuded and damaged warhound titan turned his back on the railguns and marched for the objective! The Stormbringers did a classic Space Marine job against overwehelming guard, Titan and Space Wolf adversaries and challenged this objective until the last turn. Despite this, they were cut down and the 'home' objective secured for the enemy.

This board contained two objectives, one the Warhound loomed over for much of the game. The other lay in an abandoned drop pod.

The Tau tried (and nearly succeeded, in the last turn) to turn the tide by rushing forwards with their 'markerllight' devilfish and targetting the Pariahs with two seeker missiles. One pariah bought the farm with no 'I'll be back' thanks to the instantkill. Despite all railguns targetting the Leman Russ holding the objective, and a 2+ to hit. The emporers blessing was on the vehicle and it survived with just a stunned result (despite +1 railguns?!?). The enemies of the greater good held on.
Objectives: 2 held for the Necron Alliance, 2 Held for the Greater Good.

Area#4: The Tau'Va frontline

The Tau 'Bubble tank' faces down the might of a Warhound titan...

The Tau had managed to hold their backline with massed firewarriors and stolen a victory from the countryside with stealth tactics. Could the combination of a MIRAGE and a Interdiction Cadre prove enough against Vendettas, Necron Monoliths and a ruddy great Warhound titan?!?
Turn 1: "Execute the Mont'Ka on that titan, NOW!"

Mark (who owned the Titan) was a happy man. They were slightly bemused by the fact that the Tau tanks were so closely clustered ... Sighting up on the multiple battletanks and heavy suits he asked to place his template... and was asked if he could see it.


Princep Marcus Veralius surveyed the ragtag aliens arrayed in front of his mighty warhound. Although only a lighter titan, the warhound and crew were a worthy defence force for the explorator Adeptus Mechanicus mission sent to this desolate world.

After 5 weeks of hearing of rumours of 'savages' and 'natives' from the lowly Guardsmen, all of which reeked of those Kroot mercenaries the planet was famous for. The Princeps now had a truly worthy opponent.

The Tau's technosourcery was impressive. He'd attended an induction, and the photostats he'd seen of the railgun technology was most impressive. That said, he didn't warrant their chances against the might of his turbolaser and void shields.

"Augeteur Finnial, target the enemy formation, 600 yards, medium spread." ordered the Princeps.

"Target aquired, Princeps." his Augeteur indicated. "Power redirected, weapon capacitors ready."

"Very well, Augeteur." said Marcus Aurelius. "You may unlease ... what the hell?"
The enemy formation, all those close ranked armour. Had vanished.

"Reaquire!" Yelled Aurelius. "Reaquire!" The view-relayed still appeared blank, only a group of guardsmen, five terminators and a dreadnought now challenged the might of his titan. The princeps could feel his skin crawl as if he could sense the eyes of a multitude viewing his position.

Far below the titans lofty height Shas'Ui Kor'Vak watched the Titan's ugly canine head weave back and forth across their lines. Behind him the comforting hum of the MIRAGE stealthship brought a satisfied smile to his face. The stormbringers had doubted the Tau capability to face a warhound, recommending a close attack by their 'terminators', but the Shas'O had overruled.

"Not all power is obvious..." The shas'ui whispered, in recollection of the Shas'O's words. He actioned his commbead and contacted the broadside cadre.
"MIRAGE is engaged, you may fire when ready..."

So much for the Stormbringers fears...


The MIRAGE granted the stealth ability on every unit within 12". This meant that the Titans turbolaser shots were wasted as he couldn't see the target. Venting somewhat (ED: titan or owner?) the monster turned its ire on the Marine Dreadnought with twin lascannons. The Dreadnought quailed as the titan shot, but the shots only managed to immobilise the walker.

Subsequently the other ability of the Tau combo was put into action. Using their D3+1 markerlights from the Interdiction Cadre, and multiple shots from the pathfinders markerlights. They lit up the two groups of necrons and the warhound with 3+ markerlights each.

Susbsequently, a precision strike was declared on all three units (IE: 2+ to hit) - the Titan owner was astounded, and this is where having an independent and discreet 'gamesmaster' is useful as such powerful combinations can be 'pre-vetted' and approved... The Stormbringers started up, peppering the warhounds void shields with lascannon shots.

Everything hit, we then discovered that the crafty Necrons had empowered an energy bubble around the landing platform the Necrons were on. This gave all the models (including the Warhound??) a 4+ invulnerable save... the Stormbringers luck held and they managed to strip away all the Titans void shields and even put a structure point on the monster.

Mark (who owned the Titan) now sweated profusely as 7 railguns (4 twin linked) lined up the titan. However the 'luck gods' had turned in his favour and despite the 7 hits thanks to the precision strike, he rolled for his life and saved all.

Encouraged by this, the Stormbringer bikers let loose on the necrons and downed a couple - but the necrons recovered.

NB: The combination of the MIRAGE and IC (Interdiction Cadre) was striking. The titan had got 'lucky' in turn one and this impact severely shook the confidence in the titans domination. Subsequently the 'landing platform bubble' proved a hindrance, as only this had thwarted the Titan's loss, and subsequently the Titan player was cautious of moving out of its benefit and subsequently into 'view range' (2D6x3) of the MIRAGE. This reduced the titans efficiency to a fraction of its potential.

At this point the Tau'Va were looking mightily smug ... we were in for a surprise.

Turn Two: 'Keep firing, keep firing!'

The Titan player rolled for his void shields and regained one.

In the enemy turn, they turned the tables on the Tau'Va combo as two Necron Monolith deepstruck directly into the middle of the formation - shunting everything about. Necron Monoliths have a dirty deepstrike, that allows them to effectively 'shunt' everything out of their way and ignore every 'deepstrike' rules on enemy models. Their still vulnerable to impassable terrain, but Hutch was lucky with his rolls.

"Coming through, coming through!" Yelled the Necrons.

The arrival of the Necrons burst the 12" bubble, forcing the MIRAGE out of formation. Subsequently the two Necron ships let rip with a double strike of gauss nastiness hitting everything within 12" twice with D6 gauss hits (glancing on a 6).

The resulting hits caused one devilfish to come parking down, stripped the two gun drones from the Broadsides and killed several pathfinders, and caused shaken results on 2/3rd of the Armoured Interdiction Cadre. To top this off a Vendetta also dropped in and shot at a Hammerhead, thankfully the Hammerheads disruption field caused real problems (and is a real advantage against a flyer (who is automatically 12" away!).

The titan suddenly gained targets and wiped out the Dreadnought and a whole squad of fire warriors (the Broadside in the tower survived, thanks to his shield drone).

One Necron Monolith bites the dust...

The Tau cadre scattered, gaining some room to Necrons. Then the combination of markerlights and railguns were brought to bear. One Necron monolith was destroyed by railgun fire from the three man squad, the other Monolith survived. The Interdiction Cadre used their three markerlights to target the vendetta. While we couldn't announce a precision strike on it (specifically excluded), the markerlights could launch 3 seeker missiles at the target.

Tau technology allowed the seeker missiles to hit the skimmer on a 2+, and the flyer came crashing down! Meanwhile, there'd been more than enough markerlights to share out to the titan and the Stormbringer devastators had another bite at the 2+ cherry. While they failed to hurt the titan, they did keep it in check - keeping it at arms length.

Turn 3: "Necrotism..."

20 Necrons swarmed out of the Monolith and targetted the Broadsides as the remaining monolith launched another barrage. The barrage did surprisingly little, stunning a few more tanks, but the 'spread' had helped. The Necrons fusilade of shots killed the remaining shield drones (despite a 2+ save) and the broadsides looked weakened.

The 'spread' didn't help those that had dropped outside the MIRAGE range as the Titan rained down firepower on the heads of it's opponents. Further battlesuits and tanks died. Additionally, the other two Vendettas arrived, and although one set of shots missed - a skyray disintegrated from lascannon shots.

"Arghh ... Metal Skellybobs" yelled the Broadside, in 'broad' west country accents...

First up, one of the pathfinder groups had targetted the warlord, while the other targetted the necrons. With a huge impact, my Shas'O, bodyguard and another squad leapt in at point blank range to the necrons. The 'pathfinder devilfish' reroll helped and no-one scattered. The three squads they had 7 crisis suits with 3 flamers, 1 twin linked, 6 missile pods, two plasma rifles (1 twin linked), 3 fusion blasters and an air fragmentation projector. The resulting fire, all hitting on a 2+, was devastating. The flamers were particularly nasty, forcing the necrons to roll lots of ones or twos, the last desparates shots from a smart missile system killed the last necron and the unit was destroyed - phew!

The Crisis Suits show their worth and pummel the Skellingtons with Flamers and Plasma

With the damage from the warhound more devastating, I decided to target that with my remaining broadsides (spot the mistake) and failed to harm it. We also activated our 'stratagem' which drop a markerlight hits on everything in our deployment zone. Despite hitting the flyer, the seeker missile failed to kill.

Meanwhile Jack had droppodded a squad of sternguard into the line of fire with the enemy and these verterans rapid fired the opponent with AP2 shots. A C'tan joined the immortals and necrons in fighting the Sternguard and Bikers.

Turn 4 "Concentrate all firepower on the superstructure..."

The Monolith spouted forth 20 more necron warriors ... urghhh. This time they targetted the most 'threatening' crisis suit squad, landing lots of hits. Luckily only 4 kills resulted and these were bounced off on the 4 gundrones. The other firepower was more successful, the Monolith shuffled closer to the objective and blasted again, shaking a devilfish. Meanwhile the Vendettas proved dangerous, hitting and immobilising a hammerhead.

The Titan had even more fun, shooting up the outlying area, he double killed the Broadside in the building. The enemy moved closer with Heavy destroyers and a Leman Russ moving up to the objective. The group of guardsmen sneaking along some trenches to contest the enemy objective were ambushed by 3 pariahs and died a nasty death. They did manage to take one down though, but the pariahs were still over 50% and capture capable.

The Tau responded in kind. Assuming the broadsides might actually destroy the monolith this turn, the MIRAGE moved back in. The Tau targetted the Monolith with broadside shots, but these were thwarted by poor rolling. The recurred necrons met with another fusilade, but the reduction in armour and crisis suit deaths due to titanic weapons proved too much and they failed to kill all the necrons. Of the four that survived, 12 rolls their I'll be back rolls... things looked desparate, and even the intransigent Suneokun railed against the impossibility of pulling off a win (not knowing about his own crafty XV15's making a break!) ...

Turn 5: Endgame

The game for turn 5 was fought heavily in the 'city' against the Stormbringers. The Titan turned away from the Tau front line and turned it's attention to its own objective, confident that we couldn't destroy both the Monolith and the necrons and the countryside was out of reach!

Meanwhile the Sternguard managed to kill the C'Tan Deciever (nice work Gue'la) and found themselves wrapped up in combat with immortals.

In the Tau front line, we noticed that the Monolith was 3 3/4" away from the objective... hmm. This meant that if we could just kill those necron warriors?!? The Necron moved into the building, running and hiding for a 3+ saving throw. The pathfinder devilfish rushed off to finish off a pariah (see earlier) and the broadsides ignored both the warhound and the monolith to target the Leman Russ. The Russ survived, but the warriors were less lucky.

Three crisis suit teams plus all the vehicles and even pathfinder railrifles targetted the Necron Warriors - preparing to fire and then assault the warriors in their ruined objective. The XV8's didn't get the chance as lots of 1's and 2's were rolled and the Necrons died surprisingly easily. Dustin used an assault move to claim the obejctive.

Final Result: Greater Good: 3, Necron Alliance 2.


That was a very difficult battle made especially difficult by last minute changes. Knowing that I'd be maybe be facing Orks or Guardsmen, I'd fielded lots of non anti-Meq Tau weaponry from burst cannons, Missile Pods and Rail Rifles. The shock of finding the army facing a weird mix of Necrons (3+), Space Wolfs (3+) and Guard vets in carapace (4+) made the game a saving throws nightmare.

And what a combination! The Necron codex may creak in the metagame, but in Apocalyse its got the room to really throw its weight around. The weakness of necrons is in close combat against power weapons. Therefore Tau have a real problem as although they have the firepower, they only have three AP2 and 1 weapons and S8 is essential for killing necrons. If i'd been fielding my guard, I would have had so many options to stop them. Without this the Tau struggled.


The 'double bubble' Formation of the MIRAGE plus interdiction proved even more lethal on the table than it did on paper, easily ecilipsing the 'markerdrone' strategic asset we deployed. For 100 points we gained a markerdrones on the devilfish, and for every three hits you could gain a 2+ to hit for all friendly forces. This 'force multiplier' is something standard in 'Hordes' but turned our double bubble into a very durable 'Tau Titan' replacement. Even when split by the Necrons and shot up by the Vendettas, the formation proved highly durable.

On reflection though, we were very lucky. Jack's Stormbringer did a brilliant job deflecting the Guard and Space Wolf forces on the last turn. While I believe we 'scared off' the warhound from approaching our lines, if the reserves had attacked elsewhere - we would have been in trouble.

Imagine if the drop pod had attacked the broadsides? Combined with one Monolith. Or the other monolith had attacked the Tau home objective? Or the veterans had attacked the home objective, firing meltaguns and lascannons at Crisis Suits? If the Warhound had bitten the bullet and come closer while the Broadside were engaged - the destroyer weapons would have reeked havoc on those tanks. If the opponent had targetted our MIRAGE at any point, or the command tank on the Interdiction Cadre... The 'Tau Titan' would then have been eaten up.

Luckily for us, the firewarrior response to the droppod was enough to discourage further visitors. Without those, even flanking we could focus our forces. Added to that, the stealth abilities of the XV15s, XV25 and MIRAGE effectively meant that we could control the combat. The Space wolves only fought firewarriors and kroot. We effectively 'distracted' our way to victory.

On our side Jack did a brilliant job challenging the enemies objective, but shot at the titan with lascannons instead of targetting the leman russ holding their 'other' objective in turn 5. On both sides, the forces split off into 'individual armies', this never works. The most successful forces were those combined where I handed the control of the countryside battle to Dustin, and he gave me the 'Tau-titan' on the front line. The opponents controlled their forces alone, so the Necrons attacked without spacewolves close combating the broadsides. The Vendettas spread themselves too thin and the Leman Russes 'accidentally' blew up space wolves .. which in my opinion, says it all.