Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Adventures of Commissar Tighthat - Combat Tactics 101

Just a quick one to raise a smile on a Tuesday morning...


Monday, 25 January 2010

Tyranids Tactica - FOC to FAC

Thoughts and Plans for the Tyranids...

For those out there looking at building a Tyranid List ... or looking at fighting one, here's what you can look to expect to see developed from the new Tyranid Army List. The lists below are comprised of those units I think players will see and field the most regularly - and who gives the best 'bang for the buck!' - feel free to comment!

In addition, I'm also going to look at the Weaponry/Wargear that would prove most compelling against the Horde...

HQ: The Tyranids have gone from three HQ options to five. Listed here is a close combat monster, two unit breeders and some interesting Here's my top five:
  1. In the Top Spot ... the Tyranid Prime will appear with regular monotony. He may not have the 'tricks' of the other HQ's, but he's very cheap - tough as old boots, and when armed with a bonesword and Lash whip - rock solid. Placed in a horde of Termagaunts - this guy can soak up the firepower and deliver dependable Synapse to your force.
  2. The Swarmlord: On first glance he looks vulnerable, but when deployed with a brood of lashwhip Tyrant Guard, he's a close combat monster that'll attract a lot of attention an firepower. If he makes it into combat, he'll be a nightmare to put down - even forcing thunder hammer and storm shield Termies to reroll their invulnerables. His ability would also counteract the ability of the Seercouncil to get rerollable invulnerables - combined with the 'Shadow in the Warp' ability - the Eldar better watch out!
  3. The Parasite: Brings up third place. He's going to be a bullet magnet ... but he is Sooo much fun to play. Think S6 Lictor with a Gargoyle bodyguard... He can automatically damage any opponents flanking unit (not good for wolf scouts!), he can supply much needed Synapse as the other IC to the Tyranid Prime. Placed with a 'delivery' unit of Gargoyles, the Parasite can effective 'build' his own army by build D6 Ripper Swarms from 50% of guard kills and 33% of Space Marine kills. Prepare to see him heading up Gargoyle Swarms on Tyranid Shrike Broods 'spreading the love!' - that said - I think he'll suffer the same as most IC's in that he'll be targetted and downed early. He's pricey (like Tervigon/Carnifex/Tyrant pricey) and that will limit his use - but Guardsmen, tau and Eldar should just assume he's on board.
  4. The Hive Tyrant: He's vanilla. However the combination of his psychic abilities, the Bonesword and his upgrades make him highly versatile. He's also capable of having his armour upgraded to a 2+ ... making him the only unit with this apart from the Tyrannofex. Downside - he's quite pricey - his basic price is good, but by the time you've added your options and requisite wings/armour - you may as well have bought the Swarmlord.
  5. Tervigon: the Tervigon is one of the best new MC's in the codex and will appear A LOT - but not in HQ... check out the Troops section for the Tervigon.
Elites: The Elites section got a real shake up under the new codex. Most of the units added are a little 'meh?' to say the least ... here's my top five (and the also ran's):
  1. Zoanthropes: These are now more valuable than gold. Zoanthropes provide Synapse, Shadow in the Warp AND awesome anti MeQ and anti Armour, the old Zoanthrope couldn't hit the side of a barn door at point blank... the new one is really tasty. Armed with lots of (what were) extras for free - the Zoanthrope is very cheap for its punch. These units will be the single biggest detterent to taking tanks against Nids, as their S10 Lance weapon gets deployed at point blank from a Mycetic Spore.
  2. Hive Guard: I'm NOT a fan... but many in the Blogosphere love these guys. Basically this is where the Zoat went... the 24" S8 2 assault gun is cool and particularly cool as they don't need LOS. However these boys aren't numerous enough to weather the S7 love that'll hit them everytime. T6 is good. The price tag less so - considering the Zoanthrope gets an invulnerable 3+ and a S10 lance weapon (albeit at 18") for just 10pts less... I'd buy Zoanthropes.
  3. Lictors: They're better than they were. Seriously dangerous when combining their +1 cover save with high initiative, lots of attacks and S6 flesh hook guns?!? A sub par unit for killing tanks (which was it's old job) ... a brilliant unit for delivering Gargoyles/Ravenors or rippers on target... as they arrived automatically within 6" to the Lictor. Great for playing 'guess the drop zone' with your opponent.
  4. Deathleaper: A pricey lictor with so many bonuses its easy to forget. At WS9 even space marines will only hit him on a 5+. He's got XV25 stealth abilities, forces everyone to be rubbish at moving through cover and most importantly can chip D3 leadership off an enemy character. If you were thinking of taking Psykers against nids - don't bother, your Wolf Lords now leadership 7 and has to take a test on 3D6 within 12" of Synapse creatures... nice!
  5. The Dooom of Malan'tai: Uber Zoanthrope that'll be shoved down your throat, eat your units and then turn into a S10 Ap1 bomb. Expect to see this against Orks ... although it's unclear how the Spirit Leech works against fearless units!?!
The Others ... are pointless. Pyrovores and Venomthropes ... hmm, who thought of them? The Pyrovore is a 'fighty' monster with 1 attack at initiative 1... how? As far as I can tell - it bleeds on people and then has a chance to explode ... with only a 4+ save T4 - it's never going to get there. The Venomthrope is like the 'toxin sac'd' hormagaunt overpriced, fairly crap cousin. Yes he gives a 5+ save to everyone in a toxic cloud ... but who cares when you've got Zoanthropes? As for Ymgarl Genestealers?? I'm confused - are these supposed to be good ... because they are $£!¬

Troops: Ok bread and butter time, here's the top five (hint: you'll be facing a bucket load of these things ... I mean like millions!
  1. Tervigon: Yes the nids can now buy a 6 wound, T6 3+ MC as a troop choice (free with 10 Termagaunts)... it'll sit on the home objective and breed 3D6 Termagaunts a turn. Not as tough as a Carnifex or as choppy as a Trygon - but you try killing it. Regeneration seems like a must for these guys ... oh and combined with HQ choice, you could see Tervigon spam going on, with armies fielding up to 5 tervigons for a bare 950 pts. Yes ... that's 5*3D6 Termagaunts bred a turn (50 average) ... trying killing them with a 1000pt army?!? Oh and the Tervigon can make it's bullet shield FNP for a bare 15pts... so thats 50 FNP termagaunts a turn - give up, now.
  2. Termagaunts: Close second. These guys have taken a serious buff in this codex... mainly because Hormagaunts and Genestealers can no longer assault into cover. Your 5pt Termagaunt has a boltpistol equivilent and (thanks to Tervigon Mummy) is effectively free. Termagaunts are also the obvious 'nesting' for Tyranid Prime ... so expect to see lots of this combination. The only gun worth buying for the Termagaunt is the devourer. Yes it will make the Termagaunt a 10pt model ... but 60 BS3 S4 shots deploying out of a Mycetic Spore on your objective ... led by a Tryanid Prime - nasty!
  3. Hormagaunts: So cheap now. They are only WS3 and no longer have a 24" charge and no fleshhooks, but these S3 beasties are now cheap enough that you can buy enough to counteract the losses you'll face in the first round. Your old Hormagaunt was 14 pts for an I5, S4, flesh hooked model. Now, he's just 7 points for I5 as standard, toxin sacs (4+ to wound) or adrenal glands (furious charge). The furious charge is a must against Guardsmen (3+ to wound round one and antitank glancing) whereas the toxin sacs are essential against Space Marines... Hormagaunts are also 3 attacks on the charge. Their bounding leap now give them 3 'move through cover' moves ... which means while they charge slower - they'll get there a lot quicker.
  4. Tyranid Warriors: Warriors aren't the 'Synpase requirement' they once were, as between Tervigon's, Primes and others, that options covered. As each Tryanid is the same price as 6 Termagaunts or 5 Hormagaunts ... why bother. Simple answer, lashwhips and boneswords. These guys give you access to large units of power weapons and cover charging apparatus, they also offer some nice midfield gunnery. Whether this outweighs the 'weight of numbers' price difference is arguable ... i'm erring on the side of not.
  5. Ripper Swarms: Ripper's are now pretty good. They still cannot hold objectives (boo, Pg 90), but with 4 attacks and 3 wounds and stealth, their low profile and their ability to deepstrike - these guys are suddenly a must as the 'pre charge chargers' - nothing says 'don't shoot at my hormagaunts' as well as a bunch of rippers...
Also ran: well genestealers.... these guys have really suffered in this codex. Their only role (I can see) is as infiltrating 'gone to ground' objective holders ... but why take them when Warriors have Synapse or the Tervigon's tougher. While they would be a problem to charge ... genestealers are grist to the mill of Flamers and would be eaten up. The Broodlord (60pts) is still rock hard, but since he cannot charge into cover - he'd get walloped and has been outdone by the Tyranid Prime. All in all, genestealers are a waste of points. You'll lose nearly as many stealers as hormagaunts on the charge into cover ... and the hormagaunt has the same number of attacks. Even flanking cannot save these guys, as no-one's walking into that mistake twice. I fear stealers will be spending the next five years in retirement, as they've really lost a role.

Fast Attack: In my opinion, there's only really one option worth taking in fast attack ... exepct to see the skies swarming with huge hordes of them.
  1. Gargoyles: 6 pts for a termagaunt with a 12" run and S4 gun and 'rending lite' in the blinding venom. Against everything, these guys are now pretty useful - against Guardsmen and Tau - they're invaluable. Particularly lethal when combined with the Parasite - they're helpful the rest of the time. The jump infantry allows them to 'ambush' units out of cover (unlike slower units) although their bigger profile makes shooting them much much easier.
  2. Spore Mine Cluster: S4 AP4 isn't to be sneered at. I'm intrigued by the 'area denial' options these small units can open up ... allowing them to deploy before the opponent means that Dawn of War gets complex... and gives you options.
  3. Tryanid Shrike: Lash Whips and Boneswords make them an option ... but you may as well bring a Mycetic Spore and normal warriors for that job... it's cheaper and more reliable. Cost 6 Gargoyles each.
  4. Ravenors: bit of a rubbish Warrior with an overpriced gun. Costs 5 Gargoyles each ... nuff said.
  5. Harpy: nothing says 'target' like a winged monster with big guns, bigger wings and T5, 4W's and 4+ armour... prepare the autocannons for 'kill'!
Also ran: Sky-Slasher ... I wouldn't run them on principle because of the name ... but Sky Slashers are 3 pts more expensive than deep striking rippers and a bigger target 'above' cover saves ... so why?

Heavy Support: Another very well improved FOC... but for just one reason
  1. Trygon: It deepstrikes with impunity, is a monster in H2H and can deliver the hurt (and a bunch of termagaunts/hormagaunts the following turn. The Nid's have needed a 'chaos sower' and this is it. Deepstrike in their back door and wait for the screams. Downside, it's a big target - but then again you kinda want that it a distraction? The T6 and 6W will see it through. I'm not yet convinced that the 12 S5 shots and synapse are worth an additional 40pts - but against psyker armies (and who would) it will be a useful killer. Just to reiterate, this guy gets 7 S6 MC attacks on the charge with a reroll to hit (thanks to duel Scythtals) ... nice!
  2. Mawloc: Second and such a poor second ... only beat Biovores because it's a gorgeous model. unlike it's meatier cousin above the Mawloc has a S6 AP2 big blast party trick. However this will 'most likely' require him arriving in the mids of a horde of Terminators or tanks ... none of which will give him a chance next turn. Thanks to a huge oversite by GW, the Mawloc has WS3 and Only 3 attacks. This means he WILL KILL exactly 1 guy a turn ... which means a combat squad with a powerfist will effectively nullify a Mawloc (wound for wound) over 4 turns (oh and he arrived on turn 2) ... scrub that, a imperial Guard Infantry Command Squad with a powerfist would achieve the same for a bare 45pts ... DO NOT EVEN bother!
  3. Biovore: yeah, yeah I know - a bloody Biovore, who'd thought it. But rather than buying those spores from fast attack (and wasting slots for Gargoyles) a biovore pretty cheap. He also has a 48" S4 AP4 pinning large blast weapon ... that's pretty good! As a guard player who swears by Mortars, I can't help but like these guys ... oh and every miss (unlike mortars) turns into spore mines (more area denial shernannigans!)...
  4. Tyrannofex: He's a MC with a 2+ save and a 48" S10 tankkiller gun. Downside, by the time you've given him that gun (Rupture Cannon) and Regenerate (which he'll need), he costs the same as 5 Zoanthropes. Oh, and he's as bad in combat as the Mawloc... talk about a jump pack magnet!
  5. Carnifex: (I'm not EVEN talking about Old One Eye!) The Carnifex costs the same as a Tervigon and apart from being S9, he's not as specialised as he was... 3+ save only is a real nerf and he's only got 4 wounds - which makes him the 'little brother' of all the other MCs. By the time he's walked the entire length of the board OR bought a Mycetic spore he's either dead or more than a Trygon. He is the only other unit (apart from the Lictor) who can charge into close combat ... but he's Maximum I4. I'm sorry to say that the Carnifex (like the Genestealers) is going into retirement in my force. In fact I'm considering the old 'snip snip' for the old codger - and making him a Tervigon.
Weapons against the Hive Mind

The following are a list of weapons that I believe will become the 'necessary' against the hive mind:
  • Missile Launchers: cheap and plentiful ... you can switch between S4 blasts and S8 anti MC/Warrior shots. These guys are back in.
  • Flamers: either heavy or normal. Necessary for fighting in terrain (and in terrain is where YOU want to be fighting) ... saves you having to worry about fighting some stupid genestealers too! Remember most Tyranids can go to ground in cover AND still give you a spanking in close combat ... adopt Tau tactica and flamer the buggers!
  • Mortars (or the Mech equivilent): Big pie plates of bang will flatten the hordes and make the rapid fire clean up much easier. Consider taking whirlwinds, Griffons and the like for indescriminate bombardment. Also the comparative cheapness of these (for Guard at least) will mean the missile can concentrate on the big boys.
  • Don't bring psykers: If you think your 'helm of warding' or 'runes of goading' will help one bit, don't bother. When that Trygon Prime turns up, or a Zoanthrope in a Spore, or the Parasite, or a Warrior Brood or 19 Termagaunts in a Spore led by a Tyranid Prime ... your Psychic powers will become a liability. And that's not even mentioning Deathleaper...
  • Don't bring mechanised. In case you haven't noticed, the Nids have got enough anti-tank options now to make a Prime blush. 3x3 Zoanthropes jump to mind, but hive guards and other options abound ... oh and enormous deep striking Monstrous Creatures... you failed to spot those.
  • 'Stay indoors, lock the door and prepare to repel boarders...': The biggest advantage you have is your cover. Defend your ground and you'll hit first. Sacrifice a unit and rapid fire them to bits ... Even the Trygon hits last - so let them come to you. If you walk out in the streets - you will get eaten (unless you are a terminator with a Thunder Hammer and Stormshield). It does sort of limit your options though doesn't it?
Example List

Just in case you didn't think this post was long enough ... here's my preffered 'fun list'...

HQ: Parasite of Mortrex - 160
HQ: Tyranid Prime (Devourer, Bonesword and Lash whip, Adrenal Glands, Regeneration) - 115
Elites: Zoanthropes x2 - 120
Elites: Zoanthropes x1 - 60
Elites: Lictor x1 - 65
Troops: Tervigon, Regenerate - 185
Troops: 19 Termagaunts with Devourers and Mycetic Spore (Barbed Strangler) - 245
Troops: 21 Hormagaunts, adrenal glands - 147
Troops: 21 Hormagaunts, adrenal glands - 147
Fast Attack: 21 Gargoyles, adrenal glands - 147
Heavy Support: Trygon, Regenerate, Adrenal Glands - 235
Heavy Support: Trygon, Regenerate, Adrenal Glands - 235
Heavy Support: 3 Biovore - 135

Total: 1996 points

Tactics: Tervigon and Biovores sit at the back and mass produced spore mines and Termagaunts... holding their objectives... The Prime deploys via DS with the devilgaunts in the Spore. The Trygons appear (hopefully together) and the Lictor allows the Gargoyles to Deep strike ... if the Gargoyles (and the Parasite) DS first, then they go somewhere 'safe' on a flank. The MC's and the Zoanthropes go after tanks (The Adrenal Glands on the Trygons' give S7 on the charge - average roll 14), while the Biovore's and Termagaunts target units... If the opponent sits back (in cover) he'll face too many Termagaunts and Ripper Swarms to deal with... if he attacks ... good!

I've got over 30 normal Termagaunts... if the Tervigon can spawn all of them in a game - I'll be a happy man.

Friday, 22 January 2010

BATREP: 1000 Guard v New Nids (Playtesting and afterthoughts)

Hold you ground men ... Commissar's abound in the Imperial Guard.

This battle was fought against my good friend Dawn... she took the nids and I took the Guardsmen. The Army lists were as follows:

Imperial Guard (Kochi 5th) - 1000pts

My Tyranid Prime Conversion, complete with Ogre BoneSword, Scratch built lash whip and Devourers...

Commissar Lord with Powerfist - 85pts
Company Command Squad with powerfist and 4 flamers - 85pts
Ogyrn Squad (3) - 130pts
Infantry Command Squad with 4 flamers - 50pts
Chimera (Heavy Flamer) - 55pts
Squad #1: Grenade Launcher and Autocannon - 65pts
Squad #2: Grenade Laucncher and Autocannon and Commissar - 100pts
3 x Mortar Teams
Veterans, A Powerfist, 3 Sniper Rifles and an Autocannon - 110pts
Hellhound, Heavy stubber/Heavy Bolter configuration - 140pts

Concept - You basic gunline with benefits, hopefully the two tanks could play 'blocker' while the guardsmen take out the littlun's. Meanwhile the Vets would target the MC's. Ogyrns and Commissar Lord are there as 'MC holders'.

Hive Splinter Urobus - 1000pts

The Parasite of Mortrex (well my version anyhow)

Tryanid Prime - Lash Whip and Bonesword, Regeneration - 105pts
Parasite of Mortrex - 160pts
Zoanthrope - 60pts
20 Termagaunts - 200pts
20 Hormagaunts - 240pts
10 Gargoyles - 60pts
Carnifex - Frag Spines, Scything Talons and StrangleThorn Cannon - 185pts
Trygon with Adrenal Glands - 210pts

Concept - I'm keen to see how the Nids perform without their MC leaders... therefore the Tyranid Prime and Mortrex (as the only two independent characters) get an outing (plus I'd converted both... With only one Trygon built - it's one Trygon on the attack. The same can be said for the Carnifex ... although I can't help but feel he's on borrowed time.

Deployment - We rolled for Dawn of War deployment and capture and control as the objectives. It would be a straight up fight - but my Guardsmen couldn't be 'in place' before the Nids arrived. Dawn won the roll and opted to go first.

The Hormagaunts and Termagaunts deployed at the halfway point. The Prime nested in with the Termagaunts. My Command Squad deployed over my objective, while the infantry command squad deployed in the Chimera on the left-central flank.

TURN 1 - Nids...

The Tyranid Prime leads the fight to the Guardsmen!

The rest of Dawn's Nids arrived (barring the Trygon, who would deepstrike). The Zoanthrope and Parasite (with his gargoyles) came at my men from the right flank ... the Carnifex came in centre and the Hormagaunts moved forwards. Only 5 Termagaunts were in range, but their fire (and that of the prime) managed to kill two of my command squad flamers. The -1 on the Devourer came into play and the squad fell back off my objective. Meanwhile the Hormagaunts were being cagey around the Chimera. Aware that they only had S3 and fearful of the heavy flamer - they kept their distance... for now. The Carnifex stomped on and contributed to the kills on the Command Squad (who took an absolute pounding turn 1!).

TURN 1 - Guard...

The Chimera bravely faces down the Hormagaunts

I quickly set up my mortars on the far left flank. That meant they could hit everyone else - while being the maximum distance away. I moved and then ran my vets onto the central objective - challenging the Hormagaunts. Thanks to the loss of 'flesh hooks' I was confident that I could repell their charge! The Ogyrns and Commissar Lord entered to the right of centre, with the 20 Guardsmen lining up to gunlines to their left. The Commander attempted a 'fire by rank' order but rolled AN ELEVEN! Why didn't I bring vox??

The Guardsmen opened fire. Lasgun took several Gaunts, while the concerted fire of the Orgyrns did surprising damage - killing 2 more. The grenade launcher also added to the carnage popping S3 frag template into the mix ... killing a further 2. Then the Hellhound joined in and killed 8 in sustained fire ... In one turn the Termagaunts were whittled down to eight models. The Chimera moved forwards and toasted one hormagaunt.

TURN 2 - Nids...

Take up positions ... the guardsmen desparately try to take up firing lines before the horde descends...

Dawn broke off the Tyranid Prime fromt he termagaunt as those wee monsters made a retreat back to their objective. The Prime however stormed across to deal with the Chimera while the Parasite leapt forward to deal with the hellhound (if the Zoanthrope couldn't!)

The Hormagaunts made a bee-line for the Veterans squad. I managed to kill a paltry 2 Hormagaunts on the way in and this left 18x3 attacks in return. My squad was wiped out! With the vehicles I was far more lucky ... the Zoanthrope missed the Hellhound - the Parasite then failed to damage it in hand to hand... The Tyranid Prime was equally useless against the Chimera. I'd pulled them in and taken a blow - but now it was my turn. To add insult to injury the Carnifex failed to hit 17 guardsmen in a single shot as it scattered off the board. Meanwhile the Trygon had obviously hit a seem of dense rock, as it didn't arrive. I had some breathing room.
Turn 2 - Guardsmen...

I reversed the Hellhound away from the Zoanthrope and the Chimera back from the Prime. I then turn 6 flamers and a heavy flamer on the Hormagaunts - only 2 survived. This opened up the Prime to sustained Orgyrn firepower - taking two wounds. I was just reminding Dawn of the 'regeneration' ability, when I fired my boltpistol from the commissar and killed the prime... oh my!

The Guardsmen in rank teamed up with the Hellhound and demolished the lightly armoured Gargoyle - only two survived to flank the Parasite. Meanwhile the mortars went to work. They killed all but one Termagaunt (clinging to the objective) and helped massacre the Gargoyles. At the end of turn two, only 8 models were left on the table (2 Gargoyles, Parasite, Zoanthrope, 1 Termagaunt, Carnifex and 2 Hormagaunts) with the Trygon yet to arrive. I'd lost a bare 11 casulaties. - that's nearly a win isn't it?!?

Turn 3 - Tyranids

The Parasite and his bodyguard made for my uber guardsmen squad, while the Zoanthrope targetted the Hellhound. The Termagaunt cowered and 'useless' the Carnifex used his boomgun of pants! The Trygon also arrived and deepstruck between my Ogyrns and the Mortar teams - just behind the Chimera...

Thanks to the deepstrike rules for the Trygon if there a space Trygon shaped with troops all around - that's the one to go for! The Trygon blasted the back of the Chimera and managed a stunned result! Meanwhile the Zoanthrope turned the Hellhound into a wreck (lucky rolling, becuase it could easily have resulted in blow up guardsmen and Gargoyles) The Gargoyles shot one guardsmen on the way in and then killed another 3 in close combat (bloody spitting acid)... Then the Parasite piled in. He killed two guardsmen, one of which failed a toughness test and produced 5 ripper swarms.

The Parasite gets to work

It was at this point I read through the stats for rippers... hmmm - someones got a sense of humour! Ripper now have 5 attacks on the charge (who knew?!?) and unlike the previous codex, they can now claim objectives. They were still vulnerable to blasts and S6 firemagnets, but they get their stealth as well. Oh, and they're fearless as standard. The Mindless bit means they will eat themselves if outside synapse range - but there's gotta be a downside hasn't there?!?

The Guardsmen killed the Gargoyles and then failed completely to hurt the parasite. Luckily their Commissar held them together.

The stranglethorn cannon boomed out and shot the Trygon, slightly pissing him off. Carnifex - meet model knife methinks...!

Turn 3 - Guard

My mortars sang out again as the combined force of my powerfisted command sqaud and powerfist commissar and Orgyrns charged into the Trygon. Despite their best efforts they only succeeded in wounding it once (despite two flamers and the two guardsmen wounding him!) and the Trygon killed off the Commissar Lord.

The mortars managed to kill another Hormagaunt, who weirdly still passed his leadership test. The Zoanthrope and Termagaunt dodged their mortar hits. The stunned tank (and it's inhabitants) could do nothing being stunned and shunted the Chimera around to gain a 4+ to hit.

The Parasite weathered over 20 attacks to gain one wound. Meanwhile he killed three guardsmen and created a further 10 rippers (at this point we started using tyranid warriors/Tau battlesuits to see how weird it could get!)

Turn 4 - Tyranids

"Make love ... not war... come here baby!" The Parasite of Mortrex is a panoply of amusing and squirm inducing homocentric jokes for those less happy with their sexuality! NB: The Tyranid Warriors are actually Ripper stand-in's...

The Rippers plowed into combat against the Mortrex's adversaries as the Zoanthrope hit the side armour of the Chimera - the inevitable happened and another vehicle was wrecked. The Termagaunt who presented such a small target to the mortars hung onto their objective. The Carnifex finally (and too late in my opinion) came good and dropped a S6 template on the mortar teams, killing two and routing a squad. The Trygon ate the command squad for breakfast and the Ogyrns couldn't hurt it. The Ripper's plowed through the guardsmen as the Parasite added another 4 Rippers to the horde... this was getting very silly! Only the Sergeants, one guardsmen and the commissar remained

Turn 4 - Guard

The Mortars tried in vain to hit the hormagaunt and Termagaunt, while the flamer infantry command squad targetted the 4 rippers and combined flamer and mortars devastated them. They couldn't kill the Hormagaunt though, and he was the only model who could challenge the objective in time. The Trygon fought himself to a standstill against the Ogyrns, the stubborn Ogyrns losing a few wounds but refusing to budge. The Guardsmen were stripped down as only the commissar hung onto life!

Turn 5 - Tyranids

The Carnifex and Zoanthrope threw everything at the command squad now challenging the objective and failed to force them to flee, despite killing three (including their lieutenant). The Parasite and his brood of Rippers finished off the Commissar but couldn't consolidate far enough to challenge the infantry command squad. The Trygon also finished off the Ogyrns (due to a bad leadership test) and consolidated, but couldn't attack the infantry squad).

Turn 5 - Guard

Everything hinge on the accuracy of the Mortars ... and they failed to hit the termagaunt on his objective. We rolled a one and stopped the game ... but it was fairly convincing.

Conclusions

Anti-Nid:
Missile Launchers and flamers are definitely back in my wargear. Grenade Launcher are still very useful for chalking up hits. But the lack of 2+ saving throws makes the Missile Launcher the budget, duel purpose weapon of choice. Unbeliveably I held a draw, and the Parasite bred Rippers like crazy. He created 19 swarms - thats 57 objective holding wounds with stealth and 4 healthy attacks on the charge!

Killing the Parasite will be a priority for most opponents. On the other hand, Zoanthropes in Mycetic Spores will make a mockery of all tanks. The Tryanid army is now a target rich environment - but with too many targets a turn!

Pro-Nid: The following thoughts have occured to me...

Trygon is a must!

6 S6 MC attacks with reroll to hit - simply eats everything beyond thunderhammers. Vulnerable to dedicated antitank - but with 6 wounds and regenerate - brilliant. The Mawloc get his anti-termie shot and then stands they with his 'claws' and WS3 and tries to make one of his S6 attacks stick. As I've mentioned before, you could tie him up with 5 guardsmen for 5 turns.

Tyranid Prime is awesome!

This fella has serious options, but the bonesword and lashwhip are my favourite

Tyranid Prime with a bonesword and Lashwhip gives you great anti character weaponry (especially with a S6 furious charge against T3) and gives you even odds in close combat. Backed by 30 Termagaunts, his Devourer can offer a -1 ld test (which I think will be FaQ'd) for 25% casualties. T5 means he can approach most opponents with omnipotence - but watch out for Powerfists... Although at 10pts for regen - that's a must.

Parasite of Mortrex

Awesomeness... just great!

In our game he arrived on a flank with 2 surviving gargoyles and then proceeded to produce 19 Ripper Swarms out of his kills over 3 turns. As long as there's no powerfist - Mortrex can build his own army. Rippers have been seriously buffed in the new codex. They have 4 attacks (5 on the charge) and can claim objectives. This means that Mortrex can arrive at the enemies objective and then turn the Devastator squad into claiming troops (who he can then join) ... oh and rippers still get stealth (although templates do double wounds)... turn 3, my opponent had 9 models on the board. Turn 5 she had 29?!? As a side note, Gargoyles are god! Although it's probably best not to charge them into combat unless you outnumber him 10-1. Blinding venom is good as 'rending light', but it won't win the fight for you.

Zoanthropes are king

You may be able to rapid fire them to death, but a 60pt 3++ model has awesome anti Meq and anti tank. If he hits ... it's 90% goodbye tank. That's it. Leman russ are the same as Chimeras in his sights thanks to lance.

Tervigon

I'm cashing in my Carnifex for a Tervigon too. A T6 W6 troop option MC sound like the perfect option for holding an objective. One that can produce hordes of termagaunts a turn is just even better.

With Mortrex as 'daddy' and Tervigon as 'mummy' it'll be interesting to see how big an army gets... that said - these models will be complete fire magnets and rightly so!

Carnifexes are pointless

My Carnifex spent the whole battle footslogging and shooting (badly), the combo of the nerf in stats, the hike in price and the StrangleThorn cannon being S6 makes this fella useless ... a drop pod would improve things, but he's already at Trygon prices ... i'd rather have a Tervigon.

Hormagaunts aren't too bad

Ok so I killed them all with flamers, but 3 attacks at S3 is good. They've been slightly nerfed in the charge stakes, but the 3D6 run also counts for movement across the board (instead of just a charge), so they're a lot quicker as they have a 50% chance of getting 12" a turn (even through terrain!)

Synapse Rules and Conclusions

Finally, I love the Synapse rules - so much less broken than the old 'run towards the synapse creature' option. The fact that certain troops (hormagaunts and rippers) will lose it and charge into combat makes them less dependable objective holders. Meanwhile 'Rage' can be circumvented by LoS fudges ... which is handy. I love the fact that when out of synpase, the creature just goes nuts ... well some of them do.

Despite the loss of flesh hooks I love the new codex, it's a lot more fun to play (actually harder to play) but with some really fun 'aliens' and 'starship troopers' inspired specials. Genestealers still are the only infiltrators, but they have definitely lost out alongside Carnifexes.

Monday, 18 January 2010

Tyranids - First thoughts of an old school Nid player

***Just a quick note before we get started... I'm a player of Nids, Guard and Tau, so my perspective is fairly balanced between what good for the Nid player ... and good for their opponents.***

I got hold of the nid codex last Friday and my grubby little hands have been itching for it all weekend. The Codex has put some serious twists on the army, and paints some significant changes for Nid gamers...


End of the Genestealer?? So says the Parasite of Mortrex!

End of the Genestealer...

The new codex has all but done away with a key ingredient of the old codex - flesh hooks. These are now the province of Lictors and the Death leaper alone. For the non-Nid player, flesh hooks 'count as' frag grenades. They were a staple of the old codexand available to everyone (even the Carnifex). They were an absolute must for Hormagaunts, Genestealers and Assaulty Warriors as they guaranteed that that precious I5 or I6 was safe in close combat.

Reading through the other blogs... and talking to people at the stores - everyone seems to have missed this. Everyone's talking about the new broodlord (but more on him next) ... but everyone's missing that a bunch of Assault Marines in cover with EAT genestealers for breakfast. Space Wolves, especially, have nothing to fear as those genestealers will be attacking at initiative 1.

So while the new genestealer price is nice (14 compared to 16 pts) and the broodlord is cool. It's taken (to use the Yank term) 'a serious Nerf' over the instantdeath monster it was. More on 'assaulting into cover' later though...

Don't fear the Broodlord

Ok, so he's 46 points instead of 70, and he keeps all his stats, and you can take 6 of him, AND he's now fleet - but is he that great? No, not really.

Stealers are all fleet AND infiltrators (which should give some players the nightmares), this means they can deployed at 12" in cover and have a really good chance of making your lines on turn 1. However, any opponent who gets jumped like this is stupid or hasn't followed Fritz (IE: Reserve the lot!)

The real nerf comes in several forms. Firstly he used to count as having power weapons (thanks to his 'monstrous strength'), that's gone so its back to the pants 'rending' for him. He is faster, but he loses his 'Synapse' ability ... this means that the Tyranid Prime (proof that all GW staff play 'Hordes' innit?) steps up as the 'Synapse in the horde'. The Broodlord does get some nifty new psychic powers ... one of which could stop everyone in base contact from attacking in assault. See this as 'flesh hooks lite', it could however give the Broodlord (and some good rolling) a nice anti Space Marine commander option. Remember the broodlord cannot be targetted in Assault now (as he effectively a unit upgrade) and so his unit can slaughter an IC with the comeback all on the genestealers...

So how does the Tyranid player make Genestealers 'stick'....?

Assaulting into Cover

The first thing to consider is the 'big book' answer. If your opponent is already in assault from the previous turn OR gone to ground ... then Assaulting into Cover holds no fear. Therefore, it's clear that pinning weapons are a must for the codex.

That means that the StrangleWeb Cannon (S6 large blast) and the Barbed Strangler (S4 large blast) will have a key role in pinning troops in cover. Anyone in the open's easy meat - but a pinning roll (against Ld8) ... unfortunately it cannot be used in combo with the Broodlords 'Aura of Despair' as that last from the Nid Assault phase through to the end of the other players turn (IE it specifically excludes the Nid Movement and Shooting phase) ... so you cannot multi-ping an uberunit of Guardsmen in cover with Ld -3 and THEN pin them - nasty!

I haven't included the strangleweb in this... but it's really only useful against guardsmen and Tau (and even then its 5+ to wound) ... at only S2 - its pants against Marines or Kroot as the Tyranid player will need a 6+ to wound...

So the options are to pin or pre-assault. Against non-power weaponed adversaries (like Tau) this is a job for the Ravenors, Lictors or my favourite ... tunneling Ripper Swarms. Rippers are the same price, but are great at tying up non S6 adversaries ... just in time for the Hormagaunts to strike...

There's also one more option - the Devourer has lost it's 'living ammo' reroll to wound - but has gained an interesting feature. If a Devourer causes a casualty on a unit and that unit has to take a Ld test (for 25%) casualties, losing a combat - then it does so at -1... this could be a nasty combo if combined with the broodlord 'Aura of Despair'?!?

Other options ... Wargear (or Biomorphs)

Apart from the Lictor (with flesh hooks ... now a S6 rending assault shooter too ... watch out!) the other unit to get pretty standard assault grenades option is the Carnifex. The Trygon and Mawloc don't, but the Carni gets Frag spines (spent all night thinking that one up eh?) ... but since Carni's are now overpriced and seriously weakened ... don't expect to see a lot of them.

The other option is given to the Tyrant, Tyrant Guard, Warriors and Warrior Primes - Lash Whips. While expensive (at 15 points for Warriors), the lash whip and bonesword combo gives the Nids a power weapon at I4 (5 with furious charge) and automatically reduces all opponents in base to base combat with the Warriors to I1. This is likely to become the Tyranids defacto cover storming weapon of choice. It means that the Nids can 'cherry pick' the assault to marginalise IC's or relic weapon adversaries to maximise that first turn killing spree. It's also a must for the Warrior Prime (I still prefer Alpha Warrior...) as it give him the chance to swarm the B2B Heroes before they kill him (he IS an IC, unlike the broodlord) ... overall it's a better option than the broodlord.

Finally, the Tyrant has another trick up his scaly sleeve - Paroxysm. This is a shooting attack that allows the Tyrant/Swarmlord to reduce one unit to WS or BS 1. Since linked IC's would be 'part' of the unit as a shooting attack - this will prove devastating. When combined with lash whips on a Tyrant and 3 Tyrant Guard it means your decent close combat unit now hit last and need 5+ to hit, while being hit on 3+.

Special Characters

The new 'special characters' have caused a real stir. Just like with the Guard codex, they also open up some lovely conversion opportunities, with the Doom of Malan'tai and the Parasite of Mortrex heading up the other conversions...

Similar to the Guard codex, the 'special characters' are a lot of fun - provide real colour to the codex and aren't too overpowered.

Deathleaper gives you a Marbo equivilent with a special trick ... it can make one enemy character paranoid and reduce their leadership by D3... this is especially useful against uber commanders who buff units AND Psykers. A Rune Priest operating at Ld7 ain't that hot!

Doom of Malan'tai, well everyone will run their Zoanthrope as a doom at least once. It's a total bullet magnet for turn one - but once in the thick of it - it'll bloat to 10 wounds and start killing lots and lots of things... that said it's also only T4 and can be instant killed ... hint, hint!

Parasite of Mortrex, it's a flying IC that can latch to Gargoyle swarms. It has shadow in the Warp (goodbye psyker), is a synapse creature, instantkills on a to wound score of 6 and can turn anyone it kills into D6 Ripper Swarms - what's not to love... and as a 160pt HQ choice ... it's real fun! Powerfist assault fodder ... deffo!

My 'Parasite' - build last night out of a converted Flying Warrior

Swarmlord, At 100pts more than a Tyrant the Swarmlord needs to be special - and he is! 4+ invulnerable in Hand to Hand, 3+ normal... the bonesabres give the Swarmlord a reroll to wound against invulnerables... This turn TH/SS Termies into Fire Warriors... eeek! He's totally worth it as a threat and fire magnet - but is pricey as he'll require FULL Tyrant Guard support.

Old One Eye, Pointless and silly. A uber-price Carnifex (which are already overpriced) who can take a lot of punishment, has no frag spines (doh!) and no shooting?? Oh and he needs to walk, everywhere ... anyone for a Trygon?

Ymgarl Stealers, Another waste of points... 23pts for an uber buff stealer that still is undermined by cover ... wait for them in cover and then jump up and down on the overpriced clown. Even with their 'buff' of T4 and a 4+ save - just not worth it.

New Monsters...

The Trygon/Mawloc is a great addition to the Nid horde. Both strategically and model wise - this MC fits the bill. I've personally traded in my (still boxed and cellophaned) Carnifex for another Trygon. But which to run with...

Mawloc: As a huge fan of the film 'Tremors', I love the Mawloc. It's a superb model build and it's options are fluffy and fun. A S6, AP2 big blast at it's arrival is targetted at terminators. However, I don't think I'll be taking one... here's why:

Poor Fighter: After it's arrived and destroyed some terminators (and thunder hammer one's will still be kicking) - it only has 3 attacks and WS3. This means (like the Pyrovore, Tyrannofex and Venomthrope) that its a close combat monster that doesn't really want to be in close combat. Also it only has feeble arms ... meaning that it cannot get important rerolls in assault. This means the Mawloc could be easily caught and tied up by 10 guardsmen, it'll kill a whole 1.25 a turn! Remember that the Mawloc is also a 'feed' synapse creature with Ld8. This means you have a third chance of being stuck in close combat whether you like it or not!

Deep striker: I have a problem with both the Death leaper and the Mawloc in this. They arrive Turn 2, they then have to wait until turn 3 movement phase to redeepstrike and reappear on turn 4. Anyone else see a problem with this. S6 assaulty blast template aside - this unit is designed to target basilisks and other indirect fire systems.

Another shot of the Parasite of Mortrex conversion ...

Yes the Mawloc will cause trouble - but a five man combat squad with a powerfist OR five roughriders will effectively cancel it out. Remember that Tyranids are now subject to the leadership tests in close combat. This means that 10 roughriders will cause 3.5 wounds on your Mawloc (to it's 1 dead horsey-man) and that Mawloc would take a leadership test on Ld 6 ... with I4 versus I5. Thats 105pts of Horses killing 170pts of Mawloc. Hint: Take 10 roughriders.

Trygon/Trygon Prime (sounds like a ISA?)

The Trygon is the way to go for me. 6 attacks ... 7 on the charge. Two sets of scything talons (that's reroll to hit on anything (tank of person)) on a S6 MC ... yum yum. Plus the Trygon comes with an awesome shooty option! 6 S5 shots... or the Prime (real estate anyone?) comes with 12 S5 shots. More than enough to backlash a squad or rear armour a squadron of Leman russ.

I'll be rolling with two Trygons Primes, thankyou. The benefit of the Synpase and Shadow Abilities are also very useful. Plus you make two holes in your opponents backfield which those genestealers can come through (if they are not flanking).

Suneokun's Tyranid Thoughts...

As a Tyranid Player, the GW giveth and the GW taketh away... the new codex hasn't buffed the army like the new Guard or Ork codex did. The loss of flesh hooks and feeder tendrils means there's fewer options for the smaller beasts. Also the Tyranid Warriors look less appealing thanks to their loss of Eternal Warrior...

But... (and here's the controversial bit) ... I really like the new format. The Tyranids are less 'killy' but actually more interesting.

GW have really embraced two things that make the Tyranid Codex more 'fluffy' than ever before:
  • Filling the Skies: Out of 32 choices, you can count on one hand the number that can't deep strike. Only genestealers, the Tyrant and some 'specials' cannot be stuffed into a Myotic Spore and thrown at the planet. For me, this was always what was lacking in the old codex ... Tyranids would swarm across the board - but lacked the 'randomness' of a planetfall. This makes Tyranids a lethal force in Planetstrike BTW.
  • 'Hold your ground, men...' Playing against Tyranids was nearly always about wiping them out before they reached your lines. Now, Tyranids can really struggle against simple troops in cover. Tyranids have few saving throws and high initiative is their defence... the loss of this will mean that stationary shooting armies (like Guard and Tau) will have a good chance of getting the drop on them before they murder everyone.
What I'll be running...

So subject to a few conversions, I'll have the following available to choose from:
  • 26 Termagaunts
  • 24 Hormagaunts
  • 23 Genestealers
  • 2 Zoanthropes
  • 1 Lictor
  • 1 Broodlord
  • 9 Tyranid Warriors (6 with boneswords/lash whips and Devourers, 3 with Rending Claws and Deathspitters)
  • 7 Ripper Swarms
  • 21 Gargoyles
  • 2 Trygons (can either be deployed as Prime or not)
  • 1 Carnifex (Magnetised, so any loadup)
  • 1 Converted 'Parasite of Mortrex' - completed
  • 1 Converted Tyranid Prime Warrior with Bonesword and Lashwhips and Deathspitter

As such I'll probably start out playing the following combo's:
Parasite of Mortrex and 20 Gargoyles (with adrenal glands) - 300 pts. The Parasite offers both a ripper swarm breeding option AND S6 rending against vehicles. He's basically a faster Lictor with wings... I opted for adrenal glands for the Gargoyles as the I5 will come in useful. Against enemy MC's (I'm thinking Wraithlords here), the blinding venom gives them a good chance of causing 6.66 wounds on the charge from the 'to hit' rolls alone, followed up by a further 8 normal wounds (against MeQ's) ... that's not bad! The Parasite then piles in with his 5 rending attacks which can cause 2.78 wounds - with a 50% chance of D6 rippers against Guard or Tau or a 33% chance against Marines... tasty! Attack a flank and then 'amass' your own army of rippers to swarm across the board!

2 x Trygon Primes ... hugely expensive (at 480pts), but so much fun! The Trygons drop 24 S5 shots between them during the deepstrike. These guys make Lictors a must, as the +1 per lictor on the board and auto arrival within 6", means many lictors will be deepstriking into cover and then going prone for a 2+ cover save ... next turn - two Trygon's arrive.

Going to Ground

Remember that Lictors and genestealers are always effective when 'gone to ground', their high initiative means that a group of genestealers holding an objective will get a 3+ cover save, a lictor gains a 2+ cover save - due to his stealth. The only options ... well flamers are going to be the option of choice for attacking these monsters in combat - otherwise they are going to eat you for breakfast...

CONCLUSION

All in all, Tyranids aren't what they were a few days ago - and that's all for the good in my books. Other armies may actually find the Tyranids easier to work against, and the strategies have changed dramatically. In fact, this codex is more of a step backwards to the Screamer-Killer days...

For me, I'm pleased that the wargear (or biomorph) is no longer the key ingredient it once was in a Tyranid army. Hormagaunts (I know i've ignored them - but they sort of make sense now...) and termagaunts (especially with a few Tervigons knocking about) will become standard fare ... with the Gargoyles, Trygons and Mawloc causing problems.

What excites me at the moment is that I'm actually struggling to think of a 'good' list with the Tyranids - beyond the Mortrex option ... the army is actually balanced. I'm not looking at HiveGuards, Pyrovores or Venomthropes here (all of which are a waste of money in my book), but the core troops, fast attack, Heavy and HQ options have gained a lot.

Well done GW.

Friday, 15 January 2010

GiftsforGeeks Tournament Roundup Battle Report

Will the Primaris Psyker lead my troops to one final victory...?

The final round Tournament game at GiftsForGeeks loomed and it was gonna be a tough one. The combination of Space Marines and Guardsmen is a potent one in doubles tournament. It is exceptional how the two armies complement eachother on the table as much as they do in the fluff.

Guardsmen offer cheap troops with strong transports, capable of capturing and holding objectives, while the Space Marines allow themselves the capability of fielding incisive units for scouring out the heart of the enemy... our progress so far had been prodigious:

Kochi VIII Guardsmen & Sons of Sparta

Round One: Defending against Chaos Marines. The scatter/double destruction of the deepstriking Khronate Terminators AND Chaos Sorceror put the nals permanently in a complete rout for the attacking Chaos forces... The deathguard died to our S6 dakka, the Demolisher dominated the centre of the board and the Banewolf proved a very nasty surprise.

Round Two: Attacking the Tau. Despite destroying the Tau militarily, the Tau held on to a draw through the disruption pods of their vehicles and our lack of high strength weaponry. It did however produce the charge of the year, when 75pts of Rough Riders killed 350pts of Crisis Suits!

Round Three: The Orks didn't appear, so I fought my partner ... typically the Guard forced too many saving throws on the Space Marines ... and the banewolf killed two whole combat squads.

Round Four: Planetstrike against defending Orks. Adam had a signficant points boost (+200pts) and neither of us fancied facing Orks. We fancied it even less once all our planetary gizmo's failed wholesale. Guard held down the exterior while the Space Marines slaughtered the Orks inside the Fortress of redemption ... total victory.

Round Five: Straight Up battle against Mark and Jack's Guard/Stormbringers Space Marine army ...

Introduction

Unlike the other battles, we opted for an open field between these two forces. Both players could choose either their attacking OR defending list and the battle would be a standard 40k random.

Mark asked me to roll, we got spearhead annihilation. We also won the first turn and deployment...

Now the above didn't fill me with a lot of confidence... Let me explain why...

ARMY LISTS

Kochi Imperial Guard - 1000pts

Primaris Psyker
Infantry Command Squad; 3 GL's and a meltagun
Squad #1: Flamer
Squad #2: Flamer
3 Chimera (Heavy Flamer)
4 Mortar Teams
5 Roughriders
Hellhound with extra armour and smoke
Leman Russ with 3 heavy bolters

Sons of Sparta - 1000pts

Command Squad with FNP, many power weapons and relic thingies!
Terminator Squad with Assault Cannon and many power thingies!
Assault Squad with SErgeant with PF and Melta bomb
Tactical Squad with meltagun and multimelta (they never hit anything with melta either)

And that's it! I supply the men, he provides the killy stuff. Against this we faced.

Marks PDF Troops - 1000 pts

Commissar Lord
A Priest
2 Veterans Squads (Carapace) with powerfist and plasma/melta.
2 Basilisks
2 Vendettas

Jacks Stormbringers - 1000 pts

Uber Chapter Master on a bike
3 Squads of 5 Biker Space Marines
Whirlwind
10 man Assault Squad

So as you can see ... we'd be facing down a tonne of bikers/assault marines AND vendettas and basilisks. It was like looking into a mirror of buffness, where everything on the other side was buffer and more killy ... worrisome.

One last thing...

Throughout the campaign, we'd been awarding 'buffs' to units (chosen by the other side). All the HQ's by this point were ridiculously hard. In addition to the cumulative buffs (for example, Paul's Assault marines have FNP and my Leman Russ had +1 BS), our opponent gained a further 150pts (because we'd won more games) and 4 USR buffs. They rolled and deployed them all on their 10 man assault squad.

Giving them FNP, Furious Charge, Fleet and something else quite nasty.

I didn't like them.

DEPLOYMENT

We deployed with one plan in mind. Get first turn and sink their charge. We knew the Terminators could take it, so everything else kept back out of charge range of the bikes. The Assault Marines would move down the flank (their FNP being useful).

TURN 1 (Us): 'FIRE FIRE FIRE'

The Terminators moved up front and centre ... holding the middle ground, while the Primaris cast 'nightshroud' to deflect the enemies attention. The Assault marines ranged left, hunkering down in some terrain. The Rough Riders moved through cover and got into a better counter-charge position, now the threat of flankers was over.
Paul's Terminators move up to take the brunt of the Biker charge!

First turn firepower was awesome. The Leman Russ kicked it all off with an incredible shot - killing 7 FNP uber buffed Assault Marines in a single shot. Jack failed his 4+ saving throws spectacularly and Only saved one guy. A further MArine went down to the Russes 9 Heavy bolter shots. The 'uber-killy' assault squad had two members.

The Mortars turned their attention to the Bikers. Raining 7 hits down per group. The clustering resulted in a couple of bikers being killed in the front group. They were forced to take a pinning test (which they passed) but failed their leadership test. The front squad presently fled the board! This meant that in one turn of shooting we'd halved the attacking squads. However we didn't have anything left for the Vendettas or the Bassies... oh dear.

TURN 1 (Them): 'Flight of the Vendetta's'

The Command Bike Squad, led by a uber chapter master, revved their FNP bikes and plowed towards the terminators. The bikers fired, scoring no wounds. However the Vendettas also targetted the Terminators and their twinlinked lascannons were lethal, killing 3 Terminators...

The other bike squad weren't so brave and backed away from the foot slogging Spartan command squad. They fired a few boltguns into the ranks and killed a member.

The Bassies let rip, but scattered awfully, landing well away from threatening anyone. The Whirlwind was equally useless... 'oh well,' I thought 'there goes the luck for this game...'

Paul's Terminators get mullered!

In the Assault phase the Chapter Master and 5 bikes plowed into the terminators. Unluckily only the Primaris couldn't make it into the assault. This meant that the Marines and Chapter Master killed all the Terminators - but the sergeant wounded wounded the Chapter Master. They'd charged right into our 'trap' - but could we take them?

Turn 2 (Us) - "CHARGGGE!"

First up the hellhound and 2 chimeras arrived (one with a squad). All three went as fast as possible and popped smoke. My plan was to open up the battle and present multilasers to the Vendettas ... such were my hopes at this stage!?!

The Roughriders prepare to charge as the mortars and Leman Russ light up the night!

Shooting first and things started to go wrong. The Leman Russ shot scattered from the front Vendetta onto the tail of the rearward one - lucky shot! However, then began a tumultuous argument which started with 'the tail isn't part of the hull', eh? and went onto a big rules argi-bargie about whether vendetta even had hulls as they were (according to them) aircraft and therefore had fuselages, wings and tails ... and therefore a hits a hit - etc. To make matters worse I roll a penetrating wrecked result... then being me I agreed to break it down the middle, and he made his 'saving throw'...

That said, these sort of 'minor disagreements' bother me less and less nowadays. It's interesting that my response to this was 'oh well, that a little luck banked for later...'

That luck didn't need long to show itself as the mortars managed to wound and pin the last biker squad ... within a turns move of their opponents.

The countercharge was a little overkill... 5 Roughriders and 10 Assault Marines plowed into the Fray. The Roughriders went first and opted to attack the Biker squad. 11 Attacks turned into 5 power wounds. The Squad was wiped out ... but this meant that none of the Assault Marines were in base to base contact with the Chapter Master - wasting their attacks. In return the Chapter Master killed the Primaris Psyker - and still passed his leadership on a -4!

The combat consolidated.

TURN 2 (Them): Shooty shooty missy missy...

The Vendetta's split to address the two challenges onthe battlefield. One attacked the Leman Russ, while the other went after our Hellhound. The buffed Assault marines left their fortress and swarmed towards the hellhound too. The Dreadnought moved forwards and contributed his shots as well.

All in all, the hellhound was in for a bad day ... except nothing hit. Thanks to smoke (and I believe my cashed in luck earlier), my hellhound survived untouched.

The close combat was nastier. The Assault marines managed a single wound while the Chapter master killed 2 rough riders. This resulted in a -1 ld test for both the marines and the rough riders. The Rough Riders balked and retreated, but the assault marines held the chapter master up.

TURN 3 (Us): "In the balance..."

The Vendettas came under sustained S6 firepower this turn, which resulted in a shaken result for the one targetting the hellhound. The Hellhound put his trust in the Guardsmen behind him and raced up to the Battlements. Immediately he vented flamer across all three artillery pieces. This resulted in a stunned and a shaken result - great. Unconventional fire supression...

The Tactical Squad focused firepower on the last two assault marines, and failed miserably to wipe them out with rapid fire... however they had a whole mortar battery behind and they cratered them. One mortar team also assisted the hellhound with a glancing hit on a Bassie. The Command Squad charge the pinned bikes and wiped them out with power and relic weapons. The roughriders continued to retreat - into the ruins.

The Assault Squad and Commander exchanged wounds.

The Infantry Command SQuad made a break from their command bunker (which they'd been sitting in all game) and moved out to shoot the Vendetta. They missed with their meltagun and the grenade launchers couldn't glance it... oh dear.

TURN 3 (them): "By the benediction of the holy Emperor .. and all that!"

Jack Dreadnought charged into the Spartans Command Squad and killed the final retinue member. The Whirlwind finally found its range and killed on mortar team, pinning the unit. One Vendetta stayed still and deposited 10 Vets in carapace, a priest and their uber-commissar lord in charge range. The Priest and Vets murdered my infantry command squad while the Commissar gave good account - killing 4 Assault Marines. The Chapter Master was finally pulled down after killing one more - so 4 Assault Marines balked and ran. Escaping the Commissar Lord and running 11 inches.

The other Vendetta moved 24" and gained a 'turbo boost' save, alighting above a hill. The Commissar Lord and Vets Squad consolidated towards cover ... moving towards my undefended back line!

TURN 4 (Us): "Target barrage ... fire fire fire"

This turn the mortars and Chimera did incredible work. All three mortar teams targetted the Veterans, barraging them mercilessly - as the Tau had discovered, 4+ armour is no armour against mortars and the whole unit were cut to shreds. In addition the Mortars had enough shots left over to target the Commissar Lord, ripping him to shreds (despite FNP) ... the assault marines were left standing bemused for another turn!

Meanwhile the Leman Russ caught the Rightmost Vendetta with a mighty BOOM and it plummetted to the ground. On the left, MArk had made the mistake of leaving his rear armour open to multilaser fire and 6 shots later the vehicle was wrecked. 3 vets died in the flames. The rest came under sustained fire from another chimera in the centre at point blank. It's squad on board contributed 10 lasgun shots to the heavy flamer and multilaser deluge. Only three vets survived, but gripping their plasmaguns they ran for it!

The Dreadnought continued a bizarre fight against the Spartans Captain. No wounds were scroed for the second turn.

TURN 4 (Them): "Whittled Down..."

With so few options left, Mark downed 2 more assault marines with plasma fire and killed another mortar team with Whirlwind fire - but it wasn't nearly enough.

The Dreadnought and Captain continued to spar - the captain unstickiest melta-bomb ever failing miserably.

The most lacklustre combat of the game ... Space Marine Dreadnought and Captain play slapsy...

TURN 5 (Us): "Cleaning Down..."

The Chimeras backed off the dreadnought as a precaution. The hellhound continued to cook the basilisk and managed to blow the earthshaker off one. The Meltagun armed tactical squad (remember them?) managed to make it to the bastion and blow the first Basilisk up...

TURN 5 (Them): "The End"

The Dreadnought pulled the arms off the Captain (finally!) and the basilisk shot two tactical marines...

VICTORY! 11-4 killpoints.

CONCLUSION

This battle totally surprised me. Our complete lack of dedicated antitank, combined with fielding easy targets against Vendettas should have be a recipe for disaster. However luck played a huge part, allowing our hellhound to 'silence the guns' while our units were able to hold back the charge on so many bikes.

The mortars were awesome. Barrage after barrage killing, pinning and routing the enemy. Any troops in the open (and even a basilisk) received sustained S4 fire.

What it did show was that sustained S6 shots can neutralise any vehicle. Having that kind of sustained firepower from the Chimeras, completely stopped the Vendettas from dominating. Marks' lack of caution here proved decisive as he offered shots. Whereas if he'd been more caution, back off to 32" and popped some AV10 side armour this battle might have gone a different way.

As for the others - well the Leman Russ dominated and defended our line well. Shooting Vendettas out of the sky with a battlecannon can't be the easiest - and we even forgot his +1 BS all game. The Rough Riders were awesome. Close combat is all about momentum. Rough Riders can give you the edge to turn a devastating unit into an anacronym in one charge.

Finally the Assault Marines turned out to be a great back stop, despite not actually managing to connect a charge all game (robbed by rough riders and mortars - how embaressing) they were a constant threat and gave me the confidence not to split my Chimeras and focus on killing the Vendettas.

Monday, 11 January 2010

Taking you back to 1992...

My new (old) Valhallans in all their glory
(yes there are actually ten, but the others are waiting their paint..)


As the New Year rolls by, my birthday follows on quite quickly. The combination of a third consequtive 'Christmas discovery' this year and my increasing age (and subsequent dementia) has me harking back to 1992.

Now for many wargamers, 1992 is an important year (especially if you happen to be 18!), but for relative veterans, 1992 was a watershed year for me. It was the year I 'stopped' 40k and started chasing girls/working for A'levels and playing computer games big-time ... here's why.

FILMS

1992 saw the launch of Quentin Tarantino onto the main scene, Reservior Dogs wasn't as groundbreakingly influnential over me as 'Pulp Fiction' - but it issued in a new era in film (and the deathknell of the 80's style hero movie). This era would eventually be swallowed up by the special effects monsters following Jurrassic Park ... but sassy, intelligent movies dotted the 90's thanks to this.

1992 also saw the resurrection of a hollywood god. Like a pheonix from the flames, Clint Eastwood turned director for 'Unforgiven' ... times they are achanging... back again.

1992 saw the arrival also of 'The Player' - hollywood poking serious fun at itself, and of course Malcolm X ...

And finally, Sarah Stone made the world gasp in Basic Instinct (yes, it really was 18 years ago!) ... remember this is pre-interweb, so that kinda porn was hard to come by...

COMPUTER GAMES

The Amiga, Atari ST and Super Nintendo were pumping out games ten to the dozen. By 1992 turned me into a PC game player forever more... a watershed year when the following genres were invented:

RTS (Real Time Strategy) games - Dune 2: Battle for Arrakis (1992)



FPS (First Person Shooter) games - Wolfenstein 3D (1992)



... and the hugely influential Starwars beast rolled into the gaming arena with X-wing (1992)...



GAMES WORKSHOP

1992 was also the year when Games Workshop started to seriously rethink their models. Outside the Space Marines, many of the modelling was amateurish and a little (read lot) kooky! The modelling for th model below says it all ... may I present Commissar Yarrick:

Curtosy of Tin Weasel...

I actually have this model ... rediscovered in the 1992 horde - and I can say that it is one of the most ugly, silly and fanciful models going. Unfortunately for GW, this model reflected a great deal of their 'old-school' stock... but things were about to change. The Commissar hats were ALL enormous - twice the size of their heads! The uniforms were stupid too, with big sleeves and scarfs about their waists ... who designed these monstrosities?

Thanks to the Guard a new era of 'realism' was incoming. Yes the Mordian's were silly and the Catachans are a bit daft. But the other soldiers were dynamic, realistic and well designed. My personal favourite were (and thanks to Ciaphas Cain) and still are the Valhallans.

I'd completely forgotten they were still knocking about in this box. Complete with a copyright 1992 on the bottom. The level of detail on the models is goregous, their packs are practical and well fitted and their clothes have a real dynamism and movement to them. All in all, I'm proud to have them on board with my Imperial Guard.

The RoughRiders less so...

Old School Commissar Yarrick ... not much.

And the Squats? What the hell does one do with Squats? Answers on a postcard...

Friday, 8 January 2010

CONVERT: Ripper Swarm - Missile Operator

The wishes of Warhammer 39,999 are but my command...

I long while back I went to work on a number of bases to 'bulk up' my ripper swarms into more obvious units. Now, unless you buy the forgeworld swarms, the individual ripper swarms are a little dissapointing. Therefore I decided to dive into the bits-box and have some fun...

Here the 'piece-de-resistance' - Missile Operator Ripper!


Basically a load of vehicle bits put together with some greenstuff smoke plumes to demonstrate the launch. A nice touch is the 'red' button on the unlaunched missile and a 'green' button on the launching one...

If only I could model the surprise on the Rippers face?!?

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Light Relief: The Adventures of Commissar Tighthead #1

Commissar Tighthead #1: Why Tyranids are so hard to fight...


Is it a Tervigon, Trygon, Mawloc, Carnifex or Tyrant ...
problems of identifying big bugs... Click for the 800/600 frame.

Monday, 4 January 2010

Commander's Field Handbook: Calling all stations...


Do you ever feel like your command was just slipping away from you?
Faced Tyranids recently? Or Orks? Or Guardsmen?
Struggled to keep up with the ridiculous number of rules, special characters and unique individuals spawning everyday?

You do?

Well you need is
THE COMMANDER'S FIELD HANDBOOK

The Imperial Guard 5th Edition Handbook

Introduction

This is a concept developed in conjunction with Ron over at From the Warp. The idea is simple, a one to two page crib sheet to give you the lowdown on the strengths and weaknesses of every army on the battlefield.

Are you new to 40k - this'll mean you're never caught 'surprised' again. Played many games, but struggle to remember to place those markerlights or issue commands - this sheet is designed for you!

Codex: Tau Empire Cribsheet

Story so far ...

After a lot of hard work, the crib sheets for Tyranids, Guards, Tau and Eldar were completed... the publishing process took the longest - with Ron's hectic schedule playing havok with delivery.

As the year turned, I received an email from Ron ... he wished to hang up his 'Field Book' boots. FromTheWarp would continue to support and host the links to the fieldbooks, but Ron could no longer prioritise the production in his (Frankly fairly scary) schedule.

So Welcome to the new home of the Field Commander's Handbook.

Please find below a link to the FTW page ... and feel free to download the documents below:

+ Tyranids v3.0
+ Tau v1.0
+ Imperial Guard v2.0
+ Imperial Guard Orders Sheet v1.0
+ Eldar (coming soon)

Eldar Handbook - Created, but in need of an editor...

THE FUTURE OF CFHB

The furture of the Handbook is squarely with you - oh learned reader... have a scan of the above. The Eldar handbook is mostly complete and available on request (via email) for you to look at... after which the world is your mollusc...

The Tyranid Handbook: Soon to need a major overhaul

The Tyranids will need updating, and Space MArines are gagging for a copy ... as for Chaos Marines, Orks, Space Wolves or Deamons - I'm keen to see who'd like to step up to the plate.

So give it some thought and contact me... and see your name in lights on some seriously useful documentation...


NB: It's first come, first served for the Handbook, so whoever produces documentation in powerpoint/word for editing will get top billing... let me know if you're looking at a particular army and I'll put that one aside - but the challenge is out there.