Thursday, 29 April 2010

1000pt BATREP: Fighting Admiral Drax!

You going down, Drax! You hear me! Just as soon as I get this GPS working!

Dear Diary,

It's been an intense and interesting week so far. A big job dragged me down to Devon in the southwest of England for two nights. Knowing that this would be an ideal opportunity to meet up with my esteemed Admiral Drax, I packed up 1000pts of Tau and started the drive down to Devon.

4 hours later (yes American Friends ... you can drive the length of England in only 8 hours ... I live in the middle!) I had covered the 250 miles plus to Draxville, near Drax City ... Devon. I met the Admiral and Mrs Kate Drax for the first time. I was introduced to the lovely little miss Drax (who at six months ... would repeatedly gave me a piercing glare, not at all reminiscent of Captain Jean Luke Picard, between grins and giggles) ... and Cadfael the dog.

After a nice chat about the Liberal Democrats (FTW!) and a trip to get fish and chips (the Scampi was really good!) ... we all chatted about his job, my job, Parenthood, America and the like. Despite my Fiancée's concern over meeting 'People off the Internet!', we hit it off straight away and I think we all had a thoroughly enjoyable evening.

So much so, that I almost regretted bringing up the option of a game.

As their lovely little girl headed up for a bath and bed with a look of 'make it so!', Drax and I turned their lounge into a warzone.

I'd decided to go 'classic' Tau'Va for 1000pts:
  • Shas'El: Air Fragger, Flamer, Missile Pod, Multitracker and Stimulant System (FNP)
  • Crisis Team #1 [2]: Plasma Rifle and Burst Cannon, 2 Gundrones
  • Crisis Team #2 [2]: Flamer and Missile Pod, 2 Gundrones
  • 10 Kroot plus 6 Hounds
  • Firewarriors [6] in a Warfish: Multitracker, Disruption Pod, Targetting Array and Smart Missile System.
  • Firewarriors [6] in a Warfish: Multitracker, Disruption Pod, Targetting Array and Smart Missile System.
  • Broadsides [2] with team leader, target lock and 2 gundrones.
Drax went for bodies ... so many bodies:
  • Primaris Psyker and Platoon Command #1 (2 Grenades and a Heavy Bolter) in a Chimera (HEavy Flamer/Multilaser)
  • 2 Squads, one with plasma, one with melta.
  • Platoon Command #2 with grenade launcher (3)
  • 2 Squads, both with Grenade Launchers
  • Autocannon Team
  • Mortar Team
  • Missile Team
  • Penal Squad (rolls and get 'rending' and an extra weapon ... nice!)
  • Hydra tank (played by Drax's Wyvern)
  • Leman Russ Battle Tank with Battle Cannon, a lascannon and three heavy bolters.
And of all the missions to roll ... we get annihilation. Drax has lots of killpoints ... but my Tau aren't really built for attrition. We deploy spearhead and Drax wins and has me go first. Drax deploys everything bar the Hydra and penal squad (flanking).

I almost deploy 'just' the Broadsides, in an attempt to exploit the nearside flank. However I bottle it and infiltrate the Kroot (who I should have flanked with)...

Drax steals the initiative (he didn't really want to). Thus starts Drax's run of biblically good luck.


Drax shoot half the Kroot dead (despite going to ground) and kills one gundrone on the broadsides. In revenge the Broadsides both hit the Chimera (which holds 3 kill points!), score hits but one rail shot fails to penetrate (on a 1) and the other pings harmlessly off Drax's cover (where are the markerlights?)


Drax gets all reserves and flanks the rending killers into my Broadsides. Before they hit the Guard pour firepower into the Broadsides and Kroot. All but 3 Kroot die (although they still hold ... my bad rolling being good for something), meanwhile the Broadside lose all but a single wound on one model. He takes out a criminal ... but dies screaming under their frankly terrifying knives. In a change of fortune I roll 4+ for ALL my reserves ... clearly lady luck has changed sides.

My Plasma suits deep strike, while my others and the Warfish move onto the board. The Warfish concentrate fire on the Krak Missile team and despite good hits, the cover saves save all but one wound. The missile team hold. Meanwhile the Missile Pods immobilise and disarm the Hydra...


Drax manages to slaughter the plasma rifle squad with everything in his army and the Leman russ immobilises one Warfish. My squads open up on the troops, hoping to score some important wounds and force lots of pinning and leadership tests. I kill many guardsmen ... who all pass their tests!


Drax immobilises the other warfish and shoots down the other Crisis Team... now only the Shas'El and two immobile Warfish stand between him and ignominious defeat. The Fire Warrior step out and lay down blistering firepower, combined firepower eliminates 3 whole squads. The Missile Launcher team have one wound left and still hold on! The kroot are taken down to two men and break ... shooting at the criminals ... they kill one!


Mortars and Autocannons and Battlecannons make short work of the Tau warriors in the open. One group hold and dies while the other flees. The Shas'El is brough down the one wound. One Kroot is killed by cross fire (from the Hydra), while the remaining Kroot manages to strangle one penal member (ooo saucy!) before being massacred. The Shas'El and Warfish garner a couple more points ... but its academic.


The first turn steal made life an uphill struggle, combined win Drax's squarely biblical rolling. In two rounds he was scoring 75-90% to hit and wound rates. It was awesome to behold! With the Broadside jumped and the Kroot miss-deployed, my remaining army didn't have any answer to the AV14 or AV12 on the board. Add to that the fact that Drax failed ONE leadership test all game, and his army was biblical...


Trust the flank... The Penal Squad was brilliant ... with dirty options all round (either fleet and furious assault, 2 ccw and rending or assault lasguns) they are a real 'pocket battleship' option at 70pts and really good for giggles ... looks like I'll be rolling with one or two next Guard game. Also, 6 man firewarrior squads are useless without their rides and too neutered for only grabbing objectives. I think I'll stick to the 9 man plus Shas'Ui option for maximum durability.

I'm also thinking that Stealth teams definitely have a strong part to play in smaller games... they would have been so powerful deployed where the kroot were and really threatened.

It was great fun and brilliant to be playing against such an awesome opponent. I'll definitely be back ... for round 2!

IF I'd flanked with the Kroot? IF I'd deployed onto the board turn 1. IF Drax wasn't a genius at rolling the dice and coming up trumps ... ? Such is the quandary of 40k ... as I journeyed to my hotel through a dark and foggy night, I smiled to myself.

A damn good day!

Friday, 23 April 2010

Do Chaos Deamons deserve decent deep strike?

Anton's Spectacular Nurgle Deamon Prince ... who is an impressive model
(until he met 'Suneokun's Super Stealthers')

After playing against Anton's Deamons ... I can see how playing Deamons in the current 'metagame' is a frustrating affair. Let's see:
  • You are surrounded by Mech and you are carrying swords...
  • You have 'indestructable flak armour' on troops worth 3-4 guardsmen each...
  • You have very very limited anti-tank options...
  • The units who can 'take the punishment' (Nurgle) are mostly slow and ponderous... sorry purposeful (yeah right?!?)
  • A simple question of 'what's fleet, what's cavalry and what's gonna catch me' organises target priority for your opponent ...
  • You have a weird first turn deployment of 'half' your army ... with the rest in reserve...
  • You have to conform to 'standard' deep strike rules...
  • ... and can therefore have a Warp mishap (which is very odd for a creature of the warp?)...
  • ...and then have to stand around while your opponent runs away/shoots you down.
And there is the biggest problem. I'm going to suggest to Anton that a simple rules merge would make the whole situation for Chaos Deamons in 40k much akin to Chaos Deamons in Warhammer Fantasy (which are lethal).

Daemonic Break Through...

Daemons lie on the edge of reality, phased apart within the chaotic strictures of Warp space. As such , when a Daemonic horde presses the confines of reality it is a simple matter to step through into reality. However, Daemons are notoriously wanton creatures of the immaterium, and after a life-time of anticipation, they may press to hard in their anticipation of the bloodletting to come and risk the displeasure of their masters.

Before deploying a unit via the deepstrike rules, the Deamon player will indicate which units are 'stepping through' and which are 'charging through'

Stepping through: The Deamons pace their entry to the real world. The chaos unit deploys alike to a Drop pod, Trygon or Mycetic Spore. Scatter will effect the unit, but the unit will pull up short of impassable terrain, friendly units or outside 1" of enemy units. The unit may run or fire as normal ... but cannot assault.

Charging through: Unbridled risk is in the lap of the gods ... their patrons: First the Chaos player must select the unit it wishes to charge from the warp.The Chaos unit will roll one D6 and the scatter dice. On the roll of a 'hit', the unit will scatter the D6 inches indicated in the direction of the small hit arrow. On the roll of an arrow, roll a further D6 dice and scatter the full 2D6 as normal. Normal rules for deep strike mishap apply. Units which risk a 'charge through' can assault or run (or both if they are fleet) on the turn they enter play.

So what do you think ... I thought about making the 'charge through' option just deepstriking with a charge ... but it seemed like a remarkable buff. Certain units (especially fleet, Cavalry and beast units) would be crazy not to take option 2... but they are vulnerable to 'picking off' by the opponent.

So what are your thoughts...?

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

BATREP: 1850 Tau v Chaos Deamons

Tau "Way of the Gun"

I have to admit that I had kind of 'lost the love' for the Tau back there for a while. The combination of the 'shiny new' Imperial Guard and Tyranid codici had grabbed my attention. I was pulled away from the Tau'Va and the Greater Good.

A couple of batrep's reinspired me: Sholto continued fight for the Tau'Va in the face of the great Devourer. Something about the tank shocking and the 'concentration of firepower' grabbed me.

Damn it ... I was gonna dig out those Tau and give some Genestealers a damn good drubbing!!


The Joetsu Sept arrived at the planet of Kor'Vak to find a world in desolation. The planet had been bled to breaking point my Hive Splinter Orubus ... but something else was treading in these waters. The dried up husks of Hive ships and shells scattered about the planets orbit attested to a great contest. The recon cadre met no resistance ... there was little left. As the Shas'El made to order the Manta in for a retrieval, the sky blossomed with swirling clouds ... like ink it spread across the sky ... tinged green, it turned quickly violet and suddenly, inexplicably black.

The world was benighted. As the cadre fanned out in preparation, strange howls split the inky darkness. Were they humans, their weak souls would have been ripped asunder by the simulcra of power now holding the planet in sway. While the Tau could sense the abnormal night and their devices could map the titanic damage to the planet... they were yet untested.

That was about to change.

Army List

A week before the game I posted my army list for this conflict. Effectively designing a Tau force optimised for speed and durability and the ability to drop a lot of firepower very very hard indeed.

The army was all about regurgitating what the Tau do best. I would adapt 'fish of fury' into a durable anti assault screen for shooting my fire warriors past, I would exploit the assault moves of the Battlesuits to whittle the enemy down.

I would deploy the Kroot in a defensible position, confident that the Tyranids wouldn't have access to frag grenades. I would go back to what the Tau'Va do best ... pure and simple high strength firepower. And I would use pathfinder markerlights and Tank shocking to save the day... The list is as follows:
  • HQ: Shas'El, Air Fragmentation Projector, Flamer and Missile Pod, Stimulant Injector [136]
  • Elite: Crisis Team #1 [2]: Burst Cannon, Plasma Rifle, Multitracker, team leader, 2 gundrones [141]
  • Elite: Crisis Team #2 [2]: Flamer, Missile Pod, Multitracker, team leader, 2 gundrones [117]
  • Elite: Stealth Team [5]: with 3 gundrones [180]
  • Troops: Fire Warriors [9] in Devilfish (Multitracker, Disruption Pod, Fletchette Discharger, Sensor Spines [205]
  • Troops: Fire Warriors [9] in Devilfish (Multitracker, Disruption Pod, Fletchette Discharger, Sensor Spines [205]
  • Troops: Fire Warriors [9] [90]
  • Troops: Kroot [12] with 2 Kroot Hounds [96]
  • Fast Attack: Pathfinders [8] with Shas'Ui and Warfish (Smart Missile System, Fletchette Discharger, Multitracker, Sensor Spines, Targetting Array) [246]
  • Fast Attack: Piranha [1] with Targetting Array, Fusion Blaster, Disruption Pod and Fletchette Discharger [85]
  • Heavy Support: Broadsides [2] Targetting Arrays [160]
  • Heavy Support: Hammerhead (Railgun, Disruption Pod, Fletchette Discharger, Multitracker and Target Lock and Smart Missile System) [190]
The gauntlet was thrown down to Anton of the Anarchy, and in true 'anarchy' fashion he decided to go for his 'tried and tested' Chaos Daemons rather than tempt fate with an untested Tyranid list. So the Tau were in for an upset ... and a rather tasty list!
  • HQ: Great Unclean One
  • HQ: The Masque
  • HQ: Herald of Khrone on a Juggernaut
  • Elites: 2 Fiends of Slaanesh
  • Troops: 10 Bloodletters
  • Troops: 20 Deamonettes
  • Troops: 15 Plaguebearers plus icon
  • Troops: 15 Plaguebearers plus icon
  • Troops: 10 Pink Horrors with a Changeling
  • Fast Attack: 8 Flesh Hounds including Karanack
  • Heavy Support: Soulgrinder with Phlegm and Mawcannon
  • Heavy Support: Deamon Prince with Ironhide, Mark of Nurgle and Boon of Mutation
Ant hadn't lost a game so far with his Deamons (3 in a row) and was looking forward to eating the Tau'va ... his confidence well placed. Ant is the master of 'carrying the day' and his Deamons had made a meal of both Space Marines and Guardsmen - what were some WS2 Tau gonna do?

Battle Missions

As in the previous game, we opted for battle missions. After a random roll-off (that Ant won) ... we establish 'Night Fight' as the battle.

Night Fight is different in two key ways. Firstly the 'night fight' rules used in turn 1 of a dawn of war battle apply throughout the night fight. Secondly the deployment of the defending Tau and the deepstriking Daemons is randomised. The board is divided by a diagonal cross, and all models must be deployed within those diagonal segements. 1-4 gives you a segment, with 5 or 6 giving you free choice.

The tau were denied any reserves ... while the Deamons would enter via their special rules... gulp.


We placed 3 objectives ... one smack in the centre and one of to each side. Placing the objectives was a little random ... as neither of us had either 'a side' or any concept of what would end up where.


"Bunch up boys!" Said the Shas'El "Ethan the Ethereal wants a 'group shot'!"
The rolls were all 1-4, with only one unit gaining a 5-6 result! Thus my only way of holding the centre was to bottle myself up. Feeling a bit exposed, I tried to keep all my units pretty close to the centre. This also meant that I was fanned out over plenty of ground ... meaning that the Daemons couldn't come too close. I kept all the firewarriors close to their transports too and placed the Stealth team and Crisis Suits in good fire support positions. The only units 'out on their own' were the pathfinders AND the broadsides...

Devilfish back to back to avoid the first turn firepower and Crisis Suits on high alert ... it's like 4th edition all over again!

Turn 1 - Deamon Entry

The Deamons arrive ... and the Tau run away!

Deamons: The Soulgrinder, Plaguefather, two plaguebearer units, Khrone on Juggernaut, Deamon Prince and Fleshhounds all arrived. First up, the Deamon Prince deepstruck into one of my units and gets delayed. Next a Plaguebearer unit gets destroyed in a warp mishap (that doesn't really make any sense) after scattering on to my crisis suits.

The other units made it down securely. The other plaguebearers and Juggernaut hiding behind a small building while the Soulgrinder popped up right next to the pathfinders. The Plaguefather and Hounds deep struck a long way back ... but those hounds worried me with their 6+D6+12" charge!

Tau: Sticking to my plan ... the Tau'va boarded their transports and got with the relocating. The Crisis suits moved within 18" of the Flesh hounds and opened up with everything they had. The Shas'El missed dramatically with his AFP ... but the Missile Pods and plasma rifle fire dropped a few Hounds ... and two hounds died by Gundrone fire.

Note to self: Do Gundrones hate Chaos?

The markerlights lit up the soulgrinder (at point blank range) and the Broadsides did too. BS5 reroll, plus no cover save resulted in a weapon destroyed result (boo). the markerlight on the Hammerhead was less effective ... rolling a 1 to penetrate. The Piranha had broken off to turbo-boost across the board, running interference across the front line of the Tau and running in front of the Soulgrinder.

The Devilfish moved back on mass, pelting some odds and ends at the Plaguebearers and Juggernaut and achieving little. Acutely aware of the Hounds and the Soulgrinder ... the Crisis Suits backed off - making their dangerous terrain roll to keep their distance!

Turn 2 - Deamon Attack

Soul Grinder 'Linford Christie' makes the 100m dash look easy...

Deamons: Anton rolls for the reminder of his nasties and get the Deamonettes and the Masque, a unit of Pink Horrors and the Deamon Prince. They all land safety, with the pink horrors away in the backfield behind the pathfinders. The Deamon Prince and Deamonettes all opt to drop within 6 inches of the Plaguebearers Icon ... putting them front a centre. Rolling a few run moves, these guys spread out.

The pink horrors let rip with shots on the pathfinders... I opt to go to ground and suffer a single casualty. Meanwhile the plaguebearers trudge forwards, hoping to get to grips with the Tau. The Herald on the Juggernaut does the same ... approaching fast-ish (Jugg's aren't cavalry - go figure?)

The one's that really worry me are the Soulgrinder and the deamon hounds. The Soul grinder ignores the pathfinders beside it and race fullsquare at the plasma rifle and Missile Pod team. After consulting the W40k book on charging with vehicles (which handily uses the Defiler as a reference - and yes the charge is measured from the leg ... not the 'hull' - a rare circumstance where GW directly relates to a problem!) The soulgrinder kills all but one of the Crisis Suits, but thanks to the gundrones I get to take a swing and achieve nothing. The final crisis suit bottles it and gets eaten (which suits me fine!)

The Fleshhounds attempt to achieve likewise and roll a huge 4 (3" move, plus 1" run) and fail to even vacate the ruins they are cowering in!

The Tau go 'old school' with an anti-assault Fish'o'Fury!

Tau: There's a bloody great Soulgrinder in the middle of my ranks and he wants to eat me for breakfast! Time for the AP1 weapons to actually work! The Piranha doubles behind the Soulgrinder (dropped his gundrones as a screen) and goes for a rearshot with its fusion gun. The two Broadsides also spot the great monster. The Fusion gun hits, but fails to pen (I forgot the fusion gun was melta ... doh! Told you I hadn't played in a while). Meanwhile one Broadside failed to hit while the other managed a immobilised result - YES! The real threat of the Soulgrinder was in close combat ... so this was good. It was sitting on the central objective though. BOO.

This was the crunch moment. Could the Tau deploy the ultimate firepower at point blank range and turn the terror on the Deamons...?

The devilfish went into 'fish 'o' fury' mode. 3 squads of nine firewarriors dropped at 9" away from the Deamonettes. The Crisis Suit Commander and two XV8s joined in with their firepower (Flamers, Air Fragger and Missile Pods) while the Stealth team went ballistic. To add insult to injury 12 Kroot make a 26" spotting check and add their S4 shots to the mix.

The Crisis Suits kill 10 Deamonettes. The Stealth team then wade in and wipe them out. The first firewarrior team fires blistering firepower on the Herald and wipes him out. The remaining units (and tanks) fire on the suddenly exposed Plaguebearers and killed a few (T5 plus 5++ plus 4+ being hard to beat) ... but the back of the assault was thwarted. The Masque and the Deamonettes were gone.

The Hammerhead was having equal fun on the other side of the board. They hit all 10 Pink Horrors and wiped them out to just 6, they then followed up with some particularly devastating Smart missile system shooting which left the changeling more than a little exposed.

TURN 3 - Turning the tide

The Chaos Deamons regroup for the charge....

Hats off to Ant for pushing through. The rolls weren't going his way and I was bringing 1500pts+ of firepower (TAU FIREPOWER) to bear on his piecemeal army!

All Ant's 'others' arrived. A unit of Bloodletters and 2 Fiends. They followed the Deamonettes in and took up the space (but this time behind the plaguebearers).

Fiends, Bloodletters and Plaguebearers - oh my!

The Fleshhounds leapt out of the ruins and race towards my gundrones and Piranha. While the two hounds made short work of the drones, Karnock failed to wound the speeding Piranha. I revenge the piranha let off it fragmentation device and wounded and killed Karnock!

The Soulgrinder ... immobilised but unbowed shot up the crisis suit team, killing a drone. Meanwhile the Plaguebearer trudged dramatically towards the enemy. The Great Unclean One continued his 'slow and purposeful' trudge towards the centre of the board. The Changeling wisely hid.

.... only for the Tau to run away ... again!

Tau: Popping up, the Pathfinder focussed their shots on Soulgrinder. The broadsides followed up and accomplished another 4. Resulting in the Soulgrinder being and immobile close combat monster - grrr! The Piranha sped away from the exposed Fleshhounds, who met short shrift when the crisis suits (dropping the commander) and Kroot took aim. The Hounds go down as the Stealthsuits and Commander line up on the Bloodletters. The Firewarriors decide they are less than brave and jump back into their transports (we're Tau after all ... who believes in giving a fair chance?!?) and the Devilfish retreat. The firepower of the commander, the hammerhead (on dispersed) and the stealth team prove too much for the real threat - the Fiends are downed. Meanwhile the Bloodletters are mauled but not out.

TURN 4 - Jumping the stealthies.

The Deamon Prince shows how its done and gets the drop on the Stealth Team

Deamons: The Bloodletters approach behind a wall of Plaguebearers ... forcing the Tau'Va back! The Deamon Prince leaps forward as the Great Unclean one makes a stellar run move and finally joins the fight in the middle of the board (cue roar of approval!). The Deamon Prince manages to turn a Gundrone into a Spawn (nice?!?) and then charges into the Stealth team.

The XV25's fight to the last to delay the Deamon Prince ... for the Greater Good!

However, he has underestimated the ability of Suneokun stealthers! They hit the Deamon prince first. Hitting him TWICE and putting a single wound on him. In response the Prince kills 4 suits ... but the stealthers hold (at Ld5) and fight on!

The Tau 'rinse and repeat', dropping a biblical pile of S5 death on the hapless Deamons

The markerlights spot and pick out the Plaguebearers this turn as the devilfish rinse and repeat their fish of fury firepower. The broadside manage to finally (FINALLY!?!?!) blow up the soulgrinder. Meanwhile the Fish formation wipes out the Bloodletters and tears great holes in the Plaguebearers. The Kroot join in as the XV8 suits dispose of the spawn. The Changeling is dismissively gunned down by SMS fire as the Hammerhead Railgun shot scatters and nearly shoots its own fish'o'fury formation!

The Kroot back away from the Deamon Prince as the stealth team is stripped down to nothing but a single member who unbelievably HOLDS HIS GROUND! The Crisis Suit commander moves forward to potentially intercept the Deamon Prince (Tau'Va and all that!)

TURN 5 - Backs to the wall

The Plaguebearers attempt to tie the game ... as the Deamon Prince finally escapes the Stealthers

Deamons: Four Plaguebearers, an injured Deamon Prince and an out-of-puff Great Unclean One are all Ant has left. The Stealth team have done a stellar job ... holding the Prince off the Kroot and allowing them within 5 inches of a 'clean' objective. Meanwhile, all I need do is shoot down his plaguebearers.

He makes a do-or die play. The Deamon Prince tries to turn the last Stealth team member into a Spawn ... but the Stealther passes his toughness test, holding the Prince up! The Plaguebearers surge from the ruins and assault the Kroot. 4 T5 5++ FNP Plaguebearers versus 12 Kroot and 2 Hounds. The Hounds go first at I5, downing a single Plaguebearer. The remaining 6 attacks bite home, but most missed and the subsequent reroll to wound of the poisoned weapons is awful. The Plaguebearer kill a single Kroot. In retaliation the Kroot pile on the wounds and only one Plaguebearer survives.

He then has to take two saves and a FNP to either hold up the only unit in scoring range ... but Ant rolls a 2. The Plaguebearers are wiped out and the Kroot get to consolidate on to the objective.

Look Familiar? ... Butch Cassidy or Way of the Gun ... The Deamon Prince and Greater Deamon make their last stand!

The Deamon Prince strangles the last of the Stealth Team and the two MC's retreat as the Tau encirclement begins.

Way of the Gun. Cumulative firepower rules ... they don't survive to turn 6.


Well Tau are redundant ... aren't they?

I think we put that one securely to bed. Needless to say, this wasn't the most enjoyable game ever played by Anton. The ability of the Tau to 'concentrate firepower' would make even Admiral Akbar proud. The Fish of Fury and assault moves made for some impressive play. Resulting in an army that Ant just couldn't get to grips with ... which is hardly fair.

In fact, Anton and I discussed it afterwards and struggled to think HOW the Deamons could get the drop on the Tau with their deepstrikers. Clearly the Plaguebearers were the only unit that didn't fold like a damp cloth when targetted, but even a 4+ cover save meant very little in the face of so many high strength rifles.

Even when the Deamons got to grips, the slippery Tau proved just that - slippery! The added insult of the Air Fragmentors was particularly nasty. The Tau simply had the ability to 'upsticks' and run away ... while offering firepower the Deamons couldn't afford to absorb.

SECOND THOUGHTS ... is 1850pts too much?

I've been playing around in the 1750-1850pt arena for a good six months now. The last 1500pt battle I played was a cracking match against Mark's Guard... very close and 'down to the wire'. The problem I'm finding is that at 1850pts the battle very quickly swings one way or the other.

This problem is further compounded by Jervis Johnson's battle missions. I'm wondering whether they should have been released with a disclaimer of 'designed to be played at 1500 pts' ... as the two games I've had at 1850pts have resulted in demonstrable wipeouts.

Maybe the real question is this. If at 1850pts I can take pretty much everything I would want to ... perhaps the 'balance' of the 1500 game is that I have to 'sacrifice' 350pts worth of 'like to have' and choose between several good options ... but I can't take them all?


The stealth team wins best unit through their stalwart holding up and wounding of the Deamon Prince ... they managed to bog him down for two turns. After that ... I loved flying around my new Piranha. Fast skimmers are a lot of fun to field. I remember an earlier game against Ant where he was fielding Saim Hann and kept saying 'I can't get over the speed' ... yeah I get that!

On the Deamons side, the Plaguebearers were solid ... although their 'slow and purposeful' turned them into nothing but mobile cover against such mobile foes. Two units (if they'd arrived) would have given Ant some nastier options (especially for 'precision' deepstriking) and put me under more pressure ... but even so.


Without dedicated anti-tank, even killing my broadside or the Kroot would have been an uneven leveller. The pathfinder too, would have played ample sacrifice. A nid army full of Zoanthropes and Hiveguard would have proven a bigger challenge ... but then the S5 comes into play. And there were just too many 2+ to wound hits going on.

Clearly against enemies with plenty of firepower (like Guard) or a mix (like Marines), Tau still struggle... but avoiding the gunline and using the firepower is the first in more confident steps...

How would you beat Tau with Deamons?

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Tau Painting: Piranha Complete

The Tau Piranha ... Luke Skywalker eat your heart out

My most recent Tau purchase ... a fusion blaster Piranha has stormed through to the front of the painting queue ... for being, well - a very very cool model. I went for a particularly 'TRON-like' paint job on this landspeeder.

It may not be the most 'aggressive' model in the game, but the combination of a BS4 uber-fast Melta antitank, some great anti-close combat and tank shocking options and the ability to contest two objectives over 36" apart ... make this model brilliant!

Can't wait to get another one.

Monday, 12 April 2010

End of an Era ... and the beginning of something new.

We're reaching the end of an era ... crunch time. Like a reader coming to the end of a particularly good book, or a painter putting the finishing tweaks on a masterpiece, I'm finding myself manufacturing excuses not the finish.

I have three superbly base-coated painted Tau vehicles (my last three), that I'm umming over the paint-job on. My last few guardsmen (maybe 12 in total) have been sitting in the 'to-do' box permanently. I have been distracting myself with necessary purchases (Piranha ... so needed) and unneccessary purchases (Doomhammer) ... and now all is plain and clear.

I'm trying NOT to finish.

However, while my conscious mind have been fiddling around with the last few bits... my subconscious mind has been blistering a trail towards the next project.

YES ... Malifaux is still out there ... stratching at the corners of my mind ... and FireStorm Armada wants a bite too - but I've suddenly gone from 'just a few left' to 'where do I start' in one glorious weekend.


Back in the date (1991-1994), my brother and I ran a lot of our armies out of the Warhammer 40k 'Compilation' book. This was a loose pulling together of articles which detailed the Terminator and GreyKnight variants in part and the complete Eldar and Genestealer Cult Army.

(NB: When I say 'loosely' I mean the binding. This book was almost designed to disintegrate and appeared to have been published by a monkey with a glue-gun ... the only reason our compilation is still complete is thanks to a detailed ring-binder job I did in 1993!)

As such, my twin ran Eldar (and subsequently has about 4000pts of the buggers) and I picked up my Genestealers and Hybrids from Advanced Space Crusade and started painting guardsmen, beastmen and converting mutants ... yum!

The old Genestealer Cult was a wonderful mish-mash of Genestealers, Hybrids, Patriarchs, Greater Deamons, Cultists, Brood brothers and Beastmen. One of my particular favourites was the 'possessed genestealer patriarch' ... pure dirt gameplay wise and a tough one for the Canonites to fight their way out of!

As such I have suddenly found I can field the following:
  • 7 Deathguard Marines (bought purely for the models)
  • 10 Chaosmarines (a gift last birthday)
  • 1 OldSchool Plasma and Crabclaw Dreadnought
  • 1 BloodThirster
  • 8 Beastmen
  • 8 'Deathwatch' Killteam Space Marines (including a Librarian Model)
As such I can play around with the existing weaponry a fair bit and field the following:
  • A Chaos Lord with Deamon Weapon
  • A Chaos Sorceror
  • Chaos Dreadnought
  • Chaos Marine Squad (5)
  • Plague Marines (6)
  • Havocs (5)
  • Havocs (7)
  • 8 Lesser Deamons
  • A Bloodthirster
Totalling up about 1027 points.


My other subconscious trick must have been to 'telepathically' let my twin brother know about my plight... this weekend, Devilin was having a clearout and dropped off a box full of Orks. Now, orks are good for a laugh AND I now have 114 models to paint.

Including over 30 Rogue Trader 'short' orks, Metal Gretchin and Orks from RT era too, 16 2nd Edition Orks and over 30 Gretchin. Plus the 20 Boys, 5 Nobs, Warboss and 3 Deffkoptas from the Black Reach Set!

It's quite a haul and allows me to start building an army of Ork based around a 1215 pt starting block.


So where to start? Apart from having the painting quota filled for the immediate 18 months... what should I consider to make these hordes of mini's more competitive. This is new territory for me, the Orks sort of reflect my Tyranid army ... but I'm stepping into the T4 3+ territory of marines now.

Are there any quick fixes or good first buys that you can recommend for these lists. Obviously I can 'fill in' with Chimeras and Leman Russ in either army ... but what do these armies need?


Devilin also dropped off the Deamonhunters list ... this allows me to run a Inquisitor Lord plus Calidus Upgrade to Guard army I run ... models I already have. Tasty!

Friday, 9 April 2010

Painting Update: April 2010

Tau: So the target was to complete the Tau before the Nid Codex arrives (failed). This means I have the following completed (now):
  • 5 Crisis Suits deconstructed, magnetised and repainted
  • 36 Firewarriors
  • 25 Kroot, 12 Kroot Hounds and a Shaper (NEW)
  • 6 XV25 and 3 XV15 Stealthsuits
  • Ethereal
  • 3 Broadsides (NEW)
  • 16 Gundrones
  • 2 Shield Drones
  • 1 Marker Drone
  • 2 Devilfish
The below models need completion:
  • 2 Hammerhead/Skyrays are basecoated, now 'umming' over final paintjob
  • 1 Piranha, 1/2 basecoated
  • 1 Markerdrone needs building and painting (forgot about him)
Tyranids: With the Tyranids there is still so much to do. The new codex has opened up tonnes of options and given me a real drive... however I'm a bit bored of painting chitin, so have switched back to completing the Tau.

Completed so far:
  • 4 Warriors, Rending Claws and Deathspitters (painted)
  • Tyranid Prime, converted and painted
  • Parasite, converted and painted
  • 27 Termagaunts painted
  • 24 Hormagaunts
  • 21 Genestealers
  • Lictor, Broodlord, Zoanthrope
  • 1 Trygon Prime
  • 8 Spore Mines
  • 7 Ripper Swarms Converted and painted
  • 2 Myetic Spores Converted and painted
  • 7 Gargoyles painted
Tyranids TBC:
  • 3 Mycetic Spores to convert and paint
  • 4 Bone Sword and Lash Whip Warriors to convert and paint
  • 2 Hiveguard (1's actually a Zoat) to paint
  • 9 Ripper Swarms (I got very very bored of ripper swarms) to paint
  • 14 Gargoyles in finish painting
  • 1 Trygon to paint.
  • 1 Carnifex to complete the conversion to Tervigon (and paint).
Imperial Guard: This is definitely the most completed of all my armies. The addition of a Superheavy (Shadowsword multivariant) added some additional fun to taking these guys. Rather than listing the completed, I'll list the waiting:

3 Valhallan 'honour guard'
2 Catachans (No idea what to do with them?)
2 Rogue Trader Guardsmen (maybe convert these two into some more missile launchers?)
5 Attilan rough riders.

And that's it!

Am I nearly finished...?

Good grief no ... as can be attested with my 'superheavy' purchase. There's plenty of juice in the engines. Plenty of conversions to get under the belt ... and there's still space for the new models I'm thinking on... after all 'just one' piranha is a bit crap.

I'm loath to take up a new game system ... but two are grabbing my attention:

FIRESTORM ARMADA: Cheap to enter (circa £50) and easy to get running with.


MALIFAUX: which really really appeals... perhaps for my birthday?

Thursday, 8 April 2010

Tau 'Nid Hunter' Force: take 2

A great shot of Darkwing's Tyranid and Tau army on Arcadia Prime ... check out the battle here

After Sholto's comment on my last list ... it's clear this list wouldn't be a lot of fun to play against ... I've therefore reworked my ideas. Ok here goes, I'm lined up to face Anton next Tuesday with the following:
  • HQ: Shas'El, Air Fragmentation Projector, Flamer and Missile Pod, Stimulant Injector [136]
  • Elite: Crisis Team #1 [2]: Burst Cannon, Plasma Rifle, Multitracker, team leader, 2 gundrones [141]
  • Elite: Crisis Team #2 [2]: Flamer, Missile Pod, Multitracker, team leader, 2 gundrones [117]
  • Elite: Stealth Team [5]: with 3 gundrones [180]
  • Troops: Fire Warriors [9] in Devilfish (Multitracker, Disruption Pod, Fletchette Discharger, Sensor Spines [205]
  • Troops: Fire Warriors [9] in Devilfish (Multitracker, Disruption Pod, Fletchette Discharger, Sensor Spines [205]
  • Troops: Fire Warriors [9] [90]
  • Troops: Kroot [12] with 2 Kroot Hounds [96]
  • Fast Attack: Pathfinders [8] with Shas'Ui and Warfish (Smart Missile System, Fletchette Discharger, Multitracker, Sensor Spines, Targetting Array) [246]
  • Fast Attack: Piranha [1] with Targetting Array, Fusion Blaster, Disruption Pod and Fletchette Discharger [85]
  • Heavy Support: Broadsides [2] Targetting Arrays [160]
  • Heavy Support: Hammerhead (Railgun, Disruption Pod, Fletchette Discharger, Multitracker and Target Lock and Smart Missile System) [190]
Total 1851


The Broadsides and pathfinders adopt different sniping positions with the broadsides up front. After playing 8 broadsides the other day in APOC ... I'm realising their potential as superb spiner units (as well as antitank units) Their priority will be assassinating Zoanthropes and other antitank pests.

They will be supported by the Crisis Suit team with the missilepods and flamers... offering good anti-stealer counter attack while offering productive supporting fire. The other crisis team is kitted out to maximise they're 'close escort' role in an 18-24" harrying line. Providing significant firepower into the front ranks of the nids and shooting up their littluns.

The plasma rifles also give a great option against Higher toughness MCs etc. The stealth team will offer the 'first line of defence here' ... sporting significant firepower ... these guys can move to pounce on outlying units ... doing what Tau do best (maximising firepower). The crisis suit commander can fire either an 18" big blast ignoring cover saves plus 2 missile pods ... or opt for the ultimate flamer/big blast death template.

The three FireWarrior teams will go into reserve (depending on the enemy firepower) and then launch joint 'fish of fury' operations on the enemy. On analysis, while the fish of fury has lost some of its impact in 5th ... two 9 man squads can deploy on the 'inside' of two sheltering Devilfish and sport remarkable firepower.

The combination of the devilfish moving 12" and firing and the gundrones spreading out and firing means that the likelihood of being able to assault the firewarriors is next to nill. Giving the 'assault options' of either the dischargered devilfish (ouch) or the gundrones (big loss). With markerlight support ... these guys can be devastating!

The Kroot are in there as a home field objective holder. While they won't move much ... their ability to offering 24" S4 firepower and 2 attacks (hitting first) when charged in cover holds its own in this list.

The piranha is really in there as I just bought my first one. From a tactical point of view ... the fusion gun is sub-par for nids ... although instantkilling a Zoan or Warrior ain't no loss. His real tactical value is in offering a superfast bullet shield for the Crisis Suits and for last turn drop and turboboost contests on objectives...

And finally there's the hammerhead. A S6 template is a welcome addition ... plus the SMS firing at a different target ain't bad. I'm still undecided whether the tactical flexibility and 'low heat' of the missile boat outweighs the advantage of a S6 big blast ... but we'll see.


Fighting the new nid codex with its lack of cover assaulting options and sparsely placed heavy weapons give a new lease of life to the Tau codex. Nid v Tau is much closer to the 'starship troopers' experience than the new Imperial Guard list will allow (thanks to the plethora of flamers/mortars/hellhounds/vendettas etc.

Also, despite the Tau's weakness in close combat, their inherent armour saves of 4+ and 3+ will meet few power weapons (outside an MC or specialist Warrior brood and everybody dies then!) and makes them surprisingly resilient when compared to Guardsmen or Eldar.

I find myself considering the tactical usefulness of Stealth teams, as they hit first when charged (thanks to the stealth rules), have two attacks each and S4. Against most nids this should even the odds (for at least the first round!).

I never thought I'd be competitively considering fish'o'fury again. However against core units (and again exploiting terrain - hence the sensor spines) the fish can offer considerable impact with reduced risks. Considering 18 warriors and 2 Devilfish can potentially drop 12+ genestealers (even in cover) and offer several 'pinning hits' (cue markerlights) is very tactically useful. Their stats for dropping S3 gribblies without a cover save push this up to 25 kills!

I'm also looking at pathfinders under a different light. I may consider splitting the two squads (and sharing out the other devilfish) to get more shooting flexibility ... but that's to be confirmed.

Tank shocking and Flamer/AFP seem the way forwards too ... and an interesting consideration for the Crisis Suits and Piranha!

Comments very very welcome ... this is a first for me fighting the new nid codex.

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Apocalypse Post #3: Case Example - The DoomSide


I've been talking up on how APOC gives you the opportunity to run super-hard combo's and combination of Formations and Superheavies can lead to some particularly nasty results. Now it should be noted that nothing in the following could be ruled under fluffy ... although actually it would be pretty easy to draw up a Geu'la Tau/Guard force built around the following.

In Sunday APOC game (started at 11am, finished 4.30pm) we had 8000pts a side. The armies facing eachother were:

Necron AND Blood Angels AND Space Marines AND Black Templars
Tyranids AND Tau/Guard AND Vraks Guard+Deathguard

Putting my proverbial money where my mouth is ... I ran with the following:

'Imperial Shield Infantry Company' - 150
  • This gifts 'defence lines' - 36" on 3+ aegis line cover where I want in my deployment.
  • Scheduled Bombardement - 3 turn base Apoc barrages (4) at S8 AP3 (ie anti smurf)
  • On my coordinates - any vox-caster in the formation can 'opt' to drop a apoc barrage (4) on his head on a passed leadership test.
This required me to field 3 platoons with lots of vox's, lascannons and autocannons, a plasma'd up command squad and a powerfist commissar lord and 15 mortars ... not a hardship.

Total 1280

And here's the real dirt:

Doomhammer (450)
4 Squad of Broadside Battlesuits (all with targetting arrays) (640)
4 team leader and target lock upgrade (40)
Techpriest and 3 Servitors (90)

Total 1220


The Imperial Shield was helpful but not overpowered ... and was actually VERY VERY funny. I attempted two suicide runs... one failed and the squad was wiped out in the open. Their barrage would have slaughtered blood angels AND tomb spiders. The other barrage succeeded in killing 4 Space Marine bikers ... a particularly tasty result.

One advantage of this tool is that unlike normal fire ... you can use this unit to drop a 'finisher' into the middle of a close combat medley. The rules require the death of the squad (most of the time) and more likely the death of everyone in the area (friend or foe) ... everyone agreed afterwards that this was a good fun option and very fluffy.


I'm never going to take the Doomhammer/Broadside combo again. It's very, very dirty. Effectively I had a eight broadside INSIDE the doomhammer (yeah I know, and ten terminators in that little landraider too!?!), which is 16 of the 25 spaces. Plus a techpriest and 3 servitors (taking up 4 slots and giving me a 2+ repair on any weapon destroyed or immobilised results) and the plasma'd command squad.

So this monster could chew out two lascannon shots at 4+ to hit. A doomhammer shot (VERY USEFUL) S10 AP1 5" big blast template ... plus 8 individually targetting broadside shots at BS4 (that's an 88% to hit rate with the reroll) ... so thats 9 S10 AP1 weapons firing at 'whatever' ... filth.

NB: It didn't kill the opposing Baneblade. It did however have complete tactical control of the middle field, a 4+ cover save (sitting behind two leman russ) and just dominated.

It's the closest I've come to an instant-win in APOC. The firepower it could bring was frankly silly. The Baneblade took one shot at the Doomhammer. The DoomSiders then stripped it of every firing weapon bar one lascannon in turn one (I'm rubbish at rolling 5's and 6's against tanks) and then proceeded to keep the Baneblade 'muffled' with turn after turn of S10 nastiness.

The Baneblade ended the game immobilised, with every weapon destroyed and 2 structure points...

However ... by this point the 'DoomSide' had turned its attention to 'sniping' ... yeah, I used S10 AP1 weapons to kill:
  • The Deciever
  • Toom Spiders
  • Sanguinar
  • Lots of Terminators and lots of Artificer Armoured dudes...
88% to hit and 2+ to wound ... is just horrible. By the end of the game we'd amassed a horrific tally. The Necrons were entirely culled. The Black Templars were gone (bar one immobilised Dreadnought with flamers) and the remaining two Space Marine armies were down to their last few terminators ...

Although everything I did was within the rules ... I so felt like I'd tapped in a 'cheat-code' before the game. The DoomSide is just too hard and massacre'd everyone.


I took a plasma'd up Executioner for the first time ... and it was great! I usually avoid the executioner as it lacks antitank... but as a bullet shield to the DoomSide it was a perfect partner ... offering lots of AP2 blast to hurt the legion of terminators that deepstriked a long way away!

The Mortars were well worth the points as well ... killing 5 legion of the damned and 4 terminators in two separate turns. The Mortar excels in APOC, where it covers perfectly the 'I need lots of wounds to force them to roll the ones' option. 300 pts (15 bases) offers you lots and lots of turn after turn firepower...

Devildogs... I know that everyone bitched about the devildog being the poor option to the Banewolf and Hellhound ... but I think it rocks! The Devildogs AP1 blast gives you terminator AND antitank options... as a late reserver IT WILL FIND targets in you deployment zone and its too good to ignore ... but they have to hit it on a 6! The problem is that the banewolf is great ... but needs to be really close, whereas if you are reserving hellhounds ... you're not thinking it through ... AP4 ain't gonna be on the board by turn three.

Tactics aside ...

My Team mates did a brilliant job of holding up the close combat specialists... with the Nids taking the crown for holding up one flank with gargantuan creatures and Trygons and the other side with dirty Doom of Malantai against Necrons (who really regretted only being S6) ...

The Blood Angels got weirdly obsessed about killing the Tyranid beasties and therefore deep struck a LONG way away from me ... giving me two to three turns of lots of shooting to kill the buggers. To top it off, Lysander seemed to get lost and arrived in totally the wrong place. Weird?

The only player which threatened me was the Necrons. The Deciever and Pariahs got very very close to jumping my tanks ... while the deepstriking flayed ones almost took my DoomHammer - twice! If Lysander had got ballsy and deepstriked in my back yard ... That squad of thunderhammers would have tore my Doomhammer a new one ... and then the Broadside would have had a short look at shooting before being pounded.

Unfortunately for my opponent ... dropping a unit that BIG, and THAT PRICEY, that NEAR a huge tank wasn't what they wanted ... and they bottled it. If they'd been true to their deepstrike formed ... the game may have been different.

Additionally. The DoomSider has one big 'gulp' ... roll a 6 (or 5 or 6 if hit by the destroyer weapon) and every single Broadside in there dies (S9 AP2 hits) ... that over 1250pts of instant-death or instantwin.

Thursday, 1 April 2010

Anti-Tyranid Tau Force

I've recently been giving my Tau some much needed love. With only a crisis suit, one broadside and two tanks away from finishing ... I'd lost interest in the light of the new Guard codex (can that still be considered new? One year on guys?) and the New New nids ... which I'm loving at the moment.

I'd taken by Crisis Suits back to the workbench to implement project 'mini-magnet' and finally magnetised all their weapons. This really is the only way to go with these boys ... giving you complete freedom to deploy the model in whatever format fits and how YOU see fit.

Although there are great believers in the 'fireknife' ... I find that the best build still thwarts me ... and my love for flamers and AFP lingers on.

I've had some of my funniest games between the Tau and Nids. They are great adversaries in the Gorgon campaign fluff, but this is reflected in the balance of the two armies on the field. Tau struggle against Nids ... but they also have some wonderful tools and speed to counteract the Tyranids effectiveness!

So I was already on course for thinking, when Fritz recent splurge on 'null deployment' smacked me between the eyes. And I remembered the 'positional relay' and then, Sholto over at Incunabulog inspired me with his recent battle mission report against Nids, and the evil brain started ticking...

What about a anti-Tyranid Tau force ... based around my existing models?

I've come up with the following list:
  • HQ: Shas'El with Air Fragmentation Projector, Missile Pod and Positional Relay, HWMT, HWTL, Stim injector
  • Elite #1: 2 tau Crisis team: fire knife configuration (plasma rifle/fusion blaster/multitracker)
  • Elite #2: 2 tau Crisis team: (missile pod/ flamer/ multitracker)
  • Elite #3: 5 man Stealth team, 5 gundrones
  • Troops #1: 6 firewarriors in a gunfish (smart missile system and burst cannon), multitracker, fletchette discharger, disruption pod and targetting array
  • Troops #2: 6 fire warriors with carbines in a devilfish (multitracker, fletchette discharger, disruption pod and targetting array)
  • Troops #3: 12 Kroot
  • Troops #4: 14 Kroot (led by a shaper) with 15 kroot hounds
  • Fast Attack #1: 8 Pathfinders, led by a shas'ui in a devilfish (multitracker, fletchette discharger, disruption pod and targetting array)
  • Heavy #1: 2 Broadsides, teamleader, shield drone, HWMT and HWTL on leader.
  • Heavy #2: SkyRay, Smart Missile System (multitracker, fletchette discharger, disruption pod and targetting array)
Total: 1751pts

Overview: Now the first question you are asking is "what are those broadsides doing in there?" ... well the broadside will be adopting a 'sniper' role for this engagement. Outfront and centre ... they also invite retaliation. Their target will be Zoanthropes, Tyranid Warriors and their ilk. Neutralising the anti-mech will be their priority, following by breaking the synapse.

The shas'el deploys at the start (hidden) and 'manages' the reserves by minimising their arrival unlike a late on alpha strike. The idea is to hold off to one reserve a turn using the positional relay and then hit everything at once!

The fireknifes group will be targetting Toughness 6 beasties and piling on the firepower. Hiveguard and Monsters will be the key targets.

The Missile Pod and flamer unit are one of the few units that will operate all game. Separate from the 'El', these guys will attempt to pick off Hiveguard and MC.

The Stealth team have a special role ... they will infiltrate (either within range on a flank, or back towards my lines) and play an important anti-stealer role. Stealth teams should operate fairly free of interference with nids ... plus their strike first stealth fields and S4 give them fair odds in dropping all but the toughest of opponents. If the opponent looks to flank ... they can follow up!

The two Fire Warrior unit basically stay in their vehicles and stay off the board for end game steals. The 12 Kroot are their as a cheap, but durable (in cover) unit for similar objective grabs using the Pathfinder devilfish.

The Huge Kroot Hound horde are designed to sit in cover and take pot shots at the enemy ... the shaper should keep them around for the final fight. S4 rifles are ok for shooting nids ... plus they will get to go first if charged... the real benefit of the Hounds is the ability to get the jump on Termagaunts, Warriors or Gargoyles or even hit at equal time to the Ravenors or Primes. This could prove crucial (although unlikely)...

The pathfinders and Skyray really form the fulcrum of this force. The Skyray can deliver devastating firepower (in seeker missile) and individually eliminate an MC at infinite range. The addition of the markerlights are also essential for removing cover saves. Meaning that the intensive firepower of the stealth team can really hurt. 10 markerlights should deliver enough hits per turn to deny the cover saves on at least one unit a turn or simply up the to hit mark for many...

What do you think?