Archive for June, 2011

League Aftermath – “Battle for Bernieria”
League Aftermath – “Battle for Bernieria” avatar

Thursday, June 30th, 2011

 This week saw the end of a 10-game league at my local game store, my first real experience with organized play at the club level. The league was a point-based tournament with an ongoing story using escalating army lists that threw lots of craziness our way. Overall, it was a lot of fun. I got the chance to play armies I’ve never fought against, and learned a thing or two about competitive play. If you’ve never participated in a tournament I highly recommend it, it will give you a new perspective to the game that will put your skills to the test. I thought that for this entry on the blog I’d share some observations about the game, competition, and tactics that I felt made this tournament a good one.

 First off, my thoughts on playing as Chaos Space Marines. These guys are probably one of the most iconic 40K armies available, and even though their codex is showing its age they can still back a wallop. The big thing that Chaos Marines have going for them is that they are more versatile then their Codex Marine counterparts. They don’t have the absurd special rules that newer marine armies, like the Grey Knights or Blood Angels—they’re just rock solid when it comes to their troops, HQs, and heavy support. The daemon prince was practically uncontested in a one-on-one fight, and flexibility of my heavy support units came in real handy. I think that they actually outshined my troops in many games, who sometimes got caught between a rock and plasma explosions. Still, the chaos troops are as good at their role as other army’s elites, which made it very easy for me to score objectives and kick ass throughout.

 My army list behaved sort of like an avalanche: my first few turns were slow and deliberative, then the momentum began and didn’t stop. I had the second turn in all but one game, and took a beating early on because of it—but then I got my hands my opponent and kicked his teeth in. Bottom line: chaos murders in the assault phase.

 Game 1: Chaos Marines vs. Space Marines
- Out to a crushing start. Despite the fact that I had 10 terminators marching down my throat, I used my daemon prince’s lash of submission to continually whip them into position while the defiler rained ordinance down on his exposed troops.

 WIN (tabled)! Mvp: Daemon Prince

Game 2: Chaos Marines vs. Black Templars
- Sometimes it’s better to let them come to you. In this game I let his rhino-mounted marines get close, and then slagged his transports with melta-guns. The defiler finished the job.

 WIN (tabled)! Mvp: Defiler

Game 3: Chaos Marines vs. Necrons
- More so than any other army, the Necrons need an update. Kudos to the player who has the balls to bring them to a tournament; he’ll be laughing at all the posers once their new codex comes out!

WIN (tabled)! Mvp: Defiler

Game 4: Chaos Marines vs. Grey Knights
-  Maybe I am biased, but an army with special rules designed to beat other armies is bad design. However, even though I was crippled from turn one, I did a great job keeping the pressure on. Never give up—crazy things can swing things back into your favor!
LOSS! Mvp: Daemon Prince

 Game 5: Chaos Marines vs. Blood Angels
- When it comes to deploying your infantry, be very, very careful about what they’ll be shot at in the turn that they close. Feel no Pain doesn’t protect you from a constant bombardment of battle cannons and plasma cannons.

 WIN (tabled)! Mvp: Daemon Prince

Game 6: Chaos Marines vs. Chaos Marines
-  In this amazingly close game, it all came down to a single model holding an objective thanks to a lucky consolidate move. This can be an amazing tool for setting yourself up for your next turn; plan ahead when you’re lucky enough to get this bonus movement!

WIN! Mvp: Chaos Sorcerer

Game 7: Chaos Marines vs. Space Wolves
- This was easily the hardest game in my campaign; gigantic casualties on both sides swung the pendulum back and forth. In the end it was an exact tie in kill points. From this game I learned to get my defilers in, rather then let them sit back and shoot.

 TIE! Mvp: Defiler

 Game 8: Chaos Marines vs. Dark Eldar
- So many darklances! Another incredibly close game which came down to a single model tipping it in my favor. Bottom line: always give chaos marines the icon to chaos glory! This greatly increases their staying power in objective games.

 WIN! Mvp: Chaos Space Marine

 Game 9: Chaos Marines vs. Imperial Guard
- In this game my greater deamon, who was always a wild card, more than proved himself. While my troops and vehicles weathered a constant bombardment, the daemon slaughtered a unit of ogryns, command squad, and at least two tanks, single handedly sweeping my opponent’s deployment zone. Sometimes the great daemon gamble pays off!

 WIN (tabled)! Mvp: Greater Daemon

 Game 10: Chaos Marines vs. Eldar
-  Always bring the big guns. My opponent opted for two night spinners rather then fire prisms, and was totally unable to take down my vehicles. This one was over by turn two. 

WIN! Mvp: Defiler

FINAL RECORD: 8 Wins, 1 Loss, 1Tie; MVP: Defiler
In the end I walked away with a solid 2nd place finish, as well as the best painted army award. If you’re interested in joining a league for yourself I highly recommend it– just make sure you build your list for killing Space Marines! For those interested in the list that was almost undefeated, here it is (the 2,000pt version).

HQ
Daemon Prince
- mark of Slaanesh
- lash of submission
- wings

Chaos Sorcerer
-mark of Slaanesh
-lash of submission

Summoned Greater Daemon

ELITE
Chaos Terminators x5
- mark of slaanesh
- twin lightning claws x5
- land raider w/ dozer blades

TROOP
Chaos Space Marines x10
-aspiring champion
- powerfist
- 2 melta guns
- icon chaos glory
- rhino w/ dozer blades

Khorne Berserkers x8
-skull champion
- powerfist
-rhino w/combi melta

Chaos Space Marines x5
-aspiring champion
-icon chaos glory
- melta gun

HEAVY

Obliterators x3

Defiler

Defiler

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Imperial Guard Scout Sentinels
Imperial Guard Scout Sentinels avatar

Tuesday, June 28th, 2011

If you’ve been following my (Re)Starting 40k Series then it’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of the lowly Sentinel, as a model.  I mean, look at how beautiful it is:

Every pistol you see here can harm it.

I mean, I love an AT-ST lookalike as much as the next guy, but my tendency to build armies around the models I like best leaves me in hot water on the tabletop.  After all, these units are 35 points of Armor-10 paper mâché.  I’m going to discuss a few of the options you have available if you want to include these little guys, and some of the drawbacks you need to think through before you take the plunge.  Please note that I won’t be discussing Armored Sentinels here; that’s a debate for another day.

Small Games

Sentinels are great in small games.  Below 1000 points, be sure to bring other vehicles.  In small games, people can’t afford many vehicles and anti-vehicle weaponry, so the Sentinel’s survivability goes way up.  They can be used to tie up infantry, since hidden powerfists are usually too expensive for such games.  In larger games, a lone Sentinel can easily be punched in twain by a bored Sergeant with a powerfist or a plasma pistol that has nothing better to shoot at that turn.  As a result, I’m not sure Sentinels will scale well into full-sized games.  Moreover, in larger games you may need those Fast Attack slots!  This leads me to…

Fast Attack, Squadrons, and You

The first thing you’re going to wonder is whether you even have room to fit Sentinels in your army.  The Fast Attack slots are pretty valuable for the Imperial Guard, as every time you choose to take a Sentinel squadron, you’re limiting how many Valkyries, Vendettas, or Hellhounds you can take.  As I put it in Part 3 of my column, you’ve got to worry about what else is in your army.  If you need your Hellhounds for anti-horde, then Sentinels won’t be doing a better job.  If you need your Vendettas and Valkyries to shoot high-priority targets or scoot infantry around, Sentinels can’t do that either.

If you do want to  include some Sentinels, one option is to put them into a squadron.  I would highly advise against it though.  As mentioned, they’re paper thin.  Anything S4 and above can touch them, meaning masses of small-arms fire or tough hand-to-hand troops will ruin your day.  The real problem comes with the S6-S7 weapons, which can tear through a Sentinel and also usually come with a larger number of shots (Multilaser, Autocannon, Assault Cannon, etc.)  Having 3 Sentinels in a squadron will allow your opponent to target one squad, making extra shots spill over onto other models.  If you have extra Fast Attack slots, putting each Sentinel in a lone squadron prevents this.

Outflank

When you can, outflank.  Being able to come in from the side of the board, and choose exactly where, makes it really easy to get side and rear armor shots.  While you can’t rely on getting the side you want, there’s a 2/3 chance you will.  Don’t count on your Sentinels coming in as soon as possible.  Don’t count on them to pop that artillery piece on Turn 2.  Don’t count on them entering from the left flank and tying up that 30 termagant swarm.  Most importantly, your opponent won’t count on them just showing up in the backfield and wreaking havoc on their precious rear armor.  If Sentinels disrupt the enemy’s gameplan, they’ve done their job.  If they tie up a squad or blow something up, it’s gravy.  Remember, this guy is only a 35-point investment!

Weaponry

Being so cheap to take, we need to keep these Sentinels cheap.  There’s also the consideration of poor ballistic skill, which means that single shot weapons are too unreliable as your Sentinel may not live to see two shooting phases.  This narrows down your weapon choices to the default Multi-laser, the Autocannon, and the Heavy Flamer.

The Heavy Flamer isn’t something I’d normally take.  An Imperial Guard army should have no trouble dealing with masses of infantry, due to the huge number of shots (and templates) they can bring to bear.  That being said, a Heavy Flamer could be worth the meager cost if you know you’ll be facing such armies and want to soften up a tie-up unit.  The best part is that it allows you to ignore the Sentinel’s paltry ballistic skill.

Autocannon vs. Multi-laser is a heated debate.  Numerically speaking, you can expect the same number of penetrations at BS3 against AV10, which you should be seeing a lot of thanks to outflanking.  On the one hand, the Multi-laser has the advantage of being cheaper and having more shots (thus making it less susceptible to a fluke roll).  On the other hand, the Autocannon has additional range, better penetration against AV11 (in case you hit side armor or some tougher vehicles), and can do some damage against 4+ save troops.  On the other hand, it costs a bit more.  Both are great options, and you should consider whether you need the points or the additional firepower, based on what else is in your army.

In Summary

You don’t see many netlists making use of Sentinels, reserving those FA slots for a Valkyrie/Vendetta.  True, a Vendetta can bring 3 twin-linked Lascannons to the fight.  But for around 2/3 the cost, you can have a set of outflanking walkers that can take potshots at rear armor and tie up weak infantry.  Of course, the Vendetta’s usually a high-priority target, whereas Sentinels usually fly under the radar (once).  At the end of the day, a Sentinel can add some awesome tactical options to your army and some more pretty models as well.  If you plan accordingly, they’re a great unit to take!

Discuss Scout Sentinels in the forums

(Re)Starting 40k: Paint up!
(Re)Starting 40k: Paint up! avatar

Thursday, June 23rd, 2011

Up until now, I’ve focused on some gaming aspects of 40k: picking an army, learning to write lists, etc.  But once you’ve got 500 points planned out, it’s time to pull some plastic and paint them up!  As a result, I’ll be showing you how I’m going to paint up my Imperial Guard army.  Some people prefer to come up with their army’s background (sometimes called fluff) before coming up with a paint scheme.  After all, having an identity and story in mind makes it easier to build, convert, and paint the characters and units of your army.  I prefer to work opposite: I paint up something I know will look respectable on the table, and come up with background from there!

Keep in mind that if you’re painting a very numerous army, such as the Imperial Guard, you can expect to do a lot of painting.  Speed may be your priority here.  The important thing isn’t necessarily that you have Golden Demon skills, but that you have the patience and planning to get a lot done.  Pick simple schemes, plan on using washes if possible, and don’t worry if each model isn’t perfect.  By nature of playing a horde army, you’re going to take a lot of casualties, so they won’t spend much time on the table!

For my IG, I really wanted to do an urban, sort of arctic camouflage pattern.  Here’s an overview of what we’ll be making:

For this, you’ll need these paints (I use GW, use what you prefer):

  • Regal blue
  • Scorched brown
  • Dwarf flesh
  • Shadow grey
  • Space Wolves grey
  • Boltgun/Chainmail/Mithril (your choice)

Step 1: Basecoat

Your first goal is to get a base of regal blue down.  If you have a spray paint that’s a dark blue, that’ll work wonders and save you oodles of time.  If not, just prime black and thin out some of the Regal Blue and cover the entire model in it.  I’m a big fan of gluing down a sand or something before painting, that way the primer helps get it, but to each his own.  You should have something like this now:

Step 2: Skin and Accessories

Do a coat of Scorched Brown over the heads and hands of your guardsmen.  I’d also advise using it to hit any canteens, sheathes, etc.  If you’re painting a sergeant with no helmet, get the whole head!  I like the color of Scorched Brown for hair, so no worries there:

Step 3: Armor, Helmets, Camo

Now the easy part.  Paint up some Shadow Grey (the darker, bluer one) and paint the armor.  Get the shoulder straps, and under the arms.  Also get the ankle cuffs and helmet.  Next, start dabbling on the camo spots!  The Shadow Grey should show up just fine on the Regal Blue, so you shouldn’t need to worry about doing multiple coats, and you can thin it a bit.  Make different shapes and sizes, and make sure to go in different directions.  I personally like the look of a blob that stretches across folds and in creases, as it adds a bit of depth.  Finally, take a tiny bit of paint on your brush and lightly drag the side of the brush on the top edges of the lasgun.  This will keep the gun from looking like a blue blob in the model’s hand, and should get you familiar with edging (which we’ll need soon).  Here’s a few shots of how I do the blobbing and camo:

Step 4: Finish the Skin

I’m a big proponent of painting from the inside out, because I’m pretty sloppy and tend to mess things up when I try and get in close…especially when you’ve got a hundred of these guys to whip up!  So I’d recommend doing the skin now.  Take some dwarf flesh and hit the face and hands.  I’m not great at staying in the lines, and I don’t advise trying to paint the eyes.  After you’ve painted your best of the fingers, hands, and face do a wash with some really watered down Scorched Brown.

Step 5: Edging and Camo

Now you’re going to need to crack open the Space Wolves Grey (the one that’s almost white).  Hopefully you’re more comfortable with edging, because we’re going to be doing a lot of it.  The same way you did on the lasgun, paint the edges on the armor.  This includes the hard edges on the back, the shoulder pads, the straps between the shoulders/head, and the pad things on the side of the helmets.  Also make sure to throw some paint on the Imperial Eagles you see on the chest/helmet/lasgun.  Finally, the same way you did with the Shadow Grey, do some camo dabbles.  Mix it up a bit…make sure you’re not just making vertical or horizontal streaks.  Let some blobs overlap, but not others.  Allow some blobs to have tiny holes in them through which you can see the Regal Blue or Shadow Grey underneath.

Step 6: Metal

Whip out whichever metallic paint you decided to go with and start painting.  Make sure to get bayonets, lasgun barrels, the little rods on top of the lasguns (takes a bit longer but adds a lot more color to the gun).  When you’ve done all that, take a bigger brush you don’t mind drybrushing with, and drybrush the metal over your sand on the ground.  Most people stick with a gray/white highlight combo but I personally feel like a futuristic theme should have more metallic rubble.  Plus it complements the small amount of metal on the model quite nicely.

Step 7: Accessories

If you feel like it, go ahead and paint a lighter brown (snakebite leather or such) over the leather accessories to give them a bit more color.  I personally don’t think it adds much and takes too much time to worry about now, so I put that all off for later.  Also, grab some Dark Angels Green if you wish and put a few coats on the grenades.  Lightly take your metallic color and paint the pin and primer devices on the grenades.  If you do it carefully and well, it looks really slick.

Step 8: Touchups

Now’s the time to go back over and fix any little slip-ups you may have had with the brush.  If you messed up the edging on the armor or painting the face, go back with Shadow Grey.  If you splotched a bit on the lasgun, go back and cover it up with Regal Blue.  The nice thing is that for the most part, the only touchups you’ll need to do is with those colors.

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Head-to-Head — Librarians vs. Sorcerers
Head-to-Head — Librarians vs. Sorcerers avatar

Tuesday, June 21st, 2011

Since I’ve been up to my eyeballs over the past few months with Chaos, I’d like to evaluate the functionality and usefulness of Space Marine Librarians and Chaos Sorcerers—arch-rivals who often clashed over the course of my recent tournament. The two have many similarities, but the difference in their style and application has led me to think that there may be a gap in fairness between the two. Let’s find out!

Wisdom and Dogma vs. Perversion and Corruption!

PROFILE: Since the basic character for both is the same cost, let’s begin by taking a look to see what you get:

                                                WS         BS           S/T         W           I             A            Ld          Sv

Space Marine Librarian       5          4          4/4       2          4          2          10        3+

Chaos Sorcerer                  5          5          4/4       3          5          3          10        3+/5++

When it comes to a base measurement of stat-lines, the Chaos Sorcerer dominates. He hits faster and more, and comes with an invulnerable save.

WINNER: SORCERER!

SPECIAL RULES: Now let’s take a look at gear. Each has the standard marine armament of bolt pistol, power armor, krak/frag grenades, and each also possess a psyker’s force weapon, plus the following:

Space Marine Librarian: Psychic Hood and choice of two psychic powers.

Chaos Sorcerer: Nothing!

The lack of a psychic defense is a huge liability for the Chaos Sorcerer; moreover, the fact that he has to purchase powers individually will greatly increase his cost. The versatility of options the Librarian enjoys—as well as the defense his hood gives his entire army—probably makes up for shortcomings in his stat.

WINNER: LIBRARIAN!

  WARGEAR: So far I think that the trade off between the two’s features is pretty fair, so let’s dig deeper to see what kind of unique options are available to each.

 Space Marine Librarian: Can take combi-weapons without terminator armor; an expensive upgrade to be able to use two psychic powers per turn.

Chaos Sorcerer: Cheap upgrade to terminator armor; cheap option to gain a second power; marks of chaos further improve the already better statline.

Here things get difficult to judge, because both sets feel balanced to me. The chaos list is more expensive, but overall stronger, but the librarian gets two psychic powers for free, which gives you a better set of tools to work with.

WINNER: TIE! 

POWERS: Here’s what it all really comes down to: Psychic powers. An examination of the psychic powers available to each list may make or break the battle. I’ll give each power a subjective rank of 1-5, and determine an average to see who comes out first:

Space Marine Librarian:

  • Avenger: A good template that will easily wipe clean MEQ. 4
  • Gate of Infinity: A useful tool in certain strategies, but the limited range makes it mediocre except in that one time you need. Also, deep striking takes a big bite out of the librarian (and attached units) assault potential. 2
  • Force Dome: Overall a solid power, especially since the librarian lacks an invulnerable save in his profile; however, this power is really only useful when given to a epistolary librarian so you can make use of the force weapon or other power. Also good if you except powerful blast templates coming your way. 3
  • Machine Curse: A useful support power against almost all opponents. 3
  • Might of Ancients: This close combat buff makes the librarian more versatile in assaults, being able to wound tougher enemies and much more likely to damage a vehicle. When paired with Quickening, this makes the librarian a fast and dangerous assault character. 4
  • Null Zone: A powerful debilitating power which can cripple your opponent’s defenses. More useful against some armies more than others, but great against almost all enemy HQs. 5
  • Quickening: Gaining fleet is useless, since the librarian is more than likely paired with a unit, but the Initiative jump gives him an edge in combat—but really only if he’s an epistolary, so he can also use his force weapon. 3
  • Smite: Kill 1.5 MEQ at short range feels like a waste of a power. 2
  • Vortex of Doom: Are you feeling lucky? You must be if you take this power—which is practically guaranteed to kill either you or your opponent; flip a coin and find out. 2

 Librarian Power Average: 3.5

 Chaos Sorcerer:

  • Bolt of Change: Fair ranged power, but will probably never do more than one wound or a lucky penetrating hit. 3
  • Doombolt: Cheap and mediocre, this power will kill 1.5 marines per use. 2
  • Gift of Chaos: Very hit and miss, and probably going to cause more harm then good because it gives your opponent a kill point. Still, the ability to instantly take out a specific model is tempting. 2
  • Lash of Submission: The most useful and unique power in the codex; useful in every situation. 5
  • Nurgle’s Rot: Thins out weak enemies in combat, but will only kill 1 in 6 MEQ. 2
  • Warptime: Gives you a phenomenal amount of offensive rerolls, usable in both player’s turns. Murderous! 5
  • Winds of Chaos: A powerful template which kills half of whatever it hits. 4

 Chaos Power Average: 3.3

 Though the Librarian has more choices, and a greater versatility of options, the Sorcerer has two powers which are simply too good to ignore. However, one shouldn’t overlook the benefits that the Librarian’s powers can do to enhance the effectiveness of his entire army, which in most cases will be just as useful overall. I think this one is too close to call.

WINNER: TIE!

 

EFFECIENCY: Finally, lets take a look at the comparative cost of each of these two units, comparably equipped for their role.

 At about the 100-125pt. level, the Sorcerer wins, even though he will be slightly more expensive. He has better stats, and any of the three good chaos psychic powers will make him a powerful threat. Properly equipped at this level, he’s kicking ass, and will slap the librarian around. The Lash Sorcerer dominates here.

 Once we reach 150pt+, things get much harder to call. The Librarian is using two powers regularly and comfortably at this point cost, and the Sorcerer’s point creep starts to make him look less appealing. To give the Sorcerer two powers, you’re looking at about 175pt, and that’s before any other wargear. Moreover, for this cost you can give the Librarian a better defense than the Sorcerer by selecting terminator armor and a storm shield.

 The Librarian therefore pulls ahead because of the versatility his powers can give his army—while being solid in combat himself. The Sorcerer is stuck just having excellent stats for close combat, which isn’t bad, but he becomes too expensive to justify his cost when chaos lords and daemon princes are better (and probably cheaper). Sorcerers this expensive become even less appealing in larger games, when the Librarian’s powers are affecting more targets while the Sorcerer is stuck with powers that emphasize going after single targets.

WINNER: LIBRARIAN!

RESULTS: While the Chaos Sorcerer will almost always lay a beat down, the Librarian’s versatility is simply too good to ignore. Even with no upgrades he can provide useful manipulation of the battlefield, and his psychic hood is practically worth the point cost itself.

 That’s not to say that Sorcerers aren’t fun or effective HQ choices; I just feel that their slightly better stat line is not as useful overall as a variety of powers which can affect the entire battlefield; although in a close combat duel between Librarian vs. Sorcerer, the Sorcerer will almost definitely win. 

 OVERALL WINNER: LIBRARIAN… until the Sorcerer gets into assault range.

 

 
 

"I'll see you in the assualt phase!"

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(Re)Starting 40k: Starter List Exercise
(Re)Starting 40k: Starter List Exercise avatar

Thursday, June 16th, 2011

Warhammer 40k Logo

Let’s go through an example of writing a 500 point list. If you’re just joining this column, I’d recommend you read the earlier parts (Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3) to catch up on starting your new force.

There were 3 guidelines I pointed out in my last article.  You should consider these points whenever you tweak a list:

  1. Consider what’s already in your army.
  2. Consider the point value of a unit or upgrade, in relation to your whole list as well as other options your codex gives you.
  3. Consider how you plan to win with every unit.

To recap, I want to hit 500 points, starting with the mandatory HQ and two Troops choices:

HQ:
Company Command Squad

TROOPS:
Alpha Platoon 
   Platoon Command Squad
   Infantry Squad
   Infantry Squad
Beta Platoon
   Platoon Command Squad
   Infantry Squad
   Infantry Squad

What does this army need?  Some direction!  I see a blank canvas of infantry squads, bristling gunlines waiting for a purpose.  We need to consider a few problems: killing infantry, killing tanks, and taking objectives.  That is, after all, how you win games!

Killing Infantry

We’re going to devote one entire platoon to killing infantry.  In a 500 point game, most armies can’t afford to field a ton of transports, walkers, and tanks because they’re also required to take 2 Troops and an HQ unit.  The Imperial Guard can merge squads, allowing you to consolidate potential kill-points (KP’s) for missions where no objectives are on the table.  Likewise, a 20-man blob squad can require a lot of firepower to take down.

If we’re going to move this blob squad around, they won’t be able to use heavy weapons.  A good idea for squads that will roam around is assault weapons: grenade launchers and flame throwers.  I’ll opt to equip both infantry squads in the platoon with flamers, allowing them to get up close and personal and not be hindered by their poor ballistic skill.

Of course, Guardsmen aren’t infallible.  In order to protect this squad I’ll want to keep their Platoon Command Squad (PCS) moving with them, to help them along with orders.  As they’ll be supporting an assault-oriented “hammer” squad, it makes sense to equip the PCS with laspistols and CCW’s, instead of the standard lasgun.  I’m also going to throw in a Commissar with a power weapon, to ensure that the squad always gets to roll at a high leadership and gets a “free” reroll.  Let’s review our objectives:

  1. What else is in my army? Right now just plain infantry, so it’s ok to specialize this platoon.
  2. What kind of points are we talking about? We’ve only added 55 points to our army, but given it some serious teeth in terms of holding objectives or dealing with enemy infantry on a 500-point game’s small board.
  3. How will I win? By burning them, or by squatting on an objective and using orders to keep morale and cover saves up.

Killing Tanks

At 500 points, you likely don’t have to worry about seeing too many tanks.  Still, you want to be prepared for transports, walkers, or “that guy” who does bring a tank.  Plus, a lot of weapons designed to kill light vehicles can work in a pinch for killing infantry!  I’m going to shape the other two squads into anti-tank squads, giving them both an autocannon.  I’m a big fan of the autocannon, because it gets a couple shots (which is important with BS3) and has relatively high strength and low AP.  It’s great for popping Dreadnoughts, Transports, and more.

I’ll also add a Scout Sentinel, with an autocannon, to keep in reserve.  This allows you to outflank, so you can show up on a side table edge and take potshots at exposed rear and side armor.  You can also tie up weak infantry (be careful for hidden powerfists!) ad infinitum, if they’re not prepared for it.  Let’s ask the same questions:

  1. What else is in my army? A lot of anti-infantry stuff.  Adding 3 autocannons gives some serious punch against transports and walkers, but we have to be careful because as of now we only have one vehicle, and that will likely draw the ire of every high-strength weapon pointed our way.
  2. What kind of points are we talking about? This adds another 65 points to our tally.  The Sentinel is a big investment at almost 10% of our list, but can be our only means of silencing enemy artillery or tying up hordes.
  3. How will I win? These units buy time for your objective-grabbers to get into position, as well as keeping enemy units honest by denying big shooting lanes.

Grabbing Objectives

This problem must be solved in two respects: using troops to grab your own objectives, and using fast or resilient units to contest enemy-held objectives.  We have a whole platoon dedicated to grabbing and holding objectives, and your defensive-minded squads should hold the ones in your own territory.  We even have a Sentinel, who can sweep in from a flank and contest an objective or keep scoring units tied up.

We need more mobility though, so I want to add a Chimera.  Equipping it with a pair of heavy bolters, as well as a pintle-mounted heavy stubber, gives us a pillbox for our second PCS.  It also gives them the ability to zoom across the table and grab or contest an objective late-game, if needed.

  1. What else is in my army? Having another vehicle out there could help draw fire from the Sentinel.  We’ve got plenty of anti-infantry and anti-tank, and the Chimera fits the soft spot in between, with a bunch of S5 shots and some S4 shots that can be dealt out on the move.
  2. What kind of points are we talking about? 65 points buys us one of the best transports in the game, and it really shines at this point level.  You can move a squad around, effectively increase their command radius, and dish out 3 S4 and 3 S5 shots on the move.  Talk about a bargain!
  3. How will I win? By moving a PCS to where they’re needed, adding order support or just loads and loads of firepower.

Wrapup

Altogether, we’ve walked through a 185-point addition to our list.  This puts us at a sparkling 495 points, giving you 5 points to add some zing to a command squad, or upgrade another unit as you see fit.  Hopefully this process has shed some light on how to think through your changes, and I can certainly assure you that it gets more complicated and more rewarding as you move on to higher point values!  Check back soon as I show you how I’m going to paint up this little force.

Our final list:

HQ:
Company Command Squad

TROOPS:
Alpha Platoon 
   Platoon Command Squad (LP/CCW)
   Commissar
   Infantry Squad (Flamer)
   Infantry Squad (Flamer)
Beta Platoon
   Platoon Command Squad
      Chimera (Heavy Bolter, Hull Heavy Bolter, Heavy Stubber)
   Infantry Squad (Autocannon)
   Infantry Squad (Autocannon)
FAST ATTACK:
Sentinel (Autocannon)

Discuss the list and point allocation in our forums

My Fall From Grace
My Fall From Grace avatar

Tuesday, June 14th, 2011

Recently, a couple of friends and I entered a friendly league at a local games store. This was the first time I would ever compete against people I did not know, and so I thought this would be a good chance to flex my skills against players whose tactics I wasn’t familiar with and armies I didn’t have a lot experience competing against. No pressure, just pay your 30 dollars, have some fun, and hopefully make some new friends. I wasn’t focused on pure competition. I wasn’t expecting to win the whole bottle of wax. But I was hoping I could make a good show of it, scratch out some wins here or there, and feel good about my play at the end. One thing I did not prepare for was a losing streak. One that has challenged my typically “good sport” decorum.

It started well enough. I forced a come from behind draw with a Tyranid player in the opening game, and won the second week over a fellow Eldar combatant. And then, something happened. Suddenly, many of the same tactics I’d employed the first two weeks were resulting in dead ends. My vehicles were getting blown to smithereens far too quickly, my speed and psychic powers were rendered ineffective by savvy foes and my shooting hit a bad luck streak, a frustration that anyone reading this forum I’m sure is familiar with.

The losses started piling up. But it wasn’t just the losses; it was the way I was losing them. Every game seemed to start the same way. I would jump out to an early lead, hold it for a little over half the game, and then fold. This isn’t uncommon for the Eldar to do, I understand, but if not for the blasted 7th turn, I would have dropped at least two more of those games into the W column. I lost multiple games by only a kill point or two. I made sure that everyone else in the league recognized these facts.

Therein lies a challenge. It’s a time tested one. How to be a good loser. I know I’m not this bad at the game, I tell myself, so what’s going wrong? It’s easy to get wrapped up in your own bitterness, poor decisions, and bad luck without properly recognizing the stellar play of your opponent, which is really what being a good loser is all about. It’s curious to me that more Warhammer players aren’t also sports fans since so much of the game is so highly competitive; the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat so much a draw of the hobby.

If this losing streak has taught me anything, it’s the value of being magnanimous in defeat. It’s okay to talk with your victorious counterpart about things you might have done differently, but take a minute to recognize their good play, a move they made that greatly altered your strategy or was a clever use of their resources. It’s likely they will do the same in return. Shake hands, and come back next week ready to play. Every closer in the major leagues will tell you that in order to properly do their job, it’s important to have a short memory, and not get hung up on their hang ups. And like most things, as it is in baseball, so it is in life. So, here’s to hoping I’ll break out of this slump, and if I don’t, here’s to hoping I won’t be a huge crybaby about it.

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Making a Gaming Table
Making a Gaming Table avatar

Thursday, June 9th, 2011

So you and your friends have your armies and now you are ready to play. The next step is to get yourself a gaming table (unless you game at your local store). Games Workshop has them for sale, but they are at a large cost. If the price is to steep for you, I have some good news: you can make one relatively inexpensively. The first step is to get a gaming mat. Typically you can get these mats online or at your local hobby shop. Some come with flock on them and there are actually some that have static grass.

The size of the mat is important because it needs to be bigger than your table. The typical Warhammer table is 6 feet by 4 feet. These mats typically cost somewhere in the range of $30 dollars, but they look very good and will make your table feel authentic.

So now you have your mat, what’s the next step? Now you need to get your board. The best place to find one of these is to go to your local hardware store or lumber yard. I bought a simple construction grade plywood that only set me back about $20 dollars and the clerk will cut it to the size you request. Make sure that the plywood is at least an inch thick (the board does have to support a lot of weight after all). For those curious, this is what the wood I purchased for my table looks like.

Once you’ve got the board you are ready to assemble your table. Your best bet is to get a friend to help you with this part. You can do it alone, but it’ll be easier with more than one person working on this. You’ll need a staple gun and some good sized staples. Drape the mat over the board and make sure that all ends can be stretched to the bottom of the table (you can trim the mat in places if you need to – good judgment is important). Pull the mat taut and staple it to the sides of the boards (the one inch thick part). Your table should look like this:

Your table can be placed on any normal folding table. It’ll work perfectly because it’s flat and you can place your terrain on it and have some really great games on your super cool looking board. Huzzah!

Thanks again!

-Crazyjake

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(Re)Starting 40k: Your First List
(Re)Starting 40k: Your First List avatar

Tuesday, June 7th, 2011

Warhammer 40k Logo

Welcome back to (Re)Starting 40k.  If you’ve missed the earlier posts (post 1 and post 2) of mine, I’d advise you take a look at why 40k is worth getting in to, and how to pick an army to start with.

With that in mind, you’ve got to start your army somewhere.  Due to the force organization chart outlined in the rulebook, I’d advise you start with at least an HQ unit and two Troop units.  The goal is to hit a nice, round 500 point mark.  This may require the addition of a few more units or upgrades for some squads, depending on the race you’ve chosen.  Necrons, for example, can’t fit much beyond their HQ and two minimal-sized Troop squads in 500 points.  Imperial Guard have a bit more wiggle room, however.

Whatever you want to add to your list, whether you’re trying to hit 500 or 1500, I would advise that each modification to your list answer the following questions:

  1. What else is in my army? This is one of the most important questions to ask yourself.  If you’ve already got 3 Heavy Bolters and you’re trying to hit 500 points, maybe your remaining points are better spent on some anti-tank weaponry.  Don’t just look at heavy weapons: think about special weapons, which ranges you can cover, and at what ballistic skill.  Most armies will reward you for specializing squads, so consider how many squads you have kitted out to kill hordes of light infantry, light vehicles, heavy vehicles, and so on.
  2. What kind of points are we talking about? This question should address the cost of the unit, both itself and relative to the rest of your army.  A 200-point Terminator command squad may be a good idea in a 2000-point game, but be too pricey in a 500-point game.  Likewise, you have to ask yourself how much value the unit gives you relative to your other options.  Imperial Guard Stormtroopers, for example, are just too expensive in my opinion when compared to Veterans who can do most of the same stuff.
  3. How will I win with this unit? Don’t just assume that because a unit fills a unique roll and does it relatively well, that it’s a good addition to your force.  A whopping 2 out of 3 objectives for the standard missions require you to move and grab objectives.  These objectives mean you should think about mobility, and whether a change helps you capture or contest an objective late-game.  The last objective focuses on kill points, which should make you question whether a unit will do more damage than it takes.  You need to do that calculation in terms of kill points as well as regular point costs, meaning that suicide squads can be a wash at best.

You could write a hundred pages about building an army list and still have a lot left to say.  By no means do I consider myself an expert at making a list, nor do I claim that the above three principles are the only things you need to consider.  They are, however, very helpful questions to ask yourself when you’re adding to a list.  Let’s take a look at my first Imperial Guard force, which starts with two troops and an HQ:

HQ:
Company Command Squad

TROOPS:
Alpha Platoon 
   Platoon Command Squad
   Infantry Squad
   Infantry Squad
Beta Platoon
   Platoon Command Squad
   Infantry Squad
   Infantry Squad

This list, which packs 55 models, only comes out to a bit over 300 points.  If you’ve got the Imperial Guard codex handy, take a look at it.  If not, imagine playing against this army.  What does it need?  What can we afford to add in 290 points?  Would we be better off using veterans instead of an entire infantry platoon as one of our two mandatory troops?

It may seem overwhelming, but use the above template of questions to try and determine which direction you’d take this army.  In my next post, I’ll flesh this list out to 500 points and explain my decisions with respect to those three questions.

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Force Org: Fast Attak– Ork Warbuggy
Force Org: Fast Attak– Ork Warbuggy avatar

Thursday, June 2nd, 2011

Fast, lean, and versatile, the ork warbuggy is dear to my heart and plays a very useful role in most of my army lists. As one of the only ork vehicles that can actually accomplish something in the shooting phase, warbuggies find a use in many strategies. Unfortunately, they’re cursed with one of the most laughably outdated models in the 40K universe, so don’t see much use in today’s list.  However, warbuggies can be one of the easiest ork projects to create from scratch, giving you the perfect excuse to put the pedal-to-the-metal.

Let's rock!

Warbuggy Basics

  • Warbuggies are fast and cheap, letting you race up the field alongside your advancing mob’s trukks to provide on-the-fly support, or even mobile cover.
  • Warbuggies are even easier to wreck then trukks, so be expected to loose a few by the end of the game. Squadrons are almost always better, even though you’ll loose a buggy with an immobilized result. The trick is to keep them close to other targets so your opponent will have to choose his target wisely.
  • The three weapon choices available for the warbuggy emphasize different target priority—so focus only on targets you know that the buggy can take down.
  • Keep your buggies moving to take make them difficult to hit in an assault, and keep the pressure on your enemies. Even if your buggies get smoked by missiles, they kept those shots from taking down your boyz!

Advanced Tactiks

  • Pair your buggies with a synergistic unit, especially when it comes to assault units. What you pair them with will depend on their armament (see below)
  • While still better than most orks, the mediocre shooting of the warbuggy makes having a strategy dependant on them is reckless. Think of your buggies as support, rather than essential tank-hunters. Power klaws are still the orks’s best tool for killing stuff.
  • Use a squadron of buggies, rockin’ caravan style form a line in front of vital units. When arrayed end-to-end they make a fast moving roadblock to prevent enemy assaulters from getting to your boyz.
  • While fast, their weapon range is actually limited. If you lurk too far on the flanks or backfield you won’t be doing much shooting, and your buggies will be wasted. Keep them alongside the core of your army.

Skorch 'em boyz!

Wargear

  • Twin-linked rokkits: Honestly, I don’t even consider using buggies with their stock twin-linked big shootas. Rokkits turn a mediocre infantry harasser into something that can actually make a difference in your strategy.  Use your rokkit-buggies to open up transport vehicles so that your boyz—ideally riding alongside the buggies—can charge in the assault phase.
  • Skorcha: Now we’re talkin’. The skorcha upgrade lets you crash through difficult terrain (because of the included wartrakk upgrade) and blast enemies lurking on objectives. A squadron of skorchas can easily wipe out units of infantry, and their speed makes them easier to position than burna boyz.
  • Other upgrades are usually unnecessary, because buggies are “accident prone”, but you might get some milage from the red paint job on a skorcha-buggy, allowing you to get into an optimal template position easier.

 

 

Off the Sprue

Really, Gamesworkshop?

The warbuggy model is…vintage, and that’s putting it nicely. The scale seems wrong, the orks have weird proportions, and they are conspicuously weedy when compared to the contemporary ork models. On the good side, they do have several useful exhaust pipes, engines, and other mechanical bits which might be helpful for conversions—but you’ll get more with a truck sprue then you will with the warbuggy—and at $25 each these models are one of GW’s biggest rip-offs on the shelves.

Now we're talking!

With that being said—warbuggies can be a blast to convert!  My buggies are made from cannibalized part from older buggy models and whatever scrap parts I could find.  The chassis of the buggies were made by from snap-tite kits made by Revell-Monogram. I picked these up at Fred Meyers for $3.99 each!  You can’t beat that price, so I cleaned them out and used them for squadrons of buggies as well as wrecked terrain pieces. 

They come with "Peel and Place" stickers!

Wipe out, ork style.

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