Warpaints Arrival Sale
Warpaints Arrival Sale avatar

April 16th, 2012

The Army Painter’s Warpaints line is now in stock at Chaosmailorder.com. To celebrate the arrival all Quick Tone dropper bottles are on sale at $2.11 (reg. $3.25) and Warpaints colors are priced at $1.94 (reg. $2.99) for a savings of 35%. Peruse the complete line of Warpaints here!

Force Org:HQ — Big Mek
Force Org:HQ — Big Mek avatar

April 5th, 2012

While an ork warboss can stomp, chop, smash, rip, and bite his way through pretty much anything, it’s the big mek that actually ends up winning the orks most of their battles. Exceedingly useful in almost any ork list, the big mek’s combination of war gear and unit synergy make him an almost auto-include for any ork general.

Lookin' for a good scrappin'!

Big Mek Basics

  • Big Mek are incredibly cheap, costing you only slightly more than an unequipped nob before upgrades.
  • A Big Mek can be outfitted to do almost anything, from scrapping in the trenches with the boyz, to being relied on to support your other units with his gear.
  • Big Meks make any ork vehicle better, being able to reliably repair them when they get shot up—which they will.
  • Big Meks have access to the most powerful ork gun in the codex.
  • Big Meks have access to what is unquestionably the most powerful gadget in the ork codex—the kustom force field!
  • The Big Mek can’t go toe-to-toe with other enemy HQs, especially not those with a close combat specialty.

 

Big Mek Builds

Here are some of my favorite Big Mek builds and how I use them. I like creating thematic Mek’s, mostly because it’s fun, but also because an off-the-shelf Big Mek is basically a just an extra nob.

  • Da Power Plant: This is by far the most useful Big Mek build, because it utilizes the excellent kustom force field. With him in your list, your battlewagon spearheads and deff dread mobs suddenly get a lot scarier—shrugging off 50% of the hits they’ll take thanks to the force field’s cover save. Your mobs of boyz get some of that resilience, too, though only a 5+ cover save. The Power Plant Mek doesn’t need much else to be happy, making him a cheap and effective HQ. Make sure you at least start him tucked into a battlewagon—because it extends the force field’s range to the hull of the vehicle!
  • The Nuka: Sporting the wildly erratic—and sometimes powerful shokk attack fun, the Nuka Big Mek is the last word in ork fire support. Plant this Big Mek in an open-topped battlewagon and watch the mushroom clouds appear on the horizon. The Nuka doesn’t need any other wargear to be happy, he only needs distance and a parking spot to make the most of his gun. Keep him protected and your fire lanes clear! The Nuka excels in the few ork lists where you want your enemy to come to you, and is a great addition to a unit of Lootas. Give him a boss pole to keep your big guns a-shootin’!
  • The Scrapper: This Big Mek rocks himself a warbike and burna, joining a warbiker mob as they hunt weak targets. Here the Mek’s specialty is lost somewhat, though he’s cheaper than a similarly outfitted warboss. The Scrapper isn’t especially competitive, but fun for my junk-yard style orks. It’s a good idea to give him a powerklaw just in case the bikers can race around some exposed vehicles to rip ‘em up.

Big Mek's love their toyz.

 

Wargear

The Big Mek is all about his wargear, since by himself he is limited to beating on people with his wrench.

  • Burna. This replaces the Mek’s CC weapon, but remember that the burna becomes a power weapon in any turn that you don’t shoot with it. Sounds good, but not worth the hefty price tag. If you’re going to spend the points, toss down the extra five to get a…
  • Power Klaw. Here we go. The best ork weapon will serve your Big Mek well, just don’t rely on the Mek’s klaw to take down anything essential; it’s more of a hit of convenience.
  • Kombi-weapons. As I’ve said before, kombi-rokkits are a waste of points; the kombi-skorcha however, is 5 points of awesome. Not only is it stronger than most ork guns, the Big Mek’s BS of 2 won’t impact its shooting. A no-brainer for aggressive Meks!
  • Kustom Mega Blasta: A surprisingly good gun for the mek. While it is somewhat expensive, the Mek can shoot it on the move and surprise your opponent. Good for the Power Plant Mek.
  • Mega-armor: Uncompetitive over-kill. A mega-nob is 35 points cheaper, but the mek’s tools can be helpful for getting a vehicle-mounted close combat unit unto the fray.
  • Shokk Attack Gun: Monstrously powerful some turns, and game wrecking others—count on this thing both winning and losing you plenty of games. Although the Strength of the gun varies, the excellent AP means that you’ve got a fair shot of killing any infantry beneath its template.
  • Kustom Force Field: So good that it’s an auto-include in any competitive list.
  • Warbike: These are always useful because they make your Mek much harder to kill—but does the speed outweigh the usefulness of a force field? Warbosses are better on bikes.
  • Ammo Runt: If you’re using the Nuka Big Mek—take an ammo runt. It’ll make the shokk attack it’s most effective. Other a Mek taking aim with a mega blasta will also benefit from one; they’re certainly cheap enough not to make a big impact.
  • Cybork Body: If you’re playing wisely, your Big Mek won’t be tackling anything too scary, so an invulnerable save isn’t as essential here as it is on a war boss. Useful if your Mek is sporting a kustom mega blasta through, since it allows you to protect from errant Get’s Hot rolls.
  • ‘eavy Armor: This armor on the other hand, should be essential. Nothing is worse than losing your Mek due to the explosion of his vehicle!
  • Bosspole: Always a smart buy, but as I’ve discussed before, these are better on nobs because they can’t be picked out by your opponent. Bosspoles are useful on Mek’s only if he’s paired with lootas or burnas.
  • Attack Squig: Fun but not essential. For the points cost you could invest in better upgrades for your other units.
  • Grot Oiler: These gretchin are handy for Big Meks running alongside deff dreads, or advancing in a battlewagon. They’ll help the Mek keep the vehicle in fighting shape easilyl

 

Off the Sprue

The Big Mek has three excellent metal/finecast blisters, each with a slightly different tone. However, like everything else in the ork codex, Big Meks are very easy to convert! Use a nob as your foundation, and gather as many spare parts as you can to make your Big Mek look kitted out for fixin’ or smashin’!

The Empire Strikes Back!
The Empire Strikes Back! avatar

April 3rd, 2012

If you haven’t been paying attention to WHFB news lately, the Empire is getting redone along with the Citadel Paint line on April 7th.  I’d been considering starting an Empire army, and now we have an idea what new toys will be available.  Let’s take a look at what’s coming out this weekend:

Imperial Griffon

Image courtesy of GW.

The new Griffon kit is massive.  You get a 50x100mm base for it, and options to make one of a three Griffons — a generic one for your Empire General, an Amber Wizard on a two-headed Griffon, or the Emperor Karl Franz and his trusty steed, Deathclaw.  The generic Griffon’s gotten beefed up to match the size of the new Imperial breed: T5, S6, and 5 wounds!  This is definitely something to look forward to.

Demigryph Knights

Image courtesy of GW.

What are they feeding those animals down at the Imperial Zoo?  In addition to the enormous Griffon above, the Empire now gets monstrous cavalry in the form of Demigryph Knights.  These guys boast a 1+ armor save and a Movement value of 8, and count as a special choice in the Empire army (Inner Circle Knights).  In addition to the beautiful models, your trusty new steeds confer a trio of S5, armour-piercing attacks, meaning -3 to Armour Saves.

Hurricanum

Image courtesy of GW.

The Hurricanum, just like all of the carts in this release, are a love it or hate it item.  I personally love it, because it adds some whimsy to the Empire line and is a really unique kit.  The rings are rumored to be completely movable post-assembly.  The actual rules are rumored to be even better: additional power dice, +1 to hit in close combat for nearby units, and the ability to create storms.  At the very least, you know you’ll be getting a ton of cool bits with it!

Luminark of Hysh

Image courtesy of GW.

The Luminark is the other “wizardmobile” you can make out of the dual kit.  This means that you’ll be using the horse and cart base for either one, but you’ll either end up with a death ray or planetarium left over for conversion or terrain bits!  The Luminark is reportedly a more defensive unit.  It’s rumored to confer a ward save to nearby units, as well as generating extra dispel dice.  The Archimedes-style lens magnifying array on top is said to function as a bolt thrower of sorts.  It’s worth pointing out that either of these kits can be used as a mount for a Wizard, or as their own rare choice.

War Altar

Image courtesy of GW.

Finally, the War Altar has its own model!  Wait a minute, this looks really familiar.  Can you build this out of the Luminark/Hurricanum kit as well?  No, fortunately there’s no triple-kit.  That would only serve to jack up the prices and leave you with 2 sets of bits for each model you wanted to build.  Instead, GW’s got a separate box that uses the cart sprues as well as the War Altar/Volkmar sprues.  The War Altar is rumored to confer Hatred to nearby units, and boasts a 4+ Ward Save.

And more!

Of course, we can’t forget the half-dozen new characters that GW’s doing in Finecast.  If you were hoping for new Engineers, Captains, Witch Hunters, or Wizards you’re in luck!  GW’s also re-cast a fair number of old metal characters in Finecast, with corresponding price increases.  Stay tuned next week, where we try and take a look into the new Empire book!

Magnetized Movement Trays!
Magnetized Movement Trays! avatar

March 27th, 2012

Movement trays are a necessity in Fantasy.  I originally discounted them as a convenience, a luxury item that I didn’t absolutely need as a 40k player.

Then I played a game.  Even as Warriors of Chaos, where I can have a 12-model unit cost 250 points, I quickly found myself frustrated moving blocks of troops every turn.  Even if you play a static gunline army, any time you want to pivot or move you’ll be annoyed if you don’t have trays.  Also consider that a lack of movement trays makes things like wheeling way more difficult than they should be.

After picking up GW’s modular movement tray set, which I consider to be the most reasonably priced thing they sell, I was amazed.  $10 gets you two 200x200mm trays which are easily cut and even come with some corner/side bars to make proper trays.  I was thrilled, but moving large trays around still presented some hazards for models, especially on steep terrain.  I figured magnetizing would alleviate that, as well as give me an easier transport option.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1/8″ x 1/32″ disc-shaped Rare Earth Magnets
  • A roll of Magnetic sheeting (I got 2 square feet from Michael’s for $10)
  • Some green stuff/Kraftmark ProCreate
  • An Exacto Knife
  • Superglue

Step 1

Here’s the magnetic sheeting I used, it’s called Adhes-A-Mag.  It’s available all over the place (Michael’s, Walmart, etc.) in craft sections, and I think it’s meant for making magnets out of pictures and such:

Take your roll of magnetic sheeting and measure out the footprint of your base.  Remember that this is going on top, so you want to measure the actual footprint of your models and not the whole tray (which includes some of the piping on the sides):

Step 2

Glue the sheet to the tray using superglue.  The original purpose of this particular brand of sheeting was to stick to photos, so you could make your own fridge magnets.  This isn’t conducive to sticking to plastic movement trays, however.  I used Zap-A-Gap superglue around the edges of the magnetic sheet, so that it would stay stuck firmly to the tray:

Step 3

Now we need to magnetize the bases.  This part can be daunting, so take it one unit at a time.  Depending on the weight of the model, you may need 2-3 magnets to get a good grip to the sheeting.  Also remember that some cavalry bases have bars/slots on the bottom, so you’ll need to use your exacto knife (or a small drill bit) to carve out a nice notch for the magnet to sit in.

Ball up a bit of green stuff and stick the magnets to it.  Make sure the magnets aren’t too close together, or they may attract/repel one another.  Finally, make sure that they’re flush with the bottom of the base and that there’s no extra green stuff sticking out!

Final Product

Once the green stuff dries, you should have a rock solid magnetic base.  Even if you stick two models together by the bottoms of their bases, they shouldn’t rip the magnets out.  Now you can consider all sorts of things, like gluing magnetic sheets on the bottom and transporting your trays full of troops in a metal toolbox or something!

vs — Vampire Counts
vs — Vampire Counts avatar

March 20th, 2012

The Vampire Counts are the latest army to be redone for 8th Edition, and they present some unique obstacles when it comes to playing against them.

Know your foe. Vampire Counts bring their own Lore, which is focused on buffing and raising their units.  This means that any casualties you inflict can be wiped clean by magic.  While the Vampire Count core troops are underwhelming, the combination of reanimation and buffs/nerfs make them a viable alternative in combat.  The Vampire Counts have more than just graveyard toys, as their special and rare choices are filled with a variety of frightening beasts and creatures.

With that in mind, the Vampire Counts are balanced around a few key weaknesses:

  • Crumbling. If the General is destroyed, then all Undead units take a leadership test every turn, losing wounds for each point they fail by.  Being able to stem the tide of frightening infantry is important if you don’t want to get stuck in a tarpit.  Keep in mind that unlike Tomb Kings, another Lore of the Vampires Wizard can step up to stop crumbling.
  • No shooting. There are a few specialized scream attacks, but for the most part the Vampire Counts will be silent in the shooting phase.  Don’t worry about having a cannon or other warmachine ravage one of your units.
  • Weak troops. Most Vampire Count troops are pathetic in combat.  Sure, they’ll never run away, and they keep standing back up…but they’re not exactly going to kill you quickly, either.  As intimidating as a block of 50 zombies may be, most units can shrug off that kind of charge.
  • Low toughness. Outside of Crypt Horrors (T5) you have to start buying rares to get a T6 unit.  The ranks are swelling with T3 models, so you likely aren’t going to need much high-strength weaponry.  Leave the cannons at home and find something that can do a ton of damage to T3/T4.

Beware. The list of things to watch out for when you’re playing against Vampire Counts is pretty long.

  • Tarpits. Between spamming Invocation of Nehek and bringing a ton of Ethereal units, it’s pretty easy for Vampire Counts to tie up one of your units indefinitely.  Consider yourself warned — don’t get into a fight that you don’t think you can finish; your 300 point blender may not die, but killing 10 zombies per turn isn’t why you brought it.
  • Redirectors. There are plenty of cheap, little units that the Vampire Counts can throw at you to direct your units around.  Your eyes will be focused on the block of 30 ghouls, or that awesome Mortis Engine model.  Don’t forget the tiny units of bats, Dire Wolves, etc. that will stand in your way and maneuver you into a corner.
  • Fast units. The bulk of Vampire Counts units are slow, but they have a few fast options, including some which can fly.  If you get pinned down by tarpits or redirectors, expect to see a menagerie of scary things emerge from cover: Vargheists, Varghulfs, cavalry, and more.
  • Vampire Magic. The Lore of Vampires can provide rerolls in combat to hit, and to wound.  It can move friendly units around.  They can also bring Death and Shadow, so be prepared for direct damage and a vortex or two as well.

Tactics. We’ve got a pretty good idea of what a Vampire Counts gameplan might look like, so let’s bring it all together.

  • Nullify the casters. Lots of Vampire Counts armies rely on their casters, and many will spam a lot of low-level casters just to get extra Invocation of Nehek’s out, standing up more and more models.  If they stay dead, and aren’t getting free re-rolls in combat, the army isn’t that scary.  Don’t forget that the Lore of Vampires attribute can heal wounds on characters as well.
  • Bring magic attacks. This can’t be overstated.  If you’ve got a 500-point deathstar with no magic attacks, you’re going to feel really stupid when a 50 point Ethereal model holds them up for the whole game.  They’ve got Ethereals in spades — cavalry, characters, and more.
  • Bring leadership. Everything causes Fear or Terror.  They’ve got spells that will reduce or do damage based on  your Leadership.  They’ve even got scream attacks and such that will do damage based on beating your Leadership.  Keep your General alive, and keep your BSB safe.
  • Focus fire. There’s a lot of moving parts in the Vampire Counts army.  Mortis Engines can provide regeneration.  Corpse Carts can provide ASF, or reroll Invocation of Nehek dice.  You’re not going to do any good by partially damaging a big scary model and taking down a unit of Ghouls to have strength.  You’re better off feeding the Ghouls for a turn, and finishing off the Terrorgheist or Varghulf.  Or wipe the Ghouls out completely, and let the others live for another turn.  Because of their heals and buffs, there’s no sense in picking a fight if you don’t plan on finishing it fast.

List Building Orks – “Dread Stompin’!”
List Building Orks – “Dread Stompin’!” avatar

March 15th, 2012

To kick off my new blog theme I’ve picked one of my favorite, orkiest, crunchiest lists: “Dread Stompin”! This lists uses big mobs of boyz and more dreads than your opponent could ever hope to melta.

Start your stompin'!

HQ

This list’s heavy hitting power is provided by its numerous dreadnaughts, so you won’t need a warboss to dish it out. Instead, this list needs some utility to support your mobs of exposed models—enter the Big Mek. When positioned accurately, a big mek can provide almost everything in your army a cover save, which can make all the difference in keeping your dreads intact. Not only that, but big meks allow us to take even MORE dreads as troop choices! I’ll take two please!

- Big Mek (85)

kustom force field

- Big Mek (85)

kustom force field

Elite

Elites really only come into play at the 2000 point level, since the big units that follow are usually more than many armies can handle anyway. In bigger games though, you’ll want some extra hitting power—but what to take? Lootas are always good, but won’t have clear line of sight to anything because of our dreads and mobs of boyz blocking the firing lanes. We need a threat big enough to draw fire from the dreads, but also strong enough to deliver some monster hits to whatever they charge… time for some nobz. Their dedicated battlewagon also frees up a heavy support slot (for more dreads!), and serves as a high-armour fire magnet, something your opponent will hopefully sink a lot of shooting into. The nobz are simply outfitted, with one of them packing a big choppa hoping for an immobilization result on a vehicle which will allow your power klaws to rip it to shreds.

One of the big meks is joined to this unit, protecting a kustom force field and extending its range thanks to the hull size of the battle wagon.

- Nobz x 6 (305)

power klaw x2

painboy

big choppa x1

Dedicated Transport: Battlewagon

armour plates

Troop

This army needs a high body count because everything is exposed from turn one. No problem! Send in the horde! Eighty ork models is a ton of troops for your opponent to take on, and even though you’ll probably lose a good deal of these by the end of the game, you have enough units to swarm objectives. Besides, your opponent’s losses will probably be just as devastating when you’re rolling more than 80 dice for a single unit’s attacks! Each team of boyz has a nob with a power klaw, which is all but mandatory. I like giving nobz boss poles as well; even though they don’t always pay-off, the few times they do are always worth it. The boyz are also packing some special weapons on the off-chance that they get a vulnerable target to shoot at. Additionally, since we’ve got 2 big meks, we can increase our dread count even more. Another consideration is the sneaky grot squads, which are great for lurking behind to claim objectives near your deployment zone as your horde smashes across the table.

- Ork Boyz (shoota) x20 (165)

Nob with power klaw and boss pole

Big shoota x2

- Ork Boyz (shoota) x20 (165)

Nob with power klaw and boss pole

Big shoota x2

- Ork Boyz (shoota) x20 (175)

Nob with power klaw and boss pole

rokkit x2

- Ork Boyz (shoota) x20 (175)

Nob with power klaw and boss pole

rokkit x2

- Gretchin x10 (40)

Runtherd x1

- Gretchin x10 (40)

Runtherd x1

- Gretchin x10 (40)

Runtherd x1

- Deff Dread (105)

Additional close combat weapon x2

- Deff Dread (105)

Additional close combat weapon x2

Play it safe! Use the buddy system to find synergy between your units.

Fast

One of the holes in this list is its anti-tank, at long range anyway. Dreads can reliably rip open vehicles once they get close enough, but for this list to benefit most from its combination of hordes, grotzookas, and multi-attack dreads, you’ll want to pick off a few transports prior to getting within charge.

- Warbuggies x2 (70)

twin-linked rokkit

- Warbuggies x2 (70)

twin-linked rokkit

Heavy

This is what this list is all about. We’re going to go full dread to maximize the amount of killing you can do. A mix of dreads and kans is best, that way you can balance close combat prowess with model count and ranged support. Deff dreads are always better utilized for their assault power, so get outfitted with additional close combat weapons. While it might be beneficial to give the killa kans’ rokkit launchas to take advantage of their improved BS, grotzookas are much more useful in the long run. Grotzookas give you more shots, and are devastating against infantry.

- Deff Dread (105)

Additional close combat weapon x2

- Killa-Kan x3 (135)

grotzooka x3

- Killa-Kan x3 (135)

grotzooka x3

Taktics

Dread Stompin’ is a fairly simple list to play. Basically, you go forward. The biggest consideration is the placement of your big meks, which must be set up to protect your dreads from anti-vehicle fire. The hordes of boyz are harder for the forcefields to effect because they take up so much space. However, if your dreads are leading the way, then the boyz will benefit from cover so long as they’re behind dreads. The boys don’t care if your opponents get a cover save, because none of their weapons have significant AP anyway. The grots should hide behind the boyz, so matter how you look at it, pretty much everything in the army gains cover for the first turn or two. The key here is to never let anyone in it too far away from backup. Orks are pretty tough, but they do die very quickly, the same goes for dreads. Have your dreads use the buddy system, so that even if your opponent can take one in a fight it’s very unlikely that they’ll be taking two of them down.

This is only what I could fit into a single picture-- using a panoramic app for my phone's camera!

Dread Stompin’ List Overview – 2000pt.

- Big Mek (85)

kustom force field

- Big Mek (85)

kustom force field

- Nobz x 6 (305)

power klaw x2

painboy

big choppa x1

Dedicated Transport: Battlewagon

armour plates

- Ork Boyz (shoota) x20 (165)

Nob with power klaw and boss pole

Big shoota x2

- Ork Boyz (shoota) x20 (165)

Nob with power klaw and boss pole

Big shoota x2

- Ork Boyz (shoota) x20 (175)

Nob with power klaw and boss pole

rokkit x2

- Ork Boyz (shoota) x20 (175)

Nob with power klaw and boss pole

rokkit x2

- Gretchin x10 (40)

Runtherd x1

- Gretchin x10 (40)

Runtherd x1

- Gretchin x10 (40)

Runtherd x1

- Deff Dread (105)

Additional close combat weapon x2

- Deff Dread (105)

Additional close combat weapon x2

- Warbuggies x2 (70)

twin-linked rokkit

- Warbuggies x2 (70)

twin-linked rokkit

- Deff Dread (105)

Additional close combat weapon x2

- Killa-Kan x3 (135)

grotzooka x3

- Killa-Kan x3 (135)

grotzooka x3

Force Org: Troop – Grechin
Force Org: Troop – Grechin avatar

March 8th, 2012
As 40K’s most sniveling, puny, weak, ineffectual, and expendable unit, gretchin never seem to catch a break. They are the first unit that gets laughed at when put on the table—and the last to get killed in a fight. Good, I wouldn’t have it any other way, because even modestly-sized throngs of these shrieking goons go a long way in winning the orks objective games.

It's a hard-grot life.

Gretchin Basics:
  • Nothing is cheaper than gretchin. Groups of them are laughably cheap, making them a great points dump for games at any points level.
  • Gretchin have the worst stat of any infantry model in the entire game! Hurray! This means that no one pays any attention to them. My gretchin routinely slink around the battlefield, dodging wreckage from my exploding vehicles and snagging objectives.
  • Like most ork units, gretchin succeed most when you’ve got a lot of bodies to throw into the mob. You don’t want them fleeing from ranged fire, because they’re likely to break (and fail the rally check).
  • The gretchin’s grot blasta won’t be taking down anything tougher than a guardsmen, so don’t count on them helping much in combat.., unless you’ve got thirty of them shooting.
Advanced Tactics:
  • Gretchin are the ork codex’s ultimate objective holder; squat a big group of them in cover and have them go to ground and your opponent will have a very difficult time dislodging them.
  • Gretchin also make excellent bodyguards for vulnerable units like lootas. Pair a group of gretchin with your lootas to grant them a cover save and form a defensive line to keep assaulters from your precious dakka.
  • Another option is to give your gretchin a bodyguard, such as a deff dread or group of killa kans. These heavy hitters can park on an objective with the gretchin, charging oncoming attackers to keep your scoring unit safe.
  • Opponents like to laugh at gretchin, and that’s fine. Snicker with them and then never mention the gretchin again; see if your opponent even thinks about them. If you can keep enough pressure on with the boyz, your grots will live the entire fight and hopefully snag you an objective or two.

It bites... in a good way.

War Gear
Gretchin have laughably bad wargear, but the runtherd has some fun options.
  • The first is the squig hound, which lets you eat gretchin to reroll failed morale saves. For a unit with such a sucky leadership, this is very important. However, if you want the gretchin to stay in the fight, you’ll have to have lots of them, because the squig hound has a big appetite.
  • The runtherd’s grabba stick is fun, but will only save you one gretchin in the long run.
  • The grot-prods are an interesting choice, allowing the runt herd the opportunity to wound even monstrous creates, but taking it dilutes the purpose of taking greatchin. The rest of your unit won’t be able to take down anything tough, and the runt herd’s two attacks isn’t likely to do much either. I’d put the points towards something that is more useful, such as a big shoota for the boyz.
Experimental Rulz
I really like gretchin, so much so I wish Game Workshop writers had spent more time to give us ork players something interesting to do with them. For that reason, I’ve developed some optional rules to replace the worthless “It’s a Grot’s Life” rule that gretchin come with. Minefields? Get out of here! These rules give your gretchin some bite, and gives you an opportunity to have a little fun with these scrawny green skins.
If you and your opponent agree, you might swap out “It’s a Grot’s Life” with one of the following:
  • Fixerz: There isn’t any mechanical device that a mob of gretchin armed with wrenches can’t beat into operation.
    • These gretchin carry mek’s tools. The entire unit may attempt to repair a vehicle during the beginning of their shooting phase as if they were a single mekboy.
  • Shankers: Like all greenskins, grot’s love sharp things. These gretchin are experienced knifers, carrying a variety of nasty stabbing implements that they use to shank the feet, knees, and groins of their enemies.
    • These gretchin carry close combat weapons instead of their grot blastas (meaning they lose their shooting attacks). Their close combat attacks gain the rending quality.
  • Scrappers: Nothing with moving parts is safe from these gretchin, who manage to break everything their filthy hands can get a hold of.
    • When assaulting a vehicle, each roll of 6+ to penetrate the armor of a vehicle causes a glancing hit. For each roll of 1 to penetrate the vehicle’s armor means that a gretchin model is removed as a casualty as it is sucked into the engine, electrocuted, or otherwise ground up in its attempt to wreck the vehicle.

    Now THAT'S "heavy support"!

Off the Sprue
Gretchin have a very fun sprue, one which is surprisingly inexpensive for a GW product. The 10 grots in the box are pretty much set in their poses, but they are quite excellent poses with lots of personality. The extra heads allow you some personalization, and are great leftovers for when the occasional goblin pops up in a modeling project. The runt herd is a fun unique-looking ork, with a pot belly and cool weapon accessories. These weapons—as well as his squig hound—are great bits for extra projects.
If you’re looking to get hordes of gretchin, look to Warhammer Fantasy’s goblin horde, and gnoblar horde. You’ll amass more models per kit, but will need to convert them to make them fit the 40K feel.

vs — Ogres
vs — Ogres avatar

March 6th, 2012

One of the players in our circle runs Ogres, and I wanted to address some of the specific challenges you’ll face against them for this week’s VS article.

Know your foe. The Ogres are a tough bunch of brutes, almost entirely classified as Monstrous Infantry.  They bring a large number of wounds and attacks per model, meaning that you effectively need to deal 3 wounds to diminish any attacking power.  While they have a number of ranged options, their real strength comes from close combat, where they can absorb a ton of damage and dole out even more.

There are a few weaknesses that you must use to your advantage if you want a fighting chance against Ogres:

  • Initiative. Leave those Great Weapons at home; Ogres strike at I2. Unless you’ve got a similarly terrible Initiative, you’ll be going first and will have the ability to inflict maximum damage before they can hit back.   This, combined with the general expense of their units and relatively small unit size, means you can start thinning ranks.
  • Low Leadership. The Ogres have a lot of Leadership 7 in their army.  While their Lords can boast LD9 and many Heroes LD8, the Ogre player will likely have to keep flankers outside of his Leadership bubble.  This makes them prime targets for Fear, Terror, or other psychology-based warfare.
  • Outrank. Because of the big base sizes for Monstrous Infantry, and their relatively high cost, you should have no problems outranking the Ogre units.  If Ogres can claim steadfast against you, something’s probably gone wrong.
  • Multiple Wounds. Much of the expense of Ogre units is based on the fact that they’re getting 3+ wounds per model.  Anything with killing blow or multiple wounds can negate this advantage, making them just a group of slow, T4 lightly-armored models.

Beware. Ogres have a handful of nasty tricks available to them, and you’ve got to keep these in mind when you’re up against them:

  • Charging. Ogres get nasty bonuses for charging.  They get impact hits, but can add their rank bonus to the strength of the impact hits.  Additionally, if they roll high enough for the charge distance, each model gets d3 impact hits!  If you’re ever in doubt, charge them before they charge you.
  • Mournfangs. These cavalry units are pretty renowned.  There’s a ton of stomp attacks to go around, plus they can be tough to kill with a 2+ save and a parry.  Make these a priority, because they’re fast with 8″ movement and hit like a pile of bricks.
  • Gnoblars. Yes, they’re Goblins.  But they’ve also got trappers that can make charging them an irritating prospect.  Gnoblars will often be used as a fence to make you take dangerous terrain checks.  They’re very effective as redirectors because they can give the Ogre player a turn to tweak his lines, and may even inflict a few casualties.
  • Lore of the Great Maw. Ogre magic may not be as fearsome as other races, but don’t discount it entirely.  Their Lore is filled with buffs to make their troops even tougher in combat.  Don’t forget that they also have access to Fire, Heavens, Beasts, and Shadow, so there’s a variety of magic to face.

Tactics. When you’re at the table, try to keep some of these tricks in mind:

  • Schoolbus formations. Ogres sit on 40mm bases.  Keeping in mind that they only need 3 for a rank, or 6 for a horde, you’re looking at 120mm or 240mm of frontage, respectively.  Depending on whether your army uses 20mm or 25mm bases, you’ll likely be better off avoiding the horde formation so that you can stack up extra ranks against your opponent.
  • Strength 5. Generally speaking, many Ogre units won’t be getting better than a 5+ armor save.  Aside from parry saves (which even mounted units get with Ironfists) there’s little in the way of ward saves.  Don’t bother spending money or extra power dice to get to high strengths above 6.  S5 will erase most saves, but will generally wound on 3′s.
  • Unique shooting. Ogres have a few ranged units that are pretty distinct from other armies’ options.  The Leadbelchers, for example, can fire a flurry of d6 S4 shots.  Ogre Pistols can throw out 2 S4 armor piercing attacks at the same 24″ range.  Outside of 24″ though, your only real threats are the warmachines, which are technically classified as Chariot stonethrowers.
  • Leadership battle. Make sure your Leadership infrastructure is up to the challenge — you’ll be facing Fear units in every combat.  Either make sure that you’ve got a general/BSB nearby, or bring your own Fear and Terror-inducing units in response.  Ogres don’t do too well with Terror.

vs — Tomb Kings
vs — Tomb Kings avatar

March 5th, 2012

Tomb Kings present a unique foe by bringing a slew of special rules along with them.  While they’re not really considered in the top-tier of competitive 8th Edition armies, they’re very flavorful and can catch you off guard if you don’t know what to expect.

Know your foe. The Tomb Kings have two main classes of units: skeleton-based and constructs.  The former tend to be relatively cheap, adding big blocks of troops to the table.  The latter tend to be scary monsters with staggering toughness/wound/armor save stats.  They don’t really synergize, so Tomb Kings armies tend to be either more defensive and reactionary, or offensive and aggressive.

There are some special rules and weaknesses that make the battle a little easier:

  • Undead. Being Undead means a lot of different things, and a lot of them are limitations.  Tomb Kings can never march, and must always hold as a charge reaction — no fleeing or stand and shoot!  They’re also Unstable, meaning that they suffer a wound for every point they lose combat.
  • Crumbling. Tomb Kings are forced to take a Hierophant, or high priest.  If he’s killed, then the whole army must start taking Leadership tests, suffering wounds for each point they fail by.  Due to the inherent low Leadership of many Tomb King units, this will start to hurt.  Hit the Hierophant.
  • Initiative. The highest Initiative in the army is 3, with many of the models on the table being a 2.  You’ll be hitting first.
  • Armor Saves. Most of the Tomb Kings units don’t have great armor.  Their troops are squishy, their monsters have high toughness and wounds, but aside from the Necropolis Knights you probably won’t see too many armor saves being rolled.

Beware. The Tomb Kings have some tricks up their sleeves, so you’ll want to be prepared for them:

  • Undead. Remember how I said it means lots of things?  It also means they’re Unbreakable and cause Fear.  These guys will never run away from a fight.
  • Arrows of Asaph. Poor Ballistic Skill is irrelevant; the Tomb Kings don’t count any penalties or bonuses when rolling to hit with ranged weapons.  This means that their hordes of archers will always hit on a 5+, no matter what trickery you try.
  • Casket of Souls. This is a nasty Rare choice, because it adds d3 dice to the power pool.  It also contains a bound spell that makes a target take a Leadership test on 3d6, suffering wounds for each point it fails with no save allowed.  Also, the effect can jump into nearby units.  Since it’s a bound spell, they can throw a ton of dice at it to get Irresistible Force, and not care about miscasts.  Oh, and it’s Toughness 10.
  • Entombed Beneath the Sands. This special rule allows a unit to show up anywhere on the table as ambushers.  They’re fine no matter where they land, as long as a misfire isn’t rolled when they arrive.  They can’t assault on the turn they come in, but will surely disrupt your lines.

Tactics. The above bullets paint a pretty unique picture for the Tomb Kings army.  When you’re in a game against them, consider the following:

  • Kill the characters. A lot of the Tomb King army is based on the characters.  Hierophants make the army crumble, Princes/Kings can confer their weapon skill to an entire unit, etc.  By removing these, the Tomb Kings army becomes more manageable.  Remember that most of the characters are Flammable, so bring flaming attacks to score extra wounds.
  • Bring poison. There are a lot of high-Toughness units in the Tomb Kings book.  If you don’t have access to a lot of cannons or other high-strength shots, then consider poison.  None of their rares are lower than Toughness 6, and some of their Specials aren’t exactly soft either.
  • Combat Resolution. Tomb Kings will never flee; they just melt away.  Any time you can add to your CR is killing off another free model.  Don’t worry about negating steadfast, because they don’t need it!  Getting a single rank of cheap troops in a flank can help mitigate a tarpit.
  • Dispel with care. With Casket of Souls, the magic phase can be terrifying.  Remember that anytime they augment their troops, wounds are regenerated.  Also remember that if enough dice are left over, the Casket’s spell is going to happen.
  • Beware the charge. Their Chariots, Sphinxes, and plenty of other units cause a ton of damage on the charge.  Don’t get caught in a bad spot, because those combats aren’t ending until one of you is dead, or you flee.

Force Org: Troop — Space Marine Tactical Squad
Force Org: Troop — Space Marine Tactical Squad avatar

March 1st, 2012

Well, this entry has been a long time coming. Part of me wanted to never do it, but I finally broke down and jumped on board the Space Marine band wagon. Suffice to say that you should read my previous post, “Letting Go of Your Hatred” to learn more about my views on Space Marines. I only decided to make a Marine army of my own once I came up with a theme that would make them unique. Now, after finally finishing the majority of my marines, it’s time to talk tactics and discuss the most iconic unit in the 40K universe.

First turn deep strike without mishap-- sounds like a marine rule to me!

Space Marine Basics:

  • Space Marine armies have a huge advantage in their core troop choice. They may not be the best in close combat, but they are exceptional generalists, able to take on anything with a very good chance of success.
  • No other troop choice can do as much as a Space Marine. They can mow down light infantry with their bolters. Weather heavy fire from all but armor piercing shots. Take down vehicles with grenades. Launch assaults into cover without losing their high initiative. Outlast anything in hand-to-hand combat thanks to their high stats, armor, and immunity to sweeping advances. In short—if something needs to be done, Space Marines have a good shot at doing it.
  • Space Marine players are spoiled by their troops excellent stat line, which makes them a match for any of their competition.
  • Tactical squads are expensive, with full-sized squads taking large chunks out of your point budget.
  • Dedicated transports are a marine’s best friend, and they have access to some of best—and cheapest transports in the game!
  • Tactical squads easily benefit from useful synergy bonuses provided by their HQ or other unique models… as if they weren’t good enough already.

Advanced Tactics:

  • Tactical squads are generalists, but are especially good at shooting and surviving. Their low unit size and low number of attacks makes them mediocre in close combat, though their excellent stat-line means that they aren’t helpless.
  • Tactical marines are one of the few units in the game that are OK without direct support, but they are much stronger when they receive it. Consider pairing your unit with a predator, land speeder, or other unit to create synergy on the field. This will spread your enemy’s fire and back-up your scoring units against targets they would have difficulty handling on their own (which isn’t much).
  • And They Shall Know No Fear! At first this rule may seem weird, because why would you ever want to FAIL a morale test? The answer is simple: if a retreating tactical squad isn’t caught up in a sweeping advance, they rally automatically, no matter their current model count, move the 3″ rally move, and then get their full 6″ in the movement phase, allowing them (and anything else in range) to shoot at the close combat opponents they just ditched. If this isn’t cheating I don’t know what is!
  • In order to use the full potential of tactical squads you need to get them in 10-man teams; however, their special Combat Tactics rule can be your best friend because it allows you divide your squad to accomplish more.
    • The unit’s heavy weapon can be parked in cover, allowing the assault-team to advance in a transport.
    • The unit can stick close to each other, but separate enough to force an opponent to split his fire.
    • The unit’s damage output is actually increased, even though the unit is smaller, because it allows you to target appropriate enemies with each team’s weapons. No more wasting bolter rounds against a target vulnerable only to lascannons.
    • Remember that you can fire your heavy weapons out of the access hatches of a stationary rhino.

Ten against a hundred-- easy odds for any marine.

War Gear

  • One of the best things about tactical squads is their easy access to special weapons, however, you’ll need to max out the unit’s size to get them.
  • Always go for the free flamer or cheap melta gun—either is too useful not to get, especially since you aren’t giving up that much by replacing a marine’s boltgun.
  • Even better, is the FREE multi-melta, which is the kind of weapon that other armies don’t have anything comparable to. This is the best all around anti-vehicle weapon in the game, and you can take it on a model that’s impossible to pick out of a crowd or wreck with a lucky vehicle penetration role.
    • With the multi-melta, your tactical squad suddenly threatens even the heaviest armor within a 24” radius. Even if you never shoot it, it’s effect on your opponent can foil their strategies.
  • Missile launchers, plasma, and lascannon weaponry is also available, each at a very inexpensive cost. I am not a fan of plasma, but a heavy weapon like a lascannon will put pressure on enemy armor even if you don’t have much heavy support.
  • The space marine sergeant has a handsome set of gear as well. Combi-weapons are always a safe bet, especially the combi-melta or combi-flamer for surer firing against particular targets.
  • Investing in a power fist may feel like a lot for a model with only two attacks, but you should think of them like insurance. It’ll make enemies think twice before throwing their generals into combat with you, since they won’t be able to pick out the sergeant since he is not an independent character. One hit from the sergeant’s fist will kill most HQs, and a lucky shot against vehicles is almost always worth the points.
  • Melta-bombs are typically a “points dump”, since tactical squads have access to tons of melta anyway.
  • The teleport homer is useful only for armies heavy on terminators, but unless the tactical squad is surrounded by enemies then the accuracy of the homer is overkill.

Off the Sprue

The tactical marine boxed set gives you a good foundation for modeling. It comes with numerous special weapons, though none of the heavy weapons that the unit can take. Additionally, there is no power fist for the sergeant, which seems weird to me. However, there are lots of purity seals, alternate helms, banners, etc. to add personality to your tactical squad. While the models are, overall, quite good, the lack of variety in the marine’s arms is very disappointing. Every member of your tactical squad will be holding their bolters at attention. You’ll need to supplement them with parts from other sets to make them dynamic.

I used numerous parts from the Grey Knight kit to create my sergeants and other special characters.

One thing I didn’t expect, is that painting marines was incredibly easy compared to other armies that I’ve worked on. Unlike orks, who have lots of clothes, buckles, and skin, or the chaos marines, whose armor is edged with designs, space marines are all smooth, so they paint exceptionally well. A great first project for beginners!