Monday, December 14, 2009

Mechanicon Report

I had a blast at the Mechanicon in November. It was hosted at a Holiday Inn in West Chester, PA and it was a great time.

This was the first time this event had been run and they got almost everything right.

Here's a brief overview of the positives:
Good facilities, the hotel was nice enough and there was an open bar for a lot of the event. Room rates were also very reasonable.
Relaxed atmosphere, there were time limits for games but they did a good job to make sure no one got screwed because of a game ending due to time.
Excellent scenarios, I was a bit leery of hearing there would be no Kill Points (I think it's a necessary part of the mission structure) but the way they did the missions worked very well and were elegant.
Great terrain, the terrain was very nice. I would have liked to have seen more variety but it was all very nice stuff.
Fantastic prize support, I won Best General and got a lot for doing so.

Basically it was very well run and I only have one suggestion for improvement. I'd really like to see them use the INAT FAQ. I have a lot of problems with it and find some rulings to just be wrong but I've never had a bad game where both players were playing with the same of rules and the INAT FAQ at least guarantees each person the chance to know what all players are going to play by. Thankfully I didn't come into any situations where it mattered but I know of some people who did.

All in all it was a fantastic event. I won Best General with my Daemon army and had 5 good games.

I really liked the missions. Each mission set up a number of objectives each worth victory points totaling 4000 points. At the end of the game you would add up victory points and decide the margin of victory by the margin of victory points. This made it difficult to get max battle points, 20, with most winners getting between 12 and 16 for most of their wins.

Here's the list of what I took:

Herald of Khorne, Chariot, Unholy Might, Blessings of the Blood God
Herald of Tzeentch, We Are Legion, Bolt of Tzeentch

5 Blood Crushers of Khorne, Chaos Icon, Fury of Khorne, Instrument of Chaos
3 Flamers of Tzeentch
3 Flamers of Tzeentch

16 Pink Horrors of Tzeentch, Bolt of Tzeentch
13 Plaguebearers of Nurgle, Chaos Icon, Instrument of Chaos
16 Daemonettes of Slaanesh, Transfixing Gaze

Daemon Prince of Chaos, Mark of Tzeentch, Bolt of Tzeentch

The list did well. I was lucky and got the half I wanted in for the games where it mattered and my reserves came in well. Most games I was able to place Fateweaver in the middle and everything worked out so he could be within 6" of most everything in the first wave. If I could get this formation going the army proved to be extremely strong.

Here's a list of the games I played, opponent, and the mission with some notes about how it went:

Game 1 - Alex Cauldwell
5 Objectives with standard objective placement
Victory Points: 500 per objective controlled, 400 for most expensive unit surviving, 400 for all Troops surviving, 400 for General surviving, 300 for no enemy units in deployment zone
Deployment was Dawn of War

Alex's Ultramarines:

Inquisitor Lord, Hood, 2 Mystics, Familiar

5 Assault Terminators, 4 TH/SS and 1 LC
10 Sternguard with Sergeant w/LC in a Rhino
Callidus Assassin

Tactical Squad, Meltagun, Multi-Melta, PW on Sergeant in a Rhino
Tactical Squad, Meltagun, Multi-Melta, PW on Sergeant in a Rhino
5 Scouts with Camo Cloaks and Shotguns with PW Sergeant

9 Assault Marines w/PW Sergeant
Land Speeder Storm

Thunderfire Cannon

This isn't the strongest list I've ever seen but the combination of the Inquisitor Lord with Mystics and Thunderfire gave me cause for concern. Thankfully Dawn of War and a first turn Night Fight helped me out incredibly.

I got the Daemonettes, 2 squads of Flamers, Plaguebearers and Herald of Khorne in on the first wave. Not what I wanted to have drop in on the first turn.

The Daemonettes were shot up and I lost all but 1. I managed to push forward aggressively with my Plaguebearers going forward and right in a conga line to work on the two objectives to the right and to place my Icon in an aggressive manner. I managed to get in the rest of my army quickly and I was fortunate that Alex misplaced his Thunderfire a bit so as to keep the Thunderfire and the Inquisitor Lord with Mystics very far apart.

The rest of the game amounted to him shooting at the lone Daemonette for the victory points, he never managed to kill her as she would go to ground and hide behind cover for most of the game.

His 5 Scouts in Land Speeder were held in reserve and came in and held up my Plaguebearers for quite a long while. I was thinking it would be a good combat for me to win but I lost 3 in a row and had to move my Blood Crushers down to win the combat so as to spread my Plaguebearers out to capture objectives.

The highlight of the game, for me at least, was the Callidus coming in and attempting to shoot at Fateweaver with her template weapon. I used the Changeling's ability and she failed her test, shot at a Tactical squad, killed 5 models and the rest of the squad failed its test and ran off the board. It was awesome. The rules are a little unclear about whether or not she could have then charged Fateweaver, I let him do it even though I think he couldn't, and she took Fateweaver out without a problem. He's a chump a lot of the time.

At the end I won the game in a pretty big way and earned 16 battle points out of 20.

Game 2 – Rob Baer
Regular Victory Points with destroyed units being worth double victory points (3700 points total)
Keeping all Elites alive (300 points total)
Deployment was Pitched Battle

Rob's Orkish Imperial Guard, which was a great looking army, had two Vendettas, two Manticore, several units of Veterans in Chimeras, and an Inquisitor Lord with Mystics.

This game was rough for me. Rob was a great opponent but this was one of the most one sided games I've ever had. The Manticores wrecked havoc amongst my units and the Mystics only added salt onto the wound. By the end of the second turn I didn't have much of anything left and I quit as the rest of the game would have involved bringing down a unit of Daemonettes on some turn who would have instantly than died. This was a huge loss for me.

I figured I was out of the running after such a devastating game but things worked out so I could claw my way back towards the top.

Rob did a write up for Bell of Lost Soul's found here.

Game 3 – Ben Cauldwell
Capture and Control with the 2 objectives in deployment zones, each worth 1800 victory points
All heavy units surviving gained 200 victory points
Killing enemy's commander gained 200 victory points
Deployment was Spearhead

Ben played Crimson Fists and he had a Chaplain, Assault Squad, 2 Tactical Squads in Rhinos, Sniper Scouts, Dreadnought with Assault Cannon, Las Cannon Predator, Land Raider, and a Land Speeder.

Ben was Alex's brother and another great guy. This was a very close game. I managed to get my proper wave in, Fateweaver with Pink Horrors and Blood Crusher, and managed to outflank Ben. Ben chose to keep his Dreadnought in reserve and this proved to be essential as it managed to tie up my Daemonettes who would have otherwise captured his objective. I was fortunate that my Daemon Prince managed to assault his Land Raider and immobilized it and did the same with his Predator on the following turn otherwise he would have contested my objective. This was a real slug of a fight, though, and I managed to win 2200 points by being mindful of my objective and throwing everything I had at his vehicles after I neutralized his own scoring units. Very close game and Ben was a great opponent. I hope to see him in January at the Adventurer's Guild two day tournament as his brother Alex said they might be going.

Game 4 – Jeff Kandler
Table Quarters with each Quarter being worth 500 victory points
Victory points as normal from rulebook
All fast attack units surviving gained an additional 150 victory points
Deployment was Spearhead

Jeff played Dark Eldar and I'm not so familiar with that army. It took me a few minutes to refresh myself on their equipment so I wouldn't be surprised by anything. I forget what his army looked like but I know he had two units of Wyches in Raiders, two units of Warriors in Raiders, a unit of Incubi with a lord in a Raider and two Ravagers.

This game went very well for me. Jeff kept most of his army in reserve, except for a squad of Warriors in a building on an objective and two Ravagers. I came in with Fateweaver, Blood Crushers, Pink Horrors, and Flamers of Tzeentch in the middle of the board and managed to destroy both of his Ravagers. The Blood Crushers were in area terrain and were poised to overwhelm the Warriors in two turns.

Jeff proceeded to come in with the rest of his army. Turn two saw a unit of Wyches come out of a Raider and charge the Blood Crushers in cover. The Blood Crushers won easily and chased the Wyches down. Jeff did the same thing on turn three and he seemed mighty disappointed that Blood Crushers in cover with a rerollable save from Fateweaver could so easily kill the Wyches. He also charged my Pink Horrors with his Incubi and Lord and I then counter attacked with the Daemonettes who easily won the combat. My Flamers and Herald of Khorne on Chariot mopped up any remaining Warriors. By turn 4 I had destroyed everything he had.

Game 5 – Rich Ditzler
Victory points for 1850 points
Killing all opponent's troops gained 1500 points
Killing all opponent's HQ units gained 650 points
Deployment was Pitched Battle

Rich played a wonderfully painted Vostroyan Imperial Guard army. One of the nicest armies I've seen. I forget exactly what he had but he had a large Platoon with Conscripts and Chenkov, Rough Riders, a unit of Veterans in Chimera, a Hell Hound, a Basilisk, and some other odds and ends. Very well put together.

I ended up going second, thank goodness, and managed to get Fateweaver, Pink Horrors, Daemonettes, and Blood Crushers in. I almost managed to get everything within Fateweavers but the Daemonettes were about an inch outside and ended up dying quickly. Real shame, too, as they're the kind of unit that could have otherwise beat a foot IG army almost by themselves.

I ended up moving forward and taking out tanks where possible. Flamers did a lot of good and killed a squad. The second unit of Flamers ended up killing 6 out of 10 models and charged the remaining 4 just to die in the combat while killing zero of them. That hurt.

Rich was blobbed up in such a way as to make it difficult to get in and do anything. He managed to stall me quite effectively. I got a break when Fateweaver blew up the Command squads Chimera and turned Chenkov into a Chaos Spawn who then charged the Command Squad and won. This was a real bloody fight but I ended up with a fairly strong wind when the game ended on turn 5. Had it gone to 6 or 7 I think I would have had an even more convincing win as I had managed to position things well enough to get Rich's units on the flanks within striking distance.

Rich was a great opponent, though, and runs the Adventurer's Guild in PA. He's running a two day tournament on the last weekend of January and I plan on being there.

With all that being said I managed to win Best General. Prize support was excellent and I was pleasantly surprised I managed to win with an army I thought impossible to go over 5 games. I had 5 great games and met some guys I hope to see at future events. The Mechanicon was a great success and I look forward to going to it again next year. I could see this event growing into the best 40k event on the East Coast.

Be seeing you!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Warhammer Invasion LCG - First Impression

I've had a chance to play the Warhammer Invasion LCG a few times and so far my initial impression is that there is a lot to like about the game.

First of all it is important to explain the distribution format for an LCG. An LCG is nothing more than a regular CCG-type game, such as Magic or Spellfire, but instead of buying packs of random cards from a larger pool FFG releases a $10 pack each month containing a fixed set of cards. This worked fairly well for Anachronism, a horribly underappreciated game, and FFG is using this format for A Game of Thrones, Call of Cthulhu and now the Warhammer Invasion game.

I'll get into the packaging and aesthetics of the game and card design in a different post but I'll just say this: the game looks great.

The game play is simple but not too simple as to be boring. I really like A Game of Thrones but that game is very mechanic and rules heavy (case in point, card effects are different depending on if they are just written on the card or if the effect comes after a colon designating them as a "triggered effect") but the simplicity makes the Warhammer game flow well. After two games my friend Aaron and I didn't have to look at the rules much and we were able to get into the swing of things like we've been playing it for a long time.

The object of the game is to destroy two of your opponent's three zones. While destruction of a zone has no larger game impact outside getting you closer to victory the way the zones are structured makes the game interesting.

Zones are used to determine how many cards a player drawns each turn, how many resources that player is able to use, and what characters are able to attack the opponent and defend a zone. Having a unit of Chaos Knights at your Quest zone, which allows you to draw cards, would let you draw three additional cards each turn and would provide a lot of defense for that zone. You are only able to launch attacks from your Battlefield zone, however, so that unit of Chaos Knights would only provide that draw bonus and defend but wouldn't ever be able to launch an attack. Most cards only provide for a bonus of 1, such as giving you 1 more resource to spend if placed in the Kingdom zone. I like how instead of wasting deck space with Lands or other resource type cards you can instead better focus on characters and other card effects.

Attacking works simply as well. Simply declare which characters are going to attack from your Battlefield to which enemy zone and then the defender declares which characters will defend and you simply resolve the conflict with damage being dealt to the defending characters with any remaining done to the zone. Damage stacks from round to round and a lot of characters have two or more hit points. Deal 8 damage to a zone and it is destroyed. It's very simple.

I also like how each faction has different playstyles. Chaos corrupts units, corrupted units are placed upside down and can't attack or defend, and is able to do different effects based on their target being corrupted or the number of corrupted characters. Empire is capable at moving characters from different zones and gives them a lot of tactical flexibility. Orcs gain bonuses for having damaged characters. Dwarves have a lot of sacrificing and gains a lot of bonuses for developing zones, not to mention having a lot of hit points and other Dwarf like card effects.

The only problem I so far have with the game, and I'm not sure if it's a problem or more with how we've played it so far, is that the game seems to have 4 or 5 turns where player interaction is relatively minor as each player works on building their resources and armies. The game seems to have an exponential growth as with more and more resources and card draw the game ramps up incredibly fast. There are a lot of card effects that kill characters and support cards, however, so maybe it's not a huge issue. More of an observation and a potential long term problem.

The box set includes a starter deck for each of the four factions, rules, and large cardboard realm cards. So far I've played a few games out of the box and it works well as a traditional board game, especially a 1v1 game, out of the box. Since the rules are simple it'd be easier to make a casual game out of this if you were only looking for a good 1v1 board game with a lot of replayability.

So far I'm really enjoying the game. I think it's simple enough for a new player to get into without much trouble while still providing for a deep and engaging game. While A Game of Thrones is my card game of choice, largely due to having a reasonably established competitive environment, I could see getting much more into Warhammer Invasion should it grow as well.

Be seeing you!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Chaos Marine Walker Spam

I've been thinking about making a CSM Dreadnought / Defiler / Daemon Prince list for a while now. I've got all the parts to do it and just need to get around to putting it together and painting it. Maybe for Thanksgiving and Winter breaks after my Daemons are fully done.

Here's the list I'm toying around with:

1850 Chaos Space Marine - Damned Souls and Daemons

Daemon Prince, Wings, Mark of Slaanesh, Lash of Submission
Daemon Prince, Wings, Mark of Nurgle, Warptime

10 Chaos Space Marines, 2 Meltaguns, Icon of Chaos Glory, Champion
Rhino, Combi-melta
5 Chaos Space Marines, 1 Meltagun
Rhino, Combi-melta
10 Chaos Space Marines, 1 Lascannon, 1 Flamer, Icon of Chaos Glory, Champion, Powerfist

Dreadnought, 2 Dreadnought CCW w/ Twin Linked Bolter
Dreadnought, 2 Dreadnought CCW w/ Twin Linked Bolter
Dreadnought, 2 Dreadnought CCW w/ Twin Linked Bolter

Heavy Support
Defiler, 2x Close Combat Arms
Defiler, 2x Close Combat Arms
3 Obliterators

The idea behind this is army is to park the 10 man CSM squad with Lascannon in the back with the Obliterators. They're there to park on an objective and to put down some long ranged firepower. A lot of armies will have a hard time moving 10 Chaos Space Marines supported by 3 Obliterators off of an objective.

The two Rhinos are going to rush forward screening the Dreadnoughts and popping smoke. They're their to capture objectives or to use their Meltaguns to take out vehicles. The 10 man squad has a naked Champion to be sacrificed so the Greater Daemon can come in.

The two Daemons Princes are going to fly forward. Lash will help to get units into charge range and to also clump units together, or closer to other units, for Battle Cannons or Plasma Cannons. The Mark of Nurgle Daemon Prince is there to tear through units, as he is likely to do with Warptime.

The Dreadnoughts and Defilers will follow behind. Hopefully once they reach the enemy most things that can neutralize Walkers, such as Powerfists or Thunder Hammer Terminators, will be dealt with. If so the Walkers will get stuck in with units that will have a hard time wounding them. The Dreadnoughts will have 4 Attacks standing still and the Defiliers will have 5 Standing still. That should be more than enough to wear most opponents down.

I realize this list is a pretty big Rock-Paper-Scissor list and something that I talk about not being fun to play with or against in most situations as the outcome is decided more on the army you're playing against than anything else. That being said, I think this list has a lot of strengths and only a few (although potentially glaring) weaknesses.

First of all, it has a fairly decent firebase to destroy most transports. I realize that Lascannons are out of favor now, for a lot of good reasons, but they should have a decent chance of destroying or otherwise slowing down most transports. This is helpful as it means most foot Meltaguns are going to be out of range until it's potentially too late.

Secondly, it does have a fair amount of Meltaguns to tear apart Land Raiders or other Transports that can rush down the center of the board and deliver Thunder Hammer Terminators or other terrifying assault based squad.

Third, it has some solid objective getters. Rhinos are easy to destroy, I'm always really surprised when people talk about putting units in Rhinos to hold objectives and expect them to never get out and ignore the possibility the Rhino will be destroyed, but any anti-tank shots fired at a Rhino isn't being fired at a Dreadnought, Defiler, or Daemon Prince. I'm okay if they destroy a transport and leave these monsters that can take on squads by themselves alone!

Last, this list has 5 Walkers that are going to be good in close combat and 3 Monstrous Creatures that are also going to be killer in close combat. They're all also fairly fast. These should all put a lot of pressure on an opponent and get there fast enough to get into combat. I also forsee most squads facing at least two of these at any given time.

Since I already have all the parts for this list, 3 Black Legion FW Dreadnoughts and 3 Defilers I got at 70% off at a store closing sale in Fredericksburg, I hope to have this built and painted by January. It depends, though, as I might get distracted with something else. For now I'm putting my Space Marines aside, I'll probably paint a squad here or there but am in no real hurry, and outside of working on my Lizardmen or Ogres for Warhammer Fantasy I think I can get these done. Unless, of course, I happen to see an advance copy of the new Tyranid book and start working on that!

In other news I played Fantasy on Tuesday night. 2000 points of my Daemons, list below, versus Harry's 2250 Skaven. His list was something like: Warlord, 2 Warlock Engineers, big unit of Stormvermin, 2 units of Clan rats, 2 units of Slaves, 2 big blocks of Jezzails, small unit of Plague Monks, 2 units of Giant Rats, and some Ratling guns. It went okay for me but I lost in a pretty big way. I made some big mistakes and I learned a lot. Mostly, I learned that Great Unclean Ones are decent but are probably the worst choice for Greater Daemons. Nurgle magic is very hit and miss, most spells require the target unit to fail a Strength or Toughness test, so even if you do get a spell off there's only a 1/2 or 1/3 chance it'll do anything and the effects are, by and large, nothing to write home about. I'll try again next Saturday I think as I'll have my Bloodthirster painted by then. Fantasy is going to take a while for me to get into and like, I think, but for now I'm having a blast with 40k at least.

Be seeing you!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Getting back into Warhammer Fantasy

One of the great things about Daemons is that they're used in both 40k and Fantasy. Since my Daemons are almost fully painted I figured I should start breaking them out for Fantasy!

I used to play Fantasy a fair amount during 6th Edition with my Lizardman army. I had a lot of fun back then with the game. I then sold my Lizardman army and started playing with Ogres in 7th Edition and that has not worked out so well. I love the stylistic flair of Ogres, and Orcs and Beastmen, but it seemed like those three armies just aren't very playable in Fantasy right now. My experience has been limited but what experience I've had has been frustrating and talking to other people it sounds like they've experienced similar.

While Daemons are fairly balanced in 40k, they're strong and provide for a good game but I'd put them fairly middle of the road in terms of power, they are totally overpowered in Fantasy. That bothers me some but I'm going to try to make a fair Daemon army and I'm also willing to play with composition rules most tournaments around here have been using, such as only allowing Daemons to field 2000 points where most everyone else gets 2250 and Ogres and some other weaker armies get 2500 points.

First, I'd like to make a catalogue of what I own and each items painted status.

Lord of Change (with two heads, used as Kairos / Fateweaver in 40k) - Painted
Great Unclean One (Forgeworld model, not on a base) - Painted
Bloodthirster of Khorne - Unassembled

Herald of Khorne on Chariot - Painted
Herald of Tzeentch - Painted
Herald of Nurgle - Painted
Herald of Slaanesh - Assembled
Herald of Khorne - Assembled

20 Plaguebearers - 15 Painted, 5 unpainted
20 Pink Horrors (inc Changeling, Banner) - Painted
20 Bloodletters (inc Banner, Musician) - Painted
30 Daemonettes - Unassembled

5 Flesh Hounds of Khorne - Unassembled
10 Nurgling Bases - Assembled
6 Screamers of Tzeentch - Painted

10 Bloodcrushers of Khorne (inc Musician, Banner) - 5 painted and based on 40k bases, 5 Unassembled
6 Fiends of Slaanesh - Painted
6 Flamers of Tzeentch - Painted

20 Chaos Spawn - 5 Assembled, 15 Unassembled

I feel I have a good basis for many army types from models I already own. There isn't much more I'd like to get that I don't already have. I plan on basing some unassembled models on Fantasy bases, such as at least 2 or 3 of my remaining Bloodcrushers of Khorne, so that I can better use them for Fantasy.

So far my collection is based on round bases for 40k. Luckily, Gale Force Nine, and other companies, make great movement trays for such a case. I own several of these and they are quite nice and fit the bases perfectly. So far I only own the 5x4 ones and I'm thinking of making bases without figures, based in the way I'm doing model and movement tray bases, to fill in the back ranks for units that are too small to fit the entire movement tray.

I also plan on using the Cavalry movement trays for from War of the Ring for things like Fiends of Slaanesh, which I couldn't imagine using more than 2 of at any given time.

Here's the 2000 point army list I plan on trying out starting on Tuesday.

Great Unclean One, lvl 4 Wizard, Noxious Vapours, Slime Trail, Trappings of Nurgle

Herald of Nurgle, lvl 1 Wizard, Slime Trail
Herald of Khorne, Blood Chariot, Armour of Khorne, Firestorm Blade
Herald of Tzeentch, Spell Breaker

19 Plaguebearers of Nurgle, Musician, Banner, Standard of Seeping Decay
19 Pink Horrors of Tzeentch, Banner, Banner of Change
10 Daemonettes of Slaanesh, Alluress, Musician, Standard Bearer

6 Flamers of Tzeentch, Pyrocaster

This comes out to just under 2000 points. To get to 2250 I'm going to bump up the Daemonettes to 20 and take 3 Screamers of Tzeentch.

This is not set in stone at all. Units that won't work will get replaced, doubly so as they get painted, but I'm going to try to keep my army to things I own already.

I should be getting pictures of my 40k Daemons tomorrow as well as some terrain. I might get a battle report out of it, too!

Have a great weekend!

Be seeing you!

Monday, October 12, 2009

40k Daemons for Mechanicon

I've changed my mind about what army to take to the Mecahnicon.

I've heard that Space Marines, or similar armies, appeared to be the most common army at the Minicon this past weekend. While I'm still new to Space Marines, outside of my old Death Guard army, I realize most other people aren't and I'd rather not be just another guy with a Space Marine army.

This is also helpful as my Daemons of Chaos are fully painted and I've yet to take them to a large tournament. I intended to take them to the Big Waaagh! but personal issues came up and I ended up missing my flight. I've said for a while that Daemons are a terrible army for a 5 game GT styled event as they require a certain amount of luck to win with and it's hard to be that lucky over 5 games. Still, the temptation to play an army I've yet to bring to a big event, them being something different than most other armies, and my being happy with the paint job has made the decision a lot easier.

I've played this army about 20 times in the last 5 months and there's a lot I like about it and a lot I don't. Here's a list of the units I've used a fair amount and my thoughts on them:

Fateweaver: He rocks except for when he dies. He gets killed way too easily sometimes, you'd think a rerollable 3++ would go a lot farther than it does. There are games where he simply won't die, however. There are also games where he'll charge a squad of Guardsmen and die. Even still, he's a huge target and absorbs a ton of fire power. When I can get my army around him, maybe a third of the games I've played, it's unstoppable. Even when I can't do that he has a ton of great shooting attacks and the ability to split up fire means I can use a Bolt of Tzeentch on a vehicle while still Breath of Chaos-ing a unit and unload some extra shooting attacks. Boon of Mutation is hit and miss as well but when it works, such as making Yriel a Spawn, it's game changing. Basically, I couldn't imagine making a Daemon army without him unless I was doing 2 Blood Thirsters and 3 beefy Daemon Princes.

Herald of Khorne: I put him on a Chariot and that's the only experience I have with him. He's incredibly cheap and acts as a mini Daemon Prince. He's done well with me so far but I'm not married to him by any means. I'd be tempted to swap him out for a second Herald of Tzeentch.

Herald of Tzeentch: He goes into a squad of Pink Horrors, he usually makes the 18th model in the unit so I can keep to Tzeentch's number. He provides another Bolt and I've been giving him the Boon of Mutation for when the unit gets caught in combat. I've tried using Breath of Chaos but that makes the unit more aggressive than I'm comfortable with. Unless they're near Fateweaver they end up dying quickly in assault.

Blood Crushers: I've been using a squad of 5 with Icon, Fury of Khorne, and Musician. I'm torn on this unit. I'd say 1 in every 3 games they end up getting misplaced or otherwise slowed down so as to never get into combat. The other 2 out of 3 games they make it into combat and half of the time the game is already won and the other half they really end up devastating my opponent and winning me the game. They're a huge threat, though, and people are scared of them. I like them and will probably use them but they're not a no brainer. Their huge bases makes them coming in a tricky proposition for the first wave but I oftentimes feel they need that extra turn to get into position.

Flamers of Tzeentch: I've only recently started to use these guys but I like them a lot more than I thought I would. They're fairly fragile, being the only 1 Wound Elite choice for roughly the same cost as other 2 Would Elites, I thought they would end up dying before doing anything. Instead it seems most people overlook them as I have a ton of other threats and I'm able to Deep Strike them fairly conservatively before I jump up 12" and use their Breath of Chaos. At this point I don't think I'll ever make a list without at least a small unit of 3.

Fiends of Slaanesh: I like these guys but I think I like them a lot more than I should. They're fast, have a ton of Strength 5 attacks that Rend, and Hit and Run means they don't get stuck anywhere and can get a charge bonus. They're 2 wounds and I can spread the wounds out a little with the Unholy Might model. They're solid and are great against vehicles that don't start with an "L" and end in an "and Raider". They have a huge problem in that they don't have Assault Grenades and most smart opponents hide out in terrain. One round of shooting from a Marine squad with Bolters takes their numbers down considerably and striking last means most opponents will take them out before they get a chance to strike. When they work they're awesome and one of the best units in the game. If they had grenades they would be the best Elites choice for the Daemons book. Without grenades, though, most smart opponents can make them a waste of points. They still might find a place in my army.

Pink Horrors of Tzeentch: I love these guys. I thought they were overpointed and not very effective but after using a squad of 17, Herald of Tzeentch making 18, I've fallen in love with them. They are a terror to face and can make Space Marines and Terminators afraid. They're only Toughness 3 but their 4++ Invulnerable save goes a long way, especially if Fateweaver is nearby. They're good and I'll always fit them into a list that isn't otherwise thematic.

Plaguebearers of Nurgle: I also love these guys. I thought they were underpointed and I think I'm still right. They're surprisingly aggressive in close combat, the 4+ Poisoned Attacks mean they wound Toughness 4 75% of the time, and they can take a ton of wounds and shrug them off. With Fateweaver nearby they are unkillable. I think in 20 games I've only lost the entire unit in one of them. They're ace!

Daemonettes of Slaanesh: I've tired these girls twice in 12 model units. I like them a lot. They're fragile. Toughness 3 and a 5++ Invulnerable means they die to Bolter fire, but they're fast and can hide in cover for a 4+ Cover Save. They also hit like a ton of bricks. Unlike the Fiends which can do a lot of regular wounds, Strength 5 is solid like that, they really rely on getting those Rends. If you were to break them down to Attacks per Points spent they do better than Fiends and they have grenades, although they aren't quite as fast. They're good and I'd consider using them if I could free up the points. I'd feel tempted to throw in a Herald to give them a little bit more punch. They're good, though, and really cheap. I'm tempted to do a Skarbrand / Daemonette army as I've seen how good Genestealers can be when they reroll their hits.

Daemon Princes: I like these guys for a lot of reasons. I've thus far only given them Marks of Tzeentch but I think that's essential as the army needs as many Bolts of Tzeentch as you can find and them being BS 5 only makes them even sweeter. They're a little easy to kill, Toughness 5 with a 4++ Invulnerable Save only goes so far, but they're a huge threat. They can take on most Marine units in close combat and if they're near Fateweaver they're unstoppable. They can also assault vehicles and wipe them out and Daemons really need all the help with vehicles they can get. I like them more than Soul Grinders as they're usually cheaper and more durable as most armies are packing a lot of Meltas these days. If I thought Soul Grinders could get stuck in combat quickly I'd go with them. I've only played against Soul Grinders but I've never had a problem taking them out and making them a waste, at least a Daemon Prince can take a beating and any shots fired at them aren't fired at something else worthwhile.

On the whole I think Daemons have a lot of really good units. The army is also undercosted as a whole due to their deployment rules. It's a peculiar army in that it is really hard to beat if the Daemon player gets a decent first wave and deep strikes well but that they can also lose due to misfortune here as well. It takes a bit of the "game" out of the game but it adds a new element to 40k and I appreciate that.

With all those thoughts, here's the list I'm thinking of taking. I've yet to use this list as is but I've used variations on it recently. The closest variation, and the one I've used the most, replaces the Daemonettes with Fiends. I think the Daemonettes are going to work out better in most cases, but I have 4 weeks to test it out.

Also, the name of the army "Fiends of Fate" came from Doug McNaron as he's running a Pyramid I'm in and I never named my army so he named it for me (without telling me). I like the name, though, so I'll keep it. Thanks Doug!

1850 Daemons of Chaos - Fiends of Fate

Herald of Khorne, Chariot, Unholy Might, Blessings of the Blood God
Herald of Tzeentch, We Are Legion, Bolt of Tzeentch

5 Bloodcrushers of Khorne, Chaos Icon, Fury of Khorne, Instrument of Chaos
4 Flamers of Tzeentch

17 Pink Horrors of Tzeentch, Bolt of Tzeentch
14 Plaguebearers of Nurgle, Chaos Icon, Instrument of Chaos
18 Daemonettes of Slaanesh, Transfixing Gaze

Daemon Prince of Chaos, Mark of Tzeentch, Instrument of Chaos, Bolt of Tzeentch

I hope to have Fateweaver, Bloodcrushers, Pink Horrors + Herald, and either the Daemon Prince or Daemonettes (depends on many factors) come in on the first wave. This still leaves my second wave with a bit of bite in case they come in first.

I need to finish painting up the Daemonettes but everything else is ready to go. I'll make sure to bring my camera to the next game I play so I can take some pictures of the army and do a battle report.

I also finished up painting the Temple of Skulls from GW and it's a wonderful kit. It's also HUGE! I'm not sure how well it'll play in Warhammer Fantasy but I think it'll be awesome in 40k, doubly so as it'll be a great point to attract my Daemons to! I'll be bringing this out with me on Saturday as well so I'll definitely get some pictures.

Thanks for reading this long post!

Be seeing you!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Space Marine Drop Pod Crusade List

I've never done a Space Marine army. Truth be told the last two Space Marine army books did not interest me and the divergent chapters seemed a little one dimensional for my tastes.

The last two armies I painted, Chaos Daemons and a Biel Tan Court of the Young King styled Eldar army, were a lot of fun to paint because each squad had a different color scheme and style. While I enjoy Tyranids, they're my favorite army aesthetic and model wise, they were a bit of a chore to paint as part of their appeal is that of a massive horde of creatures and a unifying color scheme really brings them together. For my Space Marine army I've decided to do something similar to my Chaos Daemons and Eldar in that each squad will be painted differently.

The major background idea behind the army is that it is an army list taking place after the Crimson Fists suffered hideous losses from the Orks. They're a tiny chapter at this point and incapable of committing themselves in any major way. With this in mind I figured that any sort of engagment they would get into would also involve other chapters fighting besides them. This combined with several examples of chapters coming together for a campaign and I feel that I have enough justification, background wise at least, to have a lot of fun in making each squad different.

I also like the idea of the army coming down in Drop Pods. The opening cinematic of the first Dawn of War game is incredibly iconic of how I see Space Marines. I also very much like the Drop Pod model and I've played against Drop Pod armies and they're more versatile and less rock-paper-scissors than I had imagined.

For basing I decided to use the GW 40k basing kit (which I won in a raffle at two years ago at Moe's Toys 4 Tots tournament). This gives each base the appearance of being a battle field. I didn't have enough bits for each base so I made a few others using Genestealer skulls, crushed Ork arms, Ork glyphs, Ork skulls, Tyranid infestation markers, and other bits. While it might look strange that there are body parts and helmets from the Eldar, Sisters of Battle, Chaos Space Marines, Space Marines, Imperial Guard, Tyranids, and Orks I feel that this gives the sense of all out war that past campaigns such as the Eye of Terror or Medusa V imagined.

With all that being said, here's the army list I'm working on. So far it's coming along pretty well, the bases are done and the Dark Angel Vets should be done this weekend, and my aim is to have the army painted in time for the Mecahnicon.

Space Marines - 1850 points

Pedro Kantor

Librarian, Null Zone, Gate of Infinity (Modeled as Dark Angels Librarian)

Ironclad Dreadnought (Painted as a Salamanders Ironclad Dreadnought)
Drop Pod, Locator Beacon

10 Sternguard Veterans, 5 Combi-Meltaguns (Modeled as Dark Angel Veterans)
Drop Pod

5 Terminators, 1 Assault Cannon, 1 Chain Fist (Modeled from the Space Hulk Blood Angels Terminators)

10 Tactical Marines, Meltagun, Multi-melta, Sergeant with Power Fist and Combi-Meltagun (Modeled as Crimson Fists)
Drop Pod

10 Tactical Marines, Meltagun, Multi-melta, Sergeant with Power Fist and Combi-Meltagun (Modeled as Space Wolf Grey Hunters)
Drop Pod

10 Vanguard Veterans, 2 Power Fists, 1 Power Weapon, 2 Storm Shields, 1 Melta Bombs, Sergeant with Power Weapon (Modeled as Black Templars)
Drop Pod

The basic idea behind this army is to deploy the two Tactical Squads and dropping down the Drop Pods with the Vanguard Vets, Sternguard Vets, and Ironclad Dreadnought on the first turn. Depending on the mission and opponent I'll either deploy the Terminators or keep them in Reserve for Deep Strike. There should be enough Melta Guns with the deployed units and the units coming down in Drop Pods to take out most high priority vehicles.

From here I hope to advance the Tactical Squads forward, at least the Crimson Fist squad with Pedro Kantor, to give as many units the +1 Attack bonus from Pedro Kantor. The Sternguard Squad with the Librarian will be able to Deep Strike around using whatever ammo is best for the job (I learned to respect these guys at the 08 Baltimore Grand Tournament when they dropped in front of my Fortuned Avatar and took him out with their Always Wound on 2+ Ammo). The Vanguard Vets will advance and hopefully launch a devastating assault on high priority targets, doubly so if they get the +1A from Pedro being nearby. The Ironclad Dreadnought is there to tar pit units and to contest objectives. AV13 Walkers are fairly difficult to kill and I'm hoping between him and the Drop Pods that there will be a lot of targets for anti-armour weapons and I'll be able to contest objectives while securing one or two for myself.

Truthfully, the Terminators were not my first choice. I think I'd prefer a squad of Land Speeders or maybe two blocks of close combat Scouts. That being said, I really think the models from Space Hulk are fantastic and I just had to use them. I don't think they'll be bad, just not optimal in most situations.

Hopefully in later turns the two empty, or not depending on mission, Drop Pods will come down to contest or to capture objectives.

I think this army will be strong and a lot of fun to play while giving me a lot of tactical options. I could see Kill Points being a problem (I have 13) but it should have enough teeth and viable targets to prove a massive threat. Also, any shots targeted at the Drop Pods (which are relatively easy to destroy) are shots that aren't being fired at fairly devastating units that need to be neutralized. I think against most smart opponents they'll ignore the Drop Pods in Kill Point missions, short of last turn sniping, as they'll be busy trying to deal with higher priority threats that can easily earn a KP or two each on their own per turn. This works slightly different than Rhinos as Rhinos move to get a unit into position and they are the highest priority target available until their units get out. Drop Pods should force effective units into my opponent's face and the Drop Pods themselves will be ignored, so while the KP count is high I think it's effectively a little less.

I'll have a little photography station set up soon and I'll be able to post pictures of the army's progress over the next few weeks. This weekend I'm putting together Drop Pods, finishing bases, and putting the final touches on the Dark Angel vets. I also hope to get my Forge World Dreadnought Drop Pod and Ironclad painted this weekend as green is easy to paint and they should paint up relatively fast.

Be seeing you!
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