Thursday, December 26, 2013

Merry Christmas!

Well another year of gaming has come and gone pretty much and I just wanted to thank you for following this blog and making it feel worthwhile.  I don't post all the time because frankly, I'd like to have something valuable to say and as my readership is ever so slowly growing, I'd like to think I am succeeding a little tiny bit.  As I do, I sometimes get interesting topic ideas and write on them.

If you'd like to give me a Christmas gift this year, keep reading and read the past posts.  More importantly, keep posting and keep sharing our link to this little corner of the Internet.  I think that out of the box thinking is great for the hobby and great for opening minds up to possibilities instead of dwelling on what cannot be done.  After all, who cares what can't be done?  Lol.  Certainly not this blog.

Merry Christmas to all of you.  I hope you enjoyed your time with family and hope your miniature collection is better for this holiday season!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Codex: Space Marines Centurion Devastator Sqauds

In the interest of full disclosure, I am not typically a Space marine player simply because in 4th and 5th Edition you couldn't take one step without bumping into a Space Marine player, but of course like everyone, I got a TON of experience playing against them and knowing them almost better than I did my own codex because their rules were omnipresent in front of me.

The Centurion models got a lot of hate when they came out and their cost and base size made them even less popular before they'd even seen the table so it took me a while to actually see them in action.  Like so many things, what's on paper is not as informative as the reality of it in a game, with terrain, with the various missions and deployments at work and so when I finally got to see them in action I could only think of one word:  Yes.

Though the aesthetic may not be pleasing, these are really excellent.  First off they are able to move and fire (slow and Purposeful) their entire barrage of shots.  On its own, a Salvo weapon that fires five times with ANY kind of shell let alone an AP2 weapon is a force to be reckoned with.  A Centurion can actually fire six more than that (AP 5) at short range!  That is just enormous when you consider the possibility of six of these things in a unit.  In the shooting phase, there will not be very many units that can withstand firepower of that magnitude at short range.

Their 2+ armor and two wounds at toughness 5 makes them attractive for all the reasons Obliterators were attractive for so long.  Clearly these were envisioned as the predecessor of becoming a warp altered Daemonic Obliterator. Their inclusion in the codex seems natural when you think about it that way, even if it was jarring to Space Marine players.  Trust me:  they will be MORE jarring to non-Space Marine players in practice.

You have three ways of deploying them essentially.  First is dropping them from a Storm Raven.  I've seen it done and if you have the balls, and aren't one of those who always poo poos any kind of risk, this might work for you.  Honestly I don't suggest it because there is just so much shooting to be done and letting them do it seems like a REAL sound strategy.  Also this usually leads them to be awfully close to enemies who can tie them up.

The second way to deploy it is the Land Raider.  being Very Bulky, you can't fit many into a Land Raider BUT this is a very legitimate way to get them up there and firing fast.  They will definitely take fire away from the Raider unless they use the eve of the Land Raider to hide behind and start on a flank so that they can nibble their way across the enemy lines like an angry Pac-Man.

The third is to deploy them out there from the get go.  24" range for most of their weapons is going to mean that careful deployment is super necessary, but if you're going second  this presents very few drawbacks.  The points you might have spent on a Land Raider can easily be spent on the unit itself as ablative padding and the firepower you gain more than compensates for what you lost in the Raider.  I will say that the Raider makes a lot of sense if going first though, since the enemy CAN counteract your range and make you pay for it.  The best bet might be to have the Raider just in case.  Another option is if you take allies that can help with stealing initiative, ou might risk going without the Raider.  The cost of the Raider is such a drain that I cannot say that either option is entirely without its possibilities.

Clearly there are some serious downsides to this unit.  It can't overwatch, and they have but one attack.  So it becomes imperative, if you're going to use them, that you include "interceptor units" to stop melee oriented units from simply bogging them interminably.  They have no power weapons, and cannot sweep a unit away so there is little deterrent for an enemy to try.   Even the most basic marine unit is used cost effectively to tie them up, as is anything assault capable, stubborn, or fearless.  small interceptor units make a lot of sense as both mobile cover as well as assault defense and wound ablation.  Centurion Devastator fortitude is meant to stop shooting, not assaults.

Unit size is another issue.  Interestingly, you can take 6 of these things in a unit.  Some would seriously question whether you should, but here's my take on it:  you're not really doing it to survive better.  You'd be doing it to UTTERLY stop the enemy dead, so that no charge is even possible.  Orks and Kroot provide prime examples of where massed bolter fire is more important than their Salvo 5 Graviton Guns.  But you will need a lot more bolters to kill the orks than what 3 Hurricane bolters provide.  Against hordes like that, it is best to leave no doubt as to the fate of that unit.  Overkilling orks with Bolter fire will help you forget how ineffective the Graviton weapons are against armor that is 6+ because the Graviton weapons wound on the save of the model, a 6+ in the case of kroot, orks many tyranids and others.  Also with larger units you have at least a snowballs chance of driving lesser races away in melee so you can keep doing what you do.  That will seem exorbitantly expensive to do but really if you're in good position...  what have you to worry about on cost?  So think about unit size.  Might be a unit worth maxing out despite the price tag.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Adepta Sororitas part II

We spoke about special rules and we talked about the HQ section of the codex which took a lot of space!

Naturally it elicited comments and now we are ready for the second portion of my analysis.  It takes me a little more time to blog on these things because I tend to prefer less knee jerk reactions.  I have been scanning the interwebz diligently for other peoples opinions, and testing those against what I see before me.  After some consideration, I have come to some conclusions about the codex and its units that I will share for what they are worth.  =).  I leave the HQ's to the previous post I did.

Heavy Support:

The Exorcist came down 10 points and is pretty much exactly where it should be in that regard.  It hasn't changed:  it is a deadly adversary.  Firing it's D6 STR 8 AP 1 symphony of destruction across the board and into your armor plating is just cause for all to tremble.  It is a notoriously unreliable toy.  No one should use just one if you take them at all UNLESS...  You just want something to draw enemy fire away from better targets.  I am guilty of having just one in my list quite often and running it up alongside all the other hulls I use, allowing me a tough piece of mobile cover to advance behind.  One can EASILY argue with oneself whether the one shot it might have fired would do more than its movement would for the force.  Fortunately both movement and its gun both serve it well.  It tank shocks harder than Rhinos (and you all know how I feel about attacking morale at every turn), is better armored when turned to give other tanks cover and its ability to block line of sight is very useful if you're using certain units in a Sisters of Battle army.  Don't JUST consider what it's gun does.  but it's gun does a lot potentially.

The 48" range makes it ideal, when taken in twos or threes, to force the enemy into your much shorter range troops. Standing back and plinking away at the Exorcists can be a really low rate of return for enemies unless they are blessed with 48 inch range guns and a fair number of them (and they may have).  Just the threat that the Exorcists could all go off buck wild in unison forming a death dealing crescendo is going to get the enemy moving into your Ecclessearchy forces a little sooner than they'd prefer.

Penitent Engine
The Penitent Engine is not perhaps improved in many ways.  It has 3(4) attacks, so you no longer need to be especially lucky to hit with force.  Rage adds two to that on the charge.  So really, it's doing 6 Dread CC attacks on a charge AFTER it hits you twice with its heavy Flamers.  I consider that no walk in the park.  it will annihilate a unit of whatever it needs to.  Most Marines can Krak grenade them to death because for all their fearsome aspect, the Penitent Engine still suffers the INIT 3 that has hamstrung it for a long time.  It's open topped nature only adds to the efficacy of certain attacks against them.  Their Shield of Faith 6+ invulnerable save is important to them, as is Unstoppable.  If it gets to swing at all, no one is going to like what happens next but you.  It's a blender.  A pair of them can annihilate the best part of a unit and send them screaming away if they survive at all.

To properly use them, you need to keep them behind Rhinos for cover or reserve them for backfield support after the enemies ranged anti-tank abilities have ebbed some and the enemy is inexorably closing in.  Many generals will attempt to rush the enemy with them but I feel they are incredibly effective guardians to help your Sisters of Battle deny the enemy easy access at or around the central core of the force.  Why is that important?  Well because Sisters have very short range and must torrent to win and are not very hearty frankly against many weapons.  You don't want enemy units distracting or diluting their efforts in this regard.

The bottom line?  They are far better than the Internet would have you believe but they are a unit that cannot be used without care.  Newer generals should shy away or include just one at first so you can get the feel of using them without over commitment.  But experienced generals will come to find that a unit of two can wreak serious havoc when properly deployed and used.  It's just not a choice I'd recommend for every list.  The list would have to be tailored around it.  And that could be fun.

"Vengeance is mine, sayeth the Lord"...  Deuteronomy 32:35

The forces of Retribution are heavily and economically armed.  They are a FORCE, whether deployed forward via Rhino with their deadly Multimeltas, or placed with Heavy Bolters...  Or my personal favorite, trucking along and blazing things into oblivion from within their Rhino with Heavy Flamers until a suitably juicy target can be found for their full tender mercies.

 The Heavy bolter option is somewhat nerfed by the Act of Faith being only once (or twice with the Simulacrum) per game to make them Rending.  I'm not entirely convinced that this was as big a nerf as some say, but I am convinced that it is one.  Grey Knight Purgation Squads do a similar wrecking ball act as the Sisters of Retribution and their Heavy Flamers but cheaper, which is somewhat odd to me (STR 6 for GK's instead of Rending) There's a trade off there on the AP I suppose (both AP 4, but rending on some), but nonetheless, this unit can output the damage you need it to with most configs other than Heavy Bolters.  I foresee a drop off of Retributors that use Heavy Bolters and an uptick on ones that use Multimeltas.  Multimeltas are just so deadly once at midfield and Sisters of Battle have no problem getting them there usually.  Riptides and other threats like it make such an option fairly attractive, though they will still need support from other units to finish such beasts.  Luckily you'll have that support most likely.  =)  My overall recommendation on this is to use the Heavy Flamer option when you take them if you are down to one slot and you really want them included.


Sisters of Battle have been the bedrock of my own lists, and remain so.  They now are able to be taken in 5's, which most people now know, and the Special Weapons junkies of the 40K world are much rejoicing over not having to pay the "troops tax" in a Sisters list by being forced to take 10 at a time minimums.  Moreover they retain their pistols from the White Dwarf rules and they now use an Act of Faith system that, once per game, allows them to get preferred enemy for a phase, so more limited by far in that regard than before.

You'll notice they took away the lower points cost on Storm Bolters (it was 3 points in the White Dwarf) and interestingly now come with a character for challenges that can OPTIONALLY be upgraded to an LD 9 sergeant.  Their ability to come in smaller units also now makes Immolators more common and the Immolators themselves as I mentioned in my previous article, now costs less to upgrade, so all in all, a lot of extra Special Weapons and transport borne weapons can be carried into battle.

But that may not be the biggest change.  The blob is back.  Thanks to the Priests, Uriah and even the great St. Celestine I already covered, it is VERY attractive to take a Sisters blob once more.  That's big news for someone like me who always used the extra sisters AS my Rhino before the White Dwarf came out and was forced to go mechanized during the brief time the White Dwarf was our codex.

One downer for sure was that...again...  They missed their opportunity to reintroduce or unlock more troops choices.  While I think Sisters of Battle are an enviable choice, the Kasrkin models are great and many people purchased them for their armies.  No reason they couldn't have used the Adepta Sororitas codex as a proving ground for a new incarnation of them in the IG codex to come.  Further, the Celestians REALLY needed to be troops and are once again absolutely wasted in the elites section.

Bottom line:  unless you use allies, you got no choice  in troops.  However, I do suggest IG allies for them if you do take allies.  IG Veterans bring special weapons to the board and they can deliver them from Vindettas.


Speaking of Celestians, lets start with the good news:  Furious Charge is their Act of Faith.  I'm not going to lie.  Str 4 on the charge of a 2 attack model isn't terrible but it's not inspiring when you consider the damage bolters do.  It's just "ok".  Granting Counter attack with it might have made them more usable.  But honestly, I foresee more of the same non-use in store for them, which is really a shame.  I can also see them being a great beneficiary of the Banner that grants +1 attacks.  At 3 attacks with Power armor to defend them, there are far worse options in the 40K verse.  But on their own as a unit...  It's tough sledding.  I did ask some of the Sisters of Battle players I converse with for ideas on their use, but got the usual defeatist hyperbole about them I was expecting.  Perhaps we will explore their use once I have more time to see them in action.

Sisters Repentia
They continued to slide down in price, and in survivability, but at least you know what you're losing as the price went down and for the price, I really find little fault with the unit other than that it is extremely squishy.  Anyone whose played with squishy but rewarding units won't be intimidated by this, but a lot of the Space Mariners out there may not like the complete lack of protection these gals fly around with, flaunting their Emperor given gifts to any man with eyes.

They now have a transport and can get quite close if the enemy lets them.  It also means something to run behind as they approach.  in fact, moving the Rhino 18 inches and running them up behind it could work pretty well.  Just make sure there's cover for the Rhino itself.  An exploding rhino is VERY bad news for a Sisters Repentia unit.  Getting caught in one is not good times.  So as moving cover it serves more admirably perhaps.

The way to use them is to shroud them in a cloud of other rhinos and obscuring things until they can prepare themselves for the charge.  I recommend you take them right alongside a second hammer, perhaps a Blob squad of Sisters OR a full unit of Battle Conclave.  The reason is because it forces target priority nightmares.  While they may not be super survivable, They also aren't probably priority one as targets.  Sisters of Battle in general are quite good at sowing confusion with their saturation stratagems.  Rely on this.  Sisters Repentia can do massive and decisive damage to a priority target.  Plus afterwards there's not likely to BE anything left when they are done so they can bullet magnet for you for a round while scoring units get into position round 4.  Only extreme luck would allow them to stay in combat with their target if they charge, and even if they get charged (invoking their 3+ invul Act of Faith of course) they could probably win the fight.  So it's important to think about that and provide them cover for after their fight is over if you can.  Rhinos and blobs both can serve to offer protection post-fight.  Like many things in Warhammer, anticipating what will happen and positioning are critical pieces to the winners strategy.  Shielding a unit of Sisters Repentia with other units as they charge is wise.

Fast Attack

The gem of the codex is here and the Dominions still are the best thing about this part of the FOC.  Scouting is still in the bag, they now can Ignore Cover with their Act of Faith which makes their melta strikes much more effective against "toe in cover" monstrous creature shenanigans, and they still heft a whole lot of firepower loving.  I was not a fan of losing twin linking on them.  The unit isn't AS devastating as before but at the same time, IS going to do damage in more situations more consistently.  So pick your poison really.  The way to use these babies is, if going first, scout them up and then unleash hell on the enemy round one, FORCING their target priority onto them.  Use the Rhinos to shield them from the lions share of return fire and hopefully get two really devastating rounds of disruptive killing in with them.  If going second, outflank them.  this is a very strong play and with an Aegis Line with Comms Relay, it will play havoc with enemy deployment and pressure the enemy a great deal to make strides early, so if it isn't an aggressive type army you're facing, it plays into your hands very well.  Either way, a pair of these in any army is no waste of time.

Now the Ignores Cover Act of Faith has a VERY useful application.  Consider two Rhinos in a V pattern (the V is open towards you).  The Rhinos shield the Dominion from incoming fire.  Other rhinos come in behind to help with the wall on either side.  The FLAMER Dominions hop out right in front of the Aegis line and flaminate an entire unit to near Cinders, perhaps with Exorcist help.  Then the Dominion BEHIND the flamers (which already Ignore Cover) strike the Land Raider or Leman Russ or whatever, and because of Ignores cover, they can safely do so BEHIND their flamer sisters.  Anyone charging the Flamer Dominions  Gets hit with wall of death and Bolter Fire.  The Rhios have ensured that very little can hit the Dominion.  So in round one, the Melta Dominion are safe on all sides, the flamer dominion very limited in who can hit them and then in the next round, what's left of the Rhinos walls can scatter.  This can mean FOUR kills on significant units for the price of 2-3 Rhinos.  A very fair trade indeed.  Further, you now have a serious hedgehog of Sisters to deal with.


The Victorias Secret Angels of the Ecclesiarchy!  No longer necessary to give St. Celestine her Hit and Run, and now their weapons get Shred which is more or less what it was anyways before though not quite.   They re-roll their invul saves and of course can Deep strike and all that good stuff like they could before.  What I like is the points reduction which makes them just a tad more attractive and certainly even though I like the idea of two Dominion squads better than one by a fair margin, the FOC has one more slot available and the Seraphim are a worthy line breaking unit that can cause disruption and hold the enemy up when it's needed like Celestians were decent at in the White Dwarf codex when coupled with the now defunct Kyrinov (disappointing).  Use these as speed bumps to slow enemies down and use them to absolutely FRY hordes.  Their damage output is so good against hordes it's silly.


I think that the future looks bright for the Adepta Sororitas.   Nothing in the codex changes the meta, a welcome surprise for some, but all of it is more competitive because of the price modifications.  The army is definitely one of those that is the sum of its parts more than being filled with singular super stars.  Tactically minded Generals will really enjoy how it works.  Those who want push button armies may find it difficult to adjust but this army is FLEXIBLE.  It deep strikes, Scouts, outflanks, it has horde elements, hard hitting hammer units, long range tank killing and so on.  It lacks anti-air in any form and that must needs be overcome with allies.

The look of this army is awesome, the whole theme appeals to my inner angry Christian (See Deuteronomy for details on that) and the army allows for real internal balance where you can kind of play different lists without a lot of trouble.  Mechanised works, gun line works and even yes an assault oriented army works!  Allies are great too, especially Imperial Guard   Don't forget that the Ecclesiarchy had long had the authority to command units to its service.  Including IG is kinda like playing it old school.

 Amongst Imperial Guard, EXCELLENT additions to the Sisters army are a pair of Vindettas.  they fill the anti-air slot and are excellent really, all the way around.  Against the Multiwoud tough 5 monstrosities that the Sisters may struggle against, the Manticore presents an EXCELLENT compliment to the straight shooting Exorcists.  Guardsman Marbo is almost a must.  For Psyker Defense perhaps a Primaris Psyker?  And since the army cannot infiltrate, if you want to add that dimension, the IG have an option that also allows for pinning.

So really, the Sisters of Battle can cover all their bases, and is an army to be reckoned with.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Codex: Adepta Sororitas

It's here folks and with it, change.  This isn't your grandma's Sisters of Battle codex and it is a whole lot more than a "cut and paste" change to the rules that so many pundits (wrongly) suspected it would be.

I began writing this and realized there was so much to it that I better chop things up a bit.  So this first post will be mostly centered on the HQ and army special rules sections.  I will talk a lot about what has changed in the codex and my thoughts on those changes.

As I moved through the codex, a notable omission caught my attention.  Kyrinov is no longer a named option in the codex!  You can still take a Priest and arm him with the mace of Valaan (which used to be concussive power weapon).  The Mace of Valaan is now solidly a master crafted concussive power mace which when within 6" of a Daemon is also Fleshbane and Armourbane.  So a better weapon in general.  Gone for now is his 6" Fearless bubble (Icon of Chiros), but he can take the Book of St. Lucius which is essentially a 12" fearless bubble.  So he actually can be better than his original form allowed.  Kyrinoiv's 1 in 6 chance to regenerate a Faith Point (Laud Hailer) and the re-roll on Faith tests(Simulacrum Imperialis) are gone.  However they are compensated for by giving him and his unit Fearless and Hatred (through the Zealot Universal Special Rule (USR).  You lose two wounds on the guy as well, but since he is only costing you 55 points with the Mace of Valaan and the book, that can be forgiven.  In addition, I have not even spoken of Priestly Battle Hymns he can use.

The three War Hymns by priests are quite powerful, and free!  They can notably be used every round in the assault phase unlike Acts of Faith (which I will talk about later).  They can make their unit re-roll saves (and with Power Armor, or invul saves, that's big), they can give themselves the smash USR or they can make their unit re-roll failed to wounds (which with STR 3 is also a big deal).  And before you ask, no.  Two Hymns cannot affect the same unit.

They dropped the cost of Priests 20 points, which makes all of this utility incredibly attractive.  Best part is, as before, the Priests occupy no slots, and you can take five of them as before so of all the things in the codex that changed, this was by far the largest decrease in cost for an increase in usefulness that I have seen in Warhammer 40K in an incredibly long time.  Will people take them now?  I can't see why not.

Let's move away from the omissions to the various changes people will notice immediately as they face this fearsome sisterhood.

Acts of Faith are a defining characteristic of the army and in the most recent (White Dwarf) iteration of the army, you needed a 5+ to do Acts of Faith, with various modifiers to that including having a faithful character leading them and/or taking losses.  All the units were "assigned" certain Acts of Faith and then allowed to use them as often as they could pull off the roll of 5+.  I personally found this to be perfectly reasonable way to handle it, just as i found that the way before that (the "Faith pool" of points) to be a fine way to do it...  After ranting to the contrary it is fair to say.  Change can be hard. 

In the new official edition however, the Acts of Faith changed yet again.  Not only can they not choose their Acts of Faith (as they could in the 4E codex) and they are again specific to their unit (as they were in the White Dwarf) but now they are useable but once per game!  To activate them, you make a Leadership Test (which is fine by me, as good as any system).  This nerf sounds worse than it is in some cases, though I suspect the knee jerk reaction by many Sisters players will be as violently vehement as the last change was before they realized that it really wasn't bad at all.  Consider three things before you throw the baby out with the bathwater as Acts of Faith go:
  • Acts of Faith can now be done on the enemy turn!  Time and again, I found myself helplessly watching a unit get butchered by being charged and unable to use an Act of Faith to respond.  The White Dwarf version limited Acts of Faith to your turn and never in your opponents turn.  This was a serious problem at times.  Now, the Acts of Faith are usable, by and large, in the enemies turn, which will let you "time" their use to be more appropriate.  Sisters Repentia really benefit from this new way of doing things, for example.
  • War Hymns are not just usable once per game.  With Priests in your units, it will often be the case that what you lost is more than gained back and the differentiation between Sister Superiors and Veteran Sister Superiors will further allow for the point expenditures and utility of the Priests to become obvious and as it is now an Ecclesiarchy army...
  • Consider the actual number of times you actually USED a particular Act of Faith in any particular unit. Honestly, only Retributers seem to be taking the short end of the stick on this change from an actual frequency of use perspective and possibly the Dominions, as they were high frequency users of their Act of Faith before this change.  Even Dominions will probably be okay because of the Simulacrum Imperialis rules, which was gear they already routinely took in the White Dwarf Codex and will again now.  More on that later.
Now that doesn't mean you won't occasionally have reason to curse that it can't be used more than once per game.  That day is coming.  However, it probably isn't the one-sided nerf most people will paint it as on other blogs and forums, for the reasons i mention.  Time will tell how weighty this change really was.  

What makes the change to Acts of Faith perhaps more bearable is that the Simulacrum Imperialis allows you to do your Act of Faith twice, so long as you keep it alive.  If you don't, you lose the units Act of Faith!  So keeping that flag flying high and proud is job one for some units; a cool concept from a fluff perspective.

In addition, Uriah Jacobus allows you to use yet +1 more Act of Faith with him in your unit.  So obviously, he and St. Celestine will be seeing a lot of action together.  Before you ask, this ability works once for Uriah, so bouncing him from one unit to another as you play won't allow multiple units to reuse their Act of Faith.  Sorry chums.

St. Celestine is a beast.  She allows her fellow Sisters within 12" to use her LD for Acts.  She has the same awesome statline, and her weapon no longer does the wound on a 4+ thing, but instead gets +2 STR.  That will not always be awesome, but will at least help her eliminate paltry opposition that by all rights she should have vanquished rounds ago (like Gaunts).  Hit and run comes stock on her now, which also makes her extremely useful to any assault unit she wants to join.  She therefore no longer needs Seraphim to get her out of the tough "tie her up" combats.  St. Celestine can now operate in a powerful way with units like Celestians, jumping them in and out of combats they don't want to be in for example and allowing them to charge as they should be doing.  It was a gross oversight in the White Dwarf to leave Hit and Run off of her.  Now the 40K world must truly tremble at her passing!  Her price went up 20 points but so what.  Still worth it.

Since we're on the subject of HQ's, I think we should also talk about Uriah.  He's the baddest of the bad when it comes to Priests.  Just look at the immense list of USR's and special goodies he brings with him, shall we?  Fearless, Hatred, and the Indomitable Belief Warlord Trait (5+ invuls for his unit) if you choose not to use the Celestine Acts of Faith bubble Trait instead; a free Act of Faith for a unit, Martydom (Adepta Sororitas rule for HQ's wherein if they die, everyone auto-passes morale tests until the end of your next turn), 12" Banner that gives +1 attack and re-rolls for morale, fear and pinning checks...  Zowee.  The dude is awesome.  Oh and by the way?  He has the War Hymns too.  Geez louise...  

What amazes me is I am this far down the page and there's still more for you to know just on the HQ side of life.  Both Uriah and Celestine come with their awesome sauce Warlord Traits (which I mention above in that text wall that grows by the moment) and you're likely to want them.  But I am happy to report that the Canoness is actually worth taking too which makes a Warlord Trait chart at least relevant enough to bring it up a little later!  They really poured a lot into the HQ section here so bear with me.

The Canoness was much maligned and in any event, easily edged out for more "useful" HQ's in most lists.  In 4E it was not so, but in this brave new world of 40K?  The Canoness was an afterthought and that's being kind.  I can count on one hand, and I include my unorthodox self in that count, how many times I saw anyone use a Canoness from the White Dwarf edition.  I happened to like what she and her staff could do, but can easily see why others did not give her a chance.  

The new Canoness has a lot going for her though.  PLEASE NOTE:  there WILL be controversy over her ability to take multiple items from the Ecclesiarchy Relics list because of the poor wording, which is noted and discussed below in the comments.  She's really a carbon copy of the White Dwarf Canoness in cost but she possesses more options than before and that makes her dangerous.  Her Rosarius went down by 10 points which was a MUCH needed change.  She can now gain re-rolls to her saves (Cloak of Aspira) and gain Eternal Warrior from the Mantle of Ophelia.  Couple with her natual invul save which can be made into a 5+ with the Warlord Trait Uriah grants (Indomitable Belief) and you have one hard to kill Canoness. She regained access to eviscerators!  Hooray!  And lest you forget, the Book of St. Lucius is ridiculously awesome, as it was before, and VERY affordable at 5 points.  A Canoness with cloak, Mantle, Book and Eviscerator is 135, same as St. Celestine, so one has to give the nod to Celestine for the points, but they are different enough in what they do that you can see uses for both.  But what made the Canoness a decent choice in the White Dwarf and still now, is her Sororitas Command Squad.

The Sororitas Command Squad dropped by 35 points, which is not a small thing.  In addition, the Dialogus became more useful than it was before and that was also not a small thing.  Now you have a unit with Feel No Pain from its Hospitallar, 3 Celestians, a dialogus that has the Laud Hailer (2 Acts of Faith instead of 1 per game) and the price for the Simulacrum came down by 10 points also; plus it's now a 12" radius instead of just affecting the unit!  This could be a VERY important unit to have at the center of your approach as you are attempting all those Acts of Faith at a critical time, and the price is definitely improved.  Actually, to be honest, the price for the way this unit was normally built went down in another way also:  The Immolators 65 point base cost came down 5 points and its weapon options are FREE now!  So this squads value has just really risen with the reduction in the cost to deliver it to the battlefield where it needs to go.  Also I noticed that the whole unit can take Meltabombs.  Yahoo.  Great for fighting a Monstrous creature with a Hatred fueled charge or perhaps bombing an IG tank Squadron.  Good times.

All of a sudden, that Canoness and her Act of Faith The Passion (which grants Hatred) looks so much more affordable than before when viewed through the lens of the unit that she unlocks.  The utility of that unit at the center of the fray is pretty impressive, popping out of her Immolator and leading the battle cry for a lot less points than before.  I'm eager to try it.

The second command squad you could go with if you wish is the dreaded Battle Conclave.  Each Priest unlocks a unit of these monsters of nightmares past.  Arco Flagellants form the core of the unit, minimum of 3 as before and you can switch them out for the Assassin or the Crusader for the appropriate cost.  The cost of the unit went down significantly.  The arcos are reduced in cost by 1/3, while the others stayed the same cost.  So if you built yours like I did (4 Arcos, 4 Assassins, and 2 Crusaders) you would find that your cost has dropped 20 points for the unit.  One change that was interesting is that the Assassins no longer have two Power weapons.  They are now specifically Power Swords.  I must assume that this is literal since it was written for 6E.  Regardless, this unit was a serious performer for me when they got out there.

Well I think I have said enough here on the HQ section.  Hope you enjoyed reading it and Happy Hunting.  I will say more on the rest of the Codex here:

Monday, October 14, 2013


I'd really like to see a lively and serious discussion on what an ideal way to deal with sportsmanship is.

At the shop I play at primarily, though I admit to fidelity issues in that regard, they are very very big on sportsmanship, a reflection of the owners own feelings on the matter.  Sportsmanship awards are almost always the second largest at our tournaments and I really have zero beef with that point of view.

The rub comes when you think back to all your games, can't remember doing anything that would bother someone in game, and yet they give you 7's out of 10...or worse!

It's probably happened to everyone at some point.  So then how should we go about this because we all obviously benefit from having a mechanic to award as well as punch for sportsmanship.  We all know it's necessary to restrain certain types from being completely difficult.  Doesn't solve everything so lets not go down the path of complaining because "No system fixes everything".  We should go in knowing that, accepting that and then moving on to the next logical thought which is "yes, but if we set it up right it CAN do a lot"

A few key attempts we've seen through history:

1.  1-10 systems, each number linked to a certain achievement such as "Had all his materials ready" or "showed up for his game on time"
2.  3-2-1 system, where you can give the 1, the 2 or the 3 to only one person each.  The idea is to give a comparative number, with a lot of people getting 6's and the outliers are getting truly high scores so they stand out.
3.  Linking sportsmanship to a nebulous 1-10 which is left entirely to the players imagination.  essentially unlike option 1, the person doing the rating is deciding what those achievements had to be.
4.The "Would you play him again?" type system where barring a no to that question, we just kind of accept that most people are generally cool to play against or at minimum tolerable.  This system is more punitive because it really only serves to punish players, not to reward them.

And then there are the tie breaker scenarios to be considered  different tourneys use VERY different tie breakers for the Best Sportsman award.  Should the award be totally separate from all others or should it be part of the overall scoring?  Should a tie be decided by who had the least success?  Or the most?

And lastly, doers sportsmanship extend to army composition.  Ive seen on more than one occasion, people claiming that they will forfeit games against certain builds.  I was right next to one who forfeited without even pulling his models out and told the judges to give his opponent a zero for sportsmanship, all because the dude hated Mechdar lists.

So how do we deal with this problem.  The following goals should be part of any discussion.

1.  The solution should not allow someone to lose 2/3 of their games and still win Best Overall.  Weighting is important
2.  The measure or meter for this scoring should be easily understood
3.  The solution has to stop the"I wont mark you down if you don't mark me down" love fests we sometimes see.

I'm very interested in what you people might say to that.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Necrons: Horrors from the deep

So you wanna' play in shooting dominated Warhammer 40K with a melee oriented force, but you don't know where the frakk to start.  

We've all seen the horrors of a landscape blackened by the shadows of Night Scythes and all have wondered not if but when the end would come.  Your sole consolation?  At least they aren't Dark Eldar raiding parties...right?  Famous last words!

Even the most horrified escapee of the tender Dark Eldar mercies would tell you that the idea of a million nanobots infiltrating your skin and animating your body to do things while you watch far exceeds the horrors even the Dark City can visit upon one.  And such a victim would surely recall with absolute blathering insane laughter how he wanted to sleep but never could...  he would speak of the madness that ensues for those who never sleep again yet are doomed to live fully aware.  Nay.  It is the Flayed Ones who truly embody the full cruelty of the star Empire the Necrons gave up so long ago.

It is fitting perhaps that we should wish to explore melee oriented Necrons and be starting with Flayed ones.

Why?  Well lets put 6E melee in perspective:  the key to making it work is unit strength and reducing the time between when you're enemy has you in its sites and when you can launch the offensive.  More and more, infiltrating is proving a valuable tool to bring arms to bear.  Uniquely the Flayed ones can operate forward and pounce on a flank very quickly.

First off, Flayed ones get a whopping 3 base attacks.  That, friends, is the most of any basic infantry type troops.  Their 4+ saves and Reanimation protocols make them a very tough nut to crack in the time you have to try.  This makes up, somewhat, for the fact that they are like most Necrons, I2.  But they are very inexpensive compared to many other mainline troops with comparable attacks.  Now the reason why these intrigue me is that they can infiltrate and be charging in turn 1 if I choose to go second; and they can outflank if I go first.  That's great tactical flexibility.  As there are invariably better targets to fire at than engorged packs of Flayed Ones if you want First Blood, they force a real priority problem for enemies.  On one hand, the enemy sorely wants to end the Flayed ones parked right in their flank, knowing they cant really move forward safely until the Flayed once are gone.  On the other hand, more serious threats are moving and running forward even as the enemy ponders this problem and it wont be long now before the horde of fairly hearty Necrons are in striking distance.  The Flayed ones are the pincers, keeping the enemy where they are while the rest of the force can approach and bring the pain.  It limits the effective range of the enemy somewhat because if unable to move forward safely, with many weapons being 24", that gives the Necrons a round of lesser fire into their numbers for a round unless they just throw caution to the wind.

I am taking two units of 17 because I need bulk to make this work realistically.  Attrition will happen but if I can hold the bookends up for long enough and maybe even get some lucky breaks at the right time It will go a long way to freeing the rest of the army up to form an impenetrable blockade against enemy intrusion of my side of the board.  And objectives are hard to get to once mired int an endless sea of chittering nanobots.

As we are trying to go melee themed here, the meanest close combat monsters are probably the Canoptek Spiders.  Monstrous Creatures that tear tanks and people apart like spongecake sounds good, and they don't go down so easily.  You can equip them with a fairly good ranged weapon, although it is awfully expensive as such things go and is a blast weapon, which means no overwatch can be done with it.  Still, it allows them to affect the battle as they approach behind Scarabs.

The Spyders will feed the Canoptek Scarabs.  Though FAQ's and common sense have tamed them, they are still one of the most terrifying armor killers in the game and with a ton of wounds, it takes higher powered weaponry to mill through them.  However, they have no fear of the milling because for one, the Canoptek Spyders can reinforce the unit quite quickly, and secondly. Nemesor Zhandrek can make even the innocuous little scarabs into actually respectable assault units.  They can be given furious charge on their turn using his Adaptive Tactics rule and steal the Space Wold Counter=Attack ability as they come in using the Nemesors Counter Tactics special rule.  That's just one example he allows (albeit at a stiff premium).  All this combines to make for a very bad day.

We need First blood and we need mobility.  We get that through outflanking, infiltrating and through the beast movement of the Scarab swarms.  But we need the insurance later in the game that we won't get caught in our own mire.  So i recommend at least one Night Scythe for a late game troop drop in a nice safe place.  For First Blood, there isn't much better to try it with than Destrukteks.  their mobile lances allow you to skirt the action at maximum distance, ensconced in a Warrior Squad while blasting the Rhinos and various and sundry metal threats.  5 Lances per round will do a lot of damage ot preferred targets and can pot shot the big boys like Wraithknights from 5 separated platforms.

So we have melee, we have objective stealing power, we have a small bit of anti-air, we have speed, we have anti-TEQ and MEQ, and we have the element of surprise.  What more can a general ask for?

Nearly this entire force is two fisted to the very end.  

221pts  17  Flayed Ones

221pts   17 Flayed Ones

175  3 Canoptek Spyders (1 x TL Particle Beamer)

175  3 Canoptek Spyders (1 x TL Particle Beamer)

175  3 Canoptek Spyders (1 x TL Particle Beamer)

120pts  8 scarabs

120pts  8 scarabs

65pts  5 Warriors
65pts  5 Warriors
65pts  5 Warriors
65pts  5 Warriors
65pts  5 Warriors  

185pts  Nemesor Zhandrek
175pts  5 Destrukteks  =1925
100pts  Night Scythe

Thoughts?  Tweaks?

Friday, September 27, 2013

Illic NightSpear

Illic Nightspear is one of those characters in a codex where you see a LITTLE potential, but that potential is overshadowed both by the AWESOME Psychic powers of the Eldar codex or the awesome utility of the Autarch, or perhaps the beastly combat ability of the Avatar.  Regardless of the cause, Illic was one of the first characters people wanted to know about, and then as quickly as his celebrity had come, Illic faded from the spotlight.

It is certain that most readers will not have seen much of Illic on the field and even more certain that those playing Eldar will have quickly dismissed this figure of Eldar legend from their lists.  For those that are a part of the Unorthodox Empire, the Generals for which are listed to the right of this post, Illic represents that most wondrous of things in the 40K universe:  possibilities.

So let's take a gander at Illic Nightspear and see what wars we may wage at his command.

Illic carries a power sword that strikes at I9 when forced to, and he comes with 4 attacks, 5 on the charge.  It raises to respectability any unit he decides to join.  That sounds bad in what army?  None really.  WS 6 makes him plenty capable when called upon as well.  So as Tough 3 characters go, he's as deadly as you could expect him to be and he is in no way expensive, so this all sounds pretty decent for the price.  In fact his middling cost is likely one reason people looked into him.  In a list squeezed for points, you must at least consider characters like Illic.

Illic's gun is the real weapon however.  The eye popping BS of 9 makes hitting things essentially certain.  Even if he misses, he gets a re-roll.  The Void Bringer is a serious piece of AP 2 shooting hardware that can lay low any target from quite a distance.  If the shot wounds on a 6, POOF, Disruption goes off and bleaches the enemy model from existence.  Illic Nightspear can use the weapon separate from within his unit.  His Warlord trait allows him to hide while dealing out his death from safety.  All the shots are precision shots, so he basically acts like a Vindicare Assassin in that way.  Obviously things like Heavy Weapons and banner bearers are all worthy targets for Illic's attentions, nerfing the enemy capabilities through selective targeting.  Imagine the fun of ending Mephiston in one fell swooping die roll.  Though only a 17% chance of that happening, still…  I've done it with Disruption weapons.

Illic is both fleet and Shrouded, and this truly makes his unit a ghost until it wishes to strike; and of course the Battle Focus ability, which almost all Eldar units possess, allows Illic to fire on enemies and then melt into shadow using Shrouding to protect him whenever necessary.  In fact Battle Focus is a key to how Illic can be used.

Now Illic allows you to take Altaioc Pathfinders instead of Rangers.  Any number of your Rangers can be converted this way.  Why would you want to pay 25 points for an Eldar Pathfinder?  Good question.  They were that expensive before actually, but with the added benefit that their Ranger Long Rifles would be twice as deadly with Rending on 5's AND 6's to hit.  Not so anymore.  That deadliness took a new form in the new codex.  Now every Pathfinder gets the Sharp shot ability which means the entire unit is Precision Shooting its target…  with Blade storming (basically rending that doesn’t affect vehicles) Shuriken Pistols.  That is a seriously deadly combination en masse, particularly if they are given an ability from their Farseers such as Prescience, or from another psychic power of which there are several.  Being able to fire off, say, 10 Rending shots that can choose their specific target model could be useful, no?

Walker of the Hidden path is the ability that is fun to think about here.  In any force, the ability to outflank is very impactful.  I have spoken on this many times here and on other forums.  The mobility this lends one is extraordinarily useful and obviates the NEED of an expensive transport. Illic gives you a big chunk of flexibility because with Illic on the table, you have the choice:  Outflank as planned or come in wholly within 6" of Illic's position via deep strike.  Now this ability only works with Rangers and Pathfinders, but one unit Deep Striking could immediately join with illic, while the other Rangers or Pathfinders that drop in show up as well no more than 6" from Illic.  On the round they come in, they are firing their Shuriken Pistols and that is a LOT of shots reliably dropped all in one place.

So the best way to use this tactic is with an Autarch AND Illic.  The Autarch makes the reserve rolls all but certain or helps delay some of the reserves if it is not yet the time.  That means that a Psyker is probably out of the picture.  However, if you wanted a Psyker, go with a Jet bike Farseer and an Aegis Defense Line that utilizes the Comms Relay to gain back some of the reliability lost

Now let us assume you bring in 30 Pathfinders around Illic with a Farseer to cast prescience on one of them.  Against a MEQ unit, That's 13.33 wounds, of which 4.44 are Rends from Blade storming.  So you would kill 8.5 MEQ on the drop including Illic's shot, and even a TEQ unit would be toast.  With Doom, the enemy unit in question is a goner.  On the subsequent enemy round, the Stealth and Shrouded Pathfinders are getting 2+ saves in all likelihood against shooting.  Then they repeat their massacre.  Assault is the enemies only true weapon against such a combination. 

Now I am very aware that the opponents of this plan will say that it is a very large points expenditure to do this.  They're not wrong.  With Illic, That's 890 points worth of Pathfinders.  While you'd take a Farseer in most cases, opponents will even try to lump in the Bike Seer as yet another "expense" of the plan.  Here's my question:  if it works, do you care? 

A few things you got for your expense

  • You just planted 30 SCORING units in the enemy backfield
  • You just killed a unit on the drop.
  • The enemy couldn't do anything to stop you
  • They can't respond with shooting that matters unless it ignores cover
  • They must assault to silence it in the end and Illic can fight.
  • Line Breaker is pretty much assured.
  • You can repeat the death sentence twice more while wiping valuable heavy weapon assets from the enemies force QUICKLY through Sharp shot

Not a bad return.

Now we know that the one thing the enemy can do to our valuable scoring units is use Ignore Cover weapons or they can assault.  So we need a contingency plan to deal with those things to the extent it is possible to do so.  No one lives forever.

If you're running DFO (which I hate) you can use the Sky shield Landing pad which also provides Invul saves.  Turns out Illic's ability lets him literally deploy anywhere, including on top of one of these babies and it is the PERFECT things to use in DFO since you needed the Comms Relay.  But if you're using the Farseer option, you'll need DFO to do this.  If no Sky shield, then plan B:  Saturation.  Put simply, the enemy doesn't want a repeat of Illic's buddies and their firepower, but if there is something ELSE equally dangerous nearby, then they are forced into choosing.  Well it so happens that there are other units that infiltrate, wouldn't you know it?  And those units can run interference for your scoring units when they show up.  They also offer Illic a safe harbor until he can join and defend his less melee capable Pathfinder buddies.

So in a list using Illic I would take Striking Scorpions.  It's an ideal unit for two reasons.  First it is VERY hearty and they come with Stealth.  Add this to the Shrouded ability of Illic and you have a nigh impossible to kill waiting room for Illic to flip through his newest issue of GEQ (GentleElfs Quarterly).  The Scorpions then serve as the shield against assault and also as additional shooting when Illic is done scampering into his Pathfinder unit.  Scorpions can easily finish off anything the Rangers shot and set up the next target FOR the Pathfinders.

Okay so we now have a way to keep Illic and later the Rangers safe, so what to do about Ignores Cover type weaponry when we have no Landing pad?  Well our first defense is the Battle Focus ability to scatter once we fire so we aren't as juicy a target for Torrent flamers and other ignores cover stuff.  Battle Focus is important for making sure we keep surging as well to our next target after the drop.  Our second potential defense against the Ignores Cover brand of weaponry is the target priority issues we created for the enemy with Scorpions etc…  The third defense is a bit more forward:  Kill the units with that ability first.

Clearly Heldrakes are a problem.  For everyone.  Pretty much always.  Baal Predators, Land Raider Redeemers, Tau Smart Missile Systems, Imperial Guard Barrages and so on all provide a challenge to our cover saves. 

Imperial Guard Hydra Flakk batteries are clearly the last word in anti-aircraft and anti-Skimmer technology and they can come in units, unlike the Space Marine Stalker (which is actually a really good choice also but you can only get one as an ally and the other costs associated with Codex:SM would be higher).  No unit strikes more fear into Flyers AND skimmers like they do and lets face it:  Eldar Skimmers have a lot of Ignores Cover firepower, as do Heldrakes.  A pair of these in reserve could be one answer as could a pair of Vendetta because they strike fear into every armored thing of any kind.  Just let them stay off camera until the flyer shows up, then blast it from the sky.  Frankly this unit solves a lot of problems but does require the use of allies.  But what to do about those Riptides with Pathfinder assists?  The Vendettas are probably more useful as that goes.

Personally I'd make sure to kill anything that ignores cover first with the parts of your force not involved with the Eldar Pathfinders.

Lets take a look at our list and see what we are up to here:
70pts  Aegis Defense Line (Comms Relay, cause yeah)
140pts  Illic Night Spear
170 Farseer on Jet bike (Runes of Witnessing, Mantle of the Laughing God)
120pts  10 Rangers
250pts  10 Pathfinders
250pts  10 Pathfinders
250pts  10 Pathfinders
193pts  9 Striking Scorpions (exarch w Claw)
70pts Primaris Psyker
140pts  10 Veterans (Hvy Flamer, 2 Melta Guns)
65pts  Guardsman Marbo
280pts  2 Vendetta (Heavy Bolter Sponsons)

This is in keeping with our plan to use Illic to maximum advantage as well as maintain our theme.  What we are after here is to turn the flank with a stealthy strike team army that uses the shadows to hide, strikes hard and rarely misses its prey while obtaining superior position.   

It wins through forcing the enemy to come from all the way across the battle field to come get us instead of being able to just line up and fire.  Units deployed on one side of the board will never reach us and potentially never fire a shot.

The Vendettas are heavy duty anti-aircraft that can also expose the tender insides of the enemy transports.  Guardsman Marbo is a distraction who can hold up units from getting to us quicker, perhaps near the middle of the enemy line.  The Veterans can come and support the Pathfinders as exposable Deep Striking shields that pack a bit of punch.

The Pathfinders will force the enemy, through massive precision shots, to fight with their second or third tier weaponry instead of those they would rather use.  Imagine in your minds eye the surprise on the faces of those soldiers as their heavy weapons are picked off from afar.

The pinning attacks of the Pathfinders could also find some help if you were so inclined, by including a unit of Battle Psykers in the force.  Though Marbo would have to go it would help ensure that while the Pathfinders pummel their nearest foe, the Rangers can pin the next nearest, making approach almost impossible. 

One last note:  the Aegis Defense Line should probably be placed midfield, instead of way back in your deployment zone.  If going second, use it to lure the enemy to line up on the wrong side.  If going first, keep in mind that you can move and run to it with IG if you like, wherever it will force the enemy to split off in order to deal with them and away from the main thrust of your attack.  Ultimately for this force it makes little sense not to use it to slow down any enemy approaches sooner than later to keep them within your ranges when you still have more of your force available to fire.  Measure it in any event so that the Vendettas can fire , then turn and fire again at any enemy that gets close to it.  You may not actually need to do this but its wise nonetheless.  Just gives you more options.  It may just be a grey wall but its still one more tool in your bag of tricks for misdirection.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Gretchin and you

At 3 points per fig, it almost seems like you couldn't waste points any worse than when buying them.  They are so much worse than Conscripts its not even funny and are but a point cheaper, as insult to injury.

Looking at where to find 20 points to strap in that PowerKlaw?  Drop some gretchen.  Need that extra gain to survivability only a pain boy can give?  Drop the Gretchen.  In short, they aren't just the worst stat line in 40K (though they literally are) but they are the FIRST thing to go when ANYTHING else is needed.

It is small wonder that Gretchen are almost never seen in 40K.  Orks themselves make sporadic appearances these days in 6E, so that makes it even tougher to see grots in action.

The way I see Gretchen used is as rear objective holders.  Why?

  • With a Twin-linked LD of 7, they actually don't run as often as it seems they would.  
  • Enemies don't tend to want to waste shots on them until later, secure in the knowledge that 5 cultists could end them... Or just two Marines.  They have plenty of time to deal with that rabble later.
  • They can be reserved so that even if the enemy wanted to shoot them, they'd HAVE to wait and who knows what objectives might be easier to take later.  since the grots cant shoot OR assault basically, they may as well run every round and try to take position.
There's no problem with any of that logic.  I get it.  Makes sense.  Why am I talking about Gretchen then?

I recently borrowed the army of the person who got me into this hobby, and he played orks.  I had quite forgotten that he had so many gretchen in his force.  In fact he has 60 in his force and owns more than that!  I got to thinking:  how in the bloody blue blazes did I lose to a guy who plays with GRETCHIN as the majority of his troops.  Hell, he didn't have a single trukk in there and I thought:  Well I'll be damned, his only real way to cross the board was on foot or in his ONE Battle Wagon.  Needless to say, as I thought back to those back breaking losses my Tau took to this army (8 in a row at one point), I was forced to shake my head in shame.

Wanting to redeem myself, I took this hodgepodge army and made a 6E army list, DETERMINED to try to play 8 games and win with it.

3 ZZap Guns (Extra Crew, 3 Ammo Runts, Runt herd)
3 ZZap Guns (Extra Crew, 3 Ammo Runts, Runt herd)
BattleWagon (Killkannon)
30 Boyz (3 Big Shootas, Nob W/PowerKlaw)
10 Meganobz
20 Gretchin
20 Gretchin
20 Gretchin
9 Lootas
13 Kommandos (2 Skorchas, Snikrot)
BigMek (shock Attack Gun, Eavy Armor, Cybork body, ammo runt)
Warbozz (Shoota + PowerKlaw, eavy armor, Cybork body)
3 Rokkit Buggies
3 Rokkit Buggies

Well I won't bore you with Batreps on it.  it went 7-1 and I felt suddenly a lot better.  The loss was in a tournament at the top table.  And do you know what?  While the Meganobz were the MVP's, the Gretchin were the main catalyst and were SURPRISINGLY useful.

Time and again I was pleased that the gretchin became my KFF while still absorbing fire.  a 2fer!  The grots took up space and disallowed Deep Strike shenanigans of any kind.  NOTHING could kill ANYTHING that wasn't gretchen without shooting THROUGH a grot.  Orks, who aren't known for their armour manufacturing skills benefited a LOAD by having this little rascals in the way and what made it worse for the enemy was the advancing bubble of worthless targets pressing them in further and allowing my MUCH meaner back units to do their thing.  Never were the Ork Boyz unable to get a charge off instead of being charged.  Never di the Meganobz have this worry.  They were always allowed to be the aggressors.  In addition, the zzap guns, Shock attack gun and buggies were almost never targeted because the enemy simply wasn't willing to wade through that many tough 7 wounds in the case of artillery, nor try to shoot at Buggies when that horde was a far more pressing concern.

The gretchin keyed everything.  They kind of acted like a GUARANTEE that I would always get the charge, never be charged in any way that mattered (they could charge the gretchin or...  More gretchin, basically).

The BIZARRE missions at the tournament really disadvantaged this list and I was still able to pull a 2-1 record from it.  In one mission, Area terrain CEASED to give cover!  I mean seriously?  The grotz were even MORE important in that mission obviously.

I was just really impressed as to what Gretchin could do for an ork army and I got to thinking:  Hell they could do this as allies!  I can think of a ton worse allies to take with you to battle.  A BigMek with Shock Attack gun is a steal of a price as an HQ from the experience I had, and the Gretchin do nothing but help you set the opponent up.  Fantastic for an allied contingent.

Tau in particular would really benefit from this low cost bubble wrapping.  A lot of their tanks could be defended this way.  But they aren't the only ones.

So go fill your shelves with old school gretchin models and give them a try in your force.  A surprisingly useful and oh so inexpensive value buy.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Ordo Fanaticus Club Challenge (OFCC)

August 9th-11th 2013 saw gamers from Vancouver BC all the way to California descend on Portland Oregon for its annual and unique team-based Invitational Tournament.

The basic concept of the tournament was begun when the organizers got tired of power gamers and WAAC players dominating the newer or just mid-tier players with win button lists that would make Abaddon think twice before engaging in a 14th Crusade.  They decided to create a tournament whose tenor was that of a games day, but with the ability to still compete for pride and allowing for weaker lists (or Generals) to still compete and have fun too.  Many tournaments cater to the establishment of gaming pecking orders, but this one is different.

To get competitive play with the underlying idea that it was more FUN for everyone if you DON'T take uber lists, they instituted a system.  Lists for the tournament have to be turned in and scored.  The scale has differed from year to year, but they are generally rated according to its relative strength to the field.  By doing this (lets say on a 1-4 scale) you could then tell a team that their four players collectively could only have a total score of 9 for example.  This insures that the TEAMS will be representative of the tourney ideal, and also makes it easy to match the team with correspondingly strong or weak teams.

Once this is done, the Captains of each team meet and work out which of their members will be the best matchups for each other, to further refine the ability to have a competitive game with neither player allowed too pronounced an edge.

At the end of the tournament, prizes are randomly raffled, so you can win all 5 games and win nothing or lose all five games and get top prize!  Winning and losing are the goal while you play but ultimately the real goal is to have fun and enjoy the gaming experience with armies you might have always wanted to try out; or perhaps you'd like to bring team themed armies like my team has brought.  Or perhaps some other kind of motivation.  Either way, you can do it without the pressure of HAVING to win to get prizes.

As one can imagine, this takes a LOT of work to organize sponsors for, and to carry out the essential functions a 96 player tourney creates.  To that end they have created a Senate of involved, active Ordo Fanaticus club members whose job it is to oversee the operation and carry forward the plan  Typically the Head of Gaming makes the decisions as to the style of tourney it will be, subject to Senate approval, and part of the fun of the event is never knowing exactly what it will be like, making it an event you simply must attend to get the full experience.

This year featured, for the first time I think, a 4 game singles tournament the day before the actual team event, which proved to be a valuable practice stage.  First prize was $100, so not too shabby.

Besides entering the team event, there are other reasons why you might consider going.  For one, just seeing the paint jobs and conversions of some of my opponents made the trip worthwhile.  Absolutely amazing works of art are on display and I won't lie:  I feel a bit small in comparison to some of those paint jobs I played against.

The comradery after the day of gaming was great too.  We did barbecues at a friends house and had a great time while I was there.

The tournament list scoring was a little less clear this year.  It's the first year the individual ratings for armies weren't announced (to everyone) and it was also the first time I have seen some fairly rough builds allowed.  The event even broke tradition and allowed Forge World to be included in lists.  All of those changes put me ill at ease but all's well that ends well.

My final performance this year was 5-0, with almost maximum bonus mission points.  A very strong showing for the Tau!  As a team, though I haven't seen the official scores, we were 4th place or something close to that in Battle Points, and we felt pretty good about that even though the overall score was badly hurt on paint.  When those final scores are posted I will try to post them here.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The Might of Abaddon the Despoiler

Abaddon is so mighty on the tabletop that it is quite likely that he will see the galaxy burn if left to his own devices.

In game, the model is a wrecking ball.  Ask yourself this question:  does YOUR HQ get a STR 8 weapon that doesn't go last and has shred?  Does he also (not instead of) carry a STR 5 AP2 weapon that can attack 12 times on the charge?  Hatred against Space Marines?  Terminator Armor with a 4+ invul?  Is yours an ETERNAL WARRIOR as well toting four wounds like a BOSS?  The dude is stupendously dangerous and hard to kill at the same time.  He grants preferred enemy to all within 12" of him as well.   Yikes.

So I have seen a LOT of Chaos lists lately and frankly am stunned that not one of them has Abaddon in the list.  WHY?  Rumor has it that the Black Legion supplement will hi-lite him even more than he already is by the regular Chaos Marine codex (though when that will drop is a good question).

So I thought I would explore this guy a little here.  The first important thing about his lists is that he can take Chosen as his troops.  Chosen have ridiculously good stat lines.  3 attacks to start with because they have pistols, and then if you Mark them with the Mark of Khorne, they are simply blenders on a charge and before it.  For example:

233pts  6 Chosen (4 Plasma Pistols, 1 MeltaGun, Champion with PowerFist, Mark of Khorne, Icon of Wrath)
40pts  Rhino (Dirge Caster)

Looks Expensive, right?  Well it is, but it could also be the most unbelievably jarring thing the enemy could experience.  Kills 3 of just about anything outright with shooting, and then you're being charged (Rage and re-rolls on either charge dice).  6 of these bad boys fire off a ton of wounds.  10 MEQ targets will literally be wiped from the map between the shooting and charging of this unit with a little softening from Fire support.  What is it worth to be able to say that?  They will also wipe an entire unit of Tactical Terminators (Assault Terminators will live to fight back of course).  The Preferred enemy from Abaddon will make this much more likely than the enemy wishes it were!

As usual, getting troops to the objective is a function of both the number of units you have and the number of defensive/interference units you can use to block for them so that they can do their grisly work.  No less than 4 troops will do in any 6th Edition army so this is a considerable amount of points.  Four such units with their master is 1357 points.  Give them fire support on the way in and you will find yourself able to crash a side and maintain it.

Obviously, volume of fire is the way to go against such an army.  Prioritizing the targets that can really torrent you down is a must.  Being able to do so early and often is important.  

There is no bigger wall that you can put in front of the enemy than Land Raiders to insure the package of pain is delivered.  So lets make sureTHAT happens as well.

So here's a fun list for using Abaddons best attributes:

265pts  Abaddon the Despoiler

233pts  6 Chosen (4 Plasma Pistols, 1 MeltaGun, Champion with PowerFist, Mark of Khorne, Icon of Wrath)
40pts  Rhino (Dirge Caster)

233pts  6 Chosen (4 Plasma Pistols, 1 MeltaGun, Champion with PowerFist, Mark of Khorne, Icon of Wrath)
40pts  Rhino (Dirge Caster)

233pts  6 Chosen (4 Plasma Pistols, 1 MeltaGun, Champion with PowerFist, Mark of Khorne, Icon of Wrath)
40pts  Rhino (Dirge Caster)

223pts  6 Chosen (4 Plasma Pistols, Champion with PowerFist, Mark of Khorne, Icon of Wrath)
40pts  Rhino (Dirge Caster)

235pts (Land Raider w/ Dirge Caster)

235pts  (Land Raider w/ Dirge Caster)

180pts  Havocs (3 Flakk Launchers, 1 missile Launcher, Mark of Nurgle)

 What we are attempting with this list is to saturate the place with armored hulls, hiding behind even BIGGER armoured hulls.  We laugh at STR 7 weaponry.  We have the Anti-aircraft weapons we need if the enemy gets cheeky, but they can move forward or just sit like a lump on an enemy objective, along for the ride in a LandRaider.

This is a relatively simple army to use.  Very few models, quick turns, brutal on the charge and the Dirge Casters stop Overwatch which is a very important issue.  AV 14 makes sure that there are few opportunities to screw with whats inside until they are good and ready to charge and the STR 8 and 9 the army possesses is plenty rough enough to get First Blood and to rock important anti-tank elements.

Overall it is not an elegant army at all.  Abaddons arrival from Deep Strike when appropriate and from the insides of the deadly Land Raider when necessary heralds the final approach.

I don't know whether this is a tourney army but it is competitive and in the right hands, could be like the blows of a hammer to the hopes and dreams of the Imperium.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Imperial Guard as Allies... Only?

Imperial Guard are more and more often appearing as allies.

Sisters of Battle benefit a great deal from the hole they fill, while so many others do also.  The Vindetta and the Manticore in particular are universally useful and powerful units that can seriously add to the threat profile on any army.  Most armies can benefit from a cheap troops choice, and Marbo is a boon no matter what army we talk about.  He's 65 points of Why the Hell Not?

I have noticed the uptick in Imperial Guard usage and with that I have also observed that players are diminishing in the number of actual Imperial Guard armies!  What gives?

A lot of codex's have dropped, and that could certainly be some cause for it, but I have played merely a handful of games against IG in the last few months and its actually kinda shocking how rare they suddenly are.  I know a lot of people who had the beginings of an army of this or that and are now using that as the core of their force with their normally mainline IG now playing back up.

I have to ask those who are perhaps ion other metas if they have noticed this?

I looked at the codex again with a critical eye and honestly, I still see the fearsome beast of an army it can be.  It is no less imposing in 6E.  Gunlines are if anything more powerful, the importance of speed and mobility never more obvious and the need for bodies never more evident...  All of which the IG have.

Thoughts on this?  Is this just my areas IG wilting or is it something else I haven't sensed? 

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Canoptek Spyders

So I was talking with a friend of mine about my experiences with Necrons, because as you who have read for a while know, I test codex's for 20 games, so that I can know my enemy more intimately.  Fighting against armies does not REALLY help you understand the strategy THEY are trying to employ nor the tolerances they FEEL when they play.  Anticipating the enemy is half the game.

Well as regards Necrons, one of the first units my eyes were drawn to were the Canoptek Spyders.  There were no models for them at the time, so I assumed a Crisis suit sized base.  And the more I pondered it, the more I liked it.  So I built a list and tested it.  The results were awesome.

My question is, why are these NEVER...and I mean NEVER...  seeing the table top.  They not only have a stunning model (now) but they are quite scary in close combat and can shoot a pretty good weapon from behind their ever growing mass of machanichildren, so it isn't as if they are "dedicated" assault units in any way

My list, modified for 6E would essentially be this:
215pts  3 Canoptek Spyders (Twin-Linked Particle Beamer x 2, Gloom Prism x 1)
215pts  3 Canoptek Spyders (Twin-Linked Particle Beamer x 2, Gloom Prism x 1)
215pts  3 Canoptek Spyders (Twin-Linked Particle Beamer x 2, Gloom Prism x 1)
120pts 8 Canoptek Scarabs
105pts 7 Canoptek Scarabs
120pts 8 Canoptek Scarabs
65pts  5 Warriors
78pts  7 Flayed One Pack
65pts  5 Warriors
65pts  5 Warriors
65pts  5 Warriors
65pts  5 Warriors
104pts  8 Warriors
185pts  Nemesor Zahndrek
205 5 Destrukteks (All with Lances, One with Gaze of Flame, one with Solar Pulse)
100pts  Night Scythe

So just to remind those who don't know, the Canoptek Spyders are MONSTROUS creatures, so they cause Fear, they Move Through Cover, they can do STR 10 Armourbane smash attacks (Base STR 6 so 10 on the smash), fire a reliable Twinlinked STR 6 Blast weapon thats good for popping Rhinos and people alike and the Gloom Prism they can have is essentially a 3" bubble of anti-psyker goodness (negates powers on a 4+).  3 Wounds each and a 3+ save with Tough 6 to back it up makes these pretty darn mean durable.  Many excellent AP weapons will struggle to down the Spyders, assuming they can be reached through the swarms before them

Its defining ability is to RAPIDLY increase the size of the Canoptek Scarab units.  The Scarabs pulse from their bellies on a 2+, so as many as NINE of the little buggers can belch forth and into the awaiting units of the little monsters around them.  If need be they can replenish those who are lost in close combat and as Scarabs are fearless, this can make the most stalwart heroes tired.

The Canoptek Spyders are okay in melee too.  Not especially skilled with their WS 3 and the usual slow Necron Initiative, but still a load for most forces to handle just because they hit so dern hard.  Grey Knights and similar forces will be ripe with anticipation of killing them in one strike until they realize that they will simply never reach them.  Even they cannot Instant Kill the fearless Swarms fast enough.

The Nemesor is actually a KEY component of this list.  He steals the Space Wold Counter-Attack ability while at the same time infusing the Scarabs with Furious Charge!  Or he can in anticipation of assault go the route of reversing that effect!  Stealing the enemies charge oomph while giving the bugs counter attack.  It works out pretty nice.

Part of the reasons for not seeing Canoptek Spyders is that melee has fallen out of vogue with some, while others have observes the ABSURD way that the Night Scythe filled sky can dominate objective games and are just too intoxicated to worry about the rest of the codex.  Wraiths have clearly supplanted most other things in the Fast Attack slot as "The way to go" plus none can deny the cool factor of Wraith models.  The Heavy slots are pretty good in the Necron codex and its easy to see how individually some of those tanks would be very very attractive.  Shooting is just EASIER, right?

Yet I would encourage you to explore this 6E phenomenon of Canoptek Spyders.  Lots of people noticed the potential early on BUT didn't act on it.  It may well be one of the very few Melee oriented forces you see and certainly one of the more reliable ones.  flayed ones for Line Breaking and a small amount of added melee oomph, Monsters on the approach, a Night Scythe for furtherer Line Breaking action and a little anti-aircraft ability, plus scattered Warrior teams on the move that can snipe vehicles and prepare the contents to receive Furious charging little bugs.  The Nemesor himself is okay in combat.

If your heart yearns to fill the field with crazy amounts of face punching there are a lot worse ways to get it done than this.  I'd love to see some more melee forces out there in general just to shake the meta up a bit, and lord knows its not easy to unlock that combination without some real consideration.  Still...

How would you use Canptek Spyders?  Do you have any stories to tell?  Post them here.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

6th Edition Eldar Codex: Making Flyers work

So as mentioned in my Tau Flyer article, when I was writing that I was actually testing THIS concept:  How to make the Eldar Flyers work.

By testing I mean actually playing it.  So after 12 games, I feel comfy speaking about it more than I did before.  My hesitation was the AV 10 of the Eldar Flyers.  Thy are quite fragile and the interwebz has made a lot of the issue in regards toAV 11 Tau fighters, let alone the AV 10 on Eldar ones.  I share some of the concerns just because on paper, a Bolter can take a plane down.  Got enough bolters, you're set against such a force right?

So the first trick was to address the anti-aircraft issue.  Put simply, a Flyer list is going to struggle if you cannot mitigate the anti-aircraft attacks.  To accomplish that you have to identify the primary threats to be disposed of.

Aegis Defense Guns or bastion guns are both problems.  Tough 7, 3+ armor, 2 wounds requires enough shots and the assumption that the enemy will in some way have cover.  We also have to contend with the Broadside threat.  Now most players have caught on to how good High Yield Missile Broadsides are and of course the Riptides which can be equipped with anti-aircraft ability.  Imperial Guard Vindettas are good at their job against planes and Triple Drakes can Vector Strike you to death like a hawk in the sky, leaving nothing but the bones for the vultures down below.

So for the ground based threats we know we need AP 2+ and we need the fusillade to be deadly in Strength.  As much anti-aircraft as possible must be eliminated before the Eldar planes can function.   After looking through the weapons section, I see only one weapon that can pump out the combination of volume, strength, range and AP we want in order to down 3+ armored guns as well as 2+ armored Broadsides:  The Star Cannon.  I was surprised by this at first, as I had not seen Star Cannons used much since they reduced their rate of fire to 2 in the latest codex's.  Until now, BS 3 made them less attractive.  Now they are BS 4, which very much resurrects their threat profile.  And so the list building began!

But a new question first?  Which platform to fire them from.  Cost-wise the War Walker made the most sense.  Vipers took up a space our planes would need on the FOC.

210pts  3 WarWalkers (all with Dual Star Cannons)

Packed with Star Cannon goodness, there is a very high probability of knocking out the Aegis gun immediately.  Since Broadside units can take a lot of Drones or use their own commander as a level of protection quite often, I opted for yet a second War Walker unit.  This one would have a little more utility:  Assisting the Eldar Flyers in their mission seemed a good idea but putting TOO many missiles in the War Walker unit bloats the cost way beyond reasonable. So I decided to give it a mixed purpose:  First as a last ditch measure if the first unit fails, but also be to Pin the enemy down.

160pts 2 War Walkers (1 w/ Dual Star Cannons, and 1 w/ Scatter Laser+ Eldar Missile Launcher w/Flakk).

I was satisfied at this point that any anti-air the enemy may possess could be handled CONVINCINGLY this way, as well as adding considerable offense against ANY target.  This also gave me a versatile anti-aircraft missile shot in place of a stagnant Aegis Line I would not have benefited from much given the non-stagnant nature of the list.

Now that this essential function was satisfied, I needed troops.  My first attempt was with Pathfinders, reasoning that the many Pinning checks I could force would be failed quite often by the enemy, given the special rules of the Hemlock (The WaithFighter forces enemies within 12" to re-roll their morale/Pinning  tests).  There were flaws in this that were made abundantly clear in test games which weren't as obvious on paper:  First, pinned units had the same basic chance against my flyers as not pinned ones, leaving my Flyers no less vulnerable plus Pathfinders didn't wound often enough;  and the Pathfinders themselves were simply too slow for the endgame on objectives.  Their freedom to deploy well and pin was not enough, in reality, to compensate for their movement shortcoming.  Eldar Missile Launchers were a far better use of the points to cause pinning, as they are mobile and force pin checks RELIABLY now (even their single shot is now pinning!).  It can also take on hordes as well as tanks.  My initial thought was "Okay, replace pathfinders with Guardian Defenders then, and plus I have the War Walker Missile which combined helps me replace the utility of at least two of the Pathfinder units".

120pts  10 Guardian Defenders (Eldar Missile Launcher)

The endgame on objectives still needed to be achieved and as aforementioned, the Pathfinders were just too slow and exposed.  Windrider Jetnbikes were the logical choices.  While not a pinning unit, they were less expensive than another Guardian Squad and could accomplish the mission from reserves.

51pts  3 WindRiders
51pts  3 WindRiders
51pts  3 WindRiders

Okay we wanted an Eldar air force so it's time to select that.  The Hemlock WraithFighter is to be our centerpiece and we will take two of them.  I was quite tempted to take three but then I realized that should I face Triple Drakes et al, impressive anti-aircraft would be necessary in a competitive environment.  A singular War Walker with Skyfire did not seem likely to be the answer.  In any event, the War Walkers primary duty was not anti-aircraft anyways.  So that left us wanting at least one Crimson Hunter, the most feared bird of prey in all of Warhammer 40K potentially.

On the Hemlocks, there really are no upgrades to consider so you just take it stock as is.  On the Crimson Hunter you must decide whether you want to purchase the Exarch for a whopping 20 points!  It's one of the most expensive upgrades out there but it gives your plane BS 5.  My thinking was that I may not have the plane for long and want to maximize it's damage.  The Perfect Strike ability seals it though.  If its hits fail to Glance or Penetrate a flyer (specifically), you can re-roll!  No flyer wants to hear THAT!  The other option you must decide on is whether to be firing 4 STR 8 shots (two of them are lances, 2 from a Pulse laser) OR...  replace the two Lances with Star Cannons.  The thing that ultimately decided it for me was that I WON'T always face aerial attackers and the Exarch can take Marksmans Eye (Precision Shot on a 5+).  The added volume of fire from the Star Cannons when engaging ground targets is simply too good to pass up and 4 STR 6 AP 2 shots to the rear of enemy aircraft using Vector Dancer is equally fearsome when combined with the Perfect Strike ability.

185pts  Hemlock WraithFighter
185pts  Hemlock WraithFighter
190pts  Crimson Huner (Exarch W/Marksmans Eye, 2 x Star Cannons)

The Hemlocks function is to close with the enemy the round they come on (hopefully in turn 2) and force re-rolls on the enemy morale and pinning checks.  Add to this their ability to use the power in the main Rule book called Terrify, and you're attacking the most impotant stat in the game twice a round:  morale.  The Hemlocks two weapons are small blasts, STR 4 AP 2 and obviously prone to being unreliable but you don't have to cause many wounds to force a morale check, especially when they are Terrified!  Once Terrified and falling back, the enemy unit auto-fails morale checks, which makes a unit falls back 4D6 to 6D6 in one turn potentially.  This unique mode of attack really puts pressure on the enemy to either come forward or face falling off the board in Horror.

And that brings us to how we can INSURE that this tactic can be as viable as possible.  Given that we are relying so much on enemy morale to fail, it's an obvious step to then try to take some form of support for the flyers attacks on morale.  Enter the Warlocks.  Though unpredictable in what power they will get, they roll on the Runes of Battle table for their powers and one of those powers is Horrify.  It is only 18" which limits it quite a  bit in practice.  It must be cast at the start of the movement phase like Terrify, limiting it further.  However, it reduces enemy LD by 3!  Imagine the impact that would have on a unit forced to take Terrify checks, Pinning checks, 25% checks and so on.  The downside is, power selection is random so you MUST invest HEAVILY in the Warlocks just to make sure you get it Horrify at least twice.

495pts  9 Warlocks (Jetbikes, 9 x Shining Spears).

Now this unit can do serious anti-tank work with their spears (STR 9 vs. Armour) but of course they also will end up with a huge repertoire of buffs and anti-buffs to influence the battle with.  Horrify is the target power but several others are noteworthy for Jetbikes, especially the one that makes them 2+ armor!  Overall the units function is support early and offense/contesting late.

With four troops choices, the flyers and their heralds taken care of, I felt comfortable moving on to the issue of who would lead this force. Remembering that we want a synergy with the abilities already on the table,I scanned the codex Warlord Traits first to see if here was one that would be of particular value. None really are, other than perhaps An Eye on Distant Events when close enough to the flyers so this really didn't influence my choice.  What did play big on the list though is the fact that, like in the Tau aerial attack post i put n the blog, we are looking to boost our chances of getting the planes in early.  No one but the Autarch and Prince Yriel can do that for us.  The Prince can't be placed on a Jetbike to keep up if I want him to be close enough.  The Spirit Seer would be great, adding another opportunity at Horrify, but he doesn't take a Jetbike, oddly enough, and Horrfiy's range makes a non-jetbike carrier a lot less useful.  That leaves us with the Autarch.  The Autarch is PERFECT for lists that rely on objectives because he gives you the Path of Strategy (+/-1 to reserve roll).  He also can take Remnants of Glory which really help him stay alive and avoid the Slay the Warlord Victory condition.

135pts  Autarch (JetBike, Phoenix Gem, Fusion gun, Power Weapon)

My last purchase hails back to many many games in which a super menace like Mephiston, WraithKnights, Riptides, Tervigons and the like have come in search of Line Breaker or just to kill me.  Having a potent attack to the fore as this army already does still leaves you wondering what to do about the truly ridiculous units like Thunderwolf Cavalry that can cross to the backfield in no time, or Furioso FragDreads et al.  The best all around weapon system Eldar have for ground attack is the EXCELLENT D-Cannon artillery.  I have Zero problem moving and running it up in turn 1 and then unleashing its extremely tough 7 crew on the enemy or alternately just waiting for the drop armies to show up and then bombing them into bite sized morsels that the rest of the force can more easily handle.  The SR 10, AP2 are ridiculously awesome but its Distortion ability has paid dividends in many of my test games, killing Mephison and others outright.  Major threats can be eliminated with one roll of the dice when you unleash Vauls Wrath on someone.

165 Vauls Wrath Battery (3 D-Cannons)

So I present to you the list as it has now evolved.  I'll summarize here and then give you the observations and results I have afterwards::

 210pts  3 WarWalkers (all with Dual Star Cannons)
 160pts 2 War Walkers (1 w/ Dual Star Cannons, and 1 w/ Scatter Laser+ Eldar Missile Launcher w/Flakk)
165 Vauls Wrath Battery (3 D-Cannons)
120pts  10 Guardian Defenders (Eldar Missile Launcher)
51pts  3 Wind Riders
51pts  3 Wind Riders
51pts  3 Wind Riders
 135pts  Autarch (JetBike, Phoenix Gem, Fusion gun, Power Weapon)
495pts  9 Warlocks (Jetgbikes, 9 x Shining Spears)
 185pts  Hemlock WraithFighter
185pts  Hemlock WraithFighter
190pts  Crimson Hunter (Exarch W/Marksmans Eye, 2 x Star Cannons)

Total Points:  1998
Total Models: 46
Total Kill Points: 12

First, the current list is 8-0 in this form, so it is a proven winner.  I don't think that if you added a unit of 'Finders in place of anything on this list, you'd end up happier.  Why?  Count the pinning/Terrify attacks.  There are already five units that can pin or otherwise get the enemy's head down in some fashion.  If you wanted more, you could switch out a War Walkers weapon to make one more unit Pin, or even give the Autarch a Reaper Launcher so he can Pin enemies too.   These changes would cost less than a unit of Pathfinders and add to the Pinning threat likely at the expense of one of the WindRiders.  All good ideas if you're willing to lose the one Bike Squad and perhaps you are willing?

The art of the list is this:
Warwalkers deploy (if there's an Aegis) or Outflank (if not).  Their job:  annihilate an entire anti-air Squad or just start ending entire OTHER squads.  And they will, believe me.

The Autarch and Seer Council flow towards the side the jets will likely be on.  At beginning of turn two, they need to be within 18" of their Horrify target.  Going second makes this easier to do.  Going second is a strong play for this army.  The Autarch will break off to attack a unit on his own to protect the rest of the Seer Council from being tied up if necessary and he is pretty hearty against normal threats, especially against low tough creatures his Phoenix Gem is sure to hurt..  The Seer Council are generally fast enough and tough enough that the enemy will really struggle to shoot them dead and will not very often be able to reach them in melee at all because the enemy closest to them are going to be running away very very soon.

WindRiders will  generally lag behind and prepare to gank objectives.  I have used the Cannons on them and they are very useful.  Remember that their guns will rend as will the Guardians who generally lag behind to claim rear objectives and pin people.

Meanwhile the Vauls Wrath Battery takes up position, soaks fire and generally scares the crap out of people.  The Seer Council can heal the actual Gun if it avoids dying totally, so sometimes its good to keep that in mind when you deploy it.  Best way is deploy towards the enemy with two Guardian Gunners followed by a gun and then two more gunners and so on when you can pull it off.  Four wounds on that Battery is not so easy to get in order to kill the gun outright and regenerating a wound on one makes for a much longer day for the enemy.

The Crimson Hunter annihilates flyer threats and then starts sniping heavy weapons while the Hemlocks force the enemy against the wall for the War Walkers and other units to inexorably destroy.  It is rare for the enemy to get to the backfield against this force with much strength and it is often a short lived effort.

Only three of the twelve games have gone the distance.  The other games were very early surrenders.  I am not only happy with the performance of the list but also happy with its uniqueness.  It isn't a list everyone is touting, but it has proven quite effective.