Monday, December 28, 2015

"Meta" is stupid.

I decided to write up a little rant here.  I don't tend to rant because, honestly, results always speak for themselves.  It is when someone actually questions this basic law of reality that I start getting a little warm around the collar.

For those who even care about such things, let me tell you that if you look in the top 40 ITC rankings as of today, you will find the names of no less than eight people who attend the events I'm at.  That's just the ones whose names I know.  5 of them are in the top 25.  I normally wouldn't bother pointing that out.  I don't find that particularly relevant, because it ignores the FAR more numerous games you play outside those events which are no less difficult and against the same competition. That being said, it was brought to my attention on a forum I frequent that my "meta sucks".  I laugh for all the obvious reasons and wanted to offer a point of reference people can't argue with.

Aside from these players, a large number of other notables play in my "meta".  One of them placed in the top 5 of 'Ard Boyz when that was a thing, and the field of competition was pretty large every year (basically you had to win 12 games in a row, just about, to make it).  Another pair are twins (the infamous Skewis brothers), who win nigh every tournament they enter, though they play less now.  I myself have gone undefeated in 50+ player events in several states, and once more at a heavily comp'd event.  I attended TSHFT, plus a couple Seattle GT's and never lost more than one game.  I have a sack full of medals and other honorifics for the various other tournaments and Best Generals I have won, not just in 40K but also in Flames of War and Star Wars X-Wing etc...  Pretty much any tabletop game you can compete in, I've probably got awards for.

Why do I waste your time tooting my own horn about all this, other than to squash some know-nothing on another forum who thinks, wrongly, that he knows me and my meta?  Here's why:  the idea of meta is stupid.  I want to address that.

Even though I play in what any fair minded person would consider a strong meta (decide for yourself but I 'd say I do), and complete with the usual Forge World nonsense and uber builds showing up from Portland Oregon to Vancouver BC, it doesn't matter.  Every single person reading this blog plays with the same codex's I do!   Everyone has access to the same online resources I do.  Every one reading has the  same rulebook (give or take the occasional linguistic difference of course).  Everyone.  If people choose, they even use the same house rules (ITC for example).  So really the only difference in "meta" is whether or not you use ITC rulings or something similar for the event!

Yet this word has been expanded by people to mean a LOT more than that.  They have pooled player quality, list strength, and a variety of other less significant factors into a thing they collectively call "meta".  Those things aren't one thing.  They are multiple things.  However "meta" has wrongly been made to mean all of it because people who run out of things to say, attack "your meta" as if they could even know.  Lol.  The last bastion of cowardice for online folks is to attack that nebulous "thing" called "Meta". 

It isn't as if Eldar players on one coast don't know what the ones on the other coast do!  This isn't mysterious stuff.  Suggesting that the lists these people know how to make are different is asinine.  So why don't all armies look alike?  Why is it that in a field of 250 players, you can't find two identical lists or if you do, it's the needle in the haystack?  The answer is, there is no true "best list" against which no one can prevail for Eldar (I'm speaking of ITC-like events).  There is no such thing for Space Marines either.  Several Eldar Generals with highly similar lists to the winners, lost.  How could it possibly happen if the list or codex were beyond any doubt the cause of wins and losses?  Lol.

At the Ambassadorial Tournament this year, two Eldar lists that were markedly different won their respective brackets.  One was pretty well a balanced bag of Eldar tricks while the other was a sledge hammer.  Both got the job done.  The year before?  No Eldar at the top at all.  There really are more ways to skin the cat and a "weak meta" isn't one in which the non-sledge hammer plays nor is the "strong meta" the one in which the sledge hammer plays.  Both were present.  Did the lists win or did the Generals?  Before you say "codex", notice the Eldar didn’t even make top table the year before!

You know where they proved their ability?  On the tabletop.  Not on some forum.

I am often quoted as saying that "The General matters more".  So how is it that a "meta" can "suck" when its Generals are in the top 25 plus those playing/learning against them?  What, did these top generals not take some online personalities pet unit so now maybe they should give their victories back?  Absurd.  These generals didn't subscribe to some online personalities concept of a mythical "best list" so they don’t get to count their tournament wins?  Ridiculous.  It's so stupid to even have to discuss this, yet these are what the online conversations are like.  Keyboard courage is a thing.

Moreover, there are several excellent Generals in our area who don’t even show in the ITC rankings (or are way down at the bottom) because, like me, they don't care enough about the rankings to bother with it.  Someone told me "well if you're not going to ITC events then…"  Oh really?  You want to know how stupid that makes one sound?  Here's a true story:  the last two ITC events I went to were 8 man affairs in some one's garage.   Lol.  People have a really inflated idea of what "ITC event" even means, just like they do the word "Meta".  I think I got points for those events, if they even get reported.

Doesn't matter.  What I do know is the guy who beat me for the win is really good and he's got the same stacks of wins to prove it that I do.  Beat him if you think you're up to it.  Yet the ITC barely knows who he is.  Thus my disdain for even bothering to mention rankings; but again, apparently, people think they matter so I mentioned them for a point of reference.

Unless we are going to start requiring people to win 50+ events or Adepticon just to have opinions on forums, people need to get over this "meta" argument altogether and deal more directly with one another.  It's a garbage argument.  Every one of those smart asses on those forums would be absolutely silent if that was what was required to be heard.  There would only be a few of us talking then, wouldn't there be?

There is some truth to the idea that in certain places, excellent generals choose to play friendlier lists out of a sense of sportsmanship.  Never mistake that courtesy as weakness.


/End rant

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Chaos Space Marine strengths

Every Codex has its strength.  Despite the many forums where a legion of trolls stand ready to harvest your outcries and indignation, I can tell you that the Chaos Space Marines codex was quite a departure from the bland garbage pail the previous 5th Edition codex was.  The Furies just kind of completed the emasculation of the entire group of proud warriors.  In its place was a considerably better 6E Codex filled with war machines s well as the old stand byes.  It added a lot to the arsenal and though it now feels its age, the reality is even now, it has some excellent units.

I include the Black Legion with my praise.  Like Mont'Ka and Kauyon, the Chaos Space Marine discussion should rightly include that volume as well.  After all what is more iconic than the Black Legion when speaking of the Fallen.

As Heavy Support units go, one of the best for a long time have been the tenacious Obliterators. Obliterators are able to Deep Strike into any battlefield situation, causing immediate impact while being a bear to kill.  The nastiest variety of them is the Nurgle Obliterator.  At toughness 5, many otherwise deadly Instant Death threats are negated, which is of key importance to a two wound critter and that leaves it plenty of fortitude with its 2+ save to absorb more than its fair share of attention.  The big thing with Obliterators is they can be used to gain target saturation.  The Chaos Space Marines function well as an MSU (multiple small units) army.  Things like Obliterators can drop from the skies at the same time fast and deadly troops are arriving at the enemy front door forcing a plethora of target priority headaches all at once.  Optionally you can use these doughty warriors as a gun line if the enemy calls for that approach.  Their Powerfist makes them unusually dangerous compared to other otherwise dedicated shooting platforms.  All in all you never really feel robbed when taking them.

The Forgefiend rarely saw use compared to the Maulerfiend, but the Forgefiend has STR 8 AP 2 Blasts it can fire, which is a pretty insane amount of firepower, plus its Daemonforge ability to ensure a maximum amount of misery is inflicted.  Daemonic Possession means those guns will fire until that Forgefiend is obliterated and it comes with It Will Not Die as a rule!  I think that Obliterators give you  a heartier and comparable role for the cost, so I think they really need to tone down the points on it in the next codex.  But it is a nightmare to deal with if you can't get enough shots into it, and with some cover to hide behind, the Forgefiend can be just what the Doctor ordered if you don't own the Obliterators or just haven't got enough of them.

The Heldrake remains a huge winner in the Codex.  The Vector Strike at STR 7 and the Flamer are both just pure wins.  It's price is appropriate and its abilities commensurate.  You get what you pay for and it is terrifying.  One of its best abilities as to be able to hover.  Underrated ability but one that has made more than one opponent quirk an eyebrow when I stole victory from the jaws of defeat by declaring unexpectedly that my bird of prey would be alighting.  The Chaos Codex to this point has never seen a strong entrant into its annals of Warhammer history, in my opinion.  Even those who speak ill of the codex will quickly let you know that they respect the hell out of that bird.

Chaos Spawn are a unit everyone wanted to love for a long time but couldn't.  Now they can.  Spawn are extremely reasonably priced.  A mere 30 points for a Beast which has no fear, instills it in others and d6+2 STR 5 attacks on the charge?  Yes please?  You can place Nurgle or Slaanesh blessings on them and it will be a party.  An entire unit is only 180 points, so you really can afford them and delivering them with a Land raider to lead the way works if you're willing to dedicate one to the task.  Alternatively if you like Slaanesh, you can lead them onto the board by a Chaos Lord on a Slaaneshi steed. from the flanks.  Endless fun.

Noise Marines involve a serious expense but they are very effective units for dealing ranged damage and advancing on the enemy with a cacophony of unpleasantness to share.  The special weapon for Noise Marines are amazing, so if you're looking for a "faction" to start a Chaos Space Marine army, there are far worse than this.  If you are willing to dedicate some points to them, they can dish out a serious amount of long range damage.

A word about Dirge Casters:  Mandatory.  While Overwatch certainly isn't the end of the world, it is a thing, especially against the Tau Empire and against Dark Angels.  The Dirge Caster needs be on a living Rhino (with or without treads) to perform its essential duty of allowing your legion to run unabated into the enemy with no fear of casualties at all.  Spend the points.  Get them.  Use them.  Love them.

Winged Daemon Princes are another thing I like about the Chaos Codex got right.  They are fantastically useful and it's advisable anyways to have an aerial threat to deal with the enemy flyers.  That they can be powerful Psykers is a big bonus, and the power of several winged terrors in the air is something many competitive players know the pain of well.  Even excellent lists can take a beating when the Winged Psykers come to town and that they are more than capable of close combat just adds to their cache.

I also think Chaos Lords are very reasonably priced.  They don't wow you with what they can do, but they don't "tax" you either.  They are simply solid and affordable.  That they are fearless is a big deal as is the fact they can accompany any unit type just about because of their options.  The Black Legion in particular has ridiculously excellent war gear for the intrepid Chaos Lord and if you get the chance to test their ferocity, I think you'll come away somewhat impressed.  The Eye of Night and the Hand of Darkness in particular give the army an element it really needs against certain forces, and I have hi-lited those items in my other articles so I will leave it at that.

The new codex is coming.  Time for some insane predictions?  Sure!  Those are fun!

Maulerfiends and Chaos Dreads will undoubtedly be given four attacks.  It would simply be unthinkable for them to remain at the two base attacks they have now.

I think that the Tzeentch legions will be given some love.  They were given a very high price tag and when you see 9 point Fire Warriors with an AP 3 weapon, you immediately have to think the Thousand Sons are not going to be left in the cold.  My prediction?  Assault 2, AP 3.  My other wild prediction based in no way in fact:  two wounds each.  Same cost as now.

Another crazy prediction:  Squadrons of three will be available for most if not all their main battle tanks except perhaps the Land Raider!  I don't find this very far fetched to be honest and it's almost assured to happen.

Chaos Space Marines:  the return of their banners for summoning?  Many old school Chaos players would love to get their banners back.  It may come in the form of a banner that allows the Deep Strike to be flawless within 6" of the banner like a teleport homer, plus the added bonus of an extra die when casting summoning powers.  What would you say to that?

Crazy idea #5 would be that the Terminaotrs will get access to some sort of Storm-shield effect.  I am not sure if it will be literal storm shields, but just something to allow them to act like Assault Terminators.

Add any other crazy thoughts you might have below!

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Ork Psykers

I was blessed by Mork (or was it Gork) with good friends and one o' dem granted me a very nice Ork army which I cherish.  I added to it since gettin' it and through my many contacts in da gaming world I listen when people are talkin' tactics to see if I can pick up the odd bit of unusual thought patterns to bring to my game.

One such conversation led me to start thinkin bout Ork Psykers.  As Psykers go, Orks ain't remarked on much in any forums I frequent.  That could be because, by and large, people don't consider Orks competitive in da big boy ring and da players who play Orks tend to be attracted to other sexier parts of da codex I s'pose.

Consider for a moment though dat da Ork Psyker phase can be dramatically impressive.  Level 2 Ork Wierdboyz have The Power of the Waaagh! and Daemonology disciplines and 'dat means primarily the Sanctic if they wanna' keep their heads attached, though I s'pose they could dabble at their own extreme peril in da alternative.

Let's take a look at da possibilities.  Imagine five o' these fellas leading its forces (since no self respectin' Ork is bringin' "just a few" o' nuthin).  Three Combined Arms Detachments will allow it, and give you Objective Secured units; or you can take 'da exact same number of Wierdboyz and their troops and gain The Greenskin Hordes special rule in the Ork Horde Detachment.  Dat will largely be an issue of taste and so I won't delve too deep into whether you should prefer one or 'da other. Certain tournaments will not allow more than two of 'da same Detachment, in which case da Ork Horde Detachment becomes da default.  I'll leave dat up to you and da T.O. to work out.

To maximize da usefulness of da Ork Wierdboyz you need to keep a mess o' Orks around 'em (10+ at all times) and dat is easily done through taking 6 units of 'em.  What this does is takes those 70 point Psykers and given 'em an extra helpin' of juice, one die per Wierdboy.  Net result:  a Psyker phase with fifteen to twenty-one  Psyker dice!!!  Dat eclipses almost any other forces number of dice in most games. What can 'umies do against an Ork commander with such oomph?  Nuffin'.

No two Psykers can cast da same power twice from wiffin da same unit so it matters what they roll as to whether you want several in one unit OR just one per smaller unit.  For this reason I would have at least one maxed out squad for Psykers whose powers don't overlap much or at all to travel in.

ALL the Psykers are going to get da Frazzle power if they go just from da Power of the Waaagh! psychic discipline.  The STR 6 AP 3 blast it creates is quite impressive and adds immensely to da pre-punching-yer-face festivities.  It has da added bonus of scattering rather than having to hit on BS 2.  One can see easily see why five such blasts going off in one round would frighten absolutely any 'umie.  Dis Primaris power times five is a scary proposition to anything wearing an approximation to power armor or less.  If you gave any other unit in da 40K universe dat many STR 6 AP 5 blasts and I then told you it was effectively a Splitfire weapon (since it can be fired at something other than what da unit will eventually fire weapons at) wouldn't you think highly of it?  Ork Psykers come standard with Frazzle, only in da Psyker phase instead of shooting, but big deal. Wanna' make sumthin ' of it?

On da other hand, there's 15-21 dice to use up and dat only took up 3-6 of them cubie things!

Da 'EadBanger Power is a little on da weak side, used mostly for powerful characters.  It can force enough toughness checks on a target that they simply can't make 'em all and kills 'em.  Da powerful part of dat is dat it is a Focused Witchfire so you can snipe important unit elements with dat power if you get two or more successes on da power!  Six Snipers hiding among the boyz units in Trukks takin' out all da 'eavy weapons in a unit before chargin'?  Sounds pimpin'.  It's not as effective against characters unless they is alone, because they just bounce it to someone who don't matter with Look Out Sir.  Then again, it might be worth da attempt.  You decide.  Feelin' lucky, 'umie?  Well is ya'?  Ultimately da power itself relies on failed toughness checks so it ain't really my favorite among da powers.

Da other shooting attack Power is da Kill Bolt.  That power gives an ork unit a legitimate weapon to use on Land Raiders and Gargantuans.  At STR 10, Ap 2 it don't get meaner.

Power Vomit is da same way.  A big old flamer template at STR 7 AP 2?  Damn.  The Necrons have to buy gear for dat and it only works one time!  Orks can do it along with Frazzle!  And dat's why the orks is always gonna' krump the Chromies.

Da' Krunch is a devastating AP 4 Barrage for wasting things a little further away and as an AP 4 Large Blast size with the ability to potentially fire it again and again?  Scary.  All the powers for da Ork Psykers are really surprisingly good, yet rarely mentioned.

Warpath is a truly ruthless power for Orks.  Adding +1 attacks to Orks is huge.  Orks under perform a little bit in close combat normally because of their armor and da fact that they is only really good on the charge.  So making sure that da charge counts and does damage is important. Warpath lets the unit gain an extra attack, so da (properly armed) Orks are puttin' out five attacks on da charge.  This matters a lot.  Consider if a Wierdboy with dat power gave it to Meganobz in Trukks.  They can now weather any storm on da way in from crazy Dark Angel Overwatch, or an IG blob dat gets da Foreboding power off, yet still bring a blizzard of attacks.  It takes away the downsides of doing Disorganized Charges, which might be da nicest element of it.  Get in a scrape with a Wraith Knight? You'll need all da extra chances you can get to krump it.

Da' Jump is just silly.  Deep Striking orks anywhere you need them?  Who needs Snikrot when you have Da' Jump?  You can port a 30 ork blob right to da enemy doorstep.  Or ten Meganobz.  Just sayin'.  Dat might be one of da best powers on any list because you can do it a little later and therefore secure a more favorable landin' zone.  It also serves your purposes to be able to Line break at will.  The combination you can do with it regarding Relentless artillery?  Pretty awesome.  The list of cool ways that power can help da' boyz, who typically struggle with the journey into da enemy but not after is significant.

So what you can do is take units of ardboyz because ardboyz are 'arder to kill, put dem in trukks so that they are more likely to survive when Trukks inevitably explode (and please don't be naive, they are goin' to explode).  You drop da Warpath power on dem so dat suddenly the 11 'ardboyz and their Psyker are a lot Morkier.  Its like being able to stick an additional 4 Orks in da trukk on da charge.  And dat's one more than three more Orks in a trukk!

Now wrap your brain around 'ardboys protected in a truck that gets 5 charge attacks at STR 6?  It can be done with da Sanctic power Hammerhand (+2 STR).  Not just that but in subsequent phases when orks revert to STR 3, they would instead be STR 5!  Dat is a REALLY big upgrade for your basic orks.  So it ain't no waste to maybe look at dat Sanctic table.

If your power rolls lean to da shooty (and they basically always will), well all da better as a melee oriented force like Orks needs da help in that regar.  Frazzle is free with Psychic Focus. So as long as you can pop transports with da other parts of the force and get to the teef inside, da Ork Psyker should have little problem whittling those units down to a size that Ardboyz can manage.

Da core of such a list looks something like this, split into two Ork Horde Detachments:

350pts  5 Wierd Boyz (level 2)
110pts  1 Warboss (Klaw+Lucky Stick)
725pts  5 units of 11 Ard Boyz (attendant Nob with Klaw)
175pts  5 Trukks (Reinforced Rams?)
215pts  1 unit 30 boyz (with Nob and Klaw)

Dat's about 1575 points, 17 Kill points, and quite a bit of hearty ork goodness to be combined with an Orky Warlord trait and da Ork Horde Detachment special rules if that's da way you're going.  Dis will also work as CAD's too, if da T.O. allows.  You can fill in the rest to taste but dat's da core.  STRONG candidates for additions include Meks with Killsaws, Lootas, Mek Guns and War buggies as well.  None of those would be poor choices as companions to such a list.

I hope dis reminder of da poor forgotten Wierdboyz will help you imagine more possibilities.  Feel free to mash on dat Google+1 button like a true ork if you liked the article, mate!  =)






Saturday, October 31, 2015

New Tau Empire models are here!

The Tau Empire.  Deep in the hearts of every member of the Lords of Terra lies the festering fear of what might happen should the light of the Tau Empire reflect off their golden doors.    

The only shining light in the grimdark and a hope for a lasting peace among the stars has received its 7th Edition due.  And with their new arsenal, those Lords of Terra fear correctly. 

The Tau Empire has learned from its various enemies and, as they are wont to do, have developed devastating new technologies in relative blinks of the eye.  This collection of scientific discoveries could propel the decisive blows in the Third Sphere Expansion.

As usual the minds of Games Workshop saw infuriatingly fit to force additional purchases on some Tau Generals.  The Codex itself contains everything you need to play the army…  Except…  The rules for the Tidewall Rampart of course.  They put that rule set in the Kauyon Campaign Expansion.  In addition, anything that was new was placed in the Kauyon book and nothing else.  One might think it fine to simply get the Kauyon Campaign and be done with it, except that anything NOT new is not in it!  So the old codex does in fact work with the Kauyon Expansion and the two do form all you need to play Tau.  The new Codex is all you need if you don't wish to use the Tidewall Rampart or Tidewall components in general.

So what's changed?  Well there are really significant changes alright!  Let's start with the Lord of War Gargantuan Creature KV128 Stormsurge.  The model is ridiculously awesome for starters and reminds one immensely of the SDR-04-Mk XII Destroid Phalanx (built on the Spartan chassis) from Robotech with it's two huge missile wracks for arms.  It also has stylings of the Broadside Battlesuit with the KV128's shoulder mounted Pulse Blast Cannon.  What does this thing do?  Well that big cannon fires at Heavy 2 and its beam widens as it projects out going from a single shot Destroyer class weapon within 10" to dispersing to as much as a STR 9 AP 5 large blast at targets within 20-30 inches.  It kills MEQ if they get closer than 20".  This unit will underscore the importance of pre-measuring and agreeing with opponents so there is no argument later, because an inch matters with this weapon!  Don't need the extra D weapon or don't like dealing with the complicated distance changes in profile?  You can switch it out for a Pulse Driver Cannon which is just a large Ordinance blast (str 10 AP 2).  Done.  It's an extra 15 points, and I think it is a tough call.  But I probably favor the Pulse Driver Cannon just because Markerlights means it almost never misses.  It also fires a Twin Linked Smart Missile System, and its signature Cluster Rocket System which is fired up to 48" with a whopping 4D6 missiles at STR 5 AP 5.  Whuuuuuut?  That is a lot of missiles!  Its most devastating missiles are its four 60" Destroyer Missiles.  STR 8, AP 1; and here's where the fun part is:  Markerlights can give them the D characteristic.  Wowa.  This thing is a gun boat.  It lands probability on peoples heads and shatters anything that isn't diving for cover.  It is a horde breaker, Clearly it can help you drop a Wraith Knight as well.  Then there's it's random Twin linked Flamer just because it can (a little Wall of Death action never hurts).  However my guess is people will pay the extra five points to turn it into a Airbursting Fragmentation Projector  which is the old "experimental" weapon the Tau got in 4th Edition.  The Frag Launcher is a barrage and does ignore cover at AP 5 so it's actually a REALLY nice addition to the suits already impressive suite of anti-personnel measures.  So much firepower.  It does its best work against squishier targets but in no way should it be entirely considered anti-personnel. The real kicker though is that when it drops its Stabilizing anchors it doubles the rate of fire in the shooting phase (specifically)…  Yes.  You read that correctly.  Dayam.  4D6 x 2 Cluster Rockets?  It is expensive too, so anyone who though t they might get a little home cooking on the cost is mistaken.  Like all Tau it cannot fight to save its life in close combat, especially if its Stabilization Anchors are down because it cannot stomp when they are down.  So one has to protect it from being silenced by fearless throw away units and the like.  But since the Netlistrs of the universe rarely make use of "subpar" units like those, those same self styled Netlisters may be in for an unpleasant shock.  I anticipate that we may well see these on the field soon.  VERY soon.



GhostKeels which are 130 point Elite choices, have topped a lot of discussion boards.  It's chock full of new toys for sure.  The Battlesuit itself is on the medium oval sized bases, smaller than the Riptides of course.  The multi-tracker and Blacksun filter are handy and pretty standard stuff for the suits of a Tau Empire force.  It's signature weapon, the Fusion Collider fires a small Melta Blast at 18" or you can switch it out for the six shot Cyclic Ion Raker, which also has the same overcharge ability as other Ion weapons to make a large blast at STR 8 out of it which will kill Scouts and Scions alike with equal ease.  The Electrowarfare Suite is silly good though.  It doubles the bonus for having Stealth and Shrouded when being shot from over 12" away… And they have both which means they are 2+ cover saves in the open unless the enemy is really close.  Wow.  More fun is that they can kinda play decoy and draw fire, then when you do fire at them (let's say with an Ignores cover weapon since you were all thinking it?) then the Ghostkeel can, once per game, force those shots to be Snap Fire after being targeted!  So yeah.  To boot they also get the Twin linked Flamer so charging them will be no picnic either if there's a unit of three of them.  Between their cover saves and their Stealth Drones, these tough 5 Battlesuits are really not going to go down easy to anything but a charge.  And that’s if they leave much more than a smoldering boot where you were standing before you try the charge.



Another small but significant change:  the Devilfish is now a Fast Attack slot.  That does open up a couple interesting new possibilities.  For example, kroot have never been able to deploy starting in a Devilfish, but now they can.  Sniper Drone teams can also if their rapid firing Sniper Rifles need to take a less enemy infested position before they get their day going.  So there's that.

Continuing on with the tour of Battle Suits, the BIG change happened with Crisis Bodyguards.  You no longer need Farsight to field the huge number of them.  They now come in a unit of 1-9 Crisis Bodyguards.  Wow.  Now I know some people who would rather not have to take Farsight to get all that and now they can!

But it doesn’t end there.  Normal Crisis Teams can now be nine strong.  Yes really.  The number of suits you can now field is just insane though is that really the way to go is another question altogether.  I don't actually know if it's a good idea at this point but that is just a lot of ablative Drones and filthy firepower.

The last Battlesuit that needs mention is the Commander.  It has another battle armor option, the XV86 Coldstar suit (a High Output Burst Cannon and Missile pod effectively take up two of the Commanders Support Systems when you do this).  The Coldstar Battlesuit gives the suit the Flying Monstrous Creature rules (minus Fear, Smash and Vector Strike) which means really fast and his Drones "disappear" when he Swoops.  Getting your commander to a safer location got a lot easier and of course that makes him difficult to hit.  The special Burst Cannon is assault 6 and twin linked so it's not missing and can get to rear armor and/ or even act as an anti-air unit with a High Output Burst Cannon and Missile Pod both.  Really is a pretty fun option, albeit his toughness of 4 still makes him a bit lonely up there.

Breacher Teams are new.  The Tau Empire now has another troops choice option!  Breachers remind me of the way Japan would carry around or drop in their "woodpecker" field guns in world war II, only in this case they carry around a "Tactical Support Turret" that can be a Missile Pod or a Smart Missile System that sort of disappears when you move.  Reminds me of how Guardian Weapon platforms work except the unit can't move.  They only come in ten man squads which is different but a non issue and are stat-wise like Fire Warriors.  They do however carry a completely different rifle:  the dread Pulse Blaster, plus they carry the Field Amplifier Relay.  Basically what that means is, their weapons are like the StormSurge's weapon, changing Strength( from 6 to 5 to 4) as range increases and the AP changes too (from 3, to 5, to nil respectively).  At 5 inches it is a deadly Assault 2 marine killer.  At 5-10 it's killing Guardsman and at 10-15 it's taking its chances.  the Way I foresee these being used is as shock and awe troops who will rush up in Devilfish's while their compadres blast open the cans from behind them, spilling out all the occupants and then evaporating them in one big deluge of close quarters fire.  Reprisals will no doubt be swift in the coming at that range but then, there may be nothing left.  Enemies will learn to prioritize Devilfish's more if these guys are in the force!  Breachers can pretty much wipe out a Wraithguard squad in one volley (welcome news to many!), for a lot cheaper than some other options and those are the kinds of high value targets the Breacher is designed to deal with.  They aren't more expensive than a Fire Warrior either so that's the good news.  Shorter range and varying effectiveness (getting stranded could mean losing the unit without a peep) may limit how many squads of them you'll really want of course, unless you want an absolutely hyper aggressive Tau force (and that is a fun idea with Ghostkeels around too).  The Field Amplifier they come with can help that ideal, giving them a 5+ invulnerable save as long as they have a Guardian Drone alive with them.  It is a hearty unit as troops go, but they only operate at danger close.  Breachers are economical and effective.  They could also play as line defense.  When the enemy draws near the gun line,  they pop out and fire, forming a protective line in front of more important assets and blazing away.  Darkstrider is allowed to join this unit also which isn't listed in the old codex obviously but is in the new one, yet not in the Kauyon book that I found so that was an oversight.  Someone correct me if I missed it.

Other than Battlesuits, other benefactors of the new codex were the Ethereals.  They can now get Recon Armor for 5 points which is nice and/or a Hover Drone which is a new upgrade that basically is a "get out of terrain free" card.  Its not the most exciting 5 points I ever saw especially since those guys should be in a unit at all times and so even if he has the Drone, no one else does!  I think they missed an opportunity here…

Those are the units that are new but there's also a big addition to the model line as well:  The Tidewall components.  There's a fair number of rules to be aware of!  It actually consists of Tidewall Shieldlines, Tidewall Droneports, and the magnificent Tidewall Gunrigs.  These can be used separately or combined to form a couple of different things called the Tidewall Gunfort and the Tidewall Defense Network.  The Tidewall Rampart is another thing altogether whose rules come in the boxed set.  The obvious ploy here is to get you to buy more components for it even after you purchase the Tidewall Rampart if indeed you did.  Units on the Tidewall Shieldline, the Tidewall Gunrig and on the Tidewall Droneport re-roll 1's to hit!  Those units riding them don’t count as moving when the Tidewall hovers forward (though they cannot themselves move) but it doesn’t like to move over difficult ground, so there's a limitation.  The Tidewall Shieldline isn't just a cool name.  If its riders make a cover save, watch out!  Each successful cover save gets a roll and on a 6, the shot hits the guys shooting at them!  Kinda like the Necron shields you can purchase for their elites.

Tidewall Gunrigs are pretty cool.  They fire an actual Twin linked Railgun! It's the big version and it can put hurt down field.  The added toughness is nice and only Tau can fire it so leaving it behind wont give your enemies a big 88 to fire on you if they overrun your position or more likely, when you tactically reposition.

Combining three of these that must stay within 6" of each other forms a Tidewall Gunfort, and the Gunfort can fire all three guns simultaneously adding 1 to the STR of Submunitions and and Armourbane to the solid shot.
The Tidewall Defense Network is one of the things you can build.  It basically is a square of Shield lines and a Gunrig or Drone port in the middle.  The Defense Network makes you stubborn so if you don't want an ethereal for that duty you can build on of these.  You need four Tidewall Shieldlines to do it though so even if you purchase the Tidewall Rampart, you won't have enough pieces to do it.  Sigh.  More GW price gouging.


So this is a quick rundown on the new lineup of models from the Tau Empire.  More to come!



Saturday, October 24, 2015

Tactical Comments on Range

There are some basic things that better generals recognize more readily.  Being a good sport and being good at the game are both goals for players who want to win tournaments.  Ranges are something you learn as you play the game and you become progressively more aware of what enemy units both can do and actually do.  That refers to both charge ranges as well as shooting ranges.

There's little shame in not recognizing the threats early on, but as you improve your skill set there are some very important distance considerations you must make.

First and foremost, deployment.  Put simply, you need to measure, before you do anything, how many turns it will take the enemy to crash into you if they are a mobile close combat force and if they are not, how many turns it takes to get to the objectives which will inform you on how much time you can afford to take in getting tied up in melees.  If the answer is that the enemy can be on you in two turns, and you're not disposed to defending against it especially, you need to consider retreating in round one as a viable option.  Fortunately games do not have infinite length, and the extra round can seriously reduce the time a capable melee force has to operate against you.  The more you steal from the strength of an enemy, the more you increase your own chances.  In a recent tournament, I was faced with a Tyranid army full of Forge World horrors, one of which had an ENORMOUS flamer template centrally in his deployment.  I measured the distance, knew he could decimate my Chaos Raptors in round one, and retreated everything to either side.  As a melee only army pretty much, my Night Lords would have liked nothing better than to advance and we had initiative but the reality of the battle dictated that it would be walking into certain death.  Adding his movement plus the template size...  Cowardice is a perfectly legitimate answer to that kind of problem because it forces the enemy to make a decision as to which side he wants to go towards.  It also signals to him that he must advance if he wants to catch you, and once he has advanced beyond the point of no return, you can express your speed, close, and lock him up before he annihilates you in a phase you're outclassed in, which is what happened.

This brings up one of the most important tactical tenets you will ever hear for war games:  just because you can assault doesn't mean you should.   Just because you can shoot doesn't mean you should.

Ranges matter.  Measurements beforehand not only warn you of disaster, but they also make certain there's no...disagreements... later as to distances on charges.  I have found that sportsmanship is very much appreciated.  Sometimes the way to avoid arguments about your opponents turn is to preempt them in yours.  To win tournaments, you must be thinking actively about sportsmanship.   Announcing and getting agreement on the relative distances between two units on my turn (lets say 13") then informs both of us that his 6" move will leave him with a 7 inch charge (9" if through cover).  Reminding him of it later won't seem pedantic if you've already agreed.  You're going to need that information anyways, so it creates a good habit in you of anticipating his charges as well as giving you the info you need to decide on your final positioning.  All in all, sportsmanship might be the best outcome of all on that practice.

Drop Pods present another challenge on ranges.  Experienced Generals know that a drop army or ones that acts similarly can physically cut you off from objectives and so the threat from them is not just from their firepower (as they tend to be bristling with special weapons whenever you see "drop" type armies) but from their effective use as gates that slow you down.   In this case the distances from you to the objectives become VERY important as you must plan at least an extra turn to get to them because of the new "terrain" the drop armies create.  It also may call you to try and dominate the midfield very early on to force him to split his drop up more.

The other range to be aware of against drop armies is this:  6".  That is the distance you DO NOT want Meltaguns dropping in on your tanks.  So if you know this and can use a unit or terrain to cut off at least that much distance outward from the tanks, you will suffer significantly less.  This is referred to as bubble wrapping quite often and the wrapping doesn't necessarily need to stand up to the firepower as much as simply be a barrier against the probabilities of losing the tank to the Melta special rule.  Even in deployment you have to be thinking about ranges.

During the critical first turn, you also need to look at ranges for melta weapons if you use a tank heavy force.  A Dominion squad can be 36' up the board in turn one and meltas have a 12" range meaning that there is almost nowhere a Dominion squad can't reach turn one!  In a recent game i played against Grey Knights, my Adepta Sororitas caught his Dread Knights quite by surprise with this and losing them both was crushing blow to his chances.  The game was nigh over before it began. So the first turn requires your utmost focus on ranges and how far things can truly go and fire.  If you're sporting a pair of Land Raiders and you want to live to see turn two, may want to sacrifice some position to keep them safe initially.

In other phases I see people carelessly move their figures after a successful close combat or perhaps Eldar do it in their shooting phase using their Battle Focus, perhaps euphoric over their victory or their near miss with death as the case might be.  Whatever the reason, you should ALWAYS be checking the enemy ranges to your miniatures before you consolidate or move (as the rules specifically do not let you go back and fix it once you actually start moving a model).  Measure the threat range from the enemy to you, adding in their movement rate and decide if you can escape the worst of it or even if you want to.  If there is no way to escape the worst of it, there are a few things to do.

1,  Circular deployment.  By circling up as wide as you can, you mitigate a great deal of the enemy's ability to hurt you with blasts and templates as well as cutting off ground for their flyers.  Leave nothing in the middle of the group for him to target so that blasts only hit the outside of the ring of soldiers and not the center.  Given you cannot escape the enemy retribution, you can mitigate it significantly.  But you'll only know this by being aware of the enemy ranges and being very conscious of your consolidation moves.

2.  Remember to place the important figures in the back of the unit UNLESS you know they have deep strikers in which case you want to put a couple of bodies on the back side of the unit just to make sure the important models don't get skewered.

3.  Consider not making the move that would get you there in the first place.  While it is quite satisfying to see an Ork Horde Detachment fling its mighty Ardboy blobs at hapless Militarum Tempestus soldiers, completely secure in your victory, remember what I said:   Just because you can charge doesn't mean you should and whatever small gains you may get from seven dead Scions could be inconsequential in comparison to, say, walking into First Rank Fire! Second Rank Fire! range of a supporting blob squad!  Sometimes it is better to forgo the closer target and set your sights on assaulting the potentially offensive blob itself later.  For surely you can shoot the Scions and cut them below combat efficacy without the need for a potentially damaging shooting response, a phase orks suffer in!

That also brings up a very old conundrum in 40k:  Do I shoot at all, if it risks missing a charge?  With random charge distances and consolidations and so on, it is perfectly reasonable to ask yourself that question.  If your unit is a primarily melee oriented unit and you're confident in your ability, then weather the overwatch and don't risk missing the charge.  If you're a middling melee unit, you might need the help in lowering the enemy numbers.  My mind goes to the few times I have had to charge with my Tau Fire Warriors.  I have done this to get free movement before as well as to contest objectives and with Aun'Va making them stubborn, it's really not the risk it sounds like.  In those instances, I simply had to take my chances on missing the charge because I knew my strength lie in the Carbine not the cudgel.  Whereas my Chaos Raptors are quite likely to fire ONLY their meltas guns and not much else before a charge because missing the charge is not an outcome they can really afford.

Whether the range be in close combat or in the shooting phase, consolidation or with Battle Focus the goal is the same:  be elite by making sure you are cognizant at all times of the risk; and exhibit good sportsmanship by preempting the arguments ahead of time.

And now for some gamer humor, click this link!

Monday, October 5, 2015

Chaos Space Marines in 7th Edition

As some know I have always enjoyed the Night Lords ever since I learned of the way they like to fight and their mercenary, dispassionate and somewhat ambivalent attitude towards the fanaticism of their peers.

Chaos Space Marines have seemed to suffer since 4th Edition Codex yanked the identity away from Chaos Marines and though it was finally returned to them in some measure with the Daemonkin book and also the latest Chaos Space Marine codex, the ultimate issue is that the codex has some fairly awesome things in it but lacks certain UTILITIES that some Codex's take for granted.

This has no bearing on whether the CODEX is good or bad.  some do get wrapped up in that kind of debate but what's the point?  IF a good General can still play and win with them, then I think it a better use of time to look at how than to become so overcome with indignation that you miss the opportunities.

In 7th Edition, there are a few things that matter a great deal:  Objective Secured units, speed and hard core punching power enough to face the prospect of a Wraith Knight among them.  Chaos Marines are "bereft" of Gravity Weapons (at this time), Drop pods to deliver them and are without the comforts of any Formatons to really reinforce the naturally melee oriented nature of Chaos Marines.  Let's face it, Space Marines just have more platforms to fire from, so Chaos Marines pretty much need to embrace melee if they want to get a competitive edge)

I would point out that Chaos Space Marines still have some incredible advantages you can still use and if you're willing to adjust your list to the new realities, then here's a few things you can do to make a Chaos list "7th Edition able".

You need enough weapons to slay the mighty Wraith Knight in one go.  The Stomp and other effects of a Wraith Knight make it absolutely imperative that any army do this.  Where best to find them?

Well to know the enemy is half the battle so let's take a peek.  The Wraith Knight is I5, so this informs our choice somewhat.  We really do need something that goes before the Wraith Knight.  We need initiative so we need to hold a Mark of Slaanesh if it gets in melee.  We also know that the Wraith Knight has six wounds , so no matter what we decide to use for this task, it needs to be able to take out NINE wounds (Because the Scattershield can defray wounds for the thing).  This is a tall order.  Who can do all this?

Points are the issue here.  The enormous amount of fire it takes to do nine wounds to a Toughness 8 creature is so crazy that while you may wish to tenderize the thing a bit with shooting (never a bad idea), melee would be less points intensive in the long run.  How much less?  On paper you might consider hitting it with an endless stream of AP fire but we have to be honest in realizing that 9 Obliterators that cost 684 points couldn't do it unless they had three rounds to devote to it and they all never died!  Three LasCannon Predators certainly would need at least that much time also, and are 420 points; and they would need 4 rounds, which will never happen.  That is how extreme a threat the Wraith Knight is against shooting.  So we have to consider melee, even expensive melee units, as a probable alternative to all these other expenditures.

The two answers I see for Chaos Marines are these:

1.  The Black Legion Hand of Darkness.  Easily the best answer.  A simple Chaos Lord on a Bike can get the charge off, hiding in a unit for a round if necessary until ready to strike.  With the Mark of Slaanesh, The chaos Lord is striking at Initiative 6 (and therefore first), Attacking once on the charge (because the Hand of Darkness says so) hitting on 3's which a Familiar will help with to re-roll, wounding on 2's because the Hand of Darkness has Fleshbane; and since the Hand of Darkness is AP 1, it will cause instant death when and if the Scattershield does not deflect the blow.  Softening up the Wraith Knight just a bit should allow the Chaos Lord his shot at glory.

When you consider how great this item is for Chaos Marines, you wonder why more people don't play them.  =)  Your total cost for the exercise is as little as 170 points.  There simply is no better answer.  He doesn't even need an escort into combat for this.  In fact it's generally preferable that he have none (though it wouldn't suck if you have the extra points).

2.  A second option is Abaddon The Despoiler.  He is not as effective at the task, but he would be attacking 7 times instead of 5, wounding on a 3 when charging (instead of a 2) but he would re-roll to wound (but not cause inflict Instant Death).  Ultimately this works out to be slightly less effective and also requires the use of a far more expensive chariot to the fight, a Land Raider.  Now given that in a tournament you're probably not going to have Wraith Knights in every round then if you're ALREADY planning on bringing a Land Raider, Abaddon is a better all around choice than a Biker with the Hand of Darkness whose role is a bit more specialized.  So consider him as a viable alternative given that he can be in a a unit that does the remaining damage necessary.

Okay so we've dealt with the 7th Edition issue of Gargantua's right?  We said there were three really important elements:  Killing those, plus having Objective Secured units and speed.

Speed comes in all kinds of forms.  Speed is really jut another way of saying "being where needed, when needed".  The idea of speed is taken VERY literally by some people but really, isn't this what we're really saying when we suggest that an army needs "speed"?  Most of the time we are.  The Chaos Marines have mobility via Deep Strike, Infiltration, Outflanking and traditional Jump troops and vehicles.  So the perception may exist that they aren't AS mobile as their marine counterparts which is entirely correct, does it really matter actually when there's this many ways to get where needed when needed?  You just have to embrace using them instead of always comparing thing and wishing forlornly for things that can't be.

Chaos Rhinos are inexpensive, can be Objective Secured and they are remarkably unappetizing targets after round one for enemies because of their low cost (relatively speaking) to the cost of what has to be dedicated to their destruction.  If the enemy hasn't stopped them from moving flat out in round one, killing them loses a lot of meaning (not to say they won't try when no better target exists).

5 man Chaos Marine squads are fairly hearty compared to (again) what is required to kill them and 30 Chaos Marines split into six Rhinos is 660 points of the army giving you TWELVE Objective secured units.  That's actually a lot when you consider that they can be reserved to allow the whittling of the most significant anti-tank threats before they have to come on.  5 Chaos Marines will actually do damage to many units with grenades and provide road blocking units for you at critical times.  Chaos Marines are getting three attacks on the charge from replacing their bolter with a CCW and if you go this way, then the movement of the rhinos wont impact your shooting much but you will at least be able to now handle what happens next when they get blown up with some dignity.  More importantly this gives you the ability to be where you need to be WHEN you do, as the game comes to a close.

If you don't like that solution to speed, I myself play Night Lords and enjoy the Raptors/Warp Talon speed quite a bit.  With Nurgle Raptors there isn't much of the board you cant safely reach in good numbers.

A Steed of Slaanesh adds a lot to a Chaos Lord in the ability to outflank and the Master of Deception Warlord Trait can offer the Steed of Slaanesh Lord a unit to travel safely with when outflanking. Want to make sure he has it?  Huron BlackHeart can ensure that, as he comes with it.  Acute Senses allows the mounted Chaos Lord to re-roll the side he comes in on, so this form of mobility for a unit is pretty valuable and obviates the need for a transport of course,

Nothing is more terrifying than Beasts on the march.  Necrons Scarab swarms and Dark Eldar Beast Packs aren't the only beasts around.  Chaos Spawn are very good and not talked much about.  Like the aforementioned, they are not always cutting through heavy armor with the greatest of ease but they are going to stop a unit you want stopped for quite a while and they can keep up with anything you have in the army.  Moving 12", ignoring all the terrain and then charging them means that by round two, they are locking something up and anything not well armored will not like what happens next.  Think about the Jet Bikes who constantly outwit you by simply shooting and moving afterwards and ask yourself:  can I get to them in enough time to matter?  Beasts can keep up and with a few armored hulls around to protect them on the approach, survive to see that through...

Maulerfiends are just as fast and ferocious, and don't need the cover of Rhinos because its a Daemon (5+ invul save, better than cover!).    They get less attacks potentially, but they will punch through any armor and thus make a great companion to run alongside the Spawn if that''s what you wanted to do.

Nothing moves faster than a Heldrake, so enough said about that speed and it can hover at games end.

I encourage you to look for the opportunities.  7th Edition really values Speed, Objective Secured units and the ability to take out the big boys.  Chaos Space Marines can do it all.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Striking Scorpions: Green is the new Black!!!

I tend to shy away from cross contaminating my armies too much.  Even though 6th Edition opened the Pandora's box for a lot of players, I found the complete lack of explanation for most of those combinations to be an abomination to these RPG bred eyes.

However the Fallen and their much darker brethren, the Dark Eldar who some could argue are more wise in eschewing the dark arts that caused the Fall and the birth of Slaanesh isn't so far fetched that I cannot see them finding common causes.  Despite their motivations, they share one thing in common:  they are dying and are of the same blood.  that's more than you can say for some of the weird combinations that people go for.

As 7th Edition rolls on I cannot help but see the incredible synergy between a Realspace Raiders Detachment and the Striking Scorpions of the Eldar race.  Of all the things a Striking Scorpion needs to absolutely strike fear into the hearts of its enemies, the first on the list has always been an Assault Vehicle.  So rarely can a Striking Scorpion unit hit at its full strength without one and in such short order.  It's true that they can infiltrate AND position themselves for it but as they cannot charge round one, this matters little.

Enter the RealSpace Raider Detachment, which gives you a lot of Fast Attack choices one of which is the Raider itself!  With them NOT taken as dedicated Transports, you can load three full sets of Striking Scorpions in a shell that can put the enemy absolutely beyond any hope of escaping them the next turn, wrapped in a shell that can Jink for a 4+ save and has three hull points.  Added benefit:  Night Fighting can make this already very difficult to hit vehicle even more difficult.

The Strategic Warlord Trait that allows you to choose Night Fight is excellent insurance if you can get it but even without it you're going to be 3+ in 50% of your games.

The Scorpions Claw, which is essentially a STR 6 AP 2 weapon at I6 makes the units damage output very good.  Couple this with the Free attacks it gets from the Stalker ability:  +1 attack per point it beats your initiative by?  Whuuuuuuuut?  Necrons beware!  Add that lethality to the fact that the normal Scorpions are getting 3 STR 4 attacks on the charge at I5 PLUS the Mandiblaster hits (which are better in most cases than a Hammer of Wrath hit) and you have a fairly terrifying unit whose 3+ armor will protect them when and if the Raider explodes, and certainly in the round 2 combats you've ensured.  With stealth, even being blown out in front of Grav Guns is potentially survivable.  You're likely no worse off than if you had infiltrated with Stealth and Shrouded.

Rest assured that the enemy will not be firing at much else if they can help it with those three Striking Scorpion units in their face.  And that allows the rest of your army to act pretty freely.

The suggestion on units to accompany such a force is probably long range transport destroyers.  The reason is that you want to make sure the Scorpions aren't having to kill rhinos or Monstrous Creatures on the round they charge.  While they can do it, what a waste of potential.  By far the better idea is artillery and other attacks that will do that softening work for you so that you can mop up the mess that's left over.

With Move through Cover and Stealth as abilities, the Striking Scorpions are ideal in urban areas where over watch will scarcely be felt and unlike some of the assault units in the Eldar codex, you don't need to fear Wall of Death attacks like the other ones do.

There's a lot to be said for this combination.  I have done the same exact sort of thing with just Dark Eldar and Grotesques, s well as the Dark Eldar Royal Court.  However a 3+ armored Scorpion has a serious sting.

The Scorpions are scary enough without help, but when you insert them into the handy dandy Aspect Host Formation, they gain a +1 WS.  This is just not fair.  They also re-roll their morale, Pinning and Fear tests.  Fer serious.  Even if they rushed in and lost (and there are a LOT of units that won't beat this one) making them run is another matter entirely.

I personally have not seen a lot of Striking Scorpions on the table.  Everyone seems to be in love with Bikes and Knights.  Dark Eldar, while not as rare as once they were, certainly are played as Venom heavy far more often than as Raider heavy.  So all in all, just not a lot of people are keyed in to the OTHER possibilities in the codex.  Allow me to suggest this as your next fun project to try.


Militarum Tempestus redux!

The Militarum Tempestus codex is impossible to locate at a retailer and apparently only in softback or digital form.  The move to a softback seems wise considering that the book usually only has to last 2-3 years anyways, and obviously it makes it more affordable to purchase and that has prompted me to revisit my experiences with the Militarum Tempestus.

One of the unfortunate parts of this otherwise self contained codex's is its lack of variety in battlefield roles.  When it was published, the idea of Battlefield roles hadn't really been introduced and So it causes some confusion when trying to build the force in the same way as other codex's now allow.

I did a bit of discussion on the Militarum Tempestus not so long ago and since have found the online advice if possible even more difficult to find than it was before!  So I thought I would report how it's been doing.

My experience thus far has largely been with tempered expectations.  the army is squishy in every area.  It's most durable members, the Valkyries, are nerfed in firepower to be sure and their transport capacity while nice I suppose, makes it highly dubious as an insertion vehicle because truthfully, the soldiers end up on the ground and in harms way whether they deep strike there r come from the Valkyrie which lacks the Assault Vehicle type that would have elevated it to a true threat.

After a few games I have concluded that while some may not agree, the air cavalry concept for Militarum Tempestus just ends up costing more points than its worth.  Aesthetically it is highly pleasing and there is something to be said for LITERALLY breaking out into my own rendition of "Flight of the Valkyries" as they come on.

But far more satisfying is breaking out into my own rendition of the A-Team theme music when the Taurox Primes bust onto the scene.

Now the Ground Attack Formation, which I have found hard not to justify, Twin links you each and every time you disembark.  As you ALL come in at the same time using this formation, and can still use your special and very cool Militarum Tempestus Orders at the same time this is potent.  the lack of Objective Secured in this Formation does give one pause but as effective as it makes you at your job of bringing a lot of AP 3 pain to bear, I'll take it.

In games against armies with more elite feels to them, the Militarum Tempestus do extremely well.  They are ideal for knocking out most of the elite type selections people bring.  Two things do challenge them though:

The first is Paladin stars and really any list that uses the 2+ army Shenanigans to good effect.  Militarum Tempestus can easily maneuver to get BEHIND the Mono-Storm Shield Bike commander type things, by deep Striking into position and unleashing hell.  So as soon as someone shows you a list with that kind of a mechanism in it you can adjust.  But in a true 2+ armored phalanx, you really are going to struggle mightily.  The Militarum Tempestus can put an awful lot of bodies on the table, but sheer volume may just not be enough.  At the best of times a single unit of Scions will cause a single casualty to a Terminator unit so it takes too many of them to plug away and while a little luck goes a long way against ALL such units, they call it luck for a reason.

Range is the other thing:  You cant stay away from your target if you want to do this.

So how do you avoid wasting inordinate amounts of resources?  Well I suggest strongly that you get good at the position game on two fronts.

The first is to deploy objectives strategically right from the get go and secondly to play the cat and mouse game.  Objectives go a long way in swaying your opponents thinking about their own deployment.  Its a part of the game I truly believe lesser Generals in tournaments overlook or don't value enough.  Remember that with your number of bodies and the useful ability to use reserves pretty extensively, you can afford to be patient and contest things LATER in the game.  But such elite enemies cannot be in as many places at a time as you can and so you have to place the objectives to DISCOURAGE their smaller number of units from bothering with the disparate ones, content that they can control the majority through sheer presence.  They are only half right.  They can CONTEST them that way but so can you and if you go second as I have often advised...  So when you feel an elite 2+ army impinging on you, give them every reason to stay "over there" near the majority of objectives initially, even feeding them units to assure them that they've made the right choice (preferably behind them so you can further isolate them).  Obviously this is just a ploy to make them waste valuable movement and all those points they spent outclassing your lowly Terran butts.  It absorbs time they might need later to come back for other objectives later.  It forces choices on them.  take a pieces of paper and mark it so it represents a 4x6 table and think about where you would place the objectives, in terms of ho0w many turns an enemy would need to move there.  It helps.  Now if they choose to spread evenly, you're not dealing with NEAR the number of them you would have been per sector that you would if they clumped.  This allows your volume of fire to matter more than it will if they do clump.  However if they DO clump as we've said we want them to, then we can essentially fight them and cajole them into valuing that side during the game and gank the objectives from them at games end while more or less having already had control of the disparate objectives they didn't overly commit to.

So objective marker placement is one way you can overcome the large inequity between elite 2+ armies and you.  The second is to keep them interested with a ball of yarn and let them bat at it a while so they don't notice the mice playing over yonder as much until it's too late to actually and effectively do anything about it.

In a turn based game like 40K, two things are for sure:  The world is not infinite, so you cannot always avoid the enemy and the turns are not infinite so position really matters.  Given these two truths, sacrifices will often have to be made to save humanity.  But that's why they have you.

For my other posts on this subject check out this:  Militarum Tempestus stuff

Sunday, August 30, 2015

First Ever Tournament at Terracrux Games!

Hope fully you were there to witness the birth of a new venue!  We shifted things into high gear at Terracrux Games, a new place that opened up in Tacoma to support the burgeoning gaming universe there.  I was happy to help set it up and put out the call across the land to let the gamer community know and you responded admirably.  THANK YOU for your support!  We had players coming from a 150 mile radius and had the winds blown more fortunate, we would have had 32 players.  Thank you so much to the players who answered the call.

Without further ado, the results of this momentous occasion!  For those who didn't fully report the army or club they used or belonged to on your final player sheets, feel free to contact me so we can correct any missing/incorrect allies.

Worth mentioning here are the winners of Best Paint and Best Sportsmanship.  The standings speak for themselves.  =)

Our Best Painter as ruled by the players themselves was Mason Moore, while the Best Sportsmanship went deservedly to Eric French.  Congratulations to everyone.


First Name
Last Name
Club
Primary Detachment**
Secondary Detachment
Placing Points***
Bonus Points****
Total Points
ITC Modifier
ITC Total
Michael
Bryant
Game Wizards
Tau Empire
Eldar
100
6
106
1.0384
110.0704
John
Paul-Mawet

Eldar
Space Marines
90
6
96
1.0384
99.6864
Steven
Shanley
Game Wizards
Astra Militarum

85
0
85
1.0384
88.264
Brett
Reichert

Eldar
Dark Eldar
80
4
84
1.0384
87.2256
Alexander
Kuehn

Eldar

75
2
77
1.0384
79.9568
Mason
Moore

Orks

70
0
70
1.0384
72.688
Sirus
Chappell

Farsight Enclave
Astra Militarum
65
4
69
1.0384
71.6496
Eric
French

Space Marines

60
4
64
1.0384
66.4576
Glen
Ray

Space Marines

55
2
57
1.0384
59.1888
Denny
Page

Blood Angels

40
4
44
1.0384
45.6896
Oseas
Aduna

Orks

40
0
40
1.0384
41.536
Matthew
Stephens

Chaos Daemons
Chaos Space Marines-
30
4
34
1.0384
35.3056
Rob
Porter

Skitarii
Imperial Knights
30
0
30
1.0384
31.152
Peter
Lovejoy

Skitarii

30
0
30
1.0384
31.152
Rick
Mathes

Necrons

20
0
20
1.0384
20.768
Logan
Becker

Tyranids

20
2
22
1.0384
22.8448
Chancy
Ricky

Tyranids

20
2
22
1.0384
22.8448
Chris
Michaelson

Blood Angels

20
0
20
1.0384
20.768
Pery
Spilman

Space Marines

20
0
20
1.0384
20.768
Charles
Arnett

Orks

20
0
20
1.0384
20.768
Victor
Galis

Adepta Sororitas
Space Wolves
20
0
20
1.0384
20.768
Dan
Biringer

Dark Angels

20
2
22
1.0384
22.8448
Sheldon
Brammer
Game Wizards
Dark Eldar

20
0
20
1.0384
20.768
Matt
Lyons

Dark Angels

20
0
20
1.0384
20.768