Thursday, January 31, 2013

Chaos at 1500 for Dundracon?

As the last post mentioned I'm also looking at Chaos for Dundracon.   There are several reasons they are a bit of a 'plan B' at this point.

1.  I feel like the no fortification rule of Dundracon hurts my chaos list a lot.  Cultists no longer get a nice place to hid and go to ground, and that was pretty much my only anti air shooting with the quad gun.

2.  I have not spent much time painting Chaos for 6th edition or the new dex.  This means I've got more work to do here than the marine bikes.

3.  I have yet to really feel like I've figured out a good Thousand Sons list anyway.

So where does that leave me?  Well let's take a look at what I last tried with the 1ksons, again a 1750 list.

Sorcerer MoT
Termie Lord, MoT, PF
3 Termies, 3x CombitMelta, PF
5 1ksons, Rhino, Havoc Launcher
5 1ksons, Rhino, Havoc Launcher
5 1ksons, Rhino, Havoc Launcher
10 Cultists, Autoguns
10 Cultists, Autoguns
3x Obliterators
Auto/Las Pred
Auto/Las Pred
Aegis w/ Quad Gun

More than that list.  Surely there are some options here, right?
This list was pretty meh.  The Sorcerer is near useless, he basically sat with one cultist squad to man the gun.   The wall really helps the cultists and the Predators.  The Predators are great for taking out light tanks but I've been seeing less and less of those.  I'm almost tempted to swap those for dakka preds but... it always comes back to are obliterators more flexible? Yes, yes they are.

So we've got to toss the wall.  Let's toss the predators and the cultists too since I think they both lose a lot without the wall.

Plus we know we definately want to add the second flier.

Sorcerer MoT
Termie Lord, MoT, PF
3 Termies, 3x CombitMelta, PF
5 1ksons, Rhino, Havoc Launcher
5 1ksons, Rhino, Havoc Launcher
5 1ksons, Rhino, Havoc Launcher
3x Obliterators

So two HQs at 1500 I'm not so hot about really.  I need the sorcerer.  The termie lord would be nice to make the oblits fearless or to go with the termies.  On the other hand cutting the lord for another squad of termicide might be good.  Of course what would probably be best is to cut them both for oblits.  In the long run this is probably what I need to do and convert those termies to oblits.

The other problem is, as always, time.  I am going to have to paint two helldrakes.  That is easily going to take two weeks.  The only HQ I have painted is a Daemon Prince who is neither going to fit into this list, plus I have to paint the sorcerer.  So converting and painting more oblits is probably not going to happen in time.

Termie, Sorcerer, MoT, 2nd Mastery Levels
5 Termies, 5x CombitMelta, PF
5 1ksons, Rhino, Havoc Launcher
5 1ksons, Rhino, Havoc Launcher
5 1ksons, Rhino
3x Obliterators, MoN, VotLW

So the Termie sorc is not useless.  He has to go with the termies but has the option to deepstrike or  start on the table.  If I'm playing a static shooty list I might go for the deepstrike and risk it if I think I can hid my rhinos a bit early in the game.

I've gone Nurgle on the oblits, it is just too good not to take it (fluff be damned).  The Vets upgrade because I had 9 points left.

I cut one havoc launcher for points.  I might put one in reserves and start the oblits on the table, that would be 2 units that had to be in reserves (helldrakes), 3 on the table, and 3 in reserve.

It is just so... tiny...
The fear is that is not a lot on the table.  Even starting all three rhinos and the oblits on the table could be shot off with a bad matchup and bad dice.

Plus I still need to paint the Sorcerer, the two Helldrakes (which are at least airbrushed blue), and the two havoc launchers.

I really want to try the two helldrakes but this feels light on troops and light on units.  Granted the 1ksons aren't going to run away from taking a few loses, and the oblits are pretty tough to get through quickly also.

I look at my bike list and I think in a few turns it could wipe the troops, then it just needs to stay alive (ie kill the helldrakes).  If Chaos got first tun they could try to minimize how much fire it would get turn one, then hope to inflict as much pain with good reserve rolls as soon as possible.

It just all feels far more risky than the bike list, no?

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

So coming up in three weeks will be Dudracon, where I'm fairly sure I'll go play in the one day 1500 40k tournament.  I mentioned this earlier but here is the context of the event trimmed from the website.

Create an army of no more than 1,500 points with one Standard Force Organization chart. Allies, fortifications, and Forgeworld rules will not be allowed.

Tournament scoring will be based on the following:
Battle Points
Army Appearance

Battle Points are the accumulation of the Victory Points earned by each player over the three rounds of play. Army Appearance will be scored by voting of the tournament players. Sportsmanship will be scored based on ranking of the opponents played over the course of the (3) round tournament.

Awards will be given in the following categories:

Best General: Most wins over the course of the tournament with accumulation of Victory Points being the tie-breaker.
Best Army: Player with the most points accumulated for army appearance voting.
Best Sportsman: Player with the most points accumulated from opponents played with accumulation of Victory Points being the tie-breaker.

So no allies and fortifications has a few different implications.  There will not be a super harlie star.  We will see less farseers.   There will be no walls, and that means many armies may struggle with Fliers.  A lot of lists that people have been running are simply going to have to be reworked.

Also there is no OVERALL winner.  For me this makes a difference in what I army I would bring.   My bikes might give me a good shot of winning three games, but probably is not going to win best army votes.  If there was an overall where all three aspects were accumulated I don't think my 'paint' score would hurt me, but it is simply not going to be the best army there.  My thousand sons might net me some best army votes, but it has less chance of winning 3 games.  Plus it isn't just when 3 games, you have to do a lot of killing to accumulate those VPs.  So could I make take an army purely based on looks and go for that catagory and just give up on winning games?  :p

So first on my plate is to look at the Space Marine Bike army and see what we need to do.

Here is the 1750 list.

Captain, Bike, PF, Adamantite, Storm Shield
4 Bikes (2 Plasma, 1 Combi Plasma) + 1 Attack Bike (MM)
4 Bikes (2 Plasma, 1 Combi Plasma) + 1 Attack Bike (MM)
4 Bikes (2 Plasma, 1 Combi Plasma) + 1 Attack Bike (MM)
4 Bikes (2 Plasma, 1 Combi Plasma) + 1 Attack Bike (MM)
5 Scouts, Camo cloaks, Missile Launcher, Sniper Rifles, Telion
3 Attack Bikes (MM)
3 Attack Bikes (MM)
Eldar Farseer, Jetbike, Runes
3 Garudian Jetbikes
Aegis with Quad Gun

The Captain is pretty resilient but I wouldn't call him a beast in CC at all.  It has 6 scoring units, 5 of them fairly fast.  It has Anti Teq/Meq and bolters for hordes, plus enough MM for vehicles.   The quad gun helps with fliers as does the rest of the shooting.  The Farseer is wonderful anti psy.

Here are a few things I've noticed in the last year of playing this list competitively.

-Armies that drop on top of you can be problems.  Daemons, Drop Pods, and Spore mines have caused me problems.   I probably just need to remember to zoom zoom away but it always isn't that easy.

-The wall can be an unhelpful anchor that I'm unwilling to zoom away from when units drop on me.   It is a 250 pt investment, the most expensive 'unit' if you look at it this way.  So in some ways I wonder if I need to 'free myself of the wall.'

-The quad gun has seen some high points (scaring fatewaver off the board on the drop), and done ok a few games, but largely is inconsequential.  There is nothing more frustrating that not having a target to shoot, or worse, seeing the quad gun killed turn one before the opponents fliers show on the board.

-The farseer is amazing against bugs.  Against other eldar he is helpful, but since usually that means Eldrad usually the key Fortune is going to go off in two tries.  Against most other armies he is just not so helpful with the bikes because either there is no Psycher or the powers that help the most (like GK) are for CC.  If I'm in CC with GKs the farseer is not going to save me.

-The attack bikes have been less and less helpful as we move through 6th edition.  I have seen FAR more list that have 2 or less vehicles on the ground.  That makes that attack bike spam a bit less helpful.

Ok you say, given the above reasoning and the 'rules' we've been given let's pull the Eldar and the Aegis.  We've just saved 291 points, or brought our list down to 1559.

Captain, Bike, PF, Adamantite, Storm Shield
4 Bikes (2 Plasma, 1 Combi Plasma) + 1 Attack Bike (MM)
4 Bikes (2 Plasma, 1 Combi Plasma) + 1 Attack Bike (MM)
4 Bikes (2 Plasma, 1 Combi Plasma) + 1 Attack Bike (MM)
4 Bikes (2 Plasma, 1 Combi Plasma) + 1 Attack Bike (MM)
5 Scouts, Camo cloaks, Missile Launcher, Sniper Rifles, Telion
3 Attack Bikes (MM)
3 Attack Bikes (MM)

The question that remains is are the scouts still valuable?  They do add a 5th scoring unit, but without the wall we are going to have to hope for some good cover.  That's not unlikely in a tournament but given the non mobility of the unit, and the fact that Telion's super usefull BS 5 for the quad gun are not needed, we could drop them and save another 150 points roughly.

Captain, Bike, PF, Adamantite, Storm Shield
4 Bikes (2 Plasma, 1 Combi Plasma) + 1 Attack Bike (MM)
4 Bikes (2 Plasma, 1 Combi Plasma) + 1 Attack Bike (MM)
4 Bikes (2 Plasma, 1 Combi Plasma) + 1 Attack Bike (MM)
4 Bikes (2 Plasma, 1 Combi Plasma) + 1 Attack Bike (MM)
3 Attack Bikes (MM)
3 Attack Bikes (MM)

The questions now become:
Do I have enough scoring at 1500?
Can I down fliers reliably?
Do the Attack bikes do enough?

So off the bat if we just drop the Attack bikes altogether that is another 300 points.   That means we've got several things we can consider.

Libby on a bike- with Biomancy he can be nasty himself, or just help his squad stay alive that much longer.

More troops- adding another troop squad seems to always answer problems!

Add a Storm Talon- I really never looked at this guy much and had my first game against one the other week where it preformed admirably.  For roughly 150 points you get some decent fire power in the form of a flier.  It is only AV11 so that stinks, but it can put out enough pain to deal with armor or troops alike which is appealing.  It could add a little anti air that I've lost with no quad gun.  AND in this mission we know it wont get shot down on my turn it arrives.

Captain, Bike, PF, Adamantite, Storm Shield
Libby, Bike, Power Axe
4 Bikes (2 Plasma, 1 Combi Plasma) + 1 Attack Bike (MM)
4 Bikes (2 Plasma, 1 Combi Plasma) + 1 Attack Bike (MM)
4 Bikes (2 Plasma, 1 Combi Plasma) + 1 Attack Bike (MM)
4 Bikes (2 Plasma, 1 Combi Plasma) + 1 Attack Bike (MM)
4 Bikes (2 Plasma, 1 Combi Plasma) + 1 Attack Bike (MM)
Storm Talon, Lascannons

1500 points on the nose.  I think it works for this event pretty well.  It brings the firepower, has scoring bodies, can shoot bodies and armor, and has two HQs that add some depth to the list.  It also isn't a huge departure from what I've been playing the last 12 months so that is always helpful.

I'm hoping I'll get in a test game before the event, but the best part is what I need to paint.

The librarian I decided to knock out last week.  He's looking ok, but Frankie's Pys Hood conversion is definitely more ghetto now that it is painted.

Then I need to paint 4 more bikes.  Easy peasy, I'll work on that now.

And lastly the Storm Talon.  As I pointed out yesterday this is already airbrushed so that is pretty much the hard part.  At worst I can paint some details, the Pilot, add a few decals, base it, and it will probably look great.  I'm not sure if I want to even try to do some of the lining I did on the guys as it will probably look silly with the airbrush work.

I'm hoping I can knock that all out this week and this will be my plan A for Dundracon.

Coming up next... what about a Dual Helldrake army?

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

January Games and Painting

Another few weeks and a few things have taken place in the land of gaming, but of course I've been pretty busy so the blog has been sadly a bit inactive.

First of all I went to a 1750 tournament down at Game Kastle in San Jose two weeks ago.  This was a fun and smooth event and I had a great time.  I took my pretty standard bike list, the only change up I made was I ran the attack bikes as 2 groups of 3 vs 3 groups of 2.

Game 1 was against Dan's Marine/IG army.  I played Dan before at another Con I think with his orks against my bikes and I narrowly eeked out a win.  This game turned out to be much different.  First off the opening rolls never went my way.  The mission was a roll off for the two and I got the mission I didn't want (Scourging).  Had to go second.  No nightfighting.  The random objective points did not end up on my side.  No turn 1 steal.


In the end I probably spent too much time dealing with his 3 drop pods instead of just rushing his lines.  In many ways I think the aegis/scouts are becoming a bit of a liabily/anchor that reduces the flexibility of the bike list.  

Anyway by turn 6 I think he had pretty much tabled me.  Le ouch, it has been awhile since I've lost that badly in a tournament.

My next game was a Eldar/DE combo with a Harliestar.  Hey an army I've played against excpet mostly not!  He didn't use vect and instead had the Barron running around with  helions.  He also had a big unit of Wraithgaurd to sit back on an objective.

His problem was he had no range and I just kited him around.  It was single objective game and I ended up with first blood and line breaker.  It was tactically sound on my part but admittedly a pretty boring game.

Game 3 I failed to take a picture, but it was against a Corteaz GK henchman spam with the additional twist of Mrorak and his Ghosts.  This ended up being a tactically fun and challenging game.  I made one error late in the game which let mordrak catch my captain and his bikes that had the relic (rather than screening them) and that made me drop the relic.  However I had first blood and warlord by the end of it and his troops were badly out of position so we called the game in my favor.

So 2-1 which I can always be happy getting.  The TO ended up giving the two guys that went 3-0 a split of 1sr and the 2-1 guys a split of the second place prize pool.  So a $20 gift card is a nice take away as well.

As far as the list was concerned... well the bikes are still good.  The farseer added a little to game 2 & 3 but wasn't all that.  He seems to really shine against Tyranids, but even against the Harliestar usually you can't end up stopping fortune twice.  It's nice but... eh.

The Aegis and scouts also didn't do much as I mentioned.   I only saw one flier in Game 1 and since it didn't come on until turn 4 my gun/squad were already toast.  The other 2 games it was an expense that didn't return it's points.

So I've got some considerations to make as I look to BAO.  Do I change up this list to make my codec marine bikes better?  Or do I look at Ravenwing?

Well I gave Ravenwing a spin at Frontline.  I. Got. Smashed.

So I certainly messed up two rules.  One my unit shouldn't have fallen back turn 1 because of the banner.  Secondly I shouldn't have been able to assault out of reserves.  OOOPs.

My big tactical mistake was leaving the Black Knights in range to be shot by the reserved Devilgants.  But who know I would fail 6 out fo 7 saves.

So I'm not sure what to think of that game.  I rolled horribly and made some errors.  I really missed the farseer.  The Banner of Devastation is pretty damn awesome I have to admit.  I'm not so sure about the librarian, though I got not the greatest power (ignore cover for the unit).

So I am both considering my biker army done and ready for BAO, but likewise am wondering if I need to make changes.

In the meantime I picked up a few fliers and spent some time this weekend layering some paint on with the airbrush.

Dundracon is now 3 weeks away.  It is 1500 points but (oddly) no allies and no fortifications.  I don't really understand why this is the case as both of these things are pretty big deals in 6th edition.   I guess the TO may not think they are fair but... well I could go on but it doesn't change the fact that this is what we've got.

This means stripping my bikes down from 1750 to 1500 and obviously the eldar and the aegis is out.  I am debating adding the Storm Talon for a little more anti flier.  Plus the attack bikes have been under performing as we move away from the tank heavy lists of 5th edition.  A librarian could add something, but I'm a little concerned about scoring units if I pull the scouts and the aforementioned loss of the eldar jetbikes.

OR I could go double helldrake chaos.  With no fortifications and the latest FAQ these guys are awesome.  The only problem is the rest of the list and how much would I have to paint.

I could also try to pull together a ravenwing list.  This might be a good 'test' for BAO even though it is only 1500 as I was not planning on using allies or the aegis.  Again the question of how much to paint is the obvious challenge.

So I'm chewing on those options now, and I'll try to post up some thoughts in another day or two.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

6th Edition Ravenwing over Marine Bike Army?

As I mentioned on my last post I’ve been looking over the Ravenwing option for my Marine biker army.   

There are some big differences you get if you want to play Ravenwing over normal Vanilla bikes army. This is by no means an exhaustive review of Ravenwing either, but really my observations as someone who is interested in moving from a Marine biker army over to the Ravenwing.

I would break the key differences down to the following for simplicity:

·       Sammael vs Captain
·       Free Skills!
·       Ravenwing Combat Squads
·       Supporting Cast

So first in order to make any Bike army we need to pick the HQ to unlock the bikes as troops.  There is no Captain on a bike option for the Ravenwing, which is a bit of a shame.   Azrael will unlock bikes as well as terminators, but I’d argue that’s the blend you really want there of both units.  So if we want a pure Ravenwing army it is all about Sammael.

Sammael is no slouch for sure.  First there is a Speeder option that is 14/14/10, a 4++ save, and TL Assault Cannons and TL HB.  This is nice, but really I want him on his jetbike so he is able to join and lead a unit.

His jetbike is nice over a normal bike in and of itself, and has a Twin Linked Storm Bolter (instead of twin linked bolter) and a Plasma Cannon.  The later is really cool since we do love us some Plasma in 6th edition.  He also gets an AP2 sword that is Master Crafted, so he can get through anyone’s armor though the lack of a Str boost is a downer compared to say my typical Captain with a Power Fist.

Sammael always has the Rapid Maneuvers skill that essentially means that he can give his unit an extra d6 to any turbo boost.  This is pretty great in a bike army though I wouldn’t really want to count on it for that last minute objective grab knowing my penchant for rolling 1s.

His stats are very captain like and he boasts a 3+/4++.  This is respectable given the bike makes him T5, though my normal Captain would boast a 2+/3++.  He does gain Eternal Warrior, so Str 10 and Force Weapons are not a threat.  Does this come up?  Yes, it actually came up in my last Biker game (curse you Typhus!) but in reality T5 shrugs off most of the threats to Instant Death.  So this seems almost wasted on Sammael instead of the other HQs like Belial or Azrael.

He has a number of skills like Hit and Run and Scouts that other Ravenwing Attack Squad bikes have, but the big one is Skilled Rider.  Skilled Rider let’s you auto pass your Dangerous Terrain but many people forget that you also GAIN +1 to your Jink save.  This means a 4+ jink save with normal movement or a 3+ Jink if you turbo boost.  Don’t forget that he CONFERS this skill to his unit if they don’t have it, which is pretty sweet in my opinion!

It is also important to note that Sammael, like the other HQs in the book, have the Inner Circle rule to boot.  This gives him Fearless, which is great, but also preferred enemy Chaos Space Marines.  Remember that Preferred Enemy confers to the unit he is with as well!

In the end I think the Captain edges out Sammael in survivability due to his saves, but for the extra 10 points the amount of tools that Sammael brings to the table makes the trade off more than worth it.

There are some big skills you gain on the Ravenwing Attack Squad over regular Marine Bikers:  Grim Resolve, Hit & Run & Scout.  When I say Free Skills that is exactly what this is all about.   The cost of 3 RAS bikes is 10 points less that the marine equivalent of 3 bikers.  You do lose the LD 9 2 Attack Sarg the marines would have, whom you can upgrade to for 10 points and is called a Vet Sarg (see how that works out to be the same essentially?).  I’m not sure how worth it that 10 points is for the Vet Sarg in the end so you may get some point savings there.  However is also worth nothing that the Attack Bike w/ MM is 5 points more.  But for the sake of argument the unit costs about the same when we just look at the bikes themselves.  That means these skills are essentially FREE.   Let's go through these all a bit and figure out how much this is really gaining us in the bike themed army.

Grim Resolve is the new DA gimmick, but it is essentially stubborn on you can auto fail morale checks.  It sounds neat, but I question is this is huge improvement of ATKNF?  With my current bike army I am usually avoiding assaults.  Once in combat I’m usually either dead or in some kind of stalemate.  If I’m losing bad enough where stubborn would be helpful that usually means I’ve only got a bike or two left.  I think this might be neat for other units but less so for bikes, especially since we’ve got ...

Hit & Run is wonderful and I think trumps Grim Resolve for usefulness for bikes.  I know I've been tied up in combat I want to get out of in a hurry.  This lets you leave combat to try to get away and save your scoring units, or line up more plasma/bolter death and another possible charge.

Lastly the RAS bikes get Scout which is something these guys have had going in the past.  For my mobile shooty bikes I don't know that it adds a lot, as I usually don't want to get too close to the enemy.  I think there are some CC options and range limitations for a few units in the Ravenwing (Black Knights) that might encourage you to move up a bit or just redeploy around terrain to maximize your formation.  However if the name of the game is scoot and shoot this is not so helpful.  However outflanking a small unit could indeed be helpful, which leads directly too…

Dark Angels Battleforce
Ravenwing Combat Squads are different than what we see in the Marine Codex.  You start with 3 bikes.  You can add 3 bikes, and with that total of 6 bikes you can combat squad into 2x3 squads.  Neat, though maybe only practical for sending a few small squads into outflanking mode.  3 bikers tend to wilt on a sunny day, though there is some help we’ll get into in the Supporting Cast.

The other bit here is your attack bike is ALWAYS a separate unit.  This makes him a bit vulnerable being out there on his own (and a possible easy first blood), so I’d argue he almost always might as well go and try to do some outflanking on any army that plays with vehicles parked in the backfield.   

Ravenwing Combat Squads also let you pick up a speeder in your troop section.  He can’t score and he’s always on his own.  The plus side is you aren’t giving up a bonus point in the Scourging.  The downside is he isn’t scoring in the Scouring, and you can take a unit of 5(!) in the Fast Attack slot.  So I’m not sure how needed he is here in the troop section, which brings us to our supporting cast for the Ravenwing.

Let’s talk about the supporting cast around the Ravenwing.  I’ll start with one difference between Ravenwing and Space Marines: there are no Attack Bike Squadrons for the Fast Attack.  This isn’t new to Ravenwing players but my own current biker army usually has 6 of these guys running around for tank busting.  As 6th edition progresses we have seen less and less heavy tank lists, so I’m debating how much losing these squads is going to mean to me.

Thankfully there are some other great options we should cover that add some depth to the Ravenwing force.  A few really stand out to me so I’ll cover those; there are more options in the book that might tickle your fancy.

Ravenwing Command Squad
Ravenwing Command Squad- Limited to 3 guys is a bummer that we need to start off talking about a bit. These guys start off not cheap and can get real expensive.  They gain Skilled Rider over normal bikes so a bit of survivability there, plus you can upgrade an apothecary if you choose.  These guys are armed with the new courvus hammer (+1 Str, Rending) and the Plasma Talon (18” Str 7 AP2 Gets Hot, Twin Linked, and Rapid Fire if you go by the digital version of the book and the back page summary).  The gun is an interesting take on a Plasma Gun in that Twin Linked is helpful as is rapid fire if only at 9" to double tap.  Still this could be helpful to take down light fliers and makes overwatch pretty deadly to the enemy.

Where these guys can really earn there keep is with the banners.   For instance there is a banner that can give FNP and reroll failed morale and pinning tests to Dark Angels within 12".  WOW!  The downside is of course the banner is 85 points (yikes!), and you have to keep your guy (did I mention there were only 3?) alive to make this work.  Still I think there are some really interesting things that can be done with this unit to keep your normally low model count bike army alive!

My first look over these guys and I think you either keep them cheap with a banner, or go whole hog building them out and adding HQs (techmarine on a bike anyone?) to make some kind of super unit.   I'm not sure the super unit really works out better than other options, so I'll be going cheap!

We should also at this point mention the Ravenwing Grenade Launcher.  These have 4 ‘modes’ but two of them fall under a similar Frag and Krak like you would see with normal grenades but a 24” range.  The two other modes are Rad Shell and Stasis Shell and both are only 12” range.  The Rad shell has a Str3 blast where every model in a unit hit (not wounded) suffers -1 T.  The Stasis shell is also a blast that every model in a unit hit suffers -1 WS and -1 I until the end of the turn.  So those really aren’t about killing guys, but instead debuffing a unit before an assault.  I'm not so sure I'd plant one on the Command Squad but how about...

Ravenwing Command Squad
Ravenwing Black Knights- These guys are pretty much equipped like the Command Squad, but the big benefit here is these guys can go up to 10 guys.  If these were troops we’d be loving it, but it can get expensive as a fast attack choice.  Still they can shoot plasma death and hit pretty hard in CC, and with skilled rider the jink save can help them shrug off low AP weapons a bit better than the troops.  This unit is pretty much your only CC answer, so a grenade launcher in a unit of 5+ guys I think makes sense.  Overall I’m very interested to see how these guys play on the table top.

Land Speeder Vengeance
Ravenwing Darkshroud- This thing is relatively cheap though it isn’t going to kill much.  It is also an AV 10 skimmer so that is always a concern.  It has two basic functions.  First it gives +1 to assault results to Dark Angels within 12”.   I’d say this is situational as best for the Ravenwing army.

What makes this guy shine is he is always shrouded and units with 6” have Stealth.  That means this guys jink save is normally a 3+ and tuboboosting a 2+.   Units around him gain +1 to the jink, but I think this would stack with skilled rider, which would be great (turboboosting Black Knights have a 2+ jink!).

The challenge here is going to be keeping one of these near several units to get the most out of it.  I’d probably keep him turboboosting around to try to keep him afloat and then have to work the units around him to be most effective.  This could prove challenging on a heavy terrain board but on most tournament type boards which usually are more limited on terrain this might be workable.

There are a few other things I’ll mention in the supporting cast.  I mentioned the speeders already and these are a great and cheap way to get some long range fire support going.  When supported by a Ravenwing Darkshroud their survivability does increase.  There is also the Land Speeder Vengence in the underused Heavy support slot.  I find this a bit expensive for the Plasma Storm Battery’s limited range of 24”.  I think we can find plenty of AP 2 elsewhere in the army to pass on this guy.

Ravenwing Dark Talon
Lastly there are the fliers.  Both look interesting and points expensive.  I find I’m running out of points in every list I’ve built for Ravenwing.   I’m a little worried about fighting heavy flier armies so the Nephilm probably has a place, but I’m wondering if the army packs enough Str 7 shots to hopefully bring down one or two fliers.

I also am really interested in adding a Librarian on a bike with Divination.  We all know Divination is great, though the Primaris power is less useful since we have so many rerolls for shooting.  It is still nice in CC, but I'd really only sub it out if I felt Scrizer's Gaze (the 6th power) would not be useful.  All the other powers are pretty wonderful really.

SO, where does that leave us?   Well here is the first list I’d like to run to see how it does.

Ravenwing Command Squad, Banner of Fortitude
Librarian, Bike (Divination)
Ravenwing Attack Squad- 6 Bikes, 2 Plasma, 1 CombiPlasma, Attack Bike MM, Typhoon
Ravenwing Attack Squad- 6 Bikes, 2 Plasma, 1 CombiPlasma, Attack Bike MM, Typhoon
Ravenwing Attack Squad- 6 Bikes, 2 Plasma, 1 CombiPlasma, Attack Bike MM
6 BlackKnights, 1 Grenade Launcher

This comes out to just under 1750.  The Libby will almost always go with the Command Squad to give them a bit more 'beef' and Sammael could join there or go with a RAS to give them skilled rider as well.  There are two Typhoons for some long-range support, and you could always choose to put these in the fast attack squad as a unit if you choose.  The Darkshoud is there to boost the jink save of everyone who can stay close.  You have potentially 9 scoring units when combat squads break down, and at the least 6 thought 3 single attack bikes aren't usually going to hold objective all game long.  I’d probably always drop the attack bikes to outflank against an army with a few tanks in the backfield.

There aren’t a lot of bodies but if you can get moving on turn one and have good positioning you can play scoot and shoot with a 4+ jink save and FNP on the bikes.  I’m not sure I’m still dying to combat squad down to 3 man bike squads even with this extra fancy support, but it is an option that probably works until those key pieces (FNP Banner and Darkshroud) start going down.  Even if that only lasts a turn or two I’ve got to think you’ve got the firepower to be picking apart the enemy forces.

I think there is an interesting army here though I think it will take some practice to maneuver to gain the maximum benefits of the units.  It is by no means flawless and there are weaknesses to the army but this isn’t unfamiliar to any bike army general.  For instance a few helldrakes will ruin your day, but the same could be said for a normal Space Marine Bike Army!

What do you guys think?  I'm certainly going to try to give it a whirl though I think for the next month or two I'll be sticking with my current Marine bikers for tournament play.

Monday, January 14, 2013

A late Happy New Year!

Holly cow it has been awhile since I got on the blog and updated.  Needless to say life has been incredibly busy.   I've had a lot of traveling for work, the holidays, and of course the normal family commitments that have kept me off the blog.

But I've continued to plug away in hobby land.  I've had a few evenings up at Frontline gaming to get some games in and try out more chaos and practice with my bikes.   We even got a battle report up on their site if you want to see me get spanked.  :)

I also had a game day over the holiday where 5 other friends came over and we had a couple of old fashioned beer and pizza gaming.  A lot of the guys were getting in some of their first 6th eiditon games so it was fun to just play for fun and do a bit of teaching.  Of course there were a few shockers for people (you mean you can't assault out of a rhino type stuff) but overall I think everyone had a great time.

I've not got much painting done which was a big disappointment over the holiday.  I was hoping to finish up my biker army and move on to my Chaos to get them ready for some soft score tournaments.  But I did pretty much nothing.  No that's not true... I did primer the cultists and the Helldrake.  WOW.  I'm a man on a mission.

But this last week I've gotten my but in gear a bit.  I painted up the Eldar allies for the bikes.  They did not come out how I intended and I was really frustrated early on in the process.  The end result is ok I suppose, but they probably need more loving.  I wanted to paint them mostly shades of grey like they had walked off a black and white TV .  The result was way darker than I intended, really boring and basically poor.  I've added drops of color but still it just seem... flat.

But for now they will have to do.  It isn't like this army was going to win any soft scores, though I would like them to not scrub my chances of going overall if soft scores get included.  So these guys might land on the painting table again later.  Of course I fully expect farseers getting nerfed and at that point these guys will likely leave the list for more bikes.  Maybe even sooner if I find psychic powers not being a big threat over the next few months.

I picked up the Dark Angel Codec over the weekend as well.  I have been wondering if maybe a full transition over to Ravenwing would be cool.  After a bunch of reading and figuring out point costs I'm not so sure it is.

I'm going to do a bit more thinking, but I think I'll do up a blog post specifically about Ravenwing and what is interesting and what the problems I think we'll be seeing from a pure Ravenwing army.