Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Extintion of the C:SM Bike Army; Hello Ravenwing

So I follow the rumors, as do we all, for codex releases as it is nice to start thinking about how that will affect your armies and the 'meta' for lack of a word of the game.  GW has been on a streak now of rapid fire release which is overall great.  Nobody likes being stuck with an old dex, nor do we really want to see the game stagnate because releases are far and few between.

The marine rumors are full tilt now, and a lot of information over the last few months has been accurate so likely most of this is all pretty true as well.

Now I'm pretty vested in this dex currently.  First I have Black Templars which are going to be rolled into the book.  Then I have my Imperial Fists army which is a tank based marine army.  Then I have my bike army.  So that's a lot of points and models that I have to see what I can do.

Aside from the Templar dex dying a sad death, and Imperial Fists looking like they aren't supposed to be a tank army, there is one other giant nugget in the toilet bowl for me.

"1 Bike squad of at least 5 models (of which one may be an attack bike) may be taken as a troops choice per Captain on a bike in your army."

So that pretty much just kills the C:SM bike army.  It was a fun run, but it seems GW has decided to just kill of that option from the marine dex for a full bike army.  Even Khan only seems to unlock one small unit.

So thanks GW.  I thought when you killed my Descent of Angels list with 6th edition that was pretty sweet, but at least I could still use those models in a terrible list I suppose.  Now I just have a ton of painted bikes and can't actually make a full bike army.

Well that's not entirely true, as FW clearly wants the all bike army to be one codex only.

Back when the DA dex was coming out I was working on my bike army and I knew that Ravenwing could possibly be the way to go.  I gave it a game or two of play testing, but I figured the tradeoffs were minimal and would require painting even more bikes and lose all those attack bikes I have grown to love.  But now it seems my options are pretty limited so I've got to jump in if this army is going to move forward.

There are of course several questions that I don't know how to best address.  How do we handle fliers?  I had found a unit of sterngaurd in a pod was a great way to put pressure on the enemy, but DA have no sterngaurd?  What about adding terminators, can the hybrid work?

So I've been thinking about it and tossing around ideas.  First off at smaller 1500 pt games you probably just take Sammael and run a bunch of bikes and try to shoot your way to victory the best you can.

HQ: Sammael on Corvex
HQ: Librarian; Increase Mastery Level + Infravisor  + Bike
5 Ravenwing Command Squad; Apothecary + Champion +  Banner of Devastation
Troops: 6 Ravenwing Biker;  Meltagun x2
      1 Ravenwing Attack Bike + Multi-melta
Troops: 6 Ravenwing Biker;  Meltagun x2
      1 Ravenwing Attack Bike + Multi-melta
Troops: 6 Ravenwing Biker;  Meltagun x2
Fast Attack: 5 Ravenwing Black Knights + Power Sword
1500 Points

Anti air for DA is terrible.  Basically I'd have to shift the bikes to Melta to be able to really take care of armor, and hope the twin linked plasma of the command and Black Knights can deal with fliers and MCs.  The Banner gives the Ravenwing the anti infantry punch, and the meltas are really just back up for vehicles.  I even kept two Attack bikes in there as a bit of throw away units you could hide for objective grabbing or perhaps outflanking against some opponents.

Is it good?  Well probably about as good as my 1500 point marines.  I don't know if I'd say it is better.  But the problem is the amount to paint.  Essentially I need Sammael, the 10 Command Squad/Black Knights, and 6 melta guns.  I actually have about 7 bikes unpainted, so purchase wise it isn't a lot (I can convert the plasma talons).  It's just the painting more bikes I was never excited about really.

But ok there you go.  It would be at least making the army whole.  What about if we bumped to 2k?  Well if you want to stay all bikes I'd probably just say add:

Ravenwing Command Squad; Apothecary + Banner of Devastation
Troops: 6 Ravenwing Biker;  Meltagun x2 

More Plasma and Corvus hammers, a big FNP banner, and one more troop.   And 11 more bikes I'd need to buy paint.  It makes me cringe a little.

So what if we take a look at what else this book has to offer which is unique.

Yes terminator as troops is not a bad thing.  The Deathwing offer up a few things, though they pay a price for these upgrades.  For basically 4 points more than a normal terminator you get:
-The ability to choose to Deep Strike turn 1 or 2
-Preferred Enemy CSM
-Split Fire
-Twin Linked Shooting the turn they Deep Strike

That's really quite a bargain.  You can upgrade to TH/SS which makes them more expensive, but that upgrade is going to hit normal marines soon as well.  There are other upgrades you can take but the Cyclone Missile Launchers are hard to pass up on now.

Like Ravenwing they need a special IC to become troops.  This mean Belial or Azrael.  I would say the both have some pros and cons, but if I'm looking to mix the Ravenwing in then Azrael seems the way to go.  Sammael is certainly a nice character, but he doesn't 'make' the Ravenwing army that much better.

Azrael biggest negative is he is not Eternal Warrior (where as GW figured T5 Sammael should have it I guess), but he has a few cool things beyond unlocking both bikes and termies as troops.  He's got the Chapter Master stat line with the boost to a 2+ armor, plus with his 4++ and 6+ FNP that is pretty nice.  His sword is Str 6 AP3 which is handy but not great, and he's got a master crafted combi plas that can Blind.  But the big thing is he confiers that 4+ invul save to his unit.  This is why we see him walking around with IG blobs, but that's not going to be my plan at all.

He can't go with the bikes, and if the termies plan to deepstrike (hopefully off of bike telehomers) then he can't go there.  It's too bad DA don't have sterngaurd, but I'm wondering if I could make vets do in a pinch.

HQ: Azrael
HQ: Librarian; Increase Mastery Level + Infravisor  + Bike
5 Ravenwing Command Squad; Apothecary + Champion +  Banner of Devastation
Elite: 9 Company Veterans Squad; Melta Bombs x1 + CombiMeltagun x4 + Flamer x1
      Drop Pod
Troops: 6 Ravenwing Biker;  Plasmagun x2 + CombiPlasma
Troops: 6 Ravenwing Biker;  Plasmagun x2 + CombiPlasma
Troops: 6 Ravenwing Biker;  Plasmagun x2 + CombiPlasma
Troops: 10 Deathwing Terminator Squad; Th/SS x 4 1+ Cyclone Missile Launcher x2
2000 Points

So the dream scenario is to go first, scout the bikes forward, and have 2 combat squad termies drop down and the drop pod.  The drop pod is now you 'need to kill a tank dead' unit, and with a 3+/4++ you hope they can stay around and cause problems.  The two termie combat squads can shoot at two different targets, so you can figure out how to shoot at 4 units with that 10 man squad (with rerolls turn one).  The bikes work on anti infantry, light tanks, and MCs as needed.

The list isn't without problems of course.  You start seeing 2-3 ion riptides and you are wary to deepstrike down unless you can get damn close or good cover maybe.  Flyers, in particularly helldrakes, are still challenging.  Multiple AV14 makes me think I might want to trade a few plasma guns for meltas.  It is also not a ton of models especially if you are going second.  They are all pretty resilient I suppose, and this doesn't quite fall into completely elite, but every death is going to hurt.

The good news for me is I would have to finish painting/converting the command squad (which clearly needs to happen if I'm every going to use a bike army again anyway), and I could repurpose some unpainted Templar termies for this project.  Beyond that pick up an Azrael like model as my only purchase to start play testing this.  So it is great that I can use most of the army I already have (11 attack bikes and a Storm Talon ready to collect dust) and don't have to go buy a ton to do this.

Most importantly though I think this could be a fun list.  It gives you some options and it has some flexibility.  This is the one thing that playing my Tau does not have.  You stand and shoot, and weather the return fire.  It is boring.  It is still a great army, and probably better than this one... but yawnfest 2013.

Of course the Marine dex could have plenty of goodness to keep me off of doing much more than play testing.  The Tau army is still good, and with some tweaks it is probably still my front runner for Feast of Blades.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Tau Golden Throne Day 2

So I had totally intended to get this up before I left for a business trip.  However I'm a terrible blogger so here it is a week later.

Day 2 was a rogue trader tournament for everyone but the top 8, which meant you get to start over from scratch and this is no longer a Win/Loss system.  Victory Points count for tie breakers and painting counts for some soft score.

Game 1 Jeromy's Eldar with Tau Allies

Sadly I've lost the list in the past week, but it looked something like this:
Blob of Gaurdians + Wave Serpent
Blob of  Dire Avengers + Wave Serpent
Swooping Hawks
Warp Spiders
Warp Siders
Dark Reapers
Dark Reapers

Kroot Blob w/ hounds and Krootox

Yep no picture and I'm probably forgetting something there.  This game was Vanguard and The Scouring.  I won going first.

So to start off my Kroot infiltrated into a forrest and got the Ironbark roll, which meant they had a 2+ cover save which was silly.  Jeromy also forgot a few things during the game like I had night fighting and interceptor, which cost him some pricey units over the course of the game.

However his reapers had better range than I did so I was at a distinct disadvantage it felt like.  I also couldn't really advance my troops because without cover they would basically be shot to bits.

So I was up on him pretty early in the game, but then he was clawing his way back.  We finished turn 4 with only about 15 minutes to go and he had just eeked ahead of me.  Thankfully he was willing to go for turn 5, knowing it meant possibly losing.  I made some last dashes on to objectives to take the lead in about 5 minutes.  He spent 5 minutes taking all the shots he had, but I made enough saves to hold on to the win.  We had 5 minutes left and we rolled to see if there was a turn 6 but there was not.

This was a pretty fun game to play and Jeromy I've met lots of times so it was pretty casual the whole way through.  I'd play him again anytime as it was just a nice easy going game.

Game 2 Nick's Eldar

Spirit Seer
5 Dire Avengers + Wave Serpent
5 Dire Avengers + Wave Serpent
5 Dire Avengers + Wave Serpent
5 Dire Avengers + Wave Serpent
5 Dire Avengers + Wave Serpent
Warp Hunter
Warp Hunter
Warp Hunter
Warp Hunter
Warp Hunter

The game was Hammer and Anvil and Crusade with 3 objectives.  Nick seems like a really nice guy, but this was one of those lists that most people, included me, really did not want to play.  Wave Serpents are stupid good, and warp hunters are great also.  Facing 10 AV12 Eldar shenanagins is not high on my list to play for any army!

Still I think maybe if I can go first I can Riptide ordinance them if they are clustered and get some range on a few other bodies.  Sadly he goes first.  I decide I've pretty much lost, but I'll try a crazy tactic of outflanking/deepstriking anything I can.  Turn 1 and I hold up 'ok', but in retaliation I only kill one tank and pop another gone.  By the end of his turn 2 I'm pretty wasted away.  I get a few reserves and pop another tank, but really there is just 0 way I see winning the game so we call it.  My fastest game of any tournament!

Funny enough Nick went to go play another Tau player round 3 that had 2 riptides.  The Tau player ended up stealing turn 1 and winning the game.  Just further fuel to my 'Tau going first is the way Tau win' theory.

Game 3 Dark Angels with IG Alllies
Sadly the Army list doesn't have his name and I've forgotten it now!

Librarian on Bike, Power Field Generator
5 Ravenwing Command Squad, Aptoh, Champ, Standard of Devestation
6 Ravenwing Bikes 2x Plasma
6 Ravenwing Bikes 2x Plasma
6 Ravenwing Bikes 1x Plasma, 1 Flamer
Nephilim Jetfighter
IG Command Squad w/ Autocannon
35 Infantry Plattoon Blob, 3 Flamers
35 Infantry Plattoon Blob, 3 Grenade Launchers

Dawn of War and Big Guns Never Tire for this game.  He gets to go first and I'm worried.  That's a lot of bolter shots that he can get into rapid fire range turn 1.  Even going to ground I'm going take losses, so I'm wondering how much I can lay down turn 1 in return.

He scouts the bikes forward, then I steal the Initiative.  That totally sucks for him.

I basically kill almost all of his bikes, including the important bits out of the command squad.  That leaves very little return fire for me turn one as he advances the two blobs forward.  I kill basically the last few bikes and start working down the closer blob quite a bit thanks to blasts.  His fliers come in differnt turns and are interceptored down before they can do anything.  I basically spend most of the game shooting at him and him taking saves, but it wasn't pretty.

To his credit we played all 5 turns, but it was an ugly win for me.  Had I not got that first turn that game would have been pretty tough for me to eek out the win, but who knows.

So another 2-1 day, and  I placed middle of the pack as I probably should have since my loss and last win were convincing and my first game was by the skin of my teeth.

So I went 4-2 for the weekend so not unhappy with that either, playing 6 people I have never played before which is always nice as well.  The only thing I really wasn't thrilled with was I found the Tau boring to play, much like most gunlines.  It isn't like my Imperial Fist 'Tanks behind a wall' is that exciting either.  With my thousand sons it is always an uphill fight but it makes me have to make tough choices.  The bikes can be very flexible due to the movement phase.  But Tau are pretty much 'set up here, hope to go first, shoot as much as you can.'  Maybe that isn't that much different than the old ork/templar 'run forward and charge' either, so maybe I'm being too critical.

So I'm a little torn on where to go from here.  I've got Celesticon for 1500 points Aug 31st.  Then Feast is out in Oct, but by then marines will be out and based on the rumors Templar will be in there.  So that's basically 3 armies I'll update by then.

So Celesticon I might take Tau again, or maybe I'll go crazy and take orks for grins.  Or I could even take my same Kubla 1ksons list if I'm a masochist.

Maybe I can get a game in before then but right now I really have no idea what to take!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Tau Golden Throne Day 1

Last weekend was the Golden Throne and I brought the Tau out for the their first tournament in several years.  I few new models, some cleaning up of the old guys, and a new display board and I was ready to give it my best shot.

Ethereal: Warlord
Commander- Cyclic Ion Blaster, Blacksun Filter, Multi-Tracker, Target Lock, Drone Controller, Stimulant Injector, Onager Gauntlet, Puretip Neurochip, Iridium Armor, 2x Marker Drones
Riptide- Ion Accelerator, Early Warning Override, Velocity Tracker
3x Crisis- Twin Linked Plasma, Fusion Gun
3x Crisis- 2 x Missile Pods, Early Warning Override
10 Kroot, 1 Hound
10 Kroot, 1 Hound
8 Firewarriors
8 Firewarriors
7 Firewarriors
7 Firewarriors
4 Marker Drones
5 Pathfinders
5 Pathfinders
2 Missilesides w/ Velocity Tracker, 2x Missile Drones
Hammerhead, Raillgun w/ Subunition, Disruption Pod, Longstrike
Skyray, Disruption Pod, Blacksun Filter
Aegis w/ Quad Gun
Terrible Picture, I dont even have the top of one Broadside here!
 So basically a full single Force Org minus allies.  It looks pretty nice, and scored 9 out of 15 on painting.  That seemed about right looking over the paint chart, knowing that very few would get max and the very best are probably getting 12-13.

Game 1: Nick's Blood Angels
Libby PA
5 TH/SS Termies in LRR
5 TH/SS Termies in LRR
10 Tac Marines, Melta/Lascannon
5 Assault Marines no jetpacks, Las/Plas Razorback
5 Assault Marines no jetpacks, Las/Plas Razorback
5 Assault Marines no jetpacks, Las/Plas Razorback
2 Hyperios Platfroms
2 Hyperios Platfroms
2 Hyperios Platfroms

Vangaurd Deployment, Crusade 3 Ojectives

Essentially Nick's army is meant to smash the termies down the opponents throat followed up by long range fire support with enough marines to hopefully go out and grab objectives.  This game was always going to come down to if I could stop the LRR and kill the termies.  When I had to go second I thought that might not happen.  However I killed one bottom of one, then cleaned up those termies and the 2nd LRR turn 2 (go CC riptide!).  That left me two more turns to just kill off all his troops, but his warlord was scoring on one objective, my Firwarriors had held my rear objective and I had taken the central objective with my Kroot led by my Commander who was shurgging off shots.  I think I might have had first blood on this one but it was pretty much win/loss and I captured my first win while going second with Tau and the game ended on 5.

Somepoint Midgame before we Scramble for the center Objective
Game 2: Doc's Necron Scarab Farm w/ GK Allies
5 Immortals
5 Immortals
5 Immortals
10 Scarabs
10 Scarabs
9 Scarabs
2 Canoptek Spyders
2 Canoptek Spyders
2 Canoptek Spyders
3 Warrior Acolytes
3 Warrior Acolytes
10 Interceptor Squad w/ Gear
Dreadknight w/ Shunt

Hammer and Anvil, Purge the Alien

So Doc I've met numerous times and have never had the pleasure of playing.  I know he's very experienced and this list looks like it is going to just crush me.  The only thing I have going for me is going first and the deployment puts me as far away as I can possibly get from his lines.

I shoot at him turn 1 trying to pick up first blood but can't kill much.  His turn one and the Imotek storm pops my hammerhead, kills a broadside, and a few firewarriors.  That damn storm would go 5 turns and did 90% of the killing power for him.  Thankfully my turn 2 and 3 I was able to lay into the scarabs and wipe them mostly out  before they could reach my lines.  A few made it to the Skyray to pop it before getting killed off.  The kroot outflanked to kill the accolytes but only killed one so not sure that was a fair trade, though the second squad lived when the game was called.  He shunted his Interceptors to kill my troops and the firwarriors were very depleted but they all held thanks to the Ethereal LD.   The Dreadknight had shuted over to kill pathfinders the turn before they had also worn him down as well. 

Bottom of 2
In the end he had killed the Hammerhead, a Pathfinders, and one Kroot Squad.  I had killed 3 Scarebs, one Spyder squad (I think), 1 Henchmen squad, the Interceptor squad and the Dreadknight to steal away a solid win.  It took just about everything I had and just the right circumstances to get the win though the final points don't really reflect that.

Game 3: Liz's Daemons
Tzeentch Hearald
Slaaneesh Herald
Blob of Fiends
Blob of Screamers
Blog of Pink Horrors
Blob of Dameonettes
Blob of Daemeonettes
Flying Tzeentch DP
Flying Tzeentch DP

Dawn of War, Scouring

The list is from memory as she needed the list back the next day.  I'm sure it will get posted online soon and I can slap it up here.  In the fun and heat of the battle I totally blanked on taking a picture, and after this just gave up trying to get pics of the battles.  I suck I know.

I've met Liz a few times over the years and she won this year's BAO so she is a real pro.  I'm looking at her list and the mission and thinking there is no way I can win, and she is saying the same thing looking at mine.  When she wins the side/go first roll I do everything I can to give it a go but in the end I could just never kill enough.  Sadly we had a lot of fun (!) and that ate a lot of clock time so we really only got through four rounds.  I don't think an extra round would have helped me but I could have made a go of it still.  She had Iron arm and Endurance on both her DP (so lucky!) and they were both T8 the first two turns, so I tried to whittle down the screamers and Daemonettes.  She did fail some farily easy charges turn 2 so I thought I might have a chance, but it wasn't until turn 3 that I could even get rid of the DPs.  Still by 4 she had plenty of troops on 3 objectives and I had been overrun on one and was basically fighting over another when we called it for her knowing we couldn't get a full turn 5.

I did make a few tactical mistakes in deployment and target priority so I deserved to lose this game in the end.  Had I gone first I think I could have won this but hey that's 40k!

So knocked from advancing to the top 8 meant I got to shuffle my ass back the next day for the 3 game Rogue Trader event with a clean slate!

Friday, August 2, 2013

Tau Display Board

So I have been working to get everything ready for the Golden Throne event this weekend the last few weeks, plus I had to do some travel for work so things have been a bit crazy.

I did pretty much get done with the models, and though there is more I'd like to do to make the army look better it is going to be as good as it gets for this event.

So with a few 'spare' days to go I decided to knock out a display board.  The couple of things I was thinking about leading up to making this were:

1) I want to be able to travel with this.  Which means it needs to be small enough to fit in carry on luggage and sturdy enough to get there in tact.

2) I wanted to figure out how to incorporate some of the LED lights I had won from Kublacon.

I decided I would use the Stryofoam insulation that I used on the ork board to that I could cut it to be just the right size, and that like the ork board I would use plaster strips to get the edges nice and tough.

So first I cut the piece just so it would fit in my carry on bag.  I decided to round the corners to make sure I was maximizing how much actual board I would get.

I had measured before hand to make sure that it was just about the same size as the TV tray that I had picked up which I had been using to carry the 2k Tau around.  I think i might actually carry the TV tray around for local events like this weekend.

So then I did some wiring for the lights.  I kept the on/off switch on the bottom so I could 'spider' out the lights as best I could.  The battery is run along the top and sits in the back of the board where I can change it when necessary.

Then I cut a small hill out that I glued to the top, and left it over night to try to get the Elmer glue to dry.

So this is what it basically looked like the next day.  The glue held it on ok, but eventually as I was plastering it did come off, but the plaster now keeps everything in place.

 A quick shot of the lights on the board.

So unfortunately I got messy and unpatient and missed some pictures of the next few steps.  I used the plaster wraps around the sides and back in a few layers.  It was a mess and didn't come out as smooth as I had hoped because I used big pieces of the cloth wrap.  Really it is better to do 8-10" and just keep layering.  In the end it doesn't really matter but the bottom of this thing is a mess and the sides aren't quite as neat as they could be I suppose.

I also used some pumice mix on the hillsides to close the gaps and give it that rocky look.  I took some scotch tape and covered up the holes where the lights were tucked and gave them a little flap so I could pull them off later. Then I had some craft paint and painted the whole thing black.  Then I did some really quick grey drybrushing, with some even lighter grey on the hill.  So now the thing looked like this.

Then I actually bothered to use the black sand on the whole base.  I'm not sure if this was necessary.  I had always planned on covering up the back 50% with snow and just doing the sand popping out on the front half of the thing.

After that dried I went crazy with the snow mixture.  I was a little annoyed that for some reason the snow came out really yellow this time around due to the cheap hobby paint I had around that hadn't been open for years.  But I picked up some new paint and drybrushed over everything.

Then I sealed it with several layers of gloss and dull coate.  I'm hoping that helps keep everything in place.

Lastly I picked up some little plastic crystal bits from the craft store to stick where the lights are.

So now it looks like this.

And lit up.

Everything just barely fits on here at 2k.  So it works out well and I think it will travel ok.  I might need to take some black paint to touch up the sides after travel but that's not so bad.

SO now off to Golden Throne.  I have traditionally not done great at 2 day events though last year I did manage 4-1-1 at this thing.  We'll see how it goes and I'll try to get up an update Monday!