Friday, January 28, 2011

Battle in the Basement

This last weekend ZerkeX hosted a tournament at the Wizard's Keep that I was able to attend. Loki was not as fortunate, but Ishmael and I got the opportunity to slug it out in the first round. I wish I had taken my camera for pictures, but alas it's battery was dead.

Round one started off poorly for me. Ishmael's tau advanced under the cover of night fight, for which his army was much more prepared than mine. While his suits were out of range, one daring hammerhead moved to midfield and fired a railgun into one of my wave serpents, killing it and panicking the fire dragons within leaving them pinned for my first turn. My first round of firing was largely ineffective because of night fight limitations on my range. When the sun rose Ishmael's hammerheads wasted no time to slag both of my fire prism with help from the broadsides and pathfinders. Not to be outdone, my farseer saw the accuracy in the future for my war walkers and guided them against Ishmael's pathfinders and commander, wiping seven of them out. The naive bravery of the tau allowed them to hold fast against the might of the eldar, but there will be a day when courage of men (and tau) fails.

The game was a modification of seize ground with three objectives scattering and one being placed by each player. Holding your opponent's point was worth two objectives so I knew I must keep Ishmael off of mine and hold his for a solid win. Testing the courage of eldar, kroot and tau alike my farseer ordered his wave serpent to crash into the tau lines. The mercenary kroot decided having a vehicle flying at them was simply not in their contracts and broke for home. The shas'ui were braver and reformed to attack the enemy in their midst. Despite their courage their guns and fists proved ineffective against the warmachine which proceeded to continue wreaking havoc in the tau line on the next turn sending shas'ui to flight. Warp spiders held in reserve arrived and eliminated a second crisis team. Seeing his army scattering to the winds the shas'el imitated the consuls of Rome and charged the spiders alone in hopes of rallying his troops. But his charge did not find the favor of the gods and when he turned to flee he was cut down. The farseer's bodyguard of dire avengers and warp spiders consolidated on the tau objective, sealing the game for the Eldar.

In the second round I faced off against Rionnay from Chapter Banner and a frequent poster on the Back 40k. Andrew and I had played the same scenario the previous day and he had handed me a ridiculously lopsided loss 15-4 in kill points including forcing my farseer to break and run first turn. The scenario was based on kill points with a centered objective being worth two and a nominated headquarters choice being worth an additional kill point. The deployment allowed for either short table edges or long table edges to be chosen for deployment, but a d6 was rolled after picking, but before setting up. If the roll was a 1-3, the choosing player had to deploy in the quadrant to their left. I won the roll and was able to get my 4+, choosing a short table edge to force Rionnay's tyranids to march across the table farther.

From his vantage point off the table, the farseer had seen the previous day that the tyranid hive guard were essential to their victory and now directed the whole might of the eldar to their elimination. The first two turns consisted of the farseer duo guiding shots into doomed hive guard while the tyranids returned fire to minimal effect. A squad of warp spiders were caught between the main hive force and deep striking elements when the Doom of Malan'Tai and a mawloc appeared near the warhost. While the war walkers and wave serpents dealt with the mawloc, the warp spiders sacrificed themselves to contain the hated enemy of the eldar. When the Doom fell to a fire prism, the hive tyrant and its guard were mauled by scatter lasers, leaving the tyrant with a single wound. The preparation of the eldar was the undoing of the tyrant when it drew too much energy from the hive mind due to runes of warding and killed itself. With the game in hand the scatter lasers proceeded to down two tyrannofexes and tervigons, leaving only gaunts remaining of the tyrannid menace.

This was my first win over Rionnay, an experienced tournament player who practices regularly against regional giants like Farmpunk and the crew of the Back 40k in Indianapolis. But I was afraid this win would be my undoing as I believed dramatt and his blood angels were the only other undefeated army in the tournament. I was dreading facing down forty assault marines with feel no pain until the a signal from the craftworld informed me that the wars against mon-keigh were at an end and I was to return to the craftworlds for the final round.

It seems Miester Kai's Kai'Mechia craftworld had been talking some trash and wanted to field an army in simulated combat against their brothers to see who was the greatest. Showing their pride Kai'Mechia's farseer brought a council of eight warlocks on jetbikes to the fight. But the combat prowess of Kai'Mechia's seers was not to be proven. After falling less than an inch short of a charge on the top of turn one (the mission only had a 12" buffer and I set up poorly) the council was met with a guided bladestorm and the sixty strength six shots. The seer had searched for the fortune to save his council, but eventually members began to fall to the hail of death, including the seer himself. Once the fleet had expended its firepower only one warlock remained and decided to head to the bars early with the rest of the council and fell back.

Much of the rest of the game was a series of my suppressing one or two of his vehicles while he disassembled some of mine one weapon or immobilization at a time. When ZerkeX called last turn it was a mad rush to contest points with the middle point hosting wave serpents from both sides, a futile attack on a falcon on the left point, but a successful contesting and the right point having a falcon landing on the marker and a wave serpent threading the minutia to be more than one inch away from the falcon and less than three inches away form the point. The eldar were equally matched and it ended in a tie.

And ties would seem to have been the theme of the event. While none of us was especially snappily dressed, the final standings had ties everywhere. Our friend Meister Kai held a tie for third with a person I cannot remember (sorry). Rionnay and Jordan, an up and coming blood angels player tied for second while B and I tied for first place. In the final game dramatt had faced B's based dark eldar and hit a streak of bad luck when not even Brother Corbulo could save his land raider from immobilizing itself on a rock. The dark eldar set upon the blood angels leaving few alive and those in retreat, a sad day for the Sons of Sanguinius.

ZerkeX, Lucas (his second) and a local painting buff Mr. Privett judged a painting contest to go along with the tournament. Categories were for a single infantry model, a single vehicle or monstrous creature and a minimum sized squad. While there were few entrants, Rionnay's hive guard and tervigon took their categories, I managed to pull out a win with a chaplain for my marines in the single model category.

The day ended with Loki, Ishmael and I inviting friends over for drinks and a few games of Red Dragon Inn, a game based on a Dungeons and Dragons party celebrating after a successful quest with drinking at the inn. If you have the opportunity I would recommend this game for anyone. Actually drinking I would recommend only for those of age with good livers.

Next time I see you I will tell you about a new style of eldar Loki and I have been cooking up and how I look to proceed with the proud race.

Q'pla and good hunting.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Hobby Table IV

Greetings to all of my fellow gamers and hobby enthusiasts out there and welcome to another edition of Hobby Table. As my search for making 40k more interesting continues, I have come up with another mission type that takes a game type we see come up frequently in the old "roll for mission, roll for set-up" scenarios. Looking back at the previous missions created here, I have been adapting them a little more each time I play them, and as it turns out they all have a mission and set up reflected without being a simple copy and paste.

First we had Meat Grinder, which is a somewhat more involved version of Seize Ground with a flopped deployment. Secondly, we had Containment, which added a bit of spice and variety to Annihilation on Pitched Battle. So after looking at the options, I realized I had not come up with a mission to reflect Capture and Control or Spear Head deployment. This lead to my newest mission creation...

Mission: Assault on the Control Room

On the battlefields across the galaxy, it is no surprise that the force with the best organization will almost always triumph. This has proven itself time and again, and so it is this mission that reflects on the battle for tactical supremacy on the front lines.

This battle is designed to show sabotage tactics to remove an enemy's command center on the front lines, so as to gain the edge over the enemy.

The game plays by standard Capture and Control rules as described in the Warhammer 40,000 rulebook.

Set Up
Divide the table in half diagonally from corner to corner. Once done, both players roll a dice and the winner chooses one of the sections, and the opponent deploys opposite. Units must remain 12" or more away from the centered diagonal line of the table.

After determining deployment zones. The player going first must place his/her Control Room (point) within their deployment zone. The opponent then does the same. After the points have been placed, deploy units as normal.

Please note that units fall back to the long table edge of their deployment zone.

Both armies may use reserves as normal.

Victory Conditions
Whoever has the most objectives at the end of the game wins. In the event that no points are left at the end of the game, Victory Points will be used to determine the victor.

Special Rules

Control Room: In this mission, the control points represent the focus of command for the army's front line. As this is the case, it has been well fortified to protect it from fire. If the point is placed in a piece of terrain, that piece of terrain is considered to have the "Bolster Defenses" special rule. Please note that this benefit will work on any terrain, and will not allow the piece of terrain to be "Bolstered" further.

If the point is placed in no terrain, units with a model in base to base contact with the control room with benefit from a 5+ cover save. Please note units may not benefit from this save if a model in that unit is more than 3" away from the point.

Set Us Up the Bomb: It is the goal of this mission to both destroy the enemy's Control Room, and defend one's own point from being destroyed. Each army has created a bomb powerful enough to reduce the enemy's fortified Control Room to rubble, but it must be done from the inside.

Nominate a model in the army to carry the Bomb. Units selected from the HQ section may NEVER carry the bomb (no general will risk carrying a bomb in combat). If the model carrying the bomb is killed, another member of that model's unit may pick up the Bomb immediately. If there are no other models in the squad or the model was not a part of a unit, the bomb is simply left where it was. In order to pick it back up, a model must be in base to base contact with the bomb at the end of it's movement phase (or at the end of a Run! movement).

If a model with the Bomb starts it's movement phase on (within 3" of) the enemy's Control Room and the point is considered uncontested, the bomb is immediately set off. Place a Large Blast Template centered on the Control Room. Any units (friend or foe!) with a model under the blast take that many S5 AP- hits with no cover allowed.

Please note if the bomb is dropped, place a 25mm base to represent the bomb. Also, a player may never move another teams Bomb in the event it is dropped.

The Price of Failure: If at any time your Control Room is destroyed, units arriving from reserve must re-roll successful rolls to arrive.

The game uses standard mission length, and allows any and all standard rules to be used (i.e. Deepstrike, Outflant, Scout, etc.)

I hope you guys enjoy! Till next time


Sunday, January 16, 2011

The Model Costs How Much?

by Ishamael

I do not know what to say beyond...holy crap!?

Considering the knowledge that this unit will be released soon, one has to question if such a unit is good enough to substantiate purchasing this model. Let me preface this with that I am not as much a modeler or painter as a competitor, so any purchase I make has to be balanced between my wallet and how often I think I will use the model. Currently, I have no plan to purchase this on the basis of price, so it will be up to the rules being released to attempt to convince me to get this for my games. Let's hope the rules rock for this thing, as has been hinted at in the past few Insider articles over at the PP website.


So, I'm continuing my misadventures with this misanthropic warcaster, and here I'm going to go through a method of list building I have been applying to Warmachine, which I learned from 40k. Specifically, how to make a "balanced" list in a game. While Warmachine lacks the absurdly awesome utility of melta weaponry, one can divide the various unit types, as well as builds, and find a "best fit line" that combines one's units. Luckily, Warmachine is set up so there are plenty of ways to do this that'll let you use your favorite units.

Any list in this game must be able to do the following:

Balance between ranged and melee units. Although this game lends itself to favoring the melee-oriented, combining ranged and melee gives you an edge over specialized foes.
Light/heavy jack kill, one of which requires better MAT/RAT, the other high P+S
horde infantry, which requires either quick melee or long ranged weaponry in abundance
Multi-wound infantry and solos require accurate and high P+S units
I'll give stealth its own mention, which either requires flares, the capacity to simply ignore the rule.

This is an oversimplification, but here are my rudimentary criteria. Now, to put it into action, I'll supply a Zerkova list that covers these bases at 50 pts.:

Koldun Kommander Aleksandra Zerkova
War dog
Great Bears of Gallowswood
Greylord Ternion (Leader and 2 Grunts)
Greylord Ternion (Leader and 2 Grunts)
Iron Fang Uhlans (Leader and 4 Grunts)
Man-o-war Demolition Corps (Leader and 2 Grunts)
Winter Guard Rifle Corps (Leader and 9 Grunts)
Kovnik Jozef Grigorovich
Orin Mindwinter, Rogue Inquisitor

I added Behemoth in here because I plan to grab the model and use it soon, so I thought I would Theorymachine it here. Behemoth takes care of just about anything in the game, but his primary role will be jack hunting. The Bears and Demo Corps act as my melee unit that can either clear out infantry, harm multi-wound infantry, and threaten both types of Warjacks. The Rifle Corps help me clear infantry, act as meat shields for Zerkova, and can do their suppression order if something unruly is getting too close. Uncle Jozef gives them tough and fearless, so they'll be staying where they are. Midwinter is there is to add to Zerkova's spell immunity, as well as hopefully annoy enemy casters. Zerkova herself will clear out infantry, multi-wound infantry, and hopefully whack the enemy caster. The Uhlans will act as a herding mechanism, starting off on a flank, and they also can threaten just about anything, if their horses can run over enough enemies on a charge.

So, here's a little tidbit on how this list will work. Now, I'm wondering about that full unit of Uhlans. Cavalry are very useful by themselves, but those four points can net me a unit of Mechaniks for Behemoth, as well as a Koldun Lord to add to the infantry-clearing capacity of my Ternions.

Comments and criticisms on everything I've posted here about approaching Warmachine will be appreciated.


I will end this article with a combo question that came to mind when I was considering purchasing Lady Aiyana and Master Holt. Let us assume I have eSorscha and a unit of Widowmakers. Aiyana casts Kiss on target X. eSorscha activates, and uses her feat, which includes the target of the Kiss. Widowmaker 1 fires, hits, and uses the Snipe rule to instantly deal one damage to the target. The damage would get +2 from the Kiss, then would be doubled due to the feat.

1 + 2 = 3 x 2 = 6 damage

Does this work? I have looked at the newer FAQ for Mark 2, and didn't see a question for it. Now, having looked closer at eSorscha's feat, it does state "damage that exceeds ARM", yet everything I've ever seen that wants to abuse her feat requires Widowmakers to do 2 damage instead of 1, so it doesn't appear to be a case against this combination.


Tested the Decimator today, pretty sweet Warjack,

Friday, January 14, 2011

FAQ you too!

This basically sums up Loki's morning. Today GW put up new FAQs for all of the "marine" armies and Dark Eldar. Now I'll let him get give the Black Templar FAQ some meaning as he updates his review of the codex, but I'll hit the high points of the other FAQs.

Most game changing, especially for the Dark Angels I love even though I hated their codex, is the inclusion of the new versions of wargear such as storm shields, nartheciums and cyclone and typhoon missile launchers in DA and BT codices. No longer with this proud standard bearer (painted by Dezartfox at The Vanus Temple) be looking for a cover save, no he has a 3++ save now. While there are armies who can still field a terminator army, and arguably better, the Dark Angels are the originators of this army style with their first company, the Deathwing. Now the First Legion's first company is able to field the same weapons as the codex chapters and can even field mixed squads like the Sons of Russ. I can see two new types of squads coming out of this FAQ. The first being five terminators with TH/SS, one carrying a Cyclone missile launcher. The squad can walk across the board without having to cling to cover and provide two shots per turn to down a vehicle. Having THs, these squads would be great against dreadnoughts and monstrous creatures and could even go toe-to-toe with codex terminators. The squad clocks in at 235 points, not too bad for a troops choice of terminators.

The second build I can see will be horrible against the targets the first will be hunting, but will look a bit like our friend Logan here because of the new nartheciums. Nartheciums are the tools of the apothecaries of each chapter and give the squad Feel No Pain, which anyone who's played against Blood Angel will tell you is frustrating. Feel No Pain essentially doubles the number of wounds it takes to cause an unsaved wound, barring power weapons and strength double the target's toughness. On a power armor marine that means six wounds to down one, on a terminator that means twelve wounds. With the advent of the 3++ storm shield a lot of people have decided that the best way to kill terminators is to swamp them in wounds. Not a bad idea, but let's see just how tough these terminators can be.

You have the sergeant, throw in the apothecary for Feel No Pain, the banner bearer so we can buff the squad to three attacks base and a cyclone missile launcher just for some more ranged support, one schmuck and, because the banner and apothecary basically make it a command squad, Belial with a TH/SS. We've got six differently equipped models, each with a 2+ save and Feel No Pain, one with a 3++ and thunder hammer, and (if we give them lightning claws) five attacks each on the charge. I could throw in a chaplain for re-rolls to hit, but I don't know it that will be necessary. This squad clocks in at 290 points plus 130 for Belial and is designed to take on the massive squads (e.g. hormagaunts) that would generally be the death of terminators.

Don't think that the older codices were the only ones to get new abilities. Papa Smurf here just got better. The FAQ asks if Calgar (and any squad he has joined, but oddly does not mention a squad he has not joined using the same rule) uses his God of War rule to pass a moral test, does he count as fearless. The answer is a firm no. This can give tactical squads the ability to pin down units that beat them in CC for a counter attack as long as Calgar is on the table.

The Black Templar and Dark Angels traded in their smoke launchers and got a new Power of the Machine Spirit rule for their troubles, but everyone got their PoTMS FAQed. Vehicles can't use the PoTMS to fire one weapon when they fire smoke, but the Storm Raven can use PoTMS to fire one weapon after moving Flat out. Speaking of fast marines, they can now take the 3" immediate move to regroup in addition to their standard move because of ATSKNF. That means if you make them fall back they can potentially move forward from where you forced them to fall back from in one turn.

I'll get to the Dark Kin next time, or maybe leave it for Loki as well because it's his army, but the BRB FAQ has a tangential answer for Dark Eldar. The Duke allows all venoms, ravagers and raiders to deep strike and some people had been asking if this allowed the unit to assault that turn. The argument that people had been putting forward that because deep striking only counted as moving at cruising speed (for shooting) and these vehicles are open topped that they should be able to assault. The BRB FAQ says that the unit inside also counts as having arrived from deep strike, so no they can't assault. For once I'm agreeing with Beasts of War. Maybe I've had too much spice.


Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Her Name's Viera!

To mirror an article I wrote many long months ago, I will take a look at another unit of the Imperium's finest. In the Article Jumping the Gun I looked at the Assault Marines (and their counterparts) from all of the Space Marine Codexes available. Today, I'm going to take a look at another unit. Like the Assault Marines, there are some people who love them, some who swear by them, and others who simply hate them. Today, we're going to look at the Devastators.

Devastator Units in General
Devastators in general usually have a specific goal in mind... and while that generally is focused around anti-mech, it isn't there only option. Between all of the codexes out there, there are indeed many ways to play this unit. Overall, the strategy is generally based on the principle of finding a nice piece of cover to sit back in, and let the shots do the talking as the enemy is berated with a hail of angry and usually powerful weapons. Like all ranged squads, they suffer in melee... though the option of melee weapons exist (a power fist or weapon), it is not seen often as they are not meant for melee, and are usually pretty salty as they are.

Overall they add an impressive and usually well fortified addition to the Space Marine player's ranged arsenal. These shots can really affect the game more than any others in the first few volleys, and can sometimes seal the fate of both players on the battlefield depending on the dice rolls.

Codex Astartes
Seen really as the basic or standard, the Dev. unit in this codex does exactly what you would expect. They fill the roll of additional ranged firepower and have an impressive number of builds they can adjust for. On the one hand, they can equip heavy weapons such as Lascannons and missile launchers to deal with heavy infantry, they can take Heavy Bolters (or use frag missiles) as a nice relatively cheap fire base for anti-infantry, take a bundle of Multi-Meltas, and pump out the scary shots... or simply take a little of everything for the well rounded feel. Though I can see why the mix of weapons can have a certain appeal, unless you're wolves (get to them in a bit) I would suggest a more specialized build to avoid wasting shots; Heavy Bolters won't do much except chip paint if the squad needs to bring fire against a Land Raider or such.

Whatever their build, they will bring enough shots to bare to bring most anything down in a matter of a turn or two. And on top of this, they can make one shot BS 5 if the sergeant forgoes his shooting. But all of these weapons have a cost... and a high one at that. If the Lascannon spam is your game, best save your points, as these suckers come in at 35 a pop. While I was once confused by the high price of these guns, I did forget to factor in the cheaper heavy weapons allowed to this codex by the tactical squads. The cost outweighs the potential of an exorbitant amount of heavy fire.

Now, while the codex doesn't have any character support that directly affects the Devastators, there is a nice "bolster" they can receive. If taking a Techmarine, Master of the Forge, or even Lysander... the army can use Bolster Defenses to help increase the cover of a friendly ruins by 1. While this isn't huge for the army, a Devastator unit can benefit greatly from a 3+ cover. Not to shabby when it comes to helping keep the shots pumping!

All in all not to bad of a choice to run. They offer impressive shots, and high range to keep the enemy wondering how long he/she can keep their mech from looking like a bad used car lot!

Dark Angels
Well not to be outdone... the Devastators from this codex are simple amazing. In fact, they are almost mandated to be in every army that claims to be Dark Angels. Nah, just messing with you, they are pretty meh.

Like their previously mentioned counterparts, they serve pretty much the same role. The only real differences are a lack of the Signum, and the option to take additional Bolter armed members is limited to 5 more or nothing... which is a rather limited theme in this codex. Overall, I can't say much about them, as it is pretty much a copy and paste of the Codex marines. I rarely see them hit the field when clad in Green Armor, as the DA codex is rather limited in it's ability to filed a competitive army, and the alternative builds like Ravenwing or Deathwing seem to be the more visible list that come from this codex, and neither has much room for an expensive unit that doesn't belong.

Overall, they aren't bad here... but the Green Army from the codex doesn't see much play with the Black or White(ish) army options.

Black Templar
Didn't think I could review a unit in less words than the previous one... well guess again. Black Templar's do not use Devastators, and thus do not appear as a choice in this codex.

Given this, I feel the unit is a terrible choice, and should never be used over other more assault based units! To be honest though, the codex can pull off a shooting feel very well based on the wargear upgrades requiring no minimum unit (plasma gun and Lascannon in 5 man squads with razorbacks works well in that codex), but they aren't truly Devastators, simply ranged crusaders squads. Though not my favorite of choices when it comes to my beloved home-dex, I must admit it can be very effective.

Space Wolves
Known as Long Fangs, these guys are a pretty unique unit to the codex. While serving the same roll as the other Dev. counterparts... they do it very efficiently.

First, they allow an extra member of the squad to take a heavy weapon, giving the squad the ability to take 5 in total. However, this perk isn't without it's drawbacks, as they may not take extra marines to serve as early casualties.

Second, they loose the Signum, but so long as the Sergeant lives, the squad may split fire into multiple (2) units at once. This makes cracking multiple tanks, or taking a diverse squad for anti-mech and anti-infantry become viable!

Third, they bring heavy weapons to the table that no other unit in the army can bring, which serves a pretty good use when it comes to bringing heavy shots early to cripple the enemy offensive.

Overall... two thumbs up here. They are a heavy unit, that can hit 2 enemy units a turn. Efficient and scary as hell!

Blood Angels
These Devastators are pretty nice. First, they cover a similar niche to that found in the Codex Astartes, so the uses are very similar. However, with the usual emphasis on Assault Marines, these shots are usually the only long ranged ones to hit the table, so it is similar to Wolves in this regard. To account for this, the price for the weapons is less, allowing the army to spend these saved points on the more expensive assault troops without too much of a hindrance.

However, like Templar, they can capitalize on this by building and army to shoot, and gaining extra ranged firepower. I have looked at this as an option, but in both B.T. and B.A. codexes, they can gain the shots, at the cost of running units that won't benefit fully from the army rules which generally push assault based units.

This unit is a superb way to gain heavy fire, and do it cheaply (as the cost of the Assault Squad is higher than a Tactical Squad). Thumbs up here!

So there they are. These marines bring the big guns to the fight, and like I said before, their shots can often dictate the outcome. So find a good hardy piece of terrain, and lay waste to the enemies of mankind! Till next time


Wednesday, January 5, 2011

This Hat is Russian

by Ishamael

Well, my particular position as a Khador player has given me a new model to be excited about, this horse-drawn carriage with guns! This week has seen the unveiling of a new unit type for WARMACHINE: The Battle Engine. All we have right now are just a couple pictures, and the promise of them being useful, yet they will not eclipse jacks and Warcasters. To quote from the Privateer Insider for Jan 4, 2011:

"The next hurdle was that early incarnations of the battle engines had too many support abilities, often far-reaching in their effects. During one round of playtesting, some playtest games revolved around the battle engine more than the warcaster. This was certainly not the desired effect, and each support ability was carefully reassessed when the offending ability was removed. Some were tweaked and others were replaced with abilities for the battle engines rather than the army."

So, I'm going to be awaiting the release of the rules for this particular model. It will be fully resin, so that carrying case won't be getting any heavier! While I can't say much about it without the rules and statistics of the model, its size could lend to giving just about anything a unit to hide behind. Liberal application of Behemoth or Destroyers could do well here. Arcing fire is pretty sweet. Now, firing behind other models brings me to my next topic for Khador: the much-maligned Zerkova.

So, the last few games I've played, I have used Zerkova as my caster. This decision came about partly because I thought the model was pretty cool, and also because in my forum-cruising over at the Privateer Press website revealed that the Khador community there doesn't like her. Apparently she's something "un-Khadoran." I have no conception as to what this means. Maybe it refers to her virtual lack of ability in close combat. At any rate, she is exclusively a spell caster. At this point, I'm going to list a few virtues she has over most other casters:

7 FOCUS, with the ability to use her Focus Sphere to reduce the COST of a spell by 1
She has an artifact called the Ghost Stone, which makes her front arc 360 degrees, allows her to ignore LOS in her control area, as well as ignore Stealth.
She has 7 spells to choose from, ranging from a basic offensive spell like Razor Wind, as well as the capacity to control enemy warrior models for one attack, cast a unit-wide Ice Cage, or even push a model back with Force Blast.
Her feat is fantastic for a turn where you need to get close. Enemies in her 14 inch control area lose their initial ranged attacks, can't run, charge, make special attacks, give or receive orders, or make special actions.

These are a few cool things about her. Of particular note is the combination of Razorwind and the Ghost Stone, allowing her to fire a Pow 12 at anything within 10 inches of her. I've used this to ninja-kill other casters that got too close. The Stone can also be combined with her Twister spell to harm formations.

To close this preliminary on her, her spell Banishing Ward is fantastic. It makes it so your enemy cannot cast spells/animi against them, while you remain able to buff them. Using this and giving a unit multiple Blizzards helps them survive far more than they would be able to otherwise. I use a full unit of Rifle Corps w/ Uncle Joe and a unit of Ternion to Blizzard them up, and cast Banishing Ward on them. Fearless, Tough, def 14, and immune to enemy spells, as well as the capacity to use that nice big template of "no light infantry allowed," yes please!

Next time I'll be going over some combinations with her, as well as a list I've used to try and take advantage of her abilities. Hopefully more rules will be revealed this week about the Battle Engines, so I will be reporting on that as well!

I loves me some cone of cold,

Sunday, January 2, 2011

The Crusades Part VII

Revisions to the original Post have been made in light of the newest FAQ. These revisions will appear in red

Welcome to Part VII and the final look into the Black Templars codex. As mentioned before, We're looking at the special Characters within the zealous ranks of the Templar, both of which having a unique and all around amazing feel to spice up the power of not only the HQ section, but also the rest of the army as that is one of the main specialties of this codex... but we will also take a final closing look at the codex as a whole. So lets take a look at the big shots themselves!

Special Characters

These are the major hitters in the codex, and provide players not only a chance to use more powerful options, but also allow them the ability to relive a bit of 40k's past. Long ago, the Armageddon Campaign was the big scoop, and much of the events and tournaments played centered around this colossal engagement. At the heart of this fight was the Black Templar Chapter. Both in the ship to ship combat in orbit, and in the Hive Cities below, the knights of the Chapter brought death to the enemy. A look into the Black Library's book Helsreach, you can see this first hand.

High Marshal Helbrecht

The big shot himself, he is the equivalent of any other marine army's Chapter Master, he is considered one of the most tactically intelligent, and vicious of any marine chapter. He has the ability to really hit the enemy's front line, and do some major damage alone.

Now his stat line is not much more than a regular marshal from the rest of the army (as in 4th, characters weren't always gods :P ). He does have two bumps where it can really count though, both his Wounds and Attack profile are 4 base. This gives him an extra wound to play with which can really come in handy. His attack is a little less bang for the buck as he is not duel armed (and similarly equipped marshals usually are as well as taking Term. Honors putting them at 5 base as well). Where this is offset is his weapon. The sword of the High Marshal does not give him duel armed, instead it says that on the first round of any combat (charging or not) he gains D3 additional attacks. This is a nice bit of rules play that really hits what the army is designed to do. Helbrecht (to me) is a character designed to finish the job in one turn (maybe two if dice don't go the way he wants). He hits hardest the first turn of the combat, but then settles down a bit for the rest of the engagement. Now keep in mind every new combat he'll get the additional attacks, so it's not a one hit wonder.

He comes with the wonder that is Rites of Battle, and is of course an I.C. He bears Artificer Armor as well as Bionics (I have had that 6 come up to save him many times now and it never stops being funny when it does) as well as a combi-melta. This is a nice tank buster that the enemy never expects to see coming. He also has his own Iron Halo, and the extra griblets you'd expect a Marshal to carry...

But where Helbrecht really shines is with his Command Squad. Being from an older codex genre, he still has the old Retinue rules for his Command Squad. This is not only amazing at keeping him alive, but really charges up the command squad. He allows them to take 5 Neophytes which like any others act as surplus wounds in time of need, and forces them to take Furious Charge (which generally they will anyways) and believe me they really come in handy here. I have used the Command Squad with Helbrecht to devastating effect before, and the only way I can see to do it is with Helbrecht joining the fight.

Now, outside of the command Squad I can't really say Helbrecht will do too much. Most normal Marshals with similar equipment will do about the same, or better and also provide a way to take some nifty toys (Holy Orb being the big one). But if he is packed in with that large command squad, most anything they hit, won't be much besides a blood stain on the battlefield.

Overall, he's great in his command squad, but outside that, bring a regular Marshal.

Chaplain Grimaldus

I will say that this model and this character is the reason I really fell in love with this codex to start with. Again, if you read Helsreach you can really get to know this guy pretty well.

Grimaldus brings to the table some nifty rules that are more about support than personal glory. Now that's not to say he can't kill alone, as he brings his Crozious and MC plasma pistol into the fight. But here's the kicker. First and foremost he comes standard with 3 servitors (so there's the +3 to zeal moves). He gains the benefit of having a Holy Relic so long as any one is alive... which I'll get back to in a moment.

Remember the rules the Chaplains have to bolster the righteous zeal movement and make them fearless (Unmatched Zeal on page 32), well Grimaldus has this with an extra perk of it applying to all squads with a model within 6" of him. This is amazing. It is a single chaplain that can effectively bolster multiple blob squads (or any squads really). Talk about efficiency. Now his servitor benefits do not apply to any other squad other than the one he is attached to... but remember that he has a holy relic to pop and give many squads on the line up to 4 attacks on the charge. I have not met many enemies that can stand up to 2 full blob squads (20 man and 24 with Grimaldus and servitors.) with 4 attacks base.

And lets not stop there! He has a rule that reflects his unprecedented will to fight, and it says that when he looses his last wound, he must make a leadership test. If passed he'll fight on with another wound. If this extra wound is lost, he is removed as normal. But this is a nifty trick to get around those pesky Power Fists that would normally kill any other I.C. dead. He simply returns to life and continues to kill what he can. Now, he is only Lead 9(as he counts as a Reclusiarch only) but he does have the bolster to his WS and BS. He's a nifty Hybrid character.

This guys is a great way to be efficient when it comes to running Blob Squads across the table. I strongly without question urge the use of him in the event you are running more than one 20 man crusader squad.

Both Thumbs up to this guy!

So there they are, the Big shots themselves in all their glory. Both characters find themselves in a unique position as they both have a massive benefit to give, but outside of that they are less potent. I feel both of them serve to fit the fluff they were designed with, and they add a great bang to the front lines in this army of Melee Masters!

Final Look

And before you knew it, the codex has been reviewed in it's entirety! It has been a lot of fun to look through the pages of my old Codex and see just what it can bring to the table. I still invite everyone to revisit some of these old posts and make comments or suggestions, as it has been a fun experience learning tricks from the comments of you the readers.

But looking back at the sections of the codex, I can still say without a doubt that the codex has an element of synergy that is not seen much anymore. Of course many of the newer codexes out there still have ways for the HQ to effect the rest of the army, the biggest example of which is the Chapter Tactics seen with characters in the Codex: Space Marines. But this goes beyond that in that the HQ choices can really be used to bolster not only a squad's leadership, but really affect the rules the codex utilizes the fullest.

The Big Example of this is the Chaplain's effect on the Righteous Zeal rule. This rule alone in all it's glory is my biggest reason for claiming this codex is not only not as useless as our fellow gamers at BoLS and other sites claim in many an article, but I will even go so far as to say it has more power in it's pages than many of the newer 5th codexes.

I stood by this codex before the FAQ as being a potent and powerful army... the new FAQ has almost increased this army's ability to God Tier. With the best of the old world (armory Upgrade System) combined with the best of the new world (wargear such as the Storm Shields), we have an unbelievably killy army. This isn't to say we are unbeatable, but darn cloase.

Now the new FAQ wasn't all great news. Loosing old smoke did kill our Rhino's and the like the peace of mind of being darn near indestructible, but it's a small price to pay for the perks.
We still have the R.Z. movement allowing this assault-based army close the gap with unparalleled speed and its unique manner. Yes I will say this is beyond a shadow of a doubt still very much a viable and powerful codex.

I hope you all have enjoyed The Crusades and I look forward to writing more and more. I invite all of you to post along with any comments you may have, put in your suggestions for the next codex to review. So until next time