Friday, April 22, 2011

Thunderfire Finalization, Ho!

by Ishamael

Salvete everybody, Ishamael here to show how my Thunderfire experiments have gone. While initially it was nice to have the Master of the Forge and the Scouts to hide him in, some recent point changes have unlocked what I find to be a stronger overall take on the Space Marine codex. Thus:

Librarian- Gate, Null Zone, Storm Bolter (LOL) 103
4x10 Tactical Marines- meltagun, combi-melta, missile launcher, Rhino, 2 HKM 920
3x Riflemen Dreadnoughts 375
1x2 Land Speeders- typhoon missile launcher, heavy bolter 180
2x Land Speeders- multi-melta, heavy flamer 120
3x Thunderfire Cannons- 300

This is 1998. Dropping the Scouts, Master of the Forge, and two Hunter Killer missiles has allowed me to toss in a unit consisting of two Landspeeder Typhoons. So, instead of the minimal damage output from these units, I have gained two long range models that have two missiles a piece for every turn that they live. For 180 points, they add a goodly amount of both anti-tank, as well as anti-infantry. While I lose a fast multi-melta, I still retain my four double meltagun units to advance in the Rhinos to pick up the slack in the melta-department.

Concerning the deployment of my troop choices, combat squad and mount up as usual, with this difference. The two Rhinos without hunter-killers cover the ones with the missiles. Turn one, the front Rhinos advance and pop smoke, probably 8 inches, then the hk Rhinos roll up right behind them to advance 6 to fire their missiles. The Librarian rolls with one of the hunter killer squads. This lets him use Null Zone to full effect, and he may teleport a squad away should the occasion require it. Something funny I noticed is that the Speeders can give the Dreadnoughts cover, but it doesn't work the other way around. Sad face. :< Albeit, 10 missiles turn one, then 8 after, does not seem bad. The missile launcher half will deploy in cover with the Thunderfire cannons, which will make them hard to dislodge.

Currently, I do not have the dimensions of the Thunderfire cannon, so it will be a while before I get the chance to figure out how I might manufacture a cover save for the unit. The issue lies in the unit consisting of one infantry model, and one AV10 vehicle. Hits are randomized against the unit, so it will be best for me to learn how I might make sure that both models have cover saves. A single glance or pen against the Cannon destroys it. Hopefully placing Marines from the missile combat squad will suffice. Maybe I will get lucky and the Thunderfires will be low on the target priority list. ;)

So, as far as efficiency goes with what I desire to use in this list, I think I have actually gone down deep enough to find as good a list as possible for my purposes.

Any thoughts on how I may get some more efficiency here? I should probably put a melta bomb on a sergeant than the Storm Bolter, but it's hilarious to me at this point.

The Bearded Alchemist,

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Space Marines, an Edition Behind?

Lets talk about the good old Space Marine. Being the 5th edition codex, it's been a while since it has been on the radar of most discussion boards, and perhaps for a reason other than just it's age. Apart from the drastic overhaul of the game's core rule set, 5th edition has created a large increase in power across the board with the new codexes much like the old "hero-hammer" characters of old. As I said in my review on the Land Raider, the power of most basic units has certainly improved from 4th to 5th, and with it we see some pretty powerful combinations. However, looking at it from one who did indeed play the codex for it's first 2 years, the Space Marine Codex (Codex Blue Marines) is looking a bit old, and it's not showing it's age well.

A few folks down at out FLGS look at Marines as the favored child of GW. I can't argue this fact, as the Space Marines often get them most love when it comes to new codexes. Perhaps this is because the Marine (along with the variant marine codexes) make up almost half of the playable armies out there. The other reason may be that the Blue Marine codex is always the first to be redone with the coming of ever new edition, and are always in the starter box. And while these "perks" may seem nice at first... a closer look reveals at least to me a few problems tat can come out of these.

First and foremost, the boxes themselves are an issue. The Standard Marine boxes are approached and made in what I consider a purely market standpoint. Considering that the sprues themselves are rather lax in both detail and quantity of bitz... they seem underwhelming as compared to the newer more detailed sprues of 5th models. I know the boxes can't be smothered in iconography as they do encompass a rather large number of possible chapters, but perhaps the addition of some new, more detailed items that should be there in the first place (power fist, special weapons etc.) as well as new more elaborate extra bitz to make the models a little more flashy than they currently are (and have been for the last couple editions) would be nice :)

Currently however, in order to build the army in the manner in which you want... it almost always forces you to purchase unit boxes you may not want or need. A good example is the Dev box. While the unit itself costs more to field than other, new codexes, the box itself is one of the only ways to get a power first. Now this alone says something, as who in their right minds puts a PF on the Devastator Sergeant? Why this particular bit couldn't be added to the tactical squad box is beyond me. The heavy weapons options are in a similar boat, as you only get the missile launcher with the Tactical Squad box itself, and again must purchase the devastator box for your needs.

The next problem is power on the field. Units in the Blue codex have the lovely Combat Tactics trick to get out of a tight spot. While I defiantly see it as a neat trick... it requires the unit be forced to take a moral test. This indicates they have already lost 25% casualties, and are at this point hurting in terms of damage output. This trick also isn't as reliable as straight up benefits like some other armies' special rules, as it can be difficult to make it away from a close combat from more smashy units.

Of course the inclusion of named characters can of course alter this to allow for a more stylized and sometimes specialized force... it replaces their first trick to do so... this is an issue to me. No other codex mandates that their nifty trick be replaced when you include a character to increase their power even in the new variant marine codexes. Logan Grimmnar doesn't remove counter attack to make Wolf Guard Troops, and Stracken most certainly doesn't remove the order system to give units around him Furious Charge and counter attack. I guess this just doesn't seem that the upgrade systems are on the same level playing field as they should be (at least to me).

Now is the codex itself bad... no. I can't sit here and say it's is the worst. We have Dark Angels (- Deathwing and Ravenwing which are both actually pretty decent these days), and if we're looking at 5th only Tyranids take that cake (which makes me sad as I think the bugs deserve a little more than they got). But the codex isn't much fun anymore. This is where that edition behind comes in.

As we know the Orks were written so late in 4th, they were really designed for 5th. Though this is true, we still see a little bit of a waning in power by this codex just due to it's age. Blue Marines fit in a similar boat.

When a new edition rolls around, the marines spearhead the new armies. However, they can't be overly good or they become unbalanced and overpowered as compared to the old edition codexes. We see similar things to this in other walks of life. In events utilizing judging, they are often a little more conservative with the scores they give out to early competitors, so they don't set the standard too high. It's much the same with Space Marine codexes. The codex itself has to bridge the gap of old edition codexes and the new codexes... and they can't offer up some of the better units that eventually are released in later armies. The Storm Raven is a good example of this.

Look at the power (and the new boxes) to come out in 5th. The nifty toys and tricks allowed by other armies are generally missing here, and while the Blue Marines did get new units, they are quickly overshadowed by similar units down the road. The Ironclad Dreadnought as compared to the Furioso for example.

Again, the codex does work... but I sometimes wonder if the codex isn't truly balanced with it's current edition competitors until it is redone for the next edition. At least that's the way I feel concerning the current edition and the Blue Marines.


Saturday, April 16, 2011

3 Armies Enter, 1 Army Leaves

by Ishamael

Hey folks, I am still sitting here mulling over army lists that I would like to play with. Since I last posted, I have ruled out all the Marine books except for Dark Angels, Space Marines, and Grey Knights. I am tweaking the Thunderfire Cannons some more, and hope to gain some efficiency from that. At this time, I am gonna throw out the Ravenwing list I would play, and the Grey Knight list I have been working on for a couple weeks.

The Ravenwing is a link to YTTH.

Pre-game scouting with every unit I have, with almost every one of them being scoring, and able to deal with heavy vehicles, MCs, and even hordes? On just a few bikes? :3

This next one is a modification of a submission I made on min/maxing the Grey Knights codex, and I think this updated version is better overall than my first attempt:

Brotherhood Champion- psybolt ammo 105

5 Grey Knight Strike Squad- Psycannon, Razorback with psybolt ammo 160
5 Grey Knight Strike Squad- Psycannon, Razorback with psybolt ammo 160
5 Grey Knight Strike Squad- Psycannon, Razorback with psybolt ammo 160
5 Grey Knight Strike Squad- Psycannon, Razorback with psybolt ammo 160

5 Grey Knight Interceptor Squad- Psycannon 140
5 Grey Knight Interceptor Squad- Psycannon 140

Venerable Dreadnought- Autocannon, psybolt ammo 190
Venerable Dreadnought- Autocannon, psybolt ammo 190
Venerable Dreadnought- Autocannon, psybolt ammo 190

Dreadnought- 2x Autocannons, psybolt ammo 135
Dreadnought- 2x Autocannons, psybolt ammo 135
Dreadnought- 2x Autocannons, psybolt ammo 135


And so my dilemma rears itself. In essence, which army's playstyle would I enjoy the most is the problem. Ravenwing, which is fast, elite, and has the tools to succeed in every squad, along with the fact that I will be competitive with the Dark Angels book. ;) The Grey Knights have the benefit of plenty of vehicle hulls, excellent support fire at most ranges, and even some minor cc ability with the Venerables,Strike Squads, and Interceptors, as well as the tarpitting ability of the Brotherhood Champion. When it comes to my Thunderfire list, I recently changed it to where I replaced the Master with a Librarian that has a combi-melta, Gateway, and Vortex. I also switched the Scout squad's melta bomb for a combi-melta. It gives me the ability to teleport my Scouts to an objective, as well as double-melta something.

I have priced the Ravenwing and Grey Knights so far, and they're actually quite similar in dollars, with only about 50 bucks in difference. The Space Marine list would be a bit cheaper to make, since there is always someone wanting to get rid of Marines. :)

I need to sit and stew some more on this decision. It will be in the fall that I will actually start going after whichever army list I want to make.


Monday, April 11, 2011

Thunderfire Experimentation

by Ishamael

Hey folks, Ishamael here to bring entertainment and large explosions. Recently I have been looking into starting a Marine army, and have been considering my options. So far, I have no desire to play Wolves or Templar, but the other books hold something that I would like to play, whether it be Ravenwing or jumptastic sparklies. To this effect, I have been wondering on how to construct a list that uses Thunderfire Cannons. I like the model, and it's quite flexible on which kind of infantry you will be killing this particular turn, and it can be very annoying with the Tremor shot. So, here is a 2000 point list, with notes below it:

Master of the Forge- Conversion Beamer 120

4x Tactical Squads- meltagun, combi-melta, missile launcher, Rhino, hunter-killer 940
5 Scouts- cloaks, missile, melta-bomb 105

3x Riflemen Dreadnoughts- 375

3x1 Speeders- heavy flamer, multi-melta 180

3x Thunderfire Cannons- 300

Fairly simple. The Master deploys with the Scouts in a fortified building, giving everyone a great save, and they just shoot at heavy targets the whole game. Given how the Beamer works, in the back of one's deployment zone would work well. The cannons deploy to cover as much of the board as possible, taking cover saves and bolstering defenses where available. The Dreadnoughts hit light vehicles to de-mech enemies. The Tactical Marines combat squad up, with double meltas advancing in the Rhinos, and the missiles sitting back, hopefully in cover, adding support fire. The Landspeeders threaten heavy vehicles getting too close, or just fry something. This list works at a great number of ranges, and helps whittle away enemies as they get closer.

I'm going to stew on this list, because there aren't really any obvious threats apart from the Cannons. As such, I may need to go back to the drawing board to come up with something the opponent has to deal with (Shrike 'n Termies).

This is just one thing I'm considering doing with Marines. Grey Knights are very tempting and are on my list, yet I want to see what I can do with other books that are good and rarely done. Like Ravenwing, or a full-on Dreadnought army using the vanilla codex.


Sunday, April 10, 2011

Land Raider: Worth it?

Hello everyone. Apologies for a very long absence from the writing team here, so without further delay, let's get into today's discussion.

The Land Raider! One of the Imperium's deadliest weapons, bringing with it the Angel's of Death. Boasting a combination of the heaviest armor, heavy firepower, and the ability to carry the Emperor's Finest into battle... it is truly a sight to be feared... or is it?

In my experiences within the game, the Land Raider was always feared as a monster of a tank that couldn't be slain without pouring shots into it, or getting lucky with an early game pot shot. But with 5th edition this monster has (in this player's opinion) lost a lot of it's bite. I have looked into this long and hard, and noticed a few things that come up as negatives regarding this behemoth.

Choices, choices, choices...
Now as we know there are three patterns. While I feel the Crusader is the best due to high fire output and extremely high capacity (not that I'm bias as a Templar player or anything :P ) the others have their uses. However, the redeemer has too many heavy weapons, which forces you to choose which ones you'd like to fire, and the standard "God-Hammer" doesn't know what it wants to do since it's high ranged weaponry and low capacity don't mix well with it's assault orientation.

The choices here aren't a bad thing inherently, but I have noticed that with the exception of building a fluff oriented army, I rarely see any but the crusader hit the field. Again I can see why with it's qualities... but this shows to me a lack of balance within the Land Raider patterns.

The Cost of "Awesome"...

Now... The cost can be justified in some ways, as this tank does bring some very heavy armor, and (depending on the pattern) some impressive firepower. However, with it sitting at 250 points (240 for the Redeemer) before adding wargear like extra armor and the feared Multi-Melta... it quickly becomes a part of the list that has to be planned in advance.

Being the only transport capable of carrying those in Terminator armor, it is generally seen doing so. However, outside of this... it's a very expensive transport to simply carry troops. The one time I have seen (Without it being a LR Spam list) a Land Raider for a unit not bearing the Terminator armor was to carry Sternguard up. Was it a good strategy? Meh... Was it effective? Sure was. However, it made the Sternguard who are already expensive a huge point sink. Before I knew it, the unit and it's ride was already breaching 600 points. Add in Pedro, and it's almost 800 points.

Needless to say, the Land Raider is not something you add in last minute, when building your army. Perhaps this isn't a bad thing... but it is interesting to me considering the Land Raider alone costs more than another entire Tactical Squad with the usual bells and whistles (Power Fist, Meltagun, Missile Launcher) and their Rhino (Extra Armor). Sometimes you have to ask what would do more...

The "Unsinkable" Tank...
Once described as a tank that couldn't be breached... the Land Raider has lost a lot of it's staying power with the sheer increase of reliable Anti-Heavy Mech. Nothing is more apparent in this matter than the melta weaponry of 5th. With the average of a melta rule shot hitting 15 on the pen. table combined with the +1 on the chart... the once mighty Land Raider now has to skirt the edge of combat in order to survive.

Of course this can be a refreshing obstacle to come upon as it forces players to think ahead before just throwing their models forward... but it can be discouraging to see some melta-toting troop model not think twice when it sees the Land Raider. I often call the Land Raiders "the 250 point Rhinos" since it takes about as much to kill a raider in 5th as it did a rhino in 3rd and 4th.

And Melta isn't the only thing that makes a Marine player think twice about that Land Raider. With the new codexes come new ways to crack heavy tanks en mass. From Logan Grimnar making long fangs in a pod relentless, to Vet and/or Heavy Weapon spamming IG lists... the number of heavy weapons fielded by new armies is often double or more than we saw in previous editions. Meanwhile the Land Raider (apart from it's new weapon differences) hasn't gained much in the way of defenses. Of course it is hard to make a 14 box more resilient... but with Lance weapons, melta weapons, or sheer number of S9 or 10 shots hitting the field... the Land Raider is looking a bit weak for it's high costs these days.

Size Matters. Especially when it comes to hiding...
It's no secret that one of the big things to come of 5th was the incredible ease in which a cover save can be established. A curious little Rhino has a lovely ability to practically disappear behind a lot of terrain pieces out there, offering it some massive defensive perks. Remember that 50% of the time... a Rhino in cover is 100% better than armor 14 could ever hope to be when it comes to getting hit by anti-tank weaponry.

Rather unfortunate for the Land Raider, as it's footprint (and dat huge ass) can often make it hard to hide. This is another one of those 5th edition changes that while not directly effecting the Land Raider... can affect it's presence in a list as compared to alternative units.

and last but not least...

Show me the Money!
Ok GW, I understand you guys have been hit by the economy drop like everyone else... but seriously!? $62.00 for a single tank is pretty out there. I did find it funny that the Crusader/Redeemer box and the God-Hammer box are the same price. Not a good way to sell a tank that is considered the worst pattern by some/most.

Like with points, this tank requires players to know they want it... and it will take a lot of money just to get the tank. This again doesn't include whatever unit will go inside it... and again costs about the same as another tactical squad and their rhino.

Overall the tank has its uses. I run one in just about any game over 1,500 points when it comes to my Templar. Let me say that I know people can run multiples in a single army and are just fine with it, but again... this review is based on the principle idea that the durability of the tank has not increase in proportion to the firepower output of the new edition armies as well as the high cost when it comes to creating a "generalized (take all comers) list." I recognize it is possible to run them with success, but my observations here are to show that the Land Raider itself has lost a little of it's power as compared to older editions. Maybe this is balance, or just something that slipped into one of GW's many unnoticed cracks when they created 5th.

In any case, I hope to see the Land Raider return to some of it's former glory in the new edition, whenever that is. But until then, I'll just bring mine, and try to return it in pristine order so as not to anger the Master of the Fore, Brother Q. Until Next time.


(Special Thanks to MS Paint for the help with by far the crudest yet funnest RoB Pics I've ever done!)