Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Tournament Report

Captain Vanilla here, with my reflections and thoughts after the tournament that occurred this past Saturday!

Damn this is late. Stupid Latin.

Anyway, it was a 3-round Battle Points type tournament, 1750 points. My list consisted of:

3x 10 Tactical Marines- Melta, Combi-Melta, Missile
10 Tactical Marines- Flamer, Combi-Melta, Missile
4x Razorbacks
3x Dreadnoughts- 2x Twin-Linked Autocannons
3x Land Speeders- Heavy Flamer, Multi-melta
2x Predators- Heavy Bolter Sponsons

So, the first mission was a variation of bases where objectives fly from the center of the board every subsequent turn, make a blast of variable strength and AP, and in the center of that blast, generates another objective. My opponent in this game was a foot-based Loganwing, with Wolf Guard hanging out in Grey Hunter squads with Terminator Armor and Cyclones. Two squads of Long Fangs as well, with five missiles. In this round I got lucky when it came to where the objectives deviated, which they always did. Essentially, I made an iron wall to advance behind and block his advances to the objectives late-game, deep struck the Speeders behind his line by his objective, and proceeded to flame things up and disrupt and focus down portions of his army. In the end, I had Ahriman teleport on turns 4 and 5, on 4 his squad fried one of his last one-man troop choices, then ported again to get atop his objective. I ended with all five objectives due to blocking, and a poor run roll from my opponent.

Game two was a VP mission wherein one must kill everything of a given target to get its VPs. I was playing against Orks, which was a normal list consisting of some hundred-something boyz, a battle wagon, and a couple trukks with Warbosses and Nobz inside. I set my army in a kind of right triangle position to tempt him to attack my far right, which had a dreadnought and a predator, and leveraged the rest of my army to de-mech and kill the boyz. One mistake that I made was that I did not plug up a mobility hole with a second speeder, primarily because I thought the base of a tree was wider than it actually was. Had he assaulted more units, my left flank would have been in dire straits- I spoke to him about that after the game. Using my weight of fire and flamers, I proceeded to kill Orks until the game ended, leaving him with something like ten boyz or so. What was awkward was that, even though I was clearly in control of the game in the later turns, he encouraged me to table him, but I simply didn't have enough things in range to do so.

Game three was interesting, albeit the weakest of the missions. There's an objective in the center of the table. Short table edge deployment, 24 inches out. Center of your front 24 inch line is another objective. The center one is a bomb that must be taken to the enemy objective. You must start your turn in b2b with the bomb, then you may only move 6 inches per turn, and on the turn where you start it with the bomb in b2b with the enemy objective, he chucks it in to give you a Major Victory. This time around I drew a Grey Knights opponent, whom had a bunch of Terminators, a Land Raider Crusader, and a Dreadknight. This game I decided as I set up would be a straight-up blitzkrieg, by applying enough bodies and fire that I get the objective completed before he can respond enough. Forgot to mention this, but I went second in all my games. So, he shunts the Dreadknight up, and picks the bomb up. I then apply all my firepower on that one target, and the weight of fire is enough to kill it before I need to use the meltaguns and Null Zone combo. So, I run a combat squad up, pick the bomb up, and wait. His Land Raider advances towards the objective, his dreadnought comes out. I speed my reserve razorback up, and melta the hell out of the Land Raider, advance the bomb, and even assault the terminators inside, hoping to draw combat. Which is what happened. The dread gets even closer to the point, his reserve terminators make for the point, and I have to make a goodly amount of saves on the bomb-carrying team. Next turn, I have my speeders zoom up to block his movement except through difficult terrain, and throw more bodies into the terminator combat, hoping to kill the last terminator off, and get the bomb in b2b with the thermal exhaust port. The dread gets immobilized, and the difficult terrain keeps him from getting the assault off on my team, and next turn I toss the bomb in and score a Major Victory.

Then we just played until the turn limit ran out, which resulted in my infantry getting sliced by halberds, especially my Librarian, and I walked away with second place in the event, which was enough to purchase the Predator I needed for my 2k list, which is virtually done.

While mission 3 is the weakest, with mission 1 not that far behind it because of variability, mission 3 was the most tense for me, but that came from how I decided to play it. Blitz the point, put the opponent on his heels, and use pawns' lives to get the job done. It required mobility, sacrificial units, and forethought, which surprisingly is in keeping with the 5th ed concepts.

The most interesting thing to come out of the event was that an Ork player took the 1st place, which really speaks towards generalship and ability.

Anyway, wanted to write this quickly, so here are my thoughts in a shell, and I wish I had pics!

dovie'andi se'tovya sagain, Ishamael

Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Problem of the Space Marine

When we are first told of the Space Marines, we are given the normal spiel of how they are genetically altered, heavily-armored warriors that are recruited from feral worlds where only the toughest men survive. We are also told they are essentially sci-fi knights, their armor being the equivalent of full plate, and their emphasis on duty taken straight from the chivalric myths. They are the spear tip of the major invasions, as well as retaking lost worlds. Yet, there is on thing about them that has bugged me for some time in the mythology of the game:

They suffer from Superman Syndrome.

Superman Syndrome occurs when you have a character that is simply too strong, and as such, is not given much character, which makes the Space Marines a tabula rasa upon which the player gets to import his own personality upon his preferred Chapter.

While I've read plenty of the stories put out by the Black Library, most of the Space Marine stories are archetypal. The most character I've seen in a Chapter is probably the Iron Snakes, yet the principal character in the book is just a typical marine. Even in the Soul Drinker's books, the one thing that could be said of them as a Chapter is that they are unbelievably stupid early on. Mutations occur, and they come to the conclusion that they're gifts from the Emperor? What about that psycho-conditioning and training that warns them of the temptations and evil of Chaos? Guess they slept in class. Those Ultramarines books with Uriel aren't bad, but I can't think of any real traits of his beyond the normal marine drivel.

Really, Gabriel Angelos is easily the best marine character in 40k. The man has to deal with receiving visions of the Astronomicon, be solely responsible for the destruction of his home world, learn that his Chapter has ancient ties and deals with the Eldar, and eventually that his Chapter Master is sworn to Abaddon, and his company is deemed heretics. He eventually kills the Chapter Master, and takes his place. Pretty much the most interesting thing I've ever seen in 40k stories.

How do we cure the Superman Syndrome rampant in these stories?

Now, I didn't like the Superman character until the Kingdom Come story. In it, Superman retires because of some crazy shit that happens:

Lois Lane is killed by the Joker.
Superman calls for a trial.
Some new super heroes, all kids, kill the Joker because of the public outcry that he should be executed immediately.
Superman, outraged, quits the Justice League, effectively dissolving it.
The JL scatters, and the new heroes have no moral compass, nor governing body of elders.
Then Revelations begins after a man has visions of the End.

This story is so good I can't bring myself to spoil the rest, but it's the only thing I've ever read that makes me like Superman.

Superman has the power to do whatever he wants to, but should he exercise that power?

The next issue comes with how to apply this kind of story telling to the Space Marines. In-fighting between Chapters and Guard regiments aren't uncommon, so one application of this story style could come from authority over a sector gets transferred to some noble of the Imperium because of some accident involving the Space Marines of the area. Essentially, they get kicked out, then have to decide on what their next course of action is: defy duty and the Imperium, or try to resettle elsewhere among the stars? I think one of the most interesting things to do with type of story would be to question what the stringency of morality is for the Space Marines, especially, or not so especially, for Chapter X. All marines take oaths, but to what extent should they be kept, specifically in the case of a usurpation of power and what can be considered a betrayal by the leaders of the Imperium?

Some will notice that this is somewhat similar to what the Soul Drinkers go through, but you really don't feel any kind of conflict of duty over freedom.

So, the question that needs to be addressed for a good Space Marine story is this: With the military capacity of a Chapter, should they exercise their power over all around them, and when confronted with the tyranny and oppression of the Imperium, will duty or defiance prevail? For this to work, you need more thoughtful Space Marines, ones that are responsible for sectors of space, and take governance as seriously as their duties as marines.

So, I'm going to consider this, and maybe generate some creative writing in an attempt to display some actual human characteristics in the superhuman fighters. We need to find some way to relate to these God-like beings, and only by generating legitimate conflict in the characters and players of the 40k universe can we possibly begin to...I don't know...relate or care about them?

That's my interesting notion for the day, Ishamael

If anyone wants to see content outside of 40k, I started a blog on the side to write about other things outside of the Warhammer IP. These include topics like "what is the RPG genre," the game Terraria, a review of the new Conan movie, and most recently content about gender and Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series.


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Razorback

Last night I got my first game in with that new 1750 list I posted a while back, and I have some reflections to write on, primarily concerning my use of the 4 Razorbacks in my army.

First, my deployment with them was simply OK. I did the regular trick of doing a "T" formation with a front and back Razorback, while giving the front one enough room to rotate, move 12 inches forward, rotate, and pop smoke again. My problem came about because of how I positioned my two T's on the field. They were too close, and I improperly put all four Razorbacks between terrain pieces. To compound my issues, I placed a missile-toting combat squad to the right of my Razorback.

I was going first, got seized, and proved that I didn't take seriously enough how my own deployment could screw me over in case I did get seized on. So, I need to get back into the groove of thinking turns ahead, and planning for when I do get seized.

Second, I was too tempted the first two turns to fire those twin-linked heavy bolters, even when I have consciously told myself several times that they will still generally function as Rhinos until about turns 3-4, the possibly back to Rhino mode for 5 on. Even though the game was annihilation, and my opponent was coming towards me, I should have spread out more.

So, Razorbacks become late-game units that do well against targets of opportunity, mainly when transports are getting popped, and the guys that spill out are in range and line of sight.

I wish we would have gotten a picture of it, but the Eldar I was playing against, commanded by our own Heretic, did a good job of blocking my mobility, while swinging around a Seer Council on Jetbikes behind a piece of line of sight blocking terrain to later jump into my parking lot. Only some sick luck on my part caused him to roll box cars on his morale test, then he used embolden, only to roll box cars again, and they fell back, which basically turned the game to my favor. Subsequent turns had me destroying the rest of those annoying transports, and some dumb luck on rapid-firing boltguns killed the Seer Council down to the Farseer.

At that point our time limit ran out, but it's more because of that double morale test fail that I came out on top during the later turns.

Final Notes:

Twin-linked autocannon-wielding Dreadnoughts are amazing as a support fire unit.
Always Deepstrike your Landspeeders.
Give as much space for moving those damn Razorbacks as possible.
Predators should always go in the corners.
Librarians are awesome.

Hopefully I can get another game in before the event on Saturday.

Combat Tactics! Run away! Ishamael

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Predator

Is it just me, or have many been turning to Devastator teams in their Heavy support since the Space Wolves codex came out? Yes, Long Fangs are exceptionally nice for what they do, and the capacity to split fire is quite awesome, in which your three units actually threaten six. Looks to stun someone's parking lot quite a bit.

Recently, I have seen some builds even in the regular Marine book that are using Devastators more and more. And, for 150 points- 5 Marines with 4 missiles- that's quite a deal. Mind you, they can not do the split fire, BUT, and people forget this, their sergeant has the signum, which allows for a single BS 5 missile shot per turn. So, three targets per turn, but they have a small buff to BS. So, signa shots totaling three per turn, pretty cool. Outfit them with Razorbacks, and you can get some utility for late-game mobility or some weight of fire for finishing off small infantry squads left.

Devastator teams are easy to understand, and before I finally get to the much-overlooked Predator tank, another common choice for Heavy Support is the Vindicator tank. For 115 points, you get a 13/11/10 tank with the capacity for fire a str 10 ap 2 at 24 inches. Comparatively, I do not find the Vindicator worth much. The way to take it out is simply taking its flanks, then pelting it with missiles/autocannons, even just to stun it, and then it becomes pretty much worthless. Furthermore, 2/3 of the time you will scatter, the deviation going as far as 8 inches in a random direction. Lastly, IF-IF-IF you are playing on a good table...y'know, one that actually has midfield terrain for at least a 5+ cover save for infantry, then its effectiveness goes down. Or...I dunno, bring your own cover, or just sit in a smoked tank. Just gotta watch the center blow off, then you're sitting decent. Could one be using its points for something more effective at anti-infantry and anti-tank? I think so. Devastators, for their range, sustainability, and versatility, easily outclass the Vindicator as as a unit.

The Vindicator could work better if it had better defenses. Change it to a 14/12/10, and then we will talk. People seem to like buying them in triplets. If so, cross fire into side armor, get cake.

Time to move on to the Predator. So...why don't people take them? They certainly are not flashy like the Vindicator or Devastators, but I think it has a wonderful price point. For those that know I was considering a Thunderfire Cannon list, I was spending 300 points on a ridiculously easy to kill unit that only really can do anti-infantry duty, or light anti-tank, say AV 10-11. Oh, and the cannon is AV 10, and dies if it gets glanced OR penned. Don't roll, it just goes. Then the techmarine runs around and jerks off for the rest of the game. Now, let's compare the aforementioned Heavy Support choices to the Predator.

So, it's a tank with 13/11/10, so the same defenses as the Vindicator. For 60 points, it comes with an autocannon on the top. The option I prefer is to take the Heavy Bolter sponsons, which adds on 25 points. So, for 85 points, I have a tank as survivable as the Vindicator, is cheaper, and doesn't run the risk of drifting into allied units or off-target. It also has longer range, 36 and 48 inches respectively, giving it a large effective distance on the field. Before someone states it, yes, the Vindicator can move 6 and fire, but I do not plan for the Predators to move, except for maybe late game, or early, depending on the scenario. So, I get more consistent anti-infantry through all the weapons- 8 shots, more reliable anti-tank since it doesn't depend on blasts, and it works as a late-game blocker for objective holding. For 85 points. So, with all those points being saved, what can I get?

Well, I have been working on this list for a few months now, so 'ere we go:

Librarian- Null Zone, Gateway of Infinity 100

4x 10 Tactical Marines- Meltagun, Combi-Melta, Missile Launcher 740
4x Razorbacks 160

Fast Attack
3x Land Speeders- Heavy Flamer, Multi-Melta 210

3x Dreadnoughts- 2x Twin-Linked Autocannons 375

Heavy Support
3x Predators- Heavy Bolter Sponsons 255

So, all this junk here amounts to 1840, which isn't a bad list for an 1850 event. Question being, 2000 points is my favorite level to play at, so what to do with the 160 left? While it is within my points to convert the Razorbacks into the lascannon/twin-linked plasmagun deal, I think that would make them too obvious a target turn one, when I need the opponent to have his attention dispersed. So, what I think I will do here is add in a Scout Squad, with a heavy bolter, sniper rifles, and camo cloaks. This adds 100 points, leaving me with 60 points to screw around with. Yet, what if I alter this deal to add in Sergeant Telion to the squad? Well, that effectively gives the Scouts Stealth via the FAQ, so add in his 50 points, then I have 25 points to spend. Then I will give the Librarian a combi-melta for a teleport and dive manoeuver, and add a hunter killer missile to one of the Predators that takes a flank.

As far as the list goes and my reasons for taking things, this is pretty much it. Been working on this for quite a while, and I can't wait to get this into action now that I have the advantage of being able to get to the gaming store.

WAAAGH, Ishamael

Friday, August 12, 2011


Deepstriking onto the radar is a new box I wouldn't have called from way of of left field. Chaos Daemons now have a battalion (battleforce) to help get those daemonic players a start. It seems to come with a whole host of daemons representing all of the dark gods but Nurgle. Must be too nice to put resin in a big box :P. And it's not too bad if you are looking to get a host of daemons for an undivided army. That said, those who favor one or two gods may do better to simply buys their units alone.

A few new toys did come into play though. A Finecast herald of Tzeench on disk being the main focus and some very pretty resin banners.

I was pleasantly surprised to see some of the Archon's command squad units finally have some models.

Pics can be seen here from GW's site.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Tournament Prep Time!

by Ishamael

Sing it with me!

Silliness aside, the 27th of this month is going to be the date of the next local tournament, and I should have the models ready to play in it. The points total will be 1750, battle points will determine the winner, and I have been painting like a maniac all day. Painting is not part of the score, but finding motivation is rare, and I was on fire earlier.

As for the list I am going to take, it is in a small way not what I would want to, but I am waiting to find an extra Predator for cheap somewhere over the interwebz:

HQ Librarian- Null Zone, Gateway of Infinity 100
4x 10 Tactical Marines- Combi-Melta, Meltagun, Missile Launcher, Rhino 920
5 Scouts- Sniper Rifles, Camo Cloaks, Heavy Bolter 100
3x Dreadnoughts- 2x Twin-Linked Autocannons 375
Fast Attack
2x Land Speeders- Heavy Flamer, Multi-Melta 140
Heavy Support
Predator- Heavy Bolter Sponsons, Hunter Killer Missile 95

This takes me to 1730, so I have twenty points to screw around with. What is there to do except add some Hunter Killer missiles to two Rhinos? To that end, a lead Rhino will start rotated sideways in front of one with the HKM, then the front one moves twelve, the other six, and a couple missiles fly out that I did not have before. I think that will suffice for right now. I would prefer it if I had a second Predator tank instead of the Scouts, but so it goes. One missing Troop unit does not make enough of a difference. :P

So, let's talk deployment now. With these many units hanging about most likely what will happen is that the Speeders Deepstrike, the Predator goes on a flank, one Dreadnought on a flank, then two Dreadnoughts in the center to get cover and support. Or just stand around, muckin about, so they can turn into glorified target locks for more important units. The Marines will Combat Squad, missiles in the back and on objectives. The Librarian will deploy with the Scouts, most likely to one side or another, and late game he will teleport them to contest or grab an objective. Beyond this, focus fire will be used on high-priority targets, and in case of tanks, I have 4 double melta units, then two Deep Striking multi-melta Speeders.

We have no information specifically regarding the missions, but if something comes up I will be writing some more on I will play in this coming tournament. Of course, the night before and the morning of will consist of sacrifice and praying to the gods of the dice and luck for favorable threads.

I'm not dead yet, Ishamael

Monday, August 1, 2011

The idea of 17 to 18

Hey there everyone and welcome to an exciting new post from Loki. Okay so it may not be exciting, but it is a new post... and probably from me. Today's topic of conversation is a look at where the additional 100 points became standard in tournaments when looking at 1750 vs. 1850. I looked into it and found a few bits of interesting information which got me thinking about it a little more.

It is a fact that when looking at tournaments, those which take place in Europe tend to favor a 1750 mark while those that take place in the states generally sit at about 1850 or 2k. This struck me a interesting as I thought it might reflect a difference in mindset between the two societies. It isn't uncommon for European events to actually ban certain units based on a system of "it's too powerful" or "broken." I haven't heard (which bear in mind I'm not saying it doesn't exist) or a US event which expressly did not allow units. This might be a look as to why the average point level is different.

The other pattern I seem to find is that the lists generally tend to have a different feel when you compare Euro lists to US lists. In competitive play, the lists begin to run similar units. No matter how balanced a codex is, there will always be a genuinely powerful standalone unit or an uber combo that just trumps the rest by comparison... and in Tournaments these units hit the field more often than not on both sides of the Atlantic. However, looking at more small scale events and free play... what I found is that the lists of Europe tend to favor the idea of using a larger number of decently wargeared squads. This differs a lot from the usual trend of the US run full wargear in your squads, which obviously leads to a smaller number of units.

Clarification: My research shows averages between Euporean and US "Casual Event" lists.

I think this is where the big reason for that additional 100 points comes in. While not enough to run a full unit, that 100 points makes all the difference when looking to upgrade power weapons to fists, run combi-weapons, or even adding an additional HQ.

This also factors in with my averaging of math. Building a generalized list using the Eldar, Dark Eldar, Orks, Space Marines, Black Templar, Grey Knights, and Tyranids... I found that they each build at a similar points style. After building the list I found I could run occasional wargear here and there and would hit 1750 consistently, then I could make a few minor changes and make 1850 by subbing out units for wargear.

Overall it is interesting to me to see where these differences alter the game based on location. I myself am not a huge fan of 1850 as I feel there isn't much difference from it to 2k. I find that 250 point gaps (1,500, 1750, and 2k) alter lists enough that is doesn't feel like "a 2k list minus the second HQ" which 1850 often does.

What about you? What is your favorite point level for events? Does you enjoy alternative events like kill team or expansion missions like Planet Strike or Cities of Death? I'd love to hear what our fellow gamers out there enjoy. Until next time