Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Back to School

Now, as I've mentioned before, I'm not always so hot on deployment. So, it was an absolute joy to read this article over the weekend as it's given me some really good insights. Reading it, it all seems so simple - lines of fire for me, none for you. Now, I just need to try and remember some of this when the heat is on and I'm actually playing...

Monday, 30 August 2010

Open War - Test List 2

First up - defending the indefensible. The Vindicator has two main problems. Firstly, since it has a blast it can potentially kill your own troops and secondly, since it only has one gun, it's one Weapon Destroyed result away from being practically useless. Now, we can't do much about the second point apart from trying to find some decent cover. However, the first point for me is the key point as it comes back to the type of army I'm trying to put together. My army is designed, in boxing terminology, to jab and move. I have the range and the movement to take care of most enemy threats and even if I can't then I move out of the way and evade getting assaulted where I can. Since I don't plan on going anywhere near the enemy until they dead, the potential for killing my own troops is removed. Now, back to that gun - S10, AP2, Large Blast. It's a tremendous area denial weapon. I want to give my enemy the choice - risk taking on the Vindicator or risk taking on the Long Fangs. Of course, in a purely competitive environment, the Vindicator will get taken down in turn one. However, this isn't Nova and I'm not sure how truly competitive Open War will be.

So, yes, we're trying a Vindicator in the list (just in case you couldn't guess) I've also dropped out one of the Grey Hunter Razorback squads and brought in a Dreadnought. Again, not entirely optimum but in this case I agree with Andy that it will be a brilliant speed bump unit. So, without further ado, here's take 2 of my Open War list:


Rune Priest, Chooser of the Slain, Saga of the Beastslayer, Living Lightning, Murderous Hurricane


Dreadnought, Assault Cannon, Heavy Flamer, Extra Armour

Lone Wolf, Terminator Armour, Thunder Hammer, Storm Shield

6 Wolf Scouts, Meltagun


5 Grey Hunters, Plasma Gun, Rhino

5 Grey Hunters, Meltagun, Razorback, Twin-Linked Lascannon

5 Grey Hunters, Meltagun, Razorback, Twin-Linked Lascannon

5 Grey Hunters, Meltagun, Razorback, Twin-Linked Assault Cannon

5 Grey Hunters, Meltagun, Razorback, Twin-Linked Assault Cannon

Fast Attack

Land Speeder, Multimelta, Heavy Flamer

Land Speeder, Multimelta, Heavy Flamer

Heavy Support

6 Long Fangs, 4 Rocket Launchers, Lascannon

6 Long Fangs, 4 Rocket Launchers, Lascannon

Vindicator, Siege Shield

I dropped the Las/Plas Razorback as I don't think I'll be able to get my head around it in time for the tournament unfortunately.

Sunday, 29 August 2010

And yet more reinforcements

Right, these are the last lot. Firstly, we've got a Grey Hunter who I'm modelled on the shoot out at the end of Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid:

Then, we've got this grizzled old Long Fang Pack Leader

A slightly more straightforward Grey Hunter:

And another Grey Hunter, this time packing a Meltagun:

Now, I just need to finalise my list and finish painting everyone. Just lol.

Saturday, 28 August 2010

Know Your Rules


On Thursday, we had a situation where Andy wanted to ram my Land Speeder with his Battlewagon. Andy offered me the choice of a 3+ jink save or a Death or Glory attack. Now, at this point in the game I was being absolutely battered so the opportunity to actually destroy something really appealed. I managed to blow up his Battlewagon (and half of the Orks inside it too)

It was only later, after "the face" had gone, that I started thinking about what had happened. Obviously you can only Death or Glory from a Tank Shock. When it's vehicle to vehicle, it's a ram. Of course if it had been a Multimelta Attack Bike then it would have been allowed to Death or Glory.

In the end this had no bearing on the result of the game but I really need to read up on the rules for Tank Shocks and Ramming before Open War. I keep reading online about how good Tank Shocks are and I personally don't use them nearly enough.

Friday, 27 August 2010

Ignoring the lessons of the past

Once again I play the Orks and once again I'm practically tabled. I completely failed to learn any of the lessons from last time. Let's once again have a look at where it all went wrong:


We were playing Mission 3 from Open war which means that there is approximately 20" between deployment zones. So, this means that the Nob Bikers are arriving in my deployment zone on turn 1 and the Battlewagons are arriving turn 2. Now, I accept the fact that I was unlucky in having the initiative stolen (that's twice in two weeks!) and if that hadn't happened I would have got an extra turn of shooting. However, I still spread my forces out far too much. Also, why on earth did I deploy most of my forces on the edge of my own deployment zone? Yes, the mission is to get units into your enemy's zone but I could have worried about that after I'd killed the Orks. What I should have done is deployed my long range elements (Long Fangs, Lascannon Razorbacks & Rune Priest Rhino) in the corner as far away as possible from the Orks, thus giving me the maximum amount of turns of shooting. I should then have left everything else in reserve so that my Assault Cannon Razorbacks could have gotten side shots on the armour and the Land Speeders could either Deep Strike or come on from my board edge.


Definitely needs some tweaking, though that's exactly what these games are for. I had some severe reservations about the Predator and it did nothing to assuage them. Although I'm not a believer in chopping and changing on the back of one bad performance, I do think that it need to go. Andy has suggested taking a Dreadnought as it could potentially have tied up his foot Boyz for couple of turns. It could definitely prove useful against any horde style army. A similar option could be a second Lone Wolf. I'm also not sure if I have too many Troop choices in my list. Yes, all of the missions are objective based but I'm thinking that 6 might be one too many. The other amendment I'm considering is a Vindicator (shock! horror!) Yes, I know that they're not optimal but, given the missions, they would be a fantastic area denial weapon. With the mission we played having only 20" between deployment zones, you're almost guaranteed a shot on turn 1. In the quarters mission no-one will really want to go into a quarter with a Vindicator in it. Actually, in general, I'm very happy with my list. Andy needed a ridiculous of amount of luck with his cover saves for his vehicles and his Nob Bikers to survive.


This is pretty much a combination of the above two. In general, my plan for all of the Open War missions is to have a large number of Troops and be able to claim more objectives than my opponent to claim the win. Talking to Mike yesterday, he has set up his Space Wolf list to destroy his opponent first and then to claim objectives almost as an afterthought. You can claim a raft of Battle Points by getting lots of Kill Points so I could do with tweaking my tactics to take advantage of that. Clearly, my plan to get my Troops into Andy's deployment zone drove my deployment whereas if I'd deployed as I should have done I could have claimed some Kill Points as well as putting myself in a position to actually win the mission.

So, lots to think about. I really need to remind myself that the Space Wolves are a counter attacking army. Shoot the enemy, let them come to you, shoot them some more and then claim objectives later. The other thing I'm doing is coming up with a super efficient optimal list which is fine when everyone is doing the same thing but I don't believe that they will. This isn't the States, people will turn up with fluffy armies. Also, this is my first tournament, I shouldn't be going in with expectation sot win the thing! Especially since when it starts I'll have been playing for less than a year. Anyway, I'll tweak the list over the weekend and see what I can come up with.

Thursday, 26 August 2010


So, cruising around on the internet, I came across this blog by BJ. As well as some nice Thunderwolves, he also had this brilliant and simple conversion for Combi-Meltas. I thought, "hmm, I'm having that!" and so here we are:

The one change I made was using the clip from an old school Bolter rather the one from the Bolt Pistol (this was due to the fact some overzealous cutting led to the clip in question pinging off across the living room, never to be seen again)
Now, regular readers will notice that I've never written a list requiring Combi-Meltas. However, as I mentioned yesterday, I'm still not convinced by the Predator in my 1750 list. Hence the option to trim my Wolf Scouts to 5 but then take a Wolf Guard with a Combi-Melta (plus then two basic Wolf Guard in the two Long Fang squads) My only question at the minute is how else to equip him - Combi and a Power Weapon comes to 33 points, with a Wolf Claw comes to 38 and with a Power Fist comes to 43. Plus there's also the option to give him Meltabombs for an addition 5 points. Choices, choices...

Little by little

I thought I'd post a little update on the Thunder-nators. I've managed to snatch an hour here and there over the last couple of days so I'm doing a colour at a time. The yellow is Iyanden Darksun just a single coat thinned 1:1 with my mix of water and flow release, the red is a coat of Macherite Red, thinned 1:1, followed by a thin layer of Macherite : Scab Red : water (1:1:1). I then went round the edges of the Crux with Badab Black to give it a little shading followed by a final layer of red which was the previous mix with a drop of Bleached Bone to lighten it slightly.

Enough of all that, here's a few pics:

Finally here's a pic of the army so far [warning: vulgar display of plastic]:

Models are as follows:

Pedro (counts as model), Khan (counts as model), Lysander, Librarian, Librarian in Terminator Armour, Chaplain

Sternguard (x20), Tactical Terminators (x7), Sanguinary Priests (x2), Dreadnoughts (x4), Assault Terminators (x5)

Tactical Marines (x20), Scouts (x20), Seargent Telion, Death Company (x10), Lemartes

Rhinos/Razorbacks (x3), Drop Pods (x3)

Land Speeder Typhoons (x4), Land Speeder Storm (x1), Baal Predator (x1), Scout Bikers (x5), Assault Marines (x22)

Land Radier (x1), Predator (x1), Whirlwind (x1), Devastator Squad (x5), Thunderfire Cannon (x1)

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

More Reinforcements

I've been quite busy this week so no painting but I have managed to put together another Long Fang with an old school Rocket Launcher:

That's my Long Fang packs finished now.

I've also been working on another Rune Priest (even though I took the second one out of my list)

He still needs a head and he's got some flash that needs filing but he looks pretty good if I do say so myself.

Open War - Test List 1

Wow, what an exciting title! I wonder what this post could possibly be about? Tomorrow, I'll be playtesting my first iteration of my Open War list. Andy is bringing his Orks and I have to admit it is slightly tempting to tailor my list but that would rather defeat the object. From my base, I've decided to add the Wolf Scouts so the final 1750 list looks like this:


Rune Priest, Chooser of the Slain, Living Lightning, Murderous Hurricane


6 Wolf Scouts, Meltagun

Lone Wolf, Terminator Armour, Thunder Hammer, Storm Shield


5 Grey Hunters, Plasma Gun, Rhino, Hunter Killer Missile

5 Grey Hunters, Meltagun, Razorback, Lascannon/Twin-Linked Plasma Guns

5 Grey Hunters, Meltagun, Razorback, Lascannon/Twin-Linked Plasma Guns

5 Grey Hunters, Meltagun, Razorback, Twin-Linked Lascannons

5 Grey Hunters, Meltagun, Razorback, Twin Linked Assault Cannons

5 Grey Hunters, Meltagun, Razorback, Twin-Linked Assault Cannons

Fast Attack

2 Land Speeders, Multimelta, Heavy Flamer

Heavy Support

6 Long Fangs, 4 Rocket Launchers, Lascannon

6 Long Fangs, 4 Rocket Launchers, Lascannon

Predator, Heavy Bolter Sponsons

Not convinced by the Predator at the minute as it seems to stand out like a sore thumb. This list is only 1745 so I could drop it and replace it with a Land Speeder Typhoon. However, it is in the list to help deal with armies such as Orks where lots of dakka is needed so I wouldn't be terribly surprised if it does well tomorrow. The key will be how it does against a Space Marine army (as I'm sure they're bound to be in the majority at the tournament)

V for Victory

Based on a comment in yesterday's post I had a bit of a play with my Razorback to see what kind of cover they could provide to each other.

Firtly, in a purely defensive posture:

And then, moving forward:

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Target Priority

Or "Why I'm giving up spam (kind of)"

Originally, my Open War list was going to feature 5 Las/Plas Razorbacks each containing 5 Grey Hunters with a Meltagun. Now, I understand why this is such a good build. How can the enemy prioritise one target over another one when they're all the same? Plus, you've got the bonus of having two weapons compared to one on the other Razorback options so a Weapon Destroyed result doesn't ruin your day. This list would do brilliantly well in a really competitive environment where everyone is running a "5th edition" list (ie meched up) However, I'm still not entirely sure that Open War will be full of those kinds of lists so I'm going to try and cover all of my bases (as you should with a good all comers list) With that in mind I'm going to take two Assault Cannon Razorbacks for anti-horde and for emergency vehicle popping (yes, even with Rending, it's still last ditch) In addition, I'm also taking a Twin-Linked Lascannon Razorback in order to remove the temptation to keep my Razorback stood still so that I can fire all of the weapons. Since, I'm probably going to be firing the Lascannons most of the time anyway, this seems like a good (twin-linked) compromise.

However, back to target saturation, this gives me some problems. If I was an Ork player, I'd fire my Lootas at the Assault Cannon Razorbacks first as they can theoretically do the most damage to my rampaging horde. Similarly with Tyranids and Hive Guard, they'd be the first target. If I had an IG or Tau shooty army, I'd ignore the Assault Cannon Razorbacks and shoot at the other three as they have the range to hurt me. Once they've gone I can pick off the Assault Cannon Razorbacks later. Although, in these four examples, it does hopefully mean that people are ignoring my Long Fangs. Hmm, maybe I do have some target saturation after all...

Monday, 23 August 2010

Know Your Rules

This week - Shooting into combat. This is based on something that nearly came up on thursday, something very sneaky that I didn't use in the end as I already had the game in the bag (note that this is post victory cockiness, at the time I still thought I could find a way to throw it away) Now, I was shooting at an enemy Vindicator with my Vindicator (yay for trying to optimise lists at 750 with lots of restrictions) Usually, you'd place the centre of the template over the centre of the enemy vehicle in order to maximise your chances of hitting it in the case of scatter. However, I realised if I aimed for the back of the Vindicator, I could catch three of his Assault Marines who were locked in combat just behind the Vindicator. Obviously, they would have gotten a cover save but I can't see a reason why this tactic wouldn't be legal. I'm clearly targeting the Vindicator with the blast, anything else is collateral damage. I don't think that this is something that is likely to come up very often as it's unlikely that an assault will be taking place that near to a target. Plus, in this case, I was only willing to risk hitting the combat as I had a dreadnought locked in it and he'd already lost both of his arms. If I'd hit him I may have blown him up and killed the enemy that way! However, I wouldn't have done it if I'd had a squad in combat as I'd consider that too risky. In fact, in that case I may have even looked for a different target for my Vindicator.

Sunday, 22 August 2010

There's a Storm Coming

Uh oh! I finally went and did it, I bought Assault Terminators!

I have avoided this unit like the plague because; they seem to be the norm in what's considered a "competitive" Marine list and I do so hate toeing the line, you need a Landraider to run them which means you've got about a third of your force in a neat little box and at £27 they're pretty damn expensive for 5 guys ... all be it seriously cool-looking, tooled up, action hero type guys!

However, this weekend the little voice in my head started nagging at me saying hat I hadn't bought any little plastic men for a while and that I probably needed to go and throw some cash at a Red Shirt. The voice was clearly ignoring the fact that I have a good 45% of my Ork army left to paint and I have an unopened Valkyrie wating to be converted into a Storm Raven - anyone want to buy a Valkyrie, still in the cellophane?!

Anyway, Daniel was in a mood because he's teething at the moment so I selflessly volunteered to go out and do the food shopping on my own. It just so happens that Warhammer World is only a 10 minute detour on the way to Sainsburys. I mean, it'd be rude not to just poke my head in and see if they had any in stock seeing as I'm in the area anyway ...

50 minutes later, and not a little wet thanks to some freak rain which decided to fall at it's hardest during the periods when I was not in the car or in a shop - I took this storm as a positive omen, Thunder Hammers; Storm Shields? You with me? Anyway, 50 minuted later I walk back through the door of my house with some orange Sainsburys bags and a little black bag containing the Emperor's cheesiest little squad that could. They are now assembled and undercoated, ready for painting should I be able to get some free time in the evenings this week. Otherwise there's a convenient bank holiday weekend comming up next week so that may be a good opportunity there. Here's a little pic of the guys so far:

I also "tweeked" my list for Open War to include them, whadda ya think?

Null Zone, Gate of Infinity

2x Twin Linked Autocannons
2x Twin Linked Autocannons
Assault Terminators
5x Thunder Hammer & Storm Shield; Land Raider w. Extra Armour, Multi Melta

Tactical Squad
(10) Meltagun, Missile Launcher, Sgt w. Combi-Melta; Rhino
Tactical Squad
(10) Meltagun, Missile Launcher, Sgt w. Combi-Melta; Rhino
Scout Squad
(10) 5x Combat Blade, 3x Sniper Rifle, Missile Launcher, Sgt w. Sniper Rifle

Land Speeder
Typhoon Missile Launcher, Heavy Bolter
Land Speeder
Multi Melta, Heavy Flamer
Land Speeder
Multi Melta, Heavy Flamer

Thunderfire Cannon

This is my standard shooty Marine army list with the Sternguard replaced by the Assault Terminators, I retain the Lascannons thanks to the Land Raider dedicated transport. The Librarian rides with the Terminators so the Land Raider and both Rhinos rush to control the mid-field which gives Null Zone a good area of effect.

The Thunderfire Cannon, Land Speeder Typhoon and the Dreads sit on the back line to provide fire support and the MM/HF Speeders are held in reserve to Deep Strike and hopefully keep the opponent guessing. Against armys with no heavy armour or massed infantry they could also be run as a diversion up a flank.

One last thought is that in tournaments where Special Characters are allowed I could drop the Typhoon and upgrade my libby to Vulkan. I think it's a pretty decent Vulkan list and I don't really lose too much from the intention of the original list.


My Forge World order arrived yesterday so I spent a bit of time putting these two guys together.

First up, a Meltagun armed Grey Hunter:

And then a Rocket Launcher armed Long Fang:

My Open War list is nearly complete...

Saturday, 21 August 2010

Alright John, got a new motor?

Preparation for Open War continues apace. Today, we have my first attempt at a Las/Plas Razorback. As you can see, instead of taking the easy way out and putting the Lascannon on one side of the weapon fairing and the Plasma Guns on the other, I tried to model it so that it looks like the old Razorback kit. FYI the Plasma Guns are actually Plasma Pistols from the Grey Hunter sprue.

Friday, 20 August 2010

Only a fool doesn't feel fear

After my lesson against the Necrons, I played another 750 point game against the Space Marines. I'm not sure if it was because I was playing against an army I knew or because I was playing against a newer gamer but I actually thought out some tactics and put them to use.


Seeing the Jump Pack Librarian and 10 Assault Marines across the board, I realised that I wanted them split up from their Tactical Squad and Vindicator fire support. By placing my Objective on my opponent's side of the board I gave him the decision - keep them near the Objectives but risk me shooting them up from across the board or send them off to attack on their own.


Since I didn't have first turn I decided to keep everything in reserve. I find keeping units in reserve in a Spearhead deployment can give you lots of options about where to bring the units on in reaction to what your opponent does. In this case, once again I wanted to see what those Assault Marines and the Vindicator were going to do.

Drop Pod Assault

The Dreadnought had one main target - the Vindicator. I knew that if I could stop it shooting then there was nothing else in the army that could really hurt my Dreadnought and he could rampage through the army at will. Well, he managed to do enough to stun it which was good enough. In fact I managed to keep it shaken or stunned all game apart from one round (well, until I blew the gun off it) In my opinion, this is the key with vehicles like a Vindicator; you don't need to destroy them, you just need to keep them from shooting.


I was completely shocked when Dave said that he was going to charge my Dreadnought with his Assault Marines. With no Power Fists they never really stood a chance, needing 6s to hit and then 6s just to glance. Even with Preferred Enemy in the first round the odds are very small. Then to compound matters he charged in his Tactical Squad. This meant that both squads were locked in a fight to the death. The Assault Marines couldn't escape because they were Fearless and the Tactical Squad couldn't even use Combat Tactics to leave the fight because they were too near to the board edge. In retrospect I should probably have tried to kill the Chaplain first since if the Assault Squad had failed a Leadership test they would have run off the board in exactly the same way the Tactical Squad eventually did. However, at the time, I backed my Dreadnought to keep hacking down Marines and thought that I could probably kill a few more with Fearless wounds. Minor mistake from me but charging the Dreadnought probably cost Dave the game (and yes, I did try and talk him out of it) What would I have done in the same boat? I would have passed me first turn and kept everything in reserve. Then when the Vindicator came on I would have tried to kill the Dreadnought (which would have had to make some tough choices about where to drop with no enemy to face) with that since it was the only weapon that could really do the job.


Just a very quick thought on my own Vindicator - I do love using it on guys who have just lost their transport. Even though they're getting a save, if you hit you'll hit the whole squad and wounding most things on a 2+, you should take out the best part of half of them.

Final Thoughts

I think that the combination of chastising defeat and playing against an army whose capabilities I knew led to me actually coming up with a plan for his game. I'm still pretty happy that I actually stuck to it. One thing did strike me though - Once again I got a bit carried away with killing the enemy rather than claiming Objectives. If Dave had kept his Tactical Squad out of the combat with the Dreadnought and had been a bit luckier with the other squad he could easily have claimed two of the Objectives while I was still edging over the halfway point. Part of that was fear of the Vindicator. They are tremendous area denial weapons and at 750 points with so many restrictions on lists there won't be lots that can take them out at range and no one wants to get too close to one. Still a 1-0 win is still a win and after the first game I certainly can't complain about that.

Know Your Enemy

Okay, so earlier in the week I said that I wouldn't be writing one of thos Sun Tzu missives. Well, getting almost tabled can change your viewpoint very quickly. Yesterday, I lost very heavily to a Necron army and it was mainly due to the fact that I had no idea what they could do.

Veil of Darkness

I deployed my army in quite an aggressive formation only to then have the initiative stolen. The Necron Lord then used his Veil of Darkness to Deep Strike behind my Vindicator and blow it up. Had I know they could even do that I would have deployed differently. I'd vaguely heard of VOD but I didn't realise that's what it could do. Never mind, there's a good learning.

Gaze of Flame

With the Necron Lord and his Immortal buddies deep in my lines, I decided to assault them. However, they have Gaze of Flame which takes away my bonus for charging. Now, if I'd know that I would have given some serious thought to charging and I would probably have double tapped the Bolters and then accepted the charge back. Again, another good learning.


I'd heard Andy talk about these things and now I can see why. Move like jetbikes but never have to take Dangerous Terrain tests? Wow. Plus they glance any vehicle on a 6? The bane of Land Raiders by the sound of it. Again, if I'd have know how fast they were I would have deployed further back to prevent a turn 2 assault on my Predator.

We'll Be Back

Now, I'd seen this in action in a game against Graham and I knew how much of a PITA it can be. However, I didn't realise that it worked like FNP and hence doesn't work against AP2. I put down a couple of Immortals with Plasma Gun shots only for them to get back up. Hmm.

Phase Out

This is something else I vaguely knew about. However, in the heat of battle I kept trying to take out Scarabs rather than moving my Assault Cannon Razorback forward to try and kill Warriors and hence cause Phase Out.


Well, I know a lot more about the Necron tricks now. Plus Scott was very kind to spend some time talking about the kinds of things I might see at Open War. Including the Wraith/Monolith teleport trick which can see them move and assault across practically the whole width of the board. I am slightly worried about a dual/triple Monolith army but only because I think it would be hard to kill rather than because it's especially killy. The multiple Wraith build sounds like it might be more likely to appear at Open War. Then again, the Necrons are quite an old army and we might not see any. If we do, I'm a lot more prepared than I was 24 hours ago.

Vauxhall Nova

I promise that this will be my last post on the subject of the Nova Open but this is just in response to a question Andy asked me last night about the breakdown of the armies at Nova. From what I can find online, it looks like this:

Black Templars - 1
Blood Angels - 14
Chaos Space Marines - 8
Daemons of Chaos - 3
Dark Angels - 2
Daemon Hunters - 1
Eldar - 7
Imperial Guard - 12
Necron - 1
Orks - 7
Space Marines - 12
Space Wolves - 11
Tau - 4
Tyranid - 3
Witch Hunters - 2

The full Win:Loss details can be found in the comments section of this post

55% MEQ (excluding DH & WH) Hmm, I would have thought that the breakdown will be somewhat similar so it might be time to load up on the old AP3...

Thursday, 19 August 2010

Testing Testing

After 2 weeks off (damn you real life!) it's back to preparing for the club's 750 point competition. I was very tempted to stick with my last list but at the last minute I've gotten cold feet and decided to make a slight change:

Rune Priest, Chooser of the Slain, Living Lightning, Murderous Hurricane

5 Grey Hunters, Plasma Gun, Rhino

5 Grey Hunters, Meltagun, Razorback, Twin-Linked Assault Cannons

Dreadnought, Assault Cannon, Heavy Flamer, Drop Pod

Predator, Heavy Bolter Sponsons

Vindicator, Siege Shield

So, the Predator has come in for the Land Speeder Typhoon (and after all of that stuff I posted on Land Speeders last week!) Slightly more dakka and a bit more survivable, we'll see how it fits into the list. My plan is for tonight to be the last couple of practices before settling down to play test my Open War list.

Controversy - The lifeblood of t'internet

Apparently, Tony's Nova Con winning list was 3 points over the allowed 2000. Before I give my opinion, I hope that no-one uses this as a stick to beat the TO Mike or the tournament itself. Every blog I've read by people who attended have said what a great event it was. Hopefully we'll get a Nova Con UK (Claws and Fists Con anyone lol) Anyway, back to the matter in hand. 3 points. Is it cheating? Well, technically, yes. If you look at the list, the cheapest thing we could take off is a Meltagun. That's one less anti-tank weapon in the list and in a close game it could have been the key one. But Claws and Fists (if that is you real name) I hear you cry, "it's only 3 points." Well, again, yes, but where do you stop? 3? 5? 10? 20? It's a bit like Pandora's Box, once the lid is off, it's not going back on. Now, I don't know Tony but it sounds like he's an excellent player and he probably would have won the tournament anyway. I'd also like to believe that the 3 extra points was a genuine mistake and that he was not seeking to gain an advantage. You can't really blame Mike either, I know that I wouldn't like to check through 128 army lists and I'm sure that 300 points is a damn sight easier to spot that 3.

The thing is, I'm not really sure that there is a solution. There will always be people trying to sneak in something here and there and there will always be some honest mistakes. The only thing I can think of is if after you make the draw you send everyone the army list of their first round opponent in the tournament pack. Personally, I know that I'd give the list a good once over before I played against them. It's clearly not perfect as I'd probably be more likely to miss something than a TO but at least I couldn't complain since I'd had the opportunity to check the list before the competition.

Wednesday, 18 August 2010


I want to talk about something now that is probably the most important part of the game. Something that influences deployment (which obviously influences the first couple of turns) but also something which influences the end game. Yes, I want to talk about Objective placement. Firstly, I'd like to admit that this is something that I have trouble with. I always spend 5-10 minutes trying to work out where to place Objectives but usually still pick places that aren't ideal. So, the purpose of this article is for me to put down some thoughts about what to do with Objectives and hopefully brainstorm my way into some good thinking.

Now, in my opinion, when placing Objectives you should be thinking the same kinds of things you're thinking throughout the game. Namely, how can I increase my strengths and maximise my opponent's weaknesses. For example, if I was playing against my usual MSU army, I'd see all of those Space Marines in their nice little tin cans and I'd be thinking about how to get them out. Putting an Objective in area terrain would force me to either risk driving into the terrain or more likely, I'd try and get out to claim the Objective. If you put a squad on the Objective, you can go to ground for a 3+ cover save and then I've got to take one (or maybe two) difficult terrain tests to try and assault you off the objective.

So, what are my army's strengths? Well I've got great firepower and mobility and while I'm alright in assault, 5 men squads aren't that difficult to wipe out. Being so mobile means that I don't have to place Objectives in my half of the board as I can always try and claim them with a late Razorback dash. Obviously Objectives are placed before table edges are decided but it means you don't have to put anything deep in a potential deployment zone. Having good shooting means that ideally I'd place Objectives out in the open where I'd have good lines of sight so I can shoot anything that is either sat on the objective or, even better, on their way there.

That all sounds pretty straightforward so lets look at bit at how we might try and maximise the enemy's weakness. Most purely shooting armies (Tau, certain IG builds) don't really want to move. They're quite happy sitting in their deployment zone shooting you to bits. If we place objectives away from their potential deployment zones so that they have to move and also in places where we can get cover on the approach we force them to move and take away their shooting advantage. Horde armies (Orks, Tyranids) have an advantage that they can claim two or more Objectives with one large squad. Here our plan is twofold, we want to ensure that they can't claim more than one Objective with a single squad but we also want to try and create a refused flank so that we can destroy each large squad piecemeal rather than trying to take them all on at once. Assualty armies (Orks and Tyranids again, Blood Angels, Black Templars) are quite happy to assault you off an Objective and will then happily defend it in assault through numbers, Feel No Pain or Preferred Enemy. We need to make sure that any approach to an Objective will be filled with so much deadly gunfire that anything that survives will be almost tactically useless.

Again, this all sounds so simple in theory. What is harder is trying to make this work for five Objectives, especially if you're placing second. I do think that a large part of making it work is experience, which is something that I don't have yet. Hopefully it will become easier and hopefully come Thursday, I'll actually follow some of my own advice here.

Tuesday, 17 August 2010


Okay, Claws and Fists (if that is your real name), shouted the internet, if you don't think the winning list from the Nova Open is any good, what would you have taken? Well, okay, no-one said that at all but I'm going to talk about what I'd have taken anyway since everyone else on t'internet is blogging about Nova and I feel left out...

First off a couple of caveats; I'm going to pretend that I've not just heard about all of the large LOS blocking terrain that was at Nova and I'll build a list that I would have taken rather than one to take advantage. Secondly, since I haven't played 2000 points before (well, I have but that was 2nd Edition) I'm building a list in a bit of a vacuum with no real playtesting. So, while this list will be pretty points efficient and look good on paper, there's no way I could win a tournament such as Nova without a good couple of months playtesting.

Anyway, onto the list:


Rune Priest, Chooser of the Slain, Living Lightning, Murderous Hurricane

Rune Priest, Chooser of the Slain, Living Lightning, Jaws of the World Wolf


Dreadnought, Twin-Linked Autocannon, Twin-Linked Autocannon

Lone Wolf, Terminator Armour, Thunder Hammer, Storm Shield

6 Wolf Scouts, Meltagun


5 Grey Hunters, Plasma Gun, Rhino, Hunter Killer Missile

5 Grey Hunters, Plasma Gun, Rhino, Hunter Killer Missile

5 Grey Hunters, Meltagun, Razorback, Lascannon/Twin-Linked Plasma Guns

5 Grey Hunters, Meltagun, Razorback, Lascannon/Twin-Linked Plasma Guns

5 Grey Hunters, Meltagun, Razorback, Lascannon/Twin-Linked Plasma Guns

5 Grey Hunters, Meltagun, Razorback, Lascannon/Twin-Linked Plasma Guns

Fast Attack

2 Land Speeders, Multimelta, Heavy Flamer

2 Land Speeders, Mulitmelta, Heavy Flamer

Heavy Support

6 Long Fangs, 4 Rocket Launchers, Lascannon

6 Long Fangs, 4 Rocket Launchers, Lascannon

The Rune Priests go in the Rhinos by the way. Yes, it's very spammy (erm, full of redundancy I mean) but it's incredibly points effcient. Do you really need 6 Troops? Possibly not and I would probably have liked to have taken a couple of Thunderwolves but since I've never used them I'm still not sure how I'd run them.

Monday, 16 August 2010

Know Yourself

No, this isn't going to be another of those daft articles about trying to use the teachings of Sun Tzu in relation to pushing our toy soldiers round. However, I am going to talk about how important it is to know your army. I'm going to very briefly talk about why I personally think that Tony's Nova Con winning army is "sub optimal" and then why it doesn't matter.

Now, I like Njal but I just find him far too expensive at 240 points. Yes, he can cast two powers per turn (ie a shooty one and then Stormcaller) and he cancels out other psykers on a 3+ but Lord of the Tempests really relies on going first or else the first couple of powers have no effect. Then taking a Thunderwolf Lord AND another Rune Priest seems a bit like overkill. As I said in the comments, I think the list is a bit top heavy. I'd also worry that T4 W2 and no invulnerable save, Njal looks like 240 gift wrapped VPs. The rest of the list is pretty solid though and even though I personally don't really like Mark of the Wulfen and Wolf Standards, I can see that they do have their uses.

So, there we go the guy who's only been playing the game for 9 months and who has never entered a tournament is ripping apart the guy's list that just won what is being considered to be the most competitive 40K event in America. Well, yes, but here's why the list isn't that important. The key thing is knowing your army. Clearly, Tony must know the ins and outs of his force and how each unit interacts with the others. It's this knowledge and experience that makes an army more than the sum of the parts that are on the list. This is one of the blessings and curses of the internet. It's now really easy to go to a blog or a forum and find really good army lists. However, if you don't put the time in learning how to play that list you'll never have the same kind of success that Tony has had with his. In that regard, my advice would be use the thinking behind how the lists are built to build your own and then tweak it based on your own experiences of that list in games.

Anyway congratulations to Tony, although seeing a Space Wolf army win will only fuel Andy's claims that it's a broken codex...

Sunday, 15 August 2010

**Breaking News** Wolves win NOVA Open

Well, despite all the net celebrities in attendance at the NOVA Open this weekend it was a 16 year old local, playing a "sub-optimal" Wolf list who took down 2 Logan-Wing lists, 2 Razor-Wolf lists and a heavy Sear-Council Eldar list on the way to the final game where he took down a Blood Angels list to win the tournament.

Congratualtions Tony, here's his list:


Wolf Lord, Thunderwolf Mount, Powerfist, Storm Shield, Saga of the Bear, Wolf Tooth Necklace

Rune Priest, Chooser of the Slain, Living Lightning, Jaws of the World Wolf

5 Wolf Scouts, Meltagun

8 Grey Hunters, Meltagun, Wolf Standard, Mark of the Wolfen + Wolf Guard, Combi-Melta Powerfist in Rhino.

2 more of same, but with 7 Grey Hunters instead of 8.

2 x 5 Grey Hunters w/ flamer in Twin-Linked Lascannon Razorback.

8 Fenrisian Folves.

2 x 6 Long Fangs, 5 Missile Launchers

(edited by Claws and Fists to make list clearer)

More of the same

Yes, it's Land Speeder Week on Claws and Fists! I didn't have a huge amount of time to do some painting yesterday but I did manage to do most of the basecoat on two Land Speeders:

They'll need a bit of touching up but it means I'm nearer to finishing all of my painting for Open War. Next week, I plan on putting some more Grey Hunters together as I need 30 and I don't have enough at the moment.

Saturday, 14 August 2010

Land Speeder Make Over

So, I started with one of the old Land Speeders that I put together a couple of years ago:

Removed the Heavy Bolter and added a spare Heavy Flamer and Mulitmelta:

Et voila! That gives me three now all ready for testing for Open War.

Thursday, 12 August 2010

Red 2 standing by

So, Thor pointed out to me that I was wrong in my assessment of deep striking Land Speeders. Obviously this makes some of what I said obsolete. Does getting a shot balance out getting cover? I'd say that it does, especially since the main reason you're deep striking is to get closer to the enemy in the first place. Since you can fire you can risk deep striking in Melta range although you're almost certain to be destroyed by return fire.

Down to the key point; when would I use it? On a board with not much cover the tactic definitely comes in handy. Usually, if you start with the Speeders on the board you should be able to advance them and keep them in cover. Also, if I was playing against a gunline army (IG for example) it would be a good way to get Multimeltas where they are needed without risking them to a lot of fire before they get to shoot. Obviously, as with all Deep Striking, you need to be careful with where you drop your Speeders but, as ever it's all about balancing risk/reward.

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Across the Sea

Even though Andy is the wrong side of the Atlantic, he's sent me a link for a tournament at Maelstrom. This got me thinking about what kind of list I'd take. Last time I went to Maelstrom to watch Andy play the tables were absolutely covered in terrain and each one had a huge LOS blocking piece slap bang in the centre. With that in mind I discounted my current list as its long range shooting would be severely neutered. What I would need instead is shorter ranged killing power. This led me back to the squad that I used when I first got back into the game back in November:

10 Grey Hunters, 2 Meltaguns, Power Weapon, Rhino

I hadn't played the game in years and when I had done you had to take Grey Hunters in squads of 10 so I automatically did that again. Now, this squad is 205 points but I think we can probably drop the Power Weapon so we're left with 190. In short range fire fights you get the anti-tank of dual Meltaguns and the protection from small arms fire of the Rhino. Now, I don't know what the missions will be but lets assume they'll be pretty similar to the Open War ones so we'll need lots of troops. Also, let's take a squad with two Plasma Guns for sitting on our home objective and one with dual Flamers as well.

10 Grey Hunters, 2 Meltaguns, Rhino

10 Grey Hunters, 2 Meltaguns, Rhino

10 Grey Hunters, 2 Meltaguns, Rhino

10 Grey Hunters, 2 Meltaguns, Rhino

10 Grey Hunters, 2 Flamers, Rhino

10 Grey Hunters, 2 Plasma Guns, Rhino

So, that's 1140 points. To be honest it's probably too many troops but killing 60 Space Marines isn't going to be easy for anyone. Since we're expecting lots of close quarters action lets back these guys up with a Land Raider Crusader. Who to put in it though? Well, I'm going to go with some Wolf Guard Terminators since the models are awesome. We want these guys to hit hard in combat so let's take a Wolf Priest to give them Preferred Enemy.

Wolf Priest, Terminator Armour

5 Wolf Guard, Terminator Armour, 1 with Wolf Claw, 1 with Power Fist, 1 with Chainfist, 1 with Heavy Flamer

Land Raider Crusader, Multimelta, Extra Armour

Okay, it's not a truly optimal list but it is different from the lists I normally run and that's what I like about it. Realistically I doubt I'll have enough time to paint that many men and if I did they'd have probably changed all of the tables but as a Theoryhammer exercise this has been pretty fun.

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

All wings report in

"Red 5 standing by"

Recently my Land Speeders have been a bit hit and miss, the misses mainly coming when I'm a bit too aggressive with them. Anyway, I've been thinking about deployment of them. Most of the time I start with them on the table but I've also tried keeping them in reserve, especially in Spearhead deployment as it can give some really good side shot opportunities. So, the only thing I haven't tried is Deep Strike. On the down side you arrive on a random turn and can't shoot when you arrive. On the up side you get your 4+ save and can place the Speeder(s) pretty much wherever you like. Since I normally spend at least one turn turbo boosting to get into position, the downsides aren't that great. I don't think I've ever seen this tactic discussed online so it's either not widely used and/or just plain rubbish. Now, I'm not saying that this is going to become a tactical mainstay but I'm going to give it a playtest as it might prove useful in certain situations, for example, blocking charges from an enemy Land Raider.

Monday, 9 August 2010

Race for the Prize


Place one objective marker at the centre of the table. The players then roll a D6. Whoever rolls higher places an objective marker anywhere on the table at least 12" away from the one at the centre and at least 12" away from the board edge. The second player then places a third objective marker in the same way.

Army Selection

Both players pick an army of equal value using the standard FOC


Both players roll a D6 and whoever rolls highest selects either of the long board edges as theirs. The other player then takes the opposite board edge. The player that rolled highest can choose whether to deploy first or second. Both players must deploy their forces within 12" of their board edge.


Any units placed in reserve are rolled for s per the rules on page 94 of the Warhammer 40,000 main rule book.

First Turn

The player that deployed first rolls a D6, on a roll of 2+ they go first. On a roll of a 1 the opposing player has stolen the initiative.

Game Length

The Game lasts 6 turns

Victory Conditions

Each player scores points at the end of a game turn if they control an Objective with a scoring unit and there are no enemy units contesting. Points are as follows:

End of Turn 1 - 1 Point per Objective
End of Turn 2 - 2 Points per Objective
End of Turn 3 - 3 Points per Objective
End of Turn 4 - 4 Points per Objective
End of Turn 5 - 5 Points per Objective
End of Turn 6 - 6 Points per Objective

At the end of the game the player with the most points is the winner.

Designer's notes: I've tried to create a mission where you really have to think about your tactics. Do you try and hunker down on one objective and rack up the points or do you go for the late big points grab? With the points increasing throughout the mission it becomes imperative to keep some of your troops alive in order to try and claim those points so it means you have to be a bit cagey.

Sunday, 8 August 2010

The Name of the Game

So, the final Rules Pack for Open War 14 has been released and it has been confirmed that no Unique Characters will be allowed. Now, from a purely selfish point of view I'm not bothered by this but it's a kick in the teeth to a lot of players. There are some really good armies that are unlocked by some of the newer Characters, such as the ubiquitous Loganwing and the Straken platoon. Plus then there are some really killy options, Ragnar, Lysander, the Swarmlord and Mephiston for example. The reason I don't take any of these guys is because I think that while they are powerful, I feel that they're too pricey in points terms. And there's the rub. For me, creating an army at 1750 points means squeezing every point to be as efficient as possible. I feel that the Characters are balanced and if people want to take them in their army then that should be their choice. In my mind, that just means less Troops. Now, onto my main issue with this ruling. While I'm sure the organisers have their reasons for banning Unique Characters, it is a decision that borders on arrogance. Whoever made this choice thinks that they know better than Games Workshop. Yes, occasionally GW do come up with some crazy rules but in general the rules for 40K are pretty well balanced. The main issues are with the older codices being overpriced and have fewer choices compared to the newer ones (eg Necrons) There certainly aren't any broken Characters and I'd be really annoyed if I'd spent the last year honing a brilliant Logan list only to be told that I couldn't use it but that the organisers would still happily take my entry money. So, the name of the game isn't Warhammer 40,000 but something similar.

Saturday, 7 August 2010

I am not a number!

I've had my e-mail confirmation through for Open War and my entry number is 6. Well, I'm not a number, I'm a free man. Who is number 1?

Friday, 6 August 2010


I`ve been in the US for the last 5 days preparing for my wife`s cousin`s wedding and tomorrow is the big day. The suits are hired, the booze has been ordered and the bride and groom are looking remarkably calm. We`ve been filling the days with little trips to see a few sights but for the most part we`ve been trying not to get under too many people`s feet.

To fill some of the gaps I`ve been browsing through the Tyranid codex and while I`m set on doing an Eldar list next, the `nids have always held something of a fascination for me ever since owning the first edition of Space Hulk, I`m sure many people are the same! The army looks like a lot of fun with some widely varying builds possible but I`m very put off doing another horde-style army after the sheer volume of paining required from my Orks! Still there are painting services out there and in the case of a `nid army I`m not afraid to use them!

Here`s a little list I came up with:

Parasite of Mortrex

Good price, interesting rules and supports the flying portion of my list a lot cheaper than a flying tyrant would!

Two Broods of 2 Hive Guard

Best transport killers the `nids have available and at T6 they will probably stick around a while.

10 man termagant brood and the obligatory Tervigon

What`s not to like, except that combined with the Parasite HQ this could add up to a lot of kill points in a kill point game!!

Two Broods of 10 Genestealers

THE character unit for the Tyranids imho, I gotta have them an one unit is to easy to burn down.

20 Hormagaunts

Killy and cheap, they can provide cover and a sizable combat threat that cannot be ignored.

15 Gargoyles

Fast, cheap and cool looking models, surely a must have. They also provide a screen for:

4 Tyranid Shrikes

Flying Warriors which my HQ can hide in, the unit packs a pretty serious cc punch and should get there thanks to the Gargoyles.

2 Mawlocs

Opinion seems divided on these and Trygons and I`m still in two minds over it but for the points they look a good fit.

The Great Devourer`s schemes may yet come to fruition!

Lurking like a Lictor

There are lots of really good 40K blogs out there (as you can see to the right.) I lurk on them on a daily basis but I still haven't got into the habit of actually commenting on them yet. It's a combination of laziness and still not feeling like I know enough about the game to really contribute. The thing is I do realise that it's a good way to drive blog traffic and even though I set this blog up purely for my own use, it's always nice to know that there are people out there reading it. Yes, just like everybody else, I just want to be loved.

Thursday, 5 August 2010

Beating myself up

Whenever Andy posts a list up on here I always have a look through and try to decide what order I'd try to kill things in. Now, obviously this is based largely on perceived threat as things would be different on the table as things such as cover come into play. So, for example with his Ork lists, it's usually Lootas, Battlewagons then everything else. I figure that it would only be fair if I did the same thing to my own list for Open War. Let's also imagine that I'm playing the same list. So, with all things being equal what would I try and kill first? Well, there's a clear long range threat in the army so for me the key turn 1 targets would be the Razorbacks and the Long Fangs. I'd not necessarily destroy the Razorback, just stopping them from shooting will be enough. So, my Razorbacks and my Rune Priest would shoot at them while the Long Fangs would fire Krak Missiles at their opposite numbers and split fire with the Lascannons into the Razorbacks if needed. Obviously the problem with facing these MSU builds is that there are so many targets you need a lot of shooting to shut it down. Without a good/lucky round of shooting you're getting a lot of fire coming back your way. What would I do if I went second? Hmm, try and stick everything in cover and cross my fingers (ie the same as my plan against any "Leafblower" style IG lists if they get first turn) The list is definitely not invulnerable but you'll either need a lot of shooting to cripple it from range (even though there is lots of it AV11 is far from indestructible) or a big enough close combat threat to weather the storm and rip up the vehicles in assault.

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Talent Borrows, Genius Steals

So, this is far from an original idea but here is my first Cyberwolf model:

It's from the Goblin Wolf Rider Warhammer set and looks suitably wolfy and suitably cybery. Of course the 20 minutes I've just spent putting wolves together should probably have been spent on doing some more paining for Open War...

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

The Fear

So, I'm pretty happy with my list for Open War but there are still a few armies that I'd be worried about facing:

Horde Orks

I mean like a proper 150+ Boyz list. How do you kill that many Orks? Especially if they have a Big Mek with a Kustom Force Field or two. It would be really difficult to beat such a list in the fist scenario as they should easily be able to hold their own two table quarters. However, is there anyone out there who wants to paint that many Orks? Let's hope not.

Somethin' Shooty

A good Tau list or a good Imperial Guard list that could happily outshoot me from across the board. There is a good amount of cover on the boards at Warhammer World but I guess that works both ways - if they can't shoot me, generally I can't shoot them.

Something Different

Since I've only been back in the game for a few months, there is bound to be an army that I've never played against before. There were a lot of Daemons at the last Open War but the one I'd be worried about most would be Dark Eldar. Fragile but quick and killy.

Having said that, I'll probably end up with three games against Space Marines...

Sunday, 1 August 2010

The Motor Pool

So, I actually managed to spend some time painint last night! I've managed to practically finish the base coats on my vehicles:

Now some of them need some touching up but I'd argue quite vehimately that grey, red and black constitutes three colours. Plus they look pretty cohesive so that's all good. Eagle eyed viewers may note that my Open War list has 5 Razorbacks in in and there are only four here. Looks like I need to go shopping sooner rather than later. Oh, and there is also a Rhino that's painted the same but I missed off the photo. Just got the troops to start on now. 10 weeks? Loads of time!


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