Monday, 29 November 2010

There are no Wolves on Fenris

I'll start off by saying that while I will attempt to not make this full of Spoilers to A Thousand Sons I cannot promise that there will be none so if you are that bothered you might not want to read this.
OK then, 'There are no wolves on Fenris 'a phrase uttered by that despicable Sorcerer Magnus but what does it mean? It has certainly caused some debate on the internet community and Mr McNeill if you happen to read this and want to put and end to the debate that would be great but until then I thought I'd share my feelings as a proud Wolf Player.

I have certainly seen some creative interpretations of the phrase the main one being that the wolves are in fact the first human settlers who evolved to survive Long Night into the creatures that our kinsman on Fenris now accept to be wolves however I really don't like this explanation. ITs believed that the canis helix is a part of that but surely that can't be true. The Canis Helix is part of the geneseed of the glorius Primarch Russ so how can they have used something that had been around before the Emperor ever came to power?

Another theory (and a shocking one at that) is that Fenrisian Wolves are actually creatures of the Warp. I personally think this is an attempt by our enemies (probably the Dark Angels) to ruin our good name especially in the light of their heresy.

So whats my take on this? Personally I think that the Fenrisian wolves are a native species to Fenris. When the first colonists arrived on Fenris they saw lupine like animals and named them Wolves. I think that that Evil Scorcerer found a certain irony that such a stoic group as we would use Xenos like this.

Certainly interested in hearing your thoughts on the matter.

Top tournament tips

Before I headed off to open war I asked on both Warseer and Bolter and Chainsword for peoples top tournament tips so I thought I'd share them here.

1. Have fun, a very simple one but probably the most important one. Its hard to maintain a cheery disposition when you are up against an opponent who is a lot better than you BUT try your best.

2. Check and double check that you have everything with you. Leaving a model (as Gav did before Open War) can have disastrous consequences

3. Take Deodorant with you. Nerves, long travelling times and a hot stuffy gaming hall can lead to a sweaty experience that just isn't nice.

4. Make sure you have some cash for the bar. Nothing beats an early morning pint to get the gaming juices flowing.

5. As important as any 'Know your Codex and the rule book' anything for speedy game play.

6. If someone is being awkward (which I still think is a rare event) don't rise to it. Question the judges and live by their rulings. Its a common saying but in the end its a game of toy soldiers it isn't worth the arguments.

These simple tips really made sure I got the best out of my tournament experience and I can't wait for the next one. Shame I couldn't go with the boys yesterday but we will win the Laurels when we attend the Caledonian open I'm sure.

Sunday, 28 November 2010


Home now from a very tiring weekend. We got a bye in the final round so we watched a couple of games for a bit and then, confident that we had won nothing, we headed home. Generally it's been a good weekend. A couple of opponents could have been better and some of the missions didn't seem totally balanced but all in all it's been fun. I need a sit down and a couple of drinks now and then I'll try and do a few posts throughout the week. BlogBooster-The most productive way for mobile blogging. BlogBooster is a multi-service blog editor for iPhone, Android, WebOs and your desktop

Drawing Rings Around The World

A hard fought draw in the second game against a Chaos Space Marine/ Vulkan list. We managed to grab a draw by contesting the Objective with a top of Turn 5 Razorback off-road rush. We were a distant 2nd on Victory Points though. It was a great game against two really nice guys.

Our dice weren't great (2 Twin-Linked Lascannons failed to do anything to a Rhino!) Ah well, two games to go! BlogBooster-The most productive way for mobile blogging. BlogBooster is a multi-service blog editor for iPhone, Android, WebOs and your desktop

Time is on my side

Just played a game against two really good players (one finished second in the singles yesterday) but they were soooooo slooooow. The TO called last turn at the middle of Turn 4 at which point we were set up to win 2-1. They begged us to let them speed play Turn 5 and they beat us 3-0.

To be fair, they outplayed us and deserved to win. I think they'll be up on the top tables at the end. Hopefully with Swiss Pairing we might get an opponent nearer to our level. We're not holding out too much hope as it was random pairings for the first three games yesterday.

Ah well, my dice were a bit better today and I killed Eldrad in combat :-D BlogBooster-The most productive way for mobile blogging. BlogBooster is a multi-service blog editor for iPhone, Android, WebOs and your desktop

Ice ice baby

Despite the Fenris like terrain between Nottingham and Mansfield, we've arrived safely. After yesterday, I'm going to let Andy make all the tactical decisions and roll all of the dice today... BlogBooster-The most productive way for mobile blogging. BlogBooster is a multi-service blog editor for iPhone, Android, WebOs and your desktop

Saturday, 27 November 2010

Spy vs Spy

Well, that went very badly. I had enough shooting to theoretically kill a Trygon a turn. In theory. I did manage to kill three and a Hive Tyrant but still came a distant 2nd in terms of the mission.

So a win, and 3 losses (although technically 4 losses after VPs were taken into account)

Hopefully tomorrow will bring better luck... BlogBooster-The most productive way for mobile blogging. BlogBooster is a multi-service blog editor for iPhone, Android, WebOs and your desktop

Grab the stash

Or not.

Lost out in game 3 - 3-1 to Gary and his Nurgle Daemons. Although I did kill Ku'gath so it's a moral victory. Kind of lol...

Well, played 3, lost 3 - not a great record. BlogBooster-The most productive way for mobile blogging. BlogBooster is a multi-service blog editor for iPhone, Android, WebOs and your desktop

It's all two much

Two Land Raiders this time :-( I played against another top bloke in Stuart but the mission was frankly ridiculous. I made a really stupid mistake at the bottom of turn 5 that cost me a draw as well. Surely I can't face anymore Raiders today!!! BlogBooster-The most productive way for mobile blogging. BlogBooster is a multi-service blog editor for iPhone, Android, WebOs and your desktop

Three is the magic number

So, just the 3 Land Raiders in the first game! James had a beautifully painted Khorne themed Blood Angel army and he used it to devastating effect. I couldn't stop the Raiders in 3 turns and by then they were on top of me. I managed some Battle Points by killing his HQ but only avoided being tabled by my Rune Priest's skill in combat. Ah well, I can't play any more Raiders can I? BlogBooster-The most productive way for mobile blogging. BlogBooster is a multi-service blog editor for iPhone, Android, WebOs and your desktop

It's snow joke

Well despite the weather, we've made it to Mansfield and we're registered. Hopefully having entry number 007 will be a good omen - license to roll dice... BlogBooster-The most productive way for mobile blogging. BlogBooster is a multi-service blog editor for iPhone, Android, WebOs and your desktop

Friday, 26 November 2010

Those who fail to prepare...

Prepare to fail...

My army is all packed and the C&F t-shirt is washed and good to go. However, I've not played a 1750 point game since Open War and I've not really thought about how I'm going to play the 4 unique missions that the Freebootaz Open has. Coupled with the fact I've been really busy at work over the last few weeks (so no chance at all to change my lists to take advantage of the missions), I'm not really holding out much hope. Well, with the excuses out of the way, let's have a bit of a last minute thought about how to play the missions:

Head Hunter

Spearhead Deployment. 5 Battle Points for killing ALL the enemy HQ, 2 for killing ALL the Elite squad leaders, 2 for killing all the Troops squad leaders and 1 for killing all the Fast Attack squad leaders.

Damn, I should have brought 4 Lords on Thunderwolves! Someone asked what happens if you don't have squad leaders and it was answered that you'd get half Battle Points for killing half of the squad. So 3 Grey Hunters are worth a Battle Point but 9 Tactical Marines aren't. Clearly, this is all about wiping out full squads so it should play pretty similar to Annihilation.

Flee the Flood

I'm not even going to pretend that I understand the deployment for this mission but points wise you get 5 for controlling a 12" deep zone from one of the short board edges, 3 for claiming a central hill and 2 for holding your own deployment zone. Oh and only HQ and Fast Attack can start on the board and Fast Attack MUST do so. Everything else must be left in Reserve.

Damn, I definitely should have brought 4 Thunderlords and some Thundercav as Fast Attack! I'm a bit worried about my Long Fangs in this mission since they're not too great at the old walking onto the board thing. It might just be me but a 12" zone and a hill sound reasonable easy to contest at least. And since your reserves have to enter play via your deployment zone, that should be easy enough to keep hold of (dear hubris, you already know the address, I'll see you later)

Race for the Loot

Spearhead Deployment. 5 Loot makers have to be returned to your deployment zone. It take 5 Troops to lift a Loot marker. 1 Point for each of your first 2, 3 for your 3rd and 5 Points for 4+

Can't really moan too much about this mission as it seems a more complicated version of this that I came up with back in May. Clearly the only thing to do here is kill the enemy Troops. I might just leave a couple of Razorbacks in Reserve to come on late and grab the stash.

Retrieve the Spy

Pitched Battle Deployment,2 Objectives. In addition, you secretly nominate an enemy Troops or Elite unit to contain your spy. You then get 3 Point for eliminating the spy's host unit, 3 for getting the spy off your table edge and 2 for each of the Objectives.

Now, if I was playing against me I'd pick the Wolf Scout unit every time. There are only 6 guys with 4+ saves and they'll probably be coming on near my deployment zone anyway. Kill them, run the spy off - game won. Clearly the best thing to do with the scouts is to Infiltrate them then. Switching it around I need to pick a unit that will be heading towards my board edge anyway and is reasonably killable. I'm not really sure what would happen if I picked a 10 man enemy Tactical Squad and then it got combat squaded though. Would I still have to kill all 10? Hmm, best to pick something easier methinks.

So, that's that. Andy, Graham and myself will be representing Team Claws and Fists and I'll be trying to liveblog through the tournament (hopefully in a bit more detail than at Open War but no promises!)

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Avast me' harties, I smell Brie!

With the Freebootaz Open only a few days away it's time to talk lists ... again! I posted a vulkan list a while back here and over the last month I've spent quite a bit of time playing around with it but now I look back at it again I still really like it.

The only thing I'm seriously considering changing is the Sternguard's Drop Pod for a Rhino, the problem with doing this is that the plan would be to combat squad out of the Pod to be able to hit two vehicles and still have flamers for later on. Without a pod I think combat squadding with this load-out will be less optimal so I'd drop 4 combi-weapons for 2 Lascannons so a squad could hang back with the Missile Launcher teams and add to the (limited) long range element of the list.

Actually I quite like this change, the extra Rhino will no doubt come in handy and thwarting a drop pod Alpha-Strike is a bit too easy these days, everyone's seen it. So that's tweak number one.

For my second tweak I realised that I do not have the mainstay of any serious Tournamnet army in this list - the frankly awesome Thunderfire Cannon. I know opinions are strongly divided on this one but so far it hasn't let me down in competitive play so I can't really leave it out. So in order to shoe-horn it in I dropped the Landspeeder Storm and made a few tweaks - badda bing badda boom, it's in.

Now we've got a list I think I'm actually happy with here's how it goes:

Vulkan He'Stan

Assault Terminators
(5) Thunder Hammers and Storm Shields; Land Raider Redeemer w. Extra Armour and a Multi Melta
Sternguard Squad
(10) 3x Combi-Melta, 2x Lascannons; Rhino

Tactical Squad
(10) Meltagun, Missile Launcher, Sgt w. Combi-Melta; Rhino
Tactical Squad
(10) Flamer, Multi Melta, Sgt w. Power Fist; Rhino
(5) 5x Combat Blades

Land Speeder
Heavy Flamer, Multi Melta
Land Speeder
Heavy Flamer, Multi Melta

Thunderfire Cannon

I'm not going to go into tactics until after the tourney but there are four non-standard missions involving "head-hunting", area control, retrieving objectives and recovering a spy. Speaking of which I must remember to bring an additional model to represent my spy!

That's four missions in one day with an hour and fourty five minutes per round. I think that sounds a little tight but I'm a fast player so as long as my opponent isn't sat there 'ummm'ing and 'ahhhh'ing it should be do-able. Still means it's going to be a long day though ... long weekend for that matter as we're playing in a doubles tourney on the Sunday. Good times!

Uncompetetive codexes

Something that we hear a lot of moaning about as wolf players with an apparently cheesy codex.

'My codex is ancient so I haven't got a chance against you'. Its such a silly statement to make, it absolves you and your opponent of any tactical skill that the game requires.

Does it really matter that codex's are perceived to be weak? There are certainly a number of different types of players, we know that, its been analysed time and again but personally I would never think of a player who still plays an army such as Necrons to be one of those serious tournament players who's goal is getting a win and nothing else. So why do we hear these continual debates about codex creep and over powered codecies.

I'll use Necrons as an example. Its certainly an army I have thought about getting. When I first got into 40k and saw them I thought they looked like bad terminator knock offs but once you read the fluff and realise what they are about you understand that they are a very cool army but certainly not an ultra competitive army. I would play them now because I love the idea of having my models get shot to pieces and get back up never once would their competitive nature fuel my decision making and I am sure its like that with the majority of necrons so why the moaning? Why do I have to listen to people moan about my codex all the time?

Should it be down to GW to have more consistency between codicies? Is it that difficult and someone else will have to answer this for me to put every models stats into an equation and come out with a value to distinguish how good he is? From that you get a mean value for troops for one codex and when the next codex comes along they should be comparable to that base figure?

Is that really asking too much? Should we expect a company who's main goal is to make a profit by selling codicies and models to not want to create that next super model in order to sell more?

Its a question I leave open to you. I love the challenge of a new codex but for me the back ground will always be far more important than the statline of a troop.

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Arena of Death - Lelith Hesperax vs Pedro Kantor

So, in this week's Arena of Death we have one of the newest characters against one of Andy's favourite ones. Now, they're both 175 points but as we all know sometimes you get more than just the character for those points. However, in the Arena of Death, all of the scoring Sternguard in the world aren't going to help you. Just in case you're new, the way this works is we pit two characters head to head in combat and we roll some dice. Anyway, onto the show:

Round 1 - Lelith on the charge

With no gun to shoot, Lelith charged straight into combat. Being a League Apart from the monkeigh, she has 9 attacks on the charge(!) Faster than the eye could follow her daggers darted back and forth, scoring 6 hits. 3 of them managed to wound and Pedro's Iron Halo was unable to save him from being slain.

Round 2 - Pedro on the charge

Dorn's Arrow spoke in a staccato bark, hitting Lelith 4 times. 2 shots were good enough to wound but Lelith was quick enough to dodge one of them. With her immense speed, Lelith struck first as Pedro charged in and charged up his Power Fist. Even though she only had 8 attacks she managed to strike with 7. 4 Wounds were caused and even though Pedro's Iron Halo managed to save one, the other three got through and that was enough for Lelith to be victorious.

2-0 to Lelith then. This was never going to go to a second round of combat as Lelith was either going to take out Pedro or he was going to kill her with his Power Fist. Although, having said that she does take away one of his Attacks and she has a 3++ save in combat. Pedro was a little unlucky in only making 1 out of 7 invulnerable save but this is a pretty brutal demonstration of how good Lelith can be in combat. Plus, we're assuming here that she doesn't have any Pain Tokens. She's going to be a lot more killy if she can get Furious Charge as her big problem is her low Strength. Of course, getting two Pain Tokens is easier said than done. As for Pedro he isn't really designed as a combat monster and he's more of a support character - "no, it's okay, I'll stay in the Rhino giving out my +1 Attack bonus"

So, that's this week's Arena of Death. I've got next week's edition planned but if anyone wants to see anyone go head to head let us know...

Lugft von He'stan

I'm planning on taking a Vulkan list to Freebootaz this weekend. I've been having some crises of confidence over the list I posted a while ago as I've been reading the missions and trying to build something which will allign well with all the objectives. I've now decided that this is impossible so I'll probably stick with the original list ... probably.

The only gap in my plan was that I had no suitable painted mopdel to represent the cheese-meister himself ... until now! Gaze upon my latest creation and weep, I give you Lugft von He'stan:

On the subject of cheese a Land Raider that's immune to Melta and has a frikkin' Thunderfire Cannon strapped to it's hull for only 300pts? Yes please I'll take three! Though I like this guy's idea even better!

Twlight List - Wolves & Vampires

Unfortunately due to work I've had very little time to post recently. It also means I've had no time at all to do any painting. This has put a bit of a crimp on my preparations for the Freebootaz tournament at the weekend. So, for the 1750 singles tournament on the Saturday I'm sticking with my Open War list. For the doubles on Sunday, Andy and I have been making a couple of tweaks to our list:

Blood Angels

Librarian, Fear of the Darkness, Shield of Sanguinius

Furioso Dreadnought, Blood Talons, Heavy Flamer, Extra Armour, Drop Pod

5 Assault Marines, Meltagun, Lightning Claw, Razorback, Twin-Linked Assault Cannon
5 Assault Marines, Meltagun, Razorback, Twin-Linked Assault Cannon

Baal Predator, Flamestorm Cannon, Dozer Blade

Space Wolves

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

5 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 Long Fangs, 4 Rocket Launchers

So, the basic idea is for the Predator and the Scouts to support the Dreadnought while the rest of the army supplies the firepower. It's a shame we won't get a chance to playtest it as there are a few things I would have liked to have tried before going to the tournament. Of course with a few days still to go we may yet see some changes. Especially since the event FAQ just got released which confirms that Sanguinary Priests do give FNP and Furious Charge to both halves of the list...

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Red is the new black

Certainly happier with this tester for the Dark Eldar warrior than my previous effort.

Garro: Oath of moment - A review

I brought this at Games Day this year. Meeting James Swallow and having a good chat with him was one of the highlights of a pretty disappointing day but if I am honest I forgot about the CD. I'm just not that big a fan of the idea of audio books. Like many men I do the majority of my reading in the bathroom either sat on the throne or in the bath (too much information?) and an audio book isn't really suitable for it. However as I told Mr. Swallow at Games Day Flight of the Eisenstein was (at that point as I have since read First Heretic) my favourite of the Horus Heresy series.

Garro to me was a character of inner turmoil who was basically a good man trying to deal with a bad situation the best way he can. So I brought the CD and finally decided to listen to it and I have to say I was pleased with it. The story starts on Calth with the Word Bearer betrayal of the Ultramarines. Our hero arrives by Stormbird to find an Ultramarine company on orders of Malacador and inadvertently saves and Imperial Army squad who aids Nathanial in his task. It is my belief and my belief only that this is in preparation of the formation of the Inquisition.

Whats good about it then? It moves at a fast pace and the action is immediate. As I said in my review of First Heretic what I want from the Horus Heresy is to get a piece of information to fill in the middle part. We all know how the heresy began, we all know how it will end. We don't however know the small details. Garro certainly gives us this. The main criticism I have of the story is that it isn't very long. Just about an hour is a disapointment, it seems as the story ends its really just beginning and for a cost of £8.50 (download) that seems quite costly.

I don't want to tell you the story but I would suggest that if like me you have always been a little 'meh' about buying audio books then this might be the story to change your mind.

Whats on my painting table

The first company vets 40k painting competition is on a single Dark Eldar Kabalite warrior. The club has given out one each but I wanted to try out a few different styles so I invested in a box of them.
Here's my first go and I'm not really that happy with it, I think the black and then the red/ orange look too separate and it doesn't really provide a good flow for the model.
I think my next attempt is going to be an all red affair and then maybe a yellow one. I think my early forays as a Black Templar painter has put me off black armour full stop. I do however think I've done a decent job on this black armour though. I took an idea I saw on from the warp and used as dark a grey I could get in this case Vallejo Black Grey (Model Colour) and then liberal amounts of Badab Black wash. It does show a little bit of variation between shadows.

Here's the other project on my table my High elves.
I've got to say I am very happy with them. Of course it isn't Eavy Metal standard or even close but I think its the best painting I have done and its certainly the most succesful white I have painted. How I've done it is just GW paints I have made and incredibly pale grey mix around 1:100 Black:White. I've sprayed them white and then coated them in this and then finally I have dry brushed the area with Vallejo White (which actually paints white). On taking this picture I wasn't happy with the wood on the bows having had a go with white and then a yellow wash so instead I went for a dark wood using repeated washes of Devlan Mud as you can see in this particularly blurry pic here.

Fantasy models really do seem to take a life time to paint and I have no idea when I will finally be ready to attempt a game. I think I will have to break from habit get them built and have a few goes before worrying about playing.

Next big project is the first company vets Diorama competition which is hopefully going to feature a true scale Adeptus Custodes.

Monday, 22 November 2010

A Dark Alliance....

Hello Interwebz, having attempted to start my own Blog (again) I quickly realised that I don't have enough time to write decent articles about the hobby to keep my (4) followers happy on a daily basis. This left me with a bit of a problem...I enjoy blogging and I really enjoy the thought of people actually reading what I write, but I wasn't writing enough to keep my infant blog near the top of the lists.

So after a quick chat with Gav on Thursday down at the club I agreed to shift my hobby articles over here to add more content and ergo have more people read my inane posts. My blog will still exist, but will not feature hobby articles, it will just be a place for me to rant about the world in general.

My posts here will focus on the armies I'm currently working on, and playing with, with the aim to make us all better gamers. The most important thing is though is that this does not make me one of Gavs minions in anyway...

A quick introduction of myself is probably in order, so here goes; I grew up and live in Nottinghamshire and I've been playing Games Workshop games for the last 14 or so years. I helped set up the 1st Company Veterans when it first started (as the Warhammer World Veterans) and there were about 5 or 6 of us hard core Vets. I took a step back from the club and gaming in general when I went to University, and then into the Military but still did the odd bit of painting (on the winter).

That being said I'm now back into gaming will full force. Its probably the thing I like most about the hobby, especially when it comes to tournaments. So, what can you expect to see from me? Short term will be my Ork reports as part of the Club's mini tournament thats currently on going, and my build up to the 40k Doubles Tournament in Feb so expect some Word Bearers and Daemons. If you're lucky you may get some wider hobby and tactical articles from me as well but I'm not promising anything...


I rolled: 6 (4/2)*

*at the end of all my posts I roll two D6 just out of boredom/randomness...

The grass is always more killy on the other side of the fence!

I'm a bit of a gaming magpie, I see something shiney and new and I get a bit over-excited but I pretty much always come back to Marines as my preferred army. This time my shiney new obsession is Tyranids. I've committed to finishing painting my Orks before I properly get stuck into them but that doesn't stop me from thinking about builds and poring over options in the black-tar heroine that is Army Builder. My thinking on the subject has gone from a fast, null-deployment style list with a flying Tyrant, Shrikes and Gargoyles, deep-striking Trygons and Raveners and Outflanking Genestealers to a more T6 spam list which currently looks as follows:

Hive Tyrant
Scything Talons, Lash Whip & Bonesword, Paroxysm and Leech Essence
Tyrant Guard

Hive Guard
Hive Guard

Termagant Brood
Termagant Brood
Cluster Spines, Adrenal Glands, Toxin Sacs, Catalyst
Cluster Spines, Adrenal Glands, Toxin Sacs, Catalyst

Heavy Support

This all adds up to 1630pts so I'm 120pts shy of the 1750 so my first question is what would be good to spend the 120 on? More 'stealers, upgrades for units or something else not currently in the list? I'm tempted to give the Tyrant the Hive Commander ability to give me a good chance of getting the 'stealers on turn 2 to support the Mawloc.

The second question is does the list look viable, does anything look like an obvious change is needed? Before you answer that I should probably explain my thinking on the List. The core of the army centres around the Monstrous Creatures: the Tyrant and his Guard, the Trygon and the two Tervigons, these guys will advance in a block, possibly screened by the Termagants - not from a cover save perspective, more to block charges though they will give cover to the Hive Guard.

Speaking of the Hive Guard, they add additional T6 targets to the list and asside from their obvious tank-killing utility they are mostly in the list to confuse target priority. The Tyrant, his guard and the Trygon are the main threats, they are given Feel No Pain by the Tervigons and should stand up to a fair amount of punishment so I'd hope they will live long enough to get something done. Asside from supporting the main block the Tervigons pump out babies and look to score some objectives if they are still alive on turn 5.

The Mawloc burrows on turn 1 for a 2nd turn deep strike, I've got a new perspective on the Mawloc, particularly in a list full of T6. With other bigger targets he's more of a distraction than a threat but he's going to be in your lines on turn 2 after a S6 AP2 pie-plate so hopefully some of the fire is going to go his way. Also his hit and run ability means he will most likely be able to re-burrow in his next turn (if he survives) even if he gets assaulted.

Deathleaper is in the list beacuse I like him and I like his rules, he can also guide the Mawloc's deep strike which is handy but not key to my strategy. I could probably be persuaded to drop him but for the moment he's my guilty pleasure. The 'stealers probably are going to be outflanking hopefully to support the Mawloc or Deathleaper but certainly to try to take out something.

Anyway, that's it. Looking forward to your thoughts.

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Codex: Squat Stronghold (or, ‘Going Ballistic’)

Hello again, and welcome to a completely biased review of Codex: Squat Stronghold, as recently developed by... me! The Codex is an attempt to bring the Squats back to the 40k universe in a playable and practical way, as opposed to some of the rather clunky re-hashes of the old second-edition list.

So where did I start? Well, I began last December with the latest incarnation of the Imperial Guard codex. This seemed to me the obvious army to use as a straight ‘counts-as’ list. From there, I started tinkering. I wanted to give the Squat army their own unique feel and character, so I considered what were the iconic units from their 40k and Epic history. Being old enough to remember the original Rogue Trader as a playable game, I was at an immediate advantage! The units that jumped out to me were the Warlord and Ancestor Lord, their Hearthguard entourage, Thunderer and Warrior infantry units, and of course war-bikes and trikes. But what really excited me was the chance to get some big vehicles on the table! The Epic Squats had some great war-machines; Termite transports, Overlord airships and my favourite, the Land Trains. Obviously these would need to be scaled down a bit from Epic (or should that be up?!), but the solid core of a viable army was taking shape.

In terms of fluff, the Squats are an offshoot of humanity; colonies of explorers, with access to all manner of high-tech mining gear, isolated from Terra for millennia by warp-storms. During that time, the high gravity and poor conditions shaped the Squats physically, mentally and culturally. However, despite the isolation, worse was to come for the diminutive race – the Tyranids! It is widely known that the bugs have been the scapegoat used to explain away the disappearance of the entire race, but I find it hard to believe that a few insects can eradicate one of the most hardy of all the races in 40K. Personally, I blame the Imperium for not protecting their erstwhile genetic siblings!

So, the theme of the army, I originally thought, should be closer to that of the fantasy dwarfs; that is a strong close-combat army with some good heavy support. However, after some preliminary playtesting (both on-the-table and on paper) the assault-based army fast became unfeasible – the stat-line of the basic Squat that I had settled on (modified IG Veterans) had Initiative 2, which meant that even with the Furious Charge special rule, the Squats were striking last. Couple this with a slow run rate (D3”), and you have an army begging to be charged and wiped out before they could even raise a hammer in retaliation!

So, the second iteration of the army more closely followed the IG doctrine of ‘Dig In Deep and Shoot’. I didn’t actually change the Codex at all, rather I re-analysed my unit selections to suit a more ballistic approach. In essence, my army selection is now a core of lasgun-armed Warriors, plus a multitude of heavy support – a Skylord airship with plasma cannons, a Land Train engine and carriage, plus some heavy- and special-weapons infantry teams.

As for stats, I decided early on that they should be based on a modified human, so I chose the IG Veteran as a template. In general, I decided their character should be tough and unflappable. Therefore I swapped the WS 4 for BS4, as I think Squats should be good in assault, though tempered by the fact they are small and thus at a slight disadvantage, reflected in dropping their initiative to 2. I increased their leadership and toughness too, and so raised the cost up to 8pts each for a basic warrior.

So what units actually make up the codex? Below is a brief description of each, along with my ideas on what they might achieve in a full army:


The HQ options are largely based around the IG Company Command squad; I added in Straken as the Warlord, but stripped off his ‘Man of Adamantium’ power and strength 6 to save precious points. Accompanying the Warlord are four Hearthguard, which gives the army a much-needed assault unit as well as protecting the commander and his useful ability to give orders.

In addition to the Warlord, the other must-have HQ choice is the Ancestor Lord. Apart from anything, he is a wonderful piece of fluff and a great link back to the Squats’ old Rogue Trader and second edition history. In this list, the Ancestor Lord is based on the Primeris Psyker, though with a couple of changes to his stat-line.


The IG codex includes a couple of free choices, which are very handy in making some of the lighter infantry units work effectively. Of interest to the Squats fluff-wise is the Techpriest, who of course became the Engineer Guildmaster. At the moment this character is an extra, though I could be tempted to make him a true HQ choice instead.

The other free choice is the Ministerum Priest; this character grants a re-roll to hit on the first turn of a close assault. This massively boosts the Squats’ ability to counter opposition infantry, and compliments the ranged units perfectly.


I struggle with Elites. I tend to pick armies based largely on Troops choices, backed up with as many heavy weapons as I can afford. Therefore, I often overlook the Elites slots, and so proved tricky for me to design in this new codex. To be honest, I’m still not happy with what I have come up with. The units I decided on are Guild Engineers with the Repair ability (based on Servitors), deep-striking Stern-Hammers (Storm Troopers) and Long-Beards (veteran special-weapon infantry). However, in the games played so far, none of these units have even been selected, so I’d welcome opinion on this slot in particular.


This is the meat-and-potatoes slot of this army. I want to field large numbers of Squats, and the platoon structure allows an IG player to have around 360 infantry if he chooses. This should suffice for me!

Each platoon is lead by a Clan-Lord and four of his entourage. This unit is almost identical to the IG platoon command unit. As for the troops themselves, the IG regular infantry, special-weapons and heavy-weapons units are retained (renamed Warriors, Dragons and Thunderers respectively). In addition, I have created an all-new Troops unit called Berserkers. These are Warriors with close-assault weapons, and to give them some bite, I’ve given them Furious Charge. Combined with the rerolls to hit granted by an attached Forgemaster (aka Ministerum Priest), this is quite a strong, though fragile unit. If they get the charge, they will take out almost anything. If they get charged, however, they are a pushover. Unpredictable and fun to play!


There was only one choice for transport, and that was the Termite. We’ve been through a fair few versions of this vehicle, but I’m finally happy. The Termite starts in reserve, and deep-strikes (from below) as per the standard rules. When it surfaces, the resultant cave-in causes a strength 6, AP6 large template attack on anything unfortunate to be caught! Once the vehicle is on the table, it is free to move like a normal tank.

Fast Attack

In the Squat army, the fast attack slots are made for bikes and trikes! In addition, I’ve come up with another couple of ‘character’ units – the Iron Eagle Gyrocopter and Iron Claw Gyrocopter. The former is based on the old Epic flyer and uses the Valkyrie rules, whilst the latter is intended as a mobile one-man flying gun-platform. I’ve used the rules for the Armoured Sentinel, but swapped the ‘Walker’ type for ‘Skimmer’. The model I have in mind is to be based on the Dwarf gyrocopter, but with a roll-cage and big fan-blades for lift and drive.

Heavy Support

Now we come to the main event! Heavy weapons and big war-machines are what the Squats are all about. In particular, I had to get an airship and a Land Train in there, to really give the army a strong focal point.

The Land Train and carriages are basically squadrons of Leman Russ tanks, with all the weapons choices of those tanks. In addition, I’ve added a Berserker carriage, which gives the Squats an Assault vehicle. The other ‘feature’ unit is the Skylord, which is the Epic Overlord’s smaller, but faster, little brother. This vehicle is based on the Valkyrie, and is armed with twin-linked plasma cannons – perfect for taking on heavily-armoured infantry.

Also in the Heavy Support slot I’ve added three other units – Gun-Tower, Stronghold and Eagle's Eye Observation Balloon. The former two add nicely to the Squat fluff – the race is known for their stoicism and steadfastness, and nothing symbolises this better than a great big Stronghold (or even a gun emplacement, if you’re a little short on points). I like these units as they really evoke the sense that the Squats are a defensive army, especially after being supposedly written out of continuity by the predations of the Tyranids!

The last Heavy Support choice is the Observation Balloon. As a largely ranged army with BS 3, I decided to give the army a Tau-esque spotter vehicle which would allow ordnance and barrages to be directed with greater accuracy.


Finally, no Squat list would be complete without some mega-machines, and the Super-Heavies are a perfect reflection of this. In this section are the Colossus, Goliath Mega Cannon, Thunderfire Cannon, Overlord Airship, Mole, Hellbore, Cyclops and Leviathan. These rules for these vehicles are as-yet unwritten, however I’m looking forward to getting stuck into them once I’ve played a few more games with the regular army!

So, the codex can be found here:

Please take some time to have a look through; even have a go at knocking up a list of your own and share your ideas!


Friday, 19 November 2010

All My Mistakes Were Made For You

I said in the comments here that GW had only made one big mistake since I came back to the game, namely the partial nerfing of the Tyranid Codex via the FAQ. Of course GW did make one mistake before that - the Pyrovore. 45 points gets you a Heavy Flamer and a Power Weapon on a A1 W2 S4 T4 model with a 4+ save. Now, I know that it's wrong to compare units in a vacuum but just for a price comparison I can get a Wolf Guard Terminator with a Heavy Flamer and a Power Weapon for 38 points. Now, nobody takes the WGT because there are better Heavy Weapon options in that squad (Cyclone Missile Launcher!!) and nobody takes the Pyrovore because there are much better choices in the Elites section of the Tyranid Codex.

So, how do we make the Pyrovore more appealing?

Before I go into that, let's examine whether the Pyrovore fills a hole in the Tyranid Codex. Normally, Flamers are seen as an anti-horde weapon but the Tyranids are already good against basic infantry. However, as Burna Boyz have taught us lots of Flamers can start hurting more elite infantry. Back that up with a Power Weapon charge and most units in the game are going to be slightly concerned. So, the ability to take 3 Pyrovores in one Elite slot makes a potentially scary unit.

All we need to do now is to make that potentially scary unit into an actually scary unit. So, three 'vores in a Spore (all future posts will now be in iambic pentameter) can cause a lot of wounds. However, after they get out they are swinging in the wind and will probably be taken out with 3 Krak Missiles. How about we make it T5? That means that your opponent has a proper choice now when it comes to shooting - shoot the Pyrovores before they charge or fire your Kraks at some of the other T4 choices. He also needs A2 so that he is a proper threat in combat. That's 9 Power Weapon attacks on the charge for a full unit of three.

There should also be a change in the Volatile rule. This says that if the Pyrovore is killed via Instant Death then all models within D6" take a S3 AP- on a 4+. This is supposed to represent the chemicals inside the 'vore bursting forth is the creature explodes. I'd alter this to every model in base to base takes a S5 AP4 hit if the Pyrovore is killed in combat. I feel this fits the fluff better as it makes it more like the Aliens in Alien (everyone loves acid blood) plus since you're getting hit by the chemicals in the Pyrovore it makes it different to the Acid Blood Biomorph.

175 points will get you three Pyrovores in a Mycetic Spore which, with the above tweaks, I think could hold its own against a Tactical Squad which comes in at a similar price. What does everyone think? Have I done the old GW trick of taking a unit that was rubbish in the last codex overpower in the next in order to sell models?

Isn't it about time that you started a new army?

On Thursday I entered the shop at Warhammer world to see a mate working on yet ANOTHER new army. I should start by giving you a little background on him, I have known him for probably 7-8 months and when I first me him he had a Dark Angels successor chapter and an Eldar Army both were well painted although not completed. The first chat I had with him was about him starting a Raven Guard army which he did for a few weeks and then it was vampire counts which have now been replaced with a Lizrdmen army and then he sold his Eldar army to fund a Red Scorpions army which is only going to go forward I am sure until the rumours of the new Grey Knight come to fruition and then the Red Scorpions will be yet another Army on the scrap heap.
He is very surprised that in a year I have had one army in 40k and I have just attempted to start a square based High Elf army which hasn't progressed far really (although I have promised our fearless leader that there will be some pics of them up soon) . So what's my point?

I guess its about people who jump from one army to another without ever completing one or really getting to grips with it. There is certainly a sense of some some players looking down at Codex jumpers especially those who go for what's shiny and new and sometimes considered uber (pesky lack of umlauts). The way people talk about these sort of gamers reminds me of the kids that in 1999 were Man Utd fans, in 2004 were Arsenal fans, after Istanbul they had Gerrard on their backs and after that it was a strong love for The Special One. Is it really like that though?

When people switch between football teams as the term Glory supporters suggests, they are doing it for the glory, however I know from personal experience and I am sure you do too that it has taken at least 8 months to get a competitive grasp of the army. Yeah back in my early 40k experiences I could fluke a decent result especially against one of the older Codecies but against a decent player I was still getting destroyed. You also never get that complete army. I don't care what anyone says I know that it is more enjoyable playing a fully painted army than something haphazard, its even worse playing a player that 2 months after taking up the army is still using random miniatures as proxies, the worst example of this was the only time I attempted to play in the derby store and a bloke put 3 500ml bottles of coke down to represent drop pods.

So I've waffled for a bit I should probably come to a point and its going to be a bit of a Chirs Crocker moment,

I think we should all leave Codex Jumpers alone. I have been accused of going for the new shiny codex as a Wolf player even 8 months later and its frankly ridiculous, those people that do jump codecies regularly never really make great players so in my opinion embrace these opponents and learn about their new codex as the same time they do so your mistakes are balanced out by theirs.

86- points, not a bad haul really.

So last night I played Dave's vanilla marines in a game that would be described as fairly one sided. Yet again I failed to think about the mission which cost me a point but all in all I was pleased with my gaming but not so much with my conduct.

I owe Dave an apology in so much as I was a bit of a prat (or a stronger word really) I argued over a silly line of sight issue (which made me think about investing in a laser pen, anyone use them?) when there was no need really.

Other than that as said my main errors lay in not concentrating on the mission enough although the difference in kill points made up for it.

Something I have been concentrating on in recent weeks is targeting the things that can do the most damage. Its something Dave did not do yesterday and something I didn't do until I started to play much better players than myself in preparation for Open War. As was explained to me by one member of our club, '40K is a game of attrition, you look for the deadliest thing that you are in range of and you go for it until its gone and move on from there'. Its one of those things that comes with practice and experience but certainly makes the difference. In the past like Dave I was guilty of using a more scatter gun apprach going for a couple of marines here or there and I think its identifying things like this that really makes the difference in your gaming.

Hopefully Dave will share a proper battle report (which I am useless at, they are just a few of my pondering's on last night.

It looks like a top 5 finish is on the cards (maybe) I currently lie in second although a lot of people still have at least 1 game to finish.

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Weapon of Choice

I've got two games left in the club's 1000 point challenge. As we've seen, I've used the Orks in the first three games and I've really enjoyed it. However, I'm starting to get an itch to break out the Space Wolves again. I really need to get some games in with them before the tournament at the end of the month and I'm really aware that this is a Space Wolf blog so I should really be using them a bit more. I did write a 1000 point list for the Space Wolves but I'm starting to lean towards an iteration of the list that Gav used against me a couple of weeks ago. So, here goes:

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

Wolf Guard, Combi-Melta, Power Fist
Wolf Guard, Combi-Melta, Power Fist
Wolf Guard, Terminator Armour, Combi-Melta
Wolf Guard, Terminator Armour, Combi-Melta
Wolf Guard, Terminator Armour, Combi-Melta
Wolf Guard, Terminator Armour, Combi-Melta
Drop Pod

8 Grey Hunters, Meltagun, Mark of the Wulfen, Wolf Standard, Rhino

9 Grey Hunters, Meltagun, Mark of the Wulfen, Wolf Standard, Rhino

5 Long Fangs, 4 Rocket Launchers

5 Long Fangs, 4 Rocket Launchers

The Terminators go in the Drop Pod while the Power Armour guys go in the Rhinos. It's designed to play very similarly to Gav's list with the Drop Pod taking out any AV14 threats on Turn 1. With Terminator Armour the enemy then has to allocate quite a bit of firepower to get rid of them.

I'm really torn at the minute. I have enjoyed playing something different with the Orks but I am pretty excited by this list after seeing something similar at close range. Choices, choices...

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Arena of Death - Logan Grimnar vs Marneus Calgar

This is a new feature on C&F where we pit two similarly priced characters against each other in the

Arena of Death

(to be read in booming voice)

Now, rather than using boring Mathammer to decide who should win, we're going to roll some dice. Obviously this means that a few lucky dice rolls could easily tip it in favour of one of the combatants. Also, it's a bit unrealistic since the characters will be alone and have all of their Wounds as they enter combat. Anyway, with that out of the way, our first fight is between 275 point Logan Grimnar and 265 point Marneus Calgar - the clash of the Chaptar Masters. These guys look pretty evenly matched, WS6, A5 (MC for having two Power Fists) S4 T4, 2+ 4++ save, although Calgar has an extra wound. So, without further ado...

Round 1 - Logan on the charge

With the scent of blood in his nostrils, The High King declared Calgar his Preffered Enemy. He fired off two shots from his Storm Bolter, hitting twice. One shot failed to wound while the one that did deflected off the Armour of Antilochus. Logan gripped the Axe Morkai in both hands meaning that e struck at Initiative 1. Seeing this, Marneus drew his Power Sword. However, he only struck once and, despite his Titanic Might, he failed to wound. Logan stuck six times and caused six wounds. However, 3 were stopped by Calgar's Iron Halo. As the battle continued, Calgar switched to his Power Fists and managed to cause a wound on Grimnar. In return, he hit three times and then a fourth due to Preferred Enemy. He cause two wounds but both were saved. Then came the crucial stage of the fight. Calgar missed with all five attacks while Logan hit with three. e only caused one wound but it was enough to end the combat.

Round 2 - Marneus on the charge

Again, Logan claimed Preferred Enemy as Calgar fired the Gauntlets of Ultramar. He hit once but even with his Titanic Might causing a wound, Grimnar's Wolf Belt repelled the shot. With his Counter Attack proving successful, Logan decided to use his weapon single handedly so that he would strike before Marneus. He managed three hits and then another due his Preferred Enemy. However, he only managed 2 wounds despite striking at Strength 5. Both of them were saved by Calgar's Iron Halo. He struck back with his Power Fists and hit 5 times. At first glance it seemed he only caused 4 wounds but with his re-roll he cause a fifth. Logan failed 3 saves and so that was the end of the fight.

So, it finished 1-1. However, clearly both of these characters are taken for more than their combat prowess. Logan lets you take Wolf Guard as Troops and Calgar lets your entire army decide whether they want to pass or fail any Morale checks. Against more regular opponents these guys are going to be golden and don't forget that they'd both probably have squads to support them. Maybe we should have had Logan + Wolf Guard vs Calgar + Honor Guard in the Arena of Death. Plus, realistically, no-one is going to let either of these guys hit their lines with all of their wounds intact - they're combat monsters so shoot them first! However, in a vacuum, they're pretty even although I would say that Calgar's extra Wound would probably be the deciding factor since they're both Eternal Warrior.

A Hard Rains A-Gonna Fall

In case you haven't noticed there's a Storm coming. Now, I wasn't going to mention the Stromraven since we're not a rumour site but since Mick mentioned it, I might as well ignore my personal moratorium. Now, I'm a bit bored of the whole 'is it ugly?' debate. Instead, I'd rather talk about how to use it. As I said over on the Space Wolf Blog, I'm pretty sure it will be retconned so that every Chapter can take it. GW aren't stupid, the more £40 boxes they can sell, the happier the shareholders will be.

So, onto a list. It's been a while since we've had a 1500 point list so let's look at that total. The plan with this list is to have two "deathstar units" In my opinion one is too easy to take down so we need to try and create some target saturation.

Wolf Priest

10 Grey Hunters, Flamer, Meltagun, Mark of the Wulfen, Wolf Standard

Wolf Guard, Power Fist

Stormraven, Extra Armour, Twin-Linked Multi Melta, Twin-Linked Lascannon


This is my deathstar and the plan is to take two of these. Now, this is a unit that is going to hit really hard once it gets into combat, especially with the re-rolls from the Wolf Priest. The only problem is that it's 633 points. Hmm, could I use an Airfix model of a Mosquito instead of the Stormraven and claim that they are 633 Squadron? Anyway, that's 1266 points spent. I think that we probaly need a unit to sit on a home Obejective so let's go with a Lascannon Razorback. This also helps with de-meching units for our deathstars to attack.

5 Grey Hunters, Razorback, Twin-Linked Lascannon

Wolf Guard

That only leaves us with 66 points to spend so let's go with a Land Speeder with a Multimelta and stick Melta Bombs on one of the Wolf Priests.

So, the tactic for this is pretty straightforward. The 'ravens speed forward turn one and then try to de-mech the enemy from turn two onwards. The Razorback sits at the back shooting. Obviously, the bit problem here is having your two heavy hitting units inside two AV12 vehicles. Missile Launchers are going to have an absolute field day shooting you down and, since you're on a flying stand, it's going to be very hard to gain a cover save (this is why you need to go flat out in Turn 1) It leaves me thinking, would you be better off dropping the Wolf Guard and taking Land Raiders instead?

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

The baby seal talks...

So having been coerced by the forces of evil, the "baby seal" is going to try his hand at contributing. Well if you can't beat 'em, join 'em!

I'm very much the "new guy" to the game and I'm hoping that writing about it will help me understand where I'm going wrong and how I can improve. So to kick off my first post I'm going to start by looking at my game for tomorrow in our club's 1000pt competition. First of all I'm sticking with the list from last week (as advised by Gav), which is shown below.

Space Marine Captain 100pts
Power Sword +15pts
Total: 115pts

Tactical Squad 170pts
Multi Melta +0pts
Flamer +0pts
Total: 170pts

Scout Squad 75pts
Sniper Rifles +0pts
Total: 75pts

Devastator Squad 90pts
Missile x2 +30pts
Lascannon x2 +70pts
Total: 190pts

Terminator Squad 200pts
Total: 200pts

Vindicator 115pts
Total: 115pts

Landspeeder 50pts
Multi Melta +10pts
Typhoon +40pts
Total: 100pts

Rhino 35pts

I'll be deploying everything except the Terminators, which will deep strike. The Vindicator last week didn't even get a chance to move before being taken out, so I'll be looking to protect it by shielding it with the Rhino. The Landspeeder took far too long to join the battle last week in reserve and so will start on the board, I'm hoping this will mean that come turn one my opponent's focus shouldn't be solely on the Vindicator. I'll split the tactical squad, deploying 4 men and the Multi Melta in cover with the Devastator squad and the other 5 will go in the Rhino with the Captain.

The Vindicator only has a relatively short range, and I really want to get the Captain into close combat, so I'll be advancing the Rhino, Vinny and Landspeeder forward together while the rest provide support fire. On anti-infantry duty will be the scouts, the combat squad in the Rhino and the Terminators when they arrive with Vinny filling in if necessary. I must remember that the priority in most games will be destroying troops, the less troops on the board means the more chance of me winning! The Devestator Squad and Landspeeder will focus on anti-armour.

On the first turn I want to go for an aggressive start focusing my attacks on troop choices mainly, hopefully doing enough damage to put my opponent on the back foot. If I'm not going first then I will hold back and attempt to either keep units out of range or at least in cover from the biggest threats. I'm hoping that this will draw my opponent out so that I can spring forward in my turn.

Well there you have it, my first blog post and while it's not exactly a masterpeice, I think it's been of help to me. It's got me thinking about my choices and tactics, their weaknesses and strengths. I'll let you know how I get on and we'll see if writing the blog has made a difference!

More Thunderwolves madness

So as you have seen in Andy's blog our fearless leader has got a bit strict with us this week and has set assignments.

It falls to me to continue to preach about Thunderwolves this time in a more tactical sense.

I have to say its been like cutting off a leg writing lists that don't contain a Squad of Thunderwolves for the club challenge. I use them as I believe they were intended to be. I ride them up to whats nastiest in my enemies army and I take chunks out of it.

The big issue with Thunderwolves (beside their lack of models which I have discussed here) is their expense. You can't get around the fact that they are expensive points wise. 50 base + what you need to make sure they are unique. Are there other things that can do the job while not quite as well but for a lot less points? Maybe, Sky claws and bikers both fit the bill but there is nothing like the fear that Thunderwolves cause in your opponents its the moment of 'No one really takes these, what do they do again? How many attacks do they have?'.

First off I take a Wolf Lord with my Wolves although I do wish you could take either of the Priests on a Thunderwolf although that would be overpowered I believe.

I used to take my Thunderlord quite minimalistic, Storm Shield and a wolf claw but no more than that.

That was until I came up against a Tau Army, because they are toughness 5 there aren't a lot of things that will instant kill a thunderwolf however the one army that has a lot of strength ten hits is a Tau army. So easy solution, add saga of the bear. Suddenly my Lord has eternal warrior and he isn't worrying about those nasty high strength hits. I also decided to add a Thunder hammer, 6 Strength ten hits on the charge. Sounds good to me. The storm shield remained so I finally added 2 fenrisian wolves for ablative wounds. That's a hefty points total but also a very very scary character. 4 wounds + 2 fenrisian wolves that I take off if we have any heavy shooting before I get him into combat and 6 strength ten attacks on the charge (or of course the counter charge) and that oh so important leadership 10.

So where with my other Thunderwolves? I always take them in a squad of 5 including the lord so that leaves me with 4 that I have to make unique. 1 is just a naked wolf, even a wolf with no upgrades can still cause issues. The second has meltabombs for 5 points, not often that I use them but its a cheap upgrade for wound allocation. Another has a storm shield. Always a nice idea to shove in an extra 3 up invulnerable save. So that leaves me with one and the clear addition is a power weapon of some sort but what? I already have one member of the unit attacking at I 1 and he is made purely to take anything thrown at him and dish it out so I want to make sure my remaining wolf is striking at initiative. That leaves me with three options, a power sword, a wolf claw or a frost blade. Now these have been mathammered to death so I am not going to do that, instead I will just share my feelings.

The power sword is of course cheapest. It also gives you +1 attack for having 2 close combat weapons but it gives no other advantages.
The Frostblade also gives the extra attack for two close combat weapons and also plus one to your strength which means MEQ's are dying on 2's but of course you have to hit your opponents first.
The final option is a wolf claw. Rerolls on your to hits or to wounds sounds good but no additional attack for two close combat weapons.

Personally I go with the wolf claw.
1. Because I love the look of Lightening claws.
2. Because I like the knowledge of that I have the reroll (if only you could put wolf standards on thunderwolves)

However that is purely down to personal opinion.
Happy hunting

Monday, 15 November 2010

Wot waz da plan?

So, in my fourth game with Orks, I managed to register my first win. Despite that, I still made a few mistakes and I could have made the game a bit easier on myself. Having said that, I did some things very well this week. So, lets have a look at what went right and what nearly went wrong.


These guys did a lot better this week. I think that it helped that Steve passed me the first turn which meant that as long as he didn't steal the initiative they'd make it into combat on turn one. As it was they killed both Attack Bikes and a Missile Launcher armed Combat Squad. I was really worried about the Bikes as they could have killed my Nobs pretty easily. The Deffkoptas may have dies on Steve's first turn but by then, they had already done their job.

Aggression/Lack of Aggression

The Orks are definitely an army that rewards an aggressive playstyle. However, last week I was too aggressive. This week I was possibly not quite aggressive enough. Hiding the Nob Bikers behind the Battlewagon for the first turn worked really well and saved them from a turn of shooting. However, at the top of Turn 3, I should have pushed the Battlewagon forward and either Rammed the Dreadnought or the Razorback. I would have had a really good chance to take out the Razorback with D6 S10 hits and that would have removed the mobility of Steve's scoring units. Yes, I was a bit unlucky to lose it to a Krak Missile but the Deff Rolla would have done more damage on Turn 3 than trying to shoot to Combat Squad in the ruins. I was also pretty aggressive with the Warboss, detaching him from his squad. I think this was the right thing to do. However, he should have Turbo-Boosted the turn he left rather than messing around firing. He would have then been more survivable and it would have definitely put him in range for shooting and then charging the next turn. In the same turn that the Warboss left his squad, the rest of them should have headed for the centre of the board to support the Shoota Boyz. Then they would have been able to jump on the Tactical Marines after they had won that combat and they would still have been in range to grab an Objective. Hiding and saying alive? I guess that's how they became Nobz.

Green Dice

Yes, I think that the only reason that I won was because I used Andy's dice!

Looking across the board, I was a bit surprised that Steve passed me the first turn. After that, I was even more surprised that he left his Attack Bikes out in the open. We talked about that specifically after the game and we agreed that he should have hidden them behind his Rhino or Razorback. With their ability to Turbo-Boost they have still have a good range even if they're coming from a hidden position. I was very impressed with the way he used his Assault Squad. They backed off and backed off for a couple of turns and then they attacked my Boyz in such a way that not all of my Boyz could get into combat. While at times he was unlucky with some of his dice rolls (his Assualt Marines must have tripped up when they went into combat) but very lucky at other times (I think he only failed about two 3+ saves all game) The biggest surprise was in his last turn though. He could have charged his Tactical Marines in to help out his Assault Sergeant and he would probably have won that combat. He would have then claimed that Objective and it would have been a draw.

So, I just about nicked a really enjoyable game. From my point of view, I played about 2 and a half good turns and then just about hung on until the end. I'm definitely getting better with the Orks though. I'm not sure whether I'll take them this week as I'm itching to get out the Space Wolves again after a couple of weeks off but who knows, I may just stick with the Orks for one more week.

Sunday, 14 November 2010

The Tyrant of Claws and Fists - IA9 Review

This week I received an email from our illustrious editor-in-chief, Mr. Claws 'n' Fists himself, in which he issued some ideas for articles he'd like from his poor, down-trodden contributors. Mick, Graham and Dave were all given detailed briefs suggesting talking points and themes to expand on, next to my name were two letters a number and a single word - “IA9 Review”. I've read the book, I've researched the internet scuttlebutt and I'm ready to proffer an opinion.

Judging this book by it's Cover.

Lets not beat around the bush here, this book is beautiful. It is the first Forgeworld book I've ever owned but I had some pretty high expectations and on my first flick through I have to say I was a little disappointed, honestly I don't think anything could have lived up to the sort of expectations I had built up around these books.

After sitting down and getting a little perspective, and a few more more read-throughs I came to my senses and realised that I love the way this book is put together. It's presented in beautiful technicolour throughout, the maps are wonderfully rendered, the illustrations are finely detailed and the images from the front line of the action are a triumph of miniature modelling, photography and Photoshop, even the design and lay-out are beyond reproach. The only thing I can compare this book to, in terms of quality of presentation, is the Rogue Trader RPG Rule Book by Fantasy Flight Games, truly a quality product as well.

There are a couple of things about the presentation which aren't to my taste, I'm not a big fan of the cover image, surely this book is about the fall of Lugft Huron while Carab Cullin of the Red Scorpions is a participant in the story I'm not sure he deserves top billing on the cover. In fact there is not a single illustration of Lugft in the entire book. Odd! The other thing which I don't particularly like are the pages of almost identical illustrations of Space Marines in identical poses which just serve to show the different Chapter's colour schemes. I feels like padding to bulk out the book and seems excessive, some people will undoubtedly like these images but for me, not so much!

The only out and out criticism of the presentation of the book I would make is that the grammatical and spelling errors present throughout the text really do detract from the suspension of disbelief required while reading any Sci-Fi story. Given the expense of this book and the quality of the rest of the presentation, I really would expect the proof reading to be of a similarly high standard. Disappointing but certainly not a deal-breaker.

Presentation – 9.5/10 (Proof Readers Required)

A Tragic Tale of a Hero's Fall from Grace

OK fluff-junkies, if you're into the Badab War, chances are that you've done your research, perhaps you've downloaded the BolS mini-dex, could even be that you took part in a campaign based on the setting, maybe you think you've seen it all. I'm here to tell you that you haven't. IA9 is all about the escalation of the “situation” in the Maelstrom Zone.

I don't want to spoil anything, but you may read in the Internet scuttlebutt that there's a lot of politics and that the story can be confusing to follow. To these points I would say that there is a level of “political intrigue” inherent in the story but it in no way drags the story down (unlike certain prequel trilogies I can think of) and it serves to give an empathetic view of the protagonists … in short I like the politics. To the “charge” of over-complexity, it certainly is a complex story but the scope is rather epic and I think if it were dumbed down it would be a disservice to the object of the book. Forgeworld have made some real efforts to help us readers follow this complex series of events (battles) over a vast area of space in the form of some really excellent campaign maps and they do help but I think you are probably going to have to read this one a couple of times to completely wrap your head around it.

The story is not completed in this book as it's part one in the series (which I think we can assume will be just the two books given where it leaves off in part one). As such I can't comment on the whole story of the whole Badab War but the story told in this book is a great tale with plenty of action, intrigue and, unlike parts of even the Black Library's own Horus Heresy series, it tells successfully, sympathetically and plausibly the story of the fall of a charismatic, brilliant leader and the ensuing chaos!

Content: Story – 8/10 (so far so good!)

I've got a fever! and the only cure is more Campaigns (… or possibly Cowbell)

We all know that while Imperial Armour books have great production values and cool fluff, what most of us are really after is the juicy new rules for exotic (and expensive) models and units. In this respect IA 9 does not disappoint! Not only do we get rules for special characters for all of the chapters covered in this book (more to follow for those featured in book 2), not only do we get a really great campaign system which I am chomping at the bit to have a go at (perhaps we can organise something here at Claws and Fists: hint-hint) but we get a whole new game type – Boarding Action.

I'm not going to say too much about the special characters here because I haven't had the opportunity to try any in anger, looking at them they look pretty well balanced and pointed, nothing particularly game-breaking jumps out at me. They represent the Chapters covered in the book: The Astral Claws, the Fire Hawks, the Marines Errant, the Red Scorpions, the Raptors, the Nova Marines, the Fire Angels, the Howling Griffons and the Lamenters. Each of these chapters is also afforded a significant portion of text going into their background which is nice if you are thinking about starting one of these armies, or if you have any interest in any of them as the detail is much greater than has been previously made available for any of the Chapters, with the exception of the Red Scorpions who have been extensively covered in previous IA books. The book makes it easy to use these special characters with the current Codex: Space Marines so you can play one of these Chapters on the battlefield with a nod to what makes that Chapter unique. Looks like a good start for the gamers amongst us.

Next we come to the mysterious Blood in the Void – Boarding Action missions. These look like a lot of fun with some interesting rules which look to replicate the dangers of fighting in the hazardous environment of a starship's inner structure and even it's external hull. The rules really look to have done a good job of capturing the theme of fighting a boarding action. The “Cold Void” special rule is particularly thematic where S4+ weapons cause rending if you are fighting while exposed to the Void to represent the danger of even a small chink in your armour being fatal.

Other rules cover explosions blowing you off the surface of the ship and out into space, the ship being effected by the pace battle going on outside, the danger of fighting amongst key structures within and without of the ship and even the dangers of using a jump pack indoors. There are a lot of rules and actually playing a game may be a slow process for the first few games while you get your head around the rules but I think once you get it down this is going to be an extremely fun way of playing a game of 40k and I'm looking forward to getting a few games in myself.

Lastly we'll look at the campaign system included which I think if a stroke of genius. Firstly the book contains advice for playing it faithfully with the chapters involved in the Badab Wars story, it also has advice for playing with any Space Marine Armies and goes on to give advice for playing the campaign with any mix of 40k armies. So it's a fully featured campaign system not just limited to the fluff presented in the book – NICE! The system is designed to be played by two teams representing the “good guys” and the “bad guys” consists of players from the opposing teams playing games against each-other through a series of five phases each lasting for a set period of time. Phases 1-4 award Campaign Points (CP) for 40k, Apocalypse, Cities of Death, Planet Strike, Battlefleet Gothic and the new Boarding Action games and Phase 5 is a large Apocalypse mission with specific rules detailed in the book.

During phases 1-4 the number of Campaign Points awarded to victorious players and their team varies depending on what Phase you are in, what types of games you play and how many points you play in those games. Each phase also has a special mission which may only be played once but is worth big CPs so strategy come into play because; what do Campaign Points make? PRIZES! At the end of each phase CPs are totalled up and the winning side is awarded an advantage for games of a certain system played in the following phases.

That's basically it, and my prose above really does not do the elegance of the system justice, it looks like a lot of fun and I'm really keen to try it out!

Overall I cannot fault the new rules that accompany this book, I can't imagine what more they could have added and I'm excited to try them out as soon as possible

Content: Rules – 10/10 (Really Explore the Space)

In summary this book is a worthwhile investment but probably only if you are a Space Marine player – but then again who isn't? Even if only a little!

Overall – 9/10 (Must Buy – if you play Space Marines)

Stomp da oomies!

"After four days of shadowing the Ork force, we are now preparing our attack. Despite the huge amount of smoke being belched into the atmosphere by their vehicles, it seems like quite a small vanguard. We launch our strike in the name of the Emperor and pray that he watches over us this day" - Pre-battle transmission from Captain Wood.

This is a 1000 point battle report between Andy's Orks, commanded by me, and Steve's Space Marines. We were playing Mission 2 from Open War XIV which is 4 Objectives and L-shaped deployment in opposite table quarters. Steve won the roll-off and passed first turn to me.

Deployment (after Scout moves)

Turn 1:

The deep rumble of the Battlewagon was joined by the higher pitched revs of the Bikes behind it as the Orks moved forward. Ahead of them, the Deffkoptas drew first blood. The first one blew up an Attack Bike with a Rokkit before charging in and destroying the second with its Buzzsaw. The second 'kopta missed the Combat Squad on the hill with its Rokkit shot but it cut down two Marines which was enough for the remainder of the squad to turn tail and flee the battle.

The Marine response was quick and bloody. They managed to shoot down both Deffkoptas but couldn't do any damage to the Battlewagon.

End of Turn 1:

Turn 2:

The Battlewagon continued to rumble forward as the Warboss and his squad Turbo-Boosted towards the distant Rhino. The Marines, recognising the danger that the Bikers posed, fired every weapon they had at them. However, due to Ork's sheer speed, the Marines only managed to cause one wound.

End of Turn 2:

Turn 3:
The second mob of Shoota Boyz made their way onto the battlefield just in time to see the Warboss lead the charge against the Space Marine Rhino. He ripped it to pieces with his Power Klaw, the explosion pinning the squad inside. The Shoota Boyz in the Battlewagon stayed where they were and opened fire at the Combat Squad in the ruins. Despite pouring 40 shots into the Marines they caused no casualties.
The Dreadnought levelled its weapons at the Battlewagon and managed to wreck it with a lucky Krak Missile. The Combat Squad let rip with their Bolters at the Shoota Boyz but the Orks used the burnt-out remains of their vehicle as cover and only one of them died.
End of Turn 3:

(NB Picture here shows Battlewagon as Immobilised. We realised before we started Turn 4 that it should have been Wrecked as it's Open Topped)
Turn 4:
The Nob Bikers charged into the previously Pinned Tactical Marines and made short work of them. The Space Marine Captain led his men out of their Razorback and they Rapid Fired their Bolters into the Shoota Boyz, thinning out their ranks. Further ahead of them the Assault Squad fired and then charged into the other Shoota Boyz. Despite killing Ork after Ork, the Boyz were still Fearless due to the size of the squad and so stayed in combat.
End of Turn 4:

Turn 5:
With the battle drawing to a close, the Nobz headed off to secure one of the Objectives. The Warboss left them and headed off towards the Combat Squad in the distant ruins. The Shoota Boyz in the centre opened fire and then charged into the Captain and his squad. The Space Marines struck first and hacked down a couple of Orks. In reply the Nob cut the Captain in half with his Power Klaw and the Orks stayed in the combat, inspired by his example.

Despite his Toughness and the cover provided by the black smoke produced by his Bike, the Warboss was torrented down by the Dreadnought and Tactical Marines. The other Tactical Squad won their combat and ran down the Orks as they tried to run away. In the other combat it all came down to the Sergeant with his Power Fist and the Nob with his Power Klaw. The Marine killed two Orks while the Nob killed another Assault Marine. The Orks refused to break though.
End of Turn 5:

Turn 6:
The Nob Bikers drove to the top of the hill and fired their Dakka Gunz at the Tactical Marines out in the open but their Power Armour was more than a match for the Ork weapons. Again, the Assault Sergeant killed two Orks while the Nob killed yet another Assault Marine. Both sides were now fighting over mounds of their dead.
As the three survivors from the Captain's squad made their way to the central Obective, all of the long ranged weaponry fired at the Nob Bikers to try and blast them off the Objective that they held. The Bikers managed to hold firm. In the remaining combat the Orks finally finished off the last member of the Assault Squad but there was now just the Nob and two Boyz left standing on the Objective from a mob of 20.

End of Turn 6:

Final Scores - Generalship: 11-9, Battle Bonus: 5-3
"The Orks are getting closer. I have ordered my men out of the Razorback. Our only hope is that we can cause enough casualties with our Bolters to take the sting out of their charge." - Last transmission from Captain Wood.


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