Monday, 30 April 2012

Monday Musings

We Need To Talk About Kevin


Kevin the Knight that is...

So, the Grey Knights won Adepticon and yay, there was a great gnashing of teeth in the 40K community and wails that they are overpowered and/or underpriced. Are they? Personally, I can't see it. In some ways, they are better than other Marines - Storm Bolters, Power Weapons (with the potential to become S5 and/or I6), unshakeable/unstunable vehicles, S8 Autocannon Dreads and ker-azy grenades. However, they're not a perfect army by any standards - lack of AP1, lack of range (Autocannon Dreads apart), reliance on psychic powers.

Basically tho, if you can beat Marines, then you can beat Grey Knights and you don't hear anyone complaining about Marines. Will GK popularity be a fad like "Leafblower" was? Well, I guess that depends on what 6th edition and the next codex brings...

The Future - Random Psychic Powers


So, the latest 6th ed rumours are that 40K will be brought into line with WFB with regards to psychic powers. In WFB, you randomly select magic spells prior to each game. What would this mean for your Rune Priest? Well, it could mean that you've wasted 100+ points. Imagine drawing Thunderclap and Fury of the Wolf Spirits. Or how about Jaws of the World Wolf against Dark Eldar? Useful. It could well be the death of the Rune Priest. However, that's exactly why GW might do it. Everyone already has at least one Rune Priest model, here's a chance to sell something different.

Personally, I'd rather see the GK mechanic expanded so that you get a power for free and can then buy as many extra ones as you like for 5 points a power.

Sorry, a rather short Monday Musings this week. What do you guys make of Grey Knights? Any little tricks you've picked up for beating them. What do you think of randomly selecting psychic powers? What would be the "lore spell" for the Space Wolves? Maybe Stormcaller, like in 3rd ed...

Sunday, 29 April 2012

The Emperors Gift - World Exclusive Review???

On Claws and Fists we've had some good Exclusives (one of the benefits of living near Warhammer World), Battle for the Fang was our first and new new new new new Dave hit us with the last one with Know No Fear. Well here's another added to the record with The Emperor's Gift.

I'm going to start with a statement, Aaron Dembski-Bowden is Claws and Fists favourite Black Library author. I've never heard Darren say a bad word about him and if he meet The Barons seal of approval then its official.

His Night Lords series was excellent and his Horus Heresy book 'First Heretic' is still my favourite in the series. This time he ventures back into the Emperors good graces with a Grey Knights book with a healthy sprinkling of the blogs favourite chapter.

I've never made a secret that I was a reader before a gamer, the first 2 Black Library books I read were Wolfblade By William King and Dark Adeptus By Ben Counter which of course featured Space Wolves and Grey Knights respectively. The two chapters have remained my favourite and are the only armies I have that are of playable size.

As I was a reader before a gamer the way I have come to judge books is do they make me want to play 40k? Recently I have been in a lull in 40k having been busy with wedding preparations, work and developing a love of bloodbowl so the acid test is does this book make me want to pick up a wolf or knight?

The answer unreservedly is Yes.

ADB begins this book as he did the final Night Lords book with an explanation. During the Night Lords novel he makes it clear that fluff has changed the series he had written.In this book he explains that the release of Codex Grey Knights changed the book he was writing.

The book is written from the perspective of one young Grey Knight, Hyperion and through the course of the book we see glimpses of his indoctrination in the most secret of Chapters, through the first War of Armageddon and beyond. As ADB explains, its not a book of the War because the War doesn't belong to the Grey Knights it belongs to the Defenders of Armageddon, it is the book on the build up and the aftermath of the war.

So what did I love about this book?

Firstly, its grim-dark. No one does it better than ADB in my opinion. Abnett took the Wolves forward in this Universe from the foundation that William King laid and ADB has continued that with them and done it wholly with the Grey Knights. They aren't and in my opinion shouldn't be what others including McNeill, Counter and everyone's favourite Codex writer Mat Ward has made them out to be. They aren't as different from Astartes as Astartes are from Guardsman. They are specialists, they are called in to deal with a specific threat, perhaps the greatest one but still a specific threat. ADB reminds us of this.

It features flawed characters. I don't want perfection from a soldier, even a Astartes, I like the reminder of humanity that failure shows. While Justicar Alaric (Ben Counter's main Grey Knight character) was flawed it was a flaw in the same vein as Uriel Ventris, he didn't agree with standard tactics but in doing so he wins the battle. Not so with Hyperion he makes mistakes, they have repercussions.

He shows the relationships between The Inquisition and the Grey Knights in vivid detail and also goes into details of the hypocrisy of the Inquisition which I love. Inquisitors using heretics and Xenos weaponry shouldn't be allowed and yet it is. The inquisition was designed to save the Imperium and yet it slaughters more Humans than anyone. It always seems to be pushed to one side but not in here.

And finally (in this review although don't think that that's all the book is) the scale of the warfare is excellent, it moves from squad fighting to all out war against an enemy (who we all know) that shouldn't be defeated. It doesn't over do the battles, it does them perfectly.

Of course this wasn't a perfect book there were some things I wasn't particularly taken with.

One of them being the name checking of in game items or Units, it seems to be a common occurrence in Black Library books, in Know no fear we had a Contemptor chucked in for nothing, in this book it was the main character carrying a Nemesis Warding Stave. It didn't take up a lot of the book but I think I would have liked him a little more if he was carrying a Daemon Hammer or a Halberd.

My other gripe was the Inquisitor. I just wasn't taken with her. A native of Fenris she didn't characterise the idea of a Inquisitor in my mind. She broke too many rules (Radical I know) big ones as you come to see. She let her personal feelings dictate policy too much and she makes some serious errors. Now I know, hypocritical of me to say I loved the main character because he had flaws but dislike this one because of it however a young Grey Knight should be expected to be imperfect would a Inquisitor get to leading Grey Knights if it was the same for her?

Overall I loved this book, I shall certainly be reading it again and again.
Let me know what you think.

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Arena Of Death - Castellan Crowe vs Duke Sliscus

That's "Duke" Sliscus, savvy?
Time to return to the Arena Of Death, to pit these two 150 point characters against each other...

Pre-fight: Rather than rolling three times for The Duke's Combat Drugs, I'm going to do it just the once and apply to all rounds. A 5 and a 3 give him the choice of +1S or +1A. Since he wounds on 2s anyway, I'll go with Adrenalight; +1 attack.

Round 1 - Crowe on the Charge

Garran snapped off two shots from his Storm Bolter as he charged at Sliscus. One hit but it failed to wound as Crowe prepared his Rapier Strike. A 3 on the D3 gave him 4 I10 attacks. Two hit and a rending wound was caused. However, The Serpent's Shadow Field was equal to it. Despite having 5 attacks, Sliscus failed to hit Crowe. The Brotherhood Champion of the Purifier Order again dropped into the Rapier Strike stance.With just two attacks this time, he still managed to hit twice. Again, thanks to his skill as a Master Swordsman the hit was a rending one and Sliscus's Shadow Field couldn't save him this time. Wounded and without his protective shield, The Duke struck back. However, three hits and two wounds just bounced straight off Crowe's Artificer Armour. Still in the Rapier Strike stance, Crowe scored three hits. These translated into two wounds, one of which was rending. Only Sliscus's Ghostplate Armour could save him now... The regular wound was saved but needing a 6 on the invulnerable, could only manage a 3, putting The Serpent down.

Round 2 - Sliscus on the Charge

Slowly, deliberately, The Duke pulled his Blast Pistol from the holster. His aim was true and Castellan Crowe's Iron Halo wasn't up to the task of saving him. The Serpent had just claimed the record for fastest kill in the Arena of Death.

Round 3 - No Charge Bonus

Dropping into his favoured Rapier Strike stance, Crowe struck first. Two attacks, two rending hits. Both saved by the Shadow Field. From three hits back, The Duke could only wound once but it got past Crowe's armour. The pain was clearly getting to Garran as he failed to wound with either of his two hits. The Duke managed two further wounds and again, Crowe's Artificer Armour let him down. With the last of his strength, he attempted an Heroic Sacrifice. He passed the Leadership test with ease and then, needing just a 3, rolled a 5 to give us the first ever draw in the Arena of Death 

A draw? How about that? Some incredible dice rolls in round 3 there, including thee 1s out of four rolls at one point. Maybe Mick is right about these C&F dice being cursed (I knew that we shouldn't have made them out of albatross bone) Round 2 was also a bit of a damp squib as we didn't get to see effects of The Blade of Antwyr. From what I've seen though, neither of these characters are out and out combat monsters. With Crowe, you'd need to get him into a decent sized squad in order to maximise attacks with Sword Storm for him to really do anything and them you just run the rick of him being dragged down by weight of numbers. It seems like he really is just a tax so that you can take Purifiers as troops. Sliscus on the other hand is pretty survivable with his 2++ save and he could tip a combat with his numerous poisoned attacks. However, he is going to need back-up. Much like Crowe, he's more about what he brings to the rest of the army; you can build a pretty good list around his Combat Drug bonus and having free Deep Strike options on your vehicles. Plus, he's a pirate and pirates are cool.

Crowe? The Serpent? Come and sit by the hearth-side and tell us tales of derring-do where you've used either of these characters...

Monday, 16 April 2012

Open War XVII - The Claws & Fists' Perspective

Tanks. Apparently they're not
so popular these days.
On Saturday, Andy, Dave Poolley and I headed to Open War XVII at Maelstrom Games in Mansfield, where we were met by fellow bloggers Alex and Matt (From the Fang) and John (McTicTac from Blood Claw). The tournament was oeganised very ably by our very own parent gaming club the First Company Veterans, who play at Warhammer World in Nottingham on a Thursday night (come along!).

I was using my now-typical Tyranid semi-Drop Spore list:

Flying Tyrant with Hive Commander
2 x Zoanthropes in Mycetic Spore
2 x Zoanthropes in Mycetic Spore 
Doom of Malan'Tai in Mycetic Spore
11 x Termagants
13 x Genestealers
13 x Genestealers
2 x Trygons

As Tyranid lists go, it's fairly compact but pretty effective against what is was designed to counter - that is, MSU Space Wolves / Marines. As it turns out, tanks are so passe. In fact in all three games, I only faced one tank! So obviously the meta-game has changed and I didn't get the memo. Ho-hum.

Before the first game, Team Claws & Fists & Chums joked that my worst match-up would be to face Grey Knights in all three tournament games. How prophetic that nearly was - in fact I faced the Gleaming Silver Cybermen in my first two games, and then faced Shooty Horde Orks in the final game.

Game One (5 Objectives) vs. Grey Knights

In my first game I faced a friendly chap called Jason from Doncaster (not a million miles from Notts) who was running Grey Knights. His list featured a large number of Terminators and a double-hard named character (though I forget which), along with more Terminators in a Land Raider and some plasma gun toting Storm Troopers. The first three turns went largely my way, as my monstrous creatures snuck through the generous cover which is such a feature of tournaments held at Maelstrom. On turns two and three my Genestealers, Trygons, Tyrant and Doom made short work of one big unit of Terminators, plus the Storm Troopers, with almost no casualties suffered on my side at all. In addition, I had covered three of the five objectives with spawned Termagant units. On turns four and five however, the game swung in Jason's favour as his Deathstar unit of tooled-up Termies munched through my monstrous creatures with unnerving ease - in particular, the Grey Knights' arsenal of grenades was used to devastating effect! In the end though, despite the loss of all my big bugs, the little gribblies won the game for me, and I held onto two objectives to claim a 18-7 victory in this first game.

And so it was with no small amount of confidence that I went into the afternoon's games with some confidence...

Game Two (Kill Points) vs. Grey Knights

In game two I faced up to another GK army, this time belonging to a youngish chap (it seems more and more folks seem young, but that may be more to do with my increasing years...) called Luke, who is a nice guy and someone I've played fun games against at previous tournaments. The game was Kill Points with Dawn of War set-up. Luke set up first, placing his Deathstar unit of Termies and special character (Draigo???) in the very centre of the table. For my set up, I decided to infiltrate my two units of Genestealers close to Luke's board edge. In fact, I had enough models to 'cock-block' (nice expression, John!) Luke's other units - that is, I could have placed a long line of 'stealers along the whole of the back edge of Luke's side, thus preventing his other units from coming on. This would almost certainly have won the game for me, as Luke's army totalled only 6 units in total, and this would have neutralised 4 of them without a shot being fired.

But I didn't.

Despite this being a tournament, I believe too much in fair play and having a good time to do anything so beardy - even though I would have placed in the top five at the end of the day, had I done so. And since Luke is a decent guy, I just couldn't have looked myself in the mirror if I had!

So I got tabled.

Ho-hum! That said, it was a fun game, but I was never going to win a kill points game with a Tyranid army numbering 13 units (plus more for spawned bugs) against an all-Terminator/Power Armour GK army totalling 6 units. It was a great learning experience for me though, and I do know now what to do (and what not to do) against the Emperor's Finest next time around!

Game Three (Victory Points & Secondary Objectives) vs Shooty Horde Orks  

For my final game I faced the best-looking army of the tournament - an Ork army featuring three Star Wars Pod-Racers made up to count as Deffcoptas! Hopefully some pics of these vehicles will surface shortly, cos they were fantastic!

For the game itself, both myself and my opponent agreed that we wanted a decent stand-up fight without too much sneaky pussyfooting around. So we set up on our respective 12" lines, raced forward and met in a tidal wave of, well, claws and fists on the halfway line (a bit like Leeds vs Millwall, once might imagine...). In the end we only managed three-and-a-half turns before time was up but it was enough. I was down to three Zoanthropes left, and the Orks still had a nearly-full strength Biker Nobz squad left plus the tattered remains of two Shoota Boyz units so game three ended in a slightly frantic loss.

In Summary

Well, I think my tournament experience hinged on game two. I could have played an uber-beardy trick on a nice guy and propelled myself into the top five or so of the weekend, but it would've just left a bad taste in my mouth. So would I change anything from that second game if I could?


It's just not me!


Related Posts with Thumbnails