Friday, 7 December 2012

Rolling Less Than 10 on 3D6 and Other Stories

Parasite of Mortrex

Strap yourselves in readers and grab some popcorn, this is a long one and it’s going to get emotional!

This weekend saw Blog Wars 4 take place at the Eye of the Storm venue in Mansfield (part of the Maunsfeld Games store). This is an event the Blog has always tried to support but, thanks to a poorly scheduled holiday, I’d not been able to attend the last one so I was really looking forward to making a come-back at the first one of 6th Edition!

I had promised that, as a penance for missing Blog Wars 3, I would re-double my efforts to get my Tyranids completed in time for this tournament and thanks to some late night painting sessions (concluding at 1:30am on Friday night) I managed to put the following list on the table (complete with 15 ripper bases – which never saw the light of day!)

Parasite of Mortrex
Tyranid Prime w. 2x Boneswords & Scything Talons
2x Zoanthropes
2x Zoanthropes
10x Termagants
10x Termagants
Tervigon w. Crushing Claws, Toxin Sacs, Adrenal Glands, 3 Powers
Tervigon w. Crushing Claws, Toxin Sacs, Adrenal Glands, 3 Powers
6x Raveners w. Rending Claws
2x Carnifexes w 2x Twin-Linked Devourers (w. Brainleech Worms) eachTrygon

A section of the Hive Fleet

Blog Wars requires you to field a unique or special character as it’s only list composition restriction, this is something I quite like and has previously seen my Ghazghull face off against Commissar Yarrick in an epic smack-down for all the marbles (on the bottom table). We were playing 3 games with the objectives and deployments pre-set as part of the rules pack. If you want to read all the details about the tournament you can have a look at the From the Fang blog (who organise the event) here.

So, on to the games and a day that would see 3D6 leadership tests loom large in my fortunes:

Game 1 vs Dark Eldar/Eldar - Greg Pikos
Crusade (5 objectives) / Vanguard Deployment

The Baron
5x Wracks
5x Warriors w. Blaster in Venom w. 2x Splinter Cannons
5x Warriors w. Blaster in Venom w. 2x Splinter Cannons
13x Hellions w. Helliarch
6x Reavers w 2x Heat Lance
s6x Reavers w 2x Heat Lances
Voidraven Bomber

Aegis Defence Line w. Quad-gun

Farseer w. Runes of Warding & 1 Power
5x Rangers
3x War Walkers w 2x Scatter Lasers each

Greg's Circus themed Dark Eldar
OK, multiple objectives, I like that, I know where I am with objective missions; Dark Eldar with a Runes of Warding Farseer ally, not so good, lots of poison shots and table-wide psychic defense which is really going to put a damper on my day. 

I got to pick table edge and deploy 3 of the objectives but I lost first turn, not actually all that bad in an objective game but he would get the first opportunity to unleash all his dakka at me. I deployed fairly conservatively knowing that as we both had speed I could well get off a first turn charge with a bit of luck. 

Speaking of luck, Greg forgot to cast Prescience so his War Walkers were not as devastating as they could have been. His Reavers jockeyed for position and the Baron led his Hellions forward with a couple of cheeky pain tokens and ran for cover in a ruin in the middle of the building. I advanced and took out a Venom with a volley from the Carnifex unit (1st Blood) and typically one of my Tervigons bunged up after spawning only 5 ‘gants. The Hellions looked threatening and would certainly get a charge off in the next turn so I decided to risk attempting a pre-emptive charge against them with the Parasite and his Raveners. A roll of 11 got me in comfortably but I’d be striking last thanks to the lack of grenades. At this point luck was clearly on my side because his entire unit (with the extra attack combat drugs) managed to kill off only 1 Ravener and one of those wounds was caused by overwatch fire, I should also mention that I made five 5+ saves on the Raveners. My return flurry accounted for 4 hellions and the Baron (Warlord) who managed to fail his very first Shadow-field save. I win by 4 But the Hellions hold firm thanks to a nice low leadership roll!

After all that Greg looked somewhat deflated, perhaps he had forgotten about the monumental amount of firepower he still had at his disposal, and this turn those War Walkers would be Twin-Linked! The opening salvo vapourised my Trygon with wounds to spare and he also managed to knock a couple of wounds of the Tervigon on my left flank, those Reavers were also getting worryingly close. We then returned to the epic combat in the centre this time it was much closer but I still managed to win combat by two wounds and that proved to the boo much for the Hellions who ran and were cut down by the Parasite and his 4 remaining Raveners who had a bone to pick with a Farseer.

My turn saw the last Venom over-killed by the Carnifex Unit and a slow advance by the rest of the Horde. I forgot to mention that in turn one I only got two psychic powers off and put wounds on 3 Zoanthropes and a Tervigon thanks to Perils from the Runes of Warding so I had decided not to risk casting anything in Turn 2 as I was very pleased to be well within strike range of the Farseer and his unit of Racks behind their Aegis Defence Line with the Parasite and his rampaging Raveners. The combat was short and sweet the Eldar broke, ran and were cut down, but that left me vulnerable out in the open and at the mercy of Rangers, warriors and the Quad Gun (the War Walkers could also be brought to bear if necessary).

As expected, Greg made short work of the Parasite and his squad and, now that I’d also lost the Trygon as well (who took two squads of gants with him), that really took the punch out of my army. The wounded Tervigon on the left flank fell to Hellion fire and the one in the centre was brought down to its last wound by the War Walkers. I was very much back on the back-foot and trying to figure out how I was going to salvage a draw out of this.

I was able to swamp an objective at the back of the board with my remaining ‘gants but his Reavers were able to assault into the unit to contest (need to work on my placement). Greg was able to take an objective behind his defence line, uncontested, with the Rangers and also held an objective with a small warrior squad on my left flank. My remaining Tervigon was, however, within strike range of this, so I charged in and easily wiped the squad for what I thought was a solid draw. Unfortunately I had forgotten that his Reavers were still in combat with a single termagant very close to the same objective. If I’d have realised, I’d have charged my two remaining Zoanthropes into the combat, but as it was he easily took care of the Termagant and consolidated far enough to contest the objective.

The game ended in a 9-16 loss but it was an extremely enjoyable game which swung back and forth on almost every turn and really could have gone either way. Credit to Greg, he played a blinder and didn't let the early loss of his big Hellion unit get too him. 

Game 2 vs Necrons – Michael Towers
The Relic / Hammer & Anvil Deployment

Imotekh the Stormlord 
Overlord w res orb 
Royal Court: Harbinger of Eternity w. Chronometron; Harbinger of Despair w. Veil; Lord w. Mindshackle Scarabs & Warscythe 
Royal Court: Harbinger of Eternity w. Chronometron; Harbinger of Despair w. Veil; Lord w. Mindschackle Scarabs & Warscythe 
20x Warriors 
20 x Warriors 
5x Warriors w. Night Scythe 
5x Warriors w. Night Scythe 
5x Warriors w. Night Scythe 
5x Warriors w. Night Scythe 

I’ve got to admit that I felt pretty confident about this one. Michael and I had played recently, in game 1 of the last Open War, and I was keen for revenge. I felt this list was less difficult to deal with because the Spyders, Scarabs and Wraiths that he’d brought to Open War were no more, also I managed to get first turn so I knew I had a great chance of getting to the relic with some spawned ‘gants on turn one and putting myself in a strong position early. As it turns out I was not prepared for the trixy-ness and down-right shooty-ness of this list.

Turn 1 - Lookin Good!
As planned I moved up on turn 1, putting my ‘gants in easy strike range of the Relic with the rest of the army in support and the Raveners with the Parasite partially in front to provide a screen. Michael had placed both of his blob squads right at the back of the board, well out of my range. However on his turn he Veiled right behind my lines and decimated the two back-most ‘gant units (First Blood). This, combined with a particularly devastating round of lightning strikes from Imotekh (including 6 hits on the Parasite’s squad – I took my chances saving 4 on the Parasite and passing the other two to Raveners who couldn’t make their 5+) lead to a pretty successful turn for Michael.

Fortunately his veil shenanigans had put both units in range of most of my army so I levelled all available guns at the squad with the least cover and took it down to a manageable size for my Poison/Furious Charge ‘gants and a Tervigon to charge. The combat was a great success and the unit was wiped but the Lord stood back up.

On Michael’s turn two he got 3 of his Croissants (Night Scythes) on to the board and they took no time in focussing down the ‘gant squad on the Relic and taking a couple of wounds off a Tervigon. Imotekh’s lightning storm put another 6 strength 8 hits on the Parasite’s unit wiping it. Bad times but to make matters even worse he also put 4 wounds on my Trygon which was finished off by the left over Night Scythe shooting. This was starting to look bad. The solo Lord charged back into the Tervigon who passed his Mindshackle test and put the Lord back down, only for him to stand back up! Most annoying!

Turn 3 started off with my Tervigon in the centre spawning another 10 ‘gants onto the Relic, and this time I could get it to the one at the back giving me the chance to at least move it towards my swarm next turn. Next I decided that Imotekh had done quite enough damage so I levelled as much firepower as I could at his squad but his 2+ save combined with amazing we’ll be back rolls saw only a handful of warriors dead, on the up-side I did manage to get his Chronometron Cryptek who did not get back up – bonus!

The death of the Trygon meant that I only had a unit of 10 ‘gants in charge range of Imotekh’s squad but I wanted to at least tie them up for the big fellah’s who would be in range next turn. Those brave Termagants made the charge but the combination of withering overwatch fire and Warscythes put a swift end to their efforts and Imotekh was free to reposition next turn. The same could not be said of the solo Lord who was swamped under ‘gants who were less than effective but ensured that he could not charge the Tervigon next turn.

Thankfully Night Fight ended on this turn so no more evil lightning. I’d smugly positioned so that the Night Scythes could not get another volley off ... so instead they dropped off their Warrior units, this combined with the 4th Night Scythe turning up to lend some firepower, and Imotekh’s squad (he’d veiled back to the edge of his deployment zone) saw my Termagant squad with the Relic wiped again!

I was running a bit short of troops now and I’d lost a fair amount of punch from the army. However all of his troop units (bar the one in the newly arrived Night Scythe) were in the open and I gambled to try and wipe all of the 5-man units and put a hurting on Imotekh. My Prime detatched from the Carnifexes and charged the unit on my right flank (wiping them), my Carnifexes overkilled the rear-most unit and I put a unit of ‘gants in tenuous charge range of the nearest (which they failed). The Tervigon in the center fired his Cluster spines at Imotekh’s squad and did enough wounds to knock over the Veil Cryptek who failed to get up – nice! Sadly though a fair number of the warriors did get up which meant that Imotekh still had about 8 warriors with him and the other Lord, quite a daunting prospect. At the back of my deployment zone the solo Lord was still alive and kicking so my Warp Speed buffed (+1) Tervigon piled into him and in an epic simultaneous combat they both fell ... and neither got back up. Probably not worth the sacrifice of a Tervigon given my current position and lack of troops but it did feel good to see that 2 come up on the dice!

The surviving Warriors took to their Night Scythes and fled the board, knowing they would be back next turn. Imotekh advanced and his unit and the remaining Night Scythe continued to pour fire into my remaining ‘gants leaving none alive.

The game was in the balance but with very few troops left I felt right on the back foot, despite having good table position I could not continue to take the firepower those Night Scythes could dish out. I buffed up my remaining Tervigon (with only 2 wounds left) with Endurance and Iron Arm (+3) and went for the Relic, I put everything I had left, the Carnifexes and the Tervigon’s Cluster Spines into Imotekh’s unit. Sadly 2+ saves combined with unerring we’ll be back rolls meant that this achieved exactly nothing and the Necrons just kept coming.

The Night Scythes returned but my T9 Tervigon laughed off their firepower without taking a wound so it was with a glimmer of hope that I accepted the charge of Imotekh’s squad. But this Tervigon was clearly convinced that these were not the Necrons he was looking for as he failed his Mind Shackle test and promptly killed himself.

So, end of turn 5, the Relic is unclaimed, Michael has First Blood so if it ends here, he has it by 1.

Erm, where'd everybody go?
We go to turn 6. One of Blog Wars special rules is that your Special Character is scoring, so as I have no other scoring units left, it’s up to the Tyranid Prime to show his quality. He jumps on the Relic and his trusty Carnifexes flank him boldly, again pouring an utterly ineffective 24 shots into Imotekh’s squad – they clearly have a destiny to fulfill! Michael disembarks everything and puts everything he has left into the fexes killing one and wounding the other, and so Imotekh’s unit charges. The overwatch is ineffective and a challenge is issued. Amazing I think, I decline forcing the Prime out of the combat and amazingly the Carnifex survives.

Again it comes down to another dice roll, I have the Relic so it’s 3-1 to me ... it’s a 5 so we go on! Damn!

This time the challenge is not issued so no hiding for the Prime, I pass my mind-shackle test but the Carnifex buys the farm leaving the Prime on his own for the last round of combat and all the marbles.

Sadly the Hive Mind has realised that Necrons do not make for good eating (not enough biomass to assimilate apparently) so the suddenly dull minded Prime fails his mind shackle test and removes his own last two wounds.

That’s the game, I’ve been tabled. It went from a game with only a few points in it either way to a 5-25 defeat and I’ve gotta be honest, that was pretty crushing and I had a somewhat frowny face on. I hope I wasn’t too outwardly grumpy because it was an epic game and Michael was a fantastic opponent who played a great strategy pretty much to perfection. He really knows his Necrons and is a lot of fun to play against, I hope I get a chance for revenge (again) in the next tournament we’re at! 

Game 3 vs Grey Knights – Nathaniel Gibbs (No Blog) 
Purge The Alien / Dawn of War Deployment 

Inquisitor Coteaz 
Grand Master w. MC Psycannon & Daemon Hammer, Psybolt Ammo 
10x Grey Knights w. 2x Psycannons, Psybolt Ammo, Rhino 
10x Terminators w. 2x Psycannnons, 3x Daemon Hammers, 7x Halberds, Psybolt Ammo
5x Interceptors w. Psycannons 
5x Interceptors w. Psycannons 
Dreadnought w. 2x Autocannon & Psybolt Ammo 
Dreadnought w. 2x Autocannon & Psybolt Ammo 
Nemesis Dreadknight w. Heavy Incinerator & Personal Teleporter 

These Grey Knights look somewhat "Custodeal"
No offence to Nathaniel (I know he’s a reader) but after the last game I was not in the best frame of mind for facing off against a gun-line with a huge, terrain-less kill zone in the middle. I took one look at his super-shooty Grey Knights and the table lay-out, briefly considered playing cagily around the terrain on the edges trying to deny kill points but then just thought f**k it I’ll clog his guns with my bodies and if I can get my Raveners into his Terminators I’ll take my chances.

Things did not start well when he gave me first turn and promptly stole the initiative without the need for Coteaz’s re-roll. A Zoanthrope unit vanished before they could send a distress signal to the mother ship (First Blood)! The rest of the bugs were left largely unscathed and he pushed his Terminators forward positively goading my Raveners to attempt a first turn charge.

And so the ‘nids charged like the Light Brigade into the waiting guns of some lovely gold Grey Knights.

I’ll not go blow-by-blow here because if you’ve made it this far you’re probably losing the will to live, but I will go through a few highlights. The Parasite and his crew made it into contact with the Terminators and managed to kill about 3 of them over two rounds of combat before getting punked by the Daemon Hammers.

The Carnifex unit was as reliable as ever, wiping out an Interceptor squad in a single volley and severely reducing the 10-man Strike Squad over two rounds of shooting before succumbing to combined weight of arms. The Prime was not present at that point however, as he had detached to try and sort out a Dreadknight who was tearing through the back field due to an inability to fail to activate his force weapon despite being in the Shadow of the Warp the whole time and so it was that he took down the Prime without the nid general being able to land a blow on the big fellah.

The rest is not worth the telling, suffice to say that it was all over by turn 4 as even the big bugs could not resist the weight of fire leveled at them. Another 5-25 defeat, this had not been a good day. But again Nathaniel was a great opponent, very likable chap who had the misfortune to catch me in a somewhat dispirited mood and not minded to put up much of a fight, hopefully I can give him a better game should we meet again. 

You’ll have read that Graham was battling away on the bottom table vying for another Wooden Spoon in a nip-and-tuck battle that attracted quite an audience towards the end. What he and everyone else in attendance didn't know was that me and my little rain cloud had quietly put the bottom of the table beyond doubt. So with two emphatic tablings to finish the day I took the dubious honour of the Wooden Spoon, the first certificate I’d laid my hands on at a tournament since picking up a Wooden Spoon for my very first tournament way back in 2009 at Open War 12.

What can I take away from this experience? Firstly it’s not as bad as it looks, my first game was excellent against an army list I really think was a bad match up for me on paper. Sure I got lucky to wipe the Hellions so easily and who knows what could have happened if I’d been a bit less cavalier with my Raveners after that. Also if I’d not missed that lone ’gant tied in with the Reavers I could have got a tie out of the game. Against the Necrons in game 2 the 5-25 scoreline does not do justice to how close the game was and but for a dice roll I’d have had it won (narrowly) at the end of turn 6. The Grey Knight game was a bit of a write-off but if I’d cared about the result I could have done a number of things differently, sorry again to Nathaniel – I’ll give you a better game next time.

I don’t know what you think but to my mind all of these opponents were pretty bad match-ups for me. I thought I had a good chance against the Necrons but they really surprised me with their resilience and sheer weight of fire-power, I need more practice against what is surely one of the more powerful Codices at this point in 6th.

I think the list is OK as it is, I’ll probably tweak it but it’s going to be hard to get rid of the Carnifexes because in 6 tournament games (Open War & Blog Wars) they have been nothing short of amazing. The Trygon was fantastic in Open War but did exactly nothing in any of these games also I think that Crushing Claws on the Tervigons is probably not worth the points. They can be fantastic but I really didn’t get the opportunity to use them enough for me to really think I’ll miss them to save 50pts.

The Zoanthropes were definitely a total bust, I can see the reason why some people like them but I had no luck getting them the powers they need to be force multipliers. In game 2, between the four of them I had Smite, Warp Speed, Iron Arm, Life Leech and a single Enfeeble, likewise in game 3 where one unit had Smite x2, Haemorage and Life Leech. The fact of the matter is that if you pull the less useful powers with the frequency that I seem to get them, you really start questioning why you are spending 240pts on two units of 2! In the future I’m going to drop them and rely on the Monstrous Psykers to buff themselves.

Lastly, the Parasite and the Raveners. I like both of these because you just don’t see them. I can’t deny that Gargoyles are simply better point for point than Raveners but I’m going to stick with them, at least until I’ve painted 20 Gargoyles! The Parasite’s problem is that I could have a Flying Hive Tyrant instead of him and I’m really struggling justifying not doing this to myself. I really like him in theory but I forgot about the toughness tests in the heat of battle so my 15 ripper bases stayed quietly in my case for the entire tournament. Though, to be honest the only game where this would have come significantly into play was game 1.

So, all in all expect a few small changes for the next tournament but by-and-large I am happy with the army and I’m not going to over-react to what was something of a “bad day at the office”! 

Roll on Blog Wars 5!


  1. Doesn't sound like you had a good day mate. Those were pretty horrible matchups.

    I don't get why people use zoanthropes. They're too unreliable and easily instakilled with S8. I think nids are pretty strong at the moment though so don't be discouraged.

    One valuable point from your post is that your second game scoreline wasn't representative of the closeness of the game. It's frustrating when if you'd had a single model alive it would've looked drastically different. Frankly you were unlucky to get a turn 7.

    As the TO I can certainly do something about making the scores more reasonable so I'll have a rethink for BW5.

    Thanks for coming along and making me laugh when I saw you'd stolen glory from Graham and Andy!

  2. Unlucky with your games - but I completely agree with your comments about Nid units right now; I had the tough choice to make between Dakkafexes and Trygons - but don't regret for a minute going with Dakkafexes - they were lethal in every game and easily made their points back (they are also our best anti-air in my opinion).

    Zoanthropes just don't cut it either any more - Hive Guard are way more reliable.

    I personally dont play any units that are multi-wound and T4 (like Warriors and Raveners) - they are great when they work but seem to die way too easily.

    Crushing CLaws on Tervigons are huge amounts of fun - especially when you Smash and get a lucky roll - but probably overpriced considering Tervigons are primarily a support unit in most games.

    Having said all of that - Nids seem to have got loads better in 6th (if you pick the right - and obvious units) and I was really happy with most of my games with them at BW4.

  3. seems like you where extremely unlucky with your match ups.

    I would have thought the parasite would have done abit more for you in the games. he seems like a good choice to take atm with all the troops being taken. Do you think that the Doom would have done any better in the circumstances?

    Do you run your dakkafex's as one unit. Have you thought about splitting them and having them as separate, only saying this as noticed you referred to overkilling units with them quite often. I have to say i enjoy baby sitting fexs with hive tyrants with the preferred enemy bubble. re-rolling 1's to wound is a massive help alot of the time...

    I really enjoyed bog wars 3 when i went. tis a extremely friendly tournament. I was unable to attend this time :( but hoping to attend bw5!

  4. Thanks for the comment, I think the match-ups were difficult but they're not going to be uncommon opponents at this point in 6th so I need to work on how I play my 'nids as I'm planning on attending a few tourneys in 2013.

    I think the Parasite suffers from being T4 and not being an Eternal Warrior but he will be a lot of fun with a bit more practice I think. Though I do think a dakka flying tyrant is a better choice (or two). For Blog Wars I think the Doom would have been better choice definitely!

    I do run the 'fexes as a single unit of two, mostly because I like to put my Prime with them and make him my Warlord, this makes him very hard to kill. Using them a single units is interesting though, I might try it out.

    Thanks, hope to see you at BW5!

  5. I'm definitely sticking with nids, They are a lot of fun and I'm sure I can crack them, despite the results last weekend I feel I'm close ;)

    I don't think the scoring needs changing,a tabling is a tabling no matter how close the game was. After reading through the report several times I realised that I should not have used my Prime to grab the relic as the rules state that the special character is scoring not the Warlord so after Turn 5 I had no chance of winning anyway.

  6. That Grey Knights game doesn't look like good times at all. I'd like to say I'd have played it cagey and hid in the terrain, but we both know I'd be lying.

    It's funny, but I've had several games with the Necrons come down to when the game ends and what's where - they seem to lend themselves well to really close games and that's kind of awesome.

    Have you considered a Tyrannofex instead of the Trygon? I hear they're pretty good at busting up the sorts of things you 'nid folks used to take Zoanthropes to deal with.

    Also, would you consider any of the other Tyranid special characters worth a shot?

  7. I think Tyranids, more than almost any other army, suffer from the bad match-up syndrome. The codex does seem better in 6th but they are still a fragile army, limited in the shooting ability and compromised in combat due to not being able to have grenades when charging into cover.

    On the plus side, their multiple MC's scare the bejesus out of players and you have the ability to swarm troops which is essential in 6th missions.

    As far as mods to your army, I got stomped by Nids at Blog Wars, Abd it was the Tyrant (in this case the Swarmlord) with his retinue of Tyrant Guard with I just couldn't deal with. It is a slow-moving unit but it is pretty hard to kill, and when buffed with psychic powers, it can be the difference between victory and defeat.


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