From The Depths Of Forgeworld

As I am sure many of you know, Forgeworld Open Day is currently in progress.  Images having been flooding the net of all the new cool stuff and all the works in progress models.  Horus Heresy 3 is being sold in limited quantities.  Generally speaking, it is a great time of year to be a fan of forgeworld/40k.

Now, any of you can hope around the net to some of the big sites like faiet or bell of lost souls and check out there coverage.  I have dug a little deeper and saw a few things I would like to show you.

First up, the long awaited rules for Imperial Fists, Raven Guard, Iron Warriors, and Alpha Legion.  The can be found here.  These were posted by a gentleman who has a copy of HH3 that he picked up there.  I guess a grain of salt should be taken with this since it isn’t a photo, but it sounds legit to me.

alpha legionSome alpha legion goodness.  Nothing new or exciting in terms of models, but it is neat to see alpha legion army for once.

blood angelsIf my eyes don’t deceive me, I believe that is a pre-heresy blood angels army.

gorgongorgon 2For the iron hands enthusiast among us (mainly myself), terminators!  Makes me a little sad that I just finished building some thunderhammer storm shield guys for my clan.  Ultimately I know they would do this to me (they being forgeworld).  Guess these boys will be going on my someday list.

lancerUp next is a close combat variant of the new GW knight kit, the Lancer.  Rules can be found around the interwebs.  Overall, I like him a lot.

mechanicum troopsmechanicumFor the gear heads among us, more mechanicum stuff.  Looks like some cool troops and maybe a knight/dreadknight variant.  Word is HH3 is packed full of mechanicum goodies.

minotaursminotaurs 2These are here more to taunt our chief librarian.  Limited edition minotaurs devastator sergeant.  His rules were released in imperial armor 12.  Guess the librarian will have to cruise ebay or hope to get lucky at our next flea market adventure.

salamanderA salamanders character.  Lots of salamander upgrade bits photos are now floating around the web.  Forgeworld also just put out the pyroclasts.  I think we are going to start seeing a big push on salamanders by forgeworld soon.

tyranidsLast but not least, a very interesting work in progress model for the nids.  It looks awesome so far, but perhaps more interesting is that it comes with a name.  I can’t seem to find any printed rules for a Dimachaeron.  Stands to reason we are going to get some experimental rules or another imperial armor.  Can anyone else find rules for him/her/it.

That’s enough for today. I got iron hands to work on.

Evolution of List Writing

Evolution-of-a-Gamer-01_thumbI wanted to take a look at how we as gamers tend to evolve as list builders.  I once heard something similar to this by Reecius from Frontline Gaming, so I started to watch closely at how members of our gaming group and me build lists.  Interestingly enough, it is scary how true it is.

As competitive list builders we go through three stages of list building.  The first stage is when we are starting out with a new army or entirely new to the game.  We take units that look fun on paper or are models we love.  Our first lists are very limited by the models we own for the army.  I remember building flash gitz for my orks just to have the insanity of them.  One game they worked well and killed every space marine that came into range of them.  They proceeded to fail at life for the next 6 games.

Eventually if we want to stay competitive and win some games we start to learn what are good and bad choices within a codex.  This comes with a lot of experimentation, running new units or old units in new combinations.  Eventually we hit on a unit combo we like.

The next level of evolution (I make is sound like pokemon) is the spam lists.  We have figured out what units are strong or we do well with.  If one is good, then two is better, and three is best.  This is when we see a lot of triple lists.  Three heldrakes, three riptides, three wraithknights, ect.  When learning my orks I started to run three dakka jets for a time.  If I could get all three in on the same turn and waaagh, that turned into 54 BS3 twinlinked strength 6 ap 4 shots.

Eventually through the release of new books or clever players, these spam lists will run into something they can’t handle.  By taking three of one unit type you start to make your army one dimensional.  Once people start learning how to counter these spam armies, there success quickly can stop.  For instance, three dakka jets are great, but if an army has any decent sky fire, they go down in flames often before I can get my shots off.

This is where we enter our last phase.  It’s when we realize the limitations and flaws within a spam list.  We start to take less of these strong units, limiting them to only 1 or 2 at most.  With the points we freed up we start taking units that will balance out the lists.  These list are commonly known as take all comers lists.

I have stepped away from spam lists and started to work on take all comers type lists.  My orks run at most 2 dakka jets.  Granted, the ork codex isn’t the most competitive, and I feel that pain every time I try to write a TAC list with them.  My tau run one riptide and one unit of broadsides.

I am not the only person to go through this evolution in our group.  Take a minute and think back to some of the lists you and your opponents have ran.  You can see this theme repeated again and again.

I point this out not so we can look down on less “evolved” gamers, but so we can understand each other.  A guy running a spam list my not be a worse gamer than one running a TAC list.  He may not have run up against a hard counter yet.  Of course all of this should be taken with the golden rule, and has nothing to do with narrative/fluffy list writing.

Knight Titan: First Contact

So, I had the opportunity to play against both variants of the Imperial Knights today.  I met up with our Master Of The Fleet down at Critical Hit Games, we setup a table and let it rip.  I wrote up a tau list for the day, not as hard of a list as I could have run, but not a slouch either.  For reference, I played the farsight enclave.

Commander – Drone Crontroller, Shield Generator, Stimulant Injector

Cardre Fireblade

Riptide – Earth Caste Pilot, Velocity Tracker, Early Warning Override, Heavy Burst Cannon, Smart Missiles

Stealth Suits – 4 including Shas’vre, Burst Cannons, Bonded

Fire Warriors – 12 including Shas’vre, Pulse Rifles, Bonded

Fire Warriors – 12 including Shas’vre, Pulse Rifles, Bonded

Crisis Suits – 3 including Shas’vre, 2 Missle Pods Each, Advanced Targeting System, Bonded

Crisis Suits – 3 including Shas’vre, Fusion Gun and Plasma Rifle Each, Advanced Targeting System, Bonded

Pathfinders – 10 including Shas’vre

Drone Squadron – 8 Marker Drones

Tetra – Disruption Pods

Hammerhead – Submunition Blast Railgun, Disruption Pods, Smart Missile System, Longstrike

Broadsides – 3 including Shas’vre, Heavy Railrifles, Smart Missiles Systems, Early Warning Override

Aegis Defense Line – Quadgun

2000pts

 

First game my opponent took the Errant variation to try out its big thermal cannon.  His guard was a fairly typical list, I don’t have his army list on hand but I will try to remember the key units.  I believe he fielded 2 basilisks, 2 leman russ variants with the demolisher cannons, a hellhound, 2 squads of guardsmen in chimeras, and 2 units of psychers in chimeras.  Looking at his list, I wanted to take out the leman russes first before they could bring their guns to bear.  The knight would have to wait and I don’t usually worry about the basilisks.

We rolled up dawn of war deployment and purge the alien.  I was able to take out his leman russ line with minimal damage and dropped the hellhound as it advanced.  I tried to deep strike in the fusion crisis suits to take on the knight, but in the end only caused one glance thanks to that ion shield.  I managed to drop the knight by turn 4.  It had advanced up my right flank an forced me to redeploy.  Since I had taken out the leman russes that were on my left flank, I wasn’t hurt by this redeployment.  When the dust settled, I had won handily.

Looking at it afterwards, we felt the knight did add a great mobile threat to the army.  That D weapon sword was a big threat to me.  Since I was able to stay away from it though, I was able to whittle it down with shooting.  I don’t think it was a waste of points.  If his battle line was able to survive my shooting better, my army would be trapped between big blast templates from tanks on one side, and a D sword with big blast template on the other.  I think the weakness was in the guard, not the knight.

We had time, so the Lord Primarch threw together a space marine list (ultramarines) for the Master Of The Fleet to use.  He event lent him his pretty blue boys to play with.  The list featured 2 thunderfire cannons, a squad of 10 scouts, 2 tactical squads in drop pods, 1 tactical squad in a rhino with Tigerius, 2 storm talons, and a drop pod with 10 sternguard. This time we tried out the Paladin variant of the knight.

Rolled up vanguard strike deployment and crusade with 4 objectives.  I changed tactics slightly, deploying my fire base deep within my deployment zone and holding both squads of crisis suits in reserves.  My opponent landed both drop pods of tactical marines right in front of my fire base and more or less hemmed my units in there.  Then the knight advanced up the middle with Tigerius and friends.

In short, this army put too many threats in my face and left me nowhere to run.  My riptide was eventually caught by the knight (although I did some amazing rolling and put 5 hull points on him during overwatch). Close combat was bloody and short.  I was able to put down the knight, but in the end I was down to the missile suits, commander with 4 drones, and 5 pathfinders.  I hadn’t even scratched his back field units, and still had tigerius and the sternguard running around in my firebase.

Honestly, I felt the knight added a ton to that list.  It was able to force my right flank in combination with tigerius.  With the marines holding steady on my left flank I had nowhere to run.  I was so busy dealing with the drop pod troops, the rhino’s troops, and the knight, I didn’t even get to think about taking out his scouts on objectives or his thunderfire cannons.

Interestingly enough, in both games, the titans failed to earn back their points.  But the threat they present and the amount of shooting it takes me to deal with them left a noticeable impact on both games.  I think they could have easily earned their points back, but I just kept running away and trying to deny them that chance.

So far, I am encouraged by today’s results.  I still want to play test them more.  I will probably end up with one eventually.  I am interested to see how they fair against eldar and tyranids.  Daemons as well.  I also would like to see what they add to certain armies, like space wolves, blood, angels, and dark, angels.  More playtesting is required.

Review of 6th Edition…So Far: Part 4

Part 4 of my review of 6th edition, you can catch the previous part here.

iyanden

Now in a change of pace, GW put out to army codex supplements in the form of the Iyanden for eldar and The Farsight Enclave for tau.  Iyanden did not make to big of a splash other than allowing wraithguard and wraithblades as troops.  The Farsight Enclave on the other hand made some waves.  Crisis suits as troops opened up mobile scoring units for tau.  And 7 unique characters that could be taken as farsights bodyguard (including a riptide) changed the farsight bomb a bit.  Plus codex supplements can ally with their parent codex as battle brothers, so in theory you can take 4 riptides and 4 wraithknights in a single list.  We did have one player bring out 4 riptides in our group, and it looked great.  But the army tends to lack scoring units.

farsight enclave

Overall, I really enjoyed the fluff on the farsight enclave (when the actual book dropped several months later).  It present a completely different view point in terms of the tau empire and farsight’s split than had ever been previously seen.  Plus it explained why farsight kept getting new tau technology after he left the empire.  The rules seem like a minor tweak, but it made for an interesting army.

The farsight enclave book brought with it a new death star, a modified version of the farsight bomb.  Taking a character riptide (a new bodyguard for farsight) from the enclave with farsight and allying in a buff commander and another riptide, it is possible to combine all into a single unit that features twin linked, ignores cover, monster hunter or tank hunter, and the ability for the two riptides to target different units.  A very strong unit shooting wise, and mobile to boot.  Can’t take much of a punch in close combat.  Once again, I have not had a chance to see this combination in our local group.

apocalypse

The summer also gave us the release of apocalypse.  A revision of the rules to bring them in line with 6th edition.  I had the chance to play several games of this, and I can say it is enjoyable.  It suffers from the same thing apocalypse always dose, that is the time it takes to play such large games.  There are some pretty strong combos possible with the formations presented, but in the end everything is pretty strong in apocalypse, so it balances out.   Honestly, I would like to play this a little more, but the time, space, and organization requirements make it hard to pull off.

Setting the Scene: Battle for Tarandros Part 2

The imperial’s success in the first part of our battle has given them a foothold on the ork infested planet.  There next step is to setup a base of operations on the planet.  From there further attacks can be launched against the greenskins and any other xenos that seek to prevent the imperials from reaching there goal.  With this in mind, the gathered elements of the imperial forces have setup a defensive perimeter around the new base of operations.

The orks see this base of operations as a great chance to get a good fight in.  The full force of the ork waagh has still not hit home against the imperials yet.  Scattered elements of the orks have begun to throw themselves at the lines of imperials.

In the mean time the other xenos forces on Tarandros still seek there own objectives.  They may join in this battle if it suits there goals, although which side they will join is not clear.

Finally, don’t forget the present of chaos space marines and daemons on the planet.  Surely they will take the opportunity present by the ork attacks to strike at vulnerable points in the imperial forces.

With this commander I leave you.  I will see you planet side with my orks.  Records of our battles will be kept and the story told by our chief librarian.  Until then,  WAAAAAAAAAAGH!

Review of 6th Edition…So Far: Part 3

Part Three of my review of 6th edition.  You can check out part 2 here.

tau codexAfter daemons came the Tau.  My beloved army (and the only army I still own from my 3rd edition days) finally see’s and update from its 4th ed book.  A new model range including plastic pathfinders, sweet looking broadsides, new HQ models, and the ever amazing riptide.  I went a little off the reservation and literally bought it all.  Except the flyer.  Not because of rules, I just didn’t like the model.  Playing with this army really emphasized synergy between units.  And it could get really ridiculous.  I often killed entire units on overwatch.  Since then people have learned how to tackle a tau fire base.  It is still very strong, but not impossible to take down.

This army spawned another deathstar, the farsight bomb.  It required farsight, a buff commander, and a unit of 7 bodyguard crisis suits.  The buff commander gave the unit twin linked and ignores cover, as well as could try to soak up wounds with his T5 and 2+ armor save.  Farsight unlocked the 7 man bodyguard and allowed the whole unit to deepstrike without scattering.  Then you arm the 7 crisis suits with your choice of weaponry, most people went with missile pods and plasma rifles.  You can throw in some target lock on a few so the unit can split fire.  This deathstar did have its flaws; it was stuck in reserve so some poor rolling could see you waiting on nearly 1000 points of your army to show up.  It’s also not that tough, the buff commander is the only thing with a 2+ save, there are no rerolls (yet) and it is majority T4.  I wouldn’t say it’s a glass hammer, but it definitely can hit better than it can take a hit.  This deathstar has not seen an appearance in our local group.

Now looking back on the tau, I can say they are definitely a top tier army.  Which to some people is a great thing.  For me though, I found they weren’t that fun to play.  It was a very simple process for me.  Setup a fire base, shot everything that came within 30 inches of it.  Have some mobile elements and longer ranged elements to root out any enemy forces that were hiding.  Ultimately the only mission I consistently struggled on was the relic, as tau are not a very mobile force when it comes to their troops.  So, I put them aside.  Our lord primarch made several comments to me that he observed I had more fun playing orks than tau.  In the end, that army comes out when I want to win.  Otherwise it sits in its foam.

eldar codexThe next codex to drop was the eldar.  Arguably a stronger codex than tau.  Battlefocus and bladestorm completely re-invented this army.  Everything is so fast in this army and such a huge threat.  They are still a heavy psychic army, and with random powers, maybe a little less reliable in that department.  But there primaris powers are great and can still take divination, so not a big hit.  The wraithknight is amazing and incredibly tough.  Our chief librarian plays eldar, and quickly began to show us just how strong this army could be.

The release of the eldar opened up to big issues in the land of 40000, taudar and the seercouncil deathstar.  Taudar is an alliance between tau and eldar, tau being the primary.  The eldar brought in very fast scoring units in the form of jetbikes and the psychic buffs to hand out re-roll to hit to several tau units.  Combo that with the already strong tau shooting and now you have an army that can shoot you off anything and on turn 5 can jump on several objectives either scoring them or denying them from you.   I have seen this dreaded alliance only once, in a local tournament.  Despite the fact that both myself and the chief librarian have tau and eldar armies, these too failed to make a significant appearance in our local group.

The seerstar is comprised of 1-2 farseers on bikes, 1-8 warlocks on bikes, and +/- a dark eldar baron on a sky board.  Through a combination of psychic powers (which you have to roll for) this unit can have a 2+ cover save, 2+ armor save, and a 4+ invuln (2+ on the baron) all of which can be rerolled.  The unit is not very strong at shooting, but can throw around some serious buffs or de-buffs.  It is incredibly fast since they are eldar jetbikes.  And once again, they are not slouches in combat.  One big issue with this army is there are no models out for farseer on bike or warlocks on bikes, so you will have to convert them.  And all there powers are random, so there is the chance of key powers not being rolled or failed to cast.  Once again, this deathstar has not seen play in our local group.

And with those two big entries to 6th edition, we wrap up part 3.  Up next, codex supplements, apocalypse and SPACE MARINES!!!

Imperial Knights: Codex Review

Knights Codex

Greeting readers!  Ralshenik taking a break from my series on Chaos Space Marines to give you a quick review of the Imperial Knights codex.  Yesterday was a tough one for my wallet as I had missed the past few 40k books that were released after the Tyranid codex.  I ended up finally wandering into my FLGS and grabbing all the stuff I had missed.   One of those books of course was the Imperial Knights codex released only a few weeks ago.

For those of you who don’t know, Imperial Knights are smaller scale titans that fight as part of the Adeptus Mechanicus’s Titan Legions.   The codex is a compilation of the rules for the titans (originally found in the White Dwarf Weekly), background information on the titans, and information on starting your very own Imperial Knight army.

For starters, the Knight models themselves look awesome……

 Knights

Pretty sweet huh?  Scale wise they stand about as tall as that god awful Lord of Skulls model.  The kit contains everything you need to build either a Knight Paladin or a Knight Errant, and based off what I saw in the book, offers a pretty wide variety of bits for a chance to customize the big guy.

The background section is neat; explaining the history of the Knights, different Knight worlds, what wars and battles they have been a part of, and examples of what the different knight houses color schemes/symbols are.   My personal favorite of this section is where they go over the famous Freeblades (lone knights whose allegiances where not tied to the Imperium), if I ever grab up one for my model collection i’m painting it like the Obsidian Knight (now THATS a Lord of Skulls).

There’s a section on Super Heavies, Stomps, and a Destroyer Weapons table for those who don’t have the Apocalypse or Escalation books.  After which they have a section to explain how Knight detachments work; basically they function as an entirely different detachment altogether.  Independent from allies, Lords of War, Formations, all of it.  The cherry on top of all this of course being the ability to field an army made up ENTIRELY of Imperial Knights.  No that was not a typo, you can seriously field an army made up of 3-6 of these bad boys plus a required Knight Warlord.  If you’re not worried about fielding an entire army they are available as battle brothers for any imperium army (allies of convenience for Grey Knights) and either desperate allies or allies of convenience for every other army except ‘Crons, Orks, Tyranids, and Chaos Marines/Daemons.

If the thought of facing 7 of these at once terrifies you fear not!  For one their point costs are pretty high, so in most standard games I could see people fitting 4-5 at the most. There is actually a chance when you field that many you end up with a couple knights in training, causing them to lose a point of Ballistic Skill and reduces the effectiveness of their Ion Shields.  Flip side of this of course, there’s the same odds they turn out to be the Lancelot of knights and gains a Ballistic Skill bonus with a better Ion Shield! Anywho no use in foreplay anymore, we know why you’re here!  RULES!!!  The two different knight variants are as follows….

  • Knight Paladin
  • Knight Errant

Both units are Super Heavy Walkers with Armour Values of 13/12/12 and 6 hull points. Each has the Fear, Hammer of Wrath, Invincible Behemoth, Move Through Cover, Relentless, Smash, and Strikedown special rules.  Both models also come stock with a Reaper Chainsword (str D close combat weapon) and an Ion Shield (a 4+ invulnerable save that can only cover one facing on the vehicle).   Oh, and a Heavy Stubber……can’t forget the Heavy Stubber!

The differences come in their main shooting weapon with the Paladin carrying the Rapid Fire Battle Cannon, while the Errant wields the Thermal Cannon.  A Rapid Fire Battle Cannon (we’ll go with RFBC to save some breath) is EXACTLY what it sounds like.  A two shot battle cannon, which is to say a 72″ range Str 8 Ap 3 hurt.

The Thermal Cannon being a bit more complex is basically a giant Multi Melta, 36″ range Str 9 Ap 1 Large Blast with the Melta Rule.  Anything tank or terminator will disintegrate as soon as the Errant looks at them.

My personal favorite is the Paladin as I feel he is good enough at killing vehicles with 2 Str 8 Ordnance shots that it just doesn’t make sense to take the lesser range and less shots the Thermal Cannon posses.  If you run into AV 14 or TEQ just charge those mofo’s and slap them silly with your Chainsword of death.

Overall, Codex: Imperial Knights is a cool little book that wraps up the history and rules of the Knights very nicely while offering a lot of fun, new option for your games of 40k.

Fun Factor: A (I love the models and the rules, the fact you can create an army of just them is nerdgasmic)

Competitiveness: B (They’re Super Heavies with Str D weapons, good armor, solid shooting attacks, and an invulnerable save……they’ll be able to take care of themselves.  How they will fare against the top tier armies remains to be seen)   

Well that’s all for today friends, i’ll be back in a few days to continue our swim through the CSM codex.  Until then folks, Ralshenik out!

My Golden Rule of 40,000

I want to take a moment to discuss what I believe is the fundamental rule of 40,000.  With some many rule supplements, experimental units, digital releases, data slates, super heavies, and crazy combos floating about, it really easy to get caught up in all the drama.  Myself included.  The lord primarch and I had an experience with this and it made me remember this.  The golden rule: it’s a game you play to have fun.

Seems simple, but it is very frequently forgotten.  The point of that rule is to keep you focused on what is fun for you.  If you like the new escalation or knight titan rules and it’s fun to you; great, use those rules and have fun.  Just remember that what is fun for you may not be fun for everyone else.

I have heard a lot of people say that you really need to sit down with your opponent and discuss what kind of game you want before you actually start pulling out models and lists.  This rings true with me.  I usually have multiple lists prepared before I go out for a day of gaming.  That way if someone wants a competitive game, I have a list for that, or a fluffy game, I also have a list for that.

Now, let’s look at this from another angle.  Say your opponent wants to use a rule set, supplement, unit combo, whatever, that you don’t want to play against.  Just tell them that politely.  If you don’t want to play against a seerstar list or a super heavy or a tau gun line, then politely say that you would not like to play against that list.

If both opponents are observing the golden rule, a solution should be reachable.  Lists can be changed, scenarios can be changed.  Rule interpretations can be agreed upon in advance.  Part of that solution maybe that you don’t play that opponent.  There is nothing wrong with that.

If I really want to play my orks, a low tier codex, and my opponent really wants to test out his tournament list of taudar, we could easily end up in this position.  If we can’t agree on a different game to play (either myself pulling out a harder list, or my opponent changing his to a softer one), then the best thing to do is not play that game.  There is no point in either you or your opponent being forced to play a game they don’t enjoy.

This all seems really simple in practice, but I don’t see it being applied nearly as often as it should in actual games.  Give it a try.  Decided what you think is fun.  Don’t worry about what other people will think.  Talk to your opponent before a game about anything within each others lists that may raise some concerns.  Just remember, it’s a game we play to have fun.

Chaos Space Marines: Characters

Greetings again my good readers!  The herb keeper returns to continue his miniseries review of the Chaos Space Marine codex!  Last time we touched on some of the special rules that could be found in the book as well as glossing over some of the general points of the ‘dex (in case you missed it http://twentyfirstlegion.com/2014/03/07/chaos-space-marine-codex-review-part-1/). This time we’re going to roll up our sleeves and dive right into each special character and grade them based off of; A. Fun Factor (how cool is this guy?) and B. Competitiveness (if I put him in a tournament list will it be worth it?).  Hopefully once we’re done you will feel the need to expel the false emperor from your life and stray down the path of glory and darkness!  (Kidding, don’t tell anyone I said that, the other writers on here may exterminatus my house).  While reading these reviews also consider every one of these characters has the Fearless and Veteran of the Long War special rules. Without further ado…..

Charachters

 

  • Abbadon the Despoiler:  The O.G. baddie of the Chaos Space Marine codex returns as big and terrifying as ever!  With all 4 marks of chaos, terminator armor, and 2 different close combat weapons that allow him to have a solution for practically everything if he assaults it. One being the Talon of Horus; which is best described as a claw of pure face f@*# for any and all with a 3+ armor save (good day Wraithknights and Hive Tyrants), oh yeah it has a combi-bolter!  The other being Drachnyen, which is an Ap 2 Daemon Weapon (good day everything else). Mr. Abbadon is quite simply one of the most powerful single models in the game.  Though slightly expensive, he packs more than enough of a punch to justify his points.  The critical thing is to make sure you get him in those situations for him to shine.

Fun Factor: A (he’s Abbadon and you’re playing Chaos Space Marines.  ‘Nuff said) Competitiveness: C+ (a huge point sink for someone who may not even be able to earn his points, god help your opponent if he makes it there however.)  

  • Huron Blackheart:  The fearless leader of the Red Corsairs pops up as one of the most cost efficient, reliable HQ’s in the codex.  Seriously, I heart this dude hard, touting the best Warlord trait in the book (which allows you to infiltrate/outflank up to 3 units potentially!) and a lightning claw with a built in heavy flamer that gives him +2 str and Armourbane.  All this along with combat familiar that gives him access to a random psychic power each turn and a 4++ save.  With all these features this guy is practically guaranteed to make his points back before the game even starts!

Fun Factor: B (Random powers each turn and infiltrate whoever you want basically, frickin awesome) Competitiveness:  A (His price, potential grab bag of powers, and infiltrate trick make him one of the books best HQ choices if you’re thinking “WIN!”)

  • Kharn the Betrayer:  Another classic Chaos Space Marine character returns as angry and hateful as ever.  Mr. Kharn is reincarnated every bit the combat monster he once was.   Easily capable of cleaving through infantry and tanks effortlessly, Kharn’s only drawback is a slight durability issue when having to go toe to toe with some of the better characters in the game.  If you keep him away from Hive Tyrants, Warbosses, etc he will dispose of most other things with little issue.  Unlocks Khorne Berserkers as troop choices.

Fun Factor: C (he’s red, angry, and chops stuff….occasionally his own people…that’s cool right?) Competitiveness: C (Kharn is very meh competitively; he won’t make or break your list)

  • Ahriman:  Ohhh Ahirman, what you could have been.  Ok let’s start with the positives here (cause there are some); the guy is a psychic boss with ML4 and a staff that allows him to fire up to 3 witch fires at once.  Access to every discipline in the BRB outside of Divination and Telekinesis, his Warlord trait is the best one in the book (see Huron), and he has a 4++.   Apart from that, he unlocks Thousands Sons as troop choices and has a bolt pistol with inferno bolts.  So what’s the bad news you ask?  Well for starters he’s HORRENDOUSLY overpriced, a psyker who costs 65 pts more than Tigerius should just be better than this IMO.  The ML4 is good but because he is Mark of Tzeentch he is forced to take one of their less desirable powers.  Thousands Sons are also a bit of a meh troop choice (which we’ll get to in another article) so this hurts his chances as well.  Finally it doesn’t help that his best trick (his warlord trait) is already available on a much cheaper character (see Huron).  Not trying to be a Debbie Downer but he simply just doesn’t stack up to the other high lvl psyker characters (Eldrad, Fateweaver, Tigerius, etc)

Fun Factor: C (He has a lot of powers he can potentially take and unlocks thousand sons as troops) Competitiveness: D (Too expensive and underwhelming to ever be seriously used in this type of game setting)   

  • Typhus:  The big stink himself returns and what a great HQ choice!  Clocking in at the same points as Ahirman, Typhus packs quite a few tricks that make him worth the point sink.  For starters, he is pretty damn tough; with terminator armor, toughness 5, and the feel no pain USR.  He is by no means an easily disposed of fellow, once more he carries a daemon/force weapon that’s capable of cleaving through enemy troops like a hot knife through butter.  If that doesn’t work you can pull his trump card; a giant destroyer hive on his back explodes, covering all those nearby in Nurgle’s pestilence for some AP2 goodness!  Unlike Kharn, Typus can potentially hold his own against monstrous creatures, needing to only cause one wound for a chance at destroying them completely (be wary of smash attacks however).  He unlocks Plague Marines as troops and that’s not all!  He can also take those boring old Cultists of yours and turn them into scoring zombies! (granting them Feel no Pain at the cost of mobility)  That’s right folks, you can have FREAKIN ZOMBIES!

Fun Factor:  B (Zombies bro….zombies….) Competitiveness: B (Being a beefy hitstick who can give an already ridiculously cheap troop choice Feel No Pain.  Couple that with him unlocking one of the better cult troops and Typhus has himself a good case for being one of the stronger HQ choices in a competitive setting)

  • Lucuis the Eternal:  Lucuis can be best described by a word that follows everything Slaneesh quite frequently…..strange.  Seriously, this guy is one of the oddest HQ choices in the entire game.  He has the thin durability of Kharn, yet rules and a background that almost demand you try and get him in challenge (accent on the ‘demand’ in Veteran of the Long War’s case).  In his defense, he is a serious troll when you get him in combat, for starters, his ATK characteristic is equal to his opponent’s WS (hello Captains).   Dude’s gear is also really nifty; power armor that gives him a 5++ and during combat it causes a str 4 ap 2 hit to the opposing unit for each armor save he passes (with ignores cover?).  His weapons are a lash that reduces the ATK characteristic of an opposing model in base with him by 1 and gives all his close combat attacks the rending special rule.  A power sword for some Ap3 action, a Doom Siren for some Ap3 Flamer action (Lucuis doesn’t like power armor).  Finally he unlocks Noise Marines as troops and that is just awesome!

Fun Factor: A (He’s a unique dude, with some crazy cool abilities.  Fielding him should always provide some fun to be had!)  Competitiveness : C (The inherit problem with Lucuis is he just isn’t durable enough to be the challenge monster his rules encourage him to be, he’s cheap enough that it doesn’t kill you taking him, but there are wayyy more cost efficient ways to get Noise Marine troops )

  • Fabious Bile:  Full disclosure, I love Fabious, there doesn’t seem to be much excitement for him on the interwebs or in the 40k community in general.   Me thinks this has a lot to do with the cold treatment standard chaos space marines have received from these same groups.  Now I will preempt this by stating I like the regular marines just fine,  I will have a Troop Section review coming soon and I will discuss this point more in detail but there you have it.  Anyways Big Daddy Bile has some cool tricks up his sleeve!  For starters, he can grant any unit of normal chaos marines +1 Str and the Fearless special rule for the rest of the game.  His wargear is a buffet of nastiness; his spidery harness, The Chirugeon, that grants him +2 Atks, +1 Str, and the Feel no Pain special rule.  The Rod of Torment (insert joke here), which makes his close combat attacks cause instant death and of course, his Xyclos Needler, which is a poisoned (2+), assault 3 18” range pistol.

 Fun Factor: C (cool rules, just nothing that gets you and your opponent terribly excited about the game)  Competitiveness:  B+ (SUPER underrated, reliable HQ choice)    Well that’s it for today folks!  Next part will be up shortly and we’ll go over the non-special character HQ’s!  Until then, Ralshenik out!  

Keeping at the Painting Grind

I must confess, I have only one fully painted army (my vampire counts).  My orks are about 30% painted.  I had planned to get about 2000 points finished before the new codex drops eventually, but they have been off the painting table as of late.  My tau are about 25% complete.  They are a simpler paint scheme and I was able to base coat most models with an airbrush.  I even started an escalation painting league to help motivate me to finish the army.  Yet still I failed.

Recently I have started my Iron Hands, they can be seen here.  I got through there first tactical squad and rhino (I finally got a top hatch for it btw) in about 2 weeks.  I have literally been painting one marine at time to completion before moving on to the next.  Right now, this feels like a comfortable pace for me, but I am all too aware that I have failed before.

The only tactic that seemed to keep me motivated to paint was what I used with my Vampire Counts.  I would not let myself buy another box until I painted the previous.  It worked well, and I didn’t play fantasy often.  I just haven’t been able to exercise that level of self control with my purchasing of 40k.

I may not have succeeded in painting a 40k army to completion yet; but I have read about many different strategies to keep one self motivated.  I figured I would give you a short run down and my experiences with each.

1)      Batch painting.  The idea is to take a large batch of models (10 or more usually) and paint one step or color at a time on each model before moving on to the next.  I discovered this tends to work well on units with very uniformed models and simple color schemes.  It did not work well with my orks.  There was far to much variation in how each army, boot, gun, ect had to be painted to fit my paint scheme.  This led to a lot of missed spots that I would have to go back on to fix.  Slowed everything right down.  It did work well on my tau though, since the models are all very similar and the paint scheme is very simple.

2)      Small Batch painting.  Similar to above, but small groups of models.  I found that 3-5 work best for me.  This is how the majority of my orks get done.  Probably the most common method I use.

3)      Painting on a schedule.  The idea being to set goals in terms of a calendar.  Like I need to finish the squad by the end of the month.  It all works groovy until you either A) get behind because life invades hobby time, or B) you work on a model or unit you don’t enjoy.  Then you are either forcing yourself to do something you are not enjoying or rushing through to try to catch up.  This happened with my tau crisis suits, and I feel the rush to get done had a noticeable drop in quality.

4)      Painting individual models.  Idea is to only paint one model at a time, allowing for more detail and focus on each model.  Results in good quality, but is a very slow process.  Better have some good pod casts or Netflix lined up.  I recommend the overlords or the independent characters.

5)      Painting a unit before buying the next.  See above.

In the end though, the best thing I can say is just keep painting.  Do a little bit here and there and it will all add up.  I get bored painting one unit, so I will switch to another unit or a whole new army.  Yes, it takes me longer to finish things this way.  But painting should not be work, it should be fun.