Expanding into Formations

This Saturday I decided to run my first Tyranid formation. I ran a soft list, very swarmy, and added the Skytyrant Swam formation. This formation is a Hive Tyrant, which has to take the wings biomorph, and two units of Gargoyles. This means you can run it with 20 to 60 Gargoyles.

There are a few good things that come with this formation. First, the Hive Tyrant adds 6 inches to its synapse range. Not that I would ever do this, but if you give it the Norm Crown, and manage to get dominion off, this would give you a Hive Tyrant with a 30 inch synapse range. Second, the Hive Tyrant can also take Look Out, Sir rolls, and pass them on a 2+. This means that you now have 20 or more extra wounds on the Tyrant. Third, the only way this formation gives up kill points is if the entire formation is completely destroyed. Finally, the formation just looks cool. A swarm of Gargoyles surrounding a massive Hive Tyrant with wings just looks amazing.

Now, having said all of that, I am not sold on this formation. Sure, I ran it with 30 Gargoyles, giving the Tyrant 30 extra wounds, but these wounds are T3 with armour saves of 6. So bolters, while would wound the Tyrant on 6’s, causes wounds on this unit on 3s. And those wounds do not get armour saves. Also, due to the way the special rules read, the Hive Tyrant cannot fly. This obviously makes sense when Hive Tyrant is with the Gargoyles, but it also true when all of the Gargoyles are destroyed. The rule reads “The Hive Tyrant cannot leave the unit during the battle and can only use the Gliding Flight mode.”

Will I run this formation again? Of course, it is fun, and like I said, it looks really cool when they are all painted up. I may even get another 10 gargoyles for another 10 wounds. But this formation is not a game changer.

The Last Stand of the Iron Hands – Severus’ Perspective

Howdy Everyone!  Severus here!  Sorry I have been absent as of late.  Life is moving fast for me with this move to Alabama.  Lots of stuff to deal with.  Luckily I was able to get some time this past weekend to get some final games in with my friends.  Among those was the Last Stand Scenario that Shorereaper wrote.  He wanted to run a 2500 point list, so I would need to bring allies for my Iron Hands to reach that points level.  I knew the scenario, so I wrote a thematic list.  Here is what I took:

4 Setup Iron Hands

  • Chapter Master – Terminator Armor, Gorgon’s Chains, Thunderhammer
  • Assault Terminators – 5 man with Thunderhammers and Stormsheilds
  • Sternguard – 10 man, Vet Sgt with Melta Bombs
  • Tactical Squad – 10 man with Heavy Bolter, Plasma Gun, and Sgt with Melta Bombs
  • Tactical Squad – 10 man with Heavy Bolter, Plasma Gun, and Sgt with Melta Bombs
  • Stormtalon – Skyhammer Missiles
  • Devestators – 10 man with 2 Missile Launchers and 2 Plasma Cannons
  • Vindicator – Siege Shield
  • Landraider Crusaider
  • Knight Paladin
  • Skitarii Vanguard – 10 man with an omniscope, Alpha with Taser Goad and Phosphex Blast Pistol
  • Skitarii Vanguard – 10 man with an omniscope, Alpha with Taser Goad and Phosphex Blast Pistol
  • Sicarian Ruststalkers – 5 man with Transonic Razors and Chordclaws, Princeps with Prehensile Dataspike

I deployed with a plan in mind.  The biggest trouble would be bringing down the Hierodule.  I put my Knight, Justice, along my left flank.  I put the terminators in the land raider with Iron Father Telavek on my right.  I put the vindicator along my left flank.  I deployed both a unit of tac marines and vanguard on each side of the defense line I was given.  I put the devestators in the middle.  The sternguard were deployed on the left flank as a support element.  The ruststalkers were deployed on the right flank as a counter attack element

If the hierodule came down the left flank, Justice and his D strength close combat attacks would be there to meet him.  If he came down my right flank, the thunderhammer terminators would be there to receive him.   I didn’t think they could take him down, but they could hold him long enough for Justice to come in and deliver the killing blow.  Everything else was there to try to keep the waves of tyranids pushed away from my defensive line so that the terminators and Justice could maneuver into position.

15 End Iron Hand Turn 1Turn one, Nids went first.  They covered the gap between our lines fast.  I had three units getting up close that could assault in turn 2 if I didn’t deal with them.  The ravengers, the hormagaunts, and the gargoyles.  I prioritized the ravengers and unloaded onto them, killing them to a man.  Up next were the gaunts, cutting there unit in half.  I did a small  amount of damage to the gargoyles, but nothing significant.  The tide was pushed back for a turn.

19 Getting closer Turn 217 Ravener vs Iron HandsTurn two, the nids advanced again.  The hierodule came out and started heading up the center with a 12 inch move and a 12 inch run.  It was going to be on my lines soon.  Warp blast tool out the vidicators demolisher cannon.  The ravenger made it into combat with one of my tactical squads (a 5 man combat squad with the plasma gun and sergeant).  They held.  The gargoyles shot off three of my vanguard on my right flank then tried to charge.  The vanguard stood tall that day and killed 7 in overwatch, preventing the charge.

On the Iron Hands turn 2, it was time to strike back.  The vindicator (now a useless moving box) moved up my left flank to try to funnel some of the gaunts towards my lines.  Shooting focused on the bigger bugs that were getting closer.  The swarmlord and his guard moved up the left center and the carnifex and hive tyrant moved up my right.  Shooting took down the swarmlords guard and put a wound on the beast himself.  The right flank focused on taking down the gargoyles and carnifex.  The vanguard did a stellar job once again, killing the gargoyles down to 2.  The rest of that flanks shooting chipped off a wound from the carnifex.  Finally, the Ruststalkers vaulted over the lines and charged into the carnifex.  They brought him down to one wound and lost one of there number in return.

Turn 3 saw the nids finally reach combat in significant numbers.  Everything moved up.  Psychic mind bullets from the Hive Tyrant popped the landraider on the right flank.  The Swarmlord and pyrove charged in against part of the vindicator on the left.  The hive tyrant and hormogaunts charged into the ruststalkers to try to save the carnifex.  In the end, the ruststalkers failed to killed the carnifex and died for their effort.  The vindicator survived with one hull point.

22 Swarmlord

We all know what is about to happen.

The Iron Hands retaliated in turn 3 with more concentrated fire power.  This time the fire power was focused on the hierodule, warriors, and the swarmlord.  Only a wound chipped off the hierodule.  The Swarmlord was brought down to a wound. Several warriors were killed and the hormaguants met their end.  Justice finally strode forth to take on the hierodule.  The right flank shooting took down the carnifex finally.  Iron Father Telavek and his terminators crawled out of the wreckage to seek vengeance on the Hive Tyrant that destroyed there beloved transport.  Justice failed his charge and now stood vulnerable in front of the iron hands lines.  Telavek and his terminators destroyed the offending hive tyrant.

24 Epic BattleTurn 4 was time for epic combat.  Swarmlord charged in against a unit of 5 sternguard supported by the pyrovore.  Finally, the hierodule charged in against Justice.  The swarmlord survived his combat with the sternguard and felled two of there numbers.  Justice put up a mighty fight with his reaper chainsword, dealing several viscous blows and bringing the mighty hierodule down to a single wound.  Then the hierodule shredded Justice.  In the resulting titanic explosion, Justice fell over and killed the Swarmlord, the pyrovore, and the sternguard.

The Iron Hand Devestators retaliated with concentrated missile fire in the bottom of turn 4, dropping the hierodule.  And with that the swarm was broken.  The bug started their retreat under the guidance of the warriors.  A victory for the Iron Hands, but at a great cost.

Overall the game was a blast.  Definitely a high note to go out on with Shorereaper.  I definitely felt the pressure of keeping all those nids off my lines.  The recycling unit mechanic never really came into play.  A unit coming on from Shorereaper’s board edge needs to cover 48 inches to get to my lines.  Most units can’t do that in 2-3 turns.  Maybe bringing the hierodule in on turn 1 could more pressure on the defenders.

Little narrative battles like this one are a lot of fun. Win lose or draw, you make a great story.  I am working on a little one from this battle.  Perhaps involving the saga of Shamus.  Until next time, Have a good one and take it easy.

Last Stand of the Iron Hands – Shorereaper’s perspective

So, in honor of Severus leaving us, I challenged him to a game of my own design as our final outing. I wanted his Iron Hands (and any allies he chose) to face my Tyranids in an epic battle. He knew what the mission was, and he knew approximately what was going to be in my list.

As I covered in an earlier blog, the deployment was hammer and anvil, with very little terrain in the center of the board. On his tableside, there was a Wall of Martyr Defense Line, some Defense Emplacements, and a Firestorm Redoubt with Quad Icarus Lascannons, at not cost to him, but he did get their special rules.

My list consisted of the following:

3 Tyrant Guard
Hive Tyrant
30 Termagants
30 Hormagaunts
9 Warriors
30 Gargoyles (almost fully painted too!)
9 Raveners w/ Rending Claws
Scythed Hierodule

Severus will write about his list in a blog about his perspective.

My deployment was pretty standard. I knew that my fast units had to close the gaps quickly, so they were the front line. The Gargoyles were on my left flank, the Hormagaunts were deployed next to them. The Raveners I placed on the right flank, knowing they were going to move more towards the center. The Swarmlord was in the center, giving me fantastic coverage with his synapse. The Venomthrope, Termagants, and warriors made up the rest of the right flank. Supporting the left flank was the Carnifex and the Hive Tyrant. The rules of the game required the Hierodule to be kept in reserve until turn 2. For My psychic powers, the Hive Tyrant and the Swarmlord had Warp Blast, Paroxysm, and Dominion. The Swarmlord also had Psychic Scream. Yes, I somehow managed get get all of the same powers.

Here is the wall of Nids

Here is the wall of Nids



8 Setup Nids

Turn 1 –

My Turn 1 was pretty basic. Move forward. Everything moved forward as fast as they could. In the psychic phase, I got off Dominion and didn’t even try for anything else. In the shooting phase, I ran everything forward. I wanted to close the gap. The only way I could pull this win off was if I could get engaged in combat quickly.

10 Turn 1 Nids

Severus’s turn, in short, was shoot shoot shoot. He took out a few gargoyles, a lot of Hormaguants, and most of my Raveners.

Turn 2 –

Again, the movement phase was easy, hauling forward as fast as I can. I found myself with a lot fewer Raveners and Hormaguants, and the Gargoyles were reduced as well. The Hierodule, entering the field of battle, started his movement up the center of the table. His 12-inch movement, and double run, really allowed him to cover a lot of ground.

I got my Gargoyles in position to shoot at the Skitarii, and placed my Ravener and Hormaguants in a position to charge some tactical marines. The Gargoyles killed three of the Skitarii (my first kills) in the shooting phase, but they were about to be taught a lesson about overwatch. In the psychic phase, the Swarmlord managed to get the Warp Lance off and destroyed the Vindicator’s gun.

I charged the guants into the tac squad so they could take the overwatch, and they were actually shot out of charge range. The Ravener then charged in and proceeded to kill one Tac Marine. The Gargoyles declared a long charge, and seven of them proceeded to die to overwatch. Not a very successful turn two.

11 End Nid Turn 1

Severus used hit turn to shoot more of my units, and charged the Carnifex with some of his Skitarii. It did not go well. The Carnifex killed one model and Skitarii caused a few wounds.

Turn 3 –

And here is where the excitement started happening. The hierodule closed the gap again. The Hive Tyrant and the remaining Hormaguants put themselves into a position to support the carnifex, who was now locked in mortal combat with a Skitarii unit and had one wound remaining. Warriors and Termagants continued to rush forward, now starting to get off some shots. The remaing Gargoyled actually went behind enemy lines (where I proceeded to forget about them). In the psychic phase I managed to blowup the Land Raider with a well placed warp lance from the Hive Tyrant.

12 End Nid Turn 1

While nothing noteworthy happened in the shooting phase, the Hierodule finally got into shooting range and killed three more marines, then ran forward another three inches.

20 Turn 3

In the assault phase, the Swarmlord and the Pyrovore charged the Vindicator, and proceeded to knock one hull point off of it. The Ravener finally won his close combat, and consolidated in front of the Redoubt. The Hive Tyrant and Guants managed to save the Carnifex from death.

In Severus’s turn, he charged the Hive Tyrant with Terminators, and killed it. He Killed the Carnifex (finally). And he finally wiped the Gargoyles off the board.

Turn 4 –

And now we come to the end of the game. The Tyrant? Dead. The Carnifex? Dead. The Hormaguants? Mostly Dead.

The Swarmlord and Pyrovore moved forward again, putting them in position to charge some Sternguard. The Knight failed a charge on the Hierodule in Severus’s turn, so I moved him closer so I could get off the charge. I wanted this battle to be epic. I used the Swarmlord to give the Hierodule Preferred Enemy.

22 Swarmlord

The Pyrovore killed a marine, and the Warriors and Gants killed a few others in the shooting phase. That was about all I had left to shoot with. I charged the Swarmlord and the Pyrovore into the Sternguard and charged the Hierodule into the Imperial Knight. Really, nothing exceptional happed in the combat with the Swarmlord/Pyrovore… well, other than they two of them managed to kill one marine. But the Knight/Hierodule was going to be exciting. The Knight, with his D attack, managed to knock the hierodule down to one wound. The Hierodule, with preferred enemy and S10 hits (9 of them! 7 Base, 2nd Close Combat Weapon, and the charge) obliterated that Knight. When the Knight exploded, he exploded big. The apoc template then scattered onto the Swarmlord, killing him (and taking Severus’s chance at killing the Swarmlord away again).

We all know what is about to happen.

We all know what is about to happen.

Too bad the Hierodule took a grenade to the face in Severus’s next turn. After that, with as few unit as I had left, I had to concede.

It was a fun and epic way for our last game to play out. Oh, and my record against Seth was 15 Wins, 19 Losses, and 1 Tie. Yes, I kept track.

Last Stand of the Nurse Sharks

It is a little late, but last Saturday I got my first chance to test my “Last Stand” scenario. And even though I lost, I had fun, and I learned some things to make the next game a little more even.

First, as you can see from the pic below, my army had an interesting fight ahead of them. I had to march my Tyranids across a No-Mans Land with very little cover. My opponent, fielding Sisters of Battle and Carcharodons, had an open field of fire. I actually wrote his list, so I should have known that I was in for a rough day.

That two feet of no terrain looked bigger in person

That two feet of no terrain looked bigger in person

And it really was a rough day. I gave him a unit of two thunderfire cannons, and they removed a swarm unit a turn. Sure, they just went into ongoing reserves, but they would just die again.

The Hierodule came on the board on turn three, like my rules stated, but that just didn’t give me enough time to do anything with him. He was only really productive in turn 5, and that just was not enough time.

So, the game ended up with the Nurse Sharks holding the line. The Nids, throwing themselves against the line…. And just dying in no mans lands. But it was fun.

Below are some further pictures….

I deployed on the 2 foot line, keeping my fastest units to the front. I wanted to get them to the enemy quickly.

I deployed on the 2 foot line, keeping my fastest units to the front. I wanted to get them to the enemy quickly.

Sisters hiding (smartly) in the trenches.

Sisters hiding (smartly) in the trenches.

A better picture of the Nurse Shark deployment. Tyberos "commanding" from behind the trenches.

A better picture of the Nurse Shark deployment. Tyberos “commanding” from behind the trenches.

Warriors and Raveners moving forwards. Raveners would be put into ongoing reserves at the end of my opponent's turn.

Warriors and Raveners moving forwards. Raveners would be put into ongoing reserves at the end of my opponent’s turn.

Here the lines are starting to separate. Faster units pulling away.

Here the lines are starting to separate. Faster units pulling away.

Sisters in the trenches (their right flank). In the distance you can see the Hierodule which took on the left flank... just before the game ended.

Sisters in the trenches (their right flank). In the distance you can see the Hierodule which took on the left flank… just before the game ended.


Last Stand of the *Insert Imperial Army Here*

Quite a few weeks ago, when I found out that our brother Severus was leaving the state of Maryland to move to the state of insanity, I mean… Alabama, I challenged him to a mission I dubbed “The Last Stand of the Iron Hands”. I thought that this would be a fun and final way for our two armies to meet. Thinking we had more time, he challenged me to have my army fully painted. Now that he is leaving a month early, I fear that my part of the agreement will not be fulfilled.

It also happened that I described this mission to another player from our group, and he liked the idea. So I challenged him as well, except now it is the Sisters of Battles and the Carcharodons (which happen to be mine) facing my Tyranids. I decided to run this game earlier, before facing off against Severus, thinking it would be a great test for the scenario. I wrote up a list, with two CADs, and one I though would be able to put us a fight against my Tyranid list.

Now, why do I bring this up? Well, it looks like I will be getting both games in this coming weekend (the one against Severus may take place the following week). I would like opinions on this mission. Both opponents know what they will be facing, at least in the basic terms. And the Sisters have troops that I believe can fight what I have planned.

The mission has Hammer and Anvil deployment, meaning my bugs will have to march across the table while taking fire from the Imperials. There will be a “no man’s land” in the middle of the table, with no terrain for me to take cover in. Cover in my deployment zone will be sparse. On the imperial side, there will be some Walls of Martyrs Imperial Defence Lines, some Emplacements, and a Redoubt or two. And the Imperial player gets these at no additional cost. My army will have the Scythed Hierodule in it, which will only come onto the table on turn three. Also, any unit that has been completely destroyed by my opponent goes into ongoing reserves, and enters the board from my table edge.

Not to make it look like I am giving myself too easy of a mission, I have put a limit on the amount of flyers I can take. As in, I am not taking any. Both sides are taking 2500 points in their lists.

Now, what is my goal? I have to table my opponent, of course. I have to march across the table, taking fire, and hoping that I can get close enough to kill every last one of those tasty imperials. If I can table them by Turn 5, it is a win for me. If I table them in Turn 6, the result is a tie. If they last till turn 7, it is a win for them. This part of the game may require some changes

Of course, the main goal will be to have fun. I have the Scythed Hierodule, they have all of the cover. Hopefully it will balance out in the end. There can even be some fluff, the Sisters, protecting the Emperor’s faithful, called for help. While trying to save the citizens and the wounded, and giving them time to evacuate, the Sharks show up to give them aid. There alliance can even be called “Nurse Sharks”…

I know that I am probably the only one who laughed at that.


The Long Fight

Every now and then, Severus and I feel the need to cause mass death and destruction. We challenge each other to a battle of the swarms. He puts up his Orks up against my Tyranids. This past weekend was another one of those long battles. He brought tons of orks including 6 HQs and a lot of boys (and only one tank). I brought 188 models including the Swarmlord, a Hive Tyrant, Tyrant Guard, 9 warriors, 9 Raveners, a Pyrovore, 2 Biovores, 60 Termaguants, 40 Genestealers, 30 Gargoyles (who didn’t last long) and 30 Hormaguants.

Knowing this was going to be a fun blood bath, I decided to deploy everything onto the table. I didn’t even infiltrate the Genestealers. Gargoyles were on the left flank with the Warriors. Hormaguants, Biovores, Raveners, and the Hive Tyrant were on the right flank. Genestealers, Hormaguants, and the Swarmlord were the center of my army. Oh, and the Pyrovore was there with them in his first appearance.

I had no goal except to charge in and kill or be killed. Well, it turns out that it is fairly easy to be killed. Gargoyles killed a Deffkopta, and so did the Raveners, but from that point on, it was just a slow death.

The following are some photos of the action. You can just see the models being slowly pulled off the board.

1 Orks After Scout

Severus deployed his Orks in a similar way. Just get them on the board. He scouted his Deffkopta forward, and braced for the on coming tide.

2 Most of the orks

My view of what I would be facing.

2 Orks 1

And as you can see, some of these were members of the grey tide.

3 Genestealers

Some genestealers, preparing for the run forward.

4 Greenstealer

What do you get when on genestealer eats too many Orks? A greenstealer.

5 Orcs in the distance

Time to skitter forward.

6 Hive Tyrant

Filling up the right flank was a Hive Tyrant, making sure that none of the Raveners decided to fall to their instincts.

7 Close Combat 1

Not much later in the game, a close combat. One ravener and a few Hormaguants just couldn’t stand up to the clubbing that they received.

8 Pyrovore leading the charge

The Pyrovore, bravely moving forward. In this game, I have to admit that he did pretty good. Wasn’t an all-star, but he did take out a few models. And Pyrovores are considered terrible…

9 Orks Close the flank

Ork boys, having defeated the gargoyles, are seining in to slaughter some Warriors. I wish I could say it went well, but it really didn’t. Two units charged those warriors, and they didn’t last a turn of close combat.

10 Broodlords perspective

The Broodlord and his crew slowly moving up the edge. Someone had to try and save the Swarmlord.

11 Ignore the Pyrovore

This was one of the most entertaining points in the game. Two almost full units of boys decided to charge the Swarmlord. So they went around the Pyrovore. The wanted the Swarmlord.

12 And the beating begins

And now it started becoming a quagmire. Two units of boys charging in, and the Pyrovore with nothing to do. Shame I didn’t have “Supporting Fire”.

13 Ork Close combat

14 And the roll

This is going to hurt.

15 What is going on here

And the Orks are thinned out… but so are the Gaunts and the Genestealers.

16 Close combat 2

And finally the Flash Gits show up for some close combat. From here, it just went down hill. Severus slowly picked off the Genestealers, the Guants, and the Guard. In turn 6, the Swarmlord had one wound left. Then I dumped all of my psychic dice into Catalyst, knowing I would need Feel No Pain. And I periled. The Swarmlord took himself out of the game, causing me to be tabled.

Five hours. Lots of Death. A loss. Now that was a fun game.

A Journey of 1000 Miles Starts with a Single Step

lotr2Howdy everyone, Severus here.  I have some important news to share with you.  In the near future, I will be taking a position in Auburn Alabama and moving away from Baltimore.  This, while great for me professionally, is very bad for me in terms of the hobby.

Why you ask?  Well, I went to college and professional school in Auburn.  In my 7 years there, I never met a single 40k player.  I tried to teach my roommate once, but it never grabbed him.  Granted, I was not super active in my search for a gaming community back then.  Regardless, it is a bit scary to think I have become so deeply involved in this hobby, and now I may lose the very community that it needs to survive.

I have a lot of 40k and warhammer miniatures.  I mean A LOT.  It is a hobby I love and there is so much I want to do with it still.  I have armies to finish building, armies to finish painting, conversion ideas, table ideas, terrain ideas, campaign ideas, the list goes on and on.  Granted, I will probably have less hobby time in the future with the demands of my new job  This is still a hobby I want to stay active in.  I find the little bit of hobby time I get each night is a great way to relax my mind.

So, what is a gamer to do when he moves to the land of no games?  Why, try to build a community of course!  I have reached out to one person who is involved in a card shop there.  He said there was a 40k community, but they are mostly basement and garage gamers.  There are no stores to my knowledge that stocks GW products or have tables available.  There is a game shop with an active community about an hour away from where I will be living.  If I can get some time on a weekend, a trip over there could be a good idea.  What I really want to do though is find local gamers and build a community.

That feeds into the next part of my plan.  I need a gaming space.  Ultimately, I am sure I could find an area in our home to setup a table if I needed to.  Problem is I don’t have a table.  I have a couple of folding tables that could work.  I have some old beat up GW terrain (mainly craters and trees).  I need to get some buildings and a table top.  I have toyed around with the idea of building my own.  I think I may invest in a Fat Mat from Frontline Gaming.

Finally, what can I do to stay in touch my gaming group in Baltimore?  These guys have been the best gaming group I have ever been a part of.  It is what has driven me so deeply into this hobby.  I have a few ideas.  Meeting up at conventions is probably the first idea I had. Adepticon or Nova Open or the LVO all sound like options.  Plus, if I truly am in a land of no games, a weekend away with the friends gaming every few months would be worth it.  Some guys have purposed road trips to see each other.  Also another great idea.  Finally, I stole and idea from Garagehammer.  Skype painting sessions.  A good way to chat and hobby.

So, what does this all mean for the future of the Blog?  I am not sure.  I want to stay active in the hobby.  Maybe keeping the blog going will be the motivation I need to stay active.  You can also expect to see myself taking to all forms of social media to start trying to find some gamer contacts in Alabama.  Including this blog.

All is no lost though.  I still have two months here.  Plenty of time to get some epic games in with everyone.  I even purposed and apocalypse game with all my orks against all the imperial forces my friends can field.  The last stand of Kaptain Klaw.  Until next time, this is Severus saying have a good one and take it easy.