Seldom Used Units

In my last post I mentioned how I was challenged to make a list using units I own but hardly ever use. I thought that it would make a great blog to go through the list and why I hardly ever use those units. Some of my reasons I am sure are valid reasons, but even I know that other reasons are just lame.

First, the two HQ units I am adding to the list. I am going to use Old One Eye and a Tryanid Prime in my list. Old One Eye is a recent addition to my collection and that is why he has actually never seen the tabletop. However, even if that were not true, even if he was a model I had for a while, I do not believe he would be played all that often. For 220 points, I am basically fielding a Carnifex. Not that I am complaining, as I do use Carnifexes often, but not in his format. He does bring with him the ability for units within 12 inches of him to use his leadership value for morale or leadership tests. However, he is only leadership 8, and a synapse would be better. He does have the ability to generate extra attacks in close combat, and his warlord trait does give him feel no pain after the first wound, and he does come with regeneration, so maybe he isn’t terrible.

As for the Tyranid Prime, I have used one of them before, and I have to say that it isn’t a bad unit. Dropping a Prime into a unit of warriors makes the warriors WS6 and BS4, making them slightly better. And with a toughness of 5, he is a little harder to cause instant death to. The rest of the warriors, however, they will struggle since they are much easier to kill. I rarely use the prime because I feel the other HQ options are just better.

The troop options I decided to take are 30 Hormagaunts, a full unit of ripper swarms, and 6 Tyranid warriors. I never take the Hormagaunts and rarely take the Warriors for the same reason. I feel like there are better troop options. They are not bad, and I have had success with the Warriors, but I just feel there are better troop options. Like 30 Termagants and a Tervigon for example. As for the Ripper Swarms, I just don’t like taking them. Sure, they bring a lot of close combat attacks to the table, but at WS2 and S3, they are easy to kill and remove from the board. I will say that if they do get into close combat, they are good for tying up a unit for a turn or two.

My three Elite choices are the Haruspex, the Maleceptor, and a full unit of Hive Guard. Starting with the Guard, I have no good reason for never taking these. They are really good at what they do. S8 weapons that ignore cover and do not need line of sight are nothing to sneeze at. Sure, odds are that I will hit with 3 of the 6 shots, but it is still a solid weapon. The Haruspex and the Maleceptor I have used in some games, and I just do not feel that they are worth the points cost. To get the Haruspex anywhere, you have to give it adrenal glands, making it a 175-point close combat unit that isn’t all that good in close combat. And the Maleceptor is terrible. It’s a psyker unit that costs way too much for what it does. In the one game I used it, I would have been happier with nearly anything else in the codex.

I have three fast choices in this list. I decided on 25 Gargoyles, the Harpy (it’s a good thing I am facing an army with no flyers since the Harpy is Anti-troop) and a spore mine cluster. My reason for never using the Gargoyles is admittedly lame. I am lazy, and I hate moving that unit. They are not a bad unit at all. They are fantastic for getting in the way of your opponent and tying up a unit in close combat. Sure, they are weak, but they are cheap and have a 6+ poison attack, meaning they can wound anything. The Harpy is just the worse of the two flyers. The Crone is so much more useable, so I tend to take one or two of them in every game. The Harpy does one thing ok, and that is shoot at troops, preferably troops with low armour values. As for the Spore Mine cluster, I just do not think taking them as a unit brings any value to the game.

Finally, I have the two heavy units I decided to field. I decided on the Mawloc (I hate Moloc) and the Tyrannofex. The Mawloc is a unit that I do not believe I gave a fair chance to. Is has an interesting subterranean attack and it a tough monstrous creature. I have used it in a game or two, but it just doesn’t fit in my normal list. As for the Tyrannofex, it is a relatively new model to my collection, but that is not why I haven’t used it yet. Honestly, I am not sure how to use it. Basically being forced to take gives me a chance to try it out and maybe learn some things.

So, that’s my rarely used unit list. I couldn’t actually add the Biovore or Pyrovore, since I do not actually own those models (yet). I do see some serious issues with this list. Just thinking about the lack of synapse units means I may be falling back a lot. I do, however, rather like the idea of taking units I never use.

Unit Review: Tau XV109 Y’varha – AKA Lightining

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Howdy everyone.  It’s Severus and I am back with part two of my riptide variant review.  Check out part 1 here.  Today I will be covering the newer addition to the tau arrsenal, the XV109 Y’varha, or as I call him, Lightining.  I just picked this baby up and am getting an impression of how it works on the table top.  These are my early thoughts on it’s tactics, rules, fluff, and model.

Fluff wise, this one is a little light on it.  Essentially, the famed creator of the R’varna, Fio’O Kel’shan Sho’Aun, had at least one other suit design in his arsenal  After the success of the R’varna, he was given the green light to work on his other prototype, the Y’varha.  This suit is a shift away from his traditional philosophy of siege warfare.  It is designed for more hit and run style warfare.

Model wise this one is my favorite.  He looks absolutely fantastic.  His super charged jet pack really gives you the feeling that he can make some large leaps through the air.  Assembly was pretty easy.  I think the only complaints I could lodge is that a few gaps were left around where the resin plates cover the torso.  There was a fair amount of filing to make some of those pieces fit.  Otherwise, another great kit from forgeworld with lots of posing options.

Once again, at the time of this writing a set of experimental rules are available for download from forgeworld.  As always, since these are experimental, I recommend getting your opponents permission before playing with these rules.

Rules wise this guy is a huge mess of rules.  First off, the stat line.   Pretty similar to the riptide again, but now with 4 wounds and ballistic skill 4.  The Y’varha comes with hit and run as well as supporting fire.  It can take shielded missile drones or standard shield drones, which I still think I would pass on due to the chance for failed moral checks.  Support system wise, it has access to everything.  Stand outs for me are the stimulant injector (feel no pain) and possibly the counter fire defense system (overwatch at BS 2).  It is a fast attack slot and only available to the tau empire.  Guess old Farsight is left out again.

Now on to the pile of wargear this guy drags into battle.  It’s Ravelin Shield generator provides the Y’varha with a 5+ invuln, improving to 4+ invuln when the attack is made within 12 inches or close combat.  Up next is the Vectored Thrust Array.  This allows the Y’Varha to move like a swooping monstrous creature (12-24 inches).  It cannot vector strike or preform a movement like this in 2 subsequent turns.  Note it moves like a swooping MC, it is not swooping though, so it can be shot normally.  Finally, it’s Flechette Dispersal Pods.  When the Y’varha moves as describes above or comes in via deep strike, it can make a special shooting attack at the end of the movement phase.  The weapon has 6″ range, strength 4, ap5, assault D6 with the shred special rule.  Note, this does not count as firing a weapon (so he can still shoot his other guns at a different target).

Now onto the weaponry.  First off the Y’varha is packing a phased-plasma flamer.  Oh yeah, it’s that bad.  It is essentially a 6″ torrent flamer with two fire modes.  Single canister makes the shot strength 6, ap3, heavy 1.  Full rotation (as in all three canisters) is strength 6, ap2, heavy 2, gets hot.  This gun is MEAN.  It can essential wipe out any infantry squad it likes.  Templates ignore cover and depending on mode, it can be ap2 or ap3.  Add onto that the double shot for full rotation and you begin to see how much damage this can put out.  Remember, this gun can only kill what it can reach, so the 6″ torrent is your friend.  Don’t let a crafty tau try to cheat you.  After that try to keep your units spread out (pretty standard advice when dealing with template weapons).

Now for my favorite, the Ionic Discharge Cannon.  This thing is anti-armor to the max.  It has a 12″ range, strength 8, ap 3, heavy 3, blind and a special rule called haywire burst.  This rule states that for each hit this weapon causes against a vehicle, it causes a separate haywire hit.  Now that alone makes this gun mean.  If it gets in range, it can drop a land raider in one shot (with a bit of luck).  Once again, the down fall here is range.  It needs to get close to use this weapon, so a clever foe can try to stay out of it’s range.

Now onto the final bit, the special nova reactor that comes with the Y’varha.  It can increase the invulnerable save to 3+ in close combat.  It can increase the number of shots from the Ionic Discharge Cannon to Heavy 3 + D3.  It can be used to remove the model and place it into ongoing reserves (essential flying off like a flyer).  It can do this while in combat.  Finally, it can use the reactor to gain jink.  If it is moving as if swooping that turn, i gains a 4+ cover save.  Generally speaking all very useful powers (if a bit situational).  I like the extra shots from the Ionic Discharge Cannon.  That makes this guy able to drop a knight in a single volley (if you roll super well).

In terms for tactical use of this suit, it is pretty simple.  Get this guy in close to a juicy target, do as much damage as possible, then get back out.  Rinse and repeat.  The problem becomes target priority.  That is really a function of your list and your opponents.  Don’t have anything to deal with those sanguinary guard coming up your flank.  Fly the Y’varha over and use the full rotation flamer to burn them down.  Don’t have anything to slow down that land raider of terminators coming towards you lines.  Hit it with the Ionic Discharge cannon.  The key is to not get bogged down.  Use the hit and run or the nova power to jump into reserves.  Kill what you need to, then get out to take on a new target.  Staying mobile is key. (Side Note: these are mostly theoretical tactics, my experience with the Y’varha is limited).

Now, the final question.  How do you kill one?  This maybe a little harder than initially you may think.  It is one wound less than a riptide, so it should die quicker.  Same tactics apply there (large amounts of poisoned shots, high strength low ap shooting, grav weapons).  The best tactic for killing a riptide in my opinion is leadership checks and close combat.  Leadership checks are still a valid way to push this guy around or potentially run him down.

Close combat is a bit hairy.  You want to be able to kill the Y’varha in a single charge.  If you fail to kill him he has 2 chances to escape (hit and run in your turn or the nova power in its turn).  Then your assault you is stuck sitting out in the open and the Y’varha is free to run around wreaking havoc again.

That about wraps it up for Lighting.  I am really looking forward to getting these two on the table together.  I think they can have some great synergy and look amazing.  I just need to get them painted up.  What do you guys think about these forgeworld suits?  Are they fitting the tau army aesthetic and fluff like you would expect?  Any insights on taking them out or neutralizing them? How about the experimental rules?  I honestly expect that they will tone down the Y’vahra whenever it gets official rules.  Regardless, this is a piece I am happy to add to my collection.  Until next time, this is Severus saying have a good one and take it easy.

Unit Review: Tau XV107 R’varna- AKA Thunder

ravanap1

Howdy everyone, Severus here.  Today I wanted to start a 2 part review on the riptide variants released by forgeworld.  I happen to have both and have used them in my lists to good effect.  So, I figured I would share my thoughts on them.

Up first, the XV 107 R’varna, or as I call him, Thunder.  Fluff wise this guy is awesome.  Essentially, there is a sept of tau that is CONSTANTLY under assault from tyranids.  A member of the earth caste, Fio’O Ke’lshan Sho’Aun, basically lied to the ethereals.  He kept asking for more funds and equipment to build a new stealth unit.  Instead he came out with this bad boy, who happens to crush the invading tyranids and save the day.  Interesting that some of the best tau stories come from times when a member of the society tells the ethereals screw you and does what they think is best.

After that battle, the ethereals sort of okay the production of the suit.  At the time of this writing, it is limited to the planet of Ke’lshan, production wise.  Obviously it can be used by other septs, but only in limited numbers since there is only one world producing this variant.

The model speaks for itself.  It is a bulkier riptide in terms of it’s armors.  It has two awesome gun arms in place of the gun and shield.  The guns are pulse submunission cannons.  They are as mean as that name sounds.  It was relatively easy to assembly (although the little ammo canisters and fins sticking of the gun were a bit fiddly and always worry me when being transported).  Recently I had my guy in foam that was to tight and one of the guns actually was warped by it.  Cup of hot water straightened it out.  Besides that I have no big complaints.

Now for the rules.  At the time of this writing, the rules are still listed as experimental and available for download from forgeworld.  It is the second set of rules for the R’varna.  This does present a bit of a gray area.  In theory, they will either put out a book or download with the official rules.  For the time being, since they are experimental, I recommend talking to an opponent before using this guy.  Use your best judgement guys.  Also note, you can only have one of these period.  And only in a tau empire army as a heavy support.  Sorry Farsight, guess Aun’Shi couldn’t steal one for you.

Back to the unit.  He is essential a beefed up riptide stat line wise.  Biggest change is he has 6 wounds at toughness 7.  He is not a jetpack monstrous creature, just a monstrous creature, so he loses some mobility.  He has no options for weapons, you get the 2 pulse submunission cannons and that is it.  Wargear wise he has two options: positional relay and stimulant injector.  I opt for the stimulant injector, feel no pain on a T7 6W model with a 2+/5++ is just a good investment in my mind.  He can also bring 2 shielded missile drones.  I tend to pass on these, the firepower isn’t worth it and they lower the unit toughness to 6.  Plus, if you lose a drone from shooting you are subject to a moral check.  No one likes to see a 300+ point unit run off the table.

Now onto his pile of special rules.  First up, how those big beautiful guns work.  Each pulse submunission cannon fires a single large blast template with a 60″ range (remember, he has two of these guns).  On infantry models they cause a strength 6 ap 4 hit.  Very bulky models, bikes, jetbikes, beasts, and cavalry each suffer 2 hits at strength 7 ap4 for each model under the template.  Extremely bulky models, monstrous creatures, flying monstrous creatures, vehicles, and artillery each suffer 3 hits at strength 8 ap4 for each model under the template.  What this amounts two is these weapons can put a ton of hits on just about anything.  The moderate ap value means most targets will get a save, so weight of fire is key here.

The big guns are not the only new toy the R’varna has.  It also has it’s own nova reactor.  It can increase the invuln save to 3++ like a riptide.  It can choose to run 2d6 and gain fleet for a turn (which is handy when you need to re position or get away from a threat).  It can do an emp pulse, hitting all models within 6″ of the R’varna with a strength 2 ap5 haywire hit.  Last, but not least is volley fire.  It allows the R’varna to fire each pulse submunission cannon twice (so for 4 large blasts in total).  It can not fire in the following turn.

So, now that that you have the rules under your belt, lets talk about how to use the R’varna.  This unit is great for locking down a lane of fire on a table.  It can put out an incredible amount of fire power.  Even if it can’t ignore 3+ or 2+ armor, weight of fire can bring those units down.  Throw a few marker lights on it and he can ignore cover.  He can use this weight of fire to drop just about anything.  He struggles most with AV 14 (since he can only glance on a 6) and terminator equivalents (causing a single strength 6 hit on each).  He flat out can’t handle a flyer (being that his only weaponry is blast).  Otherwise it is fair game.  I have seen him drop a full health daemon prince in a single volley.

My favorite tactic with him involves his nova reactor.  Line up a good target turn 1 or 2.  Get the reactor to go off and volley fire the target.  4 large blasts with it’s multiple hits rule can hurt a lot of things.  Now you can’t shoot the next turn.  Get the reactor off again and choose the 2d6 run and fleet.  Now re position you R’varna into another lane of fire and repeat on turn 3 or 4.  There is a great fear factor involved here.  My opponents have seen this trick and will do everything to avoid presenting a target to the R’varna.  You can use him to push enemy targets into line of sight/range of other units in your army.

Now the big question, how do you kill/neutralize this guy?  He is actually not as hard to kill as you may think.  The standard strategies that kill riptides kill him (large amounts of high strength low ap shooting, grav guns, large amounts of poisoned weapons to force a lot of saves, lock him in close combat).  Now, here is the problem with the first three.  If you can shoot him, he can shoot you.  So you basically need to kill him in one round of shooting or present him with to many targets so that something is alive to kill the R’varna in subsequent shooting rounds.  The only exception to that would be if you fire support is on a flyer, since all the R’varna can use against it is harsh language.

Now follow me here.  In games I have played so far, close combat has been the most effective way to neutralize a R’varna.  If you are crafty and can avoid being shot and get within assault range, you can shut him down.  He can’t overwatch with his blast weapons.  He has 3 attacks at weapon skill 2, initiative 2.  Granted, he will be ap2 as a monstrous creature.  Odds are though he will only kill a marine equivalent a turn.  So, say you are lucky enough to get a tactical squad in to combat with him.  They can use krak grenades to wound him on 5’s and lose a single guy per round.  You may not kill the R’varna, but he won’t be shooting for a long time.

The other way to handle him, morale checks.  He is leadership 9, so it is a little difficult.  The more tests you make him take, the more likely it is he will fail.  Odd’s are, he will be close to board edge to avoid anyone getting to close.  One bad leadership roll and off he goes.  You can also try to pin him, making him snap shoot (which he can’t do with his blasts).  Finally, if you ever beat him in combat, run him down.

The last trick up a crafty opponent’s sleeve, blind tests.  At initiative 2, he is going to fail the majority of the time.  Now, snap shots prevent him from firing his large blasts.  Don’t let a sneaky tau lie to you, marker lights are no help.  Yes, they can improve the ballistic skill of a snap shot, but they are still snap shots.  So, no shooting for the R’varna.

That about wraps it up for Thunder.  Hope that gave you a little insight on what this big thing is, where it came from, and how to use or kill it.  Up next is the Y’varha, or as I call him, Lightining.  Until then, this is Severus saying have a good one and take it easy.

Dark Eldar – Initial list

When the Dark Eldar was released last year, I decided that I wanted to add them to my ever-growing collection of armies. I wrote a few 2000-points lists, trying to find one that was a little fluffy and seemed to be a lot of fun for me to play. Now, this is probably not the most competitive that I could have written, and I did drop some units based on dollar cost (the Bomber), but I believe I hit on something that I will enjoy playing.

HQ –
Archon w/Huskblade and the Armour of Misery as my Warlord.
Succubus w/Archite Glaive, Haywire Grenades, and a Webway Portal.

Troops –
5 Kabalite Warriors in a Venom with a Splinter Cannon
5 Kabalite Warriors in a Venom with a Splinter Cannon
9 Kabalite Warriors w/1 blaster) in a Raider w/Dark Lance, Night Shields, and splinter racks
10 Kabalite Warriors w/1 blaster) in a Raider w/Dark Lance, Night Shields, and Splinter Racks

Elites –
8 Bloodbrides and a Syren w/Shardnet & Impaler in a Raider w/Dark Lance and Night Shields
9 Bloodbrides and a Syren w/Shardnet & Impaler in a Raider w/Dark Lance and Night Shields

Fast –
Razorwing w/2 Dark Lances and 1 Splinter Cannon, 4 Necrotoxin Missiles, and Night Shields
9 Reavers w/3 Heat Lances

Heavy –
Ravager w/3 Dark Lances and Night Shields
Ravager w/3 Dark Lances and Night Shields
Ravager w/3 Dark Lances and Night Shields

I will place the Archon in the unit of 9 Warriors, and the Succubus in the unit with 8 Bloodbrides, deep striking them where they are most needed with that Webway Portal. This seems like what one would expect on a raiding list. Maybe after it is complete, painted, and played I will expand on the army, slowly adding other units.

I didn’t want to play Venom spam, and while I know the bloodbrides are not the greatest unit, I like their fluff. Everything else, I admit, is very basic.

Hierodule

Last weekend I place a Forge World order for my first Lord of War for the Tyranids. The Hierodule I ordered is currently on its way, and I thought now would be a decent time to do a quick unit review, and then I will explain why I chose the one I did. I may do a second review after a few games with it in order to give a more experienced review.

The Hierodule comes in two options, Scythed and Barbed. The difference, besides their names, is how they are armed and their points cost. Both have the stat line of WS4, BS3, S10, T8, W6, I3, Ld10, and Sv 3+. The Scythed Hierodule has 7 attacks while the barbed has 5. Both are Gargantuan Creatures (and have all of special rules that go with that unit type) and both have the Agile special rule. Agile allows the unit to Run twice, shoot one weapon and run once, or shoot two weapons.

The difference between the two units is what they are armed with and their point’s value. The Scythed Hierodule comes with two sets of talons and a Bio-acid spray and comes in at a points cost of 535. The Bio-acid spray is a hellstorm template weapon that is S6 AP3, meaning a unit of tactical marines may just disappear. The Barbed Hierodule is armed with two bio-cannons and one set of talons. Each bio-cannon has a range of 48 inches, Strength 10, Ap 3, and is a assault 6 weapon. This means that the Barbed unit brings 12 shots to the table at a cost of 565 points. Ok, it may only hit with 6 of them on average, but that is still a lot of S10 hits.

Looking at their abilities and costs, I have to believe that the Barbed Hierodule is the better choice of the two. Yes, they are both T8 creatures, meaning a melta-gun will have a hard time wounding them (on 4s), and in close combat a Tac squad will not be able to do much against them. But if an Imperial Knight were to get into close combat with Hierodule, the knight would go first, and has a decent chance of killing it before it even attacks. Yes, poisoned weapons will only would it on 6’s (thank you 40K rules), but a small unit of Centurions could rip right through them as well. So, using the Barbed Hierodule and keeping it at a distance would be the way to go in my opinion.

So, having realized that of the two, the Barbed Hierodule is the better option, I ordered the Scythed Hierodule. I feel that while it is the worse of the two, it fits into my army slightly better. I realize that it will not be played all that often, and I wanted a unit that I liked. I think it looks better, is still killable, and it is still something that would not be able to be ignored on the board.

I cannot wait for this model to come in, I really want to build it, paint it, and field it. And while rules say I can just add it to the Army, I will not be doing so. I will ask my opponent if he minds facing it, and if they accept, then I will put it on the table. And maybe one day I will buy the Barbed Hierodule. I am, after all, a Tyranid player, and I have to have all of the units possible, even if they almost never see the battlefield (I am looking at you Maleceptor).

Warhammer Fantasy Hidden Gems: Part 2

The following is a by a legionnaire known as Julius the Austere; Guardian of the Battle.  This is part of a series he is doing on hidden gems within Warhammer Fantasy.  Severus out.

First off, sorry for the hiatus! Welcome to the second installment of the hardly anticipated hidden gem series for Warhammer Fantasy! So the gem of an option we are going to talk about today is the Tomb Banshee, available in an Undead Legion or just regular VC list. Oh, yeah. I said Banshee! 

So why do people not take Banshees that often? Well, they are a tad below 100 points so they are not exactly cheap and they generally get compared to the Terrorgheist who has a much more powerful version of the same special attack. I’m okay with this comparison as although they are quite different they serve a similar role of dealing with high armor saves. However, I look at Banshees in a different light and they have become a valuable tool in my lists. Now, unlike my take on the sisters of slaughter, the theoretical principles and role for my Banshees for has transitioned from theory to actual performance in games and I couldn’t be more impressed. I have been including 2 to 3 banshees in all of my recent lists (3 if not taking a terrorgheist). 

So, lets start with some of the principle benefits of including banshees: 

1) To clear chaff. Vampires Counts do not have a lot at their disposal to deal with enemy units that will chaff up the blocks that you want to get in to combat (this can be mitigated by UL). Cue the banshees. Bye-bye skinks! Bye fast cav who thought they were safe dancing around out of line of sight for charges! 2 or 3 banshee screams will get the job done on with good reliability on these types of units that stray from their generals leadership but are a general nuisance to an army that has to move forward to win.  

2) To put an ethereal, terror causing model in units.  Being able to deploy in any infantry unit and move in and out of units as needed is a huge plus for Banshees. On the edge of a bus they will take away a file of enemy attacks. As a terror causing model they will force leadership checks when you charge and cause fear causing units that are not ITP to take fear checks. There are more of these kinds of units in the game than you would think and they usually have low leadership! Also, if you are in the unfortunate position of having less than 5 rank and file in a unit with characters it is very helpful to allocate hits from BS based shooting to an ethereal model first. Similarly, if hit by a template, taking a hit on the banshee will save a rank and file model. 

3) They keep their points. Unlike the Terrorgheist, which often will fall victim to artillery or poison shooting, Banshees rarely ever give up their points. Like, almost never! Of course, if the enemy does not have magic missiles or magical shooting then your banshees are pretty much free to roam anywhere doing as they please. But even if your opponent has some of these tools, it is exceedingly hard to kill an ethereal character that is protected in a unit. Even if by chance someone does get in to your unit with a magic weapon, you probably have your enemy where you want them – in combat with your killy vampire or stuck on a unit of zombies or skeletons they won’t be able to chew through any time soon while your other screamers circle and make their attack into combat. 

4) Vampire lists (and UL) only really have a few options to deal with high armor. The Banshee is certainly the one that suits my playstyle the most. By having 2 or 3 of these screams per turn you will eventually do major damage due to the variability of the dice. Some turns you will do nothing and some turns you will do something amazing. Other turns you will just chip away at your enemy units. But over the course of the game, you will do something that will likely at least earn their points back (high armored units and monsters are not that cheap) while you preserve your own. 

Below are my Banshee Results from games in a team tournament this past weekend where I pitted UL (or vamps with a Casket of souls) alongside a friends Eternity King force. For reference, I took 2 banshees in my 1500 point force. 

Game 1 – vs. Pure Dark Elf and warriors of chaos lists. Banshee deployed in skeleton block killed a warlock or 2 before the unit got a 17 inch charge on a slaneesh marked chariot, screaming it into oblivion and subsequently panicking a chimera off the table. That had to be at least 300 points! My other banshee was out harassing a Deamon prince of Nurgle that my casket and Terrorgheist ended up dealing with before it could sling purple sun down our flanks and annihilate everything not elf.  

Game 2 – vs. pure woodelves and pure darkelvesBanshees did not do too much here. Might have killed a Wildwood Ranger or so.  

Game 3 – vs. empire and brets 1+ armor save army. They netted a steam tank! As I engaged the steam tank with spirit hosts (who also had 1 heck of a run over the 3 games) I had rounds of screaming with both banshees. First round both banshees did nothing as I rolled low on my dice. 2nd round I rolled an 11 followed by boxcars. The variability of the dice! Bye-bye steam tank. 

Notes and conclusion:  

My friend and I had a very strong showing (1st place, 3 large victories) at the 5 team tournament thanks to our balanced attack that combined the shooting of elves with the chaff and bodies that I could bring. The banshees were a big part of our success and I never even lost the points for one of them in all 3 games. The Terrorgheist and spirit hosts were also big performers on the day with the Terrorgheist only dying in 1 of 3 games. Still, I was most impressed with what my banshees did by getting significantly more than their points in 2 of 3 games and keeping their points in all 3. I think their versatility makes them a good choice in a Vampire/UL army and a lot more solid than the bad rap they tend to get. I think they are useable in casual and competitive play. Of course there is the counter argument that I was lucky on the day, but don’t forget that I did nothing to that steam tank initially. If I would have rolled perfectly average every time I would have still killed the stank in the 2 turns it was engaged with spirit hosts, sitting on 8 wounds. So yeah, don’t sleep on banshees! They can be effective. 

Now, if you got to the end of this article, go get the nearest person to pat you on the back. You have done well my friend. 

The Austere one, over and out! 

Unit Review: Maleceptor

A waste of 205 points. That is the best way I can sum up my experience with the Maleceptor in my recent game against Augustus’s Minotaurs. I knew that I probably would not use this unit all that often, but I wanted to get a few games in just to get a true feeling for the usefulness of this unit. But after the one game, I truly believe that this pretty model will spend most of the time sitting on my shelf.

The stat line of the Maleceptor is WS3, BS3, S6, T6, W5, I3, A3, Ld10, and it has an armour save of 4+. That is actually in line most of the new MC units of the Tyranids. The Hive Crone, The Toxicrene, and the Harpy all have 4+ instead of the 3+ that the Carnifex, Swarmlord, and some of the others have.

Don’t get me wrong, I will admit that there are some good points to this unit. It does give the Tyranids another invulnerable save. It may only be a 5+, but this only the third invulnerable save that the Tyranid army really has. And it is a T6 MC, so even wounding the unit is going to be tough. The Maleceptor is also a synapse creature, meaning it is fearless and also allows better control over the instinctive behavior units.

However, the psychic power it comes with is just not worth the points. It doesn’t even sound good on paper. I do believe that it fills a small gap in the army as it does give the Nid player a sniper, but I am not sure that sniping is truly necessary.

The power is a warp charge 2 focussed witchfire with a range of 24 inches. The target model takes a leadership on 3D6 (vehicles count as having a leadership of 10) and if they fail the test, the target takes D3 wounds with no armour or cover saves allowed. A vehicle takes a single glancing hit with no cover saves allowed. The Maleceptor can attempt to manifest the power up to three times in each psychic phase. However, each attempt is resolved separately and an enemy unit can only be targeted once per phase.

So, since it is a warp charge 2 power the Tyranid player would have to throw four dice at it to reliably get the power off each time. So to actually get it off three times it would cost 12 dice, based on averages. The opponent now has the chance to deny the witch, admittedly this is a slim chance, but the Maleceptor also runs a decent chance of periling. Now, say the power go off, the Malecaptor actually has to hit its target, which there is only a 50% chance with a BS of 3. After that, the opponent takes his leadership test, which is possible to pass, although harder than a normal leadership test. After all of that, if all goes well, the target takes d3 wounds, meaning that if it is a multi-wound model, there is at least a 1/3 chance that it will still survive.

All of this is a lot of work just to get this power off. In the game I recently played, I did get the power off once and managed to kill one tactical marine with it. I also rolled Warp Blast as its second psychic power, which did much more damage than the Psychic Overload. Heck, I even charged the Maleceptor into close combat and managed to kill a tactical unit, equaling the kills from the overload.

It’s a shame that such a good-looking model will spend most of its time sitting on a shelf.

Oh and Six

As I said in my post on the 26th, I wrote a few new Tyranid lists based solely around close combat. For example, when I take 9 warriors, I take additional talons for the extra close combat attact. I actually wrote three of these lists. A 1500-point list and two 2000-point lists where the entire list is centered on close combat. In the 2K lists, the only shooty unit that I have included is one Hive Crone to deal with flyers if my opponent takes them. My 1500-point list doesn’t even have that.

Now, while I wrote these lists knowing that they wouldn’t be competitive, I didn’t think that they would be as uncompetitive as they turned out to be. Let me sum up the six games I played these lists.

1. 1500 Vs. Daemons. Tabled in turn 5.

2. 1500 Vs. Minotaurs. I conceded in turn 4. I would have been tabled in Turn 5.

3. 1500 Vs. Eldar. I conceded in turn 5. I would have been tabled in Turn 6.

4. 2000 Vs Orks. It was a blood bath. I can’t even remember how this ended, except it ended in a loss.

5. 2000 vs. Ultramarines. I conceded in Turn 4.

6. 1500 vs. Space Marines. Played to the end. Lost a kill points game by one point.

So that is six games played, and six losses to go with them. I knew these lists were bad, I just didn’t realize they were that bad. I have had a lot of fun playing them. That was actually the intent of the close combat lists. But I had hoped that they would be a little more competitive.

There are some good things about the lists. First, I have no choice about what to do in my shooting phase. Everything runs. And since most units have fleet, I can usually get a good run off. Second, I like playing this list against newer players. It gives them a chance since I am not monster heavy or a lot of flying MCs. Third, it really is entertaining. I can play the list like I would love to play the Tyranids. I am going to get in my opponents face. Well, I am going to try.

I will say this. In all six games I ended up with the psychic power of Onslaught. So I can allow one of my units to run and shoot in the shooting phase. I get this six times with an army that does not have a single shooting unit.

These lists may be fun, but I think I need to go back to my older, more winnable lists.

More Nids!

As every Tyranid player should know by now, GW has decided to bless us with another 2 new MCs. While I think the Tyranid Codex is lacking in certain areas, I am not sure that these new units fill any gaps. Just think about the MCs that are available to the Nid Players, the Swarmlord, Hive Tyrant, Carnifex, Hive Crone, Trygon, Trygon Prime, Mawloc, Tervigon. Did Tyranid players really need another two? And I didn’t even list them all! I am not going to jump on the “My codex sucks” bandwagon just because it may not be as good as the Eldar codex. I actually enjoy the Nid codex. But where old armies are in desperate need of new rules and new models, GW decided to release more Nids. But, since I know I will be getting these new models, I guess I should to a quick review of them. FYI – any information I got, I got off of facebook pictures, so I may still be wrong.

First, the Toxicrine is the venomthrope’s bigger and meaner cousin. The size of this monster’s tentacles really stands out in the pictures I have seen. The stat line reads as WS3, BS3, S5, T6, W5, I3, A6, Ld8, and Sv 4+. All of that for 160 points. With the WS of three, it will probably only hit half of the time on most models, but that seems pretty common in the Tyranid army. And being poisoned with a S5, most failed wounds will be rerolled. The Weapons and Special rules are Acid Blood, Choking Cloud, Lash whips (hey, now I can attack at initiative 6), Toxic Miasma, Fearless, IB of Feed, Poisoned (2+), and shrouded. The Toxicrene is also “Hypertoxic,” meaning that on a To Wound roll of six, the hit gains the Instant Death rule.

The chocking cloud has a range of 12”, S3, AP-, Assault 1, Ignores Cover, Large Blast, Poisoned (2+), and Predatory Sentience. Predatory Sentience gives the attacks by the Toxicrene against open topped vehicles or vehicles that have lost at least 1 hull point Armourbane. And, the cloud counts as being Hypertoxic too!

I already know I am going to order this model. I think it does look amazing. However, I am not sure that this unit would fit my current lists. I like it, I will field it, and I may even have fun with it. But I don’t think it was necessary. And the same goes for the Maleceptor.

Where the Toxicrene was the Venomthrope’s cousin, the Maleceptor is the Zoanthrope’s not so distant relative. The stat line is WS3, BS3, S6, T6, W5, I3, A3, Ld10, and a Sv of 4+ for 205 points. This new MC comes with talons and is a level 2 psyker. It is also a synapse creature and has shadow in the warp special rule. The Maleceptor is also the second Nid model with an invulnerable save (5+), not counting the Swarmlord who only has it in close combat. Ok, it’s the third.

The Maleceptor comes with a new psychic power called Psychic Overload. This is a Warp Charge 2 focused witchfire power that the Malecaptor can attempt to manifest three times in each of its psychic phases. It has a range of 24” and forces the target to take a leadership test on 3D6 (vehicles count as being Ld10). If the test is failed, non-vehicle models suffer D3 wounds (No Armour or cover saves) and vehicles suffer a single glancing hit (no cover saves). While the Maleceptor can attempt to manifest this power three times, it cannot target the same unit more than once each phase.

I do like the looks of these new models, and I will be getting as soon as I can. I just don’t think they were necessary. I would have liked to have seen a Hormagant spawner, or a drop pod, or maybe even a new Broodlord model.

But I will take what I can.

Not the Blog I wanted

Ok, my intention while I was on my vacation was to read and wrote a blog about the “new” Dark Eldar codex during my travel days. In this, I epically failed. I only got as far as reading half of it during my flights to San Diego. Sadly though, meeting new people, meeting new sharks, and a small bout of seasickness distracted me.

Having finally finished the codex, I wanted to add a quick review about the new Voidraven Bomber. I preface this with the fact that I am not a Dark Eldar player (yet), but I have faced them frequently.I also want to add that I really did enjoy the codex. I liked the fluff. It almost makes me want to break out my friends models and give them ago. Heck, it almost makes me want to but my own DE army. I did notice that the Harlequins are no longer an option for the Dark Eldar and they do not have a Lord of War choice in the codex, unlike the Orks. So while I do believe the codex is good, I also know it has its faults.

Now, finally onto the Voidraven Bomber. When I first saw the model, I was impressed. Games Workshop really does know how to design their models. But at a cost of $80, I thought they really needed to make it worth the money. After I read the first battle report in White Dwarf, I had high hopes, but now that I have read the codex and put some actual thought into it, I am not sure that the model is worth the purchase.

The bomber comes in at a cost of 160 points. With this you get a BS4 flyer with armour of 10 and 3 hull points. It is armed with 2 void lances and the void mine. The Void Lance is S9 and AP2 with… well, lance and a 36-inch range. The Void Mine is also a S9 AP2 weapon with lance, but it is also a large blast. This bomb will wreck a unit of terminators, providing it doesn’t scatter too far. Again, I am impressed, but there are some serious issues. While the mine is very powerful, it is also one use only. And with this being a flyer, once it jinks, the player will not be able to use the mine that turn.

The Bomber can also take 4 Shatterfield missiles, 4 implosion missiles, or 2 of each option. The Shatterfields are S7, AP-, Large blast missiles with shred and a range of 48 inches. The Implosion Missiles are S6, AP2 blast missiles also with a 48 inch range. Of course, all are one use only, and again, if the opponent can get this vehicle to jink it cannot use the missiles. The Void Lances can be exchanged for Dark Scythes, which are S8 AP2 blast weapons and a 24-inch range at zero additional cost. The Voidraven can also be upgraded with Night Shields to give it Stealth for an additional 15 points. So it’s jink save could be really impressive.

So, if you take this bomber, you do get a somewhat cheap and powerful bomber, but with armour values of 10, you may never get to use it to its full advantage. For example, if Tau pathfinders markerlight it, and takes away its cover saves, this vehicles is coming down in a fiery ball of destruction. It won’t take much to cause a penetrating hit. Now, the light armour does fit with the Dark Eldar fluff, but at 160 points and $80 dollars for a model that doesn’t even have any options, I think I will pass.

For now at least.