Sunday, March 31, 2013

Zounds! The Tau!

At long last, the Tau get their update! Truth be told, I kind of had a soft spot for the Tau. I loved the idea of unleashing crushing amounts of firepower with swish battlesuits stomping and flying about. And now this!

Yay! Plastic Pathfinders! And man, that Broadside is looking nice. I'm not so sure about the Riptide, though. Well, no point getting ahead of ourselves. I'm still having too much fun with Deathwing, and I've decided that's IT for hobby spending for this year. Well, at least until Deathwing is 100% painted.

Also, I want a good look at the Codex. So far, here are the arguments for and against the Tau, in my book:


  • 100% Plastic Army! No need for fricking Finecast! As it is, I'm tempted to kitbash a plastic Belial...
  • Excellent allies! These blue commies will ally with damn near any faction of the 41st millennium, being somewhat distrustful only with Orks, Dark Eldar and Chaos Daemons. 


  • Budget limitations. I've far too much going on this year. Regardless of how much I like the Codex, I think Tau is going to have to be a project for 2014. 

Well, the budget limitation trumps all arguments for, really. So, for the moment, Tau are just another bunch of scruffy xenos that I'm looking to kill with as much ludicrous violence as I can fit in a 6' x 4' table...

Saturday, March 30, 2013

An Experiment with Angels: Deathwing + Stormraven full of rage

Right, seeing as I'd gotten comfortable with Deathwing, having tested out a solid list against some solid opponents, I decided to mix it up a little. This post is a record of an experiment that should never be repeated. Here's what I tried out:

Dark Angels
7 Deathwing Knights
5 Deathwing Terminators Plasma Cannon, Chainfist and Hammer & Shield for the Sarge
5 Deathwing Terminators Cyclone Launcher, Chainfist and Hammer & Shield for the Sarge

Blood Angels
Furioso Dreadnought with Frag Cannon and Heavy Flamer
9 Death Company with 2 Infernus pistols and 2 power axes
Stormraven with hurricane bolters

Nothing complicated, really; just freed up points from my Deathwing list to fit one Stormraven chock full of lethality. The Raven with Death Company and Furioso is a key component of my Blood Angel list and had proven marvellously lethal in such lists, so I figured I put the two together and see how that works.

The idea is that Deathwing comes in on Turn One, with the Deathwing Knights soaking up the grief and the other 2 squads hurt stuff with their guns. Then, hopefully, the Stormraven swoops in on Turn 2, guns blazing, and unloads the brutality of the Death Company and the Furioso. In my experience, that generally hits so hard, the opponent will have trouble dealing with whatever comes next, in this case, the squads of horrible stompy Terminators.

Theory sounds good, yes? Well, I gave it a test drive today. Here are its weaknesses:

  1. Insufficient target saturation. Turn 1, it's just the Deathwing on the table. With full Deathwing, enemy firepower was split between the Knights and the Command Squad, the both of them being the deadliest threats, the Knights because of their whupass, the Command Squad because of the Banner of Fortitude. With just the Knights on the table, they took the full brunt of the enemy firepower, and a little bad luck on my part really stings. And when turn 2 rolls by, the Stormraven then becomes the single most tasty target. 
  2. All the eggs in one flying basket. Putting the Death Company, Reclusiarch and the Furioso is a HUGE risk. If that thing goes down the turn it comes in, that's potentially 725 pts killed, with the Death Company never even seeing the face of the enemy. In my test game, the Raven did indeed go down, with only 4 Death Company surviving the crash. 

That having been said, the Terminators surprised me by really picking up the slack, with the Knight Master going on to wipe out a squad of Chaos Marines and a Predator. Didn't win, but 2 things were clear:

  1. If the Stormraven had survived, its contents would easily have wreaked enough havoc to win me the game. The point is moot, however. The Raven went down, and I daresay most armies have easily enough gunishment to take down a lone Raven, even without dedicated anti-aircraft weaponry. 
  2. Pure Deathwing or pure Blood Angels would have gotten the job done better. Deathwing because they'd have the staying power. Blood Angels because of the sheer violence they can inflict, which could be enough to silence enough enemy guns to let the Stormravens get to work. 

Verdict: I don't like this list. That crash killed 615 pts in one fell swoop, and that was no thanks to a lucky salvo from some Chosen with plasmaguns. The amount of points I'm allowing to be potentially killed in one shot is just unreasonable. Emperor forbid I should face Fuegan manning an Icarus lascannon or a battery of Sabre platforms. As such, this list is SCRAP.

So, the question remains... Who can pair up with Deathwing?

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Deathwing Sergeants: Making the most of 5pts

Man of the Match during my last game, which earned him a paintjob.

Right, not long ago, I had another game using Deathwing, and I think I've hit upon a reasonably solid list that gets the job done. This is it:

Level 2 Librarian in Terminator armour
DW Command Squad with 2 Hammers & Shields, Cyclone Launcher, Deathwing Champion and Banner of Fortitude on one of the Hammer & Shield-bearing Terminators
7 Deathwing Knights 
5 DW Terminators with Cyclone Launcher, Chainfist and Hammers & Shields for the Sergeant and Cyclone Terminator
5 DW Terminators with Assault Cannon, Chainfist and Hammer & Shield for the Sergeant
5 DW Terminators with Plasma Cannon, Chainfist and Hammer & Shield for the Sergeant

This comes to 1,747pts, by my reckoning, and thus far it has stood surprisingly firm against lists with pretty vicious firepower. This is due to 2 things:
  1. The Deathwing Knights - This is a pretty serious Deathstar unit, and with Belial, it has the pretty nasty ability of being placed exactly where it's needed. On top of that, with Storm Shields and Fortress of Shields all round, it can (and has, twice) soak up the entire opposing army's firepower for a turn and still have enough Knights to pose a serious threat. 
  2. A Storm Shield for the Sergeants of the plain old Deathwing squads.
The 1st point is obvious enough. The 2nd needs a closer look to truly appreciate.

The thing about Deathwing is Hammers & Shields are expensive. 5 Terminators with Hammers & Shields will set you back 200 pts for Vanilla Marines, 225 pts for Blood Angels, and 245 pts for Deathwing. A bit on the pricey side On top of that, Vengeance Strike is a loud and clear signal to all that Deathwing is meant to shoot stuff. 4 twin-linked krak missiles to break open a transport and a twin-linked plasma cannon to brutalize whatever pops out. Sounds good to me! Anyway, about that shield...

What I'm trying to achieve here is to get the most out of my Deathwing Terminator Squads. As such, each squad needs a little dakka, a heavy weapon to be annoying with, a chainfist in case some big horrible vehicle strays too close, and as much invulnerable saves as I can get. I can't have both the shooty death and the shields, as such, only one can carry the shield, and it has to be the Sarge. Why? Here's how my Deathwing squads deploy as they Deep Strike:

N.B. -The dude in the middle with the brown base is placed first.

Here's where the 6th ed shooting rules really shine. Since the dakka has to be resolved from the model closest to the source of shooting, the Sarge has to be on the receiving end first. Suffice it to say, this would put Sarge at risk of going down to small arms fire, a 16.7% chance for each save he's forced to make. But, he's a character, so we can just pass the wound off to the other grunts, starting from the closest to the Sarge. That would be the dude in the center of the formation above. Now each wound has about 8.3% of killing the Sarge. And of course, the squad will be deploying somewhere near the Banner of Fortitude, meaning Feel No Pain, meaning now each wound has a 5.6% chance of offing poor Sarge. And this isn't even factoring in the rolls to hit and wound. And of course, if Sarge is on the ugly end of serious AP2 fire, he takes it for the squad!

Here are a few probabilities:
Death by BS4 bolter = 1.9%
Death by BS3 lasgun = 0.9%
Death by BS4 plasmagun = 12.3% (vs 24.7% for the grunts)
Death by BS4 lascannon = 18.5% (vs 37% for the grunts)

It may not seem like much on paper, but when the squad is staring at a Lascannon Predator, a Vendetta, a fireteam of Chosen with 4 plasmaguns or a squad of Sternguard toting combi-weapons... that Storm Shield is often the difference between life and death.

So, that's one little trick to get more bang for your buck in the world of Deathwing. Next up... I don't know. More Deathwing? Or maybe a Dark Angel/Blood Angel allied list? We'll see. Until then, happy wargaming...

Monday, March 18, 2013

WIP: Belial

Master of the Deathwing and leader of my thus far rather fortunate army of Terminators, Belial!

Yah, I went with the GW-prescribed Finecast. I figured I'd give Finecast another go. Bad idea. I officially hate Finecast and am never touching the stuff again. Call me a noob, but the cleaning is just way more fiddly than I can be bothered to deal with.

Still a bit more to go, i.e. the banner, the sword and bits of highlighting here and there. I've decided the sword, despite being the AP3 piece of crap that it is, will get a nice blendy blue paintjob. And then coat after coat after coat of varnish.

I'm pretty pleased with how the base turned out, given how easy it was to do. Anyway, that's it from me. There's work to do, and feline mischief to thwart, by the sound of it...

Update: Here's the banner!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Really brief batrep: Deathwing vs Marines & Guard, 1750pts

Just had a game against Wong today. Man, Deathwing is really weird to get my head round. I didn't record most of the battle, but here's a brief summary.

My list:

Level 2 Librarian in Terminator armour
DW Command Squad with 2 Hammers & Shields, Cyclone Launcher, Deathwing Champion and Banner of Fortitude
7 Deathwing Knights with a Perfidious Relic of the Unforgiven
5 DW Terminators with Cyclone Launcher, Chainfist and Hammer & Shield for the Sergeant
5 DW Terminators with Assault Cannon, Chainfist and Hammer & Shield for the Sergeant
5 DW Terminators with Plasma Cannon, Chainfist and Hammer & Shield for the Sergeant

Same list I took against Ian, with less proxying, hurrah! I'd been holding back on assembling 2 more Deathwing Knights, as I wasn't sure I wanted 7. So, I figured I'd put this list on the board one more time and see how it works.

Wong's Marine & Guard list:
Company Command Squad with Regimental Standard and Astropath
Company Command Squad with 4 meltaguns
Sly Marbo
Veteran squad with shotguns and 3 meltaguns
Platoon Command Squad with 4 Sniper rifles
4 x Infantry Squads with meltagun and autocannon in 2 squads of 20
Hellhound with hull multimelta
2 x Vendettas with heavy bolter sponsons

10 Sternguard with 4 combiplasmas, 4 combimeltas and 2 meltaguns with a Drop Pod
5 Sniper Scouts and a missile launcher

Look at this list. Just LOOK at it! My poor Deathwing is staring down the barrels of EIGHTEEN melta weapons! Not to mention a pair of Vendettas, which are bad news for anything on the board. And holy hell, look at the guns the Sternguard are toting!

Anyway, the mission was the Scouring, I let Wong go first, and he prudently deployed the Sternguard... at the vanguard of his forces, actually, hehe... I Deathwing Assaulted the whole army in. The squad with the Assault Cannon had a mishap on the way in and went into Ongoing Reserves. This time however, I did something that I'd never consider doing in any other army. I needed something to distract Wong's guns and put a vicious threat where it would mess up any plans Wong had for gunning down my army in one turn. So I plonked the Deathwing Knights right behind his lines:

EVERY gun in that photo turned right round to pour an insane amount of gunishment into the Deathwing Knights. Amazingly enough, only 4 Knights went down! This was in no small part due to a bad salvo from the Sternguard, but hey, such is the price one pays for 8 combiweapons, eh? Oh, and Fortress of Shields, which meant the Guardsmen with their flashlights needed 6's to wound, which took a lot of the sting out of 70-something shots.

Meanwhile, Sly Marbo chucked a demo charge right into the Command Squad, killing the standard bearer, who failed his first save of the game with a roll of 1. What on earth did I pay 5 pts to give the bugger a Storm Shield for, eh? More shooty death from the Vendettas reduced the squad to just the Librarian and the Deathwing Champion.

Things did turn around, though. The remaining Deathwing Knights charged and wiped out one mass of Guardsmen. The Deathwing Champion smashed Marbo. The Librarian joined the Plasma Cannon squad to wipe out the Sternguard and lock Lysander in a vicious melee. The Assault Cannon squad came in next to Belial and would later wipe out the Company Command Squad with the regimental standard.

By around Turn 5, I had 8 models left on the board, Wong had the 2 Vendettas, the Hellhound, the Platoon Command Squad, a Scout Sergeant holed up in a building and the other 20 man combined squad of Guardsmen, who were locked in combat with Belial and 2 Terminators.

Victory point wise, I had:
First blood
Slay the Warlord + 1 VP from the Hunt
About 5 VP worth of objectives within easy reach

Wong had:
3 VP within reach of his PCS,

At this point, Wong figured Belial and friends would smash the remaining Guardsmen and grab the objective, so he conceded.

29 Terminators go in, 8 walk out. Man, that was vicious, but against that kind of firepower, I was pretty pleased with how it turned out. One thing that particularly surprised me was how well the Deathwing Knights took a turn of 45 Guardsmen, a Vendetta, a Hellhound and 10 Sternguard worth of shooty death.

Another component of the army that really shone was the Librarian. Prescience is GOLD. With an army this small, reliability in any form is worth so, so much. As for everything else, well, I daresay nary a model was wasted. Except the Banner, who got awfully unlucky, what with catching a demo charge full in the face, but them's the breaks, eh?

Well, I'm pleased with this list. It's a nail-biting roller-coaster ride compared to my other armies, but man, it is really, really satisfying to win with Deathwing! We'll see if we can't get a more detailed Deathwing batrep sometime in the future. Truth be told, the main reasons I don't record my battles with Deathwing quite as meticulously as usual are:

  1. They're barely painted. Very bad form on my part.
  2. Every time I put Deathwing on the board, I kind of expect to get wiped out in pretty short order. I can't tell you how chuffed I am that this isn't the case... 

And that's it from me. Til next time, happy wargaming...

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Fun idea: DAEMONS!

Just got a peek at the new Daemons codex and was fairly surprised at the direction it's taken. Lesser daemons are *cheap* as hell and one can put together some pretty awesome horde armies with it. I have to admit, I was a little disappointed with Khorne's entries, seeing as it looks kind of hard to bring hordes of Bloodletters to bear without taking some pretty nasty casualties. Just imagine what a decent dakka army would do to their measly T3 hides! Tzeentch, however, struck me as interesting. Take this unit:

20 Pink Horrors led by a Level 3 Herald of Tzeentch with an Exalted Reward and Exalted Locus of Conjuration

Assume, of course, that the Herald has Prescience. That's 4D6 twin-linked S6 AP4 shots, 3D6 from the Herald (who had spent 1 charge on Prescience) and 4D6 from the Horrors. Which scores, deep strikes and, with that Exalted Reward (read: Portalglyph), churns out small gangs of scoring daemons at random. All for the tidy sum of 330 pts. I think I might have a project for when I'm done with Deathwing...

Further adventures of Deathwing

A nice wallpaper for my phone to match the army... 

So, I tried out this list against Ian's Emperor's Children army:

Level 2 Librarian in Terminator armour
DW Command Squad with 2 Hammers & Shields, Cyclone Launcher, Deathwing Champion and Banner of Fortitude
7 Deathwing Knights with Perfidious Relic of the Unforgiven
5 DW Terminators with Cyclone Launcher, Chainfist and Hammer & Shield for the Sergeant
5 DW Terminators with Assault Cannon, Chainfist and Hammer & Shield for the Sergeant
5 DW Terminators with Plasma Cannon, Chainfist and Hammer & Shield for the Sergeant

This list goes with a completely different strategy from what I usually go with. All my previous armies, the Blood Angels, the Necrons and the Black Legion, were all brutally aggressive and subtle as baseball bats. All three are reliant on massive coordinated alpha strikes to smash the fight out of the enemy in one crushing blow. Deathwing requires a different approach. Here's an overview of how this army functions:

Back line: The DW Command Squad and the DW squad with the Cyclone Launcher are rearmost, and serve to pummel any tasty targets with their Cyclone Launchers. The Librarian will be with the Command Squad, casting Prescience on whichever squad I feel needs it. The Command Squad's most important role is to hang back and give as much of the army as possible Feel No Pain. 

Middle line: The DW Squads with the Assault Cannon and Plasma Cannon march just ahead of the Cyclone-armed squads, picking at targets best suited for their tender mercies. For example, the plasma cannon can be used for roasting the contents of a transport freshly cracked open by the Cyclone Launchers, and the Assault Cannon with Prescience on it can, in a pinch, be used to maul Flyers that get too close. 

Vanguard: Belial goes with the Deathwing Knights  because it's quite crucial that this unit forms the shield of the army. Ideally, this unit is about 12" away from the Command Squad, directly between the Command Squad and the bulk of the enemy forces, so the Banner of Fortitude can give them Feel No Pain, and the Knights can react to attacks on either flank. 2 FNP saves by the Deathwing Knights pretty much pays for the Banner. What makes this unit doubly effective as a shield, besides the Storm Shields, is the threat posed by their Maces of Absolution, especially if the Librarian chooses to give this squad Prescience. On the charge, this squad is swinging with 18 S10 AP2 attacks at initiative. That kind of killing power will smash damn near anything into jam. On top of that, if anything survives that, 2+ armour and 3+ invulnerable saves mean the Knights can quite likely stick around to keep pummeling whatever's left.

Deployment: The whole army is to Deathwing Assault in on Turn 1, preferably going second, as the foe's attempt to move for objectives will quite likely result in a gap to exploit. With 5 squads of Deep Striking Terminators, it's pretty likely that not everything will quite go as planned, so it helps to take whatever steps one can to minimize the impact of the dice screwing you over. First to deploy should be the Command Squad. The Banner of Fortitude is a vital component of this army, so it's crucial that one settles on its position ASAP. This squad comes in about 3-4 feet away from enemy lines, to put that Cyclone Launcher to good use. The other Deathwing Terminator squads then Deep Strike in, always making sure to keep close enough to the Command Squad to benefit from the Banner of Fortitude. Last to deploy should be the Deathwing Knights. This should be placed to receive or thwart a charge from the foe, seeing as it's the most durable unit and the most lethal in close combat (for a turn, at least).

So how did it fare? Not so bad actually. The strategy is a far cry from my usual in-your-face methods. The thing is the long range firepower is actually quite surprising, thanks to the first-turn twin-linked nastiness. On top of that, the Split Fire rule proved to be invaluable, making sure the right guns are directed at the right targets as much as possible. VERY important in a list with so few models on the table. Anyway, it was a kill point game, and I won, 2-1. The first kill went to me in Turn FOUR. Terminators were hell for Ian to kill, even with 2 Lascannon Predators, thanks to my lovely Sergeants (more about that in another post). On my part, once on the board, it was hard for me to inflict any real ranged killing power that could follow through and take the kill point. Since I'd started quite far from Ian's lines, no close combat happened, as Ian's close combat elements (Raptors and Bikers) were trying to get round my Knights.

Anyway, enough talk. This army needs to go to WAR! In the meantime, more pictures of the mustering...

Moar Hammer & Shield Sergeants!

Deathwing Knights!

Belial's slooowly getting his paintjob...

MOAR stompy bone-white badasses... 

... and their bases...

Monday, March 4, 2013

First Impresssions of Deathwing

I got in my first game using Deathwing during the weekend against Peter's Chaos Marines. Not surprisingly, I got mauled and wiped off the board on Turn 5. I won't go into the details of the battle just yet, but here's a couple of things I learnt:

Good ideas:
  1. Terminator Librarian with Divination powers is an excellent way to augment the killing power of Deathwing. There are few enough Terminators on the board as it is, and a little Prescience goes a long way towards making every swing of a power fist or, better yet, a smiting mace of Absolution count.
  2. Deathwing Knights are excellent, and getting a charge in with them is one of very few things that can wipe out a squad of 3 Nurgle Obliterators with no losses. On top of that, the sheer intimidation value of a squad of Terminators with Storm Shields which can quite likely instakill anything they charge is inestimable. 
  3. If you're not using a Land Raider to take the fight to the enemy, a Banner of Fortitude is well worth the points. After 2 Feel No Pain saves, it'll have made its points back. Also, keeping it with a Command Squad in the back line will keep the foe pressured to choose his targets very carefully between it and the squads of Terminators stomping in his direction. 
Bad ideas:
  1. I tried kitting out a 7 man Terminator squad with a Heavy Flamer, then using Belial to Deep Strike in flawlessly to deliver a burst of deadly accurate toasty death. No good. The kind of thing that will suffer horribly from that kind of abuse is simply not worth the exposing a large squad of Terminators for. Better to carry a more lethal gun, like a plasma cannon or assault cannon, start from mid-range and advance steadily. 
  2. Combat squads are a bad idea, simply because you CAN'T. Something to remember as I reassemble a new list... 

All in all, Deathwing is proving to be a very interesting challenge. I've another list drawn up, and I'm most keen to continue developing my skills in the ancient art of Deathwing.

In other news, painting is happening, slowly and steadily. Here's some pics of progress thus far...

Almost there... 

I'm rather pleased with the banner, seeing as this is probably the first banner of any kind I've painted. 

An ancient piece of near-forgotten lore: The original tale of the Deathwing Banner... 

Friday, March 1, 2013

Deathwing progress so far...

Slow! Very slow! But it's ok, Deathwing is meant to be a labour of love. It's not a killer competitive army, and there are a few reasons I'm building it in stark contrast to my other armies:

  1. It's freaking DEATHWING! Like I said, it was Space Hulk that first drew me to 40k, and I've always loved the idea of fielding squads of absurdly outnumbered bone-white Terminators to possible glory! 
  2. Easy to carry. 1 cheerful little KR cardboard case, compared with any of my other armies, which sit in 2 such cases plus a couple more boxes wrapped up in a furoshiki. Much better for my aging spine... 
  3.  IVORY spray paint! Gets a lot of the most tedious bit of Deathwing out of the way. I do intend to lavish a bit of painting lurve on this army, in stark contrast to my Necrons and Chaos armies, which, frankly, are a product of my desire to put a solid army on the table with the minimum amount of painting effort. 
  4. Finesse. I have none. My armies to date are all pretty blunt instruments, with quite a bit of room for error. Taking to the field with 29 Terminators is an exercise in very artful gaming, in my opinion. 

Anyway, some pics!

Makes a mighty fine Relic, even when it's not perfidious.

What's on the table now.  Note the Blood Angel Librarian, who'll be marching with his Deathwing brethren. 

The Cylone launcher from the Deathwing boxed set fit the Dark Vengeance Terminators perfectly!

I freaking HATE Finecast, but what the hell, I suppose I can endure one model.  This is Belial in the middle of the most tedious bit of the process: blacking out everything that isn't meant to be bone-white. Errors are easily covered up with a mix of Screaming Skull and  whatever White is handy. 

Easy scenic bases. Take a slab of corkboard, rip out a chunk and superglue it on your base.  The edges are later touched up with PVA glue and sand. 

Spray black and drybrush once with Codex Grey, and again, lightly with Astronomicon Grey.
Add one Terminator. All the Terminators were sprayed with Ivory like this, with a paperclip glued into a hole drilled into their feet. I then snip off the paperclip, drill a hole into the cork and base, and glue the Terminator in for a nice, solid bond.  
The Sergeant here is a work in progress, and I'm pretty pleased with how it's turning out. 

If you remember this, you're awesome.