Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Photo BatRep: Ultramarines vs. Eldar (Part Two)

...before I continue, a detail I left out from Turn Two: Jim moved his Wave Serpent near the center objective, and dumped out a squad of Storm Guardians. His Autarch also marched towards the middle, and the Fire Dragons began to spill out from behind the wall. This set the stage for the coming bloodbath.

Turn Three:

Behind the tower, I dropped out my melta squad and attempted to do a little rapid fire loving on the Striking Scorpions...but the melta missed, and the relatively low volume of fire took down maybe one, and I got mentally prepared to receive the charge. The assault marines bounced over to the war walkers, did some shooting and then assaulted. This created a quagmire that would keep both units tied up until the last turn. Opened up on the Warp Spiders, leaving three alive, they bounced around the termies and to take more shooting, break and flee. I pivoted the LRC, moved it through the terrain, and unloaded the Command Squad o' Doom. Shooting damaged the Wave Serpent and caused a wound on the Autarch. I was planning on charging into both the Autarch and the Storm Guardians, but wanted to even the odds a little, and had the CSoD take a round of shooting at the Autarch...and accidently killed him, leaving my squad sitting high and dry with no one to assault. Oops. Both the Storm Guardians and Fire Dragons took turns pumping flamer and fusion guns into the CSoD, and when the smoke cleared, the only survivor was the chaplain. He was promptly charged but made some dramatic saves and barely lived through the round with one wound remaining. The Striking Scorpions made quick work of my melta squad and dodged around to the door of the tower, but a quick rules check revealed they couldn't enter the building as my squad occupied it.

Turn Four:

Top of Turn Four, chappy dispatches a couple of f
oes before being dragged under. Termies jockeyed for LOS on the Striking Scorpions but couldn't get it and ran, hoping for a better position. The Fire Dragons got into magic melta range on my LRC and despite several hits, only managed to destroy the TLAC. The Fire Prism was up next, but missed. The second squad of war walkers laid down a serious torrent of fire on my middle LC squad, leaving one survivor.

Turn Five:

My assault squad finally dispatched the war walkers, but really didn't have an opportune target.Termies and Striking Scorpions clashed, casualties were taken on both sides, but there was no winner. At the end of the turn, things were pretty deadlocked, with my tower and wall still firmly under my control, and his tower and wall in the same shape. The LRC, still parked almost on top of the center objective prevented Jim from claiming it (amazing just how big a Land Raider is) and so we didn't even roll for Turn Six (at this point, it was getting late).

Final Outcome: A draw.

Next post: What did we learn?

What do you guys think? Do you have any suggestions for either of us? What would you have done differently?

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Photo BatRep: Ultramarines vs. Eldar (Part One)

Thanks to my friend Jim, I present part one of a photo-enriched battle report. Jim and I have been itching to play against each other for a while -- on our local forum, my post header is, "If holofields cost 1000 pts I'd stop complaining," -- and Jim has been wanting to give me something to complain about. :) Finally, we got a chance to square off! We met at Battleforge Games Thursday evening and got down to business.

He was trying out a new list, and I played the same one from BFG's last Hobby Tournament. We rolled the m
ulti-objective mission with long table edge deployment. We wound up with a total of 3 objectives, which after placement was one in my castle, one in his, and one in the center of the board.

The pictures start with deployment and go through the end at the bottom of turn 5. Unfor
tunately, Jim didn't send me all the pictures that really starred his units, so this is going to be a little one-sided. I'll have to ask him for the rest of the Eldar-specific ones so you can see the whole thing. Anyway, on to it...


Basically, I set up the majority of my forces in the "castle": the LRC with the "Command Squad o' Doom" (Jim's name for it), my termies, one 5-man lascannon squad, the 4 missile launcher dev squad and the 2 HB 1 PC dev squad. The objective is actually in the corner behind the wall and the tower. What you can't see is the TLHB razorback behind the base of the tower. I knew Jim was either deep striking or outflanking pretty much everything, so I wanted both board edges covered. I put my libby on the other side of the board in the ruins, with the assault squad touching the ruins (to get that cover save!) and the remaining 5 man LC squad in the middle, hunkered down in cover and waiting for targets of opportunity.

Jim's deployment was far simpler: one unit of pathfinders (rangers?) in cover, with sniper rifles. Everything else in reserves...

Turn One:

LRC and termies moved up on the objective. Both dev squads, LC squads fired on the pathfinders, with the libby tossing in a Fury of the Ancients at them (it was all I had to shoot at...). That left two of them, which fired at my HB/PC dev squad on top of the tower, rending one and wounding another, enough to cause a morale check, which they proceeded to fail, and fall back to the bottom of the tower. They wouldn't be useful again for 2 more turns.

Turn Two:

LRC and termies closed on the objective. Mass missile launcher fire took out the remaining pathfinders. The rest of the Eldar host arrived from reserves. Two squadrons of three war walkers arrived on my right flank. The first squad (proxied by Tau battlesuits, agreed upon before the game) fired everything at my libby, sending him to be with the Emperor. The other squadron opened up on my assault squad, killing two or three (in the picture, I'm placing dice for wound allocation). A unit of fire dragons took position behind the wall by his tower and a unit of (I think) dire avengers moved into the tower itself to protect his objective. I never saw them, as they remained in the tower the entire game. A wave serpent carrying a unit of storm guardians and a fire prism glided onto the battlefield from Jim's edge, and a squad of striking scorpions outflanked deep in my deployment zone, even with the tower. The warp spiders and their exarch suffered a deep strike mishap, and I got to place them in the difficult terrain of the woods previously occupied by the pathfinders. Some very unlucky 1's took out the exarch and a few warp spiders, who them bounced out, unfortunately in range of my termie's assault cannons and storm bolters...

Coming up next post: Part Two!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

First 5E Tournament

During this past weekend, I got a chance to play in my first 5E tournament, hosted by FLGS extraordinaire Battleforge Games here in Austin. BFG's "Hobby Tournaments" (which emphasize fun army lists as opposed to kill-em-all WAAC lists) are somewhat legendary -- this one had 28 players, and a free catered lunch (not bad for a free tournament, eh? Is it any wonder BFG has earned a large and loyal fan/customer base? It probably doesn't hurt that BFG is the venue-of-choice for the Bell of Lost Souls guys, too).

How'd I do? Well...1 loss, 2 draws. I wasn't in the top ten, but I consider this improvement, as in my first tournament, I lost every match, in my second, I had one loss and one tie (and a bye).

The picture is was taken by Jay, aka Bushido in the 41st Millennium during our match in round 2. If you'd like to read more about that match (and good match-by-match batreps by Bushido for the whole tournament including pictures from each), you should check out this act of bloggery he committed.

You may notice his gorgeous Eldar army in the photo. It looks fantastic, every unit has been lovingly given attention, and his vehicles are as beautiful and elegant as they are deadly. :) You'll also notice my Ultras are outnumbered. This was taken during the next-to-last turn. That loss I mentioned earlier? Yep, this was it.

You may be curious about the top five in this tournament, being is that it is one of the first 5E tournaments ever:

1. Eldar
2. Chaos Space Marines (Nurgle)
3. Imperial Guard
4. (tie) Black Templars
4. (tie) Tyranids

Hmm...looks like even with the new edition, some things have changed all that much. :) Although I should point out that most of the players in the top five consistently win tournaments using different armies (which lets you know they're good generals in any case).

There were a lot of marine armies in this tournament, which led Frank (aka Capt Tyranus on B&C) to comment that he thinks more people are picking marines up again due to the rumors about the upcoming codex, and it's supposed power. Interesting.

Does this mean we are entering into a Marines Ascendant era?

Which leads somewhat to this question: do you think the new marine codex will change the overall "power level" of the army?

Lastly, I'd like to say that having played 2 tournaments under 4E and now one under 5E, I greatly prefer the 5E ruleset. The games seem to have a more even ebb and flow, give and take...dare I say it: balance. I'm really looking forward to the bright times ahead in this hobby.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Wherein I Crash the Storm Shield Party and Interject Some Sobering Thoughts

I originally posted a form of these thoughts on Bolter & Chainsword in the New Codex: Space Marines, It's going to be huge thread.

Basically, there's a persistent rumor that Storm Shields are going to confer a 3+ Invulnerable Save (sometimes written as "3++"). Supposedly, this rumor has been confirmed as true from multiple sources, but I'm still a little skeptical.

Regardless, I wanted to interject these thoughts:

OK, so I have a box of assault termies and I was SO looking forward to giving them all lightning claws, joining a TDA chaplain to them and on the charge playing "suck on this". Looks like NOW, though, there's an important decision to be made...do I want a CC wrecking crew that can shred pretty much any unit I need it to (can you say Point. Click. Die.?) OR do I want to mix-and-match in some SS/TH termies OR do I want to build a very slow (I1...*sigh*) but VERY durable SS/TH-only squad?

I think it's time for some magnetized arms, myself.

Oh...and while I'm all about a 2+/3++ configuration for termies myself (I think they should all be that way, if they're going to come even somewhat close to matching the fluff) I do want to point something out (even though it's going to sound like I'm parade-raining): that damnable single pip, AKA the 1, has a nasty habit of popping up when you have to roll a handful of dice in response to, oh, say, massed gunfire or Khorne Berzerkers in CC. As sexy as 2+/3++ sounds, Tau/IG/Bladestorm-ed Dire Avenger gunlines will force enough saves for a 1 or 2 to pop up more often than you'd like (which is NEVER, am I right? :) ) and if there's only 5 in a unit...well, even one 1 is one too many. Same goes for Harlequins/Berzerkers/Chosen with a pile of PFs. I know I'd love to think 3++ is great -- oh, and it IS, make no mistake -- but it's not invulnerability. Remember this: every time you have pulled a marine off the board and put him back in the tray -- if you even got to roll beforehand -- you rolled a 1 or a 2.

Sorry for the sobering thoughts...but we're partying like we've been passed out 1+/1++ saves...and we haven't.

Personally, while I hate, hate, hate "the fluff argument" (even though I somewhat ventured into this territory above) I think termies should be 2+/3++, T5 with FNP...in accordance with the fluff. They would then cost 75 points, but I'd pay it, and it might even make me stop preaching that holofields should cost 1,000 points (which they should -- I'm looking at you, tri-Falcon list).

The point I was trying to make is that while 2+/3++ SOUNDS really, really good, it ISN'T invulnerability. It's a damn sight better than 2+/5++, and it will definitely come in handy for those times when you REALLY need an invulnerable save, but without some kind of re-roll-ability (which, come to think of it, with the new FNP rules, wouldn't help for anything you'd need to roll an invulnerable save against anyway) it's really not all that great.

Consider this: Tactical Dreadnought Armor is supposed to be impervious to small-arms fire. However, more often than not, it's massed small-arms fire that usually kills my termies. If you have to make a pile of save rolls, I can promise you that you're going to get a 1, and there you go: dead terminator, at the hands of small-arms fire. I know that game balance demands this, but it doesn't mean I have to like it.

While we're on the subject, I'd like all penetrating hits against a Land Raider to be downgraded to glances, a BS10 Vindicator with 60" range, and a rending pony. :)

Wednesday, July 16, 2008


I just had a quick thought.

5E isn't about looking at the changes to the rules by themselves. It's more about looking at all of the rules together, and how they interact and balance each other out. Pretty much any one rule change, looked at by itself, doesn't seem all that big, or, if it does, it can easily be mistaken for a buff/nerf, perhaps made arbitrarily.

But if you look at all the rules together, it seems to me that it makes for a nice, balanced synergy of action/reaction, checks and balances.

...anyway, just a thought.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

More Marine Rumors-a-go-go

...this time from Corton on warseer:

I spoke to GW Customer Service rep from the UK this morning who had the Codex in front of him, and picked his noodle a bit. Sounds so odd when they say Good Afternoon and its 7:30 AM here. Got a few tidbits for Iron Hands players:

Master of the Forge:
Current Techmarine stats w BS5 and LD10-100 pts
2+ Sv. no inv.
Servo Harness for free
Large Weapon range options(combi wpns., T-Hammer, etc.)
Can replace Harness w Conversion Beamer(+20pts). The further it is fired the more potent it becomes.
Str. 6 AP4/Blast @ 6" to Str 10 AP 1/Blast at 42" or more
Allows Dreadnoughts to be taken as Heavy Support AND Elites.
Has special rule that allows for one piece of terrain in your Deployment Zone to be given an improved Cover Save by +1 at the atart of the game(fortifications or some-such).

Chaplains are WS 5, BS 4, 3+ sv.
Commanders are WS6, but have limited ranged weapon options.

No Terminator Sgts for Tactical, Assault, Devastator squads. Kind of a bummer, bit I'll live.

Techmarines still have Servitor Retinues(0-4 models), but may leave them as a separate unit. The downside; they only operate on a 4+ if left alone.

The weapon options (free stuff) is correct if taken as a 10 man unit.

You may still have variable squad sizes(6-9), but you get nothing else besides the Sgt n his options. No special n Heavy Weapons.


The Conversion Beamer sounds sweet, can't wait to get my grubby paws on one. Also, looks like it's a good thing I've already re-structured my army list to include 10 man squads that break up into combat squads...

Work, Sicarius, and a Few Random 5E Thoughts

So lately, work has been kicking my butt.

In my line of work, sometimes you have quite a bit a free time, and sometimes you really don't. I've been going through a "don't" period over the last couple of weeks, and as a result, I haven't even so much as picked up a paintbrush. This...is not good. Well, it's not good in the sense that I'm not getting any painting done, but it is good in the sense that come the next paycheck, I should have a little more spare cash to spend on models (wait, didn't I recently say that I wasn't going to buy any new models until after I had painted up the ones I already had?...yes, I did...what I meant to say is that I'll have more money to save for when the new SM codex releases so I'll be able to plunk down the cash for the new Sternguard Vets. And a Redeemer. Oh, and a Thunderfire Cannon. And some drop pods. Yeah, that's what I meant to say...).

In other news, I picked up a Captain Sicarius model -- the limited edition Medusa V release one, with the twin lightning claws -- from a local guy and now he sits there, staring at me accusingly, taunting me to paint him. I know I won't be able to resist that siren's call for very long. Hopefully, if all goes well, I'll actually have a decent camera within the next couple of weeks, and if so, I'll be taking some photos so this blog won't be so image-bare.

Having played a few 5E games now, I can honestly say I really, really love the new edition. True LOS rocks -- I never did like the "area terrain blocks LOS" rule. Luckily, my FLGS had a terrain-making party recently and there's now lots of LOS-blocking goodness to be had. It really does add another dimension to the game (if you'll pardon the unintended pun).

Running is probably my favorite "new addition", though, as it gives the occasional tac squad something to do when they're out of bolter/melta range. Just remember that the other side gets it, too (and if you don't, you deserve what happens to you when, oh, say, that gaggle of Khorne Berzerkers makes it to your dev squad...).

My next favorite thing is the change that states that ICs with a retinue count as an "upgrade character" until the retinue is dead. This means no more getting your commander/chaplain/librarian running with a command squad singled out in CC, which is, IMHO, a good thing. Well, at least until the new codex comes out. Hopefully, SMs won't lose the ability to take a command squad...but we'll see, right?

Lastly, I'm happy to report that 5E works seamlessly in Apocalypse games. In fact, it seems to make Apoc games run smoother in general.

Anyone got any 5E thoughts they'd like to share?

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Marine-tastic Rumorgasm

From two posts by turelhim vampire at The Bolter and Chainsword:

I don’t know if this has already been mentioned but I don’t have time to scrawl though 38 pages whilst I am at work. I just got off the phone with a GW employee – this was from ringing GW mail order at Nottingham - who had the book in front of him and gleaned a few tid bits.

Salamanders Special Character:
NOT Tu’shan – his name is Vulkan Estan he is the ex-4th Company Captain and is a kind of wandering champion. Apparently he has almost inquisition like leverage over the Salamander Chapter, as his task is to seek out and recover 9 holy relics made by Vulkan before he disappeared. Apparently if all 9 are recovered Vulkan will return. Estan has recovered 3 and is using them. One is a Salamander Hide Cloak, one is a Gauntlet which counts as a Heavy Flamer and allows him to re-roll to wound. The third is the Spear of Vulkan - a S6 master crafted power weapon.

On top of this he allows any and all Salamanders in the army to replace their “vanilla” Combat Tactics with the Salamanders version – they get Master Crafted Thunder Hammers for free. All Melta/flamer weapons in the army, no matter their source, count as twin linked – also for free.

In addition (this is a general marine rule) Storm Shields now grant a 3+ Inv. Save against shooting and combat. And all Salamanders Terminator Assault squads come with them, and there thunder hammers are master crafted if Estan is present.

Also I heard the Spearhead will include:
Drop pod
Tank Commander character
Scout Bikes
5 Vanguard
5 Sternguard
1x Speeder (could be a storm)

Just thought I’d contribute.

Second Post:

Right, now work is over and I can talk in some depth, here is what I was told:

-The special characters are designed to be taken by any chapter using "counts as" rules.
-If you give a commander a bike, bike squads are troops.
-Tac squads can have any number of marines - from 5 to 10, but can only have special/heavy weapons if you take a full 10 man squad. They can be split into combat squads during deployment. To make up for the "must have 10 for special/heavies" rule flamers, missile launchers, multi-meltas and heavy bolters are now FREE - you only pay points to take the rest of the options.
-Drop pod assault: Half the drop pods deploy on turn 1 - these half have "deployment beacons" that allow the rest (held as reserves) to come in more accurately. Tac squads choose to deploy as combat squads AFTER they land.
-Scouts in all their forms (including the storm) infiltrate in one of two ways - normally or can come in as reserves from ANY table edge and get to use their free "scout" move when they arrive. Scouts are still troops - Marine Airbourne Cavalry of Doom anyone?
-3 Dread options - Standard, Venerable, and Ironclad - all separate elite entries. Venerables are back to how they used to be and have WS/BS 5. Ironclads have 13/13/10 armour, can take 2x DCCW, Hurricane bolter, twin linked heavy flamer, and some others, I forget now. It also has a rule which could be a weapon option called the "seismic hammer" which counts as a thunder hammer and allows difficult terrain tests to be re-roll as it batters terrain out of the way.
-Dreads are crazy now weapons include - Assault Cannon, Multi Melta, twin Heavy Bolters, twin Heavy Flamers, twin las cannon, twin autocannon, plasma cannon, DCCW, Missile Launcher, and maybe more I have forgotten. Oh, and AT LEAST the twin autocannon can be purchased for BOTH arms.
-Sternguard vets have DW style ammo, 2 can take special/heavies/special CCW - Including HEAVY FLAMERS. biggrin.gif For +5pts each they can also take ANY combi weapon - and still keep the specialist ammo type.
-Vanguard vets are similar but are combat-heavy and can have jump packs as an option. Interestingly, they can be further upgraded to "Honour Guard" if you take a Company Master.
-Scouts and Characters can take Combi-Grenade launchers, which are the same as they used to be but are now RAPID FIRE.
-Crusader is now cheaper but does not come with the multi-melta - but this can be purchased as a pintle mounted weapon - possible for ALL land raiders. Redeemer flame cannons are S6 AP3 but are NOT inferno cannons - the template has to touch the weapon - however the machine spirit now allows each weapon on the raider to fire at a separate target.
-There are 13 special characters in total. White Scars character confirmed. No model as yet for him or Vulkan.

Thats all I can remember.

If you're a marine player -- like me -- your first inclination is to disbelieve these rumors, because they're too good.

However, I'm just hopeful enough that they'll be true to pass them along.

What do y'all think?

Friday, July 4, 2008

Played a little 5E

I finally got to play a full 5E game this evening.

I played against a mechanized IG army that had more tanks than I had heavy weapons.

It was a blast, went a full 7 turns, and ended in a draw.

I'm really, really liking the changes that 5E brings. True LOS is incredible, I can't be happier that area-terrain-blocks-LOS is gone.

I'll put up a more complete batrep later...it's time for bed now. :)

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

That pile of models staring at me...

It's hard to believe that I only started in this hobby about 8 months ago.

Between then and now I've managed to get a decent 2000 point army that I can play with and enjoy painted and based -- which is good, because it allows me a little more freedom in that I don't have to be painting models because I need to add them to my army right away. That's why I'm not seriously concerned about not working on the terminator librarian at the moment because while using him is part of a larger plan, he's not necessary right now, so I can take my time with him, and I'm hoping the end result will show that.

Anyway, I was looking around my home office and I noticed that I have quite a few models staring at me from my shelves.

A Whirlwind. A Predator. A tac squad. An assault terminator squad. A few other things. We won't get into the other army I've been gathering models for, because it's going to be a pretty major undertaking to get it ready (I call it my "volunteer chaos" army...it's almost 100% composed of models I bought off Ebay or from other gamers...I seriously don't even have an overall plan for it yet...).

However, looking at all that virgin plastic I've decided that I'm not going to buy any new models until all the new ones I have now are done.

Unless, of course, the new space marine models -- such as the tasty, tasty Sternguard -- are released before I finish the models I have now (Are you with me? Do you honestly think I can resist those models? Can you??).

What this does mean is that I have quite a bit of "utilitarian" painting ahead of me. By that I mean I'm not going to lavish huge amounts of time on a tac squad -- and my airbrush makes pretty short work of vehicles.

So that leaves the assault termies...I really want to make them look good, particularly the lightning claws.

Which means I'm going to also need to get that terminator chaplain to go with them.


I might have to renege on that decision sooner than I thought...