Sunday, October 26, 2008

What Should I Take vs. Armored Company?

For my next game in the Macharian Crusade campaign, I'll be facing an Armored Company list, that looks a lot like this:

Monash - 183
Leman Russ Exterminator
Hull Heavy Bolter
Track Guards

Extra Armor

Hellhound - 133 (x3, one taken as Fast Attack)

Smoke Launchers

Track Guards

Extra Armor

Heavy Bolter

Platoon Command Tank - 218 (x3)
Leman Russ
Hull Lascannon
Heavy Bolters
Smoke Launchers
Track Guards
Extra Armor

Leman Russ - 183 (x3)
Hull Lascannon
Heavy Bolters
Smoke Launchers
Track Guards
Extra Armor

...granted, this is the 1785 point version of my opponent's list, but we'll be playing at 2000 points, so I'm expecting another tank (or two). The rules of the campaign for armored company grant company command and platoon command tanks the ability to hold objectives (in case you were wondering how this list was going to take objectives).

The question is -- having never played against an AC list before -- is what do I use to fight all those tanks playing Chaos Space Marines? My answer is, "More melta! More Las Cannons!"

So, with that in mind, I came up with this list:

Daemon Prince



Fast Attack:
Raptors, 5-Man Unit
Meltagun (x2)

Aspiring Champion with Melta Bombs


Chosen, 5-Man Unit (x2)

Meltagun (x2)

Icon of Chaos Glory

Aspiring Champion with Melta Bombs

Terminators, 5-Man Unit
Chain Fist (x1)

Power Weapon (x4)

Combi-melta (x4)

Reaper Autocannon (x1)


Chaos Space Marines, 7-Man Unit (x2)

Icon of Chaos Glory

Aspiring Champion with Melta Bombs


Chaos Space Marines, 10-Man Unit


Icon of Chaos Glory
Aspiring Champion with Melta Bombs

Heavy Support:

Havocs, 6-Man Unit

Lascannon (x3)

Icon of Chaos Glory

Extra Armor

Land Raider

Extra Armor

...which is exactly 2000 points. The plan is to send the DP with the Raptors for hit-and-run assaults; truck over the termies in the LR and have them bounce out for hot melta action with follow-up chainfisting; send out the 2 Rhino-mounted CSM units for drive-by melta and/or melta bomb assault; and of course infiltrate in both Chosen units -- hopefully in the backfield -- for some rear-armor melta shots and/or melta bomb assault. The large CSM unit will park on an objective with the las cannon, and the havoks will deploy into some kind of cover and shoot, shoot, shoot. The Vindicator is mainly there to draw fire and maybe get in a lucky shot.

The problem, of course, is any way you slice it, I'm going to be facing a lot of tanks, and those tanks will all be dropping templates all over the place and generally making my day less than pleasant. Not to mention all those hull-mounted las cannons will probably make short work of both my LR and Vindicator. That's going to leave me with only 4 las cannons, and that means I'm going to have to depend on tank-busting the old fashioned way: by getting much, much closer than I'd rather be to them and hoping I can get the ol' melta mojo working, in either gun or bomb form.

Any thoughts, opinions or advice? List critique and/or tweaks? Strategy ideas? I'm definitely open to suggestions!

Friday, October 24, 2008

...and now, here's Joe with the weather.

Now that I finally got the whole Disqus thing straightened out, and have actually had a few moments to breathe (and get caught up on some professional and personal things) I thought it'd be a good time to get everyone caught up.

The last few days have been a mixed bag. I wound up having to miss the last couple of days of work due to being under the weather, but that's what doctors and prescriptions are for. So far, so good on the recovery. Next week is going to be very, very hectic, too, as the long-awaited move to the new place finally happens. What this means is that gaming and modeling are going to have to take a brief back seat, but once the move is complete it should get a lot better as I'll finally have a dedicated workspace. I'm really, really looking forward to this and (hopefully) the golden age of productivity that will come with it. I have several projects either already in progress or planned and I'm definitely excited about getting started or moving forward on them!

All right, let's talk about the Macharian Crusade.

The first game I played went pretty well, all things considered (as previously discussed). I promised I'd do a little "what did we learn" about that game, so I'll get that out of the way.

  • Khorne Berzerkers are awesome. They are the main reason I wanted to pick up a CSM army to begin with. They're the only "cult" troops I have at the moment, and they're worth their weight in gold in CC. I know this isn't news to anyone, but I wanted to point out that they were as awesome as I thought they'd be.
  • You can never have enough meltaguns when you're playing against a vehicle-heavy IG list.
  • I really shouldn't have taken the MoK on the daemon prince. The DP really needs some shooty, and that means psychic powers. MoK will be dropped in the future in favor of Doombolt (hey, same points cost either way).
  • I could really use another Vindicator or two.
  • Infiltrating a squad of Chosen into your opponent's backfield is a dirty rotten trick, but definitely the only real reason to take them. I wish I'd given them 4 meltaguns instead of 4 flamers, though. I was thinking there'd be more troops back there for me to barbecue.
  • Summoned lesser daemons are a neat diversion, and can certainly crank out the wounds in CC, but man do they die quick. Oh, and they can't use transports. Oops.
Week Two of the Macharian Crusade pitted me against Chris "The Dude" Long and his Methalor Penal Legion. Chris, along with being one of the Fly Lords of Terra, is definitely one of Austin's best players (and he has the tournament wins to prove it) so I was really looking forward to this game as we've never faced off before. This game was a little different for me in that it was 1500 points. I can't remember the last 1500 point game I've played, so shaving down the list a little was a challenge but I think I did all right. We played a very tight, very close game and it literally came down to the wire. In the end, I made a couple of mistakes that wound up costing me big. At one point, I held both objectives, with a squad of CSMs on my home objective and my Berzerkers on his. Alas, it didn't last, though. Some good shooting followed up by a brutal round of CC between my remaining 'zerkers and his command squad and HQ (a Crusade-only special character) ended with the Khorne-boys wiped out to the man and a Demolisher close enough to contest my home objective. Oh, but it was a close, fun game the entire time. Chris told me at one point he was "playing for a tie", and considering how good a player he is, I felt pretty good about that. I had a brief post-game discussion with Chris after I'd had time to think about it, and we both agreed that I made a few crucial mistakes:

  • I should have moved my Land Raider the full 12" instead of 6". It probably would have survived the assault from the unit with the priest and the "guy with the eviscerator". Yup, 2D6 on the penetration roll will go through even AV14. Had the Land Raider moved the 12" and survived, it would have been contesting Chris's home objective.
  • I mis-directed the final assault of the Berzerkers, not realizing that the SINGLE model accompanying the HQ model was a "troop". I'm pretty sure I could have wounded that "troop" had I directed my attacks towards his unit. Had that model died, Chris wouldn't have been able to claim his home objective (and coupled with the Land Raider, I might have at least been able to contest it).
  • When Chris moved his Demolisher to tank shock my CSM unit holding my home objective, I originally declared a Death or Glory! with the PF-equipped AC...and then for some reason, changed my mind and backed out of it. Honestly, I probably wouldn't have popped that tank, what with it being AV14 on the front and all, but I really had nothing to lose. If I had, well, then I would have held my home objective uncontested.
...OK, so maybe those post-game thoughts don't mean as much without having a little more context, but you get the idea: I made some serious errors, and it cost me big time. However, even though I've been playing for a year now I still consider myself in the learning stage, and that game definitely taught me some very good lessons. I have to add that Chris is an excellent player and that game was pure fun.

That brings me to current and upcoming projects.

I'm enjoying playing the Chaos Space Marines. They're similar enough to my Ultras that it's not a huge learning curve, but the different units and options really do make it entertaining. They're not going to become my main army but they do make for a fun diversion. Having said that, though, I've decided that I really want to work on my daemon prince. I have a balrog model and I think it makes a great DP. However, there's something about it that bothers me: the little "fire knife" it has for a CCW. I've decided to attempt sculpting an appropriately-large sword for it. I've made a couple of base forms out of brown stuff and have begun the long and demanding task of carving, cutting and filing. I'm using one as my "test" and the second as the "production"...but there's a long way to go before either of them is even near done. BTW, if you're interested, I found this tutorial on sculpting swords that I found most useful. It's a little hard to read at first as it is presented in multiple languages but definitely worth a look.

Last but certainly not least, I have some plans for my Ultras. I have two lists in mind, one that uses drop pods, Sternguard and a libby, and lots of tacs. The other list replaces some tacs for some scout bikers. I really need to decide on my HQ, too -- which is really a choice between Sicarius or Pedro -- and once I've finalized that I need to get the model and get to work on painting it up. Needless to say, I have a LOT of work in store for me with my Ultras but I'm definitely looking forward to getting it all together, painting it up, and then playing with the new codex.

You'll notice the details are a little light on the upcoming stuff for the Ultras. That's because I really haven't finalized a whole lot yet. I'll let you know what I come up with, though.

So, now that I've blathered on for probably way too long (hey, if you made to the end of this long-ass post, thanks!) I'm wondering: what have you guys learned from recent games? What projects are percolating up? What plans have you made?

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Thanks to Disqus Support... template has been patched and I'm able to use Disqus again!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Good News, Bad News

Well, as you can see, the good news is I managed to find a 3-column blog template to use. Yay, go me (honestly, all it involved was a few simple steps).

That's it for the good news.

The bad news is...Disqus is broken. Their "template patcher" doesn't work with "custom templates", and for the life of me, I can't seem to figure out how to make it work with the custom template, even following the instructions from this page (which the Disqus support page sends you to when the "patcher" figures out it can't auto-patch your template for you).

So...I'm asking for help. I know some of you out there have 3 column blogs and are using Disqus. Can ya help a brother out and let me know how you did it? Or edit my template? Or...something? Please? :)

In the meantime, I've turned the "normal" comments back on. Whee.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Results From Last Night

Originally posted as a comment, recycled here for your convenience!

The game last night was fun and against an excellent opponent. I lost -- by one lousy contested objective. Massed demolisher, hellhound and battle cannon fire does a number on Khorne Berserkers, that's all I can say. Still, not a bad result for never having played the army before and (literally) making up the army list about 45 minutes before the game started. :)

I didn't really learn anything I didn't already know about CSM, though. Berserkers are ridiculous in CC. Daemon princes are hard to kill and a one-man (daemon?) wrecking crew. Outflanking Chosen should (when playing against a tank-heavy IG army, anyway) have meltaguns and not flamers. I'll do a post about it later with a nice re-cap and lessons learned. :)

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Playing Something Different...

The Macharian Crusade campaign gets kicked off tonight at BattleForge Games. There are over 30 local players involved! (It is great to live in the same city and get to game with the Fly Lords of Terra, yes.)

However, there really isn't a place for my Ultramarines in this part of the campaign (if at all), but I really wanted to take part (and who wouldn't?). So that means I'll be playing on the bad guys team. That's right, tonight I'll be taking on elements of the Fifth Army Group of the Macharian Crusade with Chaos Space Marines.

A little on my CSM army: It was cobbled together over several months with a combination of trades, small private purchases and some luck on Ebay. That's the good news. The bad news's ugly. I simply haven't had time to do anything with this army and it looks...well, disjointed. Pretty much every model in the army needs to be stripped and re-painted. Not to mention my greater daemon isn't even assembled yet (and I cheated: I got a balrog model from the LotR line because I thought it just looked cooler).

Also, I've never -- not even once -- played a game with this army. Oh, sure, I know the basics (CSMs are, after all, still marines at the core) but as for finesse and/or experience, I simply don't have any with it. So...playing with it should prove to be a real learning experience and (hopefully) a lot of fun.

I'll let you know.

Anyone else ever done anything like this? I'm curious to know if you have, and how it turned out!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Comments and Bandwagons...

I decided to go ahead and switch over the Disqus comment system.

Hopefully, nobody will think this sucks, and everyone will love it unconditionally.

Or...something like that.

Anyway, new content to break in the new Disqus comment system will be coming soon!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Divine Secrets of the Space Marine Brotherhood?

If there's one thing I believe space marine armies need, it's force multipliers. The two assault cannons you could (previously) take in a 5-man terminator squad was a perfect example of a force multiplier -- having those two assault cannons greatly expanded the damage that unit could do per turn. Now that we've all had a chance to get a look at the new marine codex (and hopefully digest at least some of it), what combinations of units/abilities create meta-units whose total is greater than the sum of its individual parts?

Here in Austin, there are a few favorites that seem to be rising to the top:

  1. Captain Lysander joining a full squad of Sternguard: with his "Bolter Drill" special rule, those Sternguard will be pumping out the Hellfire rounds with re-rolls to hit and re-rolls to wound. Plus, re-rolls to hit means you'll never overheat when firing the Vengeance rounds. Nasty!
  2. Join an epistolary librarian with the Gate of Infinity power (probably coupled with The Avenger) with a full squad of Sternguard. Add in either several drop podding units or scout biker units with locator beacons and it's bounce-tastic, no-scatter, deep-strike-to-where-you-really-wanna-be fun. Every time your movement phase comes up, if your Sternguard aren't where you need them to be (for example, if you need to avoid an oncoming charge or put yourself in rapid fire range), have the librarian cast Gate of Infinity and bounce out. Also, if your Sternguard/librarian get stuck in an assault you really don't want to be in (which is all of them, because every round they're assaulting is a round they're not shooting), Gate of Infinity out to safety (and by "safety," I mean "rapid fire range to the unit you were in assault with"). You don't have to have a few locator beacons around to use this combo, but I think it's very highly recommended to avoid that whole deep strike scatter issue, which can really ruin your whole day (or at least your battle plan). Also, if you're like me, you want to do everything you can to remove the potential impact random chance can have on your army/units. I originally thought this power was used during the librarian's shooting phase, but an anonymous commenter (who may go by the name "lord-o-doom") pointed out that GoI is cast during the movement phase. So while it may be a little less useful than I originally thought, this combo is still my current favorite.
  3. Drop-podding a pair of tooled-up dreadnoughts (either ironclad or venerable) into your opponent's backfield and then opening up with heavy flamers and/or multimeltas/assault cannons/twin-linked auto-cannons. To follow that, charge on in for some DCCW/Seismic Hammer close combat lovin'. Support these dreads with a full squad of Sternguard (probably with a librarian rockin' Gate of Infinity) and maybe a full tac squad (or two) and you're in business. Just make sure you have enough drop-podding units to get all the units you REALLY want in the backfield on the first turn (which probably means you're going to need at least 5 units with pods). Don't forget locator beacons on the pods!
  4. I created a 2000 point list with Pedro Cantor and 90 other marines (3 full Sternguard squads and 6 full tac squads). That makes a total of 91 power-armored marines on the table, and with Pedro...90 of them are scoring. Granted, they're all footsloggin', but I think it would be pretty impressive (and not to mention, hard to kill).
  5. Honor Guard. Yes, they're ridiculously expensive. But let's think about it: for 385 points, you get 10 Sv2+ marines with power weapons, including the company champion and company banner. That will yield 51 S4 power weapon attacks on the charge (4 from the champ, 27 from the others, 10 from the company banner and 10 for the charge bonus) and 41 S4 power weapon attacks during a regular round of assault. If the S4 doesn't float your boat, you can give 'em all (or just a few) relic blades for some S6 power weapon goodness (at the cost of one attack for each model that has one). Giving the entire squad relic blades costs 150 points...and for the same price you can give the whole squad auxiliary grenade launchers for some added shooting power if you like. Granted, you have to take a chapter master to get them, so choosing one with some heavy CC power is probably a given (or not, they can run around by themselves). At first I didn't think these guys were worth it, but the more I look at what they're capable of, I think they're at least worth testing out...
What do you think of these combos? What interesting little gems of space marine goodness have you found lurking in the new codex? Share with the group and discuss!