Thursday, 27 March 2014

My Hobby Progress & Geekend Part 1

Hi,

It's been a few months since I last blogged, and unfortunately I haven't got much gaming in, since the tournament in Janruary that I took my Space Wolves to.  A quick review of the tournament is coming, but a quick synopsis is that is was a really fun tournament, but I learnt a lot about my Wolves because they did soooo badly.  What's good though is that I can take the learnings and the models to increase the Wolves from 1250 up to 1750 points are already on the painting table.

Talking of painting table after the January tournament, my painting table was a mix of all the projects I wanted to finish quickly, from the aforementioned additions to my Space Wolves:
[Canis, extra Thunderwolf riders and Fenrusian Wolves]
[WIP Jetbike for my Rune Priest, and a WIP Mistress for my Repentia in the background]

a random Scout conversion (based on Telion):
[It is was a pain to get rid of all the ultramarine icons]

to the the start of the new addition for my Tau:
[Converting Fire Warriors, Shield Generators & Multi-trackers to make Firesight Marksmen]

However I've now got a bit more focus with my next tournament booked in for May and the army choosen (Tau), so all other painting projects are on hold until I finish painting the 20 models.

And that brings me onto Geekend !!  My mate that I went to the Janruary tournament said we must book a weekend for him to come down, so the date was set, and it's this weekend.  They'll be 3 of us, with couple of people popping in over the weekend, and over the weekend we hope to fit in:
40k: Tau vs Nids (on a terrain heavy board)
Infinity
Firefly (the board game)
Dystopian Wars
and more Firefly

Part One of the 1st of hopefully a few Geekends this year is a return to the gaming table for my Tau.  On an open table I would think my Tau on paper should have the game easily, but on a terrain heavy table that blocks some decent line of sight it should be a tough fight.

As this is practice for the tournament I'm going to in May we're using dataslates, however the tournament caps flying monstrous creatures at 2, so I won't by facing the Skyblight formations, so instead I get to gave 5 heavy support choices in the form of the Artillery formation.  I'm partically worried about 2 mawlocs and what 3 biovores that can hide out of line of sight will do to my troop choices.
[Hopefully not a portent of things to come]

I'll post up my ideas on Mawloc defence and whether they worked in the game next week, but please chime in with any advice you have.  Below are the armies we'll be using.

Until next time

Rathstar


Tyranid Forces:

HQ
Tyranid Prime with devourers and talons 125

Troops
Tervigon with cluster spines 200
3 Tyranid Warriors with devourers and a barbed strangler 100
30 Termagants 120
21 Hormagaunts 105
21 Hormagaunts 105

Elites
Venomthrope 45
Venomthrope 45
3 Zoanthropes 150

Heavy Support
3 Biovores 135
Exocrine 170
Exocrine 170
Mawloc 140
Mawloc 140

Total: 1750


Tau Forces:

Ethereal - 74
  accompanied by 2 Marker Drones

XV8 Crisis Battle Suit Team - 256
Shas'vre with Command & Control Node, Puretide Engram Chip & Drone Controller*
2 Shas'ui each with 2 Missile Pods & a Target Lock
accompanied by 6 Marker Drones

XV104 Riptide - 185
Ion Accelerator, Twin-linked Fusion Blaster

XV104 Riptide - 185
Ion Accelerator, Twin-linked Fusion Blaster

9 Fire Warriors - 81

9 Fire Warriors - 81

10 Kroot - 60

10 Kroot - 60

10 Kroot - 60

Sniper Drone Team - 174
3 Firesight Marksmen
accompanied by 9 Sniper Drones

XV88 Broadside Team - 267
3 Shas'ui each with Twin-linked High Yield Missile Pods & Twin-linked Smart Missile System
accompanied by 6 Missile Drones

XV88 Broadside Team - 267
3 Shas'ui each with Twin-linked High Yield Missile Pods & Twin-linked Smart Missile System
accompanied by 6 Missile Drones

Total: 1750 Pts, 92 Models, 12 Units, 5 Troops

* Wargear Rules:

Command & Control Node - If the model does not shoot the rest of the unit is twin-linked

Puretide Engram Chip - At the start of it's movement phases the model chooses from a small list of USRs and has that USR till the start of it's next movement phase (against Nids Monster Hunter will be picked every turn, against other armies it's normally Tank Hunters)

Drone Controller (NB: The Firesight Markmen also have these and are BS5) - Other drones in the unit (apart from Missile Drones) use the bearers BS

Monday, 27 January 2014

Wolves hit 1250 Points, face Tyranids, plus thoughts on Nids & Wolves

Hi,

I made my deadline of finishing my 1250 points of Space Wolves in time for the Von Smallhausen tournament that was last weekend :)  I finished the army late on Thursday night, so I was also able to have a game with them at my mate's house who I was staying with on the Friday night.  This was a refreshing change, as normally (for the last 2 January tournaments I have taken my Space Wolves to) I have been finishing the basing (and sometimes the painting) of the army on the Friday night before the tournament.


Completing the Wolves

When I blogged last week I still had to green stuff the neck of my Cyberwolf, only about 5 of the extra Grey Hunters were finished (apart from basing), and the Wolf Guard were far from finished.  Here's a pic of the cyberwolf after green-stuffing and  undercoating, as well as 2 meltaguns that I needed for the army:

[The models to be undercoated, with only a few days to the tournament]
and here's a shot of all the models just before the cyberwolf was undercoated:

[so many guns and eyes still to paint, everything on the paint station was finished apart from
basing, while everything on the desk still needed work]

During the rush to finish the army, I came across the worst of speed painting.  Speed Painting as a concept is fine, and using techniques to get the bulk of your army painted quickly is fine, however I forced myself into speed painting by not giving myself enough time to complete the army.  This led to things I did not like, eg. as I was undercoating at night, and I had to move quite far away from small light at my front doot because I did not want red undercoat blowing back onto the white peppledash exterior of my house, I was practically undercoating without being able to see the model too well.  This required quick trips back into the light to check my handiwork and then moving back away from the light to catch any bits I had missed.  This worked fine apart from on a few models where the undercoat was too think in some places (mainly the bolter and pistols on the wolf guard.  Normally I would either bin the model and start again or replace the weapon or arm.  However as the wolf guard was only undercoated at the start of the week before the tournament I didn't know whether I would have another dry day to do the undercoating, so I used these models.  Now no-one probably noticed these issues (and my mate didn't notice playing against them until I pointed out the few issues), however I will go back and replace the hands of these models.  This wouldn't have happened if I had given myself enough time so that I could undercoat at the weekends so I could see what I was undercoating :)

Another issue with not giving my self enough time is that on some models the light colours (the light grey on the weapons, and the light blue) really needed another coat to cover any sections where the red undercoat was slightly visible in places.  I quick painting session this week will quickly complete this, however I would have liked to have fitted this in before the tournament.

Here's a quick pic of all the extra models I've painted up for the 1250 point army, and a pic of the whole 1250 point force is the opening pic of this blog post:


Although it was a stretch it was nice that I could get to 1250 points wihtout using any of the old edition models I have.  At the bottom of my case I have the old (slightly smaller) edition models of 4 Rhinos, Whirlwind, Predator & Vindicator


The Howl of the Wolf vs the Screech of the Alien

Although my mate had to use the old Tyranid codex for the tournament as it had been released less than a month before the tournament, he relished the chance to try out the new codex.

Now my mate already slaughtered my Wolves over the xmas break, causing a change to my list.  The game showed by a lack of low AP guns, and how Rhinos aren't that good.  I swapped a Whirlwind (I could already kill light infnantry with loads of bolter rounds and wolves) and a missile launcher to get 5 wolf guard all with combi-plasma.  I changed one rhino to a drop pod for the wolf guard, and changed the other rhino to the wolf guard terminator with cyclone missile launcher, combi-plasma & poweraxe (best to make use of the cheap combi before I get a new codex).

The wolf guard is quite flexible, as i can leave them all together if there is a good alpha strike target, or I can detach up to 4 (terminator into long fangs and 3 wolf guard in the grey hunter squads) if there isn't a good target for them.

I was against the following nid force:

[As the terrain was very Infinity-esque, we played the  terrain the hive tyrant and exocrine
we standing on as area terrain]
The monstrous creature near the nid board edge is proxying for a 2nd exocrine.  So with 2 exocrine against my mainly foot marine list and a flying tyrant without any anti-air to oppose him the writing was on the wall.  In short, although giving the nids a bloody nose, I was slaughtered again.

Rather than go over a detailed battle report I'll just cover some of my learnings and thoughts on the units we used.

Tyranid Star Performers

Flyrant:  With no anti air he was not surprising very good and did most of the heavy lifting, killing the thunderwolves (when they were tied up by gaunts), and a full squad of grey hunters on his own.  Knowing he was a threat to my thunderwolves I put them the other corner of my lines, however the flyrant went across his deployment zone on turn 1.  I got lucky and grounded him with a lucky snap fire from the long fangs which took a wound, and then he was grounded and lost another.  However my mate had placed him so that he fell into terrain near a venomthrope so he then had a 3+ cover save.  My mate was trying out a more combat orientated tyrant with the Ymargall ability to give himself +1 atk, 2+ save or a few other options, plus the getto (only in combat) preferred enemy.  Talking over the tyrant's performance we agreed the Ymargall ability was a bit expesive at 40pts (although the possibility of 2+ save was nice) while the getto preferred enemy was ok for 15 pts, as against T4 it's reroll to wound, and it's reroll half the tyrant to-hit misses.  We think the optimum build will be wings, getto preferred enemy, a single twin-linked devourer and the last weapon slot being either bonesword+lashwhip or a second twin-linked devourer.

Venomthrope:  If you can get these guys out of line of sight or into some ruins for a 2+ save they are great.  Monstrous creatures with gaunts in front having a 3+ cover save are a pain to get rid off.  Unfortunately I think the two top armies, Eldar & Tau have very effective ways to get rid of them (ie.Wave Shields & Smart Missile Systems which both ignore cover saves).

Zoanthropes:  The cheeky tactic of putting one zoanthrope in line of sight to fire all the warp blasts in nice, but the 2nd power gives them great flexibility (particular if they have catalyst or dominion).  The drop in points is welcome, and I can see them being in most people's lists.

Exocrines:  Not surprisingly these were very nasty.  I was considering 2 Mawlocs and a Exorcrine as the best heavy support layout, but I think it's 2 Exocrine & 1 Mawloc will be better.  The Exorcrines blasted my marines (and even in cover the casualties kept on flowing) and one charged my fenrusain wolves and eventually broke them when the wolves stopping getting lucky and wounding the monster.


Wolves Units of Note

Wolf Guard:  For this game I put the terminator with a plasma armed Grey Hunter squad, while another wolf guard joined the other plasma armed wolf guard.  I was scared that the drop podded wolf guard would be killed easily, so reduced their size, however I think this meant they found it hard to do their job of killing a key unit.  The remaining 4 that came down in the drop took 5 wounds from 3 strikes but eventually died to the remaining 2 strikes (the unwounded strike charging ahead of the other to eat the overwatch).  I think the unit is still good and they proved their worth over the tournament, but most of the time they need to drop at full strength.  For example in one game they dropped and wiped out a 6 man bike squad with 2 grav guns and a combi grav as well as taking the attached captain on a bike to a single wound (the terminator also held up the captain in combat for a while as the captain had a relic blade, which I was surprised to find out is only ap3).

Anti-Air:  Conspicuous by it's absence.  This is a general problem that Space Wolves have, having no anti-air in their codex at all.  A defence line and quad gun could help, prescience on the rune priest to twin-link long fangs could help, however until the Wolves get a new codex (luckily rumoured to be the end of this year) I am going to build up some Space Marines allies, mainly to take a Stalker and Skytalon which combined with a Quadgun should be fine anti air.

Long Fangs: As always 115 pts for 4 missile launchers were good, but with only 1 unit due to the tournament comp I was lacking in long range firepower (more a fault of my list design than the comp because I could have had a predator with auto cannon & 2 lascannons).  Any increase in my army size will immediately put in another unit.  Although I am jealous of the marines devastators who are now cheaper and can get free buffs with chapter tactics, eg. 5 devs with 4 missile launchers with (Imperial Fist's) tank hunters is 110 pts, and only 130 pts with 4 lascannons (Long Fangs with 4 Lascannons are 175).

Thunderwolves:  While the fenrusian wolves were great with their huge number of attacks for their cheap price, the expensive thnderwolves were a bit inconsistent and never really shined for their points costs.  I think this was probably due to their WS4 which is quite poor for an elite assault unit.  I think putting my Rune Priest on a bike so he has the option of joining them and giving them precience could make them more reliable.  At the end of the day I think while 50 pts each was good when they were were first released they are now a bit expensive (especially when you can get 3 space marines bikes for the less points).  However if I take the thunderwolves out of my list the fenrusian wolves (which sometimes rely on the ld reroll given my being nearby the thunderwolves) should also go, meaning I would be better served changing the army to Vanilla Marines.  So I will stay with Space Wolves and try to make them work.  However that won't stop recruiting some Vanilla marines to help out other parts of the list.


That's all for now, next post will detail my performance and learnings for the tournament, and the next steps for my Wolves.

Rathstar

[Picture by MMDFakewings18 (link)]


Monday, 20 January 2014

Forge World Blog #1 & Wolves WIP


Hi,

Forgeworld is starting a weekly blog.  I received notification via my Forgeworld newsletter subscription.

"Forge World's Chris Thomas has put together the first post of our weekly Blog looking behind the scenes at Forge World"

It a very small blog entry, a quick picture of a designer putting the finishing touches to the Horus Hersey Book 3, a picture of a Work In Progress model from another designer's desk and a link to a previous video "featuring Calas Typhon - First Captain of the Death Guard and designer Edgar Skomorowski"

Time will tell whether any substanial information will come out in the Forgeworld Blog, or whether it's just glorified marketing.

However I do like the fact that GW is putting more information out, which is a nice change, and this has probably come about with White Dwarf also moving to a weekly schedule.

What do you think of this new Forgeworld blog, or the recent change in GW's printed publications ?

To read the blog for yourselves, here's the link.

Wolves WIP

In other news my Wolves painting is going ok, but I'll probably be painting write up until tournament.  My painting tracker says I'm on target to finish, but I have a few big jobs to do, which include painting all the weapons on the Grey Hunters & Wolf Guard, plus doing the green stuff work on my Cyber Wolf conversion to make a neck attaching his two heads to his body.  I'll be doing the green stuff and starting on the weapons tonight.

Here's a pic of the work so far:



Rathstar

PS. Here's a link to the blog post which has the army list I'll be using:  Army List Post

Thursday, 16 January 2014

New Year, Wolftime is here !!


Hi,

It's January again, so it must be time to bring my Wolves out of hibination.  For the last 2 years the nice folks at VonWar have held a tournament at Triple Helix of 6-7 games of 600ish points.

I've used this as an opportunity to paint up some more Wolves.  Mainly the new Grey Hunters, as I started my Wolves nearly a decade ago when my GW HQ Grand tournament army was 2 blood claw units in rhinos, a small grey hunter squad in a rhino, a whirlwind and a Wolf Lord.

This year however Triple Helix has closed it's gaming centre, but no worry because VonWar has teamed up with a Bath club to run a one day 1250 point tournament.  These smalle tournaments are a great incentive to build up an army, and also try out something I haven't used before.  It's been nice using fenrusian wolves, and trying out foot marines.

Now going up to 1250 points I could have used models I already had painted (even if they were the smaller 3rd edition vehicles), but in the spirit of using the tournament to build up my Wolves I'm trying out Wolf Guard in a drop pod as an alpha strike, and even though the table size has moved up from 4'x4x' to 6'x4' I resisted the urge to use Rhinos.  Well the last point about Rhinos was impacted by a practice game against my mate's Nids where I got a rude awakening about the annoyance of getting your transport stunned and it effecting the transported crew (more from that game in a later post).

Another new addition is a Wolf Guard in terminator armour:
I'm concerned he's a bit expensive at 68 points, but we'll see how he does.  He was a quick conversion, combi-plasma for storm bolter, and swapping a powersword for a space wolf power axe (after cutting off the 2nd hand, and filing it down).  Finally I swapped the head for a Wolf head, and magnetised on a 3rd party Cyclone.

There's a lot of painting to do in the next 10 days, but hopefully I'll make it.  I was going to go some undercoating tonight after my painting session, however the British weather decided it wanted rain instead, so it's off to bed so I can hopefully do some more undercoating tomorrow morning before work.

The only bad thing about having to paint solidly on my Wolves is that I have my few Sisters models tauting me to continue making them.  So far I have 5 Sisiters nearly fully converted, 3 Repentia, 2 Death Cult Assassins & 1 Argo Flagallent.  Unfortunately they will have to wait for a while.

Rathstar

PS.  Here's the list I've submitted for the tournament, please leave a comment and let me know what you think:

Rune Priest - 100

6 Wolf Guard - 183
  5 in Power Armour each with a Combi-Plasmagun
  1 in Terminator Armour with a Cyclone Missile Launcher, Power Axe & Combi-Plasmagun
Drop Pod - 35

10 Grey Hunters with 2 Plasmaguns - 160

10 Grey Hunters with 2 Meltaguns - 155

10 Grey Hunters with 2 Plasmaguns - 160

4 Thunderwolf Cavalry, one with a Wolf Claw - 220

14 Fenrusian Wolves, including a Cyberwolf - 120

5 Long Fangs with 4 Missile Launchers - 115

Total: 1248 Points

The comp restricts the FOC to 1 HQ, 2-4 Troops & 0-2 for the other slots with no duplications outside troops allowed.

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Codex: Adepta Sororitas (eBook Edition) Update (updated 7th Nov and again on 14th Nov)



Hi,

There has been rumours that the Adepta Sororitas digital codex had changed the wording for Condemnor Boltgun on DakkaDakka for the last couple of days, and one person even e-mailed the GW Digital team and got the response that nothing had changed.  Another person had redownloaded their eBook version 5 times with no change.



However today for another reason I was on the Black Library website, and saw this little blurb on the page of the Codex: Adepta Sororitas (eBook Edition) web page:

"Latest Update:
November 6th 2013 - Condemnor Boltgun and Allies rules clarifications"

Unfortunately I'm at work and don't want to download the ebook onto my work computer, but I will redownload it as soon as I get home and will update this post as soon as I know the changes.

In the meantime I will surf the web, because I am sure some people have downloaded the update and talked about the changes online.

I suppose this post also gives away my next modelling project :)

Rathstar


Update (7th Nov @ 17:30):

From checking the web it looks like the Condemnor Boltgun has been clarified that only a psyker hit takes the perils, so you can't hit a psyker in a unit unless you precision shot him and he fails the Look out Sir roll.

The other change was that in that it clarifies that you should take references to Sisters of Battle in the allies matrix to mean Adepta Sororitas.  Lets hope this will mean no one tries to argue that you can't take a Repressor tank (Forgeworld) because it mentions "can be used in the following squads from a Sisters of Battle army"...but you know someone will :)


2nd Update (14 Nov):

While checking the DakkaDakka forum thread on Sisters of Battle Tactics (it's a long thread with peoples thoughts and experiences which I would recommend as a good read for any Adepta Sororitas player), I came accross a post saying the Adepta Sororitas had been updated again and that the wording of Psi-Shock has changed to the following:

"Psi-shock: Any Psyker that takes an unsaved Wound from a stake crossbow shot suffers the Perils of the Warp in addition to any other effects."


...effectively meaning the death toll for this new piece of wargear.  If there was a psyker that I had a good chance of doing a wound to with a str5 ap- shot I would need any extra chance of killing it.  Apparently this is the same wording as a similar piece of wargear in the Grey Knights codex, and there a good reason I never new it existed after playing copious games against Grey Knight armies.

The Condemnor Boltgun is no good against Screamer-Star, as the heralds, particularly the one with the Grimoire will be in a unit, and even if you could precision shot him, he has a 2+ Look Out Sir and an invunverable save.  Against Fateweaver the chance of hitting him (particularly if he's still flying), wounding him and him failing his save is very very small.

Psyker Monstrous Creatures (the ones that are most likely not be attached to a unit and can be targetted easier) are likely to be T6+ and have a good armour save meaning the Condemnor Boltgun has little chance of causing a unsaved wound.

Against a Seer Council the Warlocks should be at the front, so if you do the unsaved wound you will have already killed the warlock, plus any Farseer who actually is hit can Look Out Sir the wound away on a 2+.

If I take combi weapon on my Adepta Sororitas characters it will probably be a combi-plasma in dominion squads (to give them more shots against infantry, I think 4 meltaguns should have vehicles covered) and a combi-melta in a Battle Sisters squad trying to be a back-up dominion squad (however I prefer the dual flamer squads).

Shame nice fluff for the Condemnor Boltgun, but no way it'll make it into my lists.  Would have been a nice modelling opportunity as well :(

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Where is the meta now ?


Hi,

The meta is changing so rapidly now that the codex releases are so much faster than before.  I'm particularly feeling this as I paint so slow.  One thing I can do is look at the army composition at big (and competitive) tournaments to see where things are going.  Another tip is listening to tournament report podcasts.

Anyway this weekend is the Mayhem tournament in Tolworth (London) which just posted the make-up of the armies attending on Facebook.  I haven't been for a few years, but the tournament is pretty competitive, and is the type of competitive tournament I will hopefully work my way up to playing during 2014.  Here's the make-up of their tournament from their Facebook post:

"Mayhem Tournament
All the army lists are in (bar 2) and a well represented array of armies
9 Eldar (both varieties)
8 Daemons
8 Necron
6 Tau (both varieties)
4 IG
3 Space Wolves
3 Blood Angel
2 Space Marine
2 CSM
2 Grey Knight
1 Ork
1 Tyranid
1 Dark Angel
1 Dark Eldar

21 of you decided to take Allies with Space Marines being most popular (5) followed by Guard (4) Space wolves and CSM (both 3)"


With all tournament army spreads it has to be taken with a pinch of salt, and any army should be given a +2/-2 margin of error.  However I guess none of us are surprised by the top 4 armies, particular the rise in Eldar now the codex has been out for a while.  I expect the next big rise to be marines, as people paint up bikes and the new anti air tanks.



You are still likely to face a lot of MEQ it's just spread between the codexs (11 Imperial MEQ, plus 2 more CSM), and as said this will only rise when marines increase in popularity.



An interesting point is that there are more CSM allies than there are CSM primary detachments, and I bet the helldrake is likely to be in all the CSM allies and feature heavily in the CSM primary detachments.



As one of my main armies rises in popularity (Tau) the other sinks towards the bottom (Dark Eldar).  Dark Eldar really stuggle against both Tau & Eldar, and the general trend towards multiple shot mid strength weaponry to strip hull points, because while they are good to strip hull points from regular vehicles these weapons murder Dark Eldar vehicles.  On the plus side opponents will be less likely to be ready to face the speed of the Dark Eldar (let alone the fearsome early shooting they can put out against an unprepared opponent).  A more common occurrence will be that Dark Eldar are underestimated, helping the Dark Eldar hopefully punch above their weight.

What do you think of where the meta is moving to at the moment.  Does your army have the tools to deal with top lists while still being balanced enough to take on other lists ?

Rathstar

Thursday, 10 October 2013

The Tau have been bloodied - Part 1 Army Thoughts & Prep (incl pics)

Hi,

Well first things first and my Tau have been bloodied in their first tournament with the new book.

The Early List Issues

My initial games made me have a rethink of some specific parts of my list.  The first part was markerlights.  Markerlights are excellent for the Tau useful in so many ways but mainly to increase the medicore BS3 and removing cover, I particularly like increasing BS to 6+ to give a reroll on the Gets Hot roll for Overcharging Ion weapons.

Pathfinders have improved this edition in that they are cheaper, and you don't have to bring a devilfish for them, therefore compared to bringing one unit under the last book I immediately moved to using  2 units without a devilfish.  However pathfinders have also got worse in that they have gone down to a 5+ armour save meaning it is essential they hug cover which can restrict where they can deploy which applifies their other big weakness...

Pathfinders are very static, and with the increased movement in 6th edition compared to 5th, and the emphasis on putting a decent amount of terrain on the board this can be a big weakness.  So I decided I wanted mobile markerlights, and I believe the Tau codex has 2 good options (a Skyray is not that mobile and can not be the main source of markerlights).

I think the best sources of mobile markerlights in the Tau codex are marker drone squad with a commander or markerdrones with crisis suits (with or without an attached commander), ok so really only one source.  I think a commander with markerdrones is not the best use of a commander.  Yes you can have upto 12 markerdrones boosted to BS5, but it's very rare that a single target needs on average 10 markerlight tokens put on it.  The commander also is not boosting a unit with a PENchip (Purtide Engram Neurochip to give either Tank Hunters or Monster Hunter).

Ideally I'd like a Commander with buffing abilities, with 2 marker drones joining 3 dual missile pod suits with 6 more markerdrones.  However this came to a lot of points and I didn't want to put so many points in one unit, so I went with a MarkerRain lite team (the Rain referring to Deathrain the old config name for dual missile pods):
Shas'vre with Control & Command Node, Drone Controller & PENchip
2 Shas'ui with 2 Missile Pods and a Target lock each
accompanied by 6 marker drones
A nice tidy 256 pts, that throw out 8 twin-linked str 7 shots at up to 2 targets buffed by either tank hunters or monster hunter, plus 6 markerlights at another target that hit at twin-linked BS3 rather than their normal not-linked BS2

Now I think you need more than one source of a decent number of markerlights, so I needed another source, so for this I went outside the Tau codex.  As forgeworld was allowed for the upcoming tournament I choose Tetras.  In the Imperial Armour 3 - Second Edition they had been reduced from the ridiculous 4 shot markerlights to 2 shots twin-linked and cost 35 pts for 2 hull points av10.  I took a squad of 3 for 105 pts, so just under the cost of 9 pathfinders with a shas'ui.  They give (on average) the same 4.5 markerlight hits a turn, but their mobility should really help.  My only concern was that with the only other vehicles in the army being av13 they would be targeted by a lot of mid to low strength heavy weapons (not to mention basic bolters) and die quickly, but time would tell.

Next I was worried about my shooting against monstrous creatures particularly a troublesome wraithknight that my Dark Eldar had been on the receiving end of a couple of times.  With no plasma or rail weapons in the army I choose to give 20 of my kroot sniper rifles, particularly now they can benefit from markerlights.

Also a concern for me was anti-air (even though this tournament was comped and limited flyers and flying monstrous creatures to 3).  I have a skyray which is good, but I needed more.  A Quad gun on a Aegis is another good option, but I've found that the Aegis can make my playstyle too static.  A flyer of my own was the solution I went for to aid the Skyray, and I already had a Barracuda plus I don't like the look of the codex flyers so that was that.

I've found that the Tau work best when boosted by markerlights, so putting skyfire and interceptor on riptides is ok, but not brilliant as they have to use their poor BS3, while waiting for the next Tau turn they can be boosted.  Also I've found that the riptides are best putting ion templates to infantry and leaving flyers to the skyray and the twin-linked str 7 shots from the broadsides and crisis suits (once they get a markerlight hit or two to boost their snap shots).

Lastly I was concerned with low ap.  I had been using piranha squadron which is very effective at thowing out more str 5 shots.  You can't complain with 8 shots for 40 pts, however my infantry firebase already did this.  I didn't want to reduce the infantry firebase because the Ethereal's buffing abilities would have less targets so the piranhas had to go to put in more low ap.

With this codex I have fallen in love with large blasts from Ion Weapons, so to compliment my Riptides Ion Accelerator and Hammerhead's Ion Cannon I added a second Riptide and the Ion Cannon on the aforementioned Barracuda.  Not only did I now have 4 large blasts to throw at the enemy it also gave me longer ranged weapons.  With rail weapons not used I lot of my army was 36" range (or less), these 4 Ion weapons had a 60" range, meaning it was less likely that the pesky Eldar could out deploy me so bad that I had a totally ineffective 1st turn, giving them both the early alpha strike and last turn to objective grab.

The List

Baring in mind that the tournament had comp that disallowed 3 of the same unit in a non troop force organisation slot here's what I came up with for my first tournament (1800 pts) outting:

Ethereal  - 50

XV8 Crisis Team - 256
Shas'vre with Command & Control Node, Puretide Engram Chip & Drone Controller
2 Shas'ui with 2 Missile Pods & Target Lock each
6 Marker Drones

XV104 Riptide - 190
Ion Accelerator, Twin-linked Fusion Blaster, Early Warning Overide (Interceptor)

XV104 Riptide - 190
Ion Accelerator, Twin-linked Fusion Blaster, Early Warning Overide (Interceptor)

10 Fire Warriors - 90

10 Fire Warriors - 90

10 Kroot with additional Sniper Rounds - 70

10 Kroot with additional Sniper Rounds - 70

10 Kroot - 60

3 Tetra Scout Speeders (Forgeworld) - 105
Twin-linked Pulse Rifle, High Intensity (Heavy 2, Twin-linked) Markerlight

Barracuda Air Superiority Fighter (Forgeworld) - 130
Ion Cannon, 2 Auto-Targeting Burst Cannons, Twin-linked Missile Pod

XV88 Broadside Team - 258
1 Shas'ui with High-Yield Missile Pods, Smart Missile System & Target Lok
2 Shas'ui with High-Yield Missile Pods, Smart Missile System & Early Warning
  Overide (Interceptor) each
4 Missile drones

Hammerhead Gunship - 126
Ion Cannon, Twin-linked Smart Missile System, Blacksun Filter

Sky Ray Missile Defense Gunship - 115
2 Networked Markerlights, 6 Seeker Missiles, Twin-linked Smart Missile System
Velocity Tracker (Optional Skyfire)

I faced Eldar for my first game with some usual toys, Farseer, Spiritseer with Wraithguard in a Wave Serpent, Wraithknight, Warp Spiders, Dire Avengers, Support Battery, War Walkers.  I followed this with a game against Necrons with Wraiths, Scarabs, Tomb Scorpions, Annihiliation Barge, Warriors in a Ghost Ark, Warriors in a Nightscythe & a Warrior blog with an Overlord, Monolith.

Finally I faced Dark Eldar for the last game of the tournament sporting the Duke with Trurborn with lots of poison shots (24 between the 8 models when on the move) in a Raider, Warriors in a Raider, Wyches in a Venom, Warriors on foot with a Dark Lance accompanied by a Haemonculus, Incubi in a Venom, Wracks on foot with a Haemonculus with a Hex Rifle, Ravager, Razorwing.

Brief battle summaries, and key learnings I took from each game will follow, but in the meantime here's some pics of my army taken at 6:30 the morning of the tournament.  You'll see I didn't have time to wait for the Riptide, Barracuda and Broadsides bases to dry so I could add flock, yep that's right I pulled an all-nighter to get the army done, so I went to the tournament with no sleep, no breakfast and only some energy drinks to keep me going :)

Let me know what you think of my list, and how you think I would get on ?

Rathstar

The Pictures










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