Wednesday, 29 June 2011

No Rest For The Wicked...


Well the first three tournaments of the year are over, and my play with the Dark Eldar has improved noticeably.

However rather the rest on my laurels I'm back at the painting table because I have written a provisional list for the M.A.D. tournament (in October). The higher points total, 1800 (while also stripping my list to the absolute core), allowed me to include all three elements that I wanted to improve (see this post):
  • Reavers with heat lances for anti tank
  • Upgrading a ravager to a razorwing for anti horde
  • Adding a beastmaster unit to add anti-MEQ combat redundancy

The new list is at the bottom of this post, let me know what you think of it.

What this new list means is that, while I have a fully functional tournament army, I have an awful lot of building and painting to do. First off was the Razorwing.

I have to say the quality of the build is very good, with all the parts fitting together nicely, and various parts having locator pins to make it easy for pieces to lock together nicely.

Being a bit undecided about the armament I wanted, I was looking out for magnitising opportunities. The missiles should be easy to magnitise, and it's nice that all types of missiles are included. The wing weapons slot into holes, they are a bit lose, but once they are sprayed and painted I'm sure the fit should be a nice & snug.

The chin weapons are a pain though. They fit between the top and bottom of the aircraft and you can't slide them out once the hull is in place. However one option is to not glue the top and bottom of the hull together. The tail fin at the back holds the two halves of the hull together quite nicely without glue. My only worry is that it's a snug fit now and that paint may make the tail fin very difficult to remove and re-attach. I'll let you know how I get on.

My top tip assembling the razorwing is to hold the hulls together when you are glueing the engines and weapon mounts to the top hull. This ensures that they dry in the right position, and that the bottom hull will fit on nicely later. However be careful to use glue sparingly and only on the top hull section to avoid accidently glueing the hulls together before you are ready.


Draft 1800 Point List for M.A.D.: 

Haemonculus Nalix Soulseer - 55
with Venom Blade 

5 Incubi - 110 
in Raider with Dark Lance - 60 

3 Trueborn with 3 Blasters - 81 
in Venom with 2 Splinter Cannons - 65 

3 Trueborn with 3 Blasters - 81 
in Venom with 2 Splinter Cannons - 65 

10 Wracks with 2 Liquifier Guns - 120 
in Raider with Dark Lance - 60 

9 Wyches with Hekatrix with Venom Blade - 105 
in Raider with Dark Lance - 60 

8 Wyches with Hekatrix with Venom Blade - 95 
in Raider with Dark Lance - 60 

3 Wracks - 30 
in Venom with 2 Splinter Cannons - 65 

Beastmaster Unit - 174 
containing 4 Beastmasters, 3 Krymera & 6 Razorwings 

6 Reaver Jetbikes - 156
with 2 Heat Lances 

Ravager with 3 Dark Lances - 105 

Ravager with 3 Dark Lances - 105 

Razorwing Jetfighter - 145 
with 2 Dark Lances 

Total: 1797 Pts 

Update 3rd July:

I'm dithering on a few small tweaks, and would appreciate any views you have.  I am concerned with the small size of both the beasts unit and the incubi could do with an extra model (or a venom transport), just one more model and I would be happy with both.  The places where I can see I could lose points (wthout affecting efficiency too much) are:
  • Changing the Reavers for 5 Scourges with 2 Heat Lances (saving 22 points, but I'm not keen on this change)
  • Lose a wrack with a liquifer gun (saving 20 pts)
  • Losing Nalix's Venom blade (saving 5 pts) 
Using the last two options I would have 28 points to spend.  I'm tempted with an extra Krymera, and giving the Incubi a Venom rather than a Raider, leaving me with 11 points free, for either a 10th wrack, a wrack acothyst, or grisly trophies on the trueborn venoms. 
Also for Neath Leanan here's a pick of the Razorwing Jetfighter showing how thin it is:

Sunday, 26 June 2011

A Further Campaign of Terror

The Dark Eldar fleets looked like a swarm of locus swarming over the major cities of the planet below. Archon Rathstar surveyed the devastation his Kabel and their allies had wrought on the Imperial world below.

Haemonoculus Nalix Soulseer had done well in the first two campaigns, winning some decisive battles and reaping a vast number of souls.

However the next target was the star system's main planet, time would tell if the young haemonoculus would continue to perform against a larger army and populace who, more importantly know an attack is likely imminent...


Yes, after initial successes at my first two tournaments of the year, it was now time to sort the men from the boys with a two day tournament. With the swiss system matching players it normally takes at least 2 games for the top players to rise to the top, so with a one day tournament (especially if it is only 3 games) you can be lucky and not face any of the good players, particularly if you don't get many victory points (which is normally used as the tie break).

Of course this luck can run both ways, and if a top player has some bad luck some poor person may find themselves playing a person much much better than their current tournament placing suggests, a good example would be my 2nd opponent at ASMOH after I lost a kill point game.  He had a nice fluffy Eldar army (that won best painted) and I tabled it.

In two day tournaments, if you are in contention of winning then you will have had to play on the high tables for most of the tournament. There is always the argument that if you lose your first game but win the rest you will have a much easier time than someone who wins all but the last game. This was true in ASMOH, I lost my first game and then won the rest, while my mate only lost his last game. He had to play the player who finished 1st and 3rd while didn't get near them. However I think deliberately losing the first (or any game) game is (apart from being dishonest) is bound to fail. Taking ASMOH, even winning my remaining 3 games, picking up good painting points and getting loads of victory points I couldn't catch up to the leaders to finish in the top 3.

Also you run the risk of facing a really good army and/or player who has lost a game (due to a bad match-up or just plain bad luck). A perfect example was my 3rd game at ASMOH; we both had strong lists, and knew how to use them, and having a win and loss each being mid table was a bit low for our ability. Unless we got a.draw, one of us was going to slip far down the rankings. Even when the losing player (likely) slaughters their last opponent the losing player can only get back to mid table. Always best to play your best and try to win by as much as possible (without being a wanker about it) - interestingly enough my phone tried to replace wanker with banker :)

Well after that long amble, my Dark Eldar are sitting at home waiting for me to pick them up and take them to the Compliance II tournament. I've barely changed the list since the last tournament.  I only lost my last agoniser and Animus Vitae from the Haemonoculus to give the large Wrack unit a Acothyst and gain an extra Wych.  The new list is:

Haemonculus Nalix Soulseer - 65

with Liquifier Gun & Venom Blade

6 Incubi - 132
in Raider with Dark Lance - 60
3 Trueborn with 3 Blasters - 81
in Venom with 2 Splinter Cannons & Grisly Trophies - 70
3 Trueborn with 3 Blasters - 81
in Venom with 2 Splinter Cannons & Grisly Trophies - 70

10 Wracks incl. Acothyst, with 2 Liquifier Guns - 130
in Raider with Dark Lance - 60
9 Wyches incl. Hekatrix with Venom Blade - 105
in Raider with Dark Lance - 60
10 Wyches incl. Hekatrix with Venom Blade - 115
in Raider with Dark Lance - 60
3 Wracks - 30
in Venom with 2 Splinter Cannons - 65

Ravager with 3 Dark Lances - 105
Ravager with 3 Dark Lances - 105
Ravager with 3 Dark Lances - 105

Total: 1499 Pts

Update: Actually it is now the first day of the tournament, as I could post because my mate lives in the middle of nowhere and therefore I had no internet reception on my phone.  I will update you with my progress as I progress though the tournament.


Wednesday, 22 June 2011

As Russ Intended - Evolution of my Space Wolves List


You may remember from this post that I said that I was trying out a new unit in my Space Wolves list.  So I wouldn't have to rush my thunderwolves to get a army list up and running I decided on a list without the thunderwolves in to be my painting challenge.  The list I came up with was as follows:

Rune Priest
4 units of grey hunters with wolf guard in rhinos
1 Dreadnaught
2 multi-melta/heavy flamer landspeeders
2 units of max long fangs with missile launchers with las/plas razorbacks

The list was performing well, however I wasn't too impressed with the razorbacks.  They did have a lot going for them:
  • they were the only lascannons in the list, and at short range
  • at short range the plasma guns added some nice extra Ap2 firepower in the list
  • they allowed the long fangs to deploy better in dawn of war
  • they could pick up grey hunter packs who had lost their rhino later in the game
However for most of the game 150 pts for 2 lascannon shots seemed a bit ineffecive.  Also without having a lot of other vehicle armour in the list there wasn't enough other targets to distract the enemies heavy guns.  Razorspam Wolves or Razorspam Blood Angels works due to the number of razorbacks and the distracting Av13 predators.  My lists didn't have that so my fragile razorbacks were shaken often (if not destroyed).

What had always performed was the reliable grey hunters, although there was always an issue of having one unit stay slightly further back to get objective.  So my thought was 2 las/plas razor backs were the same as 10 grey hunters on foot.  To keep the volume of low AP2 shots I needed 10 pts to give the grey hunters 2 plasmaguns.

It I them considered that if this squad was on foot it would be the perfect place for a 5th wolf guard in terminator armour with a cyclone missile launcher.  Now that wolf guard is a lot of points so I had to be ruthless.  The squad of 9 grey hunters (including wolf guard) that was normally joined by the runepriest lost a grey hunter and it's mark of the wolfen.  A squad of 10 was reduced to 9, the weakest squad (which had only a combi melta on the wolf guard and a melta gun) was reduced to 8 models.  Finally although the whirlwind had done fine I changed by 2 long fangs and whirlwind to 3 units of 5, going from 10 missiles accross 4 targets and 1 whirlwind blast to 12 missile accross 6 targets, but more importantly saving me 20 points towards the cyclone wolf guard.

My new unit fought on foot as Russ intended, aided long range shooting with 2 more missile shots into another target, and was more than a match for most outflankers (or any traitious wolf scouts).  My first interation of this squad was:

Wolf Guard in Terminator armour with Combi-Plasma, Wolf Claw & Cyclone Missile Launchers
10 Grey Hunters with 2 Plasmaguns

Unit Performace

My first test was against a blood angels force that had two troops choices in landraiders, while also ramming dreadnaughts down your throt in drop pods, rounding the list out with fast vindicators, and they had been to the vampire cloning company to get a Mephiston clone (he pops up in so many lists).

The unit performed well advancing to mid field while firing off missiles every turn.  However their inability to hurt dreadnaughts in combat was also shown up when my missile launchers failed to hurt onr dreadnaught and it fell to the grey hunters to rapid fire plasmaguns into the side armour which luckily immobolised it.

My second game was against marines.  Lysander drop podding down with a tactical squad, along with two dreadnaughts in drop pods.  By the time most armies had recovered from that there was 5 hammer terminators in a land raider supported by another tactical squad in a rhino, scouts, and a vindicator.

This game it was nice to move the new grey hunter round a building and rapid fire three plasmaguns in hammer terminators, however it did seem like overkill with the rest of the rapid firing bolters and other squads ready to charge the couple of remaining terminators.

Over these two games it seems that I didn't need the plasma as much.  Normally the squad was moving to engage the enemy or claim objectives (so they weren't using the full 24" range), and they didn't need the risk of plasmagun overheats killing them.  What I did need (especially as this squad had to be move self sufficient) was a way to deal with vehicles and dreadnaughts.  Therefore out went the plasmaguns on the grey hunters for meltaguns, and the wolf guard gained a chainfist (at the expense of his combi weapon, and the points savings from using meltaguns rather than plasmaguns).

The revised unit was:

Wolf Guard in Terminator armour with Storm Bolter, Chainfist & Cyclone Missile Launchers
10 Grey Hunters with 2 Meltaguns

It would have been nice to squeese the combi meltagun on the wolf guard, but I ran out of points.  This new unit faced an experimental tyranid army with prime, 9 hive guard, 2 trygons, termagaunts, hormagaunts, gaygoyles & genestealers.  The new unit performed very well.  They held a flank (staying 18" away from the board edge so it could rapid fire at any genestealers that outflanked that side) while hammering a trygon.  Later in the game they were charged by a weakened (about 12 left) hormagaunt unit.  With counter attack they saw off this threat and advanced to just short of the tyranid deployment zone.  Later in the game the firepower the unit put at short range was great (2 missile shots and then 22 bolter shots), and then were able to let most enemies charge them and counter attack.  The icing on the cakes was the chainfist that would allow them to be a threat to heavy vehicles, dreadnaughts and monstrous creatures in close combat.

Overall I really like the unit, it adds a lot to the mid field presence of the army.  I do have to be careful with it's deployment so it doesn't get left out of the main fight, after all with the wolf guard it is a lot of points, at 233 pts including the wolf guard (especially if all it does is fire 2 missile shots a turn).

For those interested here's my revised list:

Rune Priest - 100
Living Lightning, Jaws of the World Wolf

Wolf Guard - 225
(Alpha) Frost Axe, Bolt Pistol
(Beta) Powerfist, Combi-melta
(Gamma) Powerfist, Combi-melta
(Delta) Combi-melta
(Epsilon) Terminator Armour, Cyclone Missile Launcher, Storm Bolter, Chainfist

Dreadnaught - 105
Multi-melta, Storm Bolter

Grey Hunter Squad Alpha - 170
7 Grey Hunters, Mark of the Wolfen, Meltagun, Wolf Standard, Rhino

Grey Hunter Squad Beta - 185
8 Grey Hunters, Mark of the Wolfen, Meltagun, Wolf Standard, Rhino

Grey Hunter Squad Gamma - 195
8 Grey Hunters, Powerfist, Meltagun, Wolf Standard, Rhino

Grey Hunter Squad Delta - 130
6 Grey Hunters, Meltagun, Rhino

Grey Hunter Squad Epsilon - 155
10 Grey Hunters, 2 Meltaguns

Landspeeder - 70
Multi-melta, Heavy Flamer

Landspeeder - 70
Multi-melta, Heavy Flamer

5 Long Fangs - 115
4 Missile Launchers

5 Long Fangs - 115
4 Missile Launchers

5 Long Fangs - 115
4 Missile Launchers

Totals: 1750 Points, 67 Models, 16 Kill Points

For high strenth shots the army starts out with 14 missile launcher shots spread accross 7 targets, and at short range this is complimented by 6 meltaguns, 3 combi-meltas & 3 multi-meltas.  Anti light infantry is covered with the ability of the missile launchers to switch to frag missiles and the number of bolters in the list. 

What I also like about the list is it's large number of models for a marine list.  It's slower than my other armies (Tau & Dark Eldar), but is as large as those armies and much more resiliant.  However it must be careful not let the many units get isolated so they can be taken apart piece meal.  If they support each other they can take on pretty much anything, even if it's by tieing something up so it can be dragged down and (power)fisted to death - as happened to Mephiston in the Blood Angels game :)

What do you think of the army list evolution ?  The army is much more counter attack rather than the full on agression of my early thunderwolf list.  What do you think of the new unit, do you use one like it yourself or have you faced such a unit ?


Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Battlefield in a Box Review


Well it's been a while since my last post, and for those waiting for the battle reports from my last tournaments they are still in the pipe line and will be appearing eventually.

Today I decided that I will definitely buy the tables so I can have a gaming table at home.  I have an a Cities of Death boxset with a few ruins, some barracades and various pieces of terrain I've picked up from ebay a few years ago, but I needed a few more pieces to fill a table.  While browsing in my local games store I came accross the Gale Force Nine Battlefield In A Box Range.  The idea is that the terrain is already assembled, painted to a gaming standard and ready to use straight out of the box.  This is a refreshing change from GW, and is perfect for any of us who find it hard to fit in time to paint our armies let alone terrain pieces.

I decided to pick up a set of small pine trees and a box of crystals.
Turnng the box over showed the exact contents of the box:
The tree boxset contained 14 trees spread over 6 bases along with 2 large bases

The crystal boxset contained 10 assorted crystal formations.

Opening both boxes they were very well packaged.  Each collection of threes had it's own plastic section, and the large bases were each in a plastic bag packed within polystrene:

30 sections later I had a 2 forests that I could put straight on a gaming table:
The boxset also contained a bag of flock in case I wanted to spend a small amount of time to improve the forests to make them look like the ones of the cover of the box.  Alternatively I could use other flock (such as snow) to match my army.

The crytals were just as well packaged.  The packaging in both box sets was so good I'll probably use them to store the terrain between games.  Again 30 second after opening the box I had a nice array of crystals for my Dark Eldar to fight over (I'm tempted to turn a few of the small crystals into objective markers).
You couldn't ask for better packaging

Whether they clumped to getter to block LOS for infantry or spaced out to give cover as they advance this terrain would improve a game
Price wise the trees boxset was 50p more than GW's trees, but you got 2 forests rather than one, and the forests are painted, and it would only take half an hour to flock them to make them look as good as anything you'd see in a gaming store.
GW's Tree boxset offering
Overall I really rate this terrain range, and I'll probably pop back for a set of swamps, and if I didn't already have lots of terrain I could probably pick up some of their other sets which include ruins, elven pillars/ruins, ponds, river sections, tank traps and more.

For those of you that live near Reading in the UK, Eclectic Games sells a large selection of the range.  They also offer a 5% discount to Spiky club members, and that's on top of their loyalty card.  So I got both the forests and the crystals for less than £31 (instead of £32.50) plus 3 tenths of my loyalty card filled (which gives £10 credit once filled).  Compared to buying 2 games workshop forests (for £34) and then having to paint them I think is was a good buy.

For those not near Reading, UK, the Gale Force Nine products are sold via many webstores such as Wayland Games in the UK, where you can get them cheaper than the amount I paid (but I like to occassionly support my local store).

Until next time.


PS. Battle reports are coming soon, I must get them done as I have another tournament, Compliance II, coming up in 4 days.

Monday, 6 June 2011

[40k] May Review


40k playing has really picked up this month, helped by the two tournaments I've attended.  The first half of the month was filled with painting to finish off my Dark Eldar in preparation for the two tournaments, and attending those tournaments.  This was followed (as happens frequently when so much effort is concentrated in a small space of time) with a period of two weeks cool off with no painting or gaming done with the Dark Eldar.

Painting / Modelling

My first painting milestone of finishing my 1750 point Dark Eldar army was finished in the early hours of the day of my first tournament of 2011.  Here's a pic of the full 1750 point army, and further pictures can be found on this post giving an overview of the day.  Click on any pic for larger versions.

Although there has been no further modelling, I know my next mini projects.  First I want to convert some scourges (even though the official models look amazing).  I was going to use kabalite warriors, but they are quite static so instead I'm going to use the crew in the vehicles boxsets which are hanging off the vehicles (as they'll have more dynamic poses.  For wings I am going to use the blood angels wings.  Next up will be to repair and repaint a 6th reaver so I can get them on the battlefield.

Feedback on my venoms at both tournaments were very positive with another Dark Eldar player saying they were the best venom conversion he'd seen.  It'll be interesting to see what people think once the official model starts appearing in armies.

However it's not all Dark Eldar at the moment, I want to progress with my Space Wolves, particularly assembling a new unit I've recently decided to add to the army, and completing the assembly of my second landspeeder (so I can stop borrowing my mate's landspeeder if I want to have a game).  Adding this new unit to my modelling tracker has dropped by the progress bar, but I aim to get it back up during the next week:


With the tournaments I've got in 7 games with my Dark Eldar this month, and they have gone a very respectable 6/0/1 (W/D/L).  The first two games of the first tournament, A Small Matter of Honour, can be found here along with my initial thoughts on the army's performance.  A bit delayed but following soon will be game 3 and 4.  Eventually a summary of the second tournament, Rapid Strike, will also be posted up.

From these tournaments I pretty much happy with my 1500 points list, however the experience of going down to 4 troops choices, means that I'm reassessing my need for 6 troops choices in 1750 points games for Dark Eldar, especially if the extra points are spent on units which will be in the opponents face and will draw firepower.  The units fighting for the right to join the 1750 point army are:
  • Scourges
  • Reavers
  • Beastmasters
  • Razorwing Jetfighter

The first two units are to add extra anti tank to the list.  I'm fed up of having to roll 5+ penetrate and then another 5+ to wreak/explode, so heat lances will be getting a trial run.  The beastmasters add some extra MEQ combat power (through razorwing rending and drowning them in armour saves) to add redundancy to the incubi.  Finally the jetfighter adds 4 large templates to help against hordes.  Test games over the next couple of months will show who wins this battle.

As well as Dark Eldar tournament games, I've got in 2 games with my Space Wolves, and I've just come back from a third game today.  I've changed my list for these games to try out a new unit.  I'll post my reasonings on choosing this new unit, and how it's performed in an upcoming post.

Other Hobby News

The big thing at the moment is the transisition to Finecast.  There has been mixed reviews in this change, including worries about the brittleness of Finecast, and horror stories of it melting in (uk) sunlight.  Neither myself or any of my mates haven't bought any finecast (mainly due to we have enough to paint already, and being shocked at the price), so it'll be a while before I can say anything first hand.  However a good source of info is a blog which I read for upcoming army rumours which is Faeit 212. Check out the rest of his really good blog by following this link.

Upcoming Blog Posts

Due to my lack of activity in the last two weeks, I've got a huge backlog of blog posts, but I hope to make good progress on them before my 3rd tournament of 2011 in two weeks time, currently the list of upcoming articles is:
  • Test running my tweaked Tau list
  • Guest pictures of a venom, and instructions on how I made mine
  • ASMOH Game 3 & 4 with final tournament thoughts
  • Rapid Strike Tournament Debrief
  • Who needs AP1 when you have 20 Lances ?
  • The Evolution of a Space Wolves list

Until next time,



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