Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Mystery Yet Abounds

Who are they and what are they up to?
The mystery of the box continues. Fully assembled and primed, these minis are for a new game system- a skirmish game system. What might that be? Stay tuned...

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Mystery Box

What's in the box? What's in the box?
A box came in from the Miniature Market today. It has all sorts of interesting randomness inside. There is a plan behind all this random stuff, rest assured. What is said plan? Stay tuned to find out!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Plaguebearers & Chaos Marines- Nurgle Gravy

So, I've been a big fan of Nurgle as long as I've played 40k, and while I wanted to try a Khorne flavored list for a change, Papa Nurgle just calls to me. Having found that Bloodletters are useless, I have to say that somewhere deep down inside there was a part of me that was almost happy. As happy as a bit of me can be after realizing I had just wasted $60 on miniatures that are just plain...

Not Good In Assaults.

This is a bit odd for Khorne as he and his followers are supposed to be the consummate melee fighters. Theirs is the marital prowess to end all martial prowess. That, it seems, is not exactly reflected in their in-game performance.

They're Toughness 3.

They have no grenades.

They're 10 points a piece.

These things make them rather not good. They die en masse as they try to close the gap, and even if they deep strike they'll get cut down by even lowly bolter fire. They're really expensive for their performance, and they simply cannot assault into cover. Believe me, I've seen the results.

Deep strike -> run -> get shot in your opponent's turn -> move -> get shot by overwatch fire -> roll assault distance on 3d6 discarding the highest  -> move in -> get struck first due to no grenades -> maybe kill one or two enemies -> lose combat -> make an instability test -> go pop -> regret wasting hundreds of points on a single squad.

That is unfortunately the "Bloodletter Flow Chart". They're supposed to be an offensive powerhouse, but at Toughness 3 and no ability to dig enemies out of cover they just plain don't cut it.

Which daemons do cut it? Well, in my opinion, Plaguebearers. These fellas have the resilience to warrant their points. Toughness 4, Shrouded, and defensive grenades. Give them a Herald and they also can have Feel no Pain. They're the defensive unit of defensive units. Good luck prying them out of position with a 2+ cover save when they set up camp in a building. Sure they're Slow and Purposeful, but so what? The rule isn't the crippling blow it was last edition. My daemons can't run? Whatever. They're not there to pick fights, they're there to either start the game on an objective or to Deep Strike into position and squat on their location.

Now, this may not be ideal in an all-daemon army, but I'm talking about them in terms of an ally for Chaos Space Marines. Chaos Marine armies have plenty of offensive punch in the forms of things like Havocs, plasma guns, and the universally loved or loathed Heldrake. I can go get you. What I have problems with is grabbing and securing backfield objectives. This role is usually taken up by cultists, and they can be very good at it, but in the end they're really little more than expensive Imperial Guardsmen with less armor and an inferior gun. If they draw any real attention they will die, and they'll do it in a hurry. That or they'll run away. Also in a hurry.

Now, Cultists have one very big thing going for them- they're cheap. 100 points for 20 models with 2 flamers is not too bad a deal.

But what then do Plaguebearers do that outclasses the humble Chaos Cultist? Well, not just the things listed above, but other things that mesh with their allies. They're competent in hand-to-hand combat for one. While they won't go out picking many fights, they really won't be backing away from too many either. Sure, they can be outclassed by things like Terminators, but a lot of stuff is so that's no reason to turn your nose up at them. just rely on your cover to save you, and get ready to try to smack them off the board once they get to you. Better yet, use other assets in your army (remember that plasma I mentioned earlier?) to keep them away from your campsite.

Plaguebearers are also pretty cheap (for a Daemon). Sure, a unit of 20 is almost double the point cost of a Chaos Cultist squad of the same size, but it has massively more resilience. That 2+ cover save goes a very long way toward their survival. Even if they're not in a building (say they're in the woods) they've got a 3+ save, which makes them superior Space Marines (they even get their save against things as extreme as demolisher cannons).

So, what would I do if I were to practice what I preach? I'd re-tweak my army a bit, dropping the Chaos Cultists and either the Chaos Lord or the Sorcerer for a Herald of Nurgle and 20 Plaguebearers. I haven't quite decided which HQ choice to drop, but I'm thinking the Chaos Lord as my army is a bit more of a "hang back and shoot" affair, and the Lord wants to get up in your face, but the Sorcerer is less resilient and a bit unpredictable. It's something that would have to be experimented with. Most likely I'd go with:

Sorcerer (warlord) w/ +2 mastery- 110 pts.

9 Chaos Space Marines w/ 2 plasma guns; Aspiring Champion w/ power sword, melta bombs (10 models)- 190 pts.
9 Chaos Space Marines w/ 2 plasma guns; Aspiring Champion w/ power sword, melta bombs (10 models)- 190 pts.
9 Chaos Space Marines w/ 2 plasma guns; Aspiring Champion w/ power sword, melta bombs (10 models)- 190 pts.
9 Chaos Space Marines w/ 2 plasma guns; Aspiring Champion w/ power sword, melta bombs (10 models)- 190 pts.

Heldrake w/ baleflamer- 170 pts.
Heldrake w/ baleflamer- 170 pts.

4 Havocs w/ 4 autocannons; Aspiring Champion (5 models)- 115 pts.
4 Havocs w/ 4 autocannons; Aspiring Champion (5 models)- 115 pts.
4 Havocs w/ 4 lascannons; Aspiring Champion (5 models)- 155 pts.

Herald of Nurgle w/ Greater Locus of Fecundity- 70 pts.

19 Plaguebearers; Plagueridden (20 models)- 185 pts.

1,850 pts.

I've also played around with the idea of dropping the lascannon Havocs instead of the Chaos Lord, and the idea does have some merit, but I fear 2+ armor saves. This fear is most likely irrational as I have eight plasma gunners in the army, and the Telepathy discipline messes with units in other ways, but that's just my current assessment. I'll have to get some Plaguebearers some time and try this concept out.

...Until then, I'll just keep plugging along with Cultists. 

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Chaos Cultists Painted- More Importantly, Army Done!!!

That's right, the last ten Chaos Cultists are fully painted! Those of you who are old-school GW players may recognize them:

Yep, they're House Escher models from the good ol' days of GW, the time period around which I first got into "the hobby", Necromunda. For those of you who aren't old enough or just plain don't date back in wargaming far enough to know these minis, I used to play this campaign based skirmish at GW Fairfax (the first GW in the USA, FYI) back in the '90s. Those were the days. Back when the company cared about their games, and more importantly their customers.

But what right do I have to gripe? I still buy their stuff and play their games (40k at least).

...But now I'm way off track. The point is, I have a fully painted army!!! Let me tell you, there is very little in wargaming better than arraying your fully painted soldiers across from your opponent's grey plastic horde with a smug look on your face. Very little other than two fully painted armies facing off across a fully realized dedicated wargaming table.

Twenty Cultists. Not too bad for a unit that's there to do nothing.
In the end this army was actually a joy to paint, and I'm pleased with the final result. Now to get a correctly sized foam tray to hold all these dudes so I can test them at one of my three FLGSs. There's got to be somebody out there who's looking for a game, right?

Another Chaos Lord Plus The Final Marines

Ready to roast some loyalists.
Well, after putting him off and putting him off, here he is. It's a good thing I have a nice deep Space Wolves bits box, since I was able to dig up the required lightning claw in my list. I not only grabbed that from my Wolves, I added the wolf's head helmet from the frame as well.

I managed to find a normal Space Marine Sergeant back banner to distinguish him from the Aspiring Champions in the army.

I ultimately decided that I'd kind of slap together the Burning Brand, since the heavy flamer idea just seemed excessive. Kharn was supposed to be running around roasting marines with this thing, and that would make this thing more than a touch awkward. That and I didn't feel like bits ordering (while such a thing was still possible) the rather expensive heavy flamer.

The remainder of this mini is made up of Chaos Marine and Aspiring Champion parts. The Burning Brand is being held by a cut down bolt pistol arm. One of the shoulder pads and the legs are from the Chaos Space Marine frames. The backpack, the other shoulder pad, and the torso are off of the Aspiring Champion frame. I think this combination of sprues makes for a rather unique HQ choice.

I am rather upset with the mini in one aspect. It's not terribly visible, but the transfer on the back banner didn't set right. I'm not sure why, as I did my usual ritual of transfer, Solvaset, and gloss varnish before the Dullcote, but somehow the transfer still shows its edges. Oh, well. Nothing to be done for it now...

Plasma-ey death x4 is realized.
I also finished the fourth and final Chaos Space Marine squad at the same time. Finally! I'm down to the last few models! I'll be spending today painting them up and hopefully I'll post them here ASAP. Thanks again to Demitra for the great idea I'm using to fill out the squad.

It's really nice to have an almost fully painted army. It's thrilling to see all your minis arrayed on the table ready to do battle. I think it makes your dice roll better too.

I'm still considering a transport option for them. I'm really not happy that these guys don't fit into a GW figure case. You'd think the company that manufactures them would take such things into account, but whatever. Now is not the time to complain. It's almost time for a big ol' celebration. Onward to the Chaos Cultists and victory over another army!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Chaos Space Marines- The Finalized List & More

Death to the False Emperor!
Well, my journey down the road to damnation is nearly complete. My final Chaos Marine squad is drying at home on my painting table, along with my third Chaos Lord. This Lord is the one that's going to stick, honest! His weapon loadout is much more sensible than previously- the Murder Sword is only good for a highly mobile army, and on a Lord with no jump pack that's just not going to...

It's pretty hard to get at the target of said sword when the target is just camping in his deployment zone directing missile launchers all day.

Tomorrow I'll varnish my dudes and I'll put them up here for all to see. Today it's just a bit of reflection on the current state of my army.

I'm okay with where my army is sitting right now. It performs admirably on the table (against Demitra any way) and it has a fair amount of flexibility. I'd like to get it out of the house to take on something other than a still-evolving Dark Angels list, but of course, like any modern GW army, the minis don't fit in my figure case. Normally I'd just say "whatever" and grab a pistol case for them from Wal-Mart, but again, like any modern GW army, they have all these little fiddly spiky bits all over the place.

Note the fiddly spiky bits.
 These little hoo-has will gladly snap off at a thought, so I don't dare put them in something as rough on them as a pistol case. Thus my dilemma. Do I toss them all in a box and sort them out when I get to my FNSLGS (they're varnished, so I don't really worry about their paint jobs)? Do I try to find some Battlefoam to hold them? Do I just sit at home with them until who knows when?

Right now I have opted for the last option.

This irks me a touch because word has it that there is a 40k night out at Huzzah Hobbies, and now that my eyes are fully healed and I can drive at night I'd like to get out of the apartment and play a game or ten against some new people. Maybe, dare I say it, try out a local tournament? That is assuming they hold them with any regularity, and on a day I don't work. These are both mysteries to me as I haven't headed out that way in months.

These thoughts, along with the new 40k arms race with Demitra, have caused me to totally rethink my approach to my army since I first started it. Initially I was aiming to make a somewhat effective army by building up from the base of two Dark Vengance boxed sets. I'll make what has been a long story short- it can't be done. The Chaos Lord is improperly equipped to deal with, well, anything. The Chosen are over equipped. Cultists have to be taken in large groups and hidden away to be effective- a role in which they go to ground behind cover and basically babysit an objective while they (hopefully) are ignored in favor of bigger threats. And Helbrutes? Well, this edition there is not really any amount of conversion and weapon swapping that can make them effective.They're slow, their armor is mediocre, and they have 3 hull points. Basically this is their time on the table in a nutshell;

*Dakka dakka dakka*
*Pew pew pew*
*Waste of 105 points*

This has led me to hone and refine my product. My army has become leaner, meaner, and much more shooty. Gone are the days of the Mark of Khorne and Veterans of the Long War.  Gone is all the extraneous point-sinking gobbledy-gook that once cluttered up my roster. Now it's lean, mean, and (thusfar) devastating on the table.

It's an old picture, but bear with me here.
Now, I say again my test runs have been against Demitra's unfinished Dark Angels army, so once I get it out in the real world it may perform a bit differently than it has at home. It's getting to the point where I'll need to head out to a FLGS to try it out soon as Demitra has become a bit flustered with this army and so I've decided to shelf it until he's willing to try his luck at it again. He hasn't actually said that he's not willing to play against it, but I can tell (rather plainly) that he just doesn't care to play against this army. Thusly this week we played Dust Warfare. I think it may be time for a break from 40k.

I'm not trying to paint Demitra in a negative light here- I'm just saying that the point of us getting together every Tuesday morning is to have fun. If that's not the order of the day for him as well, then there's really no point to the event.

So, what is this horror-inducing army?

Sorcerer (warlord) w/ +2 Mastery (telepathy), Sigil of Corruption- 135 pts.
Chaos Lord w/ lightning claw, melta bombs, Aura of Dark Glory, The Burning Brand of Skalathrax- 130 pts.

19 Chaos Cultists w/ 2 flamers; Cultist Champion (20 miniatures)- 100 pts.
9 Chaos Space Marines w/ 2 plasma guns; Aspiring Champion w/ power sword, melta bombs (10 miniatures)- 190 pts.
9 Chaos Space Marines w/ 2 plasma guns; Aspiring Champion w/ power sword, melta bombs (10 miniatures)- 190 pts.
9 Chaos Space Marines w/ 2 plasma guns; Aspiring Champion w/ power sword, melta bombs (10 miniatures)- 190 pts.
9 Chaos Space Marines w/ 2 plasma guns; Aspiring Champion w/ power sword, melta bombs (10 miniatures)- 190 pts.

Heldrake w/ baleflamer- 170 pts.
Heldrake w/ baleflamer- 170 pts.

4 Havocs w/ 4 autocannons; Aspiring Champion (5 miniatures)- 115 pts. 
4 Havocs w/ 4 autocannons; Aspiring Champion (5 miniatures)- 115 pts.
4 Havocs w/ 4 lascannons; Aspiring Champion (5 miniatures)- 155 pts.

1,850 points (tournament standard) 

Aren't they cute together?
 Now, admittedly the Heldrakes are the workhorses of my army. They swoop in, Vector Strike something, frequently light that target up with their Baleflamers, and then fly around making a mockery of Strength 7 anti-aircraft weapons. They're great! It takes just a touch of forethought to use them- just a touch as they can switch into Hover Mode and spin around to face any direction they want to. Being in Hover Mode is not ideal, as then ground weaponry hits you normally, but the option is there.

Plus, unlike the rest of humanity (it seems) I actually like the model.

I've found that in the environment they exist Havocs are superior to Obliterators. Obliterators are a valid target for anti-tank weaponry, whereas Havocs are just more Space Marines. They also offer more shots, and they're cheap as sin! Just 115 points for 8 Strength 7 shots! With that volume they can even harass flyers as they Zoom along!

Now, my days of air superiority may be limited. It appears as though Demitra (and likely the rest of the world) will be picking up the new Firestorm Redoubt. Four twin-linked lascannons with Skyfire (and maybe Interceptor) will likely make a mass of a Heldrake as it enters the board. I incorrectly made the assertion that this was to be an "Apocalypse only" piece of scenery. Upon reading the piece's description it appears I was dead wrong. Oops...

For now however I'll be content to rule the skies. I have plans for this terrifying little piece of terrain- most of them either ignore cover or just pump a huge volume of shots into the emplacement, but those plans will have to wait until (if?) Demitra grabs one of these suckers.

Back to the ol' painting table tomorrow though, as Demitra just gave me a great idea as to which miniatures to use to fill out my Chaos Cultist squad without having to order a whole box of them from GW just for one mini. Fans of old-school GW will likely be amused by the solution, but you'll just have to wait to see what it is for a few more days.

Marines and Chaos Lord tomorrow.
I promise.