Tyranid HQ Choices?

Experimentation with the Tyranid list continues and I’ve been playing around with the various HQ choices and here is what I have discovered…

From a pure tournament perspective I would just slap down a prime and call it a day. Use him to boost the shooting and close combat ability of warriors and you are set. But are things that simple.

Basically you have two types of HQ choices- monstrous creatures and smaller IC’s that join units. Hive Tyrants and Tervigons vs. Primes and the Parasite. Right away we knock out the Tervigon- why would you take him as an HQ when you can have him as a troop choice- a six wound MC parking on objectives, which leaves Hive Tyrants. Tyrants are offensive beasties either running up the table with guard or wings. They can do some shooting, do some assaulting, and boost the rest of your army with hive commander, old adversary, etc. Here is what real experimentation on the table vs. 5th edition armies (read IG parking lot and razorspam) has shown me.

A naked Tyrant running up the table will never work. He will bite the dust no matter how clever your cover saves, of which players will argue to no end that your beastie will not get a cover save because of x, y, z. Flush those points down the toilet. You will need guard and plan on stacking three. You can get away with two, but three is best in both taking losses and not having to stack the wounds on your tyrant. With the mixing of models this is also the only reliable way to get cover saves for the Tyrant outside of venomthropes- any you want that 4+. Even with venoms that 5+ is only a backup when you can’t get the 4+. Side post on venoms coming up soon, including lash whip abuse to take down emo space vampires like Mepheston by tag teaming him with lash whips and other kill to take him out before he hits back, but I’m getting off topic…

Regarding Swarmlord vs. a generic Tyrant, depends on your taste, but if you are running a null deployment list you want him. You need that deathstar unit and core troops to move as a block forward. Swarmy also gives you the +1 like hive commander, but allows you to re-roll the outflank sides- KEY. His buffs also save you some points if you are running hormagaunts – you can give them furious charge so they can at least glance light vehicles without the upgrades. If you are going with super gaunts- poison and adrenals Swarmy is also the bug to take since he can bestow preferred enemy outside of old adversary range. Don’t laugh either- a variant list I run has four groups is 20 h-gaunts with furious charge and poison- anything that gets out of their box dies.

Upgrades to the regular tyrant- scything talons x2 since he wants to get into the assault, needs to “run” in the shooting phase to keep up with the swarm and synapse so what exactly are you going to shoot? Add adrenal glands and you are S7 rerolling all hits- especially useful against vehicles.

On the other side we have the winged Tyrant which takes a lot of finesse to work, while packing his own surprise. Wings, adrenal, and old adversary as part of a core of fast moving bugs heading right at your opponent. You are going to need a mobile screen for him- I use shrikes since I can get rending claws on them, but gargoyles can work also. Move him 12”, run 6”, push forward as fast as you can. When you hit your opponent’s core he assaults, but also acts as the OA center so all your other fast moving bugs now in assault have preferred enemy. The only other thing key here is that you have other elements in your list to take the heat off the Tyrant- things that your opponent has to shoot at even if they know they should be shooting at the Tyrant. Keep in mind that against some list even with a distraction element you won’t be able to repel fire of that magnitude and the Tyrant will go down.

Then we have primes and the Parasite…

For the most part the prime, as mentioned, is the tournament favorite, cheap, fills out the slot so you can spend the points on other must-haves for Tyranids. He tends to operate as a wound magnet as needed. Need to keep that hive guard up- attach a prime! Carnifex brood running forward- attach a prime! And you get synapse as a bonus. Parasite also offers a bit of this and more, but has that random element which is often frowned upon by serious players- but we are going to get to him next. So after some wheeling and dealing I’ve got even more Tyranids to add to the brood taking over Brother Captain James’ bugs for a bit, of which among other things I’ve got a Tervigon being built in the process (pics to come) and have to paint and base around forty more gaunts. Along with all the bitz and sprues there was this little gem from when BC and I were testing out the Parasite. OOP warrior head, ravener body, and OOP warrior rending claws do a Parasite make- this along with the sixty built and primed ripper bases also sitting in a shoebox.

Throw in a few more games and I’m adding this guy to my list as my stock HQ choice, despite coming in just shy of a base Tyrant. Why? He can join units as needed to take wounds if he has to (although not optimal), wings means he can move 12” which messes up distance and timing, especially if he is attached to a slow moving unit and breaks out. More synapse, but the real reason is for spawning the rippers. On the opposite end of my Null Deployment list, I’m now really thinking about a spawn based list. Tyranids expend bodies to win the mission, and against certain armies you tend to run out of steam towards the end game, so why not spawn more beasties? With the Parasite I can at worst threaten vehicles, and against Space Marines I can (and have) started spawning rippers at a frightening rate. What I have found out so far, and it is still a WIP, is that you have to be aggressive with the Parasite to get him up there, along with other elements to be assaulting on turn two if possible, turn three at the most. You also need to target “soft” units like min/max tactical marines, T3 models, etc. Forget about trying to spawn from assault terminators and the like, and then there is the sarge is acting strangely rule- which you will forget 99% of the time but every now and then catch something- like a space marine bike command squad outflanking from a recent game and losing one of the models to the Parasite- sorry guys no FNP from the APOC no matter how you try and spin the rules. Plus, you guys know me, anything that can mess with the game and create something out of nothing begs to be played!

Who out there is running the Parasite? Fritz wan't to hear from you! Delviery system? Max rippers spawned in a game- in test/fun games ~50 seems to be the magic number. Other HQ choices agree? Primes?

Upgrades In A Tournament List?

It's an ugly planet; a Bug planet. A planet hostile to life as we know it. ~NetNews Reporter Live From Klendathu.

So I’m paid and ready for NOVA, making the plans for WargamesCon soon with Jawaballs, and the next major Battle For Salvation Tournament is right around the corner. The results? “Competitive” Tyranids are in full swing. No that isn’t a typo: competitive = Tyranids. I’ve got my reasons of why I’m going with the bugs over Grey Knights, especially now that everybody and their dog has the codex from it being leaked and shared all over the internet. I’ve got a base list and will be refining it over the next month or so and I thought I would share some of the thinking process from my POV that goes into building a competitive list. As always if you don’t play Tyranids, filter my ideas down into your own list and ask yourself some hard questions about the units you are fielding.

The first place to start is guaranteed return vs. perceived return with a Trygon as an example. Running three of them in a list, their job is to leverage their T6 and 6 wounds as they run forward and assault stuff with their scything talons. You can never have too much of a good think so naturally I start to look at regeneration. With a one in six chance (not bad odds) of healing am I being a bit harsh in saying regen has no place in a competitive list? Regen is a perceived return that relies on random rolling and the assumption that said Trygon will actually be up next turn. Against certain lists I’m planning on losing one a turn even with venomthrope generated cover so I probably won’t ever get to regen. That’s 75 points is better spent on something else in my list that has a guaranteed return. However, adrenal glands are a different story since they always work on the charge and the +1 strength and +1 initiative is a marked advantage in fighting both infantry and trying to punch vehicles. So what about the upgrade to a prime? Worth it? More shots are a guaranteed return, but in my list, again barring a few armies the Tyrgons will be starting on the board running forward, and doing a lot of run/fleet assaults so no chance to fire said weapon for the most part, barring Tervigons who are better at handing out FNP. In filtering your list for a tournament you always want to go with a guaranteed return over a perceived return.

The next filter I put my list through was stripping away various layers for an ability/model to work. Enter zoranthropes. While it is true that they excel at busting land raiders and other heavy armor 9soon to be storm ravens flooding all the tables) where they fail is an extra layer before they can “shoot”. For the warp lance you have to pass a psychic test, which even if there is no psychic hood or runes on the table, can still be failed- remember the first Fritz rule of 40K- anytime you roll dice bad stuff can happen. Furthermore if there is a hood or anti-psyker device on the table I’m completely shut down. In that respect hive guard are better since they can just shoot without having to pass a psychic test, of course they still have to hit and can’t reliably hurt a land raider. That’s not to say zopes don’t have a place if I needed more synapse or a second layer of them, and I’d actually like to have both zopes and ‘guard in my list, but concession have to be made somewhere.

The final layer I look at my list though is the now vs. later filter when it comes to vanilla stealers, y-stealers, and lictors who enter via reserves, either through being dormant, outflank, or just popping in. Unless you are building an all reserves/null deployment list you generally don’t want to have any units not on the table at the start of the game. Without hive commander/Swarmlord and later possible lictor boosts you don’t have control over when they enter the game, turn 3, 4, 5? One or two less units on the table means more firepower directly going at your core. Personally I see the potential for y-stealers in my list- their ability to go dormant in terrain as my big bugs and core moves forward and then pop out disrupting my opponent, but for that to work they 100% need to come in on turn two- future turns will have my opponent moving and adjusting their units on the table based on my core and big bugs lessening the effects of the y-stealers.

Do I want to gamble with that? Not if I am sticking with my guaranteed return vs. perceived return formula. Plus, if I get stuck on a table with no terrain- could be as bad as only two pieces of hills, then the y-stealers are walking. Finally I lose out on some much needed created pressure which is key in assault based lists. With the y-stealers I can also get a group of regular stealers, remove them, and it is two groups of stealers plus some points left over for more gaunt fodder. Those stealers are key in that they need to infiltrate ahead and around my opponent to keep them busy as the horde moves in. Stealers are a guaranteed asset since I know I can put them down and operate them from turn one. For fun I’d want to take the y-stealers, but from a tournament perspective they are better left for Space Hulk…

So what other units fall into the guaranteed return vs. perceived return formula? Space Marine players- does this method of thinking deep six plasma guns since you have a 1 in 6 chance of overheating?

Prepare For Glory! Mastering The Assault Phase

Hurtling through Lleh V's atmosphere the storm raven Tear of Blood strained under the fury of the incoming plasma fire as the assault marines that it carried in its box hull moved into the ready position.

"Two minutes..." crackled a voice over the comm as the back door to the drop ship depressurized and swung open venting gas and ice.

Standing on the edge of the hatch now overlooking the planet wide battle below Brother Longinus signaled to the squad to activate their jump pack turbines as the ship began to roll to the right.

Spotting the jump point below Longinus motioned with his chain sword as he stepped off into the smoke and plasma flack filled sky followed by his brother marines behind him.

"For the Emperor!" invoked the squad in unison as their guidance sensors locked onto the landing zone followed by their turbines churning to slow their decent…

When we look at the three phases of the game- movement, shooting, and assaulting, the third phase of assaulting can be argued to be the most powerful in terms of model killing potential. Set up correctly you can wipe out multiple units at the same time, but with this ability comes a price, a price in skill to set it up, and punishment if you screw it up and get caught out in the open. In this week’s article we are going to look at how to set up an assault, and more importantly how to survive one from the point of view of the attacker.

Delivery System.

Not all assault troops are assault troops, and here is what I mean by that. You can be geared up for the assault, but if you don’t have a way to get directly into your opponent’s ranks you are setting yourself up for a big disappointment. Let’s look at two assault units from the Space Marine perspective- assault marines and assault terminators.

In the case of assault marines you have a group of fast moving marines that have a range of 13”-18” of movement a turn, along with a good number of base attacks, and power weapon upgrades backed by a 3+ save. If we are talking about generic assault marines and not Blood Angels using DOA, then what is the delivery system for these guys? Rocket pack across the table? Deepstrike? Both are going to leave you very vulnerable on the way in even if you hide behind terrain or other vehicles to leapfrog over and in. In this case it is better to use the assault marines as a counter attack unit- hanging back in your deployment zone and waiting for your opponent to come to you and then moving out and striking, think interceptors.

With the assault terminators we can load these guys into a land raider, AV 14, smoke launchers, and a machine spirit to deliver them right into the heart of the opponent with a threat range of around 20”- moving 12”, getting out 2”, and then assaulting 6”. With a forward deployment and a turn of movement, you can be into your opponent on turn two. This is an example of having a delivery system for your assault troops to make sure they get there, the storm raven is another example.

Let’s look at the same idea from the xeno perspective regarding genestealers-ultimate shock troops? Hardly. With no shooting attacks and no save against even bolters there is no way your brood of ‘stealers is going to make it across the table, and even infiltrating them will get them shot up. From the assault army perspective they are a fail unless you outflank them, but even here if your opponent castles in the center of the table you are going to get shot up. Save the genestealers as a distraction unit or counter assault unit like the assault marines from before. Now on the other hand ymgarl genestealers are the ultimate assault shock troops- with their ability to go dormant and appear out of terrain, move, run, and then fleet assault they have the ability to appear in your opponent’s ranks untouched and wreck face- the terrain itself becomes the delivery system. But that’s not to say you can’t walk across the table either in the right circumstances.

Harlequins work on foot as a delivery system because of the shadowseer’s veil of tears ability- you can’t target her unit from more than 24” out, with the average being 18”, and by then, if done correctly the clowns are assaulting you with their ability to completely ignore terrain, move, run, and fleet assault.

So now you have your assault unit(s), and delivery system so the next point to cover is actually getting across the table while making sure you have a target to assault when you get there. If only it was as easy as just driving across the table with that land raider…

First things first before we get to the glory, if you have some major assault elements in your army you have to be setting things up for them from the start of the game when laying down objectives or picking table sides for deployment. With objectives you want to do your best with the number that you can place to cluster them up. Many players like to camp on objectives from the start of the game and this makes a nice grouped target for your assault units to eventually hit. (Counter: Remember you don’t have to be on objectives till turn 5+ so stay away yet in range, and then move out later in the game.) When picking table sides give your opponent the side with more “terrain” so that when you arrive in their ranks and wipe out a unit, you can consolidate into terrain to get cover saves before launching the next assault. In an assault themed army you will be going to your opponent so having all the terrain, or choice terrain, on your side won’t make a difference since you won’t be using it.

Now with your assault units down and moving out you need two other elements in your list to give your assault force the best odds possible for when they hit. The first is some long range support whose job is to open up vehicles and dump their guys out so you have something to assault in addition to swatting away any speedbumps, vehicles, of units that your opponent might try to use to block/slow down your incoming assaulters. Many times you can find these units in the heavy support section of your codex. The final element is a distraction unit to occupy your opponent at close range, something they have to deal with on turn one, focusing less of their tabletop assets on your incoming assaulters. You can always tell a good assault based army if they have this, think of it as a tell if they really are serious about being aggressive with their assault units.

You need something that can infiltrate into a key position in your opponent’s deployment zone, something that is the perfect balance of “immediate threat” and expendable points that they have to deal with. Going back to Space Marines a small unit of scouts with a missile launcher and camo cloaks works wonders. Infiltrate into terrain to the side of your opponent’s deployment zone to line up side armor shots and be ready to go to ground for the 2+ save if needed to keep them alive as long as you can. From the xeno perspective one or two groups of infiltrated genestealers placed in terrain works wonders.

Rumbling forward the Legion's land raider "Victus" accelerated to its top speed belching out blessed machine smoke as the Praetorian Guard terminators inside prepared to disembark when the order was given. Watching the internal vox screens inside the tank their enemy quickly came into view.

From the ruins of a block of buildings sprung forth a horde of mutant humans and mutie altered traitor space marines- some still wearing their remains of their armor while others were little more than twisted humanoid abominations.

"We are outnumbered four to one! Prepare to disembark! Prepare for glory!" ordered the terminator Centurion as the squad switched on their lightning claw and storm hammer generators.

Crashing right into the heart of the mutant traitors the land raider ground to a halt as the assault ramp dropped and the terminators inside poured out. Slashing with lighting claws and crushing with thunder hammers the Praetorians downed dozen of the mutant marines as the traitors ranks broke and they began to fall back.

"Where is your commander?" asked the terminator Centurion as a plasma gun wielding mutant marine responded with a gurgled scream. Casting his defiled body down with a stroke of a thunder hammer the traitor’s body began to enlarge before bursting open in a shower of puss and gore.

Emerging from the warp through the mutant demon vessel a terrifying female demon with now directly in the ranks of the Praetorian Guard terminators…

So now you are at the moment of glory having braved it across the battlefield, distracted and harassed your opponent sweeping aside their feeble resistance, time to pile into the assault and cut them down…maybe…maybe not.

A well done assault should not only kill multiple units if it can, but it should at least be around for a turn or two “earning” its points or at the very least keeping your opponent busy so the rest of your army can accomplish the mission objectives that you need to win the game.

Before you pile out of that land raider take a look around at the opportunities and threats around you. Sometimes you don’t want to wipe out the unit in front of you, especially if your opponent is putting it out there to sacrifice- you hit said unit, wipe it out, and then have your assaulters wiped out in return. You traded 1 for 1 which isn’t good, aim to trade 2 or 3 to 1. In this scenario you have to judge the hitting power of your assault unit based on what you are going up against. This is part science and part gamble so there are no hard fast rules. Let’s look at the example of a group of harlequins hitting a full space marine tactical squad. If I hid the marine squad with doom from a farseer, fire off some shuriken and fusion pistol shots on the way in and then assault with all my clowns the marines are going to go poof! Before they can even strike back. Then what?

I’m vulnerable and out in the open in my opponent’s turn. In the case of the marines I wouldn’t want to doom ahead of time so I cause less wounds, will be locked and protected in the assault phase, finish them off in my opponent’s phase and then be back for a fresh assault on my phase. Do what you have to do so you never “complete” an assault in your own phase- always set things up as best you can so the unit your are engaged with goes down in your opponent’s turn.

Also keep in mind that you don’t have to always go forward to assault- back to the harlequin example. Let’s say I’m assaulting something really weak, where even the unjuiced clowns will down them. I use the movement phase to get into assault range, and then use the run phase to actually move some of my models back and to the sides out of assault range. This way when I charge my lead model can make base contact, and when the defenders react with their 6” move and get base to base not all of my models will be able to attack. Throwing up less attacks I kill less, and hopefully lock in for that turn.

On the opposite end when you are preparing for an assault you are looking for those opportunities to multi-assault and wipe out multiple units- and this is where the true power of the assault phase comes in, especially with big, hard to kill units- either through forced additional wound allocation or a sweeping advance.

Assault terminators pile out of the land raider right in front of a group of gaunts and a trygon. Hit the trygon with one terminators and throw the rest into the gaunts. Deal a massive amount of wounds on the gaunts, focus everything on them since they are easy to kill for morale modifiers and forget the big bug. Take a few wounds back and maybe a loss or two, but win the assault by 5-10 wounds. More gaunts die and now the trygon has to make X number of saves due to being fearless. Let the gaunts “kill” the trygon. Against massive blocks of infantry don’t split your attacks on both- throw the majority on the “weaker” unit, win the assault, and force a leadership or wounds on both units to break them.

Sound off, what assault units do you have in your army? What is their delivery system and support system? Do you have a group of infiltrators to run interference? Is your assault unit(s) overpowered and killing things to fast?

40K Distance & Timing

Those are my balloons. He stole my balloons! Why didn't somebody tell me he had one of those... things? Bob, gun. ~Joker.

One of the easiest things to understand but the hardest to manipulate in 40K is the concept of “distance”. Distance is one of the fundamental skills that leads to winning the game. So what is distance? Each phase of the game works on principals of distance- moving, shooting, and assaulting. Distance is how you can effective use these ranges in the game. Examples that we all quickly master is that infantry can move 6”, jump packs and bikes 12”, etc. In the shooting phase we have rapid weapons with a range of 12”-24”, heavy weapons like las cannons and missile launchers with a range of 48”, and in the assault phase we have the usual 6” assault with defenders reacting 6”. Distance is always on the mind of both players- if I move here will I be in range next turn to get hit with those missiles? If I don’t stop that land raider this turn, next turn it will be disembarking those assault marines, etc. Most of the game, maybe 90% of it falls under the same “game physics” of distance- and then there are the units that break the timing of distance. These are the units found across the game in each codex, imperial and xeno alike that stand out from the norm and are the first step in setting the distance and breaking the timing. Examples from my own armies and lists to get you thinking…

Tyranid Raveners. On the table all the bugs look the same, a sea of them moving and running forward, and often hiding in my brood is a couple of raveners. Hardly scary, it’s not like they can throw out dozens of attacks like genestealers or fire self guided harpoon missiles like hive guard, but they are often my best kept secret weapon. Why? Because they are beasts and as such they have a 12” assault range. Visually on the table you look safe, especially if they are mixed in with some other buggies, but then they leap out and strike. They mess with the timing of the game a turn sooner than most players realize forcing them to deal with that part of my army allowing the rest of the brood to then close.

Chaos Daemons, the CSM flavor. With one or two medium sized squads and icons on my plague marines they can come down virtually anywhere on the table (think of an overlapping icon web network thingy), land 6” away and then assault. Perfect for when the plaque marines get out of a rhino- rapid fire into a unit, charge the daemons to lock said unit in the assault, and then charge next turn with the plague marines/hidden power fist to finish things off. Deepstriking units that come down on teleport like homers are in many armies, but the ability to deepstrike and assault after messes with the timing of the game.

While infiltrating and fleeting thunder hammer and storm shield terminators lead by Shadow Captain Shrike are nice I prefer to have mine in a land raider with the extended assault range. When that land raider moves out everybody is calculating the impact range and how they are going to stop it, which is messed with when you can move the land raider, get out 2”, run, and then assault. Especially handy when your raider gets vaped just as it is about to crash the front lines and your opponent breathes a sigh of relief thinking they are safe for another turn…

Even older books have a few tricks left when manipulating distance like a Necron lord with veil of darkness. VOD isn’t just for bouncing around with a group of immortals. Use it to contest objectives with a daring deepstrike, use it to open up and attack a flank and when your opponent reacts VOD back out, etc. Eldar tanks with star engines, tank shocking a unit and when they run, especially in the case of marines and can regroup outside of 6”, star engine closer so they have to keep running.

A final example, and my favorite is Deathleaper from the Tyranid codex. His ability to pop back in and out alone is worth the 140 points. Often capture and control missions are all about him. The entire swarm is about pulling out my opponent from their objective so deathleaper can pop in turn five next to it to contest and then go to ground…

In a 1750 point game, and with so many choices in most codexes you can dig up some units that manipulates distance and timing that will fit in with the rest of your army. The next step is to blend it with your army so it isn’t obvious to what is going on. You need to be crafty with it so even veteran players that know all the rules will “forget” it during the course of the game. Hide it in with other units, wait to mid game when there is less on the table to stop it, etc. are all examples.

So, what units manipulate distance and timing in your army? What units can you put in that “break” the rules and can throw off your opponent?

Memorable Games…

Time to dig into the Fritz cognator banks and post up a few of the more memorable games over the year...

Every year when Jawaballs and I make the pilgrimage to holy terra (Baltimore Games Day) we always hit up the battle bunker the next day for some fun and games and then spend the next eight hours in traffic as we inch back to NY having left waaayyy to late in the day. That and Brother Captain James almost cutting his hand off with a sword…don’t ask…

I also have a long standing tradition of playing Bishop in the store and those games are always the most memorable. Bishop the store we game at on Sundays, Comic Book Heaven, in White Plains and is the coolest 40K dude you can game with. I don’t get to actually play Bishop that much since he manages the store, but every year after Games Day we play at the battle bunker. This is tradition and I look forward to it every year, always a memorable game since the atmosphere of the bunker is so “40K” and we are all still pumped from Games Day, etc. All in fun, but a lot rider on the game since I have to wait till next year to get a rematch. Last year my Eldar faced his Necrons and it Ended in a draw.

This time my Grey Knights would face down his Eldar…

Arriving on the industrial world to recover and properly dispose of some xeno tech a small detachment of Grey Knights under the command of Inquisitor Fritz made contact with the Eldar of the Beil-Tan craftworld. By the authority of the Immortal Emperor of Mankind through the holy symbol of the Inquisition produced by Inquisitor Fritz they were order to stand down, disarm, and report for execution, being filthy xeons and all. Not surprisingly they opened fire as wave serpents, wraithguard, and wraithlords advanced.

Meeting the advance head on a small group of Grey Knight terminators punished the wraithguard with psycannons and purifying incinerator flame before cutting down the xeno constructs with their nemesis force weapons. In return the terminators were felled by mass shuriken and missile fire- their names will be enshrined on Titan for eternity.

Ordering his Callidus assassin to now show herself and cuts down the ranks of guardians supporting the Eldar advance, Inquisitor Fritz pushed the attack as dreadnoughts advanced trading shots with wraitglord constructs, even meeting one of the machines in battle, the dreadnought exploding as the necromantically possessed construct raised its sword in triumph. The land Raider Hesstess Pride avenged the dreadnought by punching two las cannon shots through the wraithlord shattering it form to the wind.

Then from around a ruined manufacturum a sleek dark green wave serpent landed and disembarked a squad of striking scorpions lead by a belligerent autarch as they opened fire on the Grey Knights lead by Inquisitor Fritz. Having faith in the Emperor and the blessings of their wargear the ornate armor of the ‘Knights turned aside the shurikens as the knight counter charged.

“Xeno witch! Where is your leaded!” ordered Inquisitor Fritz as the Xeno replied in its blasphemous language. “The Emperor orders you to die!” replied Fritz as his leadership pushed the Knights ever further as they cut down the scorpions to the last.

Rallying forward the ‘Knights advanced as a unit of jetbikes weaved in and out of the buildings spitting cannon fire and foul seer council magic’s where which were deflected by the holiest of artifacts and strange wargear in Fritz’s possession- the enigmatic null rod. Refusing to fight the jetbikes turned tail and ran as psycannon bolt and las shot punished them to a lone jetbike…

…and that is where the game came down to a single jetbike holding an objective which means the Bishop’s Eldar would have two, and I would have one- all I head in range was my Land Raider- two las cannons and a heavy bolter shot up against a single T4 model with a cover save. Las cannons and heavy bolters hit….wound…and Bishop makes all his cover saves! Game ends for a Bishop win! Already plotting my revenge for next year…

Drachenfire Eldar

Hi fritz I'm new to the blog and have been trying to get into the swing of our new 5th eldar. I've been obsessing through forums for awhile now and finally came to some terms with what I want in my eldar to make it competitive and overall awesome and fun to play.

I really love fire dragons and wave serpents, so I'm looking into 30 fire dragons speeding down the table in star engined coked up serpents. I developed a sort of tactic on paper so far involving all of the dragons speeding up to my opponent in a group and surrounding a section of my opponents army in a blockaded circle. Cover saves all around. Perhaps throw some vypers down with them as a shield and extra firepower for the following turn.

With that, the next turn holds a sectioned, controlled alpha strike, which with 30 dragons rolling in should pop just about anything in this circle of death, especially if farseers are working their dirty magic via doom/guide.

I have a pretty good start I think for this list. I'm shooting for 1850 points for this one and would love to hear all of your advice and wisdom on this list and my whirlwind tactic.

Dragons (30) 480pts

Serpents (3) star eng, twin scatter lasers, spirit stones 420pts

So 900pts dragons is a pretty big haul. The rest of the list I'm looking into vypers for that added shield and circle coverage. Perhaps some additional serpents with avengers. And farseers fortune/doom? There won't be much room for many of these guys but I want to keep most of it mobile.

Thanks for all your advice and support fritz!!


P.S. Where's the "Fritzcast" !?!!?!?! ;)

Reply Out:

Most Eldar players these days take two five elf units of dragons as a suicide unit. Five seems to be that magic number in terms of balance of points and shots needed to drop those land raider and other armor. So how are we going to use thirty? Since this is a dragon themed list let’s make 30 work, build the tactics around that- much like harlequins.

Mobility is key, in both delivery of the dragons and protecting them from getting shot up till you are ready to disembark. So waver serpents are the way to go- add on stones 100% to make sure you are always moving. I’d then go with the cheapest gun load outs- maybe even not taking the shuriken catapults underslung, but I probably still would.

Now with your list the dragons are going to work the opposite way- your vehicles open up the tanks and your dragons cook the guys inside, except maybe for land raiders in which you would tag team them- one dragon unit opens it up, the other vapes the guys inside.

Keeping the dragons up.

You are going to want farseer support and I’d go with Eldrad in this list, even though we are trying to save points…

Your three dragon units are going to be working together and staying together the entire time. Eldrad in one of them mean he can fortune two of the serpents on the turn they are moving while you hide the other one behind. Move the front two fast for a 4+ cover save with a re-roll and the back one gets a 4+ cover save also- either from moving fast or 6-12” and shooting. Eldrad can also guide a unit, doom, etc.

On the turn Eldrad and the dragons disembark he hits two units with fortune- now the dragons are a bit more survivable when they eat a turn of shooting. Eldritch storm can also be used to turn things around, and if your dragons get tarpitted by a dread or other such unit the witchblade will make short work of it.

Eldard is also there for the redeploy…

Use his ability to set off a unit of two of yours as bait, and then pull it back. Use that ability to help divide up your opponent’s army and those elements are what you will wolfpack with the dragons. Also check out my article on skimmer walls on the blog- it is over in the right hand side, you will be doing a lot of this.
The second part of your army is going to have to be something to keep busy and delay the other parts of your opponent’s army so they can’t 100% focus on the dragons. Look into shuriken cannon X 2 vypers or war walkers, and then finally your troops.
A final work on an aspect themed list….

At this point all the aspect warriors are vastly overpriced so anytime you spam the max and then add in what you need to make them work you don’t have much left for troops. You can see this in my harlequin list. I’d go with guardians for your troop choice- with scatter laser platforms so they can lay down some more shots to help the dragons. You might have to reserve them, but basically they come on and hang out back field. When a dragon group gets down to three or four and is basically “dead” then use the empty wave serpent to zip away, and pick up the guardians to protect them. Wave serpents will have to pull double duty.

Fritzcast! Yea, need to get that going with Jawaballs, and get my ass in gear with the forum again…


Pass Me The 2+/2+, FNP 2 W Terminators Please!

So the internet is abuz about the Dragowing, paladins, and other assorted uber grey knight terminators for 900+ points. Interesting times indeed, and in my own head already the wheels are turning. Could it be true, put the points aside for the moment. Would GW make GK terminators so insane that they make the “movie marines” list look like a bunch of grots? Two words: Space Marines, so 100% hell yes.

The counter point of course is well, the cost in points. Even undercosted like along the lines of mepheston it would still be a hefty price tag- rumors say around 900 or so points. In a 1750 point game would you pay that? I sure would! People are quick to say that it is only one unit, that it can just be ignored, zoomed away from in your razorback, but what they possibly fail to realize is that it isn’t about what the unit can kill, but rather about what it can deny.

Think of it this way, capture and control. 850 points of cheaper units, stock ‘Knights, henchmen, fodder just sitting on my objective. No going out to probe, engage incoming units, or speedbump, all things other armies do in the mission setup, no all I do is go static and camp. Meanwhile my uber terminator block goes and contests my opponents objective. You can’t stop it, and you can’t run away from it because all its looking to do is just move onto and park on your objective. Oversimplified, perhaps, but can you see what I’m thinking?

Seize ground.

Cluster as many objectives as you can, making a nice little block like assault armies like to do. Use your 850 points to hold a lone objective, and then park the terminator block on the clustered objective contesting all of it.

Is the real strength of the uber terminators going to be all about area denial? And as long as we are taking about Grey Knights, when did Optimus Prime join the Inquisition?

One last question?

So we are about a month or so from the "official" GK release and where is all the whining about stuff being overpowered, broken, and insane? The GK's have a ton of insane stuff, fun stuff, are we as a gaming community just getting used to the insanity.

One more question?

Going by the rumors, as that is all we have for now, and looking at some of the special characters in the 'dex is hero-hammer back? I'm already seeing a few builds based on the HQ choices where the only job of the rest of your army is to deliver said HQ into position to wreck face.

Imagine two mephestons, only better, and at less cost running around on the table.


Wraith/MC Themed Army

Hello Fritz!

I have been reading your blogg for a while now and I just recently bought your harlequin-PDF. Very good reading, and not only because it was the clowns and wraithlords that got me in to 40k in the first place!

Now to my question, i have been playing around with the idea of starting a wraith/MC themed army for a while, and if I'm not mistaken you have had those thought to. But I have some questions about what to include and not.
Now to one idea how the base of the army may look like (based on 1750 pts):

• 3 Wraithlords, but how to equip? EML and Bright Lance are good choices but are they needed? Maybe swap one of them for the Scatter Laser?
• The Avatar of Khaine is a nice piece to include if it can fit in (especially since I have the one from Forge World)
• Eldrad sounds like he is the top guy in the list. Fortune his bodyguard and the avatar/Wraithlord sounds to great to skip.
• 10 strong Wraithguard troop choice with seer, spear and conceal. I'm not sure about the Conceal power thou?

Other than that I'm stuck. It feels like it is a little to much with 2 x 10 Wraithguard as troop so some other troop choices might be appropriate. I like the thought of 10 dire avenger (and maybe with Dire sword and Bladestorm) accompanied by Eldrad in serpent, but will it be viable? Will the serpent get shot down to fast due to the fact that it is a vehicle or will the wraiths take the punch? Or should Eldrad sit in the Wraithguard unit and bolster that group, but then, won't the Avatar suffer if he is in the army? Other troop thoughts are 5 pathfinders or 6 bikes with Shuriken Cannons (or 4 bikes with cannon, warlock and spear for almost the same points?).

I'd like the idea to have a 10 strong Harlequin group in and/or a smal group Fire Dragons in a Serpent (same dilemma here, will it survive long enough?). Both seems to much of a point sink but maybe one of them if the troop choice is done smoothly? Or maybe 5 Wraithguard with Eldrad?

Any ideas on how to make it work? Any thoughts about this concept would be great!

Best Regards

Mattias, sounds like you want an Elfzilla type list…

Right away Eldrad is in- he gives you the most bang for the buck, and being able to fortune/guide/doom two units is key.

The army is going to work as a block, moving forward and blasting anything in its way. Much like Tyranids, only very slow since you don’t have fleet, but the high toughness and fearless nature of the army will make up for that.

With that we are looking at Eldrad, 3 Wraithlords, the Avatar, and a big group of wraithguard with a warlock. The wraithguard need to be big in size since they have such a short range of gun- you need numbers so that when you get into range there will be something left to still blast away. Give the warlock conceal, attach Eldrad, fortune up and you have a mini-seer council. Take a wound of two with the 3+ invul save + reroll on Eldrad and you can mitigate some more wounds. This is the primary block of units. Behind them you are going to want some sort of assault based unit- harlequins work well with the shadowseer since they then can’t be picked out from range, if you have the points for the ‘jester this is nice since it is more medium range shots, you could get away with no fusion pistols. Fill the rest out with more wraithguard as scoring units or storm guardians which will be fearless as long as the avatar is up.

The way this army would work is with your three wraithlords forming a ring with the avatar and the big WG block in the front. Inside the ring is the harlequins and the guardians. Everything moves forward advancing. As I mention in the .PDF pay attention to the spacing of the harlequins so your opponent can’t target other units and hope for a scatter onto the clowns. Even if they do, or if they bypass the veil of tears the nice ring of MC’s will give them a 4+ cover save. Move forward shooting and then break off with the clowns to assault. Storm guardians can also add some assault factor in a pinch and later melt off to grab objectives.

This army has to work as a blob, as soon as you see a wraithguard/MC army “lining” up the battle is lost. Advance every turn and control the center, and then push out from there- use objective placement to get your opponent to the center where the MC’s can assault and smash things backed by your other assault units.

Regarding wave serpents before I forget- generally these don’t work in the lord/guard type list. Hybrid Eldar can work combining foot/mech, but not when you need all the points you have for the lords and guard- there just isn’t enough for wave serpents. You need to pour those points into what is needed to make the army work.

Finally for WL weapon load out, EML and scatter lasers and a lance or two- the WG can also double as close anti-tank. In my harlie list I need the three lances to start popping AV 14 so my clowns can pounce later in the game.


Starting A Space Marine Bike Army

Hi Fritz !!!

I am one of your French fans, so excuse me if I have made some spelling mistakes.
I discovered you because I play necron and I am used to watch necron battle rep on Youtube.

The reason why I am writing you is that I am thinking about a SM bike army. I think you can certainly help me. I don’t know really what to buy. I have already bought a Ravenwing battle force to start. I want to play LS as you do with your Vypers. I don’t know if I have to play a predator (lascan) as your prism canon.

Over more my twin brother is playing BA (Mephiston at 1000pts) and DE (the horrible new ones…) and he quite always defeat me…
Hoping that you can help me…

Reply Out:

Guiguiscout, thanks for emailing. A Space Marine bike army works very close to my Saim-Hann army with bikes equaling jetbikes and speeders equaling vypers, etc. Marines don’t really have a seer council equivalent, but the T5 of their bikes, 3+ saves and close combat ability more than make up for it.

So where to start? When building out your army, starting from scratch, you will want to be able to take advantage of the two codexes Space Marines and Dark Angels. Both will allow you to field a bike army with different options so you will be able to run a lot of different lists, changing things up as needed.

For Dark Angels you will want to look at Samael, master of the raven wing as a land speeder- AV 14 with moving fast for cover saves, etc. opens up lots of end game options to contest objectives, etc. and for regular marines you will want to look at a librarian, captain, and perhaps Khanh.

For your army, everything has to be “fast” so bikes, attack bikes, and speeders are in. With their turnbo boost move you will be zipping around the table, engaging your opponent where they are weakest, hitting hard, and then perhaps pulling back. If you take non bike/skimmer units like a predator then that model(s) are static and slow- they will easily be picked off by your opponent, not the most optimal use of points.
When you are building your army you want to have your bike units with power fists, melta, etc. and perhaps an IC- a captain with a relic blade or a librarian attached so you have both shooting with the bolters and close combat ability, using the bolter shots, melta, and maybe even plasma of the unit to weaken up your opponent’s unit a bit, and then assault with the bikes- T5 makes a big difference and the captain/librarian gives that added punch and ability.

I would look at two “templates” for your bike army and adjust for the points. Look at the units you like and build it out from there.

The first is a generalist bike army consisting of two to three bike units with IC’s attached backed by land speeders. Basically the speeders shoot to get your opponent out on foot, the bikes close and shoot to weaken them, and then the bikes assault.
The second list is more like my Saim-Hann list and the one I prefer, from being used to it, when I borrow Ravenwing from time to time at the club.

Same idea as above only three groups of units- speeders to shoot in support, bike units to harass, and a command squad/unit that hits hard. Basically keep my opponent busy dealing with the command unit while the bike support and then move in with the speeders. A bit harder to play since so many points are in the command unit, and if you make a mistake and they die to soon then you are going to have some trouble, but both are viable units.

From here it is general tactics, like using reserve to come on the table and attack the weak side, objective deployment, etc.


If you have Khanh:



Bringing The Fluff Back To Ravenguard

Hi fritz,

Just want to complement you on the Sann Haim tactics PDF it's is extremely good and I hope to base my own elder army on a similar framework.

The reason I'm emailing you is for some advice on my raven guard. I like playing as fluffy armies and my raven guard is no exception however I seem to get trashed when I do. A typical raven guard army is limited by the use of heavy wargear like tanks etc. How do I make my raven guard competitive while still sticking to their fluff?

My own revised 1750pt tourney list is:


Tactical squad with powerfist, meltagun, ML

Drop pod

Tactical squad with powerfist, meltagun, ML

Drop pod

10x sniper scouts with ML and camo cloaks

5x close combat scouts with power weapon and melta bomb


Dreadnaught with ML and twin LC

Dreadnaught with ML and twin LC

Fast attack

10x assault squad with powerfist, flames, plasma pistol

Landspeeder squadron (3) with two with double heavy boltors and one with heavy boltor and launcher

Landspeeder storm with heavy flamer

All adds up to around 1750. The storm and cc scouts grab late objectives. And shrike obviously trys for first turn charge with assault squad :) dreads stay back in cover and use range.

Cheers for any advice!

Kind regards,


Reply Out:

John, glad the .PDF has given you some ideas to think about. Even if you don’t go with vypers/jetbikes and go with all wave serpent spam which is popular now the tactics will fit in perfectly, but onto Ravenguard…

Fluff exists in your own mind so your vision might be a bit different then mine. For example my idea of Saim-Hann is all jetbikes and vypers, of course the craftworld has war walkers, ground troops, etc. so playing them in a Saim-Hann list is still fluff, as long as they have the cosmic snake and are red. So with Ravenguard they would have stuff like dreads, predators, etc.

Beyond the fluff of Shrike we want to take advantage of his abilities- the infiltrate and fleet. Consider some of the point in this blog post:


Question is- would Ravenwing have infiltrating/fleeting terminators from a fluff perspective? From an in game perspective, you ram those termies with the 3+ SS save and Shrike right into your opponent. Storms deliver troops and can assault, perhaps a better choice over drop pods, and the land speeders are there to open up tanks so your guys have stuff to assault.

If you wanted to keep your list from the model/fluff perspective I would make a few tweaks:

Ditch the sniper scouts since they are static and sniper rifles really don’t do much unless they get lucky with lots of high T opponents. Go with two bolt pistol / close combat scouts to take advantage of infiltrate/outlank and moving. Outflanking scouts with fleet and a power fist can be nasty coming in from the sides.

Switch the dreads to auto-cannon versions for more shots to break open razorbacks and vehicles, so the assault marines and scouts have something to assault, etc., and finally multi-melta’s on the speeders for the same reasons, might have to play around with the points a bit to fit it.


500 Point Tournament List. Thoughts?

So in two weeks or so the Battle For Salvation 40K club is having a combat patrol tournament for its club members- CP rules, 5th edition missions. Question is which army to bring?

First up is my Space Wolf Combat Patrol List…
Rune Priest: W/ Living Lightning, & Jaws Of The World Wolf
9 Blood Claws W/ 1 Power Fist
5 Space Wolf Scouts W/ Plasma Pistol, Melta‐Gun, Melta‐Bombs
1 Rhino

Priest and Claws go in the rhino behind cover and the priest spams living lighning like a jerk. Scouts outflank or maybe even infiltrate depending on the terrain. Once the scouts and lightning have done their work then the Blood Claws move in for the glory. Very small list even for marines, but it does pack some punch in shooting, assaulting, and has the outflank/infiltrate options.

My next pick would be a Tyranid list of sorts but at 500 points I don’t really have anything tested and with combat patrol rules ‘nids get nailed pretty hard.
What do I have for synapse? No warriors, tyrants, etc. A zope or two that dies to one las cannon or missile?

So what does that leave? Basically stealers and lots of them. H-Gauntswill fail if they have to take a leadership test, breaking and running, even if I let them rage across the board like a guided living missile.

I’m kind of thinking 2 X 10 regular stealers and then 9 Y-stealers. Y-Stealers pop out and go boo! Regular stealers could outflank, probably wouldn’t infiltrate. Let the y-stealers take the brunt of the attack with the regular stealers following up as a second wave.

And then there is this list dead on at 500 points…
3 x 10 Genestealers
2 x 4 Spore Mines

Three scoring units which is good. Spore mines are expendable, but might actually kill some stuff since many armies will be on foot with rhinos at the most- most guys looking to spam bodies. With limited deployment zones and a smaller combat patrol type board the mines could get lucky turn two. Also, possible a distraction of sorts, and I don’t have to worry about them giving up kill points, etc.

What 500 point list would you put together- with no 2+ wounds allowed, and no named characters?

Eldar Forgeworld?

Hello Fritz,

after like three months watching your YouTube videos and reading through your blog I think there's something I'd like to know your opinion about, because you seem to be the right person to ask ;-)

I guess every eldar player has noticed Forge World's new miniatures, namely Hornet, Warp Hunter and the Shadow Spectres aspect warriors. I know you said "... Interesting not because I’d ever play them in the FW incarnation ... " earlier on your blog. Also, I keep in mind, that these units do not have FW official rules yet, but only experimental (until IA 11).

But let's pretend all these units are official (I'm sure I will try at least some of these in our local tournaments, under their FW rules).

Are these units viable, in your opinion? It seems that most people think that Shadow Spectres are a bad choice for Eldar army due to the cost, low survivability and Heavy slot... Still, I'd like to see them played, somehow - any ideas about the list they would fit in? (Ideally in an Ulthwe list ;-) ). What about the Hornet? It seems that Hornet can be best played either as a more resilient Vyper in squads, or as a lighter Falcon (for 170 pts, you can get Fast Skimmer with AV 11, BS 3, 2x Pulse Laser, Star Engines and Holofields), would you take the chance of playing a light tank in Fast Attack slot?

So would these units find their way into our roosters? And, as a side question, why did you say you won't play them with their FW rules?

Thanks for your time and take care,


P.S. Do you still play your Saim Hann? Long time no new vids on YouTube with your wild host, I miss them. You did a great work with encouraging us and teaching us, the other players, the subtleties of eldar trickery. It's greatly appreciated, thank you.

Reply Out:

Ramses, thanks for emailing- I still roll with my Saim-Hann, need to get more of them back up here at the blog, been a lot of harlequins and Tyranids stuff recently. While my usual tactics still work, I have found that I need to be more decisive than ever with them- taking first turn is sometimes critical to blast my opponent and thin the numbers even if that leaves me open to being sized for first turn.
Regarding forgeworld, true I normal don’t recommend the models since they aren’t official 40K stuff you can use in a tournament so they are really limited to just friendly games, but that said if you like the models there is nothing wrong with using them as “count as” for the regular codex units in official games.

With the specters, even with the FW rules I don’t see a place for them since they compete with heavy support slots which are needed for fire prism and night spinner tanks. Maybe if Eldar could take tanks as squadrons like IG then you could double up and fit them in. As for the hornet, I would love to get them in my Saim-Hann list- I would replace two groups of my vypers with them, and switch my third vyper group over to all scatter lasers for the turret and shuriken catapults for the under slung gun. AV 11 is a huge difference over AV 10 open topped. Hornets are what vypers should be, and hopefully are next codex. As for tactics, smash open the tanks with the hornets and gun down the contents with the vypers.


Grey Knights Combat Patrol

Two weeks or so to go for the Battle For Salvation Combat Patrol tournament, and while my wolf list is primed and ready my Grey Knight kick is in full effect. What would a good GK CP list look like? Here is what I came up with, note the Grey Knight theme, and not overall Inquisitorial operative theme- don’t have the models/freaks for that.

Elite Inquisitor + Combi-Grenade Launcher
Elite: Callidus Assassin
Troops: 2 x 5 Knights /Justicar/Psycannon

For the tourney we are playing at 500 points with a mix of 5th edition missions. First thing that crosses my mind is the real power of the Callidus in small games, especially if units are not meched up. The ability to pop in, shred, and assault is something I can’t pass up. Word in your ear will also be fun for some kicks. So then I have to pay the inquisitor tax and might as well give him a combi-grenade launcher for another template shot, beyond that he takes a wound that would be on a GK.

So then I have the rest of the points for some GK’s- lol 25+ point models in a combat patrol tourney where you can throw down 60-90 orks in that point range right? My first thought was to create a mini-fire base with the inquisitor and a psycannon + storm bolters and then drop in a second incinerator group as a fast attack unit of a justicar, two storm bolter knights, and two incinerator knights. Put out the psy-cannon knight group in cover and ping away, drop the incinerator group in a point blank deepstrike, get crazy like that- next codex it won’t be a problem, and then also hit ‘em with the assassin.

What I’m giving up is two troop units but is this really a bad thing? At least one of my knight squads isn’t going to survive contact with the enemy anyway so I’d just try to leverage that as my fast attack squad. What do you guys think? 500 points of GK’s? I’d love to do a grand inquisitor with the freaks and storm troopers, but I don’t have the henchmen models and then it is more of a inquisitorial force. What if I was going to do, would look like this based on my models.

I’m actually liking my second version of the list with the incinerators with the assassin for one reason above all others. What I have learned in playing combat patrol is that you 100% have to be decisive in your deliver system- every lost model counts. Walking across the table = losses so by the time you hit contact range you are in trouble. Units that can bypass this are worth twice their points. The Callidus appears, shoots, and assaults. No walking. The teleport squad lands and fries you, in theory if I don’t scatter, although it can’t assault. Things that can land and assault, outflank, deepstrike, and infiltrate should be your first choice in CP. From there range, and the ability to move, shoot, and assault it key.

Vehicles are really dependant on what else is in your list. Think about how hard it is to destroy a razorback in normal circumstances. Now imagine if there is only one heavy or mid strength weapon to take it out. Much harder. Problem is that even cheap razorbacks add up in points- unless you are Blood Angels with cheap rhinos. But now this is turning into an article on Combat Patrol tactics, and I still have to look at my Black Templar list…

MechDar Help


Im a long term reader of your blog, and notice what great advice you give people with their armies. Im sure you get a lot of requests for this, but i would love some feed back from an experienced eldar player, Im hoping to go to the GT this year (my first big tournement) and so need to get a list down. Any feed back you can give would be greatly appreciated.

Farseer 135
runes of warding

Runes of warding are in just for some basic kind of psychic defence that everyone seems to be running these days, this guy sits in with the farseer either guiding his transport or the unit when the time comes to jump out and bladestorm

10 Avengers
2x shiricats

chin Shurricannon

What i supose are standard bladestorm Avengers, do i really 'need' 10 of these? would 5 be more effective?

10 Guardians 130
scatter laser

chin Shuricannon

10 Guardians 130
scatter laser

chin Shuricannon

Guardian defender squads? in anything even attempting to be competetive?? Maybe not a first choice. I like the models certainly and im playing Ulthwe, so it helps with fluff and "the look". Do you think that jumping out of transport and shotting everything off they can be usefull?

Fire prism 125
chin Shuricannon

Fire prism 125
chin Shuricannon

Fire prism 125
chin Shuricannon

This seems quite standard, is it? The chepness of these suprises me when compared to a falcon, seems to good to pass up.

5 fire dragons 97
dragons breath flamer

chin Shuricannon

I dont think the flamer is standard per say, is it? I like the fact that i can help with crowd controll if needed (if faced by green tide, chaos deamon horde, IG horde etc)

So there we go, feed back as wel as tactics would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance for your time.


Reply Out:

Damien, just a few tweaks to consider and you will have to play with the points…
I would go with all scatter lasers- more shots and less points, and with the shuriken catapults underslung you turn the serpents into gunboats. You are going to need to bust open razorbacks and the like and mass S6 over 1 S8 shot is the way to go. This also allows you to then lay the hurt on small infantry units like min/max marine squads and monstrous creatures if you face Tyranids.

I’d also look to try and get two fire dragon squads in your list as purely suicide units if needed to take out AV 14 or predator tanks which can’t be hurt by the S6 torrent. Go with two squads of five, don’t need an exarch as he burns points- those five will drop out, blow up a unit, and then die, but that is ok.

Regarding the dire avengers/guardians in the wave serpents. Most dudes just take five to make the serpent scoring and then call it a day. The thinking is that if the transport gets blown up dire avengers and guardians are so weak anyway they will go down from shooting next turn so why spend the points. I personally like to have bigger squads so you can take some losses and still have something left to hold an objective or get picked up by another wave serpent, just don’t spend the points on the exarchs.

Other considerations?

Spirit stones on all your vehicles. 100% I know the internet leverages the math so most of the time when glanced you will still be able to move, but Eldar more than ever need this so the SS upgrade is worth it as extra insurance. You need to always be moving/have the ability to move to get a 4+ cover save with or without fortune. This will help keep your models up against armies that outnumber you, which at this point is pretty much every 5th ed book on the table. Possibly also consider another farseer with fortune to cast on a wave serpent, etc.

Shuriken cannons on the fire prisms are also dead on so they have some more shots once your opponent closes mid field and if the prism cannon gets blown off.


500 Points Of Harlequins

// Couple of recent emails asking about a 500 point harlequin army that is legal to play, which can then be scaled up to 1500, 1750, etc. as time and money permits. Here is a repost of one of my past articles addressing this. ~ Fritz

Email In:

Hey Fritz, I am interested in playing 40k and i went to my local game store and they told me about all the different army's and referred me to your website because i want to play Eldar. The problem is I don't know how to start making a 500 point harlequin army working towards a bigger army on my 90-100 dollar budget. Can you please point me in the right direction so I can start enjoying the Eldar the way it seems you do on the site?

Reply Out:

A 500 point Harlequin army would look something like this:

HQ: Farseer W/ Spirit Stones, Runes Warding + Witnessing, Singing Spear, Doom, Fortune
Elite: 5 Harlequins W/ Kisses, Shadowseer, Deathjester, 1 Fusion Gun
Troops: 5 Rangers
Troops: 5 Rangers

Cost of the models new off the GW site is $140, and that includes buying the deathjester and shadowseer appropriate models so everything is models legit. Buy it from the warstore or other discount places and you could probably get it for around $110-$120. If you could get them at your local gaming store then do so, at least in my opinion as it’s nice to support the places that let you play.

At 500 points you have a very compact and nice little army, following most of the ideas I use in my 1750 army. I’d tweak it a bit and play it like this:

Rangers go into terrain and fire away, going to ground for the 2+ cover save as needed. Farseer goes with the harlequin troupe and is protected by veil of tears- and hangs back so your opponent can’t target the seer and clown group. This means they are going to have to get close to you, or the rangers to lay on the hurt with rapid fire weapon or flamer weapons. Rangers take out troops and infantry, death jester fires away to take out light transports like rhinos. The fusion pistol and singing spear is there just in case somebody is a jerk and bring an AV 14 vehicle like a land raider to the game- so you can slag it real easy. Farseer casts fortune on the harlie group which should be in cover so you get a 4+ with a re-roll and then doom a group before the clowns and farseer assault. Take wounds on the farseer to keep your small clown group up and alive.

Objective missions, take two with your rangers, and contest the third with your harlequins- target their troops choices with the rangers and deathjester. From here as you get more money you can build the army out by playing the ranger models as pathfinders- just not enough points in a 500 point game for them, add some wraithlords, and more harlequins as you go along.


I Need A Tournament!

Exalted readers- know of any upcoming tournaments in the NE USA area coming up? Maybe around March/April? I'm very close to a finalized Tyranid list and I want to try it out in some local events before all the cons and stuff this spring/summer. Anything in NY, NJ, CT, or PA, maybe an hour or so from the NYC metro area? Jawaballs has a new list also he is looking to put down on the table, imagine a non razorback spam BA list....

Tyranids: OOE

I always have a blast playing Old One Eye, and I’m glad he has been brought out of retirement, but why do I feel like my entire list suffers when I play him? Oh high and mighty gods of GW, why do I have to sacrifice the competitiveness of my list to get in an actual carnifex that “works”? Why are space marine named characters reasonable priced or vastly underpriced, cough…cough…Mepheston, but Tyranids named model soooo over priced. Ok, Fritz whining over…

OOE is in my mind hands down what a carnifex should be- actually scary- a massive amount of attacks balanced by their random nature, and actual regeneration to made up for the middle amount of wounds. Downside is the cost, taking up valuable points, possible for other named buggies in my list like Deathleaper or Swarmlord, and/or other things I need to pack in at 1750 points.

That said, OOE is always a blast to play, just with a little finesse…

Clearly like an slow and stupid big bug who can’t just appear on the table he isn’t marching across the table, even with his regen- let’s see, fire those ten las cannons at my ‘stealers or gaunts, or zap the big guy with no cover saves. Zap! 200+ points done, go back to sleep OOE.

So I either need to have other more pressing threats closing on the long range stuff, or reserve OOE as a counter unit, which isn’t as bad as one thinks that to Swarmlord or Hive Commander’s +1. Much like the C’Tan, Wraithlords, and any other slow units in a fast mech game I need to bring my opponent to OOE so he can punch them rather then run after them. Objective placement and bait units do this- bring them to my side of the board, give them a reason to stay on that side 12” or less in, and then bring OOE on and start rolling the dice!

I also use him as a junior tyrant for synapse. Everybody goes for the obvious synapse dudes- warriors, tyrants, etc. and sometimes my tyrant goes down hard leaving my little buggies afraid and lonely, so OOE alpha leader comes in handy…

Funny thing is that I use my big carnifex model for OOE and my actual OOE model, converted to by a tyrannofex. How is that for hive mind adaptation…

1500 Jetbike Army

Hey Fritz,

Firstly let me say how much I love the blog. You are a great inspiration.

What do you think of my 1500 List:

Runes of Witnessing
Runes of Warding
Spirit Stones
Mind War
Eldritch Storm
Singing Spear

12 Guardian Jetbikes
4 Shuriken Cannons

3 Guardian Jetbikes

Fast Attack
3 Vypers
Star Cannons

3 Vypers
Star Cannons

Heavy Support
Fire Prism

Fire Prism


Total = 1500

The idea with this list is to distract the enemy with the large jetbike unit with the Farseer attached with fortune up so they can soak up and dish out a lot of punishment. While they do that the vypers, prisms and nightspinner blast away from a corner, killing enemy tanks and well armoured targets. The nightspinner slows down the unit the bikes are engaging so they are less likely to be assaulted. Once this has been done or the game is closing the tanks contest and the bikes claim objectives to hopefully win the day.

The Farseer has so many psychic powers for many reasons. Firstly it is so there is always a useful one available. I might use doom to help the vypers take down a hive tyrant then next turn use mind war to destroy a fex.

I know the list is light on anti-tank but that is mainly because my gaming circle doesn’t use mech.

So what do you think.

P.s. I have recently started a blog and would love it if you checked it out and told me what you think. http://xenosandproud.blogspot.com/


Hi, consider a couple of tweaks in your list to give it some more punch and staying power.

With your jetbikes you have a big squad and a small 3 bike squad. I’m guessing you are planning to attack with the big unit and hang back for objectives with the smaller squad? I’d suggest breaking the squads down into two, about the same size and eventually get a warlock in each with destructor. Conceal would be the safer bet for the 3+ armor save and 5+ cover save, but destuctor will give you more punch and with some skill in using terrain and your other models, and the 6” jetbike assault move you should be able to pull out a 4+ cover save.

Hang back 24” with the cannons and shoot transports, then move in and get into catapult and destructor range and finish the unit off- just be sure you can- might have to weaken it with some vyper shots first.

Next is the vypers. Personally I still am a big fan of star cannons even with their inflated point cost and hitting on a 4+ since I play against so many space marine players- just make sure to catch them out of cover. I’d also add shuriken cannon underneath them for more shots. Maybe even consider one group of star cannons and one group of scatter lasers.

Onto heavy support….

I’m a big fan of holo-fields, but in this case I’d drop them for star engines and to add shuriken catapults underneath. Yes you will be mostly hanging back and shooting, but mid game when your opponent moves closer they will be in cannon range also, and if you get the main weapon blown off you still have a few shots. Star engines gives you that extra movement to then contest/tank shock later in the game, etc.
Finally the farseer…

She (he?) goes with one jetbike group and guide a nearby vyper group to help make up for the lousy 4+ to hit shots. Add doom on units when you close for more hitting power, etc. Consider dropping mindwar to get guide, you want guide.

With those tweaks you will have a more refined jetbike list with more hitting power and effect.

I’ve also added your blog to my blogroll- hope to send you some traffic and hits!


Back This Thursday

Guys, my brother, a world famous conductor, is in town for a few days so I'm behind on general emails and some Tyranid response emails. If you have emailed me, I'll be back on track by Thursday!

Swooping Hawk Army?

Hey Fritz,
I have been a dedicated follower of you blog for over a year and decided I would try out an eldar army.

However I do not want your average run of the mill netlist army and instead want to have a go at a Swooping Hawks army similar in concept to your list. I have absolutely no idea as to how to go about making the list though as I also want it to be foot orientates. I want it to be about 1.5k points, any ideas what units I s use?

Reply Out

What follows below is a repost of one of my blog posts where we look at the idea of Swooping Hawks as an army. Basically follows the same format of my Harlequin army- I like harlies, get the max amount on the table with all the toys and then build a framework around them to make them work.

Beyond the article’s advice I’d also offer this- keep in mind you are playing a themed/fluff army with some very expensive (Hawks) and narrowly focused units. While you can and will win with such a list with good tactics and controlling your opponent’s army, when you lose you will lose big so don’t be discouraged. With my Harlequins is it very much like this- I either slaughter my opponent or get totally owned. Nature of such a delicate list, but fun in challenge from that point of view…

Fritz here: for me much of the enjoyment of 40K is visual backed by the myth of the gaming universe. If you look at many of my armies- Saim-Hann Eldar, Eldar harlequins, null deployment Tyranids, Necron nightmare list- there is a theme to them, and it is that theme which they are centered around in the creation of an army list. I build the army based on the visuals first, followed by a sit down to look how it is going to work on the table. I know it won’t be a WAAC army, but with the correct tactics I want to at least put up a good fight and win most of my games…

…so for this week’s post we are going to look at building themed army, how to do it in terms of a framework model which you can then apply to your own army. For the example we will be looking at Eldar…

So let’s say I love the models and fluff of swooping hawks. I want to paint and collect a ‘hawk themed army, but I don’t want to lose very game I play. Can such an army be created and work? The internet says “no” so it must be true.

When creating a themed army you want to take the max of that theme which means thirty hawks as a starting point. Think about how rainbowific that will look. From there we need to select units that will both make the ‘hawks work followed by a visual theme to unify the army.

But first the swooping hawks- the key to a themed army is to look at what the units do, this is your core, and you are going to select units that can make this core work. This is the same formula I have applied to my Harlequin army- get as many clowns on the table, look at what makes them tick, and find a way to deliver that right into my opponent.

3 X 10 Swooping Hawks W/ Exarch, Sunrifle, Intercept, Skyleap @ 717 point is the starting point.

Now we have to ask ourselves, what do ‘hawks do besides prancing around with their wings? Well, they appear to be a shooty bunch till we see they are only S3 and not AP 2/3 which means they will shoot at a unit of space marines, kill two, and then die from the return fire of marines since they are only T3 and have a 4+ save. Clearly we don’t want our ‘hawks to shoot like that going toe to toe. We’ll need something else for that later…

What ‘hawks do is drop grenades and bounce around on the table- hit and run style, so that is the skill we want to build the army around. Work with the swooping hawks to appear anywhere as needed, hit, and run the highland way. This is the first unit filter for the army- everything needs to be fast and be able to strike and then fade away. Slow ground units like wraithlords will be left behind, ganged up on, and taken out. Time to work down the force org chart.

HQ: Well if you are playing a ‘hawk themed army you need Baharroth to lead the pack right? Well, he has some abilities that we are going to use, in addition to saving us some points so write him down on your list. Since he gives the exarch powers to a group he joins, we can drop on of the exarchs and powers from the hawk groups and replace him with a normal model. This saves a few points, while changing the battle field role of that single unit. The unit with Baharroth in it is the unit that we are going to deepstrike closest to the enemy- not that I want to get close, but sometimes you have to get close to contest, or even when there is no room on the table. Baharroth is eternal warrior with a 2+ save- take the wounds on him to keep that ‘hawk group up alive a bit longer, and if you get assaulted, you potentially have the hit and run option, which we will also use tactically later. So with those adjustments out list is at 891 points.

Tactically we want to take another HQ unit to support the hawks and the theme of the list, and this is where an autrach fits in @ 110 points.

Autarch W/ Swooping Hawk Wings, Power Weapon, Fusion Gun.

The autarch join a second ‘hawk unit to take wounds, and most importantly add the +1 to the reserves to allow the swooping hawks to pop in and out throughout the game.

Finally we need some troops that are fast moving, resilient, and can support the swooping hawks. Jetbikes fill this perfectly so we are taking three large groups with shuriken cannons. Since this is a theme army, you can paint them like the hawks, or clip the jetbike wings and use ‘hawk wings, or Blood Angels angel wings for the jetbike wings to tie in the theme. A step further, and perhaps more economical would be to use Warhammer fantasy based flyers/cold ones, etc. modeled with Eldar riders since we are going to need thirty of them.

Jetbikes of course: 3 X 10 W/ 3/3/2 Shuriken Cannons @ 740 points.

Notice I didn’t take any vehicles in the list for the 740 points on troops. Why? Can you see why? I’ve got almost 1/3 of the points sunk into the ‘hawks, followed by my HQ units. Since everybody is playing mech, gearing up for mech, and built to deal with mech, if I throw down a wave serpent or two they will just eat all those las cannon shots and go down. I need to either throw down 9+ skimmers or none at all. And I can’t put down the nine with the points…

So, all those las cannons and anti-mech shots will kill a swooping hawk or two, maybe a bike with cover saves, assuming I’m even around to shoot at…

So how are we going to make this army work in the game?

This itself if going to be another part of the process. Coming up with a plan and then refining it over a number of games, adding units, changing units, etc. till we get to the final product. Thanks to the +1 of the autarch, the ability to deepstrike, and the speed of the jetbikes this army can suddenly appear anywhere. Tactically we are going to want to get our opponent to spread out so we can wolf pack up on single units, take said unit out, and then melt away. With multiple objectives we want to spread them out, etc.

Next we want our opponent to go first so they set up. We then reserve everything. If they make us go first then we set up the three ‘hawk units one right, one center, and one left and reserve the jetbikes. Spreading out the hawks will encourage our opponent to spread out to engage them. Then on our first turn we skyleap away, ready to enter reserves on turn two.

When the units arrive you are going to use the jetbikes to come on and shuriken cannon rhinos and razorbacks- using marines as the generic opponent example. The cannon’s jobs is to get masses of troops out for the grenades to fall from the hawks. Keep the hawks on one side and the jetbikes on the other- encourage your opponent to go for the hawks.

As for deathstar units, land raiders, etc, just ignore them, they won’t catch you. The first half of the game is keeping the ‘hawks up, and the second half is about getting them killed. Later in the game my jetbikes are going to want to take objectives- wolf packing them 20+ jetbikes shooting at close range twin-linked pumps out a lot of shots. If I think I may need to shoot and then assault something off an objective then Baharroth and/or the autrach will leave the ‘hawks and join the bikes for some extra punch. Hawk’s en mass can also then work with the jetbikes to get objectives or contest as needed.

Keep in mind that not having 10+ las cannons and 15+ missile launchers like a “standard” marine net list means your army really isn’t going to be killing much at all. That’s not how it will work based on the template of the swooping hawks. You will need to manipulate your opponent’s movement on the table to create opening to kill a few units to slip your jetbikes into positions for objectives, while frustrating the rest of the units with the swooping hawks.

I supposed should finish out with a disclaimer that the idea of a themed army, (and this article) is not to create a WAAC army- by its very nature it can’t be. WAAC has no theme or style, just spam out the best and forget the rest. What I hoped to do was outline the process to building your own themed army that at least has a plan on the table, and how the core units that you select for your theme are what you want to build around since you already have some many of them on the table.