Hidden Gems In The Grey Knight Codex?

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So it’s Monday night at the Battle For Salvation Club, my Necrons are battling it out with orks as I test out some Pariah and nightmare shroud tech combos, and despite bringing the orks down to non fearless numbers I still can’t get them to fail LD 7 tests, oh well…

Afterwards, I’m hanging with Ultrabob and Brother Captain James, as UB is battling it out with Lil Will testing out a Draigo Wing vs. Chaos Space Marines in a kill point mission and we are talking about some of the units in the Grey Knight codex.



Here is some eye candy for you guys whle I rant...UltraBobs Calgar....

 
Interestingly the ‘Knights now seem to be settling into two main list builds- all revolving around henchmen, purifiers, and rifleman dreads. I suspect in a few more months the standard “competitive” netlists will be locked and done- which of course now has me looking and thinking about some of the hidden gems in the codex.



Forget what is expected, optimal, and redundant/spam- what can we get on the table that can catch your opponent by surprise. I’ve got a lot of 40K “tactics” floating around in my head, some good, some bad, all wacky, and my favorite is the surprise factor.



The best analogy I can give is if you have ever been punched in the head- if not then I’m sure you have at least hit your head on something really hard. You start seeing stars and shadows, and in that second of disorientation you have to recover as more shots are coming. THAT is the feeling of 40K that I like, get the opponent off guard, and back pedaling- get them to blink first and then BLAM keep attacking and attacking. Question is- how do you do that in YOUR codex, and in this case the Grey Knight codex?



Lil' Will continues his chaos crusade, proving to the internet that chaos still has some punch...

Mordrak and his ghost knights have been on my mind…

At first I just passed over him as a cool/fluff option with no real punch. A grandmaster without GM upgrades, and ho-hum ghost Knights, but then I did a little more reading and being a fan of librarians as mandatory in any GK list I thought why not take Mordrak, some ghost knights and then throw in a libby with warp rift- turn one they come down and warp rift template a few vehicles. Then you do the whole sanctuary and shrouding thing and dig in.



We have the start of a good punch, but hardly a knockout blow…

Well what about some dread knights?

Overall I’m not that impressed with them, but they are a good value for the points- compare them to a wraithlord and get back to me. BUT, if we put on a teleport jump thingy, who cares about the 75 points, along with a heavy psycannon and heavy flamer- those are flaming and blasting point blank on turn one also- in addition to adding to our critical mass.



First punch is away, need to follow up with a second…

Take a big terminator group, and gate them in and forward from the libby- but this might be a tight fit, so maybe they and the second group reserve to deepstrike as the second turn (potentially) punch.

See where I am going with this? The need to think out of the mainstream netlists for the unique and unusual. Think of it as a gimmick list, or an alternate strategy that relies on a bit of luck and randomness if you will.

So, what other oddities or cool combos are there in the Grey Knight codex?

Throw some ideas out there for me...

Null Deployment Model

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So we are back to Null Deployment for a bit- a quick recap for those new to the concept, and how yet another Tyranid list of mine has evolved and adapted based on what I’m seeing in my neck of the woods- as always your META may be different- look for the core concepts and adapt the list.

1 year out or so from 40K six edition- SM, IG, BA, SW, DE, GK and Tyranids updated, Necrons on the way, Eldar continuing to hold on, Chaos soon to be reborn as the LEGIONS…

The state of the game is now 100% gunline- maxed vehicles with placeholder infantry inside lining up and blasting away. Maybe a small distraction unit or two like a thunder wolf cav unit to soak up some shots, but shooting is king!

"Though my guards may sleep and my ships may lay at anchor, our foes know full well that the big guns never tire" - The Tyrant of Badab.

First turn, and who blinks first is more important than ever. Incorporating HQ abilities to take first turn help, but still are not guaranteed. You set up and don’t go first you die, reserve and you risk getting torn apart bit by bit. Sure terrain can help if it is stacked correctly and fairly, but the most random thing in tournaments is the level of terrain- and you CAN’T count on it.

I’ve been to tourneys where more than the slotted number have shown up, and rightly so the TO has not turned them away, but the terrain on a few tables has become diluted to carry over for another ten or so tables, etc.

This shooting game isn’t going to chance till 6th edition and as always when faced with the optimal exploits for a game system you have two choices- play the game and try to do it better than your opponent, or don’t play the game and find another option.

Null Deployment is that option, something different to consider and exploit.

Let’s talk about the model, setup, and then examine it from a Tyranid perspective since it adapts very well to that codex.

When I first started playing Tyranids in 5th edition my list was very much a zerg rush- set up my buggies, drop the flag and let them run across the table. They always made it to the other side, but often not with enough critical mass. Critical mass means enough models to actually attack vehicles and then snack on the guys inside before moving off to get mission objectives.

At that time it was hit or miss because Tyranids don’t have vehicles to protect our bugs, lack an armor save, and are generally expensive in point costs and limiting force org chart selection to do the job required for the game.

I will say this type of army was fun to play- the tension for both myself and my opponent during the first and second turn seeing if they could thin my numbers enough, by the top of three we could both tell who would win, and there was little reason to play it out any further.

While many other Tyranid players jumped ship for the latest and greatest power armor books I tried to find another way and after much butt kicking, or should I say getting my butt kicked my understanding of Null Deployment was born.

With my Tyranids it as all about getting enough mass on the table, right in front of my opponent’s models so that even with all their over the top shooting they couldn’t kill enough bugs. Think “in your face turn two”.

Rather than keeping the battle field one dimensional where my opponent has a side, and I have a side- think “deployment zone” the entire table is my deployment zone- there is nowhere to hide, nothing you can stop, and at least when I do come in, I’ll get a turn of “shooting” before my opponent. There is no first turn alpha strike they can deliver.

When setting up to deploy there are three methods in the game- standard, outflank, and deep strike, with deep strike having a variant of not scattering or jumping around like Necron Lords with Veil of Darkness, Lictors and Grey Knight assassins popping in without the scatter, and the ubiquitous Dark Eldar webway portals. We could also argue that scout and shunt moves are a fourth alternative entry point, but I consider them part of deployment since they start on the table and then make the move.

In building your own Null Deployment model it has to be all or nothing as critical mass of units is the key to all of it working. Adding in a few deepstrikers or an outflank unit and calling it Null Deployment won’t work. That first turn will have your opponent shooting the elements that are deployed, and your reserves that come in bit by or not at all will get shot up.

Likewise, the Null Deployment model is not a reserve or outflank list, even though those are two concepts needed to make it work. You need to be able to hit the opponent no matter where they go. Run all out flankers and they can just castle up in the center- forcing you to still run across the table to assault, get into melta range, etc.

This is the formula for Null Deployment in four parts:

Reserves: Everything gets reserved so there is nothing to shoot on turn one by your opponent. This means regardless of if you are going first or second in the game, you will at least get a single turn of shooting before they shoot back when you arrive.

Critical Mass: Working off reserves means that half or more of your army has to come in- fill out each slot with as many Null Deployment models as possible. If you can stack reserves by adding a +1 , first strike, etc. then take the necessary models to make that so. On that turn you arrive there has to be enough models on the table to overwhelm your opponent.

Outflank: Outflank units need to be big and at least half of the equation to allow for variations in side that they enter on- getting that critical mass is important.

Deepstrike: Allows you to attack the center if they castle based on your outflankers. Naked deepstriking is the last resort due to the scatter- pods, homers, spore pods, units that you just place without scatter are all preferable.

Make sense so far?

Let’s take a look at an example of a Null Deployment Tyranid list, unit by unit, along with the how and why I’m running it…

==HQ==

Hive Tyrant (1) - Scything Talons, Scything Talons, Wings, Paroxysm, Leech Essence, Hive Commander = 255 pts.

Hive Tyrants are going to be at the core of your list for the +1 reserve roll via hive commander or alien cunning. Wings allow it to deepstrike, which forces me to be extra careful since it is not controlled placement. Based on the reserves that do some down I’ll place the non-controlled deepstrike units first. Shooting is rather blah on a Tyrant and the speed of wings when he/she/it lands begs for the assault so I want the two re-rolls. I also have a synapse creature here, but can’t count on it.

Unfortunately bad codex design rears its ugly head again, as essentially I’m paying 255 points for the +1 on the reserves chart. Deepstriking in without guard and with no way to “join” a unit my tyrant will be sucking up a lot of las shots that would otherwise kill just a single buggy. The best I can do is deepstrike into terrain and risk the wound so at least I get a cover save, then go to action next turn.

A second option for the +1 is Swarmlord, and he gives the nice outflank side re-roll but he can’t deepstrike in. You have to add a unit of three guard to him, and then a wall of smaller bugs as a screen and walk him across the table. This works against certain armies, but in regard to what I regularly now face on the table, there is enough firepower to stop him turn two. Again sinking those las and S8 GK auto cannon shots into him over a small bug.

The third option if you happen to roll like an uber champ is the parasite. He has wings so he can deepstrike, is kind of “ok” in the assault, and can join a unit to both protect him AND provide a much needed synapse anchor point. Is the loss of the +1 worth it? One could spend the saved points on more units to help add to the mass. Something to consider for your own list. In a variant of this list I have the Parasite in with a big group of furious charge and poison sky slashers as a back door deathstar unit, but I lose the +1.

Consider the +1 carefully, Null Deployment lists are random and will get broken if you can’t get that critical mass in. Fun as hell when all your stuff comes in, hard pill to swallow when you only get one or two units…

== Elites ==

Lictor (1) = 65 pts.

Lictor (1) = 65 pts.

Lictor (1) = 65 pts.

Ah, elites, the bane of the Tyranid codex, so much good stuff…

Null Deployment elites are different then standard ‘nid list elites. Hive Guard are out since they are walking. Zopes look good but Grey Knights have put another nail in their coffin with the Ageis, plus everybody is running hoods and psychic blocking powers. Zopes have to land in range, pass a test, actually hit, pen, and then roll well on the table- just to many layers.

In the elites three lictors fill the center of my Null Deployment zone, and stack the deck so my stuff does arrive next turn if I have poor dice rolls. Since I can place lictors anywhere they try to get rear armor, pop up near heavy weapon teams to force them to shoot, etc. Taking three separate gives me more mass, more deployment options, and yes, more kill points- but playing Tyranids you are already under the gun for kill points. Keep in mind that if all three do come in they can deploy and gang up near a central unit- put three near a long fang unit and the unit can only shoot one or two, and then the other pounce, etc.

A word about y-stealers. They do make excellent center units, pack a punch, and can assault the turn the come in. When I have played y-stealers they have never let me down, so why are they NOT in this list? Simple- terrain. One unit as a disruption factor in a traditional Tyranid list is great, three in a Null Deployment and you run out of terrain quickly. Plus it goes back to the terrain question in tournaments- will there be enough, will it be in a key place, will my opponent be in terrain so I have to assault into it and FAIL since nids don’t have grenades- but Necrons do- the new ones anyway even going at I2 and I1- don’t get me started!

Y-stealers could work, so don’t discount them.





== Troops ==

Genestealer Brood (20) = 280 pts.

Genestealer Brood (20) = 280 pts.

Genestealer Brood (20) = 280 pts.

Termagant Brood (180 pts.)

Termagant (20) - Fleshborer, AG, Toxin Sacs = 140 pts.

Mycetic Spore (1) = 40 pts.

Termagant Brood (180 pts.)

Termagant (20) - Fleshborer, AG, Toxin Sacs = 140 pts.

Mycetic Spore (1) = 40 pts.

Tyranid Warrior Brood (245 pts.)

Tyranid Warrior (4) - Deathspitter, Rending Claws = 160 pts.

Tyranid Warrior (1) - Barbed Strangler, Rending Claws = 45 pts.

Mycetic Spore (1) = 40 pts.

Ahhh…troops. Since NOVA is popular and objectives are always in tournaments to one degree or another I need to fill ALL six slots, since I can’t spawn any fodder in the list lacking tervigons. Fortunately for me the ‘nid codex got it right allowing multiple deployment options.

Three BIG squads of stealers outflank which will be a cause for pause for many players- delivering the attacks and number while being able to take losses from shooting, and exploding vehicles. Warriors are there for synapse, and the gaunts for fodder, tying up units, and shooting before charging. AG + toxin on 20 gaunts means you don’t want to get out of that razorback with your five marines.

Now if you take the Tyrant option you can outflank a troop choice, but this isn’t needed since I have three stealer squads, but keep it in mind for your own list. Play with the points and you can get a tervigon in for spawning dudes on the outflank if you desire, plus having a scoring MC around is really nice. Why he isn’t in my list, is that the firepower I regularly face is so great that MC’s go down fast unless backed by venoms and come in six or more. The pods allow me to box the center or deploy side for cover for my outflankers- while boxing in vehicles so if they tank shock to break free I can get a cheap shot at death or glory. Pods do give up kill points, but again, what can you do.





== Fast Attack ==

Ravener Brood (3) - Rending Claws = 105 pts.

Some beast fun, another unit to put more pressure on the center, but with no real control over the deepstrike other then maybe using the lictors, which we need to talk about a bit more in another post.



Just as an FYI here is the parasite list….

== HQ ==

The Parasite of Mortrex (1) = 160 pts.

== Elites ==

Lictor (1) = 65 pts.

Lictor (1) = 65 pts.

Lictor (1) = 65 pts.

== Troops ==

Genestealer Brood (20) = 280 pts.

Genestealer Brood (20) = 280 pts.

Genestealer Brood (20) = 280 pts.

Termagant Brood (180 pts.)

Termagant (20) - Fleshborer, AG, Toxin Sacs = 140 pts.

Mycetic Spore (1) = 40 pts.

Termagant Brood (180 pts.)

Termagant (20) - Fleshborer, AG, Toxin Sacs = 140 pts.

Mycetic Spore (1) = 40 pts.

Tyranid Warrior Brood (255 pts.)

Tyranid Warrior (4) - Deathspitter, Rending Claws = 160 pts.

Tyranid Warrior (1) - Barbed Strangler, Rending Claws = 45 pts.

Mycetic Spore (1) - Cluster Spines = 50 pts.

== Fast Attack ==

Sky-Slasher Swarm Brood (8) - AG, Toxin Sacs = 184 pts.

We’ll also look at dealing with servo skulls, jammers, and other anti-deepstrike stuff- keep in mind the stealers in huge blocks and the parasite/tyrant don’t have to deepstrike/outflank, but then were not looking at a full ND list….

Necrons Vs. Deathwing Battle Report- Hard Boyz LOLZ!

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So Black Matt shows up at the shop with his stunning Dark Angels Deathwing Army itching for a fight and who is there waiting for him in the shadows ready to pounce?

Matt wants to play a hard boyz mission @ 2500 points- I’ve got a 2K list but can easily bump it up to 2.5K, so I’m game. Matt doesn’t know what I’m playing and when I bust out the Necrons he has the audacity, the daring, to suggest I might want to play somebody else as he will just auto-crush me. I remind him that it isn’t just Necrons, but your humble 40K enthusiast Fritz with Necrons…

Warmaster, be honest, did you really think you were going to just rickroll me off the table? I could see on paper, and what the internetz say about Necrons facing terminator heavy marines. 3 AV 14 vehicles, all thunder hammer/storm shield, missile spam, and all 2+3+ saves and I’ve got nothing that is AP 2 in the entire army. Nothing to stop raiders. Nothing to shoot termies with.

What am I going to do, glance the land raiders to death with gauss?

(Well yes, it is Necrons, what else can I do?)

That is how it appears of course, but I’ve got three big rocks in my list to smash Matt’s fallen angels and send them crying back to Luther. Against terminators they work so well, against every other 40K unit they are just ho-hum trash. Can you see it?

Mission is nothing new despite the hard boyz nametag- it is the old capture the center from 4th edition, which really favors close combat armies, which in this case I just happen to have. No that wasn’t a typo, Necrons = close combat. At least in this case vs all termies.



So Matt sets up going first, 3 raiders, six troops, Belial, and a chappy. The ghost in the center holding the fallens flag is the objective marker. I set up my warriors, tomb spyder, monolith, destroyers, scarabs, you know the usual Necrons stuff…along with the Deceiver, Destroyer Lord, and ten pariahs. Now before I’m accused of being a list changer based on who I’m facing that not true- the lord and pariahs are now stock in my 2K list at this point in the game, as are two spyders. To bring it up to 2.5 K I just added the C’Tan and some warriors, so there is no real change. Regardless of the army I was facing it would be the same if we were playing 2.5K.



Now at this point with all our man toys lined up Matt is feeling pretty confident, he reminds me of the god king Xerxes, and I’m going to club him over the head with that hubris if he hands me that game on turn one.



In my mind, playing out the scenarios there are many ways for the Deathwing to win the game, and only one way to lose it. If Matt just sees Necrons across the table I win, if he sees me, I loose. We will see first turn as that is going to decide the game.

Deathwing goes first and it is a full assault, move out, disembark and prepare to assault! Las cannons fire, missiles fly, Monolith living metal takes the shots, and some scarabs take some wounds.



My destroyers on the left are there as bait, since they are the most potent unit in the Necron army- bait for Matt to take, since my first punch is right next to them. I don’t care if he assaults them since VS AV 14 and a 2+ save there is no difference between them and my warriors really.

Terminators try to assault the Destroyers and fail just short due to terrain, and the second group of terminators with Belial and the Chappy get into position to counter assault when the second lead land raider disembarks its terminators.



Right there, as long as I roll average or a little less the game is mine…

C’Tan moves out, Lord breaks off the scarabs and they both assault Belial and his big bunch of guys, just making contact. The pariah group move up, shoot, and assault the disembarked terminators. Mass gauss strip and immobilize the right land raider, tomb spyders try and punch stuff and fail.



The pariahs cut down the terminators before they can even swing, even with their crappy 2 attacks on the charge. No armor and invul saves with 5 man units is no match. The Deceiver crushes the Chaplain, the lord kills one and takes a wound, again no armor or invul saves on those terminators.



Pariahs massacre into terrain and wait, they take some las and heavy bolter shots, two die as more terminators come out and fire missiles which scatter off- forget frag, go with krak, before assaulting, and they die even before swinging back.

C’Tan finishes the rest of the terminators in the center as the lord slays Belial. On the left terminators disembark, attacking the scarabs and a tomb spyder, kill a whole lot leaving just enough space for the pariahs to move in and they then go down to the war scythes.



So now we are at the bottom of turn three and Matt has a terminator group in the back and two land raider still up and I’ve lost a few pariahs, some scarabs, spyder and a destroyer. I’m ready to push forward followed by forty plus warriors to take the center and we pretty much call the game.

Analysis.

What was the one way to lose this game?

Charge forward and not control the distance allowing Necrons to get the charge off. Most other armies could have taken the charge, absorbed it, and then counter attacked and wiped me out, then go to work on the warriors. Deathwing couldn’t take my charge with everything going at I 1 and in small groups of five. These numbers make my Pariahs, Lord, and C’Tan godlike! Deathwing moved up, not controlling the distance, and let me get the charge off. From there the harvest began!

Two ways to win the game?

If you wanted to play conservatively keep the raiders back, line up all the terminators with the missiles and unload on the pariahs. Drop them fast, and actually easy as they get no WBB roll and are only ten dudes. Of course I would try to be in cover but that wouldn’t do much. Next drop the C’tan, easy enough to do with so many missiles and las cannon shots. Ignore the monolith! Once that is done, laugh at my lord, and then assault as normal and go for phase out. Ignore the mission! Forget the center objective!

Want to play aggressive? Want that glory? With the mission and deployment, and Necrons being a foot army I had to deploy in a large block forward and advance- check out the deployment pick again, I’m clustered and huge! Move up with the raiders and don’t get out, hang back just a bit to control the distance, pop smoke and wait…

…next turn tank shock your way through to my core of warriors, disembark and multi assault phasing me out in one turn. No way I am going to immobilize glance a raider with smoke up and I’d be out of assault range of all but my lord and scarabs. Would I death or glory with a pariah or the C’Tan- sure what else do I have? Then there are 15 termies right in my ranks…

So now I need to finish the basing on my Pariahs and do something to fix the end of their war scythes since I didn’t get that part in the trade and swap. Tactically I’ve been working on refining my plans with them, taking a big play out of Brother Captain James’ use of his big terminator block with Shrike. Setting them (the P’s) up as a counter attack unit as opposed to an aggressive first strike unit.

And then there is the monolith…

I’ve only got one, it usually eats las shots, dies sometimes, when it isn’t dying it’s always getting immobilized on terrain. Shots really don’t do much, so essentially it is a LOS blocker and WBB factory. Useful, but with terrain getting better and better on the board thanks to NOVA and BFS standard, read actually what it is supposed to be, I don’t need the LOS blocker as much. As for the WBB factory for my destroyers and warriors, that seems to be less and less these days as once my warriors start going down hard phase out isn’t far behind even with the extra WBB rolls. I wonder if the 235 would be better spent somewhere else? Have to play around a bit, but then again Monoliths are so much fun to play, and so Necron like…

Clash Of The Titans

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Yesterday at the comic shop this little beauty rolled in and I had to snap some pics for you guys. As far as titans go, behind the majestic Eldar ones I have to say the Warhound is my favorite in both forgeworld and even armorcast models.



There I am admiring the model, and the awesome paint job and I begin to wonder about the mechanics inside the god machine. I see the two servitors operating each gun arm- hard wired into the machine, the tech adept in the back keeping the fusion reactor running, and the pilots and commander. Check and check. Question is this- how do they get into the machine? Sure the back and front armor covers come off so you can marvel at the casting inside, but there is the door to get in? I’m guessing the hatch on the top, kind of like a metal grate that opens into the compartment with the reactor, that then has doors from the gun bay to the head? Anyway…



So then we begin talking about using titans in 40K and how the only outlet is really apocalypse and depending on how many are on the table they either do nothing since even with all their killy there are so many units, or they just obliterate everything and anything. Is there a middle ground with them? Could titans have a place in a regular game of 40K?



Now I already had a game lined up with Black Matt, but if not I’d love to throw my regular 40K army against that titan just for fun. Would I get obliterated, maybe, probably, maybe not?

Off the top of my head I see two options for incorporating apoc. units in a regular 40K game. The first is just to go head to head with a last man standing type mission. The Warhound is 750 points so I have 750 points with no force org to restrict my unit choices.



Second choice borrows from the Battle Mission Book where you can take an apocalypse unit for X points and it takes up a fast, heavy, and elite slot in your army, AND regardless of the mission if it is destroyed at any point then you win the game.

Not 100% balanced and clearly just for fun, but hey, at this point in the 40K timeline what really is balanced and fair? Everything has to be taken for fun.



So hopefully next Sunday I’ll get a chance to throw something at that titan, and since I’m on a Necron kick what should I be looking at? What would my fellow tomb lords take?

Remember it is last man standing?

First three things that come to mind are the C’Tan, a Destroyer Lord with war scythe and resurrection orb, and a big group of scarabs with disruption fields.



With the remainder of the points I’m thinking heavy destroyers so they at least have a chance to do something.

Everything but the C’Tan is fast so that at least gives me timing of the game. Start off with the heavy destroyers hanging with the lord for the res- orb and they start shooting. Scarabs boost and hang out staying away and not assaulting but being close enough to assault.

Golden boy C’Tan moves and runs up the table like a slow poke.

Void shields kind of suck, but being able to split fire worries me more. Maybe I have a round or two before my heavy destroyers go down- anytime there are titans and super heavies on the table you need to have first turn!

When that happens the lord zooms ahead and when the C’Tan gets into range (assuming he hasn’t been vaped either) the scarabs THEN assault with the disruption fields, just to tie up the titan, take losses and then the lord and the C’Tan move in with the war scythe and living metal!

In theory anyway, we’ll put it to the test…

If you had to face a single Warhound on the table, what units would you take without a force org chart? Space Marines? Dark Eldar? Orks?

40K Tactics: When To Go to Ground?

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Today let’s take a look at going to ground, when, where, and how it should always be on your mind as a tactical option regardless of the army that you play. We all know the rule of going to ground = getting pinned at the expense of a +1 cover save, so how to use this…

Any time your unit is going to get “wiped” out, you go to ground plain and simple. I’ve got a group of ten gaunts and a group of marines roll up and rapid fire on them causing an overkill of wounds. I could pull the models off, or go to ground in the open for a 6+ cover save.



Going to ground and even saving one or two means the unit is still a “threat” in terms of scoring, contesting, etc. later in the game. At some point again game resources are going to have to be allocated to killing the gaunts.

If you are going to die anyway, always go to ground for the 6+ or even the 3+ in cover.

Pre-Assaults.

When dealing with assault armies and running assault armies you always want to soften things up a bit before the charge so that your assaulting unit has the best odds of wiping out the enemy on the charge. With my harlequins they like to pop off the shuriken pistols, fusion guns, and shreiker cannon before the charge to kill a marine or two on the way in.

When I’m on the other side of this equation going to ground is your friend. Often I’ve got harlequins in cover and a unit will slip in that I can’t control the range of and move to assault. In the past few games I’ve seen this when playing orks. Orks shoot then charge. In these cases where the opponent has planned and is going to charge me I’ll go to ground for the 3+ cover save to save as many clowns as I can before the assault. The key to going to ground pre-assault is knowing 100% that you are going to be assaulted.

So there you have the two main themes of when and where I go to ground, what are your thoughts? Is going to ground a viable tactics to use at some point in every game, or something of little value? Is it true that for marines with their 3+ regular and even 3+ armor saves going to ground is not an issue vs. xeno armies that don’t have armor saves?

Battle For Salvation Grand Tournament

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So at this point we are at about a month out, your army list should be set, models painted, and final tactics being put into motion- you ARE attending the Battle For Salvation GT on October 7,8, & 9? There are still a few spots left if you sitting on the fence about the event- trust me you want to attend…



First let’s talk about the venue- this year the club has secured a business suite at the Palisades Mall located in West Nyack about twenty miles north of New York City. It is just off I87, Route 303, 59, and the Palisades Interstate Parkway- which means it’s easy to get to no matter the direction.



From the venue perspective the mall has so much to offer beyond just an awesome hall to game in, and plenty of parking. Being one of the largest malls in the area, the Palisades Center is actually listed as a “tourist destination”, with hundreds of stores, restaurants, an ice skating rink, imax movie theater, and an indoor ferris wheel in the food court. What this means is plenty of places to hang out for lunch and after hours with your gaming buddies rocking the social side of 40K bragging about the day. OR, if you are family oriented (read wife and/or girlfriend) with little excuses for gaming, you can all go to the mall and they can hang out during the event with their friends and have a blast, you get to game all day, and it’s a win/win. No gaming dues to pay with your wife or girlfriend when you get home!

On a more practical note I can get an awesome chicken club sandwich and Jawaballs can get his Taco Bell and we are both happy! Complete Mall Info: http://www.palisadescenter.com/ .

But let’s talk about the event itself…

NOVA format, 2000 points, prize support for placing, renaissance man, best painted, etc. you probably already know this or can easily find out on the registration site: http://www.battleforsalvation.com/ . As a BFS club member I’m here to talk about the behind the scenes planning for the event and how the guys running it have committed themselves to making this an awesome gaming experience for you.

Terrain.

Second only to the actual missions terrain in a tournament is KEY. There needs to be just the right amount to both grant saves, allow for tactical maneuvering, and allow players to finish, and many events do this right. But what about the war game appeal? After all visuals, suspending belief, and immersing yourself in the event is part of the enjoyment? The club has made a commitment to have each table conform to a theme, be it cityfight, ruins, jungle, ice/lava world, you name it. No collection of space junk (unless it is the space junk table) that passes for terrain- each table is fully painted, presented, and modeled on a theme. Let’s flip through a few pics from last year to give you an idea…






 
Armies.

Drawing for a large player base, not only in the Battle For Salvation Club, but from the surrounding NY gaming community means you will see all types of armies at the event. Sure there will be mech on mech/wolf on wolf action- standard 5th edition, but expect to see all the other books represented and pulling their own weight- Tyranids, Dark Eldar, Eldar, Daemon, heck even Necrons! No, I’m not rolling with Necrons for this event- I’ve committed to drop pod Tyranids…









And of course after hour on both Friday and Saturday a number of the guys including myself, Jawaballs, Brother Captain James, Black Matt, etc. will all be around for some friendly pickup games if you are interested in throwing some dice around.



Enough of the sell- make it happen! Round up your 40K buddies, gas up the van, and plan for an awesome weekend of gaming!

Psychic Defense Question?

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No tactica article or analysis for today’s post, but rather a question for my readers- what level of psychic defense do you take in your army? Is an active level of psychic defense now mandatory?

What’s the psyker level like in your local gaming scene?

For my Grey Knights, which I know is not the optimal netlist build my psychic powers are mandatory- they are the backbone of the army. Here is the rundown in a nutshell. Small elite model count that relies on multiple layers to keep said models alive, hence nullifying the disadvantage of not having a ton of models.

The first layer in that defense is shrouding- getting a cover save on my Land Raiders and dreads- a 3+ for terrain or smoke, or at worst at least a 6+. If my opponent bypasses that then we go to AV 14 and a venerable re-roll on the dreads, and from there fortitude to keep them shooting. My libby’s psychic hood is always glowing hot, and the one time he was shut down it sucked! Plus hoods can mess with fortitude which sucks also.

Now in my local scene GK’s don’t have libbys or even grand masters it is all about purifiers and Crowe so that isn’t an issue. Space Marines used to be all about a null zone librarian riding with TT/SS termies but these are rare also. With wolves it is about 50/50 that I see a rune priest and have never seen Najal, although I suspect that will all change for a bit thanks to NOVA.

And well Eldar have always been Eldar.

Another question is this- if you have an army that can take a psyker either in support of your army or as a killy unit on its own, why not? Do you think it is a waste of points for something that can be potentially blocked or even fail on a perils?

If I had the option to take a psyker I would take said psyker- when I do play my marines, other than Black Templars I always have a libby- usually on a bike, heck even my DA which come out once a year or so to party have a libby.

Maybe it is the farseer in me?

Feast Of Blades: Make Your Plans Now!

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So here we are moving into the fall tournament scene and it’s time to start planning where to go and what to attend. One of the events that has caught my eye has been the Feast of Blades convention scheduled for November 4, 5, and 6 out in Denver: http://www.feastofblades.com/ .



Shaping up to have something for everyone, there is an invitational/open GT if competitive gaming and list busting is your thing, along with a narrative track for those who want to play that aspect of the hobby, along with a ton of after hour and painting events. Of course being an Eldar fanboy the fact that the event will have 25,000 points of Eldar to pilot along with a phantom titan needs to really be considered. Time to start checking flights out to CO and working on Jawaballs.



In my experience narrative events have always been the stuff of great fun and epic moments- pulling off wacky stuff with your seer council, assault marines and all that while making more great friends in the hobby.

With about a month and a half out there is still time to make your plans, register for the event and prepare for glory.



Always Wanted To Be A Pirate…

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So what’s the deal? Is it called Man O War, Dread Fleet or what? It goes on sale this month, wonder if it is going to be like Space Hulk and sell out fast?

What are your thoughts on the GW one release board games? Not quite specialist games, and definitely not main stream fantasy and 40K. I do have to say I wish GW would do more releases of them, pump out one a year as a way to inject and snatch more cash from us.

Why?

As the self proclaimed king of hobbies I do enjoy playing board games but from a social perspective it is a bit harder to get a regular game in. For example I really enjoy playing Talisman, but scheduling a game is hard to do- of my board gaming friends we all have different tastes, and it only takes one or two guys to complain about the randomness of Talisman and we are onto a more agreeable game as a group. On a side not the only guy that is always 100% down for Talisman is Jawaballs, who is perhaps the king of the game. I’ve watched him over the now years and there is definitely a strategy going on despite the randomness of the game.

With games like Space Hulk I never have a problem finding some dudes to play with. Bring it to the club and since it is steeped in the GW/40K mythos there is always a group ready to throw down some dice.

And it is just for this reason that I think GW is missing a big audience- they don’t have to “sell” the story behind the game, they compete in a class all their own.

Now, while we have companies like Fantasy Flight Games, which do an awesome job, and have released GW like stuff- Talisman, Horus Heresy, Chaos In The Old World, etc. and the product is good, it doesn’t have the top shelf appeal that a limited run of Space Hulk did. Making things a limited release allows better components and box appeal.

The other thing that I like about the single edition of Space Hulk was the fact that the game is printed and done. No expansions, no new codexes, out of date codexes, new models, netlists, etc. You have the game, and you play the game- I can get a nice 40K fix without updating my army every few months, or dealing with many of the things that piss me off about 40K and Fantasy.

I’m hoping Man O War or whatever it is called does the same thing as Space Hulk only for Fantasy.

Give us more!

Space Fleet?

Dark Future?

Warhammer Quest?

Rehash and update those classics?

Your thoughts?

Swarms!

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So I’ve been thinking a bit more about swarms recently having resurrected my Necrons for a while (scarabs), in addition to dealing with Stelek’s Dark Eldar beast master lists which are the new rage at the club, which I do have to honestly add are pretty sweet.

At 2000 points, if you can take a group of two of swarms why aren’t you? Let’s look at some ideas behind them, from worst to best.



Necrons: Scabs- Ok point cost, move like jetbikes, turbo-boost for the 2+ cover save. On the other side the really can’t kill much, need to be upgraded to try and glance vehicles, and compete with Destroyers for the fast attack slots. If you are taking Scarabs in full then you need the 5 X 5 Destroyers in the other two slots.

Tyranids: Rippers, both fast & troops. Things get interesting here in that they can be ho-hum like Necrons, or cause quite a bit of damage with the right upgrades. Depending on their use one goes with either the troops or fast options which we will cover in a second.

Dark Eldar: The best of the lot- good wounds, large sizes, rending attacks which actually generate due to the high volume of attacks.



Tactics?

Across the board swarms are used to generate cover saves for infantry based models- string them out, get a few in cover for the 4+, and you are set. Somewhat important for Necrons against plasma, melta, and other AP 3 or less shots, very important for Dark Eldar and Tyranids who tend to get no armor saves. Keep in mind that swarms need to be a flowing unit- getting cover saves off them is great, but not at the expense of using their other features. Tyranid player who love Tyrants can benefit from a small swarm of rippers- they go infront of the Tyrant Guard giving said guard and Tyrant a mobile cover screen.

Swarms can also be a unit/model delivery system as often seen with Necrons and Tyranids. Attach a Destroyer Lord to the scarabs and he has a bodyguard to zip around the table with and laugh off most shots, flamers not withstanding of course. In the case of Necrons the Scarabs really don’t have that much of a punch, while if you upgrade some rippers to furious charge and poison and then throw in the Parasite you are in for some fun times- a swarm unit with an IC that can both deal some nice amounts of damage. Note here, if you plan to use the swarms as a passive unit regular rippers are the deal, active with the Parasite you want the faster moving brood so they can keep up.

Then we come to the optimal use of swarms- drowning key units at key times. Of course “killing” a unit is best, but sometimes you don’t have the firepower or turns at hand to do it, as you may need to shoot at other units- good army design will present you with multiple choices to shoot at trying to stack it so you can’t tag all of them. So drown them in swarms! Dark Eldar really shine here with their ability to actually kill stuff with their beasts.

A final word with Chaos Daemons and fiends who kind of work like swarms but really aren’t- and can do many of the same things, so maybe swarms with a star next to them…

 
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