Warhammer 40K 6th Edition Shooty Tyranid List

So here is a Tyranid list that I have been evolving for a while, have gotten in some play testing, and was thinking about for 40K 6th edition, but now has to be shelved since I don’t have some of the key models anymore (BC James has them) and I’m not going to be re-buying them since my ‘Templars are going to need an overhaul soon along with some coin needed for my foray into Wood Elves…

So I post the outline and starting formula here for any upcoming hive commanders that might want to try their hand…or claw…

2000 Points Bigzilla Shooty Tyranids…

== HQ ==

Hive Tyrant (1) - Lash Whip And Bonesword, Twin-Linked Devourer - Brainleech Worms, Paroxysm, Leech Essence, Old Adversary

Hive Tyrant (1) - Lash Whip And Bonesword, Twin-Linked Devourer - Brainleech Worms, Paroxysm, Leech Essence, Old Adversary

== Elites ==

Hive Guard Brood (2)

Hive Guard Brood (2)

Hive Guard Brood (2)

== Troops ==

Tyranid Warrior Brood (3) - Deathspitter, Rending Claws

Tyranid Warrior Brood (3) - Deathspitter, Rending Claws

Tyranid Warrior Brood (3) - Deathspitter, Rending Claws

Tyranid Warrior Brood (3) - Deathspitter, Rending Claws

== Heavy Support ==

Tyrannofex (1) - Rupture Cannon, Stinger Salvo, Thorax Swarm - Shreddershard Beetles

Tyrannofex (1) - Rupture Cannon, Stinger Salvo, Thorax Swarm - Shreddershard Beetles

Tyrannofex (1) - Rupture Cannon, Stinger Salvo, Thorax Swarm - Shreddershard Beetles

The list has two goals- minimize model count for tournament play, and focus 100% on shooty- something Tyranids don’t do that well and a focus that we can use to take advantage of (in theory) by surprising out opponents.

Long time readers will know that I played a high model count Tyranid army for a long time- both in my Null Deployment models with lots of h-gaunts and in my five tervigons spawning army- things uhm, might have gotten a bit out of control. Playing such an army really takes a lot out of you, especially playing five or even six games in a day- plus setup, takedown, transport, etc.

SO, I wanted an army with a small model count, but could still achieve its tactical goal.

Second was the focus on shooting since so many of my Tyranid builds tend to focus on the assault, and my experience has been that is what players come to expect in their understanding of Tyranids.

Third, 5th edition is a shooting game and rewards it, I’m sure this will continue in 6th edition since it sells models for GW.

Tyranids don’t have “vehicles” to transport their assault units to get into assault, so they have to have the numbers to take losses on the way in an still have critical mass- shooty bugs don’t have to worry about having that. PLUS with shooty bugs and the focus on it, unlike all the other armies except Grey Knights, you can’t be taken out with a single lucky shot or shaken and stunned.

That is the matrix and mixology that went into this list.

Three layers- long range shots with the t-fexes, medium range shots with the hive guard, and medium/short with the warriors. Tyrants and warriors provide a generous synapse layer . Warriors might have to be tweaked a bit if “TROOPS” are still needed as scoring in 6th, but we will see that when we get there…

Hive Tyrants are key- yes two of them- pricey, but they are the Vulcan and his twin brother in the list (see Alchemy of Salamanders from yesterdays post…). The two tyrants will try and hide somewhere, overlapping the two 6” old adversary bubbles giving the entire army preferred enemy…which in 6th means shooting is twin linked- this we know is confirmed.

Imagine your t-fexes actually hitting stuff…

Imagine hive guard getting even MORE deadly, especially if they can hide behind LOS blocking terrain…

Imagine your warrior anti-infantry and hive tyrant shots with that twin-linkey goodness…

Suddenly the bugs are actually hitting stuff despite their codex nerf- and they aren’t supposed to do that!

Of course there is an assault element and you will be trying to advance and pound your opponent with the t-fexes in the assault- using their secondary weapons also as MC’s, rending claws on the warriors, etc.

Who knows, maybe one day…

Alchemy Of The Salamander

Recent back and forth email on Salamanders and their current place at the end of 5th edition- still "good" or better passed over for a more auto-win type army like Grey Knights?

Salamanders can definitely be very competitive in a variety of tournament formats- I still see them regularly placing very high and even winning events. Of course when we say Salamanders we are talking about Vulcan and his ability to unlock and twin link melta guns and flamers. You could just as easy make up your own space marine chapter and call them “salamanders”- fire drakes or something like that.

Melta is a huge deal in the game beyond just busting open and killing tanks- many player tend to focus on killing vehicles since they play an important role in 5th edition and are very powerful in the rules set- mainly in protecting your infantry inside so they can later be alive to score and complete mission goals, and in that vehicles can mount a variety of heavy weapons for a very cheap price.

Melta weapons also need to be taken a step further in that they deal with many other aspects of the game- killing monstrous creatures, putting AP 1 wounds on space marines denying their armor save, bypassing terminator armor saves, instant killing T 4 models like bikes, paladins, etc.

The only drawback to melta (if you can really call it that) is “hitting” when you shoot- needing that 3+ to hit. Most of the time you will be wounding on a 2+, and then have the AP 1. Vulkan twin linking them means you are bypassing the hit as much as you can.

So the first part of thinking about running a Salamander themed list is cramming as much melta in there as you can, and then a few flamers also to twin link them so you have something for scarabs and other horde armies or non 3+ save units like Imperial Guard, etc.

The second part is in application and building you list…

Generally you want to have a combined arms approach of delivery for your melta and you are going to have to think about this based on the points and the models you have or intend to buy and use.

The first is usually an ironclad dread in a drop pod as your turn one alpha strike like unit. It is completely expendable- using the guidance of the pod to land next to a key target in your opponents army and take it out, and then attract return fire on your players turn- which means they are shooting at it and not your other units for that turn. If the ironclad actually lives the turn then even better- it continues shooting and rampaging. Using a unit like this is not a waste of points if it blows up turn 1 on your opponent’s turn as long as it accomplishes its task. Key targets are what your opponent intends to throw at you as a spearhead- a land raider with termies, BA furioso dreads in storm ravens, Grey Knight storm raven bombs, etc.

The second layer is usually three land speeders- one in each force org slot which move the 24” boost on your first turn to get a cover save and be in range next turn to take out your opponent’s secondary assets next turn with their melta shots on turn one dealing with the dread landing PLUS three models with cover saves can be a difficult thing.

Behind the speeders is usually a land raider with a melta gun and inferno flamers (all twin linked) with Vulkan and some termies- what the dread and speeders destroy and break open on your next turn the terminators then hit.

Finally behind them are rhinos with marines with a melta gun and usually a combi-melta on the sarge, moving mid field to then get out and rapid fire with bolters and melta shots cleaning up the chaos that your dread, speeders, land raider, etc. have caused. When a tactical squad takes some losses and gets down to four or five models, they then get back in a rhino and zoom off for objectives depending on the game.

That should give you some ideas for the pattern of attack behind using Salamanders- think of it as a guideline to evolve and mold with where you are in the game right now.


Confirmed Chaos Space Marines Rumors (Legions)

So this week’s round of rumors is about chaos space marines and the upcoming chaos legions book…

I’ll fully believe it when we get the leaked copy of the codex .PDF like with grey knights and necrons, only then do I think it will be close to release.

That said, and as much as I want an Eldar codex, really makes me sad to think they go NOTHING for half of 4th edition, all of 5th edition, and now a year in (projected) into 6th edition, I have to say that CHAOS might just be the thing to save the game…

Space marines are popular and for good reason, they “sell” so GW makes rules for them to “sell”- look at grey knights as the example.

But from a hobby perspective what does this give us on the table?

At tournaments, nothing but marines vs. marines at best and at worst grey knights vs. grey knights. If you are just playing tactically or for the thrill of the win (competitive/WAAC play) then who cares.

BUT if part of the hobby is about creating memories, a fun event, then we need something else on the table!

Clearly GW isn’t committed to xenos…but chaos?

Imagine if Chaos was as popular as space marines- there would be so many fun battle of good vs. bad, even bad vs. bad vying for power, but beyond wishful thinking, the codex HAS to be good…

So what can we expect?

Time frame?

As mentioned I don’t fully believe the rumors here, although the summer release date of 6th is still off, no leaked copies means to me chaos in the fall 2012 slot- release 6th edition this summer and then blow it up with chaos.


Redone dread and defiler.

Redone terminators.

New bikes?

New special HQ’s.

Sounds like a pretty solid release, but again show me the bling in the codex!

What do I think the chaos codex needs?

What do you think the chaos codex needs?

It needs to swing back to the center in terms of power and ability.

The previous chaos codex was extremely powerful, and it was only the limitations of the 4th edition game system essentially wining by victory points that kept it in check. Compare the codex if you were playing it under 5th edition rules and it easily surpasses all the grey knight BS.

You think the GK wargear is wacky and abusive, check out the old chaos wargear page- which was just for generic csm for the most part...

Then take a look at the current chaos codex and how it is stripped and nerfed down like dark angels- a minimalist design philosophy that quickly dies at GW.

At least dark angels could play raven wing or deathwing, what was chaos left with?

So something in the middle…

I’d love to see two types of core troops in the new codex- generic chaos marines say like black legion or recent traitors that have stats very much like vanilla space marines, and then I’d also like to see the cult marines- the old legions who have THOUSANDS of years of experience fighting, plus being a space marines, PLUS gifts from the gods. Make those troop choices essentially like grey knights- overpowered and under costed models.

Imagine tzeentch back on the table? What if you could have termiantors with a 2+/3+ save that you could reroll each turn like fortune, along with casting 3+ powers a turn. Overpowered? My old ttzeentch summoner list used to be able to do that... What happened GW?

If you wanted a horde type marine army you go with generic chaos marines, if you want an elite army go with cult troops.

Next add in some daemons- keep them generic, but with a little more flavor, and maybe some cultist like troops and suddenly you have even more army builds.

That said, I don’t think this will happen simply because chaos already has established HQ choices in the book- and this is how GW works- looking at the trend over the years.

Let’s look at Typhus since he regularly leads my Death Guard army, and will hopefully be back at the front in a few months in one form or another…

In terms of HQ choices he really isn’t that great and can’t stand up to any of the current marine HQ choices at all. IF you adjusted the cult troop plague marines to be grey knight power levels in the new chaos codex, then they would be better then Typhus, so then Typhus would need a boost- not going to happen, GW just likes to rehash the same old HQ choices, rarely tinkering with the stats and powers- Mepheston being the only real exception and that was to sell the model line.

The outrageousness that is all grey knights is all due to inventing NEW HQ choices. Sure we still have Stearn, but he sucks- compare the old vs. new and nothing has really changed.

The beefed up new grey knights needed new beefed up HQ’s to lead…and they got them.

Is GW really going to dump Kharn, Typhus, Arahaim (sp), etc. ?

Doubt it.

That’s my take on the rumors- soon, but not that soon, and hopefully chaos gets a complete rewrite of a dex like grey knights over just an update like necrons…

Dreadfleet Tactics

I may be one of the few guys who really enjoy Dreadfleet and I really feel that GW hit head on with the game. A GW game in a box, with the full production quality, models, and bling of the GW experience, combined with the fantasy background to bring you into the story.

A hybrid wargame/boardgame it is easy to find players at the club and comic shop just because it is a GW product and many of the mechanics borrow from fantasy/40K making learning it easy.

Lets’ dive into some general tactics…

I’ve played through the campaign in the book and expansions twice, and that will be coming up when I have a chance to write it up, so for now let’s talk about free for all play.

We get to the club, set it up, and shout out who wants’ to play!

Maybe we get three guys, maybe six, always multiple on same sides. We divide the guys up to good guys and bad guys, randomly draw ships, deploy on either side and move out blasting away. After a number of turns (usually six or eight) the side that has the most ships standing wins.

So what have I learned?

Right out of the box not all the ships are balanced- what balances them out in the game is the scenarios and randomness of drawing the damage and fate cards. That random factor means that if only you can hold on a bit longer with your burning and sinking ship, maybe it will get repaired or maybe your opponent’s ships will get hit with something wacky.

This sometimes has a lot of guys complaining that the game is like Talisman- drawing cards and just doing what they say, when the game isn’t really like this if you can bypass the random element.

So blowing up pirate ships is the mission…

Each ship can draw a card or two from the damage deck, and even if it is one of the more sever ones, they can usually take it. The randomness of a shuffled deck then means you will also draw some less severe cards, combined with repairs, and your ship will be able to continue for a while.

Here is how you bypass that.

For the most part the ships in the game are either fast and weak, or slow and strong- with both dwarf ships kind of being in the middle with their gimmicks.

As a team you want to gang up on one ship- which one often depends on what the other side just puts out first to approach with, and do enough damage to it to force so many damage cards draws that they draw enough catastrophic cards to sink the ship.

You do this by anchoring it in place…

Approach your target ship with your side’s fastest ship and the remaining ships just behind on the right or left. With the lead fast ship you are going to want to try an approach head on and ram/board the enemy ship to hold it in place, followed by the other two ships breaking off to the sides and opening up broadside.

Gang up, wolf pack, and force those cards draws to break past the randomness…

GW is out of Dread Fleet of course, and ebay is pushing the price like Space Hulk, best place I've found to get it is Amazon- $90 bucks or so. Dreadfleet

The Problem With The New Tyranid Tervigon Kit From GW

So a few closer up pics of the tervigon have been released and I’m kind of all over the place on the kit and how I feel about it.

There seems to be some mini dreadfleet like rage on the internet regarding WHY it took GW so long to release such kits- especially since they were the new flagship models of the codex when it was released.

GW, you had the trygon kit ready, why not the tervigon which in turn sells gaunt kits as you need something to poop out.

Some will blame chapter house, others GW, in the end it is both good and bad the kits are out now but we sure could have used them sooner as players and supporters of GW.

That said there are two questions that have me scratching my head with the soon to be release of this kit…

Between the both of us BC James and myself have eight converted tervigons- what is there fate now?

Will they be allowed in a tournament?

The second question is this…

Check out the size of the tervigon, GW has created almost a new class of model- a super sized MC, kind of like comparing a baneblade to a leman russ. Awesome looking kit, but how is the physical footprint of the model going to effect the game?

Things are hard enough getting a 4+ cover save off the converted tervigons, how is it going to happen with the new kit? What about a 5+ cover save in 6th? I can see no MC cover support in the game unless you bring venoms.

Will the kit size itself and the 5+ save make the model useless from a tournament perspective?

I’m not getting all doom and gloom here, but should they be considerations?

New GW Tyranid Models Confirmed

Word on the street is that GW is FINALLY releasing some new Tyranid models....

Hive Tyrant/Swarmlord, Trygons, and a Tyrannofex! About time!

These kits are going to be a real help for us Tyranid players out there, and just looking at the plastics I'm sure 'nids will pick up a few new players.

Personally I don't need these upcoming releases right now....must....focus....on...Necrons.....

Necrons have kind of detoured me from a third Tyranid list variant I have been working on, really enjoying, and showing some real potential. First I had the Null Deployment list, then the Bigzilla list (5 Tervigons + 3 Trygons), and my third list was the Swarmlord Star.

Now with such a cool new Swarmlord kit....

Tyranid Carnifex Null Deployment Tactics

Ah the holy grail of the Tyranid codex- finding an actual use for such an iconic model- the carnifex. Let’s continue the null deployment analysis and how the use of carnifexes has evolved surgically in my list.

I first tried them walking across the table as part of my main wave advancing towards my opponent to keep them in place so my outflankers and deep strikers could come in and hit them. Two or three ‘fexes running at you kind of get your attention…so much attention that they have to be dealt with.

Used like this they rarely made it across the table. Their combination of only four wounds and huge size made getting cover saves, and they were just to slow even with running. At 2K the armies I was facing had more than enough firepower due to their codex design to deal with the ‘fexes AND the rest of my army. Heck, I couldn’t’ even use them as sacrificial models meaning my opponent was shooting at them and not the rest of my army- which I could at least work with even if it wasn’t optimal.

So the next evolution was to shift them to the null side and deep strike deliver them with pods- usually meaning only taking two at this point since I had to include the pod in their cost analysis.

I tried the dakka variant and the dual talons variant and found the talons the better of the two. When the pod lands I want to at least shake/stun a vehicle to suppress fire so the ‘fex is around next turn, but there are other elements in the null list that should be taking care of this- the dual talons combined with the strength of the ‘fex is where they shine.

The optimal combo for me was then adding bio-plasma since the bug is up for close range work. Ideally I’d drop the pod in next to a vehicle, try to blow it up with the pod tentacles first and then other elements second so when the guys inside dump and cluster the ‘fex can vomit plasma all over them. Failing this, he can always just puke on a vehicle or before an assault to thin some numbers. Of course it has scattered onto my own ‘fexes from time to time, but nothing I can do about that.

That is the ideal, and what I try and set up, but of course it doesn’t always work- sometimes I have to drop the ‘fex mid field and he has to go in on foot- which works because of two reasons- first he isn’t walking across the entire table, and second, because he has a host of other bugs supporting them. Most of the time warriors and h-gaunts.

For this to work all the bugs in the group need to be assault bugs- they are moving and running each turn- shooting means not getting that extra d6 of movement. Gaunts provide cover to the warriors, warriors cover to the carnifex- no way to argue it not happening which is very important since guys never want to give you a cover save. The unit as a whole attracts firepower which is good since some element of it will survive.

I use the guants to tie things up as the fex kills the weakest thing it can since it is in a race against time with dying, while the warriors then support or go off on their own- while also providing that synape link.

Tyranid Termagant Tactics

In the null deployment model I first experimented with dropping large groups of termagants in a spore pod in support of my larger elements and genestealers. A nice big group was relatively cheap, could lay down a few anti- infantry shots- maybe killing a marine or two, and the big swarm could spread out and grant cover to my second wave of genestealers. This worked well, but what I found was that gaunts just tend to die against everything and anything. Not a big deal if you have a bigzilla list with five tervigons gestating them- they are there to die, but in a null deployment list where your bug numbers are finite, you tend to lose them at the start of the game or mid game.

I then tried the super-gaunt: pumping them up with adrenal glands and toxin sacks. Their effectiveness for the points was still rather poor due to their low number of attacks, lack of frag grenades for cover, and the pathetic armor save. Again, spawned gaunts getting the buff off the tervigon is one thing, but finite guants are another.

So in this capacity the optimal use of Termagants in a null deployment list is as a screen and cheap and game scoring unit. I use a medium sized unit to grant cover saves to my hormagaunts, and warriors that advance as the main wave, and then the gaunts break off and just lurk/go to ground on an objective. In this capacity I don’t expect much and they really don’t let me down- which is about right for a 50-60 point unit. They are kind of the guardians of the Eldar craftworld in use, a scoring marker really.

Tyrainds At The End Of 5th Edition

So here we are at the end of 5th edition and what a ride it has been with Tyranids…

Before their release it was wave after wave of marines and IG, and then ‘nids were going to be the first xeno release of 5th edition- a fearful codex to offer gamers a real enemy to face on the table. Broken rumors abound as usual, and many of the power gamers at the club immediately started building their army focusing on spammed hive guard and tervigons…

…and then the codex dropped, things were not as WAAC as they appeared, and with no vehicles, an overcost of units like crazy, and a restrictive FOC Tyranids fell from grace a few mere months after their release.

Not having ANY kits for the tervigon, swarmlord, and harpies didn’t help…

But there were still a few units of note, like DOM, and psychic powers…which promptly got the smack down lest there be any challenge to marines…

Ok, enough of being a downer, no further need to rehash what is already known, but rather let’s take a step back and look at Tyranids in the here and now for those of us still playing them or (gasp) even considering starting them.

Is there such a thing as a “competitive” Tyranid list? I guess I should define competitive from my point of view so we are on the same page…

A comparative army is one that can handle the various phases of the game- moving, shooting, assaulting, etc. with multiple units from across its force organization chart. Examples- take a competitive Space Wolf army. They have movement with their 6+ razorbacks, shooting with their las-plas and 15 long fangs, assault with their grey hunters and thunder wolves. They have multiple units that can perform each role. There are no hard choices to be made since you can cram in all your toys, so in theory whatever you face at the moment on the table you can deal with.

Can Tyranids do this? I’d like to hear your arguments, and from playing them for quite some time now in both casual and tournament games I’d say vs. the other 5th edition books the answer would be NO.

Tyranids based on the design flaw in their codex, either though intent or neglect just cannot field a competitive army- as a hive commander you are going to have to make choices, compromises, and limit your plan of attack- there just isn’t redundancy in numbers to take on the other armies at 2K+ points.

Notice I didn’t say you can’t win with Tyranids, just that there is no other army out there to compare against them and the general tactics of the game, and indeed other armies just doesn’t carry over to Tyranids. Point #1- Tyranids are the only army that don’t have ANY vehicles.

So why bother playing Tyranids, or more accurately, why am I still playing them? Well, more than anything 5th edition has been nothing but a marine love fest- marines vs. marines get’s really boring, so playing Tyranids always results in a fun game for me- it is always different and does much to recreate the feeling of 40K- the Imperium vs. desperate aliens and xenos.

Second is that there is something to be said about being the underdog- winning games is fun, no disputing that, but how you win can be just as important. Some books and army builds are just better than others based on the design flaws of GW. Some armies are just auto-win based on the rules, not the skill of the general behind it. With Tyranids a win is a total win on skill alone- from the very start of the game till the very end- there is no luck involved with them- you win and lose based on your skill with them. There are no codex crutches with Tyranids- you will get good at the game really fast- you just have no choice, adapt or die.

Finally on a personal note, I like playing Tyranids since I don’t feel bad if they die on the table. Yes, I tend to get a little into the game beyond just rolling dice. Losing my Black Templar sword brethren terminators are a huge deal- over the course of playing them through 5th edition I’ve probably lost around sixty or so of them- those are losses in marines and terminator armor that is disastrous! With Tyranids I don’t have to feel bad that they die- they are just space bugs, expendable fodder for the win- the hive mind will just gestate and belch up some more…

List wise my play style and evolution of ‘nids has evolved into two extremes- a reserve based list known as null deployment or a big zilla type list with five tervigons and three trygons. The first wins on application of surgical skill and precision strikes, and the second wins on the application of overwhelming skill, drowning key points of your opponent’s army in gaunts, shutting it down bit by bit so your trygons can take the army apart.

These days at the end of 5th edition I play the null deployment model exclusively at this point as it is the most relaxing and fun for me to play. Bigzilla is effective, no doubt, but it takes a lot of energy to move hundreds of models (spawned gaunts), taking them on and off the table, and then there is transporting the entire thing- three cases.

Special characters have also made a huge comeback for me here at the end of 5th- Swarmlord, DOM, Deathleaper, and Old One Eye all make it into the list since I don’t have to worry about being competitive. Since I can’t build a competitive list based on the definition, my list has to be about creating moments of opportunity- a chance to get that special character into position so it can influence the game- very hard to do indeed! Tyranids have really kind of become hero-hammer.

So let’s look at a few other ideas and observations from my experience with Tyranids as we finish out 5th edition…

Games Workshop 40K Anniversary Video NEW

Partying With The Harlequins

Fritz, yo, what is up with the clowns these days?

They still come out and say “HI” at the club every now and then- my tactics are really still the same since nothing has changed in the game- as for 6th edition who can say. I am a bit optimistic that harlequins won’t be changing with a new codex just because of how GW locked them in with DE- and I’m fine with that since I know what they can do in the here and now.

Cheaper rangers/pathfinders, maybe some webway deployment, and psyker warlock wraithlords are a different story- a new codex can’t get here fast enough!

The only slight change I’ve made, and it is very situational is the inclusion or two guardian squads for two more scoring troops. This only happens in specific tournaments or events that favor the min/max of cheap troops and vehicles for Space Marines and Imperial Guard- events where five objectives are always present in all the mission favoring that one style of play.

In my straight up harlie list there are no guardians since they break how the list works- everything is hard to kill or impossible to spam shoot at range except the guardians- so they just get blasted off the table- that in a nutshell is why they don’t really work.

But when I have to have them, usually they just go into reserve and hopefully come on mid to late game and go to ground on objectives, etc. I prefer storm guardians with two fusion guns just to maybe pop an incoming vehicle trying to objective push me, no points for warlocks with everything else I need…

So in events where you need a minimum of six troops to just try and compete, having four scoring troops for the harlequins still keeps me in the game, but other than that, it is still the rangers/pathfinders and the plan behind the list that drives the army.

That said, I can’t wait for the changes in 6th to open up new opportunities for the clowns!

Getting Started With Tyranids CHEAP Warhammer 40,000

Yesterday we looked at getting started in the 40K hobby for as little as possible with Space Marines, so today let’s do it with Tyranids.

Space bugs that are always hungry!

Maybe a friend is playing Space Marines and you don't want to copy them, or the models and gaming lore of Tyranids appeal to you- either way we want to do two things- build a small and inexpensive army to get you into the hobby, and provide as many options as possible with what you are buying.

For Tyranids this is a bit harder since there is no started set for them like Assault on Black Reach and Ebay is kind of hit or miss with what they have- but we will take a look anyway!

Just like with Space Marines we are going to try and do this for $60 or less- the cost of a video game.

First up is Games Workshop retail as a reference point…

We want a box of termagaunts @ $29, a box of warriors @ $42, one box of genestealers @ $30, and a codex at $33 which adds up to….$134 (!). Again, we are in battle force territory here, and we have to do better.

We’ll talk about the unit choices I’m recommending in a moment and why I picked them.

20% off retail if you buy elsewhere online brings it down to $108, but this is still short of our $60 limit.

Time for Ebay…

A bit harder since Tyranids, and what we are looking for is not as plentiful as marines, but with some patience I think we can find what we need. Keep in mind I’m looking for new on the sprue, or built, and unpainted models. If you buy something painted and want to strip it, you might be able to get it for less.

Ebay search...

Three Tyranid warriors on the sprue is $20...

12 Termagaunts on the sprue are @ $18...

8 Genestealers build and unpainted are $18…

For the grand total of $56- combined shipping will take us to just under $60.

So that can be done, but you still need a codex at the minimum which is going for $20 on ebay, bringing our total up to $80. Ok, so it is an expensive video game…

For this army the warriors with all the weapons and upgrades on the sprue are critical- you can’t just buy three already built. The termaguants and genestealers we can buy painted and stripped as noted if they are cheaper then ebay "new".

So what kind of army can we build with this?

More than you might think, actually a lot of fun in the list.

The first warrior you are going to build as your HQ choice as a Prime. You want to paint and model all the upgrades and different weapon options included on the sprue so you can swap them out on the prime to try and have fun with different weapon combinations.

Stuff like this is normally done with small rare earth magnets in the hobby- magnetizing an arm or a gun so you can mix and match depending on what you are playing, but magnets cost money- eventually you will want to go that way, but for now we are going to use some stuff that is called blue tac around my neck of the woods. $1.29 for a few strips of it, it is blue “putty” that you put on the edges of posters to hand them on the wall- take a tiny amount and use it to stick in the socketed joins of your prime and your weapon swaps are all set. Being new to the hobby this will also be easier then modeling and drilling the model for magnets.

The other two warriors are going to be turned into lictors- angle the large scything talons up, add a second smaller set or the warrior hands, shave down the tail and you are set. One of my many lictors was made this way- this guy below is an example using the warrior body and parts, just with a different head.

Gaunts you build as gaunts and the genestealers as genesteaelrs.

Now onto the army builds…

As a basic list you have the following game legal40K army at just over 400 points before playing with upgrades…

== HQ ==

Tyranid Prime (1) - Deathspitter, Rending Claws

== Elites ==

Lictor (1)
Lictor (1)
== Troops ==

Hormagaunt Brood (12)
Genestealer Brood (8)
You have a nice little core of gaunts that the prime joins, the lictors can pop in anywhere for fun using deepstrike, the genestealers can start out on the table, they can infiltrate, or outflank opening up lots of options. With the models you have you can also play one of the lictors as Deathleaper to mix things up.

You can also play Kill Team and Combat Patrol games, join up in doubles games, etc. just like yesterday’s article.

Painting is also super easy- you can do it for about $10 following the outline here: http://saimhann.blogspot.com/2011/05/painting-space-bugs-101.html  and is totally within reach of a beginner even if you have never painted anything before- the results really look great.

Ground Floor- Getting Started CHEAP In The Warhammer 40,000 Hobby

Fritz here- we often hear how wargaming is an expensive hobby, and certainly 40K and Fantasy can have a huge buy in compared to smaller systems of more old time stuff like DBA, but is the “buy in” really that expensive?

Over the years I’d say- you can’t put a price on a good time, and the money I’ve spend on my armies was really a door that opened up stuff that you can’t put a cost on- fun and epic moments on the table, hanging out and making new friends, time spend driving and flying all over the country with the guys attending tournaments, Games Days, and other events. My little plastic and metal models have opened up so much for me over the years that it is hard to qualify if they were “expensive” or not.

But what if I was starting out in the hobby right now, bitten by the gaming bug, or perhaps still sitting on the fence deciding if I would jump in? Certainly it is more overwhelming now then what I started back as a thirteen year old kid with rogue trader.

I had two “armies” back then- Eldar and Imperial Army. My Eldar raider force contained about twelve models, and my IA army (no IG back then) clocked in at around twenty models and an imperial robot at its biggest. No tanks, transports, IC, monstrous creatures, flyers, or hundreds of models to make up your collection. It was easier to convince mom to give you a $20 bill to buy your army over the $500-$1000 price tag of most tournament armies today.

And that is part of the problem- is 40K really THAT expensive? Most of the blog-o-sphere out there is based on tournament play and that facet of the hobby, and certainly GW pushes big games and more toys for the money grab- but that is only a facet of the hobby. Maybe you will grow into it one day, and maybe not, but that certainly isn’t the place to start your journey., or represents all of Warhammer 40,000.

Manageable and sustainable enjoyment is key- getting your models on the table, rolling those dice, and building memories is the first step in the hobby.

So, let’s look at a game plan for how to get into the hobby at a real entry point- $100 dollars.

Is this a lot of money since a “hobby” assumes you have a little extra cash on hand?

Can we take it down another peg to say the cost of a video game?


Kids ask for video games all the time, and get them, so let’s say this is our price barrier.

For the new person entering the hobby I’d recommend Space Marines as they are the easiest to play, have the widest appeal, and most heroic background. Everybody can get behind the “good guys”- that and it might be difficult to convince your mom to give you money to buy a box of half breasted demon women or drug using elves that like to torture people.

For arguments sake let’s go off GW website for prices…

First we need an army book @ $33. I won’t get into pirated stuff here, and that said, owning the book is a must for both the points AND the history and fluff which fuels the imagination and motivation of your games and hobby. As a new player embracing the game history is a must as it provides the jargon and language used by your fellow gamers and the 40K culture that you will be joining. You’ll understand why that big fat guy keeps on yelling “WAAAAGGGHHH!!!” as he pushes his orks around , why the “Emperor Protects” when you roll the armor saves on your Space Marines, and why that dude keeps flashing you the Imperial Aquila hand sign.

Next we need a game legal and manageable army so we hit up two boxes of tactical marines at $37.25 each. This give you a small force to play with, some special and heavy weapons, and two sergeants.

Now we need an HQ choice and for the price I’d recommend going with either the command squad set or Marenius Calgar and honor guard set @ $35 or $41.25 each. Why? You get a number of models which you can use as an HQ choice, along with some extra models to mix in with your squads, use for other units, etc. Starting out this is a better value than just buying a single HQ choice like a captain or chaplain- you can make both these guys out of the command squad boxed set.

Time to add up the price…

$142.50 which is way over our $60 buy in, or even $100!

At this price point we might as well look into the battle force and a codex which is only a dollar or so more. Certainly an option, but I think we can do better. Order online elsewhere with 20% off and we can get the two tactical squads, codex, and command group for around $113.

Time to combine the magic of ebay and Assault on Black Reach with a little patience. Assault on Black Reach is the 40K starter set which comes with both Space Marines and Orks which retails for around $100, and while you can buy it with a friend and split the forces, etc. we are looking at getting into the hobby for yourself and with Space Marines- but it is something to keep in mind.

….I just searched up ebay and found the following…

Assault on Black Reach Tactical Space Marines, full squad of 10 @ $7.50

Assault on Black Reach Captain @ $2.00

Assault on Black Reach Space Marine Dreadnought @ $12.50

Assault on Black Reach terminators, five @ $15

Assault on Black Reach Getting Started Book @ $.99

Two tactical squads and the captain (which can play a few HQ choices) price in @ $17!

Add the getting started book for the basic rules, stats, and some intro fluff to hold you over till you buy the codex and we are at $18 to play the game.

The seller I found also had free shipping!

Next up is hobby supplies- you are going to need some basic tools and paints to get your army started. While you could get started in the hobby with a friend, most of us find our way through a store, hobby center, or gaming club- this is the lifeblood of the hobby and your next step.

If you have never painted your own miniatures before it can be a daunting task! Finding a club or group who can help you will go such a long way. The 40K community really is a wondrous thing, and while I can’t speak for everywhere, I’m sure it is much the same as where I am- if you showed up at the local comic shop or the Battle For Salvation gaming club with your new Space Marine force, myself and guys like Brother Captain James, Black Matt, and Jawaballs would sit down and help you get your stuff painted- we, and the club even have the paints and will help out with some of the harder details. You could paint these guys out in the course of an evening of gaming no problem. You just have to be friendly, social, have that interest in the hobby….and ask.

…which could mean we still have $42 left to spend on models, buy a codex, maybe some terminators, a dreadnought, or just bank the money for a few games…

So your army is painted, you are part of the group fresh faced and ready to go! You have seen some of the guys who have larger armies and you are wondering where to start, just what you can do with such a small army, and who would like to play with you.

With the two tactical squads and a commander you can play any of the standard 40K games since you have a legal army of two troops and an HQ. You can also play some of the smaller skirmish 40K games like Kill Team and Combat Patrol which work with a dozen or so models. As you learn the game, and get hungry for bigger battles and more units you can move into some doubles games.

A doubles games is where there are two or more players per side- your army would join forces with another army to make a larger game. This is a lot of fun simply because the more people playing the game the better- more chance for glory and wacky stuff to happen, plus it will give you a taste of some of the other models in the game. You will see tanks in action, dreadnoughts, and other infantry units. Maybe your team mates can let you borrow one of their units to command for the game so you can try it out. Find out what units you would like to add to your Space Marine force.

…then it is time to spend that $42 on another unit, and building and painting it should be super quick since it is only one model or a small group- even buying the codex at this point which is recommended would leave you $10 or so for another tactical squad, Assault on Black Reach terminators or other models off Ebay.

Stopping right there you could go for a long time gaming and having fun in the hobby, all for the buy in of around $60. If you find you want to go deeper the next step would be buying some basic paints and modeling supplies, and then slowly building your army up unit by unit- over the course of time, and before you know it you will easily have a full 1750-2000 point army.

If I had to start all over again, that is how I would get into the hobby…

Return Of Plasma?

From the space marine side of the game I really don’t see any plasma guns around these days. No pistols, guns, or cannons at all. Quite a turnaround from the las-plas days of 4th edition.

Why no plasma love?

Will it be changing soon?

From the pistol perspective I think a lot of guys consider it over costed.

From the gun side, the idea is a melta-gun is better short ranged anti-tank, and from the cannon side, well there are just too many things stacked against it for it to be viable- cost, overheat, and scatter.

That said, I think plasma will be making a comeback in space marine arsenals in the next year- I’m planning for it!

First is the over heat issue. Yea, it is kind of annoying, one of those fluff hold overs that GW just can’t seem to let go. Not a total big deal with the 3+ armor save, but it can happen. S7 is good- enough for infantry, light vehicles, and monstrous creatures, but for heavy tank busting you are going to need something else.

Right now in game terms I like plasma since it bypasses a space marine armor save and anytime I can do that is great since it annoys marine players not to get their precious 3+ save. From a math-hammer perspective it removes another layer of dice rolling that could prevent me from killing the model.

Now, let’s look at some of the rumors from 6th edition which make a possible case for plasma…

Reduction of cover saves to a 5+ and terrain only.

Improved vehicle damage.

Rapid fire weapons increasing their shots at range and not moving.

These three alone tend to lean a bit more for plasma- at least the gun only, I can still see not taking a cannon or pistol.

My pre-heresy Death Guard are built, and being built with three things in mind-

Skirmish style games/Kill Team, etc. where plasma can really down that small model count.

6th edition 40K.

The new “legions” chaos codex allowing them to play as both loyalist and traitor marines.

Plasma has a spot in all of those games, and this reflects in my tactical squads- each one has a plasma gun.


Will plasma be “cool” again?

Bring Forth Ye Dreadnoughts: Upcoming BFS Events

So here I am right in the middle of planning some upcoming Battle For Salvation club events. I know we have another tournament coming up soon, and then there is the Dreadfleet campaign I have been working on…

…and this club event that I have been wanting to host for a long time…

What is the most iconic model in the 40K range?

I’d probably say a land raider, or maybe even terminators, but in my mind it is a dreadnought. Dreads combine the best of both worlds a Space Marine hero, AND a vehicle, AND a robot!

As a Space Marine player how many dreadnoughts do you own? If you play Grey Knights you probably have at least three…

Visualize this…

A broken and blasted battlefield filled with rubble and ruined buildings. In the distance the sound of armored feet smash into the ground as smoke rises into the air and a legion of dreadnoughts come into view…

This vision, my vision, is to host a big battle with at least one hundred ( a company!) dreadnoughts on the table.

Imagine that eye candy…

So, it’s going to happen one of these upcoming Monday nights and the event will be open to any 40K players in the area (White Plains, NY). If you are interested, and have a dreadnought or two you want to throw down on the table, drop me an email and I’ll email you the info once a definite date and time is squared up.

Of course full pics and battle report on the blog after it happens...

Warhammer 40,000 HQ Tactics

Fritz here with a few finer points on the use of an independent character for those of you new to the game- ideas to keep in mind for when the opportunity arises for your heroic character, villain, robot, or space bug.

When we think of an independent character, often the first figure that comes to mind is the leader of our army- that HQ slot fill out that tends to do something. Maybe they have some cool in game powers, or change the composition of your army- these are things the points buy, but I’d like you to start thinking about your IC/HQ choice on the tactical level.

Of course this doesn’t always apply to every HQ, but the examples should give you a few ideas…

First: Use your HQ choice to extend the life of the unit they are with.

In my Necron list I have a big group of immortals that I’d like to keep alive as long as possible- sure the 3+ save and reanimation helps, but over the course of a game even a single saved loss adds up. In attaching Imotek to the group I can take the first incoming wound on him with little to worry about if it is a normal AP shot. He has multiple wounds, and a 2+ save. Against low AP models if I don’t have cover I can take his invulnerable save. This is the first way to use an IC that has joined a unit, and it’s extension gets even better of you have a way to re-roll that armor save like in the example of Eldrad and fortune when he has joined a unit. Another example is in Tyranid lists where I place my alpha warrior depending on the army I face- if I need to keep the hive guard up he goes with them, venoms for as long as possible then the alpha goes with them. Of course take that first wound or two and then ease off- don’t get your IC killed by counting on the luck of the dice.

Second: Breaking off for additional attacks.

Beginners to the game tend to keep their HQ choices anchored to a single unit and miss opportunities to break away from the unit at key points where it can really impact that game…

I had built up a nice Grey Knight fire base against a Necron and Tyranids onslaught but was still taking heavy losses. A group of heavy destroyers was blasting my terminators and every failed cover save was really costing me. Something had to be done.

With my last two terminators and grand master attached I moved out and broke off from the unit so I could engage the two destroyer groups at range with my psycannons. With one in the squad and one on my ‘master if I kept them together I could only (in theory) kill one unit- but in breaking off and leaving the terminators I now could fire at both units. Yes, I was aware that the grand master could now be singled out and killed in one shot, but at that point in the game it really didn’t matter. Know when it is “ok” to gamble with your HQ choice despite the 100+ point cost.

Third: Right up the center.

Know what your HQ choice brings to the game and when their time on the table is done. Switching back to Necrons and Imotek, you are only really taking him for the lightning attacks and his wounds/staff/gauntlet. When they are done it’s time to break off and march him up the table. Nobody really wants to waste a large unit of shots on a model that can’t really do anything, and you will be surprised at how far and what interesting places on the table that lone useless HQ choice can find themselves in.

That should give you some starting ideas on how to max out the point usage of your HQ choice- any examples or thoughts of more ideas?

Warhammer Fantasy Battle For Skull Pass Battle Report

This week Naps and I again battle it out as the goblins under my command attempt to take Skull Pass and claim the dwarven mines for their own…

Mission is a straight up frontal assault, almost suicidal for the goblins, but if I manage to get a unit past the dwarves just past the wall the gobbos win- if the dwarves hold the line they win.

Goblins are cowardly and weak, and even in numbers it’s going to be a tough fight but I have a plan. My two big units on the right with my gobbo boss, spider riders on the left with the troll, and the archers in the center. I want to take the charge with the spider rider and then break the dwarves on that side with the troll. On the right just pile in bodies and hopefully break the dwarves on that side. Archers look impressive given their numbers…but they are goblins, and on the move the chances of hitting anything is pretty slim.

First up is the grim faced defenders ready to hold the pass at all costs…

Gobbos spiders advance, take the charge, wiff, and run away as fast as they advanced. Undaunted I charge the troll and start smashing away with more lousy rolling locking the troll and the stubborn dwarves for the entire game.

On the right my goblin ranks dual charge the dwarf minders as cannon shot falls just short…

Up the center the archers fire on the dwarf gunners killing one as they eat some cannon shot and a full face of shot from the gunners routing them…

So now I’m stalled on both the right and left, and in an insane show of goblin courage my shaman steps forward and destroys the cannon with some little waghhh magic before going down to a hail of shot from the gunners.

When the gobbos on the right finally break it is over…as my stupid troll continues to bash away. Maybe the troll from Lord of the Rings Mines of Moria will do better. Dwarves get to keep their gold for now...