Wednesday, 20 February 2019

Messing with Primaris Lists

Hi all,

As you may have noticed, the blog has been very Primaris-focused recently, for which I make absolutely no apology! I dropped a fair whack of money on new models at Christmas and I’m keen to get them painted up and working for me on the tabletop.

That means that I need to figure out how best to use them, and part of that is experimenting with lists and combinations against a variety of foes. All this experimentation will most definitely feed into my reviews of the Primaris units that I’m working on for the blog. All this focus has also resulted in something else quite significant happening. I’ve sold the Dusk Knights. That’s right, they’re all gone (ok, except for a couple of models that weren’t painted etc). Still, onwards and upwards eh? The only downside I’m feeling at the moment is that I now don’t have a painted army in my ownership (oops!) but then since it’s not something we get too fussed about at my club and I rarely tournament I’m not getting too worried. If it’s still all unpainted in 6 months time I may change that view!

Tuesday, 12 February 2019

Shadowspear reveals - part 2

Hi all,

So last week we had some huge news drop in the 40k universe, the release of a new boxed set containing Black Legion and the new Primaris Vanguard Space Marines.

I posted up a few initial thoughts based on the release photos but like most of us I imagine, I’ve been thinking over the weekend about what the released info means for us all and what might be coming. It’s no secret that I love the Primaris range of models, but having played them a fair few times now they certainly lack...something. Specifically in my games that has tended to be any significant capability to deal with armoured opponents (knights in particular ripped me a new one when I played them). Now yes, you can counter that by saying I just need to take more hellblasters, but I like to think of myself as a bit of a purist and I can’t imagine Roboute Guilliman being happy with just relying on Hellblasters to provide the heavy punch to whole chapters of marines created during the Ultima Founding. So it’s with this in mind that I get excited by the thought of new Primaris models (and, you know, more plastic crack!).

With that in mind, I took another look at the released pictures and picked up a few extra little things I’d missed (including some blindingly obvious that I’m somewhat embarrassed to admit to!).

This post therefore is a logical extension of my previous comments on the matter, but extend beyond simple looking at the photos to try and figure out where the release is taking the faction in the future.

Box art photo:

There are a few other telling parts of this artwork that I’m afraid I missed in my last post (apologies, I was sleep deprived and hadn’t had much time to think on things before cobbling the post together to release on Friday).

What’s in the picture?

Ok so we have a command character with a bionic eye, a seeming combination of Intercessor and Reiver armour types, some kind of bolt rifle (looks similar to the normal cawl pattern bolt rifle, the magazine isn’t right for either stalker pattern or auto pattern). Loads of people including myself made the connection between his appearance and Sergeant Telion, but on further reflection and given the above, I’m inclined to think now that it’s a more generic command figure. We can’t see his shoulder pad that would tell us for sure, but given his position in the artwork I’m inclined to conclude that he’s the force Commander, and that leads me to think on reflection that it’s not Telion, who as far as I know is still a Sergeant. There’s something else that supports my theory there, which is as follows:

The guy in front of him is a Primaris Lieutenant (I know!). I’d previously suggested this might be a combat type Primaris unit, but somehow I’d missed that the rank badge on his right shoulder guard is quite clearly that of a Lieutenant (according to the Ultramarines Transfer Sheet that comes with Intercessor squads anyway). That explains the sword in his hand, though there’s slightly more to this than I’d first thought as well. The bolt weapon in his other hand is of a previously unseen type, it has some kind of scope/designator attached to it but not of a type we’ve seen on the Bolt Rifles carried by intercessors etc. He’s also wearing the Phobos (Reiver) pattern armour, including a Grav Chute! That’s something very new and to my mind, very significant! One of the biggest issues I have with my current Primaris force is dropping in my big unit of Plasma Inceptors but not wanting to overcharge them because they’re rarely anywhere near my Captain. If this Lieutenant is able to deploy via grav chute insertion, then surely it’s a logical step that Vanguard Captains (I’m pretty sure at this point that what we’re seeing is an all-new Vanguard force for Primaris, a distinctly different force to the traditional battle company type army we’ve seen so far, which in fairness GW all but confirmed in their article) will also be able to deploy in this way (I know, we’ve not seen a Vanguard Captain yet and the article noted that Librarians lead such forces, but it also specifically noted that they sometimes lead Vanguard forces, leaving the option open for more typical Commanders to come forward). That would make a huge improvement to the viability of several Primaris options, with mobility being one of their main issues at present.

There’s also a shadowy object concealed up in the upper parts of the image that I can’t make out (just below the Community text), but doesn’t appear to be part of the structure, and several figures in blue that I’m assuming(!) are Exterminators. And finally, sat immediately next to the Librarian’s shoulder pad (on the left as we look at the picture) is a blue shape. Can’t make out too much, except that it’s far more angular than any of the armour pieces we’ve seen on the Vanguard so far, and appears to have a battleline white arrow painted on it. Now it’s a stretch, but could it be the rumoured Primaris Transport/Skimmer?

I also posted up about the unit types revealed so far, postulating that we might be seeing in the box a Primaris Troop unit to give choices other than Intercessors. The other major thing that I missed (sorry!) is that the guy in the foreground of the picture is wearing a very obvious battleline unit marking on his shoulder pad (as are the majority of the units we can make out in the artwork). Reivers wear close support unit designations so regardless of anything else we might have seen, what we are seeing here is a new ‘Troops’ type unit wearing Phobos (Reiver) pattern armour. That then supports my theory about their guns - because the guns we can see in the artwork don’t reflect existing patterns of bolt weapon either.

So, what are the implications?

I’m reaching here, and drawing conclusions from stuff but bear with me.

I think that the Vanguard will be a new type of battle company, possibly replacing one of the reserve companies (formerly the assault company perhaps?) rather than a battle company, so we could be seeing some drastic changes to a chapter’s organisation coming (the logical extension of that being that if we’re seeing essentially a close support company structure, that a fire support structure will also follow). I don’t think the Vanguard replace the Scout Company, because there’s no indication they are not full battle brothers, and they wear full power armour (which scouts aren’t capable of). These Vanguard Companies will all wear the more stealthy Phobos type power armour, and it may also be that Reivers sit more within the Vanguard ranks than the more conventional Intercessor/Aggressor/Hellblaster ranks we’ve seen so far. They certainly fit with that stealthy, fighting dirty image that GW have set out for the Vanguard. So the next question then, is will the Shadowspear box include a close support unit for the conventional Primaris forces? I’d say no, but it’s conceivable that such a unit might follow on soon after, since Reivers were released shortly after the Dark Imperium box.

Looking even further ahead, we have so far seen three types of Mark X power armour released upon the world.

Tacticus Armour
Gravis Armour
Phobos Armour

Tacticus Armour we know is worn by Intercessors (battleline) and Hellblasters (fire support).
Gravis Armour by Aggressors (fire support) and Inceptors (close support).
Phobos Armour by Reivers (close support), and now we know this new Vanguard battleline unit, along with Exterminators (fire support?).

The other thing we’re missing is any specific veteran units for Primaris forces! We can make Veteran Intercessors through the Indomitus Crusaders detachment in Vigilus Defiant, but how about other veteran units?

What if these three patterns of armour are in fact, Company defining?

Might we see in the future Tacticus Company, Gravis Company and Phobos Company designations? Presumably there would be tactical flexibility between these to incorporate units in other armour types but the companies could be defined by the armour type of their battleline squads - might we see in the future a space marine troops unit in Gravis armour? Perhaps wielding a lighter version of the boltstorm gauntlets worn by aggressors (paired bolt rifles)?

Ok I’m very much into the realm of speculation at this point, but you heard it here first, and I wouldn’t be at all surprised based on what we’ve seen if the range truly does evolve in this fashion!

What do you guys think? Am I in the realms of fantasy or does my logic and reasoning lead you to the same conclusions? And more to the point, what’s that shadowy thing in the picture???

Till next time!

Friday, 8 February 2019

Did Astartes just grow up a little?

Howdy all!

Loads of stuff to update you on, so hopefully I’ll manage to get a few more posts written and scheduled over the weekend, but I just had to write something about the reveals from the LVO in the early hours of this morning first.


GW, I have to say at the moment you really are smashing it out of the park in my view! I’m going to concentrate on the Primaris stuff since that’s where my main interest lies, but let’s be honest, those reveals for Chaos are equally as exciting!

Wednesday, 30 January 2019

Path to glory - part 1

Hi guys,

I thought that as I’m taking a fresh start completely in a lot of aspects of the hobby this year, I’d also try and do regular updates of my games, and add in some analysis of them from a tactical point of view. That’s not to say I want to get all competitive over my armies and my unit choices, but more that in order to improve as a player, I think it’s important to take time to look back on your games and what happened, why and how to improve your play going forward.

Thursday, 24 January 2019

Hobby update 2019 - Part 2

Greetings all!

It might be a little later than before, but it's time for another hobby update.

This week I've been mainly working on my Swords of Dawn, though I'm going to be switching over to Kairic Acolytes for a commission once I'm finished with the first combat squad, so this weekend hopefully.

I also picked up a citadel painting handle to give it a try - I've got some buddies who swear by them so I thought I'd give one a whirl - see my thoughts on it a little later in the post. First though, some lovely piccies!

Tuesday, 15 January 2019

Hobby update 2019 - part 1

Hi all, me again! It's high time I resurrected a weekly look at my hobby progress I think, and though I've not done a montage image yet for this year that's no excuse not to get posting up some pics of stuff!

So far this year I've granted myself a little time off from my commission work, and have been putting several hours into my Swords of Dawn. As you may know, I'd got a scheme sorted for these guys and had just about finished all the Dark Imperium stuff when over Christmas I decided that I was going to change it all. Typical me that, I'm a true hobby butterfly after all!

Saturday, 12 January 2019

Meta shift in 40k and its impact on you!

We gamers love a technical term don’t we, especially ones that we can use to confuse or befuddle our contemporaries or those not involved in the hobby. Makes us sound clever and makes up for the fact we’re bad at sports!

Today I wanted to turn my attention to the biggest of these terms – Meta.

Monday, 7 January 2019

A Xenos interlude

Hi all,
I’m back again! See, I’m really making an effort with this blogging thing again!

Right, last time round I left you with a promise that I would update on the direction of my Xenos armies, and I certainly will. First though, I just wanted to do a quick round-up of the hobby week.

Wednesday, 2 January 2019

A New Year, a New Direction

Hi All,
so, that was 2018 was it? Wow that went quick!

As ever at this time of year, I tend to look at my life (both real life and hobby life) and re-evaluate things, trying to figure out where I want to be at the end of the year, what I want to have changed and done differently, and what I want to improve upon.

2018 was a year of huge change for me, moving to a new job after 16 years at my old place threw a lot of things up in the air and changed a lot of other things about my life, not least of which the 2 hours travelling a day I now do instead of about 10 minutes I did before.

But enough about the real life stuff, this blog is about my hobby and I've neglected it over the last 11 months, something I very much wish I hadn't felt I needed to do. So whilst this post isn't about making 'resolutions' as such for my hobby life, it very much is about trying to reconnect with things I love about the hobby, and blogging is certainly one of those things.

Sunday, 16 December 2018

Swords of Dawn - building a history

Greetings all! Long time away from the blogs again, I've got a host of stuff on the cards coming though, both hobby and blog related stuff! Hope you enjoy.

First up today, I've got some fluff for you - in this current realm of chapter approved and FAQ's tweaking the balance of the game to make things as balanced for competitive play as they can be I find myself rebelling somewhat and wanting to play more narrative style games, creating cool moments and events rather than finding that extra 1% (who am I kidding, 10% is the minimum I'd need to start competing!) in the rules to help me hold my own in more competitive games. It's no surprise either that this changed approach follows on from me signing up to and watching their more narrative approach to gaming, designing their own missions and playing in a narrative style (a particular highlight was watching a pair of Ork Generals squabbling amongst themselves and getting in each other's way on the tabletop on purpose whilst ostensibly joining forces to battle the Death Guard 'End of All Things').

Monday, 29 October 2018

Hive Fleet Echidna makes first contact

Welcome all, let me open a datafile for you on the latest threat to the stability of the Imperium since the opening of the Great Rift. May I introduce to you, Hive Fleet Echidna.

Saturday, 20 October 2018

Nid list thoughts, input appreciated!

Hi all!

So last time out I set out how I'd made a decision (with your help) to go with Tyranids for my next army choice, so this post of course is all about my thoughts on building a list with them. Now I'll qualify all this with a simple statement to start with. I don't have the codex yet. So all of my knowledge comes from a combination of battlescribe, and 1D4chan.

I've talked before about how I go about putting an army list together, and I'm following those same broad steps with this army. I should also just say however that thanks to the ease of putting lists together with battlescribe, I've already written several lists etc so some of these thoughts will be going over ground I've already crossed, whilst others are fresh. They are all up for discussion however, and for those of you with experience fighting with/against Tyranids I'm really hoping you'll be able to give me some insight into what I've said/thought.

Without further ado then, let's look at how I wrote my list (ps, this is the second version of this post, and it's a lot shorter than the first, so if you want me to go into detail about any particular choice, please just ask!

1. What's the army theme?

Simply put? Fast. I wanted to swarm across the board and overwhelm my opponents before they have time to really think about target priority.

2. Which hive fleet?

Two options really stood out, Kraken and Behemoth. Whilst Behemoth certainly appeals and has the potential to engage really quickly, the latest FAQ on arriving from reserve has really put a dampener on its day, particularly if you'd been looking to leverage reserves and re-rolling charges like I had been...

Kraken on the other hand lets me both charge after falling back (keep leveraging those charge bonuses!) and also roll 3D6 and pick the highest for my advance rolls.

Next up, cover the basics.

3. Board Control, target specific threats.

Tyranid Troops units don't appear to be that resilient from what I can see, so here I went for a combination of quality and lack of threat to push the target priority down. I pushed the boat out to get two battalions in the list, meaning I needed 6 troops units but would get extra command points to counter that cost. Equally however, many Tyranid Troops units benefit from being taken in larger unit sizes (I like this decision from the games developers, it really encourages you to go for the classic swarm style). In the end I plumped for two units of 16 Genestealers (with adrenal glands for +1 to their charge and advance rolls) - big enough to get the bonuses and survive a little bit of early shooting - and a unit of 24 Hormagaunts. Both of these units are incredibly quick and so they allow me to threaten the enemy army on turn 1. The Genestealers can advance and charge meaning they have an average threat range of  20", whilst the Hormagaunts are to my mind even better. Still an 8" move, though they're not allowed to charge after advancing, but with adrenal glands they get +1 to advance and charge moves, and there are a couple of sneaky tricks up the Nid's sleeves (do they have sleeves?) that means these guys can charge after advancing, or simply move a second time and charge anyway. With the combination of scything talons and numbers, the Hormagaunts also get to re-roll 1's to hit and to wound in the fight phase. Incidentally, whilst the advice I read suggested avoiding the adrenal glands, when you run the numbers they make interesting analysis. The average threat range of the Hormagaunts is 15" moving once and charging when taken bare bones. If you allow them to move twice then that goes up to 23". Still less than the likely minimum starting separation of 24". If you cast onslaught on them so they can advance and charge, then they will average 20". Add adrenal glands and the basic threat goes up to 16", moving twice gets them to the magical 24". Moving once with onslaught gets them up to 22". When you factor in those threat ranges, and the fact that you only need to get within 1" to get into close combat, simply having them in your list with that kind of threat range puts your opponent on the back foot, and could cause them to compromise their deployment. Equally, the threat of moving a second time and charging puts the Genestealers up from the 'dangerous' threat index into 'lethal'. Their threat range goes up to 33" when you factor in that ability.

For the second detachment, a basic 3 unit ripper swarm could pop up onto objectives in my own deployment zone and would pose such a low level threat the chances are it would be ignored. Add to that a pair of warrior units with paired boneswords and deathspitters to give me a couple of nice jack of all trades units to plug any holes there might be. The Warriors are also synapse creatures, which will help me to avoid any nasty morale checks I might have to take. 6 troops units would give me lots of lovely 'objective secured' whilst these units would be a sufficient threat to the enemy they can't be ignored (except for the rippers) which will take the pressure off the bigger units in the list.

Once I'd got the basic units into the detachments I needed to start thinking about the other required units - the HQ's. I've already hinted a few times at it, but the Swarmlord just couldn't be left out. Aside from being a truly epic blademaster with a potential 27 damage dished out in a single turn, his Hive Commander ability is the real reason he's straight into the list, allowing a unit within 6" to move (and advance) a second time in the shooting phase instead of shooting. Next up was the other no-brainer. With two units of Genestealers in my list, the Broodlord was a given, it's both a combat monster in its own right and boosts the abilities of the 'stealers to unholy levels (seriously, a 16 strong unit in range of this guy gets 64 attacks hitting on 2's and re-rolling 1's if you take the free scything talons). I also stuck the Ymgarl Factor relic on the Broodlord, giving me +1 strength, attacks or toughness each fight phase. This unit is perfectly capable of ripping even the most elite enemy units to pieces on its own. In similar fashion, the Tyranid Prime lets the Warrior units hit more efficiently (in both shooting and fight phases) and although he's not comparable to the Broodlord on his own, 5 attacks as S5 hitting on 2's and -2AP is nothing to sniff at when backed up by the warrior units. Finally, I figured that despite the Swarmlord and Broodlord both being competent psykers in their own right, a Neurothrope wouldn't go amiss. With a natural 3+ invun and few enough wounds that it can't be targeted unless it's the closest model, the Neurothrope is a decent shout for the Warlord of the army, which also fits with it being the 'Brain Bug' unit (you didn't think I'd get through this whole article without referencing Starship Troopers at least once did you?).

A downright must-have in any list in 8th edition, vehicles can be taken down through sheer volume attacks, but it's not usually very easy. Thankfully, the Nid codex can tackle vehicles in many ways. Although not quite as ideally suited as many of the weapons available to other, shootier armies, The Swarmlord, Carnifexes, Trygon Primes, Hive Guard are all capable of doing nasty things to vehicles in their own way, and even the Broodlord can take on lighter vehicles and come away with bits of wreckage impaled on its claws. I'm not sure I could field a Tyranid army without at least 1 Carnifex, so that had to be in there, and with monstrous crushing claws (effectively a power fist) it could easily wreck a vehicle in one turn on the charge. I also wanted a Trygon Prime. Remember how I mentioned earlier that the Hormagaunts had a nasty charge range with adrenal glands? It gets even nastier when you pop out of a Trygon tunnel only 9" away. The Trygon also comes with a pretty nasty shooting attack that can thin a horde nicely before a charge. The stars of the show however are I think the Hive Guard. Generally you see them with the Impaler Cannons, which are incredible I must say, but given the very specific role I had in mind for them, the Shockcannon seemed to be the way to go. Mortal Wounds on a 4+ to wound against vehicles and D3 on 6's? Yes please! My only regret is I couldn't fit another 3 in the list.

Yes, I've got quite a bit of volume power in the list, but there was one more unit I wanted to include, mainly for the rule of cool, but also because they're just so damn fast and fit perfectly what I wanted to achieve from the army. Raveners. These guys move 12"! 12"! With a second pair of scything talons and spinefists these guys could plough through units of chaff as if they weren't there. As with the other special units, there's a way of buffing them too, the Red Terror gives them +1 to hit in the fight phase, and when taken with scything talons, they have 5 attacks each hitting on 2's and re-rolling 1's, plus a further 4 attacks in the shooting phase!

So, in total the list looks like this:

Battalion 1

Broodlord (Ymgarl Factor, The Horror)
The Swarmlord (Catalyst, Onslaught)

16 Genestealers with scything talons
16 Genestealers with scything talons
24 Hormagaunts with adrenal glands

3 Hive Guard with shockcannons and adrenal glands (for extra range)
The Red Terror

4 Raveners with 2 pairs of scything talons and spinefists
Carnifex with adrenal glands, tusks, spore cysts, bone mace, toxin sacs, monstrous crushing claws and monstrous scything talons
Trygon Prime with adrenal glands, biostatic rattle and toxin sacs

Battalion 2

Neurothrope (probably the Warlord)
Tyranid Prime with adrenal glands, deathspitter and boneswords

3 Ripper Swarms
3 Tyranid Warriors with adrenal glands, boneswords and deathspitters
3 Tyranid Warriors with adrenal glands, boneswords and deathspitters

So there you have it, I open the floor to you all to comment, advise, refine and generally help me make this a better list!

Till next time, TBE

Saturday, 6 October 2018

It's time...

Hi people!

First of all can I just say a really big thank you to anyone who took part in my recent poll to help me decide which army to collect next, I'm really grateful for your input!

As is traditional for these sort of things, let's run down the results in reverse order shall we?