Thursday, 29 May 2014

Considered first impressions of 7th edition

Ok so I've taken a few days to sit down and think about it, and have discussed it quite a bit with my gaming group. Here then are my first impressions of 7th edition prior to significant levels of playtesting.

First of all the presentation, the book itself seems far more like it's been thought about hard when compared to the old one, splitting down the book into related components so you have a single book with rules, a single book with background and a single book with hobby stuff means we aren't all going to get annoyed lugging the big fat book around to games because we were too impatient to wait for a condensed version. This also means that we're less likely to be annoyed at GW for having to buy that condensed version when we finally give up on the big book. Inside the book is organised better too, and I already find myself being able to navigate it quicker than the previous version, with the rules in a more legible order. And finally, the presentation of the book is a step forward, the box it and the psychic and objective cards are all ridiculously high quality, and I really don't mind paying extra for them for that reason. One last point before I move on - the case for the books is the perfect size for the current range of hardback codices, so if you'd like to protect them a bit more, swap out the dark millennium and galaxy of war volumes and stick a codex or two in there instead.

Moving on to the actual rules then, I was pleased to see lots of little clarifications of things I've seen argued about online, and lots of little logical improvements to the game that also help to make it quicker.

There are three main areas that stand out to me however, as being big changes that will significantly affect how we play our games.

The first and biggest of these is actually the pre-game sequence. Objectives are now placed before deployment type is rolled for, and before table halves are chosen. What this means is that there will be no more placement of objectives right in the heart of a tau gunline, daring the opponent to try and weather the firestorm. Instead I think we'll see a lot of games with 'come and fetch me' objectives strung along no-man's land. This will likely force armies into becoming more mobile, and equally I think we will see more transports and mobile firepower to secure these objectives. You might even get first turns where little happens beyond both sides running for objectives.

I think it's guaranteed that army composition will change this edition, which leads me nicely into my second major change.

Vehicles got more survivable.

Not in a big way, but in a significant way, in particular transports benefitted from the rules changes.

Exploding has now been relegated to a damage roll of 7+, meaning many vehicles will be immune from exploding to many weapon types. I've had this in my mind since doing my tactical post on devastators, so I ran the numbers to see what the odds now are for a couple of typical weapon types.

For a space marine with a lascannon shooting at a chimera, the chances of destroying it with a single shot are now 1 in 18, down from 1 in 9 under the previous edition's rules.

That's massive, particularly when only a single result on the damage chart prevents the transport from achieving it's primary goal - moving into position!

The third and final change is obviously the psychic phase. Powers are now more difficult to cast and harder in general to deny, though now at least that is a possibility for blessings and conjurations.

I think we'll see more psykers on the table in general, and tzeentch will become very popular in daemon armies. It remains to be seen though whether the general fear about daemon armies spawning vast numbers of reinforcements becomes an actual issue, so I'll keep my powder dry on that point for now.

Finally then, I asked my gaming group to answer a couple of questions on 7th, first of which was that aside from the psychic phase, what did they see as the most significant change.

Ruleset likely to limit gunlines.
Barrage is no longer a tool for pinning units en masse.
Everything scores.

And my second question was what changes they would be making to their list, if any.

Adding psykers.
Using fewer troops units.
Dropping bike command squad.

Till next time!

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

A look at some tactical changes in 7th - marine devastators

Hi all, I thought I'd begin a series of tactical insights based on my experiences of seventh edition. Now bearing in mind that my experience so far has been a single game, I'm going to have to start with some theorizing.

First off then I turned my mind to devastators. These guys were almost never seen in 6th (I've used them a couple of times, but never played against them) and I wondered what, if anything, might change that with the new ruleset.

Clearly the difference for devastators is in damaging vehicles as the damage chart changed significantly this time round. The results of these changes are several, the first and most obvious being that only AP1 and AP2 weapons can cause explosions unless the vehicle is open topped. Instantly then the devastator arsenal is more limited, and even those penetrating hits are less effective - previously a lascannon/plasma cannon had a 1 in 3 chance of destroying a vehicle with a penetrating hit. That's now half its previous effectiveness at 1 in 6! The hit for multi meltas is just as bad, and drops from 50% to one third.

So where does that leave the humble devastator, we need to look further, and then we notice that the vehicle damage chart now has four results that limit the vehicle to snap shots only in the next turn (well, except super heavies). What that leads me to think is that it would be best to equip devastators with cheaper weapons to pick up glancing or penetrating hits and wrecking the vehicle through reducing it to 0 hull points.

Here's another little trick i picked up with devastators recently, that works even better now they can hold objectives. One of the big issues with the quad gun is that its low(ish) strength makes it difficult to get armour penetration, even if you do hit the flyer with all four shots. On the other hand, the icarus lascannon has a good chance of penetrating most flyers armour, but the single shot makes it unreliable in most cases. That's where the devastators come in, with the signum making that lascannon hit on a 2+. Of course if you have a divination librarian to give him re-rolls then even better.

So there you have it, devastators definitely got better in 7th, despite finding it more difficult to outright destroy their targets, though their role has changed somewhat.

15 hours in a room to get some painting done!

So it feels like it's been a while since my last post, we had a national holiday here in the uk yesterday so I'm a day behind on my post schedule. Oh yeah, and I almost forgot, 7th edition is here! I'll be posting up a few thoughts on that and the game I played on Saturday later, but first how am I getting on with painting the iron fists?

Well, with the European elections last Thursday I was manning a polling station from 7am till 10pm, which gave me plenty of time to dedicate to painting, especially considering we had only 9 voters in the first 6 hours!

So when we last saw progress, I'd put the base coat on the ironclad and was getting finished with the bike riders, plus i'd begun a bit of work on a razorback.

Well I finished off the bike riders first, and here they are in all their glory.

With that complete, and knowing I had a test game of 7th coming up on the Saturday, I concentrated on getting the ironclad together. It needs a final highlight, but is otherwise complete.

Then I lost focus a bit, I worked on the bikes for the riders, started base coats on my sniper scouts, detailed my thunderfire cannon and began work on my aegis line, photos of all of which follow.

So with a carnage game planned on Thursday, I need to get back to work on general stuff, so I'll be hoping to get the bikes finished by then.

Till next time!

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Keeping the pressure on

Hi all, only 3 days now until 7th hits the shelves, I'll be there at Warhammer world on Saturday when the doors open to pick up my copy - where will you be?

I've noticed a bit of a trend in my games of late, and it's been a really enjoyable one whilst they're going on, which is that the result has been up for grabs till very late on, two of them going right down to the last roll of the dice, which could quite possibly have changed things if the games had gone on longer.

This all started with the mega match against Tyranids I had, where I was behind all the way until the dying turns, when I finally managed to rid myself of the pesky venomthropes and my heavy weapons finally started to take their toll on the nine carnifexes headed my way. The last roll saw a unit of termagants break and run from the objective they were holding, and the game ended a draw.

The next week I played against guard, and smashed their fortress of redemption, along with their game plan, in the early turns. An inability to remember to take my jink saves though saw my bike units gradually whittled down, and in the last turn I lost linebreaker and an opposing objective, allowing my opponent in for the draw.

The third game saw me facing the black legion, both sides trading hammer blows throughout the game, but the two key combats both went my way around turn 4/5 and in the end the Chaos force was shattered and broken.

I finally broke this run last week, when another chaos force was annihilated by my firebase, the thunderfire cannon and vindicator combination proving too much to handle.

My point though is that those first three games were far more enjoyable to me than the last, and that's not to say my opponent in the last game want fun, he's a great guy and good fun to play against, but I just felt sorry for him the way his army dissolved under fire.

So on to the real thrust of today's post. What do you do when you've got your foot on your opponent's neck?

Speaking as a ‘friendly’ player, having never been to a tournament, I’d say that my aim for a game is for both players to have fun and enjoy themselves, and as such, I don’t go in for the dirtiest combinations I can find, and I’ve never taken allies to cover up my army’s weaknesses. That being said however, I still aim to win my games and I do get annoyed with myself (my dice) when I lose. I think therefore that the first three games I mentioned earlier illustrate my approach. In the first game I was behind, and I really began to focus on where my firepower would be most effective in terms of getting me back into things, I played hard and it got me a draw. The second game, I felt I was so far ahead early on (my opponent even said he was happy to concede at the end of turn 2) that I took my foot off the gas, and in doing so, got distracted, forgot about jink saves and let him back in. The third game the balance was about right, with both of us playing hard and going for the win, and the relative strengths of the armies, the general’s decisions and the dice deciding the result (as it should be). The last game, I felt extremely guilty every time my opponent took a group of models from the table (especially his warp talons as that squad cost him a lot of points), and looking back I could probably have relaxed a little before the end. The Guard game was still fresh in my mind though, and I was painfully aware that with a small unit of warp talons, a full chaos marine squad, defiler, terminators and a heldrake, he had all the tools necessary to make my life difficult.


So in ‘answer’ to the question, if I’m playing a game against someone ‘competitively’ (I have played club campaigns where this was the case) there’s no let up, keep the foot on the neck and if at all possible, find something else to hurt with your other foot. In friendly games, I’m far more likely to let up and do less efficient things, like accept a challenge from a daemon prince with my captain. It makes for a more fun game for both players, more ‘cinematic’ moments to relay later and who knows, you’ll never find out if your captain really could kill that daemon if you say ‘no’!


Of course the exception to this is those guys you know so well that you could annihilate their entire army by turn two and they’d still enjoy the game simply because of how well you’d played (though let’s be fair, dice would have to play a part in that kind of result).


Till next time, keep fighting, and keep winning!

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Alpha distraction.

Morning all, hope you're all fighting fit and raring to go today. Only four days now till 7th edition hits the shelves, so this tactica might get old really fast, but the principle will hold true I'm sure. 

Today therefore I want to talk about the concept of the alpha strike, or more appropriately perhaps the alpha distraction. By that I mean either in the first case, hitting the enemy so hard on turn one they never recover, or in the latter, providing them with such a threat they lose focus on the real problem.

In 6th edition, this concept lost some of its power, with only troops units being able to secure objectives the real threat to the game was always the troops units, and focusing fire on those meant you had a better than evens chance of winning. Rumour has it though that 7th edition will allow any units in a battle forged army to claim objectives, and so the alpha concept is back on the table as a game changing strategy.

How do you achieve it then? Well the army that excels at the alpha strike is space marines, as drop pods provide an unparalleled opportunity to get a lot of units in range of your opponent on turn one. Also as you can decide which drop pods to deploy you can place the correct unit in the correct place to counter any threat your opponent has.

Other factions however, don't have quite the same facility to deliver troops in this manner, so the alpha strike either needs to be long ranged firepower such as that employed by tau and guard, or you need to find another method of keeping your units safe. The alternative here is the alpha distraction, or in other words, putting something scary in a threatening position so your opponent has to focus on it. 

Some ideal units I've faced in this regard include pretty much any fast moving monstrous creature (winged hive tyrants/daemon princes for example), and the larger kits currently being wheeled out by GW, such as the riptide, wraithknight (yes I know these are classed as monstrous creatures but that definition is stretched rather I think) and baneblade. Think about it, if you've got one (or two) bloodthirsters about to descend on your guard command squad, you're going to want to do something about them, and you're not going to focus on anything else until they're dead. Now as the player employing that alpha distraction the downsides are that a) you are probably going to lose that unit, no matter how tough it might be, and b) if you make it too tough, it might get ignored. The wraithknight is the perfect example here, as it's completely immune to many normal guns in the game. Would you waste a 170 point tactical squad's shooting for one missile/plasma/lascannon/melta shot at a model it only has a 50/50 ish chance of wounding even with a direct hit? I wouldn't, especially considering it's still got five more to lose! 

So wounding it needs to be possible, and that's where the riptide and hive tyrants fit in - generally speaking most players will throw masses of dice at them just to get a single wound through, when that firepower is better directed at troops units who are more of a threat to the game result. I have a tactical squad with two plasma guns and a plasma cannon, they stand a decent chance of causing at least two wounds, and massed fire combined with a bit of heavier firepower would convince me to shoot more stuff at them in the hopes of downing them. 

So turn 1 is done, your threat is either dead having weathered a hail of fire, or it's still alive but only just. Conversely though, your troops units have survived a turn unscathed, and are that much closer to their objectives than they were, still at full strength and ready to unleash massed firepower on the enemy next turn (I would say decimating them but I'd hope to kill more than 1 in 10!)

So in conclusion then, the alpha concept is either a) punch them in the nuts early, then kick em while they're down, or b) send in the playground bully, and while he's distracting them, nick their lunch money.

Here a few more units that can perform these roles well.
Dreadnoughts, sternguard, dreadknights, imperial knights, basilisks, almost any monstrous creature and big-ass tanks.

Monday, 19 May 2014

Actual visible painting progress to report!

Morning all, struggling to contain my hobby excitement here today as not only have I developed my painting style to be a little faster than before, I've also got 7th edition pre-ordered and ready for collection from Warhammer world on Saturday. 

This is a first for me therefore, as whilst I got the 6th edition rulebook on release day it was delivered to my house and I then spent rest of the weekend away. This time there'll be no mistakes, I've bargained some time with my good lady wife to go over to Warhammer world to pick the book up, and I'm going with a mate from my club so we can pore over the rules together before having a small game to try things out.

With that in mind, I spent half an hour or so yesterday making sure my collection was organised into the correct boxes with no stray models anywhere, then last night I started putting the base coat on the only one not usable - and it's one I'd definitely like to try.
The ironclad dreadnought. I've long had a love for dreadnoughts, well, marine ones at least! I'd love to be able to field an entire army of them in fact, but until now it's not been possible. Now though I can certainly see myself picking up a few kits here and there to boost my collection.

For now though this is my one model for the iron fists, and so far I've basically limited myself to putting on the majority of the base coat, there are a couple of areas of blue, and the silver still to do before I can wash it. I've also picked out the parts I want to use on the base, trying to represent the myria ways a dreadnought has of killing the enemy by burying a fire warrior under its foot. Some gore will be required in the paint job here I think, blue gore of course!

For my 'default' army, I've continued work on the bikes I started last week, and the progress has mainly been on the riders this week, you can see where I've got to in the main picture above. As to what remains, I need to put the edge highlights on gold and blue, and paint in the chapter and company badges, then they're ready for varnishing.

Finally, with the rumoured changes to vehicle damage, I thought my razorbacks may see the light of day occasionally, so started base coating one of them.
Some conversion work is required here as I want to equip them with assault cannons, which some friends are kindly donating to the cause.

Hopefully next week you'll see plenty more progress, as I should have a good amount of time on Thursday to get some painting done, though somehow I doubt I'll achieve as much as I think I'm going to.

Friday, 16 May 2014

Farewell to 6th

So that's that then, no more 6th edition games for the Iron Fists, from here on it's 7th all the way baby - I'm looking forward to it I must say, and what a way to sign off this edition, with a crushing victory over the pain loving heretics of Slaanesh. The game was 2000 points, and I decided to go for a strong defence in my strategy, taking my standard 1500 list (as amended, without the command squad!) and adding a fortification network of aegis line with quad gun, bastion with icarus lascannon and skyshield landing pad (for the 4+ invulnerable save of course against the inevitable Heldrake.

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Batch painting - is it really better?

Hi all, and the posts just continue to roll off the production line! 

Today I thought I'd talk a little bit about batch painting, I've got over 20 years of painting miniatures behind me, and I've batch painted a whole lot of miniatures over the years, including one project of 120 clanrats for my old skaven army, which pretty much put me off painting any more skaven for years afterwards.

Now I'm a hobbyist who loves to paint, for me it's an important part of the hobby, just as important and fun as playing games, but we all prefer to play with painted miniatures don't we? So the answer to getting all those troops painted is often batch painting, and it's something we have all done I'm sure.

But my question today is, is it really such a good idea? It's certainly efficient, you get on a roll painting a particular set of parts and sooner than you realise, the squad is finished. But that's not my argument - because I find that painting in this way takes some of the fun out of it, each model having less attention lavished on it than if it were painted individually, where the time spent with a single miniature means I care far more about each coat than if I'm just painting a batch of ten shoulder pads.

It's just a thought, and I'll admit I don't have an answer, in fact I don't think there is a right or wrong answer, but next time you pick up a paintbrush ask yourself - am I doing this because I need to get something finished, perhaps for a tournament? Or am I painting because I want to? If the answer is the latter, you might find panting 1 model gives you more enjoyment.

Mini game spectacular - game 2

So here's the battle report for game 2 of the three played on Saturday, this time the four players were Marines (me), Tau (Pete), Guard (Mark) and Guard (Matt). I started opposite Mark's Guard, who had caused me so many problems in the first game, and I was determined to exact my revenge on them, even if it meant losing the game.

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Tactics for small point level games

Hi all, well if you haven't noticed by now, I played a series of three 500 pt games on Saturday, so I thought I'd follow them up with a little bit of a tactical article based on what I learned regarding games at this level.

1. First, marines can't take much for 500 points. My list consisted of two tactical squads, a librarian and a whirlwind. I genuinely felt lost without my centurions! Similarly the Death Guard army that participated was even smaller, just a lord, a solitary marine squad, a helbrute and a cultist unit.

2. Guard can take a lot more. Two guard armies took part, one relatively elite with two veteran squads, 3 ogryns, 4 ratlings and an hq in a chimera, the other with about three veteran squads, a master of ordnance and a leman Russ punisher.

3. Bodies count, as the larger of the two guard armies was really tough to put down, few 500pt armies can muster sufficient firepower to seriously hurt that many troops, even squishy ones. Conversely, it didn't take much to hamper the more elite armies there as even a few failed saving throws made a big difference.

4. Don't be too hasty, every kill counts! The ratlings infiltrated onto the objective in game one, and died, the armies that were most successful marshalled their forces and timed their runs to the objectives perfectly. Conversely, don't leave it too late, as a single failed roll can ruin your day, you want to be hitting the objectives the turn before the game ends.

5. Some things look dangerous, some things are - they aren't always the same things! I had endless problems dealing with a single chimera, it's multi laser, heavy bolter and heavy stubber being a constant source of pain and casualties throughout the first two games, particularly since my multi melta was limited to snap shots when it moved. Similarly my whirlwind was a target of fear from all my opponents bar one, and it attracted a lot of fire.

And finally,
6. Don't forget the rules. A couple of seemingly minor mistakes cost me dearly, such as look out sir on the librarian, who could certainly have tied up the ogryns in game one to give me a better finish, and making sure my whirlwind was hull down on the Tau too, instead of presenting a full side-on shot in the open.

Monday, 12 May 2014

What's new on the painting bench?

Morning all, hope you had a great hobby weekend! As you may have seen, I spent Saturday playing a 500pt series of games with friends, the report from game 1 is done, and games 2 and 3 will follow.

I figured however that I'd do a painting update as I've missed the last few. Well first off, I finished all the models I would be using on Saturday (except the librarian's backpack and base) by about half eleven on Friday night, and you can see their gathered glory above. Here's a better picture of the whirlwind, which seemed to create a lot of worry in my opponents on the day, only surviving 1 match.

So with those finished, where next? Well I've been doing lots of work recently, stripping down my old marine models and getting them sprayed ready for becoming iron fists, even play testing a few types of squad. Consequently I've been left with a dilemma. 

Which squad to work on next? My options were:
1. Centurions - I use them in almost every game, so they'd make the most of a paintjob, and I've already got one well on the way.
2. Aegis line - I bought one of these a couple of weeks ago, and again have done a bit of work on it. I don't always use them though, so I might just keep it as a side table project.
3. Bikes. I've got 4 bikes finished, with 12 more to do, plus 2 attack bikes, and as these form the basis of my normal list they're pretty important. 

I plumped in the end for the less fun but more necessary bikes, trying to get a squad finished, and here's the progress I've made from the first hour's work!

Till next time, keep fighting, and keep winning!

Sunday, 11 May 2014

Mini-game spectacular - Game 1

Hi guys,
well today i took part in a great event over in Peterborough, where five of us met up to have a day of gaming. The first two games we played as 4 player games, with one person sitting each out. The final game used all five players, with the fifth playing as a 'spoiler' defending the objectives in the centre of the table. Given the number of players, we decided not to use First Blood, as this prejudiced whoever went last. Secondly, we decided to award a victory point for each destroyed unit, to whichever army had killed the majority of that unit. Finally, we rolled off each turn to determine the player order.

So without further ado, here's a brief report of game 1, with games 2 and 3 to follow later.

Turn 1.
The Guard army took aim at the Iron Fists, and having run forward with the majority of the army, the HQ's lascannon team fired at the whirlwind, but missed its target. In return, the whirlwind launched a barrage of missiles into the Ratling squad that had deployed onto the central ruins, killing four of the five strong unit.

On the other side of the table (this was a theme, that perhaps needs addressing next time we try this, armies sharing a long table edge very rarely targeted each other) the Tau Hammerhead shot its railgun at the Helbrute, stunning it, whilst the Chaos army simply ignored any threat, running forwards heedless of incoming fire.

Turn 2.
The Guard player again went first, rolling a double one for his orders and thereby automatically passing all the others. Once again the lascannon shot the whirlwind, this time the shot was saved by the surrounding cover. The Chaos army moved next, again with everything heading towards the centre of the table, though the Helbrute missed the Hammerhead. That proved crucial to my game, as the hammerhead backed off to get a clear shot at the whirlwind, destroying it, while the fire warriors killed a cultist. In my turn, I killed the final Ratling, and wounded one of the Ogryns.

Turn 3

The Iron Fists gained the advantage this time, the Librarian's squad killing the first Ogryn. The larger squad also opened fire, killing a pair of guardsmen. The Tau opened fire again on the cultists, killing two and glancing the Helbrute. The Chaos army advanced once more, the Helbrute finding its range this time and destroying the hammerhead. The Guard went last, killing three tactical marines by shooting, and the Ogryns charged the two remaining squad members. The marines caused a single wound, with the Ogryns causing none in return, but their stubborness kept them in the fight.

Turn 4

Tau gained the initiative this time, the fire warriors killing two cultists, whilst the commander's fire was ineffective at killing any of the plague marines. The Chaos turn was very quiet, their troops advancing ominously once again. The Iron Fists were fairly ineffective this turn, killing a single model from the Guard command squad, and losing a model in the fight against the Ogryns. In return, the Guard shot at the Librarian's squad, killing the librarian and three other models (I forgot to use look out sir here, which might have affected things later on). The second veteran squad killed 2 plague marines.

Turn 5
The tail end of the game, and the Guard veteran squad killed three of my tactical marines, with the Lascannon from the HQ team and the chimera killing two more. The other veteran squad killed a single plague marine. The Tau army took aim at the cultists again, killing five as they chose not to go to ground, with the second squad killing 5 guardsmen.

The Imperial fists steadied themselves, took careful aim and shot down 7 guard veterans, though the multi melta missed the chimera. Finally, the Helbrute charged the nearest fire warrior squad, killing one, which was enough to see them fail their morale test and be run down.

Turn 6

The final turn, and the Chaos Marines went first, the lord killing a guard sergeant in a challenge, while the Helbrute charged the second fire warrior squad, with the fire warriors running again, though this time the Helbrute failed to keep up. The Iron Fists tactical squad claimed the nearest objective, while the multi melta marine charged the remaining guardsman, killing him. The Tau commander exacted a measure of revenge, wrecking the helbrute, whilst the guard Chimera killed the multi melta marine, and the Ogryns charged the tactical squad on the objective. 1 wound apiece meant a drawn combat, and the end of the game, with the contested objective meaning I was tied in third place with the Tau, Chaos beating the Guard army to the win.

Saturday, 10 May 2014

Tweaking the list

Hi guys, so the eyelids are drooping after last night’s write up – but I’ve been thinking again (I know, I really should stop doing that). I’ve played ten games with the Iron Fists now, so I thought it was time to take stock of the army, the tactics, the list and essentially, the codex. This was also an ideal opportunity to re-think my basic 1500pt list to see if anything needs adding/removing from it.

Friday, 9 May 2014

Black Legion? Smack Legion!

Hi all, it's very late here but I want to get this battle report written before I go to sleep and forget bits. Today I took on the black Legion, led by George, one of our club regulars, using my Iron Fists list explained here

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Musings on 7th

Morning all, hope you're all feeling positive and happy this morning! Cos today I want to talk about the rumours we've all been hearing about a new edition/update to the 40k rules recently.

First, GW kept this one pretty quiet, and although mutterings have been going on for a while now, we'd normally have heard something much further out from the release date.

The latest we've no doubt all seen is some pages from this weeks white dwarf, where the editor appears to be talking about some changes that are being made, first to the way armies are chosen, and second with the introduction of a dedicated psychic phase.

Now as to the first of these points, the article describes 'battle forged' an 'unbound' armies', with battle forged armies adhering to the force organisation chart and gaining certain bonuses for doing so. The unbound option apparently throws the foc out of the window, allowing players to take whatever models they wish, but not gaining the benefits of a battle forged force.

This immediately led to plenty of people online trying to come up with the most broken lists they could think of for unbound armies, and claiming that the game was yet again broken. What we don't yet know though is what the battle forged bonuses are, and until we do, there's no guarantee that taking an unbound army will be broken. Imagine for example a bonus that meant your opponents army could only start with a single model on the table and could only bring on one unit from reserve per turn? Then with all your firepower focused on a single unit you could very well beat that army of forge fiends, defilers and heldrakes!

I guess what I'm really saying here is don't read half a rule and claim it's broken, when the second ensures it isn't.

Secondly then is the idea of a dedicated psychic phase.

I've got mixed feelings about this, if I'm honest. I've played enough games now to know that psychic powers cause people problems, they forget to manifest their blessings before moving stuff etc, so I can see that having a dedicated phase will make the game easier to play, with fewer things to be done 'at the start of' a particular phase. I really do feel sorry for Astra Militarum players, with reserves, orders and psychic powers they must highly confused as to what to do first and when!

On the other hand, I don't like the implications of a dedicated phase on how that will apply to everything else - for starters where does it appear in the turn sequence? If it comes first you handicap any psychic shooting you may have as you won't have moved so could be out of range (and so by moving into range for next turn your opponent has the opportunity to move back out again!). Similarly, if you put it after the movement phase you hamper any movement related powers (such as giving a model move through cover). After the shooting phase are you going to prevent psykers from shooting in the preceding phase? That's just asking for yet more 'forgetful' moments, unless they're merely prevented from manifesting witchfire type powers. If it's after the combat phase, you're jut painting a target on part I your army if you bless them 'I'll just concentrate my fire on that unit with prescience thanks' so that it's effect is nullified next turn.

I'll wait and see, but it for me the creation of this phase is pretty awkward at best.

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Biggest isn't always best

Morning all, no painting update this week as a) progress has been glacial and b) I spent the weekend away.

Today though I want to talk about the use of points-heavy models and why they're sometimes not all they're cracked up to be.

Last week I played a 2000 point game against an imperial guard army with ultramarine allies. Now aside from the fact I really don't like smurfs, I think my opponent made a big mistake in his army selection. The army facing me had a fortress if redemption at its heart (Andy always takes this with his guard). Not only that, but the fortress had been upgraded with a void shield (which we agreed covered only the missile silo not the whole building), and the remote fire upgrade to allow anyone in the tower to fire the silo missiles or the twin lascannons without venturing into a different part of the building. Consequently I was faced with a full guard command squad joined by a smurf captain in the tower, who's BS of 5 would make the missile silo nasty indeed. Now the fortress itself is costly enough, and the upgrades make it an even more significant points investment. 

The threat it posed therefore was far greater actually than any other unit in his army, and I made it high on my list of targets, particularly since those missiles would be ignoring armour saves for a lot of my army.

Cue the centurions, now it's no secret at my club how much I love these guys, and they showed why again here. I almost always take imperial fists chapter tactics, which means they can re-roll failed armour penetration rolls and glancing hits, and add +1 to the building damage table. Needless to say the lascannons brought down the tower in the biggest way possible, killing all inside bar the guard commander and the smurf captain.

On his first turn, the krak storm missiles spoke, and though as I forgot to take my jink saves (4+ for turbo boosting!) I lost almost an entire bike squad to its shooting. It had to go, and on turn two, an attack bike popped the void shield covering it and the centurions repeated the trick, smashing the silo to rubble and killing most of the missile team on top.

In two turn then, my unit had virtually destroyed the heart of the guard strategy, for what should have been a half unit of bikes. 

In a similar vein, I played in a game last year where my strategy revolved around using a squad of terminators in a land raider redeemer to press my opponent back into his deployment zone allowing me to claim the relic. Needless to say his melta filled drop pod landed in my lines and blew up the raider before I even had a turn.

Both of these examples highlight the dangers of focusing an army on one particular unit in order to achieve the win, with the destruction of that unit making a huge difference to the chances of the army. Now Andy actually managed to pull off a draw in the end, but his job was made much harder by relying on such a point sink from the start, and similarly my game involving the land raider I just didn't have the models left to compete once I'd lost the raider, which also left the terminators stranded.

So in conclusion then, we need to be very careful when choosing a list that the points balance of an army isn't weighted too much towards a single model or unit, and whilst the fortress usually does Andy proud, opponents equipped to deal with these things (and with the advent of stronghold assault we all should be) are capable of ruining a strategy very quickly indeed.