Monday, 21 July 2014

A little gift before I go...

Hi all, I'm off on leave for a week tomorrow, so here's just a quick update on what I've been doing recently.

After the close call against Ryan's guard last Monday, I played the new orks on Thursday in the form of MJ's first test list with the new book. It largely consisted of two flyers, a war boss and nobz mob on bikes, lootas, burnas, 4 trukk mobs and some artillery.

I took a defensive list I've been working on, with three full tactical squads, a sternguard squad, two full assault squads, storm talon, centurions, stalker and two librarians, behind an aegis wall with tangle wire in front to cause a few casualties even as the enemy charges in.

The game went really well, with a few new elements from 7th edition showing through. One librarian managed to manifest flame breath, which hit two trukks and killed 6 boyz.

There were two key things that swung the game my way though, first was the terrain, which prevented my opponent from getting into combat as a group, and second was the mob rule in the ork codex, which meant that his trukk mobs, which weren't huge in terms of numbers, took casualties every time they failed a morale test, which really kept me in the fight better - larger mobs would not only have caused more casualties, but could also absorb them better.

On Sunday I went to the 40k open day at warhammer world and took in a couple of seminars with the boss Phil Kelly, Jes Goodwin, Jes Bickham and Robin Cruddace. These were really interesting, particularly illuminating was the message that came across loud and clear that releases from now on weren't going to be complete ranges, but would be focused on a section of the army, like meks in the recent ork book (speedfreeks were mentioned a few times as suitable for a supplement! but whether that means they're working on it or that they're not and therefore it was a safe subject to mention I'll leave up to you to decide).

Finally, I managed a bit of construction last night, with these guys being the fruits of those labours, this is going to be the Iron Fists honour guard for when I want to go full assault.
They are now undercoated, waiting for a paint job when I get back from Majorca.

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Vengeance of the heretics

Hi all, bit of a change from my usual Monday fare, for two reasons - one, haven't made any real progress painting this week, and two, I spent this evening playing a return match against the guard I beat in 7th edition release day.

I took the iron fists again, though this time thanks to my forgetful mind I was without my ironclad dreadnought, as I'd lent it to a guy from club last week and forgot to recover it before I left.

Probably that was my biggest mistake in this game, which was really tight in the end.

We played the crusade mission with four objectives down the length of the table, with most of the objectives in the central portion. 

The early turns saw little significant exchanges, and first blood wasn't secured until turn three - my bike squads surged forward and the captains squad made it into combat, but then the guard astropaths managed to manifest invisibility on the conscripts he was fighting, who were also fearless. Consequently, that combat ran on and on, only ending towards the end of the game, albeit still with enough time for the captain to wipe out another guard unit.

The vindicator and whirlwind, which were drafted in to replace the ironclad, performed reasonably well, though the deployment type hampered the whirlwind for range, and neither caused so much damage they were game changers.

The centurions once again were my men of the match, taking down two flyers, as well as several guardsmen when given no other targets.

The tactical squad and librarian made it halfway up the board before the guard reserves dropped into their faces, the multiple plasma, melta and hotshot las weapons causing so many casualties they were ineffective and eventually wiped out in combat.

In the final turns, the guard reserves secured the two central objectives, and though the captain was valiantly slaughtering his way through the guard rearguard, to be joined by the remaining bike squad, he couldn't do enough damage to claim their home objective.

In the end then, I lost 10-5. Had the captain managed to secure the objective, I would have had an 8-5 victory!

Next time Ryan, next time!

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

A look at super heavies - and how to kill them!

Hi all! Hope you’re well, today I’m going to talk about super heavy vehicles, specifically their strengths, weaknesses and ways to counter them in your games.
I should note to start, that I really don’t like Super Heavies. I don’t think that your opponents should be able to use them without agreeing it with you first, and I think on the whole they are pretty much under-costed in terms of points. That being said though, what are the rules like?

Monday, 7 July 2014

So much progress my eyes are bleeding!

Hi all, welcome to another painting update for my iron fists - and boy have I got a lot done this week for you to see!

What inspired this frenzy of hobby activity I hear you ask? Well, quite simply I had the entirety of Saturday to myself, so I got my head down and after 9-10 hours painting (with the odd break for food etc) I finally gave up at half twelve on Sunday morning. Progress was a bit slower than I had hoped, though I'm blaming the fact that my pot of Balthasar gold was thickening up and making it more difficult to apply.

So without further ado, what have I managed to get painted?

Well nothing is finished, but here are the terminators I'd started last week, plus a few more.
This gives me a full squad with alternate weapon options if I want them.

Next up, the bikes - these are the cornerstone of my main 1500pt list, so once this squad is finished I'll be much happier (I don't like using unpainted models).
And then I also decided on Saturday to give some assault marines a bit of love - I know this isn't the heady days of fifth edition when combat was king, but to my mind assault marines are an integral part of the marine ethos and I want plenty in my collection!
The eagle eyed amongst you will notice there's no sergeant in that squad, and that it's only nine men strong.

Well here he is, just a bit of work on his base and he'll be completed.
Till next time, hope you enjoyed looking at these guys as much as I'm enjoying painting them!


Wednesday, 2 July 2014

A little look at terminators

Hi all, time for a few tactical thoughts on the application of terminators in this great game of ours under the new edition!

First up, we need to look at offensive damage options, so for a standard terminator squad we're looking at storm bolters, with backup from assault cannons, heavy flamers or cyclone missile launchers. Well that's an easy one really, as the only option that boosts firepower without also removing it is the cyclone missile launcher since it can be fired in addition to the storm bolter. The downside really now is that missiles aren't as useful as they were, and the cyclone is no longer really able to give you a dual function against vehicles (even if you have two!). It does still function fairly well against elite infantry and hordes though, and whilst it doesn't improve the terminators efficiency hugely against either, it does help a bit. The assault cannon is my personal favourite option, terminator shooting is still a bit weak to my mind (ok very weak!) and the extra shots combined with the better AP of the assault cannon adds a nice punch that works against both heavier infantry and hordes. Whatever you do though, don't rely on it rending to get you wounds against elite infantry, so only shoot them if you have no other targets. Finally we have the heavy flamer, and again thanks to its higher strength and AP it works well against heavier infantry and horde armies, the downside being you have to be much closer to do that damage, so close in fact you'll be getting charged if you don't take out your opponent.

The 'tactical' terminators still have one further trick up their sleeves, and that's three S8 AP2 attacks each on the charge, so even some dedicated combat units can struggle to beat them up close and personal, and that many high strength attacks are bound to worry the majority of vehicles in close assault as well

Next up we have the assault version of terminators, as if normal ones weren't bad enough you can either take the slightly defensive option of thunder hammers and storm shields to make them really tough, or give them lightning claws to make sure they strike as early as possible. Clearly these two weapons are intended for different purposes, with lightning claws dishing out high quantities of wounds (4 attacks on the charge with re-rolls to wound) and THSS guys holding up just about anyone.

Despite all this though, terminators are still difficult to work with (at least I seem to struggle) so here are a few tactical thoughts I've had on their use, based on my (bad) experiences of using them and (worse) experiences of facing them.

My latest experience against terminators was to face a death wing list dropping in my face in turn one (after my turn one of course) and all of a sudden being faced with over twenty guys with 2+ saves (when your plasma guns and vindicator gunner can't hit a barn door apparently) was less than fun. Similarly I've played games where a single squad of guardsmen has taken down six of mine in a single round of shooting, so that save can be fragile if you're rolling poorly.

Terminators are no slower than the rest of your army, so this shouldn't affect them, but it really seems to, you just can't afford to have that many points not affecting the game either so deploying them in the right way becomes key. You have three options, buy them a transport, deploy them on foot or keep them in reserve to deep strike. 

The first of these is expensive, the only transport options being over 200 points themselves. If you take a transport, you need to make sure that it is going to affect the game too, and that many points invested into one unit, it needs to win you the game.

Second, the footslog. The big issue here is how quickly they can get into a position to affect the game. Running means not shooting, which if you run over 4" you can probably live with, but Sod's law says if you forego your shooting to run, you'll end up going a couple of inches at most, and won't be any better off.

The final option therefore is the deep strike. It more or less guarantees you get into the thick of things right away, but potentially you could only have two turns to play with by the time they arrive.

Of these three, I prefer the deep strike, just, from transport and then footslog. And the reason for that is that generally, a deep striking terminator squad will affect the game outcome. They can land right on an objective late in the game, or they can arrive in amongst the enemy laying waste to their battle line on turn 2, but either way they're making things happen. When I took a full unit of termies footslogging, they spent the first three turns advancing across the board, their firepower being ignored by my opponent while they tried to close on his lines, and the next three turns slogging back as I realised they wouldn't be needed on that side of the table. Rookie error maybe, but that's how much these guys tread the tightrope, in that game they were a complete waste of points, barely killed a thing and attracted very little fire because my opponent had little that could really hurt them.

So what's good for tacticals is double good for assault guys, right?

Well sort of. 

The key part as far as I can see to using terminators is to commit. A single unit of five is great, but to really have a game changing effect you need to have numbers too, after all a bad turn of rolling saves, even against lasguns, can see a small unit reduced below an effective level. 15 or 20 deep striking into your lines however, particularly if you can improve your reserve rolls, throws your opponent into disarray. Few armies would actually try to charge terminators thanks to that save and their combat weapons, but four combat squads of five can pin your opponent into place, allowing your other units to move in and secure objectives.

I appreciate this has been a fairly brief tactical post (stream of consciousness might be a better term), but remember, terminators don't have to survive to win you the game, the sacrifice of the entire ultramarines first company allowed the rest of the chapter to manoeuvre into position to drive the tyranids from Macragge. If you have to sacrifice 800-900 points of models to win you a game, you'd take it!