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April 30, 2007

Death Guard: Infantry (Loyalist & Traitor)

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I realized I had never put up some nice pics of the meat and potatoes of my Death Guard army: The Infantry!

I wanted to put up 3 pics here so I can talk about something that everyone in the Pre-Heresy community can take advantage of; a little pre-planning.

From the outset, I wanted my army to be usable as both Loyalists and Traitors, and not have to start over from scratch and paint 2 entirely different armies. So I did a little preplanning. Nothing major, just an hour of so going through all the possible bits and minis GW offers in both the CSM and Imperial SM ranges (dont forget about the Collector's Range as there is quite a bit of good stuff in there for a Pre-Heresy hobbyist to enjoy)

I decided right off after looking at the pre-heresy paint scheme in the Death Guard Index Astartes article, that my loyalist would be filthy. These aren't dandies like the Emperor's Children or the Imperial Fists, but battle hardened troops used to being in the field. So, they got a decent dirty brown wash that I didn't clean up too much to give them that weathered look I was going for.

You can see the results in the top pic (a purely Loyalist Imperial squad)


When it came time to do the Traitors, I decided on ONE quick change, Imperial Backpacks. Thats it. I went ahead and threw in a Imperial shoulderpad or bolter here and there, but overall the only "big thing" I did was swap out the backpacks. When painting them, I went slightly heavier on the dirty brown wash, but used the same technique.

You can see the results in the middle pic (a purely Plague Marine Traitor squad)

Now the test. What my preplanning did was allow me to mix and match freely when I play using the CSM codex. While at a very close distance some individual models might draw attention to themselves, You can generally get away with mixed squads, and from over 1 foot, you would never know that they were from 2 different ranges.

You can see the results in the bottom pic (a mixed Imperial/Plague Marine squad)

Its not hard, and you can do it with almost any of the legions. So go out there and have some fun!

Project: Blood Angels Assault Army

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Thanks to the fine contributors of Warseer, I've been lucky enough to preview the new Blood Angels mini-codex that will be published in White Dwarf. The chance to field an all Jump Pack army is just too much to pass up. Long-story-short I'm starting a new project.

Today at lunch, Bigred and I ran to our local game store to load up on Assault Marines. The good people at BattleForge Games helped us find what we needed (and ordered what they didn't have in stock). Speaking of which, if any of you are ever in the Austin area on Friday nights, please drop in and say hi. Bring a 2,000pt army.

So tonight I'm starting the arduous task of assembling

Here's a rough draft of the list I'm putting together:

HQ
-- Commander Dante (w/BA Standard); 215pts
-- Chaplain (Jump Pack); 120pts
-- Honor Guard (Standard Bearer, Sanguinary Priest, Jump Packs, 2 Plasma Guns); 210pts

ELITE
-- 6 Death Company (Jump Packs); 30pts
-- 10-man Veteran Assault Squad (2 Power Fists, 2 Meltaguns); 355pts

TROOPS
-- 5-man Assault Squad (Power Fist, 2 Plasma Guns); 180pts
-- 5-man Assault Squad (Power Fist, 2 Plasma Guns); 180pts

FAST
-- Landspeeder Tornado; 100pts
-- Landspeeder Tornado; 100pts

HEAVY
-- 10-man Devastator Squad (2 Missile Launchers, 2 Plasma Cannons); 255pts
-- 10-man Devastator Squad (2 Missile Launchers, 2 Plasma Cannons); 255pts

That gives me a 33 Assault Marines, 20 Devastators, and 2 Landspeeders. With Combat squads, this gives me 12 scoring units. Eventually, I'll field only Jump Packs and Landspeeders.

TACTICS:
Commander Dante and the Chaplain join the Honor Guard (gaining +1A because of the Standard Bearer). They advance with the Death Company (staying within 6" of the Chaplain). Dante Inspires both units (allowing them to hit on 3+) and his mask makes their opponents -1WS. Dante and the Chaplain can move freely between the Death Company and the Honor Guard, which will be handy and everyone is Fearless.

The Sanguinary Priest protects the Honor Guard Plasma Guns on my turn and both the Honor Guard and Death Company on my opponent's turn. I love Apothecaries - especially in expensive units!

The plan is to split the units into Combat Squads (total of 6 squads) and advance under the withering fire of my Devastator (also split into Combat Squads). I have no idea if it will work, but it should be lots of fun!

Any one else working on a new Blood Angels army? I'd love to hear about it!

April 27, 2007

BATTLE REPORT: Death Guard vs. Space Marines

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Well Bulwark and I had a nice game this week. We hope to bring you more Battle Reports in the future so this post is a trial run.

We rolled up a Rescue (the mission with the 6 objectives, one of which is the real one and 5 are dummies), and agreed to a 2000pt game.

Armies

Bigred: 2000pt Death Guard Plaguespear
(white army in the pics)

Bulwark: 2000 Doctrine Marine Army Consisting of:
(grey/yellow army in the pics)


  • Commander

  • Chaplain

  • 3x 10man Tactical squads with CCW/Bolt pistols (doctrine); 2 in Rhinos

  • 2x 10man Devastator squads with 4x Missile launchers

  • 3x Venerable Dreadnoughts in Drop Pods (doctrine)

  • Vindicator

  • Land Speeder

Bulwark's is a tough army that can lay down the fire, strike aggressviely, and lay down the smack late game with the arrival of the 3 dreads.


The Game


Deployment:


The 6 objective (marked by orks) were skattered roughly mid-field with 4 being concentrated on the Death Guard right flank (top of the picture). All terrain on the board is Height2: area terrain.


My Deathguard deployed behind cover in their vehicles middle of the deployment zone with 2 midfield infiltrating plaguemarine squads on the far left and right flank to support objective grabs. Bulwark's Marines masssed behind the hill in the middle of his deployment zone with his Devastators sitting on his far left and right flank.


Turn 1 -top:


Roaring into action, The Death Guard armoured force moves up finding cover behind the large central forest. A rhino squad disembarks in some nearby ruins to uncover and objective...its a decoy. My infiltrators (both flanks) hold behind LoS blicking cover.


Turn 1 -bottom:


Bulwark's marines move into action to counter my armoured thrust. Two of his rhino squads (with his commander) move up to the far side of the midfield forest and one disembarks onto an objective behind it...decoy! That leaves 2 objectives in the sparsely populated Death guard left flank (bottom of picture), 1 on the far right flank, and 1 in the middle of the central mid-field forest. Some devastator fire finds a narrow fire corridor and destroy a DeathGuard rhino that had just disembarked it's squad the previous turn.


Turn 2 -top:




Its time to get stuck in. The Deathguard Land Raider, moves up and unleashed its cargo of Possessed into the marines in the rear forest, supported by the infiltrators on the right flank. Both squads of rhino havocs advance and unleash a volley of plasma fire on Bulwark's leftflank devastators, to some effect. On the Death guard left flank, the infiltrators summon down a squad of plaguebearers to assault the opposing devastator squad in the forest and move into cover to support them with rapidfiring weaons.


In the assault, the marines lose an entire squad including their commander against the rending possessed, and the plaguebearers stalemate agaisnt the already damaged devastators. The marines's central front is weakening...


Turn 2 -bottom:


Spring into action on the marines central front a vindicator pushes into area terrain, and blows a chunk of the possessed to bits, along with some nearby plaguemarines with assistance from the isolated and weakened marine dev squad on their far left. Bulwark's chaplain and 2 supporting tactical squads race to charge into the plagebearers on their right flank to stabilize the lines, and inflict hurtful blow against the plaguebearers.


Turn 3 -top:




With the Deathguard left flank weakened by the arrival of 20 more marines led by a chaplain, something must be done. Papa Nurgle provided and the nearby infiltrating squad summons another 12 daemons who slam into the combat... (look at the lower left forest in the pic) which now has over 40 models in it. With no more deamons to summon, the infiltrating squad now weakened by nearby landspeeder retures back behind their cover to wait out the outcome.


On the midfield, the possessed champion has unelashed the great unclean one who destroys the vindicator and eliminates the last of the marines central flank. The remaining dev squad on the far left marine flank is eliminated in HtH. Bulwark's marines end the turn with no middle of left flank. On their right flank, disaster strikes as the plaguebearer assault was to much, and 2 of 3 squads break and flee the combat.


Turn 3 -bottom:


In the nick of time, all 3 of Bulwark's venerable dreadnoughts arrive (in their festive Easter egg droppods). In a flurry of Assault cannon rounds, they eliminate the Death Guard left flank infiltrators. While they can not grab objectives (only infantry can), they have made the marine right flank almost impossible for the Death Guard to operate in, and are sitting near 2 of the remaining 4 objectives.


Turn 4 -top:




With the Marine force eliminated from the Death Guard central and right flanks they turn to reposition to claim the center and face the 3 venerable dreadnoughts. The Land Raider wheels into the central forest, supported by a havoc squad and the Great Unclean One, closing in and crippling the closest dreadnought directly in front of them. The remaining plaguemarines advance to their rhinos and prepare to embark to race across board if needed; unveiling the last far right flank objective...decoy!


On the Death Guard left flank, the plaguebearers leave the forest of the huge assault (staying within 6" of the fleeing marines to make them continue to rout off the board, and unveil one of the left flank objectives...decoy! There are now only 2 objectives left... one in the central forest directly infront of the oncoming Deathguard forces, and one on the far Death Guard left flank over 3 feet away and behind 2 foul-tempered Imperial venerable dreds!


Turn 4 -bottom:


There are not many marines left, but what remains stakes their claim to their one nearby objective (directly to the left of the bottommost droppod in the picture, in the forest) by blowing away all but a handful of the plaguebearers and advancing to place themselves between it and the Death Guard.


Turn 5 -top:


Advancing further into the central forest, the Havocs uncover their objective..... And they HAVE IT!!! A load of tension is relieved from Bigred's shoulders as Bulwark hunkers down and prepares to go down swinging. The Great Unclean One, advances on the nearest midfield Dred, to keep it from charging the havocs and locking up the objective. What is left of the plaguebearers, escort the 2 marine squads off the board (finally), and dive into the remnants of the Chaplain and his tattered squad to keep them out of the game for as long as they can. A second squad of Plaguemarines embarks in their Rhino and races to the central forest to consolodate their prize.


Turn 5 -bottom:


With no chance of victory in hth, the dreadnoughts back off and with a remaining land speeder lay torrents of Assault Cannon fire into the GUO, and in a sickening heap of gore and filth, it slides to a steaming halt...dead. Bulwark shows a small grin, and the chaplain kills the last of the plaguebearers in hth, and advances as fast as they can to the central forest. They know they won't make it in time.


Turn 6 -top:


The 2nd Death Guard Rhino delivers its squad into the forest and they also reinforce the objective while the Land Raider moves off to trade fire with the Dreadnoughts to no effect... tick,tock.....


Turn 6 -bottom:




With one final burst of AC fire more in defiance than determination, the Venerable Dreads lay into the Land Raider to no effect. With no chance of reclaiming the valuable prize, the 2 ancient machines along with their recon landspeeder escort their chaplain off the field.


Conclusions


Death Guard victory!!! A great time was had by all. It was a rough bitter slog and a nailbiter down to turn 5 when I FINALLY grabbed the objective. The Death Guard pulled through in the end, but that doctrine space marine list of Bulwark's is a bear.


I hope you enjoyed the battle report and please leave any feedback or comments. We are always looking for better ways to present these to you guys.

April 25, 2007

TACTICA: Eversor Assassin

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"Fear me, for I am your apocalypse." -- Dictatus Eversor

I'm not ashamed to say that of all my deadly children, the Eversor Assassin is my favorite. Although he seems to be popular only with veteran players, the Eversor is the most versatile, cheapest, and most forgiving of the Imperial Assassins. He should be part of every Imperial player's bag of tricks.

In previous articles, I've referred to the Eversor as the Officio Assassinorum's Sword. It is an apt metaphor; he is a weapon of brutal and ruthless destruction. The Eversor is deployed when heresy and corruption takes control of an entire regime and the eradication of a single leader would be useless. He is a cruel and perfectly efficient killing machine and he specializes in leaving havoc and terror in his wake to deliver the message of Imperial retribution.

EVERSOR 101.
For the points, the Eversor is the most effective close combat model that an Imperial player can buy. He combines Infiltrate, an 18" assault range and up to 10 Power Weapon attacks for a first turn charge that has a reasonable chance of bringing down any model in the game.

The Temple Eversor Assassin is armed with an Executioner Pistol, a Neuro Gauntlet, Power Weapon, Meltabombs and enough Combat Drugs to kill a Carnifex.

The Executioner Pistol is a great weapon that is often forgotten in the rush to assault. The Fast Shot ability allows the Eversor to shoot the pistol twice and charge. The weapon is particularly effective against high Toughness models because it always wounds on a 4+.

Note: The Eversor is the only Imperial Assassin armed with a close combat weapon and a pistol; affording him the +1 Attack bonus for two one-handed weapons. So unlike his brethren, he has a base Attack characteristic of 4. On the charge he is particularly devastating with D6+4 attacks!

In close combat the Eversor may choose between a Neuro-Gauntlet (a Power Weapon that wounds on a 4+ regardless of Toughness) and a Power Weapon. Which weapon he uses depends on the Toughness of the model. This means the Eversor can never wound on worse than a 4+. This is very handy against T5+ models (he's a Wraithlords worst nightmare). The Power Weapon is used on models with T3 or worse which prevents the Eversor's S4 from going to waste.

Combat Drugs allow the Eversor to make a 12" Assault move and give him D6 extra Attacks when he charges (instead of the normal +1). Combined with the Infiltrate ability, the Eversor is capable of making first turn assaults reliably (putting his 5 to 10 Power Weapon Attacks to good use).

Dirty Trick #1: The Eversor is the only Assassin armed with Meltabombs. When used with Combat Drugs and the first turn, the Eversor is able assault a high AV vehicle and hit with Meltabombs automatically. This is very effective against opponents that use expensive transports (loaded with more expensive units). Nothing is more demoralizing for an opponent than to have his Landraider destroyed (and the expensive occupants Entangled and/or killed) before his first turn. For you Mathhammer fans out there, the Eversor has a 31% chance of destroying a stationary Landraider -- not too shabby.

Dirty Trick #2: If the Eversor uses the above trick to take out a transport. Make sure that you roll per model on the Emergency Disembarkation Table (BGB, p68). This is a great way to put a wound on an Independent Character or take out a special weapon. I've had my Eversor take out 400+ points on his first turn by destroying a Landraider and wounding ICs with the Emergency Disembarkation.

By the way, even if you don't destroy the Landraider you have a 61% chance of forcing the occupants to disembark using the Emergency Disembarkation table (and in most of those instances, the unit will be Entangled and vulnerable to a second turn assault by the Eversor) -- also not too shabby.

The Eversor has another neat little ability called Bio-Meltdown! The Officio Assassinorum has little to worry about disloyalty from a Temple Eversor Assassin -- if he fails in his mission, he explodes. If killed, place a Blast marker over the center of the Eversor and resolve an automatic S5 hit against any model touched. This rarely has any effect, but players seem to be afraid of it. I've known players that chose not to assault the Eversor because they didn't want to risk losing models to Bio-Meltdown.

Dirty Trick #3: Bio-Meltdown causes a S5 automatic hit to any model touched by the Blast marker. This is great against swarms (they take double hits) and lightly armored vehicles. When you assault, try to maneuver your Eversor into a position where the Bio-Meltdown blast can touch a nearby open-topped vehicles (or a tank's fragile rear armor).

WHEN TO USE AN EVERSOR.
Unlike the other Imperial Assassins, the Eversor should never work alone. In most games he can take on any squad for one turn, but can easily be brought down by large numbers and hidden Powerfists. To keep him in play, you must support him with another unit as quickly as possible. I recommend an Infiltrating unit (like Deathcult Assassins) or a fast unit (like Assault Marines or Seraphim). The sooner you can get another unit in close combat the higher the chance that your Eversor will survive.

The best time to use an Eversor is when you need your opponent focusing on his deployment zone. I combine him with strong shooting armies. This forces my opponent to choose to focus his assault element on moving forward to eliminate my gun line or to take care of my Assassins in his deployment zone. Used properly and the Eversor can give you one or two more rounds of shooting against a fast-moving assault army.

HOW TO USE AN EVERSOR.
I try to place my Eversor 12.0000001" from the unit I wish to assault in a location that blocks line of sight to as much of my opponent's army as possible. This helps me in two ways when my opponent gets the first turn: a) it minimizes the chance that my opponent will kill my Assassin during his shooting phase, and b) it prevents the unit I wish to assault from assaulting me (few units have the ability to assault more than 12").

If I have more than one unit Infiltrating (I usually use 3-6 Death Cult Assassins with the Eversor), then I make sure that there are models a bit closer to my enemy. Never miss an opportunity to force your opponent to test for Target Priority.

In most cases, you want your Eversor to assault an Infantry unit (preferably one without a Powerfist). From time to time I will use him against a vehicle, but only if the trade is worth it (e.g., a Landraider with a Terminator Command Squad is worth the trade). He needs the protection of close combat; an Eversor caught standing next to the smoldering ruins of a destroyed vehicle is a dead Eversor.

You need to establish your goal before assaulting. Do you want to tie up the unit? Or do you want to try kill as many as possible (and try to Sweeping Advance them)? Ideally you've made this decision before you deploy the model.

If you wish to tie up a unit (a good decision if you want to keep your Eversor alive until reinforcements arrive), then assault the enemy on the extreme edge of the unit. Make sure that you are in base contact with only one model and try to limit the number of models in the Eversor's kill zone. Unless you roll poorly, you should be able to wipe the kill zone at Initiative 5. Your opponent can't attack back and since you don't outnumber your opponent (yet!), he's unlikely to fail his Morale test for losing the close combat. Since you Pile In first, try to position your Eversor in a location that minimizes the number of enemy models that can reach him. This works really well if your enemy falls back and you consolidate into him.

If you wish to kill as many models as possible, then make sure that you have a big kill zone when you assault. If you assault a unit with an Independent Character, make sure that he's not in base contact. I try to assault as far away from an IC as possible to make it difficult for him to pile into me. Place the Eversor in base contact with a model that your opponent doesn't want to remove (special weapon, standard bearer, icon bearer, etc.). This will keep your Assassin in base contact even if you kill a ton of models. You must be in base contact to perform a Sweeping Advance.

Here's some numbers for you Math Hammer fans on how long an Eversor should survive in close combat (assuming he assaults a basic 10-man Space Marine squad).

T1 -- The Eversor assaults with an average of 7.5 attacks (killing 2.5 Space Marines on Initiative 5). The Space Marines attack back with 7.5 attacks (causing .9 wounds). The Eversor wins close combat.

T2 -- The Eversor has 4 attacks on his next turn, killing 1.3 marines (total of 3.8). The Marines attack back with 6.2 attacks, causing .8 wounds (total of 1.7). The Eversor wins.

T3 -- The Eversor kills another 1.3 (bringing the total to 5.1). The Marines cause .6 wounds, killing the Eversor.

On average it takes only 16 Space Marine attacks to kill an Eversor. This is why the Eversor needs support as quickly as possible. For example, if on T2 you throw in another 12 Power Weapon attacks from Death Cult Assassins at Inititive 5 there is a different ending to the story.

Note: Remember that "if a unit takes enough wounding hits in one Initiative step to cause one or more wounds on every engaged model, the attacking player nominates one engaged model to make the first save" (Armour Saves, BGB p41). The Eversor is one of the few models that can force a "Torrent of Blows" check.

Note: Here's another interesting number: An Eversor assaulting a Wraithlord (or a Carnifex) causes a surprising average of 2.5 wounds. I've played games where my Eversor took out two Wraithlords before falling to Eldar small arms fire.

In general, the Eversor is most effective when you have the first turn. This means that armies that have a way to get the first turn get more value out of an Eversor than other armies. This includes (but is not limited to) Daemonhunter's Emperor's Tarot, Imperial Guard's Solar Macharius, Grey Wolves' Venerable Dreadnoughts, and Cadian's Ursarkar Creed.

HOW I USE THE EVERSOR.
I use an Eversor (and Death Cult Assassins) in my WH+IG army to create a refused flank with my Seraphim. Without the Assassins, my assault element is mediocre at best. In this army I have three distinct elements, a) objective management units (typically Sisters units and Sentinels), b) long-range firewpower units (Infantry Platoons, Exorcists and Retributors), and quick engage close combat units (Assassins and Canoness + Seraphim).

I deploy my Fast Attack (Canoness + Seraphim) late in the deployment after deploying a large amount of Battle Sisters and Inducted Guard (I try to encourage my opponent to spread his army to match my deployment. When I deploy my Fast Attack, I choose an extreme flank to allow a refused flank attack.When it comes to deploying my Seraphim, I choose a flank defended by infantry and deploy my Seraphim as far forward as obscuring terrain allows. Then during the Infiltration phase, I deploy my Eversor (and DCAs) on the same flank as my Seraphim.

This forces my opponent to make a Hobson's choice of targeting my Seraphim or my Assassins. If he chooses my Seraphim he leaves himself open to a Turn 1 (and Turn 2) assault; if he chooses my Assassins my Seraphim will engage him at full strength. Due to the refused flank strategy, my opponent doesn't have enough of his forces available to effectively repel either of the flanking units.

If I lose the first turn, my opponent typically focuses his shooting on my Assassins. Since each of the 4 Assassins are an individual unit for shooting (and shooting at my Eversor forces Target Priority checks), I usually end up with a couple of DCAs and the Eversor left when the dust settles. On my turn, my flanking units move forward and my Eversor assaults. If he dies, then I don't have to worry about Bio-Meltdown affecting my units. My DCAs (and sometimes my Seraphim) join the Assault on my next turn.

With some luck (and careful placement), I can run down several units with this flanking manuever before my opponent can react to it. Since I have as many as six separate units in close combat, I have six chances to Sweeping Advance. Few armies can protect themselves from this sort of flanking attack, especially while enduring the withering fire from my long-range shooting units (generally focusing on transports and fast moving units).

CONCLUSION.
Although, like a good parent, I try to love all of my operatives equally. But the Eversor has a special place in my heart that I can't deny. He's just so cheap and reliable. I love first turn assaults in a shooty army and I love how reliably he devastates anything I point him at.

I know that with a little luck and a lot of practice, he'll be your favorite too. Best of luck and comments are welcome!

Next time: Death Cult Assassins...

April 23, 2007

Codex: Chaos Space Marines Rumours

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So a boatload of rumours broke today on Warseer. Courtesy of a moderator (Brimstone), we have this list of tasty rumor nuggets:

Warseer: CSM Rumor Roundup

Rumors

This is a collection of Chaos Marine rumours, these are rumours NOT facts, if you want facts wait for the codex.

I’ll be adding to it as more information becomes available and is not a complete list of codex contents.

HQ
Daemon Prince (can be winged but no daemonic speed) cannot be instakilled.
Chaos Lord (highly impressive new multipart plastic kit to be released)
Chaos Sorcerer (force weapon as standard).

N.B. No restricted units i.e. the Ancient enemies rule is gone.

These are all individual entries.

Elites

Possessed Chaos Space Marines (New models on the way which are a vast improvement on the more recent ones)
Dreadnoughts (still frenzy)
Veterans (only unit that can infiltrate)
Terminators – Can be marked (new plastic kit, reasonably impressive but not that different from Imperial versions), points brought into line with Imperial Terminators.

Troops – All troops come with bolter, bolt pistol CCW weapon and grenades as standard.
Chaos Marines – Can be marked
Cult Marines
Khorne Bezerkers (lose their Khornate Chain axes).
Plague Marines (lose their plague weapons but keep blight grenades)
Noise Marines (retain their options for sonic weaponry but may be more restricted, Doom caster is AP3).
Thousand Sons (Power armour save / 4+ Invul save) and bolters with inferno bolts (AP3)

Fast Attack

Raptors – Can be marked (new champion model on the way) no 0-1 restriction.
Bikes – Can be marked

Heavy Support

Obliterators – Can be marked, S and T reduced to 4, no 0-1 restriction.
Defiler – Loses indirect fire option but can be given a CCW upgrade.
Vindicator (New plastic model for release).
Havocs
Predators

Misc Rumours
Codex follows the DA/Eldar format.
No books of Chaos in the codex.
Daemons (greater/lesser) are have generic stat lines (will be expanded upon in a Daemon/LatD codex).
New unit – Chaos Spawn (1-3 cannot be split)
No basilisk option in the codex.
Wargear highly restricted – Daemonic gifts are gone, options are all given in unit entries.
Daemon weapons standardised – power weapon 1D6 attacks (if you roll a one you take a wound), can be upgraded with power specific options i.e. Khorne gives 2D6 attacks.
Any unit can be marked to the Chaos gods in the form of a Icon, marks are as follows – Khorne (+1A), Nurgle (+1T), Slaanesh (+1I), Tzeentch (+1 to invul save (max 2+) if already present or gives a basic 5+ invul save).
Recut CSM sprue.
Special characters – All survive and now include Huron Blackheart (model due for release) Ahriman has all chaos psychic powers and a force weapon as standard.

Thoughts

Well as a Death Guard player I am actually pretty happy. Nurgle was a bit underpowered in the current CSM codex and was in need of an update.

It would seem that Jervis Johnson has held true to his philosophy professed at Adepticon this year, and the Dark Angel codex is the way of the future. The big thing i'm seeing in this list is a LOT of pruning. Jervis has just gone to town on the current codex, and removed about 2/3 of the (useless never taken) wargear options, and is attempting to make every choice in the codex valid (the same methodology as we have seen for the Eldar and Dark Angels).

What I have noticed over the years is that there is a subset of about 1/5 of the CSM wargear that is good and always taken by veteran players (when was the last time you saw a chaos lord without Daemonic Strength/Mutation), and the rest taken by rubes (Deamonic Fire, etc...). So, I don't have any issue with the massive armoury being reduced to a set of correctly costed upgrade options listed per army entry.

I'm also a huge fan of the emerging seperation between Marks of the Gods and the actual Cult Troops. It's nice to see that dedicating yourself to Tzeentch does not make you a Rubric Marine. It serves to make the cult troops unique.

As Nurgle was severely restricted, i'm all giddy over the possibility of adding Havocs or Raptors to my army with the MoN on them (T:5). Alpha Legion and Word Bearers seem hit the hardest with the loss of cultists, differentiated daemons, and mass infiltration. World Eaters may be stronger if they gain some control over their currently "electric football" berzerkers. Thousand Sons look to just clean up, and Iron Warriors will be tolerable now, although I expect a pile of converted IW basilisks to set afire in front of GW HQs in protest. Who knows whats up with the Black Legion, and Night Lords seem relatively unaffected.

What I am upset about is the crazy decision to genericize the Major Daemons. The minor ones, who cares.... they are indeed "roughly" similar and who knows, they may automatically get their patron's mark to differentiate them. But the Major's is inexcusable. A Bloodthirster is a very different beast than a Great Unclean One, and has been in every edition since Rogue Trader. The only thing that brings me some solace, is that the Eldar Phoenix Lords also share a consistant statline and set of common rules, but are very different thanks to their individual equipment and skills. If they do that with the Majors it "might" be OK....

As a final note, Vindicators.... YEAH!!!!

How is this going to effect your CSM army?

April 20, 2007

Imperial Guard: Necromunda 142nd

6 comments





Here is an introduction to my Imperial Guard army.

This thing is ancient. Clocking in at over 200 minis, the core of this army is a large force of Rogue Trader plastic guardsmen. Back then (1989), these guys came 36 to a box for $30!!! I painted them in a standard "army green" scheme, mainly to contrast on the tabletop with my only existing army at the time, the Blood Angels.

The force has slowly been modernized over the years to keep up with the ever changing Imperial Guard Codex. While I had to retire my Imperial beastmen and remove my officers from their jetbikes many moons ago, the army still can lay down the smack stick. They are getting a little long in the tooth, and folks often see them and wonder if they are actual GW models, but when the las-cannons start flying, folks know to keep their heads down.

The army breaks down as follows:

HQ

Commissar Yarrick
Lord Solar Macharius

Command Squad (5 man)
Command Squad (5 man)
Command Squad (5 man)

Sanctioned Psychers (3)
Commissars (4)
Priests (2)

Mortar Support Squad (3 Mortar teams)
Mortar Support Squad (3 Mortar teams)

Anti-Tank Squad (3 Las-cannon teams)
Anti-Tank Squad (3 Las-cannon teams)

Fire Support Squad (3 Heavy Bolter teams)

Elites

Hardened Veterans (10)

Ogryns (10)

Storm Troopers (20)

Ratlings (10)

Techpriest Enginseer (1 + 1 Servitor)

Troops

Infantry (50 men, 5 Las-cannon teams)

Conscript Infantry (20)

Armoured Fist Squad (10)

Fast Attack

Hellhound

Rough Riders (10)

Sentinels (2)

Salamander Scout Tank (Forgeworld)

Heavy Support

Leman Russ (3)

Leman Russ Demolisher

Leman Russ Exterminator

Basilisk

Other Support

Chimera APC (3)

Shadowsword Superheavy Tank (Armorcast)

April 19, 2007

Trojan Rabbit Battlewagon

2 comments
The fly lords aren’t always tactical number crunching or precision modeling. Occasionally we let our hair down and do something that’s rather silly. Case in point, this Monty Python style Ork battlewagon.
Yes, I know I have several other projects on the table, but I got inspired the other evening. So, 4 hours and 175 popsicle sticks later and we have the ork Trojan rabbit battlewagon.

I went all natural on this one. The entire frame and sidings were built with popsicle sticks. The only extras I used were the nails for the wheels (yes, they do spin) the hinges on the back and the metal studs for the eyes.

The hardest part, for me, had to be making the wheels. I cross laid four popsicle sticks over another 4 and let the glue set. I then came back and traced a circle on them. I had to use some heavy duty wire cutters to then cut out the circle, then spend a lot of time with the sand paper to get it to resemble something round. The rabbit’s head was done in a similar fashion, but the straight lines made it much easier to cut.



I think next I’ll make a giant wooden badger….

April 17, 2007

Making Killa Kans

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The killa kans have arrived. Actually, they have been here all along, I’m just now getting around to posting on them. These have to be some of my favorite heavy units. Inexpensive, lightly armored dreads with a little shooty and a lot of choppy. Any foot slogging ork force should seriously think about building a squad. And for their price, there is no reason to not max it out with three kans. Except, of course, that GW only sells them in packs of two. It is precisely for that reason (and that fact that I am cheap) that I decided to make my own.

The main “kan” was made by stacking the outer coverings of button drippers. They are used in sprinkler systems and you can get a bag of 25 for just a few dollars at Home Depot. The arms and legs are made from old sprues (obviously). For the feet, I picked up some small metal grommets. I got the ones that had a rubber seal on one side to help them stand. I made the powerklaws out of the dozer blade tips from the old imperial accessory sprue. The engine on the rear came from the mufflers of the old rhino kits and the top hatch from the same sprue. Various other bits were placed on the models to add a little orky flavor; banners, sights, armor plates, etc.

I made two sets; the first with big-shootas and the second with rokkits. For the big shootas, I took two of the ork shootas, mounted one on top of the other, and slightly offset to the side. I used the shootas that have the ammo belt hanging off the side. For the rokkits, I picked up a bag of plastic power connectors for computers at Fry’s. The rokkits themselves are small dowels that have been sanded to a blunt point and glued into the power connector.

One of the problems that anyone who scratch builds ork vehicles faces, especially fiddly ones like kans, is that they tend to be fragile at the joints. As you can see on this last pic, one of the kans lost an arm at the battle of the army transport case.


April 16, 2007

ARMY LIST: Relictors

5 comments

If you've been following my recent articles on the Imperial Assassins, you know that I've been endeavoring to to find new and innovative uses for these classic units. A few weeks ago I did an article on the Culexus Assassin (vowing that I could find a use for the operative in a game without Psykers). One of the suggestions I made was infiltrating the Culexus with a Fearless close combat unit. It sounded like fun, so I dusted off my Relictors and put it to the test.

The results were stunning. I took a 2,000pt Relictors army to a gamma Take and Hold mission against a tough Necron force. At the end of turn six, he had 5 Scarab bases and an immobilized Monolith left on the board. I had killed every Necron on the board (including a Lord and over 60 Warriors). My army was almost completely intact (I lost a Land Speeder and had two units below half strength).


Here's the list. If you are a Relictor player (or any chapter of Space Marines), I recommend trying it out.

HQ

Master (Arketus Scourge, Shard of the Monolith, Terminator Honors, Bolt Pistol, Frag Grenades, and a Teleport Homer)
-- Command Squad: Apothecary, Flamer, Meltagun, 5 BP&CCWs (with Infiltrate)
-- Attached Reclusiarch (Terminator Honors, Bionics, Frag Grenades)

Note: The Shard of the Monolith makes my Master S5 and I6. The Scourge is similar to a Force Weapon (see below). With six attacks on the charge (re-rolling misses) and Initiative 6, he's able to easily deal with Independent Characters. I'm considering an Adamantine Mantle or an Iron Halo in future games. A random Daemon Weapon works here as well, if you prefer.

Inquisitor Lord (Carapace Armor, Plasma Pistol, CCW)
-- Retinue: 1-2 Mystics, 2 Sages, 2 Heavy Bolter Servitors, Plasma Cannon Servitor, Acolyte (Carapace Armor), Acolyte (Artificer Armor)

Note: My Inquisitor Lord allows me to deal with Deep Striking and Summoned units quite efficiently. Like a lucky charm, it keeps Deathwing Assault, Drop Pods and Daemonbombs away. In hard cover, this unit is very hard to take out.

ELITE

Culexus Assassin
5-man Terminator Squad (Assault Cannon)

Note: I use the Master's Teleport Homer to bring in this squad. They aren't Fearless, so I try to keep them out of the Culexus' Souless range.

TROOPS

8-man Tactical Squad (Plasma Gun, Plasma Cannon)

8-man Scout Squad (4 Sniper Rifles, 3 BP&CCW, Heavy Bolter)

FAST

Land Speeder (Multi-melta)

Land Speeder (Multi-melta)

HEAVY

8-man Devastator Squad (2 Lascannons, 2 Missile Launchers)

8-man Devastator Squad (2 Plasma Cannons, 2 Heavy Bolters)

Predator Annihilator (Lascannon sponsons)

TACTICS: The meat of the army is the Infiltrating Command Squad with 2 tough characters and an Apothecary. The Culexus deploys in the same location as the Command Squad and follows them around. The Scouts deploy where they can support the Command Squad (using the Culexus' Souless to force LD7 Pinning test). The Terminators drop nearby the Command Squad.

The Speeders deploy to snatch objectives or handle pesky armor. The rest of my army has a long-range shooting (4 Plasma Cannons, 2 Lascannons, 4 Heavy Bolters, 2 Missile Launchers, Predator Annihilator) so I setup in hard cover and shoot anything that peeks out at me.

There are two Power Combos involving the Culexus Assassin in this army:

1. The Arketus Scourge plus Culexus equals dead stuff. If the Arketus Scourge (a Relictors only Daemon Weapon from White Dwarf) causes a wound, then the model struck must roll under its Leadership on 3d6 or be removed as a casualty. This is effective on its own, but when combined with the Culexus' Souless ability it becomes much more effective than a Force Weapon. For example, if he can put a wound on a Carnifex, he has a 91% chance of killing it. Rolling a 6 or less on THREE dice is a pretty tall order. This guy kills Big Bugs better than any model I own.

Note: Unlike a Force Weapon, the Arketus Scourge can be used more than once per turn and it can be used in each player's Assault phase.

2. The "Bag of Hammer" tactic that I mentioned in my Culexus Tactica. Instead of using Death Cult Assassins, I use an Infiltrating Command Squad. The squad is Fearless thanks to the Reclusiarch so I don't have to worry about Souless. Once I get into combat with a non-Fearless opponent, I can sweep a squad a turn. In my last game, I ran down three 14-man squads of Necrons (and a Necron Lord) in four close combat phases.

The army suffers against (fairly common) two opponents. The first being highly mechanized forces (like Eldar and Tau) and the second being completely Fearless armies (like Chaos Cult armies). I'm going to talk Bigred into taking one of his army's this week to see how my list performs against Death Guard or Eldar. I'll let you know!

As always, comments and questions are welcome!

April 13, 2007

ARMY LIST: Death Guard Plaguespear - 2000pt

1 comments

This post is part of a series of recommended army lists. It will document an entire list, with a short tactical summary and related notes.

Army List

1 Great Unclean One (HQ) @ 150 Pts
-Nurgle's Rot
-Nurgling Infestation
-Wind Of Chaos

6 Possessed Marines (Elites) @ 244 Pts
-Daemonic Resilience; Favoured Unit; Mark of Nurgle
-Daemonic Strength
-Daemonic Aura
-Daemonic Talons

1 Aspiring Champion @ [52] Pts
-Daemonic Resilience; Free Aspiring Champion; Mark of Nurgle
-Daemonic Strength
-Daemonic Aura
-Daemonic Talons
-Daemon Chains

6 Plague Marines Chaos Space Marines (Troops) @ 196 Pts
-Daemonic Resilience; Favoured Unit; Mark of Nurgle
-CC Weapon (x6); Bolter (x4); Meltagun (x2)
-Infiltrate

1 Aspiring Champion @ [44] Pts
-Daemonic Resilience; Free Aspiring Champion; Mark of Nurgle
-PowerFist (x1); Bolter (x1)
-Nurgle's Rot
-Daemonic Visage
-Infiltrate

6 Plague Marines Chaos Space Marines (Troops) @ 196 Pts
-Daemonic Resilience; Favoured Unit; Mark of Nurgle
-CC Weapon (x6); Bolter (x4); Meltagun (x2)
-Infiltrate

1 Aspiring Champion @ [44] Pts
-Daemonic Resilience; Free Aspiring Champion; Mark of Nurgle
-PowerFist (x1); Bolter (x1)
-Nurgle's Rot
-Daemonic Visage
-Infiltrate

6 Plague Marines Havocs (Heavy Support) @ 288 Pts
-Daemonic Resilience; Favoured Unit; Mark of Nurgle
-CC Weapon (x6); Bolter (x2); Plasma Gun (x4)
-Tank Hunters

1 Aspiring Champion @ [37] Pts
-Daemonic Resilience; Free Aspiring Champion; Mark of Nurgle
-PowerWeapon (x1); Bolter (x1)
-Nurgle's Rot
-Tank Hunters

1 Chaos Rhino @ [59] Pts
-Combi-Bolter
-Smoke Launcher
-Extra Armour
-Searchlight

6 Plague Marines Havocs (Heavy Support) @ 288 Pts
-Daemonic Resilience; Favoured Unit; Mark of Nurgle
-CC Weapon (x6); Bolter (x2); Plasma Gun (x4)
-Tank Hunters

1 Aspiring Champion @ [37] Pts
-Daemonic Resilience; Free Aspiring Champion; Mark of Nurgle
-PowerWeapon (x1); Bolter (x1)
-Nurgle's Rot
-Tank Hunters

1 Chaos Rhino @ [59] Pts
-Combi-Bolter
-Smoke Launcher
-Extra Armour
-Searchlight

12 Plaguebearer (Troops) @ 192 Pts
-Nurgle's Rot
-Daemon Venom

12 Plaguebearer (Troops) @ 192 Pts
-Nurgle's Rot
-Daemon Venom

1 Chaos Land Raider (Heavy Support) @ 254 Pts
-TL Heavy Bolter; TL Lascannons
-Smoke Launcher
-Searchlight

Models in Army: 63


Summary

This list is inspired by many of tactical doctrines pioneered on DeathGuard.org. It represents a "pure offense" approach to using the Death Guard. In this list, every point is dedicated to the assault role, with nothing heldback for long-range support. Even the HQ selection of the Great Unclean One, is there to emphasize the "boat anchor" quality of the assault force...once you get this army "stuck in", it is going to be very difficult for an opponent to get "unstuck".

The army is designed to deploy with the Possessed embarked in the Land Raider, backed up with the two Rhino Havoc squads. This assault force, will use cover and smoke to hit the heart of an enemy army with all due haste, and destroy it in a single "alpha strike" consisting of the 8 rapid-firing plasma rifles and 4 meltas, folowed by the possessed assault-ramping into HtH backed up with the twin infiltrating plaguemarine squads who should be closing on your target during the vehicles approach. On roughly turn 2-3, you should be in assault and begin to both summon down the twin Plaguebearer squads to pile into the beleagered enemy army, as well as change over from Resisting to Inviting possession by the possessed Aspiring Champion, to bring the Great Unclean One into play (thanks to Daemon Chains).

In a way, it is a "pure" army, with few complex tricks up its sleeve (dont forget to make your Rot rolls). The Death Guard win through assault, and this army is designed to emphasize that element like a ton of bricks. Subtle it is not.

April 12, 2007

TACTICA: Callidus Assassin

13 comments



"To assume the shape of the accursed and deliver death from the purity within you." -- Dictatus Callidus


The Callidus is by far the most popular and most dreaded Imperial Assassin. Every player has a horror story about a game with a Callidus, but even with their feared reputation they are rarely seen on the battlefield. I hope this tactica helps to change this fact.

New players choose a Callidus because she can appear in any location without deviation and her phase sword ignores even Invulnerable saves. Veteran players like her because of her powerful A Word in Your Ear ability. For both new and veteran players, the Callidus is a fantastic tool and with a little planning, a little support and a little luck, she can cripple your opponent like no other model.

If the Eversor is the Officio Assassinorum's sword and the Vindicare is the scalpel, then the Callidus is intensive radiation therapy. She can zero in on any enemy unit on the board and has an excellent chance of eliminating it. This tactica discusses the Callidus, highlights her strengths, and gives you some suggestions for fitting her into an army.

CALLIDUS 101.
The Callidus is second only to the Eversor in close combat. But she outshines the Eversor in one key area: enemy characters protected by Invulnerable saves. She can be placed in a location where an Independent Character is her closest target, which allows her to shoot him (and nearby squads) with her template weapon and then assault the character. Her close combat weapon levels the playing field and gives her an excellent chance of taking out the best protected characters in the game.

The Temple Callidus Assassin is armed with the C'Tan Phase Sword, a Neural Shredder, Poison Blades and a supply of the shape-altering drug Polymorphine.

Polymorphine is one of the most unique (and nerve wracking) abilities in 40k. It allows the Callidus to appear anywhere on the battlefield without restricting her ability to move, shoot or assault. This ability is what makes the Callidus so dreaded. Nothing is safe from her, as evidenced by your opponent's nervous shuffle and constant sweating until she appears on the field. She is more effective against the player than she is against his army; this anxiety she causes is one of the best reasons to include her in your army.

The C'Tan Phase Sword is a living metal weapon that can take on any shape required by the mission. It is a power weapon that allows no saves, not even Invulnerable ones!

Her Neural Shredder is a Strength 8 template weapon that uses the target's Leadership instead of the target's Toughness to determine wounds. The Neural Shredder can also affect vehicles; automatically causing a Glancing Hit. But instead of rolling a D6 on the Glancing table, you roll a D3 (so you can only Stun or Shake a vehicle with a Neural Shredder).

Poison Blades allow her to get the last word in close combat. At the end of the Assault phase, the Callidus may make an extra attack against a model in base contact. Unlike her phase sword, this attack wounds on a 4+ (handy against T5+ models) and allows saves normally.

The Callidus has two special abilities, Jump Back and A Word In Your Ear. Jump Back allows the Callidus to disengage from close combat at the beginning of an Assault phase. She rolls a D6 and if she rolls a 2 or better, she moves that number of inches away from the enemy unit. The enemy unit can consolidate normally, so unless she rolls a 4+ she's likely to remain in close combat. This isn't quite as effective as Hit & Run, but it happens at the beginning of the Assault Phase which can be handy against a deadly opponent.

A Word In Your Ear is by far my favorite of her special abilities. This ability allows the player with the Callidus to move one enemy unit up to 6" after both sides have deployed. The unit must remain within the unit's normal deployment zone and the owning player may choose facing after the unit has been moved.

WHEN TO USE A CALLIDUS.
The Callidus is the easiest Assassin to work into an army. Unlike the others, she is effective without support and can have an impact before she even appears on the table. But unlike other Assassins, she doesn't benefit from working with other units. For example, the effectiveness of an Eversor is increased by combining it with Death Cult Assassins.


Note: She is also effective in Alpha missions where you don't have the Infiltrate special ability.

The best time to use a Callidus is when you expect to face an independent character (or characters) with a dramatic effect on the enemy's army. Space Marine Masters (with Rites of Battle), Necron Lords (with Resurrection Orb), solitary Synapse creatures, and Eldar Shadowseers and Farseers are all excellent targets.

I also use the Callidus when I expect expensive, long-range shooting units that have a hard time defending themselves from a fairly tough melee character. Tau Broadside units, Space Marine Devastator Squads, Imperial Guard Heavy Weapons teams and Dark Eldar Scourges are good examples of units that struggle against a Callidus.

Don't use a Callidus unless you have a plan. Randomly picking a unit on the turn she arrives is a waste of a very effective tool. Also don't expect her to eliminate more than her initial target. Focus her on your most dangerous enemy and be pleasantly surprised if she survives. In 80% of your games, she'll die in her initial assault - but she'll wreak havoc before she dies.

HOW TO USE...
There are really two sections here: "How to use a Callidus" and "How to use A Word In Your Ear". If you treat them as completely separate things, you'll have a lot more success.


HOW TO USE "A WORD IN YOUR EAR".
I love this ability. In most games, I'd pay the 120pts just for this ability (so the Assassin is free!). There are very few opportunities where you can force your opponent to make a mistake. If used properly, this ability can be as demoralizing as it is devastating. After both players have completely deployed, you can select one enemy unit and move the unit 6". You get to move the unit -- not your opponent. Walk around to his side of the table to do it. Players hate that. Remember each model can be moved up to 6", so you can change their formation in addition to their location.

Here are some suggestions of orders the Callidus can give using A Word In Your Ear. I'll start with safe orders; these will help you even if you lose the first turn. Then I'll follow it with risky orders that are crippling if you win the first turn (but worthless if you don't). As you will see some these orders are dirty tricks. Don't expect your opponent to be too happy about them.

Here are some Safe Orders:

1. "There's a good spot over here!": Move a heavy weapons team 6" deeper into area terrain. This will cost your opponent 1-2 turns of shooting while they reposition. This is probably the most common use of A Word In Your Ear.

2. "I know a shortcut!": Move fast Infiltrators 6" further away to prevent first turn assault.

3. "A little more to the left... Perfect!": Move pesky indirect fire weapons into LOS. This forces your opponent to leave them in a dangerous location or lose a shot moving them.

4. "Path's clear, boss!": Move vehicle deep into dangerous terrain.


Dirty Trick #1: A Word In Your Ear re-deployment is a move, this means that dangerous terrain tests may be forced. Moving a Vehicle (Bike or Jetbike) into difficult terrain forces a dangerous terrain test. This tactic gives the bonus of forcing a second test when they leave the terrain feature. Note: This doesn't work on Jump Infantry.


Dirty Trick #2: Moving a Bike into difficult terrain prevents them from Turbo-boosting (and forces a dangerous terrain check). This can be a great help against Daemonbomb armies.

Note: Nothing in A Word In Your Ear says that the unit must be moved in coherency. As long as it's in a legal deployment area, you can move the models however you want. I haven't found a real use for this (it forces the unit to move into coherence on its next turn), but it's something to consider.

Risky orders are great when they work. They can completely cripple your opponent before his first turn giving you an edge throughout the rest of the game. But if your opponent gets the first turn, you've wasted the order. Here are a few fun Risky Orders:

1. "Group hug!": Bunch well armored units tightly together so that they are completely covered by blast or Ordnance templates. This is very effective (and one of my favorite tactics) when combined with a Plasma Cannon Servitor (with 2 Sages to re-roll misses).

2. "Where is everybody? I said charge!": Move Independent Character 6" forward so he is the closest target to your entire army. This works nicely with deadly long-range shooting like multiple Exorcists. This is definitely a dirty trick and can cause some pretty dramatic reactions in a tournament setting (insert evil laugh).

3. "What a pretty flower...”: Place a Daemonvessel, heavy weapons, hidden Powerfist, Icon Bearer, Apothecary, etc. in a location where he's the only model that can be seen. Since he's the only model that can be seen, he's the only viable casualty.

Dirty Trick #3: If you want to try risky orders, then I recommend combining the Callidus with an Emperor’s Tarot. This 15pt piece of wargear is available to Daemonhunters Inquisitors and gives you an 83% chance of getting a +1 on your roll for first turn. I also recommend adding a Callidus if you ever use Solar Macharius or a Space Wolves Venerable Dreadnought. Perfect synergy.

HOW TO USE A CALLIDUS.
The nice thing about the Callidus is that she can do her job before she appears on the board. If you use A Word In Your Ear properly, you opponent is going to change his tactics across the board to prepare for the Assassin’s arrival. He’ll play more conservatively and he’ll make mistakes. Don’t let them go unpunished!

I usually place my Callidus extremely close to the unit (or often model) that I intend to assault. There’s rarely a need for her to actually move during the Movement phase. Before placing her, I consider the terrain and any targets I can touch in my Neural Shredder template (especially vehicles that are automatically Stunned or Shaken by the Neural Shredder). When using the Neural Shredder against open-topped vehicles don’t forget to add the +1 to your D3.


Take care not to place your Callidus in a location where she has to assault a unit protected by cover. This should be easy to do, but it’s also easy to forget. Imperial Assassins don’t have Frag Grenades. This will get her killed. Also avoid characters with high Initiatives (like a Broodlord).

I usually go after soft units, but most players prefer Independent Characters. If you go the IC route, don't expect much help from the Shredder. It's almost useless against LD10 models. But since any wounds caused are AP1, you don’t want to skip this step.

Dirty Trick #4: With the Neural Shredder wounding hits are determined by the model's Leadership instead of the unit’s Leadership. This allows you to snipe models with Leadership scores different than the rest of the unit. This is very handy if there is an upgraded character like a Space Marine Veteran Sergeant or Tau Shas'ui.

Note: There’s a lot of argument about the Neural Shredder and Instant Death. After careful consideration, my interpretation is that the Wounding rules and the Instant Death rules are separate. Since the Neural Shredder has a Strength value, it is compared to the model’s Toughness to determine if the model can be instantly killed by the weapon. So the Neural Shredder causes Instant Death on T4 models.

If you are after an IC, then make sure that he is the only model you are in base contact with. This will prevent attacks from an attached unit. The Callidus only has 4 attacks on the charge, so you want to make sure they are all applied against her target.

At the absolute end of the Assault phase (after all close combats are resolved), the Callidus uses her Poison Blades. This happens after pile-in, so if your Callidus is still alive she can potentially wound a completely new opponent. This can be quite a surprise.

Note: Poison Blades allows a single attack against any single model in base contact. I tend to focus this attack on hidden Powerfists that get too close.

Finally, Jump Back. Since it happens at the beginning of the Assault phase it’s rarely used. If she is assaulted by an opponent that I know will kill her (e.g., a statured Daemon Prince with a Dreadaxe), I'll use it.


The Callidus is an easy Assassin to use effectively, but she is challenging to master. A new player can get 120pts of value out of her by trading her for a 120pt character, but if played well, she can be much more effective. I hope that this article created some new ideas for an old model. Comments are welcome.

Next time: The Eversor...

April 11, 2007

Battle Report

1 comments

Crusader posted one of our battle reports on Warseer. Please take a look at it.

Reading the battle report reminded me of a game that he and I had done for Medusa V. I played my radical Daemonhunters (Relictors!) against the same Lost and the Damned army and was soundly defeated. One of the few models I had left on the board was an Elite Inquisitor.

So I wrote the battle results from his perspective. I thought you might enjoy it (it still makes me laugh). I think you get the flavor of the game from it...

] Blank...
]]// .....
]]]TRANSMISSION : Received.....

].....Hello?.....

..... Um.. I'm not sure there's enough of this autosavant left to record this message. But if you can hear this, I think I have an..... an incident to report.....

I'm not sure what the procedure here is and Inquisitor Lord Groske is..... well, I can't find him. Well, at least not all of him.....

I really need some help here.

.....Um, they came at us and we just shot and shot and shot them. It looked like another victory for Master Groske. But somehow these cultists were different. They knew what Master Groske was going to to do. They tricked us..... what's the battle word for when an enemy surprises you by attacking from a concealed position? Well, they did that.

Oh, this is Inquisitor Norviate Pinfold. Did I already say that? Ah..... Brother Octavius and the Deathwatch..... Master Groske..... All of the Relictors except that scary Dreadknell or Dreadnought thing..... I can't find the procedure for this.

How do I turn this Dreadnought thing off? I think it's going to kill me.

Can I get some kind of response?.....

.....Um, hello?.....

]]/ / ..... END .....
]].....

April 10, 2007

ZZap gun bonus feature extravaganza

0 comments
I know I promised killa kans last week, but I just have to show you my newest find. They are called Lag Shields. No, its not a new way to lower your ping in BF 2142. Lag shields are used to anchor bolts into concrete. But for our purposes, they are used as the bases for some nice looking zzap guns for a battle fortress.
I probably wouldn't use them on stand alone big guns, as they look too bulky, but their size works well on larger vehicles. Just look at how much better they look than the old zzap guns I started with. Slowly but surely, the battlefortress is taking shape.

April 9, 2007

Angels of Absolution Logo Sheet

3 comments

I have been noting for a while that GW does a great job of covering the major 1st Founding and select 2nd Founding chapters with their decal sheets. However, there are a number of great looking 2nd and later founding chapters who get a good amount of back-story and have great alternative uniform colors that never have had decals produced for them. In the interest of promoting diversity in the Marine community and encouraging players to branch out beyond the "big 4", I have begun producing logo sheets for some of these other chapters who I think look great and have no GW decal support.

With the recent release of Codex: Dark Angels, here are the Angels of Absolution. These guys are a 2nd Founding Dark Angel chapter. They all have off-white armour (like the Deathwing) and look great on the tabletop. They have wonderful background fluff. Here is the link to the PDF file for the decal sheet you can freely pull down and use:

Download Here

I created the original logo in Adobe Illustrator, then made variations of it for size and color (outline and solid color versions). The sheet is designed for printout on Decal printer paper which is easily available online.

The thing about decal paper is that it is clear by default (instead of white), so the decals need to be applied to a light colored surface to be visible at all. The procedure for applying the "outline only" decals is to apply them to a white surface, and wait till they are fully dried. Then using the outlines as a guide, paint in the darker color around the decal. Its is odd, but gets the job done.

Size wise, the larger decals towards the top are best used for super heavies/terrain, and move down in size to the large array of Marine Shoulderpad towards the bottom.

In any case, enjoy and I wish you the best in using this set for your forces.

Please feel free to leave comments if there is a special Marine Chapter you would love to collect, but have no GW decal options, and I will see what I can do.

-bigred

A New Fly Lord Enters...

1 comments
As a new Fly Lord I thought I would start with a sampling of my models. First is my Alpha Legion Lost and the Damned army, known as the Aventine Crusades...

This army was finished about six months ago as my primary force. I think Lost and the Damned are one of the most charcterful forces and I will be compiling a Tactica for them soon. Also on the way will be shots of my newest army, a mechanised Eldar army from the Tir'sahras Craftworld. Enjoy the pictures...










April 7, 2007

Odds and Ends...

0 comments
Well, I'm all petered out after the excitement of last week. Adepticon has come and gone (and I will be posting more details of our team tournament performance), and I'm back safe and sound in Austin.

This week has seen me mainly tidying things up, and pulling up my old list of odds and ends that I meant to finish up, but pushed off till after Adepticon.

Right now I've got the following chores to do:

  • Eldar War Walker Squadron: replace 2 brightlances with scatterlasers.
  • Eldar Falcons: come up with a cooler version of the rear antennae which have broken off so many times, I just chucked them in the trash can.
  • Tau Devilfish: finish up my mission objective terrain piece of the hideously wrecked Tau vehicle to add some coolness to our battles. (I will have some very cool pics of this one as it approaches completion)

Which do you think I should work on first? I can't really decide.

Finally, I recently got a nice Canon SLR digital camera (a used 10D for you shutterbugs out there), and am building up my collection of lenses. I grabbed my tripod and went down to a local Austin 40k tournament and took a lot of shots of the best armies I saw on the tabletop (mkerr won that particular tourney). Here is my best shot of the day, a glorious Thousand Sons army rampaging to victory against some hapless Ultramarines. Enjoy.

April 4, 2007

Gladiator Tournament: Mkerr's Journey

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This was my second Adepticon Gladiator Tournament and it was just as much fun as the first. Although I didn't place as well as Bigred, I had four great games and met some fantastic players.
Three of my games came down to single die rolls for the primary objective and every point I gave up was hard won by skilled generals with highly tuned lists. I would love to play each of those players again and am very proud of my results.

For those of you who wanted to know how the Terminator Assault Squad worked; in general it worked like a charm. When I got the squad into combat, I devastated my opponent. I was happy to have the Grey Knight Grandmaster, but I missed the Librarian's ability to soak wounds. If I did it again, I'd go with the Librarian instead.

Game 1: "A Show of Force" against a Trait Space Marine player (3 Venerable Dreadnoughts and lots of Thunder Hammers). On the surface his list didn't look that tough, but each of his units was tough as nails and expertly played.

The primary mission objective was to be the player with the highest priced model or unit within 6" of the table center. I chose to Deathwing Assault my opponent's weak flank. The Ravenwing scout move and Deathwing Assault took him (and every opponent throughout the day) by surprise.

The Terminators teleported precisely into position and the Ravenwing squad hit his line exactly where I needed them to. The result should have rolled up his army, but the dice gods frowned on me and six wounding hits resulted in six dead Terminators. His Marines had clearly been trained to aim for the eye holes in my Tactical Dreadnought Armor.

The fight for the center was hard pressed (thanks to my fast moving Ravenwing and Rhinos), but in the end he snatched the primary objective by reducing my units below scoring status and holding it with his Master which was more expensive than my remaining Attack Bike (in this particular mission ICs could hold objectives). I held won the secondary and tertiary objectives and walked away with 16pts. It was a fun start and my opponent was a great player.

Game 2: "Hold at All Costs" against a gorgeous 13th Company army. I'm not tossing around gorgeous lightly here -- the army was stunning. The mission used the "short-handed" special rule which allowed my opponent to put a single unit of his choice in reserve. The unit arrives automatically on Turn 4. He wisely chose my Ravenwing Assault Squadron and I poorly chose his Rune Priest.

His army had THREE units of 14 Fenrisian Wolves, in addition to 8 Plasma Guns, 6 Meltaguns, and 4 heavy weapons. The mission used table quarters so the 42 Fenrisian wolves started 18" away from my lines. They had the 13th Company Scout ability so they closed that to 12". He won the first turn and was able to assault my gun line with all three units. It was all down hill for me from there.

This was one of those games that I could have won if I played differently. My mistake was not knowing my opponent's army rules well enough (knowledge is power). I assumed that I'd have a turn to shoot at the weakly armored wolves.

Note: I'd like to bitch a bit about Fenrisian Wolves. They are basically Space Marines with 2 Attacks and a 6+ save. They have "And They Shall Know No Fear", Acute Senses, No Matter the Odds (no negative modifies for being outnumbered), Counter-Attack, Scout, and the Beast movement rules. They come in squads of 5-15 and only cost 10pts. Holy Crap! Why don't I have this army?!?!?!

In the end, he won the Primary and we tied the Secondary and Tertiary (thanks to my Ravenwing). Very cool guy and a very cool army. I walked away with a few points and a very valuable lesson.

Game 3: "Coming in Hot" against Speed Freaks. This was one of two games that I wouldn't repeat from the weekend (not bad out of eight games), but I have to admit that I didn't enjoy this game or the player. I have no idea why he was there actually -- neither of us had much fun.

I hate to bitch about individual players, so I'll just comment that I was plagued by bad dice rolls (my 4 Meltaguns, 2 Multimeltas, and single Assault Cannon failed to destroy a single buggy for 4 turns) and he won the Primary and Secondary objectives. Few things are more frustrating than losing a game against a bad opponent and I would have happily traded all of my wins for the weekend to have crushed him in that game.

Game 4: "Warp Drop and Roll" against Eldar. This was a very cool mission and one of the most challenging games of the weekend. This game literally came down to the last die roll and was full of drama and tension. Although neither of us had a chance of placing at this point, we both played hard to win. Great fun for both of us.

Again I was plagued by bad armor saves on my Terminators. By this time I was used to it and laughed it off, but they might as well have been wearing Carapace Armor for the tournament.

My opponent had two large squads of Warp Spiders (with Exarchs) with a tough Autarch attached to each squad. Those Autarchs made short work of my marines and ended up taking out three Combat Squads before the game ended.

I won the Secondary and we drew the Tertiary objective, but I lose the Primary objective on the last turn. He managed to drop my unit that held the Warp Gate below scoring status (by a single wound) and the Gate warped right under one of his squads. Argh! Very cool ending to a very fun game.

So after all four games, I ended up in the bottom half of the pack (infinitely far from Bigred in 5th place! Mos beat me soundly, with the help of his Titan. And I tied with Aventine Crusader's Lost and the Damned army. Could have been worse!

Ork Battlefortress, Part 6

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Several people have asked how the ork battlefortress is going, so I thought I would throw in a little update. The battle fortress is in that long dark teatime of the modeling process. It is past the part where we can see big changes being made, but not quite to the point where it’s ready for paint. It’s in the detailing phase.
As I have mentioned before, hundreds and hundreds of rivets really drags down the soul. Anyways, the creative juices have started flowing. I got my second wind and started modeling again. It is still mostly rivet work, but I have added a few other bits of detail. The windows in the back of the observation desk have been added and I replaced the colored plastic bubble tops on the zzap turret with metal ones that have hatches from the old rhino sprue.

I have the front, back and top pretty much detailed out, but I am unsure how to detail the sides. It looks a little to clean for an ork vehicle. I’m not fond of the “cover a truck with glue and drive it through a junkyard” look of some ork vehicles, but the current sides are way too clean, even for an imperial vehicle. The large rivets on the top of the side armor definitely have to go. I will be replacing them with a double row of the smaller rivets.
I was thinking about covering it with patched armor plates. I did a mockup of it to see how it looks.


It does look better, but not great. Maybe fewer plates but larger ones? I don’t know. Any advice would be great.

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