Saturday, March 29, 2008

Action Report: Space Wolves vs. Blood Angels 3-27-08

Wolf Lord Hakr Varghoss peered through his oversized optics at the enemy formation on the far side of the enormous fabricum, his voice breaking the silence that had settled on the wooded hillside. "They have spotted our approach. The main group has turned to bear and is heading this way. Armor and infantry moving at full speed."

The black-robed inquisitor turned and glanced up briefly at the space marine looming next to him before squinting back into the distance. "It would appear Maika was unable to disable their sensors. Just as well. I already transmitted my complete judication, guilty of course. More than enough evidence of that, I should think. These subhuman blood drinkers must be purged of their despicable disease." Xocratos paused, choosing his next words carefully. "It would perhaps be advantageous," he paused again, "to now close the distance ourselves and disrupt their full attack."

The grey-haired giant continued to watch through his field glasses while he replied. "Your counsel is wise, Lord, but the moment must be chosen very carefully. This is an old game to us. We must meet their advance at the just at the precise moment that their inertium brings them falling right onto our swords. Their own madness will be their undoing."

I played a 2500 point cleanse game with Jay up at Battleforge on Thursday. He brought a big Blood Angel force composed of Lamartes, 3 venerable death company dreadnoughts in drop pods, a big death company, multiple 5-man assault squads, 2 squads of 2 land speeders with multimeltas/heavy bolters and assault cannons, and 3 baal predators. I took my latest 2000 wolves list but added an inquisitor lord (with my usual retinue), a callidus assassin, a vindicator, and upgraded the wolf guard battle leader to a lord with a belt of russ. I was trying to maximize pre-game trickery, though as it turned out none of it really had much of an effect besides being able to pick my own quarter. This was a really fun game though, as the space wolves moved up in rhinos to meet the brunt of a raging blood angels attack. I got first turn (without my dread's reroll) and zapped one of the baals right off the bat (ahem) with a landspeeder, and dropped a few assault marines as well with shooting. The blood angels responded by stunning both of my land speeders and one predator with mass assault cannons, then pounding on two of the rhinos with power fists, causing one of them to be evacuated. Very luckily for me, they weren't pinned on their way out. On my second turn, all my transported infantry were perfectly poised to counter-attack into the nearby enemy marines. Together with the inquisitor retinue and two of the tanks, the wolf lord's unit of grey hunters and the blood claws shot the blood company up good leaving only three survivors. The rune priest's squad wiped out one assault squad and segued into a second. The scouts arrived as well, and managed to knock off one a baal's assault cannon turret with their plasma pistols.

His next turn saw the arrival of all three of his venerable furioso dreadnoughts. One took on the wolf scouts, burning up three of them immediately, a second dropped behind my right predator and wrecked it with a flamer to the rear armor, and the third landed just behind my blood claws, next to my inquisitor and retinue. It was a devastating attack, but once again the space wolves were left in a good position to react. The scouts ran in shooting and managed to wreck the big lug in assault with the wolf guard's power fist. The blood claws also jumped in with the closest dreadnought but were unable to do more than stun him. When a second dreadnought jumped in and started pounding the blood claws with more attacks it was over. Lascannon shots from my surviving annihilator destroyed one of his last two baal predators, and my own venerable dreadnought arrived to put the kibosh on the other one with help from a land speeder. The grey hunters all moved back towards the middle and brought down the last blood angels land speeders with shooting and assault. After the dreadnoughts finished off the blood claws, they tore into my tanks, destroying both of them eventually. At the end of the game, I was contesting my own quarter while holding two or maybe three of the other quarters, depending on whether a last second furioso charge should have gone into a rhino rather than the wolf lord's grey hunter squad because of the thirst or whatever.

We didn't count up victory points, but it looked like I had won by a decent margin, still not a rout by any means. In any case, I was mainly interested in getting more experience with the core of the army. The game was more proof to me that my list now is the best it's ever been; whether or not it's actually all that competitive for tournament play is definitely up for debate. There's still a lot of army types I haven't played against with them and they're still coming from a very old codex.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Painting Space Wolves

I wanted to change up a few units in my wolves army, which required me to scavenge a few different marine bodies and parts from my bitz. I figured I might as well document the process I use for painting these. I had a wolf scout, a wolf guard leader for the scouts, a wolf guard leader for the blood claws, a blood claw, and several grey hunters with plasma pistols and meltaguns. The blood claws' leader has a dark angel powerfist with the emblem filed down and a wolf tail added, and the wolf scouts' leader has a power armor upper body with a scout waist and legs.

First I go over the models with shadow grey, chaos black, boltgun metal, shining gold, sunburst yellow, bleached bone, bronzed flesh, and blood red. I'm not especially neat at this point, so most of the time I need to go back over things again and clean up the edges between colors.

The next stage is going back over with washes. Watered down brown ink for the gold and bone, flesh wash for the flesh, black ink for the metal, and extremely watered down blood red for the yellow. Again I usually have to go back over with some main colors, especially shadow grey, to clean things up before highlighting.

I mix up about 50:50 shadow grey:space wolves grey (SG:SWG)and go over all the armor except for the deeper recessed areas. Then I highlight edges and raised areas with 20:80 SG:SWG, then even thinner lines of about 5:95 SG:SWG. The skulls and things are drybrushed 5:95 black:bleached bone, then with bleached bone, then with white. The yellow eagles are highlighted back up to shining yellow from the red-stained yellow. The stained gold and metal areas are dry brushed up to their original color on the edges and raised areas. The faces are dry brushed with mixes of bronzed flesh and flesh wash, then highlighted with white and flesh. Eyebrows, bone, and some hair are highlighted with white.

There's still some work left to do with these guys; obviously the bases, as well as a few minor details. I also have four tanks and an attack bike to paint to get my latest 2k army up and running.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

That Sound...

It's either junebugs buzzing at my back door, or it's an incoming Saim Hann warhost. Either way, my dog will probably eat them if given the chance, and then sick them back up in the middle of the night. I picked up a third fire prism at the tournament saturday so I figured I should just finish up their assembly, including the wave serpent. I only had to pin one of the prism crystal arms to the plastic axle piece, but I'll probably have to go back in the future when the other two break and reinforce them too.

I also put the warlocks together. They came out pretty much like I planned. After the bitz program shut down at GW I gave up on the idea of obtaining shining spears control pads for them. First I hollowed out a bit into the guardian jetbike leg pieces with just the tip of a 3/8" drill bit, then used a pin vice to drill a small hole into the bottom of the new guardian body as well as into the hollowed out bit in the legs. I actually had to trim a muscle off of the guardian jetbike left arm in order to fit the more forward-fitting warlock body. I still have to replace the lower piece of the one guy's sword handle; I think it was an early candidate for my farseer's right arm, and I had trimmed it down for some reason. A ribbed paperclip piece might work, plus a little rune on the bottom or something.

All I need is 5 dire avengers, get them all primed, and I'm set for my first 2000 point game.

Farseer - runes of warding, singing spear, spirit stones, mind war, doom, jetbike

4 Warlocks - 3 singing spears, 2 destructors, 1 enhance, 1 embolden, jetbikes

5 x 3 Guardian Jetbikes - 1 shuriken cannon

10 Dire Avengers, Exarch with 2 shuriken catapults, bladestorm
Wave Serpent - twin-linked shuriken cannon, shuriken cannon, spirit stones

2 Vypers - 2 starcannons, spirit stones, holofields

2 x 1 Vyper - bright lance, spirit stones, holofields

3 Fireprisms - spirit stones, holofields

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Tournament: Dragon's Lair 3-22-08

The Scourge of Zugarramurdi did very well on Saturday at the 2000 pt tournament at Dragon's Lair. Not one, but two recalcitrant chapters of space marines, as well as a sinister Eldar warhost were all judged guilty of heresy and made to submit to righteous excoriation in His name. Not all of the prisoners survived their penitence. I came in second place out of 12 people and got to play three interesting games against friendly opponents. My witch hunters have served me well, creating entertaining games and reliably earning solid or crushing victories, helping me to fly below the radar and ease into second or third at several tournaments now.

Game 1 - Ultramarines - Secure and Control

Lundy had a nicely painted ultramarines force consisting mostly of min lasplas squads with an assault squad led by a chaplain, two melta squads in heavy bolter razorbacks, assault terminators led by a chaplain in a land raider crusader, and a couple standard dreadnoughts. We rolled for three loot counters and I got to place two of them in my own deployment zone. He hadn't played against Witch Hunters before, which might explain why he charged the crusader forward in the first turn towards the same flank as the exorcists. They promptly lit the big guy up like the fourth of July, exploding the tank, pinning the terms, and scattering flamey wreckage into the nearby marine squad. They all survived the flak but were later whittled down by the exorcists and guard lascannons. I had deployed the assassins behind the center piece of cover, and he sent the two razorback squads in after them. The eversor was melted before he could do a thing, but the death cultists wiped out one squad and killed four more marines in the second. The dreadnoughts strode forward out of cover, and though I brought one down fairly quickly with a missile barrage, the second one survived to the fifth and final turn and nearly claimed a second objective after his assault marines had pushed my forces off the hill in the middle of my deployment. My Canoness and Seraphim had valiantly counter-attacked and defended the position for as long as possible, but powerfists will be powerfists and eventually they were destroyed. Both of us ended up claiming a single objective but with the witch hunters ahead by 400 or so victory points. Witch Hunters win, solid victory.

Game 2 - Eldar - Seek and Destroy

Marshall was a nice guy playing with a mixed eldar force consisting of an avatar, farseer, 10 guardians and a scatter laser (?), 10 harlequins, 10 dire avengers in a wave serpent, 6 rangers, 6 fire dragons, 6 warp spiders, 2 falcons, and a wraithlord. I think it was his first game against a witch hunters list too. I actually thought I was doing much worse this entire game than I actually was. He managed to wipe out a few guard squads and seriously deplete the retributors with shooting from the falcons, wraithlord. The warp spiders and fire dragons both jumped at my front line and got vaporized after singe rounds of shooting. I let the harlequins and scorpions get to the closest edge of the center terrain piece before springing the canoness, assassins, and seraphim at them, completely wiping them out suffering minimal casualties in return. The canoness in particular performed very well, shrugging off the mightiest attacks with her 2+ invulnerable on innumerable occasions. I finally destroyed the blasted Wraithlord (!) after two or three rounds of heavy shooting, earned a ton of points back from my surviving forces, and won by a decent margin. Witch Hunters win, crushing victory.

Game 3 - Space Marines - Take and Hold

Brian, I kicked your ass in this game! Only kidding. I had several lucky breaks that saved me a lot of work and helped me to win in the long run. He was running a jump commander, jump chaplain, two large assault squads, two terminator squads with assault cannons, several small tac squads with missile launchers, and a small dev squad with missile launchers and a lascannon. I set up my guard across the field from his shooty squads, with the retributors and a sister squad nearby to help out with leadership. When the assault squad led by the chaplain and commander crossed the battlefield towards the center, the retributors killed just four of them with divine guidanced heavy bolter fire and they broke off the table... totally tragic. I set up the eversor on the right side of his deployment, but he got first turn and assaulted him with jump pack squad. Somehow he survived like 20 attacks including a powerfist and actually won combat. Unfortunately he wasn't so lucky in the subsequent turn and exploded on his attackers to no effect. His terminators moved up out of cover toward the middle and the exorcists shot the shit out of them. Unfortunately the assault cannon termies survived and the exorcist in the cover on my right was rended into early retirement. The death cultists jumped down and finished off one terminator squad, while the other climbed atop the building and were eventually destroyed by the canoness and seraphim. His missile batteries wiped out my entire left side minus the exorcist with a never-ending frag barrage. On my right, his surviving assault marine squad made a dent in a sisters squad before being finished off by the canoness and a death cultist. The seraphim claimed the center and earned back their points. Witch Hunters win, solid victory.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Tournament: Ninja Pirates 3-16-08

Last Sunday I went up to Ninja Pirates for a 2000 point rules of engagement tournament. There was an unusually small turnout, only 6 players, perhaps due to the big blowout in the corresponding event thread on the Austin forum, but more likely resulting from the games taking place on the last day of spring break. I don’t think many of the usual players at NP read the forum that much anyway. I actually wrote out a long entry about the argument but abandoned it after I realized I didn’t really give a shit about a few different people not getting along for whatever reason. It was a predictable flare-up in a community somewhat segregated by differing opinions on the competitive aspect of the game (there might be some old bad blood involved in the mix too). I don’t think it says anything bad about the Austin scene; in fact I think it’s a good thing that new players are more likely to find a sympathetic peer group with the different viewpoints represented, a few inevitable episodes of threadrage notwithstanding.

Aaanyway, after trading for another whirlwind missile rack to make my second exorcist, I decided to take a new variation on my old witch hunters/inducted guard list (see previous entry). The tournament sort of fell apart before the third round when a couple of the players took off for one reason or another, and my own two games were a little sloppy and somewhat anticlimactic. The main liability of my list is mobility. I have plenty of anti-horde and anti-armor shooting and a decent assault wing, but besides the seraphim, the only scoring units I have that can move 12" are the exorcists, and they aren’t really made to drive around and grab objectives. I could drop the cultists for a couple of rhinos for the 2 sister squads, but it would make the gunline less effective by moving their leadership-bracing books of St. Lucius away. In both of Sunday’s games I was pretty rusty with the acts of faith; hopefully after a few more warmups I’ll be back in the swing of things with the coeds.

Game 1 – Eldar

Aims drew "firebase" for her mission, requiring her to capture any two objectives on the board, and I drew "foothold," meaning I had to capture both of the enemy objectives. As I’ve already mentioned, mobility is not a strong point of this army and so I was already at a disadvantage from the start as we had both placed one objective each deep in our own deployment zones (the big triangle-shaped setups). I deployed my assassins far forward, which turned out to be a good distraction for her assault units (banshees, harlequins), but I made the mistake of anchoring the sister squads heavy on my right side rather than my left. The retributors were never able to bring their heavy bolters to bear, and after the single sister squad on the left was taken out, my guardsmen were left to fend for their own. The seraphim and canoness eventually repelled the banshees and harlequins, but the seraphim were brought below scoring and broken before they could try to contest Amy’s home objective. One fire prism was destroyed by exorcist and lascannon fire, but the second grav tank zipped around to take my distant objective. Since I had second turn, I contested it with a sister squad, and I would have taken one of her objectives in my 6th turn with the surviving retributors and tied up the game, but the time ran out and we didn’t have time to finish. Eldar wins, 1-0.

Game 2 – Armored Company

I was paired off against Jay going into the second round. He had an armored company list featuring a hellhound, a vanquisher, an exterminator, 3 or 4 standard russes, 2 basilisks, and a demonhunter inquisitor with a retinue and a land raider. He drew "rescue" for his mission (not great for an all-tank army) and I rolled for "firebase." I got first turn and things went downhill for him quickly. I was able to destroy a leman russ and a land raider right off the bat, and with all my lascannons and melta-missiles I was able to keep the same killing pace for pretty much the entire game. With no chance of victory, he started to kinda fuck around at the end, which led to a scenario in which the eversor exploded a leman russ vanquisher and a hellhound in a single turn with death or glory meltabomb attacks. Spectacular! The explosions even killed the death cultist hanging around behind him, but the eversor himself was untouched. Witch Hunters win, 2-0.

Game 3 – Clay’s Barber

My third opponent, Clay, went to get a haircut. I supposedly got a bye win, and I might have even gotten third place overall, but who knows?

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Which Hunters?

Out of friggin nowhere, here's a new witch hunters list I'm thinking of trying:

The Scourge of Zugarramurdi

In pursuit of a sophisticated den of heretical psykers called the "Sisterhood of Sol," Mother Belandra and the sisters of Banon joined forces with elements of the Tiefwalder 14th and investigated a rumored Sol citadel on Zugarramurdi, a carbon-mining outpost in the Ultima segmentum. When they realized the obscene taint of the witches was attracting barbarous xenos raiders from the entire segment, they immediately made plans to purify the central colony of Iberia with cleansing bolt and flame. In the hours just before the main attack, Belandra was contacted by Lord Inquisitor Xocratos of the Ordo Hereticus, and made to know that her forces would be augmented by his own personal cadre of assassins and cyborgs.

"Let nothing stand in His righteous way, God Emperor of Mankind!"


Canoness - blessed weapon, inferno pistol, cloak of St. Aspira, mantle of Ophelia, jump pack

Inquisitor Lord - liber heresius, psychic hood, carapace armor
2 Chirurgeons
1 Acolyte - carapace armor
3 Gun Servitors - heavy bolters


Eversor Assassin

3 Death Cult Assassins


10 Sisters of Battle - storm bolter, meltagun
Veteran Sister Superior - book of St. Lucius

10 Sisters of Battle - storm bolter, meltagun
Veteran Sister Superior - book of St. Lucius

Imperial Guard Infantry Platoon
Command Squad - 2 plasma guns, lascannon team
Junior Officer - bolter
4 Infantry Squads - plasma gun, lascannon team


8 Seraphim - 2 hand flamers
Veteran Sister Superior - power weapon, book of St. Lucius


2 Exorcists - extra armor, bulldozer blades

10 Retributors - 4 heavy bolters
Veteran Sister Superior - book of St. Lucius

* edit: I dropped the 3 imagifers, 2 of the seraphim, and a few other little things to bring in the death cultists. And a new crusade.

Tournament - Battleforge Games 3-08-08

Battleforge set a record for attendance on Saturday - 20 people showed up more or less on time, and the store manager managed to keep things rolling very efficiently with plenty of tables and three interesting scenarios. As you may or may not know, the 2008 Battleforge 40k season features 'Eavy tournaments on the odd-numbered months, where almost anything goes and players are encouraged to bring the hardest army they can muster. The even months are Hobby ('Obby?) tournaments where painting and army composition count more towards your final score. You can find Battleforge's ruleset and judging criteria for the two different versions here (link opens a word document). For my part, I had the pleasure of facing off against friendly opponents wielding three distinctly different space marine forces, and I came away with two big wins with a big loss in the middle. Here's some more photos of the event. Nick won 1st with his mixed eldar army, Chris won 2nd with his mechanized eldar, and Robert won 3rd with his Thousand Sons.

Game 1 - Space Marines

Deployment: Table quarters
Primary objective: Table quarters
Secondary objective: Kill enemy HQ with your own HQ surviving the game
Tertiary objective: Suicide squad destroyed before the end of the game
Bonus points: Keep 3 scoring units alive, control more uncontested terrain pieces

My first opponent was Brian, who had a chaplain and commander leading a large assault squad, two squads of terminators with assault cannons, a second assault squad, a couple of small tac squads with heavy and special weapons, a devastator squad with rocket launchers and a lascannon, and a whirlwind. Other than the assault cannons on the terminators, I wasn't worried about most of the marines. The only things fast enough to really circle me and shoot were the assault squads, and they had to get up close in order to do it. Genestealers led the charge with carnifexes providing fire support, and soon both terminator squads and both assault squads had been eaten. By the fifth turn, I had only lost less than half of my forces, and I was deep in his table quarter with the hive tyrant and a big stealer squad. Together they chewing up the rest of his army, right down to the whirlwind, while the rest of my units stayed back to capture quarters and terrain pieces. Tyranids: 19/22 points. Space Marines: 3 points.

Game 2 - Space Marines

Primary objective: Victory points
Secondary objective: Recon
Tertiary objective: Destroy the opponent's most expensive unit
Bonus points: Control more table quarters, keep highest point unit alive

I had seen Josiah around at plenty of the Thor's Hammer tournaments last year but never played against him. He had a pretty low-tech commander, a chaplain and a big command squad with three power fists in a land raider crusader, two or three small plas/plascan tac squads, two or three small rocket launcher/lascannon dev squads, and five land speeder tornadoes. His assault cannons and heavy bolters had just totally eradicated Jay's tyranid army in the first round, and our lists were fairly similar. And with so many tables up and running in the store, terrain was very light, so I knew it was probably going to be an uphill battle. I set up the majority of my forces on my left side in an effort to consolidate away from any short range fire and have at least a few of my assault units reach the other side alive and win back some VPs. Of course, it was not to be. As expected, the land speeders and crusaders flanked me on the right with utter impunity (even though I maimed or wrecked several of the speeders), and the command squad charged and smeared in assault everything his gunline hadn't already shot down. The only survivor was the hive tyrant, who slowly crossed the vast desert between our deployments and wrecked shop on several squads to little overall effect. I'm not sure what I could have done differently to affect a different outcome, short of hiding everyone, and there just wasn't much terrain to hide a horde behind anyway. Maybe I'll try some sort of defensive strategy the next time I find myself against a mobile shooty force (eldar, tau), but I'm not exactly holding out much hope. Space Marines: 22/22. Tyranids: 0/22.

Game 3 - Space Marines

Primary Objective: Annihilation
Secondary Objective: Defeat the most units in assault or sweeping advances
Tertiary Objective: No friendly units in your own deployment zone
Bonus points: Most units in enemy deployment zone, I don't remember the other one.

Frank was playing a fairly typical Frank list with an interesting exception: a small bike squad. He had a jump libby with fury of the ancients, a commander on foot accompanied by a tank-hunting 2-lascannon command squad, an assault-oriented scout squad, several small las/plas tac squads, two assault squads, three bikes with two flamers, and a rocket launcher/heavy bolter dev squad. I have a pretty even record against Frank, but we always have very interesting games and I was glad to be able to finish out the day facing his ultramarines. I deployed in a strong flank again on my left side, and just tried to move the stealer squads across the field as fast as possible. While I was consistently coming up with fives and sixes for fleet and armor saves, he was not doing nearly as well and his anti-infantry guns weren't able to cut the stealers down quick enough to keep them at bay. Two of the squads made it into assault with the scout and tac squad in the trees on his right, and the bikers and assault squad he sent out to try and slow the rest of the army down were eventually overcome themselves. The core of his forces in the center took casualties here and there from my sniperfex shooting, returning fire with mixed results against my bigger bugs, while the libby and his other assault squad circled around my right. I kept a stealer squad hanging back, and when they were in assault range I charged and wiped them out after a couple of turns with more excellent rending rolls. I did make one big mistake at the end that nearly cost me the game - I left the remnants of my very effective flying warriors standing dopily out in the open and they were quickly cut down by his heavy fire. The stealers in the trees on the left finished off their opponents and jumped out into the devastator squad in the center. He tried to fight them off with the remainder of his command and tac squads, but the 6th turn ended with the fighters still engaged in assault. Tyranids: 22/22 points. Space Marines: 0/22 points.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Reconsidering Jump Packs

I'm probably going to ditch the jump pack blood claws idea, at least temporarily, since I've managed to rustle up a couple of additional old model rhinos, which I wanted to match the rhino I have painted up already. If I put the claws in a rhino instead of giving them jump packs, I can save enough points to fit the attack bikes in and upgrade a few other units.

A blood ancestor of Hakr and Lors Varghoss, Alder Hurd's saga has extended for over 6,000 years. Hurd was a member of the original pack that eventually founded the Great Company of Sea Wolves. He spent the majority of his active duty as a Wolf Scout, leading packs of the most grizzled Sea Wolves into ambush attacks behind enemy lines. After his own body finally gave out defending one of the ancient territorial worlds in his 2000th year, his indomitable spirit was allowed to fight on in the armored sarcophagus of a mighty dreadnought. He still prefers to strike at the enemy's flanks, descending into hostile territory via drop pod.


Alder Hurd (Venerable Dreadnought) - assault cannon, heavy flamer, extra armor
Drop Pod

Dmitri Lutwig (Rune Priest) - frost blade, wolf pelt, runic staff, chooser of the slain, frag grenades

Hakr Varghoss (WGBL) - frost blade, wolf pelt, bolt pistol, frag grenades


5 Wolf Scouts - 2 plasma pistols, 1 meltagun, 2 power weapons, frag grenades
Wolf Guard Leader - power fist, bolt pistol, wolf pelt


8 Grey Hunters - 2 power fists, 2 plasma pistol/ccw, 5 bolters, 1 meltagun
Wolf Guard Leader - power fist, bolter, wolf pelt
Rhino - smoke launchers, extra armor

8 Grey Hunters - 2 power fists, 2 plasma pistol/ccw, 5 bolters, 1 meltagun
Wolf Guard Leader - power fist, bolter, wolf pelt
Rhino - smoke launchers, extra armor

9 Blood Claws - 2 power fists, flamer, jump packs
Wolf Guard Leader - power fist, bolt pistol, wolf pelt, jump pack, frag grenades


Landspeeder - multimelta, heavy flamer

Landspeeder - multimelta, heavy flamer

2 Attack Bikes - heavy bolters


Predator Annihilator - heavy bolter sponsons, extra armor, smoke launchers

Predator Annihilator - heavy bolter sponsons, extra armor, smoke launchers