Monday, December 29, 2008

Saim Ting

A new SH Eldar list I'm going to try out for a while:

Farseer - bike, stones, doom, fortune, runes of warding
6 Fire Dragons
6 Guardian Jetbikes - 2 cannons, warlock with singing spear and embolden
6 Guardian Jetbikes - 2 cannons, warlock with singing spear and embolden
6 Guardian Jetbikes - 2 cannons, warlock with singing spear and embolden
10 Dire Avengers - exarch w/ bladestorm, power weapon, shimmershield, and defend
Wave Serpent - twin linked bright lances, spirit stones, star engines
2 Vypers - scatter lasers, shuriken cannons
2 Vypers - scatter lasers, shuriken cannons
2 Fire Prisms - holofield, spirit stones
Falcon - scatter laser, holofield, spirit stones

The missing elements are already inbound. Obviously I wince at losing my third fire prism but those dragons are so multipurpose and bitey I can't help trying them out for at least a few games.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Black Legion observed

So I've been playing a number of different builds using Abaddon and all the cults recently, usually fully mechanized in Rhinos with some terminators, obliterators, and demons in the mix. After a couple tournaments and various friendly games, I'm still moving things around. These are some observations of the different units in the army, by themselves and in the context of the rest of the force:

Abaddon and Slaanesh Terminators - After two games in a tournament yesterday where Abby was barely able to kill half a squad before dying (even with a full bodyguard), I'm putting the brakes on how I use the big guy. Here's what typically happens when I deep strike him with my slaanesh terminators into battle: my opponent fires everything they have at his unit, using heavy weapons as well as disembarked special weapons (plas/melta), wipes out the terminators, wounds Abaddon once or twice, and charges in with assault troops or I charge him in the next turn. Abaddon kills maybe half a squad with Drachnyen, they break, he can't sweeping advance, and he's left out in the open all over again, squish. That's if he doesn't kill himself with his own demon weapon. And it hasn't happened yet, but it's quite possible that the terminators break from all the shooting wounds in some game and Abaddon has to go with them. I contemplated putting them all in a land raider, and I still might try that, but I'd be taking away points from somewhere else. Not being able to do a sweeping advance means a lot more these days, when the loser breaks so often due to the negative Ld modifiers. I think I'm going to ditch them for a while.

Thousand Sons - These guys seem to work just fine without their own rhino, and do best in the largest squad possible (9 + sorceror). I gave up on bolt of change and gave my sorceror doombolt to streamline their usage and add more dakka. Despite the sorceror's force weapon, they can't stand up to much assault and so I'm thinking of pairing them with Abaddon and using them to protect home objectives.

Berzerkers - As long as the enemy doesn't get too many shots into this squad, these guys can fuck shit up pretty bad. I decided against giving them plasma pistols, since furious charge and the champion's power fist is usually good enough anti-tank for them, and I don't want any more pointless wounds on the unit than is absolutely necessary. These guys would also probably do better in a land raider than a rhino.

Noisemarines - I'm going to try dropping their rhino and using these guys as a solid anti-infantry firebase, just like I'm starting to do with the thousand sons. They're better in assault than the thousand sons, but could probably use an anchor like Abaddon or another character. So now I need like 7 or 8 sonic blasters. Haven't decided whether to give them a blastmaster or not or whether to keep the champion's doom siren.

Plaguemarines - If they can get on an objective in cover, they can usually hold out against a lot of shooting and assault. I want to try increasing their squad size from 8 to 10 just to make them that much more annoying. A rhino would still be useful for them to get their meltaguns into proper range of land raiders and such.

Obliterators - Having these guys in 3 separate units of 1, and therefore able to target 3 different units, is nice but a little bit of a liability in kill points missions (especially in custom missions when non-troop units are worth more KP). I'm still getting the hang of when I should deep strike them and when they should start on the board. They do well when they get to come in at close range and blast land raiders or other vehicles with melta.

Flying Lash Prince/Greater Demon - T5 and a 3+/5+ save means the demon prince never lasts very long. He's not so special in assault, either, compared to some other monsters out there. I'm starting to like the cheaper greater demon better with T6 and a 4+ invulnerable.

Lesser Demons - I think I'm over these dudes for a while. They are annoying for an enemy but always seem to lose combat and then suffer even more wounds from being fearless.

So here's a possible future list, with all these things in mind:

Abaddon
Greater Demon
Sorceror - mark of slaanesh, lash of submission, bike
10 Berzerkers - champion with power weapon, rhino with extra armor
10 Plaguemarines - champion with power fist, rhino with extra armor
10 Thousand Sons - sorceror with doombolt
10 Noisemarines - champion with doom siren, power weapon, 8 sonic blasters, blastmaster
3 Obliterators

Alternatively I could swap out the sorceror for a defiler.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Abaddon's Classic Cult Car Expo


Some pictures in its latest incarnation:

Abaddon and Terminator Bodyguard



Plaguemarines and Noisemarines



Berzerkers and Thousand Sons



Demons, Greater Demon, and Obliterators

And the list:

Abaddon
Greater Demon
5 Chaos Terminator Champions - 3 combi-plasmas, 2 -meltas, icon of slaanesh
8 Berzerkers - skull champion with power weapon and personal icon, Rhino with extra armor
8 Thousand Sons - sorceror with doombolt, personal icon, and meltabomb, Rhino with extra armor
8 Noisemarines - noise champion with doom siren, power weapon, and personal icon, Rhino with extra armor
8 Plaguemarines - plague champion with power fist and personal icon, 2 meltaguns, Rhino with extra armor
10 Lesser Demons
2 Obliterators

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Action Report: Chaos vs. Black Templars 12-21-08



Jay came over today with his Christmas Black Templar army, which will apparently be featured on BOLS pretty soon. He had a marshall with a thunder hammer, emperor's champion, one assault and one shooty squad of terminators, four squads of ten marines in power armor with a meltagun and powerfist sergeant each, and two land raider crusaders. It sounds silly when you write it out but this is a very cool looking army with the xmas lights, wreaths, snow basing, and holiday-themed squad markings all combining to create a very unique look. Unfortunately for me, it is also a bitch and a half to play against. I fielded a familiar chaos list:

Abaddon's Classic Cult Car Expo

Abaddon
5 Terminators - icon of slaanesh, 1 chainfist, 2 combiplasmas, 2 combimeltas, 1 combiflamer
8 Noisemarines - 7 sonic blasters, champion with power weapon, doom siren, and personal icon, rhino with extra armor
8 Plaguemarines - 2 meltaguns, champion with power fist and personal icon, rhino with extra armor
8 Berzerkers - 2 plasma pistols, champion with power weapon and personal icon, rhino with extra armor
8 Thousand Sons - sorceror with doombolt and personal icon, rhino with extra armor
10 Lesser Demons
3 Obliterators

The mission was annihilation with spearhead deployment. Jay won the roll to go first and chose his corner. During deployment I decided to put Abaddon in reserve separately from the terminators, since I was going to try a general divide and conquer strategy and I wasn't sure where the need would be greatest. I deployed the plague marines and noise marines on my right side, with the berzerkers and thousand sons on the left. I failed to seize the initiative and the game was on.

The crusader on my left moved the full distance while the other moved up to shoot its multimelta and assault cannon at my noisemarine rhino. The noisemarine rhino survived a volley of fire, only getting shaken. I flanked out long on my left at first and pulled back a bit on the right. The noisemarines jumped out and laid a crappy volley into the closest crusader squad, killing nothing. On Jay's second turn, the assault terminators charged forth in their LRC into the thousand sons, wiping them out in one round of assault. The plaguemarine rhino was charged by the shooty squad of terminators and the marshall and it exploded, killing one terminator and one plaguemarine in the process. The noisemarines ran over to assist the plaguemarines, while the berzerkers sought to avenge the thousand sons. Abaddon, an obliterator, and the demons joined the fight on the left, and the khorne marines charged in with the demons after some concentrated fire. They were successful, but the chaos survivors were charged the next turn by the closest squad of crusaders. The obliterator was quickly popped by a LRC multimelta. On the right, the plaguemarines and noisemarines killed only one or two more terminators and were both wiped out when a crusader squad joined the fight.

The terminators came in on my third turn, and I tried to deep-strike them in behind the crusader on the right, but they scattered out of effective range. Another obliterator came in on the left and only stunned the LRC with his multimelta. Abaddon charged in to the big fray on the left but rolled a bastard "1" on his first foray of CC for the day; thankfully he saved the wound though. The demons and berzerkers tied combat with the 7 or so crusaders left. Abaddon had much better luck in the next turn, wiping out the survivors singlehandedly! On the right Jay turned around with the other LRC after the marshall and last two terminators jumped in for the ride. He shot at my terminators in cover with several meltaguns and the LRC assault cannon to no avail. They jumped out of cover and tried to chainfist the LRC, penetrating the big tank but only stunning it. Back on the left, the berzerkers moved up with their massacre roll, and I used their icon to bring my last obliterator down inside 6" of one of his LRCs. I made all the right rolls and exploded it. Abaddon and the obliterator moved up through cover, the berzerkers jumped inside the thousand sons rhino, and the demons hid in the back for the rest of the game along with the berzerker rhino. My terminators were wiped out by the marshall and his buddies, though I would have finished off the buddies if it weren't for my shitty chainfist trooper. In my last turn, I shot up a crusader squad on the left with obliterator plasma, and the ensuing leadership brought it within charge range for Abaddon. He killed seven off the bat, bringing it down to just the sergeant, while the berzerkers charged another squad and brought it down to two. And the buzzer signaled the end of the game, with Jay up 8 KP to my 4. Any game with 2 fully painted armies is already great game, but this one was also a lot of fun (even though I got creamed).

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Abaddon

I had so much fun playing with Abaddon in the last tourney I decided to tackle his actual model (before I was just proxying my own termie lord). I actually painted him once in the past, but ended up stripping and looting the miniature to make two different conversions. Jay very generously hooked me up with a clean slate and I started in, with the main goal being consistency with my existing terminators, who would be serving as his bodyguard most of the time. This was also my first model using the new GW inks, specifically badab black ink for the shading of the boltgun metal. All the other washes and inks are old bottles. He came out ok I think.

Action Report: Saim Hann vs. Necrons 12-11-08

I had an epically silly game against Jay last night up at BFG. I wanted to get a game in with the Saim Hann now that they have a bit of color on them. Jay brought his awesome necron army, including the Nightbringer, 3 squads of 10 warriors, 1 squad of 10 immortals, 2 squads of 4 destroyers, and 2 monoliths. Here was my list:

Farseer – spirit stones, jetbike, runes of warding, guide, doom, mind war, fortune
3 x 7 Jetbike Guardians – 2 shuriken cannons, warlock with embolden and singing spears
10 Dire Avengers – exarch w/ bladestorm, defend, power weapon, and shimmershield
Wave Serpent – twin-linked bright lances, spirit stones
2 Vypers – scatter lasers, shuriken cannons
2 Vypers – starcannons, shuriken cannons
3 Fire Prisms – holofields, spirit stones

Yes, I gave the farseer 4 psychic powers, which does indeed seem pretty ridiculous, but I wanted to see which powers I really used and which ones I could live without. As it turns out, fortune and doom were the most useful and I’ll probably stick with them for the future. Guide is pretty useless for this force since most of the dakka is twin-linked, but I want to give mind war a little more time to see if it can earn its value. Instead of guide I’ll add star engines to the dire avengers’ serpent to help it get across the table faster.

After winning the MIR (most important roll), I decided to go second. I thought about putting everything in reserve, but I got a little paranoid at the last second and started the whole army on the board. I failed to seize the initiative, and he moved his forces up and unleashed a ton of strong gauss from his destroyers and immortals. One squad of jetbikes was wiped out right off the bat. My farseer fortuned his own unit, and I tried to light up the Nightbringer with all my prisms, vypers, and bike shuriken cannons to no avail. On his next turn, both monoliths deep struck in right in front of me, teleporting immortals and warriors up to my front line. He opened up with nearly his entire army on the farseer’s squad, but only one jetbike was killed thanks to fortune. My starcannon vypers were brought down by a monolith gauss array. I turbo-boosted to the left with the farseer’s unit and retreated to my objective with the remaining jetbike squad. The wave serpent continued its flank approach along with the scatter laser vyper squad. I spent a turn trying to prism one of the monoliths with no effect. Of course when Jay moved one of them himself into a piece of terrain on the next turn, it was immobilized. He still used it to move the immortals forward a bit and they fired and charged into the nearby farseer/bike squad. It was a drawn combat with few if any casualties on either side. Destroyers and warrior shooting took the third jetbike squad camping on my home objective down by half. Still in range, I doomed the closest squad of warriors and nearly destroyed them with fire prism and shuriken fire, but one survived and naturally most of them got back up with the help of the monolith. Together with the destroyers they wiped out the third jetbike squad. The Nightbringer finally made it into combat with the farseer’s squad and finished it off fairly quickly. All I had left on that side were two fire prisms, one of them without a main gun. On the other side of the table, the dire avengers got out of their transport and combined fire with my scatter laser vypers and third fire prism to destroy one of the warrior squads. Reloading their weapons after the bladestorm, the avengers got back in their transport and headed towards Jay’s remaining warrior squad sitting squarely on his home objective. On the fifth turn, I contested both objectives by moving my skimmers flat out, two fire prisms for mine and a wave serpent for his. We rolled to go to the sixth turn, and he spent it shooting everything he had at the fire prisms. The holofields and cover saves held up and they somehow survived the turn. He also hauled ass with one squad of destroyers back to his corner to try and prevent my taking it. I jumped my dire avengers out and finished off the last warriors on his objective with the help of the vyper scatter lasers and seven (7!) failed armor saves. It was time for another game length roll, and jay rolled a 4: one more turn! His destroyers arrived at his home objective, opened fire on the dire avenger squad and killed half of them, sending them running back a bit. Without the aid of cover saves, my fire prisms took substantial damage this turn, but when the smoke cleared I was still left with one immobilized, weaponless tank contesting my home objective. The dire avengers regrouped and used the three inch consolidation and a six inch fleet move to grab his objective after my vyper and last fire prism had finished off the destroyers. A ridiculously cheesy win for the eldar!

Main lessons learned in this encounter:
- Spearhead is a bitch for deploying all those jetbikes and tanks. Next time I’m just going to keep them all in reserve.
- Never give up! Stick and move! It looked pretty bad in the beginning, but my flank attack with the dire avengers paid off and they survived to win the game for me.
- Holofielded vehicles are still ridiculously survivable.
- I was right to take spirit stones off of the vyper squadrons. Stunned results become shaken anyway when they’re in a squadron and I want them to be as cheap as possible (I’m still keeping the shuriken cannons!).
- Doom is pretty spectacular for taking down MEQ. Keeping that.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Tournament: Battleforge Games 40k Tournament of Champions 12-7-08

Seems like it’s been forever since I went to a regular tourney, but I guess it’s only been a couple months. This Saturday was the "tournament of champions" at Battleforge, and the top 9 players (2 people tied for 8th place) from the 2008 monthly tournaments were invited to throw down one last time to win some megadeluxe prizes (or at least a bunch of cool stuff that don’t sell too good). I finished in fourth place for the year, mostly by attending every tournament and collecting painting points the whole time; I think I placed in maybe two or three of the tourneys, but never first. Unsurprisingly, everyone knew each other and had a pretty good time. Most of the folks playing conspired to bring mostly hobbyish armies, even though the ‘eavy tourney rules would be in place. Here’s the list I played:

Abaddon’s Used Cult Car Emporium

Abaddon

4 Terminators – MoCU, 3 combi-plasmas, 1 combi-flamer, 1 chainfist

10 Berzerkers – 2 plasma pistols, champion with power fist and personal icon, rhino with extra armor

10 Thousand Sons – sorcerer with doombolt and personal icon, rhino with extra armor

8 Plaguemarines – 2 meltaguns, champion with power fist and personal icon, rhino with extra armor

8 Noisemarines – champion with power weapon, doom siren, and meltabomb, rhino with extra armor

8 Lesser Demons

3 Obliterators

This was a really fun list to play, as even when I lost I still got to kick some major ass. I replaced my usual lash sorcerer/demon prince with Abaddon the Despoiler (en espaƱol: Abaddon El Exterminador) because I’ve noticed that a) a single lash is unpredictable and rarely makes much of a difference in the fight as a whole, and b) since 5th edition came out, many successful armies seem to focus on badass units that put the beatdown on your opponent rather than obsessing about troops and scoring the most objectives (for more on what I’m talking about, read Goatboy’s recent post on Bell of Lost Souls). One thing I might change with this list for next time is to drop the berzerkers and thousand sons squads down to 8 each to add 2 two terminators and 2 lesser demons. Ten berzerkers/1k sons are not that much more effective than 8, and I want to try beefing up Abaddon’s unit to make it even more devastating. It’s really too bad he doesn’t make his own unit fearless; for 275 points he damn well should grant some sort of extra tactical advantage like the marine characters. I only rolled a 1 for his demon weapon once, and of course it took away his last wound. I did forget that he gets to re-roll unsuccessful wounds, which might have actually turned the tide a couple of times, but oh well. I had 3 fun games and a great wrap-up to the 2008 tourney season at BFG. Here's some more pics:

Nick's Emperor's Children vs. Jay's Deathwing



Colby's Orks vs. Robert's Thousand Sons



Frank's Ultramarines vs. Chris' Khorne Demons



Game 1 – Space Marines (Iron Hands)

Deployment: Pitched Battle
Primary Objective: Seize Ground (5 objectives)
Secondary Objective: Destroy your opponent’s highest point unit
Tertiary Objective: Destroy more HQs than your opponent

Josiah was fielding a master of the forge, librarian, 9 sternguard in a rhino, 25 tactical marines with 1 lascannon and 2 heavy bolter razorbacks, 2 venerable dreadnoughts, 1 ironclad dreadnought in a drop pod, and a thunderfire cannon. This game started off really well for me. On my left, the noisemarines wiped out one combat squad and fought off a second squad and a librarian with the help of the lesser demons. Even though I forgot that drop pods can come in on the first turn and the ironclad was all up in my business, an obliterator came in on time and blew it up. On my right, the plague marines drove up to claim an objective near his deployment zone. I got a little greedy though and jumped them out to melta one of the venerable dreads that was heading towards my relatively defenseless thousand sons. I should have either stayed put on the objective or used the rhino fire point to melta him instead. As it was, I only blew off his close combat arm and the plaguemarines ended up tangled in close combat with the dread and a marine combat squad for the next two or three turns until an obliterator could come over and help. By then it was too late and I wasn’t able to get the right side objective after all. In the middle, the berzerkers drove up and brought down Abaddon. My main goal was to keep his remaining forces away from the center objective that my berzerkers would try and hold. Abaddon and his bodyguard were swarmed by the master of the forge and the sternguard and the big baddie eventually died after failing to save a wound from the demon weapon. The sternguard moved up and contested the middle objective. He also contested the Thousand Sons’ objective with one of his surviving rhinos. We ended up getting a draw on the primary, and he earned the secondary and tertiary.

Game 2 – Dark Angels (Deathwing)

Deployment: Spearhead
Primary Objective: Victory Points
Secondary Objective: Destroy an HQ, elite, fast attack, or heavy support unit
Tertiary Objective: Don’t remember

Jay had Belial, 4 5-man terminator squads, 1 of them kitted out for heavy assault, a multi-melta dreadnought in a drop pod, a predator annihilator with heavy bolter sponsons, a land raider, and a land raider crusader. Holding Abaddon and my oblits in reserve, I veered left with the rhinos and set up a squeeze point between two wooded areas, blocking the space off at first with my rhinos. He charged in with the two Land Raiders, assaulting the thousand sons rhino barricade on the right with Belial's awesome CC unit, and the plaguemarines in the forest on my left with another squad of terminators. A third squad deep struck in further on my right. The plaguemarines were brought down to the 2 meltagunners but the champion survived long enough to wipe his opponents out. I opened the blockade and poured fire into belial's squad with the thousand sons, noisemarines, berzerkers, and one obliterator, then charging them with the lesser demons, berzerkers, and noisemarines. The combined chaos horde wiped out the rest of his terminators. The nurgle marines circled around and melta'd the godhammer land raider, and an obliterator destroyed the crusader. To cap the day off, Abaddon had an epic dreadnought kill . I destroyed everything but the predator and the drop pod, and won the primary and secondary and a bonus point.

Game 3 - Orks

Deployment: Spearhead
Primary Objective: Seize Ground (3 objectives)
Secondary Objective: Have a unit in your opponent's deployment zone with no enemy units in yours
Tertiary Objective: Have a scoring unit within 3 inches of the table center and no enemy units within the 3 inches

Colby was running far fewer orks than the last game we played, but there were still plenty to go around. He had a warboss biker with 4 nob bikers, a big squad of shoota boyz, a squad of tankbustas in a battlewagon, 2 squads of trukk boyz, a squad of 'ard boyz in a trukk, a small squad of deffkoptas, and a shokk attack gun big mek hanging out with a squad of lootas. I decided not to deep strike anyone for this game, putting abaddon in the center to draw fire and reacting to his movements with the cult troops in their rhinos. I went right with my noise marines and left with the thousand sons and berzerkers, trashing the two trukk boyz' transports with obliterator lascannon fire. The thousand sons took up position on one objective, losing their rhino to rokkit fire from the bustas in the battlewagon. I had to send the nurgle marines over to finish off his battlewagon with their meltas, but I eventually ran them back to help out in the center. The noisemarines jumped from their rhino to attack the biker nobz which had just turbo-boosted into charge range. They inflicted a few wounds with the doom siren and pistols, and wiped them out in the subsequent assault. They were counter-attacked by the ard boyz and a squad of the trukk boyz and finished off before the demons could come in and reinforce them. Instead the demons jumped in front of Abaddon's line to try and fend off the trukk boyz that were moving towards the objective I was sitting on in my DZ. Again Abaddon was brought down, but not before fighting off 2 squads of trukk boyz nearly singlehandedly. The berzerkers did eventually have to jump in and finish off the stragglers. The big mek rolled a double 1 for his shokk attack gun and vaporized himself and a few of his buddies nearby. The survivors broke and ran (with a little steady prodding from my noisemarine rhino). The 'ard boyz had jumped back in their trukk, moving to reinforce his assault on my "home" objective. Unfortunately we ran out of time on the 5th turn and I was left holding 2 of the objectives, giving me the primary and him the tertiary.