Saturday, January 30, 2010

Developing a Strategy for your Army

Firstly, I must confess that I am guilty of trying to use "internet logic" to create a good list, without really knowing the tactics behind such a list. It's true, for the last couple weeks I have been trying to playtest my IG list that I intend on taking to a local tournament. I posted my list on a 40k forum (Dakkadakka) and let other players tweak my list and give me advice. I ended up with a list that looks very hard on paper, but is very hard for me to play when I don't know the exact tactics and synergies that go into such a list.

To avoid the problems that I had, whenever building a new list you should take into account several key factors that can drastically influence the game:

1) Getting the First Turn.

Generally, depending on what kind of army you are playing with or against, you'll usually want the first turn.

If you are an assault-based army fighting a shooting-based army, the 1st turn is often useful if only to deny the shooting player the first round of shooting. Orks love getting the first turn against IG, as they have just enough heavy weapons to put a dent in the IG firepower if they get the first turn. For more pure-assault based armies (such as specialized tyranids or chaos daemons) this first turn can give them just enough time to get into cover and out of fire lanes.

For shooting-based armies (such as IG or Tau) the first turn is nearly critical. It allows you to pour the fire on distant targets, using the longer ranges of your heavy weaponry. It reduces the amount of incoming fire you will receive the next turn, if you choose your targets wisely. It can also deny mobility to the enemy, if you can stun or immobilize transports (or dare I say it, wreck them!) before they can travel across the board.

Ok, as a Shooting-based player, I need the first turn. But I lost the roll! That's nothing I can do about it, right? WRONG! I can try to seize the initiative! It has never actually been successful for me, but at least I can say I tried. I always try to seize the initiative, because I usually need that first turn.

2) Deployment Strategies.

After playing a few games, I have come to realize that I was deploying poorly. Deployment is a huge part of your overall game strategy, and this is the balancing factor to getting the first turn. If you do not get the first turn, then you want to pay extra attention to your deployment strategy. Some armies have special methods of deploying (drop pod assaults, chaos daemons, new tyranids with spore pods, etc) and they will have different tactics. Basically, if you are a shooting-based army, you are going to want space. If you are an assault based army, you are going to want to get as close to the line as possible, to close into combat and get the charge. Other factors to consider are matching anti-armor to enemy tanks, anti-horde weapons to large infantry units, and the terrain on the board. If you want to keep an infantry unit from getting assaulted, putting it on the top floor of a 3-story ruin in your deployment zone will help. Just make sure it has the range in weaponry to utilize the advantage.

Most importantly, play to your game. If you are playing an objective game, it wouldn't do to deploy in a refused flank and take no objectives. You won't win easily that way.

3) Unit Synergy

In 40k, many units are not "one-man-shows." They rely on other units to make up for their shortcomings. This relationship with other units is called Synergy. Synergy is not a quantifiable statistic, and has to be gauged with experience and tactical know-how. For example, as an IG player, I know that Meltagun Veterans only work as they are supposed to when they have some means of getting close to enemy tanks, usually by riding in transports. I also know that these chimera-riding veterans are going to be choice targets, so I get some long-range fire support to help take the heat off them. I usually add in a few Leman Russes to accomplish this. Some heavy artillery would do the same thing.

When making a good army list, it pays to look at how well units will work together, instead of trying to find "teh uber unit" and spamming it multiple times.

I've recently been developing my own "Bubble Wrap" for my tanks when fighting assault-based armies in annihilation games. I take a cheap infantry platoon, and use it to make a screen across the front of my vehicles that are vulnerable to assaults. I mix in some power weapons and a commissar, to give this platoon a bit of survivability in an assault. I deploy them surrounding the Leman russ or other target of import, and keep them spread out enough so that blasts don't cripple them but that they provide anti-assault coverage for the vehicles. I sit these vehicles as far back as the table and their weapon ranges allow, and fire pie-plates all game long.

4) Most Importantly: Form your own opinions and strategies.

Reading it on the internet is one thing, but you have to find what works for you and your army on your own. Everybody has suggestions on how to do it better, and in some cases you should listen to them. But for the most part, you have to figure things out on your own. The best way to do that? Play lots of games! Get as many different players and armies as you can to practice against you. If you get stuck into the same crowd that plays the same armies all the time, try branching out to other areas to game against some new people with new strategies. This is the best way for you to feel out your army, and figure out the "works" and "don't-works" of your strategies and units.

...And that wraps up this article. For those interested, I have been formulating these tips as I get repeatedly stomped at my new local game store, where I am facing new players and new strategies. I usually get my army handed to me by forgetting to follow my own advice during a game! So try to keep these tips in mind when creating battleplans for your army.

Until next time,

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Valkyrie Update: 1/26/2010

I've been getting some painting done on the valkyrie... in fact I put in 6 or 7 hours worth of it in just today alone! I got the cockpit and crew completely painted, and put in the canopy. Basecoating the gray took FOREVER, since I do it by hand. I had to thin the paint a bit so it would not get too thick and blotchy, and then I had to paint on several layers to get the coverage I wanted. I wish I had done more detail on the interior, but since it was so hard to get a brush in there I had to settle for a quick and dirty metal drybrush. I got some pictures of my modified sponsons, however. I am using the bodies of the gunner crew for a pair of meltagunner vets (pics of those tomorrow, hopefully), so these remain unmanned. The crewman bodies just looked too awesome, and I thought they'd make fitting stormtroopers if anyone wanted to try the conversion.

I am fairly impressed with this kit... it has almost as much modularity as the Demolisher kit. A few things make it fall short of that though: There are no options for Lascannons to make a vendetta, and there should be a way to swap out MRPs and Hellstrike missiles to really make this a truly modular kit. I put the MRPs on, figuring that it is better to have it and not pay for it than it is to not have it and not be able to take it later, right?

(Above text extracted from forums)

Now to a real issue... I have not received a single name for this vehicle yet! Nobody has any suggestions? I've got to have at least 5-10 I like by next week to make a poll up.

To make a suggestion, comment on the previous post ( You have the power!

I'm off to bed for the night, so I can resume work on painting this tomorrow!

Until then,

Monday, January 25, 2010

907th Reinforcements and a Naming Contest: AKA best Anniversary Gift, EVER!

Tomorrow is my wife and I's 3rd year wedding anniversary, and we got each other gifts, naturally. I was quite astounded when I opened up a brand new valkyrie kit, complete with a bottle of Testors Model Master cement with the precision applicator.

I spent all last night (until 2 AM or so) putting it together, and I am nearly finished. All that is left is the canopy, which I am waiting until after painting the interior to finish attaching.

The kit is quite large, and I am impressed with most of it, but there is one feature that bugs me. For the heavy bolter sponsons, they are attached to their rotation mount by only a small linkage arm. This has to be glued to the rotating shaft, and this bond does not hold up well to the shearing force applied when twisting the mount.

My solution: I simply affixed two heavy bolter tripods from heavy weapon squads to the floor near the doors, allowing them to rotate in so the doors can slide shut. This provides a stable platform for the heavy bolter, and still allows the doors to shut.

Ok, now for your part. I need to name this Valk, and I will append the named-unit roster on the previous post. To do this, I am holding a contest. For one week only, I will take all suggested names and put them into a list. At the end of this week (Feb 1st) I will stop taking new names, and put my top 10 picks of the collected names into a poll. That poll will run for another week, and at the end of that week the name with the most votes will be the winner! Please note that I am poor, and have no prizes to give you, but I can give kudos, mad props, and a imaginary cookie!

Until the poll is complete, I will continue to post updates as I get this vehicle painted.

So until next time,

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Notable Personas in the 907th

(Shown here: Lord Commissar Mortez Brieger)

A massive undertaking is going to be made to base all my Imperial Guardsmen. When I was pondering this, I thought to myself: Wouldn't it be fun to give names to all the important models, so I could more accurately recount their exploits? For example, The Sergeant Callus character I mentioned in my fluff (a few posts ago) is somebody I want to be important. Therefore, he'll be the sergeant to my Melta-vet squad, from the veterans of 1st Platoon! (I kind of stole the mentality that the 1st of anything -companies, platoons, squads- would have the most experienced members in it.)

I have seen it done, where a simple label is painted onto the front of the base, and the name is written on with a scribe pen. I think this would really add flavor and character to my army, and possibly win me brownie points at the upcoming tournament. Time permitting, I suppose I could even name each individual Guardsman, but that is a pretty daunting task. Big thanks to Ordo Malleus for their 40k name generator, it saved me a bunch of time!

Notable Personas in the 907th Alascadian Regiment:
F Company

Company Command Platoon- (Fox Lead)
Captain Lynth Ulysius
1st Sergeant Jercen Crassal
Chief Medic Alac Rolis
Senior Communications Officer Walthren Maltos
Lord Commissar Mortez Brieger

1st Platoon- (Nightstalkers)

1st Lieutenant Ludevicus Roan
Sergeant First Class Rule Stahlmann
Staff Sergeant Magnentius Freelon
Staff Sergeant Aquila Leavigne
Staff Sergeant Arthun Callus
Staff Sergeant Malloc Valance

2nd Platoon- (Spearhead)
2nd Lieutenant Torndan Caeditz
Staff Sergeant Viriniul Leversee
Sergeant Keyes Delveechio
Sergeant Antenor Crawn
Sergeant Pontius Hansteen
Sergeant Doric Perie

3rd Platoon (Solitaire)

2nd Lieutenant Vardis Hinely
Staff Sergeant Uriah Brieger
Sergeant Amnito Krivanec
Sergeant Julo Bringas
Sergeant Gothicus Ferracioli
Sergeant Trajan Blanquart

4th Platoon (Raider)
2nd Lieutenant Vlad Albor
Staff Sergeant Pacatianus Desparrois
Sergeant Helios Dorvillier
Sergeant Augustus Kent
Sergeant Sid Matsoukas
Sergeant Cratos Balsis

5th Platoon (Worthan's Own)

2nd Lieutenant Gorden Worthan
Staff Sergeant Unik Vorwitz
Sergeant Poshal Westmike
Sergeant Haust Forake
Sergeant Ignace Bellumn
Sergeant Welshen Yupic

6th Platoon (The Twenty-Minuters)

2nd Lieutenant Truent Bondsal
Sergeant Luek Shantal
Corporal Forcus Westim
Corporal Spritas Creame
Corporal Horatias Illiquas
Corporal Istan Qu'Alsha
Corporal Kaeem Sowal
Corporal Meshal Jozen
Corporal Fres Caffern

Support Platoon (Patch)
1st Lieutenant Joen Effran
Master Sergeant Hersch Landwitz
Doctor Leslianne Welker
Doctor Coralee Yittakur
Corporal Smith Pagner
Corporal Vesten Holland

Armor Detachment (Illuminators)
Squadron Commander Menelus Marbray
of the Leman Russ MBT "Pangode Victoria" (Hammer of Victory)
Tank Commander Titus Modrak
of the Leman Russ MBT "Morsus alManus" (Bites the Hand)
Tank Commander Amnito Skult
of the Leman Russ Demolisher "Procellade Illustro" (Tempest of Illumination)

Transport Detachment (Magic Carpet)

Squadron Commander Valens Lyme
Tank Commander Metallius Cotant
Tank Commander Titus Gelineau

907th Alascadian: the Founding 2000 List

Here is the list I will be playtesting tomorrow. I hopefully will be able to get unit pictures at some point. Our first opponents are likely to be a semi-mech Ork list, complete with Battlewagons and Killa Kan walls.

My list is pretty fluffy, but I don't expect to win with it so it is alright. I already know that I won't be taking the stormtroopers, or even the infantry platoon. Voxes are not going to be in my final list, I already know (unless something changes that drastically changes my opinion). I will be testing the effectiveness of a CCS missile launcher. This will be the first time I will be taking 3 Leman Russ variants in a game, and I want to see if it is too much of a point sink. In the final list, I may cut a battle tank to make room for fun stuff... I plan on buying a Valkyrie at the end of the month!


CCS Missile Launcher, Carapace, Power Weapon, Vox, Medic

Lord Commissar Power Fist, Carapace, Meltabombs


Melta Vets 3 Meltaguns, Vox, Demolitions ,Chimera Transport, Pintile Mounted Stubber, Bulldozer Blade

Plasma Vets
2 Plasmaguns, Vox, Demolitions, Chimera Transport, Pintile Mounted Stubber, Bulldozer Blade

Flamer Vets 3 Flamers, Vox, Demolitions, Chimera Transport, Pintile Mounted Stubber, Bulldozer Blade, Hull Flamer

Infantry Platoon PCS flamers x2, PCS H. Flamer, PCS Vox, Squad 1 Lascannon, Squad 2 Lascannon, Squad 1 Vox, Squad 2 Vox, Autocannon Squad




Stormtroopers Full Squad, Plasmagun, Grenade Launcher, Powersword

Heavy Support

Leman Russ Battle Tank Lascannon, Pintile-Mounted Stubber, Bulldozer Blade, HB Sponsons

Leman Russ Battle Tank Lascannon, Pintile-Mounted Stubber, Bulldozer Blade

Leman Russ Demolisher Lascannon, Bulldozer Blade

Points Summary:
HQ: 225
Troops: 895
Elites: 300
Fast Attack: 0
Heavy Support: 580
Total: 2000

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The Founding of the 907th Alascadian Regiment

Wind swept up the ashen dust, sweeping it in gallivanting swirls around the mustered troops on the fresh-cleared parade field. Ranks of gray-uniformed soldiers lined the field, and the rumble of massive Leman Russ Battle Tank engines made the ground throb with a palatable pulse. Chimeras stained with soot trundled up loading ramps into waiting bellies of the orbital lift craft, belching clouds of dark exhaust. The harsh light of the day glinted from the glass surfaces of building ruins that surrounded the field. The particulate matter and detritus in the air cast a brownish tinge to the landscape, giving it the appearance of looking filthy. Although, it was exactly that, but the pollutants intensified the effect.

Sergeant Callus fidgeted slightly, shifting his weight from one foot to the other, as he stood at parade rest to the fore of his squad. Even in the full heat of the day it was cold by an off-worlder standards, but to the newly-promoted Sergeant, it was stifling. Perhaps it was the confining particulate-filter mask that all Alascadian soldiers were issued, or perhaps it was just the momentous significance of this historic occasion.

The planet of Alascadia had not had a regimental tithe in nearly a full millennium. A secret Cabal of the Archenemy had sabotaged the world against itself, leading to a civil war that had laid waste to the planet. It was said, so much ordinance was dropped on the first day of that war, that the planet's axis shifted minutely and permanently crippling the planet's natural balance.

To Callus, it certainly seemed that way. He had seen ancient pict-plates and holopicts of pre-war Alascadia: a shining utopia. Cityscapes merged perfectly with the natural surroundings, working with the planet's natural ecosystem rather than against it. However, the planet was as dead now as it had been alive in pre-war times. Ash still filled every crevice, and very few crops or flora would grow in the polluted soil beneath the hard-packed particulate. The people left in the aftermath struggled to survive, being reduced to nearly pre-industrial technology.

It was an uphill battle over the generations, but due to the dedication of the survivors, they persevered. One might say they even thrived. Finally, today, on this day of days, they would pay back the enemies of the God-Emperor. They were assembling for a Holy Crusade, and Callus savored the thought of exacting vengeance on those who laid his ancestors low. The weight of the chainsword hanging on his utility belt reassured him.

"Today..." he thought, smirking freely thanks to the ambiguity of his mask, "Today is the day I will remember as our first victory over the Archenemy."

And Now, the Meat and Potatoes Following the Fluff-

That is a snippet of some fluff I am writing for my Imperial Guard regiment. Yes... you will notice that it has a lot of Fallout 3 influence, but meh... It is one of my favorite games of all time, so that is just how it goes.

The reason for this is actually kind of neat: I am holding a "Founding" for playtesting some units for my IG, to whittle down a 1500 point list out of a 2000 point list. At the 2000 point list, I am putting in non-competitive units in order to whittle them out of the final list in a semi-narrative fashion. As I play several games with my units, you'll see the units that last become "battle-hardened" and the units that get cut will be killed off. I plan on making a sort of narrative battle report series from this in the weeks ahead. The final-cut list is what I will be taking to Brimfrost 2010, the biggest local tournament we have in Alaska for the year. This takes place mid-March, so I have a couple weeks to prepare. Also watch for updated paintjobs, basing, etc as I get them ready for the painting competition in the same tournament.

Tyranids are going to be around, but they are mainly my fluffy army. Now it's time to lay down the law, and show the xenos, the heretic, and the witch the power of the Sledgehammer of the Imperium!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Collaborative Post: A Shadow in the Warp

Ron at From the Warp is doing his usual collaborative post on the release of the newest codex. I have not received my copy yet, but I have been following the discussions on the forums about the new codex. From what I have been able to gather, here are a couple of my thoughts on the new codex:

1) Zoanthropes are going to be big. A synapse creature that takes out tanks, for only 60+ points apiece? You're going to want to take at least a single full brood of these, or at least two broods of two. Their invulnerable save is a rarity in the tyranid codex, and their psychic power is a lance shooting attack at S10. That is too good to pass up if you are frequently going up against AV14.

2) This codex is more about synergy, less about spam. For example, after my previous point, spamming zoanthropes might sound good. Consider then, that psychic attacks require tests, and there is a prevalence of anti-psykers with the release of the Space Wolves codex and IG players using old =I= psychic hoods. You'll need a way to eliminate this character quickly in order to use those zoeys. That is where the Death Leaper comes in. He can infiltrate up to that guy, and hopefully assassinate him, before blending back into the shadows. If he can't outright kill it, then his Shadow of the Warp ability can cause some problems for enemy psykers like Rune Priests. The Hive Tyrant has an ability that can benefit the reserve roll, and thus make those new spore pods more reliable. The Lictor can pinpoint their deepstrike, allowing for accurate placement of troops.

3) Lots of new modeling options are abound in this new codex. No official models have yet been made for the tervigon, tyrranofex, harpy, alpha warrior, etc. This provides tyranid modellers a bit more customization than they had access to before. That doesn't even include the biomorphs like wings, which have been a pleasingly-challenging conversion for the tyranids for a while now.

These are just my initial impressions, and I am sure they will become more defined as I play with this codex in the coming year. Until then, just remember that synergy counts more than spamming, from the looks of it.

Until next time,

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

DH Character Model Update 1/12

Just thought I'd share progress on these. I've been sick with a stomach flu the last couple days, so I haven't gotten much done. I initially thought it was food poisoning from bad Chinese food. A lot of my focus is now going to switch to Tyranids, in order to get them done in time for some 2010 tournaments.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Project Updates: 01/06/2010

My winged Hive Tyrant is coming along nicely. He is a bit too red, so I am going to have to come back and drybrush him back down later. Does anybody know why my Ogryn Flesh wash is suddenly making them redder than it used to? Do I need to add water to it or something to make it flow better?

This guy was a treat to paint. I haven't enjoyed painting a model this much since that Imperial Commissar. This is a Tech-Priest I plan to use in Dark Heresy, the RPG. In this model's case, the Ogryn Flesh wash worked great to darken the recesses of the model.

Next time, I'll work on getting more 'nids painted. I got more termagaunts and spinegaunts that need painting now, in addition to the models that I failed to paint previously.

Until next time,

Monday, January 4, 2010

Tyranid progress resumes...

I've been converting a Hive Tyrant (a 2nd edition one) into a Flyrant. I don't have the models to run one with tyrant guards anyway, so I want a tyrant that will make it to CC faster. This particular 2nd edition tyrant also has a Venom Cannon, which I am hoping will be more useful under the new codex (only suffering a -1 modifier to vehicle damage rules now).

The rippers are an afterthought. I doubt I will use them for more than filling out points that I don't have models for, like bulking up to apocalypse-sized games. Since they came on sprues with the gaunts, I may as well put them on some washers and make use out of them, right? I paid for them, like the gaunts. Oh well, they might see some use until I buy all the models I want to get for the force (read: zoanthropes, trygons, and hive guards).

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Project Update: 01/02/10

First up: A DH Character for my wife: an Adeptus Arbites. Armed with special shotgun I made from a SM Scouts shotgun and a Lasgun, with the handgrip of a bolter, as pictured below.

Next up is my Creed kitbash, which finally got painted. See the below pic:

I made a minor modification to my own DH character, swapping out the plasma pistol for a blade:

Finally, I liberated a Leman Russ from an Ork player. It is in pretty rough shape, but I am piecing it back together. It will match my other Russ, excepting the lack of sponsons, as I have already installed the barrel dowel:

Ok, for those of you who were wondering, the store owner is supposedly posting the Battle Report but I'll give you a summary:
My Sons of Baal did not fare as well as I had hoped against the green tide. In our planetstrike game, there were five bastions to defend, which I placed none-too-strategically upon the table top. I had a couple of tactics which made sense in my head, but didn't translate to the table top. First off: I started a lot of terminators in reserve, and deep-struck them in to avoid the initial Firestorm barrage. In reality, the barrage was not that effective, so I don't quite know what I was so afraid of, and could have deployed normally without too much risk.
Secondly, I didn't read through the rules of the stratagems I chose thoroughly enough. For example, I didn't realize that void shields don't protect units on the roof of the bastion. I also didn't notice a detail about the Krak Attack that could have substantially changed the game: once declared, EVERY hostile unit that deepstrikes gets hit by them until the end of the game. I didn't deploy this stratagem until about midway through, when there were only 2 units left to deepstrike on his force. I also cratered a deepstriking unit of terminators with an attached terminator captain into a wall, losing about 360 points to dice fail. My predator annihilator saw a lot of action, destroying 2 vehicles in as many turns.

After playing several different armies, I definitely need to decide what play styles I prefer most. It may be time to cut out armies I have never really had luck with, like marines, in order to make room for expanding my favorite armies, like Guard.

Until next time,

Friday, January 1, 2010

1st Pickup Game of the New Year

Happy New Year to all!

I'm throwing together my Sons of Baal, for they have a date with destiny! (Or, at least, a date with some Xenos scum that require purging!)

My friend, who recently just opened his very own retailer shop, is hosting the game in the next town over. I'll help out by bringing some terrain.

We are planning on a Planetstrike game, to get some use out of terrain that he had built for it's release last year. He will be the attacker (a badlands tide of Orks and Mutants) and I will be the stalwart defenders. I plan to implement heavy use of Terminators, acquired from the Space Hulk release. I found a couple good deals on Ebay for extra terminators, and so snapped them up early, a couple months ago. I have around 20 terminators with another couple that make great captains. I also have the terminator chaplain, and the terminator Librarian.

We haven't determined the points limit yet, but it is probably going to be in excess of 2000 points. I'll let you know how the game goes when I get back, as it will probably take a while!

Until next time,


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