Monday, December 27, 2010

DE Beastmasters/PfP interaction

Okay, branching off on a tangent from another forum....

I am seeing (here and elsewhere in person) a few different views regarding Power from Pain interactions.
I think everyone agrees that by RAW Pain tokens affect any unit they are applied to, and if not...well, we are just going to assume you do for this thread.

With beastmaster units, we have a core model (beastmasters) that have the PfP rule.
Each beastmaster may be attended by various beasties in various numbers..doesn't matter, except none of said beasts have PfP.

As discussed in other places, and encountered directly elsewhere, I have heard 4 different takes on the unit and rule interaction. (for this discussion, we are assuming the beastmasters ARE bringing their friends to the party, and not flying it would be silly not to).

the arguments follow these 4 posits;
a) the unit is a group of beastmasters that have beasts in the vein of Fen Wolves attached to SW characters as wargear.

b) the unit is a group of beastmasters that have beasts in the vein of Drones attached to crisis suits (subtle, but significant rules difference between the two)

c) the unit is solely a whole, and can in NO WAY be segregated in any phase, hence cannot garner tokens (by their own actions) due to the rule lacking on the whole unit.

d) the unit is solely a whole, but can be differentiated if it can be proven the beastmasters themselves are responsible for final kills as they have the rule the unit generates a token.

I am in camp C by RAW. I will defend that premise here when challenged, but want to hear where other people fall AND WHY (or if there are other positions I've missed that fall outside these 4 base arguments).

the base rule for PfP states that a 'unit' with this rule, when successful at wiping out a non-vehicle unit, gains a Pain Token.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

DE getting closer....

Okay, so after further thought (unfortunately, not further games) this is where I am settling with my DE. The list is being guided by a number of factors, including models that I like (and models that I now have vs further expenditure).

2000pts (actually, 1993)

-Haemonculus w/Liquifier Gun; Venom Blade; Webway Portal.
-Haemonculus w/Liquifier Gun; Venom Blade; Webway Portal. (HQ= 200pts)

-Trueborn (x3) w/Blaster x3
Venom w/xtra Splinter Cannon
-Trueborn (x3) w/Blaster x3
Venom w/xtra Splinter Cannon (elites=292pts)

-Warriors (x5)
Raider w/Dark Lance; Flickerfield
-Warriors (x5)
Raider w/Dark Lance; Flickerfield
-Warriors (x5)
Raider w/Dark Lance; Flickerfield
-Warriors (x5)
Raider w/Dark Lance; Flickerfield
-Wyches (x9) w/Hekatrix(agonizer/PGL);Shardnet&Impaler
-Wyches (x9) w/Hekatrix(agonizer/PGL);Shardnet&Impaler (troops=740pts)

-Beastmasters w/4x BM; 5x Khymera; 4x Razorwing; 1x Clawed Fiend
-Beastmasters w/4x BM; 5x Khymera; 4x Razorwing; 1x Clawed Fiend (FA=416pts)

-Ravager w/3x Dark Lance; Flickerfield
-Ravager w/3x Dark Lance; Flickerfield
-Ravager w/3x Dark Lance; Flickerfield (HS=345pts)

As with the prior list, the Haemonculai get on board with the Trueborn and dart forward for a WW drop.

The Wych squads are 140pts each, which carries the same cost as a 10 man(?) Wrack squad with 2x Liquifier guns and an Acothyst (w/venom blade and stinger pistol) allowing for both units to be swapped out for the other to play different styles in testing. I think the Wracks may serve the army better, but I like the Wych models a great deal.

The Wyches OR Beastmaster units (or all) can begin the game in reserve, utilizing Webway portals to push enemies back/manipulate their deployment. Alternately, they can begin the game in play to manipulate 1st turn enemy shooting...or mix and match.

Webway reserved, the Wyches give you a scoring unit that can appear mid-field, or tarpit something mid-weight for oncoming beasts.

I like the warrior models, so I am not running min-sized Wrack units as my Raider-bait.
guided by unit/model fondness, I think I have hit a solid efficiency/vs/personal preference balance.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Dark Eldar at 2k

Okay, now that I've had some time to fiddle, and (admittedly only 4 games, but real time with the 'dex) thinking under my belt.

Ghostplate Armour, Comb Drugs, Blast Pistol, Agonizer, Clone Field

-Haemonculai (x2)
Webway portal(x2), Liquifier Gun(x2), Venom Blade(x2)

-Trueborn (x3)
Blaster (x3)
Splinter Cannon(x2), Flickerfield, Nightshield
-Trueborn (x3)
Blaster (x3)
Splinter Cannon(x2), Flickerfield, Nightshield

-Wyches (x8)
Hekatrix/Blast Pistol, Agonizer and Shardnet Impaler
Flickerfield, Nightshield, DarkLance, EAS
-Wyches (x8)
Hekatrix/Blast Pistol, Agonizer and Shardnet Impaler
Flickerfield, Nightshield, DarkLance, EAS

Kabalite Warriors (x5)
Flickerfield, Nightshield, DarkLance, EAS
Kabalite Warriors (x5)
Flickerfield, Nightshield, DarkLance, EAS

Wracks (x5)

4x Beastmaster, 4x Razorwings, 1x Clawed Fiend, 3x Khymera
4x Beastmaster, 4x Razorwings, 1x Clawed Fiend, 3x Khymera

3x DarkLance, Flickerfield, Nightshield
3x DarkLance, Flickerfield, Nightshield

The Haemonculai normally deploy with the Venom trueborn. The goal is to pop them forward, deploy the Haemonculai and drop WWPs at the first opportunity (usually center offset a little away from the flank you are planning on running your fast moving raiders/ravagers) leaving the Pain Token with the Trueborn.
Everything else involves blowing forward and blasting cans, in anticipation for the beast-flow to come.
The wracks are sort of an afterthought unit, leftovers from a prior list process...and with them coming out of a webway near an objective as a 5th troop w/FNP...they are not horrible per-se...still in a thought process for their points, probably beefing warrior or beast squads.
Still wish to play a bit to see my gaps before committing their 50pts.

Unfortunately, after rebuilding this list, I realize I cheated my buddy Edge by about 50pts in a game yesterday. I DON'T think it mattered much (2 extra wracks and 2 extra's what I get for shifting a list in my head between games) but the flow was right, and it functioned how I expected.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

DE: Heat Lance vs Blaster (on Reaver Jetbikes)

So, the debate. Little blurb (more thinking out loud than anything else, but if anyone has an opine to share, please do).

Heat Lance;
Str6, AP-1 (range 18).
Str-8, AP-2 (range 18).

Both have their uses, and with the speed of Reavers armour facing is only a small issue.

The lance has a distinct edge vs AV-12 and below (with a 2d6 curve result of 7, a 13 is statistically probable) and a slight edge vs AV-13 (due to the AP-1 granting a +1 on the damage chart).
With a base strength of 6, though, it begins to lose out (due to the same curve result of 7 imposing a statistical consistency of 13, resulting in a no-pen result).

The blaster has a true range advantage of 9" (no need for half-range maximum efficiency) and a Str edge of +2.
This has the advantage of;
Instant Death vs multi wound T-4 (Nob Bikerz come to mind), greater wound consistency vs T-5+ units, and fewer opportunities for opposing bubble-wrap protection.

The problem is multi-faceted.
Quantity; every additional weapon beyond the first is a minimal unit increase of 75-77pts, and a maximum of 3 weapons..coupled with a unit that can be broken with little firepower commitment. With that in mind, I see a maximum yield (for points efficiency) of 2 weapons.
Investment; these units will die after performing their duty. With frailty of T and Sv, and a max leadership of 9, you can kill/break them fairly easily prior to a pain token being acquired. As the loadout I have is for vehicle popping, odds are you will have to set up a character start or retain the vulnerabilities.
Duality; in a Vehicle killing role, or with a lack of expensive upgrades, a single splinter-rifle on non-lance/blaster equipped bike does not encourage a dual-purpose role for these bikers.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Dark Eldar mental adjustments and thoughts...

I made my first leap with them (blaster bombs as Aaron has now coined the term for me) and my first mental gaffe.
I missed something key, when sifting through the 'dex.
How the hell did I miss the 1-3 per HQ? I think excitement over so many other things, and a dislike for the old models, made me pass over the entry with little real attention paid.
Their gear is grand, and give me access to Crucibles, but ultimately they serve a similar role to my Sanguinary Priests in the BA FNP.
In addition, synergy with other elements (wrack troops, etc).

So, humble pie prepared for self...will eat when dinner settles. If nothing else from this, I learned how much I am still affected by prejudgement even after flushing a decade of dogmatic thought processes since I was let go from CoC.

Adjustments to my prior lists may flow like this...
Drop Archon.
Plug in 2x Haemonculi w/liquifiers and at least one crucible.
With my prior point shortage (11 pts) combined with the points from the Archon I should be able to do this with no pain.
I am considering replacing a warrior squad with a 9x Wych squad for one Haemonculi to join, and the other joining the first Wych squad.
I need to look further into the gear available to them, but sure that I can find synergies aplenty.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

DE no frills list

starting with my DE list experimentation, I wanted something pure DE with little or no 'up the sleeve' tricks, just in your face bad choices.
Utilize units that cannot be ignored to jam up movement/sight lines or produce 'must deal' situations, while positioning units that are more important to your own battle-plan where you need them next.
Above all, hit fast and hit hard...for like all DE armies coming, they will fold if you stumble.

Archon (Agonizer/Blaster)

3 trueborn (3x blaster)
Venom (dual shuriken cannon)
3 trueborn (3x blaster)
Venom (dual shuriken cannon)
3 trueborn (3x blaster)
Venom (dual shuriken cannon)

10 Warriors (Shur Cannon/Shredder/Sybarite w-agonizer)
Raider (Lance/Aether Sails/Flickerfield)
10 Warriors (Shur Cannon/Shredder/Sybarite w-agonizer)
Raider (Lance/Aether Sails/Flickerfield)
10 Warriors (Shur Cannon/Shredder/Sybarite w-agonizer)
Raider (Lance/Aether Sails/Flickerfield)
10 Wyches (2x shardnet-impaler/Hekatrix w-agonizer)
Raider (Lance/Aether Sails/Flickerfield)

10 Hellions (Helliarch w-stunclaw)

3 Reaver jetbikes (heat lance/caltrops)
3 Reaver jetbikes (heat lance/caltrops)

Ravager (nightfield/flickerfield/3x lance)
Ravager (nightfield/flickerfield/3x lance)

(approx 2000pts...doing from pseudo-memory, as I do not have 'dex on hand)

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Experiments in Duality for BA

So I took the basis of what I have been playing (most often) with my BA lately, and ran it out this last weekend.

I only managed to face Chaos (undivided) twice in two different scenarios, one KP and one Capture and control. Pitched battle followed by DOW.
It was a list based loosely on his SW long fang/rhino list, with oblits and Khornate Raptors led by a Slaanesh JP lord (dbl claw).

Libby (shield/lance)
Libby Furioso (wings/lance)
Libby Furioso (wings/lance)
DC x5 (2x PW/PFist)
AssSquad x5 (melta/pfist/lasplas razor w/hk)
AssSquad x5 (melta/pfist/lasplas razor w/hk)
AssSquad x5 (melta/pfist/rhino w/hk)
AssSquad x5 (melta/pfist/rhino w/hk)
Baal Pred (hb/asscannon)
Baal Pred (hb/asscannon)
Rifleman Dread
Rifleman Dread
Stormraven (lascannon upgrade)
(where points allowed, I gave vehicles xtra arm/dozer blades...I don't have full list in front, but I know I didn't regret a single Dozer Blade as I set up terrain and made certain it did NOT lend advantage to easy movement for my vehicle spam...I re-rolled a LOT of 1's)

One libby furioso and DC in the stormraven.

I don't generally like fragile MSU armies, but this one played very....eldaresque. It was interesting to say the least, and alot of fun.
With doubles of almost everything, the 'hammer' was really more or less a red-herring that couldn't be ignored (pseudo death-star in the stormraven). Combined with the additional mobility of fast transports/scouting baals, my opponents found it difficult to sort out what REALLY needed to die first.
Though it is by no means a true take-all-comers tourney list, it did reinforce the advantage of having no clear choices.

My thoughts, among other things, was that the DC/Raven red-herring may not do a whole lot for the list. Flipping points into Mephi to get on-board the 'raven would dig a bit too much into other units (he would cost me a bit under 100 pts more than the DC) yet provide a true hammer as opposed to a paper tiger.

I can say that I KNOW I would have missed template weapons (flamers or hand flamers) against horde 'nids/orks.


Friday, July 30, 2010

Simple White...(yeah, took me a bit)

Okay, so white...
This was for my 'simple/speedy-mode' of painting. I don't have much left to me, my eyes have been going for a couple of years.

It's quick, it's dirty and SIMPLE...

First, prime the Mini. With white, I use GW white primer. It's just a consistency issue. With the newest formula, it is less prone to suffering humidity variance AND doesn't chalk up on its own (well, I haven't had that issue in 4 cans now, so I have to assume it isn't just luck).
If I am painting a small(ish) unit, like Death Company, in order to be certain of complete coverage I utilize a set of forceps. It forces a model by model priming, but leaves me with fewer recoats.

Once I'm primed, I double check the model inside (with even lighting) to find out if I missed ANYTHING, as with all white based models you don't have the luxury of counting on your base color covering up any missed spots.

I then use a 002 micron pen to blackline specific areas on the model that I need emphasis on the shading. This is entirely up to you as to what you consider important to shade, but try to maintain consistent light sourcing for the unit.

I then choose my wash. In the case of the DC, I used Badab Black wash (though the Vallejo wash is exceptional for this as well).
First, I run wash into all the crevices/nooks/plates that I blacklined. This step is pure wash on a brush, drawn in thickly. Partially to dull the shine that you get from the micron pen, and partially to blend that darker region outward into the larger surfaces.
I wash nearly all the remaining cracks/joints etc. Do this with a watered down (heavy wet brush will do, or a 1:3 ratio of water to wash) mix. This will create an effect that is cohesive to the model's overall shading, but less strong than the areas that were first blacklined.

THEN, paint all the metal areas black. Black is going to be your biggest bane, as it will require care to not OVERLY destroy your white surfaces. It will happen, you will do it...but this is why we go to this stage BEFORE blending out the wash from areas that are supposed to be clean will be cleaning up any mistakes when you are blending/covering wash. You will also wash your metallic areas at this stage, as it will emphasize delineation between armour and weapons (etc) with ease, and may correct a few spots of black overbrush by expanding (slightly) your shading there.

NOW you will start painting white on all the surfaces that you do not wish to show the wash. How far back into areas of shade you wish to go is how dirty/shaded you wish a model to look. Try a little deep, closer to the crevices, but with a slightly wetter brush. The white will go on thin, and allow a bit of the shade to show through. Back off a bit from the shaded area and repeat, with a brush that is only wet with paint. One final coat, just a bit further back from the crevice, with a brush only wet with paint should do the trick. For this, I use Vallejo white. It is the easiest, and least inherently glaze-like, that I have worked with. GW Skull White is fine, but begins to change consistency the longer you have the bottle.

After all this, you will begin to finalize details, refine shading and add other colours (such as purity seals, red marks for DC etc etc)...but WAIT UNTIL YOU HAVE BASED THE MODEL.
Shaded white does not look like other models, and if you start your color additions before you have finished your basing, it may come out looking a little weird ( I have redone my purity seals thrice now, and still am unsure).

This is NOT golden-daemon quality, but is an interesting and quick method for applying white to power armour(ish) units with speed and not-too-shabby tabletop quality.

Hope it might help a bit, if not then bugger off 'cause yer a better painter than I am!

Sunday, July 18, 2010


From the sea of green
A burst of orange springs forth
Life for those on wing

Sunday, July 11, 2010


So, the paranoia has settled back in...after having been unemployed for a year+ (let go from a place I called home) I cannot shake the constant fear of being fired from my new job.
Am I about to crash the plane, or am I on the right bus?

It becomes constant, feeds into my insomnia. Pervasive is the word...when does it shake? Is it akin to grief? Or sign of an underlying personal issue? Or maybe just a sense of 'wrong' is always a part of me when things start seeming right.

I seem paranoid about these things, but clockwork...when I do, something goes wrong to reinforce that sense.
Last time it was job related, I DID get laid off. It was almost self-fulfilling that time. I felt hemmed in and under siege, and shortly thereafter was handed my papers (so to speak) by a friend. It was pain, that time...real pain. That was grief.

Recently, it was a sense of foreboding that preceded my bank account being seized. I was rescued, but it's still being sorted out and has interfered with my spouse's birthday (when will that be unmolested again?) and plans to see my son before he starts college.

And it's back...and my mind has convinced me it's a sense of job...

Is it real? (no, dammit, I don't believe is psychic phenomena, but I do believe in the sub-conscious extrapolating off little clues we don't perceive). Or is it just a sense of memory when I am right, and no real memory of a paranoia when NOT confirmed by life experience? Selective memory so to speak.

I don't know when I'm supposed to let go, when loss of job is a past occurrence with no bearing on the now AND not a loss of identity/worth.
Where do we evaluate the now without the past?
When do I see one set of circumstances as distinctly its' own?
When do I think doing enough isn't, or when do I see too little when it's too much (or just right) and not try to accept responsibility for EVERYTHING?

Or maybe that's it? Maybe I need to let go a little?
Yet when I do that, I feel guilt.
I took a day off last week, a day off for the holiday and promptly felt discomfited and guilty...all day. ??? WTF ??? Even felt as though, while I was gone, something would go wrong that I would have been able to prevent had I been working.
Shades of my old job? I HATED taking days off then. HATED IT!

I don't get this...I just don't.
Am I broken? Or am I reading things on a subliminal level and extrapolating?

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

It's been a year....

A year.
I moved back 'home' a year ago (well, a year and 2 weeks ago).
I had been in sticky, muggy, hot, miserable Florida for about 13.

What did I expect? To really come home? No, not really.
I didn't expect much, honestly.
The recession was in full swing (is it much different now? not sure).
I had been unemployed going on 8ish months, my (relatively new) wife had been laid off 3 months as well.
We were getting desperate. The wolves were at the door, and I didn't even own the wall our back's were up against.

My Mamaw had just died (a week or so prior to the wife being laid off), and the family house across from the parents' was empty.

An offer was made, and accepted with mercenary glee.

A month of prep, and fear of the unknown (wife had never left Fla) combined itself with a growing realization that we may not have to move into a 'trailer down by the river' to raise our parasite (the cat)and keep the elements out of our morning gruel (or possibly, morning cat, thus relieving two burdens at once).

The selling began. I cast about amongst friends (and local jewelry shops) to find anyone who wanted to acquire my collected junk (I'm a pack-rat/collector) while my wife anything she could. We shed STUFF like a couple of panicked fashion models try to shed inches, they can ill afford to, right before the fashionista season.

We priced out trailers, after installing a trailer hitch on a CRV that (so help me God) whimpered when it realized what the 'upgrade' was for. (note to self, if UHaul rents it, you CANNOT find it cheaper to buy ANYWHERE, no matter how much you've convinced yourself prices 'should be close to what you remembered in High School').

A couple weeks of furious 'bye everybody' gatherings, with friends and family, that grew harder for her every day. (I kind of disconnected. I do that. I don't like it but I do).

Then that Saturday, the last one in June, rolled around. A few friends showed up during the day to say final goodbyes, and help pack the vehicles. One was there ALL day (thank you again, Josh). From nearly the moment I started, to the moment I was kicking out bodies to get some vague semblance of sleep. It was hard, watching years of built up life condensed into a CRV (hooked to the largest trailer it could pull) and a Kia Spectra.
We laid down on an inflatable mattress and tried to sleep. I took an Ambien (I am an insomniac extraordinaire) and settled in...and settled, and shifted, and settled. I failed to sleep. Paranoia (did I mention I'm a little twitchy) about the trailer being broken into, combined with excitement about the drive (I love driving) and my wife's well being (not only had she never left her home state, but she doesn't like driving and had NEVER driven like this before) burned me clean through the sleeping pills. At 5am I gave up, woke the spouse (who has NO such sleeping issues, and had hit REM almost as fast as her head hit the pillow) to begin our sojourn an hour early.
We drugged the cat. It was our only recourse. The vile beast HATED cars...detested them (why couldn't we have just gotten a dog...just because it purrs in your hands at the adoption center does NOT mean a cat actually loves you, it just sees an easy mark).

And we drove.

We drove north.
1019 miles from driveway to driveway.
With the trailer, a trip that would normally take me 14 hours (except on the Wed before Thanksgiving...that took me 20) consumed 24 plus. The CRV (bless it's little engine-that-could) was taxed. The trailer was so overloaded that every time I hit a bump the hitch risked scraping. The tires looked almost flat (at our first stop, but I was willing to just 'ignore it' in the interest of forging ahead).
The wife would call me every so often to prove that the drugs we had forced upon the beas..I mean cat..were not as strong as we had hoped, as was evidenced by the angry, yet somehow slurred, mewing.
The hotel bed consumed me after the first 12 hours, and I slept..hard.

Oh, did I mention the A/C in my car was out? Had been for a couple months. A friend donated a little fan for the drive. It stirred the soup, that was my cockpit, sluggishly. I think it helped, but in that hottest of southern weeks (it was record-breaking level hot in GA) I may not have noticed if the A/C had suddenly started working.
Day 2 of the drive was just as hot, but we both had slept well in the hotel. I was refreshed, and we were past the halfway point (of both the trip, and that muggy pit that is GA). We drove.
Other than feline griping (both with sharps against any offending digit that would get near her cage door, and loud yet still slurred mewing) we were in good spirits. My wife had gotten a day of that driving under her belt, and felt more comfortable. She was lane blocking for me with gusto (when I needed to change lanes, a rarity when topping out at norm for the trip being 80), listening to the 'Hitchiker's guide' on a CD, and generally in a fine fettle.

12 more hours later, 12 uphill-hours (oh Gawds the poor CRV was whining by then) and we hit the stretch of I-75 from Cincinnati to Dayton. Everything started looking familiar. I began to actually wake up, not the fugue-state consciousness that hat pervaded the last 3 days of my life, but really awaken.
Around Hamilton I was violated by Big Butter Jesus (that was new, and omigawd vile).

Then we pulled into the driveway. No joke, that's what my mind tells me. Everything after BBJ was a blur. Familiarity seemed to take over, and I remember the driveway. The old Grandparent's house, the parent's house, Salem Avenue leading up to was all kind of a blur. A happy, familiar and comforting blur.

The parental reunion (where we remembered it was my Mother's birthday...amazing what gets pushed out of your cabeza when you're driving 2 days with your entire existence on your proverbial back), the entry into the new abode, meals, showers (egads, the hot water heater was down...ack) etc.
The flurry to unpack the trailer (had to be returned the next day).
The loss of the cat (unfortunately for me it was IN the house and was rediscovered later).
The organization (the wife goes all OCD under stress, and hadn't been able to express her stress for 3 days).

And it was happy for me. It became happy for her.
But it was not home.

It was new, it was different.
We re-discovered my old friends (over the next year, thank you F-Book..oh, and thanks ALOT Deb, for getting me smoking again...grrr) ;)
Wife discovered new ones, good ones and great ones (SQUIRREL!).
We organized, cleaned and 'moved into' a house that was at once very familiar to me, and utterly new to her.

We settled in, gaining direction and sense of being.
We 'discovered' my Parents. I, after years of seeing them once every other year or so, she for the first time (really...they didn't get to 'know' each other after meeting maybe 3 times in 3 years).
I re-discovered a hobby group, and like friends.
I got a job (woot, thanks John)!
She went back to school, and found school friends.
She discovered Autumn, and I reveled in it.
She discovered snow.
I re-discovered snow.
We both reveled in it!

And somewhere, somewhen, became...


Sunday, July 4, 2010

Death Company (or why painting white's a pain!)

So, I'd decided (quite a while ago) to do my BA Death Company in white...inspired by a few sources, and referencing the Japanese as the colour of mourning/death.

Then someone I knew locally (Matt/Valhallan, when in Fla) did it, so I stopped entertaining the notion (I don't like doing something someone in my group does colour wise, as it detracts from their efforts...even when/if done better than my own).

I forgot about this desire, until I started bangin my head against the wall for my new DC additions up here in Ohi...and thus, it begins.

The results are not (yet) disappointing...but white's a BEETCH! ;)

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Where the HELL is my DAMNED 'Nid FAQ!!!

Okay, this is really starting to piss me off...
I love the Nid dex, I really do...and I think common sense pretty much handles a great deal of the 'messes' that people claim are there, BUT...enough people see ambiguity, which means my common sense doesn't necessarily jive with others'.

They could take the time to edit a 'dex to it's early grave (even adding art to cover relevant rules sections) taking the heart away from it...and couldn't take the effort and time, that they have had much of, to FAQ the damn NIDS.
(and before you say 'but Mike, they didn't want to do it before the Ard Boyz finals played out and everyone had seen what needed fixing'...remember, they just murdered a 'dex and a half mid run)
***rant off***
been 'bugging' me for a while, can you tell?

Sunday, June 20, 2010

WAAC play


“Kirk: I reprogrammed the simulation so it was possible to rescue the ship.
Saavik: What?
David Marcus: He cheated.
Kirk: I changed the conditions of the test…….. I don't like to lose.”

WAAC…(Win At All Costs)…it used to be politically correct.
It was the ‘evolution’ of words such as cheezy, beardy etc. Those words were ephemeral, undefined and without weight. This new word lent weight and authority to accusations of being ‘rooked’. A ‘scientific’ word, an acronym. It was validation to see for those that didn’t understand.
It, like the poorer words before it, is used without understanding… It was a way for some to assuage their wounded pride, and a tool to belittle those that just flat out beat us.
But it does have application, regardless of its common misuse.
If we apply these feelings to an opponent’s list, we are wrong. An army list, no matter what is legally in it, is a proper application of the tools given to us by the designers. We cannot cheat the spirit of the game if we don’t cheat the (codex/book etc) rules. The spirit of the game, old new or in the middle, is defined by the people who supply us these tools. We can whine about what the old days were like, what the designers intended, or what our personal take on the universe is but in the long run it is just that…whining. If we have an understanding with a(some) regular opponent(s) and that is violated, we can gribble a little bit TO THEM DIRECTLY for said perceive slight in order to discover where we(either player, ourselves included) did not meet preconceived notions…but truly bitching afterward is our issue, not theirs.
If we apply WAAC to rules interpretations we misunderstood, didn’t bother to run out to their logical conclusion or don’t think fit ‘our’ universe, then we failed ourselves for missing something in the overall tool-kit that was given to us. Rules are a tool to define the conventions that we play under. Failing to understand them is a failure on our part to uphold those conventions, not a failure on our opponent’s part to play in our sandbox in a fair manner. This is often not our intent, but claiming someone is WAAC because they found (on their own, or the webbernetz) a rule interaction we failed to, should be a moment of revelation for us not an excuse to bitch about or belittle our partner in this dance of death. I’ve thanked a few people for pointing out things I simply missed (or confused with 4 previous editions stored in my cabeza) because it makes me a BETTER PLAYER. I won’t be caught out by these errors again (I’ll find new ones, don’t worry). I didn’t consider it WAAC that they saw an interaction I didn’t, I just stored it for further use.
When we go to the table to play a game, we all go with preconceived notions, conventions if you will, of what to expect. With these conventions, we define an upcoming relationship with guidelines that are supposed to insure a fair and level playing field. These sometimes don’t jive with our opponent’s perceptions. When and where they conflict is often where we find ourselves feeling taken advantage of (incorrectly for the most part) and a sense of WAAC play can grow out of this. What we, as players, need to do is understand that whenever we feel slighted by these situations it is our responsibility to discover the discrepancy and fix it. Evaluate where the resentment (because that’s what it is) comes from. If we’re honest, we’ll often discover it is growing from an error of perception on our side of the table. If it’s in a regular group or with a friend, discuss the issue, open your mouth, yeah that means talk about it. Don’t accuse, don’t present why you’re feeling downtrodden, just try to fix it so that later on you can play without misunderstandings.
WAAC is real though. It is the Kobyashi Maru scenario. It is where opponent’s really do not care about fair, and attempt to ‘alter the conditions of the test’ and have no shame about it. No concern about the bitter taste it leaves in the wake of their opponent’s wreckage, or the chain of events that led them to a victory in an arena of perceived superiority. Their lists may be power, their rules knowledge may be concrete and their tactical acumen may be unlike most you’ve seen…but these all pale in comparison to their desire to WIN, and they do not rely solely on these tools. In fact, these tools are merely a less valued part of their arsenal. They revel in the manipulation of the conditions that surround what should be a contest of skill and steel, calm and carnage. A WAAC player is not content to win with their skills as the sole determining factor of victory, he/she wants to stack the deck first.
We won’t go into cheating in depth, as that is flat out violation of convention. It is the most blatant (yet only the subtle cheat gets away with it consistently) type of WAAC play. It is simply defined. Cheating is ignoring or altering the rules when your opponent does not have the acumen to catch it. Adding models, weighted dice, omission or addition. It’s all the same. It blurs with the following, but is more a blatant violation than a subtle manipulation. Cheating can be both the worst violation, yet easiest to catch with awareness (and easiest to call a TO in to correct).
WAAC players that don’t really cheat look for the most subtle loopholes in the test itself to manipulate to their advantage. Often, the implications of these violations are not realized until after the contest is complete. These players try to note whenever something appears so obvious to everyone that no actual written word confirms the understood (or book/dex interactions define). Examples include the ‘Daemon Clause’ in the recent few Ard Boyz rounds; altering the order of scenarios in Ard Boyz semi-finals in order to sidestep a perceived weakness in a particular round/scenario matchup; convincing opponents that terrain should be ‘placed’ when it actually is pre-set; browbeating players into accepting that additional ‘reserve edges’ include DOW 1st turn arrivals…etc etc. Little things on the surface that at that particular moment, either from a TO’s /Judge’s perspective or an opponent’s across the table seem almost sensible. The WAAC player knows damn right well what he’s done/doing, but is like a used car salesman in delivery and a BP CEO’s in denial of culpability.
Another WAAC symptom is the ‘sleight of hand’. It’s not always cheating per-se, but involves fast moving; slow playing; moving/removing units; quick scooping dice; adding anything that will allow for more and more errors on the part of their opponent. Frustration from being slow played is easy. Take as much time as possible for the first 2/3 of a round, getting your opponent eager to wrap things up. Get their rhythm off and then change pace utterly for a ‘rush’ at the end. Hell, if you’re not obvious about it you can even start implying slow play on their part toward the end to rush them further. Move and re-move models…every possible 1/8 of an inch can get you that much closer to a charge. Fast count your dice and scoop, hoping to add a ‘hit’, or better yet scoop the hits first. Then change how you pick up dice when the actual hits are in your favor. My person douchey fave to see, use a tape measure to draw LOS all over the table…it’s amazing how few failed charges/out of range shooting moments will occur when your opponent lets you do this!
WAAC players have little actual conscience when it comes to the ‘win’. They will attempt to cover the infraction (when discovered) in a veneer of legitimacy. Utilize the Judge’s ruling or TO’s lack of understanding as a first line of defense (the Judge said yes, so it wasn’t cheating…etc). They will lump their actions into a group mentality when they can (other’s agreed). Finally, they will simply blame their opponent(s) lack of knowledge for allowing it to happen (not my fault he didn’t know the Tervigon couldn’t move before spawning, I just forgot at the moment). These players really do give a bad name to the hobby as a whole, and the competitive environment in particular. A side effect many people don’t consider is that the great players and the WAAC players often come to events with similar lists and rules knowledge. They ‘appear’ similar on the surface. Many good WAAC players will put you at ease, and lull you into a false sense of comraderie. Just remember, it really is our responsibility as a player to calmly and politely refuse the little manipulations they employ, in our own defense, and simply deny them opponents on their off-tourney time when we are out to have fun.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Ard Boyz Semi Finals Results/Report

Ard Boyz SemiFinals (note I did not explain Deployment/Missions here, if you want to read them in order I played link here- LINKY)

Okay, so I won the prelims and had the un-enviable choice of a 3 hour, 3.5 hour or 4.5 hour drive for the Semis. FUGH. I didn’t have the money to go up Friday and get a room, so I just resigned myself to a 5 am wakeup. Little did I know, my insomnia cycle was going to kick in end of week, netting me 4 hours of sleep Thursday night, followed by a sleepless night Friday. Two days with 4 hours of sleep equals the suck.
Still, I got on the road with three of my buddies at 630, and was in good spirits.
(I will bitch at the end of the BATREP, everything else will be nicey-nice)
Scenario 1; Fog
The only game I really got ANY pictures, and they were where my phone camera started to tank. Of all the pics I took, maybe 5 actually were recoverable from my now dead data card (and my phone now no longer accepts my data card, or saves pics at all…time for a trip to Best Buy). Opposing army lists are from memory, can’t find them right now…may have left them with my ‘Nid dex at the venue. Fortunately, I have a decent memory.
Deployment (picture 1)
His list
18(ish)x Nobz with variations on Klaws/Uge Choppas/armour and a Painboy.
(BW w/b-shoota and deffrolla)
12 burnas
(BW w/b-shoota and deffrolla)
19 slugga-boyz w/klaw Nob
(BW w/b-shoota and deffrolla)
20 slugga-boyz w/klaw Nob
(BW w/b-shoota and deffrolla)
12 slugga-boyz w/klaw Nob
3-2x DeffKoptas (twin rokkit+some saws)
2-5x loota mob
Grot Mob
I won the roll, and chose to go first. Central wall of Fexes, flanked by T-Fexes backed by Tervigons with Hive-Guard outriders and interspersed ‘gants. He deployed opposite the central building with the KFF joined to the 19 boyz mob in a BW, Ghaz w/the 12 Burnas in BW. With those units in the center, He had his NobWagon on his right side of the BW wall, and the 20 Boy mob on his left. Behind the Nobwagon, He hid the Trukk Mob. 1 Deffkopta unit on his right, 2(I don’t know why he didn’t reserve the DeffKoptas, forgot to ask when it was all over) on his left and he left the Grots in reserve.
My Turn 1: I ‘BURST’ forward toward the center with my entire line, and ran as far as I could. As the central building was about the size of the 12” ‘no dep zone’ in the center, I was rolling Difficult Terrain with almost my entire center. Combined with my run rolls, my center moved and average of…..7”…that’s AFTER run rolls (thus the emphasis on ‘burst’). MC 3d6 doesn’t work if your dice hate you, lemme tell ya. No big, I still had some gants threatening the central objective with backup. I spawned with all my Tervigons and put out somewhere around 80 gants, but 3 of my Tervis pooped out. Ugh. Three Tervis spread out from the center, backing the line. The two HQ Tervis followed flanking units of Hive Guard and gants into the Fog. After movement and running in the fog, I had 2 objectives. Then I shot. Pop goes the KFF BWagon. Hive Guard poofed a squadron of Deffkoptas.
His Turn 1: He 6” moved the BWagons up. I don’t think he wanted to give my ‘Fexes charge range ( I would have punched it personally). He pushed the remaining DeffKoptas into shooting positions on Hive Guard. He also brought the Trukk into the fog on his right. He shot, and netted about 10 dead gants across the entire board.
Turn 2 was very similar to Turn 1, except that I did not spawn from the remaining functional Tervigons in case I needed emergency gants later and crapped out. My movement secured all 3 objectives solidly, and put my ‘Fexes into real charge threat for the Wagons. Then I shot at them…and missed with 75% of my shooting. BUT, every shot that hit managed to penetrate (some hive guard shots and 2 Rupture cannon hits) and he couldn’t make more than half his KFF saves. Combined with a pinned unit (one of the BW Boy units lost enough to explodiness that they actually had to take a pinning check, and failed) he suddenly had more than half his army decanted, and half of it out of support. I didn’t have charge range on anything due to where his units ended up, so my turn ended.
He was just too cautious…he tried to shoot up the world, and only managed 2 assaults (his right side had a bait pair of gant units close to a boyz unit and deffkoptas, and his center got off a boy assault against a big brood of ‘gants. I think he forgot the Multi-Charge option there, but it wouldn’t have benefitted him as it would have just sucked more ‘gants in with counter-attack.
The rest of the game was really, pile on objectives…kill what little he had that was un-engaged with Thorax Swarms and Hive Guard, and wear down Ghaz. (note, he used Ghaz’s Waagh in one of my shooting phases to prevent two units that were shot up from running off).
End of game, he conceded with about 400 points worth of units left, while claiming about 1000 points from me (including the points from spawned ‘gants).
Full Points Massacre for me.
(after the game we went outside and I gave him advice on how to improve his list. He told me he based it ‘on some guy’s list from dakka.. sumpin sumpin ‘pepper’ I believe?… ;) . I tried the soft approach, and didn’t tell him it sucked, but how to improve synergy and what units didn’t support him properly. I also asked why he didn’t just shove his BW’s down my gullet before I was able to put more gants down and secure my position. He was just scared of the Carnifexes, had no Idea how to handle them, which I helped with as well)

Scenario 2; ‘Shineys’
His list was Fatecrusher.
3 4x Bloodcrushers (loaded)
4 8x Bloodletters
2(?) 8x Plaguebearers
3 Tzeentch DPs fully loaded for shooting and flying.

I have my deployment pic for this one, but that’s it.
I won the roll to go and chose second.
I deployed as sparsely as possible, with a similar spread to my last scenario. I wanted as much potential footprint to reduce his ‘safe’ zone.

He rolled for army half and got the wrong half.
His turn 1 drop; 2x Bloodcrusher units, a Dp, 3x Bloodletter units, a plaguebearer unit. They scattered with decent support, but not grand.

This one really doesn’t need a blow by, as his wrong-half start hurt AND his turn 2 reserves only got him fateweaver and a DP. It went downhill from there. He didn’t really make mistakes, but neither did I. With spawning and spreading, I hemmed him completely into his half the table. I wiped one unit of crushers out with shooting, and dropped the other down to a basic crusher and the Icon(darn it).
Big moments; HiveGuard nuking bloodcrusher units. The Carnifexes holding 2 different DPs in CC for 4 combat phases, a steady feed of ‘gants holding the Bloodthirster at arm’s length, and Fateweaver poofing to HiveGuard fire as soon as he hit the table (took all three units, but a 9 ldrship sucks). Ultimately, my inability to kill Daemon Princes cost me a massacre. I could bloody well hold em down, but it took till turn 6 to finish the one on one of my objectives, and consumed too many resources to be able to secure both of his.
I was a little grumpy for this round. I was so bloody tired, and made the mistake of having beer with the lunch break(that wore off), but he was gracious and fought to the last.

Major Victory-20pts

Scenario 3: We’re sorry mech, here’s your cake…

His List
5x THSS squad [LRR]
Tac squad (flamer/MM/PW) [LR]
Tac Squad (M/MM/PF) [LRC]
Tac Squad (M/MM/PW) [LR]
Tac Squad (flamer/MM)
2 1x units of MM/Typhoon Speeders
1 2x Unit of MM Atk Bikes
1x LR Redeemer w/MM
1x LR Crusader w/MM
1x LR w/MM
1x LR w/MM

He won the roll to go first, started with nothing on the table and nothing in reserves. And this is where I screwed up.
I was tired, and I had been dwelling on this scenario since it came up. I had not fought 4x LR lists with these bugs, and instead of simply calming down and going with ‘the plan’, I let the scenario/terrain dictate MY deployment.
I deployed 1xHQ and 2xTrp Tervigons…in my left corner behind the one piece of terrain that could give them cover. What was I thinking? “Spawn first turn, I have to spawn as much as I can”… WTF? Just plain SHIT. Brain shut down, reflex picked up and punched me in the nads.
Corner??? ARRRGGHHH!
This was me failing to heed EVERY FUGGING PIECE OF ADVICE I deliver and believe in, to never let the situation make you react, make THE ENEMY react to you…and I reacted to the enemy AND the environment. I should have realized my error before turn 1, but I was just tired enough not to really see it till he came on table, and dropped one of my Tervis to half wounds despite cover. And then the final nail in my coffin, I brought in everything in that corner. I just couldn’t let go of “must have cover, MUST”…dammit, I KNEW I could sacrifice ‘fexes for two turns to rush the middle and force him into a corner, but I let reactive nerves dictate my deployment and first turn. I lost the game here, period.

Again, this is a game that doesn’t need to be spelled out on a turn by turn, but I never gave up. I pushed out of my corner and shot like a madman. I baited out Vulkan and his Termies with Carnifexes, I shot the rhino and tried to get every cheap KP I could.
It didn’t help that 4 consecutive turns of fire with Hive Guard and and T-Fexes only immobilized the rhino, killed AN attack bike and dropped A speeder (apparently I borrowed Stelek Broadside dice). I got happy when I ‘blew up’ his Redeemer with a T-Fex, until we realized LOS was blocked just enough (by a carni and building corner) that he should get a save, which he made (ah well, it still felt good to get the rolls). I did kill Vulkan and the Terminators with mass fire/’gant assault. It did run to turn 6, and I did manage to avoid the Massacre against me. Last turn also saw the death of his last speeder and attk bike (finally, little fast bastards!  ). But two Tervigon’s popped turn 3 and I rolled more on the feedback than the total termagant’s that were in range, that was 6 KPs right there. It was messy, it was bloody and it was fraught with stupidity…on my part.
Major Victory w/3 bonus to him.

All of my opponents were actually fun to play, pleasant and accommodating. I’m almost glad the event was so far away, with 36 players and only 2 of my compatriots accompanying me, the odds were that I would play 3 new people that day…and I wasn’t disappointed. That is one of the best things about GTs/Ard Boyz etc…new faces, ideas, armies and games.

I managed, even through the mess of game three, to pull 5th place. I THINK if I had deployed intelligently that game I MAY have made top 3, but with other issues who knows. One of my friends that I rode up with DID take 3rd, and my other friend (I don’t remember exact rank) came in the top 50%.

Now that I’ve accepted a portion of the responsibility for Scenario 3, time to bitch.

This is NOT an attack per-se, and I do understand it can be difficult to run these…
I’m not saying that as an observer. I ran the Ard Boyz events at my old store 2 years running, including the year 1 Semis.
We had 30+ for Prelims yr 1, and 56 people signed up for Semis that year. FIFTY TWO showed up.
I set it up the night before(with help from friends). I had a few regulars that didn’t qualify hanging out, getting me food/water/stuff or sitting at my station if I had to run to the restroom/smoke but handled pretty much all the grit myself.
I begged, bought, borrowed and stole every piece of terrain I could lay my hands on (thanks Rep who shall remain un-named, if you ever read this, for all the ‘extras’ you could swing. And thanks Neptune John for all the loaned stuffage!)
I walked the floor constantly, I engaged every player directly at least once directly, and every table at least 3 times per round.
I was aware immediately if there were any ‘issues’ between players.
I was enthusiastic, involved and paid more attention to those that were new to my store than people I saw from my region.

I have pics attached, hope you can add them here, but…the terrain was shit. Worst case scenario, in my mind/army, was to play scenario 3 with low terrain/lots of trees or sparse area terrain. I called the venue and asked the week prior if they were terrain sufficient, and offered to bring two tables worth if it was needed. I was pleasantly told that they ‘had plenty to be sure to hit 25%’ per table for up to 36 players. I asked if they were sure, they said yes. I can honestly say at least one of my tables didn’t have enough terrain for Warhammer Fantasy…seriously. My final table, I had ONE piece of terrain in the CORNER of my half that could provide cover to my MCs, and maybe one in the opposite corner of my half.

Records: why would you write things down on paper and pair up that way? In an event with this level of competitiveness? On a small legal pad? WITHOUT SCORE SHEETS HANDED OUT(WTF???), but reported verbally to the guy scribbling it down? With things crossed out, referenced between sheets and trying to keep it under wraps for the purposes of ‘suspense’? I truly don’t THINK there was cronyism going on there, but dayum…could you have created a greater potential for suspicion?

Vp pairing: apparently, as we were reporting VPs, they paired second round by VPs. What??? Not BPs with a tie-breaker, but actual VPs? Why? Was it just silliness, or to someone’s benefit?

Walking the floor: I saw the TO come from behind the counter maybe Once per round. He made quiet announcements, and only let us know time once per round. Involvement. It’s important. You cannot get a feel for your players/mood/behavior/potential issues by sitting on one of the VERY FEW stools you have behind the counter jawing with regulars. If the excuse of having the FAQ open on your laptop is the reason you’re doing it, you don’t know the rules well enough.

Cheating: goes with the previous point. If you see a rulebook or ‘dex open for too long you should ask what’s up. You would KNOW this if you were engaging your players instead of jib-jabbing. If it’s going on for too long, someone’s involved in shenanigans. Because it was too difficult to maneuver around a table, someone playing there was willing to take the word of a ‘nid player reading from his dex across the table that he could spawn after moving tervigons, that raveners and warriors were t-5, Raveners apparently move 12 in addition to assaulting 12(he caught that though) and some other outright cheats. I didn’t hear it at the time, so I couldn’t interject (and not being TO, it might not have been my place but I would have). The other player didn’t have the ‘nid dex, and hadn’t come up against warrior/ravener spam or Tervies yet so he accepted the info and it cost him a win. If the TO (or assistant judges) had been regularly patrolling the floor, someone would have caught on to this as it apparently was a constant rules argument instead of a game.

Venue info: be honest, even if that means honest to yourself. If you can’t handle more than 20, cap it there. If you don’t have the terrain for it, borrow, create or even accept offers for more from unsolicited sources. If you are asked if there is army storage, don’t say there’s shelving under all the tables when all that was is the floor (excepting the back 6 tables).

Seating: can’t truly gripe about that overly much, because I do know stools are expensive, but I was only capable of sitting down my first game…and without a way to put things anywhere, I ended up using that for my case as casualty removal.

Enthusiasm: get involved. Walk the floor, engage the players, discuss the event and the game. Don’t interrupt games of course, but walking the floor at least 50% of the time keeps you aware of things, moods and potential conflicts. It also encourages a sense of authority to be able to discuss things, speed up games with discrepancies and solve rules issues.

Rules judging: frankly too tired then to remember it, but at least one discussion after round 1 involved a BASIC bad rules call. Not an esoteric issue, not a changed FAQ, but a blatant core rule bad call.

Table Balance: if you are going to ‘number’ tables, you should also create groups of tables that have varying degrees/types of terrain (3 groupings for 3 rounds ideally) and make certain every player plays once in each grouping. I played ONE table that could be considered to have had 20% terrain, otherwise I was playing Fantasy or worse. That 20% table was identically laid out to my final game, just used a larger central piece. If you like a pure Imperial Mech environment, that’s fine, but don’t cater to it to the detriment of every other army out there…at least when you are hosting an event that should only have involved 3 of your regulars.

Winners: Nothing is more anti-climactic than to just tell the top 3 players quietly, as they pass the counter, where they placed…while the bottom tables are still wrapping up games…other players are out smoking and with no one to witness/congratulate. And then to say ‘I know it’s anti-climactic, but you’ll get prizes from GW’. Who gives a shit if it’s not about your store, your prizes or your glory, it’s about the players and the FUCKING HOBBY…jeebus guys, way to make us want to come back again if you host it.

You guys were pleasant, don't get me wrong, but it almost seemed as though you DIDN'T want to do this, or realized you had bitten off more than you can chew. You do know your GW rep can help if you are having issues right?

Friday, June 11, 2010

Hammer and Thumb

Hammer and Thumb

So, I was an artilleryman. It was our job to apply saturating fire from long range when called to do so. Sometimes this was going to be called on a target that was unaware and static, but as often as not it was going to be called on a target that was in motion. In order to pin that enemy down, friendly PBIs had to engage the enemy to keep them in place. We were the hammer, they were the thumb. Sometimes, the thumb got bloodied. It is a decision that has been made in warfare since the dawn of indirect artillery/aircraft bombing. It’s a decision not made lightly, but made of necessity. (note; though I was active duty during at least 2 military actions and 1 war, I was fortunate enough to never have to lay a quadrant/deflection or pull a lanyard on a live enemy, but we were trained to operate with these expectations).

In 40k, we have the viewpoint of gods. We see every aspect of the field, and the enemy, from on high…with little in the way of ‘fog’ (aside from dice uncertainties/human unpredictability) to disrupt our decisions. We DON’T have (even with vaunted IG arty) the ability to engage the enemy with no chance of reprisal. Our ranges are intentionally shortened to prevent this stand-off kind of engagement from being the totality of our gaming experience. Yet the concept of ‘Hammer and Thumb’ still applies.
In this case, it is the act of holding, baiting or manipulating an enemy into position in order to deliver a devastating strike.

As weird as it sounds, in our gaming example, the Thumb is as (or more) important than the hammer. In 40k, the thumb is often not expected to live but instead provide opportunities to apply the Hammer such that the sacrifice will further our cause far more than the loss of the unit costs us.
(I’m not listing Hammers and Thumbs, but application. Units such as THSS termies/Rampaging Carnifex Broods/IG Arty squadrons speak for themselves, as do all other ‘dexes heavy hitters).

Units that cannot be ignored, cannot be simply swept off the table at a whim and can threaten on their own. Look at resilient scoring units, fast threatening units or outflanking/infiltrating units. Squad(ron)s of this nature can be used to influence disposition, deployment and movement of the enemy. Though not an exhaustive or restrictive list, I usually find these to be my best Thumbs.

-Resilient Scoring Units (ignore us at your peril). Mounted squads with large numbers/high toughness/solid saving throws. You cannot ignore them, they might grab an objective late game. You cannot just paste them, they have speed AND innate survivability. They will often survive your initial assault long enough to hold you down for the cavalry, or at least fall back/die in such a way as to leave you over-extended. If you have them, use them. IG have them, it’s called a platoon in chimeras. What they lack in T/Saves they make up for in spam. Marines have them, it’s called the Tactical Squad and rhino. Obviously there are others, but these are just indicative examples…find your parallels. These units can be held back and thrown out for late game grabbing, but applying a squad or two early creates a ‘must deal’ situation.
Threaten objectives or clog movement lanes. Block LOS with their cans. Pull assault elements forward with them as bait. Make a wall that cannot be side-stepped or ignored.

-Fast Threatening Units (you can’t guess where we’ll be). Tank killers, movement blockers and vehicles of all sorts. They may not be able to score, but they can contest. They don’t always have ‘major doom’ written all over them, but they will interfere with your opponent’s plans. Generally we’re looking for interference units here. Look for things that can threaten nearly all transports. Crack a can, and you slow your opposite number’s ability to respond, and keep his units at arm’s length for longer firepower attention. This is generally the true throw-away thumb. It does its job and you don’t care anymore. Great if it lives, but a valk dropped melta-vet squad cracking a Land Raider isn’t expected to last longer than it takes to expose the termies. It’s job is done. It has held the enemy baddy at bay and slowed it. Speeders, Piranha and such all perform the quick immobilize/expose/block role. TWC are generally considered hammers, and rightfully so. But they are GREAT thumbs! They usually survive their ‘sacrifice’, can threaten a greater portion of the battlefield, and serve a dual role.
Remember though, your Thumb (in this role) is quite literally a tool. Do not grow attached. Weigh interference vs your personal attachment to the unit. Use these units with a focus on blocking or holding units in place with little concern for their long term survival.

-Outflanking/Infiltrating units (you can’t guess where we’ll come from). These are Thumbs of a different sort. Units that serve this role are there to influence your opponent’s deployment/early moves. Drop Podded units, Mawlocs/Stealers and scouting elements are your friend. No matter how much your opponent may seem un-flustered by their appearance in your list, he WILL be considering where they will be when he deploys or takes his first moves. Anything that influences this gives you greater understanding of where he will be in the developing turns of the game. These units will give you greater control over what you do in your own development. These units serve their purpose early game, and what occurs after that is up to you and how you capitalize on their influence.
All of them have potential to shoehorn the enemy into less favorable deployment and less than optimal early movement. Of the Thumbs, these also have the potential for greater survival into the mid-game.
Use these units for early game manipulation, placing your opponent in the un-enviable position of deploying without regard for where they may pop, or let you have an easier time predicting where they will end up early.

Nearly all of these units require ‘spamming’ to be effective. A singleton of a unit will only make your opponent tweak a little. Doubling or tripling (or more in the case of scoring units) is necessary to influence your opponent’s deployment/responses. A single squad in a chimera does not a wall make. A single Land Speeder does not a true block make (etc, ad nauseum). You can’t ‘throw away’ something you cannot replace (either with a repeat unit, or a unit with similar functionality).
Always look toward manipulating your counterpart’s early game actions and you will have your first step toward victory.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Ard Boyz Prelims Results/Report

Ard Boyz 2010 Prelims

As I said previously, I decided to participate in the YTTH challenge for Ard Boyz when he posted a 'Nid list very similar to the one I had been considering for myself.
With a few tweaks to make it fit his challenge list (replacing a tyrant with another Tervigon, and using a 3rd unit of Hive Guard vs Deathleaper, I had this)

The list I took;
2x Tervigons (HQ)
3x3 Hive Guard
3x Tervigons (troop)
3x10 Termagants
3xScreamer Killer Carnifexes
(all with the option had Cluster Spines)

Scenarios on the GW site, so I’m not going over that dreck in excessive detail, just a quick rundown.
Scen 1 diagonal deployment; 5 objectives
Scen 2 Sprearhead; Victory Points
Scen 3 Pitched Battle; Kill Points (modified. 3KPs for any unit that can move more than 6” in a single phase. Broken scenario)

Opponent 1; Brian/Orks
Warboss Mega Armour
9 Mega-Nobz (battlewagon/deffrolla)
11 slugga boyz(battlewagon/deffrolla)
12 slugga boyz(truk)
12 slugga boyz(truk)
11 slugga boyz(truk)
10 Burna Boyz(looted wagon/skorcha)
5 Rokkit Deffkoptas
20(ish) stormboyz
Objectives pretty much an X through the table.
He went first, little effective shooting.
I spawned (up to 108 gaunts in turn 1) and began to pile on objectives. Shooting from Hive Guard and T-Fexes chewed up 2 truks.
It pretty much repeats for two turns, massive spawning…little shooting (though most of his transports are dead by scrum time). Turn 3 we piled on the central objectives and consolidated on our own. Game ended due to time. We each made early game errors that were reparable, and proceeded to munch a lot of the enemy. I won, barely (minor victory). Brian is always fun, too bad he's in Cincinnati.

Opponent 2; Ian Necrons
2x Orb Lords
3x 15(ish) man warrior squads
10 man Immortal Squad
6(ish) base scarab swarms
2x 5 destroyers
2x Monoliths
I won the roll for first, he seized the initiative.
He shoots, I shoot. We danced like this for about 3 turns with few actual casualties. He got just a bit too close turn 3(ish) and I was able to assault. With some good rolling on my part, and some bad on his, the game ended with a Necron phase-out. It was just a SLIGHT mis-judgement on distance from his side that let me get an early assault, or it would have been a much closer game. My saves and toughness, plus a lack of easy target priority, made it hard for him. Not having an opportunity to teleport out of important combats (the units died before he could pull out) hurt his core tactic. I also did not allow myself to get sucked into trying to kill the ‘liths (except when there were no other viable targets for the Tyrannofexes).

Opponent; 3 Brice IG
Company Command Squad; melta/flamer/Hvy Flm (chimera)
Inq Lord; Mystics/P-Hood
6(?) vet squads; tri melta(2ish w/flamers) (chimera)
2 PBS squads; (chimera)
3x Vendettas; hvy bolters/lascannon
2x Colossi (battery)
2x Medusa (battery)
2x Hydras (battery)

(note: I did not reserve vs IG for a reason, not noob-itude. I was counting on so many similar threatening targets preventing me from losing any single key element)
He went first. Fire put a wound on a t-fex, killed a hive guard and some gaunts. I ran forward, shot down a Vendi and killed a chimera. He returned fire, nearly killed a t-fex and got another hive guard. I spawned some gaunts for padding, and killed another vendetta, a chimera and both medusa. Turn three, he killed a t-fex, put some wounds on a few Tervigons and killed off a squad of Hive guard. He got just a BIT too close in the center, and the Carnifexes got off the charge. We traded vehicles and beasts for two more turns, and nearly everything I had was then in his lines. CC and close shooting ensued for turn 5 and 6, but then ended. I finish with 4 Tervigons left, 1 Tyrannofex left and most of my gaunts left. He lost all his artillery batteries, half his chimeras and 2 of his vendettas (and 4 or 5 attendant IG squads). Massacre in my favor.
Afterward, I figured out the unmoded scoring. If it had been standard KPs I would have won by 2 or 3, but with the modified rules in the final scenario I beat him with 28(ish) kill-points to 12.

All my opponents were great fun, generous and pleasant. I was finally able to play Brice and Ian (hadn’t managed to arrange that yet) though poor Brian gets stuck with me EVERY tourney we play in together in the first round!
I can thank a whole lotta luck, gracious opponents, and a strongly favorable final scenario, for this win.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Hunting the wild Goose….

(for those that understand me, this will be funny…if you’re PETA happy, well…I don’t shoot geese)

So, I wake up this morning…in my normal fugue state…and stumble downstairs to start the coffee for the spouse (yeah, she actually had to get moving before me this morn, what is the world coming to). In my rush to create the nectar-of-the-caffeine-gawds, I left my glasses upstairs. The results of this (normally) is simply squinting at the computer screen like a little old man trying to glean information from a technical manual on a particle-accelerator…that he has confused with the latest issue of (insert your favorite girly magazine here).

Today, the results were a little different. After starting the machine of black nirvana, I stepped out onto the porch to investigate the results of the 5am lightning strike (that sent the wife, the mentally-challenged cat, and the aforementioned wanna-be little old man, into a fit of apoplectic thrashing and sheet tangling) in the back yard. I stepped out barefoot, breathed deeply of the warm moist air, and began to squint…and squint…and squint.

The blur that had become my world snapped grungily into a vague semblance of focus (or swam lazily into a blur of green/gray confusion..whichever). As yet another sign of my decrepitude (failing vision…I think it’s a plot to make me feel old) stamped itself deeper into my conscious mind, I saw something large and gray(ish) in the ‘weed’ garden in front of my tool-shed. IT was back…the raccoon.

This raccoon has tasked me (since early winter) with its mangy fur, stubby tail, and audacious attitude. First seen waddling out from under the carport by my wife one dark and cold eve (making her squeal ‘it’s so cute, can I keep it') to leaving paw prints on the furniture my friend graciously ‘donated’ to my back porch (to make room for his new furniture…’but Mike, it’s NICE stuff’…that same 'nice' furniture a local charity later deemed too abused to pick up and take to the needy poor) to taunting us by climbing up the window of the shed from the inside while we sit at breakfast. This beast has left ‘sign’ on the hood of my car, and shared my disdain for yard work by leaving a ‘present’ on my lawn-mower.

The final indignity heaped upon me was this last Tuesday morning, as it sauntered up to the front door of the shed in the early morning light as I drank my coffee. I saw him, he did not see me (and proceeded to try to tear his way under the door to get in the old building). I grabbed my bb-gun and crept out the door. He saw me as I closed it. He stared at me as I pumped the weapon up and drew a bead. He looked singularly unimpressed, as though sensing a certain impotence on my part. I shot, he sauntered to the right of the building (twitching his stumpy tail in disdain). I crept after him, wondering how I could miss a simple shot of only 30ish yards. My wife, hearing the noise, looked out the upstairs window to see me creeping around the left side of the shed. She watched me take a second shot as I rounded the corner…he reversed direction. 5 minutes of this ‘tango’, back and forth around the shed, before he dove up a tree in the neighbor’s yard (flicking that damnable tail) and thus ended the hunt.
I couldn’t believe it…I’ve always been a good shot, how? How could I have failed to fell the vermin? Then I looked down at my ‘weapon’…and saw the empty reservoir. NO BBs…not a one. I had been blasting AIR at the bloody animal. I stared up into the sky, empty weapon at my side, shaking a fist at the uncaring heavens and roared “Coooooooooonnn”! (trek fans, you’d better get it)

So anywho, back to this morn. In the weeds before the shed, is the humped vision of blurry gray that I have grown to know and detest. It simply sits there, as before, and I creep backwards through the door and begin to paw blindly for the weapon of mass embarrassment that is the air-gun. I pull it up, out the door (closing it behind me to prevent the idiot feline I share a domicile with from bolting outside) all the while not once losing sight of my prey. I glance quickly down at the chamber, and reassure myself that there are projectiles to be had and look back up. ‘Good, good …he tasks me, he tasks me…I’ll chase him round the weeds of my she’…well, you get the point.

I creep to the bottom of the stairs (quietly pumping the weapon up to maximum lethality), bare feet treading the damp concrete…and he does not flee. To assure best accuracy, I begin to creep out from under the porch roof and onto the wet sidewalk…closer and closer…yet still he does not flee. He is absorbed, in what I do not know, to such a degree that he does not even look up.

As I get to a range where I begin to worry as to whether or not I could escape an angered Raccoon bent on revenge for being shot at…I begin to question data that has been accumulating. Why has this animal not raised an arrogant eye at my bumbling attempts to visit my wrath upon him? Why has his tail not popped up to taunt me? Why has he not begun the dance about the shed that brought him such joy, and me such frustration…why does his coloration now resemble that of a Canada Goose?????
(To make a shaggy dog story longer, a brief interlude…my grandfather always loved collecting/making duck and goose decoys. A hunter he was. He thought of them as utilitarian art, and was not wholly wrong. Some of these decoys are quite lovely, accurate, and very very realistic)

I stand, squint a bit harder (remember that the fearless hunter of this story has forgotten the glasses that have been forced upon him by a cabal of 20/20 vision personages, such a small and insignificant group bent on making themselves feel superior to the remainder of the peoples of this earth…the oh so smart and handsome visually challenged ) and the oh so long neck of the Goose decoy becomes visible….
I turn, I walk slowly back into the house. I set down my weapon, the emblem of my fast fading virility and youth, tromp up the stairs and collect my glasses. As I put them on my face, I feel the weight of age settle upon my head…and I raise my fist at an uncaring ceiling and shake it at the crushing sense of my own failure.

I have been outsmarted by a devious raccoon, and a plastic goose…oh the humanity.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010


Went to a Rogue Trader Tourney for fun last weekend. Here is the bare bones of the results. Forgot got my camera and slept poorly Friday night, so details are not what I would have wanted them to be.

Tourney Points: 1850pts

My list;
Logan Grimnar
Runepriest (Living Lightning/Tempests Wrath/Saga of the BeastSlayer)
Wolf Lord (T-Wuff/Thunder Hammer/WTT/Saga of Majesty/SS/2x Fen Wolves)
2 Lone Wolves (SS/ChainFist/2x Fen Wolves/Terminator Arm)
2 T-Wuffs x3 (TH-SSx1/SSx1/MeltBx2)
3 WG x5 (4x PA/1xTermie w-Cyclone/Pw)
Long Fangs x5 (2x Lascanno/2x HB)

Mission 1
Spearhead/d3+2 objectives(4)
(secondary objective;VP Points[750pt spread]/Tertiary Objective;Table quarters per old cleanse mission)
Lose roll for first, opponent chooses 1st. Deploys line abreast with
1x 8 bloodclaws (attached Lukas, no spcl wpns)
2x 8 Wolf Guard (1x pwr wpn)
1x 5 WG Termies (3x Wolf Claws/Ix THSS/Attached Arjac)
1x 3 Long Fangs (Leader/ML/LC)
Terrain is quite sparse. (this is the case for all the tables, 5 simple building or Woods bases on all the tables)
He has list experience issues, so I play a little bit to his game and run up the middle turn 1 after he advances. He has little shooting and running turn 1, no casualties on my part. My turn 1 I shoot up the Blood Claws(4 dead), and snip individual units that are unengaged for 2/3 dead p-armour wolf guard. We have a furball in the middle on turns 2 and 3, the game ended on turn 4(time?). I lost most of each unit of T-Wolves, and most of all 3 WG units. He has Njal left at the end. Because I charged early (not spending another turn of full saturation fire), I don’t win secondary objective, 690vp spread…this will cost me in the long run.

Scenario 2
Pitched Battle/Straight KP’s
(Secondary Obj;VP’s by 250pts/Tertiary Remaining troops?)
Win roll for first. I implement a dispersed central setup. Opponent lines up with 3e style deployment, Gargs to my left, Horms to my right. 1 Tervi behind a building on my right on the far edge. 1 Tervi and 2 Terms in the center. Parasite with Gargs, Doom and Zoans DS in pods. I get ready to start nuking, and he seizes the init…grrr.
1x Parasite of Mortrex
1x Doom of Malantai (pod)
2x Troop Tervigons
2x 10 Termagants(poison)
1x 15 Hormogaunts(poison)
1x 16 Gargoyles(poison)
1x 2 Zoans (pod)
1x Trygon Prime

He runs everything forward on turn 1 and does not spawn (KP mitigation). I advance, shoot central tervigon down to 1 wound and kill half a unit of Termagants. I fleet my T-Wolves and charge. Lone T-Wuff unit hits Gargs w/Parasite, T-Wuff lord and T-Wuffs hit right side far Hormogaunt squad. After combat, Horms down to 5 models for 1 wd on my Lord, Gargs down to 3 models and the Parasite for 1 wd on a T-Wuff. Turn 2 his Zoies drop to the left of my LFangs, Central Terv comes around and spawns behind the squad engaged with the Gargs. 2nd central Term squad positions around my Lord and his unit. Right side Tervi spawns and rolls doubles before coming around the building on my right. He then shoots the central tervigon at a static WG unit. Shoots again at Long Fangs with Zoies, and kills two. They flee right to the table edge. CC phase sees off the Gargoyles/Parasite and he charges a spawned and original unit of Termagants into the right flank T-Wuffs to no effect. My shooting pops the central Tervigon and takes 6 Terms with him. CC kills all the Gants on the right, brings my T-Wuffs into the remaining Gants on my left. Turn 3 His Trygon and Doom of M drops in my center. Pretty much devolves into a furball in the center at this point, Lone wolf and Logan kills the Trygon, Doom sucks the life out of 3 WG (nobody breaks) and free-roaming range T-Wuffs commit atrocities left and right(I start popping Spore Pods for KPs). Over the next two turns Doom of M sucks 2 more WG before dying and he’s down to the right-most Tervigon at the end. I win all three Objectives.

Mission 3
Some really jacked up shite…Diagonal deployment (I like), 1 central ‘Primary’ Objective(the only true win).
Primary; Centrally placed objective.
(Secondary; KPs/Tertiary; 3 DS objectives that scatter 4d6 off central and then boom a s-6 ap-2 blast when they land)
Opponent’s List
1x Flyrant
1x Deathleaper
2x 2 Zoans (pod)
3x Mawloc
3x 10 Genestealers
1x 16 Hormagaunts(poison)
GREAT opponent. FUN game. It was a dance. Drew Primary and Secondary, lost tertiary.

At this point I was tired, and not tracking. The flow of the game was a dance around the central (primary) objective. All 3 Mawlocs popped in the center of my formation on turn 2. My dispersed deployment reduced their casualty count to 3 models, and I gunned/hacked them down in the turn they appeared. 2 of the ‘stealer squads arrived this turn(outflank) as did a unit of Zoans (podded into a building 8 inches from the objective) and the Hive Tyrant (his own table edge, flying to join the Zoans). The stealers assaulted the Long Fang Squad (good fleet rolls) with Logan and the Runepriest. A flying mess of whiffs kept us locked in combat all the way till turn 4. After much shooting, hacking and general mayhem the game ended on turn 6.
We contested the Primary objective. He held the leftmost (horrible save rolling on my part with a T-Wuff unit against 5 remaining Hormogaunts) the rightmost 2ndry objectives (with the remnants of the 3 ‘stealer squads that finally ate Logan/RP/Long Fangs) and I held the central 2ndry obj. We tied on KP’s (thank you lone wolfs, for not generating KPs when you die!).
Final tally here, Primary=draw;Secondary=draw;Tertiary=Minor Loss. Scenario=Draw with points advantage to my opponent.
I wish I could really have remembered this game better, as it was just incredible to play. Neither one of us made mistakes, both of us had botch-roll rounds that balanced out (for the most part). His just came early (‘stealers) mine came late (T-Wuffs).
Had the game ended rd-5, I would have won. Turn 6 was the draw. If it had ended turn 7 it probably would have stayed the same, but could have gone either way dependent on rolls. Loved the balance.

I took 3rd, 1 total point behind 2nd and not many points (unsure total spread here, cannot remember what was quoted...need notes) behind 1st (my last opponent took 1st place).
Had I gone for the throat utterly with my first opponent, instead of dinking around and assaulting a turn early, I would have had 2nd OR played a different opponent rd 2 and then who knows.

The Lone Wolves were worthwhile, but I don’t know if they truly paid for themselves. More experimentation will tell that one.
Thunder-Wolves probably should have assaulted closer to one another on game 1 and game 3, though game three I had no choice.
Logan made the army viable, but still assessing his value.
Runepriest probably needed to be upgraded to utilize both powers a turn.
Don’t just eyeball table edge distance during deployment, measure it! (rd 3 I could have prevented the ‘stealer outflank assault had I been 2 inches further in…though this would have brought him 2+ inches further had they survived shooting (likely) to assault a turn later.
Finally, if you want to do a battle report…don’t rely on muddled memory, take PICS!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

'Leafblower'??? ...WTF were you thinking Cpt Hubris!?!

(click here for the inane)

ah the fugging hubris.
I know I'm late on this(like over a week late), but I have been thinking...and thinking...and thinking about it.
I don't like knee-jerk reactions anymore, was too prone to it.
But the FUGGING hubris.

I was playing variations of this list for quite a while.
I retired my 5e version of this list before his run at Ard Boyz.
And I REGULARLY stated it was not purely my own creation, but an amalgamation of ideas and development of numerous players, myself included, that I have been exposed to for a while.
And this jack-arse has the gall to claim he 'popularized' ONE of the obviously efficient build theories from one of the most efficient 'dexes in the current environment?

No, he took the same path I did...and then said "I'm sorry I introduced this fiasco to all you noobs who couldn't develop it on your own"....SHIT.

Now, this is a quick blurb, I intend to expound (in the comments) after a quick trip to Yellow Springs for wifely modeling gig...
(oh, and the spam of IG at Adepticon? Yeah, a chunk of that came from my own store...that had been developing their own 'leafblowers' before the last Ard Boyz run as well. Maybe Douche-wynn should have said 'I'm sorry I ran what everyone else ran, I'm so carbon copy' {that is NOT a slam on anyone from my, or any other, LGS..none of them were running around claiming they invented the wheel, they were just building a better engine and trying to drive it with more panache!})

Friday, April 16, 2010

Ard Boyz 2010

so I think I have decided to play in the Ard Boyz Competition this May.
I was building lists and tweaking play, and finally settled on my Tyranids as the most comfortable list I have (well, other than my IG...but I don't want to be 'just another' guard player. It would be easier, but frankly I think I'll have more fun the other way, and fewer chances of running into 'meta' counters).
We'll see.
Anywho, I had been developing my list around my converted Tyrannofexes and Tervigons, and stumbled on Stelek's (of YTTH fame) maximum MC wound list here

It plays the way I have been playing, and plays to all the strengths I personally like to play which is; damn the environment, I'm doing what I'm going to do regardless of what you think you'll stop.
It's the way I competed in MTG, SFB and so forth. A kind of environmental control that involves ignoring the environment your opponent creates to such a degree that even initiative won't prevent him from having to react to you as the game develops. (barring flukes of course, which happen from time to time no matter how well you are prepared).
I don't know how I'll do, but as his list really fills all the roles I want, focuses on the models I am building/have built, and really flows like mine, I think I want to take his 'Ard Boyz Challenge' while still running something akin to mine. I would have used Deathleaper as psy-defense in place of the third unit of Hive Guard, and dropped one Tervi for a Tyrant with Hive Commander and Old Adversary, but meh...might as well make a challenge within a challenge, and see if it pans out to be the better list.
Kinda rambling now, as tired and the Ambien is starting to kick in...but I shall expound shortly.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010


It has certainly been a while.
And this has no real meat to it, but INSOMNIA SUCKS!
getting back on track over the next few days.
Have some feline entertainment, and a review.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Tyranids, the other white meat...

Okay, the preview ‘dex is in…and there have been myriad and sundry other people who have put in their two cents online about it, but I have a take too. Having been with bugs since 2nd ed, with those horrible old ant-warriors (whose boneswords I now miss greatly) and the original screamer-killers all the way up to, well now, I can say a few things right off the bat. OUCH, and WOOT!
We’ll see where the two words are most apropos.

First, this army is a gestalt/multiplier/de-buffer army. If you lose sight of this, you are going to only win with luck (in pairing, ill-prepared opponents, or dice). In this regard, they are more Eldar than Eldar, relying on complimentary units/force multipliers to really stay in the game. Fortunately, all those gestalt combinations are good.
There are so many ‘neat’ things in the ‘dex, that it is easy to want all of it, try to fit it in and falter. Like the Space Wolves, if you want to win, calmly walk through the book and find what units compliment one another.
If it’s just for fun, if you still build a solid core and THEN add oddball units you still have a decent game ahead of you.

This is NOT the answer to IG. A calmly played IG army will still have a better chance to put-paid to you than you to him (or her). This is NOT the answer to SW armies built with mobile fire-bases/thunderwolf cavalry. This army WILL die HORRIBLY to well played/built Dark Eldar. Tyranids WILL change all armies play styles, and WILL mech-up armies that are still trying to foot it out.

Army rules have changed significantly. Synapse is pretty much just ‘fearless’ within 12”. The loss of eternal warrior is painful, VERY.
Shadow in the Warp basically makes all psykers within 12” of a toting model roll 3d6 for their test, utilizing all three, and perils on ANY double 1/6.
Instinctive behavior became more manageable. Shooters (lurk) still get to shoot (freezing in place) and Choppers (feed) rage. It’s bad, but not as bad as being out of synapse used to be.
Living ammo, Str+ and Assault ‘X’ went out the window (barring ONE weapon with Ass X) which kind of disappointed me. I thought it was a defining flavor, but meh.

I will break this down per entry in the army list section, and then look at overall biomorph impact. I will not be pointing out list combos, or builds, as others with greater acumen have found most of the combos I did already (making a sad panda-face Mikey every time I thought I’d come up with something new).

So, on with the show….

Hive Tyrant:
This unit broke even. Stronger at the outset, with 2 Psychic powers PLUS Shadow in the Warp, he can fill debuffing roles AND aggressor roles. Solid CC monster, as he should be, his force-multipliers are very nice. With abilities such as Outflanking other units and +1 reserve rolls, to Preferred enemy lending, he can really boost your core…at a HIGH cost. Give him solid shooting, or unique CC capabilities, and he starts to rack the points even faster.
But, with regen and Guard, it’s a hard Death Star to crack.
No Invuln hurts, but if you want that AND CC hate, meet…..

The Swarmlord: (Woot)
A unique Tyrant? That PWNs THSS termies, Nob Bikers and…well…pretty much everything else? JEEBUS! Did I mention the ability to cause wounds and GAIN the ones caused with ‘Lifeleech’?
Re-roll all your successful Invulns? Yes Please. 4 psychic powers? Yes Please. 4+ invuln in CC? Yes please. Grants 1of3 different USR’s to any unit within 18”, and the optional Tyrant reserve/outflank bumps? SWEET!
Price tag=OUCH…more than a tooled land raider. But built around ability lending, and stomping other Death Stars? Yeah, he’s pain…a lot of it. Coupled with our next offender and things get wrong…

(note: Tyrant Guard serve the same role they did before, but can function independently and can have boneswords. They frenzy if joined by a Tyrant and it dies, though I don’t see that happening often).

Tervigon: (WOOT)
Okay, medium weight monstrous creature…but we now hit our first 6 wound MC…wait, SIX you say? Yup…and only the first.
This is NOT a unit for CC, this is NOT a unit for a shieldwall…this is a force multiplier.
Grant FNP to any unit within 6”? In an army that can pretty much guarantee cover saves for everybody?(not talking Venomthrope, the units themselves). Spit arseloads of free termagaunts? Oh, give all those ‘gaunts close by it’s own poison/fur charge upgrades? Yeah, gimme another one…(oh, did I mention they count as troops if you buy them paired with termagaunts? Did I? Well, NIIIIICE!). Oh, and Synapse???
Seriously, they’re damn near as good as my blathering intimates.
Weaknesses? MC without the real strength to back it up, few attacks and low init. Don’t be tempted to use them as battering rams or blocks, but protect them.
Use them to buff other bugs/units and lend FNP all over the place. It’s that and the free ‘gaunts…
These guys are worth their weight in GOLD (around 200-ish gold, if tooled up), but like other shineys they can be overdone. I’m using 1 or 2, depending on my army. No more, or it will cease to support itself. You have to have threat units to take advantage of the buffs.

Tyranid Prime:
Or Warrior Prime (as some rumours called it). It’s the HQ warrior.
I like them. If they were a unit upgrade, or could benefit from the symbiosis of Guant/Tervigon= troops, then I would be all over them.
What they do for you is lend a model that is immune to ID that can be allocated wounds in a unit of warriors. Yes it buffs them, and YES if you are building heavy warrior units/armies, they are beneficial.
They are independent characters, which helps them move about where needed, but their buffs are really only warrior buffs.
Shadow in the Warp(SITW) helps.
Weapon options are great with their stats, and will help out a CC warrior squad moreso than a shooty squad (IMHO).

Parasite of Mortrex:
An ‘on the fence’ unit for me. Wings combined with Synapse and SITW make him a psyker-threat/buff unit due to mobility.
It is a unit buff/producer for Ripper Swarms, which are not really a unit worth building around to support. In addition, producing the progeny of this model requires CC, thus putting it in danger…vs just die rolling for the Tervigon. Meh.
IC status lets him join Gargoyles and have ablative wounds. Messes with Outflankers, possibly replacing a model in a unit (as it outflanks) with d6 ripper swarms. Over 150 pts makes him a contender for a Tervigon’s points in the army, and I can’t bring myself to dump a Tervi’s points into him.


Hive Guard:
A paper tiger. It looks great on the surface, ranged weapon with multiple shots AND ignores LOS (and cover under certain circumstances, that aren’t even 100% clear) on a T-6 multi-wound platform.
The math doesn’t work. Max 3 per unit, max 3 units competing with other (better) choices AND the lurk instinctive behavior? In order to make this work, you have to build specifically for their style of play, and I don't think they're a 'take all comers' unit for this reason and this reason alone.
Their weapon is beauty…midfield shooting that ignores LOS and cover the unit is not in (or touching) is wonderful. If it were on a more solid platform, or shared more in common with Tyrant Guard (viable close combat/protective rules) it would be an awesome unit.
I’m getting some because I don’t have them and I love bugs. I’ll use them for fun, but I’m not going to count on them. Competing slots are just much better.

Lictor Brood: OUCH……just OUCH.
WTF! Why does GW hate these guys? Last ed codex nerfed em, but gave them abilities that at least gave them some survivability and buffing. Going to only +1 to cover, NOT being able to assault after popping in AND losing feeder tendrils is not compensated for by giving them an extra wound.
Finally, losing reserve re-rolls (controlling whether or not something comes in EITHER direction) is a lateral shift off the +1 to reserves…excepting that now you have to be alive and on the table for this effect.
They do count as ‘teleport homers’ for deep striking bugs, but only if they started that turn already on the table.
They get to place anywhere they want when they become available from reserves, which is a sight better than deepstriking only in area terrain, so there’s a plus.
I really do think GW hates lictors…I don’t get it, I just don’t.

Deathleaper: WOOT…just WOOT
Okay, so he’s pricey…well over 100. But, what he brings to the table. It’s just frikkin necessary. Want to talk about psyker defense? I don’t need a p-hood, runic weapon or what have you…I’ve got Deathleaper. –d3 leadership to any single model in your opponent’s army? True, it’s only as long as Deathleaper’s still alive, but you can’t kill him. Night fight to shoot (oh, and halved after the roll), can go back into reserves if not engaged to pop up later, and all the other abilities of Lictors? Just keep bouncing him to keep him alive, and shut down Njal. Other abilities are icing on the cake, but shutting down psykers is what he does.
This really is a necessity defense/de-buffer unit.

Venomthrope: OUCH
Cheap, mobile permanent cover…only, you’ve got that. It’s called termagants. Carpets of them. All units in 6” get this, as well as when non-vehicles assault they do it as though into dangerous terrain (and units protected also get defensive grenades). In an aggressive army, they are too passive. They are also competing with too much goodness in the Elites category.
Poison, nasty poison. Lash whips, lots of them. But other than that, they just don’t cut it.

Zoanthropes: WOOT
Okay, they have a 3+ invulnerable save. They are synapse. They have SITW. But Warp lance is their deali-o. Str-10 lance. Vehicle doom.
Glass hammer though. 2 wounds, T-3=ID bait. Psycannon are going to play hob with them as well. So why are they WOOT? Mycetic Spore (ie:drop pod) into the face of your opponent’s Land Raider (or what have you) and watch it poof. With Deathleaper, your opposing psychic hoods will have difficulty dealing with them.
Throw em away in a pod and a quick strike, and gobble what got cracked out of the can.

Doom of Malan’tai:
4 wound Zoie, but no warp lance. Template shot up to strength 10 (= to his wounds, with an ability to suck wounds from units…and did I mention can get up to 10 wounds, huh?…NICE), massive carnage if he goes off. He’ll go off ONCE. T-4 makes him ID bait as well. I am going to fiddle with this one, to see if it will pan out. I think it’s a unit that will work well in some instances and fall flat on it’s face in others. We shall see!

Pyrovore: OUCH
WTF? Great model, and that’s about it. Flame template, that has to walk or pod. He’s really just not worth it unfortunately. I am not pleased. He might blow up, if he gets abused. Might be close when it happens, if he pods. If he does blow up (when killed) he gets a d6” range Str-3 explosion, on a 4+. That’s just about as good as he gets.
If it was plastic, I’d love it (for the model)…but I’m biased for converting plastics.

Ymgarl Genestealers:
Again, competing for better tools in the elites slots. At a cost of almost twice that of a regular genestealer without broodlord option, they just aren’t effecient choices.
Stat bumps of T, S, or A each turn is good.
Save of 4+ is good.
Stats of a genestealer is good.
The ability to be ‘dormant’ at the beginning of the game, pop up in a piece of predetermined terrain then move/fleet and assault is really nice. I’m going to play with them a bit, see if I can utilize them to good effect, but points hurt.


3 wounds, but reduction of unit flexibility. Shadow in the warp, but loss of Eternal Warrior. Points drop(with the default weaponry and improved save) but fewer options.
Looks like a lateral shif….wait, they’re TROOPS???
If you’re running them in large numbers, Tyranid Primes become more viable and worthwhile. I see them as solid, if a little vulnerable, SITW/Synapse projectors that CAN mess people up in combat with the right combos. They’re solid, and I am fond of them. I don’t think they’re game dominant which means unless you are really tooling your army as a beat face warrior delivery system, they operate well as I said…cheap Synapse delivery that can embed in your army for cover. Use Tervigons to grant them FNP and they get annoying, but they WILL get swamped by small arms/medium gun fire.
Beat face units being delivered quickly and properly supported (with boneswords and such) will make them a threat.

Um…I don’t know what to say. They dropped slightly in points, but are lackluster. Broodlords as unit upgrades, with interesting powers, are okay…but he’s expensive.
Nothing wows me about them. They will do what they did before, only without Feeder tendrils and the like they won’t do it as well. Medium unit with middle-ground performance. Again, I like em…I’ll play em…but I won’t look to them for serious rescue/threat value.

Mycetic Spore: WOOT
(under troops as that’s where the entry is, but can be taken by many units)
Points like a drop pod, LIKE a drop pod only alive and capable of taking weapons ranging all the way up to Venom Cannon (expense of shooting probably not worth it, but nice options).
Really operates like a drop pod, shorting if coming too close to enemies (etc). Can carry 20 troops or an MC.
Can we say podding Zoanthropes? I know I am. Buy them, use them (love them pet them and call them George). They’re your best friend! This WILL alter how YOU play, not just your opponent(s).

Solid. Cheap. Fleshborer functions the way it used to for the most part. You can spam these in abundance.
Can’t get without number anymore, but wait….
If you take a unit, you can then make a Tervigon a troop choice?
The Tervigon can lend them his poison/furious charge if within 6”, and spawn more buddies?
This is your big force multiplier, AND biggest potential trap. 1-3 of these pairings is good…anything more and you’re chasing good points after bad.
But ohhhhh…it’s tempting. Take them, pair them with the Tervi they make Troops…lather rinse repeat. You’ll love it!

They dropped in points, and lost beasts.
They can go up to init 6 on the charge, with str 4 and re-roll of 1’s in CC (if you buy them Adrenal=furious charge)…but then you start investing into them enough to start buying them back into old point values.
Same with Poison (Toxin Sacs).
They get nasty, but don’t grant you the same thing Termies do, a troop MC.
I think they are complimentary to a CC army, but too fragile for overall reliance.

Well, what can I say…they’re rippers.
They are pretty much the same as before, little swarms of annoyance.
They lose wounds when out of synapse now, that hurts.
They compete with better choices…Termies and Tervies…thank goodness you get them for free (money wise).


Tyranid Shrike Brood:
Flying Warriors. See my entry for warriors. Then take away a save for the ability to fly (jump infantry).
Now wait for it…..
Wait for it….
Riiiight, they can’t really stay embedded in units for cover and utilize flying…sooooo…move along, nothing to see here.
Seriously, flying warriors are neat. They have mobility value, and are threatening under the right circumstances, but honestly are even more vulnerable than their bretheren (5+ vs 4+ is only the beginning).

Ravener Brood:
Finally, plastic Raveners. Deep strike and Beasts (though if you DS, you probably won’t survive long enough to really take advantage of the speed).
Full weapon spread as before (Deathspitter, Devourer or Spinefist).
5+ save is painful, but you should (hopefully) only have to suffer 1 round of fire (with cover) if smart.
The fact you cannot mix Scything Pairs on some and Rending Claws on others kinda bites, but define your role and go for it. Vehicle killing is possible on any scale with their attack numbers+rending, and Troop annihilation is solid with double Scything.
Enjoy the plastic models, they’re awesome.

Sky-Slasher Swarm Brood:
See the entry for Rippers?
Now look at the comparison between flying and regular warriors.
Apply it to an inferior unit.
Make them cost you money (unlike regular rippers).
Move along.

Gargoyle Brood:
Okay, now THIS is a model that has needed to be plastic longer than I care to think.
They’re cheap, fast and upgradeable.
What’s not to like?
Oh, Fantasy Poison rules? (roll of 6 to hit wounds automatically)…too bad it’s not for their shooting. But still,
I wish they really supported the army better. They are good interference/response units…for one use. They will die, and unlike Termagants they don’t have a recycle button(tervigon). Ah well, I still love them for the points and fluff/models.

Harpy: WOOT
Flying MC?
Flying Twin-linked Hvy Venom Cannon(or Stranglethorn)?
Bombing with Spore Mines?
It’s MC stats are mediocre, str 5 and few attacks being the notable shortfall, but the ability to move and flank with tank busting weaponry and drop spore mines makes this a worthwhile proposition. In fact, I think it’s the best FA slot available. Convert, convert convert…this and the Tervigon are definitely high priorities for conversion.

Spore Mine Clusters:
They will disrupt your opponent’s deployment.
They are dropped as a unit deep striking AFTER deployment zones are chosen, but prior to deployment. They go boom. They go big bada-boom. They can be avoided, obviously, but will NEED to be avoided for the most part.
At 10 points a model, they’re a little pricey. Playing with them will determine for you if you want to sacrifice other FA choices/points for deployment niggling.
They can be worth it.


Carnifex Brood: OUCH
Pretty much double their old base cost, without the ability to bump their stats.
Sure, you can take broods up to 3, but with all being identical there’s no wound allocation going on.
Sure you can get Hvy Venom cannon (etc), but you can elsewhere too.
You can get close to their old weapon spreads, but it gets exhorbitant.
The model’s saving grace, it’s the core for a great number of the newer bug conversions (Tervigon/Tyrannofex)…but that’s it.
Such a beautiful kit, Such a pity.

Old One Eye:
Carnifex, but a boosted close combat monstrosity.
Sure he’s more survivable, but over the cost of a Land Raider.
He’ll eat a unit alive, then die to plasma fire. 4 wounds isn’t enough for Fexes anymore, and though his Regen is better (5 or a 6), it’s just not enough.

Biovore Brood:
Got a little better, but lost the specialty ammo.
Spit, boom, die.
Competing with too many better Hvy Support choices.
As before, a biovore brood can be up to 3. They launch spore mines (which no longer count as KPs, thank Gawd) long range at str-4, and they are barrage.
Again, a unit I like but not enough to push aside better Force Org choices.

Trygon(and Alpha): WOOT
Expensive, and worth every point. MC stats, real initiative and solid in CC. Deep striking with Drop Pod like safety, and with a Trygon Prime SITW and Synapse.
Creatures coming in from it’s burrow hole (yes, the Subterranean assault allows other DS’ing ‘Nids to come from the entry point) don’t get to do anything but run or shoot, so building around that tactic will require an army built around turn 2 pod/DS striking or don’t bother.
Give it regen (6 wounds+regen=pain) and toxin sacs, or go to town and load it up with Prime status and furious charge. It’ll cost you, but it’ll scare everyone else!
Use for disruption, and for a monster fire magnet. It will die, but it will usually die with you smiling!

Mawloc: WOOT
Ok, so not as CC nasty as the Trygon but talk about a REAL disruption unit.
When a Mawloc comes in, it explodes outward and hits everything under a large blast template with STR-6 AP-2 hits. Yes, with an AP it’s treated as shooting, so cover applies, but it’ll hit vehicles on the rear armour and paste exposed units.
Add in the ability to go back into reserve (burrow) and repeat (automatically) the Sub-Assault next turn? Yeah, that’s a model that your opponent HAS to kill…
Give it regen and piss him off (with 6 wounds it’s survivable if it can burrow).

Tyrannofex: WOOT
Okay…6 wounds, check.
Ability to buy Regen, check.
2+ save, check.
Ability to buy a str-10 48” across the table 2 shot assault weapon that doesn’t suffer Venom Cannon-itis? CHECK!
This is a walking gun battery. It can be a punisher cannon (20 shot anti-troop), it can be a railgun (aforementioned long range str-10) and it has a template weapon.
Load this puppy up. He may be around 300(+) after that, but it’s a threat unit that delivers and can be left in the rear.
When I first heard of this model, I thought it was over-pointed. I was wrong. Put it near a Tervigon, behind something big, and nuke things while keeping it bubble-wrapped (tervigon produced termagants) and FNP’d (tervigon catalyst). This is a F-U unit.


I will focus on the general Bio-Morph entries, as the unique ones are mostly covered under the creature abilities/entries previously discussed

Acid Blood:
You wound me, I wound you with a failed initiative test. Great against necrons and orks, mediocre against most others.
Glancing all walkers on a 4+? Assuming you survive the combat with a dread that’s nice!
Adrenal Glands:
Furious Charge USR? Init-6 Hormagaunts?!? Yespleasethankyou!
Implant Attack:
Rending that produces Instant Death instead of wounds with no save. This is BAD for Nob Bikerz, Thunderwolves…well, a lot of things. Lots of eternal warrior units right now make it hit or miss, but it’s a good counter to annoying multi-wound squads.
With 4 wound models, it’s not as great. With 6 wound models it’s big! Roll every turn for each wound currently on a living model, and gain a wound back for every 6. Nothing to really hate when you can combine it with FNP leant from a Tervi and cover.
Toxic Miasma:
Touching me at the end of each player turn and you take a toughness test. If you fail, you take a wound. Meh against T-4, but don’t let me lock you up if you’re eldar (or sisters, or guard)!
Toxin Sacs:
Poison USR. Don’t forget, if your Strength is high, you get to re-roll failed to wound rolls! Yespleasethankyou! (another good way to make Hormogaunts fun too.)
Jump Infantry. Pretty simple. Weigh cost to benefit ratios heavily, sometimes that Flyrant really isn’t worth it, sorry. (I know, I bought a FW Flyrant too.)


Power Weapon. Oh wait, and if you wound someone with it, Leadership or ID. Oh wait, with a pair it’s Ldr on 3d6 or ID. JEEBUS! Hello Nobs, Hello T-wolves, hello my bonesword!
Crushing Claws:
Instead of ‘replace base attacks’ it’s now ‘add d3 attacks’. Unfortunately, it’s the only way for ‘Nids to get bonus attacks. They’re also expensive. Can be worth it. They definitely are improved over the last version though, and available for more than just ‘Fexes.
Lash Whip:
Not a CC per-se, but listed with the CC weapons because they are bought as weapon upgrades.
All models in contact with me are initiative 1. Yup, a good buy.
Rending Claws:
The-name-says-it-all USR.
Scything Talons:
Re-roll 1’s on the to hit rolls. Re-roll all misses if two pairs are bought. This can get nasty. A good, cheap buy for creatures with multiple attacks. Don’t waste your time with a creature you don’t WANT to get into CC.

Just varying degrees of saving throws from 6+ to 2+.

(most weapons have lost their ASS-x/Str as rules. I don’t know that I like it, as that seemed to be characterful, but it seems to help more weapons than it hurts)
Barbed Strangler:
Medium-Long range large blast with a frag missile stat line and pinning. Not bad.
Cluster Spines:
Short range large blast with above average str. If it’s a cheap upgrade for a creature, or free, think about it. Range 18’ isn’t TOO close for safe use.
Similar to the old, but assault 3 instead of small blast.
Loss of living ammo makes this Ass-3 short ranged weapon ok, but not stellar. Nothing wrong with it though. Not as nasty on Raveners anymore, pity.
Brainleech worms:
Devourer upgrade for a few big bugs. Higher Str and Ass-6 makes it scarier, but AP- hurts it.
12” bolter without rapid fire. Simple and easy.
Heavy Venom Cannon:
Str-9 long range with a small blast is grand. Losing the glance only to a –1 on the chart makes it iffy. It is NOT an AV-14 killer, only a suppressor. Lot of good that will do you against Land Raiders, but I still think it’s an improvement over its predecessor. Not tied into a shooter’s strength is an improvement for the Hive Tyrant.
They count as twin-linked Ass-x, but low str. If it’s a choice, I prefer Fleshborers.
Stinger Salvo:
Goes with some big bugs. Ass-4 is nice. Don’t pay extra for it though.
Stranglethorn Cannon:
(or Heavy Barbed Strangler, really).
Str-6 Barbed Strangler. Nothing to write home about.
Thorax Swarm:
3 versions, all are template weapons.
Varying strengths, from 5, 1 or 3. Str-1 always wounds on a 2+, and str-3 has rending. A template option for an army that doesn’t have many. Too bad it’s only for big bugs.
Venom Cannon:
Same as Heavy, only str-6.

(now, if any of this seems vague, I am trying not to get the store in trouble for posting too much info. Also, this was written from a perspective of knowing {or mostly knowing} how ‘Nids worked in the most recent codex and not giving away so much that you don’t want to come down to the store and look at the preview copy)

Overally, I don’t think the ‘OMFGtheworld’scomingtoanend’NidsareOT’ reactions are any more valid than the ‘theynerfedmywholearmy’ reactions that have been out there. What I think we have here is a true 5e-ing up of an out of date ‘dex.
As I said at the beginning Tyranids are a synergy army, and require a lot of focus to do what they need to, but they have finally been given the tools to do it.
Overall, I am quite pleased.
My Hive-Mind overfloweth, and my swarm has been dusted off…
The ‘Nids are dead, Long live the Tyranids!