Sunday, 3 December 2017

Making Amends



I finally caved in and bought the Tyranid codex.  The rational human being in me wants to continue playing Space Marines.  I dropped a fair amount of cash on that new army and it probably suits my playstyle better.  But I appear to have fallen within Synapse range of Hive Fleet Monkeychuka and there's nothing I can do except grit my teeth and make small, mewling noises.

I'm trying to find a unit in the book which is bloody useless but I can't do it.  Pyrovores are viable.  (FFS?!)  Ok, they're not auto-take but, at the very least, I could use them as the cheapest unit in the elites slot to fill out a Brigade detachment.  And I'm going to need plenty of CPs because the Stratagems are a thing to behold and can turn lowly Gargoyles or Termagants into tidy killing machines.  Coupled with the Hive Fleet adaptations, the options are endless.  Massive hordes, close combat specialists, static gunlines, reserve bomb,  Nidzilla,  flyer lists, ground pounders, psyker heavy, anti-psyker.  Its all there.  I don't think there are any sniper units but you can deliberately miss with Biovores and do all sorts of weird shit.

Its all quite fluffy as well.  Slain units explode in a shower of acidic blood.  Lictors act as sort of forward observers/silent assassins.**  Skittering Hormagaunts overrun enemy lines. Trygons burst up out of the ground with legions of critters in their wake. The Haruspex gobbles up infantry and is as tough as a battle tank.  Exocrines are fearsome, static artillery.  Hive Tyrants are mutated into exotic genera in order to fulfil specific roles.  Also, I kept all of my Infestation Nodes and Genestealers can actually use them!


Malanthropes increased in cost which means Venomthropes have a role to play (annoyingly I only own two and they come in broods of 3 now.  Well played GW, well played!).  I can't really complain about Shrikes even though they were completely dropped from the codex.  I can still use the Index dataslate for them, except now they can be designated 'Hive Fleet Kraken' allowing them to fall back, shoot and charge.  This might be the best they've ever been and they aren't even in the book!  Even my Ymgarls are useful because they have different heads, allowing me to identify the stealers with acid maws in a brood (Yeah I know they aren't actually acid maws.  Screw you, hippy!)


The Hive Mind has compelled me to start building/painting Nids again.  As an added incentive, my colour scheme is my own and I can be Hive Fleet Whatever-I-like!  So, apart from procrastinating, I've been literally dusting off old models and taking inventory.


For some reason, I dismantled all my Exocrines and threw them in a box.  This is not entirely rational behaviour.  I have a vague memory of wanting to see what a Haruspex looked like with its mouth closed.  Its all very hazy.  Anyway, I don't think Haruspexes are half-bad nowadays so I'm going to rebuild him.  Better.  Stronger.  Faster.  We have the technology.  When in doubt, get your tentacles out.


** - nerfed!  Lictors are basically useless again in matched play.  Welcome to the Tyranid FAQ baby!

Friday, 17 November 2017

Red Scorpions (and Guilliman)


A full shot of my army with Guilliman lurking in the background.  A gentle reminder of who's really running the show. Papa Smurf is my secret, guilty pleasure.  I might have to kick the crutch away however and buy Carab Culln in a Leviathan Dread.  He could be almost as broken as Roboute, surely? Luckily, I can play the 'Its Fluffy!' trump card and hang out with the cool kids again.  With a Leviathan Dread.  Thats a win-win.


I had a lot of fun trying to paint all the vehicles the same colour.  Its 3 years since I painted the Stormraven and Lascannon Razorback and I appear to have lost the scrap of paper with the carefully noted down paints and quantities used.


I opted to buy the Forgeworld transfers for the vehicles.  I would probably have suffered a mental breakdown if I had attempted to paint them by hand.  Plus it was quicker and I was struggling to get them ready in time for the Maelstrom tournament (surprise, surprise!)


I also used Averland Sunset base spray which was an absolute Godsend.  I love the look of it when edge highlighted with Ushabti Bone.  I never would have thought of that and saw it on a Lord Duncan video I think.  I couldn't find it in the Citadel Paint app (which I find myself using more and more frequently) so I guess I must have done.


In other news, I have been playing Shadespire.  I can't decide which faction I like best although the Orks seem a bit lacklustre.  I played a 4 player game at Miramar Freebooters on Monday and Garrek's Reavers rocked.  The mobility of the Reavers is great on the much bigger board size.  I love the Sepulchral Guard too but Steelhearts Champions are my current favourite because you can earn loads of glory by doing sweet F.A. and hiding in a corner.  It often backfires disastrously of course but I'm really enjoying the game so far.


I've started painting up my 'Celtic Sigmarines'.  I'm pretty sure that 'Angharad' is a Welsh name already but I decided to call the other two "O'Brien" and "Sullivan" and paint them green, white and gold.  

Sunday, 5 November 2017

The uncomfortable truth



He still isn't finished but I'm done painting Guilliman.  It took me the best part of 3 weeks to get this far and I just don't want to do any more.  I originally painted him with silver trim and gold pauldrons and hated it.  A fellow gamer commented that he looked like Alpharius which was the final nail in the coffin and so I more or less started over.  A bit like eating a cup of snot and then being told to finish off the bucket.  Roboute was an experiment anyway and now that the test is over I might not take him in my lists again.

I am Alpharius!!!

After placing last at Call To Arms, I needed to improve my gaming skills.  Its very hard to retain your sense of humour when you've just been tabled three times in a row.  Playing more games, poring over forums and researching other codexes was out of the question because I am lazy.  Enter the Guilliman.


I knew I wasn't a particularly good player.  The evidence is overwhelming.  But I secretly believed that it wasn't my fault.  I was gimped by playing a sub standard army.  Yes, that was the problem!  Tyranids just don't gel like other armies.  For every advantage they get, there seems to be down side.  Swarmy is a character!  He has 12 wounds so no point in being a character.  Tervigon has endless gaunts!  They blow up when she dies.  Synapse makes them fearless!  Lose Synapse and your game stops being fun real quick.



Then I got smashed to smithereens playing Space Marines.  But that wasn't my fault either!  I was playing with the starter set which wasn't exactly optimal. Or was it?  Maybe I was deluding myself.  I sat down and had a long, hard think.  What if... and this was a dangerous thought... what if I took a strong army to a tournament?  What if I took some foul smelling cheese?  Something so eye-wateringly pungent that it made my dad's feet smell like potpourri?  It wouldn't take much.  I could just retrofit the Whirlwind as a Razorback, drop the dead-weight Inceptors and unreliable Hellblasters and take Guilliman instead of a Captain.  That list is righteously noisome.  If I faced myself in some alternate universe playing this list, I would think I was a right wanker.


So I did it.  I didn't play many practice games (erm.. one) but I took the strongest list I could think of (models allowing) and tried my hardest to win every match.  Maybe playing games isn't just a way of relaxing after all.  They allow us to explore the less savoury side of our personality in a safe manner.  I'm frightened of failure and should get over myself and my insecurity issues.  I finally had no excuses and got to see just how good I was.  I came 14th (mid-table obscurity) and I don't think I'm uspet (still processing). No one pointed at me and called me a twat (not to my face) and now I've set the bar.  If I can achieve 13th place with a Tyranid list then I can be proud!  On the other hand I could have ruined everything because I've discovered that I like playing herohammer and watching Papa Smurf tanking an entire army.  Not sure and time will tell.


"Weighing over ten feet tall,
Feet of clay,
Head of gold.
Middle made of cannon balls,
Rumour has it,
Swallowed whole."
   -  Fluke, Squirt

The death of Tyranids?

Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Warpstorm X



Another successful Warpstorm tournament was held over the weekend (thanks to Hagen Kerr over on Quietly in the Background).  This was a 1500pt 40k event with 32 players attending this year. The details and results are posted on the link.

I took my Red Scorpions masquerading as Ultramarines (their Primarch was reeeally, really helpful).  In the rush to finish painting it all up I kind of forgot about the blog so will post more pictures from the 'studio' later (haha! Studio?!  I mean "painting desk with old white shirts festooned around jury-rigged reading lamps").  My list:

Super Heavy Auxiliary Detachment Guilliman and the Red Scorpions' All Stars.  Comprising Lieutenant in Indomitus, 2 x 5 Intercessor Squads, Predator (Lascannon, Heavy Bolter, Storm Bolter), Razorback (Assault Cannon, Storm Bolter), Razorback (Lascannon, Storm Bolter, HK Missile), Stormraven Gunship (Assault Cannon, Storm Bolter, 2 x Hurricane, 2 x Stormstrike)

Game 1 
vs. Shane Rongonui (Craftworld Aeldari)
Primary (Eternal War): +++Big Guns Never Tire+++
Secondary (Maelstrom): +++Tactical Escalation+++
Deployment: +++Hammer and Anvil+++


 What a blistering start to the competition!  I had stolen first turn from the hated Elves and my compact force under the leadership of Lord Guilliman pounded the enemy line, butchering 1 Wave Serpent and a 5 man squad of D-bag Guard with barely a table flipped!  I started to have delusions of grandeur. This was despite my force containing multiple useless transport vehicles (useless as transports anwyay) and most scandalous of all, one of my sergeants was not wearing his helmet.


Shane had other ideas however and achieved air superiority with 2 mind bullet shooting Hemlock Wraithfighters.  They literally ran rings around me.  Mortal Wounds don't care about your saves.  I managed to kill one in the end but the damage was done.


Shane was canny with his psykers and cycled through my army with Doom/Smite etc whilst slowly backing his gunline HQ away from an increasingly frustrated Roboute who had to micromanage his incompetent patrol.  They couldn't hit the side of a barn door without him.  He had visibily lost his composure at this point and was screaming, "For fuck's sake, will you just reroll it already!?".  In MMO parlance, I was kited.  And kited good.


The turning point was when my Predator blew up.  Every single unit was within 6" and this is what you get when all your soldier men are queueing up and falling over each other to recieve Roboute's 'Blessed are the Rerolls' benediction.  So I burned all my remaining troops to death, killed a Razorback and put several large dents in Redemptor, Roboute et al.

Roboute shat himself with anger

The dice gods had deserted me and I even had to use a command point to raise Roboute from the dead who promptly rolled up with only 1 wound and was immediately sent back to the abyss via Star Cannon express. If I had actually read the rules which state, 'set him up again at the end of the phase' then Shane would not have continued shooting at him. He might have lived to see combat and possibly a less shameful result.

0 - 20 tabling

Game 2 
vs. Kent Jackson +++Craftworld Aeldari+++
Primary (Eternal War): +++Secure and Control+++
Seconary (Maelstrom ): +++Cleanse and Capture+++
Deployment: +++Vanguard Strike+++


Just what I needed!  Another Craftworld army.  Or was it providence gifting me an opportunity to wreak my vengeance?  I set up 'Fort Guilliman' in order to dissuade any deep striking shenanigans from disrupting the chain of command.


 Fort Guilliman was to become a staple of my deployment throughout the tournament.  Unfortunately, I put my troops in cover which Striking Scorpions find mildly amusing. They just sneak up and gut you in the dark.


I basically castled up and marched implacably toward the enemy encampment.  Elves don't like rapid firing Hurricane bolters very much and some lucky lascannon shots did away with the beastly Wave Serpent.  Kent's Fire Dragons climbed out of the wreckage and unleashed a torrent of death that almost made me feel fluffy about taking Rob Zombie in a Red Scorpions list.  They had strayed too close however  and I launched a melee assault with predictable results.


A Warlock was throwing heavy concealment around Kent's main objective but I outranged the Dire Avengers guarding it and slowly whittled them down with units staying so close to my warlord that it was practically frottage.


The high point of the game was in turn 4 when the opposing Farseer Warlord, who had somehow managed to survive withering fire from the Stormraven, jumped atop the ruins at the center of the board.  Kent could see me practically foaming at the mouth to kill him with Guilliman's giant fist of doom and smartly informed me that neither Bobby G nor my Redemptor could charge the Farseer on the first floor of a ruin since the former was a monster and the latter a vehicle. (Roboute Guilliman is classed as a 'monster'!?  Jesus, even GW are admitting his OP sliminess at this point!).  It was overkill anyway and I just shot him. However, I think Kent won the moral victory with his Farseer.  It certainly drove the point home.  Them elves can be quite subtle.

20 - 0 win

I'm the king of the castle!

Game 3 
vs. Chris Parkin +++Blood Angels+++
Primary (Eternal War): +++Retrieval Mission+++
Secondary (Maelstrom): +++Cloak and Shadows+++
Deployment: +++Dawn of War++


The battle of the 'Ravens was a tense one.  I earned first blood with a Lascannon crack shot through the doorway of a ruin which killed a dreadnought outright.  (Honestly, I blocked out all first floor windows in my ruins with plasticard ages ago in order to prevent this sort of tomfoolery.  Sadly, we weren't playing on my terrain board).

I wanted to get my Stormraven into the thick of it but I knew that Chris's Stormraven was stronger with both melta and plasma.  So I took the craven route and ghosted up his right flank, taking potshots at the entrenched tactical squads holding objectives.  This cowardly behaviour was to prove pivotal later on.


Chris played aggressively, pushing forward directly at my HQ with Dante, Libby and Assault Marines backed up by a fully loaded gunship. I think he expected to have the advantage in assault since he was playing Blood Angels.  On the other hand, Guilliman plus Primaris Lieutenant in Indomitus armor and a Redemptor are pretty scary in a pinch too.  I charged his line.  The Redemptor finally seemed to be paying for himself and raked Dante with the Gatling cannon before charging in like a bull.  But Dante is not known as the "Bringer of Sanguinius's Light" for nothing and danced out of reach, maddeningly with only one wound.

Then the frigging predator blew up again (or was it a Razorback?  Not sure and the effect was the same) showering molten STC Rhino hull fragments and cooked off ammunition over the bulk of my forces.  I think one of the Intercessors was decapitated and all heavy hitters were injured in the blast.


My Stormraven which was generally skulking around had managed to remove Chris's forces from the primary objectives.  His attention was on the grand melee in the center of the board now and he focused on killing Guilliman who was left exposed after a charge.  My army was scattered by the onslaught of the Blood Angels (and friendly fire).  I decided it was time to use my queen to protect the king and issued recall orders to the Stormraven. It flew across the board into the 'zone of total bliss' kindly provided by Papa Smurf Prime.   I opened up with everything I had and crippled the opposing flyer.  I could almost feel the tables turning since Dante and the Librarian were hiding on the highest spires of a nearby ruin.  Nobody wanted to get into melee with Roboute at this point, but that was soon to change.

Chris brought his 'Raven into hover mode and I rushed into assault. I shot it down before the ground forces arrived (Guilliman punching a Stormraven to death! Classy!) Chris almost forgot to disembark the troops and dread.  His battle line was buckling under pressure so they were sorely needed.


He staged an 'all or nothing' assault on my Primarch with Dante, the Librarian, Dreadnought and 5 tactical marines.  Guilliman somehow passed every single invulnerable save and finally put Dante's lights out.  At this point the TO called time. I was so tired and triggered at this point that I accused Chris of denying me my last turn.  Chris calmly pointed out that  a) I had gone first, therefore we'd had an even number of turns and b) I was going to win the match because he was holding zero primary objectives.   I wound my neck back in and apologised.  Sure enough it was 15 - 5 to me.   It was one of the closest matches I've ever played so the score doesn't seem right really.

Game 4 
vs. Ryan Pike +++T'au Empire+++
Primary (Eternal War): +++The Scouring+++
Seconary (Maelstrom ): +++Deadlock+++
Deployment: +++Search and Destroy+++


My opponent started to give me the fear during deployment.  In a run of bad luck, the Tau had bagged the superior objective in their own deployment zone and I had the inferior one in mine.  They also  won first turn and set up a Stealth Suit team, some drones and a Ghostkeel (he had two! oh dear Lord) a couple of inches away from my forces with a homing beacon.  My mind was racing.  What the hell was he doing?!  I circled the wagons as per usual and found myself surrounded.  What trickery would persuade Tau to set up for a first turn assault? Obviously, teabagging all my Razorbacks with drones and making them fall back is fun times but my counter charge would be brutal.  Assuming I survived, that is. 


Ryan got Overwhelming Firepower as one of his first objectives and the Tau alpha strike is still a thing of shock and awe.  Predator smashed in turn 1 (I couldn't look at the dice when I rolled to see if it exploded. It didn't).  The Redemptor had a noticable limp.  1 Squad was depleted.  I briefly considered conceding the match which would give me time to go out and buy a pie and a coffee from the shops down the road.


I figured I was just going to get tabled if I sat there with my ears ringing, so Guilliman went nuts and charged the opposing left flank straight out of the gate.  My gunship was in support, obviously not charging, but it went in to hover mode twice and just kept pace.  With the buffs from the Warlord, it worked spectacularly well and by the end of turn two Bobby G was acting more like a Khorne Berserker than Lord Commander of the Imperium, smashing his way through an XV9 Hazard Support Team, an XV95 Ghostkeel, Tau Commander Warlord and assorted drones.  It felt like a gallows reprieve.  Ryan was out of position to deal with the breakaway tag team now and just concentrated on killing my fire base.  The Guilliman/Gunship combo traversed the length of the board slaughtering everything in its path including the bold Commander who had ordered the assault.  He finally claimed the superior objective on turn 5.  I actually won the primary mission but Ryan had been busy claiming high value Maelstrom objectives all game (as well as killing the rest of my army) and amassed a huge 19 points in secondaries.  So it ended up being a 4 - 16 loss. 


I had been worried that 40k was turning into a 'who goes first with Alpha strike, wins' affair but this was a nail biting, bitchin' game and reminded me of why I got into Warhammer 40,000 in the first place.  I was a bit disappointed in the final score but Ryan had a balanced, mobile list which enjoyed board control for most of the match and was able to easily claim 'Secure Objective' cards.  If you want to turtle up with Guilliman then you pay the price.  Plus Ryan gifted me one of his D3 dice as a consolation prize which made me very happy.


Game 5 
vs. Ryan Stuart +++Tyranids+++
Primary (Eternal War): +++No Mercy+++
Seconary (Maelstrom ): +++Spoils of War+++
Deployment: +++Front Line Assault+++

Forgeworld Tyrant.  Nice.
Ahhh Tyranids. A bitter-sweet end to the tournament. Whereas my last game had me at somewhat of a disadvantage, this one was my dream match up.  Kill Points. Wide open board. Gribblies.

Genestealers about to assault my Stormraven which is modeled with Genestealers assaulting it.  Priceless!

Since I own over 6000 points of Nids myself, I had absolutely no trouble in priortising my targets.  The terrain was made up entirely of Shadow War Armageddon kits and looked beautiful (Hagen has spent the last week furiously painting it up).  However, there was practically no line of sight blocking and it wasn't looking good for the servants of the Great Devourer.


Ryan and I agreed that all ground floor space beneath the platforms would be classed as cover to make it more interesting.  However, he was planning for a massed turn one charge and had left the Swarmlord somewhat exposed, unaware of what the Guilliman/Gunship combo was capable of.  Additionally, I got first turn and my alpha strike was devastating, killing Old One Eye and reducing Swarmy to 1 wound.  Ryan was on the back foot for the rest of the game.


 His beta strike with the Mawloc, Tyrant, Trygon and Stealers was unable to break through my wall of toughness 7 despite some clever multi charging and consolidation.  My vehicles bore the brunt of the assault and my heavy hitters just counter charged.  He only had two units capable of Smiting (I had learned from my first game just how brutal multiple smites can be) and I quickly finished them off.  By turn 3 he had nothing left to throw at me really and just concentrated on claiming secondaries with his Hive Guard and Rippers.


15 - 5 win.  I really, really hope that the new Tyranid codex is something special this time.  They are still my first love but now that I've actually played an army that feels powerful, I have no yearning to go back to the discordant pastiche that is Tyranids.  I have a horrible feeling that I'm becoming a 'herohammer' player.

Hive Guard conversions.  Little flowers of death.

So, all in all, a good tournament for me.  I've never placed higher in fact (14th out of 32) and I won the raffle as well as best painted.  That last game plays on my mind though...

Anyhoo, I took a bajillion pictures again.  Some truly inspiring armies this year.  I tried to limit my excesses but I can't help posting a few more (cough ..twenty..)

"Who painted this shit?" remarked Sam Whitt upon examining my forces displayed.
Jake Easton's World Eaters won Vexilla

My favourite model of the tournament. Chaos Rhino complete with Blood Angel in the dungeon.

Jake Easton's converted Renegade Knight 

Is that a Genestealer skull?!
Jake's Chaos Lord

Glen Burfield's Knight

Brendan Dee's Yvraine

Brendan's Skyweavers

Ben Clarke's Renegade Knight

Sam Nightingale's Cenobyte Servitors

Glen Burfield's Captain in Cataphractii

Jordan Green's Hellforged Sicarian

Liam Miskelly's Daemon Prince

Be'lakor. Not sure who painted this shit

Rory Taylor's Orks

Dave Hodgett's Guard

Liam Miskelly's Daemon Prince


Results:

Rank
Player
Army
Total
Battle Total
Sports Total
Pres Total
1
Dave Hodgetts
Imperial Guard
123
83
25
15
Executioner (Most Warlords killed)
2
Sam Whitt
Chaos Daemons
119
79
25
15
Bloodthirster (Most VP)
Berserker (Most First Bloods)
3
Simon Smith
Imperial Guard
116
77
25
14
Liquorice Allsorts award (most formations)
4
Shane Rongonui
Eldar: Craftworld
114
74
25
15
5
Haydn Korach
Chaos Daemons
111
71
25
15
6
Ben Clarke
Chaos Daemons
107
69
25
13
7
Chris Parkin
SM: Blood Angels
105
65
25
15
8
Robert Ransom
Adepta Sororitas
101
62
25
14
9
Brendan Dee
Eldar: Ynnari
100
60
25
15
10
Glen Burfield
SM: Ultramarines
95
55
25
15
Living Saint (Best Sports)
11
Liam Miskelly
CSM: Death Guard
95
55
25
15
12
Sean Sullivan
SM: Salamanders
94
54
25
15
13
Craig Stewart
SM: Ultramarines
94
54
25
15
14
Luke Forrest
SM: Ultramarines
94
54
25
15
Aquila (1st Best Presented)
Also RAFFLE winner
15
Ryan Pike
Tau
91
51
25
15
16
Sam Nightingale
SM: Black Templars
89
50
25
14
17
Regan Ridge
Imperial Guard
84
50
25
9
18
Aidan Corlett
Tyranids
84
44
25
15
19
Jordan Green
CSM: Iron Warriors
84
44
25
15
20
Ryan Stuart
Tyranids
84
44
25
15
21
Rory Taylor
Orks
83
45
25
13
22
Scott Engerbretsen
Tau
80
41
25
14
23
Nathaniel Pihama
Imperial Guard
77
38
25
14
24
Alick Harris
CSM: Black Legion
76
38
25
13
25
Mathew Liggett
Tyranids
74
43
25
6
26
Steve Joll
SM: Black Templars
73
34
25
14
27
Jake Easton
CSM: World Eaters
71
31
25
15
Vexilla (2nd Best Presented)
28
Scott Bowman
CSM: Emperor's Children
64
33
25
6
29
Aaron Wilson
SM: Imperial Fists
64
25
25
14
30
Rex Foote
Necrons
64
25
25
14
31
Kent Jackson
Eldar: Craftworld
60
23
25
12
32
William Meyer
SM: Ultramarines
59
29
25
5