Last Game of the Year

Monday, December 26, 2011

I was able to slip one more game in last week before all the holiday travels. 2000 pt Marines vs. Marines; John was fielding his Lysander led Iron Hands list and I was running a modified bike list. I didn't have enough built to run one of the crazy locator beacon lists I posted earlier, but I did include 2 beacons and a small, moderately equipped Vanguard squad. I also tried out a small squad of Scout bikes, a unit of Sternguard, and threw the Thunderfire Cannon in for good measure. It was an interesting mix! We went for a classic Nova style terrain set-up and rolled a pitched battle, annihilation mission.

John won the first turn roll but elected to go second, I think because he went first last game (which was really nice of him) and typically when I run my outflank list it doesn't matter too much who gets that first round of shooting off. Unfortunately for him though, I left Khan at home and instead ran a rather unconventional list that ended up packing a really big shooty punch. I had 2 lascannons in the Sternguard squad and their Razorback w/ TL lascannon that opened up a couple of John's Rhinos leaving 2 full-sized tactical squads all bunched together, prime targets for the Vindicator and Thunderfire cannon. I think the Thunderfire scored 19 wounds that first turn! I've only shot that thing twice (since it only survives one round before getting prioritized) but it has made me a believer; 100 pts is a steal for the amount of hurt that gun can put out, and then you get a techmarine w/ bolster defenses -- icing on the cake.

I also had standard dreadnought with Multimelta, DCCW w/ Heavy Flamer drop in the middle of his deployment zone, targeting his 3rd Rhino. The Drop pod had one of the locator beacons which ended up being in a pretty good spot for when the Vanguard vets came on from reserve.

The Scout Bikes had the second beacon, but their biggest use all game was turbo-boosting in front of my line to screen my other bikes and soaking up a ton of shots. Overall, I liked having them on the board and am looking forward to taking a larger squad and trying out some other tactics with them.

Since I didn't have Khan, both full-sized bike squads deployed on the board which not only looked cool but also added some nice target saturation. One squad was sent off to deal with 3 Land Speeder Typhoons while the second was assigned to clean-up duty.

The major turning point of this game came on John's turn 1, where an unlucky scatter roll on his Gate of Infinity deep strike led to an even more unfortunate roll on the mishap table -- Lysander, the Librarian, and attached Terminator squad were lost to the warp! Ouch! Obviously, this was a game changer and who knows what would have happened had Lysander survived and tied up my front line. But it was pretty much downhill from there for the Iron Hands.

My Vanguard Vets came in on turn 3 and pulled off the Heroic Intervention on the remaining tactical squad that was unable to take out my drop pod w/ locator beacon. For the most part, I was not impressed with this squad at all; I really wasn't expecting much from them... two had pairs of lightning claws and all of them had melta bombs but they ended up getting stuck in with some stubborn marines that slowed them down for a couple rounds. Pretty underwhelming for such an expensive squad.

My plasma command squad also didn't do much this game, but they would have been primarily tasked to deal with those termies and Lysander had they stuck around. We ended up calling the game on turn 4 to get home and relieve our wives who were watching the newborns ;) But I had a good time and was glad we could get one last game in before the holidays.

Lessons learned: take locator beacons when using deep strikers. Especially when using those death star gate of infinity squads ;)

Happy Holidays!

Motivational List Building

Monday, December 19, 2011

The other day I started talking about ways to motivate myself to finish the backlog of models that have built up over the years. It's not that I haven't wanted to build them all but finding time is a constant challenge and it always ends up that I prioritize based on what I intend to use in my army lists at that time. I didn't let myself jump fully into Dark Eldar this year because of all the unfinished marines I had lying around. Now with the Necrons re-emerging from storage and piquing my interest I'm starting to get that same feeling; I don't want to leave my first army unfinished before starting on a new one because I think it would be 100 times harder to come back to them, especially if I really enjoy the way the new stuff plays. I'm most worried about this with DE because I've often felt that my marine list is just trying to play like them and also because their models are the best in 40k (not biased at all...). But I want my marines to be finished so I can jump back to them at any time and have all those options available that I've collected over the years.

It can be hard to follow through with a unit, especially if it's one that the Internet hates and doesn't have a single positive word to say about it. Legion of the Damned models look really cool, but if you're not a collector type who gets enjoyment from just having a nicely painted squad in a display case, you'll be hard pressed to find anything positive on fielding these guys and may find it difficult to finish them. It all comes down to how you enjoy the hobby, whether you're all about collecting / painting, all about playing the game, or somewhere in between.

I have no problem fielding what some may call "sub-optimal" units if they contribute to the overall theme of the list. Play with what you want because after all, it's all about having fun.

1 Year

Sunday, December 18, 2011

It was 1 year ago today that I decided to start this blog in hopes that it would help me get back into 40k, actually paint a 2000 point army, and use said army in an event/tournament. Looking back over the past year, I can't believe all of the things that have happened; not just the hobby related activities but the life changing events that have occurred. By far, the single greatest thing I am most proud and happy about is my son, Gabriel. Just 7 short weeks ago he was born and made my wife and I the happiest people on earth. I can't wait till he is old enough to play some games with his dad :)

As far as hobby activity goes, I can safely say that in the 10+ years I've been around the warhammer hobby I've never accomplished as much as I have this past year. I assembled and painted over 2000pts of a space marine bike army, which I used at Nova and Blob's Park, my first two big events ever.

I even started on a new army, one that I hope will become a big focus for this next year.

Outside of 40k, over the past year I really got into board games, like Settlers of Catan. I even branched into a new tabletop game system, Malifaux, which I still have much more to learn about. I was almost tempted into Fantasy Battle by the Ogre Kingdoms' release, but luckily Gabe came along and talked some sense into my wallet! As for the new Necrons, I've got enough core models to keep me busy for awhile but this is a project I'd like to do as Gabe's first army for whenever he's ready to roll some dice.

Overall, it's been an incredible year. Thanks to all of you who have been along for the ride or have just dropped in to say hi. I met some really great people this year through the blog, through random games, and through the 40k events. And I look forward to what this next year has to bring!

Oh, I also got into Scotch this past year (single malt of course) so I raise my glass to all of you now. Cheers!

Being & Time

Friday, December 16, 2011

So little time and so much to do. The holiday frenzy is in full swing, evidenced by the fact that I blinked at Thanksgiving and awoke today to realize we're a little over a week away from Christmas. Between family, work, and everything else going on there's been very little time for hobby stuff (or Skyrim) which is to be expected this time of year. I'm hoping to take some time off after the holidays so I can tackle some of the bigger projects on my plate.

Although I haven't had much time for painting or playing games, I've been able to draw up a couple new army lists as well as plan / prioritize my to-do list for when I get some time. I've also ordered most of the supplies I'll need to pull off some of these projects, such as new plastruct rods for replacing the gauss weapons on my Necrons and I've already got my push mold material ready to go for making more scarabs.

On the imperial side of things, I built a couple more bikes and clipped out all the bits I'll need for assembling the remaining terminators, scout bikes, and land speeders. It's not much but I've had these kits sitting around for awhile so I'm trying to make it easier to finish them whenever I get the chance. After these are done, all I need to do is build the last 2 drop pod kits then I'll be finished with my space marine back log. It's harder to motivate yourself to finish assembling and painting kits which you don't currently use in your lists or even see yourself using down the road for whatever reason.

The drop pods, for example, I bought several years ago and when I came back to the game decided to take my list in a different direction. Add to that the frustration it was to build the first drop pod and it's no surprise that these will be my last marine kits to finish. I've used the one pod in games before but to fully capitalize on what drop pods can do for your army, you really need to take several of them and build your list around them. Otherwise you're throwing out easy kill points.

To help motivate myself to knock these kits out I decided to build a list that not only includes these unfinished items but really plays to their strengths. I'm not trying to buy any more of these already under-utilized units, so don't expect this to be "optimized" or anything. But if I can complete my remaining unbuilt models, I'll have 3 drop pods, 6 scout bikers, almost a full sized terminator assault squad, and enough land speeders to tempt me into trying one of those other chapters that gets them really cheap (looking at you Black Templars with your 70pt Typhoons...)

Anyway, with these "new" unit options at my disposal, I'm initially drawn to the idea of trying locator beacons, something that only drop pods and scout bikers have access to. I like the idea of this combo; scout bikers infiltrate to deploy after your opponent and the sergeant's locator beacon helps bring your first turn drop pods down exactly where you need them. A lot will depend on whether you go first or second, but regardless don't forget to set up so you can turboboost during your scout movement (even if you think you are going first, make sure you are getting that 3+ cover save in case you get seized).

I don't want to put too much on the scout biker's plate, but it would be ideal to keep them alive as long as possible so you have a mobile beacon to bring down all those deep strikers with precision in later turns of the game. I'm not sure that 6 scout bikes will be enough wounds to keep them around for more than a couple turns, so we'll equip all 3 drop pods with locator beacons as well (the cheapest way to get more beacons in your army). I'd love to run a couple squads of scout bikes just for the mobility of their beacons, but 1) I don't want to buy more of these before I try the ones I have and 2) a couple squads would use up too much of the valuable Fast Attack FOC slots. I absolutely want to try dropping in a squadron of land speeders equipped with heavy flamers and multi-meltas, so I need to save at least one FA slot for them. I've been hesitant to use speeders in my other lists because they always seem too fragile. The typhoons can certainly hang back and keep their distance, but the other variants need to get close in order to use their weapons. At the end of the day they are still fragile and wont last long, but deep striking them with beacons on the table greatly improves the chance that they will do something before getting shot down, especially for the HF/MM loadout.

In a nutshell, I guess you could say the focus of this new list (beyond coaxing myself to build and use some unfinished units) is centered around the idea of reliable deep strikes, which is a bit of an oxymoron for vanilla marines because deep striking is typically anything but reliable. Sure, drop pods avoid a lot of catastrophic mishaps (not all of them!) and they get half on turn 1, but deep striking entails rolling the scatter dice, and that roll comes after rolling for reserves for the other half of your pods and all other units intending to deep strike. What we have so far aims to address the first part of the the deep strike conundrum; getting beacons on the board turn 1 where we need them so they can safely beam the rest in from reserves by eliminating scatter. Which brings us to the second part of the equation. Reserves can only be manipulated by 1 special character in the codex; Chief Librarian Tigurius, who can re-roll any reserves roll. Or, I can try to design a list that isn't as reliant on a specific sequence/order of units arriving and has enough durable, multi-purpose units that can hold their own if reinforcements are delayed.

I'll share what I've come up with so far and dig into this particular list concept more in the next post (since this one is all over the place lol). But the point is, I'm starting to get motivated to finish all those models collecting dust on the shelf.

Black on Black (Iron Hands vs Raven Guard)

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

I was able to get a 2000pt game in last sunday against John's revamped Iron Hands army. He had a lot more of his stuff painted/highlighted since the last time we played and it's looking really good; way more progress than me, and I can't just blame it on recently having a baby... John also recently became a proud parent, a few weeks before me (congrats to you and Melissa!!)

We rolled up pitched battle & annihilation for the mission. The Iron Hands took first turn and were packing a lot more firepower this time around: 2 shooty dreads, snipers led by Telion, 4 missile launcher devastators, 3 typhoon/HB speeders, 2 full sized tactical squads, and 8 tactical terminators led by Lysander and a Librarian. I was rolling with Khan, my 4 plasma command squad, Master of the Forge on bike w/ conversion beamer, 2 full sized bike squads packing meltas, sniper scouts led by Telion, 2 rifleman dreads, 2 plasma cannon dreads, and the debut of my brand new (finally assembled) thunderfire cannon.

First turn, all of my dreadnoughts were suppressed or destroyed, half of my scouts were killed and the Iron Hands Telion "telioned" the Raven Guard Telion (yes, despite the 2+ stealth/bolstered cover save).  But what was important was that my Thunderfire survived the first volly, as I was really interested in seeing how that would perform. Have to say, I'm really impressed with it! In my turn, it put 15 wounds on the terminators which helped to thin them out. I'm pretty sure it earned its points back with that one volley (which is good because it died the next turn). I'll definitely be using this in future games and really wish the kit wasn't so horrible or I'd run a couple of them. Maybe I'll convert or scratch build a second one if I can find some decent inspiration.

Second turn, the terminators gated forward and let me tell you, Lysander alone in your deployment zone is scary enough without the bodyguard. I didn't really have a way to deal with him, not unless my plasma command squad and other full sized bike squad came in on that side of the board and poured everything into them. But when they came on in my turn 2, they insisted on the opposite side of the board.

The cavalry arrive!

I was left to deal with Lysander and the terminators with my surviving techmarine and a plasma cannon dread. They did alright in tying them up for a turn.

This was also the first game in which I've used a conversion beamer on my MotF. It did alright dealing with a dreadnought and a typhoon, and the bike really helped him get those long range, higher strength shots. That being said, I still think it's a little too pricey for what it does. In general, whenever I want to take a MotF in a list I feel like I should take a lot of dreads just to make full use of his abilities. But I've really grown accustomed to having vindicators in my list, and will most likely return to those (AV13 really does make a difference).

We had to cut the game short a bit, but in all honestly I wasn't in a position to catch up to John's army and all the damage they had inflicted. It would have taken awhile to get my remaining bikes to the other side and even then I would need to roll a lot of cover saves. It was a good game and I'm looking forward to making some tweaks to my bike list. I was going back and forth on whether or not to take Khan after my games at Blobs, but what I've learned with him is this: he's an absolute beast in combat and can deal with almost any small squad single handedly. But the thing that makes him worth his enormous price tag is the OPTION of outflanking. I emphasize "option" because when I first started using him, I felt like I needed to do this with every squad that could, but this isn't always a good move. But some situations and facing certain army builds, this is absolutely a game changer. The games I've left him out I've seriously missed this ability and what he brings to the table.

Most of the lists I've shared on this blog are way too top heavy, spending far too much on the HQ slot to be really competitive on the tabletop. I need to try cutting out the command squad and any secondary HQ like MotF or a Chaplain and see what that allows me to do with the rest of my list. But Khan has always performed well and has had a positive impact on the biker list in general. I just need to make sure I play to his strengths in the right circumstances and remember that outflank is situational.

Must have been a slow news day for this Greek newspaper...

You've probably already seen this, but this evening I came across this article on the 122nd Cadian blog.

My first reaction was "wow, someone is writing about a 40k event in a newspaper." But then I couldn't believe where the author went with the piece. It's pretty inflammatory and insulting.

In support of the Anitpope, whose picture was unwillingly printed on the front of this article, I've sent my views and opinion on the piece to the editor of the newspaper. Here's what I had to say:

To Whom It May Concern, 
The article on Warhammer 40k appearing in your newspaper and website ( is incredibly offensive, ill-informed, and out of line. I truly hope the stereotyping, gross generalizations, and short-sighted opinions of the author of this piece do not speak to the overall journalistic integrity of your publication. If so, don't let this fall by the wayside; right the wrong. Publish an apology to gamers worldwide for allowing one of your authors to label them as "Nazis"; at the very least, publish an article by someone who actually knows what they are talking about and took the time to educate themselves on the gamer sub-culture. If not, shame on you. 

WIP: Nightbringer

Sunday, November 13, 2011

I locked down the primary colors on my Nightbringer. I just need to finish up the highlighting, clean up a few lines, then tackle the base. I originally tried to keep the large cloak area black, but I couldn't highlight it properly and felt like I was losing a lot of detail. The deep blue seems to work though and I'm planning on using blue in the overall Necron army paint scheme. I've been trying to order some blue replacement rods for the gauss weapons but still waiting for a couple places to get them back in stock. It should be fun though and a little different from the typical metallic look.

Here's a few more shots (I'm still trying to figure out lighting and how to best photograph miniatures):

Works In Progress & Distractions

Saturday, November 12, 2011

I was about 50% finished with assembling my Thunderfire Cannon (which has been a totally frustrating kit btw) when the new Necron codex dropped. This was a welcomed distraction from those poor fitting chunks of metal. After a couple reads, I have to say I'm really impressed with the new codex. So much so, that it prompted me to pull out all the old models I had in storage. Now, I never actually played Necrons before; a long time ago someone I knew was getting out of the hobby and had a GW bag full of  old Necron models - not quite a full army and most of the stuff was in bad shape (it was all loose in the bag and missing a ton of bits) but I think he wanted like 20$ for it and after noticing the Nightbringer, a Wraith, some destroyers among lots of other things I was sold. The Nightbringer alone was worth that! I love this model, but it was sadly missing the curved blade at the end of his weapon. I chopped up a couple blades from some spare Ork bits to form a new end for the scythe. I'm looking forward to painting this up this weekend and will get some better pictures along the way.

As for Scarabs, I only have 7 bases so I started looking for an inexpensive way to spruce up the existing models as well as create more bases to have in reserve for when the Spyders generate more over the course of a game. I then came across this timely article from Ron over at FTW. It was the perfect solution to my problem! (Thanks Ron, your articles are always helpful, informative, and inspiring!) Enter Blu-Stuff. This stuff looks great and the possibilities seem endless. I'll definitely do a review when it arrives, but I think it will work great, especially for small scarab models.

Even though I didn't need any more distractions, I couldn't help myself with this one.

Like many of you, I rushed out yesterday to snag a copy of Skyrim. I'm only an hour or so in (as it's hard to play while holding a baby lol) but so far it's awesome! Absolutely stunning visually and much like Oblivion, the story sucks you in from the get go. This will be my new activity while I'm waiting for paint to dry ;)

Codex: Necrons - First Glance

Saturday, November 5, 2011

I picked up the new Necrons codex while I was out today and just finished my first read through the book. All I can say is wow, there's a lot in there! My first impression is that this is indeed a strong codex and a well deserved update for the old toasters. I didn't dive into all the fluff yet, but looking through the rules they certainly have some tricks up their sleeves, err, metal appendages. I was expecting to see a decent arsenal of shooty goodness, which is definitely there, but what I wasn't expecting was all the powerful effects the Necrons can have on their opponents. We're talking some really nasty "psychic" debuffs, but I'm not even sure these are technically "psychic" powers/effects... I'll have to dig deeper into this one as the Lady Malys over on my shelf just got all sorts of upset at the thought of becoming a target to some of these abilities. Speaking of Malys, the Necrons also have an ability to re-deploy D3 units after both sides deploy and before the game begins (she doesn't like having her thunder stolen).

And speaking of thunder, the Lord of Storm rules are just nasty! If the dice are in your favor, this effect can really impact the game: extending Night Fighting rules is annoying and that lightning strike attack can definitely thin out some infantry or wreck some vehicles. Sure, you need to roll a 6 for the unit to be struck (each turn of Night Fighting), so maybe this seems like a little thing. But from a first pass reading through the special rules, there seem to be a lot of "little things" to watch out for when facing Necrons. They feel a whole lot more sly and devious than my Dark Eldar even!

It's definitely going to take several more reads to process everything in this book, but I'm astonished at the number of things I've already seen that can majorly de-buff the most heavy-hitting stuff currently running the 40k tables. My first impression is high and my hope is that this book can restore some balance back to the 40k universe and thin out the troves of power armor lists we've grown accustomed to see at events/tournaments. This is what I hoped when Dark Eldar was re-released, and to a certain extent they did leave their mark (at least before Grey Knights showed up). But the Xenos are definitely still in need of their game changer, and in the hands of a savvy general, the Necrons may just be what the C'tan ordered!

Don't worry, my next army is still going to be Dark Eldar. But now that I have a son, I might as well start looking into revamping my other armies and making them into formidable forces so by the time he's ready to roll some dice (instead of try to eat them) we'll have some good match ups ready to go.

The new models are definitely a step up from the old ones I have lying around. I've recently been watching Battlestar Galactica and I can definitely see design similarities from the Cylon Resurrection ships to these new Necron vehicles (the Scythes totally look like Cylon Raiders as well).

How cool would a Cylon-themed Necron army be?


Wednesday, November 2, 2011

As you can see from the counter on the right, the time has come. My son, Gabriel, is here! He was born last Wednesday at 8 lbs 5 oz, 21 inches long. Both mom and baby are healthy and we couldn't be happier :)

This is seriously one of the greatest experiences I've ever had! Sure, there isn't much sleep to be had in the beginning, but you get used to that, lol. I wouldn't trade all the sleep in the world for any of this. There truly are no words to express how awesome it feels to become a father.

I'm looking forward to a lifetime of great wargaming with my little Gabriel!

Old list with a twist

Sunday, October 23, 2011

I've been revisiting the first army list I made for Nova back in February which focused on two of my favorite units from the space marine codex: bikes and dreadnoughts. I played a couple practice games with a variation of this list, but in all fairness, those were my first games getting back into 40k after a couple years off. The original list needed work for sure, but I probably lost these first games due to being rusty with rules and tactics. By the time I had found my bearings again, I had already moved away from the Master of the Forge and all those dreadnoughts.

The MotF on bike is still one of my favorite conversions and I'm determined to make him work. I've been working on incorporating a few other new units into my lists as well (Thunderfire Cannon, Assault Terminators, Land Raider Crusader) and thought I would try putting it all together into one list. Here's what I came up with:

Captain - Bike, Lightning Claw
Master of the Forge - Bike, Conversion Beamer

8x Bikes + Attack Bike - 2x meltaguns, Multi-melta, Powerfist
8x Bikes + Attack Bike - 2x meltaguns, Multi-melta, Powerfist

Dreadnought - 2x TL-Autocannons
Dreadnought - 2x TL-Autocannons
5x Assault Terminators - 2 w/ LC's, 3 w/ TH+SS
Land Raider Crusader - Extra Armor, Multi-melta

Ironclad Dreadnought - Seismic hammer/meltagun, Hurricane Bolters
Dreadnought - Plasma cannon
Thunderfire cannon

The biggest weakness off the bat is the low # of Troops choices. Of course I have the option of combat squadding the bikes and making 4 troop squads, but only if the mission calls for it as the full sized squads are much more durable. I can definitely see myself splitting one of the squads with the meltas and power first sgt. going off to do what they do best with the other half of standard bikes riding around with the MotF way in the back so he doesn't get insta-sniped and can get maximum range with his beamer.

The rifleman dreads open up some transports while the thunderfire, plasma cannon, and conversion beamer drop blast templates on anything that pours out and is bunched up. The LRC carrying the terminators and the IC dread deploy aggressively in hopes to draw fire away from the bikes and also keep people honest who want to charge in all up on my grill. I'm really liking this list. Not only do I think it will be fun to command, it's got a lot of decent ranged shooting, some scary counter charge / close combat units, really tough basic troops, and a spattering of heavily armored targets that will hopefully create priority issues for my opponents. Aside from the thunderfire, the rest of the army can be quite mobile.

I still have some assembly and painting left to be done before I can field this particular list, but this is something I'd like to try when I get back to playing games after the baby comes.

What do you think?

Blob's Round 4 - Chaos Space Marines

Sunday, October 16, 2011

In the final round at Blob's I was matched up against a really friendly and laid back player named Kevin who was playing Chaos Space Marines. His army had some scary stuff in it, such as Abbadon, Kharn, 3 squads of Plague Marines, a squad of Berserkers, Lesser Daemons, 4 Obliterators and a Land Raider Crusader. I used to play against Plague Marine heavy lists a lot back in 4th and early 5th edition, and it was from those matches that my desire for a bike heavy list was born. Toughness 5 Feel No Pain was and still is a force to be reckoned with on the tabletop. I was finally able to tap into those 2 elements when I built my bike army; T5 from the bike platform and FnP from the Apothecary in the command squad. With an abundance of plasma and melta strewn throughout my squads, I thought I would be in good shape against this list. For the most part I was, but my squads had a hard time holding out until the end of the game.

I unfortunately only snapped 2 pictures during this game as it was getting dark and we were all pretty tired at this point. But here's the big stuff I remember happening during this match. For the first time ever, I actually rolled a 6 to seize the initiative. I was then able to blow up a couple rhinos early on which seriously hampered my opponents' mobility. The primary objective this round was table quarters, and at this point in the game I had him confined to one quarter. On turn 2, all of my reserves came in and I proceeded to surround the chaos and close in for the kill.

I think that was where I went wrong, getting too close and charging in without enough numbers or power fists to bail my smaller bike squads out. I should have stayed a healthy distance away and continued to whittle him down with shooting, but whatever, it was the last game and we were both just trying to have fun. Abbadon, Kharn, and the Oblits squared up against Khan, the Chaplain and my Command squad. When the smoke cleared a couple rounds later, I had moonfanged Kharn and dealt 3 wounds to Abbadon (my rifleman took his remaining wound) but my command was wiped out in the process. As were most of my small bike squads. I didn't have enough to claim more than 1 table quarter by the end of the game. Nonetheless, it was a very enjoyable game and I learned from it.

The whole tournament was a really great experience, despite getting my ass kicked lol, but hey it was another 4 games against 4 top notch opponents. Between Nova, Blob's, and all the practice games in between I think I'm finally starting to grasp the big do's and don'ts of a biker list. It's a type of list that clearly takes practice to make it work and is definitely not a point & click army. It offers a lot of flexibility and certainly mobility, but with that comes added complexity that requires more sound tactics and is less forgiving when you make mistakes (any low model count army is like that). But one thing's for sure, it's a hell of a fun army to play and it makes for interesting games. I've enjoyed all my games played with the bikes, and while I intend to try some more hybrid lists in the future, I'll have a hard time not choosing the bikes to be my basic troops.

Congrats to Dameon and Eric (both from the White Scars blog) for representing the white scars/biker list concept so well! Dameon finished on top at Blob's and Eric finished #3 at the recent Battle for Salvation tournament. Clearly, I need to be taking more advice from them when it comes to bikes ;)

Blob's Round 3 - Crimson Fists

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Round 3 was against my friend Alex and his awesome looking Crimson Fists army. Check out some of these close ups from his army:

I think the primary mission was objectives and deployment was dawn of war. I had played against Alex's list before and lost pretty badly, haha. He's got 3 Drop pod's, 2 of which are filled with full-sized Sternguard (one led by Pedro and the other a Librarian) with the 3rd carrying a Dreadnought w/ Multi-melta and Heavy Flamer. It's a great combo since 2 of the 3 are guaranteed to come in on his first turn and he can select the best 2 of the 3 units that are most effective for that particular mission/opponent. Against a drop list, there really aren't any "safe" places on the board, and I remember last game my expensive command squad that was hiding behind ruins got shot to pieces when all those Sternguard dropped right next to them turn 1. My list was a little different this time, and using Khan's Outflank I made sure to keep a good portion of my army off the board until these units dropped.

Of course there are risks involved with both of these approaches, namely reserve rolls and scatter dice. My army could come in too late or on the wrong side of the board and drop pods (deep strikes) are at the mercy of the almighty scatter dice. This game saw fit to be a reminder of these lessons. In perhaps the most unlucky roll I've seen in a long time, Alex's most expensive unit (10 Sternguard led by Pedro Cantor) scattered off the board...

Ouch! Alex is a great guy and took the whole thing in stride; he laughed it off and didn't let it get him down! Unfortunate rolls can happen, that's the nature of any game that uses dice. Alex didn't lose focus, pushed on with his remaining units and still managed to pull out the victory ;)

The majority of my squads came on the already crowded side of the board.

I think the name of the game with bikes, especially the smaller min-sized squads, is avoidance and trying to keep them alive till the end to grab objectives on the last turn. At least that's what I was hoping would happen. But they came in on the side where they couldn't avoid Alex's guns, and turbo boost was out of the question as it would have left them vulnerable to assault from Alex's midfield units.

5-man bike squads have their uses but lasting in the open isn't one of them. They would have had a better chance if they were full-sized and also if the sergeant were packing a power fist. I haven't really tried PF's on my bike squads because ideally they shouldn't be in close combat (and also I don't have the bits to equip all my sgts. with one). But there are certainly times in a game where having these in my squads would make my entire army more flexible and actually give my bikes a chance in assualt. It's something I want to try out in future games. I've learned that bike squads aren't units to be short-changed; it's either go big or go home.

I'm also not sold on Outflanking. I intended on using this tactic to protect my smaller bike squads against gun line armies, but it's just too random to build a strategy around. I still really like Khan, but mostly for his furious charge and hit & run abilities (man, the Dark Eldar are going to be fun!).

By the end of this game, my 3 remaining troop bikes claimed the last available objective on the other side of the board. Then the only thing left to do was contest the other objectives with my command squad and last vindicator. We were drawn on the primary objective, each with 1 and 2 others that were contested, but Alex had me beat by a couple hundred victory points. Good game, Alex!

I'll leave you with some shots of Alex's death watch squad. Enjoy!