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.