One Line Unit Reviews – Space Marines

Hi everyone, long time no see. I definitely don’t have the motivation to continue doing lists and tournament reviews on this blog, so it’s fallen by the wayside. I’ve had a few ideas for editorials, but they haven’t really manifested.

Instead, I’m going to tentatively start a new series! One Line Unit Reviews. The idea is going to be to take a codex (or index for the time being) and literally write one line to gauge its competitive merit. This ‘review’ series should be taken with a grain of salt, but hopefully there’ll be enough truth in each one to give you both a laugh and some ideas about where to go with the army.

So in light of that, Ill be starting with the big old Space Marine codex. Every reviewer has to start here right? It’s practically a rite of passage! I’ll be going through in codex order, so feel free to follow along at home.

HQs –
Marneus Calgar – Budget Gulliman
Chief Librarian Tigirius – Raven Guard on a stick with good denying
Chaplain Cassius – If you really want to pay more for a chaplain you weren’t taking anyway
Captain Sicarius – Budget Calgar
Sergeant Chronus – Killshot really needs to hit
Telion – I needed to fill that HQ slot and figured a sniper would do less nothing than a techmarine
Lysander – I punch stuff real hard
Pedro Kantor – If you’re running Assault Centurions I guess
High Marhsall Helbrecht – I punch stuff sort of hard
The Emperors Champion – The fluffiest of the fluff choices
Chaplain Grimaldus and Cenobyte Servitors – I pay more for the privilege of bringing useless units along with me
Kor’sarro Khan – Dude, where’s my Bike?
Vulkan He’Stan – What edition is it?
Kayvaan Shrike – I’m too hipster to play Ultramarines but I still don’t want to lose
Captain – Chasing pigeons with a Thunder Hammer and a Jump Pack or warming the HQ Slot Cheaply
Primaris Captain – All the downsides, none of the benefits
Librarian – Why do CSM get the good powers?
Primaris Librarian – Why do I cost so much?
Chaplain – Don’t Chapter Masters let you reroll in both phases?
Primaris Chaplain – Chaplains are known for needing the resilience of an extra wound..
Techmarine – ‘Misplaced’ his axe somewhere so he can claim cheapest in slot
Lieutenants – I wanted a filler HQ that does something
Primaris Lieutenants – Had their moment in the sun when the above didn’t exist

Troops –
Tactical Squad – Not aggressively awful but do nothing well
Intercessor Squad – I give it two more chapter approved before these guys cost the same as Scouts, hold off til then
Scout Squad – Shoot well, block well
Crusader Squad – Closest you’re getting to a horde army.

Elites –
Primaris Ancient – I’ll hold the Standard of the Emperor but I’m gonna charge you for the privelege
Chapter Ancient – At least he’s cheaper than the Primaris Ancient
Chapter Champion – Bitterly regrets the addition of weapon damage
Honour Guard – Stopping wounds on characters that can’t be shot anyway is still relevant right?
Company Ancient – Enjoys watching his friends die.
Apothecary – Will overcostedly bring your overcosted models back to life
Company Champion – They were an optional upgrade in 7th, they’re somehow less than that now
Company Veterans – Fill no specific role that something else doesn’t do better
Servitors – Minimum Squad Size 4??
Primaris Apothecary – Overcosted version of the overcosted guy
Reiver Squad – Super Scary Combat Appearance, Ity Bity Close Combat Weapons
Aggressor Squad – If they get to you, you’re doing something wrong
Terminator Squad – The last time we were good, the last good terminator movie was in cinemas
Terminator Assault Squad – They’re still paying for 5th Edition
Cataphractii Terminator Squad – More survivable, same weapons
Tartaros Terminator Squad – They can move faster AFTER they deep strike
Sternguard Veteran Squad – Bet you wish you hadn’t modeled these guys with combi-weapons
Dreadnought – We can still use the Index right?
Ironclad Dreadnought – Hilarious with Raven Guard and smoke launchers, Invisible Wall
Venerable Dreadnought – If you’re taking Dreads, take these instead if you have the points
Contemptor Dreadnought – Forgeworld do this better
Redemptor Dreadnought – They’ve got the gameplay to match the beer gut
Centurion Assault Squad – I own 5 of these and wish I didn’t

Fast Attack –
Bike Squad – 2 Wounds, lots of shots, completely outclassed
Assault Squad – Cheapish mobile scoring, just don’t expect them to do anything
Land Speeders – Trying really hard to be a mobile Razorback but defeats the point of having a Razorback
Attack Bike Squad – cheap slot filler, has decent firepower for what it is
Scout Bike Squad – Shotguns and go!
Inceptor Squad – Too expensive to kill your models with plasma, too low impact to use with heavy bolters

Heavy Support –
Devastator Squad – You bring 0 or you bring 15
Centurion Devastator Squad – One model has the points cost to match its firepower and then some
Hellblaster Squad – Keepin’ the hope alive for good Primaris, AP-4 is a hell of a drug
Thunderfire Cannon – Thank fuck for that strategem
Hunter – Please let me know if you’ve ever killed a flier with one of these
Stalker – Everyone knows Ap-1 D2 is ideal for killing vehicles with 12+ wounds
Whirlwind – Awkwardly between Predators and Razorbacks, have their place
Predator – 3 Damage is a great sweet spot and Lascannons never go amiss, Killshot is cherry on top
Vindicator – ‘I’ll just take 3 Lascannons and average about the same’
Land Raider – Less survivable and shooty than it looks, prone to getting bogged down
Land Raider Crusader – Suffering for the sins of Stormravens
Land Raider Redeemer – Too short range to ever be effective

Dedicated Transports –
Rhino – Rush Rush Baby, but nothing good to go inside
Razorback – GW took pity on Gladius players and made the free stuff god.
Drop Pod – But not that much pity
Land Speeder Storm – Salty because my loadouts are illegal post index.
Repulsor – For some reason a transport, it has a shitload of firepower on a resilient frame, just needs someone to make them work competitively but there’s room here

Fliers –
Stormhawk Interceptor – Cheap and Anti-flier, but GW are too, so these suck
Stormraven Gunship – Please GW, no more nerfs
Stormtalon Gunship – Gunship is a misnomer and everyone knows how to beat the good fliers now, so the meh ones are even worse

Lords of War –
Roboute Gulliman – Force Multiplier taken to 11, if you don’t at least consider him in Imperium, let alone space marines, you’re doing something wrong.

 

So there we have it, a long but short winded run down of the Space Marines Codex.

As a bonus I’ll do a couple of Top lists for each book, though the criteria will vary:

Top 5 Units Paying for the sins of previous editions
5 – Command Squads
4 – Terminator Assault Squads
3 – Librarians
2 – Centurion Devastator Squads
1 – Drop Pods

Top 5 Units that just need one push to be great
5 – Inceptors
4 – Aggressors
3 – Predators
2 – Repulsors
1 – Hellblasters

 

Thanks very much for reading! Leave me any feedback/disagreements/vehement hatred here, or on twitter @InnesAWilson, and feel free to leave any suggestions for the next codex, or your own one line unit reviews of units I’ve touched on here!

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7th – A look back

7th Edition has been good to me. As a player I’ve had a lot of success both casually and competitively, with growth of my local community, and getting more involved with that, as well as competitively playing in a lot of tournaments, and even making the Scotland International Team. As such, I felt like I owed it to myself to take a look at what I liked and didn’t about 7th Edition 40k.

As such, I’ve decided, in the tried and true method of clickbait everywhere, to compile a top 5 list, of both the best, and worst things about 7th Edition from my perspective:

 

The Chaos Space Marine Award for being really shit for most of an edition (#5 Worst)

Out of sequence actions need to just about up and fuck off as far as I’m concerned. Whether it was warp spiders running rampant for half of your turn, or the new hotness of Ynnari Soulbursting all across the board and Wraithknights moonwalking into your army. Anything that allows your opponents to spend their turn knocking 9 bells out of you, then your turn making you regret declaring a target isn’t something I’m a big fan of. I’m hoping that being able to perform major actions in your opponents turn either becomes game wide with the new command points system in 8th, or just go away in their entirety, rather than being mostly Eldar exclusive as they are now.

The Chaos Space Marine Award for just about being worth talking about at the end of the edition (#5 Best)

The lore developments to have come out of 8th Edition, whether it be the Death Masque story which lead into the development of the Ynnari, the return of Primarchs to the 41st millennium or the entire Gathering Storm Trilogy are my pick for the 5th best thing to happen to 7th Edition.

Whatever your thoughts on the particular quality of individual aspects of lore, the fact that it’s moving forward (and in a better way than 8th Edition Fantasy just killing off entire races) is a good sign. I’m hoping for more and better developments in the future, that allow Xenos races to remain relevant, rather than just a Chaos/Imperium two horse race, but New-GW™ will have to prove that one to me with the new edition.

The Astra Militarum Award for being bad because everything else does what it does better (#4 Worst)

Getting free stuff feels great. I love playing my War Convocation, and if being free was what it took to get Rhinos on the shelf, is that such a bad thing? But remember the Space Wolves formations with free upgrades? What about the the free power swords guardians can get in a Warhost? No?

Free stuff has a bad reputation in 7th Edition because it’s been used very badly. The armies that want the free stuff have no incentive not to use it, but the ones that are close to wanting it have no incentive to go for it, and are better just breaking things in other ways. An MSU marine army may as well be Gladius because it’s the best marine MSU has got, same for more or less any AdMech build besides Cohort Cybernetica. But Eldar and Space Wolves just aren’t efficient users of those builds, so they just don’t bother, because the upgrades aren’t worth building around. Honestly, I’d rather have just seen rhinos and Tactical Squads dropped in points in 8th edition, to where a Gladius is still buildable as it is now, but not straight up free, so that you don’t have to go full in on the builds, which is where lack of list diversity comes into play.

 

The Chaos Daemons Award for getting better as it goes (#4 Best)

Games Workshop have really taken a huge leap forward with community interaction this edition. Between the FAQs and the community page, as well as the Warhammer TV live stream, working with Frontline Gaming and the London GT team to develop 8th, and so many more examples, the company has really put a face on themselves and made the community so much more accepting. If it took the mess that was pre FAQ 7th to bring that about, then maybe it wasn’t so bad.

Even the products the company sells now play a part in this. Start Collecting boxes might be the best product GW has ever created, and the box sets with models and games included definitely made getting into 40k easier.

This is still the company that thought Ynnari were okay though, so maybe we’ll reserve judgement until we see the new rules.

The Adepta Sororitas Award for being too awkward to change at this point (#3 Worst)

Formations have a bad rap in 7th Edition, to the point where they’re going away in 8th. the problem with formations is the good ones are no brainers, because you lose nothing, or what you gain is so amazing as to be worth it anyway, and the bad ones are awful, because you lose too much, or pay too much for what you get.

Librarius Conclaves, Riptide Wings etc. were all units that were fantastic anyway, that became absurd when given a formation that doubled down on that. Burning Skyhost or Psykana Division made weak units (or builds, MSU screamers weren’t great but Screamerstar was) so amazing (summoning and corrupting objectives respectively) that they propelled their units to absurdity. Add formations like Piranha Firestream Wing, Wolfkin or Gladius into this category.

Meanwhile, formations like every single on the Orks got, or Strike Force Ultra, Bulwark of Purity or the Allied Advance Cadre just don’t provide enough benefits to be worth using.

Why I think this would have been too awkward to change is because GW had already set so many precedents going forward with formations, that to change it drastically would have made power levels so imbalanced as to be comical. You can definitely see that a lot of post Tau formations are a lot worse than the pre-tau ones. Daemons had to take a lot of units, Orks were just crap, and most of the campaign supplements added very little. Broken detachments kept coming back (Castellans, Incursion, Reborn Warhost), but formations got a bit better as time went on.

The Tau Award for exceptional organisation (#3 Best)

The upside to formations on the other hand, was that you got a lot of benefits for fluffy and casual play that rewarded you for building to the lore. Even if that lore was as abominable as whatever excuse the riptide wing was.

For people at my local club (shoutout to Dundee Wargames), the option to use their armies in new and different was that the standard CAD, and even the expanded detachments that 6th brought was amazing for casual play.

The Ork Award for only not being the worst because of other factors (#2 Worst)

Pskyers in 7th Edition are amazing. I love them, and their powers, whether Invisibility, Psychic Shriek, Veil of Time or Electrodisplacement provided such amazing force multipliers that you always had to ask yourself “is this worth the 500 point investment to guarantee I get that build around power?” Much line in card games, to increase the reliability of drawing the cards you needed, one psyker did practically nothing for a list. With such unreliable casting and generation, you really had to double down on how many psykers you put in your list. Space Marine lists needed 4-5 with Tigirius. Cabal lists with 4 or 5 level 3s weren’t uncommon. 3 Daemon Princes backing up Magnus arose at the end of the Edition.

if Psykers had a lower impact, but a far higher chance to get what they wanted and needed (like they did in 5th where you picked or purchased psychic powers) then I think the system would be far more balanced, as you wouldnt need to spend 30% of your armies points on the same thing every time, which could still end up backfiring if you didn’t hit the 2/3/4 powers you were looking for. The difference between a game where my Cent Star got Invis, Displacement, Veil and more and one where I just hit Invis was so drastic as to practically be different armies. This is something I’d love to see change in 8th Edition. I’d like to see a move towards psychic powers being offensive rather than defensive overall.

The Space Marine Award for flexibility (#2 Best)

Open ended army construction due to formations and detachments has made it so much easier to build your army. Whether it was the start collecting formation making getting your army and playing it super easy, or the fun formations included with every release GW has made this past 2 years, putting ‘Your Dudes’ on the board has never been easier. Long may this continue

The Tyranids Award for being objectively shit unless you’re a Flyrant (#1 Worst)

Defensiveness Creep in 40k is insane. Armies have to build around effectively unkillable units nowadays. Iron Star with 3+ Invul, 3+ FNP standard models, never mind the chapter master, with all the Psychic Powers still to come? Daemons with 2+ Rerollable Invuls close to army wide, Magnus who flies, is T7 and has the capacity to be 2+ rerollable too? This kind of defensive ability being available to armies pushes so much out of the metagame. You either have to be able to strip the psychic powers (Tau with Sisters of Silence or a Culexus), Stomp (Wraithknights or Knights) or outscore it (Incursion, Gladius) or you just can’t deal with these Deathstars. Even then its not a sure thing because they can still kill everything they touch.

These armies even push other deathstars out of the metagame because some are ObSec and some aren’t, and when two unmoveable objects collide, the one that doesnt need to push back to win is going to keep seeing play.

Overall, I’d like everything in 8th edition to be way easier to kill for standard armies, and the defensive stacking abilities of 7th to fall by the wayside. The fact that Necron Lifestar is a joke defensively compared to Marines should not be a thing.

The Ynnari Award for being the best thing without exception (#1 Best)

New Armies have been brought into the game in swathes. AdMech, Deathwatch, Genestealer Cult, the various armies of Imperial Agents, Harlequins etc. all arose during 7th. This increase in diversity has been amazing from a casual standpoint, and many of them have mad massive impacts on the competitive meta. More armies from the backlogs of 40k’s expansive lore are a big thumbs up from me. I would like to see this continue in 8th, which it looks like it will with Death Guard seemingly getting their own faction soon. Hopefully our unfortunates left behind (Sisters of Battle, Tyranids etc) in 7th will see updates to the quality of the Genestealer Cult release in 8th Edition.


So that’s what I have to say on the matter of 7th Edition. Do you agree? Disagree? Feel free to leave a comment here or anywhere you find this posted.

Thanks for reading –

Innes

 

 

Dark Times Behind – Dark Millennium IV Tournament Report

Dark Millennium was held in Stirling on the 4th and 5th of February, at Common Ground Games. This is the second year in a row that I’ve been to the event, and it’s been fantastic both times.

The event is run using the ETC Composition system, so four sources (with super detachments such as Decurions and War Convocation counting as two), and each mission being a mix of Eternal War, Maelstrom and Kill Points, which all contribute to your total score, which is out of 20 for both players (so an 11-9 win would be if you were 2 victory points higher than your opponent, a 20-0 would be 20 or more).

For the event, I decided that breaking tradition at this point would be a fools errand, so I took a modified version of my Caledonian Uprising list,

Innes Wilson

Factions Used – Space Marines, Sisters of Battle, Inquisition

Alliance Level – Battle Brothers

Points – 1850

++ Primary Detachment – Castellans of the Imperium – Space Marines (White Scars), Inquisition

(Imperial Agents), Sisters of Battle (Imperial Agents)

HQ1 – Celestine (200) – [200]

HQ2 – Coteaz (Imperial Agents) (100) – [100]

HQ3– Ministorum Priest (Imperial Agents) (25), Litanies of Faith (15) Bolt Pistol (1) – [41]

HQ4 – Librarian (65) Mastery Level 2 (25) Space Marine Bike (20) Force Stave (0) The Hunters Eye (20)

– [130] ++WARLORD++

Troops1 – Scout Squad (55) 5x Boltguns (0) – [55]

Troops2 – Scout Squad (55) 5x Boltguns (0) – [55]

Troops3 – Scout Squad (55) 5x Boltguns (0) – [55]

Troops4 – Scout Squad (55) 5x Boltguns (0), Camo Cloaks (10) – [65]

Fast1 – Attack Bike (40) Heavy Bolter (0) – [40]

Fast2 – Attack Bike [40] Heavy Bolter (0) – [40]

Fast3 – Drop Pod (35) – [35]

Heavy1 – Centurion Devastator Squad (165) 2 Additional Centurions (2×55) 5x Grav-Cannons and Grav-Amps (125) Omniscope (10) – [410]

++ Secondary Detachment – Librarius Conclave – Space Marines (Ultramarines)

HQ5 – Tigirius (165) – [165]

HQ6 – Librarian (65) Mastery Level 2 (25) Force Stave (0) – [90]

HQ7 – Librarian (65) Mastery Level 2 (25) Force Stave (0) – [90]

HQ8 – Librarian (65) Mastery Level 2 (25) Force Stave (0) – [90]

HQ9 – Librarian (65) Mastery Level 2 (25) Terminator Armour (25) Storm Shield (10) Force Axe (0) – [125]

++ Tertiary Detachment – Inquisitorial Detachment – Inquisition (Codex: Inquisition)

HQ10 – Ordo Xenos Inquisitor (Codex: Inquisition) (25) 3x Servo Skulls (3×3), Rad Grenades (15) Psychotroke Grenades (15) – [64]

The idea of the list is the same as every Superfriends list you’ve ever seen. Put 1500 points in one unit and run around the board killing everything you touch while invisible.

I was called out by the person who came third at the ITC open, Aidhan Higgins, as we managed to dodge each other in all of our games there, and I’d been slagging off his Ironstar relentlessly. As such, he brought an updated version of the list to our game 1.

Aidhan was running a Fist of Medusa with a Command Squad, Double Conclave and 3 Whirlwinds, plus Celestine and a Ministorum Priest. For the unaware, in combat this represents a 3+ Rerollable invulnerable save on the command squad, with Feel no Pain 3+, and the Chapter Master has a 2+ Armour and 2+ Feel no Pain. It’s a little hard to kill. Even with shooting, the Chapter Master has a 2+/3++/2+++, so Grav-Cannons don’t do a whole lot of damage.

The mission we were playing was ‘The Reaping’ (6 Objectives worth 2 points each at the end of the game, and all HQs and Elites killed are worth 1 VP each) with ‘Cleanse and Control’ Maelstrom. My plan in this game was to get a 3+ invulnerable save through Forewarning and Sanctuary, then make myself invisible, then continually bait his star into charging mine, both of us doing no damage, then killing his chaff in the backfield, then abusing the fact that my unit was ObSec and his wasn’t to hold the end game objectives. This ended up working really well as I killed all of his units that weren’t in the star, while he only killed 3 or 4 of mine. As he had bottom of turn, he was able to split his star to capture a couple of objectives and claim a few additional kill points, meaning that I won 16-4 as opposed to a bigger 20-0 win. I did think I needed to go first as he had two orbital bombardments, so being invisible was essential to surviving those. Going second and hoping that he failed to hit or do damage might have resulted in a bigger win, but it also could have made me take a smaller win or a loss, so I don’t regret the decision.

Celestine proved her worth in this game alone for me. Having Hit and Run, and a model that is functionally invincible with a 2+ Armour Save and a 4+ Invulnerable Save with 5 Wounds and Eternal Warrior is amazing. She was able to tank entire squads without taking more than a couple of wounds, and this was a theme that would recur over the weekend.

Post Round 1 – 1/0/0 16 VPs

Image may contain: people sitting, table and outdoor– The stars align and combat is engaged. Fuck all happens.

Heading into round 2 I was matched against one of the Northern Irish brood. 6 of the Northern Irish ETC team were in attendence, and as a newly qualified member of the Scotland Team, I was eager to prove myself against them. James Johnson was playing War Convocation with Cawl, and the 4++ Canticle proved itself obnoxious as I was unable to complete a kill on a unit until my Turn 3, with me going second. We were playing Deadlock/Crusade for missions which meant that James got off to an early lead on kill points and maelstrom,  and started pinning my star against a board edge with his Knight. I was able to put a drop pod on top of the escape hatch of his bunker so his Sisters of Silence couldn’t get in range to disable Invisibility, as well as summoning Deamonettes and Flesh Hounds to block the Knights Movement for 3 Turns. However, on turn 3, my flesh hounds scattered too far to block the movement, and the Knight which had only lost 2 hull points, made contact. Unable to hurt it, I was unable to watch as he rolled 3 stomps, targetting Tigirius and my Invisibility librarian. Suffice it to say that my heart was in my throat, as he failed 3 times to roll the stomp, and I successfully hit and ran away.

Now that his Knight was on the board edge, I was able to Magnetokinesis away and start killing James’s backfield, while summoning more chaff to block the knight, as well as tying it up with Celestine, who managed to put 2 more hull points on it before being unceremoniously stomped, getting back up, and killing the bastard once and for all. The game ended on turn 6 with me ahead in Maelstrom and Endgame, and roughly tied in kill points, for a 18-2 win to me. A very tense game showing how much resilience a WarCon can have in the first few turns of a game, and how little a star like mine can do to kill a knight through a 4+ invulnerable save. This game also showcased just how amazing summoning can be, as I was able to charge Kataphrons with Flesh Hounds, and block the Knight with Flesh Hounds and Daemonettes.

Post Round 2 – 2/0/0 34 VPs

In game 3 I played against Paul Metcalfe, who represented Scotland at last Year’s ETC, and who was playing Necrons with a Transcendent C’Tan. This was the only game of the weekend where I rolled electrodisplacement, and I abused it to high hell. Playing Contact Lost/Big Guns, I was able to keep putting my ObSec units onto objectives and scoring more maelstrom, more eternal wars due to having ObSec whereas Necron Decurion lacks it, and being able to make 30-40″ charges across the board thanks to Displacement, I was able to take the game 20-0 while only losing minimal chaff units. Necrons simply lack the tools to deal with that amount of Mobility and ObSec, and have so little AP2 as to be ignorable. Also, Force Staves murder Scarabs. Paul was a great sport, and I know that a few of his list choices (such as bringing a Conclave of the Burning One) were just for a laugh and to see how they performed. Paul ended up coming 6th at the event overall, and is a great player, so props to him.

Post Round 3 – 3/0/0 54 VPs

I was tied for overnight leader after day one, with Colm McCarthy of Team Scotland, running 60 Spider Arachnophobia, and Mike McConkey, the Northern Irish Vice-Captain, running Genestealer Cults with 3 Patriarchs. I was drawn against Mike in game 4, so we went out drinking. This was very fun and I remember all too little of it, but suffice it to say, his attempts to prevent me from getting to the venue on Sunday morning, while commendable and appreciated, ultimately failed.

Round 4 was Emperors Will and Relic, with Tactical Escalation Maelstrom. I deployed my Servo Skulls such that I could prevent him from mobbing me with Genestealers, then proceeded to deploy them slightly too close together, allowing one unit to charge my scouts. I then wiped them from the face of Terra. Celestine split off to go and charge another unit, and promptly got rejected into the ground, and I realised that she did have /some/ limits, however few. She got back up, and put her back into killing smaller units rather than 20 Acolytes and 4 Characters. I ended up winning the game due to being able to put units that couldn’t die to what Mike had left on all 3 of the end game objectives, being ahead on Maelstrom, and very ahead on kill points. I was able to make a last charge into the unit of First Curse Genestealers with my 5 Centurions, and Coteaz; forewarned, and Celestine, to get within 3″ of the last objective and hold it with Objective Secured, for the 20-0 win.Image may contain: 3 people, people sitting and indoor– Spooky Scary Genestealers send shivers down your Scouts

The advantages of having Coteaz and Servo Skulls to make the Cult’s deployment and movement options severely limited, as well as having a massed amount of ObSec made it so that Mike had precious little hope in this game, but he wasn’t tabled, and in the end, that’s all he cared about!

Post Round 4 – 4/0/0 74 VPs

So, here we have the lofty heights of game 5 – Table 1. My opponent for game 5 was Colm McCarthy, and his list was as follows:

Colm McCarthy

Factions Used – Eldar Craftworlds

Alliance Level – N/A

Points – 1847

++ Primary Detachment – Craftworld Warhost – Eldar Craftworlds

Core – Windrider Host

HQ1 – Farseer (100) Skyrunner (15) Singing Spear (5) – [120] ++Warlord++

HQ2 – Warlock Conclave (35) Skyrunner (15) – [50]

Troops1 – Windriders (51) 2 Additional Windriders (2×17) 5x Scatter Lasers (5×10) – [135]

Troops2 – Windriders (51) 3x Scatter Lasers (3×10) – [81]

Troops3 – Windriders (51) 3x Scatter Lasers (3×10) – [81]

Fast1 – Vyper (40) – [40]

Auxiliary – Aspect Host (+1 BS)

Fast2 – Warp Spiders (95) Exarch (10) – [105]

Fast3 – Warp Spiders (95) Exarch (10) – [105]

Fast4 – Warp Spiders (95) Exarch (10) – [105]

Auxiliary – Aspect Host (+1 BS)

Fast5 – Warp Spiders (95) Exarch (10) – [105]

Fast6 – Warp Spiders (95) Exarch (10) – [105]

Fast7 – Warp Spiders (95) Exarch (10) – [105]

Auxiliary – Aspect Host (+1 BS)

Fast8 – Warp Spiders (95) Exarch (10) – [105]

Fast9 – Warp Spiders (95) Exarch (10) – [105]

Fast10 – Warp Spiders (95) Exarch (10) – [105]

Auxiliary – Aspect Host (+1 BS)

Fast11 – Warp Spiders (95) Exarch (10) – [105]

Fast12 – Warp Spiders (95) Exarch (10) – [105]

Fast13 – Warp Spiders (95) Exarch (10) – [105]

Command – Hero of the Craftworld

HQ3 – Autarch (70) Skyrunner (15) – [85]

I’ve always awed at the ingenuity of the Eldar player. Copy-Paste never looked so utterly fucking terrifying. Writing down the events of this game are honestly mentally exhausting. I had to play to the maximum capacity of my skill, and this game was 3 hours of sheer concentration. We were playing Spoils of War and Crusade, with Hammer and Anvil Deployment. Colm deployed first, and I opted not to seize. The game started off poorly as he managed to kill off Celestine, Coteaz, a Centurion and a Librarian on turn one with his firepower, and Celestine failed to get up on a LD10 test after failing about 7/20 2+ Saves, Coetaz failed a 2+ Look out Sir into a 2+ Armour save, etc, etc. It was honestly a horrendous train of events.

After turn 1 I was able to get Invis off, so I didn’t lose any more, but I lost my split fire, my hit and run, and all of my Ap3. I spent the rest of the game Magnetokinesising up the board, and sacrificing Scout Squads for single maelstrom points since I was already behind the maximum +6 on kill points. In the end, I was able to summon enough units, and spread my star into minimal units on turn 6 to hold 3 objectives, paired with a big maelstrom turn to bring me from 10 points behind to 5, I was able to eke out a 14-6 loss to Colm. Props to the guy, it was one of the single hardest games of 40k I’ve ever played, and I had to take a break after the game to wind down. I was mentally burned out from working my ass off to get 6 points in a horrific matchup with terrible luck, only for Liam to come over as I was packing up and say “Don’t move your stuff, you’re playing again in Round 6, you’re both still the Top 2.”

Fuck.  

Post Round 5 – 4/1/0 – 80 VPs

In the interest of competitive integrity, all games in round 6 are ‘you play the nearest opponent, regardless of whether you’ve played them before’

So, Cleanse and Control + Scouring is a much better mission for me that the last one, as my opponent has 13 Fast Attack choices for me to kill, but in the last game I hadn’t killed a single unit of them, so I wasn’t 100% confident in my ability to kill them this time around.

In this game, Colm opted to null deploy as I didn’t have the reach with Magnetokinesis to get in range of his back corner, but he made a major mistake in objective placement, placing one in the middle of the board, so I was able to place my 3 in a parrallelogram with it, allowing me to sit in the middle, and have control over all 4, with him being unable to get near them without sacrificing units. I gave him first turn, and then spent 6 turns chasing down units and scoring maelstrom. I was able to stay ahead in every category between shooting with the Cents, and Celestine chasing down units in the backfield. On turn 5 I used magnetokinesis to chain the star such that I held one 3 pointer, and contested 3 other Objectives, then on turn 6, as we ran out of time, I split the star such that I held 5 objectives, worth 10 points, to his 1 worth 2, while being ahead in maelstrom, kill points and fast attacks killed in some way for all categories, winning 18-2 overall. Another stressful and deliberate game, as warp spiders are still a bugger to pin down, and I was losing my Chaff quickly.

Post Round 6 – 5/1/0 – 98 VPs

So, after 6 amazing games of 40k, it turned out I had done enough to take home the championship! Very glad to have won both a 30 Player event, and a 2 Dayer, accomplishing 2 of my 3 targets for the year in February! Also, having qualified for ETC, I’m going to be at a team event in August, meaning that I’ll be achieving all of my goals for the year!

Image may contain: 3 people, people smiling

– Yours truly being begrudgingly gifted the win!

I’d also like to shout out John, a friend of mine from Dundee, who came along to his first event in 5 years, played Chaos Marines and came 22nd with 3 wins and 3 losses!

If you’ve got any questions about the games, my lists or my opponents, or just tournaments in general, feel free to ask! All lists can be found here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B1mYERTBbb4hTkNWVmZPZXZnenc/view

Caledonian Deathwatch Radio has also produced several podcasts covering the event, and will be releasing a new one covering 2 Scots at the LVO some time next week: http://www.podcastgarden.com/podcast/caledoniandeathwatchradio

– Final Standings

 

Seize the Day – Caledonian Uprising 7 Tournament Review

Cent-Star is my favourite list by far. There’s something amazing about having 5 models in your army that are able to outperform entire gunlines in shooting, and with the proper psychic support are able to take the game before the 3rd turn has even started.

I ran said army at Caledonian Uprising, in the following variant:

Innes Wilson

Factions Used: Space Marines / Sisters of Battle / Inquisition

Alliance Level: Battle Brothers

Total Army Points: 1849

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ ++++

== Primary Detachment: Space Marines (White Scars): Combined Arms Detachment ==

HQ1: Librarian (65) Mastery Level 2 (25) Space Marine Bike (20) Force Stave (0) The Hunters Eye (20) – [130] ++Warlord++

NoForceOrg1: Cypher (190) – [190]

Troops1: Scout Squad (55) 5 Boltguns (0) – [55]

Troops2: Scout Squad (55) 5 Boltguns (0) – [55]

Troops3: Scout Squad (55) 5 Boltguns (0) – [55]

Fast1: Attack Bike (40) Heavy Bolter (0) – [40]

Fast2: Attack Bike (40) Heavy Bolter (0) – [40]

Fast3: Drop Pod (35) Storm Bolter (0) – [35]

Heavy1: Centurion Devastator Squad (165) 2 Additional Models (2×55) 5 Grav-Cannons and Grav-Amps (125) 5 Hurricane Bolters (0) Omniscope (10) – [410]

== Secondary Detachment: Space Marines (Ultramarines): Librarius Conclave ==

HQ2: Chief Librarian Tigirius (165) – [165]

HQ3: Librarian (65) Mastery Level 2 (25) Space Marine Bike (20) Force Stave (0) – [110]

HQ4: Librarian (65) Mastery Level 2 (25) Space Marine Bike (20) Force Stave (0) – [110]

HQ5: Librarian (65) Mastery Level 2 (25) Space Marine Bike (20) Force Stave (0) – [110]

HQ6: Librarian (65) Mastery Level 2 (25) Terminator Armour (25) Storm Shield (10) Force Axe (0) – [125]

== Tertiary Detachment: Sisters of Battle (Imperial Agents): Ministorum Delegative ==

HQ7: Ministorum Priest (25) Litanies of Battle (15) – [40]

== Quaternary Detachment: Inquisition (Codex: Inquisition): Inquisitorial Detachment ==

HQ8: Inquisitor Coteaz (100) – [100]

HQ9: Ordo Xenos Inquisitor (25) Rad Grenades (15) Psychotroke Grenades (15) 3 Servo Skulls (3×3) Bolt Pistol (0) Chainsword (0) Liber Heresius (15) – [79]

The idea is to buff the Centurions to the nines with Invisibilty, Veil of Time, Forewarning etc., roll a powerful movement ability like Electrodisplacement, Gate of Infinity or Magnetokinesis to move around the board and kill everything in sight.

Caledonian Uprising is a 5 Round – ETC Style event, meaning that every mission combines Eternal War, Kill Points and a Modified Maelstrom Table. Unfortunately, missions weren’t too big a deal for my games, but they are great fun, and well worth looking into.

Played against Martijn Verseeg in game one with Exalted Flamer Star + Cabal Star. Deployed aggressively, seized, electodispalcemented and killed 5 Dogs + 3 Sorcerors with shooting, split fired at the exalteds and charged them, wiped them all in one round of combat and scored 11 Kill Points + 10 Eternal War points. Proceeded to repeatedly hit and run out against his Dog Star killing it in about 2 game turns. Scored a total of 71 VPs across Kill Points, Maelstrom, Eternal War and Tertiaries. 20-0 win

 

16178920_1627878257520051_187911773729161466_o– Just before the combat of 21 Victory Points

Played against Martin Moffat who I had the misfortune of travelling down with in game 2 (200 miles to play a guy I see at every event). He had Magnus plus 4 Wxalted Sorcerors and a Psykana. Got first turn and tried to displacement onto his Sorcerors since he reserved Magnus. He denied it, but I was able to Magnetokinesis into a decent position to kill one and put some wounds on a squad of Wyrdvanes. Heavy Bolter attack Bike proved his worth by killing a 3W T5 3+ save model in one volley. Martins dice were truly awful. By the end of turn 2 he had a summoned Lord of Change and Magnus left alive and some truly jammy deny the witches (thanks adamantium will) netted me a 28-3 victory on VPs for 20-0 in tournament points over about 5 turns of me failing to do more than 3 wounds to Magnus and him failing to do anything with bugger all dice available to him.

16142941_2178438735715544_8968451559049881049_n

– The Dreaded Magnus the Red with additional nipple tassels (wound markers)

Going into game 3 I was on max TPs so I was hoping for some nice Tau or Eldar to train my Grav Cents on, but was instead treated to a Capped England ETC player in Tony Chew, on table 3, playing what I would describe as a list pulled from the deepest recesses of my nightmares. Magnus, Fateweaver, Lord of Change and a Psykana. Fateweaver rolled invis. Point 1 against me. Didn’t get first turn. Point 2 against me. Didn’t get Null Zone or a movement power other than Displacement. Point 3. Didn’t seize. Fuck.

Turn one I lose a psyker to a poorly positioned deployment and a max range D shot rolling a 6. Lost my summoning and my forewarning. Shit. LoC gets cursed earth. Primaris Psyker opens his mind to the possibility of screwing me over an shits out a D-Thirster. Kairos Invis’s him. I get denied when I try to cast electrodisplacement to charge 2 units of wyrdvanes and the Thirster to pop him with combat res. I get charged by the Invisible D Thirster next turn. He uses the Tzeentchian warpstorm to turn his sorceror into another fucking Lord of Change. I fail to hit and run. I concede.

Tough game, but definitely a winnable one if I had gone first. Very much a poor match up for the list, but I had the potential to pull it out I think. Tony was a great guy and he didn’t make losing against him a chore. And he bought me booze in consolation so there’s always that. In retrospect I kind of wish that I’d played out the game, but it was certainly a case of live and learn.

Game 4 at Caledonian Uprising saw me taking on Marcus Betteridge’s Tyranids. Rolled up Veil of Time, Sanctuary, Forewarning and Magnetokinesis, to get around the board and keep my Star safe from the Mawlocs eating me. Rolled the seize and deleted two tyrants with the star. He spent a couple of turns cleaning up chaff, while I put the hurt into the Mawlocs with Coteaz as they failed to kill anything through a 3+ Rerollable. I ended up killing all of the flyrants by turn 3 while also massively ahead on maelstrom and board control to take the 20-0 victory.

I played Tim Dagnall, also known as the one responsible for me playing competitive 40k in game 5. Tim was running the epitome of the Cabalstar. Cypher, Kharn, 5 Sorcerors and a Talisman of Burning Blood Khorne Lord in a unit of 18 dogs. Seized on the poor bastard, cast Invis, displaced onto him and killed 16 dogs on the charge. Ended up wiping his star over two more rounds of combat then started cleaning chaff. Took a full 20 for the final game.

16112997_1627887110852499_3756423998628231957_o– Tim Dagnalls Fantastic Army

Ended up winning my best general category, (Agents of the Imperium) which had all of the Ironstars and a good number of other good armies in it, as well as a very well scoring Gladius with a Culexus assassin, so I was well chuffed with that. Used my proceeds to purchase a Triumverate, so Celestine will be showing up at the club shortly!

Took 7th overall and second highest Scot! Neil Powell came 3rd using Lionsblade + Kennelstar. Slightly miffed at myself for missing a joint 4th placing by submitting the wrong list, but I’ll definitely take top 8 and be very happy with it!

16299560_1627876747520202_712317157708755750_o

– Myself, Liam O’Shea (Podcast Co-Host) and Tim Dagnall

For anyone wanting additional coverage, the Caledonian Deathwatch Radio have done 4 podcasts covering the run up, the list doc, the draw and the post event rundown for Caledonian Uprising, which can be found from episodes 21-24 here: http://www.podcastgarden.com/podcast/caledoniandeathwatchradio

Congratulations to:

Alex Harrison – 1st with Tau

Josh Roberts – 2nd with Eldar

Neil Powell – 3rd with Lions Blade + Kennelstar

All lists from the event can be found here: https://www.dropbox.com/s/gxtdllkrmabozn3/UPRISING17LISTS.pdf?dl=0

I’ll be trying out the same list but with a very happy Celestine at Dark Millennium 4 in 2 weeks, so keep an eye out for me posting my rundown of that event!

 

Centurions 2 – Electric Boogaloo – A Year in Review

Updating this blog is not a strongpoint of mine.

Ah well. I’m unlikely to get any better at doing it, so I’ll settle for erratic posts whenever I feel I have something worth writing about.

2016 is the first year where I’ve been committed to playing 40K at a competitive level. I started playing competitively in September last year, and have continued through to the ITC open which was at the end of November.

In 2015 I played in the following events:

Event – Month – Style – Comp – Army – Placing

Scottish Team Championship – September 2015 – Team Tournament – ETC – Tyranids – 2nd of 6 Teams

Rapid Fire – October 2015 -Singles Tournament – Space Marines – Rapid Fire – 19th of 36 Players

Winter War – November 2015 – Singles Tournament – Space Marines – Rapid Fire – 5th of 30 Players

Counter Attack – November 2015 – Singles Tournament – Imperial Knights – 2nd of 12 Players

I was happy with my start on the 40k Scene, but my performance wasn’t sufficient to qualify me for the Scotland Team, a point which I’m not surprised about. I was new to the scene with middling results. I decided however, that 2016 was the year where I would rectify that, and committed to upping my game.


In 2016 I played in the following events:

Dark Millennium 3 – February 2016 – Singles Tournament – ETC – War Convocation – 5th of 32 Players

Stronghold IV – April 2016 – Singles Tournament – Semi-Highlander – Space Marines – 5th of 16 Players

Eye Over Scotland – June 2016 – Singles Tournament – ETC – Dark Angels/Space Marines – 1st of 10 Players

Caledonian Revolution – July 2016 – Singles Tournament – ETC – Dark Angels/Space Marines – 11th of 76 Players

Firestorm – August 2016 – Singles Tournament – Firestorm – Space Marines – 7th of 18 Players

Rapid Fire – October 2016 – Singles Tournament – Rapid Fire 2.0 – Space Marines – 13th of 34 Players

Winter War – November 2o16 – Singles Tournament – Rapid Fire 2.0 – Space Marines – 1st of 22 Players

ITC Scottish Open – November 2016 – Singles Tournament – ITC – Space Marines – 2nd of 18 Players

I’m certainly much happier with my performance this year. Rapid Fire of 2016 was my biggest disappointment, failing to much improve my performance, despite taking a list that I thought would be great in the pack. Given that I managed to win an event with much the same list and the same pack, I think it was down to me failing to perform with it.

I’ve been using Centurions since June this year, in one form or another. Assaults in June/July and Devastators since then. I’ll be continuing in this manner for Caledonian Uprising which is 100 players in January, and likely the same for Dark Millennium 4 in February. I certainly feel like I’m getting better with the list, and hopefully a good performance at Uprising will help me achieve a place on the Scotland ETC Team.


Outside of Tournaments, I’ve achieved quite a lot in generic hobby terms. I’ve been running an Escalation League at my local club (Dundee Wargames) which has been running since around August, and boasts around 15 players, and will hopefully continue to go strong until it ends in September next year. It’s provided me a great outlet to play smaller games, and to use my Tyranids, who suffer from a thorough lack of competitive viability.

I’ve also been very graciously invited by Caledonian Deathwatch Radio to star as a Co-Host/Shit Talker Supreme, and it’s been a great experience. I play 40K because I love talking about the hobby, and the podcast has given me a fantastic outlet to do that.

In painting and modelling terms, 2016 has been a slow year for me. I built and painted an entire War Convocation in February for Dark Millennium, and amassed a small Deathwatch Force when Death Masque was released, but beyond that the majority of my hobby has been focussed on adapting existing models and armies for upcoming events.


In terms of Goals for 2017, I’ve got a few that I’m hoping to achieve:

Podium at an event with 30+ Players

Play in a Team Event

Win a 2 Day Event of any Kind


I think that the hardest of those will actually be the Team Event, as there aren’t presently any in Scotland. If I qualify for the ETC then that’s that ticked off immediately, but if I don’t, it will be forcing me to go down to England to play in one.

Podium at a 30+ Player Event is something that I’ve yet to achieve, despite having been to 5 in the past 18 Months. In 2017 I should have a plethora of options for it, Caledonian Uprising, Dark Millennium 4, Caledonian Revolution and Rapid Fire should all crest 30 players, and I intend on going to all of them. I’d also accept a podium at a Team Event with 8+ Teams as a rough equivalent to this.

Winning a 2 Day Event is definitely one that’s eluded me also. I won 2 events this year, but both were single day affairs. Winning a single day event is certainly much easier than a 2 day event since you play a lot less games, and generally the calibre of competition is much lower. I should have 4 or 5 opportunities to complete this one in 2017, and will be making full efforts to do so.

 

 

 

 

 

Rapid Fire – The Pre-Sequel

A tale from the bus as I travel to Stirling for Rapid Fire.

Apologies for the period of absence in my posts, I’ve not been able to put down anything on Caledonian Revolutions or Firestorm which I’ve intended to post, but factors have conspired to keep me from doing so.

Instead, I have a short post updating a couple of things. The first is that I’ve taken up podcasting! The Caledonian Deathwatch Radio (https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/caledonian-deathwatch-radio/id1145332104?mt=2) has been so kind as to have me as the Co-Host! The podcast focusses on Scotland and its scene, but you’ll also find discussion of general 40k and tomfoolery in spades.

The second is that, for the very first time I am returning to a tournament. Rapid Fire 2015 was the second ‘major’ event I ever played in October last year, where I placed 19th of 36 with a fairly mediocre Grey Knights and Space Marines army.

This year, I am back with a vengeance. With a tournament pack that bans superheavies and gargantuans, and limits to two detachments.
I had it on good authority going in that Tau would be in abundance, and with 7 of 36 armies containing in the region of 35-40 Riptides, I am very glad for this decision.

The list I am running is as follows:
Space Marines – Ultramarines – Combined Arms Detachment
Tigirius – 165
Librarian – Mastery Level 2, Space Marine Bike, Force Axe, Bolt Pistol – 110
Scout Squad – 55
Bike Squad – 63
Command Squad – 4x Storm Shields, 4x Grav Guns, Apothecary, Space Marine Bikes – 240
Drop Pod – 35
Marneus Calgar – Warlord – 275
Centurion Devastator Squad – 2 Additional Centurions, 5x Grav-Cannons and Grav-Amps, 5x Hurricane Bolters, Omniscope – 410
Imperial Bunker – Escape Hatch, Void Shield – 105

Space Marines – Ultramarines – Librarius Conclave
Librarian – Mastery Level 2, Space Marine Bike, Force Axe, Bolt Pistol, Auspex – 115
Librarian – Mastery Level 2, Force Axe, Bolt Pistol – 90
Librarian – Mastery Level 2, Force Axe, Bolt Pistol – 90
Librarian – Mastery Level 2, Force Axe, Bolt Pistol, Auspex – 95
The intent with the list is to brute force through as many matchups as I can with massed Grav fire, filling in any holes in the composition with the power of Psychic Powers (Gate, Invisibility and Perfect Timing are the three key powers for this list), Calgar’s Orbital Bombardment and Second Devastator Doctrine, and a Bunker with the Pre-FAQ void shield making it immune to Gauss, Grav and Melta (and the Orbital Bombardment of a mirror match).

I’m playing Paul Metcalfe of the Scotland ETC team in game 1 in the form of a Grudge match due to my unrelenting shit talk. Paul’s using an MSU Necron build with 24 Tomb Blades, 3 Heavy Destroyers and 9 Destroyers in a Decurion. I’m cautiously optimistic about the game going forward. I have a very strong feeling that my ability to roll Perfect Timing will be instrumental in my success.

Stay tuned on the blog for updates after this weekend, and best of luck to everyone going.

 


– Innes

Why would anyone play that list? – On Competitive Warhammer 40,000

 

‘Why would anyone play games like this?’

‘I’d rather have friends.’

‘That army makes no sense, that would never happen’

 

I’m no stranger to statements like the above when it comes to Warhammer 40,000. There’s a certain mentality that likes to poke its head up whenever someone starts talking about playing competitively, and it’s one that seeks to point out the flaws in people’s way of enjoying the game. One of the players in my Local Playgroup (Dundee Wargames Club) has a blog, and I’ve shown up on that blog a couple of times now, to more or less the same reaction time in and time out. People don’t like the way I play. And I get it, sort of. Not everybody wants to play cut-throat games of 40k that end on turn 1, need a 80+ Page FAQ document (ETC FAQ) to make work, and where even the least lore-abiding citizen’s wildest dreams are a reality. Michael’s most recent post (Found Here) features him playing at Caledonian Revolution, a 2 Day, 5 Game tournament which we both attended. The army he played against was 6 Riptides, 2 Dreadknights, a Culexus and some ancillaries. I’ll allow you to read the comments there yourself, but I feel like they’re the prime examples of exactly what I want to talk about, and the reason I decided to write this post.

When you design a list, how do you go about it? Do you read some awesome lore, and go out and sit with the book, thinking how to best represent the battle scene you just read? Do you mash together all the units you have available to you until they fit the points limit? Both of these are valid ways to write a list, but I think that they have a fundamental mentality underlying them, which makes people who write lists in this manner miss the point of what a Tournament List is (or should) be trying to achieve, which is the best list to win any given match.

If you show up to a tournament of 5 or 6 rounds, odds are you’re going to play a pretty decent spread of armies. At Caledonian Revolution I played against War Convocation, Iron Hands + Inquisition + Sisters of Battle Death Star, Tau (3 Riptides, 3 Ghostkeels, 1 Stormsurge), War Convocation, and Screamer Council + Seer Council. I’d say that I pulled a pretty decent spread of armies, 2 MSU High Shooting Armies, 1 Pure Deathstar, 1 Split Deathstar (The Councils List) and 1 Low Model Count High Damage Output. I was playing the same list from my previous Tournament (Found Here). What do you think it did well against? Which would you say were bad match-ups and which were good? I’ll be posting a full report of the event later this week, so give yourselves marks out of 10 when that comes out. (1 point for correct Good/Bad Match-up, 1 point for correctly guessing win or loss)

dataslate2bskyhammer2bannihilation2bforce

The Big Cheese? – Highest Placing at Caledonian Revolution – 33rd

 

What I’m trying to say is that at any given event you need to be prepared to play against a huge possibility of lists, and that means that you had better god damn optimize what you’re running. Running through the list pack for Caledonian Revolution you’d be hard pressed to find more than a couple of lists that you couldn’t say ‘Yeah that could win the event’. That’s because (most of the ) lists are written in such a way that they don’t take into account what book something’s from, or whether it makes sense. The only concern is how good the unit is for how many points it costs.

This leads to situations where it’s very easy to end up with 12 different codices (particularly us Imperial fellows), and that’s why detachment limitations exist.

Why are Sisters of Battle so good for Deathstars? Why did Fenrisian Wolves + Azrael and all the Psykers in the Imperium show up 3 times in the list pack and all end up in the top 15? Because they manage to take disparate elements of codexes that maybe aren’t great in isolation, but end up being massive force multipliers when combined.

Saint Celestine is 135 points. In the Sisters of Battle Codex she’s great because she drops in with a unit of Seraphim and incinerates a unit with all the flamers in the world. In a Deathstar, she’s even better, because she provides Hit and Run at 55 points cheaper than Cypher, and without having to go for White Scars Chapter Tactics. She also allows you to take up to 3 Priests, one of whom buys the Litanies of Faith, and now for 260 Points in an Allied Detachment you have 3 independent characters, who provide your Deathstar with Hit and Run, Zealot, and automatic, guaranteed Re-Rolls to Wound and to Save in Close Combat. It also provides as an ObSec unit with 3+ Armour that can hide at the back of the board. Add that to your Iron Hands Command Squad and watch that Veteran with his 3+ Rerollable invulnerable save and 4+ Feel No Pain. Now try and kill 4 of them, and the 6 Librarians, 2 Techmarines and the Chapter Master. Oh and there’s an Inquisitor.

How awesome would it be if you could fire 6D6 Strength 7 Tesla Shots with Re-Rolls to Hit, Wound, Ignores Cover and Rending, from inside a 50+ Wound Model that covers 3′ Square of the Board? That’s what Wolfkin does. 50 Fenrisian Wolves, one unit with Azrael (Confers 4+ Invulnerable Save to his unit, and 5+ Feel No Pain when within 3” of an objective). Add a Wolf Priest with the Helm of Durfast in a Wyrdstorm Brotherhood, and the Monster Hunter from the Wolfkin Formation, then Misfortune that poor Wraithknight to death. Now sit on 6 Objectives for the entire game multi-charging opposite ends of the board, all you have to do is keep coherency and Hit and Run!

Why do Riptides and Dreadknights show up on the same army? Because they complement each other. Riptides don’t like being Charged, and they don’t like Psychic Powers. So take stuff that stops that. Simple is as simple does.

Seer Councils provide a hell of a lot of dice for you to use with Fateweaver and a Screamer Council. Wyrdvane Psykers in a Psykana Division are amazing at shitting out Daemons so your Flying Hive Tyrants don’t have to come onto the ground to hold objectives or so that your Knights can run around hitting stuff without worrying about holding the relic.

I think this is the core disjoint in mentalities between both sides of the argument. It’s not that we’re killing the fluff, it just doesn’t come into consideration. If I need a way to make sure my Tau Army can survive your Wolfstar, the easiest way is to stick a Culexus Assassin 6” behind it so the second you charge it you lose all of your buffs. Not every army has a way to deal with every other army. But most armies have something that deals with something else. The trade-offs we have to make can be minimal, if you just want to plug and play a formation like Riptide Wing or a Psykana Division, or quite large, like having to take two extra Scout Squads or a Grey Knight Strike Squad.

For me, list building is the part of the hobby, other than the actual game itself, that I most enjoy. There’s something amazing in coming up with a combo that breaks the game apart, match ups that shouldn’t be winnable for your army suddenly becoming 20-0 swings because of 1 character or piece of Wargear from a forgotten book. Is that a problem with 40k? That match-ups can be so Rock/Paper/Scissors as to swing with one item? Maybe it is. We’re seeing a big switch towards Deathstars in the UK Scene, even Eldar, traditionally a bastion of the MSU Warp Spiders/Scatter Bikes is moving towards the Wraithbomb (See Jordan Clifford or Brett Armitage’ armies in the list document), even prior to the introduction of the Eldar Erratas.

Building a list to play into any match-up that a tournament could throw at you needs a different mindset to building an army for a ++Casual++ game, but for those of us who’re that way inclined, it can also be a massive part of the fun.

What’s your take on the issue? Is this an issue or am I just spouting a load of shit? Thanks for taking the time to read – Innes

  • Changed Fun to Casual, not fair to use that term