Tuesday 30 January 2018

Factions and Subfactions

A bit of a short late night insomnia driven ramble post here so it might wander through strange places. Hopefully you will bare with me. :)

Not so long ago a fellow 40K player spoke to me in passing that he thought the various sub-factions were taking away the flavour of the various codexes. That made me ponder whether he was right or not.

Personally I don't think having sub-factions does take away from the main codex. My only concern is that only certain sub-factions get special rules. There are more Aeldari craftworlds than the main five for example but what do you do if you play one of the smaller craftworlds such as Yme-Loc or Altansar? They are relegated to using someone else's craftworld rules and two players could end up facing off but with identical army choice but different sub-faction choices.

Splitting factions into sub-factions was one of those changes that really got the thumbs up from me in 8th edition. No longer would you see a Pedro Kantor count's as in a non-Crimson Fists army. He's unique to that chapter so he should only be with that chapter. It is one of those issues that plays well into my canon fluff mindset. Even so I still see battle reports on Youtube that feature Blood Ravens (or insert chapter of choice) with a red painted Guilliman declaring themselves as Ultramarines. AAARRGGGHHHH!!!!

I do think sometimes that sub-factions could have been handled better. Some abilities just don't balance up against others, or don't seem in keeping with the fluff that that specific sub-faction have. I would have liked to have seen not new rules but army composition requirements. For example, Craftworld Saim-Hann is all about jetbikes and skimmers, so they should be forced to take at least two units of jetbikes. Thousand Sons should be forced to have two units of Rubric Marines, and so on. That to me would be how you force a given sub-faction to play to more to it's fluff. I know it wouldn't be popular and some armies just don't work that way (Necrons or Tyranids?) but it would mean that most armies would be fielded more appropriately.

How do you guys and girls feel about sub-factions in the game? Do you think they should have been included or would you see them done differently?

Friday 26 January 2018

Fluff! What is it good for?

Recently my friend KhorneGuy posted a blog entry about how fluffy is your fluff? I recommend taking a look. It's good topic for discussion.

I consider myself very much a fluff player. It goes hand in hand with enjoying a narrative style of play. Probably the main reason I play Warhammer 40,000 is because of the fluff. Games Workshop, despite their various failings in the past, have given us an fantastically detailed and plotted universe. It seems a shame to me to not use that in our games.

Some people don't care about the fluff. They enjoy the game and they read the novels but they never seem to immerse themselves in the dark future. They build their lists and they look at everything in a mechanical standpoint. That by itself is a fine thing but a player doing that is just missing out.

Anyone can build a fluffy list for their army. If you play space marines or tyranids whatever it is you bring is probably going to be appropriate to that faction. But if someone is bringing a Craftworld: Saim-Hann list I would expect it to be full of jetbikes and skimmers, not rangers and loads of aspect warriors. For players like myself who do immerse themselves facing off against a list that isn't accurate is a little disappointing.

Chaos Daemons are an odd one for me though. I come from a time when in 40K the gods of Chaos would never ally with certain other gods. You would never have seen bloodletters working alongside daemonettes and pink horrors, or pink horrors with plaguebearers. Those gods did not get along in anyway. Even seeing allied faction specific chaos marines outside of a Black Legion list gets my teeth grinding. It was just not the done deal from a thematic point of view. These days the gods of Chaos seem to have put those rivalries aside when launching a daemonic invasion but it still leaves a bad taste for me.

In Khorneguy's blog entry he talks about a friend of his who uses Guilliman as a special character of his own design in his home brew chapter. I am all for following your own vision, painting your models as you want and coming up with a cool backstory to your own army. As I sort of mentioned in a reply to his post I would not be comfortable playing against that because of my immersion in the "true" fluff of the 42nd millennium. Guilliman is Guilliman, and only for the Ultramarines. Does that make me a bad player or disrespectful of someone else's vision? I certainly hope not. The player in question has made their own fluff. It's just not canonical fluff and that's where my enjoyment of the game comes from.

Lastly, there are also players who have chosen an army based on how good they perceive it. They then play that army not fluffy but decidedly mechanically. They are playing the system essentially. War games are by their nature competitive but I do think that you can play up the fluff of an army in it's composition and still remain competitive.

Thursday 25 January 2018

Battle for Qualor Valley - Sanctum

Planet: Sanctum.
Region: Xenobian sector.

Death Guard vs Craftworld Saim-Hann.
1500 points.
Mission: Roving Patrol.
Deployment: Vanguard Strike.

Having translated in system, Typhus was eager to make planet fall and begin his assigned task. Typhus lead a small vanguard into the overgrown ruins of the ancient Aeldari empire in search of their forgotten relics. But the farseers of the craftworlds had foreseen his arrival and prepared an ambush. Swooping through the trees came the skimmers and grav tanks of Saim-Hann.

At last a chance to play against the new Aeldari codex and my opponent did not disappoint. I picked a mission, Roving Patrol, from Chapter Approved 2017 as I had seen a nice youtube battle report using that once and I had as yet not played any of the new missions. Unfortunately we rolled the one deployment zone that I really hate but we went for it. Using the mission deployment rules Jon set up his small force in his corner and I had a little gathering sitting around my objective. I had hoped that this would help me so that I didn't just get swamped by swarms of jetbikes. I did ponder about trying to seize the initiative but I couldn't fathom a reason to actually do so.

Straight away Jon focused all his fire upon my poor plagueburst crawler but I was lucky and it shrugged off most of the damage. Most of his army also turned up straight away and we had to reset a little as we had both read it wrong as to where they could come in but no harm was done. My first turn and everything except Typhus turned up. I was able to pour some fire into him but not a great amount.

Turn 2 and Jon's army was now inbound. The plagueburst crawler took a lot of damage as did my renegade knight. The ion shield was just not set to resist Aeldari weaponry obviously. My turn and Typhus finally arrived. I tried to use psychic sorcery to hide the crawler but it didn't really help against the alien force arrayed against me. I was able to seize first blood though and took out one of his wave serpents. One poor dire avenger on board was killed but I'll take any victory against the Aeldari.

The next couple turns saw my crawler and my knight destroyed. Disappointing but facing the Aeldari had expected a lot of severe firepower coming my way. I tried to advance forward towards the objective at the center of the table but mass firepower from jetbikes and fire prisms was taking down by plague marines and poxwalkers. I also noticed that Jon had not as yet used his swooping hawks and it occurred that maybe he was waiting for me to move my troops out from my deployment zone before sending them forth to steal my objective. I figured that the game was lost at this point anyway so I set myself the tertiary objective of not letting him having my objective.

Turn 5 went on to turn 6 and Typhus lost his poxwalker screen and soon fell himself to mass firepower. I figure that the Terminus Est has teleport locks on him and pulled him to safety before he could be killed. My plaguecaster used his smite to take out the swooping hawks when they arrived but it did not help. He and the cultists were cut down turn 7. Jon had nicely tabled me.


Thoughts on the game. I felt that I had made a reasonable list that should have done me well. Had the deployment been different I think I might well have done better. But Vanguard Strike is just hell to play. Jon's much longer range weaponry gave him such an edge in the battle that it was soon apparent to me that I was not going to do well. I was also a little disappointed by the mission as I had figured that it would help me more than him. In the end, the deployment and reserve rules made very little difference to the outcome. A nice fun game as always but one where I think the deployment zone screwed me over.


++ Battalion Detachment +3CP (Chaos - Death Guard) ++
Rules: Inexorable Advance, Plague Host, Plague Weapon

+ HQ +

Malignant Plaguecaster: Blight Grenades, Bolt pistol, Corrupted staff, Curse of the Leper, Krak grenade, Plague Wind, Smite, The Pandemic Staff

Typhus: Blight Grenades, Master-crafted manreaper, Miasma of Pestilence, Putrescent Vitality, Smite, The Destroyer Hive, Warlord

+ Troops +

Chaos Cultists
. . 8x Chaos Cultist w/ autopistol and brutal assault weapon: 8x Autopistol, 8x Brutal assault weapon
. . Chaos Cultist w/ special weapon: Heavy stubber
. . Cultist Champion: Shotgun

Plague Marines: Icon of Despair
. . Plague Champion: Blight Grenades, Krak grenade, Plague knife, Plasma gun, Power fist
. . 4x Plague Marine w/ boltgun: 4x Blight Grenades, 4x Boltgun, 4x Krak Grenades, 4x Plague knife
. . Plague Marine w/ Special Weapon: Blight Grenades, Krak grenade, Plague knife, Plasma gun
. . Plague Marine w/ Special Weapon: Blight Grenades, Krak grenade, Plague knife, Plasma gun

Plague Marines: Icon of Despair
. . Plague Champion: Blight Grenades, Krak grenade, Plague knife, Plasma gun, Power fist
. . 4x Plague Marine w/ boltgun: 4x Blight Grenades, 4x Boltgun, 4x Krak Grenades, 4x Plague knife
. . Plague Marine w/ Special Weapon: Blight Grenades, Blight launcher, Krak grenade, Plague knife
. . Plague Marine w/ Special Weapon: Blight Grenades, Krak grenade, Plague knife, Plague Spewer

. . 11x Poxwalker: 11x Improvised weapon

+ Fast Attack +

Foetid Bloat-drone: 2x Plaguespitters, Plague probe

+ Heavy Support +

Plagueburst Crawler: 2x Entropy cannon, Plagueburst Mortar, Rothail volley gun

++ Super-Heavy Auxiliary Detachment (Chaos - Questor Traitoris) ++

+ Lord of War +

Renegade Knight: Heavy stubber, Reaper chainsword, Thermal cannon, Titanic feet

++ Total: [83 PL, 1498pts] ++

My initial deployment. Hold that objective!

The two fire prisms that gave me such trouble.

My army arrives ready to crush the alien!

That is a lot of skimmers...

Wednesday 17 January 2018

Painting Update

It has probably been several months since I last had either the chance or the motivation to actually get painting my models. What with some family medical issues of late and much stress at work, I decided to spend the entire afternoon and evening of my day off this week getting some done. Severn hours of painting later and I was going cross eyed.

One Plague Marine squad complete. These guys took a hell of a lot longer than the old chaos marines that I was used to. I think because there is a lot more detail on them than before. 

Say hello to Bubonicus, chief Blightcaster of Typhus' plague fleet. He didn't come out as well as I had hoped but I was very pleased at how well the contagious smite cloud appeared once dried.

Finally one Plagueburst Crawler. Much easier to do as it is just large open patches. I've left the slight painting miss strokes on the model as I don't really think the Death Guard are great at painting their daemon engines, so it looks okay from table gaming height.

I just have a shedload of poxwalkers, two units of plague marines, a unit of plaguebearers, two lords of contagion, two chaos spawn, some blightshroud terminators, deathshroud terminators and Mortarion himself to paint and I am up to date with my current army.

A Time of Legends - A new 40K Mission

A Maelstrom of War mission for 8th edition Warhammer 40,000.

Night is falling across the Imperium. Mankind's enemies are circling, licking their blades and preparing to cut our throats. Demi-gods and monsters stride across the battlefields of the 42nd millennium like the titans of ancient legend. These are the wars that will save or destroy mankind.

Each player selects a Battle-forged army to an agreed points limit. It is recommended that each player choose a unique named character to be their warlord if possible for narrative reasons.

Create the battlefield and set up terrain. The players roll off and the winner randomly determines which of the standard deployment maps is used in the battle (see the Warhammer 40,000 rule book) and picks one of the deployment zones for their army. Their opponent uses the other deployment zone. The player who determined the deployment map takes objective markers 1, 2 and 3. Their opponent takes objective markers 4, 5 and 6. Starting with the player who did not pick their deployment zone, players alternate placing objectives. The players each place 1 objective marker in their opponents deployment zone. They then place 1 objective marker in their own deployment zone and then place 1 objective marker anywhere that is not a deployment zone. All objective markers must be at least 6 inches from a table edge and 12 inches from another objective marker.

The players alternate deploying their units, one at a time, starting with the player who did not pick their deployment zone. A player’s models must be set up wholly within their deployment zone. Continue setting up units until both sides have set up their army.

The players roll off, and the player who finished setting up their army first adds 1 to their result. The winner can choose to take the first or second turn. If they take the first turn, their opponent can roll a D6; on a 6, they manage to seize the initiative, and they get the first turn instead!

This mission uses Tactical Objectives. If, at the start of a player’s turn, they have fewer than 3 active Tactical Objectives, they must generate Tactical Objectives until they have 3.

At the end of battle round 5, the player who had the first turn must roll a D6. On a roll of 3+, the game continues, otherwise the game is over. At the end of battle round 6, the player who had the second turn must roll a D6. This time the game continues on a roll of 4+, otherwise the game is over. The battle automatically ends at the end of battle round 7.

At the end of the game, the player who has scored the most victory points is the winner. If both players have the same number of victory points, the game is a draw. In addition to achieving Tactical Objectives, victory points are achieved for the following:

Slay the Warlord: If the enemy Warlord has been slain during the battle, you score 1 victory point.

First Blood: The first unit, of any kind, to be destroyed during the battle is worth 1 victory point to the opposing player at the end of the game. If two or more units from opposing forces are destroyed simultaneously, then both players get 1 victory point.

Linebreaker: If, at the end of the battle, you have at least one model within the enemy’s deployment zone, you score 1 victory point.


Night Fighting: Night Fighting is in effect on the first turn of the game. When rolling to hit in the Shooting phase, apply the following penalties to your models depending on their distance from
the target. If the target unit is exactly 12", 24", or 36" away, use the lesser penalty from the table.

0'' - 12'' No penalty.
12'' - 24'' -1 to hit.
24'' - 36'' -2 to hit.
36'' or more: -3 to hit.

Deepstrike Mishap: If a unit arrives on the battlefield after the battle has begun (e.g. as the result of an ability on its datasheet or the Reserves rules), roll a dice the first time it does so. On a 1, it suffers a mishap. The opposing player may either keep it in reserve or may place it anywhere on the battlefield that the unit could legally be placed and is at least 9'' away from an enemy unit.

Mysterious Objectives: Any unit that moves within 3" of an objective marker, or is within 3" of an objective marker at the start of the first turn, must identify it. To do so, roll a dice and consult the following table. Each objective marker is only identified once.

1. Sabotaged Objective. The unit that identified this objective takes D3 mortal wounds.
2. Tactical Objective. This has no additional affect.
3. Pile of Rubble. If you control this objective marker, any unit attempting to charge a friendly unit within 3" of this objective subtracts 2 from its charge move.
4. Ammo Dump. If you control this objective marker, friendly units within 3" of this objective re-roll hit rolls of 1 when shooting.
5. Fortified Objective. If you control this objective marker, friendly units within 3" of this objective re-roll saving throw rolls of 1.
6. Forward Observation Point. If you control this objective marker, roll a dice at the end of your Shooting phase. On a roll of 5+, choose an enemy unit within 36". That unit suffers D3 mortal wounds.

Heroes of Legend: Warlords and any friendly units within 8" of them do not have to take Morale tests.

Minefield: Once per game, the first time an enemy unit enters your deployment zone you may spend 1 command point to trigger the minefield. That unit takes D3 mortal wounds or D6 if they advanced.

Tides of Battle: At the end of your turn you may spend 1 command point to discard up to 3 of your active Tactical Objectives.

Tuesday 16 January 2018

Codex Review: Space Marines

I started playing 40K on the original release day back in 1987 and space marines were my army of choice back then. The fluff for them really grabbed my attention. Although I skipped 2nd edition when I came back at the end of 3rd edition space marines were again my come back to choice. I stuck with them all the way through till 7th when I finally lost interest due to their being a "jack of all trades master of none" type army that never did well for me.

Now with a much better edition of the game I've got my hands on the new space marine codex and ready to do my review. The thing to keep in mind as I do these reviews is that I come from a casual narrative background for my wargaming so be aware that not everything is going to gel with your own experiences.

So how do space marines play? Well, this time round they are a hell of a lot better. Where the Death Guard is all about getting those mortal wounds out there, the Space Marines are all about the re-rolls to hit which makes them far more dangerous especially, if like me, you enjoy using plasma weapons. Much less chance of blowing yourself up than previous editions. The codex also gives us the primaris marines who are larger, more survivable (2 wounds) but with less options. You have to take them as they are pretty much. I have a problem deciding whether they are worth including though as the roles their, to my mind, conflict with their regular brothers.

Originally I was going to write up this review like I did with the Death Guard codex but after several unsuccessful tries I realised that there are too many units and characters to realistically cover them all. So I am instead going to narrow the focus down a bit and hope that it still comes across well enough.

There are a lot of named space marine characters mainly for those of you playing Ultramarines or Black Templars but for a handful of other chapters as well. Unlike with other armies the characters for the space marines do not readily jump out at me. They very much feel as though they are just slightly better than the regular captains, chaplains and librarians. They feel to me as though you will take them purely because they are the thematic character for your chosen chapter.
I was quite surprised initially to notice that there is no generic chapter master. Instead you have to use a stratagem to elevate a captain to be a chapter master. This seems a bit of an odd choice but with so many new units added to the codex perhaps it was just to save space in the book.
The only thing that stands out to me as something I couldn't get my head around was the primaris variants for the HQ units. I will mention this again and again through this review I am sure but I do not see why you would take a primaris version when all they are essentially are the same unit but with an extra wound and maybe an extra attack but more expensive points wise. Although I don't play loyalist marines anymore I would be more tempted to play a regular marine HQ over a primaris one.

Troops have always been where space marine armies strengths lie. The basic tactical squad is still, in my opinion, the best troop option the book has. You have the versatility to take special and heavy weapons suited to the role you want that unit to take. The intercessor squad, which is the primaris equivalent, just does not have the same versatility. You are stuck with just a slightly better ranged bolter unit with an extra wound.
The codex includes a crusader squad for the Black Templars chapter but after reading and re-reading it I cannot see why you would take it over a standard tactical squad if given the choice. Both are quite similar but I think the tactical squad's options have to win out.

A lot of what used to make up the old command squad are now separate units - apothecary, ancients (standard bearer) and champion. Under previous editions I would have loved to have taken separate and multiple apothecaries to keep my marines alive. Now you can. A couple of them seem to be a bit odd now though. I will focus on the Ancient here. They have the same ability but the primaris ancient is a shooty character while the regular chapter ancient seems more combat based. Was there a need to do that or was it simply because Games Workshop wanted to add the primaris in across the various character options?
Terminators were always a big thing for me because they had a lot more survivability than regular marines. 8th edition has sort of changed that because rather than denying you a save with the old AP2 or 1 weapons, everything now has an armour save modifier. I may be wrong as I've only played my own Blightlord and Deathshround terminators a couple of times but weapons that reduce such a good save make these less of a viable option for me. They are expensive as is without that strength of such a good save. I'm probably wrong there but that is my gut feeling about them under this edition. One nice addition however, is the inclusion of cataphractii and tartaros terminator units from the Horus Heresy era armies.
Dreadnoughts are a lot better I find under 8th edition as just like with vehicles it is very rare to one shot them anymore. Units like this actually survive for a while now. I am a big fan of the new Redemptor Dreadnought which feels to me what a dreadnought has always wanted to be on the tabletop.
For the primaris there is also the inclusion of the new Reiver squad. These feel like a primaris scout unit but much more close combat and in your face. Depending on your choice of chapter and it's tactics these look like they could be very good.

Fast Attack.
Fast Attack options in the codex don't seem to have really changed an awful lot with the exception of assault marines, who just by how 8th edition assault rules work are now a lot better than they used to be. Inceptors are the primaris version but they are a shooty unit rather than a close combat one. I'm in two minds again on this one but I can see a place for them in your army as a fast moving objective grabber.
Bikes are still good and worth including. Land Speeders have been condensed into a single entry with you just putting the weapon options on to create the variant that you want. The movement boost for having three in the unit seems good for getting firepower where you really need it but makes wonder whether Games Workshop aren't selling enough of them at the moment.

Heavy Support.
This is where your tanks and all your proper shooty units are. As expected 8th edition has made all your tanks a lot tougher and able to survive a lot of incoming firepower while dealing the same out. Land Raiders especially are an awesome choice these days over what they used to be.
The main addition here is your new primaris unit, the Helblasters! This unit is really nasty and able to pump out a lot damage. Combine these guys with all the re-rolls that a space marine army can spread around and you are able to more safely use their nice plasma weapons to avoid 1's. The thing is though that once again, I cannot decide whether I would want a unit of these or I'd rather have a Devastator squad. I find myself erring on the side of taking the dedicated heavy weapon squad because of being able to take lascannons dealing D6 damage a piece! Helblasters seem good for taking down troops or light vehicles but they don't do enough effective damage to bring down large vehicles or monsters.

I find it odd that the Transports section comes with such an eclectic mix of vehicles. Rhino's and drop pods I fully get but surely things like the Repulsor should be a Heavy Support unit and not classed as a transport. Repulsors are crazy units that come with far too many weapons. They are a nice unit but a little over the top in their design for me.

The Stormraven is always a good nice solid unit. The Stormtalon and the new-ish Stormhawk seem to be competing for the same slot - infantry and light vehicle hunting but the only difference seems to be that the stormtalon can hover. They are a little too similar for my taste. I may be missing something but they need something to give them a different battlefield role.

Lord of War.
The man himself... Roboute Guilliman! Love him or hate him you cannot deny that this character is awesome. But I would expect nothing less from a Primarch. It is a shame though that his ability only applies to Ultramarines themselves as I would have thought it would Ultramarines and their successors. I can see non-Ultramarine painted armies pretending to be Ultramarines just to use him.
A lot of players seem to dislike him but I think he is fine. The only problem comes from using him in a smaller point game where his strengths will dominate the game too much in favour of the Ultramarine player.


The Space Marines codex is a very good codex as you would probably expect. What I find nice about it is that in the past space marines were very much the introductory level army. You played them for a while, realsied that they were not all that, and then moved on to another codex. This book changes that. This is a really good army now but I put a lot of that down to the new rules of 8th edition. I still think they are probably the best army to start playing 40K with but they aren't necessarily the one that you abandon because it doesn't hold up as you wanted.

I'm still not convinced on the primaris units. Every time I try and weigh them up I find that the classic space marine units are a better choice but mainly because they have the wargear options allowing you to customize them. Primaris units are very much fixed with what they have and they aren't what you might necessarily what.
A lot of players, especially those who started with the Dark Imperium box set may well starting up a pure primaris army. I can't see them being as well rounded as a classic space marine army. I really want to be convinced otherwise but even talking to the space marine players at my local club I am having trouble. Hopefully time will tell.

Saturday 13 January 2018

Blood in the Sands - Cerberus

Planet: Cerberus.
Region: Cerberus sector.

Death Guard vs Astra Militarum: Cadian.
2000 points.
Mission: Bunker Assault - Night Fight.
Deployment: Pitched Battle.

This was a major battle in the Cerberus conflict which occurred in the deep equatorial deserts. The lieutenants of Typhus - his Lords of Contagion, has fallen back to a series of fortifications in the desert regions to regroup and resupply. The Imperial leadership ordered a strike on the fleeing enemy forces. It was a savage battle which saw thousands slain on both sides.

Welcome to my latest battle report. As you read it will come across as a little one-sided but it was still a really fun game. There were rules forgotten and some unintentional cheating by yours truly but it's not a big deal. I'll just need to remember for next time.

Ashleigh was my opponent this week and he had asked to do a Bunker Assault mission with his Astra Militarum as the attacker. I'm always up for that and when he added Night Fighting I was even more pleased. I need more opponents willing to play the battle zones. I had fully expected to face a sizable tank division probably including a super heavy and I was not disappointed.

As per the mission rules I set the table up. I tried to be fair on terrain but I did could have perhaps done a bit more. I wanted a fun game so it's all good. I deployed first. Only stratagem I used was a mission specific one which gave my Chaos Bastion a +1 armour save. I tried to spread my armoured vehicles along my line so that I could try either draw fire or try to whittle down the various tanks. Ashleigh made a nice line with various Lemun Russ tanks and centerpiece was a mighty Shadowsword. Pretty much I had expected. Also nice to see a named character being played although I'm sure how Creed managed to escape from Trazyn's museum. I knew I wasn't going to win this game but facing something as cool as Creed, Pask and a Shadowsword that made it worthwhile.

My opponent got the first turn and I failed to seize the initiative. Ashleigh's turn was basically vast amount of incoming fire which stripped my bastion down to four wounds and my land raider to just two. Once again the Spotlight stratagem is worth it's weight in gold for this mission. The funniest moment of this turn was the enemy psyker trying to shroud one of the tanks with the power of us mind and almost blowing himself up with a perils. Oh how I laughed. My first turn was quite short. The only movement was two helbrutes which jumped down from the landing platform (just terrain) and tried to get into melta range of a Hellhound. I managed to strip some wounds from it failed to take it out. Everything else fired into the Shadowsword and I was making some headway. One Helbrute went for a charge and was burnt down to the ground by the Hellhound.

As the game went along I pretty much lost one or two tanks a turn. I lost the land raider and my predator first. The vengeance weapon platform was crushed by the Shadowsword in melee. The damage I had managed to inflict was slowly being repaired by an Engineseer following the super heavy around.

Turn three and the Bastion crumbled to the floor. One cultist survived to clamber from the rubble and he ran away in terror. The Shadowsword used another stratagem and it allowed him to roll over my new Plagueburst Crawler (a unit which had done sod all this game!). Firepower from the Lemun Russ tanks killed by plague marines and the defiler. Eventually I all I had Lord of Contagion and a plague champion. Both attempted to assault the Shadowsword and were overwatched by the awesomely powerful volcano cannon! Turn four and I had nothing left on the table.


That was a great game but a frustrating one. So what actually went wrong? Firstly I had forgotten that I had been playing a different detachment than I normally do so I gave myself more command points than I should have had. But since nothing came of them it didn't hurt. I also forgot that the mission gives my bastion an artillery strike! That could have helped so much. I felt like a complete muppet once I got home and realized. I do not think either of these issues would have affected the game though. That Cadian tank list and attendant Astra Militarum rules are just brutal. I was not expecting anything quite so nasty so it was a good job I had expected a loss at the hands of a tank army before we even set up.

Good game. Hopefully next time Ashleigh will play an infantry heavy list so I can see how well they do that as well.

My list was:

+++ New Roster (Warhammer 40,000 8th Edition) +++

++ Spearhead Detachment +1CP (Chaos - Death Guard) ++

+ HQ +

Lord of Contagion: Manreaper

+ Troops +

Chaos Cultists: 9x Chaos Cultist w/ autopistol and brutal assault weapon
. . Cultist Champion: Shotgun

Plague Marines: Icon of Despair
. . Plague Champion: Plague knife, Plasma gun, Power fist
. . 5x Plague Marine w/ boltgun
. . Plague Marine w/ Special Weapon: Plasma gun

Plague Marines: Icon of Despair
. . Plague Champion: Plague knife, Plasma gun, Power fist
. . 5x Plague Marine w/ boltgun
. . Plague Marine w/ Special Weapon: Plasma gun

+ Elites +

Helbrute: Helbrute fist, Multi-melta

Helbrute: Helbrute fist, Multi-melta

+ Heavy Support +

Chaos Land Raider: Combi-melta, Havoc launcher, Twin heavy bolter, 2x Twin lascannon

Chaos Predator: Combi-melta, Havoc launcher, Twin lascannon
. . Two heavy bolters: 2x Heavy bolter

Defiler: Combi-melta, Defiler scourge, Reaper autocannon

Plagueburst Crawler: 2x Entropy cannon, Rothail volley gun

++ Fortification Network (Chaos - Death Guard) ++

+ No Force Org Slot +

Gametype: Matched

+ Fortification +

Imperial Bastion: 4x Heavy bolter, Icarus Lascannon

Vengeance Weapon Batteries
. . Vengeance Weapon Battery: Punisher Gatling Cannon

++ Total: [107 PL, 2000pts] ++

Friday 12 January 2018

Alpha Strike and Smite Spam

Two big issues that are constantly debated on the internet at the present time are Alpha Strike lists and Smite spam. Both perceived issues that have players up in arms.

The idea of an Alpha Strike list is one which has the ability on the first turn to utterly devastate the opposing enemy thus denying them the ability to mount an effective come back. It is mostly done with significant heavy weapons and super-heavy vehicles.

The problem with arguments against this is that in a competitive game or environment this is a perfectly acceptable style of play. Not one that I would endorse especially for casual play. There is a very easy way to get around this however and that is to actually have enough line of sight blocking terrain on the table between you and your opponent. Most games that I have seen just do not have enough of this sort of terrain and there is no wonder that Alpha Strike lists have an easy time of it. Hide your units behind terrain or in it if they fit to get that cover save bonus.  It's not perfect but it will help you survive at least turn one.

As for Smite spam this is a very different kettle of fish. This style of play is about having as many psykers as possible and just throwing out mortal wounds and as very little has a means of stopping that it can quickly burn through units and tanks.

Games Workshop have listened to complaints and have put out a beta-test where this is modified so that each subsequent casting of Smite past the first has a cumulative negative modifier. Unfortunately I don't this is a good way of dealing with it. The every day game of 8th edition is hurt by this in my opinion. Naturally psyker heavy armies such as Aeldari, Thousand Sons, Grey Knights and to an extent Tyranids are all penalized by this. I think that instead of making this a standard rule in the game, that the beta test rule should become a standard in competitive tournament play instead.

There are ways around it anyway if you think about it. Frequently I will include something sacrificial to move ahead, soak up fire and smite, this protecting the rest of your army. In my case it is either poxwalkers or chaos cultists. Poxwalkers preferably because they have disgustingly resilient and have a chance to ignore the mortal wounds. You have to remember that Smite must target the nearest visible enemy unit so keeping something closer than the units you want to keep alive is a good idea.

Ultimately, if you are playing against people whose use this sort of play style outside of a tournament or agreed upon competitive game and you dislike it, just don't play against them. That is my advice. If enough people stop playing against them because of it, they'll either find like-minded players to challenge or they'll change their play style if they want the game. Neither Alpha Strike nor Smite spam are conducive to casual play. Casual players prefer a fun game for both themselves and their opponent.

Wednesday 10 January 2018

Primarchs and Primaris

Warhammer players have always been a vocal group of hobby gamers and usually they are very vocal about things they don't like. Since the release of 8th edition two things (three if you count demands for plastic Sisters of Battle) that seem to be most prevalent are the inclusion of primaris marines and primarchs into the game. Both of which have stirred up debate on both sides of the argument.

The problem with primaris marines seems twofold. Firstly people don't like the size of the miniatures when compared to the regular space marines. Despite years of clamouring for true scale marines this has upset people. My own plague marines have the same problem though, in that the new models are more primaris size and I've had to go out and buy whole new units otherwise my army looks out of scale. I'm not complaining though and you need to remember that primaris are meant to be bigger marines. Not an argument I truly understand.

The bigger issue for people seems to be, oddly, the fluff behind their creation. There are some seriously heated arguments on forums over this. Mostly it seems to boil down to the false idea that only the Emperor of Mankind was genius enough to manipulate the genetic resources to create space marines. These players seem to be forgetting that space marines are simply genetically engineered humans pushed to the extreme. Once Belasarius Cawl gets his hands on the primarch's samples (which he did in the aftermath of the horus heresy, if I'm not mistaken) it would not be difficult to start work on creating a better breed of marine than has been around for the last ten thousand years. Plus, you can take a regular marine and transform them into a primaris - although some die in the process.

I fail to see how that is not in keeping with the established fluff. If you read into it there is nothing that contradicts any of what we already know. Maybe it is just a case that gamers don't like change and it's going to take time for acceptance of these new units.

However, that isn't the only topic of contention. There are also complaints about the inclusion of primarchs into the game. Quite frequently I see rants about the return of "herohammer" and how these characters appear all the time and that it's not fun. If you've read this blog for even just a few entries or battle reports then you'll know that I am an extremely casual player and with that in mind I've got a couple things to share here:

1. Given the choice of an army with or without a special character, I would always say go for it. It's much more fun to see the big heroes and villains on the table rather than generic characters. The same applies to the primarchs. They are strong units but this is 8th edition where even Mortarion can be brought low by enough bolt pistols or cultists with autopistols. I don't think "herohammer" is the same issue that it was 20 odd years ago.

2. With 8th edition the timeline has advanced 100 years or so. We have at last moved into the 42nd millennium and there is something that I think players need to bare in mind:

While we are not having "end times" this is the beginning of the end. Night is falling across the Imperium. Mankind's enemies are circling, licking their blades and preparing to cut our throats. We are no longer playing meaningless battles over airless asteroids, nameless worlds or ruined cities. Games of 8th edition are now playing out the major engagements of the age. Demi-gods and monsters stride across the battlefields of the 42nd millennium like the titans of ancient legend. These are the wars that will save or destroy mankind. We need our greatest heroes and villains leading our forces across the tabletop. The future of Warhammer 40,000 is EPIC!

Don't worry about primarchs and special characters being played. This is the time to play them and enjoy the experience.

Saturday 6 January 2018

Empyric Storm - Fandrel

This was a major land battle between the Death Guard and the invading Tau Empire. The Tau objective was to secure communication and supply lines, enabling them to conduct a major land war against the forces of Chaos. The Death Guard remained largely inactive to begin with, watching the aliens from a distance until the time was right to break the alien plans under their corroded heel.

As the two armies began to open fire upon one another the plaguecasters behind the Death Guard lines began chanting, stirring up the Warp and letting it drift into the real world across the battlefield.

Planet: Fandrel.
Region: Damocles Sector.

Death Guard vs Tau Empire.
1500 points.
Mission: No Mercy - Empyric Storms.
Deployment: Hammer and Anvil.

After a month long break for Christmas I'm back for a whole new year of Warhammer 40K. First game of 2018 was against my friend Adam and his Tau army. He let me pick the mission so I figured we should have a kill mission with one of the new Chapter Approved 2017 battle zones. Something interesting to start the year off.

To start off with Adam had joked that he could do with the Hammer and Anvil deployment because terrain layout would give him some good shots. That was exactly what I rolled and since both ends were fairly much the same I just picked the end nearest to where I had put my stuff down. I think during deployment Adam made a small mistake. I'm not sure whether he knew or not to be fair, but instead of picking the units in reserve to start with, he nominated them at the end of his deployments. If he had done it the other way around, he would have had a better time deciding where to put his units compared to mine. I don't think it made a huge difference really but it may have helped him.

I had the first turn and Adam failed to seize the initiative. To start with I rolled for the empyric storm and got Empyric Foresight giving my daemons rerolls to hit. This only really helped my defiler this turn but a good start. Everything moved forward. Because of where he had placed his Tidewall Gunrig I had my big guns on the left flank moving towards it. All the infantry moved up on the right hugging the cover. As Adam had dropped a Ghostkeel and some Pathfinders into the central ruins, that's where I threw my poxwalkers to hold it in place. I used the blasphemous machines stratagem with the defiler and smashed some wounds from the fortification. Adam pointed out that it needs a crew to fire properly so I blew the fire warriors manning it to hell with the renegade knight. I really expected that to be a lot worse than it actually was.

Adam's turn 1 and he rolled Reality Speeds which didn't help either of us. He didn't moved and instead went straight to shooting. He knocked some wounds from my bloat drone and killed a couple pox walkers but that was it. His dice did not want to know and he failed to get any markerlight hits.

Turn 2 and I rolled the Empyric Shield so we all got a 6+ invulnerable save. At last something that might help the Tau against me. I continued to move up on both flanks. The bloat drone blasted the ghostkeel with gooing acids and I focused on taking out the tidewall because it was kill points. Smite finally came into play and a unit of fire warriors and the ghostkeel suffered some unpleasentness. The poxwalkers then charged in and I lost another one from overwatch and one more I think from being smashed by the battlesuit.

Adam's turn 2 say him roll a pointless Terrors of the Warp result so he kept going. Nothing moved on his side but he decided to drop his riptide and a unit of three battlesuits into my deployment zone. The bloat drone took some more hits. I lost a single plague marine to the battlesuits but the renegade knight's void shields held up under everything the riptide could throw at it. In battle the ghostkeel feel, pulled down by the poxwalkers who then consolidated into the pathfinders hiding behind it.

Turn 3 and I rolled Empyric Terror which reduced leaderships. At this point I think Adam was feeling a sense of he'd already lost. My forces simply continued moving up the table. The cultists stayed put to handle the battlesuits and the renegade knight turned around to handle the riptide. A number of fire warriors fell to two lots of smite and then in the shooting phase I slaughtered loads of his power troops. Between bolterfire and plasmaguns, Adam lost most of what he had sitting in his deployment zone. Somehow the cultists managed to kill a battlesuit and then charged in. The knight blasted the riptide and charged in as well. The poxwalkers finished off the pathfinders in the center if the table and the knight swung the chainsword and dropped the riptide to just one wound! So close! Adam did unfortunately lose a lot of models due to the battleshock and reduced leadership.

On his turn, Adam rolled a storm effect which doubled the strength, toughness and attacks of my plasguecaster. No use to him whatsoever. I wasn't going to get into combat with the plaguecaster though so not so bad. By the end of this turn Adam was down to just his fireblade and hammerhead - that poor tank had done so little all game it was a real shame.

My turn four and I rolled on the table. Adam conceded when it gave me a free unit of 10 plaguebearers. I don't blame him. The game was not in his favour and I felt really bad. He had two models left but all I had lost was a single plague marine and seven poxwalkers. A pyrrhic victory at best. I had won 9vp to his 1.


I felt a bit of a dick at the end because I had taken what I had expecting Adam to field his Stormsurge. I had also hoped that we would have got some better results from the Empyric Storm and we could have seen a Tau psyker or daemon prince on the table. Nothing like that happened.

I also know that Adam was not happy with how his army fairs in the Index book. I agree that they should have a better BS but the markerlights of previous editions were far too good. Unfortunately Adam could not use the new stratagem from Chapter Approved as he never managed to land a single markerlight on my units.


My list for the evening was:

++ Battalion Detachment +3CP (Chaos - Death Guard) ++

+ HQ +

Daemon Prince of Nurgle: Curse of the Leper, Hellforged sword, Wings
. Categories: HQ, Character, Daemon, Monster, Heretic Astartes, Death Guard, Nurgle, Chaos, Daemon Prince, Fly

Malignant Plaguecaster: Curse of the Leper, Putrescent Vitality, The Pandemic Staff
. Categories: Character, Death Guard, HQ, Infantry, Heretic Astartes, Nurgle, Psyker, Chaos, Malignant Plaguecaster

+ Fast Attack +

Foetid Bloat-drone: 2x Plaguespitters, Plague probe
. Categories: Fast Attack, Nurgle, Heretic Astartes, Death Guard, Vehicle, Daemon Engine, Daemon, Fly, Chaos, Foetid Bloat-drone

+ Troops +

Chaos Cultists
. Categories: Troops, Heretic Astartes, Infantry, Death Guard, Nurgle, Chaos, Chaos Cultists
. 14x Chaos Cultist w/ autopistol and brutal assault weapon
. Chaos Cultist w/ special weapon: Heavy stubber
. Cultist Champion: Shotgun

Plague Marines: Icon of Despair
. Categories: Nurgle, Heretic Astartes, Infantry, Chaos, Death Guard, Troops, Plague Marines
. Plague Champion: Boltgun, Plague knife
. 5x Plague Marine w/ boltgun
. Plague Marine w/ Special Weapon: Plasma gun

Plague Marines: Icon of Despair
. Categories: Nurgle, Heretic Astartes, Infantry, Chaos, Death Guard, Troops, Plague Marines
. Plague Champion: Boltgun, Plague knife
. 5x Plague Marine w/ boltgun
. Plague Marine w/ Special Weapon: Plasma gun

Poxwalkers: 15x Poxwalker
. Categories: Troops, Infantry, Nurgle, Death Guard, Chaos, Heretic Astartes, Poxwalkers

+ Heavy Support +

Defiler: Defiler scourge, Reaper autocannon
. Categories: Heavy Support, Daemon, Daemon Engine, Heretic Astartes, Vehicle, Death Guard, Nurgle, Chaos, Defiler

++ Super-Heavy Auxiliary Detachment (Chaos - Questor Traitoris) ++

+ Lord of War +

Renegade Knight: Heavy stubber, Reaper chainsword, Thermal cannon
. Categories: Lord of War, Vehicle, Titanic, Chaos, Questor Traitoris


The boys are back in town!

Surrounded by the damned!

Poxwalkers assaulting the ghostkeel.

Clash of the titans!

Friday 5 January 2018


I've been naughty. I couldn't wait till tomorrow to order my Chaos Daemons codex, so I've accidentally slipped on the buy it button for some plague marines, Festius and chums, and a pair of chaos spawn while I wait. Oops.

Tuesday 2 January 2018

2018 - The Year of Nurgle

Happy New Year everyone. Hope you had a great Christmas and received loads of cool Warhammer products.

Anyone made any gaming resolutions for 2018? For myself I must find the time to paint my Death Guard. No more playing grey plastic armies if I can help it. I also want to get more games in so I don't just have to play down the club on a Thursday night. Lots of missions on my missions list to get through before Games Workshop add even more!

The main thing I am really pleased about for the new year is the release of the all new Chaos Daemons codex so I can at last play my Nurgle daemons alongside my Death Guard. Even better there is a new Great Unclean One model (even if it is a crazy £85! Ouch!) and a Nurgle battletome for Age of Sigmar. Fingers crossed I can play my daemons in AoS with that too!

Here is hoping 2018 is a great year of Warhammer gaming for us all!

Crusade Battles catchup

 It's been a few weeks since I last updated and in that time I have played a further three Crusade games. I am really enjoying playing C...