Saturday, 22 December 2012

Caledonia Uprising 2013

Tim King's Caledonia Uprising was the first tournament I attended after getting back into tournaments in 2011. It's a really cool event and got me hooked into tournament playing. Caledonia 2012 was the venue for my first award (Best Tyranid General) and so I've got high hopes for Caledonia 2013. It is also the venue for an on-going wager with Gill from Ramblings of a Dieting Wargamer. See that banner at the top of the blog, see me at position 53 (my final placing at Caledonia 2011), see Gill's name at position 54? He does, every time he looks at the blog. So I made a bet at Cale 2012 that if he finished higher than me I'd replace the banner, well its still there! So the same wager has been made for Cale 2013 too. So I'd better bring my 'A' game!

At Caledonia this year there are two tournaments in one, there's the main event on Sat / Sun, but there's also a little 1000pts tournament on Friday night. I'm planning to enter them both. I’ll look at the 1000pts tournament in another post because you don’t need to pre-register your army list for it, where as the main event requires army lists to be submitted by the 29th December.

Now Caledonia will also mark the start of my 40 games in 40K. I’m also looking to get some good practise in with the Tyranids prior to Adepticon so I can give my best performance in the US. I’ve learnt a few lessons from taking the swarm to the GT heat and Blog wars as well as listening to a few podcasts. It seems, in the UK at least, people are quoting the Tyranids as one of the top flight armies at the moment, along with Wraith-wing and Screamer / Flamer spam. So I’ve a lot to live up to.

There have been a few changes I’m marking to the army list I used at the previous tournaments. There are still a couple of musts, two flying Tyrants and two Tervigons. I had considered swapping out one of the Tyrants for the Swarmlord and I may still do so for another tournament but for the moment I’ll keep the utility of the Tyrants. I have given them both an upgrade. One has got Old Adversary, giving preferred enemy to units within 6” of him is useful to boast the devour armed Gaunts. As long as I plan a little ahead I should be able to make sure the Tyrant can fly to where ever the spore pod lands. Plus it makes the Tyrant more effective too.

The Warlord Tyrant has picked up Hive Commander. For most games this will increase the chance of the Doom and the Devourer Gaunts from coming in on turn two. Also, given that he doesn’t have to be on the board to gain the benefit (unlike Lictors for example) so against Daemons I can put both my Tyrants in reserve to avoid them dying to their alpha strike. It would also allow me to put a troop choice into outflank, but not being able to assault from reserves has rendered this a little pointless.

The Gargoyles also picked up toxin sacs to allow them to bring down monstrous creatures. In a lot of the tournament games I’ve played they’ve ended up charging Daemon Princes, Dread Knights or for that matter toughness 4 Space Marines. Giving them poisonous attacks means they can do some damage to the unit while they tar pit it.

I’m also trying a unit of Biovores. Their barrage weapons mean they can snipe out special weapons, icons and possibly characters too. They can’t reliably take out an IC due to their 2+ ‘look out sir’ roll but a none independent character has to get lucky to pass off all the wounds. Plus with a fairly strong large blast template it’s another tool to whittle down Imperial Guard blob squads.

All this costs points and so there have been some deductions from the army. First off is I’ve dropped a Zoanathrope. I’m hoping a unit of two will still give me some of the utility powers I need. I’ve also dropped the onslaughts from the Tervigons. The plan here is to roll the psychic powers for the Tyrants and Zoanathropes first, if they pick up some decent powers I’d be tempted to swap the Tervigons too, if I don’t get at least 1 Endurance on the Zoanthropes I’ll leave at least one of the Tervigons on their codex powers for the feel no pain.

I’ve also had to drop a few Gaunts and Gargoyles from the various units. I’m a little concerned that I’ve reduced the number of starting models in the army which will limit my ability to bubble wrap during deployment. It was a tactic that proved very useful vs. first turn drops such as Daemons and Drop Pods. If I get first turn or against normal reserves I get at least one turn of spawning from the Tervigons before they land. Fingers cross I’ve not reduced my model count too much.

So the army I am proposing to take to Caledonia 2013 is;-

HQ1 - Hive Tyrant: Wings, Twin Linked Devourers, Hive Commander [285]
HQ2 - Hive Tyrant: Wings, Twin Linked Devourers, Old Aversary        [285]
Troop1 – Tervigon: Catalyst, Adrenal Glands, Toxin Sacs [195]
Troop2 – Tervigon: Catalyst, Adrenal Glands, Toxin Sacs [195]
Troop3 – Gaunts: 11 Gaunts [55]
Troop4 – Gaunts: 10 Gaunts [50]
Troop5 – Gaunts: 15 Gaunts with Devourers in Spore [190]
Elite1 - Hive Guard: 3 Hive Guard [150]
Elite2 - DOOM!: Doom in Spore [130]
Elite3 – Zoanthropes: 2 Zoanthropes [120]
Fast1 – Gargoyles: 15 Gargoyles with Toxin Sacs [105]
Heavy1 – Biovores: 2 Biovores [90]

The other thing I hoping to do is remember all the little tricks and rules I've been forgetting in previous games. Some of theses are
  • Rolling for my zoanthropes powers before the Tervigons as mentioned above.
  • Challenging with my Tyrants if I charge a smaller unit to ensure I don't break it in 1 round of combat.
  • The precise shots from my Tyrants.  
 Well I'll post again with my thoughts on the 1000pts army lists, but until then Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and Yaay I survived the Mayan apocalypse!

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Tyranids vs..... Daemons

Ok I thought I'd have a go at writing up some theory hammer tactics against Daemons, currently one of the bad boys on the block. No I'm no expert on Daemons (or Tyranids for that matter) but I've been doing a little reading and listening to some podcasts and I'm using this post to gather my thoughts and hopefully some tactics. Feedback is always welcome and hopefully I'll report back once I've tried some of these.

Flying Circus
There are two Daemon lists doing the round at the moment. One is Daemon flying circus which is typically 5 flying monstorous creatures (Fateweaver, Bloodthirster and three Daemon Princes).  I've faced this type of army twice at Blog Wars and once at the GT heat alone in the last 3 months. The tactic for this one is fairly straight forward. After buying 5 monstorous creatures and 4 troop choices the Daemon player won't have that many points left over for other stuff, so all their punch in in these 5 big guys. The trick is to get them on the ground and then keep them locked in combat with Gaunt tar pits, who slowly pull them down with poison, whilst the Flying Tyrants hunt the troop choices. Getting them to land is where the problem arises.

Against this army going second is probably best. It doesn't have such a large alpha strike at other builds and you don't want to loose any turns to kill those big guys. The Bloodthirster will almost always be the first to land. It has little damage output at range and relies heavily on its close combat powers. If it arrives in the Daemons preferred wave on turn one chances are it will stop swooping turn 2 to charge something. If all your juicy creatures are well bubble wrapped (and with at least one additional spawn of Gaunts they should be) he will either try to open a gap in the Gaunts using the firepower of the other or simply charge the Gaunts. Once he's down it's a fixed point on the battlefield.

 Now either Fateweaver needs to stay near the Bloodthrister or he'll loose the reroll on armour saves. If Fateweaver and the rest of the circus continue to swoop they will be forced to move off, we'll have to look to bring them down another way, but the Bloodthrister is a lot easier to kill. If Fateweaver land in order to stay near the Warlord (remember Fateweaver is NEVER the army's warlord if there's another HQ choice), chances are the rest of the circus will land too. At which point tar pit them down and use poison gaunts and Doom! to bring them down. Remember to keep the Doom away from anyone with the boon of mutation power (like Fateweaver) as its a fairly simple way for them to kill him.

If the circus continues to fly around you'll probably have to ground them. In theory four units of six or more Gaunts will cause a flying creature to down more often then not. Remeber the guns don't have to be big to cause the downing test. Once again, once you've down a creature pin it to the floor in combat. Eventually you'll have enough of the creatures pinned down the other will land to help out.
 Mean while his troop choices are being hunted by the Tyrants. Sound simple doesn't it. So far I've won once and narrowly lost twice using this process.

Screamer / Flamer Spam
Now this is the real bad boy of Daemons, typically three large units of screamers and three large units of flamers. Fateweaver and The Masque as HQ.  Against once these have been bought and 3 - 4 troop units there's not a huge number of points left from 1850. The threat here is all about those six units. Deal with them and you've taken the teeth from the army, but that's not easy. Unlike other Daemons builds assaulting isn't as easy. No Gaunt unit will survive a charge into Flamers and screamers come with a lot of attacks. My tactic here, and at the moment its purely theoretical, is to reserve the "killer" units. In theory if you can trade your killer units for his and you start he'll run out first. In my army the killer units are;-
  • Two Flyrants (or poss One and Swarmlord)
  • Doom
  • Devilgaunts in Pod

I've four of these so hopefully if I can get an early lead, even if he's killing one of my killers for each of his I'll win the war (lets not forget I'm also producing more units while this is happening) and even Gaunt fleshborer fire can kill these Daemons, even more so if you've enfeebled their toughness a little. So holding these units in reserve means they're safe from his alpha strike and can hopefully come on turn two and start hitting the killer units in his army. Giving one Tyrant Hive Commander should increase the chances of all the killers coming on in turn two to maximise the affect.

Bonus tactic
One final tactic I've yet to try is Deathleaper, in theory his minus D3 to leadership applied to Fateweaver dramatically increases the chance he'll blink out from the first wound. Its a little situational but could be fun, plus Deathleaper is a good option for taking Line Breaker.

Well that's it for my first attempt at a tactics post, once I've had an oppotunity to try some of these out I'll report back, but in the mean time any comments or suggestions are always welcome.

Monday, 3 December 2012

Blog Wars IV

This weekend saw me attending Blog Wars 4, potentially my last tournament of 2012 (and definitely my last with Nids in 2012 as for the Garrison Doubles I’ll have to use Marines to pair with Bennett). Blog Wars is the first one day event I've been two outside of the 1000pts tournaments held during Vapnatak in York. It was held at the Eye of the Storm Gaming Centre in Mansfield. I had to submit my army list the day before the GT round, so I ended up using the same list, without the opportunity to apply any of the learning’s I’d got from the 6 games at the GT. However Blog Wars was down as a more friendly event and with no Forge World allowed shouldn't be quite so harsh. To recap the army list was ;-

HQ1: Flying Hive Tyrant with 2 twin linked devourers - 260pts
HQ2: Flying Hive Tyrant with 2 twin linked devourers - 260pts
TROOP: Tervigon,  cluster spine, adrenal glands, toxin sacs, catalyst, onslaught - 210pts
TROOP: Tervigon,  cluster spine, adrenal glands, toxin sacs, catalyst, onslaught - 210pts
TROOP: 16 Gaunts - 80pts
TROOP: 16 Gaunts - 80pts
TROOP: 16 Gaunts with devourers & Mycetic Spore   - 200pts
FAST: 15 Gargoyles - 90pts
ELITE: 3 Hive Guard - 150pts
ELITE: 3 Zoanthropes - 160pts
ELITE: DOOM! in Spore - 130pts

Blog Wars had one special rule. The army must include a unique character and in each mission there were special benefits to them. In the first two games he was scoring, in the last he gave up a bonus VP if killed. For the Tyranids it was the Doom!, had I thought about it I may have swapped one of the Fly-rants for the Swarmlord.

Blog Wars was using a gradient VP system where the number of tournament points you score depends on the scale of your victory. Tyranids aren’t brilliant at this as we often end up scraping wins based on missions rather than out and out tabling opponents.

Game 1 – Crusade (5 objectives) / Steve Henderson Vanguard  vs.   Daemons

So, first game and its daemons! It was more flying circus rather than the screamer / flamer spam version, but there were some of those. There was Fateweaver (obviously), a Bloodthirster, 3 Daemon Prince with wings. There 4 scoring units, two 5 man horrors, two 5 man plague bearers and topped off with two 5 man flamers and a three man Screamer unit. I know from previous experience against the flying circus its all about grounding the flyers, either by shooting or my tempting them down to charge or manoeuvring  so there’s nowhere for them to fly to given their movement and turning restrictions. Once they’re on the ground they can be tar pitted down with Gaunts and slowly poisoned to death.  With only four small scoring units the other tactic is to hunt them down, and this job was assigned to the Hive Tyrants. 

I lost the roll for first turn and was forced to go first, this meant there were no Daemons on the board for my first turn. I took the opportunity to spread out and spawn more Gaunts to increase the footprint of the army to reduce landing points. I bubble wrapped my big creatures so none of the wound on 4+ flamer templates can reach them.   

Steve went for some fairly risky deep strikes with his flamers, one worked the other sent the unit back into reserve. Fateweaver, Bloodthirster and one of the Daemon Princes landed near the line. The Gaunts faced the worst of the firing from the flamers and flying creatures. The rest of the game was pretty much down to what I’d planned. The Flying Tyrants and Gargoyles picked on the Daemon troops as they landed. Twelve twin linked Str6 devourer shot were pretty much picking off a unit per turn with firing, sometimes needing the Gargoyles to finish off a unit. Meanwhile the flying Daemons were causing some pain in my own line, but one by one they landed to either assault or charge. After which they never took off again as Gaunt tar pits locked them up. The doom did his usual trick of landing, taking a wound or two off the Ld10 Daemons before a bolt of change tapped him out. By the end of turn 4 Steve only had a single pink horror left from his troop choices (due to a lucky save roll against a Tyrant torrent, many of his monstrous creatures were stuck in combat with fearless Gaunts and his flamers had all been killed, unfortunately we ran out of time and that one pink horror was stood next to an objective. In the end I lost the game by 1 point as Steve had picked up first blood (we both held one objective). The game of “what if” is an endless question of possibilities but I do feel that with the extra turn five I would have been able to kill the last horror to deny him all objectives whilst holding most of the rest of his army in place for the win. So it was a little bitter result but it was a really enjoyable game and that’s what matters.

Game 2 – Relic / Hammer and Anvil vs. Nathaniel Gibbs (Grey Knights)


Nathaniel had a really nice painted army, it was based around a custodes theme and running under the Grey Knights codex. It featured a Dread Knight, a couple of units of Strikes, one interceptors and a large unit of Terminators, an inquisitor lord and Corteaz. There’s a couple of worries there, Warp Quake from the Strikes and Interceptors can really spoil my Spore drops. The Dread Knight has a nasty flamer attack which could also cause a lot of issues for me, however it’s the relic mission and I’ve got first turn which mean Tervigon spawn and move Gaunts means I can be controlling the Relic by the end of my turn. It forces one Tervigon to set up aggressively on the front line, but since one of them had rolled Iron Arm I wasn’t that worried. Nathaniel sets up and actually sets up everything a few inches back off the front line, which I think was a mistake based on the single objective of the mission.

Turn one goes pretty much as planned. Eleven Gaunts capture the objective and even manage to have Endurance cast on them. (Both spawning and casting take place at the start of the movement phase so I get to choose the order they happen.) . The rest of the army advances up trying to get in front of the holding unit to give them some protection.  Sure enough, in Nathaniel’s first turn a lot of the firepower was directed at the unit holding the relic and shot it off the table. However one big aspect of this game was that one of the three Warp Quake units on his left flank fail their leadership test, this leaves a large section of the board not covered by this nasty power. However here I made a MASSIVE mistake and firstly landed the Doom in range of his Terminator unit, however I didn’t remember Corteaz despite having spent a lot of the lunch hour talking with a friend after he got caught in the same way. So the Doom take 8 storm bolters and 2 psy-cannons in the face and dies. Quickly learning from this the Devilgaunts drop a little further away and survived. At the same time the psychic choir reduced the unit down to T2 before all the devourers from gaunts and Tyrants opened up. Six terminators fell to the mass fire of the Tyranids and in the following turn they retreated back. This gave me the opening I needed as a Tervigon moved onto the relic, picked it up and started to head off back into my deployment zone. His Dread Knight did teleport onto my flank but was quickly locked in combat by a gaunt squad and slowly dragged down. The rest of the game was basically Gaunts being thrown forward to slow down the advancing Grey Knights whilst the Tervigon slinked off to the back of my deployment zone with the Relic. My warlord hive tyrant pretty much legs it to the back of the board to ensure he can’t score Slay the Warlord, as he’s scored first blood. However in the end it didn’t matter as I held the objective as well as picking up Line Breaker.

Game 3 – Purge the Alien / Dawn of War vs. Dave Halfpenny (Daemons)

 Final game and it was another Daemon player. Again more flying circus than flamer / screamer spam.  However this one’s had only two Daemon Princes along some Bloodletters, Seekers and a Soul Grinder. The deployment was pretty much the same, large foot print expanding quickly. Wait for the  flyers to land and then pounce. Once again the plan was flawlessly executed. All his flyer eventually landed either because they want to get into combat in the case of the BloodThirster or because they’d run out of places to fly with only a 90 degree turn. Once down they were jumped on by gaunt tar pits. However this game was lost on a single dice roll, but before we get to that other moments.

The Doom was turned into a Spawn by Fateweaver and the Gargoyles failed to charge the Soul Grinder to lock it in combat earlier in the game (eventually a unit of Gaunts managed to do this to keep him out of firing all game. The Bloodthirster and a Daemon Prince were killed and Fateweaver was reduced to one wound. However once more we were running late and declare turn 5 to be the last turn without rolling. Then with almost the last action of the game Fateweaver attempted to spawn a Tervigon. I needed anything but a 6 to avoid this and guess what….. I failed. With the Tervigon dying two on the nearby units of Gaunts also died to the special damage they take and also got wiped out. This caused a 3 point swing to the Daemons in VPs. If the game had continued I’m fairly certain I’d have been able to grab the win back. Fateweaver was locked in combat with over 20 poison Gaunts and on a single wound and there were two lone spawn who would be easy to take out with my Tyrants, plus my Devilgaunts were almost in range of another small troop choice, but it wasn’t to be and I lost by one point.

Overall I finished in the middle of the table with 1 good win, and two marginal losses. Mid table obscurity achieved.

Stuff to remember / Improve

  • I need to try to speed up. Tyranids need the full 5 turns to make back ground in some missions where their attrition advantage of spawning more Gaunts starts to take advantage. In two of my three games we had to call the game early. 
  • The Hive Tyrants are characters and can therefore allocate their targets on 6s to hit. Don’t think it would have made a huge different against the Daemons, but could have picked psy-cannons  out of other squads in game two.
  • Remember that if you drop a squad to T2 you will instant kill characters if they take a wound.
  • Watch out moving monstrous creatures within 6” of Fateweaver, there’s no reason my Tervigon should have been in range (OK, so the Doom has to)
  • At least one Tyrant with Old Adversary.
  • I’m thinking of dropping down to 2 Zoanthropes to free up a few points.
  • The Gargoyles definitely need poison.
  • Playing against 2 Fateweavers I’m thinking I may give Deathleaper a try, to lower his Ld for those test.  It also don’t hurt to lower Psykers and Generals down from other armies to get them running off the board.
  • I need to paint more Gaunts, twice I had to stop spawning Gaunts because I simply ran out of models. I take 60 to the tournament, 32 of which are on the board to start. 28 more for spawning isn’t enough, I need to paint another 20. 
Oh and a shameless plug for my first ever appearance on a podcasts. If you don’t listen to the 40K UK podcasts, why not? But episode 54 of the podcast (released on the 2nd December ) features my game versus Dave Symcox at the GT heat, even if the team get my surname wrong … twice, and refer to this blog as above average (which if I ever start performing better I may have to rename it to), and you even get to hear my dull tones in a post-match interview. So I’d pop along to , I’d recommend the podcast for anyone into 40K as it’s very informative on the UK meta as well as tactics for dealing with and used by many of the top players in the UK.

Monday, 26 November 2012

40 games of 40K - 2013

I’m formulating an odd plan for the start of 2013 and my 40k gaming. It’s to play 40 Games of 40k using the same codex in the first half of 2013. Over the 40 Games I must try using every unit or special character in the codex.  The games only count if they are detailed in a blog write-up. This will hopefully encourage me to play more game as well as getting a lot of practise with the Tyranids. It will hopefully mean more content on the blog and some useful tips and tactics for other Tyranid player. My hope is also that people leave comments around other tactics that I might want to try out as well as agreeing with just how terrible the Pyrovore is.

Some of these games will be from tournament I’m attending in the first half of 2013 (Caledonia Uprising, Adepticon, Vapnatak and the GT final), I’ll probably not use some of the more odd units as I’ll want a vaguely competitive army (so no Pyrovores at Adepticon.), but I hope to mix it up a little, whilst the remaining will be more friendly games at Garrison and friend’s houses. There may be a little bit of proxy’ing of some of the worst models as I don’t really fancy buying some models which I’ll never use again.

Still looking to get a good format on how to write up battle reports. Turn by turn write ups take a lot of time and also rely on my memory recalling exactly what happened in each turn. I’m thinking I’ll go with a more summary based report, but also spend a little time in the wrap up discussing a unit which has been used for the first time. I’d also like to cover any tactics I’d used which work and tactics that didn’t and draw out any mistakes I made or changes I’d make with the wonders of hindsight. 

So starting on 1st Jan I give you 

40 Games of 40K (in 6 month)  

(ok so the banner needs some work) 

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Could Tyranid Warriors work?

So with all the changes for 6th and the shifting meta I was wondering, might Tyranid Warriors be viable? At the recent tournament I was at there were a number of opponents who just didn't have str8 weapons. Sure the vendettas will kill them, but there seems to be a shift to str7 guns. At which point the warriors are not getting instant death'ed. I'm wondering if a Tyranid gun line with Warriors with deathspitters, supported by devil- gaunts and maybe a Trygon? It would be a hell of a lot of shooting at 18" range? Thoughts.

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

40k GT Qualifying Heat 3

So this weekend gone I was at the 40K UK GT qualifying heat in Warrington. If you've read my previous posts (and if you're new here, Hi) you'll know I swapped back to my Hive Fleet Krogoth Tyranid army. It did mean a little bit of quick painting to fill in some of the gaps in my 5th edition army.

The list I chose to take was ;-
   HQ1: Flying Hive Tyrant with 2 twin linked devourers - 260pts
   HQ2: Flying Hive Tyrant with 2 twin linked devourers - 260pts
   TROOP: Tervigon,  cluster spine, adrenal glands, toxin sacs, catalyst, onslaught - 210pts
   TROOP: Tervigon,  cluster spine, adrenal glands, toxin sacs, catalyst, onslaught - 210pts
   TROOP: 16 Gaunts - 80pts
   TROOP: 16 Gaunts - 80pts
   TROOP: 16 Gaunts with devourers & Mycetic Spore   - 200pts
   FAST: 15 Gargoyles - 90pts
   ELITE: 3 Hive Guard - 150pts
   ELITE: 3 Zoanthropes - 160pts
   ELITE: DOOM! in Spore - 130pts

It heavily relies on the psychic potential of the army, there's a lot of Biomancy in the army looking for Iron Arms and Warp Speed on the Tyrants to make them stronger, Enfeebles and Endurance on the support psykers.

Game1 - Hammer and Anvil / Crusade vs. Robert Kancidrowski (Necrons)
 Robert was using a fairly standard Necron list. Couple of squads of Necrons in Doom Scythes, one unit of warriors on foot, couple of units of Wraiths, two Annhilation Barges, Unit of Scarabs, 3 Spiders one with gloom thingy. The game was a fairly straight forward battle plan. The Winged Tyrants flew forward as a pair to unleash hell and the rest of the army advance to get into combat. The main star of the match was my rolls for which biomancy each psyker had. Of the seven in my army, five had enfeeble, and boy did it show. Wraiths reduced to T1 and then instant killed by Gaunts in CC, along with the spiders. It was a fairly compreshensive beat down which ended with my Tervigons claiming two objectives along with Line breaker, first blood and slay the warlord.

Game2 - Dawn of War / The Relic vs. Chris Dickinson (Tyranids)
Game two saw me pitched against Chris. Chris is a long standing Tyranid player and someone I’ve found very helpful when chatting about Tyranid tactics and army composition. Chris has also always been a champion for the Tyranids even in their dark days of competitiveness, where he would still put in a fair placing with them. Last month he managed to win a 40man tournament with them also, so this was going to be a real test.
Chris’ army was broadly the same as mine. Two flying Tyrants, two Tervigons, two Gaunt units, Deathleaper, three Hive Guard, two devourer armed Carnifexes and a minimum size Genestealer squad with Broodlord.

I won the roll to go first and deployed with the intention of spawning a gaunt unit and heading straight for the relic. In theory with a 6” spawn, 6” move I could make it to the relic at the end of turn one. Additional Guant units were primed to run past the relic to screen them from a counter charge….. then Chris seized on me.

Relic often comes down to the secondary missions and this one was no different. I was lucky that most Tyranid firepower is short range and therefore going first Chris couldn’t get his firebases unit into range. For my attempt on first blood, both Tyrants, Hive Guard, and Gaunts fired on the unit of his Gaunts which had run onto the relic, killing them all ……… but one. In turn two Chris finished off a unit of my Gaunts to claim the valuable victory point.

As expected the rest of the game was a gaunt on gaunt counter charge. One unit would move onto the relic, typically by running and therefore not actually claiming it, only to be shot off or assaulted off the relic the next term, During the whole game only a single three Gaunt squad of mine actually managed to claim the relic before being charged by a Tyrant and Tervigon. The game was dominated by very slow movement, multiple three dice difficult terrain tests for the Gaunts moving into the ruins the relic was at the centre of resulted in two or three inch movements and his Genestealers even managed to fail a 4” charge through difficult terrain despite having a reroll due to fleet.

The game ended rather rushed as we only managed four turns due to volume of movement and even then turn four was very rushed. At the final whistle, Chris had first blood and slay the warlord. I only had linebreaker, neither of us controlled the relic. So it was a win to Chris in what was a fun game of Tyranids on Tyranids.

Game3 - Vangaurd / Big Guns vs. Dave Symcox (Imperial Guard)
Game three saw me face off against what must be one of the worst matchups for my army, with the possible exception of Dark Eldar poison spam. I was facing Dave Symcox, the man behind the UK 40k podcast (well worth subscribing to on iTunes if you don’t already, not least because in a fortnight you’ll get to hear my dull tones in a post-game interview.)
Dave uses Guard and he was the Guard player on the winning England ETC team this year. His army was also taking full advantage of the allowed Forgeworld units. He had two units of three Hydra platforms, two units of three heavy stubber Sabre Defence Platforms, two units of three autocannon Sabre Defence Platforms, 3 Vendetta, a Manticore and a handful of IG units. Basically his firing was all twin linked with skyfire and interceptor and was either a AV10 vehicle or a T7 artillery unit. This combine with the deployment allowing him to open up an near 36” gap between me and him and that he won first turn, it was going to take an act of god to win this one.

In his first turn Dave managed to destroy my Gargoyles and take 12 Gaunts from one of my units. This level of carnage pretty much continued for the majority of the game. The only real reason it went to the full five round was that I’d rolled endurance on five of my psykers and one of the mysterious objective turned out to be a scatterfield giving the Gaunt unit hiding in the area terrain a 4+ cover save. The only ray of hope was the Doom, but he would have to run the interceptor gauntlet, if he could survive the torrent of fire, his life leech would bypass the Sabre Defence Platforms high toughness and because the Guard were tightly packed into their corner his Str10 large blast had the potential to cause major destruction. Both pods attempted to land on the extreme of his army line with the hope that target saturation might have some benefit, sadly it didn’t. Dave had no Str8 interceptor fire, but the two stubber platforms managed to take the Doom down by sheer volume of fire.

In the end the game was a white wash. I only manage to kill 1 sabre crew and a Vendetta, whilst losing the whole army save for the Hive Guard who were hiding in an LOS blocking set of ruins. That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy the game. Dave is a great opponent and gracious in victory. With hindsight I should probably have held more in reserve in the hope of overwhelming the interceptors. Two tyrants, two pods, a Tervigon and Gargoyle screen all coming on at the same time may have meant more of them survive to make contact with the enemy, especially since my commander trait was to reroll reserves. 


Game4 - Hammer and Anvil   / The Emperor's Will vs. Alberto Hernandez (Daemons / CSM)
The start of Day two and things weren’t looking good for qualifying. I’d only one win so far and so could do with at least two more today. I’d faced one of my horror lists, the Guard Forgeworld spam, so I was a little upset when I saw I was facing Daemons. However it wasn’t the all killing Screamer / Flamer spam which is dominating many of the tournaments at the moment, but the slightly older build of monstrous flying spam.

Alberto had brought with him (all the way from Spain to take part), Fateweaver, Bloodthirster, two winged Daemon Princes and four units of plague bearers. His CSM allies were 10 cultists and another Daemon Prince, so that’s five T5 or T6 flying monstrous creatures with re-rollable 3+/5+ saves. I’m not sure why he wanted a Prince from the CSM codex rather than taking a third from the Daemon’s heavy support though.  Unless I could ground the flyers I’d struggle to kill that many flyers. Meanwhile it was clear that the Plague Bearers and Cultists were going to huddle behind his Aegis defence line to hold his home objective.

The first couple of turns were fairly cat and mouse. The Tervigons spawned multiple Gaunts units which spread out to cover a large proportion of the board. This had the effect of limiting the places the flying creatures could swoop to, given their movement requirement to move 12” to 24” per turn. In my turn two the none warlord Tyrant broke off from the group and zoomed down the board to assault Alberto’s home objective, supported by the devourer armed Gaunts landing in their spore. Their combined firepower broke the cultists and killed 4 Plague Bearers defending his home objective.

Turn three was the turning point. The Bloodthirster had landed the turn before and charged the Gargoyles and was now bogged down fighting the fearless winged Gaunts. The arrival of the pod behind his flying circus required him to re-task one of the Daemon Princes to take care of them, whilst also keeping the majority of the models within Fateweaver’s bubble. The only solution to the maneuverers required was to land, and hence all four remaining monstrous creatures touched down. Seizing on this the Tyranids pounced. Gaunt units charge ever monstrous creature they could reach, whilst the Tervigons moved up to extend their toxin sac coverage to as many combats as possible. Fateweaver was charged by one of the Tyrants. The ensuing combats saw Fateweaver take a wound and then fail his leadership test and vanish. Meanwhile, although the Princes were killing 3-4 Gaunts a round, the Tervigons kept topping up the combats with fresh bodies whilst the poison attacks from the Gaunts were slowly dragging the Princes to their knees.

By turn five all the Daemon Princes were dead and the Bloodthirster was left on a single wound. My home objective had never seriously come under threat as the swooping creatures could make it across the Gaunt carpet to get near and Alberto was using his Plaguebearers to bolster his home objective. However this was now under pressure from a Tyrant, Tervigon and two packs of Gaunts. I gambled that there would be a turn six by not landing my Tyrant to contest his objective and it didn’t pay off. However I had first blood and linebreaker so won the game 5 – 3 on victory points.

Game5 - Vanguard / Purge The Alien vs Sean Morris (Marines)
Going into game five I needed one more win to have a reasonable chance of qualifying. Kill points (in old school terms) isn’t a strong mission, I’ve only got 13 possible points in the army, but it limits the number of Gaunts I can spawn in the game. Sean was using a heavy drop pod list. Three dreadnoughts in drop pods, two tactical squads with pods, two attach bikes with multi melta, Thunderfire cannon, 5 scouts, two autolas predators, Lysander and Vulkan He'stan. 

Sean admitted that his army was a 5th edition make up he hadn't really converted accross to 6th and I think it did show a little. Lone attack bikes give up first blood fairly easily and so it was that Sean place one bike with 42" of my Hive Tyrants who promptly shot accross the board and torrented it off the board. Despite my Gaunts spreading out to try to cover as much of my side to protect from drop pods, Sean managed a very ballsy drop which resulted in Vulkan and his tactical squad landing behind my lines, there was still a Gaunt screen preventing him from getting to my big creatures but that many flamers that close to Gaunts isn't good. However in turn two I took a commanding lead by picking on vehicles. Hive Guard shot a Dreadnought, my Tervigon charge a drop pod, whilst my Tyrants flew beind the Predators and took them out from their rear armour. Sean was unlucky in the fact that a lot of the Gaunt squads he fired upon were left on a couple of Gaunts who immediately ran for cover to avoid giving up their kill points. I basically picked on his drop pods crushing all of them under monstrous creatures. Combined with taking out both bikes and the predators meant Sean couldn't catch me.

Game6 - Dawn of War / The Scouring vs James Ramsey (Grey Knights / Imperial Guard)
James has also played a lot of Tyranids and so knows a lot of its tricks. James' army was very shooty, it contained three 10man Strike Squads, a 50man Guard blob, three units of acolytes, a couple of characters and five heavy bolter razorback. 

Basically this was a game about killing the blob before it killed me. Each turn it "first rank, second rank" 'ed and then fired on a unit which disappeared in a hail of las fire. My Tervigons fired their Cluster Spines into the blob on most turns often killing 10 - 15 of them, but they just wouldn't die. Weirdly I got a taste of my usual medicine when my Tyrant got tar pitted by a unit of 12 acolytes with a character making them stubborn leadership 10. There was one silly mistake when I realised that 32 of my gaunts were happily wandering up one flank of the board without a synapse creature, sadly James also spotted this and they both promptly ran off the board. 

James' army cut me to pieces, but the Tervigons saved the day, stomping onto two of the midfield objectives to combine with the one in my deployment zone for a close win.

So overall I finished 10th out of 55 people. It was a great tournament and a good moral boost after my run of terrible luck in 6th edition.

Improvements and Learnings
There are a few things I need to change ;-
  • The Gargoyles could do with an upgrade, I'm leaning towards toxin sacs to give them poison. It would allow them to fly into a monstrous creature and take it down. 
  • I need to watch my synapse bubble. I tend to run the Tyrants in a pair, it adds to their effectiveness, but it limits the number of bubbles, there was a couple of times when either Gargoyles or the drop gaunts were out of synapse and broke and ran. 
  • I think I'll consider Old Adversary on one of both of my Tyrants to give them preferred enemy, possibly at the expense of dropping one of the powers from the Tervigon and the odd gaunts.
  • I'm still not 100% convinced by the Doom, he can win a game but he's also not reliable. In at least half my games he was killed the turn he landed by a strength 8 shot.

Friday, 16 November 2012

The new look Tyranids

So this weekend sees my participation in the GT2013 qualifier heat, followed by Blog Wars IV a fortnight after. I personally don't hold out much hope for qualifying for the GT final, I'm struggling with 40k at the moment. I'm at least hoping for 2-3 wins and 4-5 nice, fun games. I expect to have at least 1 game against some form of Forge World spam where all I do is shovel my army off the board, but if the rest of the games are fun it won't be a wasted weekend.

It's my first time at Blog Wars and I'm led to believe its a slightly more friendly one day event. I've ended up taking the same army to both tournaments, but this is more because I don't think it's a A* Net List which would be out of place at a friendlier tournament.

So anyway, the army list. I didn't want to over think the army list, I think that was probably the mistake with the Space Marine lists, I took units I knew were powerful, models I like the look of (I really love my Tervigon conversion) and Psykers. Divination is a strong psychic power deck, but Tyranids don't get access to it, however Biomancy is a tricksy deck. Knocking people's toughness down to T3 ot T2 helps with the gaunts firing and CC, but it can also be used to reduce T5 or T6 models to T4 or even T3 where Impaler cannons can tap them out. There's a nasty trick of reducing a unit down to T1 if you've enough Enfeebles and slap a Haemorage, or the extreme version is to drop it to 0 and just remove the whole unit. Massive 40 man IG blob on your objective, slap three enfeebles on them and just watch as the whole unit keels over dead. I just want to pull that off once in one of these two tournaments, it would be hilarious.

The army list is;-

HQ1: Flying Hive Tyrant with 2 twin linked devourers - 260pts

HQ2: Flying Hive Tyrant with 2 twin linked devourers - 260pts
TROOP: Tervigon,  cluster spine, adrenal glands, toxin sacs, catalyst, onslaught - 210pts
TROOP: Tervigon,  cluster spine, adrenal glands, toxin sacs, catalyst, onslaught - 210pts
TROOP: 16 Gaunts - 80pts
TROOP: 16 Gaunts - 80pts
TROOP: 16 Gaunts with devourers & Mycetic Spore   - 200pts
FAST: 15 Gargoyles - 90pts
ELITE: 3 Hive Guard - 150pts
ELITE: 3 Zoanthropes - 160pts
ELITE: DOOM! in Spore - 130pts

That's 8 different psykers with a total of  17 powers (not that I ever swap the DOOM!s ability for biomancy). Its got a huge synapse bubble and a couple of flyers. I think the issue with the army is going to be practise. In the 3 games I've used it with there hasn't been one where I haven't messed something up. Not cast a blessing like endurance or iron arm when there was no hope of getting into the 12" range of the psychic shooting attacks. I've also got to remember the range of the devourers on the gaunts. I have the habit of dropping the spore waaaay too close to the enemy and out of synapse. The gaunts have an 18" range and should be landing where the flying Tyrants are harassing.

Well we'll see how it all goes *fingers crossed*

Monday, 12 November 2012

The Return of Hive Fleet Krogoth

Ok so I've done a total 180 in 40K, with one week to go before the GT heat and the army list submission for Blog War 4 I've dropped my Chaos Space Marines in favour of a return of Hive Fleet Krogoth. I played a couple of games with them on Saturday and loved them, so they're back.

What this does mean is a lot of painting in the next 5 days. I've gone for a psychic choir army list featuring 8 different psykers (2 Tyrants, 2 Tervigons, 3 Zoanathrope and the Doom!) backed up by a lot of Gaunts and Gargoyles. What this means is I've got paint, 2 winged Tyrants, 16 Gargoyles, 2 Zoanthropes and 8 Devilgaunts before Saturday, no panic then

But I enjoyed my 2 games with them on Saturday and that's what counts, plus I've got a few nasty tricks up my sleeves with the Pyskers. Reducing a target unit to toughness 1 before hitting Hemorrhage  on the unit or just knocking the toughness of units down so gaunts are wounding on a 2+. It's rather funny when Thunderhammers double the strength of a unit to two.

Anyway I'm gonna do a full write up of the army once I've managed to paint a little more.

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Blog Wars / GT Qualifier

In the next month I've a couple of tournaments, first off there's the GT qualifier. To be honest I don't hold out much hope for this as I'm still really struggling to put in a consistent performance in 6th edition. The new Chaos Space Marine Codex is nice but I'm not sure there's a competitive build in it, outside of using mark of Nurgle and Epidemus, which I really don't want to do.There are some nice units, Noise Marines seem fun and make good objective guards as they put out a lot of shots when stationary. Havoks with Autocannons have a good rate of fire too. The humble Chaos Space Marine squad isn't too bad, they've got several options and are pretty flexible. I think what the codex lacks is the single punch unit, or in other words the broken unit that GW included. Now if all future codexs are written like this then in 5 years time 40K might be back to being a game about tactics, skill and a little bit of luck. At the moment it's rock, scissors, stone. You have Guard manticore behind aegis lines, I have 6 Necron flyer. You have Tzeentch Daemon spam, I have 18 wraith. Its gotten to a point where we may as well just submit armies lists then all vote on who won the tournaments. But I digress.

I've got to settle on an army, if only so I can get it all painted. So in the end I've opted for the following.

Lucius the Eternal - Doom Siren, Power Sword, Lash of Torrment
Sorcerer - Lv3, Mark of Slaneesh, Aura of Dark Glory, Spell Familiar
Noise Marines -15 Noise Marines with Sonic Blasters, BlastMaster, Doom Siren, Icon of Excess
CSM - 10 CSM 2 Plasma Guns, Melta Bomb, Veterans of the Long War
CSM - 10 CSM 2 Plasma Guns, Melta Bomb, Veterans of the Long War
CSM - 10 CSM 2 Plasma Guns, Melta Bomb, Veterans of the Long War
Havoks - 5 Havoks, 4 Autocannons, Veteran of the Long War
Havoks - 5 Havoks, 4 Autocannons, Veteran of the Long War
Obliterators - 3 Obliterators, Mark of Nurgle, Veterans of Long War
Aegis Defense Line - Quad Gun

The Noise Marines joined by the sorcerer are the home defenders. With 40 shots at 24" per round (possibly strength 5 too) they can hold their own on an objective. They're feel no pain too which should make shifting them tricky.

The Chaos Space Marines advance slowly, looking to take mid table objectives. Lucius joins on of them to make them fearless too. 

Havoks and Obliterators take care of the armour. The Havoks hopefully have enough shots to give a flyer pause for thought even if they don't have skyfire. If not the quad gun can see off a flyer too. 

So there it is, the final army from the Chaos Space Marine codex. I've got 15 noise marines to paint as Iron Warriors in two weeks and I'm ready. Do i think I'll qualify for the GT final, Nope. There's not enough tricks in the CSM book and I'm guessing the top 50% of the qualifiers will be all Daemons, Necron, Guard and Dark Eldar. They seem to have all the tricks at the moment and win all tournaments. 

What will I struggle against ...... 
Daemons - (who doesn't until GW fix them), with no mech to hide in the screamers and flamers will simply walk all over me.
AirCron - I can handle 1 or 2 flyers, not 6
Vendetta Spam - See above, plus manticores
the list does go on,

Still I'm hoping that Blog Wars is a little more friendly and a little less copy and paste spam, we'll have to see, the couple of army lists I've seen posted on blogs for people going to it don't fill me with confidence though.

My only aim it Mid-Table Obscurity........

Sunday, 21 October 2012

The return of the crutch!

Another day, another attempt to create an army to take to the GT heat 3 in a month's time. One thing I have realised is that I simply don't play enough 40k games to practise stuff. I get maybe one game a week at Garrison if I'm lucky, and very little else. So I haven't really had a whole lot of chance to experiment with stuff. What I have learnt so far is ;-

Noise Marines are very shooty
Thousand Sons are too expensive as they still die like Marines but cost almost twice as much.
Some of the Chaos Warlord traits are nice.
Being a daemon doesn't save the Daemon engines and they still die fairly easily.

Now in my latest game against a Bennett's drop pod wolves he's trying out for his GT heat army (I won't spoil the fun, but ouch, he's come up with a nasty trick), I happened to roll Black Crusade. All my units (within 12" of the warlord) get Preferred Enemy against Space Marines units, now this is all my units, even a vehicle if its within 12" of the warlord, and all his units, including his vehicles. Even though I lost the game against Bennett, this trait did prove really tasty. It made the noise marines shootier and when charged by Grey Hunters the CSM were a little better equipped to deal with them. This got me thinking. One of the nice touches in the new codex is that certain special characters have locked in warlord traits. They are forced to take a particular one rather than roll. This removes one of the annoying random elements from the game. It also means the return of a previous used crutch,
Abaddon the despolier!

From the games I've played the standard 10 CSM units with twin plasma and Veterans of the Long war are pretty good troop choices. What's not to like about 10 power armoured men for 180pts. So they will form the core of the army. Abaddon also makes chosen troop choices rather than elite. You're paying a couple of extra points per man over normal marines but getting as standard +1 Ld, CC weapons and +1A on the profile. Throw in a Mark of Khorne and a Banner of Wrath and you've got what Khorne Beserkers probably should be. Plus you can equip up to 4 of them with power weapons. Team them up with Abaddon as his bodyguard and that's a fairly nasty beat stick.

For anti tank and fire support I fell back on some old friends too, Obliterators. Giving them mark of Nurgle makes them T5 and stops every missile launcher on the board from double tapping them. They have to swap weapons each turn but now with access to Assault Cannons means they've a good mid range anti infantry weapon, add in the long range Las Cannon or the punishingly nasty twin linked plasma guns rapid firing and you've tools for most units.

Finally I added in 5 Raptors with 2 melta guns, partially cos I like them as a small tank hunting unit, but also because I love the conversions I made for them.

So the final force looks like

Abaddon                             265
18 Choosen, Mark of Khorne, Powerfist, Gift of Mutation, Icon of Wrath 3 x Power Swords          460
10 CSM 2 Plasma Guns, Melta Bomb, Veterans of the Long War 185
10 CSM 2 Plasma Guns, Melta Bomb, Veterans of the Long War 185
10 CSM 2 Plasma Guns, Veterans of the Long War            180
2 Obliterators, Mark of Nurgle   152

2 Obliterators, Mark of Nurgle   152
2 Obliterators, Mark of Nurgle   152
5 Raptors, 2 Meltaguns  115

It's a little vulnerable to flyers, but with Str6 Assault Cannons and possibly preferred enemy against SM flyers I'm hoping the Obliterators can down them. The other advantage with this force is I don't need to paint a whole lot in the next 4 weeks, unlike some of my previous Noise Marine heavy variants.

As always I welcome comments from my fellow gamers, especially those who've had more practise with CSM in case I've missed something.  I'll leave you with some pictures of my Raptor conversions (note these were made in 5th edition and so we before the new kits).