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).

Saturday, 13 October 2012

Crisis of Faith

I think it's fair to say I've lost my mojo (what mojo I had ) with 40k since 6th edition. Despite the slightly tongue in cheek name of the blog towards the end of 5th I was doing fairly ok at tournaments. Ok so the top 20 people on rankings had nothing to worry about, but I was usually finishing in the top half of the tables and even picked up a third place at Decimation.
Since 6th has come out I've really struggled to find my feet. To date I've won only 4 games of Warhammer since they changed the rules, and that includes 12 tournament games as well as probably another dozen friendly games at Garrison.
I've used Black Templar and Vanilla Marines so far with little success, so i was hoping that the new Chaos Space Marine codex would renew my love of the game........ oh dear.
It's not that the codex is a poor codex, it just seems to be a poor codex for competitive builds. There are no easy choice auto include units like the Wraith, Annihilation barges, Hydra (before they got nerf'ed). Most stuff seems fairly priced, if a little over priced in some cases. So it doesn't leap out as being that brilliant for the tournament scene. Anyway, Chaos Space Marines were always my favourite army so I'm going to give them a run out for a while to see if I can get a handle on them, I'd just like to start winning a few games, so I can at least return to Mid Table Obscurity instead of actually thinking I may pick up the wooden spoon at a tournament.

As far as CSM go, I've got two legions, Iron Warriors and World Eaters. I fell in love with the Iron Warriors after reading Storm of Iron, if anyone hasn't read that book I can't recommend it enough. So they are what I'm trying first. For me Iron Warriors says guns, lots of them. So I skimmed the codex for possible shooty units. Obliterators still don't seem that good, for 76pts you can get them T5 to minimise instant death, but I'm not convinced. The new Forgefiends look ok, quite a lot of points for an AV12 vehicle, and in the current meta vehicles seem to be on the way out, but I'll give them a go. The Helldrake seems to be a good counter to the flyers, not only can it vector strike one at Str7 but it's also got a Str8 Heavy4 gun. Troops is where I'm struggling. Simply taking 10man units of CSM bring a terrible recollection of my vanilla marine army which really didn't do well, so I need something with more punch. I'm thinking Noise Marines. Their salvo 2/3 guns means as long as I don't move they can pour out more shots than the humble bolter. Add in a psychic power which can increase their strength against a target unit and they should do ok.  

My initial game with Iron Warriors with Noise marines didn't go well, I was facing a Guard / Marine combo with a lot of Terminators (20 of them) and despite pouring fire into them the assault terminators got into my battle lines and chewed me up badly. However I'm careful not to over fit an army to a single opponent based on a bad game, so I'm giving them a little tweak and sticking with it. The army is ;-

Chaos Lord - Mark of Slaanesh, Burning Brand of Skalathraz, Jump Pack, Aura of Dark Glory, Power  Weapon, Gift of Mutation.
Chaos Sorcerer - Mark of Slaanesh, Lvl3 Sorcerer, Aura of Dark Glory (WARLORD)
10 Noise Marines - 8 Sonic Blasters, Blastmaster, Doom Siren
10 Noise Marines - 8 Sonic Blasters, Blastmaster, Doom Siren
7 Noise Marines - Doom Siren, Close Combat weapon
7 Noise Marines - Doom Siren, Close Combat weapon
Helldrake - Hades Autocannon
Forge Fiend - 2x Hades Autocannon
Forge Fiend - 3 x Ectoplasma Cannons
Aegis Defense Line

The basic premise is the defence line is used to create a castle, ideally with one or two objective inside or very close. The 10 man Noise Marines camp inside along with the Forgefiends. Hopefully ranging onto a couple  of other objective. The Sorcerer can curse a unit to give +1 strength to sonic weapons to aid the killing and big units blaze away. The two smaller units a meant to range ahead to capture objective once the main guns have hosed them clear. It's a fairly stationary army.

The one game I've played highlighted a couple of issues, I lacked the long range firepower to pop large tanks, the guard Leman Russ didn't die all game and I struggle with 2+ armour as they'll still save a lot of my shots. I want to get a couple more games in before I give up on it totally, but the more I think about it the more I think it will struggle against some of the 6th edition armies I've faced so far, 18 Wraiths, Daemons, Forge world gun emplacement spam.

It's also an army that I need to paint almost every model for, so once again I'm going to find myself paint most evenings, just this time I'd love to find out that the effort has been worth it and I've a good playable army at the end, unlike my recent experiences with Marines.

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Chaos Space Marine Filth

During an evening chat over skype with Sean Gill we were tossing around ideas for tournament armies using the new Chaos Codex. We hit upon a fairly well known CSM list, but I think I’ve found a really horrible twist to it. Now I must point out the list is based on a fairly massive assumption. At the moment the Rules As Written for Typhus state that no options can be bought for the zombie pack he can turn cultists into, however I’m assuming that this was never meant to include buying extra men for the squad and that hopefully an FAQ downstream will correct this so packs of 30 zombies can be bought. On this assumption the list I came up with is.

30 Plague Zombies
30 Plague Zombies
30 Plague Zombies
30 Plague Zombies
30 Plague Zombies
30 Plague Zombies

10 Plague Bearers
3 Nurglings

This still leaves around 500pts to buy some more stuff, probably Obliterators with MoN or a Daemon Prince or the like.

What’s so nasty about this? Well everyone knows about Epidemius’ tally and once 20 casualties have been caused everything in the army will be poison 4+, FNP 3+ and Ignoring all armour. No imagine being charged by a unit of those zombies, suddenly its not looking so happy for those boys in power armour. However the real filth is how you get to a tally of 20.

Typhus has the Destroyer Hive special rule. Assuming Epidemius and his Plague Bearer unit landed in the first wave at the start of turn 2, you bunch up one of the Zombie units around Typhus, packing in them close. At the start of the assault phase (it makes no reference to Typhus having to be in combat) he unleashed the Hive. Centre a large blast template over Typhus which should cover all 30 zombies. Each on takes a Str4 Ap2 wound. 30 Hits, 20 Wounds 15 deaths. That’s the majority of the tally complete, assuming the extra 500pts you chose can deal 5 more deaths, and 4 Obliterators can easy do that with Assault Cannons, at the end of turn 1 you’ve on full Tally, all those zombies are now 3+ FNP (who needs power armour) wounding on 2+ and ignoring all armour. The Obliterators’ Las Cannons are now free to deal with an Tanks because I don’t think there’s a unit out there that can survive a charge from this lot now.

The questions are, when will GW FAQ the zombies and can I lower myself to use such filth.