Thursday, March 31, 2011

Flying the unfriendly skies or a review of Baron Sathonyx

The first unique Dark Eldar HQ choice I decided to review is, what I think, is the most fun. He is not the most powerful or most frightening, but he will be the fastest from the start, Baron Sathonyx.

So who is this guy? Well he was once part of the Kabal of the Slashed Eye. That is until he decided to bring a Farseer he captured in their base. He was then exiled (why it was just a lone Farseer in the heart of Commorragh) and began a new life in the depths of the vast city. In the depths he began a life as a merc for hire. He is known as a master of espionage, and blackmail. He is also the driving force behind the Hellion gangs. If a force wants Hellions for a real space raid, they go through him. He has garnered a following as a collector and leader of the exiled, deposed and iconoclastic of Dark Eldar society. This and his “antics” have also placed a price on his head. He is wanted both for help and for the harm his “help” has caused.

He has, what is pretty common for the upper echelon Dark Eldar units, a WS 6, BS 6, strength and toughness of 3, Initiative 6, 2 wounds, 3 attacks, a hefty leadership 9 and a 5+ save. He is also and independent character, jump infantry, comes with a custom skyboard, splinter pistol, hellglaive, phantasm launcher, and a shadowfield (for a nice 2+ invulnerable save). There is also the standard Dark Eldar rules; fleet, power through pain, and night vision. He also has a few special rules; Hit-and-Run, Bones of the Seer, Twilight Shroud, Master of Skies, Custom Skyboard, and is the Lord of Hellions. All this and he only cost $1.05, which is silly cheap for his equipment and abilities.

Bones of the Seer  gives you a +1 on the dice roll for deployment zone. This is nice for what is, usually, a first strike or cover needing army
Twilight Shroud  which gives him and a unit he is attached to the stealth universal rule
Why give him stealth? A jump infantry unit in terrain has to take dangerous terrain tests and that could deplete his forces.

Master of the Skies allows the Baron and an attached unit a re-roll on failed dangerous terrain tests, there that is better. Now the Twilight Shroud is useful! He can also re-roll both his initiative test on hit-and-run as well as the distance of this ability.

Custom Skyboard  is his ride and it gives him a +2 strength on the turn he charges (along with the hellglaive that is a nice strength 6)

Lord of Hellions this opens up Hellions as troops

Well what makes this guy so fun? Well his ability to take a Hellion filled army. Forget those lowly three fast slots, you can now take upwards of nine squads of these skyboard crazies! You can look for a lot of splinter pod shots to soften a target and then get that nice +1 strength when you charge the remains! The downside to this is the lack of special weapons in Hellion units. Sure they are fast and can throw a lot of damage, but a blaster or heat lance would be helpful in these squads. So one will have look to other units to pop armor for you.

The Baron does hit fairly hard on the charge, five strength 6 attacks (or higher if he has that all important 2nd pain token) that will hit most armies on 3+. The hit and run ability with this is also quite nice. A sizable squad with Baron attached can jump into and out of combat quite easily, thanks to the Master of Skies rule. It can also dictate, through a re-roll, how far it moves for its hit-and-run. The problem is that Hellions are not incredibly tough and a bad round of combat can deplete the squad and have the Baron flying off the board.

Power through pain and the "good" combat drugs in the squad will greatly help him and any unit he joins. This is pretty common for all the Dark Eldar units. The more pain the better, as long as you are on the giving end.
He also has the downside of all other Dark Eldar, he is fairly weak. The toughness of 3 and 5+ regular save will be his downfall eventually. Running him at a dedicated close combat unit without help is still a bad choice. He has a nice initiative and strength on the charge, but all his attacks are savable. Used in a joint effort his squad and another can make a problem for many units in the game (even vehicles that aren't walkers can fall to a pain and drug filled Hellion squad), remember quantity over quality. This should be common knowledge of all Dark Eldar players. Also do not lose the shadowfield, once that is gone the Baron will probably be following soon after.

For as a HQ that comes with: a 12” move that ignores terrain (or can fly through it re-rolling if it goes bad) a 2++ invulnerable, stealth and strength 6 on the charge, a $1.05 is a steal. Baron Sathonyx can give you some descent tactical options that are not available with other HQ units. He is definitely the most fun to try, albeit not the tops when it comes to damage output.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Have you seen this unit? Part 2

Part 2 of this little series will focus on another Space Marine unit, the Land speeder Storm. Now this unit is only available (currently) for the codex or regular Space Marines.

This vehicle does look neat. Why is it not being used?

This is a reasonably priced fast attack vehicle. It is a skimmer, open topped, armor 10 on all sides and fast. It comes standard with a heavy bolter, jamming beacon, cerberus launcher, and is ballistic skill 3. It has the Deep Strike and Scout universal special rules. Finally, it is ballistic skill 3 and can carry 5 scouts (and only scouts). What does the jamming beacon and Cerberus launcher do you ask?

The jamming beacon, well, is a jamming beacon. Any icon, teleport homer or other item of that sort will not work with 6” of this vehicle. So deep striking without error (icon, homer etc) will not work if within 6” of the Storm. It also causes any unit attempting to deep strike within 6” to roll 4D6” for scatter instead of the standard 2D6”. Wow that sounds pretty useful.

The Cerberus launcher gives a nice assault buff to any squad jumping out to fight. An enemy unit that is assaulted, by the squad embarked on the Storm, will suffer a -2 to their leadership for that assault phase. Wow quite a buff in the hectic world of 40K close combat.

So why is this vehicle left off battle fields? Well I think it is due to the fact it is a frail non-dedicated dedicated transport. It can only carry scouts and five at that. There is not a lot that is scary about five scouts jumping out to assault. Wait how is it dedicated and not dedicated? Well it is a vehicle with transport option (non-dedicated) that can only carry scouts (dedicated to scouts only).

Then there is the fact it competes with; bikes, non-open topped speeders with better ballistic, attack bikes and even Vanguard Veterans. Space Marine players look at these as better fast attack options than then Storm.

There is also the ballistic skill of 3, which is not terrible. It is just low for marines. You can swap the heavy bolter on the Storm for a heavy flamer, multi melta or assault cannon. However, at ballistic 3 half of those shots are going to miss. The heavy flamer at least mitigates the BS 3, but when you need a multi melta shot, you can find it cheaper and more accurate elsewhere in the codex.
Last is the fragility of the vehicle. The armor 10 typical for a marine speeder, however, the open topped is not there. Plus regular land speeders can be bought in squadrons, and gain the added benefit (basically) of extra armor and wound (glancing/ penetrating) allocation. The Storm is singular and open topped armor 10. A well aimed and rolled boltgun can drop this vehicle, just ask the Dark Eldar.

How could this be changed in the future? Well first thing is that this should be a dedicated transport option for scouts and not a fast choice. Even, keep the limit of only a five scout capacity. Sure more scouts would  This just makes sense. Why it was not done in the first place is a mystery. Maybe it is the fear of multiple jamming beacons or the cerberus launcher instead of the three that can be taken now. Is there fear that too many people would be running multiple small five man scout squads in Storms, instead of tactical marines in Rhinos? Was G.W. afraid the Storm and scouts would out sell marines and Rhinos? Who knows?

This is a nice looking model, the attached scouts are a great touch. The abilities and special rules for it's wargear make for a possibly fun transport. There are definitely a tactical use for the Storm, especially with Blood Angels falling from the skies, demons dropping out of the warp, and a myriad of Terminators teleporting. It is a shame that a descent looking model has been shelved by its location in the codex.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Have you seen this unit? Part 1

Redheaded stepchildren, all 40K armies have them. These are units that never get used mostly due to competition within the force organization slot, cost, or specialized use.  These are units that might function well in the small gaming communities, but are rarely seen in wider circles or tournaments. 
Muck like Ken Burns (documentary guy for those who don’t know) I want to look at these units and see, what they are, why they are not used, and hopefully how they could have/ should have been made appealing to gamers.
This might take some time and will span the 40K universe. So where to start? Well let’s go with the most popular and polarizing army, Space Marines. The first unit that jumps out at me is prevalent in every Marine codex, the Whirlwind.

The little war engine that could
This is essentially a mobile artillery piece on a Rhino chassis. It can deliver a strength 5 AP 4 ordnance barrage (large blast), or a strength 4 AP 5 ordnance barrage (large blast) that ignores cover. This can be done directly or indirectly with ranges of 12”-48”. It can move 6” and fire directly or hide and fire indirectly. It is also relatively cheap for all Marine chapters.
So why is this not taken by most Space Marine players? The first is the fact it is a heavy support choice. Every Marine book has great heavy support choices (Devastators, Long Fangs, Land Raiders, Predators). The Whirlwind cannot compete with the damage a Devastator squad, Predator or Land Raider can dish out.  The armor 11 on all sides also cannot compete with the front armor the Predator or the all around armor of the Land Raider.  There is also the transport ability of the Land Raider as well.
The majority of the heavy support choices all cost more than the standard Whirlwind, but that is not why the Whirlwind is usually passed over.  It looks to be due to its frailty and damage output.
How could this have been made to be a more appealing vehicle? The simple answer is always seems to be, “make it stronger”, but I disagree. I think that the Whirlwind should have been given the option to be taken as a squad.
As a squad the lowly armor 11 is mitigated a bit. The damage potential of the tank is also increased. It would not be game shattering either. Is a squad of Imperial Guard Griffons are game breaking? They are very similar to the Whirlwind and can be run 1-3 in a heavy slot. The option to run two or three Whirlwinds as one heavy support slot would be much more appealing than it is now.
So why wasn’t this done? Was it some long standing G.W. rule, since all Whirlwinds are single they all will be single. Is it some Marine fluff that says they never to be used as a squad? Why is a strength 5 template better then three strength 5 templates? Who knows?
I would think they could sell more of these models if there was a squad option.  I also think they might be more prevalent on the tabletops if they could be taken as a squad. In the world of 5th edition where vehicles are tougher and quantity of wounds caused is better than quality, who wouldn’t want to throw two or three strength 5 large blasts at an opponent?  
So until the next Marine codex is released I think the Whirlwind will stay where it is, in boxes on store shelves.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

long long ago a cool Spiderman villian or the other transport

The second and last transport option for the Dark Eldar is the Venom. It seats five, is armor 10 on all sides, is an open topped fast skimmer and clocks in at the previous codex Raider price. There is only a blurry drawing in the codex of this vehicle. So once again there is no model for a codex unit that many people want to/ do use.

What do/ will you look like Venom?
Well what else is the Venom? Well not much. It comes standard with a twin linked splinter rifle, splinter cannon and flicker field. comes with what? Yup a 5++ save (no comment) and two poisoned weapons. Once again if the flicker field wasn't stock it would be cheaper and easier to throw all over the army. It can have many of the Raider-esqe upgrades: Retrofire Jets, Chain Snares, Grisly Trophies, Envenomed Blades, and Night Shields. The twin linked rifle can be swapped for a splinter cannon as well. Honestly, I wouldn't dump the extra points for most upgrades, well except for the splinter cannon. i can see a few uses for that armament.

So Ian, what do you think? How would you use this?

Well, if I was to use this transport I would run it with Trueborn with dual dark lances and swap the twin linked splinter rifles for a splinter cannon. This could make for a nice anti-transport platform. I can see moving 6", firing dark lances at a Rhino and then dropping 12 splinter cannon shots on the contents.

I can also see going the double splinter cannon Trueborn and double splinter cannon on the Venom. This will pepper the heck out anything that isn't a vehicle.

I see the same pros and cons as the Raider. If you want multiple small units and a transport option for them, then this is the vehicle for you. There really isn't much else to say about this besides....MAKE A MODEL FOR IT!  PEOPLE WANT IT  AND WILL BUY IT!

Friday, March 25, 2011

paper thin,cool main gun,fast transport..oh the Raider

Well everyone else has moved on to the Grey Knights and mostly forgotten the Dark Eldar, well not me. I started reviewing them and damn it, I'm gonna finish.

The Raider is the first of two transport options for the Dark Eldar. It is a fast, open topped skimmer. It has a spectacular armor 10 on each facing and can transport 10 people (or 5 Grotesques). It also comes standard with a ballistic skill 4 dark lance. All this for five more points than it used to cost (it was once 55 points). Wait it also has Night Vision like the rest of the army.

Now as it is the main transport for the army it is probably important to have one or four depending on playstyle.  Most units that walk can buy then so they can ride instead. Is it worth it though? Well lets look at upgrades, and there are quite a few, before we decide.

Disintegrator Cannon is a free weapon swap with the dark lance. Not bad if you face a lot of 3+ armor, that is not in a vehicle.

Shock Prow this adds D3 to the vehicle front armor when ramming. Meh.

Torment Grenade Launcher enemy units within 6" suffer -1 leadership and must pass a morale test to assault the vehicle. Nice,but why would anyone assault this when they can easily shoot it and assault the contents after. Armor 10 is not hard to beat.

Retrofire Jets allow the Raider to deep strike. Awesome ability, but being a larger model it might be hard to land where you want.

Chain Snares these act a lot like the Reaver blade veins. They cause D3+1 strength 4 AP - hits to unengaged models the Raider passes over. Much like the ability it gives, I'll pass over too.

Grisly Trophies friendly units within 6" can re-roll failed leadership rolls. I like this, as re-rolling leadership is always good.

Envenomed Blades when assaulting the vehicle, enemy units take a strength 4 AP- hit for every 1 they roll. PFFFFFFFFT!!

Splinter Rack embarked units may re-roll to hit with splinter weapons. This is also nice if you run a squad with a splinter cannon and go drive-by guys. Just don't drive to far or you won't get to shoot with the neat-o re-rolls.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

"Don't trust the beekeepers, eh? Fair enough. I don't trust 'em either." Deadpool

I was and still am a Marvel fanboy. I have been thinking of how to bring the Marvel-verse and 40k-verse together in an army. The super teams are out and that leaves the lesser groups: S.H.I.E.L.D., Hydra and then it hit me...A.I.M. (Advanced Idea Mechanics).

 Why them? Well they are advanced high-tech weapon focused, like to overthrow governments, have a knack for  robotics, bioengineering, bionics, and physics. Well that sounds like they can work in the far distant future.

Hmmmmm now who else is high tech, has robot uses, has advanced weapons and likes to topple governments (if it is for the greater good)?  The Tau. Yes, the Tau could be made into my 40k version of A.I.M.

The Tau have units and stats that can easily fulfil the A.I.M. organization. Neither group is great at hand-to-hand so the awful fighting of the Tau fits fine here.  The Tau strength and toughness is equivalent to 40K humans so that also fits well. The guns and fun stuff the Tau have fit also the high tech role of A.I.M. The Tau expansion and absorbing of cultures/ planets can easily be tied to overthrowing governments like the A.I.M. organization.

Well nothing left to do than to build a 1500 point army list. I'll start with the troops first.

7 Firewarrios (A.I.M. troopers)
Devilfish transport with multi-tracker and smart missile system

The Devilfish has a nice bit of movement, front armor better than a Rhino, and silly firing missiles for that high tech feel.
The Firewarrior and guns fit the basic trooper quite well, bad fighter, descent shooter, and cool gun.
 I think I'll take three squads of these

12 Firewarriors with unit upgrade and marker light
These are a distraction/ last ditch holdout unit. Hopefully they can sit 30" away and plink shots down range or get that 50/50 markerlight hit on something 36" away.

Ok now on to fast attack. I'll keep with the theme and grab some gun drones. These have a twin linked, but shorter ranged gun (pulse carbine) , however the move 12" and shoot or deep strike and shoot makes up for the 18" range. The ballistic skill of 2 is atrocious, but twin linked helps.

5 gun drones
I think I'll take two squads

Now to heavy, sure sure I need a HQ, but i'll get there after I get all the cool high tech stuff.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Observations from another 40K game

This past weekend our little gang threw a 40K game together. It was 2 1,00 point armies vs. a 2000 point army. I was stuck with the 2000 points and took loyalists vs 2000 of combined Chaos and Blood Angels.

Here is a quick and dirty recap of the armies and game.

oh course we rolled up my favorite mission, capture the flag, and my favorite deployment,pitched battle. Now sarcasm is lost on the internet, so this is my least favorite mission and my least favorite deployment for this mission.

I was facing the typical Chaos house list; Demon Prince, Plague Marines, Obliterators, Defiler and misc basic marines to fill in the gaps and a greater Demon. The Blood Angels were combat 3 squaded tacticals in Razorbacks, 2 autocannon heavy bolter Predators, Chapter Master and full missile launcher Devastators.

I took some stuff I wanted to try twin Thunderfire Cannons, thunderhammer Terminators in a Crusader, Librarian woth Null Zone and Avenger (both shooting phase powers yes, but wanted to have a swiss army knife approach to powers), a twin auto cannon Dreadnought and a squad of twin heavy bolter Land Speeders. Then I added the stuff I needed troops which were, tactical squad x4 (two in Rhinos with melta guns, power weapons two on foot flamers and missile combat squaded) and a Vindicator to fill points. So it isn't a pure anti-marine list, but I didn't care. I just wanted to try using stuff I never have the chance to use (thunderhammers, crusader, thunderfires).

I took 1st turn and it was glorious. I wrecked two transports and obliterated the Obliterators. Then Chaos went. A few dead marines, one non shooting speeder and then turn two.

Now the Chaos/Angels are 1/2 way to my flag and smoked. The Demon Prince is there with them as well. I open up and do nothing to smoked transports that were hit a bunch (all cover saves made). The Demon Prince laughs at everything I throw at him, as do the Plague Marines. Oh yeah, I immobilized a Rhino trying to drive through terrain as well. The librarian rolls a 12 for his psychic test just for fun. So after turn 2, top of, I had moved a bit and done zero damage. Chaos/Angels then roll up and dump troops into the terrain my flag is in. The Greater Demon appears and eats the Crusader. The Librarian psychic hood fails to stop Warp Time (not huge, but would have been nice). The Demon Prince proceeds to eat the Land Speeders. One Thunderfire is blown up, well the Tech Marine missed his 2+ save, I have another Rhino shaken and the Chapter Master easily tears through my Dreadnought. i lose a tactical sarge to a death or glory vs as Rhino full of Chaos troops headed toward my flag. A combat squad is also wiped to one man from a Defiler shot.
The pain for me has ended for now.

Friday, March 18, 2011

For real?

So a few people have started Tau rumors. Tau rumors?



We are still getting mixed signals/ rumors on the Grey Knights, i.e. they are wait they had some of their teeth pulled at the last minute.... they are like the leaked they aren't.

Also once again we have army not out and already looking past it syndrome...sound familiar? (pervious Dark Eldar to Grey Knight post)
Now we have Tau rumors (or confirmations depending on the person posting/viewing) of units and their stats in the codex.


Wishlisting is one thing. Speculation based on what GW has done with the other new books is another. I can tolerate those more than rumors for a 40K release that is probably 6 months out (that is if they stick to their fantasy, 40K, Lord o' the Rings, some random event/Apoc/Spearhead/needed codex model release schedule). 

Why can't we stop this kind of insanity?

The new 40K golden rule

Well we have it! We have a new codex for half of the 40K gaming universe. There are only a few xenos races, the other Inquisition branch (I’m no counting Ordo Xenos as they never had a book), the religious and even broodier marines (who got an “upgrade” FAQ) left on the “TO DO PILE” for redesign. With so many new/ updated armies it is a glorious time for this game……or is it?

I have noticed a trend with all the codices and it is getting bothersome.  It is not the artwork, it is not the exposition, the lack of competitive lists, the model support or the author who you like/ dislike. It is the rule. Notice I said rule and only one rule…..FEEL NO PAIN.

First off let me say, I do not hate this rule. It is fun, easy to understand, however, it is now everywhere. Yes, it should be in the game, but not in every codex. It has been shoehorned into books since just before 5th edition dropped now. It also doesn’t look to be stopping anytime soon.

Second, just how special is a special rule if everyone has it? As I was once told, “You are one of a kind and special…just like everyone else is.”  Feel No Pain should now just be a rule. since every book has it somewhere. It is not that special any more, just like the rest of special snowflakes.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Hello......and Goobye!

It looks like I've missed some something during my hiatus. The Grey Knights are for real. I was really hoping for an April Fools joke there. Oh well.

I also noticed the Dark Eldar have sort of disappeared again. I do find it troublesome that they got a new book and such....and then they quickly announce the Grey Knight rumors/ release is next. Why so soon?
Why not give the Dark Eldar an extra month to soak in and then start the rumors/release info of the next army?

I understand that 3+ saves sell this game, but give the xenos races some time to shine in there own right.
I was enjoying the reviews of Dark Eldar codex stuff, and then like that "POOF!"

"Dark whazsits-whozits? We have silver marines on the horizon to speak about."

Oh well it is way the 40K universe seems to work, rumor a release, spin spin spin, release, talk and then forget about it so we can worry about the next army.

Oh Dark Eldar how we missed you only to miss you again.

Happy St. Patwaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhs-ricks Day!!

All you Ork players take the time to celebrate, what should be, your army's favorite day.
Here in the states everything is green and there is lots and lots of orkish behavior (drink'n and fight'n) today!

Bring out our your inner Ork today!

Krump som'fing!

Make it go fasta!

Bash'em good!

Get ded stompy on 'um!

Just make sure the job iz a good'un boss!

Get the green tide out on the 40K tables today and support the (what might be/ should be the only) unofficial 40K army holiday!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Something approaches

Deep within the area of space known as the Ghost Stars, something has torn through the area between real space and the warp. It is a primal force that has been silent for to long. It is...........ME!!!

That is right, I'm back. Sure I am limping along graphically, but I have a comput-o device again. HOORAY!