Saturday 31 July 2010

Tyranid Project - Part 12 - Termagants Part 2

86 Termagants. Holes filled, Mould lines removed (for the most part anyway), based and ready for undercoating.

Almost makes me want to do a horde Tyranid army...

Editors Note - I have added a 'Tyranid Project' label to all the appropriate posts so anyone who's interested (or masochistic) can find them easily ;-)

Friday 30 July 2010

Forge World - New Model - Caestus

Well the latest model from Forge World is here. The 'work in progress' that several people were claiming was going to be the Storm Raven has (as the sensible among us already thought) turned out to be something completely different.

The Forge World page is here, It's experimental rules are here

I suppose it still could be a Storm Raven with a little converting...

Editors Note : The really funny thing is according to the experimental rules it's a Fast Attack choice for Space Marines, Black Templars, Space Wolves Or Dark Angels...Not a mention of Blood Angels anywhere, lol.

Tyranid Project - Part 11 - Termagants

So my large oval bases arrived at my FLGS today, which means I can finally start on my 2nd Tyrannofex. As I'm basically just going to copy the first one it shouldn't take long. It will however be kept as my reward to myself after I sort out another little problem.

Due to much generosity from several of my friends I now have a pretty substantial pile of 'Battle for Macragge' Termagants.

A large percentage of them seem to share the same problem, however...

As they have been donated by several different people, all of which are experienced hobbyist's I can only presume that the chunks missing from the carapace and tail are a result of the way they were originally attached to the sprue.

The tail was easy enough to reshape by filing, but apparently Green Stuff is a bit messy to use in such a small gap...

However with a bit of tidying up...

I'll smooth it down a bit more when it's dry.

1 Down, 60 (ish) to go.

Tomorrows going to be a looooooonnnng day :-(

Thursday 29 July 2010

Losing before the games even started...

Ever looked across the table at an opposing army and thought, ‘I’m going to lose this one’?

Whether it’s the rock to your scissors or you were led to believe by your opponent that it was a ‘friendly test game’ and find yourself playing an optimised Imperial Guard ‘Alpha strike’ list or any number of reasons sometimes it just happens.

So you’ve lost before you even started…or have you?

Well if you think you have, then you probably will. You’ll just drop your units anywhere because it ‘doesn’t matter anyway’, head randomly towards the nearest unit ‘because your going to die anyway’, etc, etc, etc…

How do we avoid this particular scenario?

Well I’m going to (attempt) to tell you…

First a brief interlude if you are ‘That F*****g Guy’ or ‘TFG’.

Playing to win is fine; using an optimised list is fine; using every (legal) trick you’ve ever learned to destroy your opponent in the most efficient way possible is also fine…IF the other guy is expecting it…

It’s a tournament…fine

Both practicing for a tournament…fine

You both are aware that’s the game you wanted…fine

The other guys a power-gaming WAAC twat and you all hate him anyway…fine

It’s a pick-up game at your FLGS…not fine.

Glad that’s clear, now lets get back on track then,

So lets say you’ve walked into the ambush or just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time and your going to be on the wrong end of this baby seal clubbing how can we minimise the pain?

Editors Note: Much of the following is going to adopt the principle that your opponent is not a very nice person. A truly competitive player (I say competitive not WAAC) will probably have a ‘nice’ version of his army that he uses when playing against people of a different mindset or ability level or at the very least will try to make the experience more about the learning than the clubbing ;-)

Stage 1.0 – Know your army.

You can win any game of 40K even using a sub-optimal list vs. an optimised one, don’t let anybody tell you otherwise. Many ‘Cookie Cutter’, copied straight from the forums, ‘cheese’ lists are nothing of the sort. Really good players got that way by playing, not by copying somebody else’s shit, dropping it on a table and auto-winning with it. Many (not all, admittedly) people who use lists they have heard are good on the Internet and blindly follow are not very good at using them. They rely on the list to do the work; we however will be relying upon being a better General than them ;-)

You know your list (or bloody well should do anyway), go through what each unit is armed with, what special rules it has access to and what it works best against. Make particular note of optimal weapon ranges and what best fits into the ‘anti-infantry’ or ‘anti-tank’ categories. Compare that with what your opponent has and store it all away in your head ready for the phase that will help or hinder your plan for the upset of the decade…deployment.

Stage 1.5 – Pre-Deployment.

In the ‘Seize Ground’ objective mission you’ll be placing objectives before you roll for deployment type and to see who goes first.

Make sure there’s an objective on each side of the board don’t just throw them anywhere. If your mobile and he’s static spread them around. If you are particularly tough (either literally, or have a high Inv. Save), can’t get cover saves anyway or can take cover saves with you then put them in the open where hopefully he'll take more damage holding them than you would. If you have assault grenades and he doesn’t put them in cover. This obviously apply's for the other objective mission as well it just will happen later.

This is your first chance to enhance your advantages and to minimise his, if you get this mission then take advantage of that fact.

Stage 2.0 – Deployment.

Whether going first or second (by choice or by losing the roll-off) there are many ways we can limit the damage. As we are discussing avoiding losing before the game starts I am however going to limit myself to both the most important and probably the only one you can really control at this stage.


Most units that will land in your face and blow your tank to pieces such as Imperial Guard Veterans ‘Scout’ moved up close in Valks or Vendettas, Units in Drop Pods, deep striking Assault Marines etc, will be armed with Meltaguns. Though these have a 12” range they’re only particularly scary at half that distance due to being able to roll 2 dice for armour penetration only at half range. It is therefore important to put the things that you really need to survive outside that range. If you are fortunate to be using an army with cheap expendable units such as Imperial Guard or Tau (I mean Kroot, not the 6 Fire Warriors the rulebook forces you to take) then these are ideal. If playing Marines this is slightly trickier but I have myself used Tactical Squads to do the same job with surprising effectiveness.

Mech only ‘bubblewrapping’ is slightly trickier. You can use Landspeeders or similar to deny landing zones. The Multi-Melta + Heavy Flamer version is ideal for this as it has something to annoy anyone who lands right in front of it.

Failing that then you’ll just have to put your Armour 13 units in the front and hope 5th Ed.’s exceedingly forgiving Vehicle Damage rules are on your side.

Psychic Bubblewrap is also worth a mention. Several armies have Librarians with access to cover save generating psychic abilities, if you are fortunate to have access to one then you can pretty much always take the ‘Shield of Whatever’ power as one of your two and find a use for it at some point during the game. I include Ork Kustom Force Fields in this as they don’t even need ‘turning on’, lol.

Stage 3.0 – Expectations.

This doesn’t need much explanation.

He expects to win, nobody expects you to. Therefore all the pressure is on him*. You are however (by virtue of having the moral high ground) allowed to smile every time something goes wrong for his army even if your ‘Oh dear you’ve immobilised both your Land Raiders on that tiny crater’ sounds a tad insincere, lol.

* Of course it could be a girl, but as girls who play competitive 40K are about as commonly seen as a well written Gav Thorpe story I’ll keep on using ‘him’ for now. Also at the risk of sounding sexist, girls don’t usually feel the need to destroy other people in games of toy soldiers to make themselves happy, that’s what chocolate is for ;-)

So that (for what it's worth) is my opinion on the subject,

The floor is now open for opposing viewpoints.

Tuesday 27 July 2010

Competitiveness Vs. Theme

Apparently you can't be 'Fluffy' and Competitive and if your competitive you are also WAAC (Win At All Costs for the uninformed).

I am however, Fluffy and Competitive but not WAAC.....stop fucking laughing...I'll prove it then...

First an insultingly vague definition of each 'type'

'You can't have x unit, in y army, with z character because...'

'That troop units awesome for the points, I'll take 6 of them...'

'That weapon hits automatically and causes instant the whole unit...there's no need to check the rulebook, it really does that honest...'

So by my (admittedly slightly lame) definitions I'm competitive. I optimise my army lists as best as I can, I 'spam' units that I think are optimal and I occasionally use rules loopholes in order to make my army better. I however don't cheat and as far as I'm concerned that's what moves you into the WAAC category.

The Fluffy part is a bit harder for me to justify, however I'll give it a go...

My first army was Chaos Space Marines*, I liked the idea of renegade Space Marines so I made mine out of normal Marines and gave them Chaos markings. I didn't bother defacing the Imperial markings I just painted them the same colour as the rest of the armour figuring that they hadn't gotten that bitter about the whole 'False Emperor' thing just yet.

* That should have got every-bodies sympathy right from the beginning ;-)

My first army was very 'battleforce', based around Chaos Space Marine squads in Rhino's with a bit of Heavy Support in the form of Vindicators and the like...It didn't do particularly well, but it was 'Fluffy'.
When I began to understand 40K a bit better I realised that Obliterators would be a great unit to have. Unfortunately my recently turned renegades wouldn't have access to such units. After checking the profiles of various options I decided that sticking various heavy weapons to a bunch of Chaos Terminators and them 'Counting As' Obliterators would work fine, my justification being that their Tech Marines wouldn't be working by the rules anymore and that from a gaming point of view they'd look different enough from normal terminators so there would be no confusion.

So my army became more competitive but was still entirely justifiable by my background.

Later on I decided I needed some Daemon Princes. Now those I definitely couldn't justify...or could I...
The 'Night Reapers' renegades (yes, by now they even had a name) became a whole chapter of renegades that had been gradually turning over a long period of time (possibly millennia). Several Marines had become impatient with the progress and went off to find their own way and returned just as the Chapter was planning a swift get away to somewhere a bit less 'ordered'. Hence my Daemon Prince and Possessed (his former squad members) joined the happy family. So yet again my army became more competitive but was justified by the background I had decided upon for my army.

I could continue to bore you with other examples, but the point is I didn't need to do any of that if I didn't want to. The Codex says I can have 2 Daemon Princes, 9 Obliterators and a unit of each 'cult' troop choice if I damn well please and there's fuck all anybody can do about it other than just not play against me. I however, happen to like having a 'story' to my army as it enhances my enjoyment of using it considerably and that's my choice.

It also takes considerably more work than just picking out every unit with Slaanesh in the description and calling it a Fluffy army. My Background was created by me, not taken lock, stock and barrel from somebody else's writing.

The point (if I can remember what it was as I drifted a bit in the middle) is that I'm a competitive player with an incredibly detailed background to my army. I can probably put down somewhere in the region of 30,000 points of Marine Units of one codex or another on the table and have a reason for them all.

There's no reason why playing for fun, playing to win and making a themed army can't all sit together happily at the same table...

It just takes a bit of conversion work and an imagination, that's all...

Monday 26 July 2010

Tyranid Project - Part 10 - Unit Analysis

So I've had a few games. A few units have performed well...others...well not so much.

Time for a brief overview of how each unit has done. These assessments will be how they and their abilities compliment my army so I'll be ignoring certain abilities which are of no benefit to me currently (like the Swarmlords 'Alien Cunning' rule for example).

Starting at the top,

The Swarmlord.
A bit of a points sink weighing in at 280 points. He does however do his job very well. Being able to give a friendly unit within 18" either Furious Charge or Preferred Enemy* is brilliant but he will for the most part be giving it to his own unit, It's also worth remembering that these abilities only last to the end of your turn so you don't get the benefit of preferred enemy in your opponents assault phase.
Though he has all 4 of the Hive Tyrant's abilities the 2 you'll get most use out of are Leech Essence and Paroxysm to the point that should I ever replace him with a standard Hive Tyrant those will be the 2 powers I pick.
Pretty much anything you end up in assault with (with the possible exception of TH/SS Terminators) will be dead in at worse 3 or 4 rounds of combat (and that includes attached characters) .
As with all such things there is a downside and this is his...without Tyrant Guard to absorb wounds and grant the unit cover saves he will NEVER reach assault. In the world of Mech that we currently live in, any even semi-optimised army will have enough ranged anti-tank to carve 6 wounds off a MC with no inv. save against shooting with ease. This seems like as good a time as any to move onto...

* Well he can also dish out Acute Senses as well, but as that's only of any real use in turn 1 of Dawn of war so I haven't used it yet.

Tyrant Guard.
Essential to anyone who wants their Hive Tyrant/Swarmlord to actually have a chance to rip something in half. As they are infantry they can get cover saves if 50% of the unit is in cover, this means that as long as the Tyrant Guard get a cover save or are in cover the Tyrant will get one as well if he is joined to the unit. They're pretty good in a fight themselves being WS 5, S 5 and having 3 attacks basic and if you happen to get a rending roll as well then all the better. Mine have Lash Whips which are useful as my Swarmlord doesn't get the option for them himself.

Hive Guard.
The no-brainer Elite choice. 2 S8 shots each at BS4 do a great job of carving through light Mech, Transports and denying Blood Angels their Feel no Pain save. I take 3 units of 2 and am yet to regret the decision.
There are people who champion the Zoanthrope as an Elites choice but imo they're wrong, my reasoning behind this is here. If you must use an Elite slot for something else (Deathleaper, maybe) then combine the 3 lots of 2 into 2 lots of 3. In most scenarios you'll need to advance at least 2 units of them forward due to their 24" range, luckily Termagants make a nice cheap piece of moving cover.

A 6W , T6, Monstrous Creature that can hold an objective and make more Termagants...Fucking ace I'll have 2...
In objective missions one sits back and holds my home objective while the other moves forward giving the Termagants the benefit of both her Adrenal Glands (Furious Charge) and Toxin Sacs (4+ poison).
Though there have been rare occasions when Onslaught (gives the ability to run and shoot to a single unit) would have been useful, Catalyst (Gives Feel no Pain to a unit) has been priceless. If I had the spare points I'd have both but being as I had to choose I picked Catalyst which has been consistently useful. For the most part I've used it to increase Termagant survivability, but it has also been used to help out both The Swarmlord and Hive Guard units when necessary.
'Spawn Termagants' though useful, is so random that it can't be relied upon. Best to consider each unit produced as a bonus rather than rely on them to win you games. Also resist the temptation to get trigger happy and start producing Termagants from turn 1, much better to wait till you know where they'll be needed.
The default ability 'Dominion' which extends synapse range to 18" is always worth remembering if you happen to have a unit out on it's own that you really need to go where you want it to. Not used often but you get it for free so it's worth remembering you have it.**
Though it's possible to upgrade the Stinger Salvo to Cluster Spines I don't on the Tervigon for the simple reason that I'll probably be pretty damn close behind the Termagants that I'm enhancing and I don't wan't to risk dropping a Large Blast Marker on them...

** I have a terrible habit of forgetting abilities that I haven't had to pay extra points for...

Obviously I need 2 units of 10 to make my Tervigons troops so that's what I've got.
A unit of un-enhanced Termagants is basically useless against pretty much anything due to the string of 3's on their Statline (Initiative is 4), 1 base attack and their 6+ armour save.
However, once you start piling on the potential upgrades they become a lot more useful. It's fairly easy to end up with Furious Charging, Poisoned guys with Feel no Pain. Furious Charge makes them Initiative 5 so they're hitting before those annoying Marines that seem to be everywhere these days and their Strength obviously goes to 4 for that turn. This is doubly useful, Firstly because your now wounding Marines on 4's and Secondly that means that if your also getting poisoned attacks your rerolling that 4 to Wound (just for that turn mind you, but anything that ups the number of saving throws your opponent has to make is a bonus when you need as much dead before it can hit you back as possible) due to the Poison rule. Mine have Stranglewebs which I am yet to have the opportunity to use, they therefore may be going in exchange for another 2 Termagants per unit when I next tweak my list.
Their default ranged weapon is for all intents and purposes a Bolt Pistol. The points cost of ranged weapon upgrades is not worth it in my opinion, best to keep them cheap as they're going to die anyway.

The much maligned by so-called (and for the most part) self titled experts, Tyrannofex. I happen to think they're awesome.
T6, 6W, 2+ Save makes anti-tank weapons the only reliable way of killing them.
The Rupture Cannon is the obvious weapon upgrade : S10, Assault 2 (making up for the BS3) and a 48" Range. With a secondary ranged weapon and a built in Flamer they're pretty good up close as well.
In my first game I made the mistake of using the Tyrannofex like a 'Rifleman' Dreadnought which it isn't, Unlike most long range gun platforms there is no need to tuck it away in a corner somewhere. First couple of turns use the Rupture Cannon to pop Transports, then when you get a bit closer you can start dropping Large Blast templates on the former occupants then finally you can unload that lot and your Flamer on something before Charging it and finishing off what's left.
Unlike with the Tervigons, I upgrade the Stinger Salvo to Cluster Spines as I'd rather have a S5, AP-, Large Blast at BS3 than 4 S5, AP4 shots at BS3. A hit with the Cluster will generate a lot more wounds than the 2 hits I'll get on average with the Salvo.
The Thorax Swarm (which can be fired in addition to any other weapons the model has) is upgraded to 'Larvae' as my experience with Sternguard (both with and against) has led me to believe that anything wounds on 2's is pretty fucking useful to have.

So that's it then, my experiences after a grand total of 4 games using my Tyranids.

The floor is now open for opposing viewpoints...

Sunday 25 July 2010

Tyranid Project - Part 9 - Game 3 vs. Imperial Guard

So time for the latest instalment of 'Ill screw up so you don't have to' ;-)

Had an opportunity to test my Tyranids out against Imperial Guard and Blood Angels (Again) today.

Must admit that I wasn't very hopeful about the outcome of either but they both went better than I was expecting.

In the 1st game I was playing against this list,

1750 Pts - 5th Edition Roster - Daves Imperial Guard - 1750

HQ: Company Command Squad (5#, 70 pts)
2 Company Command Squad @ 70 pts (Heavy Weapons Team)
1 Heavy Weapons Team (Lascannon)
1 Company Commander

Elite: Ratling Squad (5#, 50 pts)
5 Ratling Squad @ 50 pts

Troops: Infantry Platoon (55#, 340 pts)
1 Infantry Platoon @ 340 pts
4 Platoon Command Squad
1 Platoon Commander
7 Infantry Squad (Heavy Weapons Team)
1 Heavy Weapons Team (Autocannon)
1 Sergeant
7 Infantry Squad (Heavy Weapons Team)
1 Heavy Weapons Team (Autocannon)
1 Sergeant
7 Infantry Squad (Heavy Weapons Team)
1 Heavy Weapons Team (Autocannon)
1 Sergeant
7 Infantry Squad (Heavy Weapons Team)
1 Heavy Weapons Team (Missile Launcher)
1 Sergeant
7 Infantry Squad (Heavy Weapons Team)
1 Heavy Weapons Team (Missile Launcher)
1 Sergeant

Troops: Veteran Squad (10#, 90 pts)
9 Veteran Squad @ 90 pts (Meltagun x2)
1 Veteran Sergeant

Fast Attack: Valkyrie Assault Carrier Squadron (1#, 130 pts)
1 Valkyrie Assault Carrier Squadron @ 130 pts
1 Valkyrie (Multiple Rocket Pods x2)

Fast Attack: Vendetta Gunship Squadron (2#, 260 pts)
1 Vendetta Gunship Squadron @ 260 pts
1 Vendetta
1 Vendetta

Fast Attack: Hellhound Squadron (2#, 260 pts)
1 Hellhound Squadron @ 260 pts
1 Bane Wolf (Heavy Flamer)
1 Hellhound (Heavy Flamer)

Heavy Support: Hydra Flak Tank Battery (2#, 150 pts)
1 Hydra Flak Tank Battery @ 150 pts
1 Hydra Flak Tank
1 Hydra Flak Tank

Heavy Support: Leman Russ Squadron (1#, 200 pts)
1 Leman Russ Squadron @ 200 pts
1 Leman Russ Demolisher (Lascannon; Heavy Bolter Sponsons x2)

Heavy Support: Leman Russ Squadron (1#, 200 pts)
1 Leman Russ Squadron @ 200 pts
1 Leman Russ Demolisher (Lascannon; Heavy Bolter Sponsons x2)

Total Roster Cost: 1750

Dave's been using this list for quite a while so he's pretty much got the hang of it. For those long term followers you may remember it as the army that destroyed my Chaos Daemons.

I haven't bothered to take pictures of every stage as certain things are now obvious and can be learned from previous battle reports.

As usual - Pictures first, Commentary afterwards...

Spearhead Deployment, 5 objectives. I win the roll for first turn and deploy first.

Dave's Deployment.

My Deployment. The Dreadnought is still standing in for the 2nd Tyrannofex and the Swarmlord still has no arms (he does however have Tyrant Guard that look like Tyranids rather than the Chaos Spawn I had been using).

The objectives are in forests in the top right and bottom left. A 3rd is between the 2 middle forests with the 4th and 5th 12 and a bit inches away on either side.
Dave fails to seize the initiative for the first time in our last 3 games.

Dave's Valks and Vendettas had used their Scout moves to go far enough for cover saves.
The Tervigon sitting on my objective Spawned 14 Termagants to reinforce my home objective. Both Tervigons gave the advancing Termagants Feel no Pain though one of them rolled double 1 for her psychic test and gave herself a wound. Everything else advanced forward. My shooting kills a Vendetta and stuns a Hydra but fails dismally at everything else.

Daves return shooting has killed a few Termagants, A Hive Guard each from 2 of the units and wounds a few of the Monstrous Creatures.

I continue my steady advance forward after spawning another unit of Termagants to try and absorb some fire that's likely to finish off my 2, now 1 man Hive Guard units. My shooting stuns a Vendetta.

The Hellhound/Banewolf Squadron has moved forward to block my progress around the left flank. Long range Lasgun and Autocannon fire puts wounds on my big monsters and thins out the Termagants. My Swarmlord and Tyrant Guard make a stupid amount of cover saves meaning they should get stuck into assault in my turn. The Valkyrie unloads it's veteran cargo in order to finish off the Tyrannofex, however the combined fire of pretty much everything that's left on that side of the board can only reduce it to 1 wound.

Close up shot of the road block.

The Tyrannofex on his last wound...and some Pizza.

The one firey death machine dies, however the other is depressingly functional and I've charged into Flamer formation, lol.

The Hive Guard finally do something useful and kill the Valkyrie, The Tyrannofex thins out the Veterans with shooting and charges what's left. Meanwhile the Termagants move up to claim the objective after the Vets hopefully die (which they do).

The Swarmlord carves through the unit that it had assaulted. The Termagants however being out of range of their supporting Tervigon get slaughtered by the Guard Company Command Squad.

It then butchers another 2 units in it's next assault but is only on one wound. Having by now lost it's Tyrant Guard it has no way of getting a cover save so promptly dies in the next shooting phase.

This Vendetta manages to improbably survive another torrent of fire and readies itself to contest an objective.

The advancing Tervigon plonks itself on an objective.

At this point Dave throws the remaining surviving bits and pieces of units at my objectives in order to contest as many as possible. If the game ends on turn 5 it's a draw, if it goes another turn I should be able to easily clear 2 objectives for a hard fought victory.

We roll for the next turn and.....the game ends.....bollocks :-(

A pretty good game but I'm beginning to have doubts about the Swarmlord. He made a lot more cover saves than I could have reasonably hoped for and still only just managed to reach the enemy intact. In Dawn of War he'd have been lucky to get halfway across the board.

Editors Note : The Blood Angels game we played afterwards basically involved us running at one other, meeting in the middle and butchering one another. I won but nothing came up that was really informative enough to be worthy of a battle report.

I'll do a proper analysis tomorrow as I think I'm at the list tweaking stage now.

Comment are (as usual) welcome.

Friday 23 July 2010

Tyranid Project - Interlude 4 - Charitable Contributions.

I happened to pop into my FLGS today and my friend and former staff member (he is now manager of a different GW shop) 'Tumnus' was sorting through various bits and pieces of his that were still knocking around the shop. We got chatting about current projects and I mentioned my Tyranids...

The phrase 'Would you like my old Battle for Macragge bitz as I'll never use them' entered the conversation. I gratefully excepted and was handed a GW bag of stuff. I promptly put it next to the bag of Tyranid spares that 'Hawkeye' had donated to me to sort out when I got home.

There was a lot more than I was expecting when I emptied it all onto my work tray...

Pile of awesome free stuff.

From 'Hawkeye'.

From 'Tumnus'.

After a bit of organisation...

53 Termagants,

14 Genestealers,

And more Spore Mines, Scything Talons and other stuff than I'm ever likely to use...

They say that 'Charity begins at home', in my case apparently 'Charity begins at your FLGS' ;-)

Thursday 22 July 2010

Tyranid FAQ - how it should have been done

Pay attention GW this is how you should have written the Tyranid FAQ

Tyranid Project - Part 8 - 2000 points possibilities.

The boxes I need to finish off my 1750 Tyranid army arrived today.

I have a Carnifex to turn into a Tyrannofex,

3 Warriors which are becoming Tyrant Guard,
and some Termagants which are becoming...well...Termagants...
I would also at this point like to thank my friend and long time Tyranid player 'Hawkeye' for his generous donation of Tyranid spares that combined with the above boxes will enable me to finish building my units.

This means I should have a 1750 army that I can use without Proxying anything by the end of the weekend.

This means 2 important things,

1) I can start using my army for test games at my FLGS without feeling like a knob *
* I don't mind Proxying units at home or at a friends for the purposes of testing but don't like doing it for 'pick-up' games as I think it's a bit lame.
2) I can get ahead of myself and start thinking about what to do at 2000 points.

As long as I'm keeping the 1750 fairly close to it's current form (No unit has particularly let me down or shown itself as a weak link yet, I am only 2 games in though) those amongst you who are good at maths will have worked out that, that leaves me 250 points to spend.

So what viable options can I get for the points?

1) Tervigon + Termagants.
A Tervigon with the appropriate upgrades and a unit of 10 Termagants to make it 'legal' cost me 245 points or (and this is also a concern for me though it may or may not be for all of you) £42 of real money (Carnifex £27, Termagants £15).
This gives me another 2 scoring units, 1 of which is actually quite tough. It also allows me to have a Tervigon and Brood to hold my objective while leaving the other 2 to advance on other objectives and dish out 'Feel no Pain' and Synapse support to whatever needs it.

2) Hive Guard
Increasing the 3 units of Hive Guard to 3's significantly (well 2 extra shots at S8 is pretty significant in my book) increases my anti-vehicle firepower. That only costs me 150 points and £36 (1 box of warriors and the 2 extra weapon sprues I need to make their guns).
Being S8 ignores the Feel no Pain that every army I face seems to be full of at the moment, lol.
It also makes them more likely to be able to glance Land Raiders to Death (or immobilisation, which is the same thing as death for a transport ;-) )** should I face a Raider Spam army that my Tyrannofex's are unable to handle.
Though by no means their primary role, 6 S5 attacks at WS4 combined with their Toughness of 6 and 2 wounds each makes them an adequate combat/tarpit unit in a pinch.
That does however leave me with 100 points which is a slightly odd amount in a Tyranids list as all the good stuff is quite expensive or cheap and rubbish, though it would buy me a Tyranid Prime as a secondary close combat threat.

** I know the odds aren't good but I've immobilised and significantly disarmed Land Raiders with Krak Missiles enough to know it can happen even if it's not likely.

3) Tyrannofex
265 points (and £27 of real money) means I'd have to scrape another 15 points from somewhere but that's easily obtained by dropping the Stranglewebs from the Termagants .
Question is do I need a 3rd set of S10 guns?
Well obviously they're nice to have and combined with the free stuff they do make an impressive anti-infantry unit once they get close. That one will take a bit of thinking about.

4) Harpy
170 points with the Twin-Linked Venom Cannon and about £35 depending on what I used to make one.
If I want an extra gun platform I think I'd prefer another Tyrannofex. However, the Harpy is obviously a lot more mobile and is capable of considerable anti-infantry firepower.
Being one of the few Tyranid Monstrous Creatures that's only T5 combined with 4 Wounds and a 4+ save means a couple of 85 point Predators would shoot it out of the sky with little effort (as would any comparable 'Torrent of Fire' unit). Suddenly, I'd need 2 or even 3 of them and that changes the rest of the army considerably.
On the face of it I'm not impressed but I'm open to opposing viewpoints...

5) A big horde of something...
Something that would draw a lot of firepower that would otherwise be aimed at the rest of my army would be nice. I best split this section up, I suppose.

a) Ripper Swarms
I'm only joking...moving on...
b) Termagants.
Well I can make those for free with the Tervigons so if that's what I want I'd just go with option 1 and buy a Tervigon as well...
c) Hormagaunts.
Anything in the Tyranid book that's only S3 really needs Toxin Sacs. Furious Charge might be nice on these as they're fairly quick so might actually get to charge something. Unfortunately that makes them 10 points each and I'm not sure they're worth it. They'll also quickly out-range the Tervigon that may have been able to increase their survivability with 'Feel no Pain'.
d) Gargoyles
With the (imo) necessary Toxin Sacs and Adrenal Gland upgrades these weigh in at 8 points each so I could have 2 units of 15 for 240 of my 250 points. Given their 18" charge range these can be kept in Synapse Range at the beginning of the turn and then thrown into combat pretty much straight away in turn 2. I may have to do some Mathshammer on these as I'm not sure if they'll ever kill enough on the turn they charge to make them survive very long into the 2nd round of combat. As a distraction unit however they seem the best option out of the 4 'horde' units.

From a personal point of view I'm not sure that any of those 'horde' options compliment my army as well as another Monstrous Creature would.

The Others.
I'm sure there are perfectly good arguments for Genestealers, Trygons, Mawlocks and any number of other things but they're all units for other army builds as far as I'm concerned and I'm too skint at the moment to start looking at completely differently focused Tyranid armies, lol.

That turned into a bit of a longer wall of text than I originally intended...

The floor is now open for opposing viewpoints, but bear in mind we are talking about units that compliment this army rather than their value as individual units in other builds.


Tuesday 20 July 2010

Tyranid Project - Part 7 - Game 2 vs. Blood Angels

My 2nd Test game was also vs. Blood Angels but it was a very different army and therefore offered up some interesting new challenges.

This was Toms list,

1750 Pts - Tom's Blood Angels

HQ: Astorath the Grim (1#, 220 pts)
1 Astorath the Grim @ 220 pts (Fearless; Honour of the Chapter)

Elite: Chaplain (1#, 100 pts)
1 Chaplain @ 100 pts ( Power Armour)
1 Power Armour

Elite: Sanguinary Priest (1#, 50 pts)
1 Sanguinary Priest @ 50 pts (Sanguinary Priest in Power Armour)
1 Sanguinary Priest in Power Armour

Troops: Tactical Squad (11#, 250 pts)
9 Tactical Squad @ 250 pts (Flamer; Missile Launcher; Rhino)
1 Sergeant (Bolt Pistol; Power Weapon x1)
1 Rhino (Extra Armor)

Troops: Death Company (10#, 520 pts)
1 Death Company @ 520 pts (Equip with Jump Packs; Lemartes, Guardian of the Lost; Death Company; Death Company; Death Company; Death Company)
1 Lemartes, Guardian of the Lost
1 Death Company (Jump Pack; Power Weapon)
1 Death Company (Jump Pack; Infernus Pistol)
1 Death Company (Jump Pack; Power Fist)
6 Death Company (Jump Pack)

Troops: Death Company (10#, 300 pts)
1 Death Company @ 300 pts (Death Company; Death Company; Death Company; Death Company; Rhino)
1 Death Company (Infernus Pistol)
1 Death Company (Power Weapon)
6 Death Company
1 Death Company (Power Fist)
1 Rhino (Extra Armor)

Troops: Assault Squad (6#, 200 pts)
4 Assault Squad @ 200 pts (Remove Jump Packs; Infernus Pistol; Razorback)
1 Sergeant (Remove Jump Packs; Bolt Pistol; Power Weapon x1)
1 Razorback (Extra Armor; Lascannon and TL Plasmagun)

Troops: Death Company Dreadnought (1#, 125 pts)
1 Death Company Dreadnought @ 125 pts (Blood Talons)

Total Roster Cost: 1765

No matter how I add up his list in Army Builder it always ends up 35 points short so I've a sneaking suspicion that he forgot to deduct the 35 point price break on the Assault Squads Razorback for removing Jump Packs when he added it up.
Editors note : Found the problem but now it's 15 points over, lol.

I used this list.

I proxied a 'Rifleman' Dreadnought as my 2nd Tyrannofex, 2 Chaos Spawn as Lash Whip Tyrant Guard with my armless Trygon as my Swarmlord.
I also had a big pile of Guardsmen to proxy in the event that I spawned a lot of Termagants.

We rolled the 2 Objective mission with 'Spearhead' deployment. I won the roll off and went first. We both placed our objectives in the middle of the small forest in our deployment zones.

As usual I will be posting the picture first and the commentary afterwards.

I also forgot to take pictures of the first turn so I'll explain what happened first.

I deployed in a rough semi-circle at the front of my deployment zone, I sat a Tervigon just in front of my Objective. I put a Tyrannofex on each end of my lines and 2 units of Hive Guard behind a wall of Termagants to give them a cover save as they would have to deploy out of cover to be in range of Toms vehicles for my first turn of shooting. I kept the 3rd unit of Hive Guard in cover to give my Tervigon some fire support. The Swarmlord by necessity deployed right at the front of my lines as he's fairly fucking slow and needs as much of a head start as possible.

Tom failed to seize the initiative.

I didn't bother to Spawn any Termagants first turn as I didn't want to risk running out early on until I knew where and when they were going to be needed most. Everything except the objective defending units moved as far forward as possible.

I used Catalyst to give Feel no Pain to the Termagant units

My shooting destroyed the Dreadnought and de-meched the Rhino mounted Death Company. The Swarmlord was too far away from the Jump Pack Death Company to use Paroxysm on them so his unit ran forward instead, as did the Termagants who were out of shooting range anyway.

Toms Razorback moved forward 12" so it could still fire one weapon, the foot Death Company moved as far forward as there difficult terrain rolls would let them (it was enough to get them out of the terrain though). The Jump Pack Death Company headed straight for the Swarmlord and his bodyguard.
Toms Razorback Plasmagun took a couple of wounds off the Tyrannofex and his other shooting killed some Termagants.
The Jump Pack Death Company as expected multi-charged both the Swarmlord unit and the nearby Termagants (This unit also contained both Lemartes and Astorath). Tom focused enough of his attacks into the Termagants to kill them and the rest took out a Tyrant Guard. My attacks only killed 3 Death Company forcing me to take 7 Fearless saves, fortunately I only took a couple more wounds.

This game took place directly after the first game so I hadn't reread any of the rules which means I made this stupid mistake for the 2nd time without realising...

'I'm a fucking idiot' break No. 1 (or No. 3 if your counting the 2 from the first game)
If I'd have bothered to read the Bone Sabre entry I would have realised that they cause instant death. Which means rather than try and chip away at the unit I should have just split my attacks between the characters and got the biggest threats out of the way first and then butchered the squad.

Some reinforcements seemed like a good idea so I started spawning Termagants, I got a unit of 10 and another of 14 which cheered me up immensely, lol. I moved the 1 Tervigon forward so it would give them the benefit of It's Toxin Sacs and Adrenal Glands I also gave them both Feel no Pain.
I ran both of the new units forward in the shooting phase as I wanted them ready to assault in my next turn. I focused all my shooting on the walking Death Company, I knew they'd get armour saves from it all but at least the S8 and S10 shots would bypass their Feel no Pain.
Lemartes, Astorath and pals killed the last Tyrant Guard and wounded the Swarmlord, several Death Company got sliced and diced first though.

I forgot to take pictures for a turn or 2 so quite a lot happened between those 2 pictures. I'll try to fill in the gaps for you as best as I can...

Tom shot one of the original Termagant units to death so that the Death Company wouldn't get distracted by them later as they were the closest unit to them. The Razorback with the Assault Squad in it headed towards my objective and shot another wound off the Tyrannofex on it's way. Astorath and Lemartes wounded the Swarmlord again but lost the rest of their Death Company pals while doing it. Lemartes took a wound which actually made him harder (If I'd have known that the Bone Sabres caused instant death it would have got rid of him completely, but that was my mistake not Toms).
50 Attacks from Poisoned, Furious charging Termagants didn't do as well as I would have liked but still managed to finish off that annoying bastard Lemartes, leaving Astorath in a bit of trouble as the Tyrannofex had decided to help out as well.
Some shooting immobilised the Razorback.
The Tervigons meanwhile had produced another 25 Termagants between them.
Astorath steadfastly refused to die...

The Tervigon edged around the Astorath battle with his latest brood of Termagants and headed for Tom's objective. Termagants assaulted the Razorback both preventing the Assault Marines from getting out and knocking a weapon off (I took the Twin-linked Plasmagun, obviously). The Tyrannofex shot up the Death Company a bit and then charged the 5 that were left.

A shot of Astorath the Unhappy's heroic last stand.

The Tyrannofex's charge has nicely blocked off the small gap in my Termagants that the Assault Marines could have used to get out of the Razorback.
Hive Guard shooting takes out some of the Tactical squad.

Astorath kills the Swarmlord, everything else kills Astorath.
The objective holding Tervigon produces another 10 Termagants, the other Tervigon ran out last turn. The 2 units with the dice in the middle have been given Feel no Pain as the Death Company have killed the Tyrannofex and are still a bit upset for some reason.

Massed firepower kills the last few Death Company and puts a serious dent in the last Tactical squad. Termagants have been advancing towards Toms objective.

The Tactical Squad remnants head towards their own objective to try for a draw, their Rhino already redeployed to contest their own objective so they have to walk.

Rather than risk failing my charge and in case the game ends on turn 5 I run a unit of Termagants towards the enemy objective rather than attempting to assault.

The 2 remaining Marines charge me based on the fact that I'm going to charge them. The Assault Squad continues to kill a Termagant a turn with their Lascannon, a loss I can happily live with.

The remnants of Toms army.

Result 2 objectives to me and none to Tom.

This game went much better with me actually remembering to use most of my abilities. I could kick myself that I somehow missed the 'Instant Death' reference in the Bone Sabre description but I assure you I won't be making that fuck-up ever again.

I was quite lucky to get that many Termagants but to be honest they didn't make that much difference to the outcome (The last 2 units I spawned just stayed where I initially put them as there was nothing for them to do anyway).

Not as many pictures in this report but It had been quite a long day.

Thoughts, comments, analysis and bits of strategic brillance are as usual welcomed.
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