Ability to talk about armies…

So from the same conversation last night with Miggles who believes the following:

If you don’t play an army you can’t talk about its tactics, army builds, effectiveness in relation to itself and others, etc.

Uh wtf. Just because I don’t earn a ton of money and can buy an army for every codex out there (off the top of my head there are 16 or more) doesn’t mean I can’t talk about every single army. How on earth do you expect to go to a tournament and not play competitively if you don’t understand every other army out there. You don’t have to play them all the time to be able to talk about them. Sure with most people it helps but if you understand 40k you can look at a codex and understand what’s good for that codex and what’s not.

You don’t have to be Stelek and pick up and book and whip out good and balanced lists within a day but you don’t have to play the army 100 times before you understand it. Playing with an army is going to give you a much more intamate understanding of how your force works yes, you’ll have to think less about what to do and your responses to threats will be faster and more comprehensive, just like any specialisation. However, you don’t NEED to play the army to be able to understand it or talk about it. I haven’t used Vespid. Ever. Does that mean I don’t know they are a crap unit? I’ve never played Necrons but does that mean I don’t know their codex is medicore at best and most people who play it don’t understand T5 + WBB + res orb generally equals a WBB roll compared to T4? No. So pull your head out of your ass Miggles.

Terminators

Following a rather inane conversation with Miggles last night I thought I’d say something about terminators.

Firstly. Terminators are only assault units if they are if they are assault terminators. GKTs and Terminators (the ones with the stormbolter and shooting weapon upgrades) are shooting units. Sure they can counter-attack but because they lack a good invul save, they are not uber close combaty. And then you only really have two good assault variants. TH/SS from Vanillia marines (who are just rock hard) and Templar Termies w/LCs and Furious Charge (which rely on their higher I and sickening kill ratio to do damage before they get hurt).

Now IMO the best army to build around terminators is Black Templars. With the old rules of being able to take 2 special weapons (assaultcannons in this case) per 5 men and the tank hunters special skill, you have an excellent counter-assault unit, an excellent anti-infantry unit and an excellent anti-light armor unit (and thanks to rending it can damage anything). Whilst the BT codex suffers in its all-round options, it is quite possible to make a very balanced list around shooty BT termies (much more balanced than a Deathwing option for example).

The only other competitor for an balanced army based around termies IMO is the vanilla codex and generally copies the Dark Angel idea of a dualwing but since both the vanilla LRs, termies & bikes are better… The TH/SS termie is simply beastly and if you want a rock hard assault unit this codex is the way to go. However 900 points in 10 th/ss and 2 raider variants takes up a lot of your points so you need to maximise your ability to do damage and do it quickly with your remaining points.

Space Wolves don’t do as good termie forces IMO. I think the Wolf Guard (in TDA or not) are much better at supporting the rest of the army or are a better core in power armor or mixed armor besides the fact their calvary forces are that much better. BA and DA just don’t cut it with their current books. Whilst a mech list with TH/SS thrown in from the Vanilla codex is most likely better than a BT termie list, I find building a list around terminators is much more points effective for BT though vanilla runs a close 2nd.

New Layout

To make the pictures fit better I changed the layout around. Still need to edit it a bit but wrapping presents atm!

Painting Competition Mini

I’ve just completed a mini for an online painting comp (theme: winter). It’s the sarge for my 1st squad (company sarge). I’m mostly happy with him though there are a few bits I need to still touch up. Quite happy with the spear even though the blade doesn’t look fantastic. Most extensive green stuffing I’ve done in a while outside of the Ice Claws symbol. Would love to hear what you think!

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1500 game against Immo spam

Edit: I’m afraid if you want to see the entire picture you’ll have to click them as the settings aren’t streching the post and are therefore just cropping the pics. Will try and fix!

Well it’s round 2 of working on my tourney list against Vince’s list. Before this I just want to point out how much I hate 1500 ^^, gives you so little flexibility. You put in two mandatory Troops and an HQ and 1/3 of your army is gone. Add in the restrictions of this tourney and I essentially have 170 pts I can’t really use. Will talk about possible changes after the game.

So list for me was the same but Vince had updated his to a much better mechanised list based around Immos. Went something like:
Palatine
4x 5xCelestians w/2xmgun & Immo
2x 10xSisters w/mgun, HFlamer & Rhino
2x 5x IST w/2xmgun
2x Immo
Exorcist

I think he should drop the Exo for another Immo/IST combo. I was pretty leniant with movement (though Vincey got a bit bitchy :P). In a tournament game you can’t move something and move it back once you’ve started on other things, etc. This means you have to be careful and plan your moves and why stuns/immobs can be very annoying against Mech if the Mech play bunches up too much.

Now there’s still a bit of proxying going on here so will explain what’s what in the pics if it’s not obvious. You can also see the lack of nice terrain (silly cityfight buildings). We rolled DoW & 4 objectives with me getting the first turn. First turn shooting was ineffectual by all sides. Here were our T1 move ons.

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The crater you can see there is actually a forest. ahem. I used the central building and speeding Speeders (inculding the Vypers…) to cover my Rhinos which covered my Preds (inc the Chimera) & a Dread (my other Dread is hiding below the building). The scouts are holding the rearmost objective and the Speeders are in a position to pounce where Vince is most likely to come on and zoom to relative saftey to where he is most likely to bring his Exo in (seen in next pic).

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Vince moved on as expected (the DPod is Impassable) with his Exo just out of range behind the building (so he has to move into the open to shoot my firing line) and his Immos and Rhinos hiding behind the central building (the Exos w/o guns are IST Immos, the 2 Rhinos are Rhinos and the other 4 vehicles are Immos w/Celestians).

Turn 2 I moved my Rhinos up (the old Khorne rhino holds my ISTs and Libby) with 2 speeders into the central building to hold midfield and gain cover and zoomed my other 2 speeders to draw the Exo out and be able to shoot him next turn (assuming they survive. Bad assumption). My dreads both moved up and my Preds and scouts stayed still to fire. My shooting was terrible. My meltas missed and my ACs and LCs all failed to pen bar one which got through Vince’s smoke and stunned an IST Immo.
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Vince also moved his Mech force up (here is where he needed to be careful with movement order as one Immo was stunned), popped a few more smokes and also moved the Exo into the open to shoot the Speeders. He openned fire at thespeeder squad w/the exo, 3 shots, 3 hits, 2/3 pens through and 2 explodes. The other 2 speeders were shot by the rest of the army which could exploded them all on pure 6s. 4 pure 6s. owie.
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(yes the dice near the building are our new “crater”)

Turn 3 saw a bit more damage from my side as I foolishly moved my IST Rhino out and I was able to Immob a Celestian Immo and Explode another (which had the Palatine) with my Dread. The other Dread was able to Immob and remove a Stormbolter from a Rhino. They promptly ran away. My Preds were able to knock off the Exo gun since it was now in the open and showing side armor.
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Vince’s Turn 3 saw him unload his two Sister squads, an IST squad and a Celestian squad (mostly from immobed transports, one of them was immobed by moving through a crater) and move up to immolate and melta a lot of things. He was able to explode my IST and a marine Rhino (stunned the other one) and the ensuing flamer and bolter death saw 6 marines and all of the ISTs drop. His celestians assaulted my Libby though no damage was done by either side.
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Turn 4 saw the combat in midfield grow larger as I charged my 2nd Marine squad into the Sisters & Celestians. I was unable to sigifnicatly damage his vehicles (shook a Celestian Immo and stunned & weapon destroyed on a IST Immo) but my Scouts were able to account for 4 sisters who had opted out of their transport. My charging Marines and Libby were able to take down 10 sisters & Celestians (wow) but they remained in combat.
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Vince’s Turn 4 wasn’t very effectual and it looked like the tide had turned as he was unable to do much damage other than exploding my now empty Rhino in midfield. His 6 remaining sisters shot at my remaining marines not in combat and they auto fell back. Everything else he couldn’t see (thanks to immobed tanks) or was locked in combat. He moved his remaining IST immo towards the far objective where it hid behind the gunless Exo.

I don’t have many pics from this point on as we were rushing so Vince could head out. My Turn 5 saw me explode an Immo (and pin the ISTs inside) with my Pred, explode a Rhino which was moving towards my held objective and moved my Dreads into assault. One dread tied up the remaining 6 Sisters whilst the other exploded an Immo w/Celestians which was moving towards my home objective. The combat in the middle ensued with the Vet sister the only remaining Witchunters combatant.
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Vince’s turn 5 was again ineffectual as things were winding down. He moved his ISTs and some more celestians to the middle objective and moved his Exo to a midfield objective outside the combat (which I may have gone for if it went to T6). The celestians which had survived the Immo explosion by the dread moved to contest my objective and shot the Dread, stunning it and taking off a TLAC arm. The Vet sister survived 6 wounds and killed the libby, forcing my marines to fall back.

We rolled for a T6 and got it. Both my Marine squads had rallied and ran towards the middle (finally taking the Vet sister with them). The rest of my army took aim at the Celestians near my home objective and took down all but one.

During Vince’s T6 he made one of my Marine squads fall back (bad morale rolling again) and moved more units towards the middle objective. The game ended after that and it was 2-0 in Vince’s advantage.

If it had finished T5 it would of been a draw (thanks to that damn Vet sister!) and if it had gone to a T6 it most likely would of also finished in a draw though if I could have gotten a run of 3″ or more and killed his Exo I could of gotten a 2nd objective. Either way a close game, much closer than I imagined after my first couple of turns shooting. I think I went after midfield too aggressively. My tac MMs outranged his meltaguns and could of gotten a valuable turn of extra shooting in. However, clearing sisters is a pet hate of mine. Whilst I did relatively well in removign bodies throughout the game (31 out of 45 or so killed infantry) w/their Stubborn books and ability to get invuls (so no avenger :() they are hard to get out of cover and I think that led to my early push. I was happy with my predicting ability though pissed off that my Speeders all exploded :(. That and the fact that only 1 melta shot hit all game put me on the back foot. Vince played pretty well and was able to mass his firepower in midfield and finally kicked me out on T5 which won him the game.

Off to post some pics of comp mini but will talk about my list later.

Suns @ Blazers

Another come from behind victory for the Blazers at home, this time over the much better team of the Phoenix Suns to move into 5th in the West. It was another solid 2nd half performance (something I think has been missing by the Blazers of late) with lots of positives and negatives again.

Bayless came through again. After getting valuable time in the close game over the Kings Bayless again came through big with 29 minutes of play after Miller went to the locker room when he was hit in the head. Posting a career high in points, he and Roy were able to carry a stagnant Portland offense as their defense stepped up in the last 15 minutes. Webster had one of his few good games with some excellent rebounding and layups (I would much rather see him drive & dunk or lay up than shoot a contested three; if he’s wide open, go for it but otherwise pump fake and drive). He did pump fake once which I was happy to see but then he traveled >.<. It was also nice to see Steve Blake hit a few shots and create on the offensive end but I think I'm much fonder of Miller starting and Bayless as the backup. On the whole Portland played a lack luster game and were lucky to come away with it. They showed great hustle towards the end of the game and looked like they wanted it more(Webster’s rebounds, Aldridge into the stands for a loose ball, Roy onto the floor for a rebound, etc.) but Phoenix didn’t play as well as they had in the 2nd half. If the Blazers want to come away with some big wins on the road trip they need to play basketball for 48 minutes on both ends. Won’t be able to see tomorrows game but best of luck to the Blazers!

The “Impossible” List

This made me laugh. As if it hasn’t been established for a long time that balanced lists do not get trumped by hammer lists (which this list is). Not only that but it’s a hammer list which sucks against a fair amount of lists. At least back those termies up or take 5 LRs and forget Shrike. Kudos to the warseer community (holy shit did Ijust say that?) for actually jumping up and down on this and beating it into the ground again and again although I doubt they are upset over the fact that it’s not a balanced list and rather that their own uber lists can’t (edit: er I meant can lol) beat it.

Kings @ Blazers

One of the rare games I get to fully watch living in Australia and there were certainly some positives. Firstly, Miller started. I don’t have much agaisnt Blake but Miller is a much better floor leader than Blake. If Roy doesn’t like it or can’t play well without the ball in his hands, he’s not as good as we all thinks he is. Secondly, Bayless. I agree with the Blake setup for the final quarter, he’d hit two big shots and would keep the defense honest but Bayless went out instead of Miller and proved his worth. He did something I’ve never seen Webster do, pump fake. Thridly, Pryzbilla. Pryz is a very solid center and an excellent back-up to Oden and this is another game that highlights how important big men are to Portland. He was +27 and the Kings only took control of the game when he was out in the late 2nd and 3rd quarters. Defensively he (and Oden) do so much for the Blazers and it doesn’t show up on the stat sheet. Whilst Oden is a much better shot blocker and presence in the paint, Pryz brings energy and hustle which I often think the Blazers lack. Finally, Roy and LA. They both had insane games and carried the Blazers when they needed it. 25/5/10 for Roy and 25/9/5 for LA. When the rest of the team isn’t firing these two need to step up and they did tonight. If the Blazers could stay healthy and work out the chemistry issues this game was the type of Blazer game you should see every night but much better.

So what didn’t I like. The bench. I know the Blazers are injured and bench scorers like Outlaw and Rudy are not there but they need to play more consistently. I know when Pryz goes out it’s a small lineup on the floor but you’ve got to make up with hustle and energy. Look at Houston and Pheonix. Undersized but they win through sheer determination and hustle (and good point guards). That’s what I think is missing from the Blazers. They don’t want it enough. In the 4th you saw it. With Pryz and Bayless you saw it. But on the whole the Blazers team need to learn to want it. I hope it doesn’t take multiple early round exits for them to learn this and I’m sure players like Oden and Outlaw will come out of injury hungry but as a team they need to want to win. And finally, Webster. At the beginning of the year he showed some great explosiveness and great driving dunks. I’ve seen barely any of that since then. He made one tonight and had a few other big shots but too often he settles for the jumpshot and doesn’t rebound as well as he could with his hops. He needs to pump fake and drive more. I know we have a lot of drivers in Roy, Bayless and Miller but honestly if he wants to stay on this team he needs to become consistent at both ends of the floor. Outlaw is a more consistent offensive threat whilst Batum is a far better defender. We’ve seen Webster play great defense and offense but we’ve never seen him string it together more consecutive games.

Overall was an exciting game to watch and a well-deserved win for Portland. This is only the 2nd time I’ve seen Evans play and damn has he got game.

Weight of Fire

Following up from an annoying argument with someone on Warseer in the Tau tactica section and my previous game with Vince.

Weight of fire is important in 5th. AP1 is also important but unless you have platforms which can send out 4+ S7+ AP1 shots a turn, relying on meltaguns or fast MMs isn’t going to cut it (yes the Exorcist can do this but it suffers from D6 shots and only has a single gun. When that gets blown off *error noise*).

So in my recent game (and many many games before that) Rifle Dreads (2x TL autocannon) have been invaluable. They may not have killed much but because they are putting out 3-4 S7 hits on AV11+ chasis’ every turn, they are doing something every turn. If as an army you can stop your opponents shooting reliably every turn, you’re set. This is why target locks are so important on Tau. Each of their weapons is very good and therefore prone to overkill. Sure the chances of you wrecking both targets with 2 broadsides is minimal but you maximise your chances to do so and minimise your chances of “wasting” a wreck on an already wrecked target.

Whilst shaking your opponent 24/7 isn’t going to win you games outright (enter your actual melta and AP1 weapons which can more reliably take out armor) against a lot of Mech armies it’s going to give you a significant advantage. Take any mech list and mirror it against itself. Whichever side goes first is going to have the upperhand as they will have agreater odds ratio of inflicting multiple shakes across more targets and thus minimise the damage coming their way next turn. This is why vendettas, rifle dreads and crisis suits are all becoming increasingly popular.

1500 game

Played a 1500 game yesterday in practice for a potential tournmanet in Feb. Used the following list:

HQ –
Libby w/Avenger & Null Zone

Elites –
Dreadnought w/2x TL AC
Dreadnought w/2x TL AC

Troops –
5x IST w/2meltaguns & Rhino
5x Scouts w/cloaks, HB & sniper rifles
10x Tacticals w/flamer, MM & Rhino
10x Tacticals w/flamer, MM & Rhino

Fast Attack –
2x Land Speeder w/HF & MM
2x Land Speeder w/HF & MM

Heavy Support –
Predator w/LC sponsons
Predator w/LC sponsons

Against Vince’s SoB who went with Palatine, 3 SoB dual melta squads in Rhino, 5 IST w/meltas, Seraphim x6, Dominions w/4 Flamers in Immo and 3 Exos. After the game we discussed him moving towards a more Immo spam list and dropping the SoB numbers as they are eating into his points (compared to say 150 for 5x Celestians w/2mguns & Immo). Whilst I also like (and get annoyed the crap out of) Exorcists, the one gun mentality and mass cover really renders them ineffectual. I referenced StJohn and Stelek’s idea of inducted guard but at this points level I think he’ll just spam more Immos for the tournamnet (he’s ordered 8).

I forgot to take pictures and we were at Vince’s house (who only has city fight terrain…) so we made believe there were some forests about. I placed my objective in a building on the right hand side and he placed his objective in the middle in the open. DoW setup and Vince choose to go first. I deployed my scouts on my objective whilst Vince moved everything on the right side to gain as much cover as possible. His shooting was failure against the scouts as he couldn’t see them. I moved everything on using a smoked rhino for 3+/4+ cover on everything and zoomed by Speeders forward on the far right. Using searchlights I Immobed a Rhino, wrecked his Immo and shook another Rhino.

Vince’s turn 2 was relatively ineffective as he moved up and opened fire with the Exos. Between them they managed to down one Speeder, shake the other in that squad and take off an MM in the other squad. My turn 2 saw the shook speeder zoom again to get into melta position against some Exos and my Rhino wall advance, using each other for cover. My Dreads/Preds stayed relatively still. My 2nd speeder squad used a make believe forest for cover and took down one Exo. The rest of my fire saw more Immobs and shake/stuns on Rhinos and a Pred also shook another Exo.

Vince’s turn 3 saw him attempt to move as much as he could (which was his Exos, 1 Rhino & Seraphim) and was able to take down the flat out speeder. His other shooting was ineffectual. My turn 3 I was able to finally start Rhino bunkering 🙂 and took out two Rhinos. The Rhino I took out in midfield exploded and pinned its occupants whilst also taking out two seraphim next to it. The libarian accounted for one more with his avenger (silly invul saves) and another in combat but was killed in the process. My tac squad was also able to kill the Palatine and my Dreads/Preds stunned some more stuff.

Vince’s turn 4 finally saw him move his sisters tucked up in the Rhinos about as I had finally reached midfield so he could get out and hit me. One squad went after my remaining speeders (their RHino had just been wrecked) and was able to take one down with meltagun fire and stun the other in combat (we forgot about Rapid firing and assaulting…this could of changed the game!). The other squad immobilised and removed the bolter from the IST Rhino and the Seraphim and remaining Dominions went after my Scouts killing 1. My turn 4 saw me attempt move my remaining midfield Rhino towards his objective and my other Rhino & it’s Tac marines took care of 6/10 sisters attacking my Speeder. Everything else levelled their guns at the Dominions and Serpahim but there was one serpahim remaining when the smoke cleared.

Vince’s turn 5 saw him move his ISTs onto his objective and hiden behind an Exo. He was able to wreck the IST transport but unable to get in assault range. The previously pinned SoB squad exploded the Rhino heading towards his objective and killed two marines inside. The other SoB squad immoblised the remaining Speeder whilst the Serpahim assaulted the Scouts but died in the attempt (2 scouts left). My turn 5 was pretty ineffectual as I killed a fair amount of sisters and stunned the Exo on the objective (hoping for an explodes to get rid of those ISTs).

At this point the game ended in a draw. I’m still unsure how this list operates in taking down hordes. Whilst out of about 50 opposing models Vince only had 15+ ish left (+2 tanks) I feel I’m relying too much on the Heavy Flamers from my speeders against IG, Daemons or Orks. I’ll point out how effective weight of fire is in a later post as this was another game where it really showed it’s worth.

A game well played by both sides, though a couple mistakes here and there. Vince needs to refine his list a bit more but was entertaining none the less. Also a game that finally took less than 3 hours! Vince is notorious for long games :P.

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