Archive for April, 2011

Haven’t done anything for my Archangels army for a very very long time. So, here’s the Executioness, which looks to me like a female version of Frank Frazzetta’s Death Dealer. A very cool mini from Kabuki Models. I’ve painted her in typical ‘Black Legion’ colours, though not consciously. Speed painted her in one night. Not too shabby, if I say so myself.

I think she’ll make an excellent counts-as-Kharn.


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Why do players lament the lack of melta in the new Grey Knights? I seriously don’t understand this. Is it because they think that the Knights can’t deal effectively with Armour 14? I think these people haven’t thought this through properly.

Let’s analyse in more depth. The basic Troop unit for the Knights is the Strike Squad. They may take Psycannons. These days, that means Assault 2/Heavy 4 Range 24 S7 AP4 Rending… MUCH improved from the previous incarnation.  Statistically, that’s BETTER than a meltagun, in terms of rate of fire (even on the move) and range with around the same chance of glancing / penetrating AV14 (about 0.48 for meltagun IF WITHIN 6 inches and 0.44 for psycannon FROM UP TO 24 inches away). Yes, AP1 means that meltaguns may just pip psycannons in obtaining a ‘destroy’ result on average, but psycannons are far more likely to actually damage, as you can have them shooting from farther away over more turns. A full Strike Squad can have TWO psycannons, each cost the SAME as a meltagun. The equivalent Tactical squad can have only ONE meltagun. The Sergeant may have a one-shot combi-melta. Clearly, Strike Squads are better off when shooting at AV14.

In addition to that, you can arm the Justicar with a Daemonhammer, and then you can go HAMMERTIME against tanks! Casting Hammerhand increases the Justicar’s assault Strength to 10! That’s definitely better than a Tatctical Squad Sergeant’s S8 Fist or Hammer (which are 15-20 points more expensive!)! And the Daemonhammer can be Mastercrafted for 5 points!

Which means…. collectively, the humble Strike Squad is as good if not better than an ordinary melta toting marine equivalent for tank hunting!

What’s more, Purifiers, Paladins and Purgation Squads can take up to FOUR psycannons; indeed virtually every unit in the book can have psycannons, so quit worrying about lack of melta!

(If people are worried that S7 AP4 can’t ignore Feel No Pain and /or instant kill marines… please be reminded that psycannons are RENDING and shoot up to 4 times more per turn! It’s better than melta in almost everyway, trust me!)

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Right. The new Grey Knights codex been out 2 weeks. Panicked doomsayers of the net are screaming ‘cheese’ and predicting the end of the world as we know it. OK, it’s an improvement over the old codex, but it’s my firm opinion that Grey Knights are only an upper middle tier army. Space Wolves, IG, and possibly Dark Eldar and Blood Angels remain top tier (in that order), after working out my mathhammer and overall army assessment (which could be the subject of an entire post on its own!).

This post is concerned only about the Grey Knights’ nemesis: Daemons. My first post about the new Grey Knights was met with some criticism regarding my assessment of Grey Knights vs Daemons. Look, I’m not saying the Knights don’t have an advantage over Daemons; all I’m saying is that the advantage is less now compared with the old codex. For example, in the old codex, ‘ordinary’ Knights had 2 base attacks (Stormbolter True Grit) during assault and usually needed a 3+ to hit (WS5), a 2+ to wound (S6) and the Daemons get a 5+ save. Now, the Knights have 1 base attack, need a 4+ to hit (WS4), a 4+ to wound (S4) and the Daemons still get 5+ save (2+ if having Blessing of the Blood God, which was not applicable for the old codex!). In what Universe would the latter be an improvement over the former?

Having said that, there is no denying that the new Knights still have an advantage over Daemons. All of them have preferred enemy against Daemons, their psycannons are now S7 AP4 Assault 2 / Heavy 4 Rending and are EVERYWHERE, Psybolt ammunition improve bolt weapons by +1 Strength, the Dreadknight is designed to kill Greater Daemons or Daemon Princes and has Dark Excommunication, their Warp Quake limits the Daemons’ deep striking, all their weapons are Daemonbane, etc…

So then, what can Daemons do to mitigate their disadvantage? What’s the appropriate response to their nemesis?

Let’s look at some options, shall we? In the HQ, we have Skarbrand, the Exiled One. This Bloodthirster grants preferred enemy to everyone within 24 inches, including the enemy. But since the Knights already have that, you lose nothing, but gain preferred enemy for most if not all of your army. The downside: He’s a Bloodthirster that CAN’T FLY (?!?), though he can Fleet. Also, he doesn’t have the Blessing of the Blood God (but he still has a 4+ invul that neither Dark Excommunication nor the Vindicare can remove!). He’ll kill a Dreadknight unscathed on the charge, by the law of averages, though. Not bad, especially if you take into account his multiplier effect on the rest of the army. A little pricey, however.

An ordinary Bloodthirster is also good. Give him Flight, Blessing (2+ invul in assault and vs psychic powers) and/or Might for S8 (S9 on the charge).

The other Greater Daemons can be fielded but you won’t be getting any extra advantage over GK.

Side note: You don’t have to worry about fielding Tzeentch Daemons because GK psychic defence is useless against Daemons – they never roll for their powers; in fact they are not even listed as being psychic!

Heralds. If you want to shoot up GK and their transports, Tzeentch Heralds are probably the best answer. Put them in Chariots so that they have 5 Wounds each and can zip around the battlefield as jetbikes). Give them Bolt (S8 AP1) and Breath (auto glance). The default Gaze is also deadly to GKs (Breath is too). Make them Masters so that they can shoot twice a turn. All for 130 points each? Yes, please. You can take up to 4, that’s 20 wounds with 4+ saves and a lot of mid-range firepower. Sadly, that is also the band range that GKs excel in.

If you’re really worried about Dreadknights, you may take Skulltaker. His ‘Skulls for the Skull Throne’ is not a Daemonic Gift and so cannot be removed by Dark Excommunication. He’ll instant kill the Dreadknight on a to wound roll of 4+ if it’s not saved (5+ only for the Dreadknight). Skulltaker on Juggernaut has 6 attacks hitting on 3s (re-rolling if Skarbarand is around) on the charge and strikes first. There is little chance that the Dreadknight will survive. You can join him with Bloodcrushers to make him more survivable against other threats. Downside: He moves as infantry and has no shooting (don’t be fooled by the mini weilding a flaming skull – he doesn’t have Death Strike).

ELITES I’ve always considered Fiends of Slaanesh as the best choice for Elites, not Bloodcrushers, because:

1. They’re cheaper

2. They’re faster (beasts)

3. Have offensive and defensive grenades

4. Have 2 more attacks than Bloodcrushers each to take advantage of Rending

5. Superior Initiative (so that the grenades are useful) that really shine against marines

With GKs, there is a slight problem. Halberds are I6, so they’ll strike first. Fortunately, ordinary GKs only have 1 attack at S4, and Halberds are expensive… the Fiends will do OK, you can have far more of them for the same points.

Some people swear by Flamers of Tzeentch, and they’re good because of Breath, but at 35 points a pop, with just 1 Wound, I don’t see them consistently surviving against S5 stormbolters and psycannons before they can get into template range to fire off their Breath…

TROOPS You probably don’t want Plaguebearers, which are the staple Troop choice for most Daemon armies. Their Feel No Pain doesn’t work in assault and GKs can increase their Strength to 5 with Hammerhand… so, better not. If you want shooty, Pink Horrors are not a bad choice. They aren’t as good against GK compared to non-marines, but they have 4+ saves, which means their T3 is not a complete disaster. Their great advantage is that you can start dealing damage upon arrival from deep strike, instead of waiting one turn to charge… and 4+ invul means they’re already in cover anywhere you land!

You may want to leave your assault to the Fiends (supra) instead of Bloodletters or Daemonettes in the Troop choices. It’s a matter of preference. But be reminded that Bloodletters or Daemonettes move only as infantry. Getting to assault will not be easy.

FAST ATTACK The easy choice is Flesh Hounds. They have Blessing and a reasonable number of attacks, move as beasts, and are cheap. GKs will really struggle against them in assault. They can act as tarpits as well.

HEAVY SUPPORT Soul Grinder or Daemon Prince? Both are useful. The Prince can be given Blessing, if you want a close combat monster. But either Tzeentch Prince or Soul Grinder are probably better choices because they also give you shooting.

Some afternotes:

Although Blessing of the Blood God seems overwhelmingly good against GK, there’s still a downside, Khorne Daemons have little to no shooting, which means you’ll be just sitting there to be shot at and/or assaulted before you get to do anything after appearing. So deep strike behind cover to improve your normal save from shooting to 4+!

Daemons arrive by Deep Strike in stages. This is a problem, as they’ll be picked off with GKs scary mid-range firepower. If you arrive too far, your shooting can’t touch them and it’ll take you a long time to assault, while getting shot up. If you come too close, they’ll shoot you up mercilessly. It’s a conundrum. Try to ensure there’s proper terrain on the table, or it’ll be a monumental uphill task instead of a difficult one.

So that’s my take on Daemons trying to survive against Grey Knights. It’ll be a different army from the balanced, all-comers list (bar GK), but against an army designed to kill it, this may be the only way to avoid annihilation!

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So, I had the pleasure of playing in the Kindred doubles tourney last weekend with my partner-in-crime Mr IG player [names have been changed to protect the guilty :)]. 28 teams gathered at the Battlefront HQ (ie the Flames of War people) to duke it out; 1500 points per team (750 per player), battlepoints format with some innovative missions that included ‘free’ scoring units of ‘Expendables’. Great fun all in all, and kudos to the great people organising and sponsoring the event (you all know who you are).

I played my Blood Angels with Mephy, Librarian Dread, Priest and 2 squads of Assault marines in Rhinos. My partner had 2 Russes, 1 Demolisher, Chimera with Command Squad and Troops. Why such a combo, you ask? I already warned my partner that we were going to get our Ss handed to us, but he really liked my converted Libby Dread and wanted it in the game. Sergeant Bygone and his ‘mastercrafted’ (ie handpainted) powerfist and combat shield (who in the world plays with one?!) also made an appearance based solely on looks. And then there was… well you get the idea. My partner argued (rightly) that we were there just to have fun, not beat face, so we might as well field some cool minis.

We did quite badly gaming-wise, but had a blast of a time (even clinching 2 awards somehow…). We drew the tournament winners from last year for the first game, and got absolutely clobbered. They were awesome dudes though, so we didn’t feel bad about it at all. Indeed, I think they tried to help us a little with some sound advice when it looked like we might get TAed, which we managed to avoid. They went on to get the award for killing the most enemy units in the tourney (massacre or TA in ALL their games). They played Blood Angels (Death Company in Land Raider) and Tyranids (Tervigon build).

In game two, we drew IG and Blood Angels [seems to be a lot of the latter in this tourney, more than even Space Wolves! BTW, best general was the Space Wolves player 😦 Every dem tourney, it seems…] They had 2 Stormravens and 3 Vendettas for FIVE FLYING GUNSHIPS (!!!) loaded with guys totting melta, MANTICORE and a Libby to Shield everything. And they went first (!!!). They alpha struck our Ss firing every dem thing including EIGHT Bloodstrike missiles, fistfuls of lascannons, meltas and assault cannons plus the Manticore barrage… but to no avail, they destroyed NOTHING except stun and took off some weapons. Indeed, the Manticore hit their own Assault Marines after they deep struck next turn, trying to melta our Russ’ back (that didn’t work either). With some luck, we did OK against them, even taking down 3 of the flyers in 2 of our turns (we only had 3 turns for this game (and we didn’t get ours), because of insufficient time). Our ‘Expendables’, which were supposed to take the virtually undefended enemy objective didn’t even show up.


In our third game, we drew the eventual overall tournament winners, another Blood Angels and Tyranids. They didn’t get best general, but they got the best army award (took the trouble to convert and paint up fluff matching ‘Expendables’ and did a comprehensive write up why Blood Andgels are fighting with Tyranids(Starcraft theme marines controlling the Zerg, ahem, I mean Hive Tyrant, with a halo-like device). Nice work people, very very nice!). That gave them the boost to take overall winners. We also gave them best sportsmanship for the opponents we faced, though our luck was atrocious for this game. They were that nice!

Congratulations, James & Zaki!

We ended up in the bottom half of the tourney but didn’t feel left out because they handed out awards to us… ‘UN Peace Keepers’ for getting the least Killpoints but not the worst in battlepoints, and also the ‘Live Free and Die Hard’ award, for surviving I guess?

(Funnily enough, my partner really was a ‘UN peacekeeper’, when he served a tour with the US marines, back in the day)

For painting-related awards, the resident painter Carl took most of them. I know him, and he’s good. His expendables were easily the best painted, and his Bloodthirster is to die for!

What else can I say about the event? It was well-managed in that there were only 2 guys (Khairul & Arzmi) doing most of the actual organising (they had to, among other things, carry 14+ tables and chairs between floors and set up terrain, which alone showed their commitment). The venue was generously loaned out by the Flames of War head honcho Jeff, and lunch (pizza) was sponsored by local GW distributor Alvin.

We really really really enjoyed ourselves. Thanks, guys!

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The biggest wargaming event for 2011, Adepticon shows the state of Warhammer 40k armies. The top three most popular armies entering the tourney were:

1. Space Wolves
2. Blood Angels
3. Imperial Guard

More instructive it seems is that out of 40 requests to use ‘count as’ armies, a whopping 38 were for Space Wolves!!! That suggests that people aren’t really interested in Space Wolves fluff , but perceive their codex as the most powerful codex currently available.

And, it seemes to me, further worsenning the stigma of playing with the Wolves. If you win, it’s because of your ‘overpowered’ codex. But if you LOSE…

So you probably won’t see many people playing ‘fun’ games with the Wolves (sad), but the tourney scene is always a good indicator of general sentiment. Right now, Space Wolves is the uber army/count-as army of 40k.

Will they still be king post Grey Knights? We’ll see.

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