Monday, April 25, 2011

Blog Wars Tickets and Brief Hiatus

As I may have mentioned before I'm getting married in a few days. As such I'll be off on honeymoon for a couple of weeks. Obviously I'll not be blogging whilst I'm away so From The Fang will be going a bit quiet until I return.

Had a decent response on the Blog Wars tickets so far with 16 people attending at the moment. Thank you to everyone who's already bought tickets. To those who have yet to buy them I'd like to point out that since I'm going to be away you might not receive confirmation as quickly as the others have. I'll leave the PayPal link up so that people can still buy them but I'll do all the confirmations and answer any questions once I'm back. I'll try and keep an eye on my emails but without wanting to be stung with roaming charges it might be difficult. Maybe some of the hotels will have WiFi so I can at least check but I'll certainly not be blogging at the risk of divorce!

I hope you've all had a good Easter and I'll see you all at Blog Wars once I'm a married man!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

First Impressions of the Grey Knights

So the Grey Knight codex has been out for a few weeks now and the internet is ablaze with the usual this-new-codex-is-overpowered-GW-broke-40K type of thing. Well I know I'm not the first to say it but they really aren't as unstoppable as the general consensus seems to make them. I'll do a proper Know Thy Enemy about them at some point when I've had more time to fully read the codex but for now here's a rough idea.

On the face of it they seem pretty ridiculous. We've got Space Marines who (nearly) all have force weapons making anything with multiple wounds and no Eternal Warrior seem a bit flimsy (this means you thunder wolf cavalry). Most of their units have the option of Force Halberds for a minimal points cost giving them Initiative 6. They also have pyscannons which are essentially S7 assault cannons. Don't get me started on dreadknights!

However, I've had a few games against them since their release and I've managed 1 crushing defeat, 1 very close draw and a clear win. Now the defeat was the first time I'd played them and I didn't understand what they were all about. I think we've gotten very used to seeing very assault orientated SM armies with the Wolves and BA releases. However, GK are NOT an assault army and should be treated accordingly. Now that may come as a surprise to some people since they look very much like they should be assaulting with their snazzy nemesis weapons but the real strength of the GK list is in it's firepower.

The GKs work best if they're shooting at you. All of their power armoured squads can put out a ridiculous amount of firepower at 24" or less and can take a large number of psycannons. Grey Knights want you to avoid combat with them so they can pile even more shots into you, don't give them the satisfaction. Incidentally, it'd be interesting to play against them with IG and see how they deal with a shooty army.

Anyway, to cut a ramble short, the key thing is to try and get into combat with them as soon as possible. Grey Hunters are still devastating on the charge and if you stay locked in combat that's another turn they're not shooting you. Their squads are likely to have smaller numbers than you but your transports aren't going to last very long, although thanks to poor range on most of their weapons you won't have to go far to get into combat with them. Once you're in combat you'll discover that, when charged, they mostly only get 1-2 attacks each and without many re-rolls they're not going to get a ton of hits through. Don't get me wrong you're going to lose hunters but accept it and play the long game.

There are, in my opinion, two units that will really stand out against Grey Knights. Firstly the flavour of the month lone wolf with chain fist and storm shield will give them a headache with a 3++ and eternal warrior. Granted your FNP is going to be mostly useless though. Lone wolves should scare dreadknights and give land raiders something to think about.

I scored a shock victory against Matt's Grey Knights using Orks. In this game the star of the show was a deff dread who was ignored in favour of shooting at my trukks. Granted I can't see Matt making that mistake again but what a mistake it was. The dread walked through several terminators causing them to flee taking Draigo off the table with them. The only model they had any hope with, the hammer, rolled a 1 for armour penetration and paid dearly. The lack of power fists really hampers the GK's ability to deal with dreadnoughts. OK so you should be careful of them around the dreadknights but they going to be pretty nasty otherwise.

The important think to take from this post is that you shouldn't think about having a shooting match like you can against over armies. Pile headlong into combat and do your best to get the charge. You should easily outnumber them, and if not you should combine units so that you do. Expect to lose men but accept it and prove they aren't as overpowered as they appear. 

Oh and a pair of rune priests really upsets them!! Anyway, back to painting my army for Blog Wars....

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Blog Wars Tickets Now Available

As you can see from the right of the page the Blog Wars tournament tickets are now available. Tickets are priced at £15 and there will be 40 available. If demand is high (which I don't really expect) then I may be able to offer more tickets once I've confirmed availability with the venue. If you have any difficulties buying tickets either comment here or contact me using the link on the right.

I've updated the event details on the Blog Wars page including a list of accepted codexes and details about the compulsory Special Character rule. If there are still any questions feel free to contact me and I'll attempt to resolve them.

Upon buying your ticket please specify your name (and blog), email address and the army you intend to use. Once people start buying tickets I'll change the list on the page to reflect ticket sales and players/armies attending. In a few weeks time I'll send out event packs to those who have purchased tickets. Until that time your PayPal receipt is proof of purchase and means you have secured a ticket.

As I've mentioned on the page the ticket costs covers £7.50 for your lunch on the day (please bear in mind Maelstrom do not allow food to be brought in from outside the venue) with the remaining £7.50 going into the prize pot. Assuming we get 20 people attending the prizes will be broken down as follows:
Prize pot total: £150
First Place - £50 Maelstrom voucher
Second Place - £30 Maelstrom voucher
Third Place - £20 Maelstrom voucher
Wooden Spoon - £10 Maestrom voucher
Best Painted Army - £25 Maelstrom voucher
Best Painted SC - £15 Maelstrom voucher

If more than 20 tickets are sold then the extra prize fund will create a raffle of GW products. Everyone who enters will automatically get a ticket with the winners being drawn at the end of the day.

I look forward to seeing you all there and hopefully wiping your armies from the board. For now I need to crack on and get my army painted up so that they'll look good as they lose!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

From The Warp is back!

Just a quick post to welcome Ron Saikowski back to his spiritual home at From The Warp. Ron is a vital member of the 40K blogging community and I'm grateful to him for all his help in getting traffic to my insignificant little blog. 

If anyone isn't familiar with the site I suggest you head over there pronto. I hope you've got plenty of time on your hands though because I rarely manage to visit the site without finding some interesting content on a  blog I haven't read before.  

Great to have you back Ron!

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Blog Wars Update

I'm hoping to release the tickets for Blog Wars towards the end of this week. Looking at the current list of people who've expressed an interest in attending it seems like we should have at least 20 ppl competing. Not a massive number by any stretch but at least we'll all get games against different opponents and there'll be a decent prize pot. Over the course of planning this event a few things have come up which I'd like to address and get some feedback from people in order to make final decisions and write the rules pack.

Refereeing & My Participation
As I've mentioned before I'd very much like to be able to compete in the event as well as run it. I know this isn't the norm but it'd seem a shame not to be involved and get to meet people from the community. Essentially if I get an odd number of attendees then I'll play to make sure everyone gets their full compliment of games and if there's an even number I'll consider not competing. 

On the subject of refereeing, there won't be any formal "marshalls" wandering around for rules clarification. Having taken some comments from people on board I think the best way to do it is for players to try and find an amicable agreement between them. Failing that then players on the adjacent table (presuming they're impartial) will hopefully be able to make a decision that people can agree on. Either that or put it to the dice gods and roll to see which way it goes. If there's really a problem then Matt or myself will have the final say but I'd hope it won't need to come to that and we may just make you roll for it.

Special Characters
It seems a few people missed the line in the tournament page that says that a single Special Character is compulsory. There's been a few people who've expressed concerns about the concept as they feel it will limit army selection and penalise armies without a recent codex and therefore selection of SCs to choose from. I toyed with the idea of simply scrapping the requirment but I think it's in keeping with the spirit of this blog to try to avoid having the same old generic lists. Granted some armies have SCs that are fairly obligatory choices such as Eldrad, Mephiston and Ghazghkull but I'd encourage people to think outside the box a bit more. To use Space Wolves as an example, it seems that people believe Logan to be the only real option but it's pretty easy to find room for Ragnar, Ulrik, Arjac or even Lukas if you're a bit flexible with the listing. 

I'm conscious that by making them compulsory we'll actually make them less "special" but it'll be interesting to see how people utilise them. For reference, I use the term "special character" to refer to any unit that's referred to as "Unique" in their codex entry. These would be, for example, Mephiston/Dante/Tycho/Lemartes etc. for Blood Angels, Marbo/Yarrick etc. for Guard, Yriel/Eldrad/Phoenix Lords for Eldar. You get the idea. If there's any that you're unsure of then feel free to contact me. Similarly if you find yourself struggling to write a list then let me know and I might be able to help out.

The armies that will struggle with this are probably Tau and Sisters. I can't say I'm all that familiar with Sisters but I can understand the problems for Tau in that there's only probably Shadowsun that's even half viable. However, since these armies aren't normally all that popular at the moment I think we can perhaps make an exception for them since they (tau in particular) already struggle due to their older codexes. If you're thinking of taking one of these armies then please get in touch beforehand to clarify.

Finally, for the special characters I'll accept counts as (within reason) i.e. I'll not allow a terminator SC to be represented by a power armoured model etc but I don't see a problem with a lictor as a death leaper, a guardsman painted a little different couunting as Marbo or a regular librarian being used as Mephiston. Similarly, if you have your own name and model for one of the special characters then as long as you play by the codex rules I don't have an issue. At the end of the day I'd like as many people to come as possible so I don't want to force everyone to go out and spend a tenner on a model they might only use for this tournament. As long as armour, weaponry, etc are represented then it's fine. 

Fully painted armies will be preferred but anything that isn't to a "three colour minimum" may possibly be excluded from use. Most people attending are bloggers or tournament players so I don't think it's much to ask that we see some nice looking paintjobs. 

Results and Matchups
The initial rounds will be determined at random as people register on the day. After that they'll be based on the results of the previous round(s). If there's any repeats then swaps will have to be figured out. At the end of each round either Matt or myself will enter the results into a spreadsheet which will automatically generate the matchups for the subsequent round. This should mean that the 15 minute break will be more than enough to get everything sorted for the next battle.

Since there's going to be groups of people who know each other i.e. Sons of Sanguinius, Claws and Fists, my lot etc. then there's a fairly good chance that people will end up facing someone they know. In the first round I'll try to avoid this as much as I can but it's inevitable in the later rounds. I'm going to have to trust people to play fair and remember that it isn't a serious tournament so they don't try and rig anything in friendly games.

The difficulty here will be choosing prizes that are of equal use to everyone. Any army specific stuff won't be great so that leaves scenery or gaming aids. The other option, which I prefer, is to simply issue vouchers for Maelstrom so that people can pick how they spend the cash. Granted this isn't very exciting but it's certainly fair. If people don't live in the vicinity of Maelstrom then they can always use their website, bearing in mind that they're pretty good about matching the prices of other webstores.

I think I'll limit it to say, half a dozen prizes with 1st, 2nd, 3rd and Best Painted being 4 of them. The other two I'll figure out nearer the time but they'll basically be thrown in to add another element to the battles.

So what do people think about everything in this post? Anything you think needs changing? Anything you think would put you off attending?

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Space Wolves (Regular) HQ Choices

Having covered the Elites recently here and here along with the Troops, Fast Attack and Heavy Support, all that remains is the HQ slot. I've talked at length about the special characters (see the links on the left) but I've not really mentioned their regular counterparts. We're pretty spoilt here again but all that seems to get used are the Rune priests. I'll cover them first but hopefully I'll persuade people to try something new too.

Rune Priests
In a lot of ways no SW army would be complete without one of these guys. Whilst they don't have a particularly impressive statline their real benefits obviously come in form of psychic attack and defence. I've spoken about the powers in a previous post but the psychic defense is some of the best in the game. With two priests in your list, deployed in the right way, you can shut down the vast majority of psychic attacks on the board on a 4+. This can really frustrate any force that relies on psychic such as nids and eldar.

By sticking them in a sizeable grey hunter squad in the obligatory rhino you can afford them some protection. However, you can be sure your opponent will throw some attacks his way in combat so with just two wounds he'll be lucky to survive.

Wolf PriestsJust like chaplains who get overlooked in favour of librarians these guys get left in the thunderhawk a lot. Costing the same as a rune priest and with an identical statline they offer a bit more durability with a 4+ invulnerable save. I personally think this is a bargain for 100pts but we also get Preferred Enemy (to a nominated unit type) along with Fearless and a power weapon.

I wouldn't bother with any upgrades for this guy except one. The recent FAQ made Saga of the Hunter a very nice little upgrade. The FAQ said that if one member of a unit has the Stealth USR then the entire unit benefits from it. Therefore 10pts means your greys or scouts can benefit from +1 to their cover saves. This means that a Saga of the Hunter Wolf Priest (110pts) can make your objective holding grey hunter unit a real bitch to shift. Not only will they get a 3+ cover save but if they get assaulted they'll likely re-roll to hit their attackers. Sticking him with scouts means that they can still OBEL but they can re-roll to hit those heavy weapons teams and with a bit of luck (and a good consolidation roll) they'll get a 3+ cover save if they manage to wipe them out. Give the priest a plasma pistol for a bit of extra clout against vehicles rear armour if you like.

Wolf Guard Battle Leaders
I don't remember ever seeing a list with one of these guys but they certainly play a role. They're only 70pts and this gives us 3A at I5 and WS5. Granted they've only got two wounds and no invulnerable save but they can still be pretty nasty. The only problem with them is that they don't have any benefits for the squad they lead. Grey hunters will benefit from a slight increase in Ld but otherwise they don't bring much else.

However, coming back to our Saga of the Hunter, if you keep him in power armour the WGBL can give a squad SotH for just 80pts. For another 25pts you could give him a power fist (with 4 attacks on the charge)and stick him with your wolf scouts. Not bad considering he'll still be less than the SotH wolf priest, but bear in mind this is somewhat wasting the I5. He certainly makes for an interesting low cost addition when points are tight.

I think the main reason we don't see them is that you can get the same benefits from elsewhere. The wolf lord offers a better combat beast and more options, the wolf priest has his Fearless and Preferred Enemy and the rune priest gives you psychic attack and defense. In terms of points he also loses out to the lone wolf in a lot of ways. Even though he has better BS and an extra attack the lone wolf is quite a bit cheaper and provides a similar boost. The LW can't join a squad but makes up for this by having Eternal Warrior and Feel No Pain.

Wolf Lord
To me this is where the fun comes into it. Whilst rune priests are the obvious choice for HQ I think lords are where the character comes into an army. By producing an interesting conversion, a suitable vikingy name and a bit of backstory (if you must), you can give your army something a bit different. I know a lot of people like to create their own character but just changing the name of one of the existing SCs but I like the idea of having my own Wolf Lord leading who makes his own saga by heroic deeds.

Fluffiness aside the wolf lord is a very viable choice. They can either be power armoured, terminator, bikers, jump packers or TWC. Let's start with the basics though. For just 100pts you get a pretty formidable statline. 6 5 4 4 3 5 4 10 3+. The highlights are obviously WS6, I5 and 4 attacks but Ld 10 is pretty rare in our army and certainly comes in handy. Equipment wise you don't get much but at least you've got a shedload of options.

As you'll already know I'm a big fan of the wolf claw and storm shield combo. This can be applied to any of the above options and works well with all of them. To give the guy a hammer or fist will waste his high initiative (and you'd be better with Arjac). The other option is to drop the shield in favour of a Belt of Russ giving him a 3+/4++ save instead of 3+/3++. I wouldn't bother with many other upgrades since I don't rate melta bombs and he's WS6 so necklace isn't necessary and wulfen is a waste. Fenrisian wolves make some nice ablative wounds and are in keeping with a thunderlord theme. Saga wise if you're going to make him a combat beast then go with Warrior Born and if you're making him rock hard use Bear. The only other one I might suggest is Wolfkin to get I5 fen wolves but that'd have to be a very themed army.

I run a thunderlord (145) with claw (20), shield (30) and saga of the bear (35) at 230pts. The other option which I've been considering recently is a footslogger for your greys (100) with pistol, claw (20) belt (25) and warrior born (35) coming in at 180pts. The former has been discussed elsewhere but the latter is quite interesting really. With a good sized grey hunter body guard he's likely to get overlooked whereas your priests and cavalry certainly won't be.

Imagine what you can do with his flurry of attacks combined with a standard, re-roll to hit or wound and warrior born. That reminds me, I always forget to use it on Ragnar, not that his foes normally make it to a second combat phase!

Well that wraps up my guides to the choices available to us as Space Wolf generals. I may come back and visit particular units individually but I hope that these articles have given you some ideas for your own armies. Although I give my opinions these posts are mainly there so you can make your own decisions. Despite what other blogs/forums may say there isn't actually a "best unit" for each slot. Alright so I wouldn't take blood claws but there's always a role for them. The danger with producing lists with the bog standard rune priest, greys and long fangs combo is that your regular opponents will quickly find ways to counter this formula, strong though it may be.

This blog has always been about having fun and interesting games of 40K (even in a tournament) and not worrying too much about the winning. Some of my most enjoyable games have been close victories & defeats that came right down to the final roll of the dice. By bringing a "wild card" unit (if there is such a thing in a SM army) you keep your opponent guessing and make it more fun for both sides. You'd hate to play against hydras and vendettas forever wouldn't you??

Anyway, I'm going to add all the posts as links on the right so you can easily find them when you're writing your army lists. I hope you've found them useful and they've given you food for thought.

Off Topic: Rumours - Dark Eldar Second Wave

Unlike my previous April Fool's post about the mythical Space Wolves second wave this one is actually factual.

Headed over to GW last night to pick up an Imperial Sector boxset partly because I was inspired by What's New Today and also because we're pretty sick of the scenery we've got and wanted to make things a little more interesting. I got talking to one of the guys who works in there and he said he'd recently been on a trip to GW headquarters to see how the miniatures were designed and made. Seems that GW do it as some sort of staff morale thing i.e. if you know how they're made you'll be more excited about selling them. Anyway, I was asking him if he knew what was coming in the second wave for DE and he said that it was definitely a voidraven bomber (possibly combined with fighter) and venom. Now I know there's probably going to be more than that and that it's pretty much what everyone had guessed but suffice to say he's seen the actual models being pressed so it's almost certain that those two kits will be involved in June.

I've been considering starting a DE force ever since I first saw the shots of the new miniatures when they went up for advance order. Had a great game against them at the doubles and fancied something a bit different to paint. I'm thinking of flogging my old Eldar to pay for them but there are some models I can't bear to part with so I'll have to find another way of raising the cash. I'd very much like to reinvigorate my Tau army too if we get a new codex in the next year but I want something to do in the meantime.

My other option therefore, is Necrons. I've always liked the current range of miniatures but I wasn't really inspired by the codex. Not only is it very dated now but it's also very limiting from an army selection point of view. I think what I'll do is see if DE get a battleforce, buy one of those and then figure out if I can see myself using them as an army. If they don't really get me going then I'll consider Necrons if they get released this year as the current rumours suggest.

Suffice to say I'm sticking with Space Wolves for now and it'll be a long time before I'm anywhere near starting a DE or Necron force. Sorry for going off topic but thought I'd share the confirmation of the DE 2nd wave with anyone who's interested.

PS. I'm going to throw some posts up soon of mine and Scott's progress towards painting the city buildings.

Friday, April 01, 2011

I Pity The Fool(s)! & a bit about Blog Wars

Well that worked surprisingly well! I was sat having my breakfast this morning when I remembered what day it is. Apologies to anyone who read it and got their hopes up, on any other day I reckon more people would've believed it. 

Anyway, I know my posting has been a bit sparse recently but I've had my stag weekend and excessive shifts at work. Next couple of weeks that'll all ease off so I'm hopefully going to get a few more posts up. Firstly I want to get the Blog Wars tickets announced so people can plan their lives around it. I'd also like to write a few more army/equipment selection posts since these seem to have gone down well. I'll try and combine this into an army wide tactica at some point too. There should be a SW vs GK battle report on Sunday after I play Jamie tomorrow and a few other bits and pieces I've been meaning to post for a while.

Blog Wars
On the subject of Blog Wars I've realised there's a slight flaw in my plans. There aren't many tournaments where the host plays games as well as running it and this is probably for two reasons. Firstly, because if he wins it's a bit awkward. This is easily fixed by saying I'm exempt from any prizes. The second issue is tabulating the results and determining the play order not to mention a bit of refereeing. The former should be easy to sort with a decent spreadsheet but the latter is trickier. 

Whilst I'm aiming for BW to be a friendly tournament, I realise the inclusion of prizes means that people will want the event to be properly run and reffed. However, as it's intended to be a community run tournament, I reckon people can come to their own agreements about things. Since there won't be many of us there it shouldn't be too hard to find me mid-game and ask for a second (or rather third) opinion on any issues. When it comes down to it you can always let the dice gods decide. There's plenty of time for the games (2hr 30min) so there shouldn't be too much of a rush and with 15 mins between them I'll have enough time to get results tabled. Matt will help with this if he finishes his games before me.

I thought a fair solution would be that if there's an even number of us on the day then I'll not play (and do some photography) but if there's an odd number I'll jump in to make sure everyone gets their games. Ultimately I recognise that it's up to you lot. How does that sound? Would people play in a tournament without refs? Are there any rules/organisational issues you want cleared up in advance?

As always your input is appreciated.

GW Announce New Space Wolves Models!!

Just had an email from GW saying that they're going to be releasing a second wave of Space Wolf models soon. Sadly no pictures yet but I expect a plastic dreadnought kit (to make Bjorn etc), some thunderwolves (finally!) and fenrisian wolves. Bit frustrating when a lot of people, including me, have gone and bought third party ones. Mind you I can guarantee the GW versions won't be cheap based on the recent pricing for the GK stuff.

I'll keep you posted when I have more details and hopefully some pictures.


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