Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Announcing Blog Wars X - Tickets On Sale Now!

Well as Dave Weston inadvertently guessed, Blog Wars 10 will in fact be:

BLOG WARS X - This Time It's Numeral!
Saturday November 7th 2015

Kindly sponsored by:
Discount Wargaming

I know I say this a lot but I'm still flabbergasted that the event is still going strong in it's 5th year of existence. I really appreciate the support that you guys have given this event. I'm planning to make the tenth Blog War something special. I can't reveal any more details yet (since I haven't decided what I'm going to do!) but suffice to say it will mean more prizes!

After the feedback from Blog Wars 9, I've spent some time reviewing and rewriting the rules pack to make things simpler and hopefully clearer. I've re-ordered the army selection details and trimmed some unnecessary bits. Even if you've read the pack from a previous Blog War you should read this updated pack as there are some important differences.

Here's a few highlights:

  • The voting is still going (see the polls on the right of the web version of this blog) but it seems that people are in favour of the 0-1 LoW restriction rather than a total ban. Also, people seem reasonably happy to keep allies as they are although that vote is a lot closer.
  • In order to avoid confusion I've renamed the "Commander" SC to "Hero". There are too many actual Commanders in 40K (e.g. Pask, Farsight, Dante) but Hero should be pretty unique I think. I may have missed a few instances of it here and there though.
  • The missions will remain unchanged from BW9. I was pretty happy with them on the whole. Obviously they aren't perfect but there isn't such a thing. I think there's a good enough mixture to flatter most factions though.
  • Round times will remain the same (sorry Dave - get those DA painted!).
  • Best Conversions prize will stay and there'll be separate tables. More on this later.
I hope everything makes sense but I encourage you to comment here or on the BWX page if there's anything that isn't clear. I'd also appreciate any rules queries you have sooner, rather than later.

Right then, grab yourself a ticket, get painting and I'll see you at Blog Wars X in November!

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Magnetising the Imperial Knight Warden Kit for All Weapon Combos

I've since magnetised two more knights and improved on some of the techniques listed here. I strongly recommend reading both posts before starting yours.

Let's take a break from the Blog Wars feedback and look at some actual hobby I've managed to achieve over the last week. I don't get a lot of hobby time and this is my first big magnetisation project so it's taken me a while to get everything how I want it. If and when I buy more Knights I'm sure they'll go together A LOT quicker. Apologies for this guide being pretty long. You can get the basic idea from the pictures but I wanted a reference for myself as much as anything else.

Before I started I watched the GW assembly video, a couple of YouTube magnetisation videos and a few blog posts. Some of them don't have the level of magnetisation I want and I couldn't find any of them that cover the extra weapons so I thought I should post about them. I may have done things differently to others but I'm happy to hear suggestions for things I could've done better.

You'll need:

  • The Knight Warden kit (obviously)
  • 2 x 1 mm disc magnets
  • 3 x 1 mm disc magnets
  • 5 x 1 mm disc magnets
  • Super glue
  • Plastic glue
  • Green stuff
  • Spare sprue
  • Hobby drill (1 mm, 2 mm, 3 mm and 5 mm bits)
  • Hobby file
  • Hobby knife/clippers
  • Patience!

Here's a few notes before you get started. Apologies if they're patronising but they're things I've picked up in the process of doing this:

  • Leave the armour panels off everything (where possible). This will make it much easier to paint especially if you're going to use an airbrush, like I am, but even if you're not. I'll get to this more when I get to painting but you'll thank me later.
  • Assemble the legs and torso as per the instructions but obviously leave any weapons off.
  • Don't assemble the arms at all yet.
  • I'm not attaching mine to the base at the moment. Unfortunately it's very difficult to position the legs in any other way than a single pose, therefore I'll need to change my basing to make my Knights look unique (if I'm intending to have several).
  • I'm not magnetising the face masks since I'm going to have at least 3 Knights but if you want a guide on magnetising them head to Jamie's blog.
  • Get some plastic tweezers or at least some cocktail sticks for moving the magnets around as using your knife is obviously next to impossible and I assume you'd prefer to avoid having magnets permanently glued to your fingers!
  • When drilling holes start with a 1 mm drill bit and gradually increase the size. This not only makes it physically easier but also means you're more likely to hit the centre of the piece you're drilling.

Waist Joint
I've taken a cunning idea from LordHalfpenny over on Weemen and glued a piece of sprue to the top of the legs. I went a step further though as I wanted to be able to separate the legs from the torso for transport. Firstly, I filed down the peg on top of the legs to make the eventual joint tighter for better stability. I then glued on the sprue.

To make the legs removable I cut a piece out of each side of the hole to allow the piece of sprue to slot through and then turn 90 degrees to lock in place. Of course, you could use a large disk magnet but I thought this made for a pretty neat solution without the need for a magnet. If it proves not to be stable enough or easily broken then I may end up reverting to a magnet anyway.

Heavy Stubber/Meltagun
This is a new swap for the Warden kit but a useful one. You actually get nearly everything for both guns but the way the joint to the body is made you can't swap them without magnets.

I simply trimmed off the top of the weapon holder, attached a 3 x 1 mm disc magnet to the bottom of this off-cut and glued it in place (I originally tried this with a 2 mm magnet but it wasn't strong enough). I glued it onto the body as the magnet will allow for rotation.

I then glued the clip into place on each weapon as there's too much movement if you don't. I then added another 3 x 1 mm disc magnet on top of each weapon. Sadly the weapon didn't end up perfectly central when the top carapace is in place but it's not far off and when I make subsequent knights it'll be done better.

Carapace Weapons
The autocannons and missile launcher get separate mounts so they can be fully assembled (apart from the front panel of the missile launcher). This was a pretty good fit for me so I just added a 2 x 1 mm magnet to the top by carefully drilling out a 2 mm hole in both panels right at the top of the groove in the back. I then did the same in the solid bit at the top of the launcher itself. Incidentally, if anyone has bought a Warden kit that they're assembling as Imperial aligned would they be prepared to send me the Mechanicum cogs (part A61) so I can add one to both fronts of the missile launcher? I'll cover postage of course and I'm happy to send you the eagle heads (part #129) in return.

To attach the weapons I drilled out the hole in the top of the carapace (circled red) to 5 mm diameter, added a piece of sprue across the hole then glued a 5 x 1 mm disc magnet to it with a small amount of green stuff to try and neaten up the hole. It's worth noting that I (very carefully) used my power drill to make the 5 mm hole as that drillbit doesn't fit in my hobby drill.

I then cut the peg off the bottom of each weapon mount and drilled out the middle to get rid of the peg completely. I then added another 5 x 1 mm magnet to the bottom of each weapon. This makes the weapons sit just about flush to the model itself and allows them to fully rotate.

Since you only get two "shoulders" in the entire kit you need to magnetise the weapons at the "elbow". This allows for lateral movement too. To do this you need to trim off the bottom of the cylinder piece on each shoulder as shown. You can then insert this into the shoulder itself. I drilled 5 mm holes into the bottom of each cylinder and sank a 5 x 1 mm in to a depth of 1 mm. This will allow me to simply glue the magnets on top of the weapons and they'll end up recessed when joined together.

Incidentally, since you won't need to fully remove the shoulders from the model the shoulder guards can be glued into permanent position once painted. I initially thought I'd need to be able to remove the shoulder guards so I spent ages carefully magnetising them but I now know that time was wasted!

Reaper Chainsword/Thunderstrike Gauntlet
In order to make the Knight Gallant you need to be able to attach the sword to the right arm but to the left arm for all the other variants. The fist can only be left handed unfortunately. Magnetising at the elbow makes this easy. You get enough elbow pieces for both of the melee weapons so they can be fully assembled before packing the hole in the top of each mount with sprue off-cuts and then green stuff.

Once dry, file the top surface down and test fit it with BOTH shoulders to make sure it will sit flush, filing down as necessary. Then glue a magnet into the centre of the green stuff.

Avenger Gatling Cannon
The Gatling Cannon gets a separate mounting from the other two ranged weapons so it can be fully assembled and magnetised in a similar way to the melee weapons. I glued my pistons into place as I didn't want too many articulations and therefore a loss of stability. No one wants a floppy gun after all!

It's worth noting here that the part circled in red needs trimming back a bit so the gun can fit snugly onto the shoulder piece. It's the same for the thermal/battle cannon mount. Speaking of which...

Thermal Cannon/Rapid Fire Battle Cannon
This part is easily the most complicated part of the model to magnetise. The problem is that they both share the same mounting so you need to magnetise several different parts to give you the two guns. Fortunately there aren't any variants that require both of these two weapons to be fitted. Both Weemen and Jamie's blog offer guides for doing this and I've borrowed parts from both to make my version.

First thing to say is DON'T put the two halves of the weapon casing together until you've done the magnetisation work for the hoppers. Start by trimming the pipe from the battle cannon ammo case. I'm going to use the thermal cannon piece in the back of the gun and the pipe attached to that. I could magnetise the pipes but I'd end up losing them and I doubt anyone will ever notice that the pipe isn't quite right on the battle cannon. I then magnetised the ammo hoppers for the thermal and battle cannons with a magnet in the side of the main housing (sunk to a depth of 1 mm) and a magnet in each of the hoppers. The battle cannon hopper needed packing with sprue off-cuts before the magnet could be positioned with green stuff. The thermal cannon hopper gets the pipe glued into place.

The ammo hopper for the heavy stubber on the battle cannon needs to be magnetised as it gets in the way of the thermal cannon front. I drilled a 3 mm hole in the side of the main gun housing and then applied some greenstuff to the back and pushed in a magnet. I then did a similar thing to the inside of the hopper itself.

For the gun fronts I regretted cutting out the piece of sprue from the hole in each shield as this would've made a perfect place for a magnet. The battle cannon needed a piece of sprue putting back in and the thermal cannon got some green stuff. The main gun housing got a piece of sprue glued into each side before the two halves were put together (not forgetting the arm in the top and tank in the back).

I'm, generally speaking, pretty satisfied with my first proper magnetisation efforts. I've previously magnetised a predator and things but this is a much bigger undertaking! I've learned quite a lot of minor things from doing this that will make a big difference to how long it takes me to magnetise my next couple of knights. Here's a few shots showing off the combinations:

I'll post again once I start making the base and painting the kit up. Oh, and yes I can appreciate the irony of discussing how overpowered these are and limiting their use at Blog Wars, only to post up my plans for an army of them! However, I wanted an army with a low model count that I could really go to town on from a painting perspective and find easy to use on the tabletop. Imperial Knights seemed like the obvious choice since they're beautiful kits that lend themselves well to airbrush work and can also be allied into my other armies pretty easily. There's also the possibility of some AdMech stuff to go with them in the future.

I've since magnetised two more knights and improved on some of the techniques listed here. I strongly recommend reading both posts before starting yours.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Blog Wars 9 - Feedback Discussion

Right, with that unpleasantness out of the way I want to move onto talk about some of the more positive feedback that came out of the event and how it will be used to shape BW10. Firstly, let me say a massive thank you to everyone who has taken the time to give me feedback. I think this is some of the most constructive feedback I've received. I strive to make Blog Wars the best event possible and I can only do this if people tell me what needs improving. I thank you all for your kind words about the event and for your continued support.

Right, let's get to it.

Refereeing & My Participation
I already mentioned this in the previous post but to spell it out again. I won't be playing at BW10 unless I absolutely have to in the event of uneven numbers on the day. I'll do my best to arrange a local stand-in before the day though to try to avoid it. If I do end up playing it will be with a list that I deliberately tailor to play quickly i.e. minimal models and no complicated rules.

Anyway, I've already started on further streamlining measures and making the rules pack and scoring sheets as idiot proof as possible. Since I'm not playing I'll have plenty of time to answer rules queries but I'll also be volunteering Matt to help out here too. He should be able to answer general rules questions but I can still be called upon to make rulings where there's ambiguity.

I won't pretend I'm not gutted but if the kind of numbers we saw at BW9 are repeated for BW10 I just don't think it's fair on everyone else. It'll make for a more relaxing day for me anyway!

I try to make the scoring as simple to understand as possible whilst also rewarding convincing victories more than narrow ones. I certainly need to better clarify a few things so I've updated the scoresheet for BW10 to really spell things out. Hopefully this will avoid any confusion and also help me get the results in quicker. Incidentally I've added a bonus points column to the scorecard to allow people to track the points they receive from stripping hull points from Lords of War (or any other source).

I'd like to tweak the scoring slightly to make wins more important. There's been a situation at the last few events where players who won all three games placed lower than others who hadn't. This was because most or all of their wins had been in close games but it should still be better to win than lose. I'm looking closely at the scoring system Matt has devised for Fluffageddon and I've run the BW9 numbers through to see how it affected things. Here's how it would've looked:

As you can see it hasn't affected things too dramatically but there's a better distribution of players based on their W/L percentage. The scores using the Fluffageddon system are on the far right and obviously the traditional BW scores are in the bright green column. Matt's system still rewards convincing victories but a win is still important. Obviously running the numbers after the event isn't a true representation of how it would've affected standings but I'll be watching Fluffageddon very closely to see how it works in practice.

Either way, you won't need to do anything differently when entering your results as I'll set up the spreadsheet to do it for you. It might just been you feel like the standings better represent your performance though.

Generally speaking the feedback on the use of Maelstrom in the final mission was good. This is a huge relief for me after printing, laminating and cutting out 900 objective cards! Seriously though, I like the inclusion of Maelstrom as I think it embraces that aspect of the game properly but does so in a sensible BW-style fashion. Incidentally if anyone wants a copy of the BW Tactical Objectives let me know and I'll email you the Word document. You can laminate them your bloody self though!

I had considered including Maelstrom in every game with just the deployment varying so I'd be keen to hear what people think of that. Otherwise I think I'll keep the missions the same for BW10 so that people can prepare for the event knowing what to expect.

I'd also thought about ditching the Emperor's Relic as it's been in use for a while I'd considered bringing Control Freak back in or perhaps coming up with something totally different. I'm loath to do this though as the current mission set is well tried and tested now.

Finally, the mission order was something that people felt might benefit from a change. They felt getting smashed in the first round (or vice-versa) had a negative affect on the rest of the tournament. I don't actually think changing the mission order would help here as it's mostly down to the random pairings in the first round and how limited Swiss pairs is over just three rounds. I deliberately run the kill mission before lunch as it's a nice straightforward start to the day and all that adding up doesn't delay the start of the next round. I like having Maelstrom last too as it's not so predictable and can still have a dramatic effect on standings.

Imperial Knights & Lords of War
I've written a separate post on this here but basically I plan on limiting Imperial Knights to two per army and all other super-heavy/gargantuan Lords of War to 0-1 per army. As I say though, take a look at that post for more info. Personally I like them being in there was it forces people to plan their lists and play their games diffferently. I've added a vote on the of the blog about this and the results are overwhelmingly supportive of my proposed limits (web version of the blog is necessary to see the vote).

New Detachments e.g. Necron Decurion
I'm keen to hear your thoughts here but basically I think the Necron Decurion and Eldar Warhost as probably worse than some of the other things that aren't permitted at Blog Wars. The Decurion in particular can make an already powerful army nearly unstoppable. As I say I want to hear people's thoughts but I'm inclined to say that the detachments themselves won't be allowed but the formations within them will be. It remains to be seen how bad the SM and DA versions will be.

There was a suggestion about a BW-specific FOC but I think that creates more problems than it solves and I do my best to limit the amount I change the rules by. You may not believe that to be the case but it's true.

There was talk of banning allies at Blog Wars. I'm a bit of a codex purist and not generally a fan of allies. I know that some people claim their army needs allies to make it competitive but is that just because other armies are using them so the standard is generally higher. Clearly armies like Eldar, Necrons, etc don't need allies anyway but will that just mean they rise to the top with ease? I'll add a vote to get to a consensus so please give me your opinion (again web version of the blog is necessary to see the vote).

List Vetting
I do my best to try and filter out the truly dirty lists but inevitably some slip through. There were comments about a couple of lists this time around. It's difficult to decide where the level is really as a lot depends on how the list is played. There's also a large element of who plays who. Some armies will find some lists to be unbeatable whilst others won't see the problem.

All I can say is that I'll make every effort to ensure the armies at Blog Wars 10 are in the spirit of the event but I also rely on you guys to do the same. The playerbase seems better good at self-regulating and I hope I can trust you to continue to do this.

Painting Competition
I'd like to try something different for BW10 and the painting competition. I introduced a Best Conversions prize at BW9 that I'd like to keep but I'd also like to have effectively three separate competitions. Everyone will be able to enter the Best Special Character but players will chose whether they enter their army for Best Painted or Best Conversions. There'd be three separate areas for displaying the entries into each category. I like the idea of all of the characters being displayed together and I think it'll help people who focus their energies into a single model that would otherwise be lost in their army that isn't to the same standard.

This may be a little controversial though so I'd like to know what you all think.

Finally, it seems that Subway went down pretty well. The venue used to supply their own food but I simply wasn't happy with the standard and I was quite relieved when the owner said the in-house cafe had closed. I know Element Games (the shop in the venue) is looking to start something of their own but in the absence of that I will be going for Subway again.

I think it helps to have cold food as then it doesn't matter if we run over or if it's late arriving. Subway is also good because they can easily cater for specific dietary requirements. Incidentally I'll be asking everyone when they buy their ticket to let me know about dietary requirements from the out set.

Right, there's plenty there to be going on with. I want to hear people's thoughts on anything and everything in that list and any extra things you think I've missed that need addressing. Nothing is set in stone yet but BW10 tickets will be going on sale soon so I'd appreciate hearing from you ASAP.

Finally, I'm intending to get some more of the BW custom templates made up. Someone came to me on the day and said they had access to a laser cutter to make these cheaper than I'd paid this time. I think it was Nathaniel but whoever it was please get in touch so I can sort these sooner rather than later.

Cheating at Blog Wars 9

I'm intending to post a full feedback discussion post soon but I wanted to get this out of the way first. I left after BW9 thinking I'd done a pretty decent job of managing a much bigger tournament than I'm used to. There were a couple of lists that I allowed that I regret but generally speaking the day ran smoothly. That's what I thought at least, until I was contacted by email and informed that the winner of the event had supposedly cheated his way to victory.

I was intending to handle this matter in private but comments on other posts have made me feel like I need to address the issue publicly and clear the air. There's no point me trying to keep this anonymous as everyone can see who won the event and it wouldn't be difficult to work out who he played in round 2.

What Happened?
The winner of the event was running a combination of Imperial Knights and Farsight Enclaves (Tau) allies. The Imperial Knights army included the special character Gerantius (WD datasheet) who has a few buffs over the standard knights, most notably his ion shield save is 3++. The list that David submitted had Gerantius within a Household Detachment including two other knights plus an allied contingent of Tau with Farsight. The Tau would be the primary detachment and Farsight would be the "Commander" for Blog Wars purposes. The command benefits of the Household Detachment require it to be the primary with the exception of all knights getting Objective Secured. I therefore felt the list wasn't too unreasonable (in the context of 3 knights being permitted) and therefore accepted it. 

David's second round opponent James contacted me and stated that he felt David was cheating on a few counts. Firstly that David had been using the Baronial Court formation and secondly that he was using a special character that wasn't permitted at Blog Wars.

The second point there about Gerantius not being a valid choice for Blog Wars is false. He isn't on the list of characters that can be used as Commander but as the rules pack states he may still be included in the army. The same goes for SCs like Cypher and Be'lakor. The idea here was to prevent people from circumventing the event comp by using dataslate SCs rather than picking from their own codex. With the benefit of hindsight this could've been clearer but looking back at the BW8 page I had stated clearly that Gerantius was legal although at the time knights were limited to 2 per army anyway.

After the release of the new codex, there seems to be a lot of debate about whether Gerantius is actually a legal choice for an Imperial Knights army at all. The Household Detachment requires units with the "Lords of War" type and the other formations allow "Imperial Knights of any type". Strictly speaking Gerantius doesn't fall into either of these categories. Personally, I feel this is one of those typical GW rule issues where everyone will interpret it in whatever way benefits them. Those who don't want to face Gerantius will say he's illegal and those wanting to run him will, of course, say the opposite. In the absence of an FAQ from GW within the last 12 months I doubt we'll be getting a proper answer any time soon.

Anyway, I was happy that Gerantius was legal for BW9 so that's largely irrelevant. The bigger issue then is that when used within the Baronial Court he receives +1 to his invulnerable save giving him a 2++ save in his front arc (amongst other benefits). Clearly this is a little OTT. The problem was that this wasn't the list that David had submitted. Of course, his opponents on the day weren't to know this so it wasn't never brought up. 

I contacted David about this and he said that he'd submitted the wrong list by mistake and, when I replied to his submitted list saying everything was fine, he thought nothing of it. To put this in context in the run up to the submission deadline he'd sent me a couple of lists but had changed his mind fairly last minute and submitted the final list with a Household Detachment in it. We can argue whether he deliberately used a different list to the one he submitted but my feeling is it was a genuine mistake. Suffice to say we'll never really know though.

What I will say though is that when handing in his results after the first round David said to me his list was too powerful with three knights and he wouldn't be bringing something like that again. He also said that he thought three knights was too much in general. Obviously at this point I didn't know which version of his list he was running but this doesn't, to me at least, sound like the actions of someone who was deliberately cheating.

What Action Will Be Taken?
Well, when I contacted David about this he confirmed that he had indeed been using the Baronial Court but said he hadn't spent the winnings yet and would be happy to return the voucher if it meant there would be no offence cause to anyone during the event. Really though I just wanted to get the bottom of this and find out his side of the story. He didn't even feel like the use of the Baronial Court had made a huge impact on the results. In his words, in the second game his knights had D-weapons whereas his opponent's just had S10 and in the final game his opponent had been very unlucky with his rolling.

There was a suggestion that he should be stripped of the title and the points somehow redistributed to crown a new winner. This is next to impossible to do though with no way of knowing how his opponents in his games would've faired had they played someone else or if they'd played him with the list I thought he was running. 

Ultimately, I have no way of knowing whether David intentionally played a slightly different list and how much different it actually made. I can't pretend I'm happy about the situation but it's one player's word against another's. I therefore don't think it would be appropriate to take any action at all.

Let's remind ourselves that Blog Wars is supposed to be a friendly event and David effectively took home a net prize of £7.50 (after deducting the ticket cost). There were several people who won prizes in the raffle who did better than that.

How does this affect future Blog Wars?
Well I will start by making it very clear that the list you submit should be the list you play. I have two suggestions for how I can check this happens. The first would be to make everyone bring a printed copy of their list to the event with them and check them off against the electronic version they submitted or I could publish a document with everyone's list in there so that people could check their opponent's list from it in each round.

The problem with the first solution is that it would probably take me most of the morning to check them all and that's assuming I wasn't answering any rules queries or generally talking to people at what is supposedly a social event. I'm also reluctant to do the second method either. I know this is how some of the more serious events do it but seriously, is that necessary for Blog Wars?

The main thing to take from all this is that I really shouldn't be playing in the event. That's a big blow for me because I love taking part. I actually created the event as the kind of tournament I'd want to play in. Still though, this issue mainly occurred during the only game that I did play at Blog Wars 9. Had I been more available perhaps I could've given James more time when he came to ask if Gerantius was legal. I therefore won't be playing at Blog Wars again unless as a stand-in to make even numbers but I'll make every effort to find an alternative stand-in.

In summary:
  • Gerantius was a legal option for BW9 (but is unlikely to be at BW10)
  • The combination of Gerantius and the Baronial Court was too much and as such I would never have permitted it had I known
  • The list I received did not use the Baronial Court but rather the Household Detachment
  • David states this was by accident and I'm inclined to believe him
  • No action will be taken
In the end, I'm sad that this kind of ill-feeling has come out of an event that I work hard to ensure is as friendly as possible. I'm reasonably convinced that the people involved are happy to move on so I suggest that's what we do. I would urge everyone who comes to BW10 not to treat either of these players any different. 

I'm not going to allow comments on this post but I welcome any thoughts via email.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Imperial Knights (and Lords of War in General) at Blog Wars 9

The inclusion of Imperial Knights is easily the most contentious issue amongst the comments on the BW9 Aftermath post. At BW8 players were allowed to take upto 2 IKs (there were actually only two lists with a single IK, no-one ran 2). For BW9 I upped the limited to 3 but only four players took me up on it. With a further 3 players taking a single knight the total present was 15.

Generally speaking it seems that the majority of people who played against 3 IK in one or more of their games struggled and didn't enjoy the experience. There are notable exceptions to this, for example, Peter Barrett's Necrons hammering Dave Halfpenny's IK/DA force. Clearly then they aren't unstoppable. The Baronial Court is another matter though, giving the knights 3++ on their front facing and a WS/BS bonus to one knight is a big deal. I stated before the event that it isn't as bad as the Adamantine Lance formation but clearly it's still too powerful. Gerantius is another bone of contention and I think it's sensible to restrict his use. The Household Detachment on the other hand seems pretty reasonable. I could easily limit IKs to the Household or Oathsworn detachments and say that an IK detachment/formation can't be your Primary Detachment. This would only the Objective Secured bonus would apply and not the BS/WS or re-roll warlord trait (obviously since Warlord has to be in Primary).

Anyway, let's look at the results table again with an extra column showing who had Lords of War:

Please note I've deleted Stu Dickson from this list as we were sharing the games so there was a Stompa in one of the three games but not the others. So all the 3 IK lists placed in the top half of the table but they're certainly not clustered tightly at the top. Of course, it's difficult to draw any real conclusions after just 3 games. There's still too much of a "luck of the draw" element as to who they ended up playing. Generally speaking the lists with at least one Lord of War are spread quite evenly through the table. This makes me reluctant to ban them completely.

What I'd propose then is that Super Heavies OR Gargantuan Creatures are 0-1 per army. So you can take a single SH or GC but not both. You could still take the infantry Lords of War like Marneus, Draigo, Ghaz, etc and they could be joined by a Super Heavy if you wanted. The only issue I see with this is that a single IK isn't much good on it's own. Obviously it depends what's in the list with it but I think it perhaps penalises that codex too much. What I'd suggest then is that Imperial Knights are 0-2 per army. They should still be tough to deal with but without it feeling impossible. Of course there'll be lists that can't cope but that goes for other things too. This also has the added benefit of preventing the Formations being used. In fact, only the Oathsworn detachment would be legal.

In summary then:

  • Infantry Lords of War are permitted
  • Super Heavies/Gargantuan Creature Lords of War are 0-1 per army
  • Imperial Knights are the exception with 0-2 permitted per army
  • There'll still be an approved list of Super Heavies/Gargantuan Creatures

Your Feedback
I could easily ramble on for ages in this post about the various issues surrounding Imperial Knights but I'd rather hear from you guys. I'd particularly like to hear your thoughts on the proposed changes above.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Blog Wars 9 - My Battle Report

Well I was fully intending to play at BW9 and I'd been desperately trying to find as much time as possible to get my Ork army up to scratch. Sadly I barely managed to get them to three colour minimum never mind the standard I was hoping for when I started them months ago. I was a little apprehensive about playing though as with so many results to process I thought I'd struggle to keep the event running smoothly. It wasn't until I was driving to the event that I actually thought about what a poor choice Orks were if I was hoping to get my games over quickly and get the results sorted.

Fortunately for me Stu Dickson showed up on the day on the off chance he might be able to play. He'd originally been one of the first people to buy a ticket but had been forced to pull out when other plans had clashed. I don't know what changed but suffice to say he asked me if it would be possible for him to play. I was initially tempted to let him play all three games but decided that I wanted to have at least one game as a test of how feasible it was for me to play and act as TO at the same time. I decided that I'd play the second game since there was a break following it and also because I knew the mission was pretty simple to play. Anyway, here's my army:

1,850pts of Orks
Warboss in Mega Amour with Lucky Stikk
Big Mek with KFF and Fixer Upperz
Mad Dok Grotsnik (my Commander SC)

3x 11 Boyz plus Nob with klaw in a Trukk
13 Boyz (to join Warboss)

3x Deffkopta with rokkits (three 1-man units)

Battlewagon with reinforced ram (for the Warboss)


I could've made the list a lot more filthy with some extra Meks in the Stompa but I figured the Stompa with 5++ and a 3+ repair was bad enough. The Warboss is nigh-on indestructible with the Stikk provided his opponent doesn't have AP1 or AP2 weaponry. Grotsnik is a funny old character. A lot of his special rules cancel each other out i.e. 6+ FNP and 5+ FNP (!?!?) and he isn't a great choice for BW as he can't leave his unit. I'd have loved to have taken Zogwort but he apparently doesn't exist anymore. Thanks GW!

Battle Report
Stu had lost his first round game pretty convincingly so I'd be playing my only game on the second table from bottom. My opponent was Daniel Clarke who was fielding Grey Knights. I was initially confused as I'd seen the army at previous Blog Wars but knew Daniel was new to the event. Turns out he'd bought them from BW regular Nathaniel Gibbs, mystery solved! We were playing Emperor's Relic on Vanguard Strike deployment.

Dan's list was a Librarian (ML3) in terminator armour, 2x "Rifleman" Dreadnoughts, 2x Purifier squads (one in rhino, one in lascannon razorback), 2x 5 Terminators, Interceptor squad and Dreadknight plus an allied Inquisition force of Coteaz (Commander) and an Ordo Xenos Inquisitor. Fortunately for me there wasn't much there that could worry the Stompa so it would depend on how effective the Stompa could be rather than whether or not it would survive.

Dan won the roll off and elected to go first deploying Coteaz in and his purifiers in a large ruin and a dreadnought on each flank supported by the interceptors up the middle. The terminators went in reserve. I basically just spread my vehicles out along the edge of the deployment zone giving them enough space to squeeze between terrain pieces and avoid those pesky immobilisation rolls.

Turn 1
The librarian managed to roll Vortex of Doom so Dan decided to go all or nothing with his terminators and deep strike them in right in front of my Stompa. It was quite a gamble as he not only needed the power to cast successfully but also the blast not to scatter followed by a 6 on the destroyer table and a further 6 for the D6+6 hull points. Sadly for him the blast scattered just off the Stompa leaving the terminators badly exposed. The dreadnoughts managed to strip hullpoints from one trukk on my right flank and between the razorback and dread another trukk was wrecked (I managed to ramshackle the a pen to a glance!) giving him a point for First Strike. Elsewhere the dreadknight teleported forward to incinerate a handful of Orks who were mounted up in their transports (stupid template rules!).

The Orks responded in predictable fashion by charging up the field towards the Grey Knights. The shooting from the rest of the army missed completely but the Stompa made up for it. The deffkannon hit its target and killed off 3 terminators (it might have been more but for Sanctuary). The supa-gatler stripped hullpoints from the rhino and a supa-rokkit killed an interceptor in cover. The Warboss jumped out of his battlewagon followed by his boyz and with help from the boyz in the nearby trukk they charged the Dreadknight. The dreadknight issued a challenge which was accepted by the nob from the trukk and then it was the Orks turn to throw out some damage. The boyz managed to score 6 wounds between them but the Dreadknight shrugged them off. The Warboss inflicted 4 wounds with his klaw but two were saved. I was still hopeful Grotsnik would finish the job but all 4 of the wounds he caused were saved thanks to Sanctuary. The Stompa managed to roll 3 for his 4" charge so the terminators would get another chance with their vortex.

Turn 2
The first vortex scattered off the table but another wasn't far behind. This time it was a hit but only 2 HPs worth of damage was inflicted. The remaining terminators arrived by deep strike but a mishap caused them to be displaced to the back corner of the board out in the open. The psycannon from the nearby purifier rhino was able to take another hull point though. The dreadknight was able to kill off Grotsnik but finally fell to a single wound from the boyz and a final wound from the warboss. The dreadnought took a wound from one of the koptas whilst the other killed off some boyz. Meanwhile the interceptors shunted across the board towards my objective.

One mob of boyz on the right of the field charged into Coteaz's unit and killed all but him and a single purifier for minimal losses. The other mob nearby charged and wrecked the razorback without the nob needing to use his power klaw. The Stompa continued it's good fortune hitting with its deffkannon again. This time the displaced terminators were the victim with not a single successful invulnerable save. The supa-gatler was able to immobilise the other dreadnought and kill off some of the purifiers who'd lost their rhino to the deffkoptas. The Stompa then charged into the librarian and his terminators with help from the warboss' unit. The terminators were cut down by the Stompa's mega-choppa and the warboss' power klaw with little return damage. The remaining unit of boyz charged at the interceptors but were easily cut down and caught in a sweeping advance as they fled.

Turn 3
The dreadnought charged into the orks who'd wrecked the razorback and killed most of them off. The nob wasn't able to damage it in return. The other boyz nearby finished off Coteaz. The interceptors now charged and killed a nearby deffkopta. The GK forces were starting to dwindle at this point so Dan tried to consolidate them onto his home objective taking out a trukk that had parked on it.

The Stompa turned back towards the Ork lines to finish off the interceptors with a combination of deffkannon and supa-gatler (which still hadn't whirr-click-click'd!). The remaining empty trukk moved in to seize the Ork objective whilst the battlewagon headed across the board in case the Warboss was needed.

Turn 4 & 5
The game was all but over by this stage with just the immobilised dreadnought to finish off and the other one joining the Ordo Xenos inquisitor on the home objective. The remaining Orks on the right killed off the dreadnought in combat but were then cut down by the purifiers.  The Stompa swung back around again and helped finish them off though whilst the Warboss claimed the central objective. Finally the only remaining deffkopta came in to seize the objective and it was game over.

There's no question that the Stompa had performed well above expectations. The deffkannon only missed with its final shot of the game by which time it really didn't matter. The supa-gatler kept rolling high for it's shot count without running out of ammo and despite failing a charge the Stompa was responsible for killing two units of terminators (with a little help). It was a bit of an unfair fight though as Dan really couldn't deal with it. The vortex was a long shot but the only chance he had so he needed to take it. Sadly this meant that he brought his forced towards the Orks.

I really think that was the big deal here. If he'd holed up in the ruins and forced me to head across open ground to get to his objectives it would probably have been a very different game. As it was though it made the game more enjoyable and I got to experience the best from the Stompa. I don't really expect it to perform so well again though!

I enjoyed my only game thanks to Dan being pretty reasonable in the face of an amazing performance from the Stompa and I'd like to thank him for his patience whilst I dealt with rules queries from other players. It's a shame I didn't get to play more games with my Orks but frankly the tournament would've been well behind schedule if I had and more people would've noticed how little progress I'd made with painting my army!!

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Blog Wars 9 - Painting Competition - Best Conversions (pic heavy)

In the final post in this trio of painting competition coverage, I'll be showing you the Best Conversions competition. As I've already mentioned, this was a new award for BW9 and one that I hoped would reward another aspect of the hobby that can be overlooked at times. I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on whether it should stay or not.

Best Conversions
This was an extremely close run thing and as I tallied up the votes it was really anyone's game from about 5 different entries. The eventual winner was Liam Ainscough's Tau. Liam won Best Painted Army at BW9 with a totally different Dark Eldar army so it's an impressive feat to feature in the painting competition with two separate forces. It's testament to the standard Liam achieves in his hobby. Liam's army features a custom built Skyshield, some stunning suits and a flyer (Forge World model used as a counts as Sunshark) mounted on a statue of an ethereal. I asked Liam about the statue and it turns out he sculpted the thing himself (although I spy some Riptide parts in there)!! Clearly a worthy winner!

Runners Up
Two votes behind were Daniel Clarke's gold Grey Knights (although Nathaniel Gibbs sold them to him) and Ian Connolly's Orks featuring an Orky X-wing of all things! Close behind them were Nathaniel Gibb's Space Wolves and Graham Sanders squats (I didn't get many pictures but they were Best Army at BW4).

That wraps up the painting competition coverage. I'll be back on Saturday with a round up of the only game I played (plus an explanation of why there was only one!). I hope you've enjoyed these images and I can only apologise to anyone I've not managed to feature. This was partly due to being rushed over lunch and only realising I hadn't taken pictures just before I was about to start the next round!

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Blog Wars 9 - Painting Competition - Best Character (pic heavy)

In this second part of the painting competition roundup I'm going to cover the award for Best Painted Special Character. This is something that's at the core of the identity of Blog Wars as it's unique (pun intended) comp is that you must field at least one Special Character. On the journey home we had a bit of a discussion about this award and we thought that at future events it might be a good idea to have the characters all together on a separate table. That way people can judge them directly against each other. The other advantage is that stunning examples of well painted characters don't get lost within armies that aren't as eye-catching as other entries. I'll probably give this idea a go at BW10 as an experiment as I'm not sure taking models away from the armies won't affect the voting for best army and best conversions. I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Best Painted Special Character
The runaway winner in this category was again Dave Weston with his stunning Deathleaper and a whopping 17 votes. I have to say I was somewhat biased here (I don't vote by the way) as Dave's model actually features the BW logo as part of it's base. I didn't manage to get many shots of the model apart from the one below but Dave's blog has plenty more and a host of other things you should check out too!

Runners Up
The next closest entry was Chris Benstead's Abaddon with 9 votes closely followed by Liam Aincough's Farsight. Nathaniel Gibb's Arjac Rockfist and Jonathan Lyness' Sammael were also in the chasing pack. Here's there models:


Tomorrow we'll finish off the painting competition results with a look at the Best Conversions award.

Tuesday, June 09, 2015

Blog Wars 9 - Painting Competition - Best Army (pic heavy)

This year's painting competition was judged in three parts and as a result I thought it only fair to post the pictures in three parts too. Today we'll look at the Best Painted Army away. The word "painted" is important there because I have now introduced a prize for Best Conversions that I hope will encourage people to see the two things as separate. I think too often the army that wins the "best painted" award is the one that's got some striking conversions. I don't necessarily think that people who can pull off amazing feats of modelling are always great at painting too. Hopefully adding in that extra prize will encourage people to try some conversions in their army as well as thinking about the paint job.

Best Painted Army
This was a two-horse race (in the voting at least). The winner was Dave Weston with his Tyranids. They've been featured before as they placed joint second at BW7 and won at BW6, We've had a debate before about whether you should be eligible to win Best Painted with the same army twice but it's worth pointing out that a lot of Dave's votes came from first time BW players and that a large portion of his army were new models. It's also worth bearing in mind that when Dave won at BW6 he hadn't even displayed the models and they were simply on his red plastic tray ready for the next game. They're still a stunning example of what can be achieved and I was thrilled that the custom built skyshield made an appearance. As per usual my photos of the armies were a little rushed but here's a few shots:

Runners Up
Liam Aincough and his Tau were a close second with just a single vote separating him and Dave. Incidentally Dave voted for Liam! There was then a gap of 7 votes to the chasing pack with Chris Benstead's CSM, Nick Thrower's Dark Eldar, Graham Sanders' Squats (IG) and Nathaniel Gibbs Spaces Wolves all tightly packed together. Here's a few shots of their armies and some of the other entries:

Tomorrow I'll look at the Best Painted Character prize.


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