Wednesday 31 October 2018

It’s a kind of magic - Hive Fleet Goliath list for round two vs SorcererDave


Apparently SorcererDave enjoyed my company/box of tea enough that he invited me to come back! Tomorrow Hive Fleet Goliath will return to Morgan's Reach, where we will continue our narrative campaign against the Cadian 404th. The first game featured the Tyranids catching the Astra Militarum off guard (pun intended) with the aid of a Genestealer Cult and the sinister Magus who had been impersonating an Inquisitor. Now the Tyranid forces have started dropping down to the planet in large numbers, overrunning the hive cities and consuming all the delicious biomass held within. It will be up to the Cadians to fight their way into the ruins of the cities to take back the vital strategic locations from the Hive Mind!

Once again, I've written up a fun, thematic list for this mission. My primary concerns were to a) represent a mid stage Tyranid invasion force - swarms of Termagants and mid-sized bugs, and b) to fit the narrative so far. It comes to 1747 points and features a Jormungandr Battalion and a Genestealer Cult Patrol.

Neurothrope: The Norn Crown; Psychic Scream
Tervigon: Catalyst
Old One Eye

30 Termagants
27 Termagants: 27× devourer
3 Tyranid Warriors: 2× deathspitter; venom cannon
3 Tyranid Warriors: 2× deathspitter; venom cannon
3 Tyranid Warriors: 2× deathspitter; venom cannon; 3× boneswords; adrenal glands

3 Zoanthropes: The Horror

3 Raveners: 3× scything talons & rending claws; 3× deathspitter

1 Carnifex: heavy venom cannon; adrenal glands; Enhanced Senses; thresher scythe; Spore Cysts
1 Carnifex: heavy venom cannon; adrenal glands; Enhanced Senses; thresher scythe; Spore Cysts

Magus: Mass Hypnosis; Inspiring Leader

10 Neophyte Hybrids: 2× Grenade launcher; Neophyte Leader

As you can see, I've brought back the Magus. He's been naughty, running around behind the scenes and causing all kind of problems for the defenders of the hive city. In my mind he plans to make his escape after the city has truly fallen, on to the last ship off the planet, so he can go and do it all again somewhere else. I wanted this narrative to be somewhat represented, so I've made him my warlord so that his death is worth a point in the game.

I've also brought along a bunch of freshly painted Termagants with devourers. These should prove very effective against Guardsmen, though they are fragile. To this end I intend to use the Jormungandr stratagem to have the Raveners dig a tunnel for them to arrive safely from. The Tervigon might also be in a position to buff them, and since it is narrative I could use a command points to bring them all back with a stratagem if they die. Assuming I haven't spent them all by then.

Speaking of Narrative, I've also packed two bonus units of 10 Termagants in case the Tervigon gets a chance to spawn them for free. If this sounds a bit mean, don't feel too bad. SorcererDave recently shared a picture of a couple of Hellhounds on the painting bench, so I think he had a good answer to Termagants!

Speaking of being mean, I've brought along a Neurothrope and some Zoeys. Apparently I've got a bit of a reputation to uphold. With luck they will be turning it up to eleven! Hopefully there will also be good luck for Old One Eye and his Carnifexes. I've used him a few times and I've yet to have any success with him. So far he has repeatedly whiffed his attacks and just been squashed. We shall see how he goes.

Hopefully, whatever happens, I'll be another fun game and a great battle report!

Sunday 28 October 2018

Small update with small gribblies


As the title states, just a short post today. I’ve been painting some extra Termagants with devourers for Hive Fleet Goliath, with the intent of unleashing them on some unsuspecting Guardsmen soon. I have visions of them coming out of a tunnel to do 90 shots, then using a stratagem to make them do it all again. Of course they will die on my opponent’s turn, but by then they will have done their job (hopefully.)

Technically this is parts of 3 units. 20 of them are due to join an existing unit of 10 to make a maximum sized squad. Another 7 are to join some regular fleshborer Termagants just for the sake of variety and list building flexibility. The final 3 have fleshborers themselves so are going to bulk out another existing squad a bit. A bit weird I know, but they all came assembled for eBay so whatever.

These guys are a little redder than most of my existing ‘gants, but it fits in with some of my other newer Tyranids (the post-Mecharius Solar Orange batch) so it should match the overall Swarm nicely. With any luck you may see them in action quite soon...

Thursday 25 October 2018

Generic Ork Hype Post


Unless you've been living under a rokk, you are probably aware that it is currently Orktober, and that the new Ork Codex is just around the corner, due for release in November (or Nobvember if you'd prefer.) I'm very excited about all this. My Orks have seen the table at the start of 8th edition a few times, but when all my other armies started getting their books, the Orks got hidden away in their boxes until it came to their time to shine - and that time is almost upon us!

I thought I'd take a moment to talk briefly about some of the new rules and miniatures we are seeing, and also use it as an excuse to dig out some picture of Redtoof's Orks, or Da Vipers as they call themselves. They are (mostly) of the Snakebite Clan, so this article from Warhammer Community is particularly interesting to me. I was very curious what aspects of Snakebite lore GW would pick from to portray the tough, nomadic, traditional Snakebites whose previous signature units, such as Boar Boyz, no longer exist. I am pretty happy with the direction they have taken, having a universal 6+ 'feel no pain' style save feels thematically appropriate and quite powerful, though I wonder how it will interact, if at all, with the Painboy rules, which currently give the same effect. I'll be disappointed if my Docs are suddenly useless - they feel much more on theme than the Kustom Force Field wielding Big Mek.

Speaking of the Force Field - I have questions for that of the Codex. (Even though we are Snakebites, sometimes we will grudgingly allow a Mek to carry around his favourite shiny thing.) It's never been completely resolved how the Force Field covers whole units - if it just needs to cover part of each model, or if each model must be wholly covered as well, and I'd very much like to see this cleared up. In addition, currently the wording for the force field to work while embrked upon a transport specifies vehicles, which a Gargantuan Squiggoth is not. This makes me a bit sad, and hopefully it will be just 'Transports' in the Codex.

On the subject of big stompy things. The new rules for the Stompa that were covered in the Bad Moon clan fokus look interesting. Even with all those buffs, it currently costs an awful lot of points, and I struggle to see how it will make it's way into many lists unless it gets a sizable drop. Many of the other units look like they are getting cheaper, based on rumours and the power levels given by Warhammer Community, so it's not unlikely, though will it be enough is the question.

Assuming everything gets appropriately costed, I'm looking forward to fielding Meganobz, Killa Kans, Battlewagons, etc etc. I like an infantry horde as much as the next Warboss, but just running 120+ boyz is a little samey. Plus it is hard countered by lists that take lots of anti-infantry firepower. Like Noise Marines. Grumble.

Lastly, new miniatures! All the new buggies look fabulous, but it remains to be seen which will see use on the table. Based on what we know, the Shokkjump Dragster looks a strong and unpredictable unit for putting a dent into armoured units, particularly ones your opponent thought were safe. The Boomdakka Snazzwagon also looks interesting to me, both in that it looks really cool, and that it apparently has some interesting rules to allow it to be a great annoyance to the enemy. Finally the Rukkatrukk Squigbuggy looks fun and obviously jumped out at me as the on theme Snakebite option, but based on the rules that have been shared and the power level being the highest of all the buggies, I struggle to see how it will be worth taking in a list. It looks like it pays a large tax for it's versatility which in most games will not be worth paying. That said I will probably still get one or two at some point, because Squig Launchas!

Sunday 21 October 2018

Orky Fortifications for Winters


I recently took on a little project for the exceptionally busy Winters SEO to paint up some terrain for him and his channel. Winters asked for assistance on Patreon and I, among several others, took up the challenge. I accepted, partially because it's cool seeing stuff you painted turn up on the internet, partially because I felt a bit guilty about certain events during our battle report, but mostly because the terrain looks really cool and I fancied a go at it!

The scenery in question is a series of wall sections from Kromlech's Tabletop Scenics Orkenburg range. It's laser cut MDF sheets that, thankfully, Winters stuck together before posting, so it arrived as pictured above. There are loads of little wall sections that are all modular, having textured doors or barricades on each end so that they can be placed freestanding or as part of a larger fortification.

First step was to spray all the bits. A note to anyone trying this at home. Untreated MDF soaks up loads of paint. You'll either need to coat it in PVA glue or some kind of sealant first, or just be super aggressive with the spray paint to get any sort of coverage. Of course in true Orky fashion I just used an entire can of cheap spray paint getting them (and my fingers) black. The internet tells me that this is less of a problem if you use higher quality spray paint. In any case, after the first coat the rest of the painting was easy enough, just like painting undercoated plastic or metal. After the black I gave them all a blast of a dark metallic spray to get the base colour.

A whole lot of messily slapping on reds and oranges and a bit of white, followed by dry brushing with various metals, and this is the result. A dirty, rusty wall of scrap metal. I did attempt some coloured plates in among the rust and bare metal, but I didn't really think it was working out so I just made it all metal apart from the white for the skull symbols and 'tooth' spikes. I'm pretty pleased with how it turned out, and hopefully it'll look cool on the battlefield. Obviously though I had to set it up somewhere to see it 'all together'.

I built it up as a two staged defensive wall, imagining a larger fortress lay just behind the gate in the second line. One side was left open to allow access for larger war machines, while the other side was walled off. Seeing it all placed out on a table is pretty cool, but there was something missing...

Yes, that's better! I couldn't help myself from populating it with my Orks before I packaged it back up for it's trip home. Maybe one day they will be reunited and I'll command the Orks on a Winters SEO battle report?

Given that I've named myself and this blog after my Ork Warboss, I've been somewhat neglecting them while waiting for the (now imminent) Codex. They have not really been seen on the blog, apart from the Gorkanaut. So as a special treat (mainly for myself), here are a load more pictures of Orks on a wall!

Wednesday 17 October 2018

Explorator Fleet Helios - Ryza Adeptus Mechanicus and Taranis Imperial Knights army.


Now that the Valiant is all painted up, I decided to get all the Adeptus Mechanicus stuff out for some photos. This is my most recently started and smallest army, originally intended to just be an allied force to allow me to attend doubles events alongside other Imperial players. It's grown a bit since then, but I don't see it getting much bigger since I struggle to match the orange. That said, there might be further Imperial allies coming down the line...

I decided to name the force 'Explorator Fleet Helios' because it sounds cool, and because of all the brighter-than-the-sun plasma culverins. Lore wise this is a force that ranges far through the galaxy searching for archeotech and lost STC technology. I figure the commanders of the Ryza force hope to find more weapons to turn on the Orks that infest their Forge World, while Sir Camulus and the Knights of House Taranis are fulfilling some sort of ancient oath.

Anyway, pictures! Enjoy:

Sunday 14 October 2018

Video Battle Report with Winters SEO - Tyranids vs Adeptus Mechanicus


As you might remember, a while ago I took my Tyranids on a trip to Swindon to play a game against the legendary Winters SEO for his Youtube channel. I had an absolute blast playing against the master of the Penitent Forge, and Winters at the very least tolerated me. (I did bribe him with Yorkshire Tea, so I think that helped.)

Anyway, the video is now up, so give it a watch! I've been way more excited for this than I should be, given that I already know the outcome...

I have to admit I was pretty nervous and I made a few mistakes that I realised on the drive home, but I don’t think any of the errors had a significant impact. The game itself felt very back and forth, we both had some weird luck at times (one of use perhaps more than the other...) which made the game much less predictable. Hopefully it’s just as fun to watch as it was to play.

As a fortuitous bonus, the video has popped up just in time for this to be my 50th post on the blog. It's a small milestone but it's a good sign that the blog is here to stay!

Tuesday 9 October 2018

Battle Report - Tyranids and Genestealer Cult vs Chaos Space Marines


Had a game a little while ago against regular-opponent-John and his Emperor's Children. 2000 points, Open War deck once more. We drew a mission that required 3 objectives, holding one was worth 1 point at the end of your turn, but taking it off your opponent was worth 3 points! We also drew a twist that required us to draw 2 further twist cards. In the end everything was immune to morale and all shooting and psychic ranges would be reduced to 12 inches, with the possibility of increasing as the game went on. For deployment we drew a wedge from the long edge into the middle, and on the other side two corner triangles, forming a V shaped no-man's land. It's worth noting this game was played before the September FAQ. I'm not sure if it would have made much difference though.

My list was essentially the same list I later took to play against SorcererDave in his recent battle report. I just added in an extra Leman Russ and a couple of Genestealers to make up the points. It was made up of a Genestealer Cult Battalion and a Tyranid Outrider detachment. In this game however I used the Kraken adaptation, since in this one off game my usual go-to Jormungandr wouldn't help very much. I wasn't expecting much from this list since it was designed for a narrative game, but I thought it'd be interesting to see how it held up.

HQ: Hive Tyrant, Wings, twin devourers with brainleech worms, monstrous rending claws, adrenal glands, Psychic powers: the Horror, Psychic screech, Warlord Trait: Adaptive Biology, Relic: Chameleonic mutation. Genestealer Patriarch, Psychic power: Might from Beyond. Genestealer Magus, Psychic power: Mass Hypnosis
Troops: 2x5 Hybrid Acolytes, 1 Demolition charge. 10 Hybrid Neophytes, 2 Grenade Launchers. 20 Termagants.
Elites: 20 Purestrain Genestealers.
Fast attack: 3x10 Gargoyles.
Heavy Support: Cult Leman Russ, Battlecannon, heavy bolter. Cult Leman Russ, Vanquisher cannon, lascannon, 2 multimeltas. Trygon, adrenal glands, Pincer tail.
Flyer: Hive Crone
Transport: Cult Chimera, Multilaser, heavy bolter, heavy stubber.

John's list was a bit of a classic John list, from before he discovered Renegade Knight Gallants. It was an Emperor's children Battalion, Vanguard and Super Heavy Auxiliary detachment.

HQ: Chaos Lord on Steed, Lightning claws, Warlord trait: Flames of Spite, Relic: Intoxicating Elixir. Sorcerer on Steed, Force axe, Psychic powers: Prescience, Warptime. Chaos Lord, Power fist, combi bolter.
Troops: 2x10 Cultists, 18 Noise Marines, Doom Siren, 2 Blastmasters, 15 Sonic blasters.
Elites: 2x Decimators with Soulburners and claws. 2x Noise Dreadnoughts with 2 Blastmasters, Doom siren and power scourge.
Lord of War: Spartan

We deployed up, with the objectives near the Spartan, the middle in the circle of pillars and just left of my Vanquisher. I put my cult units to defend the objective while the flying Tyranids came out of the sun on the other corner, barely visible in this picture. The Acolytes rode in the Chimera, while the Trygon was underground with the Termagants and the Patriarch/Genestealers were ambushing. For John's side everything was on the table bar the Noise Marines riding in the Spartan. We rolled up to see who went first, which John won, but then I stole the initiative!

First turn and the Tyranids swarm in. The Leman Russ tanks moved to get range on one of the Decimators, while the Chimera moved around the building. Shooting from the Chimera on the left flank, and Gargoyles on the right removed a few cultists. The Russes did some damage to the Decimator while the Crone did something to one of the dreads. I was hoping to maybe kill one of them, but as the internet will tell you, Vanquisher cannons are not very good. One of the cultists ran away, before running back again when we remembered we were ignoring morale this game.

John's turn 2 was predictably brutal. The Noise Marines disembarked and killed loads of Gargoyles. The Sonic dreads killed a load more. Spartan put wounds on the Hive Tyrant and the Decimators damaged the Leman Russes. In the assault phase the Crone was torn out of the skies by the combination of a Sonic Dreadnought (which I think took damage from overwatch) and the Noise Marines. The Decimators smashed the Vanquisher, consolidating into the regular Russ. A strong showing from the Emperor's children, claiming two of the objectives and putting pressure on the third while eliminating almost everything they aimed at. But it wasn't over yet, it seems the Genestealer Cultists were just about to spring their trap!

My turn 2 and all the reserves arrived, as well as the Hybrids getting out of the Chimera and heading towards the Decimators and the warlord. On the right flank the Genestealers and Patriarch emerged with a 4 inch bonus move from the Cult Ambush table, while the Trygon popped up, ready to charge the Spartan. Shooting from the demolition charges and psychic powers took out one of the Decimators and severely damaged the other.

Melee on the left flank put wounds on the Lord and killed the Decimator (which exploded to wound the lord further) at the cost of almost all the Acolytes. One remained in melee with the warlord.

On the right flank, things were getting interesting. The Genestealers, having Might from Beyond cast on them, charged the Noise Marines and the Sonic Dreadnought to try and save the Patriarch from it's overwatch. They lost 8 of their number getting in, and failed to reach the dread, forcing the Patriarch to weather the Doom siren and Blastmasters. At the top the Trygon and the Hive Tyrant made it into the Spartan, having already wounded it in the psychic phase. The 12 remaining Genestealers attacked first, with 5 strength 5 attacks each, hitting on 2+. Then the Noise Marines that died fought back thanks to their Music of the Apocalypse rule.

This is what it looked like afterwards. From both units, only 2 Genestealers remained. The Patriarch survived the dread's swings, killing it in return, and the big monsters put a big dent in the Spartan. Sadly as a superheavy tank it would be able to just trundle off and keep firing, though at a now reduced ballistic skill. So after my turn 2 the battlefield was suddenly a lot emptier. I still held one objective but with a lot of John's key units dead or diminished, it could certainly swing either way.

Turn 2 for the Emperor's Children. Vehicles shuffling at the top, while the cultists on the left advanced through the building towards my objective. The Sorcerer who was on the middle objective ran over to help the Lord, using Smite and the Chaos Familiar stratagem to swap a power for the Chaos kinda-smite power to try and kill the one Acolyte in combat with the Lord. I denied both powers, forcing the Lord to deal with the Acolyte in melee, though he let his steed do the work, licking the poor hybrid to death. Elsewhere the Sonic dread and the Spartan killed off the Hive Tyrant.

In my turn I claimed the central objective with the two Genestealers while the Patriarch went over to take out the second Noise dread. In the shooting phase the Leman Russ opened up on the wounded warlord, but only managed to reduce him to a single wound. I understand why Guard armies need to take so many tanks - they are just not reliable at all. Unlike the Patriarch who handled the dread after the Termagants went in to soak the overwatch. Speaking of overwatch - the Trygon charged into the Spartan again, and took a couple of lascannons to the face, and died. That was disappointing because the Spartan was pretty unhealthy and taking it out would have been a big blow.

John's turn 3 and unsurprisingly the Spartan blasted the Patriarch to bits. The one wound Lord moved back to the centre to easily remove the two Genestealers and claim the objective. The Sorcerer and the Cultists on the bottom left killed off the Magus and remaining Neophytes to claim that objective as well. This gave John a commanding 7 points this turn for a total score of 11-4 in his favour. And that was pretty much that. We played another turn just to see, but my two remaining tanks were unable to kill the cultists that prevented me shooting at the characters, and in John's turn he would have reduced the Chimera to a single wound and removed my remaining 3 Termagants. In the end a solid victory for the Emperor's Children.

I was actually quite surprised by how close this game went, given that I was effectively relying on a good cult ambush roll to do most of my damage. This was the first time I'd used the GS Cult since the Grinding Advance change, and the first time I'd had access to the Chapter Approved stratagems. It was a nice little boost, but I still don't think the cult is in a good shape at the moment. Especially now that the big FAQ has removed their ability to ambush on turn one (which I didn't use in this game anyway). I think for them, as was with so many armies, it's a case of wait for the Codex.