Wednesday, 25 March 2020

Video Battle Report - Tyranids vs Eldar on DZTV (plus Blood of Baal thoughts)


Back in February, when we were allowed to travel across the country to play toy soldiers, I went to visit Liam from Moarhammer and Deployment Zone to film a battle report. I took the Tyranids of Hive Fleet Goliath against his Saim Hann Eldar in a 2000 point custom matched play mission. It was a lot of fun, and good to complete the set after playing Winters a couple of times.

I was going to just put up a blog post with a link to the battle report for completeness, but I thought most people reading this will either not have paid for access to DZTV or will have already seen the battle report there anyway, so I'm going to add a bit of my thoughts from the game. Specifically about the Blood of Baal Psychic Awakening book, and how it worked out for me.

I'll not post my entire list here, but I did use a good chunk of the content. I picked a monster heavy list and use a custom hive fleet with the Prey-sight and Metamorphic Regrowth traits which granted +1 to hit in melee for monsters after charging, being charged or heroic intervention, and all models regenerating a single lost wound at the start of each of my turns. I took two of the relics (the Arachnacyte Gland on a Trygon Prime and Pathogenesis on an all devourer hive tyrant) and two Adaptive Physiologies (Dermic Symbiosis on a Tyrannofex and Accelerated Digestion on a Haruspex). Overall I was pretty pleased with them, though (minor spoiler alert:) the Haruspex didn't do a lot.

I don't think the book suddenly makes Tyranids top tier by any means, (it's been out a while and we've not seen the Tyranid meta yet...) but it definitely adds some fun and I think powerful options. Choose your own Hive Fleet is a bit... specific? There are a lot of options but most of them will only work for very specific builds, and the generic ones are not as strong as, say, Kraken. That said, the ones I picked fit my army very well and are undeniably strong for taking lots of monsters and multi-wound models. Trygons suddenly hitting on 2s, rerolling 1s were quite terrifying, and it was nice getting the odd wound back, even on Warriors and Zoanthropes.

I do think the relics and Adaptive Physiologies will see some use in competitive lists though, as well as in fun and casual ones. The Resonance Barb stands out (+1 to cast and deny, cast an extra power) and has seen use on several battle reports I've seen. The two I took are probably a bit more specialised, but definitely effective. The Arachnacyte Gland (3D6 charge, drop the lowest) makes a Trygon Prime or melee Hive Tyrant a more viable prospect, and Pathogenesis (6 inch extra range, reroll a single hit and wound for shooting) makes the all devourer Tyrant build even more scary with a larger threat range.

Dermic Symbiosis seems the stand out Adaptive Physiology (5+ invulnerable and count double wounds for damage bracket). I definitely could see it going on the Scythed Hierodule to make it tougher to deal with, especially if sitting next to a Malanthrope on turn one, then charging off with a +1 to hit and regenerating a wound every turn. I didn't use any of the infantry ones, but I think they definitely have potential as well, I've been especially looking at Adrenal Webs (2d6 consolidation) for a big mob of gargoyles perhaps, flapping over and tying up an entire gun line.

In conclusion, it's not a huge power boost, but it has got me more excited to play with the Nids again. Just a shame I can't right now!

Friday, 20 March 2020

Inquisition Land Raider


This one has been a loooooong time in the WIP stage, having been bought and built back when the Land Raider Redeemer was a new kit, but sat in a box waiting for the inspiration to paint it. Inspiration came with plans for a new narrative campaign with SorcererDave featuring the Inquisition. To date we've filmed two episodes, yet to go up on YouTube, and it definitely felt time to finally give this venerable machine a coat of paint.

So here we go, an Inquisitorial Land Raider Redeemer, the personal transport of Inquisitor Mortimer Arctos of the Ordo Hereticus, crewed by battle sisters of the Order of the Azurine Heart. I tried to somewhat replicate the paint job on the wife's beautiful sisters of battle, with a few changes - primarily swapping out the white for black on some of the tank's panels, as Inquisitor Arctos himself wears blue and black. The most notable and heavily converted feature of the tank is the assault ramp drawbridge leading to a marble archway and a heavy wooden door, the Inquisition does like to make an entrance! A couple of other quick things to note - all the scrolls and seals have 'writing' on them - squiggly lines with a fine drawing pen, and the soot around the engine and weapons is one of the forge world weathering powders, which gives a lovely realistic stain once you hit it with a matt varnish.

Of course, with the Land Raider done, I had to take some pictures with Inquisitor Arctos himself and some of his allies, ready to burn some heretics! Enjoy.

Thursday, 12 March 2020

Battle Report - Genestealer Cult vs Chaos Space Marines


It's been relatively quiet on the blog front recently (I've got a few things going on, but nothing that's ready to post as an article yet), but yesterday I got out to Grim Dice to play some 40k! I took the Genestealer Cult out for a spin as a bit of a learning experience. They are still a 'new' army for me (last game, and only previous game with the 8th edition codex with them was back in July against Stig) and my opponent John hasn't played against them with the 'new' codex either. He's practising for the Warhammer World GT soon, so he took a variant of the list he's looking at. My list is pretty much just all the GSC I have, so not really optimised, but I thought it would be a good information gathering experience for both of us.

We played the Eternal War mission Lockdown from Chapter Approved 2019, which features 6 objectives, 4 of which disappear over the course of the game. I like this mission because it forces you to play for the objectives early. We were also using the ruins rules they play at the Warhammer World GTs, which are 'ITC lite' - effectively the windows and doors on the ground floor block line of sight, but not sections that lack a wall entirely. We were playing at 2000 points.

My list was a double battalion (ah, buddalion), using the Cult of the Four Armed Emperor rules. I don't own the Psychic Awakening book for GSC, so didn't use any of the rules from that book. (Apparently it is underwhelming - which was good for my wallet). A large chunk of my list doesn't benefit from cult rules so the choice was as much about the stratagem and warlord trait as it was about the +1 to charge. I spent a CP at the start on Brood Coven to get a bonus couple of warlord traits, getting 2 back for the Cult one. I've also left the psychic powers off this list below, I took one of everything spread out through all the psykers.

HQ: Patriarch (Warlord: Shadow Stalker, Relic: Amulet of the Voidwyrm), Patriarch, Primus (Alien Majesty), Iconward, Magus (Familiar, Inscrutable Cunning), Magus (Familiar)

Troops: 10 Broodbrothers, 3x10 Neophytes (assorted guns), 10 Acolyte Hybrids (banner and 4 mining weapons), 10 Acolytes (4 demolition charges)

Elites: Kelermorph, 20 Purestrain Genestealers

Heavy Support: Leman Russ (battle cannon, heavy bolter), Leman Russ (exterminator autocannon, lascannon), Leman Russ (vanquisher cannon, lascannon, multimeltas)

Transport: Chimera

John's list was supposed to have 2 Deredeo dreadnoughts in it, but they somehow didn't make it into his case, so they were substituted out for a Knight with two thermal cannons (the melee weapons were proxies - it was better this than two coke-can dreads!) I think this left him with a double battalion and a super heavy auxiliary. He was using a bunch of stuff from Faith and Fury for his Emperor's Children, so forgive me, I don't remember what the relics and warlord traits were.

HQ: Daemon Prince, Sorcerer, Exalted Champion, 2x Dark Apostles

Troops: 4x10 Cultists, 2x18 Noise Marines (Sonic blasters and blast masters)

Heavy Support: Havocs (chaincannons)

Lord of War: Chaos Knight (2 Thermal cannons)

Transport (maybe): Termite drill.

I won the roll to choose to be the attacker, which was a tough choice because I didn't want to face two turns of noise marine fire before my heavy hitters turned up, but there is also a bonus point for holding the most objectives at the end of the battle round. In the end I opted to go first, and deployed a bunch of blip tokens. John hid some of his army behind ruins, but left a blob of noise marines out in the open. We both had a permanent objective in our corners, while the others were going to disappear on their numbered turn.

In turn one I plopped down the tanks, some characters and two neophyte units (I had one with shotguns still underground). The Chaos priests got chanting to give the noise marines +1 to hit and -1 to be hit in the shooting phase. As a result my fire was split between some shots at the Knight to no effect and some guns at a cultist unit to get first strike - which I just about managed after a failed morale test. 

I also pushed the Chimera full of brood brothers up onto the objective near the knight, as it was going to be removed on turn 2. Unsurprisingly the Knight wandered up to respond and try to take it.

Bit of shuffling and the shooting commenced. Only one unit of noise marines in range, but buffed up with stratagems they split fire and destroyed the Chimera and dropped the Battle cannon Leman Russ to 3 wounds in one volley. The Knight blasted the Vanquisher Russ into scrap, removing it's chance to prove why it's the worst main gun. John tried to play Endless Cacophony to finish my Russ and cut through the Brood Brothers on the objective by the Knight, but I used the Cult stratagem A Plan Generations in the Making to cancel it. The Knight then charged the Brood Brothers, but left a few of them alive, holding the objective and within 6 inches of a Patriarch so they couldn't fail morale. Thanks to that we both held 3 objectives and scored First Strike. Neck and neck!

Turn two was always going to be critical. The GSC sprung from their ambush positions, striking at key targets. Demo charge Acolytes used stratagems to pop up right next to the Knight and throw all their charges at it. Along with fire from the tanks and some cheeky wounds from autopistols, the Knight fell.

On the other side of the battlefield 20 Genestealers emerged from a Perfect Ambush, giving them a 6 inch charge on the Noise Marines. The warlord Patriarch popped up next to them to grant the +1 to hit buff and cast Mass Hypnosis on them to ignore overwatch. The Kelermorph appeared as well within 12 of one of the Dark Apostles and blasted him full of holes. The Genestealers went in and unsurprisingly murdered most of the unit (some kept alive by having toughness 5 from combat drugs), and causing the rest to flee. They did kill 8 of the Purestrains in return/as they died though. Overall a great turn, but one disappointment was a failed charge from the other Patriarch and the shotgun Neophytes into a cultist squad on objective 3. This meant I was holding 2 objectives now vs John's 3, which would be worth 4 points to him, putting him in the lead.

The second blob of Noise Marines emerged from the ruins, and speaking of hiding underground, the Termite drilled up behind my lines disgorging the chaincannon Havocs. To no one's surprise, both units polished off their primary targets - neophytes on my home objective, the Genestealers and the damaged Leman Russ. Endless Cacophony was played now the screen was dead to target my characters, killing the Kelermorph, but surprisingly only wounding the Warlord.

In my turn the last of the Acolytes and the Primus emerged. My remaining guns managed to crack the Termite (which had charged a Magus and succeeded in only killing the familiar) and kill a few of the Havocs, but two chaincannons were still going to cause problems! I tried to mind control one of them to kill his mates, but failed the leadership roll. I also failed to cast Mass Hypnosis, which was a problem because the Emperor's children can otherwise strike first, so my second Patriarch who had lined up a charge on the Daemon Prince was getting very nervous!

The Acolytes, Primus and Patriarch charged into the Noise Marines and the Cultists on objective 4, and thanks to numerous buffs, killed all of them (aside from a few noise marines who ran away). The Prince obviously fought second, smashing the Patriarch. This gave me objective 4, though not for long. In John's turn the Prince and characters squashed the warlord and Primus with ease. The remaining Havocs did some good work clearing out more of my backfield and charging the Iconward, who killed one of them in combat, but the last one contested my home objective, earning John the bonus point again.

In the last rounds of the game all of my units in John's half were cleaned up by his characters camping on his home objective, while I finished off his Havoc. The Prince Warptimed his way up to kill off my last Neophytes on objective 5 to grab it before it disappeared. The last Leman Russ turned it's turret and autocannoned the Prince to death, getting me warlord. At the end of turn 6 the dead pile was hilariously large, and we were both down the a few stragglers on our home objectives. The game ended, with John on 17 points to my 15.

Wow, that was intense. Playing Genestealer Cults requires a lot of thinking! That game was a proper punch, counter punch game, ending in a bloodbath. Valuable experience for both of us I think. Two points in it, ultimately down to going second really to push me off objectives and get the 'hold more' points. I'm not sure choosing to go second would have been a better move for me, though there are a fair few places where I think a bit of luck either way would have really swung it. I was quite pleased with how the army worked, given that a lot of the choices were probably not conventional GSC wisdom (e.g. Leman Russ tanks and Purestrain Genestealers), and I'll definitely look to get them on the table again, possibly as Tyranid allies, we'll see.

Saturday, 15 February 2020

Adeptus Titanicus - The Battle for Gate 7


Back with some Adeptus Titanicus with The Claw (the_claw_74 on Instagram, do him a follow), and a fun narrative type game. The traitor forces of the Warmaster clash over a huge underground facility, the Proditor Manufactorum, on Esteban V in the Ultima Segmentum (not to be confused with Estaban III, home of the Legio Tempestus). Away from the front lines, Legio Magna lay claim to their recently conquered territory, but Legio Mortis demand the prize be ceded to them on grounds of seniority. Inevitably the titans walk, and the fate of Proditor Manufactorum will be decided at Gate 7.

So with the narrative determined, we built our forces and decided on the mission rules. We decided on 'a bit more than 1000 points' and both ended around 1085. As the Legio Mortis attackers, I took a fast moving, aggressive force with a Janissary maniple of two Warhounds and the new Reaver, with two banners of Questoris knights (one mine, one borrowed). The Legio Magna forces consisted of a Fortis maniple, with two Reavers and a Warlord. He definitely had more big guns than me, but I was hoping my speed would let me use the terrain and get outside of firing arcs.

Having not played much Titanicus recently (or at all), we kept it simple, with 5 turns, 12 inch deployment zones and an appropriate mission card each. As the attacker I selected Engage and Destroy, while The Claw picked Hold the Line, appropriately.

Titans on the table. I opted to overload the right flank, facing off against a melee Reaver, hoping my knights could march up the middle and draw some fire from the big guns at the back. Thanks to the raised centre of the board the terrain would prove to be quite effective at blocking line of sight.

In turn one Magna's big guns stayed back, while the melee Reaver charged up the middle. I moved my titans cagily around terrain to avoid most of the firepower. It proved effective as there was very minimal damage on the right flank.

With most of the firing solutions blocked, the first real shots in anger rang out from the Reaver's Gatling blaster and Volcano cannon, destroying one of my Knights.

Turn 2 and the melee Reaver failed a command check to Charge, instead moving forward right into all my guns. The Claw later said this was a big mistake, which it probably was, but I countered by moving my Reaver right into a clean firing arc of the Warlord.

ENGINE KILL! Combined fire from the Knights and Vulcan/Turbo laser Warhound stripped the shields, before the Inferno/Plasma Warhound picked up the kill with shots to the back. My Reaver didn't even get to fire it's Melta cannon. It did however get absolutely lit up by the Warlord, putting critical damage on the body and causing the reactor to run hot after pushing the void shields.

New Model Syndrome in full effect in turn 3 when the Reaver fell to it's own overheating plasma reactor.

Elsewhere though turn 3 was for manoeuvring, with Knights and Warhounds using the Full Stride order to get out of Firing Arcs. One of the banners wasn't able to get that far though and got the full firepower of the Warlord at close range, but miraculously the Lord Scion survived.

Turn 4 was all about moving in for the kill. I had initiative so I was able to do damage first, but with no more table to run to, I wasn't able to completely avoid the Warlord. The Knights danced around the Reaver, while the Warhounds did their thing, the Vulcan Mega Bolter unleashing an absolute storm of fire, stripping 4 void shields off by itself, then finishing the job with the Turbo laser. The Plasma blastgun then put some serious hurt in on the mighty engine. To rub salt in the wounds, the Warlord was unable to strip the shields from the closest Warhound!

The Reaver did finally kill off one of the Knight banners, but the Warlord was weakened, and the game would probably be decided based on if the Warhounds could kill it or if it would destroy one of them.

In turn 5, First Fire orders on the Warhounds caused further damage, while the Warlord got unlucky again in failing to reignite it's Void Shields (even with Emergency Repairs). It's machine spirit was clearly upset, as it woke up while attempting to fire the Volcano Cannon, and caused the engine to stomp forward and smash into my Warhound instead.

Finally the Warhounds fired again, the Plasma/Inferno gun taking a chunk of damage from the legs, and then eventually the Vulcan Mega Bolter securing the ENGINE KILL with called shots to the kneecaps. A magazine detonation later and my last Knight was destroyed, but with both Warhounds standing right in the Legio Magna side of the board, this one ended as a convincing victory for Legio Mortis!

So there we have it. Gate 7 falls, and Legio Mortis now lays claim to the Proditor Manufactorum. I feel like we are starting to get our eyes in a bit for the rules, and with the game flowing a little more smoothly, Titanicus is absolutely a blast. We both had a great game, though we made mistakes, I feel lessons were learned. I'd like to claim tactical genius, but I definitely got very lucky in this game, with The Claw's Warlord Titan particularly unlucky to fail several command checks, repair rolls and loads of void shield saves at first time of asking, and my rolling was pretty hot (overheating pun unintended.)

No doubt we will one day return to this place, and Legio Magna will be out for revenge... 

Tuesday, 11 February 2020

Grand Tournament Day 2


Welcome back to the 40k Grand Tournament report, as we move onto day two. Day one is here, and my list is here. The Adeptus Mechanicus of Ryza and Taranis Imperial Knights continue on their quest to not be completely embarrassed in a relatively competitive setting, coming off two defeats and a victory in their recent encounters.

Game four was against Wayne with Chaos Knights. I forget most of the traitor names, but he had three 'crusaders', a 'preceptor' and one of each Armiger. They had a whole load of special rules that I largely forgot during the game, but there was a 4+ invulnerable one, one with a load of 'Freeblade' type rules and they all had +1 to hit in melee on the first round. The mission was Lockdown, and we had the corners deployment.

I took first turn, but Wayne was canny enough to deploy out of range of my Destroyers and the Valiant, so it was largely a turn of moving and some ineffectual fire from the Crusader. I did get my infantry out onto plenty of objectives which would put me ahead on points early on.

The Chaos Knights moved up to respond and opened fire. The Helverin and the big laser on the Desecrator (I think) melted most of the Destroyers, but the rest of the fire was fairly ineffectively poured into the Valiant. Lady Helena stood tall and her mount, The Defiant Flame, once again lived up to it's name. 

Speaking of flames, Helena charged forward and started spreading fire across the front rank of Traitor Knights, not killing any of them but reducing two below half wounds. Thanks to the Valiant soaking all the fire, I still had plenty of infantry to hold objectives and go further ahead on points.

In Wayne's turn, I got another stroke of luck as the Despoiler failed it's 'freeblade' leadership test (in spite of a CP reroll), forcing it to charge the closest target and be hitting on 6s with shooting. Elsewhere shooting did some damage but my knights were still standing. At the end of turn 2 the first full unit finally died as the Despoiler turbo-murdered a tech-priest Enginseer on an objective.

More Knight action in my turn, the Valiant and Crusader did some mopping up on the two damaged 'Crusaders', killing both (including one with the Thundercoil Harpoon!) My Armiger also did good, killing it's evil twin Warglaive. At this point I was way ahead on points so Wayne went for killing stuff...

The Armiger got sliced in half by the Despoiler (it did 30 wounds!), and some shooting did some serious damage to my big knights. I forget the exact details but I think the Valiant fell and got back up again, and then at some point there was a big explosion. As you can see there was a big pile of knights in the middle!

Eventually my forces cleared up the table, earning me a convincing win. This was a real fun, if short game. Wayne's big robots looked proper evil, and I enjoyed seeing some of their fun weird rules. Having infantry and loads of command points definitely gave me the edge in this scenario, but I also got a good chunk of luck with Helena's heroics. This also gave me two wins which means I was pretty satisfied no matter what happened next. (And I was even more satisfied after a cheeky carvery for lunch!)

Game 5 was against Andrew and more Knights! This time Imperial, using Hawkshroud, and bringing a Valiant! (#rightdominus). He took the Valiant, (with Ion Bulwark and the Traitor's Pyre, naturally), a Gallant, two Crusaders and Inquisitor Greyfax. Andrew was 'fresh' off the LVO the previous weekend, so he was bringing a jet lag friendly list. The mission was Crusade and we had the quartered deployment zone again.

Andrew was due to go first, and he told me he'd been seized on three times already. So of course I seized the initiative. This was really good for me because I had nowhere to hide my Destroyers and I was sure they weren't going to survive first turn. I immediately powered them up and knocked 18 wounds off a Crusader. Elsewhere my Knights did a chunk of damage off the Gallant. I think I got a little unlucky not to kill either of these targets. I chose not to shoot the Valiant, mainly because I thought it'd be really cool to have a Valiant fight! I also pushed out to grab several objectives for the next turn.

The Hawkshroud Knights did more or less as expected, and mostly deleted the Destroyers. I lost a fair few infantry but the Skitarii held firm on several objectives. Greyfax used a psychic power to give my Valiant -1 to hit for the turn. Then the charge phase, the fully operational Crusader charged the Armiger (finishing it off from shooting), and the Gallant used the large, line of sight blocking terrain piece in the center of the board to charge the Valiant without taking overwatch!

I believe Helena fell once again, but I played 'Our Darkest Hour' and she got back up. In my turn with Machine Spirit Resurgent she was fighting on the top profile, but at -1 from the pesky Inquisitor. My Knights killed off the Gallant and the wounded Crusader, but that left the other two knights largely untouched.

In Andrew's following turn Helena was finally brought down, and Camulus, in the Crusader, suffered damage. He also put a lot of fire into my infantry, blasting me off objectives and giving himself a probable lead at the start of his next turn. With my assets greatly diminished, I had to kill off at least one Knight in my turn to stand a chance. Camulus blasted the Crusader, damaging it significantly. Then I charged, but Andrew had saved enough CP to use the Hawkshroud stratagem and overwatch with the Valiant. The flamer reduced my Crusader to 10 wounds, then the Thundercoil Harpoon hit!

A wound and a failed save, and the Crusader was destroyed! I had two CP left and not much else, so I made it explode! With nothing really to speak of left, we talked out the last few turns, I had a chance to try and finish off the Crusader with my Tech-priests' Eradication rays, but it was not to be. Victory for Hawkshroud, a loss for the forces of the Omnissiah.

Another fun but quick game, played in absolutely the right spirit. Knights do tend to produce a lot of epic moments, but they are very swingy it seems. Andrew was convinced I'd take it after I seized, but I sure proved him wrong! I think if I'd been 4/0 at the start of this game I'd have prioritised killing the Gallant and then the Valiant, and probably held back a bit more with my Knights as well, but we both really wanted to see Valiants do cool stuff, and they did! I'd witnessed two knights killed by Thundercoil Harpoons in one day, so I was pretty happy with that! That said, with two short games on day 2 I did slightly regret taking a low model count army. With the three hour rounds I definitely could have played something with a lot more models and got more 40k for my money!

So in the end, 2 wins and 3 losses, I think is a respectable return. Fairly happy with how my army performed, most of it did more or less as expected. Overall I came somewhere in the 70s out of 91 players, which I was a little disappointed about, because I'd not picked up any favourite game votes. I think all my games were fun and my opponents all seemed to have a laugh, so I can only assume that it's an indication of the overall quality of games at the weekend that each of my opponents had other, even more fun games. I certainly didn't hear much of any of the sort of behaviour favourite game votes are supposed to stop, so I guess it did it's job even if I didn't directly benefit in the rankings.

More importantly of course I had a great time. It was a real fulfilling hobby experience, with five great opponents, lots of awesome armies on display, meeting up with some discord folks, chatting with other gamers and even an overall tournament victory for an Ork army! WAAAAGH! Even if you are only a tiny little bit competitive, like me, I definitely recommend the Warhammer World tournaments. Everyone I spoke to had a great time and it was just an awesome friendly atmosphere. It really felt like we were all there to have a good time, not just to win.