Tuesday, December 27, 2011

A Look Back at 2011 and Plans for 2012

Well 2011 has been a big year for this blog. From The Fang has been around for around 16 months now. I never really acknowledged the first birthday of the blog as, to be honest, I forgot. I've not exactly been consistent with my posting over the last year and a third with flurries at times and droughts at others but nethertheless I'm pretty pleased with what I've achieved here.

I often look at other blogs with 10-100 times my readership and think "how can I get to that level?", but then I remember this is a solo effort and a lot of the others have multiple writers churning out content. Now, there's nothing wrong with that and I've considered inviting other people to write on here but I'd like my blog to remain personal. This doesn't mean I'm ruling out a guest post or two in the future, but I've no plans for any at the moment.

I'm pretty pleased with the content on here and some of my earlier posts still get hits which is always nice. Speaking of earlier posts I was reading back through one I put up at the start of this year with my plans for 2011. One thing I mentioned was that I'd just bought some thunderwolves and it took me until August to get them finished! I also promised I'd be painting up some swiftclaw bikers and as well as Canis. Well Canis went on eBay a couple of months back because I couldn't see myself using him and the bikers are still sat basecoated but unused! I'd just finished reading the first Space Wolves omnibus back then and I haven't quite finished the second a year later!

I think the lesson here is I get distracted easily!

Blog Wars
Blogger tells me I've written just over 150 posts on this blog and I suspect a substantial chunk of them have been talking about Blog Wars 1, 2 or 3! The latter of which will be happening next year. Whilst I certainly can't boast about massive turnouts, what I am pleased about is the atmosphere on the day. When I first suggested a friendly tournament for bloggers there were people who didn't believe a competition, especially one with monetary prizes, could ever be truly friendly. Now, I'm happy for people to disagree, but I think the first two tournaments achieved a friendly feel if nothing else. I said in conversations with various people after BW2 that if it reached a point when the events became too competitive then I'd stop. Until that point, however, I'm fully intending to run two tournaments a year whether I get five people or fifty!

2011 with Space Wolves
As I've mentioned above I started the year with my thunderwolves and they lost their shine pretty quickly. However, in recent months I've fallen in love with them again and they made an appearance at BW2. I came to the conclusion that I'm never going to win a 40K tournament. This is down to a number of factors. Firstly, I don't think about things tactically enough. I deploy without thinking and make mistakes from then on. Now I'm not saying it's been luck when I've won games but I don't think I play the game particularly well. Therefore, I don't see any point whatsoever in taking a generic rune priest, wolf guard, hunters, speeders and long fangs list. They might be straightforward to play and devastating in the right hands but I just don't find them fun.

I still want to put together lists that are somewhat competitive but without sacrificing some of the variety that the codex offers. I guess what I'm trying to do is blame my poor performance on my reluctance to use generic net lists when it's probably more down to me than my list! There's a wealth of really fun units in the book and it'd be a shame to never try some of them out. I feel I know the Space Wolf codex pretty well now so it's time I started using other armies at tournaments.

Other Armies
I created Kabalite back in October and it's hardly been a roaring success! This is mainly down to the problem of trying to write two blogs at once. One inevitably gets neglected. People warned me of this when I started but at the time I was churning out posts pretty effectively and I was sure I'd manage to keep both up. I've not yet decided whether I'll take it down and merge the stuff onto here or not. It all depends on how much I use my DE army in 2012.

As it stands I can field three armies other than my Wolves, namely Tau, Orks and Dark Eldar. Unless I'm particularly drawn by a new codex I don't want to get any more. What I want is to be able to field at least 2,000 points of all three of these armies, fully painted. In fact, I'm going to set that as my goal for the end of the year. Not only that but I want to have some options too. Let's call it 3,000 pts for each army painted by the end of 2012. This may be somewhat optimistic since I'm moving house soon and will be spending a lot of my spare time renovating the new one but if I don't set a target I've got no chance.

I've only got three tournaments booked for 2012 so far. Jolly Toys in February at WHW, Open War XVII at Maelstrom in April and Blog Wars 3 in June. I'd like to avoid taking Space Wolves to any of these! I want to take my Dark Eldar to Jolly Toys. I originally said I'd be taking them to BW2 but bottled it at the last minute with the excuse that I wouldn't get them painted. I thought I'd made the right decision until the only DE player at BW2 managed to get most of his done within a few days before the tournament!!

I don't paint that fast though so I might have to consider other options. I said I didn't want to rush painting my DE just for a tournament but I may change my mind. We'll see what happens in the next few weeks. 

And finally...
At the end of the day I'm still amazed that people read my ramblings on here and even more amazed that people "follow" it!! I hope everyone has a great 2012 and who knows I might hit the 100 followers mark this year!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Blog Wars 3 - Saturday June 2nd 2012

As mentioned in previous posts I was pretty pleased with how Blog Wars 1 & 2 went so I thought it would be rude not to have a Blog Wars 3! The event will be held at Maelstrom Games on Saturday June 2nd 2012

The feedback I received from BW2 was that people liked the custom scenarios and so I'm keen to keep them for BW3 with some minor alterations. The scoring system needs a little tweaking so that the primary mission has a bit more weight than the secondary. The compulsory Special Character rule will be staying. I think it's one of the things that sets Blog Wars apart from other tournaments and I don't want to lose that. 

Feel free to disagree but I think the first two tournaments succeeded in the aim of creating a friendlier tournament atmosphere where there was still fierce competition but without the usual "issues" associated with it!

The packs will be released nice and early this time around (hopefully early next year) so that people have a lot more time to prepare. Similarly I don't see much harm in putting the tickets up for sale earlier this time so that people can plan their lives around it better. As ever I'm hoping for a decent turn out but I'm keen to keep things managable (so that I can still play mainly!) and therefore I'll be capping ticket sales at a suitable level (to be decided). Tickets will remain at the very reasonable price of £15 and there'll be the same guaranteed prizes with more depending on ticket sales.

I had toyed with the idea of making it a full weekend but decided against it for two main reasons. Firstly because I'd still like to play in it and a full weekend would probably be too much of a commitment. Secondly, I think that a friendly tournament needs to be a single day affair.

As ever I'm open to comments and criticisms. What was good about the first two tournaments? What would you like to see changed?

The most important thing is that we don't let Andy (Venerable) from Sons of Sanguinius win it again! Unfortunately, I have a conscience, which means I can't fix it so that he ends up playing a horrible list in his first game. Therefore it's down to you lot to make sure he doesn't manage it at Blog Wars 3!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Blog Wars 2 Coverage Across the Blogosphere

Being a tournament primarily aimed at bloggers, Blog Wars 2 has obviously been talked about on various different blogs and I present them here so that you can take a look for yourself and get a feel for the event. For those of you sick of hearing about the thing there'll be one more post on it and then normal service will be resumed! Anyway, here goes!
  • Rogue Trader from Graham Sanders talks about his exploits with Tyranids at the tournament and also defaces the BW2 logo!
  • Andy Lane from Claws and Fists has been reporting his battles with Ghazghkull and his orks here and here
  • Commissar Dave (Clark) was Andy's opponent in the final game and he's talked about his exploits with his beautifully painted Praetorian (IG) army here.
  • James Lamb's build up to the event can be found here and I'm sure he'll post some after action stuff soon
  • Rick Miller talks about the BW2 aftermath and scooped Best Painted Special Character for his Helbrecht
  • Another Tyranid entry from Chris Benstead at WeeMen (who won Best Painted Army) with him describing his first battle here 
  • Finally, the winner of the tournament talks about his thoughts using Necrons and winning (sorry to spoil the surprise Ven) and I'm sure the other SoS guys won't be far behind him
Bit of a short post then but it's about the other blogs and their reports. In the next couple of days I'll talk about the plans for BW3

Friday, December 09, 2011

Battle Report: Blog Wars 2 Game Three vs. Blood Angels

Finding myself down on table 9 I thought I'd be repeating the performance I put in at the first Blog Wars. When I found myself against Blood Angels it seemed even more likely. I've had plenty of bitter experience against Matt's BA but only minimal success.

My opponent in the final game was Paul O'Boyle from Faulty Dice and his Descent of Angels style Blood Angels list:

Librarian w/ Jump Pack (Sanguine Shield & Sword)
2x 10 man assault marine squads
2x 5 sanguinary guard
2x sanguinary priests with jump packs
2x 5 vanguard vets

Paul won the roll off but surprising allowed me to be the attacker in this final custom mission which has 5 fixed objectives, 3 of which start in the control of the defender. With a list full of deep strikers it made sense to bring them in later on and take some objectives.

I spread my force out across the deployment area. A long fang pack on each side with a rhino each in support. The thunderwolves sat in the centre so they wouldn't be too far from any threat. Paul placed his sanguinary guard on his left flank with a priest and librarian in tow. One of the assault squads sat behind a building holding the objective on Paul's right.

I slammed Arjac's pod straight in next to the squad hugging an objective and advanced the rest of my army forwards at full pelt putting a rhino on each of the objectives near me. Arjac's squad rapid fired into the blood angels and without any FNP all but a handful were killed. My rune priest attempted a Jaws attack on Paul's librarian and sanguinary priest but the psychic hood stopped it in it's tracks. In Paul's turn they charged into Arjac's grey hunters but failed to cause much damage and were smashed by Arjac's hammer. The Sanguinary Guard advanced towards the rune priest's rhino and managed to wreck it.

In my second turn I consolidated Arjac onto the objective and then set about firing on the sanguinary guard. The grey hunters and thunderwolves stood ready to charge a squad each. The long fangs scored a trio of krak missile hits on the squad with the priest and Paul had to make a choice whether to remove the priest and hope the TWC would be out of charge range or keep him and suffer a definite charge. He opted to remove the priest but sadly found that the cavalry were still in range. Charges from both the TWC and hunters easily dealth with both squads with minimal losses and the board was clear of BA. Now I'm not sure what the rules are here since I always thought you had to have something on the board to bring reserves in but nethertheless I said Paul should play on anyway. I now think that you get your reserves anyway but we played it that way so it's ok.

In Paul's turn 2 he only got one of his vanguard squads which came in and charged the rune priest's squad. Sadly with the rune priests runic weapon, mark of the wulfen rending and power fist from the wolf guard they again died without doing much damage and the table was again mine. In turn 3 I kept my three hunter packs on their objectives and moved the TWC into the middle of the board to react to any deep strikers.

Paul now got the remainder of his army which came down near Arjac's squad. Dante and co thinned the squad out with fire before the vanguard charged into combat. Unfortunately for Paul Arjac's hammer struck well and finished the veterans off after they'd killed a few grey hunters. It was now all down to Dante! If Dante could kill off Arjac and hold his objective Paul could still force a draw (as SCs holding objectives scored double).

In my fourth turn I advanced the remaining rhino and the TWC towards Dante in case Arjac couldn't do the job. Arjac's squad was severely depleted which meant they were unlikely to survive Dante. Dante fluffed a lot of his attacks as did his squad but Arjac still found himself with only the standard bearer for company. The standard bearer fluffed all of his attacks so it was up to Arjac. He managed to cause 4 Blood Angels deaths and pass one of his armour saves from the BA fist which meant that the combat was won by 4 to 3. Dante rolled 10 for the leadership test and with the -1 he fled from the board. In turn 5 I'd be able to let the drop pod "chase" him off the board so Paul ended it there. A tabling gave me 5 TPs and I hoped I'd get the full 5 for VPs too. Sadly the combination of half of Arjac's squad (quite a lot of points) and the rhino meant I was 56 points short of the 1600+ needed but I was still pleased with 9/10 TPs especially when no-one at the event had taken the full 10.

Paul was pretty unlucky not to do better in this game. The combination of grey hunters and TWC charging is a lot for any force to deal with my rolls were spot on in doing enough to kill everything in the sanguinary guard squads. At the end of turn 2 with only a couple of squads left it never looked like going any other way. I can't pretend I didn't enjoy wiping out BA after soo many losses to Matt's.

Despite the result Paul was an excellent sport and hopefully we'll be able to get together at Maelstrom for more games in future.

Overall Conclusions
The missions all played pretty well I thought. In general I'm pretty pleased with the scoring system as I thought the scores (in my games at least) represented how the games actually felt. Frank and I taking one point each made it a draw and thats how it seemed. A few people commented that the primary missions should've been weighted more highly so that you still got a win if you played the main mission better. I think this is fair and it's something I'll look at before BW3.

Most people found the final mission to be pretty balanced I think and I like how the attacker must advanced or he'll not be able to remove the defender from his 3 objectives nor will he be able to claim his two. I'll have to wait until I read more of the battle reports on other blogs before I make my final decisions about what needs changing but I have to say I don't think there's much.

My list performed exactly as I thought it would. Both Arjac's drop pod squad and the TWC can be very hit and miss. In games 1 and 3 they were a definite hit accounting for the vast majority of the damage between them. In game 2 they got their "miss" where sheer weight of fire prevented them from getting stuck in. I'm pleased I took the TWC as they made the games a lot more fun than another squad of long fangs and grey hunters would have. In my next few tournaments I'm going to be thinking about Dark Eldar so it was a good way to end my current SW campaign. The DE still aren't painted though so there might be an orky stop gap until they are!

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Battle Report: Blog Wars 2 Game Two vs. Space Wolves

Round two saw two battles with Space Wolves fighting each other. One involved Dave Symcox (40KUK) against Bradimus Prime (from Sons). The other was John Holland (MC Tic Tac) against myself.

Being tournament organiser I'd been able to look through all the lists beforehand so I knew there were a few I was going to struggle against. One of these was John's:

Njal Stormcaller
9 Wolf Scouts w/ Melta
4 Wolf Guard (PF/CM)
2x 9 Grey Hunters (melta) in Rhinos
1x 8 Grey Hunters (melta) in Rhino
1x 5 Grey Hunters (flamer) in Razorback (HB)
2x Land Speeders (HF/MM)
3x 6 Long Fangs (5 MLs each)

Essentially the most solid units out of the codex with Njal tacked on to conform to the compulsory SC rule! Very few armies could stand up to 15 krak missiles a turn and mine is no exception.

This mission was Cleanse from the 4th edition book with Spearhead deployment from the 5th ed. John won the roll off and deployed in his quarter. All of his hunters were out of their transports and the quarter was packed so that I'd have a hard time dropping Arjac anywhere useful. In my quarter was one of Maelstrom's "mega-bastions" which essentially was a huge line of sight blocker that we'd decided should be impassable. 

I deployed most of my units in forward positions. I hid my land speeder and on the rhinos behind the bastion in order to do some last turn contesting and claiming. John's first turn wasn't exceptional as he could only kill a couple of long fangs and stun the rune priest's rhino. My turn was similarly poor. Arjac's pod scattered away from their target long fang pack meaning the hammer was out of range and the pod wasn't in the home quarter. The long fangs passed most of their saves and only the squad leader died. I managed to wreck the razorback though. The mobile rhino moved into the otherwise empty quarter and popped smoke. I hoped that this unit would draw a lot of John's fire in the game but sadly they were largely ignored.

John's second turn saw pretty much his entire army turn their attention to Arjac and his hunters. Suffice to say that amount of fire left Arjac on his own. I then proceeded to feed John units from my army over the next few turns with each being cut down before doing any real damage. The long fangs dealt with his land speeders nice and early on but I probably should've charged them with my TWC instead to bring them further up the field (they'd managed to run 1" twice!). 

After surviving a bit more fire with a single wound left Arjac was eventually killed with a single lightning bolt from Njal which vapourised him when he failed his 2+ save! The wolf scouts came in and engaged a long fangs pack. The long fangs very nearly won the combat (killing 3 scouts) but the wolf guard's fist put pay to that. This did however mean that they were out in the open and easily incinerated by my land speeder over a couple of turns. The only TWC to make it to John's lines was the power fist who charged into combat but died before striking!

At the end of turn 5 I'd still got my drop pod in the quarter to my left. I blasted my land speeder into John's home quarter to contest it. With my quarter empty apart from long fangs and the remaining quarter contested by rival grey hunters it would've been a draw. Sadly, we got a turn 6. John's firepower easily finished off my drop pod and speeder and he drove one of his rhinos into the quarter with my grey hunters in. The grey hunters therefore had to kill both the squad and the rhino and since they were out of range for combat they had no choice but to just go for the squad with rapid fire. They finished them off but the rhino was out of sight of my long fangs so it contested their objective. This gave John a 2-0 win and with 1,441 VPs to my 729 he claimed another 2 TPs to give him half of the 10 available.

It wasn't the most enjoyable game I've had but then losing when playing badly rarely is. I could've really done with the first turn though so that I'd have been able to get into his lines ASAP. I had quite a lot of bad luck particularly with my thunderwolves saves. I also wasted one of my grey hunter packs by sticking them in a quarter which ended up being contested in the end! Turn 6 was the problem in both of the first two games with Frank winning because of no turn 6 and John winning because we got a turn 6!

In general, I got it all wrong from the start. John's army has far more fire power than mine does since I rely heavily on close combat. Therefore charging into him would always be difficult. However, my army is faster than his so I thought I'd still get to him with enough of it intact to do some damage. I therefore deployed fairly aggressively but with enough of my stuff behind the bastion for protection. What I should've done is put EVERYTHING behind it so that his long fangs would be wasting their time for a few turns. He'd then have to come for me and in an ideal world I could've used my long fangs to bring down his transports and mopped up the occupants with my TWC. If he'd held tight then his only option for contesting my quarter and stopping a draw would be his scouts which are easily dealt with. I'd have my land speeder and drop pod though which could've contested his "home" quarter. 

Tomorrow my final battle against Blood Angels and a lot more positivity!

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Battle Report: Blog Wars 2 Game One vs Eldar

As I've mentioned on the results post I did a little better than last time placing 9th out of 22 whereas last time I was 23rd out of 26! I have to say that the battles at had at BW2 were some of the best I've had in a long time at a tournament. I'll explain why each battle was good after each report but I learnt a lot from this tournament and really enjoyed playing my list. For anyone who want's a recap I posted it here.

The first mission was essentially Annihilation and Pitched Battle deployment with the "commander" (nominated SC) being worth 2 points. I found myself facing Frank Marsh's Eldar again (you might remember I played him at the End Times and Matt has a longer history with him). Frank's force included two special characters in the form of Eldrad and Yriel. Frank's a very experienced tournament player so I knew I'd have my work cut out to take victory and even if I pulled it off I knew he'd make it a painful process!

Frank's list included the aforementioned Eldrad and Yriel mounted up in a wave serpent with a squad of warlocks. These were supported by a trio of guardian jetbikes, a squad of guardian defenders, storm guardians in another wave serpent, dire avengers in a wave serpent and then 9 war walkers with a mix of scatter lasers and missile launchers. The list has a staggering amount of firepower which can easily torrent away most squads and with Eldrad beefing them up with his powers I'd need to get my rune priest into range for some psychic defense.

When Frank won the roll off I knew my long fangs would be suffering and sure enough, after a single turn they'd been reduced from 10 to 1 lonely missile launcher. One of my rhinos also fell victim to a torrent of Eldritch fire. With no chance of winning a shooting war I had no choice but to close on Frank's lines as fast as possible. I slammed the drop pod in behind one of the war walker squads. Arjac and his grey hunters made light work of one of the walkers, stunned a second and ripped a scatter laser from the third. Elsewhere my lone long fang missed his target. The grey hunter pack that found itself without a transport advanced and I optimistically fired off it's melta at a nearby wave serpent hoping to find it in range. It was, and with some jammy rolling I was able to blow it up killing a couple of storm guardians must most importantly dropping them in front of my rune priest's rhino.

Frank tried to get off a couple of Fortune's and a Doom and, whilst I cancelled both of the former, the latter got through on Arjac. Yriel hopped out of the back of the wave serpent and made his way towards Arjac's doomed squad. Yriel used his Eye to take down all the grey hunters around Arjac but vengeance was swift when Arjac smashed him with a hammer blow. The wave serpent then headed off in the direction of the rune priest and dropped off it's warlocks who made short work of the rhino with their singing spears. Luckily only a couple of the grey hunters fell victim to the storm guardians flamers and destructor.

I dropped in the land speeder and incinerated half of the guardian defenders who sadly held their nerve with a roll of 8! Arjac tossed aside Yriel's corpse and went to work on the remaining war walkers, wrecking them with ease. The rune priest's squad got out and charged the storm guardians cutting them all down apart from their warlock who made his invulnerable save. The lone long fang hit his target this time and with further jammy rolling he blew up the dire avengers wave serpent. This left the occupants as easy prey for the wolf lord who didn't need any help from his squad to cut them all down.

The Arjac's triumph was short lived as he managed to fail a couple of 2+ saves after weight of fire from the war walkers. Eldrad disembarked from the wave serpent and he and the warlocks charged into combat with the rune priest. Luckily the rune priest cancelled all of the farseer's powers this turn so there'd be no Fortune. The grey hunters dispatched most of the warlocks leaving Eldrad with a single companion. The guardians stunned the land speeder and the war walkers started to hammer the thunderwolves. The last long fang finally met his end after failing a single armour save caused by the wave serpent in front of his nose.

The thunderlord split off from his escort and charged into one squad of war walkers with the TWC charging another. This would mean I'd have a lot less fire coming my way. Over the next couple of turns the remaining grey hunters killed off more of the guardian defenders who went to ground only to be finished off by the land speeder a turn later. The thunderwolves took a long time dealing with the war walkers with some frustrating damage table rolls. At the end of turn four the lord was still battling a sole walker and the TWC had finished off theirs thanks to the S10 fist.

Frank smashed his wave serpent into my drop pod and managed to wreck it for a cheap kill point. Unfortunately I forgot that the wave serpent should also have taken a hit but nevermind. It was still anyone's game at this point but I'd need to kill Eldrad to try and secure victory. Despite a measly number of attacks he was making short work of my grey hunters and finished off my rune priest too. The thunderwolves headed over to help out and left Eldrad standing alone. With Fortune they'd have their work cut out to bring him down. I was pretty confident that in turn 6 they'd finish him off thanks to the fist and my thunderlord would finally win out against the war walkers. Sadly turn 6 never came.

After an extremely bloodly game (mostly in the first 3 turns), Frank had a war walker, wave serpent, 3 jetbikes and Eldrad remaining. This gave me 9 KPs. I had the thunderwolves (all with 1 wound), thunderlord (on 2 wounds), land speeder and one pack of grey hunters left giving Frank 10 KPs and a narrow 1TP victory. When we totted up the VPs it turned out I'd won a TP by a margin of 43 points!

I've got to thank Frank for one of the best battles of 40K I've had in a long time. The first few turns were devastating to both armies. I was very lucky to destroy both of the wave serpents with a single S8 shot not to mention blowing both up. I feel like I played this game well though and mostly made the right decisions at the right times.

There were a couple of big mistakes though. In the turn when Eldrad's fortune had been cancelled I had the choice of charging him with grey hunters but chose instead to rapid fire the guardian defenders forcing them to go to ground and saving the land speeder. However, as Frank pointed out at the time, I really should've charged Eldrad whilst he just had a 3+ save and no re-roll. This might've saved the rune priest and/or some of his grey hunters and given me a KP lead. The storm guardians might've failed to destroy the land speeder anyway and they'd have been easily dealt with by the grey hunters anyway.

The other mistake was a simple one, forgetting that the wave serpent should've suffered a hit when ramming might've been crucial. It caused an S10 hit on my drop pod which I think means it should've taken an S9 one. I can't say I've done much ramming so I'm not that familiar with the mechanic. Even if I hadn't killed it I might've stopped it moving making it an easier target for my TWC when they finished their walkers off.

You could argue that dropping the drop pod so close to Yriel was a mistake and it certainly meant Arjac was easy to kill when he found himself very alone. However, it cost Yriel his life and didn't spare the war walkers. If it hadn't been those grey hunters he'd have found another target for him and if they hadn't been doomed 3 would've survived.

Overall I think I was lucky that Frank underestimated my thunderwolves and only started shooting them on turn 3. This allowed them to get to the war walkers at near full strength. However, you could argue that then my long fangs would've been alive to be taking down his wave serpents and those pesky bikes.

Tomorrow I'll post up my second battle against John Holland's Space Wolves.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Blog Wars 2 - Painting Competition (pic heavy)

After the first game the competitors were invited to display their armies to be judged over lunch. There were some great entries and really nice looking forces. Bear in mind that, this being Blog Wars, there was also a competition for best painted Special Character too!

The runaway winner in the Army Painting category was Chris Benstead (the 6th degree) from WeeMen with his heavily converted Tyranid army which got 7 votes! His swarmlord was particularly good with it's dynamic pose but the army also featured a tyrannofex and lots of other slimy green aliens! I always like seeing a good Tyranid army and it seems others did too as the other 'nids force led by Graham Sanders was second. Special mention goes to Rick Miller's Black Templars, David Clark's Praetorian Guard and David Cameron's (not that one) Blood Angels who received a few votes each.


There was a clear winner in the Special Character Painting with Rick Miller's Helbrecht (blame Matt for the crap picture) taking the prize. The whole of Rick's army was beautifully done and considering how late on he actually bought his SC model it's even more impressive! Special mentions here were Andy Lane's Ghazghkull and Jon Morrison's variety of guard characters!

Seeing other armies that are so well painted makes me wish I'd spent more time on my own force. There are some units which I'm really pleased with like Arjac and the TWC but in general my army feels a bit rushed. I think the difficulty for me is that I have too many armies on the go at once so I'm always trying to get one done so I can make a start on the next. I've decided that when the new Tau codex hits I'm going to make a real effort to create a beautiful army that I won't be ashamed to enter into a painting comp!

Monday, December 05, 2011

Blog Wars 2 Results - Ven does it again!

See what I did with that little rhyme there? So Blog Wars 2 was at the weekend and I those of you who didn't make it are probably thinking "are you finally going to stop going on about it then?" and yes, I am, but not until I've given you a run down of the results, the painting comp, what was good and bad and of course my battle reports. Oh and a little bit about something I'm imaginatively titling "Blog Wars 3"! 

Well, as you might've guessed, Venerable Brother from Sons of Sanguinius successfully defended his crown and did so with the "new" codex again. I did point out that next time this might mean he needs to bring Tau though! Here's a full listing of the results:

So it was a pretty close run thing for first and second with only a single tournament point in it! I think I was as surprised as Matt that he came in third. Even so he only won by 700+ VPs which over three games isn't that significant! I'm pretty pleased with placing in the top 10, especially since last time I was in the bottom third of the table. I'll be writing in more details about how I got on in a later post but at least I won one! 

Andy was obviously pretty pleased with himself so we really need to wipe the smile off his face at Blog Wars 3! Please check out the blogs of those who attended as I'm sure they'll be posting battle reports and pictures from the event soon.

Overall I'm pretty pleased with how the event ran. Yet again I've got a list of things I can do better (which I'll talk about in another post) but in general it went well even with me making it complicated with custom missions!

Don't worry he got back up!
There was a nice mix of new people and those who'd come to the original Blog Wars event. I was pleased to see some real effort had gone into planning the armies and there were some very interesting list which made for some close battles. My personal highlight was that in the final game Andy Lane's Orks met up with David Clark's Imperial Guard which meant there was a clash between Ghazghkull and Yarrick!!

I'll save everything else for other posts but I'll end this by saying a big thank you to everyone who came on Saturday and made the event a success again. I hope you'll all be able to make it next time around too. 

Friday, December 02, 2011

Special Characters at Blog Wars 2 (Tomorrow!)

As you should all know by now Blog Wars 2 is tomorrow so I thought I'd give a run-down of the (compulsory) special characters that will be making an appearance on the day.

Now that everyone has confirmed their army choices I can reveal that the most dominant army at BW2 will be the Blood Angels. Surprisingly only 2 out of the 5 have gone for the Lord of Death himself, Mephiston. He'll be joined by a couple of Commander Dantes and a Sanguinor. All the BA lists are pretty varied. There'll be land raiders, jump packers and storm ravens left right and centre! I think Dante will be a pretty good choice at this tournament as when coupled with an honour guard he'll be hard to target and his curse will weaken an opposing SC.

My beloved Space Wolves will not be the only Sons of Russ at Blog Wars 2 as Arjac Rockfist is joined by a couple of Njal Stormcallers and the Great Wolf himself, Logan Grimnar. As a space wolves player myself I'd love to see one of us lift the trophy (well, certificate) but it would only add to Matt's whinging about them being overpowered!

Rather miraculously there's only a single Grey Knights army at BW2 led by Kaldor Draigo (with a vindicare as a second SC). Since the book was released there's been a huge GK presence in UK tournaments and razorbacks-a-plenty but BW2 will be different. Let's see if Greylamb from Sheep of War can prove that they don't need the numbers to be triumphant.

The "un-loved by GW" Space Marines the Dark Angels and Black Templars will be represented by Belial and Marshall Helbrecht respectively. I'm pleased to see these guys will be coming along as it's good to see an older codex get an airing and show they can still cut it with all the shiny toys of the newer books.

The Imperial Guard will be a strong presence at the tournament with 2 regular IG armies including Knight Commander Pask and Captain Al'rahem. Atriedes from SoS will be bringing a slightly different guard flavour with his Elysian drop troops. Finally a special mention to Jon Morrison from Faulty Dice who has more special characters than anyone else in his IG army with Castellan Creed, Sergeant Kell, Bastonne, Pask and everyone's favourite Guardsman Marbo! 

Moving onto the xenos scum who find themselves heavily outnumbered with just 6 against the 16 imperial armies. The Dark Eldar will be led by Duke Sliscus with his love of drugs and poison! Eldrad and Yriel will be in Frank Marsh's craftworld Eldar force. Ghazghkull Thraka will of course be leading a massive mob of orks. The hive fleets of Tyranids will be hammering people in combat led by the Swarmlord and the Doom of Malantai!

Rumours of a strong Necron presence appear to have been greatly exaggerated with Matt bottling it and returning to his beloved Blood Angels. Just like at the first Blog Wars it falls to Venerable from SoS to represent for the new codex with his army featuring Anrakyr the Traveller.

Phew, that's quite a list! After the weekend I'll do my best to get pictures of all the special characters up here so you can see them in their finery. To those of you coming along I look forward to throwing some dice with you and to those who can't make it I hope I'll see you at Blog Wars 3.....

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

My Blog Wars 2 List & Mission Updates

Since you've all submitted your lists to me for Blog Wars 2 I thought it was only fair that I posted mine up. Think of it as "I'll show you mine cos you've shown me yours" kinda thing! I toyed with a lot of different ideas and this is probably about version 12 of this list. I'm still tempted to change a few things but I think I should just stick with what I've got now! Here goes:

1,749pts of Space Wolves
Rune Priest w/ Chooser (Murderous Hurricane & Jaws)
Wolf Lord w/ Thunderwolf mount, wolf claw, runic armour, storm shield and Saga of the Bear

3 Wolf Guard (one Arjac Rockfist and 2x CM/PF)

3x 8 Grey Hunters (melta, standard, wulfen) - 2 in rhinos and 1 in drop pod

Thunderwolf cavalry (storm shield, power fist, melta bombs)
Land Speeder Tornado (HF/MM)

2x 5 Long Fangs (4xMLs each)

So no big surprises really. I think Arjac makes a great special character since he's pretty cheap as space marine characters go. He gets eternal warrior and is 2+/3++ but with only 2 wounds. The real joy is that he can't be targetted separately as he counts as a Wolf Guard Pack Leader. In my practice games I've been pretty expert at failing his invulnerable saves though!

I originally had Arjac in a squad of WG terminators mounted up in a LR Redeemer. Whilst I liked the idea of them piling out into combat with something nice and early on I found that in practice games I was too keen to get them into combat and hence often died cheaply. The other issue was that with combi-weapons I really wanted to be shooting stuff but often held back as I didn't want to risk missing the charge. I also found that Arjac was having to take too many saves in such a small squad which isn't good for any initiative 1 model. In general I just found them a little underwhelming. I therefore decided to swap the terminators and the land raider for a pack of TWC. Now, think what you will of TWC but frankly I just love the models I've got. They either have an amazing game or they succumb to heavy weapons fire but either way people find them intimidating.

There's a part of me that thinks I should swap the land speeder for a pack of Wolf Scouts to come on and upset heavy weapons teams etc but I think I'd just end up losing them cheaply. Realistically I don't expect to do particularly well but it's a fun list to play and I love how it looks on the table.

Mission Changes
In response to the discussion in this post I'm making some minor changes to the final mission. Instead of there being restrictions on how many units people can Deep Strike or Outflank I've decided that it'd be better to say that only units with these rules can be in reseve for either army. I don't want to limit people too much because I think it gets too complicated but it should mean that very few (if any) armies will be able to keep everything in reserve.

I'll email a new copy of the scenarios out to everyone this evening so that no-one is left in the dark but I'll also remind everyone of the change on the day.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Blog Wars 2 Rules Query - Response Needed

So I've been spending some time over the last couple of days checking out everyone's army lists for Blog Wars 2 (since they've got to be in by tonight). For the most part everything is fine, and I've emailled people about a couple of minor corrections, but it seems the third and final mission is causing a few problems. 

For those of you not familiar with it the last mission is an attack & defend scenario with some deployment restrictions. At the time of writing these missions I thought it would make sense for the defenders to be able to deep strike some of their units as if they'd called for assistance when they found themselves under attack. I didn't want people to reserve their entire army though as that felt a bit daft when the "attacker" was meant to be attacking someone! Similarly I prevented the attackers from having any deep striking at all and instead allowed them to Outflank some units (which the defender can't do). My only concern was that if there were any Chaos Daemons players that wanted to come then they'd find themselves with a problem because they HAVE to deep strike.

Luckily, (but also a shame too) there aren't any Daemons players coming to Blog Wars 2. However, since Imperial Armour (forge world) armies are allowed there is an Elysians (posh Imperial Guard) army coming along with a tyranid army with some mycetic spores. Both of these armies rely on their ability to deep strike as part of their strategy. This will work fine in the earlier missions but with the restrictions it will cause problems in the last one. So what to do?

The IA player suggested he mimic the aforementioned Daemons by splitting his forces into two "waves" and rolling to see which he gets on turn 1. Seems reasonable because most of his force is deep striking but for the 'nids player not all of his force is in spore pods. At the end of the day it'd be up to their opponents in that final game as to what they allow but as tournament organiser I really ought to come up with something to prevent any delays, disagreements or worse, full blown arguments!

Therefore I thought of just removing the restrictions completely but that brings me back to the problem of what if the defender decides to just reserve everything? Kind of defeats the point of having the attacker attacking! I suppose you could argue that they might be trying to capture a crucial point which they happen to find undefended (at first) and then all hell breaks loose. The other problem with just removing the restrictions is that perhaps people have designed their armies with them in mind? Mind you, since I know some people hadn't even looked at the missions until recently I doubt this would actually be a problem.

Right so what do you lot think? Here are the options:

1. Keep things as they are and let people decide on the day if they come up against an army that has problems in the last mission.

2. Make everyone follow the rules to the letter and therefore penalise people with Deep Strike "themed" armies

3. Only allow units in reserve (for both players) if they can EITHER Outflank OR Deep Strike

4. Scrap the deployment restrictions completely and see how it goes

Personally I think option 3 is the best since it stops the vast majority of armies reserving everything and still allows armies with special deployments to make the most of them. I'll go with the general consensus though!

Seriously, I'm wondering if the custom scenarios were worth the hassle!! I think next time (if there is one) I'll go with rulebook missions but keep the new scoring system.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Last Chance to Get Blog Wars 2 Tickets

Sorry to keep harping on about it but the ticket sales will close at midnight tonight so if you haven't bought your Blog Wars ticket then now's the time! 

Now's also the time to submit your army lists which should be in by midnight tomorrow. I'll check them through over the weekend and email back if there are any discrepancies. The tournament packs and scenarios will be going out tonight. If you don't receive them then please get in touch as I may have your address wrong. 

If you have any questions about the missions then you need to get back to me asap as there won't be much time on the day to discuss them. 

Once again, I look forward to seeing those of you that are coming along. I'm excited to see how everyone's lists pan out and how my list fares against them.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Blog Wars 2 - Last Few Days for Tickets, Packs and Army Lists

According to the big countdown clock there's just over 10 days left until Blog Wars 2 is upon us! I've had a few more people get in touch over last weekend saying they'd like to come so we should have 20+ on the day. Whilst I don't think we'll have more than last time it's still a pretty good turnout for this time of year I reckon.

Dave, Jamie, Matt and I went down to Maelstrom last weekend to try play what we termed "Blog Wars 1.5" between the four of us. We played all three missions and depending on who you talk to either I won or Matt and Jamie drew for the title. I'll post a bit more of a "tournament" report up tomorrow (if I get chance) but a few things came up about the missions that need ironing out. Don't worry they aren't changing drastically I just think the scoring needs looking at. I'm going to re-write them tonight and everyone who's bought a ticket will receive a copy of them along with the tournament pack by email by the end of the week. If you want me to use a different address to the one you use for PayPal then let me know. Also I'm going to try and do some name badges this time around with peoples' name, avatar and blog on them.

Despite what I said in previous posts the venue only needs a weeks notice so I'll be able to accept ticket purchases until Friday at midnight when I'll be removing the link. Army lists need to be with me by the end of Saturday night and once they're in you must bring the same army on the day. If something drastic happens in that week then I might make an exception but otherwise tough luck! If there are any non-standard models in your army (i.e. counts as) then please let me know at this stage. I'll remind people that if you've got any dietary requirements including vegetarianism you should tell me now because it'll be too late on the day.

Scenario Changes
As I said not much will be changing but I think the amendments will mean there's less chance of duplicate pairings and a more even battles.

Scenario 1
This is probably the most simple scenario but I felt that the 3 point bonus for killing your opponents special character was too much of a bonus. Whilst I want it to be significant I don't think it should be game changing. At 3 points you could potentially be kicking your opponent's ass but he kills his special character and you don't kill his. Therefore I'm dropping it down to 2 points which is more in line with the other scenarios' bonuses for the special characters.

I've altered the tournament point allocation slightly to bring in more levels to better differentiate between a close victory and a decisive one.

Scenario 2
Remains essentially unchanged apart from the TPs which are now broken down further and tabling your opponent will now guarantee 5 TPs for the primary objective. The secondary objective (VPs) give tournament points in smaller brackets now.

Scenario 3
Again tabling your opponent will give you the max TPs for the primary objective. The attacker and defender is now determined by a roll off instead of the current points leader of the pair getting to choose.

Just minor tweaks here and there to hopefully make things fairer really. I hope people can see why I've changed what I have but feel free to comment. As I say the final scenarios will be with you all by the end of the week.

I look forward to seeing you all there and I can't wait to see the lists people have come up with!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Tau Rumours and Thoughts (courtesy of Faeit 212)

Whilst browsing around my usual reading list of blogs I stumbled across Faeit 212's collection of tau rumours. When I came back into 40K a couple of years ago I invested in a Tau force because I always liked the models even when I left back in 3rd edition. It didn't take me many games against Matt's Blood Angels to figure out that they struggled to be competitive in the modern game. That doesn't mean it's impossible to do well with them in tournament play but it takes a brave and skilled man to do so plus a decent helping of luck wouldn't hurt. There was actually a Tau army in 3rd place at the original Blog Wars which I was pleased to see.

In these days of shooting dominated 40K I think a new book for Tau will help in bringing them right into the forefront of the game again. Having seen what's happened to Dark Eldar, and more recently the Necrons, I'm filled with anticipation about what will become of my beloved Tau. In a similar way to Adam from the SW blog and Warhammer Tau I feel that Tau are the army I love to play with. Don't get me wrong I love Space Wolves and thanks to reading a few of the Black Library books I've fully immersed myself in their backstory. They're by far the most interesting of the SM chapters. However, there's something about Tau that keeps pulling me back. For all the games I play with SW I'm always up for trying the Tau again. I recently had some success with them in drawing a game against Jamie's Blood Angels (which I'd have won if we'd got another turn).

For me there isn't really much that needs doing for the Tau but here's my wishlist:
  • Everyting metal should be plastic - I really don't think the army needs any finecast but knowing GW they'll make some of the kroot stuff in it. The metal tau kits now are a nightmare to assemble at times.
  • Battlesuits need a revamp - I love the old kits but the Forge World ones are gorgeous so it'd be great if the regular ones were more in line with them
  • More chance in combat - I don't think they should suddenly become better at it but maybe the Kroot should be and I think the fire warriors should have a better defence against it, maybe defensive grenades included in base costs?
  • More vehicle options - it'd be nice to have some smaller vehicles with a lower capacity but at the same time I don't want yet another MSU army
  • Flyers - the Forge World ones are awesome and some scaled down versions of them would be a great addition
  • Improved Fire Warriors - they really should be BS4 in line with some of the other races, I don't mind them staying I2 but they should be better shooting
Anyway, I know I'm wishlisting but I'm sure the other Tau players are too. Once I've got more of my Dark Eldar finished I'm gonna start up painting my Tau again. I've got a cool colour scheme in mind and I'm sure that most of the models I have will still have a role when the new codex lands. 

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

A Look at Who's Coming to Blog Wars 2

As it stands at the moment we've got 19 people attending Blog Wars 2. I'd ideally like an even number so that means now's the time to get that last spot. In the mean time let's have a look at the people who've bought tickets so far.

Firstly, yours truly, just like in the previous BW if there aren't even numbers on the day then I won't play so that there's no dodgy situation where people get a by or whatever. Suffice to say I'm playing Space Wolves but a slightly different list to last time around. There'll be a further 3 SW armies at BW2 from John Holland (MC Tic Tac) and Bradimus Prime who used to write for the Space Wolves Blog and also David Symcox from the 40KUK podcast. I briefly met the 40KUK guys at the End Times and I'm looking forward to hopefully playing against them.

We've got a flood of other marine armies too with my mate Dave bringing Blood Angels to his first ever tournament, David Cameron (a friend of Weemen - not the PM) also with BA and finally Paul O'Boyle from Faulty Dice. Surprisingly we only have one confirmed Grey Knights player at the moment in James Lamb (Sheep of War)although Steve Henderson (a friend of Sons) brought GK last time so may do the same again. We've got the obligatory few Imperial Guard armies from Jon Morrison (Faulty Dice), David Clark (Commisar Dave) and Andy Pattison (Atriedes - Sons).

As far as the xenos go we've got a decent mix. There's a couple of Tyranid armies from Chris Benstead (Weemen) and Graham (Grazer - C&F/Rogue Trader). There's an Ork horde from Andy Lane (C&F) and Matt's bitter rival Frank Marsh will be bringing his ever brilliant Eldar army proving there's life in the older codexes yet.

Finally, and most topically, we've got potentially 3 different Necron armies from Matt, Gary from 40KUK and last year's winner Andy (Ven - Sons). I'll be interested to see the list these guys have put together. I've had good play at writing some lists and there's certainly a lot of flavour to the special characters.

The good news is we've almost managed a 50:50 mix of Imperium and Xenos. Should make for some interesting games I reckon. I'm hoping I get drawn against one of the Necron armies but I mainly just want to do better than my poor showing of 23rd out of 26 last time! Having a look at round at some of the blogs involved and there's some interesting armies such as Commisar Dave's and some interesting lists too.

I'm a bit disappointed that there aren't more people coming along but I think it's probably a bit too close to Christmas for a lot of people and I hope if there's a BW3 then we'll see an increase in numbers again. Mind you there's still a few days left to get your ticket so who knows!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Necron Reanimation Protocols: My Thoughts

You'll notice this another Necron post on my Space Wolves blog. Tough luck! Get over it I'm always excited by a new codex whatever the army is! It seems the internets are too so I'm just giving the people what they want!

One of the main sticking points for people regarding the changes from previous codex was that RP is now 5+. The other problem is that the warriors have a 4+ save. However, I personally think that the warriors are better for it. Coming in at just 13 points a model I think you're getting a good deal. The only problem I have with them is I2 but that's another story and something I can sympathise with when I use my Tau! Having 4+ followed by 5+ (which you can do a few times per turn) is almost as good as 3+ anyway!

Anyway, back to RP. The big change for this new codex is that you can perform the RP roll after each phase. This means that if you lose any models to dangerous terrain in your movement phase you can attempt to get them back. If your opponent shoots a couple you can get them back before the assault. The only problem is that if you lose them in assault then you'll still get swept up before that can get back up. I think this is a great way of doing things. There are several ways you can improve your chances of getting them back such as a Res Orb giving you 4+ RP rolls or a Ghost Ark giving you D3 back per turn. This can really make those big 20 strong warrior packs hard to shift, especially with shooting. In combat you're still going to struggle but you've got WS4 and T4 (unlike my Fire Warriors) and don't forget this is from a "shooty army". A typical squad of marines won't kill more than a few and with Ld 10 you've got a good chance to stay in combat.

So why are people bitching about warriors being crap? Compare their RP to Feel No Pain. FNP is great because firstly it's 4+ and secondly it means you don't actually lose the model in the first place. With RP you do lose the guy but you can get him back on 5+. By that simple comparison FNP wins. Let's think about Blood Angels though. They pay 50pts minimum for a priest to give them FNP on top of their squad. Now OK it's a bubble but still that's a couple of points per model assuming he's giving it to 2 10 man assault squads or similar. It's pretty easy to get rid of that priest too. As soon as you get into combat he's going to be the first target and you can bet it'll be power weapons that get put on him. Now your BA are back to being 3+ armour, still better than the Necrons' 4+ but just as vulnerable to power weapons.

Now let's think about RP. You get this included with the model's base points cost. As long as your Necron Warrior has a mate stood next to him you can attempt to get him back. Doesn't matter what took him down either. Doesn't matter if it was a basic shot from a lasgun, a hit from a power weapon, a smack from a monstrous creature, a flashy nemesis force halberd or whatever, as long as he's got a friend alive he can come back. FNP doesn't have that luxury, if the model was killed by anything AP1 or 2, power weapon or anything which could cause instant death and you just don't get to roll it. That's assuming whatever killed you didn't kill the sanguinary priest/apothecary etc. Dark Eldar need to win a combat or shoot a unit to death before they get FNP. Necrons get RP as standard and for most of the units in the codex, frankly I think that's great.

Are you forgetting they got rid of Phase Out??

On a side note. I think people are expecting Necrons to be a standard 5th edition mech army now they have a troop transport but I personally think the Ghost Ark isn't going to be used as a transport in the classic sense. I think you only need one or two in your army as a utility vehicle for you warrior squads. I wouldn't bother putting the warriors inside them, just let them walk along side. This means people won't spend time firing at the Ghost Ark (unless they have sense of course) and instead will frag your warrior squads.

I'm building a Ghost Ark for Matt at the moment so I'll post up some pictures of my progress building and painting it as soon as I can.

What are your thoughts on the new Necrons?


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