Saturday, September 21, 2013

New Space Marine Codex Unit Reviews - Heavy Support

We're now on to the meat and bones of the codex and over the next few days I'll be looking at each FOC slot in turn and discussing each entry. This process is always useful as it means that every single unit gets a look in and you can really start to see the combinations come to the surface. This introduction piece will stay the same every time so feel free to save yourself some time and skip it. 

Today I'm going to look at the Heavy Support section. On the face of it this is the most crowded portion of the book. A lot of the battletanks are now showing their age but other units like the Thunderfire Cannon will still be very popular (if not more so).

Devastator Squad
In line with the Dark Angels codex these guys now have the option to take flakk missiles in the always popular missile launchers. However, as I said for the DA version, flakk missiles simple aren't worth bothering with for the points. They get outclassed by a 50pt quad gun every time. With that aside little has changed for the Devastators. They're significantly cheaper than they once were though with a full unit of 4 lascannons coming in at 150pts. That's pretty good considering the number of multi-wound models that are around now. They could worry the broadside spam lists and wraithknights.

Their problem is the same as it always was, mobility. You can of course buy them a razorback but most of the time you'll pick a piece of terrain to stick them in and hope they have line of sight for the rest of the game. I don't think they're awful by any stretch of the imagination but there's no denying they're too static even if they're a lot cheaper.

Centurion Devastator Squad
If you decided to splash out on some centurions then I really hope you built them up as devastators. In their standard loadout they provide a decent amount of anti-infantry fire with the twin heavy bolter and hurricane bolter too. However, you'll never see them loaded up like that.

You can swap the hurricane bolters for a missile launcher and give them a twin-linked lascannon but that makes each model 90pts a piece and they're only slightly more mobile than the much cheaper devastators. No, what you want to take is the grav-cannon and grav-amp. It may make them 80pts each but I'm pretty certain it's worth it. Throw in an Omniscope on the sergeant too so he can target a separate unit and the whole unit isn't gimped by Night Fighting should your opponent venture into 24" range.

The grav-cannon may be short range but if you're in range then they'll be devastating. They do everything the smaller grav-gun does but they'll fire 5 shots when mounted on the centurion suit. That, combined with the grav-amp, makes for an extremely potent monstrous creature (or even vehicle) killer. A 6-man unit of centurions would set you back 500pts but they'd have no trouble making back that total if there are flying MCs, wraithknights or riptides around. The problem is your opponent knows that so they'll be a priority target. However, they should be able to weather quite a bit of fire. Broadsides are pretty tough to shift and they're only T4.

Realistically the best way to run them is probably a 3-man unit with grav-cannons for 250pts. That will be a big deterent to monstrous creatures and attract a lot of attention. Only thing to decide then is whether you can overlook their aesthetics!

Thunderfire Cannon
At first glance the thunderfire cannon seems to be the same as always. It's the same gun for the same points. You still get Bolster Defences which means, should you take three thunderfire cannons, you'll be able to shore up those terrain pieces with your objectives inside. Having 4 blasts can be great if you can catch some models bunched together and you might even take down a vehicle or two if you're lucky and they're made of paper. Tremor isn't stunning but might save a unit of yours from getting charged for a turn.

Hang on a minute though, the reason the thunderfire cannon is excellent now is the Barrage special rule they snuck in there. There aren't all that many Barrage weapons around but they're excellent in 6th edition. The reason is they can be used to snipe models out of a unit. Think about putting the Surface blast over an Ethereal. Should you hit the target then its a cover save or remove him. Obviously LoS is a factor but if you get lucky it could be devastating. The same is true of any other character that boosts a unit. Snipe that power fist before your bikes/terminators wade in and you're laughing.

I've grouped these three together because they're probably going to be overlooked as often as each other. The whirlwind has long since been relegated to the shelf but Barrage and a tiny price tag make it a possibility in these infantry overloaded times. The vindicator suffers from no longer having Barrage on it's demolisher cannon. The problem for both tanks though is that pretty much any damage result is devastating for them. Perhaps Immobilised doesn't affect the Whirlwind as much but otherwise you only have to penetrate the armour and they'll be effectively taken out of the game. Still, whilst the vindicator is operating a full capacity it's a threat that can't be ignored. It's an equal threat to infantry, daemon princes and vehicles alike but don't expect to get many shots from it.

The predator might get more of a look in though. Like the vindicator it's helped by having AV13 and 95pts for the dakka version is criminally cheap. I'd even say 140pts for the annihilator (lascannons) variant is perhaps worth considering for upsetting broadsides and MCs. Sadly though it will only be the most die-hard of mech fans that include them in their lists. That is unless the shift back to mech that was predicted after the Eldar codex actually happens.

Although expensive this kit is quite an attractive one. You just need to find another cheap rhino hull and you can make both variants. Realistically the Stalker is probably more practical as it has the potential to hit two different targets. The icarus stormcannon isn't much better than a quad-gun but perhaps harder to silence. The hunter is a lot of fun with the missile chasing a flyer around all game but both variants are let down by being S7. Still Armourbane helps out the hunter at least.

There are, however, bigger problems for these tanks. Firstly they'll be public enemy number one to any opponent with flyers and an AV12 vehicle isn't that hard to kill for most armies. If you've got a suitable piece of terrain to hide the hunter/stalker behind though it might make survive long enough to shoot at a flyer (whether it will kill it or not is another matter). The biggest issue though is that they only have Skyfire and not Interceptor. Any flyer with anti-tank weaponry, like a stormraven for example, will be able to bring the stalker/hunter down before it gets to fire. Secondly, if your opponent hasn't got any flyers then you're pretty snookered having spent 70-75pts on a dud. I'm not sure their anti-air potency justifies the risk of impotence.

Land Raiders
There isn't much to say here that hasn't been said before. AV14 can be incredibly tricky for some armies to deal with and a lot of the time the land raider will have delivered it's cargo of assaulty goodness before it dies. However, other armies will make short work of them and you'll be left in the hole to the tune of 250+ pts. I can still see a place for them though and depending on the ebb and flow of the meta the land raider could become king again. We're certainly seeing a lot less melta than we once did. All three variants have their uses. The Crusader might have limited weaponry but it'll find use for it's capacity. The Redeemer is great thanks to the balance between decent capacity and Flamestorm cannons being excellent when they're in range. Even the standard land raider is useful as lascannons are having somewhat of a renaissance recently.

It's worth mentioning Chronus again here. A BS5 land raider that ignores Shaken/Stunned and gets It Will Not Die is not something to be ignored even for 300pts. Similarly Iron Hands land raiders could be annoying to anyone trying to bring them down without melta.

Stormraven Gunship
Last but not least we come to the Stormraven which is now officially part of the codex. It's essentially the same as the Blood Angels version but with AP2 rather than AP1 missiles. For me the Stormraven is still the king of flyers. The Heldrake may be more devastating against ground targets but against other flyers its nearly useless (vector strike is an option). The Stormraven on the other hand has the firepower to comfortably take down an enemy flyer with the possibility of downing two. Being able to transport 12 models and a dreadnought appears nice at first but that's a lot of points in reserve. It'd be worth bringing along some reserves manipulation but only UM players have access.

The Stormraven is easily the hardest flyer to deal with. AV12 all round and not affected by the extra melta dice. It may be expensive but you get a lot for your points. Assault Vehicle is excellent for the dreadnought or whatever else is in the hold (obviously not in the turn it arrives though). Power of the Machine Spirit keeps it going in spite of Shaken results and allows it to deal with two targets. Hover prevents it from needing to leave the table even if it does make it vulnerable for a turn. As you can tell I'm a huge fan of the Stormraven, I even like the look of it (controversial I know).

As I've said, the issue is the number of points you've got waiting in Reserve which can leave the rest of your army outnumbered. It's also got stiff competition in the Heavy Support slot.

I really think this FOC slot is the hardest to choose from. There are plenty of viable options here and choosing between them will be difficult. As ever in 40K you want multiples of things to make them more effective and below 2,000pts that will be difficult. Having said that the ability to ally SM with SM means you can effectively take 4 Elite, Fast or Heavy choices provided you paint them a different colour!

The stalker/hunter is a great looking kit and I'm always amazed how much mileage GW get out of the rhino hull but it's anti-air abilities are somewhat overshadowed by the flyers in this book. Obviously you can get 2-3 hunter/stalkers for the same price as a flyer but the flyer will probably serve you better.

It's irritating for me that every SM chapter except Dark Angels and Space Wolves (i.e. the two I play) gets access to the Stormraven. I can only hope that the SW book has a flyer in it but there's no hope for Dark Angels unless you take allies which I resent having to do. I've spoken before about my huge disappointment over the DA flyers but this just seals it.

That rounds up the review of the codex then. Over the weekend I'll be looking at some army lists and trying to figure out where this codex will sit in the current meta.

Friday, September 20, 2013

New Space Marine Codex Unit Reviews - Fast Attack

We're now on to the meat and bones of the codex and over the next few days I'll be looking at each FOC slot in turn and discussing each entry. This process is always useful as it means that every single unit gets a look in and you can really start to see the combinations come to the surface. This introduction piece will stay the same every time so feel free to save yourself some time and skip it. 

Today I'm going to look at the Fast Attack slot. This section is actually pretty easy to choose from. Essentially it's a toss up between bikes for grav weapons or anti-air from the Stormtalon.

Assault Squad
A ten-man unit of assault marines works out at about 10pts cheaper than the old book when you factor in the veteran sergeant. Otherwise, apart from being able to take a second special weapon at less than 10 models, they're pretty much the same. As ever they can ditch their jump packs and take a free transport.

It's a huge shame that you can't make them Troops in a Raven Guard army. It could be argued they'd be treading on the Blood Angels' toes but I think they're different enough for it not to matter. It would then make the Raven Guard chapter tactics a bit more valuable. As they are I can't see much of a call for Assault Squads in the current SM army. They mind find a role as the bullies of the book being able to pick on cheap scoring units like cultists etc. Put them up against anything decent though and they'll soon show that they're just marines with an extra attack. Sadly they're victims of the shooting focus of 40K at the moment and again it's the nicer models that suffer.

Land Speeder Squadron
There was a time when a cheeky land speeder with multi-melta and heavy flamer was a nice, cheap addition to any Space Marine army. They were great for dealing with enemy AV14 and hordes alike. Sadly with the hull point system anything with massed S4 weaponry can make short work of them. The other major blow to them was that vehicles can no longer contest objectives. This put pay to an often used tactic of swooping in on turn 5 to contest an objective and win the game.

There are potential uses for them as fire support but for my money you're better taking the more expensive stormtalon for that role. It may be double the price but I personally think it's worth it.

Stormtalon Gunship
Before the Stormraven got retconned into the Space Marine army the Stormtalon was the best option for anti-air in the SM book (well it wasn't in the book but you get my meaning). The Stormtalon has many detractors thanks to it's AV11 and pair of hull points. However, when you compare what you get for 140pts to what the Nephilim does for far more then you can start to see a benefit.

Escort Craft is of minimal use but does allow you to guarantee you get both your Stormtalon and Stormraven in the same turn to limit damage from Interceptor units. Strafing Run is a nice bonus and makes the Stormtalon a decent option for anti-infantry applications. Ceramite Plating is unlikely to save it as melta weapons are predominantly S8 but again it's a nice to have. I think the Stormtalon is often overlooked but I personally think it's the best anti-air option in the book. Not too expensive and not devastating to lose to Interceptor fire.

Bike Squad
You don't need me to tell you that bikes will be popular in the latest version of the SM codex. Everyone is talking about White Scars at the moment and for good reason. An army of scoring bikes with Scout, Hit & Run and grav weapons is a fearsome prospect. Incidentally, now's a good time to look at grav weapons and in particular the grav-gun.

What it lacks in range it makes up for in damage. Mounted on a bike it has an effective range of 30" and with the Scout rule that's extended to 42" in turn one. That means there isn't anywhere on the board that can't be touched from the off. Thanks to Relentless from the bikes the grav-gun will be firing 3 shots in each shooting phase. Against marines you're wounding and usually killing on 3s. That's great but even better is that terminators and anything else with a 2+ save (looking at you, Riptides) is being hurt on 2+. Grav-weaponry is easily the stand-out wargear in this book. Ironically you'll struggle to hurt Kroot with them but your twin-linked bolters will sort them out instead. Against vehicles you inflict Immobilised on a 6 and strip a hull point. There's a debate about whether you strip two hull points or not but there's still the potential for a grav-gun volley to down a vehicle.

What some people are overlooking I think is the Concussive special rule. This is where the synergy in the SM book appears. Your bike squad might not be that great in combat but if you've hit your target with grav weaponry then you should be able to do a decent amount of damage on the charge with your opponent now reduced to initiative 1. Obviously this is only useful against multi-wound targets but it shouldn't be ignored.

Expect to see a lot of 5 man bike squads with two grav-guns on a table near you. They'll be fantastic in White Scars armies but even in a standard force a Captain/Chapter Master will allow them to be troops. They should be selling like hot cakes for GW right now.

Attack Bike Squad
As ever these come in two flavours dakka heavy bolters or tank hunting multi-meltas. Personally I think they're pretty overpriced for both roles. Granted they have a place when you're facing AV13 or 14 but for the most part I think there are better ways to spend the points. Throwing one into a normal bike squad might be worth it to allow combat squadding but as a seperate unit I think they're less useful.

Still, with Scouts you could pack your Fast Attack slots with single attack bikes which Outflank and try to take down a tank. There's potential for excellence there at least, if you can bring down an annihilation barge with your 55pt model then great.

Scout Bike Squad
In a bike heavy army these guys might find a role. They're great for getting a deep striking unit in accurately thanks to Scouts/Infiltrators but they do of course suffer from their scout statline. They're a low cost option though and you can give them all grenade launchers to make them more useful. Cluster mines are interesting but with the way Dangerous Terrain works now you won't kill as many models as you would have in 5th. Still it could put your opponent off using a particularly useful piece of terrain. Overall I can't see them getting used a great deal though.

Bikes are the standout unit here thanks to their graviton weaponry. Ironic really since most of the time they'll have been made into Troops. In their abscence my favourite choice here would be the Stormtalon. It offers decent anti-air firepower for a reasonable cost. The rest of the units here will be personal preference but I probably won't be including them if I decide to start an SM army.

Tomorrow I'll look at the heavy support slot before taking a look at some ideas for army lists over the weekend. I hope you're finding these articles useful and worth reading.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

New Space Marine Codex Unit Reviews - Elites

We're now on to the meat and bones of the codex and over the next few days I'll be looking at each FOC slot in turn and discussing each entry. This process is always useful as it means that every single unit gets a look in and you can really start to see the combinations come to the surface. This introduction piece will stay the same every time so feel free to save yourself some time and skip it. 

Today I'm going to look at the Elites slot. As with the rest of the codex there are a lot of options here but there are some stand-out choices, depending on your play-style of course.

Vanguard Veterans
In the previous incarnation of the SM codex, Vanguards could assault from Deep Strike. This changed when 6th edition hit and the rules stated that you couldn't assault from reserve. This rule has now been replaced with ignoring the disordered charge penalty and automatically passing the Glorious Intervention roll. That's pretty crappy to me. Firstly, when was the last time you even remembered to use the Glorious Intervention rule? Not to mention that often a challenge doesn't actually make it into a second round! Disordered Charges aren't that big of a deal either.

The problem is that with the sheer volume of fire some armies can put out, deep striking units struggle to get into combat with many (if any) models left. Let's not forget how many Riptides we see at the moment too! Do you really want to risk what will work out as a pretty expensive unit? Granted they're not that expensive when you compare them to regular assault marines with Ld9 and a extra attack for 5pts each. Alternatively you could pack out a land raider with them and charge something juicy. That's a pricey option though.

They're still die as easily as any other marines so they'll struggle to get many charges off. Perhaps I'm missing something but they just seem like a waste of points. Stunning models mind you.

Sternguard Veterans
Sternguard are pretty pricey at 22pts each, cheaper than they were though. They fulfil the same role they always have as the providers of special issue shots to deal with problematic enemy units. They'll work best with a drop pod and can take the soon to be popular grav-guns. Not to mention every model can take a combi-grav if you desire, seems a waste of special ammo though.

They'll do their job pretty reliably and will probably make an appearance in many tournament lists. Pedro Kantor allows them to be scoring too which is an interesting prospect. It's a shame that the Imperial Fists chapter tactics don't apply to their special ammo but perhaps they'd be too good then. If they're only firing their boltguns with normal ammo then you should save some points and buy a tactical squad! The tactical doctrine of the Ultramarines will also help them and can be used with their special ammo, if only for one turn. This could make a devastating turn one drop podding sternguard assault pretty potent.

The standard and venerable dreadnoughts suffer the same problems they always have. They either attempt to walk across the field and probably get shot before doing much damage or they drop-pod in get one shot off then probably get shot down. The venerable dreadnought is significantly cheaper than it was mind you and for the BS boost and Venerable rule it feels like an automatic upgrade to me. They're still potent units if they can get into effective range but most of the time they'll struggle.

The ironclad dreadnought is a decent option for 135pts. AV13 got a lot stronger recently thanks to the shift towards infantry spam. A lot of armies traded their S8+ weaponry for anti-infantry firepower. This means the ironclad has a better chance of making it to its target. Factor in the included extra armour and they could be pretty durable. They're far from a bad option but there are probably better ways to spend the points.

As I've said earlier, an Iron Hands army with a MotF and a pile of dreadnoughts might be a lot of fun but will still come unstuck against some armies. I love dreadnoughts though so I'd be keen to give it a go at least once.

Legion of the Damned
Always a bit of a fluffy choice and pretty expensive for marines. Still they're too pricey for Fearless marines that re-roll the deep strike. Ignores cover applies to all of their weaponry too which means the special and heavy weapons become great vehicle hunters (depending on your view about the Ignores Cover rule and vehicles). Slow and Purposeful allows them to make the most of grav-guns and... oh wait they can't take them. That's a shame.

With their 3++ save and the aforementioned Fearless special rule they'll be great for holding up particularly smashy units. They'll also be pretty tricky to shift with shooting. No more so than normal marines perhaps but Fearless helps. I don't really expect we'll see them all that much as they're not especially good. They're a lot of points to stick in reserve really especially in an army with flyers etc.

At the advent of 6th edition there was a lot of hype about terminators. This was largely due to the fact that power weapons had become AP3 meaning their 2+ saves were more effective. This joy was short lived though as each successive codex release has brought more firepower. The success of any terminator unit effectively comes down to how well you can roll those saves. In this current age of Riptides a-go-go the terminators suffer when arriving by deep strike. Land Raiders are seen as a pretty pricey option these days too.

They're the same price they ever were but TH/SS variants now cost a little more. This is a shame as they're still probably the most viable version of terminators, if only for their survivability against those dreaded Riptide pie-plates. Sadly, despite still being excellent models, they'll be overlooked in favour of other units in their price range.

Centurion Assault Squad
Probably the ugliest models in the book with their siege drills attached to their mittens and of debatable use. At 60pts a piece they really need to do something dramatic. Essentially what you're paying for is their durability. Two T5 wounds with a 2+ save is fairly good but the assault variant of the Centurions feels like a bit of an afterthought. You're probably best swapping the Ironclad Launchers for hurricane bolters as then they'll at least do something as they slowly plod towards combat. Twin-linked flamers would be great if they could deep strike but they can't.

The siege drills may be great against vehicles but I'm not convinced you'll catch them. You could give the sergeant an omniscope and a meltagun but 15pts seems a waste on an already pricey unit. Perhaps I'm being to negative about them but if you did shell out for the Centurion kit you'd be better building the Devastators in my opinion. Maybe my opinion will change but right now I'm not convinced by them at all.

To me the Elites section is probably the most disappointing in the book. You may have got that feeling from my negativity in this post! The clear stand-out unit are the Sternguard. This was probably true in the old book too. I can't see people taking the other options unless they're going for a themed army. What remains to be seen are the possible combinations of some of these units with the Chapter Tactics. Maybe there are some permutations that I've missed that save these units from extinction.

Terminators are a big let-down for me. I really want them to be awesome but they always seem to die too quickly and I'm left thinking about what else I could've had for the points. The vanilla variant has always been the poor cousin to all of the other terminators around and this version of the book doesn't change that. Deathwing are fearless, get split fire and twin-linked on deep strike. Wolf Guard are more flexible and have Counter-attack. Grey Knights terminators are Troops and have a disgusting array of special rules. Blood Angels may be the same points but can be given FNP fairly easily. Again, chapter tactics will have to be the saving grace for vanilla terminators.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

New Space Marine Codex Unit Reviews - Troops & Transports

We're now on to the meat and bones of the codex and over the next few days I'll be looking at each FOC slot in turn and discussing each entry. This process is always useful as it means that every single unit gets a look in and you can really start to see the combinations come to the surface. This introduction piece will stay the same every time so feel free to save yourself some time and skip it. 

Today I'm going to look at the Troops slot, the core of the army and crucial in the current edition with so many objective missions. This section usually makes or breaks a codex. Remember that bikes can be made into Troops and Sternguard can become scoring.

Tactical Squad
The ever faithful tactical squad is a staple of 40K. The first models most people own are a box of tactical marines. They're decent at everything but not excellent at anything. Still they remain an obligatory choice even 25 years on. Their points cost has been steadily reducing over the years and they're now in line with the Dark Angels prices as expected. They also got the special OR heavy weapon choice that the Dark Angels did. As ever Combat Squads gives you the opportunity to double your scoring units in objective games whilst minimising unit numbers in Purge the Alien.

Like their DA counterparts they got access to flakk missiles but I've spoken before about why I think they're a waste of points. The big news from the new book is access to the excellent grav weaponry (which I'll talk about in more detail when I cover bikes). Otherwise there isn't much to say here. They won't be devastating but they'll do their bit as stoically as ever.

Scout Squad
Strangely the SM codex has slightly different points for the Scouts compared to the DA book. Each model is 11pts but a sniper rifle now costs 1pt each. That means sniper teams are the same cost but a slight decrease for regular scouts.

Scouts will still do the same thing they always did, hug objectives for dear life and use their camo cloaks to make themselves irritating to shift. They'll still die in droves to AP4 or better flamers and they'll still fold in combat but they'll often win you the game as they hang onto objectives and get overlooked. What's interesting is the comparison to kroot. They share a lot of the same rules and fulfil a similar role but they're nearly double the points. Sounds bad but they're probably twice as hard to shift as they don't succumb to bolter fire as easily. Like kroot it may be tempting to outflank cheap squads onto objectives but I suspect most will use them as cheap home objective holders.

Crusader Squad
Fatsui, Flickr
A "new" addition to the codex with the Black Templars merger these guys are only available to a BT general. I can't say I was particularly familiar with the old BT codex but a blob of 20 T4 scoring models for 240pts is interesting. I could see a lot of fun to be had with a Chaplain thrown in and the rest of the squad tooled up for a bit of slice and dice. The alternative is to throw in an Emperor's Champion to make the unit Fearless and go hunting for Challenges. A 15-man squad with a character in an aptly named Land Raider Crusader might be a lot of fun even if it's a lot of points too.

Ultimately the decision is more about whether or not you want to take Templars at all rather than whether crusader squads are worth it. If you are taking templars then by all means swap your tacticals for Crusader units but they certainly aren't worth choosing the chapter for.

The rhino was a familiar sight in 5th edition but I can't actually remember the last time I played against one at a 6th edition tournament. I wouldn't be surprised if this new codex starts a bit of a resurgence though. Being able to fire that grav-gun out of the top hatch is tempting and at 35pts they're still disgustingly cheap as transports go. They may not be all that difficult to shift but in a mech heavy Iron Hands force they could prove to be an irritation. Similarly Razorbacks are nothing stellar but are hardly pricey, the points have shifted around a bit like they did for the Dark Angels but otherwise they're what you know and perhaps love.

I can actually see Drop Pods making a bit of a come back. Of course the Tau codex and it's Interceptor shenanigans might throw a spanner in the works but Ultramarines with that first turn twin-linked volley from tactical squads are certainly worth considering. Sternguard should remain popular too and a Kantor pod list might make an appearance here and there.

Land speeders are pretty much a joke thanks to the hull points system combined with AV10 but fans of scouts might still consider them for the jamming beacon and Blind from the launcher. Great way of delivering a scoring unit in an otherwise slow foot-slogging force.

Nothing particularly new here. Obviously Crusader Squads are making their first appearance but they're largely similar to the BT book. Both tactical squads and scouts will get plenty of use in armies that haven't manipulated the FOC. Neither unit is going to shine but they'll do their job as reliably as ever. The humble space marine might not be the fearsome foe it once was but they're still better than most of the troops offered by the xenos forces. The tactical squads also make a bit of a mockery of their supposedly tougher CSM counterparts thanks mostly to ATSKNF.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

New Space Marine Codex Unit Reviews - Generic HQs

We're now on to the meat and bones of the codex and over the next few days I'll be looking at each FOC slot in turn and discussing each entry. This process is always useful as it means that every single unit gets a look in and you can really start to see the combinations come to the surface. This introduction piece will stay the same every time so feel free to save yourself some time and skip it. 

Today I'm going to look at the rest of the HQs, which, for most people will be the units of choice over the special characters.

Chapter Master
There's basically a toss up between the Chapter Master and the Captain here. Obviously the former is more expensive but gives you an extra wound and attack. This is a boost from his previous incarnation for a measly 5pt increase. The chapter master also gets the Orbital Bombardment, which, although slightly unreliable, could be devastating if used well. The main reason to take the either the Chapter Master or Captain though is that if you shove him on a bike he can make Bike Squads into Troops. Not such a big deal if you're already taking Khan in a White Scars force but great for the other chapters.

The big deal for me is that, as someone who doesn't have much loyalty to any of the standard chapters, the Chapter Master presents a great opportunity to "build your own". The Chapter Relics are very interesting and with a bit of back story you can create fantastic characters for your DIY chapter. There are some interesting combinations floating around the internet and I think we'll see a lot of them in tournament play.

Honour Guard
These guys work out pretty pricey for them all to get a 2+ save. It could be argued that the artificier armour is actually a bargain on them though considering it's 20pts for a character. They're the only place you can get the Chapter Banner though and considering you can pack them out with power weapons you can create a pretty sturdy deathstar if you give them a land raider to charge out of.

Realistically I can't seem them making many appearances on the tournament scene as they're still just marines in 2+ armour. The sheer volume of fire power makes a 2+ save seem insignificant at time and to have sunk so many points into a unit which is a bit of a one-trick pony is probably ill-advised.

Captain/Terminator Captain
As discussed with the Chapter Master, the Captain is essentially a budget option. There aren't really compelling reasons to spend the extra 40 pts on the Chapter Master though so expect to see more Captains. There's a huge array of possible combinations on offer here but Hellfire rounds or grenade launcher are no longer part of them for some reason.

Somewhat strange that they've split the Captain and Terminator Captain into different entries as it doesn't fit with any of the other HQs. Still both offer a great statline for a pretty good price in my opinion. Both also give you the option to take a command squad which, particularly in biker armies, will be a great place to get a pile of special weapons.

Command Squad
Despite an error in the codex these guys can take Special Weapons thanks to an FAQ. This combined with the 35pt bargain price of bikes for the unit means you can create a heavy hitting support unit for your Captain. Some would argue that they come in a bit pricey for a non-scoring unit but being able to pack out the excellent grav-weapons is seriously worth consideration. Not to mention getting FNP (more useful with T5) for an already tough to kill unit.

Otherwise they have the same issues as the Honour Guard in that you end up paying out quite a bit for what is essentially an assault squad on steroids. Not awful but I think there are better units if you aren't taking bikes.

Cheap as chips like his Dark Angels opposite number but actually cheaper for the ML2 upgrade. It's also a huge boost considering in the last book the equivalent would've cost 150pts. The big down side is that he's lost all of the powers from the previous book and doesn't get access to the ever popular Divination powers. Still if he's going to be riding around on a bike like everyone seems to be planning on then Telepathy can be excellent and Biomancy is interesting depending how you tool him up. Personally I think it's good to have some force weapons in your army as there are a lot of multi-wound things around that it'd be nice to insta-kill. Obviously a lot of them have high toughness but to my mind it's worth having the chance to take them out in one blow.

When you look at the librarian like that he'd probably do well in terminator armour with a storm shield to make him more durable. I can see a lot of people ignoring him though in favour of an allied Rune Priest who offers better powers and the best anti-psychic around for now.

Chaplains are nearly always overlooked as they offer bonuses to close combat in a universe dominated by shooting. They may be pretty cheap but I don't see them getting a lot of use. When you've only got two sltos to choose from they'll lose out to specials, captains and librarians nearly every time.

If you do want to run an assault deathstar then by all means attach a Chaplain to make them devastating on the charge. Mind you, do you really want to annihilate a unit on the charge and face a pile of shooting in their turn?

Master of the Forge
These guys catch my eye as they still have the ability to take tons of dreadnoughts. This screams Iron Hands to me as you have to think about the potential of 6 dreadnoughts in drop pods all with It Will Not Die and troop units in bolstered cover claiming objectives. Not sure how competitive a list like that would be but I'm determined to give it a go at least once.

Otherwise you can still stick them on a bike and give them a conversion beamer which makes for a lot of fun in any army. I think MotFs are often overlooked in favour of the other HQs but they might prove to be a sucker punch.

As ever the techmarine does the same as the MotF but for 40 pts less. Obviously he suffers from having only a single wound but he still offers Bolster and Blessing of the Omnissiah. There was potential use for a techmarine on a bike in the Dark Angels book so I can see him being used in a similar way here. By the way, I know I'm droning on about bikes but I really do think we'll see a lot of them. I'm not overly sold on the idea but time will tell.

Servitors still fall short of the mark for me. They may be dirt cheap but BS3 is a let down and I simply can't see the point.

The standouts as ever are the Chapter Master and Captain. I think the librarian will get a look in too from time to time but with the loss of Gate and Zone he won't be as popular as before. I think it's a shame they've stripped those powers away but it does make things more standardised I suppose.

Otherwise the Master of the Forge might be a fun option but Chaplains will probably lose out in my view. Troops next.

Monday, September 16, 2013

New Space Marine Codex Unit Reviews - Special Characters (Part 2 of 2)

Continuing where I left off yesterday here are the seven remaining special characters. The vast majority of which fight their battles in black armour. Is there just me who thinks there's a bit too much black armour in this book with the addition of Templars?

Vulkan He'stan
Having artificier armour already sets He'stan apart from the other characters. Throw in a 3++ save too and he's already looking worth his price tag. If you gear your army around melta weapons and flamers (as you should for Salamanders) then you have a pretty deadly combination. His S6 AP3 weapon will be great in challenges as Master-crafter and Digital weapons makes up for two-handed. His warlord trait maybe somewhat mediocre but I think he's still potent in combat and a reasonable option all round. Twin-linked (effectively) melta weapons are going to cause a lot of armies problems, we may be in an era when vehicles are less common but forcing instant death on characters is handy. Salamanders have potential but I fear they'll be overlooked.

Shadow Captain Shrike
Big disappointment for me here. I've long been envious of Matt's Blood Angels as I've always loved the look of jump pack marines. Sadly Shrike doesn't unlock assault marines as troops. He's still good as part of an assault squad or even vanguard vets but those units themselves are of limited use so he feels a little bit of a let down. The Raven Guard chapter tactics would make for some quick and deadly assault squads but most armies are able to deal with them despite their speed. He's far from awful but I'm just not convinced he's worth his price tag and Raven Guard are likely to be least common of the SM chapters we see on the table-top.

Captain Lysander
First thing I notice about him is the combination of storm shield and iron halo. Perhaps if a vindicare takes away an invulnerable save then it'll be worth it but otherwise it seems an odd pairing! He's again got the potentially excellent Champion of Humanity and with 2+/3++ and Eternal Warrior he's going to be as tough to shift as ever. Gone are the Bolster Defences and Bolter Drill rules but Imperial Fists get a form of Bolter Drill now anyway. The standard tactic of Lysander with sternguard in a drop pod may be a thing of the past now but he's still hard as nails and an S10 AP1 hammer is pretty tempting to me. Put him up against monstrous creatures and other characters and he'll nearly always come out on top.

Pedro Kantor
Pedro is geared towards a combat orientated army which, outside of terminators, marines have never been all that effective at. A +1 bonus to attacks is potentially useful but most of the time it won't worry your opponent too much. The reason to take him though is to have Sternguard as scoring units. Whilst you may not be able to use the Chapter Tactics with their special ammo they'll still pack a hefty punch. Having another option for troops is great and we might see drop podding sternguard used in combination with Pedro.

High Marshal Helbrecht
Helbrecht has the potential to be a combat monster against the right target. He's already got 4 attacks but with the Legacy of Dorn he can potentially have 7 AP3 attacks. Giving the whole army Hatred and Fleet could make for a devastating assault phase especially combined with his warlord trait that gives Furious Charge. The question is how effective combat is at the moment. There are so many armies around with huge amounts of fire power and Tau supporting fire makes assaults difficult at best. Mind you, 180pts isn't bad considering his statline and equipment. The other question to ask is whether Black Templars are likely to be chosen over the other chapters or not.

Chaplain Grimaldus
An interesting prospect with his bodyguard of servitors. Essentially the servitors simply act as ablative wounds for Grimaldus. Combined with It Will Not Die they may make Grimaldus tricky to shift but then he's probably better joined to a normal unit to make the most of him. A 6" Zealot bubble is no bad thing I suppose but again it's a combat boost which isn't something marines do especially well. Maybe I'm missing something with the Black Templars but unless the meta changes significantly I can't see a decent way to make the most of them. I'll happily be correct though as they were one of the front-runners for which chapter I'd like to collect before the codex hit.

The Emperor's Champion
The only model to come in at under a tenner, the Emperor's Champion is also on the cheaper end of the special characters. He's actually pretty interesting too. Obviously he's geared up as a character killer so if you manage to get the Champion of Humanity trait then you're laughing. He isn't especially survivable in combat against anything with AP2 but otherwise he should be able to survive long enough to inflict some hurt thanks to the potential to be S6 or else have the potential to cause Instant Death. Realistically most of the time you'll choose the latter as, although less reliable, the potential to insta-kill something is very tempting. Don't overlook that he's Fearless too which would be conferred to a squad he joins. This could make a large Crusader squad led by him into something pretty fun.

That's it for the special characters then. With the possible exception of Tigurius and maybe Lysander, none of them particularly jump out as being must-haves. Part of the problem is the ability to build your own character with some of the relic weaponry. This has the advantage of not restricting you to a particular chapter.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

New Space Marine Codex Unit Reviews - Special Characters (Part 1 of 2)

With effectively 7 codexes worth of Special Characters to get through there's quite a list so I won't be able to cover them all in as much detail as other books. Remember each character has a specific chapter now so, whilst you can combine chapters with the allies system, you'll mostly only see characters from a single chapter. The Ultramarines have 6 of them and frustratingly the Iron Hands don't get one at all so there's a bit of injustice there I think.

Marneus Calgar
By far the most expensive special character in the book at 285pts with his terminator armour, Marneus needs to contribute a lot to justify the cost. He's got the same statline as a chapter master and artificier armour as standard which accounts for 150 of those points. He's able to roll three times on the traits table but as we've discussed already they're mediocre at best so this isn't much of a boon. He's one of the few characters to get Eternal Warrior though. He's also the only way to get the old school chapter tactics back and choose to fail a morale check and allows you to use one of the combat doctines twice. Otherwise he's geared up to bring down vehicles with his power fists.

I'm not convinced he's worth the hefty price tag. In combat he'll be excellent but he's only got a 4++ save if he meets something chunky in combat like an MC. Still being able to re-roll to hit for two turns with the tactical doctrine could be effective. Personally I doubt we'll see him outside of fluffy lists.

Captain Sicarius
Cato Sicarius is a rare sight in tournament circles and despite a points drop he's unlikely to be making many more appearances. Giving a tactical squad a bonus special rule isn't going to win you many battles and a leadership bubble, whilst useful at times isn't particularly great as it only applies to Ultramarines and not lower Ld allies like Tau or Guard. What we might see him used for is his +1 to reserve rolls especially when combined with a few flyers or expensive deep striking or outflanking death stars. Combine him with Tigurious (see below) and you can all but guarantee you'll get your reserves on turn two. Despite not having Eternal Warrior, Sicarius will be hard to shift thanks to 2+/4++ and 5+ FNP. His Coup de Grace attack could be great against tyranid MCs or daemons as he'll be S7 on the charge with his warlord trait. Still, hitting on 3 and wounding on 2 or 3 followed by an invulnerable save doesn't make it all that likely to work. Worth a thought though.

Chief Librarian Tigurius
Varro Tigurius has a lot of people excited and for good reason. For his points he's probably the best psyker around. He may only have rulebook powers but with mastery 3 and the ability to re-roll on the charts he has a good chance of getting the powers you want. He's also crucially got access all of the disciplines including the excellent Divination powers. Throw in a psychic hood that allows re-rolls to psychic tests and you're near guaranteed to get your powers off whilst avoiding Perils. The ability to manipulate reserves is much sought after and Tigurius gives you a re-roll to speed up or delay those crucial reserves.

He's not without his issues though. He's not got an invulnerable save and only 3+ armour so he's not all that survivable. Delivery is an issue. He'll be great attached to a squad and handing out powers but depending on what powers you want to use getting him into range might present problems. Finally, his force weapon is a the Rod of Tigurius which is only AP4. With so many multi-wound models out there at the moment an AP3 weapon would have more utility. Still S6 with Master-crafted and Concussive has the potential to make up for it. You only need the target to fail a single save after all.

Chaplain Cassius
For starters Ortan Cassius has one of the weakest of the warlord traits as causing Fear has very little practical use and frankly gets forgotten a lot. As ever it comes down to what he offers over the standard chaplain for his points. The stand-out bonus is T6 and FNP, trouble is, most of the time he'll be victim of an average toughness of 4 when he's in a unit. Still he's likely to hold something up in a challenge even if he can't kill it that easily with the AP4 crozius. His combi-flamer is a nice addition and poisoned 2+ shots always come in handy. The important point with cassius is that he only costs 40 points more than the standard chaplain. Can't see him being a popular choice but he's probably the cheapest (as Khan will normally have a bike).

Sergeant Telion
The big news here is that he's Ultramarines only. That move will have upset a lot of SM players who popped him into their scout squads. He's only a 50pt upgrade so a good way to get a cheap character in for Blog Wars but you get a decent amount for your points. BS6 with permanent Precision Shots is nice but he's only got a two shot sniper rifle so you'll just be hoping for those rending 6s. Great to be able to use his BS6 for another weapon in the squad like a missile launcher for example. Interestingly he has both a camo cloak and Stealth which in my opinion gives him +2 to cover saves. Probably worth a go but unlikely to be a star player.

Sergeant Chronus
Another 50pt upgrade character but this time for a tank. Unlike Longstrike in the Tau book, Antaro Chronus can hop out of his tank when it blows up. This sounds good but then you have to think he's an extra kill point. Still, giving a tank BS5, ignoring Shaken and Stunned and It Will Not Die will certainly be irritating for your opponent. Often you want a land raider to survive long enough to get its contents into combat and Chronus should help with that. In other vehicles he'll probably make them worth too many points.

Kor'sarro Khan
We're finally away from the Ultramarines characters with the first and only White Scars offering. He's probably going to be a pretty common sight based on the early rumblings from the tournament blogs. There's a lot of talk about bike armies and Khan will likely play a big part of that scene. The main thing he offers is Scout but he does also have one of the few decent warlord traits in the shape of Champion of Humanity. His potential to get into a challenge with the enemy warlord and cause instant death means he might win the game for you.

I have doubts over the effectiveness of a biker army. Of course they're very mobile and tricky to handle but they'll need some decent anti-air support to prevent heldrakes from making a right old mess out of them. Still if you are wanting to spam bikes then Khan is the way to go. I'm saddened to see that the SM codex can probably make a more effective biker army than the DA one though. Dark Angels are massively let down by lack of anti-air so perhaps bike fans can find solace in the marine book.

That's half way through the special characters then. Come back tomorrow for the rest.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

New Space Marine Codex Reviews - Chapter Tactics & Warlord Traits

Here's the first of what will have to be many posts covering the new Space Marine codex, there's a lot to get through with this book (as it's the biggest 6th edition book yet). Before getting stuck in I'd like to say this is one of the best books so far. I can't help but think it's a shame that they couldn't have done something similar with the Traitor Legions but it is what it is. Sadly GW seem to be proceeding down this path of supplements instead. I'm really not a fan of them as it feels to me like a patch or DLC for a video game. You're kind of left thinking, "hang on a minute I've paid £30 (£35 in this case) for something that isn't even complete!?!". Anyway, that aside let's start to look at the latest 6th edition book.

Chapter Tactics
This is the big talking point of the new book. Any unit with specific chapter tactics can only be used for that chapter. It's a kick in the teeth to those Space Marine players who had a version of Marneus Calgar in their Iron Hands list for example. Still if your opponent doesn't mind that the army is the wrong colour I'm sure you could still have these combinations. The difficulty is you'll be stuck with a certain set of tactics.

There's been much talk already about which set of Chapter Tactics is superior but as ever time will tell as we start to see the new combinations people are coming up with. The Ultramarines tactics are probably the most flexible but you only get each once per game. Tactical Doctrine is the stand out here in a game that's dominated by first turn firepower a lot of the time. Devastator Doctrine helps with taking down flyers but only if you've got enough high strength shots available to you. I'm also somewhat confused by the Assault Doctrine. Re-rolling charge range is useful at times but the second part giving certain units Fleet doesn't make sense. Bikes and Attack Bikes can't Run so that re-roll isn't much use and your assault squads can't run if they want to charge anyway. The only thing I can think is that Fleet allows you to re-roll particular dice rather than both like other units would. Perhaps someone can enlighten me?

Everyone is excited about White Scars with this release but I'll get to why I'm not really convinced. Their Chapter Tactics last the whole game and essentially give them Skilled Rider and Hit & Run. Both are useful but I'm not convinced about bike armies in the current meta. Grav weapons are the kicker here but I'll get to that.

The Imperial Fists get a toned down version of Bolter Drill and an army packed with tactical marines could be nice for dealing with infantry blobs. Tank Hunters for your devastators makes for a nice bonus to devastators and centurions but I'm not overly convinced by the effectiveness of either of these units.

It's a shame Black Templars got rolled into the book but there wasn't all that much in their old codex to prevent this from happening. At least they now get access to flyers unlike my Space Wolves and Dark Angels. Anyway, their Chapter Tactics are probably the least useful, they fit in with their fluff nicely but ultimately aren't going to win the game for you. Psychic armies will be frustrated by Adamantium Will but frankly there's only a limited number of offensive powers that are widely used and you won't be stopping Blessings.

The Iron Hands get FNP (6+) which is nice but only saves the odd marine here and there. There'll be times when it wins the game for you but those will be few and far between. However, It Will Not Die on all of your vehicles and characters is going to be pretty irritating to your opponent. Creating a mechanised Iron Hands army appeals to me in this time of infantry spam.

The Salamanders will need a lot of flamers to make their Chapter Tactics worthwhile. Giving Master-crafted to your characters weapons is a nice touch but again is unlikely to make a huge difference. Salamanders will be excellent against infantry hordes though if they can pack in enough flamers.

Finally, the Raven Guard have Stealth for a turn (great combined with Night Fighting) and Scout. Their bonus to assault marines is nice but again I'm not convinced about the effectiveness of Jump units in this new book. It's a huge shame you can't have them as troops.

Ultimately all of these Tactics fit in well with their respective chapter's fluff but they aren't hugely exciting. There are some great combinations that are opened up though.

Warlord Traits
These are probably the weakest Traits we've seen from the recent books. GW seem to think Fear is a lot more effective than it actually is. Furious Charge is nice but kind of sucks if you've built a shooty army around a warlord that now wants to go into assault. Storm of Fire is nice and an improvement on the Tau version which only allows re-rolls on 1s.

Rites of War might come in handy but Morale isn't exactly a big deal for Space Marines anyway. Similarly adding one to combat results could actually be a hindrance if you were hoping to break and then regroup before shooting at your assailants.

Champion of Humanity is easily the standout trait. Obviously it's situational and the odds of you getting your warlord into combat with your opponent's are pretty slim but if you do manage it then D3 extra VPs will be huge in tournament play.

In some of the other new books the warlord traits given to the special characters have been a bit irritating. There might be a character you want but his trait is crap. These traits are suitably mediocre so you don't have to worry too much. Special characters with Champion of Humanity will be sought after but it wouldn't make me pick one character over another.

Friday, September 13, 2013

The GW Battle Brothers Tournament System

As I've mentioned in the reports on our battles this weekend the GW tournament system is far from perfect. Sadly they beligerently stick with it and if anything they're progressively making it worse. Here are a few thoughts on the subject.

Scoring & Matchups
The main thing GW have done right in 6th edition is to switch from a W/D/L system of scoring to a VP based version. Now it's no secret I'm a fan of the latter and the main reason for this is that I think it's a lot more representative of how a player performs in a game rather than just a black and white win or loss. Obviously the issue is that not every game is worth the same number of points. Our experience was a great example of this. The maximum score achieved in Purge the Alien was 18 (including secondaries) and we achieved the maximum of 16 from our game but it's a well established fact that this is far from the norm. Had we played our 3rd match opponents sooner we'd have had a maximum of 10 pts available. There's Relic which is worth 6 VPs at best (without any army specific bonus points) right up to The Scouring which could be worth 18 VPs.

So the system is far from perfect but at least it should roughly represent performance in a more analogue way. The problem is that GW essentially ignores your results until the end of the tournament. The pairings at the doubles are totally random. GW's reasoning behind this is that it means the event doesn't feel as competitive and you don't really know how well you're doing relative to everyone else. Sadly this misfires completely as you know how many VPs were available so if you've scored the maximum you should be at or near the top. Rather than encouraging a friendly atmosphere this actually makes the likelihood of mismatch a lot higher. We shouldn't have been playing the teams that we did.

This also means that a mediocre list can win the tournament and indeed that's what happened. Sour grapes you might say because we lost to it but seriously at a regular event that list wouldn't have come close. Obviously there's an element of luck in your pairings and rock/paper/scissors will always occur as it's the nature of 40K. However, to have competitive players such as Matt and I playing our final game against people who mainly brought their list for the painting competition (and won it!) is daft. It's a refreshing change as you don't get as much animosity as pure competition brings but I doubt our opponents particularly enjoyed the experience.

At the end of the day the games you remember most are the close ones. For that reason Swiss Pairs makes sense. It isn't perfect and indeed doesn't work well in one day events but at least it's a step in the right direction. Luck is a huge part of tournament play no matter which pairing system you use. Essentially you can win the event before you roll any dice if you're picked against the right lists randomly. It's a well known fact that a solid but not overly crushing victory in the first game is best. Win too convincingly and you're more likely to get smacked down in round 2.

Favourite Game Votes
Matt and I have had the mixed fortune to be on both sides of this system. Last year we placed 4th with a performance that should've been good enough for 2nd thanks to favourite game votes. Earlier this year we won the event thanks to fave game votes (we'd have been 2nd without) and this time around we were 5th and again should've been 2nd. Funnily enough the guys who came 4th would've won outright in a regular tournament.

I can see why GW want to encourage people to be nicer to their opponents as it can really make the difference between an enjoyable game and a miserable one but to factor it into the overall scores is just stupid. The reasons for this are multiple but here's just a few. I've discussed this before but I feel it's worth bringing up again.

Firstly, the voting system is pretty random. What makes a favourite game is difficult to quantify. People are unlikely to vote a loss as a favourite game. This puts the system at odds with the competitive side of the event. The other element of randomness in it comes from the fact that you can't guarantee everyone will vote in actual fact 82 of the 85 teams did cast their vote which is pretty good but what if one of your opponents doesn't vote? You're also more likely to vote for games that happened on day two as that first game on day one fades into memory.

They're weighting is obscene. I understand GW want to make a big deal of sportmanship but 3pts per vote is ridiculous. One team scored 24pts sweeping them from mid-table obscurity to the top 10. That's just daft.

Finally, and most importantly for me, I'd be very surprised if GW actually checks who voted for who. Did you actually even play the person you're voting for? This leads to problems of big groups of friends all voting for the same team. Obviously you risk being caught out if you score more points than are available but that's pretty unlikely to happen.

I know what you're thinking. Perhaps Matt and I should just be nicer to our opponents! Well last time we scored 3 votes and this time just 1 but I'd say if anything we got on better with our opponents this time compared to last time. The system is almost completely random.

Ultimately, the big problem I have is that there are a maximum of 30 points available in a tournament who's highest scoring team scored 58 VPs. These are points you have little or no control over. Of course you can be nice to your opponents but you still need to win games. Of the five games there was only one team that didn't seem worthy of our favourite game vote and they won the event having scored 4 votes from somewhere! Perhaps they were just miserable with us because they didn't expect to win.

Final Thought about Tau
There was a ridiculous number of Tau armies on display at the event. It didn't matter which way you looked you could see riptides at every turn. We met a few people over the weekend who are in same position as me. I've been playing Tau for a good while now and whilst I love the new codex, unfortunately so does everyone else.

This isn't a unique phenomenon to Tau. I'm sure there were die hard Eldar, Necrons and Daemonhunters players that ended up looking like bandwagoners when the new codex hit. I'm sure there'll be plenty of people who suddenly collect a marine army if it proves to be competitive. On the subject of that, I've had the new book for a week now so I think it's time to start my detailed reviews tomorrow.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Battle Brothers Army Painting Competition Sept 2013 (pic heavy)

I'll start with the overall winners and then look at some notable mentions. You might recognise the winners from our final battle report. Darren and Jeff had the right combination. Some eye-catching Orks that drew the eye, some stunning Tau to keep you looking and then you notice just how beautiful the Orks were too. Their objective markers were fantastic (who knows why they didn't enter them on the Saturday). I was sickened to hear that the camouflage pattern on the Tau models was all done free hand with a brush and no masking tape! Seriously that kind of painting skill shouldn't be allowed!!

Here's the best of the rest then. No offence to anyone involved but the standard has visibly dropped from previous years. Obviously every single entry was far above what I could achieve with my meagre skills but we're been treated to some stunning armies at other events and the decision has been much more difficult. I'd probably attribute this to GW's policy of running more events per year, charging more for them and insisting on a ridiculous tournament system (more tomorrow).


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