Saturday, 31 October 2009

Some Pics

Wow. Three months since my last post. That stands as a record. I should be somehow embarrased, but the truth is I’m not. I’ve come to accept the fact that I neglect to attend my blog properly, and that’s it. Life is though when you are a blog in my hands, I suppose.

Summer is gone, beachtime is over, and my painting progress hasn’t gone too far. I’ve painted another Leman Russ and a Chimera for my usual customer, and currently I’m working on a couple of Sentinels and some imperial guards for him. They should be finished by now, but two weeks ago I was stupid enough to accept an invitation to play soccer, and I broke my thumb during the match. Hell, one year after I broke my fibula and got half-lame for the rest of my life (‘cause it didn’t recover entirely), one year since my last friendly match, and I get another souvenir from this damned sport. I’ve promised myself to practise sports uniquely in the Playstation from now on, although I fear for my fingers...

I only want to post some pics today. The first ones are shots of the tanks mentioned above, the second ones of the fire dragon exarch that won me “Best WH40K individual” prize in my local GW painting contest in June. Thanks to my friend Ergman for taking the pictures, although the tank ones didn’t have the correct exposure level selected and look a little “blue-ish”. Anyway, it’s still possible to get the idea of the paintjob. The exarch ones look great in my opinion.

More news sooner or later (who knows).

Sunday, 19 July 2009

New update - really needed

Hi there,

I haven't posted anything in the last weeks, as usual. But that's just been because either I've been busy doing stuff, or I've just felt too lazy to type in my laptop. Now I can't delay this anymore, so there go my news.

First, I've lost my job. That means a big reduction in my monthly income, but on the other hand a great increase in my free time (who says I don't think always positive?). I've taken advantage of this fact for painting a couple of things I entered in a local GW painting contest, winning best entry in WH40K single and placing second overall. a pity I didn't place first and won the trophy, but hey, the winner entered an old school giant that was really gorgeous. But next year I'm commited to win, be sure of that! (evil laugh on the backstage). I'll post some pics of my entries as soon as I recover them from the store, where they're currently on display.

Later, I decided that if I put together less monthly income and increase in free time I should get something like get yourself some kind of job!. Therefore, I asked at the store if there was anybody interested in my painting abilities for commisions. It turned out that one of the staffs knew a guy who wanted to get some IG tanks painted, so we talked a bit and reached an agreement. He asked me for a top-quality painted Leman Russ in urban camouflage, and the rest was up to me.

Reaching this point, I must admit two things: first, this was the first time I painted any GW vehicle, and second, for the last months I've been really interested on learning how to paint armor in historical style. In February I bought some books, DVDs, painting material new to me (such as oils) and eventually an airbrush. But I was a bit afraid to put all this knowledge in a real model, just because I wasn't feeling too confident with all this new stuff. But now I had the opportunity of trying it and get paid, so I dusted my equipment box and got my hands on it.

First thing I did was assembling the model. Man, that took me over two hours, how can there be son many pieces in a simple Leman Russ? It's much easier with my bugs - body, legs, arms, head, symbiont stuff. In the end I decided to add some extras to the model, such as extra supplies, canvas and so on, because I wanted to get a hardened veteran of several campaigns assigned to a regiment who has been through months of war, and thus damaged by the elements and carrying supplies for its crew. I tried some of those extras and placed them in the model with blu-tack to make myself and idea of the final result until I was happy with the result.

Then, the paintjob started. I used the airbrush for the first stages and for adding dust in the lower parts of the tank, and oils for outlining the armor plates and adding dirtyness. A light drybrush was also needed for adding subtle highlights, and then I used the sponge method for the chipping. And I was happy with the result!

The last part of the paintjob were mostly details: the caterpillar tracks, the already mentioned supplies, the heavy weapon sponsons and also the heavy stubber gunner. I limited the colour palette in all the model to greys for the main colours, browns for dirt and leather (straps, bags and the like), silver for the bare metal and red for contrast. In the end, it turned out to be a solid scheme with which I'm very fond of. I've taken some pics of the finished model, there they go.

The customer was very happy with the job, and he's ordered me another Leman Russ and a Chimera in the same scheme of colour. Well, it seems that at least I'm gonna have enough cash to pay my beers for the next weeks...

Thursday, 18 June 2009

A bit of tactical advice... I think

I was just thinking on writing a new post about my recent thoughts about Lictors, when after reading some posts in the Heresy Online forums, I got some kind of revelation. You see, after the release of the new and super improved Imperial Guard, new ways of dealing with that army must be developed. And while my main Hive Mind was taking a nap and my conscience was connected to the Infinity Circuit, I had a flash on how an Eldar player can field a really nasty unit against the guardsmen of the Imperium. Do you wanna know which one? This guy.

Yes, Maugan Ra, from now on the guard mower. Why? Well, he has a weapon with a reach of 36” (90 cm) that fires on the move. And S6 and AP5. And he has the Crack Shot and Fast Shot exarch powers. Does anybody see where I am aiming?

Pretty simple: here we have a unit with three wounds with Eternal Warrior and a 2+ save that can get a 4+ cover save really easily during the game, so we can say that he’s quite tough and hard to kill. This guy can move and launch a flurry of five shots per turn OR, even better, shot four shots that re-roll to wound AND ignore any cover save. With a BS7 this means 3-4 average guards dead per turn, not too impressive. But it could also mean 3-4 guards dead in a command squad – insta killing the officer with S6 – and that sounds much better. Or it could mean a WHOLE heavy weapon squad out of the game (insta killing each model with its S6), and now this expensive model becomes a real bargain. It doesn’t matter if the enemy unit is entrenched in a bunker, his crack shot power will deny any cover save, and S6 means insta killing any guard model (but ogryns of course) including heavy weapon teams due to their new rules making them count as a single model. Definitely awesome. Am, I forgot to mention that he packs four S6 power weapon attacks in close combat. Anybody wants more?

And you? Have you recently come to any original idea about how to deal with the new IG? I’ll accept suggestions for both the Eldar and Tyranid sides (ah, curse my 40K bipolar disorder…).

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

My new Tyranid tactic

Before I start working on my entry for the local GW painting contest, I think it’s time to finally post those thoughts I’ve recently having in my mind. They all started when reading some post of my fellow bloggers, and took shape in a battle report I finished last February (soon to be published here, I promise). That was a special battle not only because my opponent was a great guy and brought with him a balanced (although hard) list, but because that was the first time I used my newly developed game tactic: the “reserve all” tactic.

Ok, I know, you’re gonna tell me “Hey, that’s not new, lots of people are using it out there with big success”, and that’s true. But on the very basis of this tactic I approach it from a different point of view. See, most of the guys who use it have fast armies mostly comprised of vehicles, skimmers, bikers and similar units; and take advantage of this tactic by a counter-deployment to their opponent’s army. They rely on confusing their opponent, and then strike first (and strike hard). They keep moving fast and concentrating their attacks in specific opponents/critical objectives, behaving like a surgeon with a scalpel. This tactic has been extensively used by guys like Fritz from Way of Saim Hann, and has proved to work well.

My approach is similar, but different. My army has no vehicles, no skimmers, and no very-fast units (I don’t use raveners or gargoyles – maybe if they become plastic…), so every model on the table moves 6” plus 1D6” if they run, and that is a VERY slow army. But, on the other hand, I field four units of 15 gaunts, a brood of shooty warriors, an ALWAYS outflanking Broodlord (outflanking is almost the best new rule of 5th Ed. for my bugs), a couple of zoanthropes and four monstrous creatures (one Tyrant and four ‘Fexes). And now guys, that is a BIG amount of models to kill (a total amount of 104 wounds, generally immune to instant death).

What do I do with this? Simple: overwhelm my opponent. It’s easy, you’ll see: I generally choose to go second, and after my opponent has deployed his units in cover, strategic places and so on, I simply declare everything to be in reserve (and the Broodlord to be outflanking). This gives me two strong points and two weak ones, explained as follows.

The first strong point is that my opponent spends his first and second turn shooting at nothing; and two turns without putting wounds on my models means that in the final and most critical turns of the battle I’ll have most of my models on the table, an amount that usually doubles that of my opponent. That’s great when you’re facing loads of gaunts and monstrous creatures, and puts a lot of pressure (and fear) on my opponent as he sees that he’s running out of time to damage severely my army, while I simply overcome his defences with a ton of bodies.

Second strong point is double: this deployment effectively allows me to counter-deploy my opponent concentrating my units where they’re most needed. This is specially useful in a spearhead deployment, when my reserves can come form ANY point of my own board edge, thus ignoring the initial limitation of deploying only on my quarter side (and having to walk a looong way to exchange “opinions” with the enemy). This deployment also gives me the first shooting turn, that meaning that I’ll strike first. Yeah, well, I play with ‘nids, and you may think that my shooting is poor. But that’s the mistake that most of my opponents make: with my full army I place every turn two S5AP3 small, two S8AP5 pinning big, four S6AP5 small, and one S4AP5 pinning big TEMPLATES (the new rules for templates are by far the best new rule of 5th Ed. for my bugs), plus some short-ranged fire (30 fleshborers and 30 spinefists and a Dakkafex). I’ve lost count of the amount of space marines I’ve killed by just spitting acid, throwing carnivorous beetles and worms, shooting toxic needles or growing strangler plants inside my enemy’s lines. And for specially recalcitrant units, the energies of the Warp Blast are like music to my ears (get a “hit” against a unit of marines in open field and you’ll know what I mean). I assure you that in my games, I almost kill more enemies in the shooting phase that in the close combat one, and that means something!

But every head has its tails, and this tactic is far from perfect. Its main weak point is the “randomlyness” inherent to reserve deployment. I mean, I’m not sure of which units or at least how many of them I’m going to have deployed each turn; these could be the units I need most at that moment or simply a bunch of good-for-nothing bugs. This is something very dangerous especially with the gaunts, who specially rely on the proximity of a synaptic creature to do their job properly. To counteract this risk I field enough synaptic creatures to hold my lines tight (my zoanthropes are also synaptic creatures, of course). I’d pay gold for a tyranid-eldar autarch, but the only unit I have that affects reserves is the lictor, and I’m not gonna field one of these for their 80 point cost just to get a re-roll for reserves each turn he’s alive, sorry. At 1.500 points I think he’s a waste of points, so I have to live with the burden of not knowing with what I’m going to play each turn; but on the other hand this adds more dramatic intensity to my games, and I appreciate that very much.

The second major disadvantage of this tactic is that, as exposed previously, my army is quite slow, and thus its performance depends heavily on the length of the game. If the game ends soon (according to statistics this means 33% of all games), I’ll have had barely time to approach my enemies and probably had chewed them less than they deserve. But if the game extends to turn six (or seven), business is done, and then it’s up to my opponent to prove if he’s a good general and can stop my army doing his job well (because my army is not unstoppable at all, you see, I’ve just prepared it as a good all-rounder list) or if he’s just one of those cheesy players I usually face (and hate despise dislike so much) who only prepares lists with the best units of his rulebook thinking in a single type of battle and doesn’t know what to do and how to use them properly if surprised by a tactic like mine (and will subsequently be assimilated by my genetically enhanced troops).

5th Ed. and this tactic have radically changed my approach to WH40K games, making of them a more interesting tactical challenge. Of course, I still retain some of that like for the random events all old WH Orc&Goblins players have (you’ll never have enough fanatics, squigs and black-orc-animosity-stoppers in your army!), and that makes much more fun out of my games (at least for me). I’ve enjoyed this new way of playing for the last moths, and just in case I had any doubt, results are there: three victories, one draw and one loss. And that loss was almost a draw, and nearly a victory; I played against a cheesy eldar army with ten wraithguard and avengers as basic units, with an Avatar and Eldrad and all that fluff, who went lucky and had the battle ended in turn five in a capture and control game… because in turn six his army would have run out of basic units (the Avatar and Eldrad were already dead), and in turn seven simply wiped out. Tails that time, heads for the next one :)

Monday, 1 June 2009

Games Day '09

Well, it's been (again) a lot of time since my last post. Frankly, I haven't been in the mood for writing lately; I've simply had too many things to do besides the hobby. I've managed to play a few games and finish my participation in the "Emperor's Fist" WH40K campaign, where I haven't classified for the final round but I've achieved four wins, four losses and a draw (not that bad). And I've painted some of those new Gondor warriors I've adquired for the new "War of the Ring" game, hopefully the whole army will be ready in a few months. I've 16 ready, so my painting counter has been properly increased.

Today I'm just bringing you some pictures of the Games Day that took place yesterday. Finally I didn't bring any entry, as I've been very short of time those last months. A pity, but also a good motivation for next year. I want to share with you a few of the pictures I took in the event, some real masterpieces you only find every now and then.

First of them is the Space Wolf brought by Luis, a nice mate and great painter who holds at home about twenty Demons (half of them are golden ones). But again, the Slayer Sword was not awarded to him! I think he has some kind of curse on him with that trophy, something really weird. I'm sure you'll grab that hilt some day dude, you'll only have to surprise us one time more!

This shot is one of the firsts I made, I think those falcons are two of the finalists of the "Best Vehicle" category. I like both a lot!

And the last pic is of an entry that surpasses the rest in originality and finesse. I think that is a job of a French guy (probably monsieur Bonamant) and is simply... amazing. I don't know if it got a trophy, due to that Games Workshop policy of rewarding not only the paintjob but the games universe spirit (and this piece is not what I call "Workshop" style). Anyway, great job indeed.

Next post: local GW painting contest in June. Oh yes, I have a project again.

Thursday, 26 March 2009

Dire Avenger Exarch

Well, it seems that I'm not able to gather enought time to write a decent post lately. Whatever, Easter is around the corner, and with a few free days at hand I'll do my best to finish all the posts I have half-written as drafts. Or at least I'll try to, considering that some of them are several months old!

Today I'll just post some pictures I took from my latest painting: the Exarch for the Dire Avengers squad. It was intended to be finished for a painting contest in a shop close to my place, and it was indeed finished on time; but took me about ten hours of job, because I wanted to achieve a close-to top grade result. And therefore, instead of giving me one point for finishing an infantry soldier, I'm earning five because I've put an effort on it similar to painting a character - general, farseer or whatever. I think I deserve it after so many hours of hard job.

The pictures are again bad (too dark), and they don't show properly the level of contrast of the paint, but luckily half an hour ago I've finished building a home-made light box that I hope will greatly help me in my future shots. I painted the body of the Exarch first and then I went for the head, mixing several blues and adding turquoise for the hightlights. The weapons were black, highlighted with different greens. They were a bit rushed, as was the white tabard, because I was running out of time for the contest. The standard was the final touch; I freehanded the first things that came to my mind, and maybe should consider to add something else once I've retrieved the piece from the contest.

Hope you like it.

Wednesday, 11 March 2009


Hi again! It’s been three weeks since last time I posted on my blog. Did you think I was being idle all this time? Not at all! I have a big bunch of news to write here, but not too much time; so I’ll try to be as brief as possible, without skipping any of the things I’ve been doing lately. Hard but...

First of all, painting job. I’ve finished another brood of ten termagaunts, already varnished and ready for battle. This means another ten points for my score, yes! I’ve also started painting two tyranid warriors to complete my five-bug brood; they’ll be ready for next week (and then I’ll add another four points to my score, yes yes yes).

But that’s not all. I’ve been told that there is a painting contest in a hobby shop in my city, and I’m planning to present my squad of dire avengers. For that mean, I have to finish painting the exarch of the squad (another point) and prepare a base to show them in all their glory. I’ve been looking for a circle-shaped one, but can’t find any with the proper size, until this very afternoon I entered a carpentry which was ending business and found some great ones at half price! I’m glad with it, and now I only have to model some terrain with a bit of clay (I’m not scared about that although it’s the first time I model terrain, but any help or advice will be really welcome).

In the picture you can see the base I got, and also two things more: first, a small tool case I’m gonna use to keep the tons of bits I have scattered around my home (that I’ve also bought today – great shopping day indeed); and second, some miniatures that belong to my recently started project... an army of Gondor for the new “War of the Ring” game! I’ve to admit that I never thought of getting some of the LotR minitures, not because of their quality (some of them are quite good indeed) but for the gaming rules used, that I disliked very much. But hey, the new system uses batallions of troops. Batallions! I’m imaging a couple of hundreds of soldiers in the board fighting each other in a somehow “historical” style and... well, can’t stop drooling :) Some of my mates had already started their armies and I simply couldn’t resist... so I picked up an army that was not being used yet, and chose the Gondorians because 1.They seem really easy to paint, and 2.I’ll be able to field lots of beautiful armoured soldiers, that can be led by Gandalf or Aragorn himself! Besides, I’have access to some really special units, like the Army of the Dead, and can include some allies too (although I think I’ll favour a “pure” Gondor army). At the same time, I’ve had an idea about how to make easier their storage, and have decided to magnetize them all to their movement trays, and then I’m planning to magnetize the trays themselves so they can stick to a metal tool case I have yet to buy.

I’ve calculated that I can keep the whole army in a medium sized case. That would be great because I don’t have so much room left at this moment! I’m using some magnets I got from the internet (as opposed to the USA, it’s difficult to buy them where I live). The result is simply terrific; and I’ve started calling it “Lord of the Magnets: the Game”, hehehe.

Wow, it’s late again. I haven’t finished writing all I wanted to, and in fact I’ve left the best part of it! Well, although I’m extremely busy lately, I hope I’ll post the remaining stuff in the following days... I’ve been working on it really hard!

Thursday, 19 February 2009

IG Reference Sheet

Well, the purpose of this blog is not actually giving any rules updates or sneak peeks, but I think this is worth seeing... it's in French, but I haven't found it difficult to translate (hope you won't neither).

The new IG reference sheets. I'm sure all IG players around the world are dancing with hapiness at this moment.

Inferno rifles with AP3? Those pesky mon-keigh have developed more advanced technology... we will deal with them with extreme caution from now on, huh.

Monday, 16 February 2009

Year 2009: First model finished

Well, this weekend I’ve finally managed to get some time to spend on my minis. At first I had planned to start painting my Wraithlord, but eventually I just added on it some “extras” while I finished the paintjob of my first Vyper with some freehands. After that I gave it a couple of coats of varnish and took a few pictures to post them here, but before I played a bit with Photoshop again … I still have to find a satisfactory way to process my pics, but I feel that this has been a step forwards.

This model also means my first five points awarded for finishing miniatures this year! Wooooooo!! Well, to be sincere this model has actually been mostly painted in late 2008, but I’m gonna give me the points as Admiral Drax does – it doesn’t matter how long it takes, it does when it is done! And I’ve spent no less than three hours this weekend on it, so I think this is perfectly justified.

I guess I’ll start with the Wraithlord this weekend. It’s one of my favourite models of the Eldar army, and I’ve added my “personal touch” on it… more on this in a few days :)

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

Painting markers

I’ve been very busy lately, and haven’t been able to finish any of my projects during January. Shame on me again, but I’ve made some progress nonetheless. First, I’ve seriously considered including (and mastering a bit if possible) a new painting technique to my already learned ones (more info on this soon). Second, I‘ve directed my main efforts towards painting my bugs, almost finishing a few gaunts. Third, being a bit fed up of painting always the same stuff, I decided to give myself a short break and paint something completely different but nonetheless quite useful: counters and markers. I decided going for those after playing a few games and noticing a real need of a way to control the numbers of wounds caused on a miniature, the leadership tests to be taken by a unit after the shooting phase, pinned units and so on; besides, I wanted to try a bit of freehand just for the sake of it. I’ve already finished modelling a wound counter for my tyranids (again, more info on this soon) and finished some basic markers for my 40K games.

The markers are really simple: I took some spare round bases I had laying in my bitz box and glued some circles of plasticard on top of them (to get a perfectly flat surface). I primed them black, and painted some warning symbols on them. The red ones will serve for serious leadership tests, such as panic, and will identify fleeing units too; while the yellow ones (not finished yet) will quickly identify pinned/to ground units.

I’m quite happy on how they turned out, and although I was looking for a more serious look in them, they have some kind of “comic book” look I like very much. I’m planning to do some more of those for representing objectives, psychic powers and more stuff I may need during a game. Anybody has an idea I could use for their design? I’d thank any contribution :)

Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Emperor's Fist Campaign - First games

Well, I have already played my first two games at the “Fist of the Emperor” campaign. According to the draw, I had to play both in a shop I had visited a couple of times. Attention was excellent there, and their gaming table and scenery attached was of a very good quality. That was a nice start.

My first opponent was an old space marine player I haven’t met before. He fielded an Ultramarine army which included models of the 80’s – early 90’s, such as devastators with a shoulder-mounted heavy weapon, the old space marine captain (the one with the helmet like the new Sicarius) and, best of all, a predator of legend. All FULLY painted. It was a real pleasure to play against such a cool and balanced army, moreover when the opponent was also very friendly and easy going. And it was great to get my ass kicked by 7-4 in a spearhead annihilation mission by this army. If only half of my games were played against such a great army & opponent…

My second opponent turned out to be a bit more of a disaster. He got almost one hour late to the shop, but I admit that having forgotten your wallet at home means a bit of a mess when trying to get to the subway without money. This time we played spearhead but with the seize ground mission, four objectives in total. The game was a pain for me, having to deal with the only army I’m not ready to face: more Tyranids. In a great performance of “Brood War”, we almost annihilate each other before reaching turn five, where although I was pressing strongly his lines, he was holding 2 objectives for my only 1; then the dice decided to go for another turn, and I wiped his remaining troops from the table for a victory on my side. Hurray!

Now I got some spare time before the games to be played on February, so I’d better finish those termagaunts once and for all (still zero points in my painting score – no way!)

Friday, 16 January 2009

Last test for the Tournament

Briefing: again, another battle report of my bugs. But this time, and as promised, with pictures! They may not be the best shots I could have made, but I'm proud of the result :)

Last Saturday I enjoyed a game against one of the usual customers of my local GW store. We played a 1.500 points battle in an Imperial world, where old buildings and vegetation mixed together as the result of the effects of a Tyranid bio-invasion and its common bio-spore bombardment. The Salamander space marines took defensive positions to face the incoming alien horde…

The battlefield in all its glory. The Baneblade didn't take part in the battle (luckily)

The dice decided for a seize ground mission with four objectives, with me placing two in no-man’s land and in the open, and my opponent placing two close to a table border, one of them in cover. The pitched battle deployment gave him control of that table border (d’oh!), where he deployed his troops: sniper scouts, a venerable Dreadnought and a Thunderfire cannon in some ruins on the left flank, a Whirlwind and a tactical squad (divided in combat squads) on the right flank, and a Demolisher, Tu’Shan and five tactical marines (another combat squad) in the center; plus two Ironclads with drop pods in reserve. I went for a change in my usual tactic of dividing my army in two and avoid the central part of the board – the why of this, well, I’m not sure yet; I think the idea of having Ironclads appearing in front of me and blocking my advancing route scared me :P – and deployed in a line: twenty gaunts on each flank and ten in the center, having another ten in reserve (to fill gaps and capture objectives), shooty Warriors, the Dakkafex and a Zoanthrope on the right flank, a heavy Carnifex and another Zoanthrope on the left flank, and my Hive Tyrant and the remaining Carnifex in the center. I reserved as always my Broodlord and his small retinue to do an outflank attack.

The left flank with the gaunts, zoanthrope and heavy 'fex

Right flank with gaunts and Warriors, threatened by an Ironclad Dreadnought

Center of my deployment. Note my Tyrant hiding behind a building to avoid lascannon fire

I failed to seize initiative and the battle began, with an Ironclad pod landing on my right flank, where I just had a Dakkafex (who sucks at close combat) and a Zoanthrope to deal with it. The Thunderfire cannon killed most of the central spinegaunts in his first salvo (where did this weapon came from??) while the Whirlwind fired and missed completely (I’ve noticed that indirect fire is everything but accurate). The scouts killed a few spinegaunts on the left side. In my turn, I responded with a general advance of my troops and a very poor shooting phase, killing only three miniatures after placing five small and three big templates (not a good start, actually).

At the beginning of turn two, another drop pod landed in my left flank and another Ironclad emerged from it, burning one of the spinegaunt brood with his heavy flamer that, thanks to Tu’Shan, counted as twin-liked; leaving only one gaunt alive. The Thunderfire cannon killed some termagaunts, while, the Whirlwind missed again, and some spinegaunts of the right flank were killed by frag missile and bolter fire. Some wounds were placed on my Tyrant Guard and the Carnifex of the center by lascannon fire and Demolisher shells too. In my turn, the Broodlord appeared in the left flank and run towards the building where the scouts and the Thunderfire cannon were hiding, and my reserved termagaunts appeared in the center-right of my former battle line. I moved my Dakkafex towards the right edge of the board, trying to use it as a bait for the Ironclad, and fired to a combat squad on range, killing two marines. Both Zoanthropes in both flanks failed to hit both Ironclads (both+both+both = d’oh!!), and the rest of my shots failed to do anything. In the assault phase, the heavy ’fex on the left flank charged to the Ironclad and suffered a wound, destroying one of his close combat weapons in the process. If the start hadn’t been good, this second turn hadn’t also been too good for my army.

Turn three began as always: the three times damned Thunderfire cannon blowing up my gaunts – at this point I had lost over 60% of them, and that was a real problem because they were my only scoring units – and the Whirldwind missing again. Tu’Shan and his retinue advanced to face my Hive Tyrant in the close-and-personal way, while the venerable Dreadnought on the left flank killed a few genestealers of the Broodlord retinue with his heavy flamer first, and then charged the unit. On the other flank, the Ironclad killed a Tyranid Warrior but this was a mistake my opponent realized soon, because I removed the closest miniature to the Dreadnought and thus it wasn’t able to charge (and smash) the rest of the unit. The Whirlwind missed his shot, and another wound was put in the Carnifex on the center. During the assault phase of the left flank, my Broodlord and his genestealers destroyed the venerable Dreadnought before it could attack (at last a strike of luck!), losing one of his members when the machine exploded; and the heavy Carnifex lost another two wounds to the Ironclad before destroying it completely. Two Dreads less were good news for me, and my turn started with the Broodlord entering the building towards the Thunderfire cannon with very, very bad intentions; and the wounded heavy ‘fex advancing towards that building too, and fired towards the exposed side of the Demolisher, hitting it (S8 impact!) but being unable to penetrate its plating of 11 and failing in his task of preventing the tank from firing in the next turn. In the right flank, the Dakkafex killed another space marine; while the shooty warriors killed another three and pinned them, and the Zoanthropes were unable to hit anything (again). The assault phase had the Broodlord charging the Thunderfire cannon and tearing the Techmarine operator apart. Now this was a good turn, third time lucky I suppose :)

The Broodlord making a mess of the Salamanders' troops

Turn four had Tu’Shan charging the Hive Tyrant and the remaining Ironclad taking the bait and rushing forward the Dakkafex. The combined fire of the sniper scouts and the Demolisher finished my heavy ‘fex, and the Whirlwind missed his shot again (Mental note: if I ever have to use it, never rely on indirect fire). The rest of shots from the Salamanders were ineffective (does this word exist in English or am I making it up?). In the assault phase, the Ironclad shredded the Dakkafex (four hits, four wounds, bye bye Dakkafex), and then came the big combat between the big guys. My Tyrant attacked first due to his I6, and with his WS6 and four attacks he managed to kill… one space marine. Tu’Shan hit him three times, but failed to wound the monster; and the Tyrant Guard killed another marine. But then, the veteran sergeant of the squad put two wounds on the tyrant thanks to his power fist, and I knew he was doomed. In my fourth turn I swarmed the two objectives of my side with my remaining gaunts (28% of the initial ones) and fired my weapons to the marines to no effect. In the assault phase the Broodlord ate the sniper scouts, and the Tyrant killed two marines before being finished by Tu’Shan himself. As a response, the Tyrant guard killed the remaining veteran with power fist, but The Chapter Master of the Salamanders stood firm.

My Tyrant was not enough to defeat the Salamanders' Chapter Master. Next time I'll have my revenge...

And this was the end of the battle, because it was getting late and I had to go to my grandma’s for a family meal. I was declared winner for two objectives to one, but I would have liked to know what would have happened with one or two turns more. Probably Tu’Shan would have advanced, destroying everything in his path and contesting one of my objectives. Or maybe I would have finished the combat squad holding one of his objectives with my templates. Anyway, a great game, in which the only thing I missed was a higher amount of painted miniatures, and that has giving me the urge to paint more of my bugs. Hopefully for this Sunday’s battle (the first of the “Fist of the Emperor” campaign) I’ll have finished another unit of termagaunts I’ve been recently working into, and this will mean my first painting points of the year!

Wednesday, 7 January 2009

Tournament list test

Briefing: again, this is a long post which deals about playing with tyranids; no eldar stuff in here. And I've been writing for over an hour, so it can be a bit dense. Am, I forgot my camera at home, so no pictures in this post. This all can make the reading a bit dull; be warned.

Okay, I had my ‘Nid army list ready for action (I love old Duke Nukem 3D sentences sooo much…) and it was about time to play a couple of friendly games with it before the beginning of the Inter-Store Tournament. I arranged a battle versus one of the red shirts of my city, who also happens to be a really nice guy and a good friend of mine, and we met for the challenge of beating his new and quite cheesy Space Marines (SM) with my hyperactive bugs.

I’ve been using for some months some of the quick reference sheets published by the bloggers of From the Warp (thank you so much), so it has become a piece of cake (Nukem rules again!) the previously tedious task of setting objectives, deployments and that stuff. The dice decided that we were going to play a Seize Ground mission with three objectives, which were placed in no-man’s land and quite symmetrically – one close to the left border of the table, another to the right border and the last one more or less in the center of the table. Only the objective on the right border (from my point of view) was in cover, and it was the one deployed by my opponent. I deployed mine in the open because, although I don’t know why, there seems to be a psychological rule saying that if one objective is in cover, you must reach & hold it as soon as possible; whereas if the objective is in the open, it becomes much less tempting, and you’ll have time in the last turns to approach and take it. I didn’t want to see quick-deploying marines reaching the objectives in turn 1 (or 2) and entrench there, where they would be difficult to throw out; and I had also been reading some tactical thoughts about placing objectives in the open in The Way of Saim-Hann blog, so I wanted to give this tactic a try.

Once the objectives were placed, the dice decided for a Dawn of War deployment, what had me taking first turn and deploying my Hive Tyrant and his retinue in the very center of the table, with one unit of spinegaunts to the right and another to the left. While deploying I had a funny idea and deployed the gaunts in a row, so I had the imaginary line that divided the board in two halves almost completely covered with my ‘nids. This was a great tactical movement, because in Dawn of War the player who deploys second can place his units anywhere in his own half of the board but not closer than 18” to any enemy unit. My deployment effectively restricted his deployment area to a maximum of 6-7” from his own table border, thus preventing his squads from occupying the ruins he had in his half of the board because they were placed more towards the center of the table. I’ll have to write down this tactic for further battles… The SM deployed a tactical unit in a rhino close to the right border, obviously aiming at capturing the objective in cover, and a squad of scouts in a building placed really close to my table border (pesky infiltration rules); while I declared that my Broodlord was attempting a flank advance (more pesky infiltration rules).

My opponent failed to seize initiative and the battle began. All my army but the infiltrating Broodlord came from my border, and the scouts were annihilated by a fire storm of fleshborers, deathspitters and devourers (my dakkafex killing three of them), while the Hive Tyrant advanced lonely and the spinegaunts in the center of the table lurked while waiting for additional synapse control. In his turn, my friend deployed a drop pod (my first drop pod!) with a tactical squad and a Chaplain in the left side, backed by a Land Speeder Tornado, and a Land Raider Crusader with seven assault terminators (four with thunder hammers) in the center of the board. The termies disembarked and run towards the Tyrant, while a squad of devastators ran behind the Land Raider towards a good-and-in-cover fire point.

At this point, I had to change all my tactical principles. The seven-man termie squad was by far superior in hand-to-hand combat to any of my units, even my Hive Tyrant. The new storm shields rules give them a 3+ invulnerable save, so an assault with my Tyrant or my ‘fexes would result in perhaps a termie or two less and surely a big bug less in my army, something I couldn’t afford if I wanted to win. What could I do then? Well, fortunately my army has a good resource to deal with these events, and it’s my brand new “Wound Saturation Tactic”; or in more common words, “fire everything over there”. Deathspitter and barbed strangler templates, coupled by fleshborer and devourer fire would help me thinning the ranks of these super-humans. So the Tyrant withdrew shamelessly (and running!) towards my table border while most of my army fired relentlessly to the terminators. Meanwhile, a Zoanthrope took control of the left flank, and the Broodlord deployed in the right side (pity, because I wanted him in the left side in order to eat that chaplain) and finished with the SM tactical unit that had already (and predictably) occupied the objective in cover in a single close combat round (he killed five marines and his retinue another five - perfect result). I didn’t know that units who flanked could assault the very turn they entered the table, but one of the redshirts nicely pointed in the rulebook that non-assault-when-you-deploy rules are only applicable to deep striking units. Good new for my stealers, indeed; and second squad out for the SM army.

My opponent moved his troops, and while his Land Raider and terminators advanced forward, his devastators reached a good-and-in-cover firing point; and the squad of the chaplain occupied some ruins close to the objective to the left. A rain of fire was directed towards my heavy Carnifex, and after failing a big bunch of armour saves, he was dead; as it was later the zoanthrope controlling the left flank (the remaining zoanthrope moving towards there to prevent the gaunts from falling back). In return, another Carnifex charged and destroyed the Land Raider, and some terminators died to acid projectiles. With the destruction of the Land Raider, the enemy’s forces were severely damaged, leaving (literally) a big hole in the center of his battleline, but nonetheless the SM kept pushing forward.

I was taking the upper hand, but the battle was far from won. His Chaplain squad could advance at any moment and contest the left side objective, hold by the moment by my gaunts, his devastators could do the same with the central objective, and his terminators were heading towards the right side objective. Besides, he had a fast moving Land Speeder that could contest any objective. But I knew that everything he could get at that moment were contested objectives, so I had a draw assured at minimum. I went for the win, firing wildly to the terminator unit until only two members remained, and then, to my surprise, they failed their morale test and flew, unable to regroup due to the proximity of my Broodlord and his retinue!! This unexpected event, coupled with the destruction of the rhino by the tyranid warriors, left the right side objective in my hands without opposition. The Land Raider-destroyer Carnifex advanced and engaged the devastators in close combat, finishing them. The central objective was also mine! And at this point, in the 6th turn, my opponent elegantly conceded defeat because all he could do was contesting one objective (the left one) with his Chaplain squad and another with his Land Speeder while I kept one controlled. Tyranid victory!

Some thoughts after the battle: I felt really uncomfortable during most of the battle, because I’m not used to face better hand-to-hand units than mine, but luckily I was cold-blooded enough to keep exploiting the strongest points of my army and, although using my troops in a somehow odd way, managed to achieve a good result. Placing two objectives in the open was a great idea too, because my opponent didn’t dare to approach them at the beginning of the game and preferred to stay in cover, close to them; which allowed me to swarm them with my gaunts to control/contest them. My opponent didn’t play very well, he should have advanced the Land Raider at top speed and disembark the termies in front of my lines, directly assaulting them, instead of walking through the battlefield while being shot to death (although at a very low rate thanks to that incredible armour). My inability to deal with vehicles was stated again; it was a lucky roll what I got to destroy the Land Raider, but the Land Speeder was a constant pain I couldn’t shoot down; and it took me four turns to destroy a fast-moving and empty rhino in close combat – and it needed to be stunned first with a deathspitter salvo. I think I’m gonna have trouble with mechanized lists.

Monday, 5 January 2009

Happy 2009!!

New year already! Wow, these last days have passed so fast I've barely have time to spend in the hobby. My last post is from the 16th of December! Oh my, Christmas time is sooo consuming... meeting the family, doing a lot of shopping, calling old friends, fighting the flu... every year the same story for me :)

I've had two weeks of holidays and this is the very first really free day of the agenda. So all my carefully planned painting schedules have been ruined, as always. OK, on Wednesday I'll come back to my working routine, maybe then I'll be able to keep painting at a consistent pace... I really hope so.

Meanwhile, I've taken a pinture of my eldar warhost at its current state. The Vyper is not finished yet, and I challenge you to guess which will be the next addition to the force... c'mon, its easy!

Currently I'm painting some termagaunts (like the one lurking behind the blue guys in the picture), I'd like to have an all painted tyranid army for the inminent inter-store tournament; after that I'll continue with my Alaitoc force. And talking about painting and schedules, I've just read a post from Lone Pilgrim about giving oneself some kind of "score" for painting minis, and I've liked the idea a lot (thanks mate). I'm sure it will encourage me to finish my army sooner, and other minis as well. I've thought of something like this, very similar to his scoring style:
  • Infantry miniatures in standard round bases - 1 point
  • Heavy infantry (big round bases), bikes and the stuff - 2 points
  • Light vehicles, dreadnoughts, monstruous creatures, walkers, etc. AND top grade painted minis (e.g. commanders) - 5 points
  • Vehicles - 10 points
  • Superheavies - 20 points (although these are not in my list)
Let's go working :)