Thursday, 31 May 2012

The Pigeon has come home to roost...

With Blog Wars 3 fast approaching I have taken the opportunity of a trip up north to visit family. Blog Wars is closer to my mums place than mine, so a nice relaxing few days off and Blog Wars on the way back.

Anyway, no work for a few days and the afternoon off gave me the opportunity to paint this little beauty. Now some have made cruel comments about the new Griffen model, saying the head is too small and it looks like a pigeon... with that in mind, let's say my Griffen has been somewhat inspired by nature... and given I live in Portsmouth, that probably covers the two heads on the model too!

Ok I'll admit when I started this I was more thinking along the lines of a Peregrine Falcon, but it's ended up looking more like a pigeon. I don't care though, as I think it looks good, and anyone who says he looks like a pigeon isn't going to live very long to regret their insults...

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Solent 40k

So today I completed the Solent 40k tournament with my Star Wars Guard army. Man that was a bruising experience...

My loss in the first game meant I avoided the cheese lists (Two Grey Knights armies entered this tournament, taking first and second place) but still I got my arse handed to me in the majority of games. I'll give a quick rundown of events here.

First though, a word on scoring. To avoid those ever so annoying cheeky wins where someone snatches the result with a well placed block on turn 5 when you know you could have tabled them turn 6, this tournament had a scoring system I had never seen before. You scored 3 for a win, 1 for a draw and 0 for a loss. You scored at the end of turn 5... AND turn 6, AND turn 7. Meaning just cos you're losing on turn 5 you can still turn things around. Having seen how it played out, I'd have gone for 2,1,0 or 3,2,1 for the respective results but the theory I felt worked.

So, game 1. Take and Hold Spearhead. Up against 3 deffrolla battlewagons, 2 squads of grot tanks and the big grot tank. Mad Doc Grotsnik, 3 large squads of boyz, and of course the mek with KFF. That KFF ruined me. I could not get through it. By the end of the game I had managed, with 4 missile 5 melta 5 autocannon 5 plasmagun 3 multilaser and 3 twin linked lascannon... to kill one battlewagon, one big grot tank, and three little ones. The army just ploughed through me, especially the grot tank squad putting out 10 grotzooka shots. Painful! With hindsight, I could have lured Grotsnik away from the objective on turn 5 and got a turn 5 win instead of the draw... but turn 6 and 7 it would have been academic, he steamrollered through my forces and took both objectives, I had barely anything left alive.

Game 2 was against a guard player, Kill points pitched battle. One large platoon, 4 vet squads. 3 with forward sentries rule, 1 with demolitions riding a vendetta. Creed, Marbo, 5 ratlings. We got off to a bad start when the guy siezed the initiative on me and stopped my vendetta from shooting turn 1. Creeds orders system is very strong, with Kell making everyone test on his Leadership it's pretty much a guaranteed pass. I did spot he'd done a few things wrong with hindsight - once he's issued an order to himself he can't issue any more orders. Meaning when he "move move move" his command squad to get the LOS needed to "Bring it Down" on my stuff, he shouldn't have been able to do it. I'm also still not convinced you can use a vox to reroll when it's your own squad being ordered, but I'll let that one slide. This game was a very frustrating draw for me. I poured fire into his big unit (it was near the table edge and wanted to soften it up for my penal legion... both of which turned up on the wrong flank) but it held. He passed a stupid amount of cover saves even if they were at 3+. His ratlings held in the last turn, and both units of penal legion bounced off his veterans despite outnumbering him and having upgrades AND the charge. This game ended in a draw in all three turns, though in the end I'd only lost the vendetta, marbo, palpatine and 2 units of ratlings. In return i'd killed a vendetta, a chimera, a command squad, a veteran squad, marbo... and about 2 thirds of a 50 man blob platoon. Having my rough riders fail a pinning test at a critical time was quite costly too.

Game 3 was even worse. Kill points Spearhead this time, against Space Wolves. I deployed in two large blobs covering my rear quarter hugging cover, with the penal legion towards the flanks so that when his wolf scouts arrived, there was no way they could tie up either of my 50 man firebases in an unwinable combat. I got off to a bad start here, my vendetta failing it's cover save and dying to a single lascannon shot. But my turn 1 it seemed like I was gonna put up a hell of a fight, killing half the bikers with marbo and tearing through the thunderwolves with weight of fire (killed 4/5 and wounded the wolflord) However, turn 1 was where I peaked. After that I could NOT kill anything. By the end of turn 7 I was tabled. I had scored a single kill point, for a razorback. His dread had 5 penetrating hits to the rear from snipers - never more than stunned. His razorbacks had had 5 autocannons and 4 missile lanuchers a turn firing at him... in the end the only one to die died to a krak grenade. It was a massacre.

So having had a night to rest, I came back and braced myself - sieze ground, spearhead, but with special rules. All area terrain blocked LOS on a board with 12 pieces of area terrain (some small, some rather large, about 18" by 12" oval) and would either grant stealth or count as dangerous. So no LOS... and playing against Nids. Uh Oh. But this game went surprisingly well. I think my opponent put his doom of malantai in the wrong place, he tried to use it to clear one of the objectives to the flank and allow his stuff to claim - personally while I doubt he could have cleared me off the objective I had over 50 guardsmen sat on, putting a doom on front of them would have certainly caused me some problems. As it is, you fire enough lascannons at it he'll eventually go away, and he did. Everything went right this game - the Rough Riders charged a Trygon and ate it in one round. They then got charged by a Tervigon, and while they steadily lost, losing 1 or 2 per round, they kept passing the morale check needed to keep them in the fight, holding him off his objective. By the end of the game my opponent was reduced to 3 Biovores and the Tervigon, whilst I held all four objectives. A solid win.

My final game was again against Nids, Spearhead, with objectives placed in the quarters I couldn't deploy in and the centre. This was such a reversal compared to the last game. This time my opponent dropped a doom in front of me - and he promplty annihalated my entire firebase. Gradually, but he did. Every melta or missile shot bounced harmlessly off him (while naturally, the occassional las round got through, just to tease me, before he recovered the wound in the shooting phase.) My rough riders were charged and killed by a Gaunt squad. My penal Legion with +1A and Rending charged 6 Gaunts... and lost, failed the Stubborn Ld 8, and ran. My opponent held Gaunts and Stealers in cover till turn 5 then moved enough of them into the open to claim the objectives while retaining a cover save. Marbo tried to intervene towards the end, with 6 attacks hitting on 3's wounding on 2s I had high hopes. Hit twice. Wound twice. Save one. They then killed him in reply. Ouch. I did keep whittling him down, and while he annihalated my firebase my mobile troops had taken one objective and almost stole the centre one - 1 inch less on the Trygons run roll would have seen me claim a turn 7 victory, instead I had to settle for 5,6 loss 7 draw.

I came pretty close to the bottom of the table, I think I was about 12th out of 16, with 14 tournament points from a possible 45. The grey knight at the top had 43 - purifier lists are evil.

I did better in the Best Army stakes though... was finalised and was one of four armies being voted for. Eventually came second to the (admittedly beautifully painted) Wolf army that had given me such a kicking in Game 3 by one vote. So close! Especially infuriating was hearing one local lad saying that he would have voted for mine if it had been the first time he'd seen it, but as he'd seen it before down the local GW he was going to vote for something else. Shoulda kept it under wraps... :oP

Anyway, with Blog Wars 3 next Saturday The Empire has a chance to redeem itself... though given how well the Empire did in the third outing in the movies, perhaps I should prepare for my wooden spoon now...

Meanwhile, I have to prepare for a Storm of Magic game in our campaign at my local club tomorrow. It's a busy few days of wargaming...

Monday, 21 May 2012

The Empire Strikes Back!

The army arrayed for Escalation 11

 Late last year I attended the Escalation tournament with a true labour of love - a 2000 point themed army, broken down into 500 point exact segments for the escalating nature of the tournament. I was proud, though never wanted to paint white again EVER. However, after enjoying a good tournament, I did get to thinking that these guys couldn't just be a display army, they needed to come out and play from time to time... therefore, THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK (well, technically it strikes again, but saying it strikes back sounds better for some reason...)

Penal Legion - Captured Rebel Scum

Speeder Bikes (Rough Riders) in action at Escalation
With a slight modification to the list (dropped a squad of troops, a squad of vets, trimmed a couple items wargear etc) I have got a 1750 point list ready to go. First up is the Solent 40k challenge this weekend (which I'm apprehensive about, the local GW manager is entering with his purifier spam army and he is hoping to meet some of the top tournament players in the country and trample all over them... a fluff based army like mine may get a pounding. On the flip side, by not following what's supposed to be competitive, tournament players could be completely unprepared for me. So who knows...)


The following weekend is Blog Wars 3 which I'm much more comfortable about - it's a friendly environment and feels more like a local club tournament than something which draws people from across the nation, so well done to Alex for managing to keep it so chilled out.

Rough Riders - Scout Troopers on Speeder Bikes

Marbo - Fett
Anyway spaced throughout this post are some pictures of my beauties, including the special character required for Blog Wars Marbo Fett. I do feel a bit of a let down taking just Marbo as my special character, but it's not like I've built a competitive list and tacked him on... this army has plenty of character...

Ratlings - Scout Troopers
Commissar Lord - Vader

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Learning new ropes...

So today I played my first couple games with my new Necrons. I made myself wait till I had 2k painted, and do not plan to use anything else until it is painted. This will be, like my Orks, a fully painted army at all times. It's just guard and fantasy I'm a let down on :oP

My list was Trazyn, an Overlord (phaeron) with res orb warscythe and mindshackle scarabs, 2 royal courts comprising 2 veil crypteks and 3 res orb lords. 4 units of 10 warriors, 1 unit of 10 tesla immortals, 1 unit of 10 lychguard with dispersion shields and 1 Doomsday Ark. I had trazyn and the overlord making two units of warriors relentless while the other 2 squads had the crypteks. I then used the res orb lords to help the lychguard, immortals and trazyn.

First off was against Neil and his Draigo Paladin list. I started off just throwing long range fire into his on table unit trying to whittle it down, but terminator armour and FNP are a bastard to get through. My Doomsday cannon was picking off a couple a turn until it got psycannoned and exploded. Luckily with this being an objective game I could just afford to keep drifting my units out towards the 5 objectives, using relentless to keep firing and out of assault range. I lost a unit with cryptek when I tried to deep strike them behind his unit to give him a tactical dilemma and they mishapped, however the other Paladin unit and Draigo then arrived and did precisely the same thing. So we lost one unit each to deep strike mishap. Sounds fair. Ok so his unit may have been worth slightly more than mine...

With his one scoring unit being gradually whittled down and me sitting on two objectives and advancing on two others, I wasn't going to lose this one. The game ended turn 5 with a 2-1 win to me.

As this game was done in 40 minutes I had a game against Scott and his Tyranids too. This was Spearhead kill points. I deployed first so was quite central to avoid the outflank, and planned to move more to the centre, but scott surprised me by infiltrating his genestealers. With that threat axis removed I proceeded to back into the corner slowly but surely, as a veil warrior unit moved along the left flank and my lychguard my right. My relentless units and immortals created a 24" zone of death in the centre, and I tried to keep out of his potential 18" charge whilst still within my 24" firing range. This plan could only last so long of course, and a trygon popping up right in front of me caused a headache. A quick deep strike from my left flank cryptek allowed me to pick off some venomthropes that had been forming a rearguard, and the hormagaunts and carnifex found the lychguard to be a deeply unpleasant target. By turn 3 I was 4-0 up and had only lost 8 models as the reanimation protocols and res orbs performed stellar jobs.

Of course this wasn't to last as he was steadily backing me into a corner. I charged his trygon with my necron overlord, and used the minshackle scarabs. Now I was quite unlucky here as in two rounds of combat and 5 hits the big brute only caused one wound to itself, while my warscythe armed lord fluffed all his attacks. This allowed the hive tyrant to pile in and send my warrior squad and lord running. I was surprised they avoided pursuit, but with the tyranids right next to them they weren't going to rally. So that was 2kp gone. The hive guard also took out the doomsday ark at the second attempt, bringing the game close.

Trazyn and his empathic obliterator had the perfect target - a horde of low armour save identical models, and after killing one termagane managed to make another 8 explode out of sympathy for their kin. However, turn 5 is where i made an error that pretty much cost me the game.

The hive tyrant charged trazyn. I completely forgot he had mindshackle scarabs. Now the tyrant fluffed his attacks so only caused a single wound on trazyn. The hive guard added another wound. I did one back and so lost the combat by one. Now I think I would have won the combat had I remembered the scarabs, but was thinking "must remember for next round" when I failed the LD test to stay in the fight. Bugger. I then got run down. So I have the chance for Trazyn to appear elsewhere. I have a couple lords, a couple lychguard, and an overlord trapped in a fleeing unit. Guess which one he appears in? The fleeing one. He instantly kills the overlord (another kp for the enemy) and the following turn runs off the board (another 2 kp for the enemy) ANY of the other options he'd have been fine, but no he had to arrive in that one.

We rolled at the end of turn 5 and it was game over... a 6-6 draw. Should have got the victory. We played on to see what would have happened.

I managed to jump my cryptek unit about and put some more wounds on the hive guard, and being now out of synapse range they fled. I also killed the zoanthrope. However the lychguard were cut down. With the fleeing hiveguard, at the end of turn 6 I was winning 8-7... but the game continued to turn 7. He moved his trygon prime into synapse range and rallied the hiveguard. I continued my backing off and shooting tactic, but was unable to claim another point.

By the end of the game I had a single unit of warriors with cryptek, and a unit of immortals with Lord. He had a hive tyrant on 2 wounds, a hive guard on one wound, a warrior on one wound and a trygon. The kp score was 7-7 and thus a draw. With two kill points so tantalisingly close, and knowing I could have had the win if I'd remembered the scarabs (or rolled better for Trazyns substitute) I could have won this game. Oh well, at least I didn't lose, and I know I want more mindshackle scarabs... think I may drop one lychguard and give all my necron lords the upgrade...

Finally, my immortals with tesla carbines. Could barely seem to roll a 6 in 2 games... except when the tyrant cast Paroxysms on them. BS1 needing 6s to hit, 9 shots... 5 rolls of a 6. Later in the game, 8 shots. 5 rolls of a 6. It's like they knew they had been made blind so they just cranked up the juice on the things and electrocuted everything roughly in front of them. Sure it's not reliable... but it's great fun!