Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Works in Progress: Ulthwé Skiff Fleet

I've updated the highlighting used in the paint scheme shown on the Razorwing, and have done a lot of work on several of the other vehicles in the fleet. Here is the fleet being used for my 1000 point list in the escalation league (minus the second venom that comes in this week). The Raiders and Ravagers aren't complete yet, but most of them are far enough along to show the overall look the army will have. Enjoy the pics.

As you can see, there is still a lot of work to do, including touch-ups, but I think it's off to a good start.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Ulthwé Razorwing

Here is the first completed vehicle for my new Dark Eldar army. This will be used at the 1000-1500 point level in our upcoming Escalation league. I have replaced the Splinter Cannon with a Shuriken Cannon and replaced the Dark Lances with Bright Lances. Still needs to be sealed and have the gems all glossed up, but otherwise is ready to go. The last step will come when it stops raining and dries up a bit outside.

Comments and critiques are appreciated!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

New Dark Eldar List

After going through lots of blogs and doing some research to make sure I understand the army properly, I've come up with a full 2000 point list ready for conversion. The force is going to be an Ulthwé rapid response unit, utilizing Dark Eldar rules. I won't bore you with the specifics on all the counts-as right now, but rest assured a lot of conversion is going into the force to make it work with the DE ruleset. I have done the modeling for my blaster warriors, sybarites, and haemonculi. I'll get some pictures up after they've been primed.

For now, I'd like to get some feedback on the list itself and see if there are any major improvements that can be made to it. It's very lean and likes to sit back and let the guns do the work, just the way Black Guardians would want it done. Here's how it looks right now:

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Emerging from the darkness... and Embracing it!

Yeah, I know it's been a while since I've posted anything up here. I kinda felt like everything I had to say was being said better by other people for a while, and I don't like re-posting my material across different places (I do a lot of posting on the DA Forums at Bolter & Chainsword). I've decided to start updating things here a little more often. Not a lot, as I've still got a ton of other things going on, but I do have a new 40K project that could use a log of sorts.

So yesterday I was talking with Chumbalaya and some others over at 3++ Is the New Black, and got to thinking about how to make my old Eldar as Dark Eldar idea work. The problem we discovered back then was that the vehicles were the biggest problem for opponents to deal with. I don't like the Raider and Ravager, and most people have a hard time seeing the Wave Serpent properly filling that role.

What I've decided to try out is making a convertible Wave Serpent. The idea is to cut out the top of the wave serpent around the turret mount and make something similar to how you change between a rhino and a razorback. With that piece off, I can make room for a platform and some other things to make the wave serpent feel more like a skiff.

This will require heavy modification to the internal structure of the Wave Serpent, and I spent a good bit of time last night doing the initial prep work on a single Wave Serpent. I now have the ability to convert it between looking like a normal WS and having an open space in the rear. The next step is to figure out how I want to make the platform area and figure out what other details will work.

I definitely want to keep a mostly Eldar look. The army is being painted up as Ulthwé, so grabbing too many spiky bits and DE weapons will take the army out of theme. I'm going to be building all my units from Guardians, Dire Avengers, and Seer Councils. The idea rules-wise are that Power from Pain and Combat Drugs are really psychic powers. Haemunculi and Wracks will be Wraithguard-like units. I think it will work out pretty well and it gives me a chance to regularly use something other than my massive Space Marine collection.

I really am tired of waiting for the Eldar update, and I think this conversion will let me get the best of both worlds and avoid the flak from the gaming community. I'll get some pictures up by tomorrow to show off how I'm dealing with the conversion. I was pretty tired when I started last night and didn't think about doing pictures at that time.

As always, I'm open to feedback.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Tornado Update: I have power

Huntsville, AL is one of the areas affected strongly by the super cell system that came through the region on Wednesday. Many of the areas around Huntsville received heavy damage from the multiple waves of tornadoes that came through. Overall the damage in Huntsville is light compared to the surrounding areas, but a lot of TVA's power infrastructure was crippled in the storm and most of the city is still without power. They're steadily restoring sections step by step with community services being the priority. I live 2 blocks from one of the city's three hospitals, so I am fortunate to have power restored and no damage at my apartment complex.

I have that upcoming Grey Knight article ready, but I'm gonna wait until things settle down a bit more.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Being Gamist: A Way of Life Primer

I have talked in the past about how I think of myself as a Win At All Costs (WAAC) player, and my opinion on Counts-As Armies. Today I am going to give a solid foundation to the Being Gamist column and set up a basic understanding that will basically be required reading for articles going forward.

I have been actively gaming in TCGs/CCGs, RPGs, and Miniatures for at least 14 years now. Prior to that I have had plenty of experience with various pc and console video games (a passion I still find time to enjoy). I have had the opportunity to be a playtester in several of my favorite games and develop a strong relationship with many of the best game designers in the CCG/RPG industry.

The thing that keeps me coming back to all these different game systems is gaining a level of system mastery and truly understanding how everything works. This is a form of mental exercise that helps me both in other games as well as my profession, where I am a Web developer and software engineer.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Website tweaks incomming

I am in the process of planning out some new additions to the site that will hopefully encourage me to post a little more frequently. I will be definitely providing a section on army lists, primarily focused on Dark Angels, Grey Knights, and Eldar.

I intend to start working on a gallery of my completed minis as well as organize some of my more identifying pieces. I intend to turn Being Gamist into an ongoing article series about maximizing ones use with the rules system, sometimes at the expense of common sense or background. The focus is to educate players on how the game works with undisputedly legal rules interactions, particularly those that are not intended by the designers. The hope is these efforts will bring awareness to both the community and GW, and so in the future GW will be better prepared to put their intentions into valid rules.

I'm still messing around with Grey Knights, but I am quickly getting a feel for them, and I like what I'm seeing. I'll be posting up my thoughts along with a Being Gamist article about how some of the poor wordings on a few units work currently as written and where i think the changes should be made to correct these issues.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Grey Knights: Hybrid MSU

It seems like everyone on the blogosphere is putting GKs into list-building mode and spewing out their ideas. Some of it looks solid, some of it looks like crap. Today I'm gonna show off my version, and we'll see where it ends up. I'm looking for some serious analysis in the comments to let me know if I'm just not getting it, but so far this looks promising.

The list comes first, with my thoughts afterwards:

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Psyched up for Grey Knights

There's no need for me to really show off pictures, as GW has done all the work for us there. Head over to the GW Website and take a look through the Grey Knights list. Lots of cool things there.

What I can tell you is what I plan on doing with them in reference to my current Space Marine army, which I currently use with most space marine codices from time to time (though I mostly stick to Dark Angels). You see, back when I started playing about 3 1/2 years ago, I specifically set up my army to make use of multiple codices, including Witch Hunters and Daemonhunters. I even established my chapter's fluff based around the idea that space marines, guardsmen, and even power-armored humans fought together, and the entire chapter was high on psychic potential. The decision was completely gamist, but I came into the game to play. The universe is awesome, but the gameplay is what keeps me coming back.

The chapter's name is Platinum Angels, and they are a 3rd-founding successor of the Dark Angels. Their homeworld sits near a warp rift that for a time engulfed the planet. This has caused mutations and increased psychic potential, but also a natural resistance to warp phenomenon. I figure my chapter's almost as adept at fighting off demonic incursions as the actual Grey Knights :)

With the update to the Grey Knights and the removal of ally rules, I won't be able to mix Dark Angels with them anymore, but that is fine. I didn't do it often in the past, and the new rules might be too good when mixed with the recently updated Deathwing. I can do almost everything out of the GK book alone though!

What I WILL be doing, however, is grabbing up all the special weapon bits from the new GK stuff as I can. I have a set of 30+ robed veterans with magnetized arms that would perfectly fit as the elite power-armored GKs if I can get the weapons needed to be WYSIWYG.

A large chunk of my terminators are also magnetized, so I don't see any problems sprouting up there. They even have customized helmets that look like the older GK ones. Everone always asks me where I got my plastic Grey Knights when they see my models.

What I plan on purchasing immediately are the following models:

2 Nemesis Dreadknights
1 Grey Knight Terminator Box

With these bits (and some customization work) I will make a squad of Paladins and some fancy 'monstrous creatures'. I plan on sculpting up some robes for the paladin terminators. I'm unsure on the dreadknights; a part of me really wants to make at least one of them transform into something :)

My customized Belial model will serve just fine for Draigo. Since he is also magnetized I can easily equip him with sword and shield. This reminds me that I need to get pictures of my primary army pieces up. They are definitely coming soon, I just need to spend the time on getting that lightbox set up.

What stuff are you guys looking forward to? Do you see any pitfalls in my plans to integrate yet another codex into my space marine collection? As always, my stuff is going to be completely WYSIWYG. A couple special characters might have 'counts as' special weapons, but it will be very easy to tell what everything is. While I don't necessarily agree with the responses I got, I did learn a lot from my attempt at using Craftworld Eldar with the DE Codex.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Works in Progress: Ravenwing Bikers

As you are all likely aware from my recent post on Death Hammer, I am adding some Ravenwing Bikers to the list. About a year or so ago I stripped the paint off of all of my bikes when I decided to update them to my new painting style.

Now that I am actively using them in a list, I have serious incentive to get paint applied to the models. Tournament use is my number one motivator for getting models painted, and it's easy for that to happen when you purchase up more than 13,000 points in the span of only 3 years.

Below is the first squad which I have painted for this. Each one was done over the coarse of last week. I am waiting on some new resin bases from Iron Halo to completely finish of the squad, but it gives a good look at what is coming up for the army.

The pics are kinda low-quality. I'm gonna set up a better area for photographs and get my whole tournament army photographed. This was just a white towel draped over a chair to give me a good surface for the camera to work with.

In the test games since the last tournament, the bikers have performed very well, and complement the missile output almost perfectly. I've had them beat up some Tyranid MCs, ignoring the Feel No Pain bestowed by Catalyst. I've also had them run up against chaos space marines and adequately deal with plague marines and armor while my missiles dealt with the infantry. So far I'm very happy with their performance.

Give me your thoughts on the look of the bikes. I'm going for high quality tabletop. The technique is quick to paint but looks pretty good. I could spend a lot more time to get something amazing, but I'm just not that patient.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

40K for Newbies: Remembering how it all began

Huntsville has had a large gaming crowd for as long as I've been here. We've consistently been home to players considered top in the world for many CCGs, including Magic: the Gathering, SW:CCG, ST:CCG, and LOTR:TCG. When I started playing 40K a little over 3 years ago, I had no idea exactly how many miniature wargamers the community had, but I soon found out: we have a ton.

The biggest problem in Huntsville, however has been a lack of a place to play. Lots of people just set up games at their homes or get access to the 1 or 2 tables at the local HobbyTown. Recently, however, the owner of The Deep, our local comic and CCG shop, has widened his stock to include miniatures and is now allowing some games to be set up in his store.

What this means is more exposure and an influx of new players for the most popular games (Warmachine, 40k, Fantasy). Talking with some of these newer players last night I realized just how different things are for me now that I am very well established in the game. It's easy to take large point values for granted. What I got to thinking about was how to adapt what I've learned for teaching newer players and to make their experiences as they increase in points all the more awesome.

I remember starting with 1000 point games, as many armies are just too inflexible or expensive to run at only 500 points and still use the FOC. Still, this is the points value that many players first get to rolling their dice on, and it's good to figure out what works at each points level.

For instance, I have a strong feeling that Mech Eldar can work very well at the 1000 point range. You can easily field 4 grav tanks (2 wave serpents, 2 prisms) and a few vypers and really have a nicely balanced force. This army is much more effective at the limited points level where its efficient vehicles can really shine.

So what I am going to be doing as I work up my new Grey Knights army is grow with them, but emphasize the importance of army planning, list building, and tactics the whole way. I figure I can use my vast space marine collection to set up some proxy games and allow these newer players to explore how they would like to expand their armies as well.

I don't quite have EVERY option available to space marines, but I do have most. I'm a little light on jumpers and scouts, but am rock solid on most other things. I even have stuff set up to use multiple codices, so I should really be able to help these guys out. It looks like it will be a lot of fun.

I've decided that for the first bit of 500 points I'll probably be using Eldar. They have several viable tactics at 500 points and once removed from their wave serpents will be relatively easy for opponents to defeat. It'll help reinforce the need for anti-transport and suppression weaponry as well as show how durable a squad gets when thrown in some armored transports.

I could see the store setting up 1000 point tournaments that would be fun and fast-paced. It'd be awesome to get through a game in an hour and run a 4-round tournament in under 5 hours. I think such an environment would do a lot to helping even veteran players develop their deployment, list building, and time management skills.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Death Hammer - Post Tournament Series

Over the last two weekends I have played in two tournaments. The first one was at 2000 points, and my army worked its way to a solid 2nd place finish. What is interesting is that I lost a game to the tournament winner, but I accumulated enough battle points in that loss to still make me the clear 2nd place finisher. If I had denied the opponent the primary objective in round 3 (my loss) that would have been a tournament win for me.

My second tournament was the Battle for Stones River which runs a points value of 1863. My army did pretty well there as well up until round 4 when I got my face handed to me by a really good Null Zone based list, again my only loss for the day. I'll admit I made some mistakes in that game, mostly due to my inexperience fighting against Null Zone. My opponent capitalized and that cost me a great finish. Next time I'll need to be a bit more aggressive and strike that librarian as early as possible. As it was, I let him sit around and force me to reroll a ton of saves all game, and that eventually led to a cascade of death upon my terminators in the later rounds.

Overall the two tournaments showed that the core of my list is solid. Mobility played a much bigger impact in the BFSR tournament, and I think I've worked up what is probably going to be my favorite list for the next month. At least until I get my hands on some Grey Knights stuff. I'm making a few changes to the list to add in some better armor threats and increase my mobility. I am still keeping the solid gunline mostly in tact though.

I am moving towards 3 Storm Shields per Deathwing squad in an attempt to increase close combat durability. I have run Belial with both the storm shield and the lightning claws. Both are perfectly valid options. The TH/SS will be better for tackling monstrous creatures, but the lightning claws are a great deterrent vs standard infantry.

here is the updated list:

130 Belial
- Lightning Claws OR Thunder Hammer & Storm Shield

290 Deathwing Command Squad
- 1 TH/SS/Cyclone
- 1 TH/SS/Standard Bearer
- 1 TH/SS/Apothecary
- 2 TH/SS

240 Deathwing Squad
- 1 Power Weapon & Storm Bolter
- 1 Chainfist & Storm Bolter
- 1 TH/SS/Cyclone
- 2 TH/SS

240 Deathwing Squad
- 1 Power Weapon & Storm Bolter
- 1 Chainfist & Storm Bolter
- 1 TH/SS/Cyclone
- 2 TH/SS

240 Deathwing Squad
- 1 Power Weapon & Storm Bolter
- 1 Chainfist & Storm Bolter
- 1 TH/SS/Cyclone
- 2 TH/SS

190 Ravenwing Attack Squadron
- 1 Sergeant
- 1 Meltagun & Bolt Pistol
- 1 Meltagun & Chainsword
- 1 Multi-Melta Attack Bike

190 Ravenwing Attack Squadron
- 1 Sergeant
- 1 Meltagun & Bolt Pistol
- 1 Meltagun & Chainsword
- 1 Multi-Melta Attack Bike

140 Ravenwing Attack Squadron
- 1 Sergeant
- 1 Meltagun & Bolt Pistol
- 1 Meltagun & Chainsword

170 Devastator Squad
- 1 Sergeant w/ Bolt pistol & Chainsword
- 4 Missile Launchers

170 Devastator Squad
- 1 Sergeant w/ Bolt pistol & Chainsword
- 4 Missile Launchers

Total: 2000 points.

What we end up here is a list with a LOT more mobility and the ability to inflict significant more damage to enemy armor. We basically trade 4 lascannons and 2 missile launchers for 6 meltaguns and 2 multi-meltas. We get the perfect mix between traditional double-wing and the original Death Hammer's gunline.

We do lose some close combat potential because we dropped a terminator squad, but we also increase the durability of the remaining squads a little bit to compensate. Our extra bolter shots are moved into the bikes. We have a nice little bit of duality in those squads, and if the bikes run out of juicy targets for meltaguns, the bolters do good against standard infantry.

While we also lose a durable scoring unit, we gain two fast ones. While they are relatively flimsy, the attack bikes are always scoring units for DA. I'd say be a little more aggressive with the 3-man bike units and be only SLIGHTLY more cautious with the attack bikes.

As for the terminator squads... Chainfists aren't as necessary with the inclusion of meltaguns, but they are very nice for dealing with walkers. Making a model or two in each squad wield lightning claws is not a bad idea either. This slight shift in the army layout doesn't need as much emphasis on terminators keeping storm bolters around. I think at this point it comes down to personal preference.

Please give me some feedback on these changes. I really like the way this list is shaping up!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Death Hammer Revisted

I have had some time to get some serious playtesting in with the Death Hammer theme. The list has migrated away from vehicle support and has embraced the same all-foot strategy my Loganwing list had. I must still give props to Chumbalaya for the initial inspiration for that list. Modifying that to my play style and playing it for 3-4 months allowed me to quickly bring this new DA list to its current level of kick-ass.

I'm gonna give the basic outline at 2000 points and explain some of the insights I've learned with it as I have played. Depending on how things work out with Grey Knights or other rules changes, this is starting to look like the army i will be taking to NOVA. I think it is awesome that this army is capable of high level competition thanks to the updates.

Click through for the list and analysis:

Monday, January 17, 2011

Playing Dark Angels: Death Hammer (2000 Points)

Many of you should be familiar with the evolution of my Loganwing list after I first nabbed the idea from Chumbalaya. With the advent of the DA FAQ, we now have access to a similar amount of punishment to be doled out by our very own Deathwing.

The following list lacks the fast-moving assault threat of the Thunderwolf Cavalry as well as the counter-assault and cover screen protection of the Lone Wolves. It makes up for that, however, by having a much more durable and hard-hitting troop base. We're clocking in at 26 Deathwing Termiantors plus support. This is gonna be fun.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Playing Dark Angels: Adjusting to the new environment.

Everyone has had the opportunity to look over the new FAQs by now, and there is a lot of hubbub about the changes to Dark Angels and Black Templars. While you won't see sweeping changes in what exactly works for each of those armies, a few outliers on the realm of competitive gaming have just stepped up for each list and are ready to swing against the forces of 5th Edition.

These two armies have lost their greatest asset (old smoke launcher rules) which will make mechanized forces a good bit weaker, especially those based around Land Raiders. Trying to compare BA or BT mech vs SM or SW will have you coming up wanting. Things may change when the Storm Raven rolls across all the SM armies in a couple of months, but for now things are a little to expensive for BT and DA.

It's not that their mech is necessarily more expensive (though for BT they are), but also that the component elements of the army are still overcosted. The extra mech durability these old armies had helped make up for the lack of units due to point costing.

What these armies have gained, however is rules parity for almost all the wargear available to them (DAs still have full table Psychic hoods, probably because all librarians short of Zeke only have a Leadership 9).

What these changes really do is bring a few unit options back into the competitive mix. For DA, these are still the same units that were being used competitively before, bu there is now some greater variety in loadouts. Basically what you will be seeing is a lot of cyclone missile launchers, typhoon missile launchers, and storm shields. Cheaper Land Raider Crusaders (free multi-melta and cheaper storm bolter upgrade) might see some more use with the new Machine Spirit, but the loss of old smoke will make that army not as durable in the mid field.

I'm currently piecing together a few sample army lists that I expect to pop up and actually work well for almost any mission. I've got a list based on my Loganwing List that I am expecting to perform superbly. Dark Angels have received about a 60-80% firepower boost and a 100% durability boost in close combat. Combining those two tools will allow them to make up for their shortcomings much more reliably, even though they are outnumbered. Expect some news tomorrow.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

New List for a New Year

So I have been having some great success running the Space Wolves codex using the Loganwing Missile Spam. Through playing and learning I've found something that works super well for me, and is my mostly likely candidate for Nova at this point. I've ordered 3 Cyclone Missile Launchers to add to the army to replace the 3 assault cannons I was running which will bring my total number of missile shots up to 20 (with 4 lascannon shots to help against heavier armor), and it will allow the entire firebase to operate at a much greater range. Good thing my terminators are magnetized. Setting up these 3 cyclones will require some slight repainting on 3 models to cover up the new magnet locations, but it should be a quick and painless procedure.

But that's not the big news. After reading over some lists and strategy discussion on Bolter & Chainsword, I developed a new Dark Angels list that I think could be truly competitive and it takes advantage of DA's nuances without using terminators or Bikes. Imagine that!


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