Saturday, 26 November 2011

Hints for Homebrew: HQ

Before I begin any work on a Hints article for Unique Characters, I'm going to have to lay some groundwork in the form of normal HQs, as that is what most of them are based on. As ever, this article will lay down some good hints as well as highlighting common GW methods which should be avoided or could do with being used less. Here we go:

1) Decide on HQ Type: There are currently four types of HQ in 40k: Combat, Range, Pure Support and All-Rounder. Most HQs include some kind of support element, but will generally sway towards one type or another. When determining what type your HQ is, consider stats, rules and possible loudouts, but that last one is to be taken with a pinch of salt.

Example #1: The Warboss and Succubus are Combat HQs. The Succubus has no support rules whatsoever and no purpose other than melee, while the Warboss contains support elements in the form of making Nobz Troops and Bosspoles, however the statline and wargear makes it more geared to combat.

Example #2: Range is the least common HQ type. There's the Tau Commander and the Herald of Tzeentch and that's about it as far as pure range is concerned.

Example #3: Pure Support comes from the Ethereal, the Farseer and the Senior Officer. Although the Officer can technically fight in combat with a decent weapon, in practise that's a role for Straken.

Example #4: All-Rounders are the most common type. This category includes the Autarch, the Archon, the Overlord, the Librarian, the Tervigon, the Inquisitor, etc.

2) Wargear: It's very easy to just make your HQ an All-Rounder. As long as it has at least WS/BS4 and a smattering of combat gear then it could technically be classed as one. However, I'm a firm believer in not including wargear for the sake of wargear. It's easy to make an All-Rounder. It's harder to make a good All-Rounder that isn't a master of nothing. Therefore, choose your wargear carefully.

Oh, and for the love of all that is holy don't overprice it. GW are still trying to get over this hill. It's not that hard.

Example #1: It's recent and it hurts. Why is it 45 points for an Overlord to have a Phase Shifter? That's more than the cost of the two-wound Wraith, who has it built in.

Example #2: The Archon is an example of what an All-Rounder should be like. He can kill characters, he can shoot a Blaster with BS7, he can boost combat units with grenades and he can carry a Webway Portal. The only other thing I can think of that I'd want him to do is come to life and walk around the tabletop on his own, leaving his base in the dust.

If you know what type of character you've got, use or design wargear to support that. With characters, I like to use the Enhancers principle I laid down in Monstrous Creatures, plus two additional types.

2.5) Unit Enhancers and Morale Enhancers: The former are things that improve units (duh), such as the Phantasm Grenade Launcher, the Kustom Force Field, Mek's Tools and the Resurrection Orb. Generally these enhancers also fall into a previous category, as they improve the Dakka, Survival, Combat and occasionally Mobility of the unit.

The latter are a sub-class of Unit Enhancers that revolve around Leadership, and include the likes of the Bosspole. They are much less complex.

2.75) Special Rules: Again, these fall into Enhancers. While wargear is more survival focused, rules tend to improve unit output in range or combat.

Examples: The Chaplain's Litugies of Battle is a Combat Enhancer. Orders can enhance Dakka, Survival and Mobility.

3) The Actual Pricing Bit: It's rare to find a HQ for less than 50 points, unless it's really bare-bones to begin with. Remember, a HQ is absolutely compulsory, so a standard one should be cheap enough to give you some wiggle room at lower points levels. That, or you should consider creating at least two HQs. One could be around the 100 point area, the other between 40-60, or similar. Avoid going over 100 unless you are a Monster, as that sort of thing is better left to unique units.

It goes without saying that you factor rules, stats and gear into this.

Good Example: If you were forced into taking a Grand Master or Librarian, Grey Knights would be really limited at lower levels. Thankfully, a cheaper option in the form of the Inquisitor is given, which works well as a compliment.

Bad Example: This is one of the few things I dislike about the new Necrons. Your cheapest HQ is 90 base and does naff all with his existing wargear. At lower levels that's a very high premium to pay in order to gain access to Lords and Crypteks.

I can't tell you what a 'fair' priced HQ is because it varies by army. I can only tell you the reasonably expected ballpark figures. However, comparison between similar armies can be done.

4) Multiple HQ Units: These days no book has only 1 standard HQ, and unless it's a minidex you want, you should follow suit. Multiple HQs shouldn't make their partners redundant. Mini-versions are acceptable, however to me that still counts as 1 HQ option.

Good Example: The Autarch and Farseer. One allows more control over what's off the table, the other gives more control over what's on the table.

Bad Example: I'm baffled as to what the point of the Chapter Master is. He's essentially the same model as the Captain but with one more rule and a different bodyguard. I'm sure all this could have been streamlined into one entry.

5) Utility: This is a big buzzword for HQs right now. Giving a HQ power over the chart can offer your army that much more freedom, and is an easy way to create new list options. I'm not saying you have to, but it's generally well-appreciated and can give certain units that otherwise seem out of place a new lease of life.

Example #1: You can't mention Utility without mentioning Wracks. Without this school of thought, they would languish and be outcompeted by Trueborn and Incubi. In Troops they offer a new style of Dark Eldar play. Cheers for that, Haemonculus.

Example #2: Even on a smaller scale this idea adds more punch. The Warboss allows one unit of Nobz as Troops. This gives you more Lootas and a powerful scoring unit.

This lays some groundwork for the big one: Unique Characters. I'll probably split that up due to the array of different sorts there are.

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Mirror Match! 2000 Necrons V Necrons

I think I love remixing Wobbly Model characters too much.
I should clarify, that's nothing like how it played out. Our lists are quite different. Sort of. Mine was:

Master Bryss' Necrons: 2000-ish Points
Trazyn The Infinite
Royal Court: 1 Necron Lord with resurrection orb, 4 Cryptek Harbingers of Destruction, 1 Solar Pulse
C'tan Shard- Writhing Worldscape, Grand Illusion
9 Flayed Ones
10 Warriors (Cryptek added)
10 Warriors (Cryptek added)
10 Warriors (Cryptek added)
8 Warriors (Cryptek added)
5 Immortals (gauss blasters, Lord added)
3 Destroyers
3 Heavy Destroyers
Canoptek Spyder

This is me trying out some new stuff (Pariah-to-Crypteks), some stuff I haven't used in a while (C'tan, Spyder) and some old favourites (Immortals, Heavy Ds, Monolith).

Cyberscape7's Completely Different Necron List: 2000 Points
Overlord with warscythe, resurrection orb, sempiternal weave and phase shifter
Royal Court: Lord with warscythe and resurrection orb
5 Lychguard with hyperphase sword and dispersion shield
7 Flayed Ones
C'tan with Writhing Worldscape and Pyreshards
15 Warriors (Lord added)
12 Warriors
12 Warriors
3 Canoptek Wraiths with whip coils
10 Canoptek Scarabs
3 Destroyers
Canoptek Spyder with particle beamer
His Big New Thing is Lychguard and attached Overlord, running a more combatty game than I was.

We rolled Annihilation in Pitched Battle format (good omen, this was the scenario from the day befire I crushed the Necrons in), with 'Scape going first and ruining the Grand Illusion. Being as I am an idiot, I forgot to take pictures. Sorry!

'Scape's Reserves: 12 Warriors, Flayed Ones, Monolith
My Reserves: 10 Warriors, 10 Warriors, Heavy Destroyers

I did not wish to Sieze the Initiative. Why would I when pretty much all our guns are 24" anyway?

Oh, and one more thing. The Vassal images aren't 100% accurate with regards to measurement, actual terrain size and all that. Just use it as a sort of visual guide to accompany the more accurate text and you'll be fine. The pictures also cram all three phases into one shot, but that shouldn't be a problem if you're paying attention. Lastly, I'm putting them in at full size. I know this isn't really compatible with the blog format, but it does make the pictures much bigger. Enjoy.

Set Up

Fairly straight forward. The Flayed Ones are there as a counter-weapon against the Scarabs. Ignore the Ms, they mean nothing. Oh, and his Pariah models are Lychguard. Mine are Crypteks.

Turn 1.0

'Scape opens with the classic Necron move, the Advance Everything.

In shooting the Scarabs run 1", the C'tan 4", the Wraiths 1", the Warriors 3" each and the Lychguard 3". The Destroyers down one Immortal, and the Spyder does nothing. I pass my RP roll.

Turn 1.5

I use the Dimensional Corridor to acquire a Warrior blockade from the left hand side and then move forward with some units and backwards with some others.

I fire the Particle Whip at the Scarabs but scatter badly and kill 1 swarm only. The Immortals don't do much better, causing 2 Wounds. The Cryptek fires his Lance at the Swarms, and misses. Over on the right the Trazyn's unit try to target some Warriors, and down 3, none of which revive. The Spyder and C'tan run, and any other shooting I try is ineffectual.

Turn 2.0

Reserves-wise, 'Scape gets his last unit of Warriors. I activate the Solar Pulse.

Of course, he then runs with most units, except one unit of Warriors which knock a wound off my C'tan, and the Destroyers, who take a punt at the 'Lith and fail.

Combat wise, the Scarabs multi-charge the Monolith and Warriors, which results in me losing 1 Warrior overall (lost 4 but 3 got up), him taking 2 more Wounds, and my Monolith reduced to AV13 for the rest of the game. The Wraiths knock 2 Wounds off my Spyder, for nothing in return.

Turn 2.5

I get a squad of Warriors in, disengage the 'Lith and move in with the Flayed Ones. Other moves are as shown.

In shooting, 7-2 (ie. seven minus two, who rise again) Warriors are Particle Whipped to death. Trazyn's unit kills 3-2 Warriors (get used to this, it's easier to type). From what the notes say, nothing else good happened.

In combat, the C'tan charges the Destroyers and wipes them, the Flayed Ones and Warriors do some Scarab wounding, and in return I lose one Warrior. Some No Retreats are taken. The Wraiths kill my Spyder.

Turn 3.0

'Scapes Monolith comes in, and some stuff moves.

The 'Lith attempts the Portal of Exile on the C'tan, but it fails. 2 Flux Arcs have no better luck against my Monolith, but I do lose 1 Immortal to the other half for good. Pyreshards and flayer rounds are hurled at my C'tan to no avail.

My C'tan also has the pleasure of being assaulted by a Spyder and some Lychguard. This...doesn't go well. For the Spyder. It's crushed. But my star god loses a Wound.

Meanwhile, the Flayed Ones rip apart the ailing Scarabs, with no damage taken on my end. The Wraiths assault the Monolith, and I lose the Particle Whip and the ability to move.

Turn 3.5

Heavy D and the boys come in, and my last unit of Warriors beams in through the Monolith portal. Some moving is done.

The Heavy Ds immoblise the enemy 'Lith, while my depleted Warriors successfully stun it. The Immortals try too, but fail. My Monolith meanwhile wounds a Wraith with flux arcs, and the Warriors on the right wipe the Warrior squad with Necron Lord, who doesn't return.

I hurl the Flayed Ones at the Wraiths, losing 2 models and wounding the Wraiths three times, remaining locked. This means only 2 Wraiths are left. The C'tan kills 1-1 Lychguard for 1Wound back. Which is a nice way of saying the Pseudo-Deceiver did naff all.

Turn 4.0

'Scape's Flayed Ones come in through his dimensional corridor. Warriors advance.

The Warriors kill 3-1 Warriors.

I lose a Flayed One to the Canopteks, but fight on, doing naff all.

His C'tan and my C'tan do battle, but neither side does any wounds at all. Despite his C'tan having backup. Anyone else think C'tan should be a name for a musical instrument?

Turn 4.5

I pull more Warriors to the left flank, even risking some in Dangerous Terrain, with no ill consequences.

In shooting, his Monolith loses the Whip, and I wipe a Warrior unit.

In combat, the Flayed Ones prevail over their taller opponents, while my C'tan explodes spectacularly, and permanently destroys 5 Flayed Ones. It might also have killed a Lychguard or two.

Turn 5.0-6.5

The next few turns are combat, combat, combat for 'Scape. His Lychguard and Overlord wipe my Destroyers and his C'tan is entangled in a Warrior squad. It spends the rest of the game picking them off but never escapes.

The Guard and Lord then wipe a Warrior squad with the remaining time, while I try to down them and fail. By game's end (no Turn 7), the board is like this:

All the action is there in the corner. But now it's time for the scores:

'Scape killed: My C'tan, my Spyder, my Destroyers, two units of Warriors and my Heavy Ds.

I killed: His Royal Court, his Spyder, his Destroyers, his Scarabs, two units of Warriors and his Wraiths.

7-5 to me.

Overall a good game, although I wanted more mileage out of Trazyn than I got.

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Top Bryss Reviews the Necron Ark

Tonight- Felix loses a small kitten, 'Scape gets electrocuted and I deal with people who take this show seriously...

Yes, hello, hello, and welcome to the second part of this Top Bryss, where it is now time to review the new high-end Necron kit. Cue swooshy camera techniques.

It's called the Ark, and it costs 31 thousand pounds. For that, you get three sprues, two of which have been pushed to the very limit in terms of how many parts that fit onto them. The third one, however, has more breathing space than the Sahara Desert. The GW website boasts it contains 168 components, however, there is a problem.

I imagine the sprue design phase was fun for this...

You see, it could have easily been less. One half of the massive Doomsday Cannon is a component, however the tiny 2x1mm rectangle thing that goes onto the cable that glues on to said cannon is also a 'component.' Why on earth couldn't that have been integrated into another part? It's more fiddly than the World Violin Championships, and what's worse is that there's two of them. They say that GW products are increasingly aimed at kids, and yet the parts are getting smaller, and that just doesn't work. Also, the pilot's neck is a seperate component to the head. Why? The Warriors get necks on their bodies no problem, what's so difficult about doing the same for the pilot?

Despite the bucketload of components, the kit is typically minimalistic. There are no add-ons, and the only leftover parts are the ones used in the other configuration. I magnetised mine, and at the end I had three empty sprues. This means I squeezed every inch of that 31 thousand pounds out of the kit, and I'm quite pleased with that.

What I'm not pleased with is that GW have taken a huge step backwards. When I bought a new Dark Eldar Raider, with its ball and socket flying stem, I was immensely pleased and hailed it as the future of flying stem design. Oh, how wrong I was. With the Ark, which is rather long by GW vehicle standards, they reverted to the old design, which fits about as well to the Ark as a glove on a foot. This confused me a lot, but then again I don't know whether this kit entered the design stage. Maybe we'll see the new style stem again. Please let us see the new style stem again.

Anyway, in the actual construction process all of the parts fitted with minimal hassle (although I'll have to paint it in sub-assemblies, which I hate doing), it doesn't take a genius to fit it together (although I found it very tedious dealing with all the midget-size parts), and magnetisation isn't difficult at all due to the nature of the joins.

Generally I'm impressed, but it could have done with some more tweaking.

And that's Top Bryss for now. That didn't take as long as I thought.

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Top Bryss Reviews the Necron Codex

("Jessica" by the Allman Brothers Band plays for 20 seconds.)

Tonight, Felix gets a magnet stuck to his finger, Atrotos discovers the boiling point of Orks, and I read some poetry in a suit....

Hello! Yes, hello and welcome to the first half of this edition of Top Bryss! Now, ages ago, GW released the Necron, a minimalistic but efficient little car that performed well against its competitors. Unfortunately, the engine got outdated, fast, and now there's a new version.

It's called the Necron as well, and almost immediately I noticed a difference. In the old car, the engine would stall as soon as it was functioning below 25% capacity, something GW claimed gave the car "character." Unfortunately, this problem didn't age well, and in the end it had all the character of a turkey playing Macbeth. Not only does the new car solve this problem, it also tweaks the Necron concept, allowing more acceleration from the Monstrous Creatures in the book using the classic feature of the Monolith portal.

Now, all the old Necron-spec cylinders have Necron replaced by Reanimation Protocols, a somewhat worse version of the old We'll Be Back rule. It's not as likely to work as the old version, but it does shrug off missiles, melta, and more importantly, power weapons. However, there is a problem. The entire book is slower than a tortoise at ambling speed.

Therefore, when you lose combat, you will be killed. Now, Ld10 is a semi-decent aid for your army here, but it will crack eventually against power weapon units. It also means that combat for Necrons is a double-edged sword, with Lychguard, Wraiths, Flayed Ones et al cracking as soon as they lose. Even your best HQ is I2, something Rune Priests everywhere will love, I'm sure.

"But wait," you say, "weren't Wraiths I6 before?" Yes, yes they were. Which brings me to how Mat Ward delivered a crushing blow to those planning old-model armies. Let's go through all of them, one at a time:

"I'll have a Necron Lord as HQ..." No, you can't. It, like the unfortunate Broodlord before it, has had its pips ripped off and been forced to hand in its badge and gun. It's now a decent support, but is overshadowed by Crypteks.

"Massed Warriors as Troops..." Warriors are now weaker and cheaper, but more importantly, are overshadowed by Immortals, who are one point cheaper than Old Warriors and about three times bettter. Because of their horrible range, expect to see them mainly as Cryptek caddies. On the other hand, they now get an open-topped transport that replenishes them, so it's not all bad news.

"Destroyers are awesome, let's take 15..." Ward seems to got into his head that we wouldn't notice a 12" range drop, -1 shot, no Turbo Boost and -1S if their gun was AP3 and they were 10 points cheaper. He might have got a more positive reaction if he was caught fondling a wasp. The Destroyer slot's main purpose now is Heavy Destroyers, who are cheaper and basically identical bar no Boost. They fit more naturally into FA, so I suppose this too is a plus.

"Wraiths were solid in the old book..."...but no longer get up, have sillier looking heads and can't Turbo Boost either. They can however Rend, have multiple wounds, come in bigger units and have Initiative reducing gear.

"Ah, the Monolith, my old unkillable friend..." Nope, you explode like a petrol-coated Rhino now. But you are cheaper, and have more use as a utility unit, except not letting you re-roll WBB any more.

It's clear to see then that Ward has desecrated many old units, but strangely, I forgive him. Not because this is his first crack of the whip at Xenos, but because of the many, many good things he has also done. Pariahs are gone. Scarabs are better (when protected). Flayed Ones are as bad as they were, but much cheaper and more viable. Immortals are worse, but also Scoring and somehow better as well. Each slot is filled with options, unlike other Elites-heavy Xenos books (I'm looking at you, Tyranids).

And then we have the new units. Apart from Triarch Praetorians, I can see myself using every single one of them at some point. The Special Characters are a mixed bag, all of them a large investment, but amongst them are Zahndrekh (all-round good Lord), Szeras (my choice for <750 points) and Trazyn (scoring undying, if only the Empathic Obliterator was FAQ'd to be a CCW...).

I suppose my heaviest critique is that the engine doesn't handle shorter races very well. Nought to Turn 6 is good, but each HQ needs a heavy investment to be good, and all will go over 100 points. Necrons will take up points like Marines, but thanks to cheaper Troops can still have room for the disruptive gear the car includes. Things like Solar Pulses and Writhing Worldscapes give this car the drop on any opponent in a drag race.

The Necron was my first car, and my old model needed silly amounts of maintenence towards the end of its life. Now, I have a new model that I'm proud to use, and I feel blessed to play this army again.

Aww, a positve review for once. Top Bryss continues on Bryssling tomorrow when it reviews the Ghost/Doomsday Ark kit.

Thursday, 17 November 2011


Due to a bereavement in the family there will be no Haiku Thursday this week.

However, I have good news for you all. The magnets I needed to complete the Ark have arrived and I hope to finish it by the end of the week. In addition, the bat-rep writing process has begun. I forgot to take pictures, so I'm taking a leaf out of a now-dead blog's book and doing the turn shots in Vassal. This is bloody tedious but it looks good so I'm going to push forward with it.

Hope your week's been better than mine has.

Saturday, 12 November 2011

Doubles Tournament: Post-Games Summary

And that's how it started. Well, not really, it was my idea but ah well. With a team-mate sorted, we entered using the following 500 point armies, under the intimidating name of Team Log.

Team Log's Alliance of Evils- 500+500
Abaddon the Despoiler
5 CSMs with a meltagun in a Rhino with havoc launcher
5 CSMs with plasma gun
5 Kabalite Warriors
7 Kabalite Warriors with blaster in a Raider with flickerfield and retrojets
3 Trueborn with 2 cannons in a Raider with night shields
3 Trueborn with 2 cannons in a Raider with night shields

With that done, time for the summaries.

Game 1- Sieze Ground (3 objectives), Dawn of War
We played a GW staffer's Tyranids with allied Space Wolves, something like:
Tyranid Prime
Rune Priest
2x 10 Gaunts
2 Hive Guard
2 Zoanthropes
Doom of Ma'lantai
2x 5 Grey Hunter with plasma gun in a Bolterback
5 Long Fangs with 4 MLs

Summary: We reserved everything, as did they, bar one squad of Gaunts and a Bolterback. We got lucky with most reserve rolls, and managed to cover our bases well. Chaos handled the left and Dark Eldar the right. I suffered a lot when the Long Fangs came on in Turn 4 but we had enough scoring units at our end to see it through.

Abaddon...: Came in on Turn 4 and was instrumental in getting the Gaunts off the enemy objective. He survived the game and a bucketload of shooting with one wound left.

Game Highlight: At one point the enemy set up a pyramid formation whereby one Zoanthrope gave cover to two Hive Guard who gave cover to a Bolterback. Row by row the Dark Eldar shooting dismantled the cover wall, and finally managed to blow the heavy bolter off the Razorback with the intervening Nids gone.

Result: Thanks to Abaddon's contesting, the game ended on Turn 5 in a draw.

Game 2: Annihalation, Pitched Battle
Two Necron armies this time, and a good opportunity for me to see the army in use before tomorrow's mirror match. Armies were:
Overlord with staff of light
Overlord with res orb and warscythe
5 Immortals with tesla carbines
3 units of Warriors of varying size
5 Deathmarks

Summary: Because the Necrons are such a short-range army, they couldn't get going until mid-game when the Monolith entered play and began to beam up the Warrior units into out deployment zone. Thankfully as the Warriors were beamed in the Chaos units charged them, and their now inferior 4+ save put paid to their dreams. The Trueborn's ability to put out 24 poison shots per turn was instrumental in wearing them down, and the basic Chaos troops and Havoc Launcher really pulled their weight.

Abaddon...: Went right into the heart of the enemy and drew out the Deathmarks (who marked him) so I could shoot at them. He died on Turn 3 after killing the Immortals.

Game Highlight: My main firebase was saved the wrath of the particle whip, so my three Dark Lances stripped the Monolith of movement and ordnance over two turns. Plus, seeing five Chaos Marines sweep an Overlord and his retinue. I2 is still terribad for Necrons, to borrow a phrase from my least-favourite daily hyperbole site.

Result: We won 4-3, losing only Abaddon, the Haemy and the silly 5-man  Kabalite squad.

Game 3- Capture and Control, Spearhead
An alliance of Grey Knights and CSMs, like so:
10 Tactical Marines with flamer and missile launcher
2 5-man Strike Squads with a psycannon, three halberds and hammer
5 Scouts with sniper rifles and rocket launcher

Summary: A dismal massacre. I stupidly didn't reserve despite being Dark Eldar in Spearhead, and lost my boats on Turn 1. It didn't really improve from there.

Abaddon...: Mishapped due to Warp Quake and ended up in a faraway corner. In three turns he ran all the way to the enemy objective with one wound left, finally reached the Strike squad there...and rolled a 1 for his Daemon Weapon before being halberded to death. All that running clearly winded the poor guy.

Highlight: See above.

Result: It shouldn't surprise you that we lost. However, that team won the whole day and so I'm not disappointed having lost to opponents of that calibre.

Overall then, a win, a loss and a draw. A fun day with decent results to back it up.

Friday, 11 November 2011

New Necrons: Some Divinations

With the new Necrons out in force, little things present in the Codex seem to tell us shiny new things. Admittedly they don't seem to be too significant but with the more far-out rumours pointing to 6th being on the semidistant horizon I thought I'd get to them, plus any new innovations, before my Top Bryss.

1. Unit (Character): This seems like a clarification to cement what is defenitely a Character and what isn't. Note that the C'tan is one of these now. This could mean in the future we'll get a monster that can join units. Sounds like something the Tyranids could get a bit of a boost from, as well as actual Invulnerable Saves.

2. Entropic Strike: Ward prototyped the ability to remove stats entirely in the form of the Vindicare's Shield-Breaker, and now it's being rolled out in force. It adds a new dimension to methods of tank-busting, instead of just 'fire a meltagun and hope for the best.' I like this.

3. Heavy: I'm guessing this is going to be a permanent addition to the vehicle type roster in future, considering that unlike Lumbering Behemoth it isn't a special rule. Possible future candidates... the Russ and Land Raider.

4. Non-Apocalypse Void Shieldy Things: It's like having an onion vehicle, which is neat. It's something I was considering for a Disciple of Sky vehicle, minus the jettisoning of parts I plan to implement.

5. Non-Apocalypse Super Gatler Things: The Tesla Destructor and its bounce ability. Except that it doesn't run out of tesla.

6. TCG-like abilities: Trazyn the Infinite's psionic shockwave comes across like this. More of this please, it's fun.

Overall I'm quite pleased about how innovative some of this stuff is. It proves Ward is actually able to write non-Marine books. I mean, I do have some gripes, but a certain motoring show will deal with them...

I am away doing a Doubles Tournament this weekend so you get this a day early. Anything I've missed can be rammed in the comments box. I promise the Top Bryss will be longer.

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Magnetised Necron Ark Update

Yep, finally got some WIP updates up. I'm nearly at the end of building all the sub-assemblies for painting, and I put the first magnets in literally minutes ago.

Hehe, looks like they have eyes, sort of. Those magnets are for the Warriors that go in when it's a Corpse Ca...ah, no, Ghost Ark. The fluff does make it sound like a high-tech Corpse Cart, mind.

Load and loads of parts. Once I finish it and put in the crucial magnets joining the ribs to the crescent a Top Bryss model review (new Top Bryss things are always fun) will be inbound! Oh, and since it's Haiku Thursday...

I has Necron book
Took me bloody long enough
Time to kick some arse.

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

News Updates: The Ark Is Go!

Right, I've hit a slight snag. For reasons incomprehensible to mortal man (including me), I can't get the Codex until Thursday. On the other hand, I have received the other things I ordered. Yay!

I bought the Finecast Trazyn The Infinite to serve as my new proper HQ (as Destroyer Lords with Staves of Light are no longer all that), and as I was with the Death Jester I'm satisfied with model quality (bearing in mind this is only my second Finecast purchase). Maybe they send all the bad ones to America just to annoy them. The other thing I like about him is that he doesn't have a slotta base. You just stick him on. This eliminates the problem amateur gamers have of Floating HQ Syndrome, and minimised the risk that the model just won't stick to the base.

I wondered whether the new Ark was a worthy candidate for my new-found magnet powers, and I'm happy to report that it is. There's easily enough room in the gap in the slots that connect the ribs to the crescent for magnets and I can even magnetise the Warriors with it to the ribs by means of drilling (saves messing around with the stupid 'glue them in the gaps' approach you're supposed to take with normal building. A certain motoring show will be doing a model review in the near future...

There's a 1000 point Doubles tourney on in the local GW this weekend, so I'll do that and take notes for you lot. Unfortunately, because 'Scape has this weird thing called a 'Saturday Job' I can't go in with my first choice of partner, but a Chaos-playing friend has agreed to pitch in. Hopefully Dark Eldar and Chaos will be able to ally up. Planned list is:

Barebones Haemonculus
2x 3 Trueborn with two Cannons in a Raider with Night Shields
7 Kabalites with a Blaster in a Raider with Some Field
5 Kabalites who will sit about and do nothing. Times like this I wish I had some Wracks.

Oh, and the inaugural Necron Bat-Rep with 'Scape is the day after that. In order to save arguments about which of us gets to use our beloved first army, both of us will use Necrons. Let's hope my old Pariahs (now Crypteks) will be of some actual use now...

Saturday, 5 November 2011

Bryss Pulls A Sickie

Due to the fact that I'm not quite finished with the HQ Units Hints For Homebrew, and the fact that I'm going to fetch my Necron Codex today, I will not be posting a proper article this week. However, if all goes well a certain motoring show will be covering aforementioned book in the near future...

I know I'm late, but I finally got some PSN credit the other week so downloaded Kill Team, which I'm very satisfied with. In a weird way for me it feels like a 3D bullet hell game, with added melee, or a 3D side-scrolling beat-em-up with shooting, your choice. Controls are simple enough, and it's a clever idea that rather than aim a cursor you just spray fire in a general direction (seems the best tactic against Orks...).

I agree with Atrotos' earlier review in that the cutscenes really get in the way (and I'm not a fan of the Mission Control guy either), but other than that I'm having a lot of fun with it. Especially with the Sternguard. Dakka dakka indeed.

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Haiku Thursday: The Brief Return

Sigh... I seem to have less time than ever to write these days. On the other hand, a new Necron Codex does mean a new bat-rep for you lot, plus I'll see if it is feasible for me to magnetise the Ark. I hope it is, but if it isn't I have no clue how I'm building it. Have a haiku or two. Theme is 'The Imperial Guard':

Hails of unseen fire
Fill the air with flames crackling
And the ground with thuds.

Onward, Emp'rors men,
To fruitless prizes; death, and

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Rules Redux #2: Take Cover!

Hi all, and welcome back to another edition of Alt40k Rules Packages Rules Redux! As always I’ll be looking at different rules from 40k each week and see what we can do to try and either improve, make closer to the fluff or just change for the heck of it. The key to this is to make small, modular changes to our game that are easy to incorporate but have wide reaching effects.

Over 50% Concealment since 1986

Today we’re talking about one of the fundamental building blocks of 5th edition, something that has so changed the game that if you don’t have a 3+ or 3++ you had just better stay home. Yes ladies and gents, we’re talking about cover, the thing that thine infantry had best not be without.

Now unlike my last topic cover has a lot of things going for it. It helps make infantry a bit more viable in this vehicle dominated age and even helps reduce the utter dominance of the Spehss Mehreens by giving weaker infantry like Orks or Guard a fighting chance.

However, that is not to say that cover is all good either. 4+ saves all over the place devalues armor a great deal. Stormtroopers have a 4+ save... so what? They’ll be in cover! Guardsmen have a 5+ where Orks have a 6+... again, so what? Everybody gets a 4 up!

AP also becomes almost completely pointless in an age of pervasive cover. Bolters can’t chew through Guardsmen like they want to, Battlecannons barely chomp on Marines and Plasmaguns truly are relics of a bygone age. Even fancy invulnerable saves are cheapened by 4+ cover, only becoming relevant when the user gets into close combat.

I'm in your cover, eating all your d00ds

So, what can we do here? I’ve got a couple of thoughts.

First is just to reduce the average cover save to 5+ instead of a 4+. This will mean that more Guardsmen and Orks will die to small arms fire but it will also mean that more of the Emperor’s chosen will fall to Battlecannons and plasmaguns. Boring, but effective and easy to remember.

Another way, and my personal favorite, is to switch to the Fantasy version of cover. This means a -1 to Ballistic Skill for soft cover (i.e. forests, tall grass, rocky outcroppings) and a -2 for hard cover (intact buildings and walls). I personally think that this version is more realistic  This would allow AP to actually function while still providing a good way to hide from the enemy. It also means that invulnerable saves of 4+ or less actually have a place in the game. I mean, which are you going to trust more- your highly sophisticated refractor field or that scrawny sapling over yonder?

Let’s look at some stats here, bolter vs Guardsmen. Average shot at BS 4 with 4+ cover has a chance to wound of 2/9. 5+ cover means 8/27. -1 BS means 1/3, which is very close to our original ratio.

Now let’s take a look at the same weapon vs a Space Marine. 4+ cover doesn’t matter here, so the chance to wound is 1/9. Introduce the -1 BS cover, however, and the Marine’s survivability increases to only 1/12 shots wounding.

Sounds pretty bad for you Marine haters out there, right? Now let’s take a look at mister plasmagun. In 4+ cover world the Marine would get wounded 5/18 shots. In -1 BS cover the marine gets wounded 5/12s of the time. Granted, your average guardsmen gets wounded the same, but at least plasmaguns become much greater equalizers than they were before. And, Thousand Sons players rejoice, as you darling Tzeentchlings only get wounded half as much as normal marines when in cover. Justice!

And just in case you thought I forgot, blast and template weapons are covered here. It makes sense to me that blast weapons should be naturally very good at getting through cover, so if it’s a direct hit there just ain’t much that you’ll be able to do about it. Anything else will incur the normal BS penalty.

Cover- it's Pretty Useful!

But still, over all Space Marines are coming out on top when it comes to cover, as they get more of an improvement than the other races thanks to their amazing armor saves. Let’s see if we can whip up some optional add-ons to help level the playing field:
  • New USR: Trenchers. Units with the Trenchers ability can spend a turn digging a foxhole to generate temporary cover or increase existing cover. After digging in as long as they don’t move they continue to benefit from cover while firing away. I could see this USR being handed out to the Imperial Guard, Tau and Tyranids (burrowing), and our Niddy friends might even get some kind of mobile version of the rule for things like Raveners. You have to move as if in difficult terrain, but hey- cover!
  • Not all area terrain automatically grants cover. “Medium” cover, like forests and chest high walls will automatically hand out cover, but things like tall grass, lower walls and craters will only give you cover if you don’t move or take a difficult terrain penalty AND forgo shooting. To make up for this you can always choose to move normally through this type of area terrain- you just won’t get any cover if you choose to do so.
  • Certain races or units might just not be able to take advantage of cover. Red fury Blood Angels just want at the enemy, Terminators might be too bulky/proud, and who is really going to tell the Black Templars to get behind that rock? Marines might even have a drawback tied into ATSKNF where they have to take a leadership test in order to take advantage of cover. After all, what good is ceramite if you aren’t going to use it?
Well, that’s it for now. Let me know what you think of this scheme in the comments, and I’ll be back to talk about another rule that we can tweak.

Thanks for reading!