Saturday, November 19, 2011

2012 Tournaments

Well - 2011 is almost done and we are staring at 2012 hard in the face.  So I'm already starting to make my plans for my tournament schedule for the year.    It's cool that so many tournaments - both local and national exist - and I'm looking forward to getting into as many as I can this year.

So far here is whats on the list:

Battle for Stones River:   Great little local tournament ran by Grand Adventures in M'boro.  It's based around the Civil War battle of the same name:  1863 points, rivers and bridges on all boards.  Around a 50'sh person total tournament.  Good missions, well run little tournament - and local as well.

Adepticon 2012:   The big poppa of all tournaments.   Team and Nationals sold out in two days this year.  Once again I will journey with my brothers to Chi-town - meet up with great friends (Swanson - we pick you to buy the first round this year) - and play some tough games of 40K.   You have to go to this to experience it - the Mecca of 40K tournament geekiness.

The Kalm before the Waaagh:   In all honesty, the only tournament I go to where I truly don't care how I do - and just want to play and have fun.  It's held in a bar.   Whacky missions.    The TO is a true gentleman and someone I call friend - Mr. George Flowers.  Last year mother nature whacked this one with a massive tornado - but I hope it's back for 2012.

The America's Team Championship:   This is now my most fun tournament.   It's put on by Dicehead Games and Grand Adventures - 5 man teams ala ETC format.  I'm back with my same team for last year - all locked and loaded to play.  Held in Cleveland this year - it WILL be a blast and is a must do tournament as far as I'm concerned.

That's it for now.  I will try a few local events as they occur.   One smaller local shop - Wargames LLC has been running great little fun tourneys that I've been enjoying.    Just fun things.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Tyranid Unit Analysis - Genestealers

I'm going to provide a series of articles on individual unit analysis for Tyranids. I am only going to cover the units I use as I have no in depth experience with others. Note that I use a pure reserve army - that is no unit starts on the table deployed prior to the first turn. I'll cover how and why I bring each type of unit onto the table in each of these articles.

Reserving your Entire Army
The beauty of a pure reserve army for Tyranids is threefold:

1) Foremost you can eliminate the restrictions of normal deployment. I have played many games versus Tyranids over the years with shooty armies... Typically only a few battered Tyranid units would get close enough to my battle line to inflict any serious damage and I had dedicated melee units waiting and ready to counter assault. Cover saves were much harder to come by prior to 5th edition so dedicated shooting versus Tyranids was very effective and they would often suffer massive losses while crossing open ground during the first two turns.

Outflanking, deep striking and mycetic spores are the three main methods to hold your Tyranid units in reserve. Genestealers have the option to infiltrate as well as outflank - I've found outflanking to often be much more effective. It's important to place some of the objective markers close to both short table edges so that if a brood of genestealers arrive on the wrong side while outflanking they can still control an objective marker - genestealers are a scoring unit so take advantage !

Yrmgal genestealers can arrive from reserve in a piece of terrain then move, fleet and launch an assault the same turn. As such Yrmgal genestealers can be an effective counter versus an opponent that castles their army smack dab in the middle of their deployment zone.

So basically you're running a three pronged attack with your genestealers - the regular genestealer broods attack along either flank while the Yrmgal genestealers push towards the center. As such it's hard for opponent to completely deny them a charge when they do arrive.

Prior to 5th edition one of the main tactics was to run your Tyranid army in waves. The first wave was composed of fast cheap units such as gargoyles and Ravenors - Their main purpose was to tarpit the opponent and quickly eliminate the threat of enemy shooting - note that mechanized armies could ignore the first wave for the most part but back then metal bawks were often burning death traps; that is, you didn't see a lot of effective mechanized armies in 4th edition... Many armies were comprised mostly of infantry.

The second wave was also composed of more fast hard units such as winged Hive Tyrants to come and destroy enemy units or cripple them to the extent that they were no longer a real threat.

The third and final wave was composed of units such as genestealers and Carnifexen to finish off the enemy. 4th edition Tyranid lists were dominated byba large amount of Carnifexen - up to six T6 4W units that could lay down a withering amount of midrange firepower. Carnifexen taken as heavy support had access to a 2+ armor save so they were fairly immune to missile launchers. That's all changed now and Tyranids in 5th edition have been designed to be fielded as a horde which is true to their fluff. It is what it is.

2) Holding your entire army in reserve cuts down on the amount of damage your opponent can inflict via shooting during the first part of the game - at least two turns if you happen to go second. It's quite helpful and a much better approach rather than using waves.

3) Third is the psychological advantage you can gain... Your opponent doesn't know where you'll arrive and this can force them to possibly make some big mistakes during their initial deployment. Psychology is very important for any game. You want your spirits to be up but you also don't want to be overconfident as well.

Genestealers have always been a top unit and in both 4th and 5th editions they are a troop choice. At first I thought genestealers should be your only troop choice for 5th edition but I've learned that gaunts are really good too if you've got enough synapse to spread around the battlefield. I field two units of 10 genestealers (both with a Broodlord) and one brood of 10 Yrmgal genestealers. My two troop choices have scything talons and toxin sacs. Scything talons lets you reroll ones to hit and toxin sacs let you reroll wounds versus enemy units that are T4 or less. Basically the philosophy here is to generate as many rending wounds|armor penetrations as possible. Genestealers can fleet, are I6|WS6 and don't have to take tests for instinctive behavior. They can also either infiltrate or outflank as I mentioned in the beginning of this article. Genestealers are a true workhorse and win games. They are also T4 which is pretty darn good for any non power armor army. They are your vanguard (i.e., first wave). Genestealers can roll right through most any enemy unit in melee except for landraiders and Monoliths.

So I've got 30 models that are total hard asses. Most Space Marine armies will be hard pressed to put that number of elite bodies on the table. On top of that I've also got close to the same number of gaunts. There is no Space Marine army that can field as many models and perform as well in my opinion.

The Broodlord functions like a Space Marine sergeant - it is a squad character that cannot be picked out in melee. The Broodlord is the equivalent of an HQ with three wounds, S5, T5, I7 and more base attacks than the basic genestealer plus they are cheap for what you get points wise. The Broodlord can eat a wound from a missile launcher or lascannon and keep on ticking... As such they can soak a couple wounds just like Draigo does. Broodlords also have a built in psychic power Aura of Despair that lowers enemy leadership by -1. Couple this with the Tyranid psychic power Shadows in the Warp and you can mess with Grey Knights - believe me when I say they don't like that either way you serve it up to them. Every time you block any Grey Knight psychic power is a great thing for Tyranids. For example if you hose up their psychic power Sanctuary a full squad of genestealers assaulting a squad of Paladins will really hurt them... At worse you are striking simultaneously in melee versus halberds and all those rending attacks bypass their 2+ terminator armor save. Strip off each Paladin's first wound and they are no better than a Grey Knight terminator in melee versus genestealers. If you must engage Paladins in melee it's all about taking them down one notch at a time.

Yrmgal Genestealers
Like I said I take one squad of ten. They are immune to the Grey Knight psychic power Warp Quake and can arrive from reserve right in the middle of the table. Yrmgal genestealers have the ability to morph +1 attack, +1S or +1T each turn. Basically the way it plays out is you first morph +1A followed by +1S then keep repeating ad nauseum. +1T is not that great compared to the other two morphs... It is what it is. Yrmgal genestealers also have a 4+ armor save so they have some decent protection from bolters other than being a basic T4. They are an elite choice. Tyranids have unfortunately lots and lots of great elite choices - the only two I take are the Yrmgals and Zoanthropes.

So I have told you a bit about how I play my army and what are the most inherent strengths of genestealers in general. Tyranids are now truly intended to be played as a horde army which is true to their background. Genestealers work very well in a full reserve army since they can outflank.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Nemesis Dreadknight Tactica

Here is my first tactical article on the technical application of the Nemesis Dreadknight (NDK).

First up is how I kit mine:

— Personal Teleporter (PT)
— Heavy Incinerator (HI)

I am not a fan of the sword as it's expensive plus you give up one attack. An NDK with two Doomfists has a base of four attacks and five on the charge. The NDK is WS5 so he is hitting most units on a 3+ which is good enough for me. They can pound the heck out of armor in melee since they are monstrous creatures (2d6 armor penetration coupled with S7 via Hammerhand) and should be able to take out a five man squad of Marines in no more than two rounds of melee. Versus a razorspam army an NDK can quickly roll up an entire flank - pops transports with your psyflemen and psycannons while your NDK eats whatever spills out.

I have always outflanked my NDK - nothing on the table can hide from his HI template the turn he arrives by using his shunt move... 30" onto the table from either short edge plus another 12" to place the template plus another 8" for the template. That's a total distance of 50" ! Therefore the NDK can always cover more than the length of the table (roughly 70 percent) in one turn with the HI template. If you're playing against an army with lots of mech it's fairly easy to drop the HI template across the rear sides of two vehicles. I remember one game versus Imperial Guard when my NDK destroyed a squadron of two Leman Russ using this tactic. Sure the dice were very hot but it can happen. The NDK was shot off the table the following turn but he had left a big mark with two smoking craters. This tactic is also useful if you need to dig out a heavily entrenched enemy troop such as dark eldar Warriors.

Another tactic I have used with the NDK is to use his shunt move to cut off an assault from an enemy unit versus my Paladins or Grey Knight terminators. The NDK has a huge base so it's quite easy to position him in such a manner as to completely block off another friendly unit from the enemy charge arc. This tactic buys you some much needed extra time and helps to ensure your Paladins, Grey Knight terminators or a squad of Purifiers will be able to charge the following turn rather than be charged. I used this tactic once to prevent a large squad of Death Company mounted in a Blood Angels Stormraven from assaulting my Paladins. The next turn my Librarian successfully cast Quicksilver and the Paladins cut down the entire squad of enemy Death Company.

Returning to the topic of options (wargear) you can spend lots and lots of points on an NDK such as including a gatling heavy psilencer as a second weapon. Sure the big gun looks really cool but as I said in the beginning I just stick with the personal teleporter and heavy incinerator - he costs almost as much as a landraider equipped as such and to me there is no need to tack on any more unnecessary points. The personal teleporter while very expensive is a must have - a walking NDK will be shot off the table more often than not before he can launch one assault. If you are going to spend all those points it's worth it to take the teleporter as it makes the NDK much more of a big threat, which is exactly what you want.

Typically I will only ever use at most one NDK and that is only for games at 2500 points or more. The NDK is situational at best while psyflemen always tend to do well and are roughly half the cost each - so you can almost afford to take two psyflemen in place of one NDK. An NDK can make for some exciting moments in a game though so there is always that potential. Versus armies such as lance heavy dark eldar the NDK has a very short predicted life span on the table - the enemy will quickly blast him into a pulp from a position of safe range and there's not much you can do to prevent it either. Sometimes the NDK is nothing more than expensive fire magnet drawing enemy firepower away from the rest of your army so in my opinion the NDK is more of a fun unit to play as opposed to a really competitive melee beast. Sure there are times he will shine but there will probably be more times when he comes and goes just as quickly.