Monday, January 30, 2012


So I've got some free time just before hitting the sack and I decided I'd spend some time writing my first serious tactical article for Necrons. The codex has been out for awhile now and we have all seen the more prevalent lists that are gaining popularity. One of the nice things about using Tremor tactics is it does not eat up lots of points so you can incorporate elements from other popular builds such as Wraithwing and the Scarab Farm. Tremor tactics go hand in hand with Stormlord tactics—by combining the two you are both limiting the distance your opponent can target your squads when shooting as well as slowing their approach... The goal is to create conditions such that the enemy cannot see you nor can the opponent assault you. All the while you are moving your units into position to devastate the enemy.

As a general caveat there are strategies the opponent can make use of to mitigate these effects but generally speaking mechanized armies that heavily rely upon treads will have some real problems getting around your defensive affects. I like to call these tactics Enemy Force Divider (FID). The term force multiplier is common now in fifth edition as there are lots of special characters that boost certain units in their army and unlock special modifications to the existing force organization chart (FOC). So basically you are using defensive powers to neutralize the main strengths of your opponent's army. Reserve armies that deploy via deep strike, infiltration and outflanking (e.g., Blood Angels DoA and Tyranid reserve armies) are less affected by Tremor tactics since they can deliver their units right upon your door step—I'll address how to deal with these types of armies in a later article.

Basic Tremor Tactics
So what are Tremor tactics? These tactics make use of the C'tan Shards and Crypteks fielded as Harbingers of Transmorgrification (HoT). The main manifestation of power to select for the C'tan is Writhing Worldscape—all difficult terrain is treated as also dangerous terrain and dangerous terrain tests are failed on the roll of both a 1 and 2 while the C'tan is on the battlefield. The other manifestitation of power I think is very useful for these tactics is the Grand Illusion that allows you to redeploy up to D3 units after both forces have deployed and all Scout Moves have been made–note that you can place these units back into or out of reserve... Generally you'll want to go first if possible so as to pull off the bait and switch tactic. HoT are armed with the Tremor Stave which cause an enemy unit hit with this weapon to treat terrain as difficult ground during their next movement phase and it has a range of 36". You can also field Orikan the Diviner who causes all terrain to be treated as difficult ground for the enemy during their first turn. I am still up in the air about Orikan though as he is a Cryptek that counts as an HQ and does not have access to a Royal Court. You'll want to make sure you have enough HoG such that they are effective. HoT also have access to the Seismic Crucible which reduces the charge range of an enemy unit by D3" if they attempt to assault the HoT including any unit he is attached.

So these are the tactics you use to impede the forward progress of the enemy. As I said above these tactics go hand in hand with Stormlord tactics including Harbingers of Destruction armed with the Solar Pulse... Your opponent can't see you and they can't reach out and touch you in melee... All the while you are moving into position to blast them to bloody bits !!

One of the inherent beauties of Tremor tactics is besides the cost of the C'tan the HoD are relatively cheap to field so you have lots of points left over—You can still incorporate Stormlord, Wraithwing and Scarab Farm elements into your army if you wish. Tremor tactics basically are an enhancement that help bolster your defense by buying you more time.

2k Sample Army List

So far I have used 1955 points. The list incorporates both Stormlord and Scarab Farming elements. It can really hit hard in melee with lots of heavy hitters. The shooty component is very mobile.

Imotekh the Stormlord (225)
Orikan the Diviner (165)

Royal Court (315)
*Harbinger of Destruction (Solar Pulse)
*Harbinger of Despair (Veil of Darkness)
*Harbinger of Transmogrification (Seismic Crucible)
*Harbinger of Transmogrification
*Lord (Resurrection Orb)
*Lord (Resurrection Orb)

C'Tan Shard (260)
-          Writhing Worldscape & Grand Illusion

20x Warriors (260)
10x Immortals (170)
10x Immortals (170)

Fast Attack
6x Canoptek Wraiths (260)
-          2x Particle Caster + 4x Whip Coil

10x Canoptek Scarabs (150)

Heavy Support
3x Canoptek Spyder (150)

This is the first article that presents the use of Tremor tactics and provides a sample army lists to better illustrate how to effectively incorporate these tactics.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

My thoughts on the leaked sixth edition

FYI - this is the 100th post on the blog. Big Al owes me a cookie now. Heh !!

Some of you might remember that GW leaked the fifth edition rules prior to their official release—the pdf was well written and in line with what I would expect from GW... No typos, no grammatical errors, etc. The new Grey Knight codex was leaked as well—same deal... Well written and in line with what I would expect. Heck even fourth edition was officially leaked as version 3.5. We know these were all legit based upon the evidence at hand and no one can deny these as fact. On the other hand the 'leaked' sixth edition PDF looks like garbage in comparison in my opinion... Lots of typos and lots of grammatical errors... It looks like it could have been written by an average teenager to me. The rules presented in the leaked sixth edition at best are extremely complex and very hard to follow. People have gone so far as to present video batreps on the internet based upon these leaked rules and they have made a bundle of errors. I think if they were truly honest they would admit they don't fully understand how these rules are intended to work. The enthusiasm is great but I feel it's misguided.

What I want for sixth is a very tight set of rules that are well written plus I think they should be easy to understand and apply. All this blah blah blah about how stale is 5th edition isn't going to change anything. No one was complaining about fifth edition prior to this leak as far back as I can remember. We all know 6th will be released some time this year—don't get yer knickers all bunched up and knotted. Oh and be very careful what you wish for... More complex invariably means more arguments and more time required to play. Fifth edition is the best yet and it fixed a lot of the problems with fourth edition. Hopefully sixth edition will be even better and address the problems we have found in fifth edition.

So why do people like the leaked ruleset? I think the answer is that they believe it will change the current meta, nerf some of the top tiered armies and make more of the lower tiered armies more powerful. The truth is every new edition has changed the meta and invariably shifted the balance of power. It is what it is.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Can the Eldar be viable?

We have a big tournament coming up in a about a month - the Battle For Stone's River.   It's a very objective based tournament - every table has a river and two bridges across it.  The tournement is based on and in remembrance of the Civil War battle of the same name - with 1863 points - the year the battle occurred.

The local scene is a little more diverse than what you see at an Adepticon or other major tournaments.   There are more than a few Orks, Chaos, Tau, etc armies than you see in other places.  But I know that several of the better players in the area (some of whom write for this blog) will be playing Grey Knights, Marines, etc.   So my dilemma is - how to counter and come up with something that can handle the heavy lists - but maintains high mobility.   Which has led me to think about the Eldar - one of my favorite lists of the past - but a challenge in today's tournament arena.

I think that the Eldar can cause havok with all psykers - not so much what they can do - but what the rolling three dice to cast powers does to opponents.   Eldar are still top shelf as a fast army that has some resiliance still due to their Serpents and Falcons - still hard to kill in 5th.   An Autarch gives some tactical flexibility around playing a reserve game if you are going to be outshot - and give you the chance for that last turn objective grab.  Dire Avengers make good and cheap troop choices, Fire Dragons are still death for enemy armor, and Banshee's can still be dangerous in HTH.

BUT....Eldar are pricy.   If you are going with as many Eldar hulls - six to seven will be max.   They are frail and don't survive long against much of anything in HTH unless you can do a first turn alpha strike.  They have as many down sides as upsides in many cases.

So....the question still is there....what am I going to run???

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Unsettled Times!'s January 21st, it's 64 degrees at 1 AM and there is a Tornado Warning about 10 miles south of my house, a Tornado Watch until 5 am,  my daughter just turned 15 and wants to get a drivers permit, the Battle for Stone's River tournament is in a month and I still haven't settled on what to run yet,  new FAQ's are out for almost every army, and rumors of 6th edition are rampant and our hobby is about to dramatically change.   Troubling times for sure!

For Stone's River (an excellent little local tournament - now 70 people strong) I'm torn between Dark Angels (I've been running a Death Wing/Standard Marine combo that has been fairly effective lately), Grey Knights (and I expect a large turnout of GK armies), my tried and tested Space Wolves, or wondering if an Eldar list might just surprise folks.  In the past, the missions have favored a lot of mobility - an Eldar do well there.  Still not sure what to do here.

Sixth Edition sounds interesting and a major change.  I have scanned the leaked codex - but not looked at it in detail.   Some say it is just a joke, others feel it's genuine.   If true, it sounds like the game has gone back towards it's roots somewhat - adding a more tactical feel to the game.   I think if true - that would be a plus for the game.  Fifth edition in particular removed a lot of the high level tactics of the game - and made it more of a who can roll the dice better game than who can outmanuever and outplay their opponent.

Regardless - Fifth edition has grown old and I welcome a change.   In the old days of fourth edition - I counted myself as a good player - a top 10 to 25 in tournaments on a regular basis.  Fifth edition gave me a swift kick in the ding-ding - placing WAY to much emphasis on how well you can roll dice for someone like me - who is VERY capable of rolling 8 1's out of 10 dice.  

So - things will be up in the air for some time.  The inter-webz will be full of chatter and rumors will abound.   People will be talking about the hobby - interest will grow - and a bit of excitement will be back in the game.  All good things!  Stelek has started ranting about the Wrecking Crew on his crappy little blog again, I'm sure the BOLS guys will be next.  All of which adds to the drama and intrigue that the US gamers have grown to love and enjoy.  YEAH BABY!

And just to add to the unsettling things....GW has shown a nice little profit of late - a sure sign of the coming apocalypse when all the Nay-Sayers said they were doomed to failure. 

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Draigowing vs. Imperial Guard - 2k Batrep

I'm still waiting on my Tyranids to be painted and still working on my Necrons so this weekend
again I decided to break out my Grey Knights for another pickup game. I used the exact same list as last weekend:

Lord Draigo
Librarian - master crafted warding stave, 2x servo skull, Might of Titans, Sanctuary,shrouding, Warp Rift

10x Paladin: fully complex w. 4x psycannon
10x GKT w. 2x psycannon


Sorry I don't have an exact list for the IG army. Off the top of my head it included the following units:

Colonel Straken w. command squad - chimera
Primaris Psyker (attached to melta vets)

10x melta vets - chimera
Platoon blob w. Commissar: 3x lascannon, plasmaguns, sergeants w. power swords
3x autocannon HWS
5x guardsmen w. 3x grenade launcher (ride in Vendetta)



Leman Russ Demolisher squadron (lascannons)

Leman Russ


10x Battle Psyker Squad

The mission was Capture and Control with Dawn of War for deployment. I won the roll and opted to go second. I rolled for the Grand Strategy and made both psyflemen scoring. My opponent deployed his blob on a covered hill sitting on his objective marker. All the rest of his army would come in from reserve on the first turn. I placed my objective marker back in a corner of my deployment zone with some decent cover deploying the Librarian attached to the Paladins off beside my objective in hard cover. Both psyflemen would walk on the first turn with Lord Draigo and the GKT opting to teleport.

Pre Game Analysis
I don't have a good track record versus IG in 5th edition to be honest—luckily the mission is not Seize Ground with five objective markers. I opted for a very simple strategy—Lord Draigo and the GKT will go for my opponent's objective marker while the rest of my army will defend my objective marker. I am counting on Lord Draigo to survive one round of shooting following deep strike then converge on the blob and slowly NOM NOM NOM them to death. Draigo is a beast and can suck up some pain then dish it right back. The rest of my army has solid cover and can shred AV12. The Librarian as usual is key to securing victory and must come through in the clutch casting his psychic powers.

Turn 1 - Imperial Guard
Everything not on the table comes on with a good contingent of the army moving into position to support their blob. Vendetta comes on the far table edge safely tucked away while Straken and his posse roll on in their chimera behind the blob. PSB walks on behind the blob as well. Colossus also comes in on the far side of the table. The Demolisher squadron and Devildog come in along the opposite side of Paladins and will be out of range this turn. Chimera full of melta vets pull up behind the Devildog for some hard cover. IG doesn't spot my Paladins and that's it.

Turn 1 - Draigowing
My psyflemen walk on hiding behind cover. Paladins move up closer to blob (remaining in cover obviously), target the Devildog and whiff.

Turn 2 - Imperial Guard
Demolishers, Devildog and PSB move up in range of my Paladins and cut loose with a deadly salvo. My Librarian botches his psychic test for Shrouding and then the bombs drop. One pie plate hits while the other scatters off. I fail my first four cover saves—SPLAT SPLAT SPLAT SPLAT. I then lose another Paladin to a stray lascannon and the PSB successfully cast Weaken Resolve beating the reinforced Aegis on a psyfleman. Luckily the small blast from the Devildog scatters wide. I'm thinking this game is probably already over now but decide to stick it out and see how everything plays out. Paladins fail their morale check and fall back missing the board edge by a couple inches... That would have pretty much been the end of the game otherwise.

Turn 2 - Draigowing
Lord Draigo and his GKT teleport onto the battlefield scattering 10" straight towards the blob but don't mishap. Paladins auto rally and move back up into cover with both psyflemen side by side for protection. Lord Draigo and GKT target the blob but only manage to drop six due to some fiery hot cover saves. Paladins target the Devildog and rip off its turret. Psyflemen target a chimera full of melta vets riding in a chimera parked behind the Devildog but only manage to shake it.

Turn 3 - Imperial Guard
As much of the IG army that can target Lord Draigo and his GKT take aim and lay massive waste to the Grey Knights. When all the smoke clears all that is left standing is Draigo and two terminators (made a ridiculous amount of cover saves this turn). The PSB then successfully cast Weaken Resolve targeting Lord Draigo and his remaining terminators—they fall back 6" and there's nothing close by to prevent them from auto rallying the next turn... IG should have parked the Vendetta right beside them. I was actually hoping that all the GKT would die so that Lord Draigo would revert back to being Fearless so it worked out okay this turn after all.

Turn 3 - Draigowing
Lord Draigo auto rallies and moves up in position to finally charge the blob. Paladins and one psyfleman take aim on the Devildog—destroying the last of its weapons and immobilize it. The other psyfleman manages to stun the chimera full of melta vets. Lord Draigo then assaults the blob—NOM NOM NOM... He kills four guardsmen and takes no wounds in return. Blob then pass their morale check and pile in around Draigo.

Turn 4 - Imperial Guard
Straken and his command squad pull up in their chimera beside the battle between Lord Draigo and the blob. Vendetta moves into position to fire upon one of my psyflemen. Demolishers move up to drop more pie plates of death on the Paladins and psyflemen. Vendetta explodes one of the psyflemen but the Paladins and remaining psyfleman stand tall. Lord Draigo continues to NOM NOM NOM the blob and they pass their morale check.

Turn 4 - Draigowing
This will be a critical turn as we are playing random game length. I'm holding my objective marker with the remaining psyfleman and Lord Draigo is contesting the other. I need to stop the melta vets from moving into position to contest my objective and shoot down the Vendetta since its carrying another scoring unit. Lord Draigo is doing just fine and is whittling down the blob slowly but surely.

Librarian successfully casts Warp Rift popping both the Devildog and the chimera full of melta vets. Melta vets pop out the rearside of the burning wreck and pass their leadership tests. Paladins and psyflemen both whiff on the Vendetta. Draigo continues to NOM NOM NOM the blob reducing them to just a handful of guardsmen.

Turn 5 - Imperial Guard
Straken and his command squad decide to remain inside their chimera and play it safe while the Vendetta moves flat out towards my objective but is still well outside of 3" from my objective marker. The wrecks from the Devildog and chimera is shielding the Paladins from the Demolishers and PSB. The meta vets move forward to target the psyfleman but are just outside of half range. Again my Librarian botches his psychic test while attempting to cast the Shrouding and takes a wound from Perils of the Warp... Really bad day at the office for him. Melta vets whiff on the psyflemen then Lord Draigo finishes off the last of the blob and walks onto the enemy objective marker.

Turn 5 - Grey Knights
The Librarian splits off from the Paladins to assault the melta vets. The Paladins target the Vendetta inflicting three penetrating hits but it passes all three cover saves. The psyfleman then shoots down the Vendetta and one guardsman dies in the ensuing explosion. The Librarian then botches his psychic test for Hammerhand and dies from Perils of the Warp failing his first 2++ save... Wow !!

We roll for the sixth turn and up pops a 2... I'm holding my objective counter and contesting the enemy objective marker... So I end up with a close win. Note that the melta vets were less than an inch away from contesting my objective marker. I think that if the Librarian had charged the melta vets and not broke them the pile in move would have moved them inside room to contest... Pretty crazy.

Post Game Analysis
Well it was pretty dumb to have cast Hammerhand for the Librarian even with a 2++ save... Just really wasn't necessary but still worked out for the win. I think my opponent should have been more aggressive with Straken and his Vendetta. Straken ended up not contributing to the battle and might have been able to finish off Draigo in melee. The opening four failed cover saves plus botching Shrouding with my Librarian during the second turn took me right back to the second half of my previous game versus Space Marines last weekend. Luckily fate decided to be kind a bit after the initial run of bad luck and I was able to make a game out of it sticking to the plan. IG does not really have an answer to Lord Draigo in melee and once he got stuck in combat he did what he does best for the rest of the game.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Help with the bikes.....

I really haven't been playing my Storm Lords bike army lately. They don't seem to have what it takes to win consistently around here with the rise of Dark Eldar, Grey Knights and Blood Angels in my area. My bike army used to do very well and was consistently in the top five of most tournies but now seems like the knife being brought to the gun fight. I know that any army can win on any given day but I just can't seem to come up with lists I like any more. As a case in point there is a 1500 point tourney this Sunday and I have been playing around with lists but haven't found one I think will do well. I am hoping our readers can give me some inspiration and ideas to redo my bike army.
I just want to talk about why I feel that way and take a look at the strengths and weaknesses of a White Scars army and why they I feel they have dropped in power.
The number one strength with a White Scars army is speed. We used to besides Eldar be the umatched kings of maneuverability. With fast troops we could redeploy on the fly and take objectives in late game turns and extend our threat bubble accordingly. However with the rise of Blood Angels, DE and GK we are just one of the fast armies. BA can be fast all their vehicles can move 12 and shoot or go supercharged and go 18". Plus they have a lot of jumpers and precision deep strike to get where they need to be. Dark Eldar are ridiculously fast. No comment is even needed on how fast they are. Even GKs can be fast. Stormravens, personal teleporting interceptors and dread knights plus the teleportation of strikes, termies and paladins.
This has all combined to negate or blunt our speed advantage. Plus a lot of armies now have ways to put units in difficult terrain. Tremor staves, murderous hurricane, sanctuary, thunderfire cannons are all murder on bikes. All those dangerous terrain checks can really but a hurt in your units plus it doesn't allow for turbo boosting to get the all important 3+ cover save.
The second strength of the White Scar force is toughness five troops. This makes up for the limited quantity of guys. However DE don't care about T5. With poison all toughnesses are the saem and you will be making a ton of armor saves. In combat with BAs everybody is usually in the furious charge bubble making your toughness five not nearly as effective especially with then going at int 5.. GKs are shooting you with psycannons and autocannons which laugh at your toughness five, plus when you do get into combat they are also going ahead of you and all have power weapons and hammerhand at the very least.
With these two strengths neutralized or at the very least marginalized it seems like the inherent weaknesses of low numbers and dearth of long range firepower are even more magnified. The tournament scene in the Chicago area seems to be dominated by Wolves, BA, GK and a smattering of DE (Especially GK). Just wondering what your fixes for these armies you have implemented so I can steal er I mean gain inspiration from....