Saturday, December 29, 2012

WIP Ravenwing bikers

Yes I'm officially in a Dark Angels frenzy! after the Tactical and Deathwing updates comes the Ravenwing bikers from Dark Vengeance! I've never been a great fan of this concept (Space Marines in a bike?) but I have to say the new minis are very cool, and I'm sure it's going to be a great fun to field a Ravenwing or Double wing army so I need to get these done.

At this moment all they need is a good base, paint some text in the scrolls and add the Ravenwing mark in the shoulder pad. I wonder if I should add some more weathering / chipping. Thoughts / opinions ?







Friday, December 28, 2012

WIP Deathwing Terminators




I am truly looking forward for the new Dark Angels minis and codex so in the meantime I'm keeping myself busy with the Deathwing Terminators from the Dark Vengeance set. The armour was trickier to paint that I anticipated but overall I'm quite pleased with how they are turning out. I still have some details pending, like the eyes, the knifes, feathers or the sergeant's blade that I should be able to finish in a good evening of painting.

The termies sit in some urban rubble bases, painted in a darker tone to give more contrast. It also looks consistent to the heavy weathering / chipping on the amour.

As usual all the arms and weapons options are magnetized (bar the CML) so I can field them in a variety of ways. Constructive comments / feedback is appreciated!








Thursday, December 27, 2012

Dark Angels from Dark Vengeance WIP

Just a quick update on the Dark Angels Tacticals and Ravenwing from the Dark Vengeance set. These minis are a blast to paint and I will be posting tutorials pretty soon on the Tactical, Ravenwing and Deathwing squads so stay tuned for more news!

Shoud I apply some OSL to the plasmagun?

The bases were originally meant for some CSM and that's why the look so dark and grim. No to mention it's the 40th millennium!

Needs some weathering and chipping but otherwise good to go

Sunday, December 23, 2012

New Nighthawk-pattern Storm Eagle?

This could be just nothing, or maybe there is more to it that just creative freedom on the writer's end. On the latest Horus Heresy book, Angel Exterminatus, we get a glimpse of 2 loyalist Space Marines using a variation of a Storm Eagle that one of them calls a "Nighthawk-pattern", and that is described to have "stealth capabilities" and to be "multi-spectrally camouflaged". The weapons descriptions seem to be the same as the current model though. I don't want to spoil you the (good) read that Angel Exterminatus is, so get yourself a copy if you want the full details.

"Coloured a dull midnight grey, its swept-back wings bristled with cannons, and its strubby prow with linked banks of heavy bolters. Missile racks on his upper fuselage locked into place with a clatter of loading mechanisms"

"'I designed the Nighthawk-pattern, remember?'
(...) 'You know, Sabik, I think the Mechanicum might give this variant their seal of approval after all', he said.
'Yes'?
'Yes', said Sharrowkyn. 'Eventually'"

It is interesting to mention that this is a conversation between an Iron Hand and a Raven Guard. Will we see something in the 6th ed Space Marines codex?

What makes me think there could be something behind it is that we have recently had the Ravenwing novel anticipating the new Dark Angels models, in this case the "shrouded land speeded" and the flyer. As Games Workshop continues to improve the synergies between their different business branches (40K, Black Library, Forge World) we might see this happening again in the future. For now take it with some salt.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Space Wolves: are drop pods the way?

Dakka Dakka
One of the most popular army configurations for Space Wolves in this early 6th edition is using lots of grey hunters in drop pods, supported by long fangs, rune priests with divination and combi-weapon toting wolf guards. Is this the best Space Wolves can do without allies? let's take a look!

Setting the ground


Let's begin by understanding what a drop pod SW looks like, and how it works. A base list could be something like this (not necessarily the best version):

Rune priest
Cheap and cheerful. Swaps powers by divination and boosts the long fangs, or protects the area with hurricane, or mans the quad gun. Ocasionnally can be risked and sent vai pod with the Wolf Guard if there is a juicy target T1, like Jaws'ing

8-10x Wolf guard with combi weapons.
These bad boys provide the alpha strike of the army. If there is something that needs to go down T1, leave them the job. Tanks, artillery, MCs, you name it. Not many things will survive 15~20 BS4 S7/8 AP2 shots.

4-5 10x Grey Hunters with double special weapon in drop pods
This is the core of the army. The drop pod takes them where they need to get (i.e. an objective). Whilst they can do some damage when they arrive, only in numbers (i.e. at least 3 pods in T1) you will be able to hit hard enough. 30 bodies with T4 3+(5+ cover) makes them decently durable when the rest of your opponent's army retaliates.

2-3 6x Long Fangs, 5ML
After the GH, these are the bread and butter of most SW armies, and are what makes this army tick. Similar to the Grey Hunters, these are jacks of all trades, able to tackle light/med mech, MCs and hordes. While a missile is not particularly effective against any of those, 15+ missiles per turn (with the possibility of twin-linking some of those via divination) start to pose a serious threat.

1 Aegis with Quad gun
A quad gun is the only AA SW have access on their own, and whilst not cheap, you are likely to come across with Vendettas, Scythes and Storm talons / ravens pretty often. The Aegis can also be used to give cover to the long fangs, which is not always easy when you have some 20 dudes in the backfield and  you want to keep some space between them to better deal with blasts.

How it works


GH in Rhinos = wreck in midfield
This is pretty straightforward, really. One of the main issues with SW is getting them where they need to be (objectives), as their rhinos are likely to be blown out by T2/3. You can always foot slog them, but with the rise of dragons, manticores, plasma cannons, DE venomspam... they will take their toll. Don't get me wrong, foot wolves is a viable army in the right hands; the drop pods enhance it by getting them where you want to be, and providing a certain alpha strike capability to an otherwise resilient but not particularly threatening army.

So the list will sport at least 5 pods, 3 of which will fall T1 in front of your opponent's gunline. The opponent will likely protect their important stuff with cheap infantry / light transports so the army needs to have resources in the toolkit to deal with anything. In other words, the Grey Hunter packs need a combination of plasma, melta and flamers. Something like 2xplasma packs, 2xmelta packs and 1xflamer pack could work. Choose two of these to drop T1 depending on what you are facing. The third pod will be the Wolf Guard, and these should go to the juiciest target - Land Raiders, Thunderfire cannons, MCs, Hammerheads... whatever poses the biggest threat to your army, needs to go down now or it will likely wipe out a Grey Hunter squad per turn.

Some lists include Dreadnoughts (TL Heavy flamers?) to enhance the alpha striking. Given scouts can no longer come out of reserve and charge, I would leave them in the shelf.

The Long Fangs and the Rune priest stay in the backfield, using their 48" range to support the strike wherever needed. The Aegis means you can now put the Long Fangs in cover anywhere, so no need to deploy in ruins as in 5th anymore. Speaking of, a small GH squad or two is needed to take the home objectives. Something like a 5 Grey Hunter squad with a flamer comes at 75 points and is perfect for this job.


Strenghts and Weaknesses

The ability to drop a large number of bodies T1 in any part of the board is not negligible; it provides a certain alpha strike and puts pressure on your opponent from the get go (from deployment actually). It is also flexible as you can select what comes on T1, and where. I.e. if there's infantry they will be flamed/double tapped to death, if there is mech will see some point blank melta, if there are heavy infantry/MCs will be torrented with AP2 weaspons. From there, this many Grey Hunters are difficult to move from objectives via CC (counterattack, wolf standard and the ocasional rending attacks from the Wulfen) unless using specialized melee units, which should be hit when the pods come down.

But for all of that, once the troops are in the ground there is very little mobility. There is a lot of AP3 or better weapons in the boards, including specialized MEQ killers like Dreadknights, Flamers, Wraiths and the like. If the initial strike does not hit hard enough, all of your opponent's army will focus in these 30 bodies and whittle them down fairly quickly.

The army also has issues with mass 2+ saves, that can only be taken down through sheer weight of fire. And a quad-gun is not nearly enough AA - it's a single point of failure that can be destroyed T1.

My version of the list at 2000 points


Rune Priest, Terminator armour, chooser of the slain (Jaws, Murderous Hurricane).
I'm willing to pay the TDA so a) the Rune Priest gets some protection from all these blasts centered on his head and b) if I include him in the pod, he needs to carry some protection. The COTS is there to give BS5 to the priest if manning the quad, and to keep infiltrators at bay (remember the COTS can be placed anywhere in the board).

10x Wolf Guard (1 TDA with heavy flamer and power axe, 1 TDA with CML, storm bolter and power axe,8 power armour with 5 combi-plasmas and 3 combi meltas).
I think it's worth paying the TDA to the guy that will be placed closest to the opponent's guns, and 5-point heavy flamer is too good to pass. The CML stays with the Long Fangs - 17 missiles FTW! As for the combi-weapons, it could be argued that with 2 melta hunter units, they could all be plasmas. 

2x 10x Grey Hunters, double plasma, standard, drop pod.

2x 10x Grey Hunters, double melta, standard, drop pod.
10x Grey Hunters, plasma/meltagun, standard
5x Grey Hunters, flamer

Nothing surprising here. I want some variety in the special weapons to ensure I have an all comers list. The standard is a must, anyone charging the GH will have a hard time (it rerolls all the ones ni the phase, from overwatch to armour saves. Simply phenomenal for 10 points). The small flamer squad takes the home objective, while the foot slogging can take an objective or cover a flank.

3x 6x Long Fangs (5x Missile launchers).
This is a short ranged army list, with very little mobility once in the board so it needs a long range fire support element to ensure I can respond to threats across the board. 

Aegis DL with Quad Gun
The quad gun is the only reasonable AA Space Wolves can get on their own, and whilst nearly not enough to dearl with more than 1 flyer, it feels like a worthy investment.
The Aegis on the other hand... I am not a big fan of fortifications in general but recognize the value of deploying the ADL anywhere in my DZ so I can put my Long Fangs behind it. No more packing them in some ruins with suboptimal visibility!

Conclusion


As far as 6th edition go, this army style seems to better balance the game needs (occupy and keep objectives) with the Space Wolves capabilities. It doubles down on the army strenghts (great troops and devs) and reduces one of their biggest weaknesess (mobility) while providing some alpha-strike. There are some bad match-ups in the likes of Daemons with Fateweaver or Flyerwings, but this is true with any SW army (if not, I would be glad to learn more!). Space Wolves, and most armies for what matters, function better with allies, there's no doubt of that. If for whatever reason you want to run solo Wolves (for example tournaments in my area do not allow allies), this is one of your best shots.

Monday, December 10, 2012

6th ed. Blood Angels Codex Review: Troops


The next installment in our Blood Angels codex review for 6th is truly a critical one - Troops are what wins or loses you games, and will determine the overall style of the list. Make sure to check the HQs review and
Elites review if you haven't yet!

The top contenders


Assault Marines (Jump packs): The poster boy of the codex and staple unit of the army. Their descent of angels (DOA) rule is excellent, boosting the reliability of the unit when entering via deep strike. And they now get Hammer of Fury which is nice. However full DOA armies are not viable anymore and therefore they will see more usage starting from the board, hugging for cover and always within 6" of a Sang priest for the much needed FNP. It's not a bad idea to keep a Libby with Shield nearby. How many do you need? for larger games (1850-2000) I wouldn't take less than 40 ASM, and probably another unit to take on the home objectives.

Tactical Marines: Very similar to their vanilla counterparts, with the main difference of being able to get FNP via a babysitting Sanguinary Priest. We mainly want them to sit on our objective and make it alive to the end of the game. Is this an expensive proposal? well we could get some scouts for cheaper but they are certainly not very durable. With their ability to combat squad and hold two objectives, shoot a heavy weapon (a plasma cannon seems the best bet if you're facing lots of MEQs) and reasonably defend their objective, I think they are decent.
Another option is to drop pod them but that is in the context of a list with more pods (for example, sternguards and a furioso). While not a great option, I believe troops with rapid-fire bolter at an advantage over those with pistols like ASM.

The situational choices


Assault Marines (RAS): The hull points system and the ability to wreck vehicles by infantry make this option much less appealing than in 5th. I don't think spamming razorbacks and ASM could work nearly as well as in the past, but a unit or two in this configuration might have their place. After all, you can get a scoring unit and a fast vehicle with a heavy weapon for a resonable price.

Put them in ruins and go to ground like there's no tomorrow
Sniper Scouts: This is a unit that takes camo cloaks and sniper rifles and sits in an objective all game long. They can go to ground for a 2+ cover save, making them difficult to remove at distance, and even with their BS3 can hassle devastators and the like (remember the new precision shots rules). Their ability to wound most things on a 4+ (hello T6 Nurgle bikers!) is also interesting. What's wrong with them? well 18 points for a WS/BS3 and 4+ save seems excessive when a tactical costs 16 and a ASM with jump pack 18 points. But if you want a cheap scoring unit and are short in points, the sniper scouts aren't that bad.

Sanguinary Guard (with Dante): aka Dantewing or Nipple wing. 2+ save, precision energy weapons and a sort of short range storm bolter make this army a sort of Deathwing on jump packs. They lack an invulnerable save, though they can get FNP with a priest which in many cases is alike to a 5++. I guess their biggest drawback is in their short numbers so you will still have to take a couple of ASM or tactical marines to ensure you have enough scoring bodies.

Best leave at home


Death Company: Let's get this straight - Death Company have greatly improved in 6th. Not only they are not chasing shadows anymore, but they have 5+ attacks on the charge, FNP/FC without needing a priest around and now can take FNP against energy weapons and plasma. They do strike at I4 now but you can't have it all. The big caveat now is they don't score, and this is massive in 6th. To put it simple, Death Company is more alike to an Elite choice than Troops - expensive, high damage output, plethora of special rules and non-scoring. How to run DC then? in short, consider them as an oddly placed Elite choice. Be assured they will be high in your opponent's priority list. And keep Storm Ravens away! at best they will be charging in T3, while putting the SR at risk, and at worst they all take S10 hits. I think they are at their best drop podded behind the enemy lines, supporting other units.

Scouts: the bog standard scouts are expensive, not very durable and their damage output is, well, inexistent. Don't expect them to survive if shot at or in CC with most things of the 40k universe. Even if you are running Storm Ravens and just want a cheap unit to drop T5 over an objective, why not invest 25 points more and get 5 ASM instead?

Conclusion

Similiar to most Marine codexes, the Troops options are rather narrow - take either ASM or Tacticals, and do it in large numbers. I would be inclined to run 4 o 5 ten ASM squads, supported by a Libby and Sanguinary Priest, and perhaps have a cheap scoring unit to leave in the backfield. These are highly mobile troops with a decent resistance (3+/FNP or 5+cover/FNP) and decent damage output when charging. But 40K is a shooty game more than ever and they will need to be supported while they foot slog the board or will die in droves. This is where other elements of the army (preds, furiosos, LS, SRs...) need to provide a threat that distracts firepower from the ASM.

Tactical marines are the second logical option. They can perform a backfield role, although not for cheap, or be drop-podded along with other units. The scouts seem subpar when considering their value/cost, and Death Company are not scoring so remain out of the question.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The origins of Mephiston!

We have all heard and suffered the mighty Mephiston, High Librarian of the Blood Angels and muncher of power armour of any colors. We all have faced this MC in power armour and wondered how can a Marine get so beastly. But what do we know about Mephiston?

The fluff says Mephiston was a Librarian who feel to the Black Rage, buried below rubble and devastation, and that was somehow able to overcome it and come back to the world of the living. That experience changed his character and he become taciturn and solitary.

This far most 40k fans know. What else is there to it? Well if you have been following the Horus Heresy you should know that "knowing names grants power". And what's behind the name Mephiston?

The name Mephiston is very likely adopted from Mephistopheles, a character from Goethe's Faustus. Faustus is a complex work, full of intricancies and hard to interpret. Some critics define Mephistopheles (aka Mephistophilis or simply Mephisto) as a devil looking to corrupt those that are damned. Moreover, he has sold his soul to the devil and is sometimes interpreted as a sort of fallen angel. Hmm. Blood Rage, geneseed flaw, Death Company. Mephiston's story of fall and rebirth. Does that ring a bell?

If that is not enough, let's dig deeper onto the etimology:

  • From Hebrew: Mephitz, meaning "destroyer", and tophel, meaning "liar".
  • From the Greek:  Me as a negation, phos meaning light, philis meaning loving. This could be a parody of the Latin Lucifer, "light-bearer".
GW is not the only one to have been inspired by this character, and Mephisto has also appeared in many Marvel comics like X-Men, Ghost Rider, Thor or the Fantastic Four.

It's this sort of inspiration in modern culture that make th 40k universe so attractive. You can easily identify elements from well known sagas like Star Wars (too many to cite!), Dune (the God-Emperor, the Sisters of Battle) or even  the Lord of The Rings (Orks anyone?), or find the inspiration from ancient cultures like Rome (Ultramarines) or the Norse legends (Space Wolves). Other are less evident and I personally enjoy finding these small nuggets of history that make the 40k world.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

6th ed. Blood Angels Codex Review: Elites

Space Hulk Assault Terminator Conversion
Hi there! continuing with our Blood Angels Codex Review for 6th ed it's time for the elites section. As mentioned during the HQ review, the BA codex has some weird FOC placements. In the case of Elites, we find a cluttered section with very good choices and a couple of odd options - Chaplains who rather fit better as HQs, and Techmarines that have little of Elite ;)

In the Troops section we'll discuss the Death Company whose characteristics (non-scoring, full of USRs and tremendously killy) make them strong contenders for the Elite section. In FA a similar case could be argued for Vanguard Vets. In HQs we had the choice of getting an Honour Guard that when tooled up has a great damage output.

This means the BA 'dex effectively allows for very aggressive builds, with 3 elite choices (that in some cases you could combat squad, like the Terminators) and a 3-4 disguised options in other slots. And this is before we get onto double-FOC shaenigans. I'm not implying by any means that this is a good thing to do, just pointing out it's a possibility the Codex offers. So without further ado let's get onto the review:

The Top Contenders

Sanguinary Priests: The staple unit of 5th Ed BA armies, and I forget about them :p Up to 3 can be taken under one slot (and from there on act as ICs) and provide a 6" FNP/FC aura goodness. FNP is only 5+ but now works with power weapons and plasma so it's not that bad, but FC no longer boosts Initiative and this is massive. Add in overwatch and RCL and assault is a lot less attractive that it used to be *shrugs*

Tactical Terminators: These are the same as their vanilla counterparts but with the ability to get FNP, which in most cases means they are either taking 2+/FNP or 5++/FNP saves against plasma, making them fairly survivable. Their biggest caveat is perhaps their reduced speed compared to the rest of the army, which is likely to be moving 12" via jump packs or 12"+6" if in fast vehicles. And have the additional pleasure of showcasing your Space Hulk models :)

Assault Terminators: The usual suspects for Death Stars. Great damage potential and survivability but it might be problematic to deliver them to the enemy lines, and here lies the issue: you either fork out 200+ points in a Storm Raven or Land Raider, or risk Deep Striking them. The first option is usually taken and such an investment will heavily influence the rest of your list. In other words, this is one of the options that determine the army style, and will not fit well onto them all.



Furioso Dreadnought: For 125 points we have an AV13 Dread that dishes out 4 S10 attacks on the charge, comes with an underslung meltagun and can get a heavy flamer for 10 more points. Me likes. Still suffers from point blank melta syndrome but well used it will tear apart vehicles and MCs alike. Can be sent via drop pod, making the Furioso a threat for your opponent from T1, or transported in a Storm Raven.




The situational choices


Sanguinary Guard: These have been often referred to as a sort of flying terminators, and  with their 2+ save, master-crafted PWs and short ranged AP4 storm bolters there are certian similarities. Their biggest drawback was their lack of invulnerable save, which the change to 6th edition has somewhat softened with the ability to take FNP on plasma wounds (pro-tip: have a priest nearby) and the choice to make their encarmine weapons either swords (AP3 at initiative) or axes (AP2, +1S, at I1), saving the points for a PF. They can also get short ranged inferno pistols to better deal with mech or a chapter standard for increased damage output. All in all they are a solid choice and can be taken as troops with Dante.

Furioso Librarian: This is essentially a Furioso Dread with a force weapon and a L1 psychic mastery level. Being able to get the powers from the same pools as the bog standard librarian means you can take Wings and essentially make the Furioso Librarian an AV13 Dread with a jump pack (thanks Matt Ward). At 175 is not cheap and will be a top target for your opponent, but could fit well in some army styles (razorspam anyone?).

Sternguard Veterans: These are the shooting specialists in an otherwise assault-centered codex, and could rise in importance if the meta really shifts towards more hordes and foot-slogging marines. As they stand, their considerable damage output is offset by their fragility, so use them well. Some interesting options are the combi-weapons that still allow you to use the special issue ammo, but I wouldn't take heavy weapons as this removes that special ammo.




Best leave at home:


Chaplains: Nothing wrong with the good old Chaplain as it stands, but there are certainly better options in the Elites section. Plus if you want a Chaplain there are good alternatives: a Reclusiarch costs 30 more points, gets +1W and fulfills your HQ requirements; a Libby with Unleash Rage provides Preferred Enemy to a unit, or even Lemartes who doesn't take any FOC slot if you want the Chaplain to lead the DC.

Techmarine: Now this is the odd choice. At 50 points is not breaking the bank but there's no reason why you'd take him. He boosts a ruin's cover yes, but let's not forget that's the same price as an Aegis line. He has the chance to repair a HP from a vehicle, and to be decent at that you need to dish out some more points, making the Techmarine an expensive car insurance.

Conclusion:

The Blood Angels Codex has a great variety of Elite options, both in the Elites section itself but also has units in other sections whose characteristics fit the Elites bill perfectly. Death Company, the DC Dread and a tooled up Honor Guard come to mind.
Terminators of both flavours are great options, but have their own issues (speed and transport), and other choices like Sanguinary Guard, Furioso Dreads or Sternguard Vets will fit very well in determined army styles. More often than not you'll feel constrained about being limited to take only 3 units, as they are really good. Not all the Marine armies have this luxury!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

6th ed. Blood Angels Codex Review: HQs


bloodofkittens

We'll begin the review of the Blood Angels Codex from a 6th edition standpoint with the HQ choices. Blood Angels have some funky FOC placements, and in HQs mean you can't take a Chaplain here (but a tad more expensive Reclusiarch). Not terribly bad though. After each HQ choice I'm also commenting their related special characters, if any.

The top contenders:


Librarian: The good old Libby remains to be a very solid HQ choice for many BA armies, and for a good reason. For 100 points you get 2 psychic powers from the Divination, Biomancy, Telepathy or Telekinesis branches. The Codex powers are also solid, with powers like Shield, Lance, Sword or Rage that fit well with specific army needs. Its flexibility and utility, combined with his affordable price, make him probably the best HQ option for BAs. That, of course, unless you want to take the big badass himself, ...

Mephiston: While the other special characters were essentially buffed / personalized versions of the normal HQ, Mephiston is a completely different animal from a Librarian. The best way to portrait him is as a MC in power armour. His small size means he can be easily hidden behind / inside razorbacks or any other transport. He lacks an invulnerable save but with a Priest around he can take FNP against pretty much anything as far as I know: Vindicator shells, lances, earthshaker rounds, you name it... and of course the ubiquotous plasma that is meant to be his nemesis. His sword is AP3 so be mindful of whom you're throwing him against; Mephiston is probably at his best as a beater unit of scoring units.

The situational choices:


Reclusiarch: these senior Chaplains are not very different to the normal Chaplains, that we'll cover in the Elite section. They basic usage is to provide re-rolls to wound (also to hit for the DC) and fearless to a single squad. Their statline is slighlty improved over the normal Chapain, have a good variety of options (TDA, jump pack, bike...) and come with a standard 3+/4++. They can even get a PF should you want something more scary in combat than a power maul. For 130 points they are not very pricey and cover your HQ needs.

Astorath: Astroboy comes with a peculiar set of special rules, which you pay for, and thus make him a very specific role. As a buffed Reclusiarch comes with 2+/4++ and a S6 AP2 weapon that strikes at I1 and causes to reroll any invulnerable saves passed against it. All in all he is a pretty good challenger. He also unlocks the 0-1 Death Company limit, which shouldn't matter much given they are not scoring. 220 points is a steep price though and most times there will be better options around.
Dante: The Chapter Master of the Blood Angels is still a usable character despite a somewhat rough transition to 6th. On one hand he retains his main abilities - Hit&Run is useful as always and a strange sight in Marine armies, and no dispersion when Deep Striking with arriving with his jump pack. However he now wastes his I6 by using a Power Axe, and his DS abilities won't see that much use now that Descent Of Angels style of armies are not possible. Yes you can attach him to a buffed unit and DS exactly where you want them to be, but part of your army will still be moving out of your DZ and dropping +450 points with little support... is risky.

Honor Guard: While not a proper HQ, they can be unlocked by any HQ choice so we'll cover them here. They are essentially 5 veterans with an embedded Sanguinary Priest that can be kitted for a shooty or combat role, at a hefty price tag. So you can have 4 special weapons and a priest in just one unit, or perhaps some powerfists / energy weapons / storm shiels. Either case, great versatility but the price goes up swiftly. They will be very high in the opponent's priority list so consider well if you need them, and how much can you afford to invest.


Best leave at home:


Captain: The poor captain is a bad investment even with his low price. For starters, it doesn't add anything to the army. Whether you want a combat beast, a squad booster or general utility there are other better options. At least comes with a default 4++, but with his inability to take artificer armour... better pass.

Captain Tycho: Tycho comes in 2 flavours. The golden one is a buffed captain, sporting a shiny artificer armour (yikes that's a 2+), a combimelta with special issue ammo and an armour ignoring weapon that strikes at normal Initiative (!). As normal IC he can join any unit he wants and will bring some utility. Sadly 175 points is a steep price for what he brings. His best use is probably leading Sternguard Vets.

The dark version is after Tycho's inclusion to the Death Company, so his statline is slightly altered to favor CC instead of shooting, and gains the normal DC rules (relentless, rage, furious charge, FNP). Now this would be interesting if it was because Tycho can-not-join any unit, not even the DC. What's he good for then? I haven't a clue.

The Sanguinor: He is truly a relic of the past, in all the meanings of the word. As far as 6th edition is concerned, the Sanguinor is a character killer that buffs a sergeant and has a small +1A aura. But 275 points for a 3W / T4 character, even with 2+/3++, is excessive.



Conclusion:


The Librarian is best overall pick, as brings great utility for the army at a limited cost. 100 points for 2 (good) psychic powers, Ld 10, force axe? sold. That said, different armies will benefit from other options. 

Mephiston is a great choice in hybrid armies where he can hide behind razorbacks, and is a real pain to deal with for many armies. Dante has its place in DOA heavy lists, and a Reclusiarch gives you a chaplain and fills your HQ quota, if that's what you want. The rest of options are better left at home, either because of their price tag (Sanguinor) or because they are objectively worst than others (Captain).



Stay tuned for the Elites review coming soon!


Friday, October 26, 2012

Power weapons in 6th


The days of your power weapon sergeant munching terminators are gone for good, and 6th brings a nice assortment of power weapons to choose from. The great thing is that for an affordable base price you have the flexibility to select the type that works best for you.

Some ICs like chaplains or special characters (I'm looking at you Dante!) have to suffer a predetermined PW type that don't match too well with what they're meant to do but these few exceptions aside you're pretty much free to make your choice.


Power Weapons types

First things first, these are the new power weapon profiles:

Str AP USR
Power sword User AP3
Power axe +1 AP2 Unwieldy
Power maul +2 AP4 Concussive
Power lance +1*/User AP3*/4 *When charging



The ubiquotous Power swords are the best proxy with the 5ed PWs, with the important caveat that they don't cut 2+ anymore. But they still strike an the user initiative and have no effect on the strenght.

Power axes are now mini power fists with to their +1 strength and being AP2, and same as the PFist they are unwiedly. For MEQs this means wounding other MEQs on 3s (instead of 2s) and not being able to cause instant death.  Think of this as a poor man's PF and you can't be wrong.

Power mauls are rapidly being associated to the crozius arcanum the marine chaplains are equipped with. They give a phenomenal +2 to the strenght and swing at normal initiative, however the AP4, well sucks. What's the point of a power weapon that doesn't cut through the arguably most often used armour in the game? well at least you wound MEQs in 2+. Against GEQs and eldars the power maul is devastating, as a maul will munch their armour and instakill most ICs.

And we come to the unexpected guest. Power lances are a rare sight in the game. How often do you come across Rough Riders? hopefully not very often, and if you do, you might want to find new opponents. Power lances are not impressive when charging and are rather bad when they're not, so best leave them at home if you can.

What are they best used for


No need to spend extra points on a PF when there's a power axe at hand
There is not an inmediate winner out of that list. Each PW type suits well a different playstyle. You don't want to waste high initiaves (I5 and above) with a I1 power axe, or give a Guard sergeant a power sword as he will be swinging after marines anyway. Each army will inherently favour one or two PW types, and normally you shouldn't be deviating from that.

Something else to consider is if you want to pay for a Power Fist when a Power Axe is also AP2. Yes the axe won't instakill marines but in most cases will wound in 2+ and bypass any armour saves, which is what you really want them for: the ability to hurt all armour types. A lot of 2+ toting rivals will still strike at the same I1, and those that don't will usually be more expensive and you shouldn't be in CC with them anyway.

There are a few units blessed with energy weapons (Sanguinary Guard and Grey Knighs Strike Squads come to mind). Adding one or two power axes amongst the power swords will give you a good balance between AP3 / normal initiative attacks and a few AP2 I1 swings.

Generally speaking, squad leaders should be left with little additional wargear, save cheap additions like melta bombs.  So as long as power weapons go, I wouldn't really give them one. On the other hand, most ICs are going to be in challenges and will need some offensive power. This is due to the challenges mechanic.


Challenges and power weapons


Runic Axe FTW
Simply put, challenges are a game of "who puts more money in the table". If you've got an EW and your opponent a chainsword, you're golden. If your opponent has a PF instead, well you're likely to get pounded. If you also have an SS, you have the edge again. Challenges are usually won by the character that has paid more points for the options. With this in mind, I'd try and be sparse with the gear. Giving 1W sergeants and regular squad leaders  a PF means they are likely to be killed before even getting to swing, unless you load them with more expensive wargear and end up with a very inefficient use of your points.

On the other hands, assault oriented HQs/Elites will require the adequate wargear to fulfill their role. Depending on their armour and initiative you might want an AP3 Power weapon (or lightning claw), or a AP2 Power Axe (or power fist).

When equipping ICs there's a third variable to be taken into account, aside of initiative and strenght: who is the IC fighting with. Take for example a wolf lord. He's got I5 and will be joining a unit. I wouldn't waste his I5 with a power axe as another unit member can carry that axe or PF instead. This means the Wolf Lord will only have an AP3 weapon, so what happens if he gets in a challenge with a 2+ toting IC? well simply don't put him. If you are charging, set up the assault so he doesn't end is movement engaged with an enemy. This means he can't be challenged and then in his initiative step can move these 3" and engage the enemy.

ICs like Mephiston on the other hand... well he's just got an AP3 weapon and can't join any unit, so just make sure he's facing the right opponents. AP3 is not bad per se, just has a different usage to AP2.

Conclusions


Power weapons are versatile and affordable CC weapons that need to selected carefully, based in what your army needs and can do. Squad leaders are typically best left with little additional wargear as they're not there to win you challenges. ICs on the other hand will likely get in a challenge and need to be prepared for it. An AP3 power sword allows to attack on initative and hurt many units, while AP2 has the I1 tax.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Ulrik von Octoberfest Showcase and tutorial

A WW2 looking badass ogryn? yes please! This is my first attempt at a Scibor miniature that I painted just as a divertimento after so many crimson power armours. It's a pretty cool figure with a large machine gun, dog face, cigar and a decent scenic base, perfect for a mini project! The name is amusing as well ;)



You might notice the right arm is not the same as in Scibor's webpage, I think they mixed components from another kit - nothing that a bit of greenstuff can't fix. I used Citadel's liquid greenstuff by the way, and worked out pretty well.

Paint tutorial:


First things first, the guy looks boss and I don't want to spoil it with a shiny look, so it's going to be primed in black. I don't really have a preference for white or black primers (or another color), just think about what I'm trying to achieve and make a selection. For my Blood Angels army for example, I prime directly with a dark red/brown primer from Vallejo, as that gives me the perfect tone to begin with. This Ulrik could have been primed grey or even white, but it would have give it a slightly shiny finish to it.




The skin is painted with a basecoat of tallarn flesh, and from then working my way to the lights with a 50/50 mix of dwarf and elf flesh, gradually increasing the elf flesh until the final highlights that are pure elf flesh. Just make sure to leave recesses with the previous color as you build up layers. Ogryn flesh (the old wash) helps to smooth the transitions.

Something to keep in mind while painting is where the attention will be directed - in this case the face is a focal group and we want to spend some time here. They say the devil is in the details ;)

This means when I was done with the flesh layers, I spent some time with very controlled, thinned strokes of different skin tones to highlight the cheeks or nose, or emphasize shadows.

The eyes are painted with a simple method: 1) paint them black. 2) add some pure white with a detail brush, making sure to leave some black around the eye for definition and 3) paint the pupil with a gentle stroke of your finest brush. I know some folks use thin ballpens, and I'm sure there's plenty of other methods. Quoting something I read from Kirk Hammett a long time ago, if you have to go from A to B, and the way other people do it just doesn't work from you, then find your own way.

The lenses are painted with different shades of blue. There are two tricks here:

  • Keep the angle of the transitions (you can see it has a rough 45º angle).
  • Once the minitaure has been sealed with a satin varnish, add a glossy varnish to the lenses.




The coat was painted with simple brown tones, scorched and calthan if I'm not mistaken, then a devlan mud wash and working again some lights with the previous colors. I could have spent more time here but I wanted to have it painted in an evening so no more work here.

The gun was painted with boltgun metal, then badab black wash and then some deliberate washes over the barrels after Ron's tutorial at From The Warp.

The helmet was painted with catachan green, then added a wash with 50/50 badab black and thraka green. Then added the Captain marks (2 white vertical strokes).

The base is also pretty straigthforward, with some brown basecoat and codex grey for the rocks. I might add in the future some more details here, like a spent magazine or razorwire.

And that's all folks :) Painted in an evening at a decent tabletop standard. Hope you liked the tutorial, let me know if you have any questions!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

2000 points Space Wolves - Grey Hunter horde!

6th edition has been out for some months now and with the recent launch of Chaos, the metagame is still evolving. We still don't know where it will end but for now there are a few clear indicators:


  • Flyers can only countered by other flyers, at least until everybody (if) gets Flakk missiles. At +10 extra points each might not be worth it though.
  • Rhino + going second = first blood for your opponent.
  • Demons, Necrons and Grey Knights are at the top of the hill.

And what about Space Wolves? well they are certainly faring less well than they did in 5th but are still a competitive army, if yet have no ways outside of allies of dealing with Flyers. So the latest talk is about foot wolves without Logan, a pure Grey Hunters horde that floods midfield and rapid fires things to death. I've never been a big fan of foot lists but admit I wouldn't feel confortable with the 3/4 8 grey hunter in a rhino units we were used to see. Just because the Rhinos are no longer indestructible plasteel shoeboxes and outside of that there's a lot of tesla / rapid fire / barrage guns aiming at you. So with that in mind I came up with the following list:

2000 Points of Space Wolves - foot slogging hunters

Rune Priest (Living Lightning, Jaws, Melta bomb)

Rune Priest (Storm Caller, Jaws)

10 Wolf Guard
2x TDA, storm bolter and power fist
2x TDA, storm bolter, energy weapon
3x PA with combi meltas
2x PA with combiplasmas

2x Lone Wolves, CF/SS

2x 10 Grey Hunters Pack, 2 meltaguns, standard
3x 10 Grey Hunters Pack, 2 plasmaguns, standard

3x Long Fangs Pack, 5 ML

Double rune priest is a problem if you are facing farseers but that match up aside are pretty interesting for a foot army. Double jaws + 60 marines in midfield can be a real pain in the backside for many armies. A more balanced approach would be just one priest and then scrap some points elsewhere to get another 10 Grey Hunters. In my gameplan, one should be going to midfield and give 5+ cover to a couple of units/snipe things with jaws, while the other can guide the missiles with divination or try to get some other boosting spells.

The wolf guard terminators are going to be leading the grey hunters pack, soaking up firepower until they are eventually wittled down. That's the main reason they don't have additional gear save for a couple of powerfists (I had 20 spare points). The power armour guards go with the drop pod and blow something up first turn / alpha strike a monstruous creature. The army is slow and not very mobile so it's important to have something to disrupt the opponent's plan in his own DZ.

The lone wolves go in front of the packs and deal with Land Raiders, Trukkz and other nasties coming your way. They are an important anti-vehicle and anti monstruous creture (remember they repeat to hit against anything with T5 or above), and with 2+/3++, 2W, FNP and eternal warrior can take a hit in the chin and strike back.

Then comes the grey hunter horde, moving to midfield for the objectives. The rune priest goes attached to one of the packs. Grey hunters are 3+/T4 models so are going to be wittled down, what we are trying to do is to populate midfield and try that our opponent does not have time to deal with that many marines.

Last but certainly not least, the long fangs make things easier for the grey hunters. One pack can be guided by divination if need be (and remember that could be up to 5 missiles + 2 missiles from the cyclone + 1d6 LL from the second rune priest), or just shoot things old style. Despite all the noise with vehicles and AP3, Long Fangs are still pretty good at wounding monstruous creatures and dealing with light vehicles.

Possible changes? well as mentioned above removing the second priest and a few points elsewhere grants you a 6th Grey Hunter pack. If anything I would try some disrupting unit aside of the drop pod, for example a Thunderwolf unit without too many toys (just a fist and perhaps a shield) to distract some enemy firepower and become a threat from T2; once they are dealt with the opponent will still have these 60 marines in midfield and not many turns to take them out.

So what do you think - is it viable? would you make any changes?

Friday, September 14, 2012

GW killed the Njal star - 2000 points Space Wolves

CMON
While still a strong and competitive army, Space Wolves have arguably suffered with the transition to 6th, and after all the FAQs and changes are still trying to find solid ground. Now that GW has produced new FAQs for the codexes and 40k BRB, are our favourite space barbarians up for a fight?

After Tony Kopach's epic wins at Nova you could say "hell yes". All the eyes were on good old Njal and his storm, however GW swiflty ruled it out as an effective AA, leaving SW with, well, no decent AA options at all. Thanks GW. That aside I still think foot wolves is a valid concept in 6th, and that it can be built well outside of Logan wing or Njal. The issue with Loganwing is that it has the same issues as normal foot wolves - namely reduced mobility and some bad matchups - plus a reduced head count. Njal I've never used him so can't really say. Without further ado this is the list:

2000 SW points

HQ
Rune Priest (Jaws, Lightining), CotS
WGBL with Saga of the Hunter, 1 Fenrisian Wolf

Lone Wolf, TDA, SS/CF
Lone Wolf, TDA, SS/CF
5 Wolf Guard (5 TDA, 1 CML)

Troops
10 Grey Hunters, 2 Plasma Guns, Wolf Standard
10 Grey Hunters, 2 Plasma Guns, Wolf Standard
10 Grey Hunters, 2 Plasma Guns, Wolf Standard
10 Grey Hunters, 2 Melta Guns, Wolf Standard
5 Grey Hunters, Flamer

4 TWC, 1 TH, 1SS, 1 meltabombs.

6 Long Fangs, 5 ML
6 Long Fangs, 5 ML
6 Long Fangs, 5 ML

So the list is built around a solid core of Grey Hunters advancing to midfield, protected by 2+ save toting Wolf Guards in front and a couple of Lone Wolves. Long Fangs provide support as needed and the WGBL grants outflanking to one unit... fancy some TWC wreaking havoc in your enemy's backyard? that's a serious distraction that should bring some firepower away from your GHs. Grey Hunters are what will make you win or lose most games, so don't worry too much for the TWC... with T5 and 2W they are tough and will be a pain to deal with until they are eventually wittled down. You might also want to outflank a GH pack , perhaps to claim a far away objective, and send the TWC to soak up fire in front of the rest of your troops. What's interesting is that a character in TWC can only join TWC or fenrisian wolves units, but nowhere says that a character can't join a TWC unit. Fun times ahead.

The Lone Wolves are there to provide anti mech, and are excellent to tarpit Death Stars. This is an important  change in mindset from 5th to 6th, in 5th suicide melta in Rhinos was the norm, now CC is where you can take down enemy vehicles more reliably.

Combinations and details


The Rune Priest goes with a GH pack, providing a 24" aura of psychic protection (so you should be able to cover most of the troops), and blasting Living Lightining or Jaws as needed. You could also swap his powers for Divination and twin link 7 missiles per turn (attach the CML Guard to a LF pack). Not great but might come in handy. His Storm power could potentially give a 5+ cover save to most of your army so consider swapping Jaws or LL for it.

Wolf Guard are pretty straightforward - stick them in front of the GH packs to soak up as much firepower as they can until they eventually die. If they make it to CC they can help with their 2+ and EW, and can also challenge nasty ICs to let the Grey Hunters deal with the rest of the unit. The Wolf Standard shines here! As for the CML Wolf Guard, he can either go with a LF pack, or to midfield and look to hit vehicles in the side.

The small 5 Grey Hunters units are there to claim the home objective. Cheap and reliable for this job. And should have a Long Fangs pack close anyway in case they need help... Long Fangs might be old and venerable but are still Wolves, with power armour, counterattack, and a sergeant that dishes 4 attacks. How many times have they taken down Orks, Scouts and the like assaulting them? more than I can remember.

Possible changes? well getting some allies (perhaps some IG blob with a couple of Vendettas) would do well to SW, giving some decent AA and AT ability, and a solid scoring base with some firepower. I believe this will be the norm for 6th edition and certainly, I wouldn't take SW solo to a tournament if you hold any expectations to win anything. Comments / thoughts?


Thursday, September 6, 2012

About Dark Vengeance LE, Wayland, customer commitments and greedy people

A long title for a rather simple issue. The inability of many fans to get their copies of the Dark Vengeance LE.

This begins with GW not producing enough Limited Editions to cover for the demand, which says a lot about how bad they are at product launches. They should know their player base well enough to know that they would buy the new box as soon as it was out, and should have a pretty accurate idea of the player base size. After all, they know how many hobby stores they have, how many units they have sold in the past, how many different customers buying online... you need to be really bad to get this forecast wrong.

Advice #1 for GW: hire someone who can do a decent forecast.

Failing at correctly estimating the demand is bad for GW mainly because those (like me, you guessed it) who couldn't get their copy will buy the normal box, therefore spending less. It doesn't mean they won't get the LE chaplain with time, but that's a different story.

Advice #2 for GW: you usually want to lift the average order value and average customer value. Limited Editions help here, as long as you produce enough.

Advice #3 for GW: for 7th edition, be rather aggressive than conservative with the prevision because you will sell all the copies anyway.

Then let's talk about Wayland. I'm a regular buyer and a satisfied one, even with the issues that regularly pop (like terrible long times to get my orders, confusion about stock availability...). Their wonderful, efficient customer support more than makes up for it.

Problem is, you can't sell something you won't be able to fulfill. If they knew they had say 100 units for the first week and probably 100 more for the next one, the right thing to do is to tell customer #101 that they cannot guarantee their orders. This is something they did in the end but not when I purchased.

Worst than that, they told me 2 days ago that they had stock for me, so have the boxes suddently vanished?

That said, I really like how they have handled this, giving customers different options to choose from.

Last but not least, I'm going to talk about some of the people in the community. I lost count on how many times I read "I'm going to buy 2 boxes of the LE", or even more. That's your freedom of course but considering it is a limited edition and the fan base is rather big, well I would have certainly never bought more than 1, even if I wanted the minis to build a new DA or Chaos army. That any extra box that I was getting means that someone would not get it. It does not hurt to think about other people from time to time. Now I know some of you will not agree with this view but please give it a thought. Feel free to comment away, but let's keep it civil!




Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Games Day 2012 Space Marine Captain Showcase

Howdy! this is the Games Day 2012 Space Marine Captain limited edition. A fine sculpt by Juan Díaz, who unsurprisingly was there (GD Spain) ready to talk to all the fans who attended - a rather large mob I have to say!

As most of you know this is a homage to the 2nd edition of 40k that featured this audacious fella in the box cover. 2nd was the very first edition that I have (and still unpainted lol) so it felt good that now 6th edition is a go, we remember the good ol' days.

So with this in mind I painted the mini as a bog standard BA captain, although decided to pass on most of the yellow areas (bar one knee cap) as it would not really fit well with the rest of the army. This is also a fine figure should you want to use Tycho in games - that mini is pretty old and you only need to add a combimelta. Of course I magnetized the backpack and bolter arm.

Enjoy the pics and feel free to post your comments / questions!







Thursday, August 23, 2012

Peculiar sales techniques


My local GW store is promoting the new dice sets in their Facebook page. Dices so awesome they only roll 6s...

Friday, August 17, 2012

Wolf Guard in 6th Edition

Gates of Morkai, where is my shoulder pad?
Wolf Guard were a very common sight in 6th edition, mainly in two roles: as pack leader for grey hunters, and as melta hunters. In this post I am going to try and discuss their leader role.

Wolf Guard as pack leaders

The concept is alike to Sergeants in the other Marine armies. Basically a Ld9 character with 2A base and access to some more toys than the rest of troopers. What made it special for Space Wolves is the great flexibility in the system. So you invest one Elite slot (ouch) in a Wolf Guard unit, you give them any combination of armour and weapons, then decide before deployment if you want to detach anyone from this unit and add it to another (usually Grey Hunters or Scouts) as their leader.

Taking this concept to the extreme it meant you could have say 10 Wolf Guards with a different array of combi-weapons, power armour or terminator, some melta bombs, and depending on who you where facing, the mission, deployment, terrain... decide the best allocation. Usually this meant keeping a small core (3-4) as suicide melta hunters, and send the others to the Grey Hunters and Scouts, or even to a Long Fangs pack in certain situations. This is great in terms of flexibility but comes at the cost of an Elite slot.

Losing an elite slot aside, the main caveat with doing this is that prevented your Grey Hunters from getting a second free special weapon. Phil Kelly was kind enough to give SW a free second special only if the Grey Hunters count 10 bodies, so if you wanted to run them mechanized (which you usually wanted) then kiss goodbye to the second special. This was solved in part by loading the Wolf Guard with a 1 shot combi weapon. The benefits for doing this?

  • Leadership 9: Wolf Guards as pack leaders make Grey Hunters much more reliable as midfield scoring units as they increase the base LD from 8 to 9. Might not seem much but this gives Grey Hunter a decent Ld.
  • A good place for the PFist. Having 2A base means Wolf Guard are good enough to grant them a power fist. Giving a special CC weapon to models with 1A base, even with counterattack, is well, rubbish :p


Enter 6th edition. The challenges system means your 1W character is probably going to be dead before he gets to swing his powerfist in CC. On the other side, his Ld9 will be very handy to hold on objectives, as now you have to be outside of a vehicle to be able to do so.

Are Wolf Guard pack leaders still a must ?


This is the big question when it comes to Wolf Guard. What was a no brainer in 5th edition is not as clear in 6th. Let's take a look:

In CC, the Wolf Guard with PF will swing 3 times, granting 1 or 2 hits/kills when fighting MEQ. For the same cost, we can have 3 more Grey Hunters that will make 2/3 wounds so ~1 MEQ kill. The PF has a higher damage output and can deal with 2+ armour, but the concern remains to be - is he going to be alive to swing back? remember, T4 W1 3+. Chances are he won't. Some people say to give him a SS/PF, but that is still a 3++ on a 1W model that costs 68 points, then hope he passes these 3++ saves. This is far from a good idea.

Add to that sometimes a powerfist is not your best lever in CC. If you are fighting low toughness / bad armour save units, these 9 extra S4 attacks can be more useful.

Leadership 8 is a concern, that is for sure. Being able to regroup even when within 6" of an enemy is a small relief though. There are ways to minimize the Ld8, as for example giving your Rune Priest the Saga of Majesty. For 15 points you can reroll missed Ld tests as long as they are within 6" of the Priest. It's not a complete solution, but a decent patch as you should normally play with 2~4 Grey Hunters packs very close by  in midfield, supporting each other. It shouldn't be too difficult to place the Rune Priest within 6" of the rest of packs.

Having a unit of 10 strong Grey Hunters gives access to the coveted second special weapon, this time for free (even a plasma gun) and with unlimited shots. In 5th I rarely found myself limited with just one melta shot after using the combi melta previously, but it is obvious that it's better to have unlimited ammo than one shot.

Finally, if we ditch the Wolf Guard for 3 extra GH has some other benefits. That is 6 more attacks in CC, 2 more wounds to get rid of the squad, and more rapid fire shots. Last but not least, it grants access to a third Elite slot. Having another Lone Wolf or Rifleman will be handy most of the times.

Conclusion

The choice between a 5th edition Wolf Guard (power fist + combi melta) or 3 more GH and a free special weapon still tilts towards the side of the Wolf Guard and his Ld9. The biggest drawback is that the PF is not the to go option now. You can either go for a wolf claw or don't give him anything for CC, and in both cases keep avoiding the fights that you should alredy be avoiding. If you must fight something nasty in CC, bringing several GH packs is still your best bet.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Space Wolves in 6th edition

http://bloodofkittens.com/art/category/john-gravato/
Hi guys, Albert here with some Space Wolves ideas.  6th edition is a go and it has come with plenty of changes for the Vlka Fenryka. This post takes a look at how the army as a whole is impacted by the new ruleset, plus I also look at some individual units and discuss potential change and challenges. Please take all of this for what it is -  just early thoughts on a game we still don't know how it's going to evolve, and it's still early to give anything for granted. So without further ado:

Army style


One of the things I like the most about SW is how their playstile reflects their fluff. In the Horus Heresy books the Space Wolves are portrayed as cunning hunters rather than mere barbarians

On the gameboard, SW still look like barbarians :P but do not rush forward like a real assault-based army. Instead they use the long fangs and scouts to put pressure on the opponent from different parts of the board, drawing them close to the big core of Grey Hunters in midfield. As I see it, this will not change in 6th. What it changes, and significantly in some cases, is the degree of efficacy in which they can do this.

The backbone of the army is going to be the same then: a solid core of GH supported by missile toting long fangs, and led by a rune priest. Add support units to taste, in the form of TWC, lone wolves, speeders, you name it... and that is your bog standard list. This is tasty recipe from 5th ed that should still work in 6th, however some changes will be needed as we will see later.

The good news


You use a hood? suck it!
 I have a shiny runic staff and a black crow
Psychic powers have been overhauled and the hoods used to negate powers have been nerfed pretty bady. Rune Priests are the new kids on the block as they are the only librarians to keep the 24" dispersion range with the hood runic weapon, and still nullify powers on a 4+. Only second to farseers when it comes to psychic defence, until (if) this is FAQed. Now our powers are more difficult to stop, while we retain the ability to block others. Furthermore, as there is less pyschic defence in the metagame we could see an increase in psykers usage, as they are only screwed now by farseers and rune priests.

The new range of psychic powers bring added flexibility. In terms of powers, living lightning, jaws and hurricane continue to be excellent staple powers but consider exchanging one for a roll in the divination chart. Getting re-rolls for the long fangs+razorbacks is plain awesome, and can help with AA purposes. Or can be used to boost units in midfield as needed. Pretty damn good.

Troops seem to be very important in 6th, even more than they were in 5th. And Grey Hunters are nominated for the Best Troop unit in the game. Marine stats, counterattack, CCW+pistol and a boltgun, access to wolf standard and wulfen... and now a longer reach for rapid fire. Oh yes! on the flip side they have now (more) issues with the transports, but more on that below.

There are wolves on Fenris
Thunderwolf cavalry got a boost in the form of a 12" base move, which is very, very good. Not only you will reach your opponent faster (and thus be less exposed to enemy fire), but it also increases the threat level, attracting more firepower and hopefully increasing the survivability of the guys that will win you the games: grey hunters and long fangs.

The new allocation rules play to our advantage in this case, and make the placing of the storm shield puppies very important. Make sure they are the ones closer to the big enemy guns / AT. As for small arms fire, a wolf lord with a 2+save in the front will help to shrug it off. Unfortunately, this is still a very expensive unit for what it does, and with the increased threat range might be less needed than before. To begin with I think I'll go for the well known 4 TWC combo with 1SS, 1TH and 1MB.

If you think about it, it's a relatively powerful unit that costs similar to other deathstars (15 points more than Mephiston, 40 more than Hammenators but don't need a transport).  While not as killy as these 2 examples, the TWC still bring good duality in terms of AI through sheer number of rending attacks and AT through 5 S10 attacks on the charge. It's has a reasonable mobility and durability, and can provide some relief while the rhinos are getting your GH where you want them to be.

And finally we get to the humble speeder. There were debates in the past about whether scouts were better than speeders. Consider now that 70 points give you 2 MM and the changes to the squadron rules... I wasn't a big fan of speeders in the past but will try them out for sure.

The bad news


Light vehicles are lighter than ever, and unfortunately that is the only way we can get our GH to midfield. Unless you spam AV11, they won't last long against all the suppression fire out there (IG, Necrons, Tau...). In addition to that, you can no longer keep your GH drinking mjod inside of their Rhinos and charging out of it at will, plus the melta range has been reduced. All in all bad news for what is a key component of the army; without it, the army lacks mobility and our troops are more exposed. For the time being, I will stick to Rhinos and try to protect them by creating more inmediate threats to my opponent. I don't think this is a good solution though, and hopefully with time and playtesting we'll get a decent solution.

Scouts have also suffered with the transition to 6th. I found them to be more annoying than really effective in the past, but at least were able to show in someone else's backside, blow a tank/dread with point blank melta and then multiassault. At least they will come now more reliably with a 3+ in turn 2 + re-roll to select side thanks to Acute Senses, but once they get there they will basically shoot and be shot down next turn. More suicide than ever. Which is a real pity, as often times you will find small 5 marine units camping in a base, or some guard blob that can be defeated in combat, proven you charge the right way and have a wolf guard attached with you (pro-tip: do it). As they are now, bolters will be more useful than CCW+pistol.

Missile toting long fangs are not as effective as before. They do not get any bonus to the damage chart, and we are likely to see more 2+ on the board. For dealing with vehicles, you'll have to focus on eliminating the hull points. If they get AA missiles sometime their utility will obviously increase, but that is yet to be seen. For the time being, should you face a flyer heavy army, use a rune priest with the prescience power from divination to get re-rolls in the fangs. This power buffs any squad in 12", enough to cover 3 LF packs and some lasplas.
Alternatively, consider adding a lascannon or two per squad. These are considerably more expensive but will be golden when confronting certain builds *cough*Deathwing*cough*.

And we get to flyers. Unsurprisingly for an army that doesn't even deep strike, Space Wolves have no access to Flyers (save Allies) and no AA at all. A couple of rifleman dreads won't save you the day, but some TL shots will certainly help and if supported by the LFs, they are a serious threat to aerial threats. It is a considerable waste of firepower mind you, but at least gives you a decent chance to bring something down if you must.

Are Wolf Priests viable again?


Well this is debatable. A Chaplain is only as good as the unit he is buffing. Lemartes leading Death Company is a great example of this. But when you consider SW, what are you exactly buffing? Obviously not Blood Claws or Wolf guard units. And unfortunately you can't give him a TWC mount.

But what about Grey Hunters? here is a nifty idea: a Wolf Priest gains outflank by purchasing Saga of the Hunter (a niftty 15 points), and grant that USR to any unit he joins. See where I am going? A unit of 10GH with standard and wulfen, led by a WG is nothing to be sneezed at. 12 T4/3+ bodies that bring 4 special weapons, can double tap with bolters and charge/receive a charge with 3 attacks, and re-roll all 1s in CC thanks to the standard. Count me in thanks. Is it a gimmick or can it work? well I can't wait to try it out!



Conclusion: So what do we do in 6th?


As mentioned in the beginning, the core of the army doesn't change.

  • Continue to use the staple units -GH, Rune Priests, Long Fangs- and do it in a cohesive way just like in 5th. 
  • Make some adjustments to the units: perhaps drop the PFists in the wolf guards, consider a couple of lascannons for the Long Fangs... 
  • Test things out: saga of the hunter Wolf Priest, double-melta speeders, rune priests buffing units with Divination, both in midfield and with the Long Fangs, try adding some allies to complement our weaknesses (for example mobility, durable transports in midfield, cheap mass S6/S7 fire...).
  • And what's more important: keep you mind open, play games and have fun!

Take care and see you soon!


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