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:

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.


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?
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