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', 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!


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?


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.

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