Thursday, April 29, 2010


This morning before work, I watched the new Halo: Reach live action commercial. I then watched the ones for Halo 3 and ODST. They are all awesome, and proof that a Halo movie NEEDS to get made.

So I was thinking about Halo and remembered I had bought a bunch of Haloclix minis when that game had come out. I never played a game of it, and haven't had of much of a use for them. I do have a lot of them, and getting more would be easy since the game never sold well and you can get them at bargain bin prices.

I also was thinking about Red vs Blue. Well, my Ultras are blue. Blood Angels are red...

What I'm thinking would not be tournament legal in any sense, but all those clix minis are just sitting in a box in my closet...

Marines -> Spartans
Sanguine Guard/Assault Marines -> Allied Elites
Scouts -> UNSC Marines
Death Company => ODST troops
Razorbacks/Baal Predators -> Warthogs
Raven Gunships -> Orca Dropships

Probably wouldn't be very competitive either, but it would be really cool.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Lego Thunderbolt

I've already dismantled this guy, but I though I'd post pics for posterity.

The Grand Experiment (Marines vs Sisters 1500)

I was recently involved in and argument with a G2D4 regular on their forums over the cost of Witch Hunter Rhinos and Immolators. The whole argument escalated in a silly fashion, but resulted in the gauntlet being thrown down. See the whole argument here. Basically, the set up was this: The Witch Hunter player would build two armies, one with codex costs for dedicated transports and one with Imperial Armor costs. He would play two games against my Marines and see if the point change made much of a difference.

The intent was to play two games, but we only got the first game in with the standard codex costs. There was a third 40k player at G2D4 who wanted to play, so we canceled the second round in favor letting him get a game in.

The Lists:

Sisters 1500
HQ: Canoness (1#, 135 Pts)
1 Canoness @ 135 Pts
Book of St. Lucius; Jump Pack; Mantle of Ophelia; Melta Bombs; Inferno Pistol (x1); Blessed Weapon
1 Mantle of Ophelia @ [15] Pts
1 Blessed Weapon @ [30] Pts

Elite: Celestian Squad (7#, 182 Pts)
5 Celestian Squad @ 182 Pts
Bolter (x4); Multi-Melta
1 Sister Superior @ [13] Pts
1 Immolator @ [89] Pts
Searchlight; Smoke Launchers; Twin Linked MultiMelta

Elite: Celestian Squad (7#, 182 Pts)
5 Celestian Squad @ 182 Pts
Bolter (x4); Multi-Melta
1 Sister Superior @ [13] Pts
1 Immolator @ [89] Pts
Searchlight; Smoke Launchers; Twin Linked MultiMelta

Troops: Battle Sisters Squad (10#, 161 Pts)
9 Battle Sisters Squad @ 161 Pts
Bolter (x7); Meltagun (x1); Heavy Flamer
1 Veteran Sister Superior @ [40] Pts Close Combat Weapon (x1); Plasma Pistol (x1)

Troops: Battle Sisters Squad (10#, 152 Pts)
9 Battle Sisters Squad @ 152 Pts
Bolter (x7); Flamer (x1); Heavy Flamer
1 Veteran Sister Superior @ [35] Pts Bolt Pistol (x1); Brazier of Holy Fire (x1)

Troops: Battle Sisters Squad (11#, 213 Pts)
9 Battle Sisters Squad @ 213 Pts
Bolter (x7); Meltagun (x2); Mount in Rhino
1 Rhino @ [54] Pts
Storm Bolter; Searchlight; Smoke Launchers
1 Veteran Sister Superior @ [40] Pts Close Combat Weapon (x1); Plasma Pistol (x1)

Exorcist (1#, 139 Pts)
1 Exorcist @ 139 Pts
Exorcist Missile Launcher; Searchlight; Smoke Launchers

Heavy Support: Exorcist (1#, 139 Pts)
1 Exorcist @ 139 Pts
Exorcist Missile Launcher; Searchlight; Smoke Launchers

Heavy Support: Retributor Squad (10#, 196 Pts)
9 Retributor Squad @ 196 Pts
Bolter (x5); Heavy Bolter (x4)
1 Veteran Sister Superior @ [37] Pts Auspex; Storm Bolter

Marines 1500
Librarian( Null Zone, Avenger )
5x Sterngaurd w/3x combi-melta, Heavy Bolter Razorback.
Dreadnaught W/ 2x TL Autocannon
Dreadnaught W/ 2x TL Autocannon
10x Tactical Squad w/flamer, missile launcher, Rhino
10x Tactical Squad w/flamer, missile launcher, Rhino
5x Tactical Sqad W/ Lascannon and TL plasma gun Razorback
5x Tactical Sqad W/ Lascannon and TL plasma gun Razorback
2x Speeders W/Heavy Flamer, Multi Melta
Predator W/Autocannon, Heavy Boltor Sponsons

If you're curious, switching to the IA costs would have saved him 130 points.

Turn 1:
We rolled up Capture and Control with standard deployment. I got first turn. I put my Rhinos on my right flank. The Sterngaurd and Predator took the left flank, and everything else went to the center. My Speeders where held in reserve. He left all his vehicles in reserve and deployed all but one sister squad on foot. 2 sisters squads where lined up in front of the Retributor squad, and the Celestians guarded his flanks.

Heres what it looked like after my first move:

I concentrated my fire on the front rank of sisters and killed 3 of them. I loosed a lascannon off one of my Razorbacks to return fire.

Turn 2.

I got my speeders in, they nearly mishapped into the ruins on his side of the table.
I pressed the rhinos forward, and dumped my Sterngaurd out infront of his front rank of sisters.

I killed a few more sisters from the front rank squad, but not enough. On his turn he got two of his Immos and one Exorcist from reserve. The Immos knocked out both of my rhinos. The explosion from the first one took 4 marines with it. The Exorcist took out one speeder and stuned the other one. Combined fire from the rest of his army wiped out the Sterngaurd.

Sterngaurd all gone:

Turn 3:
The remnants of my two ten man tac squads climbed through the wreckage of the dead rhinos and take on the Celestians on the right flank. My Dakka Dreads knock the MM off one Immo and destroy the other. I back one of my razorbacks into the forest by my objective and immobilize it. The Sterngaurd's Razorback tries to tank shock the sissters off their objective, but a meltagun sister immobilizes it with Death or Glory. The rest of his army comes on, and I loose some marines on the left, the mobile las-plas razorback, and the Predator.

Turn 4:
I move up my Dreads and assault the weaponless immo. One of the dreads kills his HQ. I also assault the remainder of his front line sister squad with the last guy from the destroyed las-plas Razorback. On his turn he finishes off the oh so useful speeders, and kills one of my dreads.

Turn 5:
I finally finish off the last of the front line sister squad, but I'm finally wiped out of the two assaults I was engaged in. He tries to kill my sterngaurd's razorback and remaining dread, but I make my cover saves.

How it looked at the end:

Marine win. My razorback is contesting his objective by .001 inch. I call it a draw anyway; I don't think immobile vehicles should be allowed to contest.

It would be hard to argue that 130 more points wouldn't have made a difference in such a close game. Another Celestian squad in an immo would have probably allowed him to table me outright. Though I was rolling true to form on my 3+ armor saves. I will agree with John that sisters should be getting all the free upgrades that the marines get. It gives the marines a lot of tactical flexibility to just have grenades and smoke and searchlights. On the other hand, I would gladly give up all those freebies to give my Marines faith :)

Moral of the story: Sisters need a new codex so we can stop arguing about what the fair cost of their transports should be.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Evolution of a Space Marine Army

My vanilla marine army has changed significantly since I re-entered 40k at the end of 4th Edition. I had been out of 40k for about 5 years; 5 years spent mostly playing Warmachine. Warmachine was getting crushed under its own rules bloat, and Privateer Press seemed too focused on other endeavors to fix the problems. I started longing for the old familiarities of my first war-game. The first 5th edition rumors were flying around, and I liked what I was hearing. I still had my old Eldar army, but didn’t feel like playing it. The new codex rendered most of what I owned uncompetitive, and I didn’t want to build a 4e Eldar army to have to rebuild it a few months later for 5e. Generally though, marine armies handle edition changes fairly intact. As long as I didn’t build an army around the units and abilities that the rumors said where getting nerfed, I figured I could build a basic marine army and be fine.

So, I started collecting Marines. I focused on a core of Tactical Marines, specifically 6 man Las-Plas. I also had this notion that Apocalypse was cool, and was collecting towards a full battle company. 4x Missile Devastator squads were also a common factor in my lists. My typical 4e list:

Captain w/PF, Iron Halo Storm bolter
Venerable Dread w/Las Cannon, Heavy Flamer
4x 6 Man Las-Plas Squad
10 Man Assault Squad
10 Man Devastator Squad w/4x Missile

Total battle-force garbage. I was playing in an environment with other new players, so my games went fairly well despite my poor list building skills.
5th Edition came out and the first thing that occurred to me was I needed more melta and vehicles. The Venerable dreadnaught became two MM dreads, and I started running MM/HF speeders. About this time I found out about G2D4 and started playing there. I got better competition and more games than at the Danger Room in Anderson. 5th edition was still new and even the G2D4 players were figuring out what worked and didn’t work in the new edition. I think I was a little ahead of the curve based on running significantly more melta weapons than other players.

The new marine dex came out soon after. I didn’t really know what to do with it at first. I had banked on Honor Guard being the new hotness and had converted a full squad of them up. Unfortunately they turned out to be a big expensive boondoggle. The core of my army shifted to 3 ten man tactical squads with Lascannons and melta guns. My HQ tended to be a Master with twin LC’s. I Experimented with drop pods briefly and was unimpressed. I still didn’t have an impressive win factor. I tied for most of my games. I started reading Stelek’s dakka posts and blog at this point, and as a result rushed to convert some Sterngaurd with combi-meltas. G2D4 regulars where still light on good 5e armor killing weapons, so I started running 2 or 3 raider lists. At first they were just filled with Tac Squads camping out, and later to deliver Assault Terminators. It was a brick army and I got quickly frustrated with my raiders getting popped by single lascannon shots on the first turn. This gave rise to the light mech marine build that has been the core of my lists up to the present day. Its first incarnation was for a G2D4 tournament:

5x Sterngaurd W/5 combi-meltas, Razorback
2x Full Tac Squads W/Melta, Multi-Melta, Rhino
Full Scout Sqaud W/Cammo-cloaks, sniper rifles
2x MM/HF Speeders
2x MM Attack Bikes
2x Whirlwinds

Sicarius was overpriced, but his abilities helped at least once in every game. I finished with middle of the pack tournament results. By the next tournament Sicarius had been replaced by a Fusion Beamer Master of the Forge, the attack bikes where gone, and I added 2 MM dreadnaughts. Sill finished with middle of the pack results. I really like playing the army, even though I couldn’t hit with a melta to save my life, and kill points was almost an auto loose. My army usually had 12 or 13 kill points. Tell me how losing a game where I killed 75% of my opponents army to only loosing 50% my own is fair? Eventually the MoF was swapped out for a Librarian and the scouts where dropped for a third dread and another speeder. G2D4 regulars had started meching up, so the Whirlwinds were swapped out for AC/HB Predators.

Now the list that will live in infamy:

3x AC/AC Dreadnaughts
2x Full Tac Squads W/Flamer, Multi-Melta, Combi-Melta, Rhino
Full Tac Sqad W/Melta, Lascannon, Combi-Melta, Razorback
3x MM/HF Speeders
2x AC/HB Predators

I took this list to a tournament at the Greenwood Game Preserve. I finished last. I had bad luck with my meltas, and every scenario was primarily or secondarily determined by Kill Points. As an added bonus, my three dreadnaughts got my comp scores tanked. I did not have fun, and worked on my Eldar exclusively for a few months after that. I didn’t even want to look at my Marines. I dragged them out for one G2D4 tournament during that time. I did average. I lost my first game in that tournament against the eventual winner. It was Kill Points and another instance of killing as much or more of my opponents army, but not hitting the right KP spread.

Now there’s another G2D4 tournament on May 1st. It’s a 1750 point tournament, so I had to rethink my list a little. I decided on using Shrike with 5 Assault Terminators . This required me to drop one of my Dreadnaughts. I also added a shooty command squad to ride in my razor back. I tried the army out and had mixed results. I decided that I really need some longer ranged anti-tank, so I went back to the drawing board and this is what I came up with:

Command squad w/ 2 melta guns, 2 power weapons, Las-Plas Razorback
5 TH/SS Terminators
2x AC/AC Dreadnaughts
2x Full Tac Squads W/Flamer, Lascannon, Combi-Melta, Rhino
5 Man Tack Squad W/Combi-Melta, Las-Plas Razorback
2x MM/HF Speeders
AC/HB Predator

The free multi meltas in my tac squads where not doing anything for me. You can’t move the rhinos and shoot them, and you don’t want the things that they need to kill to get anywhere near 12 inches of your tac squad. I could have gone with missiles, but they are only ever going to glance armor 14. That brought me back to the trusty old lascannon. I don’t have to rely on my speeders to hunt the big armor now; I can use the two razorbacks and the Rhino lascannon bunkers to threaten land raiders and lemun russ tanks earlier and with better volume of fire. Shrike and the Terminators are there to draw fire from my weaker small units. The Command squad is meant as a countercharge unit. While not very good against dedicated CC units, they can help turn back anything else that gets too close to the core of my army.

Overall this list keeps the good close range anti-tank and long range light armor busting of my old list and adds some long range anti tank and close combat problem solvers. I think it solves some of the problems my lists have had, and I have high hopes for it. Still has 15 KP though.

Friday, April 9, 2010


Thought I'd go ahead and add a post to my default layout blog.

I'm a Indianapolis area gamer. I primarily play 40k, but I dabble in other systems. I like to play Euro-style board games when I get the chance.

Oh, and I have the worst luck with dice: period. People notice this. Probabilities tend to get reversed for me. 66% chances for success usually work out to 33%. Dice let me down, so I tend to play games in ways to minimize chance as much as possible. It's why I don't play Land Raiders any more. Too likely to get popped by a single las cannon on the first turn. Never mind that it's only like a 4% chance: it will happen to me. I tend to follow Stelek's army building philosophy as it promotes redundancy. My luck is also why I like Euro-games: no dice.

I'm also working on designing my own board game. Though I haven’t had time to put anything on paper yet, I hope to start putting real work into it soon.

More to follow.