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Blood Vow

Happiness is success... (Buddha)

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

40k Editorial: The Evil that's Army Compostiim

Around five or so years ago there began a movement on the internet claiming that all the major events in the US were nothing more than glorified hobby events—they were deemed not truly competitive and this really caught on fire in a huge way. Today there are lots of seriously competitive events all around the country and they are by far the most popular venues. I tip my hat to the NOVA Open for leading the way in this regard. Fast forward to now... I've seen a couple of Escalation events—very low attendance and most no one that attended seemed to enjoy them.

Change is the Only Constant
The pendulum is starting to swing back again now and there is a lot of talk on the Internet about bringing back army composition. Unfortunately enforcing army composition does not work as invariably it will always be coupled with a lot of personal bias and at the rate at which new rules are being released now it's just not possible to come up with an overall fair system.

If you dig down into these discussions to re-introduce army composition you'll find that there is a highly vocal minority, which is so often the case. I ask you to understand two things from my point of view as a veteran 40k player that still loves to play the game:

- Truly competitive events are the best and most popular format for a large tournament
- Imposing army composition is THE worst thing for a large tournament

Campaigns versus Tournaments
That said above campaigns are a completely different animal of a different stripe. My true love right now is 30k and there are some awesome national campaigns you can attend such as TexasGamesCon if you're willing to travel. You'll find like a lot of like minded people and it's much more fun than a GT. Of course 30k is not for everyone though and I respect that sentiment totally. I'd much rather spend my time and money to play in a big 30k campaign because of the friendly nature of these events as opposed to the possibility of facing off against a totally WAAC TFG at a GT. A 30k campaign is not competitive like a tournament... But yes it's actually still competitive, which is human nature because deep down inside everyone would like to win, but a campaign is not all about the win and that makes the difference.

Only one person can come out on top at a competitive GT out of as many as 256 players. 30k campaigns are much fewer in number so you'll have to look far and wide to find them - it's worth the time and effort though if this is your bag.

Allies have been around for a long time. The infamous IG leaf blower list heavily relied upon taking a Daemon Hunter Inquisitor. My Blood Angels army that reached the Ard Boyz finals a few years ago featured allied Grey Knights and Sisters of Battle - no one complained back then either. I had three sources too,

Why I Hate on Army Composition
I used to attend a local GT that employed a totally secret system for army composition... Yes their system was completely non disclosed to the public and if they didn't like you for any reason you had absolutely no chance to win. The TOs played Warhammer Fantasy and had no real clue about 40k which they often referred to as the 40Gehy. Their missions were simply atrocious—for example one year you could stack all of your objective markers on top of each other and castle around them. Finally I wised up and stopped attending. The following year this particular GT went belly up due to the negative feedback and has been replaced by another GT that embraces a purely competitive format. Do we really want this kind of thing to come back ? Not I.

I have a good friend whom played in a Swedish GT one year not too long ago. Sweden has one of the most restrictive formats in the world... Even the ETC cringes - wow wow wow ! This is their culture though and I feel sorry for people that have no real alternative and must play there... They have no real choice in the matter since they are all brain washed from day one. My friend was able to win by doing some serious research, crafting a list that took advantage of their silly comp rules... Any system can and will be broken. The TOs were completely blind sided and caught with their proverbial pants down.

The point being is any set of rules for army composition that are set forth in the public domain can and will be abused. The goal posts are simply moved to one side so WAAC players can react accordingly—This is how hyper competitive players operate. This in and of itself defeats the main purpose for imposing army composition.

The Future
I have been told by several highly reliable sources that some major changes are coming down the line soon from none other than GW... Expect to see a new edition released within the next three months. The ally system will be drastically curbed along with psychic powers... Basically say good bye to all the present meta busting allied deathstars—As an example of what's in store an ability (i.e., USR) from a parent unit will no longer transfer over to any allied independent character that joins them. So say goodbye to the Baron joining an Eldar Seer Council FTW... He will no longer benefit from a Farseer or Warlock casting Fortune or Forewarning. Another example is a Wolf Lord joining a White Scars command squad... No more scouting up or outflanking. This in and of itself will solve lots of problems generally perceived by many as to what's presently ruining the game. I'd rather see GW fix the game rather a whole host of various house rules imposed by different TOs across the country.

Another good solution is to run two events in parallel such as the upcoming TexasGamesCon. They will run one unrestricted event in parallel with another restricted event, so you've got a choice now. It'll be very interesting to see how it all pans out over the next year.

Army composition does not work. The vast majority of the player base abhors Escalation which was poorly contrived to say the least. Truly competitive events are the least biased. Campaigns are an excellent alternative if you must not absolutely win. Some big changes to how we play the game are just around the corner.

I'm looking forward to it and feel optimistic.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Astra Militarum vs. Tau and Eldar

So the new codex is out now. My first thoughts are how will the Imperial Guardsmen stack up versus the top armies. Seems like most people who play this army are excited about the new rules and that's always a good thing. Based upon what I've read so far I'm uncertain how they will stack up versus Tau and Eldar. To be honest the new codex seems toned down overall compared to the previous release. Sure there's lots of good things but I don't see it making as big a splash in the competitive scene this time around. It used to be no one could lay down as much fire power as IG but now they have to contend with both Tau and Eldar. Some of the tanks are gone but except for the Griffon I don't think IG lost much in that regard. I do think IG will be an excellent ally for certain armies such as Space Marines and Sisters of Battle. They could also work well with Imperial Knights.

It's too early to say how good the new codex will play. I'm looking forward to reading batreps featuring the new Astra Militarum.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Old man

It seems like these days a lot of people like to tell me I'm an old man. First just remember maybe you can make it this far too. Second if I kick your ass what does that make you ?

I do a lot of meditation to keep my mind focused for tournament play... The toughest part is playing lots of games in one day with little sleep. It's all about the focus. And most important it's all about respect. If you want it then come take it... I'll be waiting.

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Adepticon Team Tournament Lists and Design Concepts

Here are our team's four army lists:

BBF's Iron Wolves

Wolf Lord Wulfen MacWulfestron
Bike - Runic armor - Stormshield - Wolf tooth necklace - Thunderhammer - Saga of the Bear

Rune Priest Runic McRunestar
Bike - Runic armor - Chooser of the Slain

7x Grey Hunter
Plasmagun - Plasma pistol - Power axe - Wolf Standard
Drop pod

7x Grey Hunter
Plasmagun - Plasma pistol - Power axe - Wolf Standard
Drop pod

7x Grey Hunter
Plasmagun - Plasma pistol - Power axe - Wolf Standard
Drop pod

Note - The Space Wolf list was specifically designed to synergize with White Scars, Iron Hands and Tau. I designed three of the lists prior to online registration for Adepticon (Tau and White Scars). Brad Bitler designed his Iron Hands list and was acting as captain of the team on Sunday.

Kurt William's White Scars

Khan - Moondrakken

Command squad - bikes
4x grav gun, 4x stormshield

5x biker Marine
2x grav gun

5x biker Marine
2x grav gun

Twin linked assault cannon, twin linked lascannon

5x Scout
5x shotgun
Storm - heavy flamer

In our second to last game the Scouts proved their worth, shooting then assaulting a six man Guardian jetbike squad... They broke and fled off the table. Kurt played his list well each game.

Brad Bitler's Iron Hands (Clan supplement)

Bike - thunderhammer - artificer armor - Gorgon's Chain - Tempered Helm

Command squad - bikes
4x grav gun - 4x stormshield

6x Biker Marine
Veteran sergeant - Power Axe
2x grav gun
Attack bike - Multi-melta

6x Biker Marine
Veteran sergeant - Power Axe
2x grav gun
Attack bike - Multi-melta


The Iron Hands supplement is really good for biker armies and Brad put together a great list. For instance the tempered helm gives you a 24" Ld 10 bubble which really helps to keep Ld8 biker squads from breaking off the table. The Iron Hands matched up perfectly with the White Scars and they won their two games together handily... The last round the combined weight of fire from the two command squads destroyed a Jetseer council during the first turn... Over 800 points of dead space elves right off the bat !

Chris Anderson's Tau

Fusion blaster - missile pod - Blacksun filter - multi tracker - Early Warning Override - vectored retro thrusters - command and control node - Puretide engram neuro chip - multi spectrum sensor suite - XV8-02 Iridium suit

10x Kroot
Kroot hound

10x Kroot
Kroot hound

Ion accelerator - twin linked fusion blaster - Blacksun filter - multi tracker - Early Warning Override - velocity tracker

Heavy burst cannon - twin linked fusion blaster - Blacksun filter - multi tracker - stimulant injector

XV88 Broadside Team
3x twin linked high yield missile pod - twin linked smart missile system - Blacksun filter - multi tracker - Early Warning Override

The Tau always performed well as should be expected - the fish were definitely a big ace up our sleeves. Chris did them proud.

List Building Concepts
Here are some thoughts behind our overall team concept. The two central tenants were as follows:

• Strong synergy between the three Space Marine armies
• Tau would fill our weaknesses such as being able to handle enemy fliers

We didn't run across any Heldrakes (which was my prediction) but the first game versus Grey Knights and Space Marines was a tough one as they had two Stormravens - I was paired up with White Scars and we had no real dedicated anti air.

Space Marines
Space Marines are really good this edition while also being a very balanced codex. Some of the best units are the Chapter Master and grav gun biker command squad. Unfortunately it wasn't feasible to bring a Chapter Master since he doesn't have access to the command squad. The Iron Hands Captain was a great stand in though and was only destroyed one game out of five. Khan unlocks a lot of good things for White Scars so we felt he was mandatory. A lot of armies have no dedicated melee units so while Khan is by no means a beast he can do fairly well in combat versus most eldar and Tau units. I have found there are currently lots of players who don't have good tactics for close combat - they rely solely upon shooting and mobility to win their games.

Space Wolves
I really like drop pods this edition and they are strong in the current meta. Grey Hunters are still one of the best troops in the game and they are cheap for what you get. They have access to lots of solid options plus not having a champion is much more of an advantage than a disadvantage. My Grey Hunters definitely won a couple games such as wiping out two Kroot squads via sweeping advance towards the end of a very hard fought game against one of the better teams. The combination of bikers and drop pods is highly synergistic - the pods come down the first turn aggressively deployed which draws the heat off the bikes.

While the Rune Priest really struggled with casting Jaws of the World Wolf (JotWW) he did fantastic whenever I chose the Divination lore. The main philosophy for choosing psychic powers was to select JotWW and Living Lightning versus Necrons and Tau or Divination versus eldar. The Rune Priest was our sole Psyker and generally he buffed the other armies quite well for our team. The Runic staff was always a problem for our opponent's eldar armies.

The Wolf Lord significantly helped win two games and he filled the role of the missing Chapter Master. He operated as a solo unit in the final game dispatching two Riptides and demolished Farsight and friends. He is both fast and durable which allowed him to function as such when needed. The first game versus Grey Knights and Space Marines saw the Wolf Lord and Khan combined - they wiped out several key enemy units with ease, which kept us in the game.

Like I said above the Tau were our ace up the sleeve and functioned like a utility belt covering the weaknesses in our other armies. This was a cherry picker list and overall it got the job done.

Conclusion - Inside the Box and Outside the Box
None of this is a secret but I think our combinations were very unique and gave us an edge. One common strategy for Adepticon is to field three identical armies and select a fourth one fill in the gaps... We were thinking along those lines.

My new Facebook page...

Black Blow Fly

Here is my new Facebook page:

Black Blow Fly's Terminus Est Facebook Page

I will still be posting here mainly. Facebook is a quick way to get your photos up and running. Check it out and have a look.

Monday, April 07, 2014

Space Marine biker HQ • Adepticon Team

Here is Wolf Lord Wulfen MacWolfston...

Here's Rune Priest Runic McRunestar...

And here is Khan by Kurt Williams...

Adepticon final results

Kurt, Chris, Steve and Brad (left to right)

My good buddy Reecius.

By the way our team went 8-0-2.

Sunday, April 06, 2014

Day one results at Adepticon

Our team did very well the first day winning the majority of our games. Should be a tough matchup going into the first game on day two.