Sunday, January 21, 2018
Orpheus slowly stepped back away from his adversary to gather his strength holding both his chainswords up and crossed. His forearms burned and his biceps ached. Silently he mouthed an ancient vow to block out the pain. The demoness’ black eyes locked upon his face as she hissed and began to swing the Hellblade loping it with wild abandon at the Templar. Again and again the fractal edge of the warp spawned blade clashed against the chainswords. "You grow tired." she said. "I sense it. Make a prayer to your corpse god." Her filed fangs gleamed in the chill moonlight as she broke a wicked smile. "Finally you shall know peace you crave." The Hellblade struck up savagely driven by her mighty daemonic strength finally breaking through the crossed chainswords. Moving so fast she appeared as a blur to the Templar she drove the tip of the Hellblade like a spear puncturing his chest plate. Orpheus gasped.
Looking down she spotted something silver flashing underneath the rended armor. The Hellblade had cut straight through the plate then glanced off. Orpheus wore a suit of mail bonded at subatomic level and was impervious to the daemon weapons. Howling in frustration and great fits of rage the demoness threw aside the warp blade clutching at the Templar. Her hands clamped down like iron maws as she lifted him up above her head then immediately she brought him down hard smashing him into the stiff ground. Orpheus’ chainswords rattled uselessly against the stone tile. She released him and spun away turning to watch him lying there prone against the floor. "I will simply continue to pulverize your innards until you are dead." As the demoness reached down grasping at him again Orpheus rolled over revealing a bolt pistol. The barrel flashed as a psybolt ejected from the short muzzle striking her square in the arm. Exploding at the elbow her forearm disintegrated.
Holstering the bolt pistol Orpheus lifted himself back up again and in turn watched her intently as he grasped the hilts of his chainswords again. "Your arm won’t be regenerating back again anytime soon." He said.
Saturday, January 13, 2018
Assassin - Part 34 - Final Chapter, Genesis
The demoness uncoiled her whip and began to flick the tip at Orpheus causing sparks to fly as the burning tip cut into his black armor. Twisting his arms into an interlocking figure eight the Templar drove his chainswords straight at her face revving the well oiled gears. She leapt aside leaving the flaming pit while casting a backhanded swipe with the Hellblade. Orpheus caught the sudden strike between the crossed chainswords. His weapons whined as he increased their torque sliding the activation runes up a notch. Cursing in anger the demoness spit boiling blood towards the visor of his helmet to blind him but he turned his head aside avoiding the sneak attack.
The ground shook as a barrage of mortar shells targeting the ruins struck hard. Disengaging the daemon ran up the closest wall to avoid the jarring vibration. Orpheus dropped to a bent knee to main balance keeping his eyes fixed upon the enemy. Again she lashed out with her whip. This time she flicked the cord skipping the tip over his outstretched chainswords. It struck his helmet carving it in twain as it split in half and fell away. She laughed again as she withdrew the coil charging back straight into combat. Orpheus calmly turned a wrist firing a micro fragmentation grenade at her point blank. The miniature bomb exploded in a shower of burning shrapnel stitching into the daemon’s exposed flesh. She howled in surprise as Orpheus rose up swinging his swords in loping figure eights. Spinning about like a mad dervish the demoness danced through the sudden attack as she sailed aside deftly avoiding every counter strike. The Templar watched in silence as he watched her flesh reknit itself closing the many wounds just taken.
Orpheus dropped his guard and head butted his adversary. Both skulls cracked hard against each other and the Templar saw black spots forming before his eyes. He shook his head and gulped at the freezing air sucking in fresh oxygen... then he felt her steel grip grabbing him by his exposed collar like a steel vise. The demoness flung him across the chamber with a surprising show of strength. Orpheus’ chainswords rattled as he flew through the air then crashed through the sundered ruin of a broken wall tumbling through a cloud of debris.
"You are nothing." the demoness sneered from the other room. Grasping the hilts of his chainswords Orpheus rose up again like a dark specter pointing both burnished tips of his swords at her renewing the challenge. "Chainswords are so quaint." she said mocking him as slowly levitated across the other room towards the opening that separated them.
"Imperial steel." Orpheus replied through gritted teeth. He struck a defensive position then transitioned into the open poise of the Gryphon. Moonlight glinted from the steel bits as they purred. Staring straight into his eyes the demoness came to a rest her bare feet touching the ground again. Her crimson skin seemed to pulsate as the tight muscles underneath flexed. She had set aside her whip and held the long Iron hilt of the Hellblade with both fists. "Your martial acumen is child’s play. I have fought for tens of thousands of years and am still undefeated. Look upon all your fallen brethren before you. What makes you special?" she taunted.
"Nothing lasts forever." The chainswords revved up again as Orpheus crashed through the opening. His swords struck one after another over and over gain. The demoness was confounded blocking each individual attack one at a time. Orpheus managed to spit a fresh juicy squirt of acid blood into one of her eyes but it did nothing other than dripping away.
Friday, January 12, 2018
First want to say I don’t use Guilliman and if you do it’s just another Bobby G gun line. Sure the Imperial Primarch is absolutely amazing but as it turns out there are other top notch HQs to choose from for Ultramarines. The points you save can go towards fully fleshing out your army list to keep it competitive in the ever changing meta. I like to build anti meta lists that rely upon synergy between various units and well developed sound tactics. It takes more time and practice to craft an Ultramarine army that does not rely upon Roboute but it can be done. One of the major drawbacks I see inherent to the gun line archetype is its fairly static and if you play in large tournaments such as those run by ITC your army needs to be mobile for optimization to score the maximum amount of points possible. While Maelstrom style missions can be a lot of fun if you like to draw for completely random objectives the missions you’ll see at major events are more in line with Eternal War style - you have a clear set of options to choose from to score objectives.
Plasma is to 8th edition for Space Marines what graviton was to 7th edition. S8/S9 AP4 straight 2 damage with excellent range makes things go away real quick. You’ll notice as review this article I use a lot of ranged plasma weapons for these very reasons.
- HQ and Support Character Selection
My go-to HQ (Warlord) for Ultramarines is Marneus Calgar, their old school original Chapter Master. Marneus has some great buffs and auras plus he’s a real beat stick in melee serving a dual role just like Roboute, providing a stiff deterrent to enemy units that venture too close to your battle lines. Another good choice is the Primaris Captain in Gravis Armor with a boltstorm gauntlet and master-crafted power sword from the Dark Imperium box set. If you have the command points to spare the Primaris Captain can be upgraded to Chapter Master saving a considerable amount of points plus he has the same number of wounds (6) as Calgar and is T5 as well. It’s worth mentioning the master-crafted power sword inflicts a straight damage of two wounds. Marneus has the BIG advantage that he hits on 2+ in melee with the rerolls since his Gauntlets of Ultramar aren’t unwieldy and can swing combat in your favor when he’s slugging away at high toughness enemy units. Calgar also provide two additional command points for battle-forged armies which is a big deal - that’s inherent additional 5 command points! Finally Marneus benefits from the new style Eternal Warrior only ever suffering half damage due to his awesome suit of armor shrugging off wounds like a true champ from enemy lascannons and what not.
Next you need some support characters for additional buffs and my first choice is always Tigurius, Chief Librarian of the Ultramarines. One of his special rules, Master of Prescience, grants an Ultramarines unit within 6" -1 to hit at the start of the enemy shooting phase. If you combine this with the Librarius psychic power Might of Heroes for +1T then suddenly your Redemptor dreadnaught, Repulsor or Agressors are a whole heck of a lot harder to kill. Tigurius can also reroll failed psychic tests and deny twice which gives him a big leg up over any other Librarian. Tigurius is still one of the best psykers in the game and you really need a Librarian to deny enemy psychic powers and reliably cast Smite when you really need to finish off an enemy unit. My other two favorite psychic powers are Null Zone and Veil of Time - Chaos hates on both of these for obvious reasons... heh !
I also regularly field an Apothecary - Primaris Space Marine units have two wounds per model - he helps keep those deadly units like Hellblasters pumping out shots. Another excellent choice is an Ancient which again synergizes very well with Hellblasters... even in death they can still serve for one last fleeting moment. I always take the Standard of the Emperor Ascendent for the greater reliability, it’s well worth it.
See Vindicare Assassin below (via auxiliary support detachment).
I am a big of the new Primaris Space Marines and they always serve me well. Chapter Approved was very kind to Primaris Space Marines in general making them even more viable now ! My go-to troop choice is a five to six man squad of Intercessors with the stock bolt rifles (30" range rapid-fire AP1), auxiliary grenade launcher and a power sword for the sergeant. I have come to find that this particular build has made tactical Marines irrelevant to the competitive game - Intercessors are both robust and versatile as are all Primaris Space Marine units in general due to their inherent characteristics. A five man squad is very easy to hide and camp on objectives. They can also dish out the pain in melee versus enemy troops. The grenade launcher is your special weapon with 30" range and a nice selection of ammo such as the krak grenade - S6, AP1 and straight 2 damage.
Next is the tried and true scout squad. You need scouts to serve as a screen to effectively deny the enemy alpha strike. My favorite build is five scouts with camo cloaks for the 2+ armor save in cover, four sniper rifles and a heavy bolter. The heavy bolter is a reliable means to inflict mortal wounds when needed using the Hellfire stratagem while the sniper rifles occasionally score mortal wounds. This squad also synergizes well with the Vindicare Assassin and serves as a fairly resilient meat shield. Scouts are very flexible with more options as compared to tactical Marines and cost less points. Vindicares hit and wound on 2+ inflicting d3 wounds, ignoring invulnerable saves and cover plus AP3 coupled with 60" range. A tandem can take out an enemy character easily in one shooting phase.
Finally it’s important to note that since Intercessors are more robust (i.e., 2 wounds per model) they don’t need to castle up with your core and can serve as a vanguard if necessary. This makes your army more mobile and in turn versatile.
- Heavy Support
To me this slot is the most important and vital when designing a truly competitive army list. My first choice is a six man squad of Hellblasters with the stock plasma incinerator - 30" range rapid-fire, S8 AP4 straight 2 damage when overcharging. Hellblasters make enemy units disappear real fast - to me they are the best heavy support unit for Space Marines. Hellblasters can move and shoot as opposed to a unit such as Devastators giving them another very distinct advantage.
Another great choice is the Predator tank with the Predator cannon turret and lascannon sponsons. It’s fairly cheap points-wise for what it has to offer giving your army the much needed high X long range fire power.
Finally I’ll mention the Repulsor - sure it’s a lot of points but it can lay down the most devastating rounds of fire power when fully loaded and is very survivable - T8 and 16 wounds - it’s the Primaris version of the land raider and is superior in every way. The Repulsor is a grav tank and has the keyword Fly so your opponent can’t easily box it in unlike other tanks on treads. It is a lot of points but every point is worth it due to all its amazing fire power. The grav tank also has the repulsor field which causes a penalty of -2" to enemy units attempting to charge it. Mine has more than once killed multiple enemy units attempting to charge it during one assault phase on overwatch - hilarious !!!
Elites are another important slot. My two favorites are the Redemptor dreadnaught fully loaded including the macro plasma incinerator and Agressors. The Redemptor is a true heavy hitter with base 13 wounds. The macro plasma incinerator is S9 AP4 straight two damage when super charging and 36" range plus the 8" move. Aggressors are the Primaris TEQ unit with superior fire power. Aggressors along with Marneus Calgar protect your core and thus serve a vital role.
- Fast Attack
Fast attack is required to make your army more mobile. My go-to choice is a five man squad of Inceptors armed with plasma exterminators. Each gun is d3 shots (2 per Inceptor) for an average of ten shots at 18" range with the sweet 10" move. I feel five are necessary to make them robust and survivable - they are actually superior to Ravenwing Dark Knights if you do the math hammer and can deep strike. Both units are T5 with 2 wounds per model. It’s best to keep this unit out of melee so they can keep shooting, which is what they do best... that said the have the keyword Fly and have the Ultramarines chapter tactic (redundant in this case) so if they are charged by enemy unit they can fall back and keep pulling the triggers.
My go-to flyer is the Stormhawk Interceptor armed with missile launcher, las-talons and assault cannons. This is another highly mobile unit that can lay down lots of suppressing fire power, able to reach a bunkered enemy fire base and annihilate them. This flyer is +1 to versus enemy units with the keyword Fly, which is just evil in and of itself.
- Chapter Tactics
This is why Ultramarines are simply the best now... they can fall back and still shoot. Eighth edition is the most shooty version of the game yet so the more you can shoot the better your odds of winning... shrug off an enemy charge, fall back and pull the trigger again. Raven Guard and Salamanders have solid chapter Tactics as well but Ultramarines are simply the best for these very reasons given.
So there you have it. Space Marines are still a very competitive army and I’ve provided a detailed list of my most tried and true units, the right Primaris Space Marines units combined with as much ranged plasma you can cram into your army list. My list is not wholly Primaris though and I think that approach is a road to pure folly. There are still plenty of the pre existing Space Marine units such as those I’ve listed above you can draw from to buff your army.... Ultramarines for days !!!
Tuesday, January 09, 2018
The Marine crept through the ruins, each black gauntlet gripping a chainsword shackled to the wrist. A vid screen within his helmet displayed the most recent data captured by an auspex scan captured by the slain Techmarine... Traitors were close by. A crescent moon shone through a huge rent in the ceiling casting faint pearl light upon the debris. He froze beside the remains of a fallen statue, his black armor blending into the dark shadows. A pair of traitor Marines wearing dark red armor entered from the other side. Strips of flayed skin inked in forbidden script draped from their shoulder pads. One carried a plasma gun and the other gripped a large maul. They looked about slowly sweeping through the entire expanse, looking towards him for a moment but not seeming to notice. One pointed forward and they began to move again.
Brother Orpheus thumbed the activation runes bringing his chainswords to life and charged headlong from the frozen darkness to confront the enemy. The traitor carrying the plasma gun lifted it to fire but Morpheus was upon him driving his swords straight up into a hard cross catching his enemy by the throat. The metal teeth tore through the armor beheading the surprised Word Bearer. Toppling aside the helmet rolled upon the ground spilling fresh blood splattering upon the broken rubble. The other traitor reached for his bolt pistol but the chainswords struck his wrists cutting through the bone with a low growl. Orpheus finished him driving the chainswords through the Word Bearer’s chestplate simultaneously severing both hearts.
The Templar stood still to collect his thoughts looming over the dead traitors. He felt a stirring coming from close by and slowly advanced towards the sensation. He could see a pit of fire burning within a ring of stacked polished skulls piled one upon another through a rent leading into the adjacent section. The awful smell of burnt flesh began to fill the air as he stepped closer. A figure emerged from the flame looking towards him with pure black eyes filled with savage hate. Slick wet red blood covered the slim naked body rippling with corded taunt muscle. She stood tall shaking her flaming black hair back. Orpheus looked upon her as the daemonic image etched into his mind. One finely tapered hand carried a long Hellblade cut from ancient ore forged long ago. The other hand gripped a coiled tethered whip. Her nails were as black as her dead eyes. Many suits of broken black armor littered the ground randomly scattered around the daemonic pyre. Some of the armor was split open like broken egg shells while other pieces had been sundered apart.
"Champion." she said as she ran her tongue over her long sharp fangs. "I challenge you."
"Challenge accepted." answered the Templar.
The Avatar laughed "I have tasted many things. Your blood smells so sweet."
Orpheus frowned as he activated his chainswords again.