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Blood Vow

Happiness is success... (Buddha)

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Best of 2011

Here are my top choices for 2011:

Best blog - Fritz 40k
A true genius in my opinion with a very unique tactical take on the game. If there is one person I'd like to meet its Fritz. His Tyranid tactica is sublime. Fritz has the ability to look at a codex in a different light and is open to experimentation. I have learned a lot reading his articles this year... Really great stuff indeed. Five stars.

Best Tourney - WarGamesCon
Go and find out for yourself. A truly competitive event that is well designed, well run and everything is above the board. Five stars.

Best Army - Grey Knights
Mat Ward writes great codices. If the rest of the developers were in his league the game would be that much better. There is a lot of hate on the Internet towards Mat but his books tend to be very popular. Mat can design a codex that merits the background of the army. Mat also pushes the envelope and creates new things which is sorely needed to keep the game fresh. Five stars.

Best Black Library Novel - The Red Duke
The end of the novel was shit but the story was so good and so well told its okay. Three stars due to the poor ending but still definitely worth the read.

Best Mini - Lelith Hesperax
A fanatastic miniature if ever there was one. Too bad her rules were botched. Dark eldar are my biggest disappointment this year. Phil Kelly did not do dark eldar the justice they deserve. Five stars for Lelith but a big thumbs down for the codex.

That's pretty much it and to everyone here is hoping you have a fantastic new year. Be safe and have fun. Sixth edition is right around the corner—should be a blast.


Thursday, December 29, 2011

Tyranid Challenge • Help Me Build a Better Reserved Army

This thread I'm asking you to help me build a better fully reserved Tyranid army. The foot slogging army has been proven to not be a competitive list, never placing in the top five at major national tournaments such as Adepticon, NOVA and WarGamesCon since the inception of the new codex... Tyranids are currently at their weakest nexus for over the past decade. It sucks but it is what it is. Should have, could have, would have isn't getting it done on the top tables.

I realize there is a lot of love for Tervigons and the Tyranid deathstar but they just don't cut the mustard. This is the truth - lots of so called top players in the US mentally wrecked themselves trying to create a meta net list to stomp other armies such as Space Wolves and Imperial Guard but they all came up short. These armies commonly featured units such as Tervigons and Tryannofex along with the Swarmlord. I do want to build the best fully reserved Tyranid army that can consistently beat Imperial Guard, Grey Knights and Space Wolves. I have had good success beating the two latter armies and will soon be testing my list versus the former. My goal is not to create a meta net list—that has never been my goal nor will it ever be. This is where you can help me.

My Current List
Here is my current 2000 point army list:

Hive Tyrant: Wings, Adrenal glands, twin linked devourers w. brain leech ammo, bone sword & lash whip, Hive Commander, paroxysm & leech essence

Tyranid Prime: Adrenal glands, scything talons, bone sword & lash whip, regeneration

Doom of Malan'tai - mycetic spore

10x Yrmgal genestealer

2x Zoanthrope - mycetic spore

10x Hormagaunt: Adrenal glands & toxin sacs (attached to Tyranid Prime)
15x devilgant - mycetic spore
3x Warrior: bone swords & lash whips, toxin sacs, 2x deathspitter & barbed strangler - mycetic spore
15x genestealer incl. Broodlord: Toxin sacs & scything talons

Trygon Prime

So there is my list...
What would you drop and what would you take in its place? Like I said above the Tervigon has already been suggested in place of the Warrior brood. I'm hoping to see some solid suggestions! This is the army I intend to take to the ATC and WarGamesCon. Let me know what you think about it.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

How to Synergize the Tervigon with a Fully Reserved Tyranid Army

Here is my first guest post in a long time. It comes by way of my good friend—Christopher Lackey, whom I met over on the 40k Wrecking Crew forums. Chris has been playing 5th edition Tyranids a lot longer than me and has some great advice—hence the reason why I'm posting this article of his to share with everyone else.

If you follow this blog then you know my current army is a fully reserved Tyranid list. You'll probably also know that I'm opinionated and can be quite stubborn at times. That said I am willing to take good advice from others (as hard as that might be to believe). Lots of people such as Alex Liao have suggested the inclusion of a Tervigon in my existing list so I think it's time to delve more deeply into this particular subject.

Current 2000 point Tyranid Army List
Here is my current abbreviated list as a reference for this discussion:

Tyranid Prime + 10x Hormogant
Flyrant: Hive Commander, pair of twin linked devourers w. brain leech ammo, lash whip & bone sword; paroxysm & leech essence

Doom - mycetic spore
2x Zoie - mycetic spore
10x Yrmgal genestealer

15x devilgant - mycetic spore
3x Warrior: bone swords & lash whips, toxin sacs, 2x deathspitter & barbed strangler - mycetic spore
15x genestealer incl. Broodlord: toxin sacs & scything talons

Trygon Prime

1st Comment - Old Adversary Suggested for your Flyrant
"I just don't have the points for Old Adversary. Most of my sheet is WS5 
or better so it's okay. I noticed the guns are usually lots better than 
casting Paroxsym. Thoughts?

Here is Chris' first gem of wisdom:

—Remember as a monsterous Creature you can shoot two twice a turn. So if you have lash whip and bone sword plus twin linked devourers with brain leech ammo you can shoot your 6 shots AND you can cast paroxysm on the targeted enemy unit.

Paroxsym causes your opponent to hit even your termagants on 5+ in melee... Your weakest units hit on 3+. If you have Old Adversary then you hit on 3+ and get to reroll all failed hits. It can make a world of difference when mean old Abbadon suddenly has to hit on 5+ versus his normal 3+.

The main thing to take away from this is that you can shoot your gun and still cast paroxysm.

2nd Comment - Take a Tervigon as a Troop Choice
"I am not a fan of the Tervi. Doesn't fit with a reserved army."

—Since you already take a unit of termagants you can take a Tervigon as a troop choice and since you take HIve Commander for your Flyrant you can give a troop choice Outflank -> So you can have a Tervigon outflank. On top of that you can have an exhaustive supply of troops (barring rolling any doubles on 3d6 dice to spawn more gants)... It's really hard to beat Nidz in objective based games while your Tervigon is spewing out more gants each turn!

Also if you purchase toxin sacs and adrenal glands for the Tervigon... Any unit of termagants within 6" the Tervigon can do all of the following:

- Use its leadership for any tests
- Gain Counter Attack *
- Have toxin sacs and adrenal glands *

* If spawned by the Tervigon

So if you assault with your gants and utilize your movement phase correctly you should still have at least one gant within 6" of the Tervigon.

If you have the Flyrant nearby then you can hit on 3+ and reroll failed hits while wounding on 4+ due to toxin sacs and reroll wounds versus T4 units due to adrenal glands. On top of all that you can cast Feel No Pain (FNP) on one of your units. The combination of these units and the synergies they bring are insane !!

Suggestion—Drop the Warrior brood to make room for a Tervigon.

Here are some more advantages the Tervigon has over the Warriors:

- Synapse with 18" range versus 12" (i.e., Dominion)
- Cast Feel No Pain on units like your genestealers, Flyrant and Trygon Prime *
- Much better equipped to crack open vehicles being a monstrous creature (S6 plus 2d6 armor penetration)

* Note that FnP cast on a monstrous creature is a solid counter to missile spam plus if you properly layer your army then you've also got the 4+ cover save as well... It's very difficult to sneak a wound past two 4+ saves!

So there you have it. There are plenty of people who have a lot more experience than myself when it comes to playing Tyranids. I'm always learning and want to improve my list. I just shipped by army today to be pro painted so I'll be taking a break from Tyranids for a couple weeks—but who knows, maybe I'll build a Tervigon next year and give it a fair test

 Remember though that while my Warrior brood is small it's a strategic node in my synaptic network - its primary function is to provide synapse in the midfield and take objectives late in the game. I love my Warriors so it'd be hard for me to drop them but I'll probably give the Tervigon a fair chance soon enough.

Thanks to Christopher for his excellent advice—it was pretty much a primer for me and it's greatly appreciated. A lot that's been said is common knowledge for those playing Tyranids but I think this is excellent advice for those just starting to take a look at the codex.

Thanks again !!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Tyranids vs Imperial Guard • Part II

I have already posted one brief article that dealt with the subject of Tyranids versus Imperial Guard. As we all know it's a tough matchup for the Bugz. That said it's not impossible to beat IG with Tyranids. While at first glance it certainly might feel like barring crazy luck it's a fore drawn conclusion which is not the case. I will be covering in detail how I match up my army versus Imperial Guard for the win in a brief series of continuing articles.

The Giant

It’s not so bad, I’m Dr. Strange
My broken heart, I have to face
My broken heart, Hell’s on its way

My time to start, procrastinate
I feel alive, I fucking hate
There’s nothing left, there’s nothing right
If there’s no point, why do we fight?

Welcome to my vicious circle
Trying to escape, break out!
Playing with my knife until it cuts me
Giant walking, no more talking
In my way and one way out
Fighting me forever, I’ll break the giant down

Caught between the lines of right and wrong yeah
Caught between the things that I don’t know
Up and down the mountain climbing, climbing
Drowning in a ocean to find my soul

I have to win, I never lose
I’ll have my way, you have to choose
War all the time, I’m fucking fierce
War all the time, what do I fear?
The giant walks, the giant eats
Out of control, the giant beats
And breaks you down, with all your might
With nothing left, and still I fight 

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Army Comp - The King is Dead

I have never been a big fan of army composition. Now keep in mind I've never played Fantasy and to be honest I'm kind of glad after reading this thread on a local forum:


That is a lot of rules to remember and one codex army is outright banned from play. How would you like to travel to a tourney and then the TO tells you that your Grey Knights or Imperial Guard have been banned from play? Oh well.

I've never heard of anyone using or enforcing comp for Warmachine. Can you imagine a ban on rooks in chess? Casual play with friends you know what is cool and what is not. Tournaments are for competition - there are no awards for participating. I know when I first start playing in tournaments it took quite awhile before I ever won anything. GW did have rules for comp in 40k at one time - it was very biased towards Imperial Space Marine armies. For example if you played Chaos Space Marines and took a squad of Khorne Berzerkers you automatically lost some points. Eventually it was dropped along with their wacky missions.

There is a rumor 6th edition will have no FoC. If so (who knows) that will be a real kick in the nuts to comp.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

WarGamesCon 2012 • June 21—24 • Austin, Texas

Tonight I'd like to talk a bit about a fantastic 40k GT that also includes lots of other popular gaming systems - WarGamesCon - hosted by my good friends, the fine fellows over at the Bell of Lost Souls—Jwolf, BigRed, Goatboy and Darkwynn to name some of the BoLS crew. They run a tight ship, are very well organized and have created an excellent tournament system that's been well proven over three years now. I have attended the past two years and have to say it is by far the best event I've ever experienced in most every way.

The 40k GT is designed for competitive play and has always produced one player who has the best record at the end of the tournament. You play lots of games over the course of the weekend and have the opportunity to spend some quality time with a host of great people. If 40k is your big thing then make sure to bring a friend along as there is always a team tournament on the Friday evening to kick things off.

I am very happy to say that with only one notable exception I have thoroughly enjoyed every game. The missions and overall scoring system are well designed. No army composition as well is something I look for when deciding where to travel. You see lots of beautiful armies and play some very exciting games. The overall cost to attend is easily affordable—there are lots of cheap flights in and out of Austin and the hotel where they host the event is economically priced. I fly direct on Southwest - total time in the air is around two hours from Tampa.

The BoLS crew is looking to expand the event so if you're seriously looking for a fantastic event to attend next year then look no further than Austin. Believe me when I say you'll be glad you did. I noticed there was a considerably larger number of tables this year and I'm sure there will even more next year.

Currently I'm planning to bring my Tyranid army for 2012. Based upon my past experiences at WarGamesCon I feel comfortable bringing an army that is considered by many to be less than competitive. There's always a wide array of different armies so you don't really have to worry much about facing off against GK, IG and SW each and every game which is really nice. This past year I brought my Draigowing and faced the following armies -

• 2x Dark Eldar (one was a skimmer armada while the other was a Webway Portal variant)
• Blood Angels
• 2x Orks (one fully mech with Ghaz and the other was infantry horde)
• Tyranidz
• Grey Knights

So no IG or SW this year for me.

The previous year I brought my Blood Angels and faced the following armies:

• 3x Blood Angels (DoA, landraider armada and a mixed list)
• Imperial Fists
• Eldar
• Imperial Guard
• Space Wolves

So as you can see the variance has grown by leaps and bounds. : )

If you're thinking about attending then check it out ! There is a link to the WarGamesCon site up in the top right hand corner of my blog. Go ahead, click on the picture of their logo and take a peek !

About those Whiners...

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Modifications to Tyranid Reserve Army

I have made a few changes to my existing list. These changes are based upon good feedback over on BoLS. This past weekend I played a game versus Space Wolves with my prior list and pretty much got tabled (first time). The Space Wolf army has two Wolf Lords on Thunderwolf mounts, two squads of Thunderwolves, two squads of Grey Hunters (one mounted in a rhino & one mounted in a drop pod), two squads of Long Fangs, a Lone Wolf and Rune Priest... Only two scoring units but still pretty darn tight.

The major change to the list was dropping one Trygon Prime in exchange for a Flyrant with twin linked devourers (brain leech ammo), bone sword & lash whip plus Hive Commander. I had to shave a few points elsewhere in the list so I could take the option for Hive Commander and it worked out okay. I am used to playing games where the majority of my army arrives during the third turn when using two Trygons.

Tonight I had a rematch versus the same Space Wolf army (my buddy Mat) debuting the new Tyranid list and won by a fairly solid margin. The +1 for reserves due to Hive Commander was huge so I think I'll be sticking with this new list and test it out more. I just happen to have the Forge World Hive Tyrant with wings laying around plus some sprues with devourers arms for Tyranid monstrous creatures so I should have the model assembled and ready to go by the end of the year.

One Trygon teamed up with the Flyrant was much more effective versus two Trygons in melee - together they cancelled out the strengths of the Wolf Lords in melee and eventually took them both down... The lash whip was very effective versus the Wolf Lord armed with a Frost blade and Saga of the Warrior plus T6 blunted the other Wolf Lord's S10 thunderhammer. The genestealers went through the Thunderwolves by the way.

I am also going to drop adrenal glands on the Warriors in exchange for toxin sacs... Versus T5+ I think this is the better combination with bone swords and lash whips.

I'm very excited about the new list and this is what I plan to bring to my first Grand Tournament for 2012.

New Year's Eve

Filthy with the knowledge I'm 
Planting seeds, spreading the disease 
Rip away, tear up the beans 

Ravaged, it's all so damaged 
You're locked in 

Disinter the ancient ways 
Deaf to all that dare to pray 

Ravaged, never as savage 
And that's the 

Price you pay, open the door 
Find the monster, start the war 

I'm bound to, bow down to 

I am become Death, destroyer of worlds 
A menial place in this infinite swirl 
Your pitiful lives, and none more the wise 
The human condition is dropping like flies 
Unleashed is the beast, the worst of the least 
From sheer depraved evil like some Judas Priest 
Having his way, my canvas unfurled 
I am become Death, destroyer of worlds 

Reign, reign 
The ending of yours has begun 
The ending of yours has begun 

Who will stand with me in victory? 

Chose to trust me better still 
You gave your eyes your own free will 
Invulnerable, your boil conceit 
I'm leaving you stunned in defeat 

Ravaged, so bloody ravaged 
You take this 

Brutal beating at my hands 
Uncivilized my victory stands 

Ravaged, never as savage 
And that's the 

Price you pay, open the door 
Find the monster, start the war 

Screaming, rapid fire genocide 
Screaming, saints in Hell are running wild 
Rage, the prelude had begun 
Now your epitaph is sung 

Pounding, monolithic fists of stone 
Pounding, on the sinner to atone 
Rage, the prelude had begun 
Now your epitaph is sung 

I am become Death, destroyer of worlds 
A menial place in this infinite swirl 
Your pitiful lives, and none more the wise 
The human condition is dropping like flies 
Unleashed is the beast, the worst of the least 
From sheer depraved evil like some Judas Priest 
Having his way, my canvas unfurled 
I am become Death, destroyer of worlds 

Reign, reign 
The ending of yours has begun 
The ending of yours has begun 

If you look for a monster you'll find one 
The ending for all has begun

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Tyranids vs. Imperial Guard

This an interesting matchup... two armies both designed by Robin Cruddance... They are at the opposite ends of the spectrum. People often ask me how I approach a game versus IG with my Tyranids. You don't see many batreps where Tyranids beat IG. It's the toughest matchup in my opinion - you've really got your work cut out to crack open their chimeras and they will blaze you with shooting each and every turn. This is one army you'll need some LOS blocking terrain to stand a chance. The good news is if the game is objective based you've got a chance. IG must dedicate two thirds of the game to shooting then finally commit to taking objectives.

Here are your advantages versus IG if you play a fully reserved Tyranid army:

— Just as with any reserved army there are less turns for IG to shoot. Your monstrous creatures will be shot off the table. You want as a small footprint as possible to deny their shooting.

— Synapse means you don't have to worry about their Battle Psyker squads running your best units off the table.

- IG has to roll up in their transports to take objectives. Every unit you've got can beat them in melee.

Most every army except for Tau owns IG in melee so it's not something special for Tyranids but you've got to focus on your advantages. To beat them you need to mitigate their shooting and deny them objectives. It can make for a boring game but you've got to work with what you've got. That's pretty much it in a nutshell.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Tyranid Army Analysis - Synaptic Network

This is my first advanced article for Tyranids. So far I've been posting articles covering individual unit analysis and a few batreps to serve as examples how the army works as a whole. If you've been following this series of articles you'll know that I'm an advocate of running a fully reserved Tyranid army so keep that in mind while reading this article. The purpose of this article is to provide in depth analysis covering an important aspect how to play the army.

My Current Fully Reserved Tyranid Army List

Tyranid Prime * + 10x Hormogaunt

Trygon Prime *
Trygon Prime *

20x termagant w. devourers - mycetic spore
20x genestealer incl. Broodlord
3x Warrior * - mycetic spore

2x Zoanthrope * - mycetic spore

Doom - mycetic spore

10x Yrmgal genestealer

* Synapse

Synaptic Network
40 percent of my units provide synaspse and I've found this to be a good ratio for the particular army list presented here. There is enough synapse to provide adequate support for the army as a whole and to be honest I've never had a problem with not having enough synapse.

Genestealers are not subject to tests for instinctive behavior and the a Doom is Ld10... So if you think about it I really only need synapse for the termagants (Prime is always attached to the Hormogaunt) and like I said so far its never been a problem.

The Trygons provide roaming synaptic support and are usually the first to die since they typically fight on the front line.

The Tryanid Prime is attached to the Hormogaunts - the Prime comes in from reserve on my long table edge providing synaptic support from the rear of the army and moves forward over the course of the game to fill any holes left in the synaptic network when the Trygons are destroyed. The Prime can also arrive from a burrowed hole left by a Trygon if I need him to start on the table in a forward position. Usually it's best to bring on the Prime from the rear as I'll place an objective marker in my deployment zone - typically I prefer to clump my Capture & Control objective marker close to a Seize Ground objective marker. My opponents have to work their way through the rest of my army if for some reason they want to focus on eliminating the Prime and that means inevitably they will suffer heavy losses as a result of playing aggressively.

The Warriors are a midfield unit for synaptic support and often end up babysitting the devilgants. If the devilgants break then there is a least one synaptic unit close by behind them to halt fall backs (e.g., the Prime).

The Zoies are obviously intended for shooting - they can come in anywhere specifically needed to target key enemy vehicles such as landraiders. As such I don't focus on placing the Zoies to provide synaptic support but they can provide redundancy if necessary. Redundant synaptic units are like having dual antennas - if one should fail then there is another in place to provide immediate backup.

Shadows in the Warp (SitW)
Tyranids are one of the psychically gifted races in 40k and they have their share of effective psychic powers. SitW has a limited range so you must play aggressively so it can impact the game - this is an advantage the Trygon Primes can provide - they are T6 and have six wounds so they can usually last at least a turn or two while dampening enemy psykers.

The odds are roughly 50 percent that an enemy psyker with Ld10 will fail a psychic test due to SitW - that's actually pretty good but it can be potentially enhanced by the Broodlord's psychic power Aura of Despair. The Deathleaper has the ability to drop one enemy psyker's leadership by d3 and works well in a fully reserved army tailored to beat Grey Knights. Let's face the facts - if you play in competitive tournaments there is a reasonable chance you'll end up fighting against Grey Knights one or two games... heck maybe even three times at a large event ! Don't despair though. If you can shut down Grey Knight psychic powers it opens the door for your melee units to wreck havoc.

A squad of Paladins with an attached Librarian are the supreme lords of battle... Normally you can't charge them and expect to win as they will crush anything and everything in melee. If we factor in SitW and the Deathleaper's ability here are the odds to shut down the Grey Knight Librarian. On average the Librarian will be reduced to Ld8. If you have a Broodlord nearby you might even be able to reduce the Librarian to Ld7 at a key point in the game. On average a roll of 3d6 results in a total of 9 to 11 so if you pull this off the odds are actually well in your favor ! That means at the critical point in a game versus Grey Knights you'll block their psychic power Sanctuary... Your genestealers then launch an assault versus the Paladins and you p0wn them. Pretty amazing and believe me when I say your opponent will never see it coming - they are just that confident.

I've discussed how to build an effective synaptic network for a fully reserved Tyranid army. A direct offshoot of this approach is you'll also have SitW spread out across the table as well. If you want to take advantage of SitW then it pays to enhance it using either or both a Broodlord and the Deathleaper. You can always take a more defensive stance but if you want to play aggressively then these tactics can help. Finally remember that an enemy psyker automatically suffers Perils of the Warp if they roll a double 1 or 6 on 3d6 due to SitW.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

The Tendril Descends... Tyranids vs. Blood Angels (Re posted)

This past holiday weekend I drove down to Fort Lauderdale to hook up with one of my good gaming
buddies from 40k Wrecking Crew, Brian Poole. Brian came in 2nd place overall at BeakyCon this year and is no slouch.

Billikenz my pet baby Pitbull was sad to see me go and gave me her infamous sad face look as I stepped out the door to leave my apartment...

Army Lists
Here is my 2000 point Tyranid army list:

Prime - dual bone swords, scything talons, adrenal glands, regeneration

Trygon Prime - adrenal glands
Trygon Prime - adrenal glands

10x Yrmgal
Doom - spore
2x Zoanthrope - spore

10x Hormaguant - adrenal glands (Prime's retinue)
16x Genestealer + Doomlord - sycthing talons & toxin sacs
18x Termagant - Devourer - spore
3x Warrior - dual bone swords, 2x deathspitter, barbed strangler, adrenal glands - spore

Here is Brian's 2000 point Blood Angels army list:

Librarian - Shield of Sanguinius & Unleash Rage

10x Death Company + Lemartes - 4x power sword & 2x power fist
Death Company dread - pair of Blood Talons
10x Assault Marine (jump packs) - 2x meltagun & power fist
5x assault Marine - flamer - Razorback w. heavy flamer
5x assault Marine - flamer - Razorback w. heavy flamer

7x assault terminator - 3x lightning claws & 4x TH/SS
Sanguinary Priest

Landraider Crusader - multi-melta
Stormraven - TL multi-melta & TL lascannon & extra armor

We used the BeakyCon mission - killpoints, Capture and Control plus Seize Ground are all equally weighted - whoever takes the most objectives wins. If there is a draw on objectives then it goes to pure victory points to decide the winner.

Deployment was Pitched Battle and there were four objective markers for Seize Ground. There are six turns with a seventh on a roll of 4+ on 1d6. I lost the roll for deployment and had to go first holding my entire army in reserve. :/

Pre Game Analysis
It really sucked to have to go first since I play a fully reserved army. I was very excited about this game though and the opportunity to test my list versus a veteran tourney player so I just told myself to deal with it. I knew I had to focus on two strategies:

- Kill the three scoring units
- Use disruption to keep the opponent off balance and take control the game

Over the course of the game it was amazing how much the terminators and Death Company could quickly destroy but slowly turn by turn I was able to inflict damage in return and keep my sights focused on the win.

Brian started with his whole army in reserves which was obviously very bad for me since I play a fully reserved army. The Stormraven was loaded with the Death Company and Death Company dreadnaught. The Librarian and Priest were attached to the terminators in the Landraider Crusader.

Turn 1 - Tyranids
Crickets chirping ...

Turn 1 - Blood Angels

Crickets continue chirping ...

KP: 0 Nidz - 0 BA

Turn 2 - Tyranids
I called upon the power of the ancient Hive Mind to work a little magic upon my tendril... I then rolled for my reserves and the only units to arrive was the Doomlord with his huge brood of genestealers... they luckily decided to outflank on the side of the table where most of the objective markers had been using a huge grove of bushes for cover. The table had just been turned ! HA !!!

Turn 2 - Blood Angels
Brian rolls for his reserves and in comes all three of his troops. Brian uses the two razorabacks to shield his jumpers.

KP: 0 Nidz - 0 BA

Turn 3 - Tyranids
I roll for reserves and in comes one Trygon Prime, the Yrmgal genestealers, Doom and my termagants. The Trygon burrows up for some juicy shots on a razorback while the Yrmgal genestealers pop out of a central piece of terrain moving up close to eat anything that spills out. The Doom and termagants land in their spores to target the jumpers. The Doom unleashes spirit leech and consumes seven assault Marines boosting his strength up to a mighty S10. The termagants then finish off the rest of the jumpers. The Trygon then immobilizes the razorback and knocks off its heavy flamer with a hail of deadly bio shots. The Yrmgal genestealers run to surround the razorback then close hatch the Marines inside when they wreck the transport in melee. Two enemy scoring units down now... one to go.

Turn 3 - Blood Angels
The Landraider Crusader and Stormraven both arrive from reserve. The Landraider Crusader moved up to tap the termagants along with the remaining razorback while the Stormraven rolled up so that the Death Company could charge any remaining termagants and the Death Company dread could charge the Doom. The razorback moved in a blocking position to cut off the Yrmgal genestealers. Note that the Death Company was very careful to avoid the 6" Spirit Leech range of the Doom while disembarking from the Stormraven. The Stormraven attempted to take out the Doom with the multi-melta but the beast passed its invulnerable save. As expected the died quickly but the dreadnaught was in for a big surprise as the Doom was juiced all the way up to S10 and proceeded to crush the metal behemoth with a punishing haymaker of destruction... BOOM !!!!!!!!! The Doom then consolidated back into a wooded area. The Death Company also consolidated away from the Yrmgal genestealers tucking into a covered area.

KP: 4 Nidz - 1 BA

Turn 4 - Tyranids
I rolled for reserves and again the Hive Mind continued to unleash more bio death onto the planet surface... The second Trygon burrowed up close to the Blood Angels line to wreck havoc and disrupt their battle plans. The Warriors also dropped from the sky in their spore and landed safely in position to support the second Trygon. The Zoanthropes are the last to arrive landing close to the center of the table. Finally the huge genestealer brood begins its trek to the promised land and burst forth from the bush.

The Hive Mind sends in the first Trygon to take down the Landraider Crusader while the Yrmgal genestealers flank around to assault the Death Company. A couple of Death Company Marines are eaten by the Doom's spirit leech then the beast drops his S10 pie plate on the Landraider Crusader... I roll a 1 for the armor penetration. The second Trygon fires at the remaining razorback and blows off its heavy flamer. The Zoanthropes fail to inflict any damage on the Landraider Crusader. The Trygon can only manage to rip off the Landraider Crusader's multi-melta in melee and the Yrmgals trip over difficult terrain in their attempt to get at the Death Company and then are trampled under power armored boots.

Turn 4 - Blood Angels
The Tyranids are now exposed on one flank and the Blood Angels are ready to exact revenge for their fallen brothers. The Landraider Crusader pulls back to unleash the assault terminators while the Death Company make a run towards the middle of the board but will fall short of assaulting. The razorback wisely starts to fall back towards the objective markers. Both the Landraider Crusader and Stormraven then line up to drop the Doom and blast the wicked alien creature off the table. A PotMS shot from the Stormraven also makes short work of one of the spores. The terminators launch an assault into the first Trygon (whom eats two terms) and then pummel it to death with their mighty hammers.

KP: 4 Nidz - 5 BA

Turn 5 - Tyranids
The Tyranid Prime finally shows and his posse head straight ahead towards the other side. The genestealers continue to push across the midfield. The Zoies then drop some S5/AP3 blasts on the Death Company and charbroil a couple to burnt crisps. Heh ! The remaining Trygon then charges the Death Company while the Warriors charge the assault terminators. When all the blood and gore has come and gone only Lemartes is left from the Death Company and scores a couple of wounds on the Trygon in return... the Warriors died a valiant death dragging down a couple more assault terminators.

Turn 5 - Blood Angels
The razorback, Landraider Crusader and Stormraven all fall back on the objective markers while the assault terminators make ready to charge the Trygon and rescue Lemartes from its evil clutch. The Trygon rips apart more terminators then falls to their hammers. The terminators consolidate towards the objective markers while Lemartes stands his ground.

KP: 4 Nidz - 7 BA

Turn 6 - Tyranids
The Blood Angels have run rampant but at a steep price. With only one to two turns left their assault has been blunted. The genestealers move onto the objective markers slithering all around the razorback while the Tyranid Prime leads the Hormogaunts across the open ground in defiance of fading Imperial might. The two Zoies then fire a couple shots into Lemartes then assault the death god - he will be tied up for the rest of the game harmlessly flailing at the pair of psychic bio constructs. The genestealers then crash into the razorback and rip it to shreds. The assault Marines fall out on the rear side and luckily pass their tests.

Turn 6 - Blood Angels
At this point I could not catch up on killpoints so it would come down to the objective markers. I had left my Capture & Control marker behind but it was possible I could hold Brian's. Brian would have to try to contest both Seize Ground and Capture & Control with his remaining forces. Brian wisely mounted his last assault squad into the Landraider Crusader with the Priest and Librarian then positioned the tank and Stormraven to contest. Shooting was inconsequential.

KP: 5 Nidz - 7 BA

We roll to see if it will go to a final turn 7 and up pops a 6 !!! If the game had ended Brian would have won on killpoints.

Turn 7 - Tyranids
Finally the Tyranid Prime arrives along with his posse of Hormogaunts... I can put my rending attacks into either the landraider or Stormraven... at first I was going to go for the tank but then Brian was really cool and said it was a much wiser bet to focus on the Stormraven (for sure... duh! THANKS BRIAN !!!) The big bird was then ripped from the sky.

Turn 7 - Blood Angels
The objective markers for Seize Ground are spread too far apart for Brian to contest them all so in the end I win on victory points since we were tied on the primary objectives (i.e., kill points versus Seize Ground).

KP: 6 Nidz - 7 BA

Post Game Analysis
It was a really crazy game indeed and came right down to the wire. The balance of power swung back and forth throughout the game which kept it very exciting. The first major turning point in the game was the second turn when only my brood of genestealers arrived from reserve and luckily outflanked on the side of the table with the majority of the objective markers. The second major turning point was when both the first Trygon and Yrmgal genestealers failed to score any major damage in melee. I was worried about the Tyranid Prime showing up late but due to a couple of good rolls for their runs they were able to reach the objective markers by the final turn and the Alpha Warrior came through like a champ tearing the Stormraven down to help secure the win. I have switched over from two genestealer broods, combining them both into one super unit. The big brood can obviously sustain more damage and dish out more punishment - like I said I got lucky that the brood outflanked onto the side of the table with the most objectives - otherwise the game would played out differently.

I think this game showcases some strengths of playing a fully reserved Tyranid army. It's nice to be able to place your units where you need them the most. I'm thinking about switching out one of the Trygons in exchange for a winged Hive Tyrant. It will be interesting to see how a second HQ with the Hive Commander option can enhance the army.

Great game !!

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Necron FAQ

So I'm wondering what is in store for Necrons when their FAQ is finally released by GW. On the one hand the codex was written by Mat Ward and I kind of find it hard to believe that he'd let one of his own books be on the receiving end of the typical GW treatment for the 5th edition xenos races. On the other hand we have seen just what GW has done to neuter other xenos armies such as Tyranids. It's up in the air but I'm a little optimistic that they will be kind.

Here is a partial Imperialist wish list for some of the nerfs they want inflicted on Necrons:

Canoptek Scarabs & Spyders
— Entropic Strike does not take affect until the initiative step of the scarabs
— Scarab swarm can never be larger than the maximum size you can purchase (i.e., less than or equal to 10 bases)
— Restriction on the scarab conga line when spyders spawn more scarabs (e.g., a newly spawned scarab base can't be placed more than 2" from the swarm to which it is attached)

Canoptek Wraiths
— Initiative modifiers work versus whip coils (e.g., a Grey Knight with a Nemesis Force Halberd strikes at I3 when in base contact with a Wraith armed with a whip coil)
— Wraiths are reduced to I1 when launching an assault through difficult and|or dangerous terrain)

Most of these would be a change to the existing rules for the new Necron codex - kind of sad if you ask me. I've put up a poll asking you what you think will happen with the FAQ. Let us know what you think.

Sunday, December 04, 2011

Tyranid Unit Analysis - The Unsung Heroes, Warriors and termagants

This article covers two units that don't seem to get much attention - Tyranid Warriors and termagants. Used together they can provide a powerful synergy. You have a small synaptic scoring unit that can shepherd another large horde like scoring unit. Together they can control objectives and are hard to remove if stuck in cover. I like this combination better than using a Tervigon as both these units function better when mounted in mycetic spores. If you have been following this series of articles you'll know that I play a fully reserved Tyranid army.

Warrior Brood
Tyranid Warriors don't seem to get much love these days but still they are a troop choice and provide synapse - both of which are very important for any Tyranid army. I typically use mine as a midfield anchor in my synaptic network and they don't see much action on the front lines as most often they shepherd other troops such as my termagants. Mine are armed with deathspitters and a barbed strangler so sometimes they have an opportunity to shoot. Recently I have been using them for melee action and truth be told I have found them to be solid. Their main weakness is T4 - power fists make them quickly disappear. Still though if you arm them with bone swords (count as power weapons) and adrenal glands they can hit hard. Warriors have three base attacks and are WS5 so on the charge they generate a large number of attacks. I run a brood of three Warriors mounted in a mycetic spore. Mine are also equipped with lash whips which I consider to be a good defense versus the Grey Knight psychic power Sanctuary. You don't have to worry about losing the brood to a bad roll for dangerous terrain since Warriors are a multi wound unit. They are very good at eliminating many MEQ units such as Strike squads, Grey Hunters and even Death Company - the trick of course is to make sure they charge which shouldn't be too hard to do if you use other units to screen them. They are deadly versus an IG blob since they can kill large numbers of guardsmen each round of melee and can absorb wounds from the enemy power weapons.

Here is how I kit my unit:

2x bone sword & lash whip, deathspitter
Bone sword & lash whip, barbed strangler
- adrenal glands

They cost around 200 points when mounted in a mycetic spore and I think they are a real bargain. If you throw them in harm's way they will probably die eventually so make sure it's worth the risk of committing them to an assault. They can hold an objective and provide synaspse so often it's better just to use them as another node in your synaptic network. My unit is fairly cheap for what you get and they are extremely versatile. You don't hear much about them but I think they are a great unit and can work in most any Tyranid army.

I run a brood of 20 termagants armed with devourers and mount them in a mycetic spore. That equates to 60 S4 shots the turn they land. As such they are an excellent deterrent to enemy infantry units. Versus a T4 unit they should inflict 15 wounds which equates to five dead Marines. It might not sound like much but if you can target a squad of Long Fangs they'll make their points back quickly. Obviously they will mulch a squad of dark eldar Warriors. The devourers cause -1 leadership if the targeted unit suffers a wound which can help versus Grey Knights, especially if you stack this with other leadership reductions such as the Broodlord psychic power Aura of Despair - it works well with Shadows in the Warp too. This particular build is often referred to as devilgants.

It's a large horde like scoring unit that can hold multiple objectives. They don't necessarily have to fire their bio weapons to help you win a game. Stick them in cover on top of an objective with a synaptic unit closeby and your opponent will have their work cut out to eliminate them. Sometimes I drop them right on my opp0nent's front porch with no synaptic support. If they fall back I'll have a synaptic unit positioned behind to halt them.

They are another relatively cheap unit that can fulfill multiple roles. One of the main strengths of Tyranids is you have access to lots of cheap scoring units which is powerful in fifth edition.

Tyranid Army Analysis • The Counter Punch

I played in a local tournament today. Due to an irritating quirk in Army Builder I ended up playing an 1805 point army instead of 1850 - it didn't affect my final results but damn it's really annoying. I was planning to play my Draigowing but someone showed up without an army so I let him borrow my Grey Knights and I played my Tyranids instead.

Here is my army list:

Alpha Warrior - bone sword & lash whip, scything talons, adrenal glands (attached to the Hormoguants)

Heavy Support
Tyrgon Prime

Doom - mycetic spore

10x Yrmgal genestealer

2x Zoanthrope - mycetic spore

3x Warrior - bone swords & lash whips, 2x deathspitter, barbed strangler, adrenal glands - mycetic spore

10x Hormogaunt - adrenal glands & toxin sacs

20x termagant - devourer - mycetic spore

18x genestealer + Broodlord - scything talons + toxin sacs

The addition of the lash whips are used as a counter versus the Grey Knights psychic power Sanctuary.

We were using the BeakyCon mission format - killpoints, Seize Ground (4 objective markers each round) and Capture & Control. All three objectives are equally weighted. If the game ends in a draw then the winner is decided by victory points. There were three rounds and each used one of the three deployments from the rulebook.

The first game was versus a Blood Angels DoA list. Deployment was Spearhead. I ended up winning with max points. My opponent was a bit sloppy selecting his landing points when deep striking and I overran his army be sheer weight of numbers.

The second game was versus Grey Knights (not my army; Pitched Battle for deployment). I got ahead of myself during the beginning of the game and forgot to use Null Deployment for placing objectives plus the Doom and Warriors both mishapped due to Warp Quake - I ended up losing... My first loss with Tyranids in a long time. It happens and served as a mental reinforcement how my army should be played. A couple of mistakes and|or some bad luck is very hard hard to overcome versus a top tier army... I would have loved to see how the game could have played out if either the Doom or Warriors had not both been lost to mishaps... Warp Quake is a true bitch. I also lost eight genestealers during one dangerous terrain test due to the Grey Knight psychic power Sanctuary - that hurt a lot and I just couldn't recover. My opponent pretty much played a perfect game. All of the objective markers were placed close together which is a really big no no versus Grey Knights... I played right into their hands. Oh well like I said it was a lesson and that's very important.

The third and and final match was versus a shooty Ork horde list... Shooty Orks can lay down a metric ton of firepower ! The Doom was a beast coming down the second turn and slaughtering the green tide right and left but I got behind on killpoints early and could never make up the deficit. Ork horde can soak up lots of damage and win melee solely by sheer of weight of numbers. It wasn't looking good at all but finally the last turn my genestealers came through like the champs they are and I ended up winning by a margin of 2 to 1 on objectives (Seize Ground plus Capture & Control). I got a great consolidation roll (6) after finishing off a remnant squad of Boyz taking both Seize Ground plus Capture & Control - if it had gone to victory points I would have lost. That said a big brood of genestealers lead by a Broodlord is one heck of an awesome melee unit !!

I ended up in fourth place overall only two points overall behind third place. The Grey Knight player I lost to took third place and the player who borrowed my Draigowing took second place. Mech eldar took first place beating out the Grey Knight player I lost to in the second round.

Something interesting I've noticed about my Tyranid army is they tend to win by coming back late in the game - the opponent takes heavy losses over the course of the game then what is left of my army is still strong enough to finish them off taking enough objectives for the win. It's usually either the genestealers or Alpha Warrior attached to the Hormogaunts who win it for me. It's funny how the wins seem to always play out - I take lots of losses over the course of the game, bleeding killpoints but in return my army slowly whittles down the opponent - finally what they are left with isn't enough to win.

I'm still working on my batrep from my game last weekend versus another Blood Angels army... Lots of pictures. It was a true nail biter so keep an eye out.

Friday, December 02, 2011

The BS factor vs Xenos

This kind of sucks and I think people need to be aware of it. Lots of people that play Imperial armies have started to feel very entitled. For example whenever a new xenos codex is released they develop a list of things they don't like about the army and then they lobby GW to FAQ them out of existence. Right now there is lots of hate for Canoptek scarabs and spyders... Imperial mech players want them nerfed to the point where they are no longer competitive. We all saw what GW did to Tyranids with the FAQ. I sure hope this doesn't happen to Necrons. It bothers me that people who play IG, GKand SW have the balls to complain about any xenos army. Seriously.

Pay attention if you play xenos... Stand up for your armies.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

The problem with Tryanids

I used to laugh at 5th edition Tyranids. It is probably one of the worst written (if not the worst ever) codices published by GW. On top of that a lot of people have come to recognize that GW is shafting all the xenos armies. Orks were the only exception - their codex was released for 5th edition and was highly competitive at the time. Some people claim that Orks are a fourth edition codex but I strongly disagree as it was released towards the tail end of 4th edition - it is obvious to me the codex was written with 5th edition in mind. Except for the new dark eldar all of Phil Kelly's codices share a common theme - there are a few super units that are pretty much must take (e.g., Nobz, Lootaz, big squads of shoota Boyz, battlewagons with def rollz, Mek Boyz with KFF, Ghaz, etc.) and the rest are eye candy at best for the most part. There is not one xenos codex released for 5th edition on par with Imperial Guard, Grey Knights or Space Wolves.

Often when I tell people how much I enjoy playing Tyranids and that I think they are competitive I see the chuckle in their eyes. When the Tyranid 5th edition codex was released some of the 40k Internet gurus were very excited about the army and put forth a lot of effort to design a competitive army. It never quite worked out for anyone though and eventually Tyranids were labeled as at best a fun army but definitely not competitive. The image stuck. I never thought any of the net lists I saw were all that great to be honest as they all revolved around using waves to win. I've talked about waves before - it doesn't work well at the competitive level for Tyranids. Waves work on the premise that you start with the majority of your army deployed on the table and that has always been the biggest reason for the epic levels of fail. Around the same time that the gurus were playtesting their Tyranid lists I theorized that a fully reserved army was the way to go. The best units from the codex are genestealers (including Yrmgal) and Trygons. The Doom is also an uber unit but doesn't always perform well on a consistent basis. Carnifexen were nerfed along with the Hive Tyrant plus they are both overcosted for the points. There are some really cool units like Lictors and the Tervigon but due to inherent design problems with the codex they cannot consistently perform well versus the three top armies... It's very much an uphill battle.

The problem with Tyranids is the stigma associated with the codex that it's not a competitive army. A couple of months ago I approached a good friend and asked him if he would sell me his Tyranid army, which he did. This allowed me to start playing Tyranids quickly without much effort to build the army. It's a fully reserved army and only required a few minor tweaks to bring it over to how I wanted to play. I have had lots of success and found the army capable of defeating the top three armies on a consistent basis. I've had more than my fair share of awesome dice but it takes more than just dumb luck to win with Tyranids. That to me means the army requires a skillful player to win. It is what it is. Take only the best units and go from there. Tyranids are scary monsters in melee, have some decent shooting and are quite mobile. If you successfully put that all together and stick with it you're eventually going to do well. Stick with it is my advice.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Repost - Daemons vs. Salamanders batrep • by Next Level Painting

Here is a repost of a great new batrep pitting Kenny Boucher's daemons versus Donovan (whom wrote the batrep) playing a client's commissioned Salamanders. Kenny is the airbrusher for the professional painting service Next Level Painting and is one heck of an awesome painter. His skill with the airbrush is truly unbound. Enjoy the pictures of these two armies he painted. It's an awesome batrep and shows how daemons can perform versus a well designed mechanized army.

In my opinion it's typically an uphill battle for Space Marines versus daemons.


Note you'll have to copy the link and paste it into your browser. Blogger doesn't support the iPad well with its link command unfortunately.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Mephiston by DV8

Here is a highly converted and very well painted Mephiston.

Here is more of his Lamenters over on the Bolter and Chainsword:

DV8's Lamenters

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Necron Unit Analysis - Heavy Support

So let's take a look at what Necrons have in the way of heavy support:

— Doomsday Ark (175)
— Annihilation Barge (90)
— Monolith (200)
— Doom Scythe (175)
— Canoptek Spyders x3 (150)

Three of the choices listed above are quite pricy pointswise for what you get - that being the Ark, Monolith and Scythe. The Ark and Scythe don't seem well thought out to me in terms of overall design and what they can offer on the table. The Ark is not that useful in my opinion since it must remain stationary to drop the S9 AP1 pie plate. It's not ordnance either... S10 might have made it worth a try. The Scythe does not have Quantum Shielding... What's up with that ?? So it's bacically a one shot wonder... Not worth it to me. The Monolith as we all know got hit hard by the nerf bat - we all knew it was going to happen too... Just not worth it to me even with the reduced cost in points. Everyone knows all about the Spyders as they are a very big part of the Scarab Farm rage. Spyders are definitely worth the points if you are using the Scarab Farm... So one dimensional but well worth it for a specific build.

So this leaves us with the Annihilation Barge which at only 90 points I feel is the best choice overall. The Barge has Quantum Shielding (AV13 on front and sides until it suffers a penetrating hit then reverts back to AV11) which is important as it can ignore all S6, S7 can only glance and S8 needing a 6 to penetrate as well. The Barge has Living Metal as well so it's quite resilient versus the majority of shooting we typically see now. This is the best bargain for Heavy Support and is a solid shooting platform with the twin linked Tesla destructor and Tesla cannon. You also have the option to trade the Tesla cannon for a Gauss cannon - I prefer the former for the potential higher rate of shots plus S7 is good versus light armor such as rhinos and even chimeras. So the Barge is quite good as both anti infantry and versus light armor. At only 90 points it's cheaper than a SM Predator and can generate a decent amount of firepower. It's range is limited but that's okay... If you build the right list your opponent will hard pressed to focus a lot of firepower on the Barge.

You don't seem to see much talk on the Internet yet about the Annihilation Barge but I think eventually it will catch on and take notice. You can easily afford a pair due to the relatively low cost and then you've got a nice battery of S7 shooting. That still leaves one slot open for some Spyders if you want to run a farm. What's not to like ? Seriously.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Necron Army Analysis vs. the Top Tier

Time for some more Necron madness ! As I've said elsewhere Necrons have already been labeled as non competitive by a portion of the Internet, ranking them at best as a mid tier army along with dark eldar and Tyranids. I think it's a bit early to start making such bold statements. At worst focus on taking the best units and go from there.

Can Necrons consistently win versus the top three - Imperial Guard, Grey Knights and Space Wolves? In an attempt to answer that query in a meaningful manner let's take a look at the strengths of Necrons and see how they stack up against the weaknesses of the top three to see if they can be exploited.

Here are my picks for the main strengths of Necrons:

— Shooting
— Entropic Strike
— Mobility
— Resilience

The first two are offensive in nature while the third is strategic. The fourth is defensive and no longer do we have to worry about being phased out, so while typically we don't want to engage in protracted assaults it's not quite as devastating as it used to be back when you could automatically lose a game.

Here are my picks for the main weaknesses of the three top tier armies:

Imperial Guard
— Assaults
— Holding Objectives

Grey Knights
— Low Model Count
— Holding Objectives
— Mobility

Space Wolves
— ?

I can't really think of any major weaknesses for the pups as they are very well rounded and can excel in every phase of the game. Versus IG and GK though you have some weaknesses that are readily apparent (at least to me) and can definitely be exploited...

Versus Imperial Guard
I think you can beat IG by assaulting them (including scarabs versus their armor - Entropic Strike) and by holding more objectives. The main strength of IG is their devastating amount of shooting - Necrons have an automatic counter to this via Reanimation Protocol. If an IG player decides to bubble wrap their armor with guardsmen to hold the scarabs at bay then blast them first and keep the scarabs safely tucked away in cover until you can shred the meat shields with your shooting.

Versus Grey Knights
Build a mobile army with at least four troops. Avoid assaults unless you're sure you have a clear advantage. Again focus on holding more objectives.

Versus Space Wolves
This is the tough one as there isn't much yet I can think of that you can exploit. Once I'm able to start seriously playtesting my army I'll spend some time focusing on how to beat Space Wolves. In general Necrons can lay down a prodigious amount of firepower and I think it's on par with any of the armies I've listed here so that is always a strength obviously - this your main strength versus Space Wolves.

Like I said really it's too early to say where Necrons will rank. We need to see how they fare in tournament play to get a better informed opinion. My gut instinct tells me Necrons can beat the top three and I think they can do quite well versus both IG and GK.