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Blood Vow

Happiness is success... (Buddha)

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

40k Interview with Blackmoor • NOVA Open & Draigowing

This article is an interview with Blackmoor who played on the top table in the final eighth game at the NOVA Open this past weekend. Blackmoor was fielding a fairly unconventional list referred to as Draigowing. A large chunk of the Grey Knight army consists of Lord Khaldor Draigo. Librarian and a unit of ten Paladins. Obviously I'm a big fan of this army so I was very excited to see it do so well under the guidance of Blackmoor.

 So let's get on with the interview now !!

I watched the better part of both of your games on the top table during the NOVA Open on the top table broadcast by the 11th Company. You knew what you needed to do to win and beat a wide array of different armies versus some top players there in DC. Your outstanding performance did not catch me by surprise. I was pulling for you every step of the way.

1)      You have played both the 3rd edition Daemonhunters codex and now the new Grey Knights codex. What are the major differences between the two books that make the new codex more competitive?

Well, they added a few new units like paladins, librarians, and others, but what makes the new codex different is that they are now cheaper and better in both assault and shooting. Their psychic powers plus force weapons means that they are formidable in close combat and their psybolt ammunition has greatly improved their shooting.

Was anything lost in the transition you would have liked to have seen maintained in the new codex?

This is an easy one…without a doubt it is being fearless.

2)      How did you go about designing the army list you brought to NOVA?

It was through a lot of trial and error. I played my lists at a lot of major tournaments and not only did I get a lot of practice using it, but I worked on improving it.

Go into as much detail as you like. What are the major strengths and weaknesses of your army?

The strength of my army is that some army builds just can’t deal with 10 paladins. Also they are not just a one-trick pony. They are not only tough and durable, but they are great in both assault and shooting. Paladins have the ability kill everything from land raiders to hordes either close up, or at range.

Based on your games at NOVA how might you tweak the list?

I am going to add a couple of warding staffs. I tend to eat some force weapons, power fists/klaws and thunder hammers and when the paladins get doubled up and taken out that adds a lot of wounds to combat resolution. I also like incinerators and I would like to find a way to add some to my list.

3)      You travel a lot to play in big tourneys. What was your strategies and tactics you developed for the NOVA Open? Did you play test a lot for NOVA? If so how did you do you go about play testing? For example do you try to schedule games versus the top meta lists?

"Practice? You are talking about practice? I am a franchise player!"

I don’t practice. That is one of the reasons why I have sporadic showings at tournaments because that is where I try out new ideas and lists. Here is the genesis of it:

I started the ideas for my army back at the Slaughter in Space tournament in Los Angeles in June when the Grey Knight codex became available for use at tournaments. For my build I thought that I would go against the common meta of strength 8, ap3+ shooting so I tried out Draigo, a Librarian, Paladins with Land Raiders. I placed 7th but I was worried about the durability of the Land Raiders, and the fact that I can only get 5 guys in them and I decided to drop them.

The next tournament was Wargames Con in Austin when I tried out an all Paladin+Terminator army with Mordrak. That army had 25 models with a 2+ save and some Interceptors thrown in. I really liked the Interceptors but Mordrak did not add any synergy to the army and the Terminators were just too expensive. The first day I went 2-2 and the next day I was 3-0 and had 3 massacres to win Best General in the loser’s bracket (see what a little practice does for you).

Next outing was at the Bay Area Open in San Francisco. At Wargames Con I realized that I needed ranged anti-tank and I added 2 Psyflemen Dreads when I thought it was a 2000 point tournament. When I found out it was only a 1850 point tournament I had to drop one. But the one remaining dread worked like a charm and I was able to go 5-0-2 and take 3rd place. 

Next up was the Nova Open and from what I learned from my prior tournaments I took Draigo, Librarian, and the Paladins I liked from The Slaughter in Space, the Interceptors from Wargames Con and I took 3 full dreads that I liked from the Bay Area Open (and some strikes for the second troops choice and a cheap scoring unit) and I took second place at the event.

So you can see that not only that I had a lot of practice with the army in some of the biggest tournaments against some of the best players, but I was able to hone my armies build and my results improved with my Draigowing every time.

4)      You play a lot of different armies. What appeals to you the most about Grey Knights?  Where would you currently rank Draigowing versus other armies you play such as infantry based eldar? Seeing that you like to play exotic lists what are some advantages over the years you have discovered versus the parade of meta lists we so often see on the top tables?

I like odd ball armies. One of the biggest advantages to playing an army that your opponent has never seen before is that they have no idea what units they should be worried about, and what I will try to do, or how to go about beating it. There are so many of the common generic lists out there that everyone has had practice against them and they know what you are going try to do. Greg Sparks took his foot eldar list to the ETC a couple of weeks ago and they had never seen anything like it and he ended up with an excellent record. As far as ranking the armies it is tough. There are so many variables in tournaments like how much LOS blocking terrain there is, what format it is (win/loss, Win/Loss/Tie, Battle points, etc) that you can’t really rank them with any ease. I will say that my foot elder took a hit with the new shift in the meta game to torrent of fire armies with the addition of the new Grey Knights and Dark Eldar codexes.

5)      What armies (and why obviously) give you the toughest match ups for Draigowing? What have you done to better prepare for those particular armies?

This one is easy: Without a doubt Grey Knights are my toughest match-up. In fact, Stormravens are my biggest threats not only because of the assaults, but mind strike missiles kill my librarian, and do a number on my whole army. With psyk-out grenades whoever gets the charge wins, and my Grey Knight army is so slow that I always get charged by faster moving assault units out of a Stormravens, and get hit with I6 halberds that are force weapons I am in trouble. At the Nova Open I ended up facing 2 GK armies with 2 Storm Ravens, and one with a Storm Raven and a Land Raider. There is not much I can do except try to shoot them down before they do their damage, but they are normally starting in reserve and get to go first and use shrouding and are tough to bring down. I think each one of them dropped off their payload and was able to assault me before I can take them out. To defend against them I added my Dreadnaughts to shoot them down, and I try to bubble wrap my Paladins with Strike Squads. That is just about all I can do.

6)      What was your favorite game at NOVA?

Over the weekend I did have a lot of good games. Even my game against Stelek was good. I got lucky with the game ending on turn #5 and he took the loss in stride. Special shout-outs go to George (and wife) who was a new player with Tau with a great attitude, Garrett (farmpunk) from the Back40K blog, and of course game #6 against Neil from the 11th Co that everyone got to watch.

7)      What is your all time favorite army?

That is another easy one, Thousand Sons from 3rd edition. I loved that army… It was a small and durable army with 2 wounds terminators and a lot of psychic powers (see a trend here?). It was a sad day when that abomination of a chaos codex came out in 4rd edition and killed that army.

That's it. Thanks for your time. It's greatly appreciated. If there is anything I did not touch on you'd like to add please feel free to do so.

I just wanted to thank everyone that was rooting for me on the last game. I had a good run and I have no complaints. I will say that 13 games in a weekend is a lot of games!!! I was counting down the games like a prisoner counting down the days until he is released.

I want to also thank Mike Brandt for being a great host and all of the staff and volunteers for putting on a top  notch tournament.


That's it folks! I'm sure Blackmoor will have more to say about his experience at NOVA over on his 40k blog which you can find in my blog roll. Hopefully we will see some batreps soon (hint hint !!!). A big thanks to Blackmoor for doing the interview and replying so quickly. It was a lot of fun.

:  )

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Grey Knights Unit Analysis - GKT, Paladins & Purfiers

A good friend asked me to write an article analyzing the main strengths and weaknesses of GKT, Paladins and Purifiers. I would like to preface this article by saying my opinion now stands that if you want to play a terminator themed GK army the best way to go is with GKT as your basic troops and one squad of five tooled up Paladins including the Brotherhood Banner to act as a retinue for your Grand Master and Librarian.

OTM = On the Move
OTC = On the Charge

I decided to choose my squads for this exercise in analysis based upon points per squad. That is each of the three squads presented here cost roughly the same number of points. I like this approach the best since it shows you how each unit will perform overall in a realistic sense of an actual game. Note though that the five man squad of GKT weighs in at roughly 100 points less than the other two squads - this is how I play them... If i wanted to increase their overall size I would simply double the exact squad and break them into two identical combat squads. They would then weigh in at roughly 100 more points than the Paladins (5 man squad) or Purifiers (10 man squad).

As a counter example sure I could list the many many advantages of a 10 man squad of Paladins equipped with four psycannons, all weapons master crafted to the nth degree plus fully complex for wound allocations, a Standard Bearer and an Apothecary but that unit roughly fills a very large chunk of a 2000 point army  - so of course it's going to perform a whole heck of a lot better... that should be obvious to everyone !!!

Grey Knight Terminators
Justicar - halberd & stormbolter
Terminator #1 - halberd & stormbolter
Terminator #2 - halberd & stormbolter
Terminator #3 - halberd & psycannon
Terminator #4 - daemonhammer & stormbolter
Psybolt Ammo

> Shooting at full strength OTM - 4x S7 AP4 rending & 8x S5 AP5
> Attacks in melee OTC (Hammerhand activated) - 12x I6 S5 force weapons & 3x S10 force weapons

Cost = 245

• Troop choice (no special character or Grand Strategy required)
• Cheapest unit
• Same ballistic skill as Paladins
• Daemonhammers and halberds are free
• Deep Strike
• Relentless
• Invulnerable save

Paladin #1 - halberd & psycannon
Paladin #2 - master crafted halberd & psycannon
Paladin #3 - daemonhammer & stormbolter
Paladin #4 - warding stave & stormbolter
Standard Bearer - Brotherhood Banner & stormbolter
Psybolt Ammo

> Shooting at full strength OTM - 8x S7 AP4 rending & 6x S5 AP5
> Attacks in melee OTC (Hammerhand activated) - WS5 8x I6 S5 force weapons, 4x I4 S5 force weapons & 4x S10 force weapons + 4x S5
> The Paladins will inflict more wounds in melee overall as compared to the GKT due to their higher number attacks (Brotherhood Banner) and intrinsic WS5 - and of course if a Grand Master and|or Librarian is attached then they go way over the top... More attacks plus if you field a generic Grand Master you can take psykotropic and rad grenades - it's really crazy
> This is the only unit to include a warding stave (i.e., 2++ in melee)

Cost = 360

• 2 wounds/model
• Fully Complex
• WS5
• Daemonhammers and halberds are free
• Deep Strike
• Relentless
• Invulnerable save

Knight of the Flame - halberd & stormbolter
Purfier #1 - halberd & stormbolter
Purifier #2 - halberd & stormbolter
Purifier #3 - halberd & stormbolter
Purifier #4 - halberd & stormbolter
Purifier #5 - halberd & stormbolter
Purifier #6 - daemonhammer & stormbolter
Purifier #7 - daemonhammer & stormbolter
Purifier #8 - psycannon
Purifier #9 - psycannon
Psybolt Ammo

> Shooting at full strength OTM - 4x S7 AP4 rending & 16x S5 AP5
> Attacks in melee OTC (Hammerhand activated) - 18x I6 S5 force weapons & 6x S10 force weapons + 6x S5
Note - You can forgo the use of Hammerhand in favor of Cleansing Flame such as if you're fighting horde (Nids or Orks predominantly)
> They will inflict more wounds in melee overall as compared to the GKT and Paladins due to their sheer volume of basic attacks - of course that is assuming you've still got a full squad by the time they are in position to engage in melee

Cost = 342

• Can be broken into combat squads
• Highest volume of attacks total for both shooting & melee
• Same ballistic skill as Paladins
• Rhino included
• Fearless
• Cleansing Flame

Advantages of the Three Squads versus Each Other
• Both the GKT and Paladins are Relentless. OTM Paladins can lay down the most psycannon shots while the GKT can lay down as many shots as the Purifiers.
• The Purifiers can lay down the most stormbolter shots and when combined with Psybolt Ammo this can be quite punishing depending upon their target... The Purfiers will lay waste to units such as gaunts and guardsmen plus the stormbolters can penetrate AV10 and glance AV11.
• Versus small arms fire the Paladins are the most durable - taking into account the number of all overall wounds and an invulnerable save (more on the value of an invulnerable save below).

Which is the Best Unit
My top choice are the GKT. They are an intrinsic troop choice, cost the least amount of points and have an invulnerable save. I've played my share of large scale games (5000+ points) and something that's always caught my attention is that a unit with an invulnerable save tends to last the longest. Couple that with a 2+ armor save and you have a hardened unit. The Purifiers are my second choice - they can inflict the most damage as a whole and if split into combat squads they are still quite punishing. The Paladins are my favorite unit but fielded as such they provide a more dedicated role and as such are not as versatile... For example you definitely don't want to use them as a throw away unit and you should be more careful how you deploy the Paladins. On the other hand you can deep strike the GKT behind most vehicles or a walker and stand a good chance of popping it.

If you decide to field a deathstar unit consisting of 10 Paladins they are hands the best but it obviously eats up a lot more points from your army list as a whole. I think most players are not going to be that comfortable fielding a unit of 10 Paladins and there are plenty of good reasons not to do so for many of the reasons already presented. I also think that GKT are presently very underrated - mine have always done amazing things for me.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Blackmoor storms NOVA with Draigowing - finishes on Table #1 after 8 games

I am really proud of Blackmoor - also known as Allan Hernandez. He is a great guy - you can check out his blog down in my blog roll.

Blackmoor's 40k Blog

Allan played on the top table in the last round versus the champion from last year. There has been some controversy regarding Tony Kopach breaking the rules for Njal that he should have known (really) that seems to have won the game for him. This is a really awesome performance by Allan. It is very exciting.

:  )

If you would like to watch a recording of the match here is the link to the 11th Company podcast:

8th Round * Blackmoor vs. Tony Kopach

Friday, August 26, 2011

Draigowing Xs & Os - Shooting 101 - Psyflemen

As a brief note I'd first like to mention I no longer am fielding Draigo for army - I'm using a generic Grand Master in his place. The swap allows me to take grenades, not wasting the points for the overcosted Techmarine, plus I arm mine with a psycannon as well. So I'm not sure what exactly to call the army - technically it's not a true Draigowing list for the obvious reason given above.

I'll now move on to the subject matter which will be a short tactical piece about using psyflemen. I find that most Grey Knight players who use psyflemen field two to three. Currently I'm using two in my 2k list. Psyflemen are one of the few units in the codex that appear to be undercosted in terms of what you get for their points. Long range AT was a major problem for the old codex - there weren't any really good cheap choices for the points. A few players had success using landraiders but this was an expensive approach and shoehorned the armies into a one dimensional style... Sit back and shoot the entire game. Dreadnaughts were ineffective since they were easy to pop plus they didn't benefit from The Shrouding and did not have Fortitude. With the release of the new codex it didn't take long for the 40k community to figure just how good are the new psyflemen. To me a psyfleman dreadnaught is better than a squad of Long Fangs with five missiles... On average you will get just as many hits plus the psyfleman can move and shoot which is a major advantage over Long Fangs. Take Fortitude into consideration and you've simply got a better heavy support unit. Of course I haven't really said anything so far most people don't already know but this is the introduction. ; )

Let's first consider deployment for Pitched Battle and Dawn of War. Let's also start off by assuming the Grey Knight army has two psyflemen just to keep it simple. I had a friend recently tell me the best deployment is to put one dreadnaught in each corner of your deployment zone (DZ) - the reason being this will help to ensure more side shots on enemy transports. At first I didn't take him serious and thought maybe he was trying to trick me into deploying in that manner. If you deploy both psyflemen on the centerline of your DZ they can shoot up to 80 percent of the distance to the far corners which leaves a small pocket of 12" radius in your opponent's two table corners. A smart IG player might deploy their Manticores in their corners but other than that I don't see any major advantages for the opponent. Deploying both dreads on the centerline also means they can both benefit from your Librarian casting The Shrouding. On the other hand if you deploy them in the far corners it will be hard to support them, they can be targeted by outflanking units and their fields of fire have very little overlap - just doesn't make much sense to me just for a chance to shoot at side armor. Also note that a smart opponent can deploy and move their transports in such a manner to drastically limit shots on their side armor to the bulk of their transports and it's actually fairly easy to do. Finally versus an army such as dark eldar they can easily pop one dread then flank around to hit you on an exposed side, cutting your long range AT in half on the first turn.

Now let's consider the case of an army with three psyflemen. The addition of an extra dreadnaught opens up another dimension in terms of using deployment to your best advantage. Against IG I would most likely setup one on the centerline and one 12" away on either side. Your fields of fire now all overlap and overall cover the entire table. It might be worth investing the extra points to upgrade one or two to Venerable class since they won't all be protected by The Shrouding.

The third deployment (Spearhead) is an interesting choice as deploying in a table quarter can drastically limit your field of fire - no wonder IG players hate this one so much. The important thing to remember is your opponent is in the same boat. I would generally place my dreads (whether it's two or three) back along the diagonal line using cover when available and if appropriate. You'll quickly be able to reach midfield with the bulk of your army which is where Draigowing style armies can really shine. It is pretty simple when you think about it for just a moment. : )

At first glance this might seem rather obvious but versus certain armies such as razorspam or IG it's not quite that simple. Razorspam is going to sit still for the most part during the beginning of the game and hope for the opportunity to alphastrike. IG on the other hand will be moving the vets forward to blast your Paladins and GKT with massed melta and plasma. What you need to keep in mind is that you should use your mix of psycannons (Paladins and GKT) with your dreadnaughts to most effectively deal with high multiple threats - that is shoot the transports with your psycannons and use the autocannons to pick off longer ranged threats such as Vendettas and Manticores. You might be best served to combine the two weapons platforms to take out a big chunk of transports the first turn in an alphastrike if the opportunity presents itself. Versus razorspam I'd probably focus on destroying the razorbacks first then deal with Predators and Vindicators.

I've focused this article primarily upon the best use of psyflemen giving specific examples how to deploy and target select your firing solutions. Remember as I said above sometimes it's best to combine your weight of fire using both the psycannon and autocannon to alphastrike and decimate a particular component of your opponent's army.

Monday, August 22, 2011

New techniques for relaxation - How to improve your game

I believe that when you are relaxed AND focused you play your best. As a caveat never underestimate any opponent or any army - the dice gods can hurt you and to me it's just like Mother Nature.

So I want to talk about some simple techniques you can use to help improve your game. I have to say I cannot always play at this level all the time due to my nature. I sure wish I could though and when I do it's always a lot more fun - seriously.

1) Divorce yourself from winning at all costs. It's not worth it. Remember it's just a game. 40k is not like MtG or Warmachine due to the nature of the rules. If you read the rulebook and refer to the most important rule you'll see a philosophy imposed upon the game by the designers. The company does not frequently update their rules - we have to take what we get from them. I do believe they are striving to create more balance with each edition and each codex. They don't always get it right but I see an improvement. Don't let rules lawyers get under your skin - you can beat them by superior tactics and a better understanding of how you designed your army versus theirs.

I think that everyone who plays 40k likes to win - it's just natural. If you can not have to win every time then you can be more relaxed and focus better. This type of attitude does not mean you have to be a slacker or not want to win. It simply means that winning is not the most important thing when you play.

2) Maintain a positive attitude at all times. It can be really hard to do versus certain opponents for whatever reason but as I said in the first note by not wanting to win at all costs you will have more fun when you play. If a game is going really bad (e.g., bad dice, bad matchup, bad day or whatever) it's okay to just say "Okay you win." Go do something else with your time. This year I was playing in the fourth round of a major event and my dice were killing me. I knew I wouldn't make it to the top bracket the second day so I conceded the game after the fourth turn and then took a friend to dinner. Whether I won or lost that game it didn't really matter. In another major event I was playing on one of the top two tables in the last round and towards the end of the game I could see it would be impossible to play another turn which I would have needed to secure a win and come away with a top award. I excepted the restraint on time and settled for a draw instead of trying to force another turn. I'm still okay with that decision and accept the outcome.

3) The game is still part of a hobby. Put some energy into building a beautiful army and learn about the background of 40k. I can't keep count of how many times I've heard people say that the 40k background keeps them interested in the hobby. You might have one army you love to play the most but don't be afraid to pickup a new army. I started playing dark eldar this year (my first real non SM army) and it's been a lot of fun... I'm really glad I did. A friend suggested I play them as something different from the usual. You will learn more about the game the more armies you play. If you like to play challenging armies it's okay to play a stronger army. If you like to play the top armies it's okay to play a weaker army. Either way it can improve your overall game. Like I said 40k is more balanced now.

So that's it. If you don't always want to win every game then it's possible you can actually win more often. It's simple in theory but can be hard to do in actual practice. You have to make it a priority and remain focused at all times.


Saturday, August 20, 2011

BeakyCon 11th Company interview • podcast #82

The interview starts around the 02:01:00 mark...


Friday, August 19, 2011

RAW 24-7

I have lifted this from the new blog Laughter of the Thirsting Gods. It is so appropriate to me...

Here is the deal. If you play this game you should be able to understand the spirit of it. If you are instead more interested in seizing every possible advantage than you should find a better game to play. Go play MTG or Warmachine where you could actually win something besides just the hatred of hardcore fans.

 So that is my point about RAW. Rules as Written is a great tool to use when an ambiguous rules situation arises. However if that situation could easily be explained by plain common sense or just a little bit of imagination then RAW is not needed. And yet online you will find a almost endless series of people arguing for obscure interpretations of RAW. I theorize these people mostly do not play in competitive events and probably for the reason that they are 14 and even if they could afford to fly are not allowed by their parents to do so alone.

 Prior to the Grey Knights book if someone wanted to tell me that their Daemons were not Daemons because the Daemonhunters book says what units are and that the new Chaos Daemons book is not included in that list and so therefore their Daemons are not "Daemons" I would basically have jump kicked their balls into oblivion. Does anyone want to try any RAW BS now????

 I didn't think so.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Hey all you tread heads ... you're gonna love this one ...

Shamelessly plugged from BoLS...

Scarabs - 
Fast Attack
Three models in base unit at 45 pts, with up to seven more at 15 pts per model. Fearless, Swarms, Beast, Entropic Strike. Four attacks on the charge with 3+ cover save in terrain (which they ignore for movement purposes - like Harlequins).

Entropic Strike is a new rules accessable to several units in the codex. Against infantry on to-wound rolls of 4+, armor saves are ignored (invulnerables allowed). Against vehicles on armor penetration rolls, each die that rolls a 4+, reduces the vehicle's armor by 1 pt on ALL sides for the rest of the game. Vehicles are destroyed when any of its armor values reach 0.  

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Beyond Draigo Land (updated)

Well the results are in now and Draigowing performed very well in the first round of Ard Boyz. Grey Knights are at the top in overall placement in fact. I'd like to point out some tips I think can expand your horizons if you like this style of army.

1) Consider using a generic Grand Master in place of Draigo. Sure Draigo is a monster of a beast but look at it this way - the generic Grand Master can take all the best grenades and a psycannon as well. Sure the psycannon is expensive but its also BS5 - attach your HQ to a squad of five Paladins and you've got a unit with three psycannons... Not quite as good as four to five in terms of rate of fire but it's generally more than enough for one squad. If you like to use grenades think of all the points you can save not having to field a Techmarine! Also you've still got the Grand Strategy so if you take two full squads of GKT|Paladins you can always generate lots of scoring units when you need them.

2) I am going to start running more GKT in place of Paladins. You get more boots on the ground and GKT are really really good. I'm planning to just take one squad of Paladins to act as a bodyguard for my GM and Libby. The unit is still a deathstar and it can do just about everything very well. The five Paladins you don't take could go towards a landraider Crusader which works so well with this unit.

3) I'll be keeping my Librarian. He is part of the big equation for success and there is no getting around that no matter how ya spin it. The Librarian cam enhance the overall performance of your whole army. As I've said before this style of army works very well if you incorporate tactics and strategies taken from the ancient Roman Legions and at one time they controlled a large portion of the world.

Exalt !!


Sunday, August 14, 2011

In - Ard Boyz Preliminary Results

As life would have it I was away from my local area due to unforeseen circumstances and as such unable to play at my local FLGS. :'(( Luckily though there was a store in the area and I had my army so I played there.

The 1st round was versus a good Black Templars player. Very tight game and I was just able to keep ahead on killpoints for a minor win. The Templar Vindi was a real pain - over the course of the game I penned it at least 6 to 7 times but could never do more than shake it. Paladins along with GM and Librarian made a final turn assault on a landraider to crack it wide open for the win.

The 2nd round was versus Necrons... Ended up eventually phasing out the toaster heads for a massacre plus all the bonus points.

The 3rd round was versus my buddy's IG... got stomped that game. Victory points is really good for guard.

Overall I ended up coming in 2nd place (IG took 1st and the Templars took 3rd). So I'm happy with the results having had two brutal games.


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

War in Heaven

The throes of extermination
Holocaust of creation
The ruthless hate from within
Illusions that free one from sin

Psychosis tic
Wheels of insanity spin

The war of heaven
Forever calling
Dying on the wings of the fallen

Terror and persecution
The finality of one's solution
The falsehood of opposition
Becoming one's god and religion

Monday, August 08, 2011

Draigowing Xs & Os - Unit Selection

Here is a follow up on my last article which was a simple primer and introduction for playing Draigowing. This article covers your basic choices for the army.

Draigowing is a Grey Knight army primarily built using only Paladins, terminators, dreadnaughts and Nemesis Dreadknights. You can also use landraiders for transports|fire support. Obviously you'll be fielding Draigo since he unlocks Paladins as a troop choice. Draigowing produces very small armies in terms of model count so every point must be carefully spent in order to build a solid list. Some don't consider this type of army to be competitive but I have had lots of success so far. This article will provide some basic intel on the various units you'll find in this nifty army.

Grey Knight Terminators
At first glance this unit looks rather ho hum - it's just your standard terminators with access to psycannons instead of assault cannons... however they can take halberds and daemonhammers for free! They do count as a troop choice which is very helpful. I typically run my five man squads as follows:

Justicar – halberd
2x terminator w. halberd
terminator w. daemonhammer
terminator w. halberd & psycannon
Psybolt ammo

This unit weighs in just under 250 points. On the charge they can lay down 12 S5 force weapon attacks at I6 and 3 S10 daemonhammer attacks (assuming Hammerhsnd is successfully cast - which it will be most of the time). They can wreck many units in close combat and easily pop armor as well. Terminators armed with halberds make BA DoA cry and give wyches and genestealers a moment to pause while considering is it really worth charging them. Their shooting is just as impressive - 4 S7 rending shots plus 8 S5 shots - all the shooting has an effective range of 30" since they are relentless. To me they are one of the best choices for a troop and very reasonably costed.

Justicar Thawn
Thawn is an expensive model. Most see him as nothing more than a novelty. Thawn is a level 2 psyker with WS5 and a halberd which all combined can be very powerful indeed. Thawn can cast both Hammerhand and activate Nemesis force weapons in the same assault phase. The combination works very well versus enemy units with one or more multi wound models. If the Justicar dies he always gets back up the next turn on the roll of 4+ on 1d6... This can be a thorn in the side of many armies, especially those that are lacking in close combat prowess such IG. Alone Thawn can snipe enemy HQ by striking in close combat at I6 while casting both Hammerhand and activating his halberd.

To me he is well worth the points and basically adds another HQ to your army. I always take him.

Here is how I run a ten man squad of GKT including Thawn:

Justicar Thawn
6x halberd & stormbolter
2x daemonhammer & stormbolter
2x psycannon & halberd
Brotherhood banner
psybolt ammo

You can break them down into combat squads using the template I provided above for my five man GKT squads.

This unit is the heart of the army. Paladins are 2W terminators with WS5 plus they also get halberds and daemonhammers for free as well. They are your other troop choice. You can take two psycannons per five Paladins so it's possible to have four in a squad of ten... That is very powerful and can be used as one of the main strengths of the army. Each Paladin is a mini HQ in his own right. You have to know how to protect them from high strength low AP shooting such as meltaguns to keep them alive and it's easy to do. They are every bit as good as a terminator and obviously even better. You're only paying 15 more points for an extra wound and +1 WS. Paladins work best in large numbers with the full compliment of psycannons and psybolt ammo. I don't waste any points on master crafting their weapons... remember this is all about Draigowing!

The Solodin
You can take only one Paladin per squad. I find this concept to be very much meh.    : / Sure he can hold an objective since he scores but he is also a very easy kp to give up. You can't afford to fritter points on silly units such as the Solodin if you want to build a good Draigowing.

A Word on Combat Squads
I was never a big fan of using combat squads until I started to play Grey Knights then I had a sudden change of heart. If you take ten Paladins they are a perfect choice to break down into two combat squads. I like to take a full squad and split them so I have one combat squad with four psycannons - they rape armor and can decimate just about any enemy infantry as well. 16 S7 rending shots is fierce-some indeed. I like large squads of terminators and will also often break them into combat squads.

A Word on the Grand Strategy
Using combat squads and the Grand Strategy together means it's very easy to have at least four or more solid scoring units. This is also a part of the power of Draigowing. You have a small army but everything is quite potent and most of your units can score.

What's to say? Everyone knows just how awesome they are. I recently had a duel with my two psyflemen versus an IG Hydra squadron - S8 versus S7 saw the dreads wrecking both Hydras with no damage in return... Somewhat impressive in my opinion.

My one piece of advice is to run one Venerable if you've got the points to spare. BS5 does make a difference over the course of a game plus forcing the opponent to reroll results on the AP table is also worth the investment... It makes them tougher to kill and your opponent has to spend more firepower to silence the threat. Like I said every point spent is important and I believe this is a good upgrade but not absolutely necessary.

Sometimes I'll take an Eversor assassin to protect my psyflemen. That way they don't have to waste anytime assaulting harassing units such as Stormtroopers or Reaver jetbikes and can keep shooting at bigger targets.

The Nemesis Dreadknight
I run one with a personal teleporter plus a heavy incinerator. He costs just less than a landraider. His best use typically is when you can outflank the metal clad behemoth. 12" range plus 12" extension of the 8" template gives him an effective range of 32" when firing his heavy incinerator. It's very easy to reach out and vaporize pesky units such as IG HWS and any dark eldar unit. He is just brutal versus IG blobs and can torch the command squad... blast the command chimera with your psyflemen then toast them when they pop out! The one down side is the NDK is a proverbial fire magnet. He won't last long versus a shooty army such as IG so he needs to get stuck in as fast as possible. Use the NDK to take out a critical enemy unit and leave them reeling.

Draigo and the Librarian
These two powerful characters form up the very heart of the army. They deserve their own separate article so I'll cover them at a later date.

I have covered your basic choices for the army with the exception of the landraider and its variants. The landraider is very powerful in a Draigowing army but it also cuts down on your model count. I find a couple of psyflemen as must have so you have some good long range mobile fire support. The army is best played as all infantry.

I have found that Draigowing is a lot better than currently given credit. Allan Hernandez recently came in 3rd place at a 7 round GT in San Francisco with his little Draigowing. I notice he did not receive much credit in the interwebz but it shows what the army can do in the right hands!

Sunday, August 07, 2011


Typically I will post my army lists prior to a tourney I'm attending but I'm keeping my list for Ard Boyz a secret. If I do well I'll post about the army here. I have done very well so far in all my practice games and I've played against some stiff competition. I have found that if the missions favor a certain style of army then it tends to do well come tournament time.

Draigowing Xs & Os - Free Wheeling

Here is the battle schematic I showed before with two slight modifications:

1) Wheeling
The terminator squad can wheel about to extend their firing range and launch assaults. My squad has a large number of halberds so it is almost always advantageous to charge for the +1A bonus. Any enemy units that come into the nexus have little chance of survival - think of free wheeling as a trap.

2) Redirect
Most often I like to keep Draigo and his retinue out of close combat as long as possible. By leaving a gap behind the landraider and the table edge they can safely redirect while still cut off completely from enemy LOS. This is important as you want to keep them safe from any enemy shooting that can insta gib them. If you can keep them outside of the landraider then they can lend the strength of their stormbolters which can be very helpful.

The Roman Legions used very simple tactics to crush their enemies over the course of several centuries. Draigowing is similar in that it is slow, compact and very powerful. There are not many other armies that can shift them.

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Shooty 2k BA List - Part 2 - An Explanation

I posted the list earlier today. This list was an exercise in building a different type of army for Blood Angels. I happened to run across the piece of artwork I posted in the first article and it got me to thinking about how I would go about designing a list for my favorite army that is counter to the more popular builds we tend to most often see - those primarily being DoA and razorspam. The list I came up with has a fair number of razorbacks but overall I don't think it's that similar to the typical razorspam lists that are prevalent now.

The core of the list is the three squads of Devastators. They are cheap for what you get and form the main firebase for the army. The sergeants can use their signums for the lascannons. Their razorbacks provide additional long ranged AT and can move if necessary to contest objectives.

I went with scouts over tactical Marines primarily for two reasons. First I don't like the new tactical squads as they are expensive point wise for what you get plus I don't see them as a jack of all trades anymore. On the other hand the scouts are definitely cheap and have access to some decent shooting. Sniper rifles work well with the heavy bolter since they have the same range and are both intended for anti infantry. You can take a lot of scout squads and they are intended to hold objectives. It's easy enough to kill five scouts without breaking too much of a sweat but with five squads on the table and using tactics to draw the opponent's attention away from them they might be a viable choice in the role of a place holder. Their main weakness is WS3 but with enough units they should be able to provide a decent amount of anti infantry dakka.

I chose Tycho and the Sternguard since they can work well together. The Librarian was chosen mainly for psychic defense. Fear of the Darkness is also a solid choice to boo enemy units off the table. I like to have at least one BAMF character in all my lists, which was another reason for taking Tycho. He is kind of pricey but Rites of Battle can be helpful for an army with lots of Space Marine squads. The role of the Sternguard is to decimate hard enemy units plus they are good versus hordes with the two heavy flamers.

The Honor Guard provide a Sanguinary Priest and they are packing some decent midranged firepower with the plasmaguns. They are also another deterrent to hard enemy units.

Shooty 2k BA list - Part 1 - The List

HQ: Captain Tycho (1#, 175 pts)
   1 Captain Tycho, 175 pts

HQ: Librarian in Power Armour (1#, 100 pts)
   1 Librarian in Power Armour, 100 pts

: Honour Guard (6#, 270 pts)
   1 Honour Guard, 0 pts
      1 Sanguinary Novitiate, 23 pts
      1 Honour Guard, 38 pts = (base cost 23 + Plasma gun x1 15)
      1 Honour Guard, 38 pts = (base cost 23 + Plasma gun x1 15)
      1 Honour Guard, 38 pts = (base cost 23 + Plasma gun x1 15)
      1 Honour Guard, 38 pts = (base cost 23 + Plasma gun x1 15)
      1 Razorback, 95 pts = (base cost 55 + Dozer Blade 5 + Twin-Linked Lascannon 35)

Elite: Sternguard Veteran Squad (9#, 330 pts)
   7 Sternguard Veteran Squad, 220 pts = 7 * 25 (base cost 25) + Combi-Meltagun x5 25 + Heavy Flamer x2 20
      1 Sergeant, 55 pts = (base cost 25) + Combi-Meltagun 5 + Power Fist x1 25
      1 Rhino, 55 pts = (base cost 50 + Dozer Blade 5)

Troops: Scout Squad (5#, 85 pts)
   1 Scout Squad, 13 pts + Sergeant 23
      4 Scout, 62 pts = 4 * 13 (base cost 13) + Heavy Bolter 10
      1 Sergeant, 10 pts

Troops: Scout Squad (5#, 85 pts)
   1 Scout Squad, 13 pts + Sergeant 23
      4 Scout, 62 pts = 4 * 13 (base cost 13) + Heavy Bolter 10
      1 Sergeant, 10 pts

Troops: Scout Squad (5#, 85 pts)
   1 Scout Squad, 13 pts + Sergeant 23
      4 Scout, 62 pts = 4 * 13 (base cost 13) + Heavy Bolter 10
      1 Sergeant, 10 pts

Troops: Scout Squad (5#, 85 pts)
   1 Scout Squad, 13 pts + Sergeant 23
      4 Scout, 62 pts = 4 * 13 (base cost 13) + Heavy Bolter 10
      1 Sergeant, 10 pts

Troops: Scout Squad (5#, 85 pts)
   1 Scout Squad, 13 pts + Sergeant 23
      4 Scout, 62 pts = 4 * 13 (base cost 13) + Heavy Bolter 10
      1 Sergeant, 10 pts

Heavy Support: Devastator Squad (6#, 240 pts)
   4 Devastator Squad, 122 pts = 4 * 16 (base cost 16) + Lascannon x1 25 + Missile Launcher x3 30 + Sergeant 26
      1 Sergeant, 23 pts
      1 Razorback, 95 pts = (base cost 55 + Dozer Blade 5 + Twin-Linked Lascannon 35)

Heavy Support: Devastator Squad (6#, 240 pts)
   4 Devastator Squad, 122 pts = 4 * 16 (base cost 16) + Lascannon x1 25 + Missile Launcher x3 30 + Sergeant 26
      1 Sergeant, 23 pts
      1 Razorback, 95 pts = (base cost 55 + Dozer Blade 5 + Twin-Linked Lascannon 35)

Heavy Support: Devastator Squad (6#, 240 pts)
   4 Devastator Squad, 122 pts = 4 * 16 (base cost 16) + Lascannon x1 25 + Missile Launcher x3 30 + Sergeant 26
      1 Sergeant, 23 pts
      1 Razorback, 95 pts = (base cost 55 + Dozer Blade 5 + Twin-Linked Lascannon 35)

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

The Kool-aid

Kool-aid is often associated with mind control and|or propaganda. More than one evil person has been quoted as saying that if you say something often enough then people will start to believe whether or not it's actually true. I have always been the type of person to question authority and riddle pundits. I can also be quite stubborn. I think it is good to test what people say to see for yourself if it's true or not.

An important thing to remember is that while a person can believe what they are saying to be true it's not actually necessarily the truth. Often we are misinformed and repeat what we hear without giving it a second thought. I believe most often it's best to divorce yourself from your emotions while analyzing a statement when possible... It can be a hard thing to do but with practice it's possible and I often equate that ability with wisdom.

It's also important to realize that looks can be deceiving. I try to never make a decision based upon my first impressions. Deception is often a big part of what propaganda is all about in the long run. Keep your defenses up and running.

There is a lot of information available on the Internet - that in and of itself to me is the good, the bad and the ugly of the Internet. We have to sort through the chaff to gain the wheat as the saying goes. Everyone has something they want to sell you and there are different techniques at selling. Selling an idea or concept goes hand in hand with marketing. Maybe once you bought something only to then discover it wasn't what you thought it would be. I have found that often a salesman will present themselves as your best friend... I always feel a bit apprenhensive when somebody I don't know comes up and acts like they are a good friend. Maybe I'm just paranoid. It is what it is.

Anyways it's the peak of the summer and a nice cold glass of kool-aid can be refreshing... You could always opt for diet soda or cool clear water instead. ; )