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Blood Vow

Happiness is success... (Buddha)

Friday, September 30, 2011

Doing what you do best !

I was lucky enough to have met Slash once and I asked him about life and what he thought. He told me if you want to be happy then always do what you do best.

:  )

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Latest BeakyCon Announcements !!!

Battlefoam has shipped their support which will be in the form of some really fantastic big $$$ coupons for their awesome gaming bags !!

Spiky Bitz is shipping us a bitz bag for everyone who plays... so lots of swag even if you don't win... you still win !!

GMM Studios will paint a five man squad and Next Level Painting is going to paint a transport.

Plus there is a whole lot more crazy prize support I haven't even mentioned yet.

:  )

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Revisiting dark eldar - Part 2

Before I go into the specifics on an exact army list I'd like to cover the main problems I encountered with my original build and also what I identified as problems for the codex from the other side of the table playing my Draigowing army.

The main problem I had was effectively dealing with Grey Knights. If you are a competitive gamer and play in tournaments this has to be effectively addressed as Grey Knights are very popular now. Another army that was problematic for me was Deathwing. I think Deathwing can be more easily solved than Grey Knights. The main problem for me versus Grey Knights are first the psyflemen and second the proliferation of psycannons. If Grey Knights can move the bulk of their army into the midfield the psycannons are very hard to neutralize plus the psyflemen can hang back on their long table edge and have range to a large portion of the battlefield. Each psyfleman can effectively drop one skimmer each turn with average dice rolls - so if you are up against a Grey Knight army with three psyflemen over the course of three turns they can easily remove nine skimmers from play. To take out a psyfleman you pretty much have to dedicate one unit that is sacrificed in return and hope you can penetrate it's hull and either wreck or destroy it. It's not a good trade off and there is a good chance you'll not remove the psyfleman. You can dedicate more units to increase your odds of removing the psyfleman but that's not an option I want to invest in as on the flip side you are placing more of your army in harm's way. Therefore the approach I'm exploring is to build an army that is less vulnerable to the psyflemen - the best approach I believe is to move away from a fully mechanized army towards a build that has more infantry. One advantage to this approach is that you will also negate the strengths of some other top tiered armies as well such as Space Wolves missile spam. You'll still need some mech though so I'm not advocating a Webway Portal army or one that is composed fully of infantry.

Inherent Strengths of Dark Eldar
The main strengths of dark eldar are as follows:

— Superior mobility versus all other armies in all aspects of the game
— Massed poisoned weapons
— Darklight weapons
— Melee

Superior Mobility
If you can design an army that is not vulnerable to psyflemen while still exploiting your speed then you have maintained one of your primary advantages while removing one of your main obstacles. Your transports can put you in a position to take advantage of your other strengths so by divesting yourself from a heavily mechanized army you'll still need to be able to utilize your other methods of fast movement such as fleet of foot. Versus an army that is primarily composed of infantry in many regards a psyfleman is no better than one Space Marine with a heavy bolter. The psyfleman has better range and can inflict instant death versus T3 multi wound units but neither of those are big advantages versus dark eldar in general if played right.

Poisoned Weapons
No other army except for Grey Knights can produce as much infantry killing firepower as dark eldar. The one major weakness of poisoned weapons is they are harmless versus armor so the trick is to first demech the opponent if necessary so you can saturate their infantry with your massed poisoned shooting firepower. Trueborn armed with blasters riding in Venoms fulfill this role well but I'm not going to adopt this approach as I see it has having some serious issues versus certain popular armies such as Grey Knights. I do still like Trueborn though and believe they can be better utilized by fielding them in large units taking a roughly equal mix of blasters and shardcarbines. In many ways Trueborn can be the equivalent of Sternguard if properly designed. They will still need a transport to move them into effective positions so I'm planning to run them in raiders versus the Venom. You'll get back the high level of poisoned weapons firepower through the use of the shardcarbine and you'll still have the same number or even more blasters per squad. The other key unit are large squads of Warriors on foot. I've always been a big fan of Warriors as I have found them to be highly tactical. You can still take one blaster per squad and a blast pistol if you want to invest the points so they still have some limited use versus enemy mech.

Darklight Weapons
Mech is still kiand for now and the best answer to this that can be fielded in large concentrations are blasters and dark lances. I have touched on how to still maintain a solid amount of blasters above through the use of Trueborn. You don't have the range of the dark lance but you have a higher rate of fire plus you can move and shoot. Scourges are a fast attack choice so they don't compete with Trueborn for slots in your FOC - they are highly mobile and have access to blasters, heat lances and haywire grenade launchers. They come stock with shardcarbines so like the Trueborn they can fulfill dual roles. The Ravager is also a good choice obviously and is a real bargain for the points - this is your best choice for heavy support.

You don't need a lot of dedicated melee units but it's still good to have a couple of these units to use for counter assault. Incubi compete with Trueborn so if you field a squad you're cutting down on the total number of blasters you can field in your army. Wyches on the other hand are a troop choice and have access to haywire grenades so they can also fulfill dual roles as well. The more versatility each unit brings to the table the more reliable is your army. I'm actually planning to run one squad of Incubi and one squad of Wyches. Incubi can quickly remove a dedicated enemy melee unit such as assault Marines so I still see them as having a good amount of value while being only good in one aspect... They are only good in melee but they are very good in this role (of course).

I have presented some of ideas for rebuilding my current dark eldar army pointing out the reasons for these choices. The goal is to build a new army that is better designed to deal primarily with Grey Knights. That's all for now.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Revisiting dark eldar

I will be releasing a short series of tactical articles on dark eldar soon. I have been experimenting with a new style of play that has been doing fairly well so far.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Ard Boyz end of the road

Well I was pretty lucky this year as I enjoyed playing all six of my opponents. They were all very competitive games but still fun and very challenging. Mostly this post is just a shout out to all I played to say thanks for the games.

Ard Boyz takes more and more motivation to go and play. I think the system had an impact on 40k gaming in the US and I like to see more competitive systems so that is something good. On the flip side the missions for the semi finals left a lot to be desired for me... I just think it wouldn't take that much effort to do a better job in that regard. To me it seems like it is dying a slow death. The chance to win a 2500 point army of your choice seems to have a higher interest than playing for bragging rights in the last round. They used to give ya really cool patches and certificates... Not anymore. Maybe next year they can revitalize the system - that would be pretty darn awesome in my opinion.

Ooh la la ...

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

BeakyCon - just over one month to go now

The end of October will be here before you know it. Lots of work is still in progress to make sure this is a top event for the year. We have over 40 players signed up with people coming from many states outside of Florida. Games Workshop was kind enough to donate a lot of terrain plus several local players and Anthem Games have been generous enough to make their terrain available.

Here are our sponsors who will be providing some awesome prize support:

Anthem Games
Chessex Dice
Games Workshop
GMM Studios
Legend Logos
Next Level Painting
Spiky Bitz

That's a lot of sponsors for sure !! :D

A lot of work has been put into the mission design and overall scoring system to make sure this is a highly competitive event with balanced scenarios. Good sportsmanship is a must for everyone attending. Make sure to check the blog weekly for the latest updates. The Marriott at the Tampa airport is offering discounted rooms at $125 per night with breakfast included. Each day starts early so be sure to get there early. The schedule had been posted on the blog.

We look forward to seeing you soon !!


Monday, September 19, 2011

40k gaming myths debunked

I'd like to talk about common 40k gaming myths and urban legends I often see propogated on the interwebs. This is my opinion based upon my experience as a competitive tournament gamer.

Here are some definitions to help out players newer to the game:

Meta lists - These are the lists such as IG leaf blower that are constantly posted over and over again on the Internet. You can play these army lists and do well versus most all comers. Meta lists are the most popular on the Internet for tourney play because they most often produce the best results overall. They are hated but they are very good and you can't argue with lots of success. On the flip side an esoteric army list developed through lots of play testing can thrash meta lists as they can be more balanced overall. Meta lists tend to be more forgiving as you can make some mistakes and still win. Meta lists tend to be gimmicky and may depend on certain certain conditions such as going first to win.

W/L (Win|Loss) system - This tournament system is fairly new. You have to win every game to take home the award for Best General. If your strategy is to win by a small margin and avoid the best players this system won't work for you. I have a personal bias in favor of this system. Consider a large tournament with only three rounds - you will end up with several undefeated players at the end of the tournament and it can easily come down to soft scores to decide who wins the top awards.

P/S/T (Primary|Secondary|Tertiary) system - This system has been around for a long time. If you win the primary win condition then you win the game but you can still lose a game and still win the award for Best General. The primary objective is worth the most battle points per game followed by the secondary win condition and finally the third (tertiary) win condition. This system can favor rock-paper-scissor armies if the primary win conditions are in their favor. On the other hand if the three objectives are equally weighted (W/L) then it's harder to suffer from a bad matchup as you can play to two out of three objectives. Often at a large tournament there is less terrain on the tables as there is less to go around and this can play directly into the favor of meta lists as they are inherently designed to take advantage of these specific conditions.

So let's get onto the subject matter !

1) Tournaments don't prove which army lists are the best

To me this is a double edged sword. If you can't win a big tourney or place in the top five to ten on a fairly consistent basis don't tell me how great is your army. You have to have the ability to go into a highly competitive environment and take names. It is what it is. That said I eschew the use of meta lists because they don't appeal to me but we have to be honest and give credit to those army lists that win big on a consistent basis. We can whine all day long about IG, SW and GK but the bottom line is these three armies are just brutal and their codices offer lots of inherent advantages for competive play. On the flip side I like to take on the top meta lists and beat them with more exotic lists that don't see a lot of press. It can be a real challenge because often if I'm not winning big I won't earn the chance to play against them.

2) W/L vs P/S/T

A lot of people tend to say that the P/S/T system is better than the the W/l system. I think that the pure W/L system is more competive versus the P/S/T system. The pure W/L system is less forgiving - if you lose a game then it's over in regards to winning the award for Best General... I don't have any problems with that though. The W/L system if run very well will result in the best players facing off against each other in the final rounds. It's more exciting for me and the rock-paper-scissors armies can be neutralized by offering a system that doesn't cater towards unbalanced missions. On the flip side if a P/S/T system has enough rounds then I believe it can produce the same results as a pure W/L system. It is up to the TOs to fairly match up players against each other, especially in the early rounds. If you have a large pool of players from across the country and the TOs intentionally pit top players against each other in the early rounds then it's inherently unfair and will not produce the best|truest results.

So at this point I could go into the discussion of other similar topics but I'll let it stand for now.


On the great 40k sage...

I've seen them kneel
with baited breath for the ritual
I've watched this experience raise
them to pseudo higher levels
I've watched them leave their families
in pursuit of your nirvana
I've seen them coming to line up from switzerland and america

How long will this take baba
How long have we been sleeping
Do you see me hanging on to every word you say
How soon will I be holy
How much will this cost guru
How much longer 'til you completely absolve me
I've seen them give their drugs up
in place of makeshift altars
I've heard them chanting
kali kali frantically
I've heard them rotely repeatly your
teaching with elitism
I've seen them boasting robes and
foreign sandalwood beads

I've seen them overlooking god in
their own essence
I've seen their upward glances
in hopes of instant salvation
i've seen their righteousness
mixed without loving compassion
i've watched you smile as
the student bow to kiss your feet

Give me strength all knowing one
how long 'till enlightenment
how much longer 'til you 

Ard Boyz semi final results

Here is my secret list (to the best of memory) I brought today:

Librarian - Might of Titans, Quicksilver, Sanctuary, The Shrouding, Warp Time, master crafted Warding Stave, 2x servo skull

10x Paladin -
Master crafted daemonhammer & master crafted psycannon
Daemonhammer & master crafted psycannon
Master crafted daemonhammer & psycannon
Sword & master crafted psycannon
Falchions & master crafted stormbolter
Master crafted falchions & stormbolter
Falchions & stormbolter
Warding stave & stormbolter
Sword & stormbolter
Brotherhood banner & stormbolter
(psybolt ammo)

10x Grey Knight terminator -
Justicar Thawn
2x halberd & psycannon
2x daemonhammer & stormbolter
5x halberd & stormbolter
(psybolt ammo)

Dreadknight - teleporter & heavy incinerator

Psyfleman dreadnaught
Psyfleman dreadnaught

Venerable psyfleman dreadnaught

The first mission was versus a good friend from Naples playing mechanized eldar. This was a tough matchup - not much LOS blocking terrain which was pretty much the case for all three tables I played on today. My basic strategy was to sacrifice the GKT so Thawn could slog his way across the table for the bonus victory points... The Justicar ended up getting back up five to six times taking out a squad of Dire Avengers, Fire Dragons, one Farseer and finally finishing off a squad of Dark Reapers to just make into the opponent's deployment zone the last turn for the bonus 500 victory points. At one point towards the end the Justicar passed three invulnerable saves versus Mind War then took out the Dark Reapers. He got up every time every game - it was kind of crazy.

The second game was versus Blood Angels - versus another player from Naples. His army was kind of a mixed bag. The Dreadknight was the man of this match taking out around three squads of assault Marines and wrecking a razorback... He finally got hammered the last turn but held off a squad of Death Company lead by Lemartes to save my Paladins.

The final match was versus dark eldar - lots and lots of skimmers... Lots and lots of shooting across the table from both sides... My cover saves were really crazy good this game. We were playing for table quarters and my opponent had six scoring units while I only had two. I focused on killing all his scoring units. The Librarian was the man of the match - The Shrouding kept the dreadnaughts on line each turn plus he popped a couple skimmers with Warp Rift.

I'm very familiar with both Blood Angels and dark eldar so that experience I believe helped a lot as I knew exactly what I needed to do to win those two games. Blood Angels really have an uphill battle versus Grey Knights. Dark eldar have the speed and lots of S8 AP2 shooting but gosh are they fragile. ; )

I'll try to post up the batreps this week. I ended up in 4th place overall but still got an invite to the finals since the person who came in first place can't go. There were only 12 players so that helped a lot for me. I wanted to bring my Draigowing which is not optimal for these missions... I only had two scoring units each game as I always rolled a 1 or 2 for the Grand Strategy each game and decided to always outflank the Dreadknight (which worked out well and I'll go into that in more detail when I post the batreps).

Friday, September 16, 2011

40k Wrecking Crew and what it means to me

I am a member of the 40k Wrecking Crew. It is a gaming club. Joining was something that changed my life. To me the standards are very high and there is a process that must be followed to become a member. I have to augment that statement by saying I'm a second generation member - the first generation members were mostly from a local gaming group out of Miami... They are all the shit. They are all above me and I can't think of anything negative to say about any of them. Some them held out their hands and helped me to become a member. To them I will always be grateful.

Being a member was a learning process for me and very painful at times. My online rep I originally developed was based upon being a troll. Whenever I do something I want to do it the best I can. Never in my life did I ever step upon my johnson with a pair of track shoes like I did during my time as an online troll. Often I referred to myself as The King of Yee Old Time Trolles... How stupid and short sighted I was. I have since decided I want to be a positive person and use my experience to help others. If you have followed this blog from day one I think you might understand. I'm not exactly sure what made me want to cross the invisible line from night to day but it happened. Often now I have to bite my tongue now and keep my big mouth shut. It's hard for me but I learned how to do it and I think I've successfully made the transition. To give credit where credit is due I have to say thanks to my friends at BoLS. Goatboy, Jwolf and Big Red are good people for sure.

At one time my club was at the top in terms of winning big events then we fell down. I like to think of myself as a Chaplain for my club. I carried the banner and told my mates to rise back up again. Like I said there was lots of hurty pain along the way. Some of my mates picked me back up when I fell down. I wouldn't still be here without those guys.

40k is a big part of my life. I'm kind of sad that my professional career is taking more and more of my time and as a result there is less time for 40k. As I often say it is what it is. I have to think more carefully where best to use my time and energy. I will always be here - this is where you can always reach me.

That is all for now.


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Draigowing for Ard Boyz Semi Finals

I'll be bringing my Draigowing this weekend (of course). The store I'm playing at in Florida has lots and lots of players signed up so with only three rounds you can win all three games and still not make the top three. My army is not optimized to max scores for the missions so I will have to hope for a little luck. It's the army I want to play though and if nothing else it should be challenging and hopefully I will learn some more about how to optimize the army in general. The good thing for me is Draigowing scales up well at 2500 points and you can bring just about everything you want and feel you need. My favorite (only) aspect I enjoy about Ard Boyz is the opportunity to play at 2500 points. I think I'll see lots of mech lists for sure.

I'll post up my list after it's all over. I've made some fairly big changes to the list I brought to the preliminaries. The missions are kind of crazy so it should be interesting to say the least.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Draigowing Xs & Os • Proper Use of Psychic Powers during Melee

I typically run Draigo and a Librarian attached to a squad of ten Paladins (3x daemonhammer). There isn't much that can go up against them in melee but then again there are a few units that can give them a go. For instance Thunderwolf Cavlary lead by a Bear Lord (thunderhammer) and all armed with stormshields can be a problem. A good Space Wolf player will have a Rune Priest nearby to play havoc with your psychic powers. The Bear Lord has six attacks on the charge, hitting on 3+ and can insta gib your Paladins quickly if you're not careful. This is a great example how to manage your psychic powers during melee since it is a tough fight even for Paladins.

You've got up to five psychic powers you can cast during melee:

Draigo - 2x
Librarian - 2x
Paladins - 1x

Draigo and the Librarian give you two chances to cast Hammerhand which you'll need to insta gib the TWC with your daemonhammers. You still have one more opportunity to cast Hammerhand with your Paladins should the first two attempts fail. It's all about those S10 hammer attacks insta gibbing the TWC !! By the odds you should pass at least one test for Hammerhand out of three attempts and get past the Rune Staff.

Be very careful with the Librarian as you could easily use his two spells for Shrouding and Sanctuary during your opponent's turn. Shrouding is a Must Use power if you're getting hammered by shooting such as lascannons and meltaguns. Sanctuary is not one that is absolutely necessary unless you believe there is a really good chance the TWC is far enough away they'll fail their difficult terrain test and not reach assault. THunderwolves are much faster than Paladins so there is a good chance you'll have to brace for the enemy charge - as such if you receive the charge then you can't cast Might of Titans since it only works in your own assault phase. If you cast Sanctuary and the Shrouding then that's one less attempt at Hammerhand if the wolves do get the charge so be careful and think about it.

This example also shows why the Brotherhood Banner is a Must Have for your Paladins... The 1+ attack for the daemonhammers will pay off big time and each wound that gets past a stormshield save means another dead wolf. Versus TWC activating your force weapons is not as powerful as the S10 daemonhammers. You'll score more wounds with the hammers and if you decide to use the Paladins' psychic test to activate their force weapons then you can't use Hammerhand as you have to wait until there is an enemy unsaved wound. Versus Thrakka and a mob of Nobz you'll want to activate the force weapons and kill the Nobz before they can swing their power klawz.

Pro Tip
So how to deal with that Bear Lord ? Well that's why you've got Draigo. Use him to tie up the Bear Lord, score more wounds overall and break the wolves in melee... You can't sweeping advance since your unit is in terminator armor so once they have broken then shoot them up and try not to let them regroup. Often I will break Draigo off from my Paladins so he can use his Fearlessness to tarpit the Bear Lord when I see the TWC will be in a position to charge the next turn.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Draigowing Xs & Os - MC Hammer Time

I have been playing lots and lots of highly competitive playtest games versus the armies that can kick my arse. It can be painful but I learn. Here are my thoughts on how to best design a GK TDA army:

Lord Khaldor Draigo - he isn't the man - he is a monster
I have heavily experimented with the generic Grand Master since he can tote a psycannon and serve as a grenade caddy. What I have learned is I don't need grenades and one more psycannon is not gonna win a game. Draigo can absorb the pain and dish it out. Paladins as a troop choice without having to use the Grand Strategy is grand indeed. I will be sticking with Draigo from now on.

Hammer Time
I like to run a squad of ten Paladins with three daemonhammers, four psycannons and a standard bearer. The hammers will beat down anything and are game winners. They are more powerful than grenades overall.

One warding stave can soak lots and lots of wounds in close combat. Everything else is cosmetic. A couple of swords are okay.

Super Psyker
Along with Draigo the Librarian is a must have unit for the army. The best casting powers are as follows:

Might of Titans
Warp Time

I rarely ever get to use Quicksilver or Warp Time but it is only ten points for the two and they can both be game winners versus certain armies.

Servo Skulls
I also like to kit my Librarian with two servo skulls. It takes some practice to use them effectively. The combination of servo skulls with Psychic Communion is extremely powerful. If nothing else servo skulls can bait your opponent into wasting one unit's movement phase.

Reinforced Aegis
Psyflemen are great at shooting as we all know but they can also cock block Psyker Battle Squads and Lash Princes. Keep one close to your Paladins as an ultimate psychic defense.

That is it for now. This article is based upon playing various armies designed to beat mine.

Friday, September 09, 2011

Discounted room rates at Marriott for BeakyCon

If you have not reserved a room yet at the Marriott note that there is a AAA discount that reduces $140/night reduced to $125/night and includes breakfast !


Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Grey Knight Terminators Unit Analysis • Weapons Selection

This article is written for those players who are new to the army. This will probably be obvious to people who have already been playing Grey Knights (GK) for some reasonable period of time. I think it's good to release a mix of tactical articles aimed at the various levels of experience. Also it never hurts to touch upon the basics from time to time. Hopefully some of the information presented will be helpful for more experienced players.

This article discusses which weapons (melee and shooting) are the best choices for Grey Knight terminators. A lot of this can be applied to Paladins but i opted to forgo including them in the analysis in an attempt to keep the article more succinct. This is all based upon my experience playing pure GK TDA (tactical dreadnaught armor - an old GW term for terminator armor) armies.

Your choices are as follows:

• Nemesis force sword (+1 invulnerable save in melee) NFS
• Nemesis force halberd (+2 initiative) NFH
• Pair of Nemesis force falchions (+1 attack) NFF
• Nemesis daemonhammer (basic strength is doubled plus initiative drops to I1) NDH
• Nemesis warding stave (2++ invulnerable save in melee) NWS
• Brotherhood Banner (all models in the unit gain +1 attack and Nemesis force weapons are automatically activated, including any characters attached to the squad, though this still requires a successful psychic test) BB

Grey Knight terminators (GKT) come standard with the Nemesis force sword. Halberds and daemonhammers are free in exchange for the sword. Falchions cost 5 points per model for the upgrade. The warding stave costs 20 points. The Brother Banner costs 25 points and the model loses it force weapon in exchange.

I thought GKT were an awful unit when I first read the new codex then I came to realize they are currently one of the best troops in the game (in my opinion of course). Basically you have the options available to build squads that are I6/S5 with two base attacks per model, ignores armor saves in melee and have an invulnerable save !! The basic 5++ invulnerable save might not sound like that much but think of it this way - you will save one terminator for every three invulnerable saves taken. I have learned from playing dark eldar that a 5++ invulnerable save (i.e., flickerfield) is pretty darn good. The 2+ armor save is great as well (obviously) - simply count the number of times you roll a 2 in any game for all your armor saves and you'll see exactly what I mean.

I arm my squads as follows for every five terminators including the Justicar:

— 3x halberd & stormbolter
— 1x daemonhammer & stormbolter
— 1x halberd & psycannon

I think that the halberds and daemonhammers are the best choices for melee. They are both free !!

Nemesis Force Halberds
I6 is a big advantage for five man squads versus dedicated enemy melee units such as Berzerkers. Generally you will hit first and if you successfully cast Hammerhand the halberds are S5. Hammerhand is a psychic power that grants +1 strength - this is added to the basic strength so daemonhammers are S10 (i.e., 2xS5 versus 2xS4 + 1). Halberds ensure that versus lower initiative units you'll strike first and reduce the total number of enemy attacks in return. Halberds are also help versus I6 enemy units such as genestealers and wyches since they are not hitting first in melee and thus not reducing your total number of attacks as well.

Nemesis Daemonhammers
The daemonhammer is extremely useful versus enemy units such as Thunderwolf cavalry and Warbosses since S10 inflicts Instant Death on T5 and lower toughness units. Daemonhammers are also great versus enemy armor, especially landraiders and Monoliths ! As outlined above I like to take one daemonhammer per every five terminators.

Other Melee Weapons
At first when the new codex was released there was a lot of speculation on the Internet that falchions would confer +2 attacks but this turned out not to be the case when the GK FAQ was finally released. The points add up very fast if you're playing a GK TDA army and as such I don't find them very beneficial. If you have a ten man squad it's much cheaper to take a Brotherhood Banner which I recommend if you have the points to spare. The warding stave is also an expensive upgrade for GKT and only benefits one model - as such I don't highly recommend them for GKT either. Finally while the sword is free I prefer I6 over a 4++ invulnerable save in melee... This is a specific case when offense can be better served than defense

Each terminator comes standard with a stormbolter. You can upgrade one model per five terminators as follows:

• Incinerator (S5 AP4, template)
• Psilencer (unfortunately really not worth mentioning except for one OT point mentioned below - IMO)
• Psycannon (S7 AP4 Rending, 24" range, 4 shots) Good gosh it's an assault cannon on crack !!!

This part of the article is very simple for me. I play all infantry based lists with no transports so I feel I need the psycannons... As such I take one psycannon per every five terminators. If you use a Stormraven(s) to transport some of your troops then I could see the possible value in using incinerators for those dedicated units. That said you'll probably only be able to shoot them once per game most of the time though YMMV. I don't use incinerators so I'm definitely not an expert in that area. While incinerators are much cheaper (5:1 ratio in points cost versus the psycannon) I think it's a safe bet to say most GK players prefer the psycannon over the incinerator.  ;  )

The only beneficial use I can see for the psilencer is that it can be easily converted into a psycannon - seriously, GW kind of gave us the pointy end of the stick when they decided to kit the five man boxed set of GK terminators with only one psycannon.  :  (

The psycannon is amazing and it can be easily spammed throughout an army. To me there is an astonishing difference when it comes to S7 versus S6 with rending. I'm not going to mathammer the odds of a psycannon versus an assault cannon glancing|penetrating  the various armor levels - I'm sure you can easily find those statistics elsewhere. I take as many psycannons as I can cram into a list. They are much hated upon and for good reason... nothing is safe from them except for Monoliths (and that's why you bring those daemonhammers in the oft chance case you happen to run up against a Necron army). I have destroyed more than my fair share of landraiders, rhinos, razorbacks and my favorite target - the chimera.

The Stormbolter and Psybolt Ammo
As I said this is the standard shooting weapon for GKT. It might seem like nothing much at first glance compared to a psycannon but I've found through extensive play that the upgrade for psybolt ammo is well worth the cost (i.e., 20 points per squad). If you're smart and field 10 man units, splitting each into 5 man combat squads when appropriate, then you've just divided the cost in half. Psybolt ammo means that you can glance rhinos and razorbacks on front and side armor - these transports are no longer immune to what was once only harmless bolter fire. Even better you can penetrate the chimera on side armor which is almost guaranteed to happen more often than not if you've got a lot of GKT roaming around the battlefield !  :  )

Psybolt ammo also means that you're wounding basic Marines on a 3+ versus 4+ and the extra damage inflicted over a game can add up fast....

0.667*0.5*0.333 = (~10%)  vs.  0.667*0.667*0.333 (~15%)

So basically five percent greater odds to inflict an unsaved wound versus power armor. That's actually a ten percent better rate per terminator since each stormbolter fires two shots apiece each shooting phase... Or even better yet a 40 percent better rate per four GKT.

I just had to squeeze in a little mathammer for all the number crunchers out there.   You know who you are too !  :D

Versus T3 units you're wounding on a 2+ as compared to a 3+. Again it might not sound like much but it adds up over the course of most any game against foot sloggers.

Putting It Altogether
So we come to the end of another article, which means it's time for me to sum up what I've said above. Basically take another look at my standard configuration per every five GKT:

— 3x halberd & stormbolter
— 1x daemonhammer & stormbolter
— 1x halberd & psycannon

That's it in a nutshell.

As I have pointed out these choices are based upon my in game experience and I've had a lot of success so far with my GK TDA army. If you feel I've missed out on something important please feel to bring it to my attention here. Maybe in reality the psilencer is actually worth it's points in gold... I doubt that though but then again I could still be wrong. Most of what I've said is basic knowledge once you've had the chance to gain some meaningful experience playing Grey Knights and the army is quite popular now - of course. I do think a lot of players are missing out on the benefits of psybolt ammo... It's a little pricey as an upgrade and probably most think it's benefits are simply not worth the added cost. I beg to differ though.  ;  )

That's all for now. See ya again next time.

40k Interview with Gabe Dobkin - 2011 NOVA Open Renaissance Man

I have known Gabe for several years since I moved to Florida and met him at the first Necro in Orlando, Florida to host 40k. Gabe is one of those very rare individuals that are both a top gamer and a top hobbyist. His win at NOVA is a credit to Mike Brandt's system. If you ever have the chance to see Gabe's Cobra themed Imperial Guard army you are in for a real treat. I have never had the opportunity to play Gabe but we have talked about it and I look forward to the day we roll some dice.

So let's move onto the interview!!

1) Tell us about why you picked Cobra for the theme of your army. I am interested to learn how you made changes to the army over the course of 4th edition to 5th edition.

I was a huge fan of the toys, cartoon series, and comic books as a kid. I think the army represents an attempt to get back my collection of GI Joe toys that I unfortunately donated to charity when I was about 15 years old! I started the army when the previous IG Codex released as a doctrine themed elite force of all high point cost veteran grenadiers. With the release of the current codex, I have moved away from that build.

2) I know your list is not a meta Imperial Guard list - how did you go about designing the army to give it the character you wanted to reflect for the Cobra theme? Note that I am interested to hear how you decided to put together an army that is both unique and also is competitive.

I think that I am still refining my so-called “Cobra Ambush” tactics and tweaking the exact build of the IG, but incorporating Captain Al’rahem (Zartan) into the list represented a huge shift in how the army plays on the table. I am primarily an Eldar player and am basically attempting to apply tricky Eldar tactics (i.e. – reserves, outflank, disruption, etc) to Imperial Guard. It is not the most effective thing to do with IG, but it certainly throws opponents off their game. It also of course encapsulates the first combat sequence of almost every episode of the GI Joe cartoon, where the Joes are suddenly attacked without provocation by a large Cobra force.

3) You travel a lot to play in big tourneys. What were your strategies and tactics you developed for the NOVA Open? Did you play test a lot for NOVA? If so how did you go about play testing? For example I am a competitive tourney player and typically only play games outside of tourneys versus good friends who always give me a big challenge. Do you try to schedule games versus the top meta lists? I asked these same questions to Blackmoor so I'm very interested to hear your response!

That is a good question. Believe it or not, my preparation for tournaments is generally limited to painting. I am a well travelled tournament player and I have been playing for a very long time. I generally travel to 2-4 GT level events per year and play in another 3-5 local level RTTs. I very rarely play any games outside of these tournaments. I have a completely bad ass, over the top game room but literally only play 2-4 games a year outside of tournaments due to a hectic work schedule and family commitments. The NOVA trip was only planned about a month or two in advance. I did play one practice game with a friend who I was going to NOVA with (Devin Schafer – who finished 3rdin the Generalship track) and he pummeled me with his Cortez Henchmen army. This game resulted in a tweak to the list – the addition of a second Commisar led blob squad – but I didn’t actually get to try out the new list until Round 1 at the NOVA.

4) As far as I know this is your first appearance at NOVA. What about this tournament made you decide to attend? How would you compare it to other big tourneys you have attended?

This was indeed my first NOVA. The biggest influence on attending the NOVA was a good friend of mine who lives in North Carolina was going (Charlie Lowry). Charlie talked it up so much that three of our mutual gaming buddies that live over in West Florida had decided to attend. We hadn’t all been in one place to hang out since GW stopped running the Baltimore Grand Tournament and I didn’t want to be left out! I kept it a secret from all of them that I was planning on showing up. I grabbed two friends, drove through a hurricane, and surprised them on Saturday morning!  I can honestly say that the NOVA surpassed all of my expectations. I enjoyed the event more than any tournament that I have ever attended.  My previous favorite had been the GW Dallas GT in 2002, but the NOVA experience even surpassed that event. I hope to make it an annual trek.

5) I know that you are also a big fan of eldar. What changes to the codex would like to see in 6th edition?

Eldar are by far my favorite. I think close combat aspect warriors deserve a bump to initiative so that they are in line with their dark cousins. War Walkers should be moved to fast attack. They don’t fit the heavy support role and this limits army construction. I would love to see Haywire Grenades returned to Striking Scorpions and Swooping Hawks given a gun that can actually hurt something as well as an exarch option for a high strength anti-tank weapon. Plastic Wraithguard would be the icing on the cake. Vypers, and to a lesser extent Wave Serpents, could use a reduction in points cost.

6) What drew you to play both Imperial Guard and eldar?

I love Citadel miniatures! I actually have fully painted Eldar, Imperial Guard, Necrons, and Tau and am painting Blood Angels at the moment. Dark Eldar are next in line. I like having different armies that play differently as it keeps the game interesting.

7) What armies (and why obviously) give you the toughest match ups for your Cobra army? What have you done to better prepare for those particular armies?

Ravenwing or Khan Marine Bike lists and so-called Fatecrusher lists are a nightmare! When you only wound on a 6 with shooting and assault attacks, it is going to be a rough day at the office!!! I have added more special weapons to my squads in order to try and combat T5 models, but they still give me fits as I do not really like to run heavy weapons due to the lack of mobility they entail. I also finally added a Manticore.

8) Tell us about what originally drew you to 40k and how you learned to be such a great artist.

I enjoyed building WWII models as a kid and initially bought a box of RTB-01 Space Marines because they looked cool and I wanted to build and paint them. I had grown up playing Milton Bradley games like Axis & Allies and Conquest of the Empire and was a fan of Avalon Hill strategy games. When the 2nd Edition 40k boxed set released I picked it up more for the models than the game, but soon became very addicted to playing. It appealed to me because it combined my enjoyment of modeling with my enjoyment of gaming. For that reason, it has held my interest for nearly 20 years!!! As far as “great artist”, that is too generous a description, but I would have to say primarily through years and years of practice. I had won a lot of best painted model and best painted army awards at gaming conventions and RTTs over the years and finally won a Golden Daemon at an Atlanta Games Day several years ago, so I had a good established foundation of skills. A couple years back, I had the good fortune of meeting up with multiple Golden Daemon winner and former Staff Slayer Sword winner Fred Reed when he moved here to Florida. We quickly became good friends and gaming buddies. He paints miniatures for a living and it’s all he does. Having the opportunity to regularly hang out painting side by side with him and receiving one on one instruction has really taken my skill set to the next level and I owe him a great deal of gratitude.

Congratulations on your big win! It is not a surprise to me at all.

Monday, September 05, 2011

EDITORIAL - Grey Knights • Tough Nut to Crack

I have been seeing some complaints about the power level of Grey Knights recently. When I first saw the leaked version of the codex I couldn't believe it - Grey Knights looked like an army that just couldn't lose. I didn't like the codex and felt just like those who are complaining now. I was just getting into the new dark eldar at the time. I can't honestly remember what made me change my mind but I think it had something to do with the ability to field an entire army of psychic terminators. So I studied the codex in depth when it was released and decided to go ahead and build an army. It's been a lot of fun and I think I've only lost four to five games so far. Winning is almost always fun but the strong tactics the army has at it's disposal is the main reason why I enjoy playing the army plus this is my second fifth edition army that is centered around shooting - I'll cover that aspect in more detail below.

The other fifth edition armies I've played so far are Khornate daemons, Blood Angels and Dark Eldar. I also toyed around with Chaos Space Marines (I consider them a fifth edition army even though the codex was released towards the end of fourth edition - daemon princes have the Eternal Warrior USR for example) but I could never really get into that codex having played lots of different armies from the previous codex... Pretty much each of the four cults - that is, Emperor's Children, Deathguard, World Eaters and Thousand Sons.

Are Grey Knights really that overpowered? Imperial Guard and Space Wolves are also considered by many to be quite broken. I still have a tough time versus good Imperial Guard players - it's kind of a ridiculous codex but we just have to deal with it. Bitching and moaning is not going to ever make you a better player. I do think Grey Knights and Imperial Guard are probably the two most powerful armies followed closely by Space Wolves and Deathwing then finally Blood Angels to close out the top tier. This is how I'd rank the top tier:

Grey Knights
Imperial Guard
Space Wolves
Blood Angels

As I said above Grey Knights and Dark Eldar are the two armies I've played in fifth edition that have a lot of shooting going on. I like Grey Knights better in this regard because they are much more durable (obviously). It's nice to play an army that can go toe to toe with Imperial Guard or missile spam Space Wolves.

I had been heavily playing Blood Angels for many years until I finally burnt out on the army and needed a change of pace. I played them throughout 3rd edition then into fourth edition with the PDF codex and continued to follow them with the release of their new fifth edition codex. The burn out came at the Adepticon championship this year - my dice went belly up on me and I had been preparing for that tournament for the better part of a year... Right now I still have no desire to play them but I'm sure I'll come back to my Blood Angels again one day.

So to the people complaining about Grey Knights I have to say get over it. I heard all the same complaints about Imperial Guard and Space Wolves. It's just part of the game and that's not ever going to really change anytime soon if ever. To me it's nice to see the players who have followed Grey Knights over the years get a good codex. I bet that within a year the meta will significantly shift again... As it always does. Another aspect I love about the new codex is all the different types of armies you can play plus I like to see armies that don't have to rely upon heavy mech to do well... It's refreshing.

Saturday, September 03, 2011

Sep. 8 (Thurs) BeakyCon Get Together @ Anthem Games

This Thursday at Anthem Games we will have another get together evening for local players to meet and play some 40k. The last one was well attended. I'll be there around 6:30-7pm. Anthem Games is located on Erlich Road right off the Veterans Expressway in Tampa. There is a link to the shop's website on this blog.