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Happiness is success... (Buddha)
Wednesday, July 30, 2014
I am a tournament organizer (TO) for a small Grand Tournament in Florida - this October will be our fourth consecutive year in a row. I am no stranger to allegations of cheating. My personal philosophy is as follows now based upon my overall experience:
— everyone attending is informed well in advance that cheating and intentional slow play will not be tolerated. The judges roam the tables and keep their ears open. If a player feels they have been cheated or their opponent is trying to pull the wool over their eyes this must be immediately reported to a judge. We can't easily go back and change the results if an allegation is made the next day or even later following the event.
— all games must go four turns or else it's an automatic loss for both players.
The second year of our circuit a player was accused of using a loaded dice at the very start of the third round. This garnered public attention via entities such as the Blood of Kitten blog and was hashed over in a thread in the Tournaments forum at Dakka Dakka. Inspection of the dice in question revealed it was loaded with a metal plate on one side so that it would always roll a six. The dice would noticeably wobble whenever rolled. The player in question claimed innocence stating it was a random dice they picked up at their local FLGS from a dice bucket. The player was allowed to play out the tournament but was made ineligible from any prize support and was always matched against the lowest ranked player in all subsequent rounds. His first and second round opponents were later interviewed and it was discovered the player in question was using the loaded dice during those two games for situations such as cover saves for example. He was then permanently banned and his name was openly provided to other regional TOs that inquired. This was probably not the best way to have handled the situation but some strong actions were taken including a permanent ban as previously stated and the following year we provided all the dice so this situation could not re occur. We have enacted a stronger policy now as noted above... If we are immediately informed and it's proven the alleged did cheat they are automatically ejected and must vacate the venue.
Immediately Informing the TOs
It's of utmost importance that the player claiming to have been cheated let's the TOs know as soon as it occurs so that action can be taken immediately. Any allegation made after the event is over is a no win situation for everyone and puts the TO in an extremely difficult situation. First there must be some proof to validate any allegation of cheating which is much harder to fairly prove after the event is over. If there is no strong evidence available then it's basically one person's word against another... Unfortunately there are those that believe whatever they read on the Internet even if there is no strong basis to support the claim being easily swayed by an emotional argument and as a result a witch hunt can quickly ensue. The true victims are the TOs and the accused assuming they were actually in the right.
Current Subject Matter—Bay Area Open
This type of situation very recently occurred following the Bay Area Open (BAO), which is why I'm discussing it now and can be found here following this link:
The writer of this blog claimed amongst other things that while playing the eventual winner of the BAO the following occurred:
— said winner declared Khan (White Scars special character) has a 3++ invulnerable save. Khan actually has a 4++ invulnerable save due to his Iron Halo. I'd like to think the vast majority of competitive tournament players know that an Iron Halo confers a 4++ invulnerable save... Note that Khan's rules and wargear are mostly unchanged since the previous Space Marine codex.
The consequences of these allegations have since made their way over to Dakka Dakka in a thread on the BAO which can be found below in the link to the Tournaments forum:
If you peruse this thread you can see for yourself there is no real hard evidence to support any of the claims of cheating other than unsubstantiated venomous statements from others who apparently don't like the BAO overall champion and there are also plenty of posters that believe what has been said with absolute blind faith. On the flip side there are also some other posters who've chimed in following similar reasoning to my own.
CONCLUSION - So What's a poor TO to do
I don't think any TO wants to be caught up in this type of situation... As I said above it is truly a no win scenario for all parties involved. To me this comes across as an act of passive aggression commonly referred to as the sore loser with an axe to grind syndrome. Personally I don't know the BAO overall champion and as such garner no founded opinions. All I can say is I think the situation as a whole would have been much better served if the allegations of cheating had been promptly brought to the attention of the BAO TOs during the GT rather than following it.
Note that I did speak my mind in the Dakka Dakka thread and was given a one day suspension from posting there for voicing my opinions by an anonymous moderator... Oh well.
So what is a TO to do and how should they best handle such a situation? If you ignore it then some will claim this is an open invitation for others to cheat at future events. On the other hand if an action is taken to quell the witch hunt and there is no true direct proof of said cheating other than a mere claim this is an open invitation for sore losers and other haters who don't like the alleged cheater to punish them they via ad hominem attacks and character assassination
for whatever reason. This is the exact opposite of a win win situation... Nobody wins.
Following my original suggestion how to handle cheating right up front during the event can go a long way towards circumventing these types of messy situations... So really guidelines are needed up front and made aware to all players before the first dice is rolled.
Monday, July 28, 2014
1. White Scars Bikers 1 Knight (Steve Sisk)
2. Drop Pod Ultramarines
4. Triptide Tau Formation
5. White Scars Rhino Rush (me)
8. Drop Pod Ultramarines
Looks like the top army was running BikeStar.
Kor'sarro Khan (150)
Command Squad (220)
3× storm shield
Space Marine bikes
Chapter Master (260)
Space Marine bike
The Shield Eternal
4x Space Marine Bikers (184)
4x Space Marine Bikers (174)
4 Space Marine Bikers (174)
4 Space Marine Bikers (189)
2× plasma gun
Stormtalon Gunship (125)
Skyhammer missile launcher
Knight Errant (370)
Saturday, July 26, 2014
Sagas are out, replaced with Warlord Traits
6 new Space Wolves Tactical Objectives
New Space Wolves Psychic Discipline: Tempestas
'Space Wolves Unleashed' Detachment FOC:
Identical to standard FOC, except may take up to 6 HQs
May re-roll Warlord Traits
Each unit joined by an Independent Character rolls a d6, on a 6+ that unit gains Outflank. Troops choices get +2 on this roll.
Great Company Formation:
1 Wolf Lord
1 Wolf Guard Battle Leader
1 unit of Wolf Guard
5 units of Grey Hunters
1 unit of Wolf Scouts
5 units chosen from [Blood Claws, Swiftclaws, or Skyclaws]
2 units of Long Fangs
Grants two special rules, source did not get them
Space Wolves Relics (Source didn't get rules, just name and type of item)
Armor of Russ (Armor)
Bite of Fenris (Bolter with two fire modes)
Black Death (Frost Axe, Rule: Whirldwind of Death)
Helm of Durfast (Wargear)
Fangsword of the Ice Wolf (Frost Sword)
Logan Grimnar - Lord of War - Points = Land Raider
Epic new model, comes with a sort of grav-chariot called 'Stormrider' pulled by two enormous Fenrisian wolves, but he can be used without it as well.
Treated as a vehicle, didn't get AVs, has a 4+ Invulnerable save and cannot suffer Penetrating hits (all Pens are reduced to Glances).
Gives Logan 4 S5 Ap- attacks on a turn when he charges.
Logan loses Deep Strike if he takes Stormrider
Lots of other cool rules, but didn't get those.
Ulrik the Slayer
The resin Thunderwolf Cavalry character model assigned a name
Bjorn the Fell-Handed
Epic new plastic model, part of a box that makes a regular SW Venerable Dreadnought, Bjorn, or a new special character Dreadnought named 'Murderfang'.
No longer becomes a VP objective when he dies
Starting at Mastery Level 2
Wolf Guard Battle Leader
Blood Claws Pack
12 points per model
Wolf Guard Leader upgrade available
May take a Stormwolf as a Dedicated Transport
Lukas the Trickster
Grey Hunters Pack (still have access to uber grit !!!)
14 points per model with a Bolter and Bolt Pistol
Any model may add a Close Combat Weapon for +2 points
One Special weapon per full five models still, but costs raised to same as C:SMs
Wolf Guard Upgrade available
May take a Stormwolf as a Dedicated Transport
No other information
Similar to old codex
Crazy-awesome special character Venerable Dreadnought
Wolverine + Dreadnought + Extra Insanity = Murderfang
WS5 BS3 S6 F12 S12 R10 I4 A4 HP3
'Murderclaws' with underslung Storm Bolter and Heavy Flamer
It Will Not Die
May take a Drop Pod
'Murderclaws' - A pair of enormous, even for a Dreadnought, Lightning Claws made of 'alien ice that never melts or loses sharpness'
S7 AP2 - Melee, Master-Crafted, Shred, Specialist Weapon
Definitely has an option for a Helfrost Cannon
Can also have an enormous Power Axe and Storm Shield
Some special rules
No new model shown in codex
Options appeared to be nearly identical to old codex, probably a couple points changes though
Can take a unit of 1-5 Servitors, rules also looked the same as old codex
Rules nearly identical to old codex, didn't get points cost
Owning player no longer gains a VP if they die
Wolf Guard Pack
This unit is just for Wolf Guard in Power Armor.
Same cost per model as before
Have a similarly wide array of options as in the old codex
May take a Stormwolf as a Dedicated Transport
Wolf Guard Terminator Pack
33 points per model with Storm Bolter and Power Weapon base
Options (any model in the unit can take these, this isn't all of the options though):
Thunder Hammer & Storm Shield - 15 points
Pair of Wolf Claws - 15 points
Power Fist - 10 points
Frost Axe - 5 points
Frost Sword - 5 points
Combi-weapon - 5 points
Heavy Flamer - 10 points
Assault Cannon - 20 points
Cyclone Missile Launcher - 25 points
May take a Stormwolf as a Dedicated Transport
Mostly the same
-5 points per model from old codex
Skyclaw Assault Pack
-3 points per model from old codex
-10 points per model from old codex
Otherwise similar to old codex
As noted previously:
Stormwolf - Fast Attack
BS4 - F12 S12 R12 HP3 - Vehicle (Flyer, Hover, Transport)
Twin-linked helfrost cannon
Two twin-linked heavy bolters - May be replaced with a Skyhammer launcher for free, or two twin-linked multi-meltas for 20pts
Power of the Machine Spirit
Transport Capacity - sixteen models
Fire Points - none
Access Points - One ramp at the front of the hull
Stormfang Gunship - Heavy Support
BS4 - F12 S12 R12 HP3 - Vehicle (Flyer, Hover Transport)
Two twin-linked heavy bolters - May be replaced with a Skyhammer launcher for free, or two twin-linked multi-meltas for 20 pts
Two Stormstrike missiles - May be replaced with a twin-linked lascannon for 15 pts
Power of the Machine Spirit
Transport Capacity - six models
Fire Points - none
Access Points - One at rear of the hull
dispersed - R24" S6 AP3 Heavy 1, Helfrost, Blast
focussed - R24" S8 AP1 Heavy 1, Helfrost
dispersed - R24" S6 AP3 Heavy 1, Helfrost, Large Blast
focussed - R24" S8 AP1 Heavy 1, Helfrost, Lance
Helfrost - If a model suffers one or more unsaved wounds from this weapon, it must pass a separate Strength test for each wound suffered or be removed from play
Land Speeder Squadron
Same as Codex: Space Marines
Fenrisian Wolf Pack
Nearly identical to old codex
Long Fangs Pack
Couple of new options for squad leader, who is now called a 'Long Fang Ancient'
Might be able to take a Stormwolf/Stormfang as a Dedicated Transport
Same as Codex: Space Marines
Same as Codex: Space Marines
Same as Codex: Space Marines
Land Raider and variants
Same as Codex: Space Marines
Rhino and Razorback
No Helfrost Cannon option for the Razorback, same as Codex: Space Marines
Same as Codex: Space Marines
Notable Exclusions from Codex: Space Marines
No Storm Raven
No Hunter or Stalker
Space Wolves AA options:
ADL w. gun emplacement
Friday, July 25, 2014
Thursday, July 24, 2014
So far it's looking like the major events will still be using objectives from the Eternal War missions so objective secured (OS) is a big deal. The Maelstrom missions with tactical objectives seems promising but a lot of tournament players have said it needs some work for competitive play such as eliminating cards that can't be scored. There are also tactical objectives you can score in theory but probably won't ever happen. I played my first game (2 vs. 2) using the Maelstrom mission this weekend—my team scored the vast majority of our victory points the first two turns racking up a big lead then slowly fell behind and couldn't close the gap. My team's armies weren't all that well designed for Maelstrom though while our opponents' were much better suited for it (Space Marines vs. Tyranids). Also I was more focused on eliminating enemy units I deemed the highest threats opposed to scoring tactical objectives and as the game progressed it became nigh impossible to secure objectives in the enemy deployment zone (e.g., Tervigons spawning gants to gain positional dominance).
I realized this type of format really helps armies not deemed top tier become more competitive—it's really good for the Hive Mind and they are very good at adapting to change. I do think with a lot of the big events featuring multiple primary goals there is definitely a place for the Maestrom missions and it will make games more fun to play as opposed to what we are used to traditionally playing. For example I personally like how Reecius has incorporated this into his BAO mission format.
Now that the vast majority of units score the question is how many OS are needed? Is it possible to get by with only two OS units with dedicated transports (i.e., four total)? If this is a reliable number (or even three) it will open up some new possibilities for designing our army lists.
From a Space Marine perspective I think drop pod armies are going to be very competitive and we will start to see more of them. A lot of armies struggle to eliminate four or more drop pod units over the course of a game—assuming of course they are not all dropped right at the enemy door step. Mixing in bikes with drop pods gives the army mobility which it needs to deal with fast enemy armies.
Here are two OS units I have found competitive for this type of army:
5x Marine - special weapon
Sergeant - combi weapon - meltabombs
This squad is roughly 150 points. You can select the special weapon and combi weapon based upon what works best with your overall army.
5x Biker - 2x grav gun
Attack Bike - multi-melta
Sergeant - combi grav - meltabombs
This squad is roughly 200 points. The grav guns and multi-melta provides anti tank so you can take plasma weapons for your tactical squads. Obviously a bike mounted Chapter Master is your first choice for an HQ so the bike squads count as troops. The HQ, two tactical squads and two bike squads totals around 950 points providing the core for your army.
You can exchange one tactical squad for a Sternguard Veteran squad. A five man squad with four combi meltas, heavy flamer, meltabombs and a drop pod is 210 points which is a great deal for what you get and brings the core cost up to around 1000 points—so there are still a lot of points left over - you could easily work in a Centurion Devastator squad, Thunderfire cannons, Stormtalons, etc... There is a lot of flexibility here for higher point games.
So while these examples are based upon Space Marines the same type of philosophy can be applied to other armies. There is a need for durable scoring units that can get to where they need to be plus some overall mobility. I do find this to be somewhat of a challenge for pure Tau armies unless they use the Farsight Enclave supplement (i.e., Crisis Suits as troops) or field some Devilfish. Eldar should have no problem on the other hand.
The game has changed more than some first thought with the release of seventh edition and players are still adjusting. The Maelstrom missions has breathed some new life into the game so we must adapt. The game is more dynamic now with the focus on destroying high threat enemy units on the decline. A well designed tactical army should be able to compete with the old deathstars that for so long have dominated the game.
Monday, July 21, 2014
Space Wolf Flyer
It will come in 2 versions:
1) 215 points
Assault transport with 16 models capacity
Twin linked Hellfrost Cannon:
Two fire modes:
- s6 ap3, blast, then it forces a Str test. If the test is failed, the enemy dies
- s8 ap1 , heavy 1 - rest is the same
Heavy Bolters can be upgraded to Multi-Melta or Skyhammer Missile Launcher
2) 220 points
6 models capacity
Hellfrost Cannon (the same as above)
Storm Strike missile
Both flyers have Machine Spirit and Ceramite plating.
It comes with a Helfrost Destructor, two twin-linked heavy bolters, two stormstrike missiles and ceramite plating, with power of the machine spirit. Heavy bolter upgrades to skyhammer missile launcher or two twin linked multi-meltas stormstrike missiles can be upgraded to a twin linked lascannon.
Helfrost Destructor:Dispersed 24" S6 AP3 Hvy1, Helfrost, Large Blast
Focused 24" S8 AP1, Hvy1, Helfrost, Lance
Stormstrike Missile 72" S8 AP2 hvy1 Concussive one shot only
Thursday, July 17, 2014
I am happy to announce we are currently looking for new members. Here is a link to our forums...
Come check it out !
We have very high standards - historically we have recruited competitive gamers that travel to play in big events and have a winning way. That said sportsmanship is always the most important—we want our opponents to look forward to games with our members. Being a great sport always comes first !
Here is what someone recently had to say about 40kWC:
Every time I was at a tournament and across from me was a guy wearing a WC shirt, I knew I was in for a great game, both tactically and otherwise. Every mistake made would be seized upon and exploited. Gareth beat me one game and i am still trying to figure out how...
We are also looking for up and coming gamers and top hobbyists. If you are an awesome painter or can pull off some amazing conversions we are also interested in you. I actually spend more time now modeling and painting as opposed to gaming.
One of the perks of being a member is when you travel to events you'll have club mates to hang out with while you're there. We also like to help players design their armies and tweak them for that extra little oomph ! Over the years we have helped lots of gamers design some powerful armies. Some like a traditional or classic approach while others want something totally unique—it's all good.
We have a saying — WC is for life. Well at least that's the way it should be so no one is quitting the club, which is definitely a good thing.
Wednesday, July 16, 2014
Another great year - my team ended up at number 16 out of 34. I think that's pretty good when you consider that except for the first round all the other teams we played placed in the top ten if not top five. I definitely could have done a lot better... It's tough getting seized on twice in a row—especially versus a Tau gun line. Also four out of my six opponents placed in the top 25 out of 170 players too. Oh well enough with the excuses.
I consider this one of the most intense events in the US. You always see a lot of the top players there... It's like the Who's Who of competitive 40k.
First I'll summarize how the event works.
Each team is composed of five players and no two players on the same team can take the same codex or supplement for their CAD (combined arms detachment) or allied detachment. So for example only one player on a team can take Space Marines for their CAD or allied detachment.
At the beginning of each round the two captains roll off for the choice to put down the first army list. If you put down the first list the other team gets to pick who'll face off against it and your team chooses the table. The teams then alternate until everyone is paired.
Obviously the match ups are very strategic and dictate which team will score more points. A lot of people tend to think it's best to put out the first list. Therefore following this strategy you need one army that is very well rounded and is often referred to as the Beast. What I've found is typically the second and fourth players to choose an opponent tend to get the best match ups (again assuming their team put down the first army list) plus their first and third players can choose from most of the tables best suited for their armies. It can be random for the last two players since most of the armies have already been paired and typically the best tables have already been chosen. As the captain of my team I let my players pick their match ups first and usually was paired third or fifth.
Using teams A and B it works like this if your team puts down the first army list:
A1 vs B1 (choose table) /best table
A2 vs B2 (choose which army you want to face off) /best match up
A3 vs B3 (choose table) /third best table
A4 vs B4 (choose which army you want to face off) /second best match up
A5 vs B5 (choose table)
So if your team has a Beast you will often get at least three good match ups plus two good tables suited toward your team's armies—keeping in mind match ups tend to trump the choice of tables.
The mission is the same every round except for deployment and Night Fight which vary.
There are three primary goals:
Crusade - 4 objective markers, two of which must be placed outside of the deployment zones.
Purge the Alien - Kill points.
Each primary goal is worth 8 victory points if you win or 4 victory points if you draw.
There are also three secondary goals:
First Blood - Slay the Warlord - Line Breaker
Each secondary goal is worth 2 victory points and both players can score these so the maximum possible victory points one player can score is 30 points per round.
Results Based upon Armies
Now we take a look at the final results based upon armies to see what the meta looks like based upon the ATC.
01. Space Marines - 22
02. Necrons - 22
03. Eldar - 21
04. Grey Knights - 16
05. Daemons - 15
06. Tau - 15
07. Imperial Guard - 11
08. Imperial Knights - 11
09. Chaos Marines - 7
10. Blood Angels - 7
11. Orks - 6
12. Tyranids - 5
13. Dark Eldar - 5
14. Dark Angels - 4
15. Space Wolves - 1
16. Black Templars - 1
17. Sisters of Battle - 1
Note there is a fairly sharp drop off after the eighth codex and the last seven total only one over the numbers represented by the two most popular armies.
Here are the top 50 armies with their total scores (each out of a possible 180 points):
01. Dark Eldar (172)
02. Eldar (170)
03. Imperial Knights (160)
04. Grey Knights (158)
05. Eldar (158)
06. Imperial Knights (154)
07. Eldar (152)
08. Eldar (152)
09. Imperial Knights (150)
10. Necrons (150)
3x Imperial Knights
1x Dark Eldar
1x Grey Knights
Eldar dominate the top ten closely followed by Imperial Knights.
11. Necrons (148)
12. Space Marines (148)
13. Tyranids (148)
14. Necrons (146)
15. Tau (144)
16. Space Marines (142)
17. Dark Eldar (142)
18. Grey Knights (140)"
19. Imperial Knights (140)
20. Space Marines (140)
21. Orks (138)
22. Necrons (138)
23. Daemons (136)
24. Space Marines (134)
25. Orks (134)
4x Imperial Knights
4x Space Marines
2x Dark Eldar
2x Grey Knights
Eldar, Necrons, Imperial Knights and Space Marines take the top spots.
26. Dark Eldar (134)
27. Space Marines (132)
28. Grey Knights (132)
29. Space Marines (132)
30. Tau (132)
31. Daemons (130)
32. Tau (130)
33. Blood Angels (128)
34. Imperial Knights (126)
35. Imperial Knights (126)
36. Space Marines (124)
37. Eldar (124)
38. Necrons (124)
39. Imperial Knights (124)
40. Grey Knights (122)
41. Necrons (122)@
42. Eldar (122)
43. Eldar (122)
44. Necrons (120)
45. Daemons (118)
46. Eldar (118)
47. Dark Angels (118)
48. Tau (118)
49. Grey Knights (116)
50. Necrons (116)
7x Imperial Knights
7x Space Marines
5x Grey Knights
3x Dark Eldar
1x Dark Angels
Here are the weighted results for the top 50 by Jason C on BoLS. The top 50 are weighted by the number of each army per codex (CAD) to determine the winning rates (%).
Amount in the Top 50—# per Army Played—Rate
Imperial Knights: 7—11—64%
Dark Eldar: 3—5—60%
Space Marines: 7—22—31%
Grey Knights: 5—16—31%
Dark Angels: 1—4—25%
Eldar, Necrons, Imperial Knights and Space Marines take the top spots. A big kudos to the Dark Angels and Tyranid players - way to represent !
Of course with so many Eldar, Necron, Imperial Knights and Space Marine armies the odds were in their favor and they probably got to choose great match ups as well. Both Daemons and Tau have fallen in rank.
Sunday, July 13, 2014
Saturday, July 12, 2014
Friday, July 11, 2014
Here is my 1850 point list:
Khan - Moondrakken
Chapter Master - Bike - Artificer Armor - Thunderhammer - Shield Eternal
Command Squad - Bikes
4x Stormshield - 4x Grav Gun - 3x Meltabomb - Thunderhammer
6x Biker - 2x Grav Gun
Attack Bike - Multi-Melta
Sergeant - Combi Grav - Meltabombs
6x Biker - 2x Grav Gun
Attack Bike - Multi-Melta
Sergeant - Combi Grav - Meltabombs
Wolf Lord - Bike - Runic Armor - Thunderhammer - Saga of the Bear -Wolf Tooth Necklace
Rune Priest - Bike - Runic Armor - Meltabombs
Level 2 Psyker
10x Grey Hunter - 2x Meltagun - Plasma Pistol - Wolf Standard - Mark of the Wulfen - Power Axe
— Don't reserve any of the bike squads. I learned this the hard way.
— Go straight at the enemy... Don't be holding back. Very few armies will have anything left on the ground versus this army.
— Just like Jetseer Council BikeStar can split up late game to hold multiple objectives and cause mayhem.
— Use the Grey Hunters as a distraction the enemy cannot ignore. They will buy time for your bikes to fully engage. They are loaded for bear.
This is one of the two deathstars to survive intact along with Jetseer Council. It is still very strong but requires a solid general to win.
The allied detachment can make or break this army. While there are several good choices Space Wolves are the best.
Why Space Wolves
Space Wolves unlock a second beat stick HQ - the Bear Lord:
Wolf Lord - Bike - Runic Armor - Stormshield - Thunderhammer - Wolf Tooth Necklace - Saga of the Bear
The Bear Lord is another Eternal Warrior with the 2+/3++ save and swings a mean stick too, plus he always hits on 3++ (Wolf Tooth Necklace). which is a great boon versus any enemy unit with Invisibility. The Bear Lord also has a large number of attacks in melee. You can also equip him with the Wolf Tail Talisman which is a nice little perk to boost your Deny the Witch rolls when your opponent attempts to cast a malediction on your BikeStar.
Space Wolves have access to a second HQ. I run a Rune Priest which was an auto include back in sixth edition since the Rune Staff automatically blocked enemy psychic powers up to 24" away on a 4+... It's not as good now with the new SW FAQ but it's still fairly potent (Deny the Witch on a 5+). The Rune Priest can still cast Prescience on the BikeStar, which while two warp charges now, is a huge offensive boost for both shooting grav guns and attacks in melee. I have been experimenting with Biomancy lately - if you roll up the right spells such as Iron Arm the Rune Priest morphs into a scary monster... +3 to both S (S7) and T (T8) plus he gains Smash which grants his melee attacks AP2—coupled with his force weapon this is really good. Always remember to cast Force versus tough multi-wound enemy units! Finally the Rune Priest should always be equipped with runic armor and meltabombs. Life Leech is great for restoring wounds to characters attached to the BikeStar. Endurance makes all the characters Eternal Warrior plus a 4+ Feel No Pain (FNP).
Grey Hunters are still one of the best troops in the game - especially for the points. I experimented a lot, first starting with two squads then eventually boiled it down to one full squad which I often refer to as Loaded for Bear...
Wolf Standard - Mark of the Wulfen - Power Axe - 2x Meltagun - Plasma Pistol
Of course they arrive via drop pod and are an excellent disruption unit. My Grey Hunters are a staple unit.
Other Allied Choices
The first one that springs to mind are Iron Hands using the Clan Raccoon supplement - you can take another Chapter Master mounted on a bike with the Gorgon's Chains. This would also allow you to take up to two more biker squads - so you can flood the table with bikes. I haven't tried it yet though so I don't have any real experience using them but I think it could work... No psychic powers though and no psychic defense.
I'll stick with Space Wolves as my allied choice for the remainder of this series of articles since that's what I know. The third article will demonstrate how to flush out your army list.
Wednesday, July 09, 2014
The new Space Marine codex is the best platform to build a biker army since the ancient Chapter Approved Adeptus Astartes article for White Scars that was released in White Dwarf over a decade ago. White Scars are the best designed Chapter along with Ultramarines and have the perfect combination of combat tactics for a bike army:
- Hit and Run
- +1S Hammer of Wrath
- Skilled Rider
- +1 Jink
These are a lot of universal special rules (USRs) and they all perfectly mesh together.
NOTE - Any unit that scout moves cannot charge the first game turn.
Khan and BikexanderKhan is the perfect choice as the Warlord since he allows you to scout your entire detachment of bikes. At first I was not very impressed with Khan other than this special rule but having played the army a lot I can now say if properly utilized he can be quite deadly... For example Khan can insta gib a Riptide or Wraithknight on the charge since he had Furious Charge and any roll of 6 to wound inflicts Instant Death in melee—casting Prescience on his unit really helps a lot in this regard.
Bikexander (i.e., Chapter Master - bike - artificer armor - thunderhammer) works best with this army. Bikexander is one of the ultimate tanks with T5, four wounds and 2+/3++. Many games I don't even use his Orbital Strike as I feel if you over commit to this shooting attack it can take you out of your game plan—it's best used during the first turn to snipe a hard to reach enemy unit—again casting Prescience or Perfect Timing helps a lot to maximize its effectiveness. If you place the pie plate over multiple enemy units then only the primary target can jink which is fantastic for sniping two Wave Serpents with one shot.
The Command SquadThe command squad is the heart of BikeStar. It can soak an insane amount of damage and dish it right back out. I run mine as follows:
Bikes - 4x Stormshield - 4x Grav Gun - 3x Meltabombs - Thunderhsmmer
Attach all your characters to this unit. This makes the unit that much more survivable. Late game you can split off characters to grab multiple objectives aka Voltron as need be.
Grav WeaponsBikes are the perfect platform since they are relentless. I much prefer the mobility of the bike versus Devastator Centurions. If you're up against a horde with their tee shirt saves then switch over to the twin linked bolters—you'll have as much fire power as the Centurions' hurricane bolters plus better overall range. Bikes are T5 as well plus White Scars have the 3+ jink save.
MeltabombsEvery squad that has access should take them as the meltabomb is your ace in the hole versus vehicles and super heavies such as the Imperial Knight. All my sergeants have them as well as any character that has access.
Combined Arms DetachmentThere are two schools of thought:
- Many Small Units (MSU)
- Concentrated Units (CU)
MSUField a large number of five man biker squads with two grav guns and a combi-grav per unit. You can also go extreme and field three man biker squads all with with two grav guns and a combi-grav to totally max out your grav weapons. I never delved much into this style of play as I prefer concentrated units. Based upon my experience I have found your army doesn't need the maximum number of grav weapons to be the most effective.
CUI have played many games to flesh out what I consider to be an optimized parent list and I prefer a smaller number of large squads with attack bikes. The attack bike provides the multi-melta which is better suited than gravitron weapons to destroy enemy armor. This is important since armor is making a big comeback now. What I've found is that a couple of large bike squads with attack bikes can soak more damage and will last longer.
I don't mean to say CU is superior to MSU - this is what works the best for me based upon my experience.
Friday, July 04, 2014
Turn 4 Tyranids
The Flyrant and Crone arrive via Ongoing Reserves. So my opponent has left two Flyrants, two Crones and the Rippers. I've got BikeStar (mostly intact), biker squad and the lone biker sergeant.
Rippers move in position to claim one of the Crusade objective markers. Both Flyrants zoom in position to focus fire on the biker squad while the two Crones go after the lone biker.
Nothing to note happened in the psychic phase.
Shooting sees the lone biker sergeant finally snuffs it. The biker squad is also eradicated by overwhelming fire power from the dual Flyrants.
Turn 4 BikeStar
BikeStar moves into position to shoot and assault the Biovores.
The Rune Priest successfully casts Enfeeble on the Warlord Flyrant and suffers a wound from Perils in the Warp.
BikeStar shoots up the Biovores.
Turn 5 Tyranids
It could be the last turn. One Crone lands to grab my Emperor's Will objective marker - the other one also lands to grab another Crusade objective Marker. The Warlord Flyrant zooms on top of the multi level ruin to target BikeStar. The other Flyrant will shoot them through a window.
Again nothing to note happened in the psychic phase.
Focused fire on BikerStar reduces the unit to just Khan, Chapter Master and the Wolf Lord.
Turn 5 BikeStar
BikeStar moves back into the ruin and fans out around the Emperor's Will objective marker.
BikeStar then targets the Flyrant and manage to strip another wound bringing the beast down to its last wound.
We roll to see if the game continues - it ends.
Crusade - Tyranids
Emperor's Will - drawn
Purge the Alien - BikeStar (7-4)
First Blood - BikeStar
Slay the Warlord -
Line Breaker - BikeStar & Tyranids
So I win by a margin of two points since I took First Blood (16-14).
Post Game Analysis
I knew it would be a tough game. To be honest even though I did try to seize - so I could possibly gun down a couple of FMCs - going second worked out well since I could always react to my opponent's movement.
The Grey Hunters were clutch tying up the large gant brood long enough for BikeStar to hit the Tyranid line and also inflicting a couple wounds on the Tervigon on the drop. The Grey Hunters also cleared out a gap in the gant screen via shooting so BikeStar could multi assault the Bastion and Tervigon - taking them both down on the charge.
I'm starting to really like Biomancy as the go to psychic lore for BikeStar. I didn't roll up any of the really good psychic powers but twice Enfeeble was very helpful. Iron Arm, Endurance and Life Leech are all really good for BikeStar.
I baited the Knight with BikeStar and that worked out well. I have faced lists with multiple Knights back in 6th edition when D was a whole lot nastier so I wasn't too worried about the one... BikeStar can kill most anything on the ground. BikeStar eliminated almost every enemy ground this game except for the rippers. I had some hot dice versus the Knight at full strength with BikeStar but even if it had managed to survive the first round of melee I could have Hit and Run out.
It's really hard for my army to deal with flyers and FMCs while they are up in the air so I ignore them as much as possible. Tyranid FMCs are not a threat to BikeStar in melee - I love the new rules for challenges as it really helped to better balance this aspect of the game.
The lone biker sergeant drew a lot of heat off the rest of my army for several turns and managed to last a lot longer than I expected. His role as a distraction was fulfilled.
I played to the mission knowing I'd have to get across the table as quickly as possible. I never play to hold my own Emperor's Will objective marker as that goes against the main strength of the army. In the end it was close but BikeStar tipped the scales in my favor.
Thursday, July 03, 2014
1. I enjoyed every game last year. There were never any shenanigans or slow play. That really says a lot to me and is THE best thing about the tournament. Your team will suffer if you don't play straight. Don't ever try to cheat or slow play and always treat each opponent with respect. I tried to go out of my way to make sure every opponent had a fun time.
2. All the best players from across the country come to play. I remember looking around in awe both days. There are no easy games. If your team doesn't do so good one round it's totally possible the next round could be be even tougher. Only a small handful of people will win every game. Some will lose a lot of games but it's not a big deal - try your best though to score some points every round - it will really help your team a lot. Always remember you are part of a team!
3. The mission format is very simple and easy to play once you understand how it works. It's the same mission every time too. To do well the one most important thing is to understand how the mission works:
Crusade—Emperor's Will—Purge the Alien
Each is worth 8 points if you win it - 4 points apiece for draws.
First Blood—Slay the Warlord—Line Breaker
Each is worth 2 points.
4. Read the FAQ over and over—know it like the back of your hand. Print a copy of the FAQ and bring it with you.
5. Know all the rules for your army inside out.
These two steps will save you and your opponents a lot of time... You really don't want to be standing there flipping pages through the rulebook or your codex.
6. The judges expect you and your opponents to resolve any disputes regarding the rules.
7. Play to score points, not to table your opponents. You are part of a team and not everyone is going to win each round. I'd rather do okay every game rather than max out twice... Those donuts really hurt a whole heck of a lot.
8. It's really hard to say which armies will be the best so it's better to bring a well rounded army rather than a one trick pony.
9. There is a strategy to the pairings. Your team should be very flexible and able to adapt each round. If you have to throw down the first army then you get to pick the table. Being able to choose your table can be a big equalizer.
10. Have a good time above all else. This is one of the best tournaments in the world.
Wednesday, July 02, 2014
Turn 2 BikeStar
BikeStar moves into position to multi-assault the Bastion and gants. The full biker squad races around behind the multi level ruin. The lone biker sergeant moves as far as possible away from the main action in order to split up the Tyranid FMCs.
Again the Rune Priest is ineffective in the psychic phase... Oh well.
The full biker unit opts to target the Tervigon instead of the nine freshly shat gants and strip two more wounds.
BikeStar then multi assaults the big gant brood and the Bastion. Bastion goes BOOM... Amazingly one gant survives to keep both the BikeStar and Grey Hunters locked in combat. One Biovore takes two wounds and the implosion crushes the Venomthrope.
Turn 3 Tyranids
Rippers arrive from reserve and deep strike close to a Crusade objective marker.
Both the Warlord Flyrant and Crone return, zooming over the BikeStar but fail to inflict any wounds with their Vector Strikes. The other Crone goes after the lone biker sergeant. The Tervigon shats another 10 gants and poops out whom form a shield around it.
The Tyranids fail to cast Paroxysm on BikeStar... w00t.
The lone biker sergeant manages to avoid death yet again and Warp Lance strips one wound from the drop pod.
BikeStar then eliminates the last gant from the original brood and consolidates towards the Tervigon.
Turn 3 BikeStar
The BikeStar moves into point blank range to assault the Tervigon... They will need to find a way to remove the gant screen. Grey Hunters back up into the multi level ruin training their guns on the new gants while the bike squad moves into position to shoot and assault the freshly hatched gant brood. The lone biker sergeant scoots into a ruin on the far side trying his best to hive again.
The Rune Priest successfully casts Enfeeble on the gants screening the Tervigon from BikeStar. His other psychic powers both fail to go off.
The Grey Hunters shoot first removing enough of the gant shield so that BikeStar can assault the Tervigon. The bike squad vaporize the other gant brood.
BikeStar then multi assaults the Tervigon and last of the gants removing them from the table. BikeStar consolidates behind the multi level ruin.