Friday, 30 November 2012

The Headquarters of Villainy

You may have noticed that when I have been writing posts for this place, they have mainly been about Chaos.  Well, this time I thought for a change that we would talk about Chaos again.  Not the same disorganised jumble of thoughts as the last post, but more based around a problem I’m having with my army as it stands.

Well, maybe ‘problem’ is overstating it.  I enjoy the army a lot and it’s solid without (I think) being dickish, although you’d doubtless find those who would disagree with that assessment. The quandary I’ve got is really an overabundance of HQ choices, all of which I like very much.  And that’s the rub.  It’s hard to settle for one combo in particular.  Here’s the rundown:

Chaos Lord with Black Mace, Sigil of Corruption, Mark of Slaanesh: 150pts.  This guy is really my go-to Warlord.  The Black Mace is quite horrific and the Fearless rule he’s got makes him a very handy unit buff for either the regular CSM or the Cultists.  He comes in nice and cheap (for a Marine-type HQ at any rate) and can punch exceptionally hard with that mace.  Also, he allows me to take Noise Marines as Troops, which is a very useful trait.

Warpsmith with Burning Brand of Skalathrax, Veterans of the Long War and Aura of Dark Glory: 165pts.  Vital for my storyline as he’s the creator of my Daemon engines and the source of my Cultists (indentured Mechanicum serfs infect with scrapcode).  It’s nice to have a more ranged HQ unit, even if the range is short, and he’s not a slouch in assault, with 4 attacks flatfooted at S5 AP2, even if he is striking last.  The Brand makes him a monster versus foot Marines and also contributes to a decent Overwatch if his unit gets charged.  I used to run him with a Mark of Khorne as well, but it was far better synergistically for him to have the option of running with the CSM, and having a rival Mark would preclude that.  Also, it was easy to justify in storyline, as he is more mad and corrupted than a pure and voluntary Chaos devotee.  He also lets me weaken a piece of terrain for my opponent, which is very handy against some armies.

Level 3 Sorcerer with Terminator Armour and Mark of Slaanesh: 150pts.  I really like using Psychic powers in this edition and the Sorcerers are an excellent source of random nastiness.  I usually pack one Slaaneshi power and two Biomancy ones, and they can pan out nicely, with decent odds of getting something really cool to use.  The Terminator armour really helps with survivability against small arms fire and anyone not packing dedicated AP2 kit, with the cost of reducing the number of his attacks in any given fight.  I’m still undecided as to what force weapon to give him.  Sword is good for marine killing, Staff is better for everything else (including Terminators) and Axe is way out.  I have a Mark of Slaanesh.  I don’t want to waste it using an axe.  Now, I like this guy, but he has a brother:

Level 3 Sorcerer with Mark of Slaanesh, Sigil of Corruption and Jump Pack: 150pts.  I like this guy for similar reasons to his brother, but he has the advantage of a great deal of manoeuvrability and a better invulnerable save and an extra attack for two close combat weapons.  When I field him, he’s tied to a Warp Talon unit, so if I’m not playing my Talons, then he doesn’t see the field mainly because one jump packer on his own is just going to get punked.  Nevertheless, he packs a harder punch in combat than the Terminator and can run down enemies as well.  He and his squad are very much anti-Marine specialists.

The annoyance for me is whichever two I take, I feel like I’m missing out on the cool stuff the others can do.  I should quit complaining about this, because this is surely the sign of something going very right!  Maybe it’s a sign that I should play bigger games in order to include all of them, who knows?

As an additional complication, when assembling the Terminator Sorcerer, I found out that I really like the Chaos Terminator Lord kit.  So now, Lord Hieronymus Reach of the Whispered Word may be getting an armour upgrade!  Obviously, this brings new aspects to be considered.  Losing an attack doesn’t matter as much when you’re wielding a Daemon Weapon and the 2+ regular save (new and improved in 6th!) will probably more than balance out the downgrade of his Invulnerable Save from 4+ to 5+ (no, I am not buying a Sigil of Corruption for a Terminator! Unless he’s Tzeentch, then it’s cool).  The big deal from a rule standpoint is the inability for him or his unit to run down enemies in assault.  With rallying being far easier and shepherding units of the board simply not happening any more, this could be a very bad thing, but a risk I reckon he’ll be willing to take.  After all, you don’t get a roll on the boon table if you just run down an enemy character.  You need to murder them properly.  Also, the other roadblock for me is that I'm using the maul-wielding Chosen from Dark Vengeance, and I love the model.  He just looks like a leader and he is very much who I picture when I think of Lord Reach.  Awesome as the Chaos terminator Lord kit is, If I had an option for artificier armour for this guy, then the Terminator armour wouldn't even get a second thought!

So anyway, that’s the state of play at the moment.  There could be a lot of 3,000 point games in my future if I want to run everything!

So long, for now…

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

In which I try to say something, but fail...

I’ve been playing a few games with my Chaos now and I’m starting to get a bit more of a feel as to how they play.  The results have been interesting and not entirely what I expected.  One of the things that surprised me was just how assault oriented my army has become.  That wasn’t really part of the plan.  They were meant to be fairly evenly divided between shooting and close combat, with the Heldrake, Forgefiend, Noise Marines and throngs of gun-toting cultists laying down a torrent of fire, with my CSM going for a jack-of-all-trades feel with bolters and additional assault weapons.  But repeated plays have whittled this down a little.  The Marines have dropped their bolters, the cultists do nothing bar desperate point-defence point-capture.  I’m seriously considering switching my Forgefiend for another Maulerfiend.

I played a 3,000 point game versus Deathwing/Codex Bike Marines a while back and was surprised to find out that about two thirds of the list didn’t have a range longer than 12” and half of them didn’t have a ranged weapon at all.  As I flooded the field with Possessed, Maulerfiends, Warp Talons and Spawn, I couldn’t help but think that maybe this was a subconscious backlash against playing the Necrons for so long.

This development appears to go against a lot of what the new edition seems to trumpet with the increased effectiveness of shooting vs assault and the advent of Flyers.  However, the Chaos codex does seem to be very much weighted in this direction from certain viewpoints.  The obsession with Challenges and the preponderance of short range shooting (Chaos weapon ranges do tend towards the shorter side of the spectrum when compared to their Imperial counterparts) do give that impression after all.

That’s not to say they can’t put lead downfield, as Havocs and Forgefiends can testify.  But even then, that’s only 48” at best and all in the heavy support slot.  You can have the occasional ranged specialist in the other slots, like Noise Marines, Chosen and Terminators, and you can get a smattering of heavy weapons for your troops, but it hardly dispels the image of Chaos being very much in the “Hack! Slash! Sever! Rend!” camp.  And I’ve decided to embrace that aspect of them a bit more in my lists.  Hence the third Maulerfiend.

And that’s the crux of the post really.  In every game I’ve played, the Forgefiend is a priority target for my opponent, which is understandable. 8 S8 shots a turn can be very scary.  The problem I’m encountering is a similar one that plagues the Venom.  The number of shots doesn’t necessarily add up to a lot of damage.  A mass of S8 Autocannon shots is all big and scary on a Dreadnought, because said Dreadnought is packing BS4 and twin-linked guns.  Per Dread, they will average the same number of hits as the fiend plus they’re cheaper and you can bring more along.  Don’t get me wrong here, I’m not complaining about the Forgefiend, I’m just trying to say that the perceived threat of the thing is definitely greater than what it can actually dish out. 

The Maulerfiends seem to be more on the other side of the spectrum.  At least, that is, until people see them move.  Stat wise, I suppose they’re not particularly impressive, as they come across as a standard dreadnought, albeit one with no ranged weaponry at all.  The look bigger, obviously, because they are, but they still only have 3 Hull Points and so can be fairly easy to write off on paper unlike the 4HP Defiler.  Then they move, and that’s when you can identify the people who haven’t looked at the Codex much by the expression of confusion and apprehension they exhibit when you explain that, yes they move 12” and no, they don’t care about difficult terrain and, yes they’re fleet as well.

Oh, and they have an Invulnerable Save.

Anyway, that’s my brief paean to close combat with my Chaos at the moment.  Not the most coherent of monologues, but things have been a bit weird at work, and as that’s where I write all this, any workplace strangeness is going to have a knock-on effect.

My next post ought to be less disjointed as I may actually have a point!

So long.

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Living for the Weekend(er)

Well, over the weekend I’ll be in Nottingham for the Black Library Weekender and I’m quite looking forward to it.  The main focus of my time will of course be on the various seminars and signings, but I thought that I may as well mention a few things I’m amped about going into this thing.

The first is the pre-release stuff.  It’s an outside chance, but I’m really hoping that Path of the Incubus will be up for sale.  Four months ahead of release isn’t that long is it?  Definitely looking forward to that.  It’s probably not pre-release, but I’m itching to get my hands on Pariah.  The Inquisitor series by Dan Abnett are still in my mind as the best series (or series of series) in 40K literature and I dearly want to read more about it, even if we know what happens to Zael now…

I’m also enthused about hearing more from Chris Wraight, who has done a really good job with my favourite chapter, the Iron Hands.  He has so precisely nailed my vision of the Iron Hands in Flesh and Wrath of Iron, and although the latter of those titles is a real downer (and Flesh is only a little bit less of one), I feel that they are some of the most ‘pure’ 40K I’ve read.  This universe is cruel, nasty and it hates you.  You are insignificant and your death will mean nothing.  Even the good guys are bastards.  It’s something that most other 40k books shy away from, but something that is key to the universe and that Wrath of Iron bravely embraces.  Anyway, enough of that sales pitch.

I’m hoping to finish the book I’m currently reading (Path of the Outcast, for those that are interested) in time to make a decent start on any of the swag I hope to accrue on this trip.  I’m also hoping to finish it so that I don’t embarrass myself if I try to talk to Gav about it.  His Path of the Eldar trilogy is a really interesting read for anyone who wants to understand the Eldar mindset and explore the Path system.  If you just want a fighty book with cool aliens and shit, however, I wouldn’t recommend it.  I read a review of Path of the Seer claiming that the end battle was good, but it wasn’t worth wading through the gumf and padding in the first half of the book.  It was a bit of the a headshaking moment for me, as the ‘gumf and padding’ is the point of the book.  It’s not an ‘Eldar Battles’ book, it’s an exercise in world-building and the exploration of an alien race.  Anyway, I digress.

It would also be fun to catch up with Sarah Cawkwell and see what she thinks of the new Valkia model (and what took GW so bloody long?).

The thing I’m most looking forward to is just the whole experience of it; hanging out with a bunch of nerds and a few friends and hopefully reinitialising contact with old podcast guests and having a chat with them over some booze.  If any listeners are headed to the weekender and want to say hi, then let me know.  Twitter, email, hollering, the usual methods.

So long!