Friday, 14 March 2014

Skone of Thrulls: Part One

In move of possibly ill-advised optimism, I’m hoping to field Tyranids at the upcoming Throne of Skulls tournament.  There are many reason why this is a potentially bad idea:

1) I’ve only played as ‘Nids once
2) My army is currently not yet painted
3) Throne of Skulls starts in less than a fortnight
Yes, those may appear to be significant drawbacks because, well… they are.  Nevertheless, it’s a challenge, and the only time I get painting done is when I have a deadline, so let’s see if I can rise to the challenge or remain flac… You know, I probably shouldn’t finish that sentence.  Oh well, I have a list mapped out with a (relatively low) model count, the weird basing paints should make that aspect of the work quicker and easier and I have a colour scheme sorted that, after a test paint, looks fairly decent by my own admittedly low standards.

Colour wise, I’m going for a fairly dark scheme, using the lazy man’s version of colouration: black undercoat.  However, I have worked on how to disguise my laziness with washes and drybrushing.  The basic Tyranid model (for me) can basically be split down into three broad areas: flesh, carapace and weapons.  The flesh would be drybrushed with a dark blue and then a very light blue, hopefully to emphasise the darkness without making it look too lazy.  The carapace would be mottled with dark read and then the plates would be edged with a very bright red to draw the eye, and also to detract from the mottling.  I wanted the the red mottling to be a subtle effect, but the usual red paints came up a bit bright from my liking.  Fortunately they darkened down a touch when dried and contrasted with the bright red edging.  The final choice was actually the hardest for me: what colour would I paint the weaponry?  This was tricky as I wanted a third clear colour on the model, but didn’t want to mess up the black/bright red contrast I had going.  Bone and flesh were too bright and ended up competing too much with the red edging on the carapace.  Eventually I settled for a dark brown with a drybushing of a pale flesh shade to break up the colour without overwhelming the rest of the scheme.
The end result now basically looks a bit like an inverse Hive Fleet Behemoth scheme, which is fine by me.  The blue drybrushing tended to make the flesh look more dark blue than black, but you could see detail and the carapace contrast still worked, so I’m not going to complain if the scheme took a couple of steps outside of my original plan.  And so, Hive Fleet Begorrah was born!
Next comes the list itself.  What with the time restraints and everything, I really couldn’t go for a full swarm approach but (for once) that was fine by me.  I have a habit of assuming I have too few models on the field, so I tend to shy away from the low count expensive choices (with a couple of exceptions) and focus on having a lot of (preferably scoring) bodies on the field at the start of the game.  It explains my love for cultists.  Well, half explains it.  I mean, I’ve still gone for a big old squad of Gaunts as a core hub.  Not only for the immense amount of anti-personnel flak you can get out of them with devourers, but also as a handy meatshield for my HQ choice.
I really like the Tyranid Prime as an HQ, which is an opinion I’ve had a few of my friends cock an eyebrow at.  Sure, it can’t hit as hard as a Tyrant but it’s no slouch in that department either.  The main use for him is as a survival source of Synapse.  The problem I have with Tyrants (other than the predictable ‘because everyone else is using them’ bullshit I like to fall back on) is that they are not a reliable source of control for the rest of your army.  They are big scary bastards and attract bullets appropriate to their station.  Especially the flying ones.  When it comes to maintaining control, the Independent Character status that the Prime has is worth the points bump.  The ability to abandon one squad and then join another, all the while taking 2+ Look Outs against any incoming damage provides more survivability than simple high toughness  Given the potentially disastrous consequences of Instinctive Behaviour, this is definitely a big deal.
To round out my advance, I’ve also decided to pack a trio of Carnifexes.  You barely ever saw them last edition, but I get the feeling that they will be making a comeback with the new codex.  It’s amazing what a 25% points drop will do for a creature isn’t it?  Add in the other tweaks and they are a very solid choice now I think.  Looking at the tweaks made to these guys, I’m very happy with them.  Veen the little things, like upping the Initiative value to two, is immensely useful.  I’ve heard people ask what the point of that is, along with the point of giving them assault grenade equivalents.  There is a very good reason for this and it’s simple: they will strike before powerfists.  Before it was a mutually assured destruction thing, where both the high Strength Unwieldy guys would die, but take the Fex down with them.  Now though, a charging assault Carnifex stands a good chance of getting to grips with a Terminator squad and walking out the other side.  Yeah, it’s contextual, but the times when it kicks off will be well worth the 5 points!
That said, the primary niche for Fexes is probably going to be as a S6 flak battery.  With a horrifying number of shots, twin linking and a good enough strength to trouble the most armoured flyers in the game, this is the best anti-air choice in the dex if you don’t want to field flyers yourself.  Not only that, but against massed infantry and light vehicles they also do the business and can punch the spine out of almost anything, and all for 150 points.  Needless to say, I have more than one of these.  Although, I haven’t gone whole hog.  I’ve decided to kit one of the Carnifexes out for assault.  This is for three reasons.  The aesthetic reason: Carnifex devourers don’t look meaty enough.  They pack a hell of a punch to be sure, but they just look too small.  I’m not keen on them.  The assault Carnifexes look legit though.  The claws and scythes all look like they have an appropriate amount of heft behind them.  The practical reason:  Monstrous creature Devourers are really annoying to get hold of.  Each Carnifex kit comes with one set, and you’ll be wanting two.  They also don’t seem to come with any of the other MC kits.  Even after scrounging from my friends, I was one set short, and I didn’t want to shell out Forge World prices and run the risk of them not turning up in time for the tournament.  So I bought another Carnifex box and thought; well, seeing as I have another Carnifex kit lying around, may as well use it!  Finally Gameplay: It can punch really hard.  Kind of simple, but some reasons don’t have to be complicated.  After a while, I decided to kit him out with crushing claws just in case I run across multi wound T5 montrosities or superheavies.  I now never need to smash, unless I really want a reroll on armour pen!

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