Children of the Stars – Craftworld Eldar Week!

The new Eldar codex is here! I went into town to pick up my codex and data cards this morning and just got home, having a quick flick through the book and a look at the data cards. Throughout this week I will be writing both what I think of the new codex as well as some tactics articles and theories on army builds, both using the normal Combined Arms Detachment as well as the new Warhost Detachment.

First I will look at the data cards.

I really like the data cards and was not expecting to get what was inside. I was expecting the psychic power cards, which are nice but nothing special; as I got the psychic power cards with the last codex I was expecting the same with this one. I was not disappointed at least. The tactical objective cards are nice, though I believe that they are smaller than the normal cards. This, however, is not a problem as it comes with an entire deck of tactical objectives, something that I did not previously own but did intend on getting at some point. The back of the cards feature Eldar artwork similar to the front cover of the codex, being the Saim-Hann Warlock with a witchblade. I like this as an added extra, giving me even more of an Eldar feel at the tabletop. All in all, I am glad that I purchased these.

Moving onto the codex itself, I will say that it is a hefty one, weighing in at 160 pages, a lot larger than the previous 106ish page codex!

The artwork is great, a lot of pictures from the last codex re-appearing but also a lot of new pictures making an appearance. Also, there are a lot more high-quality photos of actual miniatures, featuring lots of close up of finer details to help with one’s painting ideas. At least, it’s doing that for me! Everything is clearly laid out in this codex, making rules referencing and list building a joy, rather than an exercise in page turning. First is your fluff, mountains and mountains of background and flavour for the Eldar army with what I interpret as more attention to detail. For a person like me who enjoys building fluff-accurate armies and playing them on the tabletop it is a wonderful. Each of the major Craftworlds gets a double page feature, consisting of a large picture and some background, giving the reader an idea how the Craftworld acts as well as any major plot points of their history. Every unit has a page explaining their role and where they come from, though one thing that really stands out, and I imagine will stand out more-so to the avid painters out there, is that every unit’s rune is depicted and explained; grab your paintbrushes my kin, it’s time to get free-handing! Next, there are pages depicting the colour schemes of the major Craftworlds, much like in the old 3rd and 4th edition codices, basic 2d illustrations showing differences in colour schemes to offer inspiration to a person who may wish to collect and field the forces of that specific Craftworld, as well as showing off the colours of each Aspect shrine, again with variations to offer inspiration and show that there is no singular way of painting up each Aspect. After this we have a photography section, showing various pictures of the studio armies which I have already spoken briefly about and expressed my appreciation of, but finally we move on to the rules section. I will not go into details on rules in this article, as the rules section will be several articles by itself, but as with the rest of the book it is nicely laid out. The equipment costs are first, followed by the various units where each has a page to itself to explain all the rules that they feature, then there’s the armoury where all of the equipment is explained and then, finally, there are the Warlord traits, tactical objectives, psychic powers etc. Most of all though? There’s no irritating fold out pages! That was a feature that I really did not like about the previous codex and I am very glad that it’s gone.

All that said, is the codex worth the money? It is very well made and is a joy to read, but I do think that £35 is a little bit too steep. I buy the Eldar codex because it’s my main army and I own close to 9000 points (but I do not think that I own -over- 9000 points yet), but I tend to just borrow the rest of the books from friends and other hobbyists. The data cards are worth it for every Eldar player, as they just make life a lot easier when tracking psychic powers and tactical objectives; they are especially worth it if, like me, you do not already own a tactical objectives deck. In short, I would only buy the codex if I were a dedicated Eldar player (which I happen to be), but the objective cards are a great purchase for any Eldar player.

Juggling Deadlines

Been a little quiet recently. A combination of the shock of going into schools for the first time (which I will write about in itself), combined with the sheer number of deadlines that I’ve had to write to, both academic and fictional.

So, what have I been up to?

First there was the Black Library submission. For those of you who don’t know what the Black Library is, it’s the publishing house that deals with Games Workshop publications, be it Warhammer and Warhammer 40k fiction or rule books (at least, I think it deals in those since you buy digital editions through them, as well as physical copies). They opened up their submissions window over the winter, from early December to late January, calling for short stories about the Deathwatch. So, naturally, as an aspiring author I submitted something. We were supposed to submit a brief overview of the plot, as well as a short extract of the best part of the story. Whilst I will not post the plot here (because spoilers!) what I will do is post up the extract that I sent them:


As soon as the door to the waste processing plant opened, an acidic smell filled Inquisitor Ralos’s nostrils. She felt like gagging, but the need for focus outweighed her discomfort. The signal emanated from this place, like a psychic beacon calling out to her. It was here.

Captain Fervo and his Kill-team had already fanned out and secured the opening, covering both the door that they had entered through and two corridors that split off to the sides of the entrance room. The room was dark, dimly lit by a single glow-globe against the opposite wall, and accompanied by the dim sounds of machinery whirring and clanking in the distance.

“Fervo, take your team and scout the building, I require time to divine our next course of action.”

“Yes, Inquisitor,” Fervo replied, rallying his squad’s attention. They immediately split into two, having done so on so many occasions before that it came as second nature.

The two trios made their way down the narrow corridors. They were quite spacious, but designed for the use of regular humans, rather than the hulking mass that a Space Marine occupied. Captain Fervo led one team down one corridor, whilst the other three managed to squeeze through the opposite corridor. Sirenus’s heavy bolter ammunition supply scraping against the ceiling periodically as his group made their way into a larger, more open room.

Inquisitor Ralos had sat down before the Space Marines had made their way down the corridors. Captain Fervo had come to trust her sight and did not question her instructions leading to her solitude. She brought a small deck of cards from a coat pocket and tossed them into the air, cards immediately separated and dispersed around her, forming elliptical patterns around her body with a faint trail of blue, psychic energy. At the focal point, the Inquisitor sat, eyes closed and totally calm. Centred.

In the distance, the pair of Space Marine teams had started to diverge, Fervo and his squad heading for the old workers’ quarters whilst the rest headed towards the core processing plant. The level of light towards the core processing plant had dimmed even further now, the heightened senses of the Space Marines coming into their own in the difficult conditions, however the corridor had opened up wider to the relief of Sirenus. Darkness enshrouded the Space Marines, but the rhythmic whirring of machines grew louder, drowning out even their own heavy footsteps. For Fervo, the opposite was true; light levels heightened, but the whirring was almost dimmed into complete silence, only the sounds of their heavy footsteps remained.

Inquisitor Ralos reached out and grabbed one of the tarot cards floating about her, a lightning reaction catching it perfectly mid-flight. And another. And finally a third. She brought them up and looked at what she now held, the remaining cards still orbiting her form. Her eyes widened.

The call over the vox was almost synchronised. Ralos and Sirenus screaming down the channels simultaneously.

“Genestealers!”


Second was Opening Lines. Opening Lines is a BBC Radio 4 show that showcases first time writers and opened submissions around a month later than the Black Library window. I had a lot more freedom with this as it was not set to a specific universe, so I went ahead with my own. However, it had to be suitable for a wide audience of all types and all ages. It also had to be between 1900 and 2000 words, so as to fit into a short window on the radio should it be selected as one of the three to be read out live on air. Again, I will not post the entire story, nor the plot (because spoilers!), but I will say that it is set in my cyberpunk universe and follows a corporate security agent named Renée (who may be seen later on) on a typical night in Neo-London. If it doesn’t get published on the Opening Lines website or read out on air, then I will post it up here. However, until then I’m going to keep everything quiet. You’ll just have to wait and see!

Unfortunately now I am working towards an academic deadline. My teacher training course has assignments too, unfortunately. Whilst not nearly as enjoyable as writing fiction, it has to be done and it shouldn’t be too difficult. Work never ends 😉

New Year, New Hobby Opportunities!

Christmas time is over, New Years Eve is looming and we’re all feeling a lot fatter, or rather I’m trying to reassure myself that everyone puts on a few pounds over Christmas. It has been a busy time for me, especially considering that I have been sorting out my transition from my parents’ house back to Brighton on top of everything else. I was ill just before Christmas just after starting a new project (which is a secret for now, but I have a deadline for once!) so things have been a little quiet on the posting front. However, with my impending return to Brighton I will be able to do two things. Firstly, I can get involved in a tabletop RPG, which I’m thinking of trying to find a D&D 5th edition game to join as my Bard Master Race membership card needs renewing. Secondly, it means that I can finally get back to actually playing Warhammer 40k again. There’s the whole teacher training and studying aspect, but I’m honestly petrified of that part of my future. So, with my impending return to the hobbies that I love (seriously, being trapped in a house for 5 months with no social life is torture. I need people in my life!) I have decided to release my list that I think I will be fielding at Games Workshop.


1500pts Ithyl-Loc Strikeforce

* Counts as: Firesabre
** Counts as: The Spirit Stone of Anath’lan

HQ

Thalinia Narésiel – 138pts
Autarch – 70pts
Warp jump generator – 15pts
Mandiblasters – 10pts
Fusion gun – 10pts
Scorpion chainsword – 3pts (swapped out)
Blade of the Incandescent Soul* – 30pts

Lireia Narésiel – 145pts
Farseer – 100pts
Singing spear – 5pts
Runes of Witnessing – 15pts
Runes of Warding – 10pts
Rune of the Everwarden** – 15pts

Elites

Troops

Children of Isha – 265pts
10 Guardian Defenders – 90pts
Bright lance – 20pts
Wave Serpent – 115pts
Twin-linked scatter lasers – 5pts
Shuriken cannon – 10pts
Holo-fields – 15pts
Ghostwalk matrix – 10pts

Disciples of Asurmen – 65pts
5 Dire Avengers – 65pts

Fast Attack

Hunter on the Winds – 180pts
Crimson Hunter – 160pts
Two bright lances – 0pts
Exarch Ionarth Cuersyl – 20pts

Heralds of Victory – 128pts
8 Swooping Hawks – 128pts

Sentinels of the Infinity Matrix – 177pts
8 Warp Spiders – 152pts
Exarch Darallis Rathan – 10pts
Twin-linked death spinner – 5pts
Fast Shot – 10pts

Heavy Support

Faolchú’s Deliverance – 155pts
Falcon – 125pts
Starcannon – 5pts
Holo-fields – 15pts
Ghostwalk matrix – 10pts

Murehketh Bein Hekhita – 210pts
War Walker – 60pts
Scatter laser – 5pts
Scatter laser – 5pts
War Walker – 60pts
Scatter laser – 5pts
Scatter laser – 5pts
War Walker – 60pts
Scatter laser – 5pts
Scatter laser – 5pts

Total – 1498pts

This list relies on mobility. If my opponent turtles up, then my faster units run interference whilst my longer range units take and hold objectives. If they do not, then the faster units take out isolated units whilst my longer range units hit them from distance with heavy weapons. The entire army relies on mobility and line of sight blocking terrain. All of the skimmers have the ghostwalk matrix to allow them to ignore Dangerous Terrain tests so that there is no risk of immobilisation when entering terrain, as it opens up a good way to avoid jinking (and firing snap shots in the subsequent shooting phase) whilst still gaining a decent save with cover + holo-fields. Positioning is essential too as misplacing units or not accounting for potential deep strikers that my opponent has can leave me very exposed and vulnerable. Eldar life is precious. Preserve it.

If you’re in the Brighton, England area, this is a list that you may face frequently (or at least derivatives of this list) as I like to build a core list and build on it, or try totally different themed lists on occasion.

So Everyone Is Hyped About Blood Angels? Let’s Show Some Love For Tyranids

New box set (that I have already outlined my thoughts on), new codex, new models. It’s a good time to be a Blood Angels player, right?

Well, I’ve been at a loss on what to write about in terms of Warhammer 40k as of late, as my models are all in Brighton whereas I am in Spain visiting my parents; all I have to do for the hobby is keep up to date with the latest releases and craft up some theoretical army lists. So, why am I writing this? It would be bad practice to just write something for the sake of writing something, especially if it’s just to complain about not having anything to write about.

There is always something to write about.

I decided that as Blood Angels are getting so much attention with their new codex I would look at the other side of the Shield of Baal box set: the Tyranids. I will say before diving into the body of what I wish to write about that I am not a Tyranid player. I have played Tyranids briefly in the past, though I was a Witch Hunters player mainly, back in 4th edition when everything was just a little bit less deadly and Cities of Death was the accepted meta in my local area, being the Games Workshop in Brighton. This was about eight years ago and things have moved on, but Tyranids remain very much the same beast that they used to be, with a few buffs and nerfs in various places. So I urge you to take everything I write with a pinch of salt; my main source of experience with Tyranids is blasting them off the table, so maybe I can give a fresh view on the faction that you won’t find elsewhere.

So, where to start? First, I would like to go through what goes through my mind whilst playing Tyranids, from an Imperium/Chaos perspective and then from an Eldar/Dark Eldar perspective as there is a massive difference in how each army plays and how it deals with Tyranids. Whenever I play(ed) Space Marines, Astra Militarum, Witch Hunters (Adepta Sororitas) or Chaos Space Marines my tactics were pretty straightforward: shoot them back and counter initiate with average close combat troops, or sit in cover and strike first in the first round of combat, usually against a weakened unit. The idea was that my units would sit in cover and gun down units of Tyranids in a particular order: hormagaunts first, as they used to be able to move 6″, run D6″ (so possible 6 extra) and then charge 12″ in a meta when only specific units with the Fleet of Foot/Claw/Hoof special rule could run, you could charge after running and charging was largely fixed at 6″ for units that weren’t cavalry (in short, a potential for 24″ movement where most units got only 12″). Hormagaunts were the underdog that you really didn’t want to let crash into your lines. People underestimated them and then quickly learned not to when all of their front units were tied up (close combat used to block line of sight too) and the back units were helpless to do anything as the next waves started to crash in. Next were the other small Tyranid organisms, such as Genestealers (they could only infiltrate if they had a Broodlord, who was an HQ choice), then Termagants and the rest as they could also run forwards an pounce on your units, causing a real headache for your guns. Finally, we moved on to the monstrous creatures, such as the Carnifexes and Hive Tyrants. Warriors were a bit of a joke unit that nobody took and I believe that synapse wasn’t a rule.

But Lexicon, I hear you ask, if you’re sitting back in cover and shooting then you’re not claiming objectives. How do you capture them? It was simple, really. Interception units. For me these were Land Speeders, Assault Marines and for others, Bikes. This combined with a final surge forwards was enough to take objectives from the beleaguered Tyranids that lay scattered across the board. My lists often contained a lot of multi-shot AP4 weaponry such as assault cannons or heavy bolters (I have a thing for Land Speeders and Whirlwinds) as well as a healthy amount of missile launchers and lascannons, which gave me a definite advantage at range. I used lots of troops on the table to mitigate losses as less important and also maximise my presence in both close combat and in shooting. The key was to open up with heavy weapons in the first turn, then get those bolters or lasguns firing as the Tyranids closed in; massed boltguns or lasguns deal a lot of damage to Tyranids, so it should not be underestimated. You shot down Tyranid units until they had very few models remaining and allowed the rest to charge you, beating them down in close combat. I don’t think I ever lost against Tyranids with my Space Marines, Chaos Space Marines, Astra Militarum or Witch Hunters following this basic principle.

Fast forward to 6th/7th edition and I have my Eldar as my main army. Again, I have yet to lose against Tyranids in a 1vs1 situation (I have lost in a 2vs2 where my partner (he was learning how to play his army) got annihilated in 2 turns and left me to face all of the remaining Tyranids myself; I just couldn’t cover enough objectives!) with my Eldar or Dark Eldar, but the way I deal with them is very different. The way my Eldar and Dark Eldar deal with Tyranids is simply by out-running them. Both armies are fully mechanised and use the mobility of the fast skimmer chassis to run rings around them whilst hitting them with a lot of firepower. Tyranids are lacking at long range anti-vehicle, so I just stay out of range of their short range weapons and deal with anything that has a heavy venom cannon first (or Hive Guard. Target priority #1 is Hive Guard!). Everything else I can just dance out of range of and harass with tank mounted heavy weapons. Even Zoanthropes!

So, with this knowledge how can we field a Tyranid list to combat these tactics. I will go over a checklist of what I believe you need in a Tyranid list to be both fluffy, because I always build fluffy lists, and also decent on the table:

  1. Shooting – If you rely on only melee, you will be kited around the table and picked off. Having some decent shooting behind you will give you some hitting power as you move forwards. As a note, Tyranids will never win long range shooting matches with the likes of the Tau or the Astra Militarum. They just aren’t built that way.
  2. Numbers – As I said, one of the only times that I lost a match was simply because I couldn’t hit enough objectives. You want to have the field presence to be able to swarm over objectives and deny your opponent those points that they need to actually win the scenario.
  3. Null deployment – Fritz40k talks about this in depth here. The idea behind null deployment is to box your opponent in. You want to control where your opponent will be on the table and not give them free reign to drive around and gun you down as a Tyranid player; you need to be pinning your opponent in place.
  4. Synapse – Depends on how dangerously you want to live. Synapse is how you keep your Tyranids in your control, as opposed to leaving it to the dice. My opinion is that you need synapse coverage. You need good fields of synapse that weave into one another, just in case one creature goes down you want to be able to plug the gap.
  5. Speed – You can’t kill an enemy you can’t catch, and the faster you are the sooner you will pin your prey down and start wearing through them. You want to hit your opponent after taking as few losses as possible as if you get into close combat with no steam behind your army, you will just die in close combat as the numbers of Guardsmen just bayonet stab your Hormagaunts or Space Marines attach krak grenades to your last wounded Carnifex.

These are the areas that I want to hit when making a Tyranid list. So which units fill these gaps?

  1. Hive Guard – This is a unit that you want in your army. They are fairly expensive and only Ballistic Skill 3, but their 2 shots at Strength 8 each that does not need line of sight and ignores cover is incredibly useful. The only vehicles that you will find tough to deal with are Armour Value 13 or 14, but anything 12 or under will be a prime target for them. Also, it keeps things like Land Speeders from harassing your units if there are Hive Guard watching over them. Jinking, you say? Ignore cover, I say!
  2. Biovores – Cheap. Lobs a pie plate across the table at Strength 4, AP4 with the barrage special rule. If they miss they spawn spore mines. A must-have in any Tyranid list in my opinion. Now they even have 3 Wounds each! What is not to love about Biovores?
  3. Exocrine – It’s a monstrous creature in close combat and it has a shooting attack that reduces entire squads of Terminators to dust. Considering the 2+ Armour Save is so powerful now with power weapons being segregated and considering the lack of low AP Tyranid shooting, the Exocrine is another unit that I would always put in my list.
  4. Gaunts – Termagants and Hormagaunts are amazing. They need Synapse support to do anything as with Leadership 6 they will be failing more than half of their Instinctive Behaviour checks on average if left outside the Synapse bubble. They are cheap and you can take them in bulk. If you have the points, upgrades can be useful though if I want to give Termagants the devourer gun, I would only give them to around half the unit so that I could use the fleshborer wielding ones as a shield. For hormagaunts it really depends on preference. Adrenal glands allows them to combat vehicles as Furious Charge gives them Strength 4 on the charge, whilst toxin sacs give you Poisoned (4+) attacks in close combat for wounding enemies of all Toughness values; however, I would take one or the other, never both as then they become too expensive. You will take losses on your gaunts, so you want to keep them cheap!
  5. Zoanthropes – Warp Lance, Dominion and another psychic power that you roll from the Tyranid psychic power table. Mastery Level 2. 3++ Invulnerable Save. These are great for providing a bit more Synapse to your force and some close range anti-vehicle firepower as their Warp Lance is a Strength 10 AP2 lance weapon, though it doubles as Warp Blast which is an AP3 blast weapon for clearing infantry. It does, however, take two Warp Charges to go off. I would always take a brood of at least three Zoanthropes, with one definitely upgraded to be a Neurothrope, unless really strapped for points as you only need one psychic test for the whole unit to get their shooting attack. One psychic test for three shots is a lot better than one psychic test for one shot (that you could very well miss!). The Neurothrope is a good way to generate free Warp Charge dice for the Zoanthropes to cast their Warp Blast power as well as causing some extra casualties with Spirit Leech.
  6. Tyrannocite – It’s essentially a Tyranid version of a drop pod that can carry twenty models or a single monstrous creature. This is an excellent unit for getting your Tyranids nice and close where they can actually do damage. Heck, I would put most of my army in these with the exception of my longer range units such as Hive Guard or Biovores who want to sit back a bit.
  7. Mucolid Spore Cluster – Mucolid spores are cheap and can fill a Troops slot. What it does is act like an ordinary spore mine, but with Strength 8, AP3. Fifteen points for a deep striking battle cannon shell? Well, I know how I will be filling out those last few points in my lists. Oh, they can also hit zooming flyers, giving you some quirky anti-air, although as it is only an AP3 weapon you will likely not be able to destroy a flyer in a single blast. My advice? Stick to blasting squads of Space Marines to little pieces. I feel that I should mention the Sporocyst too, as a method of churning out Mucolid Spore Clusters, but it doesn’t quite make the list as it occupies a hotly contested Heavy Support slot. It can be useful for denying an area, using Infiltrate to get into position (it’s immobile) and then churning out Mucolids every turn. However, it’s still a Heavy Support choice.

The points level of the list will dictate exactly which of these I would field. For example, in a 500pts game I will be limited compared to fielding a 2000pts list, for example. Taking all of this into account, I have come up with a Tyranid list that I would field at 1850pts.


1850pts Standard Tyranids

HQ

Tyranid Prime – 125pts
Tyranid Prime – 125pts
Scything talons – 0pts
Devourer – 0pts

Elites

Hive Guard Brood – 110pts
2 Hive Guard – 110pts
2 impaler cannons – 0pts

Zoanthrope Brood – 225pts
3 Zoanthropes – 150pts
Tyrannocyte – 75pts
5 Deathspitters – 0pts

Zoanthrope Brood – 225pts
3 Zoanthropes – 150pts
Tyrannocyte – 75pts
5 Deathspitters – 0pts

Troops

Hormagaunt Brood – 210pts
30 Hormagaunts – 150pts
Adrenal glands – 60pts

Hormagaunt Brood – 210pts
30 Hormagaunts – 150pts
Adrenal glands – 60pts

Termagant Brood – 120pts
30 Termagants – 120pts
30 Fleshborers – 0pts

Termagant Brood – 120pts
30 Termagants – 120pts
30 Fleshborers – 0pts

Tyranid Warrior Brood – 150pts
5 Tyranid Warriors – 150pts
5 Scything talons – 0pts
5 Devourers – 0pts

Tyranid Warrior Brood – 90pts
3 Tyranid Warriors – 90pts
3 Scything talons – 0pts
3 Devourers – 0pts

Fast Attack

Spore Mine Cluster – 15pts
3 Spore Mines – 15pts

Heavy Support

Biovore Brood – 80pts
2 Biovores – 80pts

Exocrine – 170pts
Exocrine – 170pts

Total – 1850pts


So, the idea behind the list is to swamp objectives with bodies and wear down your opponent. The list features a model count of 142 plus 3 Spore Mines, so all but the dedicated Astra Militarum infantry horde will have less models on the table than you. The hardest part about building this list was the need for Synapse creatures and so I decided to spend points on Warriors to act as another Synapse anchor alongside the Zoanthropes. The Tyranid Prime goes with the smaller squad of Warriors and hides in the back, giving Synapse to the Biovores, Exocrine and Hive Guard, whilst the unit of 5 Warriors accompanies the rush of Gaunts. The Zoanthropes enter play in the Tyrannocytes, deep striking alongside the waves of Gaunts to provide more Synapse and some powerful anti-vehicle and psychic support. It’s a very simple list that won’t win every game, but for people who play like me it would pose some serious problems; there’s simply too much to target without getting lucky dice rolls! It’s also a fun list to play (and play against), so unless you face a cheesy WAAC list, you and your opponent should have a lot of fun during the game. There are plenty of other viable lists to play, but I merely wanted to show a very ordinary, standard Tyranid list that should be able to accomplish something on the table. I would change out the Spore Mine Cluster for a Mucolid Spore Cluster (of a single Mucolid) but I ran out of Troops choices in the Combined Arms Detachment. Oh, remember that all of the Gaunts and Warriors are Objective Secured, meaning that only Troops can contest objectives that they hold. 128 Objective Secured models? Those objectives will be yours!

500pts Eldar Scouting Party

Finally getting around to posting up army lists. This is the one that I play in most 500pts games with my Eldar, representing a scouting force designed for small scale skirmishes and observation duties.

The full list can be found by clicking here as the list will be going up in the army list section of the website as a more permanent link.

However, I will also post it below for your viewing pleasure:


Here is my typical 500pts Eldar list. I try to go for a more scout themed list as 500pts is a very small skirmish and likely wouldn’t bring heavier vehicles or dedicated warriors, merely designed to observe and occasionally fight a small skirmish with an enemy warband. This list tries to maintain the scout feel, whilst also keeping a competitive edge with the volume of shooting that the list can kick out. This list will fall apart in a protracted battle of attrition, or if your opponent shows up with heavy tanks, but it’s themed; if you field this list against a cheese list, you will put up a good fight, with most units having good cover saves, but run the risk of being unable to deal with whatever cheese your opponent’s list revolves around and eventually lose. This list is fair, yet also has a competitive streak to it.
The idea is for the Rangers to use their Infiltrate special rule to set up somewhere largely secluded and pick off higher Toughness enemies or just add their firepower to killing and hopefully pinning enemy infantry. This benefits you in two ways as it may also siphon off enemy units from your main bulk of the army that will be doing most of the damage; people that I play against usually go after the Rangers because they’re very annoying. The War Walkers are the main damage dealers, unloading a ludicrous amount of shooting for such cheap units whilst the Vyper runs distraction or vehicle hunting if your opponent brings any. The Guardians act as a bodyguard unit for the Spiritseer (it’s a more experienced Warlock in my list as I don’t generally use wraith units in my Craftworld, so Spiritseers are rare) and benefit from Conceal, taking them to a 2+ cover save. I generally roll on Runes of Battle, but roles on Telepathy could give you Invisibility, and the Primaris power is a great deterrent for any unit wanting to get close and already brave the Guardian unit’s considerable close range shooting.

500pts Ithyl-Loc Scouting Party

HQ

Warlock Arduin Zatherith – 70pts
Spiritseer – 70pts

Elites

Troops

The People – 110pts
10 Guardian Defenders – 90pts
Scatter laser – 20pts

The Eyes of the Craftworld – 60pts
5 Rangers – 60pts

Path of the Outcast – 60pts
5 Rangers – 60pts

Fast Attack

Hounds of Kurnous – 60pts
Vyper – 50pts
Bright lance – 10pts

Heavy Support

The Foundation – 70pts
War Walker – 60pts
Scatter laser – 5pts
Scatter laser – 5pts

Murehketh Bein Hekhita – 70pts
War Walker – 60pts
Scatter laser – 5pts
Scatter laser – 5pts

Fortification

Lord of War

Total – 500pts

Why do I hate Space Marines?

I wrote an article earlier about the Blood Angels vs. Tyranids box set, Shield of Baal – Deathstorm, and felt that I was perhaps a little too harsh on Space Marines without some sort of justification. Let me start by saying that I don’t hate Space Marines. Hate is a rather strong word and I feel that it does not accurately describe my feelings towards the pre-pubescent superhuman warriors defending mankind in the 41st millennium. For example, I do have my own chapter that I will be expanding on the table at some point in the future, but equally they will never be a primary army for me.

Firstly, they’re physically and mentally superhuman as well as being equipped with (almost) the best that humanity has to offer. There is no internal conflict, they are completely set in their devotion to the Emperor as a father figure, stalwart protectors of mankind and they go to battle prepared for everything. To me, this all just sounds like a recipe for boring. If I wanted to collect genetically engineered killing machines whose sole purpose is to fight for a cause, I’d surrender myself to the Hive Mind and collect Tyranids. I like my armies to have character. I like there to be models across the table that I can point to and talk about their out-of-combat exploits. I like there to be a person behind the model, if you know what I mean, not just another foot-slogging soldier. With Space Marines there is not much wiggle room; you have their early childhood, but Space Marine recruits are taken young before they develop too much, so beyond childhood exploits they do not have time to develop interesting backgrounds. When I look at the named characters in the Space Marine codex, none of them jump off the page at me; none of them strike me as particularly interesting or deep. Every single one of them just comes across as “Generic Space Marine Captain #29.” Their exploits are nothing particularly special and include nothing beyond having a good combat record. Whilst I know that this is true for most of Games Workshop’s named characters in the codices, it’s doubly reinforced by the nature of what it is to be a Space Marine.

Secondly, expanding on my first reason, Space Marines themselves are personality-lacking children with giant muscles and bulky weapons. Children are complex individuals, but with a Space Marine everything that makes a child an enigma is removed. They grow up during initiation, but… They don’t develop emotionally as a human. Sure, on the battlefield their brain works overtime and their physical body develops far beyond that of a normal human being, but deep inside, in the most human part of their brain, they are horrifically underdeveloped. Space Marines are no longer humans; they may as well be mechanical constructs. It’s something that I just do not enjoy about Space Marines as a faction.

Third, all their units are the same. If you look at a Tactical Marine, it is the same as an Assault Marine and a Devastator Marine, just with mildly different wargear. The difference is not large enough, with Devastators and Tactical Marines differing simply in heavy and special weapon compositions. Veterans are also the same, just with a few more special rules and fancy toys though their stats remain largely the same as their less experienced brethren. This, paired with their particular statistics, leads them to be a “jack of all trades, master of none” army. One thing that strikes me as odd is that Assault Squads are unable to take any special melee weapons apart from on their sergeant; even Storm Guardians have the option to take two power swords!

Fourth, and finally, it’s an all-male faction due to the nature of the implants. This just goes against my “can-do” attitude! Come on, who honestly wasn’t expecting this one?

So this is why I dislike Space Marines. I have RPed one in a Deathwatch game (Fantasy Flight’s tabletop roleplaying game) where I ended up playing a combat character because I tried to create a skill/social encounter based Space Marine and stumbled upon how OP the heavy bolter (or any fully automatic weapon) is in that system. What just intensifies the dislike is how they manage to be the most popular faction (by a long way!) in the Warhammer 40k hobby. If people want to turn around and say “well, Sisters of Battle can only be female, so it balances!” I will merely state what I said in my article about the new box set: Four factions are Space Marines alone, six if you include Grey Knights and Chaos Space Marines (though the latter has some interesting amount of diversity at least). Sisters are a single faction with miniatures made more than a decade ago and a codex with only slightly more choice than a Call of Duty campaign. It’s not the same boat, heck it’s not even the same ocean.

I just wish that Games Workshop would pay some attention to me as a non-Space Marine player… *sniffles*

Have we had enough of Space Marines?

Well, apparently not. So the new releases for Games Workshop went up yesterday and, speaking honestly, I wasn’t very inspired. The value of these box sets is always good, and I’m glad that these Space Marines have less obvious Blood Angels decals than those in the Dark Vengeance box set, but why do we need yet another box set involving Space Marines?

It’s simple, really. Space Marines are the front product for Games Workshop. It is their most sold army and features… Four separate factions; six if you include Grey Knights and Chaos Space Marines in the mix as well. So what is it about Space Marines that makes them so loved? No, really. Why are they loved so much? The Horus Heresy is a great part of the Warhammer 40k universe and, whilst I haven’t read them due to little interest in most things to do with Space Marines, I’ve heard that the Horus Heresy series of books from the Black Library are well written. So I fully understand why someone might want to play 30k as one of the original legions, but why in 40k? Space Marines are generally bland and lacking personality and character. However, this is not the same type of lacking as Necrons or Tyranids. Necrons, at least back when I started Warhammer 40k, had the allure of being Terminator (in the Schwarzenegger sense) in space and Tyranids had the draw of being this giant devourer of worlds. Both had the allure of “being the bad guy” but what do Space Marines have? Defenders of humanity? Well, Astra Militarum defend humanity. The Inquisition defend humanity. The Adepta Sororitas defend humanity. Space Marines are well-equipped and engineered specifically for war? Tyranids are literally spawned to hard-counter the enemies on the planet they are trying to consume and the Inquisition has far more toys than the Space Marines gain access to.

Whilst Space Marine characters, such as Shrike, Lysander and Papa Smurf himself, Marneus Calgar, have different personalities, they are not different enough. They all share the underlying attitudes and characteristics of a Space Marine leader figure. The only interesting characters are, and I shame myself for naming Ultramarines, Tigurius and Cassius. Tigurius is interesting to me as his origins are mysterious, his psychic affinity (and ability to roll on Divination) a result of a potentially heretical origin; Cassius is an old man who hates Tyranids who leads his own hand-picked and customly equipped warriors against this foe. Still, they are nothing compared to characters such as Colonel-Commissar Gaunt in all his greatness (why was he removed from the codex!) or Commissar Yarrick who is a normal man who had his eye replaced with a small laser because the Orks thought that he could kill an Ork just by looking at them, or Asdrubael Vect who led a bunch of Imperials to Commorragh so that he could get rid of his rivals. What do Space Marines have? They all probably defended something against impossible odds, or performed some sort of daring offensive. Newsflash: So have others, without the aid of being superhuman and created for combat. The thing that sets Space Marines so low in my opinions is that most of them lack anything beyond combat prowess and faith to the Emperor. At least Sisters of Battle are expected to be able to blend into society and be as a normal human should the Ecclesiarchy need them to track down a heretic in the Imperium, as opposed to being simply nuns with bolters and power armour, and that is the most one-dimensional army that I like. Space Marines are the most one-dimensional faction by a long shot, even the off-shoots such as Blood Angels with their Red Thirst and Space Wolves with their Vikings in Space feeling all boil down to one thing: everything they do revolves around combat, whilst not being the only faction in the Imperium to do so.

Because of this unfathomable fascination with Space Marines, Games Workshop are churning out box sets involving Space Marines and leaving at least the rest of the Imperial factions out to dry. As I said, Space Marines are not the only ones who could be put as “the good guys” in a box set. You could easily use Eldar, Tau, Astra Militarum, Inquisition or (I know, I’m naive to even consider this) Sisters of Battle. Heck, you could even have Orks as the “not quite as bad as the other guy” in a box with Dark Eldar or Tyranids. As a predominantly non-Space Marine player, I ask you this: Where is my box set involving my army? Eldar, Dark Eldar, Astra Militarum/Militarum Tempestus, Inquisition or Adepta Sororitas. Where is my opportunity to get a good selection of models for an affordable price? If Games Workshop put something like Astra Militarum against Orks or Tyranids, I would probably start a small Ork or Tyranid army, as I would buy multiple of the box primarily for the Astra Militarum, but would also get a small, new army out of it that I would probably expand on at a later date. Throwing Space Marines into a box set, whilst I have a small Space Marine army, is not going to get me to buy it unless the other faction was one of the armies that I mainly play (which wouldn’t make much sense if it was Inquisition, Astra Militarum or Sisters).

Forgive me for sounding bitter. Truth of the matter is: I am.

First Thoughts on the New Dark Eldar Codex

So, I have spent the past few days looking at the new Dark Eldar codex, since it is my secondary army besides Eldar, and I must say that I am not a huge fan with what they have done with the codex. They have removed a lot of combinations and potential uses for equipment, as well as the special characters who lack models, including Vect! Whilst the lack of special characters does not affect me, as a narrative player with my own characters, the equipment nerfs have hit my lists hard. I will summarise what I mean by this below:

1 – No more dual-wield melee weapons on HQ units. This is harsh as I had JUST converted up a model for Lady Esthine Narésiel, the Archon of the Kabal of the Venomous Lotus, with an agoniser and huskblade combination. Now you may only replace your close combat weapon with a melee weapon, and your pistol with either a ranged weapon or a Djin Blade. I do not like the Djin Blade, so that means that my Archons And Succubi are limited to either the Parasite’s Kiss, a Master-crafted splinter pistol that wounds on a 2+ and restores a lost wound when it is unsaved, or a blast pistol, a 6” dark lance in pistol form, or a blaster, an 18” dark lance that is Assault rather than Heavy. It’s a shame, but it’s at least workable.

2 – Phantasm grenade launcher no longer gives the unit assault and defensive grenades. I do not care for defensive grenades, as I am the one who will be charging most of the time, but the fact that it does not give the unit assault grenades is bad news for Incubi. I used to run an Archon with a phantasm grenade launcher attached to an Incubi squad so they did not have to worry about charging into terrain, as Incubi lack assault grenades themselves and the launcher used to count the entire unit as having them. Whilst they remain your best answer to units such as Terminators or other such 2+ Armour Save units, you have to be a lot more careful with them now. Again, workable but a shame.

3 – No flickerfields for vehicles apart from Venoms! I will certainly miss my 5+ Invulnerable Save on all my vehicles. We are now incredibly vulnerable to anything that ignores cover. With AV10 on pretty much everything, almost anything can hurt us.

4 – Nerfed night shields and no night shields on Venoms. Again, my uniform vehicle loadout included night shields and flickerfields. Night shields used to be devastating (6” less range for enemy when shooting at it) as opposed to just “useful” now. I will still be taking them on everything that I can, but I cannot put them on my Venoms any more and they now only give Stealth. Guess I shouldn’t complain too much though, they are better than holo-fields for my craftworld Eldar and cost the same points. I just preferred them in the old codex.

5 – No more haywire grenades for Wyches. I will certainly miss this as it added yet another highly reliable method for my raiding party to turn vehicles into slag. The Hekatrix can still take them, but now the normal members of the squad do not have the option. Guess I’ll have to rely on my darklight weapons even more then…

And by contrast, a few things that I like about the new codex…

1 – Clone field got a massive buff. It now gives a 4+ Invulnerable Save as opposed to that useless -D3 attacks. Lady Narésiel will still be using her Shadow field, but her right hand woman, Dracon Mira Ithielle, will most certainly be rocking a clone field.

2 – Razorwing Jetfighter moved to Fast Attack. I did not like the Fast Attack section in the previous codex and always felt that my Heavy Support slots were quite full, as I liked the Voidraven, Ravager and Razorwing. Now that it has been moved to Fast Attack, I can take lots of them. No more worries about air superiority!

3 – The Archon’s Personal Pimpmobile. Archons can now take their own, personal Dedicated Transport in the form of a Venom. I just… Really like the idea.

4 – Raiders and Venoms are now Fast Attack choices as well as Dedicated Transports. That’s right, you can now take Raiders and Venoms as separate Fast Attack choices without taking a unit to take them as a Dedicated Transport option.

5 – Realspace Raider detachment. It’s basically a worse version of the Combined Arms detachment, taking away the Objective Secured rule and replacing it with a semi-useful cover save boost during Night Fighting and the first turn, giving Troops a 5+ Cover Save and everything else a 6+ Cover Save, as well as requiring you to take at least 1 Fast Attack choice, but giving you 5 additional slots, allowing you to really focus on taking a heavy Fast Attack detachment. Considering Objective Secured is so powerful, this is largely not worth taking unless you really really want the extra Fast Attack slots that it gives you. Why do I like it then? It’s individual and lore friendly. I’ll be running most of my armies with this detachment as the primary!

Regardless, I have been working on new army lists to run with my Dark Eldar and spent a few hours yesterday coming up with a small, 500pts army list using my models, however I am unable to test it due to currently living in Spain and all my Warhammer models being in Brighton!

More Adepta Sororitas Tactica!

As I now have a copy of the Grey Knights codex (the new one), I have decided that I really need to get my Adepta Sororitas tactica updated and finished so I can move on to the new Grey Knights as they are the next part of the “Inquisition” type forces that I want to go over. I have done two new pages, though it is largely taking from my old articles that I wrote when the codex first came out with a few modifications.

Click here for Elites tactica.

Click here for Troops tactica.

There we have it. Still need to do Fast Attack and Heavy Support, but I think I will skip army overviews temporarily so I can get out some Grey Knight tactics first.

Belated 40k Thursday: Adepta Sororitas HQs

Since my Faith and Flames series was so popular and the Grey Knights are getting re-released this weekend, I figured that I would shift my attention towards the militant forces used by the Inquisition. I will start with Sisters of Battle because they are undoubtedly the best, but will shift to Grey Knights afterwards (when I’ve had the chance to acquire and read through the codex).

So, firstly I give you HQs, the longest section in the codex with a whopping six units! I know, right? Us Sisters players are spoiled for choice. Click here to go to the page, or navigate via the top bar.