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Month: August 2010

Vindicator Overview.




By Lord Reevan ,

Vindicators carry the most powerful weapons in the Space marine arsenal, the Demolisher Cannon; a str10 large blast that goes through even Terminator armour. For something to be this powerful, there has to be drawbacks.
Mainly, it’s the Vindicator’s range. 24” means that it will endure at least one turn of no shooting to get within range to do the damage. That’s one turn where every gun is pointed towards the Vindicator as nobody wants that kind of damage output landing on them. That’s why it’s best to take two. These guys are very powerful so are high priority targets. If there’s one, it’s nearly always the prime target. If there are two, the fire has to be split between the two or concentrated on just one and increases their survivability. Three increases this chance but the third one can be replaced with some other high priority target, such as a Land Raider.

Another major weakness, and probably the more popular reason to dislike them, is the fact that it’s a blast. That means every shot scatters 2D6 minus the BS of the tank. Now scatter is pretty bad but think of it this way. If you roll 2 6’s for the scatter you’re going 8” in the direction the scatter dice goes. 8” isn’t all that big to be honest (insert sexual innuendo here) and it is very easy to have your assaulting units doing their job and the Vindicators doing theirs with no risk to your own men. Unless the enemy can and does deploy everything within 10” of each other you can assault units easily and fire the Vindicators at anything roughly 6” away from the assault happening.

A majority of lists have a static firebase (auto-las predators, devastators/ long fangs, lazerbacks etc) along with an assault element. You hit the assaulting element with Vindicators before your units get into contact with them, to soften them up, then when they are held up in an assault, you can target the further away “firebase” units. The scatter can be easily avoided and therefore one weakness taken out of the equation.

Wargear Options
The vindicator has all the same options as all the other vehicles in the codices apart from one exception; the Siege Shield. This upgrade allows you to completely ignore the effects of driving through terrain which allows the vindicator to bring its cannon to bear much more easily. This is a very nice upgrade but if points are a problem then Dozer Blades for half the price are almost as good. They allow you to reroll the dangerous terrain roll which, although not as good as ignoring it completely, is nice for the cheaper cost.

Extra Armour I would recommend on vindicators from every codex apart from the Blood Angels codex. Because of the short range, it is vital to get the vehicle up there quickly and being able to move after taking damage is helpful. The Blood Angels Vindicators are fast so one turn of not moving isn’t as bitter as it is for other codices.

The extra Storm Bolter is a bit unnecessary, personally, as you already have a very powerful blast coming down on the enemy. Two extra str4 shots isn’t going to do much. Points could be much better spent on Dozer Blades instead.

Tactics
One of the best ways to use Vindicators is to draw fire away from the softer parts of your list. One on each flank is something that the enemy has to worry about and that will take his fire away from things like Rhino squads moving up to take an objective etc. Another solid tactic is, if using a rock unit such as a Land Raider with terminators, is to have one vindicator on each side of the land raider and cover the sides from fast moving melta units, counter assault units when the terminators are in an assault, basically anything that can cause trouble for a rock unit like that.

Help with Loganwing.



I got a pm over on Warseer from Jakeraven. He is from across the pond in the USA. Jake likes his terminators and wanted my help with his fluffy space wolf terminator army @ 1800 points. Jake has individually named each wolf guard in his army which is a really nice touch . He has his own chapter, the Dragon Slayer Space Marines.

Okay. So here is the problem with making this competitive. Loganwing Drop list is a myth, mate, it doesn’t really work. You can’t get enough decent units to drop in for you to cover the board. So if your looking at competitive play, you will have to re-jig that list.

Stelek, over on YTTH, has written an excellent mini-tactica on how to get the best out of this kind of build and this list is built around those ideas.

Logan Grimnar : 275
Rune Priest : 100

5x WG Pack 1 terminator , Cyclone Missile, Chainfist, Drop Pod : 185
5x WG Pack 1 terminator , Cyclone Missile :135
5x WG Pack 1 terminator , Cyclone Missile : 135
5x WG Pack 1 terminator , Cyclone Missile, Arjac : 305

2x ThunderWolf Cavalry – 1 Powerfist : 125
3x ThunderWolf Cavalry – 1 Powerfist : 175
3x ThunderWolf Cavalry – 1 Powerfist : 175

6 Long Fangs – 5 MultiMeltas, Power Weapon, Drop Pod :190

Total : 1800

Logan and Arjac attach to the Long Fangs. If your opponent deploys out then drop these guys down and start blasting / chopping. If your opponent reserves (the smart thing to do), then drop the Wolf Guard Drop Pod near/on an objective.

The Thunderwolves give this list another threat vector, you have three in total.
1: Logan’s Pod in your grill.
2: The missiles /Living Lightning Rune Priest blasting away at transports.
3: The charging Thunderwolves

These threats can overwhelm people and cause them to panic (hence make silly mistakes). Its a very aggressive list but quite a nasty one. Oddly enough, this list is quite balanced and can actually take on a wide variety of opponents.

Hope it’s of some use to you, mate.

Farseer Dave.

Liber Photographica

Pictures from the Irish Wargaming Scene….

Eradicators Trial List

So this is the list I’ve been toying around with in my head for a while using Codex Blood Angels to represent my insane Chapter of battle crazed maniacs. I’m well aware that this is not the most competitive (or even close) Blood Angels list but it’s my kind of playstyle and after ETC I’ve earned the right to play for fun for a while 🙂

================================
HQ:

Librarian
Space Marine Bike Psychic Powers:
The Blood Lance
Shield of Sanguinius

Elites:

Sanguinary Priest

Space Marine Bike

Lightning Claw

Troops:
Assault Squad
Plasma Gun

Dedicated Transport:
Razorback
Twin Linked Assault Cannon


Assault Squad

Plasma Gun

Dedicated Transport:
Razorback
Twin Linked Assault Cannon


Assault Squad

+5 Additional Space Marines

2 Meltaguns

Power Fist

Dedicated Transport:
Drop Pod


Fast Attack:


Bike Squadron

+2 Additional Bikes
2 Meltaguns
Power Fist

Attack Bike

Multi Melta


Land Speeder Squadron (2 Land Speeders)

2 Multi Meltas (one on each)


Land Speeder Squadron (2 Land Speeders)

2 Multi Meltas (one on each)


Heavy Support:

Vindicator

Siege Shield


Vindicator

Siege Shield


Vindicator

Siege Shield

================================
So there you have it, it’s not overly competitive but I think I can do some damage with it.

Please feel free to comment about why you think the list will/won’t work and what parts you like/dislike, I’d love to get some opinions but remember that I realise that this is not the streamlined Blood Angels list by a long shot.

All the best,
Joe

The Lesser Spotted Thunderfire Cannon, part Two


Hey everyone, we’re back with part two of the Lesser Spotted Thunderfire Cannon…

Techmarine Dexis of the Ultramarines defends a reinforced ruin with Tactical Squad Vendis.[2]

I’ll start by introducing the other rounds this mighty but fragile machine can fire…Next on our list, the Airburst round:
#2 Airburst
Range 60″
Strength 5
AP 6
Type: Heavy 4, Blast, Ignores Cover*

*Ignores Cover: Cover saves cannot be taken against wounds caused by an airburst salvo.

How to use it:This mode of firing is the obvious weapon of choice against Imperial Guard units, Ork Boyz, Termagants, Gretchin, Scouts with Camo Cloaks etc. Any of these units in cover will be reduced to using their normal armour save, for Ork Boyz in range of a Kustom Force Field equipped Big Mek they’ll be reduced from having a 5+ cover save to their normal 6+ armour save, which is then negated by the AP 6 value of the Airburst firing mode.

In the case of Space Marine Scouts with Camo Cloaks they’ll be reduced from using their 3+ cover save to their 4+ armour save. Against Imperial Guard units in cover using the “Incoming!” order their 2+ cover save wil be reduced to their normal 5+ armour save.
Take into account that these units will then not bother going to ground and you see that this mode of firing becomes well worth, especiall near the end of the game where you can inflict large numbers of casualties on units that are desperately hugging cover near objectives.

This brings us to our third and final firing mode, my favourite, the Subterranean Blast:

#3 Subterranean Blast
Range 60″
Strength 4
AP –
Type: Heavy 4, Blast, Tremor**

**Tremor: Any unit hit by a Subterranean Blast will move as if in difficult terrain in its following movement phase. If the unit is actually moving through difficult terrain, it rolls one less dice than normal to determine its maximum move. A vehicle hit by a Tremor shell must take a dangerous terrain test if it moves in the following movement phase. This applies to skimmers also.

How to use it:
This one is just pure win. There are few other weapons in the game which can immobilise an enemy vehicle so reliably. Pop a template on top of your opponents vehicle and that’s it, next turn there’s a 1 in 6 chance of it immobilising itself on the spot. Just think of all of those Death Star units, Thunder Hammer/Storm Shield Terminators in a Land Raider, Battlewagons loaded up with diversified Nobz, etc. You have more than a 16% chance of stopping that unit from taking part in the game (obviously there may be another transport nearby they can occupy instead).

Now comes the sneaky part! Place the first template dead centre of the target vehicle, if it hits, even partially then that’s your 16% in the bag (and don’t forget the S4 hit to the rear armour you get taking into account that the weapon is AP – ). Next we move on to the neat little tricks you can try. After the first template has hit (hopefully), place the second so that it’s clipping another vehicle/unit, on the edge of the original target…you can see where I’m going with this. With some lucky shots you can clip two or three units a turn. This dramatically increases the potency of the Thunderfire.

Another thing to remember is vehicle squadrons. The unit will have to take dangerous terrain checks. Now remember that immobilised vehicles that are part of a squadron are destroyed! Another high priority target could be large units of bikes, jetbikes, jump packs, etc.

Well that’s all folks, hopefully you’ve enjoyed reading this brief synopsis on the uses of the Thunderfire Cannon. Please leave some comments on the page if you have any questions or any of your own sneaky Thunderfire Tactics.

My thanks to Shem[1] and Matt[2] for the use of their Thunderfire Cannon pictures!

[1] http://ironlordsspacemarines.blogspot.com/

[2] http://thedragonstears.com/

All the best,
Joe

Imperial Guard List Help!


”Taking you up on your offer to look over lists, etc, I’ve got a few. I’m curious to hear other people’s input on as I’m just not 100% sure with them. The first list is Guard which I’m working on for a club, world cup type, event.

HQ:
CCS: Medic, 3 plasmas in chimera, heavy bolter swapped with heavy flamer, company
commander, melta bombs.

TROOPS:
4x Vet squads, 2 come with 2 flamers and heavy flamer, other 2 come with 3 melta
guns, all come in chimeras with heavy flamer hull mount

FAST ATTACK :
2 single Vendettas

HEAVY SUPPORT:
3x Hydra flak tanks
1x Manticore, heavy flamer mount
2x Medusas, closed top, heavy flamer mounts

Regards,

James Jennings”

Hey James , okay lets see here. We got Vet Spam Guard. In your email, you pointed out the lack of a psychic battle squad as a problem. You are bang on. Those guys are awesome and should be in here. I’ll get them in but a few other things jump out to me.

You know those guys who always seem to roll that one when driving their vehicles over dangerous terrain? Who always roll the 1 when they need to pass a 2+ save?

Yeah, I’m one of those guys. 😀
I really don’t like plasma guns, they’re just not goddamn safe. ^^

Your troop are vets and form the core of this army. The 2 all melta squads are grand. I’m not a fan of the full flamer units though. I see where your coming from, anti-GEQ/cover huggers and all, but that can be done in better ways in my opinion.

Vendettas are awesome, why not take 3? ^^
There’s too much stuff going on in the heavy support department. I’ll try to streamline it a bit.

This is my take on it:

Company Command Squad – 120
Astropath, meltagun x4
Chimera : 55
Heavy flamer

Psyker Battle Squad : 80
Overseer, Psyker x6
Chimera : 55
Heavy flamer

1.Veterans : 100
Meltagun x2, , autocannon x1
Chimera : 55
Heavy flamer

2.Veterans : 105
Meltagun x2, flamer x1, autocannon x1
Chimera : 55
Heavy flamer

3.Veterans : 100
Meltagun x3
Chimera : 55
Heavy flamer

4.Veterans : 100
Meltagun x3
Chimera : 55
Heavy flamer

Vendetta : 140
Heavy bolter x2

Vendetta : 140
Heavy bolter x2

Vendetta : 140
Heavy bolter x2

Manticore : 160
Heavy flamer

Manticore : 160
Heavy flamer

Hydra : 75
Heavy bolter

Total : 1750

So, there you go, James. I hope its of some use to you. I’m sure the other contributors will chip in their own .02 euro in the comments section below, as well.

Farseer Dave.

My Custom Chapter: The Eradicators

Evening all!

The Eradicators are the custom chapter I used through my undergrad years in Maynooth and now they’re back. With a vengeance!


The original scheme used black armour and fiery orange shoulder pads inked to the max with chestnut ink. Looking back it was terribly painted so I’ve gone back to try and reinvigorate the Chapter and start playing it again.

….with extreme highlighting 🙂

Instead of fiery orange it’s now Macharius Solar Orange, no inking this time. The highlighting was to break up the dark scheme and I have to say I like it. Obviously something like extreme highlighting isn’t to everyone’s taste but I think it suits this scheme and an army like space marines.

I’ll be going for a list with some bikes, three vindicators, some land speeders and some basic troops in razorbacks with assault cannons and a single drop pod.


I’ll be using Codex: Blood Angels for this, my original chapter used lightning fast tactics and the destructively fast nature of the Blood Angels book seems to suit it quite well.

I’ll throw the list up here soon enough and over on onthestep.net so feel free to criticise the paint scheme and the list and if you have any similar stories of custom chapters you’ve invented and how you played them feel free to drop a comment.

– Joe

Dark Angel Primer

Dark Angels Primer, by Caolán

For a more recent take on this codex please read my thoughts on the new faq. I would recommend a read of this article first to understand my point of view.

So to start off with there are only two real reasons to choose a Dark Angel force; Deathwing and Ravenwing. Besides the obvious fact that they are the First Founding and posses one of the more fleshed out and well conceived background of any of the other Chapters.

The idea of an all Bike or all Terminator army has always appealed to me and when I decided to get back into the game after losing faith half way through 4th Ed, I decided that this was something that would help rekindle my interest in the hobby.

The fact that I was able to procure so many Terminators and Dreadnoughts from the purchase of 3 “Assault on Black Reach” boxed sets convinced me that this was the way to go. I have always been a fan of elite armies too (my last 4th Ed army was 13th Company).

So all this aside, let’s have a look at the Codex and see what we have.

Please bear in mind that although there may be reasons to collect the main force of Dark Angles this Primer will be focusing on White or Black armour only. Also since both of these types are Fearless I will not be discussing certain effects of Wargear that makes units Fearless such as Ezekiel’s Book or Chaplains Honour of the Chapter.

HQ wise your options are quite limited with the main strand of your army making the choice in HQ compulsory. Belial, Master of the Deathwing; who makes your Terminator units Troops: or Sammael, Master of the Ravenwing; who makes your Bike units Troops.

Belial has only one thing going for him in terms of a standard Space Marine Captain. He is cheap. At 130 points he has decent stats and can choose different types of armaments for free. He comes with a Master Crafted Power Weapon and Storm Bolter. These can be exchanged for free for a pair of Lightning Claws or a Thunder Hammer and Storm Shield. These options have their own thing going for them and it is handy being able to exchange them depending on your army choice and the role you hope for him to serve.

Sammael has two options. He can be riding either a Jet Bike with a Plasma Cannon and Twin Linked Storm Bolter, a Master Crafter Power Weapon, an Iron Halo (4++) and the Eternal Warrior Special Rule or on his Speeder which has a Twin Linked Assault Cannon and a Twin Linked Heavy Bolter. The fact that he is firing with a BS of 5 means that he tends to hit with everything in this capacity and can afford to move just 6” and fire all weapons due to his rather outlandish A14. Taking this option will remove his Close Combat abilities however and that Master Crafted Power Weapon can come in handy. Also the price tag of 205 makes him a definite chin stoker in terms of army selection but nothing in this Codex comes cheap.

Both of the above also allow one squad of their appropriate Variant troop choice to be given an upgrade of an Apothecary and a Banner Bearer. The Apothecary is the old school version that allows you to ignore one failed armour roll per turn. It is however of no use against an attack that causes Instant Death or a Close Combat attack that negates armour saves. The Banner provides every other model in the Unit with an additional Attack in Close Combat. Good on Bikes but a little bit overkill on the Terminators, but this all depends on army selection.

You will then be left with a tough choice as to which of the other HQ options will best fit your army.

The Librarian has no Invulnerable Save and only a LD9. This make him difficult to use but I have found that his placement in a squad with his Force Barrier; essentially an Invulnerable save made on the Librarians LD, does keep them alive for longer. Having said that if he fails it you lose an Independent Character. It strikes me that one of the things that they have going for them anyway is their ability to hide in a Unit. This Power makes that defunct. The second Psychic power is called Hellfire and is a Flamer Template S2D6-2, AP D6 Assault weapon. This averages out as a Heavy Flamer but can be really good or really bad. Too much dice rolling to make it effective in my book. As for the real reason anyone will take a Librarian, Psychic defence, he has a Psychic Hood, but not a very good one. Both players roll a dice and add it to their LD. His is 9 and most enemy Psychics are 10. This makes it a little too unreliable to make this option worth their 120 points. All in all I wouldn’t take him unless I was playing another fluffy list and had the points to spare. As I will discuss later, you almost never will.

If you are still interested in a Librarian and or Psychic Abilities/Defence then you could have a look at Ezekiel, Keeper of the Keys, Grand Master Librarian of the Dark Angles Chapter of the Space Marines. That is an awesome title, but I’m afraid that’s where his coolness ends. For 170 points you get a LD 10 Librarian with a 2+ Sv, 3 Wounds and no Invulnerable. His Psychic Hood becomes a little bit more reliable and he gets the new Psychic Power Mind Worm, which causes any model within 18” chosen by Ezekiel to take a LD test which, if failed, is removed from play. That sounds good but it counts as a Heavy Weapon and isn’t reliable enough to make him worthwhile.

Chaplains come in two styles; the standard dude at 100 points has 2 W’s and can’t take Terminator Armour. The Interrogator Chaplain is 120 points and has 3 W. He can also take Terminator Armour. Both come with a 3+ and a 4++ and a Power Weapon. Both versions and the unit they are with may Re-Roll to hit on the first round they charge. This makes them very useful and this is slightly better than Preferred Enemy in that it works against all unit types. There are good reasons to take this guy. I know that some people take the standard cheaper version on a bike and pile him into combat with a full (6 man) Ravenwing squad, preferably with a Power Fist and the Banner (+1A). Can be useful but this depends on the rest of your list and points.

Azrael, Supreme Grand Master comes in at 225. For this you get 4 W, 2+, 4++ (conferred on the whole Unit) a Combi-Plasma and a Master Crafted, S6, Power Weapon. Not bad, eh readers. The trouble here is not with Azrael, it’s the rest of the Army. He might be worth those points were it not for the fact that everything in this Codex is overpriced.

The last thing under HQ’s is the Command Squad. Quite simply, get Terminators instead. They are too costly and not effective enough. As soon as you start making them useful they come in at about 250 points, Razorback included. This is the full cost of my standard issue Terminators, who are just plain better and 9/10 times will be a Scoring unit.

On to Elites:

Company Veterans; see Command Squad entry above.

Scout Squads are in this codex as troops. Unlike their Space Wolf Brothers they do not deserve to be in here. I imagine that they were put here to stop the loophole of aggressive Terminator lists with small Scoring Scout Squads left behind. Heaven forefend this Codex might be playable. These are standard Space Marine Scouts, except they have decent BS and WS of 4. They also have to pay 5 points each on to their starting cost of 80 for a Sniper Rifle. Hilariously they can also take a Drop Pod.

I have read some interesting takes on the Techmarine entry in this Codex. At 75 points he comes with the 2+ and Blessing of the Omnisiah that we would expect. He also takes up no place in the FOC but instead you can take one for every Elite or Heavy Support choice taken. This has led some people to work out a Dreadnought and Predator list that forms a defensive ring around Techmarine’s and a few Razorback Troop Choices. The Techmarine’s are all placed in base contact with at least 3 of the vehicles all of which provide each other with Cover Saves. The Techmarine’s then fix any Weapon Destroyed results for all of the Vehicles they are already in contact with before the shooting phase. I like the idea of how cheesy this is but I still don’t think it would work very well. (This has since been fixed by the FAQ)

Dreadnoughts in this Codex are one of the few things that work. 125 Points gets you the basic Cybot with an Assault Cannon and Dread Close Combat Weapon with Storm Bolter, Smoke and Light. You can upgrade the main weapon to a Twin Linked Lascannon for 20 or a Multi-Melta, Plasma Cannon or Twin Linked Auto Cannon for free. Extra Armour is 15 and the Pod 50. He can also make the Storm Bolter a Heavy Flamer for 5. The Close Combat Weapon can be upgraded to a Missile Launcher for 10. The best part of the options however is the upgrade to Venerable for 20 points. There is no limitation on this so I tend to take 3! My standard list, when using Armour Values, will have 2 Ven Dreads with Lascannons and Missile Launchers, being covered by a 3rd with an Auto cannon Heavy Flamer. These guys can take the hard knocks better that a Land Raider in my experience. The Venerable Rule allows you to force your opponent to re-roll the dice on the Vehicle Damage Table. They are such a burden to kill that most people get frustrated and start shooting elsewhere. There are a lot of arguments against them at present due to the Melta Meta game and the fact that the +1 to the Damage makes this re-roll ineffective. There is good logic behind this, but clever placement of units will make you opponent struggle to get into range and with 3 dreads to deal with when he does, chances are his unit and transport are now yours.

Now we come to the main Elite choice that has interested anyone in collecting a Dark Angels force in the first place. A Deathwing Terminator squad costs 215 points and gets you 5 Terminators. The Sergeant has a Power Weapon and Storm Bolter and the lads all have Storm Bolters and Power Fists. One model may take either a Cyclone Missile Launcher (Heavy 1 Missile Launcher (Frag or Krak)) for 20, or replace their Storm Bolter with an Assault Cannon for 30 or a Heavy Flamer for 5.

ANY Model can replace their Storm Bolter and Power Fist for a Thunder Hammer and Storm Shield (4++ in Close Combat only) or a Pair of Lightning Claws for free. Any model can replace its Power Fist (or Power Weapon on the Srg) for a Chain Fist for 5. The thing about these guys is the mixed weaponry. They can tailor their unit for both Shooting and Assault. This was a new option available only to them until the Wolf Guard came along.

They also come with an interesting Special Rule called Deathwing Assault. This allows up to half your reserved Deathwing Squads to Deep Strike on the First Turn. So if you have 3 squads of Terminators, two will automatically arrive on the first turn and you roll for the remaining squad as normal. I tend to use these squads in two main ways. If I am playing with Armour, then I kit out one squad as an assault squad with The Srg and Apothecary getting Lightning Claws, the Banner Bearer and another Terminator get the Thunder Hammer and Storm Shield and the last Terminator gets a Heavy Flamer and Chain Fist. These guys then travel with Belial with his Lightning Claws variant in a Land Raider Crusader. The other two Squads in this list are kitted out as follows: The Srg comes as standard, one Terminator takes an Assault Cannon, one a Chain Fist, with the two remaining equipped as standard. I then fill out the 1750 with the above mentioned 3 Ven Dreads and a token Speeder with a Multi Melta.

If I am not going with Armour then I fill as many squads as possible with the following layout: Srg as standard, one Chain Fist, one Assault Cannon, one Twin Linked Lightning Claws and one standard.

When doing this variant I normally assign Belial to one squad with his Power Weapon, Storm Bolter variant as he then gives the squad an extra 3 wounds. I normally putt as many of the incoming wounds on him as possible. The second of the first turn DS’ing squads then gets the Apothecary making them more resilient. There is no reason as per Codex that Belial must be assigned to the Unit that receives the Apothecary upgrade although the Banner and Apothecary must be in the same Unit.

The purpose of all of the above options is wound allocation. They work well like this and can cater for most eventualities.

There is only one Troop entry. They are Marines yet more expensive. If you want to play Marines, use that Codex and pretend they are Dark Angels.

Fast Attack has a few interesting options.

The Assault Squad suffer from the same problems as their Marine counterparts without the potential that some of the latter Codex has to offer in terms of Special Characters.

Ravenwing Support Squadron consists of speeders. Each Speeder costs 65 points and comes with either a Heavy Bolter or a Multi Melta. The squad consists of 1 to 5 Speeders (the idea being that this makes a 10 man squad). This sounds good so far but bear in mind we are already paying more than we would be in the Marine Codex for a Speeder that can’t Deep Strike. Also the Weapon Options are severely limiting. One Speeder per Squadron can get an Assault Cannon or Heavy Flamer. One other can be given a Typhoon (48”, S5, AP5 Blast 1, Twin Linked). They serve a purpose but are nowhere near as good as their other Marine Counterparts.

I will occasionally use these units but when I do I will nearly always have them in two squadrons of 1 with Sammael on his Speeder as a body guard for them. His Armour 14 makes him the more obvious target and this keeps the others alive a little bit longer.

Ravenwing Attack Squadrons may be chosen as Troops when you take Sammael as your HQ. The squad begins at a base cost of 120 points for 3 bikes, one of whom is a Srg. The bikes themselves come with Teleport Homers and Scout. 2 of the models can take Special Weapons of Flamer, Melta or Plasma. For an extra 100 points you may take an additional 3 Bikes. You may also take an Attack Bike for 50 points with either a Heavy Bolter or a Multi Melta. If you have the full squad of 6 Bikes then you may take a Speeder with an Assault Cannon and Heavy Bolter for 100 points.

Two good things here; the Attack Bike and the Speeder and 3 of the bikes can split off as Combat Squads. This means that in a single Unit Entry you may have up to 4 separate Scoring squads. I will also point out that since the Codex trumps the Rulebook the rule on Vehicles never Scoring is over ruled here and thus these Speeders chosen as part of the Squad upgrade can Score.

I use these squads for two things in my list. Firstly it is probably the best place in the whole Codex to get anti tank in the form of Melta Weapons. The second is in conjunction with the Deathwing and the aforementioned Deathwing Assault. The Terminators can come down on the Teleport Homers. This means that you can play very aggressively throwing forward the Bikes in the Scout Move (although the Codex restricts this to a 12” not Turbo Boost) and dropping Terminators into the Enemy lines very early on. I tend to play a Unit of three Bikes, with double Melta and an Attack Bike with a Multi Melta. I will usually combat squad these up so that I provide more target saturation and more distractions as to where my Terminators will be coming in. If I have Sammael in the list then I will upgrade one squad to have double Plasma, and one of these dudes will be an Apothecary. This unit is more durable, but let’s not get carried away. It is not hard to kill 3 Bikes, even when ignoring a failed Sv.

Upgrading the Srg to have a Power Weapon or Power Fist is an interesting decision. Firstly you want to go with the Fist if you have the points and certainly with a squad that has Melta Guns as you can always finish off the Vehicle you have just shot up with the Fist. The Power Weapon gives the Srg an extra attack giving him 4 on the charge. If this guy was in the squad with the Plasma Guns, chances are this will come in useful. Overall though, in my book if you need to charge a unit with a 3 man Bike squad, you are doing something wrong. They are not for assaulting. You may have points left over at the end of your favourite list though and if that is the case then these make good options. My advice though would be to only ever assault if you know that you have to and preferably just to clean up a unit that the DW are already in combat with. Remember that Terminators cannot perform a Sweeping Advance but Bikes can. It is worth remembering this to help wipe out weaker infantry units such as Necron or Tau.

The Heavy Support slots consist of the same entries as the Marine Codices but they are more expensive. The only noticeable difference is the Power of the Machine Spirit rule for the Land Raiders (no Redeemer available) which is the older version. The Machine Spirits BS2 and its ability to only work when moving 6” makes it weaker than other versions, however it gives the model Extra Armour for free.

Army Lists:

I am going to show you two main variants that I have used to good effect in the tournament scene over the last few years. Both lists need a lot of practice and you have to get used to the pain of losing models that cost an average of 43 points regularly to incoming fire.

Deathwing 1750

Belial, Lightning Claws

Upgraded DW Squad, Srg with Claws, Apoth with Claws, Dude with H. Flamer and C. Fist, Dude with TH/SS, Banner with TH/SS.

DW Squad, SB/PW, SB/PF, SB/CF, Assault Cannon/PF, SB/PF

DW Squad, SB/PW, SB/PF, SB/CF, Assault Cannon/PF, SB/PF

Venerable Dreadnought, Twin Linked Lascannon, Missile Launcher

Venerable Dreadnought, Twin Linked Lascannon, Missile Launcher

Venerable Dreadnought, Twin Linked Auto-Cannon, Heavy flamer

Land Speeder, Multi-Melta, Heavy Flamer

Land Raider Crusader

So Belial and his Squad go in the Crusader, with the Speeder hiding behind it. The Dreads take one flank holding together for support and the Deathwing Squads take another flank themselves.

Raven Death 1750

Belial, SB/PW

Sammael, Speeder

Upgraded DW Squad, PW/SB, Assault Cannon/PF, SB/PF, SB/CF, Apoth with Claws

DW Squad, SB/PW, SB/PF, Assault Cannon/PF, SB/CF, Claws

DW Squad, SB/PW, SB/PF, Assault Cannon/PF, SB/CF, Claws

Upgraded RW Squad, Srg with PW, Apoth with Plasma Gun, Dude with Plasma Gun, Attack Bike, Multi Melta

RW Squad, Srg with PW, 2 Melta Guns, Attack Bike with Multi Melta

Land Speeder, Multi Melta, Assault Cannon

Land Speeder, Multi Melta, Assault Cannon.

The future of competitive 40k.


The future is here…

Last weekend the American Nova open tournament finished up. This event run by MVBrandt received massive hype and, man, did it live up to expectations.

For those who don’t know what the Nova open actually was, it was a two-day, bracket-style tournament that featured 7 games. Four games were held on the first day, only those that went 4-0 and the best 3-1’s went through to day 2. The victory conditions are designed to explicitly prevent ties. The five 4-0’s were the ”tournament aces” , the top 3 players in the 3-1 category also went through.

The 4th and 5th seeded 4-0 armies had to play each other: everyone else gets a bye. The loser of this game dropped into the “loser” bracket with the 3-1 armies and they played it out. The winner of the loser bracket can win 2nd place. This means that the top four 4-0 armies battled out for first place , hence the winner of the Nova Open would be the only player to go undefeated.

The Tournament used its own custom missions designed to favor no army. It ran with a primary-secondary-tertiary mission style. Missions use the same three victory conditions: victory points, table quarters, and objectives. For each round, one was the win condition, and the other two were the primary and secondary tiebreakers. For all rounds, if everything was tied, marginal VP difference was the tiebreaker.

This is a fantastic system but it doesn’t end there…

One of the major issues in our hobby is the divide between the WAAC/competitive gamers and those who prefer a much more casual approach. The latter prefer painting or the social aspect, basically, they’re people who don’t really mind if they win the event. The Nova Open catered to these guys as well. They kept their prizes and ”scores” separate from the main tournament event. This way, the competitive gamers got their hard core tournament and the rest got to enjoy their aspect of the hobby.

There was tons of spot prizes and grab bags which could only be won by the people who lost their games (I’m told each bag had roughly 30 dollars worth of loot in them , the entry fee was only 50 dollars). There were major “Soft” Awards (Sportsmanship, Players’ Choice, Painting, Conversion by

system) and the player who had the highest combined scores from the above won ”Renaissance Man”. He received a Las Vegas ticket just like the Nova Open tournament winner. Both ”faces” of our hobby were equally rewarded.
MVBrandt has created something truly amazing for our hobby. The Nova Open is, without doubt in my mind, the best template for competitive 40k tournaments. The time has really come for competitive play in America but why should it only evolve there?
I think the Nova Open should be used as a template for future 40K tournaments across the world. Here in Ireland, we certainly have those that prefer hard fought 40K and those who enjoy the ”soft score” aspects. I think if all the major clubs came together we could certainly pull off an event to rival the Nova Open. Personally, I would certainly be up for this and would actively commit my club’s resources to anyone who wanted to start up an event like this in Ireland.

Finally, I’d just like to give a big shout out to Stelek of YTTH and congratulate him on his 3rd place finish. I think he was in a class of his own and was only defeated by the eventual tournament winner, Tony. Big props to MVBrandt for helping the Nova Open become such a huge success and I hope to fly out to next years event to take part 🙂

Food for thought , has the Nova Open started a 40K tournament renaissance? (Ed: Nope, it did not.)
Farseer Dave.

The Lesser Spotted Thunderfire Cannon, part One

“The Lesser Spotted” is a series of short articles highlighting some of the less frequently used units in Warhammer 40,000.

The parts of the Techmarine that accompanies the Thunderfire Cannon as painted by Matt[2].

The relatively cheap Thunderfire Cannon costs the same as a bare bones Space Marines Librarian. For your points you use up a Heavy Support slot and gain a fragile but versatile unit. The unit is comprised of the Thunderfire Cannon and its Techmarine operator. So apart from operating the weapon what does the Techmarine bring to the unit:

  • A 2+ Armour Save
  • A Servo Harness giving him two S8 I1 attacks in close combat, a flamer and a twin linked plasma pistol.
  • Bolster Defences

Having Bolster Defences is really handy, especially on tables that may not have much terrain. Bolster Defences is a rule that can benefit your army if you take a Master of the Forge, Techmarine or Darnath Lysander in your army but which you also get if you take a Thunderfire Cannon. Bolster Defences allows the controlling player to pick a ruin in their deployment zone and add +1 to its cover save. It may not sound like much but in objective scenarios it’s easy to pick a ruin, place an objective in it and give it a 3+ cover save and then stick some Space Marine Scouts in there with camo cloaks, giving your cheap scoring unit a 2+ cover save while babysitting an objective! Seven scouts is a good number since your opponent will have to kill three of them just to force a morale check…

Also note that the Techmarine has the Independent Character Universal Special Rule and the Blessings of the Omnissiah special rule but these are only usable once the Thunderfire Cannon has been destroyed. This actually makes it really nifty in Annihilation missions. If the opponent wipes out the Thunderfire Cannon and the Techmarine is left alive he can run off and join another unit, denying that vital Kill Point to your opponent! He can also repair weapon destroyed and immobilised results of nearby vehicles (after the cannon has been destroyed), hence potentially saving you some victory points since damaged vehicles give up a significant number of victory points.

Brother-Techmarine Artesian of the Iron Lords Chapter of the Adeptus Astartes.There are some things that should be remembered about Artillery:

  • The gun is treated as an AV10 vehicle, however any glancing or penetrating hit will destroy it!
  • When firing at an artillery unit roll a dice for each hit inflicted, on a 1-4 the gun is hit, on a 5-6 the crewman is hit.

When firing the Thunderfire Cannon there are three different types of ammunition available to you and you must declare which type of round the gun will use before firing it each time.

#1 The Surface Detonation
Range 60″
Strength 6
AP 5
Type: Heavy 4, Blast

How to use it:

With four blast markers this weapon is a potential threat to quite a few things. While this is not the first firing mode I would use for the Thunderfire it’s not to be discounted and could see frequent use when the more specialised rounds run out of targets. Trukks, Land Speeders, vehicles with armour values of 10 or even vehicles with armour values of 11 that have already been immobilised as a result of the Subterranean Blast firing mode (see later) making that bit easier to kill. Units with good armour saves that are hugging cover or crowding an objective or have just been forced to disembark from a destroyed transport are also prime targets for this S6 weapon, wounding marines on a 2+ with 4 blast markers might not be as much as a S8 AP3 blast but this weapon will still stack those critical wounds on scoring units.

High toughness units are becoming more common on the tournament scene in Ireland, Tyranid monstrous creatures, daemon princes, chaos daemons, thunderwolf cavalry, Ork Biker Nobz to name a few. This S6 weapon, smartly placed can wound two independent units at a time and with 4 blasts you’re bound to cause some crucial wounds.

My thanks to Shem[1] and Matt[2] for the use of their Thunderfire Cannon pictures!

[1] http://ironlordsspacemarines.blogspot.com/

[2] http://thedragonstears.com/

All the best,
Joe

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