Official and Glorious Blog of the Inglorious and Officious Warheads Gaming Club

Category: Warhammer 40K (page 1 of 11)

ETC 2013: Nerds to Novi Sad

Another year, another Nerd Olympics. We’re all off to the European Team Championship this weekend. The Irish 40K and Fantasy teams (best of luck, chaps) are flying out tomorrow for their three day event, we’ll be joining them on Friday for the two-day, Flames of War event. I can’t guarantee that we’ll be able to keep you updated but I’ll certainly grab as many pictures as I can of the armies, terrain and venue.

 After last year’s “triumph”, the Flames of War team will be looking to “refine” our performance. The 40K team had a strong finish last year and will be looking to break into the very top ranks. The Fantasy team are looking to get back to previous form and match their performance in 2011. There’s been wild talk of playing sober but I can safely assume that madness will pass once people notice that the venue has three bars. I also thought I’d give a brief overview of the preparation involved in attending the ETC. There’s two critical tasks to be completed before I leave. The first is making sure that every piece of the army is packed and every scrap of supporting materiel is accounted for.


The second task is researching the country itself to ensure a degree of cultural sensitivity and, at the very least, pack the right clothes. I found the “Behind Enemy Lines” documentary to be very informative. Based on my research, it seems to be a cold country and a mix of fatigues and tracksuits would be most appropriate. I assume weapons can be sourced at the customs desk.

Some of my less-enlightened teammates persist in claiming that the local temperature is 38 Celsius but they’ll be sorry when they’re freezing to death while I luxuriate in my fine winter coat.

On The Step Podcast 1.1: On the Tau

Hello to you all, it’s been far too long since I’ve had the time to post on this! I do however return bearing some most excellent news. Trget and myself have started a podcast, find it here and more information after the break.

It initally came up through the absolutely random conversations we have (as we live together) about every new codex that comes out. We’d sit down with a codex each and (usually me) exclaim ‘That’s OP!’ or ‘Ooooh shiny’. Most of it was fairly inane banter but we thought if we got our minds together we could so some interesting reviews. I’ve always been a big fan of the background/fluff and Trget has a formidable knowledge of the rules so we combine well.

I’ll be honest, this first one was done a little on the fly as we were unsure as to what we wanted to do with the podcast but inital reviews have been good and we’re refining the running order and segments.

If you’ve got any comments on the show we’d like to hear them, it’ll just make us better as we go forward!

We’re going to be monthly, covering 40k as that’s our main system personally. We may branch out as we play different games but it will stick to wargames and 40k for now.

A section I’m looking to add is a tournament round up- top three from the month before and the tournaments upcoming. I reckon I could get it done in 2 minutes if I turn on the fast-speak!

In this episode we discuss the new Tau codex, we talk about:

Major changes in the background and a few of our favourite characters
The models and overall aesthetic of the army
And a round up of all the new rules with a look through all the choices.

Thanks for listening!

ETC 2012 Final Results

Well another ETC has passed and as the dust settles, one thing is for sure: England put a very strong showing in this year, winning the 40K and are rumoured to have come 3rd in Fantasy.

More after the break. UPDATE- now with Fantasy results

Team Ireland have managed their first top ten finish in 40K ETC history. Well done to Mike and the boys for an impressive 3 wins, 1 draw and 2 losses. The final results are here, courtesy of the 40kETC wordpress page.

Congratulations to Team Northern Ireland for finally popping their ETC cherry by beating the Dutch and the Norwegians!

Warhammer 40,000 Results
WFB Final Results

Place – TEAM – VP Total – Actual BP – Modified BP – Penalty
1 POLAND 29978 631 564
2 AUSTRIA 5108 564 536
3 ENGLAND 13102 554 530
4 DENMARK 16917 551 526 -1
5 GERMANY 9381 547 523
6 FRANCE 7874 525 521 -2
7 GREECE 8301 531 518
8 SWEDEN 5835 511 514
9 ITALY 6561 520 506 -1
10 FINLAND 4772 511 504
11 SPAIN 9792 528 500
12 UNITED STATES 1415 490 494
13 MALTA -1746 460 488
14 SCOTLAND 6009 498 487
15 NORWAY 4604 492 485
16 SINGAPORE 1687 491 485
17 AUSTRALIA -81 482 484
18 RUSSIA -6631 481 484
19 BELARUS -1599 468 474
20 NEW ZEALAND -2009 465 474
21 UNITED NATION -7715 444 465
22 IRELAND 887 463 462
23 UKRAINE -7179 457 462
24 CZECH -6923 449 459
25 NETHERLANDS -5609 440 457
26 LATVIA -8494 436 448
27 SERBIA -4364 443 447
28 BULGARIA -3574 424 444
29 NORTHERN IRELAND -10165 429 442
30 WALES -16637 399 441
31 BELGIUM -7529 425 438
32 SWITZERLAND -16728 396 424
33 CANADA -11577 418 418
34 HUNGARY -12761 393 416

Incoming: 40k ‘Starter Boxed Set’

Reports of my death at the hands of Dagestani insurgeants have been greatly exaggerated. 
That cleared them out nicely
As the entire team are currently fighting bravely in the ETC trenches, it falls to me to provide you with this little gem from the GW site.. (Much more after the break!)
As usual for thier teasers, not much content apart from a date. Thank god for the internet as I have found the following, mouthwatering pictures for your consumption.
The Complete Kit.
Close up of the Cultists 
 I really don’t care that some of those are repeated, they’re ripe for converting and absolutely stunning. The ‘Eavy Metal team did a good job on them too!
 Terminators and Bikes
Some of the most dynamic terminators since Space Hulk, most dynamic bikes ever.. don’t forget they’re snap fit. GW shows that is is THE model company once again here.
The Dark Angels
I think I see a few ‘Macragge Marines’ but some new sculpts for the Tac Squad. The heros look amazing. Personally can’t wait to see them in the flesh, they’re going to be superb. 
Also: Mmmmm Plasma…

Rumor has it he’s special edition. Do want.
                      The filthy Chaos scum never looked better and that hellbrute is HUGE!
Kudos to BOLS Forums for the pictures!
What are your thoughts? I’ll be looking to get 2 sets and swap on set of Chaos for Marines, any takers?

Team Ireland 40K and the ETC

It’s almost a week until the European Team Championship kicks off. This year, Team Ireland have three chances of nabbing a trophy. Our crack teams of hardened baby-killers will be competing in the Fantasy ETC for the fourth year, the 40K ETC for the third year and the Flames of War ETC for the first time.

In honour of the Nerd Olympics, we’re running a two part series on the history of Team Ireland. We’ll look at 40K today and Fantasy this weekend. This should give the uninitiated a quick guide to our record on the international stage. The records are somewhat patchy, we’re definitely missing some team photos but we’re pretty confident that the following is true. Please correct me on any errors.

First up, a brief history of Team Ireland 40K…

Home Nations Championship 2010

The first Home Nations Championship was held in Firestorm Games in Cardiff. Inspired by its Fantasy counterpart, it was considered a warmup for the ETC proper. It was a glorious debut. After triumphing over every other nation, they found time to display the glaring weakness of every Irish sporting team by almost bottling it against the softest opposition. For Team Ireland, their first international event was also their first, and to date only, tournament success. Great things were expected…

Round 1: Ireland beat Northern Ireland
Round 2: Ireland beat Wales
Round 3: Ireland beat England
Round 4: Ireland beat Scotland
Round 5: Ireland draw with the Barbarians.
Nation Match Points Game Points
Ireland 9 490
England 7 509
Wales 7 466
Scotland 4 386
Barbarians 3 386
Northern Ireland 0 163


European Team Championship 2010

Arrogant in their victory, the 40K team spent almost all their training time on the beach, drinking heavily. Although they won their first game, their hubris was their undoing. They suffered their first ever defeat in the second round. Most regrettably, it was at the hands of our ancient enemies, the Vikings. Draws against the Czechs and Welsh left us facing some familiar and vengeful faces. A defeat at the hands of our other ancient enemies, England, and a draw with the Faroe Islands left the team finishing a disappointing 19th of 24 nations. Hungover players trudged home.

Round 1: Ireland 86-74 Hungary
Round 2: Finland 110-50 Ireland
Round 3: Ireland 79-81 Czech Republic
Round 4: Ireland 84-76 Wales
Round 5: England 92-68 Ireland
Round 6: Ireland 81-79 The Faroe Islands
1 Poland 10 (280)
2 Germany 9 (162)
3 Spain 9 (132)
4 Sweden 8 (118)
4 United States 8 (118)
6 Switzerland 8 (16)
7 Latvia 7 (38)
8 England 7 (32)
9 Russia 7 (-30)
10 Denmark 7 (-56)
11 France 6 (52)
11 Ukraine 6 (52)
13 Belarus 6 (20)
14 Italy 6 (-2)
15 Austria 5 (10)
16 Faroe Islands 5 (-28)
17 Finland 5 (-44)
17 Hungary 5 (-44)
19 Ireland 5 (-64)
20 Scotland 4 (16)
21 Wales 4 (-70)
22 Czech Republic 4 (-132)
23 Belgium 2 (-162)
24 Northern Ireland 1 (-414)

There was a short film made at the event, which you can find here.


Home Nations Championship 2011

With the hosting rights going to the champions, the 2010 Championship was held in Cork. Our bid to retain the title ran into trouble immediately. A first round draw with a strangely effective Team Northern Ireland gave those sorry souls their second international point and riled the Irish team into action. They took it all out on some innocent Barbarians and went on to beat the Scots to end Day 1, just behind the leaders. Day 2 was far less successful, a narrow draw against the Welsh prefaced our first Home Nations defeat. The English beat us to claim the title and knock us into third place.

Round 1: Ireland 85-75 Northern Ireland
Round 2: Ireland 106-54 Barbarians
Round 3: Ireland 86-74 Scotland
Round 4: Wales 81-79 Ireland

Round 5: England 93-67 Ireland
Nation Match Points Game Points VP Difference
England 9 529 12144
Wales 8 472 4919
Ireland 6 423 2532
Scotland 4 367 1207
Northern Ireland 3 340 -7000
Barbarians 0 269 -13802


European Team Championship 2011

Following in the proud tradition of 90s-era Irish football teams, Team Ireland open their campaign by avenging themselves on the team that beat them in the previous ETC. Finland are convincingly crushed in what proves to be a false dawn. A disappointing draw with Belgium is followed by a defeat at the hands of those other Vikings, Sweden. The second day sees Ireland unlucky to draw with Denmark, lose heavily to the host nation and smash an under-strength Austrian team. Two wins, two draws and two losses show an improvement on the previous year but no-one is pleased with a mid-table finish.

Round 1: Ireland 91-69 Finland
Round 2: Ireland 82-78 Belgium
Round 3: Sweden 122-38 Ireland
Round 4: Ireland 84-76 Denmark
Round 5: Switzerland 105-55 Ireland
Round 6: Ireland 103-57 Austria

1 Germany 10 (258)
2 Poland 10 (134)
3 United States 9 (140)
4 Sweden 8 (158)
5 Spain 8 (58)
6 France 8 (52)
7 Wales 8 (-6)
8 England 7 (36)
8 Finland 7 (36)
10 Switzerland 7 (24)
11 Latvia 7 (2)
12 Denmark 6 (-6)
13 Ireland 6 (-76)
14 Belarus 5 (36)
15 Italy 5 (24)
16 Scotland 5 (-6)
17 Russia 5 (-26)
18 European Union 5 (-48)
19 Belgium 5 (-120)
20 Northern Ireland 4 (-40)
21 Czech Republic 3 (-50)
22 Austria 3 (-60)
23 Norway 2 (-436)
24 Greece 1 (-264)


Six Nations Championship 2012 

Here’s where it all becomes second-hand information. You’ll see that the competition was renamed the Six Nations Championship. Belgium were invited to join, probably due to the hope that they would bring waffles. The tournament starts badly for Team Ireland with the first loss to a Welsh side. But the Irish avenge themselves on the Belgians and Northern Irish for previous draws and beat the Scots once more. The scope of those wins suggests a team unlikely to stumble against weaker opposition. But the English once again prove too strong and take the gold.

Round 1: Wales 87-73 Ireland
Round 2: Ireland 103-57 Belgium
Round 3: Ireland 118-42 Northern Ireland
Round 4: Ireland 113 -47 Scotland

Round 5: England 89-71 Ireland
Nation Match Points Game Points
England 10 569
Wales 8 518
Ireland 6 478
Scotland 3 294
Belgium 3 287
Northern Ireland 0 222


 European Team Championship 2012

So, that’s Team Ireland 40K. Born in victory, somewhat less glorious ever since. But each year sees new hope as another team steps up.  The Six Nations results bode well for Ireland. If they can continue to mangle weaker teams this proficiently, then we could see Team Ireland 40K finishing within the top ten for the first time. The first round will tell us a great deal, the Latvians are one of the top ten teams and a good result would be excellent.

Getting a Grip on 6th Edition: Terrain

What’s wrong with this table?

It contains six fine pieces of terrain: lovely ruins with some LOS blocking that allow 40k to be played in three dimensions.  It’s more terrain than I ever saw on a table in a 5th edition tournament.  The terrain has also been arranged in a relatively benign manner so no possible deployment zone benefits more than another.

So what’s wrong with it?

 It is wholly inadequate in terms of 6th ed. terrain.  Allies and Flyers are getting all the press these days, but it’s the new terrain rules that I think people will have the hardest time implementing.  “Terrain Density” dictates that every 2’x2′ square of a table receive d3 pieces of terrain.  So an average table should have twelve pieces of terrain.  They don’t have to all be cool ruins as you see above–forests, statues, rivers, area terrain (craters, wrecks, etc.), and unoccupied fortifications are all on the terrain palette.  So take the above table and add six more pieces of terrain to it.  I like terrain, but in my experience many tournament 40k players have always treated it as a nuisance.  Players are eager to start using allies and flyers, but who cares about terrain?

We all should.  For starters, you’re going to need some place to hide from all those flyers zooming around the table with their square flight paths.  The change to a 5+ cover save should also be understood in the context of increased terrain: cover saves are poorer quality (and the new focus fire rules allow you to go after troops in the open) but should be easier to find.  Because cover saves are 5+ now players may now be more welcoming of LOS blocking terrain.  The new deployment types also increase the importance of terrain–who wants to walk the length of a table without lots of terrain?

Terrain is also important because of the new rules for fortifications.  Players alternate placing terrain after fortifications are down.  This means that you can place pieces of terrain in such a way that your troops have a modicum of cover as they approach my Fortress of Redemption.  

Terrain is not glamorous–it’s a tedious part of organizing a tournament and it presents practical obstacles in terms of transportation.  I think TOs right now would have a hard time finding and transporting 12 pieces of terrain per table.  There’s a 24 person 6th edition tournament coming up at Gamers World in September.  I don’t think even the largest shop in Ireland has enough terrain to put down 144 pieces (average of 12 pieces x 12 tables).  In the short term an increase in smaller, poorer quality pieces may be needed.  In the medium term people are going to have to build more terrain (and take better care of the terrain in existence).  Either that or sparse terrain will be the uncommented upon survivor from 5th edition.

A Priori

Philosophers have a fancy term for when something is so goddamn obvious that you can grasp it without actually experiencing it: a priori.  That the rules for allies contained in 6th edition 40k are incompatible with tournament play is knowledge that can be acquired without actually running tournaments with these rules.  It is a priori knowledge.  Allow me to make a few observations before I proceed. [Editor’s Note: Please note that this article is speculative in nature, and as such might not make as much sense once the new Edition arrives, which will bring with it some more balanced coverage as well. There are some additional editorial comments included in the rest of the article after the jump. Also remember, there should be a number of Errata and FAQ documents coming out that aren’t reflected in this article.]

[Grand High InquisiEditor Newbreed’s Note: I did not write the above editor’s note and do not agree with its views. I believe all 5th edition players should prepare for the imminent apocalyptic cluster-f*ck that awaits us. Those who claim otherwise are ardent GW loyalists whose views must be ignored by all right-thinking folk. Doom, I say, doom.]

1.  Competitive tournament gaming must, by definition, reward skill before luck and list.  This is called “balance.”  The extent to which balance was achieved in 5th edition was questionable–Tyranids were weak and Grey Knights were strong.  GW cares very little about competitive tournament gaming and we should not expect the rules to be written with this type of gaming in mind.  In other words, it is conceivable that GW would produce a rules set that is not conducive to tournament gaming. [Ed: GW have themselves said this before.] [Ed: The swine.]
2.  Fluff supports allies.  Haven’t we all read Warrior Coven by C.S. Goto?  No?  Then we simply aren’t operating on the level of mutual respect I assumed.

The Death Watch ally with the Eldar to defeat the Dark Eldar.  In a particularly touching scene the Eldar pay grudging respect to the psychic abilities of the Death Watch Librarian. There are many other examples of factions allying or, as the Eldar have done with orks, manipulating each other.  However, it’s not fluff that concerns us here, but if it did we would certainly point out that the Ally rules do not allow for the construction of a Genestealer cult Imperial Guard army–a sloppy, inexcusable omission.
3.  This is bald-faced money grab by Games Workshop.  Allies are a lazy, ill-conceived addition.  The expectation is that everyone will run out and buy a mini-army to use as allies.  Eldrad models will fly off the shelves.  It’s important to understand that from the rules writer’s perspective allies were included to sell stuff.  This was the imperative that spawned the rules for allies, not fluff, balance, or “cinematic” feel. [Ed: Do note that this does allow players to expand their collection with allies without the need to buy an entire new army, which is nice for your pocket, and from a customer relations view.] [Ed: He hits me because he loves me.] 
In theory each codex was written with game balance in mind.  [Ed: There is a comment from GW out there stating that each Codex is only meant to be internally balanced. Cookies if you can find it.] [Ed: Internally balanced is a meaningless term. The idea of balance suggests other codexes and an overarching game enviroment in which balance is judged.] This is a basic premise of game design.  Although it is Games Workshop and Mat Ward we’re talking about.  Nevertheless, there was some thought of it, however little and however lacking in play-testing.  The most obvious examples of this are the weaknesses of  specific codices vis-à-vis psychic powers: Tau, Orks, Dark Eldar, and Necrons.  Orks, of course, have no access to melta and limited long range anti-tank assets.  Imperial Guard have limited close-combat options but excel at dealing damage at range.  Yes allies will strengthen weak codices (e.g., Vulkan added to Sisters of Battle), but already strong codices will get stronger still.  Everything scales up but the strong codices scale higher.  The use of allies magnifies imbalances it does not redress them.  Tournament players (haters will call them WAAC) are already thinking up with the most potent combos.  What makes a potent combo?  Simply it is an addition that removes a structural weakness from a codex.  In the words of our very own Floody, he’ll be adding Mephiston to his Grey Knights army “because Meph is the bane of all the crap that hurts GKs.” [Ed: An important question here is: What is he removing from his list to make this room? He can’t simply be adding on the guts of 400 points to his existing list.] [Ed: It’s  literally the very next thing he writes. Just keep reading. He also has to add those just oh-so-awful and not at all buffed jump infantry.]
Let’s consider the objection, “Allied additions aren’t free–you gain something but at the cost of something else.”  This is a weak argument and we don’t need to let it detain us for very long.  When our Grey Knight players adds Mephiston for 250 points what does he gain and what does he lose?  He loses, roughly, a psyfleman and two strike squads.  What does he gain?  A Blood Angels troop unit and Mephiston: a psychic hood on an eternal warrior HQ that flies around the table killing things.  This leaves the psycannons to do what they do best: remain stationary in the center of the table churning out mass amounts of 24″ range shooting. 
Contrary to popular belief the use of allies will not increase the diversity of armies at tournaments.  Armies with limited options for allies will be completely absent unless the fickle finger of fate grants them some type of super-combo.  And Tyranids?  Don’t worry about them, they left the building when they heard cover-saves are now 5+.  The most competitive combos will be mandatory.  I suspect it will shake down to about six to eight combos.  Now it’s early days yet and the GK/Mephiston combo may not be the most broken synergy out there (but I’m inclined to trust young Floody’s intuition).  I’m even willing to grant that the combination of allies and new rules may put an older codex out on top.  This is an important point.  Rest assured, however, that whichever codices benefit most, will do so in a spectacular way. 
Significantly, those who don’t take allies will be punished the most on the tournament table.  Perhaps your ideas of allies is to have an ork army with Blood Axes and the Bad Suns working together in a grand waaagh!  Sure you’ll get an expanded FOC, but you better avail your sorry ass of some obliterators instead or else expect to go 0 and 5 over the weekend.
Allies will see use in a few tournaments this year, but when the ETC bans their use Irish tournament organizers will follow.  Pure 6th edition being played on a tournament table in Ireland will be a rarer sight than a corncrake.  
Now, let’s discuss the new terrain rules.  Mysterious Forest anyone?
[Ed: And that’s a very pessimistic look at the new Edition folks. Stay tuned to get some more balanced coverage this weekend when the product actually launches.]
[Grand High InquisiEditor Newbreed’s Note: All is doomed. Warhammer Fantasy levels of doomed.]

ArmyMan – Army Lists Made Easy

ArmyMan LogoThe biggest delay after playing a game of Warhammer 40,000 is usually figuring out your Victory Points and Kill Points. This most frequently happens at Tournaments, and to a lesser extent at friendly games. Players sometimes forget units or their costs, and this slows things down.

ArmyMan is an Android App that was written specifically to solve this problem, by serving as an easy reference for the armylist and speeding up scoring at the end of the game. Join us after the jump for more.

ArmyMan keeps track of lists, units and results.  This means you can store multiple lists in the app, and can also save results from your games as a record of how you do.

The sample list.
New Unit Prompt
Units in an Army List

Within each list it keeps track of each unit in that list, as well as its points cost and even a quick description of that unit. Additionally you can also add temporary units, such as those spawned by a Tervigon, that don’t contribute to the overall list value, and liability units, which is Lone Wolves in a Space Wolves list.

 Using this display you also easily keep track of how much damage your units are taking in a game. Simply set the skulls across the top of the list to indicate how much damage the unit has taken. The number of ticks across the skulls show which percentage of the unit is still alive, and allows you to easily keep track of multiple Combat Squads in a Marine list. Going from full squad to wiped out in 25% increments, with each tick essentially representing a quarter of the unit.

Unit #1 is at half strength.
Unit #2 is at full strength.
You can also see the Score
button on the bottom.

So a unit below half strength would have half it’s ticks left, and a Combat Squad-ed Marine unit that has lost half a combat squad would still have 3/4 of its ticks left.

Everything you need
about the score.

When you’ve finished a game, you can also easily save the result right from inside the list. Kill Points and Victory Points are automatically calculated, you just need your opponent’s results and you are good to go. Additionally you can also add modifiers to both your opponents Victory Point and Kill Point tallies. Currently this is for things like multiple Combat Squads which shouldn’t be worth a single Kill Point, or losing a Banner in a game of Warhammer Fantasy.

ArmyMan was built to be as generic as possible, so you should also be able to easily store Flames of War lists, or any other system with a similar unit costing mechanics. It is also actively being developed, and the next release, hopefully in a couple of weeks, will add support to import and export lists easily.

ArmyMan can be found in the Google Play store, and is currently on sale for €1 until midnight Sunday the 3rd June when it will revert to it’s usual price of €2. And remember, all proceeds from sales go towards maintaining the On The Step community. Any questions, feedback or suggestions can be answered through the support forum, found at On The Step.

The War on Two Fronts

So the North Down Gamer’s Hub up in Northern Ireland has run a couple of ranking tournaments recently for both Warhammer 40,000 and WHFB. We decided to catch up with Tom O’Reilly from Unite All Action to see what makes the North Down Gamers tick. Below we’ve included a few shots from last weekend’s tournament as well where Chris Britton (Warheads) grabbed first place and David McHugh (Warheads) nabbed third with their Grey Knights and Orks respectively.

3rd Place David ‘Jiggy’ McHugh (on the right) with Team Northern Ireland Captain Jonny Fisher (left).

Tournament winner Chris’ Grey Knights dominated the day.


We caught up with tournament organiser and NDGH member Tom O’Reilly for a few questions after the event and interspersed it with some pretty pictures:

War Altar: Hi Tom, hope you’re not too exhausted after the weekend?

Tom O’Reilly: No still plenty of energy 😉

WA: This is the 2nd ranking event you (The North Down Gamer’s Hub) have run this year, will we be seeing more in the future?

TO’R: I think for us we are still trying to find our feet, but yes we hope to do regular events on a monthly basis.

#David Attenborough voice: “The…wild Ork stalks a Rhino as its prey. A feast of this magnitude will surely get his Ork mistress off his back for at least an hour and a half.”

WA: This was a real club effort to get these events off the ground but some good advertising and smoothly run events seem to draw a returning crowd, what made your club want to get into running ranking events?

TO’R: Well that’s just that were not a gaming club as such, it’s mainly just a couple of guys that were inspired by other local events that we attended. And we thought we could do something very similar, and for me it was just an extension of my hobby.

The nibbles

WA: Once you start hitting numbers are the events going to become more than just one day or are one-day events what make running tournaments so plausible in quick succession?

TO’R: Ultimately you have to get the feeling on what gamers want, that’s first and foremost so 2 day tournaments is probably the way we will go at some stage, but like anything you can not take it for granted that you will be guaranteed to get people back.

North Down’s Michael Brough, a tough opponent with a great eye for painting. You may remember the name from his Sisters of Battle taking on my Imperial Guard way back during Round 1 of Q-Con last year.
 The trophies 

WA: Thanks for taking the time to talk with us Tom and congratulations on another well run event.
TO’R: That’s not a problem and we would like to take the opportunity to thank everyone that has made it so worthwhile to date, we certainly do the easy bit by organising the day to be as much fun as physically possible. But it’s the gamers out there locally that really do make it so worthwhile when you see them travelling as far as Dublin and Derry, to have a good day out, meeting new people and rolling some dice, after all that’s the number one rule; it’s all about having fun. So once again a big thank you to everyone.

“Hey can you guys tell me what way to the objective?”

 “Over there!”

Congratulations to Recent Warheads addition Pat came 5th with his Tyranids!

That’s all for this time folks thanks again to Tom for the brief interview and the photos and congratulations once again to everyone who attended especially tournament winner Chris (Warheads), 2nd place Jonny (NW) and 3rd place David (Warheads). Do take the time to visit the NDGH’s Facebook page and, if you haven’t already, the War Altar’s Facebook page =D

– Joey

All photos courtesy of NDGH, used with permission.

Tyranid Primer

The 5th edition Tyranid codex has often been condemned as uncompetitive. As a long-time Nid player, I’d just like to say, yes, yes, it is. But the position is far from hopeless.

The internet is full of codex-wide reviews and plaintive cries of “I want a fluffy assault-focused horde”. I’ll be doing something a little different here. I believe that a tournament-focused Tyranids list is actually rather fluffy. It can rapidly produce a mass of bodies, on par with the Ork horde and its uniformity actually adds to the menace in a way that a fluffier list composed of a hodge-podge of Nid units does not. It’s core tactic is to use the mass of bodies available to gum up the enemy’s lines and hope that something cracks. What could be fluffier?

The Tyranid playstyle is rather different to the standard 40k style. Rather than focusing on assigning firepower to targets, it revolves around attrition, sacrifice and force preservation. The most common decision is not what target to attack but rather what target to block. Individual units are not particularly resilent but the overall force can be.

Army List

There are a limited selection of worthwhile units in the Tyranid codex. Some are first rate units in a third rate codex, others are inherently poor but used out of necessity.

The First Rates
These are the beating heart of a Tyranid force and act as a windvane. Generally, the number of Tervigons left in the field is a strong indicator of the condition of your army. The spawning mechanic and ability to buff gaunt units all make for a potent force multiplier.

Their ability to provide Feel No Pain saves singlehandedly grant the units around them a degree of resilence otherwise lacking.

Hive Guard
Frankly, these would be a solid unit in any codex. High toughness, accurate, a great gun and a good, if situational special rule. The range is a little short, but as the only source of decent anti-mech firepower, these become critical to your success.

This is something of a… lie. They are a first rate unit but only when spawned for free. They provide the bodies to gum up the enemy warmachine.

The Second Rates
Despite their many many failings, amongst them, paper armour and no way of mitigating the effects of cover in assaults; they can, when assisted by Tervigons and moving through cover, advance through fire and really cause difficulties for anyone without major anti-infantry firepower or flamers.

The only decent heavy AT gun you have. It’s accuracy is woeful but it’s happy to duel at range due to the fact that it boasts a 2+ save. As it’s a stand off unit, it can avoid the combat deathstars which chop through your MCs. And as a member of that fraternity, it’ll keep hitting at full power until its very last wound.

The Heartbreakers
The Zoanthropes attracted a great deal of attention in the early days of the codex. They have one of the best anti-tank options in the game. But once brought onto the field, it soon falls apart. It’s range is poor but that is not an insurmountable problem. However, it does require a psychic test to activate and its short range effectively forces it into range of the psychic defences which shut it down.

Very expensive, grants a variety of buffs. Actually quite useful. It directly competes with your Hive Guard though and falls over dead at the first sign of danger. Another false dawn. If it weren’t for the average toughness, this could have had some potential.

This suffers from the bane of almost all the Tyranid monsterous creatures. Toughness 6 and a 3+ save protects you from nothing. There are very few heavy weapons that will not wound you on a 2+ and also punch right through your armour. When your intended role forces you to move into range of such weapons, your life is short and rather pointless.

The Rest
Honestly, I could break them down unit by unit but in every case they fall short. They are either less suited to a role than one of the units above or when used in their intended role prove fatally flawed on the battlefield.

The main issue you face is the abundance of extremely sub-optimal match-ups. There are those that deny it but the codex simply cannot handle certain builds. Most of the newer codexes can, all other things being equal, swat you like the bugs you are. The staple of the Dark Eldar, the Venom skimmer, is your death. Barring ludicrous luck, you simply cannot defeat a force with more than six. They can simply gun down your shooting units and even your best melee units cannot drag them from the skies in any reasonable time. The Space Wolves have the benefits of many missile launchers which can hack away at support and synapse with ease. This is coupled with the psychic power, Jaws of the World Wolf, which really punishes the poor initative of your few decent units. The Grey Knights can also prove very very dangerous. The psychic power, Cleansing Flame, prevents you from using your numbers to win combats. And the army-wide force weapons neutralises your monsterous creatures. Hammerhand and psybolt ammunition works to counter your high toughness also.

In the special cases mentioned above, you play cautiously, preserve as much as possible and hope for runs of terrible luck on the part of the enemy. But outside of those, your chances are good against a wide range of lists. You the tools to go toe to toe with most codexes.

Onto the happy news, your overall strategy is actually quite interesting. In normal match-ups, you simply apply pressure to your opponent and exploit any errors made. The sheer mass of a Tyranid force can be intimidating. The pressure inflicted by your board control makes the opponent react to multiple threats and forces those errors.

The tactic is universally applicable to all armies but the concept of screening is utterly critical to a Tyranid force. This applies both on the squad and army level. Your backfield assets are vulnerable to any decent assault force and must be screened. Your counter-charging units must be screened until they are thrown into the fray. On the wider battlefield, you have the potential to clog large sections of the board. You can also use bait units in a manner few codexes can. When it comes to shaping the battlespace, the Tyranids excel unless they run out of bodies to throw into your path.

The ability to threaten multiple objectives simultaneously is critical as the Tyranids are quite slow. Your axis of attack can be clearly identified as soon as you start plodding in a particular direction. This means that you must commit your forces correctly at deployment, there will be no real chance to recover.

Overall, the codex retains an non-standard playstyle which has its appeal. A well-designed list has a mass to it which can let you bully through smaller forces. The ability to weather two turns of shooting and come out with a larger force is also deeply amusing, when it happens. Throwing unit after unit of termagaunts into Terminator squads and grinding them down through attrition is extremely satisfying. In essence, if you think you’d like being an Imperial Guard Lord Commander, you’d probably enjoy playing Tyranids.

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