Monday 30 October 2017

Codex: Astra Militarum - Heavy Support units

The real hammer of any guard list and where all the big boys live (not including the super heavies obviously!). Its is hear that the really big guns can be found, either in terms of artillery or tanks, both of which you have an abundance of choice with. First up though are the babies of the section, the humble heavy weapons squad.

Heavy Weapons Squads
The good old heavy weapons squad, relegated from the infantry platoon and the troop section to the heavy support options. This has left it with two main problems, one its no longer a troop choice and therefore is no longer objective secured and cannot camp at the back and claim an objective, secondly it now has to compete with a number of option that can do a similar job quite a bit better then it can. its not all doom and gloom though, as now you can field a HWS with veterans or in support of Scions, without having to take several infantry squads as tax. However, the main advantage of the HWS is that they are cheap, not as cheap as they were with the latest price rises, but they are still cheap. They have seen a 50% rise in the base price of each team, but they really are still cost effective. They can bring a range of weapons and with the new rules, bringing composite squads with a mix of weapons makes sense, although bringing all the same weapon does mean you have some redundancies when you inevitably miss. The choice weapons for the squads remains as the mortar, for its low cost, and the autocannon, for its versatility. Some will argue that the autocannon is no longer the go to weapon and that other weapons are just as good, such as the heavy bolter, but the autocannon is still the best all rounder. As for including these in your army, its always looking at including one or two is you have the slots and again mortars are a excellent choice, as they can provide a real pain to you opponent, with no needing line of sight to shoot. This means that those hidden objective campers in your opponents back field are not quite as safe as your opponent thinks they are. Oh, and remember they also come with a lasgun, so you can fire that as well under the new rules.

Like many of the Chimera based artillery weapons, these have gained a power point. however, with the other recent changes to the Earthshaker gun, it is still a very potent weapon and with the option to roll two dice (discarding the lowest) to determine the number of shots, you are guaranteed a reasonable number of shots most turns. I like the basilisk, its a good weapons platform, but I have always though that it was a little over the top for a normal game of 40k, at least now there is no minimum range, and I imagine that firing one on over watch must be fun! This is a good, powerful unit, but with the random number of attacks (even with rolling two dice) you can end up with only a couple of attacks, which with a BS of 4+, your not going to hit much and with d3 damage, you may not even kill what your hitting. A good weapon, but to random for my liking, as there are other weapons that can do similar things more reliably.

Again,the Wyvern has picked up a power point, but this time it extends across the board, with each additional model getting more expensive as well. This weapon site on the opposite end of the spectrum to the Basilisk, as its a high volume, low strength weapon. With so many dice, 4d6, you can be pretty confident of getting enough shots to do some real damage, simply through forcing saves. This is my preferred weapon of choice fro my support and has always proved useful to me, I would have liked to have seen it increase in strength or ap, to make it a heavier mortar than the hand wielded one from the HWS, but as it stands its the same weapon, just 4 of them. The thing with the Wyvern is that it does not offer much over the mortar armed HWS, as armed with a heavy bolter its just a few points cheaper than 9 mortar teams, that's 9d6 verses 4d6 with rerolls to wound, and you can order a heavy weapons squad if you wanted, but you can order a Wyvern (although the Master of Ordinance can help). I think that upping the strength or dropping the ap by 1 would do a lot to the system and give it a more defined roll. Having said that, I still lake it and will still be keeping my 2.

The Hydra has a bit of an odd deal with points, as it has risen by a power point but it has dropped in points. However, it still does a good job in the anti-flyer roll, which is good as its the only option that the guard really have these days. While its not quite as good as it once was, many codices ago, but with a +1 to hit and a good number of autocannon shots, its got a fair chance of doing damage to a flyer. Personally, I have never used a hydra, relying on my vendetta and flakk missile squads to do the job for me and with the changes in rules, I think that a couple of MRP and lascannon armed Valkyries will do a fair job. This doesn't mean that I don't rate the Hydra, because if you have one, then I would take it, as despite the -1 to hit ground targets, there are still loads of valid Fly keyword targets out there, and your likely to come across some in every army. So, basically, if you have one, I'd field it.

As per all the other entries, its gained a power point. The Manticore has, as far as I can see, lost quite a lot of power from the previous editions, granted its still good, with good stats to the rockets, but the loss of templates has hurt weapons like this one. This is due to everything being on a d6 roll now and there is a chance that you could only be taking out 2 models, if you manage to actually hit them. Its a fun weapon to field but you'd be better off with a Basilisk or a Leman Russ. Field one if you fancy, but one wont be appearing on my tabletop for a while yet.

The only unit not to have seen any changes, which is understandable as its not exactly a great first on everyone's list. The Deathstrike is a iconic weapon, one that pretty much everyone knows about but no one has ever seen fielded, mostly because its kinda rubbish. So its got a great weapon and could easily wipe out most units in the game in one go, if you can get the dam thing launched. You can never launch till turn 2 and more likely it will be turn 4 or even turn 5 before it get fired, by which point your enemy will be spread out and the full effect of the weapon will not be felt. This is a fun weapon, one best used in a narrative mission I think and not for a competitive game.

Leman Russ Battle Tanks - grinding advance, plasma vents,
The biggest change in the whole codex is right here. Not only have there been point changes, but whole profile, including ability, changes. The profiles for the Leman Russ Battle Tank and the Leman Russ Demolisher have been rolled in to one profile. This makes sense as the both profiles are the same now, with no additional armour for the demolisher variants. I would have been good to keep the extra toughness for the demolisher variants, as they do tend to get closer to the enemy and are therefore more exposed to some of the stronger, short ranged weapons on offer. With this new combined profile comes a combined points tags, with both variants dropping power points and standard points to put them on to a leave playing field. In addition to the lower points there have been a couple of updates to the profile itself. Grinding Advance got amended to include the option to shoot its turret weapon twice, if you move under half speed. In general this is going to be the case, as most of the weapons, except maybe the Demolisher and the Punisher cannons, have the range from the off to hit most parts of the table. Once you get in range of the Demolisher and the Punisher cannons, then you'll be able to unleash a pretty devastating attack. This really makes the LRBT's a real threat on the table top, more so than they have been for a while. The second change is to Emergency Plasma Vents. Instead of doing multiple mortal wounds per 1 rolled, you now get just one per 1 rolled and you can still fire the weapon. This means that the Executioner is a viable option again, as are plasma sponsons. Its definitely an option that I will now be looking at for my Demolisher, that and the Punisher.

The main issue with the LRBT is that there are so many versions its difficult to choose which one is best. Granted there are some that stand out from the crowd, the main ones being the Vanquisher, Executioner and standard LRBT. The Vanquisher is the only dedicated anti-armour and monster version, kicking out a powerful shot designed to do lots of damage, its drawback has been its single shot, but with the new grinding advance, this has been reduced, plus add in a lascannon and you can effectively have 3 shots. The Executioner really benefits from the new plasma vent rules, and can put out a lot of shots and is a primary target for tank orders. Combined with plasma sponsons, you can kick out a lot of shots, potentially up to 12 plasma shots! The standard LRBT is still a vey good choice, kicking out a good number of shots with a strong profile, and is still a tank to be feared by pretty much any player. The other tanks in the range also have there place, things like the Punisher are unrivalled in there ability to take out hords, the Exterminator can take down most heavy infantry and light vehicles easily and the demolisher can really put some hurt on to any tough high wound models, with even a couple of hits having the ability to kill off a model. The one version that still seem to be the odd one out is the Eradicator. With its short range and similar profile to the battle cannon, although being slightly weaker, it struggles to justify itself, even with the ignores cover rules. I really don't see why you would take this instead of the regular battle cannon. Its hard to say which version of the Leman Russ you should look at taking (apart from the Eradicator) as they each have a very different roll to play and which one you take depends upon what you intend to use the tank for. My only suggestion is that if you are looking for an all rounder, then the original is still the best, as it has all the elements, high numbers of shots, good strength and ap, with a good damage output. I will generally be fielding a LRBT (old skool fixed weapon model), a Vanquisher and a Punisher, although the Executioner and Exterminator will see the table top on occasion.

So that's the Heavy Support option for the codex, and while there are a number of options, some don't seem to be particularly good choices, namely the Manticore and the Deathstrike, however, there are also some great options, namely the various Russ versions. The others, the Basilisk, Wyvern and Hydra are solid choices and will depend upon what your looking for in a list, where as the HWS will no doubt be in most people lists, in one for or another.

Next up are the Super Heavies, the big boys of the playground.

Friday 27 October 2017

Codex: Astra Militarum - Fast Attack and Flyers

After the long double post of the elite section we move on to the fast attack section of the codex. Now this is quite a small section so I've combined it with the layers section as well, which at 1 entry is the smallest section in the book.

The Hellhounds are probably one of the biggest wines of the book, even though they all went up slightly by 1 power point. Now, there are really three variants, of which the Hellhounds is one. The others being devil dog and bane wolf. Of theses variants only the bane wolf has remained unchanged from the index. The bane wolf is in my opinion the worst of the three variants, it has the shortest range of all three, although the chem cannon itself is not a bad weapon, you just need to be sure of killing whatever your shooting before you get destroyed and with only d6 shots, that's not necessarily going to happen. The Hellhound has rcieved a much needed boost with the inferno cannon being changed from d6 to 2d6. This means that it can actually do some serious damage now, especially with the extra range and auto hits. This is the variant that I usually take when fielding one of these variants. However, the biggest winner of all three is the devil dog. This version has seen two significant changes to its profile. As the only version that didn't have an auto hit weapon, it suffered massivly with the heavy weapon penalty. Now its an assault weapon, although its still a d3 weapon. Another bonus is that the weapon has also dropped in price, by almost half. This means that it is now a real viable weapons platform and has a good chance of doing real damage. This is a solid choice for taking out heavy armored infantry and vehicles.

Scout Sentinels
Now, I think that the scout was one of the losers of the codex, as it has faced a double blow. Firstly it has rcieved one of the few power points rises, with all options rising by a point. This does make it more cost effective to take more, but its still basically a 50 percent points rise. The second blow comes from its main rivel and ill go in to that in a second. As a platform, the scout is not great, its not tough, stealthy or strong. As a heavy weapons platform its bit great, with the penalty to hit when moving with heavy weapons, which all of its weapon options are. The scout move at the beginning can be useful but overall, it does lack something to make it stand out. The only reason to take them is really the fact that they are the cheapest fast attack choice for the XXXX detachment.

Armoured Sentinels
The armored sentinel, and the other big issue for the scout. This is due to the fact that its the same power points level now and only a couple of standard points more expensive, but is tougher, having gained a point of toughness, and has a better save and access to more weapons. Really the scouts abilities don't make it stand out, as the scout move isn't going to be game changing very often and the extra movement isn't going to mean much during a game, the extra toughness of the Armoured sentinel will. The access to extra weapons is also useful, as plasma is one of the best weapons this edition, just be very careful when overcharging! I still don't get why they don't have access to multi-meltas either, I would have though that it would have been the perfect platform for it. I really think this is the better option of the two sentinels now, its just a shame I have three scout versions!

Also, while were talking sentinels, what's up with the chain swords? I like how they have a profile now and are actually useful, but i would have expected a bit better profile, at least ap -2, its a huge bloody great chain sword!

So that's the fast attack options, short and sweet. In theory there really are only two options, hellhound or sentinel, but there is quite a variety in there still. For Hellhounds it has to be either the hellhound itself or the devil dog a good second. As for the sentinels, with these changes its only really the Armoured sentinel.

For the flyers there is now only one option, with the sad demise of the vendetta.

Now, one of my favorite units, the good old valkyrie. Its a shame that the vendetta has been moved to forge world, although this was not a big surprise, as its been expected for the last 2 codices. The Valkyrie was a poor choice at the beginning of 8th for a number of reasons. Well, most of them have been amended in the codex, as not only have there been a points reduction, on both systems, but also some of the weapons profiles and rules have been updated. The Valkyrie has dropped 2 power points and has lost 20 standard points, meaning that the flyer is a lot more reasonable now and can be kitted out fully for a more reasonable price. In addition to this price drop, my preferred weapon choice also got a boost, with a change from Heavy to Assault. This means that the Multiple Rocket Pods are now worth taking, as there hitting at full BS rather then at -1. It also means that if you really need to move, you can advance and still fire, which means that at full health you can cross most of the table with ease. These changes alone make the Valkyrie a great choice for air cover and even with the Hellstrike missiles, the Valkyrie is a deadly hunter, although one shot weapons are not great with guard. However the icing on the cake for the flyer is the new Roving Gunship rule. This adds one to the hit rolls if your hovering, meaning that there is now no penalty to moving and firing heavy weapons and with MRP's you'll actually be hitting on 3's! How great is that! I really like the changes, as it means that the Valkyrie is finally able to for fill its roll as mobile gun platform, a roll it has struggled with since 8th launched. One other point to note, is that they have closed the Grav-chute Insertion loop-hole. How? Well the recent FAQ has changed the wording from "more then 20 inches" to "20 or more inches" meaning you can no longer move 20 inches, the minimum fly move and drop off your troop with out restriction. The rule was obviously meant to stop you flying and dropping troops without penalty, but it left the 20 inch move open to abuse, one I have used myself. Now, you can no longer fly the min and drop troops without risking loosing some of them. This makes sense and I was not surprised that it has been amended but with the addition of Roving Gunship, I think I'll manage.

While there are other imperial flyers available from forge world, this is the only flyer available to the standard guard player, and to be honest its not a bad one. Its pretty tough and can kick out a lot of shots, especially with the heavy bolter add-ons. If you have one, I would definitely field it, if your have more than one, I'd field them all!

 Next up is a big one, the heavy support.

Wednesday 25 October 2017

Codex: Astra Militarum - Elite Squads

So, the new guard codex has been out weeks and there is already an FAQ. This is both good and bad. Mostly its clearing up keywords that should have been sorted before publication and a couple are clearing up the wording on rules. There ate really only 3 major points, firstly commissars, as noted in the previous post, secondly that only one unit from the tallarn stratagem can be of the vehicle type and finally, send in the next way does indeed cost reinforcement points, which means its useless. Anyway, ill cover it in more detail later.

Continuing on with the elite section, we move on to the elite squads, those units formed of multiple models. We'll run through them in the order that they appear in the codex, starting with the command squad.

Command Squad
There was some hope that command squads would be increases to 5 members when the Catachan preview appeared on the Warhammer Community page, as it mentioned taking a heavy Flamer and 4 flamers in a unit, this howere turns out to be a typo and the unit remains at 4 veterans strong. The unit got the standard power points drop but apart from that all the options remain unchanged. These units are well worth the investment, but with the changes to plasma guns, you'll need to watch the points. There are really two ways to run these squads, all armed with special weapons or decked out for buffs, (standard, medic, vox). Personally I take one of each, but that's because I like the standard and medic models!

Special Weapons Squad
The SWS got two sort of buffs and one big nerf. The squad got the standard power point drop and in points terms gets the benefits from the new plasma points. On the flip side it, demo charges are no longer a thing. I know, no demo charges! I didn't use them often but they were fun when you did! Its a shame that they have gone, my 3 demo models will have to find a new role somewhere. Whether you take this squad or not depends upon what else your taking and how many points you want to spend. In general the SWS is not as good as a vet squad, with lower model count and lower BS, however it is cheaper, especially with plasma. I tend to run these with grenade launchers and flamers, where BS doesn't matter as much, either as its d6 shots or auto hits, with melta and plasma the higher BS does make a difference, as does the extra bodies, as you'll usually be operating in more isolation with vets squads.

The veteran squad was always the alternative troop choice to the platoon but now it has moved to the elite section of the book. Is this a good thing? Im not sure it is, as here its competing with lots of other units and doesn't sit properly in the selections. I still think it should have been left in the troop section as a more expensive alternative to the infantry squad. However, it is here, so lets look at the changes. Well, lets start with the obvious, its dropped a power point, no surprise there, most things have. Also the sergeants have lost there chain sword as standard to a no cost option. The biggest surprise is the gaining of autoguns. Why? Im not really sure why they have included this option, possibly to do with Genestealer cults stuff? I wouldn't have thought so and i doubt that they will be bring out a Veterans box set, Ashe infantry box covers it already. Also, autoguns and lasguns have the same profile, so there is no advantage of taking one over the other. Its a strange addition, that's for sure, especially as they still retained there shotguns.

While were here, I thought I would talk about plasma, as I've mentioned it a few times in this post and it also effects the vets. Plasma guns now have two points profiles, one for units with a BS of 2 or 3 and one for units with a BS of 4+. The weapon cost half as much for a 4+ BS model.  so a vet with a plasa gun will coat you 19 points, compared to 11 for an infantry man, quite a difference. This is why SWS look good when armed up with plasma, compared to vets or a command squad, as for 3 models your looking at a 24 points difference. That quite a saving, which is why its not so clear cut as to which you want, a SWS, a command squad or vets, as each serve a different roll now.

Militarum Tempestus Command Squad
The Scion command squad, this was your small budget plasma delivery system, although its less so now. It is still more cost effective than a full scion squad but also a lot more fragile. It remains the same as in the codex and will o doubt still feature heavily in many AM lists. The squad works very well loaded with special weapons and dropped in behind the enemy, along side a Prime for an order and this setup will continue to work. If your planning on taking any scions for such a tack, either as part of a AM list or a full MT list, then this is going to be your first port of call. Highly adaptable and cost effective, a good choice for many armies.

This is an odd units for the AM codex and not one that has been ptrsrnt before. They have remained unchanged from there index entry, apart from going upba power point, where they were under the Adeptus Ministorum. They may provide some good protection and reasonable attacks in combat, but they are completely our of place in the guard codex. They could be useful as wanna be bodyguards or for tanking a few heavy shots but really they are not much use in a guard army. Not convinced by these guys.

As standard, these guys have dropped a power point, and much like the Tech-Priest they have lost there Canticles but have gained the <Forge World> key word. I really don't know what these guys are about in 8th. they have no real role or abilities and are no help to a Tech-priests. The only reason I can see to take these models is to have access to plasma cannons and multi-metlas, both of which are rare for guard and usually vehicle mounted. Unless your desperate to take either of these weapons, I wouldn't both to take any Servitors.

Wyrdvane Psykers
Remain the same from the Index. This is another unit that I don't really understand, they only cast on a D6, so two powers are uncastable and a further 3 are very hard for a minimum unit, and only marginally easier for a full strength unit. Even casting smite is not going to be very easy, although with a large unit you can spread the unit around and give yourself a large area of threat. If you want to pack out a list with psykers, then this unit will allow you to do that. If you are going to take this unit, I would suggest taking a maximum unit.

The good old Ogryn got one of the rare power point rises. This unit is also been in obscurity for quite a while, as they were quite a bit over costed and under powered. Now they seem to be back in the pack, although time will tell. I like Ogryns, but they have always been a bit lack luster. There shooting is reasonable but I think it could have done with a -1 ap rating. The good addition is the rippers new melee profile, which goes with the fluff about using the guns as a club. The frag bombs are another thing that I think are not as they should, as I think that they need some extra strength. A frag grenade is S3 but a bomb is only S4, I think it should be S5. I really hope that they do prove to be better and priced right this time round. If your going to take a unit you can either run them as a minimum squad in a transport, either chimera or Valkyrie and move them around the field to where they are needed to reinforce an area or take on some deep strikers in the backfield. The other option is to run them as a 6 or 9 man squad and sit them near an important point and use them to hold the point at all costs.

The Bullgryns have received a bit of a drop in power points, but in a round about way, they have received drops in points when you take 3 or 6 extra bullgryns, so the more you take the cheaper it has become. The good thing about these guys these days is that you can take a mix of equipement rather than just one or the other. That means you can pick the best weapon and best shield combination for you. Again, there are two ways to run them and in many respects they work better that the Ogryns, as they are better at holding ground and would be better at counter charges. I would run these guys at the maximum number you can, as the more hits you can throw, the more damage you'll be able to do. These are my choice of the Ogryn units.

Again, a unit that was not a common sight on the tables of 6th or 7th Edition but are making a comeback in 8th. Why, Snipers are actually useful again. Don't expect them to hang around long when things get tough, and with the changes to commissars, that wont change much either. Place these guys at the back somewhere deep in cover and snipe away at the enemy characters. I would suggest taking a big unit, a maximum size unit if possible, or even better, multiple units of Ratlings. These guys wont win any battles on there own, but they will be quite a pain in the arse for you opponent. Definitely a unit to put on your roster.

All in all there are a few key units to look at from this list and there are a few units to seriously consider, the Command Squad, Vet squad and SWS are all units to consider and also the MT command squad if your taking a MT Prime. For me, Ratlings and Bullgryns are also a unit to seriously consider taking, as they both have a place on the table these days. Crusaders, Servitors and Wyrdvane Psykers are units that I would not bother taking, unless you really want to. Ogryns are a unit that sit somewhere in the middle, They definitely have there uses but I think that there are units that do the job better, namely Bullgryns and Vets but they are still useful.

Next up are the Fast Attack and Flyers.

Monday 23 October 2017

Codex: Astra Militarum - Elite Characters

Welcome to the first of two posts covering the elite section of the new codex. This section of the book is by far the biggest section and as such has been split up in to two parts. This part will focus on the elite characters, the single model units and the next post will go on to look at the elite squads or multi-model units. So of these single and multi-model units are closely linked and I'll be sure to mention these units when I come to there individual entries. Although thus post will cover just the characters, I will run through them in the order they appear in the codex starting with one of my old favorites,  the Master of Ordnance

Master of Ordnance
There have been a few changes to the MoO for the Codex, the big one has been a drop in points, down nearly ten points from the Index. A good points drop for the unit. The other major change has been that the Mater of Ballistics rule has been changed and the range pushed up to 6 inches. This makes it a lot more useful, as it means that you can effect more than just one model without parking everything on top of each other. The drop in points is really the bigger bonus though, as it means that he is now cheap enough that you can slot him in to most armies without worrying about it, although if your using the Cadian Doctrine, he's surplus to requirement, as you wont be moving your artillery much anyway. Personally, I am still not sold on this guy, yes his Artillery Barrage is useful, but not amazing and his ability is useful, but not essential. If I have spare points that I don't know what to do with then I might consider taking one, but other than that I think he's going to be sitting on my shelf for a while.

Platoon Commander
Well, what can be said about the humble platoon commander, Hes obviously a bit forgetful, that's what. Hes managed to mislay his shotgun somewhere and keeps forgetting his chain sword. In other words, he has lost the option to take a shotgun, which isn't really an issue as I don't know anyone who actually took one on a platoon commander and his chain sword is now an option and not part of his basic wargear. Not that that's a problem, just say he has in and if someone complains, point out that every marine carries a bolt pistol and ask them to point it out on there models. As for the platoon commander himself, now he is no longer a required part of the platoon, he has fallen in to a bit of a niche roll. Only being able to issue 1 order means that you'll probably be running him one on one with a squad, rather than using the company commander with a couple of squads. This means that chances are he'll be with a conscript squad, to keep the commissar company, or he'll be with a vet squad, mounted up in a chimera or valkyrie, ready to issue the squad an order. As such a lot of the time, Hes going to be up close with the enemy and so you'll want him as cheap as possible. A niche model with quite a specific role but in the right situation it can be priceless.

Colour Sergeant Kell
The infamous Kell, what can I say, if your running Creed in a fluff list you really have to take Kell anyway. If your running a competitive list then Kell isn't a bad choice, not great but not bad. The reroll for leadership is always good and if your taking Kell, chances are your taking Creed, so that means 4 orders a turn. The bodyguard rules are a bit forceful because if Kell is within range of Creed, you have no choice about rolling against taking a wound on Kell. That means that you'll probably want to keep Kell away from Creed in order to get the rest of his benefits. While Kell adds to the buffs provided by a commander, I don't think that he is a great choice, fluffy and fun but not very competitive. Take him if your taking Creed, he'll be useful, but he's not essential.

Sergeant Harker
Harker is one of the two Catachan characters and remain unchanged from the Index. Harker is a support unit, unlike Straken, although Hes handy enough in a fight. With his reroll for Catachan infantry and his super heavy bolter, you'll be wanting to keep him out of harms way and probably embedded in a conscript blob or in the middle of a group of infantry squads. One of his big advantages is that payback is an assault weapon plus its -2 ap, much better than a syandars heavy bolter or even autocannons. As a support character Hes very useful. But I'm not sure Hes quite good see him regularly on the tabletop.

Ministorum Priest
Once the mainstay of any guard army, buried deep in one of the 30 or 40 man blob squads of infantry, is now relegated to the side lines, his glory days over. Despite the small drop in power points, the priest is still not worth while taking any more. With the loss of fearless and the ability to combine squads in to large blobs pregame, the abilities of the priest are nothing compared to what they once were. Zealot is still the same, but only affects the priest, no one else and seeing as he cant even take a power weapon, its not really any use. War Hymns now only add one attack to models within 6 inches, that's models and not units, so that's not as good as it once was. All in all its a sad demise of a once great unit and I cant see these guys on the table top any time soon, you'd be better off saving the points for more commissars.

Tech-Priest Enginseer
This unit has both some big wins and some big losses. The unit has dropped in price and is one of the rare units that has dropped both power points (just 1) and match points (down 10). Not only this but the Master of Machines rule has been updated to include Knights. Now it has also lost the Canticles of the Omnissar, but it does gain the <Forge World> key word, so this may make up for the loss, however, as I don't have a AdMech codex to hand and I also don't plan on getting one for two units (this and Servitors), I don't know what the <Forge World> tag actually does. I'm also not going to find out, as I don't plan on running any of these. Why? Well, I don't rate them very highly, as in order to make maximum use of them you either need to group all your armour together or run one for each vehicle. This is fine for LRBT's and artillery, as neither are going to be moving very far or very fast, but everything else, such as Hell Hounds, are going to be moving significantly faster than the Tech Priest. Plus each priest will be repairing on average just 10 wounds a battle, if you use it every turn, so one is not going to stop anything being destroyed, your better off just running Valhallans.

The bedrock of any good guard list these days, the good old standard Commissar. The only thing that this model lacks over the other Commissars (Lord and Yarrick) is really just the invulnerable save and a bit of leadership, which doesn't really matter, as you only ever loose one model anyway. These are almost auto include options these days, especially if your thinking about taking conscripts. The only reasons I can see for taking one of the other commissars is if you want fluff with Yarrick because you'll be facing Orks, or because you have run out of Elite slots and still need a Commissar. For cost and effectiveness, this is by far the best option.

Edit: I wrote this before the new FAQ came out yesterday and there have been some major changes to commissars, changes that I am not sure are a good thing yet. Commissars now no longer grant an automatic pass to moral with the loss of a squad member (for a failed test), just a re-roll while still loosing a squad member. This means that you could end up loosing a lot of men for failing a test by just one, as you would have failed, lost a man and then have to reroll, with the possibility of loosing more men. This seems to be a move to satisfy tournament players who are complaining that enough wasn't done about conscripts and I think is detrimental to many non tournament players.

Officer of the Fleet
The Officer of the Fleet is another model that I struggle with, in the same way that I struggle with the MoO. Why he has useful abilities, his Air Raid Request is very similar to the MoO's Artillery Barrage and is quite useful, and Strafing Run, which got some clarification that it only applies to Valkyries, is better now that MRP's are assault weapons. However, I just don't think that he is particularly useful overall, yes, if I have spare points I would probably take one, but would I change a list to free up points to take him, no, I wouldn't. Maybe I'll have to play him a few time with my Valkyries and see if it really does make a difference or not.

The Astropath remains unchanged and still dirt cheap. Now some people initially said that this was great and that you could spam them for Smite, but in reality it doesn't work that way, as you can only roll 1D6, and you'll only cast a third of the time. So you'll not be spamming smite at all. The other ability is basically casting Ignore Cover to units on to a single enemy unit. Good if you want to dig something out of cover but at only 18 inches, the range is short and not useful for what you really want, blasting something to smithereens with your lascannons from the other side of the table. No, Astropaths are cheap for a reason, there not very good.

Ogryn Bodyguard
Now, in contrast to Astropaths, we have a unit that is good. This is basically a generic Nork Deddog. I love the idea of this unit and plan of sticking a box of Ogryns on my Christmas wish list this year. The units is tough and has lost of options, more than the standard Ogryns. I plan on running three with different setups. The only downside to the unit is the bodyguard rule, as it does not give you the option to transfer a wound or not, if your in range you have to roll the dice. While it makes sense, I would probably keep the bodyguard out of range for the start as you want to keep him around and not loose him straight out the bag to shooting. Granted, with the current rules, this is unlikely, as the number of weapon that can snipe characters is quite low, but ideally this unit is a counter charge and anti-deep strike unit. With a good line of stats, piling these guys in to any back field deep strikers will cause problems for said units. I will be running these guys, at least one per army, to accompany my warlord.

Nork Deddog
The original Ogryn Bodyguard has lost nothing with the addition of the generic unit, he costs a little more but has better stats and abilities. Personally, I don't like Nork, as I don't like the load out for a Bodyguard, I would prefer the option to take a shield of some sort, not that that would help with the bodyguard rules, but when throwing him in to combat it would help. For the extra points I don't think he is worth it and would take the generic ones, but having said that, his abilities are good and he is not a bad choice if you like the war gear load he carries. Definitely worth considering.

So that's all the Elite Character Models done, and there are a mix of useful units, (Ogryn Bodyguards, Commissar, Platoon Commander) and some not so good units (Astropath, Tech-Priest) and a bunch somewhere inbetween. The pick of the bunch has to be the Commissars, who will or should be in every guard army, with the Platoon commander coming in second, as he has a much more niche role. As to the likes of the MoO and OotF, well, as far as i'm concerned the jury is still out on them, they may prove very useful, or they may sit on the shelf gathering dust for a while, but one thing is certain, at least the Astropath will have some company on the shelf.

Next up are Elite Squads.

Thursday 19 October 2017

Codex: Astra Militarum - Troop units and Transports

The next section of the book that were going to look at is the troop section. Now this is quite a small section, as it tends to be in all codices, so we will also be looking at dedicated transports as well, as this also happens to be a small section.

Infantry Squad
The first unit listed in the book is the standard infantry squad. The only change from the Index is that sergeants now no longer get a chain sword as standard but is instead a no cost option, so in reality, every sergeant will be carrying one. In terms of the squad itself, its pretty much business as usual. The infantry squad is your basic squad, capable of taking a special weapon and a heavy. They are not your dedicated hunters, that falls to the vet squads, but they are a fairly solid and reliable selection. I would always advise taking a couple of these squads in pretty much any list, as they are cheap, disposable units that can be used for a wide range of jobs, from speed bumps to objective campers and bubble wrap.

This is perhaps the most controversial unit in the codex right now and even though they have seen a pretty big nerf in the codex, they are still the hot topic of the moment. The changes to conscripts have been pretty well advertised, with a drop in numbers to a max unit of 30, down 20 models, and the new rule, Raw Recruits, meaning that your orders will only apply half the time. So, in theory this should mean that conscripts are now no longer the go to unit in the codex and while they aren't as strong as they were, they are still very strong. For bubble wrapping or speed bumps, they are by far the best choice and they still have weight of numbers on their side. I still expect them to see a lot of action on the table top and they are defiantly a unit to consider for any army, just be mindful that they are not going to kill much, even at full strength and you will need a commissar to babysit.

Militarum Tempestus Scions
Again, little has changed, the only change i noted was the dropping in power point for bringing 5 extra scion in the squad. In terms of the unit itself, it still retains all its options and remains the only deepstriking troop choice, although with the new doctrines, you'll need to be careful how you play these guys. There is no doubt that this is a strong unit, in 5 or 10 man form, but they seem to be a one trick pony these days, ie deepstrike in and plasma stuff, which is a shame, as they are a lot more versatile than that. Yes, most of there versatility is down to deepstriking aand unless your running a pure scion army, your going to be deepstriking these guys in to the enemy backfield. They work just as well armed with melta or volley guns for anti-armour or infantry work and are great for late game objective grabs. A good unit to have in reserve and capable of many roles, its always worth taking a unit or two in a game.

So, only 3 troop choices these days, now that the platoon structure has disappeared, which I still think is a shame but is understandable. Of these three, conscripts still stand out as the best choice for many armies, as a cheap disposable unit that will be very hard for you opponent to shift but that doesn't mean that the other choices are poor, as both have there roles. Infantry squads are very versatile with lots of weapon options and can perform a wide range of roles from assault squads to hidden objective campers and then the scion squads are great as dedicated hunters, especially when loaded with plasma, and late game objective grabbers. All three squads have a place and none should be discounted when designing your army.

We'll also take a look at the three dedicated transport options, starting with the oldest and most versatile, the chimera.

The chimera has gained a power point from the Index, but remains the same points wise and keeps all of its other rules and options. This is the original transport choice for the Imperial Guard and remains the strongest and best option. Yes the Taurox is faster and armed just as strongly, the chimera has greater versatility, greater capacity and is tougher. The only reason I see to take a Taurox over a chimera is price.

As I mentioned above, the Taurox is pretty much inferior to the chimera in every way, except for speed and price. While it is faster, those extra couple of inches aren't going to make up for the other weaknesses. Some may argue that having two autocannons is better than the heavy bolters or flamers on the chimera and in some respects they might be right, but the job of a transport is mostly to get the troops where they need to be, which is generally close to the enemy. This is where the Taurox suffers and the extra range of your autocannons doesn't make much difference. You also can't take a vet squad and platoon commander, a major drawback if you ask me, as you really want the commander to boost the vets. No, the only reason I see to take a Taurox is cost and boy, what a cost save. With the points drop in the codex it really does make it a proper choice and rival to the chimera, where as before it was more of an also ran. Now you'll need to decide what you want, fast mobile transport or bigger tougher mobile gun platforms.

Taurox Prime
At the other end of the scale we have the primes. These are one of the few units to gain points in the book, pushing the overall costs of even the cheapest version north of 100 points. While this is expensive for a transport, a guard one at least, its a very hard hitting one. It still has the lower toughness of the standard Taurox but it backs far more punch than any of the other transports. With options for a missile launcher, battle cannon and Gatling cannon, it is more a mini battle tank than transport. The only downside to the Prime is, unfortunately, quite a big one, as only the scions get access to it. This is understandable as they are supposed to be a fast moving and hard hitting force, which LRBT's aren't but Primes are. As for whether you should take Primes in your army, that depends on what your running. If your just running a few squads as part of a AM army, then no, there are better support options and better and cheaper ways of running mechanized infantry units. You would be better just deepstriking the units. If your running a pure Militarum Tempestus army, then you definitely need several of tbese units, with a mix of weaponry to support your troops.

All in all, you have a very limited selection of dedicated transports. For your AM armies the chimera is still the go to transport as far as I can see but the Taurox is now a good and cheap alternative. The Primes are a specialist unit and your only option for your scions. I would like to see the standard Taurox opened up to the scion units but that seems unlikely to happen.

Next up will be elites, which form a large part of the codex and will be split over two posts, one covering characters and one the elite units.

Tuesday 17 October 2017

Codex: Astra Militarum - HQ units

Over the next couple of weeks I will be going through all of the verious units within the new Codex, looking at what has changed from the Index and also my thoughts on the various units and how they work in 8th. I will be starting with the HQ units and then working through all the others in turn. Finally I will look at all of the doctrines, warlord traits, orders and stratagems at the end. All in all, this will no doubt take quite a bit of time to go through everything in the new book and I will try to post things up as quickly as I can so that were not still talking about the box next year! When I do finish going through the book, there will be quite a back log of posts, as there is still things going on in the background, namely batreps and the Eagle Knights, which have been progressing slowly in the background.

Anyway, on to the HQ units:

Lord Castellan Creed
A nice and simple one to start, as nothing has changed from the Index to the Codex. Creed is still a strong character, carrying over a lot of the usefulness he had in 7th. As a character he is purely a buffing character, able to issue multiple orders and also granting the bonus Command Points, which is very useful. The only downside to him is that he sufferers from the standard guard flaw, he is relatively easy to kill. As a character he has some built in survivability, but once the enemy get close, he is still a soft target. For me, I usually take him in my Hjaltland list, however, I'm going to have to rethink this as being Cadian I would have to use the Cadian Doctrine and to be honest, I'm not sure its the best one for the army. If you are taking a Cadian Detachment though, then you should definatly be looking at taking Creed.

Company Commander
There have been a few changes here. Two of them are fairly common across a number of units and will get repeated several times during these reviews. The Power points value has been altered, dropping a point and the character no longer comes with a Chain sword as standard. Now, power points are not really something I bother with as I don't really like the imbalance in the system but if you do then the drop in points is a good thing. On the whole most units have dropped points, which more than makes up for the few that have risen in price. The fact that the model no longer comes with a chain sword is both a modelling thing and a cost thing. With most models that now have a chain sword did not use to have one and as such most are not modelled with one. Most of my Sergeants and officers are armed with plain old CCW's and not chain swords, but in reality it isn't much of a problem, as its easy to just pretend or glue on to the back of someone. The other change to Company Commanders is that they have lost their shotguns. This is a minor issue as I don't know anyone who actually armed a Company Commander with shotguns. I haven't used shotguns and don't ever intend to either, so not a problem for me. Company commanders are very useful units and you should always be taking these guys, especially if your not taking Creed, as their orders are invaluable.

Tank Commander
The first of the Leman Russ tanks and one that hasn't benefitted from the points drop. It has benefitted from a drop in power points, just one point, but its still a drop. The price drop of the general LRBT's does however have an impact on the command tank. Previously, the point difference meant that it made sense to just spam command tanks for the extra BS, now the point are different enough that you actually need to think about whether its worth taking lots of command tanks or if you can take one with a couple of normal LRBT's. The main change though is to the Emergency Plasma Vents and its a big one. In the past, overcharging the plasma was a sure-fire way of destroying your tanks, with the risk of taking multiple mortal wounds per 1 rolled. Now you only take one mortal wound per 1 rolled and you still get to use your weapon again. This means that you can chance those overcharged shots and not worry that two 1's and you tank is removed from the board, or even that one 1 would stop it shooting for the rest of the battle. I think that this is a really good change and will result in lots more Executioners being fielded. If your running tanks, then this guy should be the first one on the table, that is unless your playing as Cadian, then you should be taking Pask.

Knight Commander Pask
If your taking tanks and playing as Cadians, then this man should be first on the list. While I think he has lost something over the 7th edition version, with loosing the special abilities of the weapons, there is no doubt that he is still a very powerful addition to the force. Along side the reduction in power points, by the almost obligatory one point, the only other thing of note is that the wording of the Tank Orders/Knight Commander ability has changed. It now mentions nothing about other characters, just that they have to be other Cadian Leman Russ tanks. So by this I assume that Pask can order another command tank and visa versa. It does still appear that the loophole about Pask ordering himself my arise again, as it doesn't mention anything about not ordering himself and we don't have a FAQ for the Codex, just Index 2, which no longer applies. I think that if anyone tries to do this again, then they are trying to break the system, as it is clear that he is not supposed to order himself. Also worth noting that the Plasma Vent rule for Pask has also changed in line with all LRBT's. Pask is a great addition to any armoured force and with the new Grinding Advance rules allowing you to fire twice at half speed or less, he is even better. There are really no bad weapons options for him, with a 2+ BS and if he stays still, re-rolls to 1's your going to be hitting with pretty much everything, even Vanquisher Battle Cannons. My personal favourite still has to be the Punisher Gatling Cannon, just for the fact that you can pour in 40 shots, hitting on twos, with the possibility of re-rolling 1's. That is going to ruin pretty much any ones day.

Commissar Yarrick
The old man of Hades Hive is still alive and kicking. Although there is no change from the Index entry, he is still an absolute beat stick. With the standard Commissar buffs to leadership and moral, your troops wont be going many places you don't want them to. Plus with the re-rolls to 1's as well, your troops will be performing a bit better on the shooting front too. This goes even further with re-roll to all failed hit rolls when fighting Orks, which is very good but quite situational, as the number of Ork players seems to have diminished over the last couple of editions. The big bonus Yarrick has over a regular Lord Commissar is his ability to regenerate when he dies. He has a good chance of returning, especially if you keep your command re-roll, and if you keep a medic close to hand you have a chance of making him really difficult to remove from the table, as its is not a one time ability. While Yarrick is a great character, I feel he is still quite situational. Against Orks he is a really good addition, but against normal opponents, I feel that if you want a Commissar in the HQ section, then a standard Lord Commissar is a better bet.

Lord Commissar
While not a resilient as Yarrick, he offers pretty much all of the same buffs, everything except the re-rolls. With all the orders and regimental doctrines available, losing this re-roll is not a big issue, Cadians for example have a re-roll of there own. The Lord Commissar's profile has remained unchanged from the Index, as do all the buffs but again, I still find it hard to justify taking a Lord Commissar. A normal commissar will give you the buffs you need at a reduced cost. The only reason to take the Lord version is the invulnerable save and the fact it sits as a HQ choice rather than using one of the overcrowded elite slots.

Colonel 'Iron Hand' Straken
The final named character in the HQ section has had quite a few changes from the Index. The biggest change is the change in the cost of the unit, both in terms of power points, dropping a point but also dropping 15 "normal" points. This is the only HQ to drop actual points, as opposed to power points. He has also gained frag grenades along side his krak grenades, which I assume was a mistake in the Index. Straken is a strange one, as he really is trying to be a combat monster, yet to me, doesn't really seem to achieve this. Yes he can issue orders and also gives extra attacks to Catachan infantry, which melds well with their extra strength buff, but at T4 he is still not going to take much to strike down, especially when his other rules are aimed at him hunting down monsters, i.e. his re-roll to wound against monsters. Going up against a Tyranid monster will likely see him destroyed in one turn of combat, probably without dealing much in return, as his bionic arm is only S user, even if this is twice the normal guardsmen's strength. While I think this means that he want to be in combat and is wasted sitting in the backfield, meaning he doesn't really have a defined role, I would take him in any of my lists in a second, just because he's definitely one of the coolest characters in the Codex.

Tempestor Prime
Apart from the change to the power points, a change of 1 point upwards for a change. Its not surprising that it has gone up in price, as the scions have proved themselves to be a big threat on the field, especially when loader with plasma guns. If you running any sort of MT force, even just a single squad, then you should seriously consider this unit, as it really is a massive force multiplier.

Primaris Psyker
The last HQ choice remains unchanged from the Index and remains a cheap but useful HQ choice. While there are other psykers available to the guard player, this is by far the best option. The others do have there place in the army but this is the most versatile of them. The psychic power avaliable, which I will go through later, offer a number of buffs to your army and are all useful, unlike some of the previous powers. I think that if you want a Psyker in your army, then this is the best choice.

So overall, most of the HQ choices are good choices. Pask and Creed are really auto includes in Cadian armies and Straken is a good candidate in a Catachan army. Company Commanders and Tank Commanders are also required choices for any infantry or tank armies, as is the Prime in a Scion force. The Psyker is a decent support choice and can perform any number of rolls, depending upon which psychic powers you choose. The only two choices that I struggle with are both the Commissars, Yarrick and the Lord, as I don't see that they really offer anything over the standard Commisars.

Next up will be the Troop choices and also the Dedicated transports.

Friday 13 October 2017

Codex: Astra Militarum - First Thought

So, I received my codex on Monday and I have had a good look through. Firstly, I think the codex is excellent, I really like the way it is laid out, especially all the unit entries. Its something that I have always thought was odd about the Index, why was everything all over the place. I haven't read through all the fluff yet, there is a lot of it. What I have read, its really good.

Now, I know that there have been a number of points reductions and some other rules alterations but I will go into them in more detail when I go through the various entries over the next few posts. What I will go into quickly is the changes that have jumped out at me as I went through the book. Now these are in no particular order, just as I noticed as I jumped around the book.

First up, is the alteration to power weapons. Now, this is annoying as I had armed a few of my models with power mauls, which are really my weapon of choice for guard characters. What am I going on about? Well, power axes and power mauls are no longer part of the Melee weapons list. I remember a time when it was pretty much a must have to arm your Sgts with power axes. Personally, I've always preferred the power maul for the extra strength, up to strength 5, meaning its a 3+ to wound marines, which is always useful. Alas, you can no longer take either an axe or maul, only fists and swords. I'm not sure why they have been removed, I would have at least though that the mauls would have remained, but then I guess that they don't actually do a power maul model. Oh well, power swords it is then.

Tempestor Primes, Sword on the left and Maul on the right.

One other thing I noticed on the war gear list was the vehicle list, a new addition and the stand out item on the list was the Track Guards. This means that even when you take damage, your movement characteristics don't degrade as well, just your ballistic skill. This is great, unless your taking the Valhallan doctrine, then its useless. This is definatly something I will be looking at taking on a couple of vehicles.

Next up, I checked out a couple of units. The first one I had to check out was the Ogryrn Bodyguard. Now this is a unit that I am really interested in adding to my army list, well, actually I am thinking of adding a couple. I was planning to add just the Bullgryn variants, but then I noticed that they have changed the profile for the ripper gun. I was quite excited by the fact that it now has a melee profile. Its not the best weapons profile but it does have a -1 ap which is always useful. However, as good as this is, the bodyguard come with a Huge Knife, which is still -1 ap but is 2 damage, which is great. So, the Ripper armed Ogryn bodyguard with Huge Knife is actually not a bad option. I'll have to check, but if you can take multiple bodyguards for each character, then one shooty one and one with maul and shield would fit the bill perfectly. I think that a box of Ogryns are definitely on the Christmas list.

The next unit to mention is not one that's in the codex. Rough Riders. These have been something that I wanted to get for a while but now, they no longer exist and so they will never form part of the Hrossey Yeomanry. Its a shame, I was really hoping that they would get some buffs in this codex and be reinvigorated for the new edition.

Now comes the Conscripts and there well published alterations. There isn't a lot to say here, yes they have been hit a bit, but is it good enough? I don't know and I don't really care, I don't run conscripts or play in high level tournaments. I can see why people don't like them but we'll see what the changes actually do to there effectiveness on the table.

One thing that I didn't notice, but was brought to my attention on the Xeno Vids YouTube channel. He was putting together a list from the new codex and he mentioned Valkyries and the MRP's being Assault D6. Assault? Now that was interesting, as they were heavy. This now means that they don't suffer a negative hit modifier when they move, which I very useful. Hitting on a 5 rather than a 4 makes quite a difference. This means that they will definitely a be featuring on the table top during my games. A good change as far as i'm concerned.

Vendetta and Valkyrie (or is that two Valkyries now?)

The one thing that i'm not happy about is that there is still no choice for Carapace armour. I always took this option on my command squads and on my veterans, as that change to a 4+ save made a huge difference and still would. Why it has been removed, I'm not sure, as it doesn't require any extra models or options. Its a shame as it was a good option. The other thing I don't understand, why have they removed the options for veterans? I didn't think that these were overpowered or anything and they added a flavour to the unit. Ok so the doctrines and stratagems now do some of this, but the options added something to the individual units.

Lastly, Defenders of Humanity, or objective secured as it was known before. This was not unexpected and wasn't what caught my eye, all troops in all detachments as objective secured, but in a Spearhead detachment, Leman Russ tanks are also a objective secured. This is great, as it means that you can still run a full armoured company and have objective secured.

These are just my initial thoughts and i'm going to go through all the entries over the next couple weeks, so will be in more detail than others and I may split up some of the various battlefield roles in to multiply posts, as some of them are quite big. I'll look into any changes that may have occurred between the index entries and the codex entries and give you thoughts on the units.

Tuesday 10 October 2017

Chapter symbols part 2

This is a bit of a double post, as first i want to mention this:

It arrived on Monday afternoon and I have started reading through everything. It is possibly the best codex I have read in a while and I will be looking at starting my reviews shortly. In the meantime, here is something slightly different.

A few weeks ago, I posted my thoughts and (rather bad) designs for my chapter icons, well, I think I've pretty much got the Emperors Disciples icon sorted.

I was cleaning the other day and I came across this badge;

I have no idea what its for or even where its come from, although I suspect that it is from something that the kids have been doing. Anyway, it got me thinking and while the young lady was making a mess in the bathroom the other day, I came up with these;

Yes, they are the same picture, ones upside down, don't ask me which, I don't know yet. Also ignore the squiggle thing in the center, it was supposed to be a lightning bolt but I do t like it. By that I mean, I don't like it as part of the design, not just because its rubbish. As things stand I'm leaning to the one of the right and think that it needs more detail below. I'm currently thinking of a line with a solid triangle, sitting inside the lines of the other triangle, maybe with some other details on there too.

I'm not entirely sure how the icon will interact with the name of the chapter or its history, as there is no link to the Imperial Fists. The lightning bolt was supposed to link back to the Emperor, but I didn't like it, so it will not be part of the final design. I will have to have a little play around and try it on a model and see what my final thoughts are and let you all know.

Friday 6 October 2017


Another milestone has been reached by the blog recently, on Tuesday, to be exact. The bog has now had over 20,000 views since I started posting, about 3 years ago. Ok, so compared to some blogs this is nothing special but for me, I think it is. Now, I've said it quite a few times, i'm not in this to make my fortune or become famous, I do this for the love of it and to share my thoughts, ideas and models with the other like minded people but I do feel a certain sense of pride that people are spending the time to read and comment on my blog. I'm not going to go in to great depth with the numbers on this occasion, as I have do in the past, mostly as I don't really have the time to either write the posts or the space/time to post them, especially not with the new Guard codex coming out this weekend! Mine is ordered and hopefully should be here Saturday or Monday, more likely Monday. Either way, I plan on getting up various posts over the following weeks, reviewing the codex and the various units and changes. With that review and also the fact that I haven't posted anything about the Eagle Knights, who have been quietly coming together in the background and are moving towards complete fairly rapidly. Anyway, let have a look at some of the numbers shall we.

With the blog hitting 20,000 views I had a look back at when I hit some of the other milestones and was quite surprised. It took 10 months to go from 2500 views to 10,000 views, but only 5 months to go from the 10 to 20 thousand mark. The reason for this is quite obvious really and that is joining the Natfka Blog Exchange. When I went on to Google+, my views jumped from the 10's to the 100's a month, but when I went on to the blog exchange, it jumped from a couple of hundred a month to holding around 2000 a month. One of the things that people have said in the past, is that if I put things up on the more specific Google+ groups, rather than just on the basic public pages and if I join up with reddit and the likes, I could push the views up even further. However, being as lazy as I am, I haven't bothered and probably wont. Google+ and Natfka are easy and require no effort on my part, which I like. In the future I may push things further or if anyone knows of any systems that will do all this for me, then i'll look at them but for the moment, I think i'll just stick with the easy stuff.

The pictures seem slightly fuzzy to me, I think it's because I used the phones capture system and then cropped them. It doesn't seem to like this and I may have to try and do it on the laptop next time, although i'm not planning on the next update until I hit 50,000, so it may be a while.

First up, is last weeks viewing figures. it seems that my 8th edition posts are getting most of the attention, which isn't a surprise, 8th is still new and there is lots of stuff floating around and new developments. When I start on the new codex, I expect this to dominate the weekly viewing figures. Oh, and i'm up to 4 followers! that's double the number I had last time I looked!

 The overall figures also show that 8th is popular, with the top two posts having nearly 2500 views between them! I was really excited when one of my posts topped the 100 views mark and I was not expecting any post to hit the 1000 views mark for a long time but it appears that the 8th edition posts have been really popular.

This is the top 10 posts and pages and as you can see, all but one post, the painting - Pre or Post?, is related to 8th. Now, there seems to be something going on with the posts, as last time, my Sternhammer post was sitting on 102 views, but now is nowhere to be found, despite the bottom two entries sitting on only 100 views. The post is still there and still exists and has apparently had 112 views, so why isn't it appearing in the list? How many other older posts are no longer showing in this list? This is supposed to be the all time list but does it only select from a certain period, the last year or so? or is there just a glitch in the system that discounts older posts?

Its also good to see that a number of the pages are getting visits, including the tactics page, which, while not actually holding any tactical information, does direct people to other sites which I feel do hold lots of valuable information. If you haven't visited it, go and have a look, hopefully you might find some of the other sites interesting.

I still struggle with this page, I do get what it means but I couldn't explain any of it to anyone with any confidence. What I can say is that it proves why being on the Natfka blog exchange is such a good idea, as you can see, pretty much all my referrals come from either Google or Natfka, through there various sites. The only other site listed on there is the 40k Addict site.

The search keywords are not surprising, with 8th topping out the list and forming most of the rest of it as well. This time round there are no random search's to explain, which was always fun.

As always, this is the page that I like looking at, not just over the whole history of the blog but also in a weekly and monthly basic, as it shows where people are in the world. It always fascinates me, seeing that there are people on the other side of the world reading my blog and maybe commenting on it, proving that this is a truly global hobby. I always like to look at the numbers of where people are in the world, however, I don't think that the list of top 10 countries will change much these days, especially not the top 5 or so, but for the sake of it lets have a quick look;

USA - 5478 - (2862) (742)
UK - 3220 - (1585) (194)
Russia - 2903 - (1151) (185)
France - 1169 - (786) (89)
Germany - 1041 - (438) (71)
Canada - 687 - (182) (-)
Australia - 540 - (232) (-)
Ireland - 483 - (440) (190)
China - 387 - (343) (114)
Ukraine - 346 - (306) (121)
Previous number in brackets (10000 and 2500)

So that's the numbers and there is both a surprise and no surprises at the same time, which is not what I was expecting. The top 10 are still the top 10, with no new countries in there. However, the order has changed quite a bit and some countries have not been visiting very often in the last few months. Ukraine has had only 40 visits and China has had only 44, with Ireland having 43 but both Canada and Australia seem to be enjoying the blog with 505 and 308 views respectively, when previously they weren't even listed. The top 5 counties have be present on the list for quite a while and i can't see them going anywhere. The US still forms one 25% of my views on its own, with the UK and Russia forming another 25%.

All in all, in really happy with how the blog has been going and I'm looking forward to the future and I have lots of ideas and posts in the pipeline to keep things going.

Tuesday 3 October 2017

Friday night game

Last weekend I took a trip up north to play a friend over at his house and to give his tournament list a run out. It also happened to be his first game of 8th. The tournament, Northern Invasion 5, is a 1000 point no lords of war tournament and I had decided to play the 14 command point list that I wrote about in a previous post. My opponent was playing a monster heavy tyranids list.

For a quick recap, my list included Creed, 2 company commanders and a MT prime, a MT command squad, 2 commissars, 5 infantry squad, a MT squad, 3 sentinels, 2 lascannon heavy weapons squads and finally a wyvern.

My opponents list consisted of a Brood Lord, Old One Eye, a Malanthrope, 15 genesteelers, 2 ripper swarms, 2 carnifex's and a trygon. Quite a small and compact army, but a hard one to take down, with lots of big tough multi-wound models.


Setup was simple, with the board being only 4x4. This did give me a bit of a problem, as it bunched up my troops more than I would have liked, but ultimately it didn't make much of a difference to the game. We also used the mission setup from last year, with 3 objectives across the centre of the board (with one dead centre) and one objective each to place anywhere on the board. The centre ones would be worth 2 points with the other worth either 1 or 3 points, 1 point for holding yours and 3 for holding the enemies. This worked alongside kill points (one for each unit) and the standard first blood, line breaker and slay the warlord.

The board. A 4x4 3d affair.

The tryanids deployment, 5 monsters.

The guard deployment and a few more than 5 models!

Turn 1

The game started well for me, as despite having about twice as many drops during setup, I managed to steal the initiative. Its abouthere that my luck changed. I moved up the sentinels to take the objectives early, trying to force my opponent in to focusing on them early in the game. With very little in shooting range first turn and some of what was in range not in line of sight, my choices were limited. However, my lascannons were all in range and could draw line of sight on to old one eye, however, they failed to do the job, only managing to take 7 wounds between 6 lascannons! There shooting didn't improve through the rest of the game.

Minimal damage

After a bit of a disastrous start, things didn't get much better. The trygon popped up with the genestealers, who promptly charged the sentinel sitting on one of the objectives, although the trygon failed his charge on the other sentinel on the center objective. The Steelers did there work on the sentinel but left it alive on one wound. Everything else moved forward.

Genestealers charge.

Turn 2

This turn started with a tactical withdrawal, namely the sentinel in combat with the stealers. This left them open to fire from the wyvern, who really should have done better. With 4d6 shots, I should have been shooting at least 12 a turn, as it was I didn't get double figures on 2 turns and was only above average on one turn.

Stealers feel the pain.

In other shooting, the lascannons failed again. Shooting at the trygon and failing to put it down. With 12 wounds, 6 lascannons with a possible output of 36 damage should of been enough, but no, whilst it did damage, it want enough.

bottom the bottom of turn two.

In response to my attempt to wipe out the Stealers, they moved forward and assaulted one of my infantry squads, along with the Broodlord(?)

The Guardsmen stand and receive the charge......

And promptly die.

The only bonus was that the stealers removed so many guardsmen that the Broodlord ended up 5 inches from the closest guardsmen and so was unable to strike when his turn came. As a result, the squad was not wiped out in combat. On the other side of the table, things were not going quite so well. The central Sentinel was destroyed by the combined attacks of the Malanthrope and the Trygon, while the far Sentinel was reduced down to a couple of wounds.

The sentinel pilot bravely stands his ground

But dies to a flurry of claws

Also forgot to mention, at the end of the movement pahse a squad of Rippers decided to pop up on the objective that the stealers had just vacated and another squad had appeared on the central objective. This central squad in particular were to become a thorn in my side for the next couple of turns. 

Turn 3

At this point in the game, i'm starting to get nervous. The big monsters were steadily advancing with little I could do about it and I was loosing control of all the objectives across the centre of the board.
I decided it was time to throw caution to the wind a little and push up. I pushed up on the right to move towards the centre objective and take out the rippers. I also decided to push forward to try and take on the centre monsters. Again, my lascannons massively underperformed, but they did manage to finally manage to kill of the trygon. It had only taken about 15 lascannon shots to strip 12 wounds or so, Crack shooting by the guard as always. At this point in the game my memory gets a little fuzzy. I know that the stealers were removed this turn, but I cant remember if it was because I fell back from combat or if my unit was destroyed and the stealers were removed in the next assault phase. I have a feeling that they were destroyed by shooting, which would mean that my guys fell back, but I really don't remember. Oh, and those rippers, yeah, two squads shooting with orders removed 1 base from the centre squad and I did a couple of wounds to the bottom squad. Not great.

Some time at the top of turn 3

I do know that in reply the right hand sentinel was finally destroyed after lasting a lot longer than it had any right to. Apart from that I cant remember what happened.

Turn 4

This turn I had to try and either hold up or kill off some of the monsters, with the lascannons again under performing and 6 of them didn't managed to finish off another of the monsters up on the top, I cant honestly remember which one they targeted, all the tyranid monsters look that same to me! Lots of shooting from the squads at the top tried to remove the rippers off the objective and failed. This was a problem for me, as I had hoped to drop in my scions on the objective, to enable me to bring both the melta guns and all the plasma guns to bare on the tyranids, in the end they dropped down further away and were unable to target what I wanted to. The infantry squads then went and charged the Malanthrope and Broodlord. Unfortunately they weren't very successful.

After the charge

After combat

The Tyranid turn was pretty short, mostly due to the fact that he had no shooing and most of the monsters were either in combat or charged into combat. It was nonetheless a bloody round, with a number of guardsmen slaughtered.

Post combat 

At the end of turn 4, the tyranids were right up in my lines, with 5 monsters still alive and 3 of them in pretty healthy condition. I was confident that I could claim objectives, but with the amount of units that I had lost, I was unsure if I could actually win the battle.

Turn 5

It was all or nothing now, and so I went all in. The remaining squad at the bottom of the table moved up and advanced, later they received an order to move again, and with a second good advance roll they moved up to capture the objective, after the wyvern and scions had removed the last remaining rippers. The last squads on the right flank charged in to the various monsters, or continued their assaults, all of which were reduced to nothing but mush. I cant remember who finished off the Broodlord, but I have a feeling it was the heavy bolter from the Wyvern.

Just before the squad advanced

The last ripper

The last ripper in the centre had become a problem and had cause me so many problems. In the end I had to resort to shooting it with overcharged plasma guns to remove it, after I had moved up to just within the 3" range with one of the Scions. Two obliterated the ripper in the centre and two shot at the rippers at the bottom before the squad there advanced. The centre scions just moved on to the centre objective, forgoing any shooting to capture the objective. 

3 central objectives claimed

Scions moving on to objectives

The last change of the Wyvern

The wyvern also charged in to one of the tyranid monsters, in an attempt to stop it moving to capture my objective. Which in some respect worked. Unfortunately, a different monster, the Malanthrope charged in to one of the Heavy Weapons Squads, after finishing off my infantry squad during my turn and then consolidated down on to the objective anyway. 

End game

So, at the end of the game I held 2 of the three 2 point objectives and also my opponents objective for 3 points. I did however loose my objective at the very end of the game, giving away 1 point and letting my opponent gain 3 points. The Tyranids also held one of the 2 point objectives, meaning that objectives wise, I won the primary objectives 7 to 5. I also claimed first blood and slay the warlord and well as line breaker, where as my opponent only manage to claim line breaker, meaning that I won on the tertiary objectives 3 to 1.

The centre of the board, bottom and centre objective held by me, the top objective held by the tyranids. The objective in the ruins held by the Scions, was actually my opponents objective and worth more points.

Unfortunately, the Malanthrope (the black base) holds my objective

Meaning that I was sitting on a 10 to 6 lead at this point. I was at this point however, that things went slightly wrong. The secondary objectives were based on kill points, I had wiped out 6 units but my opponent has wiped out a good chunk of my army. In total he managed to kill 11 units. This gave him 17 points, compared to my 16. So a Tyranid victory, 17 to 16. It was a lot closer than I though that it would be but in the end, if we had of played on further it would likely have ended up worse for me as I had nothing to really answer to the monstrous creatures. Luckily the tournament is fixed at 5 rounds and also it was gone 1am when we finished round 5 and past my bed time.

While I think that I played well, I would have changed a few things, namely that I would have dropped in my scions earlier, dealt with the rippers earlier and then been able to bring the plasma guns to bare on there intended targets, something I was unable to do, as I left it to long and the rippers got in the way. Also I think I should have used more command points, as I ended up with quite a few points left. In some respect I think that 14 points is too many for this game with the limited stratagems, but with the release of the new codex that will change.

I have also learnt since we played this game that the set up of the tournament will be changing, with just 4 fixed objectives and with Slay the Warlord, First Blood and Line Breaker, no kill points. So working on the new setup, chances are I would have won the game 7 to 5, but that's really a guess, as I think we probably would have played slightly differently, due to the differences in the mission setup.