Comics: Ctrl+Alt+Del


Sometimes the great blogosphere runs a little dry, and I find myself seeking other diversions. This includes web comics, and I wanted to share the brilliant Ctrl+Alt+Del by Tim Buckley.

I started from the beginning and lost a couple of weeks of my spare time just flicking through. Mad, bizzar, gaming related fun. Enjoy!

List-Fu: Australian Masters 2012

3++ is the New Black

The Wolves were out in force at the recent Australian Masters, with Dave Teoh taking 1st with a Logan list. I haven't been able to find a breakdown of the list anywhere as yet, but will add this if I can get my hands on it!

3++ have covered the event in some detail, including the majority of the other lists and the overall rankings.

I find it very interesting that of the 16 armies present, while the flavour of the month screamer and flamer heavy Daemon lists placed very well (3 out of the 4 Daemon list placed 2nd, 3rd and 4th), and 'Cron air also featured heavily in the top half, Space Wolves were the marine army of choice, once again showing the strength of the codex.

I would note, however, that if you look at final standings you will see that with the exception of Dave Taoh, all of the other Wolves lists place in bottom half.

I'm not sure if any concrete conclusions can be drawn from these overall lists, although it is tempting to suggest that MEQs are still working on how to beat the current Daemon and Necron lists, even when trying to switch up mobility options by using drop pods.

Anyway, congrats to Dave for bringing home the win at a very competitive event, and another major win for the Wolves!

Happy Christmas!

Lego Nativity Scene

Wishing you all, readers and searchbots alike, a very Happy Christmas!

For anyone with an enquiring mind or with big questions, I thoroughly recommend the following shortlist of books:

Hope you all have a great break.

Blogs: Lexicanum

Lexicanum is an unofficial, Wiki-style encyclopedia for official 40k background, and there really is a lot of it. Need to read up on the fluff of your favourite army or characters or want to know what happened during a particular battle? This is the place to go. There is just pages upon pages of interesting stuff. Highly recommend.

Blood Bowl

I play 40k primarily as a competitive game, and although I'm happy to tone it down and play 'for fun' (see the CONCEPTS: Fun?!? post for more of my thoughts on this), I enjoy it the most when I'm pushing hard with the best army I can field against a strong opponent. However, I've been considering possibilities for an alternative game, just to break up playing 40k.

Firstly, the game needed to be fun - in the 'I'm not trying flat out to win or improve in my free time and I don't care too much about the result' kind of way. I still struggle to turn off trying to win when playing though, so the game needed to have enough strategic depth to keep my interest.

Secondly, it needed a low minimum investment in terms of both time and money. So assuming that the game would be model based (computer and card games are still an option), I wanted something that wasn't going to be anyway as near as expensive as 40k or require a large number of models to make or paint. I refuse to play with a model that is, for me, sloppily painted or has mold lines everywhere. Work in progress is fine and I have no issues with other player's standards, but I'm not willing to compromise on this for myself!

It also needed to be significantly different from 40k, either in medium (e.g. computer or card games as noted above) and/or in theme (fantasy or possibly steam-punk).

Lastly, I needed to be able to have a group of local players to play with! Because playing against myself would be a lot less fun...

So with these criteria in mind, I finally settled on... Blood Bowl (a shock given the title of the post!).

I used to love this game and only sold my previous collection a few years ago (typical, but mouths to feed and all). I was delighted when I found that the current rulebook is still in digital print and available free from Games Workshop. Yes, free. From Games Workshop. I still can't get over that.

Anyway, for those who don't already know, Blood Bowl is a rather brutal fantasy American football game based in the Old World (so the same as Warhammer Fantasy). You can either play a straightforward game, or you can develop a team in leagues/tournaments where your players (e.g. Throwers, Catchers, Blitzers) can gain experience and skills and even pick up ongoing injuries. Managing and improving your team is what appeals to me most, much like the brilliant Necromunda, and the games themselves tend to be fast and furious too. Oh, and there's the Xbox 360 game too!

There are enough guys at Walberton Wargamers that have played in the past/play occasionally now that getting games in won't be a problem, and as a starting team generally consists of 12 players, getting some models together isn't going to break the bank or take an age to get onto the table. I've already picked a team, and will run through my choice in the next Blood Bowl post!

Food For Thought: Dealing with Deathstars

Some are big. Some are expensive. Some even dish out a ridiculous amount of damage. If you pick the right one, it can soak up a massive amount of damage too while it eats through an opposing army.

Deathstars. These uber units of doom can be found in many lists, but creating and using them effectively can be very difficult against a prepared opponent. Typical examples include Draigowing, Fate-crusher, nob bikers, thunderwolves and seer councils on jet bikes. This list goes on, but hopefully you get the idea.

So to help when playing against these super-killy units, I suggest reading Nikephoros' post Back to Basics: Dealing with Deathstars on 3++ is the new black. This really helped me early on, and is another reason I consider mobility and MSU when making my lists. Enjoy!

Blogs: Cool Mini or Not

Cool Mini or Not is a showcase for painted and converted miniatures from various genres, and is home to some simply jaw dropping talent. You can search and rate each member's submission and leave comments too. If you're looking for some inspiration, or just looking for some wargaming eye candy, you won't be disappointed.

CONCEPTS: Mech in Early 6th

Cool Mini or Not - ebonybrush

So we are now a good few months into 6th and, from what I can gather, the initial consensus of the masses was that 'mech is dead'. I’m not so sure, but I do believe that mech has changed significantly. A few credible blogs have now given their opinions (see further reading links below), and following these I'd like to discuss the pros and cons of mech in early 6th.

Let's look at the negatives first, in order of importance (give or take) according to my own humble opinion.

1. Less durable thanks to hull points and the reduction in cover saves (including smoke).
2. Passengers being effected by shaken and stunned results.
3. Transports no longer score (grand strategy excepted, but the advantages of making a transport score over, say, a dread or unit of purifiers is…?).
4. The effective reduction of 2” when disembarking.
5. Easy First Blood (secondary objectives are especially important for Relic and Emperor's Will) and easy victory points (previously kill points in 5th) for Purge the Alien.
6. Top hatches are less useful because your tank is much easier to destroy, making drive-byes less likely.
7. No longer being able to assault out of your transport unless it's open topped or has an assault ramp.

I'm sure that there are others, but that's still a pretty long list! I can certainly see why footslogging is the better option for some armies now.

Cool Mini or Not - Ash the Flash

So why spend the points mech'ing up instead of more warm bodies on the ground?

A. Mobility - Still massively important. The flat-out move typically offers an extra 6” of movement to ground based tanks, more for fast skimmers. 18” for a rhino or razorback when you need to get somewhere in a hurry, for example in objective games or against a gun-line army is well worth considering.

B. Firepower - Transports with a (typically heavy) weapon offer an additional unit outside of the FOC restrictions (also know as the 1+1). Given that the transport is unlikely to survive the game, I think due consideration needs to be given to whether the more expensive weapons are worth the investment.

C. Mobile cover - Sure, you can buy an aegis defence line and sit behind it for the whole game, but transports can offer cheap mobile cover, block line of sight to models tanking in front of a squad and can clog movement routes/firelanes for your opponent. Wrecks and craters can still be used to your advantage too.

D. Tank shocks/Ramming - Situational, and no-longer useful for breaking and running units off the board, but still a useful tool and easily forgotten. Moving enemy units into nice flamer shaped formations is handy, assuming you have a flamer of course! With less melta around, I expect that units will find it harder to succeed a death or glory attempt. Just consider whether it's worth tank shocking/ramming when you've got one hull point left, especially in Purge the Alien...

E. Searchlights - With night fight now much more likely, having multiple seachlights can be very useful. I frequently move 12", snap fire the main weapon and light up a key target.

Cool Mini or Not - sljer king

In relation to the cons above:

1. Yeah, hull points mean that you can now reliably wreck a vehicle, but I never really liked the *random seemingly invincible but stun-locked scoring tank of irritation* situations that occurred in 5th anyway (random makes planning hard). Instead, we have transports that continue to shoot their gun(s) even with one hull point, and can still snap-fire when moving at cruising speed or when shaken. Sure they die faster, but with the global reduction in cover saves, everything seems to die faster. Cover generating psychic powers have relatively improved in 6th (e.g. Shield of Sanguinius, Storm Caller), especially coupled with shrouding.

2. Damage effecting passengers. This is a problem and requires using transports in a different way. For example, I have found that instead of deploying units in the (possibly exposed) front rank of transports (second rank deploying hull down a little behind), I put the units behind instead. If the transport survives the first turn, I still have the option to embark before going 18”, but if it gets blown up there is less collateral damage to the squad and they aren't going to be pinned, meaning that they can either move forward with the other units, or drop back for objective sitting duties.

3. In tough games, did your transports last to the end of game anyway? Not often for me, so in reality this has a smaller effect than it first seems, otherwise I might rank this as the biggest disadvantage.

4. The reduction of disembarkation moves – This hurts melta delivery, true. Yet the dominance of melta appears to have waned, as 2D6 penetration is no longer required to reliably destroy a low-mid AV transport. Also, the way that I've been developing the use of my transports, I'm either moving 6” and footslogging next to the tank to make the most of the longer range of rapid fire weapons, or blitzing 18” to get into position before my marines are forcibly disembarked.

5. First blood / kill points - This is the big one for me, and why I think current lists have generally abandoned traditional mech. In Emperor's Will and Relic (totaling 1/3 of the basic missions), the secondary missions are relatively much more significant. In these two missions, getting first blood is a huge advantage and can force your opponent to play aggressively, and therefore perhaps take more risks. It seems like players are now building their lists with this in mind and trying to avoid giving away an easy VP, and generally moving away from MSU in favour of larger, more durable units.

6. Top hatches - I used to swear by a mobile top hatch for blasting my melta hunters out of. Now? I never thought I'd say it, but I'm not really using them. it now seems to be an opportunistic . Having tried both, I've come to the conclusion that I'd much prefer a gun, because sitting in a fragile tank doing drive-by's risks getting the squad inside pinned.

7.  Assaults - This has really hurt Blood Angels. Not so much Space Wolves, although I'd prefer to have the option!

Cool Mini or Not - Wappellious


Personally, I played MSU mech Space Wolves in 5th, and have experimented, researched and contemplated how/if they transition into 6th at a competitive level. I've come to the conclusion that expensive transports (e.g. lasplas or assault cannon razorbacks) pop too easily for their points, but cheap rhinos or razorbacks don't break the bank and still contribute to the game (personally I've found razorbacks to be much more effective). 

I've also found that the Space Wolves power Storm Caller is much more useful in 6th, especially when I'm playing conservatively with my Rune Priest to preserve the Kill the Warlord secondary objective.

I'm still getting to grips with 6th, but I can see certain armies making the most of the 1+1 using cheap and effective gun tanks (Grey Knights and Space Wolves with heavy bolter razorbacks come to mind) continuing to develop, whereas other previous archetypes such as Blood Angel razorspam (of the lasplas or heavy flamer variety) just don't seem to function with the new ruleset. I wonder if cheap fliers (vendettas, night scythes) will become the new mech?

Cool Mini or Not - Tzardauker

So, why spend the points mech'ing up instead of more warm bodies on the ground?

Transports in 6th still offer increased mobility, additional firepower outside of the FOC (the 1+1), (temporarily) mobile cover and added utility of tank shocks/ramming/searchlights. There are some significant nerfs to mech in 6th (effects on passengers, first blood, kill points), but some of the apparent downsides aren't that bad on further consideration (survivability, scoring, disembarkation distances).

Overall, I think mech still has a place in various (but not all) competitive lists, and needs to be integrated and used in a way that responds to the new edition.

Further Reading (Summary of main changes) (Detailed razorback discussion) (Target priority and discussion on future of mech) (Discussion of main changes) (Good quick summary of pro's of rhinos, and by association mech) (Discussion of main changes)

Food For Thought: Why Do You Bring Rhinos? on YTTH

It's good to see that I'm not the only one who hasn't abandoned mech! Take a look at this post on YTTH if you'd like to see why Rhinos still have their uses.

Blogs: From the Warp

From the Warp is an outstanding 40k hobby blog by Ron Saikowski. This site includes how to's with advanced painting and modeling tips, showcases Ron's personal and commission work, and offers free to download gaming aids. I particularly like the painting concept and discussion posts like 'Consistency is the key to good painting', 'Painting your models: Love to or hate to?' and 'Success and failure when it comes to painting'. If you enjoy this side of the hobby, it's well worth a look.

List-Fu: GiantKiller's Chaos Deamons at 1850pts

So here's this week's list.

It's a streamlined version of the recent Feast of Blades list, branded 'unbeatable' by BOLS. GiantKiller has removed the tricks, bells and whistles (Fateweaver, The Masque) and instead gone for increased scoring. Mobile with high offensive potential from the screamers and flamers, and the plaguebearers are likely to last longer if you target the forward units that are ripping through your army. Nasty.

However, this list, as with some of it's variants, has no decent anti-flier units, is still affected by the usual deep strike defence tactics and is vulnerable to bad dice (preferred waves and scatters). As ever, I think good preparation will help. I suggest bringing a balanced list, thinking carefully about deployment, considering target priority and playing the mission (this will be obvious to some).

Any other suggestions or tips to beat this list are welcome!

Food For Thought: Deep Strike Defence

With Deamons being flavour of the month, I thought it would be helpful to flag up a great article by Abuse Puppy on 3++ on deep strike defence. This helped me win my first local tournament, and I'm sure will prove useful in the future too. Very well illustrated and clearly explained.

Blogs: The Warhammer Forum

From Grand Tournaments (GTs) to the European Team Championships (ETC), if you want to know about tournaments in and around the UK, The Warhammer Forum is the place to go. Not limited to 40k, the site also includes Warmachine/Hordes, Malifaux, and Fantasy, as well as various forums covering hobby and club interests. Various large Tournament Organisers (TO's) frequent the site, and often tickets and results will be available here first. If you're looking for tournament details, take a look.

Sentinel Takes 1st at Club Tournament!

OK, this is a little late as the event took place in mid-August, but hey, it was my second ever tournament and my first ever 40k tournament win!

This was a small 3 game, 1750pts 6th edition no-comp event at Walberton Wargamers. I took my MSU mech Spaces Wolves having had a few games to get used to the new rules. A few bonus points were available for painting and about 11 players turned up including some Brighton Warlords tournament regulars.

My list was adapted from my typical 5th edition army, with the intention of experimenting with dual Rune Priests with Divination for Prescience on the two Long Fang squads for additional anti-flier support, dual multi-melta landspeeders and loading up on plasma pistols for the Grey Hunter Wolf Guard. After some last minute undercoating, my list was:

1750pts Space Wolves

Rune Priest (Runic Axe)
Rune Priest (Runic Sword)

5 Wolf Guard (4x combi-melta, 1x cyclone missile launcher)

4x 5 Grey Hunters (Rhino, melta, plasma pistol)
1x 5 Grey Hunters

Landspeeder (2x multi-melta)
Landspeeder (2x multi-melta)

2x 5 Long Fangs (Lasplas razorback, 4x missile launcher)

Game 1 vs Tau with Space Marines
Crusade (Vanguard)

The army consisted of a mixture of different units including a librarian with terminators in a land raider and some objective sitting scouts. I deployed in a refused flank, avoiding the terminators, and proceeded to roll through the army, leaving only one unit of scouts alive and in combat in the far corner. Land speeders did their job against the land raider (no surprise here). 20-0 win and a good start!

Game 2 vs Epidemus Nurgle Marines and Daemons
Purge the Alien (Dawn of War), Table 1

I'd not played against daemons before, but thanks to this article on deep strike defence, I had a good idea what to do. The enemy list had two squads of plague marines and a flying daemon prince starting on the board. I took first turn, spread out and focused fire on the prince, gaining first blood before the swooping began! Second turn I spread some more, then slowly withdrew shooting all the way. Successfully managed to bait a great unclean one into a kill zone with a rhino, then whittle him down in the open. Ended something like 9-2 VPs, and a 20-0 win. Thanks to Abuse Puppy for the tactics article!

Game 3 vs Saim Hann Eldar
Relic (Hammer & Anvil), Table 1

I was sure I'd loose this one, especially when my opponent won the first turn. And to be fair, I think I should have done, except for my opponent reading the mission rules incorrectly (see more below).

The list included a shining spear and dual farseer deathstar and a night spinner, plus a lot of jetbikes. I thought the jetbikes would power forward, grab the objective first turn, turbo-boost 6" in the shooting phase, then move a further 6" in the assault phase, whilst the rest of the army formed a cage and blocked my army (anyone play Blood Bowl?).

Thankfully, the Eldar shot me instead, giving me a turn to flat out over the relic. The shining spear deathstar then started to quickly run through my units, but due to both our naivety with the rules (and my opponent mis-reading the rules when he checked - I had no reason to doubt the reading), my hunters holding the relic didn't drop it when they lost combat and fled. The following unlikely chain of events saw a single hunter hold up the deathstar in combat so the relic holders could escape, then my opponent failed his hit-and-run roll, giving me a slim opportunity to retreat and jump into a razorback. I then focused on destroying any remaining enemy scoring units to at least stop the Eldar from claiming the relic. The game ended with me holding the relic and my opponent scoring first blood and linebreaker. 16-4 win and 1st place overall with 65 tournament points (results can be found here)!

So I think I should have come second, but I had a great time and will not forget the relic rules in the future! Thanks to all my opponents, who were all great sports. I felt bad winning effectively thanks to a mis-understanding of the rules, and I think would have come second overall if this had gone the other way (a draw would have still left me in top place), but at least it wasn't me who mis-read the rules! We did play another game a couple of weeks later with similar armies, and I nearly tabled my opponent that time, so at least I know I can win fair and square!

With this tournament under my belt, I was ready to start my preparations for the 40kUK GT Heat 1 at Brighton in October. This was going to be a completely different level of play, so I had a lot of work to do finishing my list and getting some practice in before getting hammered by some hardcore gamers. Perfect.

Food For Thought: Deploying First or Second

Like deployment, for me the choice to go first or second is influenced by a number of factors, primarily the mission, my army and my opponent's army (perhaps this is stating the obvious!). For Purge the Alien, Emperor's Will and Relic, I'm much more likely to choose to go first to attempt to get ahead on kill points, first blood, or grab the relic. Otherwise, the benefits of having the last word in multiple objective missions, linebreaker and being able to try to counter my opponent's deployment usually mean I will choose to go second.

If you're interested in reading more on the subject, I recommend this post by Kirby on 3++.

Blogs: Yes The Truth Hurts

Not one for the faint hearted, Yes The Truth Hurts is perhaps one of the most notorious 40k blogs out there. However, Stelek regularly produces some of the best list building and tactics articles about. This is perhaps my most frequented blog, and it has really helped me improve my understanding of 40k. I strongly recommend reading the primers before jumping in...

List-Fu: Space Wolves with Imperial Guard

GiantKiller's Space Wolves with Imperial Guard list has got me thinking about how much fire support you need in 6th. And how much anti-flier. Oh, and how many troops. I think the answer, as always, is 'depends on what else is in your army and what is it trying to do'...

This list is predominantly a foot list with a single vendetta, and goes heavy on large slow foot units with some added close combat punch (lone wolves) and surprisingly little fire support (one unit of long fangs and a vendetta).

I played against a very similar list the the recent 40kUK GT Heat 1 at Brighton Warlords (the guy ended up in the top 10). Firstly, it's slow to play against! Lots of models and dice to roll (especially with re-rolls to hit and FNP for the blob). It also has limited mobility, with only the vendetta offering transport, so getting to those deep objectives could prove difficult.

However, it is strong on scoring bodies, which is helpful for objective missions, and it's also good for secondary objectives - Vendetta plus squad for linebreaker, getting to the warlord with LOS! and that many bodies is hard work, and there are no easy targets for first blood.

As GiantKiller puts it, the 'ubiquitous blob' seems to be increasingly popular (perhaps since Nova?). I wonder if there is an opportunity here though. I don't know the Imperial Guard codex very well, so I'd have to check this - but assuming that you're playing basic missions (as is standard in the UK) I wonder if the blob could be used for low objective and kill point missions (Relic, Emperor's Will and Purge the Alien), but split for multiple objective missions (Crusade, Big Guns Never Tire and The Scourging)? Not sure if you have to declare the blob at deployment, but it's an idea...

Anyway, an interesting list, and one that seems far removed from the typical 5th ed Space Wolves lists I'm used to. We'll have to see if this becomes popular, or whether fast close combat oriented armies, such as the new Chaos Space Marines, will prove a deterrent.

Food For Thought: Playing to Win

I think there are a lot of players who would claim to play competitively. However, trying hard to win doesn't equate to top level tournament play, following countless hours of dedicated play testing, experience and refined talent. It's the latter level that Sirlin discusses in his inspired book Playing to Win (even better because it's free!).

Sirlin breaks down, in detail, what he believes to be required to develop into a player that truly plays to win. Note that this is not some call to win-at-all-costs, but rather intended to open the reader's eyes to the mechanisms of exceptional play. This encompasses knowing yourself, and realising your own self imposed limitations.

If you are interested in tournaments or just improving your own play, read this book.

Blogs: Bringer of Victory

Next up is Bringer of Victory. If you like the occasional bit of intelligent, analytical and mathammer based blogging, then this one is for you. An occasional contributer to 3++ is the New Black,  Nikephoros also discusses tips on tournament training and is the originator of 40k Metrics - a comparative analysis tool for assessing a weapon/unit/army's offensive capabilities (I'm looking forward to this being updated for 6th). One of the posts also flagged up Sirlin's brilliant Playing to Win book, but that's for another time! Certainly worth a visit.

List-Fu: Andrew Gonyo, 1st at BFS

Here is a link to Andrew Gonyo's winning list at Battle For Salvation, courtesy of The Rules Lawyers.

This is a very interesting list, incorporating MSU, mech and blob elements. Noticeable lack of meaningful psychic defence (no runic weapon/runes of warding), and relies on S6 heavy bolter razorbacks and psycannons for flyer defence. But it does come with a lot of shots. A lot. Plus decent scoring and mobility, I wonder if this is a clue as to where 6th is heading for marines?

Food For Thought: Razorbacks in 6th on YTTH

Next up we have Stelek's advice on razorbacks in 6th on Yes The Truth Hurts.

Mech has changed significantly in 6th (shock!). I'm still getting my head around the consequences of the changes, and have adapted my expectations and tactics having tried out both rhinos and razors for my Space Wolves with Grey Knight allies. A CONCEPTS: post about mech in 6th is to follow when it's ready...

Blogs: The Rules Lawyers

I've recently found The Rules Lawyers, and have immediately included this blog into my daily 40k reading. Thorough, considered and well argued, GiantKiller's posts are a very good read and include coverage of US tournaments, detailed list building and analysis and gaming concepts. Highly recommended.

Added Links

I've updated the links bar with a number of extra blogs, including The Warhammer Forum, The Rules Lawyers, Death or Glory and Sirlin.Net. Good stuff, so go check them out if you fancy it!

Food For Thought: MSU on 3++

I thought I'd start up a new series, Food For Thought, consisting of quick posts highlighting interesting blog posts I find.

To kick us off, Kirby on 3++ on Multiple Small Units (MSU) in 6th.

Having recently competed in my first competitive tournament, the 40kUK GT Heat 1 at Brighton, with a Space Wolves and Grey Knights MSU mech list, this is a topic I'm particularly interested in!

CONCEPTS: Redundancy and Reliability

Continuing to expand on the definition of balance as “having the right tools in enough numbers to give you a fighting chance against any army”, this post explores what ‘in enough numbers’ means and what this offers for strategic gaming – ie. redundancy and reliability.

Simply put, redundancy is taking multiples of the weapons/units/roles you need to make sure your army can still function with the loss of a few of these key elements. Because let’s face it, everything dies in 40k and it doesn’t hurt to have a back up plan.

For example, if I’m relying on a handful of lascannons to cover all my anti-tank needs, and my opponent destroys, supresses or avoids them, then I’m in trouble! Similarly, taking three rhino hulls in a 2000pt game as my only mech and expecting them to survive to carry my troops across to the enemy deployment zone is also asking a bit much. Other examples include counting on limited scoring troops or relying on a single tarpit/blocker to hold up an enemy deathstar, but I hope you get the idea…

Now, some armies are able/forced to repeat the same units to achieve redundancy, otherwise known as ‘spamming’ (personally, I don’t mind spam, either on competitive or fluff grounds, but this is a subject for another day). Whilst this is perhaps the simplest way of achieving redundancy, the choice of repeated elements can (although will not necessarily) lead to diminishing returns at the cost of providing other tools. Also, if the spammed unit/element faces a difficult matchup (e.g. a Deathwing/Loganwing army with only missiles vs lots of AV 13-14), then spamming one type of weapon won’t necessarily be a great advantage.

As an alternative, some generals choose to provide redundancy across different units, FOC slots and weapons. Although it can be argued that this can be at the expense of efficiency, varied units can have the added benefit of making target priority harder for some opponents (although if this is the case then you may have less to worry about than you think). This is a part of the argument against tournament composition limitations, or ‘comp’. Whilst spam can be avoided by placing artificial restrictions on (typically) the numbers of units a legal army can include in order to make the games more fun/balanced across all the codices, I think it merely shifts the ‘broken’ armies across to codices who have the depth to achieve a competitive level of redundancy across multiple FOC slots.

A further way of achieving increased redundancy is via duality, typically considered as a unit being able to provide both anti-infantry and anti-tank. I will expand on this further in a future post, but for now it is sufficient to acknowledge the benefits of units performing multiple roles.

Really, the purpose of redundancy is to improve the reliability of an army. It’s very hard to formulate and execute a strategy if you run out of tools or your dice desert you. Whilst luck is an integral part of the game, building in layers of contingency and increasing the reliability of your army when list writing goes a long way to mitigating the loss of a portion of your forces or disastrous rolling in-game. Of course, the tools still need to be used in the right way, but I’d prefer to have the right tools in enough numbers to make the game one of strategy rather than rely on my dice rolling hot to win!

Further reading:

Siege of Sussex - Game 1 vs Imperial Guard

Game 1 vs IG
My first game was to be against a 40k veteran called Craig, who was packing a well painted Guard army. A quick look at his two trays of models gave me the distinct impression that this guy had played more than a few games of 40k...


Command Squad (incl. Vox, Medic, Plasma x 2) in Chimera (Dozer Blade)

Vets (Vox, Plasma Gun x3, Plasma Pistol, Power Weapon) in Chimera (Dozer Blade)

Infantry Platoon, with:
Command Squad (Vox, Flamer, Power Fist)
Squad 1 (Vox, Flamer)
Squad 2 (Vox, Flamer, Heavy Bolter)
Squad 3 (Vox, Flamer) in Chimera (Dozer Blade)
Heavy Weapon Squad (Lascannons x 3)
Heavy Weapon Squad (Mortar x 3)
Special Weapons Squad (Melta x 3)

Fast Attack
Hellhound (Flamer, Dozer Blade)

Heavy SupportManticore (Flamer)
Leman Russ Executioner (Heavy Bolter, Plasma Sponsons, Dozer Blade)

So, a good amount of mid to high AV hulls (though certainly not the most possible), plasma, a smattering of melta and lascannons, plasma, plenty of bodies, lots of templates (including a Manticore!) and just in case you missed it, MORE PLASMA! Particularly the Executioner, who I later found out could pump out no less that 5 templates a turn... Thankfully, no Hydras, Vendettas with Demo Vets, or massed Chimeras containing Melta Vets.

On the plus side, at least know what the majority of the army did, and knew that my overall strategy would be to push as far into his lines as possible as early as possible. Then the tournament organiser rolled for the mission and it was - Dawn of War, Annihilation. And Craig won the first turn. Hmm. We both had 15 kill points, but going first meant that I would probably be pushed to the back edge of my deployment zone and get hammered by the long range firepower the IG are so well known for.

Looking at the table, it was reasonably well covered (perhaps 20-25%), but there was little LOS blocking terrain in the mid-table. I did get some cover for my Fangs, but I expected it to be a long slog across to the other side of the table...


IG Deployment

Making the most of the platoon only counting as one Troop choice, the IG swarmed over the battlefield and took cover where possible. The lascannons took position on the hill to the right with decent lines of sight over the majority of the board. The mortar team, who didn't need lines of sight, hid behind the ruins near the center. The three infantry squads pushed as close as they could to the center line to force me backwards whilst hugging cover and the command squad and special weapon teams deployed near the back next to the lascannon team to dish out orders and counter any threats.

A generally sensible deployment, I'd say, pushing me back as far as possible and making the most of cover. It was a bit risky leaving the command and special weapon squads in the open, and I might have parked the chimera in front to try to block line of sight. That being said, night fighting and probably the first turn (barring me seizing the initiative) meant that this wasn't that much of a gamble.

SW Deployment

As I need to get across the board asap, I deployed two rhinos with grey hunters and attached wolf guard and the WGBL as far forward as I could. I chose the area just left of center, as the other location to the far right was too far away from the action, and I didn't want the IG to just fall back to the left and shoot me to bits before I could get close. Also, with the long charge range of the WGBL, I might even be able to pull off a second turn charge, assuming he lived that long!

My overall plan was to drop the pod with the Jaws priest, CML would gaurd and grey hunters in next to a priority target and rush the rhinos up for support. Dreads would come in on the flanks to try to get some side shots and the long fangs would be dropped off in the central hill in my deployment to offer fire support.

In retrospect, this wasn't a bad deployment/plan, but I think I should have placed the WGBL further forward and a rhino further back. This would have extended the charge range by another three inches or so, and since he was equipped with a storm shield, it's not like he needed cover!

I rolled to try and steal the first turn and... failed!

IG Turn 1:

Remaining IG roll on

On rolled the remaining force, generally moving at combat speed with the intention of lighting up my small force with searchlights and then blowing them sky high! The manticore took position in the far left corner, with the Leman Russ just to the side. The two remaining chimeras and hellhound came in centrally, and the forward troops pulled back except the heavy bolter squad who sat still waiting for targets.

IG end of turn positions

Everything equipped with a searchlight tried to see the distant rhino hulls. A couple succeeded, but thankfully the reduced firing only resulted in one rhino being stunned by the end of the turn. Phew!

Minimal SW damage

A good first turn for the Wolves so far. With no casualties and plenty of space to drop the pod in, things were going much better than I had anticipated!

KP score 0:0

SW Turn 1:

Time to bring my guys to the party. Firstly, the drop pod crashed in on target next to the Executioner, with the missiles, melta and living lightning carefully placed to be able to target either this or the side armour of the manticore. I had considered Jaws'ing the mortar team, command squad or special weapons teams, but decided that the big guns were a much higher priority.

The pod lands and wrecks the Manticore

As planned, the dreads moved in on either flank, the Fangs' razorback passed its dangerous terrain roll into the central ruins/hill and the Long Fangs shouldered their missle launchers and ale kegs and took firing positions. Unfortunately, the two large pillars obscured some of the battlefield, but not enough to really cause any major concerns.

Central Chimera Stunned

The rhino that had escaped unscathed from the first round of shooting accelerated forward with the thunderwolf loping behind. The remaining rhino rolled up next to it's stunned brethren, with the second rune priest popping out of the top hatch, and the final empty razorback piled forward to provide cover for the righthand dread.

With plenty of targets in sight, the Wolves took aim...

First off, I decided that the Manticore was the priority target. If I had dual melta in the squad and no priest, then I would have chosen the Executioner, but given where the pod landed and the available weapons, I think that the manticore was the better choice. Six high strength shots later, and the Manticore exploded in a massive fire ball, singing a few beards but otherwise doing no permanent damage. One kill point to the Wolves!

The WGBL ran towards the nearby heavy bolter infantry squad. There would be a lot more shooting coming my way next turn, and the safest place for him was in combat (assuming the thunderwolf didn't eat all the Guard, which was a strong possibility!).

The rest of the turns shooting was directed at the only visible targets - the chimeras. Between them, the dreads and rune priest in the backfield managed to repeatedly stun the middle chimera, and wreck another in the back left field (see pod photo above). Another KP to the Wolves!

Finally, the WGBL dug his heels into his thunderwolf mount, attempting to charge the infant squad. One very careful measurement later saw the charge fall short by half an inch, so no breakfast yet!

End of SW Turn 1

Two kill points up with no loses, and I was very happy! If I had deployed the WGBL further forward, it may well have been three, but hindsight is a beautiful thing! All in all a strong start.

KP score 2:0

IG Turn 2:

IG Turn 2 - Firing squad for the pod

Now it was the turn of the Guard to take revenge for their early losses! The entire left flank moved to form a gunline around the pod, including a redeployed plasma squad. The front line troops fell back away from the approaching rhinos and the command squad dished out orders to the stationary heavy weapons teams.

The Executioner, plasma squad, heavy bolter squad, hellhound and an infantry platoon opened up on the pod team, leaving nothing but a large pile of smoking power and terminator armour behind. This pulled Craig back to level KP, but had taken most of the shooting for the turn to do so.

The mortar team landed three accurate blasts into the Long Fangs, but only resulted in spilled ale, much to the Fangs' horror! The only other shooting, from the lascannon team, failed to damage the smoked razorback on the right.

KP score 2:2

SW Turn 2:

SW Turn 2
Although I'd lost 1/6th of my army, the rest were still good to go! The WLBL was definately going to be in range this turn, and would likely net me a significant win in combat against any infantry. Hopefully the victims wouldn't break and leave my guy standing alone, ready to be shot to pieces, but this was a risk inherent with any combat. I decided to target the infantry in the middle, as this would open up more of the battlefield next turn (if he survived!).

My dreads continued to develop their flanking positions, seeking side shots on the chimeras. The two razorbacks also rolled forward, training their lascannons on the enemy tanks, with one ploughing though difficult terrain without difficulties and the other also providing cover to the right hand dread from the lascannon team on the hill.

The previously stunned rhino belted forward, ready to unleash the grey hunters next turn, and the forward rhino closed in on the nearby chimera. The remaining Rune Priest's rhino also advanced, with the intention of blasting some long range targets with lightning.
In the shooting phase, the thunderwolf padded closer to the cowering infantry squad in cover (juicier targets like the special weapons or command squads were out of range and would have to wait until next turn).

The top hatch of the central rhino popped open, and the melta gunner and wolf guard attempted to slag the adjacent chimera. Although in melta range, this resulted in a disappointing shaken result. To add insult to injury, the combined firepower of the rest of my army could only stun a further chimera in the backfield and the hellhound. Not a good round of shooting overall, as I was really hoping to net another kill point!

The elusive KP finally emerged when the thunderwolf ate the infantry squad for breakfast, after they failed their leadership test, but left the WGBL exposed as I had feared...

Then, disaster struck!

We were told on the way up to Nottingham (a 4.5 hour journey from the south coast) that the games would last 2 hours each. Now, even this was a little tight, as I knew from experience that completing a 1500pt battle in this time was a little optimistic! So at the end of turn two when we learned that we would only get a total of 1.5h [er game, I was not impressed!

However, in war we must adapt to changing circumstances, so after a quick moan we carried on, agreeing that we would only have time to complete the third turn...

KP score 3:2 

IG Turn 3:

Knowing that this was his last turn, Craig tried to catch up the 1 KP deficit and preserve his easy targets from reprisal. To this end, he closed in on my WGBL with his plasma toting Executioner and special weapons squad. He also advanced towards the central rhino with his meltas and his squads on my right fell back out of charge range.

Unsurprisingly, 5 plasma templates (including 3 direct hits!) and 4 rapid firing plasma guns rinsed through my WGBL's T5, W2 and 3++ save. The melta guns also managed to slag the rhino, taking the IG into the lead. Other shooting was thankfully relatively ineffective, with the mortars causing a single casualty on my Long Fangs and the twin-linking lascannon squad stunning the right hand razorback under the 'bring it down' order.

KP score 3:4

SW Turn 3:

SW Turn 3

Crunch time. I needed 2 KP to win, and there were plenty of juicy targets to choose from! Unfortunately, time was running out and I had about 10 minutes to complete my turn!

My adrenaline was pumping as I moved the dread on the left towards the depleted plasma squad in the crater of the chimera. If I could cause one casualty, it would force a leadership test. If they were running at the end of the game, it would be a KP to me.

My remaining forces rushed closer to the two squads in the middle and the stunned chimera. Although I had used one of the combi-meltas last turn, I still had 3 more melta shots available between the two central units of grey hunters, plus a lascannon on the Fangs' razorback, 4 missiles, the living lightning from the remaining priest and the another dread to shoot. By this time, I only had 5 minutes to shoot them!

So the dread on the left managed to waste one of the plasma squad in cover, forcing a leadership test as I'd hoped. The hunters with the single melta shot left hit but only stunned the chimera, and the lascannon could do no more, leaving it up to the other grey hunter squad to leave it a steaming wreck. The other dread and lighting managed to fell two of the depleted central infantry squads, but some terrible scatters and some impressive armour saves from the command squad meant that there were no further casualties.

On to combat, and I realised to my horror that because the chimera was wrecked, I could no longer multi-charge my hunter squads into the nearby infantry! Noooooo!!!!!

All that was left to do was roll two sets of leadership tests for the squads who had lost members this turn. Surely one of them would fail with the Guard's low leadership...

Craig picked up the dice, rolled for the plasma squad... Who passed! Then for the remaining squad.... Who also passed!

End Game (Turn 3!)

What had seemed like a certain victory at the beginning of my turn had somehow resulted in a cheeky draw!

Final score: 4-4 KPs (Draw)

Post-Game Analysis:

Well for my first ever tournament game, I have to say I'm very happy. To have been in the lead the whole game with a strong chance of winning, especially vs a veteran with a decent list, was a much better performance than I hoped! I can forgive myself for throwing three game away at the end considering how little time I had and how much adrenaline was pumping through my veins! However, looking back there were a number of things I would do differently next time...

Firstly, and most obviously, my target priority went to pieces at the end. I should have shot the grey hunters at the infantry squads, allowing for a multi-charge against the chimera (which didn't move the previous turn) with krak grenades. The hunters would have stomped the two small squads, probably giving me the two KP I needed.

I think I got a bit hung up on that chimera to be honest. I'd been blasting it with krak missiles, autocannon side shots and melta all game, and it would just not die! Looking back, there were much better targets nearby, e.g. the lascannon heavy weapons team and command squad, both of which had no cover and should have folded to a long range blasting! I'd found autocannons to be excellent at tagging heavy weapons teams in my previous game vs Guard, as S7 insta-gibbs the T3 W2 bases. Lesson learned there!

Taking another look at the photos, I also think that my right hand flank dread and razorback should have been deployed further to the side. They still would have been in range, but the nearby forest would have allowed cover saves. This would also have also allowed clear lines of sight to the central chimera. Minor point but it all adds up!

So does anyone have any other comments? Any glaring errors or things I could have improved on?

Siege of Sussex - Tournament Prep

Warhammer World, Nottingham

Having decided to settle on a list fairly early, I had managed to get in a few good games against a mix of opponents leading up to the Siege. I had played Blood Angels three times, Eldar twice, and Imperial Guard, Space Marines (Fists) and Tau once each. Every game I felt I was learning and hopefully getting a better grasp of the rules, but as far a thorough tournament preparation goes, I was certainly lacking in experience against a large number of different opponents!

With no hope of getting any more games in, I had to rely on the trusty source of reliable information that is the internet (...) for a better understanding of what I might be facing and form at least a vague plan on how to handle typical styles of play (if not specific army builds) I might face. With this is mind, I scoured one of my favourite sites (3++) for clues.

A lot of reading later, I was a little more confident and felt at the very least that I could identify which armies I would generally need to play aggressively against (IG, Tau, any predominantly shooty army) and which armies I would expect to play more defensively against (Tyranids, Orks, any army with significantly better combat or mobility advantage).

The biggest black hole for me was Grey Knights. I was really not sure about the best way to approach these beasts. At 30" (24" + 6" move), these guys would match or better my shooting, plus be able to ignore the majority or my suppression fire (Dreads and Long Fangs) vs their vehicles. Not good. Added to this, with force weapons as standard and no doubt a large dash of I6 halberds, chasing these blighters down in combat wasn't necessarily a great option either. I came to the conclusion that if in doubt, concentrate on the mission and try not to get distracted by heavy casualties. Not a grand strategy exactly, but it was better than nothing!

Ready for War

I was happy that I had a pretty good idea of how to use my list at a basic level. Typically, Fangs in cover at the back, dreads and razors near the rear sides to maneuver to get side shots and push forward if required (dreads as optional tap pit against squads without power fists), grey hunters pile into midfield with melta/bolter/combat goodness, and the pod to target important tanks or Jaws poorly deployed squads, otherwise sit on a rear objective. Oh, and the WGBL on the Thunderwolf as a combat support unit if he didn't die to massed firepower in the first turn.

I had a reasonable (but fragile) scoring presence with four troop choices, decent anti-tank and anti-infantry spread throughout the army at a variety of different range bands, and enough redundancy and mech to take a few punches and still bite back. The army was definitely a little top heavy for my liking with three HQ choices, but as noted previously, this served the purpose of giving me a fighting chance to get the whole army painted in time!

I had just finished painting my pups to the minimum requirements (3 colours, based plus faces and hair) at 11pm the night before (thankfully this was only one guy's face, as I had managed to do the rest earlier in the week), and with a great sense of excitement, I settled down for a good (read terrible) few hours sleep before my alarm went off at 3:45am...

Siege of Sussex - List Development

The Final List

Before I post the first battle report, I'd like to to go over the development of my army list. Firstly, I must say that my list was ok, but far from optimal. I knew this at the time, but I had to go with not only what was available form my model collection, but also how much I could get assembled and painted in time!

When I signed up for the tournament, I had approximately 1000pts painted with three colours (I build up the power armour in about 6 different stages, so it takes me a while!). That meant that I had about 5 weeks, therefore 5 games, to finish building, painting and getting the hang of the list, so I decided that I was only going to be able to make minor tweaks as I went along. Now I'm not the greatest painter in the world, but I think I do ok. The thing is, I get easily demotivated if I think a paint job isn't as good as it could be. Because of this, I wasn't prepared to rush just to get a poor finish to play in a few games, only to have to repaint the models at a later stage. Anyway, on to the initial list!

Siege of Sussex - SW v1.0

Rune Priest (Living Lightning, Tempest's Wrath)

Dreadnought (2 twin-linked autocannons)
Dreadnought (2 twin-linked autocannons)
5 Wolf Guard (Drop pod, 4 combi-meltas, Cyclone Missile Launcher)

3x 7 Grey Hunters (Rhino, melta, banner, mark of the wolfen)
5 Grey Hunters (Lasplas razorback, melta)

Fast Attack
1 Thunderwolf Cavalry (Wolf claw)

Heavy Support
5 Long Fangs (Lasplas razorback, 4 missile launchers)
Total 1465pts

8 hulls
27 marines (1 TDA)
1 Cavalry
15-16 Kill Points

At this stage, I hadn't decided on how best to use the last 35 points. I could have just given the TWC a storm shield and melta bombs, or gone for another WG with combi-melta plus extras.

WGBL - Work in progress

Looking at the list, the thunderwolf stood out. I do have 3 more models, but since they are non-GW, I wouldn't be able to use them! I had thought about keeping him in reserve, as he is really a counter-assault unit, especially with the 19-24" charge range. I was reluctant to give him the storm shield (gotta love magnets!), as I expected he'd get cover from the rhinos, or be torrented to death anyway!

Thing is, I liked the Thunderwolf as a supporting element for my Grey Hunters, who didn't have any power weapons. They did have the Mark of the Wolfen, but nothing makes MEQ cry like a power weapon (ok, there are lots of other things too, but you know what I mean)! I could use the last few points to buy two squads power swords, which with the Rune Priest's force weapon would balance out nicely. Certainly an option.

I had considered replacing the regular thunderwolf with a Wolf Guard Battle Leader, but that would require nearly a hundred points I'd have to find from somewhere else in the list. I could take out the banners, MotW, and/or a few marines and this would certainly save me some painting time! It would also give me a better initiative and weapon skill, but not an extra wound, so would still die fairly easily to massed firepower. Generally, I think it's better to go with more cavalry to support a WGBL/Wolf Lord if you're going to take a thunderwolf HQ, or at least some Fenrisian Wolves, but sadly neither was an option.

As an alternative to the thunderwolf as a counter-assault unit, I had considered a Lone Wolf or two. I'm working on a couple with the typical thunderhammer/storm shield in terminator armour set up, but my problem was that my Elite slots was filled by my Dreads, and I didn't have enough Long Fangs to balance out the loss of long range suppression/light mech destruction. I did have an assembled Vindicator and Godhammer Landraider, but neither fitted the bill really. So Dreads it was!

'Rifledread' 01 - Work in progress

I also struggled to decide how to make the most of the drop pod.

I liked having a projected threat during deployment, giving my opponent something to worry about. For example, I expected to usually use the combi-melta wolf guard with the grey hunters, possibly swapping in the CML for the small squad and a wolf guard as an ablative wound for the long fangs. However, there was the option to put three combi-meltas/CML/Rune Priest (or combination thereof) in there as an alpha strike if there is a particularly juicy target. This might work better if my second power was Jaws?

I also like the idea of having the option to 'feint' with the pod, forcing my opponent to deploy defensively to counter the alpha strike threat, then either dropping it empty or at mid/long range with the CML and a couple of friends. I think this 'threat/feint' pod idea works better at 2000pts, when I can get double CMLs in, but was struggling to get it working comfortably in this list (I also didn't have a second CML either!).

CML - Work in progress

Giving the list, particularly the cavalry and pod, further thought, I realised I could loose the thunderwolf entirety and use the points for a second Rune Priest with LL/Jaws. Good for added pod threat and other obvious goodness, including a replacement force weapon having lost the wolf claw.

Then I thought, well what if I removed the marines with the banner and MotW, as I had considered earlier? This would give me enough points for a TW WGBL! Reduced my scoring reliability, but nice extra threat, albeit a bit exposed without any cavalry support...

After much thought, and no play testing whatsoever, I settled on version 2.0 of my list:

Siege of Sussex - SW v2.0

Rune Priest (Living Lightning, Tempest's Wrath)
Rune Priest (Living Lightning, Jaws of the World Wolf, bolter)
Wolf Guard Battle Leader (Thunderwolf, Wolf Claw, Storm Shield, melta bombs)

Dreadnought (2 twin-linked autocannons)
Dreadnought (2 twin-linked autocannons)
5 Wolf Guard (Lasplas razorback, 4 combi-meltas, Cyclone Missle Launcher)

3x 5 Grey Hunters (Rhino, melta)
5 Grey Hunters (Drop pod, melta)

Heavy Support
5 Long Fangs (Lasplas razorback, 4 missile launchers)

Total 1500pts

8 hulls
32 marines (1 TDA)
1 Cavalry
17-18 Kill Points

Two Rune Priests - Work in progress

Swapped the pod to the hunters, added more pod threat, and loaded up on HQ, primarily to minimise how much I had to build and paint!

First trial of the list was vs a good (nearly net list, but with minor modifications) Blood Angels jumper list and I was pretty pleased. We called it after a couple of turns as we ran out of time, at which point I was loosing by one objective (out of 5), but had just killed Mephiston in one turn of shooting (he'd failed to charge my bait with a mediocre run roll and was left standing in the open...) and only suffered minor casualties, so was looking good for the following turns!

After further play testing, and painting, I decided that I'd prefer to model both my rune priests with bolt pistols. I was thinking long term here, so rather than have a bolter on one, I decided to move the melta bombs from the WGBL over to the Jaws priest (the one with the two headed axe!). Not likely to use it, but hey, I had run out of magnets and was happier with the models.

So, the final list was:

Siege of Sussex - SW v2.1 (Final List)

Rune Priest (Living Lightning, Tempest's Wrath)
Rune Priest (Living Lightning, Jaws of the World Wolf, melta bombs)
Wolf Guard Battle Leader (Thunderwolf mount, wolf claw, storm shield)

Dreadnought (2 twin-linked autocannons)
Dreadnought (2 twin-linked autocannons)
5 Wolf Guard (Lasplas razorback, 4 combi-meltas, Cyclone Missle Launcher)

5 Grey Hunters (Rhino, melta)
5 Grey Hunters (Rhino, melta)
5 Grey Hunters (Rhino, melta)
5 Grey Hunters (Drop pod, melta)

Heavy Support
5 Long Fangs (Lasplas razorback, 4 missile launchers)

Total 1500pts

8 hulls
32 marines (1 TDA)
1 Cavalry
17-18 Kill Points
3 + 1 troops
1 threat/feint drop pod
2 LL
6 missiles
4 tl-autoconnons
8 melta (4 single shot)
2 lasplas
2 force weapons
1 wolf claw
1 power weapon
1 melta bomb

As I said at the start, not my ideal list and certainly not optimised, but good enough for a start!