Food For Thought: ETC Pairings Theory on Hive Fleet Hyenna

Pairings at team events like the ETC is a whole sub-game in itself and something that captains and players can spend a great deal of time and effort on. I'm not sure how other events work, but at the ETC each country's lists are published before the event, which allows teams to run the numbers and consider possible match-ups.

Erle over at Hive Fleet Hyenna has put together an interesting series of posts going into his theories as Team Belarus' Captain. If you're interested in this sort of thing or perhaps looking to spy on an opposing team, I recommend taking a look!

If this all seems like far too much effort, there's always Team Iceland vs Team Belgium's highly tactical method... Enjoy!

List-Fu: Space Wolves and Imperial Guard for 40kGT Heat 2

Do I need this?

So I've been analysing my games at Brighton and thinking more about the list. There is one particular unit that on further reflection I don't think I've betting the most out of – the plasma Company Command Squad (CCS) in the chimera. This unit fills the compulsory HQ slot, provides mobile high strength, low AP shooting and orders. The multi-laser and heavy flamer are really a bonus and the chimera adds to the light mech saturation.

What I've found is that I tend to use the CCS in a backfield role, keeping within 12” of my heavy quad launchers (aka thudd guns), usually giving them the Fire On My Target order and forcing successful cover saves to be re-rolled for the target enemy unit. I also like the option to try a Bring It Down for re-rolls to hit with the thudds if an MC or vehicle is sitting in the middle of a bunch of infantry when the rune priest is off using Perfect Timing elsewhere.

CCS (centre) between thudds (left) and where the fight will be (forward right)

However, I think that the unit is a bit conflicted in where it wants to be. With orders I want to hold back, but the plasmas and a transport mean that I want to push forward to get into rapid fire range. I don't think I'm really getting the most out of the unit in every game so I've started to think if there is a better way to spend the 100pts from the plasmas and chimera.

Hiding from Tau

So what do I need to add to the list?

Reviewing my games leading up to and at the tournament, I've noticed that in certain match-ups I want to be extremely defensive, at least for the first couple of turns before setting up late game objective grabs. For example, in my game against Sharon's extreme shooting Farsight Tau with Tau allies and my fourth game against Steve's Forge World Sisters and Imperial Guard I wanted to stay out of sight to minimise early casualties. In the face of an enemy that I know can out-shoot me I don't see this as a bad thing to do (especially if they get first turn), but I want to be able to do more damage whilst conserving my mobility and scoring units.

Tau castle sans bubblewrap

I also want to be able to punish anybody castling against me. In my last game at Brighton against Jeff's Tau, he deployed his vehicles in the extreme far corner behind a ruin and wisely kept all his squishy foot targets in reserve to avoid my thudds. I'd like to be able to threaten this sort of enemy deployment with a high strength pie-plate to force the decision between clumping to make the most of cover or spreading out to minimise blast casualties. I can already do this vs infantry with the horrendously efficient thudds, but I'd like to do the same against vehicles and multi-wound targets with T4 or below.

The answer is of course long range barrage, and I've started to dream of a second allied heavy support slot to allow me to take a manticore. This is not exactly breaking new ground, but with prescience these can be devastating. I suppose I could force myself to spend 50pts on the third thudd gun instead. Oh, well...

FW - Converting these guys for the Commander and MoO

But wait! Perhaps there is another way outside of the IG heavy support slot? Two options spring to mind – Marbo and the Master of Ordinance (MoO). I could fit in either with a bit of tweaking, and both provide a high strength, ordinance and barrage-like effect. I have considered the Pskyer Battle Squad (PBS), but I'm not sure that I want to rely on Ld9 psychic powers and deny the witch attempts on top of scatter and cover rolls.

Scratch-built las-sabres - not perfect but ok for now

So Marbo or the MoO+something else? I've said before that I'd like to add lascannon sabres at 1750 points and above for better punch vs AV13 at range. I could 'upgrade' a couple of hyperios for 30pts extra. I think this is a better deal than Marbo thanks to orders effecting the sabres and more turns shooting with the MoO (even if significantly less accurate), so I'll go with this and drop a couple of flamers from the Platoon Command Squad to cover the shortfall (still leaves them with two).

This leaves me with:

1650pts Space Wolves and Imperial Guard 40kUK GT Heat 2 List

Rune Priest, Jaws, Living Lightning
(IG) Company Command Squad, Master of Ordinance

4x 5 Grey Hunters, Razorback (Heavy Bolter), plasma gun
2x 5 Grey Hunters, Razorback (Heavy Bolter), melta gun
(IG) Platoon;
Platoon Command Squad, 2x flamer
2x Infantry Squad
2x 1 Sabre Defence Platform, lascannon, searchlight (IA Aeronautica)

3x 2 Hyperios Missile Launchers (IA Aeronautica)
(IG) Vendetta [130pts]

(IG) Heavy Quad Launcher Battery (3 guns with 9 crew) (IA 2 2nd Ed)


So I've lost three plasma guns, a chimera, a couple of hyperios and a couple of flamers, but gained 4 more S5 AP5 barrage blasts, two scoring las-sabres and an unpredictable S9 AP3 ordinance barrage large blast. This gives me more threat and punch at range, while hiding if required, and judging on how I'm playing the lists, I think I'll get more use out of this than what I've lost.

I've moved the Hyperios back to Fast Attack, as the GT have ruled that as the IA Aeronautica and IA12 units have different names, they are actually different units and one does not replace the other. This is excellent news, and I can definitely see the logic (especially when it helps me out!).

Another one of these then! Note this was not an in-game shot...

I was going to wait until the new Space Marine codex dropped, but from the rumours (which pretty much turned out to be correct!) I couldn't spot anything that made me want to swap the puppies out for marines just yet (although Tigerius and the initial Tactical doctrine every turn got very close...). I've had a couple of games with the revised list (managed a win vs a serpent spam list in relic and a win vs an Iron Hand drop pod army with 4 ironclad dreads in a 3 objective Crusade) and it already seems better suited to how I want to play the army, so I'm happy so far. The heat is only three weeks away now, so we'll see if this list is up to scratch soon enough...

Any thoughts or comments welcome!

Food For Thought: Playing and Beating Bike Armies

Bear on CMON

With White Scar biker armies heralded as the next big thing, I thought I'd compile a few links covering playing with and against biker armies. As I'm expecting that there may be a few at the upcoming 40kGT, I'm very interested in knowing how to beat them too!

I'm also expecting a few players to avoid bringing MCs to the tournament thanks to how many grav guns might be kicking about, and if they happen to have a chaos army too, I wouldn't be surprised if they decide that the good old helldrakes need to get some fresh air.

So with that in mind, I thought these articles might be interesting to anyone playing with or against bikers (White Scars, Ravenwing or otherwise):

Ravenwing basics and tactics on Skuzzlebumm's Skuzzlebutt. Plenty of battle reports there too, including ETC games.

Discussion on counters to White Scars (and some counter-counters!) on 40k War Zone.

Some initial list ideas on the White Scars blog and Sons of Sanguinius. Sure they are plenty of others popping up too.

If you've got any ideas or suggestions for links please feel free to post them in the comments!

Food For Thought: Critical Mass on Craftworld Lansing

Craftworld Lansing

There is a brilliant discussion going on at Craftworld Lansing at the moment looking at defining critical mass in relation to list building. This relates heavily to a lot of what I'm trying to get to in my CONCEPTS: posts, including redundancy achieved though threat and target saturation with a little bit of duality thrown in for good measure. If this is your kind of thing, check it out and join in!

New Codex Space Marines released

Games Workshop

It has finally arrived! The new Codex Space Marines has been released and if you're interested in a peek, had over to Natfka's Faeit 212 for a good first impressions video. This focuses mainly on general content and artwork, which I have to say is looking fantastic. I think the chapter title page artwork is particularly cool, and the centurion image looks a lot better than the models!

I'm looking forward to the next few days as we get everyone's first impressions of the new rules. Assuming that the majority of the recent rumours are accurate, things that initially grab my interest are Tigerius, barrage thunderfire canons and Raven Guard massed scouting in dedicated transports. White Scars bike builds may turn out to be popular, but with the prevalence of high strength ignores cover weaponry around we'll have to wait and see on this one. As a MSU mech player, I'm not keen on the marine trend of increasing the base cost of a razorback! Doesn't bode well for my Wolves! More thoughts to come once I've had a good look at the codex.

Interestingly, there is no release day FAQ (yet), but any codex with servo arms gets a minor update. Convenient link for you here!

EDIT: The Voice has put together a very handy first impressions post over on Sons of Sanguinius here.

NOVA 2013 Results

Congrats to Justin Cook for powering his way through a tough field with 8 straight wins to take first place at this year's NOVA Open. Also to UK player Alex Harrison (aka Killswitch) for taking a very respectable second place. The prestigious Invitational was won by The Back 40k's Aaron Aleong (aka Spaguatyrine).

For more results and stats check out Torrent of Fire!