Monday, June 23, 2014

Thoughts on 7th Edition

A day or two ago I publicly confessed the heresy of neglicting this blog, and tried to get my very loyal (if somewhat small) readership caught up on my hobby life, including my step into the new 7th Edition of the Warhammer 40,000 rules.  Here I thought I would give a brief review and my overall thoughts on the new edition.

To start with, let's highlight the key changes to the game from 6th Edition:

  • The new Psychic Phase has been added to the player turn, and psychic powers work differently now.
  • Vehicles now are very hard to kill with a single shot, due to changes in the Vehicle Damage Table.
  • The Force Organization chart of old has a new friend in the form of Unbound Armies, which let you take literally any unit you want, though armies that still follow the FOC get a good boost in game
  • A new way to play the game, Maelstrom of War, has been added, using Tactical Objectives that change each turn.
Those are the big changes.  Some minor things have been changed (such as when Jink is declared, and how terrain works), but these four things have, for me, vastly improved my gaming experience and the outlook for the Third Company.  If I was going to rate this edition comapred to 6th edition, this one is much, much better overall.

First of all, Maelstrom of War has given armies like mine a huge boost.  I haven't taken an article to talk tactics yet (I will, don't worry!), but I refer to my Dark Angels force as the "masters of the mid-range game," meaning that in the 12"-24" range slot, they dominate, and my army is all about getting into that range slot as quickly as possible.  In Maelstrom of War, when your objectives change every turn and you have to be mobile to adapt, my army gets highly favored over the shooty Imperial Guard armies and slow Grey Knight Paladin-spam I faced before.  Now, I get rewarded for having my tough Marines spread around the board with plasma and assault cannon death.  MoW has leveled the playing field and makes people rethink how they play in that you can no longer start the game with the best list, you HAVE to play it well.

Second, the new Vehicle Damage Table has renewed my love of tanks, at just the time I was about to give up on them.  Let me give you an example.  In a recent game, I had a Predator take shots from a Land Raider Redeemer for 4 or 5 turns and survive, because even though the Redeemer had Rending Assault Cannons and the AP1 Multi-Melta, my opponent could not get that 7 to blow it up, and AV13 with 3 HP, if it was tough to break down before, is even harder now.  With that experience, my plan for the next step of my Angels will, of course, be more tanks, specifically Razorback transports for the Tactical Squads.

Third, and transitioning from the second point, is the new FOC rules.  By playing the same way I've been playing for 13 years and starting with 2 Troops and an HQ choice, I now get a bonus in trying to take objectives in that the Troops choices win the tie-breaker if an enemy unit is also on an objective.  Remember those Razorbacks? Being Dedicated Transports for Tactical Squads, they also count as Troops choices, essentially doubling the number of scoring units!  Win-win, for the win!

Lastly, there is the Psychic phase.  Honestly, the first couple of times I used it, I wasn't very impressed.  It made some of the psychic powers people rely on (Prescience, in my case) harder to cast in way.  And then I had a game like the one with the Predator example.  That game, I took a level 2 Librarian with a force weapon and a power field generator and put him in a Drop Pod with one of my Tactical Squads.  He had powers from the new Sanctic Daemonology table, and his powers helped his squad, while at the same time helping me win the game (he got the Deep Strike power, so once his squad cleared one objective they jumped to a new one and cleared that).  I don't think the Psychic Phase is something to rely on to win the game, but it's much better than people make it out to be.

So those are my long-winded thoughts on the new edition.  What do you think?  How have (or would) you adapt to the new edition?

Sunday, June 22, 2014

The Heresy of Life Distractions

Okay, this is really bad, but I just realized today that I haven't posted on this blog in over a year.  OOPS!  Don't tell the Inquisition!

If you've wondered how someone can forget to post a blog entry for an entire year, here are some of the things that have eaten up my time and concentration:

  • Starting new wargames, specifically Warhammer Fantasy, Dropzone Commander (an AMAZING newer game), Star Wars X-Wing, and Magic: The Gathering.  All of these are games for which I have amassed large collections, and since life is a zero-sum game, that means my Dark Angels took a back seat for long periods.
  • Starting grad school.  Being a glutton for punishment (and trying to work in education), I started a program to get my Master's degree.  This also takes a lot of time from painting green superhumans.
  • Soccer season (which never ends really), which takes away my Saturday and Sunday mornings, and free time during weekdays, etc.  I'm a huge soccer fan, so this is a major distraction.
  • Changing jobs.  As I sit here writing this, I am four days out from making the 2,200 mile journey from San Diego, CA to Chattanooga, TN for an awesome job opportunity.  So getting ready for that has been a big deal.
  • PLAYING.  While I wasn't posting blog articles, I was getting in a massive number of games with the Third Company.  I've also been adding to the Company (see below), and adjusting to the new 7th Edition of the 40k rules (more on that later).
All of that combined, I haven't been silent from the hobby by any means, specifically from the First Legion.  So let's take a second and catch up on what I have now that I didn't back when I was a 40K snob and wouldn't be caught dead playing anything else.

To be honest, I don't remember exactly what I had then and what I added now, so let me just give you a breakdown of what is in my collection as it stands, and I'll highlight what I'm pretty sure was there before in red.  Here it goes:

Dark Vengeance Company Master
Dark Vengeance Librarian
Dark Vengeance Interrogator-Chaplain
Terminator Interrogator-Chaplain
Librarian on Bike
Company Master

10 Deathwing Terminators (with 2 Assault Cannons and 2 Chainfists)
5 Veterans with storm shields and a Drop Pod

10 Tactical Marines (with a plasma gun, missile launcher, and Vet. Sergeant with combi-plasma)
10 Tactical Marines (with a plasma gun, plasma cannon, and Vet. Sergeant with combi-plasma)
5 Scouts (with bolters, heavy bolter, and Vet. Sergeant)

Fast Attack
3 Ravenwing Bikers (with 2 plasma guns and Vet. Sergeant)
Nephilim Jetfighter

Heavy Support
Predator (with turret twin-linked lascannon and sponson lascannons)

I've also added to this allies, in the form of the new Militarum Tempestus!  So far I have these units:

Command Squad (with 3 hot-shot volley guns, a vox-caster, and a Prime with power fist/bolt pistol)

5 Scions (with 2 plasma guns, a vox-caster, and a Tempestor with power weapon/bolt pistol)
Taurox Prime (with battle cannon and twin-linked hot-shot volley gun)
5 Scions (with 2 melta guns and Tempestor with chainsword/bolt pistol)

As you can see, my force has grown alot since last year.  It hasn't grown considerably, but it has grown, and I can now play upwards of 1,500-point games without the need to cram in things I don't like using just to fill the points.  I have big plans to keep adding to both this force and the MT allies (5-man squads are too small, IMO), but that'll have to wait until I move.

So, now that we've caught up a bit, let's try and make this a regular thing again, alright?

Alright, see you soon! (Hopefully...)

Saturday, June 1, 2013

I've Finally Played A Game!

...Several weeks (almost a month!) ago now.  With the craziness of my life I wasn't able to post updates on my army OR on my first games.  Pictures of where the army currently stands will come soon, I promise.  For now I'd like to discuss my first few games of both 6th Edition 40k and the new Codex: Dark Angels.   I did manage to take some pictures, so I'll try to wind a narrative around them, to give you some context/perspective.

My first game was all of 500 points against Chaos Space Marines— a PERFECT game to try out the anti-Chaos army I've built.  I took two full Tactical Squads and my Master Nathanael.  I have to say, every single part of that game went exactly perfect...for me.  The CSM army was small, and Tzeentch-based, so it was two small squads led by sorcerers and a sorcerer lord on a disc (essentially a jetbike).  My opponent was just like me and hadn't played in a long time, and he made the mistake of trying to march right at my marines, leaving behind both the safety of cover and the objectives we were supposed to capture.  He also made the mistake of flying his lord right toward my main block of troops completely unsupported, which I managed to finally kill of with my flamer-armed Tactical Marine (leading me to adopt the phrase "Kill it with fire!" when I shooting big and/or important targets).  The sorcerers killed themselves with Perils of the Warp and the CSM squads failed to do anything useful at all.  I won a resounding victory and only lost a small handful of models (like 3 bolters) in the process.  Excellent start.

Immediately after that I got the chance to play against an Imperial Guard army.  This game was 1,000 points.  I took Master Nathanael, Interrogator-Chaplain Israiah, both full Tactical Squads, the Scout Squad, the Ravenwing Bikes and the Nephilim Jetfighter Fury.  My opponent, a veteran of 6th Edition already and a very clever Guard player, took two veteran squads, 3 Basilisks, and a Valkyrie.  If you're keeping track, that's two games in a row I've outnumbered my enemy, and I'm playing as Space Marines.  This battle didn't quite go as well.  Cues pictures.

This was my deployment.  I was in a good position to take 4 of the 6 objectives right off the bat, but as you can see I was spread VERY thin.  The Scouts are at the back of the picture in the cover of the trees.  I knew my advantage would be the speed of my army and the sheer resilience of Power Armor. His advantage: sheer firepower.  Three Basilisks can ruin an army very quickly, and ruin they did.

This was my dead-pool around mid-game.  The Jetfighter turned up on turn 2, did absolutely nothing to the Basilisks, and then got shot up by the Valkyrie.  I made the mistake of not turbo-boosting my Ravenwing into a unit of veterans who then killed them all at will.  The Scouts fought and held an objective valiantly, but could handle the amount of fire thrown at them.  Master Nathanael was killed by the barrage from the Basilisks.

From that point things looked bleak, until my opponent put his Valkyrie in hover mode, and I killed it with Israiah.  In close combat!  The +2 Strength bonus for the crozius allowed Israiah to knock off the last two hull points, and wreck the vehicle wasting my army.  At the end of the game we added up our victory points, and because I had claimed so many high point objectives, I had initially won. Unfortunately, because of the secondary objectives, my opponent took enough of his own victory points to force a draw.  Even though my army got pounded and key units fell without contributing, I managed to hold out for a draw—very Dark Angels of me I think!  My first day of gaming ended 1-0-1 (Win-Loss-Draw), very respectable and with a lot of room to improve, mostly on tactics.

Since that first day I've played four more games (6 total), for a total record of 2-3-1.  My other win was this last week when I rocked another CSM army, killing a Helbrute with my Terminators and wiping out cultists left and right with my Tactical Marines in a 600 point game.

My three losses were rather hilarious in my opinion.  The first was a total inability to get good dice rolls, it's as simple as that.  I was playing 1250 points against Orks.  I had everything from the 1,000 point game, plus my Terminators!  He had two large boyz mobs, Ghazkhul Thraka with a nob squad, and a large, very large, mob of stormboyz that would be deep striking.  My tactics were alright, but I couldn't land a shot with anything in my army that did anything useful.  I have bought new dice since then.  I'm not kidding, I really did, because I swear if I had rolled better on ANYTHING I did I would have won the game.  For these pictures, I don't really need to add anything.  Just look at how many dice he rolled on his Waaagh! turn!

The first turn.

My Deathwing charging the Nob Squad.  The fallen terminator was killed by overwatch, the rest of the squad was killed in combat...that turn.

The SECOND close combat his Nob Squad got into.  Guess how that ended...

Something like 90 dice that were rolled in ONE ROUND of shooting.  I didn't survive that either.

...Or this.  30 Stormboyz that I couldn't shoot at because everything else was in close combat.  The orks laid on their side didn't die, they just fell over.  The Dark Angels in the tower died though.

The second loss was against Necron, and again, my dice rolls weren't great, but this 600 point game was lost by-sad to say- my own strategy.  Instead of standing and shooting the Wraiths that would plague my whole force, I moved towards them, hoping to claim the single objective in the center of the field quickly.  Let's just say I've learned not to use my Dark Angels as Blood Angels since then and move on.

The last loss was during a 4-Way Deathmatch (I just made that up, but that's what it was).  Four corners, one 500 point army in each corner, fighting for victory points, with an arch-rival worth double VPs on opposite corners.  My Interrogator-Chaplain and two Tactical Squads faced the Tzeentch CSMs from my first game, the Necron that had ruined me earlier, and for the first time, very large Tyranid which deployed closest to me.  The game went very well for me actually.  I lost maybe two models from my force (including the plasma cannon which blew itself up), but I managed to kill a massive Tyranid Trygon with, you guessed it, Israiah the Giantslayer (I just made that up too).  It deep striked right in front of my line, so I shot it up with all 21 models I had available (suitable yelling "Kill it with fire!" while I did so), and then charged it with Israiah, whose trusty crozius beat the Trygon to a pulp and earned me the only victory point I got that match.  The winner ended up being the Necron, who teleported across the field and killed all the Tyranid (getting the double VP for each unit) and easily took victory.  So technically I lost, but I was easily the best off by the end of the game, so I'll take the moral victory.

Our deployment for the 4-Way Deathmatch.  I need to deploy my heavy weapons better.

Alright, that's the briefest I could write to update how the Third Company of the Dark Angels have fared in battle.  Hopefully my dice luck goes better in the future.  Look for a tactics post soon when I will discuss why certain Raven-themed units have been completely ineffectual and how I can improve with them.

Thanks all!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Long time no see!

It's been a long while since I posted an update.  Since I completed the Ravenwing squad a couple of months ago, I have added five more Tactical Marines and five Scouts to the Dark Angels Third Company.  I have also acquired both the new Codex: Dark Angels and Ravenwing Nephilim Jetfighter.  I'll add a review of the codex shortly, but for now, here are some pictures of the newest members of the team:

Combat Squad Primus, of Squad Tyrael

What these pictures don't show is that I have added squad and chapter badges as transfers, the company marking (red diagonal stripe on the left knee), and static grass (to the entire army).  The scouts below, of Scout Squad Kerath, do show all of those (except the chapter badge, not sure what to do with that yet).

Hope you enjoy!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

The Ravenwing!

It took all month to finish, but here are some (alot) of pictures of my completed Ravenwing Attack Squad from the Dark Vengeance Starter Set.  One of these days, when I have more time, I'll discuss how I did these, but since it's already 30 minutes to midnight, my brain has spewed out all it will give.  Enjoy the pics!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

October Models Finished!

It's been a crazy month hobby-wise to be sure.  It took about two weeks in September to finish my first ten tactical marines for the Dark Angels Third Company, but it took literally all of October to finish five tactical marines and the Company Master Nathanael.  I have no really good explanation for how that happened, since September was way crazier in every other way.  But that's beside the point, because I now have a legal Warhammer 40,000 army! It may be small—only one full-sized, fully-equipped squad and a leader—but 1 HQ and 2 Troops choices are all you need to play, right?

Here are some pictures of the squad and the Master

Next month I'll either be painting up more tactical marines to get two full-sized, fully-equipped squads, or I'll take a break from power armor.  Oh yeah...  The wings of Redemption may finally arrive.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Build Order

In the post I just put up about completing my second five-man squad I mentioned having 15 more Tactical Marines to complete to round out my core of 25, and it got me thinking about the order in which I want to complete the rest of the models I currently have to work with.

I'm sure for most people, this isn't really a "thought-out" process; you kind of just do it and build the squads you feel like building and go about your business. But maybe you do try to plan out what you will work on, and hopefully this gives you a little perspective. I've built 4 full armies before this one (5 if you include my Warhammer Fantasy army), so I know myself well enough to know this plan should work.

So you get an idea of what I still have on the sprue, it's (mostly from the DV set): 15 Tactical Marines (including options); a power-armor (PA) Librarian; a PA Chaplain (which is built but not based or primed); a PA Company Master (same as the Chappy); 5 Deathwing Terminators; and 3 Ravenwing Bikers.

I recently found a squad of 5 Scouts with bolters and a heavy bolter that I can easily repaint for Dark Angels, so they're in too.  I'm also working on getting some armor in the form of a Predator or a Dreadnought, but since it's not here yet (or even purchased), it won't count.

Given all of those models to complete (26 in total), my plan to complete them is as follows:
5 Tactical Marines (4 with bolters and 1 with plasma cannon)
PA Chaplain (limited edition model from DV set, with plasma pistol)
5 Scouts (4 with bolters and 1 with heavy bolter)
5 Tactical Marines (1 Sergeant, 2 with bolters, 1 with missile launcher and 1 with special weapon)
PA Librarian (from DV set)
5 Deathwing Terminators (4 with storm bolters and 1 with assault cannon)
5 Tactical Marines (1 Sergeant, 3 with bolters and 1 with special weapon)
3 Ravenwing Bikers (1 with plasma gun)
PA Company Master or Vehicle
Vehicle or PA Company Master

I've deliberately chosen this order (which may change, but probably won't), for the simple reason that it will keep me interested. After the first set of Tactical Marines I'll probably be tired of normal DA power armor and I'll need the Chaplain to have a minimum Primary Detachment. After that it'll be the Scouts to go completely away from power armor for a bit.  Then it kind of rotates through the pattern again: PA squad, PA leader, non-PA squad.  The difference will be the last rotation where the leader and non-PA squad will be switched, because I don't need 3 HQ choices (nor can I use them all at once), so there's no point completing them all before the rank-and-file are done.

I hope you've gotten some insight into the mind of a mad-man (too much time interrogating beneath The Rock I think).  Comment below if you've done something different or have any thoughts on my approach.

Quote of the Day: There is only the Emperor, and he is our shield and protector.