Sunday 29 September 2019

The Black Legacy (Part I) - Safe Passage

Sully massaged her temples in an attempt to relieve the needle-like pain behind her eyes. The Dolls seemed completely enthralled by Jared Blaine's incessant chatter and yet Sully had an uncontrollable urge to put a Las round between his eyes. On and on he jabbered, each word boring into her head. She looked at each of her sisters in turn, all of them hanging on his every word; all of them except for Kat that is.
The Escher champion stroked the grip of her power sword, seemingly indifferent to Blaine's patter. Yet Sully recognised the expression she wore and despite Kat's best efforts she realised that the champion was anything but indifferent.
As if aware of his predicament Blaine turned his attention to Kat.
"As well travelled as I am, I recognise your attire my dear. Yours must be an interesting tale and one I would be keen to hear" he purred, flashing a smile.
Kat met his gaze, her jaw clenching as his eyes bore into hers.
"If you recognise my garments." she replied  "Then you know that your cheap parlour tricks won't work on me Wyrd!"
The Escher champion leapt to her feet pointing her needle pistol at him and activating her power sword at the same instant that Blaine raised his Autopistol.
"I've been wanting to stick my blade in you ever since I laid eyes on you." whispered Sully into Blaine's ear as her blade pressed against his throat.

A deep, resonant chuckle filled the air and of all of them turned in search of the source.
"Well Jared, it appears that you've bitten off more than you can chew this time." said a robed figure emerging from the shadows.
Two individuals flanked the stranger, one was obviously a military man and the other appeared to be some sort of missionary or preacher.
"Please forgive my colleague ladies" said the stranger. "Jared can be trying, even at the best of times, but he has his uses."
Blaine shrugged and offered a rueful smile.
"Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Boris, Boris Dragosani....

...and by order of His most holy Inquisition, I have a use for you!"

Monday 23 September 2019

Building a Necromunda Backdrop.

Greetings Underhivers!
For quite a while now I've been thinking about building a small backdrop to make taking photos of our gangs that mush easier. The idea occurred to me a couple of years ago when reading the excellent Blog Gardens of Hectate (a blog that I highly recommend if you like your Grimdark turned up to max!). Ana built a backdrop to show off her many wonderful creations and I filed the idea away to be used at a later date, when/if I ever had the time 😉
I later stumbled across the incredible work of Nicholas Grillet and his display boxes. It immediately dragged Ana's idea of a backdrop to the front of my mind and the idea once again hung around on the edge of my consciousness. Then Mordheim 2019 happened and Nicholas built a magnificent Battlefield in a box (I'm sure you'll agree that this is truly outstanding!). So once again the idea was dragged to the front of my brain, but this time the idea found purchase in the barren soil of my mind....

Sunday 15 September 2019

Hitting the Reset Button

Greetings Sump-Dwellers!
Rob and I have been engrossed in our games of 'Munda for quite a while now and we're both enjoying the history and narrative that our Perpetual campaign is unearthing. Rob's Genestealer Cult is rapidly becoming the terror of Rockridge, but every game is proving to be a tense affair with neither of us sure of who will come out on top until the very end...which is everything you can ask for in my book 😃
However, not all is well in our corner of the Underhive and our Perpetual Campaign is throwing up one or two problems......

Wednesday 11 September 2019

Avoiding inter game stress

One thing that always used to bug me at events was moving tables between rounds. I’d inevitably have a bag with my codexes/iPad/car keys etc in, all the stuff that I use in game like dice bag, maelstrom cards, objective markers etc, and then my army which would inevitably be piled into a tray that was too small to do the job properly.

Factor in a room full of people moving about, some with more spacial awareness than others and the necessity to make a couple of trips for fear of dropping everything it meant I would arrive at a table flustered and with my head in a jumble from the start.

Not so great especially when using a codex which requires as much grey matter as my tiny brain could muster!

For years I’d persisted with GW carry cases because I laboured under the belief that they must be the best thing for the job if they were made by the guys who made the models.

But the last event I went to I made a change and personally it immediately killed all the stress of the inter game moving around and let me get to the table with all my stuff in one go, not worrying about dropping my army and not trying to juggle books, dice, bags etc. 

The change?

I used a plastic container, just like this:

I laid the GW foam in and it kept the models perfectly safe and secure, it has space for books, dice, objective markers and whatnot, and the top doubles as a big enough tray not to have to cram my entire army on and hope nothing falls off.

It’s a simple change but made a huge difference to my stress levels between rounds.

Wednesday 4 September 2019

Tool Box vs 1 Trick Pony Lists

So the other day I was running over an army list with my coach and we got talking about the new Space Marines.

I asked him a question about Ultramarines because the general chatter seems to be that they’re the bees knees.

He had an interesting take on it which took a while to sink in.

His view was that Ultramarines will make an excellent gunline and will win plenty of games but won’t win many events and probably no large events will be won by them.


Because they do one thing, and do it well, but inevitably will come up against something which either does that one thing better than you (hello Tau!) or is a great counter to which you won’t have an answer.

This is applicable to any one trick pony army btw, not just Ultramarines. We just happened to be talking about them. It’s just as applicable to my wolf list I shared the other day which is really aggressive and hits people hard but won’t win an event because inevitably I’ll come up against another list which hits harder or is a great counter (hello Custodes and Orks respectively).

It took a while to sink in but hit home when I played Ultramarines at the weekend, in a shoot out I’m dead. But if he couldn’t bring me down I’d best him in combat and he’d have no answer when I got into his lines. Using terrain (another potential disadvantage of a one trick pony list, if the terrain isn’t favourable it can ruin you before you’ve even started) I got close quickly and the rest was history. Despite my opponent having, on paper, a much stronger list than me I was able to get the win.

It was only then with such a visual demonstration that it really sunk in what my coach was talking about.

And why I need to switch from wolves if I want to do better than 3-2 on a regular basis at events.

So we’ve worked on a codex marine list which has the tools to deal with a wide range of opponents,  missions and terrain set up.

It’s harder to play than a one trick pony list and I’m expecting to take a lot of bearings whilst I get the hang of it but ultimately I hope it will let me start to push for 4-1 at events and maybe if I can play it well enough a top 10.

That’s the aim anyway. Now the fun part of buying, building and painting (well getting someone else to paint it!) and then playing it begins.

Whilst I’m aiming to be more competitive the fluff bunny in me isn’t dead and buried because I’m still spending a lot of time choosing colour schemes and sourcing cool shoulder pads etc.

I’ll share the list another day...

Tuesday 3 September 2019

Battlefield Birmingham 16 musings

So Battlefield Birmingham 16 is done and dusted and I thought I’d share my musings with, well me probably!

First up I have to say I love the event. It’s got solid armies with no easy games but good guys to play against. The level of dickery is low which is good because I’m at an age where I can’t be arsed to argue over a game of toy soldiers.

For this event I took my wolves which are decent but not top tier.

If I go 3-2 at an event with them then I consider that I’ve done well.

My list was:

Battalion Detachment +5CP (Imperium - Space Wolves) [1,039pts]

+ HQ +

Wolf Lord [124pts]: Jump Pack, Saga of the Beastslayer, Storm shield, The Wulfen Stone, Thunder hammer, Warlord

Wolf Lord [124pts]: Jump Pack, Storm shield, Thunder hammer

+ Troops +

Blood Claws [74pts]
. 4x Blood Claw
. Blood Claw Pack Leader: Power fist

Blood Claws [74pts]
. 4x Blood Claw
. Blood Claw Pack Leader: Power fist

Blood Claws [74pts]
. 4x Blood Claw
. Blood Claw Pack Leader: Power fist

+ Elites +

Wulfen [273pts]
. 5x Wulfen: Thunder hammer & Stormshield . Wulfen Pack Leader: Frost claws

+ Dedicated Transport +

Rhino [74pts]: 2x Storm bolter

Rhino [74pts]: 2x Storm bolter

Rhino [74pts]: 2x Storm bolter

Rhino [74pts]: 2x Storm bolter

Battalion Detachment +5CP (Imperium - Space Wolves) [484pts]

+ HQ +

Njal Stormcaller in Runic Terminator Armour [153pts]: 1. Living Lightning, 2. Tempest's Wrath, 5. Storm Caller

Wolf Guard Battle Leader [109pts]: Jump Pack, Storm shield, Thunder hammer

+ Troops +

Blood Claws [74pts]
. 4x Blood Claw
. Blood Claw Pack Leader: Power fist

Blood Claws [74pts]
. 4x Blood Claw
. Blood Claw Pack Leader: Power fist

Blood Claws [74pts]
. 4x Blood Claw
. Blood Claw Pack Leader: Power fist

Super-Heavy Auxiliary Detachment (Imperium - Imperial Knights) [468pts]

Household Choice: Questor Mechanicus
House Krast

+ Lord of War +

Knight Crusader [468pts]: Heavy Stubber, Ironstorm Missile Pod, Thermal Cannon, Avenger Gatling Cannon w/ Heavy Flamer

Total: [1,991pts]

So how did it do?

Game 1 was vs a Custodes player who had a solid army, using the old forge world points and rules. In my favour was the fact he had no troops so couldn’t score on the mission and I could hide one unit so I’d always have more objectives at the end of the game. In the end I took a minor loss because I buggered up my charges on his tanks and then was on the back foot. My mistake for sloppy positioning but lesson learnt.

Game 2 was against Necrons with a bunch of stuff but based mainly around 3 doomsday arcs. This was a good example of what happens when you get charges right (positioning, pile in moves and fighting twice stratagems). I weathered some early firepower which made quite a dent but then on turn 3 I got THE charge off which killed 6 destroyers, 10 of the jet bike things, his warlord, his other character, a squad of troops and a spider walker thing. After that the game was mine and I took a  32-26 win.

Game 3 was vs a plague bearer army. He had 3 units of the damn things. Luckily he made a positioning mistake which let my wolf lord kill 2 daemon princes at the same time as combi charges from pretty much my entire army (shout out to controlled aggression strat for the knight!) took out 2 of his units of plague bearers. The Knight was the MVP here after taking out his castellan equivalent with help from the headsmans mark. In the end he crumbled and I took a 40-16 win. I’m not sure he appreciated just how many attacks claws get on the charge and when they’re supported by the characters they’re pretty solid at taking down lightly armoured stuff even with negatives to hit.

Game 4 was against an Ultramarine gun line using the new codex. They are nasty and Calgar really helps them dish out damage. I passed some saves at crucial times but personally a few things stood out to me:

1. He moved towards me to get better los which was a big mistake. It meant I was on him a turn sooner than I otherwise would have been. I’m not sure he appreciated how fast the rhino rush wolves are when you factor in all the bonus movement in the assault phase. He lost a lot of stuff in one turn and didn’t really have much left to counter that afterwards.

2. It takes precision to play a gunline and he got a bit flustered, target priority was a bit off and his moves backed him into a corner which let me pin him in a small part of the board so I could score objectives.

3. Most important it kind of highlighted what my coach says in that armies like that will always have a weakness. Mine does too and I’ll waffle about that in a separate blog post. It did highlight I’m right to change armies if I want to look for a reliable 4-1 or better result at events with some degree of consistency.

Anyway, I was able to take a 37-12 win from the game which gave me my 3 wins for the weekend!

Which was just as well because game 5 was vs Orks.

I’ve never played Orks really in this edition so whilst I knew a little about them from reading the web and watching some battle reports I didn’t truly appreciate what they can do. And for me, they are the perfect counter to my list (see point 3 above).

I can blame being tired, I can blame a lack of knowledge of opponents army and I can blame switching off a bit after having got my 3 wins for the event but whichever way I cut it, I took a beating, losing 32-18 in the end.

I could probably have done better, especially if I appreciated just how fast the characters on bikes (apologies to my knight! 😂) and played the mission a bit better but honestly I’m not sure I could beat that army with mine. It just doesn’t have the tools to do it. Or maybe I should say, at the moment I can’t see how it has the tools to deal with it.

Anyway, overall I went 3-2 and came 35th out of 98 which with wolves isn’t too bad.

I also won best in faction, besting the other wolf player in attendance (call me the great wolf?) and got nominated for best painted despite not really having finished my army.

Great weekend overall and now I’m looking ahead to the team event at Warhammer World in October...