Ambush!

Hey everybody!
It’s my 700th blog post! Crikey!

This isn’t really going to be a very long post, but it’s going to be an exciting one, all the same! See, I’ve been doing a bit of an inventory of my Warhamer kits that are waiting to be built, and while I’m continually shocked at just how much plastic I have waiting for me to get round to it, I think that everything I have is fairly necessary. I mean, of course, that I don’t really have an odd kit for an army that I don’t really collect. I have a lot of things that I’ve not really managed to properly do much of anything with yet, like Space Marines, and I have a lot of stuff for well-established armies such as Necrons and Dark Eldar. And I have bits and pieces for the combined Militarum Tempestus/Adeptus Mechanicus list that I’m working on, along with some pieces for a Genestealer Cults army that has been on my mind for about a year now…

Genestealer Cults progress

It’s this last army that I want to talk about briefly today. I’ve got a bunch of kits, along with the stuff from Deathwatch Overkill, that has been in varying stages of completion for quite some time now. I know the colour scheme that I want to use, both on the mining Cultists and the guardsmen Cultists, and I have a vague idea for including a detachment of Tyranids in with them now that I’ve been delving into Index: Xenos 2, but it’s finding the time to work out a proper army list that is proving to be difficult right now!

So far, I’ve decided that I want to have a core of actual Genestealer Cultists for the army, and I’m probably looking at a Battalion detachment, given the number of HQ units that I’ll be doing for these chaps. My big plan is to then have waves of Neophyte Hybrids much like in the picture above, though on a much larger scale. I think I want to get at least two more boxes of these guys – to add to the one box I bought last year, and the contents of Overkill.

I then have a sort of secondary plan to use the Acolyte Hybrids probably in a separate detachment with an Acolyte Iconward. However, I found it quite interesting when working out the points values for the squad of Acolytes that I had built up last year:

The squad that I built up just over 12 months ago now works out at 106 points, by my reckoning – with the weapons forming almost half of that cost. Now, I have 5-man troop squads that have quite a high cost, and something I’ve been thinking about when building my Imperium army has been keeping the cost down in order to get more bodies on the ground, so I’m surprised at just how expensive these things can turn out to be.

The modular flavour of building a 40k army is something that I really enjoy, and drilling down to that level of precisely what I can kit out my guys with is always a lot of fun for me. Especially given how restrictive my first army, Necrons, can be! So I don’t think I’m ever going to go for a boring, basic squad, but I do feel somewhat bad about including such expensive wargear in just one squad!

(I’ve lost some of my miniatures in moving house, and currently can’t find the Neophytes that I had built prior to the move. Once I do, I’m planning to write up a proper “My First Genestealer Cult Army” style blog, so stay tuned for that!)

The Tyranid detachment is something that I’m very much looking forward to adding, as it’ll finally give me the impetus I need to get painting these chaps! I love the look of the Zoanthropes, and have been looking forward to getting them done for a while now. I’ve been thinking about adding these in a Vanguard detachment, just because there are more Elite units of Tyranids that I want to add to the army than anything else. I definitely want to build up my Maleceptor for the list, and add some Venomthropes (along with a Toxicrene in the heavy support slot). It would be more thematic, however, to build the list around a Broodlord and Genestealers, which are troops in the Index, so I suppose the idea of concentrating on a Vanguard because of the Elites really isn’t quite so limiting.

Genestealer Cult

Anyway, I thought this blog would be a short one, but clearly not! Tyranids and Genestealer Cultists always intrigue me greatly around this time of year, so I expect to be talking about them more as the autumn goes on. Thanks for making it this far through the post, and here’s to the next 700!

Cthulhu on the horizon!

Hey everybody!
It’s game day here at spalanz.com, and today I want to talk about some of the news from FFG about new Cthulhu-themed games coming on the horizon that I’ve only recently had the time to digest (the new Star Wars trailer dropping has primarily been responsible for my tardiness here!) So let’s kick off the Halloween season with a look at the next big box expansion for Eldritch Horror: Masks of Nyarlathotep!

Masks of Nyarlathotep

This was an expansion that was both entirely expected, and yet completely blew me away with the announcement last week. I mean, for sure we would be getting Nyarlathotep in the game soon enough – it’s a Cthulhu mythos game, what would it be without the wearer of a thousand masks? But I had entirely been expecting to see him in a small-box expansion, with some specific Mask monsters, and nothing more than that. Oh, how wrong I was!

Masks of Nyarlathotep introduces a campaign mode of play to Eldritch Horror, and currently we only have a few lines towards the end of the announcement that tell us what is involved here:

When taking on a Campaign, players will need to win multiple games, with consequences and benefits carrying over to the next game after each threat is sealed away from the world. If stopping any single Ancient One seems an impossible task, can the investigators possibly hope to succeed as these otherworldly beings attack one after another?

However, earlier in the article we learn that there are several cults springing up across the world, each seeming to worship a different entity, and it’s up to the investigators to stop them. While my first thoughts about campaign play were that we could play games using different expansions, and they would all somehow feature into this mode, I think rather it will be implemented as more self-contained within this box. I’m going to guess, then, that this expansion won’t have a new sideboard, but instead will just be choc-full of cards that allow for several different gameplay experiences, maybe even mini-Ancient Ones like the Heralds from Arkham Horror, all of which will add up to some climactic endgame against Nyarlathotep himself. Nyarlathotep will still appear as a more regular AO if you want to just play a straight game with him involved, but for the campaign mode he’s probably going to have some kind of mechanic that makes him stronger the more Mask villains we don’t defeat, or something.

We’ll see in Q1, 2018!

Omens of the Pharaoh

The next bit of news I was really happy to see was the new Elder Sign expansion, Omens of the Pharaoh!

Have you played Elder Sign: Omens? It’s a pretty good re-interpretation of the card game for Android/iOS, and features an expansion based on the sinister goings-on in Egypt. The Dark Pharaoh, Nephren-ka, has already made it into Eldritch Horror of course, and now he’s making his malevolent presence felt here, too!

I really like how the new mode for Elder Sign has allowed games to move out of the museum. Don’t get me wrong, I still love the classic game where you’re wandering the deserted exhibits at night, but Omens of Ice was an incredibly flavourful (and difficult!) game, and while I still haven’t managed to get round to Omens of the Deep, I’m sure that will also be a delight.

Whoever made the connection between having locations to explore inside a museum, and locations in a more general sense, should definitely feel a deep sense of pride at that achievement!

Adding the Egyptian horror feel to this game is definitely something to be pleased about, as it’s a classic setting for the mythos, though if we’ve already had the frozen Alaskan wilderness, the deep sea and now Egypt, I wonder whether this line of ‘Omens of’ expansions can continue for much longer? I’m guessing there will be an Amazonian jungle (or some kind of tropical theme) expansion at some point, but then what?

FFG’s Lovecraftian games are always a true delight, and I cannot wait to add both of these games to my collection when they arrive early next year!

Star Wars: The Last Jedi (official trailer)

Well, this has really made me very excited for the new Star Wars movie!

I’ve watched this thing through twice now, and while overall I don’t think it tells us anything we hadn’t already surmised, I am nevertheless really interested in where the story is being taken for the middle arc of the trilogy.

Sure, we have Rey training with Luke, and they seem to be going on some kind of journey of discovery, stuff that we’d pretty much surmised from the teaser trailer. But this whole business with Rey and Kylo Ren seeming to team up? Is Kylo Ren going to kill Leia? What’s up with Finn, is he back with the First Order, or is it some kind of ruse? That fight with Phasma looks like it could be pretty epic, but could it lead to his return, somehow?

While we’re at it, let’s take a look at the new poster for the film:

So Luke is very much front and centre, with Rey and Kylo Ren flanking General Leia in a manner that makes me think this film is going to be very much a story driven by matters of the Force, and the war between the First Order and the Resistance will take a bit of a back seat. Leia has some overlap between these two spheres, of course, so her prominence over Poe and Finn seems to be justified there. Will Kylo have to kill Leia as part of his training under Snoke, only to turn his back on the darkness and team up with Rey as a penance? I can’t honestly see Rey willingly joining with him if he’s still evil, but maybe there will be a lot more grey in this film than meets the eye…

I purposefully avoided everything except the trailers for episode 7, and found myself enjoying the film more as a result. I’m therefore doing the same again, so I’m hoping that I’ll walk out of the cinema on 15 December feeling just as fresh as a result!

Army Updates!

Hey everybody!
For today’s game day blog, I thought I’d share the fruits of some of my musings on Warhammer 40k since I spent the best part of a weekend sorting out how I’m going to field the legions of little people that I have right now. It’s been a very exciting time, I have to say, so I’m excited to share it with you all!

Imperium Army

First of all, I’m sure by now you’ll all remember the combined AdMech/Militarum Tempestus army that I’ve been thinking about for a while? Well I’ve been looking into getting the AdMech part ready for a tournament at my local game store at the end of October, so was working on a 1500-point list of Skitarii and the odd Tech Priest. What a glorious list that would have been! The only problem, of course, is that I would need to buy more miniatures than I already have, and the enormity of the task was somewhat getting to me… I mean, the total project weighed in at 1468 points and 66 miniatures, of which I’ve currently only painted one five-man Skitarii Ranger squad.

Hm.

It’s with a bit of regret, then, that I think this army project will likely not be ready inside of a month… But I’m going to continue on with it for the time being, as I really do like the idea of having a wave of Skitarii robot-men marching across the field implacably!

I picked up the Codex for the AdMech when it dropped, and also the Guard Codex when that came out at the weekend. What a pair of books!! A lot of people have been really tearing the AdMech to pieces, whereas the Guard have had nothing but glowing reviews – indeed, it seems right now, they’re the most powerful army in 8th Edition! So I’m intrigued to see how a combined army would fare.

Of course, my own Guard contribution is Militarum Tempestus, which seem to have come off the worse in comparison with the other Regiments in the book. However, the models are so damn amazing that I would never let a small factor like the rules get in the way of me enjoying them! So before I move on, let me talk about the planned army that I have right now.

The original army list for the Scions that I posted back when I was working from the Index came in at 385 points, very much a subsidiary portion of the overall force. I’ve not actually changed the load-out, from what I can see, but my new Tempestus force weighs in at 391 points, so still not exactly a massive part of the force.

Tempestus list

I’ve since bought another box of Tempestus Scions, and the Start Collecting box, as I managed to find both at a reasonable discount. It’s probably important to note, I’ve never owned a Guard Codex previously, so I’ve never really been aware of the make-up of the army. Reading through the new edition at the weekend, though, I was quite impressed to discover that this list, plus the kits I have yet to build, make up a single Militarum Tempestus Platoon! Exciting times. I do enjoy having the proper organisation for these things, after all.

Now, of course, I just need to think of how I want to kit-out the three other squads of Scions…

For the AdMech portion of the army, however, I’m not being quite so formal. I very much want to field an army that I want to field, if that makes sense, and so I don’t particularly want to go forcing myself to get miniatures that I don’t particularly want, just for the sake of getting a Maniple or Cohort or whatever…

Skitarii list

The army is Skitarii-heavy, as I’ve mentioned already, but I think it should be an interesting build to play (and, hopefully, to play against!) Right now, then, I have a total of 717 points built and primed, which I suppose isn’t too bad going, on the whole! I’ve added a 10-man Skitarii Rangers group to this list since I first blogged about starting the army, as well as the Tech-Priest Enginseer, as I was aiming to get that Battalion detachment going on there. I’ve since started work on a further box of Skitarii, building them as Vanguard this time, so I’m now wondering if I can manage to slip them into a Patrol detachment that would give me yet more command points to spend, but I think I’ll need to give this some more thought for the time being. The dream remains a Brigade detachment, of course, but I think that will be a long way off yet…

On the whole, then, I have a Skitarii Battalion and a Tempestus Patrol detachment, so I’ll be getting the grand sum of 9 command points. So what can I do with all these things?

Codex Astra Militarum has given us some really nice, juicy Stratagems to work with. I’ve taken great care to ensure that all of my Tempestus units have vox casters in them, to allow for Orders to be issued as far as 18″ away, and the Tempestor Prime has his command rod that allows him to issue two orders instead of one each turn, anyway. The Inspired Tactics stratagem will allow him to issue up to three orders per turn, all for a single command point, which I find very exciting – I’m looking forward to seeing how well that can work for me, anyway! The Tempestus also have their own unique stratagem that allows them to immediately fire at a unit arriving from reserves within 12″, which could be quite useful, though so far in 8th I’ve not really played against a great deal of these types of armies…

As for the Codex Adeptus Mechanicus list of Stratagems, I’m not entirely sure if I’ll be using a great deal. I do like the Protector Doctrina Imperative, allowing for +1 to hit in the shooting phase (+2 if the unit has an enhanced or broad-spectrum data tether) – as I’m seeing the AdMech primarily as a gun-line army, I think it’ll be really useful to bolster them like this. I don’t have a Forge World for my army, so I’ve been taking a look through those in the book, and overall I think I like the look of Metalica – it was originally going to be my colour scheme, after all! So I think I’m going to have them as subsidiaries of the Metalica FW and go from there.

This has been an incredibly long ramble, so well done if you’ve made it to the end here! I’ve been very excitedly looking at my Dark Eldar collection in a similar vein, but I think I’ll wait for a bit before writing up my thoughts on the space pirates. October will definitely be a time for trying to get more of the AdMech and Tempestus guys finished for the tabletop, so I hope that I can soon get to my local store for some games!

Ixalan!

Hey everybody!
It’s game day here at spalanz.com, and today I’m taking a look at the new expansion set for Magic the Gathering – hitch up your dinosaur, as we head to Ixalan!

The 76th expansion for the game, Ixalan is a plane of dinosaurs and pirates, merfolk and pseudo-Mesoamerican exploration. We’ve known the name since at least April, when some leaked alternative packaging did the rounds, and the theft of an uncut sheet of cards not long after spoiled a lot of preview season for this set, but despite these leaks, I’ve been looking forward quite a great deal to this one. Amonkhet block was really nice, and I enjoyed a lot of those cards, but somehow I didn’t feel the theme really grabbed me as much as I expected. Ixalan, however, just seems to be speaking to me on a whole new level…

The story depicts the search for the fabled city of gold, El Dorado Orazca, and its legendary artifact, the Immortal Sun. There are four distinct tribes on the plane, with a lot of tribal cards for each that make this set feel like it slots nicely into this year’s Commander products! We have the dinosaur riding warriors of the Sun Empire (Naya), fighting against the Merfolk of the River Heralds (Simic), the Vampire conquistadores of the Legion of Dusk (Orzhov), and the pirates of the Brazen Coalition (Grixis). In the middle of all of this, we have the return of Vraska, posing as a treasure hunting pirate while she attempts to recover the Immortal Sun for Nicol Bolas (in return for Guild leadership of the Golgari on Ravnica). Jace is also here, naturally, although he’s once more lost all of his memories, and so is used by Vraska and the pirates as they fight against the Legion of Dusk.

The whole notion of this pirate/vampire/dinosaur-warrior/merfolk war has really gotten me intrigued, and of course I do have a soft spot for Mesoamerican history, so the whole package just appeals to me no end. Because the art… man, the art…

Tribal is obviously a thing on Ixalan, but let’s take a look at the new (and returning) mechanics. First up is Explore, which allows you to reveal the top card from your library, and draw it if it is a land. If it isn’t, you can put a +1/+1 counter on the Exploring Creature, then put the card drawn either back on top, or into your graveyard. Enrage is a dinosaur ability that has consequences whenever the creature is dealt damage. Raid is back from Tarkir block, but with some slight differences (including as an ongoing effect), and Vehicles are back from Kaladesh. Wasn’t really expecting to see either of these so soon, especially Vehicles, though it’s always cool to see old stuff brought back. We also have double-faced cards that transform into lands, which have card frames that look like old maps. While I do like this, part of me still gets a bit annoyed when Wizards messes with the frames too much. But not enough that I’d want to quit the game or go onto an extended rant about it, of course!!

Ixalan

Dinosaurs are obviously a marquee creature type for the set, and several older Lizards are being retconned as the Dinosaur creature type, which is nice. Ixalan has also given us our first and, so far, only Trilobite, and has brought about the rules change that makes Planeswalkers Legendary now, removing the Planeswalker Uniqueness rule in favour of keeping things a little more sleek.

I’ve been planning to use the vampire cards in my Edgar Markov deck should any decent ones present themselves, anyway, but when I learnt that Merfolk were moving into blue-green for this set, it made me want to make a Merfolk deck as well! I’ve never really been as keen on Merfolk as some, but I love the Simic combination (it’s one of only two places I enjoy playing green), so it’s natural I’d be drawn there this time!

I didn’t make it down to my store for prerelease, unfortunately, but instead had a sort of mini-prerelease of my own at home. I’d decided to go into this set pretty much blind, not paying attention to anything beyond the major spoilers when they hit. However, knowing the tribal theme, I had vaguely wanted to try out that Merfolk idea if I had enough cards for it. When I discovered Deeproot Champion as my promo, I had high hopes, but in the end it was B/W Vampires that leapt out at me, and so that was the deck I built:

Creatures
Vicious Conquistador (2)
Skymarch Bloodletter
Bloodcrazed Paladin
Queen’s Bay Soldier
Bishop of the Bloodstained
Anointed Deacon
Skyblade of the Legion
Bishop’s Soldier
Inspiring Cleric
Paladin of the Bloodstained
Glorifier of Dusk

Instants & Sorceries
Costly Plunder (2)
Skulduggery (2)
Vampire’s Zeal
Rallying Roar
Queen’s Commission
Call to the Feast

Enchantments
Mark of the Vampire
Revel in Riches
Raiders’ Wake

Land
Unclaimed Territory
Swamp (8)
Plains (8)

I was going for a bit of an aggro deck, which would be bolstered by having a lot of Vampires out when Bishop of the Bloodstained arrives. However, I think I had been going for theme more than anything, and only managed to win one game with them out of the three. My regular gaming buddy made a bit of a janky red/green dinosaur thing that ended up just smashing my face, when all I could do is get out vampire tokens. Hm!

Ixalan

There are some really cool cards in Ixalan, however, and more than many recent Magic sets, this one has got me desperate to be playing more of it once again! I’ve already been looking at upgrading this to a better, 60-card deck for Standard (stay tuned for that) as well as getting some more of the better Vampire cards for my Edgar Markov Commander deck (stay tuned for that, as well!)

Overall, then, I really like this new set!