Genestealer Cult progress!

Well, folks, I’ve managed to do some painting! Not a great deal, to be sure, and they’re hardly the best I’ve ever turned out, but I’m glad to have them at this point so quickly. I mean, the bases still need to be done, and I think I might go back and tidy up a lot of things soon enough, but still!

I’m painting the Cult of the Bladed Cog, which has an interesting backstory that is linked to the Adeptus Mechanicus. The story goes that the cult began on Feinminster Gamma and rose up when the Mechanicus arrived to harvest the planet’s bioelectricity – at least, that’s what the old painting guide for the Genestealer Cults had to say on the matter. The 7th Edition Codex explains that the cult apparently infiltrated the Mechanicus’ operations on Feinminster Gamma, which better explains the close relationship that appears to exist between the two – the red on the cultist armour and so on is evocative of the Skitarii of Mars.

I’m really enjoying painting these gribblies, I have to say. I think the Dark Eldar from last year kinda got in the way of my Genestealer Cult progress, as I’d been building up a bit of a force before moving over to the dark kin. But the cultists have always been there, much like their in-universe incarnation, biding their time and waiting to strike!

I’ve got a fair amount of Genestealer Cult models built up and ready for the paint to be splashed upon them, but as detailed last time, I’m trying to focus on just the small 500-point list to get somewhere first. My Astra Militarum detachment (to say nothing of the Tyranid detachment!) can wait for a while yet, I think…

Building and painting isn’t all that I’ve been up to though, as I’ve been living in the Cult through this bad boy, also:

This book was released back during the autumn festival of Genestealer Cults in 2016, and I’ve been wanting to get around to it for a long time. I managed to read through it in the run up to Christmas, and I actually really enjoyed it! It tells the story of a group of “pilgrims” on their way through the galaxy, seeking religious solitude of the planet Redemption, which was the scene of a massacre of Sisters of Battle in the distant past. The pilgrims arrive, but are immediately drafted into the Imperial Guard regiment to help defend the planet against some vague, nebulous threat.

There is an air of mystery about the planet as the story unfolds, and we learn of the not-quite-human denizens who live in the civilian town near to the garrison. The story is pretty decent as it shares its secrets, before an explosive finale that sees the Cult of the Spiral Dawn rise up, even within the ranks of the military.

While I did enjoy the book, a cynical part of me was struck by just how closely it manages to tie itself into the Genestealer Cult range of miniatures, from the cultist models of the Magos and Primus (and even the Patriarch), to the Astra Militarum tie-ins like the Sentinel. Of course, the book was released in order to continue the hype, and whatnot, but it does exist as a decent enough read in and of itself. It’s coming out soon in paperback, as well (as Cult of the Spiral Dawn, fyi), so well worth investigating!

New stuff from Games Workshop!

Oh, wow! It’s been quite the few days for new stuff arriving from Games Workshop, and I am one happy geek right now! I don’t even know where to begin, but I suppose it makes the most sense to start with the most exciting thing right now: the next Codexes coming up:

new codexes

Not only are we getting three xenos codexes, but the next one coming (after the Thousand Sons) is my very own Dark Eldar! Okay, so they’re Drukhari now, so I suppose I should start to call them that, but it’s a very exciting time for this! We don’t know when precisely it’s due, of course, but it’s coming, and that’s alright for now.

No new models have been announced for the Drukhari, but my other army, the Necrons, are also getting a book – which, apparently, will deviate significantly from their Index presence, so that’s exciting – and a plastic Cryptek, which is something that has been talked about for quite some time now!

This chap looks both immense and hilarious, and I will definitely be picking one up for my dynasty. I’m not really into the Tau chaps, though it is still very cool to have more xenos in book form now, I must say!

Of course, we’re still currently in thrall to the Boys in Gold, although I am excited about getting a Thousand Sons codex next weekend. I’ve been planning a joint Thousand Sons-Death Guard army for a while, so I think it will be good to get moving with that sometime. I also like the look of the Thousand Sons for allowing big monsters into the army, such as the Mutalith Vortex Beast. I suppose that’s something that attracts me to Tyranids in 40k, having big monsters on the board in addition to the grim-dark feel of the gothic far future. Anyway, I’m rambling here!

But that’s not all – let’s talk about some Age of Sigmar for the first time in ages! I was really into this game when it launched, and while I’ve not really done much with any of the fantasy models I have for what feels like an age, I’m still interested in the new stuff that comes along. New and updated armies seem to be the thing for this game, as the old fantasy races are reimagined for the new setting, and while I was sorely tempted by last year’s Kharadron Overlords, I’m once more feeling the love for the new Daughters of Khaine faction that seems to be updating the Dark Elf race:

This looks amazing. If anything could tempt me into the mortal realms right now, I think it would be snake-ladies with Greek-style face masks and a Medusa vibe. I can definitely see myself picking some of these guys up this year, despite the huge backlog of projects I already have on the go! People have been talking about them for possible Wych Cult conversions, but I think I’d be getting some purely to have for their own merits. As I said earlier, I enjoy having huge monsters in an army, and there is one very big snake-person teased in this video, which looks like it would be incredibly cool! I’ll have to think carefully about this one!

Intriguingly, this has also whetted my appetite more than I thought would be possible! I’ve not paid much attention to the actual game of Shadespire, as I’ve been on my 40k kick for so long that I haven’t really had the time, but I’ve noticed the new factions for Skeletons and Orcs, so was aware of the whole thing. But then this thing cropped up, and I find myself thinking, “yeah, they look cool!”. I have previously been tempted by the Fyreslayers, and had bought some kits that I eventually off-loaded, but having just four guys could well be the way to go!

I should try to be much more careful with cash, as I’m fixing up my house and paying for a wedding this year, but I’m sure a couple of kits here and there can’t hurt…

Navigating the Dark Eldar transfer sheet

Hey everybody!
Back when I was starting up my Dark Eldar force, I remember being pretty chuffed at discovering the Kabal I had chosen had its own transfer on the sheet included in almost every box. Remembering also the amount of time spent on trying to research what all of the different symbols are for, I thought I’d share the fruits of those labours with you all now, and hopefully save some time in the future!

Dark Eldar transfer sheet

So let’s take a look at the sheet, from top to bottom. We’ll start with the Kabals (on the left).

Dark Eldar transfer sheet

The first one looks a bit like a weird kind of fish – the Kabal of the Poisoned Tongue, led by none other than Lady Malys herself.

Next we have possibly the most familiar symbol, as it was also used as something of a generic faction symbol by GW for the army – it’s the Kabal of the Black Heart, whose leader is the all-powerful Asdrubael Vect.

Dark Eldar transfer sheet

Thirdly, a weird eye-like shape with what looks like lightning running through it represents the Kabal of the Slashed Eye, naturally.

Dark Eldar transfer sheet

The fourth icon is close to my heart, as it is that of my own kabal, the Kabal of the Obsidian Rose. Beneath them, it’s the Kabal of the Flayed Skull.

Dark Eldar transfer sheet

We have an interesting cluster of symbols here: from top to bottom it’s the Kabal of the Last Hatred. Underneath these, it’s the Kabal of the Baleful Gaze, and then the Kabal of the Dying Sun, the latter of whom have that beautiful deep blue with red trim colour scheme.

And finally, the white icons down the right hand side here represent the Kabal of the Broken Sigil.

Dark Eldar transfer sheet

At the bottom of the sheet are two further kabal sigils, those for the Kabal of the Lords of Iron Thorn, and on the right, the Kabal of the Black Myriad.

In the middle of the sheet, we have some Haemonculus Coven seals (all in white circles), which we’ll go through next:

Dark Eldar transfer sheet

The hand symbol is that for the Prophets of Flesh (those haemonculi led by Urien Rakarth), while the swirl is (unsurprisingly) that of The Everspiral.

Dark Eldar transfer sheet

Up next, we have a strange insect-like symbol is that of the famed poisoners The Altered, while the symbol to the right is that for The Dark Creed.

Dark Eldar transfer sheet

Lastly, the star-like design is the symbol of The Hex.

Let’s trundle on down the right-hand side of the sheet now, where we can find the symbols of the various Wych Cults of Commorragh!

Dark Eldar transfer sheet

I won’t lie, the Wych Cult symbols are much more difficult to make sense of, but in the middle-left here, we have the paired blades of the Cult of the Blade Denied.

Dark Eldar transfer sheet

These symbols outlined in red are very common on vehicles, but I can’t seem to find any reference to them belonging specifically to any Cult. I guess they’re just generic Eldar glyphs that can be used at will!

Dark Eldar transfer sheet

Next is the Cult of the Pain Eternal, and the Cult of the Red Grief, which most closely resemble my own Cult.

Dark Eldar transfer sheet

The last trio represent, from top to bottom, the Cult of the Cursed Blade; the Cult of the Seventh Woe, and last but by no means least, the Cult of Strife, which is of course led by none other than Lelith Hesperax.

Cult Uprising!

Hey everybody!
I’ve been back and forth on this subject for a couple of weeks now, but I’ve finally found the time to sit down and work out just what I’m doing with my Tyranid/Genestealer Cult army. Remember this?

Tyranids are an army that has appealed to me almost from the start, but I’ve always had something else going on. For 2018, however, I decided to throw my lot in with the bugs, and finally set about creating a Tyranid army. However, I’ve already found myself losing interest in such an enterprise, despite having bought so many of the blighters! I’ve had some bad experiences in assembling a carnifex and a tyrannocite, so thought it might be better to start where this really all began for me, with the Genestealer Cult.

Genestealer Cult

Cultist models have really caught my imagination since their release in the Deathwatch: Overkill boxed game a couple of years back. I picked up the game, of course, and when the range was introduced I did get myself a couple of extra bits, though I’ve been really slow at building them up. Well, no more! I’ve worked out a small, 500-point list to start with, and will be working on that for the next month or so as a foundation to a larger Cult force.

Genestealer Cults list

 

It’s probably not going to be the most competitive list out there, but who cares – I’m excited to put it together and get it painted, which I think, in this specific instance, is the most important thing right now! It uses the models from the Overkill box as a basis, though the Acolyte Hybrids are from the separate squad box released afterwards. In my Ambush! blog, I talked about how good a basis Overkill is for a Cultist army, though I’ve since gone through all of the models in there and notice that the squad sizes are a bit weird: two squads of six Acolytes (which are a minimum of 5 per squad in 8th Edition), and two squads of eight Neophytes (which are a minimum of 10 per squad). I’ll probably be raiding the bitz websites to see if I can bulk these out soon!

The Neophytes are probably my favourite kit in the whole range, and I think I’ll likely be looking at doing more of these in time. For now, I’m mainly using the Overkill miniatures as I already have them built, and eight of them have actually been painted to some degree. However, this list may well change soon as I decide to add in models from the Neophyte kit in due course.

Genestealer Cult

So there we are, 500 points of Genestealer Cult, which forms the bare bones of a Battalion Detachment! In time, I can probably stretch this to 1000 points by incorporating some Tyranid models – I’ve got both Warriors and a Hive Tyrant armed with lashwhips and boneswords, and I think it might be cool to have them in the same army to tie in with the Acolyte leader (and, to a lesser degree, the Primus). Of course, I could equally go the other way and build up the Astra Militarum alliance, having already got some guardsmen and a Leman Russ built and primed…

The important thing, though, is that I start getting this army on the road. So, by the end of February, I intend to have all 531 points fully painted – I may even have gotten in a couple of games with them by then, as well…!

Make sure you come back to check on my progress! And remember, I usually post up what I’m doing over on instagram as well, feel free to check me out there in the meantime!

Shadows of Brimstone has arrived!

Well…

Following the end of the kickstarter back in November 2013, it’s been a long and boring wait for my pledges to be fulfilled. But now, they have, and I have to say: I’m really overwhelmed!

I’ve had a peculiar relationship with this game, going from overwhelming enthusiasm for it during the kickstarter campaign, to severe disappointment when the core sets were delivered. I’ve played it a couple of times, and I can’t work out if I actually enjoy it or not, so it has spent a very long time on the shelf.

However!

I believe I’ve now had everything delivered, though I’m not entirely sure about a couple of things I had added in the pledge manager, so need to try and go through it all again. Some things I’ve decided to sell off, as I have pretty much everything twice, so I’ve been separating off a few bits that are easy enough to do this with, but even so – wow!

Allure of the New
In doing all of this, I’ve been surprised at how I’m actually feeling a bit better-predisposed towards it now that all of the additional material has arrived. This is probably just the allure of the new, and I’m intrigued to see whether this means I’ll be playing with it anytime soon…

It’s a bit silly, really, to want to play with some of the new stuff so soon. I have barely scratched the surface of the core sets, so I’m hardly about to start throwing something like the Ancient One into the mix! I’ve played the game a total of 8 times, according to my stats on boardgamegeek, though the last time I played was in June 2015. I think it might be interesting to do something like build up some Targa stuff, then return to Cities of Death and introduce some of the new stuff that way. Maybe.

But that said, I really like the look of those Mission Packs…

I’ve only briefly looked at the miniatures, and they don’t look that better in terms of quality than the core set stuff, which is disappointing. But I love the fact that FFP have continued to include additional bits and pieces of cardboard to help with narrative stuff. It’s one of the things I always love about their games, and has again begun to draw me back into wanting to play with this stuff once again…

At any rate, I’m hoping to start going through this stuff soon enough, and will eventually get the long-talked-about game day blog on it! Stay tuned folks!!

Eight Games of Eighth, and other thoughts

Well, then! I’m glad to see that the Codex train is still going, and while I’m a bit perplexed that they’re doing a brand new army over an existing one, I suppose it does stretch things out. Of course, everybody wants their Codex, so these releases are bound to aggravate a few. I’m surprised at the amount of hate coming from, specifically, the Dark Eldar facebook group I’m a member of, but I can kinda see their point. There are huge xenos factions like the Orks and the Tau that don’t have a book yet, while the tiny, elite imperium factions are getting more love.

It’s fantastic that there are new factions coming to the game in a really playable way, and I really enjoy seeing these corners of the 41st millennium explored, but I’m getting a bit bored with my Index armies now (specifically, my Necrons…), and feel like it’s becoming almost a chore to play with them.

I’ve specifically avoided playing anybody who can use a Codex so far, but have managed to find myself with a game against Craftworlds later in the month. From what we’ve been talking about, I feel that my Dark Kin are going to be vaporized fairly quickly, even with a fluffy list, so while I’m interested to see what Eldar can do (having never played them before), I’m also not looking forward to it due to the matchup.

It’s a really weird situation right now, to me at least. Chapter Approved was a nice addition, but hasn’t really done anything to even the balance between an Index and a Codex. But then, the only thing that can do that is Codexes for everybody.

At any rate, it’s a bit of a futile argument right now – this is the situation, let’s just get on with it!

I wanted to ramble for a bit today about my most recent game of 40k, another battle between my Dark Eldar and Robin’s Orks at my local store. It was a hilarious battle that took four hours to play just two rounds, due to the ridiculous amount of melee combat going on from Robin’s first turn!

I took the usual load of Warriors in Raiders, as well as Wracks in another Raider. I managed to get three HQs into the list, two Archons and a Haemonculus, the latter riding in his own Venom. The second Venom was given over to five Trueborn, the first time I’ve ever used those chaps, and a squad of Reavers and a Ravager rounded out the list. I will freely admit right now, that I’m not the most tactical of people, but I’ve decided that, from this year, I want to try and have more nous about me in games. I feel like I’ve mentioned this before in respect of playing X-Wing, where my usual tactics of fly around shooting stuff at random probably doesn’t make for a good game for my opponent. It’s a game, we’re supposed to have fun, but I don’t want to be that guy and ruin it for people, you know?

So anyway, faced with a mob of 30 Boyz, all of whom were pretty much on top of the relic we were fighting for, my target priority became that unit, and in my first round of shooting I managed to get rid of 22 of them. Not bad, from two Raiders full of Warriors, and a Venom full of Trueborn! It certainly helped that everybody started within rapid fire range, I have to say.

In the spirit of trying to learn from my games, then, I think I’ll ramble for a bit here whenever I play, and see if I can improve as time goes on! A lot of this is focusing on weight-of-fire as opposed to damage output, as I feel currently that Dark Eldar could be pretty good as a horde army. I mean, you could make a basic squad of ten warriors with no upgrades for 70 points, which can put out 24 shots in rapid fire range and hitting on 3+. I’ve had a lot of experimentation with different builds, but I’m currently thinking I’d like to try a sort of mass swarm of Kabalite Warriors, with occasional support from more combat-orientated units. Covens are a lot of fun to play, but I’m going to try and move away from them a little as I experiment more with Warriors. Wych Cults are going to be a whole other breed of experiment, though, and I think I could write a separate blog on that one!

I really liked the Trueborn. I’d built some for 7th Edition, but had shied away from ever using them in 8th due to the fact I wasn’t convinced about the points cost. The only benefit, to me, was that they can take much more in the way of weapons, but with an almost identical stat line to generic Warriors, were they really worth it? Turns out, I’d been thinking about it the wrong way: the fact that you could have an entire unit of special-weapons-ops, as opposed to just the one, means a lot more in the way of firepower, easily making up for those points differences.

I took a five-man squad, and popped them in a Venom. The squad had two splinter cannons, two shredders, and a Dracon with power sword and blast pistol; the Venom itself had two splinter cannons. That’s 210 points, right there. When I compared it with my ten-man Warrior squad, with splinter cannon alongside a Sybarite wielding a splinter pistol and agoniser, all inside a Raider with a dark lance, the Warrior squad still comes in at 204 points, for almost double the models.

The startling thing, to me, was just how many shots the Trueborn were consistently putting out. At optimum distance for everybody, but assuming the worst for the shredders, five men in a Venom are pumping out 27 shots (with a potential for 31), 24 of which are poison. The ten men in the Raider are capable of 24 shots at optimum distance. It’s not much difference but, when faced with a horde army, I’ll still take it!

Definitely time to build more Trueborn. But not, I think, with dark lances! Even on Trueborn, they just feel too damn fragile on infantry – the weapon is almost double the cost of the model wielding it (which is, admittedly, better than the almost-triple cost of putting one on a Warrior).

I still don’t know what to do with my Ravager though. I prefer the disintegrator cannons for the assault 3 as opposed to the dark lances which, on a vehicle, are only assault 1, even though the dark lance has the greater damage potential. However, I can never decide where to fire the damn thing, and invariably just end up having a mediocre performance, at best. Sad, really.

My Reavers did fairly well – they lasted quite well despite being rammed into a squad of Boyz on turn one, anyway! I don’t play enough Wych Cult units, so had forgotten about combat drugs on my first turn, so turn 2 I gave them adrenalight for the +1 attack (as they were already locked in combat). The arena champion making 4 attacks was pretty good, but at that point it was only the arena champion left, so I think that needs to be looked at anew! I’m considering a bigger squad but, as I said, Wych Cults will be the subject of their own blog soon enough!

So, Trueborn are worth further exploration. I need more splinter cannons in my life, and I need to figure out how to use my Ravager more effectively. I also need to stop charging my Venoms into close combat – hell, I need to stay away from close combat with Kabalite Warriors as much as possible! I keep giving Sybarites agonisers, but that really should be a last-resort thing. At 4 points, the weapon is hardly breaking my bank, after all! I was really pleased that my Haemonculus managed to get off Crucible of Malediction on both the Weirdboyz, killing one and reducing another to 1 wound, so that was a lot of fun. Unfortunately, to do so meant putting him across the board from the Wracks, so they couldn’t benefit from his buff. Wracks in general were quite poor this game, I feel – particularly as I made the decision to charge a Killa Can with one unit, meaning all of their weapons would only hit on 6s!

Target selection and target priority is going to be key, I think…

Mythos delvings

Hey everybody!
It’s time to continue the tradition of the Christmas Lovecraftian delvings, and look at some of the short stories that I’ve been reading by the light of the Christmas tree. This year, I’ve been re-reading some old favourites, as well as investigating some little things that are new to me!

Let’s start with the always-wonderful Thing on the Doorstep. I first read this about five years ago now, and it was one of the few Lovecraftian tales that genuinely chilled me. It tells the story of Edward Derby and his ill-fated marriage to Asenath Waite, one of the Innsmouth Waites who has some very peculiar ideas about transferring consciousness (among other stuff). Over the course of the tale, Edward Derby becomes increasingly insane, it seems, convinced that his wife has some kind of hold over him, only to be revealed that she has indeed – through some foul sorcerous deeds – been taking control of her weak-willed husband. Even a marital separation can’t prevent Asenath from possessing Edward, and she eventually seems to have taken permanent control of his body. It’s up to the narrator to sort things out, by shooting his best friend before it’s too late – but what on earth is that thing crawling on his doorstep..?

It’s one of my favourite of his tales, with a very definite tie in to the Arkham line of board games etc – I remember a game of Arkham Horror where I had both Asenath and Herbert West as allies, making for a particularly hilarious game as I thought of the mischief each would no doubt be plotting behind my hero’s back! I also remember playing a game of Eldritch Horror with Charlie Kane travelling the globe and using Asenath for spell-casting… Anyway!

A short tale, The Statement of Randolph Carter is a bit of a spooky tale that seems to be told as a kind of confession. It concerns the nocturnal adventures of the titular Randolph and his occultist friend Harley Warren, as they attempt to access the underworld following Warren’s researches in a peculiar Arabic tome. Harley goes deep into a tomb in a graveyard somewhere near a cypress swamp, and screams for Randolph to flee before never being seen again. Randolph, for his part, loses part of his memory of the event, and the story is effectively his testimony as to what happened to Harley in the swamp. It is the first time the character of Randolph Carter appears in a story by Lovecraft, though he would reappear in later writings – including the famous Dream Cycle.

Continuing the link with the Arkham games now, The Unnamable is a short little tale that is set in the graveyard of the New England town, and details a debate between two gents on the nature of the supernatural. It has the hallmarks of a sort of campfire ghost story to it, and references several locations within the town that will be familiar to fans of the boardgame as being locations to be investigated. Notably also, the narrator is again Randolph Carter.

Herbert West – Reanimator is another classic that I’ve read before, chronicling the black-hearted career of Herbert West and his attempts to return people from the dead. Notably, Herbert and the narrator attended Miskatonic University in Arkham, the first time this venerable institution was mentioned in a short story by Lovecraft. West and his assistant have a series of near-successes across six short installments, each ending with a particularly gruesome climax. The tale had been serialized, which leads to some slightly annoying recaps at the start of each section, but the story itself is just wonderful gothic horror. We see West, always keen to have the freshest corpse possible, actually kill someone in order to then bring him back from death, before finally being abducted off into the bowels of the earth by his failed experiments of the past. Wonderful stuff!

Also serialized was the short story The Lurking Fear, which is a sort of classic haunted-house-on-the-hill type of tale. The house had been shunned by those living in its shadow, who were convinced some fell beast stalked within. The intrepid narrator attempts to get to the bottom of the matter with predictably morbid and horrific results. Again, it has that sort of sensationalized ending to each of its four parts, and while I wouldn’t say it was quite as classic as Herbert West – Reanimator, it was nevertheless a decent enough read!

He is a weird little tale, which is similar in parts to Cool Air that I read a couple of years back. The narrator follows a mysterious gentleman who appears to have preserved his life for more than a few centuries, and proceeds to show him some eldritch magic or other, including visions of the past and future New York, with dire warnings about the rise of the Chinese that, unfortunately, shows some of Lovecraft’s darker side.

Weird, but then, I suppose that’s the point of these stories!