A New Direction for Necrons

Hey everybody!
Last week was a lot of fun, looking at how I can build up some really iconic armies for larger-scale games of Warhammer 40k, and I think I’d like to continue that with looking at some of my more established armies, and how I’d like to take them in a similar direction.

Necrons were my first army, and while I’ve come to love so much more about the 40k universe, I think they will always remain my first love in this game. I’ve played the army at 1500 points before, back in 7th edition, but things have changed so much in 8th that I feel like I’m starting again, really. Which is kind of the point of this blog, really. Last Thursday, I had a small, 500-point game at my local GW against this guy Nick, who was getting back into the game with some Tempestus Scions. I quite liked the sound of that, as I also have some Scions and I’d like to see what they can do. So I decided to bring along my Necrons, as I could muster about 500 points of them in my new Thokt-dynasty scheme, so made up a battalion of a Catacomb Command Barge, Cryptek, and three squads of Immortals: one squad of five with tesla carbines, and two squads of six with gauss blasters. It was my first game with the undead space robots since the Codex had arrived, almost eleven months ago, so I was keen to see what they could do!

Necrons Thoky Dynasty

It was a lot of fun. I was playing as Sautekh dynasty, which has been my plan since I wrote up one of my favourite blogs in recent memory as it happens, The Necron Codex – tactical thoughts. In that blog, I wrote up a 2000-point list, and went through the thought processes behind all of the unit selections as they occurred to me. I’m probably not going to write as much in this blog, but you may well be wondering what the purpose of this particular post is, seeing as how it was only back in September that I’d already had a 2000-point list worked out.

That list has changed quite a bit following the release of Chapter Approved – but as I discovered in the linked blog here, my 2000-point list had just over 220 points shaved off it following the points decreases, and so I’ve been considering some changes since Christmas, really. However, following my game last week, I’ve decided to change up the dynastic code to Mephrit, which has really caused me to re-think the entire process.

My 500-point game was a lot of fun, but having finally played a game with the army, I’m hungry for more, and so I’ve already drawn up a mid-point 1000-point list, and have also taken it up to 1500-points, so I have it pretty well mapped-out how I want this list to grow in the near future!

So this is the list at 1000-points. At this moment I’m focusing on using units that I really enjoy, and that I feel will be useful to me. So I’m not too concerned with how I can organise them for the best command benefits. I still only have the same bare-bones battalion, but I don’t mind at this point. The important thing, for me, is that there are units in here that I feel excited about playing, and I think I should be able to do some real work with.

I’m playing Mephrit Dynasty, which improves the AP of all shooting attacks made at half range by 1, so those gauss blasters on the Immortals are spitting out 12 S5 shots at AP-3 when they’re in rapid fire range! The tesla carbines are also really good, should I actually manage to roll some 6s, so I’m really keen to see how I can develop this with the army at large. It sounds like it should be really good, and my local GW manager was recommending it to me while we were playing, so I think it might be worth looking into!

My warlord is the Catacomb Command Barge, to which I’ve given the warlord trait Merciless Tyrant, adding 6″ to all assault weapons (that is, the staff of light) that he has as well as being able to shoot at enemy characters regardless of whether they’re the closest model. Being Mephrit, there is a big argument for changing up the configuration of my Barge to have a tesla cannon on there, rather than the gauss cannon, as the tesla is an assault weapon while the gauss is just a heavy weapon. But I’ve built it with gauss, so for now it’ll have to stay that way. Finally, I’ve actually replaced his staff of light with the Voltaic Staff artefact, which is a slightly improved stat line but with the added benefit of dishing out additional mortal wounds on a wound roll of 6+ in the shooting phase. Great stuff!

I really enjoy the Triarch Stalker’s targeting relay ability, so that is being kept in the list at this stage, and the Annihilation Barge is in there for the sheer firepower – 8 shots at S7, and three at S6, now with AP-1 because Mephrit, and the hope that I get at least a couple of 6s to cause three hits instead of one for each 6 rolled. Should be a wonderful thing. Finally, I’ve got a unit of five Lychguard in there, because what is a Necron army list without them, right? I’ve gone for sword-and-board simply because of the stratagem that allows me to bounce back the shots fired at me. Lovely!

I did actually enjoy being able to use some of the stratagems during my game, though I hadn’t taken enough of the right units to allow me to benefit from them as much as I would otherwise have liked. Unlike a lot of armies, there are a lot in the Necron book that require specific units, almost as if every unit has their own stratagem. If you don’t take those units, then about half the stratagems will be unusable for you in-game – 12 of the 22 non-dynastic-specific stratagems specify what unit they work on, which feels inordinately high in my view, but it could just be that I’ve always taken a much wider spread of models in my other armies, so haven’t really noticed the narrow focus too much! I certainly like the ability to use My Will Be Done / Wave Of Command on a second unit in a turn, and the Sautekh-specific stratagem that gives +1 to hit for units attacking a unit already shot at that phase also came in quite useful during my game.

The Mephrit-specific stratagem, however, is actually really nice for allowing exploding 6s to hit on a unit in the shooting phase. I mean, it’s not quite in the same league of tesla, which just gives you additional hits – the stratagem gives you additional rolls, but I think played on a high-output unit like massed Immortals or maybe the Annihilation Barge, and paired with the Triarch Stalker’s targeting relay that will allow you to re-roll 1s to hit anyway, it could be really juicy! I can imagine a full unit of 10 Immortals with gauss blasters that have closed to rapid fire range, shooting off a volley of 20 shots at S5 AP-3, re-rolling 1s and any 6s causing additional dice to be rolled. I’m terrible at the odds, but I reckon there should be a few 6s in that roll, it should be pretty nice!

But that brings me on to the second part of this blog, taking the army up to 1500 points.

At 1500 points, I’ve got a spearhead detachment in here as well for +1 command points. I’m still staying away from having almost-redundant HQ choices in here just to allow me to get additional command benefits – while we’re playing at a comparatively middling range, I want to keep things as tight as I can. I’ve bumped up the troops so that I have two full squads here, and I think when I decide to take this to 2000 points, I’ll probably max them all out. I’ll most likely include either more Lychguard or some Deathmarks, at which point I’ll also bring along a Lord so that I can have a vanguard detachment and pull in ten command points. (I also want to get more Tomb Blades on the horizon, but I’m in real danger of getting ahead of myself now!)

Between the Command Barge and the Overlord (and the stratagem), I can issue the +1 to advance, charge and hit rolls to three units, so the dream of both ten-man infantry squads having a ridiculous damage output should be quite attainable, if I’m honest! Obviously I can’t use the Mephrit stratagem to go too crazy with them all, but there are a good number of ways to make this army really quite formidable, I think. Army-wide Leadership 10 is also a benefit, and of course, Reanimation Protocols are key to making sure I don’t get blown away!

At 1500 points, I feel it’s really time to bring in the big guns, as other armies will be having all manner of tanks and such. The Doomsday Ark is an iconic unit, and for me personally it’s going to be a real boon the day that I finally get that painted and assembled (it’s still in sub-assemblies in a bag somewhere in my pile of shame). I’ve gone for a second Annihilation Barge because I have fond memories of the Annihilation Nexus from 7th edition, which granted a sort of overlapping quantum shielding for the units in the formation. Obviously, that doesn’t exist here, but still!

So I’m well on the way to bringing the army up to the sort of place where I’m going to be very happy to start playing it more regularly. I have been in a similar position with my Dark Eldar for a while of course, where I have a very good supply of units from which I can draw to make a lot of the sort of lists that I want to play, so I’m hoping I can get there with my undead space skeletons soon, as well. It hasn’t felt right to me for a long time, my very first army being in this state of limbo as I try to re-paint them in a more exciting scheme (and hopefully, do a better job with them as well!) During 2018, I managed to get somewhere quite decent with the amount of Thokt dynasty units I churned out, so I’m hoping 2019 continues that trend, and I get the army that I want to play to the table for some games!

As ever, stay tuned to the blog for more updates!

Going bigger with Chaos

Hey everybody!
Time for the third and final blog of my mini-series, where I’ve been looking at growing my existing armies in the hope of having larger-scale games in the future, and this time it’s the turn of something that I’ve only recently started to plan out, the Chaos force! It was only towards the end of last year that I started thinking about building up a Chaos army, with the inspiration coming primarily from the arrival of Blackstone Fortress and all of the weird and wonderful goodness therein.

This post is also a bit of a cheat, as I’ve not yet finalised how I want the force to look. Rather, I’m waiting patiently for the new boxed set Shadowspear, which should not only bring me some interesting marines for a Primaris force, but also updated Black Legion miniatures that, from the look of the teaser trailer, should be off the charts awesome! So let’s ramble for a bit about the new stuff we know about, as well as what I hope we’ll see coming out alongside it.

The army I like to play tends to have a fairly decent balance, I think, between shooting stuff and beating stuff. From what I know of the forces of Chaos, then, I’ve been able to draw up something that I am really quite excited about playing, but the list remains quite small-scale, formed mainly of Cultists and the odd piece here and there that I like the look of.

I remain determined to somehow include the Blackstone Fortress models in my list, and have thus far included a patrol detachment of Obsidius Mallex with both companies of Traitor Guard and a Rogue Psyker. I’ve not put the additional Legionaries in there because I don’t yet know how things are going to look once we get the Shadowspear box. Will we get 10-man squads with different rules/options to the generic Heretic Astartes squad? Time will tell, I suppose – and that time might be sooner than we think, with the 80-day countdown for Vigilus to fall drawing ever closer!

We can already get bolt pistols and chainswords in a group of bolter-wielding Chaos marines, which I always find a bit weird somehow, but I suppose they don’t pay much attention to the Codex Astartes, after all! I really hope these chaps are the regular marines and not push-fit, though I suppose even if they aren’t, GW these days are producing a lot of models that will only go together one way, rather than the old style of marines where you have the legs, torso and arms all separate to allow for a variety of poses. Sad face. I suppose they do look amazing with all of the added detail, so it’s a decent enough trade-off.

Releasing a new kit of marines does of course beg the question, will the current finecast Havocs kit be released in glorious multi-part plastic, also?

In addition to regular marines, we’ve been promised new Obliterators, and we’ve already seen two of them between the trailer above and the preview on the Community site. Three Obliterators cost 195 points, which feels quite the investment, so I’m not quite sure how I feel about including these chaps in the list just yet. Though I’m sure I’ll eventually want to have some for a dose of heavy-hitting pain teleport striking in!

I do like the look of the Master of Possessions, who I assume will be an HQ choice with some kind of buff for these sorts of daemonic fleshmetal creatures. So depending on how things go with including the Obliterators in the list, I may well be fitting this chap in, also! Although I love the model so much, I might just use him as a Dark Apostle if I don’t manage to fit him in for his actual role.

I mean, look how sexy this beast is!!

I’m guessing that the rules for these things will be coming in the next Vigilus book, much like Marneus Calgar had updated rules in the last one. Whether we end up with a new Codex Heretic Astartes, who knows. I wouldn’t say Chapter Approved brought about a particularly significant number of points changes in comparison to anybody else, so I would only really expect to see a new book if we got a particularly large change in unit types, as we seem to be in for with Primaris Marines.

But enough of that!

So far, then, I’ve managed to slip in some interesting units, as far as I’m concerned, though I do want to include more of the Blackstone Fortress stuff – specifically, I want to have more than just 7 Traitor Guard. Much like Cultists, I feel like we should be able to field hordes of these guys – which brings me on to my main point, I suppose.

While the Shadowspear box does sound amazing, without even considering the Primaris aspects of the box, I find myself hoping that the rumours are true, and we actually get to have real releases of the Blackstone Fortress stuff in proper multi-part plastic goodness with a regular box release. I’m hoping for 10-man (at the very least!) Traitor Guard, and five-man Negavolt Cultists – we’ll most likely get Beastmen as well, of course, though I’m not so fussed on those guys. I don’t really hold out much hope that we’ll see anything further along these lines, though the Genestealer Cults release has shown that GW are very good at surprising us with a release schedule that just takes over the world, so maybe we’ll see additional stuff to flesh-out the release of these random elements of Chaos.

Should we actually get Traitor Guard released in this manner, then I’ll pretty much give up on any hope of GW bringing back the Dark Vengeance Cultists – I’m really glad that I found my own guys, of course, but I do find myself feeling a bit sorry for those who only know of Cultists through the five-man box available currently. Still, Cawdor gangers do make excellent conversion fodder, so I suppose I shouldn’t get too down on it. But it would be so much better if these kits would see the light of day again!

I am nevertheless very interested in seeing what we get for Chaos in the next month or so. How I eventually build my army is going to be a matter of some thought, for sure, though I do like the idea of having some of the marines alongside the chaff Cultists, backed up with daemon engines like the spider-thing and Forgefiends/Maulerfiends. Should look pretty damn good on the table, I reckon!

Going Bigger with Skitarii

Hey everybody!
It’s the second blog in my mini-series of posts looking at how I can increase the size of some of my 40k armies to 1500-points and play some larger-scale games with them. Since 8th Edition arrived, I’ve not really looked beyond 1000-point games, but I feel like I might be missing out on some opportunities when limiting myself in this way. I’m therefore looking at how I can build on the core of an army that I already own, and raise the bar a little to allow for an expansion. I’ve already looked at doing this with Tyranids earlier in the week, so today it’s the turn of the robot-men from Mars, the Skitarii!

While I have off-and-on been looking at Skitarii for a number of years now, I’ve recently renewed my interest following the possibility of entering a doubles tournament this summer. I’ve previously blogged about this when I was considering going down the Deathwatch route, but have since switched gears to Skitarii, thinking it would be the perfect excuse to finally get this army off the ground and onto the tabletop! Around the same time, GW released an expansion for Kill Team, Theta-7 Acquisitus, with the new Tech Priest Manipulus model, and building him up has somewhat springboarded me into making a renewed effort to paint the models I have lying around!

I’ve talked many times on this blog about my plans for a Skitarii force, and pretty much every time I keep coming back to the same idea: waves of Skitarii foot-soldiers walking across the battlefield with implacable force. Sadly, this idea is not going to really stand up to the scrutiny of a game, Skitarii on the whole being quite weak in terms of Toughness and Saves. The 6++ is going to be handy of course, but in order for this to be a viable option, I do feel that the army would need to have a lot of models to survive such an action! And so, on that note, let me present my list!

I’m fairly happy with this list as it stands right now. I’ve got a good spread of units, with pretty much everything organised how I’d like it. There is a battalion in here, as well as a spearhead and a vanguard detachment, so I’m starting the game with a good number of command points.

Let’s talk first about the Tech Priest Manipulus. I can’t deny, the main draw for me to using this model is the fact that he’s new, and I’ve been a bit seduced by the shiny. I’ve chosen to equip him with the transonic cannon, an Assault D6 flamer, as I feel he’s going to be getting more into the thick of things than any of the other HQs. I can see him being screened by the Sicarians of both flavours, and using his Galvanic Field to help improve those units around him. The Sicarians are something of a new unit for me, as while I’ve previously built some Ruststalkers with transonic blades, I’ve never before now actually included them in the list. I’m hoping that the Ruststalkers can go around with the Manipulus, and the Infiltrators perhaps just appearing with their infiltrate move when the stars align, and everything can start wrecking face.

There are a lot of troops in this list – 43 of them, to be precise! The additional three Rangers have been thrown in simply because I had the points left over, but between all four units, I should be able to achieve a good number of shots. I’ve only got one transauranic arquebus, and am otherwise relying on either the cheaper arc rifles, or the plasma calivers to add some spice to the proceedings. Of course, Vanguard are the more lethal of the two, with their basic guns Assault 3, so the arquebus unit will be able to dish out 24 shots at 18″ – they are only S3, for sure, but my theory here is to just drown the enemy in shots in an attempt to ensure that at least some get through. Indeed, this is really the theory behind most of this list, trying to get maximum number of shots out of everything, and force too many saves that should see a good number of shots get through.

In ideal circumstances, the whole troops section should be putting out a combined total of 93 shots. Granted, that is including the pistols that each Alpha is equipped with, so I’m assuming that these shots are coming from 12″ away – not the sort of distance Skitarii want to close to! – but even so, 93 shots will see a good number getting through because of the sheer volume of saves being forced on the opponent. And that’s just from four units of troops – there are 15 shots coming from the Corpuscarii, the Kastelans can theoretically put out 36 shots with the right Protocol in place, etc etc.

In my head, the army is definitely a gun-line, shooty list. But I’m not neglecting close combat, as already mentioned with the Sicarians, but also I’m including some Electro-Priests, by far some of my favourite units in the entire AdMech army. I really don’t know how well these chaps will fare, as I hear so many mixed reviews of them, but I’m not going to give up on including them in the list before I actually try them out. I’m using both flavours, so it’ll be interesting to see which kind will be best, as I do have a third box waiting for me to build…

One of my favourite 40k youtube channels is StrikingScorpion82, and I really enjoy his video series where he looks at an army and goes through tactica on a selection of the units therein. For the AdMech, he talked about building an army that centred on an Imperial Knight, the idea being this is an army of machine-worshippers, so why not include at least one of those machines in the list? Well, I’m not a big fan of Knights, so instead have gone for a pair of Kastelan Robots as well as a duo of Onager Dunecrawlers as the central focus of my army, led by a pair of Tech Priest Dominuses (who I imagine to be brothers, for some reason).

You might be wandering, then, just how I’ve organised these half-man, half-machine killers. Well, I’ve gone for Ryza as my Forge World, having painted up my army so far without a specific Forge World’s colours in mind. It’s a choice that I made last year, when I was trying to inspire myself into doing more work on these guys (though sadly didn’t work at the time!) The dogma allows for re-rolls of Hit rolls of 1 in the Fight phase, which is partially why I feel somewhat safe including such a high number of close combat units in the list. The unique Ryza stratagem gives +1 to wound and +1 damage for all plasma weaponry, which is admittedly not being used to great effect within the list as I only have three such weapons, but I think there will likely be more targets for my CP expenditure across a battle. Finally, I have gone for the Ryza warlord trait on the Tech Priest who wields the eradication ray, giving that weapon +1 strength and +1 damage. Should be handy!

His brother Tech Priest is wielding Weapon XCIX, which improves his volkite blaster a bit. Without trying to over-think these things from any kind of competitive standpoint, I actually like a great number of these relics, and can see myself changing this a number of times as and when I get to play with the army.

Overall, I’m quite pleased with the list I’ve come up with. I do still need to build a few pieces for it – notably the Infiltrators and second Dunecrawler – as well as painting the vast majority of it! Though I’m definitely further along in that respect than I am for the Tyranids list I talked about on Monday. I’m currently focusing on trying to get my infantry painted up so that I can actually base them – I paint inside the robes etc first, so don’t attach them to the base until at least that part has been done, which does mean it’s a while before I can actually get these folks on the table. But even so, I’m enjoying the process, and I’m definitely looking forward to having my first playable Imperium army ready soon!

Going Bigger with Tyranids

Hey everybody!
I’ve been poring over my Codexes and, naturally, Chapter Approved 2018, as I attempt to bring some order to the mess that is my current projects lists, and have been drawing up a few lists for my current armies that go beyond the smaller-scale that I’d been looking at up to this point. Pretty much since 8th Edition dropped, I’ve set my sights at 1000 points, and haven’t looked much beyond that. Well, it’s time to change that, and start thinking about bigger plans! So throughout this week, I’ll be featuring some of these lists with my thoughts behind each one, and generally ramble in the time-honoured tradition of this blog!

Let’s start this festival with Tyranids!

Towards the end of 2017, I had been thinking about starting a Tyranids army, already having a couple of kits lying about from various previous endeavours to do the same. I started with a Hive Tyrant and some Tyranid Warriors, and soon got it into my head to start a Big Bugs list, already having a Maleceptor still in the box, and also the various kits from Shield of Baal. Over time, I added more Warriors and a Trygon to this collection, and picked up a Tyrannofex but soon lost heart when I actually came to build some of these things. The Carnifex model really didn’t go well for me, and to this day I still think the Tyrannocyte is a horrendous model to assemble, and have since sold mine off.

But I’ve never quite managed to make up my mind as to whether I wanted to continue down the road of actually doing anything with these guys, or if it had been a step too far and to instead concentrate on just a couple of armies. Well, since Genestealer Cults have come out, I think my mind has been made up for me, and I’m finding that I do actually want to do something with the bugs after all.

And so, I present the 1500-point Tyranid list!

This list is principally made from the models that I already have in my collection – the only things I still need to buy for it are the Termagants, so it’s not like I’m anywhere far off from it. Of course, I do need to actually move ahead and paint all of this stuff, as the only model anywhere remotely painted is the Tyranid Prime, and he’s barely had some basecoats put on him!

There are a lot of Adrenal Glands peppering this list, as I want it to be quite fast where possible. I’m excited to see how much damage I can cause by using things like the Genestealers and the Carnifex in close combat, slashing their way through anything that I can get them within range of. I’m planning to use the Broodlord alongside the Genestealers, in order to make use of the +1 to Hit ability he grants them, and also having him cast Paroxysm on the unit they’re fighting in order to ensure they’ll go first, with their 40 attacks that hit on 2s.

I’m going with Hive Fleet Hydra, which is all about the swarm. Currently, I don’t have many big units of models, so the hive fleet adaptation may not find itself giving much of a bonus for the time being. But I can definitely see myself changing some of these things up once I get to playing with the army, and I suppose I may well be replacing the Ripper Swarms with three more Genestealers just to tip the balance there.

I’m quite new to Psychic abilities, given that I usually play either Drukhari or Necrons, but having bought a box of Zoanthropes when they came out because those models look hilarious, I’m quite keen to get into this whole thing. (Plus, playing Age of Sigmar and using Magic there has given me something of an idea for how good this sort of thing can be!) I’m not going too deep into Psychic territory for the time being, of course, but I think it could well be the case that I swap out the Tyranid Prime for a Neurothrope as time goes on – in addition to having two further Psychic powers for the army, he’s quite a useful model for healing friendly units, as well as supporting the Zoanthropes.

I’ve got a Hive Tyrant in there because that model is just splendid, and I think it forms a really nice-looking centrepiece around which the army can be built. I have also built up one with wings, but the rules changes to that guy in light of how abusable he has been in tournament settings has meant I’ve decided to get rid of him from the army. It just feels too cumbersome to even try to fit him into this list. I love the model on foot, though, and have equipped him to ensure he can look after himself, posing enough of a threat that he could feasibly act as a distraction if required while also forming something of a key note within the force. He has both Catalyst and Onslaught, and I’m thinking he can cast these on either the Warriors or the Carnifex, these units forming something of the main front – the Broodlord and Genestealers will be off doing their own thing, of course, so the main motility within the army will be the Carnifex and the two units of Warriors, backed up by the Hive Tyrant and the Prime.

It’s not all about the melee, of course, and I want something that can be a hard-hitter in the shooting phase, as well. While Chapter Approved has brought down the venom cannon to make my Warriors a bit cheaper, so that I don’t mind throwing them into melee knowing that the artillery won’t be able to do much, I want a backfield unit that can just stand there and – hopefully! – demolish stuff with its firepower. Enter the Tyrannofex. A costly model at 200 points, he has a choice of three heavy weapons and, thanks to the bio-tank ability, can still move a fire them at full ballistics skill. Shockingly, of course, for a ranged unit, his BS is 4+ (moving to 5+ when he’s down to 7 or fewer wounds). I want the range, so have gone with the Rupture Cannon (another deciding factor was its name!) which is a Heavy 3, S10 AP-3 D6 damage cannon, not too shabby but still costly at 49 points. The other two weapons are more than three times cheaper, but much shorter range overall. I’m envisioning this thing much like a Doomsday Ark, and keeping it stationary on the whole, allowing me to fire that cannon twice for (hopefully!) maximum effect.

I’ve not yet found a great deal to synergise with the Tyrannofex, such as ways to improve the BS or provide re-rolls. There are a couple of stratagems that I do like the look of, and one of these has even made me consider changing the weapon loadout for maximum threat – Scorch Bugs grants +1 to Wound for a Fleshborer Hive for just 1CP. While it is a little costly at 2CP, there is also the ability to add 1 to the damage output here through the Pathogenic Slime stratagem. I’d have liked more in the way of buffs from HQ units, or Psychic powers – as it stands, I’m almost thinking the Tyrannofex is a trap, and I should perhaps invest in more Carnifexes? If only that model were easier to assemble…

I’m quite excited to start this project and get it to the table – I’ve got others ahead of the queue, which I’ll be talking about as the week goes on, but hopefully this year I’ll be able to bring you all some more progress with how this army is going.

Nighthaunt Progress!

Hey everybody!
I had my third game of Age of Sigmar last Monday, again playing against Jak and his Maggotkin list, but this time we’d scaled up to 1500 points, so could go a lot wider with our choices. I think Age of Sigmar definitely lends itself better to larger-scale games, as I could see a lot of the synergies come further to the fore this time around.

I’ve used Lady Olynder twice now, and I do really like her both as a model and what she can do. I think I still play her slightly cautiously, as she is a model that really needs to be in the thick of things for a lot of her abilities to work, but she needs to choose her targets carefully. I’d also taken a Tomb Banshee (using the Briar Queen model as a proxy, as the aesthetics are much nicer on her, I feel), but I was unimpressed with her performance so doubt I’ll be using her again. I also used Dreadscythe Harridans for the first time, and purposefully sent them in against the Blightkings thinking their -1 to Hit would negate the exploding 6s, but forgot all about the rule for 2 turns and nearly got decimated.

I’d wanted to try out some Spirit Hosts, after having enjoyed the models back when they were first released, but unfortunately found they were really quite poor, being on 5s to Hit. Even with 6 attacks each, they barely did anything all game except die off slowly and painfully! I’d sent them against a horde of Plague Monks, thinking 18 attacks in the first round would be quite decent, but they probably hit no more than three or four times in the entire game. It hasn’t stopped me from buying a second box of them, of course – I’m thinking I’ll just try something else with them next time!

Finally for the “new” units, I was using ten Grimghast Reapers, which were a little uninspiring at first, despite buffs from the Knight of Shrouds and Spirit Torment, but I was really pleased when both the Torment and the Guardian of Souls came through for me, and basically resurrected the entire unit in round 4, allowing me to clinch a victory at the last minute! Very nice.

So I’ve been enjoying the Nighthaunt so far this year, and definitely want to continue on with these ghostly folks as I continue in my Age of Sigmar journey. While I had been branching out a bit with the Idoneth Deepkin and the Beastmen army ideas, I’m now paring everything back, and instead focusing solely on the ghosts. I’ve already sold off the elves, and I will soon be listing the Beastmen on ebay, so that I can instead just focus my energies on building, painting, and then playing games with these to try and really optimise my list and playstyle. Well, that’s the theory, at least!

I think the last time I checked in with you all on this, I was considering branching out into Legions of Nagash, and allying-in the Nighthaunt separately. Well, I’ve switched things around now, so that it’s the other way round. While it would be cool to have a bunch of skeletons in the mix as well, I’m mainly playing Nighthaunt, and allying-in Deathlords in order to bring in one of my all-time favourite models, Arkhan the Black!

The list is 2000 points, and so is very much a sort of version one of the final destination for me. It makes use of the core army that I have been playing so far this year, but adds in a couple of extra bits and pieces, so that I can get a couple of warscroll battalions in there for the additional command points. I’ve previously talked about feeling a little bit forced into shouldering some battalions into the list in order to generate additional CPs, but honestly, I think it might be the best idea to actually play with these things first and see what sort of things I can do, rather than just dismiss them as a trap on paper alone.

So let’s take a look at this list!

I like it, which I suppose is the first main point! The core of what I was looking to build up to back in January is still there, with the Chainguard and the Shroudguard, but I’ve also tweaked some points to both bring in Arkhan and to allow for more interesting (dare I say, competitive) units to be included. I’ve been able to see how several units have performed already, and I can see that things like the Chainrasp Hordes need to be bigger units to properly bog down the opponent in the mire of close combat. Having an army-wide unrendable save is a huge bonus, and big units like this should survive a lot longer, after all! The Chainghasts and Spirit Torments are going to be handy support units for allowing re-rolls of Hit rolls of 1, while the Spirit Torment’s ability to heal units is a nice fall-back if the Guardian of Souls is off elsewhere. I’m also super excited that I managed to get Thorns of the Briar Queen in here, as I was hoping to field them in an actual Age of Sigmar game back when I first started painting them. So that’s exciting!

The Bladegheist Revenants are a new unit for me, as I only actually picked them up last week and have so far built up five of them. Well, I also picked up the 500th Store Anniversary model back in October, which was also a named Bladegheist Revenant, sadly with no rules, but still! They are a bit like a more elite version of the Grimghast Reapers, I think, having similar abilities but a slightly better to Hit stat. Being able to fall back and charge is always a handy thing, of course, and its an ability they share with the Glaivewraith Stalkers, which will be those from the Easy-to-Build line rather than the Soul Wars box – they get the drummer, who grants them the ability. I’ve not used these chaps yet either, so this will be a little bit of a learning curve, but the only reason I included the Stalkers in the list was due to having the points left over!

Artefacts and Command Traits are things I’ve never really bothered with, outside of having the Nightmare Lantern buff for the Guardian of Souls. However, it’s a fun part of the list building that I think I miss from 40k list building, where working out all of the synergies and stuff is part of the enjoyment. It really helped me building this list through the Warscroll Builder on the Community site – other apps are available, of course, but I just wanted to try and get my head around the various moving parts, and this one was really straightforward to use. Having the two battalions in there gives me access to three artefacts, so I could use the Lantern buff while also giving out stuff to the Spirit Torment (dishing out mortal wounds to units within 8″ if a 2D6 roll exceeds the target’s bravery) and Knight of Shrouds (D3 mortal wounds on a target within 3″ if a wound was inflicted through his melee weapon). As the Knight of Shrouds is my General, and isn’t a named character, he can also be given a Command Trait – in this case, I’ve chosen Hatred of the Living, which allows him to re-roll failed Hit rolls with his melee weapons. Hopefully it should be a nice combo with his relic!

Spell lores are interesting things, and the Nighthaunt have a couple of pretty decent ones, I think. I’ve given the Briar Queen a spell that can dish out additional mortal wounds – it’s a similar spell to her unique offering, but for a different situation, so hopefully it should make her a flexible caster. The Guardian of Souls will most likely be doing his thing to revive other units, but the addition of an offensive spell should allow him to do more than just sit around being a waste of points if he never has a target for his unique spell.

But what about the big cheese himself?

Arkhan the Black is just a super cool model, and one that I really can’t wait to include within my army. He should be an amazing centrepiece, as well as having that hilarious Curse of Years spell, which deals out mortal wounds like nobody’s business, he can increase the range of other wizards’ spells by 6″ while they’re within 18″ of him – he also knows all of the spells of other Death wizards within the same range, so he too can attempt to cast Lifestealer or Spirit Drain, or Howling Vortex or Spectral Lure. He also has the Deathly Invocation ability that can hopefully heal a bunch of units if he’s positioned right, so he really goes in nicely with the overall theme of the army, perhaps more so than the other original Mortarchs.

So yeah, overall I’m really excited to be getting closer to this 2000 point build!

A Workshop of Games!

Hey everybody!
So I’m a little late to this party as well, but given the amazing line-up of new stuff that we’ve seen previewed at the New York Toy Fair from GW. I’ve come across quite a bit of negativity towards some of these things while looking around at the online reaction, which is a bit of a surprise to me in some respects, but I suppose you can’t please everybody! At any rate, let’s dive in and take a look at some of the upcoming goodness:

I want to start with Storm Vault, a co-operative dungeon-delving game that looks like it only includes Stormcast Eternals as the playable heroes, from the look of the box. I originally wasn’t even sure if it was a miniatures game, as I couldn’t see any in the promotional shot of the game board, but I think they’re up there in the top right corner:

This does look kinda neat, and reminds me a lot of Talisman, for some reason. They’re both GW IP games, I suppose, but it has the feel, from the scant info we had revealed, of that kind of adventure game. It looks like the four Chaos gods play a part in the proceedings, too, which is interesting…

I’ve still not played Warhammer Underworlds yet, shame on my, but this seems like an interesting take on things. Aimed at new players for the game (so, me) it features what looks like two of the Easy-to-Build kits for Age of Sigmar made into warbands that can be used here with training wheels, and then taken further into the main game. I do love the Nighthaunt, after all, and I am looking to get into Shadespire/Nightvault, so I think this could well be a good buy.

I do see the perspective of those players who already have been playing the game, and perhaps begrudge having to get this if there are unique cards that they will no doubt need for more competitive deck builds, but I think all too often we’re bound up with the loud voices here online who decry such enterprises by game companies – all the while, without realising that they just aren’t the majority target audience for this sort of product.

While there was also talk of the new Funko Pop range, and this Space Marines Heroes thing, by far the most interesting and exciting announcement to come from the event was, of course, this:

Combat Arena appears to take the principle of Gorechosen and supplants it to the 41st millennium, with generic hero-types being thrust into a pit-fight set aboard a space ship. All of them are Imperium heroes, and so a lot of people seem to be a bit confused as to why such folk would be fighting one another, but there we have it.

The game might well be a complete dud, but I’m definitely willing to give it a try. Most importantly, though, the game is bringing to us five new plastic miniatures of iconic figures from Warhammer 40k, from the Primaris Psyker to a third Rogue Trader mini!

Apparently, this is a prequel to the Blackstone Fortress game, and these minis will feature in an upcoming adventure pack. What on earth does that even mean? They’re going to be coming out in a Blackstone Fortress-branded box, so we shouldn’t buy this game if we want the minis? Or will they start to release rules for existing minis to be used in Blackstone Fortress, simply as card packs or whatever? The basing for all of the minis previewed at the event has the same scheme as the other game, so it very much looks like it’s a tie-in, but I’m not sure I quite get it at the moment.

Anyway, the minis look fantastic, and I really can’t wait to get them in my collection. I really appreciate how interesting GW is making their universe through the introduction of new models or re-imagined sculpts for classic models within these sorts of boardgames. I hope we see more stuff like this come out for a long time to come, as we see all manner of weird and wonderful creations for the game. And yes, of course I would like to have rules for 40k included, and maybe even crossover rules for Blackstone Fortress and Kill Team as well. I’ve already been working on building a Chaos force that uses all of the weird stuff from Blackstone Fortress, and I’m still thinking about how to fit the Elucidian Starstriders into an Imperium list – I don’t care if they aren’t competitive, I just love the fact that the lore is being fleshed out on the tabletop, and the more esoteric corners of the 40k universe are being explored in this manner!


You know what else I’m really enjoying about this announcement? The fact that we’re seeing Games Workshop actually beginning to realise the promise of their own company name, and produce a whole smorgasbord of games for us to feast upon. When the FFG licence ended, I was a bit disappointed because I have enjoyed their offerings in the board game, card game and RPG formats for a long while. Thinking that GW might only want to concentrate on their big three tabletop wargames, I was anticipating a lack of anything further. But here we are, with a whole slew of new games as well as new takes on the existing games stable, and I think it’s just glorious! Combat Arena or Storm Vault may well be throwaway games that people only buy for the minis and never once look at the game itself – heck, I pretty much did that with Gangs of Commorragh when that came out, though I have still got all of the game material for that one waiting for me to one day take a better look at it. But there are so many games being produced now with incredible new miniatures that they can probably afford to have a couple of duds on the shelf. If Combat Arena is only remembered as the place where that sweet new peg-leg Rogue Trader first came out, then that’s fine, because we still have stuff like Warhammer Underworlds, Necromunda, Blackstone Fortress and the like that have been, from all accounts, runaway success stories. But if people are still enjoying Combat Arena years from now, and either clamouring for official rules for Sly Marbo to be written, or playing with fan-made rules for using a Genestealer Patriarch, then that is awesome, too. The important thing to take from this, I feel, is that Games Workshop are trying, and I love them for it!

LVO Previews 2019

Okay, so I’m a bit late to this party, as the LVO previews slid online in the early hours of Friday morning for me here in the UK, but my goodness, it’s taken some time to digest these things!

Starting with what I’m looking forward to the most, the new boxed set Shadowspear. Full to the brim with new sculpts of Primaris and Chaos Space Marines, this has got to be the thing that is top of my list! I mean, we’ve got new Black Legion models for the first time since the showdown between Horus and the Emperor, including some very sexy beasts and horrifically mutated dudes. What’s not to like?!

If that wasn’t enough, we’re also getting sniper-Primaris, alongside perhaps the best Primaris sculpt that has been released for the range:

I don’t know what it is about this boy, but this is the first time I have been actually excited for the Primaris as a range. Sure, PriMarneus Calgar was a nice surprise, and those Hellblasters sure look good, but there’s something about this Librarian with his camo cloak and leather gloves that speaks to me. Not sure about the actual snipers- they look like they’re trying too hard to replicate the original sniper scout marines, but in power armour they look a bit silly. Still, there are more, as-yet-to-be-revealed minis in this box, which I’m guessing will be coming out to coincide with the end of this 80-day countdown we’re still on. Exciting times ahead!

As an aside, a lot of people seem to be assuming that this box is going to be push-fit models like Dark Imperium, but the article does actually compare it with the line of battle boxes from Forgebane, which I think everybody is forgetting came with the actual multi-part kits. So I’m assuming instead that we’ll be getting the actual new CSM kits, etc, and that is an exciting assumption, indeed!

While the Black Legionaries are indeed very exciting minis, I’m particularly looking forward to the new Abaddon that has now been teased:

This could be along the lines of Roboute Guilliman big, which I suppose just further tips the balance towards Chaos (still only one loyalist Primarch out here in the wilds of 8th edition?) but it’s still a very exciting prospect. Of course, Abaddon can’t be expected to have Primarch-like stats, but given that he has the favour of all four Chaos gods, and is basically the rallying point for the majority of the Chaos Space Marine warbands in the galaxy, I’d hope he would be better than, say, new Calgar.

We’ll have to see! At any rate, all of this is making me want to get a CSM force off the ground like there’s no tomorrow!

We’ve seen more CGI-renders of the new Sisters of Battle, which is all very exciting and good and whatnot, but I feel a bit like this is just being drawn out a bit too much now, and I think I’d prefer to just have the models already! It has been very much a drip-feed that I’ve found a bit more irritating than interesting, but I suppose that’s just me being a grumpy old git! Hopefully the announcement of a more regular bulletin means that they’re closer to the release of these models than we knew.

The next warband for Shadespire is Sylvaneth, and definitely makes me wish I hadn’t sold off those models that I’d been building up – take note, kids: it’s not always a good idea to get rid of stuff you may later want!

Not quite sure about this one – a distillation of the best bits of 40k Kill Team and Shadespire? Sounds like it could be good, for sure! Details are a bit too sketchy for me to actually have much more of an opinion, though, so we’ll have to wait and see what happens with this one…

More vague promises of stuff that could be interesting: Forbidden Power is an expansion for AoS that continues the story of the Soul Wars, as something ancient and terrible awakens. What on earth is this about, then? Is Slaanesh the ancient and terrible force? This could be interesting, at any rate…

Staying with Age of Sigmar – new armies are coming, as well as new battletomes for existing armies, so that’s all quite interesting! After Skaven and Flesh-Eater Courts get their books, we’ve got a new book for Khorne, which I can’t decide if I want to get or not. I am, however, interested in the new Skulltaker model (even if it does look remarkably like the old one)

There are also “Khornate phenomena” – because the Lord of Skulls cares not for your magic, peasant!

I mean, they’re just what we’d expect, aren’t they? Delightful pieces of death and destruction from the Blood God.

I feel like this year has been on a par with the last LVO reveals, at any rate!


Coming so soon after my recent post about the Allure of the New, I probably sound a little hypocritical talking about how much I like the new stuff coming in that Shadowspear box. I suppose I’m just Games Workshop’s target market – always wanting the next new thing, never really halting to do anything with the stuff that I already have. I definitely want to start getting better with my purchasing strategy, and I’m trying to not get carried away by all of this stuff. I’ve found it interesting to think about my responses to the way that GW have been revealing stuff on the community site, with previews of next week’s preorders coming pretty much two weeks prior to their actual availability, and how this has made me almost too wary of committing myself to anything new because I want to see what’s coming the week after. If that makes sense.

It’s been an interesting couple of weeks, as the whole Gloomspite Gitz preorder window got me really enthused for starting up with those guys, but because I knew that the Genestealer Cults would be coming out at some point around the end of January – an army that I already own a considerable number of models for already – I have been wary of over-spending anymore. Knowing that there was something else coming over the horizon has kept me from going too deep into any of the very new stuff, and it makes me wonder if there are any others out there who have been the same. I definitely don’t get caught up in the release excitement in the same way that I used to, that’s for sure! And now that I know I have Shadowspear that will likely cost £95, I’m going to be very cautious with anything that comes out between now and then. Interesting times, that’s for sure…