More hobby updates

Hey everybody,
Following on from my blog yesterday, which involved a lot of ranting about Sisters of Battle and a lot of general rambling, I thought I’d come back here and ramble some more, because it’s my blog and it’s what I do! I’m actually extremely enthusiastic about the hobby life once more, and I think it’s exciting to try to take advantage of that and see how far I can get before the inevitable burn-out kicks in once again.

Following a couple of defeats with my Sisters, I’ve kinda put them on ice while I go back to playing with my Necrons, which were my first army and will forever be my first hobby love. Even if the army is moving a little bit away from how I like to play it. I talked a bit about this in a previous post, but I think the range update for 9th edition moved away from how I think of the Necrons, as we now have pitted and scarred models rather than these pristine automata with self-repair routines far outside of the scope of the Imperium. I’m not going to have this rant again though!

I haven’t played with my Necrons for almost a year, though, so it’s getting me excited to bring them back to the table.

My list is trying to be varied, while fitting into the constraints of a 1250 point game.

To start with, I’ve gone for three HQs, I’m not entirely sure why. I think I kinda see the army being split naturally into three, so it felt right at the time to have each phalanx with a leader. The Command Barge will obviously be centre-stage, and is both the warlord (with the trait that reduces damage by 1) and the relic to jump across the table once per battle with another unit. I am toying with giving that to a different HQ though, but I’m not sure who.

In my mind, the Barge will jump somewhere useful and bring a squad of Lychguard with warscythes with it, and then proceed to just blend up the enemy with all of their attacks. The Barge is no slouch in shooting, of course, with three shots from the cannon and three shots from the Overlord’s staff of light; in the following combat phase, there will be 15 attacks at S7 AP-4 D2 coming as well, which I think should be quite deadly (even if I still lament the fact they used to be S8). Sticking close to the HQ will allow them to use the stratagem to get +1 attack, as well. The Barge, of course, has My Will Be Done, which gives +1 to hit, and while that would be very useful for the Immortals pumping out the gauss weapons, I think making Lychguard hit on 2s instead is very nice.

The next group will be the Cryptek with the Wraiths. It was a bit of a difficult decision, but I have changed up the usual choice of the canoptek cloak for the control node; this gives Canoptek units within 6” +1 to hit. Coupled with the piece of cryptek arcana that gives a Canoptek unit within 9” +d1 attack, this means the Wraiths will be making 15 attacks of their own at S6 AP-2 D2 each, with +1 to hit so that they hit on 3s instead of 4s. In addition, the Wraiths have particle casters, which are 2 shots each at S6 AP0 D1, so they should be fairly deadly. Wraiths are now core units as well, thanks to the balance dataslate, meaning they are eligible for the stratagem that gives them +1S, although the difference between S6 and S7 would be irrelevant against power armour, as they’re still wounding on 3s.

The third wave is made up of the Lord with as many Immortals as he can have within range. Any core units get +1M, which is useful given how slow Necrons are, and he can also nominate one unit within 9” to re-roll 1s to hit, which is very useful. I haven’t really used Lords in my lists before, tending instead for the Barge and Cryptek double-act, so it should be interesting. I’ve already talked about the stratagems available for the Immortals with tesla and gauss, of course, so there’s no need to go over that again!

That does leave the Tomb Blades, and sword-and-board Lychguard. I think the former are basically a harassment unit, with a 14” movement and a built-in -1 to hit, I’ve given them nebuloscopes instead of shieldvanes this time, because models don’t get cover against ranged attacks from the jetbikes. Delightful – I’m sure you’ll agree! The second group of Lychguard is a kind of flexible unit, either for objective-sitting or bodyguard duty for the Lord. They get +1Sv and a 4++ thanks to the shield, though somewhat upsettingly they no longer have the stratagem to bounce shots back at the enemy.

I’m very much looking forward to playing this force when the time comes. I think it should be fairly effective, though still fun to play and not getting into the realms of oppressive. I’m really hoping that my Lychguard can shine, and I think they should be able to hold their own much better than the Sisters have been doing so far – though it still requires me to roll dice, and we all know I’m not very good at that! The balance dataslate has been kind to the Necrons, allowing for a change to Command Protocols so that you always have one on each turn, and then the others cycle through as the game goes on. These Protocols have two effects, and each time one becomes active you get to choose which one you have; your Dynasty lets you have both effects from one of them, and the new rules from the dataslate specify that the “always on” Protocol can be your Dynasty-specific one, which is really quite something! For me, playing Mephrit, the Protocol is that of the Vengeful Stars, whose effects are to improve the AP by 1 for unmodified 6s to hit, and target units within half range of my shooting don’t get the benefit of cover. To have that for the whole battle is just a delight, and means that I don’t necessarily need to worry about the others, because that’s really going to be helpful having those effects for the whole battle.

We’re currently planning to have a game on Monday, so hopefully this time next week I’ll be reporting back on my unbridled success!! Stay tuned!!

Some hobby updates

Hey everybody,
It seems to be going really well at the minute, and I’m riding a bit of a hobby progress wave, so thought I’d come here to ramble about it, as I usually do! I’m feeling really positive about the hobby and stuff, so I think it’s good to celebrate this (and, hopefully, keep that wave going!)

I had a second game with the Sisters at the start of the week, again against JP and his Imperial Fists. This was a much better game for me, though I still lost – I had tweaked the list to bring the unit of Celestians that I talked about last time, and while my game plan didn’t entirely go according to plan, I was nevertheless able to play with more of the rules than last time, getting enough buffs that I was able to actually be a part of the game, rather than providing target practice. So that was nice!

Of course, it was an uphill struggle even without having a lot of units shot off the field before I have a chance to play. I was able to hide the bulk of my army in dense cover, so the Imperial Fists thing of ignoring light cover didn’t come into play, yet there were a few units left out in the open. However, giving him a tank as the main target did mean that I was able to survive enough to be able to do stuff when my turn came. Being S3 T3 is a distinct disadvantage, though, and I found myself shooting meltaguns at infantry, which is always just a waste. A few of the tricks that I was trying to pull off depended on dice rolls, such as the Dialogus hymns of battle, and so naturally I failed every time. The addition of improving AP on weapons became key, though, as we had decided to play with the Armour of Contempt rule from the balance dataslate, meaning that we were both benefiting from the rule that worsens the AP by 1. Being able to keep my melta shots at AP-4 helped a lot, and the flamers benefited too.

However, while I tried to focus on the mission rather than getting distracted by killing stuff, I was only able to score 24 victory points, while JP had picked better secondary objectives for 37 points by the end of round 3, at which point we decided to call it a day. It was also 1am, and I had work the next day, so…

I’m really enjoying learning the army, but the way Primaris Marines are able to build a better army list that just interlocks so well, whereas I’m fighting to try to do half of that stuff the same, just makes it such a battle to play well. I think that Sisters are really not the army to take against this kind of army. Even though I was able to kill the Redemptor Dreadnought, the Impulsor, the Assault Intercessor squad and the Aggressors, I lost almost my entire army doing so because it took so much effort to bring stuff down. I’m stopping short of saying it was oppressive, but in general I don’t think the game is fun when it is skewed so well in favour of Space Marines. Something I really disagreed with, and yet it is clearly the right rule, was how a squad of five Intercessors was able to destroy my unit of Seraphim by shooting through a building. The rules are clear, that building is light cover, and Imperial Fists ignore light cover, so as they could see through the windows they shot, and they killed. It’s like shooting through an office block, basically – they are just allowed to do it. Meh.

I’m not going to abandon them, but for our next game, I’m switching back to Necrons, as I have been thinking a lot about getting them back to the table, and JP is keen to see how well the Fists fare against 60+ tesla carbines. So that should be fun.

Following on from my August Audit blog at the start of the month, I’ve been thinking a little bit about how I could potentially plan for the rest of the year and aim to get things finished. I don’t want to go crazy of course, as I find when I spread myself too thinly I end up doing very little of anything. The time around Easter this year, when I stalled with my Tau and promptly spent about three months in a bit of a hobby wilderness, moving from odd project to odd project without any kind of focus. Sure, I finished painting 10 Chaos Marines and 10 Khorne Bloodreavers, but I wasn’t able to sustain either into any kind of proper project.

At the minute, I’m finding myself incredibly focused on the Sisters, and have been amazed at how easy and quick my paint scheme is to work with. I’ve painted a ten-woman squad in a single week, whereas with other projects ten-model units have taken easily twice that length of time! The Celestians have taken just a handful of days, too. I think, having a very clear idea of what each model needs, coupled with the drive to get them painted for games, has meant I’m able to push through and get a lot done quite quickly.

I find myself comparing this current hobby streak with my painting progress for the Genestealer Cultists last autumn/winter. In the period of four months from September to December, I ended up painting almost a full army, eleven units at something well over 1000 points in total. While five of those units were single-model characters, I still painted 30 Neophytes and 5 Metamorphs, so I was no slouch! Currently, my Sisters tally is looking a whole lot better – it hasn’t even been a month, and already I’ve painted up 17 models, with another five almost done. If I can keep this going, I should really outstrip my Genestealer Cults record by the time Christmas rolls around!

I’m trying to stop short of actually planning anything, as I find that generally means I fail at the first hurdle and move on to something else entirely, but I think my main goals for the foreseeable future are to finish painting the Repentia and the Penitent Engine, then to paint the 10 Novitiates and the 5 Retributors. That still leaves a bit of a chunk to paint, but it’s all I want to focus on for the time being. For all that I said the colour scheme has been easy to do, I still need to give some thought to that for the Novitiates, as I’m not sure if I should paint them a little differently…

I’m still fully intending to ride this wave of getting the Sisters painted, of course, as it would be lovely to have a fully painted army, but I do find myself also wanting to get some Necrons units finished off, as I was quite horrified to discover they weren’t entirely completed. And it would be great to get a few more Tau models done, considering that was going to be a big push for me this year, with a new army and all!

Marvel Champions: it begins…

Last week, I started down the road of a brand new game, finally picking up a box of Marvel Champions. It’s almost three years old now, and has up until very recently just passed me by! After musing on it for a couple of days though, I decided that it was going to be worthwhile to pick up a copy – especially as my wife and I have recently been catching up with Phase Four of all the Marvel stuff on Disney+.

I’d decided that I was going to treat this as much as I could as a blind-buy, making no prior effort to learn how it plays or read up on any of the rules, instead going old-school and actually reading the rule book to learn how it plays. Novel, huh?

So, I excitedly picked up the core set (and £30 worth of sleeves), and set about learning the ropes.

Marvel Champions

The game plays a little bit like Lord of the Rings LCG, in that you’re playing against an encounter deck. I mean, you’re technically playing against a villain, who can attack your chosen hero, but the bulk of gameplay interactions seem to come from the encounter deck rather than anything else. The villain is trying to both complete his scheme and eliminate the heroes, while the heroes are trying to defeat the villain and stall his scheme. The core set comes with five heroes and three villains. This is, of course, a living card game, so there are a whole host of cards in the box to bulk this out.

Let’s start with the heroes. There are four spheres (I think they call them Aspects) from which you can choose to play, and each one has a significant bunch of cards here to support that. Each hero comes with fifteen signature cards, which to some extent will dictate the archetype that hero is leaning into, although heroes don’t seem to be tied in to any one Aspect. I have no real idea about how the deck building for Marvel Champions works just yet, because I’m trying to get to grips with how the game plays! But I believe you need to pick all of your cards from one of the four, and can’t mix. I’ll get to this in a future blog, when I have become more familiar with the game…

The villain is represented by a couple of cards, it seems, and similar to Marvel Legendary, you need to fight your way through a couple of iterations of the villain before you win. The villain has a scheme that he is trying to achieve, which seems to be somewhat similar to the quest deck in LotR (though if the scheme deck is completed, the heroes lose here). There is then the encounter deck, which is made up of sub-decks, again very similar to LotR. Here, though, it is less prescriptive, and I think you can choose what sub-decks to include alongside the villain’s main deck. I like this idea a lot, as I’ve read that further expansions have brought more and more of these sub-decks, which can change up how any villain plays.

Marvel Champions

The game round is actually really quite straightforward. You play cards and take actions, then the villain schemes and you draw encounter cards. During the hero phase, you play cards, discarding other cards to pay their cost. I must admit, I struggled with this early on because I didn’t want to discard those cards!! I also made a fairly silly mistake by discarding two of Spider-Man’s web-kick attack cards to play a third copy – the card deals 8 damage to the villain, so it’s pretty good!! Ah well. You can also take actions like attacking, or trying to thwart the villain’s scheme, by removing tokens from it. Hero cards are double-sided, with their alter-ego on the back. The side you end on will determine what the villain does when he activates.

In the villain phase, the villain will start off by adding a token to his scheme, providing a bit of a clock situation. Then, depending on whether you’re in your hero or alter-ego form, he will either attack or scheme. Attacking will deal damage, surprisingly, while scheming adds more tokens to the scheme. After that, you draw an encounter card and deal with that – either a minion, an attachment, a treachery or a side-scheme. Very LotR-like.

Side schemes don’t contribute their own threat level to the main scheme, in the way that Arkham Horror LCG counts the doom out on the table as a whole. That was a bit of a learning point for me during my first game, as I was a little worried that I was about to lose between the two schemes in play. However, side schemes here serve to basically annoy you, collecting threat each round but also contributing problems to you, such as drawing extra encounter cards or adding more threat to the main scheme. They’ll be in play until the heroes are able to thwart those as well, reducing them to 0 threat.

Marvel Champions

My first game was quite a surprise for me, as I was learning the ropes and whatnot. I think the first round had a bit of “is that it?!” to it, as I followed the rulebook to work out what I can do etc. I think it’s one of these games where you need to play it a lot with zero expectations of winning, as you try to get a grip on how your deck works and so on. Trying to evaluate cards for their utility – should I discard x to pay for y? – without really knowing what the game is about is always going to be fraught with analysis paralysis. But that’s okay, because you need to learn just what is going on, what is in your deck, and what you can do as a player. That’s going to take time, but hopefully I’ll be able to play it more and see just what it’s all about.

The other thing, of course, is that I was playing true solo, using Spider-Man against Rhino. There are going to be deficiencies when using just one deck, as you can’t cover every aspect of the game by yourself. I just don’t want to confuse the issue by trying to control two heroes just yet, and I want to get at least a basic understanding of the game before introducing it to Jemma.

The game did seem to be fairly quick to play as well – even my first game, where I was constantly back-and-to between my cards and the rulebook, only took about an hour. It seems like it is designed to be fairly light, fairly no-nonsense, yet still with enough tactical depth that you can really enjoy it as a game. It doesn’t play itself, of course, and you have a lot that you can do, but it doesn’t seem to be the kind of game that will take you a whole day to play. Not even a whole evening, really. Which I guess speaks to the fact it seems to be wanting to attract Marvel fans as well as card game fans.

Marvel Champions

In terms of learning the game by myself, though, it’s been a very interesting experience to go back to learning something by reading through the rulebook, and playing along step-by-step. I think I was strongly reminded of my first game with Rune Age, all those years ago, where I had followed the set-up instructions and it was time for my turn to begin, and I just sat there, not knowing what I’m supposed to do! Game rulebooks have improved since then, of course, and while there can be a lot of bumph to get through, designers are becoming clearer with how the course of a round is explained. I particularly like the fact that FFG have adopted as standard the two-book format of learn to play guides followed by rules references, so that the first book gives you everything you need to actually get going, but then the latter is there to explain some aspects, interactions, or complex cases as they come up.

I was surprised that I’ve been able to learn how to play this purely from reading the rulebook, which I realise is a fairly stupid thing to say because that’s the point of the rulebook, but still! So often these days, we seem to rely on watching videos on YouTube and someone else telling us how to play, someone else telling us how to build a deck and what the best ways of playing a game are. I have really enjoyed going old school on this, and learning to play from the rulebook, and learning how a deck works by actually playing it. It’s been a nice kind of bubble-game, almost, one that I’ve been able to get on with in my own time, and it’s been wonderful as a result!

Overall, I think I’m a very happy sausage with this game.

The Great Prequel Re-Read, part four

Hey everybody,
I’m finally back to reading Star Wars once more, after a bit of a hiatus in the latter half of last month. The Clone Wars have firmly begun, and I’m starting with some comics as we catch up with the galaxy at war.

Star Wars: The Clone Wars

The Defense of Kamino is the first trade paperback in the original Clone Wars run, which collects predominantly the Republic comics that were released in the realtime break between episodes II and III. I think there were nine volumes in total, and volume one collects issues 49 and 50, plus the Jedi: Mace Windu one-shot. Dark Horse published a few of these Jedi one-shots across their tenure, and they were all united by both showcasing a single Jedi, while also continuing the storyline that kicks off in Republic 49.

When we left Quinlan Vos, he was going to roam the galaxy, following the whims of the Force. Well, in the two years since the Separatist Crisis really kicked off, he and Tholme have been developing a network of secret agents, trying to foil the Separatists. However, given the perceived failure to anticipate the attack at Geonosis, Quinlan feels like this needs to be stepped up. When his agent Khaleen is able to gain knowledge about an attack on the clone world of Kamino, the Jedi feel this is the break they needed to gain the upper hand in the war. Quin, with Aayla Secura, hatches a plan to copy the intel and return it to the Separatists, making them think that the information is safe. However, it turns out that Dooku was hoping for the Jedi to do this, though ultimately the reason is unclear.

The next issue in the Republic series was issue 50, so was a bumper double-length issue, telling three separate stories about the Separatists’ attack on Kamino. There’s a nice story to start about Obi-Wan feeling like Anakin is growing distant so tries to gain his trust by allowing him to fly in the aerial defence of the planet, where it is addressed how Obi-Wan never chose Anakin as his padawan, but rather took him on as a promise to Qui-Gon. It goes some way to explain why they are forever butting heads, though Obi-Wan’s attempt at reconciliation shows he does actually want to try his best for Anakin. The next story introduces the ARC troopers to the mix, who work with Shaak Ti to defend the next generation of clones from a droid attack. ARC troopers are a less-docile version of Jango Fett, and have a lot more of his independence of thought. The final story features a group of Mon Calamari Separatists who are leading the attack on Tipoca City, and introduces the idea that there are actually brilliant military strategists on both sides of this conflict, and even the Separatists have their own version of heroes.

Jedi: Mace Windu is a fairly important piece of the lore, as we have our first introduction to Asajj Ventress here. Of course, this is the Legends continuity so there will be revelations made here that ultimately don’t hold true of the current Canon, but it’ll be interesting to see this develop, I hope! The story involves a group of Jedi who have turned away from the Order following the massacre at Geonosis, a group nominally led by the Weequay Sora Bulq (who was one of those background Jedi on-screen during the arena battle). Dooku uses Ventress to attack these Jedi, during which she claims to have been sent by Mace Windu, so when the Jedi Master arrives to try to bring them back into the fold, they are distrustful, to say the least! However, it soon becomes clear that it was a ruse, hatched by Dooku and Sora Bulq, who has now turned to the Dark Side as one of Dooku’s Dark Acolytes.

This is one of my favourite storylines in the Clone Wars, and I’ve said it countless times before – the story of Quinlan Vos is almost superior to that of Anakin Skywalker, and I could quite happily just re-read these comics for the rest of my days. Not only is it fairly beautifully told, but the artwork is really quite beautiful as well.

Victories and Sacrifices is the second volume in the Clone Wars trade paperback series, and includes three separate stories, one of which is a two-parter. The New Face of War sees a return of Asajj Ventress, and the introduction of the Jedi-killer Durge, an ancient cyborg bounty hunter who has been re-awakened by the Confederacy. We don’t get much more about his back story here, but he’s a character that was designed specifically to menace the Jedi, and reappeared across several media at the time, including the original Clone Wars cartoon. In the comic, Durge has released a chemical gas on one of the moons around Naboo, wiping out a Gungan settlement. When the Jedi investigate, they are initially overwhelmed, but are able to repel Durge and Ventress and prevent them from launching their chemical attack on Naboo.

Obi-Wan, who led the mission to the moon, was nevertheless greatly affected by the toxin, and after some time to heal he went on a mission to find the antidote to the poison, teaming up with four Jedi wanderers who have all arrived at a Techno Union base where the weapon is being developed. Another fight with Durge and Ventress ensues, and the four Jedi are picked off until only Obi-Wan survives to escape with the antidote.

Finally, we have the next in the Jedi series, this time focusing on Shaak Ti. She is on Brentaal IV with Agen Kolar and Plo Koon, pushing back the forces of the Separatist Commander Shogar Tok in order to land reinforcements. Shaak Ti infiltrates the prison fortress Tok from where Tok is commanding his army, using some of the inmates to help (including none other than Quinlan Vos, along with Sagoro Autem, who had previously featured in Honor & Duty, a three-issue arc that I have actually missed out from my re-read!). Despite treachery along the way, she is able to defeat Tok and complete the mission, and Brentaal IV remains within the Republic – but given that the majority of the planet’s population had actually been in support of Tok, this rests uneasy with Shaak Ti.

I can remember eagerly picking these comics up every month in the wake of Attack of the Clones, desperate for more clone wars action, and I can remember being fairly disappointed by the stories overall. I think I had expected some kind of major storyline from the off, with the Republic mobilising against the droid armies and so on. Instead, we get this tiny story of, well, nothing really. It wasn’t until we got to the next arc, which featured the Battle of Jabiim, that it actually felt like a major offensive. I think the way that the story of the clone wars is told, with these small vignettes that always end in stalemates and villains dashing off “until we meet again!” (minus the moustache twirl) grew really boring in a short time. Nothing ever really happens in the stories – it’s just a series of bush fires the Jedi (that is, Anakin and Obi-Wan, because there are very few other Jedi on the payroll, it seems) continually put out. Count Dooku or his agents fan the flames, get a planet to declare its intention to leave the Republic, the Jedi come in and force it to stay in the Republic, and all is well again.

At least we do get to see the cracks in the whole idea of the Republic though, and a lot of these stories do begin to scratch at that itch. The Republic is corrupt and the majority of planets joining the Separatists are doing so because of that. It’s a legitimate complaint that they were not getting their voices heard, and so the Republic responds with overwhelming force and their Jedi to force these planets to tow the line. It’s a wonder why the Jedi didn’t splinter off from the Republic, really. I mean, it’s all well and good Mace Windu saying that the ideals of the Republic are still valid, but if nobody currently in charge is acting according to those ideals, then surely any sensible adult would think it’s time to affect change? A sensible adult who is as powerful as Mace should surely take matters into his own hands? Hm. I know the story needs to lead into the rise of the Empire, but I can’t help thinking that a lot of characters are very stupid, and there is some really lazy writing going on.

The saving grace of the clone wars is the story of Quinlan Vos, for me. As the storyline begins to fall more into the subterfuge of Quinlan infiltrating Dooku’s camp, things definitely take a turn for the better. I’ve said before that this storyline is so much better than the main arc of Anakin’s downfall. That’s in part because nothing feels natural about Anakin, whereas we get a lot of build-up from the earlier Republic comics that allow for us to see how Quinlan’s trajectory is completely understandable.

I’m not going to re-read the third volume, the Battle of Jabiim, but the storyline is notable for seeing Obi-Wan go missing in action, and Anakin leading the Republic troops in a fighting retreat from the world, causing Jabiim natives to curse the name of Skywalker in years to come. Next up, it’s volume four, Light and Dark!

The Falcon & the Winter Soldier

Hey everybody,
As we attempt to catch up with all of the stuff in Phase Four of the MCU, I thought I’d ramble on here for a bit with some thoughts on it all as we make our way through! For those of you who, like me, have no idea what’s going on, let me present you with a brief introduction to the next Phase, as I have been trying to research it!

Phase Four kicks off The Multiverse Saga, entering a new story following the Infinity Saga that we had been watching between 2008 – 2019. There are naturally a lot of references to the events of Endgame, as we see the fallout from the Snap and whatnot, as the movies and TV series continue the timeline into the post-Avengers era. The exception here though is Black Widow, which takes place shortly after Civil War. Things kick off with WandaVision, set in the weeks following Endgame, and we progress through The Falcon & Winter Soldier, Loki, and other TV series for a total of eight shows, and seven movies. There’s a lot to watch there, for sure!

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier is a six-part show that was initially released from March 2021, and is set six months after the events of Endgame. Despite being given the mantle of Captain America, Sam Wilson struggles with the idea and eventually decides to give the iconic shield for a government museum centred on the First Avenger. Sam continues his super-heroing as Falcon, and learns of a terrorist group called the Flag Smashers who seem to be trying to recreate life during the Blip. Wilson teams up with Bucky Barnes to try to foil the group, heading to their headquarters in Munich, and are followed by the new Captain America, Johnny Walker, who is keen to work with Sam and Bucky, but they refuse. During the fight in Munich, however, it becomes clear that the Flag Smashers are actually a group of super-soldiers, so Bucky approaches Baron Zemo for intel, breaking him out of prison and travelling to the crime haven of Madripoor to pick up the trail. (Madripoor is a location fairly important within X-Men lore, and marks the first instance where we begin to see the fact Disney now has control over the Mutants following their acquisition of Fox).

There, they discover that the mysterious Power Broker has hired a Dr Nagel to recreate the super soldier serum, but the three are compromised and are able to flee to safety with the help of Sharon Carter, who is a fugitive from the US following the events of Civil War. They find Nagel and learn he has created 20 vials of the serum, which was stolen by the leader of the Flag Smashers, Karli Morgenthau. They head to Latvia to track her down, but the terrorists are actually in Lithuania, attacking the Global Repatriation Council. While in Latvia, however, Bucky is accosted by Ayo, who demands Zemo account for his murder of King T’Chaka. Zemo is able to discover Morgenthau’s location, and the three are joined by Walker who is keen to bring her to justice himself. However, Sam talks to her alone, asking her to end the violence, but a fight ensues due to Walker’s impatience. Zemo destroys most of the serum Morgenthau had, but Walker apprehends him and secretly takes the final vial. Ayo and the Dora Milaje arrive for Zemo, and another fight ensues, during which Walker is humiliated and Zemo escapes. A further fight with the Flag Smashers leads to Morgenthau killing Walker’s partner. It becomes clear that Walker has taken the serum, though, when he pursues one of the super soldiers and kills him with the iconic Captain America shield in front of a horrified crowd, who are all filming him.

Walker is stripped of the mantle of Captain America, though does not take it well. However, he is approached by Contessa Valentina Allegra de la Fontaine, who recruits him for an unspecified purpose. Bucky tracks down Zemo to Sokovia, where he hands him over to the Dora Milaje, from whom he asks another favour. Sam has returned home to help fix up the family boat, and Bucky delivers to him a briefcase from the Wakandans containing a new wing suit. He and Bucky train, as Sam begins to come round to the idea that Steve Rogers intended for him to take up the mantle of Captain America after all. Receiving intelligence that the Flag Smashers appear to be targeting a GRC conference in New York, Sam heads there with Bucky and Sharon. The Flag Smashers take the GRC hostage, and Walker shows up in an attempt to atone for his discharge from service by taking Morgenthau in. However, he is unable to step up to the plate and it falls to Sam as the new Captain America to rescue the members of the GRC. In the wrap-up, Walker is branded US Patriot by Valentina, again with no real purpose specified. Sharon, who is revealed to be the mysterious Power Broker, kills Morgenthau and is given a pardon by the US government, and reinstated to her former post in the CIA – however, it transpires she intends to use her position to sell government secrets.

I really enjoyed this series, I think it’s a really nice continuation of the Captain America strands from the main movies, while allowing for some of the more quieter moments to develop, similar to what WandaVision gave us. There are plenty of scenes where you could never imagine seeing that amount of character development in a movie, but here it’s really broadened out. Something I particularly liked was seeing Bucky in Wakanda, where he was finally free of the Hydra mind control.

There is no shortage of action, of course, and with the procession of fight after fight after fight, it definitely feels like a six-hour action movie, taking a very different approach to WandaVision’s episodic feel. While I suppose there’s nothing inherently wrong with that approach, it can feel slightly exhausting overall! But in terms of the epic scope of this storyline, it really brings together everything that we’ve come to expect from the blockbuster movies of the MCU.

The show has a very powerful message as regards having Falcon, a black superhero, take on the role of Captain America, which was surely enhanced at the time it was first shown, given how the world was still in the wake of the George Floyd murder. I’m in no way qualified to talk about these kinds of issues, being British and white, but there is still something really gratifying to me to see these things addressed. I will never understand why people can treat other people differently based on their skin tone, so in general I’m bemused why it should be an issue – we’re all just people, trying to do the best we can, after all – but the fact that it is an issue leads to things like this making me pleased. But let’s not become too political here.

I think the main reason to enjoy this series is seeing how the fallout of the Blip is handled. The fact that half the population of the planet disappeared for five years, then reappeared after those who were left behind had the time to readjust, is really quite a fascinating idea, and while the political ramifications of global repatriation are somewhat secondary (or even tertiary) to the action, it’s nevertheless good to see this kind of story strand being picked up for a backdrop. While Marvel have said their TV shows are intended to spotlight characters who would otherwise not necessarily get their own feature film, they are also being used to explore the wider themes of the MCU that would perhaps otherwise not be seen as massive draws to the action-adventure crowd. We all know how badly viewers reacted to the politics in The Phantom Menace, after all…

However, several story threads seem to have been left hanging at the end of the finale, and despite some initial rumblings about a possible season two, it seems likely that most of these will be taken up in the fourth Captain America film, New World Order, which is set for a May 2024 release. Too long to wait, for me!

Sisters of Battle musings

Hey everybody,
August is turning out to be quite the month for gaming, I’m very impressed with myself! The other day I had the chance to play a game of 40k with my Sisters, going up against my buddy JP and his Imperial Fists. I took a similar list I had mentioned in my last blog about the Adepta Sororitas, and I lost, quite dramatically at that!

I didn’t get first turn, and so had a swathe of Primaris Marines coming at me with their ridiculous weaponry, and even though in retrospect I didn’t actually lose that many models, I think the psychological damage of losing some of my Sisters, almost the whole Retributor squad, my Palatine etc really put me on the back foot. Now, the main error I made in this game is not really having a plan to deal with anything – I just deployed my army and thought, that’ll do. It clearly would not do, though, and JP was the complete opposite – a well-thought-out plan with maximum use of relics and warlord traits to make his Primaris Lieutenant, as he said, “a real warlord”, allowing for bonus hits on 6s and extra AP, re-rolling 1s and all sorts. It was quite the beautiful thing, it really was!

While I did have some successes, I was ultimately a very poor showing. Now, I know everybody always jokes about the bad dice and whatnot, but I made some phenomenally poor rolls. Shooting with a squad of Battle Sisters in rapid fire range, I think I was looking at 16 boltgun shots and 4 storm bolter shots, and I might have made 3 hits. Saving throws were also just ludicrously poor, and I was just shedding models across the three full rounds that we played. We should have called it there, but played a fourth round just to see what would happen, and I was thoroughly tabled.

I was able to kill a Librarian, and two Eliminators, and took maybe 5 wounds off the Redemptor Dreadnought. I really did not have any luck whatsoever, and it showed!

So, naturally, I’m looking at a slightly different list now, with a couple of tweaks to see how they do in a rematch next week! I’m swapping out the Penitent Engine and the Sisters Repentia for a Celestian Squad, with flamer and meltagun, and inferno pistol on the Superior. This will kinda function as the foundation for a sort of mini-deathstar type of unit which comprises the Canoness and Dialogus being nearby, hopefully with additional support from the Palatine.

I envision the Celestians acting as a bodyguard unit for the Canoness, who will trigger their +1 to hit rule while they’re within 6” of her. The Canoness also allows a unit within 6” to re-roll hit rolls of 1, which will serve to improve their accuracy further. They have a dedicated stratagem called Exceptional Proficiency with also gives them +1 to hit, and because of the weapon choices I have, they are a good target for the Holy Trinity stratagem, getting +1 to wound, as well. The Dialogus has a new hymn, which improves AP by one when the enemy is within half range, which is just wonderful. Celestians hit on 3s, but with +2 to hit re-rolling 1s they should be really accurate. With three boltguns alone, that’s six shots when within 12”, AP-1, wounding on 4s with +1 to wound. The Palatine will grant re-rolls to 1, as well, which should make them very accurate indeed. On top of that, of course, there is the meltagun which is a single shot, but wounding on 2s and AP-5, D6 damage (D6+2 if we’re close enough for the inferno pistol to come into play, as well!)

I should probably mention that I’m using the Divine Guidance Sacred Rite, to improve the AP further on an unmodified wound roll of 6 for any ranged attack. Basic boltguns at AP-2 is a very nice dream!

On top of all this, the Canoness cannot be targeted if she is within 3” of the Celestians, so the usual wisdom is to hide the Celestians and let the Canoness smash face with impunity. I’m not sure how prevalent that could be, given that 3” isn’t particularly large. However, it is a nice protection. In return, the Canoness has the Warlord Trait that allows core units within 6” to fall back and shoot (and to use any miracle dice as a 6), which might be handy if they get in a spot of bother. Her relic is the Iron Surplice that gives +1W, Sv 2+, and any attack against her auto-fails on an unmodified 1-3. So she does also get some built-in protection for being out in the open regardless, but I think if I’m going to be fairly aggressive with her, I need to ensure she doesn’t die to a stiff breeze.

An interesting footnote to the whole Celestians unit is that, while they can take two special weapons for a squad of five, you can actually take them in squads of 10, although you can’t take any more weapons for bulking up the squad size. Now, you might think, but that’s making them a normal Battle Sister squad? Aside from additional attacks, which is hardly a benefit given that they are only fighting with the generic close combat weapon, the real bonus that I’m thinking of is the extra bodies that a larger squad represents. Hiding a Canoness with a 10-woman bodyguard does seem like it might work out – and this squad has got a lot more to make it highly accurate, whereas the Sisters don’t have the additional +2 to hit from the Celestian ability and stratagem.

Now, Celestians are one of the alternate build options in the Battle Sisters box, the other being Dominions, and I do rather like the look of having those as well. In fact, I have also been considering using the other five from the box to build five more regular Sisters to either bulk out my existing squads, or else form a new five-woman squad to get a third troops choice in the list that isn’t the Novitiates. However, I do need some sort of melee option in here, and Novitiates are really my only choice for the time being.

My plan, then, such as it is, is to have the unit of Celestians being backed up with the Dialogus, in range of both the Canoness and the Palatine. At least one squad of Battle Sisters will also be keeping step with this walking mass of doom, to further gain the benefit of the re-rolls from all three characters – because something I forgot a lot in that game was the Dialogus gives core units within 6” +1 Ld. Even though I’m playing Order of the Sacred Rose, so I auto-pass combat attrition tests, I still saw some models flee in the Morale phase.

I didn’t really get a chance to use the Retributors in the last game, because the unit was almost entirely shot off the board in the first turn. But they have an interesting rule that denies any type of cover to units they target with heavy weapons, which is very interesting. Their cherubs allow for one model to shoot again, once the unit has shot, which is really quite useful indeed! Didn’t realise they did that, I have to say! Two heavy bolters and two multi-meltas does make the unit fairly expensive though, and I am thinking it might be worth exploring alternative builds. There isn’t a great deal in terms of support for them either, though they are core so benefit from the re-rolls from the HQs. There is also the Sacred Rose stratagem that gives exploding 6s to hit, which I wish I had known about – although the way I was rolling, it was probably no use anyway!

To my mind, though, it isn’t an easy ride with the Sisters. Many times, when you read through a book, you can find ways to stack things on top of one another and you end up with quite a well-oiled machine. Nothing really leaps out at me from this, though – looking online, it seems very much the consensus is that Sisters are a steep learning curve army, and the T3 makes them very precarious. One post on reddit made me chuckle: “play and be prepared to lose”. For all that I might bemoan the fact that I’m struggling to find answers, I am nevertheless really enjoying the puzzle. It’s clear that they are an army that wants to be reasonably close, but remaining in shooting range and not getting into close combat. Having the army-wide 6++ is very useful, especially when there are ways and means to improve that. I have been tempted to give the Palatine the Indomitable Belief warlord trait via a stratagem, but I’ve already spent 1 CP on her to get a relic bolt pistol, so I’m not sure I should sink so much in there before the battle! I suppose we can see. The warlord trait improves the invuln save for core units within 6”, so it’s all about keeping everything fairly close together as it moves up the field.

I think Acts of Faith are such a key part of how the army is meant to work, it’s crucial to keep on top of that and making sure I don’t forget everything that I can do. I completely forgot about the triggers for gaining them when I destroy a unit, or when my characters die. There are quite a few things that allow you to play with miracle dice, including Faith and Fury (1CP) which lets you use a single dice for the hit and wound roll of an attack, or Moment of Grace (1CP) which lets you discard 1-2 miracle dice to add one to a hit, wound or save roll for each dice discarded. Divine Intervention (2CP) can bring back a character from the dead by discarding 1-3 miracle dice, which brings the character back with that many wounds. Luckily, Order of the Sacred Rose allows you to gain a miracle dice on a 4+ whenever you perform an Act of Faith, so I was able to keep my supply up for a time, but I didn’t really ever find myself with a huge stock of them. I suppose that’s a good thing, because it meant I was using them, but even so, I don’t think I used them as well as I could have done.

Moving on further, I have another squad of Seraphim, or Zephyrim, to build up and paint, and I’m not 100% sure how I want to kit those out. I’ll probably wait and see how they perform as Seraphim on the battlefield before I make a decision. I also want to make a Dominion squad, and I keep having silly ideas about having all-melta or all-flamer squads. I think I want to try and get a better handle on the army in general before I make a final decision on that, though. I’ve also been thinking a lot about the Paragon Warsuits for some kind of heavy-support option. The trouble, of course, is that these suits are now 210 points a model. You’re only required to pay extra for the multi-melta option, but that’s still only three models for 630 points! Definitely something for when I’m playing higher-points games with the girls. They seem like a legitimate choice for close combat though, making 4 attacks each (five with the Superior) at S6 AP-3 D2 with their war blades. They also have a stratagem to do impact damage on the charge, and are core units for all of the re-roll shenanigans I’ve already talked about. Expensive in game terms and real-life terms, I think I’ll come back to them later.

The Imagifier is a model I want to include, as I have her in my to-build pile, but her effect doesn’t seem to be worthwhile, really. Situational, at best. I don’t face a lot of S3 weaponry, and I don’t really want to be advancing or charging a lot of the army up the field. That leaves the +1 Strength for core units within 6”, which is not amazing, but I suppose if I were to get charged, it could be useful to be wounding (potentially) on 4s and not 5s.

Saint Celestine is a model that I’ve had since the Triumvirate box came out late in 7th edition, and despite building her up a long time ago, I haven’t seriously considered her as my general. She actually has a lot going for her, with two built-in bodyguards, a 4++ and subtracting 1 from any damage allocated to her (with no minimum, so…). There are deployment things and whatnot, but her signature move is to return to the battlefield on a 2+ when she has been destroyed for the first time. She does seem quite useful, although at 200 points she might be a little out of my league for now. Maybe when I’m getting into the realms of 1500 point games…

Of course, everybody talks about Morvenn Vahl, and with good reason. She rolls a Canoness and Palatine re-roll abilities together, she can nominate a unit to gain that effect before they move and leave her, she halves damage allocated to her and can negate mortal wounds on a 4+. With 8 wounds, she’s the toughest thing in the book that isn’t a tank or diorama, and is armed with a heavy bolter, missile launcher, and lance of kill your face. At 280 points, however, I don’t foresee any time soon for me to be using her in my games!

I think I definitely need to play with the army more, and get more familiar with what the various units can do. I also need to cement the way Acts of Faith work into my brain, because I definitely lost the plot with those halfway through that game! There seems like a lot of book-keeping that needs to be done with the force, but it should nevertheless be an absolute joy to play, whether I’m burning the heretics or dying in droves.

Back to the Tomb Worlds

Hey everybody,
After all of this auditing lark that I’ve been doing lately, I’ve been struck once more by just how much I enjoy my Necrons, and while I always think of them as my first love and my first army etc, it’s interesting to me how they’re actually not really a finished army yet.

Long term readers of my blog are not only a fabulous bunch, but will no doubt remember that I began my love affair with Necrons in 2014 and set about painting a batch of Lychguard. Over the autumn of that year, I produced something resembling an army, with my take on the classic gold and green Sautekh colour scheme. It wasn’t very good, I have to say, and when GW discontinued the Mourn Mountain Snow texture paint that I had been using to base them all, I seized on this as the excuse I needed to start afresh. And so, in the summer of 2017 I began anew with my take on the Thokt Dynasty, the black and grey with blue weapons scheme that you used to get on the back of the old boxes, before they decided to change them all again.

Necrons Thoky Dynasty

Anyway.

For 9th edition, Necrons became the main antagonist, and had a range makeover. Lots of new models came along, and we only really lost the heavy destroyer upgrade kit, but these new models haven’t really appealed to me. Don’t get me wrong, stuff like the Psychomancer is an incredible looking figure, and I’m really quite pleased with how he turned out in my scheme, but I hate the fact that they have now sculpted battle damage into the models. Necrons are meant to be a vastly superior race, technologically, to the Imperium, and their necrodermis is a living metal capable of self-repair. While it makes some vague sense for the warriors to be a bit dinged up, if their self-repair protocols are wearing out, the fact that the Lords also have this damage does annoy me more than it should! I’ve painted some of the new models, but in the main I find myself sticking to my older models, where I can get a more pristine look. Plenty of people like to have their Necrons looking like they really are thousands of years old, but I prefer to think of them as better than that!

So I’ve been taking a look at what I’ve got, and I must admit to being really surprised at just how many models I have, both in physical number and in points! In terms of units, I have 33 in total (assuming minimum squad sizes), and in terms of points, I have 3479 points of the old-wave kits. This is both fully painted and not (but does not count the unassembled – of which there are at least a further 7 units / 1080 points). For those of you who may be interested, my collection of new-wave kits totals 12 units and 950 points, though I do also fancy getting the Chronomancer model, as he does look really nice. Anyway. This does beg a very interesting question now, of course – what am I ever going to do with all of these miniatures? Do I really need this many models for an army, when I normally play games around the 1000 point mark?

As always, the answer is complicated.

See, in terms of function within the army, I have 4 HQ options and five big units of troops. I then have a little bit of everything that the Codex has to offer, which allows me to mix things up if I feel like fielding a different type of army. So I can bring some Tomb Blades and Wraiths if I want some fast options, I can pepper in some Triarch Praetorians if I feel the urge; I can field a big phalanx of Lychguard for some heavy hitting, with some Triarch Stalkers to shoot the battlefield up. All the while backed up by the immense gunline of 40 Immortals and 10 Warriors.

So I suppose, even though I’m never going to play a game with everything on the table at once (well, at least I think I won’t!) it’s good to be able to switch up the way the army will run for a bit of variety.

With that variety in mind, I think it’s time I once again looked for a game with my beloved Necrons, and I’m thinking of the following build.

With all of the recent points adjustments, a big chunk of my army will fit quite nicely into a 1500-point battalion, it seems! I do have a lot of guns in here as well, even if they aren’t particularly heavy. The Triarch Stalker is there almost for distraction purposes – it costs a lot considering it only has the one weapon (making 6 shots, admittedly!)

This army idea is able to combine two of my greatest loves about the Necrons, though – the gunline, and the Lychguard. I may yet swap out that Stalker for a group of Lychguard with swords, although doing so would mean the Spyder almost becomes obsolete, as he only has one target for his repair ability, admittedly a fairly important one! But by dropping those two units, I could include more Lychguard and some Deathmarks, so it’s swings and roundabouts, really.

Lychguard have been my favourite Necron models almost from the start, and they were definitely the ones that got me interested in the army to begin with. A melee-dedicated bodyguard unit, it’s often difficult to make them work, I find. Each model makes 3 attacks, and equipped with warscythes, a single five-man squad is making 15 attacks, hitting on 3s, at S7 AP-4 D2 apiece. There is also a stratagem to give them +1 attack when within 3” of a friendly Noble model, so if they’re close to the Command Barge, that’s 20 attacks. They’ll be wounding power armour on 3s as well, although another stratagem will give them +1 strength, so wounding power armour on 2s. Delightful. With ten, I should be causing absolute carnage with them, but that 5” movement is often the death of me. In the past, however, I’ve used the Veil of Darkness to move the Command Barge and a massive blob of Immortals into the backline of my opponent to attempt to destroy him, but even given the fact that you can now only move one additional unit with it (it used to be D3), I think moving a blob of Lychguard is the best play.

Whenever I play my Necrons, my buddy JP has nightmares over how brutal tesla can be, even though I generally don’t roll that well! But this army configuration does have effectively thirty tesla carbines, between the Immortals and the Tomb Blades. Each carbine is making 2 shots, so that’s 60 tesla shots that are hitting on 3s, most likely wounding on 3s too as they are S5 AP0 D1, but of course each hit roll of 6 causes 2 additional hits. Even with all of those odds for getting additional hits in there, if the target unit is still alive, there’s a stratagem to dish out mortal wounds to nearby units, causing yet more mayhem!

It should be a nice, fairly robust army. But it does have me at the helm, rolling the dice, so anything could happen…

New Andor trailer!!

Andor is shaping up to be the kind of story that I’ve wanted for years. Decades, even. The formation of the Rebel Alliance has long fascinated me, and I can remember back before Revenge of the Sith, possibly even before Attack of the Clones, dreaming of the possibilities of a novel that pulled together all of the lore that we knew at that time, such as the secret meetings in Chatham House between Mon Mothma, Bail Organa and Garm bel Iblis, and giving us the story of how the Alliance became a military push back against the Empire.

Of course, I wanted that novel to be written by Timothy Zahn.

However, Rogue One gave us a truly tremendous look at the life of the rebels “on the line”, the ones getting their hands dirty as opposed to the bright symbols such as Luke and Leia. Rebellion is a dirty business, and I think we’re going to get a good look at that through the eyes of Cassian Andor, while Mon Mothma does all of the political schmoozing, saying everything and nothing, and getting involved in those kinds of high-stakes games in the corridors of power. Skellan Skarsgard seems to be playing a chap who bridges the two worlds, being Andor’s mentor or somesuch, though perhaps not quite so front-line. A spymaster? Maybe.

I’m very excited for this, it has the kind of feel of a James Bond spy thriller about it, but with my favourite franchise. I know there have been some ruts in the road since we had The Mandalorian, but hopefully Andor will serve to get back on track. I’m really hoping that I’m not getting carried away with myself on this one, and expecting too much from it before it drops!

Age of Sigmar: the first game

Well folks, I had my first Age of Sigmar game on Friday evening – my first in a very long time, and certainly my first with the new edition. For the curious among you, I last played in 2nd edition, in February 2019, with my Nighthaunt, and aside from it being really fun, I don’t really remember a great deal of it!

I have talked quite a bit about Age of Sigmar recently, as I was gearing up to play against James and his Slaves to Darkness, but through one thing or another, we just hadn’t been able to get round to it until now. As such, a lot of my research into the game had gone a bit by the wayside, so it was still a bit of a steep curve when we started!!

However…

Age of Sigmar plays fairly similar to 40k, with the broad game outline being fairly similar. That said, there is overall less going on, somehow. The fact that your weapon profile tells you what you need to hit and to wound is such a tiny difference that nevertheless speeds things up a lot, and the fact there are very few mixed units means oftentimes you’re fast rolling because everybody has a sword, for instance.

Also – shooting is so rare as to be non-existent.

In our game, because James only has the Start Collecting box, we were playing at roughly 570 points, so that allowed me two units of Mortek Guard, one unit of Immortis Guard, and my Boneshaper hero. The first unit of Guard died pretty quickly from being in the centre, whereas my Boneshaper kept reanimating models from the second unit, causing some significant irritation as they just would not die! However, the Immortis Guard really surprised us both. In a single round of close combat, they killed off the Chaos Lord, the next two rounds they saw off the cavalry, and in the final round they swept in to demolish what was left of the Chaos Knights. They only took a single wound in the sole game, too!

Beasts.

I think the Mortek Guard should be fielded in larger units, though – I know we were somewhat constrained by points, and by how I’ve built everything, but it’s just more reason to get that second box of Guard and bump each unit up to 20 bodies. I also think I needed a bit more speed – I very much moved up the field, then let everything close the gap and come to me. Since the game, I’ve built up my five Kavalos Deathriders, which I’m hoping to get painted at some point before we can arrange another game, as it might be good to mix things up a little!

Though I can’t help noticing how my horses are much smaller than those Chaos steeds…

It was a very fun game – made all the better because I actually ended up winning, 8-7! Didn’t expect that. We both agreed, though, that being able to just play the game, without needing to constantly check rules, was such a huge plus, and I think it’s a credit to the designers that the game is very sleek, by and large. Sure, we had some complex interactions come into play from command abilities, traits, and other special abilities, but even these were fairly straightforward to walk through. It made the game experience overall really quite light, in terms of being able to actually play the thing!

I had a fairly interesting idea pop into my head during the game, though. We were talking about my Bonereaper models, and I was explaining how they’re supposed to be bone constructs, not reanimated skeletons like the old Tomb Kings. In conjunction with the oft-repeated possibility of Mortek Archers being a unit for the army, I started to think about the old Tomb Kings line, and doing some mental comparisons, wondering whether GW might expand on the Bonereapers with Tomb Kings analogue units.

The current Bonereapers line up has skeleton swordsmen, skeleton spearmen, skeleton horsemen and big constructs akin to the Ushabti, along with the huge catapult that is a Screaming Skull mk2. On an unrelated note, it does make me chuckle how many paint names have survived when the units they were named after have gone up in smoke. But anyway. The Tomb Kings also had skeleton archers, which begs the question, if Bonereaper archers could be a thing, what else could we get?

I think Necropolis Knights are fantastic looking units, and would absolutely love it if somehow a similar thing could be introduced to this army. I’m not sure what they could be riding, but I reckon it could look very cool to have a different sort of mounted elite type of unit?

I think having chariots in the game is very important, to keep with the fantasy feel, and I do like the fact that several armies have their own take on this. I’d love to get something for the Bonereapers, it’s almost a no-brainer as we already have skeletal horses, and the crew are just Mortek Guard.

I suppose the Ushabti are a cross between the Immortis Guard and the Morghasts, and the Gothizzar Harvester replaces the huge scorpion (or possibly the Necrosphinx, though that was a very beautiful model…)

I’ve heard some rumours talking about more units, including the ever-present Archers rumours, but also mentioning a mounted hero, possibly mounted on some kind of war machine. I think the possibility of having a hero in chariot is perhaps a bit too close to the Tomb Kingd and Settra, but war machine rumours do come back to some kind of ballista that is mentioned in the lore. Now that we’re supposed to have Stormcast chariots and a few armies have ranged war machines, it does present some interesting speculation!!

I love variety, of course, so would definitely like to see more for my favourite Death faction!! Especially if I’m going to have the opportunity to play more AoS!!

The August Audit

Hey everybody,
I have no idea if the following blog will be of any interest to anybody – a lot of the time, I myself find these things a bit like some kind of weird hobby flex, “look at how much stuff I have!” etc. While that’s not the reason for me posting today, I’ve wanted to try to take stock again of where I am up to with clearing out the whole backlog of miniatures that I am currently sitting on, and I suppose this can help to both motivate me, and perhaps provide a preview for what’s to come for the rest of the year! I will, of course, be showcasing everything as I clear it, if for no other reason than to motivate me to keep going.

In my July retrospective blog, I talked about wanting to reclaim my hobby time from the endless treadmill of painting up units, and try to game some more. Well, it’s always better to play games with painted models (I believe they roll better), so I’m hoping that I can set out something of a checklist of what I still have to do in this blog, and then in the coming weeks and months I’ll be slowly but surely painting everything up. Such is the plan.

For the purposes of this blog, then, I’ve taken nine of the ten armies shown in the Instagram photo above, and made a list of what units I have built but not yet painted. I know that I also have a lot of unbuilt models for these armies too, but I won’t count those because they scare me. These are codex-entry units, so some armies might look worse than others because there are a lot of single-model units there. I’m purposefully leaving off the Deathwatch, because I don’t know how the models I have can be organised into units, and I am still unsure about which models I’m keeping, etc.

With all of that, let’s go!

I do love a graph. It makes it so much easier to see the chief offenders of the ongoing projects – Dark Eldar are the runaway winners of this contest, for sure! I want to take a look, then, and see just what it is that I have hanging about waiting to be finished, and whether it’s likely any of this will actually see a paintbrush before we get to the end of the year. Going from the top…

So, the Dark Eldar. 23 built but unpainted codex entry units, mainly because I bought units for this army with wild abandon when I was initially getting into the army. I honestly don’t believe I need all of these units, if truth be told – I can currently field a battalion of Kabalites, and a battalion of Wracks, and I think my plan was to also have a battalion of Wyches, all of them in transports. But honestly, I think I might end up just using one unit of Wyches, with a Raider, and clearing out the others. I have 9 Reaver Jetbikes, in addition to the 3 currently painted – and again, I think that’s too many. I have 10 more Kabalite Warriors to paint, despite already having 30 painted (plus extras, for variety of special weapons). The Dark Eldar might need to have a significant re-think in the fullness of time, but I don’t think I’m going to be doing anything with them for now. I know there are a lot of models that I have unbuilt as well, but let’s not think about those for now!

Tyranids are the next highest-offender, with 13 unpainted models. This is because the entire army is pretty much unfinished – I have finished the Zoanthropes, and I think the Tyranid Prime is probably done as well. There are probably half of these models that are primed, and the rest are in bare plastic. Again, I don’t see myself painting any of these before the year is out, although I wouldn’t be surprised if I did try to at least finish off the carnifex that I think is almost done! I only have a tyrannocyte model unbuilt for this army, so I think that’s something of a win!

My Necrons come in third, though if I’m honest they might place higher if I had counted those units that need finishing off – there are at least two that I can think of that need some finishing touches. Annoyingly, though, there are also several units within the 12 unfinished that are counted here, where I have only a few more bits and bobs to do. Three of these units are also scarab swarms, so there’s not a tremendous amount of work to be done on them! I’m purposefully not counting them, but I do also have a second Triarch Stalker, and the Tesseract Ark somewhere in pieces, and I think they need repair work doing before they can be painted. So we shall see.

Grey Knights are next, with eleven unpainted models. Here’s an example of single model units bumping up the tally, because seven of those are just one model. Admittedly, they’re models like land raiders, and the Nemesis Dreadknight, but also the Apothecary, the Brotherhood Champion, and so on. Grey Knights do seem to take me an age to actually do anything with them, and I know I have jokingly said here before that I only paint one unit per year, but hopefully when I next come to paint the knights of Titan, I will actually do much better and get a couple of these character models finished, too. I expect that I will do something with them, too, as December seems to be my traditional month for the Grey Knights to come out of hibernation!

After doing so well at the back end of 2021, I still have 9 units to paint for my Genestealer Cults. This isn’t really a surprise, when you think I have a lot of the original stuff from Deathwatch Overkill to paint up, particularly the acolytes. It did surprise me, though, that I have 30 Neophyte Hybrids still to do! I suppose I did have a lot from stuff like the old Kill Team, and they are beautiful models, but still. While I am pleased with how much I managed to paint last year, there is still a lot to do here. I think I also have a few units in boxes, like the aberrants and another goliath.

Tied with the Genestealers are the Sisters and Black Legion, who also have 9 models to get through. I think these armies will both see more units painted before the end of the year, though, as 2022 has mostly been about these two opposing forces. I do expect to shave some more numbers from the Sisters in the coming weeks, too, as the only reason why I have currently stalled is due to the lack of any undercoat for them! I’m not intending to start planning out my weeks, or anything, as I don’t want to make it into anything too strict, but I think I’m going to turn my attention to the Repentia next, as I had already made an effort with them, so I just need to look at finishing them off, then I’ll probably do the next squad of Battle Sisters. I find getting the big chunks of models finished is really helpful for a productive mindset!

As regards the Black Legion, while I had been intending to paint up the Greater Possessed and the Cultists, I’m veering away from both now, and instead I think it would be good to get the Dark Apostle and the next batch of Legionaries painted. Then, I might try to get the Obliterators painted, not sure yet. There’s also the Helbrute that is very close! I’m not counting the cultist models for the Black Legion, because I no longer know if that’s the way I want to go with the army, but I do have at least two squads of ten cultists hanging about, as well.

I have quite a bit still boxed for the Sisters, and a few models for the Chaos Marines as well, but I think by and large I have models that are actually going to be useful to me waiting in the wings here.

Unsurprisingly, then, at the other end of the scale I have AdMech, with just 7 units waiting to be painted, then Tau with five. AdMech have recently been cleaned out, so I don’t have that many left. I do, of course, have two fairly big models in the shape of the Dunecrawler and the Sydonian Dragoon (at least, that’s how I think I built it!) I talked about this a while ago on the blog, but I have around 880 points of these guys now, between the painted and unpainted, and the box of Kataphron Servitors will bring me to a nice 1000 points, meaning the army is pretty much complete as it stands. So this is a very interesting one to me, as I have pretty much a complete army, I just need to finish painting it all now! I don’t have the Codex for them, however, so I don’t know if I might need to consider swapping in the Skitarii Marshal, for instance, but that can wait for the time being. It’s exciting to think that I have at least one army where it is what it is!

The Tau, with five models built, isn’t a surprise either, because when I started this journey into the Greater Good at the start of the year, I had planned to build then paint on a unit by unit basis, and only ended up with this backlog because I played a game with them and needed more models built up. I do still have a Riptide waiting to be built, but I don’t intend to build that until I have painted everything else. I am hopeful that I can return to the Tau before the end of the year, as well, because it would be nice to get more of the army painted up. I think the Crisis Suits and the Fireblade have been undercoated, so they might be a nice project to move on to next.


Now, I was almost a bit scared to do this, but I have looked at where that leaves me, and I have 98 units unpainted, across the nine armies! At least it’s not a hundred, eh?

So going forward, I think I’m still going to be very much focused on the Sisters for the time being, as I try to get as many of those painted up as I can. The Tau will hopefully be coming back into the mix as well, but my other major priority is going to be the Necrons – for the time being, at least!! I want to try and bring the existing crop up to a standard first, then hopefully I can finish off some Lychguard, maybe throw some scarabs into the mix as well. September is traditionally my renaissance month for 40k, which I know I have talked about before, so I’m looking forward to seeing how much gets done there, if nothing else!

At any rate, I think writing all of this has given me a clear focus for what I have that still needs to be painted, and where I am up to with all of my armies at this moment in time. As I’ve said, I’m not intending to start planning things out, and allotting specific units to certain time periods, but I have a much better idea of what I want to accomplish in the short and medium term. Given all of this stock-taking, I’m hoping that I will have a lot of good stuff to show for myself by the end of the year!!