Shadowspear and more!

Well folks, it’s taken me a few days to digest all of the amazing stuff that we’ve currently got coming our way from GW with the second phase of the Vigilus campaign – and just when I thought I was over it, we get the preview for the big man himself! I mean, what a time to be alive!

First of all, the Shadowspear box itself looks really good. I was initially a huge fan, but my enthusiasm had waned a little bit, but now that we’ve seen these new miniatures in all of their glory, I feel very much like I need them in my life. Most of them. Well, probably all of them. I’m currently planning to split a set, and get myself the Chaos half as a decent start to a Heretic Astartes army and beef up my Cultist force idea from back in December, but then I also want that Primaris Vanguard Librarian. And possibly the ten man squad, whatever they’re called. Infiltrators? They look like beefier Reivers, somehow, and I like them!

I was listening to the latest episode of Vox Cast last night, with the legend that is Jes Goodwin talking about the contents of the box as a whole, and now I feel like I want to seriously make a Primaris Space Marines army! Gah!

So the new box looks amazing, and I’m really looking forward to getting my hands on some of these models and getting them painted up. I’ve not really had any kind of thoughts as to a specific legion just yet, though I had entertained the idea of going “generic Renegade” and coming up with my own fluff, maybe, so I think that might be an interesting way to do it. We’ll see. I can’t wait to get that Master of Possession, at any rate!

I will likely pick up some Vanguard Primaris as well, maybe getting the Librarian off ebay and then seeing what else I can get in the fullness of time.

As if the new stuff in this box wasn’t enough, we also have the delights of the Warmaster himself coming in glorious plastic very soon, as well!

The model is insanely good, and I really like how they have clearly taken the original model as a jumping-off point. The amount of detail is just right, I think – so many of the new minis coming from Nottingham have been a little too busy, and it can make it difficult to really know where to begin with such things. But Abbadon looks just right, in my view – the baroque armour is definitely there, but it has enough breathing room that it can be interesting to look at, but not overwhelming. It should look fantastic as a centrepiece for my Chaos army idea, anyway, and definitely will form a nice counterpart to the Space Marine army idea I had way back in December, with Marneus Calgar forming a lynchpin of Ultramarines successors.

It looks like Abbadon will come at the head of the second wave of Vigilus storyline, as the second book in the campaign has also been previewed, and it doesn’t sound like it’s going to end well! I was very impressed with the first book, so I hope we see a similar sort of tome in the second one, with a lot of interesting rules and stuff to enjoy. We’re promised new rules, detachments and data sheets, alongside more new models, including what looks like a possible new Dark Apostle (just when I’ve gone and bought the finecast one!) and a new Havocs kit, which should be good if this chap is anything to go by:

I can’t really say I’ve always wanted a Chaos army, though whenever I’ve played Warhammer card games, I have invariably gravitated towards the Ruinous Powers, so I suppose it was inevitable! It should be good to get a small force of these guys, at any rate, so I’m looking forward to seeing what else we’ll be getting in this release window (Traitor Guard, please!)

All in all, there are some extremely exciting times ahead!

Going even bigger with Drukhari!

Hey everybody!
Following my post about the eldar Corsairs at the weekend, I thought it about time to get the main event posted up here on the blog: let’s take a look at my latest list development, the 2000-point Drukhari army!

This is quite exciting for me, as I feel like it’s been an army list in the making for a good number of months now! I’ve not played with my Dark Eldar nearly as much as I would have liked by this point in 8th edition, mainly because I’ve been struggling to come up with a way of organising my forces that I feel is right for me. I’m not interested in the competitive builds, but rather want something that I would actually like to play on the table. So late last week I spent some time cataloging all of the painted (and unpainted) miniatures that I currently have, before sorting them into an army that I can see myself playing.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, I have 2545 points of painted Dark Eldar, with an additional 1000 points built and, in most cases, primed! I still have 14 kits waiting to be built, which is just mind-boggling, but then I suppose I was really into the dark kin back in 2017, and had grand ideas about fielding a massive force of them. Anyway! I’ve managed to distill all of this into a 2000-point list that takes in all three arms of the army; Kabal, Cult and Coven. Let’s take a look at this list now:

It’s quite a standard list of Kabal battalion, Cult outrider, and Coven patrol, netting me a total of 9 command points. I’ve still not really embraced the whole stratagems thing, feeling the need to maximise my pool of points wherever I can. Rather, I have been preferring to build lists that I want to play, and seeing if they can be organised after the fact for CP benefits.

I am, of course, playing Kabal of the Obsidian Rose, as that is how I’ve been painting my army since I started it back in 7th edition. I’ve got the classic combination of Kabalites in Raiders, and my Archons in Venoms – the Warlord being attended by his Court. I’ve also slipped a Ravager in there, because of course. So there are just six drops there to start with, and I should have some pretty decent mobile firepower to start chewing through the enemy from the off.

In contrast to most of my 8th edition lists, I’ve gone for just a patrol detachment of Coven, having 10 Wracks in a Raider and a Haemonculus in a Venom. This detachment, being so greatly reduced as it is, really feels a bit pointless on some levels, as I don’t have the mass threat of my big creatures or large blobs of Wracks to beat down in close combat. I’m seeing these guys primarily as a supporting unit for the Cult.

Wych Cults are an aspect of the army with which I have very little experience, and so the main focus for me in writing up this list has been to produce something that will allow me to change that. I’ve got an Outrider detachment because I principally have fast attack options painted, but there are also the squad of Wyches, and the Razorwing (which can fit into a Cult or Kabal detachment). I’d initially wanted to include a Venom in here also, but ended up without the points. However, the Coven really is a very mutable portion of the list, and so I could very quickly see myself expand on the Cult part to eclipse their Coven counterparts.

I have previously used Reavers when playing during the Index days, and I think they can be quite fun when used both for harassment and as more dedicated close combat units. During the game pictured above, I seem to recall they did serious work against the Orks! I also like Hellions, and feel like I’m perhaps the only Drukhari player who will make that statement! But I do like the models, and I feel like they should have a decent enough role to play in getting rid of the tougher infantry, while Reavers will likely be used to soak up any overwatch before falling back. I do actually have bikes with both grav-talons and cluster caltrops modelled on them, but haven’t had the points at this level to pay for them. As and when the Coven portion of this list is dropped, I think the Cult part could take on a slightly different look:

For this increased Cult list, I do rather have my work cut out. There are an additional 15 models to paint, which doesn’t sound too bad of course, but still! I do like the addition of the Beasts, as I think that’s an aspect that I’d like to explore a bit more if possible. The Beastmaster himself should be a good addition aesthetically, as he also rides a skyboard like the Hellions. The Clawed Fiend looks really nice on paper, making 5 S5 attacks hitting on 4s, with an additional attack once he’s taken a wound. I do have two of these models, though only one of them built – I think it could be quite fun to have a band of three of them with the Beastmaster (though not forming a single unit), going off to just blend their way through infantry where they’ll hopefully be hitting on 3s. The Beastmaster looks like he’s a decent enough support character in terms of his stat line – he can take drugs which might be useful when distributing them among the band, but his abilities otherwise basically allow for you to include Beasts in the army, and granting re-rolls of 1 to them if they’re within 6″. But he’s got splinter pods for 2 shooting attacks, and then carries an agoniser to make three attacks in the fight phase. It might be useful, I guess we’ll have to see!

I’ve only used a mass Cult once, and apart from the fact the Hellions were a fairly impressive unit for their Hit and Run ability, nothing else stood out. Of course, that could have been due to the fact I was pitting just one unit of Wyches against a mob of Orks! I’ve always thought that Wyches are the close combat unit to throw against a unit that doesn’t want to be in combat – their No Escape rule really speaks to that, after all. Coven units are the close combat units to use against dedicated enemy close combat units, so it does feel a little worrying stripping myself of the Covens!

I’ve also got enough points left over to give my Ravager a shock prow!

This list is a bit different to the one I talked about back in December, as it has more of a focus on the Coven than the Cult – if you haven’t already, I can recommend you taking a look at that to see what my thoughts were a little over three months ago!

Of course, going down the enhanced Cult route isn’t my only option for the army, as I am also considering the Eldar Corsairs option as discussed at the weekend. Should I go for that, I would then be able to fit in two more Reaver jetbikes to make one squad of five, with the addition of cluster caltrops to one squad and a grav-talon on the other.

While I suppose going the other way and enhancing the Covens is a third option for this list, I suppose the list as discussed back in December would be a better fit for that one. My fourth option, of course, is Murder Clowns, so make sure to check back later in the week for some thoughts on including Harlequins in the army!

Eldar Corsairs!

Hey everybody!
For the past few days, I’ve been fiddling about with a redesign for my Dark Eldar army, taking the list to 2000 points based on the models I already have fully painted. It’s been quite the task, as I’ve only played with the army using the codex once, but I’m excited to actually bring the list to the table soon!

I’ll be talking about this in more detail this coming week, but in doing this research, I’ve been looking at Eldar Corsairs as one of a couple of possible allied detachments, and I’m actually really intrigued by how this might work out!

In case you don’t know, the Corsairs are a sort of outcast band of the Aeldari in Warhammer 40k, basically more classical pirates than anything else. Following the Fall of the Eldar after the birth of Slaanesh, while the Craftworld Eldar began to lead lives of asceticism lest they attract the gaze of She Who Thirsts, and the Drukhari subsumed their psychic potential and retreated into the Webway, the Corsairs stayed more true to their original life, heedless of any acts of passion.

For a long time, ForgeWorld produced the army much like they do for other factions, but back in 2018 (I think) they discontinued the whole range, meaning that anybody wishing to play them would have to start a serious conversion project. Corsairs have always been conversion-heavy, so I believe, but now the problem is increased!

However, I do like the rules, as I think there could be an interesting slant to the army from using these guys. Let’s take a look!

They have two specific rules that can be thought of as army-wide: Reckless Abandon and Dancing on the Blade’s Edge. Reckless Abandon is probably my favourite, as it allows the unit with this ability to move 3″ in any direction if they inflict one or more casualties on an enemy unit by firing Overwatch. I like the thought of spoiling a charge move in this way, though obviously it would only really work on a squad-type unit making the charge, and there are plenty of ways to get around that. Dancing on the Blade’s Edge¬†allows you to roll 2 dice for a Morale test, and discard the highest (per the FAQ). However, if the test is still failed, +1 model flees.

While the weapon options for these guys are pretty diverse, they all seem to come stock with a brace of pistols, which is an 8″ Pistol D6 weapon that is similar to the splinter weaponry of the Dark Eldar in that it always wounds on a 4+ (except vehicles, which it wounds on a 6+), and any rolls of 6 are resolved at AP-1. They’re 2 points a pop, and 4″ shorter than standard splinter pistols, but that additional point of AP is definitely worth it, I feel.

The Imperial Armour Index only includes three Corsair units: the Reaver band (basic troops), the Skyreaver band (jet-pack troops) and the Cloud Dancer band (jetbike riders). The FAQ does state that the army can still use Corsair Princes or Corsair Barons as an HQ choice, using one of the three datasheets printed in the Index as best describes the model. Additionally, Corsairs can use Venoms and Falcons from the Drukhari and Craftworld codexes. Of course, this does limit the options available to the army, having such a limited pool of units to choose from – back in 7th edition, the army was much more fleshed-out, through the use of Craftworld units alongside Corsair-specific squads. Whether there is any truth to the rumours that the loss of the Forge World upgrades means we’ll be seeing new plastics, I don’t know, but it could be interesting to see if anything will come of this now that the main armies have all had their codexes for 8th edition.

I’ve been faffing a bit with the above allied detachment for my Drukhari, something that can slot into the army with relative ease – though you’ll have to wait for my Drukhari blog before I go further into that!

The dissonance weapons sound like they should be a lot of fun, S5 AP-2 and D3 damage, increasing to S6 AP-3 on the roll of a 6+. Quite how I’m going to get the pieces for these distinctive weapons, given the lack of the proper kit these days, but I’m thinking it might be just as easy to use a counts-as system for these chaps.

My thought has been to proxy Dire Avengers as the main Reaver band, and then use Windriders for the Cloud Dancers, with the Warlock Skyrunner as the Corsair Prince.

It should be pretty basic, for sure, but I think it will work well enough, and I’m sure I can keep all of the counts-as stuff consistent!

In all honesty, I have no idea when I’ll be able to actually get round to this project, as I have so much on my plate right now with the Great Reanimation of my Necrons, and the Skitarii project that I’m still persisting with. But hopefully I can get some space pirates onto the table with my Drukhari soon!

The Big Kopinski

“I’m basically still doing what I was doing aged five, drawing spacemen, bikers, superheroes and monsters, so here’s a book full of them!”

Karl Kopinski

The Big Kopinski is the first volume in a series collecting sketches by the artist Karl Kopinski, who you will likely know from his work on the card game Magic the Gathering. I mean, that’s certainly from where I was familiar with the guy! Among so many other iconic images for that game, he also produced the wonderfully evocative artwork of Liliana that was used as both box art and playmat art for the Innistrad set, and is without a doubt a classic rendering of the infamous Planeswalker.

I started to play Magic seriously around the time of Origins, and learned the basics of the game from watching Spellslingers season 2, as well as playing via the Android app. The app uses a number of cards from M15 and earlier, and playing a black/red deck, I became familiar with Kopinski’s style though a lot of these cards. That Goblin token in particular is one that I feel should be on my Christmas card list, I am so used to it by now!

Karl Kopinski MTG cards

There is definitely something evocative about his work, particularly seen in the Temple of Silence art, but also the lighting in both Gatekeeper of Malakir and the Rakdos Drake – the use of light to create an imposing shadow is particularly striking, don’t you think? There are elements within the Rakdos Drake art, but perhaps moreso in the Blood Cultist art, that show a kinship with the grim darkness of the Warhammer universe (and, of course, that of Warhammer 40,000) – unsurprising, given that Karl has also worked for Games Workshop over the years. His style is definitely more veiled than that of the archetypal Warhammer artist, John Blanche, but it still lends itself perfectly to the setting. Perhaps unsurprisingly, he numbers artwork for Chaos among his work in that franchise, although is not averse to drawing the defenders of humanity, too:

But let’s look at the book itself.

Karl Kopinski

Like I said, it is principally a book of sketches that range from the fantastical and the futuristic to the more mundane and the realistic. It’s a fascinating collection of drawings that is an utter delight to leaf through. Even if you aren’t familiar with the man’s work, it’s a really nice book that is a treat for the senses, one that you can lose yourself in as you study the worlds created on the pages. I was really taken by that guy dragging the demon-head, shown above, imagining all kinds of scenarios it could be illustrating!

(As a side note, they are also lovely pages, with a very nice, soft feel to them – just in case you’re interested in that sort of thing!)

Karl Kopinski

There are a lot of fantastical, sci-fi bikers in the book that look a lot like they have strong design elements of the Izzet League from MtG. And there are also superheroes, including the humerous older Batman shown above! But the most arresting image, to my mind, has got to be this hulking goblin character:

Karl Kopinski

This is truly a fantastic piece of artwork, whether you think it unfinished or not. That face! The textures Karl uses on the skin feel so real, and the detail just brings this piece to life off the page. I couldn’t help but gaze intently at this dude, again, imagining all manner of worlds and situations he could inhabit. It’s just fabulous, and a really great example of the hundreds of others across these pages.

Now, I’m not an art student, but if you’d like to learn more about Karl’s work with a focus on the MtG stuff, you won’t go far wrong by checking out this video from The Magic Man Sam:

You can see more samples of his work (and purchase any you like the look of!) from his website, here.


I am very grateful to the publisher of this book, editions caurette, for sending me a copy to review here on my blog. All of the sketches used to illustrate this blog were taken from the book, as was the quote at the top of the page. You can pick up a copy of The Big Kopinski direct from the publisher, here.

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!