Warhammer 40k 8th Edition retrospective

Hey everybody!
Indomitus goes on pre-order tomorrow – a two week preorder window, which seems a little silly given that the box is likely to sell out in a couple of minutes. Anyway, we’re not too far away from having a new edition, even if it doesn’t seem like five minutes since 8th Edition, and I thought it would be nice to look back on the old edition before it fades into memory!

I think the best thing about 8th Edition was the fact that it launched with these books. Being a completely new style of game from 7th Edition, the Indexes were of course necessary for the game, but they functioned quite like mini-Codexes, with the rules for (I think) pretty much every model made for each faction, and army-specific rules.

I started playing pretty regularly in 8th with my Necrons, followed quickly by my Dark Eldar, so it was quite good to have all of the rules for these factions in the same book. It was also useful if you were going to play against an army included in the same book, as you basically had their Codex as well, allowing you to see what you could be coming up against.

My Dark Eldar were the the army that I had been building up for this edition, of course, so it was nice to get them to the table.

One of the best aspects of 8th Edition was the addition of “chapter tactics” for each faction, allowing for a great deal of customization for your army. Relics, Warlord Traits and Psychic Powers were all given out with specifics for these sub-divisions within each faction, as well as Stratagems:

Stratagems were, I think, among the biggest game-changers for the edition. Many of the army rules, unit rules, or even weapon rules from the previous edition were re-created via Stratagems, which could be used for a cost that was generated by how you’d built your army. There have been pages and pages written about Stratagems and their use, of course, so I’m not going to labour the point on this one, but there have been quite a few shenanigans though the generation and re-generation of command points.

In the main, I’ve quite liked them, of course, although I do tend to forget about them… and end games with almost as many points as I’d started!

8th Edition 40k was certainly an improvement on 7th Edition, although very quickly we started to get the same kind of bloat as had been seen in the previous edition. Both Space Marines and Chaos Marines had two editions of their codexes, as the factions had seen an influx of new models. Let’s not talk about Primaris Marines here, because even more pages have been written about this topic, but suffice it to say, the range has exploded to take over the older marines. Only a matter of time before the old marines are phased out entirely, I think.

While we saw campaign boxes such as Shadowspear and campaign books such as the Vigilus two-parter, Psychic Awakening has really caused some issues for gamers wanting to play their armies and requiring a couple of books to get all the relevant rules. In three years, we’ve had a load of books to support this edition, which just seems crazy!

However, let’s turn back to the successes of the edition – let’s talk about Kill Team! The skirmish variant of regular 40k was completely re-imagined this time around, and I think it was quite a hit when it launched. It helped, of course, that it came out in a box set that launched an entirely updated terrain range – “updating things” seems to have been quite a theme of 8th edition! I’ve played a few games of Kill Team, and I do quite like it. The game feels, to me, very much like the sort of game you play with friends at your house, and run through a campaign with it. As the sort of game that you play in pick-up games down at the local store, however, I’ve not really had the sort of experience that I’d have liked.

The increased line of support for the game – bringing Elites, Commanders and so on – has turned it into something of a monster, and I think the almost RPG-like quality of things has made for that kind of sandbox feel that would be great with a consistent group. However, the product line did include perhaps one of the most incredible box-sets GW has actually produced:

Warhammer 40,000 Kill Team

Bringing Rogue Traders to 40k is a ridiculously ballsy move, and I’ve talked about this box at length here. I think this box helped to set the scene for another roaring success for Games Workshop, Blackstone Fortress. While it isn’t really part of 8th Edition, I have really appreciated the fact that a lot of these ancillary products have brought us additional options for 40k. Rogue Traders and Navigators have all come to 40k, as well as Traitor Guard and Dark Mechanicum models. It’s been an absolutely insane time for fans of the lore of this universe, as we see so many wonderful minis for this game coming out. The 40k rules are maybe a bit… strange… and you really have to work to include them in a regular army if you wanted to do so. I suppose it’s perhaps their way of saying these models belong in these side games. Maybe. But it’s nice that the game has been supported with this stuff as well.

8th Edition has definitely been my busiest time for playing 40k – I’ve made some really good friends by being more present at my local store during this edition. I’m not a competitive gamer, so I’ve not has cause to complain too much about things that have been abused over the course of the three years. I’ve come up against some awkward games where I’ve been shut out of actually playing the game, but on the whole, this is not an edition I’m going to think badly about – it’s no 7th edition confuse-fest where you need a scientific calculator in order to work out a damage roll!

I’ve enjoyed 8th a lot, so let’s see what 9th is going to bring!

Goodbye to 8th Edition

Hey everybody!
I had what is most likely going to be my last game of 8th Edition 40k yesterday, though I didn’t let that stop me from trying out yet another new army!

Genestealer Cults 9th edition

I’d drawn up a list of Genestealer Cults, mainly the units that I’d already had built up over the last few years…

Genestealer Cults

A double battalion with 13 command points available, and yet I manage to finish the game with 11 of the buggers left to me! Of course, I was using the Nexos to regain a couple of them over the course of the game, but even so!

Genestealer Cults

I really enjoyed this game, seeing how the Cult works and so forth. I had a blast with the various rules and seeing what I could do with the units that I have on offer!

The Genestealer Cults models are some of the most beautiful models in the game, in my opinion, and while I do like the models that we’ve had out for some time now, I was looking forward to trying out some of the new units as well! The Clamavus-Primus-Nexos trick of gaining command points back seemed like it would be glorious, but it actually didn’t seem to be worth bringing them all along just for that. I think I gained two back over the course of two rounds, so it wasn’t really worth having the Nexos and Clamavus both on the table. The latter did actually help prevent an Obliterator landing square in my backfield (instead, he came in on the corner, and only succeeded in wiping off half a squad of Acolytes).

Genestealer Cults

The Primus was decent though, and he is a serious buff for Cult models, so I think he’ll be staying in the list.

Genestealer Cults

I’m a big fan of this chap though, the Achilles Ridgerunner. With two heavy stubbers, and that heavy mining laser on top, it was pretty damn useful during the game, killing off the Daemon Prince to net me Slay the Warlord. I was really quite surprised at the punch of the laser! In all honesty, I don’t think I used it to the full potential – I don’t even think that I moved it during the game! – so I’d like to work again on what I would do with that in future games.

Genestealer Cults

Man of the match, though, has got to be the Patriarch. Which I suppose is only fitting, really. When everything seemed to be looking quite dire for me, the Patriarch stepped up to the plate and used Mind Control on the Venomcrawler there to remove the Dark Apostle, before then utterly shredding his way through the Venomcrawler in a single round of close combat. I feel that he certainly helped me go out with a bang, anyway!

However, I did indeed lose, and quite badly, as well – I think the final score was 9-6, but when we’d been looking through the potential third round, it would have only gotten worse, so we called it there.

One of the main downsides for the army is just how squishy they are. With T3 almost across the board, vast swathes of my army were being chewed up. In contrast, I wasn’t really doing a great deal to fight back, despite the massed fire from Neophytes seeing a lot of dice rolled… I think I was averaging 3 successful wound rolls from 14 hits (though of course, several were then saved).

As much as they fold like wet paper bags, I’m thinking about maybe taking bigger blobs of Neophyte Hybrids, to allow for greater sticking power. Of course, their weapons still leave a bit to be desired, but I’m hoping that I can get some results just from the weight of numbers! We shall see. 9th edition seems to be losing the requirement for multiple detachments, so I suppose I could afford to then take my troops in bigger squads rather than the minimum squads that I have at the moment.

Genestealer Cults

I’m very excited for these gribblies, as I really want to get better with the army over time. In particular, I’d like to get a better handle on the stratagems available to me. For sure, a lot of them were to do with playing around with the Cult Ambush rules, which I wasn’t entirely sure about before I began. Having no real plan, I think this showed most with my deployment, as a lot of things ended up in the middle of no-man’s land.

We were playing at 1230 points, although I do think it might have been better to have started with a smaller game to get the feel for it. Again, 9th edition might help me here, as I can potentially try smaller games to start with, as I get to grips with the army.

For a long time now, I’ve been trying to paint the army up but it’s been a slow process due to the level of detail on the models. I’m thinking I’m going to try and focus on getting the equivalent of the Start Collecting box painted up, especially as I want to show some love to the Ridgerunner after such a good performance!

Regardless of the inaugural outing with the Cult being a washout, I am still really excited for the army as my new force for 9th edition! I’ve played a lot of Necrons and a lot of Dark Eldar during my time with 8th, but I think it was nice to say goodbye to the edition with my new army 🙂

The Warhammer Preview! and some rumours

Hey everybody!
So across both last weekend and this one, Games Workshop have treated us to some previews for upcoming miniatures across all of their main lines!

Warhammer Online Preview

I must admit, I thought we’d get some more interesting stuff than this in the first Preview, but I fully understand that a lot of these miniatures are coming out for lines or systems that I have no interest in. There are some interesting behemoth models for the new High Elves faction in Age of Sigmar, which look like massive Hindu-style deities, that do look pretty great if I were going to be collecting those models!

Lion el’Jonson is coming – but it’s for Horus Heresy, which felt like a bit of a let-down. We still need more loyalist Primarchs in 40k! The Scions of the Flame warband for Warcry don’t really float my boat as much as I was hoping they would, either!

There is an interesting bit of news in the next (seventh) Psychic Awakening book, War of the Spider, which features Talons of the Emperor, Assassins, Death Guard, and a new Heretic Astartes faction that centres around Fabius Bile, who is getting a new mini (at last!)

This one should be interesting, though we still don’t have Necrons!

Fabius Bile looks pretty amazing though – I’m probably not going to branch out any further into Chaos, but I do love that model!

The second Preview took place yesterday, and if I’m being totally honest, I was pretty unimpressed with this one, as well! There was some more info on the upcoming High Elves – they’re getting a similar release to that for the new Sisters back in November, only with full multi-part kits and fancy dice. I’m expecting another sell-out situation, if I’m honest! Blood Bowl is getting some Treemen, and there have been a couple of new Praetors shown off for the Word Bearers – very sexy, they look, as well!



The biggest thing, as far as I’m concerned, though, was the VIII Psychic Awakening book, Pariah, which will involve Ephrael Stern of Daemonifuge fame! I should get round to featuring that graphic novel here on the blog at some point! The miniature looks lovely, and the fact that the book is called Pariah has set the Necron community alight with speculation!

However, I am pretty disappointed to see that Deathwatch and Harlequins are getting their particular updates via White Dwarf, and not a campaign book…

Psychic Awakening has been fairly uneven, to me, at this point. While we’ve had some wonderful updates models for Drahzar, Mephiston and Shadowsun, and the boxset for the Mechanicus that we’re expecting soon is just fabulous! But I feel a little like the boxsets have maybe overshadowed the other releases. I think getting new, plastic Aspect Warriors and Incubi almost set us up for subsequent disappointments, as the following books had a massiv focus on marines above all else, and gave us just one new model. Will we see plastic Pariahs for the Necrons? Who knows. But I wouldn’t bet on it…

I’ve been disappointed, overall, with both of these previews, but all hope isn’t entirely lost, as we have a third one coming along in two weeks’ time! I guess we’ll see if that one will bring more exciting stuff!

I’ve been meaning to talk about the 9th Edition rumours that have been circling for some time, though have never seemed to have the time to get round to it! Back in December, this was published on Faeit 212, which talked about the new edition coming in the summer, and is a “polish / clean-up” of 8th edition, reworking some keywords as well as the Psychic phase. Psychic Awakening was seen as the lead-up to the new edition, much as The Gathering Storm served as the bridge between 7th and 8th editions, but there isn’t a great deal more to go on here. That said – fluff-wise, the Emperor apparently wakes up, though is still bound to the Golden Throne. Interesting…

The rumours have re-appeared in the wake of the coronavirus lockdown, in terms of how the pushed-back release schedule from GW will impact that summer 2020 release date, and the general consensus from the comments is that it probably wouldn’t – something this huge will already be produced, and the subsequent releases further in the year will depend on the summer date being adhered to as far as possible. It makes sense, right?

That said, I find myself feeling a little jaded by the whole thing. I am fairly sure that 8th edition was touted as being as close to a living edition as is possible, kept alive through Chapter Approved each year. Part of me doesn’t want it to be true, for sure, as I’m already fairly heavily invested in the current edition, and I think it would be a kick to the figurative balls if I had to buy a bunch more books for the armies that I collect. (In reality, I’d use this as the excuse that I need to actively thin out most of those armies, and just keep a core handful from there on out).

I could see this as being almost some kind of 8.5 edition, as GW releases a consolidated, revised rulebook that takes account all of the changes that have happened since 2017, and uses that event as the chance to tinker with the Psychic phase, perhaps. We’ve already seen second editions of some codexes now – I think it’s entirely possible that they will put out a bunch of new codexes for the other armies, updating their rules with the Psychic Awakening stuff, and then continue on with the practice of using Chapter Approved to then give out more missions and the like, and address any issues thereafter.

In fact, I could see this as being some kind of major release and them giving all of the armies updated codexes over, say, a two week or maybe month-long release window. Kind of like how 8th edition launched with the Indexes for all factions on day one.

The Indexes do bring me to a sort of interesting point, though. Chapter Approved 2019 came in two parts – the scenarios and missions and new rules, and a pamphlet of all the points changes. I wonder if the Codexes could adopt this approach, and come with a pamphlet that presents all of the datasheets, Index-style, that could be dealt with independently of the codex? So that we have the fluff and the crunch separately? I’m honestly not sure whether I would go for that, as I do like having all of my stuff in just one book, but who knows where we could be going?

I’ve read some fairly intriguing comments about the possible new edition, and I think a lot of people make the valid point that the majority of sales upon launch of a new edition are from the books. People (like myself) who have an army already will only want the rules with which to play that army, and possibly supplement out from there. A great example could be Tomb Blades for the Necrons, which turned into something of a bestseller when the Necron Codex dropped in 7th edition. People already have all the troops they could possibly want – although 8th edition was quite sneaky in how it updated the old force org chart from 2 troops and 1 HQ to 3 troops and 2 HQs to make the staple Battalion formation. While the launch of a new Codex might well bring in a few people who decide they want to start that army – such as myself with Tau a couple of years ago – in the main, the people buying that book already have the models to go along with it.

So I don’t think that Codexes will be going away – and while there are plenty of vocal folks out there who insist on getting digital rules by default, there are plenty of us who also like to have a physical hardback book to use.

I think a new edition is probably inevitable at some point, and it is true that – especially with Psychic Awakening – the rules have gotten too bloated when you’re trying to play the game. However, I would much prefer to see a consolidation of the rules, rather than some kind of overhaul just for the sake of a new edition coming out. I hope that common sense is maintained, though, whatever happens!

Dark Imperium: Plague War

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It’s taken me almost a month to finish reading this book, but I feel like I need to point out that I haven’t been dragging my feet because the book is bad – far from it, it’s a really great 40k story in what I’m coming to think of as the “iconic” mode, as opposed to all of the throwaway stories that I’ve read in the past. But, as I’ve said already, I’ve been moving house, so time has been at a premium!

Plague War follows on from where Dark Imperium finished off, with the stage set for a Guilliman vs Mortarion showdown. In many ways, Plague War is a much better book, as it doesn’t really come with all of the baggage of the new edition that its predecessor had. Rather than reading the book to find out what would be in store for the new Primaris range, we can instead enjoy it on its own merits, and while I think I’ll most likely re-read them both when the inevitable third part comes along, I do think that the second act is definitely stronger.

The first couple of hundred pages feel like they are very deliberately setting the scene for the showdown on the planet Parmenio, presenting us with a number of small vignettes focused on several major characters to the story. We meet Frater Mathieu, who has settled much more into the role of Militant-Apostolic to Guilliman, and is continuing his schemes to make the Primarch a true believer in the divinity of the Emperor. We follow the Guard, as always, alongside some Sisters of Battle as they investigate the presence of a potential Imperial Saint in the city of Tyros, who first appears at the turning point in the battle against the forces of Nurgle. We meet several of Nurgle’s daemons, we catch up a little with Mortarion, and we also get to catch up with the Primaris marine Justinian Parris, who is seconded to the Novamarines following the events of the earlier novel. It’s all a little bit of a jumble – Guilliman himself doesn’t even appear until well over 100 pages, to take delivery of a curious strongbox.

While Mortarion is cooking up something particularly disgusting on Iax, which we got some clues about in book one, his feint on Parmenio is intended to bring Guilliman to his knees, and so the main portion of the book deals with the battle there. There’s only so much disease, filth and ichor that I can really take, but nevertheless, I felt it was somewhat toned down compared with previous Nurgle-centric novels. The Novamarines manage to destroy one of Mortarion’s clocks on the planet, which means that when the daemonic incursion takes place, the Neverborn are at a distinct disadvantage, due to the lack of any Warp power on Parmenio. They still put up a good show, of course, and Guilliman is almost destroyed by Mortarion’s scythe Silence, but at the crucial moment, the Battle Sisters bring the Saint onto the field of battle (defying Guilliman’s express orders) and her mere presence manages to send most of the daemon’s back to the Warp. Mortarion escapes to fight another day, calling out to his estranged brother to follow him to Iax and pretty much setting up the third novel, and the Imperium forces are left to gather their thoughts and their dead.

The fairly ambiguous end sees Roboute Guilliman open the strongbox, and begin to read possibly the only remaining copy of Lorgar’s Lectitio Divinitatus.

I said before, this is a much more enjoyable novel than Dark Imperium, and I suppose part of that has to do with how I approached reading the earlier novel. There is still an element of seeing these sorts of novels as miniatures catalogues, although there aren’t any new miniatures hinted at that I recall. The Astraeus super-heavy tank gets a mention, though, which I suppose was new at the time this book came out!

The novel did feel a lot like a short series of disjointed events for probably the first half, which didn’t really help me get into it too much. It became easy to pick up and put down after a single chapter, rather than wanting to read through for a good period of time. Nevertheless, once the story got underway, it was very enjoyable – though my personal disinterest in Titan warfare meant a particularly long chapter about 3/4 of the way into the book was just tedious to get through.

I thought it was really interesting how the Imperial Saint, Kaylia, was handled, though. She seems to have been just a regular girl who happened to have, to all intents, the Emperor act through her, bringing the cleansing light of His majesty to the disease-ridden battlefields of Parmenio. One of the daemons actually refers to her as “the anathema”, their word for the Emperor, though once this power has proven to be too much for a mere mortal to contain, and she expires as a result, Guilliman writes her off as an unsanctioned Psyker and berates Mathieu for planting the seed that enabled the Battle Sisters to take possession of her. The war between the Primarch and the Ministorum is clearly not over yet!

I do wish that more had been explored of that, but I suppose it’s possible that we’ll see more of it in the next book, which I hope will follow up on a lot of this stuff. Will Roboute Guilliman become a believer? I don’t know what to make of it – and I really don’t know what to make of him. Throughout this and the last book, we are led to believe that Guilliman, once he had come out of stasis thanks to the help of the Ynnari, had a chat with the Emperor on Terra. During the confrontation with Mortarion, however, it is implied that Guilliman did not, which makes me wonder what’s going on there. Is he trying to create some kind of cult of personality around himself, and maybe eventually declare the Emperor to be dead at last? I think he is now aware of the reasons for the Primarch project, and their eventual redundancy, so maybe his loyalty has shifted a little. I’m not trying to say that he is about to fall to Chaos, of course! I’m just wondering if we might be setting up for a further schism on the side of “good”, with the Ministorum heading up a pro-Emperor faction, and Guilliman at the head of his own? Like an Imperium Secundus, but for the modern age? Who knows!

I was a bit disappointed by the actual Guilliman/Mortarion confrontation however, and while inevitable, the fact that pretty much all of the Nurgle commanders escaped to fight another day was disappointing. I suppose it’s difficult to have such a confrontation where, presumably, the author isn’t allowed to kill off such a hugely important character (with a £90 miniature that was only released a year and a half ago…) In addition, the battle involving Typhus was almost entirely a bit of a sideshow, and I can just imagine the Herald of Nurgle twirling his moustache with a snicker and a “until we meet again!”

“You haven’t seen the last of me, muchachos!”

Overall, it’s definitely worth the read, although as the second part of a trilogy it both benefits and suffers, by having a decent story to build out from, albeit with no real sense of closure quite yet.

More Drukhari thoughts

Hey everybody!
Following on from Tuesday’s very rambling post, where I dissected my match against Deathwatch, I thought I’d come back here with some more thoughts on the dark kin. I mentioned in that post how I was thinking about moving away from the now-established Codex army builds, separating my Cult, Coven and Kabal forces, and instead going back to the blended approach from the Index days. Well, I’ve given this some more thought, and I’ve come up with an army list that I’m surprisingly really excited to try out!

The list is at its core a battalion, with five troops choices and two HQs – it’s just that the second HQ is a Haemonculus rather than a second Archon, breaking the Obsessions. I could technically get away with having it as two Patrol detachments, one for the Coven and one for the Kabal, but then I still have the Wych Cult elements to account for and, having no HQ or troop choice in there, this becomes a bit more difficult. So I’ve not bothered.

I’m still getting 8 command points here, and still have the basic Warlord Traits and Relics to choose from, along with a suite of 22 stratagems that I can use, based on the units in the list. When I was thinking about this idea, I mooted it on the Drukhari facebook group, and was kinda shot down for the very notion of even trying it. Some folks did seem a little more open to the idea, but the initial response seemed to be a hearty “no”. I think this is primarily because of people not willing to give up on Agents of Vect, but having never played Black Heart in my life, I think this is hardly a selling point for me to stay within the standard builds.

Between Gangs of Commorragh and all the older Start Collecting boxes I bought, I have a lot of Reaver Jetbikes, which was kinda the starting point for me wanting to do this idea in the first place. A lot of my Index Drukhari lists were primarily Kabal and Coven with some bikers along for the ride, and I found they provided an interesting bit of combat difference for the rest of the army. Especially tooling them up with their specialist wargear, allowing them to dish out mortal wounds when they charge into a unit, or fall back from that unit. So I definitely wanted to include some of these mad biker gangs in there, and thus decided to just break with the whole Obsessions thing and see what happened.

Interestingly, when I mentioned this on the facebook group, someone suggested trying a unit of Kabalites with a blaster inside a Venom – but we’d be looking at well over 100 points for this, whereas the Reavers clock-in around 70ish points.

Having broken this spell, I started looking around a bit more freely at what I would like to include in the list, and struck upon the Beasts. I’d had a Beastmaster and Clawed Fiend hanging about since last year, and had also picked up a Razorwing Flock recently, so decided to go down that route, which proved to be quite easy on the points, as it happens! Much like the Court of the Archon stuff, there is a lot of weird stuff in the Drukhari Codex that I just love, and so decided to go for a real carnival of weird feel to this army list!

The Beasts are a bit of a weird situation in Matched Play games, because you’re basically forced to take them all as one unit, not being able to take Beasts without a Beastmaster, and when you do so, the Beasts don’t take up a force org slot. I suppose it’s there to prevent spamming a lot of the cheap stuff to fill a brigade detachment, but we’re not quite there yet…!

The idea behind my army, then, is to have a Drukhari drive-by style of army, with the Archon and Medusae flying around inside their command Venom, followed closely by the Venom containing a Sybarite with blast pistol and agoniser, sort of acting as the bodyguard. If the threat level requires it, there is the second Venom with a blaster inside to act as a secondary bodyguard, while the main force flies about in Raiders.

I’ve got Haemonculus Coven stuff and the Beasts to work in melee, hopefully destroying a fair few things once the targets have all been softened up by the shooting attacks. Then there are the Reavers to just flit about the field and shoot anything they like, charging into close combat with the rest.

Where Next?
It’s always a little difficult to think about the next steps for these things, when I’ve not even played with this army yet, but I do quite fancy seeing how I could perhaps get some Scourges into the list. I’ve already got a squad of five built up since 7th edition, so I think that’d be good to actually get on and finish these chaps for the table.

Drukhari Scourges Solarite

The jump infantry of the Dark Eldar, Scourges are an interesting choice to me for the sheer amount of fancy weaponry they can take. Coming stock with a shardcarbine, up to four of them can trade that in for a choice of dark lance, heat lance, splinter cannon, haywire blaster, blaster or shredder. The Solarite is also the only model in the army who can take a power lance, which is mainly taken because it looks cool, from what I can gather! I built mine with a dark lance and a splinter cannon, along with two shardcarbines, and the Solarite wielding a splinter pistol and a piece of wargear with no codex entry, the weighted flail. I’m using it as a venom blade, so my squad of five comes in at 92 points. I think I’d probably look at swapping these bird-men in for the Kabalites with a blaster and their venom before I look at increasing the points of the overall list.

Drukhari are very likely going to be a big focus for me as 2019 moves along. It’s an army that I’ve loved since the very first game I had against Blood Angels, and I knew it was something I wanted to pursue and try to improve with. This year, I’ve got quite a few momentous events happening, between hoping to move house at some point over the summer, then the birth of my firstborn due in October – I doubt I’ll have much time to go as wide with the hobby as I have been up to this point!!!!!

Drukhari thoughts…

Hey everybody!
I’m still massively enjoying the new Drukhari codex at the minute, and have been excitedly planning out the list that I want to really concentrate on for the next while. After giving it some thought, I’ve decided to go in something of a different direction to my usual builds, thinking it might be good to break out of the established pattern and go for something new. So I thought I’d write up some of my thoughts for you all, along with presenting the list itself! Grab a cuppa, and let’s take a look!

So it’s a 2000-point list that is staying away from the Raiding Force idea of multiple patrol detachments, primarily because, after having given it some thought, I’ve decided against falling into that trap of The New and The Shiny. Sure, it’s nice that we get a really unique and flavourful rule like this, but I think it has an allure that is distracting from the main focus of what this army needs. I don’t believe we need to go for a whole mass of Command Points, as the army is going to work quite well with the basic stuff you get from a couple of Battalions. The list above will still net me ten CPs, only one off the list I presented at the weekend that was trying to go for all of that Raiding Force stuff. I do believe that we need to stick to a much more focused build when assembling a Drukhari army.

But that’s not to say that we can’t mix it up a bit and have some fun…

The Kabalite part of this that makes up the first Battalion is almost unchanged from the weekend’s list, merely juggling the Warriors about a little in order to make better use of having the Raiders now equipped with Splinter Racks. I don’t throw an awful lot of 6s, but I think the sheer weight of fire that the Raiders will be throwing out should allow for at least a couple of exploding dice here… I’m otherwise keeping things as they were, with the Court and Archons in a Venom, all three squads of Kabalites in Raiders, and a Ravager in the back to punch out some (hopefully!) decent firepower.

Dark Eldar Wyches

Where things get different, however, is that I’ve foregone the Coven builds of my usual lists in favour of Wych Cult stuff! I’ve said it before, I’ve not played a lot of Cult stuff to know what I’m doing or, well, anything, really, so this is going to be quite the learning curve. Let’s get down to some particulars.

I’m still taking Kabal of the Obsidian Rose, allowing me to gain those 6 extra inches on my weapons, which will hopefully allow me to keep things at bay while I move my Cult models into position, maybe allowing for some extra time to properly threat-assess the situation. For my Cult, I’m going with Cult of the Cursed Blade, which gives me +1 strength and ensures I only lose one model to failed morale tests. Cursed Blade also have the nice Concealed Booby Traps stratagem that dishes out mortal wounds to charging enemies. It’s a little situational, as it requires the Cursed Blade unit to be in terrain, but it’s so thematic that I just love it! They also have the relic that allows your Succubus to blow up, which is another wonderfully thematic idea!

Now, I’m actually thinking of not using the Alliance of Agony stratagem to dish out an additional Warlord Trait to a Succubus, as much as I do enjoy the Treacherous Deceiver trait. There are a lot of flying Wych Cult units in this list, and so I can see myself wanting to use Eviscerating Fly-by as often as possible; it only costs one CP, but I also think Hyperstimm Backlash is going to be another popular one for me, and so having these Wych Cult units in my force is opening up more doors!

I’m excited to use Hellions in a big way, as I’ve only used them once previously, and I don’t think I really did well with them. In particular, I think the hit and run ability should be something that is pretty much abused for all its worth, falling back to allow the unit tangled up with them to be shot at, then charging back into any survivors. I’ve had some success with Reavers in the past, although again, I think I’m not using them particularly well. For the moment, I’m not bothering with either cluster caltrops or a grav talon, although I have lots of the jetbikes modeled with both. I think I might be tweaking this list for some time once I get playing it, so there’s always more opportunity to add in specific bits. Each of those only costs 3 points, as well, so it’s not going to be exceptionally difficult to fiddle.

I’m most excited to be including Incubi, however! Now, it’s true, these aren’t the official Incubi models, but rather Wildwood Rangers that I’ve barely done any work to make them into Incubi. I’ve still got five more to build, though, so I’m thinking I might do a bit more to incorporate them into the Drukhari feel. At 160 points for ten, they are quite expensive, but then they’re a big blob of elite warriors, so it’s probably to be expected. I’m incorporating them into the Wych Cult side of the army simply because they too are melee-orientated, but as Blades for Hire, it doesn’t really matter where they go, I suppose.

As an aside, I’m also weighing up the option of swapping out the Incubi for Mandrakes – I’ve been giving it some vague thought, and I’m currently planning to convert up some Namarti Thralls once they’re released in a little under two weeks’ time, having not been entirely satisfied with my use of Sylvaneth Tree-Revenants. I think these blind chaps might prove to be very atmospheric, and I’m sure I can paint them to blend in to the rest of my force quite nicely! And both Mandrakes and Incubi weigh in at the same points cost for ten, so it’s easy to swap them around as required!

So there you have it, my current plans for my Dark Eldar / Drukhari army post-Codex. While I have the Kabalite side painted up and ready as it stands, I think I’m still quite a way off having the Wych Cult side ready. I know for sure I still have some “Incubi” to build, and likely some Wyches, too. At least I have a bit of a focus now, however, so I’m hoping that will help me to get moving with painting up some units ready to have some games!

Next week, I’ll be moving back to the Tau, and updating you all with my progress there – stay tuned!

The Devastation of Baal

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Well folks, it took me long enough, but I’ve finally made it to the end of this book! That’s not to say that I wasn’t enjoying my time on the Blood Angels’ homeworld during a Tyranid attack – the book is actually really good, with some tremendous action scenes, as well as being quite thought-provoking.

I think the main reason I found this heavy-going at times was just how arduous those action scenes can be. We get about 200 pages of space marines fighting Tyranids, and it did become a bit much after a while. There is enough peppered throughout to keep interest, don’t get me wrong, but I just found it difficult to want to return to that melee day after day.

Another reason why I found this to be quite heavy-going is the simple fact that I’m not that big of a Blood Angels fan. For sure, I enjoy the sons of Sanguinius as much as any other casual space marine fan, but I’m not overly interested in them to the exclusion of all else. And I think this is a major point for this book – if you’re a Blood Angels fan, you’ll absolutely love it. There’s nothing but wall-to-wall red armour where everything is named something to do with blood. We get a lot of Commander Dante, and learn what it’s like to be the oldest-living space marine of the Imperium.

So, the story is basically the attack on Baal from Hive Fleet Leviathan, in what often feels like a follow-up to the Shield of Baal series from 2014. Oddly, though, while it does feel like a follow-up, a lot of what is referenced comes from the campaign books, and not another novel, which just feels a little disjointed to me! Anyway, after a long preamble where the various successor chapters of the Blood Angels gather to accept Dante’s leadership, the Shadow in the Warp descends and the Tyranids begin their attack. After a gruelling battle, where Baal and its moons is basically devastated (well, it’s in the title…) the xenos are beaten back and Guilliman shows up with loads of new Primaris Space Marines.

A lot of people have already been talking about how Guilliman saves the day yet again, and have voiced their complaints that the novel falls down because of the over-use of this device. However, I have to say that I don’t really share this view. True, the Tyranid attack stops and the Indomitus Crusade shows up, but it doesn’t truly feel like Guilliman actually defeats them. Dante and his combined Blood Angels forces do the vast majority of the fighting, and Guilliman himself actually ascribes the victory to Dante. Instead, Guilliman really only shows up for the clean-up. The main turning point comes when Cadia falls, light-years from Baal, and the Cicatrix Maledictum basically destroys the Hive Mind’s synapse long enough for the Tyranids to actually be beaten back.

Leaving entire chapters-worth of Primaris marines behind does feel a bit like a forced ending, of course, as we essentially have the Blood Angels updated for 8th Edition. Now you too can field countless droves of Primaris marines in your Blood Angels army, because Guy Haley told you it’s what happens! Seriously, it’s not the worst way of bringing this development into canon. There is an interesting scene near the end between Dante and Gabriel Seth of the Flesh Tearers, where Seth calls the Primaris replacements for the marines, and their lack of the genetic flaws of the Blood Angels means that, while they may wear the colours, they will never be true sons of Sanguinius. Which is an interesting way of looking at things, to be sure.

Dante’s reaction is similarly thought-provoking, as he seems to have a bit of an epiphany whereby his attempts to preserve the Chapter almost cause Baal to be lost to the xenos. It makes the reader question whether space marines are too caught-up in their own past glories, and whether they really are willing to lay down their lives in service of preserving the Imperium. It’s a subtle point, but I really found it intriguing.

Of course, fans have been endlessly discussing the scene between Dante and Seth, and whether there will be a civil war between the old marines and the new. While we’ve been seeing fractures already like this, I don’t think GW is going to go down this route too much, as I can see it causing further problems with the integration of the product line. People already hate them, it seems, so why encourage that divide? Doubtless, it would be interesting, but I don’t foresee anything too much just now.

Anyway, overall this was a good book, and fans of the Blood Angels will of course love it more than anyone!

Getting into 8th Edition

Hey everybody!
I’ve talked a lot about Warhammer 40k 8th Edition on my blog this summer, as I was increasingly excited for the new edition of one of the most popular wargames around. Well, I’ve been playing quite a bit of it now, as well, so wanted to come back here and give some general thoughts and ramblings about what I think of the new experience!

I talked about my first game of 8th back in the middle of July, and have since played three further games, for a grand total of four: two with Necrons, and two with Dark Eldar. Three of those games were against the same guy and his Orks, and I’ve also played against Blood Angels. So!

Warhammer 40k

First of all, I have to say that the game is just so much better than it was during 7th. 8th Edition has been out only a couple of months, and already I’ve played more games of it than I had during the entire run of 7th. In part this is due to my circumstances changing, as I finished with my degree course right when 8th came out, so never really had the time in the last edition – but then, I still had some time, but could never really fathom the complicated rules set in order to spend an entire day playing through a game. So there is that to consider.

8th Edition also just flows much more smoothly. I’m still very new to the game, with just 4 games to my name right now, so I can’t pretend to be some kind of expert, but I have to say, it’s a lot easier to just get on with a game rather than going through the endless, “What does this do again?” sort of book-keeping. So I do enjoy that.

Warhammer 40k

I think the way that combat has been streamlined, it has led to a lot more cinematic moments being achieved. True, it was always possible to get exciting times during 7th, but the fact that you’re not consulting endless charts and trying to remember stats and equations means you can focus instead on what is happening in the game. Such as my Necron Overlord swooping down onto a group of Boyz and a Warboss to avenge the savage beating of a phalanx of Lychguard. There wasn’t a lot of, “Now, this is an open-topped skimmer, so it can go so many inches, and the guy inside can still do his thing…” and all the rest of it. You just move, shoot, charge and smash face! I like that a lot.

I never played Dark Eldar in 7th, but I have been enjoying them tremendously so far in 8th. Only had two games with them, but I think they definitely feel like the kind of army I like. There’s a lot going on with them, and trying to find a good balance within that army has been causing me some head-scratching as I write up list after list of potential musters, but I think it’s the sort of army that I’m going to enjoy trying to get to grips with, which is the main thing for me!

Warhammer 40k

I had my most recent game with the army just last Friday, which is part of the reason why I wanted to write this blog for today. I’d been going quite heavily into the Kabal route from the start with these guys, but as I’ve managed to bring them to the table, I’m enjoying the Covens units so much that I feel I may begin to slant my build more towards the flesh-sculptors. Wracks are a unit type that I never thought I’d enjoy having as much as I currently do, being really quite a diverse bunch. We were talking on Friday about how they’re basically a close-combat orientated unit, yet the Acothyst can take what is essentially a sniper rifle, which just seemed to blow a lot of peoples’ minds. Getting into close combat, with a haemonculus nearby to buff their toughness and a Cronos to allow for re-rolling failed to wound rolls, it can be very useful!

I’ve yet to try out any Wych Cult units in my army, so I think the Reavers and Wyches may be making an appearance next time, just to see what happens!

Of course, as I said before, there is a lot going on with them, and I don’t ever seem capable of remembering Power From Pain for these chaps! Turn 1 shrugging off wounds on a 6 is stupidly useful, yet can I remember I can do that? Of course not! I definitely need to get more games in where I can try to remember these things!

So all in all, 8th Edition has done something that 7th never could, and gotten me wanting to play 40k with more regularity than I ever thought possible. I’m definitely pleased to be in the hobby right now, but more than just for the artistry of building and painting minis, but for playing games with them, too!

Getting into 8th

Not too long ago, I had my first game of Warhammer 40k 8th Edition, so thought that I’d ramble about my experiences for a bit in today’s game day blog!

I’ve been loving 40k for a long while now, but the arrival of 8th Edition last month really has me firmly on that path now. I’ve previously talked about my experiences playing 7th Edition here, as well as my first impressions on the new edition here, so it might be useful to take a look at these blogs as a bit of background!

I played a game of roughly 40 power against Orks, having arranged the game with a guy at my local GW. Having only played against Imperial Guard in all of my games of 7th, I was really excited to see what was in store for me! I’ve heard the tales of Orks from watching bat-reps around the internet, of course, and was prepared for waves of the greenskin menace and bucketfuls of dice, but it was really cool to see what was in store!

Necrons Overlord

The armies

(Again, I didn’t have my phone with me, so couldn’t take pictures, so there will be some generic indicative stuff on offer!)

My list shows off my usual love for Lychguard, though coming in at 8 power per squad, they are a bit of a points-sink. I had an Overlord leading two 10-man Immortal squads, both armed with gauss blasters. One squad of Lychguard were armed with warscythes, and another with hyperphase swords. To round things out, I also included my squad of Wraiths. In total, I had 45 power.

Robin’s Orks consisted of two squads of twenty Boyz, led by a Warboss, along with a Weirdboy, a Painboy, and two Killa Kanz, for a total of 40 power.

The game started fairly sedately, as I moved one squad of Immortals up the field and shot at the first squad of Boyz, but only managed to get rid of one of the buggers. Orks turn one saw the Weirdboy use Da Jump to move the second squad of Boyz almost to my table edge, which allowed them to charge into one of my groups of Immortals that turn. However, these Immortals were also very close to my Lychguard with scythes, and as luck would have it, I was able to start laying into close combat with them from my turn two.

Indeed, sensing the desire to be in close combat early from the Orks, I basically allowed the army to come to me, and while it would have been more useful to have had more Lychguard on hand to start slicing up the big fungus creatures, I think it was still good to see how the army worked. I charged my Wraiths across the board into the first group of Boyz, who were by now in combat with my Immortals, and the centre of the table quickly became a gross tar-pit of metal and green.

In the event, my Lychguard were quite effective at carving up both squads of Boyz, and despite the Killa Kanz killing my warlord, he was avenged when one remaining Lychguard with a warscythe managed to carve up one of the Kanz, which caused the other one to run away! I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Lychguard are amazing! Both as a kit and on the tabletop!

So what are my thoughts?

Aside from Lychguard being awesome, I think the main thing for me is to not really bother with large units for Reanimation Protocols. The way this rule works now initially prompted me to automatically think of max-strength units (which is still only ten models for Immortals, Lychguard, Deathmarks and Praetorians – the only Infantry models I like). However, while it is undoubtedly useful to think of it like this, I had two ten-man Immortal squads which were tied up quite quickly in close combat, and so were basically neutered early on. Having a lot of smaller squads carefully positioned should at least allow me to have some models that can shoot, as even a green horde can’t tie up every single one!

While gauss has that wonderful -2AP, I think I want to invest in some more tesla Immortals, as I think the hit rolls of 6 becoming three hits could be really good. Indeed, I think I want to do more with tesla in general – that Annihilation Barge should really be finished off soon!

I tend to go for a lot of Infantry in all of my army lists, as I enjoy having miniatures in a miniature wargame. However, I think it might be tactically prudent to include a healthy dose of other things – the aforementioned Annihilation Barge being a case in point. Necrons don’t have a great variety of stuff, of course, but I think I want to do more with the Catacomb Command Barge. Depending on how vehicle-heavy I go, I might try to get more Canoptek stuff such as the Spyder into the list, also. Against horde armies, I don’t think the Doomsday Ark is going to be much use, though for pinpoint destruction it could be fun. The Triarch Stalker looks like it could be good, too – expensive, of course, but I’m also thinking about getting that model finished soon. I’m certainly looking to change up my lists a little – though I’m doubtless going to keep a core of Immortals and Lychguard because these units are my favourites!

Army-wide Leadership 10 is really useful for the Necrons. Even when my Lychguard were being picked off one at a time, nobody was running away. The new way of working out to wound rolls was so much better than 7th -I was still having to check the toughness of the Orks I was hacking apart, but I think it went to much quicker than trying to remember that bloody chart from the last edition. It may just be me being thick, of course! But I think this is a hallmark of the new edition – certainly, as much as I can make such a statement after only one game: everything just moves along quite nicely! We were playing a small game, of course – a small number of units per side, and only having three command points each to use meant we both pretty much re-rolled something, and interrupted each others’ combats once. But it didn’t feel as bogged-down as my previous games of 7th have felt, and while it took 3 hours, I think that was definitely more because we were both quite new (well, I was brand new!) to the rules. I’ve previously set aside entire days for one single game of 7th, so I definitely appreciated how quick you can move through a game.

I didn’t really have a plan for my battle. I started out wanting to get a sort of firing corridor for my Immortals, but the Orks’ charge just floored me and so I was put onto the back foot. While I could adapt a little and managed to charge my Lychguard into a couple of combats, I think overall I need to have a little more flexibility into the list to allow for shooting and melee, and a little bit of shenanigans as well. I think this is where Deathmarks could come in handy, as they can teleport onto the battlefield and snipe at characters etc. Synaptic disintegrators aren’t the greatest weapon in the arsenal, of course, but with My Will Be Done giving them +1 to hit if there’s a nearby Overlord, it could be decent enough!

Necrons Deathmarks

Overall, I really enjoyed this game, and I’m looking forward to getting up to the store for more games soon! It took 3 hours to play, as I said, mainly because we were both quite new to the game (though also the fact that Necrons are very tough to get rid of, even when my reanimation protocols aren’t going too good – I was still getting at least a couple of models back each turn!)

Definitely excited to not only play more 8th with my Necrons, but also to get some experience with more armies!

Warhammer 40k: First Strike

Warhammer 40,000 First Strike

Folks, this box is amazing. £25 gets you a total of 15 miniatures, including the new Reivers for the Primaris Marines, as well as three new-pose Intercessors, three new-pose Death Guard, and six alternate-looking Poxwalkers. Additionally, you get pretty much everything you need to start playing games right there and then – dice, measuring thing, a poster-map, and the inner tray of the box doubles as a terrain piece. The only think you’re missing when you buy this is another person to play against, really!

Warhammer 40,000 First Strike

There are a couple of books in here, one of which is a sort of background book that also has handy stuff about assembling and painting miniatures, and the other is the original 8-page rules pamphlet thing included in the Dark Imperium box, conflated with some of the additional rules content like missions etc. You also get datasheet-cards for each of the four types of miniatures included, which I really enjoy and would probably buy versions of them for all of my other armies, should GW ever feel the need to put this sort of thing into circulation (hint, hint).

Forget all of the naysayers who decry push-fit, “easy to build” miniatures. These things are as detailed as any other Citadel miniature, and just because you can’t get your space marine’s arm at precisely the right angle is not reason enough to dismiss these things, in my view! Sure, I’m looking forward to the proper multi-part plastic kits that will hopefully be on their way soon, but for now, I’m fine with this stuff!

Primaris Space Marines

With the release of the Codex: Space Marines on the horizon, I’m looking forward to seeing what else will be coming out to support the line of new Primaris stuff. I caught the chat with Phil Kelly on Thursday talking about the new stuff, where he showed off an image of some new and some old Chapters in Primaris armour, and have started to think about adding some to my Novamarines as well as doing the Dark Imperium box as Genesis Chapter. Might do a couple of squads as Novamarines when the proper kits drop, we’ll see.

In addition to the Repulsor Tank and the Redemptor Dreadnought though, there are rumours flitting about that we’ll be seeing Apothecaries, Chaplains and “something heavy”, a cross between Centurions and Terminators. That could be great, though I’m also a bit concerned it could look silly. I guess we’ll have to wait and see! But I am looking forward to seeing how they grow this new line, no matter how much the internet wants it to go away.

First Strike is an incredibly good value way to get into 40k, and I would go as far as to say everybody who bought the Dark Imperium box should also get this, just for the alternative pose miniatures to pepper through their existing squads. Definitely worth picking up for £25!