Happy Solstice

Hey everybody,
Christmas is approaching, for those of you with the inclination, but the recent announcements over lockdowns in the UK has seemingly put a damper on things. This is as much as I’ll talk about with politics, of course, as I try to make this blog more of a haven from such things, but I think I’ll probably be posting a lot over the coming days as I try to take my mind off things – and, hopefully, yours, too!

It was my birthday on Friday, and I had a decent haul of Arkham Horror LCG stuff, which was great! I mean, a couple of those bits I’d kept back from recent purchases, such as the Dexter Drake novella and Guardians of the Abyss. I think the birthday haul is pretty indicative of what is on my radar right now, though – between the card game and Necromunda! I haven’t had a proper chance to do more than flick through House of Artifice, but I’m looking forward to digesting that over the coming days! I do want to get another game of Necromunda in at some point, even if it is by myself, because I’m really hooked right now!

I have started to play Lord of the Rings again, though, thinking that I’d start off with Passage Through Mirkwood, the introductory scenario. And it absolutely brutalised me! I had a very bad series of draws from the encounter deck, and playing two-handed was obviously increasing the cards seen over the course of the game, but jeez!

There are a couple of things that I want to mention here, of course. First of all, playing two-handed is actually a real joy. I had the odd moment of “where am I up to?” of course, but those tended to be in the late game where a lot was going on, already. I think perhaps playing two investigators in Arkham Horror has prepared me well for this one, and I think in part that, in comparison, Lord of the Rings is definitely a much simpler game. It surprised me because there is a much more linear plan for the game: you do the same thing round after round, and the variety of it all comes from the different cards being revealed from the encounter deck. Having played a lot of Arkham Horror lately, which has got that element of a board game from having investigators moving around different locations, and the RPG feel of leveling-up cards etc, it gives for a much more complex game. While there are those elements in common, such as effectively playing against the encounter deck and such, it really surprised me that I had that feeling!

Of course, the decks that I was playing were not really built for this way of playing – each one was effectively a solo deck, so they could have dealt with the majority of the game by themselves. As such, I think I could tweak the decks back to dual-sphere and have each one cover the other better.

Interestingly, I went back to basics on this one as well, and read through the instruction manual, as well as watching the tutorial stuff again, and tried to get it right. Back when I first started playing this game, in 2011, I had incorporated a couple of house rules I suppose, to make it more manageable for actual solo play, and I just kept playing it that way. The ‘Basic Game’ as explained in the rulebook does suggest not revealing shadow cards while you get into it, and I’ve played that way pretty much ever since! I was also playing the game whereby if I had optionally engaged an enemy, I would attack it first rather than allowing for all enemies to attack me first, regardless of who engaged who. In my mind, it made sense that I would be able to do this, because otherwise it’s the equivalent of going up to someone for a fight, and letting them hit you first? Of course, there are player cards that allow you to dodge attacks and the like, but it always struck me as really odd that I couldn’t natively attack first when it was my choice to engage with that enemy!

Anyhow, playing the game correct, I thought, would be a lot of work, but as it happened the first game was over in 5 rounds, as I was just unable to overcome the threats in the staging area, due to bad draws from both the encounter and player decks! Any allies that I had were dying to enemy attacks as I threw them under the bus to just try to deal damage to the enemies engaged with me, but as time went on, I had to throw my heroes at them as defenders, meaning I was in a holding pattern of doom until round 5, when four of my six heroes were killed off. It was shocking!

I did later that same day play again, after briefly considering trying out the official Easy Mode of removing some of the encounter cards, but in the end went for a straightforward shuffle-up-and-reset, and I managed to prevail. The game was a lot longer than I’d expected, though I think that was in part because of the two-handed thing, but also simply because I was trying to defeat Ungoliant’s Spawn, which was the fourth card from the bottom of the deck. Still playing without shadow cards, I wasn’t drawing as many encounter cards as perhaps I could have been!

It’s interesting though, to me, that playing without shadow cards can be such a dual-edged sword; on the one hand, you’re potentially buffing enemies when they can already be a bit unwieldy, but almost in return you get to cycle through the encounter deck quicker, and can potentially avoid having so many locations or so many enemies coming into play. I suppose this is something to think about when we’re talking about implementing house rules or whatever – the game has been tested to play in a certain way, and is as balanced as possible based on its own rules. Adding to these, or changing things, can tip that balance and sometimes lead to a less-than-optimum experience. Certainly something I need to bear in mind when I’m complaining about “how tough is this game?!”

Lord of the Rings LCG

I’m still going to be playing through one of these cycles over the Christmas period – at least one, maybe more! – so look forward to hearing more of my musings as I properly get back into what I have always been calling my favourite game!

I picked up the latest White Dwarf this morning and, as I have the day off (yay!) I had a fairly leisurely breakfast while flicking through its pages. There’s a lot of Age of Sigmar stuff in there, which I kinda glossed over because I’m not big into Spiderfang Grots, but I was reading Robin Cruddace’s column on the new 40k rules, and it was quite interesting to see why they changed some of the rules from 8th to 9th edition.

I’ve talked briefly about this recently, but in some ways I think 9th edition coming out in the middle of a global pandemic, when there are so many restrictions in place that the GW stores themselves can’t even run demos of the game or have people in there for any longer than absolutely necessary, does seem to be a bit of a swing and a miss. Any sort of excitement around the new edition has been, for me, tempered by the fact that I couldn’t immediately play it, and the few games that I have managed to play since it arrived were a weird sort of hodge-podge of rules, in part because I was playing an 8th edition codex in a new game. Granted, it wasn’t massively different, though for something like Necrons, trying to play with the army when Reanimation Protocols had changed, but we didn’t have the rest of the rules yet, was such a weird experience. Now, I know plenty of other folks will have been through the pain barrier between editions where they’re using a book from an edition or two ago, but it’s difficult to get my head around!

It’s curious, although perhaps not totally unexpected, to see how I’ve almost gone off 40k in recent weeks. I think the lack of any outlet to play has a lot to do with this, as I’ve got no real motivation to paint anything up while there’s no end in sight to these lockdowns! I’ve moved into solo-able games so much that 40k has almost been left behind, but I do think it’s about time I used some of the down-time to get some projects finished, so that I can play with fully painted models when this is all over! I’m sure there’ll be more on this to come in the next couple of weeks – if only from the now-inevitable Hobby Resolutions blog! Now is not the time for a retrospective on that one, of course, but it’s definitely been a mixed bag in 2020, with some successes as well as some that have fallen by the wayside. Stay tuned for that blog, coming up sometime next week, no doubt!

Necrons in 9th

Hey everybody,
It’s been a long time since I’ve talked about Necrons on my blog, and I haven’t actually talked about 9th edition, despite having a couple of games before the second lockdown! I really need to catch up. I think 9th has been a strange time for me, as it’s been tough to get into it all with having only played a couple of games and all, but I really need to get to grips with the changes, as I want to be ready for when the world returns to normal!

In 9th edition, there’s a lot of stuff going on for armies – there’s an element of customization that I hadn’t really expected, but I’m really pleased to see for the game. Within the game, objectives have been shuffled around a bit so that we’ve now got the option to choose what we’re attempting to do within the scope of the mission, including taking actions instead of the usual shooting or melee combat. With the codex releases, we’re getting faction-specific objectives as well, which aid with the feel of really playing your guys.

Something that I really like is the addition of Cryptek Arkana, which are a bit like relics but better, on the whole, and come with a points/power cost to add to your Cryptek models. It’s a bit like the old fifth edition stuff we had, where you could make your Cryptek a Harbinger of something, which would open up a suite of effects for the model.

This brings me on to the list. I’ve talked before about building my Necrons list for 8th edition where I built around a couple of units, and with this one I’ve gone for the starting point of a Psychomancer. The model isn’t actually out yet, but does look so wonderfully weird that I’m really looking forward to getting one when they make it available!

It really shows how insane Crypteks can get, removing parts of their bodies because why wouldn’t you? I do like the new plastic model that came out a few years back, and he’s also taking part in the army, but it’s the Psychomancer that I’ve chosen to give a piece of Arkana to – his special ability, Harbinger of Despair, causes negative effects to units close to him, so the Atavindicator seems like a natural choice, causing mortal wounds in a similar manner. I find him a very interesting model, though, with having former relics as his standard wargear – the abyssal lance and the nightmare shroud.

Necrons Thoky Dynasty

The plastic Cryptek has been renamed the Technomancer, interestingly. I think the old finecast model can also form the same role, as his weird bit of tech in his right hand (didn’t it used to be the chronometron?) can be used to represent the Canoptek control node, the alternative piece of wargear which adds 1 to the hit rolls of nearby Canoptek units. But I’ve taken the cloak, which still allows the model to double his movement and fly.

Now then. The army is sort of built with having the Psychomancer doing stuff, but he does need to get pretty close to the enemy to do his thing – 12″ for the Harbingers of Despair effect, 6″ for the nightmare shroud ability. At least the Atavindicator is 18″, and causes mortal wounds, which is quite a powerful.

To help with this, I have some Deathmarks who can pop out of their hyperspace oubliette and make a shooting attack when an enemy unit is set up from reserves (although at the cost of 1 command point now – but the synaptic disintegrator has been beefed up!) If they’re not being used for this, however, they can still pop up and provide support for the Cryptek, and now that they’re shooting with a S5, AP-2 weapon which deals mortal wounds on unmodified 6s can be quite a threat, which I enjoy.

Of course, there are some elements that I would say are “standard” for the Necron army – the Catacomb Command Barge as the warlord, three groups of Immortals (tesla has increased in price between 8th and 9th edition, it seems, so I’m sticking with two groups of gauss and just the one tesla cohort), and something that I’m really enjoying at the moment, the Triarch Stalker. It still has the targeting relay rule that allows for friendly units to re-roll hits of 1 if they shoot the same target, which is very nice. It’s also come down in points – I think the 8th edition cost for the Stalker with twin heavy gauss cannon was over 140 points. So that’s always nice!

However, mine is quite a long way from being a finished mini!

I’m sticking with Mephrit dynasty, though it’s worth pointing out that dynastic codes (much like all such “chapter tactics”) now have several rules built in, and not just one. Mephrit still has their improve AP by 1 when within half range, but now adds 3″ to all ranged weapons (except pistols), and allows you to pick both effects from the Protocol of the Vengeful Stars.

Protocol of what, now?

Adding to the tactical complexity, Necrons also have Command Protocols that function similar to the Space Marines combat doctrines, where you pick an effect to be in play for each battle round. Unlike the dynastic codes, all of the units in my list have the Command Protocols rule, indeed it’s only the C’tan Shards (and Tesseract Vault) that don’t have the rule. Provided that my warlord is a Necrons Noble unit, which the Command Barge is, and provided that all of my units are of the same dynasty, which they are, the rule will affect any unit that is within 6″ of a character. Each Protocol has two parts, and when that Protocol becomes active, I get to choose one of those parts to take effect – except for the Vengeful Stars, which my choice of dynasty allows me to keep both effects. Which is nice, as the effects are to improve the AP of each ranged attack on an unmodified 6, and enemy units within half range do not get the benefit of cover against my ranged attacks.

Very nice!

I was prepared for 9th edition to drive up the cost of a lot of my units, but in a 1500 point list, I’m quite pleased to see that I’ve actually ended up with a list pretty similar in size to my usual army. I have no idea how long it’s going to be until we can play games once more – I’m currently living in Tier 2 restrictions in England, so households cannot mix, but hopefully the new year will see these being lifted and life getting back to something like normal. So I need to be ready with my tiny painted men!

The scope here will be to get the Triarch Praetorians, Triarch Stalker and Canoptek Wraiths painted up, and then the Psychomancer whenever he gets released. Doesn’t sound insurmountable, does it?

Grey Knights, 2020 Edition!

Hey everybody!
It’s that time of year when I start to get back into the Grey Knights army, and I think after yesterday’s reflections on the hobby goals from this year, as well as starting to read the second book in the Grey Knights omnibus, I’m really back in the mood for the knights of Titan!

This year, I’ve not yet managed to get very far with my original plans for painting up an actual army of these guys. Of course, I’ve expanded out my guys from merely having that Grand Master painted, and now have the Chaplain and a Strike Squad painted, but I feel like I definitely need to get more models painted!

As a finished squad, I think they look great, which I hope will prompt me into finishing more and more of these chaps as I go! I have a mostly-painted Purifier Squad still hanging about as well, so I do need to get on with those guys, as it’s been almost two years that they have been waiting. Definitely need to crack on there.

Having a look at the models that I have right now, I’m quite surprised at just how many points that I can field. Of course, some bits and pieces have gone up a bit since 8th, but I’m hovering around the 2000-point level, when I throw in the Stormraven Gunship and the Land Raider Crusader that I’ve saved from the Dark Angels cull. Trying to fit this into something approximating an actual army, though, I’ve so far got my list up to 1300 points:

Thinking about how I could bring this up to 1500 points, I might get some more Paladins in there, although I am quite keen on another Purgation Squad, all-incinerators.

With the new rules from Ritual of the Damned, I’ve been seeing some interesting tactical ideas around the famed Paladin-bomb, tooling a full squad of ten with four special weapons, probably Psilencers for the weight of shots, and buff them with the new psychic powers to wreak havoc:

Four psilencers is 24 shots hitting on 3s, and at S4 they’re most likely going to be wounding on 4s, with no AP and D3 damage each. The new powers and litanies, however, you can boost the range of the weapon to 30″ with one chaplain, you could improve the AP to -1 with a second chaplain, and you could re-roll hits if the enemy is within 15″. This is in addition to the pre-existing psychic power that lets you target an enemy unit that isn’t visible to the shooter. Paladins are of course Terminators, so they can be targets for the new Fury of the Proven stratagem, which gives them +1 to hit, in addition to the older Psychic Onslaught stratagem that can give the weapon +1 strength and a further AP improvement to -2. I mean, this is going to be a horrendous investment of points – that 10-man Paladin Squad alone is 508 points! – but it could be a glorious moment in the battle!

I’m not sure where I want to take the force yet, but I’m definitely going to try and paint up more of the models that have been languishing in disarray for the last twelve months or more – stay tuned for more updates on this one, as well as the review of Dark Adeptus once I’ve finished that one!

New Necrons!

Wow. The amount of new stuff Necrons are getting right now is crazy. It’s taken me a while to get round to this blog because it has felt a bit like the landscape has been changing continually over the last few weeks (and I’ve also been on holiday, and life has been taken up with real stuff). But here we are! With the exciting new world of Necrons for 9th Edition coming our way!

Yes, Reanimation Protocols are changed, and it’s quite the lengthy wall of text there! There are some good bits and some bad bits, so let’s take a look at this step by step. First of all, Reanimation Protocols are rolls immediately after an attack ends. So that is a hell of a buff, right there – your opponent is going to have to really double down and hope that their shooting or melee attacks will take out the unit in one single attack. No more getting two or three units to each have a shot at eliminating a unit! Excellent! Next, you roll a number of dice equal to the number of wounds each model lost has. So if three Lychguard die, you’re rolling six dice. The sad thing here is that you’re only rolling dice for the models lost there and then. I guess Necrons probably needed some kind of cap or limit here, because being able to still attempt to bring a unit back in turn four or five when the models were lost in turn one is a bit too much – I only hope that the new points we’re expecting will reflect the fact that we’re now only buying a model potentially once, rather than assuming you’ll at least be able to use each model twice in the army, as was the case for most of 8th edition.

There has been a lot of bile and vitriol in the Necrons Facebook group, but I think this is based on the idea of still having units costed as expensively as they are right now. There are also elements of the fact we’re looking at character models or others with multiple wounds that won’t all successfully reanimate each time, and so on, but I think we need to be serious here: Necrons could play really powerfully well if your opponent is unlucky. I’ve had some games where my destroyed models are maybe 2-3 by the game’s end, because units keep coming back. I may have started the game with three units of Immortals, but over the course of that game, I’ve probably used the equivalent of five units of Immortals, compared with how many were destroyed and have come back.

I’ll get off the soapbox now, but suffice it to say, a lot of people are upset at the wording of the new RP rules, but personally I think that we just need to look at different build options for the new edition.

The preview that went up earlier this week with the new RP rules also confirmed that we’ll be getting our own version of combat doctrines, called command protocols. These sound like they might be good – assign one to each of the five rounds of combat, and each one has two effects. When that round begins, pick an effect to use. (There is at least one way that I’ve seen for us to use both effects, as well, so that’s pretty good!) A lot of folks were a bit disappointed with the Psychic Awakening book for Necrons, as it didn’t actually have anything for us in beyond the rules for the new Illuminor Szeras model, but at least it’s not been too long to wait for the new book (although that is probably a whole other story!)

It seems that everything that had come with those green rods – so every unit released before the 2011 re-design of Necrons – is being re-jigged to some extent, and I think the one people are perhaps overlooking the most (given the sheer amount of new stuff coming out!) is the Monolith. This is a pretty nice new model, let’s be honest, and I think I’ll definitely be getting one as a nice centrepiece for the force (until I eventually cave and buy the Silent King!) I just hope they still have the rules to allow them to work as a transport, as well!

Speaking of new models, we’ve got so many more of them on the way!

There are a couple more Crypteks coming out, the Chronomancer and the Pscychomancer – which, together with the Plasmancer from the Indomitus box means we’re still two short of the full suite of five from the hallowed book from 5th edition! Geomancers and Ethermancers would complete the set, but those don’t seem to have been previewed yet – they’re either a surprise, or have been forgotten about.

With so many new HQs coming our way, people have been postulating whether we’ll be seeing a return of the Royal Court, where you can take a group of HQs in the configuration of 0-5 Crypteks, and 0-5 Lords. It’s an interesting idea, given that we’ve already seen the return of the different style of Crypteks, so I guess we’ll see what the Codex brings. (I’m thinking, though, that if it were possible we’d have seen it previewed already).

Now, something very interesting is happening with Necrons in 9th edition, and that’s the fact the lore is somewhat being reimagined to incorporate more of these ideas of a failing in the technology that has kept the Necrons going for so long. No longer is their tech beyond the understanding of many of us, but rather we’re seeing warriors that look more like metallic zombies, with parts of their armour falling off and failing following the aeons of slumber, and the Destroyer cults are being more fully explored, as we see various types of these crazed killers realised in plastic. The regular Destroyers that we’ve previously enjoyed are potentially having a rebrand as Lokhurst Destroyers, using the floating platforms of doom to get about, while we have the Skorpekh models that were seen in Indomitus, and now these Ophydian monsters who are taking as a design cue the original Wraiths models. It’s kinda funky to see this sort of design return to the army after so long!

For me, however, the absolute crowning glory of these new releases has got to be the plastic Flayed Ones!

So, okay, they’re not dragging along flayed corpses, or wearing them like crowns anymore, but we’ve got actual plastic Flayed Ones now, and I can’t wait to get myself a set! Lychguard are great, but they’re 150 points for a unit of 5. Flayed Ones clock in around half that amount, so we’re already on to a winner! We definitely need more melee potential, given the shorter range of auras and smaller playing field of 9th edition, so I’m really pleased we’re getting these models – although I had literally just resigned myself to wanting to use the finecast models after all when the announcement came! Typical!

I was really quite disappointed with the Necron stratagems we had to play with during 8th edition, but we’ve had a preview of the new ones that are coming, and it looks like we shall be seeing some very nice effects and abilities taking shape across the table in 9th – if I can remember to use them, of course! I really like the idea of tesla shots arcing across units in battle – hopefully that’ll allow for those units screening important HQs to become vectors for damage!

I’m quite excited to see what’s in store for the new Necrons as the Codex is imminently on the horizon, so hopefully the pandemic won’t get in the way of some exciting games once I have the book in hand!

Planning! part one

Hey everybody,
It’s time for more rambling thoughts to start your week! After thinking about it a couple of weeks ago, I have now started in earnest on my 9th Edition Black Legion army – and yes, it’s turning out to be quite the army, at that! What has initially started life as a 500-point (ish) Combat Patrol force has now become something far bigger than I’d been expecting!!

To start with, though, let’s talk briefly about how army building works in 9th edition. Rather than receiving a number of command points based on the number of detachments that you’re bringing, instead you get the CP based on the game size, somewhat balancing things in comparison with 8th edition, where one army could be starting the game with something like 17, and another might only have 4. For games of up to 500 points-a-side, such as we’ll be discussing today, you each get 3CP to start the game with. After that, at the start of each round, you get an extra one in your Command Phase, a new phase of the game that seems to have been borrowed from AoS.

Now. Each detachment that you bring costs command points, but if your warlord is in that detachment, you get those points refunded. So the humble patrol detachment costs 2CP, but you then gain 2CP if your warlord is in there. Interestingly, this only counts for the patrol, battalion and brigade detachments – the vanguard, spearhead and outrider detachments cost 3CP each, and don’t refund you even if your warlord is in that detachment instead. So no elite-only armies, for you! Even more interestingly, the Supreme Command detachment doesn’t cost anything, but you get additional command points if your army also includes a patrol (+2), battalion (+3) or brigade (+4), but that Supreme Command must include either a Primarch, Daemon Primarch, or Supreme Commander unit. Interesting to see how they’re sort of pushing those big commander type of units – and even more interesting, considering there is only one Primarch currently in the game. I’m guessing that characters like Abbadon and the Silent King will be getting Supreme Commander keywords in time?

Anyway, I digress.

I’m talking about my Combat Patrol plans for the Black Legion!

I’ve literally only just planned out my starting force for these guys, and then the points changed quite dramatically and I couldn’t fit everything into the same force! Marines in particular were hard-hit, meaning that I’ve had to take out the Exalted Champion and a second Greater Possessed! But anyway.

For this list, then, I get 3 CP to start the game, which isn’t so bad I guess! The Master of Possession is literally only there as the headliner because of the fact that I’ve finished painting him; I think in the fullness of time I’ll be swapping him out for a Sorcerer or maybe even simply a Lord, although I have just today primed the Dark Apostle ready for action!

The Master of Possession is heavily geared towards daemon-support, so the Greater Possessed has stayed in the list simply to give him targets for his abilities! I do want to ally in some daemons, though, and I’m thinking the whole Dark Ritual stuff could be quite fun as well, so it’ll be interesting to see what he gets up to in due course! For the marines, I’ve got the 10-man unit from Shadowspear, and I’m currently working my way through all that trim on those guys… what a detailed task that is!

I’m enjoying my foray into these guys though, even if I haven’t yet been able to come up with an easier way of painting the basic troops! Of course, I’ll be using Cultists when the army grows, so that may prove to be an easier task, although I still haven’t finished painting that batch of Cultists from back in the day…

The Havocs are hopefully going to be great. Again, when I get the army fully off the ground, I’m hoping to get at least one more squad of them, kitted out slightly differently so that I have more heavy bolters for volume of shots. Given that they’re almost as expensive as double the number of regular marines, though, I’m curious to see what else could possibly fit into the list!

I think this is really indicative of how 9th edition is changing things, with fairly big points increases, which in turn are seeing smaller armies. In looking at how I could increase this force to 1000 points, I was looking at some Terminators, though kitted out as I’d like (combi weapons and power fists, with a reaper autocannon in there just because) brings a five man unit to almost 200 points! Added in a second marines squad at 175 and a second Havocs squad at 150, and I basically have no room to manoeuvre! It surprises me, I think, because during 8th edition I was almost always pleasantly surprised as just how many models I could fit into a list. Now, however, I’m finding that my lists are becoming almost elitist given how few bodies I can squeeze in!

In addition, though, I’m also intending to ally in some Chaos Daemons, principally of Slaanesh, given that I have those models already, although I can’t deny that I’d like to get a few more interesting gribblies in as time goes on! I think I might start with a small patrol detachment of these things, rather than relying on Summoning them on, as I feel that tactic might be vulnerable to having the characters removed before they can attempt the Ritual. But who knows? Maybe I’ll try to get my Dark Apostle to summon a Keeper of Secrets, and see what havoc can be caused!

So far, then, I’ve got a small force underway. I’ve recently picked up a couple of Rhinos and a Forgefiend, as I’d like to go bigger with this army as time goes on, but I’m trying my hardest not to go picking up tons of kits and finding myself drowning in plastic! In addition to the Marines, I’d like to get a nice selection of Cultists painted up, and who knows? Maybe 9th edition will answer my dreams, and we’ll get that Renegades & Heretics Codex that I’ve been after since Blackstone Fortress first showed what could be possible with such wonderful miniatures!

Catching Up

Hey everybody!
It’s been a while, hasn’t it? Seems like life has been passing me by recently, as I have been focused a bit on work – I’ve got an interview this coming Tuesday for a promotion, so we’ll see what comes from that. More money for plastic crack, maybe?! We shall see!

Speaking of plastic, let’s start with the main topic of the day…

I’m not a big fan of the new Necrons, having now seen them in the flesh, as I wasn’t keen on the sculpted battle damage. For my Necrons, I’ve tried to paint them more like a pristine sort of warrior race, with the advanced tech that means they don’t retain battle damage like that. While I’m not entirely fussed yet on the Necrons, I have been admiring those Space Marines…

However, Chaos has become a major thing for me, considering I’d planned for Genestealer Cults to be my 9th Edition army! I’ve long wanted a force of Heretic Astartes, and having started with the idea of a Cultist rabble, I’ve now moved more into the realms of actual marines in the list. Today has been quite exciting though, as I’ve finished painting the Master of Possession from the Shadowspear box set! Finally!

I’m really pleased with this chap, and have followed the tutorial for the fire in particular from The Brush & Boltgun, which was a godsend! I’ve not had a chance yet to look at the other stuff on the channel, but it looks like a lot of the stuff that I have on the list, anyway, so it might be worth mining that stuff!

Speaking of which, I’ve finally picked up a Chaos Rhino for the nascent force, which I’ve wanted to get a hold of since seeing this wonderful piece of art from another of my favourite instagram’ers, Martin Sivertsen:

I mean, look at it! It’s absolutely beautiful, and I hope mine will come out a mere tenth as good! I’ve actually made an order for a second Rhino, as well as a Forgefiend (which I’ve wanted for a long time, as well) and a Dialogus for the nascent Sisters army!

Have I posted a picture of the Sisters here yet? Can’t remember, so here you go:

Looking forward to getting these painted up, however long they might take!

Moving on to a different game now, though…

My wife and I have been enjoying a few games of Elder Sign in recent weeks, as we’ve re-established Friday nights as gaming nights, and it’s been an absolute blast to be playing once more!

We’ve played a few times with the core set, as we get back into it all, and so last night we played with the first expansion, Unseen Forces, which I thought might be the best one to start with, as pretty much every other expansion has the Gates of Arkham rules and ramps up the difficulty! We had a couple of games with Unseen Forces, and while we managed to save the world from Shudde M’ell with just three locations left to explore per turn, we came under attack from Abhoth and it all went wrong.

It’s great to be back playing games from Fantasy Flight, I’m feeling really quite nostalgic for the whole thing! Of course, we’re slap bang in the middle of GenCon 2020 right now, but it all feels a bit weird with the global pandemic ongoing. FFG have shown off a few Star Wars bits, such as more Clone Wars era stuff for Armada, X-Wing and Legion, and that’s about all that I’ve managed to glean from the internets right now! Of course, it’s always an online event for me, but it feels particularly odd right now, regardless!

What else has been going on?

I’ve read quite a few books since I last came here to provide a review, so will doubtless have some thoughts on them to share with you all! I’ve also been reading the rest of The Flash’s run through the New 52, so will sometime soon get a round-up blog sorted for that! I’ve also been catching up with the DC movies that I’ve not seen, after watching Man of Steel a few weeks ago. So there will be plenty of blogs incoming once I have the time to properly sit down once again!

Okay, so it’s been pushed back, but there’s a Mandalorian novel due next year?! This news has excited me far more than I’d expected! Still very excited to see what season two has got in store for us, even though I’ve been really disappointed how it seems to be heavily leaning into the Clone Wars cartoons with the casting news that we’ve seen. Still, maybe live-action Ahsoka won’t be so damn annoying as to make me want to tear my own face off… time will tell! I think The Mandalorian is about the only thing Star Wars that I’m looking forward to right now, though, so I hope it won’t be disappointing!

Anyway, time to cease my ramblings, I think! Hope you’re all having an amazing Saturday, and stay tuned for more blogs coming as the summer progresses!

Warhammer 40k 9th Edition is here! Nearly…

Welcome to 9th Edition!

Or not…

What a way to start the new edition. Since, what, 3rd edition, there has been a starter box to help people get into the whole thing – if someone walks into a GW and asks how they can get started with this crazy thing, this is what they get pointed to. The boxes have been a varied mix of greatness that, recently at least, have always included miniatures that were exclusively available through that box. Sure, a lot of them were push-fit models, the sort of things that go together one way only as they’re designed for those folks new (or fairly new) to the hobby. Somewhat paradoxically, I’ve always enjoyed these kind of sets because of the variety they offer – you get static poses, for sure, but somehow the miniatures have different detail to the inevitable multi-part models.

Anyhow, the point being that previous editions have a starter set with which to get into the game. Indomitus has been sold as a limited release “launch set”, much like we saw with the Sisters of Battle set back in November, and the recent Lumineth Realmlords set. They’re a set of models with which to launch a model line, or in this case, a game edition. Much like the Sisters set, the box sold out within minutes – the GW site crashed six times during my attempt to buy it, after my LGS site simply failed to load due to the traffic.

It feels as though GW has decided this kind of limited-release run is, once again, a good idea to get a load of quick sales. Remember the End Times nonsense? I thought we’d put all of this behind us, but clearly not! Why do they keep doing this? For the money, clearly, but seeing the boxes up on ebay today for well over triple the original asking price (and higher still!) must make them thing, if they made just more of their product, people would be giving them the money… Of course, people have been talking about this topic for so long now, and there are plenty of people who have crunched the numbers better than I could, but once the initial design and moulds have been paid for, producing the actual plastic kit costs just pennies. With a set this good, they could keep it as a line item and I’m sure it’d fly off the shelves.

Launching 9th Edition with a box that sold out in quarter of an hour has left a weird aftertaste – you can still join in the fun of the new edition from July 25th, albeit only with the rulebook. No box full of fancy miniatures for you to enjoy, just the book.

It feels weird, and has robbed it of any sense of excitement for me.

Did you manage to get a copy of Indomitus? What are your thoughts on this latest GW limited release?

Genestealer Cults: A New Army for 9th Edition

Hey everybody!
So with the news of the new edition coming out this summer, I’ve been going through my vast collection of 40k miniatures, and seeing what I can get rid of, trying to thin out the ranks as we start anew. In doing so, however, I’ve decided to finally make a proper go of things with my Genestealer Cult! I’ve been here before, of course, but I’m currently feeling really positive about this new project, so decided to announce things here, and go through it with regular updates as I proceed!

Genestealer Cults Hybrid Metamorphs

As always with these things, I’m building a list by starting with a unit from the codex, and seeing what I can do to build out from there. I’m starting with the Hybrid Metamorphs, a unit that I’ve always liked the sound of, and had originally built up two years ago for Kill Team. The Hybrids are those cultists who have begun to mutate with more Tyranid bioforms than the usual Acolytes and Neophytes, and are seen as particularly blessed by their fellows. These saint-like creatures are usually deployed very near to the day of ascension, in time to wreak havoc among the planet that has been chosen for the Tyranid invasion.

In the game, these chaps are quite the blender, pretty wholly close combat-orientated, with three attacks base (and four for the Leader). I’ve always found their upgrades quite confusing, as they are swapped out in pairs – talons and claws for whips and claws, or talons and claws for bigger claws… The Metamorph talon gives the bearer one additional attack, which is always nice, as keeping the squad at their basic load-out gives them 21 attacks. However, two of mine have traded their talons for Metamorph claws, so I’m doing myself out of 2 attacks. Sad face.

Genestealer Cults

But things can get really interesting when you start pairing these guys up with stratagems, psychic powers, and the like. Let’s start with the Primus. This guy has got four attacks of his own, but gives +1 to the hit rolls of friendly <cult> models within 6″ in the fight phase. Now, the Metamorph talon allows you to add 1 to hit rolls as well, but a natural 1 will always fail, so let’s put this to the side for now. So my Metamorphs are making 19 attacks, and they’re hitting on 2s. I’ve got a cult icon with my squad, as well, which allows me to re-roll any hit rolls of 1. Nice!

Now, they’re only S4, for sure, but there are two guys in the squad with Metamorph claws, those massive crab things which are S+2. So there are 19 attacks, six of which are S6. Nice!

Without trying to get too far ahead of myself here, I want to include a Patriarch in my list, so he will have to be the warlord. However, I’m planning to spend a command point before the battle for the Broodcoven stratagem, allowing me to pick warlord traits for the Magus and Primus in the list as well. For my Primus, I’m taking the Biomorph Adaptation for +1 strength and +1 attacks. So the Primus is making 5 attacks of his own, hitting on 2s, and his attacks are at S5. Handy!

Let’s leave the Primus for a moment, and turn to the Magus. His sole use here is as a Psychic powerhouse – he knows 2 powers from the Broodmind discipline, but can only attempt to cast one per turn. I’m giving him Might from Beyond, which gives +1 to strength and attacks of units within 18″, and then Psychic Stimulus, which allows units to charge even if they have advanced, and also fight first in the fight phase. For one command point, I can use the Cult’s Psyche stratagem to attempt a second psychic power in my turn. I’m up to 2 CP used now, but my Hybrid Metamorphs are now making 24 attacks, eight at S7 with sixteen at S5.

But I’m not done yet!

In The Greater Good, there is a Hybrid Metamorph-specific stratagem for 1 command point, Violence Unleashed, which gives the unit +1 attack. What’s that, 29 attacks? I’ll take that, thank you very much!

I’m running my army as Cult of the Bladed Cog, whose unique strategem (1 command point) gives exploding hits on 6s. How nice! So that’s a total of four command points used, and I’m sort of banking on two psychic powers going off – the two powers have a warp charge value of 7 and 6, respectively, so I’d hope that it would work out, but I could potentially take a Familiar with the Magus to allow me a third bite at the (psychic) cherry.

I have no real head for probability calculations, so have used a dice roller to give it a try, and rolled an average of six 6s. Now, if you remember that I’m hitting on 2s and re-rolling 1s, so I’m going to be hitting on a lot of these attacks! Assuming that 32 attacks will hit, against T4 models, I’m going to be getting roughly 20 wounds in. My favourite tactic of drowning a unit in saving throws might well work out here!

On top of this, of course, we’ll have the Primus in close proximity, probably making his own five attacks. Interesting…

Of course, this is all fairly theoretical stuff, but it’s always nice to see what sort of things you can do with a unit like this. For info, my Metamorph – Primus – Magus combo costs 209 points (I did think about throwing in a Clamavus for an extra 55 points, to give +1 to advance and charge rolls, helping them get closer, but I’m thinking now that I’d prefer to throw them into a transport to ensure they get to combat unscathed), but I’m now considering making a max-unit of 10 Metamorphs, which would be purely with talons to get that 20 attacks base (30 attacks with all the buffs, which generated an average of three 6s for a potential +33 attacks in the unit, hitting on 2s and wounding MEQ on 3s).

Who knows how 9th Edition will change this up? Genestealer Cults were one of the last codexes published for 8th Edition, of course, so my guess is that they will be hanging around in this form for some time to come.

I’m going to be looking at using some Aberrants, and I am for sure going to be investigating the new Atalan Jackals, as they are some very cool models. I have two boxes of them, so it’ll be fun to see what I can come up with there! I think I’m going to do these sort of update-style blogs as I decide on the pieces of the list, rather than going through a massive run-down once I’ve got the whole thing decided (as I have done for Necrons before!)

So Genestealer Cults will be my 9th Edition army, although Necrons and Drukhari will definitely see play, and I hope that I can continue to paint my Grey Knights, and get started properly with the Sisters. Those are my current plans, but who knows if the AdMech or Black Legion, or any other project will get in the way?!

Thanks for reading, and check back soon for more musings on our four-armed saviours!


Well folks, here we are – the prophesied coming of the new age… 9th Edition. I’d heard rumours a few months ago, though a lot of that sounded like speculation. However, today’s the day that we’ve had it confirmed!

What a way to launch a new edition!

From how I understand things, this isn’t strictly a new edition in the sense of 8th Edition, however. More like Age of Sigmar 2.0, this will be a sort of improvement on 8th, streamlining the rules and amalgamating a lot of the new content from Psychic Awakening with the existing codexes, and giving us a new narrative system called Crusade. This last seems like the new thing, providing a way for armies to grow over a campaign, where previous battles matter. That sounds really cool, I must say!

New models are of course a given, and it seems that we’re going to be getting Space Marines vs Necrons in what is likely to be a starter box for the new edition. However, this little beauty is, well… something else…

I honestly never thought we’d get a Silent King, and even with the teaser from a couple of days ago, I was still thinking of the ways in which we might see something else besides a model. But no!

Oh my…

It looks like we’re possibly in for another of these centrepiece models like Katakros for the Ossiarch Bonereapers, or the Triumph of St Katherine. Despite having read a few complaints about these types of diorama-models from the more competitive crowd, who mainly seem to dislike them for transport, they’re clearly quite popular as eye-catching focal points for a collection. I really hope it’s going to be magnificent, and I can’t wait to get one for my collection!

So, this is very interesting. 8th Edition was the first edition I was there for the launch of, having gotten into 40k a couple of months slightly after 7th Edition had landed. There were a lot of promises for the rules to be streamlined in 8th, and by and large that held true for a while, but obviously the additions of the Vigilus campaign, and now Psychic Awakening, have caused a lot of bloat. So we’re definitely in need of some fat-trimming. The video talks about more command points for all, though the stream seemed to imply that you’ll have to use CP to pay for out-of-army allies, which is fine with me because I’d still like to try to play allied armies. We’ll see how that plays out though.

There are definitely some interesting ideas in this preview, thoughΒ I’m not entirely sure just yet how I feel about the new edition. I mean, I don’t plan on getting out of the hobby, so it’s not like I’m mad about it or anything. But I’m feeling a curious sense of relief, or a sense of having a fresh start… I mean, it seems like the perfect time to thin out the ranks of some of my models, and focus down on those armies that I want to keep…

Necrons are, of course, top of my list, as they always will be, and I’m excited that we’re getting new stuff at last. Grey Knights and Dark Eldar will also be staying with me, and I think I might keep those Primaris Marines after all. But the Tyranids, the AdMech, even the Scions that I’d recently been building a list for – they’re all fair game…

It’s like I’ve got the perfect excuse to have a really good clear-out!

How about everybody else? Excited? Mad? Indifferent?