August 2022 retrospective

Hey everybody,
Here we are at the end of August, and I’m surprised at how productive a month it has been for me in the hobby! I have spent a lot of time this month looking through my backlog of course, having started the month with a massive audit of all of my outstanding projects! I suppose that has been a major contributing factor for me being focused on getting some projects finished, as I was able to see just what, exactly, I have hanging about. I’ve also been playing a lot more than usual, too, with weekly games of 40k prompting me to really get painting these things up!

During the month, then, I was able to fully paint five full units of models, I was able to finish off an additional four units that were at a point, but not quite there. I have painted up a terrain piece, and finished off two further pieces of terrain. All in all, then, it was quite a successful month!

For the most part, I’ve been painting Sisters of Battle, getting five Celestians, five Retributors, plus the cherubs and Repentia Superior finished. That army has gone from zero to wonderful in the space of, what, two months? I think I have a total of seven full units painted up, which is kind of bonkers when you think up until the beginning of July, there was barely anything done for this army. I still have a couple more units that need finishing off, but hopefully I can get to them soon enough!

Having played a couple of games with the Sisters, and being utterly smashed in the face, I had shelved them while I continued to paint, but I think I would like to get back to learning that army. It’s true, I have devoted many words on the blog to how disappointed I was with their performance, but I do feel it’s something that I need to keep up and try to improve, so hopefully I’ll be able to get them back to the table soon.

Necrons have had some more love lavished upon them, also, and I’ve had two games with this army – successes, both! I still have a lot of work to do with actually getting the models how I’d like them, as a lot of them seem to have been painted up to a point, but they definitely need some more work to make the blue really shine. So far, I’ve gone back over 20 Immortals and 9 scarab bases to make them more vivid, and in a complete shock I was actually able to get 10 further Immortals painted up in just a weekend! So that was quite something!

My Necrons are, of course, my first love in 40k, and even if I hadn’t won both games, I think I would have still been excited to be playing them once more. I’ve got a fair bit of work ahead of me, of course, but I’m feeling positive that I can bring the rest of the army up to scratch in short order!

In the last few days, as well, I’ve been working on some Wyches for my Drukhari. If Necrons are my first love, then the dark kin are definitely second on the list. I have got so much for this army, it’s kinda scary, really. However, while I have plenty of Kabalite and Coven stuff, the Wych Cults have always been somehow lacking. I suppose I never really knew what I wanted to do with them, so far as paint schemes go, but after giving some thought to it all, I’ve been able to paint the first batch of 10 Wyches and get them finished off. Of course, I had painted up a squad back when I was starting the army in 2017, but I wasn’t hugely enamoured of the colour scheme – and indeed, a lot of the models in that unit have got the bare minimum of paint on them. So I’m going back over those, trying to make them look the part. I’ve also been working on the Succubus, because after checking her over the other day, she wasn’t finished, either! The Wych Cult models have definitely been the poor relations in this force so far.

As we move towards September, we get to one of my favourite times of the year. I’ve talked about this many times now, of course, but it was in the autumn that I first really got myself involved in this hobby, and I have an immense fondness for hobbying at this time of year. The nostalgia is strong, especially as I have been doing a lot with my Necrons again, and the Dark Eldar making a reappearance on the painting table!

There are a few Necrons units that need finishing off, really, and a lot of my Dark Eldar could do with a bit more work on them, as well. The bases in particular for the latter force are really very boring, predominantly just heaped with technical paint and nothing else. In painting the Wyches, I’ve been paying a bit more attention, and trying to make them look a bit more presentable, so I want to try and, slowly but surely, get the rest of my army done to that standard. I’ll probably just pick one unit at a time though, as I don’t want to get the whole lot out and be confronted with all of that!!

All of this threatens to overwhelm me a little bit, so I’m definitely trying to take things slowly and not get too much going on. It’s been great to play with my Necrons once more, of course, and it’s kinda nice right now that I seem to be getting some decent success with them. It’s never purely about winning, of course, but when a game goes well, even if I lose, I enjoy it so much more. Being able to see things play out and happen as close to as they should, it’s just a delight.

I said earlier in the month that I didn’t want to formally plan out what I intend to paint going forward, but looking at where we are now, and stuff, I think it won’t hurt to put a couple of things in place as sort of mini-goals for the rest of the year.

So let’s get some loose plans in place, and see where we get to, shall we?

Sisters:
10 Sisters Novitiates
4 Sisters Repentia
Penitent Engine

Necrons:
10 Lychguard (warscythes)
5 Lychguard (swords)
5 Tomb Blades
5 Immortals (gauss blasters)

Dark Eldar:
10 Wyches

That’s not too bad in terms of what I would like to see finished by the end of December. Of course, it assumes that I don’t get too distracted by anything, but I’m hopefully going to do well on this front, as I feel like I have been able to stay really focused so far, and able to finish a lot of stuff!

It really does help that I’ve not been buying many models – indeed, I don’t think I’ve picked anything up for a few months now. It’s actually been really great to work on the backlog of models, and see these things come to life, after having had them for a while. I’m not likely to have as much success as Dave over on Scent of a Gamer with getting everything finished anytime soon, of course! But it’s good to see things finally come together, all the same!

Can’t stop painting!

I seem to be on a bit of an unstoppable painting spree at the minute, it’s great! I’m finally making huge progress with my backlog, which is cause for celebration all-around, I’m sure you’ll agree!

To start with, I’ve finished the Retributors for my Sisters. As has been the case with pretty much every painted unit for my Sisters army so far, I’ve been able to get these all finished inside a week. I really don’t know where I’ve found this relentless drive from, but it’s enough that I have it!

Since the end of Wimbledon then, I’ve painted up quite a few models for my Sisters army!

Almost 30, in fact! The above photo doesn’t really do them justice, as they’re pretty cramped on the windowsill there, but it’s great to have got such a chunk of the army finished in the space of almost two months. I’m really hoping that I can keep up this pace, at any rate!!

It’s not just units for my many armies that I’ve finished, however! I started to paint these plasma conduits just over two years ago, and did a few of them before I just, well, stopped. So this perhaps isn’t a huge thing, but getting to finish off the box was really nice, and I’m hoping they’ll look awesome alongside the rest of my fully-painted terrain, once I finish painting the rest of it, of course!!

Can’t remember if I’ve already shared this here or not, but I’m so pleased with it that I thought I’d share it again! The first of my two Haemotrope Reactors!

And speaking of my completed terrain, I finished up the Galvanic Magnavent earlier in this month, too!

It’s just awesome to see all of this stuff come together!!

Lastly, I’ve returned to my beloved Dark Eldar, and I’m finally trying to make an effort with the Wyches – given that I’m making such good progress, I thought it just makes sense to try and leverage that, really!! Once I have this squad painted up, I’ll have the firm foundation of a fully-painted Realspace Raid, anyway!! I’m hoping to get some more of the Drukhari backlog painted as time goes on, too – I still need to juggle all the other projects that I have going on, of course, but hopefully I’ll still be able to get more Sisters painted as we start to move into autumn…

Taking Stock: Drukhari edition!

Hey everybody,
So following on from my Taking Stock blog that I wrote up at the weekend, I decided that I would actually take a look at the Dark Eldar that I have ongoing, as I really don’t know how many of these guys I have built and waiting for paint. (I also don’t know how many I have that are built and painted, but that’s another story I guess!) I’ve been through my box of shame, and it really is quite surprising just how much stuff is in there!

It’s interesting, to me, that I seemed to get a lot of my Dark Eldar painted up really quite quickly before just moving back into other bits and pieces. It’s a shame, because I would say it’s certainly one of my favourite armies to play, at least in the Index days of 8th edition. Once the codex came out, I seemed to go off the boil a little, as it seemed to me such a prescriptive way to play the army, forcing you to choose separate detachments for your Cult, Coven and Kabal. However, with 9th edition and the new and improved Raiding Force detachment (plus the general shift in focus from detachments anyway), I’m once again thinking about my favourite evil space elves. With the promise of a big-points game with my buddy JP on the horizon, I’ve started to evaluate what I have still waiting in the wings!


By my count, I have 23 distinct units that need some form of attention, whether it’s just painting, just finishing touches, or the whole thing. I also have eight kits that are still on the sprue, including two finecast character models.

By far and away, the biggest chunk of my unfinished stuff is Wych Cult units. I have three groups of 10 Wyches, one of which was kinda finished though I’ve never really been happy with them. I have two Venoms and a Raider specifically for Wyches. I have three units of Reavers, and two units of Hellions (although I’ve started to think of them as a single, 10-man unit). I have the Beastmaster and some of his mates, and I believe the Voidraven can be considered a Cult unit.

However, I also have some Wracks, Grotesques and a second Talos ready for the Coven, and I have two groups of 10 Kabalite Warriors and two Raiders for the Kabal. In total, I think it comes to something in the region of 2100 points, which is quite astounding if I’m honest – I mean, I’m fairly sure that my total painted Dark Eldar amounts to somewhere in the region of 2500! I have almost as much unpainted as I have painted! So I think this definitely needs to change.


That said, I have also had a look through the rest of the army as it stands right now, to see what I have available and so on. Turns out, I have some units that are now illegal, such as the Haemonculus I was building last edition with the different weapon options. A lot of the units in this book can now only be equipped with those weapons that come with them, such as the HQ choices (although weirdly a Succubus can still use all manner of Wych weapons). I was also struck by the paint job that I’ve done on most of my models – it’s very… workman-like, shall we say? They’re painted models, so that’s good, but I was surprised at how bad some of them look. Highlighting on the armour is one case in point, where some Kabalite Warriors look like they’ve had a basecoat and that’s that. I definitely need to try and go back on a few of them, and bring them up to scratch. However, I think the main focus will need to stay as getting more units painted, first. In an effort to not be overwhelmed, I’m thinking that I will paint the 10 Wyches first, and then plan where to go next. As opposed to planning out the next few units that I’d like to do, which all too often leads to me getting distracted and so on!

While Necrons are my first love, and Tau are my current obsession, I think the Drukhari being in the state that they are is a very poor show, because it’s definitely an army that I have a lot of love and affection for.

Anyway!

I mentioned earlier a game in the pipeline. I’ve got a list of 1750 points drawn up along the lines of the Realspace Raid force, something that is pretty different to the one that I drew up back last autumn when I was first making my way through the new codex. Let’s take a look:


I talked about this before, but the Realspace Raid detachment must contain HQs and Troops choices from each of the three arms of the Drukhari army. In addition, the Archon must be the Warlord. I see no problem with that, as it’s all very thematic after all! I’ve taken the opportunity to upgrade my Archon to be a Master Archon, which gives me increased relics and warlord traits options, both of which I have chosen for him, and you can upgrade one of the troops choices to be a favoured retinue, which I have not chosen at this time. I think, if I had a spare 20 points, though, it might be nice to get some Kabalite Trueborn in there, as their accuracy is improved to BS 2+. Maybe something to think about in the future.

For my Kabal, I have stuck with the Obsidian Rose. This still grants 6” to the range of assault/rapid fire/heavy weapons, and you can also re-roll a wound roll for each unit when they shoot or fight. They also have a nice stratagem whereby fleeing models get to either shoot or fight before they flee the battlefield, and if they actually destroy any enemy models, they don’t leave. It’s an interesting option for that one unit that you don’t want to see leave! The Obsidian Rose warlord trait gives +1 strength, but I think the upgrade trait he has from the Master Archon ability (+1 damage on all weapons) is going to be more useful; the splinter pistol is a poisoned weapon anyway, so strength doesn’t matter, so it would only buff the power sword. Going forward, I’m giving some thought to chopping off his power sword, in favour of the huskblade, which is D2 (though S user).

I do like the idea of having two big blobs of Kabalite Warriors. They are some very beautiful miniatures, even if some people do think of them as “old” models now. I think I have, in total, something like 50-odd Warriors in various stages of completion, plus 10 more on the sprue. I say 50-odd as I have taken to re-organising my collection so that I have each squad capable of taking either of the special weapons, and in some cases, either of the heavy weapons. In theory, a squad of ten can have two specials plus a heavy, but they do become points-heavy in that instance, and I think for the time being I would prefer to have greater flexibility in the army overall – saving enough points on special weapons here can equate to a squad of something else further down the road, you know?

The Wych Cult is here represented by the Wyches, the Succubus, and the Reavers, and each unit gets to take a Combat Drug, which is something I am stupidly glad to see is still a thing in this day and age. I’ve given the Succubus Painbringer, which adds 1 to the toughness of the model, so that she’s now T4. I’ve given the Wyches Grave Lotus for +1 strength, as I think 10 models with improved strength is going to be more effective than giving it to the HQ. 7 Wyches making 4 attacks each with their hekatarii blades as S4 AP-1 D1 isn’t anything to be sniffed at, but I’ve also got Hydra Gauntlets in there which are now four attacks at S6 AP-2 D1, which will be good! There is also the Hyperstimm Backlash stratagem that would double the effect, for +2 strength, though I might be getting a little over-confident with that one! They do get to re-roll wound rolls of 1 when within 6” of the Succubus though, which I think might be nice. Finally, the Reavers have Splintermind, which improves the BS and Ld values by 1. I thought that might be useful as these bikes will be buzzing around the battlefield, shooting stuff up, but also have the pistols for shooting into close combat when they get there.

Also on the subject of Reavers, I’ve got my only Heat Lance in the army (and one of only two in the extended army). These weapons are basically the Drukhari version of a meltagun, single shot but S8 AP-4 and always a minimum of 3 damage. I like it, I have to say! Not entirely sure why I haven’t done anything with it in the past, truth be told!

The Wych Cult that I have previously gone for is Cult of the Red Grief, partly because it was the closest that I could find to the colour scheme I had started to paint my models in, back in the day. The codex seems to show a different colour scheme for them now, though, but never mind! The obsession grants re-rolls to charge rolls, and +2 to advance rolls, which I don’t find particularly inspiring, so instead I have chosen to go for the Cult of the Cursed Blade for all of my Wych Cult units, which grants +1 strength to models, and dishes out a mortal wound to the attacking unit when my models make a saving throw of 6. I think that’s really nice, and buffs up those hekatarii blades to S5, which just seems bonkers!

As far as Covens go, I’m sticking with the Coven of Twelve. I think that will give me the most utility, if I’m honest, as it gives an improved AP to melee weapons and also allows for a unit to shoot while performing actions. While I will most likely want my Wracks in close combat, I think having them with the flexibility to achieve objectives and still shoot their weird guns might be handy. The unique stratagem allows for the Haemonculus to dish out mortal wounds in the consolidate phase, which could be very useful if he survives combat, of course! Of all the subfactions, though, I think the Coven is where I’ve most considered going for one of those design-your-own things, where you take two different effects and mash them up into something more suitable. Maybe next time… So there we have it, 1750 points of Drukhari/Dark Eldar ready to go! It’s going to be interesting to see how the army plays when I get them onto the table, as a lot has changed since I last played the army. There was a time in 8th edition where I was playing these guys almost exclusively, and I felt like I really had a handle on things, so I’m eager to see how it will all work out again. Stay tuned for a post-battle run-through, hopefully very soon!

September Retrospective

Hey everybody,
Well, we are three-quarters of the way through 2021 now, and it seems pretty crazy to think that I wrote my January retrospective blog as potentially a one-off to cover all the random rubbish I’d been doing at the start of it all. It’s actually been a really great motivator, for me, to have these retrospective blogs now form a part of my monthly pattern, because it makes me want to do stuff to then report on at the end of the month. At any rate, September has been fairly busy for me, as I’ve had a couple of weeks off work that have enabled quite a bit of recreation – if you can call looking after two children under 2 “recreation”!

To start with, September is the month that I traditionally think of as my hobby month, as I have a lot of fond memories of really getting into the 40k thing way back when during this month. As such, I’ve tried to really recapture that essence, as far as the paternal duties would allow, and ended up with a fair few random projects on the go!

Let’s talk about my Zone Mortalis terrain progress first! I’m very pleased with this, and I think it’s all coming together really quite beautifully! I talked about the colour scheme that I’m using last month, so won’t go over that again here, but I’ve now expanded my repertoire into other bits like ladders and water tanks! The ladder was just painted Averland Sunset, shaded Agrax Earthshade, then drybrushed like everything else to give it that worn, lived-in look. The tank I’d wanted to paint orange, as I think it makes sense to have it follow the same pattern as the Water Guild big boy, but in the end it turned out more red. No matter, other tanks I’m thinking about painting different colours, anyway, so it’s not like it’s important to remember their colours. I’m very excited to get more terrain painted up – whether I end up getting more done by the end of the year, who can say, but to have any of it painted so far is, frankly, a miracle!

I’ve been doing odd bits with genestealers and have recently finished the Necron Triarch Praetorians, but my main focus has shifted to the Genestealer Cults, as I have decided that I really want to get some of these things painted up, finally! I’ve been working on ten Neophyte Hybrids this month, and slowly but steadily I have almost got the squad finished – a huge achievement, considering the amount of detail on them! They’re tiny, and the scheme that I’m following doesn’t allow for speed painting when it comes to these chaps – the armour, the fatigues, the cloth, the padding, the weapons, the skin (actual skin, and carapace), the dangly-doodads, it’s all just so time consuming!

But I think I’m really getting somewhere now, having finished the first of my ten-man squad, and I’m ready to move on to my next project in the list! Since writing the linked blog, however, I’ve reorganised all of my Cultist miniatures, and have a different ten-man squad make-up, so there are ten more shotguns coming my way soon! Once all the Neophytes are done, though, I should have a fairly straightforward task of finishing off the Metamorphs and the Truck, so I think I can definitely get this first part of the list painted up and ready by Christmas. Ready for what, precisely, I’m not yet sure, but still – it’ll be ready!

I’ve been generally immersing myself in 40k across the month, anyway, and have been enjoying myself immensely. I finally picked up the Drukhari Codex as well, and have been investigating that to build my first proper list for that army in 9th edition. I think Necrons are still edging out the Dark Eldar in my affections for 9th edition, though I am definitely looking forward to playing both armies when the time comes. I’m at that point in the year where I’m now thinking about what I can accomplish prior to the year-end, and in addition to the GSC, I’ve got 5 Wracks and 3 Grotesques on my radar. Though everything is a time-sink, so we’ll have to see how things pan out!

GenCon surprised me this month by, well, taking place! I always thought it was August, but I guess the pandemic has been causing chaos. There hasn’t been a great deal of anything that is exciting me, if truth be told, but I think that could be symptomatic of my relationship with the whole board game scene right now. I wrote a very long ramble about that yesterday, but basically I feel like Kickstarter games have been taking over somewhat, and I’m increasingly disappointed in how FFG have diminished over the years. GW have put in a decent showing at GenCon, announcing a few exciting projects that has my wallet in palpitations.

I do feel like I have been quite gloomy on the board game front, but it’s not really the case! I’m hoping to get in a game day with my buddy Tony some time in October, and I also have plans to once again check out the Hellboy board game, after thinking on that one quite a bit of late, also. So there should be some interesting bits and pieces coming to the blog in the coming weeks! I’ve also finally been able to pick up In Too Deep for the Arkham Horror LCG, so I am thinking about an Innsmouth campaign for the autumn – assuming that I have the time, of course!

All in all, it hasn’t been that bad a month – fingers crossed that I can keep up the pace into the final quarter!

Codex: Drukhari

Hey everybody,
I have finally got my hands on the Drukhari Codex for 9th edition! It feels like it’s been an age, though I suppose not playing games has meant there has been very little need for it. But with potential games on the horizon, I think it is time to start looking at my largest model collection to see how I can work things in the new edition. (I keep saying “new”, even though it’s been out well over twelve months now, simply because I haven’t had a chance to play properly yet!)

Oh my goodness, this book is complex!

I mean, when you sit down to properly read through, it’s fine, but when you first pick it up and take a look at the battle-forged rules, my goodness it’s wordy! I think this is really symptomatic of the new edition, because they have tried to make a rule set that is clear for organised play, it becomes very litigious, rather than reading like the rules to a game. True, that game is complex, but I thought 8th edition was a great big sigh of relief after the overly-fussy 7th edition, and while we haven’t gone back that far, it does need you to sit down and get your head around it to properly take it all in!

The Drukhari Codex is still split into three separate factions – Kabal, Coven and Cult – but when I first came to read up on how the army works now, it felt like some drastic changes had occurred! Not so, just a tidying-up of the rules, I suppose. Upon reflection, the way these rules are presented is actually quite neat, as well. The relics, stratagems and warlord traits unique to specific Obsessions are now grouped together on a single page each, rather than having a page of traits, a page of stratagems, etc. It does help to make things feel somehow more cohesive, once you realise that’s what they’ve done in the book.

To start with, you can still do the three Patrol detachment thing, and the cost for doing so is 0CP. There is a new Realspace Raid detachment rule, which gives a new keyword to the units that allows for a greater cohesion across the army, even though you’ve mixed in all three factions. The only stipulation is that the Archon must be the Warlord, but that’s a flavour win so I can’t see why you wouldn’t.

Something I really like is that you can upgrade each of the faction HQs to a Master – Master Archon, Master Succubus, Master Haemonculus – for a few extra points. This unlocks relics and warlord traits for them, as well as giving a new ability, and excitingly, it also unlocks “favoured retinues”, which allows you to upgrade Kabalite Warriors to Trueborn (for the Archon), Wyches to Hekatrix Bloodbrides (for the Succubus), and Wracks to Haemoxytes (for the Haemonculus). These retinue units have better stat lines and a special ability, but they don’t get access to more special weapons as was the case in 7th edition, so no Blasterborn or any similar shenanigans! I’m kinda fascinated by the Haemoxytes though, as they’re a new idea to me!

So the exciting thing now is that you can make a mixed force and call it a Realspace Raid, provided that you have the three separate HQs and a unit each of the basic troops, and the Archon is your Warlord. They even give you a two-page spread example of how a Battalion detachment might look in this instance, to further hammer the point home. A minimum-sized points investment for doing this would be 335 points, after which you’re free to fill up the army however you want. Doing this means that all the Kabal units still gain Kabal Obsessions, and so on, so it’s really quite a useful way of building an army, so long as you’re playing a points limit that can accommodate that initial outlay.

As far as army-wide rules go, Power from Pain and Combat Drugs are still a thing, Insensible to Pain is there, and Poisoned Weapons haven’t changed since the last edition, either. A new rule, Blade Artists, seems to be pretty much across the whole force, and improves AP by 1 for melee weapons on an unmodified 6, which is quite nice! Especially as there are a lot of weapons with AP in the melee list, from the start!

So let’s get down to business, and see what kind of list I have put together…

I’m currently just aiming for 1500 points, and the main theme behind this list is getting to grips with 9th Edition! I know that I should be thinking a bit more critically about some things, and protecting stuff like the Incubi and the Wyches more with transports, but I think that will come with 2000 points. I still like to have a core Kabal in there, which is why I’ve gone for two lots of Kabalite Warriors with Raiders. A hugely exciting development is that the transport capacity for Raiders and Venoms has been upped to 11 and 6, respectively, meaning that HQs can travel with their troops now! So the Archon and Haemonculus will each be in a Raider and Venom, respectively, with a bodyguard type of unit, leaving the poor Incubi, Wyches and Succubus to foot-slog up the board. But I’m thinking that the melee units could potentially be kept back for objective-sitting, with the flying stuff causing chaos elsewhere.

Splinter racks have changed now, so they no longer give exploding 6s but instead allow rapid fire weapons to treat the target as being within half-range, so I’m not 100% sure on keeping them as an auto-include now, but I think – as with a lot of this list – I want to play with these things, to see how it works out. I’ve also put grisly trophies on all my vehicles, as they give -2 leadership to enemy models within 3″, and I’m thinking about using the No Mercy, No Respite secondary objective, which gives VPs for each model that flees the battle each round. I’ve not previously leaned into the fear aspect of the Drukhari, but it’s something I think might be nice to look into, now that there is such a tasty objective on offer there!

Of all the Cult units, I think Reavers are the ones I’ve used most often, and have enjoyed most consistently. I think I can see them being quite deadly in the game, as well, with 10 attacks from the unit, the grav-talon to dish out mortal wounds on the charge, but also the firepower they can boast before close combat. They all have pistols to shoot while in combat as well, and I’ve given them the +1 Toughness drug, so any retaliation will come at T5, which can be quite difficult!

Scourges are a unit that I only really started to appreciate towards the end of 8th edition, mainly because of the possibility of having 4 splinter cannons dropping down from the sky on top of people. Splinter cannons have changed now, from Rapid Fire 3 to Heavy 3, so they aren’t necessarily as good as they once were. That said, again I would like to play with them first, and get a feel for how things work in the new edition before dropping them. I do feel like I might be going for fewer specialised weapons in my lists, going forward!

So there we have it, anyway, my first Drukhari list of 9th edition. I’m hoping that I can actually get to play in another couple of weeks, albeit I’m not sure if a 1500 point game would be on the cards quite yet! But you never know. Hopefully soon, I’ll be talking about how this list performed on the tabletop, anyway!

January Retrospective

Hey everybody,
January has come and gone, and just like that, 2021 is under way. With the world as it is right now, I thought it’d be nice to have a little retrospective blog at the end of each month, highlighting the things that I have been up to, serving to remind myself (if nobody else) that it is still possible to do cool stuff!

To start with, I’ve done quite a bit of painting this month, between the Dark Eldar Incubi (above), and making a fantastic start with the Ossiarch Bonereapers, my new army for 2021! I’m chronicling the army progress separately of course, and will continue to do so as I get deeper into both the lore and the models! I’m currently working to finish off the Mortek Guard, both to get the basic scheme sorted and because troops can sometimes feel like a chore to get through! Contrast paints have been a real boon here, though, so I’m hoping that I can sail through things fairly quickly.

I’ve already been buying reinforcements, which I should probably try to control myself with, but I do find it hard to do so when I’m so excited for a project!

For 40k, I’ve been thinking back to my Dark Eldar days, especially since we have a codex on the horizon, so that will hopefully be good to get hold of! I’m wanting to get more variety in my lists, so I definitely want to get more wych cult models painted up – I’ve been thinking about this for a while of course, but it’s a definite goal for 2021. Fantasy has certainly come back to the fore for me, though, as I talked about last week, although I’m not sure if I could get as many games in with AoS when everything returns to normal. I guess we’ll have to see!

Warcry has come back on my radar, although it had never really left if I’m honest. Still having only played it once, I’m just in love with the aesthetic of the game, and the feel of the whole thing. I’m not all that interested in the plethora of warbands that have come out for it, but I do have my sights set on getting hold of more of the regular Chaos stuff – including, of course, the new Slaanesh stuff that will hopefully be out soon! I’m not going to go crazy with that, but I am looking forward to getting my hands on some of the Slaanesh mortal stuff for use in Warcry.

From games that I’m not playing to games that I have played, now. This month, I’ve managed to get in some games with both Arkham Horror LCG, and the third edition of the board game that I had for Christmas! Blogs on both events are coming, but let me tell you, the new edition of Arkham Horror is quite good. As for the card game, I’ve started The Circle Undone, and I’m really impressed. It leans heavily on witchcraft and the supernatural, something that doesn’t seem to be as associated with Lovecraft as the cosmic horror, but it’s an absolute delight, and while I’m only on the first mythos pack of the cycle, I’m very impressed! Come back this week for more thoughts there, anyway!

Let’s talk about a different type of witch now…

Disney+ has launched their first MCU tv-series this month, WandaVision, featuring of course Scarlet Witch and Vision. I’d almost forgotten about this, but had been getting increasingly intrigued when friends and fellow bloggers started to talk more about it. I do like Scarlet Witch, as well – House of M is still one of my favourite comic lines – so I’m intrigued by it. I’ve only seen the first episode, but it’s definitely got something going on under the surface there to make us think just what on earth is this all about. It’s a delightful Bewitched-style 1950s American sitcom, on the surface, until the dinner party near the end has us asking deeper questions as to what’s going on. I have no real theories yet, as it’s all a bit too early to say for me, but head here to check out a more detailed discussion!

From television to books, finally! In January, I read the first Darth Bane novel, Path of Destruction. The book, now Legends of course, deals with the early years of the Sith Lord, as he moves from a life of hard labour, through his military service on the side of the Sith in their war against the Jedi, to his awakening in the Force and learning to use his power at the academy on Korriban. The novel ends with the climactic battle of Ruusan, which of course is dealt with in the comic miniseries Jedi vs Sith.

I was disappointed with this book. I’m in a Facebook group where people have given high praise to this trilogy, but I can’t see what all the fuss is about. Putting aside the fact that Darth Bane’s birth name is Des, I think the book fell into the same trap as Tim Zahn’s new canon Thrawn trilogy, showing us an evil genius when he’s at school. There were strong echoes of Kevin J Anderson’s Jedi Academy trilogy as well, which felt a bit banal. The whole thing just seemed so silly, somehow. Set against the backdrop of the war, I thought the best parts were definitely those that showed us the fighting there, although even that got a bit ridiculous after a bit.

This was, of course, part of the problem with the comic book (for me) was a lack of any kind of historical perspective, as we don’t know how the war started, or do we get any context for what’s going on. We’re just plunged into this situation, although it is perhaps good in that the book is definitely better than the comic in that it has more breadth to tell its tale, it still feels like we need more.

I also think it’s worth mentioning that the book didn’t seem to take great pains to distance itself, temporally, from the main movie periods. It takes place a thousand years before A New Hope, yet the tech feels, at best, similar to Phantom Menace era. No effort is really made to do anything more, which is quite sad, really. At least the Tales of the Jedi comic books actually felt like they had ancient tech in comparison!

What I did like was the way the book had me guessing throughout. Bane’s relationship with his fellow student Githany led me to wonder if she would become his famous apprentice, Darth Zannah, but suffice it to say – she doesn’t!

Bane is a big part of Star Wars, created by Lucas during production of Phantom Menace, and while I didn’t exactly enjoy the first book in this trilogy, I’m willing to give it the benefit of the doubt and carry on with Rule of Two soon, as I’m really intrigued as to where the story is headed next!

For now, however, I’ve moved back to 40k for something completely different:

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Hope you’re all having a splendid Yuletide – and if you don’t go in for all that, hope it’s been a tremendous Friday!

I’ve had a pretty decent haul this year, mainly focusing on the recent upsurge in Arkham Horror that I’ve had! In addition to getting fully up to date with the card game, I’m quite pleased to have the new edition of the board game, which is a curious beast that I hope to find the time to explore soon!

In addition, I’ve kept a few of my recent purchases back for the festive season, as a bit of a present to myself! Looking forward to getting round to these soon!

In a pretty surprising move, GW has announced some new models coming out soon, starting with Drukhari vs Sisters of Battle, which will serve as a vehicle to show off two new plastic character models, Lelith Hesperax, and the new Lieutenant model for the Sisters, the Palatine:

I think that’s a great looking box and, depending on the price, I’m probably going to get it. I’m feeling a distinct need to get back to my beloved Dark Eldar, so it’s the perfect product! However, some of these things have been priced quite… ambitiously, and I’m not going to go too crazy for it…

We’ve also seen more for the new Slaanesh release, and I’m bowled over at the attention being lavished upon the Prince of Pleasure! New mortal archers, ranged and melee Seeker-riding mortals… and Slaangors!! My goodness, I need a lie down…

What a Christmas!!

Psychic Awakening: Phoenix Rising

Hey everybody,
It’s been out for a while now, but I’ve been wanting to talk about the new Psychic Awakening series of books for Warhammer 40k since the event kicked off a couple of weeks ago, so what better time to start than now?! The series is meant to have massive ramifications for the 40k universe as a whole, and back when it was initially announced, we were promised something new for every faction. I’m sure we’ve had such promises before, but so far, we’re three books in at the time I’m writing this, with a fourth on the way, and it looks like they are actually looking to deliver on this!

Psychic Awakening Phoenix Rising

Book One, Phoenix Rising, deals with all things Aeldari, and the book is actually really quite interesting to delve into. The first thing that you notice about it is that it isn’t anywhere near as weighty a tome as the Vigilus campaign books from last Christmas. That is probably because the book functions more like a mini Codex, than a true campaign book, and there is correspondingly less in the way of lore.

It’s still there, for sure – I read somewhere that this series is meant to bring the Imperium as a whole up to the same point in time as the Vigilus stuff, which sort of functions as the “current” timeframe. That would seem to be correct, as the fluff here goes right back to the Gathering Storm in places, chronicling the rise of the Ynnari and putting that into the wider context of the Aeldari races as a whole. That does sort of make sense, as that earlier series was a 7th edition thing, so it’s good for new fans to have the same sort of context as the rest of us.

The fluff is followed then by a series of narrative missions to play, three Echoes of War missions that recreate some of the storyline in the fluff section, such as the Drukhari attack on the Ynnari, using manipulated forces of the Astra Militarum. Each of these missions has its own suite of stratagems that can be used, and there are also a couple of additional rules for Theatres of War, giving ongoing effects for the whole battle. Theatres of War is something that I don’t see used a great deal, but could be fun to play with if you wanted a really intense game of 40k!

This first book in the series was released alongside a box set, Blood of the Phoenix, which repacked several Craftworld and Dark Eldar kits, as well as providing plastic miniatures for Jain Zar, Howling Banshees, Drazhar and the Incubi. I’m not a Craftworld expert, but the Drazhar model went all the way back to 1992, I believe, and so was really quite desperately in need of an update. I’d been hoping for plastic Incubi for almost as long as I’ve been a Dark Eldar player, so this box was highly anticipated! I mean, look at a comparison with their older models:

Jain Zar and Drazhar old models

Unfortunately, the box set was really quite overpriced – I think it was something like £150 retail, which is fine when you think the characters will probably be £25 each when released separately, and the new units will be around £30 or maybe £35, if the Chaos Marines release is anything to go by; it means you’re getting a whole bunch of the older stuff for about £30, which is a big saving. A lot of people weren’t too impressed, though, as the older stuff it was packed alongside has been out for years now, and people tend not to want that stuff. It was the sort of box that might be great for new folks getting into the hobby or wanting to start these armies, but for those of us who have been waiting for these plastics, it was a hard pass. As it stands, I picked up Drazhar on a bits site, and would be fine to wait for the plastic Incubi kit to hit retail, having already bought and painted up the finecast models if I wanted to use them in a battle before then.

New Drazhar is an incredible model though, I really liked him a lot!

Anyway, following the missions, the book sort of splits into three, as we get the new rules sections. First up are the Craftworld lot, which have the rules for Jain Zar and the Howling Banshees, as well as three pages of additional rules for other aspect warriors such as Dire Avengers and Striking Scorpions. It’s really quite an interesting little rules update in this respect, although I’m no Craftworld expert to know whether they’d be of any use!

The Drukhari section is a little smaller, having new rules just for Drazhar and the Incubi – I say new rules, they’re more like tweaks, really. Drazhar gets a bit beefier and now has the Lethal Precision rule the Incubi had, and the Klaivex can take demi klaives like Drazhar.

Both flavours of Eldar get new ways to create their own brand of chapter tactics with new Obsessions and Attributes. From a list of different abilities and effects, you get to choose two (unless otherwise stated) which give you your own custom rules for your chosen army type. I suppose it compensates for not having your own Stratagems and Warlord Traits by getting to pick two. There are four pages of Craftworld Attributes, while the Drukhari get a page of Obsessions for each of Kabal, Cult and Coven. Some of them are quite decent, as it happens, and I’ll talk about them a bit more shortly.

Finally, the book closes out with a reprinting of the Ynnari “Codex” that was featured back in a White Dwarf earlier this year. There is all of the lore, the rules, stratagems, psychic powers and warlord traits, so it’s nice to have that reproduced again here for convenience, and to ensure that Ynnari players can have those rules without resorting to trying to find the White Dwarf on ebay, or something.

All in all, it’s a pretty nice book, with a lot of different parts that you can pick and choose from. Obviously, Eldar players are the demographic for this, as Space Marines players will find nothing of interest here. But I do like these sort of books, which have a bit of story/background to them, some new rules, and then some missions and stuff to choose from, as well.


Yesterday, I played my final game of 40k for the year, a three-player game against Chaos and Necrons, for which I brought my own Drukhari – the first time they have had an outing since about May, I think!

It was a pretty casual game, with armies floating around the 1000 points mark. My buddy JP had had the Start Collecting Chaos Marines for Christmas, as well as more Havocs, so was keen to get those out. Matt was playing Necrons, in what was I think his second game of 40k (certainly his second game of 8th edition). We were using the multiplayer rules from the core rule book, so nothing too fancy, but I think it definitely helped that we were all very much into it not being a case of ganging-up on one player, but we were all trying to achieve our own objectives while attacking everybody else.

It was also really nice to finally get all of my terrain out and on the table!

I’ve been thinking a lot about doing away with Obsessions entirely, and playing lists more like I used to in the Index days, but instead decided to try out the new build-your-own with a Raiding Party force. Pretty much everything about the Drukhari army caused raised eyebrows from my opponents, and with good reason – they’re the sort of army where so many things just shouldn’t be the case, and yet they are. I’m particularly fond of the Hexrifle on my Wracks here, because nobody expects a fairly-dedicated close combat unit to include a sniper rifle, after all!

Wracks were possibly the star players here, taking out the Daemon Prince warlord for 1VP, followed closely by the Ravager which, over the course of my turn, finished off the Havocs unit before it could do anything.

However, I was very often forgetting a lot of rules – standard operating procedure, for sure, but I think the sheer number of moving parts to this army when you have all three subfactions present is just bonkers.

So for my Kabal, I took Disdain for Lesser Beings, which allows me to only ever lose one model to Morale (forgot about that, and lost two of my Warriors this way), and Toxin Crafters, which adds one to the damage characteristic of a poisoned weapon on a natural 6 to wound. I don’t honestly know if this would have made a difference (I forgot about the open topped rule for my Raiders for at least one turn), but there you have it. I normally use Kabal of the Obsidian Rose, giving me +6 to the maximum range of weapons, and I think I would usually prefer this to anything else, as I want to keep my Kabal gunline as far away from anybody as possible.

The Kabal rules in Phoenix Rising aren’t particularly game-changing, they are just some interesting alternatives if you don’t want to use those from the Codex.

Wych Cults are still a subfaction that I don’t know enough about, having only used them once previously. I mean, I use Reavers a lot, but the rest of them… I’d gone with Precise Killers, which improves the AP of a weapon on a natural 6 to wound, as well as Slashing Impact, which allows me to inflict 1 mortal wound on a 5+ when I finish a charge move. These are nice bonuses, and there are some interesting things in the book that I think could do with further investigation. I probably need to play more Wych Cults to get the gist of things, though.

I will say, as well, that I had an incredibly lucky roll on my Hekatrix’s blast pistol, and one-shot killed the Master of Executions! Given that the last time JP and I played, his Master of Executions took out my entire Grey Knights Purifier Squad in a single swing, I feel that has given me justice!

Combat Drugs are still a mystery to me, however…

Finally, for my Haemonculus Coven, I went with Experimental Creations, which increases the Strength of everyone in the unit, as well as giving a +1 to wound rolls when attacking units with lower toughness. That didn’t really come into it as much as I thought, but the +1 Strength was very handy! With Wracks being S3 but T4, you want them in combat, but their effective power is quite limited with just basic weapons. Anyway! My second Obsession for them was Masters of Mutagens, which means a natural 6 to hit against anything other than vehicles or titanic units is an auto-wound. That did come up quite a bit, which helped me to get rid of the Chaos Sorcerer, at which point there were no more Psychic shenanigans to endure.

It was a good game, and didn’t feel too much like a 1v1 with a bystander, though the Necrons just kept reanimating while Chaos and Dark Eldar were dying all around, meaning the final round was a bit one-sided. But we got to 5 rounds, so all was well!


I feel like Phoenix Rising is definitely going to be worth getting for Craftworlds players, and Ynnari too, but if you’re a Dark Eldar player looking for new ways to play the army, I think there is limited good stuff here. Possibly not worth it to the more competitive players, as nothing in there seems particularly game-destroying – and I’m guessing the more competitive dark kin won’t want to give up Agents of Vect so easily, anyway!

Path of the Renegade

Path of the Renegade is the first of the Path of the Dark Eldar trilogy, something almost sacred among us denizens of the Dark City, as it is one of the scant novels that actually deals with the Dark Kin in anywhere like detail. I’d not read the book before, but it was getting to the point where it was almost embarrassing for me to have not read it!

The story deals with the plot of three Archons against the tyrant Asdrubael Vect, the current ruler of Commorragh. Central to the story is Archon Nyos Yllithian, whose plan to overthrow Vect involves reviving one of Vect’s early nemeses, El’uriaq, the self-styled emperor of the dark kin. In order to do so, Yllithian conspires with the haemonculus Bellathonis, acquiring a “pure heart” in the form of an Exodite Worldsinger. The plan works too well, El’uriaq being so charismatic that he manages to overtake Yllithian’s plans.

While there is an intriguing storyline of plots and more plots against Vect, the novel mainly seems to serve as a vehicle to showcase Dark Eldar society, with the story strung out across these major points of interest. We get to see life in the twisting catacombs of a haemonculus coven, the thrilling fights in the arenas of the wych cults, and so forth. It almost feels a bit like a parody, as we have these huge set-pieces interposed within the narrative. Even when the story really gets underway, we still seem to slow down as we get to see this sort of showcase, and it can be quite tedious.

I suppose it didn’t help that I read this book in its re-issue as part of the Path of the Dark Eldar omnibus, which was seemingly riven with spelling mistakes and dropped words. My overall feeling is that it was a little bit disappointing, though I suspect that part of that might be due to having seen it hyped on the Drukhari facebook page for so long.

Having now read it, though, I feel that Nightbringer was a much more interesting Dark Eldar novel than this one…

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!!!!!