Deathwatch vs Drukhari: a postmortem

Hey everybody!
Had a very disappointing game against Deathwatch yesterday, so thought I’d come along here and ramble about it for a bit. Because, y’know, why not?

I was playing at my local store against a guy I’ve played before, albeit with different lists. While in our previous match I’d been Necrons, he’d also included a different line-up and it was a smaller-scale game (1250 points, I think). We’d upped things to 1750, and I thought it was about time I brought out the Drukhari, given that I’ve not been playing them nearly as much since the Codex came out, and it’s really time to get my head around all the stuff they can do!

Firstly, then, my list:

It’s a list that I’ve used in similar configuration before, when I had a game back in December against Orks. I’d initially considered using Wych Cult models alongside the Kabal portion, similar to what I was talking about last month, but in the event I wasn’t going to get all of the models that needed painting finished in time. We both went over a bit, mainly because he was bringing Knights to the party, so I felt no shame in squeezing in a second haemonculus to make it two battalions for 13 command points. I made one of the haemonculi the warlord, putting both in their own Venom, then used the Kabal as the main thrust of my army.  The plan was to use the Kabal as a main threat and keep everything at range, while the Coven portion went up the sides and attempted to create a melee charnel house.

Deathwatch vs Drukhari, round one

This plan did not last nearly as well as I thought it might, given that I went second, losing a lot of my firepower and mobility thanks to both Ravagers being blown off the table, as well as two of the Raiders being brought down to extreme low health. Urgh! We were playing Supplies from Above, one of the new missions from Chapter Approved 2018, and one that I’ve played previously in a smaller-scale Necrons vs Tempestus Scions game, and can be a lot of fun in the smaller setting. With a lot of table to cover, though, it proved to be a different experience.

I’d initially placed my objectives near the centre thinking I’d create a bit of a killzone for my Raiders to just deliver massive broadsides each turn. Unfortunately, that didn’t really come to pass! My first shooting phase, I managed to kill one guy – just one guy! Really poor rolls made it quite difficult to get much further. I did use the Fire and Fade stratagem to then move one of the Raiders out of the way of the Knight that was breathing down my neck (which is how it came to be neatly wedged between the scenery pieces in the centre of the picture, above).

With my Ravagers gone so quickly, though, I decided to just not even bother with the Knights, and tried instead to focus on keeping to cover as much as I could, and go for the troops. The mission requires you to control objective markers at the start of your turn, but they move at the start of each battle round, so I shifted my focus to that in the hope that I’d be able to weather the storm coming my way!

My opponent had switched up his list from last time as well, and rather than having everybody carry storm bolters, instead went for a mostly-Primaris build. Which was, as I’m sure you can imagine, a sheer delight. Everything having two wounds suddenly made what heavy artillery I had left become more viable against troops, as shameful as that may be to fire a dark lance at an infantry blob! As an aside, I’d built the majority of this army during the changeover from 7th to 8th edition, when the dark lance was king. However, I’m really thinking that the remaining Raiders I have to build and paint will all be disintegrator cannons, instead – 5 points cheaper, and two more shots. Sure, the strength and AP aren’t as good, but the chances of hitting with the cannons are so much better than with the lances. Somehow, whiffing with three shots at 15 points feels better than whiffing with one shot for 20 points. But anyway!

The one bright spot for me was having taken the risk and walked up the Wrack squad carrying the Hexrifle along the flank to shoot directly into the face of the Watch Master – I wasn’t sure I’d be any good suffering the penalty for moving and firing a heavy weapon, but there’s something wonderful to be said for actually making the Hexrifle shot work: 6 to wound and an unsaved wound at that meant two wounds came off the Watch Master. Delightful.

Deathwatch vs Drukhari, round two

Turn two was utterly appalling for me. I lost everything except the Coven Raider and Venom, and just kept rolling poorly for all of my Kabalites. The fact that two squads of ten veterans deep-struck in, one of which came down into my deployment zone for a two-pronged attack, really saw the pain. I’d deployed an Archon on foot, which you can see just to the centre-right of the above photo, and intended him to be quite the distraction. As it happened, he managed to pull most of the fire from that back-field deep strike, and his shadowfield broke on the third roll. Nobody can really withstand 12 shots to the face, can they? But it meant my Warlord had that much less coming for him, while somehow I managed to shave another two wounds off the Watch Master by again rolling perfectly for the Hexrifle!

Nobody expects a melee-orientated unit like Wracks to have a sniper rifle hidden in their midst, and so pretty much every game I’ve used it, this squad has been woefully misunderstood. Splendid!

If only the rest of the battle was going splendidly, of course. As a point of note, I always forget about Power from Pain. I even had the cards right there in front of me to remember, but I still forget to make the FNP save from the first battle round. Thankfully, my opponent was a good enough sport about it and let me roll after the fact, which did net me two Kabalites back from one of the squads – though I suspect he did so fully aware of the fact they weren’t really a threat to him at this point!

Due to the insane amount of firepower coming at me, when my actual second turn came around, I had very little left to do, so just charged a bunch of Covens units into the backfield deep strikers, and successfully managed to eliminate a Jump Captain and the squad of ten he came down with. There is something to be said for the brutal efficiency of a Talos, Cronos, Haemonculus and Wrack squad working together. Can’t wait to complete the family and add some Grotesques to the roster!


Despite it all – Hellfire rounds to the face, Knights with ridiculous anti-vehicle hatred all around me – we ended in a draw. The Court of the Archon came in really handy having disembarked from their downed Venom in the centre of the table, as each is a separate unit so they all scattered to secure three objectives, with only the Sslyth losing his during the third battle round. We agreed to call it a draw after his turn though, as the store was 20 minutes from closing and I knew it would take at least that long to pack all of my stuff away!

I can’t remember the last time I won a game of 40k. Well, actually I think I can, but it was a long time ago. At any rate, losing games is very often more valuable an experience than winning. My opponent for this game is a self-advertised newbie, and I think our game last night was his fourth, having won one, lost two, and now drawn one. The usual advice for new players is to let them win their first game, but that really is a double-edged sword, for it may lead a person to think the game is easy, or that it will always be like that. Losing, however, makes you re-evaluate your choices, both in the list and in the game. Even though we called this a draw on victory points, I definitely felt like I lost this one.

I ended the battle with 8 command points left. If you end a game with any CPs left, you’ve likely done something wrong, and I very definitely don’t yet know the full potential for the stratagems Drukhari can employ. In a game situation, though, I hate to stand there, flicking through my cards or the Codex, trying to come up with a strategy on the fly, though often I end up doing so regardless. Not making full use of my command points was definitely a mis-step from me, and leaving one of my Raiders out in the open was just asking for trouble when there is so much heavy firepower on the opposite side of the table.

A great excuse for this game was that I was playing at right angles to my deployment zone. Hear me out on this one: we were playing Hammer and Anvil deployment, but the tables in GW Chester are set up as one long line down the centre of the room. So my deployment zone abutted another game going on, and I couldn’t properly get behind my minis to see what they could see, etc. Trying to figure out lines of sight as best I could was, well, difficult at best! I really shouldn’t have been the gentleman and accepted the poorer of the two zones.

I usually have poor dice rolls, and so I try to mitigate that by going for an almost horde feel to the armies I play, and try to have lots of weapons in the hope that the weight of numbers will mean I’ll get at least some hits. But even for me, last night’s game was a shambles. However, there were some successful shots in there that were, unfortunately, saved. Another cardinal sin here – I paid for splinter racks on all three of my Kabal Raiders, 10 points each. I promptly forgot about this, and cannot remember if any of the drive-by attacks rolled 6s. Argh! The agony is real.

People talk about Blasters being amazing, but it’s a similar situation to the dark lance, putting a lot of faith (and points!) into just one shot. I’m starting to think that I might well just keep things real simple in my next game, and have three squads of ten with just splinter rifles, or maybe add in a splinter cannon for each but otherwise strip them back completely. 70 points for a 10-man Kabalite squad isn’t exactly a bad situation to be in, after all. Keeping things cheap in this manner will open the door for adding in more stuff as well, naturally – maybe a 5-man Kabalite squad in a Venom, where I can perhaps get a bit fancier?

The other thing that has been running around my mind for a while is to just forget about the whole Obsessions thing, and run a Drukhari army without trying to straightjacket it into Kabal/Cult/Coven. There are enough options outside of the Obsessions to do this comfortably, though who knows if it would actually be viable? At least I could use my Reavers without having to think about a Succubus or maxing out the Outrider detachment…

All of this talk leads me to the main point I have to make, though: I’m just not that experienced with my Drukhari force yet. I said at the top that it was a very disappointing game, and that was really a disappointment with myself and the tactical choices I made throughout. I love Dark Eldar, not necessarily for the fluff but the playstyle is a massive puzzle that I really enjoy solving each time I bring them to the table (except, perhaps, when that puzzle is being destroyed before I even have a chance to pick up the next piece!) However, my hobby-butterfly mentality often sees me flit from one army to another, and never really getting the hang of anything. As it happens, I’m hoping to move house this summer, so in the spirit of anticipating some upheaval in the next few months, I probably won’t have the time to flit from project to project, and will therefore have to commit to something. If I actually manage to find the time to play any games, it might be worthwhile to stick with the Drukhari and see if I can really refine how I want to play them…

Competitive thoughts

Hey everybody!
In yesterday’s hobby update blog, I mentioned the Deathwatch progress would be explored more in a post today, so ta-da! Time to talk about what I’ve been up to with the alien-hunting elite!

At the start of the year, my gaming buddy Kev suggested trying our collective hand at going to a doubles tournament this year, which sounded like a fun idea at first, though I had no real inclination just how competitive Kev could be! Sure, whenever we’ve played I’ve usually been demolished by his lists, but still! His main army is Deathwatch, though he started Grey Knights for Kill Team (it was against those models I had my first KT games, as Genestealer Cult – and got demolished), which he has now branched out into a more full-fledged army. Having so much Deathwatch of my own that I’d like to get moving with, we pretty quickly settled on a Deathwatch/Grey Knights combined army for this theoretical tournament.

The main issue I’m coming up against, of course, is that I’m just not that competitive! Kev knows Deathwatch inside out, and has been giving me a lot of tips and advice, but I keep feeling like I’m looking at an army choice that I wouldn’t necessarily like to field. I suppose it’s natural, going to a tournament, that you’d be looking at getting the best units in the army, but even so, I feel like I’m missing out on a lot of “my sort” of models, because they probably aren’t that competitive.

I last talked about the Deathwatch thoughts I had been having at the back end of December, with this list being the one I had settled upon:

Well, that has been through no less than five re-writes, and currently looks more like this:

 

I keep playing around with this, of course – in part because I want to fit in a Razorback with twin assault cannons for 116 points, now that I’ve bought the Inquisition rhino doors from Forge World! But I think this is where I’ll be concentrating my Deathwatch endeavours for the time being.

Army Make Up
The plan for this is the first group of six veterans will be used to camp objectives, and possible play bodyguard for the Watch Master if he decides to do anything out of the ordinary. Having a terminator in the list should hopefully act as a suitable deterrent, I’m thinking, too. The second group of five veterans will be used more for distraction/mid-field harassment, and will be equipped with hellfire rounds for more damage output. The final group of seven veterans will act more flexibly, moving around the field to position where they’re needed most. These and the first group will have kraken bolts in their weapons to increase their threat range.

The vanguard veterans will work alongside the watch captain to drop in where required. The variety of pistols will hopefully form a suitable threat level for them, as well as providing a decent distraction when they show up. Finally, the Dreadnought is in there for the stratagem, as well as added threat.

A few thoughts
I’ve never played Marines of any flavour before, being much more used (in recent times) to the Dark Eldar way of getting absolutely wrecked, so needing to swarm the field to ensure enough chaps survive to do anything. I’m used to big lists, even at 1000 points, so I was a bit surprised to find out how few units I would get in here if I went for a really optimised build. I like infantry, though, and I prefer to keep this as an actual miniatures game rather than having massive stuff in the army just because. Luckily, of course, Deathwatch don’t easily have access to such stuff. I’m staying away from Primaris, because I think all of the other Deathwatch stuff looks fantastic enough, and while I’ve not been able to fit my beloved Chaplain model in the list, there’s always time yet for that!

I’m almost constantly told that the frag cannon is king of the list, though at 25 points each, I’m always a bit wary. I’ve probably mentioned this in my Dark Eldar ramblings, but any time a weapon starts to cost more than the guy who wields it, I get a bit twitchy. Including so many instances of this in the army feels really quite wrong to me. But as I am often reminded in these situations – Marines have got a much better toughness and save characteristic than space elves, so I don’t really need to worry on that level.

I’m often caught up with how exciting Deathwatch Veterans seem on paper, and have until this current iteration of the list forgotten that I actually need five of the basic Veterans in a squad before I can start adding Terminators or any other fancy chaps. Oops! So that has been a learning curve. It also took the article series on frontline gaming to get me to realise that mixed teams of Veterans is usually not a good idea. True, I have seven veterans in this list who have mixed weapons, but there is a point to them, insofar as they’re intended to be a more flexible unit. By keeping all of the heavy weapons in one team, and the assault weapons in another, it helps to make the tactical use of these units easier.

I think this has been a big eye-opener for me, and in a way is linked with what I was talking about earlier. I might be disappointed that I can’t get “my sort” of units in the list, or whatever, but if it means the army works better as a result, then isn’t that the important thing here? We are talking about going to a competitive tournament, after all! There has got to be an expectation of winning, even if it might not be likely given that it’s a first for both of us!

Shenanigans
Deathwatch look beautiful, with some very unique models, considering they’re just a little bit fancier Space Marines. They’re also confusing as all hell to me though, because of the fancy ammunition they have, as well as the Chapter Tactics equivalent they get, Mission Tactics. Mission Tactics give you bonuses for going up against specific unit types, such as HQs or Troops, and while these two are probably guaranteed to be on the opposing side, picking a bonus to going up against Elites or Fast Attack might be more of a waste – hence the Watch Master’s ability to switch up the Tactic you’re using, so he’s very useful in the army.

Special Issue Ammunition is one of these things that has been needlessly getting me tied up in knots – it’s not actually that complicated, it just allows you to get a bonus on any attacks made by a bolt weapon in the squad. All members of the squad use the same fancy bullets, so it’s not even like there will be excessive book-keeping to do. It just feels like one of these things that might confuse me, though! It certainly has the potential, of course…

All in all, I think I’m enjoying getting some of these chaps painted, because the models really do look fantastic. However, I feel a bit like it’s incumbent upon me to get all of them painted up, and I have to get playing games with them to practice for the tournament, so I’m starting to feel less inclined towards them at the moment! I’ve got a lot of stuff on the go, after all, and I’m finding myself wanting to get going with that instead – Grey Knights, for instance, and I’m once more thinking about stuff like the Skitarii, or maybe Dark Angels.

This is starting to sound like a rant, isn’t it?!

Having had these minis since Overkill and Death Masque, I’m really excited about the prospect of finally getting to play with them and see what it’s like to wield that glorious 3+ armour save. It is a project that should look damn fine when it’s finished, I hope, and I’ll definitely be keeping you all posted along the way!

Hobby Goals check-in: January 2019

Hey everybody!
While it’s not technically the end of the month just yet, I have an impromptu day off today, so thought it would be nice to check in and see where I’m up to as regards the hobby progress for this month. My original list of goals didn’t have any kind of time period against each one – so I didn’t want to finish painting the Deathwatch models I have in January, for instance, but I thought it’d nevertheless be neat to see how things are going!

So then, for those of you who may have forgotten, here’s a reminder of what I’d like to accomplish in 2019:

Work out what I want to do with the Tau army, if anything
This one hasn’t been quite as difficult as I’d first thought it might be, as it happens. I’d been thinking about what I wanted to do, and at one point I did feel like just getting rid of the whole lot. I initially bought into Tau because, if I’m being honest with myself, I was growing impatient waiting for the Dark Eldar codex to arrive, and wanted to play a xenos army with a book of their own. Being a completely different sort of project for me, I attacked it with relish and bought thousands of units (well, a lot) in a short space of time, built most of it, and started playing. Problem number one, therefore, was the fact I was playing games with an army that I hadn’t painted, which is never really advisable because it means you rarely get round to actually painting them up. Which has been my problem ever since, as it happens!

I’ve got a lot of stuff built, most of it primed, but I still have plenty of stuff just in boxes, so for my first efforts here, I’ve decided to get rid of the boxed stuff. I’m then going to look at what I have left, draw up a list or two, and see what I think from there. I think I still want to keep some of the big suits, so I’ll be keeping hold of things like that second Riptide, and probably all of the Crisis Suits as well, but I’m considering getting rid of the second Commander (not sure yet). I’m also going to see if it’s worth it selling off a lot of the bits that I’ve been keeping a hold of. This hobby isn’t cheap, after all, and so I’m thinking it might be worth it to sell off things like the fusion blasters and whatnot, in an attempt to then finance armies that I do want!

So far, then, good progress has been made with trying to sort out the Tau!

Continue painting the Deathwatch models I have
This one ties in to another blog that will be making its appearance tomorrow, but suffice it to say that I feel like most of the New Year/early January period was spent writing and re-writing lists for the Deathwatch army, before then building up more veterans ready for painting. So I suppose progress hasn’t so much been made with this one, as reversed, because I now have almost twice as many Deathwatch models as I had this time last year!

But I’m chipping away at them, and hopefully soon there will be finished units that I can unveil here on the blog!

Continue to build up and paint the 1500-point Grey Knight list
This one has somewhat suffered for the last point, but in recent days, I do feel like I’m getting myself back on track as regards this project. I am definitely feeling Grey Knights at the moment, so I’m excited to get this show on the road! While I feel like I’m swamped in Deathwatch and Tau miniatures that are just sat there, primed and taunting me, I’ve not been quite so prodigious with the Grey Knights, having a Strike Squad built up and primed, but nothing else, meaning I can concentrate on painting the Purifiers and the Grand Master.

So far, I’ve been making some pretty decent progress, I think, so I’m really quite pleased to be going down this route for my new army for 2019!

On a side note, I’ve recently managed to pick up the pieces for the Doomglaive Dreadnought that has been discontinued by Forge World, so I’m hoping that will turn out to be okay! The weapons are coming from the US, and the main body from Germany, so I’m always a bit nervy of such things turning out well…

Anyway!

Paint some Nighthaunt and see what AoS is all about
Of all of my goals, I think this is the one that I have succeeded with the greatest. While I’ve not fully painted the entire list just yet, I’ve nevertheless managed to get quite a lot done – so they’re not just bare plastic – and have played a total of two games so far. To put that into perspective, I played seven games of 40k during 2018 altogether! So far, then, I think I’m doing quite well with playing games. How are the models looking?

Well, there is still quite a bit to be done, of course, and I do think that miniatures that have been primed white look just dreadful until they are actually fully painted. But overall, it’s good to be actually seeing an improvement with them on the whole, I feel!

I’m really pleased with how my AoS exploration has been going, as well, as it has gotten me excited for playing, which is making me want to paint more, which is nothing but a good thing!

Of course, I have been a bit guilty of running before I can crawl, and have been planning out all manner of different army projects of late. So for AoS in particular, I’ve been taking steps to reduce that significantly, and have decided to get rid of the Idoneth Deepkin models. I know that I’ve only recently been building army lists for them and everything, but I do feel that, of all the armies I’ve looked into so far, they’re just not doing it for me. The models look fantastic, don’t get me wrong. It’s just the way the army seems to want to play, I just can’t seem to get into it. So I’ve taken back what I can, and will be selling the rest off shortly.

This isn’t meant to be some kind of slow abandonment of fantasy, however. Rather than going wide, I’ve instead decided to go deep into the Death faction, and will be broadening my Nighthaunt into the Legions of Nagash at some point, giving me the perfect excuse I need to buy the big guy again! Both of my AoS games have been at the local store against the same guy, who is Chaos through-and-through, so I think it’s perhaps a better approach to just stick to one faction and really go into that.

So there we have it! Hopefully there will be more exciting updates for you all next month, when I hope to actually have some finished units to show off!

Hobby Progress, week four!

Hey everybody!
It’s been another quiet week this week, which is perhaps to be expected with Christmas and all. I’ve been trying to make some time for painting during the latter half of the week, with the intention being that I’d have something to show you all for this blog here on Sunday – which I suppose is the point of me doing these blogs in the first place, so well done me!

I’m still very busy with army lists, and having pretty much finalised my first plans for the Grey Knights, I’ve started work on the Purifier squad with gusto! I’m really enjoying these chaps for the moment, so I hope that continues. Unlike a lot of projects (Tau instantly spring to mind here), I’ve got quite a clear idea of what I want to achieve with the paint scheme, so I’m hoping that means it’ll go quicker for me! I’ve done the silver quite quickly – just a Leadbelcher base, with a bit of a focused shade of Nuln oil, then a soft drybrush of Ironbreaker. I’ve not yet gone in with the blue glaze, as I’m building myself up to that one! Having base coated the helmets with Celestra Grey, I’ve today gone in with a diluted shade of Coelia Greenshade – 1 part shade to about 4 parts Lahmian Medium. It’s left them with enough detail, but there’s a definite greenish hue to them that I quite like. The tabard on the Justicar has been painted Zandri Dust and shaded with Seraphim Sepia, and the gold details are just base coated Retributor Armour. Finally, the Force weapons have been base coated with Caledor Sky.

I’m hoping to be much further progressed as this week moves on, so hopefully I’ll have more progress for you all then!

I had the Grey Knights Paladin Squad for Christmas, and so have built myself a Grand Master using the parts from that kit to really flesh him out as a fancy chap. I’ve also been building models for both the Deathwatch, and the Ravenwing projects that I have going on at the moment – I’ll get to the latter in due course here on the blog, but for now, let’s talk about the xenos hunters!

I’ve been slowly building up a Deathwatch army since Death Masque arrived back in 2016, but have left it quite a while between the last phase of my painting and this current spurt. The reason being that I’ve been talking to a fellow gaming buddy about entering a doubles tournament in 2019, in the assumption that Warhammer World will be holding the event again!

Now, I’ve played in card game tournaments in the past, but I’ve never even attempted to go along for a miniatures tournament, as I get the impression that it’s just far too competitive for my liking. Well, Kev has not given me any reason to think I was wrong in this assumption, so far! He’s going Grey Knights (it was against his kill team that I first encountered that game, and he’s been building up the army since) so I’m going with another branch of the Inquisition, and hopefully we’ll either face Chaos or Xenos to make our army choices worthwhile!!

All weekend, then, I’ve been working my way through list ideas, and I think I’ve finally managed to come up with something that I would be reasonably happy playing – bearing in mind that I prefer fun things to play, as opposed to lists that are just too tailored and end up being boring:

Initially, it’s quite a cheap battalion list, with a fourth group of veterans that includes a Terminator taking up a significant number of the points. I’m fully intending to use this as a distraction unit though, hoping that it will draw enough fire that the other units will survive reasonably unmolested. The Venerable Dreadnought needs a new arm, which I thankfully have thanks to the bits box, and I’ve got a Razorback for the more melee-orientated unit of Veterans to get them closer to where they need to be. I did initially want a Chaplain in there with them, but I’ve instead gone for the JumpMaster as he has a slightly better stat line. Though I am wondering if the Terminator will be worth it, so might make some adjustments over time!

The first thing that strikes me about Deathwatch is just how many crazy options there are in the Codex, and how many interesting squad permutations you can get. I’m a bit confused by the whole mission tactics / special issue ammunition thing, and with the stratagems on top, I feel like this army is something that can be quite unwieldy quite quickly, so I definitely want to get some games in with it as soon as possible, as I need to get used to that side of things before I get into any kind of tournament setting, I think!!

To that end, I’m thinking I might need to make an alternative list, just to get to grips with the army in general, and then see how it goes adding in the relevant units. I do already have a sizable Deathwatch army, so I’m hoping to get to the shop in the new year and see how it goes! Stay tuned for those exciting updates, anyway!


It’s been a lot of fun resurrecting the old hobby progress blogs for December, and I almost feel a bit sad to finish the series! I do think they’re a great way to check in and keep me on track with my goals, so I think I’ll definitely be doing a monthly iteration throughout 2019. I have a lot of goals for next year, so we shall see how those pan out!

Come back on Tuesday, 1 January, to find out more about those goals!!

Deathwatch Army thoughts

Hey everybody!
I seem to be in a bit of a reflective mood of late, looking through a lot of the armies that I’ve had built but not necessarily ones that I’ve been doing a great deal with for some time now – today sees me turn this attention on the Deathwatch, a force that I was really excited for back when they first arrived on the scene with the Overkill boxed game. Having painted up a number of units rather quickly, they’ve since been left to gather dust, so I thought I’d take a look at what I have, and see where I can potentially take them!

Imperium armies for me have, for some time now, been confined to the smaller-scale things like Tempestus Scions or Skitarii. Certainly, I don’t think I’ve painted a single marine since I moved house 18 months ago…

My Deathwatch force is pretty much as you see it above, anyway, and on paper looks something like this:

My Deathwatch army is a bit of a mix of a couple of squad ideas that I’ve built up initially, then picked a couple from each to paint. So there’s the original Kill Team Cassius from Deathwatch: Overkill; there are the veterans from Death Masque that came alongside Watch Captain Artemis, along with the Vanguard Veterans and Venerable Dreadnought from that box; there are also a group of Veterans that I built to represent Kill Team Excis (the original Kill Team from the Overkill storyline, who had stats in White Dwarf back in September 2016), as well as some odd bits like the Deathwing Terminator and the Black Templar that I built out of bits from their upgrade kit that I found online. So it’s quite a mixed bag!

I do have a number of unpainted miniatures, though, which I have been thinking about returning to at some point, as I would like to make these guys into something more like a playable army. Having played against Deathwatch a couple of times, I would like to wield that kind of power rather than be coming up against it, for sure!! The kind of army I think I’d like to have would be something along the lines of this:

It feels, to me, like a well-rounded force, capable of doing enough interesting things to, well, keep me interested!

So it’s a little over 1000 points, but hopefully that won’t be too overbalanced if I want to try it out in some games once I’ve gotten going with it. Pretty much all of these models have been built and primed, as well, with just the Watch Master that needs building. I think, of the 20 models in the army, I’ve got 9 of them painted, so 45% completion isn’t too bad! It’s certainly a good start, I feel, although I may well find myself swapping out things as time moves on.

I’ve also got another Veterans sprue that I can build, so I’m thinking that I might wait for a bit, get some games under my belt with this army, and see how well it works and what I might need to add in to the force before I go and build those. I do like the idea of building up the sergeant to have a xenophase blade, though, as it has become quite an iconic piece of wargear since it has now featured on the cover of both Codexes!

I do enjoy these guys, as the models are so wonderfully detailed, and the results of the gold and other bits against the black armour is really quite striking. There are definitely a lot of options for painting these guys to look really good – I think the black base really lends itself well, in that respect, and it makes not only the gold pop out, but also the chapter iconography that adds some colour to the force.

I’ve not yet played an Imperium army in 40k, despite having several on the go, so I think it could be fun to try out something different for a change!

Nobody expects the Inquisition!

Hey everybody,
My recent return to the light of the Emperor with the Deathwing army that I currently have on the go has got me thinking more about the Imperium as a whole, and looking at the other armies on offer to us outside of the Dark Angels. From Deathwing, I started looking at the Deathwatch army that I had started to paint up over the summer of 2016, and there will be a blog coming shortly with some of my thoughts on those chaps, don’t you worry!

But I’ve also started to think a lot about the smaller-scale stuff, and in particular, the Inquisition. This is a range that is quite woefully under-represented in 40k miniatures terms, which is odd considering the success of Dan Abnett’s Eisenhorn and Ravenor novel series. Most of the Inquisition line is made up of old finecast miniatures, with only the new finecast Eisenhorn mini and the plastic Greyfax that show any real attention for it over the past few years.

It got me thinking about what GW have been up to, what they are up to, and what I think I’d like to see them be up to, based on the first two.

First of all, though, let’s talk about some history
The Inquisition dates right back to the original Rogue Trader years, where they would combat the myriad threats to the Imperium, most often rogue psykers (more on this in a bit). Further lore expanded on this, introducing secretive sub-factions, and produced the little nugget of information that one of their secret tasks is to discover the sensei. For those who aren’t familiar, the sensei are the offspring of the Emperor of Mankind, who possess the ability to hide from the warp and are something of a perfect weapon to use against Chaos. While I don’t know whether the current GW will want to pursue this storyline, I think it has some potential to advance the story of 40k, which does seem to be a current objective for the company, so whether we will see them reimagined for this, I don’t know.

The popularity of the Inquisition has always seemingly stemmed from the specialist game Inquisitor, released in 2001 as a skirmish game roughly double the scale of “normal” 40k. It was this game that spawned Dan Abnett’s Eisenhorn trilogy, of course, and alongside several of Fantasy Flight’s RPGs, the popularity of the faction has bubbled along away from the wargame. In terms of the regular tabletop 40k, the expansion of the Grey Knights in 2011 to have their own Codex seemingly overshadowed the rest of the Inquisition, though it does seem that 2016’s Deathwatch Codex may have helped to balance that somewhat.

Power Armour connections
The Inquisition is made up of three major Orders: the Ordo Malleus (which deals with daemons), the Ordo Xenos (which deals with aliens) and the Ordo Hereticus (which deals with cultists). Each of these three has its own Chamber Militant: the Grey Knights, the Deathwatch, and the Adepta Sororitas, respectively. Now then, the Grey Knights have a decent plastic range of models, and the Deathwatch saw a new release of miniatures back in 2016. As has been well-documented by now, we’re expecting the plastic Sororitas range to arrive in 2019, with the current rumours pointing to sometime around October. With each of the Chambers Militant getting plastic releases, it’s gotten me thinking about when we’d be likely to see the Inquisition released in plastic sculpts to go alongside them.

Deathwatch: Overkill

Deathwatch have been something of a surprise, to my mind, as far as the new releases go. We saw a glorious release back in 2016, starting with the boxed game Deathwatch: Overkill, and it just went from there in terms of the amazing things we’ve been seeing. Genestealer Cults are such a fantastic example of this, and now again with the Rogue Trader releases, that it makes me thing GW is, to some extent, committed to bringing out some of the more weird and wonderful aspects of the 40k universe, not necessarily always via the mainstream tabletop game.

Within the space of months, we’ve seen two flamboyant Rogue Traders come out, surely it will only be a matter of time before we get the equally flamboyant Inquisitors in plastic?!

The Kill Team factor
Kill Team has already brought out so many fascinating sculpts with the Rogue Trader box back in September, and it doesn’t take a genius to see the possibility for a Kill Team: Inquisitor box to be quite the thematic expansion to that line. The fact that we have now got a plastic Death Cult Assassin in the Elucidian Starstriders makes me wonder if this is showing the possibility of further miniatures down the line. I know we’re wishlisting here once again, and most likely reading far too much into this, but I do like the idea that GW are perhaps testing the waters with these boxed games before going more down certain routes and creating miniatures on the back of those found in their specialist / board games.

It’s not just limited to the Kill Team game, though. Blackstone Fortress is set to be a major source of new, previously-unseen miniatures that might not be expected to have a full-army release. The fact that the Inquisition has been said to predominantly tackle rogue psykers in the past (Eisenhorn does it quite often, as we know), and there are rogue psyker models in the core set, makes me fanboy-dream that we might see a new “team” of heroes to choose from – the Inquisitor team. It would be so straightforward to give us a new plastic Inquisitor model, with some warrior acolytes and crusaders, maybe some sort of arco-flagellant or death-cult assassin, and a preacher of a lesser rank than Thaddeus from the core set. Throw in an Interrogator or Null Maiden as secondary leader-types (yes, I just want Ravenor and Bequin!) Heck, I’m sure people would like to play the Jokaero if they could, as well! It would be straightforward as anything to reinvent the current finecast/pewter range as a plastic warband here.

But I fully admit to leaping to this conclusion due to the tenuous link with rogue psykers, don’t you worry!

What does it all mean?
I don’t claim to have any kind of special insight into the future for GW. I’m just a nerd with a laptop typing all this junk up as I think of it. But given the popularity of the Inquisitors as a faction, it seems just wrong that they have one plastic mini, one (hard-to-find) resin mini, and the rest of the army is dated as all hell. Most of the line is made up of finecast versions of the old metal miniatures from back in the 90s, which admittedly is something of an improvement on the current Sisters line, which is all metal (but we know they’re changing that).

As it stands, we’re seeing a very slow drip-release of new miniatures that could potentially be used in an Inquisitorial retinue. Knosso Prond from the Elucidian Starstriders is a great example of this. Thaddeus the Purifier and Pious Vorne from Blackstone Fortress are also fantastic for making Preachers. Due to their heavy Redemptionist aesthetic, the new House Cawdor gangers could make excellent Warrior Acolytes. Without trying to read too much into these things, I do think it’s only a matter of time before we see the Inquisition brought back to life as a modern force on the tabletop.

Sisters?
Again, without trying to read too much into anything, I’ve been flicking through the old Codex: Imperial Agents from seventh edition, and I find it interesting that a Sisters army back then wasn’t all-female. Ministorum Priests, Arco-Flagellants, Crusaders and Assassins all featured in the army list, which gives it a strong crossover to the Inquisition army list in the same book. Could we be seeing new models for these coming as part of the plastic Sisters army next year?

Army releases for Games Workshop nowadays tend to be smaller affairs, with less of the more obscure elements like this. Since the announcement of plastic Sisters, I’ve been expecting a character or two, maybe two troops choices (multi-part kits?) and an elites choice. With maybe a heavy support/vehicle option. I’d not been expecting any of the, for want of a better term, “hangers-on” like the Priests. However, GW do seem to be treating this army project very much as an Event, and so it would perhaps be in keeping with that for them to go ahead and basically re-imagine the entire list, maybe even go crazy and give us entirely new units if they’re going to advance the fluff as well, and so in time we’ll be getting a whole host of new plastic goodness. The rumoured release of October 2019 does also make me think that maybe, by then, they will have released a lot of the Blackstone Fortress stuff separately, so could potentially be tying-in with that. I wouldn’t have thought they’d attempt to cash-in with Sisters and give the option for a Priest that basically means players need to buy a Blackstone Fortress set for £95, but maybe we’ll be seeing multi-part plastic clampack releases for the heroes by then?

On a side note, given the strong ties to both Grey Knights and Deathwatch, I’ve also been wondering if there will be rules to include special detachments of those forces, which won’t break your Battleforged army. Only time will tell!

It’s definitely an exciting prospect, and one that I hadn’t really given much thought to until now!

But what about Kill Team?
Ah yes, Kill Team. It feels a little like Kill Team is being dampened-down of late, with all the hype for Blackstone Fortress coming out this week and all. We’ve got two new Commanders being released, but there aren’t any tremendous rumours on the horizon for more expansions, or even to finish off the Kill Team faction boxes as they have been doing. (Probably because they’ve run out of terrain to include within those boxes?)

However, the rumour of Kill Team: Inquisition is still floating around, with nobody confirming or denying this, but also no further information beyond the idea that it will be a thing. I do think that Rogue Trader and, by necessity, Commanders were both rushed out somewhat due to the leaks that predated the core set for Kill Team itself, so perhaps we shouldn’t read too much into this gap. I do hope that we’ll see an Inquisitor expansion, and that we’ll see it in the first quarter of 2019.

If we do get such a box, then, I’m really hoping for a similar look to the Rogue Trader line-up, with the Inquisitor and his retinue forming maybe a dozen models, facing off against perhaps 20 Cultists. While this would be a perfect opportunity to bring back those push-fit Cultist models from Dark Vengeance, I think that rant is for another blog. At any rate, we’ve had Chaos mutants in the Rogue Trader box – an Inquisitor expansion would be better served with some Cultists (I’d also like some form of xenos race, preferably a new race that we haven’t seen yet, but that would likely take too much time). Indeed, the crossover between Rogue Trader and Blackstone Fortress was enough that I think it could be a nice touch to continue the Traitor Guard aesthetic and provide more of that, with a varied band of generic Cultists, peppered in with a Rogue Psyker or two – it would be on-theme, after all!

Blackstone Fortress

 

I am in danger of running away with myself on this (well, I’ve been running away with ideas for this entire blog!) But I do feel like there is the potential here for significant crossovers with actual Kill Team expansions like Rogue Trader and the Blackstone Fortress stuff. It would probably be too much to hope for some kind of expansion for the Starstriders and Gellerpox mutants in Blackstone Fortress, but I suppose you can never say what GW are going to do these days, as they have been coming up with some phenomenal releases of late, and I don’t think a lot of us could have predicted any of them, if we’re being honest. Who would have thought plastic Rogue Traders would ever see the light of the tabletop? At least we’re getting Kill Team profiles for the Blackstone Fortress minis, so we can (presumably) field a Kill Team of Traitor Guard and Rogue Psykers – which is quite an exciting prospect, given my desire to make a 40k army out of these guys!

But so much of this blog has been me just wishlisting and fanboy-dreaming, I’m not entirely sure if any of it has been worthwhile reading! If you’ve made it through this far, thank you! There’s not a lot to take away from this, really, beyond the fact that I absolutely love the weird and esoteric corners of the 40k universe, and the arrival of first Kill Team: Rogue Trader, and now Blackstone Fortress has got my imagination doing so many somersaults and backflips with the amazing potential such boxed games hold for the expansion of the universe in plastic!

I’ve been enjoying thinking about the possibilities for these things, though, and I really hope at least one or two of my ramblings might come true in the fullness of time!

Games Workshop in 2016

Hey everybody,
I thought it’d be fun to do a little retrospective of all the Warhammer stuff that has been coming out this year, much like my 2015 blog. Games Workshop has really been taking their product to the next level this year, from the Fyreslayers and Sylvaneth released for Age of Sigmar, to the Deathwatch and Genestealer Cults, and latterly the Thousand Sons for Warhammer 40,000. Things that we never thought we’d see got models releases, not to mention the community engagement we’ve seen on social media.

This has been an amazing year for Games Workshop miniatures, and it becomes really difficult to choose the top five…

5. Orruk Maw-Krusha
I really like a lot of the Ironjawz release, and did in fact invest in a Brutes kit to try my hand with. I love the look of the maw-krusha as a big grumpy beast, even if the wings do look odd. It’s a wonderfully compact kit, there’s a boxiness to it that I really like. This big boy is a wonderful miniature, and while I haven’t gotten my hands on one yet, I do keep thinking that maybe one day I’ll invest!

Orruks Ironjawz Age of Sigmar

4. Warhammer Quest: Silver Tower
Back in May, the second of two of the best boxed games put out this year by GW hit, and it was glorious. The game comes with 51 miniatures and, while a lot of GW games are usually bought for the miniatures and not the game itself, this time the game was definitely an attraction. Of course, my opinion of the game in the blog I’ve linked to wasn’t particularly glowing in comparison with other dungeon-crawl games but, when it comes to the miniatures, no other game on the market really compares. There are plenty of amazing sculpts in this game, but I have to really single out the elf characters and pink horrors for particular praise. But the Ogroid Thurmaturge… what a spectacular piece of plastic!!

Warhammer Quest Silver Tower Ogroid Thaumaturge

3. Sylvaneth – specifically, the Spite Revenants
There was a beautiful release of Sylvaneth this summer, to support the small force of tree-folk that had branched off (ho-ho-ho!) from the Wood Elves. So many beautiful models, including the Everqueen herself, but I have to single out the Spite Revenants. A dual kit, I love the fact that we have a new look to the tree people, and these part-spirit-part-wood chaps in particular are just amazing. There’s something delightfully malevolent about them, even within an Order faction, and even though I have yet to build up my box of them, I can’t wait to add them to my collection!

Age of Sigmar Sylvaneth

2. Thousand Sons – Rubric Marines
The Thousand Sons release from late this year was something of a surprise, as I hadn’t really thought we’d see God-specific plastic marines, well, ever. Clearly GW are moving in the right direction, though, with the year’s releases as a whole! Traitor Legions has some very exciting rules for all of the traitor legions (no surprises there), which gives me some hope that we’ll be seeing plastic marines for all of the demon primarch releases as time moves along! There are plenty of beautiful miniatures in the Thousand Sons release, but I really have to single out the Rubric Marines for special attention, as they’re by far my favourites. They’re so ornate, as is the rest of the release, but seeing ten of these guys on the front of the box is really stunning.

1. Deathwatch
The Deathwatch has been my absolute favourite of all of this year’s offerings from Nottingham, and while it has been difficult to pin it down to one single model, I think I’ll have to settle for Chaplain Cassius for my all-time favourite miniature of the year. The Chaplain is available from both the Overkill game and his own kill-team box, and is a stunning miniature that I absolutely love! Of course, I also love the MkVIII armour of the Kill Team kit, and have had tremendous fun converting all manner of space marines into Deathwatch battle brothers over the summer! I debated loading Genestealer Cults into this slot also, as they have had some truly amazing kits as well, but I think overall, I prefer the marines of the long watch!

Deathwatch: Overkill - Space Marines

2016 was an absolutely tremendous year for Warhammer miniatures, and I can’t wait to see what amazing stuff is coming our way over the next twelve months…