Warhammer 40k is 35!

Well, well, well… we’ve had another preview day for Warhammer 40k, as the game turns 35 soon, and it was actually pretty exciting, I have to say! A lot of the time, I’ve found these sorts of previews to be more miss than hit, but today was really very interesting, indeed!

Warhammer 40k new Astra Militarum models

I missed the start of the event, unfortunately, so didn’t get to hear all about the new Imperial Guard stuff until about ten minutes into the presentation. But I have to say, these new models are really very nice! It seems that the Guard are getting a range refresh, with possibly all of the old kits being re-done. To launch this, we’re getting an army box as GW like to make big boxes of plastic, it seems, with a command squad, a sentinel, two squads and two ‘field ordinance batteries’, which are a bit like upgraded heavy weapons teams.

Warhammer 40k new Astra Militarum models
Warhammer 40k new Astra Militarum models
Warhammer 40k new Astra Militarum models
Warhammer 40k new Astra Militarum models
Warhammer 40k new Astra Militarum models
Warhammer 40k new Astra Militarum models
Warhammer 40k new Astra Militarum models

This stuff is just beautiful, and the field ordinance batteries in particular have really captured my attention. It reminds me of the Wyvern model, which had a couple of guys out the back in almost a mini diorama. I do love this stuff, and it has pretty much tipped me over the edge into wanting a Guard army now!!

They said in the preview that this is about half of the new stuff coming for the army, and they wouldn’t show the cover of the codex because it would give yet more away. So all of that is quite interesting, I feel! Something I do like the idea of is being able to mix regiments within an army now, so the fact I have those Krieg lads from the Kill Team box, as well as a bunch of Tempestus Scions waiting in the wings, might not be a bad thing after all!!

40k reveals

Arks of Omen is the next narrative expansion for 40k, and sees the action move to ships and space hulks, so brings a new way to play rather than just adding more rules on top of rules to contend with. Of course, this requires more terrain, so…

40k reveals
40k reveals
40k reveals

The box features the equivalent of two of the Kill Team boxes, apparently! I have to say, this sounds really cool, and I love the idea of being able to almost play Space Hulk but in regular 40k, but I honestly don’t think I have room in my life for this. I’ve spoken before about how 40k almost demands to be a way of life for you, and I think I’m set back a bit from that nowadays. If it was the only game I played, then sure, but things are just moving too fast for me to keep up, I barely get to play regular 40k let alone all this additional stuff they’ve been pumping out!

New Kill Team

I’ve still not properly played the new Kill Team, and here we are, now on the sixth big box, and the second box of space hulk themed games. It’s Necrons vs Kasrkin, too, which is actually making me wonder if I should be looking to pick this one up!

New Kill Team
New Kill Team
New Kill Team
New Kill Team
New Kill Team

The Necrons are very weird in this one, and it seems like we may actually be getting a brand new group of models, even if those Deathmarks look very familiar. It’s a Cryptek and his merry band, and I am very interested, so let’s ponder this one some more.

40k reveals

New model for the World Eaters codex coming out whenever. Looks lovely, I think they said it’s an updated sculpt of a very old model, too? Interesting, although I am not going to be getting these guys, that’s a promise!!

40k reveals

The whole presentation ended with this little tease. Arks of Omen seemed to be suggesting that Abaddon has made a pact with a daemon of some kind, and it is being suggested that this daemon will be coming out in model form – delightful, I’m sure you agree! However, there’s talk of daemon + metal, which is making the internet lose its collective mind because Dark Mechanicum has been a very real hope since Blackstone Fortress gave us those crazy cultist guys.

Could it be? I mean, it would be incredible, for sure!

Between this, the kill team stuff, and the fact I think I’m starting a Guard army now, I’m going to be very poor for the rest of my days, I think…

Could be time to get the Scions back out!!

Small Men + Big Guns

It all started as an April fools bluff…

The Leagues of Votann are basically space dwarves re-imagined for the modern age. After being a shorthand for any army at risk of being removed from the setting, Squats are back on the menu, as GW have ushered in another new faction for Warhammer 40k.

Having seen a lot of these little guys around the internet in recent months, it has got me thinking as to whether I’d want to collect any of them, as well. I have models for ten full armies already, with a correspondingly massive backlog of stuff to paint, so I don’t really want to start yet another new army as I do have a lot to be getting on with. But I do really like the look of them, I have to say!

I’ve been reading up on the WarCom articles that I’d missed over the last five months, and I’m quite intrigued by the lore behind them – specifically, how the whole Dwarf thing has been brought into the far future. The whole cult of the ancestors thing is there in glorious technicolour, as we learn that they jealously guard their “Votann”, a type of super-computer that holds all the wisdom of the centuries. It’s fascinating, in its way, because it’s definitely on-theme for the sort of future that Warhammer 40k represents. A people that has developed a way to collate all of their wealth of knowledge and protects it in true isolationist fashion.

The startling thing, I think, is that all of the kin are cloned – not identical clones, but it seems to be a bit like they had reached a perfect level of society, so stopped at that point and just started to clone themselves rather than reproduce normally. Reminds me a little of Dorsk in the Jedi Academy trilogy and later, Darksaber.

The space dwarves have some very interesting tech, for sure. Hover trikes?! Blimey, I never thought I’d see the day. It seems to stem from the fact that the Votann contain, among other things, a set of fully-functional STCs, which means they are able to fabricate much better weaponry than their Imperial cousins. They also do not find themselves constrained by the Adeptus Mechanicus and the taboo on trying to improve on their designs. As such, they have all sorts of crazy stuff going on, and as this has been translated to the tabletop, it has already been called out for being slightly ridiculous.

There are a few stratagems that have been officially shown that seem to be ridiculous, from the bikers ability to shut down re-rolls to the strat that rolls what would be two or three effects for other armies into one. All for a single command point. I am a bit salty about that, even while considering collecting them! I don’t think that designing rules to sell these models was necessary, given the reception they’ve had so far, but I suppose we already have stupid possibilities in space marines, which turn off the fun in any game where you’re going up against them. If only the rules writers thought as highly of literally any xenos race!

Something that I’ve found particularly confusing is the new type of weapon, HunTR, which I suppose can be thought of as a basic gun – you can’t run and shoot with it, you can’t double-fire at half range, it’s just a gun that you can shoot things with, but which is still affected by other rules for shooting. That said, it’s a stupid name for the weapon…

At least it doesn’t ignore invuln saves and the damage doesn’t overspill through a unit. That’s just oppressive and unnecessary (except to sell new models).

The rules feel stupid and a blatant case of power-creep, possibly the worst we’ve yet seen. I’ve complained before about how oppressive it can be to play against space marines, but these little chaps are doing things which might well exist within the lore they’ve established for the race, but because it’s brand new to the setting, it’s like some other game has been imported into 40k. Sure, they aren’t constrained by AdMech prohibitions on tech development, but neither are the Tau, who also have an established thing for developing new weapons, and having experimental weaponry etc. But they don’t have the stupid overpowering rules these guys have. It’s probably great to sell the models, but the models look good regardless, so they don’t need the ability to put out 20+ mortal wounds per turn, in addition to all the shooting and stuff they’ll be doing. It feels like a bit of a mess, and I’m now seeing rumours online that the faction has been banned in some tournaments because of their as-yet-unreleased codex. It’s just stupid.

But the models!! The models!! The more I think about these little guys, the more I kinda feel like getting my hands on some. They do look like they would be fun to paint, with some interesting contrasts between the armour plate, the leather, and the undersuit. The little details like the shades and the wrist comm things do just make it even more interesting.

I think the hover-trikes look a bit funny, but they have some good looking vehicles in the garage, such as the Sagitaur (above) and the Hekaton land fortress (below).

These things somehow manage to give off that rugged miner/prospector vibe while also being credible vehicles of war, rather than the way the Genestealer Cults look like they’ve gone into battle with what they’ve got. I suppose part of that is due to the lore of being isolationist, and prepared for hostile encounters as they move on to start plundering new areas.

One of the models that most impresses me is the psyker, the Grimnir. I think anybody who strides into battle in a leather robe with his floating gun-buddies gets my vote! A lot of these models are taking a lot of design cues from the Primaris range, when you look at the rounded greaves or the multi-layered plackart, which specifically calls to mind the Gravis Captain. This guy is fairly similar, at first glance, to the Phobos librarian, too. It also strikes me that it’s becoming a thing to have units that consist of a character with retinue, and here we get the psyker but also the techmarine-analogue coming with his mates, as well.

Some of the models are a little silly though. There are some very weird and wonderful things coming up for the new force, I can’t imagine if I were to start a new army of these guys, I would be getting everything from the range…

Yet other models look like they might be worth picking up regardless, as it’s always good to have multiple options for ranged and melee combat. I would put the bikes in this category as well, because they look a bit daft, but by the same token they look like they should be useful on the battlefield. They also have some amazing details in there, too, which makes me think they would be a lot of fun to paint up.

It all started with the Squat Prospectors for Necromunda, of course, and the more I’m thinking about it all, the more I’m thinking it might be a better idea to get the gang box and be done with! I mean, I really like the basic troops for the Kin, but I like the Ironhead blokes better

Due to the rules controversy, and given how many projects that I currently have on the go, I should probably think long and hard about it before I go ahead and buy anything else, though…

More Tau Thoughts

Hey everybody,
It’s been a week or so since I mentioned the Tau, and I’m clearly getting withdrawal! I’ve been giving a lot of thought to them, though, and think it’s time to try to get things straight in my head. I’ve also been doing some historical research through the previous Tau books, which has been quite interesting! But let’s not digress too far just yet!

Here is the list that I am currently working on getting painted.

It’s going really quite well, even if I do say so myself. I’ve been working on getting the Commander painted since I finished up the Fire Warriors at the end of February, and it hasn’t yet been a full week and I think I’ve made some really great progress with this guy! The armour is pretty much done now, so I need to work on the functional bits and pieces, getting the gyros painted and all the lenses, then the weapons and basing! Makes it sound so easy, but it will hopefully only take another week or so. I then want to get the Ethereal painted up, a project I’m hoping may not take me too long, after which I guess it’ll be on to the Crisis Suits! So that’s not bad at all, really! At that point, then, I’ll have the full list painted, the only issue then being that the list isn’t necessarily a good one.

I think it’s been interesting, the way that I’ve approached this one, having started with two groups of Pathfinders because of the fact that’s what I had “in stock”, so to speak. If they were a troops choice, then that’d be fine, but being fast attack, it does leave me with a bit of a hill to climb in so far as getting an army to go around them. I do have some of the more utility troops now though, so where does that leave me, army-wise?

So, as I think I said before, I’m playing these chaps as Sa’cea Sept when I get to my first game with them, as that is the colour scheme that I am using. Sa’cea gives my infantry Dense Cover when they are targeted from more than 12” away (Dense Cover is -1 to hit, so that’s nice). Vehicles get the same when they’re targeted from more than 18” away, though I don’t yet have any vehicles in the list. Finally, Vehicles and Battlesuits can fire heavy weapons in close combat with no penalty, which is also irrelevant just now as all of my Battlesuit units are equipped with Assault weapons. But anyway!

For the time being, I am considering this force to be working around the Crisis Team. I’ve talked many times in the past about building an army around a unit or group of units, and for the time being, my Crisis Team is that unit. These guys can move 10” and, thanks to the suite of weapons that I have equipped them with, I’m hopeful that they will be quite a deadly mobile threat. Two guys have got plasma rifles and burst cannons, missile pods and multi-trackers, and the shas’vre has a cyclic ion blaster, fusion blaster, early warning override and missile pod. From the missile pods, that is 6 shots with a 30” range, S7, AP-2 and 2 damage each. So that’s quite nice for some high-toughness models if I need to clear them out. There are 12 burst cannon shots, which are only S5 and AP0 D1, but that’ll be good for going against some marine equivalent types, and is the reason for bringing the multi-tracker on those guys, as that piece of kit gives exploding 6s to hit when targeting a unit with 6 or more models. So those two pieces of kit go hand in hand quite nicely, I think. The sergeant equivalent here, the shas’vre, has got a cyclic ion blaster which is three shots at S7 AP-2 and D1, but it can be overcharged for S8 AP-2 D2, much like a plasma gun for the Imperium. It’s only 18” range, but with each model having 4 wounds, it might not be too much to worry about overcharging it at least once in the game for some additional damage. I think that I see myself targeting characters or monster-like creatures with that the most, as it has a potential for some high damage output and stuff. And it’s a similar story for the remaining weapons, really. Plasma rifles have a huge threat range of 30” and, while only one shot each, they are firing that shot at S8 AP-4 and D3. So it has the potential to put some serious holes in things. On top of that, the squad leader has a fusion blaster, which is the Tau equivalent of a meltagun, 18” range with one shot at S8 AP-4 Dd6, though that increases to d6+2 at half range. So there is some degree of lethality among the more suppressive-fire style of weaponry. In total, 24 shots will be coming out of the team, with exploding 6s from the two guys.

Now, the elephant in the room of course is that Crisis Suits are hitting on 4s. However, I’m bringing two Marker Drones for them to use, which will potentially grant +1 to hit against the unit hit by the markerlight, so I have two possibilities with having the two drones, but remember I’m backing the army up with 2 groups of 10 Pathfinders, who together are firing 15 markerlights. So I’m thinking that Pathfinders will be the key element in lighting up the field at the start of the turn, especially as they have the vanguard move, and can fire markerlights at the end of the movement phase, to keep that mobility.

That’s pretty much going to be the beauty of having so many Pathfinders on the board. While I do have some of the fancy tech in those teams as well, I am predominantly using them for the markerlights, with any shots that they can put out being bonus. They have three rail rifles between the two groups, which are nice one shot S8 AP-4 D3 weapons that dish out mortal wounds on a successful wound roll, and two ion rifles which are similar to the cyclic ion blaster, though unfortunately Heavy rather than Assault. 30 pulse carbine shots will be good for harassment though, and I think that’s going to be my secondary use for these guys. Each squad also has a Recon Drone, which comes with a burst cannon, so depending on how I’m able to string everything out in the battlefield, the Pathfinders have the potential to be quite a disruptive unit, while simultaneously providing the support for the big guns from stuff like the Crisis Team.

Adding to that level of disruption is the new tech on the Pathfinders, one piece of which is the Neuroweb System Jammer. This simply makes the unit available to use the stratagem of the same name, which gives one unit within 18” of it -1 to hit until the start of my next shooting phase. It’s all about being annoying, but I think this is a good place to start talking stratagems. There are some fairly decent ones in here that should be very useful throughout the game. Dynamic Offensive stands out for me as a perfect fit for my Crisis Team, as for 1CP I can advance them a straight 6” and they don’t suffer the penalty for advancing and firing Assault weapons. So straightaway I’m getting a 16” move with them, and some of those guns had a 30” range to them, meaning that unit is one that you have to take notice of. The Coldstar Commander does allow them to advance a straight 8”, though without negating the penalty. The Repulsor Impact Field can be useful in a pinch, shortening charge moves against Battlesuit units by 2”, so if a unit had only just made a charge, I can turn that off for some defensive capability. Jet Pack units also have a fire and move stratagem for 1CP, so I could move the Crisis Team the 16”, shoot, then make a normal move of 6” afterwards. Wow!

There’s an interesting stratagem that effectively allows you to catch a unit in a crossfire: pick an enemy unit, and two friendly units that are within 18” of that enemy and visible to it. They can only attack that unit, but they improve the AP by 1 for that attack. It might not be something that I lavish on the Crisis Suits, or even the Pathfinders, as they have specialist weapons and whatnot. But when I have a second group of Fire Warriors, I’ll be absolutely aiming to set this sort of thing up, for pulse rifles or pulse blasters shooting at AP-2! On top of that, there is the Relentless Fusillade stratagem that allows a Strike Team to make double the shots regardless of rapid fire range, and improve the AP. And that doesn’t take account of the Mont’ka Philosophy of War that improves AP! 20 shots from what you thought was a basic gun, coming at you with AP-4? What’s not to like there! Finally, there’s another interesting one, Shocking Firestorm, where each model destroyed by a shooting attack counts as two models for the purposes of Morale. I think that could be useful where I’m only targeting the unit with a couple of guns, so I’m not expecting too many great things. Interesting options, though!

I mentioned the Fire Warriors just now, I don’t think I’m going to be doing a great deal of anything too fancy with them, as they’re basic troops (albeit with S5 AP-1 D1 guns). That leaves the two HQs. The Ethereal on Hover Drone has got his Chaplain-like Invocations ability, where he can intone one of the two Invocations he knows. Storm of Fire allows a nearby Core unit to shoot without any actions failing, and Zephyr’s Grace gives -1 to hit against a nearby Core unit. He’s a handy utility guy, with some melee capability, though I don’t think I’m going to be throwing him into close combat!

The Coldstar Commander is one of my favourite models in the Tau range, and is coming with a lot of firepower. For starters, I’ve given him the airbursting fragmentation projector, almost because it’s such a ridiculous sounding weapon that I can’t help but like the sound of it! A blast weapon, it’ll be firing at least 3 shots (or “bomblets” as the 6th Edition codex puts it) against a unit of 10 men at S4 AP-1 D1, and you can target units not visible to the bearer. The high-output burst cannon is Assault 10, which I did have to double check when I first came across it, but there it is, and those ten shots are at S5 AP-1 D1. He also has a missile pod for a further 2 shots as already described. You might be thinking, that’s not particularly scary, and in all honesty you’re right; I’ve given him a shield generator for a 4++ and a Gun Drone to get a bit of extra damage out, but he’s not about drawing attention to himself like that. His Signature System has some built-in defence, whereby melee attacks are -1 to hit against him, and anybody in combat with him will fight last. He does have the Prototype System whereby he can drop grenades on top of a unit he has moved over on a 2+, dishing out D3 mortal wounds, so there is a bit more damage output there, and his Warlord Trait allows for a bit more accuracy as he can re-roll hits and re-roll wounds. But while he’s hopefully not going to be a washout, he isn’t screaming “come target me!”

But a model that is pumping out potentially 15-18 shots per round with a fairly decent accuracy must still be taken notice of, which leads me to the over-arching plan for the army: target saturation. If the Pathfinders are being annoying as hell, but they’re on opposite sides of the field; if the Crisis Team is being mobile and deadly, and you can’t keep up with them; if there are 20 pulse rifle shots coming from the Fire Warriors, with the support turret shooting out 4 grenades at units you thought were in cover – where do you concentrate your fire? There is a lot that is going to be coming at you, and with some careful positioning, I think it should be quite horrendous to face Tau in their shooting phase before you can begin to think about tying them up in melee.

Without trying to get ahead of myself, my immediate plans for the army after I’m finished painting the Crisis Team and the HQs is to add in a Breacher Team. While I do like Relentless Fusillade for the improved AP shenanigans, I think variety is nice, and they do have the stratagem to re-roll wounds and negate cover. Their pulse blaster is a shorter range, though can potentially be quite deadly in the unit is firing within 8”. That will also bring the list up to around about the 960 points mark, so I can start to think about planning in some 1000 point games!

As I said at the top, I have been doing a bit of historical research about the army and seeing how it has transferred from 6th/7th edition, through 8th and into 9th edition. As it happens, the cost of this army has come down quite a lot, from 1022 in 6th to 888 in 8th, and now 848 points. Of course, some stuff like the Crisis Suits and the Coldstar have illegal load-outs when you compare them with how they could be built back in the day. What has surprised me the most, I think, is how the Crisis Team has changed in costing, coming in at more than 100 points more expensive last edition. I’m hopeful that they will really be the stars of the show, though, and while I’m fully prepared to see them wiped off the table before they can do anything, I am keen to see how they do in the real world as opposed to all this paper lark!

I suggested at the top that the list isn’t going to be great, and then rambled for ages about how good I think everything is going to work together. Well, that’s still true, I think it will work really well, but it definitely needs something more than I have right now. More troops will definitely be handy, and the Breachers will take care of that. I am thinking that I might get myself a couple of transports for some greater flexibility, plus the Devilfish also has the option for that vanguard move at the start of the game, to give greater deployment capabilities. The true centrepiece of the army that I am working towards, however, is going to be the Riptide. That beast is definitely going to be a distraction for the rest of the army, no matter how he’s equipped. I do like the heavy burst cannon for its 12 shots at S6 AP-2 D2 each, though do I arm him with two plasma rifles or two fusion blasters? Both are very interesting options, but I think it’s going to be some time before I have to make that decision. At any rate, having a Knight equivalent striding around is going to take the heat from the Crisis Team, I think, who will likely still be causing carnage among everything else, so I’m hoping that this will prove to be a really nice army to play, when I get it to the table!

Buying a unit and then painting it has definitely been the way to go for me this time around, though. Even though I have the Combat Patrol box in hand while I’m still working on the other stuff, I don’t feel overwhelmed this time around, and it’s all really quite manageable. Other projects, the Sisters being a case in point, are kinda dragging me down by the amount of stuff that I have for them, and I really don’t have that same level of excitement and positivity about those projects as I do about the Tau. Who knew plastic could have such a profound effect on a guy?!

Tau Codex thoughts

Hey everybody,
The Tau Codex has been out for a short while already, though it’s taken me some time to get to grips with it – as with pretty much all these 9th edition codexes that I’ve had my hands on so far, it feels very much like there’s a lot to wrap my head around, given the way that they’re presented. A lot of it is an improvement, of course, grouping the Sept-specific stuff together on one page to allow for easier evaluation of the different sub-factions, but the rules are so often presented in that kind of legal-speak that it can sometimes make things dense to read through.

At any rate, I’ve been having a leaf through, and I think there could be some fun times ahead!

To start with, I don’t have any plans to get myself a Hammerhead Gunship right now! The massive fuss over the rail gun being a Knight-killer seems to have died down at last, which I’m glad about as it was getting a bit annoying. 145 points is good, but it’s a one-shot weapon that hits on 4+. I actually prefer it for the Submunitions stratagem that allows it to dish out up to 8 mortal wounds by rolling a 4+ for each model in a unit. It’s a wonderfully dangerous unit, but I don’t think it’s worth the hype.


It’s been a while since I played Tau, of course, so I don’t think there will be too many comparisons with “back in the day” and so forth! Back when I had a Tau army, though, I was playing them as Bork’an Sept, which granted +6” to rapid fire and heavy weapons. Now, all ranged weapons get +4”, and target units get -1S if the weapon’s S is 7 or more. So, plasma rifles, fusion blasters, rail rifles and ion rifles are the key targets here – Pathfinders and any Suits will be the greatest beneficiaries. That said, I’ve moved away from the idea of Bork’an Sept, and have been painting my models in the Sa’cea Sept colour scheme.

But I think Battlesuits in general are really buffed out in this book, making them the deadly pieces from the army that they should be. When you read how utterly devastating a Crisis Suit is in the fiction and the lore, it’s nice to see that reflected on the tabletop. Battlesuits can fire into close combat now, so mobbing them won’t neutralise them. It’s nice, because these units are iconic to the faction, and something that I plan to use in my army list when I get there! It’s nice to have the infantry of course, but I do like the Crisis Suits, and I’m picturing a Riptide as the centrepiece of the army. So it’ll be nice to have durability there.

For the Greater Good has gone, so there are no more Overwatch shenanigans coming into play with the army. From what I can tell, it isn’t even hiding as a Sept tenet or a stratagem, it’s just gone. I do quite like that, because it’s something that used to make fighting Tau quite oppressive, and could lead to a very slow game as the Overwatch step just carries on forever. The Master of War ability, where a Commander could declare Kauyon or Mont’ka has been completely re-worked into something that doesn’t even resemble its earlier form. Now called Philosophies of War, it’s a bit like the Grey Knights Tides of the Warp where you select an effect to last for a battle round. Mont’ka can be used during the first three rounds, and allows you to move and shoot without the movement impacting, and improves the AP of those shots within a set range, depending on the battle round number. Kauyon overlaps on round 3 and lasts for the rest of the battle, and allows you to both fall back and shoot (with -1 to hit), and gives exploding hits that improve as the battle wears on. Some pretty powerful things there, for sure!

Let’s look at some changes though, since the last time I played. Markerlights are a big one, as they seem to be very much streamlined since the days of 8th edition. Back then, there was a Markerlights table, a cumulative list of effects that range from re-rolls to denying cover, but this has all changed. Fire Markerlights is now an action that begins at the start of the movement phase, and is completed at the end – except for Pathfinders, who start and complete the action at the end of that phase. Vehicles and Drones can also move without the action failing. You pick an enemy unit within 36” and roll a D6 for each Markerlight in your unit; on a 3+ you hit, and the enemy unit gains a Markerlight token. Unlike the GSC codex, though, we don’t get a fancy set of tokens with this book. With the tokens on the board, friendly Tau Empire units get +1 to hit against a unit with a token, and then the token is removed after each shooting attack. Interestingly, you don’t remove the tokens until the firing unit has finished making all attacks – so a Crisis Suit with four different weapons can get +1 to hit with each one, before that token is removed. I initially thought it meant you remove it after each weapon is fired, but anyway. I guess that Hammerhead will be hitting on 3s after all!

Tau Empire Drones

So Markerlights are different. Drones are different, too. Time was, you could pass off any wound to a drone within 3” on a 2+, the so-called “saviour protocols”. Well, that doesn’t exist any longer. Instead, Drones in 9th edition are almost like unit upgrades, some of which bring extra guns to the table. They don’t count as part of the unit they’re attached to for almost any rule that cares about starting strength, overall toughness, etc; their loss is ignored for Morale tests, and any drones docked on another model then the Drone doesn’t count as independent of that model, so you cannot allocate wounds to it that way either. However, because Drones are now attached to the unit properly, that does mean that Shield Drones with 2W and 4++ are going to be handy to have around. They are slightly more expensive than the other two types of Tactical Drone, though, so I don’t know if those extra points might get in the way of their inclusion. It’ll be interesting, though, to make lists from here on out!

And talking of lists, I have started to think in general about how I would like to build out my force. As I’ve already mentioned, I have two full units of Pathfinders now, and I’m working on my first batch of Fire Warriors. My next purchase is definitely going to be a Commander – I know I have talked about buying stuff then painting it, and I’ve got the whole Start Collecting box still to work through, but now that I have the Codex, I want to try and get games in, and so I think I will need a big lad to lead the team. Coldstar Commanders have been somewhat nerfed – gone is the 40” advance across the board, instead we’ve got a model that moves 14”. Ah well – I still like the model, and so I’m still thinking I’ll use him! What I find interesting is that everything seems to have become more deadly – I think we all know about plasma rifles going from S6 AP-3 D1 to S8 AP-4 D3, but stuff like the airbusting fragmentation projector has an increased range and AP, the high-output burst cannon has got more shots, the fusion blaster has got more damage output, etc etc. It’s all just that much more deadly now, and I like it!

I am looking forward to adding the Crisis Suits into the mix, because I think the unit is just so iconic. All-plasma is a very tempting prospect, though I also like the cyclic ion blaster for the number of shots. However, I’ve gone for a bit of a mix in my plans, using the Shas’vre as a hopefully more lethal threat, backed up with a pair of Shas’ui who are a little more utility-focused. The cyclic ion blaster is a bit like an Imperium plasma gun, with the standard/overcharge profiles, and the fusion blaster is the Tau equivalent of a meltagun. The other two guys each have burst cannons and plasma rifles, giving them a spread of shots as well as a focused attack, and I’ve given each of them a multi-tracker to help with damage output – my thinking here is that the burst cannon being Assault 6 will be better suited to bigger units, so the support system having exploding 6s to hit when a target unit has 6 or more models should be handy. The plasma rifle is probably overkill against the same kind of unit, but could still have a place when dealing with sergeants or something. All three models also have missile pods, which are a handy little piece of kit to hopefully throw out some additional damage. To finish, I’m using two of each type of tactical drone, simply for the flexibility.

Support Systems are worth a mention here, also, as some of them have had a small change here and there, and others seem to be wildly different to what I remember them doing! The positional relay is back as a thing, and allows you to bring in reserves in round one; target lock now removes cover from target unit; early-warning override is nice in that it now allows for Overwatch on 5+ and you don’t need to pay the CP for it; the advanced targeting system auto-wounds on 6s. There are some big changes here, which I suppose reflect the changes to the rules in this edition. Drone controllers and shield generators are basically the same though. I think it’s really cool that they have not only kept these things, but improved upon them in certain circumstances.

Much like the relics and whatnot, it’s stuff like this that makes list-building in 9th edition a very tricky business, and as I said when talking about my Genestealer Cults army, I think it’s something that I need to just play games with, to see how it works out for me!

As it stands currently, then, I have 848 points of Tau planned out. The force will be led by the Coldstar Commander, who is toting a high-output burst cannon and airbusting fragmentation projector, along with missile pod and shield generator. He’s the warlord, and his warlord trait allows for re-rolls of both hits and wounds. I’ve upgraded him with internal grenade packs, which allows him to bomb enemies as he flies over them, so I’m quite excited for that!

I also have an Ethereal on hover drone. Ethereals are a bit like Chaplains and Priests now, in that they have Invocations they can choose to attempt each round. Mine knows Storm of Fire (allowing nearby units to shoot while performing actions) and Zephyr’s Grace (-1 to hit if the unit targeting nearby units moved that turn).

For the time being, I’m sticking with Sa’cea Sept, the colour scheme that I have chosen, which allows for some defence as when my infantry are targeted from more than 12” away, they are treated as being in Dense Cover, something that I like. I’m also using the Sa’cea signature system for my Commander, which gives enemies targeting him -1 to hit in the fight phase.

I think there’s going to be a delicate balance to be struck here with defence and offence, but hopefully I’ll be able to have a few good games with these guys once I have them ready to go. I’m going to concentrate now on getting my Fire Warriors finished, then it’ll be time to work on the Ethereal and the Commander, probably during March now.

I am extremely tempted to pick up something else to try and push the points up to 1000 so that I can get some games played, but with 150 points of stuff needed to get there, I think I need to rein myself in a bit first! It’s very tempting to just build it up so that I can play, especially now that I have the book in hand, but in all honesty I do need to control myself. I really don’t want to be drowning in plastic, especially since this is what happened last time I built a Tau army, and I ended up getting rid of it all!

Having some degree of self-control is actually good, though, as it’s making me properly evaluate my purchase choices and ensuring that I only buy what I want in the army. Last time, I had a multitude of stuff, and I don’t think I could have fielded it all outside of an Apocalypse game. Buying just what I want for the force, and painting it steadily as I have been, is definitely a good way to go about this sort of army-building!

Obsessed with Tau!

Hey everybody,
I think I am definitely obsessed with the Tau Empire right now – I finished painting up the first unit of Pathfinders last week and have already bought and started work on the second box, thinking I should be able to get them done by the end of January given that it didn’t take all that long at all to get the first batch painted! I mean, I was trying to figure out my colour scheme for some of this time, so I’m hopeful that the second lot will be a bit quicker to get through!

It might seem a little odd to start with Pathfinders, a fast attack choice, as opposed to the basic troops choice, but I suppose it doesn’t really matter, as they’re quite similar in terms of the areas that need coverage. I really love the Pathfinders kit, I have to say. The addition of the upgrade sprue is really just gravy, but when I was building these guys, it really struck me how much stuff they come with. I mean, they have all three types of tactical drone, plus the three specialist drones (you can only build two plus the big lad). They have so many weapons options, it really is quite wonderful.

I think for February’s challenge I’ll move on to Fire Warriors, anyway, and see whether I am able to get them painted just as quickly! I have the Start Collecting box, so I think the first HQ I’ll do will be the Ethereal from there, though I do plan to get myself a Commander as soon as I can, as that should be a great project to paint up.

In rather exciting news, I’ve recently been promoted in work, so I would like to get myself something to celebrate, and have my eyes on the Riptide. I know I’m getting ahead of myself, but this is for a couple of months down the line, when I’ve had my first wages post-promotion and all, so hopefully I won’t be adding too much to the pile of shame! The Riptide is a lovely model, though – I am still kicking myself over selling off my Tau, but in particular I miss the Riptide, as it was a really beautiful model. I think it also has the bonus of being a really nice centrepiece type of model but it isn’t as obnoxious as, say, a Stormsurge. Though I do want one of those as well!

But let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves, here!


Back in 2018, I started a Tau army. It was glorious – but it was really short-lived, now I look back. I don’t know how much I spent on it, but it must have been a lot – I had a bunch of stuff for it, pretty much all built. I had two Riptides, after all! I had fliers, I had troops, I had loads and loads of stuff. But it outgrew me, and I definitely did not keep pace with the painting-to-building ratio, so was playing with a predominantly grey plastic force. I think I painted five units, tops. Looking back, though, I think it was perhaps the colour scheme that hampered me, as I never really sat down and thought it through, only thinking about the very broad strokes (green armour! blue markings!)

I think the Tau project was the first time I really had that sense of being overwhelmed with my hobby. I had thousands of points of 8th edition miniatures, and I found myself forever buying stuff to add to it. I did this with Dark Eldar, but it never felt overwhelming somehow. I’ve felt a bit overwhelmed with Genestealer Cults, but have done something about them. But I decided to sell the Tau army and cut my losses with just those five painted units.

The other factor that was at play last time, and one that I haven’t really thought about before, is that I just wasn’t into them last time. I bought the army because some of the previews on the Community page for their codex sounded exciting, and I was impatiently waiting for the books for Dark Eldar and Necrons (at least, I think I was still waiting for Necrons). The Tau book came out in the early spring, so I jumped with both feet, simply because they had a book and were an army with a vaguely similar playstyle to my other forces at the time: gunline.

So I bought an army, then sold it pretty much 6 months later, if not sooner, and hadn’t really given much thought to it until recently, when I started to read the Dark Coil stuff by Peter Fehevari. A few of those stories involve the Tau, and the way he really delves into the characters and provides much more nuanced looks at personalities, far more beyond the usual “space communist” meme that most people probably know.

It was reading The Greater Evil that really got me, though, and I’ve pretty much been hooked on the idea of the Tau since I finished that story. Not gonna lie, I think I might well re-read it soon, as I was so impressed with the way it unfolds, but that’s for another day. I have decided to start the army over, but I’m going to take it slow this time. I had the Kill Team Chalnath box for my birthday last month, which comes with Pathfinders with the new upgrade sprue, so have been busily working on them since New Year.

I’m painting these up as Sa’cea Sept, following the guide from the old How to Paint Tau Empire pdf from back in the day – the sort of icy blue-grey with orange sept markings. The whole sept markings/colour scheme for Tau is a fairly complicated business, I seem to recall, so I’m sure I’ll have a blog on that soon, with the fruits of my labours on researching that!

I also have asked the local games store if they can still get the Start Collecting box, as that has got a really nice core force (in my opinion!) It used to be one of the best value SC boxes around, as the Crisis Suits were priced so expensive the Fire Warriors and Ethereal were basically a fiver, or something. I’m sure there’ll be a Combat Patrol box coming out as well, but I thought I’d try and grab a Start Collecting if possible, as it would be a cheaper start for me! However, I’m determined that I won’t be going too crazy with this army. As I said in my Hobby Goals 2022 blog the other day, I’m planning to paint up just one unit per month, but taking this idea further, I’m only going to buy stuff as and when I need/want it. Start Collecting box aside, then, I’ve got the Pathfinders and that’s all for this army. If I can get the SC box, then it’ll keep me going until Easter or thereabouts, when I will then look at adding something else (possibly more Fire Warriors!) I think, if I can get to the middle of the month and have finished the current project, I might then start another – I sincerely hope that I could find myself in the sort of position where I can make some fast progress once the colour scheme is nailed down etc!

But for now, I’m keeping it slow and steady!

Of course, I do have something to aim for in mind – I definitely want a Commander, and a Riptide, and a good amount of Fire Warriors. I’m thinking I’ll get another Pathfinders box as well, and make more use of the upgrade sprue etc. Fireblades are always useful too, and some Crisis Suits would probably round things out nicely! Taking it bare-bones, it seems that would come in somewhere around the 1100 points mark, which is quite interesting as I’ve been playing a lot of 1000-point games lately. Definitely something to aim for there!

Basically, I’m not going to buy all of this and end up with it just looming over me before bailing out and selling the army again:

But I would like a Stormsurge at some point!

I think I’m going to keep the monthly retrospective blogs going for 2022 as well, so come back soon and see how I’ve gotten on with these guys!


Lizards! Lizards everywhere!

It’s that time again, when I start thinking about another army. Does this happen to anyone else? Just me? Hm, interesting. I’ve almost started a Lizardmen army before, as they’re one of those races from the Old World that really inspires me, though I think back when I was seriously thinking about it, I had that many projects on the go that it got a bit lost in the mire.

That was back in 2014, when I was first getting into the hobby and was a little bit all over the place as regards projects! Following on from the first attempt at building this army, I made a few purchases again a couple of years later. But that never really got off the ground, either! 2016 was a busy time after all.

I’m honestly not that sure why I got rid of these things though, they do take me back to my very early days with the hobby. Back then, it was the artwork from March of the Damned that started it all for me… That huge, calculating Slann on the front of that box – even now, it’s something that I really enjoy.

I can’t really say what it is about the Lizardmen that intrigues me so much. I know very little of their lore – or that of the Seraphon, as they’re now known, but I just like the slightly meso-American vibe they have with their jungle stepped pyramids and whatnot. I do like my fantasy in settings outside of medieval Europe, though.

I didn’t really get very far with the army back in 2014 or 2016 though – just a few skinks and the finecast models at the first attempt, then a single Saurus Knight later on. It’s like it was never meant to be!

From what I’ve heard, the lore of the Seraphon is quite bonkers, something to do with beings from the stars, and you can either play them as being star-stuff or “coalesced”, which gives you access to different rules in-game? I don’t know. Bonkers stuff, but I suppose I just need to get the battletome in my hands. That said, with 3rd edition and whatnot, I’m not sure if it’s going to be worthwhile picking up the book if there could be another one out at some point. There has been a rules update in the current White Dwarf, which I had tried to read through but couldn’t make much sense from. At least it’s allowed me to make a start getting to grips with the new lore, though!

So, what about the army plans?

Well, in short, I’m not sure yet. I’m planning to pick up the Start Collecting set soon, as I think that’s a nice mix of infantry, cavalry, and a big centrepiece model. I would like to get a slann, but I’m not entirely sure about HQ units just yet. As far as colour schemes go, while my first thought is invariably ‘go with the box art’, I’m considering either reds and yellows, or bright greens. Maybe some purple thrown in there as well. That’s one of the big attractions of the army, to me, the bright colours would be a nice change after some of the grim dark 40k stuff. Should be a nice change, I think, anyway!!

At any rate, I’m thinking 2022 might be the year of the lizards – much like 2021 was (for the first few months) the year of the skeletons!

New Army update four

Hey everybody,
Today is the day of the long-awaited fourth new army update! While this has pretty much been covered in both my April and May retrospective blogs, I thought I’d keep the tradition going and provide a proper update for the force, mainly so that I can share some fancy pictures!

Since the last update, I’ve painted up the three Endless Spells for the Ossiarch Bonereapers, as well as some more hero models. Vokmortian and the Mortisan Soulreaper are both wizards, something my army was otherwise lacking (considering I’d painted up the spells with only the Mortisan Boneshaper to cast them all).

I really enjoy the Vokmortian mini. He was the original Bonereapers character, of course, coming out in Feast of Bones back in the day, and under the current rules, he has that spell that can outright kill a model. His miniature design is also pretty bonkers, a skeleton clerk holding out a contract and wearing a tombstone strapped to his back. I mean, what’s not to love?! I can probably make him look a lot better, particularly in terms of his staff, but I think I principally wanted to concentrate on getting the model finished.

That’s been a theme across pretty much the whole army, though, I suppose – having a colour scheme that is quick to replicate across all the models, to get them tabletop ready, and then I can come back in as time allows to properly finish off odd details when necessary.

The Mortisan Soulreaper was an interesting model to paint, because of the ghostly stuff going on around that massive scythe he’s got. Again, there’s really nothing new on this model that I haven’t painted before, the ghostly bits being similar to the hafts of the Immortis Guard weapons. I’m quite pleased about the way I’ve been able to get the screaming ghost blending in with the scythe blade.

The main boy in this procession of heroes is Arch-Kavalos Zandtos, who is a named character for the Mortis Praetorians that I’ve painted in the colour scheme of the Petrifex Elite. But I suppose my use for him is as a Liege-Kavalos. I built this model up in its entirety to start with, which didn’t feel like it would be a problem until it came to painting and discovered that it was more difficult than I’d anticipated! The shield is connected to the arm and harness, meaning it can’t really be left off to paint, so led to some issues, but I think I managed to pull it back and get him looking reasonably fancy! I decided to paint the weapon as metallic rather than the usual scheme I’ve been using for the nadirite weaponry, but on reflection I’m thinking I might change it – it’s called the Dark Lance, after all!

I’m trying not to get too much into the rules now that AOS 3 is on the horizon, but Zandtos has some very nice abilities, allowing for re-rolls of wound rolls and the like, plus dishing our mortal wounds to nearby enemies when he finishes a charge, as well as a command ability that adds 1 to the attacks of a unit within 12”. The Liege-Kavalos has these last two abilities as well, and clocks in at 20 points cheaper. What’s 20 points, I hear you cry? Well, it’s the difference between a stock named character and a generic character that you can give additional relics and command abilities to, allowing you to tailor your approach. 20 points is also the cost of the Soulstealer Carrion, the massive bird endless spell.

So this is where I’m up to, anyway! 1380 points (if I’m taking the mounted hero as Arch-Kavalos Zandtos), and I’m very pleased with my efforts to date!

I still have a few models to get moving on, specifically those Kavalos Deathriders, as I’d like to get a mounted contingent started for the army, and give Zandtos some friends! The catapult is an absolutely stunning model, as I’ve said previously, but I’m still a bit wary of it for the time being! One of my principal concerns is that I don’t actually have a proper storage solution for the army sorted yet – so they’re all pretty much stood up in a storage box, which is already full!

Longer term, I’m going to get myself another 20 Mortek Guard, and bulk out both of the squads that I’ve already got going on. Of course, with everything about to be going on in my life, I’m not in any rush, so can probably afford to wait and see if we do get a Start Collecting box when the new battletome comes out!

It’s probably incumbent upon me to mention the faction focus that came out the other day, looking at how Ossiarch Bonereapers are going to play in the new edition. I have to admit, I didn’t really take anything away from it as I’ve not been following the news with gusto, so aside from the fact Nagash is a powerhouse of Arcane Bolts now, the biggest thing for me was the fact that the Gothizzar Harvester counts as more than one model for holding objectives, because it’s a monster. Excellent!

The facebook group seemed to be going crazy about how the Bonereapers are now nerfed into the ground, though, because of the way command abilities work. The army still collects Relentless Discipline points, which are used for using command abilities as normal. I hear things about not being able to use more than one command ability per phase though, but I don’t know if (a) RD points work around that, as we don’t appear to have seen the whole rule yet, or (b) if I’d even find myself trying to use multiple command abilities per phase? It has been on my mind to properly sit down and work out the kind of battle plan I’d like to affect, but now that the game is in flux I don’t really see the need anymore!

Things do seem a little bit up in the air at the moment, but hopefully when the time comes for me to look again at this army, we’ll have a new book and know more about any potential new units coming out – Mortek Archers, I want you!

New Army update three

Hey everybody,
I thought it might be a nice time for a look at what I’ve been doing with the Ossiarch Bonereapers since my last update more than a month ago. The short answer to that question is, not a lot, but I wanted to take a bit of time today to show off the few efforts that I have made, regardless!

I’ve got three Immortis Guard painted up, which was quite wonderful really. Considering they’re much bigger than the Mortek Guard, there are very few real differences between the two models which allows for an easy scaling-up of the scheme. The only real difference here is the hafts of the dread halberds, which I painted with Drakenhof Nightshade and then lightly drybrushed with Teclis Blue. It gives enough of a contrast to the blades and other elements, but keeps the ethereal theme of them being mystical ghostly things.

I’m looking forward to trying these out, more than perhaps any other unit that I’ve painted so far – they look great, in my opinion, and I think they should be quite hard-hitting. Each model has 2 attacks with the halberd, and 2 with the shield; then they can attack again with the shield for 2 more attacks. The halberds hit on 3s and the shields on 4s, so fairly decent, and the halberds have -2 rend and do 2 damage on each successful hit. Finally, the shields do a mortal wound on the attack roll of a 6 in addition to any further damage. I know there are a lot of variables here, but there is still a lot of damage potential, for sure!

What else?

I’ve built up the Endless Spells for the faction, which are an exciting set of models – much bigger than I’d first thought they would be! I only actually have one wizard in the army so far, the Boneshaper, so I would need to get a few more for maximum effect, I suppose! The Ossiarch Bonereapers spells are “soul-linked” to the caster, meaning that only that player can move the spells that are predatory (all of them!) which gives some degree of control over them that other armies don’t get with their own.

I particularly like the Bone-tithe Shrieker (the one in the middle there), as it adds 1 to the hit rolls for units which target a unit within 12″ of this spell. All of them are pretty good though, which gives me the additional incentive to get more wizards in the force!

I’ve also built up Arch-Kavalos Zandtos, who will be the second hero for my army. I am a little hesitant, having built him entirely, and I hope that it won’t be too cumbersome to actually paint him. As usual, of course, I’ll be using the Contrast paints for the most part, which should help things along well enough. Fingers crossed that I can do it justice, anyway! He comes with two command abilities, one of which gives re-rolls to units wholly within 24″ of him, the other adds 1 to attacks for units wholly within 12″ of him. There are also a couple of nice abilities that he has to help with his offensive capability, which I think would make him a real force to be reckoned with!

What does all of this look like, then?

I think this is a great start to the army. Of course, I have no idea if it would work really well on the table, but I’m looking forward to getting it there. Just two more models to go before this list is finished, of course, though I’ll probably paint up all three of the spells so that they’re done and dusted.

So, all in all, things are going really well right now! We had some good weather earlier in the week, so I’ve been able to prime them with Grey Seer already, so I’m hoping to get these things painted up soon enough! With the arrival of the secondborn expected in mid-to-late June, I do feel a little like I’m on the clock with getting these things finished! I am definitely excited to have gotten so far with the army in such a short time.

What’s Next?
Once these models are finished, I recently picked up some Kavalos Deathriders to add in to the mix, and I still have both Vokmortian and the Mortek Crawler to build and paint up. However, I do also find myself wanting to get a second box of Mortek Guard, as I think it could be handy to have more troops. It will also get me to my first battalion, Mortek Shield-Corps, which will be good. I suppose I’ve been hanging fire on that because of the potential for a Start Collecting box to come out at some point, and I would naturally be getting one in due course!

I’m also wondering if we aren’t going to see some more units in due course, maybe archers or mace-wielding Mortek Guard. I’m very excited to get hold of this warband when it comes out, though, so that’ll be another few models to add in to the army!

With the current additions, I’ll push the army just over the one thousand points that I was initially aiming for, though with the Deathriders et al, I’ll be at 1640 points – and of course, if I were to add in Arkhan the Black, that will bring me to exactly 2000 points! Would it be a good force, with those Leaders involved? No idea… but I’m sure it’d look good on the table!