Building a Tau army: Support Systems

So, one of the things I wanted to achieve with this post was to share the fruits of my labours in researching what all of the various bits and bobs are that you find in the various Tau kits. Having spent many a long and drawn-out hour trying to discover what part represents a certain support system, for example, I thought I’d try to pull all of that together here, both for my own future reference, and also in the hope that it might help any budding Commander out there!

Speaking of which, let’s start with the Commander kit, which has all manner of bits that you can use to kit out not only the warlord for your army, but also any Crisis Suits that you want to field, and even some of the bigger stuff like Ghostkeels and Broadsides. It’s definitely worth getting hold of at least one Commander, not least because he’s actually a really awesome model, but because of this cross-pollenation that you can have.

Tau support systems 1

As far as the support systems go, however, we get three of them in this kit, along with an older piece that is still around, just no longer classed as a support system. From left to right, then, we’ve got the Shield Generator, the Target Lock, the Velocity Tracker, and Positional Relay. That last is now a 2CP stratagem. These bits are numbered 66, 48, 50 & 51, and 49.

The Crisis Suit set is another of these amazing bits box kits that has almost everything you could want to kit out all manner of battlesuits with cool stuff. The price is, of course, a bit silly, but fortunately Tau have one of the most useful Start Collecting boxes in so far as, for an extra fiver, you get a 10-man troop choice, and an HQ choice. Why Crisis Suits are on sale for £45 when they’re also in the Start Collecting box for £50 is beyond me, but there we go! As there are three of them in the box, you get almost everything in triplicate, though the support systems are more of a general mix. You do get three Shield Generators, and two Target Locks (part 74 on the sprue), along with this small array of other interesting stuff:

Tau support systems 2

From left to right again, we have a Counterfire Defence System, an Early Warning Override, and a Multi Tracker. The Multi Tracker is a single part (73), whereas the other two are made up of the stalk-piece, and the face-piece. There are two stalks (part 75), and the pieces to make one Early Warning Override (part 76), one Counterfire Defence System (part 77), or one Velocity Tracker (part 78, not pictured).

We’ve now seen six of the eight support systems, so where are the other two?

The Ghostkeel is up next, which has a couple more bits and bobs that are useful for keeping hold of! (Of course, you should never actually get rid of any bits once you’ve built a kit, but that’s a whole other story…)

In addition to having parts for an Early Warning Override (parts 72 & 73 on the sprue), the Ghostkeel is the only miniature in the plastic Tau range that has the Drone Controller bit, which is the little bulb-and-antenna you can see on its left arm in the picture above.

Which leaves us with the final piece of support system tech, the Advanced Targeting System. Well, that doesn’t actually have a bit for it in the range, and while I’ve seen some people use leftover XV8 heads with an antenna glued on, others will argue that it’s more software than hardware anyway, so would be hardwired into the suit itself. For those of us who like to go for a little more modelling fun, though, I suppose you could use anything with antennae stuck onto it to make it look the part!

So there you have it, the list of Tau Support Systems that are on offer from the plastic range. It’s worth pointing out that you can also get these bits in the Broadside and Riptide kits, and while I don’t have one personally, I think the Stormsurge also has a couple of things in there.

My first game with Tau

Hey everybody!
It’s time once more for a games day blog! Well, it has been some time. I wanted to talk about my experiences with playing Tau for the first time a couple of weeks ago, and my thoughts on both building the models and building my army. So I’m going to ramble for a bit about Tau – sit back, and enjoy!

My 1000-point list was, I think you’ll agree, slightly odd-looking. Well, that’s because I don’t know what I’m doing with Tau, and the list was built very much along the lines of, let’s throw some stuff together and see what happens. I was playing with Bork’an Sept rules, adding 6 extra inches to rapid fire and heavy weapons, with the Seeker of Perfection warlord trait, which adds 1 to the wound roll for each hit of 6+. Finally, I was using the Puretide Engram Neurochip relic to gain a command point on a d6 roll of 6 when an opponent uses a stratagem. Nice!

I have to be honest, though – I’m not sure how I did in that game! I think I managed to get the hang of certain things, and I could definitely see how the army wants to play after a couple of rounds, but I don’t really know if I won or lost. I was playing my usual opponent Robin, though this time he was playing Inquisition rather than Orks, which was a turn up for the books!

We played Burn & Pillage from the Open War cards, and the Twist we drew was Double or Nothing, drawing two extra cards: Acid Rain (yay) and Meeting Battle, which divides the armies into three (each), and one of these chunks is brought on each round. That was useful as it allowed me to bring on my army in small doses and get used to it that way.

The game went fairly okay, I think. I’d set up in the middle, and brought on the Pathfinders and Pirhana first. The Pirhana was quite useful as a melee tool, something I didn’t think I’d do with Tau. The Pathfinders probably could have been used better, but I suppose I was just getting used to them! I then brought on the Breachers, the Ethereal and the Devilfish (which had the Strike Team inside – not the Breachers! Whoops!) For the third deployment, I brought on my Commander and the Crisis Suits.

I think my main take-away from the game was that Marker Drones are very useful, but the Pathfinders are a much cheaper source of Markerlights, so I should use them to light up the field each turn, rather than worrying about saving their pulse carbine shots instead. I couldn’t quite get my head round to the idea that the bodies should be doing something useful, while the drones should be left to paint targets on everything. That clearly isn’t the way to go!

I like the idea of a gun-line, but I was a bit all over the place during this game due to the nature of the Open War cards. I think for my next game with them, I’d like to deploy as an actual gunline, and use some Fireblade support to get an extra shot off. Indeed, I want to look heavily into supporting the idea of a Tau gunline force, and have been tinkering a great deal with my list over the last few weeks.

The Coldstar Commander is something of an all-star, really, though I feel like I used him badly. The ability to advance 40″ across the field is actually really good, but I wasn’t making nearly as much of it as I should have been. He’s modelled with a Target Lock, as well, so there’s no excuse not to be dashing about and firing that high-output burst cannon all over the place. Definitely one to use again in the future, that!

The Crisis Suits are an iconic part of the army, for me, and I really want them there at the centre of all things. However, I once again did barely anything with them – I think the accompanying drones did more damage than these guys when it came to the battle! I think the fact they were the single most-expensive unit in the army made me a little over-cautious, and I ended up doing very little with them. So I think I need to re-evaluate my options for the future, there!

Overall, though, while people have been saying the codex isn’t as good as that of Necrons or Drukhari, I’m not that familiar yet with the army to feel that it is particularly bad. But I can say that my list was a bit too all over the place for comfort, and I’ve been weighing up a few options for alternative (and bigger) builds for the future. At the minute, then, this is what I’m looking down the barrel of:

I’m currently thinking a lot about playing larger-scale games, as I haven’t really explored anywhere above the 1000-point level in 8th Edition yet. So I’m going to be building towards 2000-points, but wanted to get there slowly. I’ve got most of this list actually built up anyway, and have recently picked up some more Crisis Suits in a second Start Collecting box so that I can really round things out. While I haven’t organised it as such in the above list, I have three detachments within this list, granting me a total 8 command points to use throughout the game – a very small Battalion, a fairly small Outrider, and the real meat of the force contained within the Vanguard, which itself covers more than half the total points.

I like this list because it feels like it puts the battlesuits at the centre of things, rather than the troops. The Pathfinders are there for Markerlights, mainly, though as there is the potential for redundancy here, especially since there are also six Marker Drones in the list, having the pulse carbines will be useful as well. The thought is that the Warriors will form a gunline, with the Fireblades peppered among them alongside the Pulse Accelerator Drones, which will fly off at the start of the battle to aid the pulse rifles of the Fire Warriors.

While I’m on the topic, I really like building Tau armies that use Fireblades as a cheap utility HQ, freeing up another HQ slot for a fancy Commander that can go off and do his own thing.

I freely admit that I may have been seduced into including the Broadside simply because he looks amazing. The heavy rail rifle reminds me of a longer-ranged dark lance, and I so often whiff on the damage rolls and end up getting just one point of damage that I’m invariably wary of such things now. However, the Bork’an Sept Stratagem does allow for a re-roll on random damage like this, so I suppose that will be useful!

The Ghostkeel, so far as I’m concerned, is a bit of a distraction carnifex, and I’m not particularly fussed as to what happens to it. 200 points is an expensive distraction, for sure, but it is a very pretty model, so I’m sure it’ll draw a lot of attention. Keeping the drones around will give any shooting attacks -2 to hit, so it could very possibly just walk (fly?) up the table and threaten virtually anything, firing six shots from the Cyclic Ion Raker from 30 inches away, and the Target Lock will allow for it to keep moving and firing that heavy weapon with no penalty. Add in another two shots from the fusion blasters, and it should take a lot of the heat off the other stuff I’m bringing!

I feel like I’ve been on a bit of a pendulum swing for 8th Edition so far, from building armies without a tremendous amount of thought for the CPs, to agonising over how I can get that third Battalion in there for the additional points. I think the Drukhari codex has seen the apex of the CP struggle, and I’m now getting a lot more conservative again – or, I should say, I’m back to building the kind of armies that I want to build, and not adding in an entire Spearhead detachment just because I want to add in a single Broadside. Anyway!

8 command points should be a fine number, especially if I’m sticking with the Puretide Engram Neurochip. There aren’t a tremendous amount of stratagems that I find myself wanting to use, after all. While in my first game, I didn’t use a lot of them because I was concentrating on getting the units to do what they’re supposed to do, I think on the whole there are some fairly underwhelming stratagems contained within the book, which I guess might be where a lot of folks are coming from with thinking it underpowered. There are a small handful of stratagems that I can see myself using, such as Repulsor Impact Field or Uplinked Markerlight, but on the whole I find them really quite situational, and also very specific as to the units they affect.

Maybe having underpowered stratagems is a way of balancing some of the tremendous firepower that the Tau can bring to bear in a battle.

At any rate, those are my rambling thoughts after my first game with the Tau!

Drukhari thoughts…

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

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

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

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

Dark Eldar Wyches

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Drukhari Codex

Hey everybody!
It’s time I shared some ramblings with you all about my first impressions of the new Drukhari Codex that came out this weekend, after taking delivery of it a couple of days early…

*breathing intensifies* #Warhammer40k #Drukhari #DarkEldar #newcodex

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The excitement is still real, I must say!

I’ve talked about some of the initial thoughts I’ve had about the new rules back when the previews were coming out from the community site, but I must say, when confronted with a book full of the blighters, it does make army building somewhat convoluted to try and make the most of it all. There are, of course, three distinct traits within the book, for Kabal, Cult and Coven. There are ten distinct “chapter tactics” on offer, each with their attendant warlord traits and stratagems, and trying to get everything to work the way that you want can be something of a nightmare, to say the least.

One of the goofiest things that the new Codex gives us is the opportunity to gain a ridiculous amount of command points for fielding a ridiculous number of Patrol detachments – 1 HQ, 1 troop choice mandatory. The idea, of course, is to represent a number of different raiding parties joining together to invade realspace and get some slaves, and while part of me likes the idea of having a table full of troops to just spam, I’m not entirely sure it’s the way I want to build my army.

Of course, it hasn’t stopped me from going with a trio of Patrols in my debut list from the Codex! This build gives me 11 command points, and I’ve been toying with the thought of scrapping it to get a Brigade going on for 12. But the way that the Obsessions work, it’s going to be really difficult to get an interesting and diverse list running. Which is one of the interesting things with this book – it gives us so much choice, but what kind of choice is it, really? If you want to get the benefit of command points to use on the plethora of stratagems (and there are some really interesting ones across four pages of the book), you’re almost forced into using the Raiding Force rule and getting multiple patrols. Which I suppose is fine, if you don’t mind only having a maximum of two elites, fast attack, etc.

I’ve not given it a tremendous amount of thought yet, but I’m currently thinking it might do just as well to run two battalions, one for the kabal and one for the coven, either leaving the cult out of it totally, or perhaps using the outrider detachment for some reavers… Well, anyway!

Obviously, I’m going for Kabal of the Obsidian Rose, as it’s the colour scheme I’ve been using since I started this army last year. The archon I built as Aestra Khromys is now technically illegal, as Archons can no longer take phantasm grenade launchers, but never mind! It’s her I plan to have riding around in a Venom with her Court as part of the Battalion. Obsidian Rose gets to add 6″ range to all Assault, Heavy and Rapid Fire weapons, which is so very handy for Drukhari, who want to keep everybody at range after all!

For the Coven, I’m using Coven of Twelve, who gain +1 AP to all melee weapons. I’ve decided to go with the Alliance of Agony stratagem for a start, and give the Haemonculus from the spearhead detachment the Scarlet Epicurean warlord trait. I kind of want all of my haemonculi in melee, so giving him something that reduces damage dealt to him should be useful. The warlord of the actual army, Aestra up there, gets Deathly Perfectionist, which increases the damage dealt by her weapons. For the relic, well it’s nothing less than the Armour of Misery!

While I said earlier that there are a lot of stratagems in this book, but part of that is due to the amount of distinct flavours of Drukhari you can have. The actual number of stratagems that I feel I will definitely be using is surprisingly low, just 4, all of them costing just 1CP each. Which is another reason for wondering whether I need to straightjacket my build into the Raiding Force in order to gain all the additional points!

I’ve only scratched the surface of this book, it’s really blown me away with how immersive in Dark Eldar lore it goes. I’m not lamenting the loss of Trueborn or Archons with blasters, and will certainly not be delving back into the Index for those datasheets, as I think we have plenty of exciting material to be going along with right here. I’m eagerly awaiting my first game with the new Codex, after which I’m sure I’ll be coming back here with more practical thoughts on how it plays.

For now, though, suffice it to say that I’m super excited at the fact my main army finally has its book!!

Saying goodbye to the Index…

Hey everybody,
With less than a week until the Drukhari codex is here, I thought I’d take a look back at my time with the Index during 8th edition, and have a sort of general ramble about what I like about the army. Without a doubt, Drukhari are my favourite 40k army to play, from that very first game against Blood Angels, even through playing against a horde of Orks. They’re just fun. Necrons will always be my first love, of course, but Drukhari are my favourite!

The overwhelming thing that I like most about the Drukhari has got to be the variety of flavours you get when you pick this force. Natively, you get three very distinct factions within the overall army: Kabals, Wych Cults, and Haemonculus Covens, which service your need for speed and bullets, up-close murder, and genetic experimentation, respectively. In addition, there are various strands of mercenaries available, such as Scourges and Incubi. Due to the way keywords work in 8th, however, we also share the Aeldari keyword with Craftworlds and Harlequins, allowing for a blend of different stuff in the same list, as well as Ynnari being a similar, though more stringent mix of the same.

I’ve only ever been tempted by Harlequins, as they seem to share some traits with their dark cousins. There’s something about the Craftworlds that puts me off, and Ynnari just feels far too cheesy to even start thinking about them. That said, plenty of people like to mix and match their detachments in order to plug holes that the Drukhari inherently have (mainly psyker support) and there’s nothing wrong with having your fun as you like it. For me, I tend to prefer to try and work around things like this within the scope of the force, relishing the handicaps as part of the theme. Throughout 8th edition, I’ve stuck quite closely to the same mix of Kabals and Covens, with varying degrees of Wych Cults peppered through. It’s done me quite well up to now, and is what I’m going to be rambling about here today!

My armies have always been Kabal-centric, as I started this journey with the Start Collecting box back in the day, but the core of Kabalite Warriors can provide a really cheap start for your force. My first squad of ten Warriors was armed pretty basic, just using a splinter pistol/agoniser for the Sybarite, and a splinter cannon for one of my dudes – and that comes to just 89 points for a ten-man squad. Of course, throwing in a Raider to move them about is where things tend to get expensive, but even so, Drukhari armies can tend to be full of people if you go for quite a bare-bones approach, allowing for ablative wounds aplenty.

Warriors with Dark Lances are something I’ve tended to shy away from. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve built some for the hell of it, but it makes me itch having a 20-point weapon on a 1 wound, 7-point model. I’ve always found it more expedient to mount dark lances on Raiders, to make them Assault weapons as opposed to Heavy weapons, and be done with.

Furthermore, 8th edition has seen a great need for weight of fire, and dark lances are Heavy 1. Splinter cannons, the other heavy weapon in the Warrior build, are Rapid Fire 3, giving you 6 shots when in rapid fire range, rather than 1 shot total. Sure, the dark lance feels like a proper heavy weapon, but I think the chance of whiffing with a dark lance is just too much for its cost.

Trueborn aren’t something I’ve taken often, though I do like the loadout of a five man squad in a Venom, with two splinter cannons and two blasters. Arming all four with blasters, and giving the Dracon a blast pistol, was quickly decided as “the best” strategy for these guys, and Blasterborn was quite the thing in the early days. I even built some myself, feeling the pressure get to me! But the rumours have pretty much confirmed that Kabalite Trueborn are no longer a thing, instead providing more upgrade options for basic Warriors. I find that interesting, as it was always a facet of the army that I quite enjoyed – while they don’t technically have a kit, I don’t really see it as that different to the fact that Lychguard are technically built out of the Triarch Praetorian kit; the only difference here is that the Kabalite Warriors box doesn’t tell you it can also be built as Trueborn. (The basic squad loadout for Trueborn is with splinter rifles, so I don’t see why they should be penalised for not including four blasters in there).

Vehicles are quite the necessary part of this army, and Raiders don’t really come too cheaply for the Warriors. The cheapest Raider is 115 points, and only has one weapon (though it is open-topped, so all ten of its occupants can also fire out of it during the shooting phase, so there is that…) The heavy support option is the Ravager, which I always enjoy the look of, but sadly have never had a great deal of luck with. A mobile gun platform that will set you back 155 points at its cheapest load-out, the greatest successes I’ve had with Ravagers have been using them as a distraction, which isn’t entirely what they should be used for! Three dark lances are not to be sniffed at, though I prefer the more expensive option of three disintegrator cannons, so that I can fire 9 shots rather than 3 – it does hike the cost up to 185, however…

For me, I think I’ll always be a fan of the Venom. It can only transport 5 models rather than 10, but I love the sleek little craft with their splinter cannons, zipping around the field and shrugging off a lot of fire due to their Flickerfields. A Venom with two splinter cannons is as expensive as a Raider before the weapons, however, but as a transport for my Archon and selected members of his Court, I do like it.

Speaking of the Archons, I’ve forever been unimpressed with this model, and indeed have often seen it as a tax for taking a battleforged army. The one time I had him do anything, he did kill an Ork warboss, so I suppose he’s not all bad, but mainly I tend to just forget about him and concentrate on the main event, the Warriors and other bits… The Court is something that I have rarely used, and can’t really offer too much of an opinion on. I only have the Lhamaean painted, and have included her more as ablative wounds for the Archon, should it ever come to that. I think I’d like to try and play the Archon more as a melee option, generally, and so surrounding him with a Court might be an interesting possibility. Stay tuned for that one, then!

Let’s move on to Wych Cults, though!

I’ve not really had a great deal of use for these, as I have been playing a lot of melee-heavy armies so far in 8th, and Wyches are just not a good option for that. For sure, they’re touted as the close combat specialists of the Drukhari, but they’re a unit that you want to use to tie up other units that don’t want to be in close combat with you. Necron Immortals, for example, are pretty useless in melee, and want to be out shooting you with tesla. Charge them with Wyches, and they’re pretty much taken out of the fight, no matter what else happens. Against a unit that also wants to be in melee, however, they’re really quite bad at T3.

This is, I suppose, where Combat Drugs come into the mix. Getting to choose your unit’s drug for the game is handy, for sure, but the basic Wyches could definitely use some ability that gives them more than one. But I digress. I’ve had better success with Reavers, giving them Adrenalight for three attacks each. The only problem, however, is that Reavers are massively over-costed for what they can do. At a base 90 points for a squad of three, you want to think carefully about upgrading them in any way, and unfortunately, my own squad of them runs to 120 due to adding in a heat lance and cluster caltrops. They are a much better option for getting into close combat, however, and despite their speed, that’s really where they want to be – I guess the speed is only there to get them into combat so much sooner!

All Wych Cult units want to be in melee to some degree, of course, but the Reavers and the Hellions are probably the two that are best placed to do so. Reavers have a lot of tricks that really point to what they want to do, and to some extent the same is true of Hellions. A base squad of Hellions is 95 points, but if you stick Adrenalight on them, you’re making twelve attacks on a five wound unit, rather than ten attacks on a six wound unit. Weight of fire would suggest the Hellions are the way to go, but people always seem intent on ignoring the skyboard-flying gangers! I’ve only used them once, but their Hit and Run rule, allowing them to fall back and charge in the same turn, is really something to bear in mind when using these guys.

The leader of these Cults is, of course, the Succubus, a model that I really like the look of, but have never found to be all that useful due to (a) not running Wych Cult-heavy lists, and (b) the fact she can’t really keep up with those Wych Cult units I do run, without buying her a Venom. At 72 points, she’s a little on the expensive side for an HQ that I don’t get a lot of use out of, so I tend to treat her quite carefully overall.

Finally, let’s take a look at the Covens!

These chaps are something I’d initially not expected to be adding to my army, as I wanted a Kabal/Cult list, but I quickly changed my mind when I built my first box of Wracks. This kit single-handedly convinced me that I needed some Coven action in my life, and I quickly added a number of the other Haemonculus units to my army. The two pain/parasite engines are beautiful, for all that they’re quite disgusting, and the whole look of these guys is just so alien and other-worldly, I love the effect of seeing them amid the regular Kabalite force as something of a freakish centrepiece!

Coven units want to be in close combat as well, though I feel they provide a much more well-rounded section to the list that they stand on their own much better. All Kabalites want to do is shoot; Wyches try to shoot and punch, but they end up lacking the firepower to do the former, while being too weak at the latter. Covens, on the other hand, have an interesting array of guns for Wracks, as well as the Talos that can act as something of a gun platform, while all the units are also really quite good in melee.

The Haemonculus is a really good choice of HQ, and can be customised to your tastes much better, it feels, than an Archon or Succubus. He is also the only answer to psykers in the entire army, bringing a Crucible of Malediction that allows him to dish out mortal wounds to nearby psykers once per battle. It’s not great, but it’s all we’ve got! As a side note, it’s a shame that the Cronos doesn’t have something similar, but there we are.

Wracks are the melee unit that don’t care if the enemy also wants to be in there with them. With both a Haemonculus and Cronos nearby, they have T5 and are re-rolling wounds in the fight phase, as well as healing lost wounds. It’s handy that both the Haemonculus and Cronos also don’t mind being in close combat, so that they don’t need to hang so far back…

I like fielding big units of Wracks, though it is worth noting that a unit of 10 costs 110 points before you start adding in their fancy guns. The ossefactor has often been thought of as the best, due to the range and mortal wounds it gives out, though I do like the Hexrifle for picking off characters. For 11 points, it has the potential to snipe characters for two wounds, though it is a Heavy weapon on a slow-moving unit, so there is that to consider.

The Talos is a great model to add some potent firepower to your Covens detachment, though he does tend to rack up those points really quickly. Unupgraded, he’s 126 points, but if you start giving him fancy stuff, he can get as high as 172 if you give him two heat lances and the twin liquifier gun. My own, preferred load-out has been for two haywire blasters, as I like the mortal wounds aspect (and I built him during 7th edition, when haywire was all the rage!)

Without a doubt, I’ve had some of the most fun games of 8th edition fielding a blend of Kabal and Coven, and so to close here, I thought I’d share my go-to army list with you all, with the Index points costs while we’re on the eve of the new Codex. I think I’ll revisit this once I have the book in hand, and will doubtless be rambling some more with my thoughts on building an army with the Codex!

The Necron Codex

Hey everybody!
My Necron Codex arrived about twelve hours early, so I’ve been spending some quality time with the new book, building up my new list and enjoying getting back to my first love of 40k. I enjoyed it so much, in fact, that I thought I’d pop along here and share some ramblings with you all!

First of all, I think I should share my initial disappointment with you all. Having taken the decision last summer to re-paint my dynasty in Thokt colours, I was saddened to see that they don’t have their own Dynastic Codes (the Necron version of Chapter Tactics) in the new book. I’m sure I’ll live with it, for sure, but still!

While I have played with Necrons a few times in 8th, I’ve predominantly been playing with Dark Eldar, so don’t have a wealth of expertise to share as regards what has been good, what hasn’t, etc. I usually prefer infantry-heavy lists, anyway, and will never use so much as a single Warrior because I dislike the sculpts so much. This has been true throughout 7th Edition and remains so now! I don’t have a tremendous range of big Necron models in my collection, truth be told, as while I’ve built a Triarch Stalker, a Monolith, and the like, I’ve never really found it in me to paint them. I think I just love the look of the infantry so much that I don’t really rate anything more.

That said, I have been thinking about my options for a few things, and I’m now set on getting both an Annihilation Barge and a Doomsday Ark for my collection. I have the minis for both, naturally, but they’re in some state of partial assembly (and have possibly been sprayed green, my previous colour scheme for these chaps). So I definitely need to get a move on!

The List
As it stands, my army is looking decidedly infantry-heavy, like I said, but I do have the Catacomb Command Barge providing a nice centrepiece model for the whole. I’ve extended my list to 1500 points, having only been playing at 1000 points for the time being. I do feel that I’m in the mood for some larger battles now, though – especially now that the rules of the game are more firmly in my mind!

So, let’s take a look at what I’ve come up with:

I do admit, I lack some decent heavy firepower. The list was primarily written in order to combine to Battalion detachments with a Vanguard for all of the Command Points, but I’ve got it in the back of my mind to perhaps either drop down to one, bigger Battalion that has a larger reach – that is, one that will incorporate the heavy slots mentioned earlier – or else re-write the whole thing as a Brigade! There are a couple of things that are swirling about in my mind about this right now:
– a Brigade only requires three HQs minimum, and I’m using five here for the three separate detachments. So I could save some points by cutting stuff there. That said, I do need three Fast Attack and three Heavy Support in addition to the troops and elites incorporated into the list as it stands;
– this list is netting me 10 command points, whereas a Brigade will only get me 12 anyway, so I’d be doing a lot of messing about for only an additional 2. That said, if I dropped the second Battalion in order to have more variety in the first, I’d be down to just 7 CPs anyway, so a Brigade would look better;
– the sort of Brigade I’d want to field costs 2050 points, and includes Wraiths and a Spyder along with six squads of Immortals, some Lychguards and Deathmarks, all headed up by a Command Barge and a pair of Crypteks. I’d be able to get it to fit 2000 points by swapping the Barge for Orikan, which is nice to know. (In case you’re interested, the cheapest Necron Brigade detachment is 1293 points, and looks absolute garbage…)

I’d be better off using the list above as my base, then adding in a Spearhead detachment as follows:

This would avoid wrecking my list too much, as well as keeping things well within 2000-points. But this is definitely a lot of theory-hammer that I don’t think I’ll be doing much with for the time being. I mean, there’s still a long way to go before I have all of these models ready for battle!

The units
For HQs, then, I’ve got the good old Barge, which has come down a little in points thanks to the Staff of Light reduction, and the gauss cannon has gotten a little better at Strength 6 now. Crypteks have the double boost of a points reduction as well as the nice little piece of wargear, the Canoptek Cloak, which allows them to fly and double their movement, as well as giving a boost to nearby models with Living Metal. This is possibly due to the new Cryptek model from the Forgebane box, which will undoubtedly be sold in a clampack soon enough…

I’ve actually got enough points in the main force to swap out that Lord for a second Overlord, which I have been considering, arming him with a voidscythe because S10, AP-4 D3 sounds amazing, even if I have to subtract 1 from the hit roll! I have a “converted” Lord, however, made out of the spare Overlord when I made the Annihilation Barge, so I suppose it would be nice to keep him in for the time being.

Reanimation Protocols have had a slight tweak now, in that they don’t work for models who have fled from the unit. Of course, everything is Leadership 10, so things don’t often flee anyway, but it’s probably worth mentioning. Otherwise, though, there isn’t really a huge difference to the meat of the army. Immortals are still pretty much the same solid troop choice, and Lychguard carrying swords and shields have come down a little thanks to the points reduction on the shields. Dispersion shields are a fairly cool addition now, thanks to the Dispersion Field Amplification stratagem, that allows you to bounce back shots fired at them if you roll a natural 6 for your save. It’s 2 command points, but it’s incredibly fluffy, and what they used to do anyway, so I like that a lot!

The fancy stuff
Because I have Orikan in the army (and, to a lesser extent, because he’s my Warlord), my Dynastic Code is the Sautekh dynasty. This allows me to treat all ranged weapons as Assault weapons, and I don’t suffer the penalty for moving and shooting with Heavy weapons (unless I advanced). So the gauss cannon on the Barge is fine 🙂

The Warlord Trait, Hyperlogical Strategist, allows me to re-roll a single hit, wound or damage roll once per battle, which I’m not particularly thrilled by as I tend to treat all once-per-game effects with some caution, but the Trait is also the Command Point refund one.

As I said, I already have 10 Command Points, and there aren’t a lot of Stratagems that I feel will be key to my battle-plan. See, a lot of the Necron Stratagems are quite specific as to who they affect, which is nice if you have a good spread of units of course, but it does mean that of the 22 generic Necron Stratagems, I can only use 12 of them. I like that a lot of the flavourful rules of yore are making a return in Stratagems, but some of these are so specific, they would perhaps be as well to have been included as a specific rule on the datasheet of the unit in question. Just my thoughts there!

Finally, the Artifact of the Aeons (that is, the Relic) I have chosen is Sempiternal Weave on the Overlord, which grants +1T and +1W. Going back to what I was saying about a second Overlord with the Voidscythe earlier, I think this would be an ideal relic for him, as he wants to get stuck into combat after all. But there is another relic that actually affects Voidscythes, and it might be worth giving that to him instead. But I digress!

The plan
I’m no strategist, of course, so don’t take this as some kind of amazing hidden secret for the Necrons, but the basic idea of this army is that of a gunline, six squads of Immortals shooting the place up, being buffed by the Lord and Overlord, while Lychguard protect Orikan. The Command Barge is basically a mobile gun platform, and the Cryptek is on hand to repair things as required. If Orikan manages to become Empowered (I’ve used him once, and it happened, so I have a 100% success rate at getting this off!) then his little blob of Lychguard can become more of a mobile threat on the board, hopefully allowing the Immortals to remain out of combat and thus free to continue shooting up the board.

A lot of folks have remarked on the fact I tend to avoid the tesla Immortals, which is indeed a curious state of affairs. It’s mainly due to the fact that I’m rubbish at rolling 6s, so I prefer the reliable AP of gauss over the potential exploding dice of tesla. I’ve got some in there just in case, for sure, but I’ve previously run these two five-man squads, rolling 20 dice for shooting, and not getting a single six, no matter what people say the odds should be!

I mentioned earlier the lack of any real firepower, but until I venture up to 2000-points and the prospect of adding in those serious cannons, I think I’m going to be reliant on having weight of firepower above all else.

This post is getting really long already, so I’m going to call it a day there. All in all, after a first glance through it, I think the Codex is fine – it’s not really making me want to get out there right now and try out all of the amazing newness, as I don’t honestly think a great deal has changed for me. It’s good to have the book, with the options that Stratagems and the like offer for the army – I’ve talked before about feeling out-classed by playing Codex vs Index armies. Definitely nice to have, anyway!