Necromunda: at last!

Hey everybody,
Tuesday is of course game day, and this is one that I’ve been looking forward to featuring on my blog it seems like forever! Of course, I’ve talked around it for years, but at last, it’s time for Necromunda!

The Game
There are a ton of rules for this game that make it a really immersive, RPG-style experience, but this is my first game so I’m keeping it simple. It absolutely isn’t going to be my last, however, so I’ll be exploring more of these rules in future blogs! I’ve covered a lot of the basics in my earlier Getting Started with Necromunda blog, but let’s revisit that to begin:

The Basics
Necromunda Underhive is a skirmish game where players control the members of a gang, vying for supremacy in the Underhive. At its most basic, the game is quite straightforward, consisting of three phases in each round. To begin, players roll off to see who gets Priority for that round, then all the fighters are readied.

The Action phase sees each gang member activated, alternating between each player. Each fighter can take two actions. There are a number of different actions available to players, grouped into basic actions (which can only be taken once in each activation), simple actions (which can be taken more than once), and double actions (which take up both action slots for the fighter). So for instance, moving is a simple action and so can be taken twice, while shooting or fighting is a basic action that can only be taken once, and charging is a double action (though it does allow for a fighter to make a free fight action if he or she ends that charge in base-to-base contact with an enemy gang member).

Resolving both shooting and close combat attacks works exactly the same as regular 40k, whereby fighters make a ballistic skill / weapon skill check, and if it is successful, make a roll comparing the weapon strength to the target’s toughness and referring to the usual to-wound chart. The target gets the chance to save against the attack (unless the weapon’s AP value negates that), and damage is inflicted. If a fighter is reduced to 0 wounds, they are taken out of action. There is an end phase which, in the basic rules, is only there to mark the end of the round.

Necromunda Underhive

For this game, I was basically soloing my way through, controlling both Delaque and Van Saar gangs that approach the 1000-credit mark. They’re fairly similar in make-up, with a Leader, a Champion carrying a fancy weapon, and one Ganger with a fancy weapon. Van Saar, as a more expensive gang, unfortunately have one less ganger, but we’ll have to see how each side fared!

My Delaque gang consisted of the following:
Leader (flechette pistol, shock stave, throwing knives) – 185 credits
Champion (grav gun, web gauntlet) – 260 credits
Ganger (long rifle) – 90 credits
Ganger (shotgun, stun grenades) – 100 credits
Ganger (paired autopistols) – 70 credits
Ganger (autogun, stiletto knives, smoke grenades) – 110 credits
Ganger (web pistol, bio scanner) – 170 credits

985 credits in total

In contrast, my Van Saar gang was just:
Leader (combi las/melta, hystrar-pattern energy shield) – 310 credits
Champion (rad cannon, rad grenades) – 265 credits
Ganger (paired plasma pistols, frag grenades) – 205 credits
Ganger (suppression laser) – 115 credits
Ganger (las carbine) – 95 credits

990 credits in total

Necromunda Underhive

Van Saar are known for being very shooty, and very expensive, and this is very clear here – two fewer gangers than the Delaque bunch, although early in the game this didn’t seem to matter. The ganger with paired plasma pistols was able to take advantage of the mistake of the Delaque leader in coming out in the open like we’ve seen above, and was able to get an embarrassingly clear shot at him!

This is the first place where I got a bit lost in the rules. In regular 40k, you’re trying to reduce units or characters to 0 wounds. Here, however, we’re not quite doing the same thing. When a fighter takes enough damage that he is reduced to 0 wounds, you roll an injury dice to see what happens – either a Flesh Wound (which reduces the fighter’s Toughness characteristic), Serious Injury (which knocks the fighter prone, turned face down on the board), or Out of Action (removed from play). At the end of the round, you have a chance to then stand back up or remain prone, by rolling the dice again. Now, any flesh wounds reduce the toughness, and if the fighter is reduced to 0 Toughness, they are then removed from the game. It’s a nice mechanic to ensure that your model isn’t going to be one-shotted into oblivion (although, of course, that is possible by rolling Out of Action!) and once I’d gotten my head around it, it was nice to see that the game will actually let you play with your toys, you know?

Necromunda Underhive

There is a definite need to have plenty of bodies on the table, which put the Van Saar at the disadvantage here, as mentioned. It’s good to have fancy weapons, for sure, but it’s no use if the fighter wielding that weapon cannot get to use it! Which brings me on to learning point number two!

My Van Saar Champion has a rad cannon, and being Van Saar, he’s hitting on 2s. Along with a d6 each time you roll to shoot, you also roll the Firepower dice, which has the ammo symbol on one face that shows the weapon is out of ammo. The first roll with my rad cannon guy, I rolled a 1 and the ammo symbol, so I did the grand sum of nothing on my turn, and was then shot by the Delaque Leader, causing him to be prone and pinned. On each End Phase roll, he remained prone and pinned, meaning he did the grand sum of nothing for the entire game! 265 credits wasted!

Necromunda Underhive

Something that I think is really, really cool about this game is the depth into which the rules go for pretty much everything. Once you get the basic flow down, it feels like a very real game. For example, on your fighter’s activation, you can use one action to Aim (Basic) to add 1 to the hit roll, and then use the second action to Shoot (Basic), where you may find yourself rolling the ammo symbol on the dice. The shot will still be fired, but if you survive to your next activation, you then need to make an ammo check to Reload (Simple) before you can then attempt to Shoot (Basic) once again.

Something that I really like, and hadn’t realised until about halfway through the game, is that a fighter wielding two weapons with the Sidearm trait can shoot with both as part of the same Shoot (Basic) action – normally you can only make one such action on your turn, as you can’t make the same Basic action twice on your activation. Sadly, the Van Saar ganger dual-wielding plasma pistols had run out of ammo on one of these at the time I realised this, but I still had my Delaque ganger with dual autopistols. Fabulous!

Necromunda Underhive

A lot of the game, I feel, will come alive when you play through the scenarios and link everything in a campaign. There are so many rules that involve stuff like opening loot caskets, gaining credits and advancing gangers with different weapons and gaining skills. I’ve not had a chance (or, really, the need) to properly investigate the rules for campaign play, but it seems absolutely like the RPG-feel that I was expecting.

For those of you wondering, the game resulted in a Delaque victory. I was playing a vague sort of scenario whereby the Van Saar gang was trying to re-take some territory from the Delaque. The first round was a lot of positioning, then there were two rounds of shooting and door-opening, before the fourth round resulted in utter carnage! Two Van Saar gangers were reduced to 0 Toughness, and two Delaque gangers took advantage of pinned and prone Van Saar fighters to charge and administer the coup de grace. Seeing his entire cohort killed off, the Van Saar leader conceded.


I’m glad that I’ve finally been able to get the game to the table, even if it was just a solo adventure to see how the whole thing works. Much as with Warcry recently, though, I felt as though it was an entirely fine way to play, getting to grips with the rules interactions and so on. However, I’ve got something lined up hopefully for the day when we can play games with actual living people once again! Delaque vs Orlock, should be a lot of fun!

This game is awesome, and I can’t wait to share more here on the blog as time goes on, and more games are played! Exciting times!

Grey Knights updates!

No, we’re not getting our codex anytime soon!

A few days ago, I finished reading the second novel in the Grey Knights series by Ben Counter, Dark Adeptus.

Dark Adeptus is the second novel in the Grey Knights series, and we’re once again with Justicar Alaric and an even smaller team of Grey Knights, as they investigate the mysterious reappearance of the planet Chaeronia from the Warp. An added complication is that the planet is a Forge World of the Adeptus Mechanicus, and so the Knights are forced to team up with the Tech Priests as they investigate what is happening. Making planetfall, the team discovers that the world has been overtaken by some form of tech heresy, with many of the structures suffused with a biological matter – clearly the Dark Mechanicus has taken root.

It eventually transpires the Tech Priests have been influenced by a daemon that has possessed the artificial intelligence of a Standard Template Construct (STC) for a Titan. The daemon has sent a signal through the Warp to the Warmaster Abaddon, as it feels he is the best recipient for the army of Titans that it has produced. Alaric and his team are able to thwart these plans after a climactic battle, banishing the daemon back to the Warp.

I didn’t think this one was as good as the first book in the series, maybe because it started with such a strange plot device for the Grey Knights to be involved with. The daemon-hunters of the Ordo Malleus, involved in something that has no apparent daemonic link? Hm. As it moved on, though, the story was fine and everything, just seemed to be a bit of a stretch at times as to why the Grey Knights were involved. I think part of me still likes the idea of the chapter operating in absolute secrecy, to the point where they never work with allies without killing them afterwards to preserve that secrecy.

Of course, all of the Adeptus Mechanicus allies end up dead by the end of the novel, so I suppose that’s that taken care of! Interestingly, the foot soldiers of the Mechanicus are referred to as the Tech Guard, as being the almost drone-like meat shields in comparison with the more elite Skitarii troops. The novel pre-dates the current Adeptus Mechanicus line, though, which uses the Skitarii as a similar drone-like foot slogger. Though I do need to stop reading Black Library novels in the mindset of having miniatures for every eventuality!

So while this was a little disappointing after how much I enjoyed the first novel in the series, it is nevertheless good to read about the exploits of the Grey Knights!

My own exploits with the Grey Knights, of course, are less than amazing, although I am quite pleased to announce that I have finally finished painting the Purifier Squad that I had started almost two years ago! I don’t know why it has taken this long, if I’m honest, but it seems to have been the case where I had gotten so far with the models, and couldn’t seem to bring myself to finish them off. It’s the sort of thing that has happened before, of course, but it’s good to have them done.

I still have a long way to go with the army, of course, but I’m looking to get another Strike Squad painted soon, along with a Brother Captain. Maybe the Land Raider will see a coat of silver paint… I might not have the whole army painted by the end of the year, but I’m hoping there will be a lot more painted by the time we get to January 1st!

Decadence & Decay: The Warhammer Preview!

Decadence and Decay

This weekend, we’ve had another Warhammer Preview from the Community team, looking at a whole bunch of stuff from across a multitude of game systems. Let’s take a look!

We’ve got a new campaign coming, which looks like it might be the start of bringing out these lieutenant models that were teased a while ago: Death Guard vs AdMech (with Imperial Knights, and my favourite Drukhari!), which should be fun! I’m a bit curious about the title for the book, “Act One”, which seems to imply there’ll be more where this came from, which sounds a lot like another Vigilus. Remember when we had Shield of Baal, which was a Blood Angels vs Tyranids, with some Necrons and Sisters action on the side? When we had Warzone Fenris that was just Dark Angels, Space Wolves and Thousand Sons? 7th Edition had a lot that needed to be fixed, but at the same time, it was nice when a campaign had a much tighter focus. To me, it doesn’t matter if my Necrons aren’t featured in the current campaign – if I have a different campaign coming up that might have them front and centre instead. By trying to have all of the factions involved, it seems to dilute something from it, and can make a lot of it seem forced. But I guess we’ll see!

Getting back to the Drukhari, though…

Oh man, we’re going to be the first xenos codex of 2021! Hopefully we’ll be able to play actual games with it soon after, too! I’m very excited to see what is on offer, as I’ve heard we’re going to lose that penalty for mixing Kabal, Cult and Coven. I mean, I’d been experimenting with a mixed force that went back to the Index days towards the end of 8th edition anyway, so this will be good to find out more!

We’ve been promised “lethal combat damage across the board” – I hope that transpires to making a lot of the Cult units truly horrible. Whenever I’ve taken Wyches to games, they have rarely (if ever) made up their points in terms of the damage output. I mean, they should be truly terrifying to come up against, but end up just being a bit… meh…

The Dark Angels are also getting their Codex, with promise of more stratagems to hunt the Fallen. I mean… they’re really pushing the theme on this, fair play, but it’s very niche, don’t you think? I’m sure if you’re a Dark Angels player, and have regular matches against Chaos Marines, you’d benefit, but so many of these rules specifically mention the Fallen. I don’t really know what you’re going to expect from the new book, but I’ve definitely moved away from the army (despite loving the aesthetic!)

Okay, let’s get to something that I’m really excited for now! House of Artifice is coming to update House Van Saar in Necromunda, guys!

I am very excited about this! As we’ve seen for three gangs already now, we’ll be getting new leader-types and new juve-types – but my goodness, we’ve got juves on hover boards! I mean, Christ! This looks fantastic!

I’m looking forward to seeing what the rules are around these leaders as well, with their spider-arm weaponry up top there. They look great, and while I do love the main gang box, I do like their posture!

I’ve been somewhat on the fence about the new Direchasm set, although the fact that it has Slaanesh mortal units in there, I will most likely be picking it up in due course! However, these Slaves to Darkness do look really wonderful, and not just for the board game – that sorcerer character looks great, and I think I’ll definitely be picking up a box!

Speaking of Slaanesh, though…

Oh my good god, YES!

Sigvald the Magnificent was the first Warhammer novel I ever read, and I’m probably always going to have a soft spot for him (steady!) This miniature looks utterly amazing, and I absolutely love it. Some of these re-imaginings of Old World characters have been a bit… off… but I really love this new Sigvald – he’s definitely looking magnificent, don’t you think? It’s got just everything, and I really want to get this model…

In case you aren’t sure – I like it!

And this isn’t all for Slaanesh…

We’re getting Slaanesh mortal units! The Myrmidesh Painbringers look like the kind of perfect warriors that I’ve been expecting from the Prince of Pleasure, and I think they personify that excess that the god is all about. Looks like a dual kit, as well, with these Symbaresh Twinsouls:

Where the Painbringers are perfect soldiers, the Twinsouls are just weird. Slaanesh isn’t just about sex and drugs, of course, and there is so much more to explore when it comes to the Dark Prince, I’m so glad we’re now getting to see this.

I thought we were being spoiled when we had all of that good stuff last year, with the new Keeper of Secrets at the head of the range of plastics. Now, we’re finally getting to explore the mortal side of things, and we’re seeing Sigvald at the head of his own Decadent Host! It’s a glorious time to be alive – dare I say, it’s magnificent!!

Grey Knights: let’s talk Paladins

Hey everybody,
Following on from last week’s post about the Grey Knights, as I get ready for something of a major push towards finishing as many of these minis as I can by the end of the year, I’ve been thinking a lot about the list that I have and what I can do with it to field an army at the 1500-points mark, and have come up with something that I am quite excited for, so thought I’d talk about it here today!

There was quite a bit of talk in last week’s blog about the idea of the Paladin bomb, and while I have expanded the list a little with a second box of these chaps, this isn’t actually something that I’m going to be focusing on too much – principally because of the points cost for these guys! However, I have taken the opportunity of a second box to fill out the squad to five men, and have used the other bits to create a Paladin Ancient, the banner-bearer that gives nearby models +1 attack. 

Having five Paladins does give me the option to equip two of them with special weapons – the wording on the datasheet in the current Codex does actually say “two”, and not “up to two”, which means that you can’t just put one in there, unfortunately. Paladins are 50 points each, and the weapons just add to that, so given that the current build of daemon hammer and two with pairs of falchions just screams melee-orientated unit, I didn’t then want to spend points on giving them ranged weapons that they wouldn’t be able to use when the unit got into combat. True, the special weapon only replaces the storm bolter, so they are still able to be equipped with melee weapons, but it’s all additional points that I’d rather spend elsewhere. I’ve gone for two additional guys with halberds, as the +1 attack for paired falchions is nice, but really, the +1 strength from the halberd should be very nice as well, so it’s a decent blend of attacks in there (especially with the daemon hammer hitting at S8!).

The choice of psychic powers for each unit is also really offensive. The Paladins have Purge Soul, which is almost like a leadership contest between the squad and their target. The Paragon, the sergeant for the Paladins, is Ld9, which is only one point above a marines’ sergeant, however, the important note here is that the Paladins will be running around with the Ancient in tow, giving them +1 to their Leadership value. There is potential for a couple of mortal wounds on a decent roll, here, I feel! Speaking of the Ancient, he has Inner Fire, one of the powers from the new Dominus discipline, which lets him roll a number of dice equal to the value of the psychic test for the power, and deal a mortal wound for each 3+ rolled. 

Having units that can take part in every phase is a big draw for the Grey Knights, and is why I think they are so expensive as models. If all of those psychic powers come to pass, they could be doing upwards of 6 mortal wounds to a unit before they even shoot anything! Everyone has a storm bolter, of course, so within 12″ of an enemy unit that’ll be 10 shots from the Paladins and another 2 from the Ancient, hitting on 3s and likely wounding on 4s, then the juicy stuff happens when they’re in combat. Each Paladin has got 3 attacks, but the banner from the Ancient gives them +1 attack if the model is within 6″ of it – so best-case scenario, we’re looking at 20 attacks. There are two models equipped with falchions, so we’re now up to 22 attacks. The Paragon will be using his four attacks to hit on 2s with a S8 AP-4 D6 weapon (with 3 damage, minimum), which should be nice! The falchion-guys will be using their 10 attacks hitting on 3s and wounding on 4s (most likely), while the halberds will be making 8 attacks wounding (potentially) on 3s. Both the halberds and falchions are AP-2, as well, and D3 damage each. 

Stratagems for the Grey Knights are not particularly fantastic, if I’m being wholly honest, but there are some useful things hidden away that can bolster the knights of Titan, and thinking about the Paladins in particular, there is help to keep them alive by reducing damage dealt from ranged attacks (for 1CP), once they’re in combat there’s a stratagem to give them +1 to hit rolls (for 1CP), you can keep any Paladins on the battlefield until they have had a chance to fight back (for 2CP), and the classic Honour the Chapter will allow the unit to fight again (for 3CP). 

Some really interesting options in there, I feel – and all of this is just through the use of those six models. The Chaplain’s litanies, and the Grand Master’s Rites of Battle ability, can allow them to re-roll hit rolls, should those characters be nearby as well. It is difficult to get the kind of crazy aura shenanigans of some armies with the Grey Knights, for sure, but I do like the fact that you can still get some really interesting stuff going on for them.

As a bit of a footnote for this, Paladin squads have the Combat Squads ability, meaning that you can take a unit of 10 models and, before the battle, split them up into two units of five models. Given the fact that you can take two special weapons for every five models, this allows you to break up a squad into melee-orientated and shooting-orientated. However, the points investment for this kind of squad is ridiculous – almost 600 points for the ten-man unit. It’s definitely cheaper to take a Purgation squad if you want ranged firepower in the list, as the weapons alone cost cheaper when equipped to a non-terminator model. Sure, you get the terminator stat-line on the Paladins, but the weapons aren’t any more accurate when equipped to the bigger guys, so while this option did at first intrigue me, I don’t think I’m going to be rushing to build four psilencer-wielding Paladins anytime soon! 

Ravenor Returned

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Last month, I finished reading the second book in Dan Abnett’s Ravenor trilogy, which I think in many ways surpassed its predecessor with just how brilliant it is! The book sees the Inquisitor return (unsurprisingly!) to Eustis Majoris, to further his investigation into the illegal Flect trade that seems to be centred on that world. The members of Ravenor’s team infiltrate their way back on-planet, and set up shop in a town house in order to continue their operation, each member working in a different role in the Administratum building to gain some insight into what the Magistratum is doing with the imported cogitators from the Mergent Worlds.

Patience Kys is working to transcribe what appears to be gibberish when she passes out, to be promptly hauled off for interrogation, being asked repeatedly for what word she saw or tasted when she fainted. It turns out that the Magistratum is attempting to unlock the Chaotic language Enuncia, and certain phrases and grammar can be found within the Chaos-tainted logic engines recovered from the Mergent Worlds. Enuncia gives the speaker the power to re-shape the world around him, causing reality to shift or allowing for a pretty powerful physical attack, although it does cause problems for the speaker, such as nosebleeds or worse.

Remember Ravenor’s arch-nemesis Zygmunt Molotch, from the prologue of the first novel? He was attempting to recover more of the Enuncia lexicon when Ravenor’s team caught up with him. As it happens, we learn that Molotch is indeed behind the goings-on here on Eustis Majoris, also! Through Chaotic means, Molotch had been wearing the face of the Lord Governor Barazan, and manipulating the Minister for Subsector Trade, Jader Trice, into using the power of the Magistratum to further his plans.

***

The second book in a trilogy can often lapse into “bridge syndrome”, where it exists purely to provide a bridge between the set-up of book one, and the conclusion of book three, and there are very few trilogies out in the wild that are able to handle a middle book well. Ideally, I suppose, the story should broaden out, we should get to see more character development, but the pace shouldn’t really slacken off from the first one – and this is exactly what we get here. Arguably, a lot of the character development went on in the first book, anyway, but we get location development, in that we learn more of the planet and its various organisations and institutions. We get some new characters, who seem to be set to continue on as part of Ravenor’s retinue into book three, as well, but the main thing that is notable about Ravenor Returned is the breadth of story in here.

There is a lot of intrigue going on, with competing Chaos cults on the planet and a deepening of the Contract Thirteen storyline from the earlier book. As was the case last time, we get the terrific sense of atmosphere from the hive world, as well, with some really evocative descriptions being given that bring the world to life. It’s all just delightfully gothic and incredibly evocative!

One of the plot elements of the story is that the hive itself is laid out in some deliberate manner by the heretical architect Thedor Cadizky, in a storyline very reminiscent of the original Ghostbusters movie, where the tower block is built along paranormal lines to specifically channel the occult. I thought that was quite a nice touch, somehow, as it lends a sense of history to the plot, somehow.

A secondary plot-thread deals with the Magistratum Marshall, Maud Plyton, who almost stumbles on to the conspiracy when investigating a supposed suicide. The storyline is actually really interesting, and serves as a nice counterpoint to Ravenor’s investigation, adding more pieces to the puzzle without revealing too much until we’re nearer to the end. Maud joins Ravenor’s retinue at the end of the book, so I’m expecting to find out more about her in the third novel of the series, anyway.

I’m not sure what else there is to say about this one, really, other than to go out there and read it! It’s such a good book, full of intrigue and rich in detail – it’s one of those things that just reminds me why I love 40k so much!

Grey Knights, 2020 Edition!

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

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

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


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


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


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

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

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

Hobby Goals: 2 months left!

Hey everyone,

So following on from my hobby goals blog at the start of the year, I thought it would be good to take a look at how things have gone, with just two months left! Seems a bit weird, I know, but I thought it’s as good a time as any to check in, and see if I have any chance of actually accomplishing these things between now and New Year.

1. Paint up those Grey Knights!
Well, I’ve not got a massive force of the Knights of Titan painted up, but I have actually spent some time this year painting up these guys! Autumn-into-winter is usually the time when I start looking at the army once again, of course, so it’s entirely possible that I will, in fact, paint up some of these gentlemen by the end of 2020.

I’m really pleased to have gotten the first Strike Squad painted up, and I think I’ve actually done a pretty decent job of things, even if I say so myself! True, the Nemesis weapon effect isn’t as good as some peoples’, but it’s bright enough that I think it makes a statement! The mixture of silver, gold and red is a really nice combo, I feel, and like I say, I’m just chuffed that I managed to get them done! 

I’ve also done this chap! The special edition chaplain in terminator armour has come out really nicely, I feel – again, another one where I think I’ve done a really good job, though I don’t mean to sound arrogant! I just think it’s at the top end of my painted miniatures, so I’m really pleased with the result!

However, that is all that I have done for the army so far. I’d like to think I might be able to paint up those Purifiers before the end of the year, as they have been almost-done for nearly two years now. 

2. Finish off the odd Drukhari stuff that I have hanging about
I’ve done nothing for this. Well, I’ve sold off a bunch of kits that I don’t think I need to keep hold of, and I’ve finally bought some plastic Incubi. But otherwise, I’ve not touched Drukhari all year…

3. Necromunda, generally!
Okay, so I’ve inched further along the road on this one, trying to paint up the Orlocks (again) and the Delaque, as well as starting on the Corpse Grinder Cults, but in some really big news, a guy I know locally has decided to get into it as well, so I’m finally looking at the possibility of playing some games! He’s gone for the Orlocks, so I’m toying with either Van Saar, for which I have at least six painted gangers, or else going with the Delaque guys. In preparation though, I’ve been planning scenery builds and I’m intending soon to try out the solo scenario that was published by GW during the first lockdown. Watch this space!

4. Blackstone Fortress – play a full campaign!
I’ve still only played the game once. Hm. Earlier in the year, I fully intended to have a game, but it took so long to set up, I just didn’t have it in me to then start moving the pieces around. However, I really enjoy it as a fairly simple game engine, exploring all of the wonderful side-factions of the 40k universe, from the Traitor Guard to all manner of weird and wonderful aspects of the Imperium. It’s definitely not going away for me, especially now that I’ve been hunting down almost all of the expansions (still not managed to get No Respite, though I’m not going to beat myself up over it). I think, where this particular goal is concerned, the massive nature of the game has seen it lose out to other board games when I’ve been in the mood to play something different. 

5. Try to thin out the unpainted/unwanted models
This one has been quite the success! I have already mentioned clearing out some Drukhari models, but I’ve also been clearing the decks of the Deathwing, and the Novamarines. True, I’ve then turned that cash into more plastic, but I’ve got so much more to clear out, there is always a chance that I’ll actually be able to keep hold of the money for when I actually want something… 

I’ve not quite been able to bring myself to make a decision about the AdMech that I mentioned in January, although I think some of the other stuff might yet be put up on ebay, such as the Tempestus Scions. 

6. Finally – try to work on what I have had lying around for ages!
This one has been a bit lacklustre – the Grey Knights success aside. In truth, I haven’t painted up a great deal of models this year. I’ve made some major headway, though, with my Necrons – possibly in part due to the new edition! 

So far, this year, I have fully painted:
– Necron Overlord and five Immortals
– Blood Angels Devastator Squad
– Grey Knights Terminator Chaplain
– Grey Knights Strike Squad
– Black Legion Master of Possession

And that is it! Terrible. Of course, some of these things are really quite good, even if I say so myself, so I am quite pleased with what I have done… I just wish I had done more! I’ve had some problems with motivation though, which I talked about earlier in the year, and which have returned in recent weeks, where I’ve almost been moving away from GW stuff – so I’m quite pleased that I seem to be getting some of that motivation back after writing this blog!

At any rate, there are still two more months of the year left, and there are plenty of models that I have made a start with, so maybe by the end of the year I’ll have a couple more to add to this list!

What’s New?!

Hey everybody!
Well, it feels like a long time since I’ve had the time for some rambling here on the old blog, but there seems to be so much going on right now, even considering the ongoing global pandemic, that I feel I just have to try and catch up with it all!

Of course, it was the Warhammer Preview again today, and we’ve seen a bunch new boxed games coming from the vaults of Nottingham, such as the new Blood Bowl, and the next season of Warhammer Underworlds:

Forget about the Lumineth – we’re getting Slaanesh cultists, even a Slaangor!

Look at these guys! They look amazing, so perfect and stuff. Exactly what I would want to see from Slaaneshi cultist models. Have we got all the flavours of Chaos cultists now? I really hope that this signifies the release of actual Slaanesh mortal cultist models – for years, all that we’ve had are the Hellstriders, we definitely need more. With these, and the upcoming boxset with Daughters of Khaine, it seems like Slaanesh is firmly back in the frame!

I still haven’t even tried Warhammer Underworlds, but I won’t let that stop me grabbing this for the Slaaneshi chaps!

So, I wasn’t expecting this. In truth, I don’t know what to make of it, either. Warcry is fast becoming Age of Sigmar: Skirmish, and it feels a bit wrong. I mean, one of the best things about the game is how much it is focused on the Chaos warbands in the Varanspire, vying for the attention of Archaon. Hm. At any rate, Warcry is getting battletomes, which seems to be an effort to combine what happened with the Tome of Champions and peppering in stuff like the Monsters and Mercenaries book, and the White Dwarf articles. Interesting.

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Is your Kill Team ready to enter the Pariah Nexus?

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And what’s more, there’s this! It seems there’s been a lot of talk about what is in store for Kill Team with the new edition of 40k out in the wild. Well, it hasn’t been forgotten, at least! But while we’re seemingly getting Marines vs Necrons, I’m hoping that we’re going to get something similar to the Rogue Trader box of yesteryear, with the Inquisition getting some amazing new plastics! Well, hope springs eternal…

What else?

The last adventure pack for Lord of the Rings LCG has been released, and I’m a bit sad by that fact! I mean, let’s talk about this for a moment; I haven’t played it for quite some time, and I certainly haven’t played some of the later cycles, so I certainly have a lot still to get through, regardless of the fact that it’s finished! I think the latest pack that I’ve played up to is the Haradrim cycle, although it’s all very patchy following the Ringmaker cycle… I’ve got plenty more years of this game left to me, anyway!

I’m really feeling in the mood to get into the Arkham Horror LCG again though, as it’s been well over twelve months since I had the run through the Dunwich Legacy cycle, and Innsmouth is of course a classic location for the mythos. I really need to get to grips with this game, as it’s such a great way to get my Lovecraft fix!

However, for the time being, I’ve been thinking about trying to actually accomplish something as we’re heading into Lockdown number two, and I’ve been thinking about finally getting some of the Ossiarch Bonereapers models that I was so excited about last year. I mean, sure, I’ve got plenty to be getting on with, but I thought it might be nice to get a bit of a special project going on – and it’ll give me something to focus my Arkhan the Black around! So stay tuned for that!

Ravenor

Well, this review is well overdue, but I’m finally getting my act together now that the nights are drawing in!

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#nowReading

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A kind of tie-in to Dan Abnett’s Eisenhorn series, Ravenor is the first book in the eponymous trilogy, following the Inquisitor Gideon Ravenor. As you may know, Ravenor appeared for a brief time at the start of Malleus, the second novel in the earlier trilogy, where an attack left him at the brink of death. It’s actually been a fair few years since I read that book, though I feel like the novel left it a bit open as to whether Ravenor had in fact been killed.

Ravenor begins with a prologue that shows Ravenor and his crew pursuing the heretic leader Zygmunt Molotch as he investigates the Enuncia carvings (this isn’t very important to the novel in question, but comes to prominence later in the series). The main meat of the novel begins with the squad on the hive world of Eustis Majoris, the subcapital of the Angelus subsector. Ravenor and his team, comprising Carl Thonius, Patience Kys, Kara Swole, and Harlon Nayl. They are investigating the illegal Flect trade, a kind of narcotic glass that seems to be rife throughout the hive. During the course of their investigations, Nayl comes across the young Zael, an addict with psychic potential, while Patience and Carl attempt to inveigle themselves into the confidences of a local dignitary – both lines of inquiry leading to different dealer names, however during the course of their investigation the dignitary overdoses. The official Magistratum investigation into this death is observed psychically by Ravenor, but he is attacked on the astral plane by the Magistratum psyker Kinsky.

Ravenor himself makes planetfall, now confined to a life-preserving suspension chair, along with further members of his team, Mathuin and Frauka, the latter a psychic blank along the lines of Bequin. The trail leads to the Carnivora (CAR-CAR-CARNIVORA!) and the team infiltrate the spectacle in an effort to find Duboe, the man implicated in the Flect trade. They apprehend Duboe, but then are themselves taken to Lord Govenor Barazan’s palace, where they meet with Jader Trice, head of the Ministry for Subsector Trade. He offers them the information that has been officially gathered on Duboe and the Flect trade, which seems to lead into Lucky Space – so-named because you’d be lucky to survive a trip into the area. They are also given Magistratum liaisons, including Kinsky.

Things begin to unravel in Lucky Space, and the team learns that the Flects are brought in by a cartel of Rogue Traders (calling themselves Contract Thirteen) from the interdicted Mergent Worlds, planets that had disappeared in a Warp Storm, but have since recently reappeared with the irrevocable taint of Chaos. The Flects are basically Warp-soaked shards of glass that shattered from the windows of the hive world of Spica Maximal. Kinsky inevitably turns on Ravenor and his retinue, but the Inquisitor is able to overpower the Magistratum officials and the team defeats the Rogue Trader Kizary Thekla, who had been operating under the Magistratum’s authority to recover logic engines and cogitators from the Mergent Worlds, revealing a level of corruption that leads back to Trice. While the authorities believe Ravenor and his team to have been killed out in Lucky Space, the Inquisitor arranges for passage back to Eustis Majoris. In secret, Carl Thonius tries a Flect…


Ravenor is excellent. It’s one of those books that just screams to me with everything that I love about the Warhammer 40k universe. The first part of the novel takes place on the hive world, where the claustrophobic feel of the place comes across just so well, it really feels like a grey and miserable, heavy place, from the acid rain to the hive scum. In very short order, we really feel the oppression of the place, it’s really quite remarkable. I suppose around the same time that I was reading this in July, I was deep into Necromunda again, trying to get my head around the rules, and so on, so that was a real bonus for me as I was really in the mood for that kind of story. As the story moves on, it doesn’t give much opportunity for rest, as the conspiracy continues and the mystery deepens. Things are a bit cramped on the journey to Lucky Space, but the action never lets up, and things get pretty explosive at the end.

I just can’t recommend this book enough. It definitely ticks the boxes for me as a fan of the wider lore of the 40k universe and, while there may not be a space marine in sight, it’s just fascinating to see the story of an Inquisitor and his retinue unfold with the “little people” of 40k along for the ride. It certainly has that Necromunda feel to it, although of course that’s not really the point of the book, but it will definitely appeal to those sensibilities. I’ve recently started to read the second in the trilogy, Ravenor Returned, and it’s interesting to see how, only a short way into the novel, some of the things that were set up earlier are being developed, in a much more tight-knit manner than the earlier Eisenhorn trilogy. I feel like the Ravenor books might prove to be more akin to the one-long-story type of trilogy, and I can’t wait to see what happens next!

New Necrons!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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