A Ghostly Apparition

 

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Guess who’s started a new army for 40k? It’s not my fault.  Honestly, blame Mat and Phil, they’re the ones who got me feeling all jealous and left out and stuff.  Once Phil followed Mat down the Xenos path it was only a matter of time before I caved and followed suit, which I duly did once I finally settled on an army to collect. In our gaming group Marine players feature heavily, 4 out of 7 to be exact, so when Mat decided to actually get a 40k army to play with (after selling his Tau) he figured collecting another Xenos force would be a good idea to help break up the monopoly – such a good idea in fact, that Phil and then I decided we would start new armies also of the non-good guy persuasion to add a bit of variety and eliminate those sometimes drab Blue on Blue games. Phil has now succumbed to the Green Menace to go alongside his near 10,000 points of Ultramarines, whereas I needed something to offer an alternative to the 3000+ point Marines, Guard and Grey Knights armies I already have – but I wasn’t sure what…

The new army feeling was building as I started to consider all the various races, but I found my choice somewhat more limited than I expected.  There are some I just won’t entertain – like Chaos for example. I know the whole Xenos army idea is supposed to move me out of my comfort zone but Marines with spikes stuck on them has never, ever, worked for me. Daemons lacked the things I like most in 40k – guns and vehicles, which also largely eliminates Tyranids for the same reasons.  Orks didn’t appeal to me and although Necrons may have, both were already taken.  The Tau were still good guys really and I’d already had an army of them in the past before selling them on, so I passed on taking them a second time.  The Dark Eldar were a strong option as there were a number of units/models I really liked but in the end not enough to build an army around, so that left just one non Imperial army to choose from – the Eldar. I’ve thought about collecting an Eldar army in the past, a few times in fact, as they suit my style of play and have some fantastic models, but their unit focus and squishiness always did enough to put me off.  However, the Iyanden Codex has offered me a way around this: a Ghost Warrior army! The new army feeling was well and truly buzzing now.

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An all Wraith Ghost Warrior army – 2000 points in 27 models!

‘Wraith’ type units really do have some cool looking models and nothing’s better than an army that can smash faces and look good whilst doing it. To go with that, one thing a Ghost Warrior army can never be accused of being is squishy, seeing as your standard Wraithguard troops have an impressive Toughness of 6! Add in your Wraithlords and Wraithknights with their Toughness 8 and things are looking pretty solid. However, with the sheer abundance of high strength and low AP weaponry floating around nowadays, Toughness 6 is not what it used to be and a 3+ Armour Save only takes you so far.  It was clear this army was not going to be a simple point and kill type outfit despite the tasty stat lines. Support would be essential but with the point costs being so very high it would be a hard balance to strike. Wraithguard are a costly 32 points each for something that’s still only 1 wound – plus another 10 if you want to give it a D-Scythe, meaning the army is going to be tiny. Like crazy tiny.  Like less than 20 models in a 1k army tiny. This is great news on the painting front as even I could get a whole army finished with that few models to paint in it, but it does concern me on the tactical side of things.  Phil recently stuffed almost 70 Orks into a 1k list and against a few handfuls of Wraithguard packing single shot (albeit mega powerful) guns with only a 12” range, getting overwhelmed is not only a possibility, it’s almost a certainty. They are going to need some serious rapid-firing back up, which is achievable, but breaks away a little from the pure Wraith army ideal.

The reasoning behind fielding a Wraith army in the first place is lack of manpower, so using vehicles which are piloted by just one or two Eldar to act as force multipliers makes perfect sense and opens up the tactical potential of the army – whilst still retaining its character. Including Wave Serpents is unavoidable as they’re the only transports Wraithguard can take and Warwalkers suit the aesthetic of the army as well providing the extra firepower so sorely needed – but with the Heavy Support section already looking crowded with the Wraithlords and Wraithknights taking up the slots there’s a strong possibility I’ll have to go unbound to make it work.  It’s disappointing they didn’t do a bit more for the Iyanden Codex, and something as simple as bumping Wraithlords into Elites would have made a true Wraith army more achievable with a choice in each force organisation slot (If you include Forgeworlds Wraithseer HQ – want!) – Marines get to do it with Dread’s so why not Eldar?  I’ll steer clear of everything else in the codex aside from the compulsory Seers – but there are a few things from Forgeworld which are really catching my eye. Wasps and Hornets look like they can provide all the extra firepower I need and both come under Fast Attack which would solve the overcrowded Heavy Support problem – letting me stay bound and qualifying for the all-important ‘Objective Secured’ rule.  The trade of a 5+ invulnerable for jump packs makes the Wasps even more fragile than the Warwalkers, but it’ll be fun bouncing them around the table shooting shit up while they last – especially if there’s a Wraithknight or two doing the same. I’m still worried about get swamped by horde armies, as is always the case with small elite armies, but it’ll be interesting getting the balance of the army right between guns and bodies.

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Wasp Assault Walker from Forgeworld

Painting wise, I’m undecided about whether to do the army in the yellow and blue of Iyanden as a few other colour schemes have also caught my eye. I was initially quite taken with the grey and orange of Yme Loc and as they have a rep for building titans, I thought this could translate onto my Adeptus Titanicus Eldar force.  But I have since realised the colours look far better on vehicles than they do on infantry, so I’m unsure how it will look on the abundance of long limbed walking units in the army. I could always do my own thing but that might slow things down and I’m promising to get the first 1000 points painted before I go any further.  Aaaahhh decisions. We moan, we wrangle, but we love ‘em really, it’s all part of that new army feeling.  Expect to hear of mighty Wraith constructs stomping on stuff real soon.

-Lee

Return of the Mac

I know, I know I wrote a piece about being gone but not forgotten last week that sort of announced my return to the fold but if you read it, it’s more about what I’d been up to in my absence and as it is now August my return is official.

And in true TSC form Phil, Lee and I are all starting new 40k armies. But these are no ordinary armies we are going Xenos… Heresy I hear you cry and my response would be “yeah and?”.

I mentioned last week I was turned by the Necrons who are replacing my Tau. I know I was hot and hard for the Tau but when I really got down to it they bored the shit out of me, I don’t like Kroot, I hate the Vespid and I wasn’t a fan of the Vehicles. Which left Fire Warriors and Pathfinders. And that’s hardly game winning. The Necrons however: BOOOM!

Phil has had his head turned by the green tide is constantly texting the word “WAAAGH” to Lee and I. I’m not sure if he’s threatening war or practising his crying for when he gets a beat down. [Can’t it be both? -Ed.] And in true Lee fashion, because frankly he never does anything simple or straight forward [Or cheap! -Ed.] he’s going with a Ghost Army. Yep an entire army made up of Eldar Wraith units, which is going to make it interesting for him as we reach the 2,000 and 3000 point mark, but its Lee and it wouldn’t be the same if he took the easy option.

I on the other hand have gone the easy route and frankly the Necrons give me access to all sorts of nasty shit, the hard bit is actually deciding what I don’t want to take.

So the point of this is for us to gradually build up to a Man sized 3,000 point army with the first marker at 1,000 points. There are some ground rules mind one of which is NO specials, this is mainly due to the fact that the Necron specials are well for want of a better word fucking stupid. It comes to something when you get a little embarrassed yourself about the army you take and some of the completely bat shit crazy rules you can throw about, I’m looking at you Imotekh Stormlord.

We’re also not allowed to progress past each 1,000 point marker until everything is painted. This is good news for me as 1,000 points is not many models at all. Sucky news for Phil for 3,000 points.

So far my 1000 points is pretty much there basics are 1 Overlord with a few extras, 5 Deathmarks, 10 immortals, 2 Squads of 15 Warriors and a bit of heavy support from an Annihilation Barge.
I think I finally found an army I can actually get on with and as Phil said to me the other day “you’ve bought shit and not got bored yet so that’s a good sign”. [It’s true, I did say that. -Ed]

Anyway this post marks my official return to not only writing on a regular basis but also full-time collecting and painting an army…now where’s that postman with my delivery.

- Mat

Riding the Green Tide

Recently I read and reviewed Codex Orks and something rather strange happened. I liked it. I’ve read Codices and Army Books before and liked them but I’ve liked them in the sense that it’s a good book that contributes something to the canon and offers the player an enjoyable army to use. I liked Codex Ork in the sense that I have put my hand in my pocket and dropped some cash on an army. Nearly 1,000 points worth if I’m honest.

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So what’s made a life long Imperium player suddenly start collecting the green menace? Well a few things but let’s address the most important issue first – I am not abandoning my Ultramarines. Ultramar’s fighting 1st and 5th aren’t going anywhere. Which actually brings me on to one of the main reasons for my decision to collect a new army. I’ve had my Ultramarine army in one form or another since 2004. It went from a small hobby project to pass the time to a 1k army, to a 2k army and then 3k. And then something peculiar happened and I accumulated a further 6,500 points and that was that. But the point is that The Chaps only ever play my Ultramarines. And as 3 of them also play Marines it can get a bit boring. Games are a lot of threes, then fours and then threes. Repeat.

Amusingly the thought to collect a Xenos army to make things a bit more interesting has coincided with Lee and Mat doing the same. Mat has flittered between a few army choices over the last 6 months including a Space Wolves successor, Death Guard and Tau but has settled on the Necrons. So far he’s really enjoying collecting them which is awesome.

Lee has hit on the idea of doing an Eldar Ghost Warriors army. Aside from looking incredibly cool – especially the way Lee’s planning to paint them – it will offer the entire group an interesting tactical challenge. A super elite super durable army that’s very good at killing Space Marines. Yuk. Equally facing an Ork army will cause Lee some headaches so it should be fun and japery all round.

The other reason for collecting Orks is that it’s something a bit different. Not just tactically, which is pretty obvious, but from a hobby stand points as well. Don’t get my wrong, I love the Space Marine models. The tactical squad box is probably my favourite set of models ever. But I’ve always enjoyed their cobbled together approach to war that somehow makes Orks utterly devastating. Some of the best fun I’ve had in the hobby has been helping Neil work on looted wagons. His now illegal Burna Wagon is a personal favourite with its gravity fed burna turret. You just don’t get hobby opportunities like that with the Emperor’s Finest. Not without raising a few eyebrows anyway.

The variety within the army is pretty sweet too. Aside from the piles of units available, Ork kultur allows for some amazingly varied armies. Whilst klan rivalries would be a concern fluff-wise, on the board it doesn’t matter which gives hobbyists the luxury of creating a tribe that really feels like its part of a great Waaagh. And that’s incredibly cool.

I’m opting for a Freebooterz army. This has a lot to do with the Kaptin Badruk model being awesome and my long-term affection with Flash Gitz. And not just because I get to use the word git a lot. Git. I also like the idea that they’re ostentatious and quite commercially minded. They sell their services and ships to the highest bidder and then get first dibs on the spoils. I like that some of them are organised and regimented and it’s only their selfishness that stops them from being a galactic threat. This is also suits my painting style. I don’t really like messy painting. I’m no good at it. Chipped paint work is my limit. I suspect it may be the result of painting two 3,000 point Ogre Kingdoms armies back to back for other people. That’s enough rust to last a life time. Git.

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Best of all it allows me to take all the models I really like completely guilt free. Flash Gitz are mandatory, Gorkanauts and/or Morkanauts are a must and then lots of Battlewagons and the odd Dakka Jet or two. Basically an army that announces its presence from the horizon not just from the noise of its engines but from the size of its constructs.

If it’s possible a Freebooter army lacks even more subtlety that the standard Ork army as ego is allied with wealth so not only does the Kaptin in question have the biggest and best toys but wants to make damn sure that everyone knows it, especially the enemy. This does, of course mean, fairly un-Orky colour schemes. Bright colours with a fairly human approach. My plan is to draw on RPG art work of Rogue Traders and base my colour scheme on them on the basis that Freebooterz will come into contact with them on a regular basis either to trade with or attack. And they’re bound to have fancy clothing and shiny baubles. The image above rather nicely reflects my plan for the Orks, right down to the rather shiny shoes. The only challenge I have is keeping the colour scheme simple for the units as my 1k army has 61 models in it at the moment. Which is the same as Mat’s 3k list. So…yeah. And with a little points jiggery I can either fit in another character or 10 more Boyz.

The most important thing however is that I’m really excited about getting this project underway. The first units have started to arrive and that means I’ll be picking up a paint brush for the first time in far too long…and discovering all my paint has dried up most likely.

However, we’ve all agreed that we’re not allowed to go above 1,000 points until we’ve painted everything…so there’s every chance my army won’t be any bigger than 1,000 points.

More over I’m looking forward to playing some games with a completely new army. New tactical challenges and a different mindset. I’m so use to the precision violence of Space Marines I’m not sure how I’ll handle the brute, bludgeoning, violence of the Orks. I can only hope playing Neil’s army would have taught me a few things. And I’m especially looking forward to playing against his Orks as well.

We’ll be writing articles all through our journey into the realms of the Xenos about our army choices, how we’re painting them and hopefully a couple of battle reports as well.

The Ork range is available from Firestorm Games prices starting from £5.60

- Phil

Gone But Not Forgotten

Some of you may be aware that I have been on sabbatical/hiatus/break/time out whatever you want to call it. I have been taking some personal time or rather dealing with real life which generally happens when you’re trying to finish a high level diploma, buy a house, look after a 1-year-old have a heavily pregnant wife and have the workload from hell in your day job. All this meant I have to stop doing what I like doing…go on Phil make a comment…[I don’t know what you mean? – Ed.] Now he’s got that out of his system…

With all that going on I took a break from hobby writing and doing to finish the one thing I had some sort of control over my Diploma which is now all but done hooray. So I thought I would celebrate with a quick “Mat’s Hobby update”.

What have I been up to? Well I have in the last few months streamlined my hobby collection, found a treasure trove of old school miniatures, started getting into Warhamster, and jump armies around a bit. So as you can tell I’ve not been idle on the hobby front despite the work load.

Streamlining how on earth did you do that Mat?

Honestly by being ruthless and realistic, I bought a lot at Salute as Phil and Lee can testify to. Much of this has now been sold. However much I friggin love the Death Guard (Heresy Era) and however much I want to do a loyalist army my tastes are just too rich and although I dearly love them, my Deathshroud were the first for the chop. Although I’ve not actually sold them yet. I just can’t seem to let them go. But I will… Closely followed by my Tau… Yes, yes I know how I went on about being gay for the little blue dudes but by the time I’d put together about 2,000 points worth I just wasn’t feeling it. I’ve kept my Pathfinders as I want to create a kill team with them but more on that later. Dystopian Wars was next to go having not played it or painted it and honestly I couldn’t ever see it getting any time on my table (saying that I’m loving some of the new stuff).

So still hanging on in there is my Sorylian fleet, I’m in two minds about it having not played the game yet having a clear idea of what I want to do are playing conflict with my thought process, so they are safe for now.

And oh the treasure trove of old school stuff, my god there were miniatures and paints in there from nearly 30 years ago, including old Squats, Rogue Trader Robots/Dreadnoughts, Inquisitors, Chaos champions, a butt load of Epic, Imperial Guard, a few land raiders, some Elder. Honestly it is immense! I am slowly working my way through it all cleaning it up and systematically selling it off through eBay to pay for more hobby bits.

I never really had much interest in Warhamster but I have found myself looking at it more and more. I think its stemmed from Mordheim and my want to build a beastman warband which got me looking at a Beastman army, and then Lizardmen. But eventually I settled on Skaven… let me explain I like the Beastmen but my god do they get their arses kicked and are actually difficult to play. I love the Lizardmen but the idea of painting them daunted me so I ended up with Skaven. But I’m not going to do the normal 5 warp lightning canons and 100 plague monks (I hate the plague monks) like you often see. I’m going Clan Mors affiliated with Clan Moulder and I actually have the rule book and some models (no army book yet mind, well not in hard format). But I’m looking forward to this and have a plan on writing a few articles on building a themed Rat army that’s not going to get people groaning when you take to the gaming table, and making sure you keep it within the theme and fluff.
So finally the Tau have been replaced with Necrons again I’m planning on theming the army so as not to make it bloody stupid, but this is going to be a slow burn as I really got it hot for the rats.

Other than all this in my time out ahem… I have continued to grow my X-Wing Imperial fleet and can now field a Bomber an interceptor oh and a couple of defenders. I will attempt to write-up on these in the next week or so, and I am really looking forward to seeing what they add to the game and if I can finally take it to Han Solo and stick it in him good…

So that was my down time… might give you an idea of what I’m like when I’m not on a break, especially as I haven’t mentioned my growing Dreadball collection and current obsession with Zombicide which I’m not allowed to buy until I either play or get rid of Sedition wars. But on the plus side the Wife said she’d play Zombicide with me.

Anyway this is me signing off and happy to be back in the saddle even if it is only with one foot in the stirrup at the moment.

-Mat

Imperial Armour 12 – A Review

For this post I’m handing over the reigns to #warmonger and Twitter favourite Paul Collett aka @Ozrax to review Imperial Armour 12. Enjoy.

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I have never bought an Imperial Armour (IA) book, always feeling that they were stupidly overpriced and as a tight fisted git, I would not spend that much on a book. So what changed my mind? Well, I am building a Necron army and I really fancied some Forgeworld kits in my force. The new Tesseract ark and the Nightshroud bomber looked great and the rumored Tomb Sentinel sounded very scary. To use these I needed the rules, so I caved in and bought the Fall of Orpheus. I hope to talk you through the book and to answer the question is it worth spending a tad under £50 for a glorified codex?

The fall of Orpheus is the 12th book in the Imperial Armour series and looks at the fall of an Imperial sector. It is the ‘Necron’ book and its designed to allow you to expand Codex: Necron to include all the current Necron Forgeworld kits in your regular games. Rather than just any old Necrons, these are the Maynarkh Dynasty. Corrupted during the great sleep, these are a mad bunch (well, madder than most Necrons, who are all mad any way!) The Necron are pitched against the Minotaur’s Space marines and the Death Korps of Kreig (assault Brigade) with full rules for both imperial armies provided.

So what do you get for the not inconsiderable amount of money?   The book is in 3 parts. First off is the fluff as you would expect and Alan Bligh, the author, has done a great job. The book talks about the fall of a sector, war on a grand scale and devastation a full-scale invasion will bring. This is not the odd tomb waking up, this is millions of warriors, in thousands of Nightsycthes.  It shows the invasion of a Necron Dynasty and the Imperial attempts to save the sector.

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This invasion is a brutal time and the defenders are stretched to breaking as the corrupted Necron try to kill the whole sector. The second part of the book gives you the scenarios to fight this invasion. Not only do you get the rules for the games, but you get the rules for all the planets in the sector as well. This is a great section and I love the individual planets special rules. It also suggests the type of scenery upon which games on each planet would be fought. Also included in this book are rules for both Apocalypse and Zone Mortlis games. Both are a superb and allow you play anything from small skirmishes up to huge battles, all themed to the Orpheus sector. One key feature of this book is that it has considered the new 6th edition throughout and the new rules reflect this.

Following this are the 3 army lists. While not full codices, they are comprehensive lists. They detail the full back ground and history of the 3 forces along with the special rules, unique units and wargear of the armies. They provide full rules for using them in regular 40k games as you would expect, but also stand alone rules just for themselves.

The Maynarkh Dynasty

The Necron list gives you a choice to field either a regular Necron force with the new units or a Dark Harvest (DH) list. The core changes in the DH list are the loss of the C’tan in exchange for the Maynarkh Characters. This gives you some new Wargear and you gain the Mark of the Flayer rules. These rules make your leaders less stable and present the opportunity for them to go into a berserk rage or become a Flayed one. As this is a 6th ed book, you get a warlord traits list too! This is such a positive idea and adds a lot the personality of the army. Alongside the new units are 2 new characters and new options for old units. You can now upgrade your Immortals and Lychguard to Maynarkh Dynasty. The book features all of the Forgeworld necron stuff, including the Tomb stalkers all brought up to 6th ed Standards. Also in the book is the mighty Necorn Tomb Citadel. This fortification option is a mighty addition to the Necron force.  The new Realm of Battle tile is a great model and once I get my hands on one (it’s on Back order!) I’ll post some pics!

Despite the whole raft of new units and stunning new models, for me the main event in the Necron list are the sentry Pylons. The standard Gauss exterminator is staggeringly useful. At 135 points it adds some major anti-aircraft fire power. With a range of 120” and S9 AP2, and has skyfire and interceptor, you can’t hide from this fearsome gun! You can have up to 3 in unit. They are a Heavy weapon choice, Oh, and you can Deep strike if you up grade them! You can upgrade it to either a Heat cannon or the Focussed Deathray. These are both up gunned versions of the regular codex versions of these weapons. (Yes, I did say an ‘up gunned’ Deathray!) once these start appearing on the battle field, then the Necrons will rule the air.

I found the Necron section very good and I love the new units. The art work, background and rules are all well done, adding to Necrons, but not totally wrecking them. (ok, I am thin ice here and some would say that they are pretty knackered already)

The Minotaur’s and Death Korp of Krieg (Assault Brigade)

These 2 lists are not completely new, but they are brought up to 6th Ed. Both get a Warlord trait list and the histories of both are provided. The lists are very good and allow you to use the whole range of Forgeworld kits. The Death Korp list is a new variant. It allows you to field an Assault force. This force is the ‘do or die’ squad. They are sent to the toughest part of the fight and are not expected to return.

While I don’t think there is a huge amount on new stuff in either list, they are well presented and if you don’t have either of the other IA books that feature them then they are excellent. I loved the Krieg back ground as I had not read it before. The lists are both solid and I so want a small force of each now! The Krieg list in particular allows you to field all the current Forgeworld infantry for the Death Korp range. The deathriders, mole mortar and the Hades breaching drill all get the 6th ed makeover as do the 4 big artillery options. Also included are the rules for the various Imperial Navy fighters.

I liked these 2 sections, but they felt a little like an add-on to the Necron Stuff.

Overall

Is it worth the £48? Well, I think it is. The art work on the whole is great, if a little reparative sometimes. The Photos are just out of this world, as the digital work on them takes them to level of realism that shocked me. The Death Korp photos in the tunnels are great.  The rules, scenarios and back ground are well done. I only noticed one rules mistake (on the Hydra entry-they missed the Sky fire rule) but that’s only a minor thing. The whole concept of the book works well and the production value is high. The bigger IA format has allowed them to create a very nice book that I will use a lot.

I would rate this book very highly. Alan Bligh should be proud of what he has written and my only issue is why did I wait so long to get an IA book?

I am off to build me some new lists and assemble my Tessarct Ark. Till then, See you across the battle table.

Imperial Armour 12

Yes, it’s another Imperial Armour book. And this time it’s the Fall of Orpheus. Guess how the story ends…

As usual it’s a beautifully presented book with lots of lovely background. Although I believe there’s only a couple of new units for the Necrons in a book in which they’re the main focus, so you may feel a bit cheated. And it’s £48.

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40k Flyer Images Leaked

A naughty person at GW HQ has snapped the pages of an up coming White Dwarf of the new 40k Flyers.

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The Space Marine Stormtalon. Not sure about this one. Seems, for want of a better phrase, messy. Even more front heavy than the Stormraven, if that’s possible.

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The Ork kit is way cool. And you get parts to make 3 different versions. Depending on how it’s built you may e able to magnetise the weapon systems and swap them out.

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Again, Necron kit is pretty cool. Would have liked it a little more in lone with the Battlefleet Gothic Dirge Escort. Also not sure about the pilot. Feels a bit unnecessary and low tech.