Friday, May 31, 2013

The Road to NOVA: When the Stars Align

This isn't the Road to NOVA post I want to post.  I need to finish that one but have been busy preparing for the Chuck's Comics 1000pt tournament that I am running and wanted to get cracking on the two armies I am thinking of running to NOVA.

In my original post, I discussed bringing my Marines with IG allies.  Since they are just about done, I started with looking at other pieces I want to paint.  Then I picked up the Tau Codex.  I as much as I hate the Fire Warrior and Path Finder sculpts, I loved the rules.

I dusted off the limited amount of models I had and started list building.  The two things I wrestled with was I didn't want to build a list like my SM list.  That list has a few long range options (Manticore and Thunderfire) with a mass of infantry that is supported by Stormtalons.  It has a nice mix but it doesn't really translate well with Tau and why would I want to play the same list.

Mike Brandt discussed at length on the 11th Company podcast about the "Skytide" list he posted on his blog.  I like the idea but made a few modifications.  Less Kroot and replacing an Ethereal with Shadowsun to allow a Riptide to benefit from the 3d6 move.  This was nice but still too similar to my previous list.  It was more mobile and the blobs of Kroot were more of a screen than my IG blob but I need something else.

I started looking at more mech lists.  The "Skytide" build relied on three Skyrays.  While I think the Skyrays are great, there are two other items in the heavy slot that are worth mentioning.  The first is the Hammerhead.  With the railgun with submuntion and SMS, you have a nice long range threat with the ability to handle blobs.  Another good one is the Broadside.  One railgun with SMS and two HY missiles make for a way to ruin someone's day.

The nice thing about the Tau is I have had some incredible luck securing pieces I needed.  I wouldn't normally think of bringing them due to the lack of playing time.  I am now looking at having most of the pieces purchased and assembled by the end July. Hopefully, my luck will continue and I can get this done by the beginning of July and play it at the Beltway Gamer's next tornament.

Friday, May 24, 2013

I got the Dry Tip

I have always had a problem with dry tip (or tip dry) with my airbrushing.  The Badger brushes I have owned have always been the worse.  Two nights ago it was the worse.  I barely got through shading my new snipers, techmarine and Lysander before it started.  I cleaned out the brush and moved on to dark green to work on some Kroot.  I got 5 done before it was unusable.  I cleaned the brush and put it in the ultrasonic cleaner and hit the interwebs prior to going to bed.

I found the video below.  

I actually tried what he suggested and I was able to highlight Lysander and the techmarine then finish 23 Kroot before having an issue.  The next day managed to do some more work and had even better success.  The one thing I change between a long painting session with one color.  I cleaned out the airbrush after it was empty which was about halfway through painting.  Took about two minutes but worked flawlessly. 

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Road to NOVA: The Network

Last time, I discussed the basics of what a list should have.  Today, I am going to discuss another important thing about list building.  It's all in who you know.  If you are going solo in your list building, your doing it wrong.  I am going to touch on a few things and how they can help you.  All you need is a little help from your friends (sorry for the use of a Beetles song).

Net Lists: Net lists will never win you a battle nor will they lose you one (usually but you can pick a bad net list).  They are a tool you should look at.  Most have at least seen some table time and can help you but a word of caution.  The meta where this list found success may be a million times different from yours.  There is also a big part of understanding how a list behaves.  What are it's synergies?  Some net lists explain them.  Others just show you what units were used. 

Gaming Group: When I started out playing 40k, I played a few games a year with one guy (Todd from SincaiN40k).  He beat the snot out of me each game.  Near the end of 5th, I added 3 new people.  I had more success but not much.  I decided I needed to play against more armies and to meet new people.  I hooked up with the Beltway Gamers.  Things changed.

The Bell of Lost Souls podcast, Forge The Narrative, covered this in a few of their episodes.  They mention that when they bring a list to a tournament it wasn't the work of one person but the work of 15.The benefit of being part of a gaming group goes beyond the ability to almost always find an opponent or some one to talk about the latest news.  It provides a group of people to bounce ideas off of.

When I submitted my first list, it was already tested and was successful at the first test mission.  While the group said they liked the idea, they quickly started pointing out the flaws in it's design and the areas of weakness.  Then the suggestions came rolling in.  All very constructive and all very insightful.

The bigger reason why a gaming group is so critical to making a list is the dialog that accompanies these discussions.  You can learn a lot about different combos and strategies just by reading the boards.

Podcasts: I already mentioned the BoLS, Forge the Narrative, podcast but there are a host of other decent ones.  I typically listen to 11th Company, Screaming Heretic, Preferred Enemies and Forget the Narrative.  The nice thing about these podcasts (and many others) is these guys (and gals) generally play competitively.  They discuss the ins and outs of the lists they play and have seen.  It's really beneficial to give them a listen.

Forums/Blogs: We discussed this a little bit with gaming groups.  Forums, such as Dakka Dakka, Warseer, Bolter & Chain Sword, 11th Company, offer a way to learn about lists and what other people.  Blogs, like this one, also offer insight on gaming and list building but are less interactive.

The main difference between  between larger internet forums and those of your area groups is the quality of people. You don't know these people and while the majority are human and really, really want to help.  There are trolls.  Not saying it's a horrible experience and don't post questions just understand that not everyone online remembers that it's a person on the other side of the keyboard.

That's all I have for today.  Next time, we will cover list building and some of the other things to consider when you are building your lists.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Distraction is the Mind Killer

Yesterday my ADD kicked in and I managed to organize the hell out of my painting area.  Mainly organizing my shelving.  I was shocked at the amount of work that got done and how much space I freed up.  Still need to get better organized but I was pretty happy.  Unfortunately, not much hobby stuff got done.

Today, I had to help my daughter with a project.  It looks like that will take up most of my week.  I did manage to get some work done on my Stormtalons.  I worked on the inking.  Mixed up more ink than I needed but it will keep.  I got one completed and a lot of work on another.

I started on two articles on my "Road to NOVA" series.  One will probably get modified based on something that I will talk about later.  One of my friends that play Warmachine weighed in on my Facebook page.  It was a decent conversation and that was then coupled with a topic on a list analysis that was on the Beltway Gamers site.  The post will deal with networking and how it is a big part of list building and preparing you for tournaments and creating your lists.

I got an email from Nate (Crash Test Dummy) who runs the Warmachine/Hordes events at NOVA.  He was interested in Eldar and thought it would be cool to have mini-slow grow challenge.  He will paint up Eldar (and they will look awesome) and I plan to start Tau.  We'll have a few low point games to learn the armies and build up from there.  It's another fun way to build an army and stay engaged.  I plan on building an end state army and then working back from that.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Road to NOVA: List Building

I am working on a few list ideas and after listening to friends and a number of podcasts I have started working on a few items that lists should cover.  A while ago, I posted a list from a friend that covers what you should build into your lists for Warmachine.  It was a great idea and something that translates well into 40k.

In the past, most of my lists weren't really "all comers".  I think that is the main problem I have been having at tournaments.  My lists do one or two things really well and fall apart if someone can neutralize that or worse brings something that I didn't plan for.  This list below shows what I need to cover to have a all comers list:

  1. Cheap Durable Scoring Units: Usually 1 per 500 points.  I say durable and that is really a key part.  If a well placed baleflamer hits it will it be off the points.  Cheap is also key but sort of relative.   
  2. Something to Deal with Hordes/Blobs: The new norm now for a lot of armies.  
  3. Something to Deal with LOW AV (10-12): Transports, a lot of IG vehicles, and the like.
  4. AV 13 and 14: There aren't a lot but CronAir has 13 until they take a pen.  Landraiders are making a comeback.  What do you have to effectively deal with them?
  5. Monstrous Creatures: Be it Tyranids, Daemons, GK or Tau.  You need to deal with them.
  6. Flyers: Can you deal with them or ignore them?

In the weeks to follow, I plan on taking my lists and seeing how they stack up to this.  Both in the initial building phase and the actual test phase.  If I think of any new items or modifications, I will be sure to add them.  You know what they say, "No plan survives contact with the enemy."

Saturday, May 11, 2013

The Quandry: Fluff or Being Cheap

I am looking at once again taking Vanilla Marines and IG to NOVA.  I was thinking of running two blob squads of IG versus the vet squads I ran last year.  The issue I have is I don't have 70 IG.  I do have 70 cultists and most have similar looking weapons.  I also want my final full IG army to be traitor themed (I removed the Imperial Eagle off of them).

Let's look at this from a few different angles.  There is a strong part of me that feels an IG army should use IG models painted the same.  My cultists are mainly painted to look like Alpha Legion to match my CSM army.  I am running an Imperial Fist color scheme and blue/green would just clash (I guess that's the fashionista in me).

On to Cost.  I own close to 70 cultists if I don't actually have 70.  I have 50 built and at least another 10 sitting unbuilt.  $20 before any discounts by buying the cheap 5 man boxes.  IG could be done for $120 (before discounts) buy 12 boxes of the 5 man and have standard IG with las.  They look like IG because they are.  I could also buy the Dream Forge models 4 boxes of 20 for $168.  They look cool but not really IG like.

Every time I decide that the cultists are good enough, I keep thinking it will look tacky.  Thoughts?

Friday, May 10, 2013

Exploding paint and creating missions for Chuck's Brawl.

I swore I was going to get enough done on the Scout Snipers that I would be able to join the torso with the legs.  I was doing some of the metal work on the guns.  I was going to see if I can get a better color than the Vallejo Model Air "black metal" by mixing it with Vallejo Model Air "chrome".  The chrome paint has a habit of letting paint dry in the dropper.  This led to me trying to squeeze paint out with no success.  I used a toothpick to clear the passage and the paint started flowing before I turned it over (pressure I guess).  I looked down and didn't see any paint on the model surface.  A few seconds later I see paint all over the legs of one of the scouts.

I finish painting the sniper rifles (I ended up only using "black metal") and start reparing the paint job on the scout.  Luckily most of the airbrush work was untouched. They will be finished by this weekend.  Just in time for me to pick up another box.

Wednesday I played in the BWG league and after dropping 3 in a row I play Duncan and his IG.  IT was a special mission where each side had an ancient hero to protect.  It had 6 wounds but only three could be taken off by shooting and three by CC.  I managed to secure a victory by a lucky morale check.  It was a fun game mainly because I could make saves.

I finished the three missions for Chuck's Brawl.  Should be a lot of fun.  I hope the missions are fun and work at the small scale.

With NOVA being a few short months away, I am going to go ahead and start testing out some build ideas in the coming weeks.  I will restart my "Road to NOVA" posts and show what I am working on and list ideas.

That's about all at this time but should have a new post before the end of the weekend.

Monday, May 06, 2013

1000 Point Space Marine vs. Eldar/Dark Eldar

"The Mik" came over for a quick game on his way back up to New Jersey. I played the following list against his Eldar/Dark Eldar:

5 Terminators
2x Scouts with Sniper Rifles
2x Stormtalon with Skyhammer Missiles
2x Thunderfire Cannons

Mission: Modified Scouring - 3pt in the middle, 1 pt in one square on each deployment zone, 2 pt in one square on each deployment zone.

I don't know the exact list Mik had but lets go on to deployment.    With Lysander and two Tech Marines, I could bolster three ruins and I did.  Two snipers squads and a TF on left flank with the terminator and Lysander in the center with the remaining TF in the left ruins.

Mik deployed large troop blocks on left and right ruins.  Venom, Falcon and Harlequin squad in the middle.  I don't have a shot of his deployment but you can see this shot with me moving up.  I fire a few shots and shoot the Subterranean shots from the TFs.  I kill two of his guys.   

He shoots back.  Nothing really happens. He fires the Falcon at the Terminators.  His Harlequins get in the venom. 

Round two, both Storm Talons enter. Terminators move up and kill and few more guys.  Talons blow up the venom and shoot at the Falcon.  This was after I fire both TF.  Bad move.  

His turn two sees his DE HQ and squad deep strike mishap back into reserves.  His DE fighter came in and fired without doing anything.  Moves up harlequins and fires at the terminators.

Turn three, I fly my yellow stormtalon off the board.  Move the other over.  I move a squad of snipers to get a better view of the combat.  I move up the terminators to the top of the hill and kill some more Harlequins. 

He moves forward with the Harlequins and the fighter.  DE drop in and shoot up the TF.

Turn four, I blow up some of his nicely placed DE with the TF.  I wipe out the Harlequin squad and move in the Stormtalons. 

He moves in his fighter again and immobilizes his Falcon.  He kills a terminator and a few more snipers.  He then charges the snipers.  I challenge and only lose the Sergeant.  I break but he catches me and fighting continues.  He does a HP to the blue Stormtalon.

Turn 5, I prepare to take out his troops.  The terminators charge and kill his warlord.  The Stormtalons maneuver in hover mode and hurt his remaining troops.

He takes out some snipers with the spinner and kills the squad in CC.

We decided to call it there since I had the advantage and he had to hit the road.  Fun game.