My Knights have been a bit stagnant lately, but I’ve been thinking carefully about what to add next. My current force is:
Brother-Captain Stern (usually fielded as a Grand Master or Mordrak)
Castellan Crowe (usually fielded as a Brotherhood Champion)
1 w/ psycannon and sword
1 w/ demon hammer
3 w/ halberds, including Justicar
10-man Strike Squad
2 w/ psycannons
2 w/ demon hammers
6 w/ standard gear, including 2 Justicars
1 w/ demon hammer
2 w/ falchions
2 w/ halberds, including Justicar
Nemesis Dreadknight, aka Clarence the Bronze Behemoth
Stormraven Gunship, aka Lenore
twin-linked plasma cannon
Also, Darren has been gracious enough to loan me a Razorback pretty much permanently. With that and both HQs in the field, I sit at about 1500 points. However, I’d like to have some flexibility in list-building so I can adapt to different armies and keep opponents guessing. Also, I would kit my squads slightly differently now that I have more games under my belt and I’m more familiar with my codex.
First of all, I didn’t think I’d want to mastercraft Justicars’ weapons way back when I built my squads. I thought it would be safer to keep special gear away from the Justicar, who has a chance of dying to Perils. Now, though, I see how important it is to reliably land hits with the one demon hammer in each squad. In the future, I’ll be giving the Justicars hammers and, assuming I have a spare few points, making them mastercrafted.
Second, the halberds on my Terminators are great, but they’re not always what I want. When I’m up against Orks, for example, they’re pretty much useless, though they’re great against plenty of other armies (such as other Marines chapters). I think my next couple Terminator Squads will have swords and falchions, so I have some options when putting a list together.
My next planned purchase is two Terminator Squads a Purgation Squad with psycannons. I’m getting the Purgators because I need more ranged firepower. Why not a Psyfledread, you ask? Because everyone and their mom is foaming at the mouth about how “100% mandatory” they are, and for irrational reasons that makes me hate them. Though if Darren insists on fielding two Las-Predators against me every game, I might be forced to field a psyflenought or two. We’ll see how it goes. =)
Eyeing his next acquisition,
Time to start the week off with another 40k post!
We finally got a full-size table over the weekend, and we played an inaugural game on it. We rolled for scenario and got Capture and Control, so we divided into teams of 2. Max and Darren played their Nids and Ultramarines on a team (ironic, but that’s how the dice-rolling went) while Andy and I played Orks and Grey Knights.
I was trying out two new units this game. I was using Lenore, my Stormraven, for the second time ever, and I was also fielding my shiny new Grand Master as Mordrak.
They worked out pretty damn well. Lenore flew flat-out on the first turn and wrecked a Predator with her multi-melta. Mordrak and his unit of Termies landed behind a Vindicator without scattering and unloaded psybolts into its rear armor, blowing it up!
Also, as a result of the game I looked up Mindstrike Missiles in the Knights FAQ, where I learned that the only requirement to “hit” a psyker with them is for the blast template to be over the psyker. Holy crap! That means you can single a psyker out of a unit and just execute him with Perils.
I found this out after using the Stormraven’s Missiles for the game, sadly. I could have used them to do Tigurius execution-style, despite him being in a unit; but since I assumed they worked like normal wound-allocation shenanigans, I targeted a lone Hive Tyrant instead. Dropping two wounds on the Tyrant with defensive weapons wasn’t too shabby, but stamping out Tiggy would have been the better move.
Andy took some photos of the game, so I might put those up at some point.
Stoked to finally play full-scale miniature wargames,
My Terminators already have a history of horrible marksmanship. They have lost some pretty embarrassing shoot-outs, including to a 5-man Tac Squad and Eldar Guardians. That would be like a Delta Team losing a firefight to a pack of kids with slingshots.
But now I can say they’ve lost a shoot-out to Genestealers.
You read that right. Genestealers. You know, the troops without any ranged weapons.
My Terminator Squad deep struck behind half a squad of Genestealers. The Stealers were out in the open, strolling across the table. They had no cover, and no armor save against my AP 4/5 weapons. I opened fire with a psycannon and four storm bolters… and killed not a single one.
Wow. Maybe my Terminators never got a copy of the Adeptus Astartes, and instead read the Ineptus Retartes. Or maybe there have been Orks under the Terminator armor the whole time. Except Orks could probably pick off at least one Genestealer in open ground.
How do you prepare for the dice hating you?
How nerdy is this? I was wondering how Purifiers would do in melee with Assault Terminators, so I made a Gdocs spreadsheet to model 40k melee combat. I published the sheet for viewing here.
You can run the sim through the “40k” dropdown menu at the top.
It’s still really really basic—it doesn’t support re-rolls of any kind, it doesn’t support different initiative values in the same unit, nor does it support different weapons within the unit. And it’s a bit slow, since Google (maddeningly) doesn’t allow you to call spreadsheet formulae inside the script editor. (I had to do a workaround that involves a bunch of calls to the spreadsheet, which tanks the script speed.)
Now that I’ve sandbagged enough for a major hurricane, I can say that it does work pretty well for giving you a general feel for how units stack up against each other.
Reading four Sheldons and an Urkel on the Nerd-O-Meter,
I just finished reading the Chaos Space Marine codex. While there are many casual backhands to other armies (I’m looking at you, 30-point Terminators), there was one thing that stood out to me. It stood out because it was 30 feet tall with horns and great leathery wings.
Yeah, I’m talking about the Greater Demon.
I don’t want to talk about its statline. I really don’t. Nor will I talk about how it can explode out of any Chaos Marine squad on the board. Instead, let’s talk about the design process of this… thing.
I like to imagine the two authors of the codex discussed the Greater Demon over coffee. When one proposed it cost 100 points, the other choked on his croissant and died. Without a counter-proposal, it went in as first proposed! At the totally fair, completely balanced cost of 100 points.
The codex is a mixed bag as far as overall balance, but there are some semi-crazy things buried in there. There’s no one unit that is powerfully spammable, it seems to me, but there are plenty of strong tools in there. A major sad-factor in the codex is the lack of Chaos Razorbacks, which means Chaos Marines can’t spam heavy weapons outside the FOC. But dedicated transports—and the writhing, many-headed balance issues they create—are a topic for another day.
Thinking Games Workshop might be possessed by the Ruinous Powers,
I made a pilgrimage back to my hometown, bringing my 40k minis, and over the weekend I confronted my Warhammer mentor on the field of battle.
Justin’s main army is Dark Angels. Earlier I referred to this army as “nightmarish,” though not many people would consider Dark Angels an inherently strong army. Despite playing a limited and ancient codex, however, his tactical acumen makes him a dangerous presence on the table.
Grey Knights have very limited long-range options in their codex, and I certainly don’t have any in my collection yet. I borrowed a las/plas Razorback from Justin (so I could reach our 1000pt list size), and that lascannon was my only weapon firing farther than 24”.
He certainly took advantage of that, parking a Razorback with heavy bolters in full view of most of the board, and also setting up a tac squad with a plasma cannon on the second floor of a building. And, with my range limited, he could deploy his Vindicator without fear of it getting winged by long-range focus-fire.
This was my first match facing a Ravenwing bike squad, and had I known they were also Scouts I would have kept my entire force in reserve. You’ll see why. Anyway, enough words! To the pictures! I apologize for their occasional blurriness, but they will serve!
Initial deployment, playing Seize Ground with 3 objectives, Pitched Battle:
So that was the board. Our lists were:
1 Rhino with hunter-killer missile
Carrying 5-man Strike Squad with 1 psycannon, 1 hammer, psybolt ammo
1 Razorback, lascannon and twin-linked plasma gun configuration
Carrying 5-man Strike Squad with 1 psycannon, 1 hammer, psybolt ammo
Led by Brotherhood Champion
5-man Terminator Squad with 1 psycannon, 1 hammer, 3 halberds
Dreadknight with greatsword, heavy incinerator, teleporter
Dark Angels (and Justin, please correct me if I misremember anything)
1 Razorback, heavy bolter configuration
Carrying 5-man Tac Squad with sergeant and meltagun
5-man Tac Squad with plasma cannon
Vindicator tank with demolisher cannon
5-man Deathwing Terminator Squad with 1 assault cannon
2 Terminators with hammer/shields
Led by Belial
Ravenwing Bike Squad, with 2 plasma guns
Led by Attack Bike with multimelta
Land Speeder with typhoon missile launcher and multimelta
Anyway, Justin took the first turn. With his Scout move he turbo-boosted his Ravenwings across the table toward my Razorback. Then on his turn he completed their 42” jaunt across the table and opened fire on my Razorback, immobilizing my only long-range gun behind a building. I was… not pleased.
And of course, since he had a Deathwing squad, he used Deathwing Assault to deep strike them on turn 1 onto the objective my Rhino/Strike Squad was close to. Greeaaaaat.
The board after his move:
Things were not looking so hot for me, as my only long-range gun was out of the fight and my Rhino and Squad were severely outmatched on that objective. It would be at least another turn until my Terminators and Dreadknight could show up, too.
And after my move:
I mauled the Bike Squad, and with my consolidation move resumed staying out of the Vindicator’s range!
On Justin’s next turn his Terminators advanced on the objective, having a shootout with my Strike Squad in their Rhino.
On my turn I conducted Operation Sidle:
On Justin’s turn 3, his Land Speeder arrived from reserve and wrecked my Rhino, spilling out the Strike Squad, who were now at the mercies of Belial and his angry, angry Deathwings.
Turn 3 ended up being the Turn of Reserves, as both my Terminators and Dreadknight came in as well! At the end of my turn the board looked like this:
A lucky shot from a psycannon left Justin’s Vindicator shaken, so he couldn’t vaporize anything on his turn with S10/AP1 pie-plate bullshit. He tried to maneuver his Vindicator out of range of my Dreadknight, but…
Meanwhile, Belial and my unloaded Strike Squad were continuing their little shootout:
Suffice to say, I flubbed quite a few 3+ armor saves. Ouchies.
My Terminators were advancing on Justin’s objective, though they had an unfortunate incident with a plasma cannon. And by “incident” I mean “they got slaughtered,” and by “unfortunate” I mean “three of them died.” Still, they struggled into the building:
The Land Speeder and plasma cannon ended up killing them before they could reach the safety of close combat. And on that turn, Justin also engaged in a desperate gambit:
He tried to tie up the Dreadknight in close combat, hoping the game would end at the bottom of turn 5. However, it did not! Combat ended on his turn (top of turn 6) and Clarence consolidated into the building, pictured above. With only one wound left, he continued to murder Dark Angels!
I tried my own desperate gambit on turn 6, rushing my one surviving Strike Squad guy within 3” of Belial’s objective. It was even odds the game would end before the Terminators could Terminate him, but… the game continued to turn 7. And this poor guy was stuck in a dark alley. A Dark Angel alley.
And the final board, at the bottom of turn 7, was:
The game was a tactical draw!
Justin and I conducted a friendly handshake to demonstrate what a sporting and well-played game it was.
You can’t see his other hand, but he’s reaching for something to bludgeon me with.
As I said, the lesson I learned was to just keep my whole force in reserve to counter that Ravenwing BS. Also, my “point sink” Dreadknight totally rocked that game! He was a champ, stomping all over the Dark Angels and single-Doomfistedly salvaging a loss. I could have taken another 5-man Termy squad, but I’m not sure it would have survived the sheer volume of fire Clarence did, nor would it have been as maneuverable, so destroying that Vindicator would have come down to lucky shooting the turn they deep struck.
I guess what I’m getting at is, “min-maxing” a list will screw you over in a lot of circumstances. If I had min-maxed by taking another Strike Squad or Termy Squad, it would have died just like my other troops. Fortunately I took a Dreadknight, which, being unlike the other elements in my list, Justin was unable to deal with.
Now I’m considering getting a Grand Master, because if Clarence had been scoring I would have won. I’m glad I have a Champion as a budget HQ choice, but it would be nice to have the flexibility.
Anyway, I have more collecting and battling to do. You can expect more battle reports in the future!
Over and over and out,
This is a nuts-and-bolts strategy post about Warhammer 40k. If you play 40k, or if you don’t but just like being bewildered, read on!
I play Grey Knights. I like their fluff, their models look sweet, and I enjoy their hyper-elite-small-unit tactics. If I had known they were the fad-of-the-month at tournaments I might not have chosen the army, because I have a knee-jerk reaction of scorning whatever is overdone or “overpowered.” However, I was oblivious, so now here’s how conversations go:
Stranger: “Hey there! What army do you play?”
Me: “Grey Knights!”
Stranger: -_-;; “Ah… you’re That Guy.”
Me: “What guy?”
Stranger: “The guy who grabs whatever army is winning.”
Me: “No, I swear to God, I… look, I don’t even own a Dreadnought! I hate Psyflemen!”
Stranger: “It’s too late. You are forever tainted in my eyes. Goodbye!”
It’s true, I actually do hate Psyflenoughts. Not because I find the actual unit loathsome, but because I detest the concept of “YOU MUST MUST MUST TAKE THREE OF THESE OPTIONAL UNITS IN EVERY LIST IF YOU WANT TO WIIIIIIIIIIIIIN.” First of all, that’s not even true. Second, it’s my list, bucko! :D
So today I want to talk about a unit I’ve seen “veteran” and “competitive” players crap on: the Dreadknight.
The Virtues of the Dreadknight
The Dreadknight has several things going for it:
Durability. This big honkin’ model has four wounds at toughness six with Terminator saves. Whereas a Dreadnought can take a dirt-nap after a single lucky lascannon shot, it will take a lot of shooting to knock a Dreadknight over. Dreadknights are vulnerable to small-arms fire where Psyflemen are not, but that’s a good thing—bolters pointed at your DK are not pointed at your troops.
Deep Strike. Even without the teleporter, you can still just drop a DK in the middle of your opponent’s army. That is guaranteed to get their attention, and you’ll get at least a couple good shots off, if not an assault as well.
Intimidation Factor. This is a psychological thing and has nothing to do with rules; but the DK is a big, scary-looking model. He might as well have a big billboard over his head saying, “HEY EVERYONE SHOOT AT ME WHILE I STOMP ACROSS THE FIELD LAUGHING.”
Tank-Mashing. Thanks to being a Monstrous Creature, he gets 2d6 armor pen. Even with his vanilla doomfists, that’s 5 attacks at strength 7 (hammerhands) with 2d6 pen—your average pen roll will be 14, enough to glance a Land Raider. DKs are a real threat to vehicles as they can easily pancake a tank with a single charge.
The Downfalls of Dreadknights
These bad boys do have some shortcomings. Heh. Get it? Shortcomings? Because they’re tall.
Height. All joking aside: they’re really tall and you can assume your opponent will always have line of sight to your DK. He’s not going to win any hide-and-seek games.
Few Attacks. Considering the points cost, the DK has few attacks—4 out of the box, and a measly 3 if you give him a special weapon. That means close combat with large squads will tie him up for many turns.
Poor Invulnerable Save. He has an invuln save, which is great, but it’s only a 5+. That means he won’t do so hot against lots of las/plas or power weapons.
Points Cost. This is an expensive dude. I usually run mine at 260 points with teleporter, sword, and incinerator, and so far he’s always made his points back—but if he gets unlucky and dies early that is a major blow to my army.
All Things Considered
It’s analysis time. “So, mister blog-man,” you say. “You just made us read that big list—what have you got for us?”
First of all, if you expect the Dreadknight to always kill lots of models, you will be disappointed. Sure, he can blow some stuff up pretty good, but his offensive capabilities are limited. He’s a bully—great at massacring weaker things, but he doesn’t match up well against tough targets like Assault Termies.
Where he really shines is soaking up fire. When he hits the table, he will tie up enemy heavy weapons for the next two turns. If he dies to lascannon fire, but my Strike Squad made it to the objective intact, I would say the DK did his job.
He will probably die in close combat when fighting lots of power weapons, but again, since he’s T6 with an invuln save, he will tie up the unit for a good long while. (Power fists and hammers notwithstanding. Like really, he won’t withstand them.)
If that’s the only thing you want your DK to do, just keep him basic and inexpensive. Give him an Incinerator and nothing else, and Deep Strike or Outflank him into position.
If you’re worried about the DK getting ignored (I know the people I play with, for instance, love to play keep-away), give him a teleporter. Sure, it’s a lot of points, but it is almost always worth it. A DK with a teleporter cannot be ignored, and the mobility will guarantee you some prime shots with your Incinerator and probably some nice charges as well.
Shooting Options. The way I see it, the only good gun the DK has is the Incinerator. Due to scatter and its mediocre profile, the Heavy Psycannon is underwhelming; despite being the most expensive option, it’s crap against most targets you’d want to shoot with it. The Incinerator always hits, never scatters, and ignores cover. Against most non-marine armies you will just be two-plussing entire squads straight to Deadville, cover be damned!
We will not speak of the Psilencer.
Weapon Options. The hammer is a bargain at 10 points, but you’ll rarely need your DK to have strength 10 since vanilla doomfists can already pen a Land Raider. The sword, however, can be nice when your dice go cold on you. Those re-rolls are quite handy, and I would say they’re worth giving up an attack. For instance, when assaulting a vehicle that moved at cruising speed (only hitting on 6s), I would much rather have 4 attacks with re-rolls than 5 attacks without. Consider that the sword lets you re-roll armor pen. Yeah. Goodbye, Mister El Arr.
The Dreadknight makes an awesome fire sponge. Keep him cheap if that’s all you want. Give him a teleporter if you want him to frolic around the board bricking tanks. I like the greatsword, but it’s purely your call. The incinerator is a strong shooting option and the rest are “meh.”
I won’t claim the Dreadknights are “better” than Psyflemen. That would be silly. However, they can offer you some unique options if you run them in your list. Instead of being a “sit back and shoot” army, with Dreadknights you can be an “overwhelm with targets and rush your troops forward” army. They definitely allow you to control the flow of the game, and if that’s your style of play then go for it!
I call mine Clarence,