Well it may only be June but, as I mentioned the other day, I’ve met one of my New Year targets by having more than 200 followers. Thanks to everyone who takes the time to read this blog. It’s especially impressive when you consider how wordy my posts normally are! Anyway, realising I’d hit that target half way through the year got me thinking about how my other resolutions were coming along. Attend More Tournaments Well so far I’m not doing all too well on this front. We may have been to the GW Doubles in January (and won it) but the only other tournament I’ve played in this year was Blog Wars 5. Obviously there’ll be Blog Wars 6 and the Doubles again in September but it’d be good to get to a few more tournaments in the next six months. I’ve been looking in various places across the interweb and I’ve struggled to find events that really appeal to me. Matt and I will, however, be attending a small doubles event at the Outpost in Sheffield on July 13th. There are still plenty of places left if anyone is interested by the way
So as you may have read in Tuesday’s battle reports, my Tau cadre did reasonably well against some less than ideal opposing armies. I didn’t get to play anyone who simply rushed headlong at me but rather had to be pretty manoeuvrable to take the fight to them. Here’s a quick reminder of my list before I go through the units individually and talk about their pros and cons (this will be wordy!): 1,850pts of Tau Empire Ethereal Commander (fusion blaster, plasma rifle, target lock, vectored retro-thrusters, iridium battlesuit) 12 Fire Warriors 12 Fire Warriors 12 Fire Warriors w/ Devilfish (disruption pod) 11 Kroot
Head back a few posts to find my army list. I’ll keep the battle reports short this time (or at least I’ll try – I failed! ). I’ll be writing up some more in-depth after action thoughts about my Tau list in a separate post. Game One – Tau vs. Space Marines Mike had generously agreed to fill the spot left by someone who’d dropped out on the day itself!?! He quickly scrawled an army list down and we started our game with an hour already gone! By the time we’d done all the pre-game rolling and deployed there was just over an hour to go I think. Needless to say the game was a little rushed. We were playing Purge The Alien on Vanguard. Mike had a crapload of terminators with Pedro Kantor, a couple of tactical squads, aegis line and three stormtalons.
Alongside the tournament itself I always run a two part painting competition. The first part is the obligatory Best Painted Army whereas the second is part of Blog Wars’ focus on Special Characters namely Best Painted Special Character. As ever there were some excellent entries, there were a few armies we’ve seen before alongside some excellent new entries. Best Painted Army The winner in this category was Hendrik Müller-Joswig who is Blog Wars’ first ever international player having travelled from Germany for the event! Whilst he may have placed 28th in the tournament his army is a worthy winner with 8 votes. Another notable mention goes to Chris Benstead's Chaos Space Marine force. Chris has previously had painting
Before I go any further I wanted to point out that at the start of the year one of my resolutions was to push for 200 followers. Well we’re about half way through 2013 and I’m up to 200 today!! I’ll have to look through my other resolutions and see how I’m getting on with them! Anyway, a big thanks to everyone who reads, the followers thing means more to me than pageviews so I really appreciate it. Blog Wars 5 was held at the North West Gaming Centre in Stockport today. We had new record of 30 players all competing for the crown which had been previously controlled by Andy Humphris. I knew we’d be having a new winner today and, without any further beating about the bush, I’m pleased to announce that winner as Franco Marrufo with his dirty, dirty broadside spam Tau and Eldar list. He never really looked in danger of not winning throughout the day but it would’ve been interesting to see him play Andy for it. Maybe next time eh? Chris Benstead took second with a Chaos Space Marines army that he hadn’t used before the day. Respect to Chris for that but it doesn’t say much about the rest of us! In third place was Rob McDougall who beat his good mate Frank Marsh by a single point.
I may have the odd rant about things in this hobby but in general I accept that Games Workshop will always charge as much as they think they can get away with. In fact Jervis Johnson himself once told me this was their strategy. Fair play to them, they’re a business not a charity. If people don’t like it they can vote with their money and simply not shell out for it. However, we all know that we’ll want whatever plastic crack they send our way and they’ll still make a fortune no matter how up in arms we are about it. That being said I remember a time when Games Workshop used to do deals. They used to offer a free miniature with White Dwarf and would issue “collector cards” so that once you bought all of the models on the card you got something free. Granted neither of these were particularly great deals but the idea was there. Oh and don’t get me started on the decline of White Dwarf
War Walker Squadron If the wave serpent is the stand out unit of the codex then War Walkers are a close second. In the old book they were widely used as a means of bringing a disgusting amount of fire power to a flank near you. In the new book their role is the same but that fire power is much better. Whilst they may struggle from the lack of Fortune they’ve massively benefitted from the guardian BS/WS and initiative boosts. The changes actually make them fairly decent in combat but obviously it’s shooting that they excel at. For the bargain price of 70pts you get two scatter lasers. It gave me a headache when I tried to read the laser-lock rules to figure out whether you can use one to twin-link the other but let’s assume you can’t. Even without you’re still firing 8 shots and over a typical unit of 3 you’re getting 4 more hits than you did with BS3. That’s already something to be excited about if you’ve got a pile of these on your shelf but wait there’s more. Battle Focus applies to war walkers too and somehow they’ve got Fleet too.
Another packed section in this bulging codex with 8 choices for 3 slots in sub-2K lists. This is probably the most difficult section to choose from. Pretty much every option here is viable but some really stand out as excellent. I’d started this off as a single post but I’ve got too much to say about some of the units so I’ve split it into two. Dark Reapers Dark Reapers have always been great for dealing with MEQ with their long range S5 AP3 weapons. They’re far from cheap though costing a whopping 30pts each. That’s pretty high for a T3 3+ save model no matter what their damage output. They have the option to take what are essentially krak missiles too but that boosts them to 38pts a piece! They’re not awful and thanks to their rangefinders they can be the bane of skimmers and bikes alike. Sadly the suffer the same problems that Space Marine devastators do. They’re far too static.
Probably the weakest section of the codex but that’s often the case recently. Once again the aspect warriors are still nice models but with mediocre rules they’ll not see the light of day very much. However, this section does contain the only reasonable dedicated anti-air choice in the codex. Swooping Hawks The fun of swooping hawks in the old codex was dropping them in, pie-plating a unit then taking off again before any reprisals. They can still do that in the new book but as before it’s a case of whether you think the shenanigans are worth it. They have a decent amount of firepower but it’s only S3 AP5. The most interesting thing about them is their appropriately titled special rule “Herald of Victory”. With it they can deep strike without scatter. When you combine this with Skyleap they can be doing their grenade pack thing and in turn 5 drop in to contest an objective late on. They’ll be an irritation to your opponent but they won’t necessarily win you the game if it goes beyond turn 5.
Onto the Elites section then. There’s 6 units to cover here and with the exception of the Harlequins they can all take a Wave Serpent which as I’ve already discussed is pretty deadly. Howling Banshees Always pretty weak in the old codex, Howling Banshees may be slightly cheaper but they’re still a waste of points in my opinion. On the face of it some fast moving I5 power weapons seem great but with S3 and Doom being less likely they’re perhaps slightly weaker than they were before. With only a 4+ save they really suffer from not having an assault vehicle and for that reason they won’t leave the shelf. Striking Scorpions Whilst still an assault unit in a shooty world, Striking Scorpions have a couple of benefits over their female cousins. Firstly their S4 which means they don’t rely on Doom so much. They also gain an extra S3 attack at I10 thanks to mandiblasters. Granted this isn’t as good as the extra S4 attack they used to get but it’s at I10 so against some opponents it’s better. The other advantage they have over the banshees is that they carry grenades.