Saturday, July 31, 2010

More Thoughts on Tyrands, Post-FAQ, and Other News

I'll start with the 'Other News.' Posts have slowed down to an extent, and there are two reasons for that:
1) Work was consuming my soul gradually
2) I started playing Warmachine/Hordes

That being said (and despite some bottled-up annoyances/disillusionment with GW) I don't intend to out-and-out quit 40k. I mean, I own Eldar, Tyranid, Tau, and Black Templar armies and the nucleous of a basic loyalist space marine army. That's a hell of a lot of money to just walk away from, and I'm not too into selling it off when I'm just drawing down the game a bit.

That being said, since this blog gets a lot of 40k traffic and I tend to blog based on my experiences (Hey, writing it down is educational for me AND sometimes helpful to the community) I'm likely to start up a Warmachine-based Spite Blog. (Shameless Plug: Check out Spite for the Unblighted. )

I still intend to post 2-4 reasonably in-depth articles for Warhammer 40k a month, but I'd like to chronicle my experiences with Warmachine/Hordes as well.

Ok, we've got the 'other' part out of the way.

Down to the Bugs
So, what's changed for what I'll take in an army with Tyranids? Annoyed though I am, here's the list of stuff that I'm less likely to take because it's a pain in the tail to get +2 to reserves rolls:
1) Drop Pod Zoanthropes
These guys got kicked in the balls by the ruling. Look, when you've got an 18" gun of DEATH for vehicles, well, you might be a target priority. Just saying. And you're the main way this army stops Land Raiders? Ouch.

Not to get ranty, but either you hope the other guy lets you shoot his Land Raiders/expensive tanks with your Zoanthropes, or you um, y'know, get hosed/hope your MCs can assault them.

2) Anything Else in a Drop Pod
Ok, honestly, what makes me nervous about facing Drop Pod marines/outflanking IG skimmers and the like is the part where it craps out template and/or melta weapons in their preferred range. We can crap out Warriors or a heap of Hormagaunts, which are considerably less scary. The stuff with guns gets to shoot them when they arrive. Our guys have to wait a turn to move into position, and if Synapse isn't close, you have to hope you make that Instinctive Behavior check. If you're not in cover, then, well, ouch. So long. Nice knowing you, little guys.

3) Trygons
Ok, sure, technically you can keep them in on the table, but if you want to get to the enemy (Hey, T6, 6 wounds and a 3+ with a model THAT freakin' tall, you aren't getting cover at all, ever. Sorry. Wait, are there MISSILE LAUNCHERS on the other side of the table? Oh, s- BOOM!).

Best-case scenario: arrive turn two, weather a turn of gunfire. Turn three, assault something. Hope to stay in assault. (It worked once: hit a big squad of IG, and his COMMISSAR decided to be an epic hero and held in assault against 5 genestealers and a Trygon during my assault phase. Then he died so very, very horribly in his...). Turn four, repeat.

Downside? You don't start being that productive until the turn after you arrive. 6-12 shots off your personal static electricty at a mighty BS3 do NOT actually make you that scary in shooting; it's like giving a helicopter pilot a sidearm: it gives them something productive to do when they're shot down and waiting to get killed off for raining hellfire missiles on folks.

4) Mawlocs
Best-case scenario? Arrive turn two, deep-strike onto something. Hilarity ensues. Turn three, thank the enemy for NOT killing it, fall back into reserves. Turn four, emerge again for more hilarity. If you still exist in turn five, think long and hard about going back underground or staying topside, since you give away your points if you're in reserves on turn five and turn six doesn't roll around.

Outside of popping up and screwing up stuff, you have a mighty WS3 and three base S6 monstrous creature attacks. Hope no one wants to assault you, and if no one does, consider assaulting them.

5) Any of Your Other Elites
Seriously, unless it's a Venomthrope, has anyone else even taken other Elites choices? I mean, a walking flamethrower is cool and all, and so are Ymgarl stealers (at least in theoryhammer) but that means giving away all your shooting, which just doesn't do much. (Except for my last game against 'nids as Tau; watching the other guy seize the initiative and his one Tyrannofex popping your Hammerheads on turns one and two while they kill a mighty total of FOUR hormagaunts is, um...I needed some Jack straight; not Gentleman Jack because I was just going to THROW IT DOWN THE HATCH and that'd be rude to the good stuff...)

So, What Now?
Well, frankly, most of the time a solid core for a list for me starts with 20 Termagants, 2 Tervigons, and 6 Hive Guard. This is still 490 points of troops and another 300 points and 2-3 of your Elites choices.

As it stands, then, there are a couple of lists I'm down to considering.

1) Shooty Bugs
Take 3 Tyrannofexes and a Prime. You're at 1680. At this point I consider either more shooting (you might be able to fit in a couple of Harpies with Heavy Venom Cannons) or some mid-range shooty/assault support in the form of a warrior squad, or even filling out my Fast Attack with Spore Mines for the laughs.

2) Horde Bugs
Take a couple of Primes as HQs, take six Hive Guard, three Venomthropes and three Tyrannofexes. This costs you a minimum of 1420 (ok, maybe drop a tyrannofex) and then fill the rest of that with things that scuttle and bite.

Hope you don't meet Land Raiders or mech spam.

3) Try Reserves Anyway
Now, thing is, there's STILL a way to get +2 to reserves off the bat; you take the Swarmlord AND a Hive Tyrant, because Alien Cunning and Hive Commander still stack. Here's what I can think of as a prototype for that list:

Still Looking For That +2 Reserves, Thank You Very Much...
Swarmlord [280]
-3 Tyrant Guard w/ Lash Whips [195]

Hive Tyrant [220]
-Heavy Venom Cannon
-Lash Whip/Bone Sword
-Hive Commander
-Leech Essence, Paroxysm
Tyrant Guard w/ Lash Whip [65]

2 Hive Guard [100]
2 Hive Guard [100]
2 Hive Guard [100]

11 Termagants [55]
11 Termagants [55]
Tervigon [195]
-Adrenal Glands
-Toxin Sacks

Tervigon [195]
-Adrenal Glands
-Toxin Sacks

7 Genestealers w/ Toxin Sacks [119]

Mawloc [160]
Mawloc [160]

Total: 1999/2000

I feel light on shooting, but that's because I don't have Tyrannofexes. On the flip side, I can ram the Swarmlord down someone's throat with Feel No Pain, and potentially threaten them with the other Hive Tyrant.

The Mawlocs and Genestealers are supposed to make folks worry; with the Swarmlord I can reliably place them on the side I want, and then the Mawlocs SHOULD be there on turn two. Hopefully I've put the enemy into disarray, and then the brick of tyranids starts advancing.

Cons? My significant shooting doesn't reach past 24", as the Heavy Venom Cannon will at best annoy the other guy by making his heavy armor not shoot for a turn, or if I'm lucky take a gun off. (which is cool against people with just one main gun, mind you...).

What would I change? I'd frankly LOVE to get another big critter in there. As it is, I could maybe drop a Hive Guard off the Swarmlord and lose the Genestealers, then go up to a third Mawloc and find a place to put that other ~25 points.

Anyway, thoughts/curses/well-wishes/rotten produce? I'm looking at you, TKE.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Tyranid FAQ: A Slight Rant

This is a slight rant, but more an expression of some disappointment in the Tyranid FAQ. Honestly, this blog tends not to get a lot of my ranting posted on it, and I think there are folks that tend to do it in a more entertaining fashion. As such, I turn to the internet for pictures of cats with captions to express my feelings.

I want to start by saying that the 'nid FAQ is not all bad.

Honestly, GW deserves serious props for answering contentious questions clearly and concisely.

"Doom hits stuff in vehicles, y/n?" Nope. It's clear, concise, and resolves a contentious issue.

"Is the Mawloc really supposed to be able to deep strike into stuff?" Yes.
"Can I single out a Tyrant with a retinue of Guard?" Nope.

These are clarifications that are handy. It would have been nice to have it in the codex to begin with, and the near half-year of waiting for it is a wee bit annoying. But, it's clear now, and it's stuff we wanted/needed clarified.

There's really one major disappointment, as far as I'm concerned:

Hive Commander Does Not Stack.

Big deal, you say? Well, it honestly doesn't come as a surprise. The IG Advisor that buffs reserves doesn't stack, either. So, why is this getting to me?

Tyranids have a fair assortment of deep-strike-capable units, including:
1) Pretty much every foot-mobile troops choice via mycetic spores (and Raveners...)
2) Spore-podding Zoanthropes
3) Various jump troops (Gargoyles, Shrikes, winged Tyrants)
4) Trygons
5) Mawlocs

Note that marines that rely on reserves have buffs for them; a full drop-pod army can guarantee half of it arrives early (well, unless you're Dark Angels or Black Templar). Blood Angels, whose schtick is falling from the sky screaming with jump packs, get a buff on that reserve roll, too. Sheesh, even Daemons can guarantee half of a deep-striking army arrives (albeit, the rest of their special rules and unit selection works to offset that...).

The Implications
Now, on the bright side, spores and trygons cannot deviate into units (and the Mawloc WANTS to, so yeah). On the down side, the best you can get for a reserves buff is +1 to the roll. So, if you want to see your units arrive anything other than piecemal, you want to bring multiples. Common sense, right? Here's the problem:

The more deep strikers you bring to make sure you get enough of them early, the less you have on the table.

This is called 'handing yourself over piecemal.' Too little on the table, and you might not have much of it left when the backup arrives. It's bloody challenging to try to make heavy deep-striking work. Most deep-striking units are going to be around 200 points. Trygons are 200 base; Mawlocs are around 160-170; pods are 30 points and a Warrior squad is easily 200 points. Hormagaunts are a toss-up because Feed - Synapse = potential hilarity ensuing if the enemy can bait you somewhere. (Or just drop a couple flamers on you, then it's a BBQ...I wonder if they scream like lobsters when broiled?).

So, I want two of my deep-striking units to arrive and threaten the enemy on turn two so I can hit him on turn three. I take three deep-striking units (IE: three Trygons). 600 points of the army, easy. I add in a hive tyrant + guard, 250-300 points (admittedly, it's also a nasty unit in its own right and a melee rock for smashing over someone's skull, AND a quality psychic unit). Then, I hope that the enemy army can't nuke 'em both, and I try to threaten him. I also hope that I can roll well, because most armies CAN handle a single Trygon in a turn. You buy some time, lose a Trygon, and then they show up turn three and you hope that they have time to do enough damage (Because they won't hit assault 'til turn 4, now...).

Second-order implications
Ok, I'm probably mis-using the term, but if deep-striking isn't so reliable, it follows that I want to make sure other items in my army ARE reliable. Let's go to that contest Elites slot, which is usually a Hive Guard vs Zoanthrope debate. Now, Zoanthropes are short-ranged, and there are two ways to try to shore that up: Onslaught (hope you roll well on that run...) and Mycetic Spores, which can deliver you into Warp Lance range.

Well, assuming you get the reserves roll right. So, you've put 2-3 Elites slot into Zoanthropes in pods, and you might have a Venom Cannon on the tyrant(s). Zoeys are already more or less single-use (Ok, you might get more, but do you really want to gamble on that?), and frankly, I'd like my anti-tank on the table fast to keep the enemy from doing damage to me. They're a little less reliable, now.

Bottom Line
What's this mean, overall? Less options for effective builds. That's my major complaint about the Hive Commander 'clarification.' Double hive commander can no longer get me results similar to a drop pod assault. Drop pod marines? Reliable and nasty. Reserving 'nids? Asking to come in piecemal.

Honestly, it feels like unless I'm wearing power armor or flak armor, I should get accustomed to fewer options.

Honestly, it's a hit. Pure and simple. It doesn't make a hell of a lot of sense, from a standpoint of promoting versatile builds. It's not encouraging me to go out and buy 9 Zoanthropes (...ok, the cost was kind of keeping me from that anyway). It makes me a little annoyed I have three Trygons, and it makes me wish there was a freaking official model for the Tyrannofex (since it's pretty much the only heavy support choice I run for a serious build).

Anyone else feel like this? I'm kind of annoyed when I get all psyched up, have a couple builds ready, and then my models get FAQ'ed.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Blood Angel Brainstorming, Part 2

So, at some point I'd said I would offer up another list for Blood Angel Brainstorming. Part of me still has a hankering to do BA mech-style, but my main goal is to use flying psychic dreadnoughts to punch the enemy in the face, or force-weapon monstrous creatures to death.

Anyway, here we go: BA Mech attempt 1:
Librarian [100]
-Sanguine Sword, Blood Lance

Furioso Dreadnought w/ Librarian [175]
-Wings of Sanguinus, Blood Lance

Furioso Dreadnought w/ Librarian [175]
-Wings of Sanguinus, Blood Lance

Furioso Dreadnought w/ Librarian [175]
-Wings of Sanguinus, Blood Lance

5 Assault Marines w/ Flamer, no jump packs [105]
Razorback w/ TL Assault Cannon, Search Light [56]

5 Assault Marines w/ Flamer, no jump packs [105]
Razorback w/ TL Assault Cannon, Search Light [56]

5 Assault Marines w/ Flamer, no jump packs [105]
Razorback w/ TL Assault Cannon [55]

6 Death Company, 2 Thunder Hammers [180]

Death Company Dreadnought [125]

8 Scouts [148]
-Sniper Rifles, 1 Missile Launcher, Camo Cloak

Fast Attack
MM/HF Speeder [70]

MM/HF Speeder [70]

MM/HF Speeder [70]

Heavy Support
Storm Raven [230]
-TL Multi-melta, TL Assault Cannon, Hurricane Bolters

Total: 2,000/2,000

This is admittedly a stab-in-the-dark draft mixing in stuff I think I like and stuff I think could work.

The dreadnoughts take wings of Sanguinus to get up-field. I'm torn on the second power. The lance is nice for taking out armor that's moved quickly, though I'm also tempted by Unleash Rage to get the most out of the force weapon or dread CCW.

The assault marines are riding razorbacks as a means of saturating the field with armored targets. In a regular marine army I'd take the lascannon/plasma gun to sit back and shoot. With the speed, though, I can try for flank shots with the assault cannons. They get a flamer because it's the weapon that can operate by itself. The othe real troops choice is the assault squad with meltaguns/powerfist/heavy flamer.

The MM/HF speeders are still more armor saturation, and of course nasty targets in their own right.

Scouts sit on the home objective, freeing me up to head upfield and grab flank shots. Sniper rifles and a missile launcher let them try to contribute.

The Storm Raven carries the Death Company kit, and provides a wildcard for the army. If it's in your face kicking out the guys in black, then you have some incoming issues. Past that, it's a capable gunship in its own right.

Honestly, that leaves me with about 100 points for HQ, and I'd rather get a little bit of CC prowess, so I get the librarian. I'm not really sure what powers to give him, so we'll take the Blood Lance (just in case) and Sanguine Sword. Nothing says 'I hope you die' like an S10 power weapon to the brainpan.

Reservations with the List
Honestly, my gut says it's a little disjointed. I have decent armor saturation (3 AV10 speeders, 3 AV11 Razorbacks, 3 AV13 Dreadnoughts, and an AV12 fast skimmer holding another dreadnought) with six light vehicles, 3 heavy-ish from the front, and another medium in the back that I could theoretically deep-strike with some degree of accuracy.

The other option that comes to mind is trying to go for jump pack troopers, but that would mean dropping one of the flying dreadnoughts for FNP priests. Gotta avoid that attrition...but that would reduce me to a pair of flying dreadnoughts and the likely-deep-striking Storm Raven.

Another thought is dropping the speeders and trying to get some autocannon/las predators in there (yay more hefty armor!).

At any rate, that's what I've got at 2AM after sleeping only 5 hours the night before.

Thoughts/inputs/curses/prayers to the porcelein deity?