Heldrake

March 22, 2014

Done (as in, “I’m done working on it”):

I know, it's not really done until it's based. I'll get around to it.

I know, it’s not really done until it’s based. I’ll get around to it.

The top view:

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And underneath:

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That leaves 2 units of Noise Marines with Sonic Blasters and Blast Masters, 1 Unit of Havocs with LasCannons, 1 Chaos Lord on an Iron Horse, 1 Chaos Sorcerer, and 1 (more) Heldrake to paint. At this rate I’ll finish in 2021.

Coming off of a convincing win in the second round (and a solid, though Eldar trickery-style come from behind win in the first round), I expected to sit down across from either a Deldar army or a Screamerstar (there was one of each and they were wrecking face). Instead, I face almost a full company (almost 100!) of Blood Ravens. My opponent brought a well painted army, running Imperial Fist Chapter Tactics, that stuck to the basics: Three drop pods, two with assault marines sans jump packs, one with tactical marines and a chapter master in artificer armor with the shield eternal and a power hammer. 5 units of tactical marines and two units of devastators (3 missile/1 las in one and 3 las/1 missile in the other). Bolter Drill and Tank Hunters are solid buffs.

The board featured a giant hill that we ruled impassible on three sides and difficult terrain on the slope (but open on top). Round three was a mystery mission; out of 6 possible missions, you drew a card (a Magic the Gathering card, no less) and were assigned the mission that corresponded with the ‘type’ of card it was (swamp, desert, whatever, I don’t play MtG). My opponent won the right to choose table sides, but I won first turn and deferred to him. I did so because my mission was to kill his warlord. That’s it–no secondary. Either I successfully slay the warlord or I lose (maybe draw if I can figure out what his mission is). With his chapter master in a drop pod, I crossed my fingers that he’d want to get him on the table as soon as possible to start swinging that hammer and enjoying his 2+/3++.

  • Primary (ONLY) Mission: Slay the Warlord. Opponent gets 2 VP if you fail to complete your mission. Note that other missions with objective markers (Emperor’s Will, Crusade) were potentially in play as well.
  • Bonus Points: Correctly guess opponent’s mission
  • Deployment: Dawn of War
  • Warlord Trait: Entirely forgettable
  • Night Fighting: Yes
  • First Turn: No (I deferred)
  • Length of Game: 3 turns (Two hours is TOO SHORT again; both my opponent and I were surprised when the warning was called as we had not dithered at all.)
  • Result: Loss…then Win (it’s a funny story)

Setting up ~70 space marines does take a while, particularly when they’re in, ‘anti-template’ formation!

My opponent's deployment.

My opponent’s deployment. Holy Space Marines Batman!

I counter-deployed a bit, but not enough, as I left two vehicles in range and LoS of his devastators rather than just one. On turn one that didn’t matter too much though, as Night-Fighting was in effect. I held my spiders and jet bikes in reserves and deployed my Wraith Knight to the right to hold that flank and smack anything that tried to cross the open terrain in the middle.

My deployment. Ducks in a row?

My deployment. Ducks in a row?

Turn One Highlights: My opponent drops in his Chapter Master and a unit of assault marines. The assault marines end up on the hill. All the tac squads run. I think a melta gun glances my fire prism but I otherwise make it out of turn one relatively unharmed. My return fire is great. If this were any other mission than Slay the Warlord, I’d have the game half in the bag. I get Misfortune on his Chapter Master’s unit, killing 8, but don’t get enough wounds back to where he is to force him to take any saves. My wave serpents in the middle kill 6 space marines from the assault squad. My Wraith Knight shoots at a nearby tac squad, but as my opponent deployed (and is moving) in ‘anti-template’ formation, I only get two or three instead of my (usual) 8 or more.

End of Game Turn One.

End of Game Turn One.

Turn Two Highlights: My opponent’s other drop pod comes in and he puts it by the wraith knight. He tries to get his assault marines down the hill. His chapter master separates from the tac squad (they were WAY out of coherency after last rounds losses anyway) and heads toward a nice, juicy, fire prism. Through a teeny-tiny gap, three of his devastators can see my wave serpent in the left corner…and blow it up. I had shot the shield on turn one thinking I was out of los. I lose a dire avenger in the explosion, but they pass their pinning test. The tac marines shoot down three or four. The other group of devastators immobilize my other wave serpent. His assault marines (the few that are left) make their charge against my Scythe Guard serpent, and blow it up. That makes for an awkward moment (‘Thank you for getting us out of our vehicle, now here’s some Distortion’). His chapter master rushes up on the fire prism and blows it up.

On my part of the turn, the spiders come in and I try to get close to a devastator squad (suicide mission and probably mis-used again), but they mishap and end up stuck way in the right corner. I also get a unit of jet bikes on. I get misfortune on the chapter master (despite a 5+ deny the witch). Between the spiders, jet bikes and an assault from the Wraith Knight, the space marine unit on the right side is destroyed (the knight had to charge them as well to wipe up the last 3). The Scythe Guard get 16 ‘hits’ on the assault squad and destroy them easily. I thought about sending them after the chapter master, but they were in difficult terrain and even with a good roll they wouldn’t be able to line up correctly to drop templates on him without overlapping my own models. The remaining prism backs up a bit, draws a bead on the chapter master, fires up the S9 AP1 Lance, and misses. Who made that man a gunner?

After the end of Game Turn Two, during the movement phase at the top of Game Turn Three.

After the end of Game Turn Two, during the movement phase at the top of Game Turn Three.

Turn Three Highlights: My opponent continues to spread his army all across the board. He’s holding almost every objective and satisfying almost all the possible mission requirements. He doesn’t have enough units in my DZ and he hasn’t killed my warlord yet (hasn’t wasted any shots on him either). He moves up on my left and shoots down the remaining avengers cowering in the crater left by their serpent. His chapter master lines up an easy charge against my remaining prism. My remaining Wave Serpent is immobilized. His chapter master blows up another prism (Hammer Time?).

It comes down, for me, to whether or not I can kill his chapter master–who is proving vastly more resilient than I thought he would be (particularly after two turns with Misfortune on him). He has two wounds left. I won’t be able to hide my intentions, so I’m sure my opponent will guess what my mission was. I move everything to within inches of his chapter master (Jet Bikes, Scytheguard, Lolseer, etc.). I also bring the Wraith Knight over just because. Did I mention that he finally Denied the Witch? Yep. I roll up my shooting attacks and he just makes save after save (another set of dice I’d like to take a look at–can’t roll 1’s!). The last thing I have to shoot at him before the assault phase is my Wraith Knight. The Scatter Laser gets two hits. I end up hitting my Lolseer with one of the templates (who cares, I have a rerollable cover save) and get three hits on the chapter master, but only wound with 2 of them. I make him take the Invulnerable saves first, and he makes them. I’m starting to sweat because I’m going to have to send everything into close combat, through difficult terrain (he’s standing in a Fire Prism’s crater), and I’m unlikely to put two unsaved wounds on him. Looks like I’m going to lose.

Then he makes his saves against the two wounds from the Scatter Laser and rolls Snake Eyes! The chapter master goes down! My luck changes on the very last two saves he has to make. The game ends (time) and we guess each other’s mission. He guesses mine (duh) but I’m wrong about his (his was Slay the Warlord also!). We count up points and he beats me 4 to 3. Ah well.

Other than the red jet bikes at the bottom of the screen and the fire prism at the top, this is everything that shot at the Blood Ravens Chapter Master. All hail the Scatter Laser!

Other than the red jet bikes at the bottom of the screen and the fire prism at the top, this is everything that shot at the Blood Ravens Chapter Master.

Then my son (love that kid!) comes over and says, “Hey, you know you get 2 bonus Victory Points if your opponent doesn’t fulfill their mission, right?” No, no I did not know that. My opponent and I recheck the mission description and, sure enough, I win 5 to 4. We laugh (we laughed a lot throughout the game) at the absurdity.

I tie for first place with 89/90 possible points (weird scoring system, trust me), but I take second on tiebreaks (for the second time in a year). Ah well.

Final side note: My son (who is 12) got paired against another Noise Marine player and fought him to a draw, going 2-0-1 for the day. Not bad for his first ‘big’ tournament.

I’ve started building a Tau army. I can’t stand the crisis suit models (who can?), so here’s my attempt at a conversion:

This, I can live with.

Come at me, bro?

The head is a Razorback optic piece. The ‘hands’ (I don’t care about finger counts) are from a CSM Heavy Bolter and the blade is the broken tip of a CSM power sword. The shield bit from the sprue now sits on his rear.The torso is…a Star Engine–or is it a Vectored Thruster? I honestly don’t know. I have two more bits (hip plates) to add and two more magnets to install (left shoulder and right forearm). The left arm is already magnetized. I realize that the base is too big, but once I spread his legs into a decent stance I didn’t have enough room. I’ll have to problem solve (battlefield debris is a good go-to, right?) for how to get it back onto a 40mm base without having it look more dumb. Since this conversion is so easy, I will look at repositioning the jet-packs on future conversions.

Heldrake Painting WiP

March 11, 2014

Making progress on the first of two Heldrakes for my Noise Marines:

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The underside is untouched (still basecoat) and the front/rear ‘legs’ need some more work. Everything needs highlights. I don’t plan to do much, just a touch here and there. Another view:

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Round two sees me paired up with an odd (not wraith-wing, not croissant spam) Necron list on a virtually open table, in a progressive (cumulative, really) scoring mission (score points for each 1/2 turn you control an objective, starting halfway through turn two).

As we’re reading through the mission and I’m asking questions about his list, I go from being deeply concerned (for no good reason) to very relaxed. Outside of his Monoliths, there is nothing that can touch AV12. [EDIT: I was aware that he could glance on a ‘6’. All that meant was the Serpent Shield’s ability to downgrade penetrating hits was useless. It also informed my resolve to shoot down his destroyers asap.] So long as I keep my rear hatches pointed off the board, there won’t be much he can do. Also, unlike the first round where I didn’t shoot the Serpent Shield for two turns, I know I’ll be able to start laying on the S7, Ignores Cover, Pinning brokenness that is the Serpent Shield (I only have three in the list, so I don’t feel guilty at all). He brought a destroyer lord (with a rez orb, or whatever it is that makes it easier to get back up), three units of destroyers (5 in each), three units of warriors (two smaller ones and one big blob) and three monoliths.

  • Primary Mission: Progressive (Cumulative) Take-and-Hold (4 objectives)
  • Deployment: Vanguard Strike
  • Warlord Trait: Entirely forgettable
  • Night Fighting: No
  • First Turn: Yes!
  • Length of Game: 3 turns (My opponent capitulated at the end of turn 3)
  • Result: Win

Now, a few things happen that really throw the game my way: First, I win the right to choose my deployment zone (it’s Vanguard Strike, so it’s kind of important, since one corner of the table has literally no terrain in it) and force my opponent to set up without the benefit of (much) cover. Second, there is no Night Fighting. Third, although he wins the roll to go first, he defers. And fourth, he puts ALL of the monoliths in reserve, meaning that, on turn one, there will be nothing on the table that can threaten any of my vehicles.

Turn One Highlights: I waste no time twin-linking the Fire Prisms and proceed to annihilate his destroyers, taking out the units to the left and right of the one his Lord has joined. I put wounds on four of those destroyers, but two get back up (leaving him with 3 destroyers and his lord). Being able to unload the Serpent Shields on turn one, with total abandon, is exhilarating. I recommend you try it sometime. He shuffles his warriors up so that they hold an objective. His lord and the remaining destroyers limp forward a bit and I think he shoots at something, the Wraith Knight maybe, but only does one wound (still not making saves) .

After my part of Turn One.

After my part of Turn One.

End of Game Turn One.

End of Game Turn One. There were 5-Man units of Destroyers deployed to the right and the left of the Destroyer Lord’s unit at the start of the game.

Turn Two Highlights: A unit of jet bikes comes on, so I decide to throw them out into the middle of the board (like a bone, or a snack, or whatever) since I have so much more firepower than he does. I move the spiders out of the little trenchwork and unload both units of avengers. The majority of objectives where in a little ~12″ triangle, and both mine were in/near cover, so I could reasonably count on holding two and either contesting or shooting him off the others. My shooting is super-effective; I kill the destroyers and put the Lord on the ground (he gets back up). I almost shoot the warriors off the objective on the right side. The jet bikes turbo-boost onto the middle objective, so I score 3 points to his 1.

His turn two is total disaster. He tries to drop a monolith into the back corner (I admit I pushed forward and therefore exposed rear armor), but it scatters off the table…and is destroyed (he rolled the ‘1’ himself). Since two of the monoliths came on, he drops the other one where the first one was supposed to land, it is on target. He teleports one of the smaller units of warriors right into my backfield and lines up on one of my prisms. His warriors on the right side shuffle around the objective again. The Monolith misses or fails to do anything with any of its shots, and the warriors fail to get a single glance against my prism. His Lord charges my jet bikes but only manages to kill one, and they make their morale check! Amazing. I score 2 points to his 1, with one of the objectives contested by his Lord.

End of Game Turn Two.

End of Game Turn Two.

Turn Three Highlights: My other jet bikes come on and I deploy them on the right side, to support the Scythe Guard serpent. I decide to put prescience on my Lolseer and guide on the nearest prism. I warp-jump the spiders toward the warriors in my backfield and position the Wraith Knight to charge either the warriors or the Monolith. For security, I swing the prism and a serpent around, as well as re-positioning the avengers to have range on the warriors. On the right side, I obliterate the warriors holding the objective, but decide not to claim it for myself (yet). I shoot the prism at the monolith but roll a ‘1’ to pen. The spiders, wave serpent, and avengers combined fail to kill all the warriors (taking out 9 out of 12 maybe?), but they do break and run. I didn’t shoot the Wraith Knight at anything, so he’s free to charge the Monolith. The spiders charge the fleeing warriors, who fail to regroup and are cut down (more bad luck). The knight punches the monolith so hard it explodes…killing two of my Warp Spiders (who make their morale check). The Lolseer charges the Lord to see if he can swing the fight, but whiffs. The Lord puts a wound on him, but he doesn’t run. I earn 2 points to his none.

My opponent’s third (and last) monolith comes on, and it, too, mishaps. This time it’s merely ‘misplaced’ so I stick it in the corner all the way on the right side of the board. With his Lord locked up in combat (that he will probably win eventually, unless my knight can get over there), a blob of warriors with no real way to contribute to the fight and a monolith stuck out in the middle of nowhere, my opponent decides to concede. I ask him if he’s sure, and then ask if he would confirm with the TD that that’s allowed (at some of the tournaments I compete in, you have to play to the bitter end because of how battle points/victory points are calculated). With confirmation from the TD that he can concede, we shake hands and call the game.

End of Game Turn Three.

End of Game Turn Three. You can just see the edge (shadow) of his last Obelisk in the upper right-hand corner.

In this game, my entire army suffered exactly 4 unsaved wounds. I did 50% of that to myself by catching my Warp Spiders in the explosion from the Obelisk. My army inflicted about 50 unsaved wounds in addition to two penetrating hits on an Obelisk. Brutal.

Side Note: In the second round, my son was paired against a Tau/Space Marine army (ethereal, riptide, long strike, broad side, fire warriors, devil fish, kroot, defense line, quad gun, space marine scouts with telion; telion manned the gun). He came from behind to win the game as his heldrakes (yeah, I wrote him a list with two of them) killed all of his opponent’s troops, making it mathematically impossible for him to win. That’s my boy.

I saw this convention/tournament last year but didn’t plan far enough in advance to get clearance to go. This year, I did. The tournament was well attended, with just under 30 players. The missions were odd, the 2 hour time limit too short, but the tables were decent. There were some with a LOT of LoS terrain and there were some that were barren and flat. I thought this was actually reasonably fair, as the tables were randomly assigned (that is, the ‘top’ players were not always on table 1/2/3), so luck of the draw played a part in how your round went. Lucky for me, I play an army that doesn’t (currently) care too much one way or the other with regard to LoS terrain.

For the first round, I get paired against a player I have played only once before, in a 500 point combat patrol. I have also played in a Beer & Pretzels tournament he organized and directed. He plays ‘traitor’ guard, and everything is Nurgle themed. His list is nothing to sneeze at. While he didn’t bring allies, he did put together one of the more potent IG lists available: 3 Vendettas(?) with melta or flamer vets in them, a blob squad (30?) with autocannons galore, two chimeras (one with a command squad in it), 3 manticores, a master of ordinance guy, an astropath(?) to increase the odds of stuff coming on turn 2, a skyshield landing pad, and a couple of bells and whistles.

My list is in a different post. It’s very similar to what I took to the February 9 tournament (where I took 2nd). The major difference being that I stripped all the ‘extra’ upgrades off of most of the vehicles and re-invested 50 points in Distortion Scythes. This turns out to be a bit ironic; in two of the games they never even get out of the serpent and in the last one they cook about 7 space marines like turkeys on thanksgiving. Worth the 50 points? Sure.

  • Primary Mission: Straight Kill Points
  • Deployment: Table Quarter Style (12″ radius from center of table, after one player chooses quarter to deploy in, the other player must deploy diagonally opposite)
  • Warlord Trait: Entirely forgettable
  • Night Fighting: No
  • First Turn: No
  • Length of Game: 3 turns (2 Hour rounds are TOO SHORT, particularly if you have a lot of moving/shooting to do)

My opponent castled up, and I deployed as far back as I could (to reduce the amount of incoming fire my vehicles would take on turn one).

My opponent's deployment.

My opponent’s deployment.

My deployment.

My deployment.

Turn One Highlights: The Master of Ordinance blows up a Fire Prism immediately. We both pause to reflect on why no one takes Fire Prisms anymore (all hail Serpent Spam). VERY luckily for me, his Manticores roll 1 ‘warhead’ each and I am able to withstand the opening barrage. I decide to try and play three angles in order to expose side armor (IG vehicles are so poorly designed, tsk). My Wraith Knight (already short a couple of wounds) evaporates a 10 man unit of guardsmen without really trying. I think I had 16 or so hits between the Sun Cannon and the Scatter Laser. I decline to shoot the shields on the serpents and actually go flat out with all of them. I feel certain that they will be destroyed immediately without that extra protection that a good jink save and the serpent shield can afford them.

End of Game Turn One.

End of Game Turn One.

Turn Two Highlights: The Master of Ordinance moves to the top of my most wanted list. All his Vendettas come on, and so does Marbo (oh yeah–he had Marbo too!). He has Marbo pop up near my Wraith Knight, for giggles. Both serpents on the left flank get dinged up, but stay mobile. My remaining prism is stunned and down to one hull point. I manage to fail 6 out of 7 3+ saving throws with my Wraith Knight. The ONLY save he makes is vs. Marbo’s silly poison pistol thing. What a tremendous disappointment. I have more trouble rolling 3+ saves later as well (3+ is a Lie).

For my part, I continue to press the flanks (though without a credible threat in the middle…). My warp spiders make a daring deep strike on the left flank, near the crater. The Lolseer softens Marbo up with his shuriken catapults. It’s difficult to see behind those magnificent converted flyers, but I get side armor on the manticore on the left side and blow it up, taking the Astropath (who’s now done his job anyway) with it. I am encouraged. The spiders shoot down 4 or 5 guardsmen and then battle focus into their crater (in case of ap3, it will be nice to have a cover save, though I’m sure they’ll die to VoF). On the other side, the serpent wrecks, but does not explode, the chimera with the command squad in it. I took out both vehicles without firing the shields! In the assault phase, Marbo hits on overwatch and I almost fail (1, 2) the rerollable cover save for my Lolseer. How embarrassing. Luckily, I make my save in close combat but Marbo does not.

End of Game Turn Two.

End of Game Turn Two.

Turn Three Highlights: So much happens in this turn. Ultimately, I get a little lucky, but I feel like I’m losing pretty much right up until the last roll of the dice. The remaining chimera immobilizes itself as it turns toward my spiders. He sends a vendetta to the left flank and drops in some vets. For all of his shooting (and my cursing under my breath at not being able to make 3+ saves), he neither kills off, nor breaks (nor pins) my spiders, or my jet bikes. He does wreck a wave serpent, but makes a mistake and wastes some vendetta shots on my Lolseer (who, again, tries to make it interesting by failing the first cover save a couple of times). On the right flank, he shoots a bunch of krak grenades at my serpent but doesn’t come up with any results. Shooting from something else immobilizes it. Luckily it’s facing in a useful direction. He makes an assault through the crater into my remaining (3?) spiders with his guardsmen, but his vets fail their charge (at least I think they did, maybe they didn’t charge at all). I manage to fail another 3+ in the assault, so the combat ends up tied.

We have ~20 minutes when I start my part of turn three, so I can play with a significant degree of abandon. I bring my other jet bikes on the left flank, just getting enough range to do some damage to the vets (but not enough range to potentially wipe them out). I disembark my avengers on the right flank, put my Scythe Guard serpent on a hill so I can see his command squad on the landing pad, and line up my bikes to support my spiders in close combat. I shoot the avengers on the right into the guardsmen and cut them down to just one grenadier, who is too dumb to run away. I decide not to waste an entire serpent’s worth of shooting on one model and go after the remaining manticore on the landing pad, hoping for an explosion. I don’t recall that it blew up, but I wrecked it in any case. My Scythe Guard serpent rolls hot with its shield (6 shots) and I hit with almost everything, including the cannon, which is in range of the nearest model in the unit. With everything being S6 or 7, he just needs to fail enough saves to get back to his warlord, which he does. My jet bikes hit and wound with most of their shots (against the vets), who break and are removed from the table. Just like the one guardsman too dumb to run away, the guardsmen in the assault are annoying. The jet bike whiffs with its hammer of wrath and we each manage to kill one model, tying the combat again and staying locked in.

If the tournament was designed to give 2.5 hours instead of just 2 for each round, I would have gotten pounded into the dust on the very next turn. Lucky. As it was, I passed him in Kill Points and won the game.

End of Game Turn Three.

End of Game Turn Three.

Here is a close up of one of his fantastically converted flyers:

Nurgletastic.

Nurgletastic.

Side Note: This was my son’s first ‘big’ tournament, the February 9 tournament being (in my mind) a qualifier. His first round opponent was the player from my 3rd round game from February 9. Instead of Tyranid, he brought Sisters of Battle. They had a good game, and I’m proud to say my son won. I will post the list he took as well.

HEADQUARTERS

  • Far Seer (Jet Bike, Mantle of the Laughing God)
  • Spirit Seer

TROOPS

  • 5 Wraith Guard (Distortion Scythes), Wave Serpent (Holo Field, Star Engines, Scatter Lasers, Shuriken Cannon)
  • 5 Dire Avengers, Wave Serpent (Holo Field, Scatter Lasers, Shuriken Cannon)
  • 5 Dire Avengers, Wave Serpent (Holo Field, Scatter Lasers, Shuriken Cannon)
  • 3 Jet Bikes
  • 3 Jet Bikes

FAST ATTACK

  • 8 Warp Spiders

HEAVY SUPPORT

  • Wraith Knight (Sun Cannon/Scatter Shield, Scatter Laser)
  • Fire Prism (Holo Field)
  • Fire Prism (Holo Field)

~1849