Saturday, December 27, 2014

2014 - Year of the Screamer

Despite the achings of the internet and every list of tournament armies I read, 2014 was a good year for Chaos.  I say this personally, because Chaos is personal.  From the champions yearning for Daemonhoood to the lowly cultists, every member of the ragged host has an individual investment in the process.  You may have joined because a man with a skull for a face and axes for hands gave you the choice of service or death, you still made a choice, damnit!  These space commies, immortal elves and kidnapped child-Astartes can't understand what that means.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Sunday Battle Reports

Saturday night used to be a maelstrom of liquor and bad decisions.  These days, it a MAELSTROM OF WAR!!!!  The war has moved away from my remaining brain cells and on to the tabletop - there are still a number of bad decisions to be made.  There was a low turnout for games at the Humboldt F.O.G. headquarters, but we still made do, getting in two games.

My List -

Chaos Sorcerer, Psychic Pet ML3 x2
18 Cultists
17 Cultists
Sicaran Battle Tank, Daemonic Possession x2
Sicaran Battle Tank, Death of Kasyr Lutein

Herald of Tzeentch, ML 3, Disc x2
Herald of Tzeentch, ML 3 x2
20 Daemonettes
20 Daemonettes
8 Screamers

His List
Rune Priest
Drop Pod
Drop Pod
5 TWC, Power Fist, 2x Storm Shield
Infiltration FW HQ
Five Scouts, Pistols & CCW, Landspeeder Storm w/ HF x3
Five Scouts, Pistols & CCW, Landspeeder Storm w/ MM x2
3 Centurions, Grav Amps, Omniscope

Mission: Big Guns Never Tire, FLG style

I deployed and went first.  I spaced out my Sicarans equally along my long table edge.  I put cultist/sorcerer blobs on both objectives in my zone, with daemonettes and the Tzeentch blob in the middle.  I went first, dropping cursed earth and failing invisibility with both sorcerers, even with their pets! Summoned a pile of horrors, herald of slaanesh on a steed, and incursioned a group of screamers.  The entire army minus cultists, as usual, has a 4++.  I flat out'd a Sicaran to kill a servitor; this was far outside my control area and will be my sacrifice target.  It grabbed me first blood and a maelstrom.

My opponent dropped a pod with Centurions inside to target my screamer blob, hoping to kill some heralds and drop my warp charges.  Put three wounds on them, which we mathhammered out to be the probable outcome.  Oops.  The rest of his army is outflanking and in the other drop pod.

Second turn, I continued to push my daemonettes into the backfield.  Split my foot heralds into the summoned pink horrors and moved the screamers towards the centurions, ready to catch anyone who outflanked into that area.  Summoning phase gave me a seeker chariot, a group of daemonettes, and two invisible Sicarans.  I held my point for a maelstrom.  Destroyed the centurions, unfortunately, and boosted the screamers towards the corner with no objectives to limit his outflanking landspeeders.

My opponent brought in his entire army.  The melta command squad melta'd my sacrifice Sicaran with a MM LS to help.  5++ and 12 AV is still quite resilient - it took all those shots to down it.  Landspeeders and centurions whittled down a daemonette blob, but a 4++ usually leaves them left him wanting.  The TWC futzed about.

Third turn, I used dark flame and FFoT to burn some speeders.  My daemonettes engaged the TWC and centurions.  Sicarans killed two speeders.  Landspeeders moved on my back cultist blob, but the curtain has already begun to draw....I stopped taking notes because it was a slaughter from here on out.  It came down to can I StW on turn five, yes I can with 31 daemonettes, for a 10-0.

I usually do well against SM unless I don't play tactically.  I can get outmaneuvered with drop pods, landspeeders, etc.  Since adding the Sicarans, this tends to happen less, because I can reach out and kill light transports with ease.  This list was a light experiment, I dropped pink horrors for daemonettes with the idea of "pre-summoning."  The pink horrors, providing 6 WC, can almost reliably summon a unit of daemonettes between them each turn, struggling over the game to provide 40.  Of course, having daemonettes instead deprives me of those wounds in the backfield for immediate offensive capability.  I also dropped the lascannon sponsons on the Sicarans, it was a little too expensive for not a lot of work.  4+ cover saves and the sponson fields of fire meant I was getting 3-4 ineffective lascannon shots a game with each tank.  Not work 40 points apiece, not worth 120 over the entire army.  They are also lower priority targets, especially when the have a 4++, and I would prefer they live FOREVER.

I'll further tweak the list; I'll swap out a horde of daemonettes for a group of 17 pink horrors and add dozer blades to the Sicarans.  I really want an extra place to park heralds, having them all blobbed up with the screamers limits my first-turn maneuvers and puts me at risk for an alpha strike from barrage weapons crippling my WC potential.    The list is coming to where I want it, a compromise between my BAO list and what I've learned since then.

Monday, December 8, 2014

eXtreme Kitbash - Plague Bruddahs, Meth Witches

I have a distinct aversion to buying GW daemon miniatures.  Each of them displays a set of terrible design choices and have some of the highest $/point ratios.  A box of plague bearers costs ~$30, and fields at ninety points.  $0.33/point is pretty expensive, especially for some of the models that will only see action in the off fluff game or occasional summoning.  What's a cheap boy to do?

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Xtreme Kitbash - Ezra Salstrom Memorial Display Shelf

We live and game in a four car garage; with all this space available, everything tends to walk.  The ill-used third table is a nexus for all things orphaned, and on any given day it overflows with gundams, lone aegis defense line sections, regret.  Our models were everywhere, and a long-ago visit to a friend's smaller gaming area had shown us the light: display cases.  While we weren't up to cutting glass and making hinged doors, we roughed out a idea for a place where all our models could live and work.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Philosophize - Playing the Game We Want

I have a confession to make - I've been the king of my local mountain for quite a while.  After the spate of back-to-back losses that make any beginning player question their investment, I rode the Heldrake's bio-mechanical wings to a long string of victories.  A new Codex: Daemons and a new army to go with it kept me winning; Malefic Daemonology kept the streak alive.  I haven't stopped, but a new player in our circle made me question what, exactly, I've been playing for.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Philosophize - Why We Fight

     We're clustered around tables in garages, game shops, 'bonus rooms'.  This is where the billiard table would have gone a few decades ago.  Some of us are drunk, or on the way there.  There's a relatively even distribution of players and non-players in every group, the game itself a springboard for mathammering, armchair generalship, riffs on nerd culture.  The dice clatter in the momentary silence before their all-important faces are decided.
     At it's base, the game is an agreement between the players to do something together.  We've reached the point economists would call 'sunk costs,' where we're too invested to consider leaving.  The game is the campfire we gather around, the thing we have in common.  We started playing after board games got too old, or we had a bored summer with our brother, or when Necromunda wasn't complicated enough.  We keep playing because this crowded room is a place where we all have something in common.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Read a Book - IA 13 Gamechangers

I've been through IA13 a few times now.  There's a lot of repetition from the past, of course.  Nothing new in the way of Daemon engines, a new tank, new(?) land raider pattern.  The biggie is the Lost and the Damned AssMill faction, though for competitive play, it ain't that big.  You can find a comprehensive review of the units on many longblogging sites you already know about.  Today, I'm just going to talk about the game-changers.  These are the units that might make it into your army list if you're bringing the cheese.