Monday, May 31, 2010

MOM Playing... Blood Angels?

So a buddy of mine has 3 razorbacks (TL-Las), 3 rhinos, 2 predators, a dreadnought, 1 LRC, 2 Godhammer LRs, 3(?) speeders, and a bunch of tactical marines that he is selling. I could get some of these for pretty cheap and I'm wondering if I should make a Marine army out of them. It would probably be Blood Angels since they do mech the best IMO.

I'm very tempted, but I still have to finish my Orks. Someone needs to talk me out of it. lol

BTW I hope to be posting some pictures of my Necrons and my WIP Orks. My explanations for the codex rankings should be out within the next couple days, and I plan on doing a comparison between the SW and BA codices. Then I have to get back to work on the Necron tactica.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Here is what I have to deal with

This is one of two GTs being held here in Vancouver this summer:

Here is the main part that I'll copy and paste from the site.

The tournament is scored out of 200 points as follows:
78 points - Game Play
60 points - Sportsmanship
30 points - Appearance
20 points - Composition
10 points - Army List
2 points - Bonus for submitting your Army List prior to the event.
5th Edition Warhammer 40k Rules will be used. 

 If the Codex is available for your army you must use it and have it with you during all games, along with your army list for use as a reference.

Some Chapter Approved articles may be used. You must have the Chapter Approved book or the White Dwarf magazine with these rules with you if you want to use them in your games. See the FAQ page for a complete list of all approved additions.
Vehicles from the Imperial Armour books will be allowed.

Note: You are still limited to a single Force Organization chart for your army - so no Super-Heavy vehicles are allowed.

 Special Characters WILL be allowed.

The rules for Flyers in the Apocalypse expansion book WILL be used.

 VDR vehicles are being allowed - subject to the approval of the organizers. Stats and photos of your VDR creations must be submitted for approval no later than one month prior to the event. Email the stats and photos of your VDR creations to: VDR creations should be added to your army to enhance its theme - not for the purposes of power-gaming. The organizers reserve the right to disallow any VDR entry deemed to be inappropriate.

Now I wouldn't have a problem with this if there were real tournaments held in Vancouver, but there aren't. If I want to go to Vegas I have to qualify at either this or at the Conquest GT (which hasn't posted its rules online yet). I have my fingers crossed that the Conquest tournie will be legit.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Monolith vs. Heavy Destroyers (long)

The main question I have been asked about my Necron list is why I use Monoliths. With Necrons you basically have two options for ranged anti-tank: Heavy Destroyers and Monoliths. I am going to explain why the Monolith is better. I'll be using the example of 3 Heavy Destroyers for 195 points against one Monolith for 235 points. It's a 40 point difference which is big but it doesn't make up for the immense difference in usefulness between the two units.

Offensive Efficiency

The three destroyers will of course hit their target on average two shots out of three. Personal experience and some quick math tells me the Monolith will hit an average sized vehicle about two thirds of the time. A lot of people are hung up on the fact that you have to roll to scatter, but it's really not that bad at all.

Now, penetrating the vehicle. We will assume that the target is AV12-14, because FA Destroyers can handle anything below that. Both units have Str9 weapons, but the Particle Whip is Str9 Ordnance which is better than Str10 against anything aside from AV14. So here's the math per hit (rounded to the nearest percent):

G=glance, P=penetration
    AV                     Heavy Destroyers                 Monolith
     12                        P50%, G17%                  P75%, G9%
     13                        P33%, G17%                  P55%, G11%
     14                        P17%, G17%                  P31%, G14%

The relative strength of the Monolith goes up the higher the AV of your target, which is important because they are generally the most dangerous and therefore need to be gotten rid of the quickest.

Now, the most important thing which is overlooked by many because it cannot be expressed by math: cover saves. It's very easy for your opponents to get cover from the Heavy Destroyers, which negates half their shots. On the other hand, it's pretty much impossible to get cover from the 'Lith's shots without smoke or disruption pods because the guns are mounted so high up. Remember, the roof of a vehicle is still part of the front/side/rear arc.

Then there is AP1. We all know how awesome that is, so I won't go into it any further. When you consider all of these factors in together, it becomes obvious that the Monolith is more efficient at destroying AV12-14 vehicles.


So now that we've taken a look at offense, we have to consider the other side of the coin. Survivability helps out your offense in the end because the longer a unit stays alive, the more it'll get to shoot and therefore it'll kill more. It also increases the chances of the unit helping out in the end game contesting objectives and such.

When it comes to survivability, the comparison isn't even remotely close. 6 Heavy Destroyers (the correct amount if you've decided to take them) will not last through the first shooting phase against anyone who knows what they're doing. Then once they've done that, you have no anti-tank. The Monolith being destroyed by shooting is very rare, and it's only weakness is Str10 (and that's not even a weakness; it's the same as other vehicles against it). Against Str10, it's still much better off than the HDs.


Heavy Destroyers have very little purpose outside of vehicle and MC killing. Admittedly, these are very common in the current metagame. The monolith, however, is at home killing hordes of infantry, MEQs, any multi-wound T4 squads, bunched up MCs and of course vehicles. It is in fact a very good example of duality in 40k.

Here's one tactic I love to use against disembarked troops. I first learned this trick using Tau Hammerhead submunitions but it works even better with the Monolith. So let's say some veterans just hopped out of their Chimera to plasma some destroyers. First off, this is a bad idea on the IG players part. First rule of 5th edition is Never Disembark. Obviously there are exceptions, but I'm rambling. Let's say it was some Fire Dragons because the decision to disembark is more reasonable (still a bad one though). So what I'll do is place the centre of the blast template on the vehicle such that it also covers all of the recently disembarked infantry. Then if I can potentially take out two units in one shot. While it may seem obvious, the amount of players who haven't considered this tactic is astounding.

Other In-Game Uses

The most important reason why I use the Monolith is the synergistic effect it has with the rest of my army. I am going to go into this in detail in my further Necron tactica posts, but I will summarize it here. The Monolith can block assaults and LOS. Against shooty armies, keeping the Golden Boy alive is critical and the only way to do this is to plop the monoliths down in between him and the Lascannons while they advance into the midfield. If I didn't have the assault-blocking capabilities the Monoliths provide, you can bet I would Phase Out a lot more.

The Monolith's portal is critical to keeping your Necrons alive and safe. I generally don't use the portal unless they're stuck in combat or I have like 8 warriors in WBB position. Sometimes I portal them onto an objective late in the game. There are more uses which I will go into in later posts.

Heavy Destroyers can perform none of the above roles. They bring very little to the army aside from killing power. They can run away from things faster than Monoliths, but Monoliths don't need to run away from anything. They have longer range, but pretty much everything is going to be in range of a Monolith on first turn anyway. They can constest objectives, but not as well as a Monolith due to tank shocking.

All in all, the Heavy Destroyer can be a fun choice in a Destroyer Wing army, but if you want to play competitively the Monolith is your only option.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Codex Power Ranking

Here is how I would rank the various codices in terms of how powerful they are. This assumes equal scenarios, player skill and luck (something that is obviously impossible). This also assumes that each codex is using an optimized list.

Imperial Guard
Space Wolves
Blood Angels
Space Marines
Chaos Space Marines
Witch Hunters
Dark Eldar
Chaos Daemons
Black Templars
Tau Empire
Dark Angels

One thing to keep in mind is that these codices are all capable of winning. As I said in "The Importance of the Army List", I firmly believe that skill, luck, scenario and matchup have a greater impact on the game. I am not really a fan of the tier system because no two armies are exactly equal in power. I like the best-to-worst list better.

Friday, May 7, 2010

The Direction 40k is Headed

So fifth edition has been out for almost 2 years now and players have, for the most part, adjusted to the changes. It is a very different game from third and fourth edition, but then again that should be expected when editions change. Otherwise we would just be wasting our money on a new rulebook. Though I have a strong dislike of True LOS, you have to take the good with the bad, and pretty much all the other rules changes were for the better. So anyway, this post is about what trends we are seeing with the most recent codex releases, and judging by these trends, what the future codices will hold in store for us.

The Alpha Strike
This concept has been around for a long time but it has never been as prominent as it was following the release of the Imperial Guard codex. With vehicles that could shoot d3 STR10 ordnance blasts mounted on an open-topped 12/10/10 hull, it was crucial to get first turn, because they are so easy to kill. This is the epitome of a glass hammer. The idea behind the Alpha Strike is that your first shooting phase cripples the enemy enough that they don't have enough left alive to come back and win the game. It's disliked by many, but this is a perfectly valid strategy. It was perpetuated by Darkwynn's win of 'Ard Boyz 2009. Now I'm not going to get into whether or not his list is good or the ensuing flamewar between BoLS and the Voldomort of 40k, but the main thing that this win proved was the effectiveness of the Alpha Strike army.

Manipulation of Reserves
One of the best counters to the alpha strike is to keep everything off the board. GW has realized this, so they have added ways to manipulate reserve rolls in order to have an advantage against the alpha strike. Now, someone can put their entire army in reserve and come in on 2+. Not only that, but their entire army can be deep striking and outflanking. This means they will be in your face immediately, not coming on peacemeal like they otherwise would. I love this new game dynamic because it changes the way we think from, "I line up on my side, you line up on yours, and we blast away" to a much more complex battlefield because there are so many more options. Fritz's Null Deployment strategy is a good example of this.

The Other Stuff
But MOM, what about all the new psychic powers and cheap transports? Aren't those changes just as big? Well, yes, they are. But in a different way. Mech and Psykers are just two examples of how to do well in the alpha strike game. They are tools which help complete the task of winning. In other words, it cannot be said that psykers or mech are ways of playing, but it can be said that alpha strike and reserving everything are.

In short, the game is becoming very dynamic, and it is most certainly not Fantasy's retarted little brother. Once all the codices are updated (HA! yeah right), the game will be very interesting and I can't wait.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Happy Birthday!

Yep, 5/5, cinco de mayo. Today's mon anniversaire. Thanks to everyone who has contributed to the blog; I haven't been posting a lot lately but I intend for that to change.