Thursday, August 18, 2011

NoVA List Finally! (I think...)

We are down to a little over a week to the NoVA Open and I think I've finally nailed my list down. I kept waviering towards a few Inquistion options but I have a feeling that Coteaz and his many clones will be all over the Open. Draigo was tempting but I don't feel comfortable running that few models. I'm pretty good 40K but not to the point where I can keep 20 models alive to see turn 6.

The hardest part about putting together this list was the last 140 points. Originally, I plugged in a small Interceptor Squad with a hammer to be a harassing unit. Everytime I run it, it ends up get blasted before its any use. I do have another list that uses a similar unit but with an Incinerator instead. I don't really think it compliments the list as a whole.

My heavy slots were taken up with Dreads, all of which have performed famously well (I'm a sucker for walkers, what can I say). Both HQ's were also gone, but I still had Fast Attack which was a no-go and Elites open. So my options are:

Slap in another Assassin - gives another dramatic threat if used properly but also has the fault of being able to get punked with one shot, giving up a killpoint quickly..

Get the Vindicarie Assassin a Techmarine sidekick to bolster his ruins and an Orbital Strike Relay - the Techmarine I still see as an un-sung hero in the Codex. It might do this just prove a point. With the relay, he comes in at exactly 140 points. As an Independent Character, join him to Vinnie, Vinnie gives him stealth (mentioned in the new FAQ a while back), Bolster gives the two of them a 2+ cover save. Plus if I need to, I can attach him to a different unit to give them that extra punch in shooting or with the Servo-harness, a powerfist attack or two.

Drop the Purgation Dread and throw in a Purgation Squad with all Incinerators riding a rhino - a really underused combo. Since the Purgation guys get the Incinerators for free, that's a flat 100 points, rhino for 40. The problem with this option is a really, REALLY like the way the Dread works with the Terminators. I could try to find a way to save another 40 points or so to make him Venerable so I can get the best of both worlds. That may involve taking a full Strike Squad > make a five-man with a Psyback to save points. It dramatically lowers the amount of scoring bodies I'll have, but the Grand Master ability can balance that back out.

Internet, sometimes choice is difficult.

I can make each option work in some way or another with the same core but I don't want to short change myself in the process. The third option I think gives me what I want out of the Dreads (plus making one more durable) and more boots on the ground that can burn things like a mean, mean man. Plus, if needed, I can make them a scoring unit.

So my new list looks like this:
Grand Master Mordrak, 4 x Ghost Knights with Halberds
Librarian, 2 powers (Might of Titan, Sanctuary)

Vindicare Assassin
Venerable Dread, TL Heavy Flamer //DCCW with Heavy Flamer, Psyflame Ammo

8 x Strike Squad, 1 Halberd, 1 Psycannon, Rhino
5 x Strike Squad, 1 Psycannon, Psyback
5 x Strike Squad, 1 Psycannon, Psyback

Fast Attack
Stormraven Gunship, Multimelta//Assault Cannons

Psyfleman Dread
Psyfleman Dread
5 x Purgation Squad, 4 x Incinerators, Rhino

That's about 38 models total, 18 scoring bodies with potential to expand that by a squad or two.

I had a chance last night to paint up every single stormbolter in the regular guys. It went a lot faster than I expected. Up next is re-tooling the terminators weapons to the black power weapons, build a new Rhino, and finish up the bigger weapons on the squads.

The last big project is the Stormraven's base. That's a Sunday afternoon. Its coming down to the wire but I think I'll be able to get everything done in time! This weekend though, going to Baltimore Comic-Con with my roomie. There's going to be one more post before the Open with the class photo, so until then, keep painting!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Checklist for NOVA and more!

NoVA is three weeks away! I'm crazy excited if you can't tell. Now its crunch time to get everything painted. I have at least three-colors-up on everything except for one model. earlier this week, I put the finishing touches on my vehicles so at least they'll make beautiful wreckage. I consider that a fairly impressive feat. That's three dreadnoughts, three rhino chasises and a stormraven.

The big issue I have with painting a big scale army is the repeating the same model over-and-over again. When I was originally planning to do a Coteaz list, everything was different from the piece before it so variety was great. The gratification factor is a lot harder when you paint up 40 guys in just steel color with a few aspects to stand them out. But I am very pleased with the results, which makes a huge difference.

Here's my to do list in terms of painting for the 27th:

[] Grand Master Mordrak (built but needs painted)
[] touch ups on some of the dreadnought pieces (cloth and what-not)
[] books on the strike squads and termies (deneb stone > brown wash > highlight bone)
[] olive for the stormbolters (about 20 or so, again paint and wash)
[] power weapons for the Interceptors (4 of them)
[] base the stormraven
[] paint the strike squad bases

So not a crazy lot to do but its not a single weekend project. I suspect I'll be able to get the stormbolters done this weekend and Interceptors on Monday, Mordrak on Tuesday. The thing that will take the longest is going to be the bases for the troops. I might try to find a way to use the airbrush to get the base color down but they're all mounted already. I'll have to find a tricky way of painting them without a lot of overspray. Or I just use a giant brush and hope for the best.

The terrible thing is that I'm already excited to get going on my Blood Angels! I decided that I would go for a Raptors color scheme. I picked up the Badab War and immediately wanted to do one. It won't be exactly like the one in the book but its in the spirit. I'm basing the army around the time right after the Badab War, so scouts and vets (the new guys and the guys smart enough to duck). I know they're technically a Raven Guard chapter but I really like the flexiblity of the Blood Angels codex. The Dawn of War II army painter is helping a lot in determining how they're going to look. Right now, its an olive body with red-ish brown boots and a desert yellow trim. I'm already geeking out about doing a campaign with them.

To hold me over, I started up on some of the BA models to get my brain cooking. There was a recent painting competition at my local GW so I threw in Commander Dante since I was on a metal painting kick. Here's a good shot of him at the judging. Unfortunately its at a weird angle, but I'll get more shots of him once I have more of the army painted itself.

No joke, first power weapon I've done like that, and I love it.

Well, that's about it for now. My hobby time is planned out for the next couple of weeks leading into the NoVA. I'm thinking about signing up for the Painting Tree. If you haven't heard, its a service that connects painters to clients for commission work. I've done a few commissions in the past and really enjoyed the work. Plus I get to try out new techniques, color schemes and models. I'll definitely link it up here if I decide to sign up. Take it easy, folks.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

NoVA List - First Play Through

I may have nailed down my NoVA Open list. It's got a good balance of torrent-o'-fire and gets that punch delivered effectively. Testing now is absolutely required after my first game with it. The best part: I almost have it all painted! Last night I put some finishing touches on the weather for my Stormraven and began weathering the rhino based transports.

Without further delay, here's the breakdown:

Grand Master Mordrak - 200
Ghost Knights w/Halberds x 4 - 160

Librarian w/one power (Might of Titan) - 155

Strike Squad x 5 - 100
-Psycannon - 10
-Halberd - 5
-Psyback - 50

Strike Squad x 5 - 100
-Psycannon - 10
-Psyback - 50

Strike Squad x 10 - 200
-Psycannon x 2 - 20
-Halberd - 5
-Rhino - 40

Vindicare Assassin - 145

Stormraven w/assault cannon and multimelta - 205

Interceptors x 5 - 130
-Hammer x 1 - 10

Psyfleman Dread - 135
Psyfleman Dread - 135
Purgation Dread (twin-linked Heavy Flamer//Heavy Flamer, Psyflame ammo) - 130

Comes in at exactly 2000 points. It took a long time to consider what I was going to run in my HQ slots, because that will dictate the rest of the army build. The Grey Knight HQ's have a lot of great abilities but sinking too many points into them will result you getting stomped flat fast. The Librarian offers fantastic defensive ability and aguments your troops into absolute monsters. Originally, I wanted to run a regular Grand Master but the build I had was almost the same amount of points as Mordrak. Mordrak gets +1 WS, MC Hammer, an extra attack, and an extra wound. The Ghost Knights already have Stealth, so attaching a Librarian with Shrouding is pointless unless you feel like you'll have your units really close together throughout the game. And the Ghost Knights can be adjusted down below 5 man starting squad. With Mordrak taking wounds, he can potentailly bring them back.

The Grand Master's abilities with Grand Strategy fit my play style a lot closer than just the Librarian. The Librarian is included there to really provide a hood and the Might of Titan. Sancturary would have been nice, but with the squad kitted out with Halberds I'll be hitting first at STR 6/I 6, following it up with 4 STR 10 hits. I tried to figure out just how many wounds this unit could effectively take before its lost. If going at best luck (taking one wound at a time, and judging that I could roll a D3 to pull in more Knights) it could potentially take 13 failed saves before being wiped out. 13 wounds on a 6 man squad that could evolve itself into a 9 man squad if your dice like you. To me, it covers the best of defensive and tactical decisions to get you a leg up early and often.

Troops are the basic Strike Squads. Yeah they die like Space Marines, but as my opponent said, you still gotta be able to kill them. Two 5-man and one 10-man feels pretty good. My last list had regular terminators, but the Ghost Knights are filling in for them well. Ghost Knights can't capture but they can tear through enemy troop choices well enough.

My Psyflemen Dreads are sitting pretty again as just really annoying firebases along with the assassin. The Dreads are able to fire every turn and draw fire away from other targets like the Stormraven. Stormraven is stock to save points and carries the HQ's and the Ghost Knights up the gut. Plus it has the Purgation Dread underneath it. The Purgation Dread is quickly becoming my favorite Dread. The Raven can clear that distance it needs to cover in order to be effective and then start wrecking face. Against a horde army like Orcs, its the MVP easy after torching more than 12 orcs in one shooting phase.

The Interceptors are the one element that still gives me a little pause. When they work, they work great. But they also seem to be the first thing to die. Even with a Stormraven in the face of the enemy, Interceptors seem to be a better soft target. That's 140 points that I could invest differently. They may get swapped out later for something else.

My opponent over the weekend was my roommate playing a double Big Mek list with a couple of Dreads, Battlewagons, a lootas unit, a few 20 boy units in transports, and a huge Nob squad. I got him down to pretty much half the Nob squad, one Loota, and a Big Mek with the Nobz left.

Lessons Learned:
Might of Tian is no joke. Getting the boosted damage die lets you grind through walkers. The only thing that was troubling the Ghost Knights was a huge Boy squad that was a thick slog through. I did manage to pull an extra Ghost through during that combat, which made a big difference in the next round of combat.

Nobz are also no joke. I tried assaulting the Nob squad. There's the mistake right there. I activated the force weapons to try to double them out quickly, but I failed the leadership test. We calculated out that his squad got five kill points: the Interceptors, a 5-man squad, a Psyback, a Psyflemen Dread, and the Assassin.

The biggest factor for me was getting Scout on the Stormraven. Getting into the enemy lines by the first turn can screw up whatever plans he had. I went second which was actually better because I got my cover save from the Scout move and then dropped out the next turn.

Sorry for the long post. Now all I need to do is to get a few more games in with this list and I'll feel tactically ready for the Open. Once I get everything full up painted, I'll post the 2011 Class Photo.