Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Space Marine Codex Review: Part 5- Elites

Part 5 of my 8th edition Codex Space Marine review will take a look at the Elites section of the codex. The Elites choices for Space Marines seems to have undergone a big expansion since 7th edition. A lot of this has to do with choices such as the Apothecary and Champion moving from a Command Squad to their own distinct choices.

Chapter Ancient
The Chapter Ancient is a new addition to the army in 8th edition. He comes with what I would call the standard Space Marine Character stat line, with similar stats to the Lieutenant, Chaplain or Librarian. So on his own, he is a decent character, able to hold his own in combat (he comes with a Power Sword) against standard infantry and is fairly durable with 4 wounds and a 2+ armour save.

Where he comes into his own is in with the Astartes Banner. The Banner on the Chapter Ancient gives +1Ld to friendly Astartes units within 6". This is a pretty good bonus, meaning that most units will be Ld8 (or 9 if the Sergeant is still alive). Coupled to And They Shall Know No Fear, this helps prevent your units from losing members to morale tests, keeping them in the fight for longer. The big bonus from the banner comes in the form of "resurrecting models". Each time a model is removed within 6" of the Ancient, on a 4+ that model may make an attack with one of its weapons as if it were the shooting phase, or may make a single attack as if it were the fight phase.

This is obviously a very powerful ability if used correctly. I think the Chapter Ancient will be of more use to a gunline army, parked next to a unit of Devastators or Devastator Centurions. This will allow 50% of your casualties to still fire at the enemy army before they are removed. This can be very useful if you lose the first turn, allowing many of your models in a unit to fire at the enemy army even if they are being wiped out. On a Bolter, this may not be a big deal, but a Lascannon or Missile Launcher is a different matter. Note that the two effects are specified differently in the rule. All UNITS within 6" of the Ancient gain +1Ld, while the resurrection shot only affects all MODELS within 6". This means that you cannot spread out your units with only a single model in range to get the benefits to all members of the squad. If this was the case, the Banner would be ridiculously overpowered (more so than many feel it is already).

Unusually, the Banner specifies a single attack in close combat. This is surprising, given that there is no limit on how many shots the model can make with a single weapon in the shooting phase. For example, a Terminator with an Assault Cannon would get to make 6 shots with the weapon, but only a single attack with his Power Fist. To me, this makes the banner more effective for a gunline army, as you are likely to get more attacks in many cases.

If you are planning to use a Chapter Ancient in your army as the foundation for a gameplan, the Standard of the Emperor Ascendant is pretty much a compulsory inclusion in your army. This increases the chances of getting a resurrection shot from 50% to around 67%, giving you much better odds of getting the ability off on nearby models.

The Chapter Ancient seems like a solid inclusion in any Space Marine army. At 76 points, he is not too expensive an addition to the army, but you may wish to go for the cheaper version to get roughly the same effect.

Blog Milestones- 500 Edition

This week the blog has hit two major milestones that I wanted to highlight. 
Thanks to Dave at Confession of a 40k addict for his great images once more.

First up, my 500th post was up on the blog at the weekend. At around two and a half years old, I'm surprised I've had that much to talk about! 

Secondly, yesterday the blog hit over 500,000 views. Thanks to everyone who takes the time to read the blog and comment on my articles. It really is the feedback and interaction with all the great bloggers and readers out there that keeps me coming back and posting on such a regular basis. 

On a side note, I would encourage you all to keep commenting on all the great 40k blogs that you read. A simple "Great work" or "nice post" makes all the difference, especially when you are just starting out in blogging. It is great encouragement to keep young blogs going. 

Don't worry, this slightly egotistical post is not all you are getting today, my Space Marine codex review will continue this afternoon with the review of the mammoth Elites section of the new book. 

Monday, 21 August 2017

Better Know A Blogger: Part 42- Chucking Monkeys

This week's Better Know A Blogger features Luke (AKA Monkey Chuka) from Chucking Monkeys.

Monkey Chuka's blog was one of the first that I followed when I started reading 40k blogs. I was initially drawn in by the awesome look of his Tyranid army and found some really great hobby posts, littered with humourous and random commentary from Monkey Chuka himself. 

One of my favourite series of posts was his work on building a Tyrannocyte conversion. Luke set himself the immense task of converting a Tyrannoctye to feature a sleeping Carnifex inside it! From reading the posts, you can see it was a labour of love and hate in equal measure. Without a doubt though, the end results was absolutely fantastic and a real insight into his hobby skills. 

At some point last year, he stopped posting on a regular basis, leading me to stop following the blog for a while. Fortunately, the return of 8th edition 40k seems to have heralded the return of Chucking Monkeys and I was very happy to see new blog posts appearing on my blogroll, as well as comments appearing on my own and other great 40k blogs. 

His most recent work has been focusing on his amazing Red Scorpions Primaris Marines. This is gearing up to be a fantastic looking army, with ever new post leaving me drooling over the amazing paint jobs he has achieved on the units. 

Here are Monkey Chuka's answers to my questions:

1. What age did you get into gaming and what started it off?
Early teens. I was born in Salford, England, less than a mile away from Old Trafford where football is etched into your neurons at birth. Getting the bus into Manchester and spending the day at Games Workshop (back when they still sold TSR products) taught me that there was another way. I tried emigrating to the opposite face of the planet in order to escape the sports mad crowd but Kiwis are just as obsessed with rugby as Britons are with football. However, New Zealand is Middle-Earth and re-ignited my interest in hobbying, so there is that.

Sunday, 20 August 2017

Space Marine Codex Review: Part 4- Troops

Part 4 of my Codex Space Marine Review will take a look at the Troops choices available. This will be a quick review, as there are only three choices. I was planning on grouping this with the Elites section, but that is actually a fairly substantial section of the codex, so I will focus on that in its own review.

Tactical Squad
The classic choice of the Space Marine army is once more in prime place in the Space Marine Codex.

The Tactical Squad hasn't really changed much in several editions of the game; the squad consists of between 5-10 models. In a squad of 5, one Marine can take a Special Weapon or one can take a Heavy Weapon. In a squad of 10, one can take a Special Weapon and one can take a Heavy Weapon. All pretty standard stuff so far.

Where the Tactical Squad has changed is in the actual 8th edition rules themselves. Now that a single squad is able to fire at multiple targets, you are no longer "wasting" the Bolter shots from the rest of the Tactical Squad if you take a single Heavy Weapon or Special Weapon. This upgrade can fire at one target, while the rest of the squad can utilise their Bolter shots to damage another target. Also, giving that the To Wound values have also changed in 8th edition, the humble Bolter can now wound vehicles on a 5+, meaning that a Tactical Squad is now more than capable of taking a few wounds off a vehicle with some lucky rolling, or even finishing off a vehicle that the Squad's Heavy/Special Weapon has seriously damaged.

Friday, 18 August 2017

Space Marine Codex Review: Part 3- HQ Units

Part three of my review of the 8th edition Codex Space Marines will take a look at some of the HQ units that are available to armies of the Adeptus Astartes. I will not be covering every entry in the HQ slots that are available, mostly just the generic options, rather than every special character. 

HQ Units
The Space Marine Captain is the standard HQ choice and one which I think most players will go with when selecting the leader of their army. He is a solid character, able to perform well in the shooting and assault phase, depending on how you arm him, and provides some important benefits to nearby units. 

I'll start off with the benefits, as it is one of the reasons for taking the Captain in the first place. His "Rites of Battle" special rule allows you to re-roll 1's to hit for friendly Chapter units within 6" of the Captain. This may not seem like a lot, but can actually be a big benefit in games, allowing you to re-roll approximately half your misses in the shooting and assault phase. This really can make the difference in a balanced combat, or allow that Meltagun or Missile Launcher to actually hit the target. Also, the buff applies to Units within 6", not models, so with careful unit placement you can extend the range of this effect to encompass several units each turn. As mentioned in the Stratagems review, using the Chapter Master Stratagem upgrades the Captain to give full re-rolls within 6". Having used the Deathwatch Watch Master, who has a similar ability, I can tell you that it is incredibly useful and makes a big difference to the damage output of certain units. It is well worth the upgrade, if you have the Command Points to spare. Park the Captain next to a gunline and watch almost all your shots find their mark on the enemy army. This is especially effective if you are using other Stratagems to boost the damage output of your shooting units. 

Thursday, 17 August 2017

Space Marine Codex Review: Part 2- Relics, Stratagems and Librarius Discipline

Part 2 of my review of the new 8th edition Space Marine Codex will look at the new Relics and Stratagems that are available for the forces of the Adeptus Astartes. 

Much as in previous editions, Space Marines have access to a number of interesting Relics for use in their army. Interestingly, these Relics don't cost any points values themselves, but you are generally limited to only one per army. The only associated points cost is that some of these Relics replace an item of wargear, which means you need to purchase that item of wargear for your character before you can replace it with a Relic, but most of these are not too expensive as to prohibit their inclusion. I think the limit of only one Relic per army (without the use of a Stratagem, which we will cover below) is a useful counterpoint to the lack of points costs associated with most of the Relics.

The Armour Indomitus- Get a 2+ armour save. In addition, once per game you can activate the armour to give you a 3+ invulnerable save till the end of the turn. A decent bonus, giving you one of the few ways to get a 2+ armour save on your character outside of Terminator armour. The bonus invulnerable is nice, giving you a 3++ for one turn without having to carry a Storm Shield. Nice, but I think it is outdone by the next Relic.

The Shield Eternal- The old favourite of 7th edition is back in a new form. This replaces your character's Storm Shield. They retain the 3+ invulnerable save, but more importantly, all damage against the character is halved, rounding up. This is now the 8th edition version of Eternal Warrior, I suppose. This is a really nice ability to have, meaning that your character is more likely to survive a  volley from a Lascannon or Missile Launcher. It also makes overcharging Plasma weapons less effective and gives them a better chance against multi-damage combat weapons. I think this is a really solid choice that should see a lot of use.

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Space Marine Codex Review: Part 1- Special Rules, Chapter Tactics, Warlord Traits

Welcome to the first part of my review for the new 8th edition Space Marine codex. This section will take a look at some of the special rules for the army, the Chapter Tactics and the new Warlord Traits in the codex. 

Special Rules
The codex contains the special rules for the forces of the Space Marines, one of which should make a big impact on the game going forward. 

And They Shall Know No Fear
The quintessential Space Marine rule has been updated for 8th edition. This rule allows you to re-roll all failed Morale tests.  
This is actually a pretty decent rule, allowing you to survive the worst effects of the morale phase for a number of your units. Previously, Space Marines were pretty much immune to the consequences of Morale in the game. They automatically rallied if they fell back and could not be wiped out in combat from a sweeping advance. 

Now, however, they are as affected as most other units in the game. The re-roll can be pretty useful to stop you from losing your expensive Marines to a poor morale roll. With a standard Leadership of 7, you need to lose at least 2 of your squad to fail a morale test. Having the re-roll improves your odds of not losing another squad member to an inopportune roll of a 6 on the test. With a Sergeant in the squad, their Leadership goes up to 8, further boosting the chances of passing the test. As most Marine squads seem to be run in unit sizes of 5, having the re-roll is great for keeping the last members of the unit alive, as you pretty much need to lose most of the unit to have bad odds of failing the Morale test. 

Defenders of Humanity
This is a great special rule and should have a big impact on missions in 8th edition going forward. This new rule is essentially Objective Secured from 7th edition. If your army is battle-forged, then all Troops units control an objective marker if they are in range, even if they are outnumbered by the enemy unit. If the other unit has a similar special rule, the unit with the most models in range of the objective then control it. 

Objective Secured was a key special rule for me in 7th edition, winning me plenty of games over the course of its use. Having a similar rule in 8th edition is going to be great, I think. I think this is a great addition to the army (and the game) and should help to balance out some of the more ridiculous armies that can be taken if GW are careful with which units such rules are applied (I don't think anyone want to see Conscripts or Brimstone Horrors gaining such a rule). I look forward to trying this out in my games and seeing if it is as effective as it has been in the past. 

Friday, 11 August 2017

Bunker War 3- Armies on Display

There were some great armies on display at the Bunker Wars tournament. Here are a selection of some of the forces present.

Warhammer Community Army Showcase- Graham's Death Army

As some of you may remember, my first Army Showcase post featured Graham's awesome Slaves to Darkness army. 

As if exposure on St Andrews Wargaming was not enough, Graham also decided to slum it on the pages of Warhammer Community with a showcase of his amazing Age of Sigmar Death army

Congrats to Graham on a fantastic achievement. Now, I'm not saying that his army featured on the Warhammer Community page because he was showcased here first, but you cannot prove otherwise! If you would like your own army to be featured on Army Showcase, please get in touch at corrm83@gmail.com to arrange it. 

Thursday, 10 August 2017

Bunker War 3: Game 3- Deathwatch vs Tyranids

The final game of the Bunker War 3 tournament would see my Deathwatch take on Phil's Tyranid force. I had only played Nids once in 8th edition so far, and it did not go well. Hopefully, this game would be a lot closer than that last one.

The mission for game 3 was the Scouring, with Dawn of War deployment. We were playing on an industrial table with some of the awesome new Armageddon scenery taking up a fair portion of the table.

My army consisted of:
Battalion Detachment
Watch Master (W)
Watch Captain- Jump Pack, Pair Lightning Claws (W)
Kill Team 1- 5 Veterans, Vanguard Veteran with Pair Lightning Claws, 3 Frag Cannons, Storm Shield. (KT1)
Kill Team 2- 5 Veterans, 2 Missile Launchers, 2 Stalker Boltguns (KT2)
Kill Team 3- 5 Veterans, 2 Infernus Heavy Bolters, 2 Stalker Boltguns (KT3)
Kill Team 4- 5 Veterans, Meltagun, 3 combi-Meltas (KT4)
Kill Team 5- 5 Veterans, 2 Frag Cannons (KT5)
Rhino (R)
Drop Pod- Storm Bolter (DP)
6 Vanguard Veterans- 2 Pairs Lightning Claws, Power Sword and Bolt Pistol, 3 with Bolt Pistols and Chainswords (VV1)
3 Deathwatch Bikers- Power Axe, Power Sword (DB1)
3 Deathwatch Bikers- two Power Swords (DB2)
Corvus Blackstar- Auspex Array, Hurricane Bolter, Twin Assault Cannons, 2 Blackstar Rocket Launchers (CB)
Vindicare Assassin (V)

6 Command Points

The Watch Master was my warlord and had the Tenacious Survivor warlord trait.