Saturday, October 29, 2011

Scratch-Built Dominatrix!!

Rolled into the local Battle Bunker and saw this on the table - I didn't want to bother the guy who built it as he was playing a game so I only snapped one pic.  A quick interrogation of the blackshirts confirmed this big beautiful table-stomping avatar of awesomeness is apparently scratch-built.  No big plastic dinosaur or McFarland toy underneath the sculpted goodness.  Rode by a 3e tyrant; and yes, that is a genestealer on the base.  Hope I get a chance to meet the owner one of these days; I clearly need to get out more!

Also a good opportunity to share a teddy bear's lot in the grimdark:

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Tyranid Library - the Fexstar

Alright gribbly horde fans, I've been promising a library article on the fexstar for a while now, so here it is.  Even better I hope, Ill get to talk about my learning experience with the fexstar from NOVA.

The classic fexstar, for the uninitiated, is two Tyranid primes plus two carnifexes with quad twin-linked devourers, also known as a 'dakkafexes'.  The main benefit of pairing two primes with a brood of two carnifexes is to take advantage of the "50% or more of the models in a unit" cover rule.  The primes, as ICs, can get cover from ordinary infantry units, and when they attach to the carnifex brood, confer this ability to the unit as they comprise "50% or more" of the models in the unit.  This means the carnifexes are no longer working under the much more vulnerable True Line of Sight (TLOS) cover rules for monstrous creatures (MCs).  The variant is the "mini-fexstar" of one prime and one 'fex; and the same cover principle still applies.  An alternate setup is to use a dakka tyrant and tyrant guard; different rules to get there, but same impact on cover.

As far as biomorphs and weapons go, the 'fex is pretty straightforward.  In my opinion, the only biomorph worth consideration is frag spines to allow an I3 charge into cover to get ahead of thunder hammers and powerfists.  It's definitely possible to build a melee deathstar and keep the dual scytals on the fexes instead of devourers, but this article is focused on the dakka version.  I've seen quite a few prime variants recommended, but the prime is just such a good unit it almost doesn't matter what you give him.  Regen is probably the most common, but I've seen both AG and poison; all have their advantages and depend on your playstyle and preferences.  For weapons I prefer bonesword/lash whip; the I1 effect for models in base contact is just too good defensively as the fexstar definitely can attract opposing assaulters/deathstars; I don't upgrade to a deathspitter, but would strongly consider it for the mini-fexstar variant.

Just to recap, here's the list I took to NOVA:
Prime: BS/LW, Regen
Prime: BS/LW
3x2 HG
2x10 Genestealers w/tox, w/BL (w/scything talons) (11 models per..)
Tervigon w/TS, AG, catalyst, onslaught
Tervigon w/TS, AG, catalyst
2x 10 termagants
1x2 carnifex brood w/2x TL Devs, frag spines
1x3 biovore brood

So let's put this into the context of the NOVA scenarios and why I ultimately went with a fexstar as my core: win conditions alternate between objectives, kill points, and table quarters.  I decided to give myself as much of an advantage in two of the three as I could:  Tyranids are generally pretty decent at objective missions being an assault-oriented codex, plus the ability to park T6 MCs on objectives as troops.  Unfortunately, tervigons are also kill-point generators, and with no shortage of units that can be relatively easily taken off the table, kill points missions can be a challenge.  Table quarter missions however, are all about having more points in a quarter than the other guy: an expensive, tough unit that can torrent or assault effectively, and is best suited for the center of the board where you can pick and choose a table quarter when needed is just the ticket.  Weighing in at just under 600 points, the fexstar can and did win me table quarter battles.  I also took into heavy consideration Mike's blog article describing the tall, x-deployed terrain, and with the expected cover advantage and lanes of fire, I had a reasonable expectation of this unit both not being blown up immediately - especially with conventional wisdom placing target priority on the hive guard and tervigons - and being able to torrent down both hordes and expensive, small units like Thunderwolves and Grey Knights.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Welcome to my underground lair!

It's only taken two years..  but finally managed to get the office uh game room err underground lair built, replete with space and a desk to paint at.  Quite happy to be next to the computer while I paint so I can actually listen to podcasts and put up pictures to work from without printing them off, or do quick lookups on different techniques or models.  Also made room to put up and keep up a 72x48 table for gaming (hooray!).  The table is just a run-of-the-mill folding table with 3x 24x48 MDF boards, heavy enough not to shift with a little bump, but light enough to be relatively portable/stowable.  If only I didn't have other things to do today - surrounded by gaming goodness, and in a place where magic can definitely happen, I don't want to leave.  Things to paint, saw apart, bend, sculpt, and the room fairly begs to smell of cyanocrylate!  At any rate - just wanted to make a quick celebratory post.  What do you have in your underground lair?

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Sour Grapes - a NOVA review and soapbox

It's been a while, but after the pre-NOVA frenzy, I've had to rebalance time back toward the family and other aspects of life.  As I and others have said once or twice, life is about balance, and happiness is about wanting what you already have.  My first NOVA post was all about the starry-eyed stuff, the "weekend high" and first reactions.  All of which remain spot-on.  I didn't really touch on any negative aspects, and I'll take the time to do so here to be balanced - but fair warning to the non-attending naysayers; I won't be kind to you.  Which brings me to a big theme of this post: sour grapes.

Maybe it's human nature, maybe it's our 40k community - but I have to say I'm frankly disappointed in quite a few of the vocal netizens of this community after reading many threads and posts about NOVA.  More precisely - the forum discussions and comments after the review posts I think are the most disturbing.  The vast majority of the posted reviews have, and rightly so, both a "good" and a "bad" section, and kudos to all those that have posted reviews.  They are an excellent anecdotal balance for Mike's survey numbers, especially once you learn how to spot the hyperbole.  What frustrates me the most however, are the continuing underlying themes of:

  1. Most tournament players are intentional WAAC cheaters;
  2. Mike (and other TOs by extension) is (are) trying to hide something;
  3. and most popularly, some combination of the two.

These mindsets are simply a detriment to the social aspect of this hobby, and continuing to beat these idiotic drums pushes more people to FoW, WarmaHordes, and other systems, reducing the already small community.  Pathetic not only because they are laughably unrealistic, they are in direct opposition to the "why we do this" of the hobby.  If we only ever wanted to play 40k with a few friends, it would be a typical $25-$100 boardgame.  Not something we spend thousands of dollars and thousands of hours on.  I certainly don't want to only ever face at most the few people that I know well enough to go have a beer and pretzels with, or at the bottom of the spectrum - who are too stupid or too timid to know better or confront me because I have to cheat to win.  These attitudes are nothing more than sour grapes - the result of a combo of unrealistic expectations and unrealized wishes.