Category Archives: Army Lists

Black Templars: Moving On, With Options

Let’s jump right in, shall we?

After reading through the new Space Marine codex, making adjustments for things like the Emperor’s Champ taking up an HQ slot, and recalculating point costs, my current Black Templars list – the one I’m working on for the Independent Characters’ Hobby Progress Challenge – looks something like this:

HQ: High Marshal Helbrecht (180 pts)

HQ: Emperor’s Champion (140 pts)

Troops: Crusader Squad (168 pts)
5 Initiates with Bolt Pistol & CCW
1 Initiate with Flamer
1 Initiate with Bolt Pistol & Power Axe
5 Neophytes with Bolt Pistol & CCW

Troops: Crusader Squad (168 pts)
5 Initiates with Bolt Pistol & CCW
1 Initiate with Flamer
1 Initiate with Bolt Pistol & Power Axe
5 Neophytes with Bolt Pistol & CCW

Troops: Crusader Squad (180 pts)
3 Initiates with Bolters
1 Initiate with Plasmagun
1 Initiate with Lascannon
1 Razorback (Twin-Linked Lascannon)

Elite: Venerable Dreadnought (150 pts)
1 Dreadnought (Venerable; Twin-Linked Lascannon)

Elite: Terminator Assault Squad (305 pts)
2 Terminators with Lightning Claws
5 Terminators with Thunder Hammer & Storm Shield

Fast Attack: Land Speeder Squadron (75 pts)
1 Land Speeder (Typhoon Missile Launcher)

Fast Attack: Land Speeder Squadron (75 pts)
1 Land Speeder (Typhoon Missile Launcher)

Heavy Support: Land Raider Crusader (260 pts)
1 Land Raider Crusader (Multi-melta)

This comes out to 1,701 points – 149 shy of the 1,850 I had previously. I dropped the Master of Sanctity from the list, chiefly because he doesn’t exist as an option anymore, and the standard Chaplain is a bit lackluster in comparison. The question is, how do I fill up those points, while keeping in mind that this is a painting challenge that only has 2 1/2 months remaining. Well, I’ve come up with a few options:

templars_initiates

Option 1: More Crusaders

This one is pretty obvious. Templars, as an assault-focused army, benefit from having more bodies on the table, and the obvious targets are the Crusader Squads. 12 models in a squad are okay, but 15 would be better… and this also allows me to take advantage of the new Sword Brethren in the squads. In this option, my Crusader Squads look like this:

Troops: Crusader Squad (225 pts)
8 Initiates with Bolt Pistol & CCW
1 Initiate with Meltagun
1 Sword Brother with Bolt Pistol & Power Sword
5 Neophytes with Bolt Pistol & CCW

Troops: Crusader Squad (225 pts)
8 Initiates with Bolt Pistol & CCW
1 Initiate with Meltagun
1 Sword Brother with Bolt Pistol & Power Sword
5 Neophytes with Bolt Pistol & CCW

Troops: Crusader Squad (214 pts)
3 Initiates with Bolters
1 Initiate with Plasmagun
1 Initiate with Lascannon
1 Sword Brother with Combi-Plasma
1 Razorback (Twin-Linked Lascannon)

The melee squads get more choppy, and the shooting squad gets a bit more shooty. I trade a flamer for a meltagun to crack open armor, and I pass the power weapon off to the Sword Brother. Why a power sword and not an axe? While the extra strength from the axe is nice, he’s mostly there to take challenges, and with only one wound I want him swinging at initiative, and I’ll bank on the Rending provided by the Templars’ new chapter traits. This option gets me up to 1,849 points. Not bad.

templars_honor_guard

Option 2: Honor Guard

One of the benefits of running Helbrecht is that he unlocks Honor Guard, and frankly, they’re murder machines. Two attacks base (three with their bolt pistol), artificer armor, power weapons, and bolters? And they can carry a chapter banner that gives the entire unit an extra attack each? And a champion with one more attack? And they can take relic blades? And they cost less than Terminators? Sign me up. I’d be willing to swap out my Terminators for these. Sure, you lose the invulnerable saves and the thunder hammers, but instead you get a crazy number of attacks. For 10 points less, I can get this:

HQ*: Honor Guard (295 pts)
9 Honor Guard (Chapter Banner)
1 Chapter Champion (Relic Blade)

Run that squad in the Land Raider Crusader with Helbrecht and the Emperor’s Champion, and they almost assuredly kill whatever you point them at, especially if you figure in Helbrecht using his once-per-game Hatred/Fleet ability the turn they come out of the Land Raider. Spend the 10 points saved on Extra Armor for the Land Raider, and you guarantee that it’ll get where it’s going (if it doesn’t get blown up). The Emperor’s Champ gets to benefit from the banner as well, so he’s now 5 attacks on the charge (2 base + 1 pistol + 1 charge + 1 banner), making it likely that he will slay anything he challenges.  The best part about this swap? I still have the points to add the Crusaders in option 1! The downside, though, is that it’s 10 models I don’t currently have, along with a banner. Painting this all up in time for the challenge might be difficult – but if I can get them assembled and primed before the end of the month, who knows?

templars_dreadnought

Option 3: Another Dreadnought

This one’s an option for fast painting, mostly because I already have one built and primed, along with a drop pod. It’s not as effective as more bodies, but it would allow me to drop a big nasty in my opponent’s backfield and tear up armor. Pretty simple, really:

Elite: Dreadnought (135 pts)
1 Dreadnought
1 Drop Pod

Troops: Crusader Squad (194 pts)
4 Initiates with Bolters
1 Initiate with Plasmagun
1 Initiate with Lascannon
1 Razorback (Twin-Linked Lascannon)

The dread gets me up to 135 points, leaving me 14 more – which is perfect for padding out the shooting squad with an extra Initiate. It’s not a terrible option, and definitely the easiest to paint, but I’m not sold on it for effectiveness.

There are other options as well – a Storm Talon, maybe, or a couple of tanks, or even another small shooty Crusader squad without a transport – but these are the first three I’m looking at. They don’t require me to buy much (and even with buying a few extra models for the honor guard, I’d get a ton of extra bits to save), and the first two definitely make the army better.

Tau: 1000 Points, Second Draft

With the tournament on the 18th coming up soon, I’ve been working on revising my 1000-point Tau list, and I’ve decided on a couple of tweaks and revisions:

NOTE:  Thanks to Rathstar’s catching one illegal model which threw off the entire list, I’ve reworked this. Consider this draft 2.1. Thanks, Rathstar!

HQ (55 pts)

  • Ethereal [Honour Blade] (55 pts)

Elites (401 pts)

  • XV8 Crisis Team [2x Shas’Ui w/2x Missile Pod, Flamer; Shas’vre w/2x Missile Pod, Puretide Engram Chip] (191 pts)
  • XV104 Riptide [Ion Accelerator, Twin-linked Fusion Blaster, Early Warning Override, Velocity Tracker] (210 pts)

Troops (255 pts)

  • 10x Fire Warriors with Pulse Rifles (90 pts)
  • 10x Fire Warriors with Pulse Rifles (90 pts)
  • Kroot Carnivore Squad [10x Kroot, 1 Kroot Hound, Sniper Rounds] (75 pts)

Fast Attack (132 pts)

  • 6x Pathfinders (66pts)
  • 6x Pathfinders (66pts)

Heavy Support (156 pts)

  • Hammerhead Gunship [Railgun, Submunition Rounds, Twin-linked Smart Missile System, Disruption pod, Point Defense System, Blacksun Filter] (146 pts)

Total: 999 pts

The changes:

  • Dropped the two Stealth Suit teams in exchange for one Crisis Suit squad. Instead of Burst Cannons and a pair of Fusion Blasters, I’ve decided to pack a set of Deathrains instead. The Early Warning Override and Twin-Linked Missile Pods will allow the team to act as an almost-Skyfire anti-flier team, and the shas’vre with his Puretide chip allows them to be flexible and deadly to just about anything on the table. Bonding knife ritual? Technically useless (I’ll never be below 25% with 3 suits), but I had 3 points left over. The list could just as easily sit at 997 points. I know I could drop the EWO and un-twin-link the pods (and I still might), but for right now we’ll see how this does. I’ve got double missile pods on the suits to try to maximize their firepower, and a Puretide chip on the shas’vre to make the unit a threat to both MCs and vehicles. A pair of flamers gives the unit tools for overwatch as well.
  • Swapped the Riptide’s SMS for Fusion Blasters. Trading shots for armor-cracking capabilities.
  • Gave the Riptide a Velocity Tracker. Having a true Skyfire unit on the table can’t hurt.
  • Added a Blacksun Filter to the Hammerhead. No Hammerhead should be without it, and for only 1 point, why skip it?
  • Dropping the Fireblade. 2 HQs for 1000 points is a bit much, and I can use those points to improve the Crisis Team and the Pathfinders. I lose firepower from one unit, but gain the freedom to move that unit as needed.
  • Using up the extra points. A Point Defense System for the Hammerhead, and an Honour Blade for the Ethereal. I’m running out of things to spend the points on. I suppose I could add one Fire Warrior instead, but I think I’m good with what I’ve got.

I’m hoping that I can get a test game in this week. If not, this variation will go in cold, but I’m familiar enough with Tau toys that I think it’ll have a good run.

In other news, I’m planning on going to the Gateway Grand Tournament in June, and I need to put together a 2,000 single-FOC point list. I’m thinking about expanding upon the list we built on Preferred Enemies. After all, I should put my money where my mouth is, shouldn’t I? And it will be money, because the extra Broadside and Riptide, along with some Fire Warrior bodies to slap Pulse Carbines onto, will cost me a bit of cash.

1000 Point Tau: First Draft

I’ve got a 1000-point tournament on May 18th at our local store, so I think it’ll be a good opportunity to take the new Tau codex out for a spin. I’m wanting to do something a bit different than my older Tau lists, so I’m thinking about going Crisis Suit-less. Fortunately, this is pretty easy to do with the new book. I also want to make sure I have plenty of Markerlight support and a fair amount of anti-infantry firepower while still being able to handle vehicles should they appear. Right now, this is what I’m toying around with:

HQ (110 pts)

  • Cadre Fireblade (60 pts)
  • Ethereal (50 pts)

Elites (380 pts)

  • 3x Stealthsuits [2x Burst Cannon, Fusion Blaster] (95 pts)
  • 3x Stealthsuits [2x Burst Cannon, Fusion Blaster] (95 pts)
  • XV104 Riptide [Ion Accelerator, Twin-linked Smart Missile System, Early warning override] (190 pts)

Troops (255pts)

  • 10x Fire Warriors with Pulse Rifles (90 pts)
  • 10x Fire Warriors with Pulse Rifles (90 pts)
  • Kroot Carnivore Squad [10x Kroot, 1 Kroot Hound, Sniper Rounds] (75 pts)

Fast Attack (110pts)

  • 5x Pathfinders (55 pts)
  • 5x Pathfinders (55 pts)

Heavy Support (145 pts)

  • Hammerhead Gunship [Railgun, Submunition Rounds, Twin-linked Smart Missile System, Disruption pod] (145 pts)

Total: 1000 pts

The Fireblade and Ethereal support the Firewarrior gunline that’s holding the backfield (or moving up, as necessary), the Pathfinders mark targets as needed and stay nearby as well, and the more mobile elements – the stealth teams, Riptide, and Hammerhead – go where needed and put as much fire out as necessary. The Kroot serve either as infiltrating snipers or outflanking objective grabbers, depending on the mission and board layout.

I’m still kicking around ideas and tweaks, though. I’m not sure about 2 HQs in a 1000-point game, but considering how inexpensive these are and how much they support the rest of the force, I think they’re worthwhile. Still, I could maybe drop either the Fireblade or the Ethereal and use the points savings elsewhere. For example, I could a drop the Fireblade, a Pathfinder from each team, and one Stealthsuit (merging the two squads into one) and use the points to drop in a Skyray for some Skyfire capability. Or, even better, just drop the Fireblade and Stealthsuit and put in a single Broadside with Missile Pods, a Velocity Tracker, and a Seeker missile. I’d trade off the Fireblade’s Volley Fire, but It’d trade it for much stronger, more versatile firepower overall.

Anyway, still tossing around ideas. Meanwhile, I have a halfway-built Riptide sitting on my hobby table (waiting for some magnets) and a couple of new Broadside boxes on my hobby shelves waiting to be assembled, along with some plastic Pathfinders. I just need to track down an Ethereal, and I should be golden. I’ve never actually owned one  – there was no point before the new codex!

Slaanesh: A Little From Column A, A Little From Column B

Like many people, I’ve been trying to decipher the riddle of Chaos Marine troops, and I keep vacillating between Cultists, Chaos Marines, and Noise Marines. Looking again at the core of my list right now, I’ve got:

HQ: Chaos Lord w/Mark of Slaanesh, Aura of Dark Glory, Power Sword, Chaos Bike, Veterans of the Long War – 135
Troops: 9 Noise Marines w/8 Sonic Blasters, 1 Blastmaster; Noise Champion – 234
Troops: 9 Noise Marines w/8 Sonic Blasters, 1 Blastmaster; Noise Champion – 234
Fast Attack: 4 Chaos Bikers w/Mark of Slaanesh, Icon of Excess, 2 Meltaguns,Veterans of the Long War; Biker Champion – 180
Heavy Support: 4 Chaos Havocs w/4 Autocannons, Veterans of the Long War; Aspiring Champion – 120
Fortification: Aegis Defense Line w/Quad Gun – 100

Obviously, I’ve got a couple of troops choices, and they’re dedicated shooty units. I’ve got a Fast assault unit and a Heavy shooty unit, but I think I need a bit more assault capability there. I’d been leaning towards an assault-focused Marine squad (either Noise Marines or Slaanesh-marked Chaos Marines), but I’m just not entirely sold on one. They’re not bad by any means – they’re fast to strike, tough as any marine, have grenades, and have Feel No Pain – but they’re still just marines in combat. Chaos Marines aren’t fearless, Noise Marines are more expensive and less flexible in equipment (but can bring a Doom Siren), and both are stuck foot-slogging across the table and can fail charges as easily as any other non-Fleet unit. Also, running them in larger units – a requirement for those armies that want to assault when Combat Squads aren’t an option – gets prohibitively expensive very quickly. So, what am I left with? Let’s look at Cultists.

Cultists have two things going for them. First, they’re very, very inexpensive. 10 Cultists, including a champion, only cost 50 points before any upgrades. Second, they can be taken in large numbers – up to 35 models per unit. After that, though, they start falling apart quickly. They’re frail, weak, not terribly skilled, and have a poor Leadership score. Using them as an assault unit means trying to bounce them from cover to cover, hoping that they don’t get taken apart by gunfire along the way. They will get taken apart, too; a low toughness and nearly useless armor save combine to ensure they’ll die in droves, giving them more opportunities to break. If they do manage to arrive, they still have the issues of making the assault that the Marines do. They don’t even have any chance to damage vehicles, so they’re really no threat to much of anything other than small isolated units. That’s not to say they’re useless, though. I like the idea of them being a counter-assault unit, something that can use their numbers defensively to sit in cover on an objective and make life difficult for anything that wants to charge in. That’s why I like the autogun/Mark of Slaanesh combo – it pumps out lots of shots, even moreso in overwatch, and can answer an assault at the same time as a standard MEQ unit.

I still don’t have my assault unit, though, and while there’s some good Elite choices, I still want something that can be scoring, and I want it to be thematic. To that end, I started looking at the Daemons codex and Daemonettes. I happen to have 10 painted up, and another 30 primed and ready to go, so it’s an easy add-in to my army model-wise. I would have to add in an HQ since it’s an allied detachment, but I’ve got a couple of models to use as Heralds as well. While the Daemonettes aren’t necessarily tougher than Cultists – they’re both toughness 3 – they’re definitely less fragile. They’ve got the 5+ invulnerable save, which means they won’t auto-die to every weapon in the game, and even if they do take casualties, they’re Fearless, which ensures that they won’t break and run. As far as getting into assault, they’re Fleet, which gives them a huge advantage over every other assault-focused troop choice I can run; I can all but guarantee they’ll make the charge. They strike before most other units, have grenades to ensure that they act at initiative, have 4 attacks each on the charge, and have rending, ensuring that they’re a threat to everything. The Herald is no slouch, either, as she’ll have an extra attack and Transfixing Gaze (because why wouldn’t you spend the 5 points on it) to ensure she has the upper hand in challenges. Add in Eternal Warrior to ensure she can’t get one-shotted, and you’ve got a unit that can hunt characters, squads, and vehicles equally well.

So, how many? I’m thinking 17 Daemonettes and the Herald. It’s a good-sized blob squad, which you’ll want for assault; these units aren’t tough enough to run as MSU assault squads. 18 is three times 6, which makes it nicely fluffy, and gives you enough points left over to throw some upgrades around your army. If fluff isn’t important, you can go with 15 or 20, but I wouldn’t go much less than that. Since the squad is Fearless, you don’t have to worry about gaming the 25% casualty point, and with their invulnerable save being the same as most pieces of cover, you can just run them out in the open (although I would try to use LoS-blocking terrain to keep them out of too many firing lanes). If you absolutely wanted to double-up on squads, you could try two Heralds (since you can fit 2 in the HQ slot) and two 8-man Daemonette squads, but I think they’d be too fragile to make it to combat safely. If you’d rather have the ability to move enemy units around, the Masque is an attractive choice, with her 3++ save and triple Pavane, but the lack of Transfixing Gaze makes her a little weaker in challenges, so for now I’m going to stick with the Herald and maybe sub in the Masque later to try things out.

So, what does my list look like now? With the new additions, and some points thrown around for upgrades, I’m looking at something like this:

HQ: Chaos Lord w/Mark of Slaanesh, Sigil of Corruption, Power Sword, Chaos Bike, Veterans of the Long War – 145
Troops: 9 Noise Marines w/8 Sonic Blasters, 1 Blastmaster; Noise Champion – 234
Troops: 9 Noise Marines w/8 Sonic Blasters, 1 Blastmaster; Noise Champion – 234
Troops: 24 Cultists w/22 Autoguns, 2 Flamers, Mark of Slaanesh; Cultist Champion – 167
Fast Attack:
 4 Chaos Bikers w/Mark of Slaanesh, Icon of Excess, 2 Meltaguns,Veterans of the Long War; Biker Champion w/Combi-Melta, Meltabombs – 195
Heavy Support: 4 Chaos Havocs w/4 Autocannons, Mark of Slaanesh, Veterans of the Long War; Aspiring Champion – 130
Fortification: Aegis Defense Line w/Quad Gun – 100
HQ: Herald of Slaanesh w/Transfixing Gaze – 55
Troops: 17 Daemonettes of Slaanesh – 238

The plan for the army is simple: the Noise Marines soften up infantry, while Havocs, manning the Quad-Gun, handle vehicles. The Bikes pull double-duty, hunting down vehicles and tougher infantry. The Cultists stay behind the line and hold a point. While all this goes on, the Daemons drop in and chase after any target of opportunity and harass the enemy’s back lines. How well this will play out, we’ll see. I’ll experiment with this, and other variants. Perhaps two smaller Cultist squads, or Marines instead of Daemonettes. For now, though, this looks to be an interesting list to try out.

Slaanesh: Building on the Backbone

I think I have the backbone of my revised Slaanesh CSM army figured out. Right now, it’s looking like this:

HQ: Chaos Lord w/Mark of Slaanesh, Aura of Dark Glory, Power Sword, Chaos Bike, Veterans of the Long War – 135
Troops: 9 Noise Marines w/8 Sonic Blasters, 1 Blastmaster; Noise Champion – 234
Troops: 9 Noise Marines w/8 Sonic Blasters, 1 Blastmaster; Noise Champion – 234
Fast Attack: 4 Chaos Bikers w/Mark of Slaanesh, Icon of Excess, 2 Meltaguns,Veterans of the Long War; Biker Champion – 180
Heavy Support: 4 Chaos Havocs w/4 Autocannons, Veterans of the Long War; Aspiring Champion – 120
Fortification: Aegis Defense Line w/Quad Gun – 100

This comes in at just over 1000 points, and gives me some core capabilities:

  • The Lord and Bikers provide a fast, tough assault unit with anti-armor capabilities
  • The troops give me two Fearless units that can put out a deadly barrage of fire that ignores cover
  • The Havocs and ADL provide a steady supply of autocannon fire that can be equally deadly to light vehicles, light infantry, and fliers (and the extra Leadership from Veterans helps keep them from breaking)

The next step is figuring out where to go from here and filling in the next 497 points to get to 1500. Do I expand my assault capabilities? Do I add more troops? More heavy support? It’s not like there’s any lack of options in the Chaos Marine codex, even if I just limit it to vehicles and Slaanesh-marked units (and unaligned ones). I’m playing around with a few ideas that I can possibly mix and match. Some possibilities include:

Troops: 24 Cultists w/2 Flamers, 22 Autoguns, Mark of Slaanesh; Cultist Champion – 167
I’ve tried playing around with Cultists as an aggressive assault unit, and unless they’re in huge numbers and/or have a lot of cover available (which slows them down), they tend to die before they can really contribute. Instead, I’m thinking of using them as a shooting objective-holding unit that’s hard to assault safely. Sitting them on an objective in cover or behind the ADL, I can keep them alive longer, and while they may not be great shots and have weak guns, they put out a massive number of shots. Between the flamers and the rapid-firing guns, assaulting them’s not a safe bet either.

Troops: 9 Noise Marines w/9 Close Combat Weapons, 0 Boltguns, Icon of Exces, Veterans of the Long War; Noise Champion w/Doom Siren, Power Weapon; Rhino w/Dirge Caster – 290
Instead of using them as a shooting unit, this unit tries to use Noise Marines as a dedicated assault unit. High initiative, good armor, and FNP helps to ensure that they get their strikes in, and the champ is no slouch with his MEQ-killing template and power sword. Hopefully, competent placement of the Rhino will keep them safe from overwatch shots as well. A bit pricy, though.

Troops: 9 Chaos Marines w/9 Close Combat Weapons, 0 Boltguns, Mark of Slaanesh, Icon of Excess, Veterans of the Long War; Aspiring Champion w/Power Sword; Rhino w/Dirge Caster – 255
Same idea as the previous unit, and noticeably cheaper, but without the Doom Siren goodness to melt enemy faces. Very similar to the above, but an option if you want to shave off a few points. Also not Fearless, so they could get swept in combat if they break.

Fast Attack: 5 Chaos Spawn w/Mark of Slaanesh – 165
A unit for quickly rushing the enemy and hitting them with (hopefully) a ton of attacks. The Mark makes sure they go simultaneously with most MEQ armies; while they may not survive the fight (although with Toughness 5 and 3 Wounds each, they might), they’re likely to make a big, messy dent.

HQ: Chaos Lord w/Mark of Slaanesh, Aura of Dark Glory, Power Sword, Steed of Slaanesh, Veterans of the Long War – 135
Not a replacement for the Biker Lord, but a companion for the Chaos Spawn if I go in that direction. Together, the unit’s just slightly more expensive than the Noise Marine assault squad.

Heavy Support: 4 Chaos Havocs w/4 Autocannons, Veterans of the Long War; Aspiring Champion – 120
Yes, it’s a repeat, and it’ll double my kit-bashing requirements, but it’s a solid unit; running 2 is not a bad thing.

Fast Attack: 4 Raptors w/Mark of Slaanesh, Icon of Excess, 2xMeltaguns, Veterans of the Long War; 1 Raptor Champion w/2x Lightning Claws – 195
A classic Raptor unit, and one that fulfills much the same role as my Bikers do. Not quite as tough as the bikes, and slightly more expensive, but still nasty.

Heavy Support: Chaos Predator w/Autocannon, Lascannon Sponsons – 115
A reliable little workhorse, although those sponsons are Snapshotting if it moves. Slightly cheaper than Havocs, but more fragile in general and with less firepower.

This just scratches the surface of what choices I have, but these were the ones that seemed most reliable in doing their jobs. Now it’s time for decisions, decisions, decisions.