Sunday, November 11, 2018

Weekend Fun List: Custodes + Sisters 2k

Played a really fun game versus Chaos yesterday.

I didn't manage to snag my opponents list fully but I can sum it up
2 x Khorne Charaters (reroll wound and hits)
1 x Slaanesh Character
3 x Rhinos w/ 8 Beserkers in each
Large 20+ man noise marine squad
40 cultists
2 x 10 cultists
20 or 30 Tzaangors

My list:
Custodes Outrider Det- 1652 pts, +1 CP
HQ- Shield Capt on Dawneagle Jetbike: Relic- Auric Aquilis, Hurricane Bolter, Misercordia, Lance, Warlord (Impregnable Mind)- 164 pts
HQ- Shield Capt on Dawneagle Jetbike: Salvo Launcher, Misercordia, Lance- 179 pts
Elites- Vexilus Praetor: Storm Shield, Vexila Defensor- 115 pts
Fast Attack- Caladius Grav Tank: Twin Illiastus Accelerator Cannon, Twin Lastrum Bolt Cannon- 315 pts
Fast Attack- Caladius Grav Tank: Twin Illiastus Accelerator Cannon, Twin Lastrum Bolt Cannon- 315 pts
Fast Attack- Vertus Praetors (6): 6 x Lance, 6 x Hurricane Bolters, 6 x Misercordia- 564 pts
Sisters of Battle Battalion Det-348 pts, +5CP
HQ- Canoness: Power Sword, Storm Bolter- 51 pts
HQ- Canoness: Chain Sword, Boltgun- 45 pts
Troops- Battle Sister Squad (5): Sister Superior w/ Storm Bolter, Chainsword, Bolt Pistol, 4 x Sisters w/ Boltguns- 47 pts
Troops- Battle Sister Squad (5): Sister Superior w/ Storm Bolter, Chainsword, Bolt Pistol, 4 x Sisters w/ Boltguns- 47 pts
Troops- Battle Sister Squad (6): Sister Superior w/ Storm Bolter, Chainsword, Bolt Pistol, 4 x Sisters w/ Boltguns, 1 x Sister w/ Metlagun- 73 pts
Heavy Support- Retributor Squad (5): Sister Superior w/ Boltgun, Chainsword, Bolt Pistol, 4 x Sisters w/ Heavy Bolters- 85 pts

Really, the bikes did all the work for me. His noise marines very quickly wiped out my Sisters, which was a bummer because I had hope to get some acts of faith action off with them, especially the Retributors. But they gave me the CP I needed to work it with my Custodes. +1 to overwatch and Swooping Dive really are great things. If you are looking for an alternative to the 32 guardsmen for some CP, consider sisters.

Friday, November 2, 2018

SOLO: A SCIENCE STORY- 12 Parsecs Conundrum

With each new Star Wars movie that comes out, I find myself being critical of the Science in it. I understand is it Space Fantasy and should not be taken seriously. And I don't. I LOVE Star Wars and find each of them highly entertaining in their own way. But that does not mean that I can't be critical of certain details THAT RUIN THE TOTALITY OF STAR WARS.
A hint of where I am going with this
Hold on, I don't mean to say this franchise we LOVE is ruined. But take a moment to read my previous Science based posts about how Star Killer base is ultimately a worse weapon than the Original Death Star and how I predicted how the infamous Solo shield bypass maneuver makes the "War" part of Star Wars pointless by itself being a super kamikaze weapon. Then my next post about how said Kamikaze maneuver in TLJ was not NEARLY powerful enough and is really a better move than using something like the Death Star.

See what I mean when I say "Star Wars is ruined"?

What are my qualifications to talk about such things? Well I am a member of the 501st legion (AT-AT driver), own all the old dictionaries and technical books and have watched the movies like a million times...

Oh, you mean the science part. Well I have a Master's Degree in Applied Physics, specifically focused on shock physics/weaponeering. I guess that counts for something.

ANYWAY, let me tell you that even though the new Solo: A Star Wars story "fixed" the Parsec conundrum of time vs distance, it still leave a huge gaping hole in the form of WHY IS A PARSEC EVEN A UNIT OF MEASURE TO THEM!

Related image
For those not in the know, a Parsec is used to measure the distance to another star using the  reference dimension of AUs, which is the specific distance between our Earth and our Sun. It's more of a perception of scale dimension, because when you are dealing with the space between astronomic bodies in the universe normal units give no concept of scale.

Which is funny because Parsecs don't either because of how ridiculously big space is. See below


That line above, well it isn't a line..... its a triangle
for the parsec calculation for the closet star

And actually its worse than that. 1 AU is 4.8481e-6 Parsecs. If that line is 1 pixel thick, I would need a line 4.8 million pixels long for it to work. 

Now you might say maybe its the the parsec of a different planet and its sun. Well fine maybe that's what's supposed to be, but that is the measurement equivalent of measuring feet using your actual foot. They aren't all the same, so you "6 feet" would be different than mine. Or Bigfoots for that matter.
They are both "One Foot" right?
Point is, in a Galaxy with tens of thousands of planets and thousands of species from all over, it would be weird to base the standard unit of measurement off of any one planet.

Now you may say "What about Coruscant" and that is kinda fair. It has only been the seat of the Republic and the Empire for a little over 1,000 years.... however there was Hyperspace Travel well before that (it is over 4,000 years old by the time the First Order comes into existence). So it would likely have to be something well before that. And in the wake of the Galatic Civil War, Coruscant stops mattering. In the end it is just silly to base a galactic standard off the orbit of a single planet.

A more appropriate unit would be based on a degree of rotation of the galaxy, or a distance between the 2 brightest objects, or the distance you cover at hyperspeed in a galactic day (whatever that standard is. We are only covering one here). Basically something a little more galactically tangible.

So now that I have ranted about why a Parsec is even a measure of distance in the Star Wars universe, lets go into why doing the Kessel Run in 12 of them is still relatively dumb.

And I know the line is LESS than 12 Parsecs, but 1- he admits he was rounding down in SOLO and 2- it is easier for me to just use 12 moving forward.
First of all, Han Solo took a shortcut. He is bragging he is so fast, but really its just a different distance? Would a marathon runner be like "I'm so fast I ran those 26 miles in 15 miles"... No. That just means you cheated. Sure its awesome Han was able to take a short cut the the Maw, but not really relevant to his speed.

Up until this point, I haven't said how far a Parsec actually is. Well for our purposes, lets say that this is a magical universal constant, so it exactly matches our Parsec. That would mean a Parsec is 3.262 Light Years (which is another reference specific to Earth, but that is beside the point. It works for my purposes here). That means 12 of them is 39.144 Light Years. FYI, the Star Wars Galaxy is only 120,000 Light Years wide, meaning that Han's Kessel Run covered ~.01% of the breadth of the Galaxy. The NORMAL Kessel Run is 20 Parsecs, meaning it would be ~.016% the breadth of the Galaxy or 65 Light Years. So roughly the Galatic Neighborhood. For reference, the nearest star to Earth is Proxima Centari and it is 4.25 Light Years away. Now whats odd is the Kessel Run is through that huge cloud, called the Akkadese Maelstrom. What we see in the film is on the way in, they make these short skips through hyperspace and then fly a little in real space, and on the way out our heroes do alot of initial flying in real space, then one long shot jump in Hyperspace. Now the Falcon is actually slow in realspace. It does a made up speed of "3000 G" to a Tie Fighters "4,150 G". Now it does have a atmospheric speed of 1200 KPH, but this is Space. Lets say G is once again magically related to our accepted G on Earth. 9.81 meters per second per second... yes per second per second. Its acceleration. So it is silly for speed. But lets just call it a constant 9.81 meters per second for this rating. That means the Falcon at sublight speeds goes 29.4 Km/s. That is fast... but light is 300,000 Km/s. FYI the fastest ship we ever launched, the New Horizons probe, only did 16 Km/s. So, that means even at full blast sublight, Han did NOTHING to chip off the distance. Every minute of realspace flight he does only saves him .6% of a light second of travel. Not light year. Light second. Meaning most of the flight through this "Maelstrom" actually had to be through stable, reliable and LONG hyperspace corridors. I am talking on the order of distance between stars long. So really it doesn't make sense IMO. 
So lets talk about  Hyperspace speeds. There is a pretty cool article where someone deduces the actual speed of the Millennium Falcon. I'll let you read it, but essentially he uses the scale of the galaxy and an estimated times to travel from Tatooine to the space formerly occupied by Alderaan. He comes up with 25,000 Lightyears per day, and then equates that to ".5 past lightspeed", which it really isn't, but that could just be Jargon. It would mean 20k LY/day is .4, 15k LY/day is .3 etc. etc. Kinda like a Warp Factor from Star Trek.

So with that in mind, that means it would take the Falcon normally only about 4 minutes of Hyperspace Travel,  plus whatever realspace time, to do the Kessel Run, but Han managed to get it done in just 2.25 minutes. Big Whoop. No one cares.

BUT in the Movie Solo, these scenes are several minutes long. But we can just attribute most of that to hyperspace. As i showed earlier, realspace travel offers no real savings in comparison to the scale hyperspace crosses.

SO now lets back track. Lets say he did that Run in 3 to 5 minutes of hyperspace, ignoring the realspace time. Seems plausible based on what we see on screen. Now we will use our known speed of the Falcon based on other ON SCREEN references, at 25k LY/day. That means 1041 LY/hour, meaning he had to travel between 52.05 to 86.75 light years in his Kessel Run.

This would make a Parsec between 4.34 Light Years and 7.23 Light Years in Star Wars scale, given that he covered 12 of them in that distance. That is 132% to 222% what a Parsec in relation to Earth is. Now using Pythagorean geometry, we can find out just how close to a star Han's parsec reference planet is.

Turns out that is only 124 to 206 million miles away from their star. For comparison, the Earth is 93 million miles from the sun. Mars is 129 million miles and the Asteroid Belt is 205 million miles from the Sun. That is 1.33 AU to 2.21 AU for our star wars reference point.

So not too extreme...

But while thats within the realm of possibilities...

Why would you brag so much about only being like a minute faster that the other guyn especially if once you come to real space, the real time eater in Star Wars space travel, you are pathetically slower than everything else. Your minute leg up over 99.9999% of the journey means nothing if it takes you 10 minites more than the other guy to do the the last .0001% of that trip.

Monday, October 29, 2018

A Modest Proposal - Grey Knights

I have a couple of modest proposals to put forth for the Silver Tin-Cans of Daemon-Hate. 

Interesting possible changes, that probably won't happen.

1. Psychic
This is a place that has a lot of potential for GK. It's one of the areas they just should be better at, but the rules of 8th edition kinda forced them into just being bad smiters.
A simple idea is that they just have more tables. Picking up SM's Liberius Table and dropping it into GK isn't to tall of a order.

But a more interesting option is to expand how their current table works. Something similar to the Eldar Runes of Battle table, that cool dual power system GW came up with, that hasn't been replicated once.

Sanctic Table (Modified):

1. Purge Soul (As is, but enemy unit has -1 to cast until next friendly psychic phase) / 
    Reinforce Soul (Ignore Morale, unit has +1 to deny until next friendly psychic phase)

2. Gate of Infinity / 
    Wall of Infinity (Cast on a friendly unit, when charged treated as 2" further away).

3. Hammerhand / 
    Bladehand (Unit gains +1 Attack)

4. Sanctuary /
    Desecration (Enemy unit within 12" has -1 to saves)

5. Astral Aim /
    Astral Reach (Add 6" to range of weapons)

6. Vortex of Doom / 
    Might of Doom (target self, to-wound rolls of 6+ in close combat cause 1 Mortal wound)

Other than that really anything could help. Characters having normal smite, units can swap smite for Hammerhand, or GK can have multiple castings of the same power but each iteration has -1 to cast.

2. Deep Strike
We're kind of in a weird place right now. BIG FAQ 2 dropped a bomb on how reserves work, and GK definitely felt it. They're a assault army with mostly 24" range guns. But I do see a chance to balance the game with tactical options.

A lot of armies including GK have a stratagem that lets you deep-strike a unit/or units. What if those Strats were expanded to also allow turn-one reserves. Then there'd be a cost associated with turn-1 sucker punches.

Alternatively, a good fix would be to change a GK warlord trait (which they have many bad ones) to allow a certain number of units for turn 1 arrival.

3. Wargear
GK melee weapons need a re-work, and lot of it comes down to point costs. Units in general should get a little cheaper, but the melee weapons should actually have differing point costs.

Gk guns also need a complete overhaul. They need to come down or be changed to Assault weapons. In a strike squad it just doesn't make sense to give up a CCW and a Storm Bolter for the privilege of spending more points. You can't use incinerators out of deep-strike and being heavy makes the others cost prohibitive.
Honestly I'd like see Psycannon changed to Rapid Fire 2 and the Psilencer just be assault. But I'd settle on them dropping in points.

4. Mordrak

This is just a personal gripe of mine. Mordrak should get rules again. He's a magic Space knight with a retinue of imaginary friends (who happen to be terminators).

Even I'm not sure why my name had to be Voldus

5. Units
A big part of why Gk suck right now isn't because they don't have units, it's that a lot of their units are terrible and/or actively competing with each other with little gain.

5a. GK in Terminator Armour
Ideally points across the board should drop a little, a big part of why terminators are expensive is because they have natural deep-strike, which no longer works turn one so maybe that should factor into their points cost.

I'd argue that Paladins could get away with being bumped to tough 5 and gain the ability to cast two powers. They are naturally/unnaturally/mary-sue (would that be Joe-Smith or something?) superior beings that can fight Daemon princes in their underwear.

5b. GK in Power Armour
Attacks. Strikes, or least Purifiers, should just get +1 attack to their stat line. They are just to ridiculously expensive to have a Tactical squad stat-line.

Purifiers should drop to 3-10 squad sizes, just like paladins (They're are literally only 44 of them in existence). They don't have "Brotherhood of Psykers" so they are limited by the smite +1 per casting. Its just a simple change that lets you fill out points better and have slightly more units.

Interceptors are just more expensive Strikes that move faster. You can't make them cheaper without creating a superior option. So instead of making them cheaper just give them something that makes them different. They're playing it loose with phasing in and out of reality, give them a -1 to hit or a rule that lets them teleport close enough to enemy units to use incinerators but forbids them from charging.

Purgation squads are a tricky thing, if the guns got better/cheaper they'd probably be good as is. But a simple addition for them would be the ability to always cast Astral Aim on themselves, even if someone has already cast it.

5c. Dreadknights

Either make their guns assault or give them relentless. A big reason why Grand Master DK replaced them is they highlighted exactly why DKs became bad and presented a immediate replacement unit. They just need to hit more with their expensive war-gear while on the move.

A cute trick would be to make the GMDK only buff DKs, maybe even giving a relentless aura.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Starting AoS: Tamurkhan's Horde First Steps

So I've decided to make the plunge. I am starting an AoS army. Why now? Well AoS 2.0 seemed to relaunch a lot of interest. I also move alot and have an active AoS community where I currently live. Figured having an army I could use would only be a good thing.

I wanted something relatively small, but unique in the meta and fun on the table top and to hobby. When the Tamurkhan's Horde pdf for AoS dropped, I knew it was perfect for me. I wanted something that would be fun and quick to build and paint, and I've always had fun painting Nurgle units. The Horde is a very assault oriented army with a rapid movement forward (I am a Blood Angel's player at heart), and it is unique and gimmicky (like my horse army). It is a perfect opportunity for some conversions along side some sweet forgeworld models. Bonus, the army is relatively low model count and isn't super competitive, so I don't have to worry about changing it or keeping it optimal. Sometimes it will hit like a ton of bricks and break people. Other times it won't. And I'm okay with that. This army truly is purely for the fun of it.
To sum up, Tamurkhan's Horde checks all the boxes I was looking for, so I went with it. I am already working on a 9th Age/WHFB 8th Ed Lizardmen Army and endless summoning doesn't seem like my bag, so Seraphon was kinda out. Chaos Dwarves were just TOO Expensive, and Beast of Chaos didn't have a battletome... yet. More on that to come.

This list I finally settled on
So I started with one of the Battalions from the T-Horde pdf. But the most I thought about that the more I realized it stunk and was a waste of points. I know I said this army wasn't meant to be competitive, but I also don't want to intentionally make TERRIBLE choices when there are better options that are just as fluffy but way more useful AND have opportunities to be creative.

I knew I was going to include the Maggot Lord himself, Tamurkahn. What's the point of the army if you don't include him. Kazyk the Befould also seemed like a no-brainer, and I originally rounded them off with just a Sorceror.

I also knew I still wanted 18 Plague Ogors at the core with 3 Bile Troggoths. This is the basis of the battalion and seemed fun. Just the added battalion was useless. The debate came down to 3 units of 6 Ogors or a unit of 12 and a unit of 6. The first way gave me 3 battlelines, but fewer points to work with, while the 3rd method gave me only 2 battleline meaning I would need a 3rd, but saved me some significant points with the full unit discount.

Knowing that I started looking around for another battleline... which at first only left me with marauders and warriors. Neither of these choices ever really excited me. I really wanted plague monks, but they were only battle line for Clan Pestilens. BUT looking into them made me realize how WORTH IT a Plague Priest with Plague Censer was in my army, so my characters grew by one and left me with a measly 160 points.
Beastmen from the Throne of Chaos book
At NOVA I had already procured my Ogor models and I had at this point basically resigned myself to just doing 20 marauders and an endless spell for the remaining points. And then Beast of Chaos dropped. And while I couldn't get Nurgle Marked beasts or pestigors into that 160 point slot, I COULD fit 20 normal gors, and these instantly excited me more. One, I had been considering Beasts of Chaos BEFORE picking T-Horde. Two, they are fast and assaulty and fit PERFECT with the theme of the Horde, even if they aren't especially boosted by its abilities. BUT that was really a third part of the attraction. They make the perfect unit that can operate OUTSIDE the command influence of my characters and can serve as objective holders, speed bumps or tarpit. And they were exactly 160 points. All the more perfect. The only debate I still have out on them is do I go with 2 units of 10 or one large unit of all 20. I feel some playtesting is required there.

I managed to snap up 18 Ogor bodies and some random bags of weapons bits for cheap at the NOVA Open from the Toledo Game Room (the bestest most amazing vendor on the planet). With that purchase made, some cool old chaos bits I had, and some green stuff, I went to town.
And now to start painting!
Still have a ways to go, but it is a start and pretty fun so far from a creativity perspective.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Sisters of Silence - 3 Immediate Changes that should happen

This small, largely neglected, force in 40k is really in an unfortunate spot. With Sisters of Battle on the Horizon in 2019, and Forge World not really doing much for them or 40k in general, they really can't and won't get any love in the future. They are stuck in this perpetual state of meh, and the current rules surrounding them make it even worse.
If you don't know much about them, they have 3 Elites Choices. You can take them in a Vanguard Det of JUST SoS, but gain no command benefits (this includes CP). Combine that with a somewhat mediocre stat line AND the fact they are Index only, and you are left with virtually no reason to play them.

And while it would be great to get prosecutors with the dual pistols and their sweet FW transport, there are really only 3 changes, NONE OF WHICH REQUIRE NEW MODELS, that GW would need to do, and could do OVERNIGHT with a simple update to the Index FAQ
CHANGE 1- Make Prosecutors Troops- Simple change. If Custodes have troops, they should to. They are just Bolter ladies. But critical in order to make them playable (ie, get around the rule of 3) and useful in context of the next 2 changes.

CHANGE 2- Add an HQ Choice- GW should do exactly what they did with Custodes: make it so you can make an HQ out of the box. Essentially make up a Knight Commander Stat-line, just like they did for a Shield Captain, and allow it to pick the wargear in the box (sword, flamer, bolter). Give it some special ability, probably an enhanced Deny the Witch or something of the sort.
CHANGE 3- Add an ELITES Choice Command Squad- They key here is a squad with min squad size of 4. Limit- 1 per knight commander. See what I did there! You get 5 in a box! If you make a Knight Commander, you'd have 4 models left over... PERFECT FOR A COMMAND SQUAD. Probably stick just with Bolters and give them a 2+ BS. Or maybe same stat line, and allow mixed weapons. IDK. Point is to make a 4 woman squad possible.

Simple. Done. All can be done via an FAQ. You're welcome GW. No credit needed. Just please implement these changes and make such a unique fluffy little force practical!