Monday, September 18, 2017

Allies of Inconvenience- Episode 6: "Marine Biology" and Malal

I know we have lapsed a few months. I had to move from CA to VA and then get ready for and go to NOVA. Last few weeks have put a delay as well for a family emergency, but through all the delays, we still got it done.
Listen/Subscribe with iTunes 

This month we do quick discussion on our hobby progress and do some NOVA recap, followed by some great discussion on the fluff Space Marines and their enhanced physiology and then we go over Chris' theorgy regarding the Chaos god "Malal" and the recent fluff developments surrounding 8th edition 40k. Make sure to read the accompanying article for this one, available here!

00:00 Intro03:36 Hobby Progress
24:26 Space Marine Physiology
46:11 Malal Theory

Songs and SoundclipsBlue Mark- Atlan
Urtag Kaap mere- Bugotak
Clip 1 - The Last Laser Master Teaser (Aurlanauts Youtube)
Clip 2 - It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia
Clip 3 - Balls of Fury

Friday, September 8, 2017

Fear the Cavalry! My converted all Death Rider army at NOVA

So I know I have been kinda quite the last few months. I had a Master Thesis to finish (in applied Physics), a cross country move/vacation (23 days CA to VA with a wedding in the middle), bought a house and then painted like a MADMAN for NOVA!
And what did I paint? Well what about 80 Death Riders and a Thunderbolt Fighter (now known as Pegasus)... Yeah I was kinda insane. But I did it. And man was it worth it. I made finalist for Army Appearance (top 14 of 220) and probably placed around 6th or 7th... and I will admit, I still have some detail work to do, so super pleased with these results. I'll get some better close ups and info on them up in the coming months.
2k List
Outrider Det+1 CP
HQ- Death Rider Squadron Commander- Hotshot Laspistol, Demo Charge, Grenades, Lance, Horse w/ Savage Claws
HQ- Death Rider Squadron Commander- Hotshot Laspistol, Demo Charge, Grenades, Lance, Horse w/ Savage Claws
Elites- Command Squad (4)- Laspitols, Grenades, Lances, Horses w/ Savage Claws
Elites- Command Squad (4)- Laspitols, Grenades, Lances, Horses w/ Savage Claws
Fast Attack- Death Rider Squadron (10)- Laspistols, Grenades, Lances, Horses w/ Savage Claws
Fast Attack- Death Rider Squadron (10)- Laspistols, Grenades, Lances, Horses w/ Savage Claws
Fast Attack- Death Rider Squadron (6)- Laspistols, Grenades, Lances, Horses w/ Savage Claws
Flyer- Thunderbolt Heavy Fighter- Twin Lascannon, 2 x Twin Autocannons, Tactical Bombs

Outrider Det+1 CP
HQ- Death Rider Squadron Commander- Laspistol, Demo Charge, Grenades, Lance, Horse w/ Savage Claws
HQ- Death Rider Squadron Commander- Laspistol, Demo Charge, Grenades, Lance, Horse w/ Savage Claws
Elites- Command Squad (4)- Laspitols, Grenades, Lances, Horses w/ Savage Claws
Elites- Command Squad (4)- Laspitols, Grenades, Lances, Horses w/ Savage Claws
Fast Attack- Death Rider Squadron (10)- Laspistols, Grenades, Lances, Horses w/ Savage Claws
Fast Attack- Death Rider Squadron (10)- Laspistols, Grenades, Lances, Horses w/ Savage Claws
Fast Attack- Death Rider Squadron (10)- Laspistols, Grenades, Lances, Horses w/ Savage Claws
Heavy Support- Thunderer Siege Tanks (2)- 2 Tanks ea w/ Demolisher Cannon, HK missile, Heavy Stubber

1k List (for Trios)
Outrider Det+1 CP
HQ- Death Rider Squadron Commander- Plasma Pistol, Demo Charge, Grenades, Lance, Horse w/ Savage Claws
HQ- Death Rider Squadron Commander- Hotshot Laspistol, Demo Charge, Grenades, Lance, Horse w/ Savage Claws
Elites- Command Squad (4)- Laspitols, Grenades, Lances, Horses w/ Savage Claws
Elites- Command Squad (4)- Laspitols, Grenades, Lances, Horses w/ Savage Claws
Fast Attack- Death Rider Squadron (10)-  1 x Hotshot Laspistol, Laspistols, Grenades, Lances, Horses w/ Savage Claws
Fast Attack- Death Rider Squadron (10)-  1 x Hotshot Laspistol, Laspistols, Grenades, Lances, Horses w/ Savage Claws
Fast Attack- Death Rider Squadron (10)- Laspistols, Grenades, Lances, Horses w/ Savage Claws
Fast Attack- Death Rider Squadron (6)- Laspistols, Grenades, Lances, Horses w/ Savage Claws
Flyer- Thunderbolt Heavy Fighter- Twin Lascannon, 2 x Twin Autocannons

I won my standalone trios game and 2 of my 6 GT games, loosing 1 of those by 1 point in a highly contested game vs Tyranids. Had we played more turns than 3 (I know, I know) it could have easily swung back my way.  Tabled by Ynnari 2 times though. But to me the weakness in the list was the 2 Thunderer Siege Tanks.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

The Most Powerful Daemon God

"Who is most powerful Daemon God?" is one of those questions that forces sides largely on personal tastes. Pepsi or Coke. Apple or PC. Change, Blood, Party, or Pestilence. They're all equal options that seem to exist and aren't going away anytime soon.

But clearly this is the internet and I must have an opinion. My answer to "Who's the most Powerful of them all" is a part of a larger mystery I’ve become fixated on and the below sections contain possible proof I've found to convince you too of my madness.

1. What is a Daemon God?

The four Daemon Gods (+ whatever emo Metal Elf God is), are all immeasurable creatures of divine will. Based on faith, blood, entropy, and space herpes. They're manifested emotion and ideologies. If they are known and believed in, they will exist.

It’s a lot like clapping for Tinkerbell or dreaming of Freddy Krueger. Believing in them allows them to either dream murder you or whisk you away to a magical land of happiness..... and pirates trying to feed you to crocodiles......
Looking into those examples, actually gives us ideas on how to fight/defeat them. In Nightmare on Elm street the primary motif of how to deal with Freddy was to stop thinking about him and sequestering anyone aware of him on massive amounts of drugs. Because even if you murdered him, or sucked him into the real world to fight a disfigured summer camp hockey enthusiast, he will always come back.
Sometimes when you don't want him to

At one point Tinkerbell was dying because magic wasn't believed in enough. And if Pan hadn't gotten Wendy to clap Tinkerbell would have vanished, and no new lost boys would be taken from their homes under false pretenses to escape reality and eat paint food..... Are we sure Pan and Tinkerbell are protagonist?
Literally in Peter Pan 2...

Unfortunately, there is an ample supply of believers for-and-against daemon kind. The Gods aren’t actively trying whip out everything, just their enemies. And since the Daemon Gods like the idea of existing, they are all vying for more followers. In-fact the only true way of ending Chaos Daemons is wiping out all sentient creatures in the galaxy.
Life finds a way

Main take away from this is that abstract concepts in 40k have a consciousness and a will, believing in them as nouns gives them power. Hold on to that.

2. What's Up with them Grey Knights and their Secret Moon Base?

While reading the new fluff in the new Grey Knight codex, I found out Titan has begun to shake from within. Reading that one thing is what started my current fixation.

Fun fact, Titan was given to the Grey Knight Founders complete with a spooky basement at the bottom of a place called Mount Anarch. Their whole facility was built on top of a huge seal and the Grey Knights, primarily Purifiers, are guarding "it". I say "it" because fluff is heavily pointing to nobody, including them, knowing the full extent what's in there. Except for maybe the one guy who built it, the Emperor himself.

That’s not to say they haven’t been adding to it over the years. There are numerous vaults beyond the gates that the purifiers guard. There have been mentions of Necron tesseract vaults in use in previous editions. Even part of a paladins’ rite of passage involves going into the vaults and having a tea party in something called the “Dread Tomb” then battle wills with a sleepless Daemon named Abbiallach. Which is odd because the big bad that the Purifiers are keeping watch on is “Slumbering”. So not that guy.
Not knowing... may be Victory

I believe the real reason we don't know the full extent of what's in there, is that the Emperor knew the only way to contain what’s inside was by making sure as few people as possible knew. Additionally, stationing an army of well trained and well-armed Daemon Hunters as security is pretty telling of what that something may be. And I'm not talking about Freddy Kruger here.
No..... Focus people

Side note there is only supposed to be 44 purifiers, no one has said why. Put a pin in that.

Also, there is magic box there that has the same symbol as the one that's on the Emperor's Throne. This is the "Terminus Decree". Only the Grey Knight have been entrusted with its use. Not even the Custodes canclaim that. ONLY the Grey Knights.

3. Cypher?

Cypher is a pretty cool dude. He's mission is unknown, but his actions aren't. He has been cutting a path through that galaxy in some very convoluted plan to get to the Emperor.

No one is sure if he’s trying to help or hurt the Imperium. Wants to kill or save the Emperor.

If I wanted there's a lot we can talk about this guy, but instead I want to focus on a few things of note.

First, he often goes by the pseudonym "The Voice of the Emperor". First one is brief.

Second, he carries a large sword he's never drawn. Some say its Luthers sword, they're wrong somebody found it. Some say it’s a new Heavens-blade, Ala Dark Angel Sword of Silence or Sword of Secrets. Some say that it’s the Lion Sword.

The last one makes the most sense, it is covered in Dark Angel Icons and the new Cypher model has it being freaking huge. But here's the thing, there is a point in the fluff where Guilliman breaks the original Lion Sword because Jonson was going to use it on Cruz because he refused to admit guilt. So, whatever Lion El'Jonson was using towards the end of the Horus Heresy was either something else or a re-forged Lion Sword. There is someone who knows what Cypher is packing though. In Rising Storm III, Guilliman is stated to know what it is and that he would never let it, or Cypher, near the Emperor. Past that nothing else has been revealed.

Conclusion: What "IT" is

It's a Daemon God.

Right about now you must be thinking "You're dumb. Titan would be a shitty prison for any of them because all of them are running around causing general mischief everywhere. What does that have to do with Cypher? And why did you spend a lot of time on Tinkerbell?".

Are they all?.... running around... or did you, like the Emperor intended, forget about someone......
You forgot about Dre!

You might not recognize that picture, mostly because it’s an artifact of something retconned out of existence. The above is a greater daemon of the fifth Daemon God Malal. Yes, that was a thing.

In a galaxy of never-ending war, strife, fear, and carnage; what Daemon God would be the strongest? When Malal existed, he was the God of anarchy and terror. He was the embodiment of destruction, so much so that it was self-destructive. 

I'm using a lot of past tenses here because Malal was removed from the fluff entirely. Trademarks rights wise, there’s a reason he was retconned. But think about it fluff wise……

The Emperor could allow the other gods to continue to squabble, because they all want to exist and they know they can’t exist without other existences. But the Emperor knew that if left unchecked, Malal would destroy everything. A true end of all things. So, he had to do the one thing that has never been accomplished before nor since, caging a Daemon God. By deleting him from active history, he depowered Malal enough to cage him.

Additionally, he established the Grey Knights on top of Malal's prison, Mount Anarch “Y”, to serve as guards. Super humans trained to resist the whispers of chaos. Chapter 666. Mark of the Beast. Who better to guard the beast than those marked by it? Then there are 44 purifiers. Divided by 4, the division of the other chaos gods, is 11. Malal's favored number.  Malal's colors are Black and White. What happens when the two are mixed? You get Grey.The unsleeping Abblach may in fact be a greater daemon of Malal, and paladins are required to experience it in preparation for the worst.

Also, Abblach and the other captured daemons might not just be prisoners. What better cell is there for a God of anarchy and destruction, than one whose wall is made up of chained unending life?

If this theory is true, there is one problem with the Emperor’s plan and the reason for a prison. At the very end of the day there would always be at least one person who truly knew Malal existed. The Emperor.

This is where Cypher and his super pig sticker comes in. "The voice of the Emperor" is what he wants, he wants the Emperor to speak Malal's name to legitimize his existence. Cypher and few supporters may think he exists but none of them have ever met him. And the Emperor’s godly verbal validation, might be the tipping point for Malal’s resurfacing.

The sword Cypher carries is a re-forged Lion Sword. One crafted to force truth, a Sword of Truth in matching the naming convention of the other Dark Angel swords. A weapon Guilliman doesn’t want anywhere near the Emperor, because it might be powerful enough to be a threat to the Emperor.

And this also where the true reason for the Terminus Decree comes in. Horus weakened the Corpse Emperor to such an extent, his will is no longer a match for Malal. He knew being barely conscious (Freddy Kruger be-gone drugs) would be the only way to keep Malal in check. The Decree is his off switch, he just wanted to put it off for as long as possible. He's a quasi-functioning light house of sorts for space navigation. The throne failing is a planned attempt to ween mankind off of himself, hoping that Mankind will learn to rise without him.

The Emperor can't wake, because he may very well be the last person who truly knows Malice is lurking under the very surface of the Man.

The true Most Powerful Daemon God.
Also it is my firm belief that the Emperor may have also conspired with the only force more powerful than himself to help do this.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Funny Death-guard Picture

Discordian here! Every once and awhile I see a picture and I cant stop laughing.

This guy is great. He's apparently one of the new deathguard models coming out.

Here are some of the thoughts that went through my head when I first saw him.

"My friends and I are here to attack you with pestilence. How does that make you feel?"

"We can't kill you if you don't tell us your name"

"What is the estimated worth of your holdings?.... Yes the ones we didn't burn."

And last but not least.

"These prices are to damn high! I Demand Millions in relief!.... Also your trademark rights......"

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Why 7th edition "failed"

8th is here and in general it seems to be widely embraced by the community. Common consensus seems to be that "This is better than 7th Edition" and/or "This is the best edition yet."
Well, I am here to tell you "So was 7th".

"But 7th edition failed us" you may say. "In the end, it was a terribly bloated mess!"

A-HA! There you have it. The bloat! But we will get to that. My argument is there was nothing really wrong with 7th Edition as a set of wargaming rules. When they first arrived on scene it was to great praise and adulation.

To me there was nothing fundamentally wrong with the core rules of the same. And for the first half of 7th, right up until Codex Necrons IMO, there was really nothing wrong.

Yet today it is a miserable failure in many's eyes. Here is what made it so

1- Formations- These really were the beginning of the end. They must have been a move by GW marketing. That is really my only reasonable explanation for as to why such an imbalancing factor was added to the game. First of all they were largely inconsistent in terms of power and playability. Some formations cost over 2000 points and did virtually nothing where as other gained 10 USRs for units totaling up to less than 400. There was just no rhyme or reason to them. Secondly, they began to more and more often provided exceptions to the core rules. Exceptions such as
-Assaulting out of Deep Strike
-Not paying points for upgrades
-Shooting and Running
-Not rolling for reserves
-Essentially not having to take saves (rerollable 2+/3++ and 2+ FNP rerollable)
-Tons and tons of different rerolls
They really just were a step too far ultimately. Beyond that I felt they started robbing the creativity out of list building, but that's just me.
And lastly in regards to them, there were SOOO many bad ones that you could tell were just made to move models. Did anyone really want a bunch of possessed? I don't think so. This more than anything showed GW's marketing department had a hand in the matter.
2- Decurions- What was more game breaking than formations? Well formations of formations of course. All the same issues as above except expanded across an entire army. Who ever thought hundreds of free points in Rhinos or Upgrades was a good idea? GW marketing that's who. Because anyone actually familiar with games design would tell you that an asymmetrical imbalance is bad for a game.
3- Faction Imbalance. This is largely due to too rapid a release cycle for some factions and not rapid enough for others. Basically a handful of armies got A LOT of attention and GREAT rules and formations while others just languished in ignominy, getting few formations or updates (Grey Knights), and those they did were poorly designed (Orks) or amazingly over costed (Blood Angels) or a combination thereof. On top of that, some armies were just downright BETTER. Eldar, GSC, etc. vs things like DE, Harlies, BA and Orks. It created a system of haves and have nots, and left a lot of people feeling they were loosing just because the tools they had were subpar. Like bringing a knife to a gunfight. Or Orks to a game versus Eldar. Take your pick.
4- Independent Characters, Allies and USRs- If anything was "wrong" with the core rules, it lay in the combination of these 3 things. Sure the Allies matrix was better than in 6th edition, but really it still needed more work. There was no reward for playing mono-faction and Battle Brothers was still too powerful (even at the end after the Chapter Tactics FAQ fix). They were too easily abused too many USRs conferring from random ICs joining squads they were never intended to join (Space Wolves and Dark Angels!?!?!?!). 8th is flirting with this with only faction keywords preventing this right now, But the moment someone gets something that affects all or all we start heading down this slippery slope again.

5- A lack of FAQ or Errata for SOOOOO long. The most tragic and avoidable reason of all. How many little obvious things could have been fixed early on that weren't? We went what, 2+ years without an FAQ? How much resentment and bitterness in players could have been prevented with timely fixes of issues? How much easier for TOs could their lives have been? I am just glad GW has turned a leaf on this and hopefully they really do stay on top of it for 8th. Whether you like their ruling or not, it is healthier for the game that way.
6- No consistent design philosophy. 7th edition changed flavours with the seasons it seemed and nothing was consistent in terms of power level between releases. Decurions is the best example of this. First nothing had them then BAM, Necrons came out with them. Then a little down the road BAM they got turned up to 11 with tons of free options and even better formations and rules. Then BAM they realized they were TOO powerful and turned them back down to useless (looking at you Angel's Blade). And that is just one example. The design team was just way to reactionary and receptive to the will of the playerbase (and likely marketing yet again). They needed to pick a style and stick with it at least through a complete release cycle before resetting. Unfortunately that ship had long sailed by the end of 7th and the only way to fix this was with a reset across the board.
So far 8th doesn't have these issues, and I HOPE it never gains them. GW just really has to stay vigilant on keeping a steady even release for ALL factions that are balanced, maintain a well updated FAQ and ensure that they stay on top of their Keywords. But bloat will inevitably happen to some degree. We can only wait, play and see, all the while hoping GW learned a lesson from the demise of 7th AND doesn't allow GW marketing to butt into rules design too much anymore.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Templates and Scatters: Why 8th Ed 40k didn't "fix" the problems they caused

A common consensus seems to be that 8th Edition has "solved" the problem of Templates and Scatters by getting rid of them. Really though, it only treated the symptom of the real problem.

"But they caused so many arguments" you may say. And therein lies the issue.

The issue was never in the rules of blast and scatters. Those were unambiguous and the RAW met the RAI. If played by the book there should have never EVER have been an issue.

The issue was in how players acted about them and the level of sportsmanship one or both of the players had and their ability to reasonably play the game and settle disagreements.
Basically, people can be jerks.

"But the scatter dice and template could be so subjective!" you may say. Well let me tell you there are MANY more subjective games out there that people have no problems with (just go look at historical wargames in general and how open and loose they can be). Beyond that pretty much EVERYTHING is subjective in this game. LoS, measuring distances, what is "cocked" and what is not, etc. etc.

So what is the solution then? Stop being dicks. And an edition change can do nothing about that, only eliminate the rules that are exploited by unsporting conduct.
In 7th, I almost NEVER had a problem with scatters or blasts. Why?
-I rolled the dice as close as possible to the location of the scatter
-Because I tried to never debate where the dice pointed or how many guys the template covered
-If there was doubt or debatable in my own, I would ask my opponent for a judgement call
-If there was a unresolved issue, a simple roll off would decide it.

See how that works? It was sporting, and it was in accordance with the rules by the time we got to the Roll Off. And generally, my opponent would follow my example and the game would go smoother, faster and be generally more pleasant.

Because no one was a jerk.

There may not be the issue with Templates and Scatters anymore, but people can and will still be jerks and poor sportsman to each other. There will be something new that will be exploitable by these players that will become the ire of all. It will be the new Template/Scatter. The underlying problem still exists.
If you found yourself having continuous problems with scatters and templates in 7th and start to find that there is some mechanic you keep fighting over in 8th... take a look at the people you play with AND at yourself.

Are you making every effort to be as sporting as possible OR are you being jerks?

Answer that and you may just find that the "Issues" or "Problems" in game may just disappear.