Monday, April 29, 2013

Opinion: The state of Codices (PART ONE)

With the onset of 6th Edition and the incorporation of allies, I think this is a great opportunity for GW to essentially press a "reset" button on their codices, and so far that is what they appear to have been doing (late 5th, early 6th).
I have in the past been an advocate for the return of the supplement system that existed in third ed. Not for all armies that used to be supplements, but to allow for a greater range of forces. This would definitely fit in with the more narrative type hobby GW is pushing for, rather than tournament based game (although, maybe that is why there is so much shifting internally at GW these days). BUT now, instead of a return to a supplement system, the idea of smaller "ally" codices is extremely appealing. These would be MUCH more flexible, add a great amount of diversity to the game, and allow model designers to really have at it without having to produce an entirely full range.

This post first covers what should be the core codices. These are the books that from which ally's will either branch off of or that are significant enough to stand on their own. Part Two will cover the allies, so sit tight for that.
I meant allies, not The Allies.
Now granted, the list below differs slightly from what has already been released, but IMO this would be the best way to go about establishing the range of armies. FURTHERMORE there are alot of Imperial organizations on the list. That is because their should be. 40k is about man's struggle against the galaxy, not Necrons or Tyranids or Orks. Man's. SO the game should be heavy on that, and I am of the opinion that 50% (prior to ally codices) is a proper distribution, and is likely a sweet spot for sales too.
Thought for the day: You will die. Most likely by getting eaten by Tyranids.
IMPERIAL ARMIES- Moderate amounts need to change here IMO, especially in the realm of non-Astartes. One codex should dissapear IMO, a new one should be brought about.
1. Space Marines- This goes without saying. The generic SM list will always have to be in the game and should NEVER GO AWAY. This would cover all but the most divergent of chapters and should cover much more via a good use of the Chapter Traits speacial rules. I have a some very extensive post on just this(1, 2, 3), but here is not the time or place. Click the links to read more.
2. Dark Angels- They just got a new book, and really these guys should exist to pretty much fill the same roll they do now, DW and RW. They are divergent enough, especially with their new vehicles that no other space should (nor do I want to see) have. They also are different enough to have a largely divergent model range produced.
3. Blood Angels- The angelic host. I am biased for obvious reasons, but this should be the crack assault host of the Imperial Armies. Fast, Jump Packs, Assault Vehicles, the works. Pretty much not much should change from how they are now, though I would like to see them get the storm talon since everyone else now gets the raven. That too is another discussion. Has the potential for a lot of modeling, basically to be the most ornate of all chapters.
4. Space Wolves- The most divergent of all the codicies. The most varied of basic SM in terms of a model range. Space Vikings YAY! Really of all the SM chapters, this one speaks for itself.
5. Inqusition- This would be the GK codex, redone. GK are not really a traditional SM codex and IMO it should be the main inquisitorial codex as well. Maybe calling it "Heroes of the Imperium" to give a nod back to 3rd edition. I would honestly just beef out the inquisitorial options and builds, making GK just one of many viable lists. Deathwatch may or may not fall under this, but I think I have a more appropriate place for them in part 2. Sisters would not appear in this book.
6. Ecclesiarchy- Speaking of Sister, they should have their own book and it would actually cover the entire church of the Imperium. Sisters would be the core, but Frateris Militia, crazy fanatical cultists, death cult assasins, priests and what not should be all through out it. For Ordo Hereticus elements to be drawn in you would use allies.
7. Imperial Guard- I think this should get fleshed out a little more in the way SM are with chapter tactics and should have multiple ranges (at least more than catachan/cadian). As is though their selection for units is pretty much spot on. I would say that the main codex though should heavily lean towards armoured and infantry based regiments such as Cadians, Mordians, Valhallans, Vostroyans and Steel Legion.
8. Adeptus Mechanicus- The last of the Imperial Codicies, and the only one that really has no representation as is. Skitarii as so different from IG and SM and just the whole makeup of the organization is different. This also has such an incredibly potential for models and new ranges with tons of awesome bits (yay for Orks!)

CHAOTIC ARMIES- To me there is a current problem with Chaos as is, and it really needs to be redefined to clearly diferentiate from the powers of the warp and the corrupted masses of humanity (and their corrupted super human protectors). With allies now, you can afford to seperate the concepts into their own books and let the players bring these aspects together as they choose, rather than presenting ways to include it all in one book, as they did with CSM.
1. Chaos Legions- This should be representative of the forces that followed Horus and now follow Abaddon. These are the OGs and it would pretty much be a book of all CSM all the time. Daemons and cultists could be brought in via allies. The codex should really be dedicated to fallen SM legions and SM type wargear. Not even too many daemon engines. Really Hellbrute and DPs should be the closest thing to daemons these guys have. The range of these guys would be alot like the current SM range, but alot more iconography and upgrades for different legions, chapters and/or gods would be awesome, as well as more and newer plastic kits.
2. Chaos Renegades- This would be how people make armies of Chaos Guard, Blood Pact, Sons of Sek, Renegade SM chapters, etc. etc. A whole force of Space Marines really wouldn't be a doable build for the codex suggestably, since there is Chaos Legions already, but maybe possible with certain characters such as Huron (ie playing Red Corsairs). But all in all this is for the forces of Chaos other than the Legionaries of Horus' time. Cultists, Loxatl, the forces of degraded humanity. And than is a key aspect, I am not talking too much overtly daemonic stuff. Mild possesion, not full on daemon engines. Super awesome opportunities for a range here, starting with the new cultists as found in the Dark Vengeance.
3. Chaos Daemons- Not much to change here except for the including more daemon engines. This is the appropriate place for such things IMO, especially with allies now. Helldrakes and forgefeinds belong here. Flyers and tanks in the two above. If it is overtly daemonic, this is the codex of choice. The range as it exists now is virtually FLAWLESS in terms of Chaos.

XENOS ARMIES- This is where the least maintenance to the codicies needs to be done. Just small updates and changes IMO.
1. Orks- Pretty much as is. Maybe more distiction between klans. Something like chapter traits. Oh, and other than specific characters, nothing should be finecast.
2. Tau Empire- I think this newest codex got it pretty much right in terms of force composition and Tau specific items. I feel kroot got a nerf and Vespid are still in the "I bought them before I got the codex because I didn't know what they did" category.
3. Eldar- Rumours look promising. I definately want to see a wide variety of practical ways to play each craftworld and a plastic range that would allow for easily representing them.
4. Dark Eldar- Pretty much as is, but it would be nice to see more established fluff for kabals and differences between different Kabals and then have rules to reflect such.
5. Tyranids- I honestly would like some of the old mutation rules to come back (I am talking 3rd edition). To me that is when they felt the most genetic monster like, and that is what they should be. Something like the old Imperial Guard doctrines would be great for creating your own hive fleets. And as with orks, other than specific characters, nothing should be finecast.
6. Necrons- Why fix what isn't broke. Honestly the only thing, from what I can tell, that would be nice is to have plastic HQs.

Well, when I can, I will do part 2, which will cover Ally/Supplemental codicies and the great potential for models, rules and revenue GW has there AND WHY that is what 40k should move to/evolve with.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Scratch built Nurgle Great Unclean One- Updated

So a long time ago I did a scratch built Great Unclean One as a commission for a friend. I loved doing it and it was a lot of fun to plan, convert and SCULPT. Over time said friend changed his mine 3 or 4 times on what army he wanted to play and in one of the moves he traded his entire daemons army (including two Daemon Princes, a kick butt Soul Grinder and a Scabeiathrax (FW GUO) I did for him) for an army of Orks to Mesdoram (one of our contributors here on Sepulchre). Mesdoram already had some Nurgle daemons and a whole bunch of Plague Marines, and in that collection was a GUO from Scibor's Monstrous, so he wasn't really in need of another and gave it back to me before I left for Japan.
"Alright Mr. DeMille, I'm ready for my close up."
So it has been sitting on my shelf for 2 years, untouched by me with just half a basecoat and primer on... until now. While packing I had some green stuff that had pretty much got ruined in one of my storage drawers (no plastic underneath it, got stuck to the drawer) plus a small amount left from hobby work I had been doing. SO I lumped this all together and made a load of green stuff just asking to be used and with most everything put away and nothing really demanding of green stuff, I grabbed a used base, grabbed my Jabba the Unclean  One and went to town.
Original sculpt sans primer/basecoat.
I had grown over time to resent the way his stomach was at the bottom, and had noticed a few other small flaws that I wanted to correct. PLUS part of his back and stomach actually sat lower than his feet, so there was a fulcrum in the middle of the model that did not allow him to sit flat on a base/table. With these issues in mind, I got to work and made what you see now.

I expanded and rounded the stomach, as well as added a little nuglesque pox mark bellybutton. Smaller work included fleshing out a foot and shoulder a little more as well as bulking up the back of his head to transition into the horns better. Most of the green stuff went into the gelatinous ooze base. This not only give him a thematic base, but now allows him to sit flat and hides my mistake.

Now I guess just keep reading for 2 more years if you want to see it painted...

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Forgeworld Army Lists in main stream gaming

So I will first admit I have not really been a part of main stream gaming for over 2 years now. I have been in Japan and have traveled and seen many cool things while over here, but really my extent of the hobby has been online discussions, the little amounts of inport time I have to build and paint and the handfull of times I have played with a friend that picked up the game (and is eagerly awaiting a 6th ed Eldar release).
A Blanche original cover.
BUT in a way, with online being my primary exposure, I see ONLY main stream war gaming. And since my biggest goal/hope/plan once I get back stateside (I will be settled in and storming away on the hobby by late August) is to attend Adepticon, I am always keen to see what is brought too, playing at and winning big tournaments. And there is something I have always noticed with this. While Forgeworld units seem to be becoming more and more accepted, even on the tournament scene, no one seems to care for or endorse the use of Forge World army lists.
I for one stand for them. I had advocated for their allowance in 'Ard Boyz tournaments, as what is the point in proving you are the best if you are going to tell people what they can and cannot bring. There may be a better, completely legal, GW army that would confound and beat the winning 'Ard Boyz list. But alas we shall not know.
Why would you even buy a Sky Talon? Tauros have Scout! Lets just have Creed use Tactical Genius on some infiltrators while we are at it!
I don't think these lists are in any way overpowered. In fact they tend to be stuck behind the codex creep, so end up overpriced and/or underpowered. Plus, looking at the picture above, they often have some useless choices put in for the sake of a cool display/diorama model and/or fluff. But what the lists do create is the opportunity for incredibly fluffy and characterful armies that fill niche roles in the fluff or are representative of an iconic 41st millenium army. Many of them can also be applied to forces not neccessarily of what they were written for. I will give some examples:

1- My own Genswick. I use not only the standard IG codex, but I use the DKK Siege Regiment list as well (available for DL from FW)
2- The Tyrant's Legion from the Badab War- Perfect IMO to do an Alpha legion army. Units of marines and mortal desciplined troops.
3- Elysian Drop Troops from the Raid on Kastorel Novem- turn them into a Stormtrooper company/inquistorial raid force or even just oBlogger is a free blog publishing tool from Google for easily sharing your thoughts with the world. Blogger makes it simple to post text, photos and video onto your personal or team blog.ther regiments, such as Harkoni Warhawks.

If people are going to be allowing units into standard codices, why not just allow the lists into standard play. That would allow players to use more thematic characters/units and possibly avoid unfluffy choices for their armies, vice just cherry picking what they need to fill that Contemptor sized hole in their list.
175 pts of Heavy 6, S 6 rending Skyfire+Interceptor shots right there, all wrapped up in a nice AV 13/12/10, 3 Hull Point, 5++/6++, "I can fight back in assault" package
GW seems to be all about "Forging the narrative" these days. The FW lists all are built of an incedible amount of background presented in high quality story driven campaign books. They often are onne dimensional and are intended for use in the campaign system accompanying their associated book. This is actually a REALLY good argument for allowing them in standard play. Since they are so story/campaign driven, they typically have a number of inherent flaws that prevent them from being the uber list every one fears FW would put out and the list struggles to deal with some basic scenarios and some common armies that it was conceived of to face. The Tyrant's Legion was written with SM opponents in mind for example. This makes them a greater tactical challenge to employ in a standard 40k setting/tournament, as well as makes it more varied and a greater test of skill for the opponent, as they may be facing new challenges and unfamilar force compositions. If you are going to a tournament and know you are likely to face x, y and z you will prep for them. Now with more options out there, you may have to consider in more general terms. This really spices things up while inherently balances the game more. The "Super Power" of Forgeworld most people fear boils down to 3 reasons:
He even exists in the game already!
1- They were the producers of Apocalypse Units BEFORE Apocalypse even existed. Titans and Superheavies are incredibly powerful BUT these are not intended for normal play NOR do they exist in the lists I am advocating.
2- They were the producers of Flyers BEFORE they were incorporated into the main rule set/Apocalypse. Everyone knows that air power is super awesome now because it is super hard to counter BUT now everyone has access to airpower or at least a way to fight it. In the past though, no one had either, so if having FW meant you had air power this was a bad thing.
3- People fear the unknown. And that is what Forgeworld is. There are units and characters some players have never heard of, often because FW is slightly cost restrictive, but then again so it the whole game. FW is coming out of the shadows more and more every day, and it is time it becomes fully accepted.

I for one advocate the usage of FW army lists in major tournaments and throughout clubs and games store. List equality! Take up the call with me!

Bonus- It has the added benefit of being untouched by Matt Ward!

Friday, April 5, 2013

Space Marine (and Variants) Flyer Discussion (sorta Rant)

So with the release of Imperial Armour Aeronautica and Warhammer 40k Compendium: Death from the Skies, I have some mild complaints. They are based upon fluffiness, army composition, and codex uniqueness vs universality. This isn't one of my rants where I go off talking about the stupidity of a certain element of the game or how broken I perceive something to be (which are all typically exaggerated for the Internet anyways. Always remember, the internet's greatest output is hatred. Everything else is a byproduct).

So basically my main gripe is down to this- The inclusion of the Storm Raven into the inventory of SM and BT but not the inclusion of the Storm Talon into BA, GK and SW.
And remember, this was originally designed as a skimmer, not a flyer
First of all the Stormraven was something unique that set BA apart from all the other SM variants. You may say there is alot more, but all those changes are really just variants of existing units or changes in FOC. The Stormraven was wholly unique. When the GK got it as well, it wasn't too much of a problem for me as the GK, while a power armour army, are different in so many ways when compared to SM and Codex Variants. But now that unique quality is spoiled. If there is any army that should have gotten it, I would say it would be SW, but really they should get the Storm Talon instead IMO (which they do not have access to either, making SW the most boned SM variant in 6th, with no native flyer options meaning you either have to take allies or fortifications for air defense).
SM flyers do leave something visually to be desired
Then there is the Storm Talon, which by the way is half as expensive points wise as the Storm Raven, and just as heavily armed. Sure it may have one less HP and is 11 all round vs 12, with no transport capacity, but if you buy 2 (just 20 pts over an unmod raven), you have twice the fire power, multiple targets (that are flyers) and 4 hull points. Still no transport capacity yes, but let us look at the utility of the Transport Capacity. First off, it is clearly for assault units, which 6th is causing people to shed. As well, 6th is a numbers game, and the best assault units to deploy from a raven tend to take up 2 slots, thereby really cramping the size of the unit to 6. Next, built into that cost mentality is dreadnought transportation, something rarely done. You are paying for that ability, and most of the time wasting it, of which the Storm Talon has no lost cost. Last off, there is always a need to shoot at more things, which is all the Talon will ever do. While the Raven can do this too, its mission and cost is not based upon this, and its mission isn't alway utilized, lowering unit untilization/efficeincy (while yes, gaining tactical flexibility for the savvy general, but once again, you are paying more for that).

So really, SM players will likely normally opt for the Storm Talon (cheaper, heavily armed) versus the Storm Raven UNLESS they need the Raven to perform the roll it is specifically designed to do (which is done best with BA anyways since they have Descent of Angels) and transport a hard hitting assault unit in quickly. Meanwhile if BA/GK want a Flyer, they are stuck with the Raven, whether they need the transport capacity or not. And as I said before, SW are just screwed (well at least untill you read below)
Now you may think at this point "What about Dark Angels? All they have are the crappy Dark Talon/Nephilim?" Well I really don't know how those play, but I can say this about them- they at least have unique native flyers that fit their fluff and complement a unique DA athestetic and force composition.

But if that is not good enough for you, there is an answer, that is once more detrimental to the BA/GK- The Forge World Storm Eagle.
An actually expansion unlike Death from the Skies
Now if you are one of those people that get all uppity and shout "But that is FW! Bah-humbug!", then you might as well press the back button now and run back to BoLS (which is where you likely came from). Forge World is not only becoming less cost prohibitive (comparitively that is- looks at Australia- while maybe the game as a whole is -sheds a tear for Australia) but it is acceptable now, as I have advocated for a long time. They produce balanced rules for the most part, and IMO have more underpowered units, lists and vehicles than overpowered ones.

Back on track though. The Storm Eagle was FW's answer to the Storm Raven and really crossed the bridge between Raven and Thunderhawk. It is only 225 points, decently armed for strike capabilities rather than anti-flyer, and has a 20 man transport capacity. And is useable by SM, BT, DA, CSM (yep) and SPACE WOLVES (YAY they got a flyer!). Okay, don't be too excited for the SW, as I said the Eagle isn't really good at the anti-flyer roll and that is what SW lack the most is Flyer Defense. However it is better than nothing.

Now if you were going to use a Strom Raven specifically to deliver an assault force, why not use an Eagle instead. It can deliver more damage to ground targets and deliver more troops to battle at the same cost! And as we said, the only reason a SM player has to take a Raven over a Talon is to perform this very role! There is really only one explanation for how this could have happened. The two books (Aeronautica and Death from the Skies) where written in a vacuum in relation to one another. FW clearly made the Storm Eagle for armies without the Storm Raven, and GW clearly ignored FW options when writing their rules (as they often do). While that was an okay system in the past when FW was something for specialist play only, as I mentioned above they are far more integrated now and the two entities cannot operate like this anymore.

The UH-1N and AH-1W. The new UH-1Y looks retarded, like it has a tumor on its back.
I'll wrap up here with a final point- The Talon is a true gunship, the Raven is not. The Raven is a multipurpose vehicle, much like a Valkyrie/Vendetta (40k) or UH-1 Huey (Real Life), whereas the Talon is built just for killing, like the Vulture (40k) or AH-1 Cobra (Real Life). And for fast air assault, you would use both in tandem, like the Elysians (40k) or US Marines (Real Life). You wouldn't just want the multipurpose vehicle for support. Sure it can do the job, but not as well as the dedicated Close Air Support (CAS) platform. The Blood Angels are the SM version of Elysians, or at least they should be in 40k. They are the best capable for this role in terms of FOC, Army Special Rules, equipment and Fluff-wise. So why would they not have a dedicated CAS unit like the Storm Talon in their inventory. They have all these fast vehicles, fast assault troops, DS Landraiders, outflanking tanks. They are a lightning assault army, but cannot access the most obvious support platform for lightning assault. I guess the point I am trying to make is, lets make Blood Angels Space Marines feel like they are all actually that... Marines.