Saturday, July 30, 2016

New List, New Beginnings

It's been a while, hasn't it? I'm not going to apologize, because this isn't that kind of blog, and besides, I've found that endless "sorry for not updating" posts are tiresome and irritating. Let's just say I was lost in the Warp (ie. enjoying my summer off, getting distracted by Battletech) for a while.

Anyway, I'm not the kind of player who likes to build towards a specific list... but the new Astartes redbook has inspired me so much that I've changed my tune. In general, I'm still going to want to develop a diverse collection so I can play all kinds of games and forge all kinds of narratives, but this is now the direction I want to go.

For your perusal:

+++ Stormlord (3498pts) +++


++ Legiones Astartes: Age of Darkness Army List (Age of Darkness) ++

+ HQ +


Legion Centurion [Artificer Armour, Artificer Weapons, Dragonscale Storm Shield, Legiones Astartes, Psychic Mastery Level 2, Refractor Field]
··Consul [Librarian]

Legion Praetor [Artificer Armour, Digital Lasers, Dragonscale Storm Shield, Iron Halo, Mantle of the Elder Drake, Mastercraft a Single Weapon, Thunder Hammer]
··Legiones Astartes [Legion Specific Rules]
··Master of the Legion [The Covenant of Fire]

+ Troops +


Legion Tactical Squad [9x Legion Tactical Space Marines, Legion Vexilla, Legiones Astartes, Nuncio-Vox]
··Legion Tactical Sergeant [Artificer Armour, Artificer Weapons, Combi-Weapon, Melta Bombs]

Legion Tactical Squad [9x Legion Tactical Space Marines, Legion Vexilla, Legiones Astartes, Nuncio-Vox]
··Legion Tactical Sergeant [Artificer Armour, Artificer Weapons, Combi-Weapon, Melta Bombs]

Legion Tactical Support Squad [9x Legion Space Marines, Legiones Astartes]
··Legion Sergeant [Artificer Armour, Artificer Weapons, Melta Bombs]

Legion Tactical Support Squad [6x Legion Space Marines, Legiones Astartes, Melta Guns]
··Legion Sergeant [Artificer Armour, Artificer Weapons, Melta Bombs]

+ Elites +


Apothecarion Detachment
··Legion Apothecary [Artificer Armour, Legiones Astartes]
··Legion Apothecary [Artificer Armour, Legiones Astartes]
··Legion Apothecary [Artificer Armour, Combi-weapon, Legiones Astartes]

Firedrake Terminator Squad [4x Dragonscale Storm Shield, 4x Firedrakes, Legiones Astartes, Power Fist, 3x Thunder Hammer]
··Firedrake Master [Dragonscale Storm Shield, Master-crafted Thunder Hammer]

Techmarine Covenant
··Legion Techmarine [Artificer Weapons]
····Techmarine/Forgelord Options [Inferno Pistol, 4x Lascutter, 4x Servo-automata]
··Legiones Astartes [Legion Specific Rules]

+ Fast Attack +


Primaris-Lightning Strike Fighter [Battle Servitor Control, Ground-tracking Auguries, 2x Two Kraken penetrator heavy missiles, Two Sunfury heavy missiles]

+ Heavy Support +


Legion Artillery Tank Squadron [Legion Basilisk]

Legion Land Raider Battle Squadron
··Legion Land Raider Phobos [Armoured Ceramite, Frag Assault Launchers, Multi-melta]
··Legion Land Raider Proteus [Armoured Ceramite, Explorator Augury Web, Multi-melta, Twin-linked Lascannon]

Legion Vindicator Siege Tank Squadron
··Legion Vindicator Tank [Armoured Ceramite]

+ Legion +


XVIII: Salamanders - Legion Astartes [Loyalist, XVIII: Salamanders]

+ Lord of War +


Stormlord [2 Heavy stubbers, Hull-Mounted Twin-Linked Heavy Bolter, Searchlight, Smoke Launcher, Space Marine Legion Crew]
··Pair of side sponsons with one Lascannon and one twin-linked heavy Flamer
··Pair of side sponsons with one Lascannon and one twin-linked Heavy Flamer

Created with BattleScribe (http://www.battlescribe.net)

The plan is that the tac squads (each with an apothecary), the flamer support squad, the techmarine, and the officers all go into the stormlord. The firedrakes go in the land raider phobos; the melta support squad (and multi-melta toting apothecary) go in the land raider proteus. Scout on the proteus lets me redeploy both land raiders, which gives me the opportunity to put the pressure on my opponent immediately. It also means that I can start the vindicator and the basilisk in reserve to protect it from enemy long range firepower, if I feel like it, and bring both them and the primaris-lightning in reliably. The stormlord rolls forward, dropping scoring units as necessary, who can then use their nuncio-voxes to call in accurate support fire from the basilisk.

And, of course, the stormlord is recovering up to two HPs a turn, thanks to the techmarine and the librarian, who will be rocking technomancy (when facing an opponent who doesn't want to deal with the new powers, I'll replace him with a forge lord).

Anti-infantry firepower? I've got a fire-spewing, bullet-barfing stormlord rolling up the field, two pie plates of death (one of them with incredibly long range and Barrage), sunfury missiles, and plenty of heavy bolters. Anti-tank firepower? I've got eight lascannons, kraken penetrators, a whole squad of meltaguns, a whole squad of thunderhammers, and a couple of vehicle-mounted multi-meltas.

Most importantly... STORMLORD!

This is going to be a lot of fun, I think.

All I need to do is get my hands on a stormlord, a legion vindicator, and ten more Astartes for the flamer squad (I'm probably going to go mkvi). Since I've decided that I won't even build the stormlord until I've painted everything that goes into it, you can count on a bunch of tasty WIPs!

That's all for now. Have fun!

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Battle Report! 2k. Salamanders vs. Daemons

After a dry spell of more than a month, I was finally able to get in a game. It wasn't "true" Horus Heresy, as my opponent was playing Chaos Daemons, but I had a fun time.

• • •

Lír Korad surveyed the broken city. It was hard to believe that only twelve hours ago, this was a bustling metropolis, home to more than a million mortals. The buildings were broken and decayed and appeared to have been rearranged. The colonnade and pillared dais decorated with skull-shaped braziers and eight-pointed stars was most certainly not Compliant architecture.

The vox bud in Lír’s ear buzzed. It was his fellow praetor, the Nocturnian called Jor Kul’dor, requesting an update. It had taken all of Lír and Jor’s discipline and dedication to wed their forces together in the tense days after Isstvan; in the end, their shared identity as Salamanders - and shared oath of vengeance against the traitors - saw them through. Lír had taken command of this mission, accompanied by his First Fang breachers, while Jor waited aboard the strike cruiser Dracos Astera, orbiting far overhead.

“The city is dead,” Lír replied. “Casualties appear to be total. Their wounds indicate both conventional and biochemical weapons.”

“Biochemical?”

“Lesions. Necrosis. Rapid-growth tumors. Primus Medicae Her’kan is en-route with samples as we speak.”

Jor’s response was cut off by shouts of alarm from the marines standing around him. Lír looked up, dialing up his modified vision to maxium magnification. It wasn’t as acute or as powerful as a set of binoculars, but it was enough to tell him that a host of creatures were coming over the hill and into the city. They were an impossibly varied crowd: red-furred lupine things that ran on four legs, pink tentacled things that scampered along on two or three, rotten greenish shapes that shambled upright like men, and behind them, giant flies that hovered low to the ground like jetbikes, and two winged shapes circling overhead. At the center was an enormous hulking figure that appeared to be the army’s leader, a monstrous, bloated thing, carrying a rusted slab of iron formed roughly into the shape of the sword.

“Lír? Report!” Jor insisted.

Lír decided to ignore the breach of protocol. “We have enemy contacts.”

“Proceed with caution, brother,” Jor warned. Lír smiled fiercely, burning rage simmering in his heart. He switched off the vox and gave the order to re-embark on the spartan assault tank, already cycling up its engines and weapon matrices.

’Caution’ was not his intention.

• • •

Game

  • Points: 2k
  • Deployment: Search and Destroy
  • Mission: Challenge

Combatants

Salamanders with:
  • Artificer armor praetor with iron halo, storm shield, and thunder hammer, using the Covenant of Fire
  • 10 breachers with two flamers, sergeant has artificer armor, meltabombs, and a master-crafted combi-flamer, accompanied by an apothecary with artificer armor and a volkite charger
  • 10 tactical marines, sergeant has artificer armor and master-crafted combi-melta, riding in a rhino
  • 1 contemptor-mortis dreadnought with dual assault cannons
  • 10 veteran tactical marines with two missile launchers (equipped with flakk), the sergeant has artificer armor, meltabombs, and a master-crafted combi-melta, riding in a rhino.
  • 10 veteran tactical marines with two heavy flamers, the sergeant has artificer armor, meltabombs, and a master-crafted combi-flamer, riding in a rhino with a heavy flamer
  • 1 spartan assault tank with a heavy flamer, flare shield, and armored ceramite

The defenders of Humanity in all their glory

Daemons of Chaos with:
  • 1 great unclean one
  • 1 winged daemon prince
  • 1 Fateweaver
  • 2 squads of flesh hounds of Khorne
  • 1 squad of plaguebearers
  • 1 squad of plague drones
  • 1 soul grinder

A horde of foul xenos bioforms

Setup

My opponent’s Warlord (the great unclean one, of course) rolled a trait which gave him an extra wound; I rolled Void Walker, which I kept even though I wouldn't be able to exploit Deep Strike, because Adamantium Will seemed like an important advantage against Daemons. My opponent also went and deployed first. I did not successfully seize the initiative. My opponent had to roll many psychic powers and Daemonic gifts, and I didn’t bother to record them all.

Deployment


Turn-By-Turn

Turn One

The daemons largely pushed forwards into the ruins, dividing somewhat as they came. While the plaguebearers and great unclean one took the center, the daemon prince, pink horrors, and one of the squads of flesh hounds swung north, while the other squad of flesh hounds and the blight drones swung south. Three units split off from the main body: the soul grinder stepped upstairs in a ruin in my opponents deployment zone for a better angle on my approaching forces and both flying monstrous daemons began swooping. My opponents’ psychic phase was largely ineffective, though he did manage to summon some flamers. His shooting phase was only a little better, with snap-shots from the soul grinder’s cannon glancing one of my rhinos.


I could see what my opponent was trying to do - a fairly standard envelopment maneuver, something he could do because of how thoroughly he outnumbered me. I decided to go for the big win - his warlord - and ran right into his trap. I advanced, rhinos peeling north and south to engage the two arms of his force and keep them from reinforcing his center while my spartan charged directly ahead. Shooting from embarked squads and mounted flamers killed one flesh hound and all of the flamers my opponent had summoned.


VPs: Salamanders 1/Daemons 0

Turn Two

The daemons continued to advance, with the daemon prince landing near the northern group of flesh hounds. Notably, the pink horrors decided to linger behind the large central building where they could provide psychic support and stay out of trouble. My opponents’ psychic phase was, again, pretty ineffective, with Fateweaver failing to use his D-strength witchfire against my dreadnought, a summoning attempt failing as well, and only Cursed Earth getting off to enhance several squads’ invulnerable saves. My opponents’ daemonic shooting was a lot more interesting, with a soul-grinder ordnance shot immobilizing my southern rhino and killing a blight drone thanks to a bad scatter and a snapped fire cannon shot stunning my other rhino. This was also the first of many busy assault phases, as my opponent charged all three of my rhinos with the nearest enemy squads. To the south, my opponent’s flesh hounds failed to charge my immobilized veteran tatical (flame) rhino and lost one of their number for their trouble. The blight drones also charged, successfully, lost another unit to flame Overwatch from the embarked marines, and then failed to finish the rhino off. To the north, plaguebearers charged and glanced to death my other veteran tactical (missile) rhino and flesh hounds charged and destroyed my tactical squad’s rhino. Both squads disembarked.


On my turn, my flamers disembarked and prepared to engage the flesh hounds and plague drones (this, I think, was my first mistake - I should have continued to use the rhino as a bunker for as long as possible - but more on that later). The rest of my infantry held their ground. My spartan, on the other hand, tank shocked its way through a plaguebearer squad in order to get into position to charge the great unclean one next turn. My shooting phase was pretty sad: I killed a couple of flesh hounds and one of the blight drones in the south. To the north, I let the flesh hounds have it with Fury of the Legion from my tactical squad and killed… nobody. My missile squad fired blasts at the plagueberears, who were saved by 2+ cover.


VPs: Salamanders 1/Daemons 0

Turn Three

The daemons closed on in on the exposed marines. Warpfire rages as Fateweaver smites my dreadnought with incredible (ie. D-strength) blasts of energy, almost - but not quite - destroying it, and a blast of phlegm from the daemon prince kills several tactical marines. During the assault phase, there were charges all around. The flesh hounds and daemon prince charge my tactical squad, who hold their ground. The plague bearers assault my veteran tactical squad with missiles and kill the sergeant in a challenge. To the south, flesh hounds and blight drones charge my other veteran tactical squad, the one with flamers. Only my breachers - safe in their spartan - remain unengaged.

This will not end well
This will end a little better, but only a little
In return, the spartan advances slightly, positioning itself to unleash the breachers on the great unclean one. Snap shots from its lascannons wound Fateweaver, who stays in the air. When the assault phase finally comes, my breachers - and warlord - get stuck in with the great unclean one. My tactical squad is swept off the board, my missile veteran squad holds against the plaguebearers, and my flamer veteran squad does well, winning the round and inflicting more losses thanks to Daemonic Instability.

Fully painted is for... somebody else - for now!
VPs: Salamanders 1/Daemons 4

Turn Four

The daemon prince and soul grinder arrange to charge into the central scrum, but will go on to fail their charge rolls. In the psychic phase, Fateweaver finishes off my dreadnought with another D-strength witchfire. The assault phase is now where it’s at: the plaguebearers finally wipe out my missile squad, though the flamer squad holds their own. The central assault goes well for me, with the great unclean one taking three wounds… then recovering them all thanks to snake eyes on the Daemonic Instability roll.

On my turn, my spartan withdraws to get a bead on several targets. With lascannons and flamers, it wounds and removes models from the unengaged daemon prince, plaguebearers, and flesh hounds. The assault phase continues to go my way, with the flame squad hanging on in the south and the great unclean one dropping to two wounds!

VPs: Salamanders 1/Daemons 5

Turn Five

Fateweaver - who stubbornly refuses to become dead - kills my spartan with another D-strength witchfire. The daemon prince and plaguebearers are able to charge into the central combat, in which nothing much happens, in part thanks to a near-miraculous Deny the Witch which prevented the great unclean one from manifesting Warp Speed. To the south, my remaining veterans take out the last plague drone, then turn their attentions to the flesh hounds.

The bigger they are...
VPs: Salamanders 2/Daemons 6

Turn Six

This is the final turn, in which everything happens.

Things start to go pear-shaped during my opponents’ psychic phase, when his great unclean one - now down to a single wound - up and Perils itself to death, denying me a chance at instant victory. The assault phase, on the other hand, is where I start to turn things around. Although I lose my final veteran squad, my breachers finish off the soul-grinder, plaguebearers (including a challenge against the plaguebearer leader thing for a bonus victory point), and the daemon prince.

Fateweaver... I could really get to hate that guy


Then, in my turn, in a final Hail Imperator, they charge the nearby flesh hounds squad - who were never able to get into the central combat due to being blocked by other units, terrain, and vehicles - and wipe them out thanks to Daemonic Instability.


VPs: Salamanders 8/Daemons 7

SALAMANDERS VICTORY

Conclusions

First of all, if anyone wants to check my math, I suspect that I made a mistake somewhere along the line. At the end of the game, we counted the points up as a seven-seven tie, but as you can see, while writing up this report, it looks like an eight-seven win for the Salamanders.

Either way, it was definitely a fun, close game. I would definitely play with this guy again, as well as with his gorgeously gribbly minis.

Like I said, I think I made three main mistakes:
  1. I should not have disembarked from the immobilized rhino with my veteran tactical heavy flamer squad. They should have continued to use the rhino as a bunker for as long as possible. With another extra turn or two of survival, they might have lived to see the end of the game, which would have earned me another victory point.
  2. I should have kept to the mission in assault phase when my opponent's plaguebearer leader charged my tacs. There was no need to accept that challenge, and refusing to would have saved me another victory point.
  3. I probably shouldn't have withdrawn the spartan to get a better bead on the daemon prince. It didn't really matter in the end, but it would probably have been better to use the spartan to delay my opponent's other units from supporting his great unclean one in the central assault.
Also, I believe that I definitely suffered from not having the right tools for the job. With their army-wide invulnerable saves, things like the meltagun support squad I've built don't really suffice to take on Daemons. I should probably invest in some more volkite

And finally, I'm considering reconsidering my stance on Salamanders and long-range firepower - which is to say, I've generally considered it not worth it. However, I don't think that even with their +1 Strength flamers, Salamanders can actually deplete the enemy enough to avoid being swept when they finally (inevitably) end up in close combat. I think that it's time to invest in some long-range firepower, something that can soften the enemy up, even though most of the best examples of that are static. Maybe a heavy support squad with volkite calivers? I'll have to think about it.

• • •

Lír surveyed the battlefield. With the rotten hulk of flesh that led them dead, the xenos things were in retreat. It was unsatisfying, not to have laid the thing low with his own hammer, but at least it was done. As usual, the XVIIIth had given as good as the received, and the enemy was at least as depleted as they were - if not more so.

Lír gave terse orders: gather the wounded, retrieve gene-seed from the dead, and prepare the wrecked vehicles for salvage. Lír knew that he had many hours of reports and meetings ahead of him. The xenos he had faced today had strongly resembled some of the things he had seen in pic-captures of the battle at Calth...

Friday, April 22, 2016

Forge World Friday is Hungry Like the Wolf

Long Awaited...


After many, many years (and many griping wolf fans) Forge World has finally produced Space Wolf upgrade kits for Horus Heresy. They've got wolfy torsos and wolfy shoulders in mkII, mkIII, and mkIV varieties. If you've been waiting until now to start building your Space Wolf legion, now you can begin... at least from a model perspective! We're still not sure how the Space Wolf rules will actually work, so be careful! Rumor has it that they (like the Thousand Sons) will be very different from the legions we're used to.

I do think it's odd that we don't have any Space Wolf-specific heads... perhaps those are in the works?

In any case, I'm not a Space Wolf player (though back in '99 I almost was...), so my interest is minimal. But if you are a Space Wolf player, I'm happy for you... now go build a legion!

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Psychic Innovation!

As everyone knows, the Space Marines are getting new psychic powers. As possibly fewer of you know, Forgeworld's Facebook group has okayed using those powers in Horus Heresy games (for whatever that is worth). Anyway, as I now hold the psychic power cards in my hot little hands, I thought it might be fun to have a look at them.

After all, it's not like Forgeworld can make us use the new powers, so let's have a look at them and decide if we want to.

Discipline the First: Librarius


  • The Emperor's Wrath - 18" 5/3 Assault 1 witchfire with a 3'' blast .
  1. Veil of Time - WC2 blessing that allows the psyker and his entire unit re-roll all failed saving throws.
  2. Fury of the Ancients - WC1 witchfire, a 20" 6/4 beam with Pinning.
  3. Psychic Fortress - WC1 blessing that gives the psyker Fearless and Adamantium Will, as well as creating a 12'' bubble of 4++ invulnerable save against witchfire powers only.
  4. Might of Heroes - WC1 blessing that gives the psyker +2 strength, toughness, initiative, and attacks.
  5. Psychic Scourge - WC1 malediction. Roll 2d6 + psyker level against enemy psyker's 1D6 + psyker level. On a draw or better, enemy loses one wound (no save), if you win by 3 than him he loses a power.
  6. Null Zone - WC2 malediction that targets an enemy unit and reduces its invulnerable save by two (to a minimum of 6++).


This one is a bit disappointing, honestly. I can see how it might be useful in a 40k environment, where enemy psykers are relatively common, but in a Horus Heresy game, a few of it's best powers are likely to be wasted. Psychic Fortress's resistance to witchfire powers (though Fearless is always nice) and Psychic Scourge's anti-psyker abilities aren't very likely to come into play.

Then again, Null Zone is pretty good. Feel No Pain and monstrous creatures are pretty rare (unless you're fighting Mechanicum or something), so most deathstars rely on good invulnerable saves. TK1 also has potential, especially given the number of 2+ save units Salamanders can field (pyroclasts, in addition to terminators and command squads). And if comes to an assault, anything that stops us taking wounds is all to the good.

I'd also grant that Veil of Time is great on pretty much everything, but especially firedrakes. That said, it's only one of six powers, and the rest of them are kind of underwhelming.

That said... I would say that the power is a definite fail, not a win.

However, it is worth keeping in mind in Heresy games... mostly because of how badly TK6 will screw up the deathstars of 3++ firedrake terminators that the Salamanders do rely on to patch up our close combat prowess.

Discipline the Second: Technomancy

Woah, boy... this is one that I already know I'm going to enjoy!


  • Subvert Machine - WC 1 maledicion, 18" range. Randomly select a weapon on an enemy vehicle. You and your opponent roll off; if your opponent wins nothing happens, if you draw the target can only fire snap shots, if you win you take control of said vehicle's weapon for a turn.
  1. Blessing of the Machine - WC1 blessing for one vehicle witihn 24". It now ignores Crew Shaken and Crew Stunned, and gains Power of the Machine Spirit or +1 BS (if the target vehicle that already has PotMS).
  2. Machine Curse - WC1 1/- Assault 3 focused witchfire with Haywire.
  3. Reforge - WC1 blessing for a vehicle only that grants It Will Not Die and either restores one hull point, or repairs either an immobilized or destroyed weapon result.
  4. Warpmetal Armour - WC1 blessing that has different effects depending on the target. For vehicles, it grants +1 armor value to all sides for a turn. For non-vehicle targets, it gives the unit +1 toughness.
  5. Fury of Mars - WC1 for a 18'' 1/- Assault 1 beam with Haywire..
  6. Machine Flense - WC2 focused witchfire, 18" range. Target loses d3 hull points; For each hull point lost, it d6 4/6 Rending hits to a nearby enemy unit.
The primaris is a lot like Cassian Dracos's special power, so if you're inclined towards running the Ebon Drake, you've got a bit of a theme going on. Of course, the fact that it targets a random weapon significantly limits its utility... but not enough to make it worthless, I think. Blessing of the Machine, Reforge, and Warpmetal Armor all help us to keep our vehicles on the table and contributing, which is great given how strongly the Salamanders tend to prefer mechanized lists. The offensive powers, on the other hand, aren't all that bad... against a list with some vehicles in it.

Given that the offensive powers are pretty much wasted if your opponent brings nothing but infantry, and that's a valid playstyle for some legions in Horus Heresy (not to mention the Mechanicum), this discipline loses a lot of value. However, all three of the "defensive" powers are pretty good, and you have the option of building your list around them. Overall, I think that this puts the power firmly in the mid-tier of disciplines

The biggest advantage this discipline has is that its blessings all include a special note that an embarked psyker can use these abilities on the vehicle he's riding in. This is huge, because it re-opens the possibility of a support psyker in mechanized list, an option that's been largely closed since the dawn of 7th edition.

But I do know that I am going to use it a ton. I mean... I've already built a Knight Errant with a jump pack and a servo-arm, intended to run alongside my Imperial Knights... add in a couple of psyker levels with this discipline, and I'm in really good shape.

Discipline the Third: Geokinesis

This one may be my personal winner - the best combination of stuff that tickles my fancy in particular and the strongest powers.

  • Chasm - WC2 malediction, forces a unit in range to take a dangerous terrain test, no armor .
  1. Earth Blood - WC1. Targets a model in 18" of the Psyker. That guy immediately regains d3 wounds, and the target plus his entire unit gain It Will Not Die.
  2. Scorched Earth - WC1 malediction, 24" range. Choose a point in range - it deals a single S5AP4 Ignores Cover hit to each unit within 6". 6'' from the point is now dangerous terrain.
  3. Land Quake - WC1 malediction that affects all enemy units within 18" of caster. They are considered to be in difficult terrain, and cannot run, turbo-boost or flat out.
  4. Phase Form - WC1 blessing, 24". Give the target unit move through cover, and Ignore cover to all weapons. Unit is also able to shoot without line of site; only range matters.
  5. Warp Quake - WC1 24" range, targeting a building or ruin. Buildings get a glancing (1 to 3 on a d6) or penetrating (4 to 6 on a d6) hit, presumably with an AP of -; ruins aren't effected directly, but units inside take d6 6/- hits.
  6. Shifting Worldscape - WC3 24". Move a piece of terrain by 24", including units sitting wholly inside. If a unit is partly inside, it's forcibly "disembarked" and has to take a dangerous terrain test.
To get it out of the way, however, the primaris is crap. Fortunately, you're going to get one or two other powers, and the other powers are golden.

For the Salamanders, you're going to want to try to get Earth Blood, Scorched Earth, Land Quake, and Shifting Worldscape. Earth Blood because it plays to the vaunted Salamanders durability, and is one of very few ways to restore lost Wounds. It's also great for a librarian hanging out with a bunch of two-wound terminator badasses, like... for example... firedrakes! Scorched Earth and Land Quake create phantom dangerous terrain, which will help slow our enemies down and make sure they fail charges - always good when you want to avoid combat. Shifting Worldscape just has so much damn potential, between moving an enemy melee unit further away so you can keep messing with it to moving your own units to safety to moving objectives closer so that your opponent has to come into flamer range to try to grab them.

Phase Form and Warp Quake are... underwhelming. Our best weapons don't have the range to take advantage of Phase Form with any reliability, and with all the melta we can bring, we don't really need World Quake's's help to take down buildings.

And as for myself, I have always really enjoyed being able to mess with the game table.

Disicpline the Last: Fulmination

Summary: another mid-tier discipline with a couple of stand-out powers for Salamanders. The primaris is, obviously, just a really good witchfire, but the discipline does get more interesting from there.

  • Electrosurge - WC1 5/4 Assault 6 witchfire.
  1. Electroshield - WC1, the psyker gains a 3++ invulnerable save.
  2. Electropulse - WC2 9'' nova witchfire 1/- with Haywire
  3. Lightning Arc - WC2 5/4 Assault d6 witchfire that jumps to nearby units on a 4+.
  4. Fists of Lightning - WC1 blessing. The psyker gains +1 strength and +1 attack. For every hit the psyker lands in close combat, enemy units suffer 2 additional 5/- hits.
  5. Magnetokinesis - WC2 blessing. Move target unit within 18'' by 18".
  6. Electrodisplacement - WC2 blessing, 24" range. Swap target friendly unit with the psyker's unit. This power can be used on and by units in combat.

Of these powers, the ones a Salamanders player needs to look out for are Lightning Arc, Fists of Lightning, Magnetokinesis, and Electrodisplacement.

Lightning Arc is the one we need to be afraid of. With our limited mobility on foot, most Salamanders armies seem to like to advance as a body, driving slowly but surely into the heart of the enemy formation and burning them out. Lightning Arc has the ability to punish us for that, with hits that can arc from unit to unit and potentially really fuck us up.

Fists of Lightning, Magnetokinesis, and Electrodisplacement, on the other hand, are great for a Salamanders librarian. Fists of Lightning's extra attack compensates for what you lose by bringing a shield, Magnetokinesis can give some last minute mobility to infantry units, keeping them out of charge range but in flame/melta range. Electrodisplacement can do the same. You thought you were going to get to charge a squishy tactical squad? TOO BAD! CHARGE MY FIREDRAKES INSTEAD, ASSHOLE!

Electroshield and Electropulse are just lackluster for Salamanders. It's already really easy to get a librarian with a 4++ (refractor field + dragonscale shield), so improving that to a 3++ at the risk of a perils... isn't really all that great. And like I wrote above, haywire is too dependent upon your enemy bringing vehicles, which he might not. Keep in mind, however, that we are likely to see Electroshield on a lot of enemy psykers, who can't necessarily get to 4++ as easily as we can.

A Word on Fluff

I want to make sure to talk about this as well. A lot of people seem to like to shove the Salamanders into a corner when it comes to fluff. A fiery corner. While I'm sure the stalwarts of the XVIIIth love it there, there really is a lot more to the Salamanders than fire.

Librarius is probably the hardest to justify... because it's the hardest for anyone to justify in Horus Heresy. A lot of the powers focus on manifesting the will of the Emperor, creating psychic apparitions of mythical shit from your chapter's homeworld, and other such non-Imperial-Truth-compliant nonsense.

On the other hand, all the other powers make perfect sense for Salamanders. Technomancy? Salamanders are excellent smiths, with more master-crafted crap than any other legion. Geokinesis? Nocturne is a volcanic mess; if anyone is good at psychically opening magma-filled rifts, it's Salamanders. Fulmination? Volcanic activity is often accompanied by intense lightning storms.

And So In Summary...

In summary, I'm going to be buying the bits to make a jetbike librarian (and an escort for him) so I can run around wrecking shit with all these awesome powers. I like how support-focused these powers are. Many of these disciplines - even the lightning-shooting one! - seem like they're more focused on having your librarian make interesting things happen rather than just turning your librarian (or his buddy, or his unit) into an unkillable combat beatstick. I like that. While I can still see myself bringing a divination librarian on foot to improve the accuracy of a melta team or a biomancy librarian in terminator armor to hang out with my praetor and keep him super badass, I actually think I'll use these powers much more often than the rulebook powers. They seem a lot more fun.

Especially geomancy and technomancy. And fulmination is... growing on me.

And to be honest, I think it's perfectly fluffy. Nocturne is a volcanic world (geomancy) and Salamanders are craftsmen as well as warrior-mystics (technomancy). As for fulmination, well... lightning storms frequently accompany volcanic eruptions - see above.

Most importantly, I don't think these powers are all that broken. Do they have the potential to shift the game? Yes. Are any of them Invisibility-tier stupid? No. Even the most powerful of these powers is circumstantial at best. If you want GEOTK6 to change the course of the game, you're going to have to set yourself up for it. That's fine - if you work for it, you should get it. As opposed to invisibility, where all the "work" you have to do is roll a 6 and then put your librarian in your terminator squad. Done.

What do you think? Will you be using these powers in Horus Heresy games?

Postscript

I wanted to take a look at the new powers and compare them to the old powers to answer the question of whether or not the new powers really are more supporty.

Of the old powers (going to skip daemonology for now because Salamanders can't take malfic and who the hell wants to put up with the santic?)...
  • Biomancy is 3/7 blessings, 1/7 curse, and 3/7 fists.
  • Divination is 6/7 blessings and 1/7 curse.
  • Pyromancy is 2/7 blessings and 5/7 fists.
  • Telekinesis is 2/7 blessings, 1/7 curses, and 4/7 fists.
  • Telepathy is 2/7 blessings, 3/7 curses, 1/7 fist, and 1/7 broken-ass bullshit.

Of the new ones...
  • Fulmination is 4/7 blessings and 3/7 fists.
  • Librarius is 2/7 blessings, 1/7 curse, and 4/7 fists.
  • Geokinesis is 2/7 blessings, 2/7 curses, 2/7 fists, and 1/7 not sure what the hell that is.
  • Technomancy is 3/7 blessings, 1/7 curse, and 3/7 fists.
To my surprise, the proportions are almost identical. The rulebook powers are have, on average 4 blessings, 1 curse, and 3 fists (with rounding). The new powers average to 3 blessings, 1 curse, and 3 fists.

I think the difference may be in how interesting the new support powers are. Of the blessings in the rulebook powers, most of them are librarian-only combat buffs (Iron Arm, Warp Speed, Fiery Form), with the exception of Divination, which is full of unit buffs. The new powers seem to be a lot more unit buffs and interesting utility powers.

Or maybe I'm just a dork for powers that let me move units around the field in unusual ways.

If the Flesh is Weak, Why Do You Use Skulls in EVERYTHING?

::+..[] TARGET ACQUIRED ;:++-[
Do you like John Blanche? How about H.R. Giger?

Do you like skulls, skeletons, and corpses?

What are your feelings about robots?

If you are interested in any of those things, you should really check out this thread by H30k's Redjack. Serious fucking nightmare fuel, exquisitely converted and painted, with a vibrant martian sand basing scheme that really makes the dark models pop.

Go. Read. Comment. Tell 'em that LegionXVIII sent you.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

The Phoenix Rises

The seal of the 993rd Regiment of the Imperialis Auxilia - the Firebirds

I've been waffling back and forth about starting a Solar Auxilia army, and I have finally decided to jump on in. This is going to be strictly a side project - and, more often than not, allies for my Salamanders or Salamanders + Iron Hands Shattered Legion themed force - but you can expect to see some work in progress posts sooner than you might think. I've got a trio of leman russ tanks to start converting up, and I'll probably paint them as test models for my color scheme.

Anyway, I thought it might be fun to post some of my regiment's background material... check it out!

• • •

The 993rd Regiment of the Solar Auxilia - Cognomen: Firebirds - were founded under unusual circumstances. The core of the regiment came from the Garuda Compact, a caravan of void-nomads brought into compliance seventy years before Istvaan. In exchange for technological assistance, trade contracts, and a planet to settle, the Compact agreed to contribute both manpower and void ships to the founding of an auxilia regiment. Although technically not hailing from a world of the Segmentum Solar, the technological aptitude and discipline of the Garuda Compact meant that the scant equipment and training usually afforded to a regiment of the Auxilia Imperialis would be inappropriate. Instead, the Firebirds, as the regiment became known, was granted access to the same equipment as the elite solar regiments, making them an honorary part of the Solar Auxilia (for other examples of regiments granted similar honors, see the Astera Strix, the Green Dragons, and the REDACTED).

The Firebirds served with distinction in the decades before the Great Crusade came crashing to an end. They fought alongside many other regiments, including the 9th Saturnyne Rams, the 905th Ash Scorpions, and the 147th Head-Hunters. They also had the honor of serving alongside the Legiones Astartes on several occasions, including the Ultramarines, the Sons of Horus, the Word Bearers, the Raven Guard, and the Salamanders.

When the Heresy began and the ruinstorm descended upon the Empire, the 993rd Firebirds were divided. A significant portion of the regiment had been seconded to the support a detachment of Salamanders, and were stranded alongside them in the Nomos Rift. Other portions of the regiment were spit out of the Empyrean in the region of Baal. Small detachments were scattered throughout the galaxy.

Before the war ended, most of the Firebirds were able to unite and drive a dagger into the side of the Arch-Traitor's approaching fleet... but at great cost.

Monday, April 18, 2016

The Casters of the Pod


As promised, it's time for me to introduce you to a few of my favorite Horus Heresy podcasts. Without any further ado, I enthusiastically recommend...

And in case you don't want to just take my word for it, let's take them one at a time and I'll tell you what's cool about them.

The Adeptus Terra

These two guys are great to listen to, and play off each other in really entertaining ways. Although like some of the others, this is technically a Warhammer 40k podcast, they have been spending more and more of their time lately on Horus Heresy content, which isn't really surprising, the way this branch of the hobby seems to take over peoples' lives. In any case, like the other Warhammer 40k podcasts I link to, these guys have got the right attitude about the game and are dedicated to enjoying it for what it's good at rather than griping about the ways it's bad. Their production values are also top notch, making this a very easy podcast to be immersed in.

The Age of Darkness Podcast

Full disclosure - as of the writing of this post, I haven't finished their back catalogue, so it's possible that at some point in my future and their past, they begin to suck. Assuming that isn't the case, the Age of Darkness Podcast is definitely a fun listen for anyone who's into Horus Heresy. These dudes are so Canadian it hurts. Them being mean about Roboute Guilliman sounds like the New Yorkers I grew up with being nice about anyone. They're also a pair of clever and dedicated gamers with a positive attitude.

The only thing to watch out for is that almost every episode ends with a "book club" segment. If you're far behind in the series - like I am - you'll have to skip that part to avoid spoilers. However, I recommend sticking around for the brief audio fiction! Every book club segment begins with the hosts reading a part of the text out loud, and they're really quite good at it!

The Eye of Horus

Fully painted is for who? CLOSERS!

These guys have rapidly become one of my favorite podcasts, period, and I listen to a lot of podcasts. Their cheerful, positive, and profane commentary on Horus Heresy is endlessly entertaining.

The Imperial Truth

Possibly the most serious podcast of the bunch, the main host has been rising through the ranks of the hobby to the point that he's actually throwing his own events. Nevertheless, the podcast has a good balance of taking the game seriously and understanding it for what it is.

The Independent Characters

The podcast that started it all. Well, for me. I didn't listen to any of these losers until after Carl quit and I was suddenly down to zero 40k podcasts. I'm almost glad for the interregnum, because it gave me a chance to broaden my horizons. Carl is unfailingly enthusiastic, positive, and fun to listen to, and I'm overjoyed that he chose to return to us.

Masters of the Forge

Another 40k podcast that's got some Heresy content, this one definitely epitomizes the virtue of making the game your own. These guys, frankly, love to make shit up, and they're really good at it. I hope they fall deeper into the orbit of the Heresy and continue to invent characters, missions, and campaign for 30k.

The Overlords

Although this one was originally a 40k podcast, it's been overtaken by Heresy content to the point that it seems nearly 50/50, at least. These guys are also a lot of fun to listen to, complete with addled banter and ridiculous jingles. Their positivity and insight are unmatched.

Seize the Initiative

These guys are often a little more game focused and a little less narrative focused than I would like, personally... but hey, who doesn't like to win games? And it's not like they're WAAC assholes - it's just that they spend more time talking about how to win games and a little less on the story or hobby aspects. That said, I still enjoy them. They're a bit irregular at present, but they're also a young podcast, so we'll have to see what happens.

• • •

That's all I got for now. I hope you check out some of the podcasts I've recommended, and if there are any good ones I've missed drop me a line in the comments and let me know!