Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Commutatus: Tyranid Gargoyle Conversion

Given the facts that a) tyranid gargoyles only come in metal and b) you need to field a fair number of them to be of any worth to your army, the prospect of adding gargoyles to a list is an expensive one. However, a quick conversion is to print out insect wings (I used dragonfly wings) on transparency sheets, cut out, and glue to standard termagants.

In order to give the appearance of flight, mount your new gargoyles on flying bases. The converted termagant pictured here has also had a rear leg cut off then re-positioned to look like he is launching from the ground.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Advocatus: Optimizing Unique Models in 5e

Warhammer 40k 5th edition (5e for short) presents some new challenges and new advantages where unique models within a squad are concerned. Historically, the owning player of a unit that has failed armor saves has had the choice to pull any model from a squad (within certain parameters). This mechanism allows models with special weapons or abilities to be protected and those models where usually the last to be killed off.

5e introduces a new game mechanic that requires wounds to be specifically allocated to individual models in a unit. In the case where there are more wounds than models, these wounds wrap around such that a given model may be forced to take more than one armor save. The intent of this change seems to be to force special models to take armor saves and potentially be removed prior to the rest of the squad being killed.

However, a slight twist to that mechanic requires identical models to make their armor saves together and the owning player to remove models equal to the number of failed saves. In the case where a unique or special model fails more than one save, that wound is lost and does not carry over to the rest of the squad. However, with identical models, those failed saves are spread around similar to the casualty removal mechanic of 4th edition.

A simple way to take advantage of this new save allocation is to ensure that there are as many unique models as possible within a given squad so that saves are taken on an individual basis thereby maximizing the number of "lost" wounds (i.e. those failed saves that do not carry over) within the squad. This means that even the most innocuous upgrades in a squad may be worthwhile just to ensure as high a number of unique models as possible.

A very simple example is that of a Dark Angels scout squad. The DA scouts are allowed to field a mix of weapons for no additional points cost, i.e. a bolter, shotgun, or pistol and combat weapon. Even if those scouts are considered ablative, in 5e it is now worthwhile to take a mix of these combinations. For example, a scout squad with sniper rifle sergeant, pistol scout, bolter scout, sniper rifle scout, and missile launcher scout represents a squad of 5 unique models. Should this squad take ten wounds, each model would take saves against two wounds a piece, throwing away any additional failed saves for a given model. Should the pistol scout fail both of his saves, he is removed from the game and the extra wound goes with him!

There are numerous possibilities for this technique throughout many 40k armies. In the upcoming posts, I will go over a few of these. Feel free to post your own thoughts and ideas on how to use this new mechanic to your advantage.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Advocatus: Playing Tau in 40k 5e

Playing Tau in 5e becomes a whole new game. With the new assault rules and new line of sight rules, I predict Tau will be one of the strongest army lists (at least until the FAQ comes out). Basically, with assaulting units not being able to consolidate into a new assault, the Tau gunline becomes a very feasible tactic. Add to that the Tau almost unique ability to be able to remove conver saves (markerlights) and the amount of AP1/2 weaponry that can fielded mean that the Tau should be nigh on unstoppable.

The real weakness will be in the troop department for scoring and the number of possible kill points that a decent Tau list can give up. However, keeping troop choices in transports and always taking a disruption pod (4+ cover save), you should be able to claim objects relatively easily. The key is going to be a mix of mobile and static infantry and knowing when the static troops need to become more mobile (even at the expense of shooting).

My current 5e Tau list looks like this:

Shas'el - Plasma rifle, CIB, Multitracker
2 x Crisis squad - Suits x 3, plasma rifles and fusion blasters
3 x Firewarrior squad - 10 x firewarriors, Shas'ui with bonding knife
2 x Kroot squad - 14 x kroot carnivores, 3 x kroot hounds
2 x Pathfinder squad - 8 x pathfinders, devilfish with disruption pod
1 x Hammerhead
1 x Broadside squad - 3 x broadsides, advanced stabilization, 2 x shield drones

A lot of markerlights coupled with the pathfinders' devilfish that can transport both firewarriors and kroot (not at the same time, of course).

Monday, July 7, 2008

Exemplum: Tyranid Assault Brood

As part of the 40k 5th edition release, Games Workshop is offering an awesome deal on a tyranid force called the Tyranid Assault Brood. For $180 USD you get the equivalent of two tyranid battleforces (already a good deal, with the contents of each $90 battleforce retailing for $145), plus you get an additional carnifex. Basically, you are paying for two tyranid battleforces and getting a free carnifex!

For an even better deal, order through The Warstore and get 20% off. Get a brood while you can as this looks to be a 5e splash release and won't be available for too long.

Commutatus: Dark Angels Upgrade Sprue

One of the best deals offered by GW in a long time is the Dark Angels Chapter Upgrade. For $20 USD you get two full DA upgrade sprues that include 5 robed marine bodies, heads, bolters, etc. and more veteran bits than you can shake a power fist at. That is a total of 10 space marines with weapons - all you need to supply are the bases.

Even if you don't play the list, the DA chapter upgrade offers a huge number of bits and some great robed bodies that can be used for conversions. Speaking of conversions, I will be using the DA upgrade sprue in a number of upcoming commutatus blog entries, so be sure to order a few. Another sprue that will see heavy usage in this blog is the space marines command squad sprue. A little more expensive, but the command sprue includes everything from bolt and plasma pistols to special weapons to the apothecary upgrade - definitely worth it.