Battle Report Catchup and Some Upcoming Content

It has been awhile since my last post, oh no! I didn't fall off the face of the earth, I just haven't had any games to do Battle Reports on. I've actually been playing a lot of games, keeping up a steady clip of two a week, but none of them have been worth really doing a writeup on. As is probably clear to people familiar with my content a lot of my games are....one-sided. My opponents frequently ask me to play my tournament list so they can test their own armies but then what they put on the table is not at the same competitive level as what I bring and the game goes sideways quickly.

Most of my recent games have been like that. I played one game against a Black Legion Mechanized army, three Forgefiends, some Demon Princes, Abaddon, and the Special Character Nurgle Demon from Forge World (this was the day before Chapter Approved dropped). In that game the -2 to Hit on my Obliterators was too much, hitting on 6's even with Abaddon and then putting Autocannons into Obliterators with Cover was not a winning formula. On Turn 1 I killed two Demon Princes and the big Demon after a well-placed Death Hex, although I think he'd go down anyways. This just left the Forgefiends, some Nurglings, Abaddon, and Epidemius and I'd lost a few Cultists so we called the game on the top of Turn 2.

I also played a game against Tyranids which could have been more competitive but it was my opponent's first outing with the army and there were a lot of mistakes being made. Overall it was a Monster Mash with 4 Carnifexes, two fighty and two DakkaFexes, a Trygon, 9 Rippers, 2 Flyrants, an Exocrine, a Tyrannofex, 3 Hive Guard, Old One Eye, and 3 Biovores. Everything was Kraken but even with good Advance rolls it took a bit for him to close the gap. Shooting was also very ineffective as he had nothing to kill Cultists except the DakkaFexes but I deployed out of LoS of them.

Once the Obliterators came down on Turn 1 I was able to kill both Flyrants as they dropped very aggressively in front of me but failed their Charges. This left the Tyranids without any Synapse and they never had any in the backfield to begin with which means unless the shooty bugs target the closest thing they get a -1 to Hit.....which means they can't hit the Obliterators except for the Hive Guard and Exocrine on 6's, without re-rolls. From there I ate a couple Charges from Carnifexes and the Trygon into my Cultists who were also getting shot since they were the closest target and the Obliterators were basically unhittable but on Turn 2 I killed the Carifexes and Trygon, on Turn 3 I killed Old One Eye, a DakkaFex, and the Rippers. That left the Tyranids with nothing to really hold Objectives with nor to kill me with and the rest of the game would have been the Obliterators Advancing and killing a Monster or unit a turn.

Yet another game was against Blood Angels, which I was keen to see on the table with their new Codex. I was going up against three Death Company units, Lemartes, Dante, a Lib Dread, a Stormraven, three Razorbacks, two small Tac Squads, Assault Termies, and some Sniper Scouts. Unfortunately this game was insanely one-sided due to list strength and my opponent making a lot of mistakes. I was able to screen my army with my Horrors and then a second screen of one Cultist unit while also denying all Deep Strike space except to my front and only two units made the Deep Strike Charge. After that I quickly killed all the Death Company, all the Terminators, and left Lemartes with one wound while tying up Dante with Horrors that he cannot battle through quickly. My opponent also rolled the worst dice, all game, I have ever seen in 10+ years of gaming, by Turn 2 only the Razorbacks, Tac Squads, and Scouts were left as Lemartes died to Cultists in Combat and the Dreadnought got drug down by the Demon Prince and Sorcerer.

The final game I played I actually lost due to concession but it was very fast. I was playing against one of my regular Death Guard opponents who had a Demon Prince with both The Suppurating Plate and the 4+ FNP Warlord Trait. I wasn't able to stop Miasma from going on him and I failed to kill it despite dumping all my Obliterators, Psychic Powers, and two Cultist units into it. This was mostly really bad rolling on my part and really great rolling on my opponent's part but it finished the game, I can't shoot 1500pts worth of models and not kill anything. This allowed the other two Demon Princes to get involved and I could tell the game would crumble quickly. I did make some positional mistakes but really I chalk the game up to dice which is unfortunate but it happens.

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While playing through some games I've made small adjustments to my army and I completely love my Chaos list now. I'm going to try and get some casual games with my Orks and make Green Tide work in a competitive setting, my hope is to drop some Boyz, maybe 1-2 Units worth, and pick up some of the discounted Buggies. This will make the army faster to play with, which is the main issue, and give me a good way to try and tie things up from the word go. Orks also tend to have closer games because they lack the raw power of my Chaos army, so that's a bit more entertaining.

I do have Tournaments for the next two weekends as of posting this, my state is crazy for tournaments, and I'll be taking Chaos with the following setup:

Battalion - World Eaters
The Changeling
Warpsmith w/ Combi-Bolter

10 Brimstone Horrors
10 Brimstone Horrors
10 Brimstone Horrors


Battalion - Iron Warriors
Chaos Lord w/ Power Sword & Combi-Bolter (MoN)
Sorcerer w/ Combi-Bolter & Force Axe (MoT)

40 Cultists w/ Autoguns (MoS)
40 Cultists w/ Autoguns (MoS)
40 Cultists w/ Autoguns (MoS)


Spearhead Detachment - Alpha Legion
Chaos Lord w/ Jump Pack & Combi-Bolter (MoN)

3 Obliterators (MoT)
3 Obliterators (MoT)
3 Obliterators (MoT)
3 Obliterators (MoT)
3 Obliterators (MoT)

I realized the Demon Prince is pointless as I never, ever use him for Combat. He's too important to the army for making my Cultists Immune to Morale via the Iron Warriors Warlord Trait, so why not save the points? This let me put a Warpsmith back in and drop the Renegade Commander, who is useless, and unlock the World Eaters Strategem/Relic again. Right now I have Combi-Bolters on all the Characters instead of adding Blue Horrors to the Horror units, I think this is better since all the Horrors would average out to 1 Mortal Wound per Turn, assuming they have range/LoS, while the Combi-Bolters will likely do more.

This also gives me a lot of toolbox options for Relics/Strategems. If I'm against a Psyker heavy army I can use the Collar and get a 3rd Deny, with consequences. If I'm against Monsters I can use the Nurgle Relic that Wounds on a 2+ with a good profile and if I'm against elite infantry I can use The Hydra Blade on the Jump Pack Lord. Even the Iron Warriors Exoskeleton is in play against Sniper heavy armies. Mark of Nurgle also lets me heal the Lords, it does cost a lot but they're so important that it's worth it against the few armies who can put wounds on him with Snipers/Psykers.

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As far as content moving forwards I will only do Battle Reports that I think are either entertaining or I can address mistakes that I and/or my opponent made for learning purposes. If the game is just a stomp I'm not going to bother as the feedback I've gotten is they're boring and uninformative.

To supplement that I'm going to make videos about things that I notice as common mistakes, or units I see as underutilized. The purpose of my blog and videos has always been to help myself improve at Warhammer and to hopefully give others something to think about. If you have anything you'd like my take on please let me know! To start with I think I'm going to do a video on why I believe Scouts are the best unit in the Space Marine Codex, look for that sometime soon.

Episode 58: More Tournament Testery (Chaos Space Marines vs. Salamanders 2000 Points)


Episode 57: Video Killed the Radio Star (Orks vs. Ravenguard 2000 Points)

Hey guys, from here on out I will be making an effort to do video reports only. There's a few reasons for this, one is I figured out typing everything up was taking me as long as just saying it and throwing the images together. Another is I think if I work at it I can be a lot more insightful about my games by speaking than be writing, that's my opinion and we'll see how it shakes out. Lastly it takes up less storage on my PC/Google Account since I have to host all the images and eventually I'm going to run out of storage or going to have to move to another cloud solution which might get messy.

Hopefully you all enjoy the video segment, I'm going to work really hard to get the production quality up and take a lot more photos but try to remember I'm just one guy who does this for fun. :]

Episode 55: Tournaments They Are A Coming (Chaos vs. Ultramarines 2000 Points) [Tournament Prep - Gross List]

Been a bit quiet on the Battle Report front lately, I have had continued trouble getting games in due to my new work schedule and unfortunately I've had some stomps. When I say "I am looking for a competitive game" people now seem to know what I mean! Today I managed to squeeze in a game after work against Hank, another new opponent, and his Ultramarines. Hank intentionally net-listed an army as much as he could for testing purposes although didn't have all the models and didn't really want to proxy. Unfortunately on my side I'm having models green-stuffed by a friend so I had to proxy a good bit but my army is in better shape than it was. Mostly I just need the Obliterators finished and am waiting on bits for my Cultists/Sorcerer but the rest is as it should be.

For the next three Saturdays starting this week I have tournaments! First is one where the Top 2 get invitations to a state level event in December, one is a bigger local that I have to travel a bit for, and the last is a two day, 40-50 man GT in my usual haunt. Kind of a good ramp up as I expect them to escalate in order of seriousness, currently my goal is to win one of the first two and place in the Top 8 of the GT. We'll see how it goes, I definitely need to tighten up my play to make those goals a reality.


Chaos

Abaddon the Despoiler (Warlord)
Sorcerer w/ Jump Pack, MoT, Force Axe, Combi-Bolter, The Eye of Night [Prescience & Death Hex]
Malefic Lord [Warp Flux & Creeping Terror]

40 Cultists w/ MoS
40 Cultists w/ MoS
40 Cultists w/ MoS

3 Obliterators w/ MoS
3 Obliterators w/ MoS
3 Obliterators w/ MoS

Malefic Lord [Warp Flux & Creeping Terror]
Malefic Lord [Warp Flux & Creeping Terror]
Malefic Lord [Warp Flux & Creeping Terror]
Malefic Lord [Warp Flux & Creeping Terror]
Malefic Lord [Warp Flux & Creeping Terror]

Malefic Lord [Warp Flux & Creeping Terror]
Malefic Lord [Warp Flux & Creeping Terror]
Malefic Lord [Warp Flux & Creeping Terror]

1 Blue Horror and 9 Brimstone Horrors
1 Blue Horror and 9 Brimstone Horrors
1 Blue Horror and 9 Brimstone Horrors



Ultramarines

Guilliman (Warlord)
Librarian [Fury of the Ancients & Might of Heroes]
Cassius

5 Tactical Marines w/ Plasma Pistol, Power Sword, and Lascannon
5 Tactical Marines w/ Plasma Pistol, Power Sword, and Lascannon
5 Tactical Marines w/ Plasma Pistol, Power Sword, and Lascannon
5 Tactical Marines w/ Plasma Pistol, Power Sword, and Lascannon
5 Tactical Marines w/ Plasma Pistol, Power Sword, and Lascannon

Razorback w/ Twin Assault Cannon
Razorback w/ Twin Assault Cannon
Razorback w/ Twin Assault Cannon
Razorback w/ Twin Lascannon
Razorback w/ Twin Lascannon
Razorback w/ Twin Lascannon

Stormtalon w/ Twin Assault Cannon and Skyhammer Missiles

Land Speeder w/ Heavy Bolter and Assault Cannon



Scenario and Deployment
ITC Mission 3 | Vanguard Strike

Deployment for my army was pretty strong, I have 5 Deep Strike selections so I got to see a bit of what Hank was doing although I figured he'd bunker up and let the dakka fly. Hank responded by deploying the Razorbacks empty, which I liked since I don't have much to threaten Marines in Cover and he needs all the shooting he can muster.

As things progressed Hank spread his army out a bit which is exactly what you don't want to do with this list. When you play parking lot Guilliman army you just have to own it and realize you're going to get crushed on Scenario. Either that or transition to something a bit more mobile like Scouts. To be fair Hank was copying the winning list from GT Heat 1 which is not really a competitive tournament since it didn't allow Forge World and used Core Rulebook Missions. In an environment with progressive scoring it's very hard to play a gunline, especially a vehicle oriented one, and honestly I'm glad for that since those lists are so boring. As I've repeatedly said gunlines are the death of 40K for me since the game becomes pointless and might as well be a dice simulator so I'm fine with the ITC guys influencing the meta. Hopefully GW updates their Missions in Chapter Approved to not be nearly unplayable junk.

Anyways I made a mistake in Deployment which was not putting my Malefic Lords behind my first rank of Cultists. Part of this is due to running with my Movement Trays but I don't think those are appropriate for my Chaos army. I'm only using them for 20/40 models per unit anyways so it's saving me maybe a few minutes a game if that. Cultists die VERY quickly compared to Orks with both a Toughness and Save difference, the trays also don't work well for recycling the unit. It's really important to get 1-2" extra range on the Smites with how important it is to my offense and adopting a denser deployment would help me get upfield faster, another thing I struggle with.

Hank won the roll for first turn and I was unable to Seize. For Secondaries I took Recon, Big Game Hunter, and Kingslyaer (Guilliman). The more I play the more I feel like Recon isn't viable, it's very hard to get there by Turn 3 without just overextending your army. Unfortunately Death By 1000 Cuts and the Deployment Zone one are even worse so it ends up being a go to. I'd really like the ITC to update the Secondaries for something a bit more reasonable like hold the center of the table or 3/4 table quarters. Hank took Headhunter, Recon, and The Reaper. I don't think he can ever get Recon, the rest are doable but if a Cultist unit doesn't go down Turn 1 I think I can outlast the entire game.







Ultramarines Turn 1

Movement Phase
Hank starts things off with a surprising display of movement, rolling all the Razorbacks forward a bit to have a midfield presence. Everyone else stays still which prevents Guilliman from maximizing his Aura. Overall I think Hank held onto Cover too hard during this Turn and came forward without reason which kind of bailed my bad Malefic Lord placement out. The Flier and Land Speeder zoom to my left, again I'm not sure why as I bubble-wrapped my Lords so this just removes Guilliman Aura and opens them up to Smite.

Psychic & Shooting Phase
Psychic Phase sees Might of Heroes go on Guilliman although I'm not sure why since he's not under threat from my list and risking a Perils for no upside isn't recommended. Shooting spreads out into the front two Cultist units as I'm giving Hank no other targets, I also lose some Horrors on the left and right. My left front unit gets chewed up a bit but overall I should have lost more with proper positioning of the Razorbacks.

Charge, Fight, & Morale Phase
Unsurprisingly there are no Charges and my Horrors pass Morale.

Score | 1-0 for Ultramarines







Chaos Turn 1

Movement Phase
Hoping to capitalize on some mistakes from Hank I move my army up, Advancing the Horrors and the Lords while keeping Abaddon on deck for everyone. Four Lords go left to hopefully handle the Flier while the rest stay middle to handle Razorbacks.

My Obliterators also come in and I position them decently although I need to focus on getting them Cover when possible. Each unit is in range of Abaddon though and in this matchup that's more important.

Psychic & Shooting Phase
My Psychic Phase starts with a failed Warp Flux on the Flier which I decline to re-roll. I leave it on 2 Wounds with the remaining Lords but hard roll the 5+ for both my Horror units to bring it down. In the center I leave a Lascannon Razorback on 1 Wound and also fail to cast Prescience on a Cultist unit. Unfortunately I positioned my Sorcerer poorly so he couldn't go for a Smite.

Shooting sees the Lasannon Razorback in the middle destroyed which Explodes, damaging the two near it and killing two Marines. I then finish off the 1 Wound Razorback and leave two Assault Cannon Razorbacks on 1 and 2 Wounds respectively. Realistically I should have done more damage but only one Obliterator unit rolled more than 1 Damage and Hank made good saves, normally I probably leave him with two Razorbacks.

Charge, Fight, & Morale Phase
I'm not in range for any Charges yet and Hank has no Morale so I pass. I score both Points for my end of turn as well as both for end of the round and also three for Big Game Hunter which puts me up to a command lead.

Score | 7-1 for Chaos










Ultramarines Turn 2

Movement Phase
Getting the hang of the army Hank mostly skips this phase, although I feel Guilliman should have moved up along with some of the Bolter Marines repositioning to make sure the Aura is spread far and wide. The Tactical Marines behind the crates at the top of the board move to get LoS while the Landspeeder hides behind the same crates.

Psychic & Shooting Phase
Again Guilliman gets a buff he won't need, risking Perils, but I'm not in position to Deny the Witch so it goes off without issue. Shooting mostly focuses on the Obliterators, killing 4 and wounding another as I can't make Invulnerables although Hank also rolled consistently badly for damage. I also lose a few more Cultists but the Assault Cannons are trying to help clear the Obliterators as well.

Charge, Fight, & Morale Phase
Again no Combat and no Morale. Hank failed to capture any Secondaries and didn't destroy a unit, surprisingly, so he only nets one point.

Score | 7-2 for Chaos






Chaos Turn 2

Movement Phase
Again I push up, hoping to get Recon going by Turn 3 so I can have a shot at maxing out on points. My Obliterators move up a bit but I'm quickly running out of targets that are in range of my army, similarly getting work out of Smite is getting more challenging but that usually means I'm extremely far ahead on attrition.

I decline to recycle a Cultist unit since I don't see much point in it. Lasguns without Abaddon aren't going to do anything to Marines in Cover and there isn't enough shooting left to wipe out a Cultist unit, or there won't be after my turn. I'd rather keep moving up and save the Command Points, although it was possible to Tide of Traitors and activate Recon.

Psychic & Shooting Phase
My Psychic Phase drops another Razorback but leaves several of the Malefic Lords squandered. Shooting leaves only a Lascannon Razorback and also kills all but the Lascannon from the Marines not in Cover.

Charge, Fight, & Morale Phase
Now I'm quite far from Hank's army so no Charges anytime soon unless something comes up to meet me. I max out Big Game Hunter and also score all the end of turn as well as end of round points, likely putting the game out of reach for Hank.

Score | 12-2 for Chaos






Remaining Turns

Well this game turned into another stomp, on Hank's Turn he killed a few more Obliterators and Advanced Guilliman up to join the fray. On my Turn I kill the Landspeeder, the Razorback, and the last Marine not in a building while also getting Recon to start hitting. Hank then shoots some more Obliterators and Charges the Cultists who on my Turn Fall Back as I melt the Librarian and Guilliman with Smites. At this point Hank concedes the game as Guilliman will get up, do very little, then die again and I have a Scenario lead that cannot be approached. I'll also have time to melt the remaining Tacticals over two turns even without shooting.






Victory for Chaos!



Post-Game Thoughts

Overall I was very happy with this list, it's very denial oriented which is what I planned and lacks a center-piece model that can break games by going down early. I think I will restore my Battalion to pure Black Legion, being able to Advance all the Cultists and shoot means that I retain offense while getting the Malefic Lords up the board and that's vital for this army. It might make the points a bit awkward but I think it's necessary.

This game was also a good illustration of how things can look decent on paper but go sideways on the table. Hank had all the tools to hang with my on attrition, he was going to have a hard go on Scenario but with Assault Cannons galore he could cut down the Cultists evenly and they didn't do much to him. Unfortunately he moved the Razorbacks up and kept his army too spread for really no gain, this prevented Bolter shots and all kinds of re-rolls. Because of my Deployment mistake the Flier could have easily survived along with the Razorbacks taking far less damage but as it happened I essentially won the game on Turn 1.

There's certainly more optimized versions of the RazorSpam list but I actually like taking Lascannons on some of them. The Tactical Squads need Missile Launchers for versatility and giving them any other upgrades is a complete waste. Characters are the weakest part since all you want is Guilliman but have to take two HQs, cheap fighty Captains are probably best and then a Supreme Command of Primaris Psykers for defense and to help strip threats off the Razorbacks before the Shooting Phase. I know the original list took a Storm Raven, which is a great model, but I think you can live without it in this type of list as its a pure gunboat outside of niche situations. I'm also open to Scouts replacing some Tactical Squads, probably three units to prevent Deep Strike.

Overall I'm feeling good about my Chaos list. It's gone through so much testing which have given me a lot of insight into the game and I"m pretty happy about that. Certainly playing more one-dimensional armies can limit how you see the game but now I've gotten hands on experience with hordes, big models, Combat Characters, Deep Strike armies, and so on. It's very likely that variety is one of the big draws of Chaos and Imperium, they can just do literally everything.

My next post will likely be the tournament reports, hopefully I can get some good games there and maybe take an ass kicking. I'm well overdue...

Episode 54: Two Baby Battle Reports and Continued List Updates

This last week I got two games in, one with someone I'd never played named Ian who was taking Blood Angels and a rematch against Jon who brought Raven Guard instead of his Sisters of Battle. Both asked me to take my Chaos list for different reasons and unfortunately both games were complete stomps. Identically they ended in concessions at the Top of Turn 2 which fair as the games would have gone to Turn 3 at the most.

Against Jon I intentionally went second, obviously my Chaos army is very powerful even as I keep tweaking it but I wanted to see what it could do going second. I lost an entire unit of Cultists Turn 1 as I failed to correctly hide ~5 behind Terrain, that's a mistake I won't make again and I was glad to see it on the table. Cultists need to be strung out more to cover more ground and hide better and I'm quickly seeing that Rapid Fire is not a necessity. Having the Overwatch Rapid Fire is great and Cultists are actually a great Charge deterrent with Abaddon but they aren't a purely offensive unit. Losing the Cultists let Magnus go berserk though as he kill a Black Knight unit, Sammael, a Lieutenant, and a Chaplain. Obliterators took care of the Dark Shroud, a Land Speeder, and a unit of Bikes while Smite dropped a Nephilim. At the Top of 2 all that remained was 3 Black Knights, an Apothecary, and a Land Speeder.

Moving to Ian the game was much the same except I went first. Magnus killed two Thud Guns and a unit of Tactical Marines before tanking the whole armies shooting and Charges from Mephiston, a Lieutenant, a Captain, and a Devastator Squad. Before the game ended he'd killed all but the Devastators. A Storm Raven went down thanks to the Obliterators and my Cultists nipped away at the various Scout units. I thought Ian had a good list with a lot of guns, using cool things like Thud Guns, Whirlwind Helios', and Melta Vets but Magnus was just too tanky and some of the shooting elements were deployed far too close to the front lines.

So what did I learn from these games?

Magnus Is Staying In...Maybe
Mortarion is out for many reasons but Magnus is a boss. I'm going to continue running The Changeling with him since the -1 to Hit really matters when going second. I also like how Magnus can play back against some armies to avoid taking too many shots, then he can get in the action with Warptime. I also like having a reliable Death Hex, it's a game changing power against many of the common power units.

Obliterators Are Legitimate
I hate randomness but Obliterators have been making it work. While they can have bad rolls with low AP and particularly Damage 1 their high rolls just blow things off the table. It also helps that you figure out the stat line of the gun before you pick a target, although I do wish you could use Endless Caophony on "the good" unit each turn. So far the Obliterators have really put the screws to my opponents as they either totally ignore Magnus and go for them, or focus on Magnus and let the Obliterators keep shooting. The units also gets me a bit more mileage out of Abaddon at times which is certainly welcome.

I Need to Scale Back the Cultists
Going up to three units of 40 has proven to be too much, I think two units is the sweet spot. This gives me a backup in case of emergencies but does see me dumping so much into bodies. For my third Troop I'm going with a unit of Brimstones, they excel at just camping an Objective and give The Changeling something else to do. With the Cultists it was challenging to hold backline Objectives past Turn 2 as I really wanted to be pushing forward. Also movement trays do not work with Cultists, they are a very different unit from Ork Boyz, and having 120 bodies milling around would slow me down too much in tournament play.

Chaos Needs More Variety
I've been making so many lists for Chaos and I keep coming back to the same things. In particular I want more shooting but a lot of units like Raptors, Havocs, Marines, etc. just aren't there in terms of effectiveness or are too expensive. Terminators also fall into this boat and I find myself just having not that much to reach for. It also feels like Chaos leans very heavily on Malefic Lords, if those went to 60pts or more, which they should be, I'm not really sure what the army would do.

One thing that would be nice is some love for Demons. Right now Demons are nearly useless, Horrors see play because they're under-priced and some Nurgle units see table time as they have FNP but nothing else is making the rounds. Unfortunately that's not going to change unless the Summoning rules get a change or there's something added to get them on the table. Unless Bloodletters go to 2pts a piece or something they're going to stay useless with the current rules.

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Anyways, here's my list as is:

Abaddon the Despoiler (Warlord w/ First Amongst Traitors)
Malefic Lord

The Changeling
Malefic Lord
Malefic Lord
Malefic Lord
Malefic Lord

Malefic Lord
Malefic Lord
Malefic Lord
Malefic Lord
Malefic Lord

10 Brimstone Horrors & 2 Blue Horrors
40 Cultists w/ MoS
40 Cultists w/ MoS

3 Obliterators w/ MoS
3 Obliterators w/ MoS
3 Obliterators w/ MoS

Magnus the Red

I'd be surprised if this was my final version but it's getting there as I'm finding more things that I like to run. My Troops are pretty set in stone until changes come, this gives me enough Cultists to get mileage out of Abaddon but not so many that it's a pain to move them around or dump too many points into anti-Infantry.

Obliterators are also awesome, they can have valleys but with multiple units it's been fine thus far and getting to see the profile before target selection makes it so you don't waste their shooting. In one game I had AP 3 but only 1 Damage so I shot into some Marines instead of a Vehicle. If anything I'd like ANOTHER unit of them since they also get more from Abaddon but I think that will depend on how the meta goes.

I'm not really...happy with running so many Malefic Lords. As is right now I don't even have a target for my Relic since everything is Renegades & Heretics or a Special Character. My preference would be to get rid of nearly all of them but if the goal of the list is just Wins/Losses, which this one is, then I can't in good conscience drop them cold.

Another awkward portion is Magnus. Magnus is extremely good, he attracts a ton of attention and does a lot of heavy lifting but he's also a big target. My fear is he's going to get sniped Turn 1 against great players even with -1 to Hit from The Changeling. Right now Smite Spam is also so prevalent as Chaos/Imperium continue to dominate everything and that's really pushing big models out of viability. For those of you who watched the Final Table at San Diego Open this past weekend the Chaos Player had both Magnus and Mortarion but couldn't get them in the mix because the Imperium player had a ton of Primaris Psykers and it'd be too dicey.

The more I look at top tier armies/games the more it seems like unshootable Characters, Deep Strike, and big units are the way to be. Guaranteeing damage, even if you go second, is a big consideration right now especially in an event where there's so many games that continually going first is not going to happen. So I may focus on that but I'm going to ride with what I have, at least for a week or so. :P

Episode 53: The Testing Before the Storm (Chaos vs. Sisters of Battle) [Tournament Testing - Gross List]

Hey guys, I was fortunate to get a game in this week after one I had scheduled for the middle of the week fell through. Since I started my new job it's been harder to get games since I have a bit of an odd schedule, getting done at 2:30PM during the week, but I'm trying to make it work and luckily 40K is so active that it's not impossible for me.

Currently my focus is to get reps in with my Chaos army in preparation for two Tournaments in November, one on the 11th and one on the 18th. The latter is a two-day GT sized event and I'm taking it very seriously after I wasn't able to attend the previous offering. Unfortunately that means I have to play an extremely hard as nails army list and a lot of people find that boring to read about, especially for Chaos. I completely understand since spoilers, I'm taking a ton of Malefic Lords. However I'm doing a lot of experimentation with my army and I think there's more to be seen than just the Psyker spam, but if you see Tournament Testing or anything in the header for my Battle Reports, you're probably free to assume I'm taking just that.

This time I'm against Jon who is a latecomer to the Ladder League I'm involved in but has been tearing it up. He usually plays pure Sisters of Battle although he can mix in Dark Angels as well which I was excited for. My position has been that Mechanized Armies have the tools to do well against what I'm bringing, particularly Flier armies, since the Smites are not as impactful and a lot of my firepower (Cultists) can be without solid targets.

Finally I've made some fairly big changes to my army, again. I'll refrain from going into that too much since I have so many ideas for tweaks to Chaos, maybe when I calm down I'll post another writeup.


Chaos

Abaddon (Warlord w/ First Among Traitors)
Demon Prince w/ Wings, Malefic Talons, MoS, Intoxicating Elixir [Warptime]
Demon Prince w/ Wings, Malefic Talons, MoS [Demonic Strength]

40 Cultists w/ MoS
40 Cultists w/ MoS
40 Cultists w/ MoS

3 Obliterators w/ MoS
3 Obliterators w/ MoS
3 Obliterators w/ MoS

Malefic Lord [Warp Flux & Creeping Terror]
Malefic Lord [Warp Flux & Creeping Terror]
Malefic Lord [Warp Flux & Creeping Terror]
Malefic Lord [Warp Flux & Creeping Terror]
Malefic Lord [Warp Flux & Creeping Terror]

Malefic Lord [Warp Flux & Creeping Terror]
Malefic Lord [Warp Flux & Creeping Terror]
Malefic Lord [Warp Flux & Creeping Terror]
Malefic Lord [Warp Flux & Creeping Terror]
Malefic Lord [Warp Flux & Creeping Terror]

Summoning Pool: 10 Brimstone Horrors and 1 Blue Horror


Sisters of Battle

Celestine w/ 2 Geminae (Warlord w/ Legendary Fighter)
Inquisitor Greyfax [Dominate]

Callidus Assassin

5 Battle Sisters w/ Flamer, Meltagun, Sergeant w/ a Plasma Pistol
5 Battle Sisters w/ Flamer, Meltagun, Sergeant w/ a Plasma Pistol
Immolator w/ Immolation Flamer
6 Battle Sisters w/ Flamer, Meltagun, Sergeant w/ a Plasma Pistol
Immolator w/ Immolation Flamer

6 Dominions w/ 2 Flamers, 2 Meltas
Immolator w/ Immolation Flamer
6 Dominions w/ 2 Flamers, 2 Meltas
Immolator w/ Immolation Flamer
10 Seraphim w/ 2 Hand Flamers, Sergeant w/ Power Sword

Exorcist
Exorcist
Exorcist


Scenario and Deployment
ITC Mission 2 | Vanguard Strike

As per usual from here on out I will be using the new ITC Missions, they're much more interesting than the old ones in my opinion and they're the standard choice in my meta.

Deployment was pretty standard for both of us. Jon put his Exorcists in the back with good lines of fire and the Immolators up pretty aggressively. Celestine and the Seraphim was also up and ready to try an alpha strike with her guaranteed Act of Faith. The foot bound Sisters went onto the Objective nearest Jon's long table edge and of course the Assassin went into Reserves. Greyfax rides with the 5 man Sisters squad.

I put two Cultist units up front and one in the back. Obviously the Assassin can appear very close from anywhere and Celestine is very mobile. My Characters all went in the sandwich between the Cultists and the Obliterators went into Reserve.

For Secondaries I took Kingslayer [Kingslayer], Big Game Hunter, and Recon. Jon took Headhunter, The Reaper, and Kingslayer [Abaddon]. I think taking The Reaper against me is a mistake, it's hard to actually destroy my units for many armies and I didn't feel like Jon would be able to do that in one turn. To be fair he didn't have great options, Death By a Thousand Cuts is on the table but I'm very safe with my Characters and if he's not going to get through the screen for The Reaper he's not going to get to the Malefic Lords in any quantity.

Jon won the roll to go first and I failed to Seize. My plan for this game is to just move up the board while focusing on the Transports. I'll likely lose the Obliterators to Exorcists unless I can make terrain work for me but overall they have few good targets and aren't going to win the game. I also want to leverage how hard it is to attack my army and get an early Scenario lead, this army is built to be strong in the ITC Missions whereas I don't see other prioritizing that yet.






Sisters of Battle Turn 1

Movement Phase
Celestine and the Seraphim both use Hand of the Emperor to scream across the table and stop right in front of my leftmost Cultists. The Dominions also use their pre-game move to get in position on the right and prepare to flame my Cultists there.

In the actual Movement Phase the Immolators finish getting into position while the two with Battle Sisters in them move up to the center-right. Jon also decides to bring the Assassin in but rolls a 6 for her and decides against using a re-roll. She's placed on the right with a possible Charge onto the Intoxicating Elixir Demon Prince.

Psychic & Shooting Phase
With no Psychic Jon moves to shooting. Bolt Pistols from the Seraphim and Geminae kill a few Cultists and Celestine chips in for another few. The Immolators roast ~10 Cultists, I was almost able to pull one out of Shooting range since Jon hung back but I needed to lose one more model. The Exorcists sadly fire into some Cultists but two of them only get one shot so they don't do too much.

Charge, Fight, & Morale Phase
Jon does quite a bit of thinking and decides to start with the Seraphim into the Cultists, making it in but losing 4 to Overwatch. I had 60+ shots with full re-rolls and wounding on 4's, really painful for a unit like Seraphim to walk into.

Celestine was a bit far back, I'm not sure why Jon didn't move her as aggressively as possible. My guess would be fear of getting Seized on and having Celestine dropped, which is possible but very unlikely. In any case she tried a Charge into the Cultists and Abaddon but came up short, taking no damage. Jon did use a re-roll but in classic fashion, rolled another 1. The Assassin also failed her Charge.

In Combat I lost a few Cultists and drug down another two Seraphim. The fly girls passed their Morale, my units auto-passed due to Abaddon.

Jon picked up 1 Point for having an Objective but didn't manage to destroy a unit or pick up any Secondaries.

Score | 1-0 for Jon









Chaos Turn 1

Movement Phase
With my left Cultists in Combat I moved up on the right, hoping to open at least one Immolator with Smite and then shoot up the squishy Sisters. My right Demon Prince moved to set himself between the Assassin and Immolators while the other one and Abaddon hid behind a wall to Charge Celestine without Overwatch if necessary.

My Obliterators came down but Jon did a good job of walling me out. In the end I decided to place them defensively which will make it hard to get the Exorcists, sadly I wasn't able to get two units within Abaddon's Aura since the Seraphim are so in my lines. Overall I placed these very badly and really need more practice with them combined with Jon doing a good job with his army placement.

Psychic & Shooting Phase
My Psychic Phase is brutal to the surprise of no one. I kill all the Seraphim, both Geminae, and Celestine who has to burn a re-roll to come back to life. I also put wounds on both the Immolators due to some weird LoS but destroy neither of them.

Shooting kills the Assassin with an Obliterator unit and destroys both the Dominion Immolators although none of them die. I put a Wound on another Immolator with Cultists and kill 2 Sisters with the Cultists on the right.

Charge, Fight, & Morale Phase
My Demon Prince tries a Charge on the Dominions who are undamaged and makes it, taking 1 Wound. He then eats all of them, going up to 11 Attacks thanks to Death to the False Emperor! I Consolidate into the other unit who do no damage in Combat. Morale does nothing again.

I score 2 Points for Big Game Hunter, 3 Points for Kingslayer, 2 Points for Destroying a Unit and Destroying more Units, and 1 Point for Holding an Objective.

Score | 8-1 for Chaos







Sisters of Battle Turn 2

Movement Phase
Celestine returns to play well away from my lines, as close as she can be to the Demon Prince. Reading this ability now the revival is immediate but I don't think that had an impact on the game. She uses an Act of Faith to revive a Geminae and then brings the other back per her normal ability. The other Act of Faith is used to move the Sisters on the Objective, stringing them out but allowing for some shooting.

Normal Movement has Celestine sit there as Jon didn't know she could move normally (again we didn't look this up during the game) while everything else circle the Demon Prince. The Sisters in Combat Fall Back through the Ruins. 

Psychic & Shooting Phase
Greyfax tries a Smite on the Demon Prince and does a Wound, Jon then moves into Shooting. Bolters bounce off and Flamers are out of range but I do take 5 more Wounds from an Exorcist and a Meltagun. Overall Jon's dice are very bad this turn and I fully expected the Demon Prince to die. I do lose 3 Obliterators across two different units from other Exorcist shots.

Charge, Fight, & Morale Phase
Celestine whiffs another Charge even with a re-roll but a desperation Charge from Greyfax is successful. Unfortunately even with her re-rolls she bounce off and the Demon Prince eats her. Both me and Jon thought that was a fitting end to the terrible turn he had.

Jon scores 1 Point for having an Objective but again nothing else.

Score | 8-2 for Chaos



Chaos Turn 2

Movement Phase
Jon did a good job using his available terrain and range advantage to make sure I'll have a bad turn, to that end pretty much everything I have Advances. My wounded Prince moves up to Charge over the Ruins and avoid Overwatch, the other Prince also moves up to do the same. Obliterators just walk as well although I'm low on targets.

Psychic & Shooting Phase
In the Psychic Phase I try to Demonic Strength but fail and can't see anything or have range to it for Smites with the Malefic Lords. My other Prince Smites an Immolator, doing a few Wounds.

Shooting is also very low, I put 1 Wound on the forward Immolator but otherwise I don't have LoS or range.

Charge, Fight, & Morale Phase
Both Demon Princes Charge and make it, the damaged one getting into the Immolator and a full Sisters unit while the other gets into both Sisters units. Since LoS is an issue I didn't have to contend with any Overwatch.

I leave the Immolator on 1 Wound which is unfortunate since there's a unit inside. The smaller Sisters unit gets eater, then other is down to 3 models. Attacks back do no damage and Morale again does nothing.

I score none of my Secondaries but 2 for Destroying Units and 1 for Holding an Objective.

Score | 11-2 for Chaos



Remaining Turns

Not much happened on Round 3 and then we called it so I'll give a high level. Jon Falls Back and then kills both Demon Princes as Celestine finally decides to make a Charge. I also lose another Obliterator and Jon has most of his army hiding behind Terrain.

On my Turn I continue the mass Advance and recycle a Cultist unit to right flank. Shooting kills almost all the remaining Sisters, only a few remain behind a Ruins on Jon's Objective. Again my Smites and such can't see anything or get in range so my offense is very limited.

On Jon's Turn he moves Celestine up for a run on Abaddon, shooting into the nearby Cultists with what he has left. Abaddon makes 4/4 Invulnerable Saves and then kills both Geminae and leave Celestine on 3 Wounds. Finally on my last Turn I Smite her to death and recycle another Cultist unit to kill all the Sisters on Jon's Objective. At this point we call it.

Jon ended with 7 Points as he killed two Characters and did 3 Wounds to Abaddon with some Shooting. I would have ended with 2 for Recon, maxed Kinglsayer/Big Game Hunter and scored the remaining Bonus/Round/Turn Points for a nearly maxed score.







Post-Game Thoughts

So this game was a stomp, me and Jon admitted it after the game. As he said he wanted to see a really competitive army to get a feel for the level of optimization he needs. I will say Jon had some really heads up plays this game mostly revolving around using that Ruin to hide so much of his army and deny me any offense. That's why it's so important to play Ruins as blocking LoS for the first level!

To speak about Sisters of Battle for a moment, I think Exorcists are horrible. D3 Damage is not viable for a platform that's supposed to be anti-tank, they really can't have a Canoness around to give re-rolls and they're too random while also being static. Sisters can make it rain Meltaguns, I'd rather have those. Exorcists can hold the backfield but I'd rather get some cheap unit to do that, which Jon has in a minimum sized Troop unit.

Sisters also need to crutch on Repressors, getting out of their Transports is a death sentence. It's not great to have to rely on Forge World but I just don't think you can hop out with T3 models and expect them to survive. Taking all Melta on the girls and Flamers on the Transports gives a great overlap in what you can handle via shooting, the weakness then becomes Psychic Powers. But if you play pure Sisters there's some things that will always be an issue. I'm also not the biggest fan of the Assassin, melee Character killers are very easy to play around. Taking the anti-Psyker one would probably be a lot better since it can just absorb Smites for a turn.

For my part I certainly made some mistakes. I placed the Obliterators poorly but Jon also did a good job of denying space as I mentioned. I also didn't get them re-rolls which is kind of the point of taking them. Overall I should have been more aggressive as Jon was locking down all my offense with the Terrain, granted by then I'd inflicted significant casualties so it wasn't as hard to hide the remainder of the army. I also incorrectly pulled some casualties which let Abaddon get shot by two Exorcists, fortunately my dice bailed me out but it was just a dumb positional error.

I'm not sure how I feel about the Obliterators. Part of me wants to play them more but I don't think in a real game I can get as much as I want from them. I have no issue killing Vehicles that come to me, Demon Princes and Smite takes care of it no problem. If I put Obliterators more into the backline/midfield they're very exposed and will not benefit from re-rolls. Obliterators are also a very high variance unit, a subtle theme of my army is to limit variance as much as I can. It's likely I'll head back into the lab and see what I can do, I love the core of the army with Abaddon and Cultists so it's just getting the right pieces around that core.








Episode 52: Kind of a Battle Report but Lots of ITC Discussion

Hey guys, I got another game in over the weekend and actually recorded quite a long video for it but it didn't turn out how I wanted. Since it was about an hour I thought it best to learn from my audio mistakes and just do a writeup as most of the video was me talking about the new ITC Missions. I am trying to make some cooler video content as I know some people like it and it's fun to do outside of Battle Reports, I'm just trying to get better at the whole thing.

I'll briefly touch on the game, I took the Chaos list I've been testing against my buddy Nick who I've played several times. He was taking Death Guard as per usual although with a bit of a twist this time. The list list was as follows:

Demon Prince of Nurgle w/ 2x Malefic Talons, Warpbolter, The Supprating Plate (Warlord)
Typhus
Necrosius

10 Poxwalkers
10 Poxwalkers
10 Poxwalkers

Chaos Sorcerer in Terminator Armor w/ Force Axe
Chaos Lord in Terminator Armor w/ Power Axe

10 Blightlord Terminators w/ Combi-Plasma, 2 Flails of Corruption, 8 Bubonic Axes

3 Obliterators
3 Obliterators
3 Obliterators

I was happy to see this list because while it's far from optimized, and indeed has an illegal Terminator entry since they lose the Combi-Bolter for the Flail, it has a lot of heavy shooting which I need to throw Magnus/Mortarion into. That being said I still felt very advantaged in the matchup.

Unfortunately the game wasn't very exciting as Nick Conceded on the Top of Turn 2. He made a huge mistake by letting me go first as he thought the range on my Cultists were shorter which meant Turn 1 I killed about half the Poxwalkers, put up my defensive buffs, and took the board. On Nick's Turn he did get Magnus down to 6 Wounds and killed some Cultists by getting a Charge off with the Terminators and some Poxwalkers, although Abaddon cut down most of the Poxwalkers before they could leverage their attacks and make more.

On my turn I killed the Terminators, all the Poxwalkers, and an Obliterator. Magnus was out of position since he failed a medium Charge into the Demon Prince but even though he was likely to die next turn the game was over. Mortarion would move into the army, hit everything with both his auras, get a great gunshot and then start murdering Characters. Even without that the amount of Smite I had access to via the Malefic Lords would likely drop a Character a turn and I had run of the whole table with the Cultists.

Sadly the game was very sloppy, Nick made several big mistakes like the turn order and fighting first with his Terminators which let me interrupt with Abaddon into the Poxwalkers. As I told Nick I think there's a list in there but it needs a way to kill screens and it probably has to turn the Terminators into Mark of Slaanesh, the double shooting is too good. 4++ and FNP is great but the package is so expensive that it just has to do work. Poxwalkers are also very poor in small units, it's spam them or take Cultists/Brimstones to fill up Troops. Even Plague Marines would have been far more useful.

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With that said, I'd love to talk about the new ITC Missions. I've been able to play them twice now and watched several more games in person while talking to my local guys. The consensus is they're certainly improved, which I'd agree with. However I do still see some noticeable flaws.

The Good

This will be the longest section. Let's start with simplicity. The new Missions are less overall bookkeeping in my experience than the old ones, you don't have to track "categories" of Objective, you don't have to track changing Objectives via Maelstrom, and there's less math to do at the games end. All of that matters a lot for tournament play, which these are focused on it feels, meaning TO's can get things figured out faster and players can be a bit more relaxed.

To continue this trend the Missions are much easier to setup. TOs can deploy 4/6 Missions between Rounds and the other two have less setup which means more time for actual play. This is extremely important as I'll touch on later. While not setting up your own Objectives does remove some skill I think it's a smart concession for both casual and tournament play. I'd rather have less to track and more time to roll dice.

What makes up for the Objective placement is the Secondary Objectives which are lifted from this years NOVA Open. These are a bit simplistic, it's very obvious when you take each one, but they are a way to keep things simple and inject some skill back into the Missions. Another bright spot for me is the guaranteed Turn Length, I've always thought Random Game Length is horrible and removes skill from the game since you cannot plan for things. Having a game go 6-7 Turns is doable, having it go 5-7 is quite bad in my opinion and I was happy to see it go.

I like that it's very clear when and how each Player scores. These come in the form of Round, Turn, and Anytime scoring. As stated by the ITC the Round ones are an effort to balance going first and second. It's not nearly enough and I'm sure tournaments/testing will bear that out but at least it's something. These feel like more of a chance at playing spoiler than putting the game on equal footing.

Movement is now a huge part of the game. With the last ITC Missions there was still too much reward, and there probably still is for my taste, on grabbing Objectives late game or just tablilng your opponent. Since you got a full, immediate, win for a tabling the game was just power play against power play. There's now more room for armies that focus on the Mission which makes things like Mechanized lists better.

Finally we have the scoring, which is only really relevant for Tournaments. It's written that you only score what you score although if you table your opponent you're considered to get all the Primary and Secondary Points they can for the rest of the game. These points are also the primary tie-breaker so if several people share a record they're ordered by their score. This makes more defensive armies quite powerful as they can play to the Mission but also hold off from the tablings that are common right now in the meta. This, combined with more emphasis on early and often movement, will hopefully shake things up.


The Bad

Most of my complaints revolve around a continued emphasis on killing your opponents army. This is something 40K Players really seem to struggle with but the secret is simple: Your army is already rewarded for killing the other army. You don't need MORE reasons to do that! In the last packet we had way too many "Destroy a Unit" results, here we have the same thing for both Round AND Turn scoring but on top of that it's all but two of the Secondary Objectives. Ugh!

This is where 40K needs to rip off Warmachine wholesale. Privateer Press Scenarios traditionally had nothing to do with removing models, they had to do with holding ground and positioning. You were tasked with holding Circles, Flags, and Zones. There were instances when you had to destroy Objectives, which were reasonably tough, but those Objectives did NOT cost you anything and did NOT buff the other army. They were a pure Scenario piece. This was changed near the end of MkII I believe, or at the beginning of MkIII, to provide some buffs which I think was a bad thing.

40K could easily copy this. Why not put different sized Objectives into the game? Not everything has to be the same size, maybe one area of the table is more important than the others. Put a Zone in the middle and put Objectives on the flanks. This would force armies forward and make them put stuff into the Zone, buffing melee armies which need the help, but also gives some incentive to have fast units or small skirmishes on the flanks. Sure it would require some templates and such but so many other games do it and I've never seen that stop anyone from playing.

Continuing my example, why not make the Secondary Objectives more interesting? How about instead of Kingslayer I have to get my own Character to a certain place on the table and they have to survive until my next turn. This is similar to a concept called Dominating in Warmachine where you would score more if important models were on Objectives, although they could be held by less important models for a lower reward. Tactical! Will you risk your Warlord on my side of the table, or will you give up those points?

Even the destructible Objectives fit well, just make them Characters or have some other semi-immunity to shooting. Maybe they take reduced damage from range so the forgotten melee armies can get something done. If you want to get super crazy the Secondary Objectives can be secret. Maybe in EVERY game there's destructible Objectives but your opponent won't always take that. Now you can bluff which seems very accurate to a real conflict. Not that we need literal realism in a space war game but some tactical realism would be nice. Why do I know EXACTLY what my opponent wants to do?

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While it seems like I have a lot of complaints, these aren't necessarily directed at the ITC Missions. Warhammer has always had weak Scenarios and been more of a chuck dice game, which I think is to its detriment. I fully recognize and encourage the need for simple and fast Scenarios, the ones GW put out with 8th are great for this. But there also needs to be complex and deep Scenarios for tournament play and that is what I do not see. We're inching forward, slowly, as a game but it gets frustrating at times.

Right now many people groan about the spam lists which are pushing Fliers, Artillery, under-costed Screens/Psykers, and so on. Well Missions can prevent that. Those lists are powerful because the game provides no reason to take anything other than the most powerful possible units. Speed is barely a consideration, things like Deep Strike have been marginalized because their offensive power is so easily shut down. It's a real shame the game provides no reason to explore subtle rules and nuanced units. Right now it's two people smashing each other with clubs, sometimes I like to watch a good fencing match instead.