Wednesday, March 11, 2009


From Workspace

I guess a rundown of what my workspace looks like is in order. As you can see, I don't really stick to one thing. On the 40k table, you can see some Eldar objectives in the process of being painted (using three different methods of painting,) Krieg in the process of being assembled, Sisters of Battle being stripped (above the paint tile,) and a Soul Grinder waiting for some extra spiky bits.

Out of frame are a bunch more things that I've shoved out of the "clear" space in the middle. To the right is a light and a bunch of sprues and Krieg ziploc bags. To the left are a bunch of tools, including a box of backup paints that I got in a nice little trade. And below is the plastic drawer of parts, ranging from bits and magnets to a lonely Vyper in a drawer.

One thing I've discovered about any project I pick up is that my interest in it waxes and wanes. Therefore, in order to keep on with a hobby that I like, it's best to have lots of projects going at once. Then, when I'm bored with one thing, I can easily pick up another that I haven't touched in a little while.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Dire Avenger Tournament List

In the most recent 1,000 point tournament, I fielded an experimental, exceptionally fluffy Dire Avenger list. It's practically a mono-unit list, which gives it a pretty significant downside. But first, the list:

HQ: Asurmen - 230
Troops: (7) Dire Avenger Squad, Exarch w/ Bladestorm, Defend, Power Weapon & Shimmershield; Waveserpent with TL Bright Lances, Spirit Stones, and Shuriken Cannon - 296 points
Troops: (6) Dire Avenger Squad, Exarch w/ Bladestorm, Defend, Power Weapon & Shimmershield; Waveserpent with TL Bright Lances, Spirit Stones, and Shuriken Cannon - 284 points
Troops: (6) Dire Avenger Squad; Waveserpent with TL Shuriken Cannons and Shuriken Cannon - 182 points

Total: 992 Points

The purpose of the list is to be exceptionally mobile and fluffy. The two twin-linked bright lances cover heavy armor, and the shuriken cannons help for light armor. Defend and shimmer shields reduce the effectiveness of close combat armies, massed avenger shuriken catapults cover hoards, and Asurmen acts as my sole close combat unit.

The downfall of this list is heavy infantry or strong close combat units and a complete reliance on scoring units to do all of the work. Asurmen did manage to take out a unit of Chaos Space Marines + Mark of Khorne with a Slaaneshi Terminator Lord, but massed attacks and tough monstrous creatures can easily overpower him. The three Dire Avenger units have no ablative armor; once they're gone, the list has no scoring units.

In practice (so far,) the list performs relatively well. The first turn or two are usually spent positioning and firing bright lances and shuriken cannons. Later turns see Dire Avengers pouring out and spraying fire, with the Wave Serpents staying out of reach until end game objective contesting.

At the end of the day, the list is fun to play, fluffy, and somewhat competitive. I would have severe issues against the harder lists in existence, but fortunately our local gaming scene tends to be more fun than beat stick.

The list gets to face off against a Tyranid list of Warriors, a Carnifex, and lots of gaunts with Without Number. Fortunately it's an annihilation game, so I'm hoping to get a win out of it. I'll be sure to post some sort of report.

Trial and Error

One of the biggest difficulties and struggles I've found in 40k is finding tactics or units that reliably work.

When selecting what units should be used and where, I rely partially on mathematical analysis (Howling Banshees will cut down more Marines in close combat than Striking Scorpions, for example,) intuition (the above Banshees have fleet, which helps, but are very, very vulnerable to Heavy Bolters,) and fluff. Fluff and mathematical analysis are pretty clear cut1. The intuition part makes up for the lacking of mathematical analysis, and intuition has to come from some where.

As an example, I've seen people poopoo a unit because it failed them miserably in the first game or two they used it. 40k has a huge chance element. Ignoring this when deciding which unit to use can be somewhat presumptive, as your dice might have been treating you badly (or whatever the luck phrase of choice is.)

My basic point is this: in order to truly grasp the effectiveness of a unit, it needs to be tried in different combinations and multiple times. Any other decision might be made in haste, ignoring potentially great tactics. This means you'll have to grind through many games in many situations, some familiar, some not, and pay close attention to how a unit performed.

Get cracking!

1Okay, mathematical analysis can be as murky as you wish to make it. Operations research commands it's own topic of math, and I've yet to look into it and bring it to bear on 40k. Perhaps I should.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

A Break from Photos

My original plan for this blog was to have lots and lots of pictures posted. Unfortunately my camera finally died yesterday, so that idea is going to have to wait until I can select and purchase an entry-level DSLR.

I'll likely post some favored list choices and mathhammer in the meantime. Grab your pants - the theory is about to start flying!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Tournament Stupidity

Today I participated in most of a tournament (Rogue Trader Style,) so I got to throw down my Eldar in a tournament with some new armies. My list was a fluffy three Dire Avengers squads and Asurmen, all flying around in Waveserpents (992 points.) The goal was to use the Waveserpents as objective contesters and anti-tank (two had twin-linked Bright Lances, one with twin-linked Shuriken Cannons, all with underslung Shuriken Cannons and Spirit Stones,) Asurmen as the close-combat dealy, and the Dire Avenger squads as tar pits and overwhelming fire.

The first game was a win by only a point, as I only had one scoring unit, while the second game was a nearly draw, since my gracious opponent allowed me to take back declaring a charge against a unit of genestealers and allowing it to rally. Of course, if I had remembered the squad of Dire Avengers in a Waveserpent, I probably would have pulled out another win.

Unfortunately snow had been building up, so we were discussing postponing the last game when the power went out. After a judging of paint jobs in the light from the double doors, we all packed up and braved the treacherous drivers on the less treacherous roads.

Things I learned:

  • Asurmen can kick the crap out of the opponent in close combat, even without support.

  • DON'T FORGET UNITS. It was suggested that I use Epic 40k vehicles and squads on the side of the board to represent who is where. Given that I want to get into Epic anyways, I'm probably going to give in to the temptation.

  • A triple Waveserpent list isn't terrible. Even against close combaty lists like a Genestealer list and Khorne Beserkers I was able to fight to a very close loss or win.

  • The downside of the list is the softness of my few scoring units. I usually run very infantry heavy lists, so it's difficult for me to deal with having my squishy, small scoring units be all that I have.