Feast of Blades Invitational! Revised List

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Oct 262012

Haven’t posted for a while, busy with new job and honing my final list for Feast of Blades.  I’m sitting here in Red Lion Hotel at Denver, and I thought I’d post my final list, revised from what I listed previously here.

That list never really made it to game time…for one thing the psyker battle squad just underperformed and were too delicate outside of it’s rhino to really be used as a scorer.  The purifiers worked great, actually, but were dropped in favor a second GKSS squad in a rhino, which I figured would have similar output and also score.

That list did OK at Battle For Salvation (in a nutshell, I squeaked into the top bracket, but then got my ass kicked by the good players.  I can say at least some of that was dice based–for instance I couldn’t even kill Andrew Ganyo’s razorbacks with railguns, for instance.  Not one.) but it definitely needed improvements.  For one thing, the pathfinders with the BS5 Shas’El running the Bastion gun was a huge weak spot, people would just dakka them off.  Neil Gilstrap even used lash of slanessh to drag them off the top!  That was mean.  :)

Current plan is to have a lone paladin run the quadgun–he’s durable enough the gun actually makes a better target and he can jump down relatively safely, contest something.

Shas’El now plays a much more active role with some classic missile pod crisis suits, and that’s really proved to be the trick I needed.

I dropped one Devil Fish because while durable, they never actually do anything themselves….85 pts of pure transport.  The 12 man team can do more damage on foot, and the 1 DF always reserves now, there really only to score.  The other GKSS squad usually Deep Strikes.

The other controversial change is changing the Dreadknight from a jumper to a dual Heavy Incinerator & Heavy Psycannon build that walks.  The Heavy Psycannon has a bad rap, and did suck in 5th, but should be a bit better in 6th with more hordes, and a full Str 7 for poppin rhinos.  More to the point, I found that the teleporter made me use the Dreadknight too dangerously, he needs to hold center.

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Been a while since I’ve posted (~2weeks) and I’ve been thinking over a few things.  I’ve qualified for the Feast of Blades in Denver, and lists are due Oct 1st, so, enough procrastinating.  This is the list I’ve been working with for maybe a month now (before Tau vehicles got a 3+ cover save, 2+ when turbo-boosting, so that’s all Gravy now) and it’s been working pretty well.

Basic idea is that the Shas’El goes on top of the Bastion, with the pathfinders, and mans the Icarus Lascannon.  Broadsides go inside, so we have a nice, fairly nasty fire base there with cover on the battlements and AV 14.

Purifiers rush up (18″) to midfield and just sit there in their rhino as a deterent with 8 psycannon shots, and happy enough to assault you if you ask for it.

Coteaz goes with GKSS and they move up the field on foot behind the purfiers acting as the main Dakka unit, with Coteaz using Divination and Precience on them.

Psykers  move up however far is required to get within 36″, drop Str 8 AP1 pieplates.

Tau Firewarriors get in their Devil Fish (steal one from pathfinders) and probably don’t really get out until last turns, just scooting around with a 3+ or 2+ cover save as required.

Hammerheads do their thing, mostly their for the pie plates.

Dreadknight is there for disruption, counter-attack, and just outright breaking units when required.

Thoughts on the list:

Anti-tank: I feel pretty solid.  I have 5 Railt guns and the icarus lascannon available for first turn initial strike,  a strength 8 Ap 1 large blast, 4 psycannons that should be in play turn 2+, and many str 5 shots. Hopefully the hammherheads won’t be needed for their anti-tank and can be left for pie plates, but they’re there if needed.

Anti-horde: Super solid.  3 pie plates (2 str 6 and 1 str 8), the Heavy incinerator off the Dread knight, Cleansing Flame if required from the purifiers (I think not) and lots of Dakka.

Durability: Great.  AV14 bastion (vulnerable to Railguns, Lances, and deepstruck Meltas, but that’s about it).  2 Av 13, 2 AV 12 (which should have 3+ saves) vehoicles.  Weakspots are the rhinos, easy first turn kill sif I’m not careful.

Mobility:  Descent.  4 transports, GKSs can deepstrike if they want to (probably will not) and NDK can be wherever it wants to. (but will almost certainly make itself a big fat target)

Scoring:  This is what I’m worried about.  I have 4.  The GKSS are 10 strong and tough, but they’re walking and can get shot up if the opponent makes a goal out of it.  The FW will be pretty hard to kill inside their 2+ DFs, but accidents happen, and there’s only 6 in each.  I wanted to do a big squad of 12 but didn’t know what to give up.  Psykers are scoring, technically, but are very delicate.  So, 3 of those scorers really, really don’t want to get out of their vehicle until the last minute, and truth is the psykers rhino will probably be shot out form under them, anyway.

If it’s nightfight first turn, things are going very well for me!


2000 Pts – Tau Empire Roster – Matt Bennett, FoB list 2012

Total Roster Cost: 1998

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From a reader (yes, I have a reader….one, at least):

I was wondering if I could get your opinion on something new to 6th edition that I have been running into a lot.  Challenges.  It appears that every single close combat can be host to a Michael Jackson “Bad” knife fight if one or the other players issues the challenge.  If you happen to be in a situation whereby your “character” will be hopelessly slaughtered, your only option is to deny the challenge and thus you loose your characters attacks.  I’m not so sure I like this as the game seems to lose its feel of a battlefield and instead seems to feel like a bunch of gang fights whereby the leaders butcher eachother while everyone else pipe-fights.  I may be mildly biased by having almost all of my justicars be hopelessly walked on by vastly superior characters, so I admit, I’m a little bitter.  but it seems like a stupid mechanic that will get most squad leaders killed early and change the dynamic of close combat dramatically in ways that dont make sense (EG- My justicar had to accept an challenge from a wraithlord or I would lose my only chance to damage it with the demon hammer, but was crushed to death anyway before I could even swing.  Or, a friend was hampered by a lowly guard sergeant because the sarg “nobly” challenged his brood lord to one on one combat…  a combat where the BL most likely would have made huge piles of death happen to the whole squad, but instead could only kill the sarg?  And why would a BL even know what a sarg said?
Maybe I am missing something, and if I am, please forgive my ignorance, 
But it should would be nice to hear your thoughts on the concept & what you believe would be the best way for grey knights to kit their justicars to make the most of these challenges.

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So new FAQs are out.  I think a lot of gamers don’t really delve deep into each FAQ, they kinda expect this stuff to trickle down to them through other gamers and might read their own FAQ, at best.  That is probably much less true of the people that come and read 40 blogs, but still.  I’m a nut, I’ve read all the FAQs, and I want to pass on to you the things I think are important.

All of it, of course is clarifications of things not too many people were confused about, as per usual, or things that have very little effect for most people, book keeping, really, but some of it is MOMENTOUS.

Here’s the 40k FAQ page, btw.  Btw, notice most of the edit dates were late July?  And they released it just after NOVA?  GW doesn’t care about your problems.

Anyway, here’s the things you should pay attention to:

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New 6th Ed 40k FAQs!!!!!!!

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Sep 072012

Haven’t had time to go through them much, but here you go:


Main page: http://www.games-workshop.com/gws/content/article.jsp?categoryId=1000018&pIndex=1&aId=3400019&multiPageMode=true&start=2

Main Rulebook FAQ: http://www.games-workshop.com/MEDIA_CustomProductCatalog/m1490286a_40K_Rulebook_v1.pdf

Grey Knights FAQ: http://www.games-workshop.com/MEDIA_CustomProductCatalog/m1490286a_40K_Rulebook_v1.pdf


You know how you know GW hates you?  Most of these FAQs have edit dates from July.

Good luck to everyone at the Nova Open!

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Aug 302012

Good luck to everyone! (but especially the people I know)

I know a number of people going, a few friends and gaming associates, but am not going myself because of an urge to save money, saving my energies for the Feast Of Blades invitational in October, blah blah.

Truth is, I expect things to be a little rocky due to Flyers, new 6th ed rules that still don’t have good FAQ answers yet, and just general unfamiliarity with the ins and outs of the new rules, even among experienced players.   When you spend so much  time thinking about rules and tactics it can feel like 6th ed has been around forever….but the truth is it’s only been 2 months, we’re still settling in.  This is the first big GT of the new edition! I’m hoping (halfheartedly) that things settle down by FoB.

The 11th company podcast folks are doing a livestream (I embedded the feed below for you) and the festivities are getting going tonight for 40k with the Nova Invitational.

Personally I’ll be checking in and keeping my beady eyes on how the “airforce” lists are doing (IG and Necrons) it would be nice to NOT see the weekend dominated by them but I’m not counting on it.


Live video by Ustream


Heh, speak of the devil.  First game I see on table 1, for the invitational is Aaron Aleong, with GK and IG allies (I see at least two vendettas) and Zac Lovett with Necorns, again, I’m seeing at least two flying horseshoes, probably more.  Pat did a voice over giving each list but I missed it.  Hrrmmmm, I hear Zac claiming that mindshackle scarabs causes d3 wounds (not hits) and Aaron contesting that (it doesn’t, no idea where that came from)

Awesome sauce.

last minute coomentary:  Towards the end of game one, Zack, the Necron player, was in combat with a dreadnought, which he cannot hurt, and wants to fall back under the “our weapons are useless” rule (pg. 26) he rolled his morale check and then says he wants to fall back…..Aaron comes back and says he can’t do that because he rolled his Leadership first and you’re supposed to declare that before you make the roll, and doesn’t want to let him fall back, judges are called and a big hoopla ensues, with the judges eventually ruling that he cannot because he rolled first.

First of all, looking at the rule, pg. 26, it’s not at all clear whether you’re supposed to do it before or after you roll, at least to me.  More importantly, wtf does it matter?  If the man can choose to automatically fall back, let him fall back.  Some decisions need to be made before a roll, because the outcome of the roll can affect the decision.  I can totally be very rigid on calling people on stuff like that. I don’t see how this is in any way true in this case, though.

I gather the game was close and could very well hinge on whether that unit was free and available to fire.  I don’t know Zack and I don’t know Aaron, and I’ve only been listening to a little bit of the game and with a half a brain at that.  But to a casual observer…….poor form, sir, poor form.



Allies have been on my mind a lot, mostly becuase, like most experienced 40k players I have more than one army (Tau, GK, and a dash of silver marines for the old daemonhunters ally rules, FYI) and there are obvious advantages to it.  It’s one of my favorite things about 6th ed, btw, as it breaths new life into old armies, and it gives people like me that have mostly complete armies an excuse to buy “just a few” of some new army….which will probably segue into an entire army at some point.  (which of course is GW’s plan, but I forgive them their mercantile intent driving rules this time; it’s just too fun)

This has been mostly a GK blog so far, but truth be told most of my time has been spent thinking about Tau….they have new viability with the change to rapid fire more general vehicle changes (massed str 5 is a vehicle killer now).  However, unlike GK, which are pretty well self contained, Tau almost need allies because their weaknesses are so profound (assault and anti-psychic, lack of flyers).

I think we can assume for the sake of argument that ALL armies have something that potential partners will want; even Black Templars have cheap 5 man las/plas squads, terminators with tank hunting cyclone launchers (and a double dose too), and 20 point cheaper typhoon land speeders.

But there’s a cost here: obviously we have to buy 1 HQ and 1 Troop, and just obviously, not all HQs are created equal.  HQs are usually not nearly as “points efficient” as regular troops — one of the main mistakes new players tend to make is over-tooled-up, bloated HQs– but most provide a decent “punch” that let you enforce local dominance in a small section of the field.  Troops can vary everywhere from fastastic, as capable as the elites of other armies, to near wastes of points that people have always felt forced to take.  We’re going to call these mandatory HQs and troops the “Tax”, which will be low when things are either cheap or super effective, or high when they’re useless.

There’s a second, more subtle factor going on that is probably under appreciated, though.  Internal synergies and force multipliers, ways in which the army is meant to support itself.  A good example would be Tau markerlights.  These are pure force multipliers, and they obviously work better if you have a certain mass of Tau to utilize them properly.  So, you’re unlikely to get much use out of markerlights in a small ally force, and conversely, by adding allies into a Tau army you’re creating some portion of your force that can’t use them.  Less obvious internal synergies include things such as SW Wolf Guard and BA priests (both of which require an Elites slot) and Necron courts (which are a free slot, but still need units to put them in).

These are just things to keep in mind when adding allies into your list…..it’s fun and exciting but you are usually paying a premium to do so.  It’s good to understand what that cost is and make sure it’s worth it.

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Note: I’m writing this from a GK pov, but a lot of it is applicable to Blood Angels as well.

Ah, the flying land raider.  Using a Stormraven was pretty simple in 5th edition, at least for Grey Knight players.  Blood Angels sometimes got tricked into using it as a gun boat, because of their fancy schmancy Bloodstrike missiles, but it’s use to GK players was very clear: Deliver Termiantors and maybe a psychic dreadnought to your opponents face.

I basically used my Stormraven like a really expensive drop pod in 5th edition.  I’d load in Draigo and either some paladins or purifiers (later it was purifiers, because I decided I need the fearless in case of tank shock) and just ran the thing straight at the enemy first turn.  24″, get a 4+ cover save (librarians and shrouding were popular to make it 3+, but I had neither the points nor the room) and melta some poor tank, just because I could.  That usually failed to hit or pen for whatever perverse reason despite the demands of statistics, but who cared?  Draigo was now on the enemy door step.

Then, always, the enemy would fire basically their entire army at it.  They had to, because if it didn’t go down, draigo was going to get to charge whatever he wanted, the SR was going to go nuts shooting, and it would be pretty much an auto-win for me.  Since I was often fighting fellow GK, I’d really look forward to shooting the mindstrikes, but that rarely ever happened.

Stormravens are tough, even in 5th ed, but most of the time, they’d be able to bring it down.  (how many shots does it take to get to the center of a SR?  “most of whatever you got”, honest assessment at the time.)

That was fine, though, because 1) It usually took a full turn of shooting to do that.  2) Draigo and friends, again, is on your doorstep.  They’d just climb out of the wreckage, and murder everything within arms-reach.  Turn 2 charge.

Now, keep in mind, that was easily a 700-800 pt investment in that one Stormraven, 200 pts of which usually got blown up on the way in.  But still, totally worth it.


Soooo……..flyers are awesome in 6th, and the SR is a Flyer.  The Stormraven was good in 5th, so it must be total broken-sauce in 6th, right?   Uh……..yes and no.  The truth is trying use my SR in 6th has left me a little conflicted and confused.

Firstly, let’s be clear, it is a flyer, and flyers are gross.  If your opponent doesn’t have appropriate counter measures (which are hard to come by, absent their own flyers, at the moment) you’re going to run rough shod all over them.

But how are you going to use it?  How are you going to use those 205-260 points to further your goals in winning the game?

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So everybody having fun with your new psychic powers out of the main 6th ed rulebook?  They’re fun, right?  You got them basically for free, and they’re shiny, new, interesting, and fun to try out. Fun is important.  This is a game, and we play it for fun, so if that’s your only concern, this in’t really the article for you.  If you’re the kind of player who plays orks because you get to roll on lots of tables, roll big handfuls of dice, and shout “waagh!!!!!!!!” at least once a game, then the basic rulebook powers are exactly what you’re looking for. The real problem is that from a competitive standpoint, they suck.  They A) mostly aren’t very good (with the exception Divination) B) aren’t even vaguely balanced (as illustrated by everyone talking about Divination). I’m going to start with some facts, some stats, some major points of discussion, and then go into more depth from there. We”ll go into this in more detail later, but to start the conversation off, the main problems with the powers are:

  1. Randomness, far more random than for spell lores in Warhammer Fantasy.  Most 40K psykers only have 1 or 2 powers, while fantasy wizards can have anywhere from 1-4.  Additionally, fantasy wizards get to choose whenever they roll the same power twice — 40k psykers just have to roll again.  Games Workshop, as a company, clearly does not appreciate how un-fun randomness is for many players.
  2. Multiple points of failure:  First you have to roll to cast it, then often to hit, there’s a deny the witch roll, and often additional defenses beyond that (Grey Knights, Eldar, Space Wolves, and Tyranids. Necrons have a small defense you’re unlikely to see.  SW can layer 3 different types of defenses, if you read the rules liberally!  Great rules writing again, GW!).
  3. Utter lack of balance.  Some powers are great nearly all the time.  Some are awful.  Many are great, but only in specific situations.  Which you have absolutely no chance to plan for, because you will at best only get the power you want 50% of the time!  Disciplines that have a good Primaris Power (the only really good one is for Divination) are clearly favored over the others.
  4. Warp Charge and Psyker Mastery Levels.  The vast majority of psykers in the game are Level 1.  It’s all fine and good to formalize the process for determining how many powers (including force weapons) you can cast a turn, but Warp Charge 2 powers are distributed among the disciplines in a very haphazard way.  There are four warp charge 2 powers (two of which suck) but two disciplines don’t get any and one gets two (and those are the only good ones).  If you decided you needed a “second level” of powers, wouldn’t it make sense to make sure that each discipline got one each?  They seem to have been randomly judged and assigned levels by completely different person after they were written.
  5. Wild inconsistency in how you defend against spells.  Is there anyone who thinks rune weapons remaining the same while psychic hoods were drastically nerfed wasn’t an oversight?  I doubt many people begrudge Tyranids their Shadow of the Warp, but while it certainly makes sense for Eldar to have powerful and sophisticated anti-psyker methods, doesn’t everyone agree the “whole board” is a bit much?
  6. Primaris Powers.  Or rather, the fact that because selecting powers is random, and cannot be planned for, a discipline’s worth is primarily determined by how good the Primaris Power is.

Some basic stats that are important for a discussion of psykers and psychic powers in 40K:

  • A normal psyker has a 1/18th chance of suffering a perils of the warp.  (1/36 of double 1’s, 1/36 of double 6’s =2/36=1/18)  This is, just to give you a feeling, the same odds that a marine will kill himself with one shot of plasma. (1/6*1/3=1/18)


  • Chance of passing Leadership 10 (i.e., successfully casting your power, to start) is 91%.  This is the leadership of basically all psykers that are worth talking about.
  • Chance to pass ld 9 is 82.7%.  Aside from primaris psykers for IG, there are barely any psykers with ld 9.  Grey Knight Justicars are (and the squads are often ld 8) but that’s a little outside this discussion.  (Ooo!  Dark Angel Librarians.  Which are clearly a relic.  Does anybody take those?  Didn’t think so.)
  • Chance to pass Ld 8 is 71.7%.  This really only comes up for weird things like henchmen psykers (which are stupid cheap for what they do, so few complain) and GK techmarine.


  • Chance to hit Ld 5 is 27.5%.  Bonus pts for figuring out why that matters.  (it’s what you need to pick the model you want with a focused witchfire)  Basically we’re talking about double the normal chance of a precision shot, that’s it.


There are, just so you know, exactly three kinds of powers. No, not witchfire’s, blessings, novas, et al..  The three types of powers you need to worry about are Buffs, debuffs, and Damage.

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So, 6th edition.  I remember shortly after 6th ed came out, a lot of folks were talking about what that means for assault versus shooting, principally revolving around Random Charge Length and Overwatch, with most people thinking it was a net nerf for assault based armies, but some folks pointed out that on average, you got 1″ extra when charging.  (If you’re interested in other people’s thoughts, check out Kirby’s analysis here.)

Well, now we’re about a month and a half in, I’ve been through 2 tournaments myself (and hey, I qualified for Feast of Blades Invitational, yaaaaayyyy……….) and a number of weekly games, and I’ve had time to toss things around in my head a bit, and I’ve come to a conclusion:

Assault is significantly hurt in 6th edition, at least for expensive, elite armies (like Grey Kngihts) but it has little to do with Random Charge Length nor overwatch.  It mostly has to do with Morale, Fearless, And they shall know no fear (ATSKNF) and wiping out units.


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