Friday, October 17, 2014

Predator Autocannon Rant

In some game systems new expansions devalue the old units that made the game and universe what it is. Where your core units that are supposed to be the majority of your forces are replaced by new units that are much better that you never take the standard ones again. It is a old problem, and not one exclusive to GW by any means.

It has a few names, power creep, shiny new syndrome, expansion-itis, and more. Car Wars, Battletech, and Star Fleet Battles are a few examples of this. By and large GW has done a pretty good job of keeping it under control, but a few units do come to mind, and I will be talking about these other ones in weeks to come.

I love Predators, ever since my first GW vehicle model (seen above on the left). More specifically, I love the look of the Predator with the autocannon turret. Next to the ever present Rhino, the Predator is the mainstay armored fighting vehicle of most Space Marine chapters. The most common variant is the Predator Destructor with it's turret mounted autocannon to chop up infantry and sponson lascannons for armored targets. A classic combination that has totally fallen by the wayside.
Way back in Rogue Trader and 2nd Edition days, the autocannon was a really good weapon. Strength 8, -3 Save (that meant folk in power armor could only save on a 6) and a random but usually fair amount of shots. It was not very good at penetrating vehicle armor, but that is what the sponsons were for.

That all changed with 3rd edition on up. Simplifying the game meant some weapons lost what made them effective. Lots of weapons were rightly dropped altogether. The autocannon was downgraded to make it a less powerful infantry squad version, which is fine, but the Predator's gun should have gotten an upgrade.

The Annihilator version's twin lascannons are good for anti-tank work, but the Destructor's single autocannon is inadequate for its intended role as hunter of infantry and light vehicles. How best to fix that? The Leman Russ Exterminator recently got a upgrade for its autocannons: Twin liked and 4 shots. That is nice, and much better than it was before.

The vehicle mounted autocannon having a increased rate of fire makes sense. It represents a large magazine feeding the gun as opposed to a soldier loading small clips as well as a more robust firing mechanism. The Predator's gun has a much longer barrel. This is key to increasing ballistic weapons muzzle velocity, which equates to longer range, better accuracy, and hitting power. The range on a autocannon is already high, and boosting it's AP or strength doesn't seem right in game terms, but giving it Rending fits well.

So that leave us with:

Predator Autocannon
Range: 48"  S:7  AP:4  Heavy 3, Rending

Give it a try, let me know what you think.

The Emperor Protects
And remembers how it was supposed to be

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Zulu Dawn, Kaiju Style

So much for my grand plans for September. We are (finally) kicking off the Sanctus Reach Campaign in a week or two now that some sanity has returned to all our schedules. So for today may I present the answer to a question: Can a Imperial Guard fortification hold off a Tyranid attack? The twist is the Guard get only fortifications and infantry with nothing in reserve.
The Tyranid players went for the Warriors and up army style. Lots of monstrous creatures with a few key support critters. That damn Venomthrope kept the Barbed Hierodule from taking any damage the first turn. I wasted a good portion of my firepower for no return. At this scale is does truly become target overload. There are so many units that you have to kill, if you are not careful, you will wind up not killing any of them. Like I did. Much to my detriment.
What I really should have done was kill off the Swarmlord right away. Because I didn't, ALL of the Tyranid reserves showed up on turn two. I knew I was frakked, but I fought on and hoped for some really hot dice.
And the hot dice showed up! Sadly it was the Tyranids who were rolling them and I lost two my bunkers and a whole lot of troops. I can't help but be amused when a game game goes so badly, so quickly. It just wasn't the Guards day, but it was still a grand spectacle.
My command squad put in a fine showing, almost wiping out a squad of Raveners. Almost does not quite cut it when dealing with the Red Terror and a friend. The command squad was quickly dispatched, and for the finale, Old One Eye disassembled the Macro cannon bunker. Top of turn three, game over.

A enjoyable bloodbath. The game went very quickly despite the large number of models on the table. I am already planning for the rematch. 

The Swarm Rolls On
Try not to be in its path.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Arena of Death Finals

Dante and Mephiston were needed elsewhere...
The Bloody Eight
Now things were getting really interesting. A few favorites had fallen early, and a few glaring defects revealed. Round two, fight!

Farsight vs. Kharn
Commander Farsight continued his upset streak. First by nailing Kharn for two wounds with his plasma rifle, then by making an improbable amount of invulnerable saves as Kharn rained blows upon him. The Dark gods failed to protect Kharn from the Dawn Blade and he was bested in two rounds of close combat. 

The Avatar of Khaine vs. Anrakyr the Traveller
Anrakyr landed the Tachyon Arrow and did a wound on the Avatar. It would be the only wound The Avatar would take this match. The Avatar crushed Anrakyr the Traveller in short order. He did not get back up.

Abaddon vs. The Swarmlord
A epic battle of initiative six monsters that did not disappoint. Five rounds of combat with lots of wounding and saving. On the last turn, Abbadon lost his last wound and scored four wounds on the Swarmlord, she made three saves and ended the battle with one wound left. 

Mephiston vs. Jain Zar
Jain Zar managed to avoid Grukk's quick end, but still took a wound from the psychic onslaught before she got into close combat. She had difficulty in wounding the Blood Angel and ran out wounds well before he did.

The Furious Four
Only three matches left! Who will reign supreme!

Commander Faright vs. The Avatar of Khaine 
All hot streaks come to an end. Farsight put on a good run and gun show, wounding the Avatar twice. Then came the Wailing Doom and instant death.

Mephiston vs. The Swarmlord
Mephiston took a wound before closing for hand to hand combat in the day's only psychic duel. In a very close battle the Swarmlord's  higher weapon skill and invulnerable save made the difference as Mephiston was bested.

There can be only one!
I can't say I'm terribly surprised by the final two combatants. Both are monstrous creatures with a lot of wounds. But which one shall emerge victorious?

The Avatar of Khaine vs. The Swarmlord
It's alway nice when you save the best for last. This was a titanic grudge match. No wounds where taken before they engaged in close combat. Both combatants lost a wound apiece for first three rounds of battle, then the Avatar pulled away with a savage flurry of four wounds inflicted, and only two parried. Down went the Swarmlord.

Arena of Death was a very good time, and a nice change of pace for a multi-player battle. Many thanks to my fellow Warlords for making the event a lot fun. I have some ideas to improve the selection process, and what other characters to add. We will do this again next year.

I walk again, a god among mere mortals.
-The Living Avatar of Kaela Mensha Khaine

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

The Slaughtering Sixteen

Sixteen killer characters of the 40K universe converge in the Arena of Death to find out whose combat skills are supreme! After picking the participating characters the initial matches were randomly drawn. Then the fun began.

Deathleaper vs. Commander Farsight
Farsight danced around for a bit in his fancy battlesuit, but Deathleaper was able to close and charge. Deathleaper scored a bunch of hits and a few rends but Farsight's armor would not be breached, he did not fail a single save. Deathleaper was whittled away and fell on turn three.

Kharn vs. Ghazghkull Thraka
Two opponents not known for subtlety charged each other straight away. The Mighty Ghazghkull didn't get an attack in before being carved up by Kharn at the top of turn two.

Lord Dante vs. The Avatar 
Dante had trouble wounding the Eldar Demigod of War and that led to Dante's demise on turn three.

Lelith Hesperax vs. Anrakyr the Traveller
Anrakyr had a chance to end the match during the first shooting phase, but Lelith dodged the Tachyon Arrow. She danced into close combat with a impressive ten attacks, she only managed to score two wounds before suffering instant death from Anrakyr's Warscythe.

Abaddon vs.Commissar Yarrick. 
The Old Commissar was a bit outmatched by the Arch-Heretic and was killed in the first round of close combat. Then got back up. And was killed again. And again. And again. Yarrick seldom lived long enough to attack Abaddon, but he kept making his Iron Will roll to get back up. After eight rounds of combat we called the match in Abaddon's Favor. Abaddon scored twenty-five wounds to Yarrik's one.

The Swarmlord vs. Karandras 
Karandras charged the Swarmlord, and the two exchanged blows in a brutal well-matched slugfest. Ultimately it was the Swarmlord's invulnerable save and Karandras lack of one that was the difference, and the Phoenix Lord fell.  

Jain Zar vs. Grand Master Azrael.
Azrael started off very strong by scoring two wounds on Jain Zar with his plasmagun. Sadly for the Dark Angel Lord, the Sword of Secrets is only AP3. Jain made ten of her 2+ armor saves and wore down Azrael in four rounds.

Grukk Facerippa vs. Mephiston 
In the shortest battle (half a turn) Chief Librarian Mephiston used his psychic might and turned Grukk inside-out.

Eight exciting and fun matches in the first round. A few lopsided match-ups, and some awesome dice rolling, both good and bad.

Next up: the Arena of Death finals!

The Emperor Protects
But who will be his favorite? 

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Arena of Death Pregame show

Monday. Monday! MONDAY!!! Prepare for skull crushing action!
It's time for the 40K ARENA OF DEAAATH!!!

It has been a long time (about three editions) since we have done the Arena of Death, and we are criminally overdue, so this Labor Day Monday grab your favorite characters and meet us at the ARENA OF DEATH for carnage, carnage, and a bit more CARNAGE!

(To both of my overseas readers, the above makes more sense if you are familiar with the over-the-top commercials we have for Monster Truck events.)

To clarify things, we are playing the olde tyme Arena of Death as first put forth by the Citadel Journal, wayback when (mid-90's). Not any of the various newfangled overdone versions.

The rules are simple. Sixteen named independent characters are picked, then are randomly paired off and fight one on one in a 3'x 3' arena. The winner advances to the next round. Repeat until there is only one.
No Characters who have an AV. Sorry Bjorn!

My shortlist for contestants:
The Avatar
Maugan Ra
Jain Zar
Plus other surprise guests!

Anyone you want to see?

The Emperor Protects
Now fight for our amusement

Friday, August 22, 2014

On the Bench

Our planned start of the Sanctus Reach Campaign has been pushed back due to work schedules. A funny thing about The Atomic Warlords, we all work in the entertainment industry, or are software developers (or whatever the term is this week). This makes finding time for the toy soldiers a bit challenging most days.

The upside of this delay is I am working away at painting models for the campaign. I finished up Grukk Face-Rippa and a trio of mega-nobs with killsaws, and I am about to embark on painting three Knights and twenty five stormtroopers. I have always said, events are a great way to gain some project focus. For an encore, I am going to paint my Cadians, who have been languishing in a primed state for years.

The (current) plan is to start on September 6th, and run a mission every week. I've no doubt life will intervene some, but we will adapt. This means it will be three months before the Space Wolves get involved. I'm sure Jeff, our Space Wolf player, will use the time to paint up all his shiny new models.

The Emperor Protects
When he has the time

Friday, August 8, 2014

Star Wars Armada

I was wondering what Fantasy Flight Games was going to do after they had released all the fighters and ships they could for X-Wing. Now I know. They will just keep printing money.
Not due until 2015, the possibilities are very exciting. I'm liking the relative scale of the minis. This will allow for a much wider range of figures. Somebody say Executor vs. Mon Calamari cruisers?
Check out FFG's news on it  here.

Go Roll Some Dice
And start saving your credits.