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Return of the Primarchs I: The Lion

The Hall of Grand Masters waited deep within the Rock. Hidden down among the lowest levels few knew of its existence. At the precise same instant, guided by the Watchers in the Dark more than a dozen Chapter Masters of the Dark Angels stepped from shadowy alcoves in the wall into the dim light of the Hall. Robed and hooded in the colors of their chapters, the leaders of the Successors of the Dark Angels walked to their seats as the Watchers took up positions behind them their dark green robes blending into the stone of the walls as they froze into immobility. Many battle-brothers lived their lives without seeing a single one of the mysterious beings, this night more than thirty of them took station in the Hall.

“Master of Souls Nakir,” intoned Azrael, carefully biting off his words in the thick air of the chamber. “Why have you called this meeting?”

Nakir sat up a bit, his deep black robe shifting. “It wasn’t my summons Supreme Grand Master. The summons I received came from Master Makallan!”

Cries erupted around the table as every master claimed another had summoned him. Soon half the members were standing and the sussurus of whispers of the Watchers pressed hard on their minds.

“Enough.” said a voice. The tone was that of a whisper, but the volume crashed across the room like a tidal wave. Every head snapped with transhuman speed and precision to the throne that had stood empty when they entered. On one side of it stood a robed Watcher. Only this Watcher’s robes were not the dark green of every other Watcher ever seen, but a bone-white scribbled over with runes of ancient Caliban. Towering over him on the other side of the throne stood an Astartes in black power armor of ancient design. Hooding his features in a deep white robe did nothing to disguise the ancient Fallen Dark Angel, Cypher.

Yet the greatest surprise sat between them. Even seated the magnificent warrior on the throne towered over Cypher as Cypher did the Watcher. Blonde hair so pale as to be nearly white hung over a face narrow and drawn. The aquiline nose, projected forward over pale lips, barely seen on the face seen in so many windows and frescoes by the assembled warlords of the Dark Angels successors. His black armor shared a color with Cypher’s but where Cypher’s armor blended with the shadows, hiding him even when one looked squarely at him, the Lion’s glossy war-plate stood like a burning beacon, a black flame lit to burn out the enemies of his legion.

“I did not summon you here to listen to my sons bicker and squabble. I came here to determine exactly what has been done to my legion, and why my brother has been allowed to infiltrate it and fragment it.”

The Chapter Masters paused, unsure how to handle the barbed questions inherent in the statement of the Primarch. Cypher stepped into the stiff, empty air and cast back his hood.

“Perhaps our best use of the time is to determine how to put your Legion back in its desired state, and with the leaders it needs, given the issues the Imperium faces at present, my Lord.” He said calmly, addressing his words to the Primarch seated behind him, but with a cool, measuring gaze spread across the Chapter Masters before him.

The point of this series is to show how the missing Imperial Primarchs could return.  I will be doing all 9, even the dead ones.  The goal is not to show what effect they will have, simply how they could choose to reveal themselves.

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Little Green Men Week 2: Tabletop Ready at least

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A little bit past the 3 color standard.  There’s a lot of touch up to do but it shouldn’t take too long.  Getting the wings to stay on should be an ongoing challenge.

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This guy came out well.  His sword arm wouldn’t come off so painting his chest wasn’t the easiest.  Also one of his shoulder pads was primed black and every other model in the squad primed white so he will probably get a lot of touch up to balance that out.  3.jpg

I love this guy’s post.  And I hope I can get that grate off the base so I can base him properly…

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You’ve met the sarge

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Old breastplate, Good pose, and will be easy to base.  The only down side to this guy is he faces “down” a bit more than I’d like.

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I need to turn his head.  Iconography came out real well.

I’m torn about highlighting these guys the way I did the others.  I know I need to do a little but their base color is much brighter than the rest of the troops and I don’t want to make them insanely bright.  Their details are well picked out already in normal lighting and unlike the Mk III armored troops who look really boring, these guys are very dynamic and interesting without the TRON highlights.

OH and you don’t get views of the back because I need to add fire effects.  Next week I might do a character, I might finish the land raider.  It’s a BUSY week.  The week following I’m planning on doing Inceptors.

Project: Little Green Men

23874426_10160000421035221_633494651_o.jpgThe battle company continues to grow.  I actually haven’t bought anything since…. The repulsor?  The Inceptors?  I do have lots left to assemble though, including a flyer, knight, bikes, attack bike, and another speeder.  I do need to buy Hellblasters for the 10th squad but there’s plenty of sales coming up for that!

I also will be painting up some extra troopers to allow me to substitute weapons in the razorback squads (1-3) BUT

23897032_10160000421450221_1480783558_o.jpgThat’s almost an entire battle company of Dark Angels!  Organized how I figure they’d be post-Primaris.  I may add another squad of intercessors as I like the models quite a bit and I even think they’ll be useful on the table.  The downside is that would require another repulsor and I do NOT like building repulsor tanks.  They are great on the tabletop but they are a hobbyists nightmare.

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Two squads completely or near completely done.  1st and 2nd need a good bit of touching up.  Vehicles are in various states of completion (I didn’t realize the one rhino was practically done, that will probably get finished very soon) then… well I need to figure out what I want to do.  Lieutenants are soon, but I want to wait until the DA Primaris LT comes out and get all three at once.  Bikes, Assault Marines, Inceptors and the Speeder in the back are all high priority.  Most likely I will do the Assault marines (not pictured are 4 more with wings that I left in pieces for ease of painting) and then Inceptors (which may or may not get changed for the plasma guns.  Dark angels and all).  Then Bikes, then the rest of the tacs.  Vehicles and characters will get mixed in as well.

I’d like to get all this done by April.  The goal is finish a unit per week.  This week I’m finishing 3rd squad, just some edge highlights to do.  Next week I’ll take on the assault marines with wings, followed by the ones without.  Then I’ll do the Lieutenants, and probably the Techmarine that’s staring at me.  Then vehicle finishing (the three rhino variants that aren’t done) and maybe a character.  So by the end of the year there should be 10 fully painted assault marines, 5 with wings stolen from the lesser angels chapter, 3 Lieutenants, maybe a techmarine, all the rhino type vehicles,

Sounds like a schedule.  Let’s see how it goes!  I’ll try to update this weekly to show you my progress.

FOR THE EMPEROR, again

Pretty sure I’ve used that title before.  Getting back into 40k.  Currently it seems like the Dark Angels I’ve been fiddling with for a while will be fun.  Getting used to detachments will take time, and currently I have a big enough grey horde to make Leman Russ jealous, but I think I can manage that.

Also working on D’s Eldar.  We have her up to around 1k points.  Almost exactly 1k actually and with a pretty clear path to 2k.  It’s interesting and educational to see how things look from the standpoint of another codex.  It’s also eye opening to realize just how glaring many weaknesses are.  Try finding anti-air in a Dark Angels list.  Eldar may not be great but they at least have a little.  DA?  Woof.  Monstrous creatures?  Does a Land Raider count?  Not saying DA is weak, it has a lot of 2+, great bikes.  Really great bikes.  REALLY REALLY great bikes.  And T5 is pretty good in the current meta.

So I’m going to try to necro this blog with a bit more hobby flair.  Alternating between a meta/battle report post, a hobby post, and some fluff fiction fun from my battle company.  And I need VERY little in the way of additional troops to get the whole battle company on the field.  Mostly assault marines.  I think I’m 15 assault marines and 4 heavy weapons from having a full battle company; but which one do I make.

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Not doin it!

So, 3rd or 5th?  I can do 5th very easily just doing the slash across the shoulder plate and knee pads, but with my planned lists almost always having (very, very good) bikes, and terminators… It’ll be nice to have all the colors mixed in on my tac squads.  So…. probably doing 5th.  Still leaving 3rd open as an option though.

One of the things I like about the detachments is it lets you take org charts like that one above, and put it into an actual army list.  I can build a Lion’s Blade Demi Company that splits a Battle Company right down the middle.  Double up on that, add a Ravenwing support team to one half, a Deathwing support detachment to the other and you have a REALLY fun, neat army that has a full battle company at its core.  So right now I’m looking at that.  Here’s the list I’m looking at now.  Priorities are:  Transport for the 3rd tac squad, possible weapons changes for the termies.

listish

The Tourney Scene

So I’ve never hidden the fact that I really, REALLY hate tournaments in tabletop games.  With a blinding passion.  It keeps me up at night.  It forces good games into “metas” that leech the fun out of the game.  In my area, Warmachine / Hordes tourneys dominate the scene so much that finding a good casual game takes herculean efforts.  Recently I’ve noticed X-Wing has become rather toxic at times.  Fortunately it hasn’t taken hold in my local area but some of the things you see online.  Well.  Let’s look at this:

TO THE DEATH!

The short version is that there’s a lot of situations at X-Wing tournaments where an intentional draw is to the advantage of both players, and tournament mechanics combined with how FFG has enforced certain wordings has encouraged it.

The short, short version is that people are being rewarded to not play the game.

Now I don’t like games getting to the point where people play ultra competitive, soul crushing lists that don’t bring much fun to the game.  Where they rules lawyer every point bringing in every observer to haggle over the tenth of an inch long after the fun has been sucked away, beaten, dissected, dried up, turned to ash and blown away.  Even by that standard this is farcical.  People can gain an advantage by NOT PLAYING and this hasn’t even been responded to?

I play games for enjoyment.  The only FFG tourney I attended I ended up taking home cards.  After edging out a win in one match and getting WHOMPED in the second.  And I’m fine with that.  I love showing up on nights and playing a couple casual games where people are trying out fun and interesting lists.  Right now even with tourneys all over X-Wing is in a decent place meta-wise.  The new wave has shaken things up and while regionals are up, as well as a charity tourney this weekend, people are flying some interesting stuff.

This isn’t affecting me directly.    I can avoid the LGS on tourney prep nights and during tourneys.  I like playing a couple games a month and weekly play is on tap here, but just knowing this mindset exists is deeply disturbing, and hearing that FFG has even condoned it (hopefully only as a mistake) also disturbs me.

Strangely, the game that seems least affected by all this is 40k.  I know that there is a tourney scene, but you see more leagues than tourneys, partially due to the epically long games that any GW product can generate.  40k and Games Workshop in general is in pretty poor condition, but hey, they don’t have to worry about ugly tourney scenes.  Which is nice.

To wrap up this messy post; tourneys can take a fun game and turn it into a competitive mess.  X-Wing has pretty good meta management, but letting this intentional draw foolishness go on really damages the brand.

Winning

What do Hannibal, and Robert E. Lee have in common?

They lost.

They were also very unlikely to ever win.

Hannibal and Lee won famous, shattering victories. They won seminal battles and frequently dictated the course of entire campaigns if not wars with impunity for extended periods of time. They dominated the battlefield, imposing their will on the enemy. Yet they lost.

There were operational reasons they lost, Hannibal had no ability to breach the walls of Rome, or to besiege it. Lee never had the resources to force a major decision. But that wasn’t the extent of it.

They didn’t have the ability to string victories together to break the will of the enemy to fight like Scipio Africanus, or Grant and to carry through on their battlefield victories to conclude their wars.

Hannibal entered Italy and proceeded to destroy every army the Romans could scrape together time after time. To the point where the Romans more or less sat behind their walls and ignored the armies as much as possible. Hannibal could win all the battles he wanted but he couldn’t break Rome’s will.

Lee won victories just as devastating but he lacked the capability to string these victories together. On occasion he simply left the field and failed to seek a final decision, settling for driving back the Federal armies, but he never could turn A victory into victory for his “country”.

The US has won nearly every battle in the Vietnam War, and in Iraq and Afghanistan. Yet at the end of our contribution to the Vietnam war the North Vietnamese overran the south at about the same speed as they could drive through it. Iraq is as stable as a 3 year old doing cocaine and it’s an open question whether the current regime in Afghanistan could hold a PTA meeting let alone the determined Taliban offensive that is in the offing. We are a great nation for winning battles but we have forgotten that you have to win the war. We assume that if you score enough points time will run out and you can dump the gatorade and go hit the showers.

To win you have to set your goal and work backwards. Hannibal knew he had to take Rome but once his siege train was lost in the Alps he never reconstructed it (and it might not have done any good against Rome’s walls) and Rome is a rather hard city to besiege. Lee never could make the assault on Washington DC or destroy a Federal Army enough to let him inflict serious damage on the North to force a decision, instead scoring victories then letting the Union lick its wounds until the next time. America hasn’t set a goal since wrapping up the show on the U.S.S. Missouri and since then we have spent a lot of time accomplishing very little.

“But Corelin” I hear you ask “This is a gaming blog. Why are we talking about this stuff?”

Because it’s my damn blog! GET OFF MY LAWN.

And because it’s important in gaming. Sun Tzu famously said “Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win.” I realize quoting him is a bit pompous. You may have read my blog before, it happens. Hannibal, Lee, and every US General since Ike put down his stars has forgotten this lesson. They go into battles prepared to win but not wars.

EvE Online has seen this as well. When I was in CoW our “Planning” was lucky to get 20 people with the right ships/fights in anything like the area we were fighting in. The Russians on the other hand were famous for getting the ever living snot knocked out of them for months then suddenly winning the whole damn war. Goons take meticulous planning to the level of any modern organization to turn their cavalcade of clumsy cohorts into a well-oiled machine. Admittedly a steampunky, lurching, “who knows what that bit” does machine but it gets the job done.

When you are getting into a game you need to set goals, and you need to at least be able to figure out how to reach them. FF XIV has lots to do and it’s very easy to get overwhelmed by choices. EvE has an even bigger menu and higher bars to leap to get there. Minecraft is a mind boggling game with nearly infinite possibilities (your world is about the size of Neptune) where you can get lost for days until you realize what you want to do, or just give up.

On the tabletop you are given objectives. You know what you have to do to win you just have to do it. And keep your opponent from doing it. The same rules apply though. Just because you have an objective doesn’t mean you are past step one. You have to define the objective in a way that your force can accomplish it, and hope they can. You have to plan what you will do to overcome your opponents moves and then you have to execute.

Have a plan. Stick to it. And let me know if you want me to write a post on how Lee was a terrible General.

Space Marines: ATTACK!

So at least titling these posts is easy.  I’m continuing to add to my Space Marine army, both the knowledge I have and the army to succeed in 6th edition.  The new codex is more or less what we thought.  I am a little disappointed with some things, I am a little bit more excited with others.  First let’s talk the bad.

Librarians

Ouch.  They got a lot better by becoming cheaper.  They got a lot worse because they don’t get a really good school of powers.  A pyromancy librarian is basically a heavy flamer you just BADLY overpaid for.  I want buffs damnit!  I don’t want mediocre guns that the enemy gets an extra save against.

Legion of the Damned

Another unit that got improved, but not enough.  I’m ok with them being stupid expensive if they are stupid good.  I’m not ok with them being kinda pricey and mediocre.

Space Marine Centurion Squad

Nope.  Slow and Purposeful on an assault unit?  I’m not a huge fan.  Delivering these guys where they can do some good is a near herculean feat.  Simply not worth the effort for a unit with a base 1 attack at 60 points a piece.

Vanguard Veterans

I’ve never been a huge fan of them, and they are stuck in the VERY crowded Elites section.  They can hit hard but as many points as they cost.  Ouch.

So that’s the units I think range from “meh” to “bleh” now let’s look at the standouts

Tactical Squads

No I’m not kidding.  They got cheaper, bringing them in line with other troops, they got a lot more in the way of options, and the ability to take a heavy or special weapon without going to ten men (and still able to take 2 at ten men) makes selection just a LOT more flexible.  Finally they are a good, tough scoring unit.  In a game that can turn on simply having a scoring unit near something these guys can make their bread just hanging tough.

Sternguard Veterans

They got cheaper, and while combi weapons got more expensive, they still benefit a LOT from being less expensive.  They aren’t great, but they are a solid, and VERY flexible killy unit, especially against horde armies, in a unit that really does need help in that regard.

Centurion Devastators

Where the regular Centurion Squad is a very blah sort of unit, the Devastators are the kind of supremely killy troops that can do all kinds of damage.  T5, 2 Wounds, and a 2+ armor save (albeit without an invuln save) and fantastic weapon options.  A squad of 3 will murder most of a squad of MEQ in the open, and even in cover will likely mulch the whole squad in 2 turns.  Against terminators they are even better, and that’s just with grav guns.  Tailoring for your opponent you could select missile launchers to thin down hordes, Lascannons to murder vehicles and TEQs and if you like handicapping yourself or are expecting a REALLY massive horde you can go for heavy bolters.  They do need to be kept in cover, and their range with grav guns is very meh, but they are still a brutally powerful gunline unit.

There’s some other units on both sides of the line, I like the Terminators, but they aren’t huge standouts, I like the flyers, but I would have to see them in combat (and hope to do so) before weighing in, and I’m a bit soft on the anti-air vehicles.  At first I thought Stalkers would be more popular but now I’ve seen a lot more Hunters, and I can see why reading the rules a bit more, and seeing the mathammer worked out.