Blogs: Cool Mini or Not

Cool Mini or Not is a showcase for painted and converted miniatures from various genres, and is home to some simply jaw dropping talent. You can search and rate each member's submission and leave comments too. If you're looking for some inspiration, or just looking for some wargaming eye candy, you won't be disappointed.

CONCEPTS: Mech in Early 6th

Cool Mini or Not - ebonybrush

So we are now a good few months into 6th and, from what I can gather, the initial consensus of the masses was that 'mech is dead'. I’m not so sure, but I do believe that mech has changed significantly. A few credible blogs have now given their opinions (see further reading links below), and following these I'd like to discuss the pros and cons of mech in early 6th.

Let's look at the negatives first, in order of importance (give or take) according to my own humble opinion.

1. Less durable thanks to hull points and the reduction in cover saves (including smoke).
2. Passengers being effected by shaken and stunned results.
3. Transports no longer score (grand strategy excepted, but the advantages of making a transport score over, say, a dread or unit of purifiers is…?).
4. The effective reduction of 2” when disembarking.
5. Easy First Blood (secondary objectives are especially important for Relic and Emperor's Will) and easy victory points (previously kill points in 5th) for Purge the Alien.
6. Top hatches are less useful because your tank is much easier to destroy, making drive-byes less likely.
7. No longer being able to assault out of your transport unless it's open topped or has an assault ramp.

I'm sure that there are others, but that's still a pretty long list! I can certainly see why footslogging is the better option for some armies now.

Cool Mini or Not - Ash the Flash

So why spend the points mech'ing up instead of more warm bodies on the ground?

A. Mobility - Still massively important. The flat-out move typically offers an extra 6” of movement to ground based tanks, more for fast skimmers. 18” for a rhino or razorback when you need to get somewhere in a hurry, for example in objective games or against a gun-line army is well worth considering.

B. Firepower - Transports with a (typically heavy) weapon offer an additional unit outside of the FOC restrictions (also know as the 1+1). Given that the transport is unlikely to survive the game, I think due consideration needs to be given to whether the more expensive weapons are worth the investment.

C. Mobile cover - Sure, you can buy an aegis defence line and sit behind it for the whole game, but transports can offer cheap mobile cover, block line of sight to models tanking in front of a squad and can clog movement routes/firelanes for your opponent. Wrecks and craters can still be used to your advantage too.

D. Tank shocks/Ramming - Situational, and no-longer useful for breaking and running units off the board, but still a useful tool and easily forgotten. Moving enemy units into nice flamer shaped formations is handy, assuming you have a flamer of course! With less melta around, I expect that units will find it harder to succeed a death or glory attempt. Just consider whether it's worth tank shocking/ramming when you've got one hull point left, especially in Purge the Alien...

E. Searchlights - With night fight now much more likely, having multiple seachlights can be very useful. I frequently move 12", snap fire the main weapon and light up a key target.

Cool Mini or Not - sljer king

In relation to the cons above:

1. Yeah, hull points mean that you can now reliably wreck a vehicle, but I never really liked the *random seemingly invincible but stun-locked scoring tank of irritation* situations that occurred in 5th anyway (random makes planning hard). Instead, we have transports that continue to shoot their gun(s) even with one hull point, and can still snap-fire when moving at cruising speed or when shaken. Sure they die faster, but with the global reduction in cover saves, everything seems to die faster. Cover generating psychic powers have relatively improved in 6th (e.g. Shield of Sanguinius, Storm Caller), especially coupled with shrouding.

2. Damage effecting passengers. This is a problem and requires using transports in a different way. For example, I have found that instead of deploying units in the (possibly exposed) front rank of transports (second rank deploying hull down a little behind), I put the units behind instead. If the transport survives the first turn, I still have the option to embark before going 18”, but if it gets blown up there is less collateral damage to the squad and they aren't going to be pinned, meaning that they can either move forward with the other units, or drop back for objective sitting duties.

3. In tough games, did your transports last to the end of game anyway? Not often for me, so in reality this has a smaller effect than it first seems, otherwise I might rank this as the biggest disadvantage.

4. The reduction of disembarkation moves – This hurts melta delivery, true. Yet the dominance of melta appears to have waned, as 2D6 penetration is no longer required to reliably destroy a low-mid AV transport. Also, the way that I've been developing the use of my transports, I'm either moving 6” and footslogging next to the tank to make the most of the longer range of rapid fire weapons, or blitzing 18” to get into position before my marines are forcibly disembarked.

5. First blood / kill points - This is the big one for me, and why I think current lists have generally abandoned traditional mech. In Emperor's Will and Relic (totaling 1/3 of the basic missions), the secondary missions are relatively much more significant. In these two missions, getting first blood is a huge advantage and can force your opponent to play aggressively, and therefore perhaps take more risks. It seems like players are now building their lists with this in mind and trying to avoid giving away an easy VP, and generally moving away from MSU in favour of larger, more durable units.

6. Top hatches - I used to swear by a mobile top hatch for blasting my melta hunters out of. Now? I never thought I'd say it, but I'm not really using them. it now seems to be an opportunistic . Having tried both, I've come to the conclusion that I'd much prefer a gun, because sitting in a fragile tank doing drive-by's risks getting the squad inside pinned.

7.  Assaults - This has really hurt Blood Angels. Not so much Space Wolves, although I'd prefer to have the option!

Cool Mini or Not - Wappellious


Personally, I played MSU mech Space Wolves in 5th, and have experimented, researched and contemplated how/if they transition into 6th at a competitive level. I've come to the conclusion that expensive transports (e.g. lasplas or assault cannon razorbacks) pop too easily for their points, but cheap rhinos or razorbacks don't break the bank and still contribute to the game (personally I've found razorbacks to be much more effective). 

I've also found that the Space Wolves power Storm Caller is much more useful in 6th, especially when I'm playing conservatively with my Rune Priest to preserve the Kill the Warlord secondary objective.

I'm still getting to grips with 6th, but I can see certain armies making the most of the 1+1 using cheap and effective gun tanks (Grey Knights and Space Wolves with heavy bolter razorbacks come to mind) continuing to develop, whereas other previous archetypes such as Blood Angel razorspam (of the lasplas or heavy flamer variety) just don't seem to function with the new ruleset. I wonder if cheap fliers (vendettas, night scythes) will become the new mech?

Cool Mini or Not - Tzardauker

So, why spend the points mech'ing up instead of more warm bodies on the ground?

Transports in 6th still offer increased mobility, additional firepower outside of the FOC (the 1+1), (temporarily) mobile cover and added utility of tank shocks/ramming/searchlights. There are some significant nerfs to mech in 6th (effects on passengers, first blood, kill points), but some of the apparent downsides aren't that bad on further consideration (survivability, scoring, disembarkation distances).

Overall, I think mech still has a place in various (but not all) competitive lists, and needs to be integrated and used in a way that responds to the new edition.

Further Reading (Summary of main changes) (Detailed razorback discussion) (Target priority and discussion on future of mech) (Discussion of main changes) (Good quick summary of pro's of rhinos, and by association mech) (Discussion of main changes)

Food For Thought: Why Do You Bring Rhinos? on YTTH

It's good to see that I'm not the only one who hasn't abandoned mech! Take a look at this post on YTTH if you'd like to see why Rhinos still have their uses.

Blogs: From the Warp

From the Warp is an outstanding 40k hobby blog by Ron Saikowski. This site includes how to's with advanced painting and modeling tips, showcases Ron's personal and commission work, and offers free to download gaming aids. I particularly like the painting concept and discussion posts like 'Consistency is the key to good painting', 'Painting your models: Love to or hate to?' and 'Success and failure when it comes to painting'. If you enjoy this side of the hobby, it's well worth a look.

List-Fu: GiantKiller's Chaos Deamons at 1850pts

So here's this week's list.

It's a streamlined version of the recent Feast of Blades list, branded 'unbeatable' by BOLS. GiantKiller has removed the tricks, bells and whistles (Fateweaver, The Masque) and instead gone for increased scoring. Mobile with high offensive potential from the screamers and flamers, and the plaguebearers are likely to last longer if you target the forward units that are ripping through your army. Nasty.

However, this list, as with some of it's variants, has no decent anti-flier units, is still affected by the usual deep strike defence tactics and is vulnerable to bad dice (preferred waves and scatters). As ever, I think good preparation will help. I suggest bringing a balanced list, thinking carefully about deployment, considering target priority and playing the mission (this will be obvious to some).

Any other suggestions or tips to beat this list are welcome!

Food For Thought: Deep Strike Defence

With Deamons being flavour of the month, I thought it would be helpful to flag up a great article by Abuse Puppy on 3++ on deep strike defence. This helped me win my first local tournament, and I'm sure will prove useful in the future too. Very well illustrated and clearly explained.

Blogs: The Warhammer Forum

From Grand Tournaments (GTs) to the European Team Championships (ETC), if you want to know about tournaments in and around the UK, The Warhammer Forum is the place to go. Not limited to 40k, the site also includes Warmachine/Hordes, Malifaux, and Fantasy, as well as various forums covering hobby and club interests. Various large Tournament Organisers (TO's) frequent the site, and often tickets and results will be available here first. If you're looking for tournament details, take a look.

Sentinel Takes 1st at Club Tournament!

OK, this is a little late as the event took place in mid-August, but hey, it was my second ever tournament and my first ever 40k tournament win!

This was a small 3 game, 1750pts 6th edition no-comp event at Walberton Wargamers. I took my MSU mech Spaces Wolves having had a few games to get used to the new rules. A few bonus points were available for painting and about 11 players turned up including some Brighton Warlords tournament regulars.

My list was adapted from my typical 5th edition army, with the intention of experimenting with dual Rune Priests with Divination for Prescience on the two Long Fang squads for additional anti-flier support, dual multi-melta landspeeders and loading up on plasma pistols for the Grey Hunter Wolf Guard. After some last minute undercoating, my list was:

1750pts Space Wolves

Rune Priest (Runic Axe)
Rune Priest (Runic Sword)

5 Wolf Guard (4x combi-melta, 1x cyclone missile launcher)

4x 5 Grey Hunters (Rhino, melta, plasma pistol)
1x 5 Grey Hunters

Landspeeder (2x multi-melta)
Landspeeder (2x multi-melta)

2x 5 Long Fangs (Lasplas razorback, 4x missile launcher)

Game 1 vs Tau with Space Marines
Crusade (Vanguard)

The army consisted of a mixture of different units including a librarian with terminators in a land raider and some objective sitting scouts. I deployed in a refused flank, avoiding the terminators, and proceeded to roll through the army, leaving only one unit of scouts alive and in combat in the far corner. Land speeders did their job against the land raider (no surprise here). 20-0 win and a good start!

Game 2 vs Epidemus Nurgle Marines and Daemons
Purge the Alien (Dawn of War), Table 1

I'd not played against daemons before, but thanks to this article on deep strike defence, I had a good idea what to do. The enemy list had two squads of plague marines and a flying daemon prince starting on the board. I took first turn, spread out and focused fire on the prince, gaining first blood before the swooping began! Second turn I spread some more, then slowly withdrew shooting all the way. Successfully managed to bait a great unclean one into a kill zone with a rhino, then whittle him down in the open. Ended something like 9-2 VPs, and a 20-0 win. Thanks to Abuse Puppy for the tactics article!

Game 3 vs Saim Hann Eldar
Relic (Hammer & Anvil), Table 1

I was sure I'd loose this one, especially when my opponent won the first turn. And to be fair, I think I should have done, except for my opponent reading the mission rules incorrectly (see more below).

The list included a shining spear and dual farseer deathstar and a night spinner, plus a lot of jetbikes. I thought the jetbikes would power forward, grab the objective first turn, turbo-boost 6" in the shooting phase, then move a further 6" in the assault phase, whilst the rest of the army formed a cage and blocked my army (anyone play Blood Bowl?).

Thankfully, the Eldar shot me instead, giving me a turn to flat out over the relic. The shining spear deathstar then started to quickly run through my units, but due to both our naivety with the rules (and my opponent mis-reading the rules when he checked - I had no reason to doubt the reading), my hunters holding the relic didn't drop it when they lost combat and fled. The following unlikely chain of events saw a single hunter hold up the deathstar in combat so the relic holders could escape, then my opponent failed his hit-and-run roll, giving me a slim opportunity to retreat and jump into a razorback. I then focused on destroying any remaining enemy scoring units to at least stop the Eldar from claiming the relic. The game ended with me holding the relic and my opponent scoring first blood and linebreaker. 16-4 win and 1st place overall with 65 tournament points (results can be found here)!

So I think I should have come second, but I had a great time and will not forget the relic rules in the future! Thanks to all my opponents, who were all great sports. I felt bad winning effectively thanks to a mis-understanding of the rules, and I think would have come second overall if this had gone the other way (a draw would have still left me in top place), but at least it wasn't me who mis-read the rules! We did play another game a couple of weeks later with similar armies, and I nearly tabled my opponent that time, so at least I know I can win fair and square!

With this tournament under my belt, I was ready to start my preparations for the 40kUK GT Heat 1 at Brighton in October. This was going to be a completely different level of play, so I had a lot of work to do finishing my list and getting some practice in before getting hammered by some hardcore gamers. Perfect.

Food For Thought: Deploying First or Second

Like deployment, for me the choice to go first or second is influenced by a number of factors, primarily the mission, my army and my opponent's army (perhaps this is stating the obvious!). For Purge the Alien, Emperor's Will and Relic, I'm much more likely to choose to go first to attempt to get ahead on kill points, first blood, or grab the relic. Otherwise, the benefits of having the last word in multiple objective missions, linebreaker and being able to try to counter my opponent's deployment usually mean I will choose to go second.

If you're interested in reading more on the subject, I recommend this post by Kirby on 3++.

Blogs: Yes The Truth Hurts

Not one for the faint hearted, Yes The Truth Hurts is perhaps one of the most notorious 40k blogs out there. However, Stelek regularly produces some of the best list building and tactics articles about. This is perhaps my most frequented blog, and it has really helped me improve my understanding of 40k. I strongly recommend reading the primers before jumping in...

List-Fu: Space Wolves with Imperial Guard

GiantKiller's Space Wolves with Imperial Guard list has got me thinking about how much fire support you need in 6th. And how much anti-flier. Oh, and how many troops. I think the answer, as always, is 'depends on what else is in your army and what is it trying to do'...

This list is predominantly a foot list with a single vendetta, and goes heavy on large slow foot units with some added close combat punch (lone wolves) and surprisingly little fire support (one unit of long fangs and a vendetta).

I played against a very similar list the the recent 40kUK GT Heat 1 at Brighton Warlords (the guy ended up in the top 10). Firstly, it's slow to play against! Lots of models and dice to roll (especially with re-rolls to hit and FNP for the blob). It also has limited mobility, with only the vendetta offering transport, so getting to those deep objectives could prove difficult.

However, it is strong on scoring bodies, which is helpful for objective missions, and it's also good for secondary objectives - Vendetta plus squad for linebreaker, getting to the warlord with LOS! and that many bodies is hard work, and there are no easy targets for first blood.

As GiantKiller puts it, the 'ubiquitous blob' seems to be increasingly popular (perhaps since Nova?). I wonder if there is an opportunity here though. I don't know the Imperial Guard codex very well, so I'd have to check this - but assuming that you're playing basic missions (as is standard in the UK) I wonder if the blob could be used for low objective and kill point missions (Relic, Emperor's Will and Purge the Alien), but split for multiple objective missions (Crusade, Big Guns Never Tire and The Scourging)? Not sure if you have to declare the blob at deployment, but it's an idea...

Anyway, an interesting list, and one that seems far removed from the typical 5th ed Space Wolves lists I'm used to. We'll have to see if this becomes popular, or whether fast close combat oriented armies, such as the new Chaos Space Marines, will prove a deterrent.

Food For Thought: Playing to Win

I think there are a lot of players who would claim to play competitively. However, trying hard to win doesn't equate to top level tournament play, following countless hours of dedicated play testing, experience and refined talent. It's the latter level that Sirlin discusses in his inspired book Playing to Win (even better because it's free!).

Sirlin breaks down, in detail, what he believes to be required to develop into a player that truly plays to win. Note that this is not some call to win-at-all-costs, but rather intended to open the reader's eyes to the mechanisms of exceptional play. This encompasses knowing yourself, and realising your own self imposed limitations.

If you are interested in tournaments or just improving your own play, read this book.

Blogs: Bringer of Victory

Next up is Bringer of Victory. If you like the occasional bit of intelligent, analytical and mathammer based blogging, then this one is for you. An occasional contributer to 3++ is the New Black,  Nikephoros also discusses tips on tournament training and is the originator of 40k Metrics - a comparative analysis tool for assessing a weapon/unit/army's offensive capabilities (I'm looking forward to this being updated for 6th). One of the posts also flagged up Sirlin's brilliant Playing to Win book, but that's for another time! Certainly worth a visit.