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Friday, October 28, 2011

Defeating the Beast: Fighting Grey Knights Article #4

So far in the series, I’ve gone over what I believe to be the areas where Grey Knight draw their strengths as well as what I see as the 4 basic list archetypes that is the basis for most efficient GK builds. Your mileage, as with anyone’s opinion, may vary.

The next obvious thing to discuss in my opinion is the biggest weaknesses of the Grey Knight codex. Surely, if we want to be able to do well in a Grey Knight dominate world, we should always keep some thoughts in the back of our minds on exploiting some chinks in their armor.

Armor 12+

The first and most obvious weakness of Grey Knights is a definitive weakness in taking down Armor Value 12 and higher targets. There are a couple of key reasons why this is true.

First, once you hit the Armor 12 range, you are now negative any ability for a Psycannon to really hurt you on anything other than a “6”. Granted, once the “6” is roll, you are going to get hit with a penetrate. However, you will note that once you factor in a BS of 4, needing to roll a “6”,followed by a standard 4+ cover save, the statistics tell us that the Grey Knight player has a 1 in 18 chance to land that penetrating hit.

Now, a 1 in 18 chance isn’t all that bad when you consider a Psycannon in Heavy mode fires 4 shots. Basically, you fire 4 Psycannons in Heavy mode, and you have a decent chance of penetrating. This might seem “okay” at face value, but you will see in the next two ‘weakness’ categories that I will introduce why this is a big problem!

Other than Psycannons, Grey Knights have access to Psybolt Dreads and the odd multi-melta on a Storm Raven or Land Raider. Since any codex has access to those same multi-meltas, let’s set those aside as neither a strength nor weakness. However, Psybolt Dreads are one of the GK’s biggest strengths. So, this one is important.

Against a 12 armor value with a cover save, it will take about 2 Dreadnoughts firing on average to reliably score a penetrating hit. When shooting at something like a 55 point Chimera, this is a horrible waste of fire power. When shooting at a 200 point Storm Chicken, it’s not so bad. So, right away, the kind of 12+ armor is also a consideration.

At the end of the day, Dreadnoughts can and will destroy 12+ armor, but they won’t do it quickly. Thus, the weakness here is to deal with those Dreads early on. Then, they are relegated to just Psycannons or assaults. Also note that Dreads can easily stun higher armor value vehicles just to knock them out, a common tactic for a GK player versus things like Vendettas, Predators, etc.

Next, the Psyback is extremely ineffective against AV 12 and completely ineffective against AV 13. Since a lot of GK players take Psybacks in spades (see the standard archetypes), you can actually make a large portion of their spent points fairly worthless if you bring this type of armor in numbers.

Then, of course, there is the AV 14 issue for GKs. Here, they have terrible odds of taking down a Land Raider, and are best at in assault or with a psychic power like Might of Titan or Warp Rift. Stay out of range for assaults and a Land Raider is very reliable versus Grey Knights mainly because of….

Short Range

Grey Knights function best in a 24 inch world. The obvious exceptions here are Dreadnoughts. You must also take into consideration that most Grey Knights unit can move and fire. So, consider it more like a 30 inch world.

If it hasn’t been a theme yet, it should be. If you want to try and manipulate the range element of Grey Knights, you need to shut down the Dreadnoughts. Once you do that, you can hang back outside of that 30 inch range to maximize damage.

Consider things like refusing flank to shut down their power. Consider putting your long range elements in corners to be out of range. If you stay away from the Psycannons and Storm Bolters, they can’t hurt you.

Points Spendy MSU

The next and probably biggest weakness to Grey Knights, in my opinion, is the nature of how many points they must spend to field special weapon types. Now, in the assault, Grey Knights get a BARGAIN BASEMENT BLOWOUT on their equipment versus point cost. However, when it comes to special weapons, namely the Psycannon which is their only real option, they pay a premium to field a single Psycannon. For example, a Space Wolf player can get access to a melta gun in a Grey Hunter squad for 80 points. A Grey Knight player must fork out a minimum of 110 to get his special weapon. Compare that to a Melta Vet squad which gets 3 Melta Guns for 100.

Because of this “point spendy” nature, that makes Grey Knights actually quite susceptible to massed anti-infantry fire. Funny that probably the best army in the game at anti-infantry fire is also weak to anti-infantry fire. As those wounds wrap around and tag a Psycannon guy, they suddenly have a decent amount of “dead weight” sitting around. ( I use the term loosely because they still have Force Weapons and Storm Bolters, but in a Mechanized World, those things are fairly irrelevant.) For you non-mech players though, this is a much bigger deal. Still, at the end of the day, Grey Knights die just like any other marine to shooting. Except, each time one bites it, it’s a significant amount of points and power lost.

Lack of AP 1/AP 2

Grey Knights, just in general, have very little access to low AP Weaponry. Crazy this, but if you combine this knowledge with the weakness I just mentioned, suddenly a plain jane Terminator with Fist/Storm Bolter suddenly looks like a great option for fighting Grey Knights. His 2+ save doesn’t care about Grey Knights, and he puts out a lot of Grey Knight anti-infantry killing potential. Likewise, armies like Loganwing Missile Spam are in a pretty good spot versus Grey Knights because they always get their saves.

Grey Knights do have plenty of power weapons, though. So, let’s be careful about getting into Assault.

LD 9 Psychic Powers

Many of the most annoying Grey Knight psychic powers are rolled on models with a 9 Leadership. Force weapons, hammer hands, cleansing flames, warp quakes, and on. If it’s not an IC or Vehicle, it’s rolling on an LD 9. Why is this a weakness? Because Psychic hoods, save for some terrible exceptions, come on LD 10 models. LD 10 hoods dominate in a psychic war versus LD 9 psykers. Further, Eldar Warding Runes just dominate here since the average rolled on a 3d6 is 10-12.

Lack of Storm Shields

Grey Knights do not have Storm Shields. Grey Knight players will try to make up for this weakness on their Terminators usually by including a Librarian with Shrouding and relying on cover. However, one failed psychic test (or hooded test for that matter) and a lot of AP 2 can make a mess of Grey Knight Terminators and Paladins in a real hurry! The best part of this is that their Terminators are 40+ points (55 for a Paladin at minimum) each time you take one out.

That’s enough discussion on weaknesses for one article. In the next article, I’ll address the weaknesses one finds in the Henchmen builds which are just as important for consideration. In the meantime, here’s some reflections on Eldar fighting Grey Knights.

Using Eldar versus Grey Knights

Eldar have a TON of advantages versus Grey Knights and one BIG weakness. First and foremost, the most effective Eldar builds are almost always completely mechanized. I can’t speak the Foot ‘Dar lists because they generally don’t perform well in my experience. So, this is a caveat for this discussion.

The big weakness for Mech ‘Dar is that Grey Knights can still shake/stun your vehicles. That means you can’t shoot back, and GKs generally bring enough shooting to get it done. My best piece of advice here is to Tank Shock and RAM a lot!

Now, let’s talk strengths. First, you come packing an all AV 12 force. That’s a huge advantage. Second, you come packing the best suicide melta units in the game, Firedragons. And using those Firedragons, you can very quickly take out Dreadnoughts. This is a one-two punch against Grey Knights. Take out the Dreads quick. Rely on AV 12 to survive the rest of the army. Combine that with most of your vehicle guns being 36 inch range or higher, and you are seriously leaning on a lot of GK weaknesses.

Then to top it all off, you have access to Runes of Warding. This will shut down fortitudes, hammer hands, cleansing flames, and many other useful GK abilities as well.

In fact, Eldar may well be one of the best match-ups versus Grey Knights. Here’s an example 2000 point list I am thinking about running in the near future to combat the Grey Knight world.




3 x 5 xFire Dragons in Wave Serpents w/ Dual cannons, Spirit Stones


3 x 5 x Dire Avengers in Wave Serpents w/ Dual Cannons, Spirit Stones

2 x 5 x Dire Avengers


3 x Falcons w/ Dual Cannons, Spirit Stones, Holo-Fields

Friday, October 14, 2011

Defeating the Beast: Fighting Grey Knights Article #3

This is Part 3 of a series.


The third common type of Grey Knight list is the Draigowing. The concept behind this list is to leverage the Paladin’s uniqueness as a rock style unit and of course, Draigo. These types of lists will focus on getting you to focus on Paladins. From there, the actual goal should be to claim objectives or win on kill points. This list was really made famous by Blackmoor’s performance at the NoVA 2011, but there are key reasons for that which I covered in another article. In general, to think about defeating a Draigowing, the worst mistake you can make is assume that the general “this is how you beat a rock list” strategies are all that apply. There is some common wisdom there, but Draigowing’s bring a lot more to the table than the standard rock style list.

An optimized Draigowing will look something like this:



Librarian (Shrouding, Might of Titan, Sanctuary)


10 x Paladins w/ 4 psycannons, and a smattering of swords, halbreds, hammers, and master crafted-ness for wound allocation.

A couple 5 man strike squads or a 10 man or so.


Techmarine w/ Rad, Psybrokes (optional here)


10 x Interceptors (Blackmoor wisely chose this unit and I think they are great for this list, but not necessarily common)


2-3 x Psybolt Dreads for long range support.

First, to briefly analyze the list, let’s analyze some of the key elements this list brings as well as the Grey Knight strengths that it leverages. First, with so few squads, Draigo’s Grand Strategy will be good to make something like Interceptors an additional scoring unit if needed. Otherwise, the ability is just marginally useful and is a Red Herring as described. The Librarian, however, is almost a requirement. The reason is psychic defense, Shrouding, and Might of Titan. Clearly, the biggest weakness of a Paladin is the lack of a 3++ like other Terminators. Shrouding will fix this against shooting attacks so long as the Paladins are in cover. Might of Titan also shores up another big weakness which is potentially getting bogged down by Dreadnoughts or other walkers. Yes, the Paladins can Hammerhand up to S10 with hammers, but they still only get 2 attacks, and that doesn’t strike fear at all into a Venerable Dreadnought.

The most self-defeating thing you can do is say, “oh this is just another newb rock list.” This list actually leverages some true GK strengths that other rocks cannot. For starters, the 4 Psycannons. How many rock units bring a set of guns that are almost guaranteed to take down a Land Raider at 24 inches? How many rock units can lay down that plus 6 Storm Bolters in anti-infantry defense and before they charge another rock unit? How many rock units can wound allocate an ENTIRE squad without spending a ridiculous amount of points?

Not only can Paladins dominate most units in assault, they can out-shoot most units as well. And lastly, the wisdom in taking the 10 man squads is because you can always combat squad in objective games, but in KP games, you can deny KP like crazy.

This type of list leverages the Paladin, Anti-Hammer/Counter-Assault, and Duality as great strength. It also packs in a lot of very noticeable weaknesses like lack of fearless, ability to be double-tapped out, etc. The problem that I always see though is that it’s easy to “arm-chair general” those weaknesses, but people don’t actually put thought into their list to actually accomplish those goals.

Henchmen MSU

Similar to Grey Knight MSU, Henchmen MSU leverages similar principles but does so using the extremely points efficient henchmen squads. In my opinion, these are the most devastating and optimized Grey Knight lists for the meta. These lists will look something like this:



Libby or GM or OXI or even OXM w/ Terminator Armor


1-3 Venerable Psybolt Dreads

1-3 5 x Purifier Squads w/ Rhinos or Psybacks + 2 Psycannons


1-2 Squads of Death Cultists + Crusaders (potential)

1-2 Servitor Squads in Chimeras with Multi-Meltas, Plasma, etc. (depends on # of inquisitors)

3-4 Warrior Acolyte Squads w/ Psybacks ranging for 12 point 3 man squads to Melta Squads to Storm Bolter Squads

0-3 Storm Chickens

0-2 Interceptors


2-3 Psybolt Dreads

0-1 Land Raiders

Now, I don’t say “makes the best GK lists” lightly. The reason why I’m really saying this is because, outside of Paladins, these lists leverage every Grey Knight strength. It packs in vehicle spam with Psybacks, leveraging Fortitude, it packs in Psybolt Dreads, combined packing in a more than average amount of anti-vehicle and anti-infantry fire, and Death Cultists/Purifiers make for a crazy good counter-assault element. Let’s face it, this is like running Imperial Guard except in an alternate dimension where Ogyrns are Terminators killing machines.

The other thing about this list is that since so little points is put into any one unit, you can continuously pack in more and more units. For example, Acolyte squads are so cheap, you could easily see lists containing 9-10 Psybacks and still have 3 Psybolt Dreads. Or, you could easily see a list containing 6 Psybacks and 6 Psybolt Dreads AND still have enough Death Cultists in it to swat aside any assault unit.

The big thing to notice about this kind of list, though, is that it, like Imperial Guard, is entirely reliant on its vehicles. Take down the vehicles, and they have a problem. Recently, I’ve been getting a chuckle out of the idea that Tau are actually a good match-up for this kind of list, and it’s true! Think about how much damage 9 Broadsides with Target Locks would do to this list!

Also, as an aside, the worst plan EVER is to assume you are just going to march up there with a bunch of Terminators like you can with Guard and stomp face. Death Cult Assassins, even in small numbers, backed up by Hammerhand, will utterly annihilate you. You will have to think outside the box.

Notice the lack of AP 2. Notice the lack of Melta. Notice the lack of units. These are the things to focus on which we will in our continued discussion.

Putting it all Together

So, now, I’ve covered the 4 basic GK list archetypes. Honestly, the only other type of list you will likely see are simply non-optimized versions of these lists. You might see something like BIG Purifier squads or multiple small Paladin units. If you plan to beat these more optimized versions, those lists shouldn’t be much of a threat.

So, hopefully your mind is in the right spot now when considering your way forward. Here are some key points to trigger off of when building your lists to take into account the Grey Knight scourge:

1) Do you have an actual plan in your list for Paladins? To kill them? Ignore them? Stall them? Not an arm-chair general plan, but A PLAN.

2) Can you safely ignore or deal with 6-9 Psybacks in cover, with fortitude without having your lunch money taken? Makes those Razorspam lists not look so good doesn’t it?

3) If you are relying on a few vehicles, do you have an answer to shut down Psybolt Dreadnoughts QUICKLY?

4) Can you beat a Mech Guard list that has the most broken, over-powered assault unit in the game to back it up? (Hint: stop trying to use Hammer lists. They don’t work :P)

5) Did you bring any Psychic defense?

Here’s a Black Templar list I really badly want to build. I’ll explain why I think it would be great for the current GK Heavy scene. I’m not completely satisfied with the list yet, but I wanted to share the direction I am going with it as it pertains to this conversation.


Marshall + LCs + Terminator Armor + SS + Tank Hunters – 370

4 x Terminator Command Squad + 2 x Cyclone Missile Launchers + Tank Hunters

Emperor’s Champion – With Uphold or Suffer Not


5 x Terminators + 2 x Cyclones + Tank Hunters – 265

5 x Terminators + 2 x Cyclones + Tank Hunters - 265

5 x Terminators + 2 x Cyclones + Tank Hunters - 265


5 x Crusaders + Multi-Melta – 90

5 x Crusaders + Multi-Melta - 90

5 x Crusaders + Multi-Melta - 90

5 x Crusaders + Plasma Cannon – 100

5 x Crusaders + Plasma Cannon - 100

And more points to go probably into either another command squad or Drop Pods/Rhinos for the troop choices. Maybe 3 Land Speeders. Etc.

So, why would I want this to play Grey Knights with?

First, this list brings 16 S9 anti-vehicle shots. S9 means Dreadnought killing and Razorback smashing. The shots are also dispersed across multiple infantry squads which are packing a 2+ save. This basically means that I will be able to out-shoot most GK vehicle heavy lists, and I am bringing a ridiculous amount of fire power to overwhelm cover + fortitude.

This list does not attempt to assault. It attempts to “out last” the enemy at range. Thus, I don’t need to sweat the counter-assault potential of a GK list. You want some? Come and get it because I’m not coming to get my face chewed off by Death Cultists or Purifiers.

If it has to fight a Hammer style list, it can easily bust up Land Raiders and Storm Chickens at range, and if I have to tango with a Dreadnought, S9 Power Fists FTW. Possibly, if I take Uphold, it’s Preferred Enemy S9 Power Fists. If I take Suffer Not, that’s S10 Power Fists.

Against Paladins, I have a veritable cornucopia of S8+ shooting. Just with this concept list, 19 shots with more to come when the list is done. So, I can trade shots with them for a couple of turns to soften them up to either make them hit less hard or eventually to assault big with a bunch of Powerfists once they are whittled down.

What I wish I had in this list is some psychic defense. But, Templar can’t have that. I also wish I had some more resiliency in my Troop choices. That may come with points though in the form of Rhinos, melta guns, Drop Pods, etc.

Can this list beat Guard? Absolutely. It will outshoot Guard off the table.

Now, that’s just an example of the kind of thinking that you need to be having. In the next few articles, I’m going to dive into every Codex and discuss the types of lists that will stack up well versus GK or give you the honest truth if your dex doesn’t have a prayer.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Battle for Salvation Recap

First, I wanted to recap on the BFS then do some short battle reports. I'll be going a bit more in-depth with Stephen in Episode 89.

First, as to the tournament, I thought it was excellent. Bob told me a few times that they had had a couple of hiccups here and there, but as a participant, I didn't notice any of it. The only potential place I noticed a hiccup was that the time table would be a little off here and there, but honestly, I would only notice that just in passing.

The event was great. It was well run. Prize support was spot on. The location was awesome. It was plenty big, near easy access food (a mall food court even!). We actually drove in both Saturday and Sunday as we were staying with Dan (from Ten Inch template) whilst there. The drive wasn't bad either day.

The BFS, in my opinion, was very low stress/key, and it's exactly what you want in a good GT. It was simple to follow and straight forward. I know that some tables around me had some rules disputes, and from what I could tell, they were all resolved with a more than adequate amount of discussion and thought.

The only quibble I can offer to help them improve was on the terrain issue about the center piece not being area as well as the open hills. I think that most players were confused, one way or another, about the terrain announcement. Really, though, I only had the discussion once throughout the day about resolving any confusion.

Note that I am a fairly laid back guy when it comes to events. So, that's where my opinion comes from.

On to games...

Here's the list I settled on. I did take the 2nd Land Raider, even though it hurt my soul, but I made it useful in some occasions. I was glad it got some use before it rots on my shelves, but I will definitely be dropping it in the future.


"The Unshakeable Will/The Manslayer" Coteaz - 100

"Smiley, Vanquisher of Armies" The Librarian - 170 (Shrouding, MoT, Warp Rift, Quicksilver)


3 x Ven Dreads + Psybolts + Autocannons - (195 ea.)


4 x 3 x Warrior Acolytes + Bolters - (66 ea.)

Psybacks + Searchlights

7 x DCA - 105

7 x DCA - 120

1 x Banisher


1 x Dreadnought + Psybolts + Autocannons - 135

2 x Land Raider Redeemers + Psybolts + Multi-Melta - 260

Total: 1999

So, list notes.

For starters, I didn't remember my LRR's even had Psybolts until round 5. A funny story actually. I also forgot I took searchlights. Lastly, the Banisher was really a d-bag move. In retrospect, I would have felt really bad had I played a demon player, and he will be coming out of this list.

Otherwise, the Dread + DCA combo continues to be devastating to many lists. Having now gone through the GT, I will be reverting back to my older style list though with more shooting and a few more DCAs.

Let me go ahead and apologize to my Round 1 opponent whose name I don't recall. :(

Short Battle Reports:

Round 1, and I drew a Space Wolf player playing what I would call the traditional Razorspam Wolves. His list looked something like:


Rune Priest

Thunder Lord with Axe + Warrior Born and the trimmings


2 x Scout Squads w/ Melta

Wolf Guard to split out


5ish or so 5 melta hunters with Backs (mostly las/plas some tl las)


Fenrisian screen for the Thunder Lord


3 x Long Fangs with missiles

Right away, going into this, you have to understand I have had about 3 hours of sleep. I'm feeling extremely nauseated and am not looking for the rest of the day. My demeanor is okay, and my opponent was funny. I'm only stating this because I actually felt bad because I was so sluggish he would tell me jokes that would take me entire seconds to process and get. All I want to say is I hope I didn't come off as unfriendly, but the reality was, I felt like I was moving in slow motion. :P

Anyways, this guy had a great stock SW list. He played it to the best of his ability. It was a giant shooting match. As I expected when I took the damnable Land Raiders, I lost one right away. The second got immobilized on Turn 2. Go Land Raiders! Already I'm mad at myself for taking them. :) This will change over time though.

My opponent got first, and we basically traded shots throughout the game. His Wolf scouts both completely whiffed on the turn they came on and gave up free KPs to me via my DCA who were now stuck in the backfield thanks to their ride getting smashed. I slowly started winning the shooting war as I whittled down Long Fangs and killed Razors. Late game, his Wolf Lord made a valiant attempt to come back field but was cut down by DCA. The game wore on, and I eventually just won the attrition war on KPs.

Round 2: Mike Sommerville (SP?)

Anything but Mech Guard... Anything but Mech Guard! DOH... :)

I faced Mike before at NoVA 2010. This was a rematch and we both were playing different armies. Right out of the gate, this was the most fun game of 40K I have played in a long, long time. This was an epic, knockdown, drag out, war which was the proverbial "just a couple dice rolls" from having gone either direction.

His list approximate:

CCS plasma I think





One platoon squad in chimeras with meltas

Several melta vets in chimeras


2 x Vendettas

1 x Valk (yes really!)


2 x Manticores

1 x LRD

As you can guess with my list, my goal, knock out the Manticores and Vendettas. As this was objectives, I figured if I could do that and still have enough army last to fight, I could just hold back and take objectives. I got first turn! This could happen.

I shot and he cover saved all but one damage result. All I did was stun the LRD. Not looking good for the home team! I had not rushed forward with the LRR (a huge mistake) but instead tried to find cover for shrouding on my movement. I had just moved the Dreads into position to try and space out from Manticore fire and shake/kill vendettas. His Turn, Smiley's LRR goes down to a Manticore, I lose a Dread to melta vets in the Valk, and another dread to the Vendettas. I lose a gun off a Razor. I’m thinking, this isn’t going well!

Decided that I’ve pretty much lost the alpha strike war and that the game is over, in my turn, I just risk it and drive my final LRR up over the middle terrain, and deposit The Manslayer out the front door to assault the LRD. My Dreads take down one Vendetta and one Valk. My LRR takes a crack shot at a Manticore and kills it with the Multi-Melta. I did a lot of damage here, but unless he whiffs horribly, it won’t be enough.

Then, he whiffs horribly. I forgot to mention he had reserved most of his Chimeras which was smart. Had they have come on Coteaz would have been greased as with my other Raider. He failed every reserve roll, and his shooting was entirely ineffective. The game was back on.

Turn 3, the LRR rolls up to his other manticore and small chimera wall. The girls jump out, Coteaz walks over and rejoins, the LRR takes out a Chimera, they will assault into another to kill it. Smiley and his remaining girls take out the small vet squad that was in the Valk and consolidate into cover near an objective. I start moving units to mid to take objectives and the long walk (we were playing Spearhead) commences with my remaining Dreads moving across the board towards another objective. My dread gets another crazy, crack shot off and takes the gun of the remaining Manticore. The Other Vendetta is gone.

His reserve come on. The LRR, Coteaz, and the girls all get cooked. Smiley get shots down to just his lonesome. He starts racing elements forward to be able to contest.

The next few turns are all about position and me trying to use my remaining fire power to stop him from getting into my quarters. The game is foremost quarters, and I need to tie him on this. I get some lucky immobilizes in from both his dice and mine to slow the advance enough to keep my quarters. Now, it becomes about objectives.

It comes to this, he holds one Objective after Smiley bites it finally. I hold one objective in my quarter. He then takes another in his corner. Now, he need to contest the one on my side of the board away from my deployment and mid, at which I have scoring units on both. He will contest the left most with a normal Infantry Platoon that has walked over under fire. He will contest mid with Chimera full of melta vets.

First, I try to get a Dread over to assault the infantry platoon. He whiffs his difficult and won’t make it. I then try to tank shock with a Razor, but he passes his LD test. I then shoot him to force a morale check which he will pass. I explode the Chimera in mid, killing some Vets, but he passes LD. And lastly, I try to assault the remaining vets with my Acolytes there for a glimmer of hope to miraculously win, but he cuts them done. Mike thusly holds 2 to my 1 and takes the win. At this point in the game, neither of us have very much left and it was a very back and forth game. Excellent fun!

Game 3: Alex Fennel’s Deathwing

Game 3 I played against Alex Fennel. He brought his Deathwing.





6 x Terminators w/ Cyclones + 1 x LC (apothecary squad in there too)


1 x Land Speeder

6 x Bikes w/ 2 x Melta + Attack Bike w/ MM

As you can imagine, this was a horrific match-up for Alex. To make it worse, his dice to hit/wound were absolutely abysmal. As to game play, it was very straight forward. I got first turn. I shot him up a little and moved my LRRs forward He had reserved his bikes and Land Speeder (smart move as he knew I would just them right away to get rid of the melta). He fired back with abysmal dice. Turn 2, I whittled some more Termies down, drove up, hopped out, and multi-assaulted Terminators with DCA. It was a slaughter. I did eventually lose some DCA as he put more Terminators into Coteaz’s fight, but Smiley’s girls chopped through Belials Command Squad and another Squad with relative ease. His reserve failed him. They finally came on when he had very little left. We played one more turn where he lost even more Terminators in a horrific roll in a fist fight with 2 Dreads, and I shot up some bikes. We called it as the game was not going to go anywhere in later turns.

Alex is known for being great to play with. He’s a tricky guy too being able to reach deep into a bag of 40K rule shenanigans to pull off great moves. Always a blast to play with and learn from.

Game 4: Jawaballs Blood Angels

So, my next opponent is the famous Chris Dubuque otherwise known as Jawaballs.





Few sang priests

5 x Terminators with Claws/Shields + Land Raider Crusader



2 x 10 Assault Squads w/ Meltas

2 x Scout Squads, one with snipers and other for CC.

As you can also imagine here, horrific match-up for Jawaballs. We both recognize that right away. He can’t stay away from me because I have a heavy amount of shooting. If he pulls forward, my DCA will eat him. He spends a turn or so just plinking at me knowing that charging will be fruitless, and finally he just say, “hell with it, let’s do this!” and charges. He can’t win at range. So, when the blood and gore settles, Smiley and his girls are Dead, but Coteaz and his girls rule the day. It was a glorious massacre, and we called the game after all the combat finished. Jawaballs was very personable and fun to play with. Bad match-up is bad match-up. The Emperor himself couldn’t have won that one I don’t think.

Game 5: Ryan’s Grey Knights

I had played Ryan before at BFS 2010 at my final game there in the Bronze Bracket. He’s a personable guy to play with, and given some critical dice fail in this game, his ability to not start cursing loudly should be applauded!




OXI + Rad


3 x 5 Purifiers + Psybacks + 2x Psy


10 x Terminators + 2 x Psy

5 x 5 Acolytes w/ Storm Bolters + psybacks


3 x Dreads w/ Autos

So, Ryan set up mid board as it was Dawn. The primary was KP. At face value, my Dreads beat his Dreads, and if I can take down his Dreads, I’ve basically got open season on easy Razorback KPs. Also, if his Psycannons do not stop my Land Raiders, my DCA will mostly likely just roll over him.

So, it goes like this. He shoots all his Psy at my Land Raiders. They epically whiff. My LRRs drive forward, disgorge DCA and chop up the Terminators, a Purg Squad, Coteaz, and the OXI. From there, it’s basically all over but the crying. We do some more shooting but my DCA and LRRs are pretty much unstoppable wrecking machines as he whiffs a couple more times with Psycannons. Eventually, I have enough KPs that there is no coming back and we call the game.

Game 6: Eric with White Scars

This was against Eric from the White Scars blog. Two things. First, I’m extremely excited to finally get to see one of these White Scars guys in action. I have been wanting to see how they do well with this army because honestly, I don’t get it. Second, I am now absolutely destroyed. I have had no sleep in two days and am literally spacing out as we are playing this game. I actually owe Eric several apologies because I was so spaced out, I was actually frustrating him by forgetting things, doing idiotic things, and a host of other problems. As an example, at one point I specifically remember, he had to about bash me over the head explaining why if I took saves on DCA that I couldn’t kill the Banisher, and it literally took me like half a minute to understand what he was trying to tell me. It did not reflect well on me, and I apologize. I drank a copious amount of coffee after this game because I knew that I couldn’t continue like that. :P I also inadvertently started a rules discussion which I will talk about in a second when all I wanted to do was confirm that I could use the same rule because it was a genius move by Eric.



Bike Captain + Claws


5 x TH/SS terminators + LRR + Multi Melta

2 x 5 Stern Guard w/ Combi Meltas + Lascanons + Rhinos


3 x Bike squads w/ 1 x Melta + Attack Bikes w/ MM

1 x Combat scouts


2 x thunder fires

So, I get first turn. I plink some shooting at him and destroy a Thunder fire and kill a couple Sternguard forcing a morale check. I pull up with my LRRs, flanking the middle LoS blocker as I have been doing in most games, blow smoke, and prepare to Shroud.

Eric pulls up with Bikes, takes down a Dread. At this point, in my stupor, I start thinking about moving Coteaz + Girls away from center to chase down some bikes and scouts he had infiltrated. I’m thinking that maybe I got assault range on those Bikes. I test the move and eyeball the assault range. After a painfully long time, the gears in my brain finally stop turning, I realize it’s a dumb move, reset, and then decide on a better course of action. My thought was, I got 2 Raiders, he’s got 1. If I risk it, don’t blow a dangerous test, and take down his LRR with my Multi-meltas, I’ll probably eat some return fire, lose a Raider myself, but then be able to assault with DCA and lay down the hammer blow to kill all his terminators and bike command. This is basically what happens, and we get embroiled in a big battle in center involving the Terminators, his bike command, a few bikes, and my DCA. The battle lasts for many rounds, but the DCA eventually come out on top. Some more shooting takes place in the meantime, and eventually he gets worn down in attrition. We call the game as proceeding after that wasn’t going to net any new developments.

The inadvertent rules discussion was around his LRR that exploded. His interpretation of the rules was that his Terminators could be placed such that only the smallest fraction of his base would be where the LRR was. We always played that you had to be inside, as completely as possible, the resultant crater. I thought this idea of his was awesome because that meant you could easily get out of terrain for an assault, beautiful for my DCA. So, I checked the rule book, and it looked like he was right. A judge was nearby, and I wanted to confirm it in the FAQs so I just asked to see the FAQs. What a dumb move that was. The judge then wanted to get involved in the discussion, but I had no interest in arguing it. (It was entirely irrelevant to the outcome of the game.) But now, being an idiot, I had just created a rules discussion where none existed. /facepalm. We kept played while judges discussed (because I really didn’t care what they said the answer was for this game).

Anyways, after all that, forgetting a lot Fortitude rolls, a morale check, and Eric having to beat me over the head to explain why my Banisher wouldn’t die if he didn’t take a wound (/facepalm), I needed some coffee BAD. I also want to get another game in with Eric sometime so he doesn’t think I’m a complete idiot. ( Just partial would be fine! )

Game 7: Mike Brandt’s Guard

Anything but Mech Guard… anything but Mech Guard… DOH!

For starters, I am still amazed today at how Mike can manipulate a game of 40K with so much forethought after having played 7 games with little sleep. The only thing keeping me going this game is coffee because I am totally wasted.



Straken + CCS w/ Melta, Astro, Med Pak, Chimera




Big Al’s Platoon, all Chimera’ed up, with Melta

5 x Melta Vets in Chimeras


3 x Vendettas

It’s funny because I think Mike said I was a bad match-up for him. I’m of the exact opposite opinion because I think he is a bad match-up for me. My experiences versus Guard with my list so far are a total mixed bag. The more 12 armor on the board, the harder the game, and this list is completely spammed out on 12 armor. The reason for this is that it’s not easy for my Dreads to reliably stop 12 armor with a Cover Save. I actually do better in most cases versus Guard that carry more points into different kinds of Vehicles. Mike’s list just has piles and piles of sacrificial melta guns that he could hurl at Dreads and my LRRs where I trying to plink shots off of Chimeras to stop it.

He’s looking at this like, WTF Dread-Spam + Side Shots with Razors. So, it’s easy to, I think, see why would we think that about each other.

Any event, I got first turn. Mike surprises me by not putting his Vendettas in reserve. I realize that those are the only thing he’s got to kill my Dreads with so long as I stay away from suicide melta and the edges of the board (to avoid Big Al). So, Turn 1, I resist the urge to scream forward with my LRRs just to die to a fusillade of melta vets and hold them back. Instead, I just want to position myself near mid-board to contest/hold and get ready for later pushes to more objectives. I really give myself terrible odds of winning this game given that he has 8 mech-ed up scoring units to contest and hold with. I start plinking Vendettas and shake 2, wreck 1.

His turn, he moves up with Chimeras around some terrain. One gets stuck. He flat outs his Vendettas again. I plink at them again, shaking one and wrecking one.

At this point, I have to give credit to Eric because I was discussing my woes versus fighting this mech Guard army prior. Eric said one thing that stuck in my mind and that was “shoot the lead Chimera”. If you can immobilize or wreck it, that will force those behind it to get all clogged up and need to roll for terrain. So, my 2 psybacks that I had kept in reserve come on and immobilize the front Chimera. This forces lots of terrain rolls through the game and causes him to have to move around it. Good advice!

At this point, he suicides 2 melta vet squads on my LRRs. One goes down, the other lives miraculously. Thus begins the tale of Coteaz The Manslayer. Not wanting to risk my DCA to being shot up, I just hop Coteaz out to deal with one squad of suicide vets. He does so mercilessly. Smiley’s DCA, being the LRR that bit it, get out and clean up the other melta vets and then consolidate onto the hill mid. I will just leave them there to control the objective. Smiley gets on board the other LRR and moves up slightly still pushing slowly towards an objective but staying in shrouding range of the DCA on the hill.

Big Al comes in much to my relief. Board center is getting crowded. :P He comes in on my left to threaten my Psybacks and take the objective. I figure this objective is basically lost, but I can contain Big Al there with my Dreads. Now, what I want to do is focus on KPs. I figure, all I have to do is hold my right objective, contest mid, and take his left most objective, which he is only threatening with 10 melta vets on foot, and I got this. I actually think I got this won pretty handily at this point because he has no suicide melta vets left to come get my second LRR, and I will be in charge range of those aforementioned melta vets on my next turn to mop up and claim the objective. The reason why I think this is because I think one of his Chimeras is immobilized that apparently isn’t. This Chimera comes over on his turn and disgorges more suicide melta vets. Mike whiffs epically for a 2nd time, but does one glance. He rolls the “6” to destroy it. Super lucky both for me and him depending on you look at it. Lucky for me he whiffed. Lucky for him he still squeezed in the destroy. If that had not of happened, the game would have been basically over right there. Coteaz, angered at the disruption gets out of the LRR and starts playing Croquet with Guardsmen in this new squad.

So, I still have this 10 man squad near the back objective. I try to shoot it up a little to get it to fall off the board, but he passes. My Dreads are just slowly moving and plinking towards my left most threating to contest that objective. My real goal is just to hold up Big Al in that corner and keep them out of mid. This would force Straken + whatever was left to come mid and keep them out of my other objectives. Again, I want to tie objectives and win KPs which Coteaz is single-handedly winning for me.

I’m missing some turns in here somewhere, but basically, it rolls on to turn 5. All game, Mike surprises me with his crafty plans in all kinds of weird ways that I’m still amazed by. (Especially being as tired as I am I can’t even imagine it). First, he stretches his one melta vet squad out from his corner to mid to claim both objectives. He kills the DCA off the hill with Multi-laser fire and Straken moves in to threaten. He uses Chimeras to block up the corner Al is in to keep my Dreads out from contesting. He tank shocks his Chimera onto my back objective. We roll to end. If it ends here, Mike handily wins on objectives.

It goes on. I needed this extra turn badly. Having this extra turn meant that I could shore up the win for 6 and 7 and reclaim lost ground by Mike’s big push. (Half of which I didn’t even see coming. Mike has an uncanny grasp of movement and situational awareness. It’s very impressive.) So, one Dread moves into contesting range of Big Al’s objective. This is a long shot for me, but I have just a ton of faith in my Ven Dreads to blow off melta shots and keep on kicking. They won’t let me down! I come rolling up with a Razor to contest mid now, but I have a problem. They will just melta it away with Straken’s squad on the Vet squad’s one melta in range if I don’t stop it. So, after much thinking, I send a Ven Dread into the maw of the beast that is Straken. I know my Ven Dread can do it. They never let me down! I need to tie up Strake to prevent his meltas from killing my Razor and hopefully survive the single melta shot. Meantime, my remaining dread is hauling tail towards mid to throw more bodies into contesting. My Ven Dread gets immobilized by Straken but holds the line. I love my Ven Dreads!

Coteaz, still raging, now goes after the Vet squad near the other objective. He pounces on them like an animal and cuts them down. I figure I got this objective easy now till my charging DCA + MoT whiff and don’t kill the contesting chimera. They do stun it though, and I figure I got this on his turn anyways.

Now, Mike is in trouble. Mid is contested. He’s likely going to lose his Chimera, and I got a Ven Dread sitting on Big Al’s objective. He’s now likely going to lose objectives and even if he pulls a tie, lose on KPs. He needs a lot of things to go his way. He starts off by throwing the kitchen sink at my Ven Dread contesting the objective in the corner. My Ven Dread gets immobilized but he holds true! I love my Ven Dreads! He resorts to assaulting with Marbo and melta bombs, but the Ven Dread still holds. He then puts fire into the contesting Razor in mid but doesn’t quite kill it. Straken still does not kill the other Ven Dread, taking off an arm. Coteaz finishes off his next meal, and I get a huge consolidate of 6 inches. It occurs to me that with a that + move + a good difficult terrain assault move, Coteaz could potentially assault into the Vets that are strung out to hold mid and his corner. If it goes to Turn 7, that will be the nail in the coffin. Smiley and the girls take down the Chimera and control the objective.

At this point, they call time. Now, if the game ends, I win on objectives, 2 to 1. The problem is, we never got a time call when it was approaching last turn. In other words, we never got a “last turn” call at the start. So, neither Mike nor I knew the game was about to end. I did not want to end the game like that because it would basically have robbed Mike of the opportunity of an epic comeback. They agreed to let us continue if we both wanted it, and Mike rolled off to move onto Turn 7.

Coteaz rampages up to Board center, makes his assault roll, and snags the Vet Squad dragging them into the Death Maw that is The Manslayer (who is now walking through 40 guardsmen this game if you are keeping count). My other Ven fends off Marbo for another round, while my other Ven there assaults into Big Al’s squad hoping to take him down and contest. Mike is making a game of it yet again (he sees so much of the board it’s scary to me :P) by taking pot shots at my back objective with Chimeras trying to wipe off my Acolytes there. But they survive it.

His turn, comes. Marbo still can’t kill the Ven Dread. Straken polishes off his Ven Dread plus another I forgot to mention I had assault in. Coteaz polishes off the final vet squad. The game ends 2 objectives to 0.

Watching Brandt play really is awesome. You have to struggle just to stay on par with the angles that he comes at you with, with that list. Recommend lots of coffee if you are going into a game against him just so you can try and keep up.