Tuesday, August 23, 2016

StormTalon to StormHawk Magnetization

Since Michael recently reviewed both the StormTalon and the StormHawk, this seemed like a good time to put up some pics of my latest Flyer, which I've built so that it can used as either a StormTalon or a StormHawk, with the aid of surprisingly few magnets.
That's all the bits laid out individually. The only magnets are in the chin-mounted TL Assault Cannon, and the Sensor/Weapons Pods that go on the stubby little mounts just above that. Everything else pressure-fit once I primed it, tho I reinforce the StormHawk Wings with a little Blu-Tac, because they're a little shaky.

I didn't bother popping them off for this, but the SkyHammer fronts on the Weapons Pods are also swappable, also pressure-fit. They can swap to the Typhoon Launcher perfectly, or the Heavy Bolters/Lascannon, but they'll look a little odd if anyone compares too closely with the official build for the Pods.

 A couple of pics in StormHawk mode. Ideally, I would have taken pics at basically any point other than when it was just primed, but the basics still show up alright, I think.

And StormTalon mode. I used Nephilim wings on my other two Talons, so had to follow suit here. I put these ones on a little differently, tho, since I was doing it as part of the initial build instead of a retrofit, and they ended up at rather more of an angle. Not sure if I'm going to leave it like that and come up with some fluff about them being variable-angle, or just go back and fix it so it's like the other too.

There are a few bits that just stay as StormHawk mode, because they would have been a pain to do, and don't really make a huge difference in the overall appearance. The Halo Launcher itself wouldn't have been so bad, but getting the StormTalon's Sensors magged on there would have been a nightmare, and getting the Cockpit swappable would mean magnetizing the entire hull, which I really didn't care enough to do. Neither of those things represent options that are even a possibility for the StormTalon to take, and I figure it's pretty obvious which it's supposed to be based on the number of guns and the location of the Assault Cannon.

Until next time, y'all have a good one now, y'hear!

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Bro! Hold My Beer and Watch This!

I've been looking forward to the DeathWatch getting some significant Rules since their first mention back in 3rd. I still haven't had a chance to play with them, but I'm gonna do a quick rundown of the things that really jumped out at me. This will not be complete, if you want a full Review, there are plenty of them out there. Much of it is just very minor variations on basic SM stuff anyhow.

Wargear: The basic "SternGuard" Squads can take a Special Weapon for everyone, and up to 4 of them can take "Heavy" Weapons. "Heavy" is in scare quotes there because you're never actually going to take the Heavy options. It's all about the Frag Cannon and the Infernus Heavy Bolter here.
- The Frag Cannon is one of the best guns in the Game as far as I can tell. It was already good on Furioso Dreads, and now it's spammable, and has a longer-ranged mode that's a Marine Killer out to 24", and turns into a two-shot Lascannon within 12". Just ridiculously good.
- The Infernus Heavy Bolter takes a Heavy Bolter and fixes one of the big problems with it by making it Assault. Then it bolts a Heavy Flamer on as well, for the same amount you'd normally shell out for one of each, with the Bolter still being Heavy. Not as ridiculous as the Frag Cannon, but still solid.
- They're also relatively easy to convert. You just need a Heavy Bolter and a Flamer (regular Flamer actually matches the size of the official bit better), and anyone who's been playing Marines for any length of time should have those around.
- Be careful not to load up too heavily on them, tho. Your basic dudes are already expensive, and if you don't watch out, it's easy to end up with an Army almost entirely consisting of 40+ Point Models that are just as fragile as 14 Point Tac Marines.
- Cool thing that Greysplinter pointed out to me: You have to swap your Bolter for one of the Special or Heavy Weapons. But you can also take options from the Ranged Weapons list, which lets you swap that useless CCW for another Bolter for free.

Terminators, Bikes, and Vanguard Vets: At first glance, I thought these were all pretty badly overpriced, but the more I dig into the Dex, the more I like them. The big thing they all have going for them is that their Unit Size goes down to a single Model. This lets you go MSU with them to a ludicrous degree, but it also makes them very easy to slot into the various Kill Team Formations, where they each add something cool to the whole Unit.
- Terminators: Since every single one of them can take a Heavy Weapon, these guys can add in some serious firepower, either as a bunch of scattered singletons or in Kill Teams. In addition, they're Fearless, and that's one of the USRs that affects the whole Unit, so adding just one to a Kill Team will make the whole group Fearless as well as giving the Terminator(s) some cheaper ablative Wounds around.
- Bikers: The Bikers have Skilled Rider, which lets them Tank for the Unit a bit in a Kill Team, and also lets them function as very mobile and durable Objective Grabbers. A bigger deal, tho, are the cheap Power Weapons they can pick up, and the Teleport Homers they get, which work not just for Terminators, but also for any Unit using the DW Detachment Benefits to Deep Strike. A few of them scattered around can give you a lot of options for any Deep Strikers you've got in Reserves. Once again, tho, they really come in to their own as part of a Kill Team. This gives them some protection for that Teleport Homer, and in return, they really help the Unit get into Assaults. They still have to maintain Coherency, but their Move+Base Size can easily take 4-5" off what you would need for a Charge, just by shifting them from one side of the Unit to another. On top of that, they provide Split Fire, letting you unload all those Frag Cannon or whatever into one Unit while you just pop off a Bolt Pistol into the guys you actually want to Charge.
- Vanguard aren't as big of a deal as the other two, but they're also significantly cheaper. I don't really see much point in running them on their own, as one of the other two options here will probably do whatever you want better, but as part of a Kill Team, they add their Heroic Intervention Special Rule, letting you Multi-Assault without penalty and giving you Pseudo-Fleet that doesn't work while Running, but helps your Charges just as much. One of these guys and a Biker in the same Kill Team should provide some serious flexibility for Assaulting, which may well catch a few people off guard.

Kill Teams: These are all built around the same basic formula: A Squad of Veterans, plus one or more of Librarian*, Terminators, Bikers, Vanguard, up to a max of 10 Models total. They all get combined into a single Unit, and even the IC(s) can't leave.
- Aquila Kill Team: The basic version is my favorite. It has the weakest, but broadest, benefit, and no restrictions other than listed above. Re-rolls 1s to Wound or Penetrate Armour against everything. Very hard to go wrong with that, and you can unlock it with a single Vanguard or Biker for just a few Points more than adding another Vet to the Squad.
- The other five each target a particular FOC slot. If your target Unit has any Models with the appropriate Battlefield Role, you get to re-roll all failed Wound and Penetration Rolls. They each also have extra restrictions. For instance, the Fast Attack one requires you to take at least 2 Bikers, and the Heavy Support one not only requires you to take Terminators, but also that at least two Models in the Unit have Thunder Hammers (Heavy or regular). Outside of Narrative Games, the only one I can see using regularly is the Furor Kill Team, which gets re-rolls against Troops (which show up in most Games), and only requires one Terminator and that at least one Model have a Frag Cannon or Infernus Bolter, either of which are pretty solid against most Troops.

Relics: There are two real standouts here for me.
- The Dominus Aegis provides a 4++ for the Bearer's entire Unit if the Bearer himself didn't move in that Movement Phase. This is great for protecting Kill Teams that are planning on mostly camping one area of the battlefield, and becomes fantastic while you're Locked in Combat, and thus automatically not Moving in the Movement Phase. It's also great to bring in as an Allied choice for something like Imperial Guard, where it can be a much cheaper way of getting a 4++ than Azrael, if somewhat more limited as well.
- The Beacon Angelis is a Locator Beacon (which is already cool to be able to get on an IC who's potentially starting on the Board), and in addition, once per Game, you can pull another one of your DW Units off the table (even if they're in CC) and Deep Strike them within 6" of the bearer with no Scatter. All kinds of shenanigans possible with that.

Tactical Objectives: Not particularly powerful or anything, but they've got a cool mechanic. Unlike the other Factions with their own sets of Tactical Objectives, the DeathWatch get three possible sets to replace the 11-16 in the deck, and get to select which at the start of each Game. The Secundus would probably be my default choice, but against someone with lots of Elites and Characters, the Primaris are cool, and the Tertius provide a couple of extra targeting FA and HS.

Until next time, y'all have a good one, y'hear!

*It's unclear whether or not you can take a single option from the list multiple times. If you can, you can get an absolute shitload of Librarians in Kill Teams.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

If I Ran the Circus

I've been getting a lot done, but haven't had much luck getting myself to take pics or write about it. With the rumours of 8th Ed abounding, I figure I'll do something easy here to try and get some momentum going: Wishlisting! Note that I'm just going at the Core Rules here, and I would also do some big re-balancing of Codexes if I were actually in a position to implement any of this.

Overall Turn Structure: Add in "Start/End of Turn" Phases, and defined "Start/End of Phase" sub-steps.

Movement Phase: Pretty much the same, except that Running/Turbo-Boosting/Flat Out would get folded into the Movement Phase. No Models get moved in the Shooting Phase except to take them off the Board. Speeds things up, keeps the Phases more in line with their names.
- Add some Size Categories for Terrain. Mostly for LoS/Cover purposes, but might affect some Movement.

Psychic Phase: I think the basic mechanics are pretty sound.
- Change DtW so that each 6 rolled cancels one Harnessed Warp Charge, making it easier to Deny multi-Charge Powers.
- Make it possible to get bonuses to Deny Powers that don't target Enemy Units.
- Clean up the definition of "Psyker", since it's kind of a mess right now, with some counter-intuitive consequences.
- The rest of the fixes would come from changes to the Disciplines and Codexes.

Shooting: Snap Shots go away. Perhaps not 100%, I can't off the top of my head think of a better mechanic for dealing with Flyers, but other than that, any situation where you'd be firing Snap Shots in 6th/7th, you simply can't fire. Speeds things up.
- Wound Allocation completely changed. Defender simply removes the Models they want to, without regard to range or LoS. Simplifies and speeds things up.
-  Exception: When a single Attacking Unit generates Wounds equal to or greater than the number of Models in the Target Unit, in which case the Attacker may select one Model that must take one of the Saves on its own. They can do this multiple times if the Wounds from a single Unit are multiple times the number of Models in the Target Unit. For example, if an IG Platoon opens up and inflicts 12 Wounds on a SM Combat Squad, the IG Player may choose which Models take two of the Saves. You may choose the same Model more than once, but if it fails more Saves than it has Wounds, the excess are wasted. Balancing mechanism to cut down on MSU, still gives the Attacker some control.
- If a Unit contains multiple Armour Saves, Wounds must be divided among them as evenly as possible (after any the Attacker may get to assign) before rolling Saves. Simplification, also helps deal with "mixed" DeathStars like TWC/FenWolves.
- Cover Saves go back to a Unit-by-Unit basis. If half or more of the Target Unit is in Cover from the Firing Unit's PoV, the whole Unit gets Cover. If in mixed Cover, they get the Cover Save that the greatest number of Models would benefit from. Simplification. Also makes it easier for squishy Units like Stealers to get closer without losing Cover.
- Cover Saves for intervening Units are determined in part by the Swarm and various Bulky Rules. Basically, a Unit can only gain Cover from an intervening Unit if they're no more than 2 Size Categories larger than the intervening Unit. Add some categories for Vehicles and Terrain.
- Going to Ground and Jinking are declared after determining how many Hits are scored, but before Rolling to Wound/Penetrate. This leaves it as late as possible in the sequence without having to make exceptions for Vehicle Squadrons.

Assault Phase: Keep the Charge Sub-Phase the same, except Overwatch goes away, just like everything else involving Snap Shots.
- Units with Move Through Cover can choose to either ignore the 2" Charge Distance penalty for Charging into Cover OR ignore the Initiative Penalty for Charging into Cover. 
- Only one Pile-in Move per Model per Phase. Possibly go back to the 5th Ed Defender Reacts system where the Charging Unit doesn't get a Pile-In, and other than the Charge and that one Defender Reacts Move, Models only move after Combat Resolution. OR like AoS, where Units get to Pile-In as they Attack, but don't at the end of the Combat. Possibly mess with the distance of the Move as well, but the key point is that no Model in an ongoing Combat should Move more than once per Turn.
- Wound Allocation changed as per Shooting.
- Outnumbering factors into Combat Resolution. If one side has more Models than the other, they count as inflicting an extra Wound when determining Combat Res. If they have more than twice as many, they get +2, and so forth. Models with some version of the Bulky Rule count as the same number of Models they would for fitting in a Transport/Building. Walkers count as 5 Models if their Front AV is 11 or less, 10 Models if it's 12 or more.
- If an outnumbered Unit is Fearless or gets caught in a Sweeping Advance but not wiped out because of ATSKNF, it must make one Save for each extra point of Combat Res the Outnumbering side gained from their numerical advantage. Gives Hormies and Ork Boyz something to shore them up against DeathStars.
- EDIT: Add back in the ability to Charge on the Turn a Unit Disembarks from any Transport, as long as the Transport didn't Move first.

Morale: Morale Tests work pretty well. Haven't changed much in 5 Editions for a reason.
- Regrouping is really harsh on non-ATSKNF Units right now, tho. Change it so that a Unit that Regroups has their basic Move reduced to 3" for that Turn, counts as Moving for all purposes, regardless of whether they do or not, and suffers a 3" penalty to their Charges.
- ATSKNF just means that they auto-pass Regrouping tests and don't get wiped out by Sweeping Advances.

Unit Types: The biggest change I'd make here really is about ICs. ICs can only Join Units of the same Unit Type as them. Bikes/Jetbikes are counted as a single Unit Type for this purpose, as are Cavalry/Beasts. This takes out some of the DeathStar shenanigans.
- Bikes cannot gain a bonus Attack for 2 CCWs, nor can they use 2-handed Weapons or any CC Attack other than their basic profile if equipped with a Storm Shield or something else that keeps them from gaining that extra Attack. Basically, they need to keep one hand on the Bike at all times. Pushing Bikes more toward a firepower Unit.
- Jump Infantry can use their Packs in both Phases. And pushing Jump Packs up as Assault Units.
- Beasts/Cavalry only move 9", but can Run and Charge in the same Phase. Not as fast as Bikes/Vehicles, except when they kick it into high gear for the Charge.
- Add another tier between Monstrous and Gargantuan Creatures. The mid-level monsters wouldn't get the 12" Move or Stomp, and would only reduce Poison to 5+, but would otherwise gain all the benefits of GCs. There are enough MCs needing a boost that it's worth making a category for them.
- Gargantuan Creatures get AoS-style Statlines that degrade as they take Wounds.
- Some kind of buff for MCs against Vehicles in CC. A single Smash Attack is not enough.
- New Unit Type: Monstrous Beasts. MCs with 12" Movement, not slowed by Difficult Terrain. Things like Trygons, Haruspexes, and Giant Chaos Spawn need some help.

Vehicle Types: Heavy Vehicles ignore the penalties for firing Ordnance Weapons.
- Possibly bring back something like the Agile Vehicle Type, with less max speed than Fast Vehicles, but more ability to fire while moving slowly.
- Super-Heavy Vehicles modify the Damage Table instead of ignoring it. Each Shaken result stops a random weapon from firing this Turn. Each Stunned result does that and takes d6" off its Movement for the Turn. Weapon Destroyed: Certain Weapons are designated as "Main Weapons". It takes 2 Weapon Destroyed results to remove one of these. Immobilized becomes Drive Damaged, taking off d6" Movement permanently. Explodes still does an extra d3 HP.

Weapon Types: Change Salvo so that it gets the larger number of shots out to half Range, and the smaller number from their to max Range, regardless of the firing Model's Movement. Right now we basically only ever see Salvo Weapons on Relentless Units, and many of them (e.g. Grav) are badly overpowered on those.
- Grenades used in Combat by basic Models against MCs or Vehicles with a WS only hit on 6s. Grenades used by Characters hit based on their WS. Trying to find a balance that doesn't feel like an arbitrary limit, but still keeps Walkers from just getting Kraked to death. Also makes Characters a bit more Heroic.

Terrain: Just add a bit more detail back in. Include some guidelines on size values for Movement/LoS purposes.

Missions: Bring non-random Progressive Scoring into some of the basic Missions. Stuff like Border War from the AoS General's Handbook.

I think that would about do it for Main Rulebook changes. Again assuming that I had complete freedom here, it would also be a "hard" reboot, with completely new Army Lists for everyone (This is another point I'd take from AoS. Every Unit's Dataslate would be available as a free download.) I'd roughly double everything's cost to allow more granularity, benchmarking things against a 10 Point Guardsman and a 30 Point Tac Marine.

Hopefully I'll get around to taking some pics of my recent Modeling projects (Tauroxen with Blood and Skulls Industry wheels, DeathWatch, a bunch of Daemons), and talking about some of the Gaming I've been getting in (OFCC, the LoW Bash we did one Saturday, dipping my toes into AoS). Until then, y'all have a good one, y'hear!