Magic: The Gathering & Charity part 2

A while ago, I wrote about starting a charity project for WWF’s tiger preservation & protection. Despite purchasing the cards and donating the money, I’ve only just gotten around to writing about the progress of this little pet project.

Artwork for Stalking Tiger (C) by Terese Nielsen.

So far, the deck’s clocked in at £30.94, and features at least one of (almost) every tiger I could find in MTG:

1 x Zodiac Tiger
1 x Jedit Ojanen of Efrava
2 x Springing Tiger
2 x Zarichi Tiger
2 x Riparian Tiger
3 x Seht’s Tiger
4 x Stalking Tiger
4 x Phantom Tiger
1 x Cave Tiger
1 x Scythe Tiger
2 x Primal Bellow
4 x Vines of Vastwood
4 x Tiger Claws
2 x Ethereal Armour
2 x Chosen By Heliod
1 x Divine Favour
1 x Spear of Heliod
2 x Rancor
13 x Forest
7 x Plains
1 x Selesnya Guildgate

I’ve tried to include all the tigers I could find (except for Sabretooth Tiger, just because I didn’t want to splash in red as well for just one creature. I’ve still bought four of them, though, and the amount spent is included in the amount donated!), with multiples of my favourites (Stalking Tiger in particular – just look at Terese Nielsen’s artwork above in its full resolution glory!). There’s even the elusive Zodiac tiger in there, because it’s a nice-looking card and (at £5 a pop) it was a good way to easily increase the amount donated to WWF.

I’ve played the deck against a few friends, and it’s actually working surprisingly well – thanks in no small part to the combo of the Phantom Tiger (a card which still makes me sad when you look at the artwork) and Spear of Heliod / Tiger Claws / Chosen by Heliod / anything that gives it +x/+1, since that makes it effectively immortal!

I’m enjoying this – it’s great to combine a (casual) hobby of mine with such an important cause, and one that’s very close to my heart. I think that I’ll be adding in some more cards like Spear Of Heliod soon, to increase the donated amount and to focus the deck more on buffing up the tigers. I’d also like to pick up some more interesting lands like Oran-Rief the Vastwood and Llanowar Reborn. Don’t worry, the focus will still be very firmly on only using tiger creatures and as many thematic cards as possible! I’ll definitely be working on this deck over the coming months and, as before, will be donating an equal amount to whatever I spend to WWF’s tiger preservation.

Kind regards,

Ben

Kill-Team battle reports

In preparation for an event I’m attending in the near future, some friends and I met up one evening last week for a couple of kill-team games. I’d already decided what kill-team I want to use at this event, going for a Tyranid force comprised of:

Broodlord – kill-team Leader with the Been there, Seen it, Done it trait and (subsequently) the Feel No Pain Indomitable Specialist skill.
3 Genestealers
1 Genestealer with Scything Talons.
1 Genestealer – Dirty Fighter Specialist with the Murderous Blows skill.
1 Genestealer – Guerilla Specialist with the Preferred Enemy skill.
1 Zoanthrope – Weapon Specialist with the Expert Shot skill.

Total: 196pts

I’ve been having great fun playing my Tyranids since restarting them recently, and the idea of an alien kill-team is really enjoyable. Plus, it means that I get to make loads of Aliens / Starship Troopers / Jurassic Park references during each game (‘How could they cut the power, man!? They’re animals!‘ ‘You kill anything that has more than two legs, you get me?‘ ‘Shoot her!‘). Unfortunately I haven’t finished painting my Broodlord yet and, more importantly, the Zoanthropes I’ve ordered hadn’t arrived. Luckily, my friends graciously let me use a Ripper Swarm as a stand-in, since they’re both on the same size base. Psychic Rippers, now there’s a terrifying thought – something for the Hive Mind to start evolving for 8th edition!

* * *

The night was still, the quiet broken only by the chirruping of the local wildlife amongst the ruins. Estoria’s three moons hung low in the sky, bathing the world in a feeble light and casting a monochrome shade over the crumbling buildings. Their pale moonlight illuminated the PDF trenchline as it snaked its way through the city, but the encampment was abandoned. No men manned the vantage points, no soldiers sat at the guns. It was as if the whole company had simply vanished without a trace.

The Space Marines moved almost silently despite their size, panning their boltguns around in slow, sweeping motions. Each Astartes moved in unison, covering each other as the squad advanced. Ahead, Battle-Brother Kurt held up one gauntleted hand for the squad to stop, the other gripping his auspex. His voice crackled over the comm-links in their helmets. ‘Brothers, I read movement ahead. Multiple signals in the ruins, and closing.’

‘Brother Nova, join him to investigate. Brothers Nate and Shiflett, form a secondary team and follow my lead’ Brother-Sergeant Grohl ordered. Fanning out, the Space Marines moved cautiously forward.

All around, in the darkness of the ruins, alien eyes watched them.

* * *

Game one pitted my bugs against Mark’s Space Marines in a game of Head Hunt. His forces consisted of four Space Marines led by their leader, Brother-Sergeant Grohl, and accompanied by heavy armour in the form of a a lascannon-armed Razorback tank. The Space Marines deployed close together, with the Razorback and three marines kept in reserve thanks to Brother-Sergeant Grohl’s A Cunning Ruse ability. I deployed most of my Genestealers hidden away in the ruins, with the Broodlord on a separate flank and the Zoanthrope – as the only model without Infiltrate – a bit further back in my deployment zone.

The Space Marines fan out as the Genestealers creep through the ruins.

Getting closer and closer…

The game started slowly as the Genestealers clung to the shadows of the ruins, avoiding the incoming fire from the Space Marines. At the start of the second turn the Razorback roared onto the board, its twin-linked lascannon turret traversing and blasting a shot at my Broodlord. She was clearly a tough specimen, however, as she shrugged off the potent shot. In response, my Genestealers moved out of cover and prepared to assault. The Broodlord thundered into the newly-arrived Astartes tank, her razor-sharp rending claws cutting through the armour and immobilizing the vehicle with a shriek of tortured gears. Meanwhile, one of the Genestealers scrambled up the side of the nearby abandoned PDF trenchline, launching itself at Brother-Sergeant Grohl in a diving charge. Sensing the creature, the Brother-Sergeant swung around, his arcane plasma pistol already in his armoured hand… only for calamity to strike as the fusion coils of the weapon overheated, detonating in a spectacular white-hot explosion and vaporizing the unfortunate marine.

Brother-Sergeant Grohl about to meet his end.

The Broodlord engages the Razorback.

Undeterred by this loss, his fellow marines pumped bolter rounds and meltagun shots into the Broodlord, but she continued to be tenacious and shrugged off all but one of the wounds thanks to Feel No Pain. The Genestealers, meanwhile, quickly closed the gap and started attacking the Astartes in close quarters as the Broodlord continued to attack the Razorback, her claws tearing off the turret and leaving the vehicle helpless. As turn five drew to a close, we rolled to see if the game would continue. Rolling a one, the game ended with every Tyranid model still alive (somehow!) and a 7-0 victory to the Tyranids.

A wave of chitin and claw falls upon the surviving Space Marines.

* * *

Colonel Jenson sipped the mug of hot recaff as much to warm his hands as to wake him up. Nights were bitter and cold on this Emperor-forsaken rock, and long too. Due to some quirk of the planet’s rotation, nights stretched to twenty Terran hours, leaving little of each day in the pale light of the sun.

He didn’t even know why they were here, to be honest. Command had briefed him about some insurgent rebellion, but by the time the regiment had arrived it seemed to be all but dealt with. Yet they were still stuck here, garrisoned out in the edges of the city.

All around him, giant floodlights were mounted on poles, cables trailing to and from generators which buzzed with a constant low hum. Despite their power, the lights barely penetrated the night, the darkness seeming to almost swallow up the light. Jenson didn’t care. Just a couple more hours of tedious sentry duty before his platoon was relieved, and he could retire to the officer’s quarters for some proper rest.

His reverie was broken by a shout from one of the sentries. ‘Look sir, movement!’ Straining his eyes into the darkness, Jenson glimpsed what the sentry had seen – inhuman multi-limbed shapes moving towards their position – and fast. Dropping his mug and drawing his plasma pistol, he shouted orders to his men. ‘Forward positions, two ranks! Targets at six o’clock, light them up!’ Around him Guardsmen scrambled forward to the sandbags, the distinctive snap-crack of lasguns piercing the night as the shadowy alien creatures abandoned stealth and dashed forward towards the line.

* * *

We rolled the Infiltrate the Camp scenario for my second game – this time taking on Tom and his Imperial Guard garrison. I won the roll-off to decide who was the attacker, and it seemed appropriate for the Tyranids to be trying to run through an Imperial Guard road-block. I deployed my force on one flank, hoping to maximise the cover to close the distance without too many casualties. In response, Tom’s Guardsmen deployed opposite, creating a two-man deep wall of bodies and lasguns. As the night started to fade away, my Tyranids prepared to run the gauntlet to punch through the Imperial lines!

The Imperial Guard blockade.

My Tyranids hug cover as they prepare to advance on the road block.

The Tyranids moved up the board with surprisingly few casualties, mainly due to the difference between the lasgun’s strength of 3 and the fact that all my models were at least toughness 4. Drawing upon the powers of its advanced mind, the Zoanthrope vaporized a few of the Guardsmen with its Warp Blast, scoring me a vp for First Blood and thinning down the line a little. A couple of Genestealers were gunned down by the Guardsmen, with a third killed by overwatch shots as it attempted to charge.

‘Fall back! Fall back!’ The Guardsmen panic as the Genestealers reach their lines and start to break through.

Having survived the barrage of lasgun fire, the remaining Genestealers cut their way through the Imperial Guardsmen.

The rest of the Genestealers, led by the Broodlord, made it into combat and promptly started to cut a swathe through the defenders in an attempt to break through to the table edge behind them. At the end of turn five I’d managed to get most of my remaining models behind the Guardsmen, with the Broodlord, Zoanthrope and a Genestealer running off the board at the start of turn six. The remaining two Genestealers chanced their luck, charging an unlucky Guardsman who was loitering too close to the board edge. The first Genestealer disembowelled the unfortunate man, and both managed to roll high enough to consolidate off the board. With five models escaped and three killed, the game ended in a 6-1 victory for the Tyranids!

The survivors of my kill-team who made it off the board, ready to now wreak some havoc behind Imperial lines!

Two very fun games, and I’m pretty happy with my kill-team. Just need to finish painting my Broodlord and the objective markers, and paint the Zoanthrope (which has now arrived). Hopefully I’ll get some more games in soon, and will report back!

Take care,

Ben

Malifaux spotlight: The Great Carlos Vasquez

Backstage in the Star Theater, it was busy. Girls ran to and fro with handfuls of dresses and accessories, changing in-between acts or getting ready to go back on stage. The Star Theater was packed tonight, every seat sold out as M&SU men returned from the mines, Guild guardsmen finished their patrols, and the young and wealthy of Malifaux snuck out from under the watchful gaze of their parents for a night on the town.

Cassandra pinned her long blonde hair in place, checking her makeup in the mirror – just to see a figure flit behind her, a hand tilting the mirror as it darted past. Looking up, she found Carlos Vasquez peering in the mirror, smoothing his dark hair in place.

The newest addition to the Star Theater, Carlos was a handsome young man with a toned, muscular body and jet-black hair who, as far as Cassandra could remember, had never worn a shirt. His physical attractiveness, however, was mitigated by his vain ego. Carlos was a man who was certain of his own genius and talent, and wanted everyone else to know about it too. At any opportunity he could be found flirting with the showgirls in the theatre, boasting of his exploits on and off the stage, and flexing one arm as he casually leant against the wall to show off his biceps. Cassandra couldn’t stand him. Snatching her mirror back from him, she gave him her finest haughty glare – a look that had reduced other men to quivering wrecks.

Carlos, however, grinned and winked at her. ‘Don’t worry Cassie’ – she hated it when he used that nickname – ‘I’ll try not to out-do your performance too much tonight.’

On-stage, Angelica was announcing the next act. ‘And now, presenting a pyrokinetic performance that will awe and astonish you, ladies and gentlemen…’ Cassandra noticed that Carlos was mouthing along with Angelica’s words, clearly relishing the ego boost.

‘….the great Carlos Vasquez!’ The crowd roared, the usual cheers of miners and Guild officers punctuated by the higher-pitched cries of excitement from the young women in the audience. Twirling his batons, Carlos vaulted onto the stage, leaving Cassandra rolling her eyes.

* * *

Between A Tale Of Gamers, my charity MTG tiger deck, and my rediscovery of my interest in Tyranids, it’s been a while since I touched upon my favourite game – so let’s go back to Malifaux, and one of my favourite characters. Carlos Vasquez (or, as I imagine he likes to be called, ‘The Great Carlos Vasquez’ – he strikes me as a rather vain, egotistical character!) is, for me, one of the standout models introduced to Malifaux in book four: Ripples Of Fate. So, today I thought I’d take a look at the latest addition to the Star Theater and break down why I, like many young ladies in Malifaux, am so enamoured with him!

‘The audience was told to stand back!’ (C) Wyrd Games.

Whether he’s dancing across the stage or charging across the cobbled streets of Malifaux, Carlos stands out as quite a mobile character. His Wk and Cg stats are above average, and his (0) ‘And Now, The Most Deadly Dance Of All!’ gives him a 4″ push – ideal to get him through severe terrain, out of melee, or just to give him that little extra movement. He also brings some (limited) mobility to the crew with his ‘The Flames, I Am Their Master’ ability, which is great for models who don’t like to walk themselves – such as his thematic master Colette, for example. However, do bear in mind that it is a pretty high target number – even a fast model such as the Mechanical Rider will still need a moderately high 7 to pass – and so it can be a bit risky. Alternatively, it’s worth considering this as an offensive action – TN 13 is pretty high, and if your opponent is low on cards you can drop down hazardous terrain to impede her crew.

At first glance, Carlos doesn’t look too offensive with his single fantastically-named attack, The Flaming Fist Of The Great Carlos Vasquez. I mean, a 2/3/4 damage track on a 9ss henchman? But then we get to the triggers, all built-in, and this is where the real fun begins. He can apply Burning to the target with the classic Stoke The Flames trigger, though this isn’t usually the one you’ll be going for. Instead, True Showmanship lets Carlos apply Burning +1 to himself – a setup for his final trigger (and one of my favourite trigger names in all of Malifaux) ‘The Audience Was Told To Stand Back!’, which deals damage to the target equal to the Burning condition on Carlos. Since it’s two separate bursts of damage Carlos can struggle a little against enemy models with Armor, but Hard To Kill, on the other hand, is not really a problem as he can bring them down to their last wound with his attack, and then use the trigger damage to finish them off. This means that Carlos’ overall damage (without outside assistance, such as other models giving him Burning) can clock in at between 7 – 11 in a single activation, giving him quite the substantial hitting power.

Defensively Carlos is, quite simply, a tank. As long as he’s not running into the enemy crew by himself, he’s usually very hard to put down. His Df is pretty good, while his Wp is a little lower, but the main two things that make him so tough are his Dance Of Flame ability and Stunt Double from the upgrade of the same name. Combined with his True Showmanship trigger to stack Burning on himself, and his henchman status, Carlos can prevent a substantial amount of damage before discarding a card at the end of the turn to heal himself.

While Carlos isn’t really a dedicated support piece, that’s not to say that he can’t help out his fellow Arcanists. I’ve already talked about how his ability ‘The Flames, I Am Their Master’ can give some extra mobility to your crew, particularly if a few models are clumped together – though, with a TN 13, it may require some high cards to pull off. His Stunt Double upgrade gives him another tactical action, allowing him to discard a scheme marker (friendly or otherwise) at range to force a decent Wp duel for nearby models or gain Burning +2. Since Carlos himself rather likes being on fire, you can always use this while engaged to simultaneously hand out Burning and increase Carlos’ quasi-Armor and damage. It’s also nice to have a way of removing scheme markers at range, giving you more ways to stop schemes like Spring The Trap, Set Up, or Dig Their Graves.

As I mentioned before, I do consider his personal upgrade to be pretty much mandatory. Of course, as a henchman Carlos has a second slot available to him, which I usually use for Recharge Soulstone. Carlos is usually in the thick of things anyway, and his melee reach is also 3″, so it all works out pretty nicely. His incredible 10″ threat range usually lets him engage whoever he wants to, so you can cherry-pick weaker models to take out if you’re desperate for soulstones. Alternatively, Imbued Energies is always good for Fast on demand, or – as a Showgirl – Carlos can always carry Practised Production.

Unsurprisingly, Carlos works well alongside his Star Theater companions. If Colette is leading the crew, he even gets his Showmanship upgrade free of charge (though it does still take up an upgrade slot). Unlike most Showgirls he doesn’t really use scheme markers much (barring the Pyrotechnic Prop action from his Stunt Double upgrade), allowing him to function independently from the rest of the crew if needed – and, with the Recharge Soulstone upgrade, he can help to replenish Ms du Bois’ supply as she burns through them. Colette also tends to like Union Miners for their False Claim ability, and – if you really want Carlos to do obscene amounts of damage – tagging him with their Modified Welder can increase his threat level substantially, especially after the January errata which increased the Welder to hand out Burning +2. Usually I don’t find it necessary to add on extra Burning as Carlos is quite self-sufficient, but if there’s a particularly beefy target that needs to go down this is an ideal way to get Carlos pumped and ready.

I’ve found Carlos also works well with Kaeris due to their synergies with the Burning condition. Due to the wording of Stunt Double, Kaeris can even heal Carlos on the fly by attacking him with Flaming Halo and declaring the Engulf trigger – Carlos can then discard a card to heal himself. This will remove the Burning condition from Carlos and leave him without Armor, but (depending on how many wounds he has) it can sometimes be safer to heal him rather than leave him with his BurningArmor. Situational, but worth bearing in mind. He also benefits from her Grab And Drop upgrade – since he’ll pretty much always be on fire, he can activate near Kaeris to benefit from the Wings Of Flame ability. This does mean that he’ll lose Burning at the end of his activation, but often thanks to ‘The Audience Was Told To Stand Back!’ he will have lowered his Burning to 0 anyway.

Carlos also brings some additional synergy to Mei Feng. Since he is happiest in melee and can hand out Burning with his built-in trigger, he can quickly apply the condition so that Mei can swing in and take advantage of it via the Superheated trigger on her Tiger’s Claw. He’s not a Construct and so can’t be used for Railwalk, but that’s what you brought Sparks along for, right? :)

Finally, as always, let’s take a look at what to do when you’re on the other side of the table and find yourself facing off against Carlos Vasquez. If you have it, condition removal such as Johan is superb against him, stripping him of both his defensive trick and the added offence of ‘The Audience Was Told To Stand Back!’. Definitely don’t attack him with Burning – one of my most memorable Carlos games recently was when I engaged Mad Dog with him! Having said that, however, if you can force your opponent down to having no cards in hand, Carlos will feel the heat (pun not intended) as he’ll then take damage from Burning. Given how much damage Carlos can take, it’s worth weighing up whether it’s easier to just impede him with attacks that apply Slow or Paralyzed rather than trying to kill him outright.

So, that’s my thoughts on our latest Showgirl. As always, please drop me a comment with your opinions, I’d love to hear them!

Take care,

Ben

Tale of Gamers: Update

My second Tale Of Gamers battle is scheduled in for next week, and I’m still on track having finished my first 250pts of reinforcements.

I’ve decided that my force is a little slow at the moment, so have added in two Taurox Primes – one with a Gatling Cannon and Volley Guns to deal with infantry, and the other with Autocannons and a Missile Launcher to deal with light vehicles (and ‘cos it looks so darn cool). This gave me 60pts left over, which coincidentally is what five Stormtroopers cost – so both squads are now bulked out a little bit. Next month’s additions are already under way, with a Command Squad assembled so I can start using those lovely, lovely orders.

The plain black panels were a stylistic choice on my part – Inquisitor Ariada du Bois doesn’t tend to announce her presence, so it makes sense that her vehicles would be unmarked except for the Imperial Aquilla. I am tempted to pick up Forge World’s brass Inquisition sheet sometime, however, to decorate the plain panels with the Inquisitorial =][=.

Reinforcements!

Yep, I did keep the tops removable so that I could paint the interior & crew.

I’ve also been working dilligently on my Tyranids, painting them as a splinter of Hive Fleet Leviathan. The contrast between the albino skin and the deep purple chitin is such a fantastic look, and I’ve also kept the red to a minimum by avoiding using it on the guns. This is really just a stylistic choice on my part but, as the models are beautifully sculpted to have their forearms meshed into the weapon, I wanted to keep it all one uniform colour so that the gun really looks like part of the creature – you can’t tell where the creature ends and the weapon-symbiote begins.

Unfortunately they are currently leaderless as my Hive Tyrant hasn’t got a base, but the troops and heavy support choices are coming along nicely. I’m particularly happy with the Carnifexes – aside from being stunning models they were also a joy to paint, and I can’t wait to get them on the table.

They’re not quite finished yet – there’s still a few details like teeth, eyes and the bases to finish.

And finally, I’ve been working on another model I love, Forge World’s Inquisitor Solomon Lok. I’m not sure if he’ll be appearing in my Tale Of Gamers army yet to assist Ariada, but it’s such a characteristic model I just had to paint him. I’ve chosen quite a muted colour scheme as, what with the hood and cloak, Lok looks to me like he would be able to blend in with the citizens of the Imperium if he needed to go undercover. Unfortunately, it’s quite hard to get a good shot of him when he’s painted in such a dark colour scheme!

That’s all for now, though I’ll be updating again soon with more painting progress and my charity Magic The Gathering tiger deck.

Take care,

Ben

Tyranids: An army 15 years in the making

Just in case my Tale of Gamers Inquisition and my charity tiger MTG deck weren’t enough projects by themselves, I’ve decided to resurrect an army that I started when I was 14 years old to actually get on and finish it.

Tyranids have always been a cool faction to me. Maybe I’ve just watched Aliens one too many times, but I love the aesthetic of the army with their living weapons and organic focus. They’re also arguably the only race in 40K who are completely inhuman, as at least races like the Eldar and the Tau have humanoid traits while the Tyranids are incomprehensible. I remember picking up the 3rd edition codex and loving the different creatures you could create. Sadly my army never went that far, but as I’ve rediscovered my interest in 40K thanks to the Tale of Gamers this seemed like an ideal time to pick them up again. It’ll provide a nice break from the Inquisition, being almost the polar opposite – while the Stormtroopers have been all metal and armour, the Tyranids are nothing except flesh, chitin and bone. I’ve actually completely up-to-date on the Inquisition painting (in fact, I’ve painted more than I need to this month), and my Malifaux Arcanists are all but painted as well (just the Ice Dancers and Carlos left to go), so I feel in need of a new project.

I’ve decided to be rather boring and go for Hive Fleet Leviathan – purple’s an awesome colour that I don’t use enough, and the contrast between the albino skin and the deep purple chitin looks amazing. So far, between the models I still have and a couple of cheap steals on eBay, my swarm consists of:

1 Hive Tyrant
3 Tyranid Warriors
10 Termagants
15 Genestealers
10 Gargoyles
2 Carnifexes

That should be enough to keep my brushes busy for a while. I know that Tyranids aren’t considered to be the most powerful army in 40K at the moment but, to be honest, I don’t really mind. I’ve just reached the last year of my twenties, and I’d much rather buy models that I’ll enjoy painting and find fun to use on the battlefield. So, once this lot’s underway or completed, I think that the Tyranid swarm box is next…

Oh, and apologies for the Jurassic Park pun in the title!

Take care,

Ben

Magic: The Gathering & Charity

I wouldn’t really consider myself a Magic: The Gathering player, though I do have a few decks I’ve made and really enjoy playing with / tinkering with (namely, my ‘Friends on the Other Side’ Jalira-led EDH deck (‘You’re changing, you’re changing, you’re changing alright, I hope you’re satisfied…‘) and my ‘Goblin Traders’ Legacy deck). I think that maybe it’s better to describe me as a very casual MTG gamer, one of the ‘kitchen table’ crowd. My enjoyment of MTG comes from playing cards that catch my fancy, and from the beautiful artwork on the lands – in fact, I’ve just recently finished picking up enough Islands that every land in my Jalira deck has a different artwork.

This is something I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned before on here, but I’m also very interested in environmental conservation. This is something that’s very important to me, and particularly tigers – I’ve adopted a tiger through WWF, and regularly donate towards their tiger protection in addition to this.

Artwork for Stalking Tiger (C) by Terese Nielsen. One of my favourite pieces of MTG artwork.

To get to the point here, I very recently realised that there are tiger cards in MTG. This piqued my interest substantially, of course, and so I’ve now decided to build a tiger-themed Legacy deck. Who knows how good it will be (probably not very!), but it’ll certainly be fun :) To combine the aforementioned two points, I’ll also be donating an amount to WWF’s conservation and protection of tigers equal to the amount I spend building the deck. So far I’ve found the following, but am welcome to any suggestions / deck-building tips / etc.

So thank you for bearing with me. I appreciate that this is something of a departure from my normal posts, but I’ll update when the first order arrives from TheTrollTrader & MagicMadHouse!

Take care,

Ben

Tale of Gamers: Part 1.5

After my disastrous performance last week and, as one of our group wasn’t able to make it down, we arranged another Tale Of Gamers game this week. There was conflict in the Ordos this week, as Ariada and her force went up against a Deathwatch kill-team! Who had sent this rival Deathwatch force, and what was their agenda?

* * *

The first turn saw Ariada and her retinue advancing into cover, and Ariada had clearly been practising her psychic powers as she managed to cast Forewarning on her unit. Safe behind the psychic barrier, I ran them out of cover and forwards to close the distance to the nearby Deathwatch squad. Meanwhile, my own Deathwatch kill-team ‘Andromeda’ advanced in the open, moving up towards Artemis. The Jokaero, deployed separately from my Inquisitorial retinue this time, aimed his digi-weapons at the Venerable Dreadnaught, but missed the hulking machine.

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Inquisitor Ariada du Bois and her retinue move forward.

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The opposing Deathwatch forces.

In response, Mark’s Deathwatch squad moved forward, the Infernus-pattern Heavy Bolter chattering as they advanced and cutting down a couple of Acolytes. Meanwhile, Artemis and the Venerable Dreadnaught opened fire on kill-team Andromeda, the Plasma Cannon vaporising the watch sergeant and Artemis’ Boltgun taking another one down. Despite being hard-bitten veteran Space Marines and the presence of a Commissar amongst them, kill-team Andromeda promptly rolled a double six for their morale check, falling back from the overwhelming firepower directed at them.

Turn two started with a roar of engines and rotor-blades as Inquisitorial drop-ships swung in low, hatches thrown open as both squads of my Stormtroopers disembarked. Team Alpha landed behind the Venerable Dreadnaught, opening fire with both Plasma Guns at short range. Despite inflicting two penetrating hits, I managed to roll two one’s on the damage table, leaving the Dreadnaught standing. Squad Beta opted for a safer deployment, landing within 6″ of Ariada’s mystic to avoid scattering. This did put them at long range, however, and they were only able to land a couple of wounds on Mark’s Deathwatch. Once again, the Jokaero missed the Dreadnaught with his Digi-Weapons. Ariada and her retinue charged into the remaining Deathwatch marines, the Death-Cult Assassins striking first thanks to their I6… and wiping out the whole unit in a flurry of Power Sword attacks. Maybe this is where I was going wrong in previous games, as I never managed to get these two into combat before!

With just Artemis and the Venerable Dreadnaught left, Mark’s Deathwatch went for an all-out offensive. Artemis opened up with his flamer, finishing off the remaining Acolytes before charging into my Inquisitor and her retinue. The Death-Cult Assassins managed to land a wound on Artemis before he struck back, cutting them both down to avenge his fallen brothers. Ariada du Bois’ Power Sword flashed, though, taking Captain Artemis down to his last wound. The Venerable Dreadnaught, unable to fire its Plasma Cannon, charged into Stormtrooper squad Alpha – however, the veteran Inquisition troops had some rather spectacular rolling, as the overwatch fire from their Plasma Guns finished off the Dreadnaught before it could reach them.

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Bursts of plasma fire bring down the mighty Venerable Dreadnaught.

Onto turn three! Seeing Ariada’s retinue engaging Artemis, the Commissar and kill-team ‘Andromeda’ moved forward, rolling high enough to charge into the opposing Deathwatch captain. Artemis and Inquisitor du Bois were engaged in a cinematic duel, power weapons flashing as they blocked and parried one another. Artemis landed a wound on Ariada, while her attacks in return were blocked by his Iron Halo. The showdown was brought to an abrupt ending as – in a rather anti-climactic ending – the charging Deathwatch kill-team ganged up on Artemis, clubbing him down with their shotgun butts. As the Stormtroopers moved onto the objectives, the Inquisition claimed a victory at last!

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Captain Artemis and Inquisitor Ariada prepare for a climatic showdown…

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…only for my Deathwatch kill-team to steal the glory and club Artemis down with their shotgun butts.

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Inquisitorial Stormtroopers move through the tangle of tank-traps and razorwire.

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Stormtrooper squad beta moves onto the objective.

* * *

This seemed to go a lot better than my last couple of games – while I’m sure that part of it was down to the AP3 Power weapons and Hellguns in my army, I think that having the Jokaero separate from the rest of Ariada’s retinue was a big help as it allowed her to move around freely without having to worry about the Jokaero firing (though, to be fair, the little creature couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn this game!). Similarly, deep-striking the Stormtroopers was a massive help in taking out priority targets such as the Dreadnaught, and made them much more effective than before when they were foot-slogging it across the field. I’m learning, slowly! :P

I’ve made a start on painting the next 250pts – just base coats so far, but it’s progress at least. Also picked up Michele McLaughlin’s latest album to listen to while painting, which – if you like piano music – I would highly recommend :)

20170221_180244Take care,

Ben