Return to Ravnica – Draft Night

We’ve started making MTG draft nights a semi-regular thing in the gaming group.  Though we all enjoy it and frankly want to play it more often, we limit ourselves to about 3-4 times per year so that we don’t wear out our welcome.  Our most recent event happened this past weekened, where we played Return to Ravnica draft.  This marks our third draft since April of last year, but I didn’t bother writing up a blog post about the second one for some reason (likely because it was Conspiracy, so we had no real brackets or winners/losers due to it being multiplayer).


We’ve set a precident that we’re going to keep inviting those people that show up.  Sadly, Aaron wasn’t able to attend last time and we filled his spot with “Sambro,” so when we were looking for our eigth this time, we gave Sambro first dibs.  It was a little sensitive, because Aaron had a valid reason for not attending, but it made sense to invite those that do come.  I’m sure we’ll work Aaron back into the lineup again.  Otherwise, it was the same people in the first draft: Rob, Brandon, Sean, Derek, Joe, Albert, Icky, & Sam.


For food, we wound up having an extended meat and cheese tray.  I picked up six kinds of cheeses and two kinds of meats, plus crackers and pretzel crisps, plus chicken salad and a veggie tray.  Brandon was goodly enough to furnish some beverages.  It was a deviation from the normal “dinner” style with lighter fair, but I think it was a nice change.


Like last time, we wound up deciding the pertinent information (who, what, when, where, etc.) via Survey Monkey.  The group is super laid back though, so it fell into place quite easily.  We played a copy of Return to Ravnica because I had a box on hand, and it got the most votes from the group (winning handily with a whopping 2 votes).

My Deck:

rtr_boosterboxSadly, I mashed all of the cards together before I could get a list for this blog post.

Like last time, I did a bunch of pre-drafting and I’m not sure how much it helped.  Initially, I was convinced that U/W was going to be the strongest color because of how many flyers it had.  Then, I wound up yielding to G/W because green seemed to have so much good hate against flyers.  But my green decks all seemed slow, so I figured that R/B was going to be the winner.

Throughout the drafts, I really liked drafting propogate decks, but knew that I had to get the right centaurs to make it work.  So, when the cards came around, I committed to drafting Centaur’s Herald and Call of the Conclave whenever they showed.  In total, I got one of the Herald and saw two Conclaves, but only drafted one.  I also snuck a couple of Stab Wounds out because I had heard they were format defining, and was passed two Underworld Connections, so felt obliged to pick them (I think I picked the foil one over the second Call of the Conclave).

My packs weren’t amazing, in my opinion.  Prior to the draft, I had decided that I was going to draft for a winning deck, and not for value, but my first and third packs had shocklands, and I wound up taking them over the other stuff.  It helped that I didn’t see anything in either pack that was overly compelling.

I didn’t see a single mythic, which only means I should’ve sat next to Brandon–who managed to pass two mythics: Sphinx’s Revelation, & Isperia, Supreme Judge because he didn’t want to play W/U.  That shocked me (especially considering the revelation was in his first pack), but he beat me, and nearly won the night–so I’m not sure how bad of a play that really turned out to be.

In the end, I wound up making a three color deck who walled up at the start and would grind it’s opponents down with stab wounds or under the weight of populating creatures.

The Aftermath:

I did alright over the course of the night, with my only losses coming to Brandon’s B/R deck–he fell to the losers bracket after being beaten by Icky’s U/W control, where he beat me a second time, then clawed his way back up to win against Icky and force a final match, which he lost 1-2.  It seems that the two decks that I initially thought would be best were ultimately the ones that won.

Final standings looked something like this:

  1. return-to-ravnica-spoilerIcky
  2. Brandon
  3. Rob
  4. Joe
  5. Sean
  6. Sam
  7. Derek
  8. Albert

We’re going to try to keep track of this info, so we can use it for seeding information in the future.


I just thought I’d end it with the links I found helpful in preparing for the draft.

Image Credit: RTR Box art copyright Wizards of the Coast


These are NOT New Years Resolutions for 2017

I don’t really make New Year’s Resolutions.  In fact, if you search the blog, you’ll find that the last time I did so was back in 2011.

wh39k-WallofMartyrs (1)The problem is that such resolutions don’t really pan out.  In fact, of the 11 goals I set back in 2011, I’ve actually accomplished very few of them–and that’s been in six years!  I’ve created army specific pages (though never bothered to flesh them out or take pictures of everything), created some crappy banners, and painted a good number of models (including all of my buildings).  You could argue that I’ve had more than 104 posts since then, but never in one year.

All-in-all, if I give myself some fudge-factor and six years, I can say I’ve completed five out of the eleven goals.

So that’s why I don’t make resolutions like this anymore.   I tend to also have personal goals to do with exercise, knowledge, parenting, etc.  and professional goals of education, certification, etc.–none of which I capture on my personal blog.  Some examples of things that I want to achieve in those realms this year are to walk 5,000,000 steps on my fitbit, learn Spanish, and get my Microsoft 2012 certification.

On a hobby front?  Well, that’s another story.  I will stop short of calling these “resolutions,” as that seems to drastically decrease the likelihood of me accomplishing them, but I would like to knock out the following this year:

  1. Keep on track for $0 net spending this year.  Last year I went a little haywire, but hopefully I can right the ship.
  2. Paint all of my Genestealer cult.  This seems totally doable, since I don’t have all that many more models left to paint… maybe 50ish?
  3. Paint my Tyranid Bastion.  People have clamoured to see it finished, and I want to, so why not?
  4. Paint all of my fortifications.  This is the lofty one–and the one most likely to fail.  I have a significant Wall of Martyrs, a Skyshield, an Aquilla Stronpoint, a couple of Firestorm Redoubts, Plasma Obliterator, and another Bastion.  And that’s just what I can think of off the top of my head.  It would be nice to knock it all out though..

I won’t set goals for how many blog posts I’ll knock out, or other hobby goals–aside from my typical 12 games per year (dare I try to get in that illustrious 13th game?).  All should be achievable…

But keep in mind, they’re NOT resolutions–merely goals.



Genestealer Cult Acolytes – Work in Progress

wh39kacolytewip-1I’ve been razzed in the recent past about not having enough Work in Progress posts, so I figured I’d start out the new year with one of those.  That way, even if I don’t do another for the rest of the year, I can at least point at this post when the nay-sayers say I haven’t posted any WIP content so far this year.

I kid, of course.  The comments about WIP posts come from the discussion in my year in review from last year.  In those comments, Thor (of Creativetwilight fame) and Daggerandbrush both suggested that I should include more WIP posts in general, so why not?

This year’s hobby progress starts off with some more of my Genestealer Cult.  In the past I had painted some neophytes, whereas this post is on the acolytes.  I haven’t gotten around to assembling the boxes I had purchased last year of these guys, and am still only painting the contents of the Deathwatch: Overkill boxed sets I picked up.

wh39kacolytewip-2The paint scheme is much the same as I had done before, but this time I opted to vary the coloring of the garments so that I could easily identify squads on the table top.  In the end, I’m not overly happy with the scheme as it’s certainly not as a tight as it was in the past, but it should make it quite easy to differentiate between these guys on the tabletop.  In the end, that’s a bit of a wash.  Part of me wants to go back and paint them similar so they look more cohesive, but the more realistic part of me knows that I have far too many units to paint to justify repainting freshly painted models.

These guys aren’t done though, so repainting might not be the right word.  It wouldn’t be a total repaint, but we’re still talking about painting several layers over on 30-35 models and that just doesn’t sound like fun.

With any luck, I’ll have these guys done shortly and can move onto the heavy weapons and characters.  Then, one day I may actually be able to field these guys…


2016: A Hobby Year in Review

I’ve started a bit of a tradition with doing recap posts, so I figured why buck a good thing.  I’ll use the format created in my 2015 year in review and just update it with the new information.

Frugal Gaming

I’m going to break this into it’s own post because it’s a lot of information.  More to come on this soon.  Suffice it to say that this will be ugly for this year.  I’ve honestly made very little attempt to keep spending in check this year… and I even went out of my way to spend an absurd amount of money on things I know I shouldn’t.

I’m a slow learner.

Games Played

As always, my goal is to get in 12 games per year.  Yeah, it’s a fairly pitiful goal, but it’s something I’ve managed to keep on track with year over year for quite a while now.  It’s a low bar, but any less and I seriously have to question why I spend so much money in this infernal hobby (not that 12 is a good justification for the amount of cash I dump into it, but at least it keeps me off the streets, right?).


Hobby Progress

Like last year, I’ll break hobby progress into the painting and modelling subsections.


In hindsight, I’d have to say this is easily my most prolific year to date.  The models I finishing painting this year include:

On it’s own, that list isn’t overly impressive, though I would argue that it’s respectable in it’s own right; however, where my painting really stood out was in the vast number of Zombicide models that I whipped out this year.  I managed to crank out every figure that I own (well, except those damn helpers, which I think are still unpainted).  That includes: 

The links are often to WIP posts because I didn’t do individual sections for completed zombies (especially after dipping and blood effects), and the numbers are somewhat approximate as I tried to count how many were in each photo (why can’t I find a good resource online that specifies exactly how many of each type are in each box?).  And the level of quality on a drybrushed zombie isn’t up to par with a standard model for 40k (though the characters certainly are).

In total though, that’s about three-hundred and eighty (380) painted models for Zombicide alone!  If the first lot of 40k stuff wasn’t respectable enough, this surely puts me over the top.


If painting was above normal, I’d say my modeling progress this year was relatively slow.  I didn’t do all that many posts on the subject, and many of them were parts of minor series.  The stuff I worked on included:

There was more to modelling than I posted on.  For instance, all of my genestealer cult got cleaned up (thanks in no small part to Brandon), and I also wound up assembling some other models–but I don’t always post my modelling progress online.  Especially if it’s something boring like “put together a stock model without any frills.”

Not a huge success, but I’m not displeased with the progress either.

Blog Progress

wh39kCakeTo date for 2016, I’ve written a total of 88 blog posts this year (including this one).  Granted, that’s a bit short of the “two per week” that I try to do, but there are always reasons why I can’t live up to that goal.  Of course, the point of goals is to try to make them, but rather than look down upon myself for not hitting it, I’m going to focus on the positive.  Last year, I was only able to do 81 posts, so that’s about a 10% improvement year over year, which ain’t bad if I do say so myself.

I only managed a single post in the category of “website administration,” which was for Old Stuff Day (which I’m not sure is technically website administration, but it doesn’t seem to fit into other categories either.  All in all, this was a quiet category this year.


With the exception of my frugal gaming progress (which has been basically excluded from this post entirely), I’m going to mark this year down as a rousing success.  I did better than last year in most of the categories, and set a new bar to meet in 2018.  Let’s hope I can get in that 13th game!!




Batrep: Hive Fleet Proteus vs. Salamanders (2159 pts.)

In order to round out my twelfth game of the year (And thereby meet my personal goal of at least one game per month), Brandon and I met on an off-day to play a game last Saturday.  Since it was an out of band game, we opted to go with a few extra points as we had more time to play a complete game.

Hive Fleet Proteus:

  • batrep2159vbrandon-1HQ:
    • Flyrant w/ Twin-linked Devourers (Dominion, Catalyst, Psychic Scream)
  • Elites:
    • 1x Zoanthrope (Dominion, Warp Blast, & Onslaught)
    • 1x Zoanthrope (Dominion, Warp Blast, & Paroxysm)
    • 2x Pyrovores in Mycetic Spore w/ Barbed Stranglers
  • Troops:
    • 30x Termagants w/ Fleshborers
    • 1x Tervigon w/ Crushing Claws & Cluster Spines (Dominion, & Warp Blast)
    • 5x Genestealers inc. Broodlord (Dominion, & The Horror)
    • 1x Mucolid Spore
  • Fast Attack:
    • 3x Shrikes w/ Devourers & Rending Claws
  • Heavy Support:
    • 2x Carnifex w/ Adrenal Glands inc. 1x w/ Spinebanks
  • Bioblast Node:
    • 3x Warriors inc. 1 w/ Barbed Strangler
    • 1x Carnifex w/ Twin-linked Devourers
    • 1x Carnifex w/ Twin-linked Devourers
    • 1x Carnifex w/ Twin-linked Devourers
    • 1x Tyrannofex w/ Fleshborer Hive & Cluster Spines

This list started off with me taking suboptimal choices.  I started with the pyrovores in a pod because–why not?  And then took some raveners and warriors.

You don’t see the raveners?  Well, that’s because this is the first game I’ve played outside of my home in a while and I wound up forgetting my ravener tray at the house.  So, I had to ditch seven raveners for two close combat carnifexes.  Personally, I would’ve preferred to have the raveners–they might not have the punch, but I feel like they’ll actually see combat whereas close combat carnies are doomed to die as they run across the board.

The list isn’t bad, mind you.  I still took a flyrant and three dakka-fexes, so the list had enough punch.  Still, I felt that it had some handicaps and some punch.  I wound up taking the dakka fexes because I noticed that the bioblast node allowed me to use devourers (I could’ve sworn it was only the big guns before).

Brandon’s Salamanders:

  • Flameblade Strike Force:
    • batrep2159vbrandon-2Vulkan He’stan
    • Librarius Conclave
      • 1x Librarian w/ Terminator Armor & Storm Shield (Librarius: Emperor’s Wrath, Might of Heroes, & Null Zone)
      • 1x Librarian w/ Power Axe (Fulmination: Electrosurge, Electroshield, & Magnetokinesis)
      • 1x Librarian w/ Power Sword (Geokinesis: Chasm & Scorched Earth)
    • Demi-Battle Company
      • 10x Tactical Marines w/ Multi-melta, Meltagun, Meltabombs, & Combiflamer
      • 10x Tactical Marines w/ Multi-metla, Meltagun, Meltabombs, & Combiflamer
      • 5x Tactical Marines w/ 1x Lascannon, 1x Flamer, & Meltabombs in Drop Pod
      • 5x Devastators w/ 4x Missile Launchers
      • 5x Assault Marines w/ 2x Flamers & 1x Power Weapon
    • First Company Detachment
      • 5x Sternguard Veterans w/ 1x Heavy Flamer, 1x Power fist, & 2x Combi-melta in Drop Pod
      • 5x Vanguard Veterans w/ Assorted Weapons
      • 5x Terminators w/ 1x Heavy Flamer
    • 1x Landraider Redeemer
    • 1x Dreadnought w/ Multi-melta & Heavy Flamer

Before the game I had toyed with the idea of running 90+ genestealers in a cult formation or maybe even running 2x Heirophants.  Frankly, I think both of those choices came off as overwhelming to my opponent.  I don’t think he specifically engineered against either, but when I showed up with so many monstrous creatures, he wasn’t prepared to fight those, that’s for sure.

Mission & Deployment:

batrep2159vbrandon-4Seventh edition was released in May of 2014–about two and a half years ago.  Somehow, Brandon has managed to avoid buying a book for that long.  Normally it wouldn’t be an issue, but as we didn’t play at my place and I forgot to bring mine, that made things a little unusual.  We opted to play with long board edges based upon the room setup (other options would’ve been possible–just more difficult), and then tried to remember all of the different missions.  We opted for “Count up” where we earned cards up to the number of the turn we were on each turn.  For mysterious objectives, we didn’t remember the exact order, but he had a set of objective dice, so we just used those.

I won the dice for deployment and chose his side of the table–not because it was any better strategically, but because the gaming area wasn’t connected to the home heating system and his side of the table had a little portable heater (heat is serious business when you make 40ks in Alaska).  Really though, the side didn’t matter so much, but I figured I wanted to go first.

batrep2159vbrandon-6There was some debate about the terrain.  We had a tower that had a door on it, and I felt I should be able to infiltrate inside it, at which point he said that was fine, but it meant that was a building so he could destroy it (only without a rulebook, we didn’t have the rules to do so).  My thought was that he couldn’t see me inside, but that was clearly a place I could leave from.  He suggested that would make it an access point then.  Whatever the case, there was some confusion, so we just opted to call it impassible–as such I infiltrated my genestealers behind the building and out of line of sight–in order to be able to get a second turn charge…

He tried to seize the initiative and failed, so I took the first turn.

Turn 1: Tyranids

batrep2159vbrandon-7We opted to have night fight, but that didn’t affect my turn all that much.  During my psychic phase, I threw up feel no pain on my Flyrant and Tyrannofex, and jumped her in front of the enemy line to give her options.

Most other things ran forward to little effect.  I did throw up onslaught on the Tyrannofex and had him surge forward and fire into his tactical squad with Librarian.  He did minimal damage, but the Flyrant did manage to enough to force a break test–which they failed–and then proceeded to run off the table.

I also managed to earn three points for holding twice as many objectives as my opponent.  With that plus first blood, I took an early lead…

Score: Tyranids 3+1 vs. Salamanders 0

Turn 1: Salamanders

batrep2159vbrandon-10We had some discussion about which drop pod was better for him to bring down and came to the concensus that leaving the objective secured pod in reserve until it was needed was better–besides, that meant he got more shooting power to bear on my units.

His army surged forward and poured fire into my lines.  The only real damage to speak of was from that veteran squad in the pod who managed to nearly kill a carnifex and everything standing behind it.  I say nearly because I made a single 6+ cover save to keep him alive.  Another carnifex on the other side of the board faced a similar fate from a squad of devastators.

The one sad model that I did lose was my Flyrant, who took a hit from some inane gun (a storm bolter, I believe) and promptly failed a grounding check.  Well, as luck would have it, the only model that actually fired at it was the land raider, so that meant she at least couldn’t be charged–except a nearby Terminator squad (who had–for some reason–thrown up “Force”) managed to declare her as a multi-assault and she failed her single armor save–dying to the hands of a mere mortal.

He also managed to score a point for holding a single objective….

Score: Tyranids 3+1 vs. Salamanders 1+1

Turn 2: Tyranids

batrep2159vbrandon-15All of my reserves came on the board (ie. a drop pod and a mucolid) and both hit about where they were supposed to.  The pyrovores disembarked and killed four of the six devastators, while the mucolid merely threatened a squad of nearby space marines (who lost half of their number to an enraged carnifex).

His assault marines, who had been quietly flanking me, got swamped by a squad of gaunts, and were likely never going to be seen again, and one of my Zoanthropes got off a lucky shot and blew up his Land Raider with a warp blast.

The real battle, however, was in the center of the board.  Against Vulkan and his friends, I wound up firing two dakka-fexes into them and then charging them with ‘stealers and a single Carnifex (well, two, but only one made the charge).  Just in front of them, I poured two close combat ‘fexes into the melee between the terminators and the Tyrannofex.

I wound up losing my genestealer & broodlord, but traded those in effect for Vulkan, a Terminator Librarian, a sternguard squad, and a terminator squad.  Basically, his two big hammer type-units had fallen.

I also scored one objective and another point for having three of my own units within 12″ of my deployment zone.

Score: Tyranids 5+2 vs. Salamanders 1+1

The Aftermath.

Yes, I know it’s early to end a battle report, but that’s what happened.  Dismayed by the loss of his best units and the fact that he was behind, he was talking about calling it there.  I said that it wasn’t a lost cause at all, but it was certainly going to be an uphill battle, but offered to call it if he wanted to.  As I’ve learned from another friend (Kurt), it’s just not worth playing if someone isn’t happy.

He still had six combat squads, two drop pods and a dreadnought, but facing down the remaining big bugs–all of which were in his face–could be more than a little frightening.  So, we called this a very short game (ironically–since we had extra time this particular day) and went on our merry ways…

What I Learned:

  1. We really should have played it out.  He wasn’t totally opposed to keep playing, but I think it was a winnable game for him.  Basically every big bug I had was wounded (several on death’s door), and he was going to be drawing more and more cards every turn.  I think it would’ve been closer than he expected–and certainly believe he had a chance.
  2. Brandon is great at the rules.  He’s really good at wrote memorization, and probably even better at differentiating between editions.  I always get hung up on the variations, but he seems to do quite well.  Impeccably so if you don’t have a rulebook on hand to contradict him. 🙂
  3. Trust but verify.  Brandon is indeed great at the rules, but my Flyrant died because he only gave me 12″ of range on an 18″ gun.  Had she had more space, she would’ve likely been able to hang out on top of the tower safely and endured through the turn.
  4. Fleshborer Hive is bad.  It’s clearly the worst of the gun options on the Tyrranofex; granted, I didn’t need a game with it to know that, but it was downright pitiful in production.
  5. Pyrovores in pods aren’t horrible.  They’re bad on paper for sure, but I managed to do well with them.  Granted, it was one small round of firing and I rolled well/he rolled poorly.  Still, it’s possible they’re not as bad as I fear…