Batrep: Chaos Space Marines vs. Hive Fleet Proteus (50 power)

For my second game of 8th edition, I built a small list for playtesting things that I hadn’t yet seen on the table.  I managed to include only units that I hadn’t fielded before, which is great–though I won’t be able to keep it up, as I’ve mixed and matched troops too much, so at this point the only troop that I haven’t used yet are Tyranid Warriors.

Still, the hope is to try out some new things and see how they work in this version of the game.  We’re still playing with power level because the guys that come aren’t power gamers, and we can trust people not to abuse the system…

Chaos Space Marine Forces (Patrol Detachment)

  • HQ:
    • Kharn the Betrayer
    • Chaos Lord w/ Powermaul & Bolt Pistol
  • Troops: 
    • 10x Khorne Berserkers 2/ Chain Axes, Power Axe & 2x Plasma Pistols
    • 10x Chaos Cultists w/ Autoguns
  • Heavy Support:
    • Chaos Land Raider w/ Combi-plasma

This was Mitch’s first game of 8th edition, so we went with a small list to get the feel of things.  He had been caught up in the excitement that people have for vehicles–particularly land raiders, so he committed almost half of his points to that unit, and then filled out the rest of the army around it.

Hive Fleet Proteus (Outrider Detachment)

  • HQ:
    • Old One Eye
  • Troops:
    • 10x Hormagaunts
    • 3x Ripper Swarms w/ Spinefists
  • Fast Attack:
    • 3x Shrikes w/ Rending Claws & Spinefists
    • 3x Shrikes w/ Scything Talons & Spinefists
  • Heavy Support:
    • Trygon Prime w/ Biostatic Rattle & Adrenal Glands
    • 2x Carnifex w/ Scything Talons & Bone Mace

My list actually was supposed to include a squad of three raveners as well, to fill out the Outrider detachment, but I forgot to put them on the table.  I realized this in the second turn, but figured it was my mistake so they never made the table.  I guess I could’ve just said I reserved them, but I didn’t bother going that route.

The list itself was just a conglomeration of stuff to try out things in the new edition.  I started with Old One Eye, and threw in the carnies to go with him (because he’s a force multiplier for them), and then determined that I needed to have fast units to keep up with them.  So that basically explains the rest of things.  Shrikes are the fastest synapse I can get without continuously buying flyrants every game, and the Trygon prime serves about the same purpose (though he uses the “burrow” ability more than the speed.

For the Trygon tunnel, the raveners would make a good choice to go into the tunnel, but I opted to go with the hormagaunts (partly because I forgot the raveners entirely).

Mission & Deployment

Neither of us was terribly particular about the mission style, so we opted to go with the classic “Eternal War” missions (as the last game I played used the mission cards).  We rolled up “Big Guns Never Tire,” which doesn’t seem to have changed all that much from the previous edition.

We placed the objectives in fairly generic locations, but as each of us was running what was essentially an assault-only army, we both knew that we’d be meeting in the middle and beating face instead of playing the objective game.

He had setup terrain in a rather sparse fashion so, when he won the choice of sides, it didn’t much matter which side he took.  He deployed everything in the Land Raider over a series of turns (note: this was before the FAQ had come out and indicated that you place all of your units inside a transport when you place the transport) and placed it in the center of the board.  His Chaos Lord, as an afterthought, tended to the cultists in the corner.

My deployment wasn’t anything spectacular either.  I put things into the ruins to give myself cover against his land raiders as best as possible, and then failed to seize the initiative.

Turn 1: Chaos Forces

His land raider deathstar surged forward into the middle of the field, parking itself in a crater and firing it’s lascannons into my lines.  Actually, the Lascannons went into a carnifex and the heavy bolter went into a warrior.  I don’t think that he even fired the plasmagun (likely because he didn’t reference his list and was just going off of the model WYSIWYG.

Those lascannons are terrifying.  Four shots that hit a carnifex on 3’s, wound on 3’s, and do D6 wounds each.  I toyed with the idea of doing the math to see what the odds are of it killing one outright before I had a chance to react, but that’s more complex than I’d care to tackle.  Each one has a 37% chance of doing a wound (Assuming a 6+ armor save), and each wound would be between 1-6 damage.  My math shows it as about a 16% chance that the land raider does no damage at all (well, with just the lascannons), so there’s reasonable odds to peel at least a wound or two off of me.

I’m getting dangerously close to some complex math-hammering.  Suffice it to say, I was scared and had deployed accordingly.  He did manage to do unsaved wounds with one of the guns, to the tune of five damage.

Turn 1: Tyranids

My Trygon and buddies popped out in the backfield, positioned so he could shoot at either the raider or the cultists (he opted for the cultists).  Then, after managing to pluck off a few of them, he managed to successfully roll a charge on the rear of the land raider.

Everything else surged forward and charged the raider as well.  This was based upon me looking up the rules for disembarking and finding that he couldn’t do so if he was within 1″ of me.  So, if you surround the vehicle, they can’t disembark from it.  So, I did a huge series of assaults and managed to make them all (except for a lone carnifex in the back).  They charged in and did a number to it.

The rending claws did a wound here and there, but the big bang came from the carnifexes–especially from old one-eye who just does more damage than his cohorts (and has a higher strength to boot).  I wasn’t able to destroy it outright, but I did knock him down to just one or two wounds before passing the turn.

Turn 2: Chaos Marines

Mitch started off the turn wanting to disembark, but failing there.  Also, despite the fact that he could disengage at will with his raider, the movement rules prevented him from moving through my models, so encircling him meant that he was trapped in combat.  He did manage to shoot at (and charge) my hormagaunts, and killed almost all of them, but when we moved to the other assault, his attacks whiffed and I punked him with Old-One Eye.

That lead to the discovery that when the vehicle explodes, you have to disembark from the vehicle before removing it from the table.  Any models that can’t are destroyed.

Well, since he couldn’t disembark before, he couldn’t at this point, and all of the models inside had died the death.

As a consolation prize, the raider at least blew up and wound up taking out a carnifex with it.  Still, that meant that all of my units were basically in assault range of his chaos lord and my turn was up next.  He wound up conceding the game on the spot.

The Aftermath:

There really isn’t much to say here.  I wound up winning the game with an automatic victory based upon him conceding/being tabled on turn 2.  Technically, he wasn’t actually tabled, but with only one model left against my entire army (who were all basically within charge distance), that seemed like a forgone conclusion.

It was a rough game, but at least it was quick, and we both learned a lot about some nuances of the rules.

What I Learned:

  1. Surrounding a model is bad.  Or good, depending upon your perspective.  The point is, it stops units inside transports from disembarking and it stops them from leaving combat (though I’m sure units with the “Fly” keyword are exceptions to this rule).
  2. Carnifexes are pretty good at anti-tank.  They don’t have a large number of attacks, but multiple damage each makes them decent against multi-wound models.
  3. Rending claws are better than scything talons.  I ran squads of each, and though there wasn’t much experience to go on, they faired better with claws–at least against models with a 2+ armor save.  This probably required further investigation.

 

8th Edition Tyranid Index Review: Broodlords

Unlike when I’d written my previous review on Hive Tyrants, I have gotten a game of 8th edition in by the time I wrote this post so I do have a little more context about how things work.  I had originally planned to write these reviews in the order in which each unit appears within the index, but since I haven’t played with either the Swarmlord or Old One Eye yet, I’ve opted to skip ahead to the Broodlord.

Statline:

Sweet heaven: how great it feels to compare a traditional statline against the previous edition.  Unlike the old Monstrous Creatures, the broodlord has a simple, consolidated statline that doesn’t change throughout the course of the game.  From what I can tell, they went with this approach with models that have less than 10 wounds.  At least it makes it easier to compare!

Easier yet, none of his stats were strictly reduced, and almost half of them improved in some way.  He’s now faster (+2″ move), hits more (hits everything on a 2+), has twice as many wounds, and 50% more attacks.  There’s no doubt about it, his stats are better across the board.

Of course, one might complain that his wounds characteristic is a little light.  Previously it took at least three lascannons to do him in, whereas he could now theoretically die to a single lucky shot.  Conversely though, he’s also more durable versus medium arms fire.  It’s hard to quibble about this though.  Depending upon what kinds of armies you face, twice as many wounds may not be seen as a buff, but I think it’s hard to say that it’s a nerf.

Abilities:

Many of his abilities are similar to the those of the Hive Tyrants and were covered in the index overview so I won’t go into too much detail on them, other than to say that he is now considered a synapse creature so he now benefits from Synapse and Shadow in the Warp.  That’s helpful to give another option for synapse in the force (which, by the way, is a much bigger deal than I had originally expected it would be).

He also benefits from three other rules: Lightning Reflexes, Swift & Deadly, and Brood Telepathy.

Lightning Reflexes simply gives him a 5+ invulnerable, which is fantastic and something that the army has needed for a while.

Swift and Deadly gives him the ability to charge even if they advance (Aka. “run” from the previous edition).  With the added 2″ of movement, this puts his threat range somewhere between 11-26″ in a given turn.  That’s a pretty huge range, but remember you’re rolling 3d6 in there (one for the run and two for the charge).  Though it can vary wildly, you can be relatively certain of getting a reasonable total distance.

If you reference something like the Dice Probability Charts from the Dark Fortress, you can see that there’s more than a 90% probability that you’ll roll at least a 7 on those three dice, practically guaranteeing you a 15″ threat range (reminder: in 7th edition, his threat range was a maximum of 18″).  Undoubtedly, he’s going to see more combats, and do so at a much quicker pace than he did in any previous edition.

Lastly, he benefits from Brood Telepathy, which grants +1 to hit rolls in the fight phase for genestealers units within 6″ of him.  This specifies that they must be <HIVE FLEET> ‘stealers, so it does mean that he doesn’t buff nearby Purestrain Genestealers from any cult lists (and vice versa for the Patriarch).  Though I’ve heard that GW has ruled in Age of Sigmar that “a model is always considered to be within X” of itself,” the Broodlord does not derive much benefit from this rule as he’s already 2+ to hit in melee.  I suppose though, it means he ignores base modifiers against this roll.  It does help for

Weapons:

Gone are the options for unit upgrades–broodlords now come with Monstrous Rending Claws and that’s it.  It’s not like they had many options for upgrades before (and those that they had options for were all overpriced), but I’m sure someone could have heartache over a lack of flexibility.

What they lose in options they make up in killy power though.  Their default (and only) weapon option comes at their own base strength, -3 armor modifier and does D3 wounds.  Furthermore, on a “rend” (a term I carry over from 7th), it goes to -6AP and increases to a flat damage of 3.

The only real downside is that he’s swinging at strength 5.  What this means compared to last edition is that he’s wounding toughness 3 models on 3’s instead of 2’s, so that’s a bit of a bummer.  He’s not ideally suited to beating up weak models though, so he should generally avoid such combats–and he can’t be tarpitted by them in this edition, so that should have minimal effect.  He’s also rolling a 5+ to wound anything from toughness six through nine and only wounding toughness ten (or more) on 6’s (if there is even something out there that tough).

So, against all various ranges of toughness–except toughness 3, he’s wounding as good–or better–than he did in the previous edition.  His claws also give him the ability to re-roll failed rolls to wound (though I completely forgot about that in my first game with them).

Yup, I have no complaints about that weapon in assaults…

Points Cost:

We have a big difference here.  In the last edition, he was a unit upgrade and ran 60 points.  Genestealers themselves were pretty bad, so you could look at the 70 points you spent on a base unit of them as a tax to buy him.

Event still, at 162 points (the weapons are free!), he’s more expensive this edition.  It’s not fair to compare him against the 130 point unit of him plus the ‘stealers in the previous edition because they did lend him ablative wounds and additional rending attacks.  Undoubtedly, he’s pricey in this edition.

Other Changes:

He’s still a psyker and knows one power, but that power doesn’t need to be “The Horror” as it was in 7th.  It’s not a bad option for him though as it gives him (and any nearby units) potential survivability by reducing an enemy’s to-hit rolls by 1.  He could also go with Onslaught (which provides literally no benefit to him or nearby genestealers, but could be used as a forward node of it in an assaulting army), or with Catalyst for a little extra durability.

He’s also retained his character designation, which seems to be more of a benefit than it was in the previous edition.  He can’t be singled out in a challenge, and also can’t be singled out by weapons that aren’t snipers unless he’s the closest unit, so being a character now just gives him a little extra durability.

The biggest “other” change is really his shift in the Force Org chart.  Previously, he just tacked onto a troop unit, but that doesn’t make much of a difference in this edition.  I’ve seen people complain about other units (particularly the Malanthrope) about switching to an HQ, but frankly, I don’t’ see that as a downside.  Multiple HQ’s are required to fill out a Battalion Detachment–which is the quickest way to earn additional Command Points.  Additionally, with new detachments like “Supreme Commands,” you have ways of fielding a large amount of HQ’s very easily with no downside.

All of these are positive changes.

Overall:

His new and improved statline turns him into a real beat stick in this edition, plus the addition of synapse allows him to help support the rest of your army.  Clearly, you’ll want to run him along with genestealers–since he provides additional benefit to them–but you could also wind up running him with raveners or other fast moving units as another means of synapse.

The only downsides he has now are his higher point cost, which can’t be overlooked.  He’s competing with the big boys now in cost and is relatively fragile for what you’re getting; however, if you lean on the fact that he is a character and can benefit from the protection of nearby squads, he’s likely going to be fairly durable.

I see him being run as a forward bastion of synapse (and whoop-ass) that really should be hanging out by genestealers (possibly in large blocks) and likely hormagaunts (who are cheap wounds and can practically keep up with him as he runs across the board).

 

P.S. Don’t make fun of my tiny broodlords.  I’m working on them!

First Batrep of 8th Edition: Hive Fleet Proteus vs. Salamanders (105 power)

For my first game of 8th edition, I wanted to limit things in a couple of ways:

  • First, for anyone who has tried to create a list with point values, you’ll find that it’s utterly incomprehensible, so I wanted to start off easy and go with power levels.
  • Second, I thought it would be great if we could recreate an older battle that I’ve already played from the blog.
  • Third, I wanted to make the armies vastly different (no marines vs. marines).  Brandon had already played his first 8th game with his Orks and he wanted to play his marines, so that meant I was playing Tyranids.
  • Fourth, I didn’t want to play too huge of a game.  Initially I had tried to come up with a power level (100 points) and just started throwing units into it, but it quickly became overwhelming for a first game.  It made more sense to have a little less diversity for learning purposes.
  • Lastly, with the vast differences between the editions, we wanted to have power levels that were roughly equivalent.   Not all 1,500 point lists convert the same.

We really hunted around for a game that made perfect sense, but never came across it.  There were a few close calls, but we eventually opted to recreate our first battle of 7th edition.  That list was a bit on the point heavy side, and also included some units that just don’t have rules / options for 40k at this time, but I figured the value of the nostalgia alone was enough to justify it’s recreation.

Hive Fleet Proteus (1844 pts)

  • HQ:
    • Flyrant w/ Twin-linked devourers & Adrenal Glands (The Horror & Onslaught)
    • Flyrant w/ Twin-linked devourers & Adrenal Glands (Catalyst & The Horror)
    • Broodlord (Onslaught)
    • Broodlord (The Horror)
    • Tervigon (Onslaught)
  • Elites:
    • 3x Zoanthrope (Catalyst)
    • 3x Venomthrope
  • Troops:
    • 5x Genestealers
    • 5x Genestealers
    • 30x Termagants w/ Spinefists inc. 2 w/ Stranglewebs
  • Fast Attack:
    • Harpy w/ 2x Stranglethorn Cannons
  • Heavy Support:
    • Exocrine
    • 1x Biovore
    • 1x Biovore
    • 1x Biovore

Continue reading

8th Edition Tyranid Index Review: Hive Tyrants

In my first unit review of the 8th edition Tyranid Index, I’m quickly realizing that comparing stat lines on Monstrous Creatures to the previous edition is going to be difficult.  This is because the new edition introduces a damage table, wherein the stats of creatures are affected as they get closer to death.  For example, the Hive Tyrant’s WS goes from 2+ to 4+ depending upon how wounded he is.  Ignore the fact that I already have to include a layer of abstraction for the fact that WS is no longer merely a number, and this becomes difficult to assess.

Statline:

Let’s start with the stuff that’s easy:  Save and Leadership remain unchanged, and I don’t expect that to make much difference.  Strength and Toughness also remain unchanged, but I do think that has some bearing on the way the game is played.

This is because wounds are made on a new damage chart.  As the bulk of models in the game seem to be T3 or T4, this means that the Tyrant will be wounding things like Space Marines on a 3+ instead of a 2+ that he used to.  Toughness of 6 means that bolter fire also hurts her on a 5+ instead of a 6+ as it did previously.  By keeping these the stats the same, she deals less damage to basic troops and takes more damage from them.  Ouch.

As for the other stats, I think it’s fair to say that Move and WS are an improvement over what they were in 7th edition.  In both of these cases, she’s at least as effective as she was in 7th edition until she’s down to her last two wounds.    Attacks are also up by one, but this is misleading.  Her prehensile pincher tail indicates that it takes one of her attacks each combat.  Plus, you don’t get an extra attack for having an extra hand to hand combat weapon (though scything talons do have innately +1 attack), nor do you get +1 for charging.  Again, this is a difficult one to judge, but I’d say it’s likely a wash.

BS is very similar to the previous edition, wherein she hits everything with the same accuracy as she did previously, unless she’s down to two or fewer wounds.

Wounds themselves are drastically up from where they were (more than double), but I don’t know how to feel about this.  One would logically intuit that more wounds would equal more survivability, but as we’ve already witnessed, she is actually more easily wounded by bolter fire (twice as likely, in fact).  And with weapons that do multiple wounds, she could theoretically die two as few as two lascannon shots.  Of course, they’re only wounding on 3’s now, and she does get an invulnerable save (more on this in a moment), and often will get a normal armor save against weapons like lascannons–which previously ignored her armor completely!

The point is, there’s so many factors to include when it comes to durability, I think we’ll have to play a few games to figure it out.  If I had to answer now, I would say that she’s likely *slightly* more durable than she was in the previous edition.

Abilities:

The basic army-wide rules are largely the same.  I went over them in an earlier post, so I won’t cover these in detail.  Suffice it to say that she still has Shadow in the Warp and Synapse (and is the one model that keeps the original 12″ range in the codex).  She also has two new abilities called Death Throes and Psychic Barrier.

Psychic Barrier gives her an innate 5+ invulnerable save, so that’s got to count for something.  It can only really help to improve her durability though.  Gone is the insanity of flying monstrous creatures, but let’s face it–those were ridiculous.  That’s basically the only way people ran Tyrants before though, so it’s going to be truly difficult to compare her against the new iteration.

Death Throes is a fluffy piece that gives her a 1 in 6 chance of doing d3 mortal wounds to nearby units (Friend or foe).  It’s not likely to happen, so this is probably the sort of thing you forget about when actually playing.

Weapons:

She still comes stock with scything talons, but also has a tail included in her profile.  As stated earlier, the tail eats up one of her attacks, but the wargear list (p141) shows that Scything Talons (monstrous or otherwise) give you an extra attack for having two pairs of them.

For weapon options she can take items from the Monstrous Biocannons or Monstrous Bio-weapons lists (p85).  That includes Rending claws, bone swords, lashwhip/bonesword, deathspitters, devourers, stranglethorn cannons and heavy venom cannons.  These options are exactly the same as they were in the old edition (well, the same in name at least–if not effectiveness.  Except the deathspitter is now called “two deathspitters with slimmer maggots.”)

Most of these options seems to be roughly comparable to their old versions.  For the deathspitters/devourers, there may be some debate.  Page 85 says they can have “two deathspitters” as one choice and page 140 lists the option as “Deathspitter” (singular).  In my understanding, you’d actually have to buy two of these, which would give you effectively assault 6 (with the ability to split the fire as necessary).  So you’d still have 12 shots total, without the re-roll to hit, but you do get to split the fire up.

For shooting weapons, I think the deathspitter with slimmer maggots is going to be a strong choice (strong enough that there’s really no reason to run devourers–less strength with no modifier to AP for only 3 points less–per gun).  Stranglethorn cannons might be ok for the longer range, but otherwise the weapon profile isn’t significantly different but it will tend to have fewer shots, so I don’t see that as a strong choice.  Heavy venom cannons might be doable though–with S9, they’ll be wounding even the heaviest of vehicles on a 3+, which is about as good as it gets.

Points Cost:

Oh lord.  Can I say now that the points values and layout of these books was created by a retarded baboon?  I have to look in four different places to cost out a Tyrant, and it’s incredibly difficult to do.  Stock she comes to 185 points (hopefully GW doesn’t ban my blog because I said that), and that’s 20 points more than she was in the previous edition.

Nobody ran stock tyrants though, so to compare, a flyrant with brainleech worms is now 198 points whereas it was previously 230.  So, in some cases she’s more expensive and some less.  Brainleech worms lost their reroll though, so I’m not sure you’ll see much of that configuration in the future…

Points are one of those really weird areas that I can’t compare against because I don’t have enough knowledge.  It all depends upon effectiveness for their points, and I’ve never played with them, so I can’t speak to that.  More on this later, I’m sure.

Other Changes:

Since “flying” is gone, she’s just slightly faster in moving (unless you compare to “swooping” in the previous edition, in which case she’s a fair bit slower).  Additionally, you no longer requre 6’s to hit her–nor can she voluntarily jink, so flyrants are no where near as durable as they once were.

Psychic powers.  Again, I won’t go into this gain because I ‘ve already gone over it, but she is limited

She’s a character and the new rules for characters say they can effectively hide in a unit (p179)–except if they have 10 or more wounds.  So, she can’t hide, but I figure that it’s worth mentioning here because this is something that might be overlooked.

Toxin Sacs and Adrenal glands are still available, though I don’t know that I’d bother buying either with the new rules as they provide minor situational benefits–but perhaps if you had 4 or 5 points to burn?   The biomorphs for Regeneration and Acid Blood are no longer available for this unit (and may be completely unavailable in the index–I haven’t gotten that far).

Like most units, she’s lost a little flavor and customizability.  She no longer can get upgrades like Thorax weapons, Hive Commander, Indescribable Horror, or Old Adversary.  While some might bemoan these changes, I rarely ever used them, so it’s not a big loss for me.  Also, one would expect in a complete reset/simplification of the game, that some things will have to go.  Personally, I would consider these acceptable losses–though I wouldn’t be surprised to see these released again once the codices start rolling out.

Overall:

It’s so hard to give an overall grade to a model that has so many features that are up in the air.  With the statline changes, I would expect that you’ll see more of these guys go with an assault variant than you have in the past–but you can’t completely discount those deathspitters.

Gone are the days where they swoop around, impervious to damage, due to being flyers.  I think we can all agree that making flyers more reasonable to hit is a good thing though.

I think she likely got a little more durable, though there is now a big swing factor as she could theoretically die to as few as two lascannon shots.   For 10 power, she seems like a reasonable option in the HQ slot.  Time will tell if she’s a competitive option though…

 

 

 

8th Edition Tyranid Review: Index Overview

In this series of posts, I’m going to delve into the changes that affect the Tyranids between 7th and 8th edition.  While this may be beneficial to those of you who don’t already have access to the rules, the real goal is for me to better familiarize myself with the changes.  I suspect that these posts may open up a dialogue with others online who share an interest on the subject.

For that matter, I’m going to try to be as objective as possible about the changes.  Feel free to point out area where I stray from this goal and/or help me to better understand the changes as a whole.

At the time of writing this, I haven’t actually played any games of 8th, so any analysis is purely academic.  Things may play out substantially different on the tabletop.

As my first post, I’ll go over some of the army-wide special rules, along with some basic rules of the game that will have an impact on Tyranids as a whole…

Synapse

As with the previous iteration, this power grants automatic passing of morale tests.  Previously, it granted creatures within the range “fearless” and caused them to automatically regroup if they fell back into that range.  Fearless allowed them to automatically pass pinning, fear, and regroup tests, plus morale–and also prevented them from going to ground. Continue reading