Games, milkshakes, and power armor

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Newbiehammer Army Overview: Tyranids

Back again from the dead to provide you with more awesome tips for emergent Warhammer 40k players. Real life makes fools of us all and so I really must try to get back in the habit of blogging. Anyhoo, I knew when I started these army overviews that sooner or later I was going to need some help eventually, since I'm far from experienced with every army in the game. Luckily for me my facebook friend Mhoram Freeman volunteered to fill in as my resident "bug guy" and write me up a handy guide to playing and playing against the voracious swarms of the Tyranid codex. I've only played against 'nids a handful of times and each time has been an ordeal because the creatures it had were so different from any of the other armies that I didn't know where to start attacking, and before I knew it the beasts were in amongst my lines and ate half my army before I could say "bwuh?" Anyway, I'm going to hand it off to Mhoram and let him explain the ins and outs of playing Tyranids while I get back to my usual debauchery.
In the vast universe of Warhammer 40,000, it's sometimes easy to forget that everything that happens, every race that is encountered, is local to the Milky Way galaxy alone.
Tyranids are the exception.
Tyranids first appeared some two and a half centuries ago. Worlds that had previously been teeming with life were discovered to dead hunks of rock floating in space. The tech-priest monitoring the situation from the heavily fortified world of Tyran dutifully filed his reports, but in an empire as vast as the Imperium, oddities are common and often neglected.
Eventually, a xenos fleet more than a thousand vessels in size appeared in the skies above Tyran and immediately launched an assault. In less than a day, the defensive fleet, defense lasers, and imperial guard regiments defending Tyran were all destroyed.
A suspicious Inquisitor arrived some weeks later to investigate the situation, only to find Tyran to be yet another world reduced to dead rock. The tech-priest at Tyran had cunningly hidden a pict-recording of the attack within the crust of the world itself. Retrieving this, Inquisitor Kryptman was able to learn the full extent of the new horror about to be visited upon the Imperium. This horror he named the Tyranids, for the first world where the Imperium had encountered them.

The Tyranids are the most inhuman of all xenos the Imperium must deal with. Even their weapons and ammunition are individual living entities. They are a numberless horde of beasts whose only goal is to feed, and to grow the hive. They descend upon worlds in their masses and slay every living thing they can find. When victory is certain, the world is stripped of all biomass, and everything – even the Tyranids themselves – is consigned to the digestion pool. The biomass is aborbed back into the hive ships, whereupon it is used to create more Tyranids. Thus, there is no such thing as a pyrrhic victory for a Tyranid force – even their own dead are reused as biomass.

In the lore, Tyranids operate as a series of individual hive fleets. The ships are as alive as any other Tyranid, and as numberless as the battlefield hordes. Due to the fact that Tyranids produce everything, even their ships, from the biomass gathered from the digestion pools, even a handful of surviving hive-ships can produce a full-strength hive fleet eventually if they attack weaker target worlds first. The hive fleets that have invaded so far are but the vanguard of the Tyranid forces, and the threat posed by the Tyranids is so immense that it is estimated the Imperium must increase Imperial Guard conscription rates by at least 500% simply to delay the end.

The final point of lore to mention of that of the Hive Mind. Tyranids do not really have individual minds. They are controlled by the gestalt consciousness of the Hive Mind. The Hive Mind, as its name suggests, does not have a physical form. Rather, it is a monstrous psychic mind that links the individual beasts of the Tyranid hordes together, enabling them to operate with frightening tactical acumen.

Tyranids on the gaming table:

The Tyranids exist in numbers far too great for even the Hive Mind to control each and every creature individually. Thus, certain powerful beasts, termed “synapse creatures”, are used as psychic conduits to relay the will and command of the Hive Mind to the lesser Tyranids. In-game, this is represented by the “instinctive behavior” rules, which cause most lesser Tyranids to either run for cover, or charge recklessly at the nearest enemy, when not within a certain distance of at least one synapse creature.

Tyranid Warriors:
Almost certainly the most common and most important synapse creatures around, Tyranid Warriors have a very good statline and a rather excellent range of choice for both melee and ranged biomorphs (weapons). They come in three forms: the standard Tyranid Warrior is a troops choice, meaning they can be the mainstay of your army, and they come in a brood of 3-9 Warriors. The “Tyranid Prime” is an HQ choice. Though deployed as a lone creature, it can be attached to a brood of other Tyranids, and confers bonuses upon a brood of Warriors if attached to one. It also has a superior statline and weapon selection to the regular Warrior. The third variety is the winged Warrior, named a “Shrike”. The statline is a bit weaker, but Shrikes move faster than other Warriors, thus provided much-needed synapse support to your advance units. They come as a fast attack choice, with the same numbers and biomorph options as regular Warriors.
My preferred methodology for Warriors is to give them all scything talons and deathspitters, with a single heavy weapon for the brood, and use them as midrange fire support, advancing at a steady march to provide synapse for the smaller creatures such as gaunts (more on those later).

Hive Tyrant:
The Hive Tyrant is one of the most powerful individual Tyranids. Being a monstrous creature, it ignores armour saves, which can really mess with armies like Space Marines or Chaos Space Marines, where the armour save matters a lot and every unit lost really hurts. It has one of the best statlines of any unit in the codex, and has access to the best biomorphs and the heaviest weapons. They can be accompanied by up to three Tyrant Guard, and in my opinion always should be. A Hive Tyrant with Tyrant Guard takes a fairly absurd amount of firepower to kill, and nobody is going to want to get into melee combat with that unit. In fact, that unit is nicknamed the “deathstar” for how deadly and unstoppable it is. Even should the enemy manage to kill the Tyrant, that won't make things any easier, as the Tyrant Guard will gain special rules making them even more powerful and promptly rampage through the enemy.
While Hive Tyrants do have access to some VERY excellent ranged biomorphs and have the statline necessary to put them to good use, I personally would never give a Tyrant one of the ranged bioweapons. They're almost purpose-built for melee combat, and on the frontline is where they belong, using their psychic powers to mess the enemy up and their claws and talons to shred everything in reach.
The major downside to using a Tyrant is the heavy points cost. A single Tyrant with no upgrades costs about as much as a full Space Marine tactical squad, and it only gets worse if you add in Tyrant Guard and/or expensive biomorphs, so you'd best be ready to make heavy use of your Tyrant. Personally I usually stick to the cheaper options (no additional cost for using two sets of scything talons, for example) and have the Tyrant target the most points-expensive infantry units or monstrous creatures the enemy has.

These boys are nasty. A rarity among Tyranids, they can operate outside of synapse range with no problem. They're ferocious melee creatures that can tear through even a hardened unit of Space Marines like paper if they can get into charging range. To help them do so, they have the infiltrate special rule, and can also take a mycetic spore (more on those later). They don't have a huge number of biomorph options available, but to be honest, they don't really need them. Finally, they can upgrade one model per brood to a Broodlord, a powerful psychic genestealer with an even more impressive statline.
There are two main methods to using Genestealers that I use, but I'll only suggest one here. It simply involves a couple of small, sacrificial broods of maybe five genestealers each. Infiltrate these broods near important targets and have them move quickly to destroy those targets, then rampage among nearby enemy units until they're inevitably gunned down (because really, nobody will leave genestealers free to run through their lines). This is particularly effective against fragile ranged enemies such as Imperial Guard heavy weapons teams or Eldar rangers and pathfinders.
There are of course plenty of other valid ways of putting your genestealers to use. Just be aware they're one of the most expensive troops choices in the codex.


These are the rank-and-file creatures of the Tyranid swarm. In fluff, the hive mind will often throw Gaunts by the thousand at the enemy simply to expend enemy ammunition before the main assault. This shows impressively in the rules for the Termagant. They're weak and fragile units available in enormous broods for an absolutely tiny expenditure of points. There's even an HQ choice, the Tervigon, which can constantly spawn more Termagants for you in-game, and that can provide an enormous advantage for you as your opponent struggles to contain the ever-growing horde. It's worth adding here that for each brood of termagants in your army list, you can add a Tervigon as a troops choice instead of an HQ choice.
The base weapon of the Termagant is the fleshborer, a fairly weak, short-ranged assault weapon. There are a number of other weapons available, and most of them are quite cheap to use. All have their weaknesses, because a brood this cheap just can't be permitted to have powerful weapons, but in spite of that the sheer volume of firepower that even one or two broods can level means that they'll quickly earn back the points spent on them. If all else fails, they can simply charge into melee and keep a much more expensive and powerful enemy unit tied down for the entire game because it lacks the number of attacks necessary to cut through such huge numbers of gaunts.
The main piece of advice I'll offer here is that if you're going to take termagants in your army, take some warriors and/or tervigons as well for synapse purposes. Termagants become quite useless outside synapse range.

The melee equivalent to termagants. Roughly as cheap and weak, but with melee biomorphs instead of ranged ones. If you can get a brood of hormagaunts into charging range of an enemy unit, that unit will probably die. The sheer number of attacks means that rule of averages will be weighed far in favour of the hormagaunts. Unlike termagants, they won't become entirely useless outside of synapse range, though it's still a good idea to keep them near a synapse creature or two regardless.


These are elite units coming in small broods (1-3). They emit clouds of toxic spores which are lethal to enemies that approach and can help conceal other Tyranids. In-game, this is represented by Tyranid units near venomthropes gaining a significant bonus to their cover saves, or being given a cover save when not already in cover. Enemies within the reach of the spores must also take dangerous terrain tests (they take wounds if they fail). Finally, with a fairly solid statline for a Tyranid creature and poisoned attacks in melee that cause wounds on a roll of 2+, the venomthrope is not only an incredible support beast but a fierce combatant in its own right. Very much worth using, and they can be deployed with mycetic spores as well.


You all know what artillery is, I assume? Right. Now imagine that when artillery shells miss their targets, instead of exploding uselessly, they start rolling around looking for an enemy, and explode upon coming into contact with anything that isn't an ally. That's what a biovore is in a nutshell. They're the only artillery unit available to the Tyranids. Allegedly created from consumed Ork DNA, they hurl spore mines instead of explosive shells. If the spore mine hits an enemy, it explodes impressively and deals out a lot of hurt. If it misses, the spore mines will become a brood under your control, moving around in randomly-determined directions until coming into contact with any non-Tyranid unit, at which point they explode violently. Oh, and they're hurled 3 at a time in a barrage. These things can cause serious hurt to enemy infantry and light vehicles.
Spore mines can also be taken as an individual choice, though there's really no need when you can produce them in-game like this. Biovores are quite weak in melee combat, so keep them back from the front lines, but they're moderately tough to kill for a Tyranid, so not entirely defenseless if it comes down to it.

Zoanthropes/Hive Guard:

These two creatures are the Tyranids answers to enemy vehicles. The zoanthrope has a short-ranged high strength lance attack (and the bonus of being a synapse creature). The “lance” special rule gives it a huge advantage against enemy vehicles. Unfortunately the short range means that the zoanthrope needs to get right in among the enemy lines to make use of this attack (it's worth taking a mycetic spore to help with this), and there's a fair chance that it'll get shot to pieces very quickly, so they're a bit of a sacrificial unit, but still VERY worth using.
Hive guard by contrast have less strength on their attacks and more range. They also don't need line of sight, which can be VERY helpful.

This has dragged on a little longer than I'd expected, so I'll cover one final important Tyranid unit, the Mycetic Spore:

These are the only transports the Tyranids have. They're roughly equivalent to the Space Marine drop-pods. Certain Tyranid broods have the option of being deployed via mycetic spore, which allows you to drop them to a place of your choosing on the gameboard partway through the game. The spores themselves can also be upgraded with weapons and such, though I personally wouldn't bother. They have quite a weak statline and are entirely immobile once they land. Nonetheless, for some units – primarily gaunts, zoanthropes, warriors – mycetic spores are very much worth using. The advantages they confer can make the difference between victory and defeat.

There are many, many more units worth mentioning in the Tyranid codex. A Tyranid army can range from swarms numbering in the hundreds to a relative handful of monstrous creatures, each capable of destroying almost anything thrown at it. I could write for days without covering every creature or every possible army style. The main advice I'll give:
Protect your synapse creatures, without them you're screwed.
Keep smaller tyranids in cover as much as possible, they're very fragile.
Be prepared to let a brood or two perish for the greater good of the game.
Enemy units to watch out for: squads with flamers, snipers, artillery.
If you're considering starting a Tyranid army, the Tyranid Battleforce is actually a great place to start. It comes with termagants, hormagaunts, warriors, genestealers, and ripper swarms. It's a rare example of a Battleforce box that was actually well thought-out and is worth buying.

For those who are coming up against Tyranid opponents, bring flamers. Those are always useful. Units that can move around quickly such as Eldar warp spiders or jump-pack equipped Space Marines are very useful as well, it can be hilarious watching a brood of Carnifexes chase a couple of assault marines all around the board because they slipped out of synapse range for a moment and failed their instinctive behavior checks. Expect to take heavy losses even if the Tyranids never actually reach your line, and have backup plans for every possibility you can think of. Units to watch out for: The “deathstar” brood, genestealers, zoanthropes, tervigons, biovores.

If you have any questions, feel free to comment here and I'll be sure to get an answer to you.

Well, I dunno about you guys but I feel informed. Keep an eye here for more frequent posts and more newbiehammer goodness. Cheers!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Newbiehammer #3: Picking the right army; the forces of Chaos

In the last Newbiehammer I went over Space Marines, which, as I made fairly clear in that post, I think are some of the baddest asses in the entire galaxy. Now, if that sounded cool, but a little too heroic for you, then the Chaos Space Marines may be right up your alley. All the awesomeness of a Space Marine, but none of the heroicism and completely devoid of anything approaching conscience or mercy. Quick fluff lesson: Ten thousand years into the history of 40k, The Emperor of Mankind, a supreme being who had united the entire planet under his rule, led humanity out into the galaxy at the head of the legions of Space Marines he created in a movement called the Great Crusade to establish human dominance of the galaxy, and bring all mankind's lost interplanetary colonies together. Leading his legions were twenty beings called the Primarchs, superhumans second only in strength and skill to the Emperor himself and the closest thing he had to sons, each at the head of a legion of tens of thousands of Marines. As strong compared to a Space Marine as a Marine was to a normal human being. Some civilizations entered the fold of the new Imperium willingly, others had to be forced into it, others still were so far divergent from the Emperor's vision that they had to be destroyed outright, as were any alien civilizations, and their planets repopulated with Imperial settlers. For about two hundred years things were peachy, insofar as a movement to conquer a galaxy could be. The Primarchs and their Legions bestrode worlds, with the Emperor leading from the front, until finally, he judged that the Crusade would soon be coming to an end, and left the leadership of the Crusade in the hands of his favorite son, the Primarch Horus of the Luna Wolves legion, who were soon renamed the Sons of Horus in his honor. After that, the Emperor returned to Terra, to lead a new great work to lead humanity to the next stage in it's destiny. A work he kept secret from everyone, even the Primarchs. Not long after that, Horus, through a series of circumstances and plots too intricate to go into here, turned against the Emperor and led fully half of the Legions and their Primarch in rebellion against him. World after world declared support for Horus, seeing him as a great warlord and charismatic leader of men. It was a civil war that split the Emperor's realm almost literally right down the middle. Finally, the battle raged all the way to Terra itself, right to the walls of the Emperor's palace. Half the legions of Space Marines trying to break the citadel open, the other half fighting and dying to protect it's walls. In the end, the Emperor, seeing no other way to win, took a handful of his Primarchs and Marines and teleported onto Horus' flagship and took the fight to him. The Emperor was the most supreme being in the galaxy, but Horus, who was already almost as strong himself, was further empowered by the blessings of the Chaos gods who dwell within the alternate dimension of the warp, and the match began to swing in Horus' favor. Injured and losing, the Empror put all of his psychic might into one final attack that annihilated Horus entirely, but mortally wounded the Emperor in the process. Their leader gone, the rest of the traitor Primarchs and Legions fled Terra and retreated to a region of space called the Eye of Terror, where the warp bleeds through into real space and the loyalist Legions could not follow. Without Horus' charisma and leadership, the Legions went their separate ways, and splintered further overtime into roving warbands. Ten thousand years later, the Emperor is kept alive and only barely, by the life support systems of the Golden Throne. Devoid of faculties to interact with the outside world, he is alive only to scream endlessly into the warp, his psychic light powering a beacon called the Astronomicon so that his fleets of interstellar warships can find their way the same way sea ships would use the north star to navigate. The traitor Legions still return from the Eye of Terror, twisted and corrupted by the worship of the Chaos Gods, to wreak havoc in the Imperium while the loyalist Legions were broken up into the thousand-strong Chapters that exist now. The only times since that the different forces of Chaos, including the Legions, have stood united are during the Black Crusades of Horus' first captain and successor, Ezekyle Abaddon, known and feared as Abaddon the Despoiler as he and the Sons of Horus, renamed again as the Black Legion, lead the forces of Chaos and the traitor Legions, twisted by ten thousand years of hatred and worship of dark powers, against the Imperium that they believe wronged them. Okay, that was a little less quick than I wanted to, but believe it or not that was the crib notes of the event that became known as the Horus Heresy. If you want to read more of the intricate details look it up in the 40k wiki or, better yet, look into the Horus Heresy book series, which goes in-depth on not just Horus, but every event leading up to and contributing to the wars of the Heresy.

Chaos Space Marines on the gaming table
Chaos Space Marines are in fluff terms the evil twins of the Space Marines. All the durability, all of the skill, and, in some cases more, since these are the same warriors that have been making war in the stars for ten thousand years. Since their equipment hasn't been upgraded since the events of the Heresy, they lack some of the more recent equipment and vehicles of the Space Marines, but what they lack in current technology, they make up for with black arts of Chaos, infusing their weapons and war machines with the spirits of daemons. In-game, Chaos Space Marine armies are compact and elite, using powerful and durable infantry as well as Chaos sorcery to break their enemies. The possession of their wargear by daemons of the warp, as well as the broken mental state of some of their warriors lends a bit of unpredictability to their play style. With certain weapons and units just as likely to turn on their own army as it is do damage to their enemies. Chaos Space Marines are an army that can play a few different ways, from mobile armies to slow, durable and unrelenting, and everything in between. However despite what the playstyle is, CSM armies are invariably hard hitting, making it very easy to capitalize on an opponent's mistakes. There are many different specialized units, that can be augmented further through the blessings of one of the four gods of Chaos, or even marked by Chaos Undivided, and receive blessings from all four! Units to watch for Certain groups of Marines worship one particular Chaos god in exclusion to all others. These Marines are formed into their own units with their own weapons and skill sets and are all deadly in their own way. These units are:

Khorne Berzerkers These guys take anger problems to the next level. Uncontrollable, unyielding, and motivated only by an insatiable desire to spill blood and take skulls for Khorne, the Blood God. A squad of these guys is a meat grinder for any but the hardiest close combat units. If you see these dudes on the table, expect them to make a beeline for your nearest unit and mulch it. These are one of the units I mentioned that will turn on their allies if a roll goes the wrong way. If you want to survive an encounter with them your best bet is to thin them out from range as best as you can, and if they finally manage to get to grips with you, make sure you've got something that can attack before them and flood them with power weapon attacks as best you can.

Plague Marines Worshippers of Nurgle; the god of decay, these Marines are walking bags of rot and disease, their flesh and armor rotting from them but through the blessings of their god are inured to not just the pain of their rotting bodies but all pain. The blessings of Nurgle make them some of the most resilient marines in standard power armor (although there are Nurgle terminators as well, who are still more resilient), granting them an extra save from any wounds that normally would have killed them already. They're able to wade through fire that would normally cripple a squad of Marines, or conversely, once their dug into cover on an objective, are almost impossible to shift from it. Your best bet is to engage them in close combat with a unit that can either give them so many armor saves to make that the odds finally even out and they can't save everything or a decent number of power weapon attacks, that would afford them no saves of any kind.

Noise Marines
These are Marines given over to Slaanesh, the god of excess and sensation. These Marines will do anything for the next rush of sensation. Their brains are re-wired so that any sensation, feelings, sights, sounds, smells, tastes, are all turned into pleasure, so the more sensory input they get, the more garish the color or discordant the sound, comes through as pleasure. They are addicts to sensation, and like all addicts overtime the rush dulls, and they've had ten thousand years to chase the next high. Noise Marines are fans of combat narcotics, making them faster than typical marines in combat, and to boot, they can use special and heavy weapons exclusive only to Noise Marines, which use sonic blasts to destroy their enemies. In game, they are fast in close combat, but if you get through their attacks, they die like typical marines. Far more destructive are their special weapons. The Doom Siren, a weapon which amplifies it's user's screams to deadly levels, fires in the same manner as a flamer weapon, but is powerful enough to kill Space Marines without saves, , as well the Blastmaster, their heavy weapon, is capable of tearing chunks out of squads. They are not as deadly in close combat as Berzerkers, or as durable as Plague Marines, but left to their own devices they will cause a lot of damage and so you shouldn't ignore them.

Thousand Sons Thousand Sons are the only specialist squads who's specialization remains strictly confined to their Legion. With the exception of the sorcerers who lead them, Thousand Sons are more or less possessed suits of armor with little more than dust inside their sealed confines. They are the most expensive unit to field of the four mentioned, but they are also hard to kill. Since they're more or less incorporeal, they gain an invulnerable save, which means they'll have a chance to survive hits from even the most powerful weapons. At the same time, their bolters are more powerful than the bolters of any other unit of marines in the game, at AP3, they can and will chew through any unit of marines that they catch without giving them an armor save. The best way to take them on is from a dug-in position in cover, that way you'll still get a save of some kind against their weapons. Flood them with standard shots from a fortified position. Alternatively, close combat doesn't give them the chance to use their weapons at all, but on account of their invulnerable save, power weapons and the like will do no good. The more armor saves you force them to take at once, the easier they'll die. However if you plan on getting into combat, make sure you only step into their range when you're ready to get into combat. Deepstriking in front of them is a good way to lose your unit before you get a chance to use it.

For some Marines, simply worshiping daemons wasn't enough. These guys have given themselves over body and soul to the daemons of the warp. They have no ranged capabilities to speak of, but they have an invulnerable save and a random ability that can drastically change how they play which can be augmented further by the blessings of a specific chaos god. You see a unit of possessed and your first step should be figure out if they have a mark of a Chaos god, and then do your best to whittle them down with small arms fire. Since their randomized special rule affects their close combat ability in more cases getting into hand to hand with them isn't advised.

Six legs, two to three guns and a whole lot of bad attitude. Defilers exist to make life tough for everyone. The battle cannon in it's chest can annihilate entire squads of marines in one shot, and it's range is such that if it wants to it can hit you from clear across the board. When the Defiler's running around, staying in cover is a must. Kill it as soon as you can by focusing heavy anti-tank guns on it.

Daemon Princes This is what all Chaos Marines aspire to be. They know when they die, their souls will be the playthings of the daemons that dwell within the warp. So, the only way to avoid that fate is the immortality offered by daemonhood. When a Marine performs evil enough deeds to appease the Gods, he is rewarded by taking his place among in the warp as a Daemon Prince. More powerful than any daemon-possessed marine would ever be, and retaining their mind in a way possession robs them of. On the table they're an HQ unit, a leader of the army. They have a variety of upgrades to their abilities. From different weapons to wings on their back. Their stats are powerful and like all daemons they have an invulnerable save. You'll want to avoid close combat as much as possible, unless you have something that has an invulnerable save of it's own. Otherwise you're liable to lose any unit you'll throw at it. Which leads me into...

Special Characters/leaders The heavy hitters of any Chaso Space Marine force. Just like Space Marine characters are heroes among heroes. These guys are the baddest of the bad. The darkest villains the galaxy can come up with. They come strapped to the gills with special armor and weapons, as well as a handful of special abilities. If you want to survive your best bet is is to hit them with the strongest weapons you can muster. So that's Chaos Space Marines in a rather long-winded nutshell. Hope this proved informative and tune in again for more Newbiehammer overviews on the armies you want to hear about. Cheers!


One of my veteran readers pointed out that I missed a fairly common unit in many CSM armies. Chalk it up to late-night blogging and distraction. However, I shall rectify that now:


HOW could I have forgotten these? As I said, Obliterators are a fairly common element in many Chaos Space Marine armies. Infected with a Chaotic techno-virus that fuses and warps their flesh and armor into one gross amalgam (kinda like the Demoniacs from my Blassreiter posts, hur hurr), these units can effectively turn their units into a different heavy weapon each turn, giving them the ability to threaten any unit on the table, given a good vantage point. Whether it's infantry, vehicles, special characters, swarms, or monstrous creatures. These guys can quite literally do it all. They can be taken in units of up to three but most chaos players will split them into multiple units of one or two unless they have other heavy support choices that they really want to use. They're also durable. They may be fused to their Terminator armor, but it's Terminator armor nontheless, which means they can shrug off ridiculous amounts of damage. Not only that, but they have two wounds, meaning that even after all the work to get through all that armor, you have to do it twice, for each of them. Their only drawback is that they're painfully slow. In some cases they can't even get their full allotted movement. Of course that's not so much of a drawback since given the amount of heavy ordinance they have access to, they generally won't leave the chaos player's back deployment zone unless they have to.
These guys can play merry hell with your carefully crafted strategy, but the sheer amount of fire it takes to bring them down makes a good case to just take it on the chin and focus on the rest of your opponent's army, who will likely be moving forward and making a more immediate threat. Best way to take these guys is to figure out a way to bring them into hand to hand combat with a unit that can put out a lot of power weapon attacks, in hand to hand they can't shoot and the only weapon they have to call on in assaults is a powerfist, which, though strong, will always strike last in combat or, if they're in cover (another endlessly frustrating and common tactic for Obliterators), at the same time as you. Meaning if you can do enough wounds fast enough, since they have no invulnerable save, you could theoretically kill them before they can strike back. If they're sitting on a hill out of cover your heavy weapons (that is to say, with a strength value of 8 or above) might instant-kill one, but if it's in cover, chances are your easiest way to kill them is to go and dig them out by hand. Even this isn't the best of tactics, since the moment your opponent realizes what you mean to do the unit you're sending to do it s going to get shot to pieces. For Space Marines, Vanguard Veterans can really shine against these guys, since you can, for a cost, kit them out with a power weapon each, and thanks to the Heroic Intervention special rule, you could deep strike them right in your opponent's face and not have to wait until next turn after your opponent's had a chance to mulch them with guns before going into combat with them. If you have no Vanguard or don't play Space Marines, putting your combat unit in a fast or durable transport may be a better option, unless you can Deep Strike into a place where they have no line of sight to shoot you up before you can move in and attack. If you choose a transport then I would probably opt for something fast, since no matter how durable it is there's a very good chance an Obliterator or three can crack it open. You'll want to be as far down-field as you can get when that happens. Other than that, keep to cover, even your vehicles if you can manage it. When Obliterators are on the hunt nothing is safe.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Back from the dead

Again I must apologize for my week-long absence, dear readers. I'll skip the very exciting and totally true tale about how Bon Jovi showed up in a Tardis with the Doctor (who is totally real, btw) and took me on awesome adventures in space with kick-ass theme music and instead cite family and a sudden ability to play my xbox again as the reason for my lack of posting. Unfortunately, I still lack funds to actually GET any of the flippin' sweet new games that have just been released (coughspacemarinecough) and instead have been getting my noob-pwning legs back on Halo: Reach, which, despite it's troubles I still prefer to the braying hordes of exploiters, twelve year-olds and bros that populate the CoD fanbase.

Anyway, I think it may be time for something new. I've taken to digging around in netflix streaming in my non-gaming hours looking for interesting things to watch. Some things are awesome, some make me want to reach for the nearest hot poker and gouge my eyes out. It's kind of like playing Russian roulette with your spare time and brain cells. So I've decided why not share my findings with you, my loyal audience.

Like just about any nerd worth his computer and childhood fixation with Lara Croft's low-polygonal breasts I happen to watch the odd anime now and again. With the passing of years I've had to suspend my skepticism sometimes in order to gain the same enjoyment from some of the plots as I used to, but such things come with being an older, more jaded individual. Anyway, the last couple of nights before I started watching Firefly and lost all interest in everything else I'd been watching a half-decent anime called Blassreiter.

Boobs, blood, demons and emo dudes with red eyes and glowing hands, your four basic anime food groups.

Without spoiling too much, Blassreiter takes place in the Germany of the future. A plague is infecting the population, reanimating corpses occasionally into creatures called Demoniacs that can fuse their bodies with technology and have a very ornery disposition. To combat the Demoniacs, a police force is formed called the Xenogenesis Assault Team, or XAT for people who don't feel like saying cool words like "xenogenesis." Their role is to deploy into the area where the Demoniac is running amok and take them down before they do too much damage, as well as do their best to make sure that whatever turns the corpses into Demoniacs doesn't spread. The series starts when the game changes and a human/Demoniac hybrid they start to call "Blue" shows up and from there more and more living people are turned into hybrids called Amalgams.

The series centers around Blue, the XAT and the other humans that turn into Amalgams. Most of the time the Amalgams go ballistic and need to be destroyed, but every so often an Amalgam will appear that's not only sane (sorta), but able to transform at will between human and Demoniac forms. Now I haven't gotten far into the series, but the creators seem to be fond of killing off main characters, or at least making a character very central in the story before killing them. This has already happened twice and I didn't get through the first series yet. Hell, one of them is still in the intro sequence.

All in all, the series is interesting enough. The plot has some decent twists and turns but it's already starting to fall into old anime fallbacks, like the villain with the soft voice who's only motivation is to change the whole world to his liking by wrecking everything in it. All too often it seems villains in anime are all godlike beings who's only motivation is "to change the world in his vision." While it all seems very grandoise and evil, nine times out of ten even after the exposition of the villain's grand scheme it still seems needlessly convoluted and the world he wants to make usually seems like some sort of desperate wasteland that nobody would want to live in anyway. I get he's evil and that's the whole point and all but if I'm going to remake the world in my own image I'd at least leave a little spot with some grass or a park with a pool or something for myself and just fence everyone else out. THAT would be properly evil.

What's that? Can you come into my evil dome and see the trees? No, fuck you. My trees.

So, to recap, Blassreiter has multiple girls with overlarge bosoms, demon monsters, explosions, dudes transforming into things with superpowers, action, plot twists and motorcycles. Didn't I mention the motorcycles? Yeah, it has motorcycles.

Cheers, kids. I'll be back with another post in a day or two. Pinkie swear.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011


I know it's been a while and I missed my weekly newbiehammer post. I've been dealing with family issues, plus an exorbant amount of xbl playing. I'll have some fresh stuff tomorrow, including a new newbiehammer. Cheers!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

How to not seem like a tool in online games

This is a pet peeve of mine that I feel like venting about. Whether on Xbox/Windows Live, Playstation Network, Steam or other online games, your screen name is the first experience your fellow gamers are going to have with you. It is the very first impression anyone who interacts with you online is going to get. I completely understand how difficult it can be to find a name that hasn't been taken yet, and people are more than welcome to call themselves whatever they want but there's a line between a decent name and seeming like an ass. Here's a few things I feel like ought to be avoided to not seem like a douche on online games.

Offender #1: tHe RAnDoM CaPItAlIzEr
The one thing that you need to strive for in a screen name/tag/psID is clarity. Especially in fast paced games like shooters, the last thing your team mates want to do is take their eyes off of what's going on in-game to struggle to read your mess of a gamertag so they can call out to you and say what's going on. One of the easiest ways to make me want to not bother telling you about the enemy who's about to give you a hot lead enema is to capitalize random letters in your tag. Capital letters belong at the start of words and names, nowhere else.

Offender #2: Mr.L3375P34K
H0w m4ny 0f y0u c4n r34d p30pl3 wh0 7yp3 l1k3 7h15? L33t is a relic from the 90's that has got to die. This goes back to my earlier subject of clarity. I don't want to have to determine what the fuck your tag is supposed to be while I'm trying to not get the hell shot out of me. I'm fine with the odd zero instead of an "o," but god damn it half of your name should not be numbers/random symbols.
Offender #3: The super stoner.
Let's get one thing straight. I am a fan of weed. However flaunting being the stoner lifestyle not only makes you look like a dumbass but also makes you the type of stoner who the only ones who want to play with are other guys who have that kind of tags. By all means, smoke weed, especially while gaming, but think for a minute what kind of message you're sending out about yourself before you hit 'accept' on the tag "super420weedstonerman." This goes for all you guys who use those "joint ops" and "blunt trauma" tags on CoD. Sorry to tell you guys but that shit has never been cool. Ever.
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Offender #4: The guy who adds numbers on the end of his name.
This is mainly a peeve of mine when it comes to MMORPG's and the like. On xbox live I can usually understand it, but if you're going to be in a thematic roleplaying enviroment for the love of god show a little imagination and pick something that actually looks like a real name. Nothing breaks the immersion like having the game system announce on a server message along the lines of "Killbasher662 has slain the Black Dragon of Memnoth!" You want to play in a world of swords and sorcery and high adventure, I can respect that. I can't respect that if you don't pick a name that seems like you mean it.
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Offender #5: The overcompensator
HardCoreGangstaKilla, SuperDeathMaker, shit like that. If you have to make a name for yourself that brags about how awesome you are, don't. It doesn't make you seem hardcore. It makes you look like a kid. If you have to announce your mad skills to the world, all I can say is you had better have the moves to cash the check your name is writing for you.

Offender #6: The innuendo/penis symbol.

Just no. You can bet your ass I'll report you for sheer stupidity even if your tag wasn't offensive. If I want to see dicks on the internet I'll go watch porn.
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Like I said, I can totally understand how hard it is to pick a quality screen name, but the extra effort always is worth it in the end when you don't seem like a dumbass in game. That's all for now. +1, like, follow, etc., you guys know the drill. Until next time!

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Sunday, August 28, 2011

Newbiehammer #2: Picking the right army/ Army overview, part one: Space Marines

Ghevrix here, better late than ever and back from a small hiatus with a brand new post to my fledgeling Warhammer guide for new players, and the subject is one that will effect your gaming experience during your entire time playing this game: Your army.

As I said in my last post, Warhammer 40k has a ton of armies to choose from, each with it's own units and style of play. Since all the armies and their units are so different and have a number of strategies available to them, I'll have to stick to a short overview of the army and their strategies. Some armies have an asterisk (*) next to their name, these denote an army that hasn't had their codex rulebook updated to the latest rulebook. This doesn't necessarily make them worse than the rest. I've seen plenty of killer army lists made from races with outdated rules. That said, they may not take advantage of the rules the in the same way as they used to. Remember the real thing that matters in a choice of army is how much you like it and have fun playing.

Today I'm providing a list and quick description of each army here, as well as starting my slightly more in-depth overviews of the armies after Since there are so many armies, I'm going to break it down over multiple posts.

-Space Marines (Including Blood Angels, Dark Angels*, Space Wolves, Grey Knights and Black Templars,* who have their own books)

-Chaos Space Marines (All the awesome of Space Marines, but a lot more evil)

-Inquisition* (Hunters of aliens, heretics, mutants and traitors against humanity, or anyone they perceive as such)

-Imperial Guard (Standard humans, lots of tanks, artillery and large squads for meat grinder, attrition-style warfare)

-Daemons of Chaos (Hordes of inter-dimensional, bloodthirsty beasts driven to destroy)

-Orks (Pretty much the same Orks you get when you think of fantasy orcs/orks, just in space. And with guns. They use weight of numbers and sheer aggression. Also they pay in knocked-out teeth and believe vehicles painted red go faster. One of the only armies with a sense of humor)

-Tau* (As high-tech an army as you can get. A highly-advanced alien race with laser carbines and battlesuits. For the Gundam lovers out there)

-Tyranids (Slavering, numberless hordes of extra-galactic beasts here to eat your entire planet and all it's neighbors. The least human of all the armies, and the most fang and claw-reliant. That makes them no less hard to kill)

-Eldar (Space elves. Yep. You heard me. The last of a dying race that used to rule the galaxy long before humanity came along. One of the most advanced armies to play, these guys are heavily reliant on inter-unit synergy and extremely mobile skimmer vehicles to win)

-Dark Eldar (Evil Space elves. Pirates and raiders who live in dark, corrupted cities on hidden worlds, leaving only to collect slaves for their twisted pleasures. They fight understandably similar to regular Eldar, using skimmers to cart lethal but fragile troops around the field, however that's pretty much where the similarities end)

-Necrons* (Ancient zombie robots from space is the prevalent theme here. Legions of metallic skeletons making their way inexorably across the field, laying waste to anything they come across. The only army more sturdy and harder to outright kill than Space Marines, since after these things get killed, there's a 50/50 chance they come back from the dead the next turn)

Now for the army overviews. I'll just to Space Marines this time but I may do multiple armies in a single post in the future.

Space Marines

Space Marines, or Adeptus Astartes, as some of the ubernerds will occasionally refer to them as, are the classic posterboys for Warhammer 40,000. Eight foot tall, relentless post-human supersoldiers, genetically and surgically enhanced and armored with humanity's best arms and armor for the express purpose of securing mankind's interstellar empire. These guys are taken in as preteens, enhanced, and heavily trained to kick ass and chew bubblegum, and there is no gum in the grim, dark future of the 41st millenium. No gum anywhere. They're organized into Chapters of 1000 men, each Chapter an army unto itself. It may not seem like much, but a full company of 100 is usually enough to bring an entire planet and it's neighbors into compliance.

Space Marines generally don't field large numbers on the story battlefield, but what they do bring to the table is bigger, stronger, faster, angrier, and a whole lot harder to kill than almost anything else in the story. This is well reflected on the gaming table. A Space Marine army is smaller and more elite than most other races, however the standard troops have the best armor of any unit in an equivalent position in other armies. They can field elite units that can fill a variety of roles, from rapid-moving bike and Assault squads to heavy weapon-toting Devastator squads to stalwart, heavily-armored Terminator squads. In some cases there are special characters who will give the entire army special rules, affecting the entire play style of your force!

Story-wise there are over a thousand Space Marine Chapters, with it's own style of warfare. On the table, there are multiple ways to paint and play these guys. Some prefer to armor up and flood the field with mobile tanks and ground units, others prefer to focus on infantry and bringing weight of fire from protected positions, while in other players still prefer to play aggressively and focus on getting into close combat with their jet pack or Terminator-armored warriors. More often, you'll face hybrid armies that mesh some or all of these different styles of play. Best thing to do is to identify their lynchpin unit, the squad(s) or unit(s) that do the heavy lifting, so to speak for his army, and take it out of the game as efficiently as possible. Normally this will be the leaders or special characters of the army, or a particularly badass close combat unit or vehicle. Whatever it is you'll figure out fast simply by the amount of damage it does, which will be far and away that which their standard units could put out.

Units to watch for:


The cream of the crop, literally the elites of the elites. These guys come in two flavors, the close combat specialist Vanguard and the more tactically-oriented Sternguard. Vanguard are equipped with jetpacks, like a normal Assault squad, but can hit much harder and faster than anything a standard Assault squad can dish out. Sternguard are an entirely different flavor of beast. Instead of relying on close-in fighting, these veterans like to take their foes down at range, using a variety of specialized ammunition that has a much more lethal effect on their targets. The best, most general advice I can give to take on these units is to not engage them in their preferred method. In short, shoot the ones that like to assault, and assault the ones that like to shoot. Vanguard who can't get close can't use their big fancy swords and Sternguard that are stuck in close combat can't use their special ammo.


Basically a Space Marine that proves himself to be a badass among badasses and actually manages to get messed up bad enough, he may be chosen to be put in a Dreadnaught. A Dreadnaught, or just a dread for short, is a two story tall bad day on two legs. Half life-support system half tank, this thing is hard to kill and can be equipped with a huge variety of weapons that can let it fill any role from anti-infantry, anti-vehicle, to one of the heaviest-hitting close combat units available. If you see one of these things in your opponent's army, first thing to do is take a good look at what weapons it has equipped. If it has one or both arms ending in a fist-looking attachment, avoid close combat unless you're sure you can break it open, because if not, it will have a fun time doing the same to you. The second thing you should do is hit it with anti-tank weapons, because standard weapons won't scratch that armor.


Black-armored, skull-faced warriors. These guys are the spiritual guardians of their given Chapter. On the field, these guys are close combat monsters. Usually attached to another unit, Chaplains buff out the entire squad they're in with their special rules. These guys are almost never running around alone. The only chance you'll have to get at him is to whittle down the squad he's in and gang up on him. Flood him with armor save rolls and he'll go down eventually.


Put the idea of the quiet bookworm out of your head, because these guys can cause some commotion. Librarians are psychic warriors who use their abilities to reinforce their already prodigious combat skills. On the table, these guys are wild cards. Each rulebook has a list of available psychic powers that the Librarian can use every turn, which can do anything from directly damage enemies, to reinforce other squads, to warp whole units across the battlefield. You can never really know what to expect from a Librarian until he starts using his powers, but whatever you do, keep your big, scary single-man units away from them, because their close combat weapons can instant-kill anything that it causes a wound to.

-Special Characters
The head honchos of the Space Marines. These guys take no nonsense from anything. Invariably harder than anything else in the army in close combat, and usually have special rules that they can pass on to certain units in the army or even the whole army. These guys are a priority target in almost any case, but there's pretty much no easy way to bring them down.
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Tips for playing Space Marines:

-Don't think your units are impervious
They are famous for being hard to kill and knowing no fear, but they are not impervious, they can and will die. Especially if you get too enamored with their awesomeness and send them out with no support. All 40k armies rely on inter-unit teamwork to win, Space Marines are no different. Using one unit to soften up an enemy unit before sending another in to finish cleaning up is a common tactic.

-Don't be afraid to gang up on units

Seriously. Causing a few wounds to a bunch of enemy squads is a lot less useful than causing a lot of wounds to one or two.

Tips for facing Space Marines

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-Definitely gang up on units
It bears repeating. Doubly so for facing Space Marines. Unless it's below half strength, chances are a given Space Marine squad is a threat in some form or another.

-Watch for elite units

Reread what I said about lynchpin units. If a Space Marine army loses it's focal point it loses the main ability to do damage. Even so, don't underestimate the army, because there may be more than one lynchpin and even if not, Space Marines are still deadly.

-AP3 or higher weapons are your friend

This is for newer players who have at least browsed the rulebook. For those or haven't, AP refers to a stat of weapons that determines how well a weapon bypasses armor. Basically a scale from 6 to 1, the lower the better. AP 3 is enough to get past Space Marine armor. Some good examples are plasma guns, which are AP 2, or an Eldar weapon called a Reaper Launcher, which is AP3. Weapons like these will not give Space Marines the chance to use their armor to protect them from getting damaged or killed.

-Don't dance to his tune

This is pretty much the same advice for facing Veterans: Don't let him play to his strengths as much as possible. If you see a unit made for close combat, shoot the hell out of it. If it has a big, scary gun, tie it up in close combat. Unbalance your opponent and keep him on the back foot, reacting to your moves instead of simply reacting to his and you'll have a lot easier time of beating them.
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This is far from a comprehensive list of the units available to Space Marine players. I may go into the units from the Chapter-specific codices, the Blood Angels, Black Templars, etc., in the future, since these armies play differently enough from generic Space Marines to warrant their own books. However, no matter what Space Marine army you're playing or playing against, these units are always a good idea to pick up to use or, conversely, keep an eye out for on the table. Tune in next week for a breakdown of the Chaos Space Marines and their twisted tools of destruction.

All pics/art are copyright to their artists or owners. All Warhammer 40k stuff is copyright Games Workshop

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Wednesday, August 24, 2011

This is what you're doing for Halloween.

Got plans for Halloween yet? Now you do. In case the picture didn't give you a hint, it involves zombies. What better way to celebrate Halloween than with a three-day, nerf zombie tag event? That's right, zombie hunters, dig up your nerf guns and look behind your couch for your plastic foam darts because at the end of October the living dead are rising in your local city. Like I said before, this is a three day long event, starting the 29th and ending the 31st.

This event is going to be held in large areas in a given city, with people playing as surviors or zombies, with zombies trying to "bite" the survivors and teams of survivors competing to stay alive against the zombies and even other teams of survivors! In the final day each team of both survivors and humans can all make flags, and fight against each other to collect other groups flags.
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I know you paintball and airsoft fans like to scoff at nerf guns but I think that this thing looks like a ton of fun, especially if a big enough group can be gathered. That's why any of you that are interested in this and think it's as cool as I do should definitely start telling their friends. I'm serious. The bigger this thing gets the more better it's going to be. Tell your friends, post it to facebook.

The event main page
with rules and link to find your local event
Zombie event meetup group
Facebook event
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This is a worldwide event. So far the biggest group is around 50. I bet if you guys try to get your friends in it, and spread the word that this could definitely be big! I'm looking forward to assembling my team and unloading some orange foam fury. I'm gonna try to swing getting one of those battery powered gatling guns. I want to see if I could convince one of my friends to shave their head in order to make a nerf Heavy Weapons Guy cosplay. I'll probably bring this up again as it gets closer to the event. I want to see some zombies, come

Do a Thriller dance, I dare you.
Ha ha. Cry some more.
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