Berks Spring Assault

berks-paThis weekend I went out for the Berks 40k Spring Assault in the Classic track, a 1000 point casual-oriented tournament. Unfortunately several other PAGE and Redcap’s people bailed at the last minute, but Tom M, Colin K, and Steve S were also there. The Classic track had 40 players, and the 2500 point Unleashed track another 16, so together with a bunch of organizers, judges, and spectators, there was a sizable crowd. This was actually my first time going to the Spring Assault, and I was not disappointed. Despite a couple rough games personally and winning absolutely zero of the many many raffle drawings, it was as expected a really fun day.

A few more photos from my games and just a couple of armies on display are in the photo gallery. Unfortunately there was enough going on all day, and my games busy enough, that I didn’t manage to get nearly as many photos as I usually do, particularly from the surrounding games and armies.

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kingbreakers-iconArmy

I went with something atypical for me—no Drop Pods, no Sternguard, no Knight (not permitted in this format!), no fortification, just dudes in trucks and some skimmer supports:

  • Captain Angholan (Vulkan)
  • Squad Scolirus: Tactical x10 w/ Veteran Sgt, Powerfist, Flamer, Missile Launcher, Rhino
  • Squad Harbinger: Tactical x6 w/ Veteran Sgt, Combi-Melta, Meltabombs, Meltagun, Rhino
  • Squad Titus: Tactical x10 w/ Veteran Sgt, Chainsword, Meltabombs, Meltagun, Missile Launcher, Rhino
  • Scouts x5 w/ Camo Cloaks, Sniper Rifles
  • Landspeeder w/ Multi-Melta, Heavy Flamer
  • Landspeeder w/ Multi-Melta, Heavy Flamer

That is a pretty traditional and fluffy Space Marine list, but has some units of dubious performance in the modern day. Landspeeders, particularly of this kit-out, are not super strong at the moment, to a large extent simply due to not getting the Salamanders’ flame re-rolls. But their high mobility can be useful in these kind of small games to grab objectives and such and I love them, so I went with it. Vulkan on the other hand is generally a very good unit for a combat-oriented Space Marine, he’s just a lot of points to sink into a single T4 infantry model at 1000pts.

The Rhinos I took over Drop Pods because I expected terrain to be slightly lighter than what we generally run, so I wanted something for my dudes to bunker up in. With such few units I was also worried about my ability to cover any Maelstrom type mission with dudes on foot after Podding in.

All in all, to foreshadow a bit, I wasn’t too shocked to struggle in two games against newer toys, and was pleased to do well in the other half of my games.

Round 1

Dawn of War, Crusade with 4 objectives, against Mark V H’s Eldar. His list had a good mix of units, I actually think it was originally designed for Highlander format as nothing repeated. I think it really hurt me this game to not have my usual Drop Pods and Sternguard. With the Pods I could have taken the fight directly to the xenos, potentially slagging his exposed D-Cannon artillery, and the Sternguard could have put poison and melta on the Wraithknight. As it was though, those barrage S10 AP2 shots tagged anything I did manage to hide from the walker and a Wave Serpent, with a Nightwing Interceptor coming in later to clean up. The Kingbreakers did take down the Wraithknight Aevethon’s Lament, but it was a pyrrhic victory just before they were swept away.

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Round 2

Vanguard Strike, Purge the Alien with old school Victory Points (1 point for each 100 pts totaled among completely destroyed units), against Louis J and his Iron Hands. This kind of mission is always tough for me, and this seemed like just a particularly bad matchup for it. His army was a bit light on units, so playing for objectives I think I would have been fine. But for kill points all my light vehicles and troops rushing across a fairly open field at him seemed like they’d be tasty targets for his large quantity of S6+ long range shooting before I could get any melta into play: Dudes with lascannons, two Razorbacks w/ twin-linked Lascannon sponsons, grav Bikers, a Contemptor, a Sicaran, and a Master of the Forge. My usual Sternguard and Drop Pods again would have been useful here, to melta-drop some opposing vehicles. So, I kinda went to left field and played for a draw by reserving almost everything and hoping to simply keep it from being killed. Scouts I buried completely out of LOS within a hut to keep me in the game. Landspeeders I put on the table but very carefully out of LOS and range to anything, as juicy targets to try and draw the Iron Hands forward.

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In the end I brought the ‘Speeders out of hiding too early and they got slagged before doing anything meaningful. Partly that was do to poor targeting priority, sending them against the bikers to protect the Scouts rather than trying to trade fire with the Razorbacks. The other Kingbreakers that came on and went right into hiding did some damage after the enemy finally came forward enough to strike at meaningfully. It wasn’t enough though and I went down to a minor loss. Potentially this goofball strategy could have worked if I’d changed the order up a bit, deploying a Rhino and flying on the Landspeeders, and overall stuck to my guns and done nothing but waited for him to come to me piecemeal. It was really difficult for me to do all that sitting around though, even as Louis was a great sport and found it hilarious that basically nothing happened for three turns. Overall I wouldn’t do this strategy again, and was probably kitted out to fight toe-to-toe with this army anyway, but it just seemed like something different to try and maybe put him off kilter and engender a major mistake tipping the balance. That almost worked, when he finally broke and started bringing units forward, but then Louis realized what was about to happen and stepped them all back just a few meaningful inches before I could bring on a solid thrust at them.

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Round 3

Dawn of War, a variant on the Relic with additional immovable objective markers, against Chris S and his Dark Eldar. The Kingbreakers swept this one fairly systematically. Scouts got sacrificed as a ploy to bring some troops forward, which then got burninated as the meltas and missile launchers took down the opposing Raiders one by one. Even the Razorwing flyer eventually took a fair amount of damage. The Rhinos in turn just churned up field until they were controlling all three objectives and the xenos tabled except for the jetfighter. Here I think the Dark Eldar mostly just couldn’t bring on enough of a concentrated force to really score some major damage before the relatively fragile units could be rolled up one by one.

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Round 4

Old-school Spearhead setup, fighting to kill and control monstrous creature Peeps, against Steve S and his Space Wolves Chaos Marines. This deployment setup is funny, and one that I actually think about a lot in coming up with new arrangements for our events. Each army gets a table quadrant to deploy in, but must be at least 12″ from table center. The thing is that it doesn’t really preserve the 24″ boundary. The corners closest to center are a fair bit closer, so you’re open to Turn 1 charges if you deploy there, first player Turn 1 charges no longer being barred by the rules AFAIK. I totally forgot about this, deployed in the forward corners, and got immediately charged by Steve’s horde of Chaos dogs, cyber dogs, and Thunderhammer-wielding lord and henchman on Juggernauts.

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That was basically ok, because a Landspeeder and Rhino went *poof* and then the whole horde was ideally placed for the entire Kingbreakers army to drop flame, meltas, bolters, missiles, and the kitchen sink on it. Being kitted out with a fair bit of flame, including Salamanders’ re-rolling flame on the infantry, was decisive in tackling the dogs. Re-rolling meltas due to Vulkan, combined with several missile launchers, plucked wounds off the Juggernauts fairly rapidly. I also got very lucky on Steve’s Stormwolf flyer not coming in until Turn 4. Earlier on it would have shifted the game back in his favor quite a bit.

As things went though, very quickly only the lords and a couple straggler dogs were left standing. Then the sugary bio-morphs arrived…

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The Peeps came in via deep strike and wielded a WS4 BS2 S6 T6 W6 I2 A3 LD10 3+ Monstrous Creature, Eternal Warrior, Feel No Pain (5+) profile with Laser Eyes R18 S6 AP4 Assault 2. I brought mine in near my encampment so that it could fight the Juggernauts and then be easily claimed by my guys. Steve also dropped his Peep by my guys as he didn’t have much on the backfield except a Rhino charging at me, and hopefully it’d be able to do some damage on its own. Really though, the Peeps wound up being largely pushovers. Each of us wound up destroying the other’s Peep in close combat, Steve with his Juggernauts and me with powerfist wielding Sgt Scolirus. I was stoked because this kind of thing totally justifies my inefficient nostalgic dedication to powerfist sergeants.

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After that there were a bunch of small combats. The lords got mopped up. Steve’s flyer arrived and together with the Rhino each delivered a handful of Chaos Marines into the battle, but by that point there were far too many Kingbreakers outnumbering them and they went down pretty easily. The Rhino managed to dash onto one of the dead Peep objectives to contest it, as we ran out of time before I could finish it off, move for Linebreaker, and so on to sweep up more points. But still the Kingbreakers had killed one Peep, held the other dead Peep, and had slain the Chaos warlord, for a doubled-points victory.

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Outcome

Final tally was that I got crushed by Eldar, took a minor loss to the Iron Hands, won a perfect game against Dark Eldar, and massacred Chaosy Space Wolves. So I lost two games I thought would be extremely difficult just based on armies (let alone players, Mark from Round 1 finished 7th overall), crushed a game I in some sense should indeed have won (newer player to this edition, with a difficult to play army), and wrapped up the day winning the game I wanted to win but could have gone either way (against Steve, a friend and good player who’s crushed me many times).

The scoring system is a little opaque, but my painting and sportsmanship must have boosted what on average seemed a middling amount of points per game, to put me 11th of 39 registered players in the final standings. Tom finished an impressive 8th, and Colin and Steve 17th and 18th for all of us to finish in the top half.

Conclusion

All in all, yet another excellent Berks tournament. Bonus points to Berks and Mike B for the best catered lunch I’ve seen at a 40k event, notably including tons of vegetarian options. I was super glad I went despite it being a crazy weekend—Friday I moved, just barely managing to keep my 40k stuff from being lost among all the unopened boxes, and Sunday I ran a small but intricate tournament. I’m definitely looking forward to next year’s Spring Assault already, and hopefully we’ll get more people to come out from Philly and enjoy such a great event.

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Chelicerae WIP

WIP of the main body for the Chelicerae Automated Sentry Platform:

platform

Ponoko estimates $8–12 to 3D print this, depending on the granularity of the material used. Nearly all of that is the setup and design review flat fee. The material costs are less than $1.50 in both cases. Hopefully then adding a turret and guns won’t increase the cost substantially. As a point of comparison, the Forge World Space Marine Tarantula weapons platforms are $26 USD. I’m trying to see how bespoke 3D printing will stack up in comparison, looking good so far.

Captain Angholan 2.0

Not long after Warmachine was introduced, Privateer Press realized they needed a way to resell all of the main warcaster characters. So they introduced “Epic” versions, with more dynamic models, buffed out stats, and even greater special abilities. Fluff-wise these represented the characters later in the great war, changed from earthshaking betrayals, tremendous losses, or just the daily grind of endless war. Players could choose to field either version, trading off points for powers. I thought the whole idea was a really neat concept, how it really fleshed out the character’s trajectory in the storyline and their particular personal pathos.

Over the holidays I finally finished up Epic edition Captain Angholan, leader of the Kingbreakers Space Marines:

From the rubble we rise.

From the rubble we rise.

Forward we march.

Forward we march.

History

After six long years of hard service, this retires the Emperor’s Champion model that Lovell gave me with some Tactical Marines to get me to start playing 40k. It’s a great model and the paintjob is ok—and was really good for one of my first models—but it’s definitely showing its age. A thin model to begin with, the Champ doesn’t really convey the beefy W3, 2+/3++ Vulkan statline I play him as. The random, funky gun I originally cobbled together to represent a mastercrafted boltgun also doesn’t really stand in well for Vulkan’s heavy flamer. I am a little bummed to set aside a model that’s been the heart of more than half a decade of great gaming. But this update certainly conveys the in-game character better and reflects my current level of painting and hobby skills.

kingbreakers-iconFor the Kingbreakers narrative and the saga of Forestway, it also captures Privateer’s notion of Epic edition characters. The Emperor’s Champion model is Angholan mere months after the Fall of Forestway, shattered and barely rebuilt from being crushed in the rubble defending the primary geneseed vault as the chapter monastery was leveled. The Legion Praetor model is Angholan two years later, in fine fighting form and undisputed leader of a chapter returning from the brink rather than dwindling into oblivion, embroiled in the great campaigns of Kimball Prime, Caldor IV, and Solypsus 9.

Captain Angholan 1.0 on the left, one of my first models six years ago. Epic edition 2.0 on the right.

Captain Angholan 1.0 on the left, one of my first models six years ago. Epic edition 2.0 on the right.

Model

The model is one of Forge World’s Legion Praetors, and it’s incredible. I think the archaic, artificier-crafted Terminator armor really conveys Vulkan’s W3 2+/3++. In a 40k rules context the Volkite charger is a credible stand-in for Vulkan’s heavy flamer and the sword works perfect for a flaming relic weapon (+2S, mastercrafted, digital weapons). I’ve been calling it Angholan’s Vorpal Blade.

Forge World's preview photo.

Forge World’s preview photo.

Capt Angholan, all washed up and drying out.

Capt Angholan, all washed up and drying out.

Work in progress.

Work in progress.

I only made a couple tweaks on the model. The sword has been cut up to give it more of a flaming, archaic feel. The head cavity in the armour was also drilled out a bit and the leading arch of the backpiece sliced off to make room for putting a Grey Knights Strike Squad helmet on instead of a bare head. I think the character is actually more relateable when you don’t have a specific face to put to him. It also goes with a bit of Kingbreakers fluff that Angholan is rarely out of his armor and relies on it heavily due to all of the post-Forestway reconstructive work.

The base has been built up with some GW terrain bits and greenstuff. Functionally that gives the model a lot more height and bulk, making him stand out as a leader should. Symbolically it references the fallen monastery and Angholan’s long dark night buried alive until his rescue at the last minute before the planet was extinguished. The 40mm base is probably a disadvantage for me, as it’ll make him harder to place for flaming targets when deep striking out of a pod, but it certainly looks cool and helps with the bulky feel.

In hindsight if I had to start over I’d put a large, oversize backbanner on him with the Kingbreakers logo. But I’m super happy with how the model turned out. He didn’t even take that long to paint. It took me a while to get motivated to get the primary base coats on, but after that everything went super quick.

To War

Angholan 2.0 has already had a super dramatic run in this year’s PAGE winter Apocalypse battle royale and I’m looking forward to his first tournament this weekend. This is actually my first Forge World model and I think it came out great, well deserving of the extra expense. For the Emperor! Burn the heretic!

Captain Angholan with Sergeant Harbinger (left), First Sergeant Scolirus (right), and various Kingbreakers from Tactical 1.

Captain Angholan with Sergeant Harbinger (left), First Sergeant Scolirus (right), and various Kingbreakers from Tactical 1.

Captain Angholan and Squad Scolirus attack Nemesor Zahndrekh in his Citadel.

Captain Angholan and Squad Scolirus attack Nemesor Zahndrekh in his Citadel.