Author: scutarii

Epic: Armageddon Factions 101 – Part 6 Chaos Undivided

All pictures provided by the gracious jimmyzimms and Nitpick of Taccomms fame. Thanks you two!

IW 1

Welcome back! This time we’re looking at around half of the Chaos lists available in EpicUK. There are 7 Chaos lists and I felt it better to split the article up into two parts. This time covering the forces of chaos undivided – the Black Legion, Iron Warriors and the mad cultists of the Lost & the Damned. Next time we’ll look at the Chaos cult lists because they are distinctly different to these undivided lists due to the abundance of some interesting special rules…but more on that next time!

Link to the Chaos Codex
Link to the Lost and the Damned Codex

The two Chaos marine factions this week play differently to each other and very differently to the loyalist marine chapters too while the Lost and the Damned are a whole host of weird and wacky.

First up for those following along these Chaos marines have three major differences from the loyalists: first they don’t have ‘And They Shall Know No Fear’, second they have larger base formation sizes and lots of ways to add more and more upgrades to their formations and thirdly they lack the Thunderhawk Gunship and Landing Craft

That first difference means they don’t break any of the morale rules and are thus easier to break (normally) and they suffer from casualties in combat resolution and blast markers when broken in the same way as anyone else, which can be especially disheartening for expensive tough troops like Terminators or Land Raiders. Sometimes an opponent will favour breaking these formations with blast markers and then killing them with more blast markers rather than trying to crack their armour.

The second however gives you a counter to being easier to break (by having more models they need more blast markers!) and also giving you a lot of flexibility in how to build your formations, what tools to equip each formation with depending on the role you want it to fulfill etc. A lot of these upgrades are fun toys to use too! The thing to be careful about is adding too many upgrades to your formations, you don’t want to spend too much and not have enough points left for buying other formations, remember to aim for 10-11 activations in a 3k points game (unless you have some clever things in mind).

The third difference can either be big or small depending on how you’d choose to field your loyalists but this difference means that the traitor legions are less air mobile and have pretty much no ability to leave the table once they’ve arrived on it and less ability to precision drop forces right onto an enemy in response to their battleplan. You can orbital drop but that requires pre-plotting at the start of the game so is less responsive and you can teleport terminators but once they’ve teleported they’re stuck on foot.

Apart from the Iron Warriors though your Chaos forces have one big, big advantage. Daemon summoning!

PLagueBearers

Daemon summoning allows you to purchase a pool of various types of daemons and, when activating formations that have bought the ability to do so, summon a semi-random number of them to add to the formation for that turn. The individual daemons themselves are usually fairly potent (if specialised) and provide a variety of useful tactical options, both defensively and offensively. For example you may decide to protect an important formation by activating them early and summoning Daemons into them, bulking up the formation and making it more dangerous to attack, as the Daemons last until the end of the turn they may help protect that formation for the entire turns duration. This is particularly helpful for protecting your BTS. On the offensive this allows you to essentially bring in the ‘support fire’ element that having your formations working together without the need for a second formation. See a target, declare an engagement and summon a small handful of Daemons to add another load of attacks all of a sudden and do what would normally require supporting attacks with just one activation.

Note: Daemons are removed after rolling to rally at the end of the turn so a formation that has, for example 6 marines and 2 daemons with 6 blast markers gets a chance to rally and remove those blast markers before the daemons vanish even though the 6 blast markers would break the 6 marines normally

Note: Daemons can be summoned within 5cm of an existing model of the formation…which means you can gain an extra 5cm of range on an engagement for example! Sneaky!

Combining the Daemon summoning with the options to make large, more powerful formations and you can create very self-sufficient forces.

Now, on to the Lists themselves!

The Black Legion

These guys are your oxymoronic ‘generic Chaos’. They can be stand ins for any legion or none, make use of Daemons, have loads of war engines, foot sloggers, elites, orbital drops, etc.

Broadly this list plays Epic in the normal way, get activations on the table, move them to where they need to be to contest objectives, use shooting to chase off small stuff and weaken larger stuff, organise supported attacks, engage and hold on to the end of turn 3. They have all the tools needed to do this and plenty of fun toys to use to get there too. The big selling point here though is the availability of Daemons. The list is well tailored to make good use of them. Note the Daemonic Pact upgrade for 25 points – it allows you to summon Daemons in the upgraded formation AND gives you one free lesser daemon to summon. Buying a few of these Pacts will give you to core of your Daemon pool and then maybe spending a few points elsewhere will get you everything you need to be able to bring on large forces of Daemons where you need them and then return them to safety for appearance elsewhere next turn.

It is strongly worth considering which type of Daemons you want. The Greater Daemons are potent but require using a Champion upgrade as a sacrifice (or an average 4d3 roll) and you can only have one on the table at a time. Take one because it’s cool and not that expensive for what your get. remember, the average on 4d3 is 8 and having a Champion gives you +2d3 to summon meaning on average you’ll succeed in summoning your Greater Daemon and all of them come with a Daemonic Focus which means they can choose to stay on the table at the end of the turn. This means a turn 1 average roll adds the Greater Daemon to your formation for potentially the entire game, not bad for 100pts. The lesser Daemons are your ‘bread and butter’ here and there are a few stand outs. The Flamers of Tzeentch are probably the best by being a focused FF unit allowing them to be useful on both offence and defence with their main liability being a poorer 5+ save (which you get around by hiding them behind your 4+ save chaos marines!) otherwise they’re granting you 2 4+FF attacks each so just dropping in 3-4 into a formation gives you a scary 6-8 more attacks hitting on 4s! The Daemonettes are good too, suffering from the problems of being a CC focused unit they make up for it with a 3+ to hit and first strike allowing them to shred opposition before it gets to attack back. The Bloodletters are much the same as the Daemonettes with more attacks but only on 4s and suffering from the same CC only problem. The Plague Bearers are a different style of unit, with their strong 3+ save they make a great frontline and are fantastic as a defensive summon to protect your formations by being able to just bounce 2/3rds of all hits. A mix of Plague Bearers and Flamers probably gives you the most variety and options though you’d want the ratio to favour the Flamers. Taking only Flamers is always a good option. Otherwise I personally prefer the Daemonettes to the Bloodletters because killing first also acts as a defensive measure.

SONY DSC

Next think about where you want the Daemonic Pacts, your big core formations are good choices but sometimes adding one to something smaller like a unit of Chosen means you can transform a 4 stand infantry unit into an 8 stand major attacking piece (garrisoned forward turn 1!). It’s always worth knowing which formations you want to summon into while planning your turns, being able to suddenly shift the direction of an attack can really surprise an opponent and change their responses. Do not fall into the trap of thinking that each unit with a Pact must summon Daemons or even worse thinking each formation with a Pact should summon 1 per turn. The big strength is being able to suddenly add a considerable amount of extra power in one or two places each turn.

One thing to note is that the Daemonic Pact is an upgrade to the formation itself, not to a single model in the formation. This means that so long as one stand remains it can summon daemons…that one random surviving rhino after lots of casualties can potentially summon in 6 stands of daemons from nowhere turning that easily ignored one model into 7 and all of a sudden become a major threat!

Aside from the Daemons the list has various useful formations. The core one itself is a solid, heavily armoured, well equipped set of infantry good on both offence and defence, good in both CC and FF with a good threat range out to 60cm without needing to double. Commonly this formation will be deployed mounted in Rhinos and with a Daemonic Pact. This isn’t super cheap but it gives a strong, mobile force with the ability to spike its power by summoning. it can also be upgraded with many additional stands. Other uses are to take them without the Rhinos and instead garrison forwards due to the 15cm movement and provide a firebase in the middle of the board or to mount them in Dreadclaws for an orbital drop. Mounting in rhinos is the most flexible and probably the most popular use however. These formations will likely for the core on your army, being both your attacking pieces or for holding ground. Often these formations should be the ones making engagements with the other elements in the army the support for them.

The cheap, well armed Chosen are also fantastic as scouts. 145pts for the formation mounts them in rhinos for mobility and for 170pts they can have a Pact for summoning tricks. You also have access to Terminators, and can get up to 6 of them in a formation giving them even more offensive power than loyalist marines. However the loss of ‘And They Shall Know no Fear’ makes the chaos terminators far more vulnerable. An opponent will often place a few blast markers to break them and then just destroy them with additional blast markers, bypassing their fantastic 4+ reinforced armour. They also can get very expensive so really need to have a target and then ideally be in range to contribute further to the game. A one turn teleport to wipe out something and then having them stuck 80cm or more from objectives or other useful targets is a waste. Otherwise the rest of the army is both fast (with rhinos or by default) and potent on both attack and well armoured. You pay the points for this but it gives you a lot of flexibility to build a list matching how you want to play.

IW 2

There is another area with some stand outs. Warengines. The Decimator is a Baneblade equivalent with short range but powerful weapons while the Doomwheel is tough, fast and festooned with guns. The speed and flexibility of the Doomwheel makes it a very popular choice, rolling in to be a support fire element for any of the core formations, tough enough that it won’t just be chased off without the opponent committing real force to do so and even after the main fighting has been done the speed means it can dash out and contest or capture objectives.

Overall the Black Legion is flexible and potent with many fun units to use. It tends to play more like up-armoured Imperial Guard than a loyalist marine chapter but that makes it sit in a unique niche. Probably the biggest thing to pay attention to when putting together your list is to not get too carried away with upgrades. Remember, activations can win you games! Though there is less of a pressing need for them when you can summon in Daemons where you need them, allowing you less need for having support fire moving along your main attacks and allowing you to transform small disposable units into potent forces all their own.

Lost and the Damned

I must admit to having never played using these, nor against them so I unfortunately have limited advice here! I will do what I can to provide some guidance though!

First up the list is intended to represent traitor guard forces, cultists and other madmen and the mutants infesting Imperial realms. It also have access to the greatest volume of daemons (see the notes above for how useful they can be!) and Daemon Engines an almost unique set of units giving a host of flavourful options. You can put large numbers of troops on the table (and by can I mean will!) and then support them with a diverse and eclectic mix of other units providing a real bit of visual flair.

IMG_0666

The list itself is very abrupt with a few Imperial Guard units in the support slots giving the strategic and tactical flexibility an army needs and the standouts are the Stigmatus Coven and the Daemon Engines! These need to be either undivided or aligned to a specific god which determines the units and upgrades available as well as constraining what units can be taken in the support slot. Remember, if you want to take a Khornate set of Daemon Engines you must first take a Coven aligned with Khorne.

The Coven formation is very flexible, lots of options and lots of combinations allowing for you to really mix and match to suit what you want. I’ll point out some general features and then present a few possible combinations that might have some good uses.

So the main coven is the core of the army that unlock everything else. It’s got some good flexibility with options for Mutants or Cultists. The cultists are basically guardsmen and carry a short ranged and mostly ineffectual gun, but weight of fire and the ability to place blast markers is helpful. The Mutants are a bit tougher and better in an engagement. There’s not a huge disparity here so choose your preference. The leader of the coven though gives more options, the Aspiring Champion is better as a normal leader with commander and leader abilities and is a better fighter while the Demagogue gives +2d3 to summon Daemons. The coven then can choose up to 4 upgrades (which contain much of the other Imperial Guard units like griffons) and one of those 4 choices can be a free Daemonic Pact.

Note that the pact here does not come with a free Daemon for the Daemon Pool so you have to buy all your Daemons individually. Note also that the value of the Daemons changes a bit. The Flamers remain probably the best all round and it’s hard to go wrong with them. But the value of the Plaguebearers goes way up because the majority of your Coven is 6+ or no armour (or 5+ if in trees/cover) and having a wall of a few Plague Bearers (perhaps 3?) as the troops closest to the enemy so they take the hits first on their 3+ save is dramatically better than it would be in the Black Legion list (with their fairly uniform 4+ save).

You can then also mount the Coven, adding to the cost fairly considerably. 200pts naked (i.e.: with a Daemonic Pact) is competitive, mounting into the land transporters (which are pretty good too) makes it cost 260, adding in 2 Daemons to the Daemon pool is 40 so for 300pts you can get the formation, mounted and added to the Daemon pool. Which is not a bad choice. Something built like this is good to be a core fighting formation, the kind of thing you use to press forward and attack with, hold ground with, etc. Used in a similar way to an Imperial Guard Infantry company. Get the infantry in to cover when you can and be a general pain in the enemy side.

SONY DSC

A more defensive option could be to take the naked coven and add a single griffon. This costs 235pts but because everything is speed 15cm or less and only one model is faster than 15cm it can garrison. Which means you can start with an artillery piece half way up the board, in cover, surrounded by bodyguards that is able of indirect firing 60cm further. Now, it’s only 1BP so really won’t hurt very much but that’s a simple, reliable way of putting blast markers on the opponent, anywhere they are and it’s in a package that requires meaningful forces to shift from their position, most scouting forces will not go anywhere near it in a fight so it will need your opponent to commit proper forces to deal with it, otherwise they abandon the center of the table to them. Not bad for such a low investment. You can make this Garrison force even tougher by upgrading to add some big mutants or spawn though not the hounds as they are speed 30cm so can’t garrison). Doing this changes them from a cheapish thorn in the opponent’s side to something you want to be a proper combat unit.

The Chaos Altar upgrade adds even more to your summoning capability, but loses you the ability to garrison (because it’s a warengine) and it’s slow so it makes the speed boost of mounting in transports moot. So by taking it you’re committing to ground pounding mostly unarmoured infantry over the table. As a defensive formation to sit on a blitz it’s good or something you can commit to a march order turn 1 to make sure it is relevant to the middle of the board early. It also makes the formation even better at summoning Daemons…except oftentimes it will be too far away and too slow to be able to make the most use of them (having a 30-35cm threat range on an engagement and a few 30cm guns with poor stats otherwise). The real standout upgrade for me is the Big Mutants. They carry poor guns (but can place blast markers), have a great save, have good FF and CC and a macro weapon attack and can come in large numbers. Taking a naked coven with a Demagogue, replacing 6 mutants with big mutants costs 320pts, mounting in land transporters for 90pts (1 for each big mutant, then 3 more for the rest of the formation) more and adding 2 Daemons to the pool for 40 more costs a total of 450pts. This is a big formation (6 big mutants, 5 other coven, the demagogue, 9 transports for 21 models) that is quick across the table and has a core of tough, dangerous fighters and the weight of numbers behind it to be a threat. Even taken in smaller numbers the Big Mutants (perhaps add 2 or so?) means you can hide your weaker troops behind them to absorb the hits and then bounce those hits on 3+, hiding some flamers of tzeentch behind a thin line of big mutants would be potent!

Keep an eye on the CC only stuff though, CC is generally weaker than FF due to the ways an opponent can exploit CC only troops. CC only works on the attack and not when you are attacked (because your opponent can make sure they don’t go into base to base with you) and it also can’t provide support fire. If you do take it remember you’ll need to work a bit harder to make it work for you than you would with FF focused troops.

Outside of the coven is the Daemon Engines and these are very varied and which ones you choose changes how the formation behaves a lot. Much like with the coven I will pick out some options that stand out to me as it’s just too varied to cover it fully!

IMG_0672

First up is the Khorne Lord of Battle. 400pts of warengine monstrosity, even coming as a terrifying pair for 800pts! It should fairly handily murder whatever it gets its hands on…hands being the operative word here. It’s biggest selling point is being brutally good in CC but it is only speed 25cm so it not that hard to keep away from. If it can’t CC it still has respectable FF and with high DC6 it gets plenty of attacks and outside of engagements has meaningful firepower. It’s just not going to be such a satisfying large amount! It you take it a pair is much more likely to have a major impact but it is a lot of points so it’s a real commitment to take it that way. The alternative is to use it defensively as a countercharge threat, they work better as singles in this way. Get one sat on an objective (such as your blitz!) and anything that is contesting that objective (within 15cm) should also be within your CC engage range of 25cm. If you are determined to use them as an attacking piece then commit to it and force your opponent to deal with them. Double or March into your opponents half and keep pushing on to their blitz. Marching turn 1 and doubling turn 2 means you can cover 75+50=125cm…the table is only 120cm across so you should be well able to reach your enemy blitz, have put blast markers on whatever is protecting it and engage it in CC turn 3, shredding whatever dares stand before you. The real goal is to make the opponent have to deal with you which means you may be able to get that CC ability in action more than once.

Both Slanneshi options are fantastic, hard to go wrong with either. The smaller Daemon Knights suffer from being fairly easy to break and suppress and mostly relying on their firepower bu they are fast, fearless scouts with potent firepower. They should allow you to control the middle of the board from turn 1, chasing off enemy scouts and remaining a threat throughout the game. Just don’t expose them to meaningful enemy firepower. The Scout titans can be taken solo or as pairs (so long as you have enough coven of the right alignment to take them!) and both are very good. The Questor is probably the better solo option due to sheer weight of fire but the Subjugator with it’s CC (and long range ability to put blast markers down range or blow up transport vehicles) is terrifying. While CC focused units generally suffer in comparison to their more FF focused ones the sheer threat range and high base speed of the titan means it can usually get into position to catch anything it wants and then engage it to CC. Find the nastiest warengine your opponent has and utterly shred it. You’ll find that very satisfying.

Father Nurgle provides some artillery support that competes, in my eyes, favourably with the basilisk. Indirect firing gives you 90cm of disrupt range, not quite enough to hit into the enemy deployment zone turn 1 bt they are decently tough and fearless. For the same points you could take 4 basilisk and have the ability to indirect fire anywhere on the board turn 1 which is also a very valuable option, enabling you to destroy enemy elements such as their own artillery, destroy a transport somewhere, etc. Both choices are good, though pricy at 325pts.

Key to pay attention to when building is that you have tons of options and can bring tools in various unique ways to solve your problems. Think about the objectives and how you will secure them then take the units best able to achieve that for you…then make sure to spend a few points on something extra silly and fun that you like the look of! Probably the biggest thing to be careful of is overspending on upgrades, remember to have enough activations on the table too not just 5 massive covens with every upgrade going!

The problem with taking 5 massive formations is that if your opponent has the standard 10 then they will be able to deny you any objectives by just moving around you with impunity after your 5 have activated and they’ll have 5 more actions to go! It also means they can potentially get their 5 extra formations in a support fire position around one of your big formations and…well…you might be big and tough but are you 5 formations optimally arranged by the opponent tough?

From a modelling perspective this list is great though, plenty of freedom to make varied, colourful and diverse units and conversion.

Iron Warriors

The Iron Warriors are an interesting list. Sacrificing much of the ‘chaos’ stuff in return for a few tweaks to existing formations, different availabilities of existing formations and a few unique units of their own. Focused very much on artillery, heavy firepower and armour.

IMG_20170302_170057167_HDR

In the broadest sense this changes the way the list plays away from being able to exploit summoning and the new and unique options that opens up to instead play more like a heavily armoured imperial guard army. Slower and more methodical with standard reliance on supporting formations, prepping targets and engaging them as well as the volume of firepower to blow apart most support formations on the opponent’s side from safety.

The first difference is that the core formations lose the ability to enter the table from orbit (as they can’t be mounted in dreadclaws) and so they will be on the table either in rhinos or garrisoned forward. They also cost more as they swap out two of their regular marine stands for two havocs, increasing the firepower and FF capability of the formation by a small amount. However, there formations have now moved from support slots into core – Defiler Packs and Vindicators and these open up a host of interesting options and allow a purely armoured force if you so desire.

The defilers are potent, tough and good in both CC and FF and the shooting phases, they come with Infiltrate and Fearless and Walker making the surprisingly mobile and with a large threat range. They are expensive however and, while potent, that cost means you won’t get as many of them as you may have wished. It’s hard to go wrong with a few of them though! 6 of them is 405pts and throws out a great deal of CC damage and a respectable FF attack too. They are especially good at dealing with tough infantry on the opposing side with their CC macro weapon attacks, just make sure to destroy any skimmer transports those infantry may be planning on hiding behind first!

The particularly interesting formation however is the Vindicators. Normally these are an upgrade or a small formation in their own right and by being small and often expensive or an upgrade they are rarely worthwhile. Here however they are a cheap(wish) armoured formation running 6 strong and can be upgraded to 9 strong for 355pts. These carry a lot of firepower good against both infantry and tanks, ignore cover, are fairly fast (25cm) and have walker to allow them to safely go through cover (which makes them faster than you’d think just looking at 25cm). The short range gun is a concern as using it puts them into engagement range…but they’re not bad in a firefight. If these guys can sit in support fire position they can add a considerable amount of raw power to any engagement. I’d strongly consider including a few of these formations in your list, mobile firebases able to get forward, dig out entrenched opposition and then add support fire to your more aggressive engagements. They pair great with some Defilers!

There are two other main features the Iron Warriors have as their unique selling point. Access to sheer volume of Warengines and indirect firepower and artillery. You have access to Basilisks and can add basilisks as upgrades to many of your formations. The upgrade option is of questionable value as moving means you can’t fire indirectly…but the basic gun is still very long ranged and be either BP or regular fire. The cost can be a bit steep to add them liberally though as upgrades. However as a stand alone, indirect firing formation hidden at the back they give you many options, especially as the more indirect fire you have (without compromising your core attacking elements!) the more extreme the advantage they provide becomes. What these allow you to do is pick on the smaller, mobile or vulnerable formations of your opponent’s army with indirect fire from a position of safety. This means you can spend a few activations at the start of the game or turn where you don’t commit any of your forces to dangerous positions and can instead fire from safety. This in turn means you can hope to draw your opponent into committing their important resources forward but unable to attack effectively allowing you to react to them at your leisure. Furthermore you can use your artillery to pick on and bully those smaller formations your opponent is relying upon to give them an activation advantage, stripping them away to give you the advantage later in the game.

IMG_20170302_175410682_HDR

Now, artillery is expensive and isn’t going to protect itself so it will need something to babysit it making the costs even higher. Don’t go overboard on it as you’ll cripple your attack elements. Remember, the artillery is unlikely to win you the game, they are support for the guys who will do the hard fighting on the front lines, not a replacement for them.

I would be remiss to not mention the Ordinates Chaotica, a stand alone war engine unique to the Iron Warriors. It’s a monster of indirect barrage fire, tough and able to protect itself against smaller formations. It’s kind of like a basilisk formation writ large. One of these and a basilisk formation is expensive but very satisfying and should give you plenty of indirect fire options! It won’t stand up to any dedicated attack units though, things like aspect warrior or terminators flying in on thunder hawks or vampires will tear it apart. So it, too, would need protecting. A screen of Chosen is good for this role (same for protecting basilisks). They’re cheap at 125pts and with scout can prevent the enemy getting too close to attack the tanks. The Chosen won’t chase off anything that’s a proper attacking unit but they will instead buy you time to move your artillery or other formations into position as the opponent will have to deal with the Chosen first.

Finally your access to Warengines is pretty fantastic. You can take Decimators and Stormlords, both barrage weapon carrying bane blade hulls. Not cheap to take enmasse but singles of the Decimator are very dangerous and fearless to boot. Capable in engagements and a threat when shooting. The threat range on the main gun on both is 60-75cm depending on if you advance or double so is surprisingly large The other weaponry is short ranged so you’d need to be aggressive to get much use out of it, in both cases an early aggressive push of either doubles (to shoot garrisons) or marches should set you up to be a threat that needs to be dealt with.

With the Iron Warriors you lose a lot of the chaos toys of the other lists and instead gain access to some potent armoured weapons and artillery. Unfortunately (apart from the Vindicators!) these are expensive, much more so than a few Daemons would be so you need to think about what you are going to use as your main attackers – 3 of things like the Vindicators and/or Iron Warriors Company at 3k is a good start. Then start filling in support elements and don’t go overboard with artillery or war engines (though…take some obviously! They’re great!)

Luckily you’ll probably find that if you get some Daemons models and an Iron Warriors army…you can use it as both Black Legion and Iron Warriors with very little difficulty…two for one!

==========

Hopefully there’s something useful to you in here, I’ve not had a lot of experience using many of the lists here so the advice is a bit shakier than it may be for other armies…

Happy Gaming!

Epic: Armageddon Factions 101 – Part 5 Titans, Skitarii and Knights

And we’re back. Two of the more unusual lists in Epic: Armageddon and the finest of the priests of Mars on display.

Aside from the preponderance of war engines there’s not a lot directly unifying the lists this week so we can skip the general overview and get into the list details!

Link to AMTL list
Link to Knights list
Link to Skitarii list

Note that these lists can work for Chaos too, there’s not a lot of the uniquely chaos stuff in there but a decent paint job will work wonders for playing to theme!

Adeptus Mechanicus Titan Legions

IMG_0870
A titan legion advances through the trees

The unstoppable might of the Titans can be fielded as an entire list that plays out in a very different way to basically everything else in Epic: Armageddon. It’s a great list and is well balanced able to win games whilst simultaneously being far from undefeatable. It is also great if you’re not confident of painting small 6mm figures (but you could be, Painting 6mm EPIC Armageddon miniatures) or just don’t want to paint that much stuff and 4 or 5 ‘centerpiece’ models is more your style.

The list has some breaks with standard Epic features, the biggest being that weapons/units named the same thing have consistent stats across every list that uses them. The AMTL Titans armed with the same weapons as an identical Titan in a Space Marine or Imperial Guard list will have a different weapon stat line. An even more powerful weapon stat line. This may be mildly confusing so make sure you are using the AMTL version of the units and weapons when playing AMTL and not the generic ones from the other Imperial lists. This break from standard to give more powerful versions of each weapon is because the titans needed the additional power to make sure they were competitive when used en-masse, otherwise they suffered from very low activation counts and needed to have the ability to utterly shatter an enemy each time they attacked. Hence the ‘upgunning’.

You also get to custom equip your titans with different weapons and load outs to alow them to specialise for different roles. This is essential when planning out what you’re going to do. You need to plan out how you’re going to score or defend the objectives that will give you a win and equip your titans to achieve them.

So, what do you see in Titan Legion lists? First up is a very small activation pool. 4-5 activations is very common which is dramatically fewer than practically everyone else. You need to leverage your activations when you can and you need to get a supreme commander reroll on activation if you can. While you default to 1+ once you pick up blast markers you can find yourself activating on a 2+ and having that fateful failure to activate when you only have 4 is huge. You also need to think about how you’re going to fight for the objectives, you really can’t spread out to cover lots of ground so placing yours in positions you can easily reach and contest multiple at once is recommended.

IMG_0872
An ambush is sprung, the Warlord is isolated and vulnerable to combined enemy forces!

You’re also very slow, exacerbating the few activations and difficulty covering ground. You will need your objectives close to the center line of the table so you can reach them to contest them! The Reavers are better on the offence due to their faster ground speed so often these are used to double across the table to the enemy blitz and have a pair of heavily armed, upgunned, shielded, multi-DC titans standing on it at the end of turn 3 while Warlords tend to the more defensive roles, protecting the blitz and sitting on the two objectives you placed on the half way line at the end of turn 3.

There are some faster, smaller and cheaper elements available, notably aircraft and warhounds. These can be effective but you need to very carefully think about how you will use them. because most opponents will lack the equipment to reliably take on and destroy the full size battle titans but will have the tools to destroy these smaller elements you will likely find that your warhounds and planes get shot down swiftly before they can do a lot that is useful which leaves you with even fewer activations. Broadly you’re aiming to start with 4 activations and end turn 3 with 4 activations while your opponent has lost many of theirs as you blew them away. The smaller titans and formations run counter to this by making it far easier for the enemy to remove your activations and cripple your attack.

It is also worth remembering that all the titans have the Walker ability, giving a reroll on difficult terrain tests. This means you can stroll into and out of cover and should do so to cut the fastest route to your destination and to claim the -1 to hit cover bonus. You’re going to come under heavy focus fire so that -1 to hit is very helpful and you only suffer a wound on double 1s so 1 in 36 chance…Inevitably you will roll this at some point, roll to go critical on that single DC and then have a plasma reactor meltdown and explode horribly because you decided to walk through some trees but those are character building moments and worth it to have that story to tell! Don’t let that risk make you leave your titans in the open if they can avoid it! remember also that you can see through terrain features that you are inside (up to 10cm) so you can see enemy hidden on the other side rather than having your LoS be blocked.

Another hint is to keep your titans close together, within 15cm support fire range (but not too close, don’t get within 5cm of each other as that risks being intermingled and having multiple titans get broken!). Most people have a plan and tools to deal with one big super heavy on their opponent’s side. few have them to deal with 2 at once! You need your actions to succeed each time you commit to performing them (you might only get 12 activations across the entire game!) so sometimes having two titans in support of each other to make those ‘guarantees’ more guaranteed is worthwhile. Also apart from being destroyed having your titans broken (either by losing an engagement or through sheer weight of blast markers) is a very dangerous situation. You will have a 50:50 chance of having them fail to rally (Init1+, broken makes it 3+ and your opponent will make sure to get something within 30cm for another penalty for 4+ to rally) which takes an entire large chink of your army out for another turn! Use of the Marshal order (to clear blast markers and repair shields) is highly recommended and sometimes that means sacrificing the chance to shoot in favour of moving to where you need to be. You need to pay attention to how you will score the objectives and sometimes giving up the cathartic experience of firing away with your guns in favour of getting into range of the objectives is more important.

IMG_0873
Or was it all just a ruse and the Warhounds ready to counter ambush!

Generally you will probably find you are getting close wins or close losses and a good handful of draws. It’s difficult for you to score many of the objectives and difficult for your opponents to take your guys down. 2:1 wins or losses turn 3 are the most common result for Titan Legions and wily opponents will know this and keep elements hidden or in reserve to dash out and contest things at the end of the game to stop you scoring.

Imperial Knights

At broadest brush the Imperial Knights are kind of like Titan Legion-lite. Fewer formations of very potent models. However this translates to a very different army in practice. They lack the formation destroying firepower, are more vulnerable to the weaponry of your opponent and need to operate with support in engagements to defeat your opponent. In return they are more numerous, faster and bring along some fantastic cheap support elements.

The core of the list is the Knights (of course) which come in a few varieties, from long ranged fire support (with both Macro cannon and Barrage weapon options) of the Castellan and Crusader to the firefight specialist Lancers and the more standard Paladins who excel in both roles. The individual Knights are pretty tough, shrugging off light fire but they need to keep a careful eye on where the opponent has massed firepower and will want to take advantage of line of sight blocking terrain or claiming cover if they need to because they don’t want to be subject to enemy fire more than they need to be. DC2 is good, but won’t handle sustained anti-tank firepower, especially from the opponent’s dedicated anti-tank or anti titan weaponry!

Luckily you have a lot of mobility at your disposal, 25cm moves on small model count formations means you should be able to dart from cover to cover and only expose yourself to enemy fire if you want to (for example to take your own shots first!). Getting forward with your Paladins with some Lancers nearby to engage or support is recommended. Put pressure on your opponent’s forward elements and remove scouts or other mobile elements when you can. You want to strip away any activation count advantage they have by bullying the cheaper, smaller formations they have taken to bulk them out whilst avoiding getting tangled up with the core combat formations of their army. You want to be setting up late turn 2 or turn 3 engagements with supporting elements to break your opponent’s main combat elements and avoiding them otherwise.

Your more ranged firepower focused Knights (Castellans and Crusaders) should be weakening these core combat formations or taking out bigger, stronger elements and ideally preventing them from being able to hunt your Paladins and Lancers. Later game sacrificing these shooting focused Knights to set up your Paladins and lancers for decisive engagements is worth it. Your other knights still carry battlecannons and so are capable of blowing up lighter troops at long range reliably.

Aside from the Knights dashing about the place bullying your opponents troops before engaging en-masse for the hammer blow you have access to the various imperial militia, planetary defence forces and other less ‘famous’ units that form the core of imperial forces away from the guard, marines and the like. These elements are not exactly stellar but they are cheap and have some great uses alongside the knights. The highlight is the imperial light artillery, the 90cm indirect firing guns and tractors for a mere 150pts is exceptional value. Deploy these in cover and out of sight somewhere they can shell deep into the enemy half. Then just keep firing, even if they don’t deal much damage their ability to reliably and safely put blast markers on the enemy formations means you can ‘prep’ the enemy for an engagement without having to ‘waste’ a knight formations on that job. 8 models too makes them decently capable of absorbing a bit of fire and holding objectives or ground and with their tractors they can be surprisingly mobile. Sadly the rapier light guns are less impressive, basically being the opposite of the light artillery but critically missing the indirect fire capability they are just much more vulnerable and the anti-tank duties can be covered by your knights more efficiently anyway.

Siegfried light tanks are extremely useful as a tougher scouting formation, use these to make sure you have room to advance up the board with your knights early and to deny good ground to your opponent’s garrisons. it can be worthwhile keeping these guys fairly close to one another rather than spreading out like other scouts because they can be an effective engagement tool to drive away strung out enemy scouts. Many scouting units lack anti-tank weaponry too (lots of AP, not so much AT) so you can use the fact siegfrieds are armoured vehicles to draw out overwatch shots or get into shooting matches with scouts and come out on top. Don’t overestimate these tanks though, 6 scout tanks is not a match for anything that is a real combat unit, leave them to focus on normal scout duties and to bully other scouts.

There is less of a need to worry about being laser focused on objectives like the AMTL. The Knight army plays more like a conventional Epic army with just a few more hammers than anvils so many of the lessons learned from other armies can be applied here. The biggest thing to watch out for is psychology (both human and game rules!). Your army has a real lack of leaders and few models despite DC2 being common. This means that once you start losing models you lose a lot of ‘bulk’ and can break quickly and getting rid of the last blast markers on your formations is tricky because you don’t have easy access to leaders without making trade offs for more models or formations. The human psychology element is to be careful not to get overconfident in your knights. They’re better than normal formations but their stats are not crazy high, lots of 4+ and 5+ values amongst their attacks so it’s not unlikely to find an attack stalling out once a few models are down because you can find yourself making only a handful of 5+ attacks. You can, of course, play up the intimidation factor of smashing 6 war engines into your opponents to try and make them be more conservative in fear of your armoured reprisals though! Talk up your knights while no forgetting you need to be careful about exposing them to harm!

IMG_0871
An Imperator Titan surveys all before it with contempt

Skitarii

Like the sound of Heavy Metal Thunder? Welcome to the Skitarii.

You can have massive armoured warengines carry bizarre weapons plucked from the mad minds of the tech priests of Mars, infantry wrapped in steel and mounted in even more steel. You can have a lot of scary offensive firepower, can absorb fire on your void shields and deliver strong infantry formations into the enemy from the safety of Gorgon transports. Few opponent’s will have the raw firepower needed to deal with this large a number of ough war engines and you can use this to pressure them hard and early, striking from range with your specialist weaponry. Look to be on the offensive, you want to be on the halfway line ASAP to block your opponent’s ability to move around and set up their attacks while giving your the initiative to launch yours.

Because the downside to all of this armour and firepower is psychology and initiative. You’re definitely tough, but you’re not impervious to harm and you’re not especially abundant. Weight of fire and positioning can leave your armoured formations reeling and broken and carrying blast markers even if they do rally and if you’ve spent your points on this heavy armour then you probably have notably less of the foot slogging grunt infantry to absorb the enemy and launch attacks of your own. Raw firepower in the shooting phase rarely wins Epic games outright so you need to be prepared to engage. Exacerbating the psychology issues is the lack of ready access to leaders on the war engine formations. A pair of Minoris sets you back 300pts, is not great in an engagement (4×5+ attacks) and only really excels in the shooting phase when it can bring its big guns to bear…but if one gets destroyed then the other one breaks immediately and, even if it rallies later will be carrying 1 blast marker…it only has DC2 so if it gets shot at at all (even if no damage is dealt) it will break again. Going for 3 strong formations is a viable alternative but this quickly racks up cost, especially if you upgrade their weaponry. 425pts to 500pts if fully upgraded is a lot an won’t leave much room for the rest of your army if you go too heavy on these!

You need to be preventing your opponent from getting the initiative, force them to be responding to your attacks. Identify when they are setting up their attacks, what they will attack with, etc. and either move to make this difficult or blow it away under a hail of fire. This is why going too defensive early on can hurt you – you can lose the room you need to escape into or find yourself unable to get your forces into blocking positions and also you give your opponent the time they need to set up their attacks behind cover. The abundance of Void Shields and poor handling of blast markers combined with potent long ranged weapons and many Slow Firing guns means that the Marshal order to clear blast markers and repair shields (and shooting or moving if you have slow firing) is a good option. This again works better if you have pushed up the table to the half way point. marshalling turn 1 leaves you a long way from the action and objectives but doubling up turn 1, then marshalling turn 2 can keep you strong, shielded and present right in the thick of the action.

All this talk of warengines however may have distracted you from your infantry. These guys are good. Maybe not mind-blowingly standout compared to other factions out there but the core Hypaspists are reliable and come in large formations for relatively little cost. 10 stands mounted in a gorgon is 300pts and can absorb a lot of punishment, has a leader and can carry a lot of blast markers before succumbing. You have to take some of these to unlock your other formations anyway so it’s worth considering what you’ll do with them. Having them drive alongside your main armoured thrust and dismount to block enemy attack routes or be in support fire positions is one such use. The Sagitarii mounted in a Gorgon are 250pts (300 if you add the rapiers) who can perform the same role or be your offensive spearhead. The alternative to mount in Chimera gives you more speed and, despite these transports being more vulnerable to enemy fire than a Gorgon can be easily protected by hiding behind the other war engines you have brought – remember, war engines block line of sight so placing the chimera behind a minoris means they can be seen to be shot at!

You may have noticed a lack of scouts or cheap stuff so far – 300pts is a common number. You do have options here though. Taking Sagitarii without transports is 175pts for 5 decent models who can garrison forward. The Robots formation similarly is able to garrison and take some punishment while there as well as pour out respectable fire. Robots especially are good for dealing with enemy garrisons or scouts.

Broadly you play Epic like other armies, just with a particular set of idiosyncrasies. Powerful war engines and guns backed up by competent infantry but, maybe, just lacking that one killer attacker.

One other bonus for the Skitarii is the mad-science of the tech priests of Mars themselves. You can guarantee that someone, somewhere can made their own variant or version of any given vehicle so you can convert, scratch build and proxy in all manner of things to be whichever mad creation you want to field, perhaps only the Orks have more carte blanche to make their army their own!

=====

Hopefully there’s something to entice you to one of these lists or maybe just as helpfully helped you chose not to pursue one of these.

Happy gaming!

EPIC Armageddon Hub

Epic: Armageddon 101 – Part 4 Eldar

This week we’ll take a look at the various Eldar lists in Epic: Armageddon, from the Aspect Hosts of Biel Tan to the cruel raiders of Commorragh.

IMG_0785

The Craftworld Eldar are a powerful and competitive set of armies in Epic: Armageddon with fantastically potent engagement troops, huge amounts of mobility, a whole array of movement and deployment tricks, titans, spacecraft and powerful shooting attacks. They aren’t the toughest troops out there but they’re not all that fragile if you make use of good positioning and some of the tougher units available to you. They do however have a variety of special rules from Webway Gates to Farseer retaining and require a good deal of practice to get your head around the different rules and how to make the different elements work in concert with one another to bring you victory. You’ll need to be comfortable with moving troops into supporting fire positions and how to prep your targets for your scalpel cuts and when to dash away for cover.

The Dark Eldar are in many ways an even more extreme version of their Craftworld cousins. With some faster units, even more deployment tricks and even less durability. Knowing when and how to use your resources and when to sacrifice them to the Archon’s will is paramount. They are an extremely flavourful force, feeling like both pawns to Archon’s schemes for victory as well as sudden raider forces appearing from nowhere.

There is only a single Dark Eldar list and 6 Craftworld Eldar from most of the ‘core’ named Craftworlds and each of these has a different style and emphasis allowing for plenty of choice in your preferred flavour and playstyle. There isn’t really a generic list that would thematically cover what the others can do (you just won’t get enough jetbikes in Biel Tan to satisfyingly mimic Saim Hann for example) so it’s a good idea to work out what interests you and spend some time fiddling with the lists to see if you can find one that suits what you want.

Link to Eldar Codex

Link to Dark Eldar Codex

Biel Tan

The aspects hosts of Biel Tan are a sight to behold, sweeping rapid attacks rolling from one engagement to another with potent aspect warriors leading the charge backed up by skilled vehicles and reliable guardians. The intended focus here is on using the support elements to deliver your Aspect Warriors right into the heart of your enemy and through a few decisive activations (that are usually Engagements) breaking the back of their resistance.

The aspect warrior formations of Biel Tan are quite large and can be expensive if you mount everyone up in transports but they are also incredibly flexible. You can mix and match the aspect warriors freely so a formation with 2 firedragons, 2 striking scorpions, 1 swooping hawk and 3 shining spears with 2 wave serpents is perfectly fine and this flexibility allows you to both tailor them to a specific role and to control your point expenditure on them (hint: Wave Serpents can be costly to transport the slow infantry aspects but taking a few infantry and wave serpents and mixing in the faster hawks or shining spears to fill in the rest of the formation means you can be both fast and cheaper than fully mounted). The general use of these formations can vary based on what you put into them – 8 Swooping Hawks is a very different formation to 8 Fire Dragons but broadly these are what you use to crack the hardest enemy formations so need to get there in one piece. Wave Serpents are one way of doing this but can be comparatively vulnerable on the approach. Instead making use of the fantastic deployment options in the Eldar can deliver these guys where and when they are needed. Using the Webway to be able to come onto the table from further up than the deployment zone or using the Webway gate on a Storm Serpent to appear anywhere or using the Vampire Raider to fly and air assault from safety.

Typically the CC focused aspects are less popular – Banshees and Scorpions – while the Firefight focused ones are seen more often. This is mostly due to the huge rolling engagement potential of the Eldar with their hit and run rule meaning that Firefight focused formations can deliver all of their specialist attacks multiple times over a single turn while a CC formation is far less effective at delivering its specialist threat multiple times a turn. Of these the Firedragons and Dire Avengers (with exarchs!) are popular and very common and entire formations of Warp Spiders are frequently used in Vampire Raiders. Because Warp Spiders have the Infiltrate ability they can land in a vampire, wipe out a foe and remain a threat out to 45cm meaning they suffer considerably less from the lack of transports that air assaulting necessitates. This is not to say the CC aspects are bad, just that they don’t play as much to the strengths of the rolling engagement style play.

Another key point of the aspect formations is the Exarchs. You can have up to 2 per formation and – unless you have a very specific plan that doesn’t need them – you will be taking 2 every time. They increase both the attack power and also provide the Inspiring ability twice to their formation which can be a huge advantage when it comes to combat resolution and seeing as you will mostly want these guys to be Engaging that helps a lot.

Outside of aspect warrior shenanigans the list has a set of other strong options. Rangers are great scouts (keep them cheap at 100pts, you’re better with 2 4 strong groups than 1 8 strong group), falcons with firestorms for air defence and for destroying enemy vehicles (key targets are rhinos, chimeras, etc. that transport infantry as destroying one can slow the down the entire parent formation or the enemy risks leaving troops behind to keep up their speed). Void Spinners and Night Spinners for barrage and the ability to put blast markers where you need them or to break smaller enemy formations. Your aircraft are among the best in the entirety of Epic, they pay for it but they can lock down enemy air assaults or cause punishing damage on the enemy. Using your ground troops to eliminate (or suppress) enemy ground based AA weapons to give you freedom of the skies is advised. Guardians are also great – if they have some cover to hide in! – and bring the critical Farseers to enable some of your nastiest tricks. jetbikes also work great for support fire and bringing along one Vyper in the formation (so it can shoot and put blast markers where you want them) is a good idea too.

Tactically you need to get comfortable with how the supporting fire rules work and how you can use the fantastic Hit and Run rule in concert with the triple retain capability of your Farseers to allow you to keep reusing your troops combat ability in a single devastating attack. A common example would be if your opponent has two formations within 15cm of each other A and B. You double some jetbikes (with their Vyper) to sit between both A and B within 15cm of both, they shoot the Vyper at formation A (dealing no damage but placing the blast marker). You retain initiative and assault A with your Firedragons, their pair of exarchs and their Wave Serpents making sure to get at least one member of enemy formation B within 15cm of your firedragons (so that they receive a blast marker when A loses), the firedragons (with the jetbikes support firing as they are within 15cm!) shatter formation A (and this places a blast marker on B) then the firedragons use the hit and run rule to move up to 15cm to make sure they are within 15cm of B with as many models as possible. You then retain a third time (which only the Eldar can do!) and engage B with a formation of guardians (or something, anything really) and this time you get the jetbikes, firedragons and your third formation all attacking B (because you have the jetbikes and firedragons in support fire positions) to annihilate B too. Using three formations to annihilate two enemy ones and getting to use those jetbikes guns three times in a row, the firedragons get to use their twice in a row (which CC focused aspects could not do) and your third formation got to use their once…but could use hit and run to move to another good position to support an attack elsewhere on the table (or just duck for cover!).

IMG_0786

Saim Hann

Commentary here is provided by StevekCole from the Taccomms forum:

Link to Taccomms forum

This list is all about speed and the 35cm consolidate move. Saim Hann look great on the tabletop with wave after wave of jetbikes screaming across the board. They need to make maximum possible use of hit and run tactics by hiding behind cover and engaging units from up to 50cm away then consolidating 35 freaking cm to lend support fire to another assault. When they’re played right they can use the elder rolling assault like no other army in the game. They’re also great at picking off isolated units and using their 35cm consolidate to redeploy and threaten somewhere new or get back to a place of safety.

Key units are the Wild Rider hosts with 9 jetbikes and the potential to add 3 more plus a mounted farseer and a single wild rider chieftain per army. Both characters are must haves in order to give you the all-important supreme commander reroll plus farsight and the ability to summon the avatar. While the latter isn’t as strong as in Biel Tann he can really tip the balance for your big jetbike units when assaulting tougher targets like dug in imperial guard or big units of tyranids. You can (and should) add vipers for the all-important ability to place blast markers and their better 4+ armour. Wild riders will make up the core of your army.

Aspects are a little different, basically they have to be fast (ie hawks and spears) or mounted up in wave serpents. If you’re mounting up you gain access to stronger aspects like dire avengers and fire dragons but only a maximum of 6 with one exarch. If you’re spears or hawks you gain 8 and the excellent double exarch (so double inspiring) and they become a core choice. Spears give some much needed armour busting capability to the list with lance. Hawks I find less useful as their key strength is speed and the ability to strike almost anywhere and the whole of your army can already do that. The mounted aspects are always solid and give you a slightly tougher BTS than a wild rider unit.

Saim hann get access to all the usual eldar support units including the wonderful rangers for screening, stall activations, late game objective grabbing and sneaky sniper shots on enemy characters. Falcons with firestorms are a must as always. Saim Hann are fragile and need AA cover plus they lack long range shooting so falcons ago-go.

Eldar aircraft with Macro-weapon? Yes please! At least one vampire hunter is a must they’re great for dealing with better armoured targets but also for sniping out small fragile units such as scouts.

So why aren’t they trouncing all comers at tournaments? Well… even by eldar standards they’re fragile. The bike units are 9-13 strong with 5+ armour, they can’t make use of cover like infantry and (unless you’re running storm serpent webway gates) have to start on the table so they’re extremely vulnerable to artillery, air assaults and ranged shooting in general. Their assault power and ability to activate reliably dies away quickly with blast markers and casualties. On the subject of assault power, Saim Hann lack numbers, macro weapon, and good armour in assaults so can struggle to take down really solid targets (tip using commander from your farseer or chieftain to combine an assault can help). Lastly, they struggle to have a sturdy BTS. Essentially, you have 3 options; bikes, mounted aspects, or revenant titans. Of these the latter are the toughest but by far the most expensive and give you great shooting but less on the assault front. The aspects are always on the board, and once the jetbikes are on board (if they deploy via a gate) they are also always on the board (lacking the Biel Tann BTS safety in vampires option) so very vulnerable to being broken and then, due to not being fearless simply picked off.

All in all, a really fun, really thematic army that are hugely enjoyable and occasionally very frustrating army to play.

Thanks Steve!

Iyanden

The wraithhosts of Iyanden are different from the other eldar in that they are absolutely rock solid and very difficult to destroy. They pack a huge punch and can almost look after themselves with much less need for supporting formations in engagements (though you should bring those along anyway). However they are a list that really suffers at lower point games and only really come into their own at closer to 4kpts where they have the points to buy both the wraith formations and the transports to deliver them to the enemy.

You can rely on your core Wraith formations to win most battles. They benefit from having support fire and want to see their targets prepped with blast markers before going in because – while tough and powerful – an engagement has a lot of dice being rolled both for and against you and the end result is usually pretty decisive so don’t take a risk if a little bit of support can cut that risk dramatically. A lot of the time you’ll be looking for suitable ways of delivering these guys to the table – Storm Serpents, Webway Gate, Vampire Raider are your best bets – and getting them stuck into the fight. Slogging across the table with a 15cm speed is not recommended and will likely leave them unable to every actually fight as they can be easily delayed with scouts or enemy maneuver. Unfortunately this transport requirement can get costly.

Luckily you still have access to the cheap core Guardians (in a less attractive configuration with the heavy weapons by default) to bulk up your activations and the great Eldar support formations like Falcons (with firestorms!), Jetbikes, Rangers, etc. while also having access to the cheaper (and smaller) aspect warrior host. These aspects lose the ability to take double Exarchs (take the single!) and generally you’ll want to choose the aspects that are faster by default – swooping hawks for example or Warp Spiders (due to their Infiltrate ability) that allow you to remain combat effective whilst not having to invest in a lot of supporting mobiliy infrastructure (remember also that you can only have 3 formations in the webway and each gate can only be used once per turn so there is a limit that can’t be overcome with just more points and if your Wraith troops are in there then less room for your aspects in the first place).

Remember though that your support formations are also actually pretty strong in a fight. This isn’t a case of shepherding your wraith troops in as your only attack options. There are a lot of useful formations and attack stats mixed amongst those support formations so you can build a good attack with just those while you wait for the opportune moment to launch your Wraith troops into the fray. They just take a bit more finesse to use to that effect.

All in all this list really there if you love the Wraith troops. It revolves around them and has a lot of powerful options with them. It’s competitive but struggles at lower point totals whilst coming into its own at slightly higher than normal (3k is normal, 4k is where this list really shines).

Alaitoc

A pretty different experience here, focused heavily on scouting forces and relying on the smaller (smaller than Biel Tan anyway) aspects and support formations to do the work of actually breaking the opponent’s forces. They also sacrifice the flexibility of being able to drop lots of small 100pt ranger formations for the larger ones (which normally you’d not take in the other lists). In return you’re gaining access to Ranger and Ranger+War Walker formations (11 scouting models with mostly anti infantry guns for 275pts) as well as Pathfinders.

Remember, your rangers and War Walkers can garrison forward near the midway line so they can be right in the thick of the action immediately and u to two garrisoned formations can go onto overwatch during deployment.

The ready access to so many scouts gives you huge area control, able to spread out and have layers of scouts rendering any possible advance or landing point for the opponent a slog to fight through. This gives you the ability to dramatically slow your opponent for your more impactful elements to get into their supporting positions and destroy the enemy piecemeal while they have little ability to coherently organise a response. It also means that you can contest and block enemy contesting of objectives extremely well in the later stages of a game. Played well this means you can r=turn a loss on turn 3 into a turn 4 and a draw by just being extremely frustrating and not allowing them to score their objectives.

The unique unit here is the Pathfinders and they’re fantastic…in a different army. Being teleporting scouts is hugely potent, able to utterly stop an enemy critical attack or break up a firebase in a way that’s almost impossible to stop. (Hint: if your opponent has weapons that fire indirectly you can teleport a Pathfinder so that the enemy formation has a model inside your 10cm zone of control, this means those indirect fire units can’t sustain to fire indirect as they have to move out of your 10cm zone or engage you, either way you can silence those big guns for a turn). The first strike is also helpful, especially considering their low armour and limited attack stats (6 stands, 5+ to hit, average 2 hits). The issue they face in the Alaitoc is that…do you really need more scouts considering how many you’ll have from your core formations?

Broadly just by taking your core ranger formations (and some Pathinders, they’re still useful, just notably less so than they would be in other armies) you should have a massive ability to control the board, but generally lack the hard hitting elements to actually attack the enemy effectively. That’s where your selections in the support slots come in to give you your attack power. Pick formations that will be able to get into position to attack and support each other to take advantage of your scouting ability to cut the enemy table positioning apart and then retreat to safety. Don’t neglect your air defence – having someone air assault a formation into your scouts, break them and punch a huge hole in your defence field is not advisable. This also gives you the benefit of being able to use your own air assaults more freely.

Two things to pay careful attention to due to the abundance of scouts. Spread out into a long string scout formations can be very vulnerable to clipping engagements where only one of your stands can fight against a whole enemy formation, making a defeat very likely. Pay attention to your opponent setting up for clipping engagements (usually by placing a blast marker on the scouts and engaging them with a formation of their own that doesn’t have any blast markers, especially if the enemy formation outnumbers your scouts and/or has Inspiring). Second thing to pay attention to is intermingling your formations – if your formations have models within 5cm of each other the enemy can engage one formation and force the other to fight and break as one which you might not want. This is double the case with stringing out a scout formation. Having the enemy engage one scout on the far end of the tail, intermingling a formation 60cm away that you left too close to the scouts and watching as that one clipped scout breaks a core part of your army is eminently frustrating.

Overall a very different army to play. Not necessarily the strongest you’ll see, especially as the point totals increase but at lower values (1k-2k) it is very difficult for an enemy to deal with so almost the opposite of the Iyanden. Better the fewer points there are!

IMG_0788
Howling Banshees scream into combat against a prepared Dark Eldar force

Ulthwe

Guardian focused and potent (because Guardians are a great unit) due to shenanigans with Strategy Ratings. Your Guardians are slightly more expensive than normal as you get a second farseer unit in the formation, this is mostly a good thing. Looking at the list on paper and there’s not a lot that jumps out as particularly exciting. The unique unit is having an extra farseer stand in the Guardian formation and 6 aspects is not a stand out unique thing as the non-Biel Tan all have that too.

The selling point for Ulthwe is the combination of fairly cheap core Guardian formations, not losing access to the general tools of the Eldar (rangers not forced to 8 man units, guardians not forced to use heavy weapons), cheap (due to 6 stand units) aspects (remember mixing in infantry ones mounted in wave serpents with fast movers like hawks or shining spears to keep costs down and mobility up) and the ability to get the equivalent of strategy 5 for one turn (and strategy 5 for deployment tricks like teleports and spacecraft).

It’s not a particularly exciting list one must admit, more fiddling around the edges but the overall effect is to allow you to often squeeze in another formation or a few more upgrades and by using the core tools of the Eldar and their skill at rolling engagements you can often win fairly healthily.

The biggest advantage you have is consistency on Turn 2 Strategy. For most lists going first on Turn 2 is a fairly major advantage – you’ve spent turn 1 getting into good attacking positions and weakening your opponent for your attack to start – and the Strategy 4 with +1 from summoning the Avatar (which should be in range to attack effectively on turn 2) means you have a very good chance of getting to go first and launch your attack decisively before your opponent can launch theirs. It’s a small difference but it can be game winning.

Yme Loc

I have never played with nor against this list so I have only limited insight, though from those who have played it I have heard it suffers from lacking a decisive attacking element.

Yme Loc gives you all the vehicles, all the time, flights of elder skimmers hit and running into range, firing and withdrawing back out again, swift moving mounted infantry and access to a few units no other eldar have (Hornets, Lynx, Warp Hunters, Large Webway). In return though you’re losing flexibility in your formations make up, lose the ability to have cheaper foot based infantry and thus losing many of the special table entry options – no teleports, planetfall or air assaults with the units you’d normally want to do that with.

At first glance the weight of firepower you can bring is fearsome, able to badly damage formations at medium and close range while you then move your mounted infantry into position to launch your finishing blows. The intention for the list is a combined arms style with the vehicles doing a lot of the heavy lifting early on to be followed up by the mechanised infantry forces to defeat the crippled enemy and seize the objectives at the end.

However. The essentially skirmishing your vehicles are doing early on, relying on hit and run, means that you’re frequently doubling your vehicles (not always, but often if you’re not doing that you’re leaving yourself vulnerable to return fire) which can dramatically cut your firepower effectiveness, especially against infantry due to the ease with which they can claim cover. Remember a 5+ to hit on a double becomes half as effective. 5+ is 1/3 hits, while 6+ is 1/6 hits.

For the Yme Loc I suspect you’ll be taking on a challenge. Forced mechanisation costs more points and limits your deployment options and the fragile nature of your vehicles means that you can be forced to use double orders a lot to keep them safe, which cuts your effective firepower. You’ll probably look fantastic on the table though!

Dark Eldar

IMG_0787
Dark Eldar Warriors sweep through the trees

The dark pirates of Commorragh. Fast, deadly and oh so squishy. I love the Dark Eldar, it’s an extremely well designed list from a thematics point of view and plays in a pretty unique way but suffers from some fairly major weaknesses and has a larger than normal contingent of questionably useful formations.

Broadly the list shares many of the features of the Craftworld Eldar just turned up to 11. You’re blisteringly fast, have some powerful (though CC focused) shock troops and die when someone looks at you funny. You can have an entire army that is only on the table in the place and time it needs to be there to maximise its offensive potential (and then dies once it has done its job).

A big contributor to this is the Raider. A 35cm move light vehicle skimmer transport. It’s really quick and quite vulnerable as being a light vehicle anything can hurt it (so a passing scout formation with heavy boaters for example can blow it out of the sky and cripple the speed of your formations). One thing that is special though is that being a light vehicle means it can use the Webway Portals (and note the plural!) that you can bring. This means your 35cm movement skimmers can enter the table form a portal that is potentially all the way up on the half way line of the board (or even deeper on with the portable one). Raiders in the web way should give you the ability to reach almost anywhere at almost any time and deliver your troops where you want them.

Some people consider the list restriction that requires you to have the Archon’s Kabal as the BTS a disadvantage but personally I’ve always ended up with that Kabal as the most expensive formation anyway so it barely registers. The Lord’s Kabal has Incubi and can run with 6 of them (and some warriors too) for a healthy 12 CC 3+ attacks and a 3+ MW CC attack from the Lord, has inspiring and 4+ saves and the speed and deployment options of your army mean that you can usually guarantee these guys arrive on target when you want them and never be vulnerable to enemy attacks until that point. These guys are the best your army has to offer in the shock department. They do however only work on the offence due to their CC focus (they’re terrible at FF) so expect to see them suffer badly if the opponent counterattacks them. They’ll want to make their attack and then run to hide as they will be a key target for the opponent to finish them off.

Your ability to deploy on the table from off table is second only to the Necrons, meaning your pirate raiders can literally come from nowhere, launch their attacks and then run to hide to enjoy their stolen prizes. This is achieved by having the Webway (which means up to 3 formation off the table), Scourges (a fantastic FF unit with great mobility) can teleport onto the table, Mandrakes (great at seizing ground, blocking movement due to being scouts, CC and FF) can teleport in and you have the absolutely fantastic Slavebringer to do either planetfall or air assaults. I commonly leverage these heavily and will have maybe 2 formations on the table at the start of turn 1 (both of which are Vessels of Pain as they’re able to do useful work and keep themselves safe while doing so) and then bring units onto the table as and when they are needed.

When playing a list with this much off table materiel your early work should be to clear the way for your formations to enter the table. Find and destroy or suppress ground based AA, fight their aircraft out of the sky (and if you can’t manage that the Slavebringer is still pretty tough due to the Shadowfields making it hard to hit and ablating the first hit anyway) and with anything spare place blast markers on your targets (to make your attacks when you launch them more likely to succeed) and get into supporting fire positions.

When selecting your targets you need to think about how attacking it will secure you objectives at the end of turn 3. A sad fact of the way th list is designed is that you need to be laser focused on those right from the off if you want be winning. That does’t mean start standing on the objectives on turn 1. That means think ahead about how what you’re doing will secure the objectives you need to win. Sometimes that means not attacking a powerful enemy at all or isolating them so they can’t stop you scoring. For example you might see a potent enemy formation that could move to contest an objective and thus stop you scoring it – teleport those Mandrakes in to block their ability to move like that, even if that means the mandrakes die or never get to fight anything at all, if they secure that objective by blocking a key enemy unit for a few C centimetres then they’ve done their job.

The Mandrake example above also leads to another key point. Everything is sacrificial to the goals of the Archon. Any formation can and should be thrown into the jaws of death so long as they achieve what you needed of them first (which is eminently thematic for a Dark Eldar Lord!). A good example of this is Wyches+Warp Beasts+Succubus in a Slavebringer (that’s two formations for 500pts). These guys are great, able to surgically strike a target, land 6 CC3+ first strike, 4 CC4+ first strike and 1 CC3+ first strike macro attack (plus shots from the slavebringer) and hopefully win before the foe even gets to strike. These are almost a suicide missile, find your target, destroy it and run! They are a premier strike force and if you’ve done things right they come swooping in on a target that has blast markers already and your guys come in without them giving you a +3 to combat resolution right from the start (the succubus is inspiring!). They’re almost certainly going to die afterwards though and because they came in from the sky don’t have their raiders to rapidly move elsewhere to help out other fights.

Now onto the downsides. There are 3 main ones. 1. CC focus, 2. you die super fast and 3. uncompetitive units.

The CC focus on your shock units means that they can’t do a lot of supporting of each other as their support fire attacks aren’t all that great it also means that on the defensive they will never get to use their CC values unless they’re worse than their opponents. I.e.: if an opponent engages your CC troops they will FF them and position to make sure you can’t get into CC so your super elite Incubi will be stuck in a firefight with a guard infantry company or space marine devastators or fire dragons or something (look at the Haemonculi coven, if the enemy engages it in a FF the bulk of the units literally cannot fight as they don’t have a FF value!). The other major issue they will face is an opponent with Skimmers. You can never CC a skimmer unless the owner wants you to (which will only be when it’s to their advantage!) and canny players of things like Eldar will hide their troops behind a screen of skimmers forcing you to get at least a few of your models engaged with those first, wasting their CC potential.

Dying really fast is a fairly major weakness! It’s an exaggeration to say it but it can at times feel like if your units are on the table they’re dead. If your formations are in a position close to the enemy they can easily come under attack and if they do they will die or lose effectiveness very quickly. The CC focus above compounds this as the units can be very mono focused and thus can have their ability to do their focus degraded rapidly making the formation very little use except as fodder, blocking or contesting. Frequently your formations making their surgical strikes will kill a lot of enemy and take crippling casualties afterwards (another reason the Incubi with their 4+ armour and Wyches with First Strike are so good, they’re less likely to suffer this!) making them one use only. You have to choose when and where you expose your formations to danger because if they are in danger they will likely collapse under the weight quickly. This weakness also manifests in the base of Dark Eldar everywhere. Overwatch. An enemy formation on overwatch is a thing of fear – able to place blast markers on your engagement troops weakening them in the fight resolution at best or destroying many models before they ever get to attack at all at worst a few well positioned formations on Overwatch can stymie your attack entirely. Overwatch combined with the light vehicle nature of Raiders is also a nasty double whammy. Random scouting forces on Overwatch can shoot your Raiders as they pass and stand a not insignificant chance of blowing one out of the sky in passing, potentially killing the guys mounted and even if they don’t stranding the infantry on the ground slowing the rest of the raiders in the formation. You may want to carefully plan your moves to avoid this happening to you.

Number 3 is not a unique problem to the Dark Eldar. Everyone will have a few duds in their list or units that just don’t do their job as well as other units. It however feels a bit more extreme for the Dark Eldar as so many formations have the same use – CC shock units. This means you’re often selecting your units for a role critical to the Dark Eldar way of war and then ignoring many of the units supposedly for that role. I know I only use Incubi and Wyches for this role and when trying the Haemonculi and Talos out they always disappoint. The Kabal Flotilla with the Ravagers is scary on paper but usually does very little of use and competing against the excellent firefight support capability (something the list sorely needs) of the Warrior Kabal (which is also cheaper!) it’s hard to justify. It’s unfortunate but many of these characterful formations are just not making their way into armies that see the table.

Overall the Dark Eldar are great fun to play, tense and cautious play until you unleash havoc and suicide your way to victory. You will need to know how to handle placement and movement routes, how to block and corral your foe, when to sacrifice something for victory and when to conserve your strength. Pay attention to supporting fire form your own formations and those of your enemy, know how you’re going to get into CC and above all focus on how you’re going to score objectives on turn 3!

===

Hopefully there’s something useful for you here.

Happy Gaming!

EPIC Armageddon Hub

Epic: Armageddon Factions 101 – Part 3 Imperial Guard

Welcome!

The Imperial Guard are the most diverse human military forces in the galaxy, covering trillions of fighters from cultures and worlds more diverse than anything seen today. As a general trait they lack many of the table entry and mobility options of other factions, have few special rules or exceptions and instead they bring the gear. With a broad range of weapon options and different chassis to deliver them as well as bulky formations and lots of customisable upgrades the Imperial Guard play as almost the ‘core’ experience of Epic: Armageddon. Using the core game rules with few exceptions and few of the exotic tools they are fantastic as a beginner faction and are very easy to find proxy models for, have huge options for conversions and unique colour schemes.

There are five different lists available for them in EpicUK, with each one focussing on a different style of warfare giving you options to pick the one that favours your style. Further with much of the equipment being shared you can often reuse your models to play as numerous different lists. If in doubt the Steel Legion list functions as a great ‘all-rounder’ that can be readily built to approximate the style of other Imperial Guard lists.

Link to Imperial Guard Codex

Steel Legion

e9hgrr.jpg
I may have a few too many guardsmen…

The grandaddy of all Imperial Guard lists in Epic: Armageddon. It has been barely changed since the original printing (mostly changes to how commissars are provided and the price of Griffons going down). This list has great potential with the core formations allowing for infantry hordes, armoured lists, artillery companies and so on to let you build the lists you want. The list also epitomises a core Imperial Guard design conceit in Epic: Armageddon. Rigid flexibility. The list requires taking the large, often expensive core formations to allow you to take the small, cheaper specialists. Then you can add on lots of upgrades but only to the already large expensive core formations. This tends to mean you will end up with a few big, powerful companies and a cloud of smaller supporting elements and the trick to using this well is to know when and how to deploy your hammer blows and when the specialists should step to the fore to do their jobs in concert with the rest of the army.

One key detail to remember. Imperial Guard Infantry in the open is rubbish. Imperial Guard Infantry in cover is a nightmare to shift.

The Steel Legion list, despite the allrounder potential, specialises in Mechanised Infantry and has access to some very good formations. The basic Mech. Inf. Co. plus a single Hydra upgrade is 450pts and gives you 8 tanks, 1 commander and 12 infantry for 21 models. Add in a Commissar. This now gives you a powerful, fast formation that brings its own anti-air cover with it. Get these guys forward, get the infantry into the hardest cover you can find and sit on objectives. Use them as the engaging hammer blow to drive enemies off the objectives. While it also has a lot of firepower in the volume of dice it can throw the to-hit rolls aren’t great, especially against armour. If you really must smash the enemy then an Engagement with proper support (and placing blast markers on the enemy first!) is often a better option than sitting back and hoping for 6s.

Another little trick when attacking with these Mechanised Infantry Companies is to make your Engagement move to get as many models into 15cm of the enemy as possible but always place the Chimera as the front rank closest to the enemy and not the infantry. the Infantry has no save while the Chimera have a 5+. That can make a big difference to the combat resolution when you’ve taken 1/3 fewer casualties than if you had the infantry at the front!

You will be taking the Regimental HQ. It’s just so essential to have the Supreme Commander ability for the Initiative 2+ guardsmen, that reroll can win you games or lose them at the critical moment. It helps that the Regimental HQ is also a fantastic mechanised infantry company!

The steel legion list has issues getting the number of activations it wants onto the table. The high cost and necessity of the core companies means fewer points for support formations (and some of those aren’t that cheap either!) and even fewer points for upgrades. Generally you’ll want to aim for 10-11 different activations at the start of the game so some of those cheaper formations are very helpful for this (as well as being good in their own right). It is a rare Steel Legion list that doesn’t take at least 2 sentinel formations  deploy them forward early, hidden as best you can but covering as much width as possible. This should give you space to rush up to the half way point with your attacking elements while the opponent spends time and activations clearing away the sentinels. Where possible take Warhounds as solo machines, not as a pair, solo they work much better as a mobile strike piece and are really good at supporting your Engagements by running to the enemy, shooting them and sitting within 15cm, then you engage with the Mech. Co.

Basically every formation on the list is great. Taking the Regimental HQ, another Mech Co. or two (substitute in the Leman Russ for a Mech. Co. if you prefer) a few sentinels and that will be a strong, reliable core then whatever else you choose will be a good, strong investment.

There are, however a few duds in the list. The Artillery Company (not the small battery, the big company) and Baneblades. the Artillery company is very, very powerful but is also very vulnerable to any passing shot and can only hit one area at a time. For the cost it’s vulnerable and needs even more points to babysit it and while it has huge damaging potential it is fickle with a failed activation ruining its day and being one big hit. Multiple smaller batteries can be more successful. The Baneblades suffer from a lack of focus. They have guns for all ranges but really need to get within 30cm to make that worthwhile but they also only have a speed of 15cm so they need to do a lot of marching (which means no shooting!) or doubling (which cripples the firepower output with to-hit rolls) to ever really get a chance to use those guns. They’re no tougher than the Shadowsword (hint: put a commissar into a Shadowsword or Baneblade!) and the Shadowsword brings a unique and extremely potent weapon along as well as great range. The issue isn’t that the Baneblade is particularly bad, the issue is that it competes against the Shadowsword.

Vanaheim Air Cavalry

30hwm0o.jpg

The air cavalry. By the time you’re done playing with these guys you’ll be sick of Ride of the Valkyries…

These guys are a difficult list, very different to basically anyone else out there in EpicUK land, they have some very major flaws and some very major shock and awe moments available to them. Maybe don’t expect to come away to consistent wins but to instead come away with a few glorious and uplifting victories and rather a few more of those losses that we’ll politely ignore.

The list really only has a few options and even fewer to deal with enemy armour (so take the Vendettas where you can!). Your core will be the regimental HQ again and then a few Air Cavalry Companies. These carry a hefty amount of firepower with their rocket pods, heavy bolters and multilasers, are extremely mobile but also quite vulnerable (hint: attach your free Commissars to the Valkyries not the infantry stands). You want to be able to find an optimal moment to fire your rockets which means not taking casualties before doing so and avoiding picking up blast markers too (as if the blast markers suppress your valkyries that’s a dramatic cut in firepower). Learning how to hide your Valkyries early on to be in position for a single big rocket attack to break and drive your opponent before you is a key skill.

Generally the core tactic is to use your sentinels and other light forces to buy you time and block the enemy advance. Your turn 1 should be fairly low activity, you’re trying to get your formations into a single advance+missile range of the enemy without taking any damage or coming under fire. Then early on in turn 2 you advance and fire every rocket you can to break as many enemy as you can. Then you need to keep the pressure up and prevent them from rallying and getting back into an organised counterattack. You get one shot at this and it can be vulnerable to being disrupted early and if you’re forced to double to fire those rockets you will likely find your attack power dropping dramatically.

But when it works it’s glorious. Shock and Awe in Epic form and extremely satisfying.

Defensively you also have a lot of tools with the huge abundance of scout on your forces you can cover and contest ground very easily, added to the mobility yo can bring to bear you can focus on turning a loss into a draw by just making it near impossible for your opponent to actually get to and control the objectives on the board.

Early on you want to keep your troops safe and you have a critical unit for doing this. Vultures. Any list with access to them can do this but for the Vanaheim it’s very very important. The Vultures have 2×2+AT rockets with 1 shot and 120cm of range on a skimmer chassis. Start them on the table as one of your Garrisons, hidden right at the back and popped up. Put them on overwatch. Any enemy unit with vehicles that dares come into the open (even if only briefly) can eat itself those rockets. Blowing apart tanks or transports, crippling small titans, whatever. Once the rockets are fired the Vultures remain a very fast, decently armed scout unit. A pair of formations will do nicely thank you very much!

The list lacks ground based AA and ground based AA is usually better than aircraft AA due to the passive area control effect. Instead you have access to an abundance of aircraft including the Lightning which makes a great anti-armour formation for very cheap as well as having long ranged AA weapons allowing it to snipe out other enemy aircraft outside of their own defensive AA range (it does lose volume of fire for that range though). A mix of Lightnings and Thunderbolts is advised.

Overall they’re kind of like what happens if the Imperial Guard tried to be Eldar for a day. Fast, powerful impact but little ability to sustain the attack. take them because they appeal to you, not because you’re looking to claim victory after victory.

Ulani Tank Regiment

2aha2c2

Blitzkrieg! Struggles a bit at lower points totals, even 3k can be a stretch but as you climb to 4k they really come into their own. Designed as a very aggressive armoured assault force the idea is to get your guns into range and just drown your foe in so many heavily armoured bodies and so much concentrated firepower they wither under the hail.

The core advantage you have here is the smaller and thus cheaper Leman Russ companies that can be equipped in varied ways. They also have access to cheap, tough, tanks and tougher scouts than is common.

You still want the Regimental HQ despite the cost for the reroll on activation then probably a pair of Leman Russ Cos. Pick their armament carefully for whatever role you want them to do and don’t forget the 4+ firefight value they have making them a very effective engagement force.

Despite not being as fast as the skimmers of some factions the army as a whole can be fairly mobile, especially with the long range on the guns giving you a great deal of threat range.

In your support slots you can bring the Salamander Scouts for control and keeping people away from your Leman Russ and artillery support who should really focus on removing the smaller and mobile elements of the enemy army. On attack your Leman Russ are great, they do lack the ability to be everywhere at once though and sending something as potent and expensive as a Leman Russ Co. after a small scout formation is a waste, artillery can strike those for you without needing to expose themselves. You also have access to the Leman Russ Conquers, fairly cheap, bulky well armed and armoured make great forces for holding objectives after your core Leman Russ have rolled over them.

Particularly interesting though are the small 100pt Griffon batteries, good for bulking up the activation count but getting them halfway up the board, hidden out of sight on turn 1 means they can then spend turns 2 and 3 dropping shells on the entire table or have them double or march for 90cm of objective grabbing and contesting.

All in all a fun list that grows more competitive as points become more readily available.

Baran Seige Masters

wb72u1
Mmmm, artillery

Do you like having friends? Then maybe don’t look here 😉

The Baran are an almost purely defensive force, relying on waves of infantry, bunkers, trenches and emplacements to form an impenetrable line behind which huge amounts of indirect firing artillery blast your opponent from the table. When, and only when, all enemy resistance has been blasted to the dust do the infantry climb out of their bunkers and make their way to claim enemy objectives.

It’s an appealing thought and I know many a person who dreams of running a perfect defence in this way. It however runs into the problem of often being a fairly static and dull game. You won’t be doing a lot much of the time and your opponent may well find themselves with few options aside from getting hit by artillery again and again or throwing bodies into your reinforced bunkers (guardsmen with 3+ saves!?!). If the list operates as designed it can be a fairly negative play experience. This is not guaranteed though. The highly air mobile enemy (like Marines or Eldar) or skimmer happy (Eldar, Tau) etc. can play all sorts of havoc with your carefully arranged battlelines and you’ll be facing a tense game where you have to balance chasing down those mobile forces in your backfield but having your infantry abandon their bunkers to do so.

Let’s look at the cool toys you can bring 🙂

First up the standout feature of the list is that you can buy fortifications. Giving you loads of razorwire and trenches (50cm) and bunkers for 100pts. basically these are your ‘transport’ options. Steel Legion buy Chimera, vanaheim ride in valkyries, you turn up in a dozen tonnes of reinforced concrete. Typically you’d take 4 of these fortifications (which means taking 4 core companies too) as that gives you enough width to form a line across the entire table, then you garrison your infantry (as they all move 15cm) inside the trenches and bunkers half way up the table to form your impenetrable wall. You might add the 6 additional infantry to these companies to make them bulky enough to survive and occupy the ground.

The rest of the list is really toys for you to take to spice things up. You’ll want to bring large amounts of artillery to give you the reach and threat that you otherwise lack. Scatterings of the AA guns all over your deployment to provide air cover are advisable. Siegfried as your scouts to cover ground inside your half to make it so they can stall out any breakthroughs long enough to get your guns on target.

A few things to bear in mind with the Baran. Enemies can take your entrenchments and claim their benefits too! The Hellhounds, Sappers and Bombards Ignore Cover rule can be very helpful for digging the enemy right back out again. Also be careful with stringing your formations out in a thin line in their trenches, this can make them very vulnerable to being hit by a clipping engagement, think carefully about where your formations will sit and how they will cover one another with supporting fire without stringing out and becoming vulnerable. Placing the bunkers just behind the trenchworks means you can concentrate your formation into a block rather than a thin line whilst still enjoying the benefits of all that concrete and razorwire.

There’s probably some ingenious super aggressive Baran build out there to take the world by storm but it really is designed with the intention of absorbing and repulsing any attacks and blowing the opponent away with artillery (hint: destroying their BTS scores you 1VP, controlling two objectives in your opponent’s half scores 1VP, if you place two objectives just past the halfway line you can garrison in control of them at the start and just need to make sure they remain clear end of turn 3). Then casually walking onto objectives at the end of turn 3.

Death Korps of Krieg

f2ovw8
Oh, is that where I left my ICBMs? Silly me…

The list is borderline to overpowered. This is the guard in ‘siege breaking mode’ and it’s damned good at the job.

The heart of the list is the Infantry mounted in Gorgons (avoid adding the extra in the upgrade, while 30 and 3 Gorgons is great it’s also very expensive). These guys roll forward as an unstoppable tide around which the rest of the army moves. Keep them alive, keep them safe and prevent them getting bogged down by enemy scouts or other blocking units. Focus on getting them into the objectives or right into the heart of the enemy. The trick in Engagements is to make sure that your Gorgons get into base contact with at least one enemy before disembarking the infantry (arguably the infantry should not be dismounted until the last possible minute!). Because the Gorgon is in base to base it will always be the closest model to the enemy and when you assign hits in an Engagement and it’s damned tough so can weather the hits your infantry can’t. The pair of Gorgons in base to base means the first 6 hits on the formation are going to their rock hard armour which can make a big difference to winning those fights.

The support formations are filled with war engines and artillery adding to a very ‘heavy metal’ kind of feel and the list runs well when focussing on these elements.

The list can also be run as a defensive entrenched force though if this is your plan the Baran are probably better ay it. There is also a cavalry focus build available using the big death rider company and the smaller scouts, it’s a more unique build and arguably not hugely competitive but well piloted it can pull off some stunning engagements – it does suffer when it can’t get into base to base though (such as enemy skimmers of the opponent engaging you in a firefight).

An aggressive army that revolves around the Gorgon mounted infantry companies, focus the rest of the army on making a path for the Gorgons to get where they need to go and preparing the targets to get run over by a hundred tons of steel and Imperial vengeance!

====

Hope you found something useful here.

Happy Gaming!

EPIC Armageddon Hub

Epic: Armageddon Factions 101 – Part 2 Orks

This week we get to plumb the depth of knowledge of Guildford Games Club member Matthew Arnold who has kindly written up his thoughts about the different Ork army lists in Epic: Armageddon.

Ork Army Lists Here

I’ll hand you over to Matt.

Ghazgkhull’s Horde

Ghazgkhull’s Horde is an all arms, flexible list, in fact it is noteworthy for being the most varied and flexible list in the game!  Here’s why it can be so much fun!

IMG_0756
Special Rules
The most important aspect of any army in EA are the race specific special rules, and the Orks have some gems, these two being the best:

Mob Rule
Orks believe that as long as there are a bunch of them still fighting together (slightly more than they can count up to is ideal!) then there’s always a chance that they’ll prevail, no matter the odds. To represent this, Ork formations with more than five units, not including Grotz or Big Gunz units, receive a +1 modifier to any rally rolls they make, and formations with more than ten such units receive a +2 modifier. For the purposes of this rule, war engines count each point of starting damage capacity as a unit.

Power of the Waaagh!
Orks are not noted for their organizational abilities, and thus usually have a pretty low initiative rating. However, if there is one thing that will galvanize an Ork warband, it’s the thought of a good punchup! Because of this, Ork formations that are attempting to take an engage or double action receive a +2 modifier to their action test roll. Ork flyboyz similarly relish the chance to shoot things up, and receive a +2 modifier to their action test roll when attempting to carry out interception or ground attack actions
These special rules also apply to all Ork lists including Speed Freaks and Feral Orks.

IMG_0761
Some of Matt’s fantastic conversions

Strengths

Reliability
Orks are born for war, it’s instinctive, so as long as you play aggressively as is natural for Orks they will carry out orders with a reliability on a par with Marines, just don’t expect the outcome to be quite as reliable!  The results of Ork shooting, engages, and armour saves are volatile in the extreme!
But even the unpredictable nature of how Orks react to coming under fire or being in a fight can be used by a wily Ork player … moving an ‘Uge Mob of Boyz up to an enemy formation and shooting them a little will cause little to no damage, but it will put a blast marker on them and leave them with the tough decision as to what to actually do about that mass of Orks taunting them, the Mob Up rule makes them surprisingly difficult to shift and it can be tough predicting the outcome of a toe to toe fight with Orks!

Variety and Adaptability
Ork players also have access to a massive variety of units and key word abilities such as sneaky Scouts and Infiltrators, Disposable Grots, Supa Gunz with Titan Killer or Barrage, Stompas with Reinforced Armour and so on.  This pick and mix of units are available in battlefield formations which are highly adaptable, Ghazgkhull’s Horde is one of the few list where players are encouraged to upgrade and beef up the base formations through discounts when doubling or tripling the size of the formation as listed so no two Ork formations or armies will be alike.

IMG_0759
Ork players are able to take advantage of synergies like few other lists can.
Your Boyz getting shot up?  Add some “Disposable” Grots as a bullet screen or heavy armour and mobile cover in the form of Dreads and Stompas, or both!
Need some more firepower?  Add Big Gunz or Odd Boyz!
Trouble with aircraft?  Speed around the table with an entire formation of Flak Waggonz or take a squadron of 20 Fighta Bomberz!
Almost any grand strategy or crazy tactic is possible with the list, you can build a force of purely infantry or armoured vehicles and watch your opponent weep as all their las-cannons or heavy bolters are rendered useless, you can take hordes of light vehicles giving you un-paralleled speed and manoeuvrability, a whole army which Garrisons on the objectives from turn one and still retains and enormous amount of variety, go for an air assault list with five Landas…. Ork players always have the opportunity to do something really surprising, and/or a bit mad!

IMG_0764

Cost
Both in game terms and hobby terms Ork armies are cheap to build, they have a huge variety of useful and cheap upgrades with handy key word abilities which can be easily knocked up out of parts from your bits box!  Keep in mind those unreliable aspects of using the Horde list can be remedied by taking lots of models to ensure the job gets done!
Hint: Getting more than one of anything for 25pts in EA is a bargain and you can’t go wrong taking advantage of it, be that shots or units…. beware getting carried away though as you’ll risk getting timed out in tournament play as you’ll have lots to do each turn!

In summary
The units don’t look stellar on paper but they’re cheap, can be mixed into formations how you like for brutal combinations of attributes and abilities, and most of them have the excellent mob up rule making them extremely reliable.  The challenge of using Gaz’s Horde is capitalising on those reliable command and control aspects of the army without falling foul of how fickle it can be close up.

Authors view: When it comes to winning games and tournaments the key for the Ghazgkhull’s Horde list is surprise and invention, if you want to build one optimised list and get to know it inside out for best results, a Horde may not be for you.

IMG_0760

Kults of Speed and Feral Orks

These variant lists both sacrifice a little variety in favour of slightly more reliable performance when getting to grips with the enemy making them far more straight forward.  The Horde is a mid-tier list which will always have something to bring to the table, both Speed Freaks and Ferals are top-tier lists but are far more predictable and can come unstuck verses some armies and opponents. Neither Freaks nor Ferals are seen as frequently as Gaz’s Horde lists at events as they’re both most effective as Horde lists requiring a lot of repetitive painting (up to 120ish mostly red or brown tiny models!) and the models are slightly more difficult to cobble together from your bits box!
The Speed Freak list sacrifices access to slower and/or heavier units in favour of more fast light vehicle units at a discounted price.  Whatever Speed Freaks do is fast and on mass, their usual tactic is to overwhelm one section of their opponents’ battle line and then sweep through before any coordinated response or plan can be put into action.  Its great fun moving formations of dozens of Buggies and Bikes a meter at a time whilst making engine noises but it can take some time!  Speed Freak players need to play as quickly as their army moves in order to finish games at tournament (and to avoid annoying their opponent).  On some occasions Speed Freaks will come across an opponent who know exactly what they’re doing or have a formation that a massed assault of light vehicles just can’t crack (Hello Warlord Titans!) and the main thrust of the army will bounce, at that point it’s anyone’s game!
Hint: Boyz mounted in Truks are exceptionally good value…..

IMG_0762
Feral Orks sacrifice access to anything which looks much more sophisticated than a kettle in favour of numbers and a few oddities.  The main tactic will always be a general advance which is just tough to stop as there’s either a tide of typically enthusiastic Orks, or the army is riding on a menagerie of armoured dinosaurs!  Often both!  Opponents are limited by their ability to manoeuvre around so many bodies, even aircraft have a tough time as Feral or Weird Boyz have the ability to swat aircraft out of the sky with a devastatingly powerful psychic attack (say goodbye to your fully loaded Thunderhawks and Vampires!).  Again, with certain builds Feral Ork player run the risk of having too much to do if they’re not focussed and they will sometime meet opposition they just can’t overwhelm by force of numbers.
Hint: Junka Truks are great value and hordes and hordes and hordes of Boar Boyz can make for a really tough list!

Author’s view: In contrast to Gaz’s Horde a Freak or a Feral player will do really well building a list they love and works for them and sticking with it, play well and to the Orks’ strengths and they will perform consistently well…. Also you don’t want to have to paint even more brown or red right?!

Gargant Bigmob

An Ork list with lots of Gargants at its core, including the majestic Mega Gargant! Still in development this list is frequently played casually but not yet legal in all tournament formats, it will be though so don’t be put off!  I can’t really say much about this list as it is still a bit in flux, sufficed to say it’s the shootiest of the Ork lists……

===

Thank you Matt for your input! Hopefully this will inspire someone to give the Orks a try or dig them back up out of that dusty box and give them some table time!

Happy Gaming.

Epic: Armageddon Factions 101 – Part 1 Imperial Space Marines

EPIC Armageddon Hub

Epic: Armageddon Factions 101 – Part 1 Imperial Space Marines

Epic: Armageddon Factions 101 – Imperial Space Marines

When starting out (or expanding!) people often like to have some idea about the factions in the game. How they play, what strengths and weaknesses they may have, if they have a style or theme that will fit with their personal preferences. Additionally whether there are units or options that are popular or not can be important (after all, if you like a faction because of a unit or two on their list and then find those units are generally not useful it can make it a lot less fun to play as that faction).

I want this article to explain each of the army lists in some brief detail to give you a starting point to selecting who you want to play and maybe giving you some ideas of the different kinds of strategies people use in Epic.

I plan on putting up a sequence of articles looking at the different faction groupings in Epic: Armageddon and giving a brief overview of them. This will be from my own perspective and experiences and I have not played with nor against every permutation of every faction so there are guaranteed to be bits I miss of get wrong (though, I will try to reach out to broader community voices and expertise where I know I am sorely lacking in useful information). However, I should hopefully be able to provide an at least generally accessible point to begin looking at and assessing the different – EpicUK – factions for Epic.

IMG_0733
Space Marine Terminators and Land Raiders ready for battle

But first a note on how Epic: Armageddon designs army lists. The game tries to avoid ‘generalist’ lists where it can and instead tries to have lists that focus on a playstyle. For example there is no ‘Imperial Guard’ list, instead there is a Steel Legion, a Baran Siegemaster, Ulani Tank Regiment, etc. list. This is because the relative value of certain units changes within the context of building a list that is trying to rely on aerial attacks or swarming heavy armour or scout dominated play. Remember that just because a list is called the ‘Blood Angels’ doesn’t mean it can only be used for playing Blood Angels and successors. Instead it’s a list for more close combat and aggressive engagement based play and anyone who wants to play their space marines that way would be well served in giving it a look. Consider the case of a Space Marine chapter that has recently fallen to worship of Khorne…Blood Angels with a different lick of paint all of a sudden makes a lot of sense for your marines!

The Imperial Space Marines

The Imperial Space Marines. Bioengineered warrior monks and crusading knight analogues in the sci-fantasy future! The razors edge on the blade of Imperial might. Keepers of dark secrets, wild ravaging nomads, crusading brethren and much more.

Link To Space Marine Codex

There are several chapters with their own lists as well as a basic Codex Marines list. Dark Angels, White Scars, Blood Angels, Space Wolves and Black Templars. The Codex Marines list may appear at first glance as a more ‘generic’ list but it focuses on an aerial assault playstyle so may not be the best pick for how you want to play.

IN GENERAL

Space marine lists tend towards having larger numbers of smaller formations. They tend to roll fewer dice but have better to hit values and armour values in return as well as the And They Shall Know No Fear special rule to overcome some of the weaknesses their smaller formation sizes can lead to. They also have good access to a lot of mobility options and ways of entering and leaving the table.

Space marines are a finesse force, requiring a firm grasp of how to get your models into positions to support one another, focusing their force in a small area of the table, destroying the opposition there and then often leaving the table again to rapidly shift the focus of attack to a different point. This makes them less beginner friendly than might be expected from Warhammer 40k but it does mean they play more like a group of special operative teams finding ways to overcome far larger numbers of opposition.

CODEX MARINES

The Codex Marine list generally favours use of aerial assets and scouting forces. Using landspeeders, scouts and warhounds to create space on the table and to control how your opponent can move around the board whilst also placing blast markers on the enemy. Then, once an opportunity presents itself (or has been engineered by your scouting forces) you land a hammer blow with your aerial assets and destroy a part of your opponent’s army. Then ideally you extract the hammer blow formations back from the table and repeat the process next turn.

This is mostly achieved through the use of a pair of Thunderhawks and a formation of Terminators. Terminators are extremely powerful and their weakness in mobility is overcome by using the Thunderhawks to land them on the table and then have the second (empty!) one land and pick them back up again to fly off the table. Cycling them on and off the table each turn.

IMG_0734
Terminators crash into the heart of traitor guard from their Thunderhawk! – Note the supporting tactical company

The list also supports more traditional ‘marines in rhinos’ rushing about the place though this exposes your smaller numbers of models to greater risk than the aerial approach. Or use of spaceships for orbital drops – which plays similarly to the aerial circus approach but lands more powerful assets in a single strike in exchange for losing the ability to recycle them for later turns.

Codex marines also have many options and a very flexible army list allowing a great deal of freedom to make skew lists and play themes of your own devising. Taking nothing but Terminators or an armoured division with predators, vindicators and land raiders everywhere is…while not particularly advised from a competitive stand point probably a lot of fun to play.

However the Codex marines have a general lack of good anti-Titan tools and dealing with large numbers of, or particularly powerful forms of, War Engines will take care and the correct use of the support fire rules to get enough models to be involved in the fights to overcome them. You will also likely find that your shooting phases are not a game winner, the combination of smaller numbers of models and shorter ranges overall means you won’t be defeating your opponents hordes of Boyz with raw firepower, instead the shooting should be looked at as a way of setting up your decisive Engagements.

Playing successfully with the Codex Marines will likely require a good understanding of how to use the blast marker, Engagement and Supporting Fire rules so brushing up on those will probably help your play considerably!

DARK ANGELS

Very similar to the Codex Marine list in playstyle. It sacrifices access to the Titan Legion and Imperial Navy assets (because Dark Angels need to keep their secrets, can’t have some nosy guardsman stumbling across something…) to gain better Devastators, Nephilim and Ravenwing formations.

The advice for Codex Marines holds true here, scouting forces and aerial assets will be your bread and butter but the Devastators can make your orbital attacks more powerful (their better shooting is well worth the slow firing penalty because generally you’d want to shoot once and then be stuck in Engagements rather than standing off and firing multiple turns over) and the particular stand out is the Ravenwing formation. It mixes Bikes with Landspeeders and because of the Garrison rules allowing a formation that has at least half the models with the scout rule (the landspeeders have scout!) to Garrison that means you can have a strong combat formation on the half way line before the first turn even start!

Dark Angels are arguably an even better version of the Codex Marines list. Due to their cost and list skewing impacts the larger Titans are not a common sight so their loss here is not really felt and the Ravenwing compete for the same role the Warhound would have taken. Nephilim are better – but more expensive – substitutes for Thunderbolts too.

Incidentally the Ravenwing formations and other mobile assets of the list in general mean that they could make a different spin on the lightning warfare role the White Scars are famous for. If the sacrifices the White Scars list makes for its unique toys are too much for you perhaps consider the Dark Angels with a different paint job 😉

WHITE SCARS

The White Scars diverge from the template laid down by the Codex and Dark Angels with larger bike formations (with Walker!), loss of Dreadnoughts and an element that changes the list the most from the Codex list is the loss of the ability to mount Terminators in a Thunderhawk. Instead the larger more powerful Bike formations will need to pull their weight. These formations do fit inside a single Thunderhawk though so you can double dip on mobility while also having the ability to retreat formations off the table to safety.

IMG_0731
Space Marine bikers plough into the unprepared traitorous Sentinels – with supporting fire from Devastators deploying from Drop Pods

Another point to note is that the 8 strong bikers (they also gain the Walker rule to deal with rough terrain well) with ‘And They Shall Know No Fear’ are extremely tough to completely remove from the table and can form a real battle line.

The supporting elements are still small and vulnerable to casualties though so playing intelligently is key. Rushing headlong forwards might at first glance appear a good idea but the Khan would shake his head in shame to see it. use your speed to get your marines where they need to be in support of one another. Make sure every fight is in your favour and crush your opponent piecemeal while your mobile support assets hinder their ability to counterattack.

BLOOD ANGELS

Retaining the flexibility and mobility options of the Codex marines but gaining access to some (expensive) fearless CC focused units in the Death Company and Dreads as well as larger assault formations (6 stands rather than 4) your focus should be on getting your excellent fighters right into the enemy as rapidly as possible – whilst still paying attention to getting supporting fire elements in place first!

The aerial, orbital and ground based transport options available to the Marines should make delivering your powerful fighters fairly reliable too.

The main risk here is that you are forced to take the expensive death company and without some supporting elements (transports for example) they can be difficult to get into a position to do anything meaningful making them a larger points sink. Furthermore many of your unique units are CC focused which means enemy skimmers can render them notably weaker and their CC ability only really comes into play on the offensive as the enemy can engage you and remain outside of your CC range and force firefights (bear in mind the attacker will only ever go for CC if they stand to gain from doing so while the defender can be stuck in firefight unable to use their fantastic CC ability). The Baal Predator however is fantastic and use of Landing Craft to deliver right into the thick of the enemy is recommended.

Wether Baals make up for the loss of Devastators is debatable as is the inefficiency of transporting Assault Marines in Thunderhawks (because they are 6-strong you can only fit one formation in a Thunderhawk while you can fit 2 of the 4-strong ones inside meaning you can deliver 8 in one go rather than only 6). Assault Marines with added Vindicators can be a good option, bringing meaningful firepower alongside potent CC troops. Also very thematic to have the bunker busters breach a hole that the assault marines then pile into and pry open!

Overall I’d consider the Blood Angels to be a very potent list, it loses some Codex options in return for a few other unique options of its own. Arguably stronger than the Codex list but with enough stuff lost to make it a conscious choice to play this way.

BLACK TEMPLARS

Black Templars are a tweaked form of the Codex Marines list that can be played in the same way as them, if so desired. They are intended to be a space ship and orbital drop oriented faction being required to take at least a Strike Cruiser (which many lists would want to take anyway) and gaining access to more ways of transporting tanks to the board and access to larger tactical formations. In return they lose a bit of flexibility and lose Scout formations (instead gaining the neophyte option to bulk up Tactical Formations).

Their unique strengths are in the ability to bring on and deploy more assets by either air or planetfall and retaining  mobility while doing so through use of Thunderhawk Transporters. A Tactical Company with Neophytes and Rhinos can planetfall out of a spaceship mounted inside a pair of Thunderhawk Transporters and retain their tactical flexibility and mobility through bringing their transports with them. They’d also gain the ablative toughness of the Transporters for their initial landing. This option is not cheap however, costing 275pts for the Transports on top of the marines themselves.

Overall I’d consider this list slightly inferior to the Codex or Dark Angels list in overall competitive power but adding in more options to make orbital drops effective. If you want to run an Orbital Drop focused list however this is probably better than what you could build from the Codex list.

SPACE WOLVES

A fairly major divergence from the Codex here. Almost every formation is different, either larger, lacking certain options, gaining others and so on. While the army as a whole remains focused on engagements and mobility to get your fighters where they need to be for support it’s less likely to be hitting and leaving the table again, instead relying on their greater numbers in their formations to power through and keep their assault going.

Be careful with the upgrades, taking too many will reduce your overall activation counts but taking a few in the right places can make for some decidedly tough formations. The Grey Hunters with additional Grey Hunters in Rhinos can rush forward early and take up a major position and hold it against most enemy threats or be used as part of a broader assault to provide a huge amount of quality supporting fire. try to engineer scenarios where you have your Grey Hunters within 15cm of two different enemy formations and then have two separate smaller formations engage those enemy one by one. The 10 additional 4+ firefight shots from the Grey Hunters is extremely effective especially if you can use it multiple times in a single turn.

IMG_0732
Tactical marines with support from Devastators and Dreadnoughts engage Imperial Guard traitors hiding amongst the trees

Due to the way army construction works for Space Wolves you will almost certainly be taking 2 Grey Hunter companies so learning how to effectively bring their numbers to bear is valuable as they will need to be proactive to get into firefight support range or CC engagement ranges as the loss of their missile launchers means they don’t have quite the ability to drive up to a position and reach out to threaten in the same way a tactical company can. If you can’t get a handle on getting into that 15cm support range bubble you may struggle with having a sizeable portion of your army unable to attack efficiently.

What you lose however is missile launchers on your grey Hunters so you need to find other ways of placing your blast markers to set up your engagements. Luckily you retain access to Land Speeders who are fantastic at doing exactly that.

Overall the Wolves of Russ play differently to the rest of the marine armies, able to bring greater numbers to bear and being generally more resilient due to formation size they can be more forgiving and playing to their particular strengths can mean skipping out on some of the more common Codex elements due to costs. They do however retain the ability to play like a Codex list and air dropping a pair of Grey Hunter companies can be a fearsome sight and challenge for your opponent to deal with!

Painting 6mm EPIC Armageddon miniatures

Painting at 6mm (or thereabouts…)

Hi again, in my last article I mentioned giving a guide to painting models at 6mm scale so it would be remiss of me to not at least give it a go.

A common refrain I hear from people when they are faced with the prospect of 6mm is that they could never paint something that small or their eyesight would never handle it or there’s just so many models they’d never want to attempt a project that large.

What I’d like to do with this article is try to dispel some of that and maybe get you to give it a go, I think you’ll find that a few simpler techniques can turn up a nice looking force you can be proud to put on the table – even if it wont be winning any painting competitions!

First though setting some expectations. I am not a particularly noteworthy painter, I’m more interested in getting some paint on my models and getting them on the table. I do, however, take a bit of pride in having something I’ve worked on at least look the part.

The miniatures and choosing colours

Right now I am building a Thousand Sons army for Epic

Thousand Sons Army List PDF

I did some hunting on eBay and raided the remnants of a few friends bits drawers to get together enough for 10 stands of demons and 4 silver towers. Ebay is not the only place to go to get things like these incidentally, there are some good proxies here.

IMG_0710.JPG

At this first stage we want to clean up any plastic spurs or metal flash etc. and then spend a little while looking at the models and their features and deciding what we want to paint and how we will pick which parts to paint what colours.

And it’s here that I’ll mention the first key take away point.

1. Contrast and colour monotony

At 6mm (and other small scales) gentle colour gradients and variants tend not to come out. You have a small amount of space to make the model have some visual interest so strong contrasts help achieve this. The second point is with colour monotony. That is, having large blocks of the same (or very similar) colours. At 6mm this can make the entire model appear to just be one colour and thus not visually interesting. What is worth looking for on your models is small bits or details that you can pick out in a different colour, a little bit of variation to break that monotony.

For the Silver Tower the colour palette is going to be yellow, blue and gold as those are the colours of the Thousand Sons, luckily these are strongly contrasting, thanks GW! I know that the main body is going to be blue so that’s simple…but it runs right into the colour monotony problem but looking over the model all those small gun turrets and little tubing/piping things give me places to sensibly place the gold (or other colours) to break up that monotony. Finally the roof tops of the towers can be in yellow…but again that’s quite a lot block colour yellow and not really much in the way of detail bits to pick out. So I will go back to the well of ideas on how to resolve that and Tzeentch comes to the rescue again. Flames. Instead of painting the roof tops in block yellow instead paint them red/orange/yellow in bands to represent some flame which should make them a touch more interesting.

What I’d recommend to anyone out there starting to paint (especially at 6mm but other scales too) is to spend maybe a little bit just looking over your models and working out what bits should be what colours and how you’ll keep it looking visually interesting. Google other people’s painting, steal ideas liberally. If you really want to go in-depth you can use this moment to plot out the order in which you’ll paint the colours on. As a hint for doing that remember that drybrushing tends to be a messy process so generally you’ll want to do it before doing your detail work.

Executing the plan!

Now that the colours are chosen and I’ve got a little bit of a plan in mind (paint blue, ink blue, drybrush white, pick out details) we do the starting point, basecoat and blue and we get the next tip for painting at 6mm

2. Favour lighter shades

Because a 6mm model is so much smaller the likelihood of seeing the detail is reduced, especially for parts of the model that share the same colour. This means that darker colours especially blend the details away into nothing as the natural shadows that might highlight the detail are not readily visible against the dark paint. What can end up happening is a model looks like it’s just one colour slapped on (and…I mean…we’re being lazy painters here so slapping on a few colours and calling it a day is what we want but we don’t want it to look like we’ve done that!).

In this case I chose a mid-tone blue (Altdorf blue) as my main body colour and just painted that down all over. Many sources will tell you to paint two thin coats for a better finish but I’m going to share a dirty 6mm secret that many superior painters will reel in horror from. For what we’re going to do here one coat is good enough! The next two stages will serve to obscure the comparatively poor coverage that only a single layer provides. Save yourself a bit of time 😉

IMG_0713.JPG

Now we roll on to the next stages that will serve to highlight the detail and differentiate parts of the model. These stages are dead quick and real easy and they even serve to conceal the finish of that single coat of prior paint. At 6mm these are an extremely useful tool, even more so than at bigger scales.

3. Ink washes are good, drybrushing is better

Because we chose a mid tone blue for the prior step we can really easily just use a dark shade wash. So grab your wash, grab your brush and apply it all over. Quick and easy. Then let it dry (takes a bit longer than a normal paint and then wait even longer because the step after is a drybrush so we don’t want any remaining wetness from this step affecting the drybrush).

IMG_0714.JPG

After the ink/shade is dry we drybrush. For those not in the know to drybrush you

  1. choose your paint and get a sturdy brush you don’t mind losing its point
  2. get a little bit of the paint on the brush and then wipe most of the paint away on a tissue/etc.
  3. Then draw the brush over the surface you want to paint slowly, the small amounts of paint you have left on the bristles will tend to catch only the raised edges of the model, highlighting those bits whilst leaving the recesses darker

I chose white as the drybrush colour for the heavy contrast, but reusing the same mid shade blue or a paler blue would also work just fine too.

At 6mm drybrushing is fantastic because the models do actually have meaningful detail, it’s just difficult to pick all of it out with painted highlights using a brush normally and when you need to paint 30+ individual guys to make a single playable formation it can get real tedious real fast. Drybrushing is both quick and gets those details. It also helps to break colour monotony from point 1 by putting another differing colour onto the samey colour blocks.

IMG_0715

Next comes the details, where we pick out the pieces we want in our different colours. For me this is gold and yellow (with some red and orange for the flames). For these colours (especially the yellow) you might need multiple coats to get the finish you want, don’t skip out here like we did for the earlier blue layer though.

The flames are achieved by painting red all over the section I want in colour (red 100%), then painting back over part of the bits in red with orange (orange 75%) then again with yellow over some of the orange section (yellow 66%) which leaves three distinct bands of colour. When painting I made of my brush strokes vertical, brushed towards the tip of the towers and I didn’t care too much about the places where the colours cross over being too neat. The last thing to do was to wash all over the ‘flames’ with a yellow wash (casandora yellow) as this blends the three colours together a bit and stops them having such harsh crossover points.

IMG_0718.JPG

Does it look amazing when we look this close? Nope. Quick and easy though. And remember another key point:

4. You’re going to be 20+ inches away most of the time, worry about how it looks at that range!

That’s mostly a point to help give some confidence and encourage you to go out and give it a go. I’ll leave the advice and guides on how to get fantastic close-ups at this scale to painters more accomplished than I.

Anyway on to the final part and the final key point:

5. Basing makes your model

At 6mm basing is very important. It doesn’t need to be some mini diorama all its own, but it should always be done. A middling quality basing job can make a load of middling quality models look great on the table. How about we cheat to get there?

I use textured paint (from coat d’arms specifically) as it’s basically paint+sand and is fine enough that the grains don’t look weird next to a 6mm figure. Slap it down on the bases all over, just avoid getting (too much…) on your models.IMG_0720.JPG

Remember how we like contrasts? I then glue on some flock (with watered down PVA glue) that stands out. My Thousand Sons are fighting on an ice tundra apparently. (though £7 for a box of flock is steep…)

IMG_0721.JPG

You might notice the 5p pieces piled on top of one another. I use these to add some height to skimmers that feels much sturdier than the thin flight stems models sometimes come with.

Now finally the finished pieces. Notice how the camera is a little bit further away? That’s how you’re going to be seeing them on the table most of the time! Focus on how they look at this kind of range, not when zooming in.

IMG_0722.JPG

In closing

Now, you may disagree that they look good or that you’d be happy to field them looking like that and that is, of course, perfectly fine. Paint to the standard that you’re comfortable with or proud of. For me though this is a quick, simple way that doesn’t really need much fine brush control and doesn’t need spending ages highlighting details.

Hopefully you’ll be able to take a tip or two from this, hopefully you’ll find maybe a bit of confidence to give painting at this scale a go. Maybe even it will help dispel some of those ‘I can’t paint something that small!’ comments.

Go on, give it a go!

Happy Gaming.

EPIC Armageddon Hub

Playing EPIC Armageddon at Guildford Games Club

Hi, I’m Dave and I play Epic Armageddon at the GGC. I’m putting together this article to try and encourage more people to play this great game and maybe perhaps entice some more people from outside the club to come on down and give it a go.

But, who am I and why do you care what I have to say? I used to play Warhammer back when I was a teenager but I gave up on it when I headed off to University and got a job and all that life stuff. After a while though I ended up getting the itch to play a wargame again and went looking for something to suit my needs. I wanted something that had lots of options and strategic play but with a – comparatively – low cost and that would not take up too much space to store.

I went looking for 10 and 6mm games as those would give me plenty of models for a decent price and would be pretty easy to fit a big army into a shoe box or cake tin, perfect!

Then I found a 6mm game that mixed those perks with a setting I already knew and had enjoyed before so I set out to try and find a game.

I reached out to the GGC (as they were local to me) and found that there were a few players about and jumped right in under the tutelage of Matt. Now I own 5 full armies (oops!) and am building another 2 (what is wrong with me…), have played at tournaments (and placed alright) and spent time coming up with different scenarios or ways of integrating other 40k set games into narrative events alongside Epic. Chances are if you want to play Epic at the GGC we’ll have a conversation at some point!

Now enough of my pointless blather, on to the real reason you’re here.

What is Epic Armageddon?

Epic Armageddon is a 6mm scale mass combat game set in the sci-fi (sci-fantasy?) universe of Warhammer 40k from Games Workshop. It’s the most recent incarnation of a set of rules originating in Adeptus Titanicus and Space Marine. It is, however, not that recent. The rules were originally published around 2004, underwent some FAQs and updated for a while and then were dropped by Games Workshop.

The game typically plays out with a player controlling multiple company level formations fighting over objectives on the field with a focus on securing objectives rather than being the last man standing (though being the last man standing does kind of help…). Now, you may be wondering ‘what do you mean by ‘company level formations’?

Let’s take a quick look at a Steel Legion Imperial Guard mechanised infantry company as an example. You get a command stand (5 models), 12 stands of regular infantry (5 models per stand, 60 models total) and 7 chimera to transport them so 65 guardsmen and 7 tanks. Normally you’d have two or more of these companies and then half a dozen or more supporting elements too.

Space Marines might bring 30 tactical marines (6 stands) and three Rhinos as a single formation so fielding entire marine companies from the 1st to the 10th is entirely plausible in a standard game.

Fielding 10-12 formations per player is fairly standard for a game

Basically it does what the Apocalypse style games of WH40k do just with 6mm models and notably less cost!

e9hgrr.jpg

How does it play?

Epic Armageddon plays using an ‘alternating activations’ style turn system where one player chooses one of their formations, gives it an order, resolves that order in its entirety and then passes control over to their opponent who does the same, selecting one of their formations, giving an order, resolving and passing back. Turn continues until all the formations of both players have had a chance to receive and carry out an order and then the turn ends and the cycle begins again. The primary benefit of this system is that it means players are able to more rapidly react to one another’s actions and reduces the time between each player getting to do something.

Most games play out over the course of 3 turns and games usually take 2.5-3 hours to play through.

Scenarios vary the victory conditions but in a standard game players fight over achieving 5 objectives, only one of which requires actively destroying the enemy (though…come one…you brought that big shiny gun so you may as well use it anyway…) while the rest revolve around controlling specific points on the table or denying your opponent access to your half of the table. Broadly this encourages planning out how you will achieve the various objectives and playing to those rather than going for a giant orgy of death in the middle of the board and also diversifies how valuable units are encouraging more choices in army construction.

The resolution of actions such as moving and shooting is nothing revolutionary and should be fairly comfortable to most wargamers and simple to pick up for those new to it. The models stat lines are simplified compared to wh40k and follows trends used by many other games of this scale. It is designed to allow the seamless and balanced interaction of units of very different power and scope within the same force and in opposition to one another covering air, land and space wth units able to enter and leave the table (and return again!) throughout the game.

You roll a small handful of d6s, need to equal or exceed the numbers on your models stat line to have an effect and the opponent rolls a save to not die.

Movement and the control of space on the table is critical and many formations have surprising speed, able to cover 90cm+ in a single activation on a table that is typically 180cm by 120cm thus attacks can be sweeping and quick and forces can reposition in response to threats rapidly thus making the ability to block or control the movement of an opponent with your own (often lighter, scouting) troops essential, especially considering the control of objectives on the table requires board position to achieve.

Psychology is abstracted from the individual unit level and up to the company/formation level through a mechanic called Blast Markers. You accumulate these by taking damage and coming under fire and they represent the confusion, panic and disruption that units face in combat. As your formations accumulate them they degrade in performance and may refuse to follow orders until accumulating too many and withdrawing. As the controlling player you have methods to remove these Blast Markers to restore your formations to combat readiness.

It uses a point system combined with semi-fixed formations and upgrades. By which I mean you don’t buy ‘two leman russ, a basilisk and four imperial guard infantry stands’ to make a formation in a pick and mix style. Instead you’d buy an ‘Imperial Guard Leman Russ Company’ that comes with 9 leman russ and 1 leman russ vanquisher for a fixed number of points and could then add on some upgrades (such as hellhounds for close support, infantry, etc.). The common game sizes are 3000-5000 points and there are some variant rules for playing at particularly small sizes (100pts or so).

Wait, isn’t this game dead?

Yes and no. Yes in that Games Workshop has desupported it after a period of general neglect. No in that the community playing the game has not gone away and has instead taken up the mantle of updating, balancing and producing models for it themselves.

New armies and updated armies are released every year. New 6mm miniatures are produced every year. Tournaments are held consistently, especially in the UK but across the world as well. Communities on facebook and internet forums are alive and well and who know if your local game club will have people who played back in the day to dust off old models or buy new manufacturers latest creations?

How do I get started? What do I need?

Rules, models, space and an opponent! (which is probably less than helpful…you knew that already…)

Luckily the rules are available online for free here:

http://epic-uk.co.uk/wp/rules/

All of the army lists (that are balanced for tournament play if that’s your thing) are here:

http://epic-uk.co.uk/wp/army-lists/

There are several manufacturers of 6mm sci fi models that can be used as well as a good search on eBay or buy and sell pages on Facebook

If you need an opponent or would like to try the game out why not ask on the Guildford games Club Facebook page! :

Guildford Games Club Facebook Group

Otherwise there is a major community hub: Taccomms 

Taccomms has all sorts of development and playtest lists so if there’s not the specific thing you’re looking for on the ‘approved’ lists page then perhaps there will be something more to your taste in development somewhere?

There’s no way I can paint something that small!

This is a common comment and I think you’re selling yourself short! Painting at 6mm is NOT the same as painting at 15, 28, 30 or larger scales and I think you’ll find that you can do a satisfying job without too much difficulty.

IMG_0233

I plan on putting together a simple article on how to paint to a game table ready standard at 6mm (I’m no artist, I just want models that look alright on the table!) but generally you can get away with a few tips to get started:

  1. ink washes are good
  2. drybrushing is better
  3. don’t worry about painting all the details, the thing is 6mm tall and you’ll be playing from around 24 inches away, think anyone is going to notice you didn’t paint the belt pouches!?
  4. brighter shades or strongly contrasting colours work better at these smaller scales
  5. don’t neglect your basing, often times a competently based stand will make even a simple scrappy paint job look great on the table

Epic at Guildford Games Club

At Guildford Games Club there are several Epic players and usually a game or two being played every few weeks. By my count there are 5-6 frequent players with experience ranging from a handful of games to finishing in the winning UK team at the European Epic Championship and players whose interest’s span the breadth from just putting some models on the table and having a dust up to tournament tuning of their lists so there’ll probably be someone who matches your preferred gaming style too

Best way to get involved is to just post on Guildford Games Club Facebook Group

In closing and future plans

Hopefully there’s something useful for you here, maybe piquing your interest in giving Epic a go for the first time or rooting around in the bottom of that cupboard for that box from 1997 you remember is back there somewhere…

I would like to write a few more articles looking at some of the different facets of epic, from painting to playing and maybe even throwing up a few scenarios so maybe I’ll get around to writing those up and putting them here.

Happy gaming!

EPIC Armageddon Hub