Friday, April 21, 2017

5 Things to Change with Tyranids + My Tyranids

Continuing in my trend of inundating my friends blog about Blood Angels with not Blood Angels. Lets talk about Tyranids!

This was a army I started because my friend said he had a battle box somewhere in his basement and he didn't want it. After finding them, and an a trip to the local GW store where I picked up a metal Hive Tyrant and some Balrog wings, I had a new army.
His name is Jerry

Tyranids have always been my fun army. They play very differently from everything else I have, so I've always kept around to spice things up.
Caw Caw

They're also one of my more flushed out painted armies apparently......

I've now played through 4 different Codex with them, and somethings have gotten interesting and some things have gotten silly. Spore pods have cometh, goneth, and cometh again. The once objective scoring troops slot has been replaced with things that can't secure objectives. Oh and Red Terror is a thing again.....

Codex: Tyrainds however really isn't in a great place right now, Codex: Hive Tyrant however is doing swimmingly. On that note these are the following things I hope change soon, either with my hopeful ideas or at least something. 

1. Army Wide Special Rules

Most armies get army wide special rules that benefit them positively. Tyranids get Fearless and the added benefit of not eating themselves, you know for kicks. The biggest glaring issue with this is that the Fearless benefit only really kicks in for 50% of the units, because half of all Tyranids have fearless standard. Now there is a bonus hidden in the instinct tables, but you would have to choose to risk your unit not doing what you want 50% of the time. Eating themselves for example.

I don't have a problem with Tyranids having issues if big brains aren't around. Its super thematic and really characterful. Its just that it should have a bigger effect. It used to be for a short time they also got Eternal Warrior when in synapse, which wouldn't be a bad bring back with all things considered. But that isn't really the interesting addition I'd really want.

I would really prefer a re-work of the current instinct types. Right now all non-synapse Tyranids have either Feed, Lurk, or Hunt. Keep that, but make it so that if your're in synapse you get fearless and something else based on your type.

Feed = Rage
Lurk = Stealth
Hunt = Preferred Enemy

You could even go crazy and have units with two types, or have synapse creatures having them too. If you end up out of synapse, have that be a Ld check to see if you keep the new secondary bonus. If you fail, well you loss your army wide rule for a turn and your probably getting shooed out a window by a broom or something.

After that Shadow in the Warp should take some ques from psychic abomination, not as heavily, but something similar where you decrease casting chances and have some kind of resistance. Here's a stab at it.

Shadows in the Warp: Enemy models within 12" of  at least one Model with this rule, generate one less warp charge then they would normal generate, to a minimum of one, and manifest psychic powers with a -1 modifier on the test, to a minimum of 6. In addition friendly Models within 12" of a model with this special rule have Adamantium Will

These two things changing somehow would go a long way towards giving Tyranid armies more options, and a reason to play them as they are always heavily depicted in the fluff. A indescribable horde of monsters striking fear and darkness where they tread. Instead of right now where Tyranids devolve into a army of just ignoring the synapse whenever possible.
How do you describe that to someone?

2. Rules Locations

Tyranids need a 7th edition codex, not just to make half their units usable, but to freaking bundle up all the piece meal rules that have been released. Here's a quick individual run down of where things are, and I'm probably missing somethings.

Codex Tyranids - most units, rules
Data-slate Leviathan 1 - 5 formations
Data-slate Leviathan 2 - 5 formations
Data-slate Leviathan 3 - 5 formations
Supplement Shield of Bale - a 6th edition style detachment and 6 new units, several formations some of them reprints from above.
Deathstorm - 1 formation and 3 unique units
Start Collecting - 1 Formation
Imperial Armour 4 - Technically Counts!

That is not some silly allies trap you've tricked yourself into which is why you have a bunch of books, all of that is one army and all currently usable. Most of it is crap, but it exists.

THIS NEEDS TO END. 1-5 need to be put into one codex. Probably half the formations can just disappear because a lot of them are really bad, like really bad. I guess they will still exist if you really really want your gargoyles who take their pet spore mines for walks.

3. Bug Guns

Here's the deal, I could easily whine about how Xenos armies have some issue with assaulting into cover when they clearly know its a problem, or shouldn't care because they have 6 limbs, but I feel it's just a waste of time at this point because GW isn't changing their mind anytime soon.

So lets talk about something real simple. Tyranid Guns.
Tyranid weapons are literally attached to the models using it, they grow them on themselves and sometimes they have minds of their own. This used to be represented by the units profile factoring into the weapon profile, weapon Str = user + or - and shoots sometimes depended on the users attack stat. I liked that. It would do two things, add a unique mechanic back to Tyranids and it would cut down on the random ass names I'd have to remember. Here's a potential few....

12", Str = User, ap-, Assault = User Attacks +1

12" Str = User +1 (Max5), Ap5, Assault = User Attacks

18" Str = User (Max 6), Ap-, Assault = User Attacks +2

Barbed Strangler:
36", Str = User +1 (Max 8), Ap5, Large Blast, Pinning AND Strikedown (Its literally a god dam net, I don't care about Fearless saying you can just walk away)

Venom Cannon
36", Str = User +3, Ap4, Small Blast

Another thing I thought would be interesting would be to use other profiles for different things, like toughness for flamer weapons.

Also I'm willing to ignore that strangle-web and spike rifles exist as long as GW ignores them too.

4. Psykers
I've Always loved this image

Tyranid psykers are very limited in what they can do. They have one chart and a handful of unit specific powers. Which is annoying because Biomancey feels useful to a army of Bugs that specialize in bettering themselves. I'm going to breeze past the part where they don't actually harness the warp and aren't actually psykers, because that is cool fluff just unnecessary for rules purposes at this point. Its a lot like Magic and Psionics in 3.5, just accept that they are interchangeable and have as little exceptions as possible.

The easy solution would be to give them access to core tables. A better option would be to just give them a second table and split the powers they have into offensive and defensive, bonus if one happens to be like the Eldar runes of battle table.

My ideal option though is to create two tables, one with really powerful ones exclusive to super leader bugs (Tyrants, etc.) and one with lesser ones for lesser psykers (Broodlords, etc.). Again like Eldar.

End result, simply something that gives Tyranids more powers or at least more options with those powers.

Additionally again making Shadow in the Warp legitimately useful would be helpful too.

5. Bombs

I know troops have really become less useful this last edition. It would be great to make troops legitimately useful again no matter what they are, to give more reasons to bring them other than for obsec and scatter lasers. But at a certain point we have to have limits on what can be troops, which brings me to to my last point.

Troops at the very least, compulsory or otherwise, shouldn't be exploding bombs that literally can't score. The second I saw that fart bombs were troops, my mind literally exploded.

Its not like Tyranids didn't already have a cheap troop choice to fill this roll, but this literally made a cheaper one that makes my eyes want roll out of my head.

Move them to fast attack like their smaller versions, and lets not be dicks. At least on this one thing.
"That's my fun army" - That Guy

Tyranids are a very interesting army. They are organic animals in a galaxy of armored boxes and chainsaw somethings. They are the bad guys everyone can fight

Even Genestealer Cults aren't friendly with them. As it should be, because the second any of them saw a real Tyranid they would be physically compelled to cover themselves in barbecue sauce and literally jump into its mouth.

I'm okay with all that.

The only problem is this is Voltron edition. Where crossing codexs is the norm. And for Tyranids to compete with this, they really need a well thought out synergistic army that is actually good. Right now that's not Tyranids, and its making super interesting army concept super uninteresting to play or play against.
And continuing to give me a reason to not even bother painting this guy

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Painted Red Hunters Space Marine Army

This is the force I painted up for Adepticon. Just a small group of Red Hunters Space Marines. Painted using nearly 100% wash tech over silver, but all the iconography is normal paints, free handed.
This is converted from a Kataphron tread set and a SM Stalker/Hunter Tank.
I used DW models as much as possible from Death Masque and a small purchase or two.

As of right now they are up for sale on ebay if you are interested/like what you see.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

5 Things to Change with Tau + My Tau

So, this is going to be a part of a series of articles. I’m going to put forth suggestions on how I’d like some of my armies to change, plus I will be showcasing some glamour shots of my model collection.

I guess I'll start with were it all started. My first army. Tau.
When I think of future warfare, if it’s not instant vaporization from super weapons, its super mobile untouchable firepower. That's Tau, and that is why I decided to pick them as my first army.
Well not everyone is a track star……
(This joke would have been better if I owned any Stormsurges... Sorry...)

1. Markerlights
Honestly the only thing that needs to change is Scour (the one that ignores cover), it just needs to go back to the old way. Back before 7th edition it removed cover saves point for point, just like Pinpoint (+Bs one). Someone decided it should be a flat 2 points removes all, and I just don't get why. It was perfectly fine the way it was.

The only other thing else is maybe bring back the -Ld for pinning tests, but I don’t think that is going to happen because there is some larger conspiracy at play. Notice how Snipers and Barrage lost it?

2. Coldstars
Cool idea. Really. Problem, its only usable on IC HQs you don't want to fall out of the sky and instantly die. With the FAQ changes to Monster ICs, they can’t even hide in units before they take flight now. They just need something because they are just such a hard unit to justify in lists.

Make them T5, make them reroll grounding tests, maybe make them Elites or Fast attack choices rather than valuable leader units, or at least allow them to pick their weapons. Something.

And before anyone freaks out about Coldstars everywhere, they don't have smash or vector strike. They even rightfully lack Fear. They are really just fast dudes with an autocannon and three firewarriors strapped to their backs.

I can only find my drone commander Interesting for so long

3. Planes
It took me a few minutes to figure out where to start with this. The Tau codex flyers are just bad. Hilariously in ITC and pre-Death from the Skies formats, they each are better at doing each other’s jobs. The Sunshark (Bomber) is better at shooting at planes and the Razorshark (Fighter) is better at bombing. And on top of this they also suffer from ground units being able to do both jobs better. I had one and eventually used it for spare parts.
Meet my Longstrike

So, let’s start with the Sunshark. I want them to just scrape the idea it’s a bomber. The pulse weapon is completely unrecognizable as a bomb system anyways. Make it a support plane instead. Give it the option to have bubble effect of some kind, like a cover save or preferred enemy. These planes don’t have hover so they, and your army, would have to keep moving to make use of it. It would be a cool addition that does something interesting and useful.
Razorsharks are a little easier. Just give them Vector Dancer, the fluff for them even talks about how they give up drones to be better at dogfighing, and make their gun have a more anti-air profile, maybe give them twin-linked and remove the large blast profile altogether.

4. Vehicles
Tau vehicles were what made me fall in love with Tau. The Hammerhead is a tank from the future and it’s not something you can escape, because it will hover after you.
Hello Again
Outside of changing vehicle rules which make them vastly inferior to other options, there are a couple of things that could change that might help. Tau vehicles used to have multi-trackers and target-locks, they both allowed them to shoot like fast vehicles and split fire their weapons. They wouldn’t mind them back.

Another addition could be to have a new piece of wargear that lets them shoot and move.

Outside that, weapons do need to be looked at. But I plan to cover that in the next section.

5. Weapons
If you ask anyone who doesn't play Tau, the major thing they will tell you that needs to change is Riptides. According to DakkaDakka, they are apparently the anti-Christ. That or Stromsurges should be a walker.
Seriously, How do I not own any Stormsurges?!

But let me give you a better suggestion of something to focus on. Tau Weapons. These are the profiles of the Riptide primary weapons, normal and overcharged. 

    Heavy Burst Cannon
    (Normal)       36" str6 ap4, Heavy 8
    (Overcharge) 36" str6 ap4, Heavy 12, Rending

    Ion Accelerator
    (Normal)       72" str7 ap 2, Heavy 3
    (Normal)       72" str8 ap2, Large Blast, Gets Hot
    (Overcharge) 72" str 9 ap2, Large Blast, Ordnance

Now the Heavy Burst is the default weapon. Now it isn't that bad, but if its not overcharging you're not going to write home about it. The Ion on the other hand, which to be fair is the the upgrade option, is vastly superior. It has shots, can blast, great for intercepting, and you don't need to risk overcharge wounds. Ever wounder the cost difference? 5 points. Yeah...... 

This is common trend in the Tau codex and is a serious legitimate reason for hate. You literally have auto-take options that have either no, or next to no, cost penalty. Here's a few more examples, Default first and upgrade "options" second.

    Broadsides Primary Weapon
    Heavy Rail Rifle                       60" str8 ap1, Twin-linked
    High Yield Missile Launcher   36" str7 ap4, Twin-linked

                   SAME COST

    Tau Tanks Secondary Weapons
    Burst cannon     18" str5 ap5, Heavy 4, Twin-linked
    Smart Missiles   30" str5 ap5, Heavy 4, Twin-linked, Ignore Cover and LOS

                    SAME COST

    Ghost-keel Primary Weapon
    Fusion collider  18" str8 ap1 Blast, Melta
    Cyclic Ion Raker  24" str7 ap4, Heavy 6 or 24" str8 ap 4, Large blast, Gets Hot

                   SAME COST
These guys are fully magnetized. Hilarious.

Tau shoot good, I play them, I get it. And it is hard trying to cost that against other armies, because Tau literally have nothing else. But this is a terrible internal imbalance. I could go for paragraphs on why Rail weapons should be improved, but that is a personal grievance.
Which I rectify through Conversions
But if any one thing needs to change within Tau, it is at the very least their weapons. Its very hard to argue against Tau haters when I know for a fact Tau don't pay for some of the advantages they have. They should have those shooting advantages because Tau fail in two other phases, but there needs to be a legitimate choice when it comes to them.

Otherwise make Kroot, and dare I say Vespids, close combat beasts that can shoot mind bullets at people.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Why the Thunderhawk isn't Plastic... and what should be!

Recently Forgeworld re-released the Thunderhawk Gunship and despite what the rumour engine said (or rather "wished for"), it was not in the form of a new GW plastic kit, but rather a resculpted refashioned FW resin kit.

TBH I thought all along it was going to be this. It was wishful thinking that we were going to see plastic. Really REALLY wishful thinking. Granted I would've welcome it and been super happy if it was, and likely preordered mine, but it wasn't going to be. Here is why

1- Plastic Injection Molding is expensive. Like REALLY REALLY expensive. The master mold designs for the sprues are tens of thousands of dollars. The baneblade is already 7 sprues. A thunderhawk would likely have to be AT LEAST double that. If not more. So design would be costly and as such...
2- It would be too expensive of a Plastic Kit. Lets go back to the Baneblade, $140 for the combined kit, $100 or $110 when it first came out (not-combined) IIRC. So if we go with double the sprues, lets imagine double the cost- $280. But as I said, it would likely be MORE. So lets look at the second number. Once more, IIRC that $110 price tag was around 65 to 70% of the original FW baneblade cost (and the current Stormblade, the only current Baneblade variant made by FW). Now the last version of the Thunderhawk was 435 GBP, which TODAY is $545. Keep in mine that right now the pound is down significantly, and that doesn't account for any taxes, but we will leave those out for now. If we go with our 65 to 70% mark, that would make a Plastic T-hawk between $354 to $381. So really, we are looking at some price in there likely- pretax and at a low conversion rate.
3- The T-hawk has too small a market of their already niche market. Sure, there are more Space Marine players than ANYTHING else, but even then you are targeting a small subset of the playerbase with a very factional model.
4- Customer willingness. Let us start with the fact that the model is nigh on unusable due to size and points. Most people would only break it out for a game a few times a year. Now you may say to yourself "but I would display it" and while this is true, it is still a factor in your model buying decision making for sure. If there are models you want that you will USE OFTEN they are likely to take purchasing priority over models you won't use often. Common sense really. Also, it is a flyer. Plain and simple, some people just avoid that part of the game still to this day. Add to it is is virtually impossible to store or transport easily. Like not at all. Stay is one gigantic piece and is huge. LET ALONE WHAT EVER BASE YOU NEED TO SUPPORT IT!!! Now on top of ALL OF THAT you are looking at spending a conservative $350. On something you barely use? That is enough to start some armies. A lot of people won't be willing to bite that bullet but...
5- Customer willingness. Again. Marketing probably figures making the leap from a max $140 plastic kit to a max $350 kit is too big a leap for most. But for some it isn't. For some, the model is worth that price. In reality, it is worth any price. So if you are willing to buy it for $350, you are likely willing to buy it resin for $545. So why not sell it for that much especially when...
6- It is cheaper to make resin and you can manage smaller production runs and handle more "just-in-time" production and warehousing techniques. This reduces costs. BY A LOT. It is no where near as expensive to make as plastic injection molding. At least not on the production scale it is at. This is where Plastic really comes into its own. WHEN YOU ARE MAKING TONS AND TONS. But points two through five really really eat into that demand. As a result, you won't be selling tons and tons. Therefor making tons doesn't make sense and plastic become a poor choice.

But that doesn't mean there isn't something that I feel GW should move from the MASSIVE Resin category to plastic.

I think a Warhound Titan is a much MUCH better candidate. "But didn't you just like totally argue that it would be economical to do that?" Well sorta. Here is why I think IT MAY BE feasible

1- Marketable to more factions. Instead of just SM, all armies of the Imperium AND Chaos can take it (and the most dedicated of Ork players too). Instantly expands the market.
2- The reason it costs so much from FW (A body and 2 arms is 362 GBP or $450ish USD) is not so much due to its size, but rather its technical design and status in and out of game. This is where we should start comparing it to a Knight, where as the Thunderhawk was best compared to a baneblade.
3- So if we start with that same 65% to 70%, we are already talking between $295 to $320, so less than the T-Hawk, and potential to really not cross that $300 threshold. But now we look at the 3 and 4 sprue knights (the 4th sprue being an upgrade sprue) . They are $140 and $150 each. Now if we DOUBLED the sprues we are at the price range I am already predicting, BUT I think actually it won't take 8 sprues to do (just opinion really) because once more, this is a TECHNICAL build more so than a bulk one. My guess, 6 sprues, maybe 7. So still upwards around $280, but I really think that could be driven down to about $250.
4- Customer Willingness. Yet again. So at a $250 to $300 range, we aren't looking at as large of a leap in price from the current max to the "new" max. And if GW could keep it under that $300 threshold, they would likely capture more people and not have to rely on that customer base jump to the FW price between the $300 and $450.
5- It is a walker. These are much easier to use in game and much preferred for a lot of people. Furthermore, it is a logical progression of the Imperial Knight. And it can take D weapons, which is a big rules attraction.
6- It is FAR EASIER TO STORE. For one you can separate its torso, guns and legs. Magnets are king here. And it needs far less support, so smaller bases, if any (maybe 1 per foot? IDK. Either way NOT THAWK SIZE). Since it is easier to store, it is also easier to transport. Really making it a practical gaming piece I will be willing to use more often than a Thunderhawk.

Now, this is all just based on my limited knowledge of the industry and a lot of opinion, but is makes SENSE to me at least. What are your thoughts?

Friday, April 14, 2017

Would You Rather........?

Would You rather fight a Imperial Knight Sized Tactical Marine?

Or Ten Tactical Marine Sized Imperial Knights?

A few rules. It is a non-upgraded Tactical Marine and a Imperial Knight Paladin variant. Exterminatus or equivalent is not a valid answer. Otherwise rules or fluff rationales are all fair game, get creative.