August 22, 2009

Some afterthoughts on our planetstrike game

Hi guys,

I´d also like to take the opportunity to give some comments on our first game on the awesome new planetstrike terrain. First I´d like to thank Managarm for this really funny and exciting game.
I have to admit I was a little biased on the planetstrike rules when I first had a look into the rules section of the book. The attacker seemed way overpowered to me, with little room to react for the defender to an overwhelming amount of firepwer in the first round. So when we talked about choosing sides before the battle, I trusted in my Eldar (of which I still think as one of the most offensive armies in WH40K) to have quite an easy match against Managarms Marines. The first suprise was his all infantry list, which allowed him to spread around the whole base and saturate my units with to much targets. I was a lot more used to his drop pod/land raider army that gave me had a headache the last games. For my list I took some units I stopped using in regular games like the Shining Spears and my Guardian Defenders.

So after the dust of turn ones firestorm had settled had settled and my units had boosted on the field I still felt really in a stronger position. But at the start of turn two I really saw what equals out the attackers advance of turn one :
With defenders reserves arriving from you back and sides you really stop being the attacker and have to struggle to keep your units alive long enough to contest the objectives at the end of the game. This is where my Eldar really started to struggle - with two fronts available my units quickly were separated and cut down. This is where resilant units really start to shine. My Avatar, the wraithlord and especially the Seer Council where the units that matched this type of game a lot better then for example the banshees or the guardians that just lack the resilance. A unit of 10 Wraithguard with warlock should really be a major pain for any defender to remove. Resilance is king in Planetstrike not only for the defender, but also the attacker.
So as a summary I think planetstrike is a really new way of playing 40k and I´m really excited to test my Deamons (Seem waaaaaay overpowered to me) in action against the Marines, Tau or Imperial Guard. And of course my Eldar are always in for a revanche !

August 21, 2009

Defence of Strongpoint 00/19

As announced, we played our first game of planetstrike. We decided on 2500 points on each side, Trotzki attacking with eldar, me defending with marines. We placed 4 objectives thus giving us 4 points for stratagem selection.

Eldar stratagems:
Webway assault
Supply drop.

Space Marine stratagems:
Void shield (middle bastion)
Escape hatch (middle bastion)
Krak attacks

Additionally we decided that the long table edge where I based the bastions was a denied drop zone. I think we house rule this for most of our games, as we don’t want to play planetstrike competitively and 3 stratagem points is rather expensive to spent on this stratagem. Another change we made is that the guns on the bastions have the intercept special rule as well as the guns on the ground (why should a gun on a raised position not be able to shoot on incoming attackers but the one on the ground can?).

Space Marines:

Grand Marshal Hermann (counts as Lysander)
10 terminators with assault cannon,
heavy flamer, 2 chainfists
5 sternguard all with combi-meltas, sergeant with single lightning claw
Dreadnought with assault cannon, heavy flamer, extra armour
3x 10 tac marines with powerfist, flamer (1 plasma gun), lascannon, locator beacon
2x 6 devastators with 3 heavy bolters, 1 plasma cannon
6 devastators with 3 missile launchers
Whirlwind, extra armour
10 assault marines with 2 flamers, power fist
Land speeder with multi melta, heavy flamer


Avatar of Khaine
Farseer with fortune, doom, runes of witnessing (with warlocks in falcon)
5 Warlocks with embolden, enhance
Autarch on jetbike with laser lance, mandiblaster
5 shining spears with exarch, skilled rider, withdraw
10 howling banshees with exarch, warshout in wave serpent with TL bright lance, shuriken catapults, star engines, spirit stones, vectored engines
6 fire dragons with exarch, fire pike
10 dire avengers with exarch, bladestorm, defend in wave serpent with TL bright lance, shuriken catapults, star engines, spirit stones, vectored engines
2x 10 guardian defender squads with missile launcher, warlock with singing spear, destructor
10 warp spiders with exarch, withdraw
Wraith lord with eldar missile launcher, bright lance, 2 flamer
Falcon with holo-fields, spirit stones, shuriken cannon, scatter laser, pulse laser

I positioned the 3 bastions at the long table edge with the relay station in the middle surrounded by aegis defence lines and placed some craters and two ruins on the remaining space of the board. With Lysander’s special rule I fortified the barricade in front of the base. The attacker’s drop zone would be on the right hand side.

Hermann and the sternguard were positioned in the void shielded middle bastion, the devastators with plasma cannons and heavy bolters manned the outer bastions and the remaining devastators with missile launchers were placed on the fortified barricade. I combat squad’ed the tactical marines and placed the the Las/Plas squads around the comms relay. The remaining combat squads were positioned behind the aegis lines, lascannons in the back and on the barricade, flamers and power fists at the first rank. The whirlwind prepared to let loose barrages of vengeance missiles in the back of the strongpoint. The terminators, dreadnought and land speeder were put into reserves.
So the stage is set and the onslaught of the eldar force on the imperial strongpoint is inbound.

Eldar Turn 1:

Trotzki rolled a 4 for the preliminary bombardment and thus got formidable 8 firestorms to drop onto the marines. The opening firestorm then destroyed 2 quad cannons, shook the whirlwind and killed 3 tactical marines, the squad at the comms realy took cover and the other 2 squads failed their pinning test and wouldn’t do anything in my turn.

Everything but the footslogging guardians became available from reserves. The Avatar deep struck next to the right bastion and was attacked by krak grenades and lost one wound. The wraith lord impacted next to the left bastion and the warp spiders appeared behind the devastators on the barricade. The fire dragons materialized between the middle and right bastion, eager to melt one into oblivion but they landed in sight of the one remaining quad cannon and one aspect warrior was blasted to pulp by a stream of grenades.

The tanks moved on the field and used their star engines to get close to the defense lines, the falcon actually flew directly into the base. Cunning eldar! One of the icarus lascannons on the bastions intercepted the wave serpent transporting the banshees and blew the bright lance off the tank. The shining spears raced towards the marine squad manning the foremost defense line. By supply drops for the eldar the seer council, warp spiders and shining spears acquired all kinds of grenades. Shooting saw the the left bastions melted to a burning pile of rubble by the fire dragons after the avatar of war missed with his melta. But the devastators inside were unharmed by the collapse. The anti tank devastators on the barricades were not that fortunate and were obliterated by the warp spiders. The shining spears assaulted the marine squad and slaughtered them to a man before they could do anything.

Marines Turn 1:

So after having lost the first bastion, a devastator squad, a combat squad and three further squads pinned I was desperately praying to the Emperor to send help against the vile xeno threat. The Emperor protects, all reserves became available and arrived all in the eldar deployment zone! So ten terminators, a full squad of assault marines, a dreadnought and the land speeder were in striking range of the eldar force. Things were getting to look way better than minutes before.

The terminators opened fire on the avatar and I rolled so badly that he wasn’t wounded. Hermann’s sternguard squad targeted Khaines incarnation as well and five hellfire rounds hit home, wounding him once. The two assault marines carrying a flamer jumped to the front and bathed the eldar jet bikes in burning promethium killing the hole squad but the autarch. The warp spiders where killed by a signum assisted plasma cannon shot followed by a rain of heavy bolter shells from the left bastion. The same fate awaited the fire dragons as the devastators paid back the destruction of their bastion. And the land speeder did what he does best: failing to hit with the multi melta so the wave serpent carrying the banshees was not harmed. Assault was horrible, the assault marines managed to do nothing against the autarch on jetbike.

Eldar Turn 2:

The guardians arrived from reserve and took aim at the terminators and the land speeder. The fortuned seer council disembarked and the falcon raced on towards the middle bastion. With a howling scream the banshees jumped out of the serpent transport and ran towards the doomed assault marines which were still engaged in close combat with the autarch. The other wave serpent flew directly in front of the barricades unloading the dire avengers who bladestormed the marine squad. Trotzki rolled miserably and just killed two. The land speeder was stripped of all weapons and immobilized by the fire of the civilians at arms. The other guardian squad was as successful and killed two terminators. In a shower of sparks the middle bastion lost its void shield leaving it nearly defenceless at the bright lance attack of the wave serpent. The lance beam punched right through the enforced permacrete and the bastion collapsed in a cloud of dust and smoke. In the ensuing assault the banshees charged the assault marines and wiped them from the board before they knew what hit them. The avatar charged into the ruin of the left bastion and killed two devastators but the marines hold their ground stubbornly. Both combat squads behind the aegis lines were attacked by the seer council and both squads lost one marine to the assault and they didn’t manage to hurt the fortuned eldar. On the far right the guardians charged into the waiting power fists of the terminators and the dreadnought and suffered dearly. Four guardians were smashed and their morale broke so they ran off the board. But not before the guardian warlock immobilized the dreadnought with the singing spear. On the other side of the battlefield, the monstrous wraithlord hammered into the last remaining bastion and destroyed it in a huge explosion which consumed one marine.

Guardians in the open, dire avengers bunched up after disembarking and howling banshees not locked in close combat with a heavy flamer standing ready and a whirlwind loading vengeance missiles. Things would get ugly next round…

Marines Turn 2:

The whirlwind swiveled its turret towards the dire avengers to let loose a devastating barrage. The missiles killed seven dire avengers and two more were killed by the decimated marine squad on the barricade by bolter fire. Just before the bright lance of the wave serpent led to the collapse of the bastion, Hermann and his squad of sternguard escaped through tunnels beneath the strongpoint and appeared unharmed next to the falcon through the escape hatch of the middle bastion (my third stratagem). The veteran space marines used their one-shot melta guns and wrecked the falcon with a well aimed shot through the engine of the sophisticated tank, the holofields all but useless on such short a distance. In the back the plasmagunner of the squad defending the comms relay shot a bright hot plasma bolt on the autarch on jetbike, killing him instantly. In the ruins of the right bastion the devastators lost no time and a searing plasma blast found its mark on the wraithlord and wounded it once. The immobilized dreadnought brought his assault cannon to bear on the last guardians and killed two, even the heavy flamer was in range and roasted another one. The terminators marched in the direction of the howling banshees and bathed them in a gout of promethium and a hail of storm bolter and assault cannon fire. Three terminators charged the remaining two aspect warriors while the other five stood back. One terminator was cut down before his brothers avenged him and made short work with the fragile but nonetheless deadly eldar women. Meanwhile one marine was killed by the seer council.

Eldar Turn 3:

To avenge the slaughtered banshees the remaining guardians pushed under fire towards the terminators and unleashed a torrent of shurikens against the astartes, killing one. The still unharmed wave serpent moved away from the barricades and targeted the whirlwind with its bright lance which destroyed the missile tank. Three marines fell to the flamers of the wraithlord and another one was smashed when the monstrosity charged into the ruin. The avatar continued his rampage at the backfield and charged the combat squad at the comms relay making short work in close combat and killed 3 marines getting no wound in return. The marines passed their leadership test and the fight would go on. The last standing dire avenger gathered his wits and charged into the ongoing close combat between the seer council and the two marine squads. Two marines lost their lives to the witch blades. The guardians attacked the last terminator and killed him

Marines Turn 3:

The wraithlord had to go, so Hermann left his squad and ran towards it but couldn’t reach it and by doing this, he took one wound when he stumbled into the ruin of the bastion (yes, I rolled three 1s in a row!). The sternguard jumped over the wrecked falcon, losing one veteran, ready to charge into the melee with the seer council. On the left flank the terminators continued their march and fried the guardians with heavy flamer fire and a few stormbolter rounds. During close combat the wraithlord killed one marine and the avatar wiped out the squad at the comms relay. The sternguard charged the seer council and killed two.

Eldar Turn 4:

As everything was locked up in close combat this round was rather short. The avatar charged the last tactical combat squad and killed 2, of course getting no wound in return. The seer council killed one sternguard veteran.

Marines Turn 4:

I moved the terminators in base contact with the right ruined bastion to capture it. Hermann’s luck didn’t return and he wasn’t able to wound the wraithlord (I required 3s to hit, I rolled three 1s and one 2, rerolled one, hit and rolled another 1 to wound…). Following the same concept the whole sternguard squad was killed by the seer council and the remaining lascannon marine failed his leadership test and broke from combat. The three tactical marines from the barricade weren’t able to do anything harmful as well. In the back the avatar got rid of the last marines and the comms relay was now under eldar control.

Eldar Turn 5:

The wave serpent fired its engines and flew over into the strongpoint next to the collapsed right bastion, capturing it. The fleeing marine was melted by the avatars wailing doom. Hermann at last hammered the wraithlord into a pile of wraithbone and consolidated towards the avatar. In the never-ending fight in the middle one marine died under the witchblades.

Marines Turn 5:

Another marine was killed by the warlocks, but the squad hold its ground. The terminators moved around the crater and fired at the avatar to no effect. Hermann charged the avatar. Running under a stream of heavy bolter shells fired in his back by the surviving devastator he crashed into the towering incarnation of a wargod, sparks raining from the protective energy field of his shield as the giant sword of the avatar awaited him. One strike slipped through his defense and cut easily through his ancient tactical dreadnought armour and bit deep into the marshals flesh. But he had suffered worse and wielded his hammer in a devastating back-hand strike into the abdomen of his enemy. In an explosion of sparks, pieces of lava and half-molten rocks the thunder hammer unloaded its energy, sending the avatar reeling back. Stunned by such a tremendous blow Hermann took the advantage and another mighty blow of the mastercrafted weapon hit home and the avatar was down to one knee. With a last, all-destroying overhead strike khaines avatar was destroyed and the comms relay was back in imperial hands.

We rolled if the game would go into another round but it ended here.

Defender: 2 objectives.
Attacker: 1 objective.
Victory Space Marines.


Phew, that was close and it was a really tense and hard fought battle. During almost the whole game I thought that I wouldn’t be able stop the eldar from taking all objectives. Planetstrike brings everything directly into contact and close combat starts at the very first turn and that’s something marines really don’t shine at. But having some heavy hitters in reserve really can turn the tide. And I was lucky that all came on the field at the same time (comms relay helps on that part), all from the same direction at the attackers drop zone. So I could charge eliminate some serious threats very early. The shining spears would have done havoc to the defenders and by having so much force in his back, Trotzki was forced to divert his army. I am honestly surprised now that I could win with my army in the role as defender. As I said in the announcement I had the impression the attacker has the advantage simply by having the possibility to blow things up with the firestorm and then attack in the first turn what is left. And not having the need to wipe out any defender at an objective but simply being in base contact with it is sufficient to hold it and on top of that, a tie is actually a win for the attacker led me to this opinion. But of course all that was based only on theory, only having read the codex and not having played an actual game. I stand somewhat corrected now. Hard hitting reserves seems to be the way to victory for the defender.

Ok, that leads me to a little rant about planetstrike and armies in general. On bell of lost souls there was a poll, which army would be the best at defending. The great majority voted for imperial guard. Admittedly I haven’t seen them playing planetstrike (we will do this in the coming weeks) but I doubt that they will be such a great defending force. Of course, they can field so many heavy weapons, one might think that they will blow every attacker out of the skies and they have heavy tanks coming from reserves to shoot the remaining forces to pulp. Hmm sounds great, but what happens when the bastions are destroyed at turn one and the squads inside are charged by dedicated assault units and “everything” is in close combat? The tanks cannot shoot. To make long things short, the attacker kills everything in the base and then goes to ground and awaits the end of the game, maybe firing some shots at the tanks. Attacker wins. I am not saying the imperial guard has no chance here, but I can imagine way better armies, both at defending and attacking. The one great choice for both roles is simple, at least in my humble opinion. Who has heavy hitters with serious staying power? Right, Death Guard. At the moment I see no easy way to get rid of plague marines sitting on an objective (this problem isn’t new, I know). As defender, a lot of plague marines should do the work by just charging everything getting too close to the objectives and thereby creating long lasting close combats. And as attacker they just have to get to an objective and stay there. And that’s what they excel at. But that’s again just my few cents. I really would like to see how Tau and Tyranids fare in planetstrike as I just have no idea how I would use them. Or what would you guys out there think?
End of rant.

Coming to the conclusion. I thank Trotzki for a really nice and exciting game and I think we both had fun. I always like close games and for my part I had no idea how the game would end during the most time.
Concerning my army choice I was rather happy as everything performed well and I think the list is rather solid. When I use that list again I still have about 100 points I could free as the locator beacons, the extra armour on the whirlwind and maybe all the powerfists in the tactical squads aren't really necessary. Maybe I could take another hq choice. And Lysander really is a beast and making the whole army stubborn is awesome for defenders. I would have lost the combat against the seer council many times but with stubborn I could hold and thus negating the council a consolidation into the middle bastion/ruin.
Planetstrike is really a nice addition to warhammer 40k and makes up for funny and enthralling games. But you have to keep it in a friendly environment and not try to play it in a competitive manner. It is really more like apocalypse where careful planning and maybe some narrative aspects pay off in the end. What I somewhat disliked is that your lovingly created strongpoint with its bastions and carefully erected defense lines and overlapping fields of fire of the quad cannons and whatnot is overrun in the very first turn. When I initially thought of planetstrike, I imagined there would be hard fought battles to get into such vital strongpoints with the attacker suffering horrendous losses by charging a well fortified position. This aspect comes a bit short for my taste and I think it would be cooler when the bastions would last a little bit longer than turn two. Maybe we have to think about changing the rules a little bit that there are bubbles the attacker cannot deepstrike into so that he has to walk/fly/whatever to the bastions. Of course that will be a disadvantage for the attacker but I think, permitting the attacker more points will solve such problems. And that would bring the image of a stronghold more in line with reality when the outnumbered defenders hold off wave after wave of onrushing attackers.

This brings me to the end of this battle report, I hope you all enjoyed it as much as we did.

August 16, 2009

Planetstrike: Bastions and defence lines

Good morning!

Today we're going to have our first planetstrike game!
Trotzki and me bought the Imperial Strongpoint set and two additional bastions. So we now have 4 bastions and 3 aegis lines. In addition we also bought some craters and barricades from amera terrain. Over the last two weeks we were busy with assembling and painting the terrain before playing the actual first game, as we wanted to play on a completely painted board. So here's what we have right now.

Airbrushing really helps to get the bastions painted rather quickly. We used field grey from tamiya as base colour and then a wash of thinned badab black, followed by drybruhsing with codex grey and a bit of bleached bone.

So today we play a 2500 point game of space marines vs. eldar. I will defend the stronpoint with my marines and Trotzki assaults with his eldar. I am really curious how that will turn out as at the moment I am feeling the defender is a bit in a disadvantage. But we will see.

I will take pictures and a battle report will be written, so stay tuned.

August 11, 2009

And it burns, burns, burns ...

Hi guys,

i hope I can draw some attention from Managarms shiny (and perfectly done) Stormblade to my Fire Dragons I painted the last weeks. I bought the Falcon-friendly squad of six and magnetized the exarchs shoulder and weapons so he can switch between the fancy "my melter is longer than yours"-pike to itch some tanks and the Dragons Breath flamer to roast the small stuff.

So here´s the squad :

The shoulder magnet (first time I´ve done this - so I am a little proud) :

Now onwards to the FW Avatar ....

August 10, 2009

Armour Painting: Stormblade Pt. IV


I "finished" the Stormblade a few weeks ago. "Finished", because I find something from time to time I want to repaint or try to make it a little bit better, so it is not 100% done...but almost.
It took me a while to make presentable photos, since the camera flash blurred out the details. But I made something around of 150 photos this evening to get the best my camera is able to produce.
But enough of that, here are the pics!

The weathering was not that difficult. I learned not to use too much of weathering powders while I painted the leman russ and so I built up several layers of thinned weathering powders. I used different mixtures of dark mud, russian earth and african earth from mig and thinned that with thinner for washes. When that was dry it turned out to be somewhat too bright and "brownish". Another layer of dark mud/russian earth darkened that down a bit. I concentrated the weathering with the powders on the lower parts of the tank and only put a little bit on the upper parts where dust would collect.
For leaking fuel and oil I aibrushed more thinned brown ink on the fuel drums and surroundings and on some of the rivets (see lower pic).
I made the mud from acrylic resin, sand and different weathering powders thinned with a little bit of water. Mainly I flicked it on from a brush by hand (gloves come in handy!) and some spots I made by airbushing on the brush. That flicks on some really nice and naturally looking spots (lower pic as well).
For the exhaust shroudings I added some more details by using thinned baal red wash, leviathan purple wash and a bit of asurmen blue wash (all from GW) on the lower parts and some very thin layers of a selfmade yellow wash (sunburst yellow thinned with water and matt varnish) on the upper part. The lowest part of the exhausts were weathered with rust coloured weathering powders.
The heavy stubber on the pintle was simply drybrushed with pencil lead/graphite with my finger. (Simple and effective, that's really a cool hint in the imperial armour model masterclass).
The chipped paint effects where done by sponging on charadon granite (GW foundation paint). That colour is very nice and sponging is fun. You really have to pay attention that you don't go over top with it and chip the whole tank. As sponge I used the small "sponge" in the GW blister packs.
One thing I have I learned now as the tank is 99% done: On the next (super heavy) tank (whenever that might be) I will paint the tracks before I glue them on! That would make painting the running gear and the tracks themselves a lot easier. Actually that took me long hours and I couldn't reach all parts.

So that brings me to the end of this small painting log and I have to say, I enjoyed it really much and I learned a lot. And that is definitely not the last super heavy I will paint!