Monthly Archives: January 2012


This weekend saw one of Ireland’s biggest 40k tournaments run in Cork. It was my first time attending Warpcon, and coincidentally my first time competing at the new 1850 limit.  Strangely enough, I noticed that Cork airport has a very 40k appropriate three letter IATA Code:

As I mentioned previously I’ve done some head scratching as to how best to bump my 1750 list up to 1850. This time I went with a multimelta armed chaos dreadnought.   So my final list was as follows:

HQ1: Daemon Prince Mark of Slaanesh Wings Lash of Submission [155 Pts]
Elite1: 3 terminators 3x Combi-melta [105 Pts] in Transport 1
Elite2: 3 terminators 3x Combi-plasma [105 Pts] in Transport 2
Elite3: 1 Chaos Dreadnought, with Multimelta [100]
Troop1: 5 chaos marines  [75 Pts]
Troop2: 5 chaos marines  [75 Pts]
Troop3: 5 chaos marines, Icon of Chaos Glory [85 Pts] in Transport 3
Heavy1: 3 Obliterators [225 Pts]
Heavy2: 3 Obliterators [225 Pts]
Heavy3: 3 Obliterators [225 Pts]
Transport1 : Landraider [220 Pts] Carries Elite1
Transport2 : Landraider [220 Pts] Carries Elite2
Transport3 : Rhino [35 Pts] Carries Troop3


MISSION Primary Seize Ground, Secondary Capture and Control, Pitched Battle Deployment

My first game was against Mark and his Dark Eldar army.

Mark had a really interesting mixed dark eldar force – Wyches, Raiders, Beasts, Talos, Venom, Ravager, Warriors, Wracks, Hellions, Incubi and more.  A good set of turn two deepstrikes let me do some serious damage to his force, but we were pretty evenly matched until turn 5.  In one turn I managed to contest the two primary objectives he had been holding, and flush him off his home objective while holding one of the primaries and my home.  The very end of the game was pretty epic: it’s looking like a 14-6 to me, after movement I’m about 6″ away from the objective that he’s holding – I roll for a run with the one squad in range, the six comes up and the 14-6 becomes 18-2.  Game ends



MISSION Primary Capture and Control, Secondary KillPoints, Spearhead Deployment

Next up was against Dave and his Blood Angels army.

Blood Angels are a fast and dangerous army.  Dave had Death Company, Astaroth and a Libby Dread in a Raven; Assault Terminators in a Redeemer, a Speeder, and two squads (one in a pod, and one in a Rhino).

I had first turn, and set up my Raider and Oblits with good fire lanes across the whole table.  I was able to shoot up all his transports while they were still far away, thus giving me the opportunity to use my firepower against him for the whole game and avoid getting into assaults.  Without mobility, Dave had a tough time of it, but was a great opponent.  The game went the full 7 turns, and I held my objective, had managed to sneak a rhino onto his, and was comfortably ahead on KPs.



MISSION Primary KillPoints, Secondary Capture and Control, Dawn of War Deployment

Last game of the day was against Rowan and his Clockwork Necron army.

This was my first game against the new Necrons, and Rowan had heeded my advice and had brought plenty of Tesla.  He had also taken lots of tricksy stuff – so I faced THREE turns of nightfighting, and thanks to Anrakyr the Traveller my own Landraider started shooting my Oblits.  But the really dangerous bit of the list was the wraiths.  They were jumppacking, rending, 2 wound, stormshield carrying death machines.

I killed most of Rowans skimmers but just bounced off those wraiths.  Rowan played really well, and I learned a lot about the sneaky tricks of the new codex. I must say necrons are really interesting, and I’m going to have to do some heavy thinking on how I can best take them on…

Ended the day on a loss – needed to get back into the fight in the morning!



MISSION Primary Seize Ground, Secondary KillPoints, Spearhead Deployment

My first game was against Burkhardt and his incredibly painted Blood Angels army.

Burkhardt had first turn, and deployed his whole army (bar his sanguinary guard and honour guard) on the left flank.  As with all BA opponents, I needed to keep him away and get some solid shooting in before any of his units reached my lines.  So I deployed a refuse flank, with just my 2 landraiders and one squad of obliterators in the far right corner.  Off to a good start.

Turn 1 his two lascannons manage to immobilise and stun one raider, and I have to go to ground for my oblit squad to weather the hail of bloodstrike missiles.  So turn one I have just one raider to shoot back with, and he fails to scratch the raven.

Turn 2 his honour guard (with melta guns), and sang guard (with inferno pistols) DoA next to the undamaged raider, but not close enough for 2d6 pen.  Not that that mattered since he glanced it and rolled a 6, with the AP1 bumping that up to Destroyed Wrecked.  😦 My turn 2 my melta terminators roll a 10 for scatter and mishap (these things happen).  My oblits drop down with clear LOS to his honour guard, and roll an 11 for scatter putting them 0.5 inches off the table. 😦   On the plus side my remaining 6 oblits down his raven which had boosted towards my lines.  In a true combined arms fashion, my plasma terminators did manage to mess up the terminators that popped out of the raven, but didn’t manage to finish off the unit.  Unfortunately his blood talon dread was eyeing them up with glee…

Turn 3 his sang guard assault my oblits, whittling them down.  His honour guard just hang about having fluffed their difficult terrain.  His lasback and autolas pred popped the remaining oblit squad – three shots, three kills.  😦   As expected, the blood talon dread devoured the terminators.  My turn 3,  I move up my marines towards objectives, and make a really stupid mistake: I forgot to shoot with my immobilised Land Raider.   The daemon prince takes on the honour guard (and fails to kill anything!).  😦   The chaos dread rushes in and assaults the sang guard but does no damage, but he’ll grind them down – right?

Turn 4 he blows up my last Land Raider with his autolas pred, and his two razorbacks take up objective holding positions.  His Blood Talon Dread jumps into the Daemon Prince combat, but luckily I chop him down before he gets a chance to strike and   My turn 4  my Dread finishes off the last Sang Guard but the sang guard have popped the last oblit.

Turn 5 he bolts forward with his death company towards my right flank objective.  He holds two, I hold one, and the right flank is contested.  My turn 5 the dread lumbers towards the death company, but with only a two for difficult terrain meant I wasn’t able to close the gap.  So I piled him in to the daemon prince/honour guard fight and wiped his squad.  Now I need another turn to claw back that draw! Game ends




MISSION Primary KillPoints, Secondary Seize Ground, Pitched Battle Deployment

My last game was against Loyd and his Dark Angel army.

Loyd’s army was exactly the mix of light mech and walking marines that my list excels against, and after my harrowing loss in the last round I was looking for blood.  I seize the initiative, and do some damage to his tanks.  Lash + plasma terminators + oblits whittle down his assault squad and Belial’s squad.  Meltacides kill his dreadnought and mop up two of his scoring units in assault.  Land raiders tear up his vehicles.  By turn 5 he has two models left – one more turn needed to get the 20-0!  But game ends


A new addition

With the ETC moving to 1850 points, those of us with long standing 1750 points lists have to scratch our heads and think about how to make the move up.  Just add a 100 point unit? add 100 points of extras to what you have? or completely rethink the list for the new limit?

I’ve pondered a few possibilities, and with Warpcon coming up next week it’s time to see how they fare in practice.  So for Warpcon I’ll be adding a Chaos Dreadnought with Multimelta to my usual list.  Not a bad unit for 100 points, particularly since the latest FAQ made the ‘friendly fire’ issue more controllable.

The only drawback is that I didn’t own a Chaos Dreadnought.  Time to go shopping.

First choice is the ForgeWorld dreadnoughts – really amazing models and can be purchased with the exact loadout I need.

Problem: wouldn’t arrive in time… so no go.

What about the normal chaos dreadnought?

Ugliest model in the world.

Only remaining option – convert a loyalist dreadnought kit.  Having looked at the various options, the ironclad looked like the best starting point, but it would need a few extras.

I raided my pile of chaos vehicle bitz, a defiler head, and even a space crusade chaos dreadnought multimelta (blast from the past!).  Here’s how it panned out:

More pictures up on the facebook page!

Vindication for the Vindicare

A long long time ago, a gentleman called ‘JohnnyCache’ asked:

“I would like to see a breakdown of my likelihood of stopping a vehicle with the 4d6 turbo-penetrator round from the vindicare covered in your excellent mathblog, because I am looking at it and it looks like (assuming he hits the vehicle) he will glance-or-better armor value 10 9 time out of ten? And glance-or-better av 14 over half the time?”

I sent him a quick response without writing an article, and didn’t think anymore about it until today, where I realised that I had completely misinterpreted the vindicare’s tank killing capability.  So firstly apologies to JohnnyCache, but better late than never, right?

I’ll frame the discussion with one of my more traditional questions:

How many marines with lascannons would you need to equal the Land Raider killing potential of one vindicare turbo penetrator shot?

The Vindicare has long been one of my favourite models both in terms of looks and rules.  What a badass.  In the current ruleset the Vindicare is BS8, and has a special ammo type called ‘Turbo Penetrator’ that has 4d6 for armour penetration.  When I responded to JohnnyCache, I basically provided the following:

Which basically proved his maths correct, 55% chance of glancing or better on AV14, 90% chance of glance or better on AV10 (assuming you hit).  But it was only today that a few additional details popped into my head.  Number 1, his weapons are marked as ‘Sniper‘, so they get a Strength of 3 to add to that 4d6, giving us the following:

The AV14 penetration result rockets up to over 75%!  But wait, there’s more: ‘Sniper’ weapons are also rending, so any roll of a 6 on penetration gets an additional d3 to penetration – combined with the Str 3 bump we get the following:

As you can see these combine to form a major boost to the previously predicted tank busting power.

Looking back to my setup question, the Vindicare is BS8 (approx 91% chance to hit), penetrates AV14 79% of the time, and the weapon is AP1 so it adds +1 to the damage roll.  End-to-end odds of killing a Land Raider? approx 37%

How many devastators with lascannons does that equate to? Well with BS4, S9, and AP2 you would need 12 lascannon-toting marines to get the same odds of a kill.

In my opinion, for 145 points, he’s a steal.

A tussle with Tesla

The recent reboot of necrons has injected some new ideas into the 40k meta, and players are trying out various combos and builds from the new codex. The new rules introduce some new mechanics, and regular reader Rowan Sheridan has asked for some insight into Tesla weapons.

Let’s kick things off with a question (actually TWO questions):

A nasty necron immortal is firing his Tesla Carbine at a horde of terrifying Tyranids. As he aims, he gets blasted by Paroxysm making him BS1, how does this affect his odds of getting the bonus Tesla hits?
What if his carbine was twin linked due to the Targeting Relay of a Triarch Stalker?

A Tesla weapon gets you three hits on a to hit roll of a six, and so we can quickly get an answer for the first element of our discussion. The BS of the firer of a Tesla Carbine is irrelevant for the purposes of the bonus hits, you always have a one in six (16.67%) chance of rolling a six. Obviously with higher BS you’ll miss less and will therefore always come out better on average in terms of regular hits (just not in terms of bonus hits).

So first portion of the discussion done, bonus hits are a straight 6 on a dice roll, so your BS is irrelevant and your odds are 16.67%. But, what about the second part of the question – Twin Linked Tesla? This is where it gets interesting…

The twin linked rule only allows you to reroll misses, and low BS means more misses, and therefore you are more likely to get a second chance at rolling a 6. The unmolested necron has a BS of 4, has a 16.67% chance of getting a six first time, and a 33% chance of getting a reroll (i.e. missing the first shot). The necron suffering from Paroxysm has a 16.67% chance of getting a six first time, and an 83.33% chance of getting a reroll (i.e. missing the first shot). Lets take a closer look at those odds:

  • BS4 chances of getting bonus hits: 16.67%
  • BS1 chances of getting bonus hits:16.67%
  • BS4 Twin Linked chances of getting bonus hits: 22.22%
  • BS1 Twin Linked chances of getting bonus hits: 30.56%

That’s right, a paroxysm affected necron has a significantly improved chance of getting Tesla bonus hits when his weapon is twin linked. In fact the odds smoothly reduce as BS goes up (for twin linked weapons):

  • BS1: 30.56%
  • BS2: 27.78%
  • BS3: 25%
  • BS4: 22.22%
  • BS5: 19.44%

Now as interesting as this may be, we can’t ignore the fact that at BS1 he’s simply going to miss more often – is the additional probability of the Tesla bonus good enough to mitigate his lousy aim? How about a graph of the total number of hits (regular + bonus) we would expect (on average) per hit roll made?

The graph shows the expected number of hits for BS values from 1 to 5 for a ‘Basic’ (i.e. non Twin Linked, non Tesla) weapon, a Tesla weapon, and a Twin Linked (TL) Tesla weapon.

As you can see for increasing BS you expect more hits, so the Tesla game mechanic hasn’t done anything too strange. In non twin linked Tesla the bonus improves all BS equally, and for twin linked it improves weak BS more noticeably.

If GW had set the Tesla bonus hits at higher level then you really would start to get strange effects. Non-twin linked Tesla would almost negate any difference between BS values, and for Twin linked Tesla low BS could be for better than high! Thankfully that’s not the case.

That’s all a bit theoretical, but Rowan’s actual question was more specific to the Tesla Destructor, which is four twin linked shots of tesla.

Because of the Tesla effect, these 4 shots can get from 0 to 12 hits, but the odds are very much unlike any other 40k mechanic. To show what I’m talking about, here’s a graph of the results of 4 Tesla shots at BS4, Twin Linked and Non-Twin Linked:

If you recall my article on 2d6 we saw a spike on the 7 result because the largest number of possible combinations added up to 7. We see a similar but more complex action here where certain results peak as there are more ways for that exact number of hits to occur (as an interesting quirk, it’s impossible for the 4 shots to produce a result of 11 hits). The key difference between the TL and non TL results is that TL gets better odds of the bonus hits and so the combinations that need those ‘3s’ get amplified (and the improved hit rate that makes TL generally useful also shifts the curve to the right).

Interesting graph, but how about I boil it down to a straight comparison?

  • 4 Tesla shots at BS4 gets an average of 4 hits
  • 4 Twin linked Tesla shots at BS4 gets an average of 5.33 hits

And if you think that’s good – I haven’t included Arcing in this analysis!

Happy New Year

Rumours of my death have been greatly overstated

I’ve now found a place to play 40k, in the delightful Spread Eagle pub on Mondays and Thursdays, organised by the excellent Olaf of OG Games.  They use some pretty complex army comp rules which keeps me on my toes in terms of list design, but I mustn’t forget how to play cheesy WAAC lists when it comes to tournament time

I left Ireland on a bit of a rankings high, but that will soon start to tumble as the season gets properly underway.  I’m hoping to get back for a few tournaments and see if I can sneak my way into ETC 2012!

I still have a backlog of analysis from you guys, and new requests are coming in for the Necron codex:


…so watch this space for some updates in the next few days!

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