Staying ahead of the 40k curve... slowly.

So I have made a 40k career out of some how staying ahead of the curve while fielding unique and interesting armies.  The best example of this was my Death From Above: Stomp Stomp army from a few years ago that took advantage of weaknesses in the current 40k competitive meta, and a unique quirk in the Blood Angels PDF of the time.  I was able to play three Venerable Death Company Furioso Dreads.  Not only were they crazy hard to kill, but most guys at the time were only packing a couple of melta guns per army tops and fists and hammers were nonexistent.

That army, followed by my new codex Defensive mech list, earned me 3 Vegas Golden tickets and a number one ranking on Rankings HQ for a few months.

Horn tooted.

I'm getting to the point of the article, really.

Any way, I managed to pull this off by being observant of what I was facing at local tournaments, and trying to guess what I might face at upcoming GTs.

Enter 2012 and GK henchmen spam and DE venom dakka. Two armies that could not only blast you off the table with shooting, but finish the job with superior assault.

At a recent tournament I noticed that Blood Angels were having some success against GK spam by putting a furioso dread into a Storm Raven and turbo boosting it into the GK ranks.  Sure the raven would die, but it absorbed enough shooting to ensure that the dread lived. Next turn, the dread would tear into purifiers.  Fearless is a handicap for poor purifiers.  The dread will most likely kill 7 or 8 of them, and if they are unlucky one will live from the fearless saves. Locking the dread in combat on the GK turn, then freeing him next turn for the dread to assault another squad.

Single dreads were tearing through entire armies!

That got me to thinking about a cheaper and more reliable way of delivering dread death to GK armies.  The raven is too expensive and unreliable. It can be blown up before it even moves, stranding your dread on your edge.  So I figured pods were the way to go! Sure I would lose dreads due to GK dakka before they got to assault, but when you are running six of them, odds are one or two would survive!

Plus it would make a pretty cool army.

Plus plus, I had the models sitting around!

Now I get to my point. More on building the list later. First a cool pic for the blog rolls.

Librarian with Melta Pistol

I had the models sitting around.  I had lots of unused infantry from my ever changing lists. I also had the dreads, or enough store credit to get them and the pods.

With a minimal investment I had a full 2k point, 10 pod army, painted to table top standards ready to go.

That is the first step guys. The point has been made.  When starting an army on a budget, come up with your concept, and build what you can with what you have.  The idea is not to get an entire new army, and assemble 2k points of grey plastic and try to get in games.  Get your army table top, and go play.

The key is seeing what works.  I quickly learned that I needed more killy shooting upon landing for infantry.  SO I dropped a blood talon dread and added one with a heavy flamer and frag assault launcher.  Problem solved.  This minor change was easy, all I had to do was paint the launcher and mag it to a dread.

But as I play the list more, I realize I need more changes.  Here is where the slow adjustment of your army is key.  Eventually I want to play this army as a competitive force, that also competes for best painted. While I started the army using recycled models, I will eventually remake the entire force and paint it to my award winning standards. All while playing a table top army to learn how to do it.

So now as I make changes, I will be painting those models up to top standard.

Here we go!

First the recycling part.  I used models from my retired model case.

Ahh, the remnants of old armies and unfinished projects.

Some of my old black templars peeking out!

Part of my mountain of spare sprues full of GK, DC and SG bits.

I busted out the old case and started scrounging usable assault marines. My first drop pod list included a tactical squad. I figured based on the role I found them playing though, that an assault squad would do better since I could add more melta.

Most of these models were in the retired case. 

Behold, remember these guys?

The first five assault marines I ever painted, and 
remnants from my first Best Painted! 
The beakie was my first.

After finding what I could in the case, I had to scrounge a few odds and ends. Namely, melta gunners.

After scratch building one, and rearming another, I had my two gunners.  All models I am showing you now need to be scraped and cleaned by the way. Please don't say "I see flashing!"

Finally I had to add the sergeant upgrades.  Here is where I stay ahead of the curve.  Previously, I would always give my SGT a power sword, to take advantage of that initiative 5 strike. But with rumors of only fists being able to punch through Terminator armor in 6th eds, power fists will become much more important.  A ten man squad is a perfect place to hide a pesky fist.  You are going to see many more of these forgotten relics showing up soon!

Now to the cool stuff.  After a couple tournaments, I realized that my six dreads were overkill, and not quite getting the job done.  I needed a little more melta on landing, and I needed it to be able to take more than a single hit before dieing.  A psy dread can blast a dread off the table, but could easily fail to kill an honor guard model, let alone the whole unit.  But first I needed to upgrade the librarian model I was using.

I wanted him to have a melta pistol. So I used
one from the SG sprue.

A sword as well.  I used the books from a GK sprue
along with the head and back piece.

The body was SG and DC bits along with the back pack.

The cool cloak came from the Empire General box set. I had to cut it to fit.

Any way, with a little kit bashing, I had a pretty cool librarian. I gave him a SG shoulder pad, with the intent of using more to match the Honor Guardsmen.

Think ahead as you plan. This squad is going to actually become the centerpiece of this army as I paint it to my Best Painted standards.  It has to be interesting and unique. The kit bashing I am doing, as well as the matching shoulder pads will help create a look that adds to the greater sense of unity in the army as a whole.


More melta. Note the slightly different pose. This guy looks a little more 
dynamic as if he is about to charge into a fight.

Blood Champion. SG body with assault squad combat shield
cut and fitted to a standard pistol arm.

I wanted this guy a little more dynamic, so
I used the legs that had the skull and rocks, but cut them off,
and trimmed the foot on the bottom a bit to make him look 
a little more like he is stepping into combat.

And the priest.

I used a GK terminator arm. I cut the shoulder off and replaced it with a small one
with the apothecary shoulder pad.

Apothecary chest and back pack with DC legs and other bits.  

Not too shabby.

So after a bit of scrounging I have a new librarian, an honor guard and a ten man assault squad ready to go.  The squad needs to be completely repainted, and I plan on doing a video on how to.  The HG though needs more love. I will probably do them completely NMM gold.  A big job!  First I have to clean and drill them.  This will be my first unit in my competitive list I plan on bring to GTs like Feast of Blades.  Eventually I will completely replace the other models, but for now I can easily get them table top ready and playable.  I won't play this unit until it has at least been base coated with some basic highlights.  

What is that little blue guy doing there?

Here is a treat for you. Behold, the first model I ever painted... 

Not too bad if I do say so myself. Look at the super thick highlight,
thanks to that old GW "Fine Detail" brush.

Back then I was into using all the accessories. Scope and Bayonet!
I managed a fairly decent job on the lens.

Flashing? What flashing!

Check out my leet hand painting skills. I put a spade on his shoulder.  

I finished him with a heavy blast from some spray gloss varnish.  
Pretty sweet huh!

Ok, thats it for now.  

More to come as I work on this little project.



Will Wright said...

Arrrgh your first was an Ultra too.
Gotta admit he box art did make them look cool as hell.

IDICBeer said...

A great read Jawa

Dalinair said...

Very nice, would love to know what your list evolved to be

Jawaballs said...

I take pics and get the list posted up this weekend.

Feuermann said...

I'm thinking to use magna-grapples to engage my furioso dreads with the psyflemen (or remove them from cover and then shoot a good melta shot)

Against purifiers I'mthinking to use some plasma weapons (with a Blood priest near!!)

40K Giveaway said...

The librarian looks awesome, as does the Honor Guard, very nice work on them

Jawaballs said...

Magna grapples are just not great. The chances of them pulling something are small. But also, this happens at the same time as the melta shot. You cant pull it close, then resolve the melta. If you are assaulting a psy dread with a blood talon dread, you are desperate. He wins that trade off.

inquisitor_dunn said...

I think you are definately on to something. I think there is opertunity in running a assault based drop pod army atm. I think when 6th drops it will also swing the pendulum in favor of assault. I faced 4 true gunline/vehicle style armies at the Bugeater GT in Omaha out of 6. The whole time I was wishing I had drop podded up!

Anonymous said...

Ok, here is something I have been trying to impress upon my budding group of players... and also trying to learn myself. How long does it usually take for you to get an army list to where you are satisfied? Not including the painting and modeling time, just the playing.

How many games do you play before making your first adjustments, or before you know if you have truly had a decent litmus to test it with?

I take a long time developing my army lists, and some of my players take only mere moments before a battle to "throw something together" - I'd love to be able to tap into your knowledge as to how to fine tune a list, or to know when you have something in there that could be echnaged for a better solution, or a more point efficient choice.

I know 6th edition is due out in a couple weeks, but I would assume the methodology of fine tuning your list would stay about the same regardless of core set edition or even regardless of the army your choosing... but this is only a guess.

Anonymous said...

That entire comment is in the mindset of preparing a list for tournament play.

Jawaballs said...

Great question Gangrel. The answer? never. I never feel satisfied. I have never played the same list twice in a row. Hows that? Sure often times I have gone with the same core list with a few minor adjustments, like melta bombs here and there, but I am always changing my list. That is part of staying ahead of the curve. You cannot let yourself be inflexible and you are always making slight adjustments.

But to give a little more useful answer, I played my list five times in a row before I brought it to a tournament. The same list. Then three competitive tournament games showed me where I needed to make real changes. Making those changes allowed me to step up the competitive notch when I brought it down to FTW games and played against some more serious players. So my current list has about 10 games under it's belt, and I would say it gives me a fair chance at winning most tournaments I will enter, definitely finishing top 5. Mostly due to the fact that most guys have never faced any thing like it. My 10 games have given me experinece in learning how to anticipate guys mistakes and capitalize on them.

Jawaballs said...

So how do I create a best painted list that can stay flexible? Thats the problem. My army last year that I brought to Nova was weak but beautiful. It was hard making changes to that list because of the time investment required to paint models up to the original standard. But my approach with this one as it grows will be to actually paint a squad with all of its options So I will have a 10 man RAS complete with additional melta gunners, flamers and sgts with fists, PWs and chainswords. Eventually :)

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