Thursday, December 29, 2011

Year in Review Day 5: Maelstorm (Brian)

I took a 20+ year hiatus from Warhammer - with a fresh start in the fall of 2010. I joined the 40kfightclub website to find a local game shop and play some games – I ended up making a whole bunch a really good friends. My buddy Dustin and I began re-learning 40k at Gamers Sanctuary (THE best LGS, period). We started with 500 point games of Space Marines vs. Space Marines and moved up by 100-200 every week until we could stumble through a 1,500 point game in about 2 hours (stopping constantly to dig through the rulebooks).

Gamers Sanctuary announced an upcoming 40k campaign (run by Scott) and I decided to build a Necron army (old codex). Necrons had few models and lend themselves to speed painting – the race was on to learn the Necron Codex, write an army list and then paint the figures required to play that week’s campaign game. I was able to keep up with the painting all the way through the campaign and follow-up Apocalypse game.

 The final result: about 10,000 points of Necrons painted in 3 months! After participating in the first campaign, I volunteered to run my own 40k campaign for the club. We had up to 22 generals playing each week fighting over the game map I put together from GW’s Planetary Empires set.

A third campaign followed in the fall run by Muggins, this was to be focused on Blood Angels (Ed's note: BUT MOSTLY TYRANIDS!). I wanted to be able to run any Space Marine Codex – So my Dark-Grey-Blood-Wolves were born (I keep adding a word to the title as I buy the Codex). I had a blast running my Blood Angels as a hard-hitting force. In the Apocalypse game I was assigned to board the Space Hulk against Eldar – Hammer-Time for Terminators! 

My game-room closet. All unopened boxes...

After the campaign I needed a break from 40k. It was time for a change – I bought a Warmachine Cryx Battle Box (better than internet pricing at Gamers Sanctuary). Cryx are the closest thing to Necrons – it was a natural fit! Most of the gang either had a Warmahordes army or bought one at the same time. We were all on-board, learning the rules together in 10-15 point games. It was strange – only 60 pages of clear, concise rules and all of the armies were up-to-date. What a concept!

Cryx excel at mixed offensive and defensive shenanigans. I joined in on the Journeyman league with my Cryx forces and was lucky enough to win 2 of 3 awards. The Journeyman league ended just in time for the new Necron Codex to stumble out of GW. My beloved Destroyers and Monoliths were hit hard with the nerf bat!

Warriors now have Scout armor, Immortals have lower toughness and a worse weapon, WBB was reduced from a 4+ to a 5+, Pariahs were eliminated completely, the C’tan had their stats reduced by 6 and Flayed ones continue to be useless. The only way to embrace the new codex is to completely distance yourself from the old Codex! Forget it was ever printed – step away from the old, step into the new. It was especially painful for me! Now for the positive news: Scarabs!

Holy Night-fight Batman – these things are addictive! When a good Necron player shows up with Scarabs and the Stormlord, tournament lists will be permanently changed. The more vehicles a player takes against Necrons, the more it is going to hurt them. So far my record is 12 vehicles in 2 turns with Scarabs and Stormlord lightning attacks.

A well-balanced army that is not completely dependent on vehicles will give Necrons a run for their money, but gun-lines and mech dependent armies will be quickly destroyed. Shoot at the Scarab swarms during night fight only to have their losses replaced by Tomb Spyders creating more. Shoot at the Tomb Spyders and the Swarms have you the next turn. All of this under Night-fight ranges (usually within Scarab assault range).

Scarab assault range of 19”-24” assures vehicles with Flamers/Heavy Flamers/Flamestorm cannons can never get in range to fire their 8” template weapons. The only unit that is lethal to Scarabs (so far): A Furioso Dreadnought with Bloodclaws delivered via a Stormraven (both neutered by combined Gauss and Scarabs the next turn). The strangest match-up for Necrons will be against Chaos Daemons or Tyranids. You’ll have to stay tuned to see how that works out!

I built 2 custom double-sided game tables (3" high sides means no more dice on the floor!) with removable 2'x4' pads, an 8’ Citadel Apocalypse board and 6+ giant tubs full of terrain. I built and painted a Forgeworld Thunderhawk for my friend Larry.

Just for fun - Between campaigns at Gamers Sanctuary I competed in 14 sailboat races (34’ Ericson at PHYC) and found time to train for and complete a 140.6 mile Ironman Triathlon (2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, 26.2 mile run)!

I have a something I try to say to my opponents before every game: "I don't care if you blow up every model I have on the table - I'm here to have fun." I really mean that from the heart. It's about the comradarie and fun, not competition and stress. If you are to the point of being so frustrated or competitive you want to crush your opponent, it's time to step away from the table. At Gamers Sanctuary your opponent will reach across the table and shake your hand before the game begins, and again after the game is over. A very special place indeed!

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