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Blood Vow

Happiness is success... (Buddha)

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

More Death Guard Incoming !!!

Assassin - Part 27 - When Monsters Collide

Two squads of Black Templars dropped from the dark sky using their jump packs to slow their descent. The air was acrid and burning coals blazed around the high Temple. They landed beside a rocky outcrop then waited. The Castellan Oathsbane fitted a pair of magnifiers to his visor and slowly scanned the immediate area. There was no sign of any life outside the black chapel. Rows upon rows of skulls had been nailed to the outer walls and large pieces of flesh parchment inked with forbidden script flapped in the hot wind. The magnifiers automatically zoomed in showing an open doorway before them but the Castellan could not see past the darkened ingress. Shadows played upon the ground like wild ghosts. "Move in." he ordered over the encrypted vox channel. Slowly and carefully the Templars came out from behind the boulders spreading out to surround the front side.

Two more squads had dropped in from behind the Temple taking the rear side. They could all hear the treacherous wind blow, stirring black soot and burnt ash. "Both insertion teams are in place." said the other Castellan Stronum.

"Be wary. This world is seeping in the warp." came a reply. "You stand before the Templum Inficio."

"I smell taint, treachery and many unseen things defiled." said Oathsbane as he armed his combi melta and activated his thunder hammer. A quick burst lit their thrusters and then they stood before the open Temple doors. "Non enim veni ut daemonium interficere." said Sanguinius standing behind them. "Urizen I can smell your deceit within this desecrated Mission, it betrays your abysmal presence. The time for meditation is over now. You must pay for your many sins against our father and the Imperium."

Something stirred within... a gigantic form covered in blazing red armor appeared from deep within the Temple. It carried a huge Crozius held in one hand. "It is I my fallen brother, returned from the black void and newly arisen."

"You are nothing more than a crazed apparition." came a hoarse voice then a deep laugh of contempt reverberated within the inner walls. "What is dead shall remain dead, so mote it be."

"Death comes to all, and it is your time now." the Angel replied. "You were always the weakest, always vainly seeking to show prowess that simply never existed. What I see is but a malignant canker." Sanguinius spat acid bile upon the floor burning the cobblestones.

"Drop that hood and show your face. This will not be easy for you." said Lorgar.

Friday, September 08, 2017

Current State of the Meta

So the NOVA Open is over now. I predicted Astra Militarum would win and they did taking both the Invitational and the GT... Total domination. Not only did I call it but I predicted the general army list as well. What works for this army is conscripts, artillery, psykers (cheap Smites), commissars, snipers, deep striking plasma command squads and Creed. On top of all that there are points left over to sprinkle in some Saint Celestine goodness. What makes conscripts so good is special orders, objective secured and they are dirt cheap. Right now the meta is dominated by horde or as I say the blob.

If you look at the army list there are no broken Forge World units (Malefic Lords for example) ... it's actually a fluffy army too which is kind of like making out with your sister if you stop to think about it and here's the real kicker - Astra Militarum (AM) gets their new codex this month so expect to see some sweet stratagems and totally kick arse new war gear (relics) on top of everything else they get. So they can either get even better or GW can pull in the proverbial reins. It's a tough call to say what exactly is going to happen. If they are even better that's a real kick in the pants to everyone that doesn't want to jump on the band wagon.

Now let's take a step back and ask the question is AM really the best army ? I will tell you no it's not but I'm a rebel... always have been and always will be. When I say this I mean no disrespect to all the other players at NOVA that did not bring AM but let's be honest - they just couldn't make it happen. Now that tells me they must be overlooking something because surely there must exist an army list that can beat AM hands down and all the other try-hard army lists out there.

I am partial to elite armies but right now the blob has all the major advantages and the big +1 makes that even more of a sure thing. You can say I'm wrong but the player to face off against AM in the NOVA Invitational final for all the marbles immediately conceded when he lost the right to go first... shortest game in the history of any major final... it is what it is and there's no denying that either.

I like to analyze the game of Warhammer 40k and I like to develop anti meta lists... it's what I do. You can throw in your hat and just say F IT or you can go to work. Practice makes perfect (eventually) if you don't give up. So in conclusion I say again as a follow to my last article on this subject if you're really serious about the game don't give up. It can be done when the right person comes along and maybe that's you.

Monday, September 04, 2017

Reivers Sergeant

Assassin - Part 26 - Drachyen

Sanguinius watched as the daemon sword fell from the open gauntlet of the Archfiend. His long razor sharp fangs extended sinking deep into the exposed pulsing vein. The blood tasted bitter and tainted. Sanguinius drank deep exhuming Abaddon of every drop then he drove the Black Sword into the Archfiend's skull piercing the brain pan and obliterating the grey matter. Drachyen screamed as the daemon blade unfolded materializing back into real space unbound. It bristled with steely spikes taking form again after a millennium of servitude. The daemon screamed realizing its freedom. Sanguinius drew back striking the daemon vessel as it finished forming. Drachyen screamed with an ear splitting shrill shrugging off the initial attack. The Blood Angel reached out with his free gauntlet catching the daemon by a burly shoulder and hurled it back against the back wall.

Drachyen fleshed out extending its many limbs. The Templars unleashed their bolters and combi weapons firing at point blank range then Sanguinius attacked again leading the charge. Chainswords unlimbered then power axes struck into the daemon hide and finally power fists rained down. The daemon cried out as the Black Sword pierced it cutting through the the flesh metal. Again the Blood Angel attacked thrashing the gigantic daemon with a closed fist to its gaping maw. Limbs snapped away as the Black Sword struck repeatedly piercing deep into the daemon vessel.

Oathsbane charged in headlong striking with his Thunder Hammer. Daemonic ectoplasm reached out grasping at the Templar. Sanguinius intervened shearing away the reaching limbs as the Black Sword struck hard. "A millennium of service has wrecked you." he said as he drove the tip of Excalibur deep into the daemon flesh and ignited the blade. The Templars watched in silence as the great beast exploded into nothingness.

Friday, September 01, 2017

Editorial: 40k 8th Edition META RELOAD

So 8th edition has been out for awhile now and we've seen some of the new codices with plenty more on the way. So far I've liked everything I've seen and I like how the new stratagems work bringing back some of the really good old flavor.

I want to discuss competitive play that's in line with the spirit of the game and designing cool armies that follow their core background.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Assassin - Part 25 - Blood Oath, Conclusion

The Phalanx appeared beside the Vengeful Spirit materializing via a perfect jump from warp space. Batteries upon batteries of nova cannons let loose point blank salvoes tearing into the exposed side of the Chaos war vessel. The crescendo tore through exposing crew to the sudden death from the deadly cold vacuum of dead space. Again the nova cannons unleashed another barrage ripping through the last of the void shields. Tilting to apogee the Phalanx speared into the next section of the Vengeful Spirit, boarding torpedoes tore into the outer breaches vaporizing hardened void armor as their claws sluiced through securing breaches for ready teams of Templars to enter the barge.

Warning klaxons sounded within the command deck. "We have been penetrated." said the skipper. Abbadon shot forth from his throne grasping at the second cask holding the immortal Drachyen. "Justarein assemble." commanded the Warlord as he gripped the hilt of his daemon sword. Explosions ripped through the chamber exposing the occupants. A sea of black armored Marines began to climb through the burning wreckage firing ranged weapons into the tight confines. Servitors died in throes as the Templars came forward.

"I smell your taint." came a cold voice. Crashing through a rended wall a winged giant appeared clasping a burning sword. "For Sigismund!" The blade came to life blazing so bright all were blinded, even the Archfiend could not see. The sword swept through like a scythe of death and everything that stood in its way was laid to eternal rest as it consumed their warped souls. Sanguinius cut through the Justearin within the blink of an eye then again the Templars' bolters sang Death all trained on Abbadon. Turning to fight Abbadon lifted the Talon to ward off the frontal attack. "Cease fire." commanded the Angel. "Are you ready to test your mettle versus a true warrior of the Emperor's blood?" Abbadon charged spraying the Primarch with the combi bolter component of the Talon. Sanguinius dodged each shot as he advanced straight ahead.

There came an involuntary cry of pain as the Black Sword speared through the Archfiend's chest puncturing both hearts with one swift strike. Outside the immense gravity well generated by the Phalanx began to consume the remains of the Vengeful Spirit. One huge black gauntlet cradled Abbadon's skull as the Angel gazed into his blind eyes. "Bring your precious weapons to bare now." taunted Sanguinius. The crushing power of the Primarch pulled the skull free exposing the pale neck. The tip of a deep ugly scar ruptured as his fangs plunged into the pulsing vein. The blood and life energy stored within the tainted vessel tasted so bitter. Sanguinius drank deep. Abaddon ceased to struggle as the Angel released him letting the shrunken body collapse upon the deck. The Archfiend looked up to see only Sanguinius standing over him, the daemon sword had clattered to the floor, then the tip of the Black Sword burst through his brain pan butchering the grey matter stored within the ruined skull.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Return of the Death Star * Interview with Colin McCade

Hi everyone Black Blow Fly here again to hopefully ruin your weekend... you see the army you love to hate is back in spades... I'm talking about you know - DEATH STAR !!!

Wow I feel all squishy inside just saying those two beautiful words ... hurrrrrr !

Last weekend the biggest event in the state of Texas took place, Wargamescon and a fella by the name of Colin McCade was able to resurrect the Death Star using the ever wonderful Imperium. So let's dive right into the interview.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Assassin - Part 23 - Abbadon Rising

The Archfiend sat upon the command throne within the dark confines of the Vengeful Spirit. His face was a tightly drawn mask hiding his thoughts from those that surrounded him. His eyes were hooded and the golden irises shone from within his deep and shadowed sockets. The Alpha Legionnaire stood before him silent and waiting. "Well." said the Archfiend. "What information do you have to tell?"

Sigulus looked up avoiding direct eye contact. "As you know the enemy is well guarded of late and information privy to their coming actions and plans are hard to come by now."

Abbadon scowled. "Is that all?" he said gripping his gauntlets tight.

"Of course not. I only say that as a precursor so that you can truly appreciate what I have to tell you."

"You try my patience Sigulus. Speak and be done with it."

"I have come to learn that there is talk within the inner circles of the Lords of Terra that the Emperor is no longer bound to the Golden Throne now. There is also rumor of the return of another Primarch... the Angel." said the Legionnaire chosing his words carefully, cold sweat had broke out across his steep brow. "And there is more, it is possible there is some friction between the Emperor and his two Primarchs, Guilliman and Sanguinius."

"Hmmm." replied the Archfiend rising up from the throne. Slowly he strode about the command chamber coming to a sudden stop beside the cask that held the Talon. Abbadon stared at the Ancient weapon. "Can you possibly incite them against each other?" he asked.

"What you suggest is a dangerous path. They are not easily manipulated nor is it a simple task." said Sigulus.

"Of course not, you are of Hydra, it's what you do best." Abbadon released the cask freeing the Talon. The weapon unshielded by the static kine barrier distorted the immediate real space. Sigulus felt it's great power seeping into the chamber. His stomach tightened, hot bitter bile filling his mouth. "You ask for miracles my Lord."

"I do indeed." said the Archfiend as he fit the weapon to his arm. The Talon articulated curling out as he flexed the claws individually one at time then drawing the long tips together. "If they fight with each other it makes our task that much simpler, doesn't it?"

Sigulus could not break sight from the Talon and it filled him with cold uneasy dread. "You ask too much."

"What do you need to make it so?" growled the Archfiend. He had grown a long black mustach and twirled one spidery end with his free gauntlet. "Tell me."

"A shape shifter, one that cannot be broken and whose thoughts cannot be read." Sigulus swallowed the bile.

"So be it then." Abbadon motioned towards a female who stood towards the back hidden by the deep shadows. "Come forward Cyrene." he said softly now. "We have a task for you."

Friday, August 18, 2017

Assassin - Part 22 - The Hunger and Thirst

Sanguinius strapped the iron scabbard and lifted the Black Sword testing the weight of the blade. The hilt was hard as admantium but felt lighter than a feather. Channeling his essence into the very core of the weapon the Black Sword blazed bright enough to blind a man and the razor sharp edges of the blade cut into the very real space causing warp ether to spill forth. The Primarch cut off the power to the sword and it grew black again. "To test this weapon versus Drach'nyen... my blood burns at the thought."

"My Lord I have a question for you." said the large Templar named Oathsbane.

"Yes?" said the Primarch.

"Following your death at the hands of the Emperor do you have any memory up until your Legion eventually was able to revive you?"

"I do... the oblivion was long, hard and cold as ice. I was forever trapped by black pain and remorse but the feeling of the great hunger and raging thirst burned within me forever."

"Was that all?" asked Oathsbane.

"No." said Sanguinius.

"What else then my Lord?"

"The constant desire for revenge, having died at the hand of the Emperor filled my soul with utter shame. I saved our Sire from certain death at the hands of the Archfiend Horus having succumbed to a deep fit of the Black Rage then he turned on me at my weakest moment." Sanguinius' eyes burned like red coals and he could still remember the brutal hate that had filled his mind.

"Once we believed him to be divine but his treachery has undone our faith." said Oathsbane. "We are still forever loyal to the Imperium though and we shall all fight by your side." The Templar drew his power mace and held it out. "Our Chapter is at number rivaling even that of the original Legions and we are ready as ever now."

Sanguinius held up the Black Sword. "My gratitude to your Chapter for this great gift is ever eternal. Abbadon will pay for the death of your great champion Sigismund at my hands. You can rest assured he will suffer a slow painful and utterly humiliating death." Sanguinius felt the hilt of the Black Sword twisting in his steely grip like a dark vyper, it's very essence spilling coldly into his core. "He will die as his weakling father did at my very own hands. Soulless. Honorless. Weeping. Ashamed."

Oathsbane smiled. "Those are the very words of Sigismund and I will be there to witness this final act."

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Assassin - Part 21 - Excalibur

Sanguinius fitted the last of the tight clasps into his suit of black armor as they clicked into place. The plate was pitch black devoid of any marks other than a fractal pattern minutia of filigree deeply etched into the interlocking plates. His wings were furled tightly back hidden from sight within the combat chamber. "I need a weapon."

The Tech Marine bent over unlocking a hidden war chest. The hinges worked seamlessly as the top slowly slid open revealing a long black sword stored in an iron scabbard. A pair of golden Chymera formed the guard of the hilt.

"The blade is said to date back to original advent of mankind, forged on an isle known as Avalon. Caledfwich, the magical sword first wielded by Fergus mac Róich. The black steel was forged from heavy ores plundered from the deepest depths of the darkest ocean on Terra. Much later it was reforged again during the Age of Dark Techology and reunited with the original scabbard. Both are arcane and possess their own set of other worldly power. It said when Fergus first drew the blade its light shone brighter than one hundred thousand burning torches, blinding all his enemies. Keep the scabbard with you at all times for no injury will you suffer. The blade's astral light is holy and stored directly from the Sun."

Sanguinius bent on knee clasping the long hilt. He felt a steady pleasant thrum purring as he withdrew the sword. "Truly a weapon befitting a Primarch." He looked down upon the Ancient word etched into the blade 'Excalibur'.

"The Black Sword was last wielded by our finest champion and he slew untold number of Chaos Champions. Only one pure of heart can master this blade." said the Templar.

"Sigismund." the Primarch replied.

"Yes." said the Tech Marine. "They will both serve you well."

There drew he forth the brand Excalibur,
And o’er him, drawing it, the winter moon,
Brightening the skirts of a long cloud, ran forth
And sparkled keen with frost against the hilt:
For all the haft twinkled with diamond sparks,
Myriads of topaz-lights, and jacinth-work
Of subtlest jewellery.

Monday, August 14, 2017

S4 the Universal Power

Strength 4 (S4) is the new universal power now. It used to be S3 prior to the release of the 8th edition Roll To Wound table.

This a great boon to Space Marines due to their ubiquitous bolter. It used to the case for the lowly lasgun but no more. As you can see from the first chart S4 wounds T6 on a roll of 5+ while the lasgun needs a 6+... twice as good ! If you have been playing a lot of 8th edition games you will come to realize the two most common rolls to wound are 3+ and 5+... therefore the lasgun is mostly wounding on 5+ at best now.

It is no secret now the assault phase is dead as a door nail now so take heed all you loyalist SM players... victory is through our bolters now !

Friday, August 11, 2017

Assassin Part 20 - Blood Oath III, Re-Awakened

The Death Company was prepared for battle dark in the silence and brooding. Bruised and sullen the storm clouds had the light of day obscured. Looming low and ominous in twilight premature thunderheads rumbled in the distant overture then all at once they parted. Light streamed down in bright unbroken beams. Overhead a golden warrior emerged from the opening and floated down towards the ruined sepulcher. The Sanguinor held his ancient Blade Encarmine in one gauntlet and a relic spear in the other.

The eldar broke from the temporary trance lifting up their shuriken weapons to take aim. Heavy staccoed bolter fire from the Death Company dreadnaught erupted into the xenos instantly pulverizing them. Lifting his dreadnaught power fists the Ancient opened them like flower petals greeting the light revealing heavy flamers from within and unleashed burning gouts of promethium as he slowly turned in place thoroughly drenching the enemy. The smell of burning flesh quickly filled the morning air and the accompanying screams of agony drowned the steady drum of the hurricane bolters.

Landing in the center of the ruin the Sanguinor lowered his melee weapons and withdrew a pair of polished ivory canisters from his utility belt. His armored fists crushed them releasing a sudden cloud of burning black incense. He pulled more canisters loose and broke them as well throwing them into the masses of ever crowding eldar surrounding the sepulcher.

Image result for black incense

The Harlequin stode his weapons and then quickly darted away only to be met by the burning gaze of the Sanquinor from above. He drew back the spear and launched it with a sharp twist of the wrist. It flew like a missile catching the pariah dead center in the back skewering the troupe like a piece of fresh meat. Twisting about the Harlequin clutched at the shaft as he bled out but could not set himself free.

Still the many eldar surrounded the sepulcher teeming around it in vast countless number. The closest suddenly broke from their deep exhaustive battle fatigue clutching up at the marble stone block upon which stood Sanguinor towering with his dark host. They looked up with blank sunken eyes and dirty sullen faces. "Cease fire." commanded the Unending Host through his brazen vox grille and instantly all fell silent. "Finally all that was necessary is in place here. A great transmigration shall now pass. So mote it be!" Ash from the burning incense drifted down slowly peppering his armor like a soft gentle mist of refreshing rain. The Sanguinor pulled forth a huge golden chalice holding it over the gaping black maw of the sepulcher. Tipping it over ever so slightly a thin stream of bright red blood dripped from the sharp golden edge silhouetted by golden rays of burning sunlight. The silence held for a just a moment more then there came a horrid deep moan followed by a shrill lonely scream from the black depths of the ancient sepulcher, something large stirred below violently pained by its sudden reawakening. The pitch of the scream was ever so intense of the highest audible Octave. Dark blood began to quickly drip from the smudged nostrils of the watching xenos as broken rock and bits of stone trembled from an unseen force. That hidden below screamed again, a long wail that tore at the very realspace. Something gigantic stirred below in the black pit as the very warp began to bleed through into the surrounding continuum.

The Sanguinor and his companions continued to watch in silence, all of them anticipating the end with a vicious relish hidden by their masks from the braying crowds swelling below. There came the sound of deep raspy breathing and heavy panting from the pit then a pair of giant skeletal hands broke free from below clutching and grasping hard at the thin edge then the very top of a huge skull rose up, soft beautiful blue eyes sunken into the deep black sockets staring out in wonder. The giant wailed in pain as it struggled to pull itself free from its broken sarcophagus below. The air had grown hazy and it was hard to see everything now. It throbbed with a deep violent hunger consuming its only thought as it slowly climbed out dragging itself free from the black gaping maw. "Feed me!" it shrilled then wave after wave of a voracious feeding vacuum uncoiled from the animus buried within the ancient skeletal form. Too late the eldar realized the imminent danger and broke. "Feed me!" it cried again as the very closest xenos began to dissolve grasped by the many long wicked unfolding protoplasmic tendrils reaching out to grasp and consume them. A shock wave exploded from the epicenter capturing them all. One by one each but in the blink of an eye they were all wholly consumed, their souls extinguished as well.

A mirage of pale skin grew over the face of the skull as the giant licked at the ether energies folding in to his new form. Huge wings with the whitest of feathers unfolded from its now deeply muscled back tearing from festering wounds. Deeply buried memories exploded within its mind as it looked upon its fleshed hands, bare feet splaying in the black soil. Sanguinius smiled as he looked down upon his waiting children. "By my blood we are reborn And reunited onto this day!"

Sunday, August 06, 2017

Assassin Part 19 - Blood Oath II

Eldar troops swarmed over the open ground crowding around the ruins of the black sepulcher. They wore pitch black uniforms blending seemlessly into the background. A Seer Council moved through the masses chanting blessing to the masses. Overhead the dark skies loomed over them filled with clouds of burning ash. A pair of Wraithkinghts fashioned from pure white Wraithbone strode behind the Council towering above all others. Carcasses of Tyranid lower life forms littered the ground piled high. A glittering lone Harlequin carved runes into the exposed skull of a dead Tyrant with its kiss.

There came a super sonic boom from above drawing the immediate attention of all those still living. A trio of drop pods came crashing down hitting dead center atop the sepulcher. Immediately the doors exploded outwards on impact raining burning gouts livid shrapnel upon the eldar licking at them like gigantic tongues of fire. The closest were vaporized, their faint distorted shadows etched into the broken rock below. The Seer Council attempted to throw up a kineshield but reacted too slowly also consumed by the conflagration along with the others. The massive series of following explosions rocked the very ground with deep tremors causing even the Revenants to stumble for the briefest of moments then quickly righted themselves untouched by the sudden attack.

Charging out from its wrecked vessel the Ancient Venerable caught one of the Wraithknights with its unfolding armored fists savagely ripping it apart then threw aside the ruined halves. The Death Company dreadnaught reacted more slowly unlimbering its heavy Hurricane bolters stitching a salvo of shots into the remaining Revenant. Spinning away the alien construct lowered one of its cannon sighting along the upper bulk of the approaching metal behemoth. The shot went wide even at such close range kicking up great clouds of slagged rock. The newly approaching rank and file dived out of the way but still some were caught in the blast radius instantly slagged. Again the Death Company dreadnaught let loose another salvo now at point blank range stemming the ever advancing construct at bay by sheer weight of fire power. A few of the micro rockets struck true blowing chinks into the pearly white Wraithbone. The Ancient attacked from the rear catching the Revenant by surprise tearing through the back side with hated vengeance. Together the pair of Blood Angel dreadnaughts wrecked the Wraithknight crushing it into a pulp.

The Death Company then stepped out lead by their Chaplain. While there was still a sea of eldar their leaders had been felled by the sudden savage attack. Urizen lifted his Crozius commanding them forward.

Friday, August 04, 2017

40k Editorial: BAO +1

Hey everyone so just when you thought it was safe again here comes BBF to ruin your weekend... it's what I do.

This past weekend was a major GT took place here in California - the Bay Area Open (BAO). So first the good news and it's really great news. GW released a new FAQ within a few days following the American Team Championship which effectively crushed the much hated Ravenspam and this is totally unprecedented. To me it shows GW really cares now unlike before... it's a really big deal. Today I'm here to discuss the effect of house rules on the game we all love, yes of course I am talking about Warhammer 40k.

I have never been a fan of house rules and unfortunately they exist in many forms. The house rule I'm talking about is as follows:

According to the actual rules if your army has less drops then you automatically go first unless your opponent seizes the initiative. The house rule in effect now changes this such that you no longer go first - there is a roll off and all you get if you have less drops is +1 to the result of your roll. I should mention there is actually another house rule in effect as well that does not allow you to reroll seize the initiative using a command point. Let's take these both for what they are.

The change to +1 is a huge advantage for horde armies which to me creates unbalance how the game is intended to be played. There was no vote to institute these changes and it came about literally days follows the official release of eighth edition. It is a very hot topic on the internet and my research shows more are against it than for it. A vocal minority made their case online and it came to be just like that !!! Wow.

One thing that bothers me a lot about this house rule is the fact that GW made a big deal about how eighth edition was thoroughly play-tested by vet gamers outside of the company and these are some of the same people that instituted the house rule... that just doesn't seem kosher to me.

So now let's fast forward to the BAO final round and the game between the two top players... whoever wins is the champion. I was lucky enough to be able to interview one of these two players - Paul McKelvey from Left Coast Corsairs. I'll let him give you his first hand account of the final game.

Hi Paul would you please first tell me a little about yourself and your army?

I've been playing Tau since 2001, it's my favorite army and a big part of why I love the hobby. My BAO list is essentially the same thing I have been doing with Tau since the beginning. Using the strengths of the army to counter the meta and focus fire and destroy the key elements of the opponent.

Next tell me about your opponent's army in the final round.

My opponent Brandon's IG army in the final round of BAO was extremely powerful. We both knew going into this game that it was going to come down to who ended up going first. He had a much greater chance of surviving my initial barrage than I did his. The conscripts coupled with artillery made this a very tough game for me. It was the first game where I had an opponent place so many units in reserve - he had 9 units in total for his reserves.

What was the mission parameters and can you describe the terrain layout ?

We played the NOVA Scouring mission - 6 objectives with the new modified diamond dawn of war deployment. The board had very little area terrain but a lot of line of sight (LoS) blocking terrain. The latter was a big factor but more area terrain would have only really helped him and further hampered me. Either way with all of the artillery he had that ignored line of site it didn't make a difference on how much or how little terrain was on the board. I choose end of game objectives and so did he. For tertiary I chose Cull the Hoard, Line Breaker and Moment of Bloodshed. He choose First Strike, Marked for Death and Strike Rank and File. We both scored all three on the first round, well except Line Breaker for me, but I was there still in the game.

Now tell me about how important it was for each army to go first. If you want to discuss the ITC rule modifications for +1 and no reroll seize please feel free to do so.

Out of all of my games at BAO this was the only game that the ITC modification made a difference. I don't feel like it is a super huge change in most games but when you are staring down an army with 30 drops that can still go first it seems a little silly. Either way that the community and TOs choose to play it I will roll with it - I love the game and the community. For events I run however But for events I will continue to use the BRB in all aspects, missions included. I have never been a big fan of making changes to the game. It creates a false meta and changes the power levels when the intent is to stop that from happening.

So there you go right from the proverbial horse's mouth and I couldn't have said it any better. Here we already have not one but two house rules with at most only one codex officially released. Ask yourself is this what you really want and is it really good for the game plus what kind of precedent is it.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Assassin - Part 18 - Blood Oath

The damaged black battle barge caught in the gravity well of Baal's second moon began the slow spiraling descent down into the upper layer of the satellite's thin atmosphere. Eldar gunships swarming around the barge continued to strafe the ruined outer hull searching for more weak points to exploit. Klaxons sounded inside as clusters of pooled super heated plasma ate away at its innards working in towards the exposed engine room. The last Techmarine manning the station sealed off the barriers and activated the last of the inner void shields. He watched the close by vid screen while completing his final task, a cluster of eldar Warp Spiders had managed to breach the ship and were progressing towards the remains of the command deck. Pressing a sunken rune the Techmarine opened an encrypted audio signal to the bridge.

Just as he was about to send a warning he caught sight of a towering shimmering golden shape moving directly towards the xenos. The shape came to a sudden stop revealing the image of a winged golden warrior held aloft by a pair of black winged crystal shards. Its face was covered by a jewel encrusted golden death mask fashioned in the shape of some forgotten cherubic youth. The Warp Spiders converged upon him quickly lifting their deadly guns, bringing them to bare upon the golden host. The xenos' hand cannons exploded in unison pouring out a blinding load of shuriken stars edged with fractal blades. The Sanguinor's wings instantaneously enveloped him blocking the deadly payload, the stars bounced harmlessly off the hardened wings then opened again revealing a long sharp Blade Encarmine tightly gripped within the the Sanguinor's steely grip. Quickly the golden host began his counter attack severing heads and limbs all in the blink of an eye. What remained of the Warp Spiders littered the floor as pools of bright eldar blood spilled and poured from the rented dead bodies. Stopping for a brief moment the Sanguinor lopped off the rest of their heads and then crushed them with his armored boot soles and continued on his way unimpeded.

"Prepare the drop pods for our final descent." came the order from the golden host nowhere to be seen now over the closing audio link. The Techmarine busied himself preparing the sacred protocol to activate the last of drop pods. There were only three left, two large enough to carry a single dreadnaught each and one for a party of Marines. One venerable Ancient lumbered into the drop bay followed by the last of the Death Company dreadnaughts. Their armor was pitted and well worn but still true. Finally a party of Death Company in fresh black lead by a young Chaplain came in immediately boarding their pod. Another Techmarine and crew of servitors assisted with the straps securing them all tightly within the close confines.

"When you stop believing all is lost but yet we still believe and that is why you were chosen. The fate of our Legion rests in your hands now." said the Sanguinor as he entered the bay behind them. "We are so few now but we are still loyal. Glory awaits you below." In perfect unison the Death Company banged their left fists into their black chest plates and grunted. "And know that I will be with you." Again they clasped their chests all eager for duty then the hangar doors fell away spilling the drop pods towards the target destination.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Assassin - Part 17 - Transition

Sensei watched silently as the Custodes began to approach him. One had a noticeable limp. The Telemon remained still not moving. Temple Guard began to fill the street forming a barrier between the golden warriors and their master. Some were armed with boltguns while others carried the traditional pole arm. Slowly the Custodes came to the end of the road standing face to face with the Temple Guard. Sensei spoke "What brings you here on this most festive of days?"

The limping Custodes answered "My name is Ra and we have been sent to speak with you. The Temple is needed." He spoke with a slight lisp. Ra removed his helmet revealing a deeply weathered face, the left side ruined by long twisting scars. A bionic orb had been fitted into the empty eye socket. His face split into a brief smile. Sensei could see that his teeth were mostly missing on the bad side.

Crossing pole arms the Temple Guard formed a bristling barrier. They stood as tall as the Custodes looking them squarely in the eye through their silvered visors. "Step back." commanded one of the Temple Guard. Ra immediately took a step back resting his Guardian Spear against his right shoulder. Again he smiled.

"May we step inside?"

Sensei placed his hands upon a weapon and lifted it away. "We are honored to receive you here." The Temple Guard stepped aside letting them follow their master into the Temple. "I am surprised you did let us know in advance you were coming here."

"It is best this way." said Ra. "This day forms a diversion."

Sensei lead them through the hallway to an open chamber. Temple Guard lined the walls all watching intently. The outer doors of the Temple closed automatically sealing off the small fortress. Bowing slightly Sensei stood in the center and motioned the Custodes forward. "The Temple is guarded. No one outside can here what we say. So tell me what it is you want."

Ra spread out his gauntlets placing his weapon up against the wall. "It is said you have mastered the technique of cloning far exceeding all others and it said you can transfer a being from their existing body to a clone."

The master breathed slowly. "Go on."

"Is it possible you can perform this process on our Master?" asked Ra.

Sensei continued to slowly breathe in and out. "You speak of the Master of Mankind, the Emperor?"

"Yes." said Ra.

"May I ask why you want this done?"

Ra spoke "There are doubts now to the loyalty of Guilliman. That should suffice to answer you."

"It can attempted but you will have to bring him here." replied Sensei.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Post ATC Report Part 2 - Interview with Aaron Aleong - Team Happy

Hi everyone !!! Black Blow Fly here again with the second part of my report covering the recent American Team Championship (ATC). I don't want to beat a dead horse but then again this horse ain't dead just yet. Today I bring you an interview with the mighty Aaron Aleong who is the coach and player on Team Happy - they came in first place this past weekend and this is the third time they have won this arduous event. Three times is very dominating to say the least and Aaron has won many of the major events at events across the country. To me Aaron is a lot like the Randy Couture of Warhammer 40k in the US... he even kind of looks like him too.

So let's introduce the other members of Team Happy and what roles they all play for three years running:

Tony Grippando - Captain
Aaron Aleong - Coach
Justin Curtis - Rules Master
Aaron Towler - Lore Master
Tim - Finances (aka Chief Bean Counter)

To quote Aaron...

"As a team we all give input on lists and test each other to include playing our lists against each other. Our team mixes well and therefore I believe performs well together. Also in our team no one had an issue with biting the bullet and taking a bad matchup for the team. I have seen many teams that aren't willing to sacrifice in this fashion."

Those word of wisdom are solid gold ! So now onto the interview:

Q1) Why did you decide to run Ravenspam and how'd you learn about it ?

Looking at the matchup opportunities of isolating a small drop list againt a large army guaranteeing first turn (except on a seize), and the damage output of A Stormraven (40-44 shots with up to 6 different targets) it was a no brainer to take two Raven lists. I saw numerous Raven lists that were not optimized to do well.

We heard about the list a few months back from an event out west, tested it, and built two seperate lists that were able to perform well. Though I will say in an event where deploy first go first isn't automatic this list won't do as well and I fully support changing this mechanic.

Q2) What are the best natural counters to Ravenspam and what are its worst matchups ?

Natural counters are the bird list, high rate-of-firepower lists with lots of models (i.e., some guard lists), and of course mirror matches. However I f there is deploy first-go first with no rerollable seize.. ravens are too powerful. I am working on a counter at the moment.

Q3) Did you have to play any mirror matches and if so what were your tactics to ensure the win ?

I did not, but my teammate Tim played a Grey Knight raven list and played three other raven lists which he all beat soundly taking home the award for best GK player. Tim had a definite advantage by having less drops and therefore went first most games. He got seized on one of his game but deployed defensively and was still able to crush his opponent.

Q4) How important is it to go first with Ravenspam and are you willing to burn a command point to reroll Seize the Initiative to still have a chance to go first ?

At ATC you couldn't reroll seize. The go first is too powerful in a list like this. See above. :-)

Q5) What are the best buffs for Ravenspam ?

A Chapter Master equivalent is vital... Dante, Draigo, etc. Being able to keep up with the ravens is the tricky part. Some people took Robby G, but I feel that is a waste since Rowboat can't keep up with the ravens. Any type of probability alteration is extremely valuable with GW limiting the number of re-rolls.

Q6) If you would have had to have fielded a different army what would you have taken instead to ATC this year ?

I would have taken my top secret Nova Open list. Which wont be shown here. My list is imperial and doesnt have flyers... hurrr hurrr !!!

Q7) How do you foresee Ravenspam playing out over the next 6 months with soon to release codices ?

I really hope they are adjusted. It's too powerful the way it is now and I don't really see the new codices fixing them. My hope is GW will step up and alter them... maybe removing POTMS, or increasing costs, etc.

Q8) Will Ravenspam still be competitive at NOVA this August ? If not so much then why ?

I think it will be less successful because of the +1 change. If this list doesn't go first then it's in trouble. Also I feel the missions are better with progressive objectives but then again 5 or 6 ravens cab table most armies quite easily. :-(

So there you have it from the proverbial horse's mouth ! Team Happy had not one but two Ravenspam armies and that's definitely a big deal... so far spam is king.

ATC Post Tournament Report - An Interview with Kelsey Haley and Ravenspam Analysis

Hi everyone Black Blow Fly here to stir the... errr bringing enlightenment to the filthy unwashed masses 24-7 ! Last weekend was the first major 8th edition tournament in the US - the American Team Championship (ATC) and wow what a doozy it was. Do you remember when you were just a kid and you found out the truth about ole Santa Claus... BAAAAAAWHAAAAA !!! Tears were flowing amirite ?! Well basically the same thing happened at the ATC. You see lots and lots of people were saying and even believing 8th edition is basically uncheesable (see foot note before you post). But then the unimaginable happened... like almost every team was spamming the Ravenspam !!

What is Ravenspam:

It is like five to six nearly unkillable Stormravens with some uber buffs (see Dante) and if it goes first well see ya wouldn't wanna be ya ! Yer cherry just got popped real hard... hurrrr !

So this week I have none other than the captain of the third place team Wobbly Modelers here as my guest - yeah you know none other than my man Kelsey Haley ! Kelsey - one heck of a dominant tournament players in the US... I equate him on the Chuck Lidel level of the competitive scene. Something very interesting to note is that his did not bring any Ravenspam and still took home their newly acquired skulls - that's a tall order too.

A lot of people are really up in arms about the Ravenspam and want something done about it because you know... the dream is gone. I'm gonna be completely honest and say I really don't want to see any house rules from sources external to GW. My philosophy is just let it play out to its natural course. Codices will soon be dropping left and right... things are gonna change just like they always do. GW love some change, it's more money in the bank. If and when GW nerfs it I'm totally okay with that - they are the SOLE entity that should change rules.

So let's dive into the interview with Kelsey now.

Q1) I was very impressed your team placed third overall this year ! I have played in ATC several times and consider it one of the most competitive tournaments in the country if not the most due to its unique format. Top players come from all over the country come to participate and the team format is very challenging. Could you provide a quick run down what army you and each of your team mates brought and what was your overall strategy for pairings each round ?

Sure. I ran 2 shadowswords and a stormlord with 5 commanders and 4 man plasma squads with Sergeant Harker.

Ernie ran 8 Nurgle Princes and Belakor with as many Brimstones as he could he fit into his list.

Max ran 32 missile launcher Devs with Guilliman.

Austin ran 98 purestrain genestealers, some characters and 9 armored lascannon sentinels.

Juice ran 7 Crimson Hunters and 4 Ravagers.

Our basic strategy was to figure out which lists on our opponents' teams everybody didn't want to play. If somebody only had one list they didn't want to play then they often became a defender. Past that... we were winging it.

Q2) I was really impressed your team did not bring the much dreaded Ravenspam army list. What was y'alls strategy to counter this list and how did that work out for you ? Did you know going into ATC last week that you needed a solid overall strategy to counter the Ravenspam ?

We knew it would be a thing but never cared too much about it. Going into it we accepted that it was something we'd each have to play at some point. Luckily we planned on playing stormravens with multi meltas... but we only played versus heavy bolters.

As good as they are Ravens are easier to counter than GSC.

Q3) There is a bit of an uproar on the internet about the Ravenspam now. What is your opinion - should TOs change rules to nerf it ?

I like the idea of 0-3 of the same unit, but this early in the game I'm generally opposed to changing the rules at all.

On a side note I think Guilliman and the Yncarne need to be nerfed more than anything else.

Q3) Which round was your toughest and how did it go overall ?

My toughest round came versus Dallas on Quality Control. He had a pretty solid GSC list. I really only played him because nobody else wanted to. I wound up being able to hold the genestealers off long enough to scrounge up 9 points.

Q4) What was your favorite game/opponent and why ?

My favorite opponent was probably Jason from Forgeworld Columbia 2. He played a similar list, though he had extra drops. That meant I went first and took advantage early. The game ended after about 10 minutes with me maxing.

The reason I say its my favorite because Jason exemplified class during brutal defeat. He laughed and we both knew that had he siezed I would've been the one picking up models.

It was also my favorite because we had plenty of time for "beverages". Haha

Q5) How do you like 8th edition so far compared to 7th edition ? Is it better designed for competitive play ?

I think its better designed in the sense that good lists are easier to make. Tactically it's become easier, but its nice that more people are better able to run competitive lists well.

Finally feel free to add anything you like. :D

I'd just like to throw shoutouts to Battlegrounds (our local store in Midlothian, VA that tolerates our drunk playtesting) and The Long War for their endless support.

So there you have it... the Ravenspam can be managed in a tournament environment. Of course the ATC format is unique from other large events but at the end of the day you still have top players versus other top players. I hope that 'The sky is falling' mantra will drop to wayside soon. Of course there is the NOVA Open coming soon which features a more traditional format... it'll be interesting to see what competitive players come up with to counter the Ravenspam and beat it plus there's plenty of time to properly prepare and endless play testing.

Is uncheesable an actual word ? Of course not but it's no big deal irregardless how much it might upset you. :P Get over it.