Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Late 2009 - 2010: The Chicago Way

"You wanna know how you do it? Here's how, they pull a knife, you pull a gun. He sends one of yours to the hospital, you send one of his to the morgue. That's the Chicago way"
- Malone, Untouchables (1987)

Is it in our nature as 40K games to out-do our opponents? When I mean 'out-do' I mean out-fight, out-manoeuvre, out-perform, out-flank, out-style, out-paint, out-just-about-everything. That competitive edge beings an element of tension to the game, and is something not discussed very much in my local gaming group, but is very, very, VERY keenly felt. I regard myself as an all-rounded hobbyist. I like the modelling. I like the painting. I like the fluff. I like to keep to the fluff. I like the game. But I also like to win, and win well.

Some people call it WAAC. Sean Connery calls it the Chicago way.

Take for instance: My foray in re-returning to the game of 40K, transitioning between a 3rd ed. Codex to 5th ed. Codex for the Imperial Guard. Horde lists & large bulks of men and flashlights were countered with drop podding marines, a tonnage of bolters, deffkoptaz galore, ork mass assaults and the like.

Fun times for all. Except me, the punchbag. I pull a flashlight, they pull a powerfist.

I then mixed up my lists and brought tanks. That brought new types of pain to my opponents. They countered with tanks too though. Counter-assaults. Power-fisting love. I discovered tanks were good if you could get enough rounds off per turn. Other than that, they were tissue paper, and it dawned to me that the Imp guard fluff strategems of loads of men surrounding loads of tanks, especially with the way 5th ed. combat resolution rules work, did not seem to favour the Imperial meatshields.

Mechanised vet lists finally brought a level of respect. No more Mr. Punchbag, as I now had guys who could shoot, pack a punch, 3 special weapons on the cheap, were cheap themselves, score objectives, take down tanks/MC's/armoured opponents. Unstoppable?

With clever tactics and list tailoring, the local Marine & Ork player and myself (the IG player) now exist in a fine balance in which we know each others lists, habits, playstyles, tactics, counter-tactics, and the like. Anyone tries anything (e.g. mech spam), the other brings the counter (e.g melta spam). Nob bikers are met with a tonnage of tanks. Termies are met with ratlings and Psyker Battle Squads (priceless for that look of abject despair on your opponent's face when they finally fail that ld test!). Laughs a-plenty.

I bring this all up for a twofold reason. One, as you can see above, I have a minor Daemonhunters-ally retinuie/force (e.g. power-armoured Inquisitor that I painted above), and that it seemed timely to bring up this matter as rumour has it the Daemonhunters 'dex has been discontinued as new Inquisitorial rumblings come to a head later this year. Two, as the local Marine player and I are due a game, and I have yet to bring a proper Inq. Ally Retinue to counter his Deep-striking drop pods, of which he has 4-5 of them in a list, I'm sure. So I better start using them before Codex: Daemonhunters gets re-updated!

I had only played a minor 800-pt Pure Daemonhunter army list in a mini-round-robin 800pt tournament we're running ourselves, to which I discovered (and I'm paraphrasing a quote I saw posted on a forum):

1. Pure daemonhunters are for those who like land raider spam.
2. Pure daemonhunters are for masochists.

Roughly, I had an Inq. retinue, some stormies (no mech) for troops, and 5 grey knight termies in a land raider. I proceeded to roll 1's everytime for all my terminator armour AND invulnerable saves throughout the game, and got royally spanked.

Anyone else have similiar experiences?

So this time, I've added roughly 175 pts of Inq. Retinue (as anti-deep strikers) to my current IG army list to see if what they say about the anti-Deep Strike properties of such a retinue is true. So here are the painted models:

Inq. Lord in terminator armour (unfinished)

Familiars/Servo skulls (made from Landspeeder marine heads & bits & bobs I had lying around, mounted on pins. Never actually take them, just for flavour really).

The money-makers: A couple of mystics (converted from some Mantic Games elves a friend gave me)

Gun-Servitors I made from leftover bits, marine bodies, 'gyro-stabiliser' monowheels (in truth I ran out of legs). Currently I run them with a plasma cannon just to put the fear into my opponent.

I'm thinking, after a go or two with these guys in my 1500pt army list, is to modify them with 3 heavy bolters a la mkerr at chainfist in his excellent inquisitorial retinue article. Really the moneymakers are the Mystics (2no.), as I expect plenty of Deep Striking drop-podding action. I wounder if vehicle squadrons of Leman Russes work well with the Inquisitor/mystics ability to shoot a deep-striking unit that disembarks, out of turn?

They bring a Drop Pod, I bring some mystics. That's the Chicago way.

Anyway, I'll be off in a couple of hours to invigilate a 2000pt planetstrike game (Marines V Orks) where the cardboard Princess Barbie bastion we made last week will see some use.


  1. +1 for the Untouchables reference! I absolutely love the gun Servitor conversions, simple yet completely functional.

    Inquisitorial Allies with Mystics are great.


  2. Yes! Yes! Definitely get extra points for the Untouchable reference.
    As for relying on armor saves, that is why I have always played armies without armor....I always fail my armor saves! However, I decided to get over that phobia with my CSM army and to a lesser extent, starting to replay my Eldar - although the Eldar is because nothing else is fully assembled!

  3. Re: Inq. Allies & Mystics, not for too long if the word on the street regarding the discontinuation of DH & WH are true. Perhaps they are to be repackaged, perhaps rebranded, perhaps revamped.

    My local gaming group frown on Inq. Allies (Orkz git no steenking alliez), as they regard me (IG player) doing so is to purely give myself an 'unfair advantage'.

    I don't see the problem. It's fluffly, it's 'canon' (so far) and it's allowed rules-wise. At least for now.