463rd Orta, Byzant Janizars – Part 4

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Throughout the madness of the Unification Wars, the techno-barbarian states on Terra used all manner of vehicles to wage war in ever more horrific ways. Most of these were deemed too unstable or dangerous to enter service in the Imperium and so things like the Ursh nightmare-crawlers, the panther heavy tank of the Yndonesic Bloc or the mebra-jets of Hy Brasil were confined to annals of history.

Several vehicles were kept on, either because of the reliability of their chassis, or because of the unit’s traditions. The most famous examples belonged to the Old One Hundred and included such notable vehicles as the scarab transports of the Geno 52 Chilead, the Angkorian Dragoons’ hydro-fanes and the skuttle-speeders of the Byzant Janizars.

As chronicled earlier in these accounts, the Byzant Dominate incorporated a large chunk of the Mediterranean Dust Bowl. Patrolling these rad-dunes and sand-mires proved difficult with conventional vehicles as they would frequently sink or get lost amongst the treacherous terrain. Instead, the Byzant Dominate developed a doctrine of flexible, fast moving forces and relied on light aircraft and skimmers to cover large swathes of territory quickly and safely. As a result, the Byzant Dominate lacked the heavy firepower of battle tanks when faced with an armoured opponent.

To make up this shortfall, the Byzant Dominate forged an alliance with neighbouring Boeotia. The Dominate would provide Boeotia with slaves for its vast manufactoria and the Boeotians would design and build skimming battle tanks for the Byzants. Thus the skuttle-speeder was born. A heavy set design, the skuttle-speeder required additional engines and power to hover off the ground.

The extra power meant that the skuttle-speeder could mount three heavy weapons: one on its turret, one mounted on its forward hull and one underslung. Shown below is the Annihilator variant, equipped entirely with lascannons, whose tank-hunting role supported the infantry cemaati. Another popular variant was the Delator, whose twin-volkite culverins decimated infantry with ease.

Each speeder had two crew, a pilot and gunner. The gunner sat in the turret with the three weapons linked via a rudimentary MIU system that removed the need for a third crewman.  Space was a premium in the skuttle-speeder and as such energy weapons were the preferred loadout instead of using up space with ammunition.

Entering active use before the Unification Wars, the skuttle-speeder proved incredibly effective and demand soon outstripped supply. Able to keep up with the rest of the fast-paced forces and unleash the firepower of tanks twice its size, the skuttle helped protect the Byzant Dominate from empires much bigger and more powerful than it.  

When the Byzant Dominate was brought into Imperial Terra, the Emperor sanctioned the continued production of the skuttle-speeder and spread their use to other Imperial Army units. Despite this, skuttle-speeders never saw wide-spread use in the Imperial Army owing to the difficulties of their production and historic oaths between the Boeotians and the Byzants.

Despite its relative rarity, the Byzant Janizars used them extensively throughout the Great Crusade. It was a common tactic to use the infantry cemaati as the anvil, pinning the enemy in place long enough to allow the skuttle-speeders to strike at the enemy’s flank.

When the Horus Heresy plunged the galaxy into civil war, the Janizars’ skills were put to the test as they faced the super-human astartes for the first time. Quickly realising that they were outmatched in conventional warfare, the Janizars resorted to the hit and run tactics they perfected during the Unification Wars, only engaging the traitor legions on their own terms.

I hope you enjoyed this fluff piece expanding the backstory for the Byzant Janizars. This model represents a medium speeder from the Mournival Events Imperial Army list. A fan made codex, it is incredibly sandbox and allows for all sorts of awesome lists. When I realised I could do platoons entirely mounted in skimmers I knew I had to create such a force for my Byzant Janizars.

This model was a fairly simple conversion, being based on the Dark Angel Land Speeder Vengeance with the turret from the Repulsor tank. As with the rest of my army’s speeders, I ladened it down with extra equipment for their long-range patrols.

This vehicle was an opportunity for me to practice my weathering more and I am happy with the result. I am planning on going back over my other vehicles in the force and applying the same weathering to make sure it is consistent.

Thanks for reading!

Jamie

Dicing with Death – Sethurisia

Emperor’s Children 3rd Company ‘Cavalcade of Pain‘ vs Raven Guard 8th Talon

Antigonus unleashed his 3rd Company on the sub-sector, ordering them to cause havoc and misery wherever they went. In truth he had little control over the Cavalcade of Pain at the best of time, and it was better to factor their chaos and carnage into his wider strategy than try to leash the madmen.

Plunging into the sub-sector’s south, Phoceon, captain of the 3rd, razed every planet and orbital station he came across, and his force grew with each victory as more of the XXII Millennial fell to the excess.

Witnessing Phoceon’s trail of carnage, Kraai vowed to stop their rampage. Gathering his battalion’s destroyers, he knew that his best chance to kill the Emperor’s Children murderers was with his own genocidal madmen.

On Sethurisia the two sides met, with Kraai having sworn to remove the head of the snake and kill Phoceon by his own hand…

Hi everyone! With lockdown starting to ease Tom and I were able to meet for some Garden Hammer and scratch the warhammer itch again. It was also an opportunity to play test our online campaign system’s rules which was good fun (though we need to tweak the rules a bit).

Mission, lists and terrain

We played the Challenge mission from book 6 in a 2.5k centurion game. The primary objective of this mission is for each player’s warlord to kill the other either by shooting or close combat. This meant that, regardless of everything else that went on in the game, everything would come down to Phoceon and Kraai.

Tom ran the following force using the Destroyer Company rite of war from the Mournival Events rulebook. Of interest is the fact that all his dreadnoughts can take Phosphex Dischargers and his characters Rad Grenades. This makes them even nastier on the charge (thanks to Raven Guard jump units having furious charge they were wounding on 2s!!!).

Meanwhile I took the following 3rd Company Elite list. Built around a core of Kakophony, I was hoping to cause enough wounds to trigger their guns’ effect and explode the Raven Guard’s heads. The five man plasma cannon jetbike team were there to wipe units off the map, though they would have to work hard to earn their points back.

We decided to fight on Sethurisia, a death world in the Xyphos sub-sector home to all manner of exotic flora and fauna. This allowed us to use the jungle terrain I had built over lockdown and maximise the line of sight blocking terrain.

Battle report

The Emperor’s Children had the first turn but were unable to push the advantage thanks to the cover offered by Sethurisia’s jungle. Although they successfully managed to not kill themselves with Gets Hot rolls, the plasma jetbikes only took out one Dark Fury. Meanwhile the rest of the force advanced cautiously, aware that the Raven Guard were incredibly mobile thanks to their jump packs.

On their turn the Raven Guard opened fire with their entire arsenal of close-range weaponry with deadly effect. The contemptor-cortus’ phosphex dischargers were incredibly effective at thinning the Palatine Blade unit and managed to wipe out the entire jetbike squad with one shot. It was impressive to see a 30 point upgrade eradicate a 330 point unit!

From there it only went downhill for the Emperor’s Children, as they whiffed their shooting attacks and failed some key charges in their second turn. Kraai managed to manoeuvre himself for a charge in turn 2 and slammed into Phoceon and his Palatine Blades. He realised too late that Phoceon was equipped with divining claws manufactured by the finest artisans in the 3rd legion. Before Kraai could swing with his iconic executioner’s axe, Phoceon gutted his opponent and left him for dead.

With that the game was over as the Emperor’s Children warlord butchered the Raven Guard warlord by his own hand (well claws really). This outcome belied the absolute pounding the rest of the Emperor’s Children force suffered; in any other game the day would have been carried by the Raven Guard for sure!

Lessons learnt

The Destroyer Company rite of war is really good, being able to give characters Rad Grenades is tasty and helps break the marine vs marine deadlock that often happens.

Dreadnoughts being able to take Phosphex Dischargers is very nice. Although they cost 30 points each and are one use, the ability to drop 3 mini blasts with poisoned 3+ and AP2 is not to be sniffed at. Tom said they were the MVP in this battle for him.

When building his list Tom accidentally bought Rad Grenades for characters that already had them (mainly his Moritat and Destroyer Sergeants). Make sure to double check when building lists that you are not spending points where you do not need to.

Divining Blades are really good. Arguably too good.  I was losing the game big time until my praetor stepped up and butchered Kraai. Instant death on every wound is very strong, particularly when the weapon is +2 strength as well. I do not think I will take them again in a friendly game as there just is not a downside to them (unlike the rest of the Psyarkana relics).

Phoceon laughed as he was showered with Kraai’s blood. Around him the Emperor’s Children lay broken and beaten yet he tasted the sweet nectar of victory. Kraai had challenged him with so much arrogance and it had been divine to crush that in short order.

The Raven Guard had driven a wedge through his force with a brutality that had surprised even Phoceon. Utilising all manner of exotic and toxic weaponry they had cut through his men like wheat.

Despite their best efforts to stop his rampage, Phoceon couldn’t help but smile at the knowledge that the rad weaponry used by the so-called ‘loyalists’ would cause more damage to this planet that anything he could have done.  

“I think your master needs some help” Phoceon gurgled through cracked lips at the surrounding Dark Furies before activating his teleport transponder and returning to his ship in orbit.

Let the planet belong to the Raven Guard, the moment belonged to him.

Thanks for reading!

Jamie

463rd Orta, Byzant Janizars – Part 3

With the first week of my project to finish the Byzant Janizars over, I have re-based a number of units and updated the paint scheme on my lascannon support squad. If you want to catch up on what I have written previously about my 30k cults & militia army based on the Byzant Janizars, see part 1 and part 2.

In celebration of completing week one, I have written more fluff on the Byzant Janizar’s actions in the early years of the Horus Heresy, culminating in the war for the Xyphos sub-sector (a campaign we are planning to run once we are allowed to game again).

At the end of the Great Crusade, Byzant Janizar units were scattered throughout the galaxy. Whilst a number of units were actively deployed in expeditionary fleets (most notably in the 63rd and 216th), the majority were garrisoned on newly compliant worlds. The Janizar’s status as one of the Old One Hundred afforded them governship of these worlds and the promise of a life of luxury. This all changed when news spread of Horus’ betrayal. Remembering their final oath to the Emperor, the Ortas gathered once more under the command of Creze Hakan-Sje with the goal of making the traitors pay.

The 216th Expeditionary Fleet was desperate for manpower after the 77th Ultramarine company were summond back to their Chapter. Lord Marshall Horatio Octavian II, commander of the expeditionary fleet, welcomed the influx of Byzant Janizars and immediately took the force on a harrassing campaign against the traitor supply lines.

Recognising that his forces were drastically outmatched on a man to man basis compared to astartes, Horatio and Hakan-Sje agreed that heavy firepower was their only way to even the odds. To that end they re-organised the Byzant Janizars so each infantry Cemaat was supported by a heavy weapon Cemaat. These two squads were expected to work seemlessly, with the infantry Cemaat suppressing the enemy long enough for the support Cemaat to maneuvre to a position where they could bring their heavy weapons to bear. This re-organisation effectively doubled the size of the Orta and taxed their supply chain, but it was remarkably successful in practice.

Lascannon support Cemaati became increasingly popular in the face of the massed astartes armour that was common during the Horus Heresy. The weapon crews usually chose to overcharge their weapons, unleashing a blistering las-beam that was more powerful than the standard shot. Thanks to the deadly nature of warfare during this time these crews would often only get one shot off before the enemy was on them and they figured it was better to make that shot count and ignore the stress overcharging took on the guns.

Exemplary Byzant Janizar campaigns during the Shadow Crusade

007.M31 – On the world of Phendamar, the 463rd Orta co-operated with a Raven Guard execution force in eliminating the traitor Imperial Army high command based there. Janizar recon teams led a masterful hit-and-run campaign on various outposts to draw the enemy into carefully laid Raven Guard ambushes. Few mortal forces could have matched the XIX Legion’s speed and maneuverability, but the Janizar’s abundance of skimmers and experience fighting in the Mediterranean Dust Bowl during the Unification Wars worked in their favour and the two forces formed an exceptional team.

007.M31 – Drogar IV had an abundance of promethium and as such was a vital link in the traitor’s supply chain. Facing a garrisoned Iron Warriors company, the Byzant Janizars underwent a four month campaign to dismantle their defences and destroy the promethium fields. The destruction of the planet’s capital refinery was so massive it could be seen from space and the debris could upset the planet’s climate for a generation. Although several companies of Byzant Janizars died in this action, it was one of countless battles that ultimately tipped the scales in the loyalists’ favour by bleeding the traitors’ supplies and slowing their advance on Terra.

008.M31 – Vicious fighting on Mernt tested the 463rd when they encountered a re-suppling Emperor’s Children armoured spearhead. For seven days the city of Merntagra burned as the two forces traded blows. Leman russes and skuttle-pattern skimmers duelled against predators and land raiders in the cramped manufactora whilst infantry forces slaughtered each other in fierce building-to-building firefights. Despite suffering extremely heavy casualties, the Byzant Janizars used the terrain to their advantage and destroyed the traitor forces, freeing Mernt from its dark compliance and ensuring all its resources were re-directed to the loyalists.

009.M31 – Badly mauled from three years of fighting behind traitor lines, the 463rd and the rest of the 216th Expeditionary Fleet regroup in the Xyphos sub-sector to re-supply and re-build. This proves fortuitous for the loyalists when a massive traitor fleet arrives to the north-west of the sub-sector intent on laying waste to the whole sub-sector. War had come to Xyphos, and the Byzant Janizars were ready to stand in its defence.

I had fun photographing my units with more scenic backgrounds and expanding on their fluff. By next Sunday I am hoping to finish off the army’s skimmers – come back then for more fluff and pictures of the Janizars!

Jamie

Project February: Finishing the Byzant Janizars

I recently decided that 2021 would be the year of finishing projects and working through the unbuilt and unpainted resin and plastic on my hobby desk.

First up is the Byzant Janizars, an Old One Hundred force that is mentioned in the early black library Horus Heresy books. There is very little fluff to go on for them so I have taken the liberty of creating my own.

It is a fairly long to-do list for a month but with a strict painting routine it should all be doable. With most of the vehicles I have already painted, I am going back over them to add more detail and weathering. Here is what is left to do:

  1. 10 Grenadiers,
  2. An Arvus lighter,
  3. A recon squad and their land speeder cutter,
  4. Three land speeders, magnatised with a variety of loadouts,
  5. A leman russ exterminator,
  6. An Imperial Army medium skimmer and
  7. New bases for some of the army’s units.

I will be posting fluff alongside completed projects so by the end of the month they should be a fully fleshed out force both on and off the tabletop.

I hope you look forward to following along with this project!

Jamie

Praetor Artwork

Just a quick post to show off our awesome Praetor artwork by Orniris. We have always wanted portraits of our three leaders to help bring them to life off the battlefield. It is also cool to have something to hang next to our paint stations!

As you can see Orniris did an awesome job and we could not be happier with the end result. Check out his website and instagram account for more examples of his cool work!

Chapter Master Imrik Ironforge

For Imrik the hammer is a symbol of both creation and destruction. Having made his way up through the ranks of the breacher squads, he is never without his trusty thunder-hammer.

Despite excelling in single combat, his true passion is the art of craftsmanship, spending many hours refining his skills in the forges of Nocturne.

Following his first successful boarding raid in command he forged himself an exquisite thunder-hammer named ‘Patience’, with some of the metal taken from the melted down bulkhead of the boarded cruiser.

He made his name launching critical boarding assaults on traitor vessels, disrupting their choke hold over Isstvan V and creating a route for loyalist vessels to make their escape with survivors of the massacre.

Rembrancer Cavallan Te, attached to the XVIII Legion during the Great Crusade

Lord Legate Antigonus Chlorus

Lord Legate Antigonus commands the XXII Millennial of the Emperor’s Children with an iron grip, even as the remaining Legion fractures on every whim.

Striving to encapsulate all the Legion believes in, the XXII were an oiled machine emphasising speed and flexibility. Now, as the Emperor’s Children slide into madness, Antigonus and his legionaries are at the forefront, gladly welcoming Fabius’ augmentations and each new sensation experienced.

On the battlefield Antigonus is a blur of violence as he weilds twin blades crafted by Fulgrim himself. He particularly enjoys hounding the shattered survivors of those legions betrayed on Istvaan V.

Unknown

Shadow Captain Kraai

Shadow Captain Vordin Kraai has led the remaining forces of the 2nd Battalion on a devastating hit and run campaign against surviving traitor legionaries that ambushed the Raven Guard during the drop site massacre.

Striking from the shadows, the 2nd Battalion of the 7th Chapter operate mostly alone and often against terrible odds, however through the unwavering zeal of their commander they have always prevailed.

Known as “Ravenlord’s Executioner” Kraai’s focus is to slay enemy commanders. Kraai is unrelenting in his task to destroy those who betrayed his Legion, his Primarch and his Emperor. He will go to great lengths to ensure that his enemies are destroyed.

Legionary Astys Enoka, 2nd battalion,19th Legion

Stu, Tom and Jamie

Generals Corner – Raven Guard Tactics. Part 1- Decapitation Strike Force

I have been playing the Raven Guard since I started playing 30k which was shortly after the release of Betrayal at Calth. The legion specific rules grabbed me straight away as did their reliance on infantry, drop pods, fliers, infiltrators and jump infantry.

I have collected about 9000 points of the mighty XIXth legion and have played many, many games against a variety of opponent’s. I have also used many different rites of war, however my favourite and probably the one I have the most success with is Decapitation Strike Force.

So here we go, this is my view on the rite of war and how I normally use it.

Let’s first take a look at what the rite of war actually does.

Benefits:
For Whom The Bell Tolls: Legion Astartes Raven Guard gain the preferred enemy independent character special rule – THIS RULE IS HUGE! With the new faq ruling that it affects the independent characters unit not just the independent character themselves it makes deathstars a little less scary and plasma guns even more devastating.

Fury From Above: Tactical squads, tactical support squads, heavy support squads and seeker squads can take a drop pod as a dedicated transport. In addition deathstorm drop pods can be taken in elite and heavy support slots – This rule is one of the main reasons we take this rite of war. Podded plasma’s yes please.

Predatory Strike: Rerolling to see who goes/deploys first – this helps tailor the game to our armies play style, if we want to go first then we have more of a chance.

Limitations:
Only one heavy support slot – this is a big one so if you are going to take a heavy support slot make it count. I normally stick in a leviathan, but also sometimes use an infiltrating support squad with lascannons.

Only one consul – this is also a serious drawback as it means you really have to think about what consul your army will benefit the most from. In my opinion you can never go wrong with a Chaplain, but I also love using the dual plasma pistol Moritat.

Cannot take fortifications or allied space marine legion detachments – again this rule sucks but you can still ally with mechanicum, militia or solar.


Lets crack on with my top tips for using Decapitation Strike Force

Tip 1 – to pod or not to pod
Well the main thought I have when making a Decapitation Strike list is whether to use drop pods or not. I know one of the main benefits of taking this rite of war is gaining drop pods as dedicated transports for some units, however in my experience running Decapitation Strike is all about synergy and having a fast paced army that hits before the enemy can unload all of their fire power.

That can 100% be accomplished with an entire drop pod army, raining down from the skies and striking deep in the heart of enemy lines. That being said, I love using jump infantry (they gain furious charge from Astartes Raven Guard and they are fast). I normally run two 15 man assault squads in combination with a two or three drop pods (which normally carry my support squads in). I find that the drop pods coming down turn 1 distracts my opponent from my assault squads just long enough to let them get into combat more or less unscathed. 

What to put in your drop pods?
Well I normally put a 10 man plasma squad in one drop pod, a 5 man melta squad  in another and then a tactical squad in a third.  The basic idea is that the melta team and tactical squad come down first and put pressure on the enemy by either destroying a dreadnought/vehicle without armoured ceremite or claiming a key objective. Then turn two my lightning and plasma team will come into play. The lightning will aim to blow up that pesky enemy spartan and the plasma team will roast what ever is inside. Normally using this tactic, my opponents big deathstar is normally not a threat anymore by turn 3, which leaves my jump infantry free to take on the enemies squishier units.

The other great way to use drop pods is to control the battlefield. Drop pods block line of sight, limit enemy movement and are just a general thorn in your opponents side. I normally try and stick a pod in front of  vehicle to block one of its guns or in front of an objective. Anything just to slow down enemy units and make them play to my game.

That is my main tactic when using drop pods in Decapitation Strike, my aim is literally to Decapitate the enemy force in the opening turns of the game. It relies on a lot of synergy between two or three key units, but the most important thing is how this tactic is supported, which leads me nicely onto tip 2…

Tip 2 – have some boots on the ground
In a list that focuses on the use of drop pods there needs to be some board presence turn one. Maybe something that can lay down some ranged fire power, or some infiltrating units that hug cover to wait for the right moment to make themselves known or just some units deployed normally to move up and support the drop pods when they come down.

This tip might not be for everyone as people like to run all drop pods or put different units in drop pods. If that is the case then you may find that your units are survivable enough without the need for some additional boots on the ground. However in my experience it is always useful to have a couple of units on the board turn 1 to either distract units away from your drop pods as they come down or to weaken the enemy forces so your podded units have an easier time.

There is no right way to do this but I sometimes use a 5 man lascannon team to soften up enemy vehicles as my drop pods are coming in, along with my assault squads which will get into combat quickly and reduce some of the enemies fire power. 

Last point I will add to this, there is no way to express the importance of infiltrating units in drop pod heavy armies. The fact that we can have both drop pods and infiltrators in this rite of war is something no other legion can do. It means we can get key units into position ready for when our drop pods come down which is not to be underestimated. 

It is also funny to go first and then not have deploy a single model because everything is deep striking or infiltrating. That way we can tailor our deployment to counter our opponents and still have the luxury of going first.

Tip 3 – prepare to take a beating
This tip is more of an observation from my experience running Decapitation Strike, but it might not be everyone’s experience.
I have found that I normally get peppered until all my drop pods, fliers and reserves have come on the board. After about turn 2 or 3 that is where I start to make real progress and cause real damage to my opponents army. So don’t be disheartened if your army takes an absolute spanking on turn 1.

Tip 4 – Fliers and speeders are your friends
In my armies, whether I run Decapitation Strike or not, I always take a flier. The reason for this is normally to add a bit of depth to the army but also because I am a big fan of planes. Normally an opponent will bring only one form of anti air which means if I target the threat with my turn 1 drop pods my flier can spend the rest of the game pretty much unhindered.

I normally always take a lightning to fill the role of anti spartan/heavy armour. This for me is key in a drop pod heavy army as most podded anti armour is either short range or will need to snap shoot if it moves.

Speeders whether they are javelins or regular land speeders are also not to be overlooked in a Decapitation Strike army. I find that outflanking Javelins enables me to out manoeuvre enemy light vehicles and help support my army as it gets into position.

My armies fast attack slots are normally filled with a squad of two missile Javelins, a Lightning and a squad of Dark Furies. The combination gives me an incredible amount of mobile fire power that balances well with my combat focused Dark Furies and Assault Squads.

Tip 5 – who should lead my army
In a drop pod heavy army, Strike Captain Alvarex Maun is a must! He is not very survivable or killy but his army wide buffs help bring all of the different units in the Decapitation Strike together and ties the army off with a nice little bow.

The reason he is so good is due to his warlord trait, his Bleeding Edge special rule and his Night Fall Pattern Strato-Vox. 

Warlord Trait (Co-ordinated Planet Strike):
Maun can reroll reserve rolls for fliers and drop pods – This is important as most of our units will either be drop pods or fliers. It just helps get our units on the board as fast and reliably as possibly.

Bleeding Edge:
If Maun starts the game deployed on the board the army can reroll their seize the initiative roll. – This is another important rule that allows us to dictate the flow of the game.
If Maun starts the game in a drop pod or flier with the deep strike special rule then he automatically comes in turn 2. – This rule is less important and I very rarely put him in a vehicle but I can see its uses.

Night Fall Pattern Strato-Vox:
Units arriving via deep strike within 18″ of Maun do not scatter and units arriving via deep striking vehicles gain the counter attack special rule on the turn they arrive. – This lovely piece of equipment allows us to put our pods where we need them and gives them a little bit more punch if they end up getting charged.

Maun is very fragile, with 2+ armour and no invulnerable save he will die quickly if he is on his own.  I normally attach him to a Mor Deythan squad and infiltrate him into a position where his 18″ bubble is most useful.

Tip 6 – target priority
This tip is fairly self explanatory and has been touched on in the previous tips. However I think the two main things to target when taking the Decapitation Strike rite of war are:

  • Anything that has interceptor – so our units don’t get shot off the board as soon as they arrive. I will try to use sniper Mor Deythan to precision shoot apothecaries with augury scanners early on in the game.
  • Anti Air – normally I will use my 5 man melta squad in a drop pod to try to take out any Mortis Dreadnoughts or Deredeos so that my Lightning can come on relatively unchallenged.

As with all other things in a dice game, the whole concept of being able to prioritise targets is somewhat unreliable. So normally I will go for the mentioned targets first and then will try to focus on other threats on the board as they present themselves.  The best thing about playing an alpha strike army whether its using drop pods, infiltrators, fliers or jump pack infantry is that  you will be up in your opponents face really quickly and hopefully that way they will panic and make less tactical decisions as they try and push you back.




There you have it!
My top tips on how to run the Decapitation Strike rite of war.

Happy decapitating!

Tom

Dok’s Shop – Vengeance for Isstvan V

Hi everyone, we thought it was time to show off our latest joint project – loyalist daemons. Now we know this is a controversial topic but stick with us, we think we have a pretty good justification…

Back in early February Tom and I attended part 3 of the Sundering of Fortis II event put on by our friends Curtis and Grant. This was a doubles event and each pair could bring a free centurion model worth up to 150pts. Tom and I spent a while thinking what consul we could bring as we wanted to do something that stood out. We eventually settled on one of the new centurion types from book 8: the Esoterist.

For those of you who aren’t familiar, the Esoterist is a psyker who specialises in demonology (both banishing and summoning daemons). They fit right in with the traitor legions but it’s a bit trickier for loyalists.

Having settled on an Esoterist we then needed to come up with fluff for him and how to justify loyalist daemons. During the Horus Heresy daemons were more creatures of raw emotion than the settled looks that we know from 40k. Really anything can be a daemon so long as it is on the right base size!

Our idea came partly from the scene in Master of Mankind where the ghosts of marines (and Ferrus Manus) come to the loyalists’ aid. We thought it would be cool to have our Esoterist as a Iron Hand faced with the betrayal and death at Isstvan V unleashed his suppressed psychic abilities and brought forth daemons. These daemons, taking cues from the strong emotions in the esoterist, appeared in the form of the dead of the loyalist legions seeking vengeance for their betrayal.

We wanted to convert lesser daemons, brutes and a greater daemon to cover the various powers in malefic daemonology. The lesser daemons and the brutes were really easy to convert; we just built marines normally and then applied lots of battle damage.

Bullet holes are super easy to do, all you need is a drill bit and a hobby knife. Simply drill a small hole and then use the knife to expand the hole and make it look less regular. You can do multiple bullet holes next to each other to look like the marine was hit by someone rapid firing.

The greater daemon was a harder choice, as we wanted the model to have enough height and bulk that it could realistically be a greater daemon. We also didn’t want it to just be a monster after all it was supposed to be loyalist! Tom then had the cool idea of having a bunch of models on the base, rather than just one big model. This could then represent the spirit of the Great Crusade; everyone working together and mankind victorious over the Xenos. We bought some Custodes and Sisters of Silence models cheaply and then added some militia and solar guys leftover from our other projects.

Painting wise it was super quick. The models were sprayed with Grey Seer and then washed with Hexwraith Flame and Nighthaunt Gloom, allowing them to mix randomly across the models. This gave them an ethereal look rather than being solid creatures.

When it came to basing we thought it would be cool to have half of the base blackened and cracked to represent the corrupting effect of the ghosts. They might be fighting for the loyalists but they are still daemons after all!

Overall the project was a fun one for us and we feel we managed to create a unique themed force. It can be used as an allied detachment in its own right, but most of the time will just be used for some fluffy summoning.

What do you all think? Did we pull off loyalist daemons?

Jamie and Tom

Muster the Militia!

So all three of us have signed up to a horus heresy militia event later this year. There’s only one slight problem with this plan…. I don’t currently have a single militia model! But now marks the start of a new project!

This section of the blog will chart my progress from never playing a single game with militia to playing a fully painted 1500 point list at a heresy event! I’ve played plenty heresy against solar and militia lists, just not with my own militia force.

My main challenge for this is the fact I’m quite a slow painter, I’ve received a lot of abuse from the other MSE boys for how long its taken to paint up all my salamanders! But I’m feeling super motivated for this project. Plus the event is a hard deadline that I can’t miss!

So let’s get stuck in….

My inspiration for this list is the new enforcer models. I love the look of them and wanted to experiment with making a whole army of them. My plan is to run an elite list of mechanised infantry and that way I have a cool themed list but also a realistic number of models to paint in the short time frame!

Please join me on this journey! Your advice and feedback will be much appreciated.

Stu

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The first purchases to get this army started!

 

Dok’s Shop – Militia Land Speeders

Developed by Arkan Land primarily for the Legiones Astartes, land speeders were also used by the fledgling Imperial Army.

Expensive and difficult to maintain, they were reserved for the more prestigious outfits who had the contacts to field them in large numbers. One such force was the Byzant Janizars.

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When the Byzant Dominate was absorbed into the Imperium after the Siege of Byzant Alpha, they gained the support of the Mechanicum and their supply chain. The Emperor gifted several companies of land speeders to the Janizars, thinking they might suit the Janizar’s method of warfare.

He was right.

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The Byzant Janizars adopted these skimmers wholeheartedly, using them as mobile gun platforms to support the infantry’s advance and to help in patrolling the vast expanse of the Mediterranean Dust Bowl. They were equipped with a variety of weapons to suit any opponent, though their preferred load out was plasma weaponry. Although volatile and prone to accidents, the risks were worth it in the mega conflicts of the Horus Heresy. Their goal was to inflict as much damage as possible before the inevitable return of fire. 

The Byzant Janizars were extremely gifted and known for their ability to weave through all but the heaviest incoming fire. It was even rumoured that Janizar pilots were amongst those settled on the newly compliant world of Glavia.

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I was originally planning on running land speeders as ‘count as’ sentinels in my army to fit the theme of only having skimming vehicles. The only problem was it didn’t quite feel right so I put off making any. When I saw the Mournival Events additional units had militia land speeders I immediately went ahead and built the unit up.

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They currently are equipped with plasma guns and cannons but I’m planning on magnetising the weapons so I can equip them a variety of ways. I feel the militia list lacks mobile AP2 options, so these guys are going to be my terminator hunters. They pack a serious punch when they shoot but with only 2 hull points each and Gets Hot they’re prone to blowing themselves up as much as the enemy!

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The conversions themselves weren’t too tricky, its mainly a mix of the land speeder and sentinel kits. The hardest part was cutting away the space marine legs that are attached to the seats on the land speeder and replacing them with the sentinel pilots. The sentinel kit comes with plenty of weapon options and I had some plasma guns left over from the plastic heresy marines. I used the hooded heads from the Wildwood rangers rather than my normal converted Byzant Janizar helmets. In my fluff, they’re wearing some sort of sand scarf to protect them whilst patrolling through the Mediterranean Dust Bowl. Plus I thought their usual high helmets would be a bit impractical on the speeders!

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Overall I’m happy with how they look; they’re a fun fluffy unit that feels right at home amongst the Byzant Janizars.

Jamie

Dicing with Death – the Swamps of Voggo

We played a couple of games using some of our new jungle terrain. It blocks line of sight really well and we are working on a lot more pieces to create a really dense board. The jungle pieces mix nicely with the rest of our terrain which is really handy for mixing and matching and giving us more variety.

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Records show that in early 008.M31 the planet of Voggo declared for the Warmaster and was rewarded with a garrison of veteran Byzant Janizars. The steamy jungles and swamps of this planet housed large raw promethium deposits ripe for mining. Voggo was therefore a strategically important world despite its size and position to the galactic north. It needed to be protected.

Shadow-captain Kraai took his talon to Voggo to distrupt supply lines for the traitors marching on Holy Terra. Their first strike destroyed the astropathic station, rendering the planet unable request help. In a masterful campaign over the next few months the Raven Guard systematically picked apart the Janizar units and forced them into an ever diminishing pocket of control. With no choice left, the commander of the Byzant Janizars decided to force a break out at what he thought was the weakest point in the Raven Guard lines. Little did he know this was all part of their plan…

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Commander Mahzun ordered his less mobile infrantry and artillery to hold the line whilst the core of his infantry attempted the break out. The Janizars raised their guns and shell after shell landed amongst the Raven Guard lines. Despite the blistering fusillade, many of the shots fell wide of their mark, such was the panic of the men and women firing. 

The Raven Guard moved up in response. Whilst the tacical squads took cover behind disused pipes and began targetting the militia infantry, Honoured Brother Yiraka barrelled through the undergrowth, aiming for the ostentatious plumes of Commander Mahzun. Seeing the metallic giant running toward his lines, Mahzun smiled and uttered a single word in the language of Old Byzant:

“Katletmek”

The Ogryd Arco-Flagellanti with him twitched. Stimm pipes and chem neutralisers in their bodies kicked in and these gaints sprung forward with weapons cracking and mouths frothing. Headless of their own safety, their only objective was to kill anything threatening their master. The six giants slammed into the dreadnought and, although Yiraka was able to kill several beasts, he was brought down by the great power mauls of meteoric steel grafted in place of the hands of some Ogryds.

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The Janizar’s sense of victory was short lived as the dreadnought Kynaeus mercilessly gunned down the surviving Ogryds with his kheres. Just then the sky overhead seemed to blacken and, with a sound like thunder, the Raven Guard destroyers arrived.

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Particularly feared on Voggo, these marines had committed several acts of virulent genocide on the workforce of the planet. Before the militia squad could even react to their arrival, the destroyers opened fire. With cold efficiency they unleashed their payload and the Janizars were left a pile of rad-sickened corpses.

Demir Umudu, the Byzant Janizar demolisher, had continued its steady advance, firing shots as it moved that knocked out the Raven Guard javelins and tactical squad. Recognising this vehicle as the real threat, Kraai ordered Kynaeus to take it out. Running forward Kynaeus shoulder barged the tank, flipping it over to expose its weak underside. Gearing up his assault cannons, he shot through the hull until the vehicle exploded in a fireball.

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Watching his army fall to pieces Mahzun realised the breakout was now impossible and the day was lost. Not wanting to die in ignomy and hoping to take out the enemy leader in a last act of defiance, he lifted his ancestral axe and raised it towards Kraai. The Shadow-captain answered and, with a burst of his jetpack, charged into combat. The supernatural speed of Kraai was impossible for Mahzun to counter and he was brutally cut down in short order.

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With that the battle was over. Soon after the traitor grip on this planned collapsed when the governor was assassintated by Kraai’s Mor Deythan. The planet’s supply of promethium would now be helping the loyalist cause…

We played the Noose mission from Book 6 with my militia having to escape whilst Tom’s Raven Guard tried to stop us. This was always going to be tricky as my militia are very static and immobile but it was fun watching them be on the offensive and the Raven Guard on the defensive for a change! End result was a clear victory for the Raven Guard but I’ve learned more lessons about how best to play my militia and have a couple of more fast moving reinforcements inbound.

Jamie