Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Steel Brain vol 1: Team Building - Weaknesses And Why They Don't Matter

Good evening players, and happy Red Stuff And Hearts day. This one's for the lovers, or the crazed dismemberers, as you prefer. Today we're looking at building your team, and why you shouldn't worry about what it can't do, but instead should focus on what it can do better.

You're Expecting Too Much

Heralds of Ruin Kill Team is truly a game for all-rounders. The day before, your band of miscreants had to take down a rampaging monster the size of a battle tank, taking care to outwit the Grey Knight Terminators as well, and now you're sneaking through a city on the verge of civil breakdown, fighting local gangs and the opposing swarm of cultists all at once. And now there's a live nuke/Gellar field breach/zombie infestation to deal with. Fantastic.

With a 250 point limit for most games, how are you supposed to make sure your team can cope with these varied challenges?

The key, is balancing specific strengths against an all-purpose playstyle. You need to be able to take on anything, but if you build too general-purpose a team you won't be good enough at doing a particular thing to win at all. You need to decide what you want to be good at, and be really good at it, but without investing so much in that thing that you can't cope should a situation call for a different approach. 

That's not an easy task without experience, but we can and will break it down. Beneath the foam art of bewildering choice awaits the hot latte of truth.

Finding Your Keynote Killer

Picking a unit to build the team around is a very good start. For this exploration, we'll start with your Team Leader. The Leader is usually a decent place to start because, to some extent, your choice here will open up some options and shut off others. Often it will influence your Core choices, perhaps allowing certain Special models to be taken as Core or access to greater numbers of a certain unit, and will almost certainly count towards one or more weapon/wargear allowances.

Let's build two teams at once, just for a laugh. We'll choose a Craftworld Eldar Warlock Skyrunner and a Chaos Daemon Changecaster. 

Once you know what kind of leader you have, you've got a better idea what the team will be doing. At this point, you've just chosen the Leader unit with basic wargear. Shiny bits come later! 

Our Skyrunner is a fast-moving unit capable of boosting pretty much any element of her team, be it speed, survivability or lethality, with psychic might. Her jetbike gets her where she needs to be quickly, and she's on the expensive side. She'll therefore need some measure of protection, and some powerful units that her magic can turn into absolute monsters. With only one power per game though, we'd better choose carefully. 

Our Changecaster is a Psyker too. It's slower, with three powers in hand compared to the Skyrunner's one, but still only casts one per turn. It's not as tough, but has a better invulnerable save. The combination of infantry speed and a good choice of powers makes this Leader ideally placed for hanging back and controlling the state of the board.

Cleared For Takeoff

Now we're moving! Our craftworld team could still be about a few different things at this point, but let's commit to something and take some more jetbikes. This is going to look sweet. Rule of Cool is definitely a big part of roster building. A quick look at the Windrider and Shining Spear entries shows we're limited to a maximum of 3 of each, and that Saim-Hann Windriders have better weapon access. Hold that thought. 

We don't yet appear to have a specialty, besides incredible speed which helps with objective grabs if the mission calls for that. Not all of them do, so that's not good enough. Let's say what we really want is a solid Alpha Strike list. For my money, that's Shining Spears and the Quicken/Restrain power (heavy emphasis on Quicken). 

So - Warlock Skyrunner + 3 Shining Spears, not forgetting wargear, comes to 178 points. We're looking at 10 T4 Wounds and a devastating laser lance charge which, thanks to Quicken, is almost certainly going to happen in turn 1. (By the way, why not Shining Spear Exarch? In short, Expert Hunter is useless in HoR outside of specific scenarios and the psychic power of the Skyrunner is well worth the extra points.) 

What Is It Good For?

Back to the Daemons for a minute. Our Changecaster isn't going to be moving much, so why not take advantage of that to boost its Daemonic Rituals?  We've got some Armoury items to do the business, and I'm going to ignore my own advice and pick two of those right away: the Well of the Warp and the Transpicuous Orb. The Well allows us to dictate the ebb and flow of our own forces, as any daemons arriving on the battlefield can choose to climb from its depths. The Orb is a great late-game tool for bringing reinforcements when they're needed most. 

At 98 points, that's quite enough on the Leader. Or is it? For a mere 2 points more, we fill the requirements for Herohammer and get another Tactical Point. Why not. The Staff of Change takes it to 103 and gives Smite the range of a boltgun. Not bad.  

Now we need some backup! Our Leader is a Locus of Tzeentch, but isn't likely to be too close to any combat, so that probably won't matter. For a cheap, fast moving, extremely threatening backbone to this team, I humbly present the Daemonette. 7 points a piece. Let's take 10. 15 is tempting for the Flurry of Claws ability, but keeping all 15 alive long enough for it to work is unlikely, and therefore something of a waste. An Icon works extremely well with the Well (well, well...) and an Instrument keeps them moving as they should.  That brings us to 198 points. 

Craftworld Would Be A Great Name For A Yarn Shop

Our Craftworld team now fulfils our first condition nicely; it's really good at a melee-focused alpha strike. Such clear strength comes with a clear weakness, namely a low body count and next to no ranged firepower. We also have no Core units, which is a problem. Now's the time to think about which Craftworld we might be from. Saim-Hann is the obvious choice, as either the Opus or Codex trait would serve them well, but you might think about Il-Kaithe to get some Imperial Core choices (only three though, so this probably isn't the way to go) or Malan'tai Before The Doom for a 36" Turn 1 move for all your jetbikes, assuming Quicken goes off. 

We don't really need another 2" of movement, though Malan'tai's Seize ability is nice, and I don't want to dig into yet another Opus, so we'll go Saim-Hann, Opus flavour. Being able to forego fall back + shoot for fall back + charge fits the Spears beautifully. It also allows us to take a single Windrider as a Core choice and give it a Shuriken Cannon. Since we're not using the Codex trait, the Scatter Laser would be hitting on 4+, which isn't really good enough for a team this small. There's some thematic ranged power for you, anyway. 206 points total. Let's finish this off. 

At this point we're looking to further bolster our strength or mitigate weaknesses, and it's a good time to look at the Armoury and Tactical Actions available to us. Our Warlock won't be seeing much combat, ideally, so the Leader Only relics aren't for us. As our bikes are likely to run close together for maximum psychic power impact, avoiding Nerve tests would be good, so the Runes of War are a sensible choice. 

Since the Runes extend as far as our Warlock's Inspiring Presence, it makes sense to make that bigger with an Autarch's Seal, and finally buy a single Ranger.

The threat of even one sniper on the board shouldn't be underestimated and can play havoc with your opponent's plans for their Leader. We'll return to sum up the Eldar in a minute, but first, Daemons.

The Daemon Is In The Details

Our Daemon team is looking a bit weird at the moment, with a sizeable melee force and a Leader who's up to the task of buffing, killing and most importantly, summoning reinforcements, but isn't particularly scary in its own right. They're still very vulnerable to sit-and-shoot teams, as are all Daemon teams, so let's see what we can do about it with our remaining points.

Two bases of Nurglings can put early pressure on an enemy, deploying right on their doorstep and maybe even getting some lucky charges. These 36 points are strictly sacrificial, and their value should be counted in enemy shots that don't find your other models! 16 points remain to us. We could throw another two lesser Daemon bodies into the mix, or peep at the Armoury again. The Localised Warp Storm looks good - a single turn of protection from shooting will make your opponents think twice about attacking your Leader, and give his plans time to come to fruition. Most factions have access to this in some form (smoke grenades) but few can wield it with no downsides like a firepower-devoid Daemon team can. Add a single Pink Horror for some tricksy business, and we're done!

Now let's look at what we've come up with.



Warlock Skyrunner (85)
Autarch's Seal (10)
Runes Of War (5) 
Quicken/Restrain (obviously you should choose the right power for the game, but this will serve you well most of the time)


Windrider (23)
Shuriken Cannon (10)

Ranger (20) 


Shining Spear
Shining Spear
Shining Spear (93)


Tactical Points: 4

Destined for Greatness +1
Death and Diversity +1 (this one is incredibly easy for Craftworlders to get)
Herohammer +1 
Philosophy: The Skeins of Fate +1 (This is just a suggestion, of course. 4TP with the ability to regain 1 or 2 is pretty decent, but this team shouldn't require a lot of rerolls or shenanigans like some others do) 

Battle Plan

Warlock, Spears and Windrider should deploy forward and hidden where possible, and ensure the 3" area of effect on Quicken catches all of them. Move aggressively, cast Quicken to catch everyone. Reroll as needed, it's important this power works! The Spears move again for the charge, the Windrider and Warlock may go where they need to to find appropriate targets/provide the Distortion Field buff. 

Ranger and Windrider should prioritise targets to facilitate the Spears' charge - try to trigger Nerve tests, remove strong auto-hitting weapons, etc. A well-aimed initial charge should remove the head of the enemy team and leave them fighting to catch up, while your Wild Host can essentially do as it pleases even after falling back from a combat.



Changecaster (78)
Staff of Change (5)
Well of the Warp (10)
Transpicuous Orb (10)
Localised Warp Storm (8)
Bolt of Change, Gaze of Fate, Smite

10 x Daemonette (70)
Icon and Instrument (25)

2 x Nurgling Swarm (36)

Pink Horror (7)


Tactical points: 6

Destined for Greatness +1
Mind the Boat +1
Herohammer +1
Death and Diversity +1 
Philosophy: Keep Them Guessing +2 (we've really tried to maximise our TP here, as you'll see)

Battle Plan

Nurglings set up to Make Mischief. Daemonettes take forward positions but cover where possible. They're fast but fragile. The Changecaster should be fairly far forward and as hidden as possible, with the Pink Horror 6" behind it and able to keep up. 

The Nurglings and Daemonettes have very obvious roles here, so I won't labour that. The little Tzeentchian duo have some tricks up their many sleeves though. Observe...

Turn 1. Both the Changecaster and Pink Horror move forward as fast as they can while remaining 1. Out of danger and 2. Within 6" of each other. Surge of Unreality (2TP) can be useful here. Psychic powers as neccessary. No Ritual. Consider using the Localised Warp Storm.

Turn 2. Get the Changecaster into a good position to drop the Well - look for objectives, enemy spawn points or weak flanks. Move the Pink Horror to prepare for Turn 3, and keep it within 6" of the Changecaster. No Ritual. Another good time for the Localised Warp Storm if you didn't use it yet. 

Turn 3. Use Devious Deviants (2TP) to switch the positions of the Horror and Changecaster to bring the Leader to safety. This isn't a Move and does not prevent a Ritual being attempted. At this point you ideally want to be attempting a Ritual every turn, using the Orb on a later turn to minimise the risk of a waste, and the Incursion Instigator action (1TP) at a key time if needed. 

Your Daemonettes and Nurglings will be doing their thing by now, your enemies concerned with them, and you can continue to build your board presence with Rituals and Bolts of Change to bring in as many reinforcements as you can. It's a far less reliable and obviously powerful strategy than the Saim-Hann one, admittedly, but after playing it a couple of times most opponents will still be at a loss as to how to counter it, and teams with such good board control led by such an optimised Leader are rare indeed.


Hopefully I've managed to show how a team doesn't have to be good at everything to succeed. A fast Aeldari team largely without fire support can mitigate that weakness by playing even more into its strengths, to ensure the enemy isn't at range for long. A numerous but fragile Daemon team can play to its strengths by tying up the enemy with numbers and distractions while it reinforces itself.

By contrast, a smaller team of tougher daemons without that ability would probably give a mediocre performance at best, while an Eldar team that tries to compete in all arenas of battle might outclass its opponents in individual duels, but would soon find itself brought down by weight of dice. By throwing most of its points into doing outstandingly what it can already do quite well, a team takes on a power and a narrative that outstrips any typical jack-of-all-trades enemy and feels awesome to play.

Join us next time (whenever I find the right combination of coffee and spare time) for a look at optimising your team's growth in a campaign!  

Sunday, 5 November 2017

Power From Paint #1: Painting yellow the easy way.

Welcome to the first Power From Paint!

We got Greg, the dominatrix of Hive Fleet Bombus, to show us how to achieve that buttery yellow skin that nobody really believes is easy, now matter how often he tells us it is. This technique works particularly well on skin, fabric and other natural surfaces, but is perfectly easy to apply to power armour, vehicles and the like.

Without further ado, here's Greg to enlighten us all on a fast, pain-free way to paint yellow!

First, prime your model white. Don't rush it - good priming is key to this whole technique. Get a primer you trust, and don't spray unless conditions are perfect. Not too hot, not too cold, not too humid. 

Next, give all the yellow areas a light wash of Casandora Yellow. Going over a smooth coat of white primer, a light wash is all you need for a pale yellow base. Let it dry, and decide whether you want to enrich the colour further with a second light wash.

One wash
Two washes
After waiting patiently until your washes have dried, grab your Yriel Yellow. Take a moment to appreciate the irony of painting Tyranids in the colours of their greatest enemy, and give the yellow areas a good heavy drybrushing all over. This, as you know, gives depth to the shaded areas and efforlessly picks out all the natural lumps, bumps and grisly bits. 

After drybrushing
 Note that by "heavy drybrush" we don't mean "put more paint on your brush" - that will only lead to paint finding its way into recesses where it shouldn't be. You still want next to no paint on your brush, just persevere a bit more than usual to get every last bit of pigment onto the model. 

The finished article
That's it! Then it's just about picking your complimentary colours and finishing up. Yellow horde armies impossible? Who says?

Sunday, 10 September 2017

Know Your Enemy: Ash's Court Of The Dracon

Welcome to the first Know Your Enemy! While our new edition is still well, new, we thought it would be a good idea to give some insights into how the team behind the game play H8R. Many of the teams we'll showcase in this feature have been brought more or less directly across from HoR7, but this creation of Ash's is brand new for 8th edition. Don't let them take you alive...

When the Drukhari appeared for 8th edition, the Court of the Archon models immediately caught my attention. Single-model units of multi-wound badasses, hand picked by their despicable crime boss? Yep. I thought they'd make ideal candidates for a thematic kill team, so I set out to build my own versions of each, and then basically see what points I had left over...

The Kabal of the Lateral Thorn's "Diplomatic Envoys"

Let's start with Dracon Espina. She rocks a blaster, because at T3, 1W and no Shadow Field, she's not the best candidate to fling into melees. We keep her out of the way. The Obsidian Stone mounted in her helmet lets her attempt to deny a single psychic power in the enemy turn, a valuable piece of kit in an Opus that doesn't contain a single psyker! A Gloom Field gives a degree of protection from shooting attacks for her and her cronies, as long as they stick together. She also has a Phantasm Grenade Launcher which almost never gets used, purely because the list is 247 points without it. Lastly, the Archon's seal increases her Inspiring Presence out to 9". That comes in useful for the next bunch of villains...
Dracon Espina, First Trueborn of the Kabal of the Lateral Thorn

Ur-Ghul, Lhamaean, Medusae, Sslyth.

All of these guys get to reroll all of their Hit dice if they're inside Espina's boosted Inspiring Presence, so that's neat. They can all attempt to defend her from attacks, and the Sslyth does it best of all. Since Espina is a Kabal of the Lateral Thorn leader (as opposed to a Wych Cult or Coven of whatever leader) I can choose to take any of these guys as Core. I nominated the Ur-Ghul, her personal pet, and let the rest be Specials for better campaign survivability and the TP I'd get from filling my Specials section.

Espina's pet genestealer, with skinplanted chain and mind-shackle. Plays as an Ur-Ghul.

Lhamaean Ilex disdains the cult's usual trappings of exposed flesh and fluttering lashes, preferring the stark beauty of the kill.

The Medusae called Goire is a self-styled wizard. No true psyker, his powers flow not from the Warp but the brain parasite he carries.

Eydouxii's serpentine body provides terrifying strength and a shocking turn of speed.

The team features two Hellions from the Blizzard that Bites, a small gang of violent criminals-cum-smugglers who Espina hires from time to time when she needs a turn of speed on her side. These are my only other Core models. The ability to more or less choose their combat drugs is lovely. I normally take the Toughness boost, or the Strength one. In certain matchups though, neither are useful. Fire Warrior Tau are a prime example, where increasing Toughness from 3 to 4 means nothing against S5 weapons, and similarly, augmenting their strength from 4 to 5 wouldn't make any difference against T3 enemies. In these cases I'd take Hypex for an extra 2" move. Combined with their ability to fall back, shoot and charge, it lets these nutters cover ground like nothing else.

"Bring me their heads!"

Finally we have a pair of Trueborn, one of them sycophantically copying Espina by bringing her own (rather small) blaster. Great against pseudo-monsters, sentinels and most enemy leaders, the left-right punch of two darklight weapons doesn't often leave much behind.

To ice the cake, let's have a look at the Tactical Point potential of the list. We get:

  • 1 for having a leader. Ka-ching!
  • 1 for having a full infantry list. Another easy one, although playing without Reavers still feels weird.
  • 1 for filling up my Special section. The ability to take Court models as Core frees up as many spaces as I want, essentially, but I only needed two Trueborn to get that second blaster. (I actually only needed one, as the Dracon counts, but there's not much else to be done with the points.)

So that's a modest 3. I favour the "Keep Them Guessing" philosophy for an extra 2. With the Drukhari and rulebook stratagems to choose from, I've got more than enough tricks up my sleeve to adapt to the evolving battle without having to repeat myself.

Some notes on the models.

If you're interested, the Ur-Ghul's mind-shackle is made from a Reaver jetbike handlebar piece. His wrists are deliberately swollen and bruised, as the chain was implanted under his skin by wrapping thin strips of green stuff around his arms and building the chain directly into it. The chain links are superglued to stop the paint rubbing off as it moves. 

The Lhamaean's mail skirt and torso comes from an old dark elf spearmen kit, and her scarab beetle base is from Element Games.

Espina's blaster is a dark lance with the thin barrel chopped off. Super easy conversion for a nice oversized blaster! The skull at her hip represents the Gloom Field projector, and the back banner her Archon's Seal.

The Sslyth took a bit of work. His body is a daemon prince tail, his torso is made from two Cold One Knight torsos placed butt to butt, and fitting those things together took a bit of green stuff work. He has a Scourge head just because I thought it looked cool. His weapons are from Flagellant, Cold One Knight and Scourge sets, with an arm from the old Dark Elf spearmen and a holstered pistol from some Dark Eldar Warriors from the 90s. Couldn't resist.

Thanks for reading! If you have a beloved team you'd like to share with us, get in touch at the Facebook group for the blog or community. Happy Heralding.

- Ash

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

Heralds of Ruin Introduces: The Rak'Gol

Or: Spiky Radioactive Space Lizards.

- Words by Jean-Luc Delaroute.

So here you are, wondering what kill team you're going to take rampaging through 8th edition. You're browsing the list of available factions. There are all the usual suspects... But maybe you want to try a more exotic brew this time? As you ponder, something catches your eye:

They were here all along, and you didn't even know it.

"Rak'Gol? What the hell is a Rak'Gol?"

Rak'Gol in Warhammer 40,000

The Rak'Gol are a minor official species in the Warhammer:40K universe. Their largest appearance, save for short references in other material, was as antagonists in Fantasy Flight Gaming's Rogue Trader RPG. 

If you want to antagonize the Imperium, the Rak'Gol have it all: hailing from the Ghoul Stars on the galactic north-east, they are a xenos species of chaos worshippers who occasionally invade the Imperium and harvest technology. 
The Rak'Gol, as obscure and unknowable as they are, have had their background expanded upon much more than some other alien species, and I invite you to go read Rogue Trader material, Lexicanium, and/or the Warhammer 40K wiki if you want to learn more about their history and lore. Oh, and they look like this:


Why play a Rak'Gol Kill Team?

You want to try out a faction that is outside the boundaries of 40K's usual themes. You like the Orks for their insane tinkering, but you think even they are too intelligent. You went to Chernobyl for your last vacation, and were disappointed to see the wildlife had not turned into monsters. You don't understand why Komodo Dragons are illegal to keep as pets. Your favorite movie is the Texas Chainsaw Massacre and you wish Firefly had a second season. If you tick more than one of these boxes, you'll fit right in.

Playing a Rak'Gol Kill Team

  • Rak'Gol Ambush.
  • High Strength and Toughness.
  • Large selection of melee weapons.
  • Terrible at range.
  • Slow.
  • Low model count (unless you gorge on Youth).

Rak'Gol in HoR: Kill Team are all about encircling the foe with powerful infantry. Boasting an impressive WS3+, S4, T5, and at least two attacks on the majority of their models, combined with the ability to "deep strike" their entire roster minus one unit, they can quickly surround and overwhelm key targets in the opposing team and grind them into a paste. Most of their models are even equipped with Rak'Gol Blades, which help the massacre along by letting you re-roll failed Wound rolls against infantry. 

Still, if you really want to tie up a unit in melee, make sure to commit at least a few models: ambushing means you are charging from 9" away, and Rak'Gol that become stranded in the middle of the battlefield are unlikely to survive for very long. Youth are perfect for this task: while the rest of your units either cost a lot of points or require careful planning, Youth are a mass of bodies ready to prove themselves by swarming your enemy and pinning them in place while you position your pieces - and if your team leader is nearby, they even become semi-competent fighters in their own right.

In addition to the ability to ambush their adversaries, the Rak'Gol have another special rule that is present on the majority of their army: Hunting Frenzy. This lets your models occasionally go on a murderous rampage - specifically, when you roll 6s on your Charge rolls. One 6 means the model will make an additional D3 attacks in the following Fight phase, while a lucky double six means the model will also re-roll all failed Hit rolls for these attacks. A lot of Rak'Gol weapons are also radioactive, and, similarly to the Mechanicus' rad weapons, let you do increased damage on rolls of a 6 to wound.

Your leaders are not chumps, either: while they aren't any better at fighting than their rank-and-file counterparts (which is, admittedly, still very good), they have improved armour saves. If you have the points to spare, your team can even be led by a Broodmaster, who will be more than happy to terrorize your enemy with its three wounds and ability to make friendly models re-roll Hit rolls of 1 in melee.

Core models for the Rak'Gol are Youth, Carvers and Marauders: where Youth and Carvers are here to distract the enemy and to scout objectives, Marauders are a tough frontline unit with characteristics comparable to a Space Marine.

Your special models allow you to bring even more brute strength through Renders and their four attacks (and S5 on the charge), Stalkers, who splice Carver special rules onto a Marauder-like body, and ranged support with Murderers who compensate for their mediocre BS with more firepower than the Rak'Gol's mostly sub-par ranged weapons allow for. Their ability to fire Heavy Weapons on the move at full ballistic skill keeps them in the fight against shootier teams. 

Rak'Gol can even bring their own psyker, the Techno-Shaman, into the fray. Depending which psychic power you give it, it will be able to put a dent in large clumps of infantry, give your models the ability to ignore damage, or even copy your enemies' weapons. The presence of Techno-Shamans also powers up the last Rak'Gol special choice, Technobominations, who are normally mediocre (if very tough) fighters but become much more capable around a Techno-Shaman.

In addition to their namesake Blades, Rak'Gol have access to a large selection of melee weapons, allowing you to easily equip your models to make short work of almost any threat, especially when falling upon them through ambush. On the flipside, they combine a Space Marines-like model count with a guardsman-like BS of 4+, and a mediocre ranged arsenal means that they will usually be outclassed in a firefight, no matter who the foe, so make sure to put the shooting you get to good use. For instance, the Razor Gun is only Strength 3, but its three shots at 24" can re-roll failed Wound rolls against Infantry, helping you take out specific targets. Similarly, the Rad-Beam Cannon might "only" have a Strength of 7, but not not underestimate the potential of a 36" melta weapon!

As a Rak'Gol player you have access to a good amount of unique Philosophies and Tactical actions. Your Philosophies will reward having a battle plan in advance, such as Terror Incognita, which grants +1 TP as long as you give up the ability to use any tactical actions other than those unique to the Rak'Gol. As for these tactical actions, they help to ensure that you ambush the models you want to, thanks to the ability to deploy closer to the enemy, or improve your ranged ability by increasing the number of shots for your most basic weapons.

The Rak'Gol might be strong ambushers, but they are not without their weaknesses. They lack model variety - only Technobominations are not Infantry models, and even they do not move any faster than the rest of the army. In addition, the Rak'Gol are quite vulnerable to being ambushed themselves: if they fail to reach their targets, or if they kill their target and become stranded on the battlefield, you will have a hard time reaching the rest of the fighting while you get shot down with ranged fire. As a Rak'Gol player, you are something of a one-trick pony, but you are very, very good at that one trick. It's also easy to lose yourself in the amount of upgrades Rak'Gol have access to and to end up with not enough models to do the job. Kit your team appropriately, pick your targets well and overwhelm the enemy with brute force before they can strike back.

No models? 

The biggest obstacle to playing Rak'Gol is their lack of models and unique appearance, which means you are going to have to either proxy the models or do extensive conversion work in order to create your kill team. Your best bet for that is to tinker around with Tyranid and Skitarii parts, as well as the more Covenly aspects of the Drukhari.

 Of course, if you just want to try them out for yourself, programs like Tabletop Simulator will be more than happy to help you without having to invest in difficult conversions.

Saturday, 2 September 2017

Scrutinising the Inscrutable

Welcome, Heralds, to Volume I of our (as yet unnamed) tactica collection. We'll probably end up calling it something stupid like Steel Brain.

I thought I'd start with something really niche and optional. You know, the important stuff. Specifically the new Inscrutable Objectives table which, if used correctly, can bring some properly weird superpowers to the game.

You can choose to use these thesaurus-powered Mysterious Objectives in any game of Heralds, as long as it uses objectives of some kind. In this article we'll look at some quick DO and DON'Ts, and leave you to figure the rest out on your own.

Objective Duality

As in previous editions, there are two kinds of objective in H8R: the ones you can pick up and carry, and the ones you just have to stand near. This makes a clear difference to their utility: is it good (or bad) for several models or just one? For the portable ones, you get the extra advantage of being able to take it to where it'll do the most good. For the static kind, you might be able to maximise or minimise their area of effect by placing your models closer or further away.

1. Mundane: No Effect 

Booo, right? Booo for Boooring.
Still though, it's worth thinking about. This won't help you at all, it's just more likely to get you killed since the enemy wants it too.


Give the portable version to someone who you don't mind Hiding. They'll be able to keep hold of it a lot more easily, and if they're no great shakes in the fight, you won't miss them.

Send someone worth their salt after the static version. Someone who doesn't need buffs to win a tussle. Consider reinforcing it with the Immovable Object action.

That's it. You know how to hold objectives, and we've got more interesting things to talk about.

2. Fury Siphon AKA "Come At Me, Bro!"

Your Team Leader gets to swap their Leadership and Attacks stats - for the rest of the game. You know when you get so hungry that you become extremely stupid and angry? It's that. They can only reverse the change by using a different Fury Siphon. 


Give this to your Leader. Obviously! Nobody else can benefit from it, so you might as well have the option.

Try your best to snipe the enemy leader if they spot it first and are closer to it than you. Really ruin their day.

Start killing enemy grunts as fast as you can if the enemy leader gets their forelimbs on it. You want to make them take a Rout test on that new Leadership value, which is probably around 4 if they're lucky.


Use this if you're approaching Rout territory! Unless you can immediately get a charge off, which could well tip the odds back in your favour.

Let the enemy TL take this off the cooling corpse of your flimsy boss. Your average Shas'ui isn't going to benefit much from this, but if that Howling Banshee Exarch gets hold of it, you'll be putting yourself back together with Blu-tack. Faced with that kind of matchup, you'd be better letting someone bigger and tougher keep hold of it, even though they can't use it.

3. Corrupted Waystone AKA "Screw you, Nerd."

Everyone is rightly afraid of psykers, but fear not less! The Corrupted Waystone is here to help. Even the lowliest of psychically-unreceptive morons can deny brain-bullets with this on side, and used properly it can be a serious threat to enemy psykers and their teams.


Keep your own psykers well away from this! Also laugh with glee if you didn't bring any and your opponent did.

Use a static one as a miniature psychic null zone.  Hold with multiple models, as far from it as you can, for maximum reach. Even if the enemy does the smart thing and keeps their psyker out of the bubble, you're doing board control! Well done!

Chase enemy psykers around with the pocket-sized one. They'll think twice about trying to Smite you if they're worrying about dragging half their team into hell.


Let your psyker near it. Not only is it dangerous but, if your normal less psychically-attuned models are using this to deny enemy powers, your actual psykers can be elsewhere, doing the same thing.

Get too close to an enemy psyker that you're tormenting. If that librarian goes nuclear, you want his teammates to be taking the brunt of his foolishness, not yourself.

4. Decaying Containment Field AKA "Muahaha... I'm invincible!"

An invulnerable save that gets worse every turn? This will be much more useful to some teams than others, but always ends up the same way - getting you and your false sense of security killed off.


Overreact. If the enemy gets their hands on this, don't go panicking and wasting your big guns on them. Anything that their new invul can soak up better than their armour could is wasted. Hit them with small arms fire or, if at all possible, just ignore them for a couple of turns while the save gets worse and worse.

Waste time playing "hot potato." I wouldn't spend turns getting it into the hands that need it most, unless it's super convenient to do so. Just position the bearer so your opponent will have a hard time not choosing them as a Primary Target, and use them as a damage tank for as long as you can.

Assume this will end well.


Make it a focal area. You want to send everyone who's going anywhere through this point - it'll look like a big, threatening force coming at your opponent, who should react accordingly by wasting a lot of bullets, and by the time the save decays to useless levels, you should be somewhere else!

5. Infra Targeter AKA "HEEERE'S JOHNNY!" 

This one might not seem like the shiniest or most exciting, but hiding is now a useful tactic, which means rooting out skulkers actually matters.


Think about the model that's hiding. If they're still hidden, but you can see them to shoot at them, it means you can see less than 50% of the model (or they wouldn't be hidden!) That means they're getting a +1 to their Save. Leave them to the big guns; Lascannon Larry and his AP -4 doesn't care what you're hiding behind.


Get excited at the opportunity and put Lascannon Larry in unnecessary danger. To use this most effectively you might have to do some Hiding yourself, just to get into position. That's alright though: what are they going to do, shoot at you?

6. Temporal Disruption Node AKA A glitch in the glitch in the glitch in the...

Let's do the time warp! Shoot or Fight twice; but risk a mortal wound in the process. These objectives really give with one hand and grab with the other.


Have a think about whether fighting or shooting twice is really necessary. Don't risk a mortal wound just to chop that one guardsman into even smaller pieces!

Have a couple of tactical re-rolls left in the tank, just in case.

Combine with the Unstoppable Force action/stratagem to swing twice against a charging enemy before they get to hit you at all! For the low, low price of 3 Tactical Points, you can do this and re-roll the die to avoid that mortal wound.


Try to take one of these off someone in the Fight phase unless you absolutely have no choice, for the reason outlined above. Shoot them. If you're a full close combat team, use overwhelming numbers to bring them down, or just keep out of their way and negate their advantage.

"But what if it's the only objective on the table?!"
That means it's static, and so you can both benefit. You're more than likely going to be the one making the charge, so make it count.

So there you have it! Have fun with the Inscrutable Objectives, and check back soon for something else. No idea what.

I'm definitely calling this feature Steel Brain.

- Ash.

Monday, 29 May 2017

8th Edition...

I know many people have questions on a timeline for a switch to 8th edition, but please be patient with us.  We would like to finish up the 7th edition rewrite, finalize everything, and then watch how 8th plays out in the world.

So we appreciate everyone bearing with us, and look forward to playing some HoR with you!

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

Competition time!

In the grim darkness of the 41st Millenium, there are only prizes.

As you probably know, we're busy testing our newly updated Kill Team Lists. We set ourselves the initial target of 100 battle reports to gather a decent amount of data on the way they play. Now we need your help!

Or whoever.

Our (usually) benevolent forum overlord is holding a BatRepRaffle to speed things up.The prize is a £25 Games Workshop voucher, or equivalent in whatever currency you jam in.
One battle report gets you one entry to the raffle. Ten gets you ten. It should be obvious by now what to do!

Blanche knows. Get writing!

Head here to our Playtest Board for an idea of what a battle report should look like, and also the place to post your own.

Remember, if the contest doesn't get 30 submitted reports, NOBODY WINS. Just like in war.

It's just a senseless waste of human endeavour. Like this terrible misallocation of Google Glass 2.

Don't be fooled by the [#numbers] either. That's the count since we first started testing!

Any thoughts on what you can get with £25? I'd suggest splitting it with your opponent, since it takes two to play a game, but the prize goes to the submitting member!

You can check this useful topic for first-time Kill Teamers and get half off your chosen Start Collecting box. That's where I'd go.


Friday, 16 December 2016

Markerlight #1: Marco Andrä

Heralds of Ruin, much like a warband of Bezerkers, is all about the community. Without the playing, photographing, arguing and enthusiasm this game would be nowhere. I wanted to give some of the members their chance in the spotlight (a risky prospect in wartime, I'll grant you) and plenty of volunteers stepped up.

First in the line of fire is Marco Andrä, better known to most of you as "Marco with the amazing Arbites"! Go crazy! Raise the roof! Now calm down, citizen, or I'll let this cybermastiff loose on you.

I like to think his name is Rover, short for Land Rover, nickname for Land Raider, because he absolutely will kill you.

Marco's been in the wargaming game since 1997, which is roughly when 2016's average GW customer learned to walk, so I'm looking forward to getting some pearls of wisdom from this space cop. I get one straight away: his kids, 3 years and 12 weeks old are too young for 40k. Noted. My heart is breaking for the first time either of those children get their hands on a paintbrush, mostly because I know they'll be better than me immediately.

On the hunt for Bill Posters

A combination of a love for Necromunda in the early days and a strong 40k gaming group in the area led Marco pretty directly to a Heralds career in the Arbites. I sense a soft spot for the "little guy" armies that don't see much love from the corporation. In the ever-increasing grimdark, the space police force might seem less and less relevant, but they're unsung heroes in the finest Heralds of Ruin tradition. They quash planetary rebellions, daemon incursions and cult cells before anyone ever gets to hear about them. I think they even managed to get Ghazghkull on a tax avoidance charge. And even if they are utterly corrupt, who isn't in the 41st millenium?

No way he could afford that helmet on his pay, know what I mean?

With fingers in many Imperial pies, Marco's also building Inquisition and Rogue Trader teams, and plans a Sororitas team in future. This sounds like nothing short of a takeover bid to me, and I for one can't wait to see them. Just as I'm ready to accuse him of being a total Faction Hipster, he lets slip that he's got a neat 5000 points of Imperial Fists too, an entire battle company! No shying away from the poster boys either, then.

His firm favourites, these Arbites are another product of the hobby's mostly-wonderful community. Trading groups online and mates with spares made it easy to expand the Necromunda squad into a fully fledged kill team. But are they good at their job?

They really take a hard line on flyposting, that's for sure.

Long story short, we'll have to wait and see! The Legacy list and the Ready To Test edition of the Arbites in HoR will both be getting put through their paces in a campaign starting soon against a whole bunch of Tau, a whole mob of orks and some mechanicum robots, below, who you might recognise from the group.

The Dead Saints March. Does nothing dead just stay dead anymore?

The boys in blue and white are going to have their hands full... In the campaign runner's words:

For 500 years, the savage ork clans – remnants of the great Waaagh Ukkuzargk – have battled each other brutally in territorial wars, isolated on Vulga Magnas Sub-continent of Simperia. Once wholly covered by the elegant spires and domes of the hive city Dagon I, Simperia lies in overgrown ruins since it´s deliberate obliteration by the planetary governor as a last attempt to halt the unstoppable Ork invasion. Prowled by shadows, mutants, seekers of lost relics and darker, deeper things, the vast remains of Dagon I have acted as a natural barrier between it´s greenskinned inhabitants and the passage to the outskirts of Dagon II. Now, singular sighting of ork parties near the parvelian gateway have been reported to the local administoria securita by scouting teams and passed on with great concern to the Arbitrary advisors. Investigations have been called for... 

Marco and Paul the rusty robot king have a Facebook page between them, Minimoped, which you should absolutely check out here for progress on the various stunning Kill Teams and others that Marco, Paul and Wolfgang are working on. Paul is also the mastermind behind the Vulga Magnas campaign and you can find his blog here. 

To wrap up, we've got some painting secrets from Marco that have been released on top level security. If you read them more than once, the Inquisition will come and turn you into a servo-skull and 10 cubic cm of fertiliser. Best presented in his own words, I wanted to know how his white armour comes out so damn crisp every time:

First of all, I don't thin my paints! My white is usually just white primer with a wash, in case of the Arbites a warm brown, (GW) agrax earthshade. Then the gw white comes really thin out of the pod, so you need maybe three layers to build up to pure white. I don't like a clean look on my minis so the white is always a shade of some grey or brown, just some small areas are really pure white.
Now you can do it too... probably...

And does he have any tips for an aspiring champion of paint? How about some wisdom to help us mediocre painters get a glimpse of the top? 

[Levelling up your painting] is not so easy for me. I painted 5000 points of imperial fists and did not improve my skill like I did with 10 different models for my killteams. Try something different. Don't always use the same way to start a mini. Batch painting does not improve anything, that's my tip. If you want to paint a big army you have to, sure, but if you want to improve try different techniques, colours, and tools. and of course: listen to Duncan and thin your paints!! 

Or we'll thin them for you, Bill!

Big thanks to Marco for taking the time to talk to us, and especially for being the first Markerlight victim. Cheers and good luck keeping the peace!

The trading groups that supplied the Arbites are this one and this one.

If you'd like to be featured in a future Markerlight here at Heralds of Ruin, or know someone who should be, let us know in the comments, tell Ash about it on facebook or bring it up in the forum at HERALDSOFRUIN.COM/FORUM !

Do it.