Hear Me Out, Cyle: Make a Viable Army Out of My Painted Crap (Also an RTT Report)

An article by and    Battle Reports Gaming Hobby Warhammer 40k        0

Way back in my Year-in-Review post, I talked about my goals for 2020 and that included playing in more tournaments. Well, the opportunity to put my money where my mouth was came sooner than expected when it turned out fellow Goonhammer author Shane Watts was acting as TO for an RTT at Titan Games and Hobbies down near Baltimore. It’s not the easiest commute for me but it’s not terrible, either – two hours by train for a tournament is pretty manageable. So I worked things out with the missus and set my sights on attending. Two weeks before the event, I sat down to figure out what to build.

OK, time to build an army. Let’s see what I’ve got…

Welp, turns out that although I have about 12 thousand points of painted Chaos miniatures, none of what I have makes an actual playable competitive army. Fuck.

This is going to be a problem. Although the tournament itself doesn’t have a paint standard to adhere to, I do not play with unpainted minis. Full stop. I don’t begrudge anyone else from playing unpainted; if you need time or just don’t like painting, that’s cool with me. But I only play with painted stuff if I can help it, barring some disgraceful things I’ve done for recent Hear Me Outs. So time to run through my inventory of what’s painted and on proper bases:

Stuff I Have Painted That’s Generally Pretty Good Right Now:

  • Two Night Lords Heldrakes
  • 20 Bloodletters
  • Bloodmaster
  • 10 Pink Horrors
  • 10 Blue Horrors
  • 2 Black Legion Obliterators
  • A bunch of Chaos Sorcerers, with and without Jump Packs
  • Bikers (Night Lords, World Eaters)
  • 10 Berserkers (Black Legion)
  • Lord Discordant (Black Legion)
  • Dark Apostle (Black Legion)
  • 50 Cultists
  • Jump Pack Chaos Lords (Raptors, Black Legion)
  • 5 Possessed (World Eaters)

Stuff I Have Painted That’s OK But Not Ideal:

  • Abaddon
  • Huron + Spiky 17
  • Other Heldrakes (Black Legion, World Eaters, Iron Warriors)
  • The Kytan
  • Several Chaos Knights with suboptimal loadouts. Like Thermal/Gat and the like.
  • Two Chaos War Dogs

Stuff I Have Painted That’s Bad:

  • Lots of Raptors (Night Lords, Black Legion, World Eaters)
  • Helbrutes (Night Lords, Iron Warriors, Black Legion, World Eaters, Alpha Legion)
  • Chaos Space Marines
  • Forgefiends
  • Vindicators
  • Fire Raptor
  • Sicaran
  • A bunch of Chaos Space Marines on the wrong sized bases
  • Bloodthirster
  • Bloodcrushers
  • Flesh hounds

There’s some other stuff but you get the idea. If Possessed bombs are the meta right now, I am emphatically nowhere close. I don’t even own Nurglings and my PBCs haven’t been assembled. So I was going to have to cobble together a playable list from basically a big pile of nothing. Of the stuff I have painted, the Night Lords are currently the closest to being good (and I’ve tested them before in a Hear Me Out) — the Heldrakes are decent units that are reasonably costed and can be used turn 1 to zip across the board and tie up units that might otherwise be shooting at me, plus they give me an insane range for firing off the Vox Scream stratagem I’ll use to turn off aura abilities for my opponent’s best units. The bikes are also pretty good, able to throw out 4 bolter shots each and double-shoot using Endless Cacophony if I give them the Mark of Slaanesh, plus I can give them chainswords to up their melee output to 3 attacks apiece on the charge, which isn’t too bad. I can also take a Jump Pack Chaos Lord with the Rapacious Talons and put him in a Host Raptorial Specialist Detachment, ensuring he’ll make his charges dropping in. What I’m missing here though are some Warp Talons – even if go heavy on Raptors, I need a way to drop the lord in and not have him get murdered in Overwatch. With the new stratagems from Faith and Fury, I think this is my best bet for building on.

So from my Night Lords, I can pull the Bikes, the Chaos Lord and the Heldrakes. That suggests an Outrider Detachment, but I’m gonna need two more Fast Attack choices. I can either take a bunch of Raptors which uh, aren’t so good, or I can paint up some Warp Talons. I’ll come back to that. What else can I put in here?

After the Night Lords, my next bet is probably the Black Legion. I’ve got two Obliterators, and I like those enough as a way to drop in and kill most things, provided they have proper support. I don’t have a Black Legion jump pack Sorcerer, but I do have Abaddon, and that’s a pretty good buff, plus he can get me some extra CP and tear things up in melee. I can fill out the rest of a Battalion with 3 squads of Cultists, plus a Dark Apostle and a Sorcerer. The Sorcerer can buff the bikes with Prescience (WC 7, +1 to hit) and Delightful Agonies (WC 6, 5+++ save), while the Apostle can give the Cultists a 5+ invulnerable save to help them hold objectives or potentially buff Abaddon if I don’t deep strike him. He can also benefit from the Council of Traitors Stratagem, letting me give him the Trusted War-leader trait so he can recoup CP for me on a 5+. I definitely want a third Obliterator if I’m going this route, since I’ll want to have them maxing out on firepower and double-shooting with Endless Cacophony. 

At this point, I have no idea what to do with the rest of my list. Ideally I think I’d put in some Khorne daemons to support the Warp Talons and Chaos Lord, but if I do that, I don’t have enough painted daemons to fill out a Battalion, so I’m stuck taking a Patrol detachment. If Abaddon’s my warlord, that buys me +2 CP and now I have 11 to work with before I have to spend 2 on my Specialist detachment stuff and 1 on Council of Traitors. 8 CP isn’t really enough to work with if I want to be double-shooting a bunch and firing off Vox Screams every turn. So I definitely need at least another Battalion. Adding in the Red Corsairs gives me three more objective holders and 8 CP (plus two more psykers, including Huron) for less than 400 points, but it also feels like the list doesn’t have enough gas. At this point I have about 140 points left, and I’ve already put myself in a position to paint 6 minis to my standards in about a week, so I don’t want to paint anything else. Helbrutes are cheap and moderately scary, so I put in a Night Lords Helbrute with 2 CCWs and some extra Cultists to give me a better Engineers squad if I need one. This list relies a bit too heavily on 3 specific units, but it has a goddamn ton of CP to throw around, and that’ll have to be how I make it work. I’m also pretty comfortable with what all these units do, except for some of the new Night Lord Stratagems.

That means I need to paint five Night Lords Warp Talons (though I have an extra Chaos Lord who can sub in if I can only get four done), plus one Black Legion Obliterator. With only a week that’s a tall order, but I think I can manage to ignore my family enough to make it happen. Let’s see how I did.

 

I want my third Obliterator to look different from the other two, so I convert him using the bits from a plastic Helbrute. I works pretty well, I think! Unfortunately that time means I’m not able to finish my last Warp Talon. Not the end of the world since I have a sub, but it does mean I have work to do when I get home.

 

I got the Obliterator about 90% done before the event, which was good enough to put on the tabletop. Ultimately here’s what I ended up working with, and I was very satisfied with it. The Helbrute is ancient but he’s still one of my favorite models and there’s something about melee Helbrutes that’s just so dependable and satisfying now that they have enough attacks to reliably shred things.

My pile of Chaos Mans, minus the Cultists. Credit: Robert “TheChirurgeon” Jones

My RTT List

Black Legion Battalion (+5 CP, 813 points)
Stratagem: Council of Traitors (-1 CP)

HQ: Abaddon, Warlord (+2 CP)
HQ: Sorcerer w/Force Staff, Mark of Slaanesh, Trait: Warp Lord (re-roll 1s in psychic tests)
HQ: Dark Apostle, Mark of Slaanesh, Trait: Trusted War-Leader (get a CP back on a 5+ when you use a stratagem)

Troops: Cultists w/Autogun, Mark of Slaanesh x17
Troops: Cultists w/Autogun, Mark of Slaanesh x10
Troops: Cultists w/Autogun, Mark of Slaanesh x10

HS: Obliterators x3 w/Mark of Slaanesh

Red Corsairs Battalion (+8 CP, 386 points)

HA: Huron Blackheart
HQ: Chaos Sorcerer w/Jump Pack, Force Sword, Mark of Slaanesh

Troops: Chaos Space Marines x5 w/Mark of Slaanesh, bolters
Troops: Chaos Space Marines x5 w/Mark of Slaanesh, bolters
Troops: Chaos Space Marines x5 w/Mark of Slaanesh, bolters

Night Lords Outrider (+1 CP, 799 points)
Specialist Detachment: Host Raptorial (-1 CP)

HQ: Chaos Lord w/Jump Pack, Mark of Slaanesh, Relic: The Rapacious Talons, Field Commander: Tip of the Spear (-1 CP)

FA: Warp Talons x5 w/Mark of Khorne
FA: Chaos Bikers x9 w/Chainswords, Mark of Slaanesh
FA: Chaos Spawn

EL: Chaos Helbrute w/2x Dreadnought Close Combat Weapons, 2x Combi-Bolter

FLYER: Heldrake w/Baleflamer, Mark of Slaanesh
FLYER: Heldrake w/Baleflamer, Mark of Slaanesh

Total: 1,998 points, 16 CP

Ok look, it’s not great, but it has a lot of CP to start each game (16) and it can pull of a few tricks. The Heldrakes can charge things immediately and Vox Scream to shut off auras, while on turn 2 the Warp Talons and Chaos Lord can drop in, make a bunch of 7″ charges (with the Talons rolling 3D6 if I use the Stratagem for them), and annihilate something, while the Obliterators do the same thing at range. The bikes can put in some work if I need and they have a lot of movement, and uh, I have a lot of shitty little squads for holding objectives. Plus that Helbrute is gonna kill something. …right?

Anyways, because this pile of shit very much feels like a “Hear Me Out,” I figured, why not Do A Thing? So I’ve enlisted Cyle “Naramyth” Thompson, of “Winning the Wheat City Open” fame to critique my uh, wonderful list.

Hear me out, Cyle!

Naramyth:

Don’t you know I have my own RTT report to do AND more complaining about the new ITC missions? This is why you never get those pictures of Spiderman. I’m not a Chaosoligist but I know the Night Lords have some cool tricks that are worth looking at. I see the pile of models you can draw from is fine and you probably won’t let me do something like putting your Black Legion Oblits in as Night Lords even if Oblits are the coolest part of Chaos IMO. I don’t know what your Knight load outs are, but Avenger/Thermal is certainly not bad at all with Infernal aligned “Crusaders” and they have even dropped points! Ninja edit: He only has one Knight that is worth anything. (Rob’s Note: Yeah… one is a Desecrator and the other is RFBC/Reaper Chainsword. I know they’re bad, OK?).

So what I want to do is use the Knight and maybe the not-Armigers to be a core of his shooting. Knights are somewhat fragile, sure. But they can dance at 36″ pretty well if they have screens and some forward presence that forces the opponent to deal with it instead of just shooting the Knight to pieces or touching it in combat. A Knight with some Night Lords forward pressure could have some legs. Wings? Winglegs. Would I like to make the Knight detachment a real detachment? Yup! Would like I like to have a huge squad of Warp Talons to help catch large parts of the opponent’s line to wrap? You betcha!  It’s still a pile of stuff that I would like to consolidate into streamlined detachments, but it’s what we got.

Naramyth’s list: So anyway, here’s Wonderwall

Night Lords Battalion Host Raptorial
Chaos Jump Lord, Thunder Hammer, Warlord
Chaos Jump Lord, Thunder Hammer, Field Commander, Tip of the Claw
10x Cultists
10x Cultists
10x Cultists
5x Warp Talons
Heldrake
Heldrake

Black Legion Battalion
Discolord
Sorcerer
10x Cultists
10x Cultists
5x CSMs
Helbrute
3x Oblits

Chaos Knights Super Heavy Aux
Knight Despoiler
Thermal/Avenger/Ironstorm

You have 50 Cultists providing screening and some objective holding for your Knight before they get shot off the table. You will then also have 2 Heldrakes and a Warptimed Discolord to provide some forward presence while you wait for your deep strikers to come in. When they come in you have 3 Oblits, preferably with Prescience to make things go away with Veterans of the Long War and shooting twice. Meanwhile you have two 7″ charge smash captains and their Warp Talons that turn off Overwatch charging into your opponent’s line as a second wave to the Heldrakes and disco lord.

TheChirurgeon: Neat! I didn’t do any of that, but I’m gonna consider it for next time. And I’m absolutely going to do more Warp Talons. More on them in a few. Let’s see how I did!

 

Round 1 – Robbie Triplett’s Carcharodons

Hey, waitaminute… I know that guy… oh no.

It’s Robbie Triplett, the guy who dumpstered me at NOVA by killing my Kytan on turn 1, leading to it exploding and wiping out half my army. Of course he’s my first tournament opponent since NOVA. All jokes aside, Robbie’s a cool guy and it’s hilarious providence that we get to play each other. This is what he wanted anyways, and Shane assures me that, despite Robbie begging for this matchup, he didn’t mean for it to happen this way. Robbie has left his Space Wolves at home in favor of Raven Guard Successors, playing a Centurion-heavy list that I’m not sure I can beat — the bike bolters aren’t gonna help me a ton against those 2+ saves.

Robbie's Army List - Click to expand

Carcharodons Battalion (+5 CP, 450 pts)
Raven Guard Successors: Long Range Marksmen, Master Artisans

HQ: Tyberos the Red Wake, Hero of the Chapter
HQ: Chaplain, Warlord

Troops: Scout Squad w/Sniper Rifles
Troops: Scout Squad w/Sniper Rifles
Troops: Scout Squad w/Sniper Rifles

Carcharodons Battalion (+5 CP, 1,225 pts)
Raven Guard Successors: Long Range Marksmen, Master Artisans

HQ: Phobos Captain
HQ: Phobos Lieutenant

Troops; Scouts x5 w/Bolters
Troops; Scouts x5 w/Bolters
Troops; Scouts x5 w/Bolters

EL: Assault Centurions x4
EL: Assault Centurions x4

HS: Devastator Centurions x4
HS: TFC
HS: TFC

Carcharodons Spearhead (+1 CP, 317 pts)
Raven Guard Successors: Long Range Marksmen, Master Artisans

HQ: Phobos Librarian

HS: Eliminators x3
HS: Eliminators x3
HS: Eliminators x3

 

The Mission

ITC Mission 2 – Cut to the Heart

 

The Plan

I win the roll-off, giving me a good chance of going first in this one. My plan is going to have to be getting Robbie’s Centurions off the board before the other 8 he’s put in deep strike drop down and start wrecking house. He deploys his TFCs and most of his Eliminators/Scouts back in the corner on his objective, and I figure i can disrupt that a bit with my Heldrakes early on and force him to deal with them so my bikes and do some damage. If it all goes to plan it’ll free my units up to take out his other Centurions when they arrive.

My Secondaries

  • Headhunter
  • Gangbusters
  • Engineers (I can put one squad of Cultists out of reach from his Thunderfires, which should help me score those 4 points).

Robbie’s Secondaries

  • Headhunter
  • Recon
  • Old School

The Summary

Well, some of it went according to plan. I didn’t have a problem rushing him turn 1 and tying up some Eliminators, but reaching his Thunderfire Cannons was a different matter altogether. The upside was that I was able to use Vox Scream to turn off his Chaplain repeatedly, which really helped stop his Centurions from doing too much damage early on. The sad flipside was that I also wasn’t able to kill them fast enough. I think in this case I should have committed more and worried less about where I was at with my lines, and also probably been more conservative with my bikes. They got a little too close and weren’t able to seal the deal on the Centurions, which led to them getting charged and murdered before my Helbrute could close the gap to kill the Centurions. Fun fact: Helbrutes are hard to bring down with flamer overwatch and will tear Centurions apart.

 

Robbie was able to pretty consistently keep me off the middle objective on his turns, which gave him a tough-to-overcome series of four point turns early on, though he had trouble scoring Recon for several turns as I killed his Scouts mid-table. He ended up overextending with Tyberos to kill a Heldrake, allowing me to drop the Obliterators to wipe him out and score an easy Kingslayer kill. Meanwhile the Warp Talons and Chaos Lord are able to sweep through some Scouts and Eliminators, but can’t hold up to the counterattacks, and so aren’t quite as disruptive or damaging as I’d have liked them to be. I suspect I need more.

Ultimately, I was able to max out my secondaries, but I didn’t kill the first wave of Centurions fast enough, and when the second set dropped, it was real bad times. I managed to take out a few more, but the game ended up hinging on Abaddon being able to wipe a squad out in melee. Unfortunately, Robbie scoring 3(!) 6+ saves put an end to that dream, saving his squad while a mix of buffed sniper shots were able to mortally wound Abaddon to death. With the game winding down we quickly work through the final turns and Robbie’s got the win, 31-21. Not the full revenge I’d hoped, but all in all, a pretty compelling game and a much better way to start things off than getting demolished 33-0.

The Takeaways

The Warp Talons can be pretty nasty when they hit, but they’re mad fragile. I need to do more with my non-biker non-Warp Talon units.

The Score: 21-31

0-1

 

Round 2 – Jack’s Astra Militarum

Jack's Army List - Click to expand

Catachan Battalion (+5 CP, 946 pts)
Specialist Detachment: Emperor’s Fist Tank Company

HQ: Tank Commander in Leman Russ w/Hammer of Sunderance
HQ: Tank Commander in Russ
HQ: Tank Commander in Russ

Troops: Infantry Squad x10
Troops: Infantry Squad x10
Troops: Infantry Squad x10

HS: Leman Russ Conquerors x2

Catachan Battalion (+5 CP, 584 pts)
Specialist Detachment: Emperor’s Wrath Artillery Company

HQ: Company Commander
HQ: Company Commander
HQ: Company Commander

Troops: Infantry Squad x10
Troops: Infantry Squad x10
Troops: Infantry Squad x10

EL: Master of Ordnance
EL: Platoon Commander, Warlord

HS: Basilisks x3

Catachan Battalion (+5 CP, 470 pts)

HQ: Primaris Psyker
HQ: Primaris Psyker

Troops: Infantry Squad x10
Troops: Infantry Squad x10
Troops: Infantry Squad x10

EL: Astropath
EL: Astropath

DT: Chimera
DT: Chimera
DT: Chimera

 

The Mission

ITC Mission 4 – What’s Yours is Mine

The Plan

I don’t win the roll-off this game, so I deploy very conservatively to avoid getting blown off the table turn 1. The biggest problem I’m gonna have this game is chewing through the screens – I can get through them easy enough with Warp Talons, but what I want to do is go over them to get at the valuable characters inside. That’s going to mean using bolters and autoguns to take them out as quickly as possible. The bad news is I don’t have a ton that can meaningfully damage the tanks. The good news is that the Guardsmen are super easy to kill. I just need to survive the Basilisks’ fire long enough. Have I mentioned that I hate the amount of 60″+ ranged indirect fire in the game right now?

My Secondaries

  • Reaper
  • Big Game Hunter
  • Headhunter

Jack’s Secondaries

  • Butcher’s Bill
  • Headhunters
  • Engineers

I started with a lot of things in that L

The Summary

I started off by seizing, which was probably exactly what I needed. A lot of people are talking about how going second is better, actually right now and that’s probably true for them in some games but here, in this triple-Basilisk hellscape, going first was a massive help. The biggest thing I needed to do early on was tie up vehicles, which I was only kind of able to do to prevent shooting. This was also a weird game in that my Heldrakes didn’t really have any potent auras to turn off–the Master of Ordnance is probably the biggest one but even that isn’t so massive. so instead I used them to touch tanks while using bolters to plow through guardsmen until the Warp Talons arrived.

The Basilisks absolutely tore through me and ended up wiping my bikes off the table but the good news is that the Warp Talons did indeed put in work, able to repeatedly chew through Guard and force them to flee with stacked -2s to leadership, while also bad-touching tanks and using We Have Come For You to stay locked in combat with the characters and squads they touched, which also prevented the tanks from being able to shoot. This was a pretty close game through most of it, but it also ran real long, and ended up only playing 4 turns. Still, I was able to consistently hold more thanks to controlling the middle most of the game, and the Warp Talons helped me get a crucial kill more, plus I maxed out Reaper, and scored 3 each on Headhunters and Big Game Hunters, giving me the close win.

The Takeaways

Fuck, I gotta paint more Warp Talons. We Have Come for You is good, but I need to be able to wrap vehicles too. Also my Apostle needs more to do.

The Score: 21-18

1-1

I’m gonna be honest, I didn’t expect to win a game. So I’m playing with house money.

 

Round 3 – Scott Raitt’s Iron Hands

I hadn’t played Scott before but he’s a great guy and this game was a blast. Yeah, I know it was Iron Hands but it was a fun game and a good way to wind down even if it did end in a total stomping.

Scott's Army List - Click to expand

Iron Hands Battalion (+5 CP, 857 pts)

HQ: Primaris Lieutenant
HQ: Techmarine, Warlord, Master of the Forge

Troops: Intercessor Squad x5 w/Stalker Bolt Rifle
Troops: Intercessor Squad x5 w/Stalker Bolt Rifle
Troops: Intercessor Squad x5 w/Stalker Bolt Rifle

HS: Relic Leviathan w/2x Storm Cannon Array, Character w/March of the Ancients
HS: TFC
HS: TFC

Iron Hands Spearhead (+1 CP, 1,143 pts)

HQ: Chaplain Venerable Dreadnought w/Twin Lascannon

HS: Relic Leviathan Dreadnought w/2x Storm Cannon Array
HS: Repulsor Executioner w/Laser Destroyer
HS: Repulsor Executioner w/Laser Destroyer

 

The Mission

ITC Mission 6 – Crucible of Champions

The Plan

I don’t really have a plan here. I have no way of reliably destroying the Repulsors, and I probably won’t get close. He’s got a lot of characters, but half of them are fuckin dreadnoughts who will Cogitate up some martyrs to ruin my day. I can Engineers, but those Thunderfire Cannons are going to make my life miserable. I probably won’t get two kills in one turn more than once, so Butcher’s Bill is out. Recon also doesn’t seem super likely, but what else do I have? I settle on Recon, Engineers, and Headhunters. My plan is to chew through Intercessors as quick as possible, hoping I get first turn, and then go after the Leviathans.

My Secondaries

  • Headhunter
  • Recon
  • Engineers

Jack’s Secondaries

  • Headhunter
  • Marked for Death – Abaddon, the Bikers, both Heldrakes
  • Old School

The Summary

I did not get first turn. Also I didn’t seize. This led to me losing both Heldrakes turn 1. Which is bad. Really, really bad. It stops me from turning off the re-roll wound auras and Chaplain litanies and means I’ll take a bath on later turns. The Earthshaker round on my bikes doesn’t wound them but it does slow them a bit. I struggle a bit out the gate here, with no real way to tie up the Leviathans in melee, which was my primary plan. To make it worse, his castle is well-space to stop my drop bullshit.

 

The bikes eat it turn 2 along with a lot of the Cultists, though the Apostle’s 5++ aura helps keep a bunch alive for longer. The Warp Talons and Abaddon drop turn 2 and here’s where some bad luck kind of screws me – I’m not able to take down the Intercessors in full thanks to some very good FNP rolls and that means getting through the Leviathan ends up being much too difficult a task. Abaddon easily clears the other one out himself, but then he’s murdered by Repulsors after the Helbrute is wrecked. Meanwhile, the Talons and Obliterators spend the rest of the game slowly whittling down the other Leviathan, only killing it on the last turn before I’m tabled. I score Hold More the first four rounds, but I only get 3 points from secondaries. Scott maxes his out and wins, 33-12.

The Takeaways

More. Warp. Talons. Also maybe a Daemons detachment. Gonna need some Nurglings.

The Score: 12-33

1-2

 

Final Thoughts

You know what? This list wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it’d be. Having all the CP in the world was certainly fun, and I’d want to do more next time. I’m definitely probably going the wrong way with it. I liked Cyle’s suggestions but now I’m honestly thinking “what if I took 3 helbrutes?” instead of the more reasonable “what if I put in better baseline units?”

What Worked; Warp Talons are great and if Heldrakes survive they can wreak havoc on the enemy lines in the best way. Obliterators are neat, but Abaddon as their support is probably overkill.

What Didn’t: The Apostle didn’t have enough to do and the cultists are basically free points for Thunderfire Cannons. Also I needed more heavy guns/firepower.

Still, a better showing than I expected for my first event of the year, especially given the model constraints I had. I suspect my next event is gonna be the July Goonhammer Open but expect another report if I do one before that. Until then, if you have any questions or feedback, feel free to drop a note in the comments below or email me at contact@goonhammer.com.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.