Swiftblade’s 2022 Year-in-Review

The two thousandth and twenty-second year of the Common Era was a particularly important year in my life. The year has had some important and incredible highs, but also not without some heartbreaking tragedy in there too. Most importantly, 2022 is the year I got married, which really was the best day of my life. It was just perfect. But it also means I had to survive the ordeal that is wedding planning, which I’m lucky didn’t drive my wife and I insane.

You aren’t here for any of those stories though.

You’re here for the Warhammer.

Dear reader, you’ll be glad to know I did a lot of Warhammer this year. I’d love to talk about it.

This year, I did something I never do, and actually used a spreadsheet to track my hobby progress and my games this year. So when I say “I probably have done more Warhammer this year than ever before”, I can point to my spreadsheet to show “Jesus Christ, that’s a lot of Warhammer”. At the time of writing this, I have 160 models painted this year, and 93 games played across various systems, mostly Necromunda and Warhammer 40,000. So lets start at the beginning and go through some of the highlights of my year.

At the start of the year, my main hobby focus was my Adeptus Mechanicus. I deluded myself into thinking “Ad Mech are still good, I can make them work! I can fix her!”

Unsurprisingly, every time I played a game with my Admech it gave me a headache and I only won one out of the first four games I played with them this year. At least painting Ad Mech is a treat, and along with several Skitarii Rangers early on in the year I painted five Rust Stalkers. The Rust Stalkers let me explore trying to do a cool blend with their blade, since when I tried doing bright highlighted colors on my Daughters of Khaine last year I got great feedback about it.

Credit: Swiftblade

I also played a game of Titanicus with my buddy and local hero of the Imperium, Andrew. I decided to pick Legio Interfector as my preferred Titan Legio since good is dumb and THE MURDER LORDS is a great name. I did manage to get one Reaver painted in time for the Titanicus day I had with Andrew, and that was my first real foray into any sort of freehanding. Since it was white on black, I had to be very careful with how I did this to make sure it didn’t come out too poorly. But multiple thin layers helped create something that I think looks pretty good.

As for the game, guys they’re right: Titanicus rules. I punted a Warhound into the stratosphere with my Warlord Titan, then it went nuclear when Andrew shot it to death and the ensuing explosion killed the Reaver titan that killed my Warlord. Really fun game, I haven’t had the chance to revisit it but I look forward to doing so!

Credit: Swiftblade

After my brief foray into Admech, I focused my gaming energy on Drukhari and this part of the year is where I really started to improve as a player. I started to win more consistently and make army lists and strategies that worked more consistently. As a player, one of my general weaknesses is I’m very prone to “Kill-Brain”, where I don’t think about how to win the mission and instead think about killing enemy models. Inevitably this leads to me getting greedy and charging units I cant kill that I could’ve just ignored, and getting murked for it. I started doing that less and started thinking about the mission more, and then bam I’m winning games. Who would’ve thought that would do the trick, huh?

Also I played in a Crusade weekend at Rob’s house during this time. Greg bullied the hell out of my Drukhari an entire weekend. Have you ever had to spend a turn cowering in fear with your tiny plastic soldiermans? I have, thanks to Greg. It was a fun weekend filled with horrible trauma for my Drukhari.

Hiding in central ruins did not save my precious evil space elves from Greg’s railguns.

My hobby time here was focused on a big project for my friend Mac. He’s got a Nighthaunt collection and loves the lore surrounding Nagash, and asked for me to paint his Nagash for him. Mac is one of my oldest and best friends, and because of that probably has enough dirt on me that “politely asking” could turn into “blackmail”, so I happily obliged to keep my darkest secrets away from the public knowledge. Plus, the Nagash model whips and I did have a good time painting it.

Credit: Swiftblade

With Nagash out of the way, I thought I’d be done painting big models for the year, and moved on to painting my Snake Eaters for a Necromunda campaign run by Klobasnek. I’ve already written an article about the Snake Eaters, so I won’t touch too much on them here aside from saying that I don’t regret a single bad Metal Gear reference I made while playing or painting them, and Necromunda continues to rule.

Family Photo of the Snake Eaters. Credit: Swiftblade

It’s May now, and things are very stressful in my workplace with big changes happening that keeps me on my toes for a long week. So, I engage in some retail therapy and pick up the new Chaos Knight box. Part of me regrets it, thinking I’ll never get around to painting all these models or even collecting a whole army of Chaos Knights. I’d tried collecting them in the past before bouncing off them and selling the models. Why would this time be different?

This time would turn out to be very different it turns out. Goonhammer Open Narrative tickets came out, and I picked up tickets for Team Chaos as fast as I could. The time to become a BADMAN had arrived. I just needed to collect and paint an entire Chaos Knight army before August.

With this deadline in mind, I entered a hobby fugue-state for the summer to have a collection ready for GHO. I slept poorly and felt terrible, but I moved heaven and earth to get 11 War Dogs painted, a Knight Abominant, and a Knight Desecrator. I even thought of a cool name fitting for the upcoming narrative, House Vykir.

Credit: Swiftblade

Needing to do this much hobby work so quickly was a great exercise in learning the power of hobby shortcuts. While I took more time with the Abominant to make it stand out at my regular painting standard, in order to make my deadline I had to cut some corners with the rest of my forces. So, I employed clever drybrushing quite a bit painting these knights: I used it to get the blends from black to pink on the armor, to highlight most the metallic, and to get the nice contrast effect on the decorative spirit skulls. One layer of highlights later and it was good enough to look great, and while I would not want to do anything this intense with my hobby time again, I appreciate the lessons it taught me.

GHO was a great time too, probably the most fun I had at an event all year. I won’t speak on it here, like my Necromunda campaign this year I wrote an article about my GHO Narrative experience already you should check out if you want more info!

(Dan’s GHO Narrative Army: House Vykir Ruinsworn Host. Credit: Swiftblade)

The back end of the year was stacked with the local competitive events I had signed up for and preparing for those. Hobby wise, I set the Knights aside to get to work on my Chaos Marines. The codex had dropped in by then but getting practice with Knights meant I had little time to play them or paint Chaos Marines. Now, I had more hobby time to focus on them, and set a goal to bring Creations of Bile to the second GT I had signed up for in October.

I’ll touch on my Chaos Marines hobby stuff before going into the two events. After going so fast on the Knights, I wanted my Chaos Marines to be a labor of love and really take my time with them.  I did end up having to crunch a little bit in the end and leave a few models only battle ready, but I’d say about 80% of my army for the Dragons Lair GT was at my high level paintjob. I took time to learn some techniques to make the army stand out on the table, such as many models in the army having OSL effects on the model itself and every model having a base with a sinister red glow. Shout-out to Rob’s guide here on Goonhammer, between his excellent guide and contrast paints many of these OSL effects looked great and were very easy to do. In particular, I’m exceptionally proud of my Possessed and Master of Possession as some of the best painting I’ve ever done.

Credit: Swiftblade

The first major event was Warzone Houston, where I brought my Knights. I went with a list that focused on one big Desecrator with Blessing of the Dark Master for rerolls on the Wardogs as well as a tough melee threat, accompanied by mostly melee Wardogs to take advantage of my traits from House Hepretrax. I went 3-3 at the event, with my first day going very well and my second day turning out to be a beatdown. My last game of Day 2 against Matthew’s Daemons was my favorite of the weekend, he couldn’t really take me on in a straight fight but was able to play a trickier game and focus on board control. It ended up being very close, with Matthew looking like he might pull it off until I was finally able to take down his Lord of Change and Daemon Princes on the same turn, which broke his back and firmly shifted momentum my way. Matthew was a great opponent, and I always enjoy seeing him at the monthly RTT’s I help run at my FLGS.

One of several knights that went in on trying to put down the big blue bird.

Dragon’s Lair GT was the second event of the fall, and here I brought Creations of Bile plus Abaddon. The army was tough and hit like a brick, but what I found during games was that my win or lose condition was if my Terminators survived. If they were alive at the end of the game, I won. If not, I lost. I finished 3-3 again, and my future Creations lists I played with friends dropped Abaddon and added a second Chosen block, as well as swapping in a Lord Discordant instead of the Dark Apostle. This list has a ton of pressure built into it, and it’s a great time to play.

My highlight game here was my game against Scott, who brought a very interesting T’au list focused on Kauyon. His turn one as two he interacted with me very little, hanging back as far as he could to bide time. My stuff was still fast enough to catch him, and I managed to beat down some crisis suits before turn 3 came around and he shifted to offense, where he had the mobility and firepower to shift momentum back in his favor. I had built enough momentum at the start of the game though that he couldn’t quite overtake me in scoring, and I walked away with a close victory with another great guy.

My Chaos Space Marine Crew unbothered, on the center objective, and thriving

The last two months have been quiet, for gaming and hobby. I did get married and go on my honeymoon during this time, so I have a good excuse. It was nice to rest on my laurels a bit, catch up on the newest Final Fantasy XIV patch, and enjoy painting my Chosen and new Daemon Prince at a slower pace.

What does 2023 hold in store for me? Well, hobbywise I would like to paint more of my Chaos Space Marine collection for local crusade plans and then focus on getting my Tyranids painted in a scheme inspired by Houston Astros uniform colors. Competitively, I’d like to have a winning record at a GT, and maybe, maybe beat Rob’s record at an event too. His local reign of terror has gone on long enough.

I’m looking forward to even more Warhammer in 2023, and seeing what wacky bullshit it’s going to hold in store for me. Thank you for reading!

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