Went home to visit the folks and decided to pay a visit to the store that began my journey in 40k.  Its a Hobby Town USA, and I was appalled to see the state of it once inside.  Apparently the previous store owner Jon sold it to a new guy last year right before the economy went to hell.  There was no Reaper Minis on the wall when there used to be hundreds.  There was maybe 5 blister packs of Fantasy and 40k each, and perhaps another 5 squad boxes for both games as well.  It was pitiful.

I mean seriously, I know...KNOW...Jon told me that the table top gaming was a large part of his profit just a few years ago.  Now its gone.  Along with all the guys that I used to hang out with.  The new owner didn't even carry the paint or decent brushes anymore (I use Vallejo brushes).  Not a good sign.  I felt like someone ripped out a piece of my heart and threw it in a fire.  Now Grand Forks, ND doesn't have anything or anywhere that supports Warhammer 40k.

Twas a sad day for me and a sad situation for the area's hobbyists.  Does anyone else have a similar experience with a favorite gaming store?
Its been awhile since I've been able to blog here, such is the problems of working so much while in school.  However, sacrifices must be made for the CO7 trip to be made.  Working as much as I am is allowing me to firm up funds for the trip.  Good times!

In other news, Dark Eldar seem to be very close to release time.  The rumors are starting to flow with much more frequency and via reliable sources.  They are slated for release Aug-Oct 2010.  This is PERFECT for me, as I'll have completed my Black Templars army by this time, allowing me to concentrate on these sadistic space elves.  A full new model line is just what the doctor ordered!

I also got in a game against the Tau last night during my club's gaming night.  Everyone has been on a Warhammer Fantasy kick lately, so 40k had been put on the backburner.  However, the Njesta Crusade came back full force and won a decisive victory over the Tau Empire.  Expect a battle report for this game for the April update.  :D

Also, I'm trying to find the time to write up my article regarding Duality for posting here on Implausible Nature.  This has been prompted by a debate of sorts on the Bolter & Chainsword forum (Black Templars subforum) regarding the topic.  Its quite a great read.  Just be warned that most of the posts are significant in length.  I'll try to have my article up by April 1st.

Finally, I accepted a vow of completion on the B&C forums to finish a Crusader squad of 5 initiates and 4 neophytes, plus their Rhino by April 26th.  Here is the written proof of this acceptance!  Let the games begin!  :)
As the subject suggests, the Black Templars community seems to be at an impasse over the use of Predator Annihilators or Destructors in their army lists.  Each have their own benefits and disadvantages, but balancing that with the remainder of your forces is key to deciding which is more beneficial to a Black Templars player.

Now, I'll say right away my preference is to field Destructors.  The main reason is primarily due to its cost (its 110 points).  Another is duality.  While some people dislike that term, it really is an important one in 5th Edition.  Duality means that a unit may fulfill more than one role on the battlefield with at least average success.  Destructors have a normal role of anti-infantry fire.  However, you can easily conscript them to become light-armored vehicle hunters.  Raiders (Dark Eldar), Orc Trukks, Rhinos, Land Speeders, etc all come to mind here.  6 Str 5 and 2 Str 7 shots a turn at a AV10-11 is scary.  They also do exceedingly well against Monstrous Creatures with their cheap torrent of fire armaments. 

The Annihilator is essentially the king of tank hunting capabilities for the space marines IF its allowed to fire.  The problem is, its super expensive at 145 points and provides very little in the way of duality for a BT player.  Sure, it'll likely penetrate whatever it shoots at.  But what happens if you have no mech to shoot at or have run out of targets?  You have a very limited use vehicle thats forced to shoot 3 lascannon shots at infantry, which likely will have 4+ cover saves.  Good game.  It is decent when firing at Monstrous Creatures, but you're not going to scare any of them.  Most have 4+ wounds and can't be instant killed because of high toughness.  PLUS, those MCs will also have those cover saves.  Why not just try and put 8 wounds on a MC rather than 3?  Doesn't work nearly as well in my opinion.

If you need AT fire, I'm a big advocate of the Destructor mix.  That is the Autocannon/2 Lascannon kit out.  This clocks in at 125 points, which is 20 points cheaper than an annihilator with 3 lascannons.  What this does is gives you one more shot against MCs, infantry, lightly armored vehicles, AND you retain your ability to punch into heavily armored vehicles for 20 points less!  Another advantage that is often not discussed is that many opponents may often discount an AC/Las mix because they don't think it'll present as much a problem to them as say Land Speeders might.  This may allow it more turns to fire, whereas, your opponent will immediately target your Annihilator (hereby Trilas) as its a blatant AT unit that he fears.  Would you not do the same?  He needs his mech alive as much as you need yours, so Trilas often find themselves on the receiving end of AT fire.  And the Predator's AV 11 side armor doesn't help the Annihilator's cause.  At least the Destructor is cheap!  This isn't even hypothetical situations or tactical planning on my part, its formed from dozens and dozens of games of experience using our current codex.

It is an innate trait for people to react defensively against things that "scare" them.  Trilas is very scary to mechanized lists and will die early (or be chain stunned).  A AC/Las mix might get away with a turn or two, depending on your opponent's target priorities.  Even if it didn't, I must reiterate lack of duality point.  Trilas just don't function well in roles other than AT.  Destructors can, Destructor mixes can (albeit only slightly better than a Trilas, but is 20 points less!).

"In the end, it doesn't even matter."  You must tailor your lists to your area's metagame.  If all you play is Leafblower IG lists, then perhaps a few Trilas is a good idea.  But don't expect to be competitive in a non-comp tournament (i.e. 'Ard Boys/Grand Tournaments), as you'll be facing a much more diverse group of people.  Ultimately, do as you wish.  But just keep in mind what was said above.  :(




And I thought the Tyranids were bad...the Blood Angels DEFINITELY got an drastic improvement over their last codex.  I can only hope that the Black Templars get the same treatment as the Space Wolves and Blood Angels have gotten.  Then I'll be immensely happy.

In the meantime, I have to find a way to incorporate more AT into my lists as I will be playing a Blood Angels player on a consistant basis.  Their 'Stormraven Gunship' is immune to extra penetration roll from meltas, so I'll be needing a new method of destruction.  Thinking about changing one or two of the Predator Destructors in my all comers list to having lascannon sponsons instead of heavy bolters.  While this will hamper their ability to target infantry as much, it'll give them duality in the form of AT fire and can target elite units such as Thunderwolf Cavalry or monstrous creatures.  All that for a much cheaper price than a Predator Annihilator (20 points).

So in summary, the Blood Angels are going to be excellent from the early look at the codex.  A refreshing change from their current underpowered codex.  If the codex trend continues, we might be seeing a similarly powerful Black Templars codex in the next year along with the Dark Eldar (with their reported release in late 2010).  Makes me super excited!