Top Five Tau Threads
Top Five non-Tau Topics this Month
Interview: With .mace
.mace has been a member of Tau Online since the very early days, and is currently a global moderator. .mace plays Tau and Daemon Hunters.
(Q) What attracted you to this site and how have you found it so far?
A: I came across the site many, many years ago back when we ran the forums off proboards and it came across as a neat and well presented, yet small community. What attracted me to the site was actually TO's army photos, as I was looking for pictures of a painted interior of a Devilfish tank! Interesting to see how far we've come with me ending up writing some quick guides on assembly and magnetic modularisation of tanks! I've found it great and fun (Inquisitor Online anyone?) and we've evolved a long way from the modded proboards forums!
(Q) Which armies do you collect, how big are they and how long has it taken to accumulate them?
A: I started 40k back in 2001 with just a squad of Fire Warriors and a Crisis Suit (Crazedmongoose got me into 40k) and since then have accumulated around 3000 Points of Tau (2000 Point Mechanised Tau - 4th Ed army), a second hand Space Marine army - around 1500 Points and a few hundred points of Grey Knights. From the apocalypse releases, I have 2 Vindicators + a Land Raider and 2 Baneblades.
(Q) Any advice for the rest of the community?
A: Stay focused and dedicated to the game, but on a long-term level. I'm sure I'm not the only one who phases in and out of the game, whether it be due to studies, or other factors in life, but the important thing to remember is that Warhammer is a hobby, it's not a full time job. Make time for the game but don't force yourself into it or it can stop being fun if it's like that. Even though I don't play as much as I used to these days due to uni, I still keep up with the Horus Heresy series of books; they're just amazing. As for staying focused, I know very well how easy it is to get distracted by random ideas you think of (I haven't really touched my RC Tank idea from last year) - just don't try and do too many things at once or it will get overwhelming. Set a goal, and work to achieve it, before setting new goals basically, and you'll find that you'll get more things done! Of course, if you feel you really need a break from working on one then break up the flow a bit by working on another (i.e. rather than trying to put together 3 squads worth of models in one go, mix in other squads/models).
(Q) Are you Vista compatible?
A: Heh, most certainly. I've been using Vista since RC1. I quite like it actually, things are much more functional, more accessible and seem less cluttered for me compared to XP. Sure people complain about Vista, but I haven't had any issues with it. Aside from maybe DoW not installing, I'll have to look into that sometime...
(Q) Is the reason we never see you post because your fully integrated into the TO website, or because I'm not visiting the same boards as you?
<geekygator> What program makes .mace files? I can't find it on google! Or is .mace an attribute of the User class?
A: Heh, I can answer those two together - over the years I've been gradually subsumed into the webserver and are now present in a hidden 'dot' file called '.mace' in the root directory yet hidden from normal users by the unix operating system. '.mace' isn't exactly a file, more of an entity that exists purely on the internet in various places (currently: TO, personal server, whirlpool forums).
(Q) How does our one upsmanship skimmer arms race make you feel now that 5th ed. kicks in?
A: Heh, for those who don't know, Crazedmongoose and I have been equalling each other in the number of skimmers we have in our armies. Last I checked I had seven. I'm a bit behind in that I'm still waiting for my rulebook, but from what I've read, our respective armies will have plenty of mobility now that transports aren't stuck to a particular squad, and only infantry can secure objectives. I'd like to see some 'playing chicken' action too, as to whose AV12 skimmer survives ramming (it could go either way, seriously!).
(Q) Do you deal bludgeoning damage in real life?
A: Quite the opposite actually, I'm a friendly tech-support geek friend, and I tend to be the one fixing things up and making sure everything is smooth rather than dealing bludgeoning damage IRL.
(Q) Why do you use the name '.mace'?
A: The name is actually an acronym of some random phrase I had as my msn nickname from ages ago... It actually shortened to 'mae' but I added in the 'c' to make it more pronounceable. Then after that phase I started just using 'mace' as a gaming alias and it stuck after people started calling me it IRL. The '.' at the start is for listing purposes, a '.' would come first alphabetically before a-Z.
(Q) What is your favorite vehicle in 40k?
A: My favourite vehicle... would have any of the Arkurion Pattern tanks based on the new Baneblade kit. The Shadowsword/Stormblade would tie as my favourite. Why? I don't really know, on one hand I like old-fashioned tanks, particularly when they're giant, and yet I also like high-tech skimmers like the Falcon or Hammerhead. But anything that carries a Titan weapon tips the balance for me.
(Q) How do you describe the 5th Edition in one word?
A: Hammerzeit! By that I mean, I better put those Baneblades to use. The way templates work now means a lot more blowing stuff up!
- Tau Online
Rant: Accidental Overkill by Wargamer
This month, I'd like to talk about Ravensquig, and the phenomenon known as "competitive" army lists.
Let's begin with a bit of background. I love cavalry. It doesn't matter if I'm playing Warhammer Fantasy or watching Lord of The Rings, nothing stirs the soul quite like seeing a guy on horseback riding down some poor sod and hacking him to pieces.
The fact I never became a Bretonnian player is something of an anomaly, then, but the point remains I love anything that moves fast and hits like a freight train. Thus, my 40K armies often reflect this. The Imperial Guard, whilst lacking in speed, packs the best tanks in 40K bar none. However, it is the presence of Bikers that really makes me happy, and in particular the Ravenwing.
The Ravenwing were the first "all bike" army I ever saw, and when I first used them I knew I'd found something good. Alas, they were never an easy army to use, and even a casual gamer can attest it's nice to get a few victories under your belt. In the end, I found my army struggling to defeat foes that my Guard, or even regular Marines would massacre, and thus I drifted away from the black-armoured bikers.
With every new edition, every new Codex, I find myself drawn back to the Ravenwing. However, each time seems to end the same way; they are still too fragile, still too difficult to use, still too prone to defeat where by rights victory should have been easily obtained.
Maybe it's just me, but then I have always heard, from official and unofficial sources, that Ravenwing is a hard army to play.
This led into a spiral of despair... how could I create the army I wanted, and still field something that would make my opponents cower in fear, not rub their hands in anticipation of an easy victory?
The answer came, of all places, from the Ork Codex.
I truly love my Ravensquig. It is everything my Ravenwing used to be, and more. Okay, so I can't use the Land Speeder Tempest, and I do sorely miss not being able to make use of the Master of The Ravenwing [the Land Speeder, not Sammael], but think of what I get instead! My Nob Mob is racking up kills like nobodies business, Klankrot is proving you don't need to ignore Armour Saves when you can insta-gib almost anything, and Killkwik Squigsplatta, fielded using Wazdakka's rules, has been a constant source of hilarity.
I have also been told, by various people, this list is very competitive. I know it is, because I've annihilated several armies with them now, occasionally in just two turns, so I know I can and will give my opponent a world of pain.
But here's the funny thing; I never built the Ravensquig to be competitive. I didn't pore over every facet of the Ork list and calculate the optimum way to bring victory, I just read through the Codex, took one look at Wazdakka, and the little bit of my brain that loves watching horses trample people started screaming at me. Entirely by accident, I managed to produce a list that, in almost every game I have played, has mauled everything on the tabletop and left not a single enemy on the table that wasn't destroyed or routing. This has led a few people to grumble about my units, or the army as a whole, being overpowered. Alas, smiling and saying "Sorry, I didn't mean to whitewash your 3,000pt Mech-Tau Cadre" doesn't seem to make them feel better.
This then begs the question; what is a "competitive" list? Well, in the context of people who call the Ravensquig competitive, it means it's a list built to win, a list that will take on anything and crush it, unless your opponent has built an army specifically to counter you. There are plenty of websites out there dedicated to this kind of mindset; you can usually spot them by the fact that their House Rules board is filled with threads making Primarch statlines. In my opinion, this is a very sad way to play.
I have always held that you should build a balanced list. I have always believed your force should be balanced, not seeking to dominate in any one area. I am also aware just about every army I make violates these rules; Wych Cult, World Eaters, Ravensquig, Armoured Company... my forces invariably seek to either skip the Shooting Phase in favour of choppy combat, or to pummel my opponent with a disturbing level of ordnance. Despite this, I still argue my lists are "balanced", or as balanced as they can be - my Khorne won't shoot you, and my tank column will be in a lot of trouble if you get in combat with it, especially in 5th Edition.
40K, by its nature, is not balanced. One of the things that makes it unbalanced is Fluff. You cannot make a "Fluffy" list with many of 40K's factions and still retain total neutrality; World Eater armies should be largely devoid of shooting, whilst it's very hard to make a realistic Tau army that wants to take part in the Assault phase. Because of this, you are always going to have lists that are stronger than others, and lists that are weaker than others. My Ravensquig is one of them; I picked units that either looked fun, or were included to fit a theme.
Here is where many claims of "competitive building" can be leveled; why do all the Nobs have Power Claws? Why do all the Deffkoptas have Twin-Linked Rokkits? Why a Painboy in the Nob Mob? Well, this harks back to my opening point; I don't want to lose. My Deffkoptas sport a ton of anti-tank fire because everything else in the army has a sawn-off Heavy Bolter strapped somewhere on its bike. I take Power Klaws in such abundance because it's Orky (the Boss has one, so all the Nobs will want to emulate him), and also because if I'm going to potentially lose half my army to enemy fire, the remaining half has to be able to win the game for me.
It's a curious situation. The Ravensquig as I have it now is probably as close to perfect as I'll get it. It has a good horde feel as Ork armies should, whilst still retaining an Elite core that is essential for any "Cavalry" army. It doesn't have a lot of units, but it has a pleasant mix; bikers, Nob Bikers, Deffkoptas [Jetbikes, essentially] as well as two very different HQ choices all create a nicely themed force that ticks every box, and cracks every skull. The question is, then, have I created a list that is too perfect? I have said before that if you are beating every opponent you face, then the onus is on you to change... but when you are trying to remain within very strict confines, and limited by the options presented in the rules, it can be hard.
To make the point, let's consider the areas I can, or cannot change. I cannot remove Wazdakka, because without him I cannot field Warbikes as troops, and my army list is now illegal. I could field a double-Warboss and take two Nob Warbiker Mobs as troops, but then the list is getting very top-heavy, and Ravenwing is traditionally all about Troops and Fast Attack, not HQ and Elites (you could argue my list is already top-heavy, I admit...). I could change the Deffkoptas for Wartrakks or Warbuggies, but again there's a question of theme - Deffkoptas, being able to fly over terrain, behave more like Land Speeders than Warbuggies/Wartrakks do. Also, with two wounds and a heavy weapon, they are comparable to Attack Bikes, and like the Attack Bikes of the 3rd Edition Ravenwing, they pack the anti-tank guns. Almost every other unit in the list is excluded, because it cannot be Bike mounted (Ravenwing don't use Rhino-mounted Tac squads, so I can't have Trukk Mobs).
I'm sure you can appreciate it's an odd situation; I have a list that seems to be very, very powerful, yet attained that power entirely by accident, and with no greater intent than creating an army that was fun to use, and that would have a fighting chance.
Of course, it could well be that all these perceptions of the Ravensquig being "overpowered" stem from a combination of good luck for me, bad luck for my opponent, and my opponent not knowing how to deal with an unorthodox opponent. Let's face it, you don't deal with Ork Warbikers the way you deal with Ork Boyz!
Regardless, I suppose I'll just have to stick with one simple truth; so long as I'm happy fielding them, and my opponent is happy to face them, I shouldn't feel guilty about flattening them.
Hobby: Is back! by JD
Okay, so everyone knows that the washes are used to shadow areas of a model like recesses etc. But, I found a couple of other uses for them.
They go really well to tint metallics and Whites. It gives off a non-glossy colored sheen to both metallics and whites.
They make your coloring of some base colors heavier and highlight them as well. The washes are fantastic to wash over a smooth base coat to get a new smooth, blended highlight.
For any brighter color, to get an interesting and cartoony feel to your models use the new black wash. It gives the same effect as the the Black ink, But it isn't glossy like the ink was! It looks awesome for a not so serious army.
Multi colored layers, Blending and other similar effects can be smoothed out with the new washes, it will require ALOT of wash to work, but when it does it is very effective.