My ATC 2018 Experience!

ATC 2018

“Dietzy, where have you been?!”. Yes, I know. It has been over a month. All I can say is… I’m sorry! After ATC, life decided to get really hectic! By hectic I mean that after ATC, I ended up with an upper respiratory infection on top of having to return to teaching my six-week Introduction to Philosophy course! Things are finally winding down and now (especially after being able to reflect on my experience for a couple of weeks) is as good a time as ever to talk about my time at ATC! One thing before I get started: I do not want to talk about what happened with Team Happy. One reason is because plenty of other blogs and podcasts have dedicated their time, effort, and energy to talking about it. Another reason is that, given that ATC was my first grand tournament, I don’t feel like I have the knowledge, experience, or authority to talk about what does or does not constitute cheating in a tournament setting. Given all the gossip and rumors that swirled around at ATC anyway, I just don’t think I should present an opinion if it isn’t fully informed. That being said, if you are interested in the official statement made by ATC regarding Team Happy, here is the link to ATC’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/ATC40k/posts/1726053044108648.

Here is the list I ended up taking to ATC 2018:

Battalion Detachment [1038pts] [5 Command Points] [59 Power Level]

Chaos Daemons (Chaos Allegiance: Tzeentch)

Headquarters:

Daemon Prince of Chaos: Tzeentch (Malefic Talons, Wings)

The Changeling

Changecaster

Troops:

Horrors (28x Pink Horror)

Horrors (28x Pink Horror)

Horrors (10x pair of Brimstone Horrors)
Elites:

Exalted Flamer

Flamers (2x Pyrocaster)

Flamers (2x, Pyrocaster)

Battalion Detachment [956pts] [5CP] [51 Power Level]

Chaos Space Marines: Thousand Sons

Headquarters:

Ahriman (on Disc)

Daemon Prince of Chaos: Thousand Sons (Malefic Talons, Wings)

Daemon Prince of Chaos: Thousand Sons (Malefic Talons, Wings)

Troops:

Chaos Cultists (9x Cultists, Cultist Champion)

Chaos Cultists (9x Cultists, Cultist Champion)

Chaos Cultists (9x Cultists, Cultist Champion)

Tzaangors (29x Tzaangor with Tzaangor Blades, Twistbray, Brayhorn)

Elites:

Tzaangor Shaman (on Disc)

Obviously, this is different from the preliminary list I detailed in a previous blog post. Ultimately, I am glad that I went with this list after taking into consideration some suggestions and advice from both friends and acquaintances. Adding Ahriman was invaluable; his ability to cast three psychic powers and deny three psychic powers was a huge help in most of the matches I played. The Tzaangors definitely pose more of a threat when in a much larger unit, and the giant blobs of Pink Horrors are certainly more annoying in units of 20 or more with three shots per Horror!

I traveled to Chattanooga (East Ridge, really) with Team Crazy Frog, which consisted of myself, Mitch, Randy (our team captain), and Big Nate. Our fifth and final member, Sebastian, we actually didn’t meet until we arrived at the hotel the night before the tournament began. Originally, our friend Jeremy was going to join us at ATC, but unfortunately, he couldn’t make it. Thankfully, some of the bros from Brohammer pulled through and offered up Sebastian’s name. Without a whole lot of time to spare, Sebastian joined our team with his army of Orks! I am really glad it ended up working out with Sebastian—even though he is on the shy side, he plays like a well-oiled machine. It was pretty awesome to watch him play!

I’m not going to lie about how nervous I was, especially heading into the very first match. I was trying to remember and keep in mind all of the things I had learned the last six months. Our first match was against Gateway Gamers Alpha Squad. Gabe was my opponent and I am really glad he was given how relaxed and sweet he was! Funny enough, before the tournament even got underway, I walked by his army and complimented the paint job on it. Who knew he would end up being my first opponent? Gabe was running a Tyranid list, all Hive Fleet Kronos. This wasn’t great for me given that Hive Fleet Kronos makes it such that, if you fail a psychic power, you take a mortal wound if you are within 18” of the Warlord. Given that my army is psyker heavy, this resulted in me taking quite a few mortal wounds. What did work to my advantage was the Tzaangors coming in with the help of the Dark Matter Crystal on turn one and causing some chaos. I was also able to deepstrike one unit of Pink Horrors in Gabe’s backfield. What ended up giving me the hardest time were Gabe’s Flyrants. They wiped out a lot of my troops, for sure! I managed to whittle the wounds down on Gabe’s Flyrants and actually take one out with the Changeling at the very end of the match! I ended up losing, but only by a few points! I was happy that for my first match I was able to keep up with Gabe, who really seemed to know his army well and played his list with ease. For the first match of the tournament, it was a lot of fun!

 

Our second match was against Critical Strike. I am going to be honest, I didn’t find my opponent to be the friendliest or most approachable opponent. I say this because, upon telling him ATC was my first grand tournament, he responded almost with indignation, saying, “You picked a hell of a first tournament to come to.” Even then, at multiple times during the match, he went about correcting me and telling me what I ought to be doing in a way that wasn’t particularly tactful. For example, at a time when I should have been shooting overwatch and hitting on sixes, I forgot I was shooting overwatch. I had the GW Assault Dice app flat on the table for him to see the hits, and when I reported the amount of hits, his response was, “I have a really hard time believing you landed that many sixes.” Of course, I apologized profusely, realizing that I had forgotten I should have been firing overwatch, but it probably would have been better had he said something like, “Was that firing on overwatch?” or “Remember that you are firing overwatch!”. He made me feel like I was trying to be shifty, which I wasn’t. This match was probably the least fun I had at ATC. All I will say is that he ran a “Chaos Soup” list. What ended up being the death of me was that his Bloodletters were able to deepstrike and eliminate my backfield (comprised of Brimstone Horrors and Chaos Cultists). He was nice enough to tell me that my “allowing him” to deepstrike “was my biggest mistake,” but I genuinely didn’t anticipate he would be able to fit all of his Bloodletters in my backfield. He was able to do this by essentially putting them in a single file line. I ended up losing by a substantial point margin, but if there was one thing I was able to pick up from this match, it was to spread my units out a bit more to cover more ground and prevent deepstrike opportunities.

38781013_254910125125932_2761578930975539200_n

That concluded the first (very long) day of ATC 2018. Actually, nearly every day of ATC was unnecessarily long and drawn out. Why? Because of Best Coast Pairings. Best Coast Pairings is an app for iOS and Android that allows a player to connect to competitive events (tabletop events, in this case). Using the app, you can search for, browse through, and register for various competitive events. What is relevant for ATC’s purposes is the ability for teams to see table assignments and pairings and view placings for the tournament. For some reason or another, the pairings and assignments were, at times, taking too long to load, loading improperly, or not loading at all. Other times, the points were added incorrectly for the teams. This made things a bit of a mess. Last year when I attended ATC, the organizers of the tournament were not using Best Coast Pairings, so I am not sure what needs to be fixed or changed for things to run smoothly like they did at ATC 2017, but please try to rectify this issue, ATC! Hear the cries and complaints of the people!

I woke up the second morning of the tournament determined to at least win one game! Unfortunately, the first match was really rough for me and completely shattered my spirit. In some sense, it was unfortunate that the match left me dismayed, because my opponent was absolutely great! He went by the name C.K. and played for Team Borderland Battle Brothers. He was incredibly funny, really entertaining, and didn’t make me feel bad for getting my ass kicked. Ultimately, I don’t think I should have been matched up against his list, despite being told I could “probably handle it.” His KV128 Stormsurges put out way too many shots that not even my 4+ Invulnerable Saves plus the Locus of Transmogrification granted by the Changeling could defend against. C.K.’s list had an immense amount of firepower between the Stormsurges and XV104 Riptide Battlesuit—the Tactical Drones only made the firepower that much more deadly. I should also note that playing C.K. was the first time I ever played against Tau, so I didn’t quite know what I was doing or what I needed to look out for. I just played to the best of my ability!

38656444_686695791667460_4399650415101083648_n

When I thought things couldn’t get any worse after the first match, I ended up getting paired up against another Tau list! Fortunately for me, this Tau list was quite different from C.K.’s. For one, there were no Stormsurges (thank God). Really, the only major firepower on this list were a few Battlesuits (both Riptide and Y’vahra). My opponent’s name was Jason (from Team Barnyard Brawlers) and he was incredibly nice. He was kind, conversational, and laid back. To my surprise, this match was pretty much point for point. At the end of each round (and during our turns), we both were scoring a considerable amount of points. The biggest mistake I made was actually not listening to Jason. He warned me about the flamers on his XV109 Y’vahra Riptide and I didn’t listen…Because I am a tool bag. I figured it was worth the risk charging the Riptide with my Daemon Prince given that he would fire at one of them anyway, but I did end up getting toasted. That was probably my only major tactical mistake, but by the end of the match, I only lost by a couple of points. It was probably the best match I played as it was incredibly close the entire time!

38742200_546245705805037_803658651041529856_n

The third and final match on Saturday was, by far, the most entertaining. We were playing against Team PMT (Playing Mediocre at Tournaments). I should note that, at ATC this year, alcohol was permitted. The reason I bring this up is because Team PMT was completely smashed by the time we were matched up with them. It could have been possible that they were drunk before they played us, but all of them being hammered was pretty hilarious. I will admit, at first I didn’t know what to do about having a drunk opponent. Aside from being tired and feeling a little discouraged, I figured the round would be more taxing than anything. I was wrong! My opponent, Mike, was great! He was animated, funny, and seemed like all he wanted to do was genuinely have fun. That helped me ease out of the funk I was in. He was running a Sisters of Battle list complete with Celestine and Geminae. He was also running quite a bit of Heavy Support, which made me nervous as I didn’t have many units with high Armor Penetration. He had Basilisks, Leman Russ Battle Tanks, Rhinos. What really made Mike’s list tough for me were the Sisters of Silence, as they gave me a minus to my casting. Not only that, the minus would stack. If two units of Sisters were within 18” of me, then I was at a -2 for my casting. Again, as a psyker heavy army, that sucked. Eventually I was able to wipe them out, though, but they definitely gave me some trouble during turn two. Again, to my surprise, this match was incredibly close—I only lost by a few points. Mike was really encouraging as well and was pretty adamant that if we played another turn I would have won, but maybe he was just being generous! (Thanks for telling me about the poop knife, Mike).

The very last match of the tournament took place on Sunday and saw us matched up against Team Least Coast. I was paired up against Patrick, who was a super nice guy running a Drukhari (Eldar) list. I am going to keep this short and sweet: I got my ass handed to me. Let me tell you, I have absolutely no desire to ever play against Haemonculus, Grotesques, or Talos again! Each unit is so incredibly tough! Even with my Daemon Princes engaged in close combat, I didn’t stand much of a chance. Overall, this match was pretty much an Invulnerable Save fight. Patrick had Invulnerable Saves and I had Invulnerable Saves, and that is pretty much what our game consisted of. I think I probably should have focused more of my psychic powers on his Grotesques and whittled them down rather than getting stuck in close combat with them.

I didn’t go to ATC 2018 disillusioned; I didn’t think that my team would be coming in as underdogs and making it to the top. I figured that, at best, we would place somewhere in the low to middle of the road. We ended up placing 66th or something around there out of 74 or 75 teams. What was important to me was the experience as well as having fun. All in all, I think I have identified the weaknesses of my army and I have already started making some changes. I need range and I need firepower, for sure. After viewing some of the lists from ATC and talking with competitors, I have seen the value of running a “Chaos Soup” list, but I have also realized and uncovered strategies regarding Tzeentch that I didn’t know about prior to the tournament. As far as improving is concerned, I think I just need to keep playing, practicing, and learning!

Going to ATC would not have been possible without the support, help, and patience of a number of people. First, I need to thank Mitch. I don’t think I would’ve made the jump to 40K without his encouragement, love, and support. It is amazing to find that person who makes you feel so comfortable in your own nerdy skin; he is my dweeby partner in crime. To Team Crazy Frog, who supported me and accepted me as the new and inexperienced player on the team and made each moment of the tournament one to remember. I would be remiss to not thank the guys of Team Huckleberry. I have had the privilege of knowing each member of Team Huckleberry for a couple of years now, but since I picked up 40K, each one of them has dedicated their time and energy to helping me learn the game, tailor my list, and quite frankly, they each have tolerated my shenanigans. Thank you to Ted, Dan, John, and Aaron. Also, a huge thanks to Charles, who unfortunately was not able to participate at ATC, but helped me immensely in figuring out the strengths of Tzeentch and Thousand Sons and how to run them effectively. And lastly, to the bros of Brohammer who I have interacted with and elicited advice and help from: Daniel S., William T., John L., Cass, Aurelio, Shane. You guys are seriously awesome bros. It really took a village to help me prepare for ATC, and I still have so much to learn. Despite not winning a match at ATC, I definitely want to continue playing 40K. I really have come to love the hobby, so much so that I have already purchased some Slaanesh stuff!

Next up is Crucible…

As always, thank you for reading and thank you for hanging tight! I appreciate it! Until next time!

Let’s Paint!: Chaos Cultists (Thousand Sons)

Chaos Cultists

Image result for chaos cultists 40K artwork

“Cults begin to grow deep within the fabric of Imperial worlds, driven by the profane preachings of Chaos-touched demagogues. Though many of these cults are found and eradicated by the Ordo Hereticus, the watchers within the Imperium are not able to have eyes everywhere, and many more of these cults flourish. The Cultists hide in plain sight, their drab clothes covering tattoos and symbols they have carved into their own flesh, dedicated to the ruinous powers…Whatever hope a Cultist may have derived from their profane worship is inevitably false. They are but pawns in the plans of the Thousand Sons, meat to clog the wheels of the Imperial war machine…”

Hi everyone! About a week ago, I finished painting a unit of Chaos Cultists! I still have two more units to paint, but I figured I would show you how the first batch turned out. I should note first that, given the size of these models, it didn’t seem worth it to me to spend a lot of time on them. In other words, I tried keeping things simple as far as colors and painting techniques were concerned.

IMG_5331

On each Cultist, I began by painting the flesh. I didn’t want them to appear pale and sickly; I wanted them to appear dirty, as if they had just emerged from an intense battle on a distant, muddy planet. For the flesh, then, I used Bugman’s Glow. For the hoods on the Cultists, I used Caledor Sky. Since these particular Chaos Cultists have devoted themselves to Tzeentch, I wanted the hoods on each Cultist to be bright blue.

IMG_5335

IMG_5355

Any remaining fabric on the Cultists, like shirts, capes, sleeves, etc., I used Ironhull Grey, a dark and rusty gray color. For the pants, I used Tallarn Sand. Any accessories on the Cultists, like belts and pouches, were painted with Dryad Bark, a dark brown. While not all of the Cultists have hair, on those that do, I painted the hair with Rhinox Hide. Rhinox Hide is an even darker brown than Dryad Bark! If I could go back and do anything differently with these Cultists, I probably would have made the hair lighter on those who have hair! Maybe a blonde color would have made for a nicer contrast…

 

 

Anyway, the boots, wristbands, and masks on the Cultists I painted black while any weapons held by the Cultists were painted with Leadbelcher, a bright, shiny silver. Pendants or ornaments on the Cultists were painted with Retributor Armour, one of my favorite golds to paint with! It is so vibrant and rich!

IMG_5343

Any rope or cloth was painted with Screaming Skull. To wrap things up, I washed each Cultist liberally with Agrax Earthshade to achieve some darkness and depth and, as usual, I based the Cultists with Tallarn Sand and XV-88.

For the next unit of Chaos Cultists, I might make their hoods purple instead of blue, just to spice things up a bit! What do you think? Should I keep the Cultists uniform? Or should I make them stand apart from one another? I would love to hear what you think! Thanks so much for stopping by!

IMG_5334

Here are the materials I used to paint my Chaos Cultists:

Bugman’s Glow https://www.games-workshop.com/en-US/Base-Bugmans-Glow?_requestid=675779

Caledor Sky https://www.games-workshop.com/en-US/Base-Caledor-Sky

Ironhull Grey https://store.privateerpress.com/ironhull-grey

Abaddon Black https://www.games-workshop.com/en-US/Base-Abaddon-Black

Dryad Bark https://www.games-workshop.com/en-US/Base-Dryad-Bark

Rhinox Hide https://www.games-workshop.com/en-US/Base-Rhinox-Hide

Leadbelcher https://www.games-workshop.com/en-US/Base-Leadbelcher

Retributor Armour https://www.games-workshop.com/en-US/Base-Retributor-Armour

Screaming Skull https://www.games-workshop.com/en-US/Layer-Screaming-Skull

Agrax Earthshade https://www.games-workshop.com/en-US/Shade-Agrax-Earthshade

Tallarn Sand https://www.games-workshop.com/en-US/Layer-Tallarn-Sand

XV-88 https://www.games-workshop.com/en-US/Base-XV88

Citadel Grass https://www.games-workshop.com/en-PL/Citadel-Grass

Meet Murphy!

Hi everyone! I hope you all are doing well! I want to apologize for my absence, as I know it has been awhile since I have posted. Aside from feeling under the weather the last few days, I have been painting figurines like a fiend! With ATC 2018 only a month away, I am working hard to ensure that my army is painted in time. You should be seeing blog posts dedicated to the units I have finished painting relatively soon, but something occurred to me: I have yet to post something personal on my site. In other words, you all probably don’t know much about me or what I have been up to.

Although summer has just begun, it has been pretty busy. My fiancé Mitch and I have been traveling quite a bit, although not anywhere too far or fancy. In May, we went to Birmingham, Alabama to my cousin’s Court of Honor, ventured down to Venice, Florida to celebrate Mitch’s father’s birthday, and spent a weekend gaming in Gainesville, Florida. Amidst all of the traveling, Mitch and I have attended two graduation ceremonies: one for his oldest daughter, Nylah, who just graduated from the University of Florida and one for his youngest daughter, Jenna, who just graduated high school. Only recently have we finally been able to relax and unwind. Perhaps the biggest change in our lives has been the recent addition to our family: Murphy! The first thing you should know about me is that I am a huge animal lover!

IMG_0548

When Mitch and I first got together, I brought two cats into the relationship while he, at the time, had two dogs. One of those dogs, sadly, passed away. This left us with my two cats, Percy and Hemingway, and Mitch’s miniature pinscher, Maggie. Getting another dog wasn’t something that really crossed my mind. After all, I fancied myself more of a cat person. Cats are independent and contemplative creatures, but they can also be incredibly entertaining and endearing. As a child, I was actually the victim of multiple dog bites to the face courtesy of a cocker spaniel, so for a period of time in my life I was actually terrified of dogs! Only as a young adult have I really grown to enjoy dogs and the companionship they offer. Anyway, I received a text from my mother asking if I knew anyone who might be interested in having a dog. While I tried to think of any friends or family members who might be interested, I turned to Mitch and asked, “Would you want another dog?”. His response was something along the lines of, “I am open to it.”

IMG_5247

I ended up telling my mom that Mitch and I were interested in possibly getting another dog, so she gave me the contact information of the man who owned Murphy. We wanted to meet Murphy first before making a decision on whether we wanted to keep him, and it didn’t take long for us to decide he would be a perfect fit for our family! He is the sweetest dog I have ever met in my life!

Murphy is a Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier, a terrier breed originating from Ireland. What sets Wheaten Terriers apart from other terriers is actually their coat. For one, the coat is incredibly soft and plush! The coat also runs from a pale beige to a bright gold, resembling ripening wheat (hence the name of the breed). The softness and length of the coat does require upkeep, but the soft coat makes for a companion that is easy to snuggle! Aside from this, the breed doesn’t shed! Having Murphy has not resulted in me needing to clean any more than I already do, which has been great! The things I was concerned about initially were the following: Wheaten Terriers are known to have a severe allergy to fleas and they can also suffer from protein-losing nephropathy and protein-losing enteropathy. Concerning the latter, I imagine Murphy will need immediate veterinary care if he develops a protein-wasting disease. Regarding the former, we have been diligent about applying a topical flea medicine to Murphy even though we have only had him for three and a half weeks.

IMG_5324

Murphy struggled to adjust at first; he didn’t eat for the first two days he was here. Prior to him being with us, he hadn’t been walked regularly on a leash, so Murphy is still trying to get the hang of going on walks. Aside from this, he has adjusted fine! He loves kisses and cuddles and chewing on rawhide bones. We recently got him a ball that dispenses treats when moved around and he has become so proficient at maneuvering the ball that I started putting his dog food in the ball instead of treats! The cats have adjusted well to Murphy despite being a little freaked out by him at first and Maggie is starting to take a liking to him! The only thing that Murphy still seems to struggle with is new people. I understand that this will take time and patience, as Murphy needs to learn to trust, but I feel so bad when he cowers at the sight of guests coming into our home. As sweet as he is, he is very skittish! Any tips on how to help with his fear would certainly be welcome and appreciated! In the short time we have had Murphy, I have seriously grown to love him. I really adore this dog and I am so happy he is a new member of our family!

IMG_0942

Oddly enough, I learned after we got Murphy that my grandmother owned a Wheaten Terrier named Duffy! Weird, right?

IMG_0999

Anyway, I hope this post, despite being short, gave you some insight into what my life is like of late. For anyone reading, are you a cat person or a dog person? Post a picture of your pet! I would love to see and hear about your pets and experiences with animals! Thanks so much for stopping by!

My First Warhammer/40K Tournament!

Hi everyone! I know that in a previous blog post, I said that ATC 2018 would be my first tournament, but now I can say that I actually have my first tournament under my belt! Yesterday, I competed in my very first 40K tournament! Saying “competed” sounds weird, though. I had so much fun, it really didn’t feel like a tournament at all! It just felt like a bunch of friends getting together and rolling some dice!

The tournament was held in Gainesville, Florida at Bearded Browncoat Comics and Games. The main location for Bearded Browncoat can be found in Ocala, Florida, but a location in Gainesville opened up recently and, let me just say, the space is amazing for tabletop gaming! There is plenty of room, a decent amount of tables, and the store itself has an expansive and diverse inventory. If you are looking for comics, board games, miniatures, video game consoles, etc., Bearded Browncoat is definitely the place to go! Overall, I was really impressed with the space and if you live in the area, you should definitely check out the store. Give them a “like” on Facebook! Here is the link to Bearded Browncoat’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/gainesvillebrowncoat/.

The tournament itself was on the smaller side. Originally, 20 players were supposed to compete, but there ended up being only about 13 of us. I think this was a good thing for me because my anxiety would have been exacerbated by more people. There were three rounds, with each round capping at two hours and forty-five minutes. There were ITC (Independent Tournament Circuit) standard list-building restrictions and the first three ITC missions were played. At this point, you probably want me to cut to the chase. “Dietzy, how did you do? Did you win?”.

Before I get to that, a few things:

  1. This is not intended to be a battle report. This is just me, briefly sharing my first tournament experience.
  2. I apologize for the quality of the pictures in this post. While I did bring my Canon t3i to the tournament, I got swept up in playing and forgot to take pictures with it. I know…I’m terrible. Please forgive me.
  3. The list I ran for this tournament was essentially my preliminary list for ATC, with the exception of a few minor changes. If you want to see the first iteration of my ATC list, follow this link: https://dietzysdungeongamingandphilosophy.blog/2018/05/04/40k-list-for-atc-2018/. I included another unit of Pink Horrors as well as a Changecaster. In order to do this, I had to shave down my unit of Rubric Marines from ten to five. Ultimately, I had three units of Pink Horrors (one unit of 15, another unit of 15, and one unit of 16). The Changecaster grants a +1 Strength to any Tzeentch Daemon units within 6” him.
  4. I only won one round. Even then, it was an automatic win. I guess, then, I didn’t really win…Whatever, I’ll still take it!

My first round was against Teddy. Teddy was playing a mix of Tzeentch and Nurgle. It was Chaos versus Chaos in a battle of epic proportions! Just kidding, I got wrecked. This being the first round, I was nervous. This probably contributed to the way I played. I was a bit frazzled and intimidated by the sheer amount of psykers in Teddy’s army. Teddy’s list, which he dubbed “experimental,” had three Daemon Princes of Tzeentch, one Daemon Prince of Nurgle, Typhus, Ahriman, Magnus the Red, and a whopping 80 Poxwalkers.

0EB42221-CE85-420F-BFCC-BE2F852DA666.jpg

This list destroyed me—I was nearly blasted off the table. I didn’t have enough strength or firepower to wipe out his Daemon Princes (although I was able to eliminate one of them), and I certainly didn’t have enough psychic force to defend against the wrath of Ahriman and Magnus. I think a major issue with me for this first round concerned target priority; I didn’t know what I needed to focus on in order get across the board. Teddy was great, though. He was incredibly patient with me; he could tell that I was nervous and he didn’t rush or pressure me. He’s been playing 40K for about ten years and, given that he is a seasoned veteran, I was lucky to play against him first and pick his brain about which psychic powers are most effective and when to use certain psychic powers. I can’t thank him enough for his understanding and patience.

664C6A17-B35C-40C9-8A7B-64FCDF001069.jpg

I will admit, I was feeling a bit discouraged after getting my ass handed to me in the first round, but my next opponent managed to pull me out of my funk. For round two, I played Cass, a member of Brohammer. If the other members of Brohammer are anything like Cass, it would be awesome to play against them! Cass was running a “Guard Gumbo” or “Imperial Soup” list. He had a Custode Supreme Command, a Bloody Angel Battalion, and a Catachan Brigade. Winning or losing didn’t cross my mind at all during this round; I was genuinely having fun. I was cracking jokes and laughing even when I was losing units.

48B9746F-9101-45C3-9D97-D2012B361939

The major mistake I made was pushing my Tzaangor Shaman out front and making him vulnerable before I could get my two units of Tzaangors to deepstrike out of the webway. Once my Tzaangors did come out of the webway, I did a decent amount of damage to his heavy weapon mortar teams. Cass made the second round really enjoyable, and I actually didn’t lose by that many points, so I left the tabletop feeling somewhat satisfied with my performance. As an aside, Brohammer is a wargaming organization based in Florida and Cass is a member. The organization is aiming to do big things in the future, so I highly encourage you to check out Brohammer’s Facebook page, get involved, and show your support: https://www.facebook.com/groups/145150949215826/.

B21BC0F5-21DE-4E66-8450-F3CD2E1F7036

My last round was against Aaron, the gracious host of the tournament. This round meant a lot to me because Aaron was really showing me the ropes. He was patient with me, offered advice, but also did not hesitate to come in swinging. Aaron was running an Imperium (Adeptus Ministorum) list, specifically Sisters of Battle.

4A00C49A-305B-4CF6-A42C-7C8AD3388AEA.jpg

I had Celestine in my face, three Repressors in my face, and while I didn’t have Vindicare Assassins in my face, they certainly shot my Changeling in the face. Like I said, this last round was a major learning experience for me and I am grateful Aaron took the time to to explain what he would be doing, how he would be doing it, and what I would need to do in response to him if I wanted to stand a chance.

83E85EB6-B478-4490-91CF-7B00DBD536D8.jpg

On the whole, I definitely learned a lot. The experience was good for me and I met some really awesome people. It was refreshing to play against lists I had yet to play against and now I am even more pumped for ATC! In the meantime, there are certainly some changes I want to make to my list moving forward. For example, I certainly want to incorporate more Pink Horrors. Units of 20 or more Pink Horrors get Magical Horde, which changes their coruscating flames to Assault 3 instead of 2. I am not sure if the Rubric Marines are worth keeping, nor am I certain I will be keeping the Defiler or Forgefiend. At this point, I am struggling to figure out what is worth keeping and/or replacing. Comments, suggestions, and constructive criticism are certainly welcome! Something else I need to figure out is how to combat the fatigue experienced while playing in a tournament. It really takes a lot out of you!

I know a number of my blog posts lately have been related to 40K, but do not fret! I will be returning to the realm of the philosophical soon! Thanks so much for stopping by!

Let’s Paint! Chaos Daemons: The Changeling

The Changeling: The Trickster of Tzeentch

The Changeling

“The most accomplished trickster amongst Tzeentch’s Daemons is the Changeling, the embodiment of the Great Schemer’s need to meddle and deceive. The Changeling is possessed of a supernatural ability to assume the shape of any creature with unfailing precision. He is the ultimate doppelganger; there is no form the Changeling cannot duplicate, no mannerism he cannot adopt…The Changeling is a restless and mischievous Daemon who roams the galaxy and warp alike, playing devastating practical jokes upon the unwary. He lives to sow discord and conflict, and delights in breeding mistrust and confusion…the only image that the Changeling will not replicate is that of Tzeentch himself, for the very idea of mimicking the identity of the Great Schemer is anathema to all his creations.”

Hi everyone! Two posts over the course of five days? I am on a roll! Anyway, I finished painting my Changeling late last night, so I figured I would dedicate a post on how I painted this guy.

IMG_4818

Painting the Changeling tested my patience in a few ways. The first was that, after basing the model with white spray paint, I went in heavy with Kantor Blue. For some reason, I thought this blue was going to be vibrant and bright, but this blue ended up being really dark. My Changeling ended up with a navy blue robe. This was not what I wanted at all. I blame my selection of Kantor Blue on my less-than-stellar vision. This isn’t to say that Kantor Blue isn’t a good color; it just wasn’t what I envisioned for my Changeling. I ended up going back in with Caledor Sky, which was the brighter sort of blue I originally wanted on the robe of the model.

After layering Caledor Sky on top of Kantor Blue, I began the taxing process of painting the lining of the robe. I first used Tallarn Sand to do this. I am going to be honest, this drove me insane. Any time I would barely miss the lining of the robe, I would go back in with one of the blues to fix my mistake. This ate up a lot of my time. I would just switch between Tallarn Sand and the blues to correct any lines that didn’t appear clean or sharp. Even now, there are still parts of the model that look a little bit streaky from my going back in with the blues. Thankfully, though, you can’t really tell from far away or when the model is on the tabletop. Once I had Tallarn Sand down, I layered Retributor Armour on top of that. This really made the lining of the robe pop, and I love how bright and shiny Retributor Armour is. It is a really fantastic color! Once the robe was complete, I painted the arms of the Changeling. I did this by mixing Wolf Grey and just a very small amount of Ahriman Blue. Given how this mix turned out, I jokingly referred to the model as Papa Smurf; he genuinely looked like a Smurf, or at least his arms and hands did!

IMG_4826

The amount of details on this model certainly challenged my patience. It was important to me to put forth a genuine effort in making all of the little things on this model stand out. Any chains or links on the model were painted with Leadbelcher; for example, the links that connect the moon charms to the skull dangling on the Changeling’s back. The moon charms I painted with Genestealer Purple and Pink Horror. The dangling skull I painted with Screaming Skull (while the “beak” of the skull I painted in Retributor Armour). Screaming Skull was also used to paint the skull on the Changeling’s staff. The scrolls on the Changeling’s back were painted with Ushabti Bone before being washed with Reikland Fleshshade. The bangles and cuffs on the Changeling’s arms and wrists were painted with Retributor Armour. All of the “eyes” on the model were based with Warpstone Glow before having Moot Green layered on top of that. The staff of the Changeling was painted with both Retributor Armour and Zandri Dust. The feathers on the staff were painted with Moot Green, Baharroth Blue, and Flash Glitz Yellow, while the serpent resting at the top of the staff was painted with a mix of Genestealer Purple and Pink Horrror. All of the gems on the Changeling were coated with Spiritstone Red; I didn’t want the gems to be blue since so much of the model was already various shades of blue, so I decided a bright red would give the model further color and vibrancy.

IMG_4813IMG_4814

To finish things up, the flames swirling around the base of the Changeling were painted with Nihilakh Oxide and the warp flame in the Changeling’s hands was painted with Nihilakh Oxide as well. The base of the model was painted with Tallarn Sand, while XV-88 was used around the base.

I think the Changeling is a really awesome model, overall. The design of the model is great, the details are interesting, the pose of the model is kickass; he looks like he is commanding a horde of Pink Horrors! Well, at least my Changeling will certainly be doing that… Anyway, thanks so much for stopping by! Comments and constructive criticism are welcome!

IMG_4824

Here are the materials I used to paint the Changeling:

Kantor Blue https://www.games-workshop.com/en-US/Base-Kantor-Blue

Caledor Sky https://www.games-workshop.com/en-US/Base-Caledor-Sky

Wolf Grey https://www.amazon.com/Vallejo-Game-Color-Wolf-Paint/dp/B000PHBCXC

Ahriman Blue https://www.games-workshop.com/en-US/Ahriman-Blue-12ml

Genestealer Purple https://www.games-workshop.com/en-US/Layer-Genestealer-Purple

Pink Horror https://www.games-workshop.com/en-US/Layer-Pink-Horror?_requestid=6089012

Drakenhof Nightshade https://www.games-workshop.com/en-US/Shade-Drakenhof-Nightshade

Leadbelcher https://www.games-workshop.com/en-US/Base-Leadbelcher

Screaming Skull https://www.games-workshop.com/en-US/Layer-Screaming-Skull

Ushabti Bone https://www.games-workshop.com/en-US/Layer-Ushabti-Bone

Reikland Fleshshade https://www.games-workshop.com/en-US/Shade-Reikland-Fleshshade

Nihilakh Oxide https://www.games-workshop.com/en-US/Technical-Nihilakh-Oxide

Warpstone Glow https://www.games-workshop.com/en-US/Layer-Warpstone-Glow

Moot Green https://www.games-workshop.com/en-US/Layer-Moot-Green

Flash Gitz Yellow https://www.games-workshop.com/en-US/Layer-Flash-Gitz-Yellow

Baharroth Blue https://www.games-workshop.com/en-US/Edge-Baharroth-Blue

Spiritstone Red https://www.games-workshop.com/en-US/Technical-Spiritstone-Red

Tallarn Sand https://www.games-workshop.com/en-US/Layer-Tallarn-Sand

XV-88 https://www.games-workshop.com/en-US/Base-XV88

Citadel Grass https://www.games-workshop.com/en-PL/Citadel-Grass

Anime Review: B: The Beginning

On March 2, 2018, B: The Beginning, a Netflix original anime series, debuted on Netflix. This series is only one of a number of original anime series that Netflix has released so far this year, but it just so happens that I recently finished watching the first season of B: The Beginning and I figured I would share my thoughts on it. I do want to make clear that these are my own thoughts; feel free to disagree with me!

B: the Beginning

Image courtesy of myanimelist.net

Aside from delighting in the occasional anime, I enjoy watching shows like Forensic Files, Law and Order, etc. It was not a huge surprise, then, when B: The Beginning popped up in my Netflix queue presenting itself as “Mystery, Science Fiction.” Let’s start here; B: The Beginning is certainly a mystery. The first episode begins with a young woman frantically running through the woods, desperate to escape those who have captured her. Her hands are bound and eventually she is struck down by an arrow that darts through the trees. Two men emerge from the treetops and begin assaulting her. Just before the young woman is killed by these two horrible men, the men are killed; both of them are brutally sliced and stabbed to death. The only evidence remaining is the mark left by the mysterious vigilante. This is where the story begins, essentially. The RIS, or Royal Investigation Service, is attempting to find and catch this vigilante, dubbed “Killer B.” Clearly, this anime fits snugly in the Mystery genre broadly construed; the issue is that B: The Beginning is a mystery in more ways than one.

Killer B

Image courtesy of wherever-i-look.com

What begins as the hunt for Killer B quickly turns into a city being nearly destroyed by the end of the first episode. Perhaps I should slow down… The RIS discovers the mark of Killer B at the scene of the crime and thus an investigation gets underway. As the investigation begins, though, a primary character is introduced. This character is Detective Keith Flick, nicknamed “Genie” because he is a genius at solving crimes. Real original. In many ways, Keith Flick is your stereotypical apathetic investigator. He seems disinterested in those he is working with, sleeps during case briefs, enjoys the occasional pornographic magazine, drinks coffee and alcohol, has a disheveled appearance, etc. As with most talented investigators, Keith Flick has a dark past. Keith Flick’s younger sister was murdered a number of years ago and this is what appears to motivate him as far as finding and catching Killer B. I think, though, that this ends up only being a part of the motivation for Flick’s rejoining the RIS and attempting to apprehend Killer B.

Keith Flick

Image courtesy of b-the-beginning.wikia.com

Within the first episode, we are presented with a double homicide (of two men who seemed to deserve what they got), we meet some members of the RIS, and we meet the “legendary” Keith Flick. As the investigation of Killer B begins, we also meet Koku, who seems benign enough as a character. He appears to be a teenager who works with his family at a violin repair shop, I think? I suppose that in the archipelagic nation of Cremona, having functioning stringed instruments is really important. At any rate, Koku seems soft spoken, harmless, almost frail. Once all of this has been established, the episode goes from 0-60. An unknown group hooks up with a common criminal, steals a technologically advanced military vehicle, and completely wreaks havoc on one of the cities in Cremona. I am not sure how we went from trying to solve a double homicide to annihilating a city with a giant tank, but we got there. The one thing we learn, though, is that the unknown group responsible for stealing the tank is trying to draw out Killer B by causing chaos and committing crimes. The group ends up being successful in getting Killer B to come out to play, and come to find out, Killer B is Koku! And Koku is not your average vigilante; his arm is capable of transforming into a giant flaming blade and he grows wings which not only make him capable of flying, but also allow him to maneuver quickly. I assume this is the sci-fi component of the series. In other words, this is not your typical crime drama. There are angels and demons and monsters, oh my!

Okay, so the first episode of the series is a bit all over the place. Surely it is not the case that the remaining episodes are as fragmented! Unfortunately, they are. Each episode suffers from the same sort of dislocation; you become invested in one storyline only to be pulled away from that storyline and forced to focus elsewhere. In the third episode, for example, we are still trying to find and catch Koku, or Killer B, but as this is going on, the RIS is also trying to protect civilians attending a gala from the timed release of a poison gas bomb. Granted, the elaborate poison gas scheme is to draw out Koku (which it does), but the issue is that it is just too elaborate or overdone; our unknown group using criminals for pawns is just being too “extra.” You discover that this unknown group uses a variety of different criminals to cause all of these problems, but it is worth wondering why the members of this group don’t just do things themselves. You discover that the members of the group have capabilities like Koku does; they are strong, fast, each armed with different weapons and fighting techniques. Why not just lure Koku out yourselves? Why rely on hackers, thieves, and murderers in order to get an audience with Koku? The point is that each episode is too ambitious. In the attempt to pump each episode with intrigue and complexity, each episode suffers from over-stimulating the viewer. In short, there is just too much going on.

In the fifth (and sixth) episode, when Keith and Koku finally meet, it is revealed that Koku (after retrieving his memory) is looking for the love of his life, Yuna, and that the mark he leaves at various crime scenes is not a mark, but a signal to Yuna. The signal is an attempt to let Yuna know that Koku is alive. And at this point, I am wondering, “Who is Yuna? She’s never been mentioned before. How does Koku know her? Why is Koku a demon? What the hell is going on?”. Thankfully, Keith attempts to provide answers to these questions, but his answers aren’t particularly clear. He talks about an institute which, at the end of the 16th century, found a number of fossilized skeletons. Scientists identified these strange winged skeletons as progenitors of humanity and they were deemed gods. The scientists then worked to try and resurrect these gods. The government of Cremona sought out donations from the people and with these donations built a scientific institute where many researchers worked on these fossils. I guess many of the scientists became corrupt, taking and spending money on “pet projects.” One of those projects involved creating malformed offspring called the Promising Ones. This tale that Keith provides shines a light on the unknown group of anarchists; they are called Market Makers, and the group is comprised of Promising Ones (I think). I assume that Koku is also one of these offspring, but I am not entirely sure…That’s my problem.

Keith and Koku

Image courtesy of tvguide.com

I am not entirely sure about a lot of things as far as this series is concerned; everything is a mystery. The origins of both Koku and the Market Makers is far from clear, as are their motives for doing what they do. Koku wants to save a girl while the Market Makers want to blow things up. Both of these motives seem far too simple to ensure any sort of impressive character development. This same lack of clarity also applies to Keith Flick and his connection to Koku, although you do learn that Keith Flick’s father was a scientist at the aforementioned institute that was responsible for research on resurrecting the strange fossils. There is also a connection between those winged fossils and Koku, but that is not obvious either. If you couldn’t tell by now, there are many connections between storylines and characters, and none of those connections are made explicit. Aside from this, the setting of the series also seems odd. The series takes place on Cremona, an archipelagic nation that seems to be antiquated insofar as it is comprised primarily of Beaux-Arts architecture. The nation itself seems tranquil, isolated, and not particularly extraordinary. Yet there is a clash between the technology of the nation, which is quite extraordinary, and the tranquility that the appearance of Cremona appears to possess. How is it the case that such a nation is ridden with such complex and heinous crime? Aside from this, there are many supporting characters in the anime. Due to the number of supporting characters in the show, there isn’t much room to flesh any of them out. With the exception of Lily, most of the members of RIS are relatively generic or not much is known about them (although I do admit that I have a soft spot for Boris). With the introduction and use of so many characters, it ends up feeling like those characters are just meant to fill up space; it becomes difficult to see their importance or make note of how and in what ways they could develop meaningfully.

I will say that what the series lacks in character development and narrative cohesion it makes up for as far as action sequences are concerned. The action sequences are gripping and dynamic, with just the right amount of gore to ensure that you don’t lose your appetite while watching. There is a degree of violence in the series, but it isn’t overdone for what the anime presents itself to be. In other words, given that the series claims to be a sci-fi series, expect some blood, expect some guts, expect some weird and sometimes grotesque transformations. All of this I found to be fascinating, though, and when the trajectory of the series became too convoluted for me to follow, I sometimes relied on these bold and captivating fight scenes to carry me through an episode.

B: The Beginning

Image courtesy of b-the-beginning.wikia.com

Do I think B: The Beginning is worth watching? Sure. I think it helps if you are interested in the blend between fantasy and film noir. It just seemed to me that, in an attempt to produce a series rich in lore, it ended up being far more complicated than clear. I just think transparency is important, especially when trying to show the ways in which characters and backstories are intimately connected. Perhaps the second season of the series will fill in gaps that currently exist, or maybe I am just too casual of an anime fan to really grasp the details of the series. I think if you are interested in crime drama with a dash of the fantastical, then this series could be a good fit for you. Overall, I just had trouble connecting to the characters and following the narrative arc of the first season. This series will get three bear paws out of five!

What is a new anime series that you have been watching lately? Do you have any recommendations? Thanks for stopping by!

Preliminary 40K List for ATC 2018

Hi everyone! May the 4th be with you! The spring semester is officially over, which means that while a number of my students are probably writhing in agony upon seeing their final grades, I am finally able to take a break! Unfortunately, though, it won’t be an incredibly relaxing break as this month will be quite busy for me.

At the very least, I figured I should dedicate a post to the 40K list I will be running this year at American Team Championship, or ATC. Before I get to my list, it is worth mentioning a few things:

I am still quite new to 40K. In my first Let’s Paint! post, I mentioned that I hadn’t seriously and consistently gamed and painted miniatures since 2014. I played and enjoyed Warhammer for a couple of months before Age of Sigmar came out. Once Age of Sigmar came out, I basically retired my High Elves. In February of 2017, I purchased the Start Collecting! Daemons of Tzeentch box thinking I would get into Age of Sigmar, but I never did. It wasn’t until that summer that I found myself fascinated by 40K. I attended ATC 2017, mostly tagging along with Team Huckleberry. They were generous enough to let me hang around, take pictures of their armies, and watch them play. It seems fitting to give a shout-out to Team Huckleberry for allowing me to observe, ask questions, and admire their models. Thank you John, Aaron, Dan, Nick, and Mitch! At any rate, ATC 2017 got me hooked. I had never seen such a huge space dedicated to a tabletop game. At that point, I figured it would be a good time to start learning the game since 8th edition had been released fairly recently. Since January of this year, I have been pretty dedicated as far as playing the game; practice makes perfect, after all! I still have a lot to learn, so keep that in mind. I am not someone who has been playing the game for years; I am far from a seasoned or skilled player.

Start Collecting! Daemons of TzeentchImage Courtesy of Games Workshop

As you have probably noticed by now, I do not play 40K competitively since I am so new to the game; ATC 2018 will be my first tournament.

I am a member of Team Crazy Frog. This team consists of myself, my fiancé Mitch, my good friend Randy, my other friend Nate, and Randy’s good pal Jeremy. It was actually Randy who suggested I join the team. I was pretty hesitant at first. After all, I was quite worried that my lack of skill and experience playing 40K would be a detriment to the team, but my teammates have convinced me (and I have convinced myself) that this tournament is about having fun, meeting new people, and seeing the awesome and creative ways people build and present their armies!

With all of that being said, here is my list for ATC 2018:

Chaos Daemons: Tzeentch and Heretic Astartes: Thousand Sons

Point Total: 1,998

Total Power Level: 115

Lord of ChangeImage Courtesy of Spikey Bits

Battalion Detachment [840pts] [5 Command Points] [50 Power Level]

Chaos Daemons

Chaos Allegiance: Tzeentch

HQ:

Daemon Prince of Chaos: Tzeentch [180pts] [9 Power Level]

-Malefic Talons

-Wings

HQ:

The Changeling [100pts] [5 Power Level]

-Warlord

-Flickering Flames

Troops:

Horrors [105pts] [8 Power Level]

-15x Pink Horrors

Horrors [105pts] [8 Power Level]

-15x Pink Horrors

Horrors [98pts] [8 Power Level]

-14x Pink Horrors

Elites:

Flamers [84pts] [4 Power Level]

-2x Flamers and Pyrocaster

Flamers [84pts] [4 Power Level]

-2x Flamers and Pyrocaster

Flamers [84pts] [4 Power Level]

-2x Flamers and Pyrocaster

Battalion Detachment [1158pts] [5 Command Points] [9 Power Level]

Chaos: Thousand Sons

HQ:

Daemon Prince of Tzeentch [180pts] [9 Power Level]

-Malefic Talons

-Wings

HQ:

Daemon Prince of Tzeentch [180pts] [9 Power Level]

-Malefic Talons

-Wings

Troops:

Rubric Marines [207pts] [14 Power Level]

-Aspiring Sorcerer (Force Stave and Inferno Bolt Pistol)

-9x Rubric Marines (9x Inferno Boltgun)

Tzaangors [70pts] [4 Power Level]

-9x Tzaangor (9x Tzaangor Blades)

-Twistbray (Tzaangor Blades)

Tzaangors [70pts] [4 Power Level]

-9x Tzaangor (9x Tzaangor Blades)

-Twistbray (Tzaangor Blades)

Elites:

Tzaangor Shaman [90pts] [5 Power Level]

-Force Stave

Heavy Support:

Defiler [166pts] [11 Power Level]

-Havoc Launcher

-Reaper Autocannon

Forgefiend [195pts] [9 Power Level]

-2x Hades Autocannons

-Ectoplasma Cannon

And there we have it! This is the list I will be running. After having played this list a few times now, I feel pretty comfortable with it; I can’t imagine there is much that I would change. I am certainly open to suggestions, though! If you are familiar with Tzeentch (or Thousand Sons) and have any tips, tricks, or strategies, feel free to share! I appreciate any advice!

Thanks so much for stopping by!