Thursday, 31 December 2015


Today we are going to talk about the terms mentioned in the title, as well as how to build units that follow these terms, and more importantly, when to build these kinds of units.

This is how theorists and statisticians see MinMax

Minmax is a decision rule used in decision theory, game theory, statistics and philosophy for minimising the possible loss for a worst case scenario.  At least that's the Wikipedia definition.  In Warhammer the term generally means minimum cost, maximum output.  This can manifest itself in many ways and I'll talk about as many of them as I can.

On a unit level, this usually means taking the minimum size unit while being able to take the maximum equipment or upgrades to maximise it's output.

Example time:  Chaos Chosen are a great example.  Units of 5 models, each of them with a special weapon upgrade.  The minimum sized squad in order to get maximum damage output.  In this example there is a sacrifice the Chaos player needs to make in that since the unit is only 5 models, their damage output is greatly reduced for each casualty they take.

However, this manifests itself very differently in different units.  Termagants for example, become far more useful when they are in a unit of 30.  This allows the Tyranid army to take a Tervagon as a troops choice, allowing them to still take the all mighty Flyrant.  The fact that there are 30 Termagants is irrelevant because they are nearly useless, even in units of 30.  They mainly become worth their points cost because they can make a Tervagon as a troops choice.

And Orks manifest this idea a third way.  A unit of Orks becomes more useful the larger it is, and the more characters it has.  This makes it more resilient hopefully keeping enough models alive to still be strong enough to do damage once it hits home, and to ensure it gets a useable result on the Mob Rule table.  Shooting units in the Ork army work the same way.  Due to their terrible BS, an Ork unit only becomes useful when the squad is large enough to score a decent number of hits.  Although the term MinMax may not really be appropriate, more like MaxMax.

Another way Orks use this tactic is with Burna boys in a Gorka/Morka naught.  Taking a small unit of Burna boys allows the Ork player to get a maximum number of Meks for repairs.

Finally, Eldar use this method of taking small units of troops choices in order to take a Wave Serpent transport.  Although this was far more prevalent in the previous edition of the Eldar Codex, the Wave Serpent is an extremely strong vehicle and one of the main reasons that small units of Dire Avengers ever see the table top.

In an army wide scale, this sometimes take on a different approach.  In a Battle Company, often times it will include 3 units of Scouts as the Auxiliary choice because they are the cheapest option.  They will typically have no upgrades and will mainly be used as table control units being put in reserve to outflank, or Infiltrated to put some quick pressure on the opponent and act as a distraction.  This will allow as many units of marines will be upgraded to full size as possible, allowing them to combat squad, while still being able to take as many Gravcannons and Meltaguns as possible.  Gravcannons may be Expinsive,  but their damage output is by far greater than almost any other weapon they have access to.

Likewise, a Chaos Daemons army will sometimes take Chaos Space Marines as allies in order to get Belakor and/or a Heldrake in the army.  They will take a minimum sized squad of Cultists to ensure the minimum price is paid in order to get the maximum output from the detachment.

MSU(multiple small units) style armies use MinMax units to great effect.  The theory behind an MSU unit is that you overload your opponent with targets so that he can't possibly kill them all, and because each of your units are able to do damage, your opponent will not be able to kill enough units to keep himself safe from the retaliation.

Having smaller units is also a great way to nullify some of the opponent's huge damage dealing units by forcing him to unload excess amounts of firepower on an easily killed unit.
Space Marine Battle Company, Dark Eldar Venom spam, and Astra Militarum can pull off some serious MSU MinMax armies.

As I talked about in my Dark Eldar review, they make great use of the MinMax idea taking small units of cheap warriors so they can get as many Venoms as possible.  Upgrading as many of those Warrior units as they can into Trueborn increases the number of special weapons the unit can take as well.

Now that I gave you all that info, you may be thinking "That description looks like all the armies I play and play against, what does a non-min maxed unit/army look like?"

Well, to give you a little clarity and something to reference, here are a couple non-MinMaxed examples.

A themed Chaos Nurgle army where all the units of Plague Marines have 7 models.  Those 2 extra models are not required to get any kind of bonus so they are non-value added models.  If he had 5 units of Plague marines all with 7 models, he could drop 2 models from each unit and buy a 6th unit of 5 Plague Marines.
Another thing I see sometimes is units with less than a full compliment of available weapons.  A devastator unit with only 2 heavy weapons comes to mind.  Now there may be a perfectly sane reason for this.  In a Battle Company list where the player must take 2 Devastator squads, only taking 2 or 3 heavy weapons is a good way to have a couple spare wounds in the unit that won't cost you fire power when you loose them AND a good way to save points.  Grav-cannons are 35 points each.

So, I hope you gained a little insight into how to MinMax.  However, as I pointed out just above, know that it is not always the best method for building armies or units.

Until next time, keep them dice rollin.

Monday, 14 December 2015


The Vespid Stingwings are one of the oddball auxiliary units found in the Tau Codex, but rarely on the table top.  Why you ask?  Lets take a look.

First, they are 18 points a piece, and with Ld 6 you will probably take a character upgrade which boosts it to 9.  Their stats are mediocre and they have a host of special rules that only seem to explain the hefty price tag but not really provide any sort of usefulness on the table top.  And there are several units available to the Tau that can do what the Vespid do but better as well as other things.

So lets take a closer look at what these guys can do.  They are jump infantry, T4 and have a 4+ save with Stealth(ruins) which makes them quite a bit more durable than your average fire warrior and more maneuverable.  They also tote a S5 AP3 gun!!.

That's the trap.  Their gun, while S5 and AP3, it makes them slightly more deadly, but it's not what makes these guys great, it's their maneuverability.  Now you might say Tau already have maneuverability in scads, and you might also say maneuverability just to say maneuverability, but it's a very different type of movement.  Most Tau units are jet pack units, so only 6" in the movement phase, and the rest of their movement comes in the assault phase with their jet pack move.  The Vespids have a movement of 12", which makes their threat range larger.  Yeah their guns may only have an 18" range so their threat range might not actually be longer, but with their large movement it makes it harder for enemies to hide behind LOS blocking terrain.

They have another trick up their sleeve, it's called Hit and Run and as any White Scars player can tell you, it's good.  The trick about Hit and Run is that it's more than just a way to get out of close combat, although that's good as Vespid can't fight their way out of a wet paper bag.  It's also a sneaky way to leapfrog a weak enemy unit and get into the enemies back field and jump on an objective a long way away.
As mentioned before, the Vespid can move 12", this gives them a good chance to jump from their cover in ruins and get close enough to shoot and/or assault, depending on how close you are, the unit we are going to leapfrog, with Fleet this will help with the random charge range.  Then after a pathetic slap fight you can hit and run past the enemy unit landing in the back field.  This can be an amazing move for mid game objective stealing or denying, or just getting a distraction unit in the back field to make your opponent make some choices and hopefully he makes the wrong ones.

There are some things to consider with this move.  You will be jumping out of combat on your turn, so your unit may just get shot to shit and it was all for nought, but those are also shots not fired at your real damage dealers.
Don't assault a unit that can kill you, you won't kill any of them and they get to swing before you can run.
Your opponent will get a consolidation move after you jump out which might get him close enough to cause you problems.

Anyway, there you go, Vespid made (sort of) useful.  Have a go with them and let me know how it works out.

Until next time, keep them dice rollin.

Wednesday, 2 December 2015


Yeah, I PLAY Warhammer too.  I don't just spit this drivel out my ass with no clue as to what I'm talking about.  Or at least that's how I hope it looks.

Last Tuesday I dragged my ass down to Reset Ultra Lounge to join in on the festivities put on by the Plains of War crew every month.  And thank god I did cause it was a blast.  They got a pretty sweet set up with about 6 tables set up all full of terrain.  I got there a little before 6 and many of the table had filled up already and I was stuck looking for an opponent.  Luckily for me, Ronnie arrived.

Ronnie brought Orks, and I was playing Chaos Space Marines, so I thought it was the perfect battle report to post considering my 2 first army reviews were CSM and Orks.

I was using the Crimson Slaughter supplement with Daemon allies and my list looked like this:

Dark Apostle, Crozius of the Dark Covenent, Mark of Khorne.  He was the Warlord
Sorcerer, level 3, Sigil of Corruption, Spell Familiar

10 Cultists with autoguns and heavy stubber
10 Cultists with autoguns and heavy stubber
10 Cultists with pistols and a flamer
20 Cultists with pistols and 2 flamers, Mark of Khorne


Relic Predator, Plasma Destroyer, Heavy Bolters, Havoc Launcher
2 Laser Destroyer Rapiers
Vindicator, Siege shield

Daemon Prince, 2 greater daemonic rewards, daemon of Nurgle, flight, level 3, armour

3 Nurgling bases

2 Blight Drones

Ronnie was using the Ghazghkull supplement and had taken the Dread Mob and an allied Ork CAD. His list looked like this:

Big Mek, KFF, Warlord
3 Deffdreads
3 units of 3 Killa Kans

Warboss, da Lucky stikk
2 units of boys in trukks

I was fucking terrified.  I wasn't sure I could handle on that armour, what with my 50 cultists and all.  We did all our pre game rolls and we both got a useless warlord trait and I got mostly useless psychic powers.  The only 2 I cast the entire game was Endurance and Invisibility, and more often than not he denied Invisibility.  However, my saving grace what when the Daemon Prince rolled armourbane for his greater gift.

We rolled up the mission and got Cloak and Shadows,

Ronnie won the roll to choose table sides and to deploy first and after we both deployed the table looked like this:

It's a little hard to make out but, from left to right the Orks had:
Deffdread, Killa Kans (in a ruin), Morkanaught, Deffdread, Trukk with Warboss and Painboy, Killa Kans, Gorkanaught with Big Mek inside, Deffdread, Trukk with boys, and Killa Kans.

My army, from left to right:
Daemon Prince, Autogun Cultists, Autopistol cultists with Sorcerer, Khorne Cultists with Apostle, Relic Predator, Autogun Cultists, Vindicator.
The Blight Drones and Heldrake were in reserves as normal and the Nurglings were outflanking.

Ronnie's first turn was over pretty quickly as he moved everything up and killed a couple Cultists with shooting.  Anything that couldn't shoot ran and the Trukks went flat out to get right behind that big building in the middle.  If I didn't do something drastic both of those squads were going to hit my lines.

The only moving I did was to shuffle my cultists back a bit and charge my Prince forward to try to charge that Deffdread.  I managed to get Invisibility off on the Khorne Cultists and Endurance on the Daemon Prince.  The vindicator dropped a pie plate on the Killa Kans and managed to clip the Deffdread on the right side killing him and a Kan.  The Laser destroyers blew the cannon thing off the Morkanaught arm.  The Pred unleashed hell into the 2 Trukks who parked too close together and managed a whole 2 hull points on one.  Balls.
I rolled them dice for the mighty Daemon Prince to charge into the Deffdread and...

...he failed.  Well shit, this puts me in a real predicament as I am now sitting out with my balls dangling and a Deffdread and the Morkanaught right there in prime position to charge my ass.

But he didn't.  He moved the Morkanaught up and just the Deffdread toward the Prince.  The boys piled out of the clown cars and everything else moved up and opened fire killing a handful of cultists thanks to some terrible to wound rolls and some decent cover saves

Orks before the assault pic

The Deaffdread charged into the Prince who promptly tore the mechanical beast to pieces.  That left the big one.  Both units of boys and the Warboss charged into the invisible Khorne Cultists losing 6 to overwatch.  I attack first and thanks to counter-attack and hatred I kill 8 before he can lower the Boom.  Well, he must have misplaced the boom because thanks to being invisible he only manages to kill 3.  That leaves a tough Ld check for both units, which he fails both and gets the wrong result on the Mob Rule chart and gets run down.  Not a good turn.

In my turn I get all my reserves in and the Nurglings outflank on the left side of the table and manage to pick up Objective 6, which I have twice.  My Prince jumps to the middle of the table giving him some charging options.
I manage to get Endurance off on the Prince but Ronnie manages to dispel Invisibility.
The Heldrake uses his Daemonforge in an attempt to burn the Killa Kans in the middle of the table and manages to fail every single roll.  Fucking Helturkey.  The Pred does a hundred times better and takes off one hull point.  The Blight Drones put their guns into the Killa Kans that held back in the building and did sweet fuck all, and the Laser destroyers managed a glancing hit on the Morkanaught, yay.

My assault phase was a little better as the Prince charged the last Deffdread swiftly ripping him a new a-hole.  So far he is 2 for 2, but once again he is swinging in the breeze with both the Gork and Morkanaught within range to charge.

This happens...

Oh Balls...

The Killa Kans also move up to unleash those horrible horrible Grotzookas on the not invisible Cultists killing all but a few and the Dark Apostle.  Both Naughts unleash all their guns into the Prince and manage to put a couple wounds on him.
Mork manages to make the charge, but Gork falls a bit short, while the Kans make an amazing 9" charge through terrain to try and wipe out those damn cultists and my Warlord...
Which goes poorly for them as the Dark Apostle goes to town smashing one to bits and putting a hull point on another and the Kans manage to kill a couple more cultists.

The Morkanaught, needing 5's to hit doesn't manage to do a thing while the Prince tears away a couple hull points.
Oh, and the Kans in the building wipe out the Nurglings.

My turn sees the Heldrake and Blight Drones do all they can to no effect against the Kans in the building.  The Vindicator smashes the last Kan on the far right of the table and the Dark Apostle goes hulk and destroys one more Kan and puts a hull point on the last while the Sorcerer charges in and dishes out that last hull point.  Last, my armour shredding bad ass mo-fo Daemon Prince climbs all up in Mork's guts and burst out through it's chest exploding the monstrosity.

At this point Ronnie has 3 Kans up in a building and a Gorkanaught who is, as this game has shown, only going to get pwned by my Daemon Prince so we decide to call it a game.


This game was awesome for me and terrible for Ronnie.  It started off bad with Hammer and Anvil deployment, then went worse when the Korne cultists surprised him and ran 300 pts of Orks off the table.  He took it in stride though and kept up good humours through the rest of the game.

Thanks to Ronnie for the game, and to Fabio and the rest of team at Plains of War for putting on a great evening of gaming.  I look forward to January's game night.

Until next time, keep them dice rollin.