Sunday, January 18, 2015

Provincial Pleasures

Hi all,

In what seems to be becoming something of a litany, wow, have the last couple of weeks been busy.  I suspect it's about time I recognize that the new level of activity is less an anomaly, and more status quo, and just roll with it.

That said, I've managed to do a little painting, I've made some progress on both my ork Warboss and a Lord for my Bretonnians, but mainly managed to knock out some test figures for the Acadian project.

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These are Blue Moon 18mm American Provincials, done up as Massachusetts provincials.  They're in the pre-1750s uniform, with red trousers, which makes them appropriate for Le Loutre's war and the Expulsion.  Apparently, once the 7YW got going in earnest, they switched to blue trousers instead.  No idea why.

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I tried something a little different with these guys, using a wash for shading rather than just working up highlight layers.  Not 100% sold on the effect, but one thing I'm going to try and do with this project is experiment a little with techniques.

Next couple of weeks are liable to be equally short on time and progress, but I'll try to get in at least one post over the period, even if it's just a WiP.


Wednesday, December 31, 2014

IG Conflict 2: The Sprog Strikes Back


Hard back at work, but thought I'd take a minute to post an AAR of the second game vs. the Cub, this one down at the local GW.  This one was bigger, 1000 points a side.  I took my warboss, a painboy, a couple units of 20 shootas, a couple of units of grots, a maxed-out unit of tankbustas, and a unit of deff koptas.  The Cub had a full tac squad, split, a 5-man tac squad, maxed assault marines, a razorback, 3 bikes, and a landraider redeemer, aka, priority one.

A few more boys painted up this time.  The horde grows.

For simplicity's sake, we used the same scenario as last game, rolling 4 objectives this time around.  I won the roll to set up / go first, and spread the boys out.  The plan was to concentrate fire on the Redeemer with the Deffcoptas and Tankbustas, and hope to smoke it before it could bring it's very scary (twin flame templates that wound on re-rollable 2s, and ignore all cover and armour saves in my army) to bear.

The Cub, not being anybody's fool, opted for a "shove the big scary thing down Dad's throat" approach, piling the redeemer straight forward, with the bikes and jump squad trailing in support.  Oh, and he had a combat squad with his Very Scary Chaplain inside.

Twin uberflamers, twin-linked Asscannon, twin-linked multi-melta.  What was I thinking when I got him this thing?
I moved into rokkit range, and unloaded everything on the Redeemer, hoping to remove the threat before it could become a real problem.  18 rokkit shots later, 5 of them twin-linked, I had removed one (yes, one) hull-point from the beastie.

On his next turn, Cub jammed the beast forward again.  This is where the game started to shift a bit from our last one.  I pointed out to Cub that the terrain right in front of the Redeemer allowed a more direct route, but posed a risk; it was possible his Redeemer might get stuck on it, and be unable to move.  Cub thought it out, and decided he wanted to take the risk to bring his flame weapons to bear.

It simply will not die.  Not the Chaplain, though, he died easy.

At which point, he inevitably rolled the "1", and immobilized his Redeemer ;)

We then had another conversation about what to do with his squad inside.  I told him he could deploy them, and either shoot or assault, but not both (as they were packing rapid-fire weapons.  He opted to assault, but was promptly blasted by overwatch fire, and then I think failed the assault roll.  At any rate, he was left with a sole veteran sergeant who opted for the better part of valour.

On my turn, I unloaded the coptas and tank-bustas on the Redeemer again, doing 2 more hull points (not enough to kill it!), and sent one of the two shoota squads after the razorback.  The Nob was packing a Big Choppa, and S7 on the charge was enough to pop it.

No more Asscannon for you!
On his turn, the Cub unleashed the destructive power of his fully armed and operational Redeemer on my poor shootaboys, killing 11 with one flamey salvo.

No cream can deal with this itching, burning sensation.
On the right, Cub sent in his Assault marines against the un-toasted shootas, but not before we had a little conversation about overwatch.  I reminded him of what had happened to the Chaplain's squad earlier.  I also pointed out that I could only shoot overwatch once, and that he had a perfectly disposable, *cough*, I meant, serviceable veteran sergeant just hanging about.

Cub used the Vet to soak my overwatch fire, and THEN sent in the marines, who performed quite credibly.

They fight almost as good as orks.
On my turn, I sent the rest of my toasted orks over to help out their buddies, and the whole thing turned into one of those multi-round grind-fests.  The orks eventually won, of course (of course!), but it did take a few rounds.

Just keep swinging, just keep swinging . . . 
In the center, my tankbustas, who'd also taken a hit from the flame templates, managed to rally, and finished off the Redeemer.  They were, however, now faced with a choice.  We had 4 objectives on the board, and the game could end in the next turn.  I talked to Cub about what I was doing and why, reminding him that it was the objectives that would most likely win either of us the game.  I opted to go for one of the further objectives with the remains of the tankbustas, and redeploy my grots, in the hopes that the game would stretch out and I could eke out a win.  On his turn,Cub also redeployed his two "shooting squads" to make a play for the objectives as well.

Tac squad on the objective, grots just out of range.

Tac squad 2 on the objective as well.
We rolled for another turn, but the dice came up short.  I had an objective, first blood, and the warlord bonus, Cub had 2 objectives and line-breaker.  Win to the Sprog.

Warboss Binky is evidently more Brutal than Cunnin'.  That dead Redeemer was pretty sweet, though.

What impressed me this game was a) how much Cub had learned from the last one, and b) that he thought through what he needed to do in order to win.  He used his Redeemer as a perfect distraction unit, took the necessary steps to secure objectives, and even tried to use units in support of one another.  Didn't always work out for him, but given this is only his third or fourth game, it shows some significant growth.  Well, done, kiddo.

Cub insisted on the glam shot.
Next post will probably be painting / modelling related, and then we're likely back to the once-a-week-I-hope schedule as normalcy and the associated busyness assert themselves.

Have yourselves a terrific end of 2014, and a not-too-hungover start to 2015.


Monday, December 29, 2014


Hi all,

With the new year fast approaching, it's time for one of my traditional "dear God, where has the last year gone?" posts.  I was just looking over my comments from this time last year, and it seems I was reasonably prescient.  The Quest for Work did indeed involve a fair bit of upheaval, in that we ended up moving half way across the country.  While there's still no word about whether this will last longer than the year's contract for which I was hired, we're making the most of the time that we're out here, especially in terms of spending time with the Cub.

Not to scale.  Quite.

As we slowly dig out from Christmas, I've had a chance to assess my "loot" for the year.  Against usual practise, I actually got some models this year (albeit with a bit of guidance), in the form of an Ork codex, some orky aircraft and several Deffkoptas.  I'm particularly partial to the orky air force (and have become rather fond of Deff Skwadron), so I'm looking forward to painting those up.  Books were absent this year, but I did get a rather nice collection of the first (and only) season of the Dresden files.  I'm a rabid fan of the books, but the series seems to have died a-borning, I think in part because it was rather divergent from the aforementioned books, which alienated the fan base.  I'm taking a leaf from the Beloved, who's a fan of both the Sookie Stackhouse books and series, and approaching the TV show on its own terms.  So far, it's been quite fun

You are now flying Ork air.  You poor bugger, you.

Of the list of geeky projects I set for myself back at the start of the year, I ended up making only limited progress on everything but Muskets and Tomahawks, where I did manage to finish my 400 point force.  Un-anticipated projects included getting a few points finished up for SAGA, rounding out a 1000 points of Bretonnians, and making a start on 40k orks.  In general hobby terms, however, it's been a bit of a slow year.  Some of that came of getting into pre-painted games like X-Wing, some came from getting right hooked on the Commander format of MtG, but honestly, a lot of it came from a year that was busy enough to put a real crimp on my time and energy.

That about sums it up.

I still feel the magpie nipping at me, and Lord knows I've got enough half-finished projects hanging about.  Unfortunately, the next four to six months are likely to be even more busy than the last six, as I'm taking on an even heavier work-load, as well as looking for alternatives should a permanent position not develop here.  While I'm definitely going to go with the "paint what you feel like painting" approach, there are two main things I'd like to make progress on over the following year:

1. Muskets and Tomahawks Acadie

While I've yet to put brush to mini on this project, I have been reading up a storm on it.  One of the advantages of living in a town that was founded to counter-balance Louisburg is that the local universities have a ton of resources on the subject.  I want to get something done on this in the next little while.  Terrain for this project is also something I'd like to work on.  In addition to the Christmas gifts I mentioned above, my Secret Santa send me a generous gift certificate to OG / Blue Moon, and I'm currently torn between some more minis (canoes, highlanders, guns) and buildings.  Both are rather appealing.  Nice to have these sorts of problems ;)

As opposed, say, to these types of problems.

2. Games Workshop (Brets and Orks)

My Bretonnians are what they've always been; my go-to when I want to do some fun painting.  The advent of the End Times in WFB has also blown the game wide open, and left loads of room for fun characters and army builds.  I finished up prepping the Bret lord I posted a while back, and have been waiting for the mood to strike to tackle him.  There's plenty of room in the army for small conversions as well, and the prospect of painting up a Bret Prophetess of the Lore of Undeath is giving me the giggles.

I tried explaining to the Beloved this was strictly for research purposes.

The Orks, as well as being one of the things I love about GW, are emerging as a real bonding point with the Cub, as he takes his first plunge down the rabbit hole.  As I write this, he's priming up a space marine bike ;)  While I may fit in some historical painting, I suspect the bulk of the gaming I do will be fantasy / sci-fi related.  I'm finding the orks to also be something of a change from the last time I did them, oddly enough, around the time of Cub's birth.  The last time I did them, it was primarily a footslogger force.  While that's where I've started them again, I'm having a ton of fun scratch-building and kit-bashing vehicles this time around, and may make this one a little more speed freaky.

I have no idea who Majestic Chicken is, but I like their style.

There's other stuff I might pick at to mix things up.  I still like ancients, still would like to add to my SAGA vikings and WWII stuff (even thinking about a scale shift on the latter).  I still lurk on TMP, God help me ;)  The thing is, I'm now working late at least two nights a week, weekends are for family, and it's harder and harder to shoe-horn in as much time for painting and playing as I once had.  This year, I think I'll cut myself some slack, and enjoy what I can, when I can.  If I don't post again before the turn, you've all got my best wishes for the new year,


Sunday, December 28, 2014

Inter-generational conflict


Got in 2(!!) games of 40k against the Cub post-Christmas, one at home, one at the G-dub, and both were a grand time.

First game was 500 points, on our somewhat small and terrain-lacking table at home.  Guess we'll need to look into some terrain options soon ;)

View from the right flank.  I think the deffkoptas had already blown up the razorback at this point.

The game was pretty straightforward.  Cub didn't seem too concerned with the whole "capture the objectives" aspect of the game, opting instead to charge forward everything that didn't carry a heavy weapon on foot.

On the left, a mob of shoota boys and the warboss engage the Chaplain and a combat squad.  On the far left, the Shoota Nob fights a challenge with the veteran sergeant.
This led to a huge barny in the centre of the table that saw the Chaplain stand alone against a huge mob of orks, and the Warboss, for something like 3-4 rounds of combat.  Fella earned himself a paintjob.

The Chaplain who wouldn't die.

This gave Cub the time to throw some more units into the meatgrinder, including his dreadnaught.

Grist for the mill.

Meanwhile, the deffkoptas and bikes engaged.

Battle of the skirmishers.

In the Big Barny, the dreadnaught and second wave of marines accounted for some orks, but the warboss managed to get in position against the dread.

Comin' tuh getcha!

Think I might break down, and paint the 'boss soon.  Note the Chaplain at the bottom, still swinging.

Once the warboss got stuck in, the fate of the dread was pretty much sealed.

List of rejected names for the dread':  Bob, Fred, Fluffy.

The Chaplain finally went down under the green tide, and the orky survivors piled into the 'copta / bike duel.

Not long now.
Orka Vikta!
Cub's doing much better these days with game etiquette, learning to take both success and failure in stride.  He's also learning from the games themselves.  After this one, we talked about the role objectives play in determining the outcome, and based on the results of the second game we played, he'd given it some thought.

But that's for next time ;)


Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Holly, jolly season.


First, and foremost, a very merry Christmas to you all.

Ye gods, the last couple of weeks have been busy!  End of semester has been thoroughly kicking my fundament, but grading is finished, the Cub is back with us, and I'm in to the traditional seasonal crash-bake.  Hobby progress has been a little slow, but I've been picking away at a few things, including getting the metals done across the infantry I used in the tournament a few weeks back, and working on a couple kit-bash projects.

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Batch painting.  Sloooooowly.

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Scratch-ish build battlewagon.  Some work, and lots of rivets, to go.

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Kitbash skorcha-buggy, Deffcopta base.

The big news is that I managed to set up a couple of trades, one with THMGer and Magpie aficionado AlexM, and another with a Bartertowner, for a pretty hefty selection of space marines and assorted doo-dads.  We now have at least a couple thousand points of Marines for the Cub to futz with, and he's spent the last several days digging through the box and giggling madly to himself.

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Big box.  Need a better storage system.

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Cub's growing Crusade.  Next up, a Deathwing terminator.

I fear I may have created a monster ;)  Post-Christmas, we'll see about getting out to the G-dub for a game.

Should get in a post or two before the new year, especially if we get in a game, but until then, a very merry Christmas to you all.  I wish you the joy of the season.


Saturday, December 6, 2014

Orks don't lose

"Orkses is never defeated in battle.  If we win, we win.  If we die, we die fighting so it don't count.  If we runs for it, we don't lsoe neither, cos we can come back for annuver go, see?"

Ork Codex, 3rd edition.

Got in a smashing day of 40k today, thanks to the generosity of the Beloved, who basically kicked me out of the house and told me to go have fun.  3 game tournament at the local GW, 1500 points, using the Maelstrom of War rules.  I have to say, aside from having a crazy fun time, what the afternoon brought home for me was how much the game has changed.  What I remember from the last time I played 40k (8-10 years ago) is that while I had fun playing with friends, the rules tended to prompt nagging frustration due to their inconsistencies.  While I'm sure there's still a bit of that about, and while they're not as crisp as some rules I've played, they have improved by orders of magnitude from what I remember.  Vehicles work, psychic powers work, the game has far more variety, more things to do and potential interactions, but my overall sense is that this adds to the game, rather than rendering it overly complex or confused.

And this is just the Blood Bowl team.

The Maelstrom of War rules add a whole other level to the game.  These introduce a more complex range of in-game objectives, and make them fluid and varying throughout the game.  This in turn adds a level of engagement to the game that hasn't existed before, in my experience.  Tactics goes beyond unit match-ups, and becomes about anticipating likely scoring opportunities; movement and combat become means to ends, rather than ends in themselves.

 I ran the following list:


HQ 1:  Warboss, h. armour, skorcha, PK, bosspole, Finkin Cap, cybork body
HQ2: Painboy
Troop 1:  20 Shoota boys, 2 big shootas, nob, boss pole, big choppa
Troop 2:  20 Shoota boys, 2 big shootas, nob, boss pole, Pclaw
Troop 3:  Runtherd and 10 grots
E1: 15 Tankbustas, 2 Tankhammers, 2 Bomb Squigs, Nob w. bosspole
FA1: Deffkopta, rokkits 
FA2:  Deffkopta, rokkits
FA3:  Deffkopta, rokkits


HQ:  Big Mek, KFF, ‘eavy armour
Troop 1:  Runtherd and 10 grots
Troop 2:  20 Slugga boys, nob, boss pole, Pclaw
HS:  Battlewagon, Killkannon, Kannon, ‘ard top, 3 Big Shootas, reinforced ram, grot riggers, wrecking ball
FA1: Deffkopta, rokkits 

FA2:  Rokkit Buggy
FA3: Deffkopta, rokkits 
HS: Lobba, ammo runt

I'm sure there's some points sunk in there, especially in the Battlewagon, but overall, it performed pretty well.  There are enough bodies in there to give the list some durability, it's got excellent anti-infantry capability, and enough mobility to both take advantage of it's shooting and seize objectives.  If there was a unit that seemed to under-perform, it was the lobba, which didn't do much in any game.  I might try them in larger numbers, and see if that works better.  As much as I like the look of the double turret B-Wagon, the regular cannon didn't see much play.  Basically it functioned like a longer range rokkit most of the time.  I'll run it a few more times to see if the added range gives it some more flexibility.  I do think the list is a little weak against heavy armour and fliers.  Not sure what I'd drop to squeeze that in, though.

Over the course of the day, I got in three games.

Game 1:  Tyranids

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Big thing in the middle, I think, is a "Tervigon".  Think Brood Mother from Aliens.

This was a nice, balanced list, with several shooty warrior units, some genestealers, some sporemines, a Tervigon (big beasty that poops little beasties), and a rather cool flying formation consisting of a bunch of gargoyles with a Hive Tyrant all in one combined unit.

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Such a cool unit.  Reminds me of the old Skink / Kroxigor mix.

The game involved us both pushing forward to seize objectives, picking up a few opportunity VPs along the way.

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Behold the majesty of Ork deployment!

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'Stealers, stealin'.

I worked my Deffcoptas around the flanks, sniping off targets when I could.  His stealers pushed forward through the rough terrain in the middle of the board, while on my right, tankbustas and shoota boys took up a solid position in a hill with ruins.

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Climbing Mount Orklympus.

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Shootas move up to claim an objective.

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The Fortress of Orkytude.  Close to 40 orks on that hill.

The 'stealers went down, mostly to shooting on the left, while in the centre, my Fortress of Orkitude came under assault from the combined force of the Tyranid air wing, the Tervigon, and her (somewhat limited, thanks to a bad early role by my opponent) brood.

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The sluggas on the left never really got into this game.

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Here they come.

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Let the best ork win.

Overwatch took out a chunk of the fliers, but a fair number made it in, and carnage swept across the hill.  The Hive Tyrant challenged my Warboss, who accepted, and held his own through the first round of combat.

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Tankbustas mostly wiped out, but so are most of the fliers.

We called the game at 2 and a half turns, with my opponent holding more victory points.  While it didn't affect my enjoyment of the game at all, I do think that playing uneven rounds is a bit of a problem in a tournament setting; giving one player more opportunities to achieve objectives introduces a basic imbalance to the game.  One the other hand, I don't know how you could arrange things in a time-limited format to ensure everyone gets the same number of turns.  On the plus side, the imbalance worked to my benefit in game 2 ;)

Game 2: Chaos

My opponent ran a pretty fun list, some Nurgled up Chaos Marines and Cultists, along with a Bloodthirster, the big spider-thing with a cannon (Defiler?), a Hellbrute, and a Helldrake (along with some summoned bloodletters).

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Cover.  Sweet, glorious cover.

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The soon-to-be killing ground.

I had a  nice selection of ruins across most of my front, and da boyz made the most of them, rushing up to control objectives and set up some decent fire lanes.  Deffcoptas and buggies manouvred to get shots on the big gribblies, and the sluggas looked for something to slug.

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Bloodletters have popped in on the top left.  Slugga boys are looking for a fight with their big brother.

My opponent moved the bulk of his forces forward, into the centre, looking for the cover of some trees.

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Helldrake has popped in.  Bloodthirster is about to learn its lesson.

A key moment in the game came when he tried to charge his Bloodthirster into some woods to nail my sluggas, and came up just short.  This left it exposed, and caught between multiple, biggish, ork units, which proceeded to shoot the bejesus out of it, and then assault.

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Hey, where'd the big red guy go?

Despite the presence of the Helldrake in my backfield, things went my way pretty consistently from that point on.  I wiped out both units of cultists, most of the Chaos Marines, and the hellbrute, and managed to get in some good shots on the Defiler as well.

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Another turn, and the Tankbustas would be assaulting the Defiler.

The game ended, again with the first turn player picking up an extra turn, and in the lead (this time, me).  1-1 for the orks.

Game 3: Necrons

My opponent in the third game turned out to be the same guy I played my third game against in the WFB tournament a while back, and I had as much fun playing him this time as last.  He ran Necrons, with some warriors, some of the big, chunky warriors (Immortals?), some more of those in a flyer with nasty guns, a flyer with what seemed be an honest to god death ray, some hitty, wraith-type things, and a couple of floaty-walker things with some more nasty guns (one of which made anything else shooting at it's target twin-linked).  Necrons have gotten some new toys since I last played them, along with some background, and it makes them a fair bit more interesting.

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Cover is still good, but on this table, it broke up the horde a little.

Cover had served me well so far, and I figured I'd take advantage of it again, as I looked to set up the shootas in fire-bases with cover, and do my best to get the sluggas and tankbustas where they could do the most good, and in one piece.  Battlewagon and lobba set up centrally to maximise shooting options, while the grots camped an objective.

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Those grots on the left will have a bad time before the game's over.

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Necrons have durability, mobility, and firepower.  Nice combination!

Tankbustas and sluggas moved up on the hill in the middle of the table, which was prize real-estate, having two objectives.  This also put hem in the middle of a pile of overlapping fire zones.  You win some, you lose some.

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Once again, the Fortress of Orkytude takes shape.

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As the Cub has said, "What's with all the skulls?!?"

I seemed to be holding my own, but then his fliers started to hit the field.  One had a seriously nasty weapon with pretty flexible firing arcs.  I figured my battlewagon would be safe hunkered down behind a building.

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B-Wagon and grots are about to be visited by the Necron Air Wing

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This thing managed to fly in, and get a martian death ray attack on the rear of the B-Wagon.  It's buddy dropped a squad of Immortals in front of the grots.  Sometimes, bad things happen to good orks.

Turns out, when stuff can fly in behind you and scorch your rear armour with a suped-up lazcannon, not much is safe ;)

I clinched the win in the second turn with a sacrifice move by my Deffcoptas, three of which turbo-boosted deep behind the Necron lines.  I had an objective that let me score d3 victory points if I had 3 or more units within 12" of the opposing table edge.  While I figured they'd die the next turn (they did), the risk was worth it, and as it turned out, I got a 3 on the roll, putting me over the top.  Had the game gone on, I think the Necron's resilience would have pulled it out, but I was happy to walk away with the win.

The Maelstrom rules reward thoughtful play.  Careful management of objectives can let you realize more than one at once, and sets interesting priorities in the game.  Sacrifice plays, like with my Deffcoptas, become viable, and control of space becomes importance, not because all objectives have value all the time (you need the appropriate card to claim victory points for the objective you control), but to maximize the future potential opportunities, and to deny them to your opponent.

I'll be continuing to paint up these guys, as both the painting and playing is turning out to be more rewarding than I expected.  Once I get past the 15th or so, I should get a little more time for painting, and should be able to get some done on both da Boyz and those Mass. militia who've been dogging me.

BIG thanks to all three of my opponents, and the staff at DG, who as always have been super-friendly and helpful.  Da boyz will be back.