Friday, October 24, 2014

hyv3mynd - Breaking the Blogging Silence

Before I get into the meat of this post, I need to give thanks.  Thanks to those readers who've continued to stop by and give us some page views and comments this year.  We don't advertise or make money on page clicks, but for my fellow authors, seeing traffic and getting comments is one of the few rewarding things about blogging.  I also need to thank my fellow club-mates and authors for continuing to write and post in my absence this year.

I started this blog for years ago ("synaps3" back then) to pursue a competitive career with the Tyranid army and document the process, maybe even connecting with other hobbyists along the way.  As the years passed, I eventually gave up on the Tyranid army but my competitive drive remained strong.

Last year I came close to achieving a competitive goal, playing at the top of the pack at DaBoyz GT, the only GT I typically attend each year.  My experiences at the top tables changed everything though.  I got a first-hand taste of the "dark side" of competitive 40k while facing off with some of the biggest names in the American competitive scene.  I'm not naive and I've heard my share of stories, but experiencing these things first hand left me pretty disillusioned.  When it came time to write my obligatory battle reports for the blog, I couldn't bring myself to do it.  I didn't want to call people out and tarnish any reputations, but I couldn't bring myself to write a falsely cheerful report and claim I had "good games".  The result was the death of my blogging drive, as well as my hobby participation.

For 6 months,  I didn't even pick up a paint brush and only attended a couple local events.  You know the phrase: "Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it".  Well, I wanted to be a top tier competitor and I got my wish, and I wasn't ready for what I encountered.  I need a hobby though; I need an artistic outlet, a fun game to play, a reason to hang out with friends I've made over the years.  I eventually re-motivated myself with a new purpose:  I've tasted enough victory on the table, now I wanted to tap my potential in the appearance/painting department.

Something on my 40k bucket list was to expand on my nurgle/CSM collection and get into some deep converting as conversions have always been something my GT armies have lacked.  So it was that this past summer, just before 7th edition was released, I began a new adventure to attempt my personal best conversions with daemons to use as an allied detachment for my CSM.

Needless to say, my inner competitor was pleasantly surprised with the changes that 7th edition brought to my new hobby project.  Shrouded jinking FMC's, biomancy powers imroved to straight +3's instead of d3's, and the new mechanics of the malefic psychic powers.

I had begun with a daemon prince conversion using a head from the fantasy charybdis model that I saw a lot of potential with.

I used a superglue & white glue technique documented here for blending the bits and creating corrupt flesh.

I've also had this idea of creating a Great Unclean One conversion using a fantasy giant.

The concept was to make him like an oversized plague bearer with asymmetrical features and a giant gaping mouth in his gut.

During my searches for inspiration on the internet, I also stumbled upon another daemon prince conversion that tickled my fancy so I created my own rendition.

This one used a plague drone body with bits from trolls, mutalith, and tyranids.

I've also been sitting on this beast  model from the fantasy chariot which I really wanted to use, so I made it a "counts-as" palanquin for a herald.

Here are some shots of the nearly finished models just before the Beef & Wing Brawl.


Daemon Prince #1:

Daemon Prince #2:

The full WIP thread for this army project can be viewed here.

And so, I ended up with 4 really cool converted models which I fell in love with.  I just needed to make them work in a list.  Beef & Wing is a Buffalo based club which has kinda been a "sister club" to us over the years.  The formed up around the same time we did and their member share similar view of the game and hobby.  This year, the decided to host their first large event dubbed the "Beef & Wing Brawl".  To show support, every member of our club The Grand Strategery cleared our schedule to attend their event.  Here's the list I drew up to use all my newly converted and painted models.

Daemons - 1250pts
Great Unclean One + 2 greater, 1 lesser rewards, ml3
Herald of Nurgle + palanquin, FnP locus, ml1, greater reward
Nurglings x7
Nurglings x3
Daemon Prince of Nurgle + wings, ml3, 2 greater, 1 lesser rewards
Daemon Prince of Nurgle + wings, ml3, 2 greater, 1 lesser rewards

I've come to despise tournament time limits over the years so this list was also a dream to play with only 17 models.  It started as a 6th edition modeling/painting army, but became a 7th edition powerhouse with the changes to biomancy and addition of malefic powers.  As you've read in my co-authors' recaps, the event was a big success with 34 players and some of the best terrain around.

This time, I wasn't taking pictures constantly with the intent to blog the battle reports.  I was playing an army I had enjoyed creating, with a small model count and very little time related stress. Yes, the shrouded MC's loaded with biomancy and summoned reinforcements ended up being VERY tough on the table for an army that began as a conversion project.  However, the event ended up being very enjoyable for me with good terrain and friendly competition from all the local clubs.

After some very hard-fought games including a final round against my close friend and co-author Crispy, I ended up 4-0 and received my very first trophy from a large event.

It's ironic that after four years of focus on competitive gaming, my first big finish came from pursuing a hobby project.  It also helped finish this chapter of soul-searching.  I no longer feel my top priority needs to be competitive list design and am at peace with the side of me that just wants to sit and paint cool models.

I've been feeling down on myself for being unproductive for 6 months, but coming home with a trophy helped restore my confidence and pride.  I've started cleaning up the man cave again and took a moment to appreciate some of the projects  from the years.

Not pictured are the Tyranids I devoted 2010 to, but this book case contains my GT armies from 2011 (GK), 2012 (DE), 2013 (Eldar), and 2014 (Daemons).  The change to GW's release schedule and relative power level of new books has also put me in the position for the first time ever to reuse armies with very little overhaul.

I won't make any grand promises as a competitive gamer and blogger, but I do return with a fresh view of the hobby and hope to share some new entertaining and informative articles in the months to come.


  1. Welcome back and congrats again on your win. That was a tough list to play against. Looking forward to seeing more posts here.

  2. My gaming group is also constantly strugling to find the right balance between competitive and good fun. We find that 7th edition makes for very extreme lists that tend to make games onesided. Big wins and big losses. The occasional game that is thrilling to the wire is a welcome sight. Hobby projects like new terrain and a Bloodbowl team are nice on the side to keep the hobby fun. So I can relate to what you are saying.

    Awesome conversions! And good to see that you're back. Looking forward to more.


  3. Welcome back! I am a new fan of this blog and I look forward to seeing what you will do. Thanks!

  4. Congrats on the win! Those are some absolutely lovely models.

    I would highly suggest looking for narrative, or friendly events. They are a lot more relaxed, and you find extremely fun lists (such as ork walkers), which would never have a chance in the competitive circuit.

    I've also found when the tournaments get really big (like 200 players), even the GT's are fun, as you will be knocked into a different bracket with slightly less hardcore players if you lose a match or two. Then you end up playing with people who are there more for fun, then to utterly crush their opponents.

  5. I too aaron have found some success with tyranids after changing the ways I view competitive gaming. the tyranids started out as a hobby/highlander type army and has evolved into a competitive beast this edition. But I also look at my games differently. Almost every game I play is down to the wire and Ive never had so much fun with an army....Fluff hobby and in-game. Its really revived 40k for me. I am glad to see you found that type of zen with demons.

  6. Glad to have you back! Would love to see more of your great battle reports, especially when they feature your awesome Dark Eldar! Dust those grots off, the new book has been kind to them ;)

  7. Thanks for the kind words everyone.

    I'm not going to go hardcore with the battle reports anymore. The focus on reporting detracts from my gameplay, at least in tournaments.

    Joe- I actually have some really fun ideas with the new DE book. After I run my daemons at daboyz GT next month, I might dial back and play some fun lists with the dark circus again.


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