Thursday, 30 December 2010

One Year Old :) & Painting Motivation



Hi,

Happy Birthday Blog

One year ago I started this blog, and it's been a very pleasant and interesting experience. I've really enjoyed interacting with other bloggers and being inspired to try out new ideas from the comments I've received and other blogs I read. So to all of you that have commented or just popped by for a browse - thanks.

As I move into my second year of blogging I want to improve my blogging. One thing I've noticed is that I can sometimes be erratic with my blogging, from 11 posts one month to only 3 another. I try to average 4 or so posts a month, but I'm going to try and have more of a schedule, which means I'll start planning posts in advance more.

However you're the readers, so what do you like and what would you like to see more of ? Is it battle reports, going through my thought process when I build a list, tactics and unit commentaries ?

Painting

Another thing having a blog means is that everything is caught in black and white, and it clearly shows up that I haven't done anywhere near as much painting as a wanted this year.

It's always hard when you look at all the grey plastic and metal and think how long it's going to take to get the army fully painted.

Some steps I done recently that has helped me are:

  • Having a clear space set-out. The picture above of my desk used to have my laptop on it, but now I leave the models I'm converting/painting out. Having the models sitting there staring at you really inspires me to get at least something done each night. Tonight I took apart an old razorback I bought from ebay in readiness for repainting in the colour scheme of my space wolves.
  • Try to get a bit done each day. Even if it's only half an hour, it all adds up.
  • Mix it up to stop me getting bored. It can be really be a put off when it's the 13th marine in a row you're painting. On my desk is a rhino I'm in the process of repainting, a grey hunter squad I'm in the middle of painting, 2 Vypers that are being converted into Venoms, and even a Ravager that is being converted. Having different tasks mean I can mix and match to always keep it fresh.
These are my best tips on how I keep motivated. Have you got any good tips to share ?

Rathstar

Sunday, 26 December 2010

[Warmachine] In the service of the Creator



Hi,

Firstly seasons greetings to all, I hope you've had a nice time. I had a great relaxing day with the family.


My Menoth Army Grows

My Menoth army has been slowly growing, so much so that I've nearly filled the small Army Transport case that they're in. I think I've nearly got everything I want to get (as if gamers ever stop). I just want to add some Wracks (to complement Reznik, and give the High Reclaimer extra focus), a Reckoner (cause they seem cool) and Vilmon (to compliment my 2 paladins).


Although I bought Rhoven and his bodyguards I've never been able to build a list where I'd be tempted to put them in so I'll probably sell them on ebay, but if anyone thinks that's a mistake do pipe up.

Here's a list of what I have so far:

High Reclaimer
Epic Kreoss
Prime Kreoss
Reznik

Vanquisher
3 Crusaders

2 Revengers
2 Repenters
1 Redeemer

10 Flameguard
6 Delivers
6 Errants
5 Bastions
6 Choir

Reclaimer
Knights Exemplar Seneschal
2 Paladins

If I add the reckoner I think I have the models to do various balanced army lists. Do you think I'm missing any crucial elements that something I have can't partially make up for.

Another strange points to my collection is the lack of unit attachments. In most cases when I'm building a list I find that it's better to have more models that have the sometimes situational ability of a unit attachment. Maybe this comes from playing 40k where I'm ruthless in deciding whether to spend points on upgrades. So far in my games I haven't felt that having an unit attachment at the expense of having a smaller army would have been better. Has you playing experience shown you otherwise ? Other fractions unit attachments I can see their worth, but the ones of the units I have seem very meh to me.

The 35 pt list I've been using has performed well, and I think it's more my tactics than the list that needs to improve. Here's the list I'm using let me know what you think of it, particularly any weakness I may not have had exploited yet:

eKreoss -6 pts
2 Crusaders 12 pts
10 Flamerguard 6 pts
6 Errants 5 pts
6 Delivers 5 pts
5 Bastions 8 pts
6 Choir 3 pts
Reclaimer 2 pts


Too Much Aggression Can Kill

My local club had the last week of it's warmachine campaign. To get more games in the last week was just mangled metal, so I took eKreoss, 2 Crusaders & the Fire of Salvation. As I expected it was nasty being on the end of enemy shooting without having any response.

However the biggest learning I got was losing both games I played because I was too aggressive with my warcaster. The temptation to get your warcaster stuck in, especially when they have nice melee skills (such as eKreoss' P+S 14 armour piercing attack), should be avoided in the early game at all costs.

In my second game I was against a Khador list using a Witch with 2 shooting heaviers and a light arc node. I ran the Fire of Salvation into melee range of both the heavies (otherwise they were just moving away and shooting every turn), with a +2 Arm buff I was hoping he'd survive. Next turn I feated and charged one crusader into one heavy and eKreoss and a damaged crusader into the light jack. Kreoss did 19 points of damage to the light jack with his charge attack, and finished it off with the second bonus feat turn attack, leaving the damaged crusader with nothing to do. The other crusader and the damaged fire of salvation with lots of focus did a number on the 2 heavies (killing one and damaging the other significantly).

Although it was nice to do nice damage with the Kreoss the light jack was no threat with a crusader who would get 3 attacks (auto hitting) next to it. Kreoss should have only moved up far enough to make sure he was in feat range. Because of my aggression, even though I was "winning" the game (I had an untouched crusader, and 2 damaged heavies against 1 heavily damaged heavy), my opponent was able to get a charge on my caster with his and with full focus kill him off for the win.


Next steps for the Army

My local club are starting up another campaign in the new year, so I'll be able to get in more games, and there's lots of interest in warmachine at the club with about 8-10 players wanting to plat in the campaign.

I've also bought come resin bases for the army to match the initial battlegroup I bought off ebay, so I'll be working on getting the army painted over the next year (click here to see the company that makes them). Over the next year, as well as painting up my Menoth I'll be starting my second warmachine fraction which is Cryx. As I've got my Menoth in a state where I can play vaious army lists I'll be only assembling what I'm painting for the Cryx to give me an incentive to get them painted.


I'd love to take my Menoth to a tournament next year, but I'll have to see if there's a local one (suggestions appreciated), however my main tournament playing will be with 40k next year.

Rathstar

Saturday, 11 December 2010

[Dark Eldar] Thoughts on the Venom


[This pic is from a blog showing how to convert a venom,
please go to the bottom of this post for a link to it]


Hi,

I've been considering what has worked well in my first few Dark Eldar games, and discussing the various units with my mate whose also restarted playing Dark Eldar.

I was concerned about the lack of infantry firepower I had in my list. Most of my firepower came in the form of dark lances, which are great against tanks but overkill against infantry. In my test games my assault units were forced to assault almost untouched enemy units as I didn't have the firepower spare to soften them up first.

I was also didn't feel like the warriors were really pulling their weight, and were only in the list to fill out the troop choices and give me access to another raider dark lance. I thought that if I stripped the warrior squads down to 5 models I could probably fit in a very small unit of Trueborn with the warriors and Trueborn all in venoms. So let's take a look at the Venom.

Comparing the Venom to the Raider there are two main differences. The first is the transport capacity is only 5. As I mentioned previously I don't think incubi at only 5 models are effective, and other assault units need to bigger. Therefore we're left with Trueborn and Warriors that can use them best. The Trueborn can be mini sniper squads with 2 dark lances or can get up close with multiple blasters. The warrior squads in venom are less effective than Trueborn, but have the advantage of being cheap scoring units.

The second main difference is the armament. The Venom has a cannon and can get a second one for only 10 pts. Being defensive weapons both cannons can be fired after moving 12". This can add a lot to softening up enemy infantry squads before wyches charge them, plus it makes monstrous creatures cry.

So let's look at what changes I can make to my current army list to fit in the Venom. I liked the performance of everything in my list apart from the warrior squads so let's lose those:

10 Warriors with Dark Lance, Blaster, transported in Raiders with Aethersails is 190 pts each, so I have 380 pts to play with.

As I'd be worried dropping down to only 4 troop choices let's replace these with:

2 units of 5 Warriors with Blaster each transported in a Venom with a second cannon at 125 pts each, leaving me with 130 pts left to play with. Note that if you don't like warriors, you can have 5 wracks with a liquifier gun for the same cost.

3 Trueborn with 3 Blasters in a Venom with second cannon comes out at 146 pts putting me 16 pts over. In my list I was able to find the points by downgrading an Agoniser to a venom blade and using a spare point I was below the points limit.

So I've lost 4 dark lances, but gained 3 venoms to add anti-infantry and 3 Trueborn blasters to partially make up for the loss of dark lances. I also have more mobile warrior squads. I've lost some models (6 less), but have added an 11th vehicle.

My hope is that the list is more balanced between anti-tank and anti-infantry. My only gripe is that the heavy support has to be 3 ravagers to keep the number of dark lances up to a respectable level (14), meaning my lovely converted Talos doesn't make the list.

My revised list looks like this:

Succubus - 85
Agoniser

Haemonculus - 55
Venom Blade


6 Incubi - 132
in Raider with Dark Lance and Enhanced Aethersail - 65

3 Trueborm with Blasters - 81
in Venom with 2nd Splinter Cannon - 65


9 Wracks - 90
in Raider with Dark Lance and Enhanced Aethersail - 65

9 Wyches with Hekatrix with Venom Blade - 105
in Raider with Dark Lance and Enhanced Aethersail - 65

10 Wyches with Hekatrix with Agoniser - 130
in Raider with Dark Lance and Enhanced Aethersail - 65

10 Wyches with Hekatrix with Venom Blade- 115
in Raider with Dark Lance and Enhanced Aethersail - 65

5 Warriors with Blaster - 60
in Venom with 2nd Splinter Cannon - 65

5 Warriors with Blaster - 60
in Venom with 2nd Splinter Cannon - 65


Ravager with 3 Dark Lances - 105

Ravager with 3 Dark Lances - 105

Ravager with 3 Dark Lances - 105


Total: 1748 Pts, 70 Models (including 11 vehicles), 14 Dark Lances, 6 Splinter Cannons & 5 Blasters

Let's me know what your thoughts on the Venom and/or my revised list are ? What do you think is the right balance between Dark Lances to kill tanks and Splinter/Disintegrator Cannons to kill infantry.

Now I just have to think up the best way to convert the Venom. The picture at the top of this post is from another blog which showed how to convert one from a viper and a raider. Click here to see the blog post.

Rathstar

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

First Warmachine Games & Initial Thoughts


After dithering on my choice of Warmachine faction (I really like some of the Retribution models) I decided to actually start with one of the 4 main factions, and in my case it was Menoth. The models for the jacks, bastitions and errants caught my eye. I also liked the fact they have to use synergy between their unit abilities to make the best use of their army.

I was lucky in that after winning an auction on ebay for the metal starter set (plus a unit of errants) and posting for army list advice on my local club's forum, I found out that someone at my local club was selling some Menoth models, so I was able to pick up a choir, delivers, flameguard, 2 heavy jacks, 3 light jacks & the high reclaimer for £70. To finish off I won another two auctions on ebay for another crusader and 6 flameguard to finish off the unit.

First Game

My first game of Warmachine was with a 35 point Epic Kreoss list:

Epic Kreoss -6 pt
Crusader 6 pt
Crusader 6 pt
Repenter 4 pt
Temple Flameguard (Officer, Standard, Leader & 9 Grunts) 8 pt
Exemplar Errants (Leader & 5 Grunts) 5 pt
Exemplar Bastions (Leader & 4 Grunts) 8 pt
Reclaimer 2 pt
Choir (Leader & 3 Grunts) 2 pt

I was up against another Menoth list using Amon and loads of light jacks:

Amon -6 pt
4 Dervishes 16 pt
3 Vigilants 12 pt
1 Devout 5 pt
2 Choirs (each consisting of Leader & 3 Grunts) 4 pt
Covenant 2 pt
3 Wracks 1 pt

The game was fun, and was very bloodthirsy on both sides. My flameguard took the brunt of the initial fighting, and Amon's ability to give his jacks +1 to hit and damage for each previous hit in the turn made them very destructive, but it was bit of overkill against my infantry.

When I feated and charged in my crusaders they smashed light jacks easily, and the choir meant that on the further turns my jacks were still hitting the opponents light jacks (even with their poor MAT stat).

One nice combo I did with the flameguard was to put a +3 armour buff on them from kreoss, and trigger the UA's mini feat which game them +4 arm while they were in shield wall formations the turn before they were charged by a few of Amon's jacks

In the end Amon ran out of jacks. I think my opponent list suffered from having too many so that he couldn't give them all enough focus, while I had two heavy jacks which I could give enough focus to to ensure they wrecked which ever light jack they were attacking. I discussed the game with my opponent and he said he should have put a couple of heavy jacks in the list, as his lights lacked the strength to dent my heavy jacks enough before they were wrecked.

I wasn't too impressed with the light jacks (especially considering when it was only 1 or 2 pts more for a crusader). I also liked the abilities of the covenant, but I thought I would try using the models I had before I bought too many more models.

Game 2

The following week I was against a Khador list with widowmakers (stealth snipers), supporting them was eiryss, the mercenary that throws bombs. To bring the hitting power was some troll type models with a character. So overall the army was quite small with the expensive combat troops and all the solos and characters.

I liked my crusaders so much I decided to put 3 into the list, at the expense of the repenter and the flameguard unit attachment. The final list was:

Epic Kreoss -6 pt
Crusader 6 pt
Crusader 6 pt
Crusader 6 pt
Temple Flameguard (Leader & 9 Grunts) 6 pt
Exemplar Errants (Leader & 5 Grunts) 5 pt
Exemplar Bastions (Leader & 4 Grunts) 8 pt
Reclaimer 2 pt
Choir (Leader & 3 Grunts) 2 pt

This game I had to run at the enemy being snipered by the widowmakers. Luckily Kreoss had the spell that if you killed a model in the unit you were knocked down which stopped the widowmakers moving away if they wanted to fire and stopped a character the enemy had from firing twice if he stayed still to get the aiming bonus.

However once I got accross the board the window makers died to combined melee attacks from the remaining flameguard. The enemy combat units were also outnumbered and eventually dragged down by crusaders and bastions.

This game I really lacked any shooting power and facing such a shooty force showed me that I might need to add some firepower to have a more balanced force. I also loved the bastions ability to spread damage, it can keep models in combat from dying by spreading the damage to other models further away from combat or you can just let the models in combat range die to waste the opponents attacks, in my case the front two bastions had been charged by two enemy models, so I let them both die from the first model's attacks by first spreading the damage to other other one and then letting the first one die to the second hits, meaning the other model that had charged the bastions had nothing to kill.

Game Three & Four

For games three and four I decided to drop one of the crusaders to get a min unit of delivers, and with the spare point I increased the choir to 6 models, as a few stray AOEs could easily take out most of the unit and they were essential for buffing the crusaders.

For my third game I played Merc force that spammed AOEs. My first rude awakening was when I advanced forwards ensuring that when my opponent advanced the AOE would still be out of range, only to find out in my opponents shooting phase that AOEs don't automatically miss if they are out of range like in 40k, they just scatter from the maxiumum range.

In the first couple of turns I got a bit lucky with the AOE scatter and didn't lose too many models. The match ended with one crusader smacking some infantry that was next to the other one, allowing the scond crusader to be loaded up with focus from the reclaimer and charge enemy caster and lay the smack down :)

My fourth game was against Circle, my first Hordes opponent. Nasty druids kept pulling my models forwards and backwards. Kreoss' upkeep spell was very useful knocking a few down when they killed flameguard.

The early game changing event was a beast charging my furthest forward bastion. He had an ability to make a full advance after he killed a model (ie. get away from any retribution). After checking the rules I transfered nearly all the damage to the rest of the unit, meaning the beast couldn't get away. One charge from a full focus loaded crusader with choir buff and the beast was dead.

I made a mistake this turn and before I feated and charged the crusader I charged some of the flameguard into another beast that had flamed half the deliverers, so unfortunately they didn't benefit from the feat and didn't do much damage.

Late game, I'd killed most of the infantry and 2 beasts were dead, and still had quite a sizable army left. Unfortunately I strayed to close to the action with my caster, and the druids shot him and dragged him forwards to be charged by an unwounded heavy beast. Even though he'd camped most of his focus, after the attacks I only had 5 hit points left. Counter charging with a crusader and attacking with kreoss failed to kill it.

Note that I had fogotten that Kreoss could do a special action attack that would push the beast back so I could have put models between Kreoss and the beast.

Next turn the beast did the final few hit points and I lost. Point to learn is always be careful of your caster, particularly around units that can move opponents models.

I also made a couple of more mistakes. I left the delivers too far forwards and a beast was able to move forwards and flame most of the unit killing half of them. Better positioning of them would have allowed them to make a much better impact by throwing 5" AOEs into the druids (even though they had stealth such a large AOE would have killed a few). I also left the errants on the right flank away from the action (I was thinking of the mission objective which was to control areas of the battlefield). If they had been able to be more in the action they could easily have helped Kreoss from being killed with their weaponmaster attacks. I think I should concentrate on keeping my caster safe and stopping my opponent from getting the mission objective win above trying to get the mission objective so early.

So far I've had lots of fun playing warmachine, and will definetely be trying to get more games in. Unfortunately the main group of mates I game with are not interested in starting Warmachine, but there's a campaign at my local club which I'm involved in, and a few people in other Berkshire clubs which have started up playing.

The main thing I've learnt is that Menoth is a counter attack army, due to it's slow speed. The cheap flameguard are essential to receive the first enemy attacks. However it is essential that they are not thrown away, and that they are used to ensure that the counter attack is as destructive as possible. If it's timed well and the counter attack is combined with Kreoss' feat it can be game over. However as always you must be careful not to overextend your army in the mopping up process which might put your caster at risk.

What's your thoughts on Warmachine ? Have you got a fraction and what are you thoughts on Menoth ? I've just bought a second fraction, and will be detailing my choice in a future post. What are you favorite fractions, and/or Menoth casters ?

Rathstar

Saturday, 13 November 2010

[Dark Eldar] First Game with New Book

I was expecting to go down to my local club on thursday, but instead I was invited round my mates. I took my Dark Eldar to see how they would fair.

Since I made my initial list, I was thinking of going cheap on the HQ (by using a succubus rather than an archon) so I could fit in an venom, thinking that I could fit the incubi in it. My thinking was that as the HQ would be going with a large squad and the succubus came with a 4+ dodge save it would better to have the extra vehicle as everyone knows how easy Dark Eldar vehicles blow up under fire.

After finding out that the venom could only hold 5 rather than 6 models I decided that a basic raider would be better as I didn't want to reduce the incubi down to 5. So my revised list was:

Succubus - 85
Agoniser

Haemonculus - 55
Venom Blade

6 Incubi - 132
in Raider with Dark Lance and Enhanced Aethersail - 65

9 Wracks - 90
[joined by Succubus]
in Raider with Dark Lance and Enhanced Aethersail - 65

9 Wyches with Champion with Agoniser & Blaster Pistol - 135
[joined by Haemonculus]
in Raider with Dark Lance and Enhanced Aethersail - 65

10 Wyches with Champion with Agoniser & Blaster Pistol - 145
in Raider with Dark Lance and Enhanced Aethersail - 65

10 Wyches with Champion with Venom Blade- 115
in Raider with Dark Lance and Enhanced Aethersail - 65

10 Warriors with Splinter Cannon & Blaster - 115
in Raider with Dark Lance - 60

10 Warriors with Splinter Cannon & Blaster - 115
in Raider with Dark Lance - 60

Ravager with 3 Dark Lances - 105

Ravager with 3 Dark Lances - 105

Talos - 100

Totals: 1742 Pts, 75 models

As I was 8 pts under I gave one of my raiders the ability to tank shock, but it didn't have any effect on the game.

I was playing against a Lysander army that had a drop pod contigent of Lysander with a tactical squad, and 2 dreadnaughts. The troops consisted of the drop podding tactical squad, another tactical squad with a lascannon & a small unit of scouts. These were supported by a landraider full of 5 assault terminators, a vindicator and a whirlwind.

We rolled up kill points, and spearhead deployment, plus I got to go first. On top of that I got the reroll to wound in close combat as the combat drug result. Rather than do a full battle report I'm going to go through the units I used and how I thought they performed.

A quick battle summary is that I lost 12-8 in kill points, when setting up I was careful to have my ravagers completely surrounded by raiders, but when I moved in turn 1 the two back raiders moved away to get shots allowing both dreadnaughts to deepstrike behind the ravagers on turn one. One went down then and the second shortly afterwards. Losing 6 dark lances early really hampered my tank killing (especially with 2 dreadnaughts in my lines).

So my first learning for the new codex compared to the old codex is the significant difference in the distribution of the dark lances. Before I had 9 dark lances spread between 6 infantry units, now in 5th edition vehicles are much tougher to kill so require more dark lances to destroy, plus nearly half my dark lances are concentrated in 2 armour 11 open topped vehicles so they must be hidden and protected as much as possible. Although I still use a talos (as I have a nicely converted model) it may be time for me to assemble a 3rd ravager, plus although the splinter cannons were nice on the warrior squads I'll have to spend the extra points to get extra dark lances. Doing both these chances would increase the dark lance total from 13 to 18.

Unit Performances

Succusbus: She didn't get an opportunity to shine, as when her raider was blown up she failed the pinning test and so her and her unit of wracks was charged by assault terminators the following turn. An archon or special character would have faired just as bad because even if they survived the attacks they would also have run away with the last 3 members of the squad and never been able to rally.

Wracks: These had the same fate as the succubus, so I'll to give them another try, but I did like the pain token they came with. I decided to start the succubus with the wracks and the haemonoculus with a wych squad so they both benefited from Feel No Pain, but I think I will have them swap on turn one. By embarking on their raider on turn one it does stop the raider going flat out, but with the Enhanced Sails I will still be able to go 12+2D6" if I don't mind not firing the dark lance.

Wyches: With the combat drug reroll to wound these girls did great. One unit went and wiped out the scouts and then sat in the ruin with Feel No Pain. Another unit with the haemonoculus survived more shooting than usual due to Feel No Pain, and then they charged the 3 remaining terminators and killed them. The last unit was charged by a unit of 6 tactical marines, and eventually killed them after a few turns, mainly due to the agoniser being able to reroll to wound which made the weapon absolutely disgusting.

Seeing how useful certain combat drug rolls are, I'm even tempted to use the Duke so I can roll 2D6 and pick which option I want to use.

The only thing that didn't seem worth it for the wyches was the blast pistols which I didn't fire at all. When your flimsy raider is blown up, normally the wychs fleet to get to cover or combat as soon as possible.

Warriors: These did ok, it was nice to rapid fire at a combat squad of approaching marines and say 1 blaster shot and then 22 poison shots, but I don't think the splinter cannon adds much, and it may be better to spend the extra points for a dark lance. However I loved the extra range on the blaster, as it was great to be able to fire it while being out of assault range.

Incubi: These went forward behind the wyches. The turn after the wyches got charged they tried to help out, but failed their differcult terrain role. The following turn the vindicator tank shocked them and placed itself so that they would have to take a long detour round to the other side of the building to get up it, so instead they charged the stationery whirlwind that was in my opponent's far corner. After immobolising it and taking the weapon off on the charge it took them until turn 5 to kill it. Unfortunately this left them open for a vindicator shot which killed all but one. However they passed their morale test so they didn't give away a kill point.

An alternative use for them could have been to act as a mobile reserve to combat the tactical squad that was coming down in a drop pod. I will definetely keep the incubi in the list as their are some units (such as marines with Feel No Pain) that would strug off any non-power weapon attacks. The fact they have fleet now also extends their threat range compared to the previous incarnation. I'll keep them at 6 strong for the moment, and consider upping them to 7 or 8, but I won't reduce them to 5 to fit in a Venom as I think that's too small to have much of an impact (plus having a raider allows a character to join them).

Ravagers: These died early, but losing them early showed how important they are in adding anti-tank firepower to the list. Even though the talos had a good game (see below) I'm thinking that ravagers are too essential and therefore having 3 would be better.

Talos: Even without any upgrades to make him better the talos showed what it can do. It moved forwards first turn, then charged back against one of the dreadnaught's drop pods and killed it. Then after Lysander and a tactical squad dropped in nearby it charged the combat squad that Lysander wasn't attached to, and killed it just before Lysander killed the Talos. If there wasn't a character such as Lysander around to kill it, the Talos could could easily have taken the other combat squad as well. It really seems a shame to say goodbye to such a nice model that has killed so many MEQs and TMCs in it's time, but the extra firepower of a 3rd ravager seems too important.

Raiders: Even with the new damage tables of 5th these still go down very quickly, just not quite as quickly as 4th edition. After 6 turns I did have one alive, and having a 3rd ravager around to draw firepower and playing slightly better with them may mean I have one or two left for the late game objective contesting that Eldar armies are so well known for. Especially as most of my raiders go a minimum of 26" and a maximum of 36" at max speed.

So losing the blast pistols from the list I have 38 points to spend. An easy change would be to upgrade the talos to a ravager and upgrade the splinter cannons to dark lances.

Another option I'm considering is upgrading one of the wych units to a Bloodbride unit (30 pts), and to get the 6th troop choice back swap one of the warrior squads' raiders for 6 wracks.

For my first idea I'll have to go back to painting table (I haven't painted any dark eldar in at least 3 years). Luckily I have a spare raider on sprues, but I'm scouring ebay for one of the old ravagers :)

Have you seen the Dark Eldar in action yet, what are you thoughts on army make-up that will work ? What do you think of mine ?

Rathstar

Sunday, 7 November 2010

[Tau] Starsmash Tournament Day Two - Game Four (Complete)

So after a very disappointing first day at the Starsmash tournament, it was back to try and get some pride (and with a little luck a mid table placing).

A quick recap of day one was:
  • massacred by deamons (to many very very fast cavalry/beasts models)
  • lost on the bottom table to demons (won on vps by about 1000, but ran out of troops, not helped by some bad playing decisions from me)
  • finally got a win against an outflanking khan marine list

Scenario and Deployment

This game had the second of two new scenarios created for this tournament, normal deployment, and the game started with only one objective on the board (placed in the exact centre of the board). The interesting twist was that when the each side's most expensive HQ and two most expensive troop choices died (or ran off the board) they would drop an objective.

I was up against another marine army (normally a good sign for my Tau). The list I was facing was a balanced affair with the only weakness being only three small troop choices (abiet mech-ed up):

Libby with Null Zone and Ap3 Flamer power
5 Assault Terminators in a Standard Landraider
3 units of 5 marines in razorbacks
2 landspeeders with multi-melta and heavy flamer
1 landspeeder with heavy bolter and typhoon missiles
2 vindicators

Now Tau hate only one objective missions, as you can't split the enemy up, as a sensible opponent will have the majority of his army going for the objective. At first look the extra objectives that could be dropped might not help too much as Tau can easily de-mech and kill 5 marines, however they normally do it at a distance which means the objective they drop would just be claimed by another of the troop choices.

I would have to play differently. I would have to try to lure the troops choices to engage me, and leave killing them till they have advanced enough for me to grab the objective, also care sacrificing of a kroot unit could give me another objective.

I won the roll off for table side and first turn and promptly gave the choice of table side and first turn to my opponent.

He set up in the middle as far forward as possible with the landraider flanked by the two vindicators. The three rhinos were deployed behind them with the libby in the middle rhino. The missile landspeeder deployed centrally far back while the other two decided to deepstrike with such juicy targets as kroot to flame and hammerheads to pop.

It appeared that he favoured my right hand flank a bit from his deployment, from the deployment of his landspeeder, and this was probably due to the fact there was more terrain there. In the top right hand corner he had a forest, half way up the table on the far right hand side there was another forest, and 12" to the right of middle of the table just inside his side of the table there was the huge Temple of Skulls scenery piece (see pic) which would give good cover for his vehicles from my missile pod toting crisis suits.
There was a forest in my bottom left hand quadrant and that area of the board had the best LOS for long range railguns shots therefore I put a unit of kroot in the forest (well half the unit so I could go to ground for a 2+ cover save). The broadsides were placed on the left flank as far forward and left as possible with the aim of walking up the flank slinging railguns slugs into things. In that corner I also placed the railgun hammerhead and the full unit of fireknife crisis suits. This corner was a lure to hopefully fall back, eventually sacrifice the kroot to drop an objective and then annihilate any remaining enemy to allow a reserved unit of kroot to walk on and take an objective.

In the middle of my deployment zone there were some craters, into which I placed the pathfinders as far back as possible. On their own they would die, but had good LOS to sight to all the enemy armour and there was nothing else nearby if the enemy wanted to assault them.

In the right hand corner I placed the ion cannon hammerhead, with the pathfinder devilfish next in. About 20" in from the right flank there was a building, so I placed the missile pod and burst cannon suits on the right side of it, and my commander and two freknifes behind it.

The fire warriors and second unit of kroot went into reserve.

This could be an almost impossible mission for me. If my opponent only advanced to the middle objective and sat there. He could claim the middle objective, and even if I killed one of his troop choices the objective would just be claimed by one of the others. By going to ground behind the wreaks of his vehciles I doubt I could wipe out his entire army so I could get one of my fragile troops up the board to get to the objective. I had to appear weak, so he would continue to advance on me.

Turn One to Four

I failed to seize the initiative, and the marine armoured column moved 12" forwards, with the left hand vindicator heading slightly left (it didn't want side armour shots). The rhino with the libby stayed right behind the landraider and the other two veered slightly right to sit behind the Temple of Skulls. The landspeeder dropped a crisis suit drone, but a contender for shot of the match went to one of the razorback crews who spoted part of the ion cannon hammerhead with it's lascannon, hit > pen > failed d.pod save > explosion from the first shot of the match :) The Tau had to have a response to that.

The pathfinders lit up the landraider, and 3 railguns slugs from the broadsides later and it was a wreck. I couldn't complain but I could really have done with an explosion as now the rhino behind it was completely hidden for the moment, and would probably stay there until it moved over the wreckage to get the objective on turn 5.

The terminators were given some missile pod love and luckily one of the brutes fell over dead. Missile pods from the right flank immobolised and stunned the landspeeder plus stopped the right hand vindicator from firing.

The marines turn two started with the terminators advancing on the left hand flank and the vindicator preparing to fire on the kroot (the only unit in range). The libby and squad in a rhino stayed behind the landraider wreckage, and the other two moved right going round the temple of skulls.

A landspeeder tried to deepstrike to flame the kroot, but mishapped and died. To add insult to injury the vindicator on the left flank scatter and didn't even kill a kroot. On the right flank the devilfish's d.pods decided to work unlike the hammerheads and survived the razorbacks shots.

The missile pods on the far right flank started shooting at the immobolised landspeeder, now there was no cover but the crisis suits only managed to destroy the landspeeder in the last turn of the game.

With the help of markerlights the vindicator on the left flank was destroyed, and the one to the right of the landraider wreck was immolised and had the cannon blown off, leaving it a bumper car with a storm bolter :)

Crisis suit and kroot fire wittled the terminators down to 2 (in hind sight 3 left would have been better). Moving the hammerhead and crisis suits aggressivily forward toward the terminators, and then putting the kroot in the way I was hoping the pull the terminators into charging the kroot (I badly needed an objective I would get).

The shas'el and fireknifes on the right didn't really know what to do with themselves, they could start killing the marines on that flank until they were seperated and closer to me, otherwise the second unit would claim an objective if the first died so fired at the vindicator only stunning it.

At the start of the marine's third turn the last melta/flamer speeder deepstriked for the pathfinders after seeing what it was doing to the broadsides, lady luck smiled on me and it scattered right off the board to never return (a second destroyed result on the mishap table).

The libby's rhino once again stayed still, but the next one along to the right sped right over the temple straight at the Tau lines, the rhino furthest right advanced around the temple (to the right). At this point I think my opponent should have pulled back to the centre objective, but he had been taking a pounding and probably thought if he could just reach combat.

The terminators (2 left) were within range of the kroot and charged in (nothing much happened in the shooting phase); then it all started to go weird...

...the kroot killed one of the terminators before they struck, but luckily the remaining terminator killed two kroot, however the plucky kroot passed their morale test. The nearby crisis suit unit with plasma rifles at the ready were not expecting that. Even the fire warriors who had come on from reserve in that corner only after being promised that there was no threat over there were a little worried. They thought all they had to do was stay low and pick up an objective the kroot should be dropping soon.

All I could do in my turn was decide where was the best place for the crisis suits to be charged (which was away from the hammerhead, near my table edge towards the centre). In my shooting missile pods and railguns failed to kill the rhino with smoke that had come crashing over the temple of skulls :( In my combat phase the kroot luckily didn't kill the last terminator who cut down 2 more kroot and they broke. The terminator consolidated next to the kroot (ready to charge the crisis suits and stop the kroot from rallying). The terminator then charged the crisis suits (still staying in range to stop the kroot rallying)...

[crisis suit channel communcation extract]

Shas'el Rathstar: I understand team leader, hold the terminator off so the kroot can escape, they will be dropping a package for the fire warriors to pick up later.

Fireknife Team Leader: Shas'el Rathstar we have eliminated the enemy, our combat drone distracted the enemy by using the same technique the kroot used to kill one earlier, and I was able to dispatch him.

Shas'el Rathstar: WTF !! Are the kroot still disengaging, after all, they have taken significant casulties ?

Fireknife Team Leader: They have been inspired by our combat prowess and are staying in the fight. I could get used to this close combat :)

Shas'el Rathstar: Drat and Double Drat, #@^%££% !!!

[end of communication extract]

Tau overperforming in close combat losing me an easy objective - Damn.

On the otherside of the field the marines in the middle continued forwards and hopped out of their rhino to rapid fire the pathfinders, and along with casulties from the vindicators storm bolters the remaining pathfinders decided they had done enough and left the field.

The Tau response was quick. The disembarked marines were killed leaving an objective 10" from my table edge. the rhino on the right flank was immobolising effectively leaving the squad out in no mans land. If they got out they would die, but I wouldn't have anything to claim any objective may drop.

The devilfish on the left flank had moved along my board edge behind the building the shas'el started behind, but unfortunately immobolised itself trying to leave the terrain (there wasn't space behind the building to completely fit the devilfish). The second unit of kroot who had come on a turn earlier and hid in the devilfish were forced to get out to get the objective dropped by the destroyed marines. However by putting most of the unit in the building they were happy to go to ground for a 3+ cover save if they took fire.

So moving into the marines turn 5 the Tau were 1-0 up (should be 2-0 - stupidily brave kroot and terminator killing crisis suits). However the libby and a marine squad were in a rhino behind the landraider wreck inches from gaining the middle objective.

Turns Five

[after a brief break, due to real life getting in the way (2 job interviews plus other stuff) here is the rest of the battle report]

The rhino in the centre with the libby, moved into the wreak of the landraider (didn't immobolise itself) leaving the front of the rhino just touching the objective. The libby and marines couldn't dare getting out of the rhino and facing the Tau firepower, so the razorback just popped smoke. The other marine squad in an immobolised rhino on the right flank stayed put.

Storm bolter shots (from the vindicator) took off a crisis suit drone, and the lascannon from the right hand rhino took off another drone.

My opponent had forgot one of the most dangerous contesting units in the Tau arsenal, yes the magnificant discs of doom. As soon as I moved my two disembarked devilfish drones my opponent realised his mistake.

Because he realised my plan I was worried that if I blew up the rhino the disembarked marines would stop the drones from getting within 3" of the objective. In hindsight this was wrong, because if I exploded it the marines would have to deploy within the wreakage, and even if I just wrecked the rhino they would have to be within 2" of the door which would not have stopped the drones from being within 3" of my side of the objective.

Due to my wrong assumption I did not fire on the rhino, but moved up with both my shas'el and his unit of two crisis suits, plus the unit of fireknifes on the left.

The drones ran and assault moved to within 3" of the objective. I am currently winning 1-0 on objectives, and the dice is rolled to see if the game continues...



...The game goes on :(

Turn Six

The rhino with the libby in moves forwards onto my side of the board to try and stop any contesting trickery in my next turn. The rhino positions itself pointing towards the bottom left hand corner of the board, with the side exit about 2" from the objective on my side. Now if I kill the rhino the marines inside will definitely be able to deploy to stop me contesting the objective.

The libby decides it is time to do something, so he disembarks on is own out of the right hand exit, and uses his psyhic power to flame the two drones.

All is not lost I think, because if the left hand unit of fireknifes sacrifices their shooting they can make it to contest the objective, which they promtly do. As I can't dare shoot the rhino everything that can see the libby (all apart from the broadsides and the missile/burst crisis suits still firing at the immobolised landspeeder) open up on him (he's not getting a cover save from any of it). After a railgun, 2 rapid firing plasma rifles, 2 missile pods, and a cyclic ion blaster later the dust clears...


...and he's still alive !! Not to worry I'm 1-0 up on objectives, so we roll the dice to see of the game continues...




Turn Seven

The libby runs round the rhino as assaults the crisis suits contesting the objective (the same crisis suits which killed a terminator earlier). The marines in the rhino in the middle stay hiding in their rhino, and the rhino and marines on the right flank also do nothing.

The crisis suits are unable to repeat their performance in close combat and lose to the libby put stay in combat, unfortunately they have been pulled away from the objective by the combat.

1-1 on objectives going into the final Tau turn.

I was too cautious with the shas'el's unit, and they a bit further back than they should have been, but if the shas'el leaves them and runs he may have enough movement to jump over the rhino to contest the objective. Again I have so many guns looking at the rhino but can't dare fire at it, because it's unlikely that I'd be able to kill all 5 marines as well. I so wish I had taken the chance in turn 5 and blown up the rhino.

My shas'el runs a pitiful 3", and with his 6" assault phase jump he is millimetres from clearing the both the rhino and the immolises vindicator by the required 1", so the game ends in a draw.

Tau losses:

Ion Cannon hammerhead
Devilfish was immobolised
Few kroot and few drones
Two crisis suits from the unit in combat with the libby

Marines survivers:

Libby
2 units of 5 marines in razorback
an immolised and cannon-less vindicator


A disappointing loss, but I did make some dire mistakes that I only remembered while I was writing up this battle report.

1) I should have killed the middle rhino on turn 5
2) On turn 6 I should have killed the immobolised vindicator (it may have allowed my shas'el to make the jump to the objective
3) I shouldn't have been so cautious with the shas'el (the marines couldn't risk engaging them or they would leave the objective)
4) The hammerhead on the left should have been as aggressive as the fireknifes so it could have contested on turn 6 and/or 7.
5) All these mistakes were due to me concentrating on getting the winning position at the end of the current turn, and not planning for if the game continued

I only have myself to blame, and the overly brave kroot, the terminator killing crisis suits, and the game not ending on either turn 5 or 6 :( We can only live and learn :)

Rathstar

Sunday, 31 October 2010

[Tau] Starsmash Tournament Results & Day One Games


Last weekend I went to the Starsmash Tournament, run by my local gaming club, Spiky Club, in Reading.

This tournament was my worse result for the year :( With the tournament having a lower points limit of 1500 pts, I followed my, up till now, tactic of putting in as much firepower as possible. Going down to 1500 pts meant I dropped my troops to 2 units of 10 kroot and 6 firewarriors. In hindsight doing this meant that you have to extremely protective of your troops in objective games, and be willing to lose another unit to protect them at times. Fire warriors should never start on the board (and ideally never be out of a devilfish) and kroot should only be sacrificed when necessary.

The list I used for the tournament was:

Shas'el Commander Ra'star - 102
Cyclic Ion Blaster, Missile Pod, Multi-Tracker
Hard-wired Drone Controller with 2 Gun Drones

Crisis Battlesuit Team - 187
1 Crisis Battlesuit Shas'ui
Twin-linked Missile Pods
Drone Controller with 2 Gun Drones
2 Crisis Battlesuit Shas'ui
Plasma Rifle, Missile Pod, Multi-Tracker

Crisis Battlesuit Team - 124
2 Crisis Battlesuit Shas'ui
Plasma Rifle, Missile Pod, Multi-Tracker

Crisis Battlesuit Team - 163
1 Crisis Battlesuit Shas'ui
Twin-linked Missile Pods
Drone Controller with 2 Gun Drones
2 Crisis Battlesuit Shas'ui
Missile Pod, Burst Cannon, Multi-Tracker

6 Fire Warriors - 60

10 Kroot - 70

10 Kroot - 70

5 Pathfinders - 60
Devilfish - 85
Disruption Pods

Hammerhead Battle Tank - 165
Railgun, 2 Burst Cannons
Multi-Tracker & Disruption Pods

Broadside Battlesuit Team - 283
Shas'ui Broadside Team Leader
Advanced Stabilisation System
Hard-wired Target Lock, Hard-wired Blaksun Filter
Hard-wired Drone Controller with 2 Shield Drones
2 Shas'ui Broadsides
Advanced Stabilisation System

Hammerhead Battle Tank - 130
Ion Cannon, 2 Burst Cannons
Multi-Tracker & Disruption Pods

1499 Pts, 13 Kill Points


Game One

First Game was against daemons. I faced a nurgle greater daemon, a daemon prince, 2 units of slannesh cavalry, 1 unit of khorne cavalry, 30 flesh hounds, 3 units of 5 plague bearers for troops. This list was very very fast, with 5 units that could charge 19-24". Added to that night fight which stoped most of my firepower. One weakness of my opponents army (in my mind) was the few troops, if I could kill all the plague bearers and not get tabled I could at least get a draw.

The mission was a new one created for the tournament, you won if you had the most scoring units within 6" of the centre of the board. I won the roll of for first turn and gave it to my opponent, and choose to deploy nothing so my opponent had no idea where along my board edge I would be.

Even though after the poor shooting on the turn 1 night fight, and using both units of kroot to mean that it was turn 4 before anything but kroot was charged, I fired eveything I had at plague bearers I was wiped out before I had killed 2 units, because they constantly went to ground for a 3+ cover save and feel no pain against most of my firepower.

Gaining only 75 victory points (the tournament tie-breaker) I went down to bottom table :(


Game Two

Now daemons are an army that normally either wins big or losses, so I meant the only other daemon player who had faced an eldar army with 4 warwalkers and eldrad in his first game. He droped units and he took units off the board as the eldar opened fire. He was wiped out without getting a single victory point.

He had a simular army, again 3 units of 5 plague bearers, unit of khorne cavalry, 2 units of slannesh cavalry, nurge greater daemon. Differences were instead of 30 flesh hounds he had a second daemon prince, a tzeentch character on a chariot and 2 units of screamers for anti-tank.

Playing the rulebook mission with multiple objectives and quarters deployment made the game a bit easier. Firstly I was able to spread the objectives out so the daemons couldn't focus all his army in the same place. Secondly I could put some distance between me and the enemy, and I had further distance to fall back to if necessary.

My two units of kroot lined the other edges of my deployment quarter to push him back. The rest of my army were spread behind them to make deepstrike impossible for units and quite risky for single models.

One of the kroot units died early, and the other one died to the tzeentch character on a chariot. However everything that hit the kroot line. The second kroot unit dying was probably my first big mistake of the game. I was left with only 6 fire warriors coming on from reserve. I could have moved and run the kroot back into my deployment zone, as there was nothing apart from the tzeentch character and screamers in that area.

My Tau firepower did was it says on the can and obliterated all the cavalry units, even the nurgle greater daemon, tzeentch character, and some screamers. One daemon prince kindly mishapped and died trying yo drop into my lines.

My second big mistake of the game was moving the pathfinder devilfish to contest an objective held by plague bearers as it was the vehicle furthest forwards, knowing that the 6 fire warriors could run to claim an objective deep in my deployment zone.

The devilfish supported by a unit of crisis suits contested an objective. However with hindsight a hammerhead although slightly further back should have done the contesting, because 6 fire warriors out of a devilfish tend to be dead firewarriors. Late in the game the last daemon prince deepstriked and landed spot on target, even though I'd even used the devilfish's drones to make the area risky for dropping. A big piece of terrain stopped some of my army from having LOS to the prince, and when I opened up with everything within LOS he passed all his 4+ inv saves. Next turn he flew over the LOS blocking terrain and munched the fire warriors in combat. Although the rest of my army killed him easily the next turn the damage had been done.

Although I had neutralised one unit of plague bearers, contested an objective that another unit wanted, there was still one unit in cover near an objective very far in his corner of the board, so I lost 1-0. I lost about 350 vuctory points, and he had only 12 plague bearers remaining. Lesson learnt protect your troops at all costs.


Game 3

I was playing marines, who used the special character khan to allow them all to outflank. The mission was the one objective each mission (normally the draw mission). He had sternguard outflanking in a razorback, 2 units of tacticals in razorbacks (put in reserve to get his objective), a big squad of bikes that combat squaded (big enough to allow them to count as troops), a large bike command HQ unit.

My whole army deployed in the middle 24" with the kroot on the outside edge. Having been given 1st turn I had two turns of my army surging forwards intent on killing the tctical squads as soon as they came on to take his objective.

This tactic worked well, as the tacticals were taken out easily as they came on. A bike squad and sternguard were taken out as they came on the side my objective was near. On turn 5 the bike command squad which came on late had killed the kroot on the right, and charged the broadsides. Next turn I would have to sacrifice a crisis suit unit and the pathfinders to stop them getting to the pathfinder devilfish which was sitting on the objective with 6 fire warriors inside. If the game continued to turn 7 I would have to use careful placement of the devilfish to ensure that if the command squad blew it up with a charge they were still more than 3£ from the objective and the disembarked fire warriors could still claim it.

On his objective 2 hammerheads were sitting on it, and 1 unit of crisis suits were in the upper levels of a building over looking his objective, the small unit of crisis suits with the shas'el were also in the middle of the table ready to support. Against this my opponent had a combat squad half of a bike squad. On turn 5 all they did was immobolise one of the hammerheads on the objective (as they had both moved 12" the previous turn).

Luckily the game ended on turn 5 giving me a 1-0 win :)


So end of day one, and I was on 2 losses and a win. Day Two will pit me against a librarian that would not die and a tyranid horde. Brief summaries and my learnings will follow shortly.

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Dark Eldar Army List Revised for New Codex

So after visiting my local GW to read the new Dark Eldar codex, I'm in a position to rewrite my army list for the new codex. My current army list is a mix of shooting and assault which should be easy to replicate in the new codex, max shooty lists would find it hard to replicate since the new codex loses the 100 pt squad of 10 warriors with 2 dark lances.

Without further ado, here's my current list to use as a baseline:

Archon - 137
Punisher, Tormentor Helm, Plasma Grenades, Combat Drugs, Shadow Field

Dracon's Retine in Raider - 56 + 136 + 55
Dracon (Agoniser, Pistol)
4 Incubi with 2 Blasters
3 Warriors (bullet catchers :) )
Raider (Dark Lance)

Wyches in Raider - 134 + 55
8 Wyches, including Succusbus with Agoniser & 2 Blasters
Raider (Dark Lance)

Wyches in Raider - 134 + 60
8 Wyches, including Succusbus with Agoniser & 2 Blasters
Raider (Disintegrator)

Warrior Raider Squad [joined by Archon] - 97 + 60
7 Warriors, including Sybarite with Agoniser, Splinter Cannon & Blaster
Raider (Disintegrator)

Warrior Raider Squad - 105 + 55
8 Warriors, including Sybarite with Agoniser, Splinter Cannon & Blaster
Raider (Dark Lances)

10 Warriors with 2 Dark Lances - 100
10 Warriors with 2 Dark Lances & 2 Blasters - 110
10 Warriors with 2 Dark Lances & 2 Blasters - 110

Ravager (3 Disintegrators) - 120
Ravager (3 Disintegrators) - 120

Talos - 100

Totals: 1744 Pts, 78 models

[NB: The talos was in the list to draw heavy weapon firepower and it's ability to kill MEQs in combat, but it's inclusion was mainly because I had a converted model I wanted to use. Most people would just swap the talos for a 3rd ravager]

My old army list was quite shooty (9 Dark Lances, 8 Disintegrators, followed by 12 Blasters at short ranges), but still had 5 raiders moving forwards to get it's occupants in combat, plus the list had 11 models with melee weapons that ignored armour saves to help against heavy armour.

Thoughts on Revising the List

The new pain tokens are a nice addition to the list, and wyches with Feel No Pain would be great in combat (apart from all powerweapon weilding units such as terminators), therefore the Haemonculus' and wracks looked nice to include.

The heavy weapon shooting element of my current list would take a serious hit under the new codex. To get 2 dark lances from a warrior squad would cost 230 pts, not the 100 pts currently, although the new codex unit would have 10 extra bullet catchers if you wanted a unit to stay back and pick off transports to allow the assault units to kill the occupants warrior squads would not be the answer.

Alternative sources for the firepower could be scourges with either blasters or heat lances. When looking at the points they seemed a bit expensive and fragile. Another option would be to use some of the new heavy support vehiciles; str9 lances weapons sounded nice, however without buying a forgeworld flyer I didn't have a model. As I owned 4 heavy support choices already, and was looking to pick up a 3rd ravager from ebay I thought I would try to build a list without them, but would bear them in mind as I really like the forgeworld Void Dragon Pheonix model.

Blasters options were also changed. No longer can wyches include blasters, warriors can only include one (and the price tripled), and although characters and wych/warrior leaders can take blaster pistols (at 3 times the cost the the previous codex's blaster) it won't make up for it.

The last solution would be to admit that such a shooty force would not be competitive, and instead include enough heavy firepower to take down vehicles and instead concentrate on the strengths of the new book.

In my mind a few units stand out as nice to use. Wyches which got cheaper, became troops, and have access to pain tokens, stuck me as a good core to start the army out. Wracks also seem good, and start with a pain token (shame I only have one unit of 9). Ravagers got better because they can move 12" and fire all guns, also the ravagers would have to change from disintegrators to dark lances to cover the anti-tank that the troop choices would lose.

A Quick Note on my Initial List Methodology

Now when I build a new list I first ignore alot of the interesting upgrades to get the most models on the table. If the opponent has enough lascannons left to kill 2 models it's better to have more than 2 models left compared to 2 which are really expensive.

Further iterations of the list will include those hard decisions of what to lose to fit in the more expensive characters & nasty looking upgrades/wargear. I believe if you look at some of the nice wargear/characters in isolation it's easy to say they are an auto include, but once you have a base list and say I'd have to lose one assault unit and their raider which brings the size of my army much smaller than say a Tau, Guard or Tyranid army and on par with a Marine army, you have to remind yourself that an the end of the day the Dark Eldar are an army of T3 models with an armour save that a splinter rifle gets rid of.

So without further ado below is my first list for the new codex:

Archon - 135
Agoniser, Blaster Pistol, Shadow Field, Comabt Drugs

Haemonculus - 55
Venom Blade

6 Incubi - 132
in Raider with Dark Lance and Sail* - 65

9 Wracks - 90
[joined by Archon]
in Raider with Dark Lance and Sail* - 65

9 Wyches with Champion with Agoniser & Blaster Pistol - 135
[joined by Haemonculus]
in Raider with Dark Lance and Sail* - 65

10 Wyches with Champion with Agoniser & Blaster Pistol - 145
in Raider with Dark Lance and Sail* - 65

10 Wyches - 100
in Raider with Dark Lance and Sail* - 65

10 Warriors with Dark Lance & Blaster - 130
in Raider with Dark Lance - 60

10 Warriors with Dark Lance & Blaster - 130

Ravager with 3 Dark Lances - 105

Ravager with 3 Dark Lances - 105

Talos - 100

Totals: 1747 Pts, 75 models

* I can't remember the exact name of the sail, but it allows the raider to move an extra 2D6"

Now I have missed out on loads of upgrades that look good:
  • The wracks could have a champion with an agoniser (30 pts extra), plus they could have liquifer guns (Template, Str4, D6 AP) at only 10 pts each
  • The talos has upgrades for an extra attack, it's attacks cause intant kill, and/or twin-linked liquifer guns
  • the last wych squad has no upgrades, however normally there is a target that doesn't need an expensive 55 pts character (wych,10,champion upgrade,10,agoniser,20,blaster pistol,15), such as any unit with low armour save and/or low toughness
  • Night shields and or Flicker fields on the vehicles, although they would be nice, adding the upgrades accross the 8 vehicles (or 9 if I drop the talos for a third ravager) would mean I would have a lose a unit plus more reduce the size of at least one other.
Army List Comparison

Now the new list has much less firepower (9 Lances, 8 Dissies, 12 Blaster vs 12 Lances, 2 Blasters & 3 Blaster Pistols), but it has much more of an assault element, plus the 2 units starting with feel no pain and all the other having the protential to get it.

Both the old and new lists will be fun to play, and I will have to wait and see whether the extra assault power will offset the extra firepower that has been lost.

What The Future Holds

It will also be interesting to see what wargear I may have missed in the new codex that I will deem has to go into the list once I get my hands on the book. Also it will interesting whether the Scourges and/or Reavers will make it into the list after playtesting.

And Now Onto You

So what are your revised army lists looking like ? How many heavy weapons are you fitting in your list ? Has the Disintegrator disappeared from your lists ?

I'm particularly interested to know what you think the size of dark eldar army should be ? I am concerned that many dark eldar lists will be too small for how fragile they are - I hope to be proved wrong.

Rathstar

NB: After 6 tournaments this year with Tau, Should I take Dark Eldar to a potential last tournament of the year ? It's less than a month after the codex so it will use the old codex - who needs feel no pain when my dark lances open your tin cans and the disintegrators vaporise the occupants :)

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Dark Eldar - First Look at the Codex

I was expecting it to be another week or so until the GW stores would be getting the Dark Eldar codex in, so imagine my surprise when I walked into my local GW to ask when the codex would be on show to see a customer reading the codex and the new raider and warriors on the painting table.

Fortunately for me the customer with the codex had to dash back to work, so I was able to get a good read through the army list. Apart from browsing the pics of the new models in the book (there are some amazing models), I mainly looked at the army list for the points values, as a lot of the rules are already out on the web. Lots of things sound great, but it all depends on the points cost as to whether it's going to be effective in a game.

First Impressions

The points costs and unit structures have been bought in line with the current codexs, ie. you can have only 1 heavy weapon for every 10 models in a warrior squad. This effectively is the death of the sniper squad. Where as before we could have 10 warriors with 2 dark lances for 100 pts, now to get the same number of dark lances in a warrior squad we have to have 20 models, and with dark lances costing two and a half more, and warriors being 1 pt higher than before such a unit would cost 230 pts.

With there being no distinction between warrior unit and raider units, the other element of the dark eldar gun line (small raider squad) is not hit as bad as the sniper squad, as you just have to increase the unit size to 10.

In line with other codexs the cost of heavy and special weapons have gone up. Blasters (although increasing in range to 18") have tripled in cost. Worse yet wyches have lost access to special ranged weapons, no shredders or blasters for wyches.

Looking at the changes to a gunboat unit of 5 warriors, with dark lance, blaster & raider, which at the moment costs 110 pts, we now have to use 10 warriors and the unit costs 190 pts.

My conclusion is that getting heavy weapon firepower from the troops selection is not cost effective.

Ok, so the old dark lance gunline army is gone (or will have to change radically). There are alot of good things in the book.

Wyches went down to the cost of a fire warrior. Elite versions of wyches and warriors were created in the elites section. Both have an extra attack, and only cost 3 pts more than their troop versions. The elite warriors also have the option of carrying up to 4 special weapons, but beware the cost of the unit will spiral up fast.

For those trying to get dark lances into their list the good news is that the cost of the ravager has remained unchanged, and owners of 3 disintegrators have dropped to the cost of dark lance ravagers (bear in mind the change to the disintegrator, S5, AP2, Heavy3). Ravagers also gained the ability to fire all weapons after moving 12".

Jet Bikes and Scourges can also help to add firepower, both can take the new heat lance weapon, as well as the longer ranged blaster. Scourges have also joined Jet Bikes in Fast Attack.

Well the Dark Eldar can still get the firepower they used to be able to get in the troops choice from other areas, but what are we going to use our troops for ? Well my initial reaction is close combat wyches, at the cost of a fire warrior they seem like a good buy. Add in that web way portals have gone down by the cost of a space wolf grey hunter.

So my initial thoughts on an army would be 2 Haemonculi with Portals, accompanied by warriors (which get feel no pain from the pain point that the Haemonculi start with), run forward first turn hopefully into cover. They may be only T3 but a 4+ cover save, and a possible 4+ feel no pain on top, should mean the portal can be activated on turn 2. Firepower supplied by ravagers, jet bikes and scourges. Close combat supplied by an archon and wyches coming out of the webway portal. Whether this will fit in any sensible points limit will have to wait until I have my own copy the codex to go through the finer points.

Edit: Having found out that vehicles can not come out of the webway portal, so the Haemonculi will just join wyches to give them feel no pain, and the warriors will have dark lance, blaster & raider. Although they don't give the firepower as before they are 3 AP2 shots at short range (dark lance, blaster & blaster pistol on sybarite) is useful, and the raider is useful as a spare for the wych raiders start blowing up.

Lastly I was disappointed by the incubi rules. They have gone down only 3 points, although they gainted fleet, and access to come nice abilities on the leader they will always have a huge hit me sign on them, and their raider will be blown out of the sky at the first opportunity, meaning how often will they reach combat. Maybe a small squad in a webway portal. Soon tales of incubi squads slaughtering whole armies by rolling loads of 6's to get extra attacks will mean that an opponent may be distracted by even a small squad.

Conclusion

Overall I like the codex, it brings it in line with the current codexs. We lose some of the staple of current lists, such as sniper squads, and small wych units with two blasters, however we keep some, such as ravagers, and other get better (ie. scourges, wyches, additional weapon options). Also the character of the army will remain the same, it will hit like a hammer, but shatter like glass if it meets organised resistance.

Roll on the 6th Novemeber :)

Rathstar

PS. If you have any questions please post a comment, and I'll try to remember what I saw.

Sunday, 10 October 2010

First Steps in Warmachine


I've been getting into Warmachine lately. If you read my previous Warmachine post you'll remember that I was waiting to start Retribution, well things have changed since I last posted.

Years ago before the retribution fraction even existed I bought a Menoth starter set, but with no-one to play against it eventually was sold on ebay. A well painted (but simple color scheme) Menoth army came up on ebay. It was just the starter set plus a unit of errants but the different yet simple (ie. I could copy it) paint scheme inspired me.

Buying the Menoth fraction book I liked the synergy of the units which was essential to overcome the weakness of the jacks; slow as khador but with the armour and damage grids of cygnar.

Luckily for me, when I posting on my local club's forum for list advice someone mentioned they had some Menoth they wanted to sell, so I was able to pick up some more models. The models bought are nicely painted, but I'll have to repaint them to match the the starter I bought off ebay.

With the purchase of a unit of bastions (absolutely gorgeous models, that happen to also be good on the battlefield) I had enough of an army to join my local club's Warmachine campaign. I've played 3 games now (the last of which was the first game of the campaign), and I'm learning loads.

An upcoming post will go through what happened in my first 3 games and what I've learnt so far, plus I think I've found a fraction that really appeals to my playstyle (even more than Menoth) with models that will inspire me to paint them. Can you guess it ?

Rathstar

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Dark Eldar at Gamesday



With Games Day been and gone there's lots of info out on the web regarding the new dark eldar.

Most sources say that copies of the codex will be hitting the GW stores in 2-3 weeks (unfortunately not for sale, which in November), so more details info about the rules will be coming out soon.

A good summary of the info people have heard at gamesday is at Hersey Online. There's some good pictures of the models and sprues at gamesday, plus discussions about the unit rules. There's no points values so we've no idea how useful anything will be, but it's all sounding very interesting particularly the Power from Pain rule.

There's also a very good summary on the Dark Eldar blog, an excellent blog for all information on Dark Eldar.

Another source for preview pics is the GW site.

I must get on with my Space Wolves painting, because I'm going to be really busy with Dark Eldar once they come out, as I'm sure I'll be adding bits to my Dark Eldar.

Rathstar

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

OGC Tournament - Intro and Game One (In Progress)

Tournament Introduction

Last saturday I attended the Oxford Gaming Club 40K Singles Tournament. It was a 1750 Pt tournament, but with a big difference compared to most tournaments. Rather than scoring points for wins or losses, all you scored were victory points, with a few extra bonus for objectives (or kill points in the anniliation mission). In the anniliation game and a special mission they created for the third game there was a bonus of 300 points if you won the game. The other main bonus was 250 points per objective in the first objective game, and in the first and last games you got a bonus of about 400 points if you wiped the opponent out.

I wrongly thought that the best was play the missions as normal - stupid me :( As you only scored the victory points you scored, and not the difference between yours and your opponents victory points conserving your forced did not gain you anything apart from they could fire a bit longer. Also contesting objectives did not add anything to your score at it would not increase your vps, it would only reduce your opponents by denying them the vps for the objective.

This radically changed how battles would be fought and which armies would be good. An agressive army that would get in the face of the enemy and ensure mass carnage occurred would still score big whether it won the game or not, hence the strong showing for assault marine armies (13 out of the 24 competitors were either Space Wolves, Blood Angels or Black Templars). The latest change I made to my Tau army list (swapping a crisis suit for a unit of kroot) was definitely not the best for this tournament.

For those who are interested here's a link to the rules pack

With the Introduction out of the way it's on to how I did


Game One

I was up against a space wolves army to start with. The army was very simular to the list I am building. I only include 1 runepiest and don't have a wolf guard with a cyclone and instead have 2 landspeeders. Other differences are minor; I have less upgrades on my thunderwolves so I can have a full squad rather than 4, and I only include missile launchers in my long fangs.

The list I faced was:

2 Rune Priests (living lightning on both, one also had murderous hurricane, not sure what the other one had as a second power as he always used lightning.

3 units of 9 grey hunters (each including a wolf guard, and special and close combat upgrades)
1 unit of 6 grey hunters (can't remember exactly what they had)
Each grey hunter unit was transported in a rhino with extra armour, the rhino for small grey hunter squad and one of the large grey hunter's rhinos also had a hunter killer missile

2 x long fangs (each with 2 lascannons and 2 missile launchers)

Spare wolf guard in terminator armour with a cyclone missile launcher

1 unit of 4 thunderwolves (1 thunderhammer, 1 storm shield, 1 melta bomb, 1 normal)

My list for the tournament can be found at the bottom of this post.

The army I played against was very nicely converted, and it would be interesting to see what the sons of russ would do to my Tau. At least I was getting my wish and seeing space wolves in action :)

He won the roll off for table side and first turn, and decided to go first. He's a picture of the table during my opponents turn one that one of the tournament organisers took:

The 5 objectives are located:
1) By the bottom right ruin next to the wolf guard with the cyclone
2) Near right just in front of my double kroot screen
3) In the middle of the choas ruin in the middle of the table
4) Just in front of the forest at the top left of the picture (just in front of long rangs)
5) 12" to the right of the fourth objective at the top of the picture

Deployment

2 large grey hunter units (one containing one of the rune priests) on my left (bottom of the photo) along with the cyclone wolf guard.

In the craters in the middle one unit of long fangs deployed, with the thunder wolves just to their left (up in the photo).

On my right hand side (top of the picture) the second unit of long fangs deployed in the forest, while the 2 remaining grey hunter squads with the second rune priest deployed behind the forest (these rhinos were the ones with hunter killer missiles).

My initial thoughts on the deployment was that the space wolves had split their army. From reading the Space Wolves Grey blog, I thought it was best to ensure space wolve units could support each other well. To test the issue I wanted to nullify the right flank (top of the photo) by deploying as far away as possible. However my army was too big, so the toughest things that could take the long fangs fire (a hammerhead and the devilfish) were deployed in the middle, with the rest of my army on the left flank.

The army was screened by the two large units of kroot, with the pathfinders in the middle of my army at the back. The crisis suits were in between the kroot screen and the vehicles, broadsides & pathfinders at the back. My commander joined the first kroot screen to give them better leadership, and I hoped to quickly get that half the unit either in or behind the small bunker. The crisis suits most likely to die, ie. the ones on my left (bottom of the photo), were the firestorms (missile pod & burst cannons), as the plasma on the other suits would probably prove invaluable.

6 Fire warriors and 10 kroot were left in reserve, hoping the empty devilfish would be left alone for the first one to arrive and hop into. The first one to arrive would head cautiously towards the middle objective, followed on foot by the other.

[As it's late I will finish this report tomorrow, however feel free to comment on deployment and your predictions on the outcome]

Rathstar

Friday, 3 September 2010

Once More Into the Breach...


Time seems to fly much too fast these days, with battle reports still in drafting, I have another tournament to go to tomorrow.

This time I'll be driving to Oxford for a 3 game, 1 day, tournament.

I must apologise to all of you who are waiting me to finish the battle reports for the last three tournament I have attended, but I will make some progress next week.

I'm really worried about the chances of my Tau finishing in the top half of this tournament. Although they (and I) have performed well so far this year with a record of 8-1-1 over three tournaments, but I have to admit I have been lucky with the draws. This tournament they put up the attendees and what armies they are using, and when I look at the list I easily recognise a high number of good generals, and the armies used are dominated by Space Wolves, Imperial Guard, Orks & Blood Angels. Not surprisingly with a more competitive tournament (it's part of a set of tournaments where the top players will be going to a final) there are no necrons, dark eldar or other Tau armies for me to draw against.

Quick Update: I just read the forum thread about the tournament and the armies I could face are:

Imperial Guard 2

Space wolves 9
Blood Angels 2
Orks 1
Tau 1
Tyranids 2
Black templars 2
Chaos warriors 1
Space marines 1
Daemons of chaos 1
Eldar 1
Sisters 1

So Space Wolves taking nearly half the field, and 3+ armour save making up exactly two thirds (16/24) of the field, my Dark Eldar are looking envious at my Tau wishing they had been picked for this tournament.

With Space Wolves making up so much of the field I should get some Space Wolves experience to help me hone my Space Wolves tactics, lets hope they don't smash my Tau too badly. I need to get used to playing Space Wolves with my Tau, as my assembling (let alone painting) of my Space Wolves is going well too slow for them to be ready for my Oct & Nov tournaments.


Undeterred I'm going to give it my best, and will let you know how I get on later in the weekend.

In upcoming posts I found a lovely model (toy) to represent Tyranid Spore Pods, and I've bought some of the old rhinos and razorbacks from ebay to give myself the option of playing a totally mech Space Wolf army. Blog posts concerning where to get the Tyranid Spore Pod model, and my musing on hybrid vs mech space wolves will follow over the next week.

Rathstar

For reference here's the army taking to the tournament tomorrow (I submitted the list before I got lots of good advice about piranhas, so I will be trying out losing the last kroot squad and a broadside to include 2 piranhas in the near future):

Shas'el - 107
Plasma Rifle, Missile Pod, Multi-tracker, 2 Gun Drones

3 Crisis Suits - 211
Plasma Rifle, Missile Pod, Multi-tracker
Team Leader upgrade with 2 Gun Drones

2 Crisis Suits - 124
Plasma Rifle, Missile Pod, Multi-tracker
(joined by Shas'el, sometimes later in the game if he wants to improve the kroot wall's leadership)

3 Crsisi Suits - 163
1 with Twin-linked Missile Pods & 2 Gun Drones
2 with Missile Pod, Burst Cannon, Multi-tracker

6 Fire Warriors - 60

10 Kroot with 7 Hounds - 112

10 Kroot with 7 Hounds - 112

10 Kroot - 70

8 Pathfinders - 96
in Devilfish with Disruption Pod - 85

Hammerhead - 165
Railgun, 2 Burst Cannons, Multi-tracker, Disruption Pod

Hammerhead - 165
Railgun, 2 Burst Cannons, Multi-tracker, Disruption Pod

3 Broadsides - 280
Advanced Stabilisation Systems
Leader Upgrade with Target Lock & 2 Shield Drones

1750 Points, 83 models, 14 Kill Points

Sunday, 29 August 2010

Kauyon vs Mont'Ka: The Key Difference

There has been much debate in the blogshere recently over the merits of Kauyon vs Mont'Ka. The debate has centred around the use of kroot, as a speedbump or sacrifical unit.

Supporters of both methods tend to use 3 units of crisis suits. The Mont'Ka favouring Hammerheads in heavy support over Broadsides the favorite of the Kauyon.

I find hammerheads are essential in taking heat off the more fragile devilfishs which are transporting the fragile Tau troops, to give mobility to railgun shots to allow some side shots on enemy vehicles, and lastly as good objective contesters. Therefore I have always used two, backed up by a unit of broadsides, and I believe that most people start with that set-up.

Given that alot of armies tend to have 3 units of crisis suits in elites, and 2 hammerheads and a broadside unit in heavy support, it seems to be the troops and fast attack slots that makes the tactics of the army differ.

Tau troops are fragile and not that good for their points from a shooting point of view, both types of army will tend to take as few as possible for the objective taking that they think they need. So whether it's a fire warrior unit in a devilfishs or 2 kroot units both methods try to keep their troops cheap as required to capture objectives so they do not take away too many points from the firepower of the army.

If Mont'ka is supposed to sacrifice firepower for mobility, what extra does the Kauyon have that should give it much more firepower. Although the first easy answer is Broadsides instead of Hammerheads I believe the real answer is Pathfinders. Mont'ka doesn't want to add static elements to the army which has to defended or can't move to where the enemy is, while Kauyon loves the extra damage the Pathfinders allows the rest of the army to do.

If you think of the pathfinders without their devilfish (which should be given to a unit of fire warriors), then the extra damage 8 of them will add, for less than 100 points, is remarkable. The change in tactics they demand is that sometimes you will be forced to protect them which will tether at least some of your army to be near their location. This will force you to use kroot as sacrifical /speedbumps units. Not only do you not want the enemy to get to the pathfinders you don't want them to get to any nearby units.

With the most cost effective firepower units left in the Tau codex being mobile (apart from one), ie. Shas'el, Crisis Suits, Hammerheads, the Kauyon way is to increase that firepower more, and to me the best way is mainly Pathfinders (aided by considering switching to second unit of broadsides at the expense of a hamerhead).

The use of Pathfinders and the tethering of some of your army nearby (due to their static nature) will require kroot screens (and if you like them, piranha blockers). Pathfinders require you guess where the enemy will come to ensure the pathfinders have line of sight to contruct the perfect killing zone (Kauyon). Without being restricted by the static area of effect of pathfinders an army can be free-er to hunt down their enemy (Mont'ka).

Rathstar

As a parting note, as army size increases (at 1850 pts and beyond) even crisis suits will run out of space to run and may require kroot screens. Also if LOS blocking terrain is commonplace then the effectiveness of pathfinders and broadsides could be serverly weakened. These two points show that this analysis could be flawed when looking at your local playing environment, but should give some food for thought on the style of army list you want to use.

Late Edit: Although Broadsides also add static elements to the army, they only add better anti-tank, and can normally be allowed to die after the first three turns of the game by when the essential tank killings needs to happen. However pathfinders add to the type of firepower that is needed that turn, eg. against a tank strip it's cover save for broadsides, for a horde guide missile & burst cannon suits, against MEQ guide Fireknifes or Helios in rapid fire range. If you can protect them you can improve the element of your army that is most required turn by turn. Broadsides also don't tether part of your army nearby as much as pathfinders.

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