Monday, 30 July 2012

Harlequin Conversion & Artwork I Came Across


I mentioned in my previous post that I was thinking of adding some Eldar to my Dark Eldar army, and that I wanted to model these additions as Harlequins.

Browsing the internet for inspirations, and different checkered designed that I thought I'd have a chance of painting without it looking horrible I came accross this wonderful converted Harlequin avatar (from 4 years ago).  There's even a forum post by the painter showing how he converted the model here. Click on the picture to see a larger version.

[Source: Alabaster from Tau On-line]
I also came across this picture of a shadowseer that I want to use as a basis for my Shadowseer (counts as Farseer) conversion.  I think I'll use 2 phatasm grenade launchers as the pipes on his back.
[Source: Wolf Den Games 40k Art Gallery]

Colour scheme wise I'm not fully decided, but I am leaning towards a black undercoat start, with light purple (as in the converted harlequin avatar above) and bleached bone as a contrast colours, on shoulder pads, and small checkered areas.

Hopefully the new units will stand out as different, while still blending into the army with the dark colour scheme, and the shared purple colour.

Trying to find some cheap war walkers from ebay, but I may just have to bite the bullet and get come from GW.  Painting wise I have to finish off the blast bits of my Dark Eldar (Razorwing Flocks, Blasterborn & the Baron) to make way for these Eldar.

Are allies making into your painting table ?  What do you use for inspiration for colour schemes and conversions ?


Monday, 23 July 2012

An Option to Fill the Gaps - Dark Eldar in 6th

With my first games of 6th edition I'm beginning to see gaps in the Dark Eldar arsenal, so I'm going to quickly explore what I think those gaps are and a possible solution.  I say possible because with all weaknessess one option is to not cater for it, and concentrate on your strengths.

So lets explore those weakness:

Pyschic Powers

While in 5th edition the lack of psykers (and psychic defense) was not much of an issue, but now some of the powers are downright game changing. Examples include being able to fire overwatch at full BS; our poor wyches didn't like overwatch to start with, but this wouldn't leave many wyches to make combat. Another example is a version of the Tyranid's Doom power to do wounds equal to 3D6 less the target leadership.

One option is to keep a good range away from enemy psykers, as most powers are quite short ranged, while trying to kill the psyker from shooting.  However this may prove differcult with most psykers being independent characters so they can Look Out Sir any wounds away on a 2+, plus most have easy access to options to increase their speed from hopping a ride with another unit in a transport to having wings or jump packs themselves.

Mid Strength Firepower

With the new Hull Points rules mid strength firepower seems to be coming to the fore.  Riflemen (double twin linked autocannon dreadnaughts) were already popular, and now with Hull Points a lot of the time it is easier to kill vehicles by stripping away their hull points rather than exploding them.  In this edition lots of mid strength shooting (best done by autocannons, assault cannons, psycannons, scatter lasers etc) are the most efficient at doing this.

Dark Eldar however can not move with the new meta because we don't have these types of weapons.  We have the single shot dark lance/blaster/heat lance, or multiple shot anti infantry guns (splinter cannons, splinter pods etc.) that can not affect vehicles at all.  The disintegrator cannon at str 5 is just too low to use against vehicles.

[Going to Ground - Dark Eldar don't survive like they used to]
Troop Units Resilient to Shooting

With multiple objectives being used more of the time having troops which can sit on a objective late in the game and be hard to shoot off is nice to have.  Again Dark Eldar with their glass cannon nature are not too good at this.  With lots of terrain reduced to a 5+ cover save, and Feel No Pain also reduced to 5+ sometimes it hard to keep an objective that was won earlier in the game.

I used to use small units of 3 wracks to came on from reserve, but will they still be able to hold objectives, when they have gone from 4+ cover with 4+ Feel No Pain to 5+ and 5+.  Also these wracks played no part in the battle and contributed nothing to killing the enemy.

The Solution ?

Well there don't seem to be any easy solution within the Dark Eldar codex, so my suggestion is to turn to allies.  Dark Eldar only really have the option of Eldar, as all the rest require tests to see if you're too suspicious of your ally to concentrate on the battle each turn.

Now a lot of people say the Eldar codex is a bit dated, needs an update, and is not competitive enough (nothing I totally disagree with), but when allowed to cherry pick some units to fill certain gaps I think they have some good options.

When picking allies there's two ways to go about it; either build your whole army list around the fact that it's going to be a joint force, or (as in this case) only picking certain units to fill strategic needs.  On this second methodology I believe the points spent on the allies should be kept to a minimum to stop them taking away the focus the main list has.

With this in mind lets look at psychic defense.  Eldrad gives the psychic defence we need, but also alot of offensive powe with 3 usable powers a turn, the option of using the new 6th edition powers and a staff that wounds on 2+ disallowing armour saves.  However at 210 points, maybe we can get away with a cheaper farseer.  Note: This gets rid of the need to figure out how to ensure I get the best use of all of Eldrad power (something I would do if I was designing an Dark Eldar/Eldar joint force from scratch).  If I take one of the  cheap 20 point powers (to immediate switch for a Diviniation power, as the basic power is Guide with double the range), add on Runes of Warding for the psychic defence and I've only spent 90 pts.

Next lets look at the mid strength shooting, well nothing does it better than war walkers.  They may be even more fragile at only 2 hull points each, but the fire output with scatter lasers is nasty, 8 shots each for 60 pts.  However with the increase in fragility I'm thinking it may better to go with the cheaper dual shuriken cannon option.  Each war walker is now a bargain 40 pts each, and I can have 3 for the cost of 2 with dual scatter lasers.

Although the shuriken cannon war walkers have the turn 1 (and maybe turn 2) issues with range, they keep their firepower longer due to having more models.  After suffering 2 hull points the 120 points of scatter laser war walkers have lost half their power down to 8 shots a turn, while the shuriken cannon war walkers have lost a third going down to 12 shots a turn.  There is the case that I could go for 3 scatter laser war walkers, but then the points start to get high (180 pts for all 3).  A quick note: Vipers were considered as they can take dual shuriken cannons (at 65 pts per Viper).  Although they are faster and therefore better able to make better use of short ranged weapons they pay for this being over 50% more expensive, are open-topped and can't outflank.

Lastly lets look at what troops I can take to make my allies detachment legal.  Guardians are very poor unless you take a large squad with a platform (and even then their medicore), and they wouldn't compliment the rest of the Dark Eldar army.  Dire Avengers are similar as without an expensive transport they are a bit weak.  Jetbikes are an option; they can be as cheap as 66 pts (for 3), and like the my small wrack units they can always start in reserve.  However I'd then have a problem with where to put the Farseer, unless I buy him/her a Jetbike and start the jetbikes troop unit on the board making the joint unit of farseer and jetbikes a fast but small and fragile unit.  Finally we have rangers (or pathfinders), they add something new to the army with sniper rifles.  Their precision strikes are great for kill special and heavy weapons, and can be used to threaten characters who could easily fail their 4+ Look Out Sir roll.  To keep it cheap lets just take 5 rangers and see what we have.

The suggested allies detachment comes in at a tidy 305 pts, not excessive, but large enough to cover the bases.  It will need some cutting to fit them into a 1750 force.  Going through my current list I have lost 4 Trueborn with 4 Blasters on a Venom (with dual Splinter cannons), plus 5 wyches with haywire grenades on a Venom (again with dual splinter cannons), and to make the last few points a krymera was lost.  That's a lot of anti infantry firepower lost with 24 poison shots from the 2 venoms, and then anti tank is reduced with less blasters and less haywire.  The war walkers should be able to pick up some of that, plus the farseer and rangers add to the tool box the army can draw upon.

After all this I'm not going use this as an excuse to start an Eldar army, so I'll be modelling and painting up my Eldar additions to be Harliquins (using a simular colour palette to my existing army).  I'll convert the rangers from warriors with the necron sniper rifles (who can avoid an excuse to use those lovely sniper weapons). The Farseer will be a Shadow Seer character, and I'll add spikes and blades to the war walkers.  It should be a nice project, even if I eventually decide to stay pure Dark Eldar, plus they'd always be ready in case I want to move up to playing 2000 pts games.

Lets discuss whether this adequately fills the Dark Eldar gaps ?  Do you agree the gaps need fixing/filling, or are there other gaps that are more important ?  Will the new Eldar units synergise with the Dark Eldar army well, or do they seem out of place with the style of the existing Dark Eldar army ?

Here's the complete army list with the Eldar additions.  Do the Eldar additions add more to the army than the Blasterborn, Haywire Wyches & 2 Venoms they replaced ?

Baron Sathonyx - 105

Haemonculus Nalix Soulseer - 60
  with Liquifier Gun

Farseer - 90
  Runes of Warding, Divination Power Prescience (a double ranged Guide)

4 Trueborn with 4 Blasters - 108
  in Venom with 2 Splinter Cannons - 65

4 Trueborn with 4 Blasters - 108
  in Venom with 2 Splinter Cannons - 65

9 Wracks - 90
  in Raider with Disintegrator - 60

9 Wyches with Haywire grenades - 123
  including Hekatrix with Venom Blade
  in Raider with Disintegrator - 60

5 Eldar Rangers - 95

3 Wracks - 30

3 Wracks - 30

4 Beastmasters - 186
  with 4 Krymerae and 6 Razorwing Flocks

Ravager with 3 Dark Lances - 105

Ravager with 3 Dark Lances - 105

Razorwing Jetfighter - 145
  with 2 Dark Lances, 4 Monoscythe Missiles

3 War Walkers - 120
  with Dual Shuriken Cannons

Total: 1750 Pts, 64 Models, 19 Units, 5 Scoring Units


Saturday, 14 July 2012

WIP Baron Going For A Test Run

With the changes to Beasts movement and the challenge rules I have decided to try out the Baron running with my Beastmaster pack. He solves so many of their issues; leadership, grenades, plus he gives them the usual buffs of stealth and someone to accept challenges, as well as the usual +1 on the roll off for 1st turn.

Here's a pic of my WIP Baron conversion who will be leading my forces this afternoon. His weapon is made from 2 power swords and the middle section of a hellglaive and the skyboard has been enlarged with raider keel blades. I've ordered some reaver fins to add to the model and I'll add some more decoration (skulls/blades) to the skyboard.

 By the way I recently noticed that Beastmasters are characters so they can accept challenges from enemy characters to limit them to +1 combat res, allowing the beasts to rip the rest of the enemy unit to bits.

After half a dozen small games of 6th edition, I be getting experience of normal sized games, and I'm looking forward to seeing how my Dark Eldar translate to the new rules.


Thursday, 5 July 2012

Haywire - An 80's boy band, or a solution to tanks ?


Sorry to disappoint any readers flocking to see a witty exposé on the merit's a 80's boy bands and the timelessness of their hairstyles, and while I like an occassional trip down memory lane and a rewatching of Lost Boys, this post is about the changes to Haywire in 6th edition and why it'll be making an entry in my lists going forwards.

My Issues with Haywire in 5th Edition

1) If you wanted any realistic chance of doing more than shaking a vehicle you had to roll a 6 for the effect of the haywire weapon to give you a penetrating hit
2) The biggest anti tank issues I had was stopping a moving transport with assault troops on board (once they were on the ground I could use my manoveability to run rings around them).  A vehicle moving more then 6" was 6's to hit in close combat
3) Another one of my bugbears was dealing with dreadnaughts as needing 6's to hit in combat with grenades meant that there was little chance of killing it in combat

With the changes in 6th edition all these issues have gone away.  Only needing 3's to hit moving vehicles, means that you get 4 times as many hits as trying to hit a vehicle moving full speed in 5th edition.  Also the fact that a glancing blow is anywhere from a quarter to half a vehicle dead means it doesn't take too many attacks to kill a vehicle.  Grenades hitting normally in combat against dreadnaughts means that a squad of wyches should kill a dreadnaught for the loss of one wych.

One final minor benefit of haywire is that you are more likely to wreak a vehicle rather than cause it to explode; very usful if you are near it with DE fragile troops for example, plus it can give you cover the following turn..

Haywire - The Options

Dark Eldar - Haywire Grenades:  These will allow wych units to easily kill any vehicle they charge.  Also because multi-charging doesn't reduce the number of attacks the wyches get, they are perfect for multicharging vehicles.  A full wych squad should be able to easily kill 3 vehicles, and has a good chance of finishing off 3 weakened vehicles.  At a measily 20 points for a full squad it's a bargain for the reliability it can kill tanks.  Plus the increased ability to kill vehicles in combat will take pressure off the shooting anti tank and the possibility of rubber lance syndrome causing a big issue.

Dark Eldar - Haywire Blasters: Available to Taloi and Scourges.  Scourges normally compete with Reavers with Heat Lances.  Reavers in 5th edition were the better all round option, being faster, able to move backwards in the assault phase after shooting heat lances at short range, and better able to make use of cover.  None of this has changed in 6th edition, but the haywire blaster being so good at stripping hull points gives Scourges with Haywire Blasters a good advange over the reavers in the anti tank arena, being the ability to operate at range.  Also although weaker the scourges can be in squads of 5 and still have 2 special weapons.  Reavers still have many advantages such as their slashing attack and the fact they are much better in combat (a Hammer of Wrath impact hit, plus 3 attacks on the charge), but if taken just for their anti tank the Scourges are now in contention for a place in peoples list.

[Talos Picture courtesy of Warseer's Tale of 40k Painters, click here to see the full thread]

The Talos could take either the Haywire Blaster or Blaster as shooting options.  The Haywire Blaster was usual taken for suppression fire as the Talos advanced, now being able to take the final hull point of weakened vehicles could see the Haywire Blaster taken more.  However I think the Talos' main strength is combat, so I would rather go with a cheap weapon as a backup (such as a splinter cannon) and then take chain-flails and an additional close combat weapon.  Running the Talos each turn to get it into combat would be better and mean your army is attacking more at the same time rather than bit by bit.

Necrons - Harbringer of the Storm: These guys come with a Voltic Staff, and come in 10 pts cheaper than the popular Harbringer of Destruction.  Their weapon has only 12" range, but has a good chance of killing any 3 hull point vehicle on the initial shot, as it fires 4 haywire shots.  It's high rate of fire also makes it good against infantry after tanks are gone.  My biggest issues is it's short range, particularly as basic infantry can assault up to 18" in 6th edition.  However the addition of a Lightning Field (D6 Str 8 Ap- hits on any unti charging the cryptek's unit) could deter some units.

I'll probably try out Harbringers of the Storm in my two large units of Immortals, as they are more likely to survive a charge if it comes to it, plus they tend to move forwards more that the small squads of warriors I have..

However Necrons anti tank got a huge boost in 6th edition, as they have a number of units that can charge tanks (Overlords charging on their Barges which are now chariots, Warscythe wielding characters, Wraiths, Scarabs), plus Guass weapons already can glance anything.  Therefore whether my necrons need the addition of short ranged tank killing will be something I'll be looking at carefully.

I think Haywire is one of the gems of 6th edition, and improves the Dark Eldar anti tank, meaning I may be able to rduce the amount of anti tank I have elsewhere in the list, as I think there will be a slight shift from anti tank to anti infantry in 6th edition.

In my Dark Eldar list to experiment with Haywire in 6th Edition, I'm going to swap Reavers Jetbikes (which I still think are a good unit) for Scourges with Haywire Blasters.  With the lower unit size requirement to get two special weapons it allows me to give the squad of 9 wyches haywire grenades (my new 6th edition practice list at the bottom of this post).

What do you think of Haywire, will it change your lists ?  Have you had experience using Haywire in your early 6th edition games, how did they do ?


6th Edition Dark Eldar Haywire Try-out List:

Haemonculus Nalix Soulseer - 65
  with Venom Blade & Liquifier Gun

4 Trueborn with 4 Blasters - 108
  in Venom with 2 Splinter Cannons - 65

4 Trueborn with 4 Blasters - 108
  in Venom with 2 Splinter Cannons - 65

4 Trueborn with 4 Blasters - 108
  in Venom with 2 Splinter Cannons - 65

10 Wracks with 2 Liquifier Guns - 120
  in Raider with Disintegrator - 60

9 Wyches with Haywire grenades - 123
  including Hekatrix with Venom Blade
  in Raider with Disintegrator - 60

3 Wracks - 30
  in Raider with Dark Lance - 60

3 Wracks - 30

4 Beastmasters - 198
  accompanied by 5 Krymerae and 6 Razorwing Flocks

5 Scourges with 2 Haywire Blasters - 130

Ravager with 3 Dark Lances - 105

Ravager with 3 Dark Lances - 105

Razorwing Jetfighter - 145
  with 2 Dark Lances, twin-linked Spinter Rifle & 4 Monoscythe missiles

Total: 1750 Pts, 19 Kill Points

NB: Lance weapons reduced to by 4 to 21 (and it's more concentrated, in 7 rather than 10 places), offset by Haywire inclusion.  Anti Infantry increased with the inclusion of 2 Disintegrators, 3rd Liquifier gun, and Scourge Shard Carbines.


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