Wednesday, 25 November 2015

The Tomb Reawakens III - Wraiths Progress & 1st Tournament Games

Finishing at 5 in the morning before the tournament I got the Wraiths up to gaming standard so I could take them to the tournament (I also quickly added some blue to my WIP Sypder as well).  At 2 in the morning I released I wasn't going to finish them at the rate I was going, so you'll notice that I didn't paint the red in between the tail sections on the back 3 Wraiths.  They are very very far from finished, but I still got compliments about them at the tournament which is nice.

Practice Game

For this game and the tournament games my (1500 point) list was:

Combined Arms Detachment:
Lord (just stock with a Staff of Light)
2 x 10 Warriors
3 Spyders

Canoptek Harvest Formation
1 Spyder
5 Scarabs
6 Wraiths

Destroyer Cult Formation
Destroyer Lord (Voidreaper, ie. a Warscythe with Master-crafted and Fleshbane)
3 x 3 Destroyers
3 Heavy Destroyers

The Thursday before the tournament I got to play my mate's Grey Knights army.  It was a very elite army, but had a lot of 2+ saves to deal with, 2 dreadknights & 2 units of terminators (one with a lvl3 librarian) accompanied by 2 units of purifiers in rhinos and another grey knight unit with the shunt jump packs.

We played maelstrom hammer and anvil, and in hindsight the deployment played into my hand, as it stopped the Grey Knights using their mobility to pick on isolated units because out 24" wide deployment zones were so packed.

Bad target priority meant I took a wound off a dreadknight while leaving a rhino on 1 hull point (should have focused on the rhino), however some destroyers on the other flank killed the other rhino to get me 1st blood.

Next turn I tied to whittle away wounds on the dreadknights while continuing to build up the scarabs.  I was taking a few casualties, but not much as the Grey Knights did not have too much firepower (particular with a terminator unit in reserve).  I charged one of the dreadknights with wraiths and attacked destroyer lord, but the destroyer lord did not make it into combat and the dreadknight lost by 1, ran away, and I did not catch it.

3rd turn the dreadknight flamed some destroyers, but it left the last model from the unit out of range, while the dreadknight the other side charged and killed a unit of destroyers.  My response was to kill a dreadknight with the wraiths, bring the other dreadknight down to 1 wound with the mainly with the heavy destroyers over a couple of turns, with the destroyers doing a number on the advancing purifiers.  The scarabs who were quite big charged the Libby who was with the remaining purifiers and drowned them in attacks, but it still took a few combat phases for the Libby to die.

Although a unit of terminators had deep struck into my back field, the other had had to move backwards to get an objective, so with me having a large lead in the maelstrom points the game was effectively over

Overall my army had nice mobility without reducing it's firepower, and in this game I got lucky in that the maelstrom cards went my way, and my opponents saves were a bit poor at the start of the game.  A good opening game for the Necrons at 1500 points.

1st Tournament Game vs Khorne Daemonkin

A cracking game against another mate.  I went into the game a bit to confident, thinking of all the internet hype that khorne deamonkin made chaos better but still not in any way good.  Never underestimate an army you have never played before.  The Khorne army was a very fast assault army, that imho had been built very well to use the advantage the army had.  It had 2 units of blood letters in rhinos, another in reserve, a unit of khorne hounds, a Maulerfiend (think dreadnought with 2 special close combat weapons that can move 12" a turn), 2 Soul Grinders, 2 small units of bikes and to round everything off a bloodthirster.

Because my opponent had a maelstrom card to kill a character he moved the centre of his line (mainly the bloodthirster) towards one flank that had the necron lord with some warriors, so i mainly went the other flank - I wasn't scared of the bloodthirster.  We both cleared up our respective flank, my wraiths clearing up any infantry they encountered, and the destroyer shooting doing well.  I cleared up the 2 units of bikes, 3 units of bloodletters and 2 rhinos, while Khorne had killed my necron lord, 1 warrior unit, the unit of spyders and the formation spyder.  So I only had my destroyer lord with wraiths as a heavy hitter, while Khorne had most of their big hitters.  Luckily for me the game had to end turn 4, and I had won by 1 point, only because I killed a maulerfiend with the last shot of the match for 2 maelstrom points.  If the game had gone on I think the Khorne would have pulled it back and even had a chance of tabling the necrons if the game had gone on to turn 7.

Big lesson was not to underestimate fast assault armies.  The mobility of my army was very useful to move away to one flank and concentrate my shooting and assault, a more static army would have been rolled over a lot easier.

Tournament Game 2 vs Tau

I wasn't expecting the New Tau, but the codex had come out just in time.  However the player doing the tournament comp, to put in mildly, doesn't like Tau, so made a few rulings that were definitely anti Tau.  This had nothing to do with the new codex's coordinated firepower rule, just plain arbitrary rule changes; snap shots could not be modified (the only army that can modify snap shots is Tau), plus GMCs could only fire 2 weapons (which although is sometimes debated, no tournament I've heard of has ruled it that way).  Out of all the formations in the game the Firebase Support Cadre was one of 2 banned, and this was the same comp that did not modify anything to do with Necrons or Eldar at all.

We were playing the diagonal deployment and the mission was Purge the Alien.  Running across the battlefield into Tau guns was not going to do my infantry any good, so the necron lord and 20 warriors stayed in 2 ruins near my corner of the board and were ready to go to ground if anything looked at them.

The board was dominated by a big building section.  It was a big L shape that blocked line of sight for infantry, but the opponents Riptide and Stormsurge could see over it.  the building had doors so units could go in it.  Looking from my table side, I was deployed in the bottom right, and the buiding started in the about 12" on the bottom left, came accross to nearly the middle of the board, and went up towards the other side of the board stopping about 20" from the other table edge.  One door was at the top of the building, and the other was at the side close to the edge of my deployment zone.

[The layout I faced was more of a large L shape with a door and one end of the L,
and another at the corner of the L shape]

It was really nice terrain, but I think it was better suited to a role playing or small skirmish game, but we have to deal with the terrain that's set-up at the table, and being able to pick table corners I got a massive advantage.  For those interested in the terrain you can follow the link here.

To take advantage of coordinated firepower my opponent had taken lots of small infantry units, a unit of 4 drones (his auxiliary for his formation), 2 units of 5 pathfinders, 3 units of 6 fire warriors.  This was complimented by some big hitters; a Riptide, a Stormsurge (with the shorter ranged main gun), a Hammerhead, plus a Commander with some Crisis suits.  The infantry and drones looked like 6 easy kill points, so I aimed to ensure they died as soon as possible.

After set-up almost everything went to plan.  The Wraiths went through the building for a turn 3 charge, while the scarabs were built up by 4 a turn to also rush round the building for a turn 3 charge.  The destroyers used their mobility (6" move, D6" run, plus 2D6" assault move) to rush up the board with even the spyders running every turn.

Return fire from the Tau was minimal, particularly with the Heavy Destroyers instant killing the broadside, the Spyders regenerating the Scarabs faster than they were being killed (mainly from scattering blasts), and the Destroyers losing a couple of members due to their good toughness & armour saves.

My opponent got very unlucky with the turn three assaults in that the pathfinders charged by the scarabs rolled double 1 for their morale test and got locked in combat.  One of the 3 units of infantry the wraiths were in combat also did the same thing locking them in combat.

Rather than counter charging with the Stormsurge, it just shot at the destroyers and spyders.  So when the wraiths and scarabs were free he following turn (having killed their opponents in the Tau turn) they set up a massive single combined combat.  After the destroyers killed the crisis suits, the scarabs charged the commander, some rallied pathfinders, and the hammerhead, while the wraiths charged some rallied firewarriors, the commnder and the riptide.  The fire warriors and pathfinders were slaughtered, the hammerhead was wreaked, the commander and riptide didn't do much and then didn't roll double 1 for their break test and both ran off the board, leaving the Tau with just the Stormsurge, and a double digit deficit in victory points.

[It's nice to have a Stomp option]

We got to see the Stormsurge in action, and he did roll a 6 on one of his stomps killing 3 wraiths, luckily they had fearless to give the rest of the army time to run away :)

This game mobility and speed was again key, any extra infantry I took in my army to make it a decurian would'nt have added anything, and would have reduced what could run at the enemy with any change of getting there.

Coming Next

Two big wins, and the next game was against Eldar, which will follow in the next post, along with I thought of the army and how I will tweak it going forwards.

Until then, Happy Gaming :)


Thursday, 12 November 2015

The Tomb Reawakens II - Converted Wraiths [Necrons]

The Tomb continues to stir !!  I wrote a few weeks ago (here) that the Necrons were dithering between being sold off on ebay or becoming one of my fewer remaining main armies, and in another post a left the teaser picture below:
[I think the scarab gave the wraith away]
.Although the Necron army is undoubtedly strong, I wanted the playstyle of the army I play to be mobile, as that's the playstyle I enjoy the most.  If I was going to keep the army I wanted to update my Wraiths, not only were the old models wraiths a bit small compared to the new ones, but it was an excuse to convert a nice unit to big a nice center piece.

[a comparison of the old and current wraith models]
However the another reason for wanting to replace them is that they look very bland and not too impressive (in my opinion). As my armies get large I like to add in something different, I also find it fun to come up with a new design or conversion.

So off to the internet I went for inspiration. Oddly enough there weren't many recent alternative wraith conversions, probably because people use the GW official model, as it is after all a good sculpt.  However there were a few that were done when the wraiths originally made an entrance in the necron codex. At that point there were no wraith models, only pictures in the codex to go on.

One really nice conversion I found was from dakka dakka forum [link here], however I thought it was way beyond my modelling skills:

I really liked how the conversion melded the wraith and flayed one ideas. Follow this link to the forum post if you want see other work in progress pictures of the conversion.

Another conversion I found was from Warhammer with Zail blog (link here)

The only thing I wanted to change was to increase the height slightly, and make the model a bit bulkier in the torso area, to make the model more in line with the dimensions of the current wraith model.

After looking at the GW range of models to see if there was a tail I could use and deciding there wasn't really anything suitable (unless I wanted to use the tail of the existing wraith model), so I made the tail out of a bent paper clip and circular tubes of plasticard that I cut into small sections.

The plasticard was from Gale Force Nine's Assessory pack:

I used the 2 smallest circular tubes, and here's my first work in progress pics:

I bulked out the torso by adding 2 of the big shields from the lychguard to the upper back of the torso, and 2 of the small void blades from the same bit to the lower back torso. Here's pictures of the first model fully converted:

Since then I've undercoated and put a black wash on 3, and started the painting on one, while converted and undercoating 3 more to give me a unit of 6:

The plan now is to get the one I've started painted up to gaming standard, and then to get the rest of them up to the same stage tomorrow evening, as after a ptractive game tonight they'll be having their proper run out in a tournament this weekend.

There's still loads to do with them.  I wanted the gaps in between the tube tail to look like it's glowing, so I need to put a lighter red line in the middle of the gap, and highlight the edges of the tail sections.  Putting more detail on the rest of the model (including glow effects on the chest and eyes) and more highlighting will also be needed.  However all that will have to wait till after the tournament.

Let me know what you think of the conversions, and let me know what conversions you're working on.  How do you try to make your army stand out from the crowd ?


Friday, 6 November 2015

Burning Dawn Campaign & Infiltration Cadre [Tau] - Updated Dec '15

[Our New Character Ethereal Aun'Do]

I'm a bit late to the party with this campaign.  I always thought the Ethereal looked really neat, and was hoping to pick it up cheaply from ebay a few weeks after the release.  However I don't think this is likely to happen, as unlike the previous campaign boxsets there isn't the huge savings on the price, meaning it's unlikely people will be buying multiples of the boxset to either bulk out their army or start an army from scratch.  Therefore the Ethereal is currently, and is likely to stay, being sold for a very inflated price compared to an Ethereal (around £25+).

However while listening to a YouTube battle report it was mentioned that the new campaign Ethereal had fearless, and knowing the new character Ethereal was only 25pts more than a standard Ethereal, I was intrigued with the rules for the Burning Dawn models.

So firstly what do you get if you take Aun'Do, well he got a hover drone (not that impressed, as only means he ignores dangerous terrain checks when he's with a unit), an honour blade (ok, but I've never taken one because an Ethereal shouldn't be getting in combat voluntarily), recon armour (nice but nothing special), once a game can use 2 invocations (nice) and has another rule to do with ignoring cover (which I will try to get more info on).

A normal Ethereal with recon armour, honour blade & hover drone would be 70 pts, so the extra abilities, particularly fearless is only 5 points.  In my eyes that's a bargain, and I would have paid 75 points for him even if he didn't have the hover drone, armour or honour blade.

So what is in the boxset, and would I get it

In the box you get:
1 Pathfinder Squad (10 Pathfinders, including special weapons & 3 Drones)
1 Piranha
1 Stealth Suit Team (3 Stealth Suits & 1 Drone)
Ethereal Aun’Do
Burning Dawn Campaign Book (32 pages, including background story & rules)

If you assume the Ethereal cost a bit more than the current Ethereal and is in line with the other plastic characters, then you're only saving a couple of pounds.  So unless you really wanted to pick up the Ethereal or the rules for the formation (which you could probably pick up elsewhere, eg. ebay) you'd really need to what to use all the models.

Both Pathfinders and Stealth Suits have not been in my army for a while, Stealth suits for a few editions and pathfinders since I started using forgeworld Tetras.  Now while both units are not dead weights like Vespids, they are not the most common units seen (although pathfinders are almost a auto include if you don't have Tetras).

Outside of their formation I wouldn't want to use all of these models, so lets take a quick look at the formation.

The formation gives scout (or infiltrate if you already have scout), and Shrouded.  Scouded is very interesting because it makes the pathfinder much more survivable; 3+ cover save in forests, and 2+ in ruins, plus as Aun'Do is an indepentant character he sould give Shrouded to any unit he joins.  In my army my Ethereal normally joins my Sniper Team, which with their own Stealth would have a 2+ cover save when behind the Fire Warriors and Kroot in front of them.

Aun'Do abilities and the Shrouded seem very good.  Now we need to look at the bloat.  Do the units have extra wargear or costs that make the formation as whole so inefficient to outweigh the formation benefits.

[Update: The formation give Stealth NOT Shrouded, no is not quite as good, plus it ruins my idea of joining the Ethereal to my Sniper Drones, as Stealth does not stack with itself]

The Stealth squad comes as 3 with a marker drone and costs 125 pts.  So it has the shas'ui upgrade, fusion gun upgrade and a drone.  A bit of bloat but not too bad to stop me taking the formation.

The Piranha character has BS4 and a fusion gun, so is fine for 55 pts, effectively you get +1 BS and the formation bonuses for 5 points :)

[What a way to kill something promising]
Now the pathfinders, the death dealers.  They are a full squad (not the worse thing in the world), however they are fully bloated with upgrades, they have multiple special weapons and ALL of the drones, and come stock at 240 points.  They don't contribute many markerlight tokens (for their cost) which is what you should take a large squad for. They have a pulse accelerator drone, but then exchange some pulse carbines for special weapons, plus lots of situational wargear (eg. grav inhibitor drone).  Overall they become a very expensive jack of all trade unit that is not overly good at any task for their cost, while still being as tough as guardsmen if anything with ignore fire shots them.

I know this isn't a full proper review of the Burning Dawn units, but at 240 points for one unit of pathfinders it's a deal breaker for me.  I'll take Aun'Do as part of a Combined Arms detachment, but the pathfinders ruin the formation for me (even with the good benefits of Scout and Shrouded).

What's you take on the Burning Dawn Infiltration Cadre ?  I'm going to get the campaign booklet off ebay (for the fluff and Aun'Do rules), and try to pick up Aun'Do, but after that I'll leave it at that, and save my money towards a Stormsurge or Ghostkeel.


[Update: While attending a convention, Warfare, I saw the boxset £10 less than GW price, so I picked it up, as I was shocked at the prices of the Ethereal and the Campaign booklet prices on ebay, which were regularly going for £25+ each, I'll be magetizing the Ethereal so he can be Aun'Do or a regular Ethereal on foot, pics to follow]


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