Friday, 12 February 2016

LVO Results - A chance to look at the 40k meta (Beware: Mild Number Crunching)

The LVO (Las Vegas Open) Results are out, and as it's one of (if not the) largest tournaments in the world it's always nice to crunch the numbers and see does the meta of that tournament follow our thinking of which armies are the top dog.

First some pretty huge caveats:

  • This is one tournament, and even if it is large it is still a small sample size as any statistician would tell you.
  • With most tournaments having comp that will always change slightly which armies are good, with some armies being able to adjust to the comp better than others.  For the comp in this tournament, please look up the ITC (Independent Tournament Circuit) Rules
  • Results can be skewed by several factors, eg. some people do not complete all their games leading to them having a lower placing than someone who does complete all their games, an army's primary detachment may be a very small portion of the overall army.
So while we should treat all such analysis with a pinch of salt, hopefully the above factors in some cases even themselves out with a large number of competitors.

The full results of the tournament can be found here.

So lets start off my with my predictions (honest I did these before the analysis):

  • All the analysis tables will be dominated by the top 4 Codexs (Eldar, Necrons, Marines for which I include Dark Angels & and finally Tau), ie. the recent codexs with Decurian type detachments (although in the case of Eldar I think their detachment is not their strength, which I think is the base unit cost of their units meaning a CAD with an allied Aspect Host(s) being very powerful for them.  Mainly the top 4 are the most recent codexs
  • They will be some placings for some armies, such as Daemons & Khorne Daemonkin, but the results will show the rest of the codexs are definitely chasing the top 4 in terms of performance, however good generals can get good results.
  • The last stat I like to do, which shows how widespread an armies results are, which to me shows how much a good or bad general can influence the army, I'm not to sure on what this will show.  People like to say that anyone can win with Eldar, but to me they are becoming (like Marines) an army that everyone knows because they are so powerful and becoming so popular.  When I'm playing my Necrons or Tau I feel I know the Eldar better than my opponents know Tau or Necrons and that I have less to fear if I'm playing a worse player.  However in general I still see Eldar smash average generals with average armies whoever they are piloted by.  I think Marines will still have a wide spread of results as they are a popular army and many beginners start with them.
Well onto the stats, and lets take a look at army popularity:
Well no surprises here with my view of the top armies dominated both the field and also the top 50 placings.  A shout out to Dark Angels which got 10% of the top 50 placings while being only 4% of the field.

A stat that starts to shows the power of a codex is to look at how much more they factor in the Top 50 compared to the overall field.  If we ignore the armies with less than 10 armies, we get the following table:
A bit of a surprise (for me anyway) with Dark Angels topping the list, I suppose I need to pay more attention to them.  Apart from that things were as expected apart from Marines, which had nearly the same percentage in the top 50 as they had in the entire field.  Cult Mech and Nids also did well (however the Nids sample is very small, eg. it could have been just 2 armies with loads of Flying Hive Tyrants making the top 50, which would say much for the rest of the codex).

Now lets look at the average placing:
Eldar still dominate along with Marines, Tau & Necrons, but Cult Mech gets a good showing.  I particularly like to look at the stats for the top 50, as this shows what a good general can get out of the army, and also gets rid of the newer players bringing marines.  This brings up a few things, first being the Necrons did very well in the top 50 along with Daemons (although a very small number, 3, made the top 50).  The Chaos Marines, Nids and Daemons armies indicate that is may have been a very specific build that made the top 50 as the overall performance of the three armies was very low.

And now we come to the last stat, which tries to represent the spread of the armies.  To calculate this I looked at each player and how far their position is away from the average for their army, and then divide this by the number of players.  Again just looking at the armies which had 10 or more entrants we get the following table:

At the top of the list we have the armies which had the narrowest spread in the army placings.  In the case of the top three I think it's because it's hard (not impossible) to place in such a competitive field regardless of how good a general you are.  Another view could be that people who take the weaker armies are there more to have fun and socialise, my counter is that even if you are there to have fun and socialise a good general should do better than a worse, and although this is true with these weaker armies it isn't as much as other armies.

Next we have Cult Mech and Eldar.  It may be controversial to some, but it can be hard to pick a weak list for Eldar once you don't pick silly choices, a complaint I've even heard from Eldar players trying to tone down their list when playing against some of the lower tier armies.

Next we have the middle of the road (in terms of spread), here we have Space Marines (being a very popular first army, so can have lots of newer players as well as experienced players), Daemons & Dark Angels.

Lastly we have a big surprise, in the bottom three we have both Tau and Necrons, which had bigger spread of performance than the average, only beaten by Nids.  The new Tau codex might have had an impact with people trying out the new toys and formations, and not having enough practice time with them, but the Necrons is definitely a surprise.  My only idea is that Necrons can be a win big or lose big army, in that they are very resistant to most shooting, but can be susceptible to some types of firepower and can get sweep easily in close combat.  Examples include a Cavalry and Beasts Space Wolf army could go throw a Necron force like a knife through butter, sprinkle in some allied firepower or a Knight and it could be very tough prospect for a Necron force.  Even though these two armies being low on the spread chart is surprising, and I'm sure the Tau will improve as people get used to the new options in the new codex, or maybe even realise that some of the old ones are still good (I'm doing well and i haven't built my Ghstkeel yet or even purchased a Stormsurge)..

So did anything surprise you ?  Why do you think Tau & Necrons had such a huge spread (I may expand on my thoughts in a future post) ?  Personally I'm going to have another look at the Cult Mech codex and the nasty formation that combined Cult Mech with Skitarii and Imperial Knights.

Lastly this was the meta at this one tournament, and is irrelevant for your local meta, and more importantly the group of mates you play with.  The meta in the UK will be different, the meta in the north US, the meta in the next tournament will be different, however I think it does give an indicator of what codexs are the most powerful, and wasn't toooo far out on my initial predictions, but even I will be doing a bit more research to be more familiar with Dark Angels and Cult Mech.


Monday, 8 February 2016

Curse of the Wulfen - New Rules and Codex


We now have an onslaught of information about the new Space Wolves rules in the Curse of the Wulfen supplement, due to a teaser video which allows us to see the rules of the new formtions, plus confirmation on a new codex, which is a digital only.  Also here I'm going to touch on two of the new entries; the Iron Priest's updated rules and the Wolfkin (a new formation for fenrusian wolves).

The teaser video can be seen here, and someone has kindly freeze framed and captured the images on Imgur here, which makes it possible to click on each image and zoom in slightly to read the rules.

Other information that has come out yesterday is a pre-order on Black Library for the Space Wolf Codex: Wulfen Edition (link here).  This codex is a digital only exclusive, and takes the existing Space wolf codex and adds the new Curse of the Wulfen Space Wolf rules, including all the new dataslates and formations.

This would make this the cheapest way to get access to the new Space Wolf rules, with the tablet (android) edition being £22.

All this information gives us a very good idea of what the Space Wolves are getting rules wise:
  • 7 New Formations
  • 4 New Dataslates, for Wulfen, Wolf Lord Krom, plus updated rules for Ulrik and the Iron Priest
  • 6 New Great Company Formations
  • A "Decirion" style detachment called the Wolf Claw's Strike Force

The Great Company formations are a bit big, requiring a large number of units, however they do not require the specific Wolf Lord, and can instead be run by a Wolf Guard Battle Leader.  Some of the benefits are quite good (eg. units get free drop pods and they all come in turn 1, or units can disembark after a vehicle has moved 12"), but I'll have to look at them more closely to see if they are worth the heafty points investment, and can compare them to the straight forward but very nice +1 WS for Wolf Guard and Thunderwolf Cav from the Champions of Fenris' detachment (Company of the Great Wolf).

I now want to look at two of the updates close to my heart, first up the Iron Priest.

Iron Priest Update

The first thing you notice is that he has gone up 20 points, but then you notice that he has moved from Elites to HQ, and that his stats have improved.  As well as his WS increasing to 5 he also has doubled in wounds to 2 and gained a point of leadership.  The extra wound is huge, plus the extra WS will come into effect often, overall very much worth the 20 point increase.  His change also puts the Iron Priest in even more direct competition with the Wolf Guard Battle Leader.  The Iron Priest is 25 points more, but comes with a Thunderhammer and Servo arm for weapons, plus having Runic armour, while having one less Initiative (nearly irrelevant when using a Thunderhammer).

A Wolf Guard Battle Leader with a Powerfist and Runic Armour is 100 points.  Both Strike at Initiative 1 with their weapons, the Wolf Guard Battle Leader, and they have the same attacks in combat because although the Wolf Guard Battle Leader has one extra attack on his profile the Iron Priest's Thunderhammer and Servo Arm are both specialist weapons so can be used together to get +1 attack.

The move from Elites to HQ is an issue for people using the Company of the Great Wolf detachment from the Champions of Fenris supplement which requires 2 Elite units.  Previously the Iron Priest was the go to option.  Luckily the new Wulfen unit is an Elites slot to help here.

The other big changes to the Iron Priest is the cost of Cyberwolves.  Previously they were 15 points each, but now they have significantly increased to 25 points stayed the same.

As pointed out by aracersss in the comments section Cyberwolves have not changed in cost - I looked to quickly at a slightly blurred number :(  So every thing is as usual and I think cyberwolves will still be joining Iron Priests in battle

One of the main uses for an Iron Priest was to mount him on a thunderwolf, give him 4 cyberwolves and join him to a thunderwolf cavalry unit, giving them a 2+ save tanker with some ablative wounds to Look Out Sir any nasty hits to.  Now I've been correctly informed that cycberwolves are still 15 points this tactic will be sure to continue :)

It's quite ironic when my painting table has 4 (high elf) lions for cyberwolves, which will quickly be reassigned as leaders of fenrusian wolf packs or character fenrusian wolves:

Wolfkin Formation

One of the unintended ways that formations are great is that they gets units out of a CAD's (or simular detachment's) limit on particluar slots, eg. in my necron army I use a Havest and Destroyer Cult formations, effectively using 5 Fast Attack slots which would not be possible in a normal CAD (Combined Arms Detachment).

At the moment I use Thunderwolf Cav, Fenrusian Wolves & Skyclaws (I know, but I like them) as my 3 Fast Attack units, this formation would free up a Fast Attack slot to allow me the option of putting in a second Thunderwolf Cav unit (or splitting up the existing one into two units).  So how good is the formation ?

It consists of 2-5 Fenrusian Wolf units, which is quite flexible as they can come in units of anywhere from 5 to 15.  They gain Monster Hunter, which is ok, but their low strength will make them struggle against most monstrous creatures.  They gain Outflank, I've never been too much of a fan, but 5 wolves to gain line breaker might be useful.

The big benefit is that the units can all join together to form an Alpha Pack, and additionally when they do they all get +1 attack if the units if 20 models or more.  Now keeping this unit over 20 models will be hard if the enemy fires at them, as they only have a 6+ save, but it will force the enemy to choose between them and the thunderwolves.

I already use a max size unit of fenrusian wolves with Canis, who boosts the fenrusian wolves in two ways already.  When he's with them they reroll to hit in the first round of combat, plus (because of his warlord trait) he gives them furious charge if he's within 12" at the start of the assault phase).  I was thinking Canis with 5 units of 5 wolves, which would give 100 attacks, rerolling to hit, at Str5.  Now this will rarely happen, what opponent wouldn't put some fire into such a large unit ?  Killing 7 models would reduce all the remaining models attacks by 1 each.  However a swarm of 8 point models can be underestimated in both their hitting power and speed compared with other threats like a drop podded Murderfang, Thunderwolf Cavalry, and even Assault Marines accompanied by a Iron Priest on a Thunderwolf.  I just have to paint up some more fenrusian wolves, and unfotunately I use old Khorne hound models for mine, but I think I have a few more lying around.

[My "Fenrusian Wolves" can be seem on the right of the pic]

So overall there's lots to take in with the new information about the Space Wolves release, and I'm looking forward to having a more in depth look at all the other formations.

What part of the Space Wolf release is most exciting for you ?  Which models are looking forward to getting on the battlefield ?


Post Edited 8th Feb to correct the cost of the cyberwolves for the Iron Priest

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Curse of the Wulfen Campaign Book [Space Wolves] - To Buy or Not to Buy ?


As more and more information comes out about the Curse of the Wulfen campaign book, the less I feel like shelling out the cash for it.  Like most gamers I have other game systems crying out for my hobby money, which is ever shrinking due to family commitments.

The limited edition Curse of the Wulfen camaign book (pictured above) looks absolutely stunning, however the actual contents is a bit disappointing from the point of view of a player.

I'm more than happy to shell out £35 for a box of 5 Wulfen, even through I think that price is a bit excessive, but what will I get for shelling out another £45 on the standard campaign book.  I will get:
[Includes background, so spoiler alert, don't click on the pic to make it bigger and (just about) readable
if you don't want to see the Wulfen background from White Dwarf]

  • The rules for the Wulfen - which I can get from White Dwarf
  • Some nice background, that probably the equivalent of any 40k novel
  • Some extra Echo of War missions, that I have never seen anybody play, and would rather play any number of alternative missions I already have
  • Some new formations "based on the Great Companies"
  • Lots of Daemon rules, formations & background that I am not that concerned about
For me, who's into playing with my Space Wolves, and not interested in Daemons, I don't think I get much over the £4 cost a White Dwarf for the Wulfen rules.

Unless the formations are very good that I want to put them in my army I won't be buying this £45 campaign book.  I was tempted with the Tau one, but this was has so little content that I probably won't get it even if one of the formations is very good, because £45 for a formation is more than my hobby budget can justify, when then is so much more that I can get for £45.  That £45 may still get spent in GW (eg. it's half way towards a Stormsurge, it's a second Ghostkeel, or second unit of Wulfen with change to spare for other games), but is this campaign book the best way to spend £45 on the hobby.

I just can't see that I'll get much enjoyment out of this campaign book for £45.

On the other hand if I had a Daemon army I would be tempted with their limited edition box set, which comes with a small format codex, all the daemon rules from Curse of the Wulfen (6 Dataslates and 10 formations), plus all the tokens, Warlord Traits and Tactical cards:

So will you be buying the Curse of the Wulfen campagn book, and why ?

I think the Wulfen themselves will sell well, but I'm not so sure about the campaign book, what's your thoughts ?



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