Monday, 16 October 2017

What I got up to before 8th Edition hit - Part Two [40k - Dark Eldar]

So as 7th drew to a close I had one last tournament to go to.  It was a small local 1250 point Highlander tournament, and I used it to paint up some more units.

With my trueborn with blasters always being envious of Eldar Fire Dragons I decided to paint some up.  To tie them into my army better I used Dark Eldar heads and used a darker than usual colour scheme (well apart from the guns).  Here's a work in progress pic:

[a pic of the painted Fire Dragons and Starweaver will follow in a later post]

The main reason I finally included Fire Dragons was because at the time they were allowed to go in Ynnari Harlequin Skyweavers.  This was important because I do not like the aesthetics of the Eldar transports, while the Harlequin vehicles are similar to my converted Venoms.  You can see my Skyweaver in the pic above, again I couldn't leave the model standard and mounted the 2 shuriken cannons each side of the cockpit, and adding spikes to the front of the hull to tie it into my army, as my converted Venoms have the same, finally I used a reaver jetbike helmet for the pilot.

Both units did well in the tournament, and when Soulburst works on the Fire Dragon it's deadly.  Unfortunately with the move to 8th edition, and the very sensible ruling that each faction of Eldar can not go in each other's transports both the Fire Dragons and the Skyweaver have not made my initial 8th edition list.  However the Skyweaver may make a come back, although it can't transport any models (I have no other Harlequin models) its a very good gunboat compared to the Venom for nearly the exact same points.  The Skyweaver has a better invulnerable save, and 6 shots at Str6, in my opinion, is better than the Rapid 6 from 2 (4+ to wound) Splinter Cannons on the Venom.

After the tournament I converted up my next unit, which was originally going to be some Warp Spiders.  I saw a great conversion online, from Mantle on Dakka Dakka (link here):
The conversion used Dark Eldar Scourge legs with all the spikes and blades cut off, Eldar Guardian torsos, arms & heads, Wraothblade Hip Plates on the shoulders, Wraithblade Loin Cloths and Guardian Aerials for the Warp Jump Generator, and finally the front of a Shuriken Catapult replaced with the end of a Wraith Cannon.

The only change I made was to use Scourge heads rather than Eldar Guardian heads.  Here's the first two models assembled:

Painting went on hold with the rumours of 8th edition approaching.  As soon as the Index's were released, in an effort to return my army list to mainly (if not totally) Dark Eldar, the leader of the unit got his weapon converted to a Shard Carbine, and the unit will now be Scourges with Blasters.

The tournament I won but didn't

The tournament organiser had made the scoring system to hopefully make it more enjoyable for all players.  He didn't like the idea of a player knowing their going to lose and having nothing to fight for with 1-2 hours left of the game to go.  In this tournament each player's tournament points was the amount of victory points they scored during the game (using points killed as a tie break).

While fine, this can lead to two unintended consequences:
  • Fast armies tend to do well regardless of whether they win or lose.  Your score can be more impacted on the cards you draw.  This has impacted me both ways.  In a previous tournament at the local GW store I had a close game where both my opponent and myself (playing Necrons) kept drawing maelstrom cards we couldn't do.  I lost the game, but because we both scored very low victory points it basically put us both out of the running.  
  • The results are polarising, in that the tournament the top players all scored high victory points even when they lost, eg. one of my losses was 16-19, and my 16 points would have been one of the highest in the room.  This makes later round's matchmaking a nightmare for the TO.  In the last round people at the top had to be moved, sometimes by 2-3 tables because we had all played each other.
In the final results I came 4th (knowing my victory points I guessed something was probably wrong), and out of the four games I had played the person in 1st, 2nd & 3rd.  What turned out was that my game against the person in 1st place had been entered the wrong way round.  Normally this wouldn't have affected the results much but in this case the game had been a 25-10 win to me.  The TO let me know later when he checked it would have swapped my position with the winners.  With my 25-10 win it meant that even losing my last game to the person who came 2nd it wouldn't have been enough for them to catch-up.

I am concerned that the winner in tournaments which similar scoring systems (tournament points = game victory points) is the one who gets lucky and wins by a landslide in one of their games wins.  Yes I played well in that 25-10 game, but not to justify 25 tournament points, compared to what people on nearby tables would have got.

So I won, but not officially, my last tournament of 7th.  Most importantly I had 4 great games, painted up some new units that I can draw on for years to come.  Plus it got me back to the converting and painting table, in time for 8th edition.

What comes next

It's been busy since 8th edition came out, and over the next few posts I will cover:

  • The tournament list I used for this tournament, and how I think 8th edition affects it, and the Dark Eldar list I will be using going forwards
  • How my Tau will transition to the new edition, and the new models I have built and painted
  • How much I love Bloodbowl (well you already knew that), and the new teams I am converting to use in my mate's annual winter league
It'll be much less time between posts going forwards, but in the meantime let me know how you have been finding 8th edition.


Friday, 28 July 2017

What I got up to before 8th Edition hit - Part One [40k - Dark Eldar]

With a new edition coming up I wanted to move back to my Dark Eldar.  There were a few units I still didn't have, and I missed the army's aggressive playstyle.

Disclaimer: This post has been sitting in my draft box for way too long, so I've added some 8th Edition comments into the mix

Initially I considered Mandrakes.  I remember using a unit of three wracks back in 6th edition to hold objectives for a measily 30 points.  In 7th the minimum unit of wracks went up to 5, they lost the ability to become troops, poison got worse in that you only rerolled to wound if you had higher (rather than the same) strength compared to the opponents toughness, and lastly they competed with the much improved Grotesques, plus Trueborn and Incubi in the Elites slot.

Since then I've moved away from using Incubi and only use at most one unit of Trueborn, so spending 36 points on a small harassment unit in the form of 3 Mandrakes could at least be useable.  In fact I had seen Skari (link to his youtube channel) use them very well on multiple occasions.  Skari's channel also has some great 8th edition battle reports already.

I got as far as ordering the models, but the Gathering Storm Book II game out, which gives a huge boost, even if you don't include any Eldar or Harlequin models to a Dark Eldar force, Mandrakes were not allowed in the Reborn Warhost detachment :(  I also found I was being distracted, so to focus myself I signed myself up for a tournament.

The tournament was an escalation tournament, with games at 400, 800, 1200 & 1600 points, so I decided to use the event to paint up units I didn't have.  First up was a converted Shadowseer I assembled about a year ago and undercoated grey, but then hadn't got any further:

I had initially converted it to use as a Spiritseer (one of many times I have flirted with using Eldar).  I added extra pipes to his back with extra phastasm grenade launchers from the kabalite warrior box, and the weapon was converted from a wrack blade at the bottom, a hellglaive for the middle section and a venom blade for the top.

Although I could spend more time on it, the model turned out good enough for the tournament, and I could return to it later:

Next up were Medusa.  Although I already had some Lhameans and Sslyths I thought Medusa deepstriking on a venom could be very nasty in a Ynnari force, potentially able to take out 2 small units close together with their Str4 Ap3 flamers.  Shame their weapons don't ignore cover in 8th Edition

Now the issue with Medusa is that it is a single pose Finecast model, however I noticed that the kit had 2 heads, and I had a few Warhammer Shadow Warrior legs (old project that never happened), so I converted 2 using kabalite warrior torsos and medusa heads, and put a reaver jetbike head on the finecast medusa body to get 3 different medusa models:

I have to say I really avoid finecast models, particularly as a lot of them are direct only which means you are playing Russian roulette as to whether you get a nice one or one with horrific amounts of flash on them (let alone mis moulded parts).  The medusa I received had lots of flash, but at least I only had the single model:

I think the required clean up was worth it as I now have a nice unit to use:

Last up was a conversion I originally was going to use as Corsair Jetbikes, so I wanted to incorporate elements of all the other eldar factions.  For the moment I would use them as Scatbikes, but with magnetised weapons they could be refitted to be used as reavers jetbikes.  I am sure the Ynnari as it is now will only be playable for a few months until 8th edition comes out.

Well I was wrong, but the latest FAQ meaning I have to use one of the Ynarri special characters to play Ynarri, and the better Dark Eldar power from pain table, will mean that I will just use an army with the Aeldari faction keyword until the Dark Eldar codex comes out which may make a pure Dark Eldar force have more benefits, and it allows me to play with my Jetbikes.

[Magnetised Scatter Lasers - I only see them being used for the next few months until 8th Edition hits]
The jetbike started out as a reaver jetbike then I removed the back vertical blade, and used 2 blades from the reaver weapons to make two more diagonal blades simular to a eldar windrider.  I then added a Skyrunner canopy over the front of the jetbike to which I added spikes from the raider set (to tie the jetbikes into to my army which had similar spikes on my converted venoms).  Lastly I used scourge heads on reaver pilots.

Here's the jetbikes ready for the tournament, again not finished but most of the way there:

and a group shot of all the new models:

Unfortunately due to family issues I wasn't able to make the tournament, but its nice to get new models for my army.

I've managed to catch three games down my local GW.  Two were small games at 800 points, the last one was at 1200 points.  However the 1200 point game started very late so we didn't get to finish, which was a real shame as it was the only game that included the Medusa, and they stayed in reserve all game.  However I could see they had potential looking at where they could have come in and the damage the small unit could have done.

The Shadowseer has been very lacklustre so far.  Not surprising when he's a lvl 1 psyker with no other psychic support, its a bit hard to get spells off.  Another issue he has, is that he is very fragile, and I move him into my Court's raider on turn 1, so he normally in the thick of combat soon, and being the only character in the unit he is normally challenged out, and he has struggled, dying most times, against squad leaders.

Oddly enough with Furious Charge and +2 Str on his weapon he's surprising effective against non-walker vehicles, and managed to kill an unharmed Rhino on the charge by himself.  This is really useful in a Ynarri force because the Shadowseer has a high Initiative, which meant that the Court he was accompanying was allowed to charge the occupants immediately.  However while the Court killed the occupants of the rhino over 2 or 3 combat rounds the Shadowseer died to the squad champion.

Obviously this has changed in 8th edition, with vehicles and monsters needs more dedicated weapons to take them out, rather than just glancing them to death with mid strength weaponry.

In 8th edition Beastpacks can not benefit from Strength from Death.  Ynnari works better with shooty Infantry units and Jetbikes, rather than my typical Dark Eldar list which focuses on Vehicles and beastpacks, even my Court of the Archon has been changed significantly, both becoming more expensive and individual models.  An Eldar army made of up of Reapers and Windriders would do well with Ynarri.

That's all for now, next up I'll show some more models I've painted up for a tournament I did make, before getting onto my 8th edition adventures.


Monday, 20 February 2017

Continuing Carnage on the Astrogranite [Bloodbowl - Norse]


One of the big benefits of playing multiple races / teams / factions in what ever game you play is that you get to use different playstyles.  You can only understand how an opponent is likely to play until you spend some time in their shoes, and although watching battle reports and talking with other players can help a lot, nothing is as great as playing the other armies/teams themselves.

However one danger is that you may bring across playstyles and tactics that don't really fit you new army/team or are hard to implement.  I recent example for me was playing my new Norse after almost exclusively playing Skaven for so long.

This was amplified by recently playing against the Bloodbowl 2 AI for too many games.  I mentioned last post that the poor AI can make a poorer player overtime, and my Skaven tactics were still working when I played Norse against the AI in most games.  Most importantly that the AI does not always protect the ball carrier well, making it easy to threaten.

It was a rude awakening in a recent game playing against Choas Dwarves, aided by some initial bad luck.  I kicked to the Chaos Dwarves instead of receiving.  The Chaos Dwarves had induced a chainsword wielding psycho, so I blitzed it with my Yhetee on my turn 1, however I failed to break its armour (even with the +3 bonus from the chainsword), so he promptly stood and sent my Yhetee straight to the knocked out box.  The game went downhill fast from there :(

So hoping to play a nice team to recover, I give you the match report from my Norse's next game:

Good Evening Sports Fans !!

In interesting Bloodbowl news:
The Corona Rosarum (Wood Elves) are continuing their start to the league.  So far Komplex (Slann) have a firm hold on the end of season Elf Bullshit (tm) Award, but Corona Rosarum are hoping to be in contention for the award.  So it was exciting to see the two sides face off against each other.  There was much dodging, leaping and pirouetting (I kid you not !!) by both teams, but overall I feel there was far too much ball handling for my liking.

Jim and Bob will soon be covering this game over on Cabal Vision Prime, however here on Cabal Vision's top sports programme Kerrunch of the Day (tm) we are covering a much darker game.

After their last game the Asgard Sabretooths and theChaos Dwarves thought they'd have rest before playing another bashy team, but the fans braying for more bloodshed , man handled both teams into a nearby stadium, locked the doors and demanded CARNAGE !!

A quick recap from last game is that the Asgard Sabretooths had their strongest (non-big guy) player out for the next match, and Thor (the Norse Berserker) is DEAD.  After having such a one sided easy win the Chaos Dwarves suffered no casualties and had loads of money, so after some deliberation decided to buy a Bull Centaur to replace one that died in their first game.  The Asgard Sabretooths wary of losing more players bought the services of an Apo.

18,000 Fans packed the stadium, with the Asgard fans outnumbering the Chaos Dwarves 11 to 7, but the Chaos Dwarf fans had some taunting posters:

The Chaos Dwarves did not have any inducements this game so had 11 players (2 of which were str4), but no reserves or Apoc which could be risky.  The Asgard Sabretooths had 2 journeymen, and had induced a mercenary lineman (well there's the line of scrimmage taken care of) to give them 12 players, one of which was str5.

The Asgard Sabretooths won the toss, and learning from the last game decided to receive.  90% of the time the coach would kick when running a skaven team, but the Norse has neither the speed or the agility to pressure the ball carrier like the Skaven can so this doesn't work for them.  The coach decided not to play like skaven this game (it worked so well last game) and take full advantage of hitting first.

The Chaos Dwarf team got a Perfect defense (kick off event), so was able to mitigate the aggressive Norse set-up by putting 3 guys on just one side of the line of scrimmage, and weighting the same side as the ball had scattered up towards the middle line and off to one side (the side the Chaos Dwarves weighted). 

The Asgard Sabretooths concentrated on the hobgoblins in range, and knocked down most dwarves on the line of scrimmage.  Turn 2 a runner picked up the ball, then did a throw to a lineman who ran it to the other flank to safety.  The Asgard's quickly took a Bull Centaur out of the match, and now having the ball safe, put linemen against the other Bull Centaur to slow him down and stop him joining the action.

Frenzied Blitzing enabled a chain push to take a prone hobgoblin off the pitch and the crowd made sure he would play no further part in this game.  The mercenary linemen even got in on the act, when a turnover block from a dwarf, allowed the linemen to put another model in the dead and injured box.

The Asgard Sabretooths advanced the loose cage down the pitch and eventually handed the ball off to the Berserker (using the last reroll of the half) who walked in the ball in turn 8.

With 3 players in the dead and injured box the Chaos Dwarves were down to 8 players on the pitch , while the Asgard Sabretooths had their full 12 man squad untouched.

In the Chaos Dwarf turn 8 they got a completion with a hobgoblin, but didn't do any permanent damage to the Norse, and were tempted to foul but being so low on players and following the advice of other coaches the Chaos Dwarves ended the half and waited for the Norse to set-up to kick at the start of the second half.

With player advantage the Norse set-up aggressively again.  A high kick allowed one of the hobgoblins to move under the ball, but a failed catch and then a early turnover put the ball at risk but the hobgoblin removed with a gutsy move involving a 2nd completion*.  However things got worse when the Norse quickly got a 4th casualty.  The 4 players out for the match included a str4 Bull Centaur and 2 of the 4 hobgoblins, hampering the Chaos Dwarf's speed, bashing power and ball handling skills all at once.

The numbers were too far against the Chaos Dwarves and the Norse soon had the ball.  In an act of revenge for the previous match, a Chaos Dwarf Blocker was killed towards the end of the second half, making the final casualty count 5-0 (abiet the crowd did one, and the mercenary did another).

The Norse scored turn 7, and the Chaos Dwarves could only manage a 3rd completion (by the same hobgoblin) at the end of the second half.

Well it was Asgard Sabretooths who walked away with the spoils this time, and the spectators can't wait for a rematch, although I think both teams could do with playing other teams before continuing their rivalry.

The final drive of the match:

The Asgard Sabretooths got 70k winnings, and with their 20k treasury were able to buy back the Berserker that died in the previous game, and with the Ulfwerenar returning back to the team, they'll be back to their original roster (but with a couple of -1 Move injuries).  The Berserker scored both touchdowns this game along with a casualty and got the new skill Mighty Blow, while the Runner got the MVP and along with his casualty got the skill Dodge.

My team was up to a respectable 116, next purchase would be extra linemen and/or a 2nd Ulfwerenar.

In other team development news I converted 2 star players in preparation for playing the teams doing better in the league.  One is a star player thrower (that I may use as a thrower in the rare occassion I may want to use one), while the other is a dual wielding axeman which I will use to represent a chainsword guy:

I used some helmets I had around for an Elf team conversion I was planning, used an extra axe from the Silver Tower Darkoath Chieftain (that I previously used for my Ulfwerenar).  I also used a third party hand with a bloodbowl for the thrower along with cutting the left hand off at the wrist so I could rotate it 90 degrees.

Here's hopeing for a steady progression with the Norse, and not too many deaths, going forward :)

Until next time, may Niffle bless your dice.


PS. In an attempt to me to paint and play more 40k I have signed myself up to a tournament in March, and another mate is interesting in dipping his toe back in 40k, so has suggested we attend a local small tournament in May.  Its already started to work for I have cleaned, converted/assembled and undercoated 3 girls you definitely don't want to look at you the wrong way :)  Internet cookie if you guess which unit I'll be painting up !  A WIP post will be coming soon.

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

Bloodbowl - The Carnage Continues (Human, Norse & Underworld)

So the carnage continues, and I have definitely regained my Bloodbowl bug :)

Above is a pic of s sneek peak of the upcoming Skaven pitch that I will definitely be keeping an eye out for as the the bloodbowl stuff seems to get sold out extremely quickly.

Last time I was wondering how to get a starting human that works, after a nasty game against goblins where 2 blitzers and another player died.  Bad luck a side the team a built had two few rerolls and too many positionals (including 3 catchers reducing the overall strength of the team) meaning I only had 11 players.

A revised starting team of the following:
1 Ogre
3 Blitzers
1 Thrower
2 Catchers
5 Linemen
(12 Players)
3 Rerolls

For my 1st game with this new team I was up against Slann.  They play completely different, and I few things I took out of the game were:

For a starting team its appeared even harder to stop them doing a two turn touchdown.  Marking their catchers with 1 tackle zone meant that they still caught the ball on a 2+ (AG4 plus Diving Catch giving an extra +1 to catch accurate passes).  However they are still suceptable to a Bashy team 2-1 gringe tactic* with a lack of block or dodge anywhere in the team and AV7/8.  Secondly because some of the players can leap into a cage on a 2+ for a 1-dice block (once the other assists are taken out) makes it harder to have a safe cage until you get Guard, also knowing this tactic made the catchers useless for holding the ball inside a cage because the Slann would leap in and get a 2-dice block :(

[eriochrome has correctly pointed out that only the Slann Catcher leaps on 2+ and he is Str2, the rest leap on 3+, still nasty but not quite as good as I wrote]

Overall I liked the new team set-up and think it's a good one, once you want to start with the Ogre, which I think is the right way to go to give the team some hitting power particularly against the more agile teams.

My Norse are assembled (apart from 2 extra linemen).  I've used a Dark Eldar Clawed Fiend as the Yhette, the Kairic Acolytes from Silver tower for the Berserkers, Runners & Lineman, and finally the Darkoath Chieftain (also from Silver Tower) for the Ulfwereners.  So far I've got a starting team of 11 (sitting on the laptop) and then a second Runner and Ulfwereners for when the team expands.  I just need to build the last two Linemen.  I may put a ball in hand of the limemen with an outstretched hand to represent a thrower.  I really don't rate the thrower and so have much prefered a linemen to take Sure Hands, as I much prefer Block and Sure Hands over Block and Pass.  As the team develops I may pick a Thrower to diversify the team tactics with a mild passing game.

The Norse have so far only played the aforementioned Slann, and went one better than the Humans (1-1 draw) winning 2-1 helped by the Casualty score being 4-0, mostly in the second half meaning the Norse could control the field.

To get practice with the Norse in advance of playing them on the tabletop I installed Bloodbowl 1 on my laptop (it was only £2.67), however I have to put out a warning: playing against the AI can make you a worse coach if you are not vigilant !!  You can get sloppy because you are playing against the easy AI, you have to force yourself to still play like its a close game and the opponent will play well.

Later I also installed Bloodbowl (its was on sale on Steam at 75% off).  I was a bit worried that my laptop (not bought for gaming) wouldn't be able to play it, but it plays it fine.  Between the two Bloodbowl games I have got in 40 games over the last month.  Which has really helped me get used to the new teams I'm playing (Norse and Underworld).

I researching leagues, and depending on the time commitment I may join one, but as a father of two kids with a busy job I'm wary about committing to too much.

As I decided not to use my favorite team and the one I'm most experianced with, progress on the Skaven has slowed due to work on other teams.  Here's a pic of the team half built.  Since them I'm assembled a second Stormvermin (Blitzer) and to my surprise I assembled a second thrower which is normally one of the last models that gets added to the team.  The reason for that was that I've decided to start an Underworld team.

At first glance they seem like a bad half of the skaven team (no Rat Ogre or Gutter Runners) with Goblins without their perks of secret weapons or cheap bribes and two big guys.  Unfortunately as a starting team that a very good assessment.  However where there is a glimmer of hope is that once a team starts developing they have access to Mutation skills on a normal skill role.  This gives Mighty Blow and Claw on normal skill rolls to the Troll and 2 Stormvermin, Extra Hands on the Throwers for great ball handlers, and Two Heads on the Goblins to dodge in any number of tackle zones on 2+ followed by Horns for Str3 Blitzes.

They also lead to fun game with Carnage on both sides !!  For their first game (I proxied some models for the goblins) I played a Goblin team, they would have won 2-0 if it wasn't for laser guided Goblin Ball & Chain which started 4 squares diagonally from a thrower guarding the other thrower with the ball 2 squares from the touchdown zone,  It went 5 squares (2 Go For Its) directly in the right path to knock over both throwers (seriously injuring one) allowing a Poggo Stick Goblin to move over pick up the ball, throw a long bomb, and it to be caught all without any rerolls !!

The Underworld went in half time 1-0 down, but came out (without both Throwers, the second being injured by the same Poggo Stick Goblin) and made short work on turn 1 of the Chainsword Goblin, and even fouling the second Troll of the pitch mid half to at one point leave on 5 goblins face down on the pitch at one point to equalise at the end of the second half.

One the Goblin's Trolls woke up for the final turn, put the one turn touchturn failed when an Ag4 Goblin failed to land after being thrown to give the Underworld a very deserved 1-1 draw (They were robbed!!).

I've waiting on some Silver Tower Grot Scuttlings which will be the Goblins for my Underworld team:

Discussing our teams with my mate who was playing the Goblins he said as Goblins die, and both Goblins and Underworld aren't the most prolific scorers their team rating tends to stay low compared to other teams.  This will be especially true of my Underworld team as I'm starting a bit late in the league, so next job will be convert up some Star Players to spend my inducement money on.

When you compare the cost of mercenaries as inducements (70k for a goblin, 100k for a skaven thrower) the Secret Weapon Star Players seem like a worthwhile alternative.

So far I'm really enjoying playing and modelling Bloodbowl.  I'm sure they'll be more Bloodbowl posts to come.


* A favorite tactic of Bashy teams which involves kicking to the opposition, then bashy up their team and threatening the ball carrier to hopefully force them to score as early as possible.  Doing a slow grind up the pitch smashing up their team to equalise at the end of the 1st half, and then doing the same thing for the whole of the 2nd half to win 2-1.  Learning how to stall against a Bashy team, defending against them to stop the 1st half equaliser, and learning how to breakdown a strong cage is a key skill of top (agility and balanced team) players.


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