Tuesday, 26 July 2011

On The Road - A New Tournament

Well I haven't really had any motivation to assemble models let alone get any painting done. My next tournament being 2 months away and the fact that work is so busy that I never have a chance of getting a game in at my local club or GW is not helping.

To give me that push to get something done I've decided to go on the road and enter a tournanent a bit further away than I normally travel. I've been to the location before, but last time I stayed round a mate's house, this time I'll be travelling there and back by car on the day of the tournament.

4 games of 40k, and getting up at 6 to be out of the house at 6:30, will make it a long day, but it should be a fun day. The tournament I'm going to is the 10th Annual 40k Online (forum) tournament. I've attended the last few years, however this year, rather than being in Bracknell it's in Westbury at Triple Helix Wargames.

I'm quite happy with the 1500 point Dark Eldar army list I've been using lately, which added to the lack of motivation to paint when my next tournament was going to be another 1500 point tournament. This tournanent is 1750 points, which will allow me to experiment going down from 6 troop choices to fit some more interesting choices in. All those interesting choices (razorwing, beastmasters, reavers) need painting, so with only 4 weeks to go I'll have to get a move on.

Sometimes you have to give yourself a push, and say "so what if I'm busy, I'll find the time". Have you just thought f**k it and signed yourself up for something ? How did it go ?


Friday, 22 July 2011

ASMOH Tournament Game 3

So after the first two games (reports here) I was on one win and one loss, and I had a very healthy victory point total (as my opponents only 7 models left at the end of the game between them). At 1-1 this is the game to make a break a tournament day, loss and you need a win to regain mid table, win and you still have a chance of finishing high.

Also for games 3 and 4 the big guns came out and we were allowed to add our 500 points of reinforcements bringing out armies up to 1750 pts. I added a 3rd wych squad in a raider, 3 wracks in a venom and a 3rd ravager, making my full list:

Haemonculus Nalix Soulseer with Liquifier Gun - 60

6 Incubi - 132
in Raider with Dark Lance - 60

3 Trueborn with 3 Blasters - 81
in Venom with 2 Splinter Cannons & Grisly Trophies - 70

3 Trueborn with 3 Blasters - 81
in Venom with 2 Splinter Cannons & Grisly Trophies - 70

10 Wracks with 2 Liquifier Guns - 120
in Raider with Dark Lance - 60

9 Wyches incl. Hekatrix with Venom Blade - 105
in Raider with Dark Lance - 60

9 Wyches incl. Hekatrix with Venom Blade - 105
in Raider with Dark Lance - 60

9 Wyches incl. Hekatrix with Agoniser - 120
in Raider with Dark Lance - 60

3 Wracks - 30
in Venom with 2 Splinter Cannons - 65

3 Wracks - 30
in Venom with 2 Splinter Cannons - 65

Ravager with 3 Dark Lances - 105

Ravager with 3 Dark Lances - 105

Ravager with 3 Dark Lances - 105

Total: 1749 Pts

I was facing a Dark Angel Deathwing army with vehicle support that made it very shooty, it contained:

Beial with Thunderhammer & Storm Shield

5 Thunderhammer & Stormshield Terminators, one upgraded to an Apothary (giving FnP) and one given a Cyclone Missile Launcher

5 Thunderhammer & Stormshield Terminators, one given a Cyclone Missile Launcher

3 Seperate Landspeeders with Typhoon Missile Launchers & Multi-meltas

3 Vindicators

3 Dreadnaughts with Plasma Cannons & Missile Launchers, 2 of them upgraded to Venerable Dreadnaughts

This list was the ying to my yang, tough as nails, with anti-tank spread nicely throughout the army. What was so well built was the volume of shots. At very ling range it put out 13 missile launcher shots, and after one turn the rest of the firepower (3 str 10 ordance templates, 3 plasma cannon templates & 3 multi-meltas) should be in range.

Not having reread the dark angels codex after the FAQ update I thought yeah they got proper storm shields, but the rest is just ok, how wrong was I. My opponent had sensibly gone through the dark angel codex and picked everything that was better than the other marine codexs, and then added 3 vindicators:
  • Although only allowed one typhoon per landspeeder squadron the dark angel landspeeder is 75 points were the same marine codex one is 100 pts
  • Although losing WS & BS 5 their venerable upgrade cost is 20 pts rather than 60 pts
  • The big weakness of thunderhammer terminators is that they can't shoot, so lets add the new cyclone missile launchers at 10 pts cheaper to offset their terminators being 15 pts more expensive.
  • Add in Belial, a cheap HQ at only 130 pts, and 30 pts more to give him and his squad FnP.

It was an impressive army, but I had to come up with some idea on how to win this game. Firstly there was the small number (10) of scoring models. Yeah they were in terminator armour, but if I threw enough shots at the non FnP unit they would eventually drop. This was made better by the fact that I had 6 troop choices, if I could kill one terminator unit and control 2 objectives I would win.

I just didn't think my army could win a straight shoot out with this army, so I had to use my troop advantage to try to win the mission.

Below is a diagram of the battlefield:

The scenery in the centre and just in the top right hand quadrant was a large three story ruin, however it had lots of windows so it would block LOS, but would definitely give a cover save to anything behind it. The green areas were forests, and the inverted L shape is an L-shaped wall section (only big enough to give infantry cover, and not big enough to give skimmers or other vehicles a cover save). The square scenery peice in the bottom right hand corner was a rough terrain on top of a small hill. The hill blocked line of sight completely and was difficult terrain on top.

We started by placing objectives. My opponent started by placing one in the top right hand quadrant, wanting to keep the objectives far apart (to make use of my mobility advantage) I placed one in the bottom right hand corner. My opponent wanting to keep the objectives close together (as he only had 2 slow moving troops) placed another one in the middle of the board. Now, wanting to keep the objectives far apart, I had the choice of top left or bottom right.

I should have looked at the terrain and thought about where my opponent would like to deploy, ie. in the quadrant with the large ruin, giving him cover and 2 objectives close together. If I placed the last objectove bottom right it would give that quadrant another easy to get to (or contest) objective. If I placed it in the far top left it would spread the objectives up more. The quadrant with the large ruin would still be appealing to my opponent but not quite as good as if the last objective went bottom right.

Unfortunately this analysis is with the benefit of hindsight, and at the time I put the objective in the bottom right hand quadrant. The objectives are marked on the map by small red circles.

My opponent duly won the roll to pick sides and choose the side with the large ruin and first turn L He deployed quite defensively, about 12" back from the edge of the large ruin. Vindicator's in the middle behind the ruin, dreads spread out either side with the terminators sprinkled around them, and landspeeders at the back.

I had two choices with deployment, either
  1. use the one piece of terrain I had to hide some of my vehicles, and deploying my whole army that far back to reduce some of the firepower I would receive in the first turn
  1. Deploy everything as far forwards as possible. The first turn response from my opponent would be devastating, but I would be in a better position.
I decided to take option 1, as turn 1 enemy firepower would be concentrated at my anti-tank, and if all my ravagers went down early I wouldn't have a chance against all his vehiciles, plus my ravagers were useful firing at FnP terminators.

I deployed all three ravagers behind the ruin, either side of the ruin I placed the small wrack unit's venoms sideways to give cover to the raiders behind. Behind the venom on the right of the ruin was the incubi, large wrack unit, and wyches (with haemonoculus) raiders. Behind the left side venom was the remaining 2 wych raiders. The 2 trueborn venoms were behind the ravagers just within 6" of where the wracks could deploy if their venom was destroyed.

The game would have been so much easier of I had placed the last objective in the top left. I could easily claim it, and then push to contest the middle objective, or just kill one of the terminator squads and then blast any vehicle trying to make it all the way to contest either of my objectives.

I rolled to seize (not that my deployment was set-up to take advantage of it) but didn't roll a 6.

The vindicators advanced to the large ruin in the centre. The rest of the army split in two
  • One section comprising 2 landspeeders, 2 dreads (one venerable) and the FnP terminators with Belial went south (and marginally west)
  • The 2nd section comprising, a landspeeder, a venerable dread and the other terminators went west
Some missile launchers were still in range of my forces, and both small wrack venoms were destroyed, they both passed their pinning checks (one helped by the grisly trophies on the trueborn's venoms), and deployed behind the ruin (ready to pop up turn 4 or 5 to claim the objective. The incubi raider was also destroyed. 3 vehicles down and this was only a fraction of his firepower.

No point being cautious, if I did my troops would be stranded far in my quadrant when their vehicle was killed, as he would be in range with all his firepower apart from the multi-meltas next turn. The wyches (with haemonoculus) and the wracks on the left hand side of the ruin in my deployment zone zoomed forward 24" near the L shaped walls. The raiders on the right hand side of the ruin moved northeast, and the ravagers drifted out from cover, but stayed a bit back (hopefully out of range of the enemy that had just gone south from the enemy starting position. One trueborn venom went >12" to catch up with the wrack and wych venom going across my long board edge, and the other followed the other 2 wyches heading towards the top middle of the board.

My firepower did little, I stunned one vindicator, shook another.

My opponent didn't move the section of his army that had moved south much (as it was pretty much in between the objective in the middle of his quadrant and the objective in the bottom right hand quadrant. The smaller section continued moving westwards towards the top middle of the map (ie. north of the large ruin).

The raider with the wyches (accompanied with the haemonoculus) was blown up, thanks to FnP there wasn't too many casualties. They disembarked near the L-shaped wall sections. A ravager was also blown up. A few other vehicles were stunned or skaken due to bad rolls on the penetration table.

I was losing vehicles and mobility fast, so I had to try and kill one of his troop choices fast. The terminator unit without feel no pain was just north of the large ruin in the centre of the board, flanked by a landspeeder, vindicator and dreadnaught.

2 Wych raiders moved towards the terminators without feel no pain, one unit got out to assault. As always when you're about to assault I looked to see if the opponent could stop me assaulting by removing the nearest models as casualties from any firepower I sent their way. If the nearest one or two models were removed it would ensure making the assault was risky, however the cyclone missile launcher was the closest, so I was confident my opponent wouldn't take that models off as a casualty so I decided to fire as much as possible at the terminators. Both raiders, the venom, even a ravager opened up on the terminators, yet unfortunately they all made their armour and invunverable saves. Later the wyches assaulted and again all saved were made and the wyches lost a few but stayed in combat. I was hoping to drop one or two that turn, but that's the way the cookie crumbles (if the opponent gets a save sometimes they never fail).

On the other flank I advanced with everything (apart from the wyches and the haemonoculus in the ruins). The ravagers didn't advance as far as everything else to make best use of the range on their guns. Firepower did little again, shaking a few vehicles at best.

My opponent had a poor shooting phase in the next turn with all three vindicators scattering and killing nothing at all, so in an uneventful enemy turn I think I lost another vehicle and the wyches in combat with the terminators were seen off after the terminators again made all their saves.

With the terminators (without feel no pain) freed up for me to fire and assault I duly obliged them. I desperately wanted to kill one of his two two troops choices, so that whatever the other unit did I would be able to hold the objective in my quarter with the small wrack units and at least draw the game. Trueborn blasters, ravager dark lances, venom splinter cannons and even wyches splinter pistols opened up on the terminators, when the dust cleared 4 or the 5 terminators defiantly stared back at the wyches. The wyches gulped at the prospect of assaulting these almost invunverable opponents, but however scary they were their succubus needed her souls so into assault they went. The wyches didn't kill anymore but luckily stayed in combat after losing a few models.

On the other section of the board, my army moved further rightwards towards the other half of the opponent's army. The trueborn disembarked and shot down a landspeeder. A few more dark lances and a couple of the vehicles were shaken/stunned (but again no permanent damage).

I made a mistake with the trueborn. I had kept them close to their venom transport so they might get a cover save from some of the enemy shooting. However my opponent took advantage of this and his first shot was with a plasma cannon a dreadnaught. The dreadnaught was able to place the centre of the template on the venom while still touching all three of the trueborn (without them receiving a cover save). The shot duly didn't scatter and a failed flickerfield save later I had lost both the venom and all three trueborn L

The raider containing the large wrack squad somehow survived the firepower that was sent it's way, but I lost another vehicle or two on the left hand flank. In combat I still didn't kill and terminators, and my wyches suffered 7 wounds, however using my opponents dice they saved all wounds.

Moving into the end of the game I had lost a lot of vehciles (I was running out fast) and along with it my anti tank firepower was dwindling fast. The objective in the middle of the table was had an enemy landspeeder nearby who was moving towards my home objective, however I had a wittled down wych squad in the ruin the south, and a large wrack squad in their raider nearby. Also it was only a matter of time before the terminators at the middle top of the map killed the wyches they were in combat with and advanced upon the middle objective. I had two small wrack units hiding behind the ruin in my quadrant ready to jump and claim the objective in my quadrant. The scary half of my opponent's army (Beial, FnP Hamminators, 2 Dreads, vindicator were very close to the objective in my opponet's quadrant and not to far away (20") from the objective in the bottom right hand quadrant.

For my 4th turn, it was time to really time to think about claiming and contesting objectives. I knew the raider with the large unit of wracks was unlikely to survive another turn, so wanted to make the best use of it. I went flat out into the bottom right hand quadrant. I couldn't reach the objective there, but the wracks could make it there on turn 5 even if the raider was destroyed. The heamonoculus with the wittled don wych squad in the small wall sectioin just south of the middle objectived stayed in the cover but moved as far north as possible (fo a cheeky turn 5 jump out and run to the middle objective). My last ravager was concerned that my poor shooting would continue so moved to protect my home quadrant objective from a turn 5 flat out contesting move from a centrally located landspeeder (all I'd killed so far was the two other landspeeders).

My ravager need not have worried, as it immobolised the central landspeeder. The rest of my firepower was again ineffective (apart from shaking/stunning a couple of vehicles). However using my opponent's dice my wyches against saved all 6 wounds that were inflicted upon them my the terminators. Also in the combat phase my incubi (who had had a very quiet game) charged the immobolised landspeeder to get them forward movement and put them near the central objective to be part of my last ditch effort to kill the terminators in the top middle of the map when they finally killed the wyches they were in combat with.

In my oppoents 5th turn, he didn't move much (probably wanting to inflict as much damage as possible). He killed the raider with the large wych squad (even with it's 4+ cover save for going flat out, there was only so much it could take), luckily for me the wracks were not pinned. The immobolised landspeeder took revenger on the ravager which blew it up and kill killed it to have the last laugh. The last of my vehicles went down as well, along with some remaining trueborn, even the wyches in the wall section cover in just south of the middle of the table took got reduced down to the haemonoculus and 2 wyches, howver they managed to pass their morale test.

With prayers to the dice gods to make this the last turn I commenced by 5th turn. The wracks moved and ran to claim the objective in the bottom right hand quadrant My opponent could have moved a vindicator 12" to stop me claiming it the turn before but didn't so it could shoot. Both small wrack units climbed the ruin in my quadrant to claim the objective in my quadrant. Even the haemonoclus & 2 wyches just south of the objective in the middle of the board moved and ran forwards to claim the middle objective.

The incubi tried to kill the immobolised landspeeder again, but failed. The wyches in combat with the terminators took a load of wounds again, but this time not even my opponents dice could save them, and they lost a few and the remaining wyches broke from combat.

The dice was rolled for random game length, and my prayers were answered and the game eneded with me winning 3-1 on objectives. I was lucky that the game eneded so early, helped by my opponent concentrating on kiling me, when he should have slowly moved towards the objectives while still killing me. All his army can move at least 6" and still fire at full effect, so why he wasn't moving more is beyond me, but I'm not complaining as it's what allowed me to win the game.

I scored 187 victory points (2 and an half landspeeders) while my opponent got over 1300 vps. Although my opponent had only two troop choices he had many units to contest with, and not concentrating on them and/or advancing cost him the game.

With that win I was on 2 wins and a loss, and would face Steve (of Triple Helix Wargames) using his Nurgle marines. Next battle report will be up a quicker than this one. However it's now back to putting together my Nightwing, and assembling Hellions to be Beastmasters (after a month of not doing much I'm a bit behind with getting my new list ready for M.A.D. in October).


Monday, 18 July 2011

Return of the Rat

 When 8th edition came out I didn't want to believe the rumours that that all the tactical nuances had gone out of the game with pre-measuring, random charge distances, wheeling not counting towards charge movement.

I played a few games with my Skaven and a game with my Lizardmen. I lost all the games and became a bit disillusioned. When you start a new edition of a game, a new army or new game altogether you expect to lose most of your games to start with, put caused me to be so disillusioned was that my old tactics (with armies that I new well and had taken to many tournanents) just didn't work, mainly because I had underestimated some of the changes in 8th edition.

Like many others I gave up on Warhammer to concentrate on 40k and Warmachine. Storm of Magic has got me interested again, and whenever I went down my local GW or club I would always look in on the Warhammer games. Also talking to a mate I realised that I had to change the way I played.

So taking my Skaven army as an example here`s misconceptions I made, and how I think I should rectify them.

Horde Rule

Stupidily I wrote this off as being a nice gimmick that wouldn`t be cost effective. How wrong was I :) With the Step Up rule combat in 8th edition is all about damage output, gone are the days of killing the 5 guys in the front rank and winning big on static combat res, so an ability to get an extra attack per model in the front rank is golden and very important to wittle down units with lots of ranks fast, so they aren't stubbon and can be broken more easily.

Skaven don`t have the best infantry when it comes to doing damage, and they can't win as easily through static combat res, because (i) the combat resolution chart has changed (no +1 for outnumber, plus a +1 for chargers) and (ii) units doing so much more damage (whether it's infantry getting double attacks or monster impact hits). These factors have driven me to the decision that I need one ot two horde units (to compliment the abonination & doom wheel i'll be adding to the list).

From my experience so far I can see three units being useful as a horde unit; Storm Vermin have the best WS, I & hitting strength of the basic infantry. At 2.5 pts more than the cost of clanrats with shields they are expensive in skaven terms, but if you're going to build a unit that can do damage you might as well consider the most expensive.

50 models with full command cost 375 pts (good options for a magic banner woud be the common standard that gives flaming attacks, the war banner or the storm banner). Given my preference for quanity or quality with most armies I built it's a bit of a culture shock to even consider such a unit. The unit will start losing leadership after 11 casulties, but if the general is nearby it will need to suffer 21 casualties before it drops below leadership 9. Against another horder unit will deliver 31 WS4, I5, Str 4 attacks (and still do 70% of those attacks at a minimum width unit).

Next up for consideration is a Plague Monk unit. Again 50 models with full command is 375 pts, but this unit is crying out for the banner which allows all clan pestilence models in the unit to reroll to hit and to wound once a game. This bumps the unit cost up to 410, but on a key combat they woul churn out 41 WS3, I3, Str3 attacks (with the rerolling to hit and to wound leading to a sizable number of wounds). Another advantage of the plague monks that they allow plague censer bearers to gain their rank leadership bonus.

Last option is a Giant rat unit. By far the cheapest of the three options. However with the rats allowed to attack in an extra rank, and the pack masters being able to attack from the rear, they can put out a large number of attacks. A unit of 60 models (50 rats and 10 pack masters) would put out 50 WS3, I4, Str3 attacks against another horde unit. Being larger than the other 2 units they will keep their rank leadership bonus longer, and they are also the fastest unit of the three at Mv6. Lastly being only 230 pts they are significantly cheaper that the other two units, making them a good candidate for the second horde unit of an army.

All three units put out a decent number of attacks, and should do a decent number of wounds against most infantry units. Now none of these units would be able to stand toe to toe against any deathstar, so as Skaven players we have to use something else to even the battle.


The steadfast rule made my eyes light up when I first read it; you mean i can have stubbon ld10 slaves with a reroll (if my General & BSB are near) if I just have more ranks than the enemy.

While I increased the sized of my units, because I knew they would be taking more casualties I did not realise how much more they would be taking (especially with people using wider formations to generate more attacks).

In my earlier test games my slaves held up weak units for some time, but elite units and ones with lots of attacks sliced threw them like they weren't there. Slaves units for holding up enemy units need to be at least 40 strong, if not 50 or 60. Going from 40 to 60 models is only 40 pts, but if it means the enemy's most dangerous unit is tied up for a turn or two more it's well worth it.

Small Elite Units

Because in 7th edition you could kill the front rank of an enemy unit to enure no return attacks, small elite units could just attack the front of huge units and win. However with the step up rule they would take return hits, and this stopped this tactic for weak elite units. I good example in 7th edition was small units of 6 or 7 sword masters.

For my skaven I found this a problem for my plague censer bearers. I was used to throwing them into the front of units and slaughtering the front rank and many more, but now they would face return attacks and be whittled down very quickly.

Although they lost out in this respect they gained a few things, and require a change of role. First they can take a leadership test to avoid having to charge (combining this with them being allowed to use a nearby plague monk unit's rank leadership bonus, meant they could ld10 for this test. Secondly if they changed to a support role and aimed to attack the flank of enemy units already engaged if would mean they suffered less attacks (only those in base to base rather than 2 or 3 ranks of attacks if they attacked a unit on it's own).

Although they would require a change in tactics plague censer bearers are one of those rare skaven units that can do damage to the enemy, rather than killing a small amount and then running away.

Overall Impression on How Skaven Play Now

Skaven remain the combined forces army. They can kill medium skilled enemy units with our horde units, and to take on tougher enemies we can use magic and shooting to weaken them first, and then use efficient characters and monsters to even the battle against enemy deathstars. Lastly we can still use (now very deep) units of slaves to tie the enemy up for a while, allowing 90% of our army to focus on 60% of the enemy's army while their deathstars free themselves from a few slave units we threw at them.

So what's your experience of 8th edition ? How has the flow of the game changes ? How often to you see horde units on the battlefield ? How did your army adapt to the changes of 8th edition, and are those changes working for you ?

As well as more Dark Eldar posts, I'll be continuing with my thoughts on Skaven in 8th edition, as I try to move them towards how I think they need to work. Next I'll be considering the merits or diametrically opposed Warlord builds.


Tuesday, 5 July 2011

[40k] June Review


It's been a bit of a relaxing month 40k wise, but there's been some interesting developments.


I haven't done much painting or converting this month, probably an effect of having my 1750 point Dark Eldar army completed means there isn't the pressure to finish models for a deadline.

I converted an old haemonoculus model to be a Wrack Acothyst by replacing the pistol hand with an arm holding a blade from the new warrior box set.  I've also started assembling a Razorwing (see my early progress here).

To help me focus on my painting I've made a draft list for the M.A.D. tournament in October which contains most of the units I want to add to my Dark Eldar army (Reavers, Razorwing Jetfighter & Beastmaster unit).  After the lull over the last month I'm hoping this will motivate me to get some more units painted for my Dark Eldar, plus I'm looking to trying out some of the other Dark Eldar units.


I didn't manage to get in any gaming with my mates or down my local gaming club, due to my nightmare commute meaning that I was getting back to late to make the club, plus lots of social events at the weekends.  However I did manage to attend a great 2 day tournament called Complaince II hosted by Triple Helix Wargames.

Going into my last game I was an unbeaten, but a third kill point game of the weekend (which also had special rules to give the opponent bonus kill points for what you had left on the board) saw me drop to 7th out of 20 players with a loss.

Overall it was a good tournament, and I really enjoyed the weekend, including picking up some more Battlefield In A Box terrain and an Army Painter paint set at 20% off RRP :)

It's not all doom and gloom with the Kill Point missions with my Dark Eldar, so far I've gone 9/1/2 (W/D/L) with my Dark Eldar over the three tournaments, and I have gone 3/0/2 in kill point missions, and only one of my three wins at kill points missions was by tabling my opponent, so it'd definietely possible to win anniliation games even when you have significantly more kill points than your opponent. Careful application of firepower can cripple an opponent's mobility (in the case of assault armies) or long range firepower (in the case of gunlines) allowing you to assault on your terms.

Other Gaming News

Warhammer interest will be boasted by the release of Storm of Magic.  It looks interesting, and I'm tempted to play a few games with my Skaven.  With my interest in Bloodbowl and Warmachine being roused by various leagues and campaigns down my local club, I'm in danager of being in the same situation I was last year, and being pulled in two many directions at once.  I'll be trying to stay mainly focused on 40k, and use the other games as a nice distraction in between painting and gaming with my Dark Eldar.

Rumours for Necrons are starting to appear on the internet.  As the codex is a way off all of it has to be taken with a large pinch of salt.  A seclection of the rumours can be found here (Warseer) and here from the always excellent Faeit 212 blog.

Upcoming Posts

Well I'm so behind on posts I have quite a backlog to post.  Hopefully without the rush to finish painting units for a impending tournament, I should be able to make some headway into the backlog this month.



Related Posts with Thumbnails