Wednesday, 21 October 2015

No changes to ANY existing Tau units - WTF !

So the big elephant in the room is that the new Tau codex is really just a codex update rather than a new codex, and actually ALL of the existing units are not changing at all.

The extent of the new codex is the new units we have seen in White Dwarf, Tau tactical cards, plus (this part is still rumours but reliable rumours) 9 new formations, a new Tau detachment (no information yet on whether this is just a detchment like the Dark Eldar Real Space Raiders (ie. changing the number of slots in the standard Combined Arms Detachment) or a Decurion style detachment.

With the great buffs that Necrons, Marines, Dark Angels and Eldar got in their codes there was hope that Tau would get the same, however we have yet to see the Formations and the new detachment would could add a lot to the Tau.

This is a new move for GW, even saying in White Dwarf that you don't need the new codex if you have the old codex and buy the campaign book (which has all the new units,formations and detachment).

The last time there was such a small change in a codex, was when the Dark Eldar got their 2nd Edition codex (codex version, not game version), which basically only added a vehicle wargear:

The main kicker for the Tau codex I think is that the devilfish is not going down in points, really calling into question the use of the new Breacher team (which is only better than a Pulse Rifle armed Fire Warriors within 5", and a 5++ invulnerable save is nice but kroot in front of fire warriors give a 5+ cover save).  Also Vespid will still never be seen :(  Personally without new sculpts I'm not too upset about the Vespid :)

However it's not all bad, I am quite happy for the following reasons:

  • Pulse Rifles will not change (something I was worried that might happen to make the Pulse Blaster a more favourable choice)
  • The Riptide still has a 2+ save, which I worried would change, given that both the Ghostkeel and the Stormsurge had a 3+ save
  • It looks like the Firebase Support Cadre will still be valid, which gives us a good source of tank hunting, and allows the high yield missile pod configuration of the broadside to take on vehicles up to av13 quite easily.
  • The Ethereal's Invocations and leadership buff remaining means s/he can still be the centre of a good infantry line (whether static or aggressively advancing)
Lastly one thing that I really like the is the addition of the Support Drone to the Fire Warriors (Strike team).  For 10 points you get a drone you can deploy that fires 4 times the shots of a 9 point Fire Warrior.  For Strike Teams (ie. pulse rifle armed fire warriors) I think it's as close to a no-brainer as you get.  Getting hold of them will be the issue !! Looks like I'll need to convert some.

Filling Gaps

So the real question is whether the new units will plug any gaps in the Tau arsenal, and help with units the Tau army finds hard to deal with.

With mass Str7 shooting AV14 can sometimes be a pain, however I think that deepstriking suicide crisis suits will still be the way forward.  The main gun on the Stormsurge will obviously help, but I don't think it's essential to bring the Stormsurge just for AV14.

The Eldar Wraithknight is also a pain, particularly in multiples.  I don't think any of the three new units, will help particularly against he Wraithknight for it's cost.  The Stormsurge may help, but the majority of it's weapons are anti infantry, however being a Guargantan creature it won't be wasting firepower, as it can fire the str5 firepower at other infantry while using the main gun against the Wraithknight.  I think our best choice against the Wraithknight is a unit buffed by monster hunter (from the Puretide Engram Chip), Dual plasma/fusion armed crisis suits, Broadsides with Missile Drones and Sniper Drones.

I think at the moment I'd not going to change my list at all, unless the formation benefits and new detachment benefits are good (they'll likely to be).

The Last Stretch

Only 10 days to do and we'll have the actual codex (or campaign book for those not getting the codex) in our hands.

What do you make of this news ?  What do you think it means going forwards, particularly for the armies which need a proper update, eg. Chaos, Dark Eldar, Orks etc.


A Caveat

It was pointed out by Nick Thrower in the comments that the White Dwarf article only says that all the changed profiles will be in the campaign book, so technically there could be other units that have changed that we don't know about (which will be in the campaign book).

My guess (and at this time that's all it can be) is that the only units in the campaign book will be the ones previewed in White Dwarf, ie:

  • Stormsurge
  • Ghostkeel
  • Fire Warrior Breacher & Strike teams
  • Commander (which now includes the Coldstar option)
By this time next week I'm sure some people will have the new codex and the internet will start to confirm exactly which units have changed.

My big disappointment is the rules for the devilfish, which is in the Burning Dawn book using the new name prefix TY7 was not changed at all.  At the existing points costs it's hard to see a full mech (& mecha) force competiting with the Infantry & Mecha (and Hammerhead/Skyray), even with the new Breacher teams.

Sunday, 11 October 2015

Beasts & Bodyguards Part Four - What I think of Lhamaeans [Dark Eldar]

Interesting for the fourth part in this series we touch on one of the most used in a lot if competitive lists  out of the model being reviewed.  The reason being that she is the cheapest HQ model available to the Dark Eldar, however I believe she deserves a further look.

So Why Do People Take Her

[a familiar start to competitive Dark Eldar lists]

To put it bluntly none of our character HQs are that great, they are fine for friendly games and semi-competitive tournaments, but if you are trying to squeeze every last drop out of a Dark Eldar list in order to compete with the top lists (eg. Eldar, Necrons & Space Marines) then you'd rather have a 10 points HQ (that also gives access to another Venom) and spend the saved points on other units.

An alternative view I have to point out, is that if you are going for a competitive dark eldar list is to leave out combat entirely (or maybe have one counter assault) to concentrate on shooting is a common held view, and not one that I'm going to argue against too strongly.  However if you like a bit of combat in your list, lets take a look at the Lhamaean.

A Closer Look

A Lhamaean costs the same as a Wych and is basically a Kabalite Warrior with better leadership (ld9) and the splinter rifle exchanged for a sword and a splinter pistol (and this is how I converted mine rather than usual mulitples of the, although excellent, finecast model).  However it's the sword (or Shaimeshi blade) that is the real game changer. The Shaimeshi blade is a Poisoned (2+) weapon that causes Instant Death on a 6 to wound roll.  Although the opponent will still get their armour save the 2+ poison will ensure that a fair number of wounds are caused, and the occasional Instant Death wound that could get through will scare Monstrous Creatures (I've killed both a Wraithlord and a Wraithknight, under the last Eldar codex, with that).

The Lhamaean is obviously very fragile, like most Dark Eldar units, with only T3, a 5+ armour save, and later in the game Feel No Pain from the Power from Pain table, so the damage output has to be good to make up for that, so lets take a look.  Can the Lhamaean take on the giants already reviewed and the go-to assault unit; the Grotesque:

[ON = Outnumbered, +1S = The +1 Str Combat Drug result]
Warp Beast = Krymerae, the old school in me slipped out :)

The above table looks at the damage done on the charge against marines (MEQ) and Imperial Guardsmen (GEQ), and compares the ratio between the points killed and the points cost of the unit doing it.

Now an obvious caveat.  This analysis should not be taken in a vaccum, to decide whether you use a unit you also need to consider:

  • It's speed; both will it strike first in combat and is it fast enough to get to combat
  • How tough the unit is, will it die before it gets to combat, how will it deal with return attacks
  • Is it reliable at charging, does it ignore the cover penalty distance, does it have fleet
  • How brave is it, will it run at the first sign of damage (leadership) and can this be mitigated cheaply
  • Are the numbers reliable, they may be averages but how likely is an average result likely, does it rely on a good number of wounds being caused, does it ignore armour saves (reducing unreliability), does it rely on rolling 6s (eg, rending, which can be very unreliable against opponents with good armour saves - I'm looking at you Necron Wraiths !!)
So now gets back to the numbers.  Right of the bat the Grotesque when it's outnumbered will kill 41% of it's cost on the turn it charges, a very good total, and dwarfing the pitful 23% of a wych if it rolls an inconsequential combat drug result.  However look at the Lhamaean, it kills an impressive 58% of it's points cost in marines on the charge.  It may only kill on average 0.4 marines per Lhamaean but because it only cost 10 points this leads to a very good ratio percentage.

Maybe it's just because the Lhamaean is cheap, but comparing against the Warp beast & Wych with a +1 Str combat drug the Lhamaean still comes up on top.  Looking against GEQ and the Lhamaean and Warp Beast are clear winners.

Can we take this further ?

Although the Lhamaean wins on pure damage dealt it is still very fragile compared to the big hitters of the Grotesque, Sslyth and Clawed Fiend, however lets join two units that cover each other weaknesses.  The Court can be made up of Lhamaeans and Sslyths.  Between them they will have majority toughness 5, the Lhamaeans give the unit good leadership 9 (so they don't require a character to babysit them), and they use up 2 slots in a transport (same as a Grotesque), plus between them they have the same number of wounds as Grotesques and Clawed Fiends.  Overall a nice combined package.  And for those numerically minded, here's there combined stats:

The combined stats are comparable to Grotesques on the charge, has the same majority toughness, most of the wounds start with Feel No Pain, and the rest gain it by mid game.  Advantages compared to Grotesques include better leadership and no need for a babysitter, fleet to make charges more reliable, some shooting to give them some flexibility, and lastly opponents have rarely seen a Court of the Archon with more than a single Lhamaean or a few Medusae, let alone played against one.  Don't underestimate how an opponent's unfamiliarity with a unit can mess with their target priority, force them into making hard decisions and they are more likely to make mistakes.

So for me, we have a...
My top pick for a combat unit is a Court made up of Lhamaeans and Sslyths, however all of the units in the stats table above (apart from Wyches) are good, and all have niches where they are the best unit for the job at hand.  Therefore rather than having multiple Courts I have a unit of each; Grotesques, Krymerae & Clawed Fiends.

Were you expecting this conclusion ?  Have you used Lhamaeans, how did you find them ?  Has this series been useful so far ?


Next up I'll be discussing adding a touch of light.

Friday, 9 October 2015

Supremacy Armour Battlesuit Fusion Eradicator is available [Tau]

Just a quick post to say that the latest Forgeworld newsletter (here) gives the wonderful news that the Fusion Eradicator, the alternative arm weapon for the KX139 Ta’unar Supremacy Armour Battlesuit (reviewed here) is available to buy (link here).

Although it has much shorter range (24") compared to the suits other main weapons, it packs a nasty punch of the equivilant of 5 Multi-melta shots.  Also 24" isn't that short when you consider the suit can move 12" a turn.  Yes killing heavy tanks will force the suit to get very close (12") to get the melta effect on the weapon, however the volume of low ap shots makes it's worth considering putting the Fusion Eradicator on at least one arm of the battlesuit.

The Fusion Eradicator biggest pull is that it helps answer one of the biggest issues for Tau armies, ie. very heavy armour, such as Imperial Knights, and AV14 vehicles.

With the arms costing £30 for those of you with deep wallets you could just order 2 extra arms so you have all the options.  For those of you, like me, who don't I'm not sure whether it would be best to specialise the battlesuit and just have the Fusion Eradicator on both arms, or (owing to GW changing rules over time) to have one of each arms to keep the battlesuit flexible, and limit the amount GW could nerf the battlesuit in any future rule (or meta) changes.  What would you do ?

In the end, for me this gorgeous model, is just the target of window shopping, as with such a high price tag, I can't allow myself to buy it over the other hobby things I could buy and the models I need to paint.

Existng models I'd like to paint up are:
XV84 Command Crisis Suit
some Fusion XV9s
one more Pihranha to join my squadron of 2

and I undoubtedly will be getting in the new release:

Plus I'll probably be having to do weapon swaps; eg. I'm guessing I may have to paint up 6 heavy rail rifles sitting in their original boxes.

So for me getting a KX139 Ta’unar Supremacy is a long way off.


Tuesday, 6 October 2015

XV95 Ghostkeel Battlesuit Rules & First Impressions [Tau]

This is the one I was waiting for !  The rules for the XV95 Ghostkeel Battlesuit has been leaked from pages of next weeks White Dwarf magazine.

The pictures come courtesy of Lady Atia on the War of Sigmar blog.  Here the pages of White Dwarf:

[Click on the pictures and zoom in to read all the detail]

Toughness & Survivability

As rumoured the Ghostkeel is only T5, with 4 wounds with a 3+ armour save, however the Ghostkeel costs barely over a third of the cost of the Stormsurge, and comes complete with 2 Stealth drones, and it's with these drones that the magic starts.  The Ghostkeel comes with Stealth, and if the Ghostkeel is attacked from over 12" away the cover save benefit from Stealth and/or Shrounded is doubled (up to a 2+ cover save).  The drones then give the all models in the unit (including themselves) Stealth, and if a model has Stealth (ie. the Ghostkeel) they instead give the model Shrouded.

However lets look at the exact wording:

"All models ... receive the Stealth special rule.  Any models that already have Stealth receive the Shrouded special rule instead"

now I believe the sentence means that the Ghostkeel receives the Shrouded special rule instead of receiving the Stealth special rule, because the sentence is taking about what rule is being received.  However I can see some people arguing that the sentence means that the Ghostkeel receives the Shrouded special rule and loses the Stealth special rule.

My interpretation means that with the drones the Ghostkeel receives a 2+ cover save in the open (Stealth + Shrouded, both doubled), however let me know your thoughts in the comments.  Even if Stealth is lost the Ghostkeel will have a 3+ cover save in the open, or a 2+ cover save if behind or in any cover or if there are any intervening units.

It's important to note that while the Ghostkeel will have a 2+ cover save in the open (my interpretation) the drones themselves will only have a 6+ cover save, as they only have Stealth, and only the Ghostkeel has the wargear to grant the double cover save bonus.  Therefore careful positioning will be required to ensure the drones are sniped out from an odd angel you weren't expecting.

Update: I obviously forgot that only one model in a unit has to have the Stealth and/or Shrouded rule for the whole unit to benefit, so regardless of the interpretation the whole unit will get Stealth and Shrouded.  It also means that the drones will receive a 4+ cover save in the open, and any type of cover will bump that up to a 2+ cover save, making them much more survivable.

With the cover save bonus the Ghostkeel is quite survivable, once the enemy does not have ignore cover and the Ghostkeel stays more than 12" away from the enemy to get the double cover save bonus.  In that scenario the Ghostkeel is very good for it's 130 points.


The Ghostkeel comes as standard with a Fusion Collider, which is a blast fusion gun.  Nice but short ranged, and the Ghostkeel has to get very close (9") to get the melta effect.  The Fusion Collider can be swapped for a Cyclic Ion Raker which has a slightly longer range of 24" (and gets the full effect at maximum range unlike the Fusion Collider) and fires 6 Str7 AP4 shots, or can be overcharged (which makes it Gets Hot) to have a Str8 AP4 Large Blast.

Nothing spectacular, but I think the Ghostkeel is more of a harassing unit like Stealth suits.

The main gun is complimented by a twin-linked flamer, but personally I would immediately upgrade that to a twin-linked fusion blaster if keeping the Fusion Collider as the main gun, or upgrading to a twin-linked burst cannon if using the Cyclic Ion Raker.

So the firepower is short ranged, but it's nice you can make both the main gun and the secondary gun compliment each other, for a total of 10 anti infantry shots or a twin-linked and blast anti tank (or heavy infantry) shots.

The Last Laugh

The last piece of trickery (Holophoton Countermeasures) is that once a game, after a unit has chosen to target the Ghostkeel or it's unit, the Ghostkeel can choose to make that enemy unit fire only snapshots that turn.  That could be very nasty for Wraithguard with D-Scythes because suddenly they wouldn't be able to fire the D-Scythes, but against normal weapons it will still severely limit the damage the Ghostkeel takes.

Typically with GW it mixes up unit and model in the rules for this ability, so it will have to be seen whether when you have multiple Ghostkeels in a unit you can do this ability once for each Ghostkeel.  However either way this is a very nice ability that will probably allow the Ghostkeel to survive another turn at a critical point in the game.


The points cost is very reasonable (135 for the Cyclic Ion Raker & Burst Cannon variant, 140 for the Fusion Collider with Fusion gun variant).  The harasssment value with the cover saves ability is nice, but the firepower is nothing to write home about, but if it's hard to kill it should be around longer.

It's a stunning model, and while I think the unit isn't outstanding, it definitely isn't bad, it's just not an auto-take, well unless other units get nerfs, eg, Riptides & Crisis Suits, in the new codex.  It's Holophoton Countermeasures make this a good suit to try and get Fusion weaponry in close to the enemy and survive for a second round.  However we'll have to wait for the codex to see if there's longer ranged options to taking out heavy tanks from range.  We already have the Stormsurge, but that is expensive, hopefully Hammerheads or Broadsides will have better tank killing than before.

Interesting at 135 points (for the Fusion variant) the Ghostkeel is the same points as Shadowsun is now, and I think Shadowsun giving a large crisis suit unit with drones Stealth and Shrouded is a valid alternative.  Or maybe as they're both great models, you could use both and have 2-3 Ghostkeels (with accompanying 2 Stealth drones each) as one Stealthed up unit, and Shadowsun with a unit of Crisis suits as another.  You could even round out the elites with a unit of Stealth Suits.

So what's your opinion on the new rules for the Ghostkeel ?  I think the model will sell well, as it's a great model and it's much easier to put 130-140 points into an army without major rewrites.  Will you be buying one ?


PS. Only roughly a week to go before I guess codex page pictures will start leaking, can't wait :)

Friday, 2 October 2015

The Tomb Reawakens [Necron]

Yes it's all happening for my 40k armies at the same time, and my Necrons have resurfaced.

With increasing family requests on my time, and realising that I have way too many 40k armies and mini projects that I am never going to get round to, the Necrons were on the edge between becoming one of my main armies or being destined for ebay.

With their new codex they were undeniably a strong force in 40k now, but to stay as one of my main armies they had to be able to be played in a playstyle that I like.  My favourite is my Dark Eldar, I also like my Wolves who rush accross the board to get in close combat, while even my Tau is based around moving the infantry forwards to get them in range for the Ethereal to do his Storm of Fire ability.  So basically gun lines are not for me, and I like mobile armies.

Looking at the units which are fast in the Necron army, Destroyers stood out as having a pretty good buff; they went from 1 wound models back to 2 wound models, which I think is one of the biggest buffs in the codex, and that's before you put them in the Destroyer Cult to give them (effectively) Monster Hunter and Tank Hunter in the shooting phase.

Luckily my army had quite a few destroyers, a unit of heavy destroyers, and a second unit if heavy destroyers that needed to be repainted to my paint scheme.  So first game repairs:

 Not surprisingly with years in storage, even in good cases, there were a few repairs.  unfortunately the last destroyer (at the front) had lost the arm connecting the torso to the weapon, but luckily this last model wasn't needed for my first provision army list).

So to start the core of my mobile Necron force below is the Destroyer Cult:
[extra flying bases have since been obtained]
After my first couple of games I decided to lose the Heavy Destroyers in the small Destroyer units for normal Destroyers to keep the unit focused on one range, maybe it was just the Tau commander in me wanting standard weapons across the unit.

Early Test Games

I've had a few games down my local GW with my Necron force.  At 1200 points I've just used the Destroyer Cult along with an Canoptek Harvest, which makes a very small 30 model force.  Currently at this points level I am running:

Canoptek Harvest (430 pts)
1 Canoptek Spyder
7 Canoptek Scarabs
6 Canoptek Wraiths

Destroyer Cult (770 pts)
Destroyer Lord (Voidreaper) - Warlord
6 Destroyers
3 Destroyers
3 Destroyers
3 Heavy Destroyers

The list has nice mobility, and against the right targets (in one game I played a Raven Guard assault marine force) it can be devastating to MEQs (once they come out of cover).  However I need to see it against horde and mech forces.

Expanding the force I just add a Combined Arms Detachment, and even without the 4+ reanimation protocol of the Decurion Deatchment it has performed well, and more importantly the speed of the force has been nice to play with.

[GW's Reclaimation Legion Boxset]

A Quick Note on the Decurion

I've been avoiding the Decurian Detachment, as the main elements are slow foot troopers (you need at least 25 infantry models), and I can't have anymore of a model I really like (but more on that later).

The decurian core detachment gives a slow very resilient force, which I'm not sure I would enjoy playing, maybe sometimes, but definitely not all the time.  At 479 pts for a minimum Decurion Core detachment when I only normally 1500 or 1750 points, it's a bit much in models I don't really like (or to form the core of my army).  I don't mind a cheap Lord and 2 Warrior Squads (at the much cheaper 310 points) which allows me to spend more points on the models I like.

So expect a few more posts in the future on how I'm finding the Necrons.  The biggest advantage they have over my other armies is that the full 1750 point army fits easily into one standard KR case because I'm not using any vehicles (so are easier to carry nto work).  My case even contains 20 Immortals & 9 Lychguard I haven't used yet, and 10 Flayed Ones that have only had one game,

So how are you finding the Necrons, and have you seen many non-Decurion armies ?  Have you seen any unusual army builds ?



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