Saturday, July 31, 2010

Avengers, Rangers and Guardians Oh my: Eldar Troops

The backbone of any army is its core units. In 40K this is the troops slot. These units make up the minimum, in most force organization charts, to have a legal army along with one HQ. They are the only ones that can hold objectives in scenarios with objectives. They are an important and oft overlooked choice. They are seen a mandatory or secondary to the elites and heavy support options. This should not be the case though. They make up the core of your army and are the foundation upon which you build the rest of it. Much Like HQ's they set the theme or tone of an army. At very least they continue the theme and tone of the army you started with your HQ choice.
The Eldar have some varied choices. I covered Dire Avengers in my Aspects of Khaine series. Dire Avengers are a good all around troop choice that is very flexible. You have 3 other choices though in the Eldar Codex. You have the ubiquitous Guardian squad, the stealthy Ranger squad and the Fast Moving Guardian Jet bike Squad.
I have an affinity for Guardians. Maybe its just because my army hail from Ulthwe. Guardians have the same basic stat line as an imperial guardsman. You can take up to 20 in a squad and have several options. You can have Guardian Defenders which gives them shuriken catapults and a support platform or you can have them as Storm Guardians which means up to 2 fusion guns and close combat weapons. You can also have them all mounted on Jet Bikes with 1 shuriken cannon for every 3rd bike as an option.. This caps the Squad at 12 though. All the squads can have a warlock to accompany them. For Guardian Defenders I like to give the Warlock a singing spear as it has the same range as a catapult. I also give the warlock either Conceal or Embolden for powers. If I include the Avatar in the army list I do not worry about leadership as I keep the Guardians close to the Avatar so the warlock gets conceal.
For the Storm Guardians Embolden is a good choice but Enhance is a better one. This means your guardians will have a WS of 4 and an Int of 5. I also do not give the warlock a singing spear so he has an extra attack in close combat.
Jet bike Guardians give you a much better armor save, higher toughness and lots of mobility. You can use them to grab objectives in the zero hour by turbo boosting to them to claim them or contest them. They are also a nice mobile kill unit. Giving the Warlock a singing spear gives the unit vehicle killing power. Embolden is the power you want to equip the Warlock with as if you are trying to take an objective you don't want the unit running.
Massed units of Guardians with the Avatar close at hand are great for cutting through enemy lines and swamping troops. They are also ideal for holding objectives. Its hard to get within 3 inches of an objective with 20 guardians that are fearless, due to the Avatar, surrounding it.
Rangers are a nice troop choice with lots of ranged killing power and ability to weather heavy enemy fire. They get really nice when upgraded to pathfinders. AP 1 hits on a 5 or 6 plus the rending on 6's when rolling to wound. Add this to the fact they get a +2 instead of a +1 to their cover saves and you get a unit that is ideal for holding objectives in cover. As long as you can keep the assault troops off them you are all good. I like to use them in units of 7 or 8. Any more an you have hard time fitting all the models in the cover. This also gives you a good number of shots. Keeping a Farseer close at hand to guide them will up your hits and the possibility of punching through the armor of your foes.
Keeping the Rangers out of harms way is the key. Putting them in elevated potions hampers assault troops. Multi level buildings are ideal. Do not place them on the top floor though. Indirect fire weapons will not be able to target them as long as they are not on the top floor of the building. This may hamper your field of view and kill zone but it increase survivability if there are barrage weapons on the table. You must try and get your Ranger squads set up in such a way that you have overlapping fields of fire. This way you establish a kill zone that you want to try and funnel hard to kill enemy troops into. You should reserve your Ranger fire to high toughness models and or those models with big Armour saves, such as terminators.
So there ya go. Troops of the Eldar Codex. Next time we will be discussing the next campaign game at evolution and also this weekend session 2 of the Rogue Trader campaign.

Until then....................

Blood Runs, Anger Rises, Death Wakes, War Calls!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Remember to pillage before you burn: the new Bi-Weekly Campaign at Evolution games

So the local shop, good old Evolution Games, Started a campaign this past week. I should say Samsquatch monster of DFG started it but it is at our FLGS. I thought this would be an awesome opportunity to really get into my newly acquired Dark Eldar army.
SO the first mission is called Raid on Kastorel-Novem and it involves either attacking or defending a fuel depot. The fuel depot consists of two tanks with an armor value of 12. They are both equipped with void shields to fend off the first penetrating hit done to them. There is also a laser defense line that, if crossed, will cause a dangerous terrain test and wound the model crossing on a roll of a 6 in addition to the possibility of taking a wound from the dangerous terrain test. All the models are treated as independent entities. I have 200 points to work with. I am allowed to make 3 guys “specialists”. This means I get to assign them a universal special rule such as tank hunters. If you drop below half strength you must make leadership tests with a minus one per turn which is cumulative. So first turn at minus one, second turn below half strength at a minus two
My choices are limited to 1 elite, up to 2 troops and 1 fast attack. So my list consists of

7 Dark Eldar warriors on a raider with Night shields and “tank hunter”
One warrior with a Dark Lance with “relentless”
Sybarite with tormentor helm, punisher, gruesome talisman and shadow field. Has “furious charge”

All in all I did well. Despite losing my temper because my opponent was a daemon player who had the changeling in his list I won. I was actually a defender despite the Dark Eldar codex stating that they are always the attacker in a scenario. So I won despite all my anger. I slayed the daemons and saved the fuel depot. There was a post scenario showdown for bonus points and the Daemon player did succeed. This showdown consisted of one phase. attackers choice, and you pitted one model against another to represent the attempted assassination of a top commander surveying the battle field post battle. In this case he choose shooting. He had a shooty army and did not want to take on my sybarite in hand to hand. Sadly my sybarite's shadow field did not protect him and he died giving the daemons a small amount of payback and robbed total victory from my grasp.

I have not seen the next scenario yet but I know its 1500 points. So I will be fielding a scaled back version of the 1850 and 1750 list. I just have to figure out what I am cutting out. 250 points is a lot in a Dark Eldar list.

I will post about my list later in the week when I get the rules for the next scenario. Also I will be delving into troops choices for the Eldar. After the HQ slots it is the next most important choice, to make your list legal and set up the foundation to build your list further.

Until Then...................

Blood Runs, Anger Rises, Death Wakes, War Calls!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Games Workshop Store Tournament: Round 3

The third and final round of the Games Workshop store tournament series was on July 24th. I was there. there, but I was having trouble determining which list I will play. In fact I was trying to decide if I wanted to take the Eldar or the Dark Eldar. Doing all three rounds of the tournament with the same army makes sense. Taking a different army of the same race did sound appealing though. Since nobody really plays Dark Eldar I would have an element of surprise. Not to mention I really want to play with them.
The Dark Eldar are fast, mobile and can pack a punch at range. The 1750 point list I came up with has An Archon with retinue, a Wych Dracite with retinue, three warrior raider squads and three ravagers. The list packs a lot of punch and is fast. The big thing is, Aspect warriors aside, Dark Eldar are better at shooting. They all have a ballistic skill of 4 and a weapon skill of 4. Granted they are still toughness ans strength 3 but I am use to this. I don't have psychic powers though. Since I run double Farseers most of the time it will be a challenge running with no psychic powers and really only one way of dealing with pyskers. Granted I did not take the Crucible of Malediction in the list but I may swap things around to include it just in case.
So I have a fast, mobile and shooty list of Dark Eldar prepped and I have an Eldar list slightly modified from last time. I dropped the swooping hawks and second Farseer and added a wraithlord for a total of 2. I also increased the warlock retinue size to 9.
I should have taken the Dark Eldar. My opponent was a Blood Angels player who brought a mech list. 2 tactical squads in rhinos, 2 Baal Predators, a Vindicator and a Storm Raven chuck full of assault terminators, the Sanguinor and a Furioso Dreadnought. Things started well but went south fast after I destroyed the vindicator. I could not roll worth a darn for armor penetration and I was light on bright lances. All I know is that the Storm Raven should be more points. It has more abilities than a land raider and is basically a flying one.
So I got hammered 9 kill points to 4. Sad I know but I should have taken the Dark Eldar list I prepped as its killing power, especially on vehicles, was better. I lacked power weapons and AP 3 weapons which are essential to kill space marines. I was 70% sure I would be facing marines but apparently I had a ditz moment and did not prep an appropriate list. Eldrad's unit did well tying up the Sanguinor, terminators and a tac squad for 3 turns until a lucky thunder hammer hit took out the venerable Farseer. Despite having Fortune active my dice were against me. I lost the Fire Dragons to the dreadnought after they slagged the Vindicator. I should have had a bigger squad that included Fuegan. The Furioso would have thought twice about charging a Phoenix Lord that hits like a monstrous creature.
On the plus hand side I got a peek at the Isle of Blood boxed set for fantasy. It has 76 figures half of which are Skaven. Roughly 40 clan rats, a warlord, which looks nice, a rat ogre, look like some kind of shooty unit and that’s all I saw. I was more interested in the high elves. I wish they had allowed me to take a picture of the lord on the griffon. It was gorgeous. It is very aggressively posed. You also get a decent size unit of Sea Guard and some plastic Sword masters of Hoeth. All the new stuff looks nice and might actually get me back into fantasy when the box set is available.

So next time I play in a tournament I am going to plan the list a little better or just use the dark Eldar. I am going to be concentrating on getting 1850 points of Dark Eldar painted up to my standards for tournament use. Until the codex comes out in November that is. Then its new model time.

Our next installment will be about the current campaign we are doing at the store. We had our first round this past Wednesday and it was fun. So more on that next time

Until Then..........

Blood Runs, Anger Rises, Death Wakes, War Calls!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Oh Captain My Captain: Eldar HQ's

I have always liked doing themes in my armies. I almost always build according to fluff even if its not tactically sound. Every army has a theme and a background. Personally I think that the choice of HQ sets the tone and theme of the army list. It really dictates what kind of units you are going to pick. The Eldar army has several HQ choices that are quite different. You have Farseers, Autarchs, Phoenix Lords and of course the Avatar. My first HQ choice is always a Farseer.
My Eldar are all painted and themed. They hail from Craftworld Ulthwe. As such I always use a Farseer, possibly two, and a large council of warlocks as well as lots of Guardians. Ulthwe is noted for its Seer Council and of course everybody's favorite special character Eldrad Ulthran.
The Farseer is really the capstone of an Eldar army themed or not. They are very formidable opponents especially with a retinue of warlocks. They bring to bear psychic powers that help your units and hinder the enemy. This is very different from the powers that most armies have. Most armies have all attack powers with a couple that may enhance or protect. Eldar powers, especially warlock powers, enhance and protect your units. The actual attack powers are very good. Mind War has fallen many troopers and enemy commanders. Eldritch storm is a nice one for lightly armored targets with the bonus of flipping vehicles around. Destructor, for the warlocks in the retinue, is a nice one for thinning out light infantry. Combine the psychic powers with the ability to cast multiple powers and make your opponents roll psychic tests on 3d6, thanks to Runes of Warding, and you have psychic dominance of the table. I prefer the blanket effect Runes of Warding has to psychic hoods, not to mention they cover the whole table. An entire unit with an invulnerable save and weapons that wound on a 2+ is also very nice against, well everybody. Most people do not expect your HQ to be a lethal tank killer either. Since Singing Spears and Witch Blades count as strength 9 versus vehicles it makes for a nice surprise when you pop them out near the tanks and let them tear them open.
I use Farseers in just about every list and I have a sizable retinue of warlocks no matter the points cost. This is mainly due to the fact they are the conductor of the symphony that is the Eldar army. They have lots of combat ability and buffing ability. If I don't use Eldrad I use a regular Farseer with Runes of witnessing and spirit stones. I always give him 3 powers. Fortune, Doom and Guide. If I know I am facing psykers then I also give him Runes of Warding. If I do use Eldrad a regular Farseer is secondary. I give him fortune and doom. I also like to put the second seer on a bike. This gets him closer and allows him to doom the units in the back field for your long range support units.
Sometimes I don't run two seers, but my first choice is always a Farseer as my primary HQ. If you have a lot of units being held in reserve an Autarch is a good choice if you want to get them in quick. You can stick him with different Aspect warrior squads with a nice mix of war gear from several of the Aspects. In most cases the Exarch powers with affect him. I use an Autarch with Swooping hawk wings and deep strike him with a unit of Hawks. This still allows use of his Master Strategist rule and its always nice to deep strike into the rear of a tank or artillery unit with a fusion gun.
I take the Avatar as a second choice when I need some heavy hitting. Since I like to use lots of Guardians, it is great to put him in between my two squads. Since he makes all units within 12 inches fearless I have a huge mass of troops that will not run and will continue to march forward until they are within catapult range. A squad of 15 or more Guardians laying into a squad or an individual is not pretty. My Guardians have fallen Trygons, Daemon Princes and even greater daemons from sheer weight of fire. It also Helps to have the Avatar there for any cleanup work.
I do not use Phoenix Lords a lot. I do have a themed infiltrator / deep striker list that uses Karandras with an Autarch as a secondary HQ and 30 striking scorpions, but other than that I do not run them that often. Although expensive they are worth every point. They make an Aspect Squad of the appropriate shrine very deadly. It would be nice if they did not take up and HQ slot and were an uber upgrade for the Aspect squad. With only 2 HQ slots its hard to pick one of them. This is why I tend to use them when I have a themed list. Karandras in the list above is one example. I use Maugan Ra with my Ulthwe army as a point of fluff. Since the Dark Reaper Aspect is the most populace on Ulthwe I like to use Dark Reapers a lot. Maugan Ra is always present in Apocalypse games.
So there you have it. The HQ choices and my two cents about them. I like themes. I have always believed the HQ slot to really set the theme of an army. Be it an Avatar and Phoenix lord lead army from Biel-Tan, to a Seer heavy army of Ulthwe. So next time we will have some battle reports from the campaign I am playing in at Evolution games that starts today and the army lists and possibly the results from the third round of the GW store tournament series that is this Saturday.

Until then....................

Blood Runs, Anger Rises, Death Wakes, War Calls!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Rogue Trader Sunday: Session one

Session one of my Rogue Trader has our team of explorers, 3 of them anyway, traveling from Hydraphur to the Imperial Naval base at Baka. Baka is where our Rogue Traders father lies on his death bed after being poisoned by an unknown party. We are introduced to our first three explorers aboard the Battleship Absolution. Our Rouge trader is Quintis Fabius Tarses the first son or Rouge Trader Malek Tarses. His companions are accompanying him so that they may help him take over his fathers dynasty and inherit the families writ of trade which was given to them during the great crusade and bears the immortal Emperors signature. His loyal friend and former shipmate Joviaco Ralova aka “Joker” and another former soldier and friend Bren Altiernan McLuthos are with Quintis to become his trusted command crew.
When they arrive at Baka they are greeted by Fleet Liaison Officer Lord Captain Brixton of Battle Fleet Tempestus and Malek Tarsus's personal assistant Angelica as well as our 4th Explorer. Magos Gabriel Hadde of the Adeptus Mechanicus is also with them and our fourth PC.
The Group checks out the Ship which is named Cathedral Terra. It is a very old cruiser which the group comes to find out has some nice archeo tech systems and a Xenos system on it , a rune caster. They meet with Marik Tarsus our Rogue traders father who is being kept alive by the arcane machines of the Adeptus Mechanicus. He bestows the writ of trade upon his son and a ceremony ensues which is over seen by the Arbitor General Maximilian Steel and the High Ecclesiarch.
After all the pomp and circumstance, which has left our group bored and ready to go they retreat back to the Terra to see what their next action is. Angelica informs them that Marik was supposed to be in the Malconis system in a week to set up a trade deal on Satire 6 an aggro world in the control of the Vexhoun cartel. The group decides to make best possible speed there and is assured by the Navigator Valex, who the group finds creepier than anything they have yet encountered, that thanks to the ships wonderful amenities they will make it in time.
They in fact make it with a day to spare thanks to good warp conditions. They make contact with the Cartel representative and set a time to begin negotiations. They take advantage of the time between and decide to do some shopping in a local bazaar. There they are jumped by 5 thugs who seemed to know they were coming, as one of the screamed “DIE TARSUS!” before opening fire on the group. Quintis took a wound to the arm in the first salvo, but his comrades rallied quick and took down a couple thugs in the opening volley of fire. Gaius, our 5th player, came down with the party and proved his worth as he charged head long into hand to hand combat and cut down another thug. After a brief combat all the thugs were dead or dieing. The one left alive was taken back to the ship for questioning. The session ended with the beginning of the trade deal talks.
I have to say the first session went very smoothly. I had not realized how devastating combat actually was in this system. The weapons inflict lots of damaged and we all got a kick out of the descriptions on the critical charts.  The guys rolled exceptionally well for equipment on the shopping trip and they picked well from their choice of starting gear.  Needless to say my baddies need to be better armed.
 In the future I need to plan combat a little better to make the fights a little more challenging. I Find it funny that I have 2 characters that have the Arbitus as an enemy and one who has the Imperial Church. I like the attitude that is shaping up. As I said its like Firefly meets Big Trouble in little China and our Rogue Trader is Jack Burton.
Our first session was short as everybody also did character creation when we got together. Next time we get into the trade talks and we get acquainted with the various personalities on the ship.

Until then

Blood Runs, Anger Rises, Death Wakes, War Calls!!!!!!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

You win some and you loose some

Well I got in a couple battles Wednesday.  The first was a massive 6000 points per side Apocalypse battle Against my arch nemesis the Daemons.  I fielded the Seer Council of Ulthwe formation as well as my Revenant Titan armed with Pulsars and Cobra 2 super heavy tank.  This time I had to face 2 daemon lords and a tower of skulls.  I actually did not do to bad at first.  I was killing the daemon units decently, but things went bad as the titan fell to Ang Groth and the Daemon army did all it could to run away from the Seer Council.  Granted after I checked something I cried Shenanigans on the fact Ang groth should have been charging the closest unit every turn.  He was not and was by passing several.  I am not going to go into great detail as I lost and I am done playing against Daemon armies.  I have some issues with the codex and how it works and I also have issue with the Forge World Named Daemon lords and their rules.  I will just leave it at that.

I played a second game after taking a break.  This time I broke out the Dark Eldar for an 1850 point game against a Necron Horde.  I used the 1850 list I detailed in the last blog entry.  My opponent had 2 monoliths, 20 immortals, 20 warriors, 2 tomb spiders, 3 destroyers and  a lord.  It was an Annihilation mission with a Dawn of War Deployment.
This games went much better than the first as I phased him on turn 3.  Turbo boosting the whole army, except the Ravagers, so I was in his face when he cam on the board and then laying into the units with dark lance, blaster, and Dizzy fire pretty much did most of the job by turn 2.  The only unit to disembark was the Archon and his retinue.  They slayed the remaining warrior squad, all three in it, and the Ravagers cleaned up enough of the Immortals with Dizzy fire to get him below his Phase number, 11, by the time he was to start his portion of turn three.  I had one Ravager mobilized and 2 dead Reaver Jet Bikes.
I was amazed to say the least.  The army hit so fast and so hard.   It was a night and day difference between the Dark Eldar and my Craftworlders.
Me thinks I am going to get my nose to the grindstone and get the Dark Kin painted up to snuff to use at the GW tournament.  Sadly I keep forgetting to bring my camera with me to get pictures of all these games.  I just have to much stuff to load up into the car now and I keep forgetting to just put the camera in my backpack.  Thats going to be priority one when I get home.
So next time we will continue our march down the dark path and look at the different elements of the current Dark Eldar codex.  I am crossing my fingers  the rumors about the new codex coming out in October are true.

So until then.......................

Blood Runs, Anger Rises, Death Wakes, War Calls!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, July 12, 2010

First Raid Approaches

I was working for Games Workshop just after 3rd edition 40k hit the streets. The Dark Eldar were the new kids on the block and a lot of people picked them up as they came with the 3rd edition boxed set. Then they kind of dropped them. The style of play needed to field them was not really the style that fit the rules set for 3rd edition. At very least the whole concept of a mechanized fast moving force was merely a gleam in the eye. At the time I had switched from Eldar to Sisters of Battle as I had access to the play test codex and would send notes after games to the designers about how things did and problems we ran into. I had to use the codex rules out of the rulebook though as the play test codex was not for civilian eyes. I ran my sisters as a mechanized force and it proved very effective. I could not do that with my Eldar at the time due to no wave serpents, or at least I would have to mod up a bunch from scratch, and foot slogging was actually the way to go for anything you could not carry in a falcon.
Basically what I am getting at is that the whole mechanized army concept, being able to blitzkrieg the enemy, was appealing and This is what drew me initially to the dark Eldar. I can do a whole army mounted up in transports that provide good back up to the units. Sadly I did not purchase an army in 3rd edition and I did not play the horror known as 4th edition.
So I now find myself with a sizable Dark Eldar army. I plan on going to the dark side this week
I have two lists which are basically the same and are 1750 points, in case I want to use them in the third round of the GW tournament and 1850 points as this is the size we usually play at the store.
The list consists of At 1750 points

1x Archon with Agoniser, splinter pistol, Combat Drug Dispenser, Gruesome talisman, hell mask, trophy rack and shadow field, 4x warriors, 4 incubus and Drazaar Master of blades in a raider with Night Shields.
1x Wych Dracite with Agoniser, Splinter pistol, Combat Drug Dispenser, gruesome talisman, hell mask trophy rack Archangel of pain, witch retinue with succubus armed with Agoniser and splinter pistol, Gruesome Talisman, goblet of spite and a Mask of the Damned on a raider with night shields.
3x Warrior Raider squads
3x ravagers all with night shields and some disintegrators

The 1850 Point list adds a squad of 3x Reaver Jet Bikes with 2 blasters.

I am going to run this list Wednesday to see how they do. As you can see despite having a lot of point sunk into my two HQ units, which are the hardest hitting squads in the list, I am still able to field 3 troops choices to take and hold objectives. Despite the Raiders weak armor and open topped status they are excellent transports and pack a dark lance. This means they can act in support of the warrior squad holding an objective by eliminating armor units. The Ravagers act as back up killing artillery and tanks and then hitting troops with the disintegrators once they are out of their transports. Having faced this retinue before I can vouch for it lethality and ability to kill tough units. The wych Dracite and her wyches are also monsters. The Goblet of spite is key to this. It allows them to always hit on a 3+ regardless of weapon skill. Combine this with a 4+ invulnerable save in close combat and you will have even Hive Tyrants crying uncle.

I think this is a good balance between mobility and punch. The only thing is you must hit fast and hard on the first turn. Then you have to keep the momentum of the first strike up. You cannot get into a slug fest as the Dark Eldar are fragile. Lightly armored and toughness 3 means no stand up fights. Open topped armor 10 vehicles also means no dueling with tanks strait up. You have to be sneaky and use your terrain. Target priority is also important. You must decide what you are going to hit and hit it fast. There can't be any re-tasking mid strike. Its a merry dance of death and you must stick to the choreography.
So we will see how they do Wednesday. I think I am going to start doing some posts about the different units as I am sure many are totally unfamiliar with the Dark Kin. Also I will be doing some Posts about the Different choices available in the Eldar codex. I think I may start with HQ mainly because the HQ choice for your Eldar army sets the tone and theme of your army list.

Until then........

Blood Runs, Anger Rises, Death Wakes, War Calls!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Lost in Translation

I have always enjoyed War games.  From Axis and Allies to Battle tech and eventually to 40k.  I always played with friends and if we had any issues with rules we always decided amongst ourselves how to solve any issues. When it came to tournaments though there were always judges to keep everybody on the level and to ensure people interpreted the rules consistently and above all the same way.
With the release of the much anticipated Blood Angels and Tyranid FAQ as well as the uproar caused by the ommission of a page from the Daemon Hunters Codex PDF I really wonder about the state of things.

The rules give us the means to play a game. They are there to provide balance and a clear manner in which to build strategy.  You and another player can enjoy a nice contest of strategy and tactics.  In theory anyways
Apparently people are getting creative in their interpretation of the rules. From Fire prisms still being able to contribute their beam despite a weapon destroyed result to Zoanthropes in a brood only needing one psychic test and don't even get me started on how some people interpret Necron "we'll be back" rules. Power gamers, munchkins, Beardy Gits have always been around but some of this stuff is getting out of hand.  This, to me anyways, seems like it is violating the spirit of the game.  Granted the FAQs solve rules questions but GW seems to be pretty lazy and inconsistent as of late when it comes to interpreting the rules.
Gav Thorpe Actually posted on his blog about this topic.  He wondered why Americans are so obsessed with getting rule questions clarified and third party judging of the rules.  This to me was light shed on how the GW guys across the pond think.  They speak of tournaments and campaign weekends.  They talk about how they solve their own issues and they don't understand the need for arbitration.  Gav actually went on to defend himself as a games designer saying "it was his job to eliminate any obvious abuses".  Basically somebody was calling out the design team about the loopholes people find to abuse the rules and make broken lists, IE Lash Sorcerers and daemon princes and the Allies rules that allow Imp guard to do the mystics trick.  Apparently the designers were shocked people would do this, but Gav downplayed any shock that was expressed by the design team.   I don't think the designers or writers have been out of the studio in the trenches as of late.  The tournament circuit seems a lot harsher here than in the UK so I had to ask.  Gav have you been on the forums lately?
There are weird and scary ways people are building lists and interpreting the rules.  I think a big portion of these people have lost touch and have gotten so competitive they forget we play this for fun.  The tournament circuit is pretty harsh and is above and beyond the level of cheese you may find at your local hobby store.
I play with a great group of players and we are competitive and do well, most of the time, when we play in a tournament.  In fact we had some nice team games today which included a nice BBQ out in front of the store thanks to Farseer Rerolls and Samsquanch Monster.  Much fun was had by all and we had some fun playing. You can't get so set to win you throw out the spirit of the game.

Ok rant over.  SO what do you think?  Rather than me preach and ramble on chime in give your two cents.
While you do that I will write up some more tactics articles and start writing about my new Dark Eldar.

Until then...............................


Friday, July 9, 2010

Its been a Necron kind of week

So I have gotten a few games in this week in preparation for the GW Store Tourney series round 3 on the 24th of this month.  So far the only takers have been Raven Wing and Necrons.  Wednesday night saw me square up against the Necron horde of "Meat Ban" Evolutions games computer guru and follower of this site.  He also started a rather colorful, lots of foul language, Nercron blog called March of The Machines.
This game was pretty brutal.  the list consisted of

Eldrad with 6 warlocks 2 with spears, embolden, enhance and a wave serpent with scatter lasers
2x 7 man squads of pathfinders
1x 6 man squad of guardian jebikes with 2 shuriken cannons
1x Farseer on jetbike with runes of witnessing, spirit stones, guide and fortune
2x Fire Prisms with holo fields and spirit stones
1x 5 man squad of dark reapers with Exarch armed with missile launcher, crack shot and fast shot.

I cheated though.  I was so distracted I forgot the Striking scorpions I got out of my case were not in the list and they got placed.  Granted they spent the game moving across the board and did not really contribute at all but still,  It was late and I was tired, I feel bad.
  Granted this did not stop the fire prisms from killing all his immortals on the first turn and the pathfinders from killing all his destroyers also in turn one.
The game went six turns but he was on the ropes from the begining.  He did get some revenge though.  His Monolith immobilised Eldrad's wave serpent in close combat. He did it from the rear and basically stood there unmoving so Eldrad and his Warlocks could not get out..........for three turns.  He just would not stay down.  needless to say frustrating.

Today I phased a 71 warrior strong force on turn 6 with the loss of a few jetbikes and warlocks.  This list removed the fire prisms dark reapers and second Farseer in favor of a 5 man unit of wraithguard with warlock in a wave serpent, a wraithlord and 10 warlocks as opposed to 6 and the Avatar.  This Game was 1850 points as opposed to the 1750  point game with Meat Ban.  No accidental scorpions this time though.
Once I closed the distance it was a slaughter house as the Avatar and Eldrad cut a bloody, or is it oily, path thru the warriors and 4 destroyers.  The two lords took longer to get as they started to retreat to the other side of the table with the surviving warriors.  I eventually caught him and got him below his phase number as we went into turn 6.
I felt bad though as I also played him in a small 500 point game with his raven wing and killed them to the man loosing only 2 shining spears and loosing none of the jetbikes.
So the list has been doing ok so far but i need to test it against a space marine force and without cheating this time.
We will see what Saturday Holds

Until then

Blood Runs, Anger Rises, Death Wakes, War Calls!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Its all about the Thrones: Rogue Trader

Besides the massive amount of 40k I play I do play other games. One of those games is, oddly enough, 40k related. I recently started a Rouge Trader games fro some friends of mine who were tired of playing the same old stuff. As I loathe and hate 4th edition D&D and did not really want to run Shadow Run, Rouge Trader was the natural choice.
I am basing the big overarching plot on an idea I had when the Craftworld Eldar Codex came out for Third Edition 40k. I thought to myself, there are the Craftworlders, the Exodites and the Dark Kin. There are also the harlequins and the black library. With all the Craftworlds and their different little sub-sects of Eldar culture I came up with the idea that there may be craft worlds dedicated to specific gods of the Eldar. These Craftworlds could have been persecuted for worshiping gods they knew were dead or took on a philosophy of the deity that was at odds with the larger culture. Since the Eldar path was founded on the path of the warrior by Asurmen the worship or at least the acknowledgment of Khaine is at the forefront of Eldar culture. To openly oppose Khaine and say worship Vaul would be viewed with disdain especially if they were pacifists. These Craftworlds would be basically like the puritans escaping England because of religious persecution. They would have left pre fall as Eldar culture, already persecuting them, was falling into depravity.
The Campaign is focusing our intrepid group of Explorers trying to locate sect of Vaul worshipers that have a weapon capable of untold powers that was thought lost and only spoken of in legend. Our team of Explorers find themselves in the midst of different factions trying to find this weapon and keep it for their own purposes. The Craftworld itself was lost thousands of years ago and the Rogue Traders Father squandered his dynasty to find clues and artifacts to lead him to this place. The campaign starts with the dynasty down to one ship and the holder of the write on his death bed as he turns it over to his only son.
The Ship is called the Cathedral Terra and is a very ancient ship, from the dark age of technology, with many peculiar systems and qualities. It has Xenos tech on it which appears to be of Eldar origin. The inheritor of the dynasty, such as it is, is Quintis Tarses, the rouge trader played by my best friend Chris. His crack command crew consists of Magos Gabriel, an Explorator played by my friend Mr. O, Gaius, A Void Master who is a strict adherer to the Imperial creed played by my friend Kaine, Joker, an Arch militant who is fiercely loyal to the Rogue Trader who is played by my friend John and Bren, a void master who is a bit on the fringes , IE racking up the insanity points, played by my friend Clay.
Once I actually have my notes in front of me I will begin the tale of their adventures and put up some bio's of the NPC's that inhabit the ship.
We play every other Friday so beginning next weekend I will have our Saturday Rogue Trader segment.
We are 5 sessions in and so far its been interesting. It should prove very entertaining. So far the best way I can describe the crew and the tone of the game is its “Firefly” meets “Big Trouble in Little China” in the 40k universe. Jack Burton with a star cruiser. Kinda scary, but entertaining.
So I will begin with session 1 next week.

until then..................................

Blood Runs, Anger Rises, Death Wakes, War Calls!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Aspects of Khaine pt 7: Swooping Hawks

Here we are part 7 of the Aspects of Khaine. We are ending with the Aspect that apparently has fallen out of favor with the forum “experts” on Eldar tactics. I speak of course of the Swooping Hawks. The Hawk is a symbol of vengeance and retribution in the Eldar mythos and the Swooping Hawks deliver that with gusto.
The equipment of the Swooping hawk aides in the delivery of retribution upon your foes. The Lasblaster is the main weapon. With a range of 24” a strength of 3 and AP of 5 it is rather light on punch. It is assault 2 though which means a heavy weight of fire can be had with only 5 Hawks in the squad. With an AP of 5 Lasblasters can shred Imperial guard squads. This is especially true with a Farseer providing a doom and or guide to assist. The Swooping Hawk Grenade pack is their other weapon. This can deliver a large blast with a strength of 4 and AP of 5 that only scatters D6”. You can use this when you Deep strike your Hawks. They are also equipped with one of my favorite toys in the Eldar arsenal. Haywire Grenades. These grenades do not roll for armor penetration. You just roll and on a 2-5 you get a glancing hit and on a 6 a penetrating hit. Not bad especially when you combine it with one of the Exarchs powers that allows you to hit on a 4+ no matter how fast the vehicle went.
Combine all this with the fact they are jump infantry and you have a very mobile anti vehicle and anti troop unit.
The Exarch comes with a Lasblaster and may be given a power weapon. He can also select my favorite weapon the Sunrifle which has the same stats as a Lasblaster but is assault 6 and pinning. This ups your infantry shredding power and has the chance to pin the unit. The second option is the hawks talon which is assault 3 and ups the strength to 5. I prefer the Sunrifle as I tend to use Swooping hawks When I face lightly armored troops. Imperial Guard, Dark Eldar, Tyranids and Tau are all good targets either because of a toughness of 3 or an armor save of 5+.
The powers the Exarch has access to are Intercept which allows you to hit vehicles on a 4+ no matter how far they moved and Skyleap which allows you to pull the squad form the table and deep strike them back on with a successful reserve roll.. Intercept is a must. I do not like using skyleap. Although you can use the Grenade pack when you come back in you run the risk of not seeing your Hawks in the next turn. You also limit their mobility and leave them open to taking fire while they are all bunched up from the deep strike. I like having them stay on the table after their initial deep strike. They are mobile enough and have utility so it is kind of a waste to deep strike back in every other turn.
Using Swooping Hawks can be tricky. I use squads of at least 5 with an Exarch for a total of 6 in the unit. I give the Exarch a Sunrifle and Intercept. I use the unit to hit lightly armored units, like imperial guardsman or anything that is toughness 3 with a save of 5+, I try to have a Farseer in range to at least doom the unit I intend to fire at. I also hit the unit I intend to fire at with the template as I deep strike in. This concentrates the fire and helps open up some room to deep strike into. You have to be kind of ballsy when you deep strike the unit. You want them to be able to shoot at a unit but not leave them out in the open as they are vulnerable the turn they come in. The whole point of the deep strike is to get close and inflict damage. You must choose your spot carefully. Shock and awe can work to your advantage. I deep strike into the midst of the enemy. I do this for two reasons. One my opponent is not prepared and will misstep when it comes to fire discipline. Two if you place it right he may not risk blast weapons as they could drift into his own troops. Not to mention it may be within the minimum range of the heavy weapons on his tanks. It will force a break in formation as he is forced to move his tanks as you start inflicting damage the next turn. It could also force heavy weapon teams or troops to move to engage the interlopers. This allows the rest of your force to move in and lend support. Long range suppressing fire is key in the support of your deep strikers and out flankers.
When fighting against Mechanized forces most players expect fire prisms, Wraithlords or fire dragons for anti tank. You can use this to your advantage especially if you have these units in your army. If you move your hawks into position properly you can move in from 18 inches away to assault your opponents tanks. Many players don't expect this and it allows you to have your dedicated anti tank units take out other targets. You can use the hawks on high armor targets since you simple bypass the roll for Armour penetration. Even if you glance the living daylights out of a tank you will still hamper its ability to fight. Combine this with the fact you can take out vehicles moving fast you can really catch your opponent off guard.
So remember Swooping Hawks are an excellent troop shredding unit and are a very nice anti tank back up especially for moving vehicles.
So ends our series on the Aspects of Khaine. I hope they have been at least a bit informational. Its always nice to explore the options. Even if you have favorites you may find some new strategy you never thought of just by reading your codex. This has been educational for me.
So next time we will be trying some 1750 point lists for the 3rd and final round of the GW Store tournament series which concludes, for me at least, on July 24th at Great Lakes Crossing in Auburn Hills Michigan.

Until then........................

Blood Runs, Anger Rises, Death Wakes, War Calls!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy 4th of July From the Craftworld

To all A happy 4th of July from Craftworld Lansing.  While you are enjoying your cook outs and fireworks remember all those before you who helped make the United States free.  Thank a soldier and thank your forefathers.  Thank all those who have contributed to our freedom.  Freedoms like blogs.  I salute all those who have contributed to our freedom.  I also would like to give a salute to our soldiers who are overseas and not able to be with their families during our celebration of freedom.

 So time for some burgers and some relaxing.  After I finish cleaning the house and the hobby area.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY AMERICA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Aspects of Khaine pt 6: Warp Spiders

Passing through the warp. Disappearing and reappearing behind the enemy. Bathing them in a shower of monofiliment wire. This aspect is not an aspect. Having more in common with the spiders that inhabit the infinity circuit hunting down rouge elements than the Bloody Handed God, the Warp Spiders are basically viewed as crazy by most Eldar. For who would willingly go into the realm of the Great Enemy.
Warp Spiders are A hit and run deep striking unit that can hit with massed fire and then jump away, using their warp packs, form the enemy to safety. The Death Spinner is a nice short range assault weapon that bring to bear some hefty fire power. At a strength of 6 it can wound most every kind of trooper on the field. Being Assault 2 brings weight of fire when you have a large unit that will force lots of saves. The Warp Jump Generator is an oddity. It allows the Warp Spider to basically teleport via the warp to a position 2d6 inches in any direction. If doubles are rolled you loose a spider to the warp. This mimics the Spiders of the Infinity circuits ability to meld with it and ride the currents to another location.
These pieces of equipment make the Warp Spiders a lethal hit and run shock troop that can devastate enemies in the back field. The Exarch powers are key to this. The Surprise assault power, which you should always take lets you deep strike the unit. The withdraw power lets them get out of combat if assaulted. Despite being able to arm the Exarch with power blades and double spinners, getting bogged down in combat is not a good idea. Spiders must be mobile to be effective. The second weapon option for the Exarch is nice. The spinneret rifle is strength 6 and AP 1. it is also a pinning weapon. Even though it is assault 1 if anybody dies they must make a pinning check. A failure could mean a quick death for the unit or a unmolested escape by the Warp Spiders.
Survivability is the key. And the key to this is keeping mobile. They do have a nice save of 3+, but you must keep the unit out of hand to hand so they can jump around and hit the enemy hard with their Death Spinners. Since the move like jump infantry and then get to use their jump packs in the assault phase you can keep out of the reach of assault troops and wipe them out before they reach your lines.
I like to use spiders to wreck havoc in the fire lines of armies that like to remain stationary. Jumping in behind troops and wiping out squads is a nice way to get the enemies attention and let your army advance.
Units of 5 or 6 can be very effective. I do like running units of 10 but only if terrain is light. You want to make sure you try and deep strike the unit within firing range of the unit you want to hit. After firing use the jump packs to get away. If you kept 9 to 10 inches away and then got a decent jump of 6 or 7 inches unless the unit is Calvary or jump infantry they will not be able to catch you to assault you and may not be able to get into rapid fire range. Try to jump behind terrain to give cover and obstruct line of site as this move is unaffected by terrain, including impassable. You can also try jumping behind other units so you force the unit you just shot to get into a hand to hand brawl with the unit of Striking Scorpions that is now in front of it.
Using hit and run tactics will help sow some confusion and break down fire discipline as your opponent tries to decide which is more important. Hitting the unit in his midst or shooting at the advancing army. As always you want to support the unit with long range fire power. Use your Dark Reapers or Prisms to help give a one two punch. Hitting the unit with Warp spiders thins the heard so to speak and allows you to hit units with you low AP weapons to get ride of special troopers rather than regular troops. As Always try and doom your targets to maximize the carnage. More wound means more saves and the more dice they have to roll the better.
So stay mobile and support your hit and run troops with long range support. Doom the enemy and use the terrain.
Our next installment will cover our last aspect. The ill used and often scoffed at winged avengers of Khaine. Swooping Hawks.
Until then.......................................

Blood Runs, Anger Rises, Death Wakes, War Calls!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!