Saturday, February 26, 2011

I Love the Smell Of Resin In The Morning: New Wasps Have Arrived

I received my Forgeworld Order, the 2nd I am still waiting for the first, yesterday and today I have a nice squadron of 3 Eldar Wasps. Not only did I get them together I also got a game in with them vs one of our local players Red Scorpion army.
The kit is pretty strait forward. The lower hip section and legs in the standard War Walker kit are replaced as are the usually weapon mounts. I Titan like fin is added to the rear along with the jump jets which fit neatly to the rear part of the hull. One feature I really like is the 6 inch flight stand, the new ball type, that allows you to pose the Walker landing or taking off. The new weapon mount use the same style as the Falcon. This makes the model more streamlined and less prone to breaking like the regular ones.

Probably the best aspect of the kit is you have enough parts to almost construct another war walker. You just need the main hull and pilot. I am going to try and find some hulls on Ebay so I can build another squadron of regular War Walkers.

In My game I opted for a deep strike deployment. This proved to be a bad Idea as I drifted close enough for some thunder hammer wielding terminators to assault the squadron. I also only got one round of fire. Granted it was epic to be hitting on 3's with war walkers. I armed the Squadron with Bright Lances and Scatter lasers. My usual dislike for no AP was left aside because of the improved ballistic skill. As an aside I have to say the Land Raider Achilles is retarded.

I did not get to use the jump jets. I hope to get a game in soon so I can really test them out and what they can do. I think the Deep Strike aspect is nice for taking objectives quick, but honestly I think the jump jets are a better bet. Being able to move 24 and then assault means you can get these guys 30 inches across the table. If you pick your targets right you can really cause some havoc. They do need support though. Regular war walkers or more deep striking units breaks up your opponents fire. Deep striking them all by their lonesome is a good way to get them blasted into powder.
You can't really rely on a unit screen as they will be moving around a lot. I see the Wasps being used better as a support and harassment unit rather than a main line unit. It takes the heat off your regular War Walkers and your advancing troops. Their ability to contest and take objectives is going to throw people off guard as well. It seems wrong I can do an army that is completely made up of War Walkers and Seers and Warlocks on Jet Bikes.

I have been moving this weekend and I have mid terms this week so I am going to try and get the first mission completed for the Test of Khaine Tournament. I have to hammer out the details. It should be fun.

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

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

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Mandrakes Round 2 and The Test of Khaine

I got to test my Mandrake list this past Sunday and I have to say They have great potential. I played one of our local players and his Noise Marine heavy Chaos Marine army. Like the army itself the Mandrake unit is definitely a unit that must build and keep momentum. I took two 10 man units. One infiltrated and one outflanked. I also included a Chronos Parasite Engine to help boost the unit early on.

The Chronos proved to be not worth my time once again. It lacks the weapon range to really generate tokens and vs power armor of any kind it the weapons, the Spirit Vortex anyway, it fails to really consistently wound. Against softer targets it would be more effective. SO the Mandrakes had to generate tokens the old fashioned way. Once they were in combat they were at home and surprisingly did not really take heavy casualties. In fact vs a 6 man unit of thousand sons I only lost one Mandrake after 4 player turns of combat. Once I had the FNP and bale blast they began to really gain momentum and kept it. They helped out the Archon and two surviving wyches form the squad he was with take out a large unit of Noise Marines. They then boarded a Raider with the Archon and zoomed across the board and wiped out a unit of possessed. The out flanking unit sadly came in on the wrong side of the table in the usual fashion. When I out flank units that’s usually what happens to me despite the 2 in 1 chance they will come in on the side I want.

The Stealth is what really helped though. We had a decent amount of buildings and area terrain as well as craters on the board. I was able to move and run keeping to cover. Having a 4+ or 3+ cover save really helped keep the units alive and well. Move thru cover also allowed me to close in on targets very fast.

As I stated previously Mandrakes are best used as a support unit. A second unit was always present, even if it was only an Archon or 2 wyches, when the Mandrakes hit a unit. Once I had the bale blast I moved and then shot. I then hit the target unit with the second unit to hold it in close combat. This was very important if the Mandrakes could not make it into close combat.

All in all I was happy with the outcome. I am going to drop the Chronos and put something else in. I may just flesh out the small warrior unit I had for holding an objective. I may toy with Incubi or a Venom loaded with Trueborns. We will see.

Next time I hope to post the first Scenario for The Test of Khaine tournament round 1. I have some nice and I hope unique missions thought up for the tournament. I have also made the decision I will not be using Kill Points. Scoring will be done by the battle point system and Kill Points are being replaced with victory points. I have always felt Kill Points do not represent accurately enough the struggle you go thru. You may kill a really tough unit, Like a Thunder hammer wielding Terminator squad or thunder wolf cavalry or yes even a Seer Council, and only get one or 2 kill points depending on the composition of the unit. Using victory points though you get credit for maiming it or killing it out right. I also think this method seems fair to those of the mech persuasion. I have seen people win games just by killing drop pods and out scoring based on the fact they could kill things that had little effect on the battle once the units they carried were deployed. This also has a little to do with my roots at GW. This is how they ran all their tournaments in the past and how they ran them this past summer in the store tournaments I played in. I also have the Awards determined

Of course there will be 1st, 2nd and 3rd place based on total battle points obtained in each of the 3 rounds

The Disciple of Khaine award will be given to the person with the most victory points.

The Seers Award will go to the person who took the most objectives.

And finally the model voted best painted and or converted will be awarded the Special Bone Singers award.

I am moving this week so Feel free to email or post comments with any questions. I am moving to Ypsilanti, the blog name stays the same though despite the fact Ypsilanti sounds way more Eldar than Lansing. So MI40k guys watch out I will be looking for games at Get Your Game On. Since Lord Solar Steve and I will be carpooling to go to Evolution Games as well, as he lives on the way to Lansing form where I am, you guys can tag along if you want a change of scenery.

Next time scenarios and I may even discuss some Grey Knights. I saw the play test codex floating around and it looks legit, I can tell as I had access to play test stuff when I worked for GW. It will be a major thorn in an Eldar players side to say the least.

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

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

Saturday, February 19, 2011

The Good With The Bad

Well we have our next wave of dark Eldar.  I have to say I am a little disappointed.  I was looking forward to the Beast Masters.  So what does GW do?  They release them all as seperate models and give you one model for the Beast Master, some decent looking Kymera, a clawed fiend that looks like a skaven or war machine reject and a very lack luster razor wing flock.  The last one is the biggest disappointment.  3 little birds on a 40mm base for $12 bucks each.  The pricing is also a big slap in the face.  The Maxed out Beast Master unit is on par price wise with a  Wraithguard unit.  5 Beast masters, 1 clawed fiend, 6 razor wing flocks and 5 kymera come to just shy or $250 bucks.  The models are also very ho hum.  I really hate the fiend in particular.  The Succubus is a nice model though.  The size of the wave is also disappointing.  I was hoping for another unit, liek a void raven or the Scourges.  oh well At least Forge World is showing the love.

In the build up to IA 11 yet another new Eldar model has been released.  The wasp walker is a war walker in steroids.  It is equipped with jump jets like a Titan and to top it all off it can count as a troop choice.  They can deep strike as well.  The big thing though is the BS of 4.  I like them a lot and for the second time this month I have put in a Forge World Order.  Note to everybody though don't forget to hit the express shipping button.  I am still waiting for my shadow specters I ordered on the 2nd thanks to me not paying attention.

I am thinking we will be seeing IA 11 late spring early summer given the amount of models currently pouring out.  If any of this unit development spills over to GW proper I hope we are seeing some previews of a new codex.  Granted there is some improvement that needs to be made with the current experimental rules, but I think they are on the right track.

Next time I hope to be discussing my new models and giving some more details about "The Test of Khaine" tournament I am running at Evolutions Games in Lansing, MI.

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

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

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

So What Is Tier one anyway?

I got in a game recently with Old School Terminator, leader and founder of the Dark Future Games crew, at the FLGS. Adepticon fever is sweeping the shop as we get to the finalization of our lists and begin the process of getting the models to paint. Some of us are more ready than others both in terms of lists and paint. I find myself in a dilemma as I am faced with painting an entire 1850 point Dark Eldar force or paint a couple unfinished models and bring the Craftworlders to the show. I digress though from the point of this entry.
OST brought a Blood Angels list that is apparently pretty common on the forums and it considered by many to be a “Tier 1” list. It was a mech list that brought razorbacks and Baal predators. He told me though he had modified the list in the weapons department. Rather than the bevy of heavy flamers he had assault cannons on the razorbacks. After the first turn I was a bit worried, but as soon as I got the wychs into the fray his list and the lists primary strategy fell apart.

I am no Space Marine player, ask anybody and they will tell you how much I loathe them. I saw a list that seemed pretty strong in concept. He had several troop choices and lots of fire power. He had a Librarian to wreak some havoc and a very strong initial push. After dismantling his army and a cry of uncle in the 5th turn we really started to wonder why this was considered a “Tier 1” list.

This got me contemplating about what really makes up a “Tier 1” list and who really decides its the cream of the crop. Maybe we just play differently than a majority of people on the net, but I have played against several opponents using armies and lists that were considered bush league and tier 2, 3 or even 4.
We have several players who play Daemons and according to many famous and semi famous, sometimes in their own minds, web personalities this army is crap and totally non competitive. They rank Tyranids as “Tier 3”. I know this really annoys OST as he is a nid player and his bugs are always a major contender. Last time I looked I was tied in a win loss record with OST and his bugs.

I have looked at many lists the web at large considers tournament contenders and “Tier 1”. Although they are pretty tough they have so many exploitable weaknesses an experienced player will walk right through them as I did against the Blood Angels Mech list. It's almost as if math hammer is taking priority over common sense and basic list building strategies. Basically people are putting way to much thought into it and forgetting this is a two player game. If it looks good on paper it doesn’t mean its going to do what you want it to do. Having 5 man tactical squads in razorbacks is one of the easiest ways to get all your objective grabbing units killed. I had one Wych squad wipe out most of the 5 man squads while the other tied up and killed one of the daka dreads he had in the list. The wychs even took the predators out of commission while killing the tactical squads. The tanks would have died quicker if old school had not swapped out the heavy flamers for assault cannons. That was the work of two Wych squads, granted one had Lelith in it, and two ravagers. Lady Malys and her Incubi were to busy hunting the librarian to even get involved in the rest of the battle.
I think the game would have ended quicker if it had been a Seer Council and not wychs in the mix.

SO you have to be saying by now SeerK do you have a point? I do in fact and I apologize for the long seemingly incoherent rambling. My point is build your own lists. Don't use lists off the internet that promise killer tournament wins. Don't pay money for a list that is toted as being top tier and is actually a dud. Build your own list and don't listen to the haters and trolls saying its uncompetitive or will never win. Build it, develop it and make it your own. Learn it inside and out. Constantly changing armies or lists in the name of victory is why we have so many people playing space marines and making the tournament circuits the monsters they are today. Just because somebody wins a tournament does not mean you should copy their list. Then we have a bunch of tournaments filled with cookie cutter slap fights between boring uninspired lists. Its like watching grass grow or sea urchins mating. Just plain not fun. This is one of the big reasons I don't publish lists. I don't want to run into my own army at a tournament and play solitaire. Ok rant over. I had to vent, it happens form time to time. So I know I may get trolled and this may generate some comments good and bad. SO chime in I want to discuss this whole “Tier 1” shenanigans.

Next time I hope to have a battle report in using Mandrakes. I am looking forward to seeing what these guys can do.

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

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

Friday, February 11, 2011

Mandrakes: They're Ok I'm takin'em Back

Out of all the units in the Dark Eldar codex, both old and new, the one that never really jived with anybody is Mandrakes. They have always been an odd unit that people really did not know how to use and never really had a place in the more popular list types. As we all know, despite being a blogger, I am not a fan of “ The internet says its bad so it must be” kind of mentality. I have a bit of a rant for next time concerning this in the wake of a game with Old School Terminator and a “Tier 1” blood angels list that came from the web, but I digress

So lets take a look at Mandrakes. I am determined to take em back from weird obscurity and ridicule. So we see they have a pretty decent stat line. A strength of 4 base is not to shabby in strength 3ville. Weapon skill 4 is on par with the rest of the codex. 2 attacks base is also nice. The have stealth, move through cover, infiltrate, power from pain and night vision. This is nice. They are the only unit in the codex with infiltrate as well. This means advanced set up from cover. It also means outflanking. These can be two very valuable methods of deployment in an army that can basically deep strike or do nothing. I think the two things people fixate on is the lack of a save, or I should say the save is only a 5+. Ok I will give you that, but it is invulnerably and better than a wyches save out in the open. They also have a 3+ save in area terrain. This is countered by the other reason people complain about them, they don't have grenades.
People have to remember that the average armor save in the codex is a 5+. The only real good invulnerably saves are the 4+ Wyches have in close combat and the Shadow Field. The balancing factor in the codex for the crappy saves is the Power From Pain rule. You kill a unit or gain a pain token from a Chronos and you have Feel No Pain. The first pain token is a double bonus for the Mandrakes as you gain an assault 2 AP 4 ranged attack that has a range of 18 inches. Thats 20 shots in a full unit of 10 at a ballistic skill of 4. Pretty nice against anything not in power armor.
I talk a lot about mutual support between units in regard to the Craftworlders. I am seeing an emerging pattern that is almost the same in the Dark Eldar. You have very specialist units mixed in with some very good generalist units that are fast and hard hitting. If you look at mandrakes as a supporting unit rather than a main close combat unit their strengths and uses become to be more obvious.
They can work in close support of a wych or warrior unit. Moving from cover to cover. If you have the ability to get them a pain token they become even more useful and flexible. Killing a small soft unit within charge distance or attaching a Haemonculus after the fact or even using the pain token generating powers of a Chronos Parasite engine. Mutual support is the key once again.

Deploying the Mandrake in cover and using them in guerrilla style warfare is the best tactic. Getting them a pain token as quickly as possible is your first priority. I have been experimenting with tactics involving Wyches and enhanced Aether sails to get amongst the enemy to help break down fire discipline and let the softer units advance and get into position. It basically allows you to tie up exposed units in close combat and chain assault tank walls with haywire grenades on turn 2. Having a unit of Mandrakes to support the Wyches, lets face it casualties will be high in the Wych front, will help keep the momentum of the assault and get them the pain token they need. It also allows you to keep your haywire equipped units engaged with vehicles. Having a Chronos in the back field to suck up the spirits of deep striking and drop podding units will also help the units up long as long as you can keep it within 12 inches.

I will have some more thoughts after getting a couple good games under my belt using the Mandrakes. I will also be talking about what exactly is a “Tier 1” list and who determines why it is so good.

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

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

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Close Combat: Round Two

Last time I spoke a little about close combat with the Eldar. Namely I spoke about target selection and keeping your troops in transports. I want to touch on alternate methods of deployment and equipping your units to deal with different situations. I also have been thinking about some different unit mixes in order to increase survivability and killing power. So lets look at deployment.


Some Eldar close combat geared units have varied methods deployment. Striking Scorpions and Mandrakes have the Infiltrate ability. This gives you the option of holding them in reserve and out flanking or you can place them well ahead of the army. This gives you some utility. It allows you to deploy differently depending on situation. Rather than your Wyches or Howling Banshees just sitting on a transport and deploying with the rest of the army or floating onto the board, these other units allow you to harass the enemy or at very least draw their fire away and force them to deal with the unit in close proximity. The Dark Eldar have two deployment options that their Craftworld cousins do not currently have access to. The first is the Webway Portal. Archons and Haemonculi have access to this piece of wargear. As you know you deploy the Webway portal and all units in reserve may enter the table from the Webway Portal as if it was your table edge. The only real trick is getting the thing deployed in a good position before you start rolling for reserves. You also can't bring vehicles in so your units will be exposed. This is why placement is crucial. If you deploy it to far away you will expose your wych units to fire which they cannot weather.
I am not a fan of webway deployment personally as you cannot reliably get the thing where you want it by the end of turn 1. I do like deep striking via retro fire jets. You have to do this carefully though as you can't get out and assault another unit with your wyches when you deep strike.
I am going to talk about Mandrakes next time as I think the unit gets a bad reputation and I am determined to take it back.

Unit Mix

What you equip your Wych Squads with and who you attach to the squad can make a big difference in its survivability and killing power. I always include a Hekatrix with an Agoniser and Phantasm Grenade launcher. This cuts down on attacks the enemy gets when you get charged and gives you a power weapon that will always wound on a 4+. I also like to give the squad Haywire grenades. This is to deal with dreadnoughts and hit vehicles. This can be a risky proposition though with only a 6+ save. I like to include shard nets and impalers in the unit as well. I will mix it up sometimes and go for a razor flail as well. The razor flail is nice because of all the re rolls. It gives you a little more killing potential. Some people like to include a Haemonculus in the unit. Although this does give you a pain token right off the bat you have to separate the Haemonculus from the unit for it to be fleet. If they are crammed in a Raider you also only have 9 in the squad which means only one special weapon. I also don't like the extra squishy kill point just kind of floating around. 50+ points is kind of a lot to pay for a pain token. If you are adding any Independent Characters to the unit make sure they add something. Make sure they are also fleet. Adding a succubus or Archon to a unit increases the killing power by quit a bit. They can also benefit from the combat drugs.

I also have one quick tip that many people overlook. Two actually. The first is for the love of God shoot the unit with your splinter pistols if you are close enough to still charge. People either forget to shoot or they shoot when they are barely in range for the charge. If you don't have to run and can still make it if casualties are moderate from shooting then shoot. Smart players will pull models form the direction they are getting charged. You can avoid this little maneuver by making sure your unit is in good position. If you have the leader of the unit or a special weapon as the closest model many players are not willing to sacrifice the power fist to save the whole unit. Make sure your Special weapons and Hekatrix are up front so they get to use all their weapons and attacks. The second thing is take casualties from the back. You will get shot at. Don't let casualties cut your charge short. Wyches are at home in close combat so send them to their home as quickly as possible and keep them there. One thing though. Try not to get the last pain token if you can help it. A fearless wych unit is very bad in a quagmire combat. You will loose the unit to attrition very quickly with only a 6+ armor save. FNP can help, but don't rely on it.

Well next time I am going to talk about a very misunderstood and ill used unit. Mandrakes are the red headed step children of the Dark Eldar Codex. I think its time I took a long hard look at them and see if they are as bad as everybody in the inter webs claims they are. I think they have their uses and can be quite lethal if used correctly.

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

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

Saturday, February 5, 2011

The Test Of Khaine: A Craftworld Lansing Tournament

In celebration of the upcoming 1 year anniversary of Craftworld Lansing I have decided to host a tournament at the FLGS Evolution Games.
"The Test Of Khaine" Will be held at Evolution games in Lansing Michigan on March 19th.  It will be an 1850 point tournament using the Standard force organization chart.  Models do not have to be painted, but it is encouraged as I will be awarding a trophy for the best painted model as chosen by the participants.  The models must be WYSIWIG.  Counts as will be allowed as long as the models are the same size as what they are representing.  I will be posting a FAQ as questions are asked and I flesh out the details.

Registration will be starting at 11 a.m. and Dice will start rolling slightly after noon.  I will have pre registration information at the beginning of March.  Please feel free to email me for questions.

Next time I will have the second part of my close combat tactics. 

Until then.........

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