Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Craftworld News: Its Time To Expand

Well the Eldar are upon us. Sepllduckwrong and myself will be breaking down and analyzing the new codex
starting this coming weekend when we get it in our hot hands. I have somebody who has seen it held it and read it and mother of god........we are back Seers and Autarchs, we are back.

More on that this weekend. I want to talk about something else despite the impending return of Eldar as a force to be reckoned with again. I have talked about covering more games. I dabble in a few different war games besides 40K. Flames of War, Firestorm Armada and Warmachine. I have decided to expand the blog a bit. I want to cover more games, including these other games I just kind of dabble in. I want some experience and knowledge behind the articles though.

With that in mind I am starting by adding an author to the Seer Council. PG_Hick will be joining the roll and covering Warmachine and Hordes. Its also my hope we will be having some nice Warmachine events as well at UCON this year in addition to the 2nd annual Craftworld Open.

PG_Hick is an active member of the WarmaHordes community in the Michigan and a Press Ganger to boot. He is also a former 40K player. So welcome him to the Craftworld and look for Warmachine coverage in the future.

I will be looking for Flames and other game authors as the summer moves on as well. So feel free to contact me if you think you have what it takes to join the council.

Until Next Time....

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

Monday, May 27, 2013

Path of the Autarch: Mobility [Part 4]

It has been a few weeks since the last installment of this series. End of the school semester usually means most of my time is spoken for, but finals are over and I'm looking forward to getting my hobby on. With that in mind, I will move into the fourth segment of this tactical adventure.

Last time we talked, the discussion was centered around what the guiding light of the first few turns looks like and the objectives we should strive to achieve. Now we move into the mid game theory which is slightly more abstract merely because the further we move into a non-specific, fictional game, the more the permutations of possibility multiply. But that is ok, I think I can categorize the three situations you will find yourself in.

Situation One: Success

This situation is definitely the one you want to find yourself in. To be here, it means that the game has been going very well. Our priority targets have been crippled, our forces are mostly untouched, the opponent's army is in disarray and seriously lacking needed assets, etc. Basically, all aces going into the mid game.

In this situation, the plan is pretty simple. Keep the momentum going and keep the stream of violence flowing. We do have a shift in the flavor of our priority targets, however.

At the beginning of the game, we were focused on eliminating the immediate threats to our mobile units and to establish dominance on the field of battle. Since this scenario is based on the assumption that we were successful at neutralizing these targets, we move to the next two target categories. We will now turn our sights upon enemy units that are going to gain the opponent Victory Points and/or enemy units that will cause us to score fewer Victory points.

For example:
- Enemy scoring units in objective games (generally Troops, but not always)
- Enemy anti-X units (X is equal to our types of scoring units)

There is also something else that we need to be doing at this point in the game. We need to be harnessing the mobility of our army by beginning to position our scoring and contesting assets towards objectives and other key areas such as obvious areas the opponent will need to control or traverse in order to have a chance at victory.

An example of this would be that there could be a Space Marine squad that has recently , forcibly "disembarked" from their transport. This squad is the closest and most obvious choice for grabbing a nearby objective. We can observe their position and plot out the most likely path for them to go in order to claim it. If we can read the table correctly, we have the opportunity to position resources in the area to make sure the Marines never get there, or at least in a turn or two, we effortlessly sweep through the area with overwhelming force.

Our goal is to begin securing the lanes of victory and ensure the opponent cannot regain traction in which to launch a counter attack.

Situation Two: Failure

And here is the flip side of the previous situation, where our early turns have not gone well at all. There are many ways to find yourself here, perhaps your opponent just laid into you and crippled your force which prevented you from striking effectively or perhaps, despite your best efforts, you find that your attacks were completely ineffective for whatever reason. Regardless of the path, we find ourselves here and need to figure out how to still pull off the win.

Something that you must always remember: never give up. 40k is a strange game in that it is completely plausible that you can lose 90% of your models and still win the game. This is especially true for the mobile army. We have to give Fate every opportunity to intervene.

So what is the thought process here? We basically have pick up the teeth that have recently been kicked out of our head, and use them as a fist pack.

First thing is first. Double check the victory conditions for our current mission. Plan A has failed miserably and we need to conjure up a viable Plan B based on the mission objectives, our remaining forces, and the current positions of the relevant assets in the battlespace.

This is a fairly hard situation to give advice on. There are sooooo many factors here and they are always completely situational. I can point out some guiding lights and hopefully you can navigate yourself back to a sturdier foothold.

Let's start with the more straightforward missions: any mission you are playing where the Victory Points are going to be gained from killing off units.
In a mission like this, you need to concentrate on the enemy units that are going to be easiest to pick off and conversely, we are going to try and deny the enemy access to our weakened and/or super fragile units. This is a delicate dance but it is one that is up to you to learn. Every game will be different. Make good trade offs but don't be afraid to gamble either.

Now, for the more complex missions; ones where there are objectives. We need to figure out a strategy that gives us the best chance of victory.

Your best bet is probably to combine these four following strategy snippets. So lets look at them and how the mobile army has an advantage of them.

Possible vague strategy snippets:

1) Concentrate fire on the opponent's scoring units to reduce their score.
The mobile army has the ability to quickly rally their forces, reform into attack groups and lay down fire on the target scoring units.

2) Focus on getting our resilient units on objectives to increase our score.
The mobile army can get their forces back the objectives quickly. Usually, resiliency is traded for speed, so our remaining units may not have extreme staying power. We can use our other elements to help us though by putting our agile units in a screen position, or suicidally trying to bog down the main threats to our newly commissioned objective holders.

3) Draw a line in the sand and just prevent the opponent from controlling objectives to take those points out of play.
If you can gain advantage by preventing the enemy from taking a key objective, do so with your mobility. Park a skimmer on the objective, put jump troops in a ring around that skimmer, tie up nearby scoring units, focus your firepower on the main threats to your blockade, etc. the mobile army can really get this into place in record time. And it might work well if it comes out of nowhere. This may force the opponent to react to a serious and unexpected threat from a previously ragged force.

4) Set up a strike force to contest enemy objectives.
Knowing that we will need to be in near proximity to the opponent's objectives to contest them, we can set up little strike forces to clear enemy objectives, contest them, or if luck favors us then we might be able to take them. Identifying this during the mid game lets us get our forces into position and deliver a strike in the late game.

Situation Three: Neutral

This is the in between and probably the most likely result during the onset to the mid game. This situation requires you to take the guidance of the first two situations. Keep up the violence, be prepared to deny your opponent their strategy and get in position to remove the opponent's ability to score points.


The more I write about this stuff, the more I realize that it must sound so vague and possibly elicit a "well, duh" response from some readers. Most of what I have been talking about isn't new or ground breaking material. Mostly, the impetus for writing these articles was to get this massive mental framework into a concrete container. I hope that presenting all this things together might subtlety affect your subconscious thought processes during your games and get you a few more wins because you are looking ahead and thinking about the big picture in addition to the micro details of each unit to unit interaction. I just see so many players (and not always just new ones) that are playing theirs games and they know their codex, but they do not have a plan, nor are they really working towards a goal.

With that out if the way, what are your personal goals during the mid game?

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The Floodgate Opens: Eldar Return With A Vengeance

Ok kids more pics.  I don't even know where to start.  Unlearn your army now because its going to be different.  Shuriken catapults that ignore armor on a 6?  D weapons on flyers? Close combat Wraithguard? The Wraithknight is how big?  its a whole wave of confirmed images and rules.  OMG! I cant wait til white dwarf hits this week!

So It has an option for "Sun Cannons" hvy 3 str 6 ap2 !
Hemlock wraithfighter...I think

The sword replaces one of the wraith lances, and is as big as a wraithlord, the sword that is

Mmmmmm Close combat Wraithguard
New Special Character Illic Nightspear, mentioned in Necron codex

So new kind of D gun, prepare to receive the D Monkeigh scum!

Hemlock options
cockpit details and weapons
Finally a Spiritseer.  New HQ maybe or wraithguard squad leader

So there you go some nice tidbits.  Rules...well rules I will talk about when i have them in my hands.  reguardless its a new ball game Seers and Autarchs.  unlearn your current meta and embrace the rise of the Sons and daughters of Khaine.

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

Sunday, May 19, 2013

New Eldar Pics!

So we finally have a glimpse of a couple of the new toys.  Our big oval base critter and a small picture of a flyer.


I am kind on the fence about the Wraithknight.  I guess we will see how I feel once i get one in my hands

So looks like we have a supplement out of the gate.  I wonder if this is an Ipad only product or if it will be a book as well.  The real good bit is the Awesome cover art in this picture though and the small pic of one of our Flyers who will be gracing the cover of White Dwarf Next month.

I am excited now.  The anticipation is starting to get unbearable.

Until Next Time

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

Saturday, May 18, 2013

SeerK's Codex Wishlist

So we have the new Eldar codex about to drop.  I am not big on the rumors as things can change pretty
quick.  I take them all with a grain of salt.  I do have some things that I would like to see and some of the rumors are in line with some things on my wish list.

One of the big things I want to see, which will probably happen, is some point reductions for units.  Now we have seen rumors that Guardians are getting a bit cheaper and some other units are being brought in line.  This is to be expected as, so far, the new hardback codexs have seen point reductions to bring them in line with how the new edition plays.  I am glad to see Guardians getting cheaper as I use them....a lot.

In fact a few of my wishes are Guardian related.  Making them cheaper is nice, but I really want expanded options.  I hope the rumor of new plastics is true and we will finally get a Guardian squad box that can be built as Storm Guardians or Catapult Guardians.  I am hoping we will have options for grenades and such in addition to any heavy weapons or special weapons.  A SGT besides a Warlock would be nice as well.  I still want a Warlock option, but I want it to be leadership 9.  A Guardian SGT with LD 9 would be nice especially if he gets expanded wargear options.

I have also heard a rumor about Farseers being only 2 wounds now.  I hope this comes with an associated reduction in points and cheaper optional equipment.  Also not having to purchase powers with points will be a welcome change even if powers are now random.  I really hope the Eldar have their own discipline for psychic powers.  Maybe its just me not wanting to give up Fortune, but I don't want to lose it.  Granted loosing it would mean that I would have to relearn the army for real.  I have no allusions though.  I know this is going to be an overhaul.  Any similarities to the last codex will be superficial as you dig down into the core of the new book.

I hope the flyers operate much like the current Forgeworld flyers.  As much as I dislike Forgeworld being used in normal games, I do like the Nightwing and the Phoenix Bomber.  It will be very nice having the only Vector Dancing flyers in the game for a while.  Being able to line up and literally fly circles around Helldrakes and such will be great fun.

On the subject of point reductions, I am really hoping for reductions in points on vehicles.  Namely I want point reductions on Vypers and Wave Serpents.  I like to run Vypers and I know Spellduckwrong likes to run those bad boys as well.  A small point reduction and maybe a squadron size increase would be very nice.

I like the stuff I am hearing, but we will see what the future holds in a couple weeks.

Until Next time.....

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

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Change Is Good

Man what a flurry of activity. I hope everybody is enjoying the Tactics articles from The Craftworld's  now official Autarch. I have been spending to much time in the Dome of Crystal Seers as of late. Its time I really go to 6th edition boot camp and start thinking outside the box. We have an impending codex so I am putting pause on the reboot of the Aspects of Khaine. Once I have the codex in my hands we will do a true reboot on the Aspects and go over them shrine by shrine.

I have been asked once again to run the Craftworld Open at UCON this coming November. As long as things go to plan there will be some expanded war games coverage at the convention. Warmachine and Hordes will be joining the mix as well as Firestorm Armada and possibly Flames of War. This is all in the works currently so I have nothing set in stone as of yet. I am hoping everything works out though. The Craftworld Lansing staff will be in attendance in full force this year. I will keep you all posted as stuff develops.

I have to say Spellduckwrong has me converting to the Mechdar way of doing things. I am very anxious to see if its still plausible in the new codex. I have a list I am going to run against CVinton and his new Tau army. Its been a while since I have had all my Wave Serpents on the table all at once.

Well thats all for now. I am going to be posting some pictures next time of the army I ma going to be running in the stores new Flames of War campaign. I have all the StuG and StuH assault guns in primer and I just need to base coat and camo them up. In the mean time enjoy the tactics. It has become clear Spellduckwrong is currently a much better player than I........for now.

Until Next time...

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

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Path of the Autarch: Mobility [Part 3]

The Surgical Strike

Used without permission. All rights belong to the artist.
Welcome back to the third installment of this series on mobile armies. To recap, we've discussed a few rules that help mobile armies out and the general thought process behind setting your army up for success in the deployment phase. Finally, in this, the third article, we're actually going to start to talk about moving things!

I was torn initially, on how to approach this part of the subject. Do I do a turn by turn strategy guide, or just do a massive strategy dump that addresses everything? I had some options but I couldn't choose. What I eventually decided to go with is discussing strategies that are more purpose driven. Obviously, there are sooo many different variables in any 40k game. From the armies, to the terrain, to the mission's rules, to the play style of the opponent, etc.

Therefore, I could figuratively  write forever about all the little situations you can find yourself in. Which isn't a goal I could reasonably achieve. Now, what I could accomplish, however, is to speak to the commonalities of all these situations and also address the fundamental concepts of the game and, more specifically, how they apply to the mobile army.

Now, that the transcripts of my internal monologue have been presented, it's time to move along to the meat of the article. This edition of Path of the Autarch picks up where we last left off. The board is set, models deployed, and it is time for the first turn. Let's get into it.

The First Cut

One of three things has happened since deployment:
A) We are taking the first turn.
B) We are taking our first turn but the opponent has already taken one as well.
C) We took such horrid casualties on the opponent's first turn that we concede.

So barring the ragequit option "C" (I suppose you could have gotten tabled and saved face), it is our turn to bring destruction to our enemy.

As I proposed in the last article, we have a specific purpose in the first turn or so:

 We need to establish battlefield dominance. 

Depending on what kind of list you brought to the game, this will mean different things to you. We are focusing on the mobile army, so we have two main tasks to achieve as quickly as possible. 

The Initial Two Objectives:
A) Eliminate the threats to our mobile units with extreme prejudice.
B) Ensure that our mobility is unmatched within the context of the battlefield.

Objective A
Be specific and strike quickly.
As you remember from the last edition of Path of the Autarch, we have identified the main threats to our army by doing recon on the opponent's list and observing its deployment. We have also either deployed our forces in such a way that we will be able to efficiently attack those threats, or we were thinking of the best ways o do so while the opponent was deploying. 
The first turn needs to basically have tunnel vision in the sense that nearly everything we do needs to be with the intent of removing or reducing the main threats to our army. That's why I call this section the Surgical Strike. We are hitting the opponent specifically and deliberately. It's up to you to figure out how to do it with your list, but needs to be your goal.
Are we going to completely remove all the opponent's hard hitting resources? Probably not, but we are going to give it a good go. The more damage we do now,  the less that will be coming back at us and that is going to pay great dividends over the course of the game.
Now, not all of this has to take place on the very first turn, however. This is generally an "early game" goal. We may have to spend the first turn maneuvering in order to set up a more coordinated attack. This is fine, but everything we do needs to be viewed through the lens of accomplishing this goal quickly.  Mobile armies excel at getting combat assets into position with alacrity. 

This advantage MUST be leveraged. 

Objective B

Remember, when I said we needed to have tunnel vision on Objective A?
Do it like this or attack stuff like this.
 I lied. 
Kind of. 
There is an acceptable secondary objective that you may, in good conscience, distract yourself with. And that is bringing destruction to the opponent's mobile elements.
Why is this ok to deviate to? Because, if the opponent is slower than us, our mobility becomes even more of an advantage, relative to the opponent's lack of mobility. An opponent that is "de-meched" (short for de-mechanized) has a tendency, in my experience, to do one of two things; either send a small foot slogging force into the mid field to gain some ground, or castle everything up near or in their deployment zone.
Either way, this sets us up nicely to cherry pick which portions of the opponent's army want to engage. And we do want to engage.
The mobile army benefits greatly from the fact that it can focus a large quantity of its firepower on a small amount of the opponents models. For instance, having a hand picked 1000 points of your army rip into six unsuspecting enemy models and maybe a vehicle is going to be pretty one sided, we want one sided. And since we have the opportunity, due to our mobility, to choose which cluster of enemy models get the business, this is going to doable and repeatable.

Also, Objective B can be a good candidate for getting First Blood. Pop that light transport or lone open topped skimmer. It's a two for one.

They have the right idea, it just needs to be much faster.
Being able to move your models into position, concentrate your firepower on smaller elements of the opponent and remove their ability to retaliate is going to help us greatly in accomplishing Objective A. This is exceptionally deadly, because we can theoretically do this every turn, eliminating threats in order of.... Threatiness? You know what I mean.

I've presented what I feel the mobile army needs to accomplish early in the game. Achieving these goals, especially quickly, will greatly increase the chances of securing victory later in the game because the opponent simply will not have the resources they require to effectively compete in the mid to late game.

Next time,  on Path of the Autarch, I'll be talking about what the mobile army needs to do mid game. Sorry, I don't have a snappy title for it yet.

Used without permission. 
All rights belong to the artist.

And now my question to the crowd:
What are your main goals that you try to accomplish first turn or, at least, very early in the game?