Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Path of the Autarch: Mobility [Part 5] Endgame

We have reached the last installment in this series. If you've been reading them all up to now, thank you. In case you're behind or maybe this is the first one you've seen, I have included links to the previous articles. Sorry it has been so long, but moving, work and lack of internet at the new place had been keeping me delayed.

Path of the Autarch: Mobility Part 1
Path of the Autarch: Mobility Part 2
Path of the Autarch: Mobility Part 3
Path of the Autarch: Mobility Part 4

Well, we have covered some strategy up and through most of the game. This time I'm going to be talking about the mobile army and how it can interact with the latter few turns and some end game tidbits in this, the final article.

As usual, I will be breaking the game down to a few common "closing acts" to the saga of our game. I break the sections of the game into these chunks because I think it is important to work that brain muscle and deliberately think about these perspectives. I do this partially for you, the reader, but it has also helped me personally to actually have to think about the nuts and bolts of these thoughts.

My  possible closing acts:

Closing Act 1: "Good game, man."

While I never advocate for just giving up, sometimes it is proper to concede when victory just isn't possible within the constraints of the mission. For example, if your army is reduced to just a ragged single scoring unit on an objective, but your opponent controls the other four and is closing in on you, it is probably classier to merely offer your handshake and congratulations for victory rather than forcing your opponent to hunt down every last model or wait out the turn clock.

Closing Act 2: "The Hail Mary"

You should never concede if there is even a glimmer of hope, no matter the odds or how much of a long shot it is. Weird stuff happens in 40k, and you may also benefit from a mistake made by an over-confident opponent who has been lulled into carelessness.
Traditionally, you are just going to give the best slim chances of success to your units. It's a useful tactic to do this in as many places as possible.  Probability being what it is and all. So, it is "game point", what's the plan?

Possible plans of attack for a "Hail Mary"turn:

-Try to hold an objective with a weak unit, but hiding one of the models so that the only way to completely kill the squad is to somehow get line of sight to it.

-Tank Shock! with every tank you have to try to get some units to Fall Back!

-Tank Shock! units off of objectives and park your tank on top of it. If the opponent wants the objective, they are going to have to work for it.

-Assault the unit that just got pushed off of an objective to possibly hem them up long enough so they cannot attack your tank sitting on the objective.

-If you got a unit to Fall Back! assault them and try to destroy them or use the bonus movement to get into a contesting position.

-Swarm the opponent's objectives with everything you can. Remember, your opponent should be a little low on options this far into the game unless you are just completely getting rolled over.

-Block, assault, tie up, pin, or otherwise neutralize enemy units that would be a great tool in the opponent's toolbox on their following turn.

-And anything else you can think of (no matter how unlikely) that will either result in your score going up or your opponent's score going down.

In general, just create chaos on the battlefield. The more you can cause disarray, the better the chances that some of it will work out. The mobile army has the ability to throw wrenches in the gears of Defeat and can sometimes bring it to a screeching halt. Sometimes, a weak unit will survive against all odds and hold a key enemy unit in place for just long enough to make a HUGE difference.

Remember to be creative, be bold and go "all in".

 Closing Act 3: "Finish Him!"

As an homage to Mortal Kombat, this is Act is all about putting the nails in your opponent's coffin. If you find yourself here, it means that victory is nearly assured. I say nearly because we still must be vigilant and make solid choices, lest we be robbed of our hard fought victory. Odds are, if you are playing out this act, and your opponent hasn't conceded yet, they will be trying to pull off the aforementioned "Hail Mary" tactics from Closing Act #2.

This is no time to get cocky or overconfident. Keep up the coldly logical and brutal maneuvers that got you here in the first place.

We need to look at the battlefield and look at all the possible ways that the opponent could try and increase their score and/or decrease ours. We need to over protect our objectives and scoring units. Put up screen units or blockades, tar pit their more useful units, and kill off their scoring or contesting units.

We are basically just trying to remove or render useless as many of the opponent's tools and options as we can. This can literally win you the game before the turn count runs out.

Closing Act 4: "Tooth and Nail"

 This is the neck and neck bloody fight to the end where it is literally anyone's game. Sometimes the whole game can come down to a single die roll, or hinge on whether one model can either hold its ground or make those critical last few inches to an objective. These games are usually my favorite ones. Either the game is ending on the upswing of a massive comeback for one of the players or it has been a knock down, drag out fight every turn.

In this scenario, there generally aren't many resources on the table for either player. Little things can make a big difference in the game at this point. Scrutinize the board and give yourself every option and opportunity you can. It might be that one last Bolter being fired at maximum range into your models in heavy cover that can seal your demise.

Utilize the strategies, advice, and perspectives of the previous Acts (not Act 1 obviously, we're too close!). Make good decisions and don't be afraid of long odds. As a friend of mine is prone to say, "Don't let fear and common sense hold you back". Be tenacious and give no quarter. If you got this far, stick with it and keep focused. Losing your edge at this point in the game will certainly end in defeat.

   And remember this: double check the victory conditions often. This is how the game will be won.


I hope that you have enjoyed this journey through my take on the strategy mindset of using a mobile army in a game. Mobility is kind of a hidden stat in that its significance is based on the general, not necessarily on the unit itself. Now that I have laid out a framework for the game as a whole, I look forward to writing some more articles on specific aspects of waging war on the tabletop. Until next time...

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Game One With The Eldar

Well I have gotten one game in so far with the new codex. I know, I know....one game. Its been rough since
the release. I had to move the same weekend and I am now 45 minutes from my FLGS. Hell I am at least 40 minutes from any FLGS at the moment. The game was a very good learning experience and the old synapses are firing on overdrive. I have been plotting since the defeat of Spellduckwrong and my forces at the hands of Shawn and Dreadbeards Tau. Their force was what I like to call the” I have a fever...and the only cure is more marker lights” cadre. I digress though.

So I got to try out the Wraithknight. I should really say though that I got to put the Wraithknight on the table and watch it get lit up, literally, and then blasted by every piece of kroot sniper gear and heavy ordnance the Tau could throw at it. I will have to say it did take the whole army unloading for one shooting phase to take out the big guy. With that toughness and that many wounds with a Suncannon I can't blame them. In the next few games I am going to reserve the big guy if I am forced to go second. Holding him back or even deep striking him into the rear of the enemy seems prudent. I know I would be kind of panicked if a T 8, STR 10, 6 wound beasty with 3 plasma templates to place dropped into my backyard. I guess I am going to have to play it a lot as I am still convinced that the Suncannon / scatter shield configuration is the best one. Also going to deep strike if I have to go second. The unit is just to expensive to loose right off the bat. You almost want to play it very reserved and protected, but it seems to me you cant do that and have it be effective. Picking your targets is going to be very very important with the Wraithknight if you want to earn his points back in a game.

There are three things that really stuck out though. I also noticed the same three things while watching Spellduckwrong play tonight at the shop. By stuck out, I mean that they really are literal game changers . They affect how you play and are things that really enhance the armies effectiveness in my opinion. Those three things being, battle focus, pseudo rending weapons and ballistic skill 4. Yes there are many changes and unit buffs that also add, but I really think these three are the big ones.

I like battle focus. Shooting and running or running then shooting amps up the armies mobility, which was really lacking when compared to the Dark Kins new book. Foot armies are so much more viable now in terms of moving your forces and getting them into optimal position for taking objectives and destroying units. I had a unit of Dire Avengers tear up Tau in a close range fire fight thanks to the ability. I could move out into the open while in a building, shoot and then run down back out of line of sight. Two units of Fire Warriors and a Crisis Team had to be dedicated to rooting out my unit. My Warp Spiders also were moving like crazy harassing units in the back field. I plan on much experimenting with Battle focus. Its trixie.

Having an army that is entirely BS 4 is very nice. Upping the Guardians is especially nice. I once again have my Black Guardians. Its worth it taking Wave Serpents geared for Tank Hunting. In fact points wise, as I pointed out last time, its cheaper. Heavy spots are at a premium so being able to take Serpents and leave the heavy spots open for long range artillery is very handy. BS 4 is also pretty deadly when you combine it with the changes to the weaponry. Better weapons are now hitting more often and getting their special abilities to actually matter.

Special abilities like the Pseudo rending of shuriken weaponry. Its pretty nice with Dire Avengers, but really comes into its own with Guardians. Be it Storm Guardians, Guardian Defenders, Jet bikes or even the crews of the Vauls Wrath Batteries. I run Guardians in bricks of 15 to 20. 30 to 40 basically rending shots at BS 4 is pretty scary. The really scary thing about the whole thing though is that when you actually think about it, the basic sidearm of the Eldar army is rending. Everybody and their brother has a shuriken pistol. Our dedicated assault units have a 1-2 punch again. Striking scorpions have the 3 stage assault now. Shoot, Mandiblast them and then the main assault. Power armored units and their equivalents have to think hard about assaulting and getting into close range with Eldar infantry units now.

So far I am loving the codex. Sadly I have been moving once again and working. I have a 40 minute commute now and I have not been able to get in the games I want to. I am hoping this will change soon though and I can full explore all the thoughts and Ideas I have been having. I have a list ready to roll. I call it “fun with monfiliment”. More on that next time.

Until then....

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

Monday, June 10, 2013

Welcome to Warmachine

Hello everyone! I am PG_Hick and I am the newest author for Craftworld Lansing. SeerK has asked me to contribute and speak about Warmachine and Hordes. I'll start with a basic outlook of Warmachine and a basic outlook of my background as well.

I started playing Warmachine shortly after the book Superiority dropped around 2007 during Mark 1 (Warmachines first edition) and I started playing with Khador. Shortly before Mark 2 dropped I started a Legion of Everblight army. Even though I have bought, sold and played many armies since then, I have never been able to part with my Everblight army i've had since Mark 1. Now I own Everblight, Trollbloods, Cygnar and am slowly building the new Convergence of Cyriss faction that was recently released. I have also become a Press Ganger since then. The Press gang, for those that don't know, is a volunteer program run by Privateer to run official events for the game and to assist in running conventions and teach others how to play the game. But enough about me. Lets start to explore Warmachine and Hordes.

Warmachine is a fast paced 30 mm skirmish style wargame designed and created by Privateer Press. The game is very quick and very aggressive in general. Games generally last between an hour to an hour and a half. Unlike 40k, your leader is extremely important because if he/she dies, the game is over and you lose. Warmachine uses warcasters and warjacks, Hordes uses warlocks and warbeast and each system uses a different type of resource mechanic. The easiest way to explain the differences between the systems in a nut shell is warmachine is a game of resource management that uses the focus mechanic, where as hordes uses fury and is a game of risk management. Warcasters allocate focus to make their warjacks run stronger having a set amount of focus to work with every turn. Where as warbeasts generate fury and the warlock pulls as much as he can from the warbeasts each turn. The risk comes in the fact that you can push the beasts farther then your warlock can remove fury, and if they still have fury on them the following turn after the warlock takes fury from them, there is a chance they will frenzy and you will lose control of them. The best part of these two systems is even though they have vast differences, they are balanced internally and are playable against each other. Even better is that no faction has a distinct advantage over the others, unless there is a vast difference in player skill, and you will always be able to put up a fight against any faction with whatever faction you decide to take.

As I move forward with these articles, I will be discussing tactics from the various factions I play, Battle reports and tournament follow ups, opinions and rumors and answering any questions our readers have about the game. Feel free to direct questions to me about Warmachine at my email Jahickok@gmail.com, or send me a tweet @HickJa. I will be posting a set of follow up battle reports from a tournament this coming weekend as well and if anyone has any questions or suggestions for my next topic I will be more then happy to answer them in the comments or address them the following posts. Comments and questions are appreciated guys. Thanks!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

The New Codex: SeerK's First Impression

Now that I have had a few days to digest the new book we can begin again. I have to say its been
challenging writing lists. Expensive units have gotten cheaper in some cases and more expensive in others. The feel and dynamic of the codex has changed dramatically and there are some traps that I see. Overall I like the new book, but its going to be a long process to get it figured out completely. First lest look at some point differences that kind of matter.

So what got cheaper? Well for starters Wraithguard are 3 point cheaper than the last book. They clock in at 160 points for five and 32 points each past that. Not much has changed with the unit other than that. With the Spirit Seer as an HQ they are troops. This is a major change over the last book. Why? Because they don’t have to have a Warlock with them and they don’t have to be taken in units of 10. In terms of list building this is a major points reduction and makes Wraith Lists a very viable 1850 point option. This also make units of 5 a very nice close range anti tank choice. Anti infantry is also a decent option, albeit a more expensive one as equipping the unit with D-scythes is 10 points a model. You also cant mix and match weapons.

Jetbikes are much cheaper now as well. 51 points base for a unit of 3. 61 when you upgrade one to a shuriken cannon. With the pseudo rending capability of shuriken weaponry this makes them a very attractive Troops choice. Past doctrine dictated you have one or two units of three that you held in reserve to make late game objective grabs or late game contests. This is still a viable option, but things tend to come in sooner now with reserves. You can counter this with an Autarch. We now have genuine reserve manipulation. I will be interested to see what the FAQ says as it is a little vague as to weather the Autarch ability stacks with 2 Autarchs.

Some of the Aspect Warriors are cheaper as well. Dire Avengers, Howling Banshees and Dark Reapers all have seen point reductions. Dark Reapers are the most dramatic though. 5 points per model. The Reapers are my second favorite Aspect. The traditional unit of 5 with a kitted Exarch went for 227 points with a Eldar Missile Launcher, Fast Shot and Crack Shot. The the same unit now goes for 195 points. The difference is that all the Reapers can hit targets that are Jinking thanks to the Reaper Range Finder denying Jink saves, not ignore all cover but if the whole unit can do it I will take it. The whole unit also has night vision. The Exarch retains fast shot and has Flakk Missiles. You can add an extra Dark Reaper and still be under the points of the old unit. Squad size is now up to 10. Me thinks I need more Dark Reapers.

I know some will cry foul at this, but thats because you don’t know how to do basic math. Sorry to be harsh about it, but take a second look before crying Wave Serpents got more expensive. They are 115 points base now and come with twin linked shuriken cannons. The shield has also been upgraded. You cant get a penetrating hit on a wave serpent from the front or sides as long as the shield is up. Very nice when you thin about it. Not to mention you can also use it as a weapon with a range of 60 inches thats strength 7, ignores cover and is pinning. In the last book the same Tank with the old shield and no weapon was 100 points. Ok yes that is cheaper, but the cost saving comes from the loading on other weapons. I liked to put bright lances on my Serpents. Under the old codex a wave serpent with bright lances was 135 points, 155 if you included a shuriken cannon on the chin and spirit stones, which I usually did. Now the same vehicles is with the chin mount is 10 points cheaper. Yes it can be more expensive I admit that, but some configurations are cheaper and give you a large amount of anti tank punch. 10 points here and 5 points there add up in an army of specialists. Oh yeah I almost forgot, you are also BS 4 now. So throw that into the mix.

I have some slight modeling to do in the coming weeks. I have a ton of weapon “pods” I did for my war walkers to swap between weapons easily. I am going to have to do the same to all my Wave Serpents. I am also going to have to start getting weapons platforms for my guardian units as you can run a max of 2 if you have 20 man blobs. Speaking of the 20 man blob, this is the trap I am talking about.

The base price of a unit of 10 guardians is 90 points which is 10 point more than previously. 10 points is a bargain for BS 4 and a pseudo rending weapon. Things can add up quickly though when you blob them up to 20 and through in 2 platforms. If you are like me this also means putting a Warlock into the unit. Warlocks went up big time. Granted you don’t have to buy powers now so depending on what power they get, you could be getting a bargain or paying more. With Conceal as the Primaris power on the Runes Of Battle chart you can still run Guardians as you did. 5+ cover in the open, the only real benefit now is that is gives the unit Shrouded, so you actually can improve cover saves when you are in terrain. This makes Guardians decent objective holders as long as they are in cover with an objective. The real trick is to make sure they actually have the power going. This would be trap number 2.

Warlocks didn’t get a Leadership boost. You have to cast their powers at leadership 8. This is the other trap I speak of. You have to roll psychic tests for your Warlocks. They have no way to prevent perils or re roll psychic tests. Granted some of you may be like, “so what? I do that all the time with Guard or what not”. Well its rough for an Eldar player. We are not use to this. There is also a ton of book keeping involved, which makes running our specialist army that much tougher.

Well there you have it. Defiantly some major changes in strategy and doctrine. Spellduckwrong is working on some new methods for list building that I am looking forward to trying out and testing. Next time I am going to start going in depth with things. I am going to cover The Army Special rules next time.

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

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