Thursday, October 31, 2013

Breaking The Meta And Killing Riptides PT 2: Close Combat

So before I went on a tangent plugging the ever living daylights out of the Craftworld open and the other events the Craftworld team is bringing you at UCON, I was talking about killing Riptides and trying to break the current meta, which quite frankly is pretty rough right now. Last time we talked about shooting mostly. Now I want to delve into a subject there is much conjecture about in 6th , edition, close combat. I want to also cover the use of Psychic powers, as this is one of the biggest Benefits the Eldar have when it comes to taking down tough enemy units. So lets get into the fray as it were.

Close Combat aka Assault
The Eldar have some crack assault troops. Howling Banshees and Striking Scorpions at the fore. There are some oft overlooked gems in the ranks of the Warhost though. One of my favorites and an excellent slayer of Riptides is the ignored and unused Shining Spear. Now that the Shining Spears can be taken in units of more than 5 they can be a very potent Assault unit. The Laser Lance Is a very short range weapon for shooting, but its primary function is close combat. At a strength of 6 and an AP of 3 they are very effective in hunting big varmints like Riptides. Combine this with the Ability of the Exarch have a strength 8 AP 2 Star Lance and Monster Hunter you can take down most monstrous creatures in a turn with a big enough unit. You also have Hit and Run so you can get out of combat and charge again to get your strength 6 again with the Laser Lances. I personally like running a Farseer and or Autarch with the unit to add some more punch and resiliency. Having invulnerably saves in the mix along with a possible Fortune is pretty handy. Now I know the Laser Lance is only AP 3 but that is effective against most targets. It is not effective to deal with a Riptide though, until that is you hit it with Jinx from a Warlock. I will get into this though when I cover psychic powers.

Dedicated close combat troops are an extremely effective way of dealing with Tau and some other army builds. You just have to know how to deploy them and how to use the troops effectively to get the desired results. The current rules set has killed one of the most effective ways to get your Striking Scorpions in to the fray quickly. Not being able to Assault after an Outflank deployment put a kibosh on one of my favorite tactics. This tactic forced your opponents to deploy his forces in such a way as to avoid being assaulted from the flanks. You can still do this but with units like War Walkers though. Its risky putting a lot of units in reserve, but using a screen of War Walkers followed by a unit of Scorpions can help get the Scorpions into the fray. Most opponents will try and take out the War Walkers first especially if they are armed with something suitably nasty.

Deployment for Scorpions is going to be completely situational. Infiltrating will probably be your best bet for many situations. Deploying in terrain to take advantage if the move through cover and more importantly Stealth will help keep the unit alive as it advances. The real trick is using your other units to funnel your quarry towards the Scorpions. Scarier mobile units can be used in this way. Shining Spears or even the dreaded bike council can really make big critters move where you want them to when you have them barreling down on them.

Arming your Exarch, and actually running an Exarch, is pretty clutch when hunting big critters. Also running a squad of 10 is important. When monster hunting I always arm the Exarch with a Scorpions Claw. With Crushing blow he is strength 7 and strikes at initiative. Adding Monster Hunter to the mix helps the rest of the Squad possibly finish off the high wound models. The only real snag is if the Monster is a character and it challenges the Exarch. With only 4 attacks on the charge the Exarch cant kill a full wound Riptide or Tervigon in one round. Which is kind of important as the Exarch will die quickly on strikes back in a challenge. Dedicated monster hunting units are substantially bolsters by the presence of a Phoenix Lord. Karandras and Jain Zar in their receptive Aspect units make the units much tougher to deal with for your opponent and the killing power is also increased.

Howling Banshees are not really suited to hunting big prey, but they seem to be geared towards hunting characters, especially IC's, and death star units, at least in a support kind of way. They strike fast, but not particularly hard. The Exarch can be kitted with an Executioner which makes her strength 5 with an AP of 2. This is pretty decent for hunting IC's. You can neutralize the IC by giving the Exarch disarming strike and shield of Grace. With very few exceptions you will always be striking first as well. The Banshees are great for supporting Scorpions if you have another unit moving in to support the unit or model the Scorpion unit is attacking.

The Seer Council is a good bridge between Assault and our next topic, Psychic powers. I have always preferred a council on Foot, but its proving to be quite cumbersome anymore. I prefer the foot council
mainly because you cant put Eldrad on a bike. Oh lord do I want Eldrad on a bike. The Bike council is a Death Star at its best. Mobile and chuck full of Eldar psychic Shenanigans. They are good against pretty much everything. Their resiliency make them excellent for fighting other death stars and tough units. If anything just to tar pit them so they are completely ineffective for the rest of the game. The only real down side to a full bike council, that is 10 warlocks on bikes and 2 Farseers, is the amount of points the unit takes up in a list. They can, however, completely cripple a unit before slamming into it and laying waste to it. Jinx, reveal, horrify, enervate and Drain all sap out a units effectiveness and with 10 Warlocks in the group you should get most all of these powers, sometimes doubling up so you can use the Blessing portion to further enhance your already formative capabilities.

We will get into the intricacies of Psychic powers next time. The real thing I am trying to convey is thinking outside the box and trying different things in the codex. The Eldar have changed substantially and it seems people are hung up on Wave Serpent Spam and the old way of doing things.

SO next time Psychic powers.....and probably more UCON plugging

Until next time.....

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

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Musings About the Current Meta

Meta, a word that can produce sighs, sneers, or a quiet acceptance from players. Some people balk at it, but call it what you will, you know what I'm talking about. Perhaps if your play group is very small and isolated you may be insulated from it, but if you're playing in community events like small tournaments or even bigger regional ones, you've seen the meta and probably been on the receiving end of it.
Basically, my point is that its tough out there right now. There are a lot of powerhouse builds being wielded with varying degrees of skill and it is hard to make lists to deal with all the likely threats that one would be expected to face.
I'm debating in my head different approaches to succeed nowadays on the game table. Better to do your best, make a balanced "all-comers" list as its called, or specialize in one or two aspects in the game and hope to make the best of those advantages? I don't know.
I have been noticing a slight shift recently from absolute number of shots for the shooting aspect of the game to slightly better quality of shots. Grav-guns have certainly made this shift a little easier as they have quality and rate of fire. Also, an increase in general mobility has been gathering steam in people's lists. Gun line style armies are getting rarer and rarer because they struggle in the objective based environment that most missions create. Interesting shifts.
And looking to the future, the hordes are coming. Hordes that don't care what AP your weapons are, and may have enough bodies on the table that many lists might not have the sheer volume of fire to stop them. Tyranids, Orks, and to a lesser extent Imperial Guard are coming and the body count is going to rise. Essentially, throwing another curve ball into the mix for players to have to plan for when building their army.

To reiterate, it's tough out there, and it doesn't look to be letting up anytime soon. So my question to you is, what is your philosophy for surviving on the table these days and going forward into the future?

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Path of the Bonesinger: Farseers on Jetbikes Conversion WIP

Last night I took a pile of bits and started bashing together a pair of Farseers on Jetbikes for my new Jetbike list. They are looking pretty rough right now, as I still have some Green Stuff work to do on them, but overall I'm pleased. The two Howling Banshee bodies I had lying around collecting dust finally found a purpose as well as the incomplete old style Reaver Jetbikes I had in my bits box.
My Farseer on foot was named Elros Mithrandir because that is what came out of the Elven name generator I found online when I inputted "Chuck Norris". I'll have to put in Sigourney Weaver and Kate Beckinsale to get these girls' new Farseer names.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Resurgence of Hobby

With my newfound hobby motivation, I decided to do something that had been passively keeping me away from working on my army. My work area was just trashed. The remnants of several projects had been just pushed over to one side of my table, intermingled with each other and then layers of junk were placed on top. Finding implements could result in several minutes hunting through the heaps.
I cleaned everything off, separated goodies from just worthless odds and ends, as well as organized my tools so I could actually grab the one I wanted. In addition to actually having a workspace that I am not frustrated by anymore, I found tons of bits and little things I had totally forgotten about. This is a great way to begin this new adventure in the hobby side of things.

How do you tend to keep your hobby space? Chaotic, hyper-organized, an ebb and flow of messiness to cleanliness, something else?

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Wave Serpent Down: Revenge of the Jetbikes!

I had a grudge match last night against the five Wave Serpent list that massacred the previous incarnation of my Jetbike army. SeerK rolled it out again so that I could test my new retooled Jetbike list as I viewed this as my worst matchup. The new list was utterly victorious. The Wave Serpents went down fast and SeerK took the gentleman's way out and conceded at the top of Turn 3, as he only had seven infantry models and a Crimson Hunter left and I had only given up two kill points.
The new list hits like a freight train and I am inspired enough to actually get everything finished from the hobby side of things. I have been in a bit of a hobby slump because I wasn't motivated to do anything. As I reflect on my tendencies, I usually am only able to muster sustained hobby progress for models I am actually going to use and enjoy in the near future. During my search for non-Wave Serpent lists, I was unable to commit to anything. Now I have purpose.

So can my Jetbikes beat Serpents? Oh, yes. Now I just need to start hunting the other normal tournament lists.

Since "Serpent Spam" is crossed off my list, what other builds should I seek to test my Jetbikes?

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The Craftworld Open: Missions

SeerK here with another UCON event feature. This time I am skipping to the end as it were and detailing the missions for the 2 nd annual Craftworld open. I will be making an update about prizes in the next few weeks as sponsors hop on. I do want to thank Mr. Paulson of Paulson Games for making a generous donation though. I am currently trying to put together a mini swag bag for participants. Paulson Bits bags are the first to join the mix along with a nice discount coupon from Paulson Games.

I would also like to thank B.C. Comics of Fenton and Evolution Games for their generous donations.
Now for some missions. Since this is an RT, Rogue Trader, style tournament I wanted to keep things simple and fun. So we have some consistency in the primary, secondary and tertiary objectives. I did add one bonus objective to each mission though that adds to your overall score for the tournament rather than each individual game.

The Missions

Mission 1

Deployment: Dawn of war ( aka classic pitched battle)

Primary Objective: Big Guns Never Tire with 6 objectives ( Heavies count as scoring +1 VP Per heavy killed)
Secondary Objective: Victory points ( 1 VP per unit killed, retreating units and units in reserve at end of game count as destroyed
Tertiary Objectives: Slay the Warlord, First Blood and Line breaker

Bonus Objective: “Come on you Apes....” the player who declares and successfully makes the longest charge without re rolling any of the charge dice gains this objective. You gain d3 Battle points to be added to your overall score.

Mission 2

Deployment: Hammer and Anvil (short board edges)

Primary Objective: The Scouring with 5 objectives placed on the center line of the table between the deployment zones ( fast attack units are scoring, +1 VP per fast choice destroyed)
Secondary Objective: Victory points ( 1 VP per unit killed, retreating units and units in reserve at end of game count as destroyed
Tertiary Objectives: Slay the Warlord, First Blood and Line breaker

Bonus Objective: “Are you not entertained!?!?” The player who wins the most challenges during the game wins this bonus objective. You gain d3 Battle points to be added to your overall score.

Mission 3

Deployment: Classic Spearhead (table quarters with a 12 inch diameter no mans land in the center of the table

Primary Objective: The Relic
Secondary Objective: Victory points ( 1 VP per unit killed, retreating units and units in reserve at end of game count as destroyed
Tertiary Objectives: Slay the Warlord, First Blood and Line breaker

Bonus Objective: “I got this.....” The first player to make a “Look Out Sir!” roll forfeits this objective to his opponent. You gain d3 Battle Points to be added to your overall score.

So there you have it. This missions for this years Craftworld open. I wanted to throw a thanks out to the guys at the Michigan GT as well. We will be using the terrain from this years GT for the tables at UCON this year. If you are not familiar with the terrain take a look over at the Michigan GT website. There is line of sight blocking terrain as well as ruins and forests. Prepare accordingly.

Remember I want a 3 color standard this year as well. I want to try and get some people to do some hobbying. Depending on how preregistration goes I may be lenient on this as I do want people to come and play. For the love of Khaine though no bare plastic. I will be keeping you posted here as always and on the Facebook Event page.

Until next time.

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

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Perhaps There Just Weren't Enough Jetbikes Last Time...

Well, if I am really going to try this Jetbike thing, then it's time to go all in and get nearly every variation I can out of the codex. Sorry, Autarch, you're sitting the bench on this one. So here's the new retooled list I am going to try running. Other than my trusty Rangers (who are ridiculously good sometimes and compliment Jetbikes very well actually) and the often late but clutch Crimson Hunter, (somebody has to pop Heldrakes with a quickness) its all bikes. Dropped the Vypers and the Fire Prisms, they just didn't add what I was looking for in the list.

Eldar 1848

Farseer (Jetbike, Singing Spear)
Farseer (Jetbike, Singing Spear)

Warlock x4 (Jetbike, Singing Spear)
Warlock x5 (Jetbike, Witchblade)

Shining Spears x8
Shining Spear Exarch x1 (Star Lance, Hit and Run, Monster Hunter)

Windrider Jetbikes x9 (3x Shuriken Cannons)
Windrider Jetbikes x9 (3x Shuriken Cannons)
Windrider Jetbikes x9 (3x Shuriken Cannons)

Rangers x6
Rangers x6

Crimson Hunter Exarch (2x Brightlances, Pulse Laser)

If nothing else, playing this list is going to get me VERY familiar with the intricacies of the Eldar Jetbike (since there will be 47 of them now) which may lead to more adept choices for list changes in the future. I'm fairly excited, because even though the bikes have been so-so in play tests thus far, these guys are blast to run on the table. And there's some assault in there too, which I think should add an extra layer of fun.

Model count comes in at an even sixty, and some of those the opponent is really going to have to earn. I think the rework really confronts some of the glaring weaknesses of the last version. Namely Daemon Princes en-mass and Wave Serpents in any large quantity. I should be alright to make Riptides cry as well.

What do you think?

Monday, October 21, 2013

Retooling the Jetbike Army

Well, I got another game in with my Jetbike army. SeerK was kind enough to take a five Wave Serpent list against me at my request. I eventually conceded around Turn 4. I learned a ton about my list in the course of the slaughter. There's no way I can make the Jetbike list competitive in its current form, not tournament competitive anyway. Since getting a list that is capable of winning at least at the RTT level is the goal, I must take my lessons and return to the drawing board.
I've got some things cooking in my mind. The big thing that I feel like I was lacking was staying power with my Jetbikes. Thirty bikes spread across five units just doesn't work. The scoring elements are just too fragile when I roll a solid string of 2's for armor saves. The bikes are ok. But they suffer the same way that any elite, low-model count list does when the dice turn slightly sour.
Fundamental lesson learned. Check.
Now to retool, rework, and relaunch the army. I WILL make Jetbikes work in some fashion, but unsurprisingly, the first draft wasn't a keeper. No problem, this is a fun challenge.
Anyone have any suggestions? I'm back to the brainstorming phase.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

More Jet Bike Adventures

I played another game last night with my fledgling Jetbike army. My opponent had a mostly foot Marine army (Black Templars allied with Dark Angels) and the mission was Relic. The Jetbikes successfully managed to grab the Relic and scoot away with it. Jetbikes are great at The Relic.

So this is the third game I've played now with my new Jetbike obsession. Unfortunately, the data leaves me a little wanting. All three of my opponents have played very slow lists and while it confirms my assertions about mobility being a weapon in its own right, I haven't been able to test the list against anything where I don't have a severe advantage in that respect. We have a White Scars player at the shop, and I will corner him eventually to get a game in. I also need to get someone to bring one of the cookie cutter style tournament Tau lists.

But for now, I am learning how to move the Jetbikes around so they aren't competing with each other for space and to most effectively get their weapons on target. They actually produce a pretty good volley of fire. The Bladestorm rule for them really gave them some teeth, not to mention the Ballistic Skill 4 upgrade from the last Codex.

What do you think would be a bad/difficult matchup for this list? These are the types of games that I am going to be seeking because rough games teach me the most about an army.

Friday, October 18, 2013

My Jetbike Army So Far...

Well, I figured I would post up the army list I am working with currently. I would like to preface this list with the explanation that I am performing an experiment that is not necessarily tied to the jetbikes. Basically, I am trying out a new idea I had for building a list. My idea was to start with a very low variety list. A list that probably has a ton of bad matchups, but whose composition was very different than what I had been playing before. Through practice games, I will gain experience using the units in the list, as well as learning where it really falls down. Once I identify the weak points in the army, I can then begin to switch out units to fill those gaps. My hope is that I will develop a list that performs very well because it grew organically over time. So here it is:

Eldar 1850

Farseer [Runes of Warding, Singing Spear, Jetbike]
Farseer [Singing Spear, Jetbike]

Windrider Jetbikes x6 [2x Shuriken Cannons]
Windrider Jetbikes x6 [2x Shuriken Cannons]
Windrider Jetbikes x6 [2x Shuriken Cannons]
Windrider Jetbikes x6 [2x Shuriken Cannons]
Windrider Jetbikes x6 [2x Shuriken Cannons]
Rangers x5

Vypers x3 [3x Star Cannons]
Vypers x3 [3x Star Cannons]
Crimson Hunter [Exarch, Pulse Laser, 2x Brightlances]

Fire Prism [Holofields]
Fire Prism [Holofields]
Fire Prism [Holofields]

This list has the basic tools required to have a chance in most games. That chance can go to the "slim" part of the spectrum pretty fast, but it's still there. The very original version of the list had a sixth squad of jetbikes instead of Rangers and a third squadron of Vypers instead of the Crimson Hunter. I made a command decision and made the switch because I knew I would need the Rangers for sitting on back objectives, and I wanted NEEDED to gain skill with the Crimson Hunter. Though, admittedly, I weep silently for the loss of utter uniformity.

I am kind of excited to be trying this list growing idea out. The mostly one-dimensional aspects of this list should make it pretty easy to isolate trouble areas and remove them. In addition, as I gain practice playing it, I will be able to more effectively use the units that remain so that I can hopefully get a solid feel for what the changes are actually doing.

What do you think?

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Adventures in List Building

I've been trying to quit Wave Serpents cold turkey. Currently, I have been experimenting with Windrider Jetbikes, lots of 'em. Past two games I have had 32 (counting the twin Farseers) flying around the board. I'm not sure how I feel about them, honestly. I'm giving my opinion some salt because much of my trouble probably stems from my trek over their learning curve. So far, they seem to be getting in each others' way. I'm also still learning how I want to deploy them, they have such a huge footprint that getting them behind stuff can be challenging, so I tend to keep a squad or two or three in reserve for better or for worse.
Anyone have any anecdotes about Jetbikes that I can digest to quicken my mastery of them?

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

UCON Updates: New Sponsors and Podcasts!

Hello all.  SeerK here to update you on our sponsors.  Last time I highlighted one of the Events I am running UCON this year.  Spartan Games maker of Firestorm Armada is going to be sponsoring the Firestorm Armada event.

Battle Front games is also helping out with the Flames Of War Event I am running at the convention on Saturday the 23rd.  I love it when the game makers help out.

Image by Scott Sez.
I also wanted to give a shout over to the guys at The 2nd Founding podcast  for plugging the convention, especially the Craftworld Open.  There are 27 spots open as I write this.  I would suggest Pre registering at the UCON site to reserve your spot.  Last year we had quit a few people show up day of.  If the event sells out during pre registration I can try and get more space to up the player cap.
Especially the

For you Warmachine fans , PG_Hick is bringing you a 50 point Steamroller on Saturday starting at 10am.  I would also suggest pre registering.

Well I will be continuing on the subject of meta breaking and killing Riptides next time.  I will be covering Close combat and Psychic powers.

Until next time.............

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

Monday, October 14, 2013

UCON Event Highlight: Firestorm Armada

SeerK here.  Well we are just over a month away from UCON.  I will be posting Missions for the Open starting next week.  I have a flyer going around and will be posting a second version at shops around Michigan as soon as Dreadbeard makes it.

I wanted to take a minute to highlight some of the other events we are running at the convention this year.  I have always been a fan of games involving ships battling it out in space.  I played Battle Space from FASA and of course Battle Fleet Gothic.  The group at the FLGS got me hooked on Spartan Games Firestorm Armada.

I am running an event at UCON on Friday the 22nd from 6pm to 10 pm.  I will be teaching people how to play and running something akin to Privateer Presses "Iron Arena" format for the rest of the night.  For those of you unfamiliar with the Iron Arena, its an open gaming format that is run at Adepticon.  You play games to acquire points which can be turned into free stuff.  The more games you play the more points you get.  This encourages you to play people they have not played before and lets you play different kinds of scenarios and point levels. I think it should be fun.  The event is only $3.00 in addition to the UCON badge.  So hit the UCON site and register!

For those not familiar with Firestorm Armada, it is a Ship combat game made by Spartan games.  Here is the game in their own words. From their website.

What is Firestorm Armada?
Firestorm Armada puts you in the Admiral’s chair, commanding fleets of high quality Spartan Games miniatures. At your disposal are squadrons of starships ranging from small Frigates to gigantic Dreadnoughts. No matter the fleet, these ships are ready to receive your orders today and charge into battle.
The Firestorm Hobby
Firestorm Armada is much more than just a tabletop game. It is an engaging and engrossing hobby that is also incredibly rewarding, with huge amounts to explore. From the fleets of miniatures you can collect and paint to the tactical challenges of the game itself, all wrapped up inside the rich background of an area of space we call Fathoms Reach.
Muster your Fleet
Firestorm Armada is a space combat game that pits fleets against each other on the tabletop. But which fleet will you choose? Will it be the Terrans staunchly defending their territories or the Directorate out for profit through arms deals? Perhaps it will be the Dindrenzi seeking revenge for the destruction of their home world or the Relthoza looking to expand their empire.
Firestorm Armada has many races for you to choose from; each one with its own unique style in both models and game play. You should always select your fleet based on what interests you. Do you prefer the look of a certain race? Is it their background that interests you, or do you relate to their style of game play?
Within each fleet there is a wide variety of model squadrons for you to choose from, each one specialising in a particular battlefield role. To find out more about the races of the Firestorm Galaxy, their background history and tactics, and see some example fleets for you to use as inspiration"

I own a Rense System Navy fleet and I have been thinking about a Ryushu Fleet as the models are brand new. I really enjoy this game and I hope to see some of you there.

I also want to thank our current Sponsors

B.C. Comics

Evolution Games

Paulson Games.

They are contributing prizes as well as terrain and game aides in some cases. Thanks guys!
If you would like to Sponsor the events please contact me at the blog email at the top of the page.

Until Next time..........

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

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Breaking The Meta: KIlling Riptides And Trying New Things

Well I went 1 and 2 at the primer at Flatland games prior to the GT. Bill Kim laid waste to my army despite
my best efforts to wipe his troops from the board. My win against Dreadbeards Tau in round two did not prepare me for a more optimized Tau tourney list in round 3. I went 2 and 4 in the GT actual and once again the Tau gave me issues when Riptides were involved. Needless to say I hate Riptides. IN fact I have been putting a lot of thought into the Riptide. Mostly how to kill one quickly and efficiently with the tools I currently have in the codex. The real issue is killing multiple Riptides. As it seems the current meta makes facing 2 to 4 Riptides a forgone conclusion.  On the note of Meta, I have been putting a lot of thought into the current one as well.  I think its really time to explore the codex and try some new and different things.

Many tournament lists run more than one Riptide and therein lies the challenge. The amount of fire needed to bring down one Riptide can eat up a lot of your firepower. When you are dealing with more than one it gets tricky. You need a cohesive plan and very good fire discipline to take down more than one. You of course can ignore the Riptides and take out the players ability to score, which is pretty minimal when you are running 4 Riptides, but its hard to ignore the damage multiple riptides can do. So first lets look at the Riptide and see if we can find some chinks in its armor.

If we look at its stat block we can see it has the usual Tau weaknesses. A WS of 2 and a base BS of 3. It is T6 though with 5 wounds and a 2+/5+ save. When it comes down to it they are a big tough terminator with character like wounds thats lackluster in close combat. Its nova generator allows it to be fast, have a 3+ invulnerably save and overload its weapons. It can only do one at a time though and they have to do it in the movement phase. Lets look at what the Eldar have to kill Riptides on an individual basis before we move onto fighting groups of them.

Ranged Combat
This is an area that Tau excel in. You cant out shoot them with Eldar. Yes we have the Wave Serpent and they can bring massed fire, but as soon as you start taking casualties the amount of fire you can bring drops off quite a bit. In addition the real combo that makes them effective, scatter laser and shield, only has a range of 36 inches. Despite the mobility of the Wave Serpent force, Tau heavy weapons can range them in easily and take them out fairly quickly, especially when the shields are down. Combine this with tournaments moving towards making the shield a weapon that can be destroyed and you find yourself in a pickle quickly.

Massed fire can bring down models. Quality fire, the AP 2 kind, can bring down Riptides more quickly. So what do the Eldar have that gets the job done. They have more than you think. Bright Lances are the first obvious answer. Rate of fire is an issue with the Bright Lance though. Falcon's and Crimson Hunters, and War Walkers can bring several to bear, in the former two cases the pulse laser can be lumped in with the lances. The faithful Star Cannon is my personal choice. My War Walkers have become packs of Riptide hunting wolves. Three Walkers Armed all Armed with Star Cannons and the ability to out flank help put them in position to hit Riptides hard in their own backfield.

There has been some discussion among the Craftworld writers about how to best deal with the Tau. The consensus is that bum rushing them and weathering the fire is a viable tactic. This tactic also brings probably the Eldar's most deadly weapons to bear. Distortion weapons.

Wraith Cannons and D-Scythes are close range power houses. A squad of Wraith Guards can easily lay waste to a Riptide when they are within range. The real trick is getting them there. This of course means doing something contrary to current Eldar tactica. Not dropping shields on your Wave Serpents and moving them flat out into the jaws of the enemy. This same tactic is viable with Fire Dragons as well. Massed Fusion gun fire has a similar effect. Although the Distort rule does have the edge as it can kill a Riptide with a single hit.

AP 2 weapons are an obvious choice in dealing with well armored targets. The Eldar have other tricks though. Psychic tricks. Running deep with Warlocks and Spirit Seers gives you a decent chance of getting the Protect/Jinx power from the Runes of Battle. If you run Bike councils or Foot Councils, which I am trying to make work once again, you will get this power at least once.

This power can be major when facing the Riptide. Hitting a Riptide with a Jinx makes it way more vulnerable. Especially to Dark Reapers. A decent Sized Squad of Reapers and level a Riptide with Starshot Missiles. I know this can be a little tough to pull off, especially when the Tau player is running the Farsight Enclave book with that stupid amulet. The real key to that will be discussed in a future post about tactics. Namely it involves order of fire and target priority.

Next time I am going to talk about hand to hand combat. This is an area that the Eldar can really hurt the Riptide and the Tau in General. You just have to play it smart and not get shot to pieces while trying to assault the Tau lines. Therein lies the challenge.

Until Next time......

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

Monday, October 7, 2013

Reflections on Michigan GT

I have been reflecting on the Michigan GT. I have basically taken a week off from 40k after the tournament to think about the new direction I want to take my list and recover from the cold I picked up over that weekend. I'm back up to 99% healthy.
I have been thinking about the Tau quite a bit and their role in the tournament. I don't think a Tau army took any of the top three spots, even though there was quite a bit of Tau out there. Steinerp did a good job doing the codex demographics over on his blog Aspects of the Void. Check it out.
Other than the legion of Riptides (I battled ten of them over the course of four opponents *sigh*) the running constant for the Tau was the buff commander suit. That little fellow was in all four lists doing about the exact same thing. Either joined to Riptides or Dark Reapers. Sprinkle in some Sky Rays and maybe a dash of Kroot and you had the basic core list everyone seemed to be running. Got kinda boring after awhile. So it would seem that slightly tailoring a list in order to just kill that bugger would do loads to help destroy these kinds of lists. Usually the whole thing was built around the one combo and the amount of damage it could do. I don't think that is a particularly sound plan for a six round tournament. Looks like the standings agree with me.
Also, I expected a ton of "Wave Serpent Spam" lists, as people tend to say with varying degrees of vitriol. As far as I know, I had the most Serpents at five. Strangely, there weren't even that many with four. Perhaps the actual spam version of that flavor of Eldar finally made its weaknesses apparent enough.
I have also decided to mostly retire my mechanized Eldar list from regular play. I will still probably take it to tournaments until I get a new one honed enough that I think I have a chance at winning with it. My new list won't have any Wave Serpents in it. Largely, because Wave Serpents have pretty much ruined my play experience. I've been heavily into mech-dar for a long time now, and I won a lot of games when Wave Serpents were considered to be over costed and sub par. Now that they are awesome, I look like "that guy", I see the fun drain out of my opponents' faces about turn 2 or 3, and I sound like everyone else running net lists throwing the caveat that they "have always played this list". So now I am on a quest to make a new killer tournament list that doesn't utilize a composition similar to what people expect tournament Eldar to look like.

Sounds like fun to me.

And as a last note, I want to say congratulations to the staff of the GT, it was a great event. There were a few hiccups which were to be expected for a first year event, but overall it was a ton of fun and I can't wait for next year.