Monday, December 30, 2013

All Good Things: The Year In Review

Well here we are on the cusp of a new year.  2014 is upon us and 2013 is at its end.  Terra has completed GW one at least, has seen some massive changes.  In fact,  2013 seems to have the overtones of "The Empire Strikes Back" for the 40K hobby.
another orbit and the Hobby, the

We have seen a rapid release of product this year from GW.  In fact this is the fastest GW has put out product in its entire history.  5 codex's a years was a dream a mere 2 years ago.  Not only are we getting Codex's at a rapid pace we are getting  supplements and expansions at the same time.  Not only has this given players a ton of new things to play with, it has also given them one big question.  Whats is normal 40k?  Not only that, but what is legal?  Spellduckwrong touched on this a couple weeks ago.  Well technically speaking its all normal.  You play using what you want and don't play with the stuff you don't like.  This barrage of product and rules has left the community a little blind sided and the narrative nature of the game finds itself completely at odds with the competitive side.  It is the competitive side that is causing a lot of the questioning and arguments.  Rightly so.

As a T.O. I am a little overwhelmed by the slew of products and rules.  I applaud those running the big events like NOVA, The Las Vegas Open, Da Boyz and of course the event I attend Adepticon.  I especially don't envy Reecius.  The Vegas Open is the first event of the year so to speak.  He has a lot of pressure on his shoulders.  I salute your efforts sir and agree we need to come together as a community and fix things so those that want to play competitive, can with a minimal amount of confusion.

Tj, The man formally known as Old School Terminator, recently mentioned the Magic tournament scene in a conversation I had with him recently.  Magic has a very strict and organized tournament circuit.  they ban and limit cards that unbalance things or sku results.  We should look to that as an example.  If we need to restrict and strip things down to make the game work on a competitive level then lets do it.  Limiting points is already in built.  Banning allies or supplements may need to happen to make things balance out.  We already do this to an extent, but it seems we as Americans need somebody to tell us its OK to do it.  Well that's not the America I am use to.  If somethings broken fix it.

The community has grown a bit soft and lazy in my opinion.  GW is not going to do this stuff for us.  We as the community need to do it.  We need to do it now.  In fact one of our local players has been calling for a conclave of players form around the state to hammer out a tournament standard.  We will see if The Judge can get all the groups around here together.  I know I will lend my help. We have to come together and get this all hammered out.  2014 must be the year we take back our game.  The hobby must be stronger to grow.  You cannot build without a firm foundation.

SO, play those narrative games with gusto.  We have lots of new toys and tools to use in them.  Contribute to the solution instead of being the problem when it comes to competitive play.  I think 2014 will be a great year for 40K.  It will also be a great year for Firestorm Armada.  The new rule set is pretty tight.  More on that next year though.

So with 2013 coming to a close I bid you farewell.  See you next year.

Until then....

Blood Runs, Anger Rises, Death Wakes, WAR CALLS!!!!!!!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas From The Craftworld!

From all of us here at Craftworld Lansing, Merry Christmas.  The holidays can be rough because of family or
just general crappiness, trust me I know.  Just remember you are not alone.  I will be spending the day painting and enjoying a days worth of Dr. Who.

May you all have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.  I may be doing a year in review before we hit 2014 and some parting thoughts as we move into a new year.

Until then........

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

Merry Christmas!!!!!!

Friday, December 13, 2013

Game Standards for Typical 40k

I think there is a divide in thought between the two main perceived groups of 40k players. In one camp, there seems to be the uber-casual players who do whatever they like and in the other there seems to be the hyper-competitive tournament scene players.

While I don't doubt that these are indeed two groups of people, I think there is a third group that many, if not most, gamers fall into and this is what I will call "typical" players. A typical player probably plays in a few tournaments or events here and there, might play at someone's house/garage/basement on occasion, but the bulk of their games are pick-up games in their local 40k community (whatever that may be).

Obviously, at a tournament or event, there are certain special rules and conditions placed on the players for whatever format is being used. But since, in my assessment, the bulk of a typical gamer's games will be pick-up ones, what is the baseline rules and conditions for those?

I would say that in my opinion, the majority of these pick-up games are standard missions out of the book, using the current edition's rules, and using units/books that are widely regarded as standard. These standards are usually pretty well aligned with the tournament scene for their area. I know that around here, we frequently will default to the way that Adepticon runs things. It isn't so much that it is important to have the absolute best rulings, or refuse to give up the right to decide for yourself, but it is important to have base-line components in the game already laid out for both players. It is this common ground that makes for a more enjoyable game. I don't know about you, but it feels off-putting to show up to a game in a place you aren't a regular to and then get into a conflict because of a local "house rule" or some other oddity that you weren't aware of because it is taken for granted by the usual players.

The point of me writing this is to try to illustrate a slightly different angle to some of the insanity that has been rocking the 40k blogosphere lately due to GW's release schedule. I think that what is at the heart of much of this chaos is that what was once "typical" 40k is much less concrete than it used to be. Obviously, tournaments can do what they like, as can players. But having standards that are widely accepted would be wonderful. And if people want to depart from those standards, at least both players are making a journey from the same starting position.

That is all.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

New 40k Term: Revdar

Quick post today, I started seeing this term popping up and thought I would highlight it here. The word of course is "RevDar".

As far as I can tell, this is the term for an Eldar list that includes a Revenant Titan for games of 40k using the Escalation rules. Granted, at 900 points, this model does dominate what your list will look like. A Revenant and a few other things. Probably Jetbikes because they are cheap, fast, and Troops.

Oh Internet, you never cease to amuse me.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Eldar Ghostwarriors Dataslate

The Eldar Datalslate has arrived as part of GW's advent calendar release schedule.
As per GW's site:
The Eldar Ghost Warriors contains 1 Eldar Wraithknight; 3 boxes of Eldar Wraithguard; 2 Eldar Wraithlords; and 3 Eldar Transfer Sheets which can be used to add Craftworld markings and heraldry.

So we have 15 Wraithguard, a pair of Wraithlords, and a single Wraithknight making up this formation. Unfortunately, the Wraithguard can't take any transports so they will be hoofing it.

The formation does come with some interesting special rules, however. As reported over at Faeit 212:

Desperate Measures: All Friendly units in this unit and those within 6" have Hatred. (re-rolls in the first round of close combat)

Wraithbone Wall: Any friendly unit that receives a cover save from this formation form the intervening models rule, receives a cover save of 4+.

You can definitely do some cover save shenanigans with this but given how common Ignores Cover is in the game these days I don't think it holds much water.

The bubble of Hatred is also kind of meh. But if you were building an assault list, you could do worse than having that many pissed off Wraith-constructs whipping everyone around them into a fit of hysteria. Maybe splash in the Avatar to project Fearless and add a dash of Harlequins. Might be a fun list, but over all not my style at least.

So far, the winner is definitely the Tau Dataslate.

What Did You Do, GW?

Let me preface this by saying I am not complaining, lamenting, or anything else. Honestly, I don't really know what my feelings are right now and I kind of just want to talk about it as the gravity of the situation hasn't quite set in. As many of you know, Escalation and Stronghold Assault are out. Escalation isn't the cause of my bewilderment, it's just some data sheets carried over from Apocalypse and implanted into normal 40k games, the points costs of the units will limit these being used for the most part. But what really is throwing me for a loop is the Stronghold book.

There's a lot in there. A lot.

Dreadbeard had his copy of Stronghold at the shop today and we perused it and played a test game. Unfortunately, rules questions started popping up left and right. Like what happens when a wandering Vortex template encounters models on a multi-level ruin? Is the template on the ground floor? Seen from above like a barrage? Hits everything regardless of level? Chosen by one of the players? Who knows? There were many other little questions about rules interactions that came up, but we tried to work through them as best we could.

What concerns me most about Stronghold isn't the D weapons (which are brutal and awesome) or the Void Shields (which are pure win), but it's something a little more innocuous. Mainly, a little section under the Obstacles section that you can buy as an upgrade for pretty much any Fortification. I'm speaking of Walls. Yes, Walls.

According to the book, walls are purchased in 6" sections for 10pts a pop, up to six sections per Fortification. What makes me raise an eyebrow, is that they don't give a height. You could theoretically, make them 10" tall and have a 36" long line of walls that block line of sight. Kind of neat right? Yeah, probably. That's a cheap way to avoid getting your models shot off the board on Turn 1 and can make up for bad terrain availability (especially at tournaments).

Where we start getting into the weeds a bit is that since you can buy 36" of wall per Fortification, and some Fortifications are actually a group of many Fortifications, the amount of walls you can bring really start getting absurd. With the Void Relay Network one, you could bring 252" of wall. 21 feet of LOS blocking terrain. You basically build a labyrinth on your half of the board. I don't know how to feel about that, and I hope I am just misunderstanding.

I did think of two ways to build the labyrinth and still forge a raging narrative. A) You play some flavor of Chaos and model up a Daemon Prince to look like a Minotaur as a throwback to old mythology, or B) you do up the maze to look like inside the Webway for Eldar or Dark Eldar.

In conclusion...

I guess I don't have a conclusion. Not until this sinks in. 40k changed today, and I don't know what that actually is going to mean going forward.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Breaking The Meta PT 3: Psychic Powers

SeerK here. In this third installment of breaking the meta, we will be talking about using your psychic powers
to maximum efficiency. I would also be remiss if I did not clue people into how you combat psychic powers as well. With all the Daemons and Eldar Bike councils running around you really need to know how to deal with them.

SO this whole thing started because I am sick of Tau and Riptides. These guys a very susceptible to the effects of psychic powers. Granted if they are rolling deep with Riptides they are using the Farsight supplement and have that stupid Amulet of Moloch. Part of establishing psychic superiority and dominance is destroying your opponents ability to counter your powers. Using the previous shooting and close assault methods discussed and good fire discipline can eliminate the threat of the amulet. By concentrating on and eliminating the bearer of the amulet, or equivalent psychic defense, with the heavy hitting weapons, IE your AP 2 weapons, you open up your warlocks and seers to hit the other units in the psychic defense zone with powers like Jinx and Horrify. These allow units like Dark Reapers and others with AP 3 weapons to eliminate the remaining Riptides.

Its all about synergy. Despite how much the codex has changed, the Eldar army is still about synergy. The same could be said for pretty much any army or codex in the game, but Eldar have to work together to get your desired results. This is one of the primary reasons I hate what Wave Serpents have become. They are like a crutch when used enmasse.

Lets look specifically at some of the powers in the Runes of Fate and the Runes of Battle that can help your other units wreck some havoc. Although many lament the fact Warlocks have to roll for their powers and take psychic tests, the Runes of Battle are very flexible now and make Warlocks much more of a utility unit. I myself am A little put off I can only have 10 per primary detachment, but I am an Ulthwe player so I am a bit biased. I digress though. The two powers I really like in the Runes of Battle are Protect/Jinx and Embolden/Horrify.

The Runes of Battle powers are duel use. You have a blessing and a malediction in most cases. My third favorite power is the only exception as it is a witchfire and blessing. That Power being Destructor /Renewer. I choose Protect/Jinx as my first favorite power because it does two things. Literally and figuratively. Not only does it give your units a better armor save but it removes the heavy armor advantage from your opponents units. In the case of 2+ armored units this make your own units way more effective against them. Although this is pretty obvious, the true value does not make itself apparent until you start looking at all your AP 3 weapons and the abilities tied to said units. Combine this with stacking powers and enemy units fall apart quick.

I will use the Riptide as an example. So you have a Unit of Warlocks or several Warlocks within striking distance of a Riptide. You successfully hit the Riptide with a Jinx power. This reduces his armor save to a 3+ and unless he activated his Nova reactor to improve his Invulnerably save this makes the Riptide very Vulnerable to units like Dark Reapers. The Jinx power will affect the whole unit, so if the Tau players is being cute and attaching a Tau Commander or some other independent character to the Riptide they will be affected to.

Embolden Horrify is great for making units more susceptible to pinning and just running away in general. Used in combination with units that have pinning weapons or psychic powers can really cause problems for your opponent. Combining Horrify with the Terrify power can be some great fun. Having a unit or effect that causes you to re roll successful leader ship adds to the fun. For example. You hit say a Unit with the Horrify power. They are at -3 Leadership. You then hit them with the Terrify power. They loose any fearless they may have had, but more importantly they have to take a leadership test and possibly have to fall back. Having a Hemlock Wraithfighter within 12 inches causing a re roll if they succeed in passing the test makes it a bit more interesting. This is a bit stacked I know, but I kinda want the Hemlock to be useful for something. The real benefit to the Horrify power is hitting units of psykers with it. If you get it to go through it can really cause some problems for Seer Councils, screamer stars and Tigerius. It combines will with Mind War and Psychic scream as well so you can set up some one two punches with your Farseers and Warlocks.

Spirit Seers add a nice bridge in the psychic arsenal. They can choose from Runes of Battle and Telepathy. This gives you some utility since they are Mastery level 2. If only they could take Jet Bikes......

What I am really getting at is that you have to look at how all your units interact. Look at how your main codex interacts and build a firm foundation with your codex. Allies do add some nice tricks and gimmicks, but you have to look at what they add to the primary detachment. The Eldar have the greatest psychic might in the game, not enough people are utilizing it. The most common way people are using it is in the form of the Bike Council or Jetseer Council as many refer to it. Two Farseers and up to 10 Warlocks on Jet Bikes. A deathstar to rival any in the game. In fact it may be the end all Deathstar in the game currently. Neutralizing it can be very difficult. Especially if Fortune is involved.

If you are running it or trying to get rid of it, the methods I have gone over here and in the previous two installments help. Basically you are trying to remove the synergy from the unit. Removing the things that make it an unstoppable force. Removing the cover save it can boost up to 2+, getting rid of the Fortune re roll, eliminating the Embolden making it fearless. Also just using things that specifically target psykers. Mindstrike Missiles, Culexes Assassins, Shadows of the Warp, Hemlocks, and my current favorite the Crucible of Malediction. Combined with something that lowers leadership, it can be devastating to a unit of psykers.

The meta will be shifting quite a bit soon. The new supplements are really going to shake things up a bit me thinks. More on that after I read them and we get a reaction from the tournament scene. \\
So there is my 2 cents about breaking the meta. I think I have all the Tau caused anger out of my system now.

Until Next time

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

Monday, December 2, 2013

Tau data slate in review !

Hey all dreadbeard here with just a quick post. I bought the fire base cadre data sheet last night night and I gotta say it's got some interesting bits to it. Let's run the numbers!

1. When taking the firebase it is not part of your force org (wow ok)
2. You get P.E. Every loyalist in power armor 
3. They get hatred your stuff 
4. you get tank hunter 
5. All these extra special rules for what you might be taking anyway for free 

So in review you could now possibly take six riptides in a list (given enough points). they got more special rules for no points. Worth your $3.99, Hell yes!