Monday, May 31, 2010

The Insidious Role of the Black Library!

I just returned from an absolutely awesome weekend with my family in Tennessee.  Before I got on the plane however I needed something to read since my girlfriend ported one of Robert Jordan's books to her ipod and had planned on listening to it while we flew.  So we went to Borders on Thursday and I picked up 3 books; Rynn's World, Helsreach and Brunner the Bounty Hunter.  Games Workshop has a production they call "The Black Library" which they house all of their fiction generated for Warhammer and Warhammer 40k.  It's a brilliant concept since players will buy the fiction and then be inspired to build an army around the characters or concepts divined from these novels. 

Example:  Reuben has a "Blood Pact" army that he was inspired to create after reading the brilliant literature of Dan Abnett.  His blog "Pick a damn army!" (located on my blog links to the right) shows his entire journey of creating a 1500 point army based upon the chaos traitor guard described in those books.

Rynn's World and Helsreach have inspired me to rebuild my Space Marine armies.  I will be creating a Crimson Fist army (after my Beastman army) based on the heroics of the chapter in Rynn's World.  I will also be redesigning my Black Templar army list to revolve around a Reclussiarch that functions much the same way Grimaldus did in Helsreach.

The fiction that is generated by Games Workshop authors is also very well written and I love it.  Up to this point I had only read 40k fiction since I hadn't really found anything that appealed to me fiction wise in the Warhammer Fantasy universe.  The High Elf trilogy looked neat but I didn't really have a burning need to read about High Elves and Dark Elves.   I saw an omnibus called Brunner the Bounty Hunter and a little voice inside my head said "MINE!".  After reading the first chapter I was hooked, much like I was after reading the other two books I mentioned earlier.  Such fantastic writing and characters!  It almost makes me want to make a human army in fantasy - hahaha I know right?  I've always been a fan of the Bounty Hunter/Ranger/Huntsman/Fallen Hero/Elf type character and I have to say Brunner has jumped up into my top 5 favorite characters of all time and that says a lot since I have read a metric ton of fantasy books in my time.  The 40 boxes of books in the garage will attest to this claim!

It took a while for the overall scheme that Games Workshop has devised to hit me but now that I have read enough books and really gotten into their products, I can see that their fiction line is just another way for fans to involve themselves deeper into their hobby line.  It's brilliant really.  Worked on me!

I strongly recommend all three of these books to any Warhammer or Warhammer 40k fan.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Operation Magneto Initialized!

I'm not normally a lazy person - shut up all of you.
I mean I like saving time as much as the next guy and don't mind doing a ton of work up front to ensure that I save time in the long run.  I really, really enjoy playing Warhammer Fantasy.  I really, really do not like the 20 minutes it takes me to pull my miniatures out and put them on movement trays and make sure they are all properly stacked so that I don't have that weird tipping issue when I go over terrain.  I also don't like moving at a slug's pace when moving my Wild Riders or Glade Guard for fear of tipping over the movement tray and sending metal and plastic miniatures cascading all over the battle map.

My buddy Shawn showed me a nice website where you can order small magnets that have a lot of strength for their size. Combine this with the already magnetic bases I ordered from Gale Force 9 and you have the perfect answer for not having to worry about knocking over and spilling miniatures again!

Step 1: Order Magnetic Bases - check!
Step 2: Obtain new basing materials and supplies - check!
Step 3: Plan out how I will rebase every miniature in the army - check!
Step 4: Realize that the Gale Force 9 bases are not strong enough to hold metal models in place very well and as a result get frustrated and angry  - check!
Step 5: Bitch to Shawn about shitty bases and be given web address for magnets -double check!
Step 6: Use smaller borrowed magnets from Shawn months back to test the pull and strength of even smaller magnets on the magnetic base and be pleased. - check!
Step 7: Order 300 square magnets with a 2.4 lb pull on metal surfaces. (.25" x .25" x .1" blocks) - check!
Step 8: Recreate basing strategy using new magnets size as guide. - check!
Step 9: Wait patiently for magnets and also 8th edition warhammer fantasy to arrive - partial check!
Step 10: Rebase and magnetize miniatures and save self hours of setting up! - SOON!

Ideally I will have entire movement trays magnetized so that when my Battlefoam case comes in I can simply pluck out the measured area of a movement tray and place a ribbon down and use that ribbon to pull the entire tray out of the foam when needed.  Plus if I ever need to go to a tournament and don't want to bring my big old case with me, I can simple grab a cookie sheet and bam! magnetized troop carrier!

I anticipate that this project will easily take a weekend or so primarily since I can not use PVA glue on the magnetic bases that I do plan on using (cause I'll be damned if I spent all that money on bases and don't use them). I will post pictures when Operation Magneto is in the production stage.  It's gonna be awesome when I accidentally place a movement tray on top of my wallet or phone and be without a working phone or bank cards for a few weeks.  Depending on how successful this endeavor is, and I feel it will be since the test runs were satisfactory, I may magnetize my Eldar and Templars in the same fashion.  Time and patience will tell.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

The Eldar Night Spinner - Success or Fail?

So Games Workshop released the statistics for the new Eldar Night Spinner in the latest White Dwarf magazine.  I have to say at first I was really unimpressed.  I had been expecting something a lot better and I'll explain why after I list the pros and cons of the tank after the stat line.

Night Spinner
Slot: Heavy
Cost: 115
Type: Fast, Skimmer, Tank
Armor: F 12, S 12, R 10 BS 3
Weapon Load out: 
Twin-linked Shuriken Catapult
Night Spinner - Range: 72", S6, AP -, Large Blast, Rending.  Any units hit moves as in difficult and dangerous terrain during their next turn.


So when you first look at the weapon load out you think to what a piece of crap.  Gee, thanks GW for giving me a Warp Spider gun that is a large blast template.  However, let's break it down and examine how it can be used effectively.

1. Fast Skimmer Tank - it can move 12" and still fire it's Night Spinner turret or move 24" for objective contesting.
2. Long range weapon - it can hit anything on the board.
3. It is 1 strength higher than a Fire Prisms Large Blast template which is helpful against infantry and even tanks.
4. The blast is Rending, meaning it can autolift models on a roll of a 6.
5.  Synergy options - Roy pointed this out to me earlier today which I had not thought about.  You can shoot a unit of infantry or heavy infantry and the terrain becomes difficult and dangerous.  Your squad can assault them without penalty and when they move to engage you in close combat, every model has to take a difficult and dangerous terrain test which can further augment your success rate by removing casualties before the fight even starts.  It also allows you to restrict your opponents movement on multiple fronts since all it has to do it "hit" the vehicle not penetrate or glance. 

1.  Takes up a Heavy Support slot, even more importantly takes up a Fire Prism or Dark Reaper slot.
2.  115 points for a S6 large blast weapon.
3.  While it is Rending, it is still only Strength 6.  There is no versatility with the gun unlike the Fire Prism that can fire a large or small blast with variable strength and AP value.
4.  A lot of hype was generated for this tank and sadly it doesn't match the hype.  People were expecting something better and more exciting.  They didn't want a modified version of the Fire Prism and they most certainly did not want another tank taking up the already highly contested Eldar Heavy Support slots.  They really should have made this a Fast Attack vehicle.
5.  Not a transport.  People were also hoping for another type of small squad transport with maybe even an assault ramp (ha). 

Overall, I think the Night Spinner can not be counted as a Success or a Fail.  At least not yet, perhaps after a few games people will begin to see some better uses for them.  I personally will probably not be using it since I already have my Heavy Support slots filled and I recently dropped my Fire Prisms for other options.  I will probably proxy the Night Spinner in a few games just to see it but I really don't see it being a fixture in my army.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Great Hunt vs. Knights of Khorne then the Dwarven SLAYER Army.

Ended up playing two games of Warhammer Fantasy tonight, one against the Knights of Khorne (Warriors of Chaos) and the other against Eric's Dwarven Slayer Army.  I forgot to bring my camera which is a sad affair because they were two really good games.

The Warriors of Chaos game was a very, very bloody game.  I played against John who had a monotheistic Khorne army (the way it should be imho) and was brutal.  Knights of Khorne are so damn hard to kill, especially with their 1+ armor save in close combat.  When I played against Larry's Nurgle Knight army, I had to deal with a lot of magic and super tough units as well as being debuffed the entire time.  Playing against the Khorne version was even harder since everything frenzied and just would not die.  If I had not built my army to have so many archers I do not think the game would have ended up as a draw.  The last turn ended with me having only my Waywatcher General and his unit of Waywatchers and John having his Champion of Khorne and the unit with him.  Overall only 2 units left both of which were less than half strength.  He had 7 Khornites left and I had 6 Wood elves on the table when it was over.  Great Game!

I think this has got to be one of my favorite types of units in fantasy.  I don't like playing bad guys but man Khorne has the coolest guys ever.

The second game I had scheduled last week against Eric.  Now it is my own fault that I was caught with my pants down on this game.  When everyone said it was his "Slayer army" I was expecting to have a Dwarf army with a huge unit or two with 30+ slayers in it.  Ha.... So Eric's army was using one of the older books that Warhammer Fantasy released which meant that his entire army of 100+ dwarves were Slayers.  He started to put them on the table and I was like ...oh hell.  To top that off every single unit was able to move 2d6+ marching distance (6) first turn.  Eric's average roll was a 9 which meant his Slayers were catapulting 15 inches towards me first turn and disallowing 2 turns of shooting.  To top that off every single unit was unbreakable which was just frustrating since even if I won combat which I did several times, they just said "sup" and stood there.  I had a blast playing against it and really want to go against it again.  This time I know what I'm facing and can deploy better and actually build strategies that work.  i.e. deploy deeper in my own zone nearer to the table edge and arrange it to where I can hit a single unit with multiple units of my own both shooting and in charges.  I really feel if I had been able to engage more than 1 unit in shooting or in close combat at a time I would have been successful and won the game.  The game ended with me only having 400 points on the board to Eric's 1100. I could not wipe out more than 2 of his units of 25 slayers each.  I think he had 5 units of slayers and some sort of goblin or axe launching cannon/bolt thrower that took out an entire unit of archers at a time.  I also failed almost every single leadership test I needed to make which was annoying and cost me 2 expensive units or I would roll like 3 inches when I would be forced to flee due to a break test.  In the end I really enjoyed the game because I know it was a seriously tough army but man it makes you feel good to do really well against a list that you know is just absolutely brutal.  Next time I face the orange haired army I will be ready for it and there shall be blood! BUCKETS OF IT!

 Imagine over 100 of these bastards running at you.
Fun eh?

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The next army...Beastmen or Skaven?

In typical John style I've decided to collect another army.  Shocking I know.  The question is do I run with Beastmen or do I go with Skaven?  In 40k I went with Eldar first because well they are elves.  Space elves but elves nonetheless.  After collecting an army of 1500+ points of Eldar I looked at what would be an army that was different but fun to play.  Enter the Black Templars.  I was then able to commit fully to the idea of the doomed race of "Degenerate witches" as my opponent put it during 'Ard Boyz and then to the notion of having an army of zealous crusading paladins bent on destruction of anything that was an enemy of the Imperium.  Now that I am playing Warhammer Fantasy (Jeremy this is your fault sir) and have gotten comfortable with my Wood Elves and enjoy playing them, I can now look into what would be a different but fun army for Fantasy.
Beastmen vs. Skaven!
-insert dramatic music here-

The Beastmen army is for lack of a better term the complete opposite of the Wood Elves.  You have an army of angry, strong and savage beasts infused with chaos that want nothing more than to rampage and slay anything in their path (and then eat them).  The Beastmen are chock full of just awesome looking models that embrace the savagery and feral feel that the Wood Elves do not have.  Plus, Beastmen have freaking Minotaurs. MINOTAURS MAN!

The Skaven army is unlike anything else in the Warhammer Fantasy world.  They are so terribly random and chaotic that the army itself has a chance to do more damage to itself than my opponent.  They have huge units that have tons of neat little toys that do all sorts of crazy things.  The Skaven are also savage but have a more Secret of Nymn feel to them and that appeals to me.  Plus the Skaven have Ninja Assassins. NINJA ASSASSINS!

I am currently torn between the two armies.  I will be obviously waiting until 8th edition comes out but at the same time the burning need to obtain some of the models and assemble/paint them is almost overwhelming.

The model count for each army at 2250 points is very different, the Skaven would be around 80-130 with toys (read: warmachines and doomwheels) while the Beastman army could be anywhere from 50-100 models depending on how 8th edition changes the game.

The themes I've come up with for each army are also different.  The Beastmen army I want to run with Minotaurs being the backbone of the army along with a Doombull (Minotaur general) leading the war herd.  I want to have them be savage and brutal and really capitalize on the Minotaur's Bloodgreed rule.  A cloven hoof wrecking ball army if you will.  The Skaven army I want to really put emphasis on Clan Eshin, the assassin clan.  I want to have a Grey Seer lead the army with 2 Assassins leading units of Night Runners or Gutter Runners.  I want to see a Screaming Bell being pushed by Clan rats and a Plague Furnace pushed by Plague Monks. I want to really embrace the scurrying horde concept while also causing as much chaos as possible on the board with the army's Skaven hijinks.

I am currently leaning more towards Beastmen at the moment because of the low model count and the absolute brutality it can bring to the table.  I feel this embraces the concept of being opposites of the Wood Elves more than the Skaven do.  However, I think the Skaven  army would be a lot of fun to play regardless if they win or lose.  I will more than likely collect both over time but at the moment I'm attempting to really focus my interest in one of them.

Hrm, only time will tell.


Monday, May 24, 2010

The Fluff is a lie?

This is a two part post the first will be about my game Sunday and the second part will consist of the myth of fluffy lists being weak.
Part 1 - Orks vs. Ulthwe` Eldar
Sunday I played against Shawn's Ork army with my fluffy Ulthwe` list.  It was an objective game with 5 objectives and pitched battle deployment.  I used my 2k list mentioned previously in an earlier post against a very fast and tough Ork list.  Due to focus fire and good target priority on my part, I was able to pull out a win at the bottom of the 5th turn with 3 objectives to Shawn's 1.

Deployment pre-game.

Turn 3 - you can see the huge killing field in the center of the table where an absolute beat-stick mob of Nob Bikers met the combined force of 2 Storm Guardian squads and a Seer Council with some pretty handy D-Cannon Weapon Batteries softening them up.

Turn 5 - The Ork Nob Biker squads have been killed and I'm able to focus fire the rest of my army on a single unit while I make a mad dash to the objectives.

Part 2 - Fluff vs. Creampuff
The common stance in 40k is that if you make a list that is "fluff" that it's not going to be a tough list.  I labored under this misconception for a while until I started to finally master the units that are in my list and use them effectively.  Suddenly my fluffy lists are even more effective than my tournament lists.  How did this happen?  I spoke with a few folks and the common stance is: Experience.  You learn how to use what you have, and after 10-20 games with the same list you know how the units perform and can properly adjust your tactics to suit that unit.  I'll go into more detail in a moment.

Let's take a brief segue and look at some different types of armies and how they function - e.g. let's break down my 3 armies that I possess and how I perceive their strengths and uses.  I'll also list some other armies based on my experiences with them and my perception of how they work.

1.  Black Templars -  I see the Black Templar army as a full-fledged Space Marine Assault army.  Their codex and army composition supports this line of thinking as well.  The troops are given the option of using bolt pistols and chain swords or a boltgun.  The Emporer's Champion has a vow that increases their combat effectiveness by augmenting their strength by 1 and reducing their initiative, allowing them to reroll misses in close combat, granting them a 6+ invulernable save or the ability to nullify psychic powers that strike them.  The elite choices can take Furious Charge and be equiped with all sorts of Power weapons.  Templars run TOWARDS you instead of away from you when they take casualties from shooting not to mention they are also Fearless in close combat.  These types of advantages built into the army makes it a no-brainer that they should be run as an assault army.  They excel at it. So, as a result, I make my lists around the idea that I want these guys in close combat.  I include transports that disgorge fanatical witch-hating zealots into the fray, I run them directly into your biggest knot of guys in order to kill kill kill.  If I attempted to use this army like you would a normal Space Marine army - i.e. a lot of shooting, I would fail miserably - and trust me I have!  As it stands now, when I play my Templars as an assault based chapter and go on the offensive during the game I win a good amount of the time.
2.  Wood Elves - In Fantasy most combats are resolved with hand to hand.  The Wood Elf army sadly is not very strong in this aspect.  Most of the army is T3 and lacks the staying power or ranks that support your standard block-formation fighting that you see in practically every army in Fantasy.  Wood elves are exceptional archers.  The suffer no penalties for moving and shooting, no penalties for moving through forests and they have units that excel at hiding in forests and unleashing a barrage of arrows that can wipe out the toughest units.  My Wood Elf army as a result is built around movement, archery and multiple-unit combats.  My first few games of Fantasy were perhaps some of the most educational games I could have hoped for.  I had my teeth kicked in six ways to Sunday because I tried to play the army in a way it was not designed.  You can't effectively charge into combat with a single unit of Wild Riders and expect to win reliably.  You can not hit a unit of Ogres with a group of Wardancers and expect to deal out enough wounds to kill 4 of them and suffer no respite for it.  No, you have to hit that unit with both Wardancers and Wild Riders in order to get enough dice rolling to make those Ogres die.  You can't have your super tough Treekin take on 10 mounted Knights of Chaos and expect them to win.  Yes they are tough but they really do not have any staying power unsupported.  After I figured out how this army works, I haven't really lost a game since.  Well, not lost a game by a Massacre I should say.
3.  Ulthwe` Eldar -  This is my army of choice.  This was my first army and the army I had to temper my playing with in order to figure out the game.  If you thought my Wood Elves were a finesse army, you should take a good look at the Eldar codex.
                 The common theme in most 40k armies revolves around the stat-line.  Space Marines are BS4, WS4, T4, S4, I4 and 3+ armor save.  Orks are generally BS2 WS4 T4 S3 I2 6+ armor save.  Imperial Guardsmen even worse BS3 WS3 S3 T3 I3 and 5+ armor save.  Now if you look at an Eldar model it's going to be BS4 WS4 S3 T3 I4 5+ armor save and also be fleet.  So just looking at these stat lines you would naturally assume that the Space Marines dominate everyone.  1 on 1 maybe.  However each of those troops have something that makes them unique or special.  Orks get more attacks in close combat and get Furious Charge making their special niche close combat.  Imperial Guard have the option of numbers or even better Armor.  Imperial Guardsmen can climb into a Chimera and gain protection for a relatively cheap cost.  Therefore their special niche is Armored Combat.  Space Marines are pretty much above average at everything and so as a result they perform above average in most capacities.  In a game where dice are the determining factor of success, being above average is a big advantage.
               Now let's look at the Eldar; He's weaker, not as tough, not as many attacks, doesn't really have a point effective solution for armor, hrm.... what makes them special? Fleet? I guess you could use Fleet, the ability to run d6 inches in the shooting phase and launch an assault is nice.  There has to be something that makes them balanced against other armies but what is it? 
Eldar have the ability to make your army not function the way you want it to.
Eldar have several advantages when it comes to their army composition:
A. Psychic Powers - They have powers that allow for rerolls on shooting hits, to wound rolls, failed save rerolls, rerolling leadership, augmenting WS and Initiatve, Heavy flamer templates, concealment, rotating armor on the battlefield and picking off any character with a psychic assault.
B. Psychic Defenses - Eldar can make it to where you have to roll 3d6 for any psyhic test and add them together where anything 12+ = perils of the warp.
C. Unique squad selections that excel at their design - Eldar can take an entire unit of WS4 Power weapon wielding Banshees, or a full unit of BS4 Meltaguns, a unit that has 48" Str5 Ap3 Heavy 2 missile launchers with a BS4.  They have units that can generate over 40+ attacks at S4 and WS5 with rending.  The Eldar army can also unleash a barrage of firepower to rival any army by just fielding the appropriate units.
D.  Unique weapons that ignore the stat line - Witchblades wielding by Farseers and Warlocks can wound on a 2+ and are Str9 vs. vehicles.  D-Cannons are Ap2 and wound on a 2+ (a 6 to wound = instant death) not to mention against ANY armor they glance on a 3-4 and penetrate on a 5-6.  Their Vibro-cannons autoglance vehicles.  The have lances that treat all armor above 12 as 12.  They have transports that reduce your weapon if it's higher than Strength 8 to 8.
E.  Unique Stat Lines - Eldar have units that have invulnerable saves of 4+ or Toughness of 6 or even worse a Wraithlord with a Toughness of 8.  Eldar have by far the best transports in the game.  Fast skimmers that if properly kitted can move 36" in a single turn.  The Eldar have units that you just don't see in other armies because they are specialists.  Also, the lowest initiative for an Eldar is 4, the average is 5.  They almost always strike first which is important.

It is these types of advantages that help outweigh the disadvantages of the army - which are numerous.
A. Everything except the Wraithguard and Wraithlords are Toughness 3.  You will generally wound the entire army on a 2+.
B.  The average armor save for the army is 4+.  Most weapons in the game are Ap4 or Ap5 which autolifts Eldar.
C.  Expensive units - the average cost of an Eldar is about 16 points for an Aspect Warrior.
D.  Absolutely no staying power without synergy and psychic augments.

                So when I sit down to make an army list for Eldar, I figure out what exactly I want to do with this army.  I play an Assault and Skirmish type of army.  This means that I need to be faster than my opponent and hit him hard and fast and remove the unit I attack then run away and repeat the process.  I have no ability to stay in combat unless I field something like a Seer Council and even then it becomes a rather expensive war of attrition because my opponent can keep throwing cheap troops into the fight and bog them down.  I have to make lists that excel at killing fast and killing well otherwise I get boned, and badly.  So I take units that allow me to ignore your toughness, or use flamer templates so I don't have to use my BS3 of my Guardians.  I take weapons that wound on a 2+ or can turn your vehicles inside out because unlike most armies.  Eldar armies are small.  This type of army however is generally different from what you see from other Eldar players.  Many Eldar players play very shooty lists that involve moving from place to place and utilizing Aspect warriors to carve out the main meat of their opponents army.  Just look at my friend Mike's Eldar list.  He runs Dire Avengers, Swooping Hawks and Falcons and does just fine against a variety of opponents.  It really boils down to picking your fights as Eldar and disallowing your opponent from cornering you.  Roy described the Eldar the best - "They are freaking Ninjas man."
Now after all of this breakdown of what Eldar are good at and blah blah blah, let us get back to my original statement.
The Fluff is a lie?

               When I first decided to get into 40k and my friends tricked me into playing (I'm looking at you Roy and Shawn), I read the Eldar Codex.  The Eldar codex was chock full of neat little lore bits and fluff.  The Craftworld and paint scheme that appealed to me the most were the Ulthwe`.  The Damned as they are call, really called out to me as "This is your craftworld".  They had the colour scheme I liked, the lore was really cool and also they didn't use Aspect Warriors in large number.  I remember building the list and really liking the Dark Reapers, the Storm Guardians, Maugen Ra and the idea of the Seer Council.  I liked the Rangers and the Wave Serpents and how the army emphasized  a fast and furious type of combat.  So when I sat down originally to play I made at least 40 lists in 6 months.  I think Roy saw me go through more incarnations of Eldar than Michael Jackson had plastic surgery (too soon?).  After a long while, I finally figured out how the army worked and said "to hell with making power gamer lists, I'm going with fluff" expecting to lose a lot but still enjoy playing.  Ah...the common misconception that fluff armies suck... how naive I was...
            An army only sucks if you suck at playing it.  If you look only at the stat line of a squad and base your opinion of their worth solely on that without playing them, you could and generally are overlooking a good unit.  Guardians are the very definition of suck, seconded only to Imperial Guardsmen if you look solely at their statline.  I would like to point out that with Guardians as my primary fixture in my list, I kicked serious ass in tournaments and also in normal games with them.  Why?  I know how to actually use them.

So the Ulthwe` fluff goes as follows:
They utilize Guardians as the bulk of their forces since their closeness to the Eye of Terror has taken it's toll on the Craftworld's Aspect Warrior population.  The Ulthwe` also have an inordinate amount of psykers compared to other craftwords.  Ergo: Guardians and Warlocks make up the bulk of their army.  According to the older codices, Dark Reapers are also the only Aspect that makes its appearance on the craftworld thanks to Maugen Ra using Ulthwe` as his base of operations until he rescued Altansar.
So the issue here is - am I disguising douche bag tournament lists under the banner of fluff?  Am I using Ulthwe` fluff to justify taking a Seer Council and D-Cannons and Dark Reapers?  The answer is yes and no.  I am not making douche lists, however due to the fact that I have a ton of experience with the units I choose for these lists - they become very, very effective.
So for an experienced player, does making an effective fluff list mean that you are disguising a power gamer list as a fluff list?  I don't know the answer to that one.  I compose my lists out of what I feel fits the Ulthwe` theme or any theme for whatever army I am running.
I'm getting rather long winded and sadly short on time so I will sum up this wall of text and perhaps revisit it in another post with:

Fluff or no fluff, an army is only as effective as it's general!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Fluffcore? Making the fluffy Ulthwe` list.

After the 'Ard Boyz tournament I've been really thinking about how to retool my list from it's current incarnation.  I've made the Super Friends lists that annihilate you and I've made the lists that are just random wtf?  Both are fine and have their places (mainly tournaments or teaching someone how to play) however, I am getting more and more into the mindset that I want to play my army as Fluff or not at all.  After rereading the older edition codexes (codexi? codi? hrm...oh right) I mean codices and several of the supplement books such as The Eye of Terror and Codex: Craftworld Eldar , I've really gotten into designing armies that follow the older designs.  I like using Guardians and the obscure units that really are never seen in most games because they are not as effective as other selections in their group.
I could easily make an entire army list using squads such as Seer Councils, Banshees, Fire Dragons and Wraithguard and call it "You get no armor saves and if you do I still wound on a 2+" but that isn't a fun list for me to play.  I've really gotten into the idea of using an offensive strike force that is dependent on EVERY unit to work together rather than a single squad on another.  I've done a ton of number crunching, test scenarios and general theoryhammer when making "the list".  Everytime I play something that is a tournament level list, I really do not have any fun.
It's gotten to the point where I only enjoy playing my fluffy based lists, and I do BETTER with them than I do the full balls out tournament list.  I think this last 'Ard Boyz proved that when I ran with not 1 but 3 units of Guardians and not a single Aspect Warrior and still ended up on the top 2 tables in the last round.

Yes, that's right.  I played Fluff in 'Ard Boyz and I kicked ass.

So.. I will be playing a series of games using my new fluffy list and we'll see how it goes.  Win, Lose, I don't really care - to me it's an Ulthwe` list through and through.  Hell I even took out my Fire Prisms and I loved to use them.

Company of the Damned - Eldar Ulthwe` Strike Force - 1500 points

 Seer Council of Ulthwe`
Farseer w/ Runes of Warding, Spirit Stones, Doom and Fortune - 145
7 Warlocks (2 Destructor, 1 Enhance, 1 Embolden) - 215
Wave Serpent w/ Shuriken Cannons and Star Engines - 115
10 Storm Guardians w/ 2 Flamers and Warlock w/ Enhance - 132
Wave Serpent w/ Shuriken Cannons and Star Engines - 115
10 Storm Guardians w/ 2 Flamers and Warlock w/ Enhance - 132
Wave Serpent w/ Shuriken Cannons and Star Engines - 115
5 Dark Reapers w/ Exarch, Eldar Missile Launcher and Fast Shot - 217
2 D-Cannon support Weapon Batteries w/ Warlock w/ Embolden and Singing Spear  - 133
3 War Walkers with Twin Scatter Lasers - 180
Total: 1499

Company of the Damned - Eldar Ulthwe` Strike Force - 2000 points

 Seer Council of Ulthwe`
Farseer w/ Runes of Warding, Spirit Stones, Doom and Fortune - 145
7 Warlocks (2 Destructor, 1 Enhance, 1 Embolden) - 215
Wave Serpent w/ Shuriken Cannons and Star Engines - 115
10 Storm Guardians w/ 2 Flamers and Warlock w/ Enhance - 132
Wave Serpent w/ Shuriken Cannons and Star Engines - 115
10 Storm Guardians w/ 2 Flamers and Warlock w/ Enhance - 132
Wave Serpent w/ Shuriken Cannons and Star Engines - 115
5 Dark Reapers w/ Exarch, Eldar Missile Launcher and Fast Shot - 217
2 D-Cannon support Weapon Batteries - 100
10 Wraithguard w/ Spiritseer Warlock w/ Singing Spear and Enhance - 399
10 Guardian Defenders w/ Scatter Laser, Warlock with Enhance - 135
3 War Walkers with Twin Scatter Lasers - 180
Total: 2000

 Company of the Damned - Eldar Ulthwe` Strike Force - 2500 points

 Seer Council of Ulthwe`
Eldrad Ulthran, Farseer of the Ulthwe` - 210
7 Warlocks (2 Destructor, 1 Enhance, 1 Embolden) - 215
Wave Serpent w/ Shuriken Cannons and Star Engines - 115
10 Storm Guardians w/ 2 Flamers and Warlock w/ Enhance - 132
Wave Serpent w/ Shuriken Cannons and Star Engines - 115
10 Storm Guardians w/ 2 Flamers and Warlock w/ Enhance - 132
Wave Serpent w/ Shuriken Cannons and Star Engines - 115
5 Dark Reapers w/ Exarch, Eldar Missile Launcher and Fast Shot - 217
2 D-Cannon support Weapon Batteries - 100
10 Wraithguard w/ Spiritseer Warlock w/ Singing Spear and Enhance - 399
10 Guardian Defenders w/ Scatter Laser, Warlock with Enhance - 135
10 Harlequins w/ Death Jester, Shadowseer and Troupe Master - 240
Maugen Ra, the Harvester of Souls - 195
3 War Walkers with Twin Scatter Lasers - 180
Total: 2500

Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Great Hunt, War Host of Athel Loren vs. Jeremy's Ogre Kingdoms (2250) Part Two!

Tonight I squared off against Jeremy's Ogres once again.  The battle was 2250 and he ended up getting to go first.  I was trying out my new list and after seeing how it performed, I'm really pleased with it.  I had to finally admit to myself that my Wood Elves really do not belong in close combat unless there are 2-3 units of mine involved against the same enemy.  I was only able to take 1 photo since someone forgot to look at their battery... but anyway I'll post the image then explain the battle and list my new roster.

Jeremy confused me by setting up in a corner and forced me to split my firepower between his large knot of Ogres in the far corner and his Yetis and Giant in the other.  It was a sound deployment strategy since it forced me to focus a large amount of firepower into his Giant otherwise it would have wrecked havoc in my lines.  Having 20+ Ogres suddenly 12" away from you Turn 1 is rather nerve wracking.  Especially when it's not likely you will survive that combat.  Fortunately I was able to maneuver properly and drop his Giant and enough Ogres so that by Turn 6 he only had 2 Ogres left on the board.  It was a Massacre victory but I have a feeling that he won't be letting that happen again.  I have a game against another player Eric's army next Wednesday and this will be my first run in against the annoyingly tough Dwarves of Warhammer Fantasy.  Not to mention that Eric also runs with Slayers and some sort of solo Dwarf Heroes that are insanely good at just killing 10+ models a turn.  This will definitely be a challenge and one I look forward to!

As I mentioned earlier here is my new list and the one I believe I will be running with until 8th Edition comes out.

The Great Hunt, War Host of Athel Loren
2250 Warhammer Fantasy Wood Elf Army List

The Forest Stalkers of Athel Loren
Hero/General: Waywatcher Lord Sylvos Callandor the Huntsman, Ranger-general of Athel Loren
- Noble(75), Waywatcher Kindred(35), Rageth's Wildfire Blades(10), Hail of Doom Arrow(30): 150
Rare: 8 Waywatchers: 192
Rare: 7 Waywatchers: 168
Core: 10 Glade Guard: 120
Core: 10 Glade Guard: 120
Core: 10 Glade Guard: 120
Core: 6 Glade Guard Scouts: 102

The Wrath of Durthu 

Hero: Branchwraith Ce'Nedra, Handmaiden of Durthu 
- Branchwraith(65), Level 1 Wizard(50), A Cluster of Radiants(25): 140
Core: 8 Dryads: 96
Core: 8 Dryads: 96
Special:  3 Treekin: 195

The Outriders of Orion
Hero: Huntmaster Lloric Tanelsan, Lord of the Hunt
- Noble(75), Wild Rider Kindred(35), Great Stag(50), The Spear of Twilight(30): 190
Lord: Mist Walker Cyre Winterwolf, The Storm Warder of Athel Loren
- Highborn(145), Alter Kindred(35), Extra Hand Weapon(6), The Bow of Athel Loren(30), Arcane Bodkins(25), Briarsheath(15): 261
Special: 6 Wild Riders of Kurnous (158), Musician, Standard Bearer(18): 174
Special: 7 Wardancers: 126

Total: 2250

This list really puts emphasis on 3 things:
1. The strength of Wood Elf Archery - I've literally doubled the amount of shooting my army does from my old list.  Due to the fact that Wood Elves excel at archery, this is really a no brainer.
2. Speed and Mobility and Killing Blow - I have several fast melee units that can snake around my archers and defend them against incoming attackers and by using multiple units I can move my archers and create an even better killing zone. I also have 4 units with Killing Blow, 2 of which are at range.  This is a huge advantage, especially against armies that field heavily armored cavalry or foot soldiers.
3. Stronger theme for a Ranger lead army - Everyone who knows me knows that I love Rangers.  They are my favorite D&D class, especially the ..Wood Elf Ranger.  I wanted a Wood Elf army that had dual wielding, bow shooting, forest green cloak having rangers.  Now I have it.  I now have 2 units of Waywatchers that fit my desired type of unit to a T.  I also have my themed squads that work together perfectly.  Overall, I really am happy with how this list works and any modifications I do to it will only be made to further tailor it to the already existing theme.  Also, the army is not cheesy or has anything ridiculously broken in it.  The only questionable item is the Hail of Doom Arrow but even then, it's a one shot item.

I really feel Warhammer Fantasy has actually improved my tactical skills in Warhammer 40k.  I enjoy Warhammer Fantasy more than 40k currently because the Wood Elf army really appeals to me.  I enjoy the feel of how it works, I understand the limitations and strengths of the army.  It took me less time to get the feel of this army and how it works than it did with my Eldar army.  I owe that mainly to the fact that my Eldar were my first real experience with miniature war gaming and it was a true baptism by fire learning the best "feel" for that army.  I also learned quickly how to cheese the hell out of my lists and make the broken-not fun to play against your friends lists.  Knowing that I was able to finally settle into a theme and adapt a list to fit the way I like to play with my Eldar.  I also learned that an Assault Eldar army is generally not expected, not to mention one that utilizes Guardians as shock troops (lol?).  I had a really good anvil to be tempered against; Tau (insane amount of shooting), Chaos Space Marines (insane close combat), Imperial Guard (Jesus Christ could you not bring 13 tanks?) and lastly Dark Angels (god damn Space Marines have 3+ saves?).  Each of these types of armies really helped me figure out exactly what I wanted to do and also how I wanted to play.  It also takes good friends to be patient with you while you learn so that when you do finally rise up and crush them they can smile and say "good job" instead of "well...I don't really see a big problem with your list" when they crush you by turn 4.  Overall, I think knowing how to play both systems has really improved my wargaming skill and I can fully enjoy both systems now.       

I think this weekend, time permitting, I'm going to try to fight Jeremy's Chaos Space Marines and if able Sunday attack Shawn's insane Ork army.  The game against Jeremy will be 2k and will more than likely end up in a blood bath since Chaos Space Marines like it when you charge them in close combat.  The game against Shawn will also be interesting since his Orks really like to shoot you ... a LOT.  Dealing with Shawn's shooting Orks isn't the big problem, catching those Warbike riding bastards are! 

If I'm able to get those two games in this weekend, I will definitely post some pictures and battle reps.  

Monday, May 17, 2010

2010 'Ard Boyz Tournament May 16th.

The Ard Boyz tournament has come and gone.  I have to say that out of the three battles, I really enjoyed my second one the most.  I'm not going to bother posting the bat reps mainly because after 3 2500 point battles it just gets kinda hard to remember everything I did every round so I'll just sum it up here.
Game 1 - Ulthwe` Eldar vs. Black Templars = Ulthwe` Win
Game 2 - Ulthwe` Eldar vs. Sisters of Battle = Draw
Game 3 - Ulthwe` Eldar vs. Space Wolves = Loss

There were three big failings in this tournament that I will comment on. 
1. Mission Types - The first mission type was straight up Victory points and that was fine.  The second mission was not well done since every battle in the second mission was a DRAW.  The third mission was a complete piece of shit - everything that moves over 6" counts as 3 kill points.  Oh really?  Gee that means my army is 45 god damn kill points?  Awesome, thanks GW.  The only army that had more kill points than I did was the opponent I fought in the 2nd round who had 51.  I was not pleased with these missions, I was hoping for more objective style missions or perhaps missions that involved something other than "hey let's kill all your shit".
2.  Quality of Player - There were some big douche bags in this tournament.  The person running the tournament was awesome.  He did a great job of being fun and fair but the douche count was super high.  This really isn't something that can be helped since assclowns will flock to these types of events in hopes of boosting their shitty self-esteem using miniatures as proxy.
3.  My list - I should have said screw fluff and gone full Assbeatery.  I should have dropped my Guardians, taken a unit of Pathfinders and Wraithguard as my 2 Troop selections and thrown a full unit of Banshees, Fire Dragons and an Eldrad toting Seer Council down my opponents throat with Maugen Ra and 3 units of Dark Reapers hailing death from the backfield while my full unit of Harlequins danced their dance of death at anyone foolish enough to get close.  I will say however, kicking as much ass as I did against a Wolfwing-Missile Launcher-Logan Grimnar-Foehammer army with Guardians, felt good. Real good.  If I decide to compete again in 'Ard Boyz - Fluff is gonna go bye bye and me disallowing you armor saves is coming in full force.  Douche list? Yes plz.

Here are some pictures of the Tournament, primarily deployment and some battle pics.  Of the games played, the Sisters of Battle was the most fun.  I kept chiming in after every transport blow up "MORE SISTERS??" They would NOT go away.  I swear he had 5000 of them.  Crazy battle nuns. 

Hope you enjoyed the pictures.  I have a game against Ogres Wednesday and we'll see how I do with my new Wood Elf list.  There will be blood, oh yes buckets of it.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

2010 'Ard Boyz List for May 16th. Company of the Damned

I think I've finalized the list I'm going to use tomorrow for the 'Ard Boyz 2500 point tournament tomorrow at Ancient Wonders.  I am hoping to be able to remove 2 units a turn and cripple my opponents ability to make their list function how they want it to.  Some people may call this list "beardy" but frankly I don't care, I'm not using any Special Characters nor Aspect Warriors.  This is going to be a straight forward Ulthwe` list of assbeatery!

Company of the Damned - Ulthwe` Eldar Strike Force 2500

HQ: Farseer w/ Runes of Warding, Spirit Stones, Fortune and Doom - 145
6 Warlocks - 4 Destructor, 1 Enhance, 1 Embolden - 210
Transport: Wave Serpent w/ Star Engines and Twin-linked Shuriken Cannons - 115
HQ: Farseer w/ Jetbike, Spirit Stones, Fortune and Doom - 160
6 Warlocks - Jetbikes, 4 Destructor, 1 Enhance, 1 Embolden - 330
Troops: 10 Storm Guardians w/ 2 Flamers
Warlock w/ Enhance - 132
Transport: Wave Serpent w/ Star Engines and Twin-linked Shuriken Cannons - 115
Troops: 10 Storm Guardians w/ 2 Flamers
Warlock w/ Enhance - 132
Transport: Wave Serpent w/ Star Engines and Twin-linked Shuriken Cannons - 115
Troops: 10 Guardian Defenders w/ Scatter Laser
Warlock w/ Embolden  - 125
Transport: Wave Serpent w/ Star Engines and Twin-linked Shuriken Cannons - 115
Troops: 10 Wraithguard
Spiritseer Warlocks w/ Enhance - 396
Heavy: Fire Prism - 115
Heavy: Fire Prism - 115
Heavy: 3 War Walkers w/ twin Scatter Lasers - 180

 Total: 2500

Strengths: 4 Troop selections - 3 of which are in Transports the other being T6 w/ 3+ armor save.
2 Councils - 1 to serve as distraction while the other annihilates.
Opponent psykers must roll 3d6 for psychic tests and anything 12 or higher = perils
2 units can be Doomed a turn
12 Flamer templates - 10 heavy, 2 large templates
Lowest weapon skill - WS3 on War Walkers and Guardian Defenders- everything else is WS4 or higher.
Lowest initiative 4.
Every unit can wound on 2+

 Weaknesses: Guardians as basic troops so entire army sans Wraithguard are S3 and T3.
Must use Multiple units to assault a single unit in order to secure victory.
AP5 autolifts troops out in the open.
3 very expensive units of 300+ points
15 Kill Points in Army.

Overall Strategy:  Take every unit in a transport and blitz forward 36" into opponents deployment zone.  Unload and use Transports as screens to prevent additional assaults.  Use Jetbike Council and Wraithguard defensively to take out outflankers as well as protect Fire Prisms and War Walkers.  Unload everything into 1 unit per turn til it's gone then move onto the next.  Due to defensive strength of Jetbike Council and Wraithguard, I do not have to worry about advancing enemy.  Everything on defense wounds on a 2+ or is Ap2 and wounds on a 2+.  4 Troop selections should be able to hold objectives without being contested if I'm able to secure a corner in opponents deployment zone and move diagonally towards the opposite corner of my deployment zone.  This should provide a large Kill Zone for the Prisms, Walkers, Guardians and Wraithguard as the Storm Guardians and Council dig out my opponents entrenched units.  Every unit except Wraithguard and Walkers remove cover saves due to flamer templates and hopefully if Doom is properly applied I can inflict so many wounds that my opponents dice will fail.

We'll see how it goes!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Wood Elf Modeling and Wild Rider Update

So... I've was looking at my army and realized I have some pretty boring looking Core troops for my Wood Elves.  I was hoping that I would have something that people would look at and go "oh neat" or "Hey that's cool".  So... I have been working on making some of the Wood Elf Glade Guard a bit more dynamic looking and hopefully after these new models are painted I'll be willing to redo the other 20 and have them all fancy looking and what not.
Anyway here are some WIP of my new Glade Guard and some Wild Rider conversion pictures:
I have painted the cloaks Codex Grey and the hair Blazing Orange here.

Here is an example of some of the Talismanic Tattoos that the Wild Riders have.  I really enjoyed free-hand painting these little designs and I think I will end up doing these on all my Wardancers and some of my Glade Guard.  Braveheart anyone?

In this pose I cut the knee and greenstuffed a joint and have the Wood Elf Glade Guard vaulting over a tree root to "join the fray".  This was a stupid easy conversion to do.

This is a Glade Guard using a bit from the Citadel Trees box as a "shield" or cover.  This will also double as a Standard Bearer should I ever need to include on in the unit.

This was perhaps my favorite conversion.  I cut the joint and bent his knee then turned his bow sideways so that he is doing the Legolas side shot angle.

This guy is also an easy conversion, all I did was again cut the knee and greenstuff the joint then model him in motion shooting his bow.

Here is how the unit of 10 Glade Guard will look when on their movement tray.  You will notice I have put some of my normal "Scouts" into this unit because I have already replaced my normal Scout models with another set I picked up today.  Overall, I'm pleased with how easy this conversion was to do and will more than likely end up doing this for all my Glade Guard in the future.  Thank you GW for making non-metal Core choices.  Soooo much easier to pose.

Finally, I purchased a set of Privateer Press "Reeves of Orboros " box which is used for their Warmachine and Hordes game system.  (The stags from the Wild Rider conversion also come from this system.)  While they do actually have pointy ears (yay) they do use double crossbows but ... Grats my new Scout models - I'd rather them be different looking than my normal Glade Guard so that my opponent doesn't confuse them (and also so that *I* do not forget about using them).  I really like these models and when peer pressure finally kicks in (I'm looking at you Roy and Shawn) I'll start a Circle of Orboros Hordes army.  Til then it's Happy Fantasy Warhammer time!

I've got an 'Ard Boyz tournament on May 16th that I am hoping to be rotated into.  I was the 3rd alternate on the waiting list at Ancient Wonders but hopefully some folks won't show up and I can unleash my 2500 point Ulthwe` Guardian army!

More updates to come later, thanks for reading!