Sunday, 29 June 2014

Waagghhheeeeerrree do we go from here?

So, the new Ork codex is out and I've had a quick look through it, plus had plenty of time to appreciate the look of the new models that have been dribbling out over the last few weeks (whilst having no idea how they'd play and if I wanted them, so instead I spent my money on X-Wing this month, your loss GW)

Having looked at all they have on offer, I feel that my current Ork army has been mistreated somewhat. My usual warlord, Wazzdakka, gone. My using of Wazzdakka to make Bikers Troops, gone with him. The bikes being out of Fast attack to free up plenty of spots for Stormboyz, deffkoptas, dakkajets etc, gone. And the small units of boyz in truks barrelling towards the enemy, well it seems the new mob rules will encourage Ork players to take large units of orks... which won't fit in truks. Truks are now the specialists ride, Boyz are either Battlewagons or on foot. It leaves the look and feel of my entire Ork army a bit battered, and hoping for a Speed Freaks supplementary codex at some point in the future to bring them back to their glory... that is in my wishlist with a Catachan codex, so who knows when these will arrive.

In the meantime, I'll still want to play Orks. And they've got all sorts of shiny new toys that I DO like... but just don't fit into a speed freaks army. I love the new Meks guns, but we don't need Artillery pieces holding us back. I like the new Meganobz kits, but a unit with the "slow and purposeful" rule does not make an ideal bedfellow with a speed freaks army. Sure you can give them a transport, but it just doesn't feel like the big buggers would fit the theme...

So I have been thinking of taking a new direction with any future Orks I paint. I still have a job lot to do that I picked up cheaply from a friend who was quitting 40k (again, already looking to get back into it less than a year later) so perhaps they can be the core of a new, second force. From a different tribe.

The two other tribes I have looked at and liked have been the Deffskulls and the Bad Moons. I played around with some lists tonight, and with the deffskulls I picked what I wanted and got to roughly 1700 points. I normally aim for 2k. By this time I'd filled my HS and my HQ, had more than the minimum troop requirement, and had at least one of anything associated with Deffskulls... Lootas, Looted Wagon, Tankbustas, Meks. The problems? Well, for one, not enough points. Two, that looted wagon is the only vehicle in it apart from a flyer, so will be dead turn 1 guaranteed. And Three, there was an awful lot of shooting in the list. Sure, it can work for the Orks, don't get me wrong... but it didn't feel like why I wanted to play Orks. I got Speed Freaks to go rushing towards the enemy and headbutt them. If I want to sit back and shoot, well I've got my guard for that. Now admittedly half the time I send my guard rushing across the field to headbutt someone, but just because they attempt something out of their comfort zone doesn't mean these guys have to as well.

Which brings us to the Bad Moons. The list came to around the 2k mark. It's based around Ghazkull (or a Bad Moon counts as) and a big unit of MegaNobz plus meks in a pimped out Battlewagon, flanked by Battlewagons of Boyz. I've got some of the new traktor kannons in the list, as well as a dakkajet, some deffkoptas, and some boys and grots on foot to mind home side objectives.

There are some downsides to Bad Moons. For one, all that YELLOW. That is intimidating to paint. But with the new paints from Games Workshop I've heard it is easier now... I may have to do some test models to see just how easy it has become to see if this is something I could feasibly do. The other downside is that I was considering basing the second ork army in the same way as the first, so that both tribes could be part of a greater waaaaagh on the same iceworld if I wanted to. But I think the bright yellow bad moons would look better against a darker base colour, and the snow splatter effect that looks good up my bright red truks wouldn't look quite as effective on a yellow battlewagon. Dark mud sprayed up the side of a bright yellow vehicle, different story. So perhaps it may be time to give the poor Vahallens some rest, and to take my Waaagghing elsewhere for a while. Of course, only time (and a test model or two) will tell. If I can't do Bad Moons, I'm likely to return to the Deffskulls... and Blue works just fine on an ice world...

*Pictures of Deffskulls and Bad Moons borrowed from ebay, apologies if I've picked up someone elses models, as explained in the post above I haven't painted any of my own in these colours yet and wanted something illustrative.

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

First game of 7th: Review

Last night I played my first game of 7th edition, including the use of the new "Tactical Objectives" cards. We didn't quite do it right as we only had one deck, and technically whilst one person can't draw the same objective twice, each opponent could do so - sharing a deck meant that once an objective was gone it was gone for both. However we found simply drawing cards from the deck to be far quicker than rolling on the tables and marking down which had been used or not.

With that small modification taken into account, I have to say 7th edition looks great. This game was the most fun game I've had of 40k in ages. Now admittedly part of that was due to some random shots with a Manticore providing some entertainment, but I put more of it down to the feel of the game. Instead of simply looking to blast my opponents scoring units off the table for a few turns then get into a good position about turn 4/5 I had to react to what the tactical objectives threw up. Sure I might have a nice firebase, but if I can rush out and secure objective 4 I can earn a point. It made the game into a far more fluid affair. My opponent had started to advance his entire army towards me, but he got the chance to score on his own objective, so nipped some units back to do so. The game felt far less predictable, and because we were scoring as we went along we both felt like we were always in the game.

The psychic phase is a good mechanic. No more do you look across at your opponent throwing blessings around and feel you have no part to play. Now you can deny his power even if they don't effect you, both players are involved in the psychic phase - even if you have no psykers, you still have to choose which power to throw your dice at to try to stop. The fact that you throw more dice at a power means you're more likely to get perils, which are a lot worse, so the ability to get more powers off is tempered by the inherent risk involved in such an approach.

There were no flyers of FMCs in this game so we didn't playtest the changes to their rules, so I can't comment on that just yet.

If the rumours be true and they are bringing out race specific tactical objective cards that allow you to modify your deck to something more suitable to your army, I think that will add a fantastic dynamic to the game. I eagerly await the Ork release to confirm these rumours.

As for the game, well I was up against a tough army. Wraithknight, 2 wraithlords, 3 units of wraithguard a unit of fire dragons and a spiritseer, all in 4 wave serpents. I had brought a Manticore, a Wyvern, and a couple of 50 man blob squads. Yarrick was in the army, but as I had a Company Command too they were in charge. Nork Deddog was looking after the warlord, I also had a couple Divination level 2 Psykers and a couple priests. By blobbing the squads, I would have two 50 man blobs that the priests would make reroll to hit and possibly reroll to wound in combat whilst automatically passing all morale checks. The psykers were using their powers to give the squads reroll to hit, and one squad could also be given fire overwatch at full BS and another good power I had was ignore cover. Then when you threw in the orders that could give me tank hunter, monster hunter, or perhaps split fire, or ignore cover for the other squad if need be... those units presented quite the threat. I had the company commands loaded with flamers in chimeras, and I had a couple lascannon heavy weapon teams too. The blobs had missile launchers and flamers.

I set up aggressively but my opponent seized the initiative, and then took First Blood to take the lead. He also drew TO44, score D3 objectives for controlling any three objectives. Start of turn 1 with an Eldar army, that was very easy to do, and he scored a 3. 4-0 halfway through turn 1. In return I was already sat on objective 5 so got one for sure, and while my opponent had just taken objective 3, it was with the firedragons... they didn't have Objective Secured, whereas my infantry platoon command section did - they nipped up and stole the objective for a second point. 4-2 to Dale at the end of turn 1.

Turn 2 saw Dale with a bad draw as he moved forwards, and unable to complete any objectives this turn. He had however moved his army forwards, leaving him only holding two objectives. I was sitting on three of them, and drew TO45 giving D3 for controlling twice as many objectives as my opponent. A swift chimera advance onto an uncontested objective secured this for me, but I rolled a disappointing 1... Dale still leads 4-3. This turn also had a critical point when his wraithknight tried to assault my blob squad. Overwatch fire took it down a wound, leaving it with 2 (it had lost 3 the previous shooting phase) but it was assaulting my grav wave generator needing a 4... and rolled a 4. Half the roll, failed charge. Phew! This was a bit of a turning point, as I then shot and killed said wraithknight, and he could have locked that unit up for quite some time given neither Yarrick nor Nork was around to put anything capable of hurting the thing into the mix.

Turn 3 Dale responded by killing my Wyvern, which was a tactical objective for him that turn. I had TO53 which would give me point for killing enemy units (potentially up to D3+3, but against a small elite army like Dales that was very unlikely to happen.) I grabbed one point for killing one unit. I also scored a point for successfully manifesting a warp power, however I missed out on scoring D3 points for manifesting three as I failed to get a power off on 4 dice! Turn 3, 5-5.

Turn 4 Dale got an easy one, home objective, to retake the lead. I then took back a point for holidng the central objective. Turn 5 Dale nipped round the flank to secure his left objective, and also used his flat out moves and run moves to get three of his units within 12" of his table edge (none of my units were in the same band - TO43) I scored one for again having the central objective. I was desperately trying to get into a Linebreaker position, needing a 4 or more on my run... I got a 2. Dale was winning 8-7 at the end of turn 5...

We rolled...

There was a turn 6. During turn 6 Dale drew several attempts to grab the objectives deep in my deployment zone - no chance. So Dale scored nothing. I then drew a card that would give me one point for getting a unit into Linebreaker, and D3 if I could get three or more units into that position. That would tie the game, and potentially win it... though Linebreaker itself at game end could also win it... but there could always be a turn 7...

The psychic phase proved very useful in this turn. I cast a power that let me sacrifice a TO card and immediately activate a new one. I got TO41 - score a point if all the mysterious objectives have been revealed by the end of the turn. This late in the game, that was done long ago! Tied score even without Linebreaker.

As for the linebreaker gambit,I broke the priest off from the main horde and ran him. He made it. So did the horde. The command section that had narrowly missed out last turn moved into it this turn. That got me three units, the D3 came up with 2. End of turn 6, I'm winning 10-8.

We rolled...

The game ended. Linebreaker gives me an 11-8 win.

This was such a great game and a lot of fun for both me and my opponent. It was really close all the way through and had some fantastic cinematic moments. I am looking forward to more 7th edition.

There was one query...

Jink now says you don't have to move to claim it, however you must declare if a unit or vehicle that is targeted will jink BEFORE rolling to hit. So when I aimed my manticore at one of his wave serpents, he chose to jink. When the Storm Eagle rocket scatted 8 inches and hit another Wave serpent, my opponent and I agreed that as  the To Hit roll had already been made, he couldn't jink. The Wave Sepernt was caught off guard as it were. Luckily for him the shield downgraded it to a glance anyway.

In turn 2 I shot at the same wave serpent, that had moved forward and was now NEXT to the second wave serpent. This time he wanted to jink both. Now you could query if he could choose to jink a vehicle I wasn't actively targeting, but as I had placed my template to try to catch both of them I thought it only fair that I allow both vehicles to jink... which proved to be totally irrelevant as it scattered 7 inches and landed atop a third, non-jinking wave serpent. Again, the serpent shield rescued him. By the time turn 3 came around, it didn't matter where I fired, my opponent was jinking every serpent... "but that one is 27 inches away from the targ..." "I DON'T CARE, I'm jinking anyway" Hell even my guardsmen were ducking when that thing started it's launch sequence.

So that does beg the question, can a vehicle that is not the target of a template attack choose to jink if the template is placed so that it touches it? And can any vehicles in the vicinity choose to jink also, just to be on the safe side? Or do you have to be the actual target of the attack? Your thoughts?

Sunday, 15 June 2014

Musings on Blog War 7

Well, it's all done and dusted, the smoke has cleared and the cannons have been stowed. So what happened at Blog Wars?

Well, the field was a little tougher than I had expected if I'm honest - yes, I know it's a tournament, but Blog Wars started as a hobbyists tournament. It still is for the most part, but there are a few competitive spirits about it has to be said. Then again, it had been 2 years sine my last Blog Wars, so perhaps for everyone else it has been a more gradual adjustment and was more surprising for me. I would still recommend it as a fun day and a friendly atmosphere... however I'm thinking my crazy project armies may not be taken again.

Yes, those crazy project armies like the Star Wars guard and more recently Pirates Vs Ninjas. Taking an army and deliberately working from a self restricted codex to fit a theme, picking units that may serve no particular tactical purpose other than giving you a chance to do a cool conversion (I'm looking at you Beastmaster and Razorwing flocks) and then entering it into a competitive environment, not the best. The Star Wars guard, with my years of Guard experience, I managed to overcome a lot of their inherent flaws and still finish a respectable mid-table. The Dark Eldar army, being only my second game with that army outside of four games of combat patrol, I didn't have that experience to fall back on. I didn't come last... a victory in the final game, the fight for the wooden spoon, avoided that fate. But 36 out of 38 is still rather poor. The Star Wars guard went in for the wooden spoon fight in the final game of the last Blog Wars, but I stonked my opponent so convincingly I ended up mid table. Not so this time. I kept away from the spoon and managed to put one more person in my wake, but that is it.

This taking of bad armies can best be summed up by the reaction of one of the other gamers, who I overheard admiring my army at the army judging table. Sure there were comments about the cool conversions, but what pricked my ears up was the comment "Wow he brought Mandrakes, he should get a bonus point just for that!" Now given Mandrakes are gorgeous models, I didn't think his "pity point" had anything to do with the look of the army. It's chances on the field of battle on the other hand...

So let's look at those Mandrakes. They're a cool idea, they've got a nice little shooting attack before running in to finish off the survivors. One problem... they need a pain token to use the shooting attack. Something they need to kill something to get. And chances are, by the time you've run these guys through a round of combat, there won't be many left to enjoy the shooting attack anyway. I sent one squad after an easy target in the first game, a squad of scouts. I outnumbered him 2:1, I was an assault unit, all he had in his favour was cover, meaning I'd be Initiative 1 for the first round of combat. I thought I could handle that. Several turns later my 5 surviving Mandrakes fled from the combat having killed 1 scout, and were promptly gunned down by the rest of his army, which by that point had tabled me and were waiting for me with itchy trigger fingers. Once they have a pain token they become immeasurably better, so starting them with a haemonculus would be a good idea. Except if you do that, they now can't infiltrate. Gah! About the best I could do with them was have the Cronos hurt something, toss the resultant pain token to the Mandrakes, then they could fire. That little trick was handy, and if I was going to expand the army I may repeat it... but the Cronos can't infiltrate, so is playing catch up with the mandrakes it is supposed to be supporting from the get go.

How about Khaerendahahahakkahak or whatever his name is? He starts with a pain token, is beefy in assault, and he gets to arrive Marbo esque wherever you like, preferably (according to the codex) with an evil chuckle. I can imagine him appearing, leering at his target, and whispering "I'm going to cut your head off... Next turn." At which point the target simply turns and shoots Kharendekekeheke in the head. Having a unit that is primarily designed for assault turn up and not charge is pretty useless. I mean, at least Marbo (lord rest his redacted soul) would turn up and throw a demo charge... this guy turns up and throws two str 4 ap 4 shots. Woo. If they gave this guy IC status it would make him AND Mandrakes miles better. Have a couple squads of Mandrakes advance on the enemy, when this guy becomes available he deploys and JOINS a squad. They then have a pain token. Sure they can't assault this turn because he just arrived from reserve, but they can then all bloody shoot. Two str 4 ap 4 shots isn't that impressive, but twenty two might make a dent... It would also give Kherwhatsisface some ablative wounds so that, god forbid, he may make it into combat. The only time I got him into combat this tournament was when a unit of Mandrakes tied up some marines for several turns (with pain token from Cronos to keep them in the fight) and I hid him behind a unit of Wyches that Mephiston duly slaughtered... freeing the way up for K-K to go bail the mandrakes out of the shit they were in.

So what about the actual games? Well first up I was against a Space Wolf/Space Marine list that included 7 drop pods... the marine contingent being a Stormraven and Stormtalon. This was over as a contest by turn 2. His drop assault on me took out my ravager (and 3 of only 7 strength based weapons in my entire army) and I remember looking at the situation and thinking "I could maybe just about deal with all of this... IF this was it. But no, there's more..." My overzealous scourges picked off a drop pod for some easy points, the resultant explosion killing four out of the five. Just felt like it wasn't going to be my morning. It was over as a contest by turn 2. My opponent seemed willing to accept my concession, but we had plenty of time and for tournament integrity I played on. I had a quad gun, Kharededeekeke and 5 mandrakes locked in combat with some scouts. I basically hoped I may pick off some scouts for some bonus VP. Couldn't even manage that. Tabled by turn 4.

Game 2 was against Tau/Space Marines, a squad of White Scars bikers providing some fast moving aggression that complemented the Tau gunline nicely. I hoped to get First Blood after putting 10 wounds on a 5 man pathfinder squad, but seeing him pass 8 of the 10 5+ cover saves was somewhat galling. Especially when those pathfinders, that hadn't even had the decency to go to ground, markerlighted my mandrakes and stripped cover from them, allowing them to be annihilated by the Tau firepower. I also hoped my wyches may tie up his riptide in combat (shardnets reducing it to a single attack per turn, the 4+ dodge keeping me alive as long as possible, the agoniser wounding on a 4+ hopefully picking at it... I didn't expect to win, just to stop him from shooting a few turns) but after enduring the firepower from several Tau units I then failed a 6" charge, with fleet. FFS. This was over as a contest by turn 5, but I kept playing again for tournament integrity, hoping that my solitary suriving model may kill the marines in his turn so I could charge his firewarriors and contest one objective in my turn. My opponent was hoping I'd kill the marines in my turn so that his entire army, sat on objectives and pointing their guns at my back, could finish the tabling. It was not to be... I couldn't kill the sodding marine. Was going for the instant kill on the bike commander, the sole survivor. Missed with Smash. Failed to wound with Smash. Missed with Smash. Failed to wound with Smash. Then hit... wounded... passed his bloody Iron Halo save. Which was largely irrelevant as this was turn 7 and game done anyway. So this game was an improvement... I had yet again given away maximum VP, but at least this time I was one wound from being tabled, instead of tabled.

Game 3 was the fight for the wooden spoon. Ken asked after, if I was tempted to throw the game so that I got something, and I said no. I didn't really want to finish last, and I felt it would ruin tournament integrity to deliberately throw a game... particularly just for a spoon and a £5 gift certificate. If the Imperial Knight that was the top raffle prize had been for coming last, then perhaps I may have wavered... which would have made for an interesting game as two armies tried to avoid landing near objectives whilst trying to accidentally give away FB/StW with failed dangerous terrain rolls!

Anyway, this was a good matchup for me, as I had been worried in this mission that someone could blast away my scoring units easily, then sit at their leisure and rack up Tournament points while I had bugger all I could do about it. My best hope was that my opponent would let me get into a nice protracted fight near the objectives with my scoring units. Which my assault marine blood angel opponent duly did. This was an interesting mission with objectives scoring every turn, which meant that by turn 3 I had built up enough of a lead (and reduced my opponents scoring units such) that he didn't think he could catch me. I agree he'd have struggled, though he could have done far better earlier on, when consolidating from a combat he won, he moved for his next turns charge... he should have moved to score a point off the objective, then deal with next turns charge NEXT turn. You're jump infantry, I'm not gonna outrun you! A few times I saw he could have claimed/contested objectives from consolidate moves but didn't. He also left his scouts awaiting their fate at the hands of the mandrakes for far too long... he should have run them out towards the objective. The extra distance alone would have delayed my assault, possibly even long enough for his Sternguard to chew up my Mandrakes before I reached him (they certainly chewed them up AFTER I'd killed them)

Anyway, a few mistakes from my opponent, and some careful play on my part, meant that my bedraggled force of idiots managed to claim one win before they are confined to my display shelf. Good for them. Though it has to be said, I'm glad it was a 5 turn game... he had a unit of Sternguard and half a squad of Sanguinary guard left, in control of MY quad gun. Oh, and a drop pod. I had two immobilised scratched raiders (pointing in useless directions I might add) and one ravage left alive. I think if it had been standard random game length, I might well have been tabled if it had gone to 7 turns. Maybe, maybe not. But I certainly could not have tabled my opponent... 2 turns to kill three targets (totalling 10 marines and a vehicle) with 3 shots per turn. You do the math.

As for the Pirates vs Ninjas, I was a little disappointed that I didn't get ANY votes in the best army contest... but to be fair, I have a cool theme, and am proud of my conversions, but the full title is Best PAINTED Army, and there were other works of a far higher standard than my own, so I cannot really complain. Though it was a little irksome when my opponent for game two was surprised to see my army and asked why I hadn't entered it into the contest... I told him I did and said where I'd put it... and he hadn't realised there was a second table, he'd have voted for me otherwise. Gee, thanks! I don't think this would have made much difference in the longrun, even if several people made the same mistake. It perhaps would have cost the beautiful tyranid army on the same table a critical vote or two (came second by one vote) but to me it would have made little difference. Ah well, I shall have to simply enjoy the many compliments my army got throughout the day.

As for another crazy project? Well despite this one going very long and me having to force myself to finish, the first thing I thought when I did finish was "What next?" Maybe I'm a glutton for punishment. However, I need to study 7th a bit more, there's an Ork codex round the corner, much to decide. And after the pirates dismal showing, perhaps I should design an army first and jerry rig a theme round it after this time? Or at the very least, stick to a codex I know well. Hell, I could even pick an army and just try to do a nice, high quality paintjob on it, rather than going for wacky outlandish pop culture references. All sound ideas in theory, but I know me, I'll probably do something silly at some point. I may try to postpone the crazy urges by painting some UCM Dropzone Commander forces to look like Aliens Colonial Marines, apart from the scout buggies, which will be in the desert colours of Dark Knight Rises (except one which of course comes in black...)

In the meantime, watch this space, and if you can make it to a future Blog Wars, do so. I won't be at 8, too much going on at that time of year, but I can perhaps make 9...

Saturday, 14 June 2014

Yarr, weigh anchor!

We be sailin the seas at Blog Wars 7, normal service will resume when the parley be over and the rum be all gone...

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Longstrike completed

The final piece of the painting for blog wars 7 is my special character, Longstrike. Now completed. This means that all i have to do is base a few models tonight and my painting is finished. This will mark the first blog wars that I have attended and will not be up until 3am the previous morning to finish off my painting.

Monday, 9 June 2014

Blog Wars 7 Army

That time of half year is upon us again. I'm looking to keep up to my trend of making every odd numbered blog wars. 1st one i took my Tau and came a respectable third place, since then I've taken my tyranids to 3 and 5. Though a couple of bad matchups left me in the mid / lower table regions.
This time I am heading back to the roots and taking my tau force. This will be my first outing in a semi competitive environment with the new codex. Ive had precious few games with the army in 6th edition, so should be interesting to see how I do.
With blog wars being one of the friendly tournaments I am avoiding using the nastier builds available, missile spam and ovesastar spring to mind, and I'm limiting myself to one riptide.
Previously i took farsight as my special character, though he doesn't really fit in with a shooting force, although he has his uses for deepstriking a killer bodyguard, and could be teamed with a space marine librarian for gating about. This strikes me as a bit of a dodgy tactic, so farsight is out for this year.
Shadowsun would have made a good commander for the army, and while i like the idea of a stealth shrouded riptide, that also strikes me as a little too competitive for blog wars. So I'm settling for longstrike and his railcannon. I think that having the tankhunter on it will help considerably with av14, of which it looks like there will be quite a few at blog wars with lots of Pasks about.
So my army will consist of the following:

Commander with iridium, puretide, missile pod and fusion.
Riptide with ion, velocity tracker, early warning and SMS.
3x crisis suits with 2x missile pods
3x crisis suits with missile/plasma (1 fusion)
9 firewarriors
9 firewarriors
6 firewarriors
10 kroot
10 kroot
Hammerhead, with railcannon and longstrike
Hammerhead with railcannon
Broadsides with heavy rail rifles and SMS.

Of course this isn't fully extensive and there are a few additional items scattered about. However it shows the bulk of what will be on the field.

Just got to finish painting them now. :)