Wednesday, 6 September 2017

The Ynnari Problem

I'm saying it:-

The Ynnari are a problem!

The issues I had with the army in 7th Edition have not changed in 8th. In fact, while attempts have been made in the Index to weaken them. The issue is being able to take extra actions. Not only in your own turn but in your opponents turn. I've played several games with the army now, and feel confident in this assessment.

Strength From Death

In a nutshell - When a unit dies, a Ynnari unit with this rule within 7" can immediately take an extra action. Each unit death can only trigger one Ynnari unit. Each Ynnari unit can only use this ability once per turn. The extra actions are
  • Move or Fall Back, as if it was the movement phase, you can even Advance if you wish
  • Attempt to cast a Psychic Power, as if it was the psychic phase
  • Make a Shooting attack, as if it was the shooting phase, even if it Advanced or Fell Back
  • Charge, as though it was the charge phase, even if it Advanced or Fell Back. The opponent can Overwatch as normal.
  • Fight, as if it was the fight phase
You can choose freely from these options as long as the unit is able to actually perform the action. Obviously, you can't manifest a Psychic Power if you aren't a Psyker, you can't Charge if there is nothing in range, etc. Essentially though, you can do what ever option is tactically best for the unit Soulbursting, and it doesn't matter what phase of the game you trigger in.

Fire Dragons can destroy a Vehicle with their Fusion Guns, then Soulburst to shoot the second one. Or that death can allow a unit of Banshees to move closer to the enemy to guarantee a successful charge in the charge phase.

Of course, it's dependant on getting that kill. Leave one model in the unit alive, and no Soulburst for you. But wait, in your opponents turn (or your fight phase) when one of your units die, you can trigger Soulburst and take any of the above actions. Lose a unit to shooting and retaliate with another unit. Or move the second unit out of range/line of sight. Enough triggers can allow you essentially an extra turn during your opponents turn, and if you are really lucky, an extra turn during your own. While it may be costing you units, you can sometimes take 3 effective turns to your opponents 1.

Changes Made

In an attempt to weaken the Ynnari between 7th and 8th, a few changes were made.

Firstly, it was restricted to Infantry and Biker units. In 7th, Wraithknights could Soulburst, which is as horrendous as it sounds. Now you are limited in what units can do it. Also, you cannot Soulburst from your own Transport dying while you are in it.

As Morale has changed, you cannot Soulburst if the last model in a unit is removed due to Morale. This is because the model is fleeing the Battlefield, not dying. It also makes the Morale phase one where Soulburst is unlikely to happen.

The FAQ changed the army composition to have the units in a Detachment to have to all have the Ynnari keyword. No more mixing them in with your Aeldari to take the best units with the best abilities. Some Harlequin units are better with Rising Crescendo for instance.

Razorwing Flocks got changed. Their points value and minimum squad size were both increased as they were a cheap source of sacrificial units to trigger Soulburst.

Finally, an update to the FAQ stated that not only did your Detachment have to all have the Ynnari keyword, but it has to be lead by one of the Ynnari characters.

Were these changes enough?

No.

The change in which units could Soulburst only affected the Wraithknight and the Wraithlord. Everything else that can't do it, couldn't in 7th. It's only those two that are hit. Activating a Wraithknight again is a scary prospect, so this change has been positive.

The Morale rule fits the flavor of both rules, so seems fine. It does remove a phase that Soulburst can happen in.

Those two changes are positive. How much of an effect they have seems minimal though.

Changing the keyword requirement is interesting. In theory, it stops you min-maxing your unit selection. In practise, Strength from Death is actually better than the other options. There are arguments to be made for Rising Crescendo, but timely Soulburst makes a difference. Power From Pain takes time to kick in and the "Feel No Pain" aspect seems counter to wanting your units to die. Battle Focus is.... Not good. I think the rule needs altering or the Asuryani need altering to take more advantage of it. But that's a topic for another day. The extra actions from Strength From Death easily outweigh them all.

Removing the cheapest way of triggering it doesn't change much. People using that tactic will just move to the next cheapest option. It's something being shown across all the factions, as large units of cheap models are being used to screen characters and hold objectives. The problem here is using minimum size units as fodder though. Forcing your opponent to kill the unit, either by throwing it into combat or screening a character they want to kill. This gives the Ynnari a bit more control of when and where Soulburst triggers.

Finally, and most recently, for your army to be Ynnari, it has to contain and be lead by either Yvraine, the Visarch or the Yncarne. I'm sure this change meant well. They even updated the Visarch to have an invulnerable save since he has a Forceshield modelled onto his wrist.

It's crap. I haven't used the Yncarne as it's a little expensive and the Visarch still looks the worst on paper. However, Yvraine is the cheapest, gets to cast 2 of the Ynnari exclusive powers a turn, gets +1 to cast and deny rolls. I've seen one player use her to give a squad of Dark Reapers the ability to re-roll 1s on hit rolls, then Soulburst to shoot in the Psychic Phase. This essentially used her and the 6 Reapers to act like an Autarch and 12 Reapers, every turn. For less than the cost of 12 Reapers! I'm sure there are more efficient uses for her.

How do I think this problem could be fixed? 

Firstly, if nothing else, Battle Focus needs looking at. Currently competitive Asuryani armies are entering tournaments as Ynnari because Strength From Death is clearly a better option and they lose nothing making the switch. Having to make your Warlord one of two powerful Psykers whom are decent in assault isn't a cost, it's a bonus. With this weeks announcement that the Craftworld Codex is coming in the next 5, it's possible that this step has already been taken. So in that regard, it's a case of wait and see. Hopefully it will either return the functionality of the rule to allowing a movement after shooting or the range of units that benefit from the rule will increase. There are too many non-Assault weapons in the Index list for many units to actually use Battle Focus.

Secondly, release an Ynnari Codex. This would allow you to print a conclusive list of units that are allowed the keyword, and then give them an appropriate points cost. A unit with the ability to trigger Soulburst is clearly more powerful than an equivalent unit that can't. You can also scale the point increase based on the units ability to destroy targeted units. A unit of Fire Dragons or Wraithguard is going to have an easier time killing a Vehicle or Monster and triggering it's own Soulburst that a unit of Dire Avengers. Especially as the range of their weapons means that most of the time they will be within 7" of a target anyway.

You can't make them too expensive however, as different units are designed to kill different targets with varying degrees of efficiency. It is clear though that the potential for a unit with D-Scythes to kill a small unit, then kill another in your turn plus killing a unit on Overwatch, then another unit in your opponent's turn is very powerful. Obviously that requires your opponent to have four units close enough to the Wraithguard, but some armies like World Eaters and Harlequins are assault-based and can't help it.

While there is an argument for the competitive meta settling on counter-units and counter-tactics (while hoping the Ynnari don't adapt), the army is not fun to play with or against in a casual setting. You can say "Just don't play the army in casual games" but with the focus on Narrative-esque play with campaigns like Konor, and the Gathering Storm leaving Iyanden firmly in the Ynnari camp, that's not a great solution in the long term. It never feels good when you stomp an opponent in a very lopsided game, shrug your shoulders at their discomfort and say "Sorry, but the army is actually flavourful".

The previous flavour of Aeldari armies, especially Asuryani, was powerful units but an inability to handle a battle of attrition. With the Ynnari, you get powerful units and a mechanic that punishes your opponent the longer an attrition battle goes on.


Saturday, 19 August 2017

X Wing Store Championships 2017

Today is our X-Wing Store Championships. 18 players registered, but due to last-minute cancellations, only 15 entered. Here is the during/after action report.






The Players

So, we had 15 players at the event. Of those, 8 were local/regular players. 3 were returning after last years Store Champs, and the rest were new to my events. That's quite a good mix, though obviously, I'm hoping one of our regulars takes the prize. One of them, Matt Vicary has already won a Champ title this season. He's hoping to make it a second, although the Bye at Regionals passes down if he does so. Surprisingly, we have managed an even mix of faction, with 5 players of each.

The Lists

Scum and Villainy

  • Asajj Ventress, Palob Godalhi and Manaroo (Graham Ebsworth)
  • Dengar and Zuckuss (Jack West)
  • Dengar, Fenn Rau and Inaldra (Tim Greenaway)
  • Bossk and Tel Trevura (Shaun Rich)
  • Ketsu Onyo and Asajj Ventress (Sean O'Neil)
Rebellion/Resistance
  • Ahsoka Tano, Captain Nym and Poe Dameron (Sam Crosby)
  • Bandit Squadron Pilot and 4 x Rookie Pilot (Richard Greenaway)
  • Wullffwarro, Biggs Darklighter, Captain Rex and Gray Squadron Pilot (Simon Greenaway)
  • Miranda Doni, Biggs Darklighter and Lowhhrick (Paul Cadwell)
  • Han Solo and Poe Dameron (Matt Coles)
Imperial/First Order
  • Quickdraw, Backdraft and 2 x Academy Pilot (Mat Vicary)
  • Whisper and 2 x Shadow Squadron Pilot (Nick Turner)
  • Countess Ryad, Darth Vader, Dark Curse and Academy Pilot (Marty Vicary)
  • The Inquisitor, Colonel Vessery and Omega Leader (Jon Vicary)
  • Quickdraw, Backdraft and Colonel Vessery (Ian Atrill)
No copycat lists. No pilot appearing in more than 2 lists. A very diverse set of squads. I'll do a later post featuring some of the details on the lists. It's impressive to see such diversity at a Store Champs event, especially so close to UK Nationals.

Top 4

 These are the lists and players that made the top cut
  • Dengar, Fenn Rau and Inaldra (Tim Greenaway)
  • Bandit Squadron Pilot and 4 x Rookie Pilot (Richard Greenaway)
  • Dengar and Zuckuss (Jack West)
  • Miranda Doni, Biggs Darklighter and Lowhhrick (Paul Cadwell)

Two Scum, two Rebel. The highest Imperial list came 5th, so it's not too bad. Of course, father and son get paired against each other in the semi final. Interestingly, only Dengar is in both matches.

Final

These two made it to the final
  • Bandit Squadron Pilot and 4 x Rookie Pilot (Richard Greenaway)
  • Miranda Doni, Biggs Darklighter and Lowhhrick (Paul Cadwell)
An all Rebel final. It's really interesting to see the list with 4 X-Wings do so well. Shame he had to knock out the 12-year-old in the semis. Tim is a really good player, and will presumably only get better with age and time.

The final has been a textbook in blocking a ship to take it apart with the rest of your force. First Biggs, then Lowhhrick fell. Miranda is starting to clean up though.

The X-Wing swarm won!

 In a game where the humble X-Wing is considered bad, to see a group of them with Rookie Pilots win is really something. Watching him fly in the final, he is really practised with those ships and knows exactly what he wants to get out of them.

Congratulations Richard, and good luck at Nationals.

Thursday, 17 August 2017

The Ynnari go to Konor

I've been busy. Spent the best part of 5 days in Birmingham, and the time leading up to that getting ready for the trip. This means I missed week 3 of the Konor campaign, and am running behind posting about week 2. Here is my abbreviated report.

Becoming "That Guy"

For the second week of Konor, the scenario wanted heavily armoured, Elites. I lack very few Elite options currently, due to not having many of the Aspect Warriors. Also, people were wanting small games the day I was available. Only 1000 points, allowing us to get multiple games in. Final factor in becoming "That Guy", was I only had a short time period for army building.

This lead me down the path of the Ynnari.


1000 point Ynnari Army

  • Yvraine
  • Spiritseer
  • 5 Wraithguard with D-Scythes
  • 5 Wraithguard with D-Scythes
  • 5 Wraithblades with Ghostaxes and Forceshields
  • War Walker with Shuriken Cannons
Verdict

This army was disgusting. I played two games that day, one against World Eaters and one against Sisters of Battle. While short ranged, both the opposing armies wanted to close the gap. This meant lots of opportunity for Overwatch and plenty for death in range for Soulburst triggers.

D-Scythes are deadly. D3 shots each with S10, AP-4, D1 makes a mess of small units of Marines. This then allows you to turn on Strength from Death and make a mess of another one.

Having to take Yvraine as the Warlord meant access to exceptional Psychic powers, with a +1 to the Cast and Deny rolls. A better version of Smite and Soulbursting a unit during the Psychic phase are among the best powers I've seen.

I apologise to my opponents. They weren't deserving of the punishment.

But I will do it again.....

Fate of Konor - Astaramis Mission Report

The battle was played and the result is in.....

Here is my after action report, a reflection on what went wrong and what went according to plan. My notes get sketchier as the game went on, as is usual my note taking falls off as I get engrossed in a game. If I want to keep reporting on games, I need to improve on this.

Army Summary

  • Troupe Master
  • Shadowseer
  • Troupe
  • Troupe
  • Troupe
  • Troupe
  • Solitaire
  • Wraithblades
  • Skyweavers
  • Hemlock Wraithfighter
  • Wave Serpent
1499 points/power level 84

My plan was simple, hope to not have the initiative seized, leap into my opponent's army and cripple them before they have a chance to fight back. Use the alpha strike and my Psychic powers to minimise my casualties and then it's a case of surviving til the end of the game. With the speed of my units, and their ability to ignore terrain and models while they move, I should be able to pick and choose my targets.

This plan ended up facing an army of Dark Angels

The Enemy


  • Azrael
  • Chaplain
  • 10 Tactical Marines, Plasma Gun, Missile Launcher
  • 10 Tactical Marines, Plasma Gun, Missile Launcher
  • 5 Veterans
  • Rhino
  • 10 Scouts, Sniper Rifles, Camo Cloaks, Missile Launcher
  • Venerable Dreadnought
  • 5 Ravenwing Bikers
A formidable force.  A solid wall of Tactical Marines to provide firepower, Scouts to snipe characters and a Dreadnought to deal with heavier stuff all with re-rolls and an Invulnerable save from Azrael. Ravenwing to flank and the Veterans with Chaplain in a Rhino to counter-attack.

The Game

As per the Scenario, we took it in turns to deploy. The majority of our forces were on one flank, my force setting up opposite his. He had some decent tall terrain, but there was a convenient large building for me to try and get into cover. Our flankers ended up opposite as well, the Ravenwing close to the centre, my Skyweavers opposite them and my Wraithfighter further along that flank. With both armies set up, and me due to go first, Dan rolled to Seize the Initiative and failed.

Round One

My Turn

I had very decent Advance rolls, allowing me to get the majority of my Harlequins up to and behind the large building. The Wave Serpent used it's Star Engines to scream right up to his force, and the Skyweavers claimed the Bastion near the centre. The Wraithfighter moved to the corner and turned to face his army, ready to start strafing runs.

Psychic time, most of my powers were out of range. The Shadowseer used Twilight Pathways on the Solitaire, allowing me to threaten a first turn charge. The Wraithfighter cast Smite and, rolling first an 11 to cast and then a 4 for the Mortal Wounds, killed 2 of the Ravenwing.

My shooting phase was the definition of hit and miss. The Skyweavers and Wave Serpent fired their Shuriken Cannons into the Scouts, only for the shots to bounce off the cover they were in. That was the miss. The Wraithfighter opened up with it's Heavy D-Scythes, and killed 2 more of the Ravenwing. That was the hit.

The Solitaire charged and wounded the Rhino, taking no damage back and locking it in combat. The last of the Ravenwing failed their Morale test and fled the battlefield, taking a large chunk of points and Dark Angel mobility with them. This ended the turn with 4 of my units in the scoring zone, but plenty of time for them to be killed.

His Turn

The Rhino deployed it's cargo then fell back to get out of combat for future turns. The Venerable Dreadnought moved up, the Wave Serpent the target of it's ire this turn. Everything else stayed still, happy with their firing positions.

With no Psyker, we went straight into the shooting phase. One Troupe of Harlequins took heavy casualties and 1 of the Skyweavers was downed. The Wave Serpent weathered the fire against it. Dan's Missile Launchers were ineffective. The Veterans fired at the Solitaire, but it's Impossible Form proved too much for them.

Assault time. The Veterans and Chaplain successfully charged the Solitaire (they were so close, they couldn't fail) and the Dreadnought did the same to the Wave Serpent. The tank's armour managed to stop two of the blows, meaning it only suffered 6 damage.

I then spent 2 Command Points to interrupt with the Solitaire. Agonising about Caressing the Veterans or Kissing the Chaplain, I went for the former and killed 3 of them. Their return attacks  with the Chaplain and his re-rolls left the Solitaire on 2 wounds, bloodied, but stymieing them. My units passed their Morale and it was time for Round 2.

Round 2

My Turn

Thank Cegorach for Flip Belts and Rising Crescendo. The Solitaire left the combat it was in, and moved up to menace Azrael himself. The remaining Skyweavers and the now 2 man Troupe went after the Rhino and the Wraithblades disembarked, eyeing up the Dreadnought. The Wave Serpent moved behind the enemy line and the Wraithfighter moved up to start strafing the Scouts.

Psychic phase wasn't great. I managed to get Enhance on the Wraithblades, but the Shadowseer Perilled on her first power, which I avoided with a Command Point (but didn't re-roll into a success) and the Periled again on the second power. Luckily she only suffered 1 Mortal Wound.

Shooting phase, I fired in one Tactical Squad, as the Scouts were going to be too hard to shift, with the Shuriken Cannons. Killed a couple for my trouble. The Wraithfighter I think killed 1 Scout, as the Lion Helm protected them from it's mighty guns. The rest of the army either had no ranged attack or had advanced, so it was onto the charges.

The plan kicked into high gear here. One Troupe charged the Tactical Squad on the far Bastion. The Troupe Master and Shadowseer charged the Chaplain. One Troupe charged the Veterans. The 2 man Troupe and the 2 Skyweavers charged the Rhino. The Wraithblades charged the Veteran Dreadnought and the Solitaire charged Azrael himself.

My chargers struck. The Troupe on the Bastion killed a few of the Tactical Marines, losing only 1 of their number in return. The Troupe Master and Shadowseer wounded but didn't kill the Chaplain, taking nothing back. All but 1 Veteran was killed. The Rhino was surprisingly unharmed.

The Wraithblades annihilated the Dreadnought, which promptly blew up taking one of them with it. The Solitaire brought Azrael down to 3 wounds, before dying to the Sword of Secrets. The Marines that got shot lost a couple more of their number to Morale due to the Mindshock Pod on the Wraithfighter. This left me with 9 units in the scoring zone.

His Turn

With the plan in motion, Dan was under a lot of pressure. If his force didn't mount a decent retaliation, it would soon crumble. The Tactical Marines on the ground moved up to tackle the Wraithblades, the Rhino fled combat again and the Scouts prepared to fire. Azrael moved back to widen the reach of his Chapter Master ability and the Lion Helm. Everything else was locked in combat.

His shooting phase killed a Wraithblade. And that was all the shooting. His Missile Launchers were clearly empty. This lead to a short charge phase where the Tactical Marines charged the Wraithblades.

The Assault phase saw more of the Bastion's Marines die, a bunch of the ground Marines die, the last Veteran die and the Chaplain die. The Mindshock Pod took another Marine to Morale.

Round 3 onward

Here, my notes start to let me down. I basically stopped writing and focused on what was going on, so the turn by turn memory is gone. The final Troupe charged the Marines on the Bastion and helped kill them all. The Troupe Leader and Shadowseer charged Azrael, killing him at the cost of my Warlord. The Skyweaver and 2 man Troupe charge and start making a mess of the scouts, and the Wraithblades killed all but 1 Marine. I know that Marine and the last of the Scouts were finished off in my next turn by Smite, the Marine from the Shadowseer and the last 3 Scouts from the Wraithfighter.

Apologies for not taking better notes.

Army Review

Obviously, the force and the plan worked. A testament to coming up with a solid plan, building an army to carry out the plan and then following it. My opponent's dice helped at times, as did some of my own luck. The Ravenwing shouldn't have died so easily and the Dreadnought should have done more damage, not killing the Wave Serpent or injuring any of the Wraithblades.

Troupe Master
The Choreographer of War trait was really useful, even using the unique campaign Stratagem to extend it's range the turn she died. Luckily, she died after everything else had struck. A good choice for Warlord for this sort of force.

Shadowseer 
Having the only Psykers on the table gave me free rein of the phase. Smite was useful, and Twilight Pathways allowed me an early strike with the Solitaire. It was the Shield From Harm trait that was really key. This character is needed for a Harlequin heavy force.

Troupes
Obviously, the only Troops choice in a Harlequins army, they are the recipients of the character's buffs. With 4 attacks each, they are brutally effective in combat for such small numbers. Their weapon options are interesting, I want to experiment more with their load outs.

Solitaire
A decent solo close combat piece, and a great distraction if thrown at the right enemy. I suspect I will often want to find room for one in any Aeldari army. The FAQ has even improved them by adding the <MASQUE> keyword, allowing them to benefit from the Troupe Master and Shadowseer buffs.

Skyweavers
They work best with Shuriken Cannon, as then they can advance, shoot (at -1 to hit) and still charge. The Mirage Launchers and Invulnerable Save help them get to combat. Charging the Rhino was probably a mistake, as they could barely hurt it. Good for hunting smaller characters though.

Wraithblades
These guys are brutal in combat against high toughness, multi-wound models. They are also pretty tough, making Mortal Wounds their bane. I think Axe and Shield is the way to go over twin Swords.

Wave Serpent
For when you have to deliver a unit into the opposing army. This is fast, has decent firepower and can absorb a lot of hits. I must remember to fire the Serpent Shield when it is near the end of it's life though.

Hemlock Wraithfighter
This model is expensive. Over 200 points. That is a lot for 1 model, even with 12 wounds. What you get though...

It moves, fast. It can do a ninety degree turn both before and after it moves to allow you to strafe. It reduces nearby leadership. It is harder to hit with shooting. It is difficult to assault. It doesn't roll to hit. It's weapon is D3 shots, S10, AP-4, D2. It has two of those. It has a 6+ save against all wounds suffered.

Did I mention it is a Psyker? Being able to Smite or cast your chosen Warlock powers is the delicious cherry on this already quite excessive seeming cake. It's is worth all of it's points. Every last one.






Final Thoughts

As my next post will show, I'm not done with the Aeldari yet. I don't even own the variety of units I want yet. However, I really should start looking at the Astra Militarum. Guess time will show what I've played.

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Fate of Konor - Astaramis Army Building

The Fate of Konor worldwide campaign has begun!

This is a campaign being run over the summer by Games Workshop. Each week will be a different mission fought on a different planet as the forces of Chaos attack an Imperial system in the Macragge worlds. Battles using these missions can be played anywhere, and then the results reported to either your local GW store, or any independent store that has registered.

Wins grant victory points to either the Imperials or Chaos, and each planet's winner goes towards dictating not only the course of the campaign, but the ongoing 40K narrative. Not Imperial or Chaos? Then when you win, you can choose to deduct points from the either faction. You can even change which faction you deduct from with each victory. Also, nothing stops you changing your army composition, or even which army you use from game to game. Finally, you can fight each planet as many times as you can fit games in.

Week one is fought on the planet of Astaramis



I have a 1500 point game tomorrow. My opponent is probably playing Dark Angels, while I have a choice of armies. The scenario has an attacker and a defender, with the Imperial player defending. If you are both the Imperial or neither of you are, then you randomly determine. Since, I imagine, the Dark Angels would want to defend I will build a Xenos army to take them on. I'll explain my army building process here and then give an after-battle report later in the week.

I'll probably also remove points from Chaos if I win. Don't want to allow the Ruinous Powers a real space foothold so close to Craftworld Iyanden.

Army Building

First, we have to look at the scenario.


You ideally want to be battle-forged. This will allow you to use Command Points, which then opens up the mission and campaign specific Stratagems. Most people I play insist on battle-forged anyway, and it's the way I prefer to build.

You are separated into attacker and defender. This then determines your victory condition, deployment zone and who goes first. It also determines which of the two mission specific Stratagems you can use, while the planet specific one is available to both of you.

Reserves don't turn up following the standard rules, but instead are delayed by a dice roll system like 7th edition. They also turn up from your board edge, rather than their usual ability.

What does this tell me?


As I'm going to build Xenos, that makes me the Attacker. That means I get points for each unit of mine that ends the game in the Defender's deployment zone. That suggests I want a fast assault army, but also one that can survive til the end of the game.  That could be an issue, as Aeldari tend to be hard hitting, but fragile.

The Attacker's Stratagem favours assaulting as well, though it is made irrelevant by the Harlequin Rising Crescendo rule. The Defender's Stratagem makes Overwatch slightly more reliable for one unit a turn, although 2 points is relatively expensive. I can also try and get around it by overwhelming the opponent with target options. Finally, Inspired Tactics is interesting. Adding 3" to your Warlords abilities for the turn could be key at the right time, dependant on the Warlord chosen and their abilities.

Unpredictable Reserves, and losing the pinpoint deployment they usually have, makes taking units that want to be in reserve undesirable. I will probably avoid such units.

Lets start with the options.


I can either build Asuryani, Harlequins, mixed Aeldari or Ynnari. I can't build Drukhari as I don't have enough units to fill the points total, so they are out of the picture. I don't want to field the Ynnari, as my opponent has been out of the game for a while and Strength From Death doesn't feel very fair. Especially when the mission encourages me to get right into the middle of my opponent's army, making it much easier to trigger multiple times in a turn. Mixed Aeldari gives me a lot of options, so that's what I'll look at.

Unit Choices.


Here I go through the Index and list what units I'd consider using from the ones I own (this section could get long)

Jain Zar - Her War Shout stops Overwatch targeting her. Unfortunately I don't own any Howling Banshees at the moment, which makes her ability less appealing.

Baharroth - Interestingly, if you Skyleap, you aren't in Reserve. This allows models with Hawk Wings to still get to hard to reach spots. This is interesting, and I may consider him.

Autarch - I'll look at this model with Hawk Wings. Leaving the table in the first turn to come back in on turn 2, then using the Inspired Tactics to increase the range of Path of Command could be interesting.

Avatar of Khaine - Re-rolling Charge for friendly units, plus Battle Focus and the Attacker Stratagem could be potent. He also is quite survivable unless the opponent focuses on him. Which then takes heat from the other units.

Farseer Skyrunner - Fast moving Psychic support for the army.

Windriders - Fast moving shooting support.

Fire Dragons - Good at killing Marines and Vehicles, easy to kill in return though.

Wraithblades - An interesting choice, as a harder to kill close combat unit.

Wave Serpent - A hardish to kill Transport for other units.

Hemlock Wraithfighter - Fliers are hard to hit, but this may have trouble being in the opposing deployment zone due to it's minimum move.

Dark Reapers - Their ability to move and fire, and their missile options, make them a solid ranged support unit.

Wraithknight - This unit is everything you could want for the mission, but is a third of my points allowance. In 2000 points I would take him, but he may have to sit the bench in 1500.

Succubus - A close combat character, should be good when backing up the right unit

Reavers - Fast, hard hitting, probably going to make the cut.

Hellions - I like these guys, but they are too fragile for this mission.

Troupe - Close combat, speed and a Troops choice? This unit should be the core of the army.

Troupe Master - Useful for buffing the Troupes.

Shadowseer - Again, a buff for the Troupes and also Psychic support.

Solitaire - A potent close combat model, good at hunting characters and small units. It's even been errated to gain the <Masque> keyword, allowing it to gain buffs from the Troupe Master and Shadowseer.

Skyweavers - Fast, really fast. I want at least one unit of these.

Voidweaver - A mobile firing platform.

Essentially I looked for mobility first, the killing power, then survivability.

Taking one of everything, with base upgrades comes to 2380 points.

Trimming the fat.


I built the list as the Battalion Detachment. I figured that hitting the unit minimums for a Brigade would cost too much, but I want to maximise my Command Points.

Firstly, I have to make sure I hit the minimums. Adding two more Troupes solves that problem, but now puts the total to 2540. I also have 8 HQ selections, so I have to cut 5 of them. First to go is the Avatar. I suspect that I won't have many Asuryani units left after all the cuts, and he is a quarter of the excess points. Jain Zar also gets cut because I don't have Banshees to take full advantage of War Shout. Likewise the Autarch and Farseer leave, as they will suffer similar target problems. Leaving me 1 more HQ to cut, I'll drop the Succubus and with her the Reavers. The total is now 1718.

This leaves me 218 points over limit, and nothing has any upgrades. Dropping the Windriders and the Fire Dragons takes 210 of those points, and removes the most fragile remaining units. However, I do want a second unit of Skyweavers and a second Voidweaver, so that puts us back to being 200 points over.

It's at this point the hard choices start. I want to (assuming I don't have the initiative seized) dump my army into the Defender's deployment zone turn 1, and start hammering units hard so their ability to retaliate is hampered. Then use that mobility to keep the pressure on throughout the game until my opponent is incapable of killing anything, the game has ended or my army is dead. I also have to be careful as each unit I lose gives them a victory point.

That makes me drop 3 units. Firstly, both Voidweavers. Upon reflection they are a little easy to kill, even with small arms fire. And concerted heavy weapons fire can drop them quite easily. Then the Dark Reapers go. They have great killing power, but are slow to move so may not make it into the victory zone in time. This puts me at 1388 points.

Upgrades


Firstly, the Wraithblades. Mine are modelled with Ghost axe and Forceshield, so that is what they will have. This also makes them hit harder and survive longer. To give them mobility, they will be in the Wave Serpent. As one of the few Vehicles in the army, I expect it to take a lot of fire. It's job will be to drop next to a juicy target and deploy the Wraithblades the turn after. Arming it with 3 Shuriken Cannons and Star Engines allows it to Advance further and still have weapons it can fire. Spirit Stones and Vectored Engines, in conjunction with it's Serpent Shield, should help keep it alive longer.

The problem with all that is, while I've created the perfect unit for the mission, I'm now back to being 5 points over. To solve this, I'll remove 1 unit of Skyweavers, but increase the other unit by 1 model. Then replacing their Star Bolas with Zephyrglaives to make them hit harder.

This leaves me 7 points. I still want to add upgrades. To achieve this, I'm going to have to sacrifice something.

Baharroth.

My goal with him in the army is to Skyleap off board turn 1, then reappear at the end to gain a survival victory point, or earlier if needed. 120 points is a lot for an insurance policy, at nearly 10% of the total. Sometimes you have to evaluate an idea and if it's not essential it has to be cut.

Now, with the points left I turn my attention to the Harlequins. The Shadowseer will be stock, as the Neural Disruptor isn't worth the points for 1 shot. Looking at melee options, the Embrace is really good, so I want a full unit of those. This leaves room for another Troupe. Which then leaves me 22 points.

1 model in a Troupe gets an Embrace too. Another in a different Troupe gets a Caress, and so does the Troupe Master. This finally brings us to 1499 points.

Final choices are Psychic and Warlord. The Wraithfighter will have the Enhance/Drain power. Giving either the Wraithblades +1 to hit in combat, or an opposing unit -1 to hit in combat as appropriate. The Shadowseer gets Twilight Pathways to help get the Solitaire where it needs to be and  Fog of Dreams. This targets and enemy unit and gives them -1 to hit if they target Harlequins for shooting and combat, which becomes -2 if the unit is also Drained.

Warlord is the hardest choice. I think I will choose the Troupe Master, and go for the Legendary Fighter Warlord Trait. That extra attack on the charge should make more of a difference than the other choices.

Final Thoughts





So the army is


  • Troupe Master
  • Shadowseer
  • Troupe
  • Troupe
  • Troupe
  • Troupe
  • Solitaire
  • Wraithblades
  • Skyweavers
  • Hemlock Wraithfighter
  • Wave Serpent
1499 points/power level 84

Simple plan, hope to not have the initiative seized, leap into my opponent's army and cripple them before they have a chance to fight back. Alpha striking and my Psychic powers should minimise my casualties and then it's a case of surviving til the end of the game. With the speed of my units, and their ability to ignore terrain and models while they move, I should be able to pick and choose my targets.

Of course, this could all backfire. My opponent could seize the initiative, and have enough firepower to cause me problems. Or, I could do a lot less damage than I hope in my first turn and get locked into a war of attrition. That is not a war Aeldari want to be in.

Guess we will find out tomorrow.

Sunday, 30 July 2017

Newhammer - The Windrider Warhost

There was a small 8th edition tournament yesterday. 1250 points, doing the Cleanse and Capture mission across 3 rounds.

I wasn't really expecting to play in the event. I had built a "just in case" force, should we end up with an odd number of players. So of course that happened. I built the laziest force I could - My currently painted Aeldari.

The Windrider Warhost

Farseer Windrider, Singing Spear, Twin Shuriken Catapult, Guide, Doom, Inspiring Leader

Warlock Windrider, Witchblade, Twin Shuriken Catapult, Conceal/Reveal

3 Windriders, 3 Scatter Lasers

3 Windriders, 3 Scatter Lasers

3 Windriders, 3 Scatter Lasers

Wave Serpent, Shuriken Cannon, Twin Scatter Laser, Spirit Stones, Star Engines, Vectored Engines, Crystal Targeting Matrix

Wave Serpent, Shuriken Cannon, Twin Starcannon, Spirit Stones, Star Engines, Vectored Engines, Crystal Targeting Matrix

Vyper, Twin Shuriken Catapult,Shuriken Cannon

Fire Prism, Prism Cannon, Shuriken Cannon, Spirit Stones, Star Engines, Vectored Engines, Crystal Targeting Matrix

Obvious theme is I'd locked in my Skimmer paint scheme quite early, so those have been the units I've been painting first. On paper it looks like a fast moving army, especially as everything has the Fly keyword making it hard to lock in combat.

The Event

With 3 other players, it was going to be a simple case of 3 rounds round-robin. I'm writing this from memory as I didn't take any notes so apologies if I get something wrong or there appears to be a lack of detail.

Round 1

My first opponent was Tyranids, and the eventual event winner. He had 2 Hive Tyrants, a Trygon Prime, a Mawloc, Genestealers, Termagants, Hormagants and Zoathropes.

He had first turn, and his big stuff was in my face immediately. This lead to me having to deal with them and allow the smaller stuff to creep up the battlefield. I did okay, but couldn't handle the war of attrition. He won 15 points to 4, I was really hemmed in and couldn't make use of my mobility.

Round 2

My second opponent was Imperial Fists, index built as the Codex only released yesterday. He had Lysander, a Librarian, Hellblasters, a Devastator squad with Lascannons, a Devastator squad with Heavy Bolters, 3 Tactical Squads and a Terminator squad.

I had first turn, or I did until he seized the initiative. His long range firepower did a fair bit of damage to one of the Wave Serpents, which was one of the few units he could see. He had opted for corner deployment, and put his whole force in the ruins with Lysander and the Terminators in Deep Strike.

Have you seen how Marines interact with the cover rules? They get a 2+ Armour save while in cover! I knew the Hellblasters and the Lascannons had to go and spent all of my firepower killing as many as the dice would let me. Focusing fire really helped in this game, and each unit lost of his was costly. I won 10 points to 5.

Round 3

My third, and final, opponent was Adeptus Mechanicus. He had Belisarius Cawl, 2 units of Kataphron Destroyers, a Dune crawler, Kastelan Robots and a Data-smith.

This was my closest game. I knew the robots would be hard to shift, especially with my lack of save modifying weapons, so my plan was to dance around them and deal with the rest of the force while scoring points. He got an early lead but a couple of 0 point turns allowed me to claw some back. End of battle round 5, i was ahead by 1 point. The game chose to continue, and he scored the point needed to equalize. My turn 6, I needed 1 more point and then the game to not give us a turn 7. And that's what happened, I won 12 points to 11.

His remaining force was the Robots and the Data-smith. I had my Farseer and a Wave Serpent. Such a brutal and close game.

Army Review

I had yet to field an army with so many vehicles before. Just the Fire Prism on it's own before, and then it becomes the focus of the opponent's heavy firepower. More tanks forces the opponent to pick and choose, making them last longer.

The Fly keyword is really strong, allowing me to Fall Back from combat in my turn and still shoot. Especially good on an army that doesn't want to fight close assault.

The Farseer
A good Warlord choice, Doom is still my favourite power when I want a unit destroyed. Guide is a good choice too, my usual target being the Fire Prism. The only reason I would take Fortune is if I had taken a second Farseer, so that they aren't getting in each other's way for Psychic Power usage.

The Warlock
A cheaper secondary HQ. Not as good as the Autarch, but if you can get Conceal active, the -1 to hit for shooting makes a massive difference. I even cast Destructor(reduced Smite) a couple of times. Reveal would have been nice against the Marines while they were hunkered down, but I didn't have a good opportunity to get him into range.

Windriders
Scatter Lasers are no longer the optimal choice. All three options have their pros and cons. I like the Lasers, as I have always used my Jetbikes as mobile turrets, rather than hit and run machines. They still have a lot of shots, though the lack of Save Modifier feels like it hurts more in this edition, especially versus cover. I don't think I would have them as a core to the army, but then I wouldn't with an Iyanden force anyway.

Wave Serpents
Obviously, this army wasn't using the transport capacity. So I don't have an opinion on that ability yet. The Serpent Shield and Spirit Stone combo helps them survive shooting that they wouldn't normally. Shame all the Tyranid shooting was from 1 damage weapons. They are a source of decent, mobile firepower. They can get expensive with the more powerful weapons though. The Starcannon was decent, though my luck with hits was only average.

Vyper
Wasn't impressed with this unit on it's own. The weapon load out wanted it to be closer to the enemy than I liked, and when the opponent wanted it dead, it died. All three games this unit was First Blood.  It might need a larger game to take the target off it's back. I'm not sure what it's purpose is in the 8th edition army yet.

Fire Prism
The stats on it's main gun are amazing. Each firing mode is a higher Strength than I was expecting. The downside is the lower power levels have variable shots. I felt like I was spending a Command Point to get a decent number of shots too often, though I imagine this will even out over more games. I can't imagine there being a better Battle Tank in it's class, and it may out-do several heavier ones.

I've used almost everything now except the majority of Aspect Warriors. So my next few games should probably involve trying those out. I also need to pick up some. I own Dragons, Reapers, Avengers and Spiders. So I need Scorpions, Hawks, Banshees and Spears. I've had a team game using the Wraith Host. They are powerful, slow and harder to kill than regular Asuryani, but they need to pick their targets carefully.

Everything being "new" in 8th is really fun, as there is little room at the moment for people to complain about facing "common" or "overpowered" units. Everyone that I play with is also trying out units they have never used before or new combinations of forces, so each game feels different. I'm sure that over time things will settle and we will start to see more of the "same old same old", but every Codex and FAQ release potentially shakes things up.

1 Month Later

Due to a lot of business, and busy-ness, it's been a month since my last post. I'm going to get back on top of things. So let's start with one of the main things that's been taking up my time.

A friend posted to Facebook a model a week painting challenge. A lot of my models are unpainted. Far too many actually. So I figured it would be good motivation to get started so I can field fully painted armies again. I enjoy painting and prefer using a painted army. It's been a case of finding the time, and this challenge has made me make the time.

Week 1

Roboute Guilliman







Mighty Primarch of the Ultramarines. He was an experiment in using metallic Sharpies for the metal. I also experimented with a style of painting fire and using the technical Blood For The Blood God paint on the dead Chaos Marine on his base.

I'm happy with him, as I'm painting stuff to "Tabletop Standard". This is where models are painted to look good from a distance or as part of a larger army, but not to individually win a painting competition. Blood For The Blood God came out well, which is good as I will need a decent blood effect for the Avatar of Khaine.

The fire, however, has me in two minds. On the braziers it looks good, but on the Emperor's Sword it doesn't. I'm not sure why either. Still, overall it looks good.

Week 2

Captain America







A brilliant officer for my Astra Militarum. Been waiting a few years to paint this guy. Nothing fancy, just my usual ink then acrylic technique. The base is grey to match my Imperial Guard, so he will make quite a striking leader for the army.

Week 3

Farseer Windrider







The leader of the Windrider Warhost, a Farseer. Again, trying out techniques to apply to the rest of the army moving forward. I'm using the gemstone technical paints for Soulstones and also going to use them on Witchblades/Singing Spears/Witch Staves. I've also got a metallic blue paint to use for all the Seer models.

Warlock Windrider





 Red for his weapon, as Warlocks are trained for battle and closer to Khaine than Farseers.

Windriders







Painting the group in one week slowed me down, but got 11 models painted, rather than 1. In Eighth Edition, that's 4 units. Each group of 3 Jetbikes has a different colour gem choice to the other groups, giving me Blue, Red and Green squadrons. They are also all armed with Scatter Lasers for maximum firepower.

My cousin's wedding also slowed things down, and this past week has been very busy so I'm going to fall behind again. To speed things up, I'm going to try and paint my final Wave Serpent and my Vyper this week.