Monday, 21 May 2018

Quick Hits - May 2018 Astra Militarum

Our next quick hit is the Imperial Guard


Special Rules

Voice of Command
Giving Orders is what the Guard do. While Take Aim is going to be the most common one used, they are all useful. I don't mean situational either, I mean "I will do this thing with this unit this turn because I have access to this order" useful. Consider Voxes for your units to extend the range.

Regimental Orders
Each Regiment has it's own, unique Order. They all affect how the army plays and influences how you approach building the army.

Grinding Advance 
Allows Leman Russ' to shoot their turret weapon twice if they move slowly. Doubles the firepower of your main battle tanks, and is a godsend to tank armies.

HQ

Lord Castellan Creed
Double the range of a normal Officer, and gives out an extra Order. As a bonus, if he is your Warlord you gain 2 extra Command Points. He does have a fixed Warlord trait and can't take Relics though.

Company Commander
You'll want as many of these as you can to Order your other units. Good thing they are cheap.

Tank Commander
In a Leman Russ, so can Grinding Advance, and can Order other tanks. I would not recommend making one your Warlord though, as they have too many Wounds to hide and aren't as resilient as Toughness 8 would suggest.

Knight Commander Pask
A Tank Commander with better Ballistic Skill and an extra Order. Worth the upgrade for the Ballistic Skill, still not recommended as a Warlord.

Commissar Yarrick
On top of the normal Commissar abilities, he gives a bubble of re-roll 1s to hit, or re-roll misses if the target is Orks. He also has a 3+ feel no pain, that only protects his final wound. Very characterful but very expensive. Save him for the fun games.

Lord Commissar
Now reduced in price, they attempt to make it harder for units to flee. Not sure they are useful post their original nerf.

Colonel 'Iron Hand' Straken
For a similar price to Creed, you swap the extra command abilities for assault prowess. He gives nearby units extra attacks too. An interesting addition to an assault Guard army.

Tempestor Prime
You should always consider the Command Rod to give this unit an extra Order. The greatest asset of this unit is the ability to deep strike and put the Order giving model where you need the Order. Especially supporting Tempestus Scions.

Primaris Psyker
I believe they are the cheapest Psyker in the game that isn't otherwise hampered in some way. Taking some of these to buff your screen units will frustrate your opponent greatly, while also providing some Psychic defense.

Troops

Infantry Squad
Cheap, standard stats, the backbone of the army. You'll want plenty of these to hold objectives, provide heavy weapons and fill out Detachments for more Command Points.

Conscripts
Not as cheap as they used to be, but come in large units. They make great screens. Orders aren't reliable and you will want some Morale mitigation.

Militarum Tempestus Scions
They can Deep Strike and are great at tackling armoured targets with their -2 Save Mod. Give them 2 weapons of your choice for every 10 models and choose the targets you want to hunt carefully. Support them with Tempestor Primes.

Elites

Master of Ordnance
The barrage is surprisingly okay, but giving your artillery tanks a re-roll 1s to hit long range targets is amazing for the cost. Just beware of your opponent closing the gap a 36" is quite a large area.

Platoon Commander
If you want access to more orders in your army and have run out of HQ slots. Otherwise unremarkable.

Command Squad
A cheap unit for adding utility to your army. The Medi-pack can return slain guardsman to increase a units lifespan, the standard adds Leadership to help with Morale and the Vox increases order range. I wouldn't fill the unit with special weapons as 4 models is easy to kill with basic guns.

Colour Sergeant Kell
He gives a nearby Officer one extra order and lets nearby units re-roll Morale tests. A good support character for Cadian armies.

Special Weapons Squad
There are better ways of delivering multiple special weapons to the enemy.

Veterans
No longer Troops in this Edition. The increased Ballistic Skill is good, but the Rule of Three hurts this unit.

Sergeant Harker
An Assault "Heavy" Bolter and re-rolls 1s for nearby Catachans. A good character for that Regiment.

Militarum Tempestus Command Squad
All the utility of the regular Command Squad, now with Deep Strike and Hot-shot Lasguns. Can carry more special weapons than a regular Militarum Tempestus Squad, but they aren't as good for filling out Battalions.

Ministorum Priest
Wants to be in combat to use Zealot. Don't do this, the Priest will die. The bubble of extra Attacks is interesting, makes a large unit of Conscripts scary or a large unit of Ogryns terrifying.

Crusaders
An odd unit, seeks to be in assault as they only have Power Sword and Storm Shield, but they otherwise have the Strength and Toughness of Guardsmen. They have a limited Deny. Essentially though, everything you might want them to do is done better by other units.

Tech-Priest Enginseer
Keeps your Tanks alive. Has no purpose other than this, but it's a great purpose. If it can stop your opponent killing a Tank or move that Tank back up a degradation band, then it's been well worth it's points.

Servitors
They give you Infantry access to a couple of heavy weapons you wouldn't otherwise have, but can't receive orders. Not worth taking.

Commissar
Very cheap now so great for filling Brigades. Also gives some Morale mitigation.

Officer of the Fleet
Lets you give your Flyers re-roll ones and has an interesting way of doling out Mortal Wounds once per game. At 25 points, if you are also taking some Flyers, this unit is worthwhile.

Wyrdvane Psykers
Cheaper than a Primaris but with a limited Deny. There is a better unit for this role.

Astropath
Cheaper than the Wyrdvanes, but with a standard Deny. The limitation to Smite isn't an issue if you Smite with this unit before others or plan on using it's Psykana power. Can also remove the Cover bonus from a unit.

Ogryn Bodyguard
Can save Wounds from your other characters, but I'd rather just take Ogryns or Bullgryns.

Ogryns
Their guns are good for thinning our screening units and then they can hit something hard in assault. You rarely see this unit, but it also makes a great counter assault unit to run into a unit that's reached your lines.

Bullgryns
Great for counter assaulting high toughness units that reach your lines like Dreadnoughts and Maulerfiends.

Nork Deddog
A better Ogryn Bodyguard, but can attack in the Fight phase when he is slain. Cool flavour, but not an amazing use of points.

Ratlings
Snipers that can move after firing, which mitigates the Heavy nature of their rifles if you can plan a turn ahead. Can also Infiltrate to help hamper opposing Deep Strike and screen your units.

Fast Attack

Hellhounds
Strength 6 Infantry clearing that auto hits. The Chem and Melta cannons are okay, but Inferno is where it is at.

Scout Sentinels
Easy to kill, but they can get heavy weapons set up further up the board at the start of the game.

Armoured Sentinels
Not much more survivable for the extra points. I'd stick to Scout Sentinels.

Heavy Support

Heavy Weapons Squad
A very cheap way of getting multiple heavy weapons into the army. Mortars are obviously great as you can hide them and ignore line of sight for shooting. But any grouping of three weapons is good.

Basilisks
Ignore line of sight but with better guns. I like equipping these with Heavy Flamers to discourage assault too.

Wyverns
Remember Masters of Ordnance to make this shooting better.

Hydras
Anti-Flyer weapons, best against the units that Fly but don't have Hard to Hit. Still not a great unit.

Manticore
Better against Vehicles than the other options, but with so many shots it's good against everything. Take a Master of Ordnance to re-roll 1s. It's only downside is you can't take it in squadrons.

Deathstrike
IF it fires, it can dole out a devastating amount of Mortal Wounds. Not recommended if you want reliability.

Leman Russ Battle Tanks
The Rule of Three hurts these tanks, as all of your Leman Russ  variants are a single Datasheet. You can take them as squadrons though, still allowing you up to nine in 2000 points. Some turrets are better than others.

Dedicated Transport

Chimera
A great transport with a range of weapon options.

Taurox
An easier to kill transport, but is faster.

Taurox Prime
As easy to kill as the regular Taurox, but with better weapon options and Ballistic Skill. Can only transport Storm Troopers and Commissars though.

Flyer

Valkyries
Fast transports that are also gunboats. Not only does it have the option of Hovering, but it gains +1 to hit if it does so. Units can also Disembark after it moves, making it great for getting units to Objectives.

Lord of War

Baneblade
Eleven barrels of Death. Take some number of sponsons and go to town. For the player that likes all of the guns on one model. I'll be comparing the other super heavies to this.

Banehammer
The Tremor Cannon slows units down, making this great against assault units. Can also transport units and allows 10 models to shoot from it. A great mobile bunker, I'll be comparing the other mobile bunkers to this.

Banesword
The anti-vehicle super heavy.

Doomhammer
The anti-vehicle mobile bunker.

Hellhammer
Shorter ranged than the Baneblade, but ignores the Cover bonus.

Shadowsword
The anti-Titanic super heavy, this makes opposing Lords of War very nervous.

Stormlord
The anti-infantry mobile bunker, it also has a much larger transport capacity.

Stormsword
I think the other super heavies are better than this option as it's main gun is unremarkable.

Regimental Doctrine + Advisors and Auxilla

All of these lead to armies that operate differently on the battlefield and the units in the army that can't take a Regiment keyword don't stop you gaining the benefit.

Stratagems

Stand-out Stratagems
  • Crush Them!
  • Jury Rigging
  • Preliminary Bombardment
  • Defensive Gunners
  • Fight to the Death
  • Vengeance for Cadia!
  • Overlapping Fields of Fire
Warlord Traits

Grand Strategist is so good it drowns out the other ones.

Heirlooms of Conquest

Stand-out Relics
  • The Laurels of Command
  • The Dagger of Tu'Sakh
  • Kurov's Aquila
  • Relic of Lost Cadia
 Psychic Powers

The Psykana Discipline has some great buff powers and the rest of the powers are very meh.

Tuesday, 15 May 2018

X-Wing 2.0 versus The Man of Many Hats



During the World Championships this year, Fantasy Flight Games announced that X-Wing was ending, and being replaced by a Second Edition. Some components and rules would make the transition, but everything else would be new. They are releasing a Starter Set and Upgrade Kits so that existing players can rejoin the game as fast as possible, while slowly re-releasing the old ships for newer players.



It's taken some time to process my thoughts and feelings on the Edition change, as it affects my gaming on so many different levels. I wear many hats/perform many roles with X-Wing, so the impact was bound to be complicated. This post is to put a lot of that into one place and see whom else is in similar positions.

Player 


I first approached X-Wing as a player. Initially, it was just myself flying Imperial against Jamie and his Rebellion, as had been the case when we had played Decipher's TCG as well. We attended the Assault on Imdaar Alpha pre-release, and I haven't looked back. As FFG shifted the Bounty Hunters out into their own faction, alongside other Scum elements, my collection shifted to match. Eventually, I started buying Rebel ships, to maximise my choice of ships to fly, both competitively and for fun.

The Edition change leaves me with a choice. I can keep playing First Edition, hoping that enough people wanting casual games will continue to play, or I can switch to Second Edition, figuring that the majority of the player base will also do so. Not switching will limit my potential opponents, while switching won't. I can even keep my existing stuff to play against those that don't switch.

Switching is going to be expensive. Looking at retail prices, the Starter is £37 and each Conversion Kit is £47. Each kit is for one faction and contains Pilot cards, Upgrade cards and a number of Dial per ship type. If you want to fly more of a specific ship than the kit contains dials for, then you will have to buy extra kits. Shops offering discounts and the Secondary Market will offset this a little. Similarly, if you want to continue flying multiple factions, you will need a kit for each one. This increases the cost again.

A big change that compounds this is the First Order and the Resistance are being split away from the Empire and Rebellion to become their own factions. If you enjoyed flying lists like Dash Rendar and Poe Dameron, or Quickdraw and Rear Admiral Chiraneau, you will no longer be able to. This means even if you thought you were mono-faction, you existing collection might no longer be. Also, those factions aren't releasing with the main game in September, leaving you waiting until the Wave Two release before you can play those ships.

The Wave Two Conversion Kits will be cheaper, as both of those factions have fewer ships. However, if your collection is like mine, if you want to keep playing all the factions you will have to buy the Starter and 5 Conversion Kits. That's £178 rrp in September, plus whatever price point the Wave Two kits come out at. That's an expensive readmission price. You can buy it in bits, but that's still £84 for one faction. Again, you can always shop around for a lower price and check out the secondary market for individual bits. And that's to keep playing a game that currently is already playable.

I'm seeing a lot of people comparing this to when Games Workshop change an Edition. However, when an Edition changes for 40K, you only have to buy the Rulebook and your armies Codex. With 8th Edition, the core rules are a free download. So the price of switching from 7th to 8th is £25 (£30 if you play Space Marines, but their Codex is larger). Having to buy new units don't apply to an Edition change, as the players that care often buy new units when the meta changes too. Essentially, the Edition change is a Meta change as far as their spending habits are concerned.

With the financial issues addressed, it's on to the rest of the issues I face as a player. Having watched the Team Covenant Zach versus Alex Davey video, and read the FFG article on movement (https://www.fantasyflightgames.com/en/news/2018/5/9/a-few-maneuvers/ ), it's clear the core mechanics of the game aren't changing. This is good, as those mechanics are what make the game both amazing to play and simple to teach. Other mechanics have changed, and there will be new ones I've not seen discussed. This will mean readjusting to a new ruleset.

As someone who has played other games that have switched Editions multiple times, (Warhammer 40K and Heroclix, I'm looking at you both) and also as someone who plays a lot of games, absorbing new rules shouldn't be too difficult. There will be a short period where some old rules will attempt to filter through, but that will end. The annoying part will be that we've already seen that some existing Pilots and Upgrades are getting radically changed abilities, while some existing abilities are getting new names. One, in particular, I've noticed is there is a new TIE Advanced Pilot with the ability of Juno Eclipse. Does that mean she is getting a different ability? Or has the character been removed from the game entirely?

The biggest change is how squads are built. Firstly; squad size is 200 points but ships are roughly doubling in price. That gives them more room to make cost changes for Pilots and Upgrades. Squads will be roughly the same size they are now. However, the points won't be printed on the cards. Instead, they will be handled via an App.

The shift of games towards needing an App annoys me. Firstly, not everyone has a smartphone or tablet to put an app on. From a personal standpoint, my current phone doesn't have room for another App. I've already recently deleted what Apps I can, just to contain the current ever-expanding ones. That creates a barrier to entry for some people. I've heard that the software will also be useable via a website, but that's not useful to those who want to take a bunch of ships somewhere and just build some squads throughout the day as they play.

I get that it allows them to adjust problems in the game via changing point values. But they have long had this ability. I've been suggesting it as a fix to problems for a couple of years now. Instead, they have changed card text to fix them. All making this an app does is shrink the visible size of the FAQ. A lot of the pages in the current one are dedicated to changing card text, which highlights how often design mistakes have been made. Hiding this via an App, to me, doesn't outweigh the barriers to entry it causes.

Problem fixing is an interesting one. The online community is currently of the opinion that previously poor performing ships will now be balanced and playable, while the "over-powered" ones will be brought down in power level. In my experience, this won't be true. There will always be an imbalance in games like this. Some Pilots and Upgrades will be unplayable simply because their faction has better options for competitive play. Any attempt to try and correct this will either end with all ships being identical, or points having to change very frequently. I also hope that the player base has time to actually fly against and adapt to metas and that points aren't changed as a knee-jerk reaction every time the vocal online community causes a fuss.

Conclusion
I'm going to keep playing, switching to the Second Edition. The price and App are certainly barriers to my continued playing though. There are only 4 months to save up for the Edition change.

Collector


Some would call me a Hoarder, but part of what appeals to me about tabletop gaming is collecting. This approach to gaming then informs my play habits. For X-Wing, that means I currently buy 1 of each Rebel and Scum ship and 3 of each Imperial small ship. With the Empire, I want the ability to field squads of a Pilot and their two Wingmen. This has lead to me having a lot of physical Pilot and Upgrade cards.

While the ships are still useable, the dials wont be as many ships are getting new and improved dials with extra maneuvers. I can keep some of the cards for a collection, and give me the ability to continue to play First Edition, but the rest will be uneeded. Do I attempt to sell them on, hoping there is still a demand? Or do I recycle the cardboard?

They haven't announced what they are doing with the Epic format, other than it is coming at some point. Do I buy the 3 ships (Corvette, Transport and C-Roc) that I haven't bought yet? FFG hasn't historically been great at supporting the side formats. Any cards I get with those ships will be useless in Second Edition. It has put me off the expense of picking them up.

The TIE Reaper and Saw's Renegades haven't released yet. They have announced that they will also contain all the cards needed to make them Second Edition playable. At least that's one less worry.

Upgrade cards in Second Edition are going to be regular card sized. That means that when I dispose of the old upgrade cards, there are going to be a lot of unused small sleeves. I'm sure I'll find a use for them eventually. It does mean that the new cards will take up more space for storage though.

On the positive side of things, this could see a decrease in the cost of existing alternate art cards. There are a couple of official ones I still want to pick up for collection purposes. The Movie Still Lando Calrissian has long been expensive when it appears for sale. I'm hoping that it becomes affordable once Second Edition releases.

Conclusion
This will allow me to reduce the size of my collection and saves me buying the last three Epic ships. It may even let me obtain the Lando I've been after. I do fear that this means I'll have to dispose of large amounts of cardboard though, which is a shame.

Retailer


I work at G.I. Games. We sell tabletop games, card games and roleplay games. As such, I see the effect changes like this have on businesses. Stocking Second Edition isn't a question. It's a new product and I foresee the majority of the existing player base switching. However, existing First Edition stock is an issue.

While there will still be people picking up First Edition versions of ships in the lead up to Second Edition, that will become less true as time goes on. This potentially leaves shops with unsellable ships or having to discount them drastically to sell them.

This issue is common with FFGs LCGs as well. That's why I anticipate no assistance from them. Games Workshop refunds stores when they make Codexes defunct, but that's a rare practice in the gaming industry.

Also, individual ships will cost more in Second Edition than in First, going up by £6. This price increase could lead to the game being less attractive to new players, making it harder to shift new stock.

Conclusion
Our shop isn't massively affected, but I know other shops have lots of First Edition stock. This sort of thing is always a pain for Retailers and is what makes stocking games risky.

Tournament Organizer


I run Tournaments for several game systems. Alongside this Edition change, there was an announcement about changes coming to the official FFG Tournament structures. This will affect the way Seasonal Kits and upwards are run. We've already seen an increase in the price of these kits, but have no other information.

The next World Championships is going to be late 2019,  well over a year after the recent one. We have yet to be informed how that affects the placement of feeder events next year, such as Nationals and Euros, or how it will affect the players that win those events this year.

How will the App affect things? Will it also contain software for running events, or will we stick to using TOME/Cryodex? Will the game still have the same time limit on Rounds? The squad structure looks the same, so I don't expect that to change. Yet currently there are more questions than answers.

Finally, for this Summer's events, there is the issue of prize support. The future kits coming between now and September contain double-sided promos that are compatible with both Editions. Older promos are essentially obsolete now though, especially the custom ones people have commissioned. 

This leaves me with a stack of spare promos to give out to players who may not want them. It then ties into the collector's issue of the promos not having a resale value, which may lead to me having to dispose of them. Luckily, I believe the majority of players (at least locally) play for the love of the game rather than the prize support.

Conclusion
There is a fair amount of uncertainty at the moment when it comes to the future of tournaments. Best thing to do at the moment is stick with the current plan and wait for more news.

Judge


I Judge tournaments, both for my self and for FFG via Asmodee UK. This hat is the one least affected by the Edition change. Sure, I'll have to learn the new ruleset. But the same is true whenever a new Wave releases anyway. FFG will continue to release documents to help with this, and may even integrate that into the App.

That could lead to problems though. Power issues with the device you are running the App on or other mechanical failures. Having to get a device for the App in the first place. Hopefully, there will also be a printable version of any FAQ document.

As an aside, I'd also like to see Floor Rules. A proper guide to not only how to fix mistakes that players make, as well as how to official deal with them. There have long been no guidelines on when it is appropriate to award a player a Game Loss, as well as a Disqualification. An official document would ensure that all Judges and Marshalls are on the same page when these things happen. It could also address issues we have seen with live streams.

Conclusion
Business as usual here. The Floor Rules have been something I've been wanting for a while anyway.

Final Conclusion

I'm going to go forward with Second Edition, as I suspect the majority of players will. Staying with an older Edition of a game means that when new stuff releases, you won't be able to use it. Changing isn't without its problems though.

Monday, 14 May 2018

Quick Hits - May 2018 Thousand Sons

Onto our first Chaos quick hit


Special Rules

Death to the False Emperor
The standard Heretic Astartes chance of extra attacks in assault versus Imperial units.

Daemonic Ritual
The standard Daemon summoning rules. Seems like a good idea, but keeping back points for the units you potentially want to summon equally seems like a gamble.

HQ

Ahriman
A great Psyker with three casts and denies, and +1 to tests for both. Also has the re-roll 1s to hit bubble. A Disc is an interesting option if you want him to be more mobile.

Daemon Prince of Tzeentch
Can cast two and deny one. Has the stats of a monster, but with few enough wounds to hide behind other units. Great in assault if you give it to sets of Malefic Talons. It's re-roll bubble also applies to the Daemon units.

Exalted Sorcerer
The equivalent of a Marine Captain, but with the ability to cast two powers and deny one. Also has the option of riding a Disc.

Sorcerer
Can cast two powers and deny one. Great if you feel the need for a cheaper HQ.

Sorcerer in Terminator Armour
Has the option of taking a Familiar to give a bonus on his first power each turn, and can cast two and deny one. Also gains the ability to deep strike to help put the powers you want, where you want.

Troops

Rubric Marines
Adds an Aspiring Sorcerer to the army, with one cast and one deny. All is Dust gives them a lot of immunity to small arms fire and Inferno shots are good with the -2 save modifier. The Icon of Flame is an interesting option to add another source of Mortal Wounds to the army.

Tzaangors
Close combat troops, it's worth sticking with the Tzaangor Blades, for the additional save modifier, and leaving the shooting to the rest of the army.

Chaos Cultists
Cheap unit to help bulk out Brigades and Battalions and also screen your more important units.

Horrors
They have a reduced version of Smite, and can also deny one power. I would always take a Daemonic Icon for the chance of getting models back. I would also set aside points to split all of your Pinks into Blues and Blues into Brimstones.

Elites

Tzaangor Shaman
 Can cast and deny one power. Also has a once per game re-roll for casting. The best thing though is it gives +1 to hit rolls for nearby Tzaangors.

Flamers
They have relatively long-range, auto-hitting weapons. Good for clearing out infantry or dissuading charges.

Scarab Occult Terminators
A sorcerer to cast and deny one power, plus All is Dust to shrug off small arms fire, and the ability to deep strike. A solid unit to surprise the enemy when it arrives.

Helbrute
A good selection of weapon choices and Crazed makes injuring it potentially dangerous. Dreadnoughts do feel a little fragile though.

Fast Attack

Tzaangor Enlightened
Unlike the Tzaangor on foot, I prefer this as a shooting unit. Give them Fatecaster Bows, have a Shaman nearby to give them +1 to hit, and watch them auto-wound on rolls of a 5+. All while being really mobile.

Screamers
Really good against heavy infantry and light vehicles in an assault, their Slashing Attack can also pile on Mortal Wounds.

Chaos Spawn
The main thing they have going for them is cheapness, but they are outshone by the other choices in the list.

Heavy Support

Mutalith Vortex Beast
An interestingly random beast, it's powers either give out Mortal Wounds or buff assault units. Could be good supporting a couple of large units of Tzaangors.

Chaos Predator
The Predator Autocannon is really good, with flat Damage 3. This unit is your primary source of long-range anti-vehicle firepower.

Chaos Vindicator
I'm not sure a Demolisher Cannon is what the Thousand Sons are looking for. Pass.

Chaos Land Raider
You will see this every time I review a Land Raider during Quick Hits, but until something changes, they are too expensive for what they do.

Defiler
Like with the Vindicator, I find myself wondering if the Thousand Sons actually want a Battle Cannon. The other weapon options are better found elsewhere too.

Forgefiend
Both of the gun options are great on this. That's part of what pushes out the Vindicator and Defiler.

Maulerfiend
I think I would swap the Magma Cutters for Lasher Tendrils and focus this on being a pure assault beast.

Dedicated Transport

Chaos Rhino
The basic standard for transports in the game, don't forget this can transport Tzaangors and Cultists.

Flyer

Heldrake
The Baleflamer has 18" range! Swap the Hades Autocannon for that and throw this unit at the opposing army.

Lord of War

Magnus the Red
Can cast and deny three powers a turn, and gets a bonus to do so, dependant on how injured he is. He also ignores wound from Perils of the Warp on a 2+ and has the ability to re-roll any 1s during Psychic Tests as a 9" buff. His Smites do D6 or  2D6 Mortal Wounds based on your roll. He is probably the best Psyker currently in the game.

Brotherhood of Sorcerers

You'll notice how I was highlighting how many powers various units in the army can cast. Now take those powers and add 6" to the range of all of them. Also, post FAQ, it gives them immunity to the increasing difficulty of multiple Smites in a turn.

Stratagems

Stand-out Stratagems
  • The Great Sorcerer
  • Daemonforge
  • Cabalistic Focus
  • Blasphemous Machines
  • Sorcerous Pact
  • Veterans of the Long War
  • Cycle of Slaughter
Warlord Traits

The only one here I don't like is Aetherstride, as the Warlord shouldn't be looking to Charge unless they are Magnus. And he doesn't get that trait, he gets the additional Psychic Power instead.

Sorcerous Arcana

Stand-out relics
  • Dark Matter Crystal
  • Helm of the Third Eye
Psychic Powers

Discipline of Change
A lot of buffing powers here, so some solid choices. Don't forget that Doombolt halves they Move characteristic of units it affects.

Dark Hereticus
Death Hex, Warptime, Prescience. Not one of these is Doom, but they are close runners-up for best Psychic Power in the game.

Discipline of Tzeentch
These powers are interesting. Gaze of Fate will be one you aim to cast every turn.

Quick Hits - May 2018 Adeptus Costodes

Our first Imperial quick hit is Adeptus Custodes


Special Rules

Aegis of the Emperor
An army wide 5+ Invulnerable Save and a 6+ feel no pain against Mortal Wounds during the Psychic Phase makes these already touch models that much tougher.

HQ

Captain-General Trajann Valoris
Expensive, but gives a bubble of re-rolling 1s for hits and wounds. Well timed use of the Moment Shackle can be killer too.

Shield-Captain
I'm a fan of just sticking to the Guardian Spear here. A solid HQ that gives a re-roll 1s to hit bubble, and is relatively hard to kill.

Shield-Captain in Allarus Terminator Armour
The only benefits here over the regular Shield-Captain are an extra wound and the ability to Deep Strike. Probably not worth it.

Shield-Captain on Dawneagle Jetbike
A more mobile version of the Shield-Captain, with a better shooting weapon. The Lance also re-rolls wounds on the turn you charge. Remember the Fly keyword lets them assault planes.

Troops

Custodian Guard
Your only Troops choice. The minimum unit size is 3, which is handy for building Battalions.

Elites

Custodian Wardens
Essentially just Custodian Guard with a 6+ feel no pain. Only 9 points extra model for this, so if you aren't looking for Command Points you could use them to make a Vanguard Detachment.

Allarus Custodians
Decent at chopping up harder targets with a squad of axes. Can also deep strike, and their Slayer of Tyrants ability is Interesting.

Vexilus Praetor
The army standard bearer, choosing between buffs of +1 attack, -1 to hit for opposing shooting or a 5+ Invulnerable Save for Imperium units. A good choice to accompany the bulk of the army.

Vexilus Praetor in Allarus Terminator Armour
Again, simply gains the ability to deep strike. Equally not worth the upgrade, much like the Shield-Captain.

Venerable Comtemptor Dreadnought
Has both an Invulnerable Save and a feel no pain. Not a huge selection of guns (only 2 choices), and I think the Kheres-pattern Assault Cannon is better.

Fast Attack

Vertus Praetors
A unit of guys on jetbikes. Hurricane bolters will make a mess of infantry and the Fly keyword means they can't be locked in combat unless they want to be. The Lances also make them a credible threat in combat.


Heavy Support

Venerable Land Raider
The only real long-range shooting in the list, plus their only transport. It's very expensive and has a feel no pain. Not worth it at 400 points.

The Emperor's Chosen

Rather than "Chapter Tactics", if your whole detachment is Custodes, they get a buff to the Invulnerable Save. This is really good and makes your army of Toughness 5/3+ Wound models a lot harder to shift.

Stratagems

Stand-out Stratagems
  • From Golden Light, They Came
  • Unflinching
  • Shoulder the Mantle
  • Indomitable Guardians
  • Spark of Divinity
  • Eyes of the Emperor
  • Stooping Dive
Warlord Traits

Radiant Mantle and Superior Creation are the best choices here.

Relics of Terra

Stand-out Relics
  • Gatekeeper
  • Eagle's Eye
  • Auric Aquillas
  • Faith Absolute

The Iyanden Wraith Host - a 4000 point army

Here is my take on the Iyanden Wraith Host. 4000 points let you take a lot of Wraith-units, so I felt it was the perfect chance to field a bunch of them and see what I like and what I don't.


Firstly, I built a Supreme Command Detachment to lead the force;
  • Autarch, as my Warlord
  • Farseer, with Doom and Fortune
  • Avatar of Kaela Mensha Khaine, at 250 points I don't often get to field him
  • Bonesinger, to heal my Wraith units
  • Wraithknight, with twin Heavy Wraithcannon and Scatter Lasers
The Avatar and the Wraithknight aren't things I usually field in other lists, due to their point values. The Autarch and Farseer combo are my usual army commanders. The Bonesinger, while not actually a must-take, feels like one in such a Wraith heavy army.

I then followed up with a Brigade Detachment to be the core/bulk of the army;
  • Autarch with Hawk Wings, to drop down from the sky and give re-rolls to my Wraithguard when they leave the Webway
  • Spiritseer, with the Psytronome of Iyanden to accompany the Wraithblades with Ghostswords. She also has Empower to give them +1 to wound rolls in combat.
  • Spiritseer, with Enhance to accompany the Wraithblades with Ghostaxes and mitigate the -1 to hit the axes have.
  • 10 Guardian Defenders, with Shuriken Cannon
  • 10 Guardian Defenders, with Shuriken Cannon
  • 10 Guardian Defenders, with Aeldari Missile Launcher
  • 10 Guardian Defenders, with Aeldari Missile Launcher
  • 5 Dire Avengers, with Exarch and twin Avenger Catapult
  • 5 Dire Avengers, with Exarch and Diresword
  • 5 Wraithblades, with Ghostswords
  • 5 Wraithblades, with Ghostaxes
  • 10 Wraithguard, with Wraithcannon. Deployed in the Webway via the Stratagem
  • 3 Windriders, with Scatter Lasers
  • 3 Windriders, with Scatter Lasers
  • 3 Windriders, with Scatter Lasers
  • 2 Support Platforms, with D-Cannons
  • Wraithlord, with 2 Bright Lances and 2 Flamers
  • Wraithlord, with 2 Shuriken Cannons and 2 Flamers
  • Wave Serpent, with Shuriken Cannon and 2 Scatter Lasers to carry the Wraithblades with Ghostswords and Spiritseer
  • Wave Serpent, with 3 Shuriken Cannons to carry the Wraithblades with Ghostaxes and Spiritseer
  • Crimson Hunter Exarch, with Bright Lances
  • Hemlock Wraithfighter, with Jinx
An impressive looking core army. Plenty of Wraith units to deal with heavier troops. Tonnes of Shuriken and Scatter Laser fire to deal with infantry. Heavier firepower to deal with tanks.

I've had one game with the list, as 4000 point games aren't that common, and it's been a blast so far. It contains some expensive units, but at that size of a game, they are given a chance to be played. The Avatar got unlucky and the Crimson Hunter underperforms, but everything else I was happy with.

Apocalypse-ish Game

Yesterday, I had a 4000 point game of Warhammer 40K against my friend Chris. We hadn't seen each other for a while, so a game was the perfect opportunity to have a catch-up. We decided on such a large points value so that he could field George, his Warhound Titan dedicated to his Grandfather.



My List

I'll discuss my list in-depth in another post.




  • Autarch
  • Autarch with Swooping Hawk Wings
  • Farseer
  • Spiritseer
  • Spiritseer
  • Avatar
  • Guardians
  • Guardians
  • Guardians
  • Guardians
  • Dire Avengers
  • Dire Avengers
  • Wraithblades
  • Wraithblades
  • Wraithguard
  • Bonesinger
  • Windriders
  • Windriders
  • Windriders
  • Support Weapons
  • Wraithlord
  • Wraithlord
  • Wave Serpent
  • Wave Serpent
  • Crimson Hunter Exarch
  • Hemlock Wraithfighter
  • Wraithknight
All with the Iyanden keyword, essentially a Wraith Host with some Guardian support and a small group of Aspect Warriors lead by the Avatar of Khaine.

Chris' List


 

  • Warhound
  • Imperial Knight
  • Imperial Knight
  • Imperial Knight
  • Captain
  • Sanguinary Priest
  • Scouts
  • Scouts
  • Scouts
  • Baal Predator
The Marines were all Blood Angels.  An intimidating wall of machines.

The Battlefield






We had the benefit of being the only 40K game going on that day, so we had our choice of the available terrain.

The Mission


We used the Open War cards to build the mission. We drew the above deployment card, and I won the roll off. I chose the Player A Deployment Zone, mostly to keep the Titans focused in the middle.

The Objective we drew was Take and Hold, which places one objective in the centre of the battlefield and one in each deployment zone. Controlling an objective at the end of your turn gives you 1 point. If you have controlled it since at least your previous turn, it's 3 points instead. The winner is determined by most points at the end of the fifth battle round.

The Twist we drew was Dead of Night, which limits the range of Shooting and Psychic powers to 12", and then from the second battle round there is a roll each round to try and extend the range.

Finally, as Chris had lower Power Level, we drew a Ruse. This ended up being Inspiring Speech, not ideal for his infantry light army.

The Game

With a much smaller army, Chris was set to go first and I failed to seize. Marines were already holding the centre objective and his backfield one, while I had covered mine with Guardians. Due to the mission and the range limitation from the twist, Chris' plan was move George to hold the centre and throw the Knights at my army. It was a good plan, even with all my Wraith-units it takes a lot of effort to shift a Knight.

It also meant I wouldn't be able to quickly shift his backfield, allowing him to rack up points quickly while I was facing the Titans. End of Round One, the score was 2-1 in his favour. End of Round Two, the score was 8-5 as I had just managed to claim his deployment zone's objective by getting Wraithblades there via a Wave Serpent. His turn 3 ended with him on 11 points, so with a 6 point deficit, I had some work to do.

Meanwhile, my offensive was hit and miss. The encroaching mechs had put me on the back foot. Shout out to Doom and Jinx making 2 of the Knights easier to kill across the first two turns. Shuriken Catapults need 6s to wound a Knight, and Doom gives them re-rolls to wound. When a Shuriken Weapon gets a 6 to wound,  it's save modifier increases to -3. This means the Knight ends up choosing between it's 5+ Ion Shield invulnerable save or it's now modified 5+ armour save. Jinx reduces their saving rolls by 1, making both saves now a 6+. With a lot of shots coming in, the ones that wound normally then get through the armour. Each turn Catapults were responsible for about half the wounds on a Knight. The D-Cannons would then usually finish the Knight off, allowing me to keep my objective.

As I'd put the Wraithblades in Wave Serpents, they and the Windriders made a beeline for his back objective. The shooting removed the Scouts in the first turn but failed to clear the Sanguinary Priest. The Psytronome of Iyanden allowed the Wraithblades with Ghostswords to slaughter the Captain in combat, but the Priest rolled three 6s for the three saves he was required to make that combat. Luckily I outnumbered him to control the objective. He didn't survive the next Fight Phase.

The Dire Avengers got shot to pieces by the Baal Predator, but then took a couple of wounds off it on Overwatch and in the ensuing combat. The moved away to eventually deal with some Scouts, leaving the Avatar to destroy the tank. It's a shame he then failed to charge 6" to reach the nearest Knight, despite his natural re-roll and was gunned down by that Knight in Chris' turn.

The Warhound, once he got into range, was terrifying. His Dual Turbo-laser Destructor killed my Wraithknight in one salvo, then the following turn shot down the Crimson Hunter Exarch. It was only the Lightning Fast Reflexes Stratagem that forced the Plasma Blast gun to take 2 turns to kill the Wraithguard. However, in the final turn, he fell to massed firepower and the Wraithblades with Axes, backed up by several Smites and casting Jinx on him. Their Spiritseer caused the final wound.

Up until that point, despite 6 vehicles being destroyed, nothing had exploded. So, of course, the Warhound went up. Here are the units that suffered Mortal Wounds in his demise;
  • The Winged Autarch
  • Both units of Wraithblades
  • Both Spiritseers
  • Both Wave Serpents
  • The Hemlock
  • Two units of Windriders
  • The lone survivor of the Wraithguard
  • A Wraithlord
  • The Bonesinger
Everyone took a bunch of Mortal Wounds, and the Spiritseer that killed George was slain in the explosion. Talk about vengeance.

The defeat of the Warhound not only removed Chris' last model from the table (as the lone surviving Dire Avenger Exarch killed the final 4 Scouts) but gave me control of the centre objective, allowing me to rack up 7 points at the end of the turn. Final score 11-12 in my favour. 

It was a fun game, and a great way to spend an afternoon. If you've got a friend you haven't seen in a while that plays 40K, I'd suggest a similar size game as a catch-up.


Wednesday, 9 May 2018

Quick Hits - May 2018 Drukhari

Our second quick hit is the Dark Eldar



Special Rules

Poisoned Weapons
Wounding all non-Vehicles and non-Titanics on a 4+ with the majority of the armies weapons is great.

Power From Pain
The first turn bonus is great, makes the army a little less fragile. And things just get better every turn, though you will likely have fewer units to take advantage.

Combat Drugs
Small bonuses to units. Lots of choices here, though you can't repeat until you use them all unless you choose randomly.

HQ

Archon
Improved from the Index to now buff hit rolls rather than Morale tests. A must-have character in a Kabal.

Drazhar
Wants to lead Incubi but lacks their Lethal Precision rule. Feels like an unusable character.

Lelith Hesperax
I wouldn't swap a Penetrating Blade for an Impaler. A great Character hunter who can also modify her own stats. Also buffs nearby Cult of Strife units like a regular Succubus.

Succubus
Buffs hit rolls in the Fight phase, a must-have character for Wych Cults. May also stop units locked in combat from retreating, though this is dice dependant.

Urien Rakarth
Buffs Strength, Toughness and Leadership for Prophets of Flash and halves all damage he suffers. A really hard to kill, character and a great Warlord.

Haemonculus
Makes your hardy Haemonculus Coven units tougher, a must-have character for them.

Troops

Kabalite Warriors
The basic troops of the Kabals. Poisoned basic weapons, cheap points and decent special and heavy weapon options make this a good core unit.

Wyches
The basic troops of the Wych Cults. 3 Attacks each and an Invulnerable Save that gets better in the Fight Phase, they are a good assault unit.

Wracks
The basic troops of the Covens, their close combat weapons are Poisoned. Their shooting options aren't exciting, as they can only take 1 for every 5 models in the unit, the Liquifier Gun is probably the best choice.

Elites

Lhamaean
This model doesn't do anything, and since she isn't a character can just be shot to death. Avoid.

Medusae
The Eyeburst is an ok weapon, but has is very short ranged. I wouldn't recommend.

Sslyth
Gives the Archon extra wounds and is pretty tough on its own. The Shardcarbine is a good gun too.

Ur-Ghul
Maybe good close combat support for an Archon, but there are much better units for that purpose in the Codex.

Incubi
Good at killing elite units in close combat, the +1 Strength helps here. Inability to gain Obsessions hurts though.

Mandrakes
Great infiltrators, with a good weapon for thinning out screening units. They have a -1 saves mod in close combat too.

Grotesques
Bigger Wracks, with access to more guns. The Monstrous Cleaver seems too good to switch out though.

Beastmaster
Interesting character. Buffs nearby Beast units and has okay weapons. Only as good as the unit they are buffing.

Fast Attack

Clawed Fiends
5 attacks each with their fists doing 2 Damage and an extra attack when they are wounded. Good for tearing up light Vehicles.

Khymerae
Fast and cheap, they make a good unit for soaking up Overwatch.

Razorwing Flocks
Okay for tying shooting units up, Toughness 2 makes then easy to shift though.

Reavers
Fast and hard hitting close combat unit, with the option for a decent gun for every third biker. With Combat Drug options as well, they are a great unit.

Hellions
Hellglaives are Damage 2. This unit is much improved over earlier editions and large units combo well with the Eviscerating Fly-by Stratagem.

Scourges
It's weird that the Drukhari equivalent of Devastators is a Fast Attack unit. Dark Lances inhibit their mobility, so if you want to kill Vehicles, I would suggest Blasters. They can also equip Splinter Cannons if you prefer Infantry killing.

Heavy Support

Talos
Like Dreadnoughts, but you can take them in units and buff them with Haemonculi. A unit of these should form the core of any Coven.

Cronos
A surprising support unit, giving nearby Drukhari re-roll 1s in the Fight phase. Relatively tough too.

Ravager
Its weapons are Assault, making it the most mobile Battle Tank in the game. It even has a built-in Invulnerable Save.

Dedicated Transports

Raider
A good Transport with an Invulnerable Save and choice of gun. The passengers can also shoot while embarked.

Venom
Carries fewer models than the Raider, and gains a -1 to hit it. Swaps the cannon option for Splinter weapons and still lets the passengers shoot.

Flyer

Razorwing Jetfighter
The missiles are versatile, and so are its gun load-outs. A multi-target fighter jet.

Voidraven Bomber
The Void Mine is fantastic so I would upgrade the Void Lances to Dark Scythes to make it a dedicated Infantry hunter.

Raiding Force

A nice idea for adding a small set of Patrol detachments to your army, but the Command Point bonuses have been outshone by the changes to the Brigade and Battalion in the FAQ.

Obsessions

These are all solid and encourage detachments that are mono-Kabal/Cult/Coven.

Stratagems

Stand-out Stratagems
  • Alliance of Agony
  • Lightning-fast Reactions
  • Eviscerating Fly-by
  • Cruel Deception
  • Hunt from the Shadows
  • Crucible of Malediction
  • Agents of Vect
Warlord Traits

A lot of options here, allowing you to tailor your Warlord to their required job. Build an army containing an Archon, a Succubus and a Haemonculus across 3 detachments and you can use Alliance of Agony to give them all a Warlord Trait.

Artefacts of Cruelty

Stand-out Relics
  • The Helm of Spite
  • The Triptych Whip
  • Writ of the Living Muse
  • The Armour of Misery
  • The Obsidian Veil
  • Traitor's Embrace