Sunday, 25 June 2017

Newhammer - My Second Game

Thursday evening, Alfie posted up that he wanted a game of 8th edition on Friday, so I jumped at the chance. He even agreed to 2000 points, which would allow me to be lazy and use the army I used against Jack. I wouldn't even have to re-pack the models, as they were still in the carrying case.

This didn't stop me making some quick changes though...





Out

  • The Warlock Conclave
  • Both squads of Dire Avengers
  • The Guardian's Shuriken Cannon
  • The Fire Prism
  • The Voidweaver
In
  • Wings for the Autarch
  • A Singing Spear for the Farseer
  • Two more squads of Guardians
  • A Wraithlord with twin Flamer, twin Bright Lance and a Ghostglaive
  • A second squad of Hellions
  • A second squad of Skyweavers
I wanted to try out the Wraithlord, and that's my standard load out for him. I wasn't too impressed with the Dire Avengers, so straight swapped them for the equivalent points of Guardians for more shots, especially with the Path of Command buff from the Autarch. I dropped the Voidweaver to help make points, same with the Warlock Conclave, as both the Hellions and the Skyweavers impressed me in the first game and I wanted an extra unit of each. This kept the army at 2000 point, but dropped the power level to 98.

Alfie fielded:-
  • Urien Rakarth, as his Warlord
  • Wracks in a Venom
  • Wracks in a Raider
  • Grotesques, with a Haemonculus, in a Raider
  • A unit of 3 Talos
  • A unit of 2 Chronos
  • A Harlequin Troupe
  • A Shadowseer
  • A Solitaire
This came out to just under 2000 points (he took the Harlequins to make up points) and power level 90.

The Game

Once again we played the Only War mission from the Battle Primer. After setting up we rolled on the Victory table and discovered we were playing Slay and Secure. Unfortunately, we only ended up having time for 2 turns each, which didn't lead to a decisive result, although only I controlled an objective when we ended.

Haemonculi give a buff of +1 Toughness, which can make the units near them really hard to hurt, especially things like Talos and Chronos.

The Haywire Cannons and Bright Lances killed one of the Raiders and it exploded. The Talos and Rakarth took Mortal Wounds, but the passengers (Wracks) survived unscathed.

I was able to charge and surround the Venom, so when I killed it the passengers couldn't disembark; slaying them all.

The Guardian's Shuriken Catapults and the Reaper Launchers killed 2 of the Talos and dropped the third to 2 wounds.

There wasn't time for much else to happen, though once his big stuff was in combat it slaughtered the Guardians.

Unit Analysis





Farseer - This game he failed his powers in the first turn, and failed to wound with the Spear. Second turn, casting Doom on the Chronos was amazingly useful. Still probably my default Warlord choice, as the trait of +1 Leadership is also good, and I wouldn't want to put too big a target on the Autarch's head.

Autarch - Giving him wings meant I could start him off the board in case I didn't have the first turn (I didn't), and then have him descend in my first turn into the optimum position. This allowed all three units of Guardians, the Farseer, the Wraithlord and the Dark Reapers to all benefit from Path of Command. I suspect he and the Farseer will be the starting point of my Iyanden armies, with maybe a Spiritseer once I try out the Wraith-units.

Guardian Defenders - All three of these units moved up to shoot the Talos unit, and with Bladestorm and Path of Command took quite a toll. They are still a lot of short ranged firepower, and benefit from Battle Focus pretty well.

Dark Reapers - With the Reaper Launchers doing 3 Wounds when they are Strength 8, they are really good versus Vehicles and Monsters. Always hitting on 3s, even if they move is amazing too. Expensive unit, but well worth the points.

Wraithlord - As a platform for the Bright Lances, he was good. Charging into a large-ish unit, he was disappointing, but his charge was supported by the Skyweavers, leaving in locked in with 2 Wracks. Doesn't want unsupported combat against squads, but will probably make a mess of Vehicles and Monsters.




Succubus - Still a poor HQ choice for this detachment, but probably a good one for regular Wyches. Nothing else fits the force though, so I guess she is staying.

Hellions - These guys want the Combat Drugs of either extra attacks, for 16 Strength 4 attacks, or extra strength, for 11 Strength 5 attacks. Either way, they have the speed to end up where you want.

Reavers - Mobile Vehicle/Monster hunting, I'm overall happy with these guys and the Outrider detachment on the whole.





Troupe Master - Still a good leader for the Harlequins. His buff gives re-roll wounds to nearby Harlequins during the Fight phase, so he makes them really good in combat. 5 attacks makes him impressive too.

Shadowseer - A solid psyker, can't say much more about him. His buff is still amazing.

Troupe - Got more use out of these guys this time. I think Harlequins are a much better force in 8th. What they lack in shooting, they make up for in speed and combat prowess.

Skyweavers - So impressed, I took a second unit. Haywire Cannons are decent choice to make them Vehicle hunters, and they have the speed to charge the units they want to charge. Really good support for the Troupe.

Future Changes

I'm happier with this configuration for the army. Would need a full game to see more. I do want to try out my Wraith-units though, so I will need to build an army to accomodate that.

Final Thoughts

I'm enjoying trying different units. I'm going to brainstorm up a configuration to let me test the Wraith-units without being too all-in on them. Also, other people are excited about the edition change, so there are plenty of opponents about.



   



Thursday, 22 June 2017

Newhammer - My First Game

Quick recap - Tuesday saw me play my first game of 8th Edition 40K against Jack. We also played a few games of VS2PCG, but didn't have time for Conquest.

The Baron Mordo deck needs work, the Luke Cage deck needs tweaks and the Wolverine deck....

In the second game with the deck I got him to level 3 on turn two. I wasn't even trying to level him quickly, I happened to draw a lot of X-Factor to ready Wolverine and get the 5 solo attack stuns needed to level up twice, across two turns. Doubt that will happen often, but it was pretty sweet.

Now, onto the game you came here for:-

The Armies
 






This was the army I tried out. 2000 points/99 power level.

Aeldari Warhost

Iyanden Battalion Detachment

Autarch; Banshee Mask, Power Sword, Shuriken Pistol, Sunburst Grenades
Farseer; Shuriken Pistol, Witchblade, Smite, Guide, Doom, Inspiring Leader warlord trait
Warlock Conclave; Shuriken Pistols, Singing Spears, Smite, Conceal/Reveal
Guardian Defenders; Shuriken Catapults, Heavy Weapons Platform, Shuriken Cannon, Sunburst Grenades
Dire Avengers; Avenger Shuriken Catapults, Sunburst Grenades, Exarch, Shuriken Pistol, Diresword
Dire Avengers; Avenger Shuriken Catapults, Sunburst Grenades, Exarch, Power Glaive, Shimmershield
Dark Reapers; 2 extra Reapers, Exarch, Reaper Launchers
Fire Prism, Prism Cannon, Shuriken Cannon, Spirit Stones, Crystal Targeting Matrix

Wych Cult of Strife Outrider Detachment

Succubus; Splinter Pistol, Archite Glaive
Hellions; Splinter Pods, Hellglaives, Splinter Pistol, Phantasm Grenade Launcher, Stunclaw
Reavers; Splinter Pistols, Splinter Rifles, Bladevanes, Heat Lance, Grav-Talon
Reavers; Splinter Pistols, Splinter Rifles, Bladevanes, Heat Lance, Grav-Talon

The Veiled Path Patrol Detachment

Troupe Master; Neuro Disruptor, Harlequin's Kiss, Prismatic Grenades
Shadowseer; Neuro Disruptor, Miststave, Hallucinogen Grenade Launcher, Smite, Twilight Pathways
Solitaire; Harlequin's Kiss, Harlequin's Caress
Troupe; Shuriken Pistols, Prismatic Grenades, Harlequin's Embraces
Skyweavers; Haywire Cannons, Zephyrglaives
Voidweaver; 2 Shuriken Cannons, Prismatic Cannon

Two fast assault detachments with a shooty-ish anchoring detachment.

Jack fielded:-

  • 3 squads of 3 Obliterators
  • 4 squads of 10 Cultists
  • 2 squads of 10 Chaos Space Marines
  • 3 Chaos Spawn
  • 3 Chaos Sorcerers, one of which was his Warlord
  • 3 Hellbrutes
  • Maulerfiend
  • Forgefiend
His force came in at 130 power level. I think he may have gotten the points wrong somewhere, as double-checking things to write this post it comes out to 2345 points? I'll have to check with him in case I'm wrong/find out where he want wrong.

The Game

We played the Only War mission from the Battle Primer, as neither of us have purchased the Main Rulebook yet. After setting up we rolled on the Victory table and discovered we were playing Slay and Secure. Objective Markers.

I lost.

It's hard to say how much of that was due to the points/power level balance and how much was due to dice. Tactical mistakes were made on both sides. The Obliterators turned up and slaughtered the Reapers and an Avengers squad, but then got stuck into fighting the Guardians, and couldn't really shift them. The other Avengers squad got held up by a Chaos Spawn and neither side could hurt the other for a few turns. I wasted my Reavers charging the Maulerfiend. I realised after I had done it that it was a mistake, but was already committed by then.

I did kill his Warlord in the first turn though.

He took Sorcerers to experiment with the Psychic phase. I was able to use combat to take them out, rather than shooting. Also, between his Casting rolls and my Deny rolls, he got very little use out of them. I rule the Psychic phase apparently.

The 'Fiends were difficult to hurt with what I had taken. I think losing the Reapers didn't help. The Helbrutes were a little easier to hurt, but I rapidly ran out of capable units.

Unit Analysis


Farseer - Doom is still a really good power. Between that and Smite, the Guardians we able to slowly kill the Obliterators. He wounds on 2s in combat, but with 0 AP and only two attacks though, it's not really a factor.

Autarch - His buff is really useful, and Heroic Intervention meant he could join the Guardians when they were charged, keeping him out of shooting danger. Re-roll ones to hit for nearby Asuyani is amazing. I can see already that the buffing HQs are going to be important, which in turn could make Snipers important.

Warlock Conclave - I only took these guys to fill points. However the Singing Spears look good on paper. They got shot to death before they did much, but were an important source of Deny The Witch while they were alive.

Guardian Defenders - I held this unit back with the two characters to keep hold of an Objective. Again, the combat with the Obliterators stopped them doing much, but they were nicely holding their own in that combat.

Dire Avengers - These were decent units, nothing special but not bad either.

Dark Reapers - With the buff from the Autarch, these guys hit on a 3+ and re-roll 1s. That makes both of their missile choices pretty good. I'm guessing that's why all 3 squads of Obliterators targeted them after teleporting in turn one. Expensive, but probably worth it.

Fire Prism - Lascannons can really put a hurt on vehicles, and all the Helbrutes had twin ones. I also find the main weapon still a bit hit and miss, literally. Definitely wants Guide cast on it still, but the values on the weapon means that when it does hit it is quite devastating.


Succubus - Killed some Cultists, then got charged and killed by the Maulerfiend. She was taken because the Detachment required a HQ, however she doesn't have the movement speed to keep up with the Reavers and Hellions, even after combat drugs. Next time, I'll have a longer look at the availble HQ choices, see if something fits better.

Hellions -  These guys are amazing. Fast, plenty of attacks and the Stunclaw has a chance of doing additional Mortal wounds. They chewed their way through Cultists and Marines, and have a great speed and decent shooting attack. Will look at taking more of these guys.

Reavers - Again, these are fast, and the Heat Lance does a lot of wounds to single targets. I really wasted them by charging both units into the Maulerfiend. Not a mistake I'll make again.


Troupe Master - The Harlequin buff character, he is also quite a fearsome close combat fighter himself. Nice that the Harlequins got a HQ at last, but he is essentially the squad leader from 7th.

Shadowseer - This guy is expensive. However, he gives your opponent -1 to wound Harlequins near him and his Psychic powers are good. I think I chose the wrong one, but he is still a good unit.

Solitaire - Now with 8 attacks in combat! This guy was a beast, he had to be gunned down by the Forgefiend, after killing two spawn, a sorcerer and helped to kill half the Marines. Really impressed with him.

Troupe - Didn't get to use these, all but 1 of the unit was killed by the Forgefiend in Jack's first turn. However the one that survived made good use of the Harlequin's Embrace. I like all three Harlequin weapon options in this edition.

Skyweavers - These guys were great. The Haywire Cannons did a lot of damage to a Helbrute, and using Rising Crescendo they were able to leap into the middle of Jack's army and charge his Warlord. I suspect he won't be as easy to charge next time.

Voidweaver - A mobile mini-tank. I quite liked it, it is even able to hide in combat, hitting on a 3+. The Prismatic Cannon suffers from similar problems to the Prism Cannon though.

Future Changes

I'd love a squad of Rangers, but I don't currently own any. Snipers in this edition exist to hassle/kill characters, especially the ones giving buffs.

I think the Fire Prism should have been my standard Wraithlord with twin Bright Lance and twin Flamer. He would have been effective against the 'Brutes and the 'Fiends.

The Warlock Conclave can be cut. It was essentially what I could afford with the remaining points.

I might need to invest in a Venom to carry the Succubus. While she died quite early, if she hadn't the Reavers and Hellions could have left her miles behind.

Other than that, I was pretty happy with the army composition. I might want to try out some of the Wraith' units in future games.

Final Thoughts

8th Edition is not the drastic change everyone acts like it is. My view may be jaded having played during the change from 2nd to 3rd. The rules are different in subtle ways, but not as many as people think. The return of movement values will probably take many people time to get used to, while I'm thankful that at last the Eldar have had their speed returned

However, a lot of the individual units have changed. Some have changed the way they operate, some have had a re-purposing. It's going to be fun to experiment with units in future games, and against a variety of opponents.

This edition is good, and I recommend playing it to anyone who has played 40k before and still has their army. Play some games, try your units and work out what every thing's battlefield role is supposed to be. I suspect some units will be surprisingly effective once you know what they are for.



Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Newhammer - My First Game Prelude

As Jack has some time off work, we are going to get together for some heads up gaming. He's wants to play Warhammer 40,000 Conquest, VS 2PCG and 8th Edition 40K.



For VS, I have 3 decks built. We've recently had a new expansion (Legacy) that adds cards to the existing Marvel factions, adds some Level 3 Main Characters and adds some Loyalty Plot Twists.

Firstly, I've got a Good Midrange deck lead by Luke Cage. With a mix of Defenders, Guardians of the Galaxy and Weyland Corp characters, it's a classic deck. Trying out some new choices, there is a mix of  Beatdown and Disruption. It's built around one of my favourite characters, so I hope to learn about it's card choices and tune this deck down the line.

Secondly, I've got a Evil Control deck. It was originally built around Black Cat, but with the Legacy cards, she has been replaced by Baron Mordo. This has allowed me to streamline a little and remove all the Femme Fatale cards, making this just Villains and Underworld. It revolves mostly around discard, with a some choke cards and big finishers.

Finally, I've built an Aggro deck lead by Wolverine. It's mono X-Men to take advantage of their powerful Loyal Plot Twist, which draws 2 cards, and let's me experiment with a Level 3 Main Character.




Just because the game has ceased production and the licensing has been returned isn't going to stop us playing. I only have two decks built, as I wasn't happy with my Necron self-mill deck. It struggled in the Command Phase and doesn't really fit my play style.

My main deck is the format's Boogie Woman; Packmaster Kith. Allying her Dark Eldar with Chaos, it combines the classic Drukhari card/resource denial elements with some Chaos Elites and cost-reducers to hit hard before the opponent recovers.

The other deck is my attempt at building a mono-Eldar control deck. The Warlord is Eldorath Starbane, and the deck is packed out with control elements and Command Phase units, and an emphasis on exhausting enemy units so they never get the chance to strike in combat.

Anyway, on to the main topic:-




My First Eighth Edition Game

I say my first game, but it will be Jack's as well. I've only picked up one Index so far, so I'm going to be looking at an Aeldari army. I believe that Jack is looking at Chaos, but I have no idea if he is going to try out different units, focus on a subfaction or something in between. We are going to play a 2000 point game for several reasons. Firstly, that will be the tournament standard. Best to start now, as the game will give us a gauge on how long a game will last and how large an army will be. Secondly, it gives us plenty of room to try units and detachments. Finally, Jack may wish to try out the Summoning rules, and this should give him room to bring in some Daemons while still having some actual models on the table at the start of the game.

So, I sat down to build and hit a problem. How do I build?

I looked at the range of Detachments available. There are twelve and each one is clearly aimed at building a specific type of army, or adding support to one. This doesn't help when I'm not sure what I want to do with the army.

What are my goals? Try out some Aeldari units, play a game and try and win. I don't know what mission we are playing, so I can't build with a victory condition in mind. Also, the layout in the Indexes is bollocks. There is no other way to put it. The unit profiles are the opposite end of the book to their points costs.You have to pay for everything, including the basic wargear of a unit. Granted, some base weapons cost 0, but you still have to look things up. It's a lot of flicking back and forth between 2-3 pages just to build one unit. And then you have to do that for every unit.

I hope the upcoming codexes and "general's handbook" work out an improved layout.

My solution. Point up units I want to field until I reach 2000 points. Then look at the Detachments and see which one best fits the units I'm taking. Adjust the units if needed. And as for the shoddy layout; guess I've just got to suck it up.

Harlequins

I started with the Harlequins, as the Internet reports that they are much better with this edition. I took a Solitaire, as he has 8 attacks and looks like he's really nasty in combat. I then bulked his force out with a Troupe, Troupe Master, Shadowseer, a couple of Skyweavers and a Voidweaver. Upgrades were simple, as I went WYSIWYG with the models as I've built them.

It ended up coming to 677 points, or power level 35. Their Battlefield Roles meant I could fit them into a Patrol Detachment. It's essentially the old Allied Detachment, so perfect for a small force of Harlequins. This is essentially one squad and some support.

Drukhari

This was going to also be simple, as I own few units from this faction. In fact, having only bought Gangs of Cammoragh, I pretty much only own Fast Attack choices. So I looked at the Outrider Detachment. 2 units of Reavers, 1 of Hellions and a Succubus. Again, WYSIWYG on the upgrades.

This, despite being a detachment with more slots available, came out to 407 points. Or, if you prefer, power level 19. It will be interesting to see if the relative power levels between my three detachments show up in their battlefield success.

Asuryani

I had taken two fast moving assault detachments, and have 916 points left. Guess the Iyanden contingent will have to form the core of the force, and provide the lion's share of the shooting. I looked at building this around the Battalion Detachment, as the triple mandatory Troop choice looks like a good core.

One unit of Guardian Defenders and both of my Dire Avenger units should hold the centre reasonably well. They provide decent mid-range fire power and a fair amount of bodies (for Eldar). I wanted decent long range punch though, so turned to the classic masters of death from afar; Dark Reapers. Five of those with an Exarch should start putting holes in the things they point at. I then added a Fire Prism, as the stats on it's cannon look amazing now.

I had yet to take the two mandatory HQ choices, so I simply built a Farseer and an Autarch. I had few points left, and tried to take a War Walker but he proved too expensive. After flicking through to see what could fill those last few points, I stumbled upon the Warlock Conclave. Just a pair of Warlocks for more Psyker support.

This came out to 916 exactly, with a power level of 45. 18 of that power level is the Fire Prism and Dark Reapers. They better pull their weight then.



There it is, my first 8th Edition list. I'm packing it in the bag as I finish typing this post up. I'll post a (hopefully) detailed report on how it does later this week. 2000 points, 7 Command Points, power level 99.

Wish me luck!

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Newhammer - An 8th Edition 40K Review

This one is thanks to Ben Tucker, who suggested the topic. It's best to not question how I'm reviewing the book, just accept that I have found a way of doing it before release, but not through any official channels...
So let's get into it- 


CORE RULES

These are the rules you need to play the game. Separating them out is a good idea, and they are even available as a separate fold out sheet. This will make learning/teaching the game much easier and also shows how much less complicated 8th Edition is compare to 7th. I'm in favour of this as, contrary to popular belief, a simple rule set doesn't always translate to simple strategy and tactics. A lot of the same depth is there, while some of the changes add more wrinkles to your classic battle plans.
 
Battle Round

So, the overview of the turn sequence. We are given a definition of the term Battle Round and how each turn within the round breaks down into
  1. Movement Phase
  2. Psychic Phase
  3. Shooting Phase
  4. Charge Phase
  5. Fight Phase
  6. Morale Phase
While this is the same order as 7th, we can already see two new phases. Certain special rules let you take actions in the "wrong" phase (Ynnari, I'm looking at you) but most things will follow this list. The two new phases actually help the game flow a little smoother. By giving Charging it's own phase, you do all the charging and overwatch at the same time. No more charging, fighting a combat and then going on to another charge and combat because you forgot one. Get your charges declared, do overwatch, move and then on to the next charge. This is also important for Command Points (foreshadowing).
The morale phase stops there being multiple Leadership tests each turn for each unit. It all happens at the end of the turn, which allows all the casualties taken in a turn affect the morale of the unit.

A nice and clean phase order, that's familiar to veteran players of 40k. As usual, having a definition for a Round and a Turn lets some effects take place in different places. Not much else can be said here.
 
Movement Phase

The Movement Characteristic has returned! Harking back to 2nd Edition, each unit has it's own movement value. No longer are the Aeldari held back by your tyranny of 6". This means that some units/armies are better at repositioning. It also moves a lot of the detail to the Datasheets and allows different Vehicles to move at different rates, rather then being lumped into broad categories like Fast and Skimmer. Fliers tend to have a minimum value now, which means if they can't move that far, they die!

Two new additions to movement; Advancing and Falling Back. Advancing replaces running. Rather than being done in the Shooting Phase, you simply roll the D6 and add it to your move, sacrificing your ability to Shoot or Charge later in the turn (barring special rules a unit may have). Falling back is no longer based on morale. It allows you to leave a combat you are locked in, sacrificing your ability to Advance, Shoot or Charge that turn (again, barring unit rules). This lets you get units out of combats you don't want them in and open up with your other guns on the opponent's combat troops. It's an additional layer of tactics. Do you move a unit out, or let them fight the combat? Do you shoot the squad in your lines, or ignore them and shoot something else while your own combat troops move in?

Movement stats! I cannot over-state how happy I am that these have returned. I've complained about their loss since 3rd Edition removed them. My Eldar move faster than many other races without having to have tacked on Special Rules. Different units will have differing ability to reposition. Advancing is cleaner than Running, as you are less likely to forget a Unit. Falling Back adds a degree of protection from Assault Armies, as multiple charges are easier and Consolidation can actually be used to drag other units into your combat. Sometimes though, Falling Back won't be the correct choice, and knowing this will make a difference.
 
Psychic Phase

This phase has had yet another massive revamp. Psychic powers don't have a great history for consistency across the editions of 40K. Now, there are few Psychic powers Psykers can use, and the amount they can cast is fixed. Each power has a fixed value, you roll 2 dice and try and get equal and better than the value. If your opponent has a Psyker nearby, they can deny by rolling 2 dice and getting higher than you did. If they don't have one close enough, they can't deny. This quietly brings back Unstoppable Force, as if you roll a 12, they can't roll a 13 on 2 d6.

Perils happen on a double 6 or double 1. Then the Psyker takes d3 wounds. If they survive and rolled enough for the power to go off, it goes off, if they didn't roll enough it doesn't. If these wounds kill them, however, not only does the power fail (even if it was a double 6), but everything within 6" takes d3 wounds from the psychic backlash. I've already seen this happen in a game and it was devastating due to the high amounts rolled for all the wounds.

A streamlined version of a system that had become bogged down. You can choose your Psychic powers in this edition, so no more Daemon-Psychic armies having to spend 20 minutes generating random powers and remembering which model/unit has which power, followed by half hour long psychic phases where you have to work out how many dice you need, allocate them to the powers you want and start rolling. Even typing that description took a while. This isn't hugely different from the old 3rd Edition system of making Leadership tests for powers, except it's all done in one phase and your opponent can try and stop powers if they have Psykers as well. The strength of this phase will depend on what Powers they print. No sign on Invisibility yet...
 
Shooting Phase

This phase takes up the most pages of all the phase, because they use it to introduce concepts like Strength, Wounds, Saves, etc. that will also apply in Combat and via certain Psychic Powers.

There are a lot of changes, that will take some getting used to but aren't fundamentally different to previous editions. In fact, this is where the game becomes a hybrid of 2nd Edition and 7th Edition. You still can't shoot into combat, but you can shoot all of your ranged weapons and choose different targets for each weapon. The different weapon types have various effects on how they shoot; for example Heavy Weapons have -1 to hit if they have moved.

Ballistic Skill has changed from referencing a table to being a fixed X+ number on your unit's datasheet. Unless there are modifiers to the roll, then that is the number you will need if you want your shots to hit, though a 1 always fails (regardless of modifiers but after re-rolls).

The Wound table has also changed to be much smaller. If you are of Strength equal to their Toughness you need a 4+. Higher; 3+. Lower 5+. If it's double or more; 2+. Half or less; 6+. Done.

Your opponent then allocates the wound to any model in the target unit they want (even ones out of range/lie of sight of the attack) and makes saves. Rather than AP nullifying saves completely, it is now a modifier to the armour save. So attacks mostly still let you have an armour save, but in some cases make that save worse. Obviously, sometimes the modifier can be large enough to remove your save. Luckily, Invulnerable Saves are still a thing, and they still ignore AP. Cover gives a positive modifier to your Armour Save. Then, if you fail,  the chosen model takes wounds equal to the weapon's Wound characteristic. Excess wounds from that hit don't carry over to other models. Then you resolve the next hit.  A new thing here is Mortal Wounds (from Age of Sigmar). They DO carry over across the unit if multiple Mortal Wounds are allocated. They also ignore both Armour and Invulnerable saves, making them very potent. The wounds inflicted by Perils of the Warp are Mortal Wounds, so a Psyker dying to Perils can easily cause damage to your army.

Every unit can split it's fire now. No more having your anti-infantry weapons sit silent while your anti-tank weapons fire. Even then, everything can potentially injure everything, so it's less of an issue. I'm actually not in favour of this change. I don't mind having weapons that have no chance of hurting certain units. It makes me think more about positioning and application of correct firepower/resources. Mortal Wounds allow for some interesting abilities and weapons though. Cover being a positive Save mod is interesting as well, though some of the usual suspects ignore this. Templates being replaced with random shot values will take some getting used to as well.
 
Charge Phase

You can choose to Charge multiple targets with each charging unit, as long as they have a chance of reaching them all. You declare a unit and it's targets, then your opponent can Overwatch with all the target units. Overwatch still requires hitting on a 6+, and ignores modifiers for Ballistic Skill. If the Charging unit survives, it rolls 2d6 and if that would be enough distance to get within 1" of a target unit, then you move in. if it isn't you don't. Then you move on to the next unit you want to charge with. Enemy units can keep firing Overwatch every time they are targeted with a Charge, until a unit reaches them.

This doesn't feel any different than 7th to be honest. I know that you can keep firing Overwatch, but that assumes that each charge fails. Only having to get within an inch means everything essentially charges 1" further, I guess. I do like that nearby Characters can call an Heroic Intervention as a charge response and join in the combat.

Fight Phase

Firstly, all the units that Charged activate. One at a time, you choose a unit, work out how many attacks it has and then choose which weapon to use for each attack if the unit has multiple melee weapons. Weapon Skill works the same way as Ballistic Skill; a simple X+ stat. Your opponents Weapon Skill is irrelevant. Damage and Saves also work the same way. When you activate a unit, it Piles In 3" towards the nearest enemy model and after you resolve it's attacks, you move 3" towards the nearest enemy model again.

Once Chargers have activated, starting with the player whose turn it is, players take it in turn activating units that are in combat and haven't already activated this phase. This back and forth, like in Age of Sigmar, allows you to tactically choose which units fight first as you try and resolve the important combats or kill/cripple units before they have a chance to activate.

I like the back and forth activation idea in Age of Sigmar, and it works well here too. Chargers striking first is good too. This rewards proactive movement and careful activation choices. It is a shame that relative close combat ability doesn't matter anymore though.
 
Morale Phase

At the end of the turn, starting with the turn player, you look at each unit that took any casualties that turn. Add up how many models it lost, add 1d6 then subtract your Leadership. If the result is greater than zero, that many models flee the unit and are removed from play while the rest stay in the fight.

I like the flavour of this. Models lost here have either fled due to cowardice or stopped to help the fallen and are too busy first aiding to take further part in the battle. It's nice and simple, and there are a variety of rules that interact with it that aren't just immunity. T'au Bonding Knives let you ignore 6s on this roll. Harlequin Death Jesters choose the first model removed by falling back if they have attacked the unit. It also means that units don't run off and ruin your positioning, they are either where you want them in the fight, or dead.
 
Datasheets

Gone are things like Armour Values for Vehicles. Now everything has a Toughness Stat, Armour Save and Wounds value. Standard Infantry will tend to have 1-2 wounds per model, while Monsters and Vehicles will have lots more. Monsters and Vehicles also tend to have some of their stats be variable based on how many Wounds they have remaining, usually degrading as they become more injured.

Everything having similar profiles means there is less to explain to new players. Keywords also make special effects and buffs work really well. Characters can't join units, but can't be shot if they start with less than 10 wounds. Weapons are better against Vehicles and Monsters if they have a higher Wound stat. Lascannons do d6 wounds per hit, for instance, which you need when Wave Serpents have 13 wounds and Wraithknights have 24.
 
Three Ways To Play

There are now three suggested ways to play.

Open Play - grab some models and have a game. To make this easier, each datasheet has a Power Level so you can easily work out if the forces are roughly balanced. When working out which upgrades the models have, just look at the models you are using. Then set up and play a game.

Narrative Play - use your game to tell a story. Follow specific missions with build instructions and victory conditions and play it out. Can your favourite character get revenge on their mortal enemy? Can your small force survive an ambush long enough for reinforcements to arrive? These games may not be balanced, but only if the story needs them to not be and you want the challenge.

Matched Play - This is the tournament standard, and I imagine will be the default way many of us will play. Units and upgrades have points values, there are Detachments you must organise your army into with mandatory and optional unit type choices. This generates a number of Command Points which can be used to trigger Strategems like re-rolls. However, each Strategem can only be used once per phase, which make Charging being it's own phase better as a Command Point re-roll there wont stop you using one in the subsequent Combat Phase.

Not a fan of open play. It's a good idea for teaching the game, but the rest of the time you can just use an agreed point value for a fair game rather than agreed Power Level. Narrative play will see more missions printed as they do various campaigns. Story highlights for the Ultramarines versus Death Guard on Ultramar are probably coming, especially a showdown between Roboute and Mortarion. Matched play will be most people's default. 
 
Each type comes with it's own missions, and Matched Play even brings back the 7th Edition Eternal War and Maelstrom missions, with a new-ish Objective Deck.

While there is a Strategem that lets you discard and re-draw from the deck, there are still some cards there that may not be achieveable for your army simply based on the composition of the forces involved. Big Game Hunter, Scour the Skies, Witch Hunter and Master the Warp still exist. Also there is the awkward combo of Advance; have none of your units in your deployment zone, and Hold The Line; have 3 units in your deployment zone. Prepare for people complaining they have been screwed by drawing both at the same time having already used the re-draw Strategem or having run out of Command Points already
 




Advanced Rules

This section brings us the Detachments, Command Points and Terrain rules. It also brings a host of optional "expansions"

These aren't truly expansions, but other ways of playing the game. They don't differentiate between Open, Narrative or Matched play either, so can be used in any mode. They are probably better here than trying to shoehorn them into having their own book each.
 
Battlezones

These are additional special rules that can effect your game, based on where the battle is happening. Night Fight, Psychic Maelstrom and a world erupting are the ones in the book, but I expect more to come in future.

Fancy a change of scene, or rules for fighting on interesting planets? Here you go. Hopefully they will eventually print more than just the 3 we have here. They are kewl, but I wouldn't want to use them all the time.
 
Planetstrike

This is a short ruleset for fighting a battle where the Defender is trying to stop the Attacker from creating a Beachead for a larger invasion. It adds rules for Fortifications, as well as some unique abilities to spend Command Points on.

This feels more like a specific mission than a different way of playing. It even wants the attacker to have a higher Power Level than the defender. It makes a good opening mission for a campaign though.
 
Cities of Death

This adds rules for fighting in an urban environment with plenty of ruined buildings, with things such as faster movement on open roads and Grenades being more lethal in buildings.

Great ruleset if you have a lot of ruin/urban terrain. Easily added to any of the missions as well.
 
Stronghold Assault

Rules for laying Seige to the Defenders Fortifications, with the goal of destroying them all.

Like Planetstrike, this feels like an additional mission rather than a ruleset.
 
Death From the Skies

Rules that add a Dogfight Phase between the Movement and Psychic Phases, where Flyers shoot only at each other, and relative facing modifies the Hit Rolls. With this varient, Flyers that leave the table can come back on, rather than counting as destroyed.

Basically, an extra phase that lets Flyers fight Flyers without distracting them from the rest of the battle. Not sure about this one, would have to try it in a few games first.
 
Multiplayer Battles

Rules for multiple players fighting to control an Objective Marker in the centre of the battlefield.

Not really needed, but having a King of the Hill victory condition is kinda kewl.
 
Campaigns

Rules for different ways of running campaigns in 40K.

Great starter advice for running campaigns. 
 
And that's it...
Those rules, and a short example of play take up about 100 pages. And you only need the Core to play, which is 13 of those.


All in all, I'm in favour of this Edition. The changes aren't really as drastic as the Datasheets make it look. I'm willing to lose the uniqueness of vehicles if it makes the game simpler to learn. That way we can all get on with the harder task of learning to be good at the game. 

Next, I'll have a look through the Asuryani stats, and see how my Iyanden army may have changed through this edition. I'll also take a look at the Avatar of Khaine and see how he has fared over the years, and illustrate how he has changed from 2nd Edition through 8th.

Thursday, 1 June 2017

Amonkhet Standard

As I said in a previous post (http://hiveoffunandsilliny.blogspot.co.uk/2017/04/i-was-out-damn-it.html?zx=d5b0ffc2c2a63d20),  I want to collect a set of Amonkhet. I've done quite well on the main set, though the Invocations are proving to be problematic. As the recent Game Day was coming up, i needed a handful of cards, including the Game Day promos. This left me with two choices; play in the event or trade for them. This would potentially become problematic as one of them is a highly Standard-playable dragon.






As you can see, the full-art, foil promo is better art. I'll also need it for my Dragon collection. This lead to me sitting down on the Saturday night to deck build for the next day's Game Day at Antics.

I've not had a Standard-legal deck in about a year. Not really had any interest in the format in that time, especially since Kaladesh hit none of my flavour buttons. So I started my deck-building by going through my collection and pulling out any interesting Standard-legal cards in Black and Green.

Why these two colours? They are my favourite to play as a combination, and no matter the format usually lead to a Midrange Rock-style deck. It has become a deck of decent solo creatures, disruption, removal and incremental advantage. It's a style of deck I play often, my Modern weapon of choice being Jund. This came from reading the old Five-With-Flores articles, where one about Midrange lead me to learn that it fit my playstyle, and I haven't looked back.

That procedure left me with roughly a Fat Pack (Bundle for you new kids) box full of cards I thought might be playable/interesting/fun. A little more sifting/cutting lead to actually having to make decisions.

  • How much land do I want?
  • Do I want an Energy package?
  • Do I invest heavily in Delirium?
  • Do I go more aggro or control?

Here is the answer I can up with

Main Deck
4 x Sylvan Advocate
4 x Tireless Tracker
2 x Verdurous Gearhulk
1 x Ishkanah, Grafwidow
2 x Noxious Gearhulk
1 x Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger
2 x Nissa, Voice of Zendikar
1 x Liliana, the Last Hope
2 x Ob Nixilis Reignited
2 x Liliana, Death's Majesty
4 x Oath of Nissa
2 x Traverse the Ulvenwald
4 x Grasp of Darkness
2 x Transgress the Mind
2 x Ruinous Path
1 x Never (to) Return
4 x Hissing Quagmire
4 x Blooming Marsh
3 x Evolving Wilds
1 x Blighted Fen
6 x Swamp
6 x Forest
Sideboard
1 x Manglehorn
2 x Gonti, Lord of Luxury
1 x Ishkanah, Grafwidow
2 x Transgress the Mind
2 x Pick the Brain
1 x Dispossess
3 x Appetite for the Unnatural
3 x Flaying Tendrils

This is what I settled on by the time I went to bed. I had a slightly different build, but jamming some games on Forge told me I probably needed some more early removal, which meant switching in the Grasp of Darkness'ss. A few more games told me that weakness had been shored up, but I needed to get to bed rather than get more games in.

Some of the choices will look strange. I settled on 24 land out of habit. One of the Basic Lands should probably be another Evolving Wilds, but I could only find three. The Blighted Fen is a pet card. I'll always try and run one while it's in Standard. It's also a potential out to cards like Ulamog.

The 1 Liliana, the Last Hope is because that's all I currently own. It's too good a card to not use, and should potentially be a higher number, but I'm not going to trade for one or more just for this deck. 12 pieces of removal (including Planeswalker abilities and Gearhulks) felt about right. I suspect that's one of those things one gets a feel for as one plays the game more and more.

The Sideboard was a little haphazard. I knew the "popular" decks in the format were Mardu Vehicles and Aetherworks Marvel. However, I had no idea how popular they would be locally. So the board is attempted answers to those decks, and some other cards, again based on what I had immediately available.

The deck ended up being pretty straightforward G/B Rock, with a small Delirium package. Not enough to go all in, but enough to power up some cards in the late game/get to that board state sooner. Ulamog is a surprise card to push over the top, should the game go long enough. The double exile should be enough, even if he then gets Cast Out, or faces similar removal.

So, How did I do?

The event was 4 rounds with a Top 4 cut. My interest was in making the Top 8, as that's how you won the Dragon. Trueheart Duelist was the participation promo, so that was easy to achieve. With 12 Players, a record of 2-2 (6 points) should Top 8. That meant I could afford 2 losses and still make my goal. Not that I particularly wanted any losses, but it was nice to know an average record would still get me the card.

I thought no more of it and settled down to play my first match. It went great. 2-0 and didn't touch my Sideboard. That's not just the first match, that would be repeated every round during the Swiss. I faced a variety of decks, none of which appeared to be typical builds of any archetype I've read about. The games came down to drawing enough removal, having Planeswalkers stick and beating down with the creatures. So, basically, what the deck is supposed to do.

This left me facing down the Top 4 having already achieved my goal. The semi-final and final went the same way, facing someone I had already faced in the Swiss. My deck continued to do it's job and I was victorious.





This meant I also won this snazzy playmat.

I've since played the deck in an FNM to similar results. One game loss and a final round that ended in a time out. Actually did some sideboarding that day though. This has lead me to want to make some changes to the Sideboard

1 Appetite for the Unnatural becomes 1 Manglehorn
1 Appetite for the Unnatural becomes 1 Dispossess
1 Ishkanah, Grafwidow becomes 1 Never (to) Return

To be honest, this is another of those "feeling" things, where I'm having trouble explaining my reasoning. I think I want the Appetite for the Unnaturals swapped out, as a second Manglehorn is probably better in the Mardu Vehicles match-up and the second Dispossess is better against Aetherworks Marvel and Dynavolt Tower. Ishkanah, Grafwidow is coming out because I don't actually see a reason to side it in, so a second Never (to) Return replaces it, giving me extra removal if wanted and a hedge against any emergent Graveyard strategy.

I'll be playing this deck at FNMs for a while, unless other games distract me. It's a great time slot to play the Star Wars LCG. I've got a sweet Lothal Spectres deck to test and hone down from 12 Objective Sets. But it's nice to have a Standard deck I enjoy playing again, after so long. It will be interesting to see what Hour of Devastation brings, especially as I will want a set of that to compliment the Amonkhet set.

Speaking of, as of writing this, I still need two cards. Hopefully I'll be able to track them down/trade for them soon. Then on with the chore of trying to get more of the Invocations.


Thursday, 11 May 2017

A Couple of Experimental Squads

So as the X-Wing meta shifts away from Aces, and since I've recently been catching up on purchases (I may have been a couple of waves behind) I've decided to build some lists experimenting with a couple of ships.

Scum Experiment

  • Dengar
  • Punishing One
  • Unhinged Astromech
  • Recon Specialist
  • Adaptability
Here is the Main Attacker of the list. His job is to put in most of the work damage wise. Recon Spec should give him a focus for his attack and a spare one for his retaliation . If he falls then the squad will struggle, but the other two should help prevent that.


  • 4-LOM
  • Veteran Instincts
  • Zuckuss
  • Mist Hunter
  • Tractor Beam
  • Collision Detector
A decent Secondary Attacker, he also offers Stress and Tractor based control elements. He is able to help put in work on the damage side of things, with the option of moving opposing ships via Tractor Tokens. I even have the option of using adaptability to make him and Dengar the same Pilot Skill, so that the Tractor Beam can be used before Dengar fires.
His ability to give away his stress is also very useful.


  • Unkar Plutt
  • EMP Device
  • Spacetug Tractor Array

And here is the truly experimental part. While he offers little in the way of offence (2 dice is merely okay),  His ability to block and give out Tractor tokens, alongside the Array to do it as an action should mess up with the opponents positioning and agility. The EMP Device is there as a "Just in Case", should a turn of Ion based control be needed.

This list was built to try out the Quadjumper as a blocker, so needed some muscle to put with it. The upgrades on Dengar were largely thrown together, so there is probably the most wriggle room on that ship to make changes. 4-LOM is fine as is, so it's a case of learning to block with Plutt and getting the optimal version of Dengar with the points left.


Rebel Experiment



  • Horton Salm
  • Twin Laser Turret
  • R2 Astromech
Firstly, a solid damage dealer. Susceptible to focus fire, you keep him out of the fight at Range 3 and use his ability to keep up a steady stream of damage. Simple, efficient, to the point.


  • Lieutenant Blount
  • Veteran Instincts
  • Adv. Homing Missiles
Another simple ship. His job is to choose a priority target, get a target lock and then give them a face up damage card. After that, he can block and add some shots. His missiles always hit, so hopefully the opposing damage deck will be unforgiving.


  • Bodhi Rook
  • Pivot Wing
  • Dash Rendar
  • Tactician
  • Collision Detector
The first experimental ship. My theory with the U-Wing is it is simply an X-Wing with more health and upgrade space. It's even similar in points and the title gives it the same agility! Bodhi's ability helps Blount get the target lock on the right target. Tactician gives a little control to the list too. Dash is there to deal with the larger base size.


  • Captain Rex
  • Sabine's Masterpiece
  • "Chopper"
  • Dead Man's Switch

The other experimental ship. Rex's job is to block, grant Suppressing Fire and then do some damage when the opponent finally decides they've had enough of his existence. Hopefully, by being ignorable in the early game, his Suppressing Fire helps mitigate some damage.


These are the lists I'll be trying out on Thursdays for a while, and tuning them until I am happy they are optimised, or they have proven to be wildly unviable.

A Plea for Content

I'm just about managing to do a post once a week on this Blog, and multiple posts if I miss a week. I'm even getting better at adding photos to break up the wall of text that my writing style throws at the screen. This is a symptom of my reading preference. I enjoy reading, so a lot of text doesn't bother me when I encounter it elsewhere, as long as it is saying something interesting. However, I recognise that adding pictures breaks things up a bit and makes the post look better. So I'm going to do it more often.

You're Welcome :)


 What I am struggling with is topics. What do people want to read?

Anyone who knows me can ask tactical advice or gaming opinion, and they know I will either tell them I don't know anything on their topic or I will tell them EVERYTHING. If I know (or believe I know) about a topic, then I can be quite vocal and willing to lecture. But only when prodded.

They may never shut up once you do
 
It's a personal thing. I'm not one for sharing information unsolicited, or much in the way of self-promotion, but once asked I'll do my best to answer a question. It's something I need to work on, especially as I push more into Events Management. And it's fairly useless being a Fount of All Knowledge with a blog if you don't say things. 

So, am asking you; my reader base. What do you want to read? You probably know by now what games I run events for, and what games I personally play. Maybe something from this list
  • Battle/Game Reports
  • Tournament Reports (as a Player)
  • Tournament Reports (as a Judge/TO)
  • Deck/Army/Squad Techs
  • Strategy Advice
  • Tactical Advice
  • Theory crafting
  • Spotlights on Board Games I've played
  • Opinion Pieces on News
  • Rants 

These are some of the things I could and should be posting about. It comes down to what you guys want. Do you have a burning tactical question you want my advice on? Ask me here, there may be others that want to know the same thing.

As an example, I had been asked to write about Deployment for Genestealer Cult Armies in 40K. Before I was able to start researching and writing a piece, Games Workshop announced 8th was going to feature a lot of changes to the game. This has caused me to hold off for the moment, as any advice I give may no longer be sound after the rules change. And said change is rapidly approaching.


So, TL:DR - 

Send me questions, topic ideas and anything else you want to see from this blog.

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Amonkhet Prereleases

To kickstart my attempt at collecting Amonkhet, I decided to attend the first prereleases I'd been to in a year.






I haven't really played much Magic in the past couple of years. I haven't really felt like playing the themes in Standard. I did a little bit of playing before GP Manchester and played the Oath of Gatewatch prerelease simply because I was visiting a friend. I also played the occasional Modern FNM.

So, i guess the question is; How did it go?

Saturday

I could tell it had been a while once I had opened my boosters. It feels like very little in the set is "vanilla" which means every card needs to be read and evaluated. Even though I had paid some attention in Spoiler Season, this felt quite daunting. So I rapidly settled on something that had caught my eye.





I had opened this card in foil, alongside a suite of Black Zombies, White Zombies, some removal, both on-colour Monuments and Embalmer's Tools. This lead me to disregard the other colours, although 2 of my on-colour split cards had Green Aftermath halves.

I struggled to cut the deck down though. Ended up running 47 cards.

1 x Fan Bearer
1 x Sacred Cat
1 x Time To Reflect
1 x Festering Mummy
1 x Embalmer's Tools
1 x Trial of Ambition
2 x Doomed Dissenter
1 x Destined to Lead
1 x Impeccable Timing
1 x Prepare to Fight
1 x In Oketra's Name
1 x Glory-Bound Initiate
1 x Anointer Priest
1 x Binding Mummy
1 x Bontu's Monument
1 x Oketra's Monument
1 x Those Who Serve
1 x Unwavering Initiate
1 x Cartouche Of Ambition
1 x Cursed Minotaur
1 x Lord Of The Accursed
1 x Painful Lesson
1 x Wander In Death
1 x Wasteland Scorpion
1 x Sparring Mummy
1 x Final Reward
1 x Painted Bluffs
1 x Sunscorched Desert
1 x Forest
7 x Swamp
9 x Plains

The result? A mess. The deck (and my pool) had no real bombs. I was relying on the Zombie synergies, and often had to try and mill an opponent out with the Embalmer's Tools. I probably should have cut down to 40 cards and had a tighter deck.

I did learn a few things though.
Glory-Bound Initiate is pretty good, but it's size gets out-stripped pretty easily.
The Monuments look good, but rely on your ability to cast creature spells afterwards. Between running two and facing a few throughout the day, I felt they were more trap than good card. Maybe a more reliable deck would get better use out of them, but I didn't event feel bad facing them.
Aftermath cards seem really good. It was worth splashing the Green mana for both Fight and Lead. Destined, then Lead on a Wasteland Scorpion did a pretty good job of sweeping one opponents board. Attacking with the Glory-Bound Initiate, Exerting and then casting Prepare after blocks killed one creature and gained me 6 life, then Fight post-combat killed another creature and gained me 6 more life at the cost of the Initiate.

All in all, I had fun but didn't do very well. I did feel that I had learnt lessons that would be useful on the Sunday.

Sunday

Ready for a go again on the Sunday, my first booster showed me this guy





Followed shortly by this lady




Interesting. Two bombs, both in the same colour. Question was, can the rest of the pool support these two, or would I be forced to abandon them for other cards?

1 x Ruthless Sniper
1 x Horror Of The Broken Lands
3 x Wasteland Scorpion
1 x Liliana, Death's Majesty
2 x Soulstinger
1 x Cursed Minotaur
1 x Watchers Of The Dead
2 x Final Reward
1 x Cartouche Of Ambition
2 x Trial Of Ambition
1 x Archfiend Of Ifnir
1 x Nest Of Scarabs
1 x Splendid Agony
2 x Painful Lesson
1 x Scarab Feast
1 x Supernatural Stamina
1 x Destined to Lead
1 x Cradle Of The Accursed
1 x Grasping Dunes
1 x Evolving Wilds
1 x Painted Bluffs
1 x Forest
12 x Swamp

How did it do?


Fantastically. Went undefeated with this deck. It had a mix of Cycling Synergies and -1/-1 Counter Synergies.

Lessons
With enough Cycling in the deck, Ruthless Sniper lives up to his name, even allowing me to shrink a Seraph Of The Suns down to 1/1 the turn it entered the battlefield.
Similarly, the Archfiend is as good as it looks. It is truly a Bomb.
Destined to Lead was still worth the Green Splash.
Trial, followed by Cartouche is as good as Wizards intended.
Nest Of Scarabs isn't optional, which is awkward when you have been enchanted by Trespasser's Curse. Careful play saw me through though.
The utility lands are really useful
Only drew Liliana twice. First time I had 9 cards left in deck, so used her to reanimate something and won the game before deck size became a problem. Second time, I was so far ahead it wasn't worth casting her. My opponent was mana screwed and I was a couple of turns from winning, so all she would have done is made my opponent feel bad.

I'm loving the set. Really enjoyed playing the Sealed, even when I was losing. I can't wait to see what the Hour of Devastation brings.

The Results Are In

Belated posting, been busy with work and life. Let's get things back on track.

This past Sunday I held my third 40K Tournament. It did well, we got 12 players. The scenario was  Maelstrom of War: Tactical Escalation. Here are the results;

  1. Jack Lambourne, Tzeentch Daemons. 3 wins, 46 points
  2. Ian Atrill, Orks. 3 wins, 32 points
  3. Mike Pooley, Necrons. 2 wins, 1 loss, 30 points
  4. David Newby, Sisters of Battle. 2 wins, 1 loss, 26 points
  5. Charlie Bennett, Ynnari. 2 wins, 1 loss, 25 points
  6. Ron Gargett, Alpha Legion. 1 win, 1 loss, 1 draw, 17 points
  7. Alfie Bennett, Homunculus Covens. 1 win, 2 losses, 34 points
  8. Chris Tucker, Necrons. 1 win, 2 losses, 20 points
  9. Josh, Space Wolves. 1 win, 2 losses, 26 points
  10. Macaulay Uniack, Raven Guard. 1 win, 2 losses, 7 points
  11. Les Harvey, Dark Angels. 2 losses, 1 draw, 19 points
  12. Kyle Clements, Blood Angels. 3 losses, 27 points
There is a nice spread of armies, with only one repetition. Which is the pattern so far. All three events have had a duplicate faction. Interestingly they have been a different faction and different players each time.

Jack's Daemons have won back to back events. I believe part of this is there ability to swarm the table via Summoning and rapidly overwhelm opponents. Especially as they usually start the game outnumbering them. It's something a lot of forces can't deal with unless they are set up to deal with it, which may cost them against others. It was possibly a key to the success of the Orks as well. Mobs of boyz set up in trucks, an army of large-ish, fast moving units.

End of May sees a repeat of this event, while we await 8th Editions release and the discussion into how to move forward with these events once that has happened.

Thanks to everyone that came, I hope that they all enjoyed it and I'll be sending out the survey shortly

Friday, 7 April 2017

I Was Out, Damn It!!!!!

I haven't played much Magic the Gathering in recent months. My playgroup never have the time to get together for EDH and the Standard has been less than inspirational. It's not the power level or staleness concerns that the Internet appears to have with Standard, but simply a lack of caring on my part. I was on the verge of quitting Magic, keeping eternal format decks but moving away from any cards that aren't useful for them.

Then this happened











Those are Maelstrom Pulse and Vindicate, being cast by Egyptian Gods.

Egyptian Gods!!!!!
Well, that's certainly a thing. Amonkhet is filled with ancient Egyptian flavouring. And I'm finding it all amazing. There are mechanics like Embalm to turn your creatures into Mummies, cards for the Gods, the return of Cycling. Plus....


The return of Nicol Bolas. He created the plane, uses it as a base of operations and is venerated as the God-Pharaoh. He will get a new Planeswalker card in either this set or it's follow up Hour of Devastation. It's got me excited for Magic again.
So much so that I'm going to collect a set. Like an actual, one of each card, stored in a display folder set. All the artwork so far is gorgeous. Means getting hold of the promos too, which will mean entering the Game Day and trying to top 8 (it helps that the top 8 promo is a Dragon). I'm undecided about applying this to the inevitable playmats and sleeves. It also means doing the same for the second set.

There are 2 problems with this plan:

1) Top 8ing Game Day is going to require a Standard Deck, and a decent one at that. It's not an FNM where I can play anything. My most recent deck was based on the Nissa Planeswalker deck, and so while being fun wasn't super-competitive or tuned. 

2)  The Invocations. The 2 pieces of artwork I've shown above are from the Masterpieces, not the main set. They come in a fancy card frame with foiling. Not only are the roughly 1 per 11 billion boosters, but this time they are sought after cards like Force of Will and Wrath of God. The cheapest is $40 pre-order. They are going to be a massive challenge and may require buying rather than trading.

Still, I want to do it. The set looks fantastic so far and we aren't even fully through the first week of spoilers as I type this.


So Fuck You, WOTC! I was out, and you pulled me back in. 

Sunday, 26 March 2017

Second 40k Starter Event Report

I'm typing this up during the event, so it's probably going to be a little disjointed.

We had 10 players again, so maximum turn out. Some different players and some players playing different armies. Only one repetition, and both of those are different styles.
  • Khorne Daemonkin, mono-daemons with Flesh Hounds, Bloodletters and a Skullcannon
  • Blood Angels infantry, with Terminator support
  • Blood Angels, 4 Dreadnoughts with some infantry support
  • Sisters of Battle, with Saint Celestine and 2 Exorcists
  • Tzeentch Daemons, Flamers galore
  • Skitarii, Rangers and a Dunecrawler
  • World Eaters, Berzerkers and Raptors
  • Raven Guard, Shrike leading Assault Marines, Scouts and Sternguard
  • Crimson Slaughter with a Vindicator
  • Saim-Hann Elder, with Wraithguard in a Wave Serpent.
As I type this, round one is coming near to an end. Everyone is playing the mission, no-one has come here just to try and table people. It's part of the intent of the event. I've limited the guest list to ensure a good atmosphere. Some players aren't great at facing newer players and that rapidly turns things toxic. That then leads to players not wanting to return to future events or even losing interest in the game. Definitely something I want to avoid.

Second round has led to an interesting match up. The Blood Angels players are facing off, with the more experienced one giving advice to the newer player. The latter played Harlequins last time and recently obtained the Blood Angels army. I'm hoping that he gets some good advice.

I'm considering asking at the end if any of the players want me to feature their army on the blog. It'll be interesting to hear the whys behind some of the builds and their intended tactics, alongside how they felt the games went.

Via summoning, the Tzeentch army managed to practically table the World Eaters. Far too many Flamer templates and not enough successful saves.

Final round I was unable to get pictures because a player dropped. This meant I got to play a match! I'll talk about the list I'm trialling in a future post. I won on behalf of the player that went, but as is my custom the player I beat got the win as if he faced the bye.

Everyone seemed happy with the event, the winner played the Tzeentch Daemon list, facing off against the Sisters of Battle in the final round. I've sent out the same questionnaire as last time, and nearly had a full set of responses already. I'm really enjoying running these, and I'm looking forward to the next one where we pump up the points, lift some restrictions and move onto Maelstrom missions,

Thursday, 23 March 2017

Second 40K Starter Event

I'm currently prepping for this weekend's event. I thought I'd share the battlefield with you all. The more observant among readers will be able to plan their tactics based on this, but that's the advantage of recon ;)







The Red Cross is The Relic. The key objective for the mission. As per the mission rules, it starts in the dead centre of the field. Players will be fighting to capture and control this, moving it away from their opponent as needed.

The Black Rectangles are the Deployment Zones. Not much to say here, the Players set up their armies in these, one in the top, one in the bottom. Units with Scout will shoot forward from these. Units with Infiltrate will want to deploy outside of these. Units with Outflank will come on from the sides.

The Blue Shapes are Line of Sight Blocking Terrain. These serve to break up the lines of fire and give models/units places to hide. If you can be partially seen past these, they will be worth a 3+ Cover Save.

The Grey Ovals are Area Terrain. The features of these will block some lines of sight, but mostly will grant cover to models in their marked area. They will gain a 5+ Cover Save.

The Grey Rectangles are Ruins. This offer vantage points for shooting units, as well as cover to models behind their walls. They will have a 4+ Cover Save.


This will be the set up on Sunday, and after players have tried it out may well be the set up for the next few events. Looking at upping the points and removing some of the restrictions for April's event.

Next time; A summary of the Event itself.

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Triumvirate Death Match

In lieu of more serious content this week, I thought I would try and battle the various Triumvirates against each other. One-on-One matches in their weight class, short summaries, 14" x 24" battlefields with no terrain, opponents setting up in opposite corners. Let's get it on.....

Cruiser weight

This class will be Inquisitor Greyfax, The Visarch and Cypher.

Round One

Inquisitor Greyfax vs The Visarch

Greyfax wins the first move. She has generated Mental Fortitude and Dominate this round, The Visarch has generated the Master of Death Warlord trait.
Due to the sizes of their bases, both Greyfax's Condemnor-Boltgun and Dominate are already in range, so she opts not to close the gap with such a deadly close combatant. Generating 2 Warp Charges, she uses 3 dice on Dominate and succeeds, The Visarch fails to Deny and then loses a wound to the Boltgun.
The Visarch moves in, passing his Leadership test to run, but only running 1" (I forgot Fleet at this point).
For Greyfax, Dominate is once again successful, but this time The Visarch makes his armour save.
The Visarch passes his test to charge, loses a wound to Overwatch but uses fleet to succeed in his charge. He only scores 2 hits, but gets the 6 to wound he needs for Instant Death.

Winner - The Visarch

Round Two

Inquisitor Greyfax vs Cypher

Greyfax wins the first move again, generating Terrify and Shrouding this time. Moving just enough to get into range, she successfully casts Shrouding, which isn't denied, and Terrify. Cypher succeeds in his Leadership test though. Her boltgun fails to wound.
Cypher moves up, and as both his pistols are out of range, he opts to run then shoot. This gets the bolt pistol into range, but Greyfax makes her save.
Greyfax casts Terrify but fails the Shrouding. Her boltgun bounces off his armour.
Cypher moves up and fires both pistols twice. The bolt pistol shots fail to get through Greyfax's armour, however despite managing to miss with one plasma shot (BS10!) other one gets through and Greyfax's lack of Eternal Warrior lets her down.

Winner - Cypher

Round Three

Cypher vs The Visarch.

The Visarch wins first move, generating the Ruthless Commander Warlord trait.
His turn is simple, close the gap. He runs 5" and ends his turn.
Cypher moves up since he wants the bonus attack for charging, and The Visarch can't Overwatch. Shooting his pistols twice, the bolts take one wound and the plasmas take the other two.

Winner - Cypher

This group was decided by the woeful lack of Invulnerable saves the characters have and Greyfax not having Eternal Warrior. This guys are universally fragile and Cypher's Plasma and The Visarch's sword are both AP2.

Overall Winner - Cypher






Middleweight

This class was difficult. While it obviously contains Yvraine and Grand Master Voldus, there are 2 options of equal points in the other group. I rolled off and Saint Celestine joined the fight.

Round One

Saint Celestine vs Yvraine

Yvraine wins first turn and generates Spirit Hook, Word of the Phoenix and Ancestor's Grace.
She moves up, and fails to cast anything. She runs closer as she needs to assault.
The Saint walks up, wanting to use her Jump Pack to charge. but between the Geminae's pistols and her flamer, Yvraine is slain.

Winner - Saint Celestine

Round Two

Saint Celestine vs Grand Master Voldus.

The Saint is going first. Voldus generates Banishment, Gate of Infinity, Hammerhand, Sanctuary and Cleansing Flame.
Leaping forward so they need an 11" charge, the girls open up.  The flamer is out of range, the bolt pistols do nothing but the Emperor's Vengeance hits. Voldus fails his 2+ armour save and lack of Eternal Warrior claims another soul.

Winner - Saint Celestine

Round Three

Grand Master Voldus vs Yvraine

Voldus is clearly a gentleman, as Yvraine is going first. She generates Spirit Hook, Shield of Ynnead and Storm of Whispers. He generates Banishment, Sanctuary, Purge Soul, Cleansing Flame and Vortex of Doom.
Dashing forward, Yvraine casts Spirit Hook but it is denied.
Voldus, seeing no reason to not, moves up. Sanctuary succeeds, but Cleansing Flame is denied. His storm bolter takes a wound and then he makes his charge in. His armour absorbs all Yvraines hits, which is lucky as she causes Instant Death. His Hammer causes a wound back (at least someone is Eternal Warrior) and the combat continues.
None of Yvraine's powers are useful, so it's straight to combat. She hits 4 times, wounds 1 time and it is saved. Voldus hits 2 times, wounds 2 times and Yvraine fails 1 save, dropping her to her last wound. She passes her Leadership test and combat continues.
Voldus is in the same position power-wise so it;s straight to Yvraine's attacks. She hits 3 times, wounds 2 times and Voldus' Terminator armour fails him again making him fall to his own lack of Eternal Warrior.

Winner - Yvraine

When character's like this clash, it often comes down to endurance. Voldus has decent armour, but the other characters were able to make him pay for his lack of Eternal Warrior. Meanwhile, Yvraine couldn't handle the amount of hits the Saint can get off.

 Overall Winner - Saint Celestine





Heavyweight

Two of these are Lords of War, so this is going to get interesting. Belisarius Cawl, The Yncarne and Roboute Guilliman.

Round One

Belisarius Cawl vs The Yncarne

The Avatar is going first and generates Spirit Hook, Storm of Whispers, Ancestor's Grace and Gaze of Ynnead.
The Avatar moves up and fails to cast anything. It runs up and passes the turn.
Cawl marches up and starts with some shooting. The Solar Atomiser takes 3 wounds and Cawl charges in to try and finish the Daemon off. The Mechadendrite Hive does nothing so the Avatar gets to strike. It only manages to do one wound through the Feel No Pain. Cawl's attacks bring it down.

Winner - Belisarius Cawl

Round Two

Belisarius Cawl vs Roboute Guilliman

Robby G is going first, with no Psychic Powers in this fight.
Striding forward, Robby G shoots 1 wounds off Cawl.
Cawl regains his lost wounds, moves up and his shooting bounces off the Armour of Fate. Cawl takes no damage from Overwatch and reaches combat, his Hive bouncing off as well. Robby gets 3 hits (no D) and can't beat the re-rollable Feel No Pain. Cawl's Axe also bounces off. This could take a while.
Straight to Robby's combat, the Hive doing nothing again. Robby gets 5 hits, one of which gets through Feel No Pain. Another is D, and does 3 wounds! Cawl still can't beat the armour. Cawl passes his Leadership test (just) and it moves to his turn.
Cawl regains 3 wounds, plus another from Harmony of Metallurgy. The Hive continues to do nothing. Robby is clearly pissed, as he misses with one attack, and gets four 6s. The regular hit bounces off the Refractor Field. One of the D hits fails to do anything. The rest are "regular" hit and Cawl fails his saves taking 9 wounds that ignore Feel No Pain!

Winner - Roboute Guilliman

Round Three

Roboute Guilliman vs The Yncarne

Robby wins the roll for first turn (possibly shouldn't be using Ultramarine dice). The Yncarne generates Spirit Hook, Storm of Whispers, Ancestor's Grace and Unbind Souls.
Strutting forward, Robby opens fire and take 1 wound off the Avatar.
The Avatar moves up and loses a wound to Perils while casting Storm of Whispers, only to then have the power denied. Ancestor's Grace is failed. The Avatar charges and loses a wound to Overwatch, then fails the charge despite Fleet.
Robby moves up and his shooting takes another wound off the Avatar, putting it to it's last wound. It attacks first and bounces off. Robby and gets mostly 3s. Two attacks hit though, and get through to finish the Yncarne off.

Winner - Robute Guilliman

Robby G is a beast, and also the most expensive of the three. Cawl is hard to put down, but the D removes most of his survivability. The Yncarne needs other Aeldari around it to get wounds back, so struggles when solo.

Overall Winner - Roboute Guilliman



This was a fun little experiment. Obviously to really test them, you'd want to run several fights for each match up. You'd also want to look at expanding them to include support units as some of the models are meant to be army centrepieces, not solo warriors. That would take a lot of time and space, an actual living opponent and be less fun! I am looking at using some of these characters in future games though, most notably the Triumvirate of Ynnead. It's going to be intriguing as the game moves into 8th Edition, since the plot has Chaos on the rise, but with glimmers of hope for the good guys. The Grim Darkness of the 41st Millennium is heading into Interesting Times.