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...


  • The Warlock Conclave
  • Both squads of Dire Avengers
  • The Guardian's Shuriken Cannon
  • The Fire Prism
  • The Voidweaver
  • 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.


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.


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.


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- 


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.

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.

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.

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.

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 (,  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
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.