Sunday, 30 July 2017

Newhammer - The Windrider Warhost

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

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

The Windrider Warhost

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

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

3 Windriders, 3 Scatter Lasers

3 Windriders, 3 Scatter Lasers

3 Windriders, 3 Scatter Lasers

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

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

Vyper, Twin Shuriken Catapult,Shuriken Cannon

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

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

The Event

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

Round 1

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

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

Round 2

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

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

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

Round 3

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

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

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

Army Review

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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