Tuesday, July 24, 2012

New Chaos Daemons Rules - from video

Can't take any credit for this but there's a video on YouTube of the new Chaos Daemons in the next White Dwarf. I imagine it will only be a matter of time before GW get's YouTube to take it down but try and catch it while you can. The commentary is in Dutch (as far as I can tell) but the magazine he's flicking through is thankfully in English. There's going to be a pull out booklet for Chaos Daemons to give them an official rules update for both Fantasy and 40K. I'm going to try and decipher as much of the video as possible to save people having to pause and do it themselves! Here goes (bear in mind it's a bit blurry in places so these are guesses at best!):

I have no idea about Fantasy but the interesting thing is that Soulgrinders can now be used!! Seems a strange move as I don't think they particularly fit with the rest of the models but whatever that's for the square-basers to worry about. No point me trying to comment on rule changes there because I wouldn't know the first thing about them!

Onto 40K, he only flicks through the rules quickly but basically there's a few units that have updated rules to go with their new models. There's new models for Plaguebearers, Nurglings, Screamers and Flamers. All of which look really nice. Matt now plays Daemons so I'm sure I'll have to face these things at some point. I'm considering a CSM army when they get released (now looking like Sept/Oct) so I'm keeping an eye on Daemons as potential allies (borrowing Matt's models!!).

There's a new Chariot of Slaanesh kit that seems to be a dual-kit that makes a (Exalted) Seeker Chariot or Hellflayers of Slaanesh. From what can be seen of the rules pages (video is a bit blurry at times) the standard chariot is 11,11,10 and 2 HP but the "exalted" version has 4 HP. Both seem to be piloted by an Exalted Alluress and will probably work in a similar way to a command barge in that it can only carry one model and is an Open Topped, Fast Chariot. However it says the driver can't get out of the Chariot and if the Chariot is destroyed they die too! The standard Chariot looks like it's 40 points with the Exalted Chariot at 90pts. Can just make out that the Exalted Chariot is a Herald and can take further upgrades. It looks like you take upto 3 chariots as a Heavy Support choice and can take any combination of the two types as a squadron.

The Hellflayer seems to be the same stats as the basic chariot and again carries an Exalted Alluress. Unfortunately the guy flicks the page too quick to read the rest of the rules!

Flamers are now two wound models and have an initiative boost to 4. There's also a new unit called a Pyrocaster which seems to be a squad leader of sorts and is a Character with an extra attack. Can't quite make it out but it looks like you pay 90 points for 3 (a bit cheaper than before - especially with 2 wounds!). The Pyrocaster is 5 pts and then you can buy additional flamers for what looks like 43pts each.

Also, it seems that screamers rules have been changed but unfortunately he never pans down to their entry.

As a final teaser the last page of the new WD seems to hint that next month's issue will contain CSM details as expected! Hope this was of some use to people. Obviously the WD isn't far away anyway! If you want to see pictures of the new models and the video itself check it out on Faeit 212.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Dark Eldar Kabalite Warrior Test Model

After the work on the Aegis Defense Line inspired me to start painting again I've spent the afternoon working on a Kabalite Warrior to test out the colour scheme I'll use on the rest of my army. I'm thrilled with how he's come out. I've been torn between a metallic scheme and a purple one. The armour was either going to be a mix of silver and bronze like the Nick Bayton army or a variation on the standard line highlighted armour from the GW boxes. In the end I went for a purple version of the line highlighted scheme but with metallic weaponry in a nod to my original plan.

So here he is:

After a Chaos Black undercoat the armour plates are painted in Naggaroth Night and then line highlighted with Genestealer Purple. The gun is Boltgun Metal (Leadbelcher) and Shining Gold (Gehenna's Gold). I think it's important to contrast the weaponry heavily with the rest of the figure as it stops it all blurring into a non-descript blob of colour. These colours were also used to pick things out on the "tool belt" such as the dagger, chain-hook and ammo magazines.

Detail-wise the flayed skin is painted with Tallan Flesh (Cadian Fleshtone) and then washed with Ogryn Flesh (Reikland Fleshshade). There's a couple of little pennants that are Hawk Turquoise but I've not found a suitable colour to highlight this with yet.

Onto the face and the basecoat here was Dheneb Stone (Rakarth Flesh). This was then lightly washed with Ogryn Flesh (Reikland Fleshshade) before I painted the eyes back in black and then added some tattoos with Evil Sunz Scarlet. The hair is an Enchanted Blue (Caledor Sky) base followed by Ice Blue (Lothern Blue) highlights.

The base was covered in sand and then painted with Charadon Granite (Stormvermin Fur) followed by a drybrush of Ceramite White. I've said this time and time again but I really wish I could motivate to spend more time on basing things! Ah well maybe on my CSM army if their codex comes soon!

Don't get me wrong I know it's not award winning but I want something I can apply quickly to the rest of the warriors in my army. I could spend hours blending the armour panels but frankly it takes far too long and I'd probably cock it up! I'm particularly pleased with the face as I think the tattoos really lift the detail. The line highlighting is a bit messy up close but the effect from distance is good.

Let me know what you think. I'm going to start working on the rest of the squad with this model as a reference so I'll post more pictures up once they're done.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Dark Eldar in 6th Edition

Continuing on from my first impressions of Tau in 6th edition, I thought I'd talk about another of my armies, Dark Eldar. From reading around on the internet there doesn't seem to be single person who's totally happy with 6th edition. It seems to me that every army got better in some ways and worse in others. Frankly this is just the way it is with any new edition. Let's look at how it's affected Dark Eldar.

It's pretty clear from my initial games and general consensus online that vehicles are much weaker in 6th edition. Ironically, I think this affects DE the least as their vehicles were already pretty flimsy. If anything it's a bonus as vehicles are now far more likely to be wrecked than explode which has to be good for our mostly T3 units. What people are realising is that transports are just that. The days of sitting pretty in your rhino for turn after turn are gone. Transports get you from A to B and probably get destroyed in the process. However, if they've done their job getting you there then what's the harm? With vehicles no longer able to contest they won't be doing much once they've dropped off their occupants anyway. Add to this the fact that you can't assault the turn you disembark and you almost want your transport to go pop!

The problem with this is venoms. Yes they only got 2 hull points which, with AV10, makes them the flimsiest thing in the 41st millennium but as I've said their only supposed to be transports. However, like their GK counterpart the razorback, their handy to keep alive for the amount of anti-troop fire they can supply. They simply aren't going to last out the game even if they try to keep at range. What DE players will have to make the most of is the ability to pre-measure to make sure they're kept as far away as possible for as long as possible. If they're going to be less survivable do we start taking them with just their basic armament. 12 poisoned shots are nice but only if you get to use them! It's a shame flickerfields aren't optional for them as it would be nice to swap these for Night Shields now.

Power from Pain
The changes to the Furious Charge and Feel No Pain special rules haven't really done Dark Eldar many favours. However, since most of our units are high initiative anyway they still benefit from the badly needed boost to strength that FC brings. Feel No Pain, as for any army that has it, is a bit of a double edged sword but even more so for DE. Whilst the ability to still take it even against power weapons is nice, particularly for hellions etc, the instant death thing is more likely to affect DE than any other army outside of IG. By dropping it to 5+ that unit of wyches might not survive to charge a second unit after killing the first.

However, when we get to the dizzy heights of 3+ pain tokens we start to see some benefits as Fearless no longer causes extra wounds in combat.

Poisoned Weapons
If the general shift in 6th edition is away from vehicles then poisoned weaponry is going to be brilliant. The main problem that DE had in 5th edition was in trying to de-mech their opponents before they could start to cut them down. If people do start taking footslogging lists then weight of fire will be very effective from poisoned weaponry. Add to this the changes to Rapid Fire and Kabalites are looking a lot more promising than they did before. I'd even be tempted to throw in an Aegis Defense Line to give them some cover whilst they sit and fire off a deluge of poisoned shots.

With some armies having no flyers at all at the moment it's certainly a benefit in these early days to have access to some in the DE codex. Now, they're far from the best out there but still capable of doing some nasty things to your opponent. Being able to zoom around and still fire a couple of dark/void lances whilst throwing down a couple of large blasts is going to really upset troops and light vehicles alike.

When pitting DE flyers against those of opposing armies they should do alright if they get to shoot first! After playing around with flyer on flyer battles at the Open Day it was clear that striking first was vital where flyers are concerned. Having S8/S9 shots will hopefully score a lucky explosion result on an enemy flyer but I think they'll suffer from not having enough shots compared to the others. If your opponent doesn't have any flyers they should help you dominate their troops.

These guys are going to be simply awesome in 6th edition. They were pretty great in 5th but if anything I think they're even better now. Thanks to their Skilled Riders special rule they still benefit from a 3++ save when turbo boosting. Not only that but they now move 12" in the movement phase then turbo boost 36". That means a very good chance of hitting a unit with bladevanes and getting to safety. If there's an enemy unit nearby they'll be able to leapfrog them 12" and then swoop back over them 36" towards their own deployment zone and safety.

The new rules for bikers mean that they actually count as T4 now so if they can grab a pain token (perhaps by combat drugs) they should nearly always be getting a 3++ followed by 5+ save. If they find themselves getting charged by the enemy they can hit them with their rapid fire splinter rifles and then still strike first with 2 attacks each. This will really give your opponent pause for thought when deciding to charge or not.

Oh and let's not forget heat lances are now +2 on the damage chart so should blow up vehicles every other time they penetrate!

Webway Portals
As you may know if you're a regular reader I love these things and have used them to great effect. However, as I discussed with Phil Kelly at the Open Day, they're far from what they used to be. I was hoping that the DE FAQ would allow units to still charge out of them but from what Kelly was saying I can't see them ever doing that. This doesn't necessarily mean the death of them though. It will be harder to use them that's for sure but there's still some possible applications. Depending on how much of a shift there is towards footslogging (which I don't personally believe their will be) the webway could be a good way of getting troops forward quickly. Rather than wyches coming out and assaulting it'll be kabalites shooting their way out of the portal. Hellions will still be pretty useful thanks to their splinter pods but they'll then be pretty vulnerable. As I've said above, reavers are just as good out of a portal as before. Finally, I still think they're the only viable delivery system for the talos/cronos.

Night Fighting
When I read the rules for Night Fighting followed by the rules for Night Vision a big grin crossed my face. Dark Eldar can completely ignore Night Fighting now. This is far far better than just a simple re-roll like they received before. We can actually use Night Fighting to our advantage now. There's a 50:50 chance that all the scenarios will start with NF in turn 1 so that should be fantastic for keeping things safe even if we don't get to go first.  

The ability to throw grenades has the potential to be brilliant for DE. Haywire grenades already got a massive boost from the hull point rules and being able to strip a hull point as you charge in will be awesome. I pity anyone who takes CC dreadnoughts anywhere near a squad of wyches even if they have a heavy flamer for Wall of Death. Plasma grenades aren't exactly amazing but being able to toss one on the way into combat is now an option for thinning out an enemy unit.

Random Charge, Overwatch, Fleet and Wound Allocation
Finally, this is where DE have been drastically affected. Wyches used to be a very effective unit because there was a good chance they could charge straight out of their transports thanks to Fleet. Now however, with the restriction to assaulting from a transport they're probably going to have to suffer a turn of shooting unless their transport got destroyed of course then it's happy days!

Allocating wounds to the front model could be irritating in preventing charges and few armies will suffer more from Overwatch and Wall of Death than DE. With pre-measuring it's still very possible to get into combat though and it seems they're far more decisive than they were before. The hekatrix is a character now which means that Precision Strike could be taking out that pesky Sanguinary Priest or Power Klaw Nob.

Most people are seeing the Fleet changes as a bad thing but I actually think they're a bonus. The ability to re-roll the dice is obviously going to help you get into combat, particularly since you don't have to re-roll both dice. However, the biggest benefit that I can see is that wyches can now use their pistols before charging every time. 10 BS4 poisoned shots isn't insignificant in reducing the amount of overwatch fire you'll suffer and giving the hekatrix a blast pistol could be a nice way to remove a flamer if she hits on a 6.

As I've said too many times to count now, it's early days for 6th edition so everything here can be nothing more than speculation but I think things are looking pretty rosy for the galaxy's ninja pirates. As with any army there's a few units that have suffered from the changes but there's an equal number than have been buffed.

The main thing for me is that Dark Eldar have actually gotten faster in 6th edition and although they're a bit flimsier it's still possible to catch your opponent off guard with your speed. I think a lot of opponents will look at your Dark Eldar and be content they can deal with them only to surprise them just like we did in 5th.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Necrons - The New Power in 6th Edition?

So there's no doubting that Grey Knights were the army to beat in the latter part of 5th edition but Necrons were giving them a run for their money thanks to their Night Fighting shenanigans. In the early part of 6th edition however, it seems to me that Necrons have the edge. Allow me to explain.

This is, in my opinion, the main reason Necrons are going to be so good in early 6th edition. With most people still using 5th style builds with lots of mech gauss becomes a very viable anti-tank option. Being able to move and shoot at range with Rapid Fire means vehicles should fear Gauss. At short range your standard 5-man warrior squad should be stripping a couple of hull points each turn on anything from venoms to land raiders. Overwatch works nicely too.

Command Barges
These were already irritating in 5th but weren't too difficult to deal with once you'd scored a penetrating hit. However, with their new classification as a Chariot they've become pretty potent. They can't move as far in the movement phase to make their sweep attacks but they can still assault afterwards! Have a read of the Chariot rules and try to convince me they aren't awesome!

Couple this with the fact that warscythes are one of very few CC weapons that are AP1 and they're really laughing!

As many people suspected the Preferred Enemy rules now apply to both shooting and assault. This makes destroyers and lords pretty nasty. I can imagine seeing a lot more of these guys.

Night Fighting
This is where most people believe Necrons have been punished. However, the increased likelihood of the mission using Night Fighting means with Solar Pulses there's a good chance you can keep it dark for a long time. For the most part this will give you an improved cover save whilst still being able to hit things and anything sitting at range e.g. rifle/psyfleman dreads will likely be out of range.

These guys were nasty in 5th edition and they've only gotten better. Vehicles are easier to kill in general so it could be argued they aren't needed as much but with the changes to "to hit" rolls for vehicles they'll now never hit them on worse than a 3+. Random charge and fleet hasn't helped them but (correct me if I'm wrong cos I don't have my rulebook handy) they now move faster in the first place and can still run. The sheer volume of attacks they get, which are now more likely to hit, means that they can easily multi-charge vehicles without caring about the "disordered charge" penalty.

A single scarab base scores 3 hits on a moving vehicle and will reduce the AV by 1-2 points. Against rhinos that means AV8 on the rear and then S3 attacks should at least strip a hull point. Therefore 3 scarabs can deal with a rhino pretty easily and there's less risk of them taking hits from an explosion. They're still not going to win a combat but by that point they've probably done their job. Let's not forget Fearless isn't going to affect them as badly in combat as it did before either!

Night Scythes/Doom Scythes
At this point in time, Imperial Guard are the only army with a "Skyfire" unit in the form of the Hydra. Whilst other armies have the option of taking a fortification with a quad gun this, like the hydra, involves sacrificing some points in anti-surface firepower to deal with a flyers. This means that the only other option for dealing with flyers is to take some yourself. In my opinion the best of these at the moment is the Stormraven thanks to it's high strength weaponry, hover mode, AV12 and transport capacity. However, this comes at a premium of >200pts. For this price the Necrons can take two Night Scythes. Not only does they have decent firepower from the T-L tesla destructor but being able to still to transport upto 15 models safely into battle regardless of whether they get blown up in the process!

If they're forced to make a Jink save and only Snap Shot in the following turn, any hits they manage (with twin-linked) will still get the bonus 2 hits from rolling 6s! This means they're still dangerous even after being hit. They aren't brilliant dogfighters mind you as those flyers with Hover mode can easily get into a position where the Night Scythe can't touch them. Mind you there'll probably be another one ready to help!

The low points cost means a Necron army can feasibly field a lot of Night Scythes without hampering their plans too much. At the moment this would be a very difficult prospect for an opposing army to deal with and even if they do then they're not shooting at the other Necron units. By flying the Scythes off the table early on the Necron player can try and drop troops off in the later turns to claim objective. The only risk here is that pumping too many points into flyers means not having a lot on the table in T1/T2 and risk getting shot off the board in the new rules. However, it isn't hard to hide something long enough to get some flyers in T3.

The Doom Scythe isn't all that great mind you as the death ray can only be used against ground troops and I don't think it justifies the 75 point additional cost. However, it's there as an option for getting more fliers into your list. Now I'm not saying Necrons get best flyers, they are AV11 after all, but their low cost makes them a much more viable option than others.

When you consider most people are saying that 6th will be dominated by footslogging shooty armies can you honestly think of a better option than Necrons? You have to ask yourself if it's a coincidence that they're good in 6th since Matt Ward wrote Codex: Necrons whilst writing the 6th edition book!

There seems to be a lot of talk on the internet about Necrons suffering in 6th but I really don't see it. They've got several viable builds and options for dealing with anything another army can throw at them. Expect to see a lot more of these guys on a battlefield near you!

Will I be getting them? Nope. They really don't excite me and I'm waiting to see what delights the CSM book brings whenever it hits.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

More Pictures from the Design Studio Open Day (Super Pic Heavy)

I thought I'd throw up some more of the pictures from the Open Day at WHW last weekend. First off here's the pic of Matt Ward being challenged by our Matt on the subject of "why the f**k are warscythes AP1" to which Ward didn't really provide a satisfactory answer! Anyway, here goes:

Matt gives other Matt the "you have no idea what you're talking about" look

Easily the highlight for Jamie, "I love Doom of the Eldar"
Rumoured to be Phil Kelly's creation
Harrier Jump Dakkajet
Tail End Charlie - Ork Style
The Word Bearers army from the new rulebook
Gigantic fortress as featured in the rulebook
Sculpting the ork heads from the bomma kit
One day.... one day
Ward: "engaging smug mode"
Hope you enjoyed this collection! Sorry if it took ages to load!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The Super Scenery Project - Part 1 - Aegis Defence Line

You may have noticed that my scenery is something that has gotten a little left behind in the painting stakes (you might not care!). I've got a pretty varied collection of scenery such as the citadel woods, imperial sector ruins, imperial strongpoint (bastions and defense lines) and moonscape craters. Every single bit of it still it it's original straight-from-the-sprue-grey colour scheme. The only bit of scenery that I've got painted is my home made "realm of battle" board which to be honest needs a bit of love. Therefore I've decided to embark upon a project to change this situation. Therefore I'm going to alternate between painting some figures for an army and painting a scenery piece.

The idea here is to make our games of 40K more immersive where the scenery helps set the mood for the game. With the sheer amount of scenery I have this isn't going to be an overnight change but hopefully if I tackle it bit by bit I'll start to get on top of it. This is mostly inspired by the fantastic new 6th edition rulebook which has some excellent battlefields but also from attending the Design Studio Open Day where there were some fantastic looking scenery being painted in a short space of time. With scenery playing a bigger part of 6th edition 40K I want my collection to look it's best. When everything is either factory grey or black undercoat it doesn't really feel like anything special.

In my opinion fortifications will play a big part in these early days of 6th edition as people will be forced to include them to take those quad guns to deal with fliers. Some armies really don't have any other options at the moment (looking at my Space Wolves in particular). Whilst rifleman dreads present a possible method of dealing with fliers I neither own one or want to use one. The Aegis Defense Line is defintely a cost-effective (points and cash wise) alternative. I bought the Imperial Strongpoint boxed set a while back when Matt and I tried out planetstrike and short of assembling and undercoating it there's been little love for it since. Unfortunately I've given Matt and Dave a set of quad guns to make rifleman dreads for themselves so I'm only left with one. This means that I'll have to paint the defense lines in generic colours so they can be used with any of my armies.

Colour Scheme for my Defense Line
I've therefore adopted a simple colour scheme that won't make the lines look like they belong to any force in particular. With all the scenery the aim is to make them look as good as possible for minimal effort. I don't want to spend ages on all the intricate details (as I'd rather paint my armies) but I want something that looks good on the table top and doesn't detract from the atmosphere of battles.

I'm really pleased with how they've turned out. The colour scheme is really simple too. After a chaos black undercoat I simply drybrushed the panels with Charadon Granite (Stormvermin Fur) followed by Fortress Grey (Administratum Grey). I then painted the metal "frame" Boltgun Metal (Leadbelcher) and washed the metal parts with Devlan Mud. I deliberately caught the edges of the grey panels to try to cover up any sloppy work with the Boltgun Metal (Leadbelcher) and to give a worn appearance. The aquilas were then drybrushed with Cermate White to make then stand out. The result is a defense line that doesn't look like it's come straight from the factory. I'm going to try out a similar scheme on my bastions. The paintjob is really quick to apply. This defence line only took me a couple of hours to complete (not including letting the wash dry) but I think the effect is pretty good. Bear in mind I'm still mostly using up the old paints so the new ones might vary in colour slightly.

Defense Line Tactics
Whilst I'm on the subject of Defense Lines I think they make an excellent addition to most armies. For 50pts you get a long length of barricade that you can arrange how you like. This can be excellent for providing cover for static elements of your army and for slowing enemies down as they try to reach your lines. Remember that if you use them to project units on objectives that you can go to ground for a 2++ save. They also offer the option for quad guns, icarus lascannons or comms relays which offer some tactical flexibility. The quad gun is pretty vital for my Space Wolves as they don't have any decent anti-flyer options at the moment. By sticking a squad of long fangs behind the line you can have the squad leader operating the quad gun whilst the rest of the squad fires at another target with their missiles. If they eventually get the option of Flakk missiles this unit will be very deadly to fliers.

For my other armies the defense line is also great for my Tau who can use it to protect a squad of footslogging fire warriors on an objective who can now make the most of their 30" range from safety. I'm not so sure there's a role for them in my DE force though. Not only do DE have an option for anti-flyer in the form of their own flyers but also taking a defense line encourages you to have a static portion of your army which isn't something DE should be doing in my opinion.

Either way for 100pts (with a quad gun) it's easy to fit a defense line into your army so I reckon we'll see a lot of them in the early days of 6th.

What's Next?
Before doing any more work on my scenery I need to paint some Kabalite Warriors and a Razorwing/Voidraven for Summer Skirmish at the end of the month. I'll post more scenery pics as and when I get them finished. My next project is to base and paint a Shrine of the Aquila as a centrepiece for my games. I'd love to know what you guys think of my defense lines.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Tau in 6th Edition


Let me start off by saying that I haven't had many games of 6th edition yet but here are some of my early thoughts about Tau and the way 6th edition has/will affect them. I'll probably put more posts up on this subject as I get more games in but this is what I've got for now.

Target Locks
The 6th edition FAQ for Tau clearly states that this bit of wargear no longer does anything. Now obviously in 5th it technically didn't do anything as target priority tests don't exist but most people played it as the model with a target lock could fire at a different target to the rest of the squad. For suits this meant 5 points for the ability to split fire (10 if you include the necessary team leader upgrade). This was particularly great for broadsides as with twin-linked S10 AP1 you had a really good chance of taking down two vehicles with a single squad. For example, in one game at Open War I took down two vendettas with the first shots of the game! Now in 6th I'd probably need 6s to hit them but with twin-linked it's a 1/3 chance which is pretty good really.

With target locks gone we lose some of our capacity to kill stuff but all is not lost. For 5 points you can still upgrade one of your broadsides to a team leader who then becomes a "Character". Whilst this isn't much help with vehicles it means that any 6s to hit against troops can be allocated to a specific model. That means a decent chance of picking off a power fist or anything else that's a threat to your suits e.g. lascannons, plasma gunners etc. Now I'm not gonna pretend this is as good as a target lock but at least it's an essentially free upgrade as you nearly always take a team leader.

Not that they were used much anyway but the skyray is even more gimped by the lack of target lock. This means both of it's markerlights have to be fired at the same target and it can no longer launch it's own missiles. Bit of a shame but as I said it's not like people took them anyway. Personally I reckon in 6th edition they'll get "Skyfire" but that's mostly wishful thinking.

Blacksun Filters
Every Tau player knows that range is their friend. Very few armies can put down the same amount of fire at extreme range. The problem was, in games against those pesky Necrons, Night Fighting for a few turns became a bit of an issue. Acute Senses on all of the suits helped but that rule is now essentially useless. With the new Night Fighting rules you must be within 36" to see a target (as before really) but also the target gains either a +1 or +2 to their cover (depending on range). This is pretty annoying. So with Target Locks becoming useless, something that used to be pretty useless (before Necrons) now becomes awesome. The Blacksun Filter now gives Tau units Night Vision meaning they can totally ignore Night Fighting. The rules for Night Vision only require one model to have it for the whole unit to benefit.

This means that if you give a squad leader (including for Fire Warriors) a Blacksun Filter they can totally ignore Night Fighting for just 3 points! The only other army (that I can think of) that gets this benefit is Dark Eldar. Now in 5th edition this wouldn't have been a big deal but in 6th there's a decent chance of Night Fighting coming into play in every single scenario making Night Vision a good thing to have! Obviously on any suits that have 12-18" range it probably isn't worth giving them Blacksun Filters but Deathrains and Broadsides almost have to have them.

Bonding Knives
Not much has changed here but the ability to regroup at any time with full Ld is pretty handy. Now this isn't to say you aren't going to be cut down in combat but if you manage to get away there's a pretty solid chance to regroup now. The question is, even at 5pts, are Bonding Knives worth it? As far as I can tell the restriction of enemies within 6" no longer applies so there's a better chance of being able to regroup now but with the limit dropped from 50% to 25% to still regroup the Bonding Knife isn't really giving you much extra.

Thanks to AP1 now giving +2 on the damage table it's not difficult to figure out that those railguns just got even better. That being said you still need to roll 4+ on the damage table to explode the vehicle so it hasn't made things all that much better. Slightly more chance of blowing it up balanced against just wrecking a vehicle. For Tau, blowing up a vehicle is useful as it helps keep your opponent at range. The problem is that vehicles are a lot softer anyway so maybe glancing things to death is the way to go.

Railguns are certainly handy when it comes to trying to claim the victory point for "First Blood" though!

Double FOCs at 2,000+ points
Whilst it remains to be seen what the UK tournament scene will adopt as its "standard" points level. Part of me hopes it stays at 1,750 as there's already an influx of cheesy lists onto the internet making the double FOC thing seem like a recipe for monotony. For Tau it could mean having a lot more suits on the board but it remains to be seen if this will be good or bad.

Fire Warriors
With the changes to Rapid Fire all weapons of this type have got a boost but none more so that the humble Tau Pulse Rifle. The main difference in 6th is that Rapid Fire is now half range not 12" which means a precious 3" boost to the double tap range of a Pulse Rifle. Couple that with the ability to move and still fire at 30" and it should be easier to keep your Fire Warriors safer.

The main problem for Fire Warriors was always their perpensity to fold when faced with even a slightly superior combat unit (i.e. every other unit in the game). Overwatch goes a long way to levelling that playing field. Whilst the true impact remains to be seen, assaults certainly aren't as likely as they were. The new wound allocation means that that horde of Orks/nids travelling towards you will not only have to withstand shooting in your turn but also in the turn they assault. Even with Snap Fire a double tap from an S5 gun is pretty nice. Taking models from the front means that unit might never make it into combat with your flimsy warriors.

I'm currently trying out Photon Grenades as well. These not only take away the charge bonus but also give your fire warriors Stealth from those pistol shots before the charge. Now I never used to take them because they were wasted points on a unit that I wanted to die on the turn it got charged. However, the possibility of thinning out the enemy enough to hold it in combat for a couple of turns or even fluke a win means that it might be worth giving these a second look.

New Tau Codex
Most of the rumour-mongers are saying that the new Tau book will hit the shelves in early 2013. Personally I'll be surprised if we see it before next Summer but who knows. In a game where shooting is even better than it was before the possibilities for the new book seem endless. The one thing that I'm interested in more than anything is the possibility of a flyer. I'm not talking a forgeworld one being used in 40K but an actual main rules flyer. Some people reckoned this would come before the book with a WD datasheet but either way I'm pretty excited about the idea.

So that's what I'm thinking so far about Tau. I certainly think 6th edition has given them a boost on the whole as they're one of the few armies that didn't rely on vehicles too heavily to be effective. As I've said, my main concern is how they'll deal with flyers but we'll have to see what the new book brings.  I'll post more when I figure more out!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

GW Design Studio Open Day

Matt, Jamie and I were at Warhammer World in Nottingham yesterday for the Open Day event run by Games Workshop. This was essentially a showcase of the process of designing both rules and miniatures taking concept art into the actual plastics that appear on the tabletop.

General Event
There were lots of different activities around the gaming hall. One massive table had what must have been about 50 fully painted flyers. There were some absolutely stunning conversions there and the idea was you picked one you liked the look of and had a dogfight with someone. Obviously this is an attempt to encourage people to buy the new flyers but from my perspective it gave me a good opportunity to see how they fair against each other. Stood at this table was none other than Phil Kelly. My first question to him was "you're not retiring then?" to which he responded "no you've got to put up with me for at least a few more years". In case you'd missed it there was a rumour going round that he was retiring that had pretty much already been quashed anyway. It gave me a chance to talk to him about the new rules and their effect on webway portals though (more on that later).

Elsewhere there were tables laid out with miniatures, a massive pile of sprues for the conversion contest (which generated some beautiful models), the game board from that massive in the rulebook where Chaos are assaulting an Imperial fortress (page 390), Forge World, Black Library, etc. There were also some of the artists and designers from behind the scenes showing off the design process. There was a team of sculptors showing how the "three-ups" are made alongside those using 3D modelling software to do a similar process. Across the way was a table with artwork (and the artists themselves) from the new rulebook and units. There were also a couple of competitions running with a "where's wally" style thing where they'd photoshopped some BA into the aforementioned battle on p.390 for people to find.

One of the highlights for me was being able to flick through Jes Goodwin's Dark Eldar sketchbook and talk with him about some of the designs in there. It's amazing how similar his sketches are to the actual models. I mean it's not a coincidence of course but I appreciate the details on the models themselves in a whole new light. We also attended some seminars on the process of creating 6th edition and the Dark Eldar and Necron revamps. There's quite a bit for each one so I'll cover them separately. I wish I'd taken notes to remember everything but here's a rough idea.

Seminar 1: 6th Edition with Matt Ward, Jervis Johnson and Jeremy Vetock
This session talked about the development of the new rulebook with Matt and Jervis talking about the rules and Jeremy talking about the fluff. Let me start by saying that there was an interesting dynamic between Matt and Jervis where you kind of got the impression that they didn't get on making me think that Jervis didn't necessarily agree with a lot of the decisions Ward has made. Maybe that's me being slight biassed against Matt Ward but whatever.

There was brief mention of the reasons why they didn't advance the story on but the general gist was that there's still a lot to cover in the last 10,000 years so they want to feel that most of it had been addressed before they went onto it. Jeremy did say "if we went into the 42nd millennium we'd have to change the name which is no good".

There was a discussion about the reasons for introducing random charge and they said that this came about because of the Overwatch rules. The idea being that even if your first rank of troops gets gunned down they should still be able to get into combat with the enemy. This tied into the thoughts about the removal of charging from reserve. They're basically trying to get away from the mechanic where one player can do something to another without him being able to counter it. Now personally I think there are lots of counters to units assaulting from reserve e.g. centralised deployment or bubble-wrapping units but I can see their point. They talked about the new flyer rules and mentioned that they'd originally hoped to get them out for 5th edition a bit sooner but "it didn't work out that way" making the rumours from last year about a "Summer of Flyers" seem more plausible.

They tried to avoid using the word "cinematic" too much but basically thats the aim of 6th edition. Making the game a bit more emersive so that units perfom a bit more like you'd expect them too. For example, shooting the first rank of an enemy unit down makes sense rather than allocating wounds so that the sergeant always survives etc. Toward the end they basically said that they want to make the rulebook a lot more robust so that the codexes don't need to be so complex. They want to move away from lots of special rules that are codex specific into a system where you don't need to know every codex to understand the game.

Chat with Jervis Johnson
Following the session we caught up with Jervis Johnson and had a long chat with him about various things. We started off by asking about the nerf/buff of particular units and whether it was a sales strategy. He basically said that whenever a new edition comes out there will always be nerfs/buffs to things and its impossible to avoid it completely. On the subject of pricing he said "we charge as much as we can get away with" which is pretty much what everyone thinks anyway. He talked about how the specialist games figure into the mix. Basically they focus their attention on the primary games (WFB, 40K, LOTR) and then when there's some "spare capacity" they might work on a standalone release. This was the case with Space Hulk for example. Jamie asked if Epic would ever come back to which the answer was a pretty firm "no".

We talked about the FAQ process and they said their aiming to do this a lot more regularly. Apparently a lot of the issues revolve around translating them into every language. He said that one of the guys who was working on the FAQs had left and it had taken some time for the new guy to get up to speed. Now that he has we should be seeing regular FAQs. These will be worked into the digital versions of the books (which they're looking into bringing to Android etc) but because of this they wanted to avoid updating things too regularly in order to avoid never really knowing what the rules are at a particular time. He said a lot of other stuff which I've since forgotten but I'll post it up if it comes back to me.

Flyers Games with Jeremy Vetock
After our chat with Jervis I bumped into Jeremy who asked if I wanted to try out the dogfighting. We both took a dakkajet and went against each other. I quickly blew his up but mostly thanks to some flukey rolls. We then had a 5 way battle with Matt, Jamie and another guy called Nigel where there were 3 stormtalons, a night scythe and a dakkajet. Ultimately Jamie managed to win the day with his stormtalon but the best thing was that every single other flyer actually exploded! The main thing I took away from this was how deadly flyer vs. flyer dogfighting is. They're basically designed to take each other out and they do it pretty well. The other thing is that zooming flyers really struggle to get shots on to back of things and it was only because Jamie was able to hover that he could shoot at all later on. It's going to be interesting in games where there's lots of flyers once people start to incorporate them.

Seminar 2: Dark Eldar with Phil Kelly and Jes Goodwin
For me this was the best session of the day. This was partly because by this point there were only about 20 people in the room and it felt like more of a chat in the pub than a seminar. Anyway, Jes and Phil talked us through how they'd totally revamped the DE army, models and rules. They were keen to make the models definitely Eldar but not just "craftworld with spiky bits".  The insight into the process of developing the backstory was fascinating as they talked about completely "making it up as they went along".

In terms of gameplay they wanted them to be ridiculously quick (pointing out they're even quicker in 6th) and deadly but this was countered by them being a bit flimsy. I think this comes across well in the book. When asked if there were any regrets about the process there was a mention that "Mandrakes didn't really come out as they were intended", apparently Phil originally wanted them to be able to appear right behind a unit.

Seminar 3: Necrons with Matt Ward, Dale Stringer and Tom Walton
The first question here was about the reasons for changing the Necron fluff. Matt Ward said they wanted to give them a much richer history than they had previously. They then went onto talking about how they designed the miniatures themselves. Basically they didn't want to give them too much personality as we're meant to be talking about soulless machines. Therefore they designed things with mostly geometric shapes. There are some running themes which I hadn't spotted until now such as a coffin shape. This is found on the engines of the vehicles, chests of the warriors and leg cross section of the triarch stalker. Now that he's mentioned it you can see it repeated everywhere in the range.

They also wanted to emphasise that Necrons desire to be human again therefore they actually ride on vehicles rather than being part of them like before i.e. destroyers. Then the rest of the range is their minions in the form of insectoid units like scarabs and wraiths. The idea being that it's easy to distinguish between the two but it's clear they're the same race.

Our Matt had managed to catch up with Matt Ward separately to ask him why they'd made the warscythe AP1 when very few other things are. He didn't exactly give a convincing response which makes you wonder if they really thought it through at all!

Overall I had a great time at this event. There were some really inspiring things on display. Some of the conversions on the flyers made me ashamed that I'd just assembled the dakkajet without doing something cooler. Similarly I was inspired to create something special with our scenery to really immerse myself into games more.

The cynic in me says that it was all just a PR exercise to sell more plastic crack and to be fair it was. However, the chance to speak to the guys who actually write the rules and design the miniatures was pretty impressive. I'm definitely insipired to make my armies look great and actually play some more fun games rather than focussing on competitive tournament games/practice all the time. I think it's easy to forget that it's meant to be a game sometimes!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

GW 40K Doubles - Battle Reports

So after the unpleasant business of yesterday's rant. I've now gotten that out of my system and can talk about how we actually ended up 2nd/4th. I posted the army list up yesterday so here's a brief rundown of our games. I'd post up full reports but it's been a fortnight and I've forgotten most of the intricacies! Anyway, here goes.

Game 1 - Titanic Fenrisians vs. GK/GK
We were hoping for a nice easy first game to give us a gentle start to the tournament and hopefully put us in a good position for the other 4 games. Looking at the army on the table in front of us we knew this wasn't going to be it! Our opponents had Draigo with a massive blob of terminators, a psyfleman dread, dreadknight, a techmarine, death cults in a razorback, Coteaz with some monkeys/servitors sat in a reinforced cover and gaining Stealth from the tournaments "Brothers in Arms" benefit and a razorback sat separately from the monkeys. A lot of firepower and some very tough units to kill. The guys controlling it, Jon and Denis had clearly put in a lot work to perfect the list.

They unfortunately took first turn and we took a pelting of fire to come out pretty much unscathed. None of our vehicles bought it with an SW rhino being immobilised and a couple of GK vehicles getting Stunned which they shook off. We let rip with our disgusting amount of fire and took down his dread and took out a razorback. They slowly advanced their terminators/dreadknight forward and took down a couple of our tanks. We killed off the remaining razorback, badly wounded the dreadknight and rapid fired the death cults to a single model. The following few turns saw the dreadknight die off to a fuselade of fire and Draigo falling down a Jaws of the World Wolf hole. The remaining terminators charged the purifiers but fluffed their attacks (although Coteaz died) and were taken down by a Grey Hunter counter-charge. By the end of turn 4 they'd been left with just a couple of monkeys and Coteaz sat in their reinforced terrain. We controlled 2 objectives and they had none meaning we decided to push for the tabling.

Mistake. A squad of grey hunters (who'd lost their rhino) advanced on their Coteaz and his monkeys and then sat and watched a single monkey and Coteaz make something like 19 2+ saves from the rest of our army! They then charged the lucky pair but fluffed their difficult terrain roll meaning only a handful of them made it into combat. I cocked up my rolls and Coteaz made me pay for it by killing a single grey hunter. I lost the combat and rolled 11 for my morale check. Coteaz and the monkey consolidated out of cover onto an objective which happened to be worth double (thanks to the custom scenario being played where a roll of 6 for each objective meant double points). End of turn 5 and we rolled for a decisive 6th turn but didn't get it.

Having lost 2 vehicles and Coteaz we were forced to a draw by their Coteaz ((on a single wound) accompanied by a bloody monkey! Words can't describe!

Game 2 - Titanic Fenrisians vs. CSM/CSM
Having drawn our game we fully expected to be playing someone else who had also drawn. Thanks to us scoring some secondary mission points we actually played John and Tim, the Chaos Allstars, who'd won their first game. Their army consisted of two land raiders with berserkers (with one squad joined by Kharn and the other by Abaddon), two squads of plague marines, a dreadnought and a defiler. Our only option for killing land raiders is the melta from the grey hunters and rending from the purifier's psycannons!!

We were playing Dawn of War and with our opponents reserving the lot we spent two turns driving around. When they came on they quickly killed off a rhino and then we let rip with our arsenal killing all the plague marines pretty quickly, exploding the defiler and turning the dreadnought into an immobile armless-wonder. One squad of grey hunters strayed too close to Abaddon's land raider and paid the price but Kharn and co were forced to disembark from their land raider. A combination of firepower and Jaws killed off Kharn and his berserkers. Abaddon and co eventually succumbed to weight of fire and we wrecked the other land raider. Had I been a bit more sensible with the grey hunters we probably wouldn't have lost much at all. Abaddon was pretty unlucky to smack himself in the face with his daemon weapon the first time he used it and struggled to take down a razorback. One of those games where one side has all the luck.

A solid victory where we also took 3 secondary mission points.

Game 3 - Titanic Fenrisians vs. SW/BT
Our final game of day one saw us facing Bennett and Simon with their combination of Black Templars and Space Wolves. They had 2 large grey hunter squads (one with wolf priest), a smaller squad in a razorback, 3 thunderwolves, landspeeder(s?), 2 squads of BT terminators and Emperor's champion. This mission gave you points at the end of your opponents turn for any control points you were in base-to-base with.

We knew we had to deal with the thunderwolves early on as if our vehicles started dying off we'd struggle against them. We managed to kill all but one of them straight away and a double jaws started to thin out the terminators. They quickly moved themselves into a position where they had 3 objectives so started to rack up some points. We managed to kill all but one of the terminators in the left hand squad but he still claimed an objective. Not only that but he killed our razorback on that objective and stopped us getting a point. Our grey hunters advanced and dealt with their large grey hunter packs and otherwise our sheer firepower again won the day. By the closing stages they were still scoring points with their remaining grey hunter pack but it wouldn't be enough.

Our opponents were unlucky to lose a lot of terminators to our well placed jaws attacks but also struggled to deal with our razorbacks/rhinos until late on. The sheer weight of fire was too much for a largely foot army so by the end our opponents weren't paying much attention.

Game 4 - Titanic Fenrisians vs. DE/SM
Feeling pretty confident from our first day's gaming we were pleased to be facing a DE/SM army that had lots of low AV vehicles for us to chew through with S8. They had 2 stormtalons, a razorwing, 2 ravagers, 2 rhinos with tactical squads, 2 venoms with kabalites, a large wych squad in a raider, librarian, etc.

With us taking the first turn our opponents decided to reserve their entire force as their mobility advantage would be very effective in a Cleanse mission. We had a couple of turns of maneouvering before their army showed up. They were actually pretty lucky to get a lot of their army in the 2nd turn. Sadly their firepower didn't do much to our army. The same couldn't be said of our return fire. They had brought on 2 storm talons, a rhino, raider, razorwing and a ravager. By the end of our turn 3 they'd only got a weaponless stormtalon and a rhino left with wyches and kabalites suddenly finding themselves on foot. The grey hunters rapid fired the wyches to death and the next wave of their forces met a similar fate.

However, all was not lost for them. With the game rapidly reaching it's conclusion (thanks to 2 turns of nothing) we found ourselves struggling to kill a landspeeder (roll on 6th edition) that contested one quarter and a having enemy units in the remaining 3 quarters. We managed to kill the speeder eventually but then had a moment of panic when we realised one of the tactical squads could get out of their rhino then in the next turn teleport into one of our quarters with no way of stopping them. Thankfully we never saw turn 6 so we took the win by a single quarter. 

Rich and Ian were easily our favourite opponents of the weekend though as they took it better than the rest! Our inability to kill a landspeeder despite hefty amounts of S8 shots nearly cost us the game. Fair play to Rich and Ian for keeping us sweating right up until the death. Sorry I didn't get a picture but it was all happening too fast!

Game 5 - Titanic Fenrisians vs SM/SM
Having won 3 out of 4 games and scored a decent number of secondary mission points we knew we'd be on the top tables. Much to our relief we weren't playing the double Necrons on table one with a horrible number of wraiths. Instead we were up against Jon and Simon's Space Marines. Codex Space Marines aren't exactly renowned for their tournament prowess so we knew they must be good players. Their list consisted of 3 squads of 3 melta attack bikes, 3 predators, 2 dreads in pods, Vulkan and a tac squad in a pod and a squad of scouts with a conversion beamer techmarine. The game would be Annihilation so we'd need to chew through some vehicles.

This was always going to be a tense game where every decision counted. We were relieved to get the first turn and see our opponents fail their Seize roll. With the drop pods yet to arrive we fired upon the attack bikes and predators killing one bike in two of the squads and making them flee. We were unlucky that neither of them ran completely off the board with their 3D6" move but at least they'd been pushed back. One of the predators lost it's turret but otherwise we didn't hurt them much.

We'd arranged out deployment carefully to protect the long fangs who'd certainly be the target of the dreadnought's heavy flamers and subsequent turn charge. This worked well and kept Vulkan and the first dreadnought at arm's length. They moved one of their attack bike squads into dangerous terrain and a snake eyes left a single attack bike left (the other one was thrown onto the next table by our opponent in frustration!?!!). This remaining attack bike managed to wreck one of the SW rhinos though.

The now footslogging grey hunters got themselves into position to charge Vulkan's squad and the rune priest ripped open the earth under their feet with Jaws. We carefully aimed it so that the nearest model would be avoided (allowing us to charge) but Vulkan was hit. One of our opponents had to walk away while his team mate made the initiative test roll as he couldn't bear to look. To our surprise he rolled a 6 and Vulkan fell down the hole!! The dice was thrown across the table in disgust and the thrower marched off to the other end of the gaming hall leaving his opponent to roll for the other 2 Jaws victims, killing one. Clearly we'd pissed them off! The rune priest then set up to charge the survivors and after a massive argument about whether he'd have to go through terrain to do so we charged in wiping out the tactical marines comfortably. Elsewhere the dreadnought was immobilised and we were looking good.

The remaining attack bikes were picked off over the next couple of turns. The second dreadnought landed and hid behind his drop pod to avoid being shot to pieces. We decided to charge him with Coteaz and his purifiers hoping hammerhand would help the inquisitor's hammer do the job. Sadly, despite having ripped off the CCW with shooting the dreadnought insta-killed Coteaz when Matt failed his only 2+ save. The grey hunters were forced to step in to save the purifiers from dread-lock which spared the scouts. Sadly the rune priest was on a single wound from his fight with the tactical squads and also failed his only armour save. Still we were feeling pretty confident at this point.

That was until we totted up the KPs near the end of the game. Our opponents had a secret mission that meant if they killed our HQs in combat they got double KPs for them. So when we thought we were winning 9-5 it was actually 9-7! If our opponents could steal another couple of points they could force the draw. Luckily for us their remaining attack bikes couldn't kill a dread who shrugged off the shots then killed the bikers in return. The predators eventually got taken out (they'd have been long dead in 6th edition) and that left just their techmarine and scouts who managed to kill another tank with the conversion beamer but the grey hunters inside held their nerve and hence their 2 KPs (1 for rune priest) and the game was ours!

Well it's hard not to be pleased with that performance. Our list did exactly what we expected it to do. All that S8 meant very little could stand up to us. Granted we got pretty lucky to kill both Dragio and Vulkan with Jaws but that's the way it goes sometimes. We played some very good opponents with well thought out lists but our sheer volume of shots won the day.

However, despite finishing 2nd/4th I can't say it was the most enjoyable weekend of gaming I've ever had. Don't get me wrong the banter in between games with some of our tournament scene friends was great but I didn't have much fun in our actually games. Sure winning is always good but in some of the games it really felt like we were always going to win. Now that's not me being cocky (much) but looking at the two armies it was often clear our opponents would struggle. I think there's an element of meeting the right opponents at the right time but despite playing some of the best 40K we ever have the list was what won it. Apologies to our opponents for not remembering many details of the games. If you're reading this feel free to comment!

The final game on table 2 was the worst win I've ever had in 40K. Every single decision was questioned by our opponents, their were arguments about tiny little things, models and dice thrown across the table, tantrums and generally bad feeling. It was not long after this game that our opponent noticed our list was actually illegal. He pointed this out to us and when I realised he was right he agreed that since it was an honest mistake he wouldn't mention it. We're grateful to him for that but as I said yesterday I don't think it mattered that much in the end.

This tournament has taught me something valuable. I have what it takes to finish at the top but frankly I don't want to! Now that's not me making excuses for poor performance but the tournaments I've really enjoyed are the ones where I've not done well at all!

Right that's that caught up with. There's just the matter of the painting competition pictures and then it's back to talking about 6th edition starting with our performance in the first ever 6th edition tournament - Genesis.


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