Thursday, July 31, 2014

Battle Brothers Legends Painting Competition (Pic Heavy)

Today and tomorrow I'll finish off my Battle Bros. round up with the painting competition before I go back to the normal schedule and talk some more about 7th edition and Orks. Anyway here's some shots of the Legends competition for individual miniatures. There was a pretty low entry count in each category due to the low attendance but there were still some stunning pieces.

Hero of Legend
This category is normally massively oversubscribed but there were very few entries this time around. This was won by the little gretchin on the far left of the third picture which I voted for mainly because it would be funny for a grot to win "Hero of Legend" but also because it was well painted.

Engine of Legend
This category is for vehicles with a large number of them being Imperial Knights my vote went to the one in the fifth picture but the winner was the Sicaran in the third picture. My favourite model though (though not best painted) was the Ork Looted Wagon made from a Stormtalon (in the last picture) whose engines still worked but the Orks couldn't fly so they've strapped wheels to it!

Beast of Legend
This category is, unsurprisingly for monstrous creatures and the like. The eventual winner being the lord of change you can see in the fourth picture which is where my vote went.

Stay tuned for the Best Army competition tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

40K Battle Brothers Tournament - Day Two Battle Reports

After a poor start to the first day we pulled things back to give us a decent score of 23 VPs (out of a possible 31). Not perfect by any means but with a couple of good wins on the second day we could've been in contention. As I said yesterday, we were mostly hoping we'd avoid the super heavies and Daemons spawn lists. We'd have really liked a game against the new Orks too.

Game Four - Ripped Tights vs. Astra Militarum & Tau
Our opponents for the first of the day's games would be Ed and Rob with their combination of Astra Militarum and Tau. Their army consisted of a commander cyclic ion and shield drones, crisis bodyguard with burst cannons, two six-man units of fire warriors, four pathfinders, Longstrike in his hammerhead, a unit of broadsides, a company command squad, two squads of guardsmen, a hellhound, Leman Russ punisher and 3 ratlings. We'd be playing Purge the Alien.with Hammer and Anvil deployment.

Our opponents won the roll off but we managed to Seize and turn one was totally brutal. The wave serpent managed to strip all 3 hull points from the hellhound for First Blood. This was closely followed by the crisis team stripping all 3 hull points from Longstrike. We'd have felt bad already but this was followed by the riptides double pie-plating the broadsides and hitting all the pathfinders too. With cover removed we managed to wipe out all of the suits and the pathfinders with them. Suffice to say we felt pretty shitty from the off in this game.

The feelings of remorse were pretty short lived though as the Leman Russ took two wounds from the wraithknight followed by the ratlings pulling something amazing out of the bag by hitting three times and rending all three times too taking the wraithknight down to a single wound. Fortunately there was nothing else to fire at him though. On the other side the commander and fire warriors killed off all of the marker drones but they'd more than done their job.

We got one unit of kroot on each side and they started to whittle down the guardsmen on the left and the fire warriors on the right. The crisis teams and riptide started to try and chip away at the commander with his 2+/4++ and shield drones. I made the mistake of not pushing the riptides up the field to get into reliable melta range but our opponents were also forgetting to do their assault phase moves early on. On the other side of the board the wraithknight was downed by a melta from the guardsmen (I think). The wraithguard got out of their transport to try and start flaming stuff but met a demo charge which killed the entire unit, spiritseer included!

Despite this temporary morale boost for our opponents their army was starting to dwindle pretty quickly. At the end of turn 5 they had 3 guardsmen left and since we got a turn 6 we completed the tabling for a 16-5 win. As ever that's the problem with 40K in that sometimes it feels worse to win than it does to lose!

Game Five - Ripped Tights vs. Imperial Fists & Dark Eldar
We were drawn against our game one opponents again so swapped with the table next to us which gave us Kalon and Nick who were running Space Marines and Dark Eldar. Their list consisted of an archon with wyches in a raider, two raiders full of kabalites, three centurions with a terminator librarian, two 5 man tactical squads and a stormtalon. We'd be playing Scouring on Dawn of War and with the grav and poisoned weaponry lined up against us we expected this game to be tough.

We won the roll off but deployed conservatively as our opponents got the +1 to seize warlord trait and sure enough they seized (but on a 6 funnily enough). Their raiders all advanced with the wyches' one going flat out. The other two took some shots at the drones and managed to kill one. The centurions were out of range so we started our turn. The crisis team fired at a raider but could only take a weapon off one although they did at least force Jinks. The riptide tried to melta it but could only immobilise it which wasn't helpful and disappointed on a 4+ to explode! The other riptide managed to both overheat and take a wound which was special of it and left the centurions unharmed. The wraithknight blew up a raider for First Blood.

To our surprise the archon and wyches elected to charge the crisis team to score Slay the Warlord and succeeded leaving them in the open. The wraithguard retaliated by wiping out the wyches allowing the wave serpent to instant kill the archon despite his shadow field. The centurions moved out to shoot the wraithknight and managed to take it down to one wound which would've been enough for the storm talon to kill it had it not decided to target the wave serpent instead which it could only glance.

The riptide on the left tried to hammer the centurions in response but with their Forewarning 4+ invulnerable save they passed a whopping 5 out of 6 to keep them in the fight. The wraithknight did manage to kill one though. The remaining centurions split fire to kill the wraithknight and a couple of the wraithguard. The tactical squad began to advance towards one of our objectives to take it from the riptide with Objective Secured. This proved futile as they were cut down before they got there. The other riptide got a chance at half-range melta shots on the stormtalon but could only destroy the lascannon. The wraithguard advanced on their objective and did enough damage to the tactical squad to make them flee the battle. Meanwhile one of the remaining raiders tank shocked some of our kroot and made them run.

Over the next couple of turns we managed to kill off most of their force (the librarian helped with perils) but they were left with a single centurion to give them an objective and the immobilised raider (which just wouldn't die) to give them Linebreaker. We'd got all of the other objectives though and with all three secondaries again we'd taken a 16-4 win (although it should've been 17-4 since we again forgot the bonus point for the stormtalon).

We'd certainly scored a huge number of VPs over the course of the day but with the inclusion of Favourite Game votes (that we rarely seem to get) it was anyone's guess where we'd place. To our surprise we managed to finish second overall. Of course, being a GW event we only got a certificate for our trouble but better than nothing I suppose. Once again the favourite game votes proved to be our undoing as the guys who won scored 12 bonus VPs for four votes meaning we'd have needed two votes to win (we got none). I've complained about the system before but these days I just accept that's how the event works so a place in the top three is more down to luck than anything else.

It's frustrating not to get a single vote. We genuinely go out of our way to be pleasant to our opponents but of course there are times when we have to query rules etc. Trouble is, no matter how nice you are to your opponent they won't enjoy it if they lose. Anyway, I'm not going to complain again as I've covered my objections before. We had a great weekend once again and to come away with something is great. We ended up with 55 VPs over the course of 5 games which is pretty good I reckon!

On a side note there were something like a dozen Imperial Knights present with some lists having several which I was pretty surprised about but I suppose the model is well loved. Unfortunately we don't know what won the tournament in the end but I'll try to find out for my own interest as much as anything else.

Monday, July 28, 2014

40K Battle Brothers Tournament - Day One Battle Reports

We're starting to lose count of the times we've been to Battle Brothers (formerly Doubles) now. It isn't without its faults but generally speaking the atmosphere is good and you meet some great people. Doubles is a fantastic format and it's a shame there aren't more events available. This will actually be the last Battle Brothers this year as WHW is closing for refurbishment for a good while. This is our first tournament of 7th edition and the first where we're likely to come across Super Heavies and Forge World.

Sadly, with GW putting the ticket price up year on year (although this time they've dropped a meal and charged less) the numbers have been dwindling. This time there were only 48 teams when in the past there's been more like 150 teams. Even so there was a fair selection of armies. I counted over a dozen Imperial Knights with a couple of lists having more than one and one army being knight only. There were also two Warhounds (who ended up playing each other), a Revenant and a Transcendant C'tan amongst others. Fortunately during the first day we managed to avoid such nonsense.

We were running a slight variation of our Ghostly Tides list with a new name. We'd got a commander with two crisis suits all with missile pods and four marker drones between them, two riptides, two units of kroot, a spiritseer with d-scythe wraithguard in a serpent and a wraithknight.

Game One - Ripped Tights vs. Tyranids
Our first opponents were John and John who were running Tyranids with a Skyblight formation. I've never come across this before but it's basically a flyrant, harpies, crone and three squads of gargoyles (who get Objective Secured). This was joined by another couple of flyrants, warriors and genestealers. We'd be playing Relic with Vanguard deployment.

We ended up going second which meant everything was in the air in our first turn. We infiltated some Kroot which soaked up a decent amount of fire but eventually died for First Blood. This did mean our Wave Serpent survived though but losing FB in Relic is never good. The first few turns of the game were pretty bloodless with our first two shooting phases only causing a single wound. We'd forgotten that Grounding Tests are only taken when wounds are caused which messed up our plans significantly. Had we realised we'd have focussed fire more and positioned the Wraithknight differently. Ah well.

Eventually our opponents decided to land with all of their FMCs and that's when tables started to turn. The crisis team killed a crone and the Wraithknight charged a couple and easily instant killed them. The riptides were massively underwhelming (although they did fall victim of Paroxysm). They failed to cause many wounds at all which was partly due to FNP on their part and some disgustingly good Jink saves. Even so the flyrants were fairly unscathed thanks to poor Riptide fire. Luckily for us their gargoyles mishapped meaning they only had one unit of them near the Relic. We ended up with the Wraithguard contesting it with the Warriors. The riptides had a chance to redeem themselves by getting us Slay the Warlord but despite wounding 5 times (with only 3 wounds left) the Tyrant had the Warlord Trait that gives him FNP and he passed all 5!!

The game ended with neither of us having the Relic but they'd got all three secondaries and we'd only managed Linebreaker with some Kroot. A 3-1 loss to start the day is never good but thankfully with it being Relic we'd only missed out on 5 VPs. Still, it was an incredibly frustrating game as their rolling was amazing and our turns were short in comparison making us feel like spectators a lot. Nothing against our opponents though who were great.

Game Two - Ripped Tights vs. DE/Necrons
This was a much better matchup than our first game. Our opponents #### and ### were running Drazhar with 3 incubi in a venom, two venoms with 5 kabalites, two lots of 3 reavers, two night scythes with warriors, a destroyer lord with wraiths and an annihilation barge. We'd be playing Big Guns Never Tire (4 objectives) on Dawn of War.

Our opponents won the roll off but gave us first turn. They had a central piece of LoS blocking cover so we split our force on the flanks so that there'd be few places to hide. In the first turn we were able to kill a couple of wraiths and Drazhar's venom (for First Blood). Our opponents struggled to do much in response and the wraiths moved into the central ruin for cover. We had repeated attempts to destroy the annihilation barge but despite penetrating it several times it managed to Jink. The commander and his team dealt with the rest of the venoms. The kroot came on and slowly moved up to claim two of the objectives.

Their flyers arrived one at a time allowing us to force them to Jink with the Riptides. Even so, the combination of the flyer and the barge killed off the commander and his team. The Riptides slowly picked off the Dark Eldar but when presented with an opportunity to pie plate Drazhar and his incubi the weapon got hot despite having a re-roll! The Riptides were then reduced to charging the Reavers to kill them off.

Meanwhile in the centre the wraiths were left with only the wave serpent to charge and once it was wrecked the wraithguard punished them by kill most of them off with their d-scythes. The Spiritseer was pretty impotent though having rolled terribly on Runes of Battle. The wraiths attempted to charge the wraithguard but wall of death meant they were wiped out, although the lord got back up. The wraithguard charged into the annihilation barge with the Spiritseer making up for his lack of psychic power by killing the barge before being charged by the lord and some nearby warriors. Miraculously the seer passed his Mindshackle test and killed the lord with the rest of the squad sweeping the warriors.

The wraithknight killed of Drazhar in combat and this pretty much wrapped up the game but the central objective was contested by two Objective Secured units (wraithguard/necron warriors). This gave us the other three though and all three secondaries. We should've also scored a bonus point for the annihilation barge but we forgot!

Game Three - Ripped Tights vs. Carcharadons
Our opponents had a pre-heresy World Eaters force which they were playing as Carcharadons. The whole army was stunning to look at which always makes for a better game I think. They were running a mortis dread, rapier platform, land raider with captain and tactical squad, rhino with tactical squad, a sicaran battle tank and an Imperial Knight. We were playing Emperor's Will on Hammer & Anvil.

The wave serpent fired on the rapier and amazingly managed to kill it off for First Blood. The riptides set up to use their Ordnance blasts on the landraider (to clip the rhino too) but one was Pinned thanks to their Warlord Trait. The Imperial Knight set up to go for the wraithknight and this allowed us to play keep away from it for the whole game. We got a couple of penetrating hits on it but could only score 6 on the damage table each time. Eventually on turn 4 we knew we couldn't outrun it anymore so we set up to charge with the wraithknight who took it out before it could strike back.

Elsewhere the commander and his team down the dreadnought. The wave serpent advanced at full speed to get the wraithguard near their objective and more importantly their troops. The captain and his squad jumped out of the land raider and were subsequently wiped out by the wraithguard's d-scythes. The kroot came on nearby too but were wiped out over a couple of turns without doing much. The other kroot were holed up in a dilapidated building in our deployment zone holding the objective.

The riptides were yet again subpar with lots of getting hot, failing novas and generally underperforming. The crisis suits were great again though being able to strip hull points from the Sicaran and bring it down. The squad in the rhino were gunned down by the wraithguard and the crisis suits combined so that at the end of turn 5 they only had the land raider, a couple of marines and the rhino left. The crisis team dealt with the rhino and marines whilst the wraithknight charged the land raider and finished it off to make it a tabling. With both objectives and all three secondaries we took a 9-0 win.

Can't really complain at that start to the day. We dropped quite a few VPs in the first game but made a good effort to recoup those in the other games. As ever a lot of it comes down to what you're paired against and with random allocation it really is luck of the draw.

The stars of the day had to be the wraithguard and spiritseer. He did little with psychic powers (although shrouding was useful in game 3) but taking out the wraiths, lord and annihilation barge in game two was probably match winning. The crisis suits and wraithknight would be a close second but the riptides were terrible on day one. Let's hope they can redeem themselves on day two.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Donations Welcome!

I've thought long and hard about this but I've finally decided to add a Donations button to the blog. Allow me to explain why.

Affiliate Schemes
For the first couple of years of From the Fang I didn't have any advertising at all on the site. It used to annoy me seeing banners all over my favourite blogs and so I wanted to avoid them on From the Fang. Eventually I succumbed though and started to run adverts for Wayland Games and Total Wargamer. These were part of their affiliate schemes with gave me a small percentage of any sales that were generated as a direct result of clicking on a banner on FtF. Over the time I've had banners on the site I've probably only had about £20 from Wayland. Not bad but clearly not much over the time period. I had sales with Total Wargamer too but despite chasing them up they still haven't paid me the commission I was owed.

Frankly I don't really like to advertise either company.  I don't use them myself as Dark Sphere offer 25% discount so if I'm making a large order I use them (as they charge for postage). Alternatively, if I'm just picking up the odd box or a codex I head to my FLGS, Wargames Emporium, who offer 20% off and since I don't need to pay for shipping it works out cheaper than DS. Anyway, neither of these companies have Affiliate Schemes so by recommending them I don't make a penny, but you should still check them out!

Anyway, the point is that I'm barely making anything from affiliate schemes and I'm not particularly fond of the companies so I'm going to remove their banners from the site. In fact I've done just that right now.

Google Adsense
Once again, I resisted using this for a long time and it's probably only been about the last six months that I've started using their ad content. So far I've made something like £30 which is better than I've done with affiliate schemes for a much longer period. Still, when you think about it that's something like 16p a day. Hardly a living wage eh? I'm also not a huge fan of their system of targeted ads. It scares me sometimes that I get adverts for something I searched for. It's an obvious revenue stream for Google and I don't think anyone is naive to it anymore but it just doesn't feel right somehow. That being said I now use the excellent Ghostery and Adblock on my Chrome to avoid tracking and to block any site ads. If the ads on FtF annoy you I heartily recommend you install Adblock to your Chrome so they vanish. I'm sure there are similar apps for IE, Firefox, Safari, Opera, etc.

A Brief History of FtF
I started this blog as a means of cataloguing the games of 40K we played between our little group of friends. It's been an online diary of my gaming since getting back into 40K after a long absence in my late teens/early 20s. From that it's evolved into something more though. Still, I never expected anyone to read my blog and I'm amazed that I'm currently averaging around 1,500 pageviews a day! That's still nothing compared to some blogs but remember I'm doing this solo. The problem is that it takes quite a while to write a post (since I usually write too much). My recent series on the Ork codex took around an hour per post. That's because I have to sit with the old and new codex to compare and find the changes and have a rulebook on hand for those rules I can't remember off the top of my head etc etc.

As I've said before I write those posts for my own benefit as much as anything else. By blogging about a new codex I really start to understand it and it forces me to think about how the units might perform. These are by far my most popular posts with the peaks in my pageviews corresponding to the Tau, Eldar, SM, Tyranid, and Ork reviews I've done recently. I'd like to carry on with these (and maybe finally finish my AM review) but with my little boy I find I have less time for the hobby in general. I've barely lifted a paintbrush this year despite my incredibly optimistic targets I set myself in my hobby resolutions post! When I get some spare time I tend to sit and blog. Usually because it's dark and I like to paint with natural light but also because GW are releasing stuff at a relentless pace now and I feel like I need to keep the reviews going.

Anyway, back to the point (if ever there was one) and the TL:DR version if you like. From the comments I receive and the emails I get it seems like people are enjoying my reviews. If you've found a review useful or you've generally enjoyed what I write and you'd like to donate something to show your appreciation then now you can. If you don't want to that's fine, thanks for reading anyway. I'm not for a second forcing anyone to pay to read the blog, just giving people that option if they feel they want to. I'm not going to call it something daft like "buy me a beer" because we all know I'll spend the money on plastic crack!

I'm not trying to make a living from blogging, far from it, if I can buy the latests books and the odd kit here and there then great. If no-one donates then it won't stop me posting but I'll be very grateful to anyone that does. As ever, thank you for reading this little blog and I hope you all continue to do so.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Space Wolves in Stormclaw - What is revealed?

I picked up my copy of Stormclaw yesterday (well two copies actually) and I'm currently deciding what to keep and what to sell on. I'm certainly keeping one of each limited edition character but the rest I'm not sure on. Anyway, what's interesting about the kit is the rules within the Stormclaw Campaign Supplement. At 33 pages it's hardly a tome but we do get a bit of glimpse of some of the Space Wolf rules. Obviously I'm making a lot of assumptions here but it would be strange for them to change things significantly and the models in these supplements are legal in regular 40K as far as I'm concerned.

Krom Dragongaze
His statline is identical to the current Wolf Lord so we can assume that hasn't changed. He comes in at 135pts. The basic wolf lord in the current codex is 100pts and with a Belt of Russ, Saga of the Warrior Born and Frost Axe (which is effectively what Krom has) he'd be 185pts. That's not including his Furious Charge and Stubborn. 

Rules-wise his Frost Axe is the same as that in the 7th edition FAQ so it looks like that will stand. The Belt of Russ still gives a 4+ invulnerable save but Saga of the Warrior Born is now a Warlord Trait. This fits with one of the recent rumours that Sagas are Traits in the upcoming book. The Saga itself has changed from an attacks bonus to a re-roll to Hit in challenges. Sounds like a nerf but when you consider Warlord Traits are free it isn't really surprising that something you paid 35pts for before has changed. I'll be disappointed if they get rid of some of the sagas though.

All of the Space Wolves have kept Counter-Attack and Acute Senses. With the way Acute Senses works now I can only assume Space Wolves will get some more ways to Outflank since otherwise there's no point the whole army having it. 

Wolf Guard Terminators
The squad shown in the campaign supplement comes in at 230pts but when you add up their wargear with the current codex prices they should be 245pts. That either means their base cost has gone down by 3 pts per model or the wargear is cheaper. I'd expect the latter really. Their rules are otherwise unchanged but they receive a Character to lead the squad. This guy is listed as Unique so this might be something that only happens in Stormclaw. I wouldn't be surprised if they can include a Character though.

The biggest news for Wolf Guard is their listing for Terminator Armour states that they can Deep Strike. This is a change from the fluff that stated they had a "deep mistrust of such arcane tactics and prefer to fight with their feet on solid ground, just as Russ intended". They must've changed their mind or no longer give a toss what Russ thinks! Whatever the reason this is a big change to Space Wolf terminators and how useful they are. In the current book you have to buy a drop pod or Land Raider to get the most from them so it'll be interesting to see how the army dynamic changes with the ability to Deep Strike. Of course someone at GW might've just copy and pasted the Terminator Armour rules into this supplement and the codex will still not allow it but who knows?

Grey Hunters
Once again these guys come out at a slightly different points value to the current codex. Their squad should be 115pts but they're listed at 125pts. Either that means a base cost of 17pts per model or perhaps the upgrades have changed. I could see the plasma gun being 15pts in line with other marine books but I can't see anything else having gone up in price so I can only assume individual hunters now cost more. Options seem the same in that you can take a plasma gun, power weapon and plasma pistol in a squad of 5. 

There's another significant change revealed here though. All of the hunters are listed as having pistol and grenades but it no longer seems like you get a bolter for free. That's a big deal for Grey Hunters and will make for a pretty different loadout. There's been recent rumours to corroborate this too so I wouldn't be surprised if they're now effectively tactical marines with Counter-Attack and Acute Senses tacked on. No indication of pack size is given though.

Blood Claws
Recent rumours have Blood Claws as being cheaper in the next book and the points cost here would seem to tie in with that. The squad listed here comes in at 110pts compared to 115pts which means unless the power fist is cheaper the individual Blood Claws would cost 14pts a piece. I can certainly see that happening but that makes Grey Hunters over costed if they've lost their extra weapon, at least in my opinion.

Berserk Charge and Headstrong seem to have gone and been replaced by Rage. That means they're no longer forced to forgo shooting and charge and therefore don't require a wolf guard/IC to keep them in check. Both the Blood Claws and Grey Hunters in this supplement have a Character with them that gains an extra attack. This might just be a Wolf Guard but the leadership 8 would make me think otherwise. 

Assuming these assumptions are correct, there's some interesting Space Wolf changes revealed here. If Grey Hunters are indeed more expensive and they've lost their extra weapon then Blood Claws might start to look tempting. The big deal for me with Grey Hunters will be how Mark of the Wulfen and Wolf Standard turn out but even so losing an attack for the sake of a boltgun will be a difficult call to make. Basically it'll be a toss up between having extra attacks on the charge or being able to shoot at range.

I'm pleased to see WG terminators getting deep strike whilst becoming apparently cheaper. I often struggled to fit them in to my lists with them needing a transport of some kind to be effective. Krom is an interesting character and the little formation in the book is a nice touch. I'm still struggling to get my head around army selection in 7th so I'll need to write up a post to help me figure it out. Look out for that.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Shameless Plug Again! - eBay Auctions End Tomorrow

Quick shameless plug again for some of the items I'm selling on eBay. I hope to get more up next weekend too but you can check out what I've got for sale here. All of the auctions will be ending tomorrow (Sunday) night UK time. Pretty much all the models are new and either just assembled or else on sprue. The books are in excellent condition for the most part. I'm selling the Eldar and Tyranid codices because I can't see me actually starting an army for either race.

Here's a full list of what I've got up for sale:
  • Codex Grey Knights (5th ed)
  • Codex Space Wolves (5th ed)
  • Codex Eldar (6th ed)
  • Codex Tyranids (6th ed)
  • 5th edition rulebook (small)
  • 6th edition rulebook (small)
  • Tau Crisis Suit
  • Tau XV8 Commander (finecast)
  • Tau Stealth Team (3)
  • Tau Kroot x12
  • Dark Eldar Succubus (finecast)
  • Dark Vengeance CSM Helbrute x2
  • Dark Vengeance CSM Cultists
  • Dark Vengeance CSM Chosen
  • Dark Vengeance CSM Chaos Lord (Kranon the Relentless)
There's also a couple of limited edition items that GW no longer make:
  • Dark Vengeance DA Interrogator Chaplain Seraphicus
  • Wall of Martyrs Imperial Defence Network (not strictly limited edition but you have to buy everything separate these days)
I've now also added:
  • Krom Dragongaze (Limited Edition from Stormclaw)
  • Grukk Face-Rippa (Limited Edition from Stormclaw)
  • 2x Small/Mini Rulebook (from Stormclaw)
Anyway here's the link to it all.

Sorry for interrupting the regular posts for this but I need the cash for my Orks and probably SW additions when the codex hits.

Friday, July 18, 2014

7th Edition 40K - New Ork Codex Review - Lords of War!

Well it's been rumoured to be happening for a long time but we've finally seen a codex with Lords of War included. Lots of people are saying this will force TOs to include them but basically they can still say "no Lords of War" if they want. Tricky now that it means no Ghaz but it's up to TOs to decide how they want to run their events and players to vote with their feet if they disagree. I'm yet to decide on BW8 but I'll be looking at the SW release closely (which should be soon) to make up my mind on various things. Anyway, let's look at the "new" section of the codex then.

Ghazghkull Thraka
Ghaz was a beast in the old codex. He perhaps lost a bit of his charm in recent months with the amount of firepower some armies could bring to bear but he certainly packed a punch in 5th. He's now found himself squaring up to a Stompa for the single Lord of War slot. That could actually be a bonus as with the Ork Horde detachment you could easily take 3 HQs plus Ghaz. Mind you, most people will be wanting to use his supplement instead.

He's still the same cost and comes with the same basic wargear. Somewhere along the line he lost his Adamantium Skull which is now replaced with plain Eternal Warrior. Sadly since he isn't technically a warboss he can't Waaagh! every turn with the Ork Warband formation. His Waaagh! gives Fearless for a game turn thanks to his Warlord Trait and he still gets a 2+ invulnerable save. He no longer gives an automatic 6" run but does allow Meganobz to run despite Slow and Purposeful.

It's odd really that he's become a Lord of War but is actually worse than when he was just a regular HQ. Shame really and frankly the supplement doesn't really make him personally much better.

Nothing has changed about the Stompa from the version which appears in Apocalypse and Escalation. Well except that you can take Grot Riggers to make it a nice round 800 pts. Of course the destroyer weapon has been nerfed with the new rules but since it's CC anyway it isn't that big a blow.

Stompas are deceptive really. When you read them you think this is some unstoppable gargant spewing torrents of fire in all directions. What you actually find is that they rarely hit the target and often the supa-gatler jams up early. A lot of the time they just act as a walking distraction and an oversized troop transport. Still I've always enjoyed using them and they can be a lot of fun when things go right. Effigy is suddenly a lot more appealing now Fearless is more useful too.

In smaller games they can be utterly devastating but in larger games they're likely to be brought down pretty quickly. Still with a nearby KFF and some meks inside the thing will be pretty tough to shift for most armies. Like a lot of things they're a style choice. Some people would never dream of running them but others will enjoy the look on people's faces when they plonk them on a table at a tournament. I intend to get a lot of use out of mine but mostly for friendly games at home.

The worrying thing for me here is the precedent that GW are setting by including them. Stompas were hardly game breaking even with the old Destroyer rules and I don't think that's changed. We're probably a long way off another Eldar codex for Revenants to be included but Necrons will probably arrive sooner and bring a Transcendant C'tan with them. I think I need to revisit the Lords of War in the Escalation book to decide if that's such a bad thing or not with the new Destroyer rules.

More worrying still is the thought that other special characters could become Lords of War. I'm pretty much certain that'll happen to Logan in the SW book but that won't be so earth shattering as there isn't really a super heavy for him to compete with.

This section of the book is going to be contentious. With the Ghaz supplement proving valuable to Ork players they'll probably want/need to take Ghaz to unlock the formations in it. I just don't understand the reasons for moving him into a section where he feels woefully out gunned. For the points he's probably more useful than the Stompa but some players will want the gargant every time. Time will tell with the other books I suppose.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

7th Edition 40K - New Ork Codex Review - Heavy Support

Coming onto the last sections of this review now and as I said in Tuesday's post I'm liking this book more and more as I read through it. It's still not top tier but frankly it was never going to be without making Orks into something they're not.

Mek Gunz
One of the few new kits from this release, the Mek Guns look great. Frankly they're disgustingly expensive though so they'd have to be pretty special to make me fork out for them. Conversions might be a better plan I think. The basic gun is effectively a BS3 missile launcher and I have to say I don't think 18 pts is much to pay when you consider the marine equivalent is theoretically easier to kill. You can throw in some extra Gretchin or Ammo Runts but I'd be tempted to keep costs down.

The key to the Mek Gunz is in their upgrade weapons. The Lobba is a free swap that gives an S5 barrage blast but frankly I'd rather keep the option of having S8 if I've not got the points to spend on upgrading the gunz. The Zzap gun is cheaper than before but unreliable and potentially lethal if it Gets Hot. That's the old weapons covered. The rest are sort of new in that some of them have appeared elsewhere before.

It has been pointed out to me that I've got the wrong end of the stick with the bubblechukka. When I read it in White Dwarf I actually got it right but whilst writing this I forgot that it's one dice for S and AP. That means it's probably most useful on a "3" as you're then killing marines on 5+ (assuming no cover). Of course it suffers the same issue as any blasts in that people don't normally let you get many hits thanks to model spacing. 

The Bubblechukka could be totally devastating if you roll S6 AP1 but get it the other way around and it's useless. Not reliable enough for competitive play but fun nonetheless. The Kustom Mega-kannon is reasonable but for the same points you can have the Smasha gun which is AP1, doesn't get hot and could potentially have a higher strength. It's a toss up because the KMK is a blast and has a reliable strength mind you. The one that gets me more excited is the Traktor Kannon. With S8 AP3 it's not especially lethal but having Skyfire and Grounding FMCS/Immobilising Flyers it's pretty good.

The way I see it the best loadout will be a mixture. Stick in a couple of traktors and then some smashas to give the best chance of dealing with flyers and vehicles alike. Only problem with that is that half of your weapons are useless half of the time i.e. they're snap shooting against ground/air targets. Running them cheap as massed kannons or lobbas might be fun as a distraction too. Realistically the Bubblechukka could be awesome or awful but most of the time will be average so I'll probably avoid it.

An optional transport for Nobz, Meganobz and Flash Gitz means that Battlewagons can avoid using up much needed Heavy slots. They've gotten more expensive unfortunately and I can't really see why. Having said that certain loadouts are now either the same price or cheaper than before. The killkannon still limits the capacity but can now be taken with Nobz inside. As with everything else the big shootas now cost the same as the rokkit launchers so I'd be tempted to take the rokkits every time.

The deff rolla isn't as good as before as it's now for ramming instead of Tank Shock but gets a reduction in cost as a result. Grabbin klaws are still fun but incredibly situational. Boarding Planks are pretty good but not sure they're worth the points.

I think the main benefit for the Battlewagon comes from the 7th edition vehicle changes. AV14 got that little bit harder to deal with so I expect we'll see more Battlewagons again. They aren't particularly brilliant but present a good way of getting a big mob of Orks into combat.

Deff Dread
In the same way as SM dreadnoughts, I really want to love Deff Dreads but I find that I just can't because they've got the same issues. If you can get them into combat they'll smash people's teeth in but they rarely get that far. Unlike SM dreads the Orky equivalent doesn't even have the ranged weaponry to make up for it. I often take them and find I move and run them for a couple of turns only to have them die just before they get close enough to do damage.

Of course Grot Riggers and Extra Armour help but I can avoid the feeling that you're piling points into something that won't make a difference. Of course, if your opponent is shooting your dread they're not shooting your other vehicles and you could potentially hide them behind a Stompa/Gorkanaut to get them up the field safely. Still, I think there are better options in this segment much as it pains me to say it.

Killa Kans
Bit of a shame about the Cowardly Grots rule but I still think Killa Kans have a role to play. Like the Deff Dread they're not going to get up the field unscathed but they've got some decent firepower thanks to BS3 and they can act as nice mobile cover for your boyz behind them thanks to the increased unit size. At 50 pts they've become pretty pricey but there's something I love about them. I still think the Grotzooka shines as the weapon of choice too but its a shame the kan klaw isn't as good as a DCCW, especially with the price increase.

Grot Riggers are pretty cheap for them but then they're only 2 HP so IWND is of limited use and Armour Plates are too expensive on a relatively cheap vehicle. Run them cheap as a first wave of attack and don't worry too much about losing them, they're grots after all!

With any dual kit what you basically want to know is which to assemble the model as. The Gorkanaut comes with anti-infantry weaponry and Rampage making it a combat option whilst the Morkanaut has anti-tank weaponry and the option of a KFF. Of course magnetising gives you the options but I feel like the Morkanaut has the edge.

Remember that giving a big mek a KFF and putting it inside a Gorkanaut is not the same as the Morkanaut's KFF. The changes to the KFF rules mean that only the Gorkanaut would benefit whereas the Morkanaut (confused yet) would be giving the 5+ save to surrounding models too.

Neither variant is especially quick as they're just walkers meaning you'll not be getting them into combat early. That pushes me further towards the Morkanaut too. Having AV13 and 5 HP is great but you're gonna need more than that to keep it alive long enough to transport its occupants and maybe get into combat. That means upgrades and of course increased cost. Let's look at an example. You could give a Morkanaut a KFF (5++ save), Grot Riggers (IWND) and pack it with 3 meks (+ 3 burnas). That means 5++ to deny the hit anyway and then you can try to fix it in the Shooting phase with 3 5+ rolls and then try IWND at the end of your turn if repairs fail. Basically that's four 5+ rolls to get HP back. Sounds pretty good until you total up the points and you're in the 400 pt ballpark. Still, it could be incredibly annoying for your opponent to shift.

Ultimately I think they're both a bit overpriced (both in points and £s) but I like the model so I'm determined to include one. They suffer a lot from not being assault vehicles but should provide a suitable distraction. As I say, you can also hide stuff behind them too.

Freshly moved from the Elites section, Lootas haven't changed a great deal except for dropping in price by a point a piece. They still represent a solid anti-tank/anti-air platform tanks mainly to sheer shot volume but they can be hit and miss. As ever it comes down to the kind of army you want to run but if you're going mechanised then I'd look elsewhere as Lootas are pretty static. Not much else to say really.

Flash Gitz
Nice new models (finally) but it's difficult to decide how effective they'll be. It's a shame a lot of the customisation has gone from their weapons but S5 and a random AP could be excellent with so many shots. It's a shame they have to be static to make the most of their shots but with their reasonable range they should be able to stay out of trouble long enough. They seem fair expensive but they've got a Nob statline making them that bit more durable.

They've gotten cheaper and fire more shots but the loss of 'eavy armour makes them pretty vulnerable. Again it depends on your style of horde but I can't see me finding a spot for them as anti-infantry isn't really something Orks have a problem with.

More than any other section the Heavy Support choices you make really depend on your army style. Horde armies might benefit from Lootas or Flash Gitz but mechanised forces will want Morkanauts and Battlewagons. The Heavy section isn't as exciting to me as Fast Attack was but there's certainly some potential here. I'm keen to try out some of the Mek Gunz but ultimately I think I'll find them too static to be truly effective. Definitely going to pick up a gorka/morkanaut soon though if just for the model.

One more section left and it's a short one so I'll try and get it [posted up tomorrow. Then I need to start deciding what I want to include in my Ork horde and get cracking on the painting.


Looted Wagons
I've been asked to include my thoughts on these so I'll put them here. Looted Wagons are a difficult beast as the rules struggle to reflect the variety of things you could use to model them. It's frustrating to use a land raider making a big model when a rhino chassis carries the same stats. Anyway, their basic cost has seen a slight increase but they retain their AV11 (which is a bit of a shame). You have a little bit more control over Don't Press Dat though as you simply have to move Flat Out whereas before you were forced to move straight forwards. Basically there's a 1/6 chance of not shooting.

For your points you get a 12 man transport that's got better armour than a trukk and comes with Tank (and therefore Tank Shock/Ram. That's not bad for essentially a 7pt upgrade to the trukk. Obviously you're limited in that it's a Heavy choice but for units like Tankbustas it might not be a bad idea to take a LW rather than the trukk.

Anyway, you can also upgrade your LW to take a killkannon, various small arms and a deff rolla. These soon start to rack up the cost of the model but since people are panning the battlewagon it might be an option. Still I think an AV11 vehicle isn't something you want to sink too many points into. They're not going to compete well in the Heavy section either.

Basically, it's great that they've given people the option to keep using converted models but I find it difficult to get too excited about them.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

7th Edition 40K - New Ork Codex Review - Fast Attack

This section feels a little crowded on the face of it but when you consider three of the entries are flyers there isn't actually that much choice here. Anyway, here goes.

Interesting to see these here meaning you can presumably take them as something other than a dedicated transport. Strange though when pretty much every unit that could jump in one has the option of taking them anyway. Can't immediately think of a unit that might benefit from having one to hop into but perhaps I'm missing something. Otherwise I've already covered trukks in the Troops post.

I have to say these are some of my favourite Ork models. There's something very orky about having a big rocket strapped to your back. Stormboyz have now dropped in cost by 25%. That makes them a bargain in my eyes. You can also now take them in mobs of upto 30 although with the mob rule changes this perhaps isn't as beneficial as it once was.

Their Rokkit Packs now work in the Shooting Phase to give them a 2D6" run move. Not quite as good as the extra D6" to the movement that they used to get but there's no automatic penalty any more (they take Dangerous Terrain tests which could be worse I suppose) and on a Waaagh! turn that means an impressive potential charge range. It's worth bearing in mind they didn't used to benefit from a Waaagh!

Pretty much the same as they were then but I really think there's a place for them in an Ork army now especially with the point reduction.

The biggest shame for me is that they haven't actually come up with new models for these. I've got some AoBR ones but they're becoming pretty scarce on eBay and the old models just don't do anything for me. Seems like they could've pretty easily put some AoBR ones in a box and flogged them for a hefty price.

Anyway, they've dropped in price by 5pts a piece and with T5 and two wounds they aren't too simple to shift. They're seen a massive drop in the price of their weapon upgrades (which are now free swaps) too making rokkit spam an option here too. Twin-linkage will help them hit the target so they make quite a decent anti-air or anti-tank platform. Their manoeuvrability makes it possible to get some side armour shots too and makes them a handful now they're scoring. The buzzsaws are still pretty expensive but I suppose they're effectively a power fist. Seems a shame to get them into combat though unless you're desperate.

I'd say keep them cheap. Stick to the twin-linked big shoota and a few bigbomms for anti-infantry duty or go for rokkits and maybe the odd buzzsaw for anti-tank. They actually might be some of the best anti-flyer options for orks with twin-linkage and speed. Deffkoptas will essentially still perform the same role they did in the old book. Scout them forward and give your opponent something to think about whilst the rest of your army slogs up the field.

The Dakkajet has remained the same price in its vanilla form but the fully upgraded version costs a whopping 15pts extra. Not only that but the Waaagh! Plane rule now only gives +1 shots instead of doubling them like it used to. That's still a decent heap of shots but with the cost increase you can start to see the other flyer variants looking more appealing.

Fighta Ace is replaced with Flyboss which allows the Dakkajet to shoot at Flyers and MCs with BS3 too. Still, they're still the same glass cannon but with less cannon balls. That being said they probably benefit from the Jink rules a fair bit but you'd be pissed off to take Flyboss only to find yourself firing Shap Shots the whole time.

Unlike the Dakkajet the Burna-Bommer is now 10pts cheaper. Otherwise it's pretty much unchanged but bear in mind the changes to the flyer rules means it can now fire 4 of its missiles in one go. Of course this number reduces if it's dropped a bomb but there's some pretty serious anti-infantry potential there with both bombs and missiles ignoring cover.

Still not convinced the Dakkajet isn't slightly better but since their prices are now fairly comparable (depending on the number of missiles you buy) it all depends on what you want them for. For dealing with cheap scoring units the Burna-Bommer better but might never make it into bombing range.

Like the Dakkajet the Blitza-Bommer is the same price but since it doesn't really have any upgrades it works out cheaper than a tooled up Dakkajet. Crucially the Boom Bomb is now AP2 (formerly AP4) and gains Armourbane. That makes it a pretty viable means of dealing with closely packed vehicles and heavily armoured infantry alike. Like the Burna-Bommer it might actually struggle to reach it's target though and Jink isn't really an option as it wouldn't be able to bomb.

The rules for Skreamin' Descent have also changed a little. Rolling a 2 achieves the death of your flyer as before. Whilst "Zogging 'eck!" is replaced with "Clipped 'im!" but only on a 3 and it specifies side armour. This means 4-9 is now a normal bombing run whilst 10-12 is still Dakka-dakka-boom! with only a slight change meaning shots are on rear armour and it can now fire both it's big shoot and supa shoota.

I'm actually considering breaking off some supashootas, shoving on a gunner and strapping some bombs onto my Dakkajets to make them into Blitzas. Orks struggle at anti-tank for the most part (although with all the cheap rokkits that might change) so the Blitza now appeals quite a bit. I don't think it's by any means devastating but it's certainly improved dramatically from useless to fairly decent. As I say, the challenge will be getting into bombing range and once you've used the two bombs it carries it's pretty pointless. Mind you, it'll not last that long so don't worry!

These guys have taken a HUGE point reduction of 7pts a model which is nearly 30%! Their maximum unit size is up from 12 to 15 too. They now benefit from a 'Ere We Go too. Sadly you can't make them Troops any more which doesn't matter too much for scoring but would've freed up some much needed Fast Attack slots.

As I mentioned when I spoke about Nobz. Their Exhaust Cloud is no longer a permanent 4+ save but instead a boost to their cover when turbo-boosting. Never noticed that typo before in the old book that gave them two wounds!! Anyway, they're still pretty reasonable for the price and something that your opponent has to deal with quickly. Not much else to say really.

Another unit that would've benefited from a shiny new sculpt but it wasn't to be so we're stuck with the old ones that are frankly out of scale. Still they're 5pts cheaper and can now be taken in bigger squadrons (5 instead of 3). Not only that but they gain Outflank into the bargain. As with everything else it seems, their rokkits are now free. It's starting to get difficult to decide where to bring the rokkits now actually!

Outflank makes a huge impact on Warbuggies' effectiveness. They were pretty much a waste of time before but being able to Outflank some Skorchas to clear cheap scoring units or some rokkits to get side armour or even rear armour. It's all adding options which has to be a good thing.

I was disappointed by the changes to the Dakkajet, not least because I've already built both my kits up as them. As I've said I'm seriously considering making them into Blitza-Bommers but I'm not going to do anything hasty until I've had more games.

Generally speaking this section of the codex has me pretty excited. There are some big price drops here and most of the units offer something useful. I'm a big fan of forcing my opponent's hand by putting units in his face or otherwise forcing him to play in a way he didn't plan on. Units like Stormboyz, Warbikers and Deffkoptas are fast and effective enough that they can't be ignored. That buys time for the rest of your army. Warbuggies with their new found Outflank can force your opponent to bunch up in the centre and with clever objective placement on your part you can make things interesting.

Let's not get too carried away. None of these units are particularly durable and in numbers they still work out fair expensive. The point is that they should act as a force multiplier for their short little lives letting you get the main force stuck in unmolested. This section alone has given me a lot of hope for this book and I can't wait to get writing some lists and surprising some opponents.

Getting towards the end of the reviews now. Just two more sections to go. Stick with me!


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