Friday, October 31, 2014

Tournament Report - Born of the Wolves (1750pts @ The Outpost)

This was the second outing for my hybrid wolves list. I've tweaked it slightly from last time to ditch the wolf standard giving me enough points for a fen wolf for the lord and hammers for all three WGBLs. Incidentally I don't think the wolf standard is totally useless but in this list it's simply not worth the points. A lot of the time the grey hunters are dropping in and getting hammered before they can think about assaulting. In the last tournament I found that the WGBLs were facing a lot of MCs. The hammers give them a chance of striking in the second round of combat, they might still die to a solid MC but there's a good chance they'll take it with them.

Game One - Wolves vs. Eldar/DE
My first opponent was Tess Yoxall who came along to the last Blog Wars. He'd heard about the tournament through reading this blog ironically. Anyway, Tess was running a mixed Eldar list with wave serpents, war walkers, spiders, hawks, war walkers, windriders and wraithguard along with an allied archon and warriors in a venom. The d-cannons from the wraithguard were a big worry for my thunderwolves and serpents/windriders would be an issue given we were playing Big Guns on Hammer & Anvil.

Tess won the roll off and used his serpents to take down one of the WGBLs for First Blood. His warlord trait had pinned another so I wasn't exactly off to a flyer. The pods came in and were massively underwhelming. One landed safely behind t
he serpents but the melta shot was successfully jinked meaning I just stripped a single HP. The other squad couldn't even down the venom leaving it immobile. Tess brought in his spiders and wraithguard bomb but to my surprise he went for one of the grey hunter packs leaving just two models remaining. His wave serpents went flat out to try and keep away from my grey hunters. This put one of them firmly in charge range of a WGBL though allowing me to smash it with his hammer but the real carnage was happening on the other flank.

My wolf lord charged the wraithguard and, with the archon failing his first shadowfield roll the lord was able to chew through most of the squad. The other WGBL charged the spiders and killed all but the archon and a spider who both ran never to return. The venom was downed and the remaining hunters charged the warriors. The combat there dragged out but was ultimately won by the terminator. Tess hit back killing the WGBL in revenge for his wave serpent. The war walkers also downed the other at this point I think leaving me just the lord locked in combat. The flyer helped deal more damage to the war walkers and the grey hunters thinned out the dire avengers who'd lost their serpent to the WGBL.

Attention now turned to the objectives. The lord finished his combat and headed towards my home objective, I had a drop pod on another (with the terminator heading that way too) with the other two unclaimed. The blood claws hopped out of the stormwolf and finished off the dire avengers to claim their objective. The remaining pod finally came in and held the central objective putting fire on the hawks who were lurking nearby. One of the serpents blasted up to try and contest the central objective. The flyer followed it but couldn't achieve much thanks to the serpent's 2+ Jink. The serpent elected to tank shock my hunters though allowing me to melta it and then finish off the occupants in my turn. The hawks tried to contest an objective but were easily wiped out by the lord. With the grey hunters sweeping up the war walkers I completed the tabling for a 15-1 victory and, of course, the full 1,750 blood points.

Game Two - Wolves vs. Eldar/DE
I thought I'd be playing Matt's round one opponent who was running broadside spam Tau (who ultimately won the event). However, there was an error in the scoring meaning I'd be playing his mate John instead who was another player using minimal DE to take advantage of the webway. He was also using the Armour of Misery combined with Psychic Shriek which is a horrible combo. The rest of his army was 3 serpents, 3 lots of two hornets (24 S8 AP2 shots!), several spiritseers (Iyanden) and a farseer with some weapon batteries on top of a bastion.

Despite getting +1 to Seize I still ended up going second. That meant I had little or no chance with all that S8 AP2 weaponry. He also got Shrouded on his spiritseers which has a 6" bubble and therefore 2+ jinks all round. My wolf lord died straight away and when my grey hunters arrived they managed to hit with both meltas but the hornets passed their jinks. Psychic shriek was brutal. Both times I had to roll for it I scored 15 and 17 wiping out the squads who were Ld7 thanks to the Armour of Misery.

Slowly but surely he destroyed the rest of my army until I was left with just the stormwolf with blood claws inside. This gave me a chance to make it a much closer game than it appeared. It was a long shot but if I could get the stormwolf onto one objective and the blood claws onto another it would mean just a narrow victory for him on secondary VPs. Not surprisingly it didn't go according to plan and I lost both the flyer and blood claws soon after resulting in a tabling. The final score was 1-9 and I only racked up a paltry 400 blood points.

Game Three - Wolves vs. Tau
I may have managed to avoid the worst Tau list there with excessive broadside spam but I still found myself playing a slight toned down version that Bob was running. He had two units of broadsides, two skyrays, a riptide, a commander with marker drones, aegis line, 20 kroot and two units of crisis suits in reserve. We'd be playing Kill Points but with a bonus point for the first unit killed from each FOC slot. I had a huge bonus having only HQ and Troops.

He castled up in the middle of his deployment zone behind his aegis line and with a ring of kroot outside of that to act as an assault buffer. I knew I'd need to make a hole in that line to get my TWC into the thick of it. I brought down my two pods either side of his army. He intercepted the pod blowing it up for First Blood but taking down 3 kroot in the process. The grey hunters then managed to kill a broadside with a melta shot and couple of missile drones. The other pod suffered a riptide blast that killed five hunters including one of the meltas. The terminator tried to use his combi-melta to destroy a skyray but it managed to jink. The drop pod then fired at the kroot managing to kill two and force a morale check. The kroot failed and were forced to fleet 5". It wasn't until we got right to the end of the line that we realised one kroot was within 5" of the table edge and therefore the whole squad was destroyed! This all worked quite nicely as a distraction away from my TWC characters as the Tau focussed on downing the grey hunters and therefore fired only minimal shots at the TWC.

This allowed me to charge into combat with the TWC. I knew I needed to plan things carefully though as all that Overwatch would be nasty. I therefore charged with my lord first who still had full wounds and his fenrisian wolf alive. The Tau managed to kill the fen wolf and take two wounds from the lord but this let me get all four characters into combat safely. The lord and one WGBL charged a full squad of broadsides whilst another WGBL charged the already depleted broadside team. On the left flank the final WGBL charged the riptide (which my opponent referred to as El Cataclismo). The riptide elected to Smash but fortunately I made the 3++ save. In response, the WGBL managed to cause 5 wounds but the riptide saved 3/5 on his 5++ save and the remaining two were cancelled by FNP! That meant no concussive to help me out in the next round. The other characters easily wiped out both broadside teams.

The Tau response was somewhat muted as they had only minimal forces left. I was able to get the third drop pod in safely and this helped take down the commander and his drones. One of the WGBLs charged a skyray and blew it up. The other skyray took fire from the stormwolf but still clung on. The riptide again used his Smash attack but this time the WGBL failed his 3++ save and was rather embarrassingly struck down. The crisis teams came in one by one which helped me no end. I was able to put fire on them from the grey hunters before charging with the blood claws and a TWC. The other squad met a similar fate but were irritatingly able to take the final wound from a WGBL.

I fired the flyer at the skyray again thinking I'd easily be able to strip the single remaining hull point. Despite being twin-linked BS4 I only managed a single penetrating hit. At this point one of the other competitors pointed out that an Immobile skimmer can still jink which seemed to check out in the rulebook (despite being ridiculous) and, of course, the save was passed.

The game ended there with just the riptide (who'd also finished off another WGBL with his shooting) and a damaged skyray left for my opponent. Final score 14-11 to me with a decent 1,415 blood points.

Conclusion
My first game against Tess really should've been much closer. With one WGBL pinned and another going down I was on the back foot early, especially when I failed to down either vehicle with my grey hunters. The archon's webway bomb really should've used their S10 on my lord who would almost certainly have died. They'd have then survived the fire from the grey hunters and been able to shoot them in the following turn. The serpents spent too much time moving flat out which certainly helped protect my troops and even landed one of them in range of my WGBL for a charge. Finally, the tank shock was totally unnecessary. It was unlikely to work against Ld9 and with a melta in the unit against a single hull point it was suicide. I'm not trying to overly criticise Tess but it certainly made my job a lot easier. Sadly for Tess he finished with the wooden spoon in the end too.

The second game was one of those rock vs. paper affairs where I never really had a chance. This made it a less than exciting game but I still had a great laugh with John about how ridiculously bad my leadership tests were etc. The game highlighted a couple of things I dislike about current 40K though. Firstly that, once again, DE were just used to borrow a single gimmick (webway) with just a minimal troop. It's a shame to see an army I love still being used in this way but I can't see that changing soon. It's one of the reasons I'm not a huge fan of allies. The second thing is Forge World. I don't allow them at Blog Wars for the reason that I think it's basically who can afford to buy the best rules. The hornets are a great example of this. They're incredibly cheap for what they give you.

However, the last game was one of best tournament games I have ever played. It may not sound it but it was pretty close throughout although it did swing my way in the later turns. There were just so many cool things that happened. The riptide killing a WGBL with a smash, the kroot running thanks to exploding drop pods and storm bolter fire killing just the right amount for a morale check, the crisis team taking the last wound from a WGBL, etc. I think it also helped that there was a lot of combat which, to me at least, always makes for a more fun game. It was a nice way to end a mixed day and the victory gave me 8th place overall which isn't too bad in a field of 24 I suppose.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Blog Wars 8 - Ticket Deadline Extended!

I've had a few emails from people saying they intend to buy a BW8 ticket but want to wait until pay day at the end of October. For this reason I'm now keeping ticket sales open for an extra week meaning you can still pick up a ticket until midnight on Saturday 1st November. If you're intending to buy a ticket please submit your army list immediately though as the deadline will have passed meaning I'll only have a week to get them checked before the event on the 8th. Tickets can be purchased using the link on the right or by sending £17.50 per ticket to this alexjbrown58@hotmail.com on PayPal. Please include your name if it is different from your PayPal account plus the names (and preferably email addresses) of all entrants if you are buying multiple tickets. As a reminder, your ticket gives you:

  • 3 games of 40K in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere
  • Lunch
  • Entry to the raffle (with generous prizes)
  • A chance to win two spot prizes each round

Please bear in mind the army selection process has changed significantly from BW7 (since the advent of 7th edition) so please take time to read the event page carefully. This can be found by clicking the BW8 logo on the right.

If you have any rules queries or need to get any proxies approved please contact me as soon as possible.

The venue will again be the NWGC in Stockport. This can easily be reached by train (walking distance from Stockport station) or alternatively there's a Premier Inn (Stockport South) across the road from the venue. There are often a few guys who arrive the night before so it's an opportunity to play some pick up games of 40K/x-wing/whatever in the venue before the main event.

I hope to see you in a couple of weeks! Stay tuned for the pie charts!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

7th Edition 40K - New Dark Eldar Codex Review - Heavy Support

With the Razorwing being shifted to the Fast section you'd think the Heavy slots would belong safely in the hands of Ravagers but I don't think it's quite that easy!

Talos/Cronos
There's a lot of excitement about both the Talos and the Cronos in the new book. The main change is that you can now take a squad of up to three engines in a squad for each slot. The problem in the old book was that they were simply too slow and once the webway portals no longer allowed charging in 6th they struggled to make it to the enemy. They may be T7 but they've only got 3 wounds. There's a big difference between their T7 and the T8 of a wraithknight. T7 prevents S3 weapons from doing any harm (looking at you, guardsmen) but S4 can still wound on a 6. That's a big deal as it means the standard weaponry in the game, bolters etc, can still hurt you and marines can still cause wounds in combat. You do of course get FNP though which they'll get to roll most of the time. Anyway let's look at the individual units.

The Talos used to get D6 attacks but has now been fixed at 3. That's not such a bad thing as at least it's reliable. You now also get a second melee weapon included but that still makes the Talos 5pts more than it used to be. You can then swap a melee weapon for chain-flails or ichor injectors. That's either Shred or Fleshbane with ID on a 6. The latter is particularly tempting as it'd make a wraithknight very nervous. You could swap for a liquifier gun but even twin-linked it seems a shame to lose a melee weapon. Ranged weaponry comes in the form of a splinter cannon but even twin-linked with Relentless it's not going to cause many wounds. I personally think the heat lance works well on this platform and is pretty cheap. My loadout would therefore be 135pts each which isn't too bad for an MC.

The Cronos used to throw out pain tokens in my old webway list but I haven't fielded it once in 6th or 7th. With only S5 the Cronos isn't as good as the Talos in combat but the syphon and vortex provide reasonable anti-MEQ. Only reasonable though. The spirit probe on the other hand is very interesting giving a 6" FNP 4+ bubble. That's not bad at all. Problem is keeping everything in range of it since it's slower than a lot of other DE units.

I can see much more use for the Talos than the Cronos then but I'm not really sold on either. You'd want to take 2-3 in a squad and the costs soon add up in what is generally a pretty cheap army. Playtesting my change my opinion though and it's worth remembering that the Covens supplement formations change things somewhat. I'll be talking about that in a separate post though.

Ravager
There's nothing new about the Ravager yet it's seen a points jump by 20pts over the triple-lance build in the old book. Some argue that's reasonable since it's very powerful but frankly I've never found it to be particularly strong. With the changes to the vehicle damage table it really isn't as effective as it once was for destroying even light vehicles. Not only has the cost increased but the option for a Flickerfield has gone too. You could take Night Shields but that's an expensive upgrade that only works when you're Jinking and therefore firing at BS1.

DE have always struggled with anti-tank. This seems surprising to non-DE players who think that the excess of S8 AP2 shots means reliable tank killing. Still, most DE lists will still be including three of them as we need all the anti-tank we can get. They'll still be feared by MCs and low AV vehicles.

Voidraven Bomber
There's no doubt that the model for the Voidraven is one of the nicest vehicles GW has ever produced. The rumours that they've had the thing ready for a long time and haven't released it, if true, make no sense to me at all. Like many, I've bought one just for a aesthetic alone. However, the important question is will I actually want to field it?

The internet was ablaze with complaints about the supposedly land raider priced AV10 flyer. Well it isn't land raider priced unless you really tool it up but it's still a shame they chose to reduce it to AV10. It doesn't make much sense to me either. The Ravager was able to keep AV11 so why not the Voidraven? It's not all bad news though. The void mine is now a large blast which, with bomb accuracy, is a pretty lethal prospect for things like crisis suits and terminators. Not to mention you should be able to hit more than one vehicle with it.

The void lances are still the best ranged anti-tank weapons in the DE arsenal and it's very tempting to include the bomber just for those. The way you've got to think about it is in a comparison with the ravager. The ravager will be on the board from turn one and firing every turn. Trouble is it'll be a priority target and it has very little protection. The bomber may be only AV10 but it's still a flyer so has a decent chance of surviving a couple of turns. The price of the bomber isn't significantly more than a ravager so I'd be tempted to swap a ravager for a bomber just for the options the bomb and void lances give you.

I wouldn't bother with any of the missile pod options. Whilst they're significantly cheaper than they used to be you'll likely only fire one when it arrives (as you'll fire the bomb and the lances) and then you've got 40-60pts extra strapped the your AV10 flyer. Keep it vanilla I'd say, I wouldn't even bother with night shields.

Conclusion
I think the vast majority of players will be sticking with their three ravagers. The Covens supplement might change my opinion on the Talos/Cronos but I think they're still too expensive (in the context of this army) for what they offer.

I really want to field the bomber but I'm pretty sure this is mostly because of the model and not because I think it'll be particularly effective on the table. There'll be games where the void mine makes a massive difference and others where it just scores a hull point on a vehicle.

That's it for the codex then. I'm going to post soon with some ideas for lists but before then I want to cover the supplement. I hope you can see that this codex still offers a lot of potential. I think it's important to judge it against the 7th edition books where I think it's still competitive. The problem is it'll still have to play Eldar/Tau a lot where I don't think the comparison is so favourable. Despite the consensus of opinion online this isn't the death of the army. Like anything else in 40K there's an element of rock/paper/scissors and there'll be some armies out there that would struggle if they were faced with all that poisoned and dark light weaponry.

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