Sunday, September 14, 2014

Blog Wars 8 - Tickets Finally Available!

Well after those mammoth reviews of the SW and GK books it's time to turn our attention to Blog Wars again. I apologise for the delay but I'm pleased to announce that tickets are now available for Blog Wars 8. Please see the BW8 page for details of how you can pick up yours.

This will be the first Blog Wars of 7th edition since BW7 occurred only a week after the release of the new rulebook. That means there's a few things we need to discuss. I have an idea of how I'd like to do things but I want your feedback before I finalise the rules pack. Anyway, here goes.

Ticket Price & Venue
Since the first Blog Wars the price of tickets has remained constant at £15. This time around I'm going to increase the price to £17.50. That's partly due to increased costs but also because I intend to offer more prizes for the painting side of things and generally better support there. I still think £17.50 is a good price considering the top prize in the raffle last time was an £85 Imperial Knight and will be something similar this year. Remember entry to the raffle is included in the ticket price and you're also getting 3 games of 40K, lunch, spot prizes and tournament prizes.

I hope the price rise doesn't put anyone off and that people still think the event is worth the money. The venue is again the NWGC in Stockport (see the BW8 page for details).

Army Selection
With 7th edition there is a huge amount of freedom with army selection now and with formations, faction specific detachments and everything else it can be a little overwhelming. Most tournaments organisers have come up with their own rules for how to go about picking an army and I've been reading various event packs to try and decide how I want Blog Wars to work.

There are two important things for me. Firstly, I want to try to minimise the amount of dirty combos that can be created without restricting the ability to created interesting lists too much. Secondly I want things to be pretty simple so that it doesn't take you half an hour to try and work out how your opponent came to this apparently random selection of units and realising what dirty combo he's come up with.

Here's my current solution. This is by no means set in stone and I welcome any and all feedback on it.
  • Two "Forces" per army - Core and Additional
  • Core Force - Combined Arms Detachment or Faction Specific Detachment (e.g. Wolves Unleashed)
  • Compulsory special character must be in Core Detachment which becomes "Commander" for Blog Wars scenario purposes
  • Faction Specific can come from Supplement e.g. Champions of Fenris
  • Additional Force - Allied Detachment (not Come the Apocalypse), Inquisition Detachment, Imperial Knight Detachment, Legion of the Damned or Officio Assassinorum.
  • Must be different faction from Core Force
  • The minimum FOC requirements for the detachment in the Core Force must be met before the Additional Force can be selected e.g. 1 HQ and 2 Troops for a CAD
  • Lords of War and Fortifications allowed from a restricted list (see BW8 page)
  • Warlord may be selected from either Detachment
  • No Forge World units allowed in either detachment

I know that seems like a lot of rules and restrictions but with the open nature of army list selection in 7th I think it's necessary. I'd like to explain my reasoning behind these decisions though.

We've all gotten used to having a Primary and Allied detachment and this is still permitted within this format. I know some will say I'm living in the past or whatever but frankly the system of army selection 7th is horrific and this way makes things a lot easier. It's a massive headache to restrict things like this so I'm certainly not doing it for fun and I wish GW had made things a lot easier for TOs.

It's important to remember that Blog Wars is deliberately different from other tournaments out there. If you want a no holes barred event there are others available. If you want three games in a friendly atmosphere then come along to Blog Wars 8. I appreciate this seems complicated so please comment here or on the BW8 page for clarifications.

I've thought long and hard about all of these decisions and my aim has always been to make the tournament enjoyable for everybody not just those with expensive toys. The super heavies/gargantuan creatures aren't all overpowered but it seems unfair to permit some armies to have them when you've banned the only option from another army. Imperial Knights are a little different but all the same I'll be restricting them to one per army unless I here a compelling argument otherwise. Formations are a tricky one and I'm still not convinced either way. For now I'm not allowing them as to me they seem to be either awesome or terrible with little in between, again compelling arguments are gratefully received.

Psychic Phase and Scenarios
As I've mentioned in the event details I'm limiting warp charge to 12. I'd hope that the Conjuration spam armies wouldn't appear at Blog Wars but a lot of TOs are implementing this restriction and I think it makes a lot of sense.

I've kept the scenarios pretty much the same apart from changing the last mission so that you only start scoring from game turn 2. Hopefully that will make it a little less of an advantage to go first. Of course all units are now scoring in missions 2 and 3 so I've now made Commanders (the Special Character) have the Objective Secured rule.

As ever, I'm open to comments and criticism and indeed I'd love to hear them.

Sunday, September 07, 2014

7th Edition 40K - New Grey Knight Codex Review - Draigo, Brotherhood Formation and Conclusion

This is the last guest post from Matt (something I hope he'll do again as it saves me A LOT of time). I'll add my own thoughts on the book at the end but here's the final bits from him.

Kaldor Draigo
My joint favourite character in 40K (tied with Mephiston). I actually think that he has gotten better, even better than he was in 5th edition. Yes his stats have dropped, but this really does not matter at all, except maybe the T5 to T4 drop a bit, but this is nothing compared to the improvements.

Firstly he always hits at S7 AP2 I5 and his weapon is Master Crafted. If he uses Hammerhand this becomes S9 AP2 I5!! Don't forget that he is also Eternal Warrior and has a Storm Shield. 

But that's not it. Attach to Draigo's squad (or just to Draigo) either Stern or a Librarian with Sanctuary and Draigo can now have a 2++ save!! 

But that's still not it, make the squad they are attached to a Paladin unit with an Apothecary and now Draigo has FNP 5+!! Basically he can become The Emperor if you want him to be. Yes I know to buff him to that level costs a lot of points, but I'm just saying that it is possible. 

However, there is one other thing that is great about Draigo and that's the fact that he knows Gate of Infinity. This means that he can be attached to any squad (not just GK squads remember) and teleport them around the board all game. This brings about many possibilities (not least of which is easy last minute objective grabbing) and if just used within the GK codex means that the unit he is attached to can start on the board and still Deep Strike into the enemy lines.

I love him more than I used to (and believe me he really does love him, almost as much as I love Arjac - Alex).

Grey Knights Brotherhood Formation
I'm not going into this because it's a bit rubbish. If you are playing a game with this many points then you won't want all the units listed here. The bonus you get of harnessing Santic powers on a 3+ isn't even close to being good enough to offset all the rubbish units you have to run.


Conclusion
I really like the codex overall. I think that GW have done a decent job of separating the Grey Knights out and making them good enough to run on their own in 7th edition without the need to run Inquisition alongside them. There are some obvious choices within the codex like Dreadknights for Heavy and Purifiers for Elites, but there are many decent HQ and special character options which means that many different types of list can be put together. For example, you could have a Deep Strike heavy list with the prospect of everything arriving from turn one, or you can run a mechanised list with land raiders and rhinos. Both types of army can make for good, even competitive lists. I will certainly be trying them out at tournaments myself.

I have to say I agree with Matt that they've managed to keep GK unique and powerful enough for you not to need to run Inquisition. In some ways it's a shame that a lot of the funky special rules have been lost but it makes for a simpler army and takes away some of the avenues for cheese that existed before. I know some may not be a fan but this has seemed like the way GW were going to go for a while. There are some that don't like the new SW or Ork books either but if you plan on playing competitively you just have to swallow the bitter pill and move on. I was certainly negative about the SW book when I first read it but I'm really starting to love it now. There's no question the GK book is all about Purifiers and Dreadknights but I think this was pretty much the case before anyway.

That's your lot then. Two codexes wrapped up in the space of a month. GW are certainly keeping me busy (well Matt this time). Rumours have it that DE are next with a possible Inquisition update also suggested. After that it's BA and hopefully Matt will step up again as they're another one of his long term armies.

Friday, September 05, 2014

7th Edition 40K - New Grey Knight Codex Review - Heavy Support

Once again this is a short section when you remove the Land Raiders. They're the same as the other marine books again and as with the Rhino/Razorback they no longer have any GK extras to set them apart. Whilst this might be frustrating for GK players it does make sense and removes some of the silliness that we saw in late 5th edition. Anyway, here's Matt.

Purgation squad
Same problem again here with special weapons. Psycannon and Psilencers work best when the unit doesn't move, but the problem is they are 24" range, not good. However, 4 incinerators in a squad is good. Night Vision special rule? Why? Shame they didn't give them Relentless or Slow and Purposeful instead, if they had then these would have sometimes been selected over a Dreadknight…

Dreadknight
This is the star of the codex, just as it was in the last codex for me. I've always loved these guys, I've run two of them in an army on countless occasions and taken them to many tournaments, they were always a solid choice with a Personal Teleporter and Heavy Incinerator. Both of which have remained the same thankfully. Everything else about this guy has gotten better though.

Firstly, he now comes with Sanctuary as standard and so can boost his invulnerable to 4++, this makes him much more survivable especially when in combat against other MCs as he will usually strike last but also usually strikes harder due to his Force weapon. Which leads me onto his melee weapon options, you will always need to upgrade your Dreadknights to either the sword or hammer, just so that they have a force weapon, you will thank me next time your Dreadknight is facing off against a Wraithknight. If the 4++ keeps him alive and his force weapon is active then whatever MC he is fighting against will die, be it a Wraithknight, Hive Tyrant or even a Bloodthirster.

But the best improvement on this unit has to be the ranged weapons. All 3 options are now great. The Heavy Incinerator, as already mentioned, stays the same and so remains a solid choice, even against 3+ armour or better the fact that it's Torrent always allows you to score a lot of hits, obviously it shines against 4+ or worse though. The Heavy Psycannon used to be a Large Blast S7 Rending, pretty rubbish if you ask me, that firing option remains, but the second firing option is to have it fire 6 S7 Rending shots, great for a bit of anti-tank and against well, pretty much anything really. The Gatling Psilencer, however, used to be rubbish against anything non-Daemon. But now it is a 12 shot S4 ranged Force weapon which is an awesome idea! 

Now I’ve read many people saying that the Psilencers just aren't worth it as strength 4 is just too low to kill anything. I agree if talking about the regular version, but the gatling version on a Dreadknight pumps out 12 shots on the move, that's 8 hits and around 3 wounds on a T5 MC such as a Daemon Prince, therefore if said MC has 3+ armour he will statistically fail one save and therefore die due to force!

Basically these are now even more awesome and everyone running GK will run them, it's just a shame they didn't get another wound as I'm awful at rolling 2+ saves…

Another unit I'm not looking forward to facing. The saving grace is that if a GK player goes for a GK-specific detachment he'll only be fielding two Dreadknights. Nevertheless with a whopping price reduction they seem like an automatic choice. I'm generally not a fan of this but having used them as part of our old doubles list I can't hate it that much!

One last post to go in this GK review where Matt will be looking at Draigo and the codex formation before wrapping things up.

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