Saturday, September 19, 2015

Blog Wars X - Tau and Rule Clarifications

As I mentioned the other day there are only a couple of tickets left for Blog Wars X so get yours quickly if you haven't bought one already. For those of you who are already coming along I wanted to clarify a few things before the big day and make sure there aren't any other bits and pieces that I need to go through.

I'm pretty relieved that GW has thrown so much time and effort in to Age of Sigmar recently. It's meant that 40K players have had a bit of a breather from the frantic release schedule in the first half of the year. It was getting pretty difficult to keep up with things and think about the dirtier combinations and how to deal with them. The breather looks like it's about to come to and end with what appears to be a hefty Tau release.....

New Tau Codex and Units
The rumour mill would have us believe that the Tau codex will be landing on 24th (pre-orders on 17th). That means people will only have it in their hands on the morning of the list submission deadline. I think that's just too late for people to plan their lists, not just the Tau players but anyone trying to try to prepare for threats coming their way. I'll therefore be ruling that the current codex will remain in play for BWX i.e. the 6th edition one. Of course there'll be some new units released in the weeks prior to the codex which will have rules in White Dwarf. I think it's best to say that these won't be legal either. That's because, theoretically at least, they'll have been created in the context of the new codex.

I know this is irritating for a the Tau players but it's just unfortunate timing. As you all know, I'm a Tau player myself so I'm looking forward to the new units as much as anyone else. I may even be giving some of them away as prizes and you can count on the new Tau codex being in the raffle.

I've previously adjusted the wording of the psychic power to try to make it less ridiculous. I've been thinking about it recently though and I think that banning it all together is a better idea. I know that sounds drastic but I just think it's far too powerful and spoils games.

Re-rolled Saves
This is another thing I've been thinking about. At the last Blog Wars I said that invulnerable saves could only be re-rolled on a maximum of 4+. I deliberately made it invulnerable saves only as both armour and cover saves can be taken away by a lot of different weapons and special rules. Having a re-rollable 2++ save seems OTT though.

The release of the DA codex has changed things a little though. It's not that unlikely for a unit to be getting a 2+ re-rollable cover save thanks to the Ravenwing special rule. I therefore think it'd be a good idea to make the same ruling for cover saves.

Best Save
Playing against Ravenwing recently has made me realise that there's a bit of a problem in the wording of the rules regarding units with multiple saves. The rule says a unit must always use the "best save available". This becomes ambiguous when you're trying to decide between a 3+ armour save and a 4+ cover save with a re-roll. Statistically speaking the armour save has a 66% chance of success and the re-rolled cover has a 75% chance of success. I think that factoring re-rolls into the decision is wrong. There's no right answer though (as with many things in 40K).

I think that for units with a 3+ armour AND a 3+ cover you could make the decision either way. I know that makes Black Knights significantly better than standard Ravenwing bikers but I think that's reasonable.

Comments and Anything Else?
I'd really like to hear your comments and feedback on these rulings whether you're playing in the tournament or not. Whilst I'd prefer not to change things too many times and confuse people, I need to know if I've not considered something important in these rulings.

I'd also like to hear if there's anything else that I should be making a ruling on. Obviously I'll be on hand during the day to help out with situations where players can't agree but I'd rather have something in writing before the day so that delays are kept to a minimum and people can enjoy their games knowing what to expect from the start. Your feedback over the years is what's made Blog Wars into what it is today and I'm grateful for your support.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Blog Wars X Update - And Then There Were Two...

This latest update is a story of the number two. Firstly that the three people who have attended ALL nine of the previous Blog Wars events will be reduced to two for Blog Wars X. Both Chris Benstead and Graham Sanders will be in attendance but sadly Matt Greenwood won't be completing the unholy trinity this time out. Unfortunately the timing of BWX coincides with the birth of his second child (well around that time anyway) so he won't be able to make it this time. Both Matt and I are pretty gutted but obviously it's for a fantastic reason so we won't dwell on it too much.

That means there's a second "2" to talk about than that's the final two spots left on the Blog Wars X attendees list. That's two tickets left so if you'd like to come along to the event you'll need to act pretty quickly. Head on over to the BWX page to find the details of how you can do that.

If you've already secured your place at BWX then keep an eye on the blog for the next couple of weeks as I'll be going through a few bits and pieces that I've been thinking about. Also I'll need to make some decisions if and when we get a new Tau book. I remind you all that any questions you have about the rules pack or general rules queries are always welcome.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Mini Tournament Report - How Did My Tau Do?

So last Saturday was our mini-tournament at Warhammer World in Nottingham. As you know I'd been trying to get my Tau up to scratch for it. How did they fare though? Well, the most important thing is they looked awesome! They still need A LOT of work before I'd consider them "finished" but they certainly look a lot better than they did. I also took plenty of pictures of the studio Tau army in the exhibition for reference when painting my sept markings and other details. I'm determined they'll be my first "finished" army. I keep using the inverted commas because I'm not sure I believe in this mythical concept of "finished". I don't think I've actually "finished" a single model to date!

Anyway, there were four of us going so we'd intended to play a round robin where we each had three games to cover all opposition. Our first game was suppose to finish at 12.30 but we were still playing at 13.15 and then didn't start the second game until 14.15 after we'd had our burgers in Bugman's. The venue was open until 8 because of an event but we still wanted plenty of time to get around the new exhibition so we opted to leave it at two games and give the exhibition our full attention afterwards.

I therefore played against Scott's Tyranids and Matt's Chaos. We were playing Maelstrom in both games and went for Cleanse and Control with Dawn of War deployment for simplicity.

Tau vs. Tyranids
On paper this should've been a comfortable game for me but still, with that many big MCs across the table I was worried that they'd get to my lines before I could deal with them. The Flyrant with it's high volume of S6 and Mawloc with Terror From the Deep were probably the biggest threats but since they'd be in reserve, along with the Hive Crone and spore pod (whatever it's called now), I'd get a turn or two to deal with the rest of the army.

I won the roll off and deployed my units spread across my zone. Scott deployed most things central but set up Swarmy and some hive guard in a ruin on his right flank. He managed to Seize and pushed forward as fast as possible towards my lines. I gambled on not Jinking against his hive guard but he got looking with a penetrating hit and blew the turret off my Hammerhead. He also managed to spawn the maximum of 15 gaunts from his Tervigon without corking it. My turn wasn't particularly successful with a dozen or so gaunts and 5 out of 6 genestealers dying. This was partly because I'd chosen to keep my fire warriors in their transports so I could respond better to Scott's reserves arriving on turn 2. The big news of the turn though was the objective cards with Scott scoring 3 to my 2 VPs.

Swarmy emerged from cover and lined up to charge the fire warriors that Scott hoped would emerge from the nearby Devilfish. Sadly the hive guard couldn't do their bit as the Devilfish jinked away from their fire to lose a single hull point and get shaken. This meant Swarmy was forced to charge the transport and easily wreck it. In the centre the Trygon gunned down a Piranha but the Mawloc was unlucky and scattered away from it's target. The Tau response was pretty brutal. The Fire Warriors opened up on the Swarmlord and cut him down in a single Storm of Fire volley. The other Fire Warriors combined to down the Trygon and put some wounds on the Mawloc with help from the suits. Elsewhere the remaining Piranhas and drones thinned out the termagants some more. Once again, Scott had the luck with the objective cards and was now looking at a 6-2 lead.

Scott's flyers arrived at the top of turn 3 and whilst the tyrant cut down a pile of fire warriors he was looking pretty vulnerable when my flyer arrived to help light him up. When my suits arrived behind the Tervigon things looked even worse. They made short work of the MC but it fell to the nearby Kroot to take the final wound. There weren't many Tyranids left on the board but I was still looking at a 8-2 scoreline at the end of Scott's turn. Thankfully I got some decent cards which gave me points for killing the Flyrant and grabbing some objectives pulling it back to 8-6. The final turn would be decisive then.

Despite having minimal models left Scott was able to score a further two points. I'd need a big effort to pull things back. My objective deck helped me out with Behind Enemy Lines which I managed to get two VPs from and another couple of points from objectives. That tied the score up at 10-10. We'd both scored Linebreaker but it was killing the Flyrant for Slay the Warlord that gave me a 12-11 win.

Tau vs. Chaos
This would be a lot tougher. The amount of psychic firepower on top of the normal shooting would really punish me even before we got into combat. Matters weren't helped by Matt winning the roll off for first turn. I caught a lucky break though as Matt failed to cast Invisibility on his Daemon Prince. He was using him to give Fateweaver a 2++ save with the Grimoire so taking him out would be crucial. I disembarked two squads of fire warriors and lined up everyone to bring the prince down. I hoped with everything together I'd have enough inspite of the Feel No Pain and Eternal Warrior from whatever that psychic power is called. Matt made 8 out of 10 4+ FNP saves though to leave the Daemon Prince on a single wound. By some miracle the Hammerhead managed to hit him and I thought I'd done enough but when the to wound roll came up with a 1 I knew it would be a game changing moment. I'd used far more fire power than I intended and hadn't got the job done. Still, with some fortunate cards I was able to take a 2-1 lead early on.

Matt punished me early on. I quickly regretted not dealing with the Prince but when he forgot to cast the Grimoire I saw a light at the end of the tunnel. Once again though I couldn't take advantage as Fateweaver survived. At the end of turn 3 we were at 5-5 and it was still all to play for. I'd had the Domination objective card but discarded it because Matt's cultists would be impossible for me to shift in time. When Matt drew the card though he had no such problems. I was controlling objectives though so he'd need to clear me from them if he wanted the points. With time running out we decided that we'd call the game if he managed to get all 6 objectives. Fateweaver dropped in behind my Devilfish on the central objective and gunned it down in the psychic phase. On the far side the Obliterator shot then charged my Hammerhead to clear it from the objective there. That gave him the full 6 objectives and 5 VPs (plus a 6th for controlling an objective) to take the win.

The Tyranid game was made a lot tougher by the objective cards which really helped Scott out. There were a couple of occasions where he drew objectives he was already on making for simple scoring. That's why I'm glad the Blog Wars objectives don't put so much of an emphasis on the markers. Perhaps there should be two cards for each objective though. It's something I'll mull over in the next couple of weeks so that I can have everything finalised with a month to go to the event.

The loss in the second game was mostly down to two things. Going second was always going to hurt but this was compounded by the seemingly invulnerable Daemon Prince. It's not often that you feel like you can put a loss down to a single moment but I really feel like failing to wound with the hammerhead was it. Fair play to Matt though for taking all six objectives. I'm frustrated that I made it so easy to him with silly mistakes like moving the hammerhead on the left back from the objective to protect it's rear armour. Ah well, live and learn. It was just good to play some 40K for a change. It doesn't happen often enough these days.

Once the games were over we headed into the exhibition. I was dubious about the £7.50 price tag but holy crap was it worth it. It was equal parts inspirational and demoralising if you get what I mean? I'd recommend it to any fan of the hobby. I'm sure you could go back several times and keep seeing new things.

Well, I enjoyed using my Tau again and they were looking great thanks to my hobby efforts. I really want to keep the momentum going with them and get them "finished". For now I'm turning my attention back to scenery for a little while.

Friday, September 04, 2015

Tau Update Progress - Piranha Sept Markings

Well, with the mini-tournament tomorrow I can safely say I've failed in my target of getting my Tau army updated in time. When I started this little project my piranhas were in various states of painted. One wasn't far off, another was painted in a totally different colour scheme and the third wasn't painted at all. Their drones were only painted on the top surface and none of the pilots were painted. Here's how they look now:

As you can see I've managed to make a lot of progress with them. They've all had the base colours of greys, blue and metal. They've also had all of the panel lines painted in black before transfers were applied followed by freehanded numbering and sept markings. The drones have been given sept markings to match the squad so that once they detach you can tell where they originated.

I'm pretty pleased with how the sept markings turned out. I originally just had them on the panel in front of the cockpit but I then decided to repeat them on the sides of the fuselage too. In hindsight they'd have probably looked better on the top at the back but I'm happy with my freehand efforts nonetheless.

The only transfers I applied in the end were the Tau symbols on either side the tail. The numbering was of mixed success. I started out using the individual number transfers from the sheet but these just wouldn't stick and kept falling off despite my efforts. I therefore decided just to paint them on. For those of you not au fait with the Tau numbering system they're numbered 23, 24 and 25. The problem with freehanding the numbers was that I didn't keep very good control of the size of them. They're probably best on "25" which was the last one I painted and I think I'd gotten the hang of it by then. Perhaps I'll go back at some point and redo the other two to match.

The only thing they need now is the sept markings repeating on the pilots, highlighting, weathering on the engines and then some matt varnish. I've decided I don't want to heavily weather them just yet. Mainly because I'm not confident doing it and I don't want to ruin all my hard work making them look neat.

Sadly I didn't get the Devilfish or Fire Warrior sept markings finished in time but that'd probably only be an evening's work some time in the future. Anyway, we're playing the mini tournament tomorrow so I should probably head to bed. If you're down at WHW for any reason (most likely Council of War) feel free to pop over and say hello.

Here's a rundown of the armies tomorrow:

  • Me - Tau Empire (obviously)
  • Matt - Chaos
  • Jamie - Dark Angels
  • Scott - Tyranids
Should be great fun and it'll be nice to play three games of 40K if nothing else. Oh and gawk at all the dioramas!

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Tau Update Project - Devilfish Transfers

Thanks to a typically rainy bank holiday I was able to make some further progress with my Tau. With the panel lines done I decided that I should apply the transfers to my Devilfish before deciding where the sept markings should go and how large I should make them. The idea being that this way I'll avoid putting sept markings where I want transfers and vice versa.

I was torn between putting the Tau symbol on the nose or on the doors. I felt that both was too much but frankly I'm not sure what else you're meant to do with those large Tau symbols on the transfer sheet. Certainly some people seem to stick the large one on the nose but it didn't quite sit right with me. Instead I opted to put one on each of the three doors as I liked how the symbol on the blue background looked.

For the nose I decided to go with the numbers in Tau language as vehicle designations. By my reckoning they read 320, 321, and 322 but feel free to correct me! With hindsight I should've probably put 320 on the Ethereal's 'fish but it's a bit late to change it now. Anyway, the sheet gives you large numbers and a pair of corresponding smaller numbers. When you look through the codex these appear to go just above the side doors. That's all well and good for the ochre colour scheme but when I tried it with mine you could barely see them. I therefore went for the light grey panel on each engine and I think it worked out nicely.

The last little detail was the multicoloured symbols on the left hand side of the fuselage just between the vent and the funny bump thing. There are six different types of these so I'll have three on devilfish, two on hammerheads/skyrays and one on the bomber. I struggled to find much use for the other transfers on the sheet. Obviously a big chunk of them are sept specific and whilst I'd have loved to go for a different sept the classic Tau symbol is on all of my fire warriors so I thought it would look odd. The rest of the transfers are sept markings (no good as mine will be orange) or random bits of Tau text. Someone over on ATT has translated them all but the main problem was that they're all in black which doesn't show up well on my scheme. I actually put the Y'Tau ones on the engines but no-one will ever notice so I don't know why I bothered!

Anyway, with so much hobby time I was also able to start and finish the panel lines on my hammerheads and I'm halfway through the piranhas too. I'd like to get that finished today and then make a start on sept markings. If I cant get the markings done I'll be happy that I've done most of what I wanted to do for Saturday. Wish me luck!


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