Saturday, August 28, 2010

Battle Report: Wolves vs. Tau (1000pts)

So it's finally Saturday and time for my Wolves to face off against my friend using my Tau army. I've already listed the armies in a previous post so I'll get straight onto the battle.

Since my friend is new to the game we decided to keep things simple and play an Annihilation with Pitched Battle. The board is my homemade Realm of Battle style modular board. We used 6 of the 2'x2' sections. This meant the Tau had plenty of room to deploy and that I wouldn't be able to just sweep from unit to unit towards the end of the game.

I deployed my long fangs in the back corner up on a hill and my grey hunter rhinos at the edge of the deployment zone with the squads behind ready to embark. Obviously my Dread was in his pod in reserve. Sam deployed two of the Fire Warrior squads with the Hammerhead on the left. The Broadsides, Crisis and Shas'el in the middle and the Kroot, Pathfinders and remaining Fire Warriors on the right.

Long fangs survey the early clashes between the two forces
Turn 1
In my first turn I dropped the dreadnought's pod right in from of the two fire warrior squads on the right. It scattered a little but not enough to bother me. The grey hunters embarked and both rhinos drove forward popping smoke to obscure their advance. 

The dreadnought burst from the drop pod and engulfed 5 of the fire warriors in a burst from the heavy flamer, killing a further two with the assault cannon. 

Dreadnought makes light work of the enemy
The Long Fangs had an appalling round of shooting. They failed to score a single wound with heavy bolters on the Fire Warriors and the lascannon shots didn't make it past the Hammerhead's disruption field. 

The Tau returned fire with the Hammerhead's mighty railgun ripping the close combat arm from the side of the dreadnought. The pathfinders embarked in the Devilfish (in my opinion a bad decision). The Kroot advanced towards cover. The combined fire from the Broadsides and Crisis suits was sent in the direction of the Rhinos but the smoke did it's job leaving one of the rhinos unable to shoot but still rolling.

Turn 2
The Grey Hunters' Rhinos advance towards the enemy and their passengers disembark. The Rune Priest's squad manage to kill one of the broadsides and wound the other with their combined fire power. Sadly they aren't in range to assault. The Wolf Priest's squad open fire on the Kroot who are caught in the open reducing them to a single model. Fire from the Long Fangs only manages to take down to Fire Warriors with the Hammerhead making it's cover saves AGAIN. The dread wounds on of the Crisis suits but I misjudged the charge range so it fails to do any more damage. It'll be lucky to survive now it's exposed to the Broadsides. Sam manages to make all three of his morale checks.
The Kroot take heavy casualties

Railgun fire from the Broadsides turns the dreadnought into a smouldering crater but the blast is sadly too small to reach the nearby Fire Warriors. The Hammerhead fires at one of the Rhinos but misses it's target. The Crisis suits manage to take down 3 Hunters with me managing to fail all three saves!! The Shas'el adds another two to the tally including the Wolf Standard. The Fire Warriors manage to kill 2 marines from the other squad with some more woeful saving throws from me.

Turn 3
The turn starts in an annoyingly similar fashion with the heavy bolters doing nothing and the Hammerhead making it's cover saves. The storm bolter on the drop pod kills a fire warrior but the two remaining tau are unshaken. Small arms fire from the Grey Hunters kills all but two of the Pathfinders which had only recently emerged from their transport. The losses are too heavy and Sam finally fails a morale check causing them to fall back, never to return.

The other Grey Hunters squad charges into the Crisis suits and the combination of the Rune Priests power weapon and rending Wulfen attacks brings the hulks of metal down. Leaving the storm bolter on one of the rhinos to fell the remaining Kroot.

After some awful rolling from Sam and some proper power armour rolling from me, the Tau only manage to slay a single Grey Hunter.

Turn 4
The Rune Priest tears open a chasm in the planet's surface with the remaining Broadside and a single Fire Warrior falling victim. The heavy bolters kill a handful of Fire Warriors and the Grey Hunters charge into another squad wiping them out without reply. 

A combination of fire from the Hammerhead and Shas'el leaves the Rune Priest feeling very lonely but some more poor rolling means little else happens this turn as the Fire Warriors fail to kill any Long Fangs.

Devilfish is wrecked by GH power fist
Turn 5
The Shas'el manages to avoid the deadly Jaws of the World Wolf. The Grey Hunters charge into the Devilfish wrecking it with a blow from the power fist, leaving the drones to disembark. The lascannon, now firing on the side armour of the Hammerhead manages to immobilise it. Heavy bolter fire kills off one of the fire warrior squads.

The only success for the Tau is the Shas'el vapourising the Rune Priest with melta fire and a single Long Fang finally falls.

Sam rolls to see if we get a Turn 6 but the game ends there.

Final result: Space Wolves kill 680 pts of Tau whilst losing 525 pts themselves (7 vs 5 in KP). A fairly narrow victor for Fenris' finest!

Sam felt like he was being pretty comprehensively slaughtered by my Wolves but it was actually a lot closer than it looked. Whilst it seemed to take a lot of fire to bring down marines the kills he made relinquished quite a large number of points. My inability to take down the Hammerhead certainly made it closer than it perhaps should've been. I think Sam should've concentrated his railgun fire on my transports a little more which would've yielded some easy points. 

I think his biggest mistake was putting the Pathfinders into the Devilfish which meant that they didn't fire a single markerlight. BS5 Fire Warriors are surprisingly deadly at 12". The Jump-Shoot-Jump of the Shas'el made him very slippery and meant that other things go taken down before I could get to him. He was lucky not to fall victim to Jaws though.

My Long Fangs had a shocking game which is pretty uncharacteristic for them but my Grey Hunters more than made up for it. I enjoyed the game but I'm sure Sam didn't enjoy removing handfuls of models much. 

Had he used the markerlights more effectively this could've been very different. My dreadnought was always going to struggle against railguns but I think that without it I'd have certainly lost more Long Fangs. I'm also glad I included him to bring a bit of variety to the list. Another squad of Grey Hunters would've perhaps been more effective but I enjoyed using the drop pod for the dreadnought.

I hope you've enjoyed reading this report. I think Sam is going to start looking at getting his own army soon (probably Daemons) so there'll be plenty more skirmishes in the future. My next battle is probably going to be the campaign vs Matt but my housemate Scott might be tempted into a Wolves vs. Chaos battle before then.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Thoughts on Special Characters - Part 1: Njal Stormcaller

I don't know about anyone else but when I first saw the Space Wolves special character models I just had to have them. In fact they're probably what made me want to play Space Wolves in the first place. I have fond memories of watching my friends Wolves army led by Ragnar Blackmane tearing into Tyranids.

Therefore when I was planning what to buy for my army I got a bit carried away and bought all of them! Ragnar and Ulrik I managed to pick up pretty cheaply from eBay but the rest came from Dark Sphere.

The problem I've found with them is that due to their cost it's hard to work one of them into a list (nevermind two, three or even four!). As I've mentioned before we don't play stat-crunching games so I've managed to get them in a couple of times. Ulrik is pretty easy to justify since he's only about 50 points more than a normal Wolf Priest. However, I still struggle when I think I could have two rune priests for the same cost as Njal or a whole terminator squad instead of Logan.

I play 40K to have interesting battles. This means that special characters crop up pretty often. Obviously in lower points games I don't use them much since not only do they eat up a huge chunk but from a fluff point of view it doesn't make much sense. You wouldn't really expect Logan Grimnar the leader of the entire chapter to show up to a minor skirmish.

Anyway, here's my thoughts on Njal Stormcaller (or Nigel as we tend to call him). Since I've got the terminator model I'm going to ignore the option of not putting him in terminator armour. To be honest considering he's 245 points without it you're putting a lot of points into something that a lascannon can take out in one shot. The power armour thing was, in my opinion, only really included for those who had the old Njal model. 

For starters let's consider what you're getting for your points. For a rune priest in terminator armour with master psyker, wolftooth necklace and a chooser you're already spending 200 pts. For the additional 70 points you're getting what is essentially a third psychic power, a 3+ nullification of enemy psychic attacks, 4+ invulnerable save, nightwing (who isn't a lot of use) and Saga of Majesty. Oh and you aren't forced to pick which psychic powers you want to use before the game, feel free to use which ever you fancy at the time. This means that Njal is pretty flexible. You can sit him at the back with your Long Fangs and blast out Living Lightning or put him up from with some Grey Hunters (obviously without a rhino) and get him in nice and close for his Lord of Tempests to have maximum effect.

When we look at his statline you aren't really getting a lot more than a standard rune priest except for an extra attack. It does, however, mean he's a bit more likely to survive in the midst of close combat. The main issue I have with him is that whilst he may have a 4+ invulnerable save, he still only has 2 wounds and isn't immune to instant death. It'd only take a nob with a power klaw directing attacks to him for those saving throws to be crucial.

That won't stop me taking him though because I think Lord of Tempests adds an interesting element to the game. Granted the FAQ has, in some people's eyes, nerfed the power a little, but if your opponent is a little more open minded you can still use it when you get second turn and just let the power run until your next go.

Tournament players are never going to include him since two Rune Priests can provide a similar performance for the same points and have a little bit less of the eggs in one basket risk. Those of us who enjoy more casual games will still find a use for him. The problem then becomes; is he better than the other special characters for the same price? I'll be reviewing his main competition, in the form of the Great Wolf himself, in the next of this little series.

Let me know what you think.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Upcoming Battle vs Tau

Pretty sure no-ones reading this yet but I'll press on none-the-less. So I didn't manage to get any pictures of my army up over the weekend because I was pretty busy making wedding invitations. Anyway, since I've got the house to myself over the bank holiday I decided to arrange a quick 1000pt game with my friend using my Tau army. He's new to the game and we're trying to get him hooked! Seems to be going well so far.

I'm using the battle as an excuse to try a couple of things out for both my Space Wolves and my Tau. As I mentioned before I've got a campaign coming up against another mate of mine and one of those battles involves me using my Tau (whilst the rest of the battles will be with SW). I'll post more details of the campaign soon but for now I'll just give the army lists we'll be using. 

Bear in mind our little gaming group plays 40k a little differently to a lot of people out there. We haven't, as yet, participated in any tournaments (though we plan to soon) so we try and focus on having interesting and varied army lists rather than pure stats armies. To that end we rarely take the same army twice. Therefore you'll probably disagree with some of my choices but as I say it's more about the fun. We like the idea of what seems like a crap unit exceeding expectations and doing something significant. Even so, I welcome any comments on either list.

1000 pts of Space Wolves
Rune Priest - Wolftooth Necklace, Chooser of the Slain, Plasma Pistol, Living Lightning & Jaws of the World Wolf

Wolf Priest - Plasma pistol

Dreadnought - Heavy flamer and Wolftooth necklace
Drop Pod

(2x) 9x Grey Hunters - Meltagun, Powerfist, Wolf Standard, Mark of the Wulfen
(2x) Rhino

Long Fangs Pack - Heavy bolter x2, Missile Launcher, Lascannon x2

I've only recently come over to the idea of putting my Grey Hunters in a Rhino but I think it'll be pretty essential against the Tau given that I really want to be in combat as soon as I can be because I'll certainly not win a straight gun fight. I've not really tried out the Wolf Standard before so I'll be interested to see how that performs. I don't imagine Tau will give me a thorough test since they aren't the best in CC though. My Rune Priest is pretty standard in my opinion. He probably doesn't need the necklace but it's more of a points filler than anything. 

I've always liked the idea of dropping a dreadnought in the middle of an enemy army so I'm giving it a try this time round. I figure the heavy flamer and assault cannon having AP4 should make mincemeat of his pathfinders pretty sharpish. The long fangs will just do what you'd expect. My only concern is that unless I can get my Grey Hunters in close I'll rely on the long fangs to take down the broadsides and hammerhead. I know a lot of tournament players like the 5x missile launcher Fangs pack but again I prefer a bit of variety. On to the Tau then:

1002 pts of Tau Empire
Shas'el - Fusion Blaster, Plasma Rifle, Shield Generator, Hard-wired Multitracker

2x XV8 Crisis Suits - Twin-linked Missile Pod, Targeting Array

(3x) 8 Fire Warriors
10x Kroot

Pathfinders x7 with Devilfish

2x XV88 Broadsides - Targeting Array
Hammerhead - Railgun, Two Burst Cannons, Disruption Pod

Since my friend is new to the game I've picked the list for him. It's built around a solid core of Fire Warriors (who I think are pretty underestimated) who are supported by Pathfinders with those juicy markerlights. The kroot should hopefully provide a screen for the pathfinders to give them a bit more survivability. Though I'll leave that for Sam to decide. 

Broadsides and the Hammerhead should do well against the Wolves (if they survive very long). I considered giving him a Sky Ray for the Seeker Missiles but figured I'd try and keep markerlights simple for now. 

The two man Crisis team is there as a transport hunter and they should have little trouble dealing with my Rhinos or even have some shots at the dread. The commander is a bit of a risk since he'll need to get in close to make the most of his weaponry but it's amazing what Jump-Shoot-Jump can do for you.

Anyway, I'll post a full battle report on Sunday if all goes according to plan. Maybe by then I might have some readers - if anyone's out there feel free to comment!!

Friday, August 20, 2010

My 40K Background

Welcome to my Space Wolves blog! I intend this blog to be a record of my 40k battles as well as the hobby side of the game. I'll include battle reports, tactics, painting guides and various other things that I see fit to write about.

I first started 40k back in 2nd edition. Back then I had an Ultramarines army along with a decent sized Eldar force. I regularly played against my friends Chaos Space Marines army. Unfortunately he lost interest and I soon followed suit. It wasn't until about a year ago when I was moving some things out of my parents house that I found all my old models in various stages of paintwork. I decided to list them on eBay along with some other bits and pieces. It was while doing this that I was speaking to a friend of mine who was going through a similar process. We decided that we'd have a quick 1000pt game of Eldar vs. Marines just as a send off for my miniatures.

Needless to say we loved every minute of it! I decide now was the time to start up the hobby again since unlike in my early teens I now had a steady income that could be spent on miniatures (much to my fiance's disgust).

I set about bolstering my old Eldar army with some of the newer models that were around. My friend started to collect together some Blood Angels second hand from eBay. It wasn't long before we discovered that we were now on 5th edition (my codexes and rulebook were from 3rd). We picked up the new rulebook and we were away. After a couple of months our armies had built up to a decent size and we decided to branch out a little. I moved on to collect Tau and he started buying up Imperial Guard. He's since started an Ork army with all three of his armies exceeding 3000pts.

I remember from when I first started playing that I'd always liked the look of the Space Wolves figures and when the new codex was released I picked up a copy. Having very limited willpower it didn't take long before I'd placed a large order with Dark Sphere to give me a 2500pt force.

I hastily painted up as much as I could so that I could have my first battles with them against Blood Angels and Imperial Guard.

That pretty much covers my 40k story up until now. I've raced through things a little bit because it largely doesn't involve many Space Wolves! I intend this blog to be a story of what I'm learning as an old school 40k player getting used to a new army.

At some point over the weekend I'll try and get some pictures of my army up and follow it with some of my army lists.


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