Saturday, June 16, 2012

6th Edition - Drama rife across the Blogosphere!

When I used to play EVE Online there were often posts on the forums saying "drama llama is not amused" or words to that effect. To those not familiar with it EVE is a sci-fi MMORPG with the highest number of players on a single server of any MMO. There's a big part of me that misses playing it but I simply don't have the time to get back into it. Anyway, every time the developer released an expansion/patch/ship/module there'd be mass panic on the forums that this new thing was going to break the game forever. Once the new feature was released there were a few days of panic and then everyone realised there was an easy counter to it and things went back to normal.

To me, 40K is no different. Every time GW announces a new codex, or in this case an entire new edition, we hear a few rumours and everyone panics that the new army/rules will break the game. Now I'm not going to pretend that GK are balanced but they certainly aren't as powerful as everyone seems to think. Most players now know how to deal with them. However, when they were first released there was hysteria because of the snippets of rules we heard. A prime example is that a lot of people thought the vindicare assassin was ridiculously powerful. That was until a missile heads his way, he fails his save and is insta-killed.

I've been trying to keep up-to-date with the rumours that are surfacing about 6th edition because I'm just as excited as everyone else about it. Don't get me wrong there's this niggling worry that GW will totally shake up the game but is that such a bad thing? Most people's complaint about 5th edition is that it just involves marines in boxes. If the new rules are anything like they're rumoured to be then we'll probably see less vehicles. So that'll make everyone happy right?

Well no, apparently there's lots to complain about in these rumoured changes to the game. What with cover saves being reduced, land raiders becoming tougher, rapid fire improving, etc. it seems that Space Marines will become even more powerful than before. The important thing there is the word "seems". We've heard only a few bits and pieces and frankly as reliable as some of these sources have been in the past they're still just rumours. Not to mention they're totally out of context. We don't know if armies will get FAQ'd to change how they work in the new edition, we don't actually know much at all.

Some of the rumoured rules seem pretty good to me. There's no doubting that reduction in cover saves will make it harder for xenos armies but low AP weaponry might be more affective against marines now. There might be change to how blast weapons work too. Close combat weapons having an AP makes sense to me, shooting at a fast moving vehicle being harder makes sense, land raiders being less likely to be one-shotted even makes sense. I don't think we'll be seeing armies totally dominated by land raiders but it will at least mean the people will take them again. In 5th edition it seems some vehicles are far too easy to kill at times and others are way too difficult. How many times have you been trying to kill a rhino and achieved everything but actually blowing the thing up? How many times has your land raider exploded on the first shot fired at it?

I think what I'm trying to get at is that (and making a pretty bad job of it) is that we don't have a fecking clue what 6th edition will be like. Does a film trailer tell you everything about a film? Is scanning the blurb on a book the same as reading it? Responding angrily to how supposed new rules will break the game is ridiculous.

What we can be sure of is that when the book first hits and copies of it flood the internet we'll have people posting "invincible" lists and similarly saying that x army is now unstoppable or conversely y army is utterly useless. Then, after everyone has calmed down and actually played a few games we'll probably find that those invincible armies just don't work. We'll then settle into what the internet refers to as the "new meta" for a while until a new codex arrives (looking like Chaos) and churns up the drama again. It's a vicious cycle but it's one that keeps this game from going stale.

Finally, I think it's important to remember one thing. GW doesn't like you, they like your money. That isn't to say they don't want people to enjoy the game but selling plastic comes first. Will it stop the vast majority of us from shelling out for these things when they keep inflating the prices, not a chance. Accept it, you're addicted and until someone comes along as a decent competitor to them, GW will continue to dominate this market. To my mind they make the most beautiful miniature soldiers in the world and every new release is better than the last. When you think about the 2-dimensional armies we were using in 2nd edition compared to the infinitely different armies we field now I'm glad they're still in business. Call me a fanboy but accept first that protesting about everything GW does, means nothing if you keep buying the stuff!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

6th Edition Round-up - The Facts (sort of)

So before we start, in case you haven't seen it yet there's a teaser trailer over on the GW website or you can watch it on YouTube here. Not much to it but there's no doubt that it's announcing when pre-orders will start for 6th edition: 23rd June 2012.

What do we know for sure about 6th edition then? Well there's certainly a lot of rumours running around at the moment. With several sources claiming the same things I'm farily sure they're on the mark. However, it's still difficult to differentiate between genuine information and wishlisting.

What we can be almost certain of is that 6th edition will be released on 7th July. How can I be sure? Well think about it this way. We've got a video saying pre-orders will be up on 23rd June, I'm then playing in the GW 40K Doubles the weekend after and the weekend of the 14th July I'm going to the GW Open Day. If you read the description of that then I think it's pretty obvious that what they're avoiding saying is that it'll be chance for them to discuss the new rules with their customers and show them off in a few demonstration games. Keep you eyes on this blog for details of it. That means 6th has got to land somewhere between the doubles and the open day i.e. 7th July. This is what the rumour mongers have been saying for a while anyway.

Another little tidbit of information makes it certain the next White Dwarf will be the 6th edition one. At the editorial in this month's issue he hints that the White Scars vs. Orks will be replayed next month. No point doing that if you haven't got the new ruleset to demonstrate.

Looking at the events GW are hosting later in the year we can be pretty certain Chaos Space Marines will be getting the first new codex of 6th edition. What makes me think this? Well aside from the rumours on various sites GW having a Painting Chaos Terminators Masterclass in early September. It would be a little strange for them to do this at the moment when Chaos aren't exactly flavour of the month. With a new codex in August they would be though!

Now I'm not going to list off the more specific rumours about the new rules because frankly Faeit 212 does a far better job at this than I would. However, from what I've read it seems like it will be decent shake up of the rules. I'm slightly concerned that it will be more complicated. In some ways it needs to be but I hope it doesn't spoil the flow of the game. Love it or hate it, 5th edition is a straightforward set of rules that make for a pretty rapid game. When I first got into 40K in 2nd edition it used to take us an entire day to play a 2K game because things were so complicated.

I'd also like to see them reduce some of the grey areas in the game. Now I accept in any game with tape measures and true line of sight there's going to be disagreements but when you look at other game systems they have some nice ideas for how to address these. For me pre-measuring would be a good thing. Let's face it at the moment there are ways to do it subtly and legally but they'll no doubt piss off your opponent. Either you're in range to shoot or you aren't but you'd think trained soldiers (and certainly super-soldiers) would be able to assess range before chosing a target.

Anyway, before I get carried away wishlisting, I'll stop rambling!

Saturday, June 09, 2012

Blog Wars 4 - Sunday 14th October 2012

With memories of Blog Wars 3 still fresh in my mind the time has come to announce the next Blog Wars tournament. Blog Wars 4 will be held at Maelstrom Games on Sunday 14th October 2012. Things will change quite a bit this time around so let me explain some of the differences.

Firstly and for some, most importantly, the prize structure will be changing. As others have pointed out the prizes in the first 3 tournaments were pretty generous and as such people felt that they needed to bring something highly competitive because so much was at stake. In such a small tournament if you bring a decent tournament list against a field of mixed skill level, you've got a good chance of going home with a prize, such is the nature of one day tournaments. Therefore my plan for BW4 is to reduce the amounts of the big prizes and hopefully encourage people to bring something a little different without hefty comps. I'll be announcing the details of the new prizing structure once I've finalised it but suffice to say the prizes will still be decent but there'll be more on offer and everyone will have a chance of taking home something. I'm also quite keen to offer door prizes so I'm going to be contacting some companies to see if they can offer me deals on buying these things in bulk in exchange for a little publicity.

I'd like tickets to remain at £15 each but Maelstrom have recently put up their catering prices which now stand at £8 a head. Depending on the prize budget I work out this means I might have to slightly increase ticket prices. They'll be staying at around the £15 mark but I'm thinking £17.50 might be reasonable and allow me to improve the prizes on offer and maybe include trophies....

Now, everyone and his granny knows that 6th edition is right around the corner. Matt and I are heading to the Open Day on July 14th and rumour has it 6th will be out the weekend before. I'll obviously be posting up some coverage from the Open Day but the point here is that it's difficult to release scenarios etc without having seen the new rulebook. My plan is to announce that the tickets are on sale towards the end of the month and then release the scenarios at some point in August once I've had chance to get a few 6th edition games in. I fully intend to keep the compulsory special character rule in force and I can't see this having a dramatic effect no matter what 6th brings.

This also presents a problem for determining points limits and timings. Whilst I'm sure people will have had plenty of games by October it will still be a relatively new rule set and depending on how far reaching the changes are it might either speed up or slow down game play significantly. Therefore I'll have to make a decision about whether to alter the points limit to reflect this. I'm quite excited about the prospect of 6th edition. I'm sure they'll fuck plenty of things up but hopefully when we adjust to the new rules it'll be a better game for it.

Anyway, put the date in your diary and keep your eyes on the blog for announcements about tickets, prizes, scenarios and general 6th edition changes. I hope I can count on people's support to help take Blog Wars into 6th edition in the same spirit that it left 5th edition!

Friday, June 08, 2012

Ork Fliers - Which Rules the Skies?

Jamie and I headed down to our FLGS (Wargames Emporium in Sheffield) with the intention of picking up one or more of the new flyer kits that GW released over the weekend. We'd planned on getting them at Maelstrom to make the most of the tournament discount but they'd already sold out their first lot of stock!

Since I don't own any Necrons or Space Marines (except SW), the only one I can put to use is the Ork Bomma kit. I have been considering a Necron army but I think I'll wait and see what 6th edition brings both in terms of rule changes and new codexes. Jamie on the other hand bought all three!! I'm hoping the purchase of a new kit will be the push I need to get mine & Matt's shared Ork army painted up.

Before I go on to talk specifically about the Ork one I'd like to say that I actually like the look of all three models. In spite of what the popular consensus is I think the Stormtalon is perfect. It shouldn't be long and sleek it's just a flying gun platform. I've seen some people extending the tail section to make it look more like a real plane but frankly I think GW got it right in the first place, unpopular as that opinion may be!

Anyway, I've got the Ork kit sat in front of me and I'm trying to decide what to assemble it as. From a purely aesthetic point of view I prefer the swept back wings of what the manual calls the blitza-bommer:
However, I'm very much a gamer first and a hobbyist second so it's important to decide which will actually be more use on the table. Bear in mind of course that we apparently only have a month of 5th edition left so I'm a little bit loathe to commit to any of the 3 options until I see the new rules. However, a quick glance at the white dwarf pages and for me the dakkajet comes out on top. Let's have a closer look though.

General Rules
A running theme throughout all of these new fliers (and those in the Dark Eldar codex) is that in addition to being Fast Skimmers they also have the Aerial Assault (move 12" and still fire everything) and Supersonic (move up to 36" flat out) rules. The ork fliers all have the Waaagh!plane special rule which allows all the Assault weapons to fire twice as many shots as normal. All three planes can also be given Red Paint Job which as you should know by now allows them to move an extra inch. This means 13" movement whislt still firing everything and 37" flat out!!

All three planes are BS2 but have some options for improving their accuracy. They're also all AV10 all round so don't expect to be holding on to them for long. Given the relatively high point cost it does make me think that these fliers will be somehow harder to hit in 6th edition though....

The cheapest of the three with a base cost of 110pts the Dakkajet is a simple beast with twin-linked supa shootas providing S6 fire power. You can throw on an extra twin-linked supa shoota for 10 points giving it 9 S6 shots per turn! Even with BS2 this means you'll be landing around 5 S6 shots. The Strafing Run special rule means that against pretty much everything except skimmers the Dakkajet is BS3 and also makes those shots pinning. For another 10 pts you can fire at skimmers with BS3 too. With all the guns being twin-linked that means for 135pts you're getting a plane that can move 13" and land around 7 S6 pinning shots on nearly anything.

The burna-bommer is mid-range in terms of points cost (125pts) and offers anti-horde fire power. It comes equipped with a couple of guns along with two burna bombs which are single shot large blast weapons with a heavy flamer profile. They're fired in the movement phase by "dropping" them on a target unit and scattering them D6". Pretty decent chance of scoring some hits then. You can also give it upto 6 skorcha missiles which are small blast heavy flamer profile weapons. These aren't cheap though at 10pts a pop.

Basically, with the bommer being AV10 you're going to want to come on from reserve and fire off most of your arsenal before the inevitable return fire takes you down. With the guns, bombs and missiles combined the burna-bommer has the potential to devastate an infantry unit even in cover. However, they're going to be most effective against hordes but it's not like Orks struggle with that anyway! Not to mention that to equip it with 6 missiles and paint it red will cost you 190pts!!

Finally the blitza-bommer at 135pts has the highest base cost. However, given the only upgrade is Red Paint Job it doesn't spiral in cost like the burna-bommer. Again you get a couple of guns but also two boom bombs. These things are S7 AP4 large blasts. Sounds reasonable but the delivery mechanism is a bit random.

To me this is the fluffy fun choice. It's the same as having a weirdboy or shokk attack gun. They make the game interesting but you're not going to see them in competitive play.

It's well established that Orks lack any ranged threats apart from lootas. The dakkajet goes some way to address this but it comes at a fairly hefty cost. For the fully upgraded dakkajet you're paying the same as a 9-man loota mob. Essentially you're trading some manoeuvrability for volume of fire. With the lootas averaging 2 shots each they'll probably score as many hits as the plane will but at S7 not S6.

I think the mistake people are making, myself included, is to apply these new planes to our current 5th edition game. When 6th edition hits in July we could see these fliers come into their own. It may be that they're harder to hit from the ground and then the dakkajet will be weapon of choice for dealing with the offerings from other races.

Whilst I can see room for the dakkajet the two bommer variations are a little harder to imagine being useful. With a largely anti-infantry feel to them they're going to struggle to compete with the rest of the ork army list. It remains to be seen which will come out on top with the new rules but for now I've made my decision and assembled a dakkajet. Now I didn't strictly follow the instructions because that isn't very Orky and I just like the swept back wings better than the straight ones. I've also given it the extra supa shootas because who can resist more dakka? I have to say the kit was an absolute joy to assemble with all the parts slotting together perfectly and everything feeling really solid. I'll post up some pictures as I make some progress painting it.

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Blog Wars - Game 3 - Webway DE vs. Space Wolves

In the final game of the tournament I found myself in the rather unexpected position of being on table 3. My opponent would be none other than Frank Marsh. Over the past year or so Matt and I have played Frank on various occasions. The last time I played him was at Blog Wars 2 where my Space Wolves were held to a draw by some last minute KP grabbing from Frank including ramming my drop pod with a wave serpent! Frank has a pretty decent tournament record and seems to always place pretty near the top. I knew this was going to be a tough game and having webway Dark Eldar wasn't going to make it any easier.

The final game would be Seize Ground with 5 fixed objectives and Dawn of War deployment. I was relieved to see Frank looking confused as he read my army list. Sure enough he said that he hadn't played Dark Eldar much and certainly wasn't familiar with webways. Frank's list consisted of a rune priest and a large grey hunter pack in a rhino, a wolf priest on a bike with a squad of swiftclaw bikers, a small grey hunter pack in a razorback, Arjac Rockfist and 8 grey hunters in a drop pod, two lone wolves and two packs of long fangs (one with a razorback).

In my previous two games I'd won the roll offs easily even without Baron's +1. For this game however it really came in handy with Frank rolling a 2 and me rolling a 1(2) followed by a 4 and a 3(4) and then finally I won the third roll off. Electing to go first I stuck one of my venoms in a ruined building with only the haemonculus on board (as the trueborn are elites and can't be deployed in DoW). I'd then bring on my second venom with trueborn this time on the first turn. Frank deployed a rhino near the centre with the rune priest and a squad of grey hunters inside. This time I rolled +1 WS on my combat drugs.

Unfortunately for me Frank stole the initiative and slammed Arjac's drop pod right next to the otherwise hidden venom. The rest of his army advanced on towards the middle with his long fangs running into positions on each flank. Arjac and his grey hunters made short work of the venom but the haemonculus was hidden from the rest of his army so would get to deploy his webway. In my first turn I dropped both webways down and then the trueborn managed a lucky shot to explode the rune priest's rhino. The venom fired at the bikes killing one and wounding the attack bike.

Frank used his bikers and Arjac to easily cut down the two haemonculi but luckily for me the combination of cover and FNP kept all the trueborn alive. The bikers moved further into the middle but could only immobilise the remaining venom. In my turn 2 I had another successful set of reserve rolls getting everything but a squad of wyches and the cronos. The reavers turbo-boosted out of the portals and used their bladevanes to strike at the long fangs. Thanks to some jammy rolls on my part and some poor armour saves from Frank each squad was reduced to a single missile launcher. The immobilised venom easily finished off one of the lonely long fangs.

The hellions came out and charged into the rune priest's squad and by some miracle they were able to kill off a large number of them. The talos and one squad of wyches set up to charge the bikes but a combination of fire from the trueborn, wyches and talos meant only the wolf priest and one biker remained. This mean the wyches were out of charge range but the talos easily finished off the priest and swiftclaw but took a wound in the process. The other wych squad charged into Arjac's grey hunters but with help from their wolf standard their counter attack won the combat and forced the wyches to flee. The wracks simply ran on from the board edge and hugged an objective.

The lone wolves charged into the hellions in order to try and save the grey hunters. The hellions forced the grey hunters to run but one of the lone wolves struck Baron with his chainfist. Baron's shadow field caused the first blow to miss but the second ripped through the field and he was hacked to pieces (failing it on the second roll sucks!). The hellions broke from the combat and pursued the fleeing grey hunters. Arjac and co. rapid fired the second squad of wyches and severely thinned them out. One of the razorbacks took a pot shot at the wracks in cover and killed one but they held their nerve. The smaller grey hunter pack jumped out and rapid fired the reavers killing a couple off.

In my third turn the cronos and another squad of wyches appeared. The cronos incinerated some of Arjac's squad and the wyches then charged in and were able to finish the job. The lone wolves were cut down by a combination of shots from all directions. The long fangs weren't far behind them with bladevane attacks causing serious hurt. To be honest the next few turns all merged into one so I'll sum up what happened but not necessarily in the correct order.

The reavers moved in on the razorback and gunned it down with their heat lances, protecting the wracks (who'd moved deeper into cover to be completely hidden anyway). The hellions shepherded the rune priest's squad from the board and then turned their attention to the smaller grey hunter pack. By some minor miracle they were able to hold on in the combat long enough to force the grey hunters to run again.

At this stage Frank didn't have much hope of victory but I needed to table him if I wanted to finish in the top three. The cronos moved over and with help from the wyches was able to destroy the drop pod. That left the razorback on my left hand side but it took a combination of trueborn fire, haywire grenades and a lonely hellion charging it to bring it down the hard way (weapon destroyed, immobilised, wrecked) and that sealed the game at the end of turn 6. This gave me the maximum 25 points and saw me leapfrog Matt and Steve Henderson and take 2nd place.

Shortly after I remembered that I hadn't deployed my second squad of trueborn (as I'd forgotten they weren't in the venom). That almost certainly would've meant the razorback would've gone down a lot sooner!

It's a shame I can't remember it better (it is Thursday now and I've slept a lot since then) but suffice to say it was an amazing game for my Dark Eldar. There's no doubt I was very lucky. I think Frank got a bit sick of me saying "they never do that well" about each unit in turn. Seriously though, the hellions managed to take down a squad of grey hunters, the reavers claimed the best part of a long fang pack each and then took down a razorback. The talos finished off the bikers and the trueborn took out a rhino with their first shots of the game! When you're rolling well any army can feel unstoppable.

The other significant factor in this victory was that Frank had no idea about Dark Eldar and webway. If he had then all he'd have needed to do was keep his army on the back line and gun me down as I tried to get close. This would've almost certainly resulted in the opposite result. To be perfectly honest this is true of all three of the games. When I tested the list against Matt his first reaction was to try and close in on the portals and either surround them or deal with my army piecemeal. When this failed he resorted to sitting back a lot more and hence I didn't win many games with them in practice!

When your army relies on your opponent to make a mistake to win it's always going to be limited. Don't get me wrong I thoroughly enjoyed all 3 games but I don't think I'd take it to a tournament again. It definitely lacks anti-tank fire and I was lucky to kill the vehicles that I did. One thing I certainly love is your opponent's face when over half of your army appears in their face on turn 2, seemingly from out of nowhere!

Thanks to all of my opponents for three excellent games. For those of you who've been asking about Blog Wars 4, I should be posting about it tomorrow or Saturday so keep your eyes on the blog for that.

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Blog Wars 3 - Game 2 - Webway DE vs. Tyranids

My opponent for round two was Phil Waghorn who Matt and I had met at the GW Doubles when our Bloody Wolves had hammered their Tyranids. From practice games against Scott's Tyranids I knew that if I got the units I want when I want them I can make a mess of a Tyranid army as I usually have the initiative advantage. It would still be a hard slog and the Cleanse mission is difficult to take many points from without tabling your opponent. The advantage of this mission for my list is that the deployment really lends itself to webways as you can easily position them right near the centre. This coupled with the fact that nids list needs to come towards me to be effective meant I felt pretty confident. I again rolled a 4 for combat drugs which helped!

Phil's list had a hive tyrant, 2 zoanthropes, the deathleaper, a tervigon with termagants, 5 warriors with boneswords, a carnifex, mawloc and trygon. He kept the deathleaper in reserve and deployed the rest of his army spread across his quarter with the zoanthropes in the centre supported by the trygon and followed by the tyrant. Phil stole the initiative and advanced his army forwards. The trygon spawned 16 termagants but would produce no more. The zoanthropes failed one of their psychic tests and missed with their warp blast with their lance out of range. The mawloc burrowed to emerge next turn.

The haemos hopped out and dropped their webways as the venoms retreated to range with their trueborn still inside. The combination of the venoms and trueborn was enough to put wounds on the trygon and bring the carnifex down to a single wound which it only just held onto thanks to poor dice rolls from the splinter cannons. The tyranids responded with the carnifex trying to shoot down the venom but when that failed it ripped into it with it's massive claws. The zoanthropes again found themselves unable to use their warp lance as the venom's Night Shields protected it. The trygon made short work of the haemonculus whilst the other haemo was gunned down by some termagants. The mawloc emerged on top of the trueborn's venom but scattered off target.

A squad of reavers emerged from the portal and turbo boosted over the termagants who'd killed the haemonculus reducing them to a single lonely tyranid. The talos positioned itself to try and charge the recently emerged mawloc. The cronos incinerated some of the hormagaunts giving the wyches a pain token and then charged in to combat with the remaining gaunts resulting in a stalemate. The wyches decided to charge the trygon which had been reduced to a single wound by the trueborn/venom and finished it off with their agoniser giving the zoanthropes a reprieve. The other trueborn gunned down the carnifex but having to travel around the wreckage of the venom meant the talos couldn't prevent the mawloc from burrowing again.

The hive tyrant moved forward and used his paroxysm on the wyches that had slain the trygon. The warriors fired at the reavers and gunned a few down. The deathleaper appeared on the ledge above the venom and managed to immobilise it with its fire.

With everything but a single wych squad arriving in turn 3 I hoped this turn would tip the battle in my favour. The hellions screamed out of the portal and slammed into combat with the spawned termagants killing most off and losing a single one of their own. The newly emerged wyches went into combat with the hive tyrant after the venoms and trueborn had softened it up. They also engaged the hormagaunts to save the cronos (since the gaunts had toxin sacs and I5). The talos found itself with no targets so moved back towards the action. The trueborn hopped out of their immobilised venom and tried to instant kill the deathleaper who used it's stealth to keep it alive. The wyches managed to kill off the hive tyrant and the cronos killed off the remaining gaunt. The WS/BS 1 wyches killed off the zoanthropes despite their handicap (with help from the reavers' bladevanes). Meanwhile the wracks walked on from the board edge into cover to simply hold onto a quarter.

The mawloc emerged on top the reavers killing them all off with a perfectly timed appearance. The warriors tried to gun down some wyches but thanks to FNP they struggled. The trygon waded in on the hellion combat and despite surviving the hellions couldn't make their hit and run roll (rolling 6 twice in a row!) but it was too late for the termagants anyway.

The mawloc met a similar fate (in a similar spot) to the trygon with a combination of poisoned fire and agoniser blows easily toppling it. The wyches and wounded cronos headed in the direction of the warriors. The tervigon killed off the hellions who'd failed to get away. However, with the game reaching it's end Phil had only the deathleaper, trygon and warriors to stop me. The last squad of wyches came on from the board edge and with help from the reavers they killed off the trygon. The warriors eventually met the same fate shortly after the deathleaper giving me a tabling and maximum points. Thanks to the spawned termagants I even scored 1,830 VPs!

Phil didn't make a single regeneration roll for the entire game and this really hampered his monstrous creatures. With the volume of 4+ poisoned and dark light fire the big stuff wasn't hard to bring down and the tyranids reliance on CC was, once again, their undoing. Phil was pretty unlucky with his dice rolls and conversely I had more luck than I probably deserved.

The hellions were far from spectacular here with them struggling to kill termagants before the tervigon waded in. Granted FNP from the tervigon didn't help matters but they should've hit and run! The agonisers proved to be just as deadly as you'd expect with most of the combats being decided by the hekatrixes. The talos struggled to get involved in the game having come out too far from the action and being left high and dry when the mawloc burrowed.

The whole army worked well together but Dark Eldar vs Tyranids isn't really a fair fight so I can hardly claim any tactical superiority here!

With Frank Marsh and Andy Pattison holding each other to a draw on the top table after scoring 25pts each in their first game, I knew I'd be playing either Frank's wolves or Andy's IG. Neither of which would be an easy game for me.....

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Blog Wars 3 - Game 1 - Webway DE vs. Iron Hands

Despite it being a random draw I somehow found myself facing Jamie and his Iron Hands. He's got quite a lot of vehicles in there and I simply don't have much anti-tank in my list... at all! So we were all set up for a tough game.

For anyone wanting a reminder of the dual webway list I was fielding you can find it here. As per the scenarios we'd be playing Pitched Battle with the Annihilation mission. The difference being that the commander SC was worth 2 points (Cassius for Jamie and Baron for me).

Jamie was fielding Chaplain Cassius with a master of the forge and some assault terminators in a land raider. These were joined by 3 tactical squads (2 in rhinos, 1 on foot), a small bike squad with attack bike, a predator and a whirlwind. As with most Dark Eldar lists I've got a much better chance if I get first turn. Fortunately that's what I got and I deployed by two venoms where I wanted them. The thing I like about this list is that you don't show your hand too early. There's very little on the board for the first turn so your opponent doesn't know what to expect. From turn 2 onwards everything appears right in his face (hopefully) and it has the desired effect of shock and awe.

Jamie responded by deploying his footbound tactical squad in the centre in cover with a rhino on either side of the terrain. The bikes were tucked in behind one of the rhinos with the land raider far over on his left flank, whirlwind round the back and predator on the other flank. I rolled a 4 for my combat drugs giving me a re-roll to wound - nice! I was convinced Jamie was going to seize so I breathed a sigh of relief when he didn't. The two venoms pushed forward and dropped off their passengers. The two haemonculi did their only job and dropped the webways. One squad of trueborn penetrated the front armour of the predator but could only stun it whilst the other squad immobilised one of the rhinos.  The venoms fired at the bikes and the tactical squad in cover killing a biker and a couple of marines.

At this point I have no option but to sit and watch my opponent give everything he's got to destroy the venoms and their newly disembarked cargo. Unfortunately for Jamie he didn't manage to take out either venom thanks to some poor luck on his part and a jammy flickerfield save on mine. Each trueborn squad lost two members and both haemonculi took a wound despite FNP saves absorbing most of the damage.

I've got 9 units to come on through the webways and even though it's 50:50 chance of getting what I want I've hopefully put enough redundancy in there so that I at least get something useful in turn 2. In this case I got the wracks, both reavers and the talos. The wracks moved on and into one of the venoms along with the haemo. The venom then moved them in the direction of the tactical squad to attempt to assault them next time with their Furious Charge (thanks to 2 pain tokens). One lot of reavers headed in the direction of the land raider hoping to find themselves within 9" the other used their bladevanes on the tactical squad, killing a handful of marines. Finally, the talos moved in the direction of the other rhino taking a shot with it's heat lance as it went. What it failed to do with shooting it managed with it's fists, blowing up the rhino and killing a marine in the process.

The shooting was underwhelming. The reavers found themselves just out of half range, the venoms killed a few more troops but crucially the trueborn failed to crack open the other rhino or stop the predator shooting.
Jamie responded by taking down the wrack's newly acquired venom and cutting down all but one of the reavers. The talos was shot to pieces by the predator and the bikes whilst the other reavers took a couple of casualties from the tactical squad turning around to rapid fire at them.

In the next turn I got Baron and his hellions and one squad of wyches who set up ready to assault the occupants of the immobilised rhino should I be able to crack it open with shooting. When that plan failed the wyches were forced to charge in on the rhino and wreck it with their haywires. Baron had more success charging the tactical squad that had rapid fired the reavers killing a decent number. The reavers meanwhile blasted away and hit the bikes with some bladevane attacks. The wracks moved towards the other tactical squad in cover but snake eyes on the charge roll meant they sat impotently. The lonely reaver on my right struck lucky and blew up the land raider with his heat lance before ducking behind cover in the hopes of getting a shot at the whirlwind next turn.

With the tactical squad in cover having little left they couldn't do much damage to the wrack and elected to shoot down the remaining venom instead. The bikes now joined in on the hellion combat but despite losing some of his squad Baron was able to hit and run and get clear of the melee but not before making the tactical squad run from the board. The wracks took a hit from the whirlwind which killed one wrack and took the haemonculus' remaining wound. Cassius and the MotF moved in the direction of the wych squad and solo reaver that were nicely clustered around the rhino wreck and their flamers killed all but the hekatrix.

The remaining units now emerged from the portal. Both squads of wyches headed in direction of the command squad and the cronos moved towards the remaining full strength tactical squad hoping to hit it with it's spirit vortex. The hellions went in the direction of this squad and I hoped with help from the hekatrix they'd be able to kill them off quickly and keep away from the terminators. Brilliantly the spirit vortex scattered off the squad and straight on top of the hekatrix killing her! Nice one!

Baron was able to bring down the entire tactical squad with help from his hellions. The reavers tried to bring down the predator from nearby cover but without success. The wracks finally got to charge what was left of the tactical squad and finally brought them down. A quick tot up of the scores showed Jamie had a slight advantage of a couple of KPs. I'd need to take out a few more of his units without losing a single one of mine. The MoTF split off from cassius and went after one of the wych squads. The attack bike went after the trueborn and killed off the haemonculi in combat with shooting but couldn't finish the job in combat.

The next turn was crucial for me. I lined myself up to either shoot down the predator or have Baron charge it to finish the job. The wyches would need to kill off the MoTF. The wracks played keep away with the terminators knowing they'd have no chance even with Furious Charge. The unengaged wyches swung across to kill off the attack bike before it finished off the trueborn. All three units did their job, Baron killed the predator, the wyches got the attack bike and the other wyches finished off the MoTF.

What followed was a turn 5 where Jamie tried to chase me down and get his terminators into combat with something and failing. The whirlwind tried to kill off one of the two solo trueborn but scattered off. In turn 6 I moved my units even further away (cowardly I know) and hoped I could hold on to my slim 9-8 lead. It wasn't to be as right at the end of turn 6 (and as it turned out the game) the whirlwind finally hit it's mark and took out one of the trueborn to draw things level. That gave us 10pts each and a 200pt advantage to me in kill points.

Jamie was the first to acknowledge that he should've kept his army away from mine a little better. The speed of the bikes couldn't let them pop a venom without much danger and the long range of the predator should've kept it safe. Knowing I didn't have much I could've done against the terminators I was quite pleased when Jamie was cautious with them allowing me to deal with the rest of his army before they waded in.

The trueborn were as underwhelming as usual with an immobilised rhino their only achievement. The reavers were incredibly lucky to kill the land raider with a single shot but otherwise didn't add much. I was stupid with the wracks who could've moved close to the marines and been able to charge. The venoms were reasonably effective and helped me deal with the higher toughness of the bikes. It's shame the talos got taken down so early without having chance to get it's teeth into the tactical squad.

The runaway stars of the show were the hellions. They took down two tactical squads and even when on his own Baron was able to bring down the predator by taking advantage of his S7 (thanks to those two tactical squads). I've never had them do so well in a game and it think it was obviously down to the fact that they came straight out of the webway and into combat.

Overall it was an excellent game that came right down to the wire. As Andy Pattison observed that's probably the first and last time that a whirlwind played a crucial role in a tournament game!

Monday, June 04, 2012

Blog Wars 3 Painting Competition

As ever, alongside the dice rolling was the hobby side of things. This time around there were three prizes on offer: Best Painted Army, Best Painted Special Character and Best Army Theme. The first two would be voted for by all of the competitors but the army theme award was decided by yours truly. Before I get to the results I wanted to say that unlike the first two Blog Wars there was a disappointing number of votes cast with only just over half of people voting. This is probably partly down to people not knowing where the voting slips were (though I did say!).

Anyway, here's a selection of the armies on display. Apologies to their owners for the crappy pictures but it was a case of rushing round with the camera in between other things I had to do! If anyone else has better pictures feel free to post them up and then link them in the comments.

The winner of the Best Painted Army was my good friend Jamie (I'd like to point out I'm not eligible to vote). His army was a beautiful Iron Hands force with Cassius and a Master of the Forge. There were some well executed conversions including an attack bike, full track land raider amongst others. Overall it was a very cohesive force and I think the precise line highlighting and details were what made it stand out despite it being black! More pictures of the conversions are over on his blog.

The Best Painted Special Character award went to Chris Benstead (WeeMen) with his Swarmlord. He won the best painted army at Blog Wars 2 and that's where this image comes from since I didn't have chance to get a shot myself.

Finally, a new addition this time around the Best Army Theme went to Ian Connolly (Need More Tanks) for his Star Wars themed Imperial Guard. You can find more pictures of it over on his blog. The reason I chose thise for the best theme was the sheer attention to detail that went into it. It would be simple to make an army full of white stormtroopers and call it a Star Wars army but to create AT-STs, an AT-AT, C3PO/R2D2, Han Solo frozen in carbonite and pretty much every major character from the series really sets this arm apart. A well deserved prize.

There were some excellent ideas for army theme. I'd like to give special mention to a few of the runners up. The simean Grey Knights army from James Lamb with everyone represented as a monkey, the catachan force from John Holland and the Rebel Alliance/sci-fi list with massive x-wing vendettas from Luke Fogg.

Congratulations to all of the winners. As I've alluded to in the results post things will be a bit different for Blog Wars 4 so keep an eye on the blog for details of that.

Sunday, June 03, 2012

Blog Wars 3 Results - Webways work!

The third Blog Wars tournament took place yesterday at Maelstrom Games in Mansfield. For those of you who aren't familiar with it, Blog Wars is a twice-annual, friendly, 1,750pt 40K tournament with a slight comp in that all armies must contain a Special Character. The missions are all centred around this theme giving the special character more significance in each battle.
Without further ado here's this years results:

So the most obvious thing to notice is that as a group we all failed miserably to stop Andy Humphris from retaining his title. Fair play to Andy, he only dropped 3 points out of a possible 75 over the three games. Suffice to say he got plenty of stick from everyone involved. I'm sure Andy will be posting a typically humble account of how he secured victory. Andy played Daniel Lane's horde Orks in the first round, Gary Hoptroff's Grey Knights featuring Mordrak and finally James Winsor's Relictors.

Congratulations to Steve Henderson (Andy's mate) for his 3rd place. Steve and I approach tournaments in the same way. If we go in with confidence we'll perform badly but if we think we've got no chance then we'll exceed our expectations.

Speaking of which, you may have noticed that embarassingly (for me and everyone else involved!) I managed to achieve 2nd place overall and also scored more VPs than anyone else! This is surprising for several reasons. Firstly in all the practice games my Dark Eldar dual-webway list was utter crap but also because I'm frankly not that good a player! I was as surprised as anyone that I managed to pull it off but suffice to say I was pretty lucky with the armies I faced. There were some lists out there that I simply couldn't have dealt with no matter how good my dice rolls were! I'm planning on writing a whole post about the amount of luck involved in tournament success at a later date.

Over the rest of the week I'll be posting up battle reports from my three games to try and explain how I managed to pull off such an unlikely result! I'll also have a brief look at the painting competition (I didn't get chance to take many photos!) and finally talk about what's going to change for Blog Wars 4.

Once again there was a nice mix of veterans and new players (both in terms of Blog Wars and tournaments in general). It's a shame that some of the usual suspects couldn't make it this time around but there's always BW4!

Finally, once again, I'd like to thank everyone that attended this time around. Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves and there were some fantastic games. Sadly all of my games took a while to play so I didn't get much chance to wander around. I hope I'll see everyone again at Blog Wars 4. The next tournament for me is the GW 40K Doubles with Matt at WHW at the end of the month. We're hoping to squeeze in a doubles practice game against the lads from Sons so stay tuned for a report of that.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...