Saturday, August 25, 2012

6th Edition Concepts - Characters and Challenges

The more you play 6th edition the more you realise that, whilst the core rules are essentially the same, the seemingly subtle changes will actually make a big difference to how the game plays. For example, the combat mechanics are pretty similar once you get past Overwatch and Random Charges. However, one siginificant difference is the Challenges mechanic which can have dramatic effects on the outcome of a game. Let's have a look at an example first.

Mephiston was undoubtedly a combat beast in 5th edition 40K but can he still cut it? In 5th edition if Mephiston charged a unit it was probably only ever going to go one way and he'd be free to do the same to another unit in the next turn. However, in 6th edition that unit could use characters to it's advantage. Let's say for example that it was a squad of 8 grey hunters with a wolf guard led by a rune priest. Now in the past Mephiston has cut down a lot of the squad but I've sometimes been lucky enough to finish him off with the power fist and wulfen. If I don't get lucky, chances are after a couple of rounds of combat Mephiston will emerge triumphant (if a little battered) and look for his next target.

In 6th edition the Space Wolf player can hold Mephiston up quite a bit with challenges. Assuming Mephiston doesn't make any challenges (which he might do to ensure the rune priest dies) the Space Wolf player would challenge with the Wolf Guard. This means all of Mephistons 7 attacks can only kill a single marine. Granted Mephiston is unscathed but he's still pretty impotent. In the next phase the Space Wolf player challenges with the rune priest who again dies. Finally, Mephiston is allowed to let rip on the remaining grey hunters who have sat and watched for the first two phases. Mephiston's six attacks aren't going to kill them all off and maybe the wulfen gets a couple of lucking rending hits and scores a couple of wounds. Chances are you lose the combat and stay locked because he's going to catch you. Finally in a 4th combat phase Mephiston finishes the job and moves on.

In this way you've held a deadly combat unit up for 2 complete turns (4 player turns). That's quite a big chunk of the game and he's probably only just killed his points back by the end of turn 3. In 5th edition he'd have probably only taken 2 player turns to do the same and be looking for another target in game turn 3. On the flip side if you didn't challenge at all it may have been possible to keep the power fist alive long enough to hurt him a bit but really you're going to struggle especially when any 6s to hit for Mephiston are going to go on either the power fist or the wulfen.

I didn't really intend for that example to take so long but the point is that single model units now really struggle to be effective in combat because of challenges. There's a lot to think about when deciding to issue a challenge or not though. If you're the only controllling that single model unit do you challenge any characters that are a threat and hopefully finish off his squad in the second phase leaving you free again in your turn? Do you let your opponent decide whether to challenge or not and if he doesn't, punish the mistake?

I can't say I've really worked out what the best approach is with challenges. It's partly why I've written this post to try and get things straight in my head. With Slay the Warlord as a secondary objective challenges are a good way of claiming a VP too. It's easy to slam into combat and forget all about them though if you've still got your 5th edition head on.

I have to say I'm not a huge fan of the mechanic but I think that's probably because most of us are still playing 6th edition with 5th edition lists. There's been a lot of debate about wolf guard for example and how to design them for challenges. High initiative is going to be pretty important here too. Thinking about my darl eldar wyches the hekatrix with an agoniser could feasibly kill off a soft 2 wound 3+ save character before they strike but would struggle against 2+ armour. As players we need to look again at every part of our army lists and really think about how each unit performs in the new rules.

I for one am interested to see how the game of 40K evolves as people actually start remembering to play all of the rules in 6th edition rather than still trying to play 5th. These are certainly interesting times for our hobby.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Space Wolves in 6th Edition - Thunderwolf Cavalry

In my last post I talked about tanking in 40K i.e. using 2+ save models at the front of units to soak up damage. In this discussion I briefly touched on thunderwolves as an example. In this post I thought I'd take a look at thunderwolves in a bit more depth to study how they've changed in 6th edition.

As regular readers will know I'm a bit fan of thunderwolves. There's no doubting they aren't as reliable as wave after wave of grey hunters but they're certainly more fun. In my experience of them in 5th edition they were either totally devastating or else a damp squib. The games where they devastated my opponents were some of my favourite 5th edition battles.

Let's have a quick look at what's changed in 6th edition then. The most noticeable change as far as TWC are concerned is the new rules for cavalry. The main problem I had with TWC in 5th was getting them to my opponents lines relatively unscathed. They had a massive charge range but with only 6" move followed by D6" run it wasn't too difficult to keep away from them. In 6th edition they can now move 12" and still run D6" (but not charge).

This is a big deal, in early turns they can now move 6" further than before. Now granted they can't necessarily charge as far but with Fleet re-rolls they should be getting 9" or so most of the time (I'm sure someone will mathammer this at some point). These guys aren't slowed by difficult either when moving or charging and thanks to difficult terrain allowing a save it really isn't an issue any more. Obviously their threat range is still 19-24" as before but covering more ground in the movement phase is better than charging further in my opinion.

The other bonus that Cavalry have gained from 6th edition is Hammer of Wrath. Not only is this a cool name but getting an automatic S5 hit for each thunderwolf at I10 is pretty nice particularly against units with I6 or better. TWC already have a sickening number of attacks anyway! A standard 50pt model now puts out 7 attacks on the charge!

In 5th edition it was important to equip each model differently to make the most of wound allocation. This is no longer necessary in 6th. This means no more 5pts wasted on melta bombs! As I discussed in the tanking post, wound allocation can still be achieved with LOS rolls on a wolf lord.

Here's how I'll be using my TWC in 6th:

Wolf Lord w/ Thunderwolf mount, wolf claw, storm shield, runic armour and Saga of the Bear
4 Thunderwolf cavalry (1 storm shield, 1 fist)

Coming in at 505pts it's hardly a cheap unit but with the runic armour tank it should be pretty resilient. As in 5th edition this unit will be a huge distraction for your opponents. The other advantage here is that the power fist model can't be challenged like the wolf guard in a grey hunter pack (more on that later). This unit puts out 33 attacks on the charge, 5 of which will hit automatically at I10. There aren't many units that can stand up to that.

However, in 5th edition I'd have had no concerns about charging terminators with my TWC. In 6th I'd certainly think twice. Whilst Rending as remained at AP2 my Thunderlord is now AP3 and therefore can't think out the terminators at I5 before they strike. The terminators on the other hand can still hurt my wolves with lightning claws and hammers alike. I recently took them against Scott's BA and bounced off a hammer/shield unit of terminators having failed to kill any of them!

Overall though I think the TWC have been boosted by 6th edition. They're a lot more reliable than before and with the thunderlord as a tank they're tougher too. I hope we see more of them in tournaments but I suspect that as before they'll be ditched because of their high points cost and WG terminators will be taken instead.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

6th Edition Concepts - Tanks

Let's clear something up straight away. In this case when I say "tank" I don't mean your rhinos, hammerheads, predators etc. Instead I'm talking about a video-gaming concept from MMORPGs. For those of you not familiar with this concept the idea is that someone builds their character so that it's primary function is to soak up damage from enemies to protect other units. Though they might not have much offensive ability they can free up points so that other units can spend them on offensive capability.

So how does this apply to 40K? Well before 6th edition it didn't. However, the 6th edition rules have changed wound allocation in such a way as this is now possible. Couple in the "Look Out Sir" rules and there's your tank. The units that will benefit most from this are those static gun-line portions of your army.

Let's take a look at long fangs for example. The standard unit consists of 4-5 missile launcher guys and a squad leader. In 5th edition most people applied wounds to the pack leader first so that there was no loss of offensive capability. Losing split fire isn't too much of a problem so it was a reasonable sacrifice. This is still possible in 6th edition by putting the pack leader at the front. However, with save groups it won't be long before you're losing those precious missile launchers.

This is where wolf guard can save the day. For a basic cost of 33pts you can get a wolf guard with terminator armour and attach him to the long fang pack. Since his save is different you have to assign all the wounds to him until he fails one. After that you apply them to the long fangs as normal. This means that you could theoretically take AP3 hits that would've killed long fangs and prevent them from being touched at all. We all know from experience that terminator saves seem to go one of two ways. Either you seem to pass them all day long or you fail them in record numbers. Obviously, statistically you should be failing 1/6 but sometimes it seems a lot better or a lot worse!

This idea alone would allow you to keep your long fangs alive longer but if we throw in LOS saves we can really keep the "tank" going. Since Wolf Guard count as Characters, for every roll of 1 you make you can apply it to another model on a 4+. This is where the pack leader steps in. Obviously this will kill him off but you'll have maintained your tank. Once he's gone you've then got to make a decision about whether you want to keep the tank alive or sacrifice a missile guy for it. This decision becomes a lot easier if your Wolf Guard has a cyclone launcher. Obviously you're going to sacrifice a power armoured single shot missile to keep a double shot terminator alive.

In theory you could apply this concept to gun-line grey hunters. By taking the full 10 with two plasma guns and a wolf guard in terminator armour (with a claw perhaps?) you can sit them on an objective and keep taking 2+ saves on the terminator while he shoots his storm bolter along with the rest of the boys.

Let's look at another Space Wolves unit, Thunderwolf Cavalry. The problem with this unit in 6th edition is that you can no longer allocate wounds in such a way as to keep the maximum number of models alive before you start removing them. By taking a thunderlord we can play the tanking game with these guys too and with LOS we can do wound allocation again. By spending 20 points to give the lord Runic Armour and hence a 2+ save (don't forget the 5++ to psychic too) we can keep them safe from AP3 shooting. If you fail a save you can still LOS it but because the lord is an Independent Character it's 2+ instead of 4+ to re-allocate the wound. This means we can start to apply a single wound to each of the rest of the squad like we used to and keep the whole unit alive as long as possible.

There are two problems with this strategy. Firstly it relies on the 2+ model being at the front. Whilst this is easy with long fangs who are mostly going to sit at the back it's a lot harder with the TWC as once they're towards the centre of the field it's tricky to keep the lord to the front when you take all the angles of fire into account. Secondly this idea falls down once you hit combat. Whilst you can still do it to an extent it's not as easy as it is with shooting.

I hope this concept makes sense to people and I've not been to patronising along the way! I've got a few posts like this that I want to put up. The 6th edition ruleset hasn't made too many huge changes but the subtle ones force you to rethink the way you play.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Blog Wars 4 - Sat 1st Dec 2012 - Tickets on Sale now!

After several emails to Maelstrom I've finally managed to agree a date for Blog Wars 4. It will be held at Maelstrom on Saturday December 1st 2012. I appreciate this is a lot later than originally planned but hopefully people will still be able to make it.

The original date was going to be in October but happened to fall on my friends stag do and I could hardly tell him to reschedule just for me! The next date available was the same guy's wedding! This meant the only date left in 2012 was December 1st so that's what we're going with. Maelstrom's events calendar fills up pretty quickly so I've actually booked the dates for BW5 & BW6 in 2013! Here's the dates for the next three Blog Wars tournaments:

Blog Wars 4 - Saturday 1st December 2012
Blog Wars 5 - Saturday 22nd June 2013
Blog Wars 6 - Saturday 19th October 2013

Now, like me, you probably don't plan that far ahead but these dates should stay the same so I figured there was no harm in letting you guys know. I'm going to update the BW4 post accordingly. I imagine for most people it will be their last tournament of 2012 and I can't think of a better way to end the year (though I would say that!).

As I've mentioned BW4 will attemped to embrace 6th edition as much as possible. Allies, Fortifications and Flyers are all in. Whilst I may live to regret these decisions I think it's best to give them a go and then figure out any problems so that BW5 & 6 will be better. For more information on Blog Wars 4 please head over to the dedicated page here. A copy of that information can be found here whilst descriptions of the scenarios are here.

For those of you not familiar with Blog Wars it's a 3 game tournament for £15 with the only restriction being that your army MUST include a special character. The first 3 tournaments were great fun and I think I managed to achieve a friendly atmosphere with a fairly competitive tournament. If nothing else it's a great opportunity for experienced players to try out lists they wouldn't normally take and for tournament newcomers to pop their cherry in a friendly environment!

Tickets are on sale now and are staying at £15 despite increasing costs. Please use the link on the right to buy tickets and if you want multiples either faff with several transactions or email me and we can make it simpler!

I look forward to seeing you all there and I hope some of the people who couldn't make the old date can now attend!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Dark Eldar in 6th - Reaver Jetbikes

Having played a fair few games in 6th edition now (and most of them with my Dark Eldar). I'm pretty pleased with the way they've turned out. Some things are crappy sure but on the whole I think they got better. The most noticable case of this is with Reavers, allow me to explain why they're my new favourite thing in 6th.

One thing I've only recently realised is that provided they move the reavers now have a permanent 4+ cover save thanks to a combination of Jink and Skilled Rider. As I've previously mentioned this is boosted to 3+ when Turbo Boosting. Having used their Bladevanes a lot in the new edition I find the 12" then 36" move to be pretty brutal. The problem with Bladevanes in 5th was that it nearly always left your Reavers exposed. The 12" positioning move means you can get a better angle and keep your distance. In later turns the move allows you to zip along the back of your opponents line and then turbo-boost back to the safety of your deployment zone.

As in 5th, I find it difficult to get these guys a pain token sometimes. Larger squads can put out a lot more bladevane attacks which means a better chance of wiping out a squad for that pain token. However, another use of that 12" positioning move is to attempt to "snipe". With wound allocation from the closest model to their start position you can now get round the back of units and pick off models that were trying to hide at the rear. Doing this to an independent character is a good way of getting them a pain token and keeping them alive in the subsequent turn. It takes a bit of practice and planning but the advantage is that it gives your opponent a lot to think about when deploying and moving his units.

Now potentially you could give them some Cluster Caltrops to boost their effectiveness when sweeping but frankly they're just too expensive. It's very easy to get your reavers into a tight spot and then that's 40 extra points down the pan on a 6-man unit. On the other hand, I think it's reasonable to give the squad a couple of heat lances. If you find yourself near a vehicle you can usually make a mess of it with the lances then charge the occupants. Reavers aren't stunning in combat mind you with only a 5+ save (plus FNP perhaps) but they do get a reasonable number of attacks and with decent combat drugs (or Furious Charge from pain) they can make short work of T3 units and maybe smaller MEQ units.

Of course, most of the time you're better keeping them turbo-boosting as long as possible. Later on the game they can either be contesting objectives. In the late turns they can use their move/boost to bladevane controlling units whilst still staying in range to contest. In the Scouring mission they can also score of course.

If nothing else they're a unit that is constantly in your opponent's face that he'll find it difficult to ignore. Bear in mind though that early on in the game they might be the only unit that he can shoot (especially in Night Fighting) so it's sometimes wiser to keep them back.

With out a doubt their main weakness is to template weapons. Even the humble flamer can wipe out a squad with lucky rolls. Against some armies it's pretty easy to keep them clear of flamers but some builds are packed with them. Let's face it though, the entire DE army is vulnerable to template weapons so this should hardly come as a shock. In general the reavers' incredible speed should mean you can keep them at a distance as long as possible. With pre-measuring it should be easy to keep them above 18" away and therefore clear of rapid firing and templates.

My standard load-out for these guys is a straightforward 6-man unit with 2 lances coming in at 156pts. It's pretty easy to get a couple of these in 1750/1850 point lists. They can then either take a flank each (minimising the fire on a squad) or stick together to double sweep units for maximum effect.

Since I'm hopefully taking my Dark Eldar to the doubles in early September I'm going to try and get the reavers fully painted for it.

Monday, August 06, 2012

News about Blog Wars 4 incl. Change of Date

I'm sorry this has been a long time coming but what with post grad work, interviews and getting in as much 6th edition as possible I'm only just getting round to it.

The first and most important thing to say is that Blog Wars 4 will NOT be on October 14th as previously advertised. Unfortunately a good friend of mine has decided to have his stag do that weekend (inconsiderate I know) and therefore I won't be getting back until later on the Sunday. I'm extremely sorry if this causes anyone any inconvenience since I know some of you have to reserve your tournament days with the wife etc early on! I'm currently trying to get in touch with Maelstrom to reschedule and my preference would be either  3rd or 4th November (depending upon availability). As soon as Tim gets back to me I'll post it up on here so people can plan. At that point I'll also release tickets.

The rest of this post will outline the plans for Blog Wars 4. I'm trying to include as much 6th edition stuff as possible. There's a lot to cover so this will be a long post, please bear with me. The BW4 page will be updated to reflect all this. If anyone has strong objections or otherwise suggestions for improvements then by all means get in touch.

Ticket Price and Prizes
Unfortunately Maelstrom has increased the cost of catering ever so slightly and it now comes in at £8 per person. As I've previously mentioned I'm going to be restructuring the prize system so that there are more prizes available and less incentive to just bring a WAAC list and take the top prize. Here's what I propose:

1st Place: £25 Maelstrom Voucher
2nd Place: £15 Maelstrom Voucher
3rd Place: £10 Maelstrom Voucher 
Last Place: £5 Maelstrom Voucher & Wooden Spoon
Best Painted Army: £15 Maelstrom Voucher 
Best Painted Special Character: £10 Maelstrom Voucher 

Bear in mind we'll be getting a 15% discount in the shop (or potentially more if they have an offer on) so, for example, the first prize is actually £29.41. I think these are still pretty reasonable prizes. I appreciate it's a big drop from the previous prize structure but with more spare cash to give out either spot or door prizes I think it'll make more people happy. With this structure the ticket price can remain at £15 (which has to be a good thing) and if we get 20 people to attend that's a total prize pot of £140 (after food) and therefore £60 left over for spot/door prizes. Obviously every extra person over the 20 mark gives us another £7 onto that fund and again I'd like to try and run a raffle.

I'd really like to know what you guys think on this as I'm open to suggestions for improving it.

The Scenarios
By November, 6th edition will have been out around 4 months. Whilst for most of us this means we'll be pretty used to it I appreciate that some people don't game as much as I do. Therefore I think the scenarios need to be pretty straight forward to make it easier for people who are still trying to learn the rules. Here's what I'm planning for the missions.

Game 1 - Vanguard deployment (diagonal) with the Crusade mission (5 objectives) (#1 in the rulebook)
In this mission the Special Character counts as scoring

Game 2 - Hammer & Anvil deployment (end to end) with Relic mission (#6 in the rulebook)
In this mission the Special Character counts as scoring

Game 3 - Dawn of War deployment (6th ed, side to side) wth Purge the Alien mission (#2 in the rulebook)
In this mission the Special Character is worth +1VP e.g. if he's the Warlord he's worth 3VP.

I had several more complicated ideas for how the SCs would work but I think it's better to keep things simple to avoid confusion. I appreciate a roll of "6" on the Personal Traits chart makes a Warlord scoring anyway but if that's the result then people can re-roll it.

This means we'll play all three deployment types from the rulebook giving people a chance to learn them. The missions are chosen because they don't benefit a particular army too much. Big Guns Never Tire and the Scouring are great but it forces people to take more FA and HS choices. The Emperor's Will is just C&C from 5th and frankly isn't very exciting.

I'll put up a link to the official scenario descriptions on the BW4 page as soon as I can.

Mission Special Rules
As stated in the mission descriptions, each mission has Primary Objectives and Secondary Objective. All of these will be in effect but as ever I'll also be taking down VPs (5th edition style) to minimise clashes. The scoring structure will be the same as at BW3 with "degree of victory" based tournament points.

Each mission has Night Fighting, Mysterious Objectives and Reserves as described in the rulebook. I know some tournaments aren't doing the Mysterious Objectives but personally I think they're part of 6th so they should be in and they only affect the first game anyway.

There's been some debate online about whether TOs, such as myself, should allow players to deploy terrain as in the rulebook. For the first Blog Wars of 6th edition the TERRAIN WILL BE FIXED. This is for two reasons, a) it prevents people from arguing over placement and b) it prevents damage to Maelstrom's scenery. This is still allowed for by the rulebook as "Narrative Terrain" instead of "Alternating Terrain" deployment.

However, unlike other tournaments I plan on classifying the terrain beforehand. This will mean that there are no debates about if this is a building or a ruin or whatever. I'll use common sense though, if it looks like a barricade that's what it'll be. Each table will have it's own terrain guide to classify the terrain and how it should be played. There will be some Mysterious Terrain and I expect people to play it that way. It's part of 6th edition so get used to it! I appreciate that some people will find this a bit restrictive but ultimately it saves time and gets games going quicker.

In addition, something that worked well at Summer Skirmish was the Archeotech Horde rule that Tim had us play. Basically all ruins have the chance to roll on the Archeotech Artefacts table. The first time a player triggers the terrain i.e. move within 2" of it you roll a D6. If the score is "1" then you roll 2D6 and consult the Archeotech chart.

Again I'd like to know what people think of these things.

Army Selection
I don't know about you guys but I'm finding that games of 6th edition are actually a fair bit quicker than 5th once you get the hang of it. Not having to faff about assigning wounds is probably the main reason. However, starting a game takes a little longer thanks to the Warlord Traits and random Psychic stuff. Therefore I'm going to increase the points limit to 1,850 which should still be easy to finish in the 2.5 hour slots and allow a little more room for those more expensive SCs. As with the previous 3 tournaments, you must take at least one Special Character in your army (though this doesn't have to be an HQ).

With regards to the new units, both flyers and fortifications may be taken in every army. I'm sure you've found as we have that neither is as all conquering as people thought at first. The reason for allowing forts is because for some armies that's their only access to Skyfire weaponry. Now I'm tempted to say that only Defense Lines and Bastions are allowed but I think if you really want to bring a Fortress of Redemption and pay out around 250pts for it then by all means go for it. However, the following restriction applies, no fortification can be placed within 6" of any table edge. This prevents people from using their FoR to cut off one corner of the board. On tables where there isn't room to place a fort, existing terrain from within the player's deployment zone can be removed to make space. This must be put back as close to it's original position at the end of the game though.

I appreciate that forts are meant to be placed before other terrain but I think this will make game setup take too long. If anyone has a solution then I'm all ears.

Against my better judgement I think Allies should be allowed. I'm not a fan of them as I think they allow people to pick and choose to much but they're part of 6th so I suppose I should get use to it. Your Warlord must come from the Primary Detachment though as must the SC acting as "Commander".

6th Edition Rules Queries
Now is the time to ask me for rulings about any ambiguous rules in the 6th edition book. I understand that there'll be new FAQs pretty soon and obviously any changes they make will be in effect at BW4. However, if you want to know if unit "x" is allowed or how unit "y" now functions then please get in touch now rather than having to sort it on the day.

Similarly, if you want to clarify what counts as an SC or if your models are acceptable in terms of "counts as" then let me know asap.

I'm hoping that Blog Wars 4 will be just as much fun as the first three were. There's no reason it shouldn't be and I hope with the new prize structure people will be less likely to bring something nasty just to take first prize (looking at you Humphris!). Now, obviously I'm aware it's still a tournament so people want to win but hopefully players will still enter into the spirit and bring something themed around an SC.

The aim with Blog Wars 4 is to incorporate as much 6th edition stuff as possible to find out what does and doesn't work. It's very easy to say "fortifications shouldn't be allowed" but until they've been tested on the tournament scene I don't think a proper decision can be made. Blog Wars 5 will therefore hopefully be better for having tested so many 6th edition things in BW4.

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Summer Skirmish 2012 Tournament Report

For those of you who don't know, the Summer Skirmish is run by Tim King from the Scottish ETC team who's now the Events Manager at Maelstrom. Last year's event was a great laugh and a totally different experience from the rest of the tournament scene. This is largely down to the fact that over 1.5 days you play 13 games!! That might sound a lot but not when you consider it's 500pt combat patrols. I took DE to last year's event and learnt a lot. This year was no exception and I took the following:

500pts of Dark Eldar
10 Kabalite Warriors (Blaster, Splinter Cannon, Sybarite)
8 Reavers (2 Heat Lances)
Razorwing Jetfighter (4 Shatterfield Missiles, Splinter Cannon)

Now I'm not going to pretend this is an amazing list but it is fun! Basically I wanted to bring a flyer along to see how they fared and because some armies there simply couldn't deal with them. The reavers are fantastic in 6th edition and the kabalites are frankly only there because you have to take 1 troop!

The format is pretty simple. Players are randomly assigned to pools of 4 and play all three opponents. Players are then ranked and play in another group of 4. On the Sunday we then play another 3 games followed by a battle to determine the ultimate standings e.g. playing off for 3rd/4th place. All games are Pitched Battle (now Dawn of War) and based on 5th edition style VPs. Simple stuff, kill more of your opponents guys than he kills of yours!

Game One - Craig (Space Marines)
The first game was against a straightforward marine list containing a tactical squad with plasma cannon, 10-man devastator squad with missiles and a squad of scouts with a heavy bolter. I managed to get first turn but unfortunately Craig "Seized" and my reavers were quickly thinned out in number. I still blasted them forward in my turn but they were then in a poor position and got shot to pieces. The kabalites basically sat in cover having a few shots at the devs but slowly losing numbers due to the weight of fire.

At this point the razorwing showed up landing two pie plates on the devs and hitting with the dark lances. This killed 4 of them and was enough to make them flee the table. The scouts were gunned down in the next turn and suddenly it was looking bad for my opponent. The tactical squad couldn't hurt the razorwing so I hid the kabalites, giving me the win. 315 v 243 VPs.

Game Two - Chris Swaine (Wolves)
Sadly in this game my flier didn't show up until turn 4! However when it did it killed off an entire grey hunter pack with rune priest (with help from the Kabalites). Late on the reavers tried to bladevane the long fangs with the last two guys passing 6 saves to survive. However, the long fangs tried to charge the reavers and lost a model to overwatch resulting in them running from the board! The flyer helped finish off a smaller pack of grey hunters and then with the final shot of the game managed to kill the rhino too. Two wins then. 500 v 100 VPs

Game Three - Dave (Wolves)
The kabalites managed to gun down the lone wolf early on for a pain token but were then fragged to death by the long fangs despite their FNP and cover. The flyer was decidedly underwhelming in this game as it came on and only killed a couple of marines. The reavers who'd turbo-boosted into position in turn 1 managed to kill a few marines with bladevanes. Sadly they then lost a couple of their number to the grey hunters and failed their morale test. They were quick to regroup though and went on to help the flyer kill off more grey hunters. With the flyer forced to fly off the board in the next turn the reavers were forced to hide to prevent me being tabled thanks to the new rules for reserves in 6th. Luckily the rune priest killed himself trying to use living lightning on them (having already suffered a wound) and I passed their cover saves. The last remaining grey hunter was finished off by the flyer and we finished for lunch with me sitting pretty on 3/3 wins 350 vs 237 and onto the top tables.

Game Four - Scott (DE)
In one of the quickest games of 40K I've ever played Scott's 3 venoms and ravager went first and spent two turns gunning down all the reavers and kabalites and preventing me from even rolling to see if my flyer arrived! Tabling me in about 10 minutes 0 vs 500 VPs. Can't say I thought it would end any other way though!

Game Five - Chris (Necrons)
This was a very straightforward necron list consisting of 6 wraiths and 10 warriors in a ghost ark. Having previously scoffed at ghost arks in 5th edition I have to say the thing was ridiculous. Now obviously I don't think it was a good call to allow AV13 Necron vehicles at this points level (other races were limited to 34 total AV across FSR) but still with 4 HP and all that gauss they're pretty good now.

The reavers attempted to inflict heavy casualties to the wraiths to distract them from assaulting the kabalites but sadly didn't do enough and died to the revenge charge. The kabalites were eventually gunned down by the ghost ark and it's occupants and with my razorwing's dark lances missing completely I was left running from the ark without being able to hover to get a shot on it, narrowly surviving with 1HP left! 125 vs 412 VPs.

Game Six - Tom (IG)
I was relieved when I got first turn against the volume of fire that Tom's army could throw at me. I was less happy to see him roll a 6 to Seize! The reavers were pinned by mortars and the kabalites lost 3 of their number. The blaster kabalite was able to stun the chimera and strip a hull point but in the following turn another 5 kabalites died. The reavers swept over the guard but sadly landed behind the chimera full off flamer vets and you can imaging the results! With Tom's vendetta having arrived in turn 2 I was pleased when my razorwing showed up, right up until it missed with both dark lances! This was the start of some awful luck which saw me lose the razorwing to the vendetta with help from some jammy autocannons. The kabalites were swiftly dispatched and I was now 3 wins and 3 losses having been tabled 143 vs 500 and back down to mid-table mediocrity where I belong!

Saturday Evening Doubles
With less numbers than Tim wanted (such a shame when it's a great event), Tim decided to run a mini doubles tournament with random pairings. I was pretty pleased to see I'd been paired with Graham White with his guard and their vendetta and hydra. Sadly in our first game against wolves/necrons we didn't get my razorwing until turn 3 and the vendetta until turn 4 after my whole army had already died! 

We then played orks/IG controlled by Tim on his own (to make up numbers) and cruised to a fairly straightforward victory that was largely down to Tim throwing the list together last minute with the models available in the shop! It also helped that my razorwing came on and downed both his hydra and chimera with some well placed large blasts on side armour!

Although we won the final game we'd have done better if the vendetta hadn't taken so long to deal with that pesky ghost ark. Graham scored 3 hits when it first arrived but failed to even glance with any of the shots! Still we put in a good showing despite spending most of the games with 300 points less on the table than our opponents until our flyers showed up!

Game 7 - Graham White (IG)
On Sunday morning my doubles partner turned on me and with his vendetta and hydra I knew how it was going to end! It didn't help that he took first turn either! The reavers hid behind a building whilst the kabalites took some casualties. The reavers killed off 6 guardsmen with their bladevanes but the IG held their nerve. The kabalites were in scenery that required them to pass an Ld test to shoot or attempt to move out of it. Sadly their rolled a double 6 and couldn't shoot for that turn!

The reavers lost 6 of their 8 (including the heat lances) and their nerve broke. The flyer came on and again missed a vendetta (they're bloody big enough!). The kabalites finished off all but one guardsman from the footslogging squad who proceeded to run from the board. The hydra stripped 2 HP from the razorwing which responded by taking 2 HP from the chimera but despite hitting with both missiles on side armour it couldn't score a third and final HP to wreck it. The hydra made it pay by blowing it out of the sky and the vendetta and guardsmen from the chimera mopped up the rest of my army leaving me tabled 143 vs 500.

Game 8 - Graham Sanders (Eldar)
It wouldn't be a proper tournament if I didn't play Graham Sanders from Claws and Fists/Rogue Trader blogs. Graham was sporting Eldar featuring 5 pathfinders, 5 dark reapers and a wave serpent with fire dragons. Using those broken C&F dice he managed to seize first turn but to my joy we ended up with Night Fighting in the first turn boosting my kabalites' cover save and keeping all but 1 of them from dying. Sadly the pathfinders had a 2+ cover save and my reavers/kabalites could only kill one of them too. The reavers lost half their number but still went after the dark reapers. I decided to try to charge them but fell short and lost one to overwatch resulting in me losing my nerve and running! The razorwing faired better though coming on and blowing up the wave serpent with it's dark lances and the kabalites were quick to kill off the fire dragons inside. The reavers didn't regroup and were lucky to stay on the board.

The flyer finished off the dark reapers before making a sharp turn to stay on the board! The reavers eventually regrouped in time to charge the pathfinders and finish them off with Hammer of Wrath attacks. 500 vs 100.

Game 9 - Andy Lane (SM)
Another Claws and Fists guy and good mate, Andy had brought Space Marines. Things didn't start well with Andy Seizing (with those broken C&F dice) and when he found himself in an iceblood lake my reavers could only kill a single sternguard vet with their bladevanes before being gunned down. The kabalites were heavily thinned out and when my flyer failed to show up on turn 2 I feared I was in for a tabling! Luckily for me the remaining 3 kabalites were disgustingly lucky. The thunderfire cannon operated by a guardsman (penalty for bringing a 2+ save techmarine against the rules) missed the mark with most of it's shots and only killed a single warrior. The remaining two went to ground to save them from the tactical squad and somehow the Sybarite held on long enough to give me a turn 3 and a chance to get my flyer on!

The flyer wasn't spectacular though and failed to kill off the thunderfire before being forced to make sharp turns to stay on the board. Luckily Andy didn't manage to do anything to it so it prevented me being tabled even though it couldn't get an angle to do anything. 98-325.

Game 10 - Graham Sanders (Eldar)
Having joked that I was normally near the bottom playing Graham by the end of a tournament I was pleased to see history repeating itself. The game wasn't all that disimilar to our first encounter. The flyer came on and immobilised the wave serpent and blew off it's turret meaning I could ignore it. The troops died quickly to successive bladevanes and shooting/assaults from the kabalites but not before taking half the reavers to repeat the 500 vs 100 scoreline!

I finished pretty much exactly where I expected to with that list, slightly below mid table! I knew that some armies simply couldn't deal with the flyer but when 175/500 points is off the board for a couple of turns you're really helping your opponent not to mention 4'x4' doesn't give you much space to maneouvre a flyer! However, it did put in some spectacular performances (and some less so) and I can see me using it in my larger Dark Eldar armies, particularly in the early days of very little skyfire!

Reavers are simply awesome. Their bladevanes are even better now with the 12" positioning move and then 36" turbo-boost in the shooting phase. They can cover a massive chunk of the board. Add in the 3++ save when they do so and ignoring Dangerous Terrain thanks to Skilled Rider and they're excellent. Yes they're still weak to flamers but if you can get them a pain token they become pretty resilient. In some games I should've made more use of their heat lances but this makes them very vulnerable and they're normally better to be turbo-boosting to stay alive, particularly in 500pt games! Again the small board was an issue as they couldn't get far enough away from the target unit to keep them safe from reprisals. They're still going to feature heavily in my lists though. The main thing to take away from this weekend was the finesse required to use them effectively. It's tempting to bladevane something asap but sometimes it's better to do a positioning turbo-boost in turn 1 and wait until your opponent is a bit more spread out before striking in turn 2.

The kabalites were decent but a little too static. Some armies had to come towards me which meant they did well but they can't really afford to break cover so end up sitting there hoping something will come closer whilst popping off 6 splinter cannon shots. Rapid Fire changes have certainly made them better but I think I've been too quick to write off wyches.

All in all it was a brilliant weekend and the small numbers made it a really friendly atmosphere. I'm surprised more people didn't turn up (there were 32 last time compared to 14 this weekend) because it's a fantastic even and presents a great opportunity to test out army ideas and 6th edition rules in a zero pressure environment. Hopefully next year's event will be more popular!


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