Saturday, March 30, 2013

Tau Advanced Orders on GW Site - FOC Slots

We already knew they were coming but now GW has finally announced them. The new Tau models are available for pre-order on the GW website. The riptide looks awesome and the flyer is growing on me but I just can't get on with the new commander model. He looks too scrawny and flimsy somehow. I can see what they were aiming for with him but I just don't think they've pulled it off. I'll be sticking to conversions from the standard XV8 kit I think.

Here's the FOC breakdown as it appears on the GW site. Bear in mind they sometimes get it wrong before release and that this doesn't take into account things that can move slots.

XV8 commander + bodyguard XV8s
Cadre Fireblade

Crisis suits
Stealth suits (XV25 and XV15?!?)

Fire warriors (with devilfish)
Kroot (hounds, ox, shaper)

Fast Attack
Sun Shark Bomber
Razorshark Strike Fighter
Gun Drone Squadrons
Vespid Stingwings

Hammerheads (with longstrike)
Sky rays
Sniper Drone Teams

The HQ options will be interesting. obviously Shadowsun/Farsight are essentially unique commanders but the question is how does Darkstrider and the Cadre Fireblade come into it? I was hoping they'd be upgrades for their respective squads (Pathfinders and FWs) but it seems they're an HQ choice instead. Perhaps the fireblades will be like a Necron court/wolf guard/sanguinary priests where you can take several and split them. Alternatively they could be like the DA techmarine in that he doesn't really use and FOC slot. Also in here are the Ethereals and Aun'va is still around. I'm interested to see what these guys can do because they'll likely be cheaper than a normal commander. That's assuming of course that they get rid of the 1+ on the commanders but I'm sure they will.

Elites aren't packed with options but all three would be nice to have. Depends on what they do with stealth suits. I don't currently own any as they were so useless in 5th but it's interesting that you can still buy XV15 and XV25 variants. Perhaps they'll be doing something whereby the XV25 is an upgrade. Otherwise it's presumably going to be a riptide and a couple of crisis teams. I'm hoping there'll be some FOC movements so that crisis/stealth suits can become troops with Farsight/Shadowsun perhaps.

Troops remain the same as they were before. As I say, the question is rather what will be able to move into the Troops section. So far GW have been keeping this mechanic alive in their new codexes so I'd be surprised if they didn't will Tau. It's a shame kroot don't seem to have gotten any more options though.

Fast attack is the most obviously crowded section of the chart. I can't imagine there'll be room for more than one of the flyers in a sub 2,000 pts list but depending on what they do with the other Fast Attack units it could be really tricky to spend the points here. Gun drone squadrons could be interesting now if you can take some of the other drone types with them and piranhas are a bit of an unknown quantity at the moment. I suspect they'll stay pretty similar though. Hopefully Vespids will be more useful too. It's going to be tricky to choose I think.

Heavy support is always going to be a struggle between broadsides and hammerheads. Even with Longstrike they're going to have to do something special with the Hammerhead to make me take one over my broadsides. I'd be easily tempted into a skyray though since I've always liked the model. Sniper drone teams are still here but I'd be surprised if I was persuaded to buy any. They're still going to be too low a model count to be very useful and just can't compete with the other Heavy choices.

So there you have it. I'm sure Faeit212 will be bringing us someone who's got the codex pretty soon but its at this stage that I try to avoid listening to rumours as there's too much opportunity for people to make stuff up. If you look back at the rumours before the last couple of books you can see that some of it is plain made up and others are just people mis-reading the book. Only a week to go!!

Friday, March 29, 2013

More Tau Rumour Reactions & Analysis

With White Dwarf 400 out tomorrow we're now seeing pretty much all the pages about the new Tau units. I'm intrigued to read the battle report more than anything though as that's the most likely place to find rules snippets. Very little about the new release is bad so far. The prices are somewhat ridiculous but it's GW and I think we're used to it by now. Anyway, here's a few of my reactions to the rumours so far. There's a lot of assumptions here so don't for a second think I have any insider information. Even so I hope you find it interesting to read.

I've already talked about these briefly. The new models aren't especially pleasing on the eye but they are growing on me. What I'm hoping is that, given their size and the fact that they're clearly modelled around a devilfish hull, they'll be AV12. The only problem is that if they are then they're sure to be pretty pricey. If they're armed well enough that won't be an issue but perhaps they'd be better as AV11 and cheaper. What we're seeing about weapon loadouts is interesting so far though.

The bomber has a twin-linked missile pod, two drone fighters and the plasma bomb thingy. First off I think it's cool that the bomb thingy is the fire caste symbol. Assuming missile pods stay the same that's a two twin-linked BS3 S7 shots at enemy flyers which isn't bad actually. The fighters appear to be armed with twin-linked ion guns of some kind. I'm assuming these will be S6 since the cannon was S7 in the old book. All of the descriptions seem to talk about these as protection for the bomber. That to me means either they can shoot at enemy flyers or else act like ablative wounds for the bomber, either of which sounds good to me.

The fighter is described as being able to take on either ground or air targets. The burst cannon on the front can be replaced with a missile pod but this is presumably not twin-linked. It sports a couple of seeker missiles in hidden compartments (cool!) but we've no word yet on how they'll be fired as it doesn't appear to have markerlights. Finally, there's the quad ion thingy. Firstly it's able to rotate 360 which is a good start and will help it take on other flyers without needing to hover (assuming it can). Ion weapons can apparently overheat for more strength so maybe it'll be a decent anti-flyer gun. There's talk about thrusters (which I assume replace the drones of the bomber) which makes me suspect it will have Hover.

All in all they look promising. Hopefully Vetock won't screw them up like the DA ones. The key things really are armour values, weapon strengths and points cost. Those things in the wrong combination could cripple them before they even take off.

There isn't much new information from what we've already heard but from a modelling point of view it seems like they'll be extremely posable. The article talks about pinned joints for ease of assembly but with the ability to snip the pins off more more poses. Seems like a pretty good system as it plays to modellers of varying ability. The model itself is fecking huge. Looking at the size comparison chart and the shots of it surrounded by crisis suits, I'd say it's easily the biggest 40K model we've seen outside of FW.

It appears to occupy the Elites FOC slot which could be a blessing and a curse. It's good that it isn't Heavy as that's always been a bit crowded for Tau. Trouble is, it'll probably have to compete with Stealth and Crisis suits (assuming these can't be made into Troops somehow). That means to include more than one you'll likely be sacrificing core units.

Seems like it can fit all the support systems and secondary weapons that a crisis suit can. Assuming it's an MC and therefore able to fire two weapons it could be pretty devastating. Again, the effectiveness of this unit will come down to cost and weapon strength (although I suppose you could say that about anything!).

An extremely poor set of characters in the last book meant very few people ever fielded them. Farsight is back with a new model and it seems he still has his splinter faction. He may still have the issue of being a combat character in a shooty army but we'll have to see. There's little other mention of Shadowsun or Aun'va. Frankly Aun'va couldn't be made any worse but with little talk of Ethereals in general it's hard to know what direction they'll be taken in, bubble effects seem to be likely. Shadowsun was just featured in a Black Library book so I'm hoping they do something interesting with her.

The new selection of mini characters are intriguing. I like the idea of a Pask style tank commander. Hopefully he'll make a hammerhead worth taking again. The firewarrior and pathfinder characters are hopefully upgrades rather than HQs to prevent the FOC from being too crowded.

Kroot and Vespid
I'm somewhat relieved to see that they're (almost) definitely in the new codex. Remains to be seen how useful they are but at least I'll have a use for my Kroot models. I had an interesting thought that perhaps they can be taken as a Tau only allied detachment but I don't see any signs of HQs so doesn't look like it.

The thing that people seem to be most upset about is the original talk of more alien allies seems to have disappeared. Personally I think it's a good thing as I didn't want the core Tau army to be diluted down to a kabal of random species. It's a shame the Vespid models haven't been redone (at least from the WD pictures) as they're a bit dated looking now. The Kroot can hold their own nicely though.

I'm a little disappointed that there don't appear to be any new alien units at all. The rumours of Kroot HQ and big monster things seem to be false at the moment unless GW is going to do a second wave at some point?

Looks like the Disruption Pods have been toned down a bit which I think is reasonable. If they stay at 5pts for +1 to jink then I'll be happy enough. Pretty sure they'll increase in price though, although I wonder if they'll be included in the tank cost in a similar way to smoke launchers of SM vehicles. I'm interested to see what they do about the other vehicle upgrades but there haven't been rumours on them yet.

The skyray will hopefully be getting a new lease of life. It's always been one of my favourite Tau models and was certainly mediocre in 5th and worse in 6th. I'd hope that it'll compete with the broadsides/hammers but I have a feeling it'll still lose out.

The most important thing for me is that Devilfish get reduced in a price a bit. With the lack of mech armies around it'd be interesting to see how the meta-game responds to what has always been a fairly mechanised force. With the prevalence of plasma these days, AV12 is stronger than it was.

I was hoping for a pathfinder tetra style vehicle to appear but again there aren't any signs of that. The piranha blurb talks about it using "stealth and speed" to act as a recon vehicle. Be interesting to see how they turn out because I own three of them and I'd love to be using them again.

Army Wide
Seems like the army wide special rule will be Supporting Fire which I believe is related to Overwatch. If so then I'm pretty happy as this, combined with photon grenades (if they still exist as defensive) should mean that there's some protection from assaults. I was wondering how they were going to address that weakness and it seems Supporting Fire is it.

One thing you can't escape from the new pictures is the sheer number of drone types that are cropping up everywhere. Whilst I hate flying bases most of the time, I'm pleased to see some new drone variants are coming out. Not much on the rules for them has surfaced yet but I expect we'll see them taken in large numbers.

Markerlights seem to have remained pretty much unchanged. I'm hoping they've removed the restriction on who can benefit from their effects so that squads can boost their own firepower. Perhaps like the auspex in the DA book? I'm pretty sure they're going to remain Heavy which is a shame but there's not really been confirmation on this. Pathfinders will almost certainly have improved though since there's a new boxed set so GW will be wanting to shift them. Hopefully their compulsory devilfish is now an option as the rumours suggest. Be interesting to see how the new weapon options e.g. the ion rifle fit in to their role. The main thing is that hopefully they can be made into troops somehow.

I'm pleased to see that there are a bigger range of weapon types. Seems like the pulse weapons are staying the same but with the ion and rail weapons getting new varieties hopefully there'll be more options in terms of loadouts.

General Release Thoughts
The prices are, as I've said, a bit ridiculous as always. The riptide is certainly a huge model but £50 is obscene for a single figure (plus drones) especially when a dreadknight is £33. Otherwise everything else is priced as you might expect. The new commander is costly though, as is Farsight, and isn't all that different to the current XV8 range.

Otherwise I'm going to have to wait until I actually see the codex myself to decide how good it will be. I never really trust the rumours this close to a release as people can say anything and it will be believed because potentially people will actually have the book. The other issue is that people don't read things properly, an example of this being that people thought Screamers hadn't changed in the new Daemons book until someone actually read it properly. It's only just over a week til I'll have it in my hands though and I'll certainly post up my first impressions of the book pretty soon afterwards.

My Tau Army
I've got a fairly solid collection of models at the moment and the vast majority are painted to table-top standard. The new book will almost certainly inspire me to revisit them and improve their paintjobs but the question is what will remain and what will have to change. I'm looking forward to tomorrow when we can study the models properly on the GW site.

Broadsides are the most obvious source of problems. I don't really fancy buying the new ones at £30 a pop but since they're significantly bigger and on a larger base I can see this causing issues. Additionally if the missile-tastic build is worthwhile I might end up getting some of the new ones. At least I can potentially convert my old ones back into crisis suits again.

On the subject of crisis suits, I really wish I'd magnetised. From past experience they're not easy to break apart once assembled and I'm almost certain to need to change their weapon loadouts. The other problem with my suits is that the first few I assembled are in terrible, boring poses. Once I've got the new kits out of my system I'm almost certainly going to want to repose them if possible.

My tanks should be alright as I've got three devilfish and a skyray/hammerhead. I can't see me needing more Devilfish unless they get a lot cheaper. I may end up buying another skyray/hammerhead kit though if they're both equally good.

My pathfinders are half the proper metal models and half just converted fire warriors. I can see me needing to get the new kit for the new weapons and drones so I may end up making them back into fire warriors again. The question for fire warriors is whether rifle or carbine will be better. All of mine have rifles so I really hope they can stay that way.

I've already got a Farsight model so I'm unlikely to be tempted by the new one but it depends on how effective he is anyway. So what will I actually be getting on release day? Well, the book of course but after that I'm not sure. I want to study the rules before I take the plunge on a Riptide or the new flyers. I'll probably stand in my FLGS and read the rules on release day and make a decision their and then. If the Riptide is even half decent I'll want one just to have a massive model on the table!! Pathfinders and the new characters are a little more difficult to decide on though.

I'm already looking forward to updating my Tau army though and just hope my supplies of the old citadel paints are sufficient to paint all the new kits!!

Monday, March 25, 2013

More Tau Pictures are Leaked - Thoughts on the New Releases

With the Tau release under two weeks away I'm getting pretty excited. I'm aware that's pretty sad for a nearly 29 year old but then you guys are reading a 40K blog so ... meh. Anyway, the new pictures show us a much better perpsective of the broadside and the new flyers.

The broadsides are rumoured to be downgraded to S8 AP1. However, the latest pic seems to show the broadside holding a rather large railgun that to me doesn't look twin-linked. Perhaps they can still take the S10 AP1 version but lose twin-linkage in the process?

Eitherway the model looks awesome and a lot bulkier than it's predecessor. It's certainly on a bigger base! The question is will anyone replace their existing models with one? Personally I'm not sold. Yeah I like the model but there are other things to spend my cash on than replacing stuff I already have. I could understand the DE players replacing their stuff as the updated models were in a different league to the old ones but these models aren't all that dissimilar to the old Tau range. Granted they look to be more posable but otherwise its the same aesthetic.

A couple of the broadside shots we've already seen show some loadouts that aren't catered for with the old kits but I'm sure some imaginative conversion work will sort those out.

Still not quite convinced by the models. Might see if they can be made without the poles down the side as I think they're the bit I have the problem with (along with a lot of other people it seems). Unlike the DA kit though, I'm going to wait and see what the rules are like before I invest what is a pretty big chunk of money. Maybe it's the classic colour scheme that doesn't really show the kit off properly. With a coat of paint in my army colours perhaps they'll look better.

Really though, the main thing for me is how they play. I'm sure everyone will be watching these closely as with Tau being allied with everyone (pretty much), there'll be a lot of people prepared to shell out for a few kits to boost their existing armies with some fishface allies.

The weaponry looks pretty good. I'm hoping the burst cannon became S6 though else it's not going to give us much. The funky quad gun thing on the back of the model in this picture is intriguing but let's hope it isn't another rift cannon flop!

Upgrade Characters
The latests shots show us some of the upgrade models that we'll be able to add to our squads. At the moment there seems to be a fire warrior shas'ui, pathfinder guy and tank commander. All of which are nice models but frankly aren't hard to convert. The tank kits already come with a spotter which makes an excellent commander stand-in. The pathfinder guy will certainly be able to be cobbled together from the pathfinder kit, as will the fire warrior (who looks a little bit chubby to me - bit of a beer gut!).

The interesting thing will, again, be what they bring to their squads. The rules look pretty interesting so far. As some people on Advanced Tau Tactica (where these pictures come from) have pointed out, the pictures we've seen so far reveal some new weapons. One of the pathfinders is holding what looks like an ion weapon of some kind. It would be cool to see a whole range of ion and rail weapons to match the pulse variants. Here's hoping.

There's long been murmurings that GW control their rumours a lot better than they let you think. It's interesting that we get another wave of pictures at the same time GW put a teaser video on their site.....

Monday, March 18, 2013

New Tau Stuff Coming in April!!

Well, what a welcome for me to receive when I landed back in the country and checked the usual blogs. Finally after all this time waiting the Tau are getting a new codex and some new models/units! I have to say that I'm probably more excited about this than any other release in the last couple of years. Since getting back into 40K in 2010 Tau were the second army I collected (I had some Eldar from when I stopped playing years ago). I've always loved the models since they were released when I used to play in 3rd edition so they were a natural choice as my first new army on returning to the game.

I've got a decent collection of Tau at the moment and they're one of my more painted armies too! I've taken them to tourmanents in the past with mixed success but I'm very much looking forward to what the new codex will bring. I think this release is going to be the most exciting so far for me since it's the first time that one of my existing armies have had a new book. Matt has had new books for all of his armies (BA, GK, Daemons) in the time he's been collecting them but Tau will be my first update. Frankly I don't think they needed much work. Sure the book is dated but I think 6th edition actually did them a lot of favours. Before I talk about the leaked pics of the new models I just want to briefly say what I hope stays the same in the new book.

Firstly, broadsides will hopefully still be potent. There's rumours of an S8 rail weapon for them but time will tell and even so they should still be good if they've been reduced in points. I'm hoping the versatility of crisis suits is still there. I love the wide array of combinations you can create so I hope the options are still there. Fire warriors are pretty good in their current form I think but more upgrades would be good. Generally I hope the army keeps it's dominance at range and that the suits are still strong. Not sure how I feel about Kroot. There's no sign of them in the pictures (or Vespid for that matter) at the moment but I think it'd be a shame for them to go from the book entirely.

Anyway, onto the pictures. There are two obvious units that stand out, the Riptide and the flyers. With this second set of leaked pictures the flyers look a lot better. My concern is that Vetock will repeat his performance with the DA flyers and write rules that make them useless. Hopefully he's learned from his mistakes though. This time around I'm going to get the codex before I get suckered into buying more models. I don't want to spend a fortune on the new flyer (or riptide for that matter) if they aren't going to be worth it. The Riptide is an interesting prospect. The GK dreadknight demonstrates what can be done with MCs but I fear that it'll be a similar cost as a dreadknight without the punch. Maybe I'm being to negative?

I'm actually warming to the flyers and the riptide model. I agree with most people that it's a shame they don't look more like the FW ones but there's nothing stopping people buying the FW ones and playing counts as (except the price of course). The riptide looks good apart from the head which I might have to convert up to be a bit more bulky.

Elsewhere I'm pleased to see some plastic pathfinders. Not sure what I'm going to do with my conversions but time will tell again. Hopefully they'll be more useful now. I'm intrigued to see what they're going to do with markerlights. I'm also glad there's a new model for Farsight although I'm unlikely to shell out for it since I have an old one. Fingers crossed he'll be worth taking now.

From the looks of the rules snippets that are coming out. Tau will have no problem dealing with flyers. This isn't particularly suprising when GW have allowed them to ally with pretty much everyone. This will mean that we'll probably see a lot of them as allies at tournaments which means more cash for GW of course. Generally the rules look pretty positive. As with any update I'm sure there'll be things that people will whine about but I'm just glad to see my Tau getting the spotlight again.

The question now is..... what do I take to Blog Wars? DA which need a lot of painting or Tau which are pretty much ready to go...

Saturday, March 09, 2013

First Impressions After Playing Chaos Daemons

Matt and I had a couple of games last night to try out the new Chaos Daemons codex. The first game saw Matt field a mostly CSM force with some daemonic allies against a Grey Knight army under my control (I borrowed Matt's models of course). The second was a pure Daemons list taking on my Ravenwing DA.

Battle Reports
I'll only cover the battles themselves briefly because the main focus of this post will be about the new units themselves.

In the first battle the main bulk of Matt's force consisted of Abaddon with 3 5-man plasma gun toting Chosen supported by two Heldrakes. The Daemon contingent was in the form of a Bloodthirster, Khorne Daemon Prince and some Plaguebearers manning a quad-gun on an aegis line. Not surprisingly the sheer volume of plasma made short work of my two dreadknights but not before one of them had killed the Daemon Prince. Abaddon was slowly whittled down by my strike squads. My paladins arrived but couldn't affect the game very much as Draigo failed to deal with Abaddon quickly enough. Eventually the combination of the Bloodthirster (who dispatched the strike squads) and Heldrakes was enough to wipe out the Grey Knights.

In the second game I was hoping to make the most of the first time I've been able to get first turn with my Ravenwing! Matt's force had a ridiculous amount of psychic powers (he almost had more cards than models!) but was this time geared around Nurgle with Fateweaver and some Bloodcrushers to represent the other gods. I was hoping to be able to shoot down one of his daemon princes in my first turn with a combination of black knights and salvo bolters but sadly he survived with two wounds intact. The daemon prince struck back killing a couple of knights who failed to Hit & Run. The other knights lead by Sammael were slowly whittled down by Fateweaver but not before helping to dispatch anoter daemon prince for First Blood. Matt killed his own prince with Warp Storm stuff (more on that in a bit). The big problem though was that the great unclean one and a pile of plaguebearers were too difficult to take down even with massed bolter fire. Ultimately we both got rid of each other's troops and Matt ended up winning the game thanks to Slay the Warlord and Linebreaker which beat my single point from First Blood.

Review of the Daemon Units
Obviously I'm reviewing these from the perspective of an opponent but hopefully it'll give you some insight into what the new codex can offer. I'll do it unit by unit and try to be as unbiased as I can. It'll probably end up as a pretty long post but please bear with me.

Allowing Daemon Princes to be troops offers some options for building "big stuff" lists which is always good. Tooling this guy up with some rewards can make an already strong unit, nigh on unstoppable. Grey Knights might present a problem with their force weapons but you can normally single out other models with instant death and get rid of them before they're a threat. As a flying MC it's difficult to stop him getting to your lines. If you've got a ton of shooting then perhaps you can bring him down before he gets to you but it'll be a struggle. He's as lethal in combat as you'd expect but not so lethal that he'll find himself sat in the open and taking fire again with shrewd use of challenges he can easily be kept in combat for two phases.

Much has been said about this guy already. He was a mainstay of Daemon lists in the old codex as he allowed re-rolls of invulnerable saves. Allowing you to re-roll the warp storm dice is useful (more on that below) but obviously his main focus is on psychic powers. With the sheer number of powers available to him he's likely to always get something useful from the generated powers. Even if he doesn't he gets the Change powers which are mostly pretty good. Being Mastery 4 he can get some powerful powers off whilst still swooping.

There's no reason to ever doing anything but swoop either as he's not all that great when not firing off powers. He might gimp a vehicle or two if the opportunity presents itself as he still has Smash but with crap WS and a single attack he wants to be flying around above the action as much as possible. Whilst he lost his re-roll for all invulnerable saves he does allow a single re-roll per turn which is pretty handy. Matt managed to get the Divination power that lets him re-roll saving throws too which made him pretty durable. Without this he's only T5 with a 4++ save so massed firepower should cut him down if he gets grounded.

The problem is the points cost. Whilst he can potentially buff your army with his powers he also ends up buffing the enemy army too. My black knights ended up with 4+ FNP thanks to his Change powers. Whilst he's interesting to use and I have to admit interesting to play against he's unlikely to feature much because he simply costs too much for what he does now.

Great Unclean One
Matt ran him as a Mastery 3 psyker which meant he was also buffing himself and other units with Biomancy powers. He managed to get a 3+ armour and 4+ FNP from his gifts which made him feel pretty unstoppable. The main thing that kept him alive though was Shrouded. He was able to walk across the board behind some ruins which gave him a near permanent 2+ cover save meaning he got to my lines pretty much unscathed. Again he's pretty good in combat but not so good that he'll kill stuff too quickly. He can get pretty expensive but once he's in the thick of things he's likely to make his points back easily. There's the potential for him becoming higher toughness thanks to Biomancy too which could put him beyond the power of most weapons. That's a frightening prospect if you ask me.

Daemon Princes
Pretty similar to the CSM ones. If they're given Daemonic Flight they're infinitely better in my opinion. They're still a big threat as you can't easily get rid of them before they're on you. The sheer number of potential combinations makes them really interesting in this new book. There's an element of randomness to it but some of the options are great. Again pretty pricey at 205pts with flight and armour before you've even started adding other options. With the ability to move them to Heavy Support they can still find a spot in a "big stuff" list too. They're probably more appealing than most of the other Heavy Support choices too.

Again, something we saw a lot of with the old codex. Whilst they've lost Eternal Warrior and only have a 5++ save they've gain an extra wound each. The changes to Furious Charge mean they aren't as deadly as they once were but they're still a bit too deadly if they're run in numbers. What I mean is that they're not all that durable when not in combat and have a tendency to annihilate whatever they charge. This will mean they've got to make quite a lot of  5++ saves and are unlikely to last too long. Being cavalry will help keep them safer but I didn't feel like they were all that hard to deal with. If I hadn't had a lot of other stuff to worry about I might've been able to gun them all down before they did too much damage. As it was they killed a couple of squads of bikers whilst I was distracted by the GUO and Fateweaver.

The only Troops choice that was in use last night was these guys. There's been bitching about them getting worse in this latest book. Personally I think they're better than they were before. Being forced to take them in units of 10 is annoying for Daemon players but they're still doing a similar job to the one they did in the old book. Drop them onto an objective and hope to still be on it at the end of the game. Shrouded combined with an Aegis line or else some ruins means that you've got to put a hell of a lot of fire on them to kill them off. They don't stand up too well in combat of course but they can hold their own thanks to the way Poisoned works now.

I still think they're probably the best troops choice in the book. Easily ignored because they aren't much of a threat and hard to kill if you decide to pay attention to them.

General Codex Stuff
The Warp Storm table provided us with some great entertainment. Matt could re-roll it thanks to Fateweaver so when he got a Warp is Calm result I managed to goad him into re-rolling it in the interests of fun and he scored a 3 which meant the Daemon Prince that would probably have killed the Black Knights was punished by the gods and removed! Otherwise there were +1s to invulnerable saves and a couple of hits on a 6 results. Most of the time I don't think it'll have that much effect on the game but like anything random it could be gamechanging on the odd occasion.

Daemonic Instability is great. I know that might seem a bold statement but frankly I think it's what Fearless should've been in 6th. It's a shame for Daemons that they're the only ones who don't get the tarpit of Fearless but they can still ignore most Morale Checks. It's a shame Fearless isn't more like it for other armies.

Losing Eternal Warrior is a big deal for most Daemon players. However, with the decline of armies like Space Wolves with massed S8 fire, there aren't all that many things around that'd cause a problem. Grey Knights are the only army with enough Force Weapons to cause an issue and they're supposed to be good against Daemons right? Otherwise you can usually pick out the librarian or whoever has the instant death weapon and then you're back to pretending you still have Eternal Warrior on your Daemon Prince. There really isn't that much S10 around.

As I've mentioned, the rewards have the potential to make good units great. One of the interesting other upgrades though is the Portalglyph. Whilst it isn't hard to kill an AV12 single hull point model, it's very easy for it to get ignored. It then has the same sort of potential as a Tervigon in that it can flood the board with troops. Getting rid of it as soon as possible is my advice!

There were concerns that the randomness of the book would mean you couldn't use it competitively as a primary detachment. I really don't think that's true. It may not be up there with the Necrons (but what is?) but it's still got some really strong options that a lot of armies simply won't be able to deal with. Sure the randomness might punish you but it can also help!

I'm hopefully going to get more games against Matt's Daemons soon but I'm away for a week or so now so the blog will be a bit quiet.

Sunday, March 03, 2013

Latest 1,850pt Ravenwing Dark Angels List

I've been toying around with a few things since I first put a list together. What I have now is a streamlined and deadly list that should be pretty effective. I'm still not doing great with the painting but hopefully that'll pick up over the next couple of weeks. Here's what I'm playing with at the moment followed by some detailed analysis of the lot:

1,847pts of Dark Angels
Librarian (bike, ML2)
RW Command Squad (Std of Dev, RWGL, Apothecary, Champion)

Tactical Squad (plasma gun, plasma cannon, veteran sergeant)
RW Attack Squadron (6 bikes, melta, plasma)
RW Attack Squadron (6 bikes, melta, plasma)
RW Attack Squadron (6 bikes, melta)

RW Black Knights (6 bikes, 2 RWGL)
RW Black Knights (6 bikes, 2 RWGL)
RW Darkshroud

Very similar to what I had before. The main difference here is the doubling up of the Black Knights. I'm still a massive fan of these guys as they're extremely versatile and can be deadly against the right opponents. Previously I had Sammael joining the RW command squad to keep them alive but I'm now playing it with Sammael and the Libby taking a pack of Knights each. This gives me two devastating units. Both having skilled rider is nice so that you can move them through terrain without worrying. There aren't many units that wouldn't worry about these guys. Both units are difficult to ignore and should hopefully distract attention away from the bulk of the army which is churning out salvo shots.

The librarian has ditched his over upgrades in favour of mastery level 2. This gives me access to the Telepathy powers which need 2 warp charge to activate. If I get a good roll they can get Hallucination or Invisibility, both of which are awesome. The primaris power, psychic shriek, isn't too bad either, if a little situational. Having him around for challenges is decent too if he can make use of his force weapon.

Both the command squad and the darkshroud are the obvious targets for my opponents but can be pretty tricky to kill. Getting first turn is pretty essential and its a shame there's no characters with roll manipulation (e.g. +1 or re-roll). Should I go first, the whole of my army can move. This gives my normal bikes a 3+/4++ whilst still firing off there ridiculous amounts of bolter shots. The black knights get 3+/3++ as they'll likely turbo-boost turn 1 to get into effective range nice and early.

The command squad can get 3+/2++ thanks to the Darkshroud. They get a 5++ jink which is made 4++ by turbo-boosting, 3++ from skilled rider and then Stealth makes it 2++. That's ignoring the FNP from the Apothecary too! This makes both units pretty tricky to take down and either my opponent will expend plenty of shots trying or else ignore them and shoot my bikes instead. Later on the command squad can be firing off the plasma and grenade launcher and still claiming 3+/3++.

The tactical squad might seem a bit useless but I'm working on the principle that they'll get ignored whilst they hug and objective and fire away with the plasma cannon. The same points could be spent on more bikes but frankly I don't have any and I'm loathe to buy any more. It becomes difficult to get them all in range of the shroud/banner too. I'm not going to pretend the tacticals are a great choice but as I say, if my opponent is shooting them then I'm pretty happy or I'm already screwed.

I had thought about making the attack squadrons with 2 meltas in one and 2 plasmas in the other. The problem I have with that is that if I meet high armour values e.g. land raiders then all my eggs are in one basket. The issue I have is in deciding when to fire the bolters and when to fire the special weapons when firing at infantry. It's pretty much always better to fire them over the melta but at half range the plasma gun is better against some targets. Essentially if the target is getting a 4+ or better cover/invuln save then the bolters are a better option than a 2 shot plasma. Most of the time I'll hopefully be at above 12" range so I'm going with bolters for the most part.

I find it tricky to deploy everything in a nice blob around the banner/shroud but it's easy to forget you can move the whole lot 12" pretty easily. Terrain is an issue most of the time but it can be avoided. If anything you want to pick the side of the board with little terrain to make your life easier!

Possible Changes
I'd considered taking out all of the special weapons as I'm mostly using the bolter banner but if I come up against mechanised armies then I'll struggle without them. I had thought about attack bikes instead but they feel like easy kills for my opponent and are one-shot wonders most of the time.

I've already mentioned that swapping out the tactical squad would be an option. It's a shame the flyer isn't better as I'd try to squeeze it in if it was even half decent.

There are probably too many points sunk into the command squad but for how crucial they are to the battle plan it seems daft not to give them the apothecary. Granted the champion isn't necessary but he isn't bad in combat thanks to WS5 it's just a shame his sword is unwieldy. Essentially those 5pts are so I can take a cool model!

Grenade launchers are a bit of an unknown at the moment. Part of me thinks it's best to have 2 per black knight squad so that you can keep at least one alive most of the time but I also think it might be better to have the plasma talons. I'd certainly want one launcher per unit but not really sure about the second. Being able to hit a unit with rad and stasis before charging in appeals though.

Generally, apart from swapping the tacticals for more bikers, I don't think there's much more optimising to be done with this list. As a side note, I do think the existence of the bolter banner is a bit of a shame. It makes what could be a fast and deadly bike army into a blob that just moves a little bit to keep it's cover save. Not much fun really.

Friday, March 01, 2013

6th Edition 40K - You're Doing It Wrong! (maybe) - Characters

We've all done it. When you play a game with your mates you either both assume a rule stayed the same in 6th or else one of you is sure you've read it and the other doesn't question it. Not such a big deal in friendly games but can lead to problems at tournaments. You end up making your battle plans based on those assumed rules and it's only when you execute your strategy that your opponent goes "hang on, you can't do that". This is partly why I like going to tournaments. I can't remember a time when I got through an entire tournament without having to look something up.

One point that's worth making here is that some things are FAQ'd and people aren't up-to-date with them. Keeping abreast of the rules is key to tournament play. Before any tournament I always read through the latest FAQs of the rulebook and my army's codex. I also do my best to keep an eye on all the other FAQs, which comes in handy when I referee at Blog Wars. Anyway, here's a list of rules you might be doing wrong. I'm hoping to make this a regular segment so feel free to send in any you've come across. Remember, I'm not saying everyone else is doing it wrong and I'm not. As ever if you think I've got something wrong then please tell me.

Characters are huge in 6th edition 40K. I don't think people are actually making them as significant as they ought to be either. Every army has characters in there somewhere. Here's a few things that I think people (myself included) are doing wrong when it comes to using characters.

Knowing They Even Exist
Whilst the new codexes (CSM, DA and now Daemons) will list out all the units and whether they're characters or not, the old ones still rely on the summary in the back of the rulebook. Take some time now to actually look at your army and see what characters you have.

Most of the time it's pretty intuitive. We'd expect squad leaders (e.g. Exarches, Nobs, Wolf Guard, Sergeants) to be characters but there are some surprises too. For example, at the recent doubles we took great pleasure in pointing out that Dreadknights are characters and hence they can challenge out some of those enemy characters and kick their teeth in. Similarly Lone Wolves, Daemon Princes, Warlocks, Wraithlords, etc are all characters so make the most of them.

Precision Shots/Strikes
I'm as guilty of this as anyone but how often do you remember to use your Precision Shots? It just isn't part of the routine yet and I don't find myself rolling different coloured dice. Even if the character has different WS/BS and I do roll different colour dice, I often don't pay any attention to the 6s I roll. This is a HUGE mechanic in 6th edition and I think it's probably the most underused. 

Think of the numerous situations where a Precision Shot could change the entire game. Taking out an apothecary to remove FNP or killing a sergeant to lower the leadership of a unit. Now these types of shots can be countered with Look Out Sir! rolls (more on them in a bit) but there are other significant examples such as killing the guy with a special weapon such as a power fist, meltagun etc or how about the guy with a banner. Your opponent can't stop you killing things that aren't characters themselves. If you aren't using the Precision Shot you're letting your opponent decide when to remove that model. Combine the precision shot with a special weapon of your own and it can be really deadly. 

Precision Strikes are also overlooked a lot. Now if you're getting into challenges then they aren't going to make a difference but once you win the challenge do you remember to keep track of them again? Anyway, I don't want to go down the route of tactics as that's more of a subject for a different post but the point is if you aren't using Precision Shots/Strikes you aren't getting the most from your army.

Challenges can change the course of the combat in a big way but people often forget to issue them at all.  Don't forget that although the charging player gets to challenge first, you can still issue one if they don't. When you've been issued a challenge remember you don't have to accept it with the character it was directed at. In fact challenges shouldn't technically be directed at anyone. If you have a flimsy but useful Independent Character in your squad then maybe a sergeant would be better accepting the challenge, leaving the IC safe and able to assault the rest of the unit. 

Another thing that's often done wrong is that if you choose to refuse a challenge (and often it's the best call even if it feels cowardly) with a character, they can't strike but can still be struck if they're the last guy left or you simply want to put attacks on them. However, "spare" wounds left after a challenger is slain can't then be applied to models which weren't part of the challenge and similarly "spare" wounds from the rest of the combat can't be put on the challengers.

Moral Support gets forgotten about a lot and is key when you're fighting a single enemy model. If you've got bystanders it's worth checking if you get a re-roll because that could keep your character alive or help him kill his opponent.

Look Out Sir!
Most people have got used to this mechanic now but there are still some that are forgetting to do it. Sometimes it's better not to of course but most of the time a character has something about him worth saving! The key thing here is that LOS got FAQ'd fairly early on to clear up the confusion that the wording of the rule had created.

The model making the LOS attempt must be the closest model to the character. You can't just pick a random model in 6" to take the hit. Also, the attempt must be made when the wound is allocated to the model and not once you've failed the saving throw and panicked! I'll cover wound allocation in another post and talk about LOS more then as this is something a lot of people seem to be doing wrong or are making more complicated than necessary. 

Independent Characters
Most things about ICs have stayed the same in the transition to 6th edition but there are a couple of minor things. Firstly, a lot of the Special Rules have a line which says "if one or models in a unit has this rule" which means, for example, that Fearless characters now make a whole unit Fearless automatically. 

Just like in 5th, ICs can only join/leave units in the Movement Phase. I'm always amazed at how often people think they can do so in the Assault Phase. 

The only other thing that springs to mind is Heroic Morale whereby units that contain an Independent Character can regroup on normal Leadership even if they've dropped below 25%. Might help prevent your IC from running off the board (if you aren't lucky enough to have ATSKNF anyway!).

Most of this stuff people know about but simply forget. I'm definitely guilty of forgetting Precision Shots about 99% of the time. When I do remember I seem to fail to wound anyway!! I have no idea how to make myself start remembering but I know I'll do better if I do. It's a question of making it part of the routine when rolling to hit.

Characters are a big part of 6th edition and, as I've said, I think their potential is being wasted by most players. 


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...