Wednesday, 31 August 2011

WFB - Maneaters will be the greetest!!!

So after a kind of a break from Warhammer, I've jumped straight back into it and I'm full of positive energy for the game. So naturally with a new army release out this weekend, I've been thinking about ogres. Now this is a release I've been ignoring since the rumors started surfacing as I don't like being dripped rumors unless it's from an official source. I've also been ignoring it as I've been worried by the fact that the book has been co-authored and from past experience that suggests it's either going to be rubbish or over the top.

So looking at White Dwarf and reading all the Ogre Kingdom Rumors from Warseer and the Ogre Stronghold, I've been pleasantly surprised. The army seems to have had a load of positive changes to it but nothing to make it too over the top. Again it seems that GW have produced a "balanced" book which is following the current trend.

Whilst looking through the rumors, I have noticed one thing which I think every Ogre army will take - Maneaters!

There are a few reasons why they will be popular and I'll list them here....

1.) Mixed Weapons - Yes, Maneaters can take a variety of weapons in their units. What this means is you can do things like have a unit of six Maneaters with three of them with Extra Hand Weapons and three of them with Great Weapons. What this means is that your front rank pumps out lots of attacks and you have a back rank which can produce lots of high strength attacks. That's good although I think how you remove killed models may confuse some players enough not to do this.

2.) Skills/Traits/Experience - No idea what this ability is called in the book but it boils down to the fact that Maneaters can take two of the following rules: immune to psych, poison attacks, scouts, sniper, strider, swiftstride, stubborn, vanguard. This means you can do things like have a scouting unit of Maneaters armed with handguns with the sniper rule. That's quite nasty as it lets you pick out characters in units!

3.) They are 'cheap' - Maneaters cost 50 points each and can have command group options for 10 points each. For what the unit can do, that's cheap and I can see many players including them over Ironguts.

The only real downside with Maneaters is that fact that the offical GW models are quite expensive now (around £15 each) although I suspect most players will end up converting theirs up and having their own merc units which I think is more interesting! I'm looking forwards to reading the book this weekend as I may even be able to dust off my Ogres and give them a whirl!

Thursday, 25 August 2011

OMG!!! Zombie Pirates!!

So I was going to ramble on about how the Sisters of Battle have been screwed by their WD codex by having everything more expensive or I was going to ramble on about how cool the Space Marine Demo is (and it is really cool. I think Space Marine is going to be a Epic game!). Instead I'm going to talk about something that's close to everybodies hearts..... Zombie Pirates.

Or to be more exact a possible release from GW involving Naval battles, Warhammer, and Zombies - AKA Man O War (those of you who don't know, Man O War was a game from GW in the 90s which was set in the Warhammer world about Naval skirmishes and battles).

Over on Warseer, a interesting picture has popped up from the back of the forthcoming WD. As you can see it's a bit like a wanted poster with what appears to be a vampire/zombie pirate drawn by John Blanche. Firstly for those of us who can't read German, this poster translates as..

"Wanted! Anyone with relevant information/leads should contact/report to Jago Roth, Captain of the Heldenhammer."

Also there has been a few hints from various Warseer members about what is coming out. To save jumping around here they are....

"Originally Posted by CSE
oh its coming, its so cool (n i shouldn't say but its actually an October release, has multiple armies ships in it)"

"Originally Posted by CSE
Warmaster o war actually"

"Originally Posted by Satan
Do you know if there will be more fleets than Empire and Undead? You said "multiple" ones earlier...

Originally Posted by CSE
Yup there are more than just those 2"

"Originally Posted by CSE View Post
im certainly not disappointed the ship models especially the orcs are ace"

"Originally Posted by mrtn View Post
Harry said Warmaster scale, so 10 mm."

So from the sounds of it we are getting a Naval game which will have multiple fleets released for it set in the Warhammer world. The models will be around 10mm and there is a hint that the rules will have a Warmaster element to them (or this could just be about them being 10mm). I'm actually really looking forwards to this release and this is where the GW clamp down about what they are bringing out is quite cool, as it helps with that excitment. I have no idea if this is going to be a boxed set with multiple fleets or if this is going to be a book and you buy the models seperately. The real exciting bit is if the models will be plastic or finecast (although most likely a combination of both).

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

40K - Chaos Daemons vs Dark Eldar : My Bum Hurts!

So I played my first game of 40K in ages last night against Rob Madeley. As expected in a Chaos Daemons verses Dark Eldar I got tabled. Whilst this wasn't a surprising result for either of us, I was happy with the game as I learnt a couple of things and I think with practice I could do better. In the end we ended up playing a 1500 point game and because I couldn't be bothered with messing around too much making new lists, I dropped the Daemonettes and Bloodletters from my army. In the end I took the following.....

Lord of Change
2 x Herald of Tzeentch riding a chariot with Master of Sorcery and Bolt of Tzeentch

5 Flamers
2 x 5 Fiends

4 x 6 Pink Horrors with Bolt of Tzeentch

Unfortunately this made my army about 1400 points so Rob had even more of an advantage but I was playing more so for the experience than anything else. Rob took the following (or something similar to this as my memory is hazy in my old age)...

Haemonclus with Shattershard

3 x 3 Trueborn with Blasters riding around in a Venom with Dual Splinter Cannons

4 x 3 Wracks riding around in a Venom with Dual Splinter Cannons

Fast Attack
A Beastmaster Troop with all kinds of horrible killy beasts

Heavy Support
3 x Ravagers

We played Killpoints and Spearhead and I won the roll for first turn. The board had plenty of terrain scattered on it, so there was plenty of cover saves available if required. The game started off with me giving Rob first turn. He asked me if I was sure about this and I said yes. The reason I gave him first turn was because I wanted to see how much of the board he would cover when he moved his army out and how I would deal with this. Whilst this seems a bit mad, I tend to learn from things by doing it wrong and then learning from it. As it was, Rob was able to cover three quarters of the board but I still had areas where I could deep strike into 'fairly' safely. I ended up splitting my force into waves and had a mix of units in each. First wave was basically all the horrors and a unit of Fiends, whilst the second was everything else. I was thinking mixing would give me some flexibility but in hindsight I should have brought my Chariots and Lord of Change down first to give me more shooting elements.

Then the game started to go down hill. I knew I needed to disable or destroy the Venoms for me to stand a chance, so I started bringing my horror units down to try and take these out. I managed to bring down three units of horrors and a unit of fiends but I had one of my horror units mishap and get placed in reserve. I then managed to destroy a venom and shake another. Then Rob had his go and the pain started. Basically due to Rob having loads and loads of shots and my inability to roll reserve rolls very well, meant that my army came down in dribs and drabs and allowed Rob to pick them off without too much difficulty. I managed to get a few killpoints out of him but he got all of my units and won the game.

I had a fun game as I enjoyed thinking about how and where my units would appear and what they would do, but this was a uphill struggle from the start. In our aftergame chat, we both agreed that this is probably the starting point that all Daemons will follow in the post Dark Eldar and Grey Knight days. I think he's trying something similar out for a game for the UK40K Podcast ( We also agreed that Bloodcrushers would be better than Fiends and I needed to have We are Legion on my HQ choices (allows them to shoot different targets with different weapons). While a lot of players are currently starting to give up on Daemons, I still think they are an interesting army and the meta change has got people looking at other units in the codex, which can't be a bad thing.

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

40K - Chaos Daemons vs Dark Eldar : Pre game thoughts

So I'll be playing my first game of 40K for a few months tonight and things aren't going to plan already. My cunning plan a few weeks ago was to have assembled a Marine army by now ready for my game tonight. Unfortuantly work has decided that wouldn't be the case and I'm behind quite a fair bit with what I wanted to do. So my Pink Daemons are coming out to play and I've carefully crafted a 1750 point list with minimal proxying but should be fun to play with (and simple to use).

My list is....

Lord of Change
2 x Herald of Tzeentch riding a chariot with Master of Sorcery and Bolt of Tzeentch

5 Flamers
2 x 5 Fiends

4 x 6 Pink Horrors with Bolt of Tzeentch
12 Bloodletters
13 Daemonettes

It's quite a small army but basically sits around the principle of firefights and then smashing things up in close combat. I would have preferred to have the Fiends as Bloodcrushers but I don't think a Fleshhound could really proxy as a Bloodcrusher. This army gives me 9 Bolts which should help out in the Anti-Tank department plus I have a backup of the flamers and the Lord of Change to finish things off if I need to. It's a nice army made out of models I have and I'm kind of happy.

Unfortunately there is a slight problem....

My opponent tonight is Rob Madeley. For those who don't follow the UK tournament scene, here's a introduction. Rob is currently 38th in the UK rankings but he was a lot higher than that (I think even number 1 at some point). I currently don't exist in the 40K rankings due to not going to a 40K event. Normally this isn't a problem as you can't always assume that somebody who is high up is better than somebody else but then you look at Rob's results from past events and he generally finishes in the top ten. Plus at some point he was also Mr Daemon which basically means that he was the highest daemon player in the UK and I believe that he's bringing his Dark Eldar list tonight!

To say I'm expecting to loose is an understatement but I'm hoping that I get chance to give Rob a good game, not have him table me and learn something. For those not aware, the current Dark Eldar list doing the rounds around the world is a Venom spam. This army basically has lots of infantry with Blasters riding around in Venom's with dual Splinter Cannons. This means that these kinds of lists can produce 180+ poisoned shots and no matter how good your armour is, there is no way you will be able to save all of those!

So my current thoughts are to give him first turn (thus I miss a turn of his shooting) and shoot out anything which can produce a lot of shots (i.e the Venom's). I feel my list is a step in the right direction and out of what I have available is ok, but I'm still expecting to get spanked. Still it's a challenge and that make it fun.

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Necron Rumor Thoughts

So a few more Necron Rumors have been unleashed upon the internet for gamers to digest and think about or moan about. I have been saying to myself since the GW clamp down to try not to regurgitate rumors, so I've started actually saying what I think about them.

So from Bell of Lost Souls we have the following rumors....

"Updated Necron Background
Necrons have now fully awakened. All previously encountered Necrons were "bugs" in the reawakening program and were under the sway of the two rogue C'tan. Now fully awakened, the Necrons are ready for their advancing story arc in the codex. That said, they are effectively "Space Tomb King" with strong parallels in both unit back story and visual appearance linking them to that Warhammer Fantasy army book."

Background to me is quite important as it's one of the reasons why I play these games of toy soldiers (and why I don't play Warmachine as the background doesn't quite do it for me at the moment). In the past the Necron Background has been slightly confusing for many players, as a lot of people just see them as Space Undead but if you read the codex and some of the snippets left around in there (as was the way back in 3rd edition), they actually have quite a good background story! This is quite reassuring that GW has chosen to move the background forwards and that the Necrons have fully awakened (as this will explain why we have new units and wot not). This also links in more with the Fall of Damnos book by Nick Kyme, where the Necrons seemed to have more control over themselves rather than being the minions of the C'tan. I'm quite pleased with this and like where this is taking the story of the race. It also suggests that there are still elements under control of the C'tan or are striving for the by-gone days.

"Updated Scarabs
Fast Attack choice. Three models in base unit at 45 pts, with up to seven more at 15 pts per model. Fearless, Swarms, Beast, Entropic Strike. Four attacks on the charge with 3+ cover save in terrain (which they ignore for movement purposes - like Harlequins) . Entropic Strike is a new rules accessible to several units in the codex. Against infantry on to-wound rolls of 4+, armor saves are ignored (Invulnerable saves allowed). Against vehicles on armor penetration rolls, each die that rolls a 4+, reduces the vehicle's armor by 1 pt on ALL sides for the rest of the game. Vehicles are destroyed when any of its armor values reach 0. "

This is quite interesting and will probably make Scarabs a must have unit looking at these rules (although it will depend on what else lives in the Fast Attack section of the codex). They will be fast due to being Beasts and ignoring cover and that they can reduce armour values of vehicles makes them quite a nice answer to the current mech game we are seeing. I don't think that they will be infantry killers even with their shiney rule of ignoring armour on 4+ to wound roll as I imagine that their other stats won't be that great.

These rumors have actually got me thinking about redoing my necrons and scouring the internet for cheap Destroyers (so I can have a good army now!). What do you think about these rumors?

Friday, 12 August 2011

The Bestest Chaos Marine Army? (probably not)

EDIT - If you are looking for the 2012 Chaos Space Marine Codex Pictures - Go Here ->
So as you've probably been aware, I've been thinking about getting back into Warhammer 40K after a fling with that Square based game and for some reason I keep on getting drawn to Chaos Space Marines. I'm not too sure if it's because of the Horus Heresy series or because they are a bit of a underdog at the moment and only have one really successful type of build (dual lash). So I've done some thinking and I've been wondering about the following list...

1 Chaos Sorcerer (125 pts)
with Mark of Slaanesh & Lash of Submission

1 Chaos Sorcerer (125 pts)
with Mark of Slaanesh & Lash of Submission

8 Chosen (244 pts)
with 5 Meltaguns and riding a Rhino with a Havoc Launcher

8 Khorne Berzerkers (208 pts)
with Skull Champion armed with a Power Fist

5 Chaos Space Marines (135 pts)
with a Meltagun and riding a Rhino with a Havoc Launcher

5 Chaos Space Marines (135 pts)
with a Meltagun and riding a Rhino with a Havoc Launcher

Heavy Support
3 Obliterators (225 pts)

3 Obliterators (225 pts)

1 Land Raider (225 pts)
with a Dirge Caster

Total Cost: 1647

The force is lead by two Sorcerers who basically take the role of dual lash princes. Now some people argue with Space Wolf Rune Priests running around on the board and a lot of the anti-psyker abilities all round, the dual lashes are a liability as they can get shut down quite quickly. My counter argument is that these guys do a lot for the army as it gives me the chance to drag my opponents units around which is very important. Also by being Sorcerers rather than a Daemon Prince lets me put them in Rhinos which gives them some protection and allows them to be moved around quickly.

The rest of the army is designed to basically take out vehicles as I can put a lot of melta shots on the board as well as being mobile thanks to all the transports. The Land Raider transports the Berzerkers who will basically go after juicy targets and try and get my opponents attention. In a way they are expendable as a AV14 vehicle is fairly survivable and 8 Berzerkers is something you need to deal with quickly. The Rhinos act like mini Razorbacks and help out with crowd control as the army does seem to have a weakness against horde style units. Also being Strength 5 allows them to also deal with transports. Finally we have the Obliterators are a Swiss army knife of the army and will be brought down to deal with things which get behind my army or to act bravely and be a distraction.

Whilst the army doesn't have some of the tools of the newer codexes, it fairly flexible and aggressive which I think suits my play style perfectly. However it's pretty much close to what I would like to do however I can't help but feel I may be missing something. What do you think?

Thursday, 11 August 2011

The 40K Rumour & Gossip Mill - Please have Salt

So after something almost highbrow with my last post, I think it's time for some juicy gossip and rumour mongering. These are most likely not true or have a very small grain of truth engrained in them, but it's fun to talk about anyway. So all of these has come from The Bell of Lost Souls, which has in turn plucked the most juiciest/almost true from their forums.

"Oh by the way, Chaos Legions by March 1012 and 6th edition by October 2012, which will feature Eldar as the poster child. Heavy Xenos influence for 6th edition, including the long-awaited Tau update."

So we've got quite a few rumours here. The Chaos Legions one is something that has been bouncing around for years as Jervis has made comments in the past it's something they could do to rebalance the fact that Codex Chaos Space Marines upset a lot of people. There has also been a lot of rumours recently that GW will be releasing this some point next year. This I think is most likely true but I'm not sure about the dates. Gav and Alessio have said multiple times that they probably went a bit too far with the Chaos Space Marine codex in their efforts to simplify it. There has been talk of the Chaos Legions being like a 'plug in' list from White Dwarf, however I can see it more likely being either a test codex in White Dwarf or a get you by add-on.

Now we also see the rumour about 6th edition in October 2012. Now personally I would have said that this is rubbish, however with the Hobbit film coming out towards the end of next year, GW may pushed 6th edition forwards in an effort to help cater for their Hobbit tie in game.

Xenos being pushed a lot and Eldar being the poster child of 6th edition? Maybe. Personally, I'm not sold as Space Marines sell a lot for GW and I can see the guys at the top being reluctant to change this. Strictly speaking there should be more effort to push xenos lines as it can get a bit dull watching the civil wars on a lot of tables, but I just don't see how GW can do it apart from making them really good. I think the 6th edition box set could be cool but I would expect to see Space Marines in it no matter what. The Tau update should be interesting as I think GW have struggled showing that the nice guys of 40k aren't actually that nice.

"Matt Ward? Gone. Don't expect him to be writing any more Codices. His baby was 5th edition, and now that 5th edition is up, Ward is done. Board Members for GW? 3 of the old geezers gone. Company-wide changes. Everything since Tyranids? Made for 6th edition."

Some very juicy rumours here. So juicy, you can bottle it and sell it as rumour juice. Matt Ward for many people is the Anti-Christ. Personally I think he's a nice guy who just seems to struggle with writing his background fluff (I mean have you read the Grey Knight codex!). His rules seem powerful but all of the books he has written seem to be balanced against each other. This is a interesting rumour as it suggests that he has left the company. Personally I think he's been dragged off to work on the Hobbit game as he has many years of experience working upon the Lord of the Rings range for GW.

Change of Board Members and company-wide changes is sending my spidey sense tingling. It's often common place for board members in a company to change every other week (or so it seems), as they are moved onto new projects, fancy a new job or are retiring. GW is a company which seems to have had a mostly static board and many gamers argue this is the reason why 'X' is expensive and 'Y' group of customers are annoyed. Personally I think GW has done a good job over recent years with the company considering we have had global recession and that the hobby is a niche market. However I do feel that they do seem a bit backwards in thinking as I feel the company could stagnate in the future. Companywide changes have been happening for years (GW have been trying to reduce costs to save money), so not to worried about this. Also I doubt everything since the Tyranids was 'designed' for 6th edition considering that it was the first 5th edition codex. I suspect this means it will work fine in 6th edition but I do have a feeling we will see a series of FAQs like GW did for Warhammer.

"Speaking of 6th edition again, the main rulebook that comes out is supposed to be 'the book to rule all books'. It'll have ways to include Superheavies and rules for Fliers in regular games, and should errata a lot of rules in Apocalypse, past FAQ's, and past Codices to make it all fit together."

Quite simply there is a nugget of truth here. GW has been pushing for cool rulebooks for a few years now and I expect to see something similar to what we've had in the past. I doubt that it will have everything in it as they need to leave scope for expansions in the future but I think it will be a nice rule book.

So these rumours may or may not be true, but that's what I think about them. What do you think?

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Being Aggressive in 40K

I suppose it's a bit ironic at the moment that I'm going to be discussing being aggressive in 40K considering what is happening in the UK. But rather than moaning about society and the idiots which have shown up the UK to the world, I shall talk about more important things - Toy soldiers.

The reason this article has come around is because I'm off to a 40K Team tournament later this year and I got into a discussion with our team captain about what kind of player I am. Now I've always assumed I'm a flexible player who is just as happy defending as attacking, although my experiences over the Midlands Open has shown me other wise. After reviewing how I played, I think I'm naturally an aggressive player and find aggressive style lists easier to play. So when I mentioned this to our team captain, he suggested that I pick up Blood Angels. Now the Blood Angels are a very good close combat list and give players lots of bonuses if they want to fight lots of close combats, however when I think of 40K and being aggressive, I do not just think of getting into combat. To me, being aggressive is being able to control the board and using elements of your army to herd your opponents troops into areas which they will find difficult to operate in.

The Aggressive Unit

When I think of the aggressive 40K unit I think of a unit which has ability to produce a lot of attacks either through shooting or via close combat (or both!), a weapon which will cause damage to Vehicles or Monstrous Creatures, and a Transport or ability to move around the board quickly.

Personally I think a good example of this type of unit is a 5 man Grey Hunter Squad in a Razorback. Most players will agree that this kind of Grey Hunters unit is probably the best unit in the Space Wolves codex as well as the game. The unit is flexible and is just as good shooting things as it is fighting in close combat. The bolters allow it to pump out a lot of shots and being equipped with close combat weapons and bolt pistols allow them to cause a lot of damage in close combat. They also have the counter attack ability which allows you to increase attacks if you are charged making them just as good assaulting or being assaulted. You can give the unit a Meltagun to help it against Tanks or big beasties and being transported around in a Razorback gives them the moveability and range to get around the board quickly (plus the Heavy Bolters are good at killing horde units or taking out light transports).

Other aggressive units can be Dark Eldar Warriors with a Blaster and transported in a Raider, a unit of Chaos Havoc marines with multiple meltaguns and riding in a Rhino with a Havoc Launcher, and other similar units. Having a transport is the key to making these units so good and aggressive. You also need to make sure you can support these units either with other similar units or long range fire.

Countering Aggressive Units

So we've looked at what is an aggressive unit but we need a way of countering them. There is basically two ways to prevent these units going around on the board doing what they want. The first is the best method and it's quite simply disable or destroy the transport. Without an transport the aggressive unit is limited to footslogging as they only tend to be effective at 12" (although be aware that there are units who are effective at longer range). This means you limit the unit to a area of the tabletop or force them to spend a few turns running to get into position. The second method is to counter them with your own units but you need to make sure that you fight on your terms rather than your opponents. Key things to remember is how many shots/attacks can you deliver in your counter and what will happen if you engage them. For example if you charge them are you happy to be stuck in combat for a few turns, thus preventing the aggressive unit moving around but this prevents your counter unit doing anything else.

I've only touched upon the subject of Aggressive units but there are so many possibilities and combinations. Let me know your favorite ones!

Saturday, 6 August 2011

Ogre Kingdoms and GW Game Design

So I've started making more time for myself rather than getting distracted with work and real life as I'm supposed to be painting up a Warhammer 40K Space Marine army (no idea what flavour yet). However, I've been reading the GW website and something has popped up that I've decided to write about.

So firstly go and have a look at the GW Games Day Preview and have a look just above the pictures of Jervis and Trish. Done that? Great. So now I can carry on.

The article for those of you who haven't read it (either by being lazy or blocked as you are being naughty and reading this at work), is basically a preview of UK Games Day. It's the usual sort of stuff saying how great it is and it basically mentions that they will be doing a first by letting gamers having a look at the design process and see how a army book or codex starts off as a concept and becomes a finished book with models. Now this is a brilliant idea from GW and it's something they should be doing more often at Games Days as it allows the public to have a glimpse into the wonderful work environment they work in. However, there is a bit in this article which does slightly worry me about the forthcoming Ogre Kingdoms book.

Firstly here's the paragraph which has my spider sense tingling....

‘Well,' Andrew grins. 'If you've seen the inside back cover of this month's issue of White Dwarf (WD379), you'll know that this September we'll be revisiting the Ogre Kingdoms. We have some amazing new miniatures planned for the Ogres (If you can call anything in the Ogre Kingdoms range a 'miniature' - Ed), and a fantastic new army book penned by Jeremy Vetock and Jervis Johnson. I don't want to give too much away as we'll be going into more depth in next month's White Dwarf, but it's packed full to bursting with glorious new artwork, fabulous Citadel miniatures and, of course, fiendish rules.'

Unfortunately this does have me worried about the Ogre book now for the following reasons....

Multiple Authors

Now I accept that some projects need multiple authors, mainly because they are quite big and need more than one person to manage it. Storm of Magic is a great example as we have Matt Ward and Jeremy Vetock as the expansion authors. The book is filled with loads of monsters, spells and magic items but is anchored by a simple concept of a Storm of Magic scenario and it works. I get worried though when it comes to army books as it tends to mean that the original author has moved onto something else and somebody else has had to come in and pick it up. A nice example is the 6th edition Dark Elf army book which was worked upon originally by Tuomas Pirinen who left to become a computer games designer and was picked up by Gav Thorpe. Gav did his best but trying to steer something which half done and it needs to be finished by the end of the weeks is a uphill struggle. Gav did kind of rectify this with the 7th edition Dark Elf book (although he did make it too good). Another example is the Beastman book which had Andy Hoare leaving GW and Phil Kelly having to come in and finish it off. The book has some great ideas but in my opinion does feel like it's been rushed.

Jervis Johnson

He is a great guy and he is really into gaming and having fun, but sometimes he does worry you when he is involved in a project. Jervis is probably the last of the old guard at GW as he's been with the company for years and has been fairly active in game design and is now consider the GW poster boy with his monthly articles in White Dwarf. Jervis has designed some fantastic games over the years with Blood Bowl and Epic Armageddon being top of the list. He comes up with some fantastic ideas and has had a big influence in many of the games we play. But he does have a flaw and it's this that I'm worried about - he likes to tinker. Now tinkering is okay and something we tend to do quite often (house rules), however Jervis seems to do it a lot during development of a product and can take something which works fine and turn it upside down because he's found a different/fun way of doing it. This is fine enough as that's what Games Designers should be doing, but Jervis seems to tinker with perfectly good things for the sake of it. Again, I'm not having a pop at Jervis as such as I do respect him, however he does worry me when he's let loose on something.

Now these two reasons do have me worried about the Ogre book and I hope I'm proved wrong when I get chance to read it. But I am worried.

Friday, 5 August 2011

Return of the Bats

So those of you who have got this months White Dwarf may have noticed something special about it. Not only is there an offical errata about the Power Scroll (you halve the casting value now), but we have some offical units being added to the Vampire Counts army. This is quite big news as GW has made a big effort not to publish rules in White Dwarf and it's by not having these rule updates which has put a lot of people off the mag (I still like it as I like the pictures). So for a start this is a big positive for White Dwarf.

Now to the units themselves, I'm not going to go into massive detail about them but here's a quick summary of my thoughts...

The Terrorgheist

So the big release for the Vamps at the moment. The kit contains parts to make it a Zombie Dragon but I suspect a lot of players will be more interested in the Terrorgheist. Basically it's a big rotting bat, that swoops down upon unsuspecting prey and munches them. And it has stats for being a big beastie as it can fly, causes Terror and has 4 WS3 attacks at Strength 5. It can take the hits as well as it has 6 wounds and has a toughness of 6. Unfortuantly it doesn't have a decent save apart from a 6+ regen save and it doesn't have the option to improve this. It has the special ability called Death Shriek which works in a simular way as a Banchee scream but goes off the Terrorgheist remaining wounds. It can also be upgraded to be Infested (bats escape from it when it dies causing damage) and Rancid Maw (gains Poison). It can also be a mount for a Vampire Lord (if it has Ghoulkin) but I doubt that this will be used much.

I personally quite like this monster as I think it looks nice and has some okay stats. It costs over 200 points and can fly and thunderstomp, so it's something you wouldn't mind having racing down the flanks to support your army. So it sounds great and looks a nice centre piece for an army however I do have some misgivings about it. For a start it has a massive base (100mmx150mm!!!) which can cause headaches if the table gets cluttered as you'll have difficulty fitting him in the areas you want him (flanks) and can make it easier for things to get to him. Secondly it's a big model so I suspect Empire and Dwarf generals to be rubbing their hands together when thinking about their war machines blowing it to bits. Finally it has no way of getting a better save which can make it a bit fragile. I think it would have been nice for GW to give it a 4+ regen save as an upgrade (say 40 points) which may have helped things out.

Wraith and Tomb Banshee

So we also get some new models - a Wraith and Tomb Banshee. GW decided that it would be cool to have these models as characters and it is actually quite a nice idea. I think the general idea was so you could come up with an background for these creatures and add something cool to your list. For example think in regards of the Tomb Banshee, a evil countess (Countess Onatop for example), who has had several husbands but murdered them and some other poor souls in her quest for power. Personally I like this and it adds a bit more flavour to the list. It also gives you the choice of some Etheral units from the Character section instead of the rare, allowing you to take a Terroghiest or Black Coach.

Overall I appauld GW for doing this as it helps a older book become a bit fresher and helps shake things up in the game. I've moaned about the lack of fantasy releases off GW a while ago and I can kind of see why now.

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

How to be Rubbish with Dark Elves at The Midlands Open 2011

So over the weekend just gone, I took part in The Midlands Open and this was my first tournament under the 8th edition of Warhammer. Now I'll be honest, I haven't played much 8th edition and whilst I quite like the rules, I've struggled over the last year to do anything much hobby related bar listen to podcasts and browse forums. This meant that I was going into this tournament as a relative newbie to the game. With 8th edition shaking things up and how effective some units are, I decided that my daemons would struggle a bit in the game as my army was designed as a 7th edition one and as such would struggle against big blocks and wot not. Because of this I asked Luke (the organizer) if I could borrow his Dark Elves and he very kindly said yes. So a few weeks before the event, I played Tanka down the club and got beaten quite soundly and I was praying that this wasn't a sign of things to come.

The list I ended up taking was...

Lvl 4 Death Magic Sorceress with dagger, lifetaker and pendant
Lvl 2 Metal Magic Sorceress with dispel scroll
BSB Hag with Cauldron

23 Spearelves with shields and full command as well as the +1ld banner
2 x 10 crossbows with musician and shields
2 x 5 dark riders with crossbows
2 x 5 shades with extra hand weapons
2 x 17 Black Guard and full command (one unit had the flaming banner and the other had the AP banner)
1 Assassin with Manbane and Rendering Stars
1 Hydra

The general plan is that the shooty stuff shoots stuff and then the fighty stuff fights it. It's a nice list that works well on paper but as I discovered isn't quite as point and click as people may think. Luke assured me that it's a good army and told me a few things I could do with it. A few minutes later I forgot all of this and had to play the army from scratch.

So the day before the event rolls around and I help out setting up the hall, and I play Dan who was helping to run the event with Luke. Dan had his High Elves and we roll up Blood and Glory as the Scenario. Dan's army had a lot of bowmen, couple of swordmaster blocks, a white lion block and was backed up by some eagles, bolters and a high magic mage and bsb. Looking at Dan's army, it could outshoot me so I had to close quickly as I couldn't rely on him coming to me. That part of the plan worked however my dice rolling for saves and combat were quite poor and towards the end of the game it was looking like Dan had won. I managed to get a charge with my Black Guard upon a block of bowmen containing his general and bsb and a banner. Basically if I could kill this unit I would win the game and at this stage I had little choice but not to do it (mainly as I only had two units left!). So I got the Black Guard in and they batter the bowmen and win me the game! I was quite pleased and I was hoping that this was a sign of things to come. Then we roll onto the first day of the event....

Game One - Andy Mooreheart with Wood Elves

When the draw went up a few days before the event, I tried not to get too cocky. Internet Wisdom says that Wood Elves are rubbish, but I have to try to ignore this as I know it's generally wrong. Andy brought a mostly Tree Spirit list of a Ancient, two wizards (think one was a branchwraith and the other had glamourweave), two units of 10 archers with command, 3 units of dryads, 8 Treekin and two treemen. I knew if I could eliminate the Treemen or Treekin I would have the game done and dusted. The scenario was Dawn Attack and the random deployment slightly screwed both of us over but as badly as it could have. My general plan was to sit it out shooting stuff and then counter attack. However I found myself moving things forwards, trying to fight combats (and it didn't help I had a terrible headache and was starting to feel quite ill). Because I made this mistake and picked the wrong combats, Andy was able to take all my toys off and win the game. I had an enjoyable game against Andy (apart from feeling quite sick) but I couldn't help feel that I should have played the game differently (i.e not running at him!)

Game Two - Dan Comeau with Vampire Counts

After lunch we had game two which was Blood and Glory. During lunch I managed to stagger over to the local Asda and pick up some water and tablets and I was starting to feel a bit better. Dan brought the standard VC style list of a Lord, Wright BSB, couple of Necromancers, three ghoul blocks, a massive Grave Guard block with command, a coach and unit of wraiths. As this was Blood and Glory, Dan was already in a bad position as his army only had a fortitude of 4 compared to 6 for my (Dan admitted that he forgot about the scenarios). So I had to either kill his lord or take out the BSB and Grave Guard to win. In hindsight I should have spotted how this game was going to roll out and I should have taken the draw. However I hadn't played in ages and I was quite excited about playing somebody new and completely forgot this. Dan playing on a regular basis knew what to do and deployed his Grave Guard at the back surrounded by ghouls. His army then stayed in his deployment zone all game. I rushed forwards cast a few spells and blew my lvl 4 up. Dan then used the coach to take out some chaff units and the hydra and won the game on victory points. Dan apologized for the way he played but I didn't have a issue as he played it right. I think next time I would take the draw and then play a normal game against him during the round.

Game Three - Stevyn Pritchett with Dark Elves

Last game of day one had me facing my mate Stevyn. As per usual when I go to a tournament with mates, I usually end up facing them around game three. This was Stevyn's first two day tournament and he said it was quite a eye opener for him as he didn't realize how good some of the players were (hence why he was playing me). The scenario was Battle for the Pass and Stevyn had Lvl4 with Shadow, Lvl2 with Fire, Hag BSB on Cauldron, 2 x 10 crossbows, unit of Dark Riders, 2 x 20 Spearelves, 2 x 20 Black Guard, a unit of Witch Elves and a Hydra. So he had a more combaty version of my list. Again I got all excited and ignored the fact that I should have deployed right back and let him waste a few turns coming to me, whilst I shot at him and magic stuff. As I hadn't played him in ages we had a normal game where we both charged each other. Stevyn came out on top and I racked up another loss.

Game Four - Patrick O'Sullivan with Tomb Kings

After a good nights sleep, I felt all refreshed and ready for the day. The scenario was Meeting Engagement and I had already worked out my plan would be to stay still and shoot and back away if I could. I should have been facing Shaun Mitchell with Warriors Of Chaos, but he didn't turn up on the second day so I ended up facing Patrick. His Tomb King army was basically a lvl4, lvl1, BSB, couple of skellie blocks, couple of bow blocks, a unit of chariots, two warsphinxes, a scorpion and a Necrosphinx, two catapults and casket. Quite a nasty looking list and I knew the game would centre around taking out the big stuff. Being unusually focused while I deployed, I was able to make sure I wasn't too close and I had room to move backwards. I assume that Patrick was worried about what my army could do and deployed in a similar way but had his big monsters as far forwards as he could. The game was basically me magicing off his Warsphinxes and shooting. I managed to reduce his chariots down to one model with my shades, who then got charged by the chariot. They lost the combat and the chariot went off the board. I then moved the other unit of shades, Dark Riders and Crossbows to the re-entry point to try and stop it coming back on. They would then form a firebase and pepper the Necrosphinx until I had chance to deal with it. With everything going so well, something had to go wrong and my lvl4 miscast and got sucked into the Chaos Wastes! The game was basically me shooting some wounds off the Necrosphinx, loosing combats to it and then managing to have a last ditched attempt at killing it with a unit of Crossbowmen in combat with it. All I needed was a six to wound and Patrick to fail his save and it would drag the game back to a win for me. Of course I manage to wound it but Patrick rolls a six for his save and the game end there. This was probably my most enjoyable game over the weekend, mainly because it was so close.

Game Five - Steve Knight with Beastmen

So last game of the event and I face Steve with his first outing with Beastmen. His army was a lvl4, couple of lvl 2, a Beastlord and a BSB, couple of big blocks of gors, mini block of gors, couple of units of hounds, couple of chariots, harpies, razorgor and a giant. With the game being Battle Line, I knew he would have to come to me and I would just have to shoot, shoot and shoot. I think my brain must have gone for a walk during this game as I deployed a bit too far forwards than I should have and for some reason kept on thinking about 7th edition rules for combat where you didn't have supportive attacks. It didn't help that my lvl 4 miscast a few times as well and managed to kill both herself and the lvl 2. Because I had little experience dealing with massive horde units, I just didn't know what to do and ended up loosing one of the Black Guard through a ill thought out charge (as I thought Black Guard could kill anything!). Things were looking bleak for me but I managed to get a charge with the Spearelves and other Black Guard unit on his other horde block and smashed them to bits. This left Steve with limited magic support as he lost his lvl4 in the block and put me in a good position to claw some points back. Unfortunately this was turn 6 and it was the end of the game. Another fun game and I certainly learnt some lessons!

In the end I came 89th out of 92 which most people would consider as being really bad. But I hadn't practiced for the event and I wasn't expecting to do very well. I did however discover that GW dice are rubbish and big chunky dice are the future, and that aggressive armies seem to suit my playstyle compared to these magic/shooty dancey ones that some of the top players like to use. Not too sure when my next event will be but I will be going to the next Midlands Open!