Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Making a new army from models I already own

Here's a little sneak peek of my latest project: Chaos Daemons!

I realized that I had ten Flamers and five Horrors sitting around, being "lesser daemons" in my Chaos Space Marines army. Then it occurred to me: Why not build a small Daemon force?

Horrors
All I really needed was some more troops, so I've bought five more Horrors. They are weak, but can dish out the pain at range like few others.

Flamers of Tzeentch
Seeing as my brother bought these Flamers for the previous editions of both Warhammer 40k and the Chaos Space Marines codex, I have no qualms in bringing this unit of pure awesome to the battlefield. If what I've read is correct, they will melt away just about any unit in the game.

Ahriman
This guy will be leading them, a herald of Tzeentch on disc. I originally painted him up for my Tzeentchian Blood Bowl team, but he fits perfectly in this Daemon force too. He can shoot pretty hard, and target multiple units each turn. Not too good in close combat, though.

As of now, I can field just about 500 points of painted minis. All I did was add five new models to my collection, and presto, I have a new army!

On a personal note:
Phew, having a blog can be a lot of work! I have a lot of content that just need to be edited and published, but I just can't seem to find the time. The last few weeks, I've been mostly just painting miniatures and having a good time. Ah, the simple joys in life :)

Monday, November 09, 2009

40k Tournament Report: 500 pts Doubles

Yesterday I hosted a 500 points doubles tournament at Oslo Miniature Games Club.

There were no restrictions on which races that could team up, so Imperial Guard would fight alongside Tyranids and Necrons alongside Space Wolves.

Special rules:
  • No 2+ saves
  • Max 2 wounds per model
  • Max 33 armour (Front+Side+Rear)
We played three games from the rulebook:
  1. Annihilation / Dawn of War
  2. Seize Ground / Spearhead
  3. Capture & Control / Pitched Battle
In the end, only one team had won all three games.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Warhammer 40k Video Battle Report: Space Wolves vs Necrons

I'm hosting a 500 point doubles tournament next sunday, and Norau is attending. He wanted to test out a list he is considering, and I was more than happy to play him.

I hadn't fielded my Necrons in some time, so the tin cans took went forth once more. For this game, we decided that Phase Out would not apply.



Tuesday, October 06, 2009

New guy at the club: Sawyer

This Sunday, I went to Oslo Miniature Games Club, looking for a game of Warhammer 40k. In my last post, I wrote a battle report from the game I played, but I also met a guy I hadn't met before. His name is Sawyer, and he has a great-looking Traitor Guard army! Check out these pictures I took (click the pictures for insane macro mode):


Note the empty ammo drum and the scratch-built empty casings next to the Autocannon. Awesome stuff!



Sawyer's next project for this army is a squad of Renegade Ogryns. Can't wait to see'em, can't wait to play'em! Bring it, man! ;)

Monday, October 05, 2009

Warhammer 40k battle report: Tyranids vs Orks

The Hive Mind barely registered the fungus-creatures hiding in the ruined human city. This world had fallen long ago, just as all other worlds had, as hive fleet Kraken had spread its tendrils. Why were they still resisting the inevitable?

In the end, it did not matter. They would all be eaten. It was simply a matter of time.

500 points combat patrol
In a month, we're going to have a 500 point doubles tournament, using the 40k in 40 minutes rules. For those unfamiliar to these rules, they are:
  • No 2+ saves
  • Max 2 wounds per model
  • Max 33 in total armour on vehicles
  • Min 1 Troop, no other Force Organization Chart requirements
I'm one of the organizers of the tournament, and went to Oslo Miniature Gaming Club this Sunday to spread the word and possibly get more attendees.

I met a guy I haven't played in over a year, and we decided to play a 500 point game using the rules outlined above.

My list:
  • 4 Tyranid Warriors - Wings, Adrenal Glands (+WS), Adrenal Glands (+I), Toxin Sacs (+S), Rending Claws, Scything Talons, Flesh Hooks (192)
  • 16 Hormagaunts - Adrenal Glands (+WS), Toxin Sacs (+S), Flesh Hooks (224)
  • 12 Gaunts - Devourers (84)

His list (from what I remember):
  • Weirdboy
  • 14 Slugga Boyz - Nob w/Power Klaw, Big Shoota
  • 14 Slugga Boyz - Nob w/Power Klaw, Big Shoota
  • 12 Slugga Boyz - Nob w/Power Klaw, Big Shoota, Trukk w/Reinforced Ram
Wow, the Tyranids were outnumbered! Fortunately, I knew that my units were both faster and hit harder in close combat. All I had to do was hit his units one at a time, and deny him the charge. Easy!

Deployment
We rolled for mission and deployment and got Capture & Control and Dawn of war. This meant that my precious Warriors would be off-table first turn. Crap. If he managed to kill enough Gaunts, they would probably run off the table without any Synapse nearby. He took first turn and deployed in such a way that he was controlling two of the four objectives. I deployed my Gaunts and Hormagaunts far back, behind cover. Fortunately, the units were large, and Ork shooting isn't very accurate.

Turn 1
I failed seizing the initiative, and he started his turn. The Trukk boyz came up the board at full speed, and the two other boyz units shot their Big Shootas on the Devourergaunts. Only one of them hit and wounded, and I passed the cover save. Phew!

In my turn, the Hormagaunts pushed forward, ran 4" and charged the nearest Boyz, wiping them and the Weirdboy out to a man. Hormagaunts are Ace! The Gaunts and Warriors kept up, moving up the board.

Turn 2
Shocked by the carnage, the Orks were initially reluctant to engage. The Trukk Boyz drove to a better position, blasting away. A Tyranid Warrior lost a wound, and I lost a single Hormagaunt.

The Tyranids shuffled about, making sure that they were in a good position to charge next turn.

Turn 3
The Trukk Boyz drove up 13" and jumped out, perhaps hoping for a fight. They were an inch too far away, but their shooting killed a Tyranid Warrior.

The Tyranids were going for bust! The Hormagaunts charged the large unit of Ork Boyz, while the Warriors charged the Trukk Boyz, after the Gaunts had shot them up a bit. As there were only 8 Boyz left, the Warriors were confident of victory (12 attacks, hitting on 3s, wounding on 3s, 6+ save).

As expected, the Hormagaunts killed the entire unit of Boyz, taking a couple of casualties themselves. However, the Tyranid Warriors completely fluffed their charge, only killing 3 boyz! The 3 boyz and Nob still standing then wiped out the Warriors! Disaster!

Turn 4
The Trukk turned and tank shocked the Hormagaunts, which promptly fled the scene. Without synapse, the Tyranids were in complete disarray!

The four Orks left charged the Gaunts, killing a few and forcing them to flee.

Game end - Ork victory!
With no forces left, the Hive Mind had to accept defeat this time. It was the single round of combat with the Tyranid Warriors that made all the difference. On average, they would have wiped the Boyz out to a boy, but alas, It wasn't to be. Without synapse, the Tyranids were completely useless and lost very quickly.

The battlefield was suddenly blurred and distant for the Hive Mind. The Synapse creatures had perished. No matter, the planet was soon to be digested anyway. The Orks had won this battle, but the war was already decided. The fungus would be valuable bio-matter for the coming onslaught of the Imperium of Man.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

5th ed compatible tournament terrain project

When 5th edition hit, Norau and I were relatively unaffected by the dreaded true LOS (Line Of Sight) rules. We had always used terrain pieces that were high enough to block LOS to most things. Granted, C'Tan and Land Raiders were hard to hide, but we didn't see this as a problem.

My buddy Briefspite, however, actually dumped 40k for a period of time because of "true LOL", as he calls it. I see his arguments, but my counterpoint was always that the terrain should be used to provide not only cover, but block LOS completely. In my opinion, no 40k board has enough LOS-blocking terrrain if a unit can have complete view of the battlefield.

Norau and I were using fairly large hills to achieve this. Briefspite has a lot of city terrain, that he wants to use for tournaments (after grudgingly admitting that 40k is fun after all, even with true LOS). To achieve "5th edition compliant" ruins, LOS had to be blocked. Not only for the little guys, but also for Carnifexes, Land Raiders and Defilers.

Today, we painted up the first building to a good gaming standard. This building blocks LOS in almost every direction. If you hold this building, you can get good firing positions if you want, or hide safely inside if that's your cup of tea.

Note that all the pieces for the ground floor are completely blocking LOS. We think that this will force players to use this tactically. Gunline armies are all great fun for about five minutes, but it takes the small gribblies, the guardsmen, the Fire Warriors and similar infantry-sized models to really shine here, in an environment where tanks cannot move, and Lascannons cannot get LOS to the target.

video
Our first building painted up.

How much terrain do you guys normally play with? Have you changed the way you use terrain after 5th edition was released, or have you just changed your armies?

Friday, September 25, 2009

Why use a suboptimal unit build?

Thousand Sons
I often discuss unit efficacy with my 40k friends. We choose a unit, and try to come up with the most optimal way to kit it out for a plethora of hypothetical situations.

This is a great way of coming up with a good loadout or role for a unit that can operate effectively while isolated and/or unsupported on the battlefield. For example Terminators, Land Speeders, Falcons, Hammerheads, Tau Battlesuits, Daemon Princes, and so on. However, when it comes to selecting an entire army, a collection of individually excellent units can be a mixed blessing. Even if these units are great at what they do, the synergy of the army may be hurt in the process.

A great example of this line of thought is the meltagun. It is widely renowned as the most cost-effective anti-tank weapon in the game. Taking all meltaguns must be the way to go, then? No. The meltagun is only effective if you can get it into range of enemy armour. If you don't have a single lascannon in your army, you're giving the enemy the freedom to move his vehicles outside the range of your meltas. Letting the enemy move freely around the board is a sure-fire way to lose the game in Warhammer 40k.

Another example is the guys in the picture up top. Thousand Sons are a peculiar bunch, and I've often seen tacticas on the web, telling everyone that the Doombolt is the only power one should give the Aspiring Champion. However, even if the power neatly matches the rest of the unit's shooting, one of the things I often lack in my Chaos armies are mid-range anti-tank. Something that fits neatly between the Lascannons on my Land Raider and the meltaguns on my Chaos Marines, is the awesome power of the Bolt of Change. Even though the unit of Thousand Sons themselves benefit more from the Doombolt, the army as a whole will benefit more from the Bolt of Change.

To emphasise my point; even if the Land Speeder with Multi-Melta is the greatest thing since Rending was on to-hit, if your army has enough mobile anti-tank, you should consider the Typhoon instead. Even if it is less cost-effective on its own, your army may benefit way more from an "inferior unit" than the optimized build.

What do you guys think? Are you always checking the internet for the latest optimized build of single units, or are you experimenting with which combinations of units works and which doesn't?

Monday, September 21, 2009

Video Battle Report: Chaos Space Marines vs Tyranids

After losing to Briefspite in the last battle of the Invasion tournament, I was looking forward to a rematch. Well, not a rematch per se, because this time I would bring my Chaos Space Marines to the battlefield.

We rolled randomly for mission and deployment, and got Annihilation (Kill points) and Pitched Battle (deploy up to 12" from the board edge).

My list:
2 Khorne Daemon Princes with wings
5 Thousand Sons in a Rhino
8 Khorne Berzerkers in a Rhino
14 Lesser Daemons
10 Chaos Space Marines
Land Raider

His list:
Hive Tyrant (shooty) with 2 Tyrant Guard
Broodlord with Genestealer retinue
Dakkafex (twin devourers)
Lictor
3x8 Gaunts
2x6 Genestealers
2xSniperfex (Venom cannon & barbed strangler)

My plan
Exploit outflanking Genestealers and race up the center of the board. If I could get into close combat before the Genestealers got into the fight, I would be using my 1500 points to attack his 1100 points. Add to this that my forces were very close combat oriented, whereas his were not, I would just have to get there to get a big advantage.

Deployment
He gave me the choice of table edge, and I set up with some mobile forces on the edges. I hoped this would make him put all his stealers in outflanking reserves. Unfortunately for me, he didn't. The Broodlord and 'stealer retinue was right in the middle. Crap...

In addition to this, he seized the initiative! I had not deployed in anticipation of this, so I was expecting a pretty brutal end to my mobile infantry forces. Watch the video battle report below to see how the game progressed.



Music from www.freeplaymusic.com

Monday, September 14, 2009

Tournament report: Invasion 2009

Invasion 2009 was a blast! 5 brilliant games against friendly and sporting opponents.

Game 1
I played last year's winner. Last year, he played Sisters of battle, and this year he was playing Space Wolves. Logan Grimnar, a Wolf Priest and a Venerable Dreadnought, combined with 20 Blood Claws, 10 Gray Hunters and a Dread made me fear a big close combat.

The deployment was Pitched Battle (table quarters). I placed everything in reserve, and he did not. Unfortunately for him, he didn't know that my reserves could enter from my entire table edge, not only the corner. This allowed me to get all my meltaguns in range of his two Dreadnoughts, killing them and immobilizing a Predator Annihilator in turn 2. From here on, it was a simple matter of shooting up the rest of his forces from a safe distance, and take objectives for the win.

Game 2
In the second game of the day, I played Trond from Team Stormbolter and his Biel-Tan Eldar. I have played Trond's Eldar twice before, and both times he's beaten me thoroughly. I was pretty sure this time would be no different, as he deployed two Fire Prisms, a Falcon (with Fire Dragons), two Wave Serpents with Brightlances one unit of Warp Spiders and two units of Pathfinders.

The mission was to control more objective markers, of which there were three on the board's center line. With this in mind, I noted that he had few Troops choices and focussed on taking his long range firepower and his mobility. This went far better than I had expected, and in just two turns I had destroyed both Fire Prisms (which had both Holo Fields and Spirit Stones) and the Dire Avenger's Wave serpent. The rest of the game was a pretty one-sided affair, and the Witch Hunters grabbed first place in the tournament.

Game 3
Enter Kenneth's Imperial Guard. Kenneth believes in mono-themed lists, having played a Necron phalanx with two or three Monoliths or all-terminator Dark Angels in previous tournaments we have both attended. This time he brought a min-maxed list that went something like this: Company Command in Chimera, Two minimal platoons with all units in Chimeras, 2 Devil Dogs, 2 Demolishers, 1 Leman Russ with Plasma Cannon sponsons. All guys that could had either a Meltagun or a Flamer.

No disrespect to Kenneth, but that is a boring list (effective, though)

We played on a board where hiding things were almost impossible. The mission was Kill Points. I decided that I was not in any shape to try to win, so I bunkered up in a corner and tried to use my Lascannons and Exorcists to snipe tanks. Unfortunately, I rolled pretty poorly and either failed to hit, penetrate or do permanent damage to his Chimeras and Devil Dogs, which were my main targets. We played to turn 6, and it was then clear that he had won with 4 KPs to my 1 KP.

Game 4
The second day of Invasion 2009 saw me a little down on the rankings, but I was still a contender for a pretty good position.

The fourth game was against Thomas' Tau Empire. His list was a mobile cadre (Shas'El, 2 Hammerheads, 2 Devilfishes, 6 Stealth Suits) with a solid firebase (3 Broadsides, Fire Warriors). The mission was 2 objective markers, which we both placed in opposite corners. The entire battle would be played at night, so the Night Fight rule would apply. "Great", I thought as I read his army list. He had Blacksun Filters on both Hammerheads, so he would be able to spot me long before I'd reach his lines.

I considered bunkering up and hiding from the Railguns and Markerlights, but decided to go for broke. I'd already lost one game, and if I kept this up, I wouldn't be able to reach my goal of placing in the top 10. I deployed aggressively, hiding as much as I could behind the Land Raider and a centrally placed building.

Fortunately for me, both his Broadsides and Pathfinders failed to spot anything first turn, and his Hammerheads either missed, or I made my cover saves. Driving forward, all my long range weaponry shot at his Hammerheads, spotting them with ease. One Hammerhead got blown up, severely reducing the strength of his flank attack.

The rest of the game, he was on the defensive, reversing towards his objective. I pushed on, but was unable to quite get to it. Those three Broadsides (all with Drone Controllers and Shield Drones) were a great deterrent to my advance, and his defence held. I had destroyed almost everything in his army, but it was not enough. The game ended in a draw. Fortunately, I made both my secondary and tertiary objective and got enough points to get me up a few places on the rankings.

Game 5
The final game of Invasion 2009 was a strange one. Our deployment zones was 24" in from the short table edges, with a 24" no mans land and six objective markers in the middle.

My opponent for this game was none other than my buddy Briefspite. Check out his 40k blog over at briefspite.blogspot.com. He was playing his balanced Tyranids, with both big bugs (4 Carnifexes and a Flyrant), medium bugs (Lictor, Warriors, Broodlord with Genestealers) and small gribblies (4 units of Gaunts with without number).

I gave him first turn, hoping for some turn 5 shenanigans, stealing some objectives at the last moment.

The game was a real nail-biter, especially because of his three units of scuttling Genestealers, which would possibly Outflank behind my tank line. I put shot after shot into his Sniperfexes, but he kept passing about 75 % of his cover saves. That's one of the few problems I have with 5th edition; stuff dies too quickly out of cover, and lives too long when in cover.

I killed only one Carnifex in the first two rounds, and failed royally in handling the single unit of Genestealers that outflanked behind my lines. Not only did they kill an Exorcist outright, they even lived through a turn of me shooting everything I had into them!

In the end, we got to turn 5, with him holding 5 of 6 objectives. I went through with my plan, even though I wouldn't gain any points from it. I raced one of my Chimeras and one Rhino up to the closest objective markers, contesting two of them. I then rolled for game end, and got a 2. Game end, and only a minor loss for me.

Closing thoughts
I finished 7th, and my buddy Briefspite got 2nd place. I had a great time and five exciting games. I'm already looking forward to next year, and have started thinking about which army I would like to play.

I shot some video, which I will post when I've finished editing it. More to come :)

Friday, September 11, 2009

First tournament in over a year!

This weekend, I'm attending the tournament "Invasion" i Kristiansand, Norway.

I'm not bringing a very powerful army, and you'll not be finding this list on Warseer anytime soon, if you know what I mean. I'm a little tired of the guys bringing the latest internet list and doing well, not because they are stellar players, but because the list is very, very powerful.

This time, I thought I'd aim for the lower tables, where the not-so-powerful armies and not-so-competitive opponents are. Hopefully, I'll play someone I haven't met before.

Check out www.invasion.no for more on the tournament.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Review: Blood Bowl on the Nintendo DS

Let me be perfectly clear, I love Blood Bowl. I've played this game of fantasy football for over 10 years on the tabletop, and have tried both Fumbbl and the first PC game from 1995.

When French producer Cyanide announced that they were going to make a new version of this amazing game, I was ecstatic. My eagerness to play this game reached new heights when they announced that it was going to be released on the Nintendo DS.

The game is set for a September release, but I managed to get a copy from Amazon.fr in July. When I got the game in the mail, I excitedly opened the package and popped the cartridge into my DS. The first thing that hit me was how dark and gritty the game was. From the screenshots, it looks like the graphics are crisp and clear. Unfortunately, these screenshot were taken from a DS Emulator, and are not the least bit similar to what awaits the player.

Graphics
Cyanide went for a 3D-isometric representation of the Blood Bowl pitch. The players are pre-rendered 3D-animations, similar to the horrible DS game "Treasure Planet". The problem here is the resolution on the DS. The animations seem too scaled down from the original rendering. Stray pixels here and there really puts me off and feels irritating. Couldn't they be bothered to touch up the animations more?

The screen is dark. The dark browns, greens and greys makes it almost impossible to see what's going on. I've had to play Blood Bowl on the DS at home, with the curtains closed. The problem lies in the contrast levels. The DS screen isn't very big or bright, and it doesn't do contrasts well. The game developers need to overstate graphical contrasts on the DS to make things visible in normal lighting conditions. Cyanide didn't.

UPDATE: Since writing this review, I've been told that the DS Lite and DSi screens are much brighter than my 1st generation DS. I guess the game performs better on the newer systems, but I haven't yet had the opportunity to check it out myself.

I can't help to feel that hiring some classic pixel-animators would have been a better decision than hiring 3D animators. 3D just doesn't work too well on the DS, and Blood Bowl suffers in this regard.

Gameplay
I've played Blood Bowl for many years, so I started a league on "Veteran" difficulty. The only other difficulty is "Rookie", so that was right out. After winning my first match 3-0, I wasn't very impressed with the AI. After ten matches, the AI had scored a total of 2 touchdowns, whereas I was winning with 4 or more on a regular basis. Star Player Points were coming in by the bucket load, and my Team Rating quickly passed 200.

I was wondering why the AI didn't do better. In fact, it seemed to be getting worse every game! Then it hit me: The AI wasn't selecting good skills! Every time a player got a skill increase, the AI would give it Strip Ball. The next skill was Pass Block. This was true for almost every team I played against!

Never once did I see that the AI had selected Block or Tackle or Dodge for its key players. Sure, Strip Ball can be good, but on all players on the team? No.



Sometimes, the AI gets stumped on what to do next. Several times, I've had to wait over two minutes before it starts moving. Other times, especially with few players on the pitch, it doesn't do anything! Suffice to say, it's not much of a challenge.

And then it crashed!
Several times, after scoring a touchdown, the game has frozen when I try to set up my team on the pitch. This can be acceptable for a little while on a PC release, but it's not as if I'm getting a patch for the DS any time soon, is it? No, of course it isn't.


Fumbbl-bowl would have been a much better graphical representation on the DS
How it could've been
I still don't understand why French producer Cyanide couldn't have made the graphics more basic and fitting for the DS. The graphics demonstrated on Fumbbl is, in my opinion, perfect for the DS. It is cartoon-like, the colours have a high contrast and it is easy to see what's going on.

What do you think of Blood Bowl on the DS? Have you had a different experience regarding the graphics or gameplay? Please let me know in the comment section!

In conclusion I rate Blood Bowl on the Nintendo DS, a

(yeah, you know what
that means, people!)

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Video Battle Report: Ulthwe vs Tau

I've gotten some request for speaking English in my Battle Reports, and this is my first attempt in doing so. Please note that English is not my primary language, so be nice :)

Please let me know what you think about this Battle Report format, especially compared to my other Video Battle Reports.




For this Battle Report, I fielded my Ulthwe once more against my buddy Norau's Tau army. We played a mission from an upcoming tournament.

Alpha mission: Objectives
If both players claim an equal number of objectives, they both get 8 Battle Points
If one player claims 1 more objective, he gets 10 Battle Points, whereas his opponent gets 6
If one player claims 2 more objectives, he gets 12 Battle Points, whereas his opponent gets 4
If one player claims 3 more objective, he gets 14 Battle Points, whereas his opponent gets 2
If one player claims 4+ more objectives, he gets 16 Battle Points, whereas his opponent gets 0

Beta Mission: Quadrants
A player that has 1-3 units (scoring or otherwise) in either quadrant that were not used as Deployment Zones, that player earns 1 Battle Point
If a player has 4 or more units in these quadrants, this player gets 4 Battle Points

Gamma Mission: Enemy Leader
The player that kills or routs the enemy HQ unit with the highest points value gets 2 Battle Points.

Check out www.invasion.no for more on the Invasion tournament.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Scorpion style Defiler conversion

The first time I saw the Brass Scorpion conversion, I was amazed. The Defiler kit in itself is pretty cool, but the scorpion form was just so much cooler the the original!

A few months back I surfed the net, searching for cool Defiler conversions for my army, and came over a conversion using a Dark Eldar Raider and one-and-a-half Defiler as a Scorpion style Defiler.

I thought: "I've got to have one of those!" Unfortunately, the conversion requires two kits to make one, so I went out and bought three. This gives me enough parts for two conversions, and as I've said before; two Defilers are four times better than one.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Some Ulthwe tips for a reader

A while back, I met a fellow Ulthwe enthusiast at Oslo Miniature Games Club. He was in the process of fleshing out his army, and has some questions in that regard. For your reading pleasure, I've decided to post response here.

Viktor said:
Hi!

I've started painting my Eldar guys, but I haven't a clue what to give the infantry and vehicles.

Which weapons should i give my Dire Avenger Exarch? What about the weapon platforms for the Guardian squads?

I want a Seer Council with a couple of Warlocks, and one Warlock in each Guardian squad. How should I kit them out?

I've written my list below. Should I make any changes to it? DO you have any tips on which weapons I should take?

HQ:
Seer Council 388 pts
Farseer: Witchblade, Shuriken Pistol, Ghosthelm, Runes of Witnessing, Fortune
Farseer: Witchblade, Shuriken Pistol, Runes of Witnessing, Guide
Farseer: Witchblade, Shuriken Pistol, Ghosthelm, Runes of Witnessing, Guide, Mind War
Warlock: Close Combat Weapon, Shuriken Pistol, Augment, Runes of Witnessing
Warlock: Close Combat Weapon, Shuriken Pistol, Augment, Runes of Witnessing
Warlock: Close Combat Weapon, Shuriken Pistol, Embolden
Warlock: Close Combat Weapon, Shuriken Pistol, Enhance
Warlock: Close Combat Weapon, Shuriken Pistol
Warlock: Close Combat Weapon, Shuriken Pistol

Elite:
8 Warp Spiders 176 pts

Troops:
Guardian Defender Squad: 168 pts
10 Guardians
2 Crewmen and Eldar Missile Launcher
Warlock: Close Combat Weapon, Shuriken Pistol, Conceal

Guardian Defender Squad: 168 pts
10 Guardians
2 Crewmen and Eldar Missile Launcher
Warlock: Close Combat Weapon, Shuriken Pistol, Conceal

Guardian Defender Squad: 163 pts
10 Guardians
2 Crewmen and Star Cannon
Warlock: Close Combat Weapon, Shuriken Pistol, Conceal

5 Rangers 95 pts

Fast Attack:
1 Vyper with Bright Lance 65 pts
1 Vyper with Bright Lance 65 pts

Heavy Support:
Falcon: 210 pts
Pulse Laser, Star Cannon, Shuriken Cannon, Holo-field, Spirit Stones

Wraithlord: 120 pts
Bright Lance

3 War Walkers: 300 pts
2 Star Cannons each

Points total: 1998 pts

A comment from the guy I stole the list from:
What's really great with it is that everything except the Rangers can move and shoot, so when the enemy gets closer i can just go backwards and still fire att my full potential. Or if i have to claim an objective i can walk there in the last few turns and take it while still firing everything.

I appreciate any help from a fellow Ulthwe player!!
Viktor

My response:
Thanks for writing in, Viktor! I don't see myself as an expert on competitive Ulthwe, but I have played quite a few games in a friendly setting.

First of all, your list is currently illegal. The list was written using the old Craftworld Eldar codex, which is outdated now. You should get the newest codex if you haven't already, and make your list out of that book.

HQ: You can have at most two Farseers. If you're going to field them on foot, I recommend taking Eldrad Ulthran. In fact, I rarely take two farseers. They are a support unit, and Eldrad is more than capable of supporting a fairly large Eldar army.

If you have some conversion skills, I'd recommend making a jetbike council. One Farseer with Fortune, Doom and Spirit Stones, six or seven Warlocks, 1 Enhance, 1 Embolden and the rest with Destructors. This unit can deal with pretty much anything in the game, is highly mobile and very resilient

A Seer Council on foot is pretty good, but they really need a transport, preferably a Falcon grav tank. My Seer Council is often like this:
  • Farseer w/Spirit Stones, Runes of Warding, Fortune, Doom, Singing Spear
  • 4 Warlocks w/Destructor and Witchblade
  • Warlock w/Embolden and Singing Spear
These guys can take out almost anything, and will rarely end up pinned if the Falcon crashes or if they suffer casualties.

Elites: Warp Spiders are great, but make sure they actually fulfill a role in the army. I haven't actually used them, but have played against them quite a few times. They are very effective, as long as the enemy heavy wepons have something else to shoot at. Keeping them away from assaults and small arms fire is often pretty easy, though.

Troops: Being Ulthwe, we need Guardians! Ten guys with a heavy weapon is great, but their greates weakness is morale. Lose three, and they have to take a Morale Check. As the Guardians will likely be in cover, they really don't need Conceal. They need Embolden! Cheaper and better.

Sneaky tip: If you take 12 Guardians and a Warlock, you have 13 models in the unit. A morale check from 25 % casualties is taken at 4 models lost. This is unlikely in a single round of shooting if they have sufficient cover, seeing as the Guardians often are a low-priotiry target.

I feel that the Bright Lance is the best weapon for them. With ten models, good cover and Embolden, they are a real pain for your opponent to get rid of, and a constant threat to his vehicles.

The Rangers really should be upgraded to Pathfinders. Getting that 2+ cover save is golden!

You ask about Dire Avengers, but they aren't in your list. I use them sometimes, and find that the Exarch is best kitted out with dual Shuriken Catapults and the Bladestorm power. They can be a pretty good tarpit against some enemies with Shimmershield, but far from all of the nasty gribblies out there.

Fast Attack: I really like Vypers, but they are very easy kill points. I often use two with Bright Lances myself. If you keep them in reserve, they can keep out of the worst trouble and get side shots on enemy armour.

Heavy Support: If you want a Wraithlord, take two. Also, a single Falcon will be shot out of the sky really fast. I often use a Wave Serpent tag-teaming with my Falcon, conserving my Heavy Support slots, and ensuring that at least one side of the Falcon will be safe from melta weapons. Weapon-wise, I recommend that you take only a single Shuriken Cannon on the Falcon, and use the Pulse Laser most of the time.

Three War Walkers with Star Cannons were great in 4th edition, but in this edition, each gun has one shot less, is more expensive, and because of easy cover saves . I take Scatter Lasers instead. Two shots more and much cheaper. Volume of shots are generally more important than armour piercing capabilities, especially against light transports and troops in cover.

General tips: You should consider more vehicles and Storm Guardians.

Flamers/Melta are more awesome than ever, Storm Guardians can have both. For a multi-purpose unit, take two Fusion guns and a Warlock with Destructor. Following up the shooting with a charge can be desvastation against the right foe. If you decide to let the Seer Council and Defenders do anti-tank, you can give the Storm Guardians two flamers. This will effectively eat up over 10 orks or a combat squad of Space Marines in a single round of shooting. Add in the fire from their transport and some supporting element, eliminating a full 30-ork mob in a turn is not especially difficult.

Vehicles are always good, and the Eldar ones are better than most. The Defender Guardians doesn't need transportation in my opinion, but Storm Guardians and the Seer Council do. With transports equipped with Star Engines, you can do some ridiculous objective grabs late game. Even in Kill Point missions, the Eldar vehicles are great because they can take a lot more punishment than the other races' transport vehicles.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Have you tried Blood Bowl?


Blood Bowl
Originally uploaded by Xadhoom.
Blood Bowl, the game of fantasy football is easily the best game ever designed. It has everything; miniatures, clear and precise rules, a great concept and backstory, and a tried and tested campaign format.

What is Blood Bowl?
Imagine that the inhabitants of the Warhammer world put down their weapons from time to time, and met on a field to play football instead of war. Welcome to Blood Bowl!

The league I'm currently in is called Torshov Touchdown, and consists of 14 teams. These teams are divided into two divisions of 7 teams each. With matches and rematches, this gives each team 12 matches per season.

What do I need to play?
First of all, you're going to need a gaming board. You can make this yourself, but the easiest route is to buy the Blood Bowl starter set. This is a great kit! Not only do you get a high-quality gaming board, you also get two full teams; Orcs and Humans.

The rules are currently in their fifth edition, and can be downloaded for free from the Games Workshop website.

How is it played?
After you have selected a team, you decide which team is going to be the kicker. The kicking team sets up first, then the receiving team, and the ball is kicked to the receiving team's half of the pitch.

Both teams are trying to get the ball into the other team's End Zone, which is 13 squares from the middle of the board, the Line of Scrimmage. To do this you must beat up the opposition, run around them or outwit them. Orcs and Chaos are strong and like to knock around some elves. The Elves themselves are more fond of passing the ball around and running really fast.

Each player has 4 stats, Movement, Strength, Agility and Armour. Movement decides how many squares you can run each turn. A stronger player has a better chance of beating up an opponent. An agile player is better at handling the ball, dodging opponents and leaping over them. Armour is important to reduce damage.

During the match, you make a note each time a player hurts an opponent, each time the pass the ball, score a touchdown or intercept the ball. The player earns Star Player Points for these actions, and will gain skills to use in future matches when reaching certain thresholds. For me, this is what makes Blood Bowl so great. Even if you lose the match, you get some SPP that makes you team a little better for the next game.

Which team is the best one?
Every time I teach a new player the game, they ask me this question. The truth is, that this really depends on two things. The player's playstyle and the length of the league.

If the tournament is short, teams that start with a lot of useful skills are superior. Chaos doesn't start with any skills, and will have a really tough time against Amazons, which are very skilled. However, if the league goes on indefinitely, these differences fade, and most teams are pretty equal in performance.

Not to say that they don't perform differently! Oh, no! Orcs, Dwarfs and Chaos are still going to beat the crap out of your Wood Elves!

In longer leagues, the player's playstyle becomes much more important to which team is the best one (for you). Some players thrive with teams that scores at most two touchdowns per match, but hurts the opposing team greatly in the process. Other players cannot fathom how anyone would play anything less agile than an elf.

In conclusion, play what you think is cool! (Halflings and Goblins still suck, though)

What are you waiting for? Order Blood Bowl, get your friends to buy a team, and start a league. It's awesome, people! :D

Monday, August 03, 2009

Blood Bowl video report

As a little experiment, my buddy Norau and I tried to video tape the first drive of our first league match this season.

I fielded my Dark Elf team, the "Brides of Khaine", while Norau played his Ork team, the "Pazvik Juggernotz". The rule set we use is a slightly modified "Living Rulebook 4". If you can read Norwegian, you can download it here (yeah, we translated it).



The tactic I want to show you here, I call "The old switcheroo". Receiving the ball, I place most of my players on the right flank. Note the Dark Elf Blitzer i place in the middle, near the Line of Scrimmage. This Blitzer has a Movement Allowance of 7 squares and has got the skill Sure Feet. This means that she can move 9 squares relatively safely. After the Orks have all moved over to the right, trying to stop the other elves, she goes for it!

The Orks are simply too slow to stop her, as she receives the ball and sprints to the End Zone for the Touchdown!

If the Ork player leaves some players on the other flank to defend against this tactic (he will need at least two), you will have less orks to plough through should you decide to fight your way through their lines. Remember to keep some skilled linemen on the Line of Scrimmage to keep the Black Orks from moving too far.

We will play the rematch in a month or so, and will try to get it on video in its entirety! Stay tuned.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

How I won my last "Capture & control"

I played a game of Warhammer 40k at GW Oslo last night. 1000 points on a 4' x 4' table, pitting my Red Corsairs against the loathsome Eldar. Seeing his list, I was not very confident in winning the game, especially if it would drag on to turn 7. The xenos had brought loads of firepower and even the Avatar was out for human blood.

My 1000 points of Chaos boys are pretty much what I have painted for the army right now, so I didn't have much choice with regards to army selection:
  • Daemon Prince with wings, mark of Tzeentch and Bolt of Change
  • 3 Terminators with a single combi-melta
  • 10 Chaos Space Marines with two meltaguns and a champion with a power fist
  • 7 Thousand Sons with a sorcerer with Bolt of Change, in a Rhino
  • 8 Khorne Berzerkers with a champion with a power fist, in a Rhino
His list was something like this:
  • Avatar
  • 8 Striking Scorpions with an Exarch with Scorpion's Claw, Stalker and Shadowstrike
  • 3 Guardian jetbikes with a shuriken cannon
  • 3 Guardian jetbikes with a shuriken cannon
  • 10 Storm Guardians with two flamers and a warlock with Destructor in a Wave Serpent with Star Engines and Scatter Lasers
  • Vyper jetbike with Eldar Missile Launcher
  • Fire Prism
  • 3 Shadow weavers
We rolled for mission and deployment and got "Capture & control" and "Dawn of war". This is the one with two objective markers, one for each player. Dawn of war meant that most of our armies would be in reserve, and would become available on the first turn, walking on from the table edge.

He won the roll for choosing sides and first turn and took it. I was more than happy to be assured the last turn of the game. I firmly believe that, especially in Dawn of war missions, having the last turn is more important than having the first. The player going second can often perform more risky manoeuvres than the opponent. This often yields better results overall.

In addition, we were battling over objective markers, and having the last turn is almost always more advantageous.

He deployed his Wave Serpent full of Storm Guardians behind cover, and I did the same with my Thousand Sons. I'm not going to recite a turn-for-turn report of events, but the battle went something like this:

Turns 1-4
I did my best to move up the board, getting mixed results. The Daemon Prince managed to immobilize the Wave Serpent and get over to his objective. The Khorne Berzerkers' Rhino got wrecked halfway across the board, on turn 3. They legged it to charge the Avatar, which proved way too strong for them. They did a single wounding hit to it and then died horribly.

The Thousand Sons failed utterly to do anything. Their Rhino got immobilized on turn 2, the sorcerer failed to hit anything with his Bolt of Change all game and the two times they shot at Eldar Jetbikes they either failed to hit or failed to wound. They didn't even have to take a cover save! Disappointing, but they at least managed to hold up the Avatar for a turn.

The Daemon Prince took a fair share of punishment, but the Mark of Tzeentch saved him on several occasions. The Guardians got tired of sitting idle in their immobilized transport and ran out to shoot and charge the Daemon Prince. They had obviously not read up on the capabilities of Daemon Princes. Even if they managed to take a single wound off him, he won the combat and ran them down.

Turn 5
Up until the Guardians bought it, I had only managed to kill two jetbikes and immobilize the Wave Serpent with my shooting. All the while, the Shadow weavers were taking a toll on all my troops. They killed something like two Berzerkers, three Thousand Sons and three Chaos Space Marines in total. I had nothing to respond to this, as they had been placed the corner opposite the objective. I couldn't afford to send anyhing to deal with them, so I just had to take the pain and enjoy the ride!

My opponent started to realize my plan in turn 5. I would just hold my objective with my Chaos Space Marines, while the rest of my army killed his fragile scoring units and held up the rest of his forces. When turn 5 came to a close, I had my objective. My three Terminators had deep struck down on his.

A friend of his rolled for the game to end, but it came up a 4, and we continued.

Turn 6
At this point I had Striking Scorpions running for my objective, and the entire Eldar army gunning down my Daemon Prince and Terminators. However, it was apparent that the Scorpions had little hopes of taking out the Chaos marines on my objective without support. The Fire Prism and Shadow Weavers pumped shots into them, but some nice armour saves saw only a few casualties. They were now down to six models.

In my turn, the Chaos Space Marines shot the Striking Scorpions, felling three. They promptly failed their morale check, and legged it. No hope of a last turn assault now. The Terminators assaulted the last remaining Eldar jetbike, which died three times over. I had the only scoring models on the table, and had a winning position, 1 objective to none.

My opponent's friend rolled again, and this time it came up a 5. The game went on!

Turn 7
The Scorpions rallied, but were too far away to assault, and didn't have line of sight to shoot, the Chaos Space Marines. The Fire Prism, Shadow Weavers and Vyper shot everything they had into the cowering marines, which got pummelled to the last man. Only the Aspiring Champion remained!

On the other side of the board, the Avatar assaulted the Terminators, which were cut down by the burning monster.

And with that, the game was over. I had two models remaining: The Aspiring Champion and an immobilized Rhino with no weapons left.

Victory to the Chaos Space Marines!

The only models I killed were his scoring units. He killed my forces to a man, but couldn't contest in the final turn. Good thing I immobilized that Wave Serpent with the Star Engines!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Fortune favours the bold


Hiding in cover just won't do
Originally uploaded by Xadhoom.
Everywhere on the 40k-websphere, people are talking about math. Mathhammer 40k is a roaring beast and everyone knows that 10 Space Marines will kill 6,66 Orks when rapid firing their Bolters. Every tactic is devised using the law of averages, and anyone trying to think outside the box is regarded as a noob.

The net result of this line of thought is that bold maneuvers are unthinkable. The one, daring move that will win or lose the game for you is never attempted because the focus of the game has become to reduce risks, not attempt to win.

Only 2+ with re-roll for me, thanks
This is most extremely displayed in the game of fantasy football; Blood Bowl. A regular opponent of mine never attempts a move unless the risk is minimal. Even if a move on a 5+ will be extremely beneficial to him, he never even considers it, preferring to make a less beneficial 2+-with-re-roll-move instead.

Another regular opponent often attempts moves that requires a 6 on the die. This works surprisingly well, because the opposition never even considers the possibility that anyone would be so stupid as to attempt such a risky maneuver! When it works, the opponent is caught completely flat-footed.

But what about 40k?
This doctrine can be directly translated to 40k. If you can use risky, but well-thought-out moves to surprise your opponent, you can catch him off-guard.

Everyone knows that staying in cover is the smart thing to do. If the opponent expects you to go for that single piece of cover, he has an edge over you. He knows what you will be spending the next turns doing, and where you will end up. He can then position his forces perfectly to eradicate you, 4+ cover save or not.

Instead, use this to your advantage! Use your vehicles or expendable infantry units as cover, or disregard cover altogether. The element of surprise is powerful indeed!

Taking less powerful units can be advantageous
One of the reasons that make armies like Dark Eldar and Witch Hunters win games is the opposition's lack of familiarity with them. Their play style is often surprising for opponents being used to fighting Eldar or Space Marines. Sure, a flying Seer Council is a powerful unit, but your opponent will likely have seen it before. Tactics to handle them have been devised, and incorporated into their army list.

At my local gaming club, almost no one plays Dark Eldar or the Inquisition. The result is that they don't know how to best handle them. They even sometimes have problems deciding which target is the most threatening. This often results in a comfortable victory, even with an inferior army.

This can be used in you normal armies as well. Field units that no one else does. Take Space Marines, for example. Not many people use scouts, and if they do, they give them sniper rifles and camo cloaks. Hardly an impressive sniper unit, being outmatched by even Ratlings!

Instead, take them in units of 5 and put them in a Land Speeder Storm. Give them shotguns or bolt pistol/combat blades and charge them at the enemy. Your opponent will likely be baffled of your daring move, and either try to shoot it down or ignore it. Regardless, you haven't lost much if it is destroyed, and they can be surprisingly destructive if they reach the enemy. The key to using them is either using their scout move to threaten any point on the board in turn 1, or using outflank to do basically the same, only later. Being open-topped, the Storm can move 12" and drop it's contents, still allowing for shooting and charging!

In a recent game, I took Mandrakes and Scourge. These units are widely regarded as sub-par, compared to the other units in the Dark Eldar List. My opponent wasn't familiar with the capabilities of these units, and they performed sterlingly. Four units were killed or run off the board. Not bad for units some people call "the worst units in the game"!

Monday, June 01, 2009

Red Corsairs reinforcements


Red Corsairs Terminators
Originally uploaded by Xadhoom.
I have been building and painting my Red Corsairs for about a year now, and they are coming along nicely. After a slow winter, I've kicked it up a notch and finally started pumping out finished models.

These guys have been half painted for a few months, but this weekend I finished them.

Enjoy!


Saturday, May 30, 2009

Khorne Rhino


Khorne Rhino
Originally uploaded by Xadhoom.
I've recently painted the transport for my Khorne Berzerkers. It's the most red I've ever painted in one go, and I could never have done it without the excellent Citadel "foundation paints".

I sprayed the tank Chaos Black, coated it Mechrite Red, and then built up a solid coat of Blood Red. I believe I will highlight quite a bit with Blazing Orange, but we shall see. The most important factor is getting the army painted to a gaming standard, not to win any prizes for my not-so-great painting skills (altough they are constantly improving)

Khorne Rhino
Khorne Rhino
Originally uploaded by Xadhoom.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Video Battle Report: Dark Eldar vs Tau

I played this game versus my buddy Norau about three weeks ago. Always eager to play different armies, I took my brothers old Dark Eldar to the field. I took a webway portal list, complete with a Dracon with retinue, Talos, Ravager and a lot of other interesting units. I even included some Scourge, Mandrakes and Grotesques!

For those of you who are unfamiliar with Dark Eldar and the webway, the Webway Portal is a wargear item which can be deployed on the field by a character. When activated, any Dark Eldar reserves can enter from the portal, as if it was a board edge! This can be devastating, and was one of the most powerful builds in 4th edition. Watch the video to find out how the Dark Eldar fared in 5th.



Apologies for the lighting. We played late at night, and my camera isn't very good in poor light conditions.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Optimal squad size in 40k

Thinking back to the days of 4th edition, squad sizes were often dictated by the rule that said: A squad below half strength is no longer scoring. This lead to squad sizes of even numbers (4, 6, 8, 10 and so on) being favourable.

The idea was that your opponent had to kill one more model in order to get you below half strength, whereas squads with uneven number of models (3, 5, 7 and so on) was sub-optimal. Your opponent had to kill 4 members of a squad of 6 models to make it non-scoring. If you'd only taken 5 models, he would only have to kill 3.

...and then 5th edition came along
This is no longer the case in 5th, but many people seem to think even numbers are better. They are not.

Consider a unit of four models. If they are Troops, they are scoring to the last man. If they are not, then the number of models doesn't affect their scoring status at all. The only impact number of models has (other than being harder to kill and doing more damage), is whether they take morale checks from a certain amount of fire power.

A unit of four models must take a Morale Check if it loses a single model. This can be disastrous, especially if the unit type is Jump Infantry, Bike or a similar fast type which retreats 3D6". It may flee off the board due to a single casualty!

Always take 5 Necron Destroyers, never 4
Fritz over at Return of the Star Gods has an excellent Necron Destroyer tactica on his YouTube account. There is only one area where I feel he makes a mistake, and that is the squad size of his Necron Destroyer units. He takes 4 models. This unit may give away a Kill Point from a single shot, even before We'll Be Back-rolls, which makes it brittle.

Ld 10 is all good, but you will fail it from time to time. For the cost of a single model more, your opponent has to divert twice as much firepower before a Necron Destroyer unit of 5 models has to take a potentially devastating Morale Check.

It is pretty clear that 5 Destroyers are superior to 4, but considering how much firepower it takes to take out two models of a T5 Sv3+ unit, there is really no reason not to take the full compliment of 5 models.

Optimal squad sizes
To conclude this article, I'll just go ahead and list the optimal squad sizes in regards to when the unit will be taking Morale checks. The unit is as brave as possible for the least amount of points, so to speak.

Size - Tests after how many casualties?
  1. -
  2. 1
  3. 1
  4. 1
  5. 2 <- Optimal
  6. 2
  7. 2
  8. 2
  9. 3 <- Optimal
  10. 3
  11. 3
  12. 3
  13. 4 <- Optimal
  14. 4
  15. 4
  16. 4
  17. 5 <- Optimal
  18. 5
  19. 5
  20. 5
  21. 6 <- Optimal
Will you be taking squads of 5 or 9 models instead of 4 and 10, to take advantage of this, or is the return really too small to even consider?

Friday, May 01, 2009

Video Battle Report: Necrons vs Tau

Necrons by Xadhoom, on Flickr
The Necrons will rise again!
Originally uploaded
by Xadhoom.
I have read a lot of negative press about the Necrons in 5th edition. Determined to prove that they are still at least playable, I took them to the field once more. This time, against my buddy Norau's Tau.

The Necron army I played actually won a tournament for me in 4th edition, so I was very excited to see how they would perform in 5th.

The game was 1500 points, Seize Ground with 3 objective markers. The Tau set up first and got first turn.



Music from http://www.freeplaymusic.com

Friday, April 24, 2009

Video Battle Report: Tyranids vs Witch Hunters

My brother hasn't played Warhammer 40k since 3rd edition. Now back for 5th, he is still a pleasure to play against.

For his first game in over 5 years, he chose to play his Tyranids. I took my Witch Hunters to the battlefield. You'll note that I took quite a few Space Marine allies from the Revilers Chapter.

I have a lot of Sisters of Battle, but for this match, I wanted to try out both the semi-new Space Marines codex and show my brother my Witch Hunters. Even though I have been building this army for years, he has yet to play against it.

The mission was Seize Ground, with 5 objective markers. I got first turn, and moved rather aggressively up the board. My plan was to contest all four objectives near his deployment zone with my many tanks, and grab the one near mine with a Space Marine combat squad. Check the video to see how it went.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Video Battle Report: Tau vs Chaos Space Marines

My brother came to visit me last weekend, and we played a lot of Warhammer 40k. This game is between my brother (playing Chaos Space Marines) and my buddy Norau (playing Tau).

The game is 1500 points, and the mission is Seize Ground. Both players placed a total of 4 objective markers. The player who controls the most objective markers at the end of the game is the winner.



Music
Alan Silvestri: End Credits, from the movie "Predator"
Breaking Benjamin: Firefly, from their album "We are not alone"
Photex: Ren 2, from the Animatrix soundtrack

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Video Battle Report: Battlefleet Gothic


My brother visited me this weekend, and suggested we'd try a game of Battlefleet Gothic. We used to play this classic game back in the days (at least 5 years ago), and we loved it.

After a few trips to the attic, I had finally found all the ships and scenery. We were ready to play!

We really didn't want to play a standard "kill more ships than your opponent"-match, so we agreed on the orks having to destroy a space station. The Orks would have half as many points to use on ships than the Imperials, so this was a 1000 points vs 2000 points game.

As you can see from the video, the game was grossly unbalanced towards one side. At the end, we discussed ways to make it a more balanced scenario. This discussion is in Norwegian only. Apologies to all you guys who don't speak Norwegian. I know there's a lot of you. Basically we were thinking on reducing the victorious fleet by 30 - 50 %, or placing more terrain to make it a bit more interesting.

The music in the video is from the soundtrack from the movie Π (Pi), by Clint Mansell.

How do you play Battlefleet Gothic at your club? Do you just line up equal points of ships, or do you focus on objective based missions?

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Ulthwe Eldar is competitive!

Eldar Seers by Xadhoom, on Flickr
The Eldar have foreseen this
Originally uploaded by Xadhoom.
I've played my Ulthwe list a few games now, and won every single one. Granted, I've not played against the cheesiest cheddar around, but none of the games have been army selection wins.

The two latest games were against Tau and Necrons. I'm actually surprised the list works as well as it does. I was under the impression that Aspect Warriors, Harlequins or Wraiths were required to fill some requirements in the Eldar army, but I believe I was mistaken. Of course, my success could be the result of blatant luck on my part.

After playing a few games, I find that the army and my tactics cover several aspects essential to a 40k army list; speed, firepower, close combat prowess and resilience. In addition to this, it forces the opponent to react to it, rather than the other way around, due to its speed, damage potential and the outflanking War Walkers.

Ulthwe 1250 points
Farseer - Runes of Warding, Spirit Stones, Fortune, Doom
5 Warlocks - 2 Singing Spears, 3 Destructors, Embolden, Enhance
3 Guardian Jetbikes - Shuriken Cannon
10 Guardians - Warlock (Embolden), Bright Lance
10 Storm Guardians - Warlock (Destructor), 2 Flamers
Wave Serpent - Star Engines, Spirit Stone, Twin Starcannons
2 Vypers - 2 Bright Lances
Falcon - Shuriken Cannon, Spirit Stone, Holofield, Star Engines
2 War Walkers - 4 Scatter Lasers

I wrote a post about tactics for this army @ 1750 points, but the same points are still valid.

I'm mightily impressed with what a Farseer and five Warlocks can do. Dooming a unit and throwing down three Destructor Templates is incredibly killy, even against units with good saving throws!

Scaling up to the big battles: Eldrad Ulthran!
In larger games, I'll take Eldrad instead of a standard Farseer. His ability to Doom two units simultaneously is incredible! The Falcon with the Seer Council and the Wave Serpent with the Storm Guardians can destroy most anything when they jump out and start handing out the hurt. There is rarely anything left! Cleverly placing the vehicles in front of enemies offering fire support will give the Guardians Cover Saves, and the Seers already have a Fortuned 4+!

I'm thinking of taking all Destructors for the Seer Council. WS5 and I5 on the Warlocks is awesome against Space Marine armies, and the ability to re-roll Morale Checks can not be underestimated. However, I'm wondering whether it is necessary. Three Destructors is very killy, but five is borderline insanity!

Will it win against (insert "web list" of the month here)?
The army isn't dead 'ard, but that's not the point. In a club setting you often want to play an army that will win when you play it well. Not just because it has 2+/3+i saves, master-crafted Thunder Hammers and twin-linked Multi Meltas, but because you play better than your opponent.

Army selection win
When some players go to tournaments, they gamble that they won't meet that army. This is the army which you haven't optimized your army for and will make you lose, no matter what you do. A balanced approach can win you any game, an extremely optimized one can actually lose the game for you before it has even started!

I firmly believe that any good tournament army should at least be able to win against anything the opponent can bring. If the enemy deploys 150 Orks, and you concede the game immediately because you brought 12 Lascannons and 25 Space Marines, it is your own fault!

This is what I mean when I say "Army selection win". In this setting, the meta game has become more important than the actual game itself, a trend I think will kill the tournament aspect of the hobby if it is allowed to flourish. Fortunately, 5th edition's focus on objectives have mitigated this quite a bit.

The Ulthwe army can deal with tank spam, 'zilla, elite infantry, hordes, mobile and static lists alike. It may not be super effective against all opponents, but its ability to win is strong.

What do you think? Am I just rambling, or are my Seer/Guardian tactics worthwhile?

Monday, April 13, 2009

Video Battle Report: Eldar vs Necrons

This week, the stalwart defenders of Craftworld Ulthwe met up with the grim forces of the Necrons.

The game was 1250 points, and the mission was "Capture and Control", from the main rulebook. In short, both players place a single objective marker in their own deployment zone. The player that controls more objective markers at the end of the game wins.



We are speaking Norwegian, but you guys should be able to understand what's going on anyway, as I've written about the action in English. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask questions in the comments.

The music is by Clint Mansell, from the motion picture "Doom". Check out the Varese Sarabande website for the album. The tracks used in this clip are, quite appropriately, named "Doom", "Kill' Em All" and "Go to Hell".

Did I do any blatant mistakes? Would you have done anything differently? Feel free to comment! :)

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Can Stealth Teams win the game for the Greater Good?

My buddy Norau started playing 40k Tau about six month ago. He's having mixed results in learning to play both a new game and a new army, so I've tried to think about some builds that will work well in 5th edition.

Most of the time, we play the three standard missions in the main rulebook, so both Kill Point denial and controlling and contesting objectives are important aspects of our meta game.

The army he uses is based on these principles:
  1. Placing large amounts of the army in reserve
  2. Using the Positional Relay to control when reserves arrive
  3. Using the Pathfinder's Devilfish transport to increase the accuracy of Deep Striking units
He has been using a 6-man Stealth Team (one Hard Wired Target Lock and a Fusion Blaster) in the last few games, but their performance has so far been unimpressive. The standard method of delivery has been Deep Striking them next to a tank and a weak infantry unit, trying to destroy both in a single blow. Unfortunately, the odds are heavily against them, as they are often very unsupported at this stage in the game. They are always annihilated the turn after. See how they performed in our last game.

I am starting to think that they can be used better in another role: Outflanking harasser!

Using the Positional Relay, we can control which turn they arrive from reserve. Coming from the flank in the later stages of the game can be a game-winner. Let's say that the opponent have placed a relatively weak unit, for example Guardians or a combat squad of Space Marines controlling an objective far away from the action. Six Stealth Suits can unleash a torrent of fire, severely weakening the unit. They can also take out Razorbacks or Wave Serpents sitting on the objective.

Due to their Stealth Field Generators, they cannot be dealt with at long range. The opponent has to send units to deal with them at close range. This can also help at the front lines if the opponent gets confused and tries to send units back to support the defenders at home.

Get more for free
To make the unit even more dangerous, we can give every model a Drone Controller for free, even the Team Leader. This gives us the ability to take 12 Drones for 120 points, which gets Stealth Field Generators for free (see Tau Empire Codex, page 27). They can also Outflank with the Stealth Team (see Tau Empire Codex, page 35). Compared to Drone-only units, you get two nice upgrades for free.

This unit has 18 wounds, is highly mobile, and can unleash overwhelming amounts of fire power against the relatively weak defenders. In objective-based scenarios, this can win the game for the Tau. In Kill-Point missions, the unit is difficult to kill due to its size and Stealth capabilities. At 312 points, it is fairly expensive, but the offensive and defensive capabilities should mitigate this somewhat.

If they fail to take out all troops on the objective, they can even assault if needed. Yes, Tau are fairly weak, but these guys will operate far away from the thickest action. 42 attacks on the charge should be able to kill about two Space Marines. Not much, but maybe just enough. All they really have to do is get within 3" of the objective and not die.

What do you guys think? Is this a workable unit tactic? Will it perform better than Deep Striking close to the action?