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.

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?

Monday, April 06, 2009

Video Battle Report: Eldar vs Tau

Once again, I have played against the defenders of the so-called "Greater good", the Tau.

I played a game of 40k against my buddy playing Tau at Oslo Miniature Games Club (

The game was 1250 points and the mission was Kill Points. To make things a little more interesting, we had a secondary objective at the center of the table. This objective was worth the same as having the most Kill Points.

I played my Ulthwe army, with no Wraiths and no Aspect Warriors. Seers and Guardians for the win! Fortunately, the Eldar vehicles are piloted by Guardians, or this army build would never work. The Falcon, Wave Serpent and the Vypers are essential components in the list.

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.

SPOILER ALERT! Watch the video before reading any further!
As for tactics, I made a few really stupid mistakes in this game:
  1. I lingered with my Wave Serpent, even though the Tau had a Twin-linked Fusion Blaster up its tailpipe. I should have used the Star Engines to get out of there immediately!
  2. I deployed too wide, and left units unsupported. My War Walkers were completely stranded, and my Storm Guardians and regular Guardians should have been dead thrice over! I was lucky, really lucky. Only two of the Guardian Defenders survived, and three of the Storm Guardians. Between them, they passed five Morale Checks and one Pinning Test. Really lucky, but not well played.
  3. I gave up the objective. Sure, the Falcon can take a lot of damage, but the Fusion Blaster-armed Battlesuit was still alive after turn 5, so he could have taken out the Falcon, and the 22 Fire Warriors would have had no problems in taking out the Seer Council! The game ended after turn 5, and I contested the objective. Lucky for me, but again, not well played.
In addition to my mistakes, the tau player made some of his own. The Hammerhead trying to tank shock the Seer Council was unwise. I don't think the he will do that mistake again.

All in all, I won, but it really could have gone either way. One more turn, and both Guardian units would have been wiped out, the Falcon and Seer Council were in serious jeopardy, and I would have been unable to reliably contest the objective.

Do you guys see any other mistakes I made? Could you have done better? Feel free to comment!! :)

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Gaming day at the club

I shot some video at the gaming club today. Check it out!
We're speaking norwegian, but I added closed captions for you english-speaking folks out there.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Prism Cannon

Prism Cannon
Originally uploaded by Xadhoom.
I tried lightsourcing for the Prism Cannon on my Fire Prism. I'm not entirely sure about the result. If I find that I don't like it, it should be easy to both remove or improve on it.

To get the effect on the prism itself, I simply started with a white undercoat, which I washed black halfway up the front. Then I stippled on the reds from Red Gore, into Blood Red, and finally Golden Yellow. A lot of mixing inbetween these colors, of course.

What do you guys think? Any tips on the lightsourcing technique would be awesome!