Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Wyches Complete

As I slowly disassemble my Corsair force and tweak the models I have completed a 10 model Wych squad:

I'm happy with how they came out considering they were recovered from being corsair conversions I made some years ago.  In their revamp I decided to give them a feature forearm in red to acknowledge their allegiance to and worship of Ynnead.  I'm not certain what cult I'll run them as, but as a start I'm noticing with almost 30 Kabalites and 10 Wyches painted, 5 Incubi, 10 Mandrakes, painted, and a couple Archons and Coterie just about ready to roll I'm feeling both like I don't need any more infantry, but also that I could use a small contingent of a Haemonculus coven.  What I really notice, however, is that I very much lack vehicle support for these units.  I only have a Venom and a Raider.  I think I need 2 more raiders, and then Ravagers and at least one more Venom.  It's a daunting future just to make them feel like a cohesive force.  At the very least, if I'm running Ynnari I can go nuts mixing and matching them since they lose their obsessions anyway.

I'm looking forward to pushing some fun lists forward.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

How Often Do You Revamp Your Army?

With the crash of Corsairs from Forgeworld I'm thinking they'll be shifted to Kill Team at some future point.  Thus I'm slowly adapting mt old units that will never again see the table to play other roles.  This means I can find new ways to expand out existing units, such as below:

The two flamers were part of the original squad, and when the unit had templates they were an ideal way to make the unit a surprise impact squad that could spring out of a transport and lay waste to a massive infantry squad.  In 8th I haven't been able to fire the flamers a single time either on the charge or when being charged.  With the reduction in cost of the Fusion guns reduced along with the overall cost of the Storm Guardians it seems like a more tempting choice.

Fire Dragons still feel vastly too expensive, but this gives me an option to deep strike a massive unit and stretch it out enough so that the bulk of the unit can do something helpful like hold an objective, while these two models are stretched out to be close enough to add some potent firepower to a vulnerable target without wasting a ton of points.  With the 1-2 punch of Discipline of the Black Guardians and Celestial Shield they can provide an unexpectedly devastating hit, and then be surprisingly tough to shift.  If you somehow drop Protect on them at the same time a unit that is positioned well can become a nightmare to deal with, and one that your opponent never conceived could give them issues when overlooking your army at the start of the game.

All that said, I can switch out as I see fit, and I accomplished this by revamping an old unit to something I can make the most of now, the same way I scrapped two old bodyguard conversions to become Swooping Hawks again.  In some ways it just feels incredibly exciting to find new uses out of classic models I hadn't been able to run in what feels like forever.  It's bringing the fun back.

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Ulthwe Family Photo

It's been a long time since I did one of these, a single photo of my whole craftworld army:

This shot realistically covers over 25 years of collecting.  Ulthwe has kept along with me through a lot in my life, including a bout with cancer in which I sold off nearly all my models to help pay my medical bills.

Other units have been retired like the original Eldrad, but the first model I ever purchased is still there and still used.

Here's the inventory of the photo:
50 Guardian Defenders with 5 weapon platforms
24 Storm Guardians
10 Howling Banshees
Jain Zar
10 Striking Scorpions
8 Rangers
8 Warp Spiders
6 Fire Dragons
16 Warlocks
3 Farseers
Eldrad Ulthran
1 Avatar
20 Dire Avengers
10 Dark Reapers
Maugen Ra
6 Windriders
3 War Walkers
Skyrunner Warlock
Skyrunner Farseer
Skyrunner Autarch
3 Vyper Jetbikes
2 Night Spinners
3 Warp Hunters
2 Fire Prisms
Webway Gate
Star Striker (unique conversion)
2 Falcons
3 Hornets
4 Wave Serpents
2 Hemlocks
2 Crimson Hunters
Crimson Hunter Exarch
Phoenix Bomber
Void Spinner (unique conversion)
Storm Serpent (unique conversion)
Support Weapon Battery
Autarch with Wings
6 Shadow Spectres
10 Wraithguard
6 Wraithguard with D-scythes
7 Wraithblades
2 Bonesingers
7 Wraithblades with axes
Skathach Wraithknight
2 Wraithknights
2 Revenant Titans
Phantom Titan

I highly recommend people have a bit of fun and put their largest army out all at once and see how massive your collection has grown.  One day I'd love to use the force all at once, though I doubt I'll ever be able to.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

40k Narrative Campaign Pack for Download: Verdict of Mirandus (4 Players)

Recently BOLS released an article on narrative campaigns, and I found it quite engaging as it discussed an area of 40k that I'm very interested in, but one that I feel GW has been a bit slack in supporting.

As such, I spent quite a bit of time developing a campaign for some local players.  This pack is the result of the campaign, providing a set of generic rules able to be used for any four forces, along with the narrative story of the campaign, and the actual game results from each Chapter.

Note that that my approach to this story was to reveal the actual story like a serial, with each new chapter being shared only after the completion of the prior chapter, and then the epilogue and conclusion were released after the campaign play had completed.  This should provide a building block for any group of armies, allowing the person running the campaign to spend more time developing the story and making tweaks to fit their own needs. 

In the case of our play it was Ulthwe, Deathguard, Necrons, and Astra Militarum.

Download it below!

Download: Verdict of Mirandus Campaign Pack

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Harlequin thoughts, and the Unplayable Webway Gate

With the release of the new Harlequins codex I picked up the stunning new Webway gate. With a few extra models painted and the gate I completed my Harlequin force and added them up to a surprising 2500 pts exactly! It's a massive allied force to my Ulthwe warhost.

I've gotten in a few games with them, tabling an Imperial Soup army consisting of Greyknights and Gulliman. I tabled them in turn 4. An opponent using 1ksons conceded halfway through his shooting phase on turn 1 as I played the 2 CP Stratagem to get them -1 to hit, on top of the psychic power.

For people excited to try out the "Great Harlequin"Stratagem... I've found it overpriced for its effect. I expect in future games I'll skip it and make use of the CPs in game. If it had a more profound effect, or only cost a single CP I'd reconsider and use it again.

Sky Weavers with Haywire Cannons are surprisingly versatile and I highly recommend them.  Neuro Disruptors are still disappointing and should wound on a 2+ against infantry.

One of the things I did in these games is test out the Webway Gate. It's a beautiful model, but it's rules are a hot mess. These are the problems and solutions as I see them -


1) Asuryani and Drukhari do not ave access to gate stratagems.

Give them access to generic versions.

2) deployment for gate is too restrictive.

Reduce distance from other terrain features to 1" rather than 3" and reduce the 12" distance from enemy deployment to 3", as it becomes all but impossible to actually place on most boards.

3) deployed units are stranded with no protection and are unlikely to contribute.

Allow units to move after deploying as if they disembarked from a transport.

4) gate has no use beyond first or second turn as it provides no cover.

Make gate offer aura of protection, +1 to save, for units wholly within 3"

5) it's too easy to cheaply prevent large models like Wraithknight from entering play with a single cheap model.

Instead of deploying "wholly within" 3" change the rule so that all deployed models must be within 3", this forcing an opponent to have a tough choice about how they're willing to stop you deploying.

No single one of these changes is really sufficient to make the gate attractive. It really needs all 5 to make it viable for play.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Aeldari Community Rules Update

After the changes in Chapter Approved, it put the Phantom in a more awkward spot.  It felt out of place at 2400 pts and still it can be easily obliterated by a Warhound.  In workshopping and tweaking one thing became readily apparent... the MACRO rule has to change.  For this purpose we've workshopped it to "Macro weapons are heavy weapons that may not fire overwatch.  In addition successful invulnerable saves must be rerolled against Macro Weapons."  This is for all weapons with the MACRO rule and the rule now scales appropriately rather than being absurdly good against Titanic units and useless against non-titanic weapons.

From there it became a matter of fine tuning units, which mostly only took minor changes and point adjustments to keep them in line with other titanic units.  The Phantom, however, still needed a lot of playtesting.   Even after the considerable number of changes I made the Phantom was, we were shocked to find, still bad.  Against an equal points force it was often in its last or next to last tier by the end of the first turn, regardless of which player went first.  It never survived the second turn.  After testing step by step we found the two major issues were 1) it took damage too quickly, and 2) the Macro Weapons didn't do enough damage, even against non-titanic units (why is a Leman Russ able to shrug off a D Bombard?).  Then we found what was really the sweet spot:

With the save already at 2+ and the T at 12, I was leaning to giving it a -1 to hit all the time, not just when it charged or assaulted, but at the suggestion of others tried T14, and to my surprise that small tweak seemed to slow things down a bit, keeping the Phantom in the second tier by the end of the first turn.  In addition the tweaked macro weapons (originally tested as "fires twice at the same target") made the primary weapons feel substantially dangerous, even moreso than the other solid weapons. 

Above: My favourite moment from playtesting.

With these changes it sits between the Reaver and Warlord and is pointed accordingly.

For those wanting an updated version the rules they can be found: HERE
Please note: Damage Tiers or on the fluff/image page.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Ulthwe Written Battle Report Double Header 1.5K/2K

I had a chance to play two times this week, which was good, because when I showed up for my first 2k game I had stupidly left a squad home, so we improvised down to a 1500 game.  My Ulthwe force was taking on Thousand Sons, a force I have taken on once before, but this time they would be without Magnus.

My force (note, because my force was altered at the last minute the Bonesinger was played as a Spiritseer):

His force (note the Rhino is standing in as a Predator for this list as his army is still being built and painted):

Getting to chose the deployment and which zone is mine I opted for Hammer and Anvil.  He deployed towards the front of his deployment zone and I deployed near the back.  With 6 objectives placed we would each choose three and roll to see which one was the objective that mattered a few turns in.  I had paid three CP to place two units of Guardians in reserve.

With deployment decided we rolled off and my opponent was going first.  Before his turn started my Rangers exited the webway:

From there the forces of Tzeentch marched forward, aggressively moving up the field, including teleporting Terminators directly in front of my lines, further back than they'd like to be due to my Rangers and a cheekily deployed Autarch in a small building.

Using Forewarning my Dark Reapers interrupted his turn to slay 4 of the terminators, substantially weakening their firepower.

The forces of Tzeentch had a mild psychic phase being out of range for most of their powers and failing to cast one power intended to buff the terminators.  Their combined firepower managed to slaughter the ranger squad and obliterate one of the Fire Prisms.

My foe had done some solid damage, and shocked me by taking out one of my prisms in a single shooting phase.  I moved some of my support units forward and brought in both squads of Guardians.  Many of my psychic units were beyond the range at which they could be denied, making them that much more threatening to my opponent.

I unleashed a series of Smites and doomed the terminators and guided the prism.  By the time my shooting was done the Terminators were obliterated, the Daemon Prince was at 2 wounds, a Predator had been destroyed, and a squad of Rubrics had been shredded by the rear squad of Guardians.  At this point my opponent conceded.  The destruction was too all consuming for his army to come back, especially since at that point I had total board control.  He didn't have the speed to combat my guardians in his back lines and saw no path to victory.

What I learned in this game is that without Magnus 1k Sons feel like they have a seriously steep hill to climb.  I don't know if they can really be played without him in a dedicated list and still be fun for that player.  It probably feels like he has to play a different game than everyone else.  Likely they would benefit greatly from detachments of Daemons to smooth out some of the rough areas for them and make them feel more balanced and capable.  I learned a lot more about the 1k Sons than I did my own force.

Game 2

The next day I had my full 2k version of the list, so everything is what you see is what you get, including the giant squad of 24 Storm Guardians!  I would be facing the Black Templar again!

My Ulthwe force:

Forces of the Black Templar:

 In this game we had to determine deployment before placing objectives, and two objectives were placed in the neutral zone (worth 2 VP at the end of the game each), and one in each deployment zone (worth 1 to the owning player and 4 to the opponent).

We randomly determined Hammer and Anvil as a set up, and I chose the same side as before on the identical board, with nearly identical setup.  My foe finished first and as before, got the first turn and I failed to Seize.  Apparently he had been Seized on in his last 6 games in a row.  I felt bad for him as that had happened to me around the end of last edition.  I had something like 13 or 14 games in a row where I either lost the first turn roll off and failed to Seize, or was Seized upon, and many of them were Seizes.


My Rangers arrived and took cover near a neutral marker.

My hope here was to weather his fire and snag the two neutral spots.  I hoped I could delay his approach by dropping units at his rear to threaten his Objective and holding up his army from getting to my Objective.  

He moved forward, but relatively conservatively where possible. It was not the brazen launch forward I had anticipated.  His Storm Talon (foolishly not pictured below) had moved to take the neutral objective near my storm guardians.  His firepower had managed to bring one of the Fire Prisms to just 6 wounds and killed 4 Dark Reapers and caused 7 wounds to the Storm Guardians and 2 Rangers.  Morale killed another 5 Guardians(I had rolled a 6 for the Dark Reaper Morale and rerolled to a 2, so I couldn't reroll the Guardian roll) knocking the unit down to half its starting size.  His terminators were still patiently waiting to Deep Strike.

I held my force almost entirely in place, including the units in reserve, except to shuffle the Hemlock to my right flank to take on the Storm Talon and bring some support forward.  The Bonesinger healed the wounded Fireprism 3 Wounds!  I doomed the Storm Talon and crashed it with a combination of psychic attacks, shooting from the Storm Guardians (thanks to Doom they managed to bring it down to 3 wounds), and the Hemlock.  This had relieved me of the worst of his anti infantry firepower that could target me.  then my other units managed to take down the empty Razorback that had been flanking the Land Raider and damage the Vindicator.

The Black Templar didn't move much, with only the Land Raider trundling forward and the Vindicator repositioning.  Otherwise their shooting was precise, but not enough to do the damage they wanted.  They managed to kill another Ranger, bring the other Fire Prism down to 6 wounds, and knock the Hemlock down to just 3 wounds. His Terminators remained in reserve.

I hoped to make a decisive blow against his forces, but had to remain patient.  I pushed the Hemlock at its maximum speed to face the Land Raider while the Guardians and Hawks waited in reserve.  I fired everything I could at the Land Raider, unleashing all of my combined firepower at it... and with it on just 6 wounds I fired the last of my Fire Prisms at it, the last unit that could do the job, and I had 5 Shots.  All hit.  All wounded.  He saved one.  I rolled my four dice and totalled... 5 wounds.  3 1-s and a 2 on my D3.  I burned a CP to reroll one of the 1's... and got another 1.  It sat on 1 wound, crippled, but doing its job.

He brought in his Terminators, out of line of sight to my right Prism and my reapers, but I didn't have any CP left anyway.  He was about to hit my backlines.  The Vindicator blasted the Hemlock out of the sky, burning his last CP to reroll his damage from 2 to 5, enough to knock it out of the sky.  A unit hopped out of the Raider and moved to the centre of the table.  His shooting then killed a couple Storm Guardians and another two rangers, but in assault his marines made it in to combat with the rangers wiping them out.  The Terminators failed their 9" charge to the Prism both times.  He felt concerned, but the centre of the table was his.

Now that his force had committed I pounced.  I moved Eldrad closer to the Terminators and repositioned one of the Prisms to face him.  I then brought in the Hawks and one units of Guardians to flank the rear of his force in a pincer move while the other squad bolstered the front of my army.  I doomed the Terminators and Guided one of the units of Guardians.  Eldrad alone was responsible for killing four Storm Shield terminators thanks to Executioner and Smite, putting a full 9 wounds into the squad.  The shooting phase was decisive as the two units of guardians destroyed a Vindicator, Land Raider and Two squads of tacticals.  The Swooping Hawks had killed one tactical marine with a grenade, and their wealth of shooting caused 5 wounds... and the squad proceeded to fail 3 more saves.  The prisms brought the Predator down to just a couple wounds.  With their forces completely surrounded, and their numbers thinned to just a a single squad and the now exposed leadership of the force the Black Templar conceded, evacuating the field.

What I learned:

My favourite use for Eldrad is as living artillery.  He excels at it, and the more I use him that way the more I want to be ultra aggressive with him.  I've never held onto my reserves that long before, especially with so many units being held, but since I was waiting for him to commit his forces, which I still think was the right play, I was letting him really determine when they came in.  The last thing i wanted was for him to respond to my mostly unarmoured units with a high volume of shooting unit that could chew right through them.  The Bonesinger was okay babysitting the tanks, and was the difference between them being able to fire on the full chart or below it, which was really handy.

My Warlock with Embolden/Horrify was useless.  It never did anything.  I was hoping characters would get close enough for Eldrad to surprise Mind War them after I embolden him and fly the Hemlock near them, but it never worked out, but sometimes that's what happens when you plan out how your army will function to certain threats at the army building stage.  No plan lasts beyond meeting the enemy.