Monday, November 2, 2020

Jain Zar and Drazhar

 It’s taken a while to get my finances back in order to do some real hobby investment, but now I’m ready to start building up a set of “studio” armies and really expand the channel.

I’d like to introduce the new style Drazhar and Jain Zar!

With them now ready to duel, I’ve been hard at work building the background for the slowly growing Drukhari force and in a change for me, instead of leaning into the Grim Dark I’m going with a more comical bent.

I’m excited to try out Drazhar, even if he is facing off against a character in my previous Ulthwe force.

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

First 9th Edition Battle (Written)

 I had my first 9th edition game recently when a friend came by.  To keep things as COVID19 friendly as possible it was all my models.  I made both army lists and let my opponent choose which to play.  My gut instinct was that the Craftworld list was really hard hitting and probably stronger than the Harlequin list, but my opponent had never tried Harlequins before and wanted to give them a shot.  The table had a lot of -1 to hit coverage, and as that was mostly redundant for Harlequins he opted for the other side of the board.  While it's hard to see the Craftworlders have a unit of Dire Avengers hidding behind the corner tower, and a unit of guardians and warp spiders waiting to deep strike.  The Harlequins had an 11 trouper unit also in the web.  Deployement:

The Harlequins won the first turn, and with the mission rewarding holding objectives they pushed forward really quickly to take as much ground as possible and the further back unit being given a bonus to their invul thanks to Prismatic Blur.

With units in place the psychic phase wasn't really momentous.  Webway Dance failed, but one troupe was gifted a -1 to hit.  Meanwhile the Shadowseer cast Twilight Pathways letting a Starweaver slingshot to a third objective and really put the screws to the forces of Ulthwe.

The two units of Skyweavers opened up with their Haywire cannons on the Wave Serpent, and despite a -1 to hit.  Each unit got 13 shots and after they were done the Wave Serpent was diminished to a single wound.  Unfortunately they were not the collective firepower of the Harlequins.  The Skyweavers shuriken cannons took it down, killing one of the warlocks inside.  Meanwhile the Prismatic Cannons of the Void Weavers crippled the Wraithlord taking it down to one wound.  The Dire Avengers under the tower were reduced to a single model by the combination of Cegorach's Lament and Harvester of Torment.  Despite the -1 to hit 9 shots tore through the unit in a savage display.  The bikes were thinned out with the Neural Disruptors and the Humbling Cruelty Jester.  By the time their combined work was done 5 bikes had been wiped away and the unit had a lone survivor.  Without any assaults the morale phase wiped out the last of the Dire Avenger squad that had been savaged.

After suffering a devastating opening round of fire Ulthwe sought to take over the closest two objectives and hope to hold out long enough to last until their reinforcements arrived.  Most of the positioning was in preparation to take things over in the next turn.

The Combined psyshics of the Warlock Conclave and Eldrad wiped out a unit of skyweavers and dropped the save on the Blurred unit of bikes back to a 4+ while bumping their own save to 3+.

The shooting phase was a bit of a bad turn for the Craftworlds which put a couple wounds on a Starweaver and the combined shooting of the Fire Prisms only managed to kill a single of the doomed bikes.

The phase I was most prepared to do some damage was assault.  It got off to a good start when the Wraithlord got a 9" charge at almost point blank range  However, the Autarch only managed a 2" charge, though he was fine with that.  The real issue was when the Dire Avengers rolled a 3 on their charge, followed by a reroll to a 3.  This meant they didn't get the distance they needed, even with their consolidation, to fully wrap the Starweaver.  When it was eventually brought down the Harlequins and Troupe Master all bailed out with only a single trouper trapped in the wreckage.

The Harlequins got their reinforcements and moved for the cous de grace, surrounding the Warlocks and Eldrad, and preparing for the assault phase.

The psychic phase was a total bust with Eldrad and the Warlocks stopping every spell, noteable for the moment a Shadowseer cast Twilight Pathways on a 10, and Eldrad clutched it with a 12 to deny.

The shooting phase was much more suitable for the Harlequins, with the Harvester of Torment mercilessly wiping out a second unit of Dire Avengers, the bikes spiking a 12 in their random number of shots at a Prism and Void Weaver support assisting in taking the tank down.  Meanwhile the Skyweaver full of Fusion guns finished off the heavily wounded Wraithlord.  As the combined fire of three units of Harlequins took down a few more Warlocks the Troupe Master caught the Autarch with a Fusion gun, likely being saved by his force shield.

The Troupe Master charged into the Autarch while 2 units of Harlequin troupes and the last bikes all charged the Warlocks... and the Solitaire charged Eldrad directly.  The large units that just ported in failed their charge, even with a reroll.

To start the phase the the Troupe Master dispatched the Autarch with complete efficiency using the Twilight Fang.  Then the Warlocks interrupted combat with Supreme Disdain taking down a handful of Harlequins before they could unleash death.  Unfortunately for the Warlocks they didn't take down enough of the nimble warriors.

The warlocks, even with using Lightning Fast Reflexes were cut down by the Harlequins, wiped out to a man, probably after they froze in shock when Eldrad was cut down by the Solitaire using Cegorach's Rose.

At this point, looking at a likely 80 pt deficit by turn 5, with only two very vulnerable models on the table, even the deep strikers would not swing the game beyond the total route it had devolved into.

One thing I learned in this game was that I need to review my terrain to have more central line of sight blocking terrain towards the centre of the board.  But I also learned that Craftworlds are in a really really bad place at the start of 9th edition.  They have arguably the worst troop options in the game compared to points, and suffer greatly in the need for durability.

Another lesson learned was that while choosing good secondaries for a force is helpful, but something you still actively need to account for, choosing the wrong secondaries pretty much wipes 45 points from your game to start.  I need to reimagine what constitutes an "all comers" Craftworlds list, and what secondaries I can realistically pursue since many of them require sacrificing units for any purpose other than performing actions, and when your units get cut down quickly you can't often actively sacrifice performance for a turn.

Friday, August 14, 2020

New Objective Markers (9th)

In the past I had made objective markers to be used showing the entire scoring zone for 8th edition, and designed to work with the 7th edition Craftworld markers.  With the advent of 9th they've updated the zone to be larger, 3" from the edge of a 40mm base.  I've now recreated the markers, but resized for the measurements of the new edition.  I look forward to the ease of knowing if I'm scoring at a glance.

On the "minimum" size playfield they really do take up a considerable amount of space.  When making battle reports they should provide some visual pop in the videos.

Monday, October 21, 2019

Old Banshees Newly Painted

A couple months ago I finally got around to working on some new (2006) banshees for my Ulthwe warhost to update my squad.

With a bit of green stuff I strengthened the base and gave the models some height. I also made sure that the arm placement kept every mode in the unit looking looking slightly different. At the time I started the project I thought it could get my motivation charged up so I could complete the new Spiritseer behind them.

I started to paint them and in a couple days made some pretty good progress (for me).

Then it happened. Before the unit was fully done GW announced new plastic Banshees and a new Jain Zar. My motivation was gone, for weeks. But then, GW announced they would only be in a boxed set I can’t really afford right now. So with months to wait until they are released and the book out now I got off my ass and put on the finishing touches.

And now they are prepared for war, and inspired a tweak to the way I paint power weapons to give them some punch. I’ll do a seperate article about which Exarch powers I’ll use for which units and why.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Kabalite Bomb Squad Completed!

Well I finally got around to finishing this massive unit of Kabalites.  Oddly enough I was working on a Corsair conversion and wanted to buy six Splinter Cannons.  This resulted in the bitz company accidentally sending me 20 Kabalite Warriors.  I offered to send them back but they told me to keep them since it was an error on their end.  For about seven years they have just been legs on bases... but a few months ago I got off my butt and got around to putting them all together.  While having one token Kabalite unit for Ynnari is okay, I feel like they deserve the same kind of potential game play as my Harlequins.  That means I need to start focusing on completing the Drukhari units I have unbuilt and unpainted.  I just got one large step closer with this unit:

At 20 warriors strong my aim is to use the webway stratagem to pop this unit in at about 15 inches from the enemy and unload.  15 inches is because my paint scheme really fits Obsidian Rose, and since there's no fluff about a specific Kabal working with Ulthwe or Midnight Sorrow I'm going to move forward with that as my Kabal.  With two shredders in the unit I might be able to get lucky and pack two or three reliable kills to the units firepower, compared to my pitiful rolling for poison wounds.  With the way I roll for poison weapons I might as well only wound on a 5+.

At this point I still have ten more Kabalites to assemble and paint, an Archon, a Succubus, and three bikes to paint.  At some point I need to grab three more bikes, and one more court member, and then I can look at picking up two more Raiders.  From there I'll have a functional battalion from a Kabal to build off of, and a patrol of Wyches.  Technically I can make a Vanguard of Incubi and Mandrakes as well, but I much prefer my Mandrakes as one menacing unit rather than two small squads.  It's just a way of farming CP while my force grows.

While I like the idea of a fluffy raiding force with a coven splitting the difference I am not enthused about the amount of work it will take to get there since a coven doesn't play well with Ynnari.  Every time I try and build a 2k force around a raiding force I find myself padding out the basics so much that the force really feels like it suffers against too many army types.  The prevalence of Knights in particular is a worry for that type of classic force.  Don't get me wrong, Knights are not a weak point for the army, but it certainly is for the raiding force, because it emphasises a splitting of resources that dilutes the type of focused list that really competes with knights.

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Ulthwe Vs Harlequins 2500pts Written Battle Report

Letting someone else use one of your armies is always an odd prospect, in part because you build an army for your own play style, and that leaves a gap between what you have available and what they'd want.  That said, I've got my Midnight Sorrow Harlequins vs my Ulthwe.

The Ulthwe list above has a take-all-comer vibe, designed to be flexible enough to face more elite forces like Castellan and friends, or hold up against more of a horde force.  As a Brigade it boasts an impressive 15 command points.

The Harlequins are a force that is limited by my collection.  In this case in order to squeeze as many points as I could from the list I split my Harlequin squads from 12 down to 6 troupers each.  This allowed me to build two Battalions and add on a Vanguard detachment to total out 14 command points.  this also required me to take the Webway Portal in order to hit the 2500.  As it's basically playing with a handicap I took charge of the Harlequins.

The mission was #2 of the new Maelstrom missions, something like Head of the Snake.  Essentially you comfortably generate new tactical objectives each turn, but when a character dies you lose an outstanding objective.

Deployment: We opted to have the objective markers overturned until after deployment, meaning we had no idea what objective was where.  This made it tougher to remove objectives to refine the deck so I couldn't use my ordinary trick of removing the "defend objective" cards that are from my opponent's half of the board.

Harlequins would go first unless Ulthwe could seize.  Both forces lined up, but Ulthwe was clearly prepared to absorb a charge and hold off its foes long enough to gather against the clowns, even having Fire Dragons in a Falcon preparing to take down the Webway Gate before the 6 Harlequins deployed in the labyrinthine depths of the webway along with a Death Jester.  Unfortunately for the craftworld they did not seize, allowing the Harlequins to go first. 

Player 1 Battle Round 1:

The Harlequins moved up aggressively, and thanks to the Shadowseer slingshotting a troupe up the field with a second move they managed to get into the front lines.  The two units of Haywire bikes were okay against the Falcon and a Warp Hunter, but didn't destroy either, instead knocking them to their mid level profiles.  The troupe that got into the thick of it finished off a Guardian squad and attempted to wrap up the farseer but couldn't get in behind him with the changes to the Flip Belts rule.  In all the Harlequins got First Strike and achieved another objective whilst starting to defend an objective as well.

Player 2 Battle Round 1:

Looking to stem the tide the forces of Ulthwe quickly shifted position.  The bikes leapt out to cut down the Troupe Master who I had foolishly left unaccompanied by a troupe (since they were in the Ulthwe lines).  The fire dragons sped from the Falcon to take down the webway gate, but most of the units just shuffled around.  The Wraithknight trundled forward to try and dominate the center of the board.  A solid move as Harlequins often have trouble facing off against knights of any kind.  In an unexpected turn Ulthwe was entirely shut down for the psychic phase.  The Farseer had been placed in hopes of eliminating the troupe that was in the frontlines with Executioner and the bikes with smite, but both powers got denied, as did Jinx.  In fact Jinx and Executioner were denied with box cars.  The neutering of the psychic phase made a huge dent in the potential for the craftworld forces.  They did eventually manage to kill the troupe and the closest unit of bikes, after putting unholy amounts of firepower into them, but it meant that little could be done to damage the units that were quickly approaching.  When the Firedragons fired, point blank, at the Webway gate the unit of 6 managed to do a total of 5 wounds.  Considering I failed the one save I'd been required to make on it I just saw this as a reminder that Fire Dragons are overpriced given their unreliability combined with their frailty.  They aren't like Wraithguard, who can survive a bad round of fire, and take considerable effort to eliminate.  The bikes laid a tremendous amount of firepower into the Troupe Master, but with his 3++ he shrugged off all but 3 wounds.  The bikes charged him, hoping to finish off the last two wounds and net Warlord, but failed, and lost two of their number, one to the Heroicly Intervening shadowseer.  Ulthwe was positioned to defend two objectives in the next turn, and had secured first strike, but hadn't had immediately achievable goals, discarding a Defend Objective that was on the Harlequin side of the board.

Player 1 Battle Round 2:

This was a huge turn for the Harlequins.  They disembarked all units in transports in a pincer move, while the jetbikes pushed forward up the center.  For psychic powers a Shadowseer fogged the mind of the Wraithknight while another challenged it to a battle of minds and put two wounds on it.  Another managed to place -1 to hit on a unit coming up the center of the board.  Having success in the Psychic phase gave me a lot of confidence.  This was followed up by the second unit of bikes using haywire to finish off the wounded Warp Hunter.  I was, perhaps, even a bit cocky with 6 fusion pistols at point blank range with the wraithknight.  Unfortunately 4 of the troupers were unfamiliar with the sidearm and completely missed the hulking monstrosity.  The other two hit, but only one wounded and managed 4 damage.  Ultimately an uninspiring fare.  The Assault phase was fierce with the Solitaire getting in to the Spiritseer, the Troupe Master getting in to the Shadow Spectres as he could not be overwatched, and the bikes making it in to Dire Avengers while 3 troupes and a troupe master all made it in to assault with the wraithknight.  A troupe fully armed with Harlequin Kisses managed to bring the Wraithknight down to 4 wounds.  This made interrupting less appealing, but my opponent did in order to try get slay the warlord.  His assault failed and the Harlequins proceeded to slaughter Dire Avengers, Guardians, Shadow Spectres, and the Solitaire slaughtered the Spiritseer.  After it consolidating leaving it about 4" from the Autarch and Bonesinger... after the minor attempt of Utlhwe to strike back it was the end of the fight phase and I played the Fight Again strategy on the Solitaire... followed by the Troupe Master finally spiking a refund for the first time ever, getting a three CP stratagem for free.  The Solitaire was a blur, slamming into the Autarch and Bonesinger.  While the Bonesinger died to the brutality of Cegorach's Rose, the Autarch's force shield was impressively effective, only letting one strike through.  While the Harlequins pushed ahead to 7 Victory Points the forces of Ulthwe were shattered to be forced to discard their Defend Objective cards when their characters were slaughtered, crippling their ability to score.

Player 2 Battle Round 2:

The Wraithknight left combat and was healed for 3 wounds.  Then the psychic phase began and the Farseer was ready to Smite and Execute his way to vengeance.  But again both his spells were denied, both with box cars!  At this point it was readily apparent that Ulthwe's Warhost was crippled.  All that was left was to see how many models could survive.  The Autarch obliterated the Solitaire with his fusion pistol while the Warp Hunter wiped out the second squad of bikes.  The fog stopped the Wraithknight from making much of an impact.  They still had not managed to score any Plobjectives.

Player 1 Battle Round 3:

The Autarch was killed netting warlord and the Wraithknight was wrapped up again, but even with a troupe master they only dropped it to 2 wounds.  By the end of the turn the Harlequins were set to defend an objective and were now comfortably leading 9-1.

Player 2 Battle Round 3:

The Farseer went nuclear, getting off Executioner, Mind War, and then a full size Smite, killing off a troupe squad, a Star Weaver, and the Troupe Master, thanks to the objectives he was set to achieve maxed out two D3 objectives, pulling in 7 Victory Points.  Outside of that MVP performance the Ulthwe forces managed to do little other than kill a Void Weaver and the Wraithknight did pretty much nothing useful while fogged.  The loss of the Troupe Master meant I lost the ability to score the Defend Objective I'd been working on.

Player 1 Battle Round 4:

Virtually all of the troupes had been destroyed, leaving just a handful of harlequins, but they were still moving to capture objectives, bumping up from 9 to 15 points.

Player 2 Battle Round 4:

Only 2 wounds were left on the Wraithknight.  It couldn't defend its objective with the expected movement of the Harlequin model, so it would need to live through the next turn and then hope the game continued and then live through the next turn to defend the objective.

Players 1-2 Battle Round 5: 

The Harlequins got big game hunter against the Wraithknight and Mercifully the game ended.  The only Ulthwe unit is the wounded Hornet.

Harlequin Victory 22-8.

This game confirmed the difficulties that Harlequins have with knights.  Even a single knight can cause problems for them, and this is without the ability to shift it to a 3++ against shooting.  a full knight force is basically a hard counter to them, because the bikes are so easy to take out for knights.

I feel like the Harlequin dominance of the psychic phases in turns 1 and 2 swung the game hard in favour of the clowns.  It required so much extra firepower to rout them from the Ulthwe force's front lines.

In this particular mission the Defend Objectives are such a liability because they can't be scored instantly, thus making them more likely to be unachievable because you lost a character.  All in all it was a fun game, but really cemented my thoughts about certain weaknesses in both armies and just how impressive certain units can be in the right circumstances (looking at you Solitaire).