Monday, September 22, 2014

St Kelly's Day Massacre

For GW's Birthday celebration in Australia the shop ran a special game wherein all the shop regulars got to partake in a bring and battle, setting up a pack of Imperial Knights to take on a Phantom Titan in a 2 out of 3 clash to see if they could destroy the monstrosity.  What resulted is what one of my friends referred to as the St Kelly's Day Massacre.  It was an absolute riot of a game.

As a bonus rule any knight that wore a party parasol got a special rule, once it had been destroyed the player got to roll 2D6 and in the event of doubles the Knight miraculously survived with a single hull point remaining!

While at the shop I mentioned that I kind of felt like I was in Aliens, attempting to gun down Xenomorphs before they got to me, and any game where Imperial Knights are being compared to Xenomorphs for their numbers and relentlessness is a uniquely fun experience.

The music is a shortened Dual of the Fates from The Phantom Menace and the quotes are from Henry V, Macbeth, Hamlet and King Lear respectively.

Enjoy the frivolity!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

One Year On - Unit Review: Elites

First off, I'd like to say I'll be covering the Wraithguard and Wraithblades in troops as I think they are nearly always taken with a spiritseer in order to convert them to troops.

I may be alone in this belief, but with the WraithKnight in Heavy Support I'd like to see the Wraithlord moved to Elites.  It would reduce the burden of Heavy Support, keep it more slot appropriate (compared to a dreadnought) and could see Wraithguard simply moved to troops.

None of that really influences my thoughts on these units, but I think over this whole review it's important to disclose my thought process in regards to the dex overall as I go.

Howling Banshees

This is a unit that, at first, felt like a missed opportunity, but after actually using them I find them quite good.  They're incredibly fast thanks to the acrobatic rule.

Game Play - Other players WILL underestimate Banshees in a serpent... why?  Because they'll forget about Bladestorm.  Any time you can deny the enemy an armor save you'll start putting real pressure on them.  Bladestorm has made the Eldar pretty much the masters of short range firefights, second only to the Tau.  Deploying them out of a Wave Serpent gets them across the board insanely quickly.  However, using them requires precision and thought.  They are not ideal for sending in to dug in opponents and clearing objectives.  However, they will tear through a unit trying to cross the board or units that are threatening to assault your units in your deployment zone.  Banshees tend to benefit more from other units providing synergistic help.  For instance Jinx on terminators makes them fear the charge of banshees (not to mention that they should be wary of any unit with a shuriken weapon).  While it may be tempting to put a Spiritseer that can boost their strength in the unit, or an Autarch to give them a combat cornerstone to build on, but doing so will lose you Acrobatic, so I would advise against it.

Phoenix Lord - Jain Zar is nasty with AP2 attacks and shred, but the Triskele makes her buff the units shooting considerably, not to mention her warlord trait giving them an extra inch on the run, and believe me, every inch counts and let's not overlook her ability to tank wounds with her 2+ save.  Her mask gives her the best chance at dominating on the charge, and she's generally not afraid to issue a challenge, though be aware the true monsters of combat, like Lysander, or any Chapter Master with a storm shield and thunder hammer will probably win out in short order.  Use your mobility to pick your fights carefully.

In 7th: Banshees in a Wave serpent have lost 2" from their disembark, but they're now a scoring unit, which makes them flexible, but capable of quickly sprinting to an objective.  In an edition that is more geared towards shooting the banshees can hold up pretty well in part because they can do some damage with shooting and are likely enough of a threat in combat that the unit you want to assault won't assault you first.

Fire Dragons

A lot of people freaked about the leap in points for Fire Dragons, but they needed a raise in points, and I think the return of their 3+ save makes them really worth it, and their firepower is still impressive and reliable

Game Play - I've seen people use them on foot alone, but I find they're such a threat they need some type of transport to get to the biggest threat priority.  When tanks explode they have a real chance to survive the blast now... assuming they don't take a D to the face from blowing up a super heavy... but, really, in most cases it's worth the sacrifice.

Phoenix Lord - I have not used Fuegan in the new book, but I have one friend who refers to him as "boss" and absolutely loves him.

In 7th:  AP 1 is even more valuable and the dragons are reliable.  They can do quite well on their own, as aspect warriors should, but Guide and Doom can help them all but guarantee to liquify whatever target you throw them against.

Striking Scorpions

This is the unit that brought me into the game and in the new codex they received had a lot of the old upgrades that were all but required to make them usable built in from the start.  The mandiblasters operate a bit closer to older versions, and while the loss of the bonus attack might make me frown it's well worth the trade off for them being so all around good.  Also... powerfist that strikes at initiative!

Game Play - Scorpions are incredibly flexible, but for me I tend not to put them in vehicles as it drives the cost of the unit so high.  Using them to infiltrate, usually in ruins, can force your opponent to either cede ground to them or move to deal with them.  Either through board control or directing your opponent's hand it is a potent option.  The ability to outflank should also not be overlooked.  Much like the banshees their firepower can really surprise people, and don't forget they have plasma grenades, so they can get a Str 4 AP 4 blast in that volley as well.

Phoenix Lord - Karandras is my favorite.  He has a power fist that slams down at Str 8 at initiative and gets a bonus attack for a second weapon.  Well worth the loss of the ability to go to ground.

In 7th:  They're still awesome and they can now score, which should not be overlooked on a unit with stealth and a 3+ save.  If you don't have Karandras they can infiltrate to a mid board objective in ruins and just go to ground for a 2+ cover save on a unit that most people won't want to charge to try and clear out.


This unit is a missed opportunity, not in that they are a bad unit, but in that they don't feel particularly up to snuff compared to the standard units and I feel that keeping them in both the Eldar and Dark Eldar dexes has prevented them from being appropriately moved into the new edition as GW strives to keep the unit the same in both books, thus making them stagnate, however the bladestorm rule was a boost that eased some of the restriction from the unit rules being unchanged.  The addition of Battle Focus makes Harlequins feel a little odd because they feel like a unit that doesn't have the same personality of either of its parent dexes.

Game Play - This unit is incredibly fragile, but they're not slowed by difficult terrain, and can be the unit that takes on those 2+ save units or 3+ save units in cover that your banshees shouldn't be charging.  Always, Always take a Shadowseer.

In 7th:  Like the other Elite selections the Harlequins are scoring now.  Ultimately the change to the psychic phase has quite the impact on them.  When the unit is in combat he provides spare warp charge to the rest of your force, and if you cast on a single die there's no chance your Shadowseer will perils, and even on two dice you are half as likely to perils now that double 1's don't force the perils, and when it does happen it doesn't automatically kill your model.


Eldar elites are much more tempting in 7th now that they can score.  it really hindered them in the past.  


Banshees: 10 in a Serpent (vectored engines) with Jain Zar and an Exarch.  Throw them head long at a vulnerable part of your enemy's lines.

Fire Dragons: 6 in a Serpent with an Exarch with Fusion Pike and Fast shot in a Falcon (vectored engines).  Throw them head long at a unit that absolutely, positively has to die.

Scorpions: 10 with Karandras and an Exarch.  Infiltrate and control a portion of the board, or outflank if you can attack a vulnerable enemy up close and personal.

Harlequins: 10 with a Shadow seer and a handful of Harlequin Kisses.  Keep them in cover every moment you can and get them in combat with a priority target as quickly as you can.

Monday, September 15, 2014

One Year On - Unit Review: HQ

Well, due to an injury I'm a bit behind some of my painting and modelling projects.  That said I thought I'd use the time I have recovering to discuss the units available, section by section, and how they have transitioned to 7th edition.


The Avatar of Khaine

The Avatar was a unit I used often since the release of the new codex.  With the notable exception of the invulnerable save it pretty much just got a ton of buffs.  Higher BS, more wounds, higher Initiative, fleet, more attacks, and access to a number of exarch powers.

Game Play - The Avatar is a key piece in a foot based force.  I like to use mine to anchor foot lists.  Placing it between 2 full size foot units of Dire Avengers with shimmer shield helps make the most of his fearless bubble, and he'll either draw fire that would otherwise go to more precious units or your opponents can ignore him at your peril.  One thing I would have liked to see is for the wailing doom to be +2 str and have armourbane in CC as it would have been thematic to the shooting version of the weapon.

In 7th: The changes to smash took some of the sheen off the Avatar for me as it really limits what I'm willing to throw him against, but he's still a beast overall, and with Fast Shot he's worth taking, but you really need to design a build around him from the beginning.  Aggressive play is key to getting the most out of the Avatar so have a plan to use him at the start of the game and hold true to it.  Do not be disturbed when he takes a couple wounds and worry about protecting him.  Throw him forward and force the enemy to respond to his threat and pressure.


Initially billed as the Eldar take on Batman in 4th edition the Autarch lost some stock with me in the new codex.  Not much has changed for the Autarch itself, however some of the wargear available, such as mandiblasters, substantially changed, thus altering, and in many ways reducing the Autarch's usefulness.  The requirement for the Autarch to replace a weapon to get a Remnant of Glory isn't a big deal, but the fact that he only comes with a shuriken pistol is.  It means if you want the bonus attack for having two close combat weapons you must, at the very least, add a 3 pt tax on to your model.  3 points might not seem like much, but it can make adding the Autarch in to your list a real pain in the but for rounding out your army totals.  In the prior codex the Autarch had a rule that allowed him to benefit from unit rules outside of infiltrate.  The loss of that rule was also a loss of synergy for the Autarch as his inclusion is a negative for Swooping Hawks and Howling Banshees, and that's a shame really.

Game Play - The build you choose can really define the roll the Autarch plays.  For instance I really like giving an Autarch a banshee mask and shard of anaris.  the banshee mask paired with plasma grenades means you're all but guaranteed to go first on the charge.  Add in the shard and you have a good chance to ruin the day of any character through a challenge.

In 7th - The Autarch has real appeal for me in 7th, in part because the bonus to reserves makes the null deploy list that much more potent, though it requires careful deployment and planning for the units that start on the table as they have to survive.


As an Ulthwe player saying the Farseer was my go to choice was a bit of an understatement.  I'd often run two.  The new codex not only boosted their mastery level from a possible two to three, it also made the farseer dirt cheap.  The points I invested in farseers essentially dropped in half, though part of that was that runes of warding and runes of witnessing were nerfed to garbage.  If they were 5 pts each I think they'd be more reasonable, or if they weren't one use only they'd be really tempting at their current cost.

Game Play - Farseers are a premier support unit for the Eldar and their use can really change quite a bit based upon what powers you get.  The ability to alter your gamestyle to get the most used out of whatever combination the farseer gets is paramount if you play very different lists from game to game.  If you're playing the same list all the time you're most likely hoping for the same spells as often as possible.  I wish they'd give Farseers a second base attack, but alas, GW seems deaf to my longing here.

In 7th: The changes to the psychic phase has pulled some of the rug out from under Ulthwe armies.  In the past I'd all but guarantee three powers per Farseer.  Now I have to be much more selective.  When I first heard about the new psychic phase I was fairly unhappy because I saw how it would limit my force.  With only a single D6 getting added on to the total WC I figured it would scale really poorly, and I still feel this is the case.  That said, it means I need to be much more strategic with the powers I choose to cast and can lead to a cat and mouse scenario when facing down an opponent.  7th has also opened up Daemonology powers, of which I've found Santic works very well for Eldar.  Not to mention the option to get a bonus power through Psychic Focus.  I don't use Farseers as much now, but when I do I back them up much more at the army building stage and I keep each one to a single discipline, which means I'll have as many powers as possible to choose from and keep myself flexible, and it means if I get a power I won't cast it feels less damaging to my overall selection of powers.  I feel I should also make a special note here about the Runes of Fate, as only Farseers can take them.  the Runes of Fate were harsh to have so many powers at WC 2 in 6th, but in 7th, because I can get additional psykers to act as batteries for warp charge it makes having a Farseer dedicated to Runes of Battle less problematic.  However, Death Mission, which was the worst power in the game in 6th, has actually become worse in 7th.  With the addition of a new phase to the game it means there are now 8 rolls between castings, which means with average rolls you will only have a CHANCE of casting it a second time (ie living through a single turn) 1/3 of the times you cast it.  I don't find the benefits in any way meet the ludicrous costs of the spell.  Another special mention is the GhostHelm, which in 7th only ignores a wound caused by perils... and until a FAQ hits to say it fully ignores perils it will have some wonky interaction (lose a power, but not a wound, etc).


The new kid on the block is a step between warlock and farseer.  It comes stock with a witch staff (which I would have liked to see as an option for Farseers), but is mostly a warlock with plus one wound and leadership.  It also has the spirit mark ability that on first read seemed like a throw away ability tossed on to the model, but I've used it to such good effect (and surprisingly don't often forget it) that I really respect it now.  It doesn't require LoS, or a roll to hit, or a leadership test to work.  It's a really cool passive ability for those of us that tend to roll 1's when shooting wraithcannons.

Game Play - The spirit seer is the only way to get conceal into a Wraithguard squad.  It also has access to telepathy, so most folks will probably hope for invisibility.  Note that if you go full Runes of Battle it means the Spirit Seer has an impressive 6 powers to choose from.  If you're using a spirit seer you're probably running Iyanden, so there's a good chance you're giving up conceal for twilight voice, which does not have a mirror power, but is impressive in a wraith list.

In 7th - Like Farseers they have accesss to Daemonology, which once again means access to Santic.  Sactuary can give a Wraithblade unit with axes a 3++, which makes for a seriously tough unit.


While not technically an HQ I'm including Warlocks.  They are the backbone of an Ulthwe force.  They are the same cost or slightly cheaper than in the prior book, depending on the power you purchased and with random powers they're not as dependable as before.  The randomization of powers has really altered the unit's dependability and they are no longer a separate unit and a unit upgrade.  They now work similarly to the 3rd edition book, being broken off from the squad and attached to another unit.  They also lost access to a wave serpent, which makes them extremely vulnerable at the start of the game.

Game Play - I don't have any experience with a squad of bike mounted warlocks, and on foot they are capable, but the unit requires Farseers to back them up and make them truly formidable.  Without that synergy they are a point sink.  Knowing that it means they must be used aggressively.  A unit of three Farseers and ten warlocks are approaching the point totals of a titan, so they have to be used just as aggressively.  force your opponent to deal with them.

In 7th - There is some win/lose for Warlocks.  For instance they can't attempt to cast the same spell more than once in a unit.  I used to love having three warlocks with destructor.  At the start of 6th that took a hit because it could suddenly be denied.  Then with the new codex it took another hit because it became random.  Occasionally I'd end up with more copies of destructor, but most of the time less.  In 7th it's now flat out not allowed and is a bit sad.  I don't think I've cast destructor a single time since I've moved to Australia. Then 7th disallowed units in a transport to cast powers on themselves, so they are forced to stay on foot.  That said, they have access to Santic, so once again that +1 to invul save is a possibility, but more important to them (considering invisibility can be an adequate replacement for Sanctuary + Fortune) is the possibility of Infinity Gate.  Deep Striking the unit makes them a terror for any army to deal with once they are tooled up (Gate of infinity plus prescience or guide on a unit all armed with singing spears is absolute nightmare fuel).  Powers like Jinx or Misfortune also make opponents quake once they've been on the receiving end of a full on council charge.  With the restriction to one attempt per unit it means you will most likely have many redundant powers in your warlock squad, which ultimately makes the other members important because they'll be warp charge batteries for your most potent spells.


Without covering Special Characters, the Eldar have a rather strong selection of HQ choices.  Most of them are fairly utilitarian, but give you access to force multipliers.


My two favorite builds centered around generic HQs are as follows:

1) 2 CAD including 3 farseers, 1 unit of 10 warlocks, 1 unit of 3 warlocks, Hemlock.  Disseminate 3 warlocks among guardian squads and when all your units are on the table you've got 23 WC.  Most of my lists are designed to own one aspect of the game and otherwise be as flexible as possible and this build is designed to own, as much as Eldar can, the psychic phase.  Some armies can still dominate this build, but they can't casually do it, they need to build their force from the ground up to do so.

2) 1 CAD including 2 full size units of Dire Avengers with shimmer shield Exarchs and an Avatar.  A Farseer can be added for taste in this build (fortune can make that 5++ extremely potent), but ultimately I use it for position control.  Keep marching forward and take the ground you need.

I hope people found this enjoyable and maybe informative.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Video Battle Report 2000 pts Eldar vs Chaos Space Marines

I'm continuing my Myrddin Campaign experiment to create a narrative string that runs through random opponents.  My idea behind the current list is that it's thematically a strike force of Autarchs leading aspect warriors.  This is at the initial stages of the war, before any Eldar forces have been marshaled to hold ground or make up for the lack of bodies the Eldar generally bring to battle.  It's essentially the special forces leading the way.


Eskalia prepared the Dire Avengers under her command for their work.  They would strike the flank of the Space Marines and retreat, leading them in to combat with the true enemy.

"This will not be a prolonged engagement.  Strike, retreat, and leave a trail for them to follow.  The forces of Chaos are masking their presence from their unsullied brethren, and we must correct this."

Before she could complete her orders she could feel the disturbance of a warp tear nearby.  Her brother Elthelio had appeared, accompanied by Khaine's Wrath, the Warp Spider shrine to which he had once been a member.

"I do wish you would stop risking your soul in such a manner," she said.

"Neither of us have time for your reprimands," he responded.  "Things are worse than we feared.  We do not have the luxury of re-directing the mon-keigh.  They would be slaughtered against this foe and the fears of our seers would come to pass.  They are not ready," he said.  He was her twin, yet they were so dissimilar, two ends of a spectrum.

"Our plan is flawless.  What madness could cause us to deviate?" she asked brusquely.

His words echoed in her head, "Daemon machines already walk this world."

Saturday, September 6, 2014

40K Scale Storm Serpent

This project has been in progress for a while.  For people that weren't following my old plog on Warseer, this has been a project in the works for a little over a year.  When I ordered the Cobra there was an issue.  It arrived badly chipped and FW responded remarkably by sending a replacement hull. This left me with a spare Cobra hull that I started to convert to a Storm Serpent.  However, I was never happy with my plasticard work, and the project was shelved until I finally decided to get the parts I needed by buying a Scorpion kit and mixing the two to complete the conversion.  I've also tried something new by painting the cockpit.  This was actually because the canopy has to be glued on and filmed up the inside and looked horrible.  I'm sort of ok with it, but now I have to consider if this is something I want to run with or not.  If only GW still sold the canopies separately I'd get a handful of them to swap out old cracked canopies and such.  Below there are photos of the completed conversion and rules for using it in game.

Storm Serpent          475 Pts

Super-Heavy vehicle (Fast, Skimmer, Transport)

Pulse Laser (See Codex Eldar)
Shuriken Cannon (See Codex Eldar)

Transport Capacity
Up to six units with the infantry, jetbike, skimmer (that is not also a tank), or walker unit type may be embarked upon the Storm Serpent at the start of the game.  No units may embark upon the Storm Serpent once the game has started.

Special Rules
Eldar Titan Holo-fields (See Warhammer 40,000 Apocalypse)
Wraithgate: Each turn up to 3 embarked units may disembark from any point along the front or sides of the Storm Serpent's hull.  If the Storm Serpent is destroyed the embarked units suffer no negative effects and are instead immediately placed into ongoing reserve.

The Storm Serpent may replace its turret mounted Shuriken Cannon with a:
Scatter laser ...................10 pts
Eldar missile launcher ...15 pts
Starcannon .....................20 pts
Bright lance ...................30 pts

The Storm Serpent may take the following upgrades:
Vectored engines............40 pts
Star engines....................30 pts

Monday, September 1, 2014

A Classic Unit Revamped.

It's been a few weeks since I posted, but that does not mean I've been dormant.  I have a number of big projects I'm working on that will be revealed at the right time.  For now, they shall remain in the dark.

One of those projects is now done, the re-vamp of the Warp Spiders.  When I first came up with this color scheme it was in 2nd edition and I thought it would be cool to give them a scheme that made it look like they were frost based, since they had template weapons but weren't firing fire.  The scheme was ok at the time, but hasn't held up.  Now that i'm working to redo the bases for most of my force I took the chance to also redo their paint scheme to something more related to the classic colors, and to add two more members to the unit.

I've included a pic of what they used to look like:

And the current look:

One exarch has gone dormant and his shrine returns to rest, yet another shrine awakens once again.  They are the Shrine of Khaine's Wrath, and the rune on the banner represents Isha, Khaine, and Vaul, in that drama which resulted in the crippling of Vaul.  I'm hoping the new, brighter colors will mean I remember to move them in both the movement and assault phases now, as it has often been something I forget about with this unit.