Thursday, November 16, 2017

Ulthwe vs Cadians written 2K Battle Report

This week I wanted to try some more new things and brought a whole new list to bare. Once again my list was built with ought knowing my opponent's list. He surprised me with a Baneblade... but I returned the surprise by fielding a detachment of 5 flyers.

With our armies set we rolled up a mission wherein we generate one tactical objective for each objective point we control.  Our set up was short table edges, one that both my opponent and I thought gave each of us the advantage.  Him for his range and me for my speed.

With our forces deployed we rolled off for first turn.  The Eldar won the roll off with a 7.  The Guard failed to seize, spent a CP and failed again.  Then failed to regenerate the point.  The sentinels scouted forward.  The Eldar were off and running, and the Rangers stepped into position at the front of the left flank with a dominating view of the field.

Both Wave Serpents emptied as Dire Avengers rushed out from them, surrounding the Autarch and Farseer, and supported by their wave serpents.  The Ulthwe airforce agressively swept in and the formation was, on its face, similar to the way Imperial forces tend to castle.  On the Aeldari left flank, near the rangers the Warp Spiders apparated just as the Striking Scorpions appeared from the shadows.

The forward Commissar was horrified by a Hemlock as the other Hemlock failed to Jinx the Bane Blade.  The Farseer Doomed the Bane Blade, then melted the brain of the commissar in a Mind War before I played the stratagem to cast an extra power, taking 3 wounds off the Sentinel.

The shooting phase opened up with the Rangers executing the Imperial Guard commander, netting me Warlord and First Blood, and robbing the Astra Militarum of their ability to generate CP throughout the game.  This was followed by punishing firepower being levied against the Bane Blade in the form of all 5 flyers.  As the Crimson Hunter Exarch, the last hope of the Aeldari forces to quiet the Imperial Behemoth rained down its high powered heavy laser weaponry the tank exploded in spectacular fashion, causing heavy damage to two nearby imperial tanks, killing a handful of guardsmen, and even causing some debris to strike a hemlock that flew too close.  The Warp Spiders slew the untouched Sentinel while Wave Serpents felled another.  the Dire Avengers, bolstered by the stratagem to reroll 1's on the wound roll cut through a heavy weapon team and a unit of guardsmen.  The Scorpions charged in to the guardsmen who were taking cover in a nearby shattered building, some being cut down in overwatch, but with the stratagem to create additional hits on a to hit of 6, and their bonus to hit in cover, they managed to cripple the unit down to a single model by the end of morale.  At the end of the first turn nearly a third of the Imperial forces had been dispatched.

The Imperial forces were shaken.  The loss of the Bane Blade was demoralising, but they intended to take vengeance.  The Hell Hounds pushed forward as everything else fired away with every available gun.  One unit of Dire Avengers was wiped out from sustained Wyvern fire, while the Manticores dropped the Crimson Hunter Exarch to 2 wounds.  A Hell Hound and guardsmen punished the scorpions until only the Exarch and a single disciple remained.  The other Hell Hound decimated the Warp Spiders causing horrific casualties.

Ulthwe's forces had sustained major casualties, but were looking to press their advantage.  A new priority order was issued to capture objective marker 3, one that was under the control of Cadia.  The Dire Avengers moved forward to put down more of Cadia's infantry while the air force swept in to lay the tanks low.  Another infantry unit fell to shuriken fire and the Wyvern that was previously damaged by the Bane Blade was finally destroyed, but otherwise the firepower of the Eldar was massively ineffective.  The Scorpion Exarch made it in to combat, but did not generate enough damage to force the unit to flee in fear leaving him trapped in a circle of bodies.

The guardsmen felt hope, having a chance to steal the day.  A commander and Commissar locked themselves in combat with the Scorpion Exarch, shrugging off the damage of his powered claw while the Warp Spiders were wiped out and ranger unit was reduced to half its original size.  The remaining Dire Avengers had their ranks dropped to 6, but in a surprising mark of resilience the Crimson Hunter Exarch survived the firepower levelled against it with a single wound left!

The swarming Aeldari airforce would not let this chance pass.  They moved in, swarming the Imperial lines, gunning for the kill.

with a mixture of psychic might and devastating firepower the Eldar managed to destroy a Manticore, the last Wyvern, both Hell Hounds, and nearly all of the infantry.  Completely overrun the Astra Militarum conceded.

I'd apologize for another "short" battle report, but really that just seems to be the way 8th is played.  Short, brutal games.  I think I pretty much won this game on the first turn, with the destruction of the Bane Blade.  I had a lot go right for me, but the most important part was that Doom went off, which was enormous, considering how often I needed it with the shooting from the Hunters.  Once it was dealt with the -1 to hit nearly everything in my army was also causing real headaches for my opponent.

This was the first game in which the Scorpions did well for me.  I think they need further testing for me to complete my opinion of them.  They're not as instantly loveable as Banshees, but they may earn my respect over time.

The Dire Avengers were okay... but i just think Guardians are a better fit for my play style.  The Hemlocks weren't super crazy, though their negative bubble actually played a solid role in the game, especially with Mind War on the first turn.    I'm finding that power is incredibly useful against guard with the Aggressive use of farseers.

Crimson Hunters finally rolled well on the damage rolls this game, which is part of the only reason I actually cracked open the Bane Blade on turn 1.

Warp spiders were not particularly impressive, but they did kill what they shot at on turn 1, so I'll try them out a little bit more to see if they click.  Overall I felt they just didn't synergise well outside of also being hard to hit.

After the game wrapped up and my opponent conceded I convinced him to set everything up the way we had it at the start of the game and that we could play through a shooting phase so he could test the things he wanted to test (and roll some dice and blow some of my stuff up).  I think it helped improve his mood, but had the benefit of letting me learn more about what his units can do, and let him experiment with some of his toys.  If you have a quick game like this and you're certain that getting first turn caused a huge swing and your opponent got curb-stomped, don't be afraid to take the extra step in being a good sport and a friend and give them a chance to really... play with their toys.  you can actually learn quite a lot, plus you can start to workshop how you would have responded if that first turn dice roll had gone a different way.  In our gaming I saw that if he had that turn as a first turn I wouldn't have been able to get my Farseer in position to cast Doom on the BaneBlade, meaning that even if I had otherwise made the same, or virtually the same moves I would not have gotten the Bane Blade more than half way through its wounds... nevertheless killed it.  Just something to keep in mind for your future games.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Ulthwe vs Ultramarine Written 2K Battle Report (Photos)

I want to be clear that before the game I did not know what was in my opponent's army, in fact I did not even know which of his armies he was taking.  While I was anticipating him using guard with a baneblade I had a test I really wanted to try out. Please keep that in mind.

The forces of Ulthwe:

The forces of the Ultramarines:


With the Ultramarines having a smaller force they had a +1 to go first.  They were prepared to take the field aggressively... and then Ulthwe stole the initiative.

The Wave serpent full of Banshees swept forward to take the centre of the field.  Dark reapers slaughtered all but two of the Assault Marines while their Exarch's Starhawk Missile, Hemlock, and the linked fire of the Prisms sundered the Storm Raven and sent it crashing to the ground, slaying two of the terminators inside.  All while the two Nightspinners thinned the centre Primaris squad to a single model.

Reeling from the initial onslaught the marines looked to be aggressive, moving forward, but as the Reivers entered half their numbers were cut down by the Dark Reapers as the Farseer's precognition warned them of the impending arrival.

The marines moved aggressively towards the Aeldari Falcon, getting into close quarters, but unable to ruin the tank.  The Reivers slaughtered the rangers in their firing nest and pushed forward into the guardians that were defending an objective.

Turn two for Ulthwe kicked off with the banshees disembarking and as the Wave Serpent flew off to safety they approached the marines that had been assaulting their transport.  The guardians in combat retreated under the covering fire of the NightSpinners and Prism.  A large unit of Guardians appeared from the webway behind the forces of the Ultramarines keeping them locked in a pincer, as the Hemlock flew over to support them.  By the time the shooting was finished A librarian, Assault Marine and Primaris Lt were being charged by banshees.  

At the end of the turn a Primaris Lt on 3 wounds was left facing a few banshees, the terminators were slowly trundling towards A fire prism, Marneus Calgar was running across the back of the field towards the guardians, and A Primaris Lt with a small squad of Primaris, its numbers reduced by casualties, were all that was still standing.

The Ultramarines had a mostly ineffective follow up, not making it in to combat with the terminators, advancing marneus, and assaulting the wave serpent but not killing it.  At this point my opponent conceded.

Things I learned: Night Spinners are an absolute nightmare for a force with Primaris marines. In addition the Forewarning Stratagem is positively beastly when paired with Dark reapers.  Opponents that don't know about it will learn to hate it very quickly.  It's easily the match of Webway Strike and Linked Fire when it comes to usefulness.  It's potential means opponents will have to account for it and play extra smart.  If they fall asleep at the wheel it's going to really mess up their day.  The stratagem allowing extra attacks on 6's to hit paid off for me big time.  It won't always, but when it does... in this game it netted me 6 extra attacks, all of which hit, 5 of which wounded.  The banshees finished off the Assault Marines, Slaughtered a Librarian and put two wounds on a Lt in one assault phase.  even the Starhawk missile felt worth the 1 CP when it put 3 mortal wounds on the Raven.  Considering my last Fire Prism firing put on exactly the last 3 wounds needed to kill the storm raven those three mortal wounds were likely the difference between the Raven surviving the turn on 3 wounds and being dead.  the Hemlock  lowering LD and the mass number of casualties I caused on turn 1 gave me hopes I'd actually wipe marine units in the Morale phase, but with my opponent getting a bonus LD turn 1 for being Ultramarines AND rolling a 1 three times for the units affected meant he only lost 1 or none from each unit, but without that negative I wouldn't have caused the two extra morale casualties that were inflicted at all.  The Linked Fire for Prisms resulted in about 7 wounds to the Raven because I needed so many rerolls for the hits and none of my initial rolls to wound actually wounded, so without that stratagem my firepower would have been embarassingly meek.  In many ways I felt bad that my opponent walked into a force that was effectively a hard counter to the army he brought, but since the release of the codex I have been consistently rewarded by aggressively spending CP in turns 1 and 2.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Thank Ynnead, My Hornets are Done!

With the release of the 8th edition codex I finally finished one of those thorn in my side units that had been hanging over my head for some time, the Ulthwe Hornet squadron.  Oddly I'm not even that crazy to use them in a game, I just wanted them painted so I didn't have to think about them anymore.

I'm happy with how they've come out and at some point I will give them a go on the field to see if they still have the punch they once had in prior iterations.  But, for the mean time, they're done and I can now move on to the model tweaks I have to do to convert models to be 8th edition compatible.

Friday, October 27, 2017

A Codex Craftworlds review from an actual Eldar player

One of the things that has been bothering me as of late is the number of reviews, especially before the book was released, that were extremely wrong.  I understand that some players use many armies, and most don't specialise in playing Aeldari, but without consulting someone who does specialise in this force as their main army means there are a lot of items mentioned in previews are wrong or not possible.  As someone who specialises in this force I'll give my quick take and hopefully make some corrections.  As a note, I tend more towards narrative play than match play and my army is locked in to Ulthwe, so you won't see the "everything is -x to hit" expectations coming from me.

Overall Grade: B+

Things You Need to Know

Phoenix Lords cannot take Warlord Traits... not any.  Most people are aware that Phoenix Lords have a special rule that allows them to not make you lose your <Craftworld> bonus, but many people did not realise there is another rule above the specific Craftworld traits that prohibits Phoenix Lords from ever getting a Warlord Trait.

Normal Crimson Hunters are BS 2+ in their top damage tier.  This is actually no different from Index 1 and was done by design so they could still hit on a 3+ when moving.  I am still amazed how many times I've seen people argue that only the Exarch is BS 2+, but I'd recommend people carefully read the book cover to cover, for the rules section at least, as if it's a totally new book.

Support Weapons become individual units once deployed.  This is very important as I continue to see people discuss casting Guide on the unit as if they're a single unit, but that is not the case.

If the Autarch is entering through some form of the new Deep Strike you can not regenerate (path of command) or generate (Ulthwe Warlord Trait) Command Points until AFTER they have been deployed.  This is important to remember because using the Webway Strike stratagem can potentially be regenerated if the model is already on the table.

Sunburst grenades were re-named back to Plasma grenades.  I have no idea why, but I wouldn't mind if they made up their mind on that one.

The Good Stuff

Really, most of the book.  With the exception of Wraith units nearly everything received a point reduction between 10-25%.  The individual rules for units were rarely an issue, but the costs were.  I give GW kudos for recognising that, aggressively correcting points, and not fudging around with the rules too much, only lightly making tweaks.

Howling Banshees: They're so cheap and so fast.  I'm having a difficult time not imaging them becoming a mainstay unit for every variation of Eldar.

Runes of Battle: They really make me wish I rolled better for casting psychic powers because there isn't a power in the list that I don't like.  It makes me want to play really large Apocalypse games just to get to cast all the powers.

Fire Prisms: I'm not certain my rolling will improve with them at all... but with the chance to shoot twice... It's like they know I'm ready to love them again.

The Great Stuff

The Stratagems are going to be what lets players set this army apart.  Now I'm not just building a list... I'm building a list around Stratagems, so it's likely my army will actually play differently than other Eldar players.

The Bonesinger.  The rules are spot on and its rules were released as a free downloadable PDF.  As someone who has worked running corporate social media accounts, those posts tend to be planned and written weeks in advance, so it was a great surprise that it went out early enough that you could actually still order the model.

The Not-so Great Stuff

We need to talk about Warlocks.... they're not good.  Other armies have psykers that are far too close to identical with the exception of having double the wounds and access to full strength Smite, something a Spiritseer provides for a 10 pt bump.  Either they need to drop about 10 points per model, or they need Destructor amended to be D3 Mortal Wounds.

The Warlock Conclave is on the right track to getting better in that it's cheaper than an individual Warlock.  This is good since getting an equal number of individual Warlocks was previously superior in every way.  Now it's superior in nearly every way. Much like their individual unit cousin, this unit needs to drop about 10 points per model, or, their version of Destructor should be amended to D3/D6/D6+3 and they need to be able to deny 1 power per model in the unit.  I will still use this unit for narrative forces, but you will likely never see them in matched play because they still widely miss the mark.

Autarch changes.  Considering Grey Knights received a unit without a model and a "how to" for converting it, it seems wrong for Autarchs to have been stripped so bare. Personally I have 1 Autarch that I'm going to try salvage by converting, and one I used often that's going to be retired, and one that I'll use, but clearly has a banshee mask it can't use.  It seems like an odd reduction in utility for the model and really has upset people.  Skimping on extras from the plastic kit to begin with is part of the issue here.  Another is that four of the relics can only go to Autarchs (being the only character that carries the appropriate piece of wargear to swap out), and the actual foot-based one can't even do that.

Some of my favourite models are being retired because their rules got dropped.  While I'm not entirely surprised I am absolutely going to miss my Scorpion Exarch with Chainsabres.  I was so proud of that model and still am.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Community Rules for Aeldari Super Heavy Units

After a lot of number crunching and some playtesting I've finished a revamped Index for the Super Heavy units for Aeldari.  This is mostly an extension of my personal Codex Ulthwe passion project, which is why all the models pictured are mine, and much of the fluff description is Ulthwe-centric.

These rules are intended for open play.

Revised damage charts (with a more game appropriate scaling)
Revised weapon profiles
Revised Distort field
Revised point values
Revised Power points
Revised Keywords (Revenant and Phantom no longer insanely vulnerable to poison)
Updated (appropriate) Abilities for the Revenant and Phantom
Missing weapons included
Vampire Hunter/Raider combined
Void Spinner included
Storm Serpent included

Sample Page:

I hope everyone enjoys this, and comments are welcome.

*Update -

Added Colossal Flyer rule back to Vampire and updated data sheet wording to read power instead of points.

The PDF can be downloaded: HERE

Friday, September 1, 2017

Video Battle Report Ulthwe vs Imperium

I had the opportunity to get in another game this week, once again against Andrew, but this time using a mixed Imperial list.  A warhost of Ulthwe descended upon the Imperial invaders of an Exodite world under the cover of night as we tried out the Night Fight battlezone.

Enjoy the game!

Friday, August 25, 2017

Video Battle Report: Ulthwe vs UItramarines

This week I got a chance to play my largest 8th edition game at 3000 pts.  It was a narrative game being played in the Psychic Maelstrom battlezone from the main rulebook.  It was an absolute blast.  Things I have come to understand is that while the Warlock Conclave is an absolute garbage unit, two Supreme Command detachments to replace it aren't an awful idea.  It makes the job of replacing the current ruleset for that unit a much tougher job.  On a lighter note, D-cannons were not bad.  I'd say they are perhaps a little overpriced, but not that much.  I was happy enough with them to use them again.

For this report I've worked to test out some new techniques.  I think people will mostly appreciate the improved audio, and the stop motion turns will be a feature I think I'll continue to use, but with quicker intervals than I was using.  I hope everyone likes the improvements I've tried to build and edit in and I hope to keep getting better at it.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

First 8th Edition 40k Game (Craftworld Eldar vs Astra Militarum 2k points) Pictures and Thoughts

I've finally had my first game of 8th.  I've watched a number of video reports, which , while getting things wrong here and there, ultimately gave me a bit of a primer for my own game, and in that way they were really helpful.

First off what did my army look like at 2k points?

My force was about two units smaller than it classically would have been at 2k points.  I had really high hopes for the Rangers and Hemlock, but I was curious to try out the Night Spinner and Shining Spears.  In my head the Scorpions, Avatar, and Prism already had the seal of approval from other players so I was ready to let slip the dogs of war.

But what did my opponent have?

For me this was sort of a worst case scenario. 3 Punishers, one with Pask, and 2 Wyverns and 2 Hell hounds.  In addition they were rolling out as many infantry squads as I had units in my whole army.  About the only thing providing me solace was that my opponent would have to go after me.  

I deployed aggressively and was thrilled when my opponent failed to steal the initiative from me!

I planned to be aggressive and as the game started I pushed forward to put pressure on one flank.  My cards were all achievable and the one for holding 3 objectives handed out D3 plus 3 if the Avatar held one of them (thanks to the card that gave a +3 bonus for the warlord completing the objective.  I determined he was far back enough from my bike squads that I wouldn't be able to charge, so I would advance with both units of bikes.

The Guardian Jetbikes removed a Guard special weapon squad with multiple flamers and killed two of the three mortar teams.  The Shining Spears destroyed a Sentinel with their lances while their catapults deleted full squad of guardsman that was just drooling to unleash its flamer upon them.  My shooting outside of that was sort of depressingly bad.  The Night Spinner failed to do any damage to a unit of Auto Cannons sitting in ruins, and my Hemlock managed to take a Hell Hound down to just 3 wounds and killed 1 1/2 auto cannon teams.  Seven Rangers lit into the commissar holding up my opponent's left flank and managed to do a total of 1 wound to him (only due to a mortal wound on a 6 to wound.  Both the Fire Prism (thanks Guide) and a bright lance slammed in to one of the Wyverns doing a grand total of... 2 damage.  Then my scorpions failed their charge, even with a reroll thanks to proximity to the Avatar.  I was gutted at the thought of all the incoming firepower I was about to suffer, but I crossed my fingers and hoped for the best.  I had a commanding 10 VPs at the end of the first turn, so a lot depended on my opponent's response.

My opponent struck back with a hideous amount of firepower killing off most of the scorpions, a few rangers, and knocking the Hemlock down to just 2 wounds.  The Jetbikes took a mammoth amount of firepower, but being made of sterner stuff than before only lost three models.  they absorbed a charge and survived, as did the shining spears, who caused about four casualties to the unit that charged them!  His turn was solid, but not as deadly as he wanted.  More problematic was that he hadn't yet scored any points.

At this point I decided needed to make some tough choices.  I sent the Hemlock directly behind Pask to do what I could to kill him and mitigate his firepower.  I might have been surrendering it, but if I could somehow kill him it would make an enormous difference for me.  Choosing between the Wyverns and those thrice damned Punishers I sent my 5 living Shining Spears after the Punishers.  I sent my bikes and scorpions over to the centre of his lines and left just my Avatar to clean up my right flank.

The Hemlock battered Pask, leaving his tank smoking and creaking, but whole at 3 wounds.  Shining Spears tore up another guard squad with catapults and put a few solid wounds on one of the punishers.  The Fire Prism again did a single wound on the Wyvern while the Night Spinner managed to do no damage to the autocannons again.  The Avatar failed to hit when shooting, in classic form.  The jetbikes and Warlock got stuck in and the Hell Hound shrugged off everything I shot at it to finish it off.  The Rangers caused an additional Mortal Wound on the Commissar and he shrugged off all other damage.

The Scorpions surprisingly made it in to combat and after putting out some damage the unit was reduced to just the Exarch holding off a Lord Commissar and his guardsman friends.

Having been swept into by Shining Spears the second Punisher fled from combat.  The special weapon squad that had been hunkered in the corner and shot the Hemlock out of the sky.  Everything else on my opponent's right flank fired into the shining Spears.  With their combined firepower they managed to wipe the unit out.  Two units charged the Avatar with in hopes of pinning him and preventing him from getting in to combat with the Wyverns.  After making his charge attacks against the Avatar I interrupted to let the Striking Scorpion Exarch go and he put all his attacks into the Commissar and slew him before he got to strike.  He then survived the return attacks my regular jetbikes held up well and flew from combat.  The game was at 22 - 2, so the Astra Militarum would have to wipe out the Aeldari to take the day.

At the start of the third turn casualties were already atrocious.  The Avatar was trapped in combat but my bikes were able to disengage and hoped to get some quality damage done.  The Night Spinner finished off the injured Hell Hound.  The injured Wyvern finally collapsed under the weight of another Prism Lance and Bright Lance hitting home.  Their combined damage was exactly enough wounds to destroy it after a total of 3 wounds from the prior 2 turns.  The guardians helped take out more guardsmen as the bikes assisted and the farseer took out a lone guardsman with grenade launcher and netted me warlord with his Singing spear.  The advanced guardian squad assaulted the guardians fighting the Scorpion Exarch and killed one guardsman while the Exarch slaughtered the last tattered remnants of the squad.  They all took refuge in the ruin.

The Wyvern fired at the Guardians standing in the open and in a shocking display of poor rolling caused 0 wounds.  The Guardians in the ruins and the Exarch were turned to a fine pink mist by the Punishers while the Hell Hound finished off the Rangers.  My opponent's right flank had finally crossed the field and his missile sentinels caught the Night Spinner off guard, smashing it for 5 wounds.

Guardians rushed forward and with the help of a farseer dooming a hellhound and guiding the squad they managed to reduce the Hell Hound to 2 wounds.  The remaining wounds meant the Night Spinner had to take it out rather than finish off Pask.  Meanwhile the Avatar tore through the last Wyvern, seriously reducing the firepower the Imperium could bring to bear.

Pask responded quickly killing the Farseer and reducing the guardians to 4 members. Meanwhile the other Punisher fired at the Avatar causing a couple of wounds.

Guardsmen were gaining the field as the Guardians retreated behind the cover of an existing imperial wall.  The Avatar took cover against the ruins and thanks to the Advance tactical card Ulthwe managed to string together a few more points. late in the game.

The Imperium moved aggressively forward, not simply holding their right flank but pushing forward to the centre of the board, crippling the Night Spinner down to 5 wounds and the Fire Prism to 8 wounds.

The Night Spinner responded by Destroying Pask.

The final Punisher pressed forward and with the combined firepower of nearby guardsmen squads knocked the Night Spinner to 1 wound.

 The final turn for Eldar saw the Avatar come out from his cover and fail to hit the Punisher with shooting.  The Prism and Spinner also failed to do any damage.  Then the Avatar advanced at the Punisher, but failed his 7" charge despite his reroll.

The Punisher turned all its weapons to the approaching Avatar and finally killed it, sending the dormant monster crashing to the ground.  Sentinels failed to hit the guardians with their frag missiles and the guardsmen failed to take the last wound from the damaged Night spinner.

Final Results
Ulthwe 28 Astra Militarum 6