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).


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.