Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Finally Complete: Gemini Squadron

I have been working on the second Ulthwe Revenant in this unit off and on for just over a year now, but it's finally done and at some point I hope to field them in a Gemini Squadron. first off, the pair together:

Next I have a side shot of the new Revenant:

Next a close up of the new one and its base:

Lastly I've got the original Revenant in close up and its base.  It was purchased right when it was released and I will always be fond of it because it was the first really large model I had worked on:

Monday, November 16, 2015

Refreshing a unit: Banshee edition

I originally painted this squad circa 2003, and was very happy with it. In fact, they were the first unit I added flair to on their bases.

The unit had an ethereal colour scheme, and had the unique variation I wanted, but in the time sense I've noticed how out-of-date the highlighting looked compared to the hard edge work I use now. In addition I have been bringing my units into more traditional schemes and I wanted to Bring the Banshees up to snuff.

Here they are all together:

And here is the Exarch, with a better view of her banner, the Tree of Life on a field of blood, a dark omen from which the unit takes it's name - Baleful Vision

Lastly is a model I did some time ago, their Phoenix Lord - Jain Zar:

With the adjusted rules in the 7th edition book I'm really excited to get them on the tabletop and see if they work as well there as they do in my imagination (especially as part of a craftworld Warhost... With a 12" fleet and minimum charge of 5")!

Monday, October 26, 2015

Video Battle Report: Ulthwe Wraith Host vs Tau Empire with Storm Surge 1500 pts

I finally got a new camera.  I think people will be pleased with the quality of the most of the shots, but I'm still learning and testing with it.  It's always slightly tougher trying to film in the shop because the regular din of other people there creates an ambient, undulating background noise and can limit where I can physically place the camera.

So far I'm happy with the resolution of the images and how they capture a more realistic look of the paint jobs, but it also makes silhouetting from backlight even more of an issue along with glare.  It will probably take me a little while to adjust to all the little nuances in operating the camera, so please bare with me as I seek to improve the videos.  At some point I'm sure I'll push to have a better sound capture as well, but the cost is substantial so I need to take it in steps.

As to the game... The Storm Surge is a complete monster in a smaller game.  I feel like the stabilizer rule is designed to keep the Storm Surge from landing complete and total first turn domination in smaller games.  People can say what they want about lack of playtesting, but that is a clear indicator to me that they made strides to account for smaller games vs larger ones.

It's been a while since I'd played against a full Tau army, so I felt, once again, surprised by the firepower they brought to bare, especially since I had a no man's land to cross to get to grips with the enemy.  The Wraith Host is great, but it's so fragile, especially against Tau who can reliably ignore cover, wound more regularly, and often ignore saves all together.  My force was designed to be resilient, but the Tau list was a great counter to mine, often making the high toughness worth less than against other forces.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Project Wraithguard: Another Task Done

Well, after nearly a year I finally have a game scheduled that (with the additional shame of not having finished them) inspired me to finish the revamp of my old Ulthwe wraithguard as I blend the metal models with the plastic. First up is the d scythe squad. At just 5 members I'm considering buying another box to bump them up to 6 and my two blade squads to 7.

The real showcase of this little project, however, is the standard wraithguard unit made up of a mixture of new plastic and classic metal models.

I'm really quite pleased (or as they say in Australia quite chuffed) with the final product. The hip guards as shoulder pads really blended the unit quite well, and changing the gun barrels helps sell the look as well.

I intend to spend a bit more time dressing  up their bases like I do with my other units, but in the mean time I'm happy enough to play them on the tabletop.

For all the folks that think me ridiculous for playing the unit as 10... I make this choice with years of experience under my belt and I'm anticipating the unit can continue to impress as they take to the field of battle at full strength once again.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

New Squad

I feel like I accomplished a lot this weekend, but I don't know that I have. That said, I finished what I Intend to be a fully mobile squad, Spring Thaw, for my Ulthwe Guardian Host.

This allowed me to get more than half way through completing my revamped wraithguard squad, two units I'd been working on for some time. I hope to sweep through a couple projects over the next few weeks and give myself some fresh new options for lists.

In related news I finally acquired a new video camera for recording battle reports. I'm still running lots of tests with it, but I'm hopeful it will improve the overall quality substantially.

Early news has hit from the 2nd edition of Doom of Mymeara and I'm extremely excited about the new Wraithknight Variant with two Deathshrouds.  Other than the really great look of the model the load out on it will likely be devastating.

I've also been tweaking the Void Spinner and Storm Serpent rules to work a bit more appropriately within the revisions of the new book.  Now I'll have to make some more minor changes just to keep it all in line, but I'm looking forward to releasing those shortly.

Monday, September 28, 2015

7th Ed Codex Review (post Game Play Experience)

Well, with a few months of play under my belt I feel I've got a good idea of the differences between the prior book and this one.  There are a substantial volume of minor tweaks to units, but the biggest difference (which I get to at the end) is the addition of formations and encouraging tank squadrons.  I gave a short blurb for pretty much each unit, but I didn't go too in depth as overall things didn't change too too much.

Exarch powers – they've been cleaned up in that now they're not optional, and this means people aren't ignoring half the options. It also means they've been dropped from the Avatar.

Psychic powers – In my opinion this is now the best psychic tree in the game. The replacement for Death Mission (Will of Asuryen) is a very potent power capable of providing synapse style support to leaders with questionable leadership values and Eldritch Storm has finally been brought to where I've wanted it to be for ages, a true end boss style super power. Combined with other powers like the divination power that allows you to ignore cover or guide it's incredibly potent. Moreso when it's cast the shockingly high WC 4 version. Even Mind War was improved to remove the psychic backlash aspect of it.


Avatar – Now LoW

Autarch – Really there wasn't much in the way of change, but some of the wargear did shift, the banshee mask in particular now allows the Autarch to provide a real support role to the use of aggressive disruption tactics to units like Swooping Hawks. Ultimately if you used this guy before you will continue to use it, but he can still drag the best abilities from certain units like banshees, hawks, and scorpions.

Farseer – Pretty much the only change was that the runes were made incredibly good, and built in to the unchanged base cost. Point for point it's the best psyker in the game.

Spiritseer – Spirit Mark is now better. Not much else has changed, but I no longer forget to pick a unit to spirit mark so I get less aggravated when I use them.

Warlock Conclave (Formerly Warlock Council) – Completely reworked as a unit. They are no longer pilfered to give warlocks to guardian squads. In addition they made them a brotherhood of psykers, limiting the bookkeeping for large units (and limiting your ability to tap the well to cherry pick the powers you really want), but allowed them to keep a mastery level for each warlock which meant they remain viable at their standard cost. I'll save discussion of this unit for the formations.


Howling Banshees – Wow. What a difference a few changes can make. They're faster, cheaper, and their masks do what we wish they did in the last book. Jain Zar makes the unit scary fast and adds a hack of a punch as well.

Striking Scorpions – Mandiblasters are better and Shadowstrike was added on. A beastly unit now and Karandras provides some major boosts as well.  The Exarch power makes for a nice little bonus in most combats and synergizes very well with Enervate or Enhance as the case may be.

Fire Dragons – They got a major buff against vehicles wrecking them on a 4+. I'm not sure why they got that other than to keep them an option in the face of new wraith guard.
Harlequins – Now in their own book.

Wraith units – Previously I wrote about these units in TROOPS, but now the ability to bounce units around the FOC is gone.

Wraithguard – I'm pretty sure everyone knows just how fierce the guard are for both original and scythe versions. Even moreso than Fire Dragons these units are pretty much point and kill.

Wraithblades – They are unchanged from the prior book, so their use is exactly the same, just rush forward and hope enough survive to actually take out their intended target.

Guardian Defenders – Other than the Warlock being built in to the unit there is no change.

Storm Guardians – As above

Windriders – The big change here is that all bikes in the unit can upgrade to a heavy weapon, either shuriken cannon, or now scatter laser. People in tourney circuits love all scatter lasers, but I find that makes units too pricey and unable to handle casualties. I personally limit myself to at most 1 per 2 bikes, and I stick with cannons because I find their versatility is worth the lost shot and range.

Dire Avengers – Deference Tactics is a really great bonus to the unit and gives them added flexibility when it comes to holding objectives.

Rangers – They've upgraded from stealth to shrouded, but their overall use is the same.


Wave Serpent – The shield was fixed. Lower strength, one use only, range has been reduced by more than 2/3's, and pinning is replaced with Strikedown. For once everyone seemed happy with rules change to a unit despite it being a hefty nerf. Now the Serpent is actually a transport more than a gunship and faux anti-aircraft fire platform.


Vyper – 10 pts Cheaper, and considering I always used a squadron of 3 with dual cannons I can now have that build for 30 pts cheaper. People don't give the unit enough respect, which, if you use them aggressively can be played to your advantage as they tend not to take fire until after they've done their damage.

Swooping Hawks – 6” of extra move has made them even more impressive. They've also been gifted the ability to give a vector strike style haywire attack to flyers and flying monstrous creatures. They are scary good. Baharoth can make them faster and more potent for disruption.

Warp Spiders – Their movement was changed and now when warp jumping ignore dangerous terrain checks. They also got the flickerjump rule pegged on making them potentially more survivable, but really it just makes them more characterful. Monofilament was toned down, no longer providing bonus strength, a notable nerf in regards to firing at vehicles, but that's not such a bad thing, really. Monofilament rolling against Initiative harkens back to second edition and will be a point of terror against things like the riptide, now getting wounded on a 2+ and Wraithknight, suddenly getting wounded on a 3+. It also means Warp Spiders are less potent against Slaaneshi daemons and the Avatar, unable to wound models with an initiative 10.

Hemlock – D-scythes got a boost (though I still wish they ignored cover) and it went up to ML 2 to be in line with the standard Spiritseer. It no longer has fixed powers, giving it variable roles. The change to the Mind Shock pod is alright, but is situational. Unfortunately it doesn't synergize with Psychic Shriek.

Crimson Hunter – The discount makes them more appealing with a vast array of competitors within the slot.

Shining Spears – They gained a rule that gives them a 4+ cover save just for moving, sort of recreating where they were in 6th with the classic Jink, but they lost access to hit and run, close to a death knell for the unit, especially since they still have the old models. They're best off coming on as reserves and then going directly after priority targets.


Wraithlord – Previously I felt this unit should have been moved to elites like dreadnoughts and riptides and I still think that, but it's less of an issue now. For its points it is a solid choice, but it doesn't really stand out.

Wraithknight – Now a LoW.

Support Batteries. The Vibro Cannons are unchanged. Shadow weavers got the new monofilament rule, so the big news are the D-cannons getting D strength. Their use hasn't actually changed from prior iteration, so if you used them before you can still use them in exactly the same manner, menacing area denial.

Fire Prisms – Mostly unchanged, but now they can be taken in squadrons, and when doing so have the option of combining fire similarly to the 4th edition book. Sit back and fire using range as your best defense.

Night Spinners – Similar to Fire Prisms they gained the ability to squadron and get real synergy from doing so by having their shots get stronger the more are added in the unit, providing a very potent barrage.

Falcons – Like the other tanks in the slot they can now be taken in squadrons, but doing so doesn't provide any bonus until you have 3, though what a bonus it is, gaining deep strike with no scatter. An entire battle plan can built around this unit and their occupants since they're so reliable, but you may want to consider Autarch support to reduce the chance of them not arriving when you need them.

War Walkers – Virtually unchanged from the prior book, coming with scout and battle focus and a 5++, so the only real difference here is that they no longer need to pay an additional 10 pts per EML to get skyfire missile access. If ever you tried them out with 6 EMLs it saves you 60 pts. Against Tyranids using flying MCs you can see this being a handy (though pricey) option.

Dark Reapers – still great, but now 5 pts cheaper per model and gained inescapable accuracy. Paired with their reaper rangefinder helmets they can be an absolute terror to some units.

Lords of War

WraithKnight – it's finally a GC, has a D str attack with the sword and got a price bump... though not as much as I was expecting. I'd consider it about 50 pts too cheap, but it's not the only under priced unit in the game so I don't stress too much about it. But, similar to the Imperial Knight, it can take over a game.

The Avatar – It lacks the ability to be modified by Exarch powers, but it gained a furious charge and rage radius buffer, bonuses that effect itself, and gained +2 str in CC thanks to the wailing doom. It's a fantastic support unit, and capable on its own of carving a swath through the enemy. When you have the Avatar try build the list around it.


The new area to look over and probably the biggest area of change in the book.

Craftworld Warhost – Amazing. Any unit with battle focus runs at 6” guaranteed. This makes your units dependably terrifying and only requires one guardian style build along with one auxiliary unit.

Guardian /Storm Guardian/ Windrider Battlehost – On their own they're meh. The free heavy weapons are nice, but really you're probably only taking one of these if you want to unlock the Craftworld Warhost.

Seer council – Amazing. This unit is expensive though, so be aware a full size squad sporting Eldrad Ulthran is effectively a DeathStar by design and will run at Scout titan costs. A lot of the time this unit will control the game and the way you use it will dictate whether you win or lose. Capturing warp charge on a 3+ doesn't just make your casting more reliable... it means you're throwing fewer dice to cast powers and therefore are casting more powers overall. Add in the fact that the Warlock Coven works the way other armies wish their psychic brotherhoods worked by manifesting a warp charge despite not acting as a separate psyker means your bookkeeping is reduced and you can focus where you want to roll your powers based on what your Farseers rolled up. As a foot unit they are totally viable, and if you really want you can just buy a Wave Serpent as a FA choice and load them up to give some protection if you don't get the first turn.

The Aspect Host – Another winner. The ability to choose between BS and WS isn't even a real decision most of the time. BS is far more useful, even for hand to hand units. +1 WS will require a hand to hand style build paired with opponents that have a comparable weapon skill. That said the +1 BS is absolute gold and can ignite a real nightmare scenario for opponents. That doesn't even account for the rerolls to LD tests that are tagged on to these units.

Dire Avenger Shrine – An alright choice, but nearly unnecessary in comparison to the Aspect Host. The somewhat return of the old BladeStorm is nice if you really want to do a sweeping alpha strike whilst deploying from Wave Serpents, but considering two of the units can't upgrade to have an Exarch this particular formation doesn't have much shine for me. Perhaps if it also gave Objective Secured I'd be more enticed.

Crimson Death – A very solid formation that can transition these units to something much more survivable. That said it is an expensive formation for 3 units that are still very vulnerable to mild firepower and often have their firepower reduced drastically.

Wraith Host – It bumps up the Spiritseer's ability range and makes it more potent, and gives Battle Focus to all the units in the list. For units that are normally ponderous and with short range it's a stunning upgrade. As part of a Craftworld Warhost it's stupidly good and can catch many opponents off guard if they're not used to that speed coming from that footslogging force.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Video Battle Report Craftworld Warhost vs Double Demi-Company

It's been some time since I've had a chance to post one of these, but this past week I finally got a chance to go up against one of my regular opponents.  It was my first time facing off against a Demi-Company, boasting a gaggle of free transports, backed up by the librarian and flyer formations.

In all it was a very interesting game and I look forward to facing the force again with a different list.

My overall thoughts on my formations:

This was the first game where I'd used a seer council, but it didn't completely take over the game.  Perhaps it was a good lesson, encouraging me to move to other builds again, despite the fluffiness of the unit.

The Crimson Death was also rather meh, but that 4+ rerollable was incredibly necessary for survival when they had to absorb a counterstrike.

This was the least productive the Death Jester has been for me.  I had such high hopes based on prior experiences that it was probably a reminder that I needed to learn that he's not always going to leave a mark on the game.

I forgot, until halfway through the game, about unmatched agility, and along with a few other mental lapses (like forgetting to cast Jinx) it certainly made me vulnerable in ways I maybe should not have been.  That said I did manage to remember that Exarchs have two wounds now.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

A Shrine in Full: Crimson Death

After weeks of having my third Crimson Hunter started I finally got to complete it, giving me a completed shrine, just in time to use the Crimson Death formation in a game this weekend. I've heard it's pretty good, so I'm looking forward to trying it out.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Asurmen: a Review

Gav Thope's newest venture in to Eldar Fluff is Asurmen, recently released through Black Library.

It kicks off the new Phoenix Lord series and focuses on Asurmen, the first Phoenix Lord.

This book is instantly a must-read for fans of the Eldar background. In the way that the Path trilogy provided a new perspective on life on a craftworld and the aftermath of the fall, Asurmen provides us with a first hand account of the fall itself.

In addition we gain a glimpse of Exarchs from an outsider, and a far more intimate view of how the average Eldar react to legendary figures, and how those figures interact with one another.

The book follows two storylines split between the Fall of the Eldar & rise of Asurmen, and the political dissonance and animosity between two "modern" craftworlds.

The action sequences are engaging for anyone familiar with the look of the units (there isn't a lot of time wasted describing units we are expected to be familiar with). There are a number of twists that Gav has built in, an he takes time to support some of the more modern unit fluff descriptions, such as Striking Scorpion aspect warriors psychically projecting a shadow that makes them more difficult to see.

I highly recommend people interested in one of the long running benchmark moments in 40k, the fall, read this book.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Gemini Squad: Enter Phase 2

This past summer I was mid-completion on my second Revenant when my first suffered some damage. The lower part of the thigh snapped on either side of the knee an the waist lilted. Then the cat broke one of the arms. I purchased the first immediately when Forgeworld released it, so the resin has likely become brittle and getting exposed to extreme prolonged heat during transport initiated the damage.

I put off painting and repair for the last six months out of stubborn anger. I finally repaired the original with epoxy and new brass rod and paint touch ups. Then I finished the second titan, sans the base. I'll post new pics once I finish the base, but for now the two bodies are done.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Wraithguard - Blending Old and New

Shortly after the fourth edition codex came out I revamped my lowly Ulthwe wraithguard unit to bring them back to prominence with their then new rules. Part of this included putting them on larger, terminator-sized, bases. I was particularly happy because, at the time, it made them much more stable.

5th edition came and went, but in 6th new wraithguard models finally came out and the bases fit. At that time I was fitting out new plastics for close combat and swapping half my classic squad for d-scythes. I then received another box of 5 as a gift and figured I'd fill the basic cannon unit back to full. This revealed a problem, the old unit looked weird mixed into the new unit.

The height was similar, and swapping out gun barrels was an obvious step, but they just looked out of place, and the problem was the shoulders. The classic wraithguard don't have pauldrons and it means they lose that exaggerated triangle torso shape that Jes replicates throughout the army. To rectify this I've added the hip plates from the plastic models as pauldrons to the metal, and overall I'm very happy with how it blends the old unit with the new one.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

The Cast Conundrum

Historically one of the traits of an Eldar army is the emphasis on synergy. At the time of the Harlequin release the prevailing theory was that a redone Eldar book would compliment the Harlequin book.  In some ways this was very wrong.

With the ability to reflect upon the compatibility of the two new books we can see that the big loser is the Cast of Players. At the time of release it was a way of nearly guaranteeing a substantial run roll for Eldar and Dark Eldar, considering two dice with rerolls give exceptional odds for a quality roll (nearly 80% chance you'll get a 5 or 6).  Unmatched Agility makes the bonus to Eldar all but moot.

This tells me The Cast was likely a throw-a-way formation to carry over players that already had a unit painted and ready for play. The real bonus comes from larger formations, but to play this means you're probably using Harlequins as a whole force, or using them as a section of an apocalypse force in a mega battle. They operate on their own in the theatre of war, and have one of the better special rules a formation gives, specifically Rising Crescendo. 

All things considered the Harlequins are a tremendously effective boost for Dark Eldar, making some some of their units just that much more effective at crossing the table reliably.

That said I would not be surprised if The Cast became a formation that saw common use in tournaments that allow two or three formations, partially because of the troll aspects o the Harlequin Warlord traits and partially because in the hands of a good player they can bring an assault element that most opponents aren't ready for.

Valedor, while less than a year old, now feels heavily outmoded by Harlequins and Craftworld Eldar. More strikingly it stands out as a missed opportunity to have an umbrella formation that includes the three branches of the Eldar faction. Now, more than before, the Dark Eldar book feels like a false start, with only a single, very restictive detachment included. It also currently appears to be the end of supplements, considering no book released since is a supplement, instead what would previously have been a supplement is released as a stand alone book. I'm curious to see what happens going forward, and how it inspires me to adapt my Ulthwe war host.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015


When the Harlequin codex came out I nabbed a number of new kits, including 2 boxes of sky weavers. Tonight I finally got around to putting one box together.  It was only one because it was incredibly difficult. They are definitely not a beginner kit. I'll need a lot of free time and patience to get around to a second unit.

I had been planning to get a third box and run them in 3's, but after building some it will probably be a while before I talk myself in to that.

That said the cannon is designed to be easily swapped out, which I appreciate, and even before paint the models look great.

Considering how many projects I have going at the moment, I don't expect to get through them all before the end of 2015, but I keep picking up more stuff anyway.

I'm not 100% certain how this unit will actually play on the table, but I look forward to trying them out.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

7th edition Eldar Codex: First game impressions

Yesterday I played a 2000 pt game, my first using the new book.

I had a guardian host, seer council, wraith knight and hemlock.

As far as the Craftworld Warhost goes Matchless Agility is amazing, even more so when paired with something like The Quickening, because a 9" run guaranteed allows you to re-position in ways your opponents will have a hard time predicting. That said, a lot of players will dislike the tax of guardian units it takes to unlock the ability for normal games.  This formation is truly designed for apocalypse games, most likely ones that are well into the 5000 pt + range, at which time it will actually simplify things like Battle Focus because you don't need to spend time rolling for each unit each turn... they just move.  

In my game I used the defender host so I learned that preferred enemy on the Vypers and war walkers came in massively handy, converting some abysmal rolls to deadly fusillades (two times I rolled 4 1's in my shooting and converted 3 of the 4 to hits).  In addition the free heavy weapon (they should have made it free per 10 guardians in the unit to encourage larger squads) will probably often be missile launchers, not only because it's the most expensive weapon, but because the anti-air missiles are included, which gives the Eldar a lot of casual access to anti air.  

The seer council is bonkers. I used a full squad with Eldrad and they pretty much had their way with the board.  Runes of fate is a very powerful tree now. That said, fortune being random is still a major detriment for regular use of the foot squad, because without it or invisibility the unit would have crumbled. Also sanctuary was massive. Without the sanctuary/fortune combo I would have lost 8 out of 10 warlocks in 2 turns, so they are very fragile, even if they were the cost of a Titan.  For competitive players I don't expect you'll see the conclave outside of small jetbike squads and even then it will have a lower mastery level and provide fewer warp charge.  Fortune + Protect will still be powerful, but far less likely to occur than previously given you're not getting a roll per warlock on runes of battle anymore.

The Wraithknight wasn't particularly impressive. Neither were any of the D weapons. Much ado about nothing. The only real difference between the old gun and the new was when I 6'd out a chaos lord so that he didn't get a 4++ that in the prior book he would have received against an instant death hit. The Hemlock's best effect was attained through psychic shriek rather than the scythes, and I think once players get used to the altered rules they'll find they're going crazy over fairly expensive  units that are very good at specific jobs.  The only time we'll probably see them be truly outrageous is in apocalypse where a unit of 10 can be paired up with an Archon and deep strike without scatter and quite likely wipe out any titan in the game in a single volley.  I doubt there's an appropriate counter outside of Interceptor Tau, but you are unlikely to see that in anything outside of Apocalypse, and it probably won't be the only insane unit on the field.

I think the Eldar will be maligned for extreme lists like mine (at max strength it's 24 warp charge prior to the bonuses) in competitive play, but there will be a large number of players that ultimately will build flexible lists that incorporate a single formation to support a CAD.

In the long run I think opponents will adjust, but it will take time. Until then there will be much complaining and gnashing of teeth. Death Star builds in particular seem to be hard countered by Space elves, so expect many more complaints from players that depend on those lists than from MSU style lists.  In my game my opponent made some early miscues, had a moment of bad luck with a failed charge (needed 5 or higher and rolled a 3 and a 1), yet because we were playing maelstrom at the point he surrendered in turn 4 the score was 5-3 in my favor.  It was still close, despite most of his army being gunned down.  If you're facing this codex do NOT try to take it on in waves.  You will be eaten alive.

One thing is clear, the tournament scene is going to have a lot of soul searching in how it wants to handle 40k as a whole.  In general the playstyle of the Eternal War missions versus the Maelstrom missions is totally different, and it's clear the designers are not setting balance based on Eternal War missions.  If those are the foundation of your game good luck.  Some armies have ridiculous bonuses in that play style.  Maelstrom actually evens things out quite a bit making the game a mixture of army design, skill, luck, and adaptability over the course of an entire game.  

I look forward to testing more builds and seeing what other combos this book has up its sleeve.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

On Harlequins

Now that I have a few games under my belt with the new dex I wanted to take a little time and discuss my experience. Firstly, this is going to be a positive review, so I figured I'd warn people about that up front. That said I do acknowledge that Harlequins will not fit in with everyone's play style and those people will simply find them too expensive and noncompetitive.

I have experience primarily with two formations, the Cast of Players and The Heroes Path.  These two formations work well together, but also hold up independently if used correctly.  While the anti infantry shooting is particularly destructive now the most fun aspect of using them is that having them in my force has restored assault to my games.  I don't just mean a little, I mean I'm disrupting opponents and dictating phases of the game by using them to pressure opposing spearheads or vulnerable forces.

Don't discount their shooting.  The Death Jester rule combined with the Mask of Secrets is an enormously mean combo.  The Cast of Players benefits from that combo immensely because it rewards aggressive play.  A unit that is most likely out of charge range can take a casualty from the jester and suddenly launch itself forward all but guaranteeing that your unit will suddenly make the charge.  It means the cast can slingshot across the board far quicker than your opponent expects and this can quickly collapse their line or stall their entire army as they attempt to fend off this new, dire threat.  A supporting Heroes Path jester has the freedom to support the cast with a second chance to break a unit, or fire at a separate threat and stand a good chance at breaking them.

Don't be afraid to add in the occasional fusion pistol or neuro disruptor.  The dependable ap2 can be a shock for opponents, especially when a couple bladestorm rolls go your way.

Psychic Support from a farseer has been integral for me.  Fortune can make even the 5++ a real headache for your opponent.  At other times Guide, Prescience, and Doom have all made drastic differences for the unit as well.  I haven't had much luck with the Harlequin powers themselves, but that's more due to my lackluster dice rolling than anything else.

I still like the Harlequin's caress, but the real money, for me, has been the Kiss.  having a cluster of them is like insurance.  When I first saw the rules I was pretty skeptical about the Kiss, but in play it really won me over.

Warlord trait: I pretty much always give the trait to a Troupe Master now because in general I don't really like the standard Eldar traits at all.  When playing a mixed Harlequin/Craftworld list a farseer becomes far more survivable since he's not worth a point for warlord.

The Solitaire: He gets his own little section because he's such a unique unit.  He's so vulnerable, but so effective... if the dice hold up.  I have had situations where his blitz move had a great roll but duffed his attacks, and the opposite.  I recommend, when you do use the blitz move, that you make certain you've got a unit near enough that you can get in to charge range even with an abysmal roll (an insurance target).  I've become less of a fan of the Deep Strike technique for him, preferring to have him speeding across the board from cover to cover, but it really depends on the opponent and what is in his force.  For all the threat the model embodies, I think there is the danger to try to expect too much from him.  He will excel in most challenges, and if possible he's excellent pairing up with a charging squad of harlequins in order to slaughter or stonewall a combat character that would otherwise tromp through the squad.  Most characters that are forced to give and accept challenges will learn to fear the Solitaire.  

That wall of text is pretty much all for now, but I hope to get some more info up and available as I get some more games played with the new units.  My current preconceptions are that the Voidweaver's Prismatic Cannon will most often be something I swap out for a haywire cannon because I'm not a fan of the lance version, and I'm slightly worried that the Skyweaver bikes won't work like I'm imagining and I'll be slow to pick up their nuances.  I'm looking forward to more testing!

Saturday, February 7, 2015

I am Solitaire!

After more than 15 years the solitaire is back in my army.

Fully painted and ready to slay.

Photographed in natural light:

Thursday, January 22, 2015

One Year On - Unit Review: Fast Attack

Oddly there is a rumor of a new Harlequin codex or supplement coming soon, which will hopefully address some of the concerns I mentioned in my post on Elites. I look forward to it, despite my surety the Solitaire will have no rules in the book.

Crimson Hunter

I want this unit to come as a squadron because it would feel right as an aspect. I enjoy this unit.

Game Play - a solid unit, and I use them often. Vector dancer is an amazing rule, but it is a fragile unit.

In 7th: pretty much the same as in 6th, though Jink has improved. One is ok, but two are better. If you roll as poorly as I do you'll also upgrade one to an Exarch, and then probably fail to pen anyway.

Swooping Hawks

This unit received a huge boost in a point reduction and an additional shot per weapon and deep strike without scatter. Also the exarch received the ability to simply purchase a power sword without giving up a good gun.

Game Play - there isn't much not to love about this unit. In a pinch they can finish off a wounded vehicle with a Haywire thrown by an Exarch, and the squad can take down an Imperial knight in a single round of combat. What their guns lack in strength they make up in volume.

Phoenix Lord - I have not used Baharroth, but I like his rules (the addition of the invul is notable) and he makes the unit even faster, capable of repositioning very quickly. blinding units on the deep strike allows them to affect multiple units in a single turn, as can clever positioning compared to where the grenade pack drops.

In 7th:  Scoring is an improvement on a solid unit.

Warp Spiders

This unit was awful in 3rd edition, and has seen steady improvement ever since. It is now, in my opinion, the best unit in the game. Fast, solid save, powerful short range shooting that threatens anything shy of AV 14. The only down spot is the models are over 20 years old and static.

Game Play - If wielded like a scalpel they are brutally efficient. They are flexible enough to target heavy or light infantry, monstrous creatures or light to mid armor vehicles. With deep strike or their insane move distance per turn they can get where you need them when you need them.

In 7th:  The ability to score objectives has boosted them from stars to super stars.


Possibly the most maligned unit in the book at its release I enjoyed its less than direct approach to warfare.

Game Play - be aggressive and keep it close to opponents you intend to force break tests on.

In 7th:  now it can cast psychic shriek and cast on the turn it arrives (and shoot swooping monstrous creatures). 7th has made it a nightmare to units like broadsides.

Shining Spears

Shining Spears received a 10ppm price reduction in this book making them a unit I strongly consider, but they retained the AP3 in close combat.  They also received skilled rider and outflank thrown on.

Gameplay - In 4th edition they were a unit I would aim at terminators, but now they're a unit only suited to taking on small units of heavy infantry as they've been reduced to AP 3.  Their actual damage output is very low on the charge because they cannot get a bonus attack, but their shooting is slightly improved with bladestorm.  They need support in the form of an attached Autarch (who now only gives 5 bonus attacks, as opposed to the 6 he could previously give with the scorpion helm.  An exarch is still required (for hit and run and a little oomf), but the overall cost of a unit has thankfully been reduced.  I ran a unit of 5 supported by an autarch, which made them expensive, but deadly.  I haven't run them in 7th, but with the reduced cost I might simply run 5 with no support character and see how it goes.  The ability to run 6 fully tricked out for under 200 pts is an excellent option as well, but they are one of the units that are not for amateur players.  You need to have a plan, and stick with it, and once you've had a good game with them expect they become a priority target for your opponents.


Here have some BS4 and bladestorm.  Really that's the only change from the previous book, but if you liked to upgrade your turret weapon the upgrades got cheaper.

Gameplay - This really hasn't changed.  For me I run them in a squadron of 3, each with dual shuriken cannons.  The change to jink does hit their output, but if you focus more on intervening terrain to provide cover rather than jinking you'll get an idea of just how gross their firepower can be.  They hit more and are occasionally AP2, all in a tidy package for 180 pts.  They're flexible enough to take on light to medium vehicles and have a high enough volume of fire (That's 18 BS4 shots at str 6 ap 5 bladestorm) to scare light and heavy infantry alike.  Also, opponents often deprioritize them in favor of other targets, so in the early game you can use them aggressively and force your opponent not to ignore them.


Eldar may have the best Fast Attack section in the game.  Most players will take Warp Spiders in just about every list, and Swooping Hawks finally 


Warp Spiders: 8 with an Exarch with Spinneret rifle and Fast shot.  You can absorb a couple casualties and still be terrifying.

Swooping Hawks: 7 with an Exarch with sunrifle allows you the big blast when you drop, small arms fire that will shock your opponent, and their grenades make them a counter to the ever-present threat that is an imperial knight.

Crimson Hunter: Exarch.  That upgrade is worth it for the bump in BS.  The Marksmen upgrade is solid if you want to surprise your opponent and force some look out sir rolls.

Hemlock: it has no options, but should definitely be run.

Shining Spears: 6 with an Exarch with star lance, hit and run, and monster hunter.

Vypers: 3, each with dual shuriken cannons.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

The Stand - an apocalypse scenario

Well, it's been just over a month since I published something, and that's mostly been because of the holidays, but I also spent a few weeks in Hong Kong.  I've been working on editing a battle report from November, an Apocalypse game I played, but it takes a while.  For anyone that's watched one of my reports, I try to do quite a bit of editing.

As a pre-amble to the completion and eventual release of that video I figured I'd share the scenario that we played.  As a caveat, this scenario was built and agreed to by both my opponent and me.  I used a scenario from Valedor as the foundation for this scenario.  In the Valedor scenario the Eldar go First with no chance to seize.  I also crafted fluff to build this game in to the Myrddin Campaign and it had an effect on the army design.

The Stand

Myrddin is in ruins as the Imperium has become embroiled in a war that rages across the whole of the planet.  The destruction wrought by the forces of chaos, and no available assistance from the Ordo Malleus have forced the hand of humanity to reach out to the Tau Empire for reinforcements.  As a powerful Space Marine Librarium in a nearby strike cruiser scours the ephemeral aura of the planet to divine the location of massive warp incursions they direct a combined force of Imperial Guard and tau in a pincer attack towards a powerful pulse of psychic energy.  Little do they know it is not a nest of daemons they approach, but an Eldar warhost, freshly entered from the webway and empowered with the psychic might of nearly the entire Farseer Council of Ulthwe.

Deployment: The allied forces must set up within 18" of either short edges.  The Eldar player must set up within 12" of the (short) center line of the table.  Infiltrate and scout rules are not used in this scenario.  Allied forces entering from reserve enter from either short edges, decided as if they were outflanking.  Eldar forces entering from reserve enter from either long table edges decided as if they were outflanking.  Units that fall back do so towards the nearest appropriate table edge (short - allies, long - Eldar).

First Turn: Allied forces get the first turn, however Eldar units count as having moved in the prior turn.

Game Length: Random Game Length

Victory Conditions: If the allied forces hold the gate they win.  Otherwise six objectives will be placed as normal and strategic victory points will determine victory.

Advance EMP: At the start of any Eldar Movement Phase after the first turn any Eldar Skimmer or Flyer that is within 12" of an allied force MC with the Jet Pack rule or flyer vehicle type must take a dangerous terrain test.

Masters of Divination: On the first turn of the game the eldar player may cast blessings during the opponent's psychic phase.  These blessings expire at the start of the Eldar player's turn as per usual.