Monday, 20 October 2014

Painful Mistakes and the Absent Blogger.


Seeing Mick getting back on the scene (and pumping out the Blog content) got my typing fingers twitching but I’m just not inspired to write anything about 40K right now, fear not I’ll be attending two large tournaments in the next 3 months so I’ll have something to write about in the near future. This being said I hope you’ll forgive me a digression.

I was a World of Warcraft player for many years. I rolled a Tauren Shaman a few short weeks after release and then signed up with a guild called The Suffering almost as soon as I spawned in Mulgore. I pretty much embedded myself there for the best part of 5 years as I worked my way up to being on the Guild Council as a Raid Leader. With the relentless quest for loot, raiding: from the first tentative steps into 40-man raiding in Molten Core to confidently having Illidan “on farm” and even the occasional Guild meet up (in the real world), this was the most fun I’d ever had simply playing a computer game.

Inevitably however real life began to invade my wonderful little fantasy world and I managed to extract myself from the game some time in 2010. I still pop back in on occasion to dust off my Shaman and a few of my other alts but without the Raiding side of the game, it just doesn’t hold my attention like it used to.

There’s still a lot that I love about World of Warcraft (WoW), the lore, the design, the mechanics and the multiplayer nature of it, and therein lies the crux of it. I’ve always been a fan of playing games with other people, it’s one of the key reasons why I like 40K, whether competitive or co-operative (or both), that’s what really scratches my gaming itch. As is so often the way though, as I get older, the time I can dedicate to these gaming pursuits becomes less and less, so with WoW taking up 4 hours per night 3 times a week I just wasn’t going to be able to keep it up, particularly with a young family. Even 40K with its, perhaps, 3 hours per night 1 night per week demands, can be a bit tricky for me.

Enter Hearthstone.

I heard about this game via some friends who I still keep in touch with from my Guild so I thought I’d check it out. I’d never played a card game, like Magic or Pokemon, before but the theme was something I was all too familiar with so it felt very comfortable and non-threatening. The Hearthstone Heroes all reflected the aspects of their WoW Avatars, so I had somewhat of a head-start on understanding the abilities. The design is fantastic, both graphic and game design, it looks beautiful and plays simply but with a huge amount of depth. The final taste was the fact that it is (at the time almost exclusively) a player vs player gaming model. I was hooked!

As I dug a bit deeper into the game I started to relate deck building in Hearthstone to list building in 40K. As you may already know from the blog, list construction is one of my favourite aspects of 40K, theory-hammering out a list for a tournament and then playing it out to see if your expectations were met is something that really hooks me into the game.

Also the simplicity of the game makes it easier to play the odds in line with an overall strategy, something which is key to the success of many top 40K players. For example, if you know you want to control the board in Hearthstone and you know what cards you have in your deck, you can make intelligent choices with the cards you have in your hand to either flood the board with your cards, to trade advantageously or to simply bide you time knowing that you can clear you opponent’s board in a few short turns.

The game (or more accurately – your opponent) will also punish even small mistakes. One particularly fresh example of this happened to me only this past weekend. I was playing some Arena and I’d drafted a particularly mediocre Shaman deck. Arena is a game mode where you build a deck of cards from scratch by choosing the best card 30 cards from a pool of 90 shown to you 3 at a time of which you may only pick 1. Anyway, I was on 3 wins and was up against a Warrior who came out of the gates flying with a very aggressive deck and who was clearly not interested in trading with me. Every card he had just went straight for my face and before I knew it I was on 1 health and facing an opponent with 30 health and 2 additional armour. Queue the Rocky theme tune …

His aggression and my card trading had actually left me with a relatively strong presence on the board and I had a hand which I could use to protect my single point of health. Also to my advantage was the fact that it seemed that his deck had run out of steam. Over the next few turns I got just the card draws I needed and I took him down to 14 health, during the same period he’d been frantically working to get back some semblance of board presence and I was acutely aware of the fact that my single point of health wasn’t going to last much longer. Then all my defence was gone and I was staring down a board which I could not weaken enough to survive the following turn. However, I knew I had a card in the nine that were left in my deck which would give me the turn I needed to finish him off and I had a way to draw an additional card so I took the 1 in 9 chance …

Needless to say I was unsuccessful, but almost as soon as I spent the action to draw the card I realised that if I’d used that action to hit my opponent I would have had a lethal amount of damage which I could have dealt to him that turn and won! Oh the pain of blundering away a 32 point come-back (the heroes start with 30 points of health) simply because I was so focussed on board control at that point and I simply missed the fact that I had lethal if I’d only noticed it staring me in the face. It felt a lot like stretching a unit out to just barely get a single model into scoring range only to have you opponent charge them from the other side and pull them off just as the game ends.

Anyway, the lesson I learnt was to always calculate the damage available to me and compare it to my opponent’s health before making any actions. Even if you’re playing board control, you still want to win the game right?! I guess the broader lesson here is to not focus so much on a particular strategy that you forget about the overarching goal.

Lastly there's a final lesson here, and that it to never give up. Staring down a 30-1 deficit is pretty intimidating and I could well have thrown in the towel but there was a glimmer of hope in the cards I had in my hand so I played them to the best of my ability, and but for a stupid mistake, I could have won that game. To link this back to 40K, keep your focus in the mission, your opponent may be handing you your ass but there's more to winning the game than tabling someone. If you have the troops left you can still win it so keep your head in the game and stay focussed on you goals.

I hope that was at least somewhat interesting  and if Claws and Fists deems it worthy, perhaps I’ll post a few more Hearthstone stories in the future. Otherwise stay tuned for more 40K content in the coming weeks.

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Finding the character of an army

I know I started an army list review compared to what I was taking to tournaments back in fifth but because its Saturday the missus is out with the girls playing bus stop bingo all day (a game that involves carnage) and Liverpool play tomorrow I've got the day free to paint.

I've spent a lot of the week thinking about what I want this Wolf army to be. My last army was a typical baby blue based on snow with some nice shiny gold, they certainly looked like they'd just come off the parade ground but only a parade ground where the Amourer was missing a few fingers and possibly two eyes.

Just before I stopped playing I had painted a few pre heresy models which included a Contemptor with the new airbrush I had had. I based coated them with the normal chaos black spray and then used Vallejo model air German grey to give them an undercoat with a highlight of Vallejo model air light grey. I was really pleased with the results so I'm going to use that basic recipe but take it a step further.

This week I have been really impressed with a couple of videos I've watched the first I had seen before (link here) showed a style of painting Thirteenth company Space Wolves obviously the more pre heresy feel that I want. I really like the way Lester paints I'm taking a lot from this.

The other video I watched and this is the link the to the first part was about weathering a tank by OrcPainterNerd. I really enjoyed watching this video from start to finish. I want these wolves to look embattled, they've been stuck on a planet surrounded for months and had their resources slowly eroded and this shows in their armour. Of course they are Imperial so their armour is in a better state than the Death Guard but its still looking shabby.

I've decided to use some of the techniques from the video mixed with a scheme close to the one in the thirteenth company video so where does that leave me.

My 10 blood claws are all built and pinned to for ease of painting.

I have started off with a coat of Vallejo Satin Varnish because the weathering video suggested that it allowed paint to adhere better. Next step was a coat of chaos black, I would have preferred to undercoat skull white but I don't think it would have had the required effect.

The next stage is to spray around the models especially areas that would get scratched more with a mixture of Vallejo model air gun and aluminium, as in the weathering video this is going to be quite haphazard but as said I'll be concentrating with feet, hands and lightly everywhere else.

After that I'm going to go to work with the Weathering fluid I have bought, a light coat should give the required results.

I think that's as far as I will get today so look out next time for some pictures (I can't promise high quality)

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

A different view of the new Space Wolf Codex

A couple of days have past now since I got the new codex so I thought I would share my thoughts on what I have read. I'm not going to do a full review of the codex, there are plenty out there like that I thought instead I would remind you what the list I was most commonly playing was at the end of fifth and compare the two.

This is the list I took to my last major tournament which was 2012's Caledonian open (was it really that long ago?)

HQ1: Rune priest: living lightning, Murderous Hurricane, chooser of the slain, wolf tail talisman [115]
HQ1: Rune priest: living lightning, jaws of the world wolf, chooser of the slain [110]

Elite 1: Wolf Guard Pack: 3 Wolf Guard, 3 Power Fists, 3 Combi Meltas [129]+ TRANSPORT1
Elite 2: Dreadnought, 2 Twin linked Autocannons [125]

TROOP 1: Grey Hunters Pack: 7 grey hunters: meltagun, mark of the wulfen, wolf standard [135] + TRANSPORT 2
TROOP 2: Grey Hunters Pack: 7 grey hunters: meltagun, mark of the wulfen, wolf standard [135] + TRANSPORT 3
TROOP 3: Grey Hunters Pack: 7 grey hunters: meltagun, mark of the wulfen, wolf standard [135] + TRANSPORT 4
TROOP 4: Grey Hunters Pack: 6 grey hunters: flamer, mark of the wulfen [105] + TRANSPORT 5

FAST 1: Landspeeder Sqn: 1 Landspeeder: Multimelta, heavy flamer [70]
FAST 2: Landspeeder Sqn: 1 Landspeeder: Multimelta, heavy flamer [70]

HEAVY 1: Long Fangs Pack: 5 long fangs+1 Squad Leader, 4 missile launchers, 1 lascannon [155]
HEAVY 1: Long Fangs Pack: 5 long fangs+1 Squad Leader, 4 missile launchers, 1 lascannon [155]
HEAVY 1: Long Fangs Pack: 5 long fangs+1 Squad Leader, 4 missile launchers, 1 lascannon [155]

TRANSPORT 1: Razorback: lascannon + twin linked plasmaguns [75] [Elite 1]
TRANSPORT 2: Rhino [35] [Troop 1]
TRANSPORT 3: Rhino [35] [Troop 2]
TRANSPORT 4: Rhino [35] [Troop 3]
TRANSPORT 5: Razorback: lascannon + twin linked plasmaguns [75] [Troops 4]

So obviously the place to start is the HQ's.

As I said on my (triumphant) return to blogging I only managed a couple of games of 40K in Sixth and I'm yet to experience Seventh but at the minute Rune Priests would still be my go to HQ choice. From reading the rule book Psykers seem more important than ever and can you really risk going into the game without them?
Obviously you no longer get to pick your psychic powers. Without playing it seems like all the powers I took have been seriously downgraded, on average you get the same number of shots with LL but it used to have unlimited rage. MH has got less shots but it is rending now JOTWW now only effects a single model rather than a line and monstrous creatures can't be targeted (not sure what the point of it is then) there's also no chooser's any more unfortunately for that +1 to ballistic skill. So slightly cheaper but surely you need the add ons of psychic hoods and psyker level two.

What's everyone else's opinion on the Rune priest now?

Look out for the next post covering Elites and Troops.



Sunday, 12 October 2014

Back for the Wolftime - A return to regular gaming after a couple of years off.

It has been a long time since I have produced a blog post and I thought I would explain why and where I’m at with the hobby at the minute.
I stopped playing just after sixth edition came out (I think I managed a couple of games at most) there was a combination of reasons for this.

Firstly and I promise this will be the only time I mention it, I like a lot of us do not like GW as a company. I feel like they have seriously forgotten their roots as a small cottage industry for the players to a big money company. When I started playing First Company Veterans was one of the biggest clubs in the country with 70 or 80 players attending our own gaming night at Warhammer World on a Thursday night. Within a few years the numbers of people were down to a hand full of 40k and Fantasy players and a core of about 10 to 15 Bloodbowl players. That I purely lay at the door of GW and the staff at Warhammer World, they decided that they wanted to go in a different direction and it destroyed the club other than a few core players. More fool them they went for a full hall on a Thursday night with the majority of the members eating and drinking to not being open at all on a Thursday night.

One of the other reasons I stopped playing was the tournament scene that at the time I was a part of, I wasn't improving and I was becoming frustrated. On a good weekend I’d find myself in the top half on a bad weekend I’d be scrapping it out on the bottom tables. This in turn was part of the issue with First Company Veterans, a lot of the core players were really into Bloodbowl a game which I never picked up at the right time so I wasn’t playing enough different players to really make me better the other problem was how I play the game, I was never decisive enough I had many many games where if I had risked a little more I would have turned draws into wins.

The final reason I think I stopped playing was sixth edition and my own Army list. I’ve always been a Space Wolves player, during my time I have toyed with the idea of other armies. I've built a small Grey Knights force and started both Necron’s and Word Bearers but I have never come close to finishing them. When Sixth came along I couldn't find the motivation to change my list so thoroughly and now I really reflect on it it’s because I wasn't enjoying the game. I saw sixth edition as too random and because of that I thought it would mean that I wasn't as competitive a player. The problem was I’d lost why I was playing the game. When I first started building lists, I picked the units I liked to play with and that were very fluffy. I played with 14 Blood claws in a Land Raider led by Ragnar and a Wolf Priest. I then played with a massive death star of Thunderwolf cavalry. Over the time I dropped these things from my list for the same cookie cutter lists that everyone was playing, lots of Long Fangs (which were enjoyable) and lots of Grey Hunters but I wasn't actually getting the results during tournament play so what was the point.

So what has changed two years later. Well I have returned to what originally inspired me to start an Army almost 6 years ago. I have been lax with my Black Library reading. Mainly down to having a Kindle now the quality and availability of good Science fiction has improved incredibly but last week with nothing to read I picked up Horus Rising and was straight away reminded why the 40K mythology was brilliant. 'I was there when Horus slew the Emperor' is a fantastic opening to a novel and such a massive series. I felt reading that I was ready to pick up the dice and tape measure again and lead my troops into battle but something had to change with my style otherwise I would just end up to in the same position again so I thought about the people who I think have the most fun in playing which are Claws and Fists most regular (and lads I use that word very loosely) posters Andy and Graham. What is different about what they do to what I was doing is they constantly doing something different. They don't have a list they try new things, they use different units and if it works great and if it doesn't its just put down to experience.

So Saturday led me into Derby GW for the first time in a while. I managed to avoid being ganged up on with a conversation about what I'm playing at the minute and made it out with a new rule book, codex and a box of Space Wolves. Sunday has seen me mark two sets of books (just in case OFSTED are stalking me over the internet) and go through all the things I had packed away a couple of years ago. I managed to find everything except for my hobby drill which was good what did make me shudder and also sweat a bit with the wife looking over me is the number of unfinished models I have in there.

When I made my first entry on here (which at the time was the record read post, something I notice I still hold boys) I started it with a resolution that I would play a minimum of a game a week for the following year. In the whole I did that, some weeks I was playing 2 or 3 regular games and on tournament weekends I could well be playing 8-10 games over the course of seven days. That won't happen now, I have too many responsibilities, we are all that bit older wiser and more encumbered with debt. I'm also busy dispensing the Emperor's will in the form of BB's airsofting at least once a week. So my resolutions or perhaps it should be Oath of the moment because it needs that strength to make it stick
Return to gaming at least once a month and chart my progress on here

  • Not play the same army list for more than a month at a time and if it returns to my life attend every tournament with a different list.
  • Only buy more models when I have finished the last lot.
  • Get back to regular blogging.


So that is my tale readers, please check the blog regularly because I'm going to get back to posting my progress and after being out for two editions (what is happening to the speed GW are pumping things out) I will need all the advice I can get.

Thursday, 4 September 2014

Ruinstorm 2014 - Tournament Review

 
 
On Saturday I ventured forth to the Chaotic Wastes of Leicester to attend the one-day Ruinstorm 40k tournament. It was a 1650pt tournament using 'standard' 7th edition rulebook missions and, as a last-minute (well, with 7 days to go) addition, a simplified version of the Maelstrom missions as secondary objectives.

The list I took was a very spammy Eldar Serpent Spam list, as follows:

Autarch [70] + Shard of Anaris [40]+ jetbike [15] + Banshee mask [5] + lasblaster [5] + power weapon [15]  = 150
5 Fire Dragons   = 110
• Wave Serpent [115] + Holo-fields [15] + twin-linked scatter laser [5] = 135
5 Dire Avengers  = 65
• Wave Serpent [115] + Holo-fields [15] + twin-linked scatter laser [5] + shuriken cannon [10] = 145
5 Dire Avengers  = 65
• Wave Serpent [115] + Holo-fields [15] + twin-linked scatter laser [5] + shuriken cannon [10] = 145
5 Dire Avengers  = 65
• Wave Serpent [115] + Holo-fields [15] + twin-linked bright lance [5] + shuriken cannon [10] = 145
5 Dire Avengers  = 65
• Wave Serpent [115] + Holo-fields [15] + twin-linked bright lance [5] + shuriken cannon [10]= 145
5 Windrider Guardians  = 85
4 Windrider Guardians  = 68
Wraithknight [240] + scatter laser [20] = 260

1,648 points

The reason I 'like' the list (as much as a fluff-player like me can like any filthy spam list) is that the army consists of six units to set up on turn 1, and is very quick and easy to run. I like 'compact' armies; having previously played Tyranids and Imperial Guard, I really appreciate an elite army which plays very quickly!

GAME 1 - THE SCOURING (PRIMARY) & MAELSTROM (SECONDARY)

My round one opponent was Joe Isham, who was using an (almost) pure Deathwing army. It consisted of 4 x 5-man Terminator troops units, a Techmarine, Belial, a 5-man power-armoured Command Squad and an Inquisitor, all arriving in a drop-pod. Another very compact, quick-to-play army then!

Our primary mission was The Scouring, with simplified Maelstrom objectives as a secondary mission. Deployment was Hammer & Anvil. I won the roll and decided to go second (the standard option for Eldar armies with uber-fast scoring Jetbike Troops). Of course, Joe had nothing to set up except three Servo-Skulls, so I had free reign to set up my Wave Serpents and Wraithknight wherever I liked (inside my deployment area, that is). As the board was fairly lightly populated with terrain, this would give Joe ample space to deepstrike in his four Terminator squads and drop-pod. Therefore I split my forces fairly equally, and deployed on the extreme edges of my 'Hammer & Anvil' deployment zone (imagine where a left- and right-back in football operate!). The plan was to tempt Joe to land as far up the board toward my deployment zone as possible, inbetween the two flanks of my army, after which I would race away at maximum speed (scaredy-cat Eldar trick ahoy!) and ten snipe at his foot-slogging forces using my long range guns.

Well, the plan worked perfectly! Joe was very aggressive with his deployment, with all his units deploying either in my deployment zone, or just out of it. As I was going second, I moved 12" with all the Serpents to put some space between he and me, after which a couple when flat out (a further 18") to get them miles away from his Terminators. It would take him 2-3 turns of move/run to get anywhere near. The other Serpents and the Wraithknight then proceeded to unload all their guns into his troops, beginning with the nearest units, to make sure I could not get assaulted.

The game was not as one-sided as it sounds, as Joe did manage to kill the Wraithknight for first blood, and also managed to catch and kill one Serpent, but the bulk of my force had run away to the other end of the table where I stayed, shooting away at his infantry with their 36" Scatter Lasers and Bright Lances and their 60" Serpent Shields.

What really decided the game was focussing on the mission. The primary mission (The Scouring) was always going to be quite easy to achieve, as I could move wherever I liked with my Serpents to claim objectives, and then swoop down late-game with the Jetbikes to grab or contest any others. However, this is now only half the game! The Maelstrom missions also mean you have to score EVERY TURN! The stripped-down Maelstrom missions at this tournament boiled down to either killing a unit, or grabbing one of three numbered objectives. I found it took a lot of concentration to remember, turn by turn, what the mission was 'at that moment', however it was key to my success. By building up points reliably through the game as well as by grabbing 'primary' mission Scoring objectives on the last turn, meant things were always in my grasp.

GAME 1 RESULT: 9-1 WIN

GAME 2 - BIG GUNS NEVER TIRE (PRIMARY) & MAELSTROM (SECONDARY)

My second opponent was the mysteriously-named Snooty Fox (aka Chris from Hull!), another very friendly and fun opponent (I was very lucky to play three great, friendly oppenents this weekend). Snooty was running... Eldar with Wave Serpents! That said, he only had three Serpents, which he complemented with a Wraithlord, a Fire Prism, a couple of decent-sized Jetbike squads and some Guardians.
Again, I won the roll for deployment, and let Snooty set up (and go) first. The deployment type was old 5th edition Table Quarters. He set up well protected by buildings, and so afforded himself very good cover saves for the battle to come. I then set up all five Serpents AND the Wraithknight in a very defensive 'blob' behind a large building in my zone. If Snooty had any large blasts, he would be hitting three or four Serpents with each shot, I was so closely packed!

In Snooty's first turn, he cautiously advanced his three Serpents and Wraithlord, and began shooting. Luckily I was obscured for the most part behind my building, and so was able to claim a cover save without needing to Jink. Snooty fired with all his guns... but didn't let off his Serpent Shields! This was pivotal, and he lamented the decision as soon as my first turn arrived, and I shot with EVERYTHING. I treat the Serpent Shields as guns - I don't even pretend that they have any sort of defensive properties. I took out two of Snooty's Serpents on the first turn, leaving him already under-gunned for the rest of the battle. For the remainder of the game, Snooty was always coming from behind, as my Serpent's alpha strike had pretty much crippled his forces. He did manage to kill a couple of my Serpents and take out the Wraithknight*, but I survived pretty much unscathed, whilst I had all-but-wiped his forces off the board.

And so we came to tot up points scored.

I had made sure to grab enough objectives to claim the 'Big Guns Never Tire' primary mission 5-4, thus giving me 4 tournament points (hereafter TP's). Snooty had shaded it on secondary 'Maelstrom' missions, earning him 3TP's. So, I had won! Except... I remembered that Snooty had killed my Wraithknight - a Heavy Support choice. This made it a draw on primaries (worth 0TP's) and so Snooty won by dint of secondary Maelstrom mission points! We had a good chuckle about the result, as the game was very one-sided in my favour, but the result proved otherwise!

GAME 2 RESULT: 6-3 LOSS

GAME 3 - CRUSADE (PRIMARY) & MAELSTROM (SECONDARY)

My third and final game of the tournament was against Graeme Green, a Tau player and another very friendly opponent. Graeme was in fact my game 3 opponent of last year's Ruinstorm tournament, when his 6th edition Tau blitzed my Tyranids off the board, so it was great to have another bite at the cherry, and this time with an army of comparable power!

The deployment was Pitched Battle. Graeme set up first, and split his Tau forces into two roughly equal forces - to my left was a Riptide, a Skyray, some Fire Warriors and three Broadsides. To my right was a Riptide, a Hammerhead and some more Fire Warriors hiding in a ruin. I decided to 'refuse flank' and set up my entire army in my extreme right-hand corner, thereby staying out of range of his left-hand units. Once I had dealt with the right hand side, my plan was to swing around and 'roll up' his forces on the right hand side.

And so it proved. Graeme went first and opened fire with the forces to my right (directly opposite my forces), but my Serpents and Wraithknight were obscured behind ruins, so gained a cover save without the need to jink, and thus survived largely intact. His left hand forces began the long walk accross to try and get into range. During my first turn I returned fire against his right hand units, successfully destroying his Riptide and Hammerhead. The ability to pump out so many shots from each Wave Serpent, and the fact that the Serpent Shields ignore cover with D6+1 strength 7 shots, made short work of the Tau.

Turn 2 featured more of the same action - Graeme's Tau fired and managed to Stun a couple of Serpents, and then I returned fire and destroyed his other Riptide. After turn 2, the game was largely a forgone conclusion and by turn 5 Graeme was left with a few diminished Fire Warriors and a Broadside or two. We were both knackered, and Graeme had taken enough punishment, so we called it done. After totting up objectives and secondaries, I had won quite comfortably.

GAME 3 RESULT: 9-1 WIN

CONCLUSIONS

After playing in 40k tournaments for some 4-5 years now with 5th Edition Chaos Marines, 6th Edition Tyranids and 6th Edition Imperial Guard, I really enjoyed using a compact, elite army which was quick to play... and of course, quite devestating on the alpha-strike too! Being a fluff-bunny, I've never really used an uber-competitive list before, and so it was nice to go into a game believing I had a fair chance (all I really ask for!) against my opponents. 

During the games themselves, I found it quite hard to keep track of which two Maelstrom missions I was supposed to be going for that turn, so I would strongly recommend to others that a pen and paper (or Maelstrom objective cards) is critical for keeping track; not only tracking which Maelstrom objectives YOU are going for, but also which ones your opponent is going for, and also how many points each player has garnered so far in the game.

On the subject of Maelstrom missions, I found it vitally important to be earning these during the game. With this paricular tournament's scoring method (see below), it was as viable to win by dint of secondary Maelstrom missions and tertiary points as it is to win the Primary Mission:

4 TP's = Primary mission (Scouring / Big Guns / Crusade)
3 TP's = Secondary mission (Maelstrom)
3 TP's = Tertiary mission (First Blood / Linebreaker / Warlord)

At the end of the day, I finished on 21 Tournament Points (from a maximum of 30). The winner of the event got 28TP's. I ended up 13th out of 34, so I was very happy (though exhausted) after my day!
 

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Death From Above 1979

Tonight is my second game of errata'd 6th edition (oh, what's that? We're calling it 7th ed? Okay, I'll try and remember that)

After a game last week at 1000 points, this week we're stepping up to 1650. Andy is taking part in an ETC style team event and so wants to try out an Ork list for that. Part of me wanted to be a bit of a jerk and come up with a specific anti-Ork list: lots of Flamers, lots of 2+ saves. "This Whirlwind? I've been using one of those for years!" (could be just the sort of thing that you'll see at such an event to be fair)

However, there is just too much stuff in the new Space Wold codex that I wanted to try out on the table so I've gone with more of an all-comers list:

Wolf Lord, Runic Armour, Wolf Claw, Wolf Helm Of Durfast, Thunderwolf

2+, 4++, re-roll to hit, re-roll to wound in combat, +1 S, +1 T, +1 A, +1 W. Pricy but quick and deadly

3 Thunderwolves, 1 Storm Shield, 1 Power Fist

Kept this unit pretty basic but along with the Thunderlord they should do a lot of damage if they can make it into combat

10 Grey Hunters w/CCW, 2 Melta Guns, Wolf Guard Pack Leader w/Combi-Melta, Drop Pod

10 Grey Hunters w/CCW, 2 Flamers, Wolf Guard Pack Leader w/Combi-Flamer, Drop Pod

10 Grey Hunters w/CCW, 2 Plasma Guns, Plasma Pistol, Wolf Guard Pack Leader w/Combi-Plasma, Drop Pod

The Swiss Army Knife of the army, with a mixture of special weapons they can do a bit of everything

9 Blood Claws, Power Weapon, Flamer, Lukas the Trickster, Drop Pod

12 point Space Marines with Rage and Counter Attack? Count me in

Lone Wolf, Terminator Armour, Twin Wolf Claws

They have ret-conned the ret-conn so we can teleport again. Happy days (mainly because my run rolls for Lone Wolves have always been absolutely awful and this means that I can drop him right into the action)

5 Fenrisian Wolves Since they can score now, these are just a cheap Objective claiming unit

Murderfang, Drop Pod

If Mr Angry Pants can survive a turn of shooting, he'll do some serious damage. However, as Kurtz said, "if is the middle word of life"

Now there are probably some people waiting with baited breath; "come on then Gav" they're saying, "what's the brilliant trick here? Drop the Pods Objective Secured Pods empty so the enemy has to spend 5 turns destroying them while you claim the other Objectives?"

Sorry, to disappoint, but there really is no trick here - the idea of the list is simply to push as many units down your opponent's face as possible. The plan is that 30 Grey Hunters come down, do as much damage as possible and then line up for a Turn 2 charge along with the Thunderwolves.

Hopefully that will be too many targets for the enemy to deal with and so carnage will ensure (NB better blogs than this one would probably use the term "threat vectors" at this point)

Then Murderfang, the Blood Claws and the Lone Wolf arrive to clear up what's left. Looks like a very simple plan on screen, let's see how it actually translates to the battlefield.

Monday, 28 July 2014

Summer Skirmish 2014 - Tournament Report

On Saturday I attended one of my favourite 40k events of the year - Tim King's 500pt Summer Skirmish. This year, due to the apparent lethargy and disinterest of the majority of the 40k tournament scene, only 8 players made the event, but that didn't stop it being a fun day - in fact, the day was very relaxing and enjoyable, so perhaps the disinterest from the 'top-table' players could be a blessing in disguise for the tournament scene, leaving us with a less dominant meta and a more level playing field. Time will tell! 

The day started with the players gathering around Tim King as he built his 500pt Combat Patrol ' on the fly'. He chose mech Guard - specially, a PCS in a Chimera, two infantry squads with Autocannon and Grenade Launchers in Chimeras, a Wyvern... and 5 Rough Riders! The gymkhana, as these latter models quickly became known, were a source of amusement throughout the day. They even blew up a tank at one point! 

The playing field (in the order I played 'em) was as follows: 

Alex - Mech Vet Guard
Swede - Eldar
Adam Calver - 'Grot' Mech Guard
Nick - Space Marines in Rhinos
Tim King - Mech Guard with horsies 
Duncs - Necrons
Graham White - Space Marines in Rhinos
Grazer (me!) - Eldar Serpent Spam (5 Dire Avengers in Serpent, 6 Dark Reapers with Serpent)


My first game was against a relatively new player called Alex, who was using a very nicely painted Mech Vet Guard force - three lots of Veterans in Chimeras, plus a Wyvern. My plan was to stay at arm's reach and to use my Serpents' Scatter Lasers and Serpent Shields to crack open his Chimeras. This done, the Reapers and Avengers (coming on from reserve) then helped to mop up the infantry and secure the three 3-point objectives which (in all games) were arranged across the centre-line of the 2' x 2' board, equidistant between the two players' deployment zones. The plan worked a treat, and my first game ended with an 11-0 victory to me (2 x3 points for objectives, first blood and 4 kill points).

Game two saw me face a local gamer called Swede, who was using an Eldar force of 5 Rangers, a Serpent, a Spiritseer, 3 Windrider Guardians and 3 Dark a Reapers with an Exarch. This game came down to who could kill the other's Wave Serpent(s) first. Both of us used cover to hide our Reapers, but our tactics varied on our use of Serpents. I like to use their mobility to move freely around the table, generally moving 6-12" per turn, picking off targets one by one. Swede instead found a very handy piece of cover behind a ruin, where he stayed stationary the whole game. In the end, my second Serpent proved to be the decisive factor. Whilst one traded shots with Swede's own Serpent, the second roamed the board, largely able to pick off weaker targets (Rangers, Reapers etc) without being threatened. The game ended 16-2 to me once I tabled my opponent. So far - two games, two wins! Uncharted territory for me...

Game three was against Adam Calver, who was in control of a fantastically converted Grot IG army. I've seen this army a few times before - it's the Grot 'rebellion' Guard army (with accompanying homemade glossy comic, no less!) that you may well have seen before. Aidan's army was very similar to my opponent's in game one, though with one major difference - one less unit of Veterans, in exchange for a Forge World Vulture loaded out with Lascannons and Hellstrike missiles. Knowing the flyer had to start in reserve, my plan was simple. This would be a race against time - destroy Adam's Chimeras and Wyvern before his terrifying flyer could arrive! My plan worked, and I managed to wreck the Chimeras on turn 1  and 2, before the Vulture arrived and dominated proceedings! My usual plan with Serpents is to use their twin-linked Scatter Lasers, Shuriken Cannons and Serpent Shields to glance off hull points off flyers, but in this game I really struggled. Adam took out one of my Serpents and then, on turn 5 I parked my other Serpent (importantly, the one belonging to the Dire Avengers) on the central objective, whilst my troops grabbed one or two other objectives. Then, on his turn 5, Adam dropped into hover mode and parked his Vulture right on top of my Serpent, hoping to shoot down onto it. Unfortunately for him, his guns couldn't swivel to point vertically down (7th edition has formalised the +/- 45 degrees vertical span of vehicle weapons)  and so the game ended. Adam thought he had the objective contested, but unfortunately for him he had forgotten that in 7th edition, troop transports have Objective Secured - and so the points were mine! In reality though, those three points weren't critical, and the game ended 10-2 to me.

Game four was against another less experienced player, Nick Pratt, who was using Space Marines (Tactical and Devastator Marines) with Razorbacks armed with Assault Cannons. Unfortunately I got first turn, and my army just seemed tailor made to fight his - my Serpents scrapped his Razorbacks and my Dark Reapers (with their strength 5, AP3 shots) made short work of his Marines. The game only lasted a couple of turns (with a 14-2 victory for me) and so we decided to play again - with each other's armies! With the tables turned, Nick proved successful this time round. In fact, he liked the Eldar so much he decided there and then to build an Eldar army of his own!

With four straight wins under my belt, it was time to face Mr. Tournament himself, Tim King and his Imperial Guard 'Gymkhana of Doom'. Tim set up his three Chimeras and Wyvern tightly packed in a corner behind a hill, where they proved very hard to dig out. The game was cagey, and my shooting was quite poor, and so the last turn hinged around a scrap for The central objective. Tim was very smart, and managed to nick the objective off me, winning 6-5 in the 6th turn.

Next I played Duncs, a good mate and fellow club member at our First Company Veterans gaming club. Duncs is a long-term Necrons player, so he ran an army of Warriors, Wraiths and Immortals. My plan was to stay back, and deny Duncs the opportunity to unleash his fearsome Wraiths, which I knew full well would rip my army apart, given half the chance. After a couple of turns Duncs realised he wouldn't be able to orchestrate a charge, and so he hid them behind a big piece of LoS blocking terrain at the centre of the board. That said, his other units were incredibly hard to shift, and I had to concentrate all my firepower into slowly whittling down his troops - which kept getting back up, almost every time! In the end, Duncs just didn't have the guns to take out my Serpents and the game ended 8-3.

My final regular game was against another mate and club mate, Graham 'Gripper' White. He was running a Marine army very similar to Nick Pratt's, but the game itself was very different, largely due to the very dense 'Space Hulk' style which Gripper was able to hid his Marines in. The game started well for me and I took out his two Razorbacks quite quickly, but then Gripper cleverly hid his Marines under LoS blocking terrain and made me come close with my Serpents in order to see them. As soon as I did, he ran at me, charging with melts bombs and krak grenades, and managed to table me by the end of turn three! The game ended 13-3 to Gripper.

So, after the seven regular games I was alone on five wins, with Adam Calver on four wins and quite a few folks on three wins (I think... I was in shock at this point!). To decide an overall winner, Adam and I played off again to see who would take the tournament trophy.

This final game was another cagey affair, with both of us knowing what each other's armies were capable of. My threats were obviously the two Wave Serpents, whilst Adam's Vulture was his ace-in-the-hole. My advantage was that his flyer wouldn't be on til at least turn 2, so I had to try and eliminate Adam's Chimeras and troops whilst the Vulture was off the board. Like our first game, I managed to wreck his two transports quite easily, but this time he had rolled a Warlord trait which allowed him to outflank a couple of units - specifically, his Veterans. They arrived on turn 2 right next to my Dark Reapers, and made mincemeat of them with their high rate of fire and BS4. Also arriving on turn 2 was the Vulture. It arrived and targeted one of my Serpents but it fluffed it's lines - it's Lascannons and missiles failing to score a single glance or penetrating hit! In my next turn, I pushed one Serpent right onto Adam’s board edge, to prevent his Veterans' Autocannons and Grenade Launchers from being able to hit the Serpent's tender rear.  My other Serpent swivelled on the spot. Both skimmers opened up and, over the course of two turns, managed to down the flyer with twin-linked snapshots. By the end of the game, I had a single Serpent left, whilst Adam had a largely unmolested unit of Veterans in my deployment zone. The game ended up a draw - equal kill points, no objectives for either side, and one secondary objective each (first blood to me, line breaker for Adam). There was only one way to decide a winner of the tournament... FIGHT!

We each placed a single model 7" apart - I chose a Dark Reaper whilst Adam chose a Veteran Sargeant. Adam won the roll for initiative and went first. He fired his Laspistol but my Reaper's 3+ save proved ample. His Sergeant then charged, but my Eldar hit first, sadly failing to cause a wound with his single attack. His Sergeant then hit three times and caused a couple of wounds.  Could I make three 3+ saves? Sadly not, and Adam won the shoot-out. A disappointing end for me, but a very tense - and perfectly fitting - way to end a fun day out like Summer Skirmish!






















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