Tuesday, June 25, 2013

More lessons - flyers

Friday I tried out a list that tested two unit types, big wraiths which performed ok but aren't the topic of this post, and one of each of fast attack flyers including the Nightwing Interceptor from forgeworld.

I've tested the Hemlock Wraithfighter before and it has been underwhelming to say the least which is why it was the only unit to earn an F grade in the Tally.  But it seems so useful on paper.  And in the second game, it finally proved itself, causing a unit of chaos bikers to flee and than forcing the reroll and having them fail their rally attempt to continue off the board .  This saved an entire flank and turned the game into a rout.  This only had a 8% chance of working so I wouldn't suggest this as something to build an army around, however when it works it is game changing.  One thing to remember is that once a unit is falling back it autofails all morale other than regrouping.  So 25% casualties or a tank shock are guaranteed to force it to fall back again.

The crimson hunter did better but suffered from a lot of 1's to hit and inability to roll 4+ with rerolls on 4 dice vs. a vendetta.  I have to admit I wasn't a fan of the plane but it is growing on me even if it is expensive.  I'm looking forward to testing it with starcannons.

The nightwing continues to perform like it did under codex, I didn't think about it last night so I haven't confirmed this yet but the cannons probably gained the bladestorm rule.  I think in general the nightwing and crimson hunter are too similar and unfortunately the nightwing is better than the crimson hunter.   35 point for hitting on 2's instead of 3's and 4 AP 2 shots instead of 6 possible AP 2 shots is good but the loss of shrouding and agile is a big deal.  Taking three flyers was definitely a new experience and I was surprised at how effective they were together.  They also reinforced the value of the autarch and his +1/-1 to reserves.

On a minorly related note, someone also ran the math on eldar anti-flyer options on dakka.  They are fairly interesting.   The post can be found here.  Not surprisingly, the crimson hunter can in on top.  Warp spiders came in second.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Wraithguard model review

This is a fairly short post.  That starts with the question what do these three models have in common.  The obvious answer is that they are all the new wraithguard models, which are beautiful in my opinion.  The  less obvious answer is that they are all the same model.  The new kit is great and easily magnetized to let you get three models for the cost of one and a few magnets.  I haven't painted any yet as I ran out of magnets and need to get a few more to have all the arm options ready at once.  But I love this kit, it is one And although I won't give GW credit for doing designing models to be magnetized, they almost appear to have been.  I look forward to painting these guys and seeing how they perform on the tabletop.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Zone Mortalis

About a year ago I built a gaming table in my basement.   After finishing the table I had planned to create some Zone Mortalis tiles.  However after losing a fight with an ice tea jug, I put the project on hold.  
Fast forward to March and everything seems to fall into place.
·         My hand is mostly healed
·         Brian over at A Gentleman’s One starts posting pictures of tables he is making for Adepticon. 
·         The 40kfightclub Lansing Chapter has also been talking about creating a special board.   
·         Blacksword from the 40kfightclub starts posting pictures of his board he is making
·         My garage is mostly clean
·         The new Eldar models aren’t out yet

Lesson learned

After the Battle for the Transgressions of Trust which was my first experience playing Zone Mortalis, I got a game in vs. a flying circus of deamon princes.  I've played this army 3 or 4 times now and got one win and the rest bad losses.  This was my first game with new eldar vs. the deamons and the tally has been updated. My list looked something like this.
Farseer on bike
Autarch with mantle, shard, jetbike, fusion
9 jetbikes with 3 cannons, warlock
10 dire avenger, exarch, shimmer
5 Wraithblades
Wave serpent
10 storm guardians with 2 fusion, 1 p.w., warlock
Wave serpent
6 rangers
6 shining spears, star lance, hit and run
Vyper, scatter, cannon
2 Fire Prisms
Falcon with scatter, cannon

But the list doesn't really matter, the lesson learned is that runes of warding has made me too nonchalant about opposing psychic powers.  The deamons got turn 1 flew up and obliterated the farseer, jetbikes, shining spears and autarch in one round.  In part it was bad luck, he made all his test, I didn't make a single 5+ deny the witch save, the jetbikes had the three cannons alive still but they fled, the autarch had a single left but failed a rerollable 2+ cover save, my saves were slightly below average.  But mostly it left me missing runes of warding even more.  I'm willing to admit the old runes were probably too good, but taking away all the defense from a race where everyone is psychic seems a bot of an overreach.  I've been taking my time reading the codex and it seems like there are a number of differences between what the fluff says and what the rules say that seem to indicate some last minute changes.  For example the Crimson Hunters fluff talks about them being able to dodge lascannons and hard to hit, but their rules don't include this (and they need something).  My guess is they had some sort of improved dodge but ti was taken out at the last minute.  Anyways lesson learned, time to play the next game.

Monday, June 10, 2013

The Tally

This will be an ongoing post documenting my games with the new codex.  Last night I got in two games, Eldar won both! but unfortunately my opponent was playing Eldar for one of the games.

The basic format will be unit name, games I consider them successful/games played with unit, grade they would get if they were in school, notes

Spiritseer, 6/14, B-: Useful powers rolled but lots of failed tests, wraithguard good as troops but battlefield impact not worth the 20 points.  Played an iyanden based list and voice of twilight was very useful but needs an FAQ about the targetting of the blessing.  Generally I'm not finding much value for him on the table top, he is the wraith as troops tax and is worth it.  If you get lucky protect is probably your best power but horrify can be good as well.  Not sure why it hasn't occurred to me before but I would give him the Spirit Stones in an Iyanden list, his rune save doesn't matter much (he will be with wraithguard) and it makes it so he can cast both Voice and whatever he draws.  At the GT gave him the Spirit Stones and they were useful.

Mantle Autarch on bike, 5/8, B+: Survived, won most combats by 2, solid but not amazing, consider giving shards instead of lance, add fusion gun, banshee mask not used in either game, +/-1 reserve modification helpful is very helpful, especially with small jetbike squads and flyers.  Tried version with shard, died to failed rerolled cover saves turn 2.  2 more games with shard wasn't overly impressive.  Instant death did deny a couple of feel no pains, tending to think laser lance is more useful.  I forget about the fusion gun.  Died but disrupted Long fangs for multiple turns.  The only issue with him is that he isn't a farseer.  Has been less useful in the last few games, he is fine but costs more than a farseer and is less useful.

Farseer on bike, 13/14, A-: Died turn 1 along with 6 shining spears.  Psychic defense is horrible compared to before.  Got @$#@%$ by deamon powers repeatedly.  Kept casting guide, called it good.  As in previous edition, his powers add a lot, unfortunately it is now called guide and not doom or fortune.  Increased range is great and if you do happen to get fortune or doom so much the better.  This guy has become a staple of my list joined to shadow weavers.  Typically I roll Runes of Fate, if I get something Doom or Fortune I keep it and take Guide and Prescience.  If the initial power is bad I drop it for guide and take two rolls on Divination for Prescience and something.  I expect him to do nothing but get better as marines join my lists.

Avatar: 1/1, A:  In a Zone Mortalis game, avatar did well,  The new high BS twinlinked his gun taking down a hellbrute.  Punched some terminators.  5++ never was a factor

Illic Nightspear: 0/1 D: Makes pathfinders that are overpriced given the amount of ignore cover out there.  Gun is cool but needs a 6 to be useful.

Farseer- 4/4 B+:  Double guide is good, what more needs to be said.  I've been attaching him to a unit of shadow weavers for the extra protection.  Would still probably give him a jetbike most of the time for the extra toughness and ability to run away if needed.

Karandas- 2/3, B:  Solid, good trait.  I could see running him as a backfield unit to serve as counter assault.  I have been running him as a leader for harlies, which is fine except that assault sucks (see harlies below)

Striking Scorpions, 2/3, B: Poor use on my part.  Mandiblasters are worse, had a situation of a skipped initiative step.  Fleet is helpful.  Consider outflanking them in future.  Need a nice LOS blocking area terrain at or near midfield.  Held an objective (mor accurately kept enemy away from objective)

Fire Dragons 1/1,B:  They are fire dragons what else is there to say.

Howling Banshees :  Accidentally deleted this paragraph but to summarize, not impressed

Harlies 1/3, D:  Played versus nurgle deamons, added karandas to units and killed GUO.  Hard game to test them but they performed well.  I haven't had the horrible experience with them getting shot but this edition is so anti-assault a dedicated assault unit just doesn't cut it.  They earn a D for a grade, however they would earn a B if assault becomes needed again.

3 man jetbikes: 4/6, B:  Didn't need them in one game, got tempted to use in another.  No issues in a kill point game.  They aren't needed as much this edition because the rest of the army is able to survive, but still a decent backup plan for winning the game.

3 man jetbikes + cannon: 8/16, B-: Didn't need in one game, cannon is definitely helpful, would probably suggest 6 man squads in future, survived in two kill point games.  They are becoming a common element of Eldar lists and as a result people are learning to target them.  At GT they were in reserve every game, cannon was not needed

9 man jetbikes +warlock 0/1, NA: 7 dead turn 1, rest run off board

Dire Avengers, 2/7, C+:  Got shot up early both games, Jeff had some limited success with his vs. me, good game in Zone Mortalis being able to fire and run back behind cover.  AP2 killed a terminator or two which the old squad would not have been able to do.  Tried in wave serpent, wave serpent was good but squad not much use, will try with guardians next.  Did some damage coming out of a wave serpent but had to go run and hide in it again to maintain scoring.

Rangers, 1/4, B+:  Work better when you don't fail 3 out of 3 2+ cover saves.  cheap scoring unit as usual, not much for damage

Wraithguard with flamer, 3/4, B+: Flamers held off harlequin charge, probably need a wave serpent to be truly useful.  Used with a wave serpent and as expected performed very well.  Instant deathed two deamon princes in one round.

Wraithblades 4/9, B-: In a Zone Mortalis game these guys shined taking down a unit of Dark Angel elite terminators and Beliel (with some late help from the avatar).  One attack base isn't much but the toughness and the 5++ save prevented significant return damage.  Did fine in second game but game ended early so they didn't do much, S7/8 did keep enemy warp hunter from getting into a flank position.  Killed a couple of Riptides and have been a solid threat when Wave Serpent not blown up turn 1.

Wraithguard with cannon 9/14, B: Played one unit of cannons and one of flamers in a messenger style mission.  This allowed me to mix and match a little which was great.  4 flamers easily killed a unit of warp spiders, 4 cannons rolled only 1 hit and failed to kill a fire prism.  D-cannons are becoming very useful, only in one situation so far would I have preferred the wraithguard when being assaulted by a riptide  (previous turn I had rolled two instant kills that were both very slightly cocked and rerolled into nothing.) At GT learned that bumrushing with them is very solid.  I can't roll a 6 to wound to save my life but so be it. 

20 man guardians with brightlances, 2/2, B: Warlock was definitely useful even with failed tests.  Took 4 wounds off avatar in one round.  Large squad was unwieldy to use, Conceal better than protect

Pathfinders 0/1 F:  To expensive plain and simple.  Ignore cover wipes them out too easily and is too common to justify 25 points/model.

Wave Serpent, 14/14, A+: They still die to dedicated fire but the shield is awesome.  Ignore cover was big in wiping out units in ruins.  Took 3 in a game and they were amazing.  They continue to outperform and for once the internet is fairly accurate in how good they are.  I'm still on the fence about holofields.  Didn't take holofields at the GT and didn't need them, so many things ignore cover now that they are pointless. 

Fast Attack:
Warp Spiders, 12/16, A: Super speedy, good damage, multi-purpose, overall solid, bad jump back rolls can result in heavy damage so large squad is good.  Jeff used the exarch to good effect vs. me.  In games where they haven't performed it has been because they were targeted early.  God droppodded to death after bad jumps and runs.  At GT so long as I remembered about them they were excellent.  Heavy LOS blocking terrain really helped.

Hemlock flyer, 2/8, C:  Forcing reroll had no effect in 3 games, guns are weak, ended up turboboosting more than shooting them, failed most psychic test (bad luck), in game four finally had a decent impact breaking a unit of chaos bikers that would have been a problem, broke plague marines.  Terrify doesn't work vs. deamon.  But remembering about Terrify is pretty strong.  Can make units fall back out of combat.  I really like my conversion but the plane just make the grade.

Crimson Hunter , 1/2, C:  Better than expected, horrid dice rolls prevented grade from being higher, I'm interested in trying out the starcannon version.  Star cannon tested vs nurgle, killed a flying deamon prince.

Nightwing Interceptor, 2/2, A: What can I say this is a solid plane.

Shining spears, 0/1, NA: Died turn 1

Heavy Support:
Shadow weavers, X/X, A-: 90 points of goodness.  Killed quad gun thanks to AP1, extra strength.  Good place to hide a farseer.  Would like to try 2 units.  I'm not really tracking these guys anymore.  They are good.  Great place to hide a farseer (but still give the jetbike to make T4).  They were the MVP of the GT.

Dark Reapers, 0/2, C-: Vs. non-MEQ overcosted, range was helpful, did decent damage but generally wasn't impressed.

Wraithlord, 3/4, B: Paired with wraithknight they provided solid fire support, swords didn't do much, lack of extra movement tended to leave them behind.  Addition of battlefocus a plus.  I like making one a warlord in Iyanden lists.  Charged 4 deamonettes and died before striking.

Wraithknight (d-cannons), 7/8, B+:  Ended up dead in one game because I forgot about poison on plague swords (until I remember opponent that they were).  Opponent dedicated a lot of shooting at it, sparing the rest of the army.  Missed 3 of 4 shots but speed allowed it to move up and make assaults without much difficulty.  Still more failures to hit, but kept half a table clear of enemies by mere presence.

Wraithknight (suncannon), 11/11 A-:  Sun cannon, scatter laser is awesome.     This guy is becoming my preferred build.  Doesn't need guide help, doesn't need cover.  Biggest reason to keep the base weapon is if you fear AV 14.  Solid performance at the GT.  Died early in one game due to horrible saves but sun cannons wrecked bunched up units.

War Walkers 3/3 B:  Figuring out the weapon load out for these guys will take time.  I am liking the scatter laser + different weapon options.  I like the brightlance/scatter laser combo.  Not as good vs. AV 13/14 as dual brightlance but versatile enough to be useful if heavy armour not on the board.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Is BS4 a good thing for guardians?

Obviously BS4 is better than BS3, however the question is are guardians able to use it or are we just paying points for stats that don’t really matter.  For normal shooting it is clearly good.  1/3 of your misses are now hits.  This makes single shot weaponry like brightlances usable.  Battle focus may let us get shots off and run away despite our 12 inch range however most of the time when you shoot a catapult you will be snapfiring it at someone that is charging you and your BS won’t matter.  Your ballistic skill also won’t matter if you have gone to ground which will be fairly common for groups assigned to hold objectives.  

Storm guardians with fusion guns love the BS4 but flamer storm guardians don’t care at all.  Jetbikes benefit but they were already twin-linked except with the cannon and as discussed in It’s a Trap might be best not shooting at all.  One of the reasons I don’t mind pathfinders going away as much as others is that I haven’t used pathfinders in a couple years, I would save the points and just send my rangers to ground if they were supposed to hold an objective.  Now that guardians can get stealth (and as such a 2+ go to ground save in area terrain) I wouldn't be surprised to see them resting a lot.

There are going to be times where a 20 man squad is able to unload on someone and the opposing player will cry but I’m curious how often that will be.  One of the things I plan to track in my early games with them is how often I am snapfiring and how often I am shooting at full BS.  Obviously I can’t do anything about what the statline is but how often you snapfire vs. regular fire does affect other decisions such as what sort of weapon to give them.  My question is what would you rather have BS3 guardians for 8 points or BS4 for 9.  I don’t know but I am looking forward to finding out.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Lots of things to post but sadly only one

Last night I put together a crimson hunter which was a fine experience and than I started to put together the wraithguard and WOW!  they are a great kit.  I also had some late night thinking wondering if BS4 for guardians defenders is really a good thing or not.  I think an argument can be made that it isn't, I'll definately be posting this sometime soon.  I hoped to do a full review today but that isn't going to happen.  Instead here is a just an announcement regarding the upcoming chapter night of the Legios Sparticus. 

Monday, June 3, 2013

The joys of a new codex

Unless you are living under a rock by now you know the Eldar have a new codex.  This is their first new codex in 7 years and at first glance it looks solid.  Nothing seems like an auto-include except jetbikes and I have no clue if they will be large or small units of bikes.  Likewise there are few units that look outclassed in the codex (banshees and storm guardians).  What this means is that the eldar codex will require a lot of playtesting.  My question is how to do this.  Do I test it like I was an actual playtester looking for the most broken combos or test it from a more balanced point of view.  Trying all the units, mixing them up, learning what they can and can't do and wait to try to assemble a force. 

The second option fits my playstyle more, however the first option is what I am drawn to because when I was actual playtester for card games back in the day that was how I would test them.  Also I'm curious just how damaging 10 wraithguard with distortion flamers infiltrating 1 inch away from the enemy will be (Far and away the most broken combo in the codex- if it survives FAQ).  Seems like a solid use of just under 500 points.  But I could take six month just perfecting this.  A lot of the games wouldn't be fun until the opponent learned to deal with them and I wouldn't learn much about the rest of codex except how it compliments that unit.  However as you work away from the crutch you do learn things you don't if never try it out.  On an odd note, playing the codex around a theme actually fits this style of testing more as you are locking into something and try to build around it, you just run a greater risk that what you are trying to lock into isn't viable.

The other option is to skip the crutch and just learn about the army as a whole.  The advantage here is that regardless of the current army crazy, I am familiar enough the army to adapt.  This is why I was able to continue to win with the eldar to some degree despite the age of the codex.  Knowing your army, its weaknesses and strengths, helps a lot even if the codex itself is weak.  The downside is that the initial games are tough, you have a lot of rules to learn, you make a lot of mistakes and you potentially end up with something like my Environmental Science degree from MSU.  The classes were so varied that you forgot what you had learned the previous semester because you never needed it again.

In the end I'll probably do both.  Playtest the stupid list with the competitive players in the area and playtest the normal lists with the regular (but still quality) players.