Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Action Report: Space Wolves vs. Eldar 7-29-08

The eldar warhost might have been completely silent in its progress but for the mighty avatar, whose massive footfalls reverberated loudly through the ancient forest. Guardians, dire avengers, dark reapers, and a battery of d-cannons followed behind their warrior god on their way to attack an imperial outpost recently installed on the former maiden world. Grav-tanks glided along on the flanks of the formation. Cut off from the guiding premonitions of their farseer, they did not anticipate the imminent attack from the fiercest protectors of the imperium.

Suddenly the air was filled with ear-piercing howls as five drop pods screamed through the planet’s atmosphere. In seconds, they had all impacted in a nearly perfect circumference around the eldar, and into the resultant smoke and debris stepped the mighty space wolves, armed to the teeth. Their mission: to ensure the destruction of the perfidious alien warhost while minimizing their own casualties.

The first to fire were veteran wolf guard clad in tactical dreadnought armor. Plumes of white hot flame issued from each of their weapons, sweeping through one squad of guardians and reducing fifteen of them to ashes in moments. A nearby squad of grey hunters, led by another wolf guard veteran, aimed their bolt and plasma pistols into a second squad of guardians, killing many of them as the survivors scrambled to gain control of the eldar rocket launcher platform. The guardians returned fire and three of the mighty astartes fell, their unit falling back towards cover to regroup. Across the battlefield, a wise venerable dreadnought extracted itself from its drop capsule and combined fire with nearby units of blood claws and grey hunters, sending more tongues of fire into the forest, burning up several dire avengers and, more importantly, melting the delicate d-cannon platforms.

The dark reaper exarch led his unit to the top of a human chemical storage tank. As his fellows took careful aim with their reaper launchers, he began to spin a bolo-like weapon, faster and faster, until he released it nearly straight up into the air with a single delicate gesture. The eldar bombs soared in an almost imperceptible arc and descended on the unit of grey hunters led by the space wolf rune priest, who had emerged from their drop pod to the left of the eldar column. At the precise point of impact, the dark reapers opened fire with their launchers, and the combined destruction wiped out seven of the space marines. The reaper exarch watched sadly as a squad of dire avengers charged into the rest. They were no match for the rune priest, and he cut them all down with little effort. Their attack had been merely a distraction, however, and suddenly a different foe emerged from behind the space wolf seer – a team of harlequins were flitting in and out of sight, encircling him and the two surviving grey hunters with their deadly dance. Confused by the horrible costumes closing in on him and the violent deaths of his brothers, the rune priest backed up, and thus did not see the wounded dire avenger exarch lying behind him, who extended one final fatal thrust with his diresword before dying.

The avatar, screaming with fury, charged the wolf guard terminators, felling two of them before they could react. The battle leader reacted instantly with a flurry of attacks, but his lightning claws could find no purchase in the demon’s molten iron skin. One of his bodyguard, however, stunned the mighty beast with a single swing of his thunder hammer, giving the blood claws squad time to run over and join in the fight.

The reaper exarch turned his attention instead to the second squad of grey hunters, who were pulling back from the circle of drop pods trying to rally for another charge. Another volley of missiles from the reapers and guardians dropped a few more marines and sent them running further back into the forest, where the sightless wraithguard would be waiting for them. The exarch’s second barrage of tempest bombs missed their target, however, landing instead on the big fray between the avatar, wolf guard terminators, and blood claws. When the smoke cleared, the eldar D-cannon crew and half of the blood claws were dead.

When the avatar recovered from the impact of the thunder hammer (not to mention the reaper exarch’s tempest bombs), he swung the wailing doom with deadly precision, killing two more terminators before finally falling beneath the weight of the blood claws’ many power fists. Having finished off their most hated foe, the blood claws ran directly for the tower where the dark reapers’ position, and by combining their fire with several drop pod storm bolters, managed to finish their targets off.

An additional unit of guardians, covering the rear of the eldar advance, had heard the horrible sounds of war and hastened to join the fight. Just as they were setting up their weapons to fire on the human enemy, space wolf scouts emerged from the underbrush behind them. One guardian turned in time to see and was able to kill one of the wolf scouts, but it was already too late. The determined scouts killed several guardians with their plasma pistols and meltagun before charging headlong into them and wiping them out in close combat. As they finished off the wounded, an eldar falcon tank came around the corner of a rock outcropping and opened fire with its pulse laser and star cannon, reducing the scouts down to two men. Undeterred, they charged the grav-tank, but after taking a glancing hit from the scout’s meltagun, the falcon turned and fled the scene.

The venerable dreadnought, incensed after having watched the rune priest die at the hands of the foul alien dancers, unleashed his heavy flamer and plasma cannon on the harlequins, killing two, including their shadowseer. The obscuring haze that had been clinging to the harlequins fell away, and suddenly they were exposed. Before they could get away, he reached out and grabbed one more, crushing the puny eldar body with an enormous claw. As the three surviving harlequins flipped away from the giant walking tomb, one of them took aim with his fusion pistol and sent a jet of superheated air directly into a critical joint, causing a catastrophic explosion that sent pieces of the dreadnought flying and annihilated one of the harlequins’ own number. Having recovered control of its weapon systems, the eldar falcon returned to the area to evacuate the beleagured harlequins, but the last two wolf scouts finished them off with bolt pistol and meltagun fire before they could get on board. The falcon launched one last salvo of plasma into the scouts, only killing one of them. The last scout stunned its weapon systems with his meltagun before the tank once again turned and blazed away into the forest, never to be seen again.

As the wolf guard battle leader led his grey hunters into the woods to regroup, an eldar wave serpent circled around behind them and dropped off its mysterious cargo: a squad of silent eldar wraithguard led by a spirit seer. Their horrible wraithcannons killed one of the grey hunters and wounded the battle leader before they came to grips in close combat. The wolf guard’s frost blade decapitated two of the eldar constructs before he himself fell to the spirit seer’s witchblade. The terminator battle leader stumbled over from the avatar’s remains to join the fight next to the two surviving grey hunters, his lightning claws slicing up two more wraithguard. Since the eldar grav tanks had retreated, it would likely be the final brawl of the day. Though they had lost many brave wolves, their mission of stopping the eldar advance had most certainly been accomplished.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Tournament: Dragon's Lair 7-26-08

Saturday was the second installation of the 4th-to-5th edition transition tournament at Dragon’s Lair. Here’s the report and army list from the first week. A few people dropped out of the second weekend, so there were only 9 of us this time grinding it out for the glory (and double prize support). Tournament organizer Larry said we were using a tourney points system similar to what they’re discussing for GTs. We would play each standard mission once over three rounds, with everyone using the same deployment zone each round (and # of objectives). The winner of each match would get 15 victory points and the loser 5, possibly modified by winning with many more objectives than your opponent using some arcane mathematik that didn’t make all that much sense to me. If you wiped your opponent out, you got 20 points instead. Actual victory points were calculated to help out with a possible tie break at the end. Going into the second weekend, I was 2-1 and I think I had placed somewhere in the middle of the pack. This time, Toggog’s marauders hit the ground running and earned three wins for me, putting me in first place when the smoke finally cleared! Objective management was key, and I used my transports in all three rounds to play shell games with my cult troops until the last possible moment. I actually scored fewer victory points than my opponents in my last 2 games, but attrition is practically meaningless when your troops score down to the last man (and they’re all fearless!).

Round 1 – Chaos – Seize Ground (Pitched Battle)

I’ve played against Sam’s chaos before, including once at the first tournament I wrote about on this blog. The greatest challenge is usually just keeping the game moving past four turns. Not an unfriendly guy, but I think maybe his models are so heavy (everything’s been dipped in metal) they just take a really long time to move. He had a terminator lord, five big marine squads with various special and heavy weapons, three dreadnoughts, a squad of three obliterators, a land raider, and a predator with an autocannon and heavy bolters. There were three objectives on the table, two of which were on his side of the board. I won the dice roll and chose to go second, giving him choice of the table edge. The thousand sons and berzerkers camped on the objective to my left, the obliterators fired from cover in a building in the middle, while the demon prince, plague marines, and noise marines moved up on my right to grab a second objective. I brought in the terminators on my right side as well, and they managed to immobilize one of the dreads with their combi-plasmas right away. A second dread fell to the plaguemarines’ meltas. The noise marines were charged by the remaining dread as they camped out on the right side objective, but two of them managed to survive long enough for my terminators to run over and finish it off with a chainfist. The demon prince flew past everyone on my right side, and lashed one squad after another into close combat, wiping out a couple of them quickly before getting bogged down in a third. Sam held back with his land raider until the third or fourth turn, when he jumped a big squad inside and blazed across the table towards my left side objective. In the end of the fourth turn, I had barricaded him away from the objective with the berzerkers’ rhino, and with only 12 minutes or so left in the round we probably should have ended the game. But in the interest of playing five turns (...) I asked Larry to let us play through. In his fifth turn he jumped all his marines out of the land raider, wrecked my berserker rhino, killed most of the berzerkers and thousand sons, though my demons came in and managed to fight him back a bit. That objective ended up being contested, but I still had the other firmly in hand, so I won 1-0. Special kudos to the thousand sons for fixing their immobilized rhino (though it was eventually destroyed anyway)!

Round 2 – Chaos – Capture and Control (Dawn of War)

Last month it was orks, orks, orks, and now it was chaos, chaos... I always have a good time playing against Brandon, who has a very cool personalized chaos army with plenty of great models and paint jobs. He had his usual flying tzeentch demon prince with warptime and wind of chaos, a lash sorcerer in terminator armor, two big squads of marines, some terminators, some tzeentch raptors, a dreadnought, a defiler, and a havoc squad. We both put our objectives in opposite corners of the board, he deployed his demon prince and two unit of troops in buildings, and I started with my demon prince and nurgle car sitting across from them on top of my objective. Nothing much happened in his first turn. I immediately moved my demon prince out and lashed one of his troop squads toward me out of their building, charging them but not doing much damage. He countered with the raptors, who leapt into combat with the demon prince, but luckily for me everyone (including his lightning claw’d champion) whiffed; I won combat and everyone stayed in the fight. But with only one wound left on the big guy and his obliterators deep-striking in to attack my plaguemarines sitting there all alone on my objective, things were looking grim until my second turn when I got was able to get just the reserves I needed. The terminators and demons both used the nurgle icon to come into play. The terminators inflicted just enough wounds to wipe out the oblits while the lesser demons piled into the fray with the demon prince, raptors and chaos marines. In the end, I think I finished off the marine squad but his raptors emerged from the combat victorious. His demon prince made it over to my terminators and plague marines and finished them off. While all this was going to my left, I was advancing quickly with my other cult cars in the right. He was sitting on his objective with some havocs, backed up with the nearby defiler and terminator squad. His defiler blew up my noise marine rhino, and his sorcerer lashed them up into a building to slow them down a bit. I teleported in my obliterators and zapped his sorcerer with a twin-linked meltagun. The khorne and tzeentch cars continued their advance, whipping around his back building and jumping out to kill the havocs. The berserker car actually drove back to pick up the noise marines after they wiped out the surviving raptors with their doom siren (I love battle taxis!). I could never bring down the damned defiler, but neither it nor the terminators were able to get close enough in the sixth turn to prevent me from taking his objective. I won 1-0.

Round 3 – Imperial Guard – Annihilation (Dawn of War)

This appeared to be an uphill battle for Kingsley, who had 20 kill points to give away while I only had 14. I also managed to “seize the initiative” and go first after he had rolled to pick sides and go first. He was using his usual chem-inhaler bug fighter guard army, with a command squad, anti-tank squad, one or two hardened veteran squads, an infantry platoon with several squads, a squad of storm troopers (grenadiers doctrine) with a chimera, two lascannon sentinels, a squadron of two autocannon sentinels, a hellhound, two demolishers, and a standard russ. Once again I shot forward with the demon prince and nurgle marines on my left side, but this time I backed them up with the other cult cars following behind. I failed my lash roll to pull the anti-tank squad out of the nearby building and so he was left standing there looking stupid for kingsley’s first turn. Miraculously he was only able to inflict three wounds, so the demon prince survived to lash and assault the anti-tank and storm trooper squads before he was inevitably brought down. The nurgle marines shot up the remaning infantry squad on my left, just as my terminators and obliterators arrived to destroy the hellhound, one of the demolishers, and the battle cannon from the standard russ with close range plasma and melta fire. He spent his next turn destroying the obliterators and the terminators with infantry shooting, while his surviving armor kept up the attack on my left side. He killed 1-2 plaguemarines and demons a turn but they always had decent cover and he was never able to destroy them. His sentinels outflanked and attacked the rear chaos rhino. The thousand sons and berzerkers promptly disembarked and took two turns fighting them back. It was a very close and exciting game, down to the wire, until the sorcerer got a nice bolt of change off in the last turn to consolidate my lead in kill points, and I won 8-6.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Tournament: Battleforge 7/19/08

Saturday was the first 5th edition tournament held in Austin, put on by Battleforge Games. There was a huge turnout, with 26 people showing up to play 3 rounds of 2000 point matches using their "hobby" scoring paradigm. I scrambled on Thursday to assemble and paint a second demolisher and hellhound to add to my armored guard force:

Doctrines: close order drill, iron discipline, drop troops

Command HQ - junior officer with bolter, iron discipline, carapace armor
Standard bearer, grenade launcher, missile launcher
Anti Tank Squad - 3 lascannons
Fire Support Squad - 3 heavy bolters
3 Sentinels - multilasers

4 Hardened Veterans - 2 meltaguns, plasma gun, vet sgt with bolter

Infantry Platoon
Command Squad - junior officer with bolter, iron discipline, 2 flamers, 2 grenade launchers
Chimera - multilaser, hull heavy bolter, pintle heavy stubber, extra armor, smoke launchers
2 Infantry Squads - plasma gun, missile launcher

Infantry Platoon
Command Squad - junior officer with bolter, iron discipline, 2 flamers, 2 grenade launchers
Chimera - multilaser, hull heavy bolter, pintle heavy stubber, extra armor, smoke launchers
2 Infantry Squads - plasma gun, missile launcher

Hellhound - hull heavy bolter, pintle heavy stubber, extra armor

Hellhound - hull heavy bolter, pintle heavy stubber, extra armor

Demolisher - hull lascannon, plasma cannon sponsons, extra armor

Demolisher - hull lascannon, plasma cannon sponsons, extra armor

Leman Russ - hull heavy bolter, heavy bolter sponsons, pintle heavy stubber, extra armor

I heard some grumbles about the terrain being on the sparse side, but it wasn't so big of a deal for me. Obviously as I was playing guard I had a lot of ordnance love to give, so I wouldn't complain anyway, but the 2 tables I played on had plenty of stuff available for getting saves and LOS-blocking. The true LOS was never an issue with the people I played against, but then again I drew three very friendly opponents so maybe I lucked out there. Everyone seemed to know the rules pretty well and everything went very smoothly thanks to good players and great organizers. After the dust settled Chris' eldar had won 1st, Mike's chaos won 2nd, and I won 3rd place. Thanks to Brandon and Mike at BFG for another excellent series.

Game 1 - Eldar

Primary objective: Win by 200 victory points
Secondary: Table quarters
Tertiary: Have your own copy of the rulebook
Bonus points: have a unit in the enemy deployment zone at the end; have a unit in your own deployment at the end

I drew Amar for my first match. He was playing Eldar with Jain Zar, a farseer, 3 big guardian squads with bright lances, 2 big squads of howling banshees in wave serpents, a squadron of 3 warwalkers with scatter lasers, and 2 squads of dark reapers. I had pretty good firing lanes and shot the hell out of the guardians and reapers while he flitted around in my left flank with the banshees wave serpents, causing relatively little mayhem. I used a chimera on that side to shuttle a couple infantry squads between the two quarters. I jumped out with one of them and lit up the farseer and surviving guardians in the large building. Using star engines, he quickly brought Jain Zar's serpent back into his deployment to deploy her banshees and airlift the farseer out in one fell swoop. When they jetted back into my deployment zone I brought it down with a plasma gun, exposing the passengers to their doom. The sentinels outflanked and helped finish off a few guardians. His flanking war walkers did a good amount of damage, wiping out my lascannon squad and command HQ. My veterans deep striked right in front of a few straggler guardians with their warlock and managed to blow the guardians away. The warlock responded by charging in, and after killing two with his wraithsword he routed the unit and wiped them out. I think he kept the banshees in their transports for just a little too long, and by the time they joined the fight I had spread out my units fairly well and had good command of the firing lanes and table quarters. The hellhounds were probably the mvp of the game, immolating scores of guardians with its cover-save ignoring fiery death. In the end I had accomplished all three objectives to his one and scored both bonus points.

Game 2 - Chaos

Primary objective: Win by 200 victory points
Secondary: The player who kills the most headquarters will achieve this objective. In the case of a tie both players accomplish the obective.
Tertiary: Annihilation (kill points)
Bonus points: have more than 10 kill points alive at the end of the game

I had played against Mike once before with Space Wolves and had managed to do pretty well against his chaos army. For this tournament he went all nurgle and had 2 flying nurgle demon princes, a squad of terminators in a land raider, a squad of chosen, two squads of 10 plaguemarines in rhinos, a vindicator, a defiler, and a predator annihilator with lascannon sponsons. After he won the roll to place the first piece of terrain, he planted the big building in or near the center. This and a few other big pieces stinking up the middle meant my downfall. I should have just formed up in an L along my table edges and stalled him out long enough to shoot most his stuff, but his templates would have probably devastated me anyway. All of his penetrating hits against vehicles were weapon destroyed or destroyed, while I could only stun or shake them, and since they were possessed it added up to bupkus. Land Raiders are indeed bad ass now, and his terminators were in my lines on the second turn, tearing up squads two at a time until I got enough shots in to break them and send them running. I also brought down one of the demon princes, but it was already too late. His other prince smashed one demolisher while his ordnance and lascannons devastated all my other tanks. He outflanked with the chosen but they came in on the wrong side of the table and never made it into the fight. He didn't need them. He wiped me out entirely in the sixth turn. By killing the one demon prince I was able to accomplish the secondary objective while he got all three and the bonus point.

Game 3 - Space Marines

Primary objective: Capture and control
Secondary: Destroy your opponent's highest cost troop unit
Tertiary: Destroy a non-troop unit

I have totally blanked on my third opponent's name, and that's too bad because he was a nice guy. He was also a really good sport, and coped very well with rolling very poorly at all times while I could apparently miss no cover save or leadership test. He had a really nicely painted DIY marine chapter (the Angry Goats I believe) with a personalized objective marker (a plastic ibex). His force consisted of a librarian with fear of darkness and fury of the ancients, 2 10-man tactical squads, 4 5-man tactical squads with a plasma gun or a lascannon, a 10-man assault squad, 2squadrons of 2 melta/flamer land speeders, and a small devastator squad with 2 rocket launchers. With hellhounds and heavy bolters, I whittled away at the two small squads he left guarding the ibex, while the rest of my army kept his units on my left at bay. He failed a lot of Ld 9 morale checks and lost the still somewhat intact assault squad to a 3d6 fallback after being shot up by the sentinels. I managed to pop one of the rhinos and expose the tactical squad inside (my troop unit objective), and the veterans arrived to chop several of them down before the demolishers and rocket launchers finished them off. His vindicators approached on my right but moved too slow and shot too poorly to really affect the game. He was using FotA the whole game but could never kill more than 1 or 2 in a squad per turn and I always resisted being pinned. I accomplished all three objectives to his one.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Action Report: Space Wolves vs. Eldar 7-14-08

I played a 2000 point game against Jacob last night using my current space wolves list, which basically consists of: wolf guard battle leader with frost blade, rune priest with frost blade, venerable dreadnought with an assault cannon and heavy flamer in a drop pod, five wolf scouts and a wolf guard leader, two squads of nine grey hunters in rhinos, nine blood claws and a wolf guard leader in a rhino, three attack bikes, two melta/flamer land speeders, a vindicator, and a predator annihilator with heavy bolter sponsons. Jake had an avatar, jain zar, a big squad of banshees in a wave serpent with a rocket launcher, a small squad of harlequins riding in a falcon with a star cannon, three big guardian squads with two star cannons and one rocket launcher, one big dire avenger squad, a fire prism, and a battery of three D-cannons. We rolled for long edge deployment zones and the seize ground mission with three objectives. With help from the venerable dreadnought, I won the roll for first turn and chose to go second.

The vindicator was immobilized in my first turn trying to move into cover for a better view. As it was he would only be able to launch shots at the taller avatar for the rest of the game. On my right side, our forces exchanged heavy fire. The land speeders and attack bikes brought one of the guardian squads down to a man, and the predator put an initial wound on the avatar. His avengers and wave serpent immobilized one of the land speeders in return and killed two of the attack bikes. Later, the predator immobilized the falcon hanging out in his backfield, while the other land speeder immobilized the wave serpent. I’ll say this about fifth edition, I’m already seeing a lot more immobilized vehicles lying around shooting at each other!

With mostly impotent vehicles strewn about on the right side of the battlefield, the focus shifted to the center as my hunters and blood claws emerged from their rhinos. I really wanted to bring down the avatar so I charged into it with the rune priest, one grey hunter squad, and the blood claws. Immediately the avatar struck the rune priest down, and my power fists did only one wound in return. Both squads held, however, and with the big wolves squads tied up with the avatar, it was a perfect setup for a counterattack from the harlequins and howling banshees. They jumped out of their respective transports and wiped out both squads before I could do a thing. Some subsequent shooting brought their numbers down a bit but it was too late for 2/3 of my scoring units. I was left with one unit of grey hunters, who retreated in their rhino to the objective in my own deployment zone. My scouts and dreadnought both come in on the third turn, and while the scouts shot and did zero damage to the D-cannon battery, the dreadnought cooked at least six or seven guardians and they broke, running within 12” of the avatar on their way back to the edge. The scouts and dreadnought were destroyed soon after, having accomplished very little considering their high points value. However, between the vindicator and the predator I was finally able to bring the avatar down: a serious moral victory for the now quite beleaguered space wolves. At the end of the fifth turn, we were both holding one objective each with the center one disputed by the rhinos. My grey hunters barely held off an attacking fire prism with an excellent plasma pistol shot at the last moment that immobilized the battle tank, keeping it from contesting my home objective. Technically it was a draw, but had we calculated victory points he would have probably come out ahead by a decent margin.

In retrospect I should have played a lot more defensively, maybe staying in my rhinos long enough for his fragile assault troops to expose themselves to concentrated fire. The avatar is a monster. With a shootier army I might not have had such a problem but his proficiency in combat and invulnerable saves gave my usually scrappy space pups a serious run for their money. Were it not for the counterattacking banshees and harlies, I might have won that combat, but they are just too quick and too pointy. I definitely need to stay far away from them in the future. So far it seems like the 5th edition standard game objectives really push you to commit your forces, and with space wolves that can be a very expensive proposition. I still like the army though, and I might end up playing them this Saturday at the BFG hobby tournament.

Thursday, July 10, 2008


I had to put this on here. Awesome!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Action Report: Imperial Guard vs. Tau 7-08-08

My friend Jacob brought over a 1500 point Tau force and we played a game using fifth edition rules. We ended up rolling the Command and Control mission type, deploying with long table edges (I still have yet to play table quarters or dawn of war). I had a command squad, a mortar squad, 2 5-man drop-troop veteran squads, 6 ratlings, 2 infantry platoons with grenade launchers, plasma guns, and autocannons, a hellhound, 2 lascannon sentinels, a leman russ with heavy bolters and a demolisher with plasma cannons. Jake had a command HQ suit with 2 bodyguards, an ethereal with honor guard, another 3-man suit squad with twin-linked plasma, a 12-man squad of fire warriors, a 6-man squad of fire warriors, and a hammerhead. This was his first game ever with the new rules, and mine using the guard, so there were a few things that we learned as we went along. One thing that stands out in my mind is how bad ass blast weapons are. I was thinking I would take the plasma sponsons off of my demolishers because of the new movement/shooting rules, but now I’m not so sure. Ordnance and blasts pack a hell of a punch! Even the frags from the grenade launchers in all my command squads were blowing all kinds of shit up. My reserves were all slow to arrive but they performed well once they got there (one vet squad scattered into the hammerhead and was sent back into reserve for another turn, lucky gits). The ratlings were killed right off the bat, mostly because they were the only thing in range and LOS for his whole army, so I have no feeling on how much better the sniper rifles are now. Similarly, my mortars were scattering unusually high distances and so I don’t think I got a very good picture of how good they are either. Tanks are so hard to destroy. It took 3 turns of short range fusion gun hits (all penetrating) from the HQ suit squad to blow my hellhound up, and his hammerhead was only ever able to immobilize the demolisher with the railgun solid shot (though it did blow up plenty of guardsmen with the big blast shot). I ran half my infantry squads over towards his table edge, and together with the sentinel they charged into the second suit squad, eventually killing them in assault and taking his objective as well as my own. Running is awesome! He was able to inflict plenty of damage on me with all the S5 AP5 stuff but by the fifth turn I had wiped out most of his army and we called it.

Overall I would say the Guard performed very well. I moved my guardsmen squads quite a bit in this game but I doubt I’ll be doing much of that in the future. Most of the time I’ll probably keep my infantry and battle tanks covering my own objective(s) and use my vets, sentinels, and hellhounds to contest enough enemy objectives to put me over the edge into a win. For this game I was not facing a very strong assault army, which is what I’m mainly worried about As long as I can whittle down a close combat army down to a couple of squads that make it to charge, I should be able to fire on them once they win combat and minimize my own losses. The worst case scenario is having my own squads survive a turn after being charged only to lose in the enemy’s turn, freeing up the enemy to keep chewing me up a squad at a time without being able to shoot at them.

5th Edition Vyper Damage Odds

As best I can figure them, the new odds for 5th edition Vyper damage results with and without holofields are as follows:

Glancing hit with holos: 75% shaken, 14% weap dest, 8% immob, 3% destroyed
Glancing hit without holos: 50% shaken, 17% weap dest, 17% immob, 17% destroyed/explodes

Penetrating hit with holos: 31% shaken, 25% weap dest, 19% immob, 25% destroyed/explodes
Penetrating hit without holos: 17% shaken, 17% weap dest, 17% immob, 50% destroyed/explodes

This does not take into account cover saves from either being obscured or being a fast skimmer moving over 12”. With armor 10, I would guess most of the hits on Vypers will be penetrating ones, so basically holofields are keeping you alive twice as long as without. Any pesky bolter shots that do glance your vypers have a much lower chance of bringing them down too.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Saim Hann in the Fizif

After two tournaments, a couple friendly games, and some serious tinkering around with my lists and models I have a few notes and tentative postulations to make regarding Saim Hann and their transition to 5th. The army appears to have the same advantages as it did in 4th: extremely high mobility, a lot of S6 weaponry, and very resilient main battle tanks very effective at anti-armor and anti-infantry. It also has pretty much the same weaknesses: low model count and very weak in assault.

I’ve found a circle and inundate strategy to be most effective with my own list. If the opponent deploys in a small concentrated area, they can be quickly surrounded and blown into oblivion. If the opponent deploys in a long battle line on his table edge, the Saim Hann should match their deployment but quickly redeploy to attack whichever flank contains the enemy’s slow/static units. Splitting fire is bad, concentrating fire is good. Above all SH eldar never want to be successfully charged. If this means effective fire has to be reduced because units spend a turn maneuvering (escaping), so be it; you’ve already spent the points to gain this advantage so use them! In this regard, the most dangerous units are those that can surprise you with a fast assault, e.g. jump troops or cavalry approaching behind cover (especially stormboyz), waaghing orks jumping from trukks. If outflankers or rear-guard attackers (wolf scouts) are around, it might be worth it to sweep your bikes and tanks into the middle of the table and go full offense.

Since ICs can be picked out as a target in 5th, Farseers should either be camped out in complete safety behind solid cover or join a jetbike squad on the move. Joining a bike squad with an embolden warlock allows him to reroll failed psychic tests (it’s a leadership test!) and grants his own Ld 10 for them to use. Obviously if you have to sacrifice a bike squad to an enemy, choose one without a Farseer attached. I’m still figuring out which powers are the best for my own list, though I would probably never use eldritch storm.

Vectored engines are practically useless on anything but transports and even then their value is questionable. Skimmers will only wreck from an immobilized result after moving flat out (or if part of a squadron, more about that later), but in order to fire you have to move less than flat out anyway (0-12”). Thus with Prisms you will very rarely be moving at such high speeds, and even then they will get a 4+ cover save out in the open. True, transports might be going that fast, but the new wrecked vehicle effects on passengers are pretty much negligible, and with fleet the squad can probably get where they’re going the next turn anyway. Star engines still seem worthwhile though, giving SH the best mobility in the galaxy short of deep-striking.

Now on the subject of Vypers. Vypers ostensibly get worse in 5th, because fast skimmers can be penetrated no matter how fast they move, and open-topped means a destroyed result at least half of the time. True, immobilized results no longer automatically destroy them so long as they move less than 12”, but the new squadron rules state that immobilized results count as destroyed. Because of this (not to mention the high price of the unit), it seems like a good idea to break them up into individual units of one Vyper each. It’s really too bad I won’t be able to guide them all at once anymore, but they’ll still be able to contest objectives at the last second and give a little fire support to boot. To compensate for their greater vulnerability in 5th, I’m giving them holofields and keeping them obscured as much as possible. Holofields will reduce their vulnerability to a destroyed result by at least half. Since they’ll be behind cover and targets will usually get a cover save from them, I’m considering giving them scatter lasers instead of starcannons. Same strength, more shots. I could switch them out for warp spiders or the like, but they’re such a big part of the SH flavor I can’t bear to let them go.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Tournament: Dragon's Lair 7-05-08

I went up to DL Saturday to catch a 1750 point standard format tournament. Each of these games would be the last times I ever played 4th edition scenarios in a tournament setting, and probably for all time. I had changed up my eldar list a bit since last month, including the HQ choice and the jetbike squad size. I did like the bigger squads, as they cut down on kill points and more catapult and cannon fire can be effectively guided all at once. The dire avengers are ok but even defend can't keep them alive for all that long under assault. They need fire support to help them cleanse the landing zone first (ideally an objective). I thought the farseer worked better than that autarch overall, but I'm going to ditch doom for mind war since I rarely let anyone be close enough at the beginning of the turn to use the power. Guide, however, works great, especially with the vyper squadron, and together they can drop 4-5 marines easy together. The mobility worked great against all three opponents, and the holofields prevented any of the prisms from getting worse than a destroyed main gun. I won first place and expanded my imperial guard armor collection.

Farseer - guide, doom, jetbike, runes of warding, singing spear

7 Guardian Jetbikes - 2 shuriken cannons
Warlock - embolden, jetbike, singing spear

7 Guardian Jetbikes - 2 shuriken cannons
Warlock - embolden, jetbike, singing spear

10 Dire Avengers - exarch with double catapults, bladestorm, defend
Wave Serpent - twin-linked scatter lasers, shuriken cannons, star engines

3 Vypers - star cannons, shuriken cannons, spirit stones

Fire Prism - holofields, spirit stones, vectored engines

Fire Prism - holofields, spirit stones, vectored engines

Fire Prism - holofields, spirit stones, vectored engines

Game 1 - Space Marines - Recon

Brian had a detachment of his DIY space marine chapter, including a jump captain and jump chaplain, a terminator squad with double assault cannons, a large assault squad, two small tac squads in rhinos, and a devastator squad with rocket launchers and lascannons. Recon been berry berry good to me when I use this army, and this one was no exception. I disabled the rhinos and broke the devastator squad early on, and swept the bulk of the bikes and tanks over the big piece of area terrain in the center to his right flank. The farseer unfortunately succumbed to perils after trying to doom a unit that was out of range to begin with. His captain barely survived a huge volley of fire that wiped out the assault squad and the chaplain, and was able to charge into the dire avengers. He wiped them out in one round, but a nearby jetbike squad shot and charged him, finally dispatching him with a singing spear. I lost two fire prism guns but not the tanks themselves, and with plenty of my forces in his deployment zone at the end of the game and nearly nothing left of his army, I earned a victorious slaughter.

Game 2 - Chaos Space Marines - Seek and Destroy

Kirk was playing with a jump lord with a bloodfeeder, three bererker squads in rhinos, two marine squads with a plasma gun, lascannon, and icon of khorne, also in rhinos, and one obliterator. He started out jammed up good in a bunch of ruins but moved his forces forward around the center piece and towards my deployment. I was able to get great shooting lanes on him from the beginning and whittled down two or three units early on. His lascannons were able to drop my wave serpent and kill five of the dire avengers in the ensuing crash, but the rest of my crew escaped unscathed and I earned a crushing victory.

Game 3 - Orks - Take and Hold

Colby had a very different force than at our last match-up, this time using a warboss riding with bike nobz, two trukks of 12 boyz, a trukk of 12 hardboyz, two squads of two rokkit buggies, a big squad of rokkit boyz, and a battle wagon with a zzap gun and big shootas holding a big squad of tankbustaz. This game was proceeding fairly well for me, until a boyz squad pulled up in front of my hiding bikes in the second turn, moved another 6" with a great Waagh!, and... failed a difficult terrain test to assault me with a 2. I would have lost at least one of the jetbike units and my formation would have been thrown into great dissaray, but the dice gods smiled and my units surrounded them and wiped them out instead with guide and doom-enhanced firepower. Once again the wave serpent was brought down, and once again half of the dire avengers inside were killed in the explosion. They were able to disable and immobilize one of the buggie squads but otherwise laid low in the back. I put a lot of effort into avoiding the nob bikes for most of the game and finally killed the warboss and brought the unit under scoring in the fifth turn. I plowed my prisms and surviving bikes into the center and wrapped up a crushing victory.

Here's a bonus pic from a nearby game. Jay's Deathwing fights Colby's Orks:

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Action Report: Space Wolves vs. Blood Angels 7-02-08

Well, the fog between 4th and 5th seems to be lifting, with only one more tournament in town using 4th edition rules. I am really enjoying the opportunity to see how all my armies work in the new paradigm, rethinking some of the unit repetition and giving old losers another try. I played a 2000 point pitched battle annihilation match against Jay's Blood Angels yesterday using Space Wolves and I was pleasantly surprised at how some of the SW rules apparently work in 5th, namely counter-attack. The new defender-response and counter-attack rules really work well with the space wolves. The way the rules are written, it appears that HQs with wolf pelts get +1 from the counter-attack as well as another bonus +1 A from the pelt! And since blood claws get +2 instead of +1 attacks on the charge, and the new counter-attack USR says units get +1 A as if they had charged themselves, as long as they pass the leadership test, they get their berserk charge even when they themselves are charged. I'm going to replace all the bolters in my grey hunter squads with pistols and CCWs, and swap in power weapons for the power fists. That means 6 power weapon attacks when they counter-attack plus 7 more at S5 from attached HQs. The blood claws will probably keep the same loadout, though I might give the wolf guard leader a power weapon instead of the fist. The rhinos were awesome, allowing me to block assault paths, relocate units out of harm's way, and preserve kill points. The land speeders seemed more vulnerable; if you move flat out and fail that cover save they're going down pretty quickly. Being able to move 12" and shoot was nice though compared to other vehicles. One of them survived to destroy the blood angels vidicator with help from the wolf scouts (I did forget they can outflank as well as their own rear-guard move). I substituted a vindicator for my second predator at the last second. I think it killed one assault marine at the very beginning but was quickly disabled. I tried to ram his dread with the vindicator but couldn't do any damage, despite his failing to stop it with a death-or-glory attack. I kept the predator annihilator stationary a couple of times to fire all the weapons at approaching assault marines, but terrible rolling on my part meant it never made much of a dent. Somehow the tank survived multiple plasma and power fist attacks and went tearing ass away from the attackers to cower behind the blood claws. The dreadnought dropped in neatly behind the staaled-out baal predator and proceeded to immobilize it and wreck the main gun. My larger squads were holding out better than his multiple small squads and we called it in the bottom of the 5th as win for the space wolves. One of my attack bikes held out in assault for several rounds, only keeling over when the death company rolled up. Good game! I'm impressed with the space wolves but it definitely warrants further testing.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Hive Fleet Vivax: 5th Edition

I spruced up my tyranid list in anticipation for 5th edition. I decided to go whole hog with outflanking genestealers and trade in the warriors for a couple more lictors. It might be a total flop but I want to play it at least once.

Hive Tyrant - 2 twin-linked devourers, warp field, wings, flesh hooks, toxic miasma, enhanced senses

3 Lictors

6 x 8 Genestealers - scuttlers, feeder tendrils

2 x Carnifex - venom cannon, barbed strangler, bonded exoskeleton, enhanced senses, reinforced chitin, extended carapace

Carnifex - 2 twin-linked devourers, bonded exoskeleton, enhanced senses, reinforced chitin, extended carapace

Feeder tendrils are a slam dunk now - 1 point each to reroll to hit? Yes, please. I don't know how well outflanking will work, hopefully the lictors will help to coordinate their attacks. If the hive tyrant gets tired of flying around laying down loads of grubfire, he can join in an assault with either the stealers or the lictors and get preferred enemy, too. I maxed out the MCs to try and keep them hanging around for a while and distract from the stealer assaults. The dakkafex is just a bowling ball, really.

Alien Intelligence

Sergeant Harrigan flicked the rest of his cigar, still smoking, into a dense clump of vegetation a few feet away. Almost immediately, a brown mist puffed up from the base of the largest plant in the bunch and the smoldering stub was extinguished with a sharp hiss. Harrigan looked up and away into the hellish void of the jungle. The oppressive humidity blurred his vision and the caustic native pollen made it even worse. He had served plenty of tours on jungle worlds before, but he had never seen adaptations like these; routine foot patrols could become life-or-death struggles in an instant. He gripped his weapon with both hands and signaled to his squad with a subtle nod. They rose from their squatted positions on the chemically-treated clearing and moved closer to him, some of them stretching tired muscles and popping sore necks, preparing themselves for the hard march back to their headquarters. Harrigan counted six men, where was the seventh?


“He’s off on a crap,” someone said, but he could see in their faces that Makano should have returned by now.

“Rawls. Ganges. Go find him. If you run into trouble, use your whistles.” He fingered his own wooden whistle hanging on a string around his neck: souvenirs from their campaign of Philistos. “The rest of you check each other for pit lice.” The two lucky men nodded grimly and disappeared into a cleft in the writhing green mass.

Given their surroundings, Harrigan was barely surprised to hear the whistle a few minutes later, but it certainly wasn’t coming from the direction he expected. Rawls and Ganges had gone searching to the west, but these high, urgent squeals were coming from the northeast. Then the noise stopped, and after a moment the men realized they didn’t hear any birds or insects anymore, either. The squad leader signaled abruptly with his hand and trooper Berry moved to point, sweeping his chemsprayer to clear a new trail. The genetically tailored solution worked fairly quickly and they were able to cover a hundred yards in only a few minutes. Just as Harrigan thought they were in the right place, the whistle sounded again, this time from a totally different direction, somewhere off to their right. The patrol stopped short.

“What the…” Berry started, but Harrigan silenced him with a quiet grunt and another hand signal. Something was very wrong here. The sergeant brought his squad down to a crouch. Without having to be told, each man checked their safeties and ammunition loadouts. Another whistle, now to their left. A minute of silence passed, then another whistle chirp behind them.

Without warning, Harrigan felt himself knocked off of his feet, sharp pain exploding in his shoulders. Panic began to unwind itself in his gut as he perceived that he was being lifted from the ground by two large black spears, tinted crimson, protruding from both sides of his upper chest. The ground fell away below him with a jerk and he looked down to see his men spinning in place, firing wildly in all directions, their shouting and shooting sounding quite far away now. Through a bloody haze, he could barely see yellow forms moving through the green underbrush from all sides of the small clearing where their search had ended, yellow forms ending in black fangs and claws that came leaping out to rend his men to pieces. He struggled to look upward just as his head was swallowed by a mass of pink tentacles, coated with slime and ending in barbed points that delicately discarded his helmet before starting to dig their way into his skull.

The lictor continued to hang from its perch for several more minutes, translating the information it obtained from the human’s brainpan into sophisticated chemical signals, which were then relayed to the others from spiracles along its head and tail. When the tyranid scout dropped to the ground in a slinky somersault, the genestealers were already beginning to move towards their next target: an isolated outpost several miles to the south, poorly defended and possibly ripe with more valuable information - knowledge the swarm could use to take this planet with no trouble whatsoever. Before setting off on its own trail, the lictor emitted a harsh whistling noise, a high keening peal no doubt distinctly familiar to a native of Philistos.

Hive Fleet Vivax had arrived.