Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Nevermind the Blog Wars - Tickets On Sale Now!

Title says it all really, tickets are now on sale for Nevermind the Blog Wars which will take place on November 11th at the NWGC in Stockport, UK. This is a return to singles events after running Double Trouble on its own for a couple of years. The release of 8th edition has piqued my interest in singles again so I thought it was time to resurrect Blog Wars (albeit in a different guise).

I recently previewed the event pack on the Double Trouble/NMTBW Facebook page and I think it would be fair to say there was a mixed response. I wanted to try and address some of the issues we've seen with 8th edition 40K in a semi-competitive environment. I'm not suggesting this is the format that all tournaments should employ but I've never been interested in going along with everyone else. What I want to continue to run are tournaments where the emphasis is on showing up and having three fun games against friendly opponents rather than three miserable games where you either annihilate your opponent comfortably (no fun) or watch as your opponent decimates your army in a couple of turns (no fun either).

I know some people feel the comp goes a little too far but remember two things: 1) this is a new edition so TOs need to try things to find a system that gives balance and 2) no-one is forcing you to attend. There are other events out there (granted none of them have generous raffles like mine). Also remember that I'm pretty experienced at running events now and the last couple of Blog Wars ran pretty smoothly. I've been to some events that are woeful in terms of organisation, are stingy with prizes (looking at you GW) or where the majority of people I play are WAAC types. Can I promise you that NMTBW will be the best event you'll attend in 8th edition? Of course not. Will I try harder than any solo TO out there to get it as close as I can? Definitely.

Anyway, if after all that rambling you're still interested in attending, tickets are on sale now for £17.50 from the usual PayPal address. Details or the scoring system, army selection, etc. are on the NMTBW page. Please read them carefully before you buy your ticket.

I hope to see plenty of you guys there and maybe even some new faces too. Whatever happens it'll be a good day of gaming and you never know, you could scoop the top prize in the raffle!

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Never Mind the Blog Wars - Event Format and Army Selection

Never Mind the Blog Wars (NMTBW for short) is under three months away (Saturday November 11th 2017) and I've yet to post up the rules pack. Ironically this is because I've found a lot of hobby mojo recently so I've been working on painting my models rather than blogging.

However, I've had a few emails and FB messages now asking about the format so I think it's time I committed to a plan. NMTBW will be a return to singles tournaments. That doesn't mean the death of Double Trouble, which will return with DT3 in June, but BWX was my last singles event in November 2015. I've been trying to play as much 8th edition as possible before writing the rules pack but that doesn't amount to much as I have a full time job and a family which are pretty big draws on my time.

It seems to me that the standard points limit for tournaments in 8th is 2,000. This is because there's been a general increase in unit costs but also because games are, in theory at least, a lot more brutal and therefore finish quickly. I'd considered a lot of different things to make NMTBW unique. You may or may not remember that my previous event series, Blog Wars, was themed around the fact that you had to take a special character in your army. At the time this was against the grain as a lot of events were banning SCs completely.

One of the things I learned from running Blog Wars over the years was that keeping things simple is the way forward. Trying to come up with unique missions or deployments etc. just confuses people on the day or worse, puts them off entirely. It's also pretty early in 8th edition too so I don't want to give people too much extra to worry about when they're still getting to grips with a new rulebook. What I propose then is:

  • Three games of 2,000 pts
  • Maelstrom and Blood Points simultaneously
  • Scores converted from raw VPs and BPs to a tournament point system that rewards margin of victory (as I used in BWX).
  • Straightforward Maelstrom of 3 objectives per turn
  • Possible custom Maelstrom deck similar to those I made for BW and DT
There's a danger of this event being too similar to others so as to not be very interesting. However, need I remind you how generous the raffle is?!? The key issue then is army selection. The way I see it the main problem with 40K at the moment is spam. Not just the number of times the same unit is taken but also the blobs of conscripts, horrors, etc. In a similar vein to Double Trouble I think the answer is:
  • Three detachments max
  • No unit can be taken more than twice
A bigger issue for some factions than others of course but as I'd discussed at length before, there's such a disparity between the factions on numerous levels that trying to find a one size fits all approach is impossible. I'd considered saying troops and/or dedicated transports were exempt from this but I think a straightforward limit is easier. I'd also thought about just vetting lists but I've explored that avenue before and it's fraught with problems.

Right, as ever, I'd love to know what you guys think. Are the army restrictions too harsh? Do they go far enough? Should I vary the missions more? Basically, tell me exactly what you want from a tournament, what you haven't liked about 8th edition events you've attended so far and what you think could be done to improve them. Blog Wars worked because you guys fed back to me, I'd appreciate it if that continues.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Dark Angels Army for Sale (pic heavy)

I've thrown this army up on eBay for anyone who's interested. I started collecting this army after the Dark Vengeance boxed set tempted me into building a DA force. I've just never really felt the love for it. Maybe it's the Space Wolf player in me that's not happy but for whatever reason they're the last army I think of when I'm writing a list for a tournament or a casual game. As such, I've never used them at an event.




The auction includes the following:

  • Sammael (finecast) - painted to table-top standard
  • DV Librarian - primed black
  • DV Chapter Master - primed black
  • DV Interrogator Chaplain (limited edition one) - primed black
  • Librarian on bike converted from DV librarian - painted to table-top standard 
  • DV Bike Squad - primed black
  • 2 x 10-man tactical squads from DV - one assembled but unpainted, one part painted
  • Three MM attack bikes converted from DV bikes - primed black
  • RW Command Squad - primed black
  • 6x Black Knights - primed black 
  • 3x 6-man RW Bike Squads from old Battleforce - two squads painted to table-top standard, one primed black
  • DV Terminator Squad - primed black
  • DW Knights - primed black
  • Land Speeder Typhoon - part painted
  • RW Darkshroud - primed black
  • RW Nephilim Jetfighter - part painted
  • Landspeeder - unassembed (not pictured)
  • DV Teriminator squad - unassembled (not pictured)




















If nothing else it makes space in my cabinet for my new Tyranids!

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Arthur's First Hobby Work!

I'll post up an update of my progress in the next couple of days but I just wanted to post quickly tonight to show you some painting my 3 year old son did. He came out to the garage when I was painting last weekend and so I gave him a sacrificial Ork boy. He chose the colours and I showed him how to get some out of the pot, put it on the pallet and then he applied it to the model.


It's funny that he's already using a pallet at 3 and it took me until something like 28 to stop taking the paints straight from the pot! I'm sure it'll be months, if not years, before he has another go but I hope this will be the start of his forays into the hobby.

Does kind of remind me of this though:


Friday, July 21, 2017

New Edition, New Army - Hive Fleet Bakunawa

It's been quite a while since I indulged in a new army. My Imperial Knights were my last foray into a new faction but I decided that the release of 8th edition was a good excuse to start another. I've always wanted a Tyranid army from the first game of 40K I ever witnessed where they clashed with Space Wolves. Our friend Scott started a Tyranid army though and therefore I felt there was no need to start one of my own. Scott hasn't played 40K in several years and they've been missing from our games. Of the factions that Matt and I don't own, Tyranids are the one that stands out to me.

They're totally different to any of the other factions. If nothing else the absence of anything even resembling a vehicle is appealing. All of the other races are anthropomorphic be they robot people, fish people or pointy eared people. I suppose Daemons aren't very human but I've said before that I'm really not a fan. Tyranids offer me a chance to try something completely different. What's put me off in the past is, to be honest, their mediocre rules. When they have been competitive it's been through mono-builds where certain units must be taken to succeed. Most recently it was a pile of FMCs and that just didn't appeal to me.

The new edition has opened up some possibilities though. I'm not naive enough to think I won't gravitate towards the stronger units but I do think there's a wider range of viable builds than there has been before.

Anyway, long story short, when I picked up my 8th edition rulebook I also bought a Tyranid Swarm and Start Collecting box. I'd toyed with the idea of just buying Scott's army from him but, whilst he's done an excellent job of the Leviathan scheme, I just don't feel any sense of ownership. I'd much rather paint up my own army whilst using his to get used to how they play.

This brought me to a decision: what colour scheme should I go with? Of the established Hive Fleets I think Leviathan probably is my favourite and I've already ruled that out. None of the others really appeal. That means something new. Part of the reason I don't want to paint Leviathan is I'm going to be painting up more Drukhari/Dark Eldar soon and they'll be purple. That made me look at my collection:

  • Wolves - blue/grey
  • T'au - blue/grey (what was I thinking? - suppose at the time white would've been difficult without an airbrush)
  • Orks - red (bits of yellow)
  • Dark Angels - green/light stone
  • Imperial Knights - orange (and would paint Ryza Ad Mech if it came to it)
So what's left? I don't have any yellow armies but I've recently started painting my BB Orcs yellow. Can't imagine doing a full 40K army. Don't have any totally black armies but then there's Ravenwing to consider in my DA. That basically leaves pink! 

I've long been a believer that Tyranids look best with carapace in a darker colour than flesh but in the spirit of trying something new I decided to do the opposite. I built up a hormagaunt from the swam box to try some ideas out on: 

This was my first attempt. What you see here is Mechanicus Standard Grey, Nuln Oil and a Dawnstone Drybrush. The carapace gets Screamer Pink, Pink Horror, Emperor's Children and then a thick outline of Fulgrim Pink (Edge paint). The claws are then painted back in with Abaddon Black and an 'Ardcoat finish. 

I wasn't quite happy though so I built up a second gaunt. This time I tried out drybrushing before the wash to avoid it looking as powdery. I also went for a line highlight of Fulgrim Pink:


I still felt it needed more though so I added a blue highlight to the claws before applying the 'Ardcoat. I also took the opportunity to paint in the teeth and tongue. I went with blue for the tongue too.



I like the blue on the claws but I'm considering changing the tongue to bright green. The reason being it'll look better on some of the larger monsters when it comes to doing tentacles and gaping maws. I finished off the second model with basing to see how the scheme looks:


Apologies for the poor picture but I think you get the idea. I'm pretty happy with how this turned out. There's still a couple of issues though. My aim was to come up with a scheme that didn't take much effort so I could get through all the gaunts pretty quickly. The Mechanicus Standard Grey can be applied with an airbrush (or possibly a can of the stuff) and then it's just drybrush and wash for the skin. The panels are a bit of a pain because they take three different pinks to build up from the black. The line highlights definitely look neater but they're time consuming and I'll get sick of them pretty quickly when I'm painting the 80 gaunts you get in the swarm box. Maybe feathering the colour will work better. Paint the panels up to Pink Horror then do feathered highlights of Emperor's Children and Fulgrim Pink.

Finally, I need to decide how the weapons will be painted on both the termagants and the bigger monsters. Therefore I've built and sprayed a couple of termagants (1 devourer, 1 fleshborer). That'll give me a good opportunity to test more ideas out.

It may seem pretty excessive to spend so much time testing things out but I want to get this scheme right from the start so I'm not halfway through painting my army when I decide I don't like it. Once the termagants are complete I'll try out the Carnifex from the swarm box to test the scheme on a bigger monster. The key is to find a scheme I like the look of but is also quick and easy to paint. 

There's a reason I've not been blogging much recently. I've done plenty of hobby. I also filled all of the gaunt bases with basing beads:

This will hopefully prevent the falling forwards that the gaunts are wont to do. I've also built up this little fella:


I'm hoping to get him basecoated with the airbrush tomorrow (well today when you read this). By working on several projects at once, I'm not as likely to get burnt out on any one of them. I'll also be returning to my scenery (yeah, yeah, I know). 

Right, that'll do for today. I'll post again once I've made more progress. 

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

More 8th Edition Battles - Tyranids Galore!

More games of 8th edition today and this time with Dan. We've played with and against each other during the big games we've had at various times but this is the first time we've met up for a gaming session between the two of us. Insane really because Dan lives closer to me than anyone else I game with!! Anyway, Dan hadn't played 8th yet so we started off with a couple of 1K kill point games before ramping it up to 2K for a grand finale. Dan was playing Tyranids in all three games but with wildly different lists to try out as much as possible.

Before I go any further I just notice that this is post number 701! Shame I didn't notice before the last post but still that's an insane number considering how many words that must be in total!! Imagine what I could've achieved if I'd put that time into painting instead of blogging! Actually, probably better not to think about that.

Game One - Wolves vs. Tyranids
I had a mostly infantry list consisting of blood claws, wulfen skyclaws, long fangs and a ven dread. Wanted to test out a few things basically. First up how missile launchers perform in 8th and secondly how viable dreadnoughts actually are without a pod. Dan had Old One Eye, a couple of fexes, a tervigon with a blob of gaunts (20 devourer, 10 fleshborer - cunning!) and two squads of 'stealers.

I got the first turn and charged forward trying to stay far enough away to avoid a charge but not so far that I wouldn't get to charge in my turn. Needless to say I completely misjudged this. The carnifexes couldn't make it into combat but Old One Eye was able to get stuck into the dread and his monstrous scything talons made short work of the dread with the 3 damage per hit. The 'stealers covered a lot of ground with their advance then charge and easily wiped out the skyclaws with a few rending hits.

The wulfen then charged into Old One Eye but couldn't quite kill him before the fexes and 'stealers joined in. The blood claws waded into combat with the termagants but couldn't kill enough to stop the tervigon simply replacing them. Meanwhile the long fangs couldn't bring down the tervigon fast enough which meant the gaunts held up the blood claws long enough for the 'stealers to join in and seal their fate. When all the combats had been resolved Dan had achieved a tabling with his first game of the new edition.

Game Two - T'au vs. Tyranids
This is my first game with T'au in this edition and I thought I'd try out a mix of things that will probably make it into my larger lists. I'd got kroot, a strike team in a 'fish, Longstrike and another hammerhead and a twin-missile/flamer crisis team. Dan had two squads of 5 warriors each accompanied by a prime, 5 zoanthropes, 2 pyrovores and more 'stealers!

The Tau first turn was pretty ineffective with just one warrior dying. It was clear it would be slow progress using the Hammerheads to take them down one at a time. I forgot to bring my suits in on turn one too! The Tyranid shooting was effective in removing the kroot (thanks to morale) and then made short work of the pathfinders. Meanwhile the fire warriors disembarked and made short work of the 'stealers on the right and then a warrior unit with help from their 'fish. The crisis team appeared and easily wiped out some 'stealers on the left. The zoanthropes weren't bad but simply couldn't do enough damage to the hammerheads quick enough.

When the crisis team also dealt with the rest of the warriors (having survived combat and fallen back to do so) we decided it wasn't worth carrying on as the T'au would eventually be victorious but it wouldn't be a lot of fun getting to that point. One game a piece then heading into the grand finale.

Game Three - Drukhari (DE) vs. Tyranids
My Drukhari had been pretty underwhelming in my game against Matt's IK and Leman Russes. I'd changed my list up a bit but tried not to go too OTT as Dan was still getting to grips with 8th. The main difference was ditching the haywire blasters on the scourges in favour of regular blasters (although I've yet to convert them) and generally increasing the amount of darklight weaponry in the list. I'd got a raider with grotesques, an archon and Urien, three venoms with warriors, three ravagers, a razorwing jetfighters, a unit of scourges and two 3-man reaver squads. Dan had Swarmy with some tyrant guard, a blob of devourer termagants, a blob of hormagaunts and a broodlord. He then had two trygons and a trygon prime in reserve who would bring up a couple of 17-strong genestealer units (the only unit Dan featured in every list and for good reason). We played Retrieval Mission to keep things simple.

Dan should've gone first but I managed to Seize. I brought down the Scourges and Dan realised too late that he'd left the broodlord exposed on his left flank. He quickly succumbed to blaster fire despite Dan attempting a command re-roll of his invulnerable save. Meanwhile the rest of the army focused in on the Swarmlord and managed to kill off the tyrant guard and lay in a couple of wounds on the big guy. The flyer also killed off a hive guard.




Dan brought in all three of his tunnelling trygons. This was made difficult by how spread out my army was which severely limited his options for deployment. Only one Trygon out of three (and neither genestealer unit) managed the 9" charge and Dan needed a command re-roll to get that! It made short work of a ravager though. The scourges glory was shortlived as the devourer termagants cut them to ribbons. The hormagaunts ripped through the grotesques' raider but Swarmy was left impotent as a result. He piled into the grotesques but couldn't strike. The grotesques then cut through plenty of hormagaunts. The trygons and genestealers were left in a vulnerable position and the ravagers simply backed off to finish off a trygon whilst the reavers, venoms and kabalites worked on the stealers. With no synapse they took further losses to morale too. The reavers charged in and finished them off.

The trygon prime headed forward now and killed a raider and consolidated into the occupants. It wasn't looking great for the Tyranids at this point with just Swarmy, two depleted units of gaunts, the trygon prime and two hive guard left. It got even worse when I decided my best option was to fall back out of the combat with Swarmy and with the Prime. This proved fatal for Swarmy who was cut down by the vemons and ravagers. The gaunts took heavy casualties and found themselves out of synapse meaning they quickly vanished thanks to the razorwing. One of the ravagers also managed to line up for shots on the hive guard who were then charged by the remaining arena champion from the reavers who finished the last one off.

That left the trygon prime all on his own against the vast majority of the Drukhari army. When he failed to down a ravager it was clear the beast wouldn't get long to regret it and we finished the evening as we started, a tabling!

Conclusion
There's no doubt the first game would've been totally different if I'd held back. The long fangs would've got a couple of turns worth of shooting into the tervigon before the gaunts got into range. Equally the speed of the genestealers would've meant that they'd hit first and be dealt with before the carnifexes would get involved. Still, it isn't very wolfy to stand back and shoot and it made for a dramatic game that was over quickly and gave us enough time to get three in.

I think Dan was expecting Orks in the second game so he'd intentionally not brought big monsters to the party. That proved frustrating for Longstrike who was forced into taking out a single warrior per turn rather than inflicting more dramatic damage on a big monster. Still, the single shot from the railguns doesn't feel particularly effective and I think you'd need to use Longstrike to make it even close to viable. Not writing them off after just one game but still, not blown away.

Pathfinders are interesting. Markerlights are quite different now but a single hit is a nice bonus. With everything being able to split fire, a unit of Pathfinders can get you a marker hit on several different enemy units. The markers aren't spent anymore either and nothing says a unit can't benefit from its own markers now (unless I've missed something). It isn't really worth getting 2-3 hits either and cover isn't what it was so 4 hits are barely worth it. Getting 5 hits would be nice but you'd need 10 pathfinders (on average) to get this. Basically think of them as the equivalent of some characters in other armies. Light up as many units as you can with just a single hit.

Having plenty of darklight weaponry is definitely the way to go with Drukhari. Ravagers are pretty much a must-have and I really liked the flyer too. I thought it'd be pretty tricky to use as you can't fly it off the board and have to start it on the table now. However, with no more fire arcs (and therefore the opportunity to fire backwards) it was really easy to both keep it on the board and keep it firing. Flyers are going to be excellent even if they're now easier to hit.

Speaking of things that can fly. In both the Drukhari game and the T'au game it was abundantly clear that being able to fall back and still shoot with the FLY keyword is huge. Falling back at the right moment is generally pretty brutal if you've got enough other units in firing range but when your ravager can simply fall back from combat and open up at full power it becomes a pretty terrifying prospect.

The trygons were a bit of a mixed bag really. I hadn't particularly thought about it but the way I advanced my army made it really difficult for Dan to even find space to bring them in. Makes me wonder about drop pods too. Having to stay 9" away is a pretty big footprint and a savvier player than me would make it really difficult for you to bring them down anywhere useful. Shooting units probably fare better coming in this way though.

I still think Tyranids can be great in 8th edition though. Drukhari will always be a tough matchup as the amount of poisoned and darklight weaponry they can pump out is disgustingly good against monsters. Hordes would be a tricky prospect mind you and they'd do reasonably well against the Drukhari vehicles. Ultimately I think a balanced list is the way to go. You need some big guys to bring some hurt in combat but hordes, genestealers and big shooty beasts have a role to play. I'm looking forward to getting my Tyranids painted (more on that soon).

Finally, I promised review posts for every faction in the indexes but since GW announced this week that there'll be "10 new codexes by Christmas" it seems daft to spend time reviewing when a lot of it will be obsolete pretty quickly. Instead I'll just review each book as it comes out and stick to posts like this based on actual gaming.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

First Games of 8th Edition

Last Friday Matt and I had our first games of 8th edition. We wanted to try out several different armies in limited time so we decided to have two 1,000pt games followed by one at 2,000pts to test our larger armies. We’d agreed our first game should be Wolves vs. BA for old times’ sake but after that we kept our lists a surprise. From my perspective at least, these were by no means finalised lists that we’d take to tournaments but rather a way of testing out various units or tactics.

Game One – Space Wolves vs. Blood Angels
My list consisted of a rune priest, two 5-man grey hunter packs in heavy bolter razorbacks (ignore the lascannon turret in the pictures, I don’t have two HB turrets!), a predator annihilator (actual lascannons) and Ragnar joined by a largish pack of blood claws. Matt had Lemartes and some death company, a DC dread, furioso dread, two squads of scouts and some devastators. To keep things simple we played No Mercy.
There were a few shots exchanged early on but no major casualties. The death company deep struck (or whatever you call it now) but failed their charge on the predator, even with Lemartes’ re-roll. This allowed me to disembark the rune priest and hunters to charge into them after unloading psychic powers and rapid fire. With no psykers for the BA the rune priest was able to cast at will which meant Smite and Tempest’s Wrath.  It was a protracted combat but Lemartes fluffed a lot of his attacks and that ultimately gifted the combat to the Wolves.

The other big combat of the game ended swiftly with Ragnar single handedly taking down an already wounded dreadnought. He’s pretty handy now with S5 AP-4 sword and two damage per hit. Those two combats pretty much decided the fate of the game. Ragnar went on to finish off the devastators and the other grey hunters charged the scouts. Meanwhile the predator finally did something and took out the DC dread. We decided to call it there since Matt had limited options.

Game Two – Tyranids vs. Eldar
The swarms of guants look much better now you aren't spacing them out!
I’ve never used Tyranids before but I’ve wanted to start a collection for a long time. I figured 8th edition was a good excuse to give them ago so I borrowed Scott’s Tyranids (much to Matt’s surprise). I’d got a broodlord with some genestealer, tervigon with two large termagant swarms, a mawloc and a hive crone. Matt had two wave serpents (guardians and dire avengers), some warp spiders, swooping hawks and the avatar. We were playing the Scouring.

The Eldar went first and the wave serpents made short work of the Hive Crone. It’s strange that it doesn’t get any benefits from flying like they used to. I suppose they’ve got a decent number of wounds though.
The mawloc arrived behind the wave serpents and took a couple of wounds off both. It was pretty underwhelming though and the avatar made short work of it. I managed to do some damage with the termagants and the tervigon replaced nearly all of the casualties. The genestealers and broodlord took down the guardians despite only three of them making it into combat (Paroxysm helped). One unit of termagants charged the remaining dire avengers and the other charged the warp spiders. The remaining spiders fell back from combat and exposed the termagants to a ton of shooting. They were outside Synapse range so the new leadership mechanic meant the survivors ran away.

The avatar killed off the genestealers with shooting then charged the broodlord. Somehow Matt fluffed his attacks and the broodlord got lucky with his invulnerable saves allowing him to bring the Avatar to a single remaining wound. The broodlord fell back to allow both him and the tervigon to use Smite. The tervigon failed twice (using a CP re-roll) and the avatar used his FNP (or whatever it’s called now) to stop the broodlord meaning the tervigon had to charge in to finish the job.  The broodlord was now exposed to the wave serpents again though which easily took his last wound.

That just left the wave serpents, hawks and a couple of spiders but with just the tervigon and some termagants left I’d be chasing them around unable to catch them and they’d easily grab the objectives. We decided to call it so we’d still finish the 2k game at a reasonable time.

Game Three – Drukhari vs. Astra Militarum/Questor Imperialis
Well there’s three factions that have daft names now! Translation: DE vs. IG/IK. I’d got a mixed DE list with Urien, an haemonculus, wracks and grotesques in a couple of raiders, a cronos, wyches in a raider, two lots of kabalites in venoms, an archon in a venom, two ravagers, two lots of scourges and three reavers.
Matt had two Imperial Knights (sorry, questor thingamajigs), three leman russ including Pask, a chimera with vets, a basilisk, a heavy weapons team and some ratlings. We decided to try out the new tactical objectives so we played Cleanse and Capture to keep things simple.

Well, I can’t say I was optimistic at the prospect of taking on two knights and even less so when I realised that Matt had less units too so would be able to go first. Fortunately for me, Matt got pretty unlucky with his rolls for the various battle cannons so miraculously my vehicles survived the opening barrage. With the ravagers and scourges I felt I had a reasonable chance of at least reducing the effectiveness of the knights but my rolling was equally poor and the scourges barely hit the target and when they did only took a couple of wounds off. The ravagers didn’t fare much better. Needing 4s to wound meant I only scored a couple of wounding hits and despite Matt failing his invulnerable saves I rolled low on the damage.

From that point onwards I kept chipping away at the knights, eventually stripping one to half wounds, but never really had much chance against all that armour. Matt slowly stripped away my anti-tank units and then worked his way through the venoms. As a last ditch attempt to kill something I charged my wracks, haemonculus, archon, wyches (and their raider for good measure) into Matt’s chimera which was already down to four wounds and……. did bugger all to it! What few wounds I managed to get (mostly needing 6s) were easily saved. Granted in 7th the wyches wouldn’t have been able to do anything at all (S3 vs AV10) but still!

The points weren’t totally out of reach for me but I didn’t anticipate my army surviving much longer so we decided to call it a night.

Thoughts about 8th so far
Well, I think we can safely say that lists with lots of vehicles will be pretty tough to deal with in 8th. It’s not like this is anything new for Dark El…sorry, Drukhari but it does feel like spamming blasters will be a thing again. With the D6 damage that a lot of anti-tank weaponry does you inevitably need more of these weapons to mitigate the randomness. What used to be haywire weaponry isn’t anywhere near as reliable as it once was. Even though you’re causing mortal wounds the weaponry simply isn’t putting out enough damage to bring down targets with 10+ wounds. Despite my painstaking conversions to give my scourges haywire blasters I’ll probably have to swap them all out for blasters. Not only are they better against vehicles but they’ll be much more useful against monsters too.

Moving vehicles and firing at -1BS with heavy weapons takes a bit of getting used to. The DE vehicles being armed with assault/rapid fire weapons have a big advantage in manoeuvrability (as they should) and FLY makes falling back a viable choice. They’re also much more durable than they were before. They’re not far off double the price but they should mostly make it through a turn of shooting which is better than before! The combination of night shields and flickerfields on venoms actually makes them pretty difficult to bring down even at T5.

It would seem to us that psychic powers can target characters as the rule just says in the Shooting phase they can’t be targeted. That makes Smite a very powerful tool for dealing with them. In general anything putting out mortal wounds reliably is a good thing. Snipers for example, might only be putting out mortal wounds on 6s but since they can target characters they’re a pretty good addition.

Eldar still seem pretty powerful despite some of the reports I’ve read from various sources. Wave serpents put out a devastating amount of firepower, the avatar is a combat monster and the overall mobility that Battle Focus gives is impressive. Once again it seems Drukhari lose out to their Craftworld cousins.

Having never played Tyranids before it’s difficult to draw comparisons to previous editions (probably a good thing) but to me the tervigon seems great. Being able to put up to 10 termagants out per turn with no chance of “corking” and pretty good durability from T8 and 14 wounds is a great combo. The mawloc was spectacularly underwhelming. Even if you manage to get it in range of multiple units, only causing a couple of wounds per unit isn’t going to help it survive the inevitable backlash. I mean it isn’t always going to come up against an avatar but still, there are better options I think.

Factions aside, the biggest thing to get used to was the new pregame mechanics. The actual gameplay itself was pretty straightforward but having minimal units compared to your opponent is going to give you an all but guaranteed first turn. There’s obviously a gamble in this but units in transports only count as a single choice during deployment. The new leadership mechanic makes for a much smoother game. You can take out the majority of a unit and know that, command points aside, it will lose the rest of the models during the morale phase. There was a prime example of this with my termagants once out of Synapse.

I’m still not a huge fan of the charging mechanic but shrewd use of command points can make a big difference here. Hitting with all of your weapons at the same time (i.e. not waiting until the end for power fists etc) is much smoother though.

In general though, I’m really enjoying this latest incarnation of 40K. Starting from scratch when looking at the factions and deciding what will be good or not is refreshing. Speaking of which, starting from next week I’ll be working on my faction review articles so look out for those. I’ve got some more games of 8th a week on Friday so I’m sure I’ll have more thoughts by then.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

It has a name...

You may have already read but I'm going to be running a singles 40K event. It'll be held on November 11th at the NWGC but when I announced it at DT2 I hadn't come up with a name or new logo yet. Well credit has to go to James Coldrick but:


I said it couldn't be Blog Wars again so I think this is pretty fitting. Still not convinced that people will understand the name or that it's even clear that it's a 40K event but when has that stopped me? What do you guys think?

More details will be announced once I've had some more games of 8th edition and figured out if what, if any, restrictions I should put in place. I'm open to suggestions as ever.

Anyway, watch this space for more info and let me know what you think about it all. Hope to see a good number of you there.

Friday, June 16, 2017

The 8th Edition 40K Rulebook Review - Part 2 of 3

Cocked up on scheduling so this has appeared in the wrong order! Well, unless you’ve been living under a rock you’ll be aware that the latest edition of 40K is being released on Saturday. If, for some reason, you still haven’t pre-ordered your copy why not do it here now

Today I continue my look at the new 8th edition 40K rules with my thoughts on the Shooting, Charge, Fight and Morale phases. If you missed the first part of my review, you can find it here.

Shooting Phase
First thing to remember is that, in general, you can’t shoot if you’ve Advanced or Fallen Back. The other key thing is that units can split their fire. That means your tactical squad’s lascannon can hit a big monster whilst your bolter guys are hosing some infantry. Bear in mind that models with several weapons can fire each one at different targets. This certainly makes things like crisis suits incredibly flexible. Remember you have to declare targets for the entire unit before rolling any dice. There were complaints that this will slow games down but in practice, how often are you really going to fire 10 marines at 10 different targets?

There’s still no shooting into combat. It’s a shame but I suppose it makes sense. With everything having the ability to Fall Back I don’t suppose it’s too big of a deal either. You can always shoot your pistols at a unit you’re locked with though in your next Shooting Phase.

Characters can no longer join units but can only be shot at if they’re the closest target (apart from a few exceptions). It’ll be interesting finding ways to hide your characters whilst you attempt to expose enemy characters.


The weapon types have changed in this edition too. Firstly, twin-linked is gone to be replaced by most of the weapons that used to have it getting double shots. Rapid Fire no longer stops you from Charging. Assault weapons can now fire after Advancing, albeit with a -1 to hit. You’ll have to decide whether it’s better to Advance to be in range for a less accurate shot or not shoot at all. Similarly Heavy weapons can fire at -1BS when they move, a massive upgrade over the Snap Shots of previous editions and again there’s nothing stopping them charging afterwards. Destroyer, Salvo, Ordnance and Barrage weapons are no longer a thing but now have individual rules depending on the weapon.

I'm sure everyone is aware that templates are gone. It seems small blasts have been replaced with D3 shots (although some get D6 e.g. frag missiles) and large blasts are generally D6. Remember you still have to roll to hit after seeing how many shots you get. Templates generally cause D6 automatic hits but vary in range. It's tough to decide whether this makes these weapons better or worse. In the past it was pretty situational but you'd quite often find your opponent would leave their models in a helpful formation to let you get all 10 of them with flamer. You might only hit one model now even if you're right in front of them. Blasts are probably about the same owing to the nature of scatter (which isn't a thing now, even for Deep Strike - add your scatter dice to the pile of useless accessories). All of these weapons are better against single models though as you'll get more than one hit most of the time. This makes things like battle cannons much better against vehicles. Can flamers now hit flyers though? Granted most of them aren't going to do much damage but I can't see anything saying they aren't hit automatically like everything else?!?

Grenades are limited to one use per unit instead of that model firing a weapon and most of them can no longer be used in combat. Melta bombs are now combat only rather than being able to chuck one in the direction of a tank. Makes sense from how they’re supposed to actually work.

Pistols are interesting. They’ve got similar range to the 7th edition versions but you can choose to fire them instead of any other weapons. If you do so, you can fire into a unit you’re stuck in combat with. Obviously only effective in the turn after you’ve survived a charge though. Remember there’s no need to switch to pistols with your marines if you want to charge as they can fire their bolters and still head into melee.

It’s important to discuss the new to Wound chart too. I’ve summarised it in the diagram below to help explain a few things about it.


Green shows 2+, blue 3+, grey 4+, yellow 5+ and orange 6+. The black numbers show the same value as in previous editions, white values are better than before and red ones are worse than before. 


The key lines to look at are S4 which is still the standard value for most infantry based weapons. It’s not worse against anything but is better against anything over toughness 5. Interestingly T5 seems to be around entry range for vehicles and anything up to and including T7 you’ll wound on a 5+. Most of the vehicles that were AV10 are now being wounded on 5+ instead of 6+ so they've been given more wounds to compensate. Obviously a save modifier and good damage is important but as GW have said. Anything can, theoretically at least, kill anything. Toughness 8 is another interesting part of the chart. Little will be able to wound you on a 2+ (granted only S10 could before) and this is the point where S4 starts to need 6s. Also worth noting that T4 is better against S6 and 7 but otherwise the same.

Trying to figure anything out from this table alone is too simplistic though as obviously you've got several shots one some weapons, varying ballistic skill, save modifiers and obviously varying types of save. 

Speaking of save modifiers, these are worth some discussion. AP seems to have been converted as follows:
AP5/6/- = 0 save mod
AP4 = -1
AP3 = -2
AP2 = -3
AP1 = -4

This means that a 3+ saves now gets a 6-up to AP2 and 5-up vs AP3. That's obviously a big boost to power armour but remember that AP4 now reduces you to a 4+. Weapons that previously had S6 AP3 e.g. a Heldrake's Baleflamer. Now wound marines on 3+ and they'll get a 5+ save. They've given it a damage of 2 to compensate a little but in general that's significantly worse against standard marines but strangely more affective against Primaris! 

That's assuming you aren't in any cover which, generally speaking, gives a +1 to your save. A much simpler method and it makes sense that a marine behind a barricade should be tougher to kill than one in the open. Bear in mind the ENTIRE unit has to be in cover for any models to benefit and most big things now have to be 50% obscured. 

A weapon that causes multiple damage will be much more effective against vehicles or monsters but the damage is wasted on single wound infantry. That's a bit of a boost to hordes and regular marines I'd say. 

Charge Phase
As I said in the first post. It's important that all charges now happen before any fighting begins. This was kind of the case in previous editions but you'd often let your opponent charge and fight with a unit before moving onto the next. You won't be letting them off with that now though as charging units nearly always go first in combat. This has massive implications for some units and makes getting the charge hugely important. Sure you can use your command points to strike first but you'll get through them pretty quickly doing that. Once the charging units have fought, you alternate between the two of you to pick a unit and fight. That makes for some tough decisions.

The loss of Initiative is a big deal for some units. I'm not sure how I feel about it yet. My Wyches aren't going to like being charged very much. They already got to strike first most of the time when they charged but are now vulnerable to being charged. It's difficult to figure out how much of an impact this will have until you factor in all the movement ranges etc but I can't help but feel formerly high initiative units will suffer. A unit of guard charging something with much better reflexes shouldn't get to strike first in my opinion. 

The actual mechanism of charging is essentially unchanged (still 2D6" move) except you no longer need to get into base contact to be successful. Overwatch is similar too although now units can fire several times if those charging them don't make it in. Flamers become awesome here too with their automatic hits. Again, I can't see anything stopping them being used to full effect in Overwatch, correct me if I'm wrong. Since you can now charge with vehicles I can see their generally higher toughness being used to soak up Overwatch before a squad charges in. I'm glad this mechanic has replaced the clumsy Tank Shock and Ramming rules.

Multiple charges can now happen without penalty (except multiple Overwatch). That'll save a lot of confusion. Just declare a couple of units will be charged and, if you roll enough inches to get to them, you can engage both.

Fight Phase
Characters can now jump into a nearby fight using Heroic Intervention (woohoo no more Challenges!). It might be difficult to get them in like this as they need to be within 3" of the enemy unit. It'll be important to keep them pretty close to your units to get them involved. Obviously they can try to charge as normal in their turn but getting into the fight might be difficult. I'm not really clear on how they're going to work in combat. Can you target them separately? It seems to me there's nothing stopping you other than needing to be within an inch. If they aren't though, how are they going to hurt you back? Timing their pile in will be important.

Speaking of piling in. I've seen some people saying you can use this to engage a second unit if the one you charged was destroyed by another unit. However, in "Choose Targets" it says units that charged can only target the units they charged. In subsequent turns you probably can though. 


You can now split your attacks between your close combat weapons. There'll be some decisions to make for some units but most will be using the same weapon for all their attacks. Speaking of which a lot of the melee weapons have changed significantly. With initiative no longer being a factor most of the power fists, hammers, etc. just give a -1 to hit modifier. That's a huge boost for them and remember they can double your strength above 10 now! 

Finally, cover no longer has any effect on combat. That's a big boost for units that don't have grenades. Well, in a way at least, they'll still need to be the one charging to guarantee going first.

Morale
I've liked this mechanic from the point I read about it. Firstly you aren't testing for a unit several times a turn. Second, nothing is getting swept in combat and most importantly no full squads of trained soldiers are running from the battlefield in fear because a couple of their mates died. You'll have to test sooner though as it's any units that have any lost models rather than 25%. You'll get used to which units can skip testing when they've only lost a model or two though:


I've highlighted the 6 on the D6 row because obviously that's the worst case scenario. It means a leadership 7 unit needs to lose two models before it will take any casualties from morale. Remember the casualties are whole models not extra wounds. That's pretty harsh for units with multi-wound models. I've highlighted Ld10 too because that's the point where you'll never have to test on a 5-man unit and a 10-man unit will never take casualties. 

Interestingly, it doesn't seem like vehicles are immune from Morale checks. The majority of them are single models of course but vehicle squadrons could potentially need to test. A quick flick through the indexes though and a lot of squadrons are now treated as separate vehicles after deployment. When you think about it there's no real advantage to keeping them in squadrons anyway since you can't split damage like you used to.

Transports
I wanted to cover these separately because I think the changes are a big deal. Firstly let me say that, like some other rules, the rules for these are seemingly randomly placed in the rulebook. It's not like there's tons of rules to wade through though so I can't say it bothers me that much.

A transport has a capacity as ever but can now transport multiple units. You could therefore throw several characters in the same transport or a couple of 5-man squads into a rhino. 

Embarking now just requires you to get all the models within 3". You can't do anything from inside a transport any more which seems to include firing out of hatches although individual vehicle rules will probably allow for this. 


Disembarkation now happens at the start of the movement phase i.e. before the vehicle moves. You don't deploy from access points now but with AV no longer a thing and likewise fire arcs, it doesn't really matter which way your vehicle is pointing. No more emergency disembark etc. You can now charge from a vehicle but obviously with having to get out before the vehicle moves you'll not be getting many first turn charges! Sitting there in your vehicle hoping you survive a turn to charge whilst your opponent moves his units out of range is going to be tough to get used to. Still, getting out 3", moving and then charging is a pretty big range. You won't need to get your vehicle as close as before.

If the vehicle blows up you're only losing models on a 1 now which is a big deal for Orks and especially Dark Eldar but bear in mind you aren't getting a save against it and multi-wound models are just removed. 

Conclusions
Games Workshop has probably written less words in the core rules section than I've just used in these two posts talking about them! That's an awesome thing for new players. The old rulebook was intimidatingly complex. Of course the datasheets are where the complexity comes but they're generally just adding a modifier or giving a re-roll here and there. There's a nice example turn in there to give new players an idea of how everything works together. They've done a great job in getting sets out to stores early so they can give people demo games. Something that would've been unheard of in previous editions.

The rules are much more straightforward. There's a lot less rolling of dice but, early on at least, there'll be a lot more referring to unit entries even just for things like checking how far they can move. Still, you can easily see that games will be a lot quicker, especially when you're used to how your army works. Being able to pick your psychic powers rather than roll for them for example will save a huge chunk of time for some armies. Obviously you might want to change them in each game of a tournament though. 

I think there'll be a lot of "are you sure you can do that?" followed by "well, show me where it says I can't" in the early days of 8th. It'll be tough not to assume things have remained the same from previous editions. Even little things like no longer getting an extra attack for charging or no longer being pinned after your transport explodes. Oh and the Most Important Rule is still there. Such a shame, I much prefer a good argument and the animosity that then hangs over the rest of the game. Each to their own!

It's crazy to think about just how much has been culled from the rulebook. Obviously the USRs are now on the datasheets but there's no longer page after page about vehicles, unit types, etc. I'm all for it. I don't think it's dumbing the game down on any level just making it more enjoyable to play. I still think they missed an opportunity by keeping it as a D6 based system. I'd love to be rolling D10s and the like again and it'd add a bit more variety to the weapons which can feel a bit samey.


One last thought for today: GW said something interesting in their Faction Focus for Ad Mech on Tuesday: "And be aware that if you can get a +1 to hit, you get the bonus hits on the roll of a 5 or 6". The wording of most of the bonus is "+1" to whatever roll. I'm just assumed you'd simply pass a 3+ roll on 2+ in that circumstance. I hadn't thought that you'd therefore have a better chance of getting a six. This is interesting for a lot of weapons which give extra damage (and often mortal wounds) on a 6. I'll try to find examples of this in my faction reviews.

Come back tomorrow for my last post on the rulebook where I'll cover army selection, missions, deplyoments, etc. I hope you're enjoying this series. You can support my efforts to review all of the new material by buying your new models from Element Games using the adverts on my blog. I get a small cut and you get a decent saving on your miniatures. Win-win! Alternatively, click on some of the Google ads if you like. 

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