Thursday, June 22, 2017

LOL FW: Eldar Scorpion

TOP KEK.

To sum up:
Eldar Scorpion, BS2+, moves 14" with Fly at full health, 26 wounds, 3+/5++ to save, T8
Distort Fields so advancing anything over 17" gives you 4++, can take Eldar vehicle upgrades, fully loaded with Bright lance and all upgrades is 705.

You star engines, be at -1 to hit with 4++ T8 and 3+ AS when you feel like.
You shoot 4d6 S12 AP-4 3D shots and 6s to wound turns into 2d6 damage at 60" hitting on 2s.

LMFAO FW

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Ynnari: Balancing out the faction

8th Ed. is here! There's no going back.

On release day, I took my Ynnari out for a spin vs. some filthy Necrons just to try out this new list that I've been working on.  It was my opponent's first 8th Ed. game, and the results were pretty skewed in my favor.

Before I dive into the list itself, I want to preface it a bit by talking about why I take the things I do when constructing an army.  When I look at an army like Dark Eldar and compare them to Eldar, or even the Harlequins, there are certain strengths and weaknesses that stand out to me like a sore thumb.  For Dark Eldar, the first thing I look at is the fact that they can take an unholy amount of heavy weaponry for a very low cost.  Their speed advantage over the other Eldar factions are not really apparent, especially when Eldar vehicles have Star Engines and Harlequins have Blur of Colour.  The one thing that really separates Dark Eldar out from everyone else in the faction is their ability to take a lot of high-strength, AP weapons that deal D3/D6 wounds.  For me, this is a dream because I've always built my Kabal to focus on ranged firepower and there's no better edition than now to spam out some darklight.  You know what else stands out for the Dark Eldar?  Their poisoned weapons.  For opponents facing Dark Eldar poison for the first time, they will be in utter and complete shock as mighty T8 creatures crumble to the weight of forced armor saves.

When it comes to the Eldar, the biggest thing for me as a firepower player is their D-weapons.  This means that most of their wraith constructs are fair game because of the amount of firepower they're able to deliver to the battlefield.  When most of the D-weapons are sporting S10 AP-4 dealing anywhere between 1-D6 wounds, this is a great asset to the Dark Eldar player when he's looking to expand on his ranged arsenal.  This firepower, however, comes at a cost.  The cost is not only tied into more expensive transport options such as the Wave Serpent due to their improved durability, but also from the fact that Wraith models themselves are often quite expensive.  A unit of 5-man Wraithguard with D-Scythes for example is 225 points.  That's a lot of points to pay for 5 models, especially when they can be afflicted by bad morale, blown-up transports or other shenanigans that just pulls models.  With that said, the one big difference between Dark Eldar and Eldar heavy weaponry is that some Eldar weaponry can auto-hit, or can be drastically improved via Guide and Doom with the help of their Farseers.  Lastly, the top things off, the Eldar have Shuriken Cannons that fulfill the unique role of delivering plentiful, mid-strength attacks that can potentially rend.  This compliments Dark Eldar very well because they can bring the high-end lances and poison, while Eldar can bring in the mid-level fire support combined with some really nasty D-weapons.

Well, what about Harlequins?  For me, they don't really have an definitive role in the way I'm currently playing the game.  I'm not very CC-oriented at all and I'm depending a lot on my ranged firepower to keep me in the game.  This, of course, is all subject to change as I play more games, especially against more CC-oriented armies that have a lot of bodies.  For the time being, I'm going to focus a lot of my Ynnari into doing massive amounts of damage from ranged at all range-bands.

So what do you get when you combine the best of Dark Eldar and Eldar together?  You get a shooting force unlike anything you've seen in the game so far.  You have a lot of cost-effective, long-ranged firepower in the form of Dark Lances through 155-point Ravagers, you have mid-ranged S6 shooting from 3x Shuriken Cannons from the Wave Serpents, and once you start getting close, that's when the real pain starts happening.  Wraithguard with D-Scythes will absolutely maul anything they get into range to shoot.  With auto-hitting D-weapons that can continue to deliver pain through the shooting phase, Soulburst triggers or even Overwatch, you have some of the most insane, guaranteed damage in the game.  Even T8 creatures have to fear the DE and Eldar mix because of the presence of rending Shurikens or massed poisoned shots.  All this together is what makes the Ynnari a truly impressive force to behold on the battlefield.

With that said, here is the list I rolled out with on Saturday:

Updated: 6/22/17

1999
Ynnari Battalion - 6 CP, 9 drops

HQ:
Farseer, Singing Spear = 120
Doom, Guide

Warlock, = 37
Conceal/Reveal

TROOP:
5x Warriors, Blaster = 50
Venom, Splinter = 80
130

5x Warriors, Blaster = 50
Venom, Splinter = 80
130

5x Warriors, Blaster = 50
Venom, Splinter = 80
130

ELITE:
5x Wraithguard, D-Scythes = 225
Wave Serpent, VSEngines, 3x Shuriken = 163
388

5x Wraithguard, D-Scythes = 225
Wave Serpent, VSEngines, 3x Shuriken = 163
388

FLYER:
Hemlock Wraithfighter = 211
Conceal/Reveal

HEAVY:
Ravager, 3x Dark Lance = 155
Ravager, 3x Dark Lance = 155
Ravager, 3x Dark Lance = 155

So far, really enjoying it.  It seems to be a very nicely balanced list that has all the proper tools to deal with a large number of threats.  How competitive this list will be still requires some rigorous testing, but it should be a nice list to bring on game nights.

On a side-note, I know how disappointing this might be for a lot of my long-time readers of my Dark Eldar blog, thinking that I've turned my back on the DE as a whole.  To explain myself a little better:  Once the Ynnari came out, I've pretty much decided that's the faction I wanted to play.  They are what the combined might of the Eldar race should be in the first place, something reminiscent of the Eldar before the great Fall.  The pure power and majesty of the Aeldari when everyone puts aside their squabbles is unparalleled.  Once the new codices come out for every faction, I'm sure they're going to add a few changes here and there that will be interesting.  However, none can refute that the Eldar have been reunited once more should take their rightful place in the stars.  First, we gotta kill that son of a bitch Slaanesh.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

DE: The Hemlock and the Crimson Hunter

Space banshees screaming you to death.

Hi everyone.  I've been working on two lists right now that feature both the Hemlock in one list and Crimson Hunters in another list.  My favorite setup right now for the Crimson Hunter is just the stock version with 2x Bright Lances.  They still hit on 3s even with Heavy weapons because of their innate BS of 2+, so they are one of the best damage dealers in the game vs. Flyer units.  They're pretty cheap if you consider their firepower, they can be buffed with Guide and their Pulse Laser is one of the best damage weapons in the game.  The big thing here is that the 3 dmg base is a very damaging weapon vs. anything that has 3-wounds base.  This includes Wraithguard, Nob Bikerz, Crisis Suits, you know, the same units that I think are going to well in this edition.  When you have a weapon that does 2 dmg, you're not quite there and any damage you do on a 3-wound target is slightly wasted.

As for the Hemlock, I don't think this thing needs any introduction.  S10 is a very magical number because this means that you still wound T5 things on 2+.  The AP-4 is just icing on the cake, but the thing that matters the most of the unit is the fact that you have auto-hits with 2D3 with 2-damage each.  I guess you can't have everything, but the fact that you can Overwatch with auto-hitting weapons is just ridiculous against anything trying to melee you in flight.  To make things even more ridiculous, the Hemlock can cast Conceal on itself for a further -1 to hit on top of Hard to Hit, which makes him -2 to hit from ranged attacks.  At T6, 12W, ignoring any BS degradation when taking damage, and Spirit Stones to boot, this is one of the best fighters in the game.  Not to mention that everything around 12" of these guys are automatically at -1 leadership because of Mindshock Pods.  When you combine this with DE PGLs, you can inflict some serious debuffs during the enemy morale phase.  What can I say?  I love the model, I love the lore, and I love how effective they are now in the new edition.  I'm taking two, end of story.

With that said, here's my new list:

1998
Ynnari Spearhead - 4 CP

HQ:
Farseer = 113

TROOP:
5x Warriors, Blaster, PGL = 53
5x Warriors, Blaster, PGL = 53
Raider, Dark Lance, Shock Prow = 116
222

ELITE:
5x Wraithguard, D-Scythes = 225
Wave Serpent, VEngines, Stones, 3x Shuriken = 163
388

5x Wraithguard, D-Scythes = 225
Wave Serpent, VEngines, Stones, 3x Shuriken = 163
388

FLYER:
Hemlock Wraithfighter = 211
Hemlock Wraithfighter = 211

HEAVY:
Ravager, 3x Dark Lance = 155
Ravager, 3x Dark Lance = 155
Ravager, 3x Dark Lance = 155

You'll immediately notice here is that I'm dropping my Battalion detachment for a more elite list.  I only have 2 units of 5-man Warrior squads in a single Raider for troops, Wraithguard with D-Scythes that auto-hit and 2x Hemlocks to do their business against the enemy.  The 3x Ravagers allow me to maintain long-range anti-big stuff pressure, and the Farseer can drop from the Wave Serpents to cast Doom on enemy targets while casting Guide on my Wave Serpents.  Overall, I'm super happy with this list and I think I'm going to practice with it in my next game.

Eldar rules the skies.

Next, here's a Crimson Hunter list that might be effective against enemy Flyers.  They're cheaper than the Wraithfighters, and gives me a little more flexibility through having 2x SC Venoms.

1996
Ynnari Spearhead - 4 CP

HQ:
Farseer = 113

TROOP:
5x Warriors, Blaster, PGL = 53
Venom, 2x Splinter Cannon = 95
148

5x Warriors, Blaster, PGL = 53
Venom, 2x Splinter Cannon = 95
148

ELITE:
5x Wraithguard, D-Scythes = 225
Wave Serpent, VEngines, 3x Shuriken = 153
378

5x Wraithguard, D-Scythes = 225
Wave Serpent, VEngines, 3x Shuriken = 153
378

FLYER:
Crimson Hunter, 2x Brightlance = 183
Crimson Hunter, 2x Brightlance = 183

HEAVY:
Ravager, 3x Dark Lance = 155
Ravager, 3x Dark Lance = 155
Ravager, 3x Dark Lance = 155

Well, what do you guys think?  Which list do you think is better and more flexible?  I'm personally leaning towards the Wraithfighters, but the Crimson Hunters do some serious work against Flyers (cough, enemy Mechdar).

Sunday, June 11, 2017

DE: Meta prediction and Ynnari D-scythes

These guys are really, really good.

I just want to go on the record in making a pretty bold prediction on the meta to come.  After playing my first game yesterday and getting pretty adjusted to the new rules, one of the most impactful things that I noticed first was the change in the wound table.

I firmly believe that the meta going forward will be T5+ toughness models with multiple wounds.  This means stuff like Wraithguard, Nob Bikerz, Crisis Suits, and of course, some transports.  It all depends on cost-effective they will be and how useful their weapon attacks will be.  This prediction mostly comes from the fact that I noticed that S6-9 all wound T5 on 3+ unlike 2+.  That means when it comes to wounding something, these models all received a 50% increase in their overall durability for what can actually inflict wounds on them.  Once you get past the wounding stage, most larger-caliber weapons that can damage them are now doing random damage like D3 or D6.  This means that they can either do solid damage once they get in, or fire for little effect.  Regardless of the damage type, I think wounding the model is most important:  I think the most cost-effective way to dispose of these threats, you high a high-volume of shots either at S3-4 and a crap ton of shots, or plentiful S6-7 with a good amount of AP.  Regardless of which way you go, I think you need more shots, preferably with AP, and consistent damage.  Now I'm starting to look at Disintegrators a little bit harder.

With that said, yesterday's game was mind-opening for a lot of reasons.  Having just played my first game of 8th, I saw first hand the effects of the wound table, no vehicle facing, lack of cover, vehicles making charges, and how various units changed in terms of cost-effectiveness from one edition to another.  Some things just take a little to get used, but others are just a little weird for me.  I've been DE for a really long time and not really using terrain to my full advantage to get cover saves seem really weird to me.  It's a little unsettling at first, especially when I'm not crawling around cover as much as I used to, and just charging them into combat feels a little weird at first.  Of course, this is probably just me being nit-picky, but one can't really deny that in some ways, the earlier editions of 40K felt a bit more tactical with how you placed units carefully and deliberately to get the most out of your cover saves.  With that element gone, I just need to explore other ways to fill that void.

One of the things I'm going to do right away is to try something new for my Dark Eldar and that's to introduce Wraithguard with D-Scythes in Wave Serpents.  After playing against these units yesterday, I was absolutely floored by how effective I think they are.  At 45 ppm, I think they're expensive but worth every penny because of their sheer flexibility when it comes to putting guaranteed damage on things.  They're T5 with 3W a piece at 3+ AS, so they've gotten significantly more durable because of just how the wound table works now.  Their auto-hitting D-Scythes are rather incredible because they're S10 AP-4 1 dmg each, but they get D3 shots for the entire unit so they can go anywhere from 5-15 shots that auto-hit.  This means that they're incredibly lethal not only in attack, but also on Overwatch, and if you kill anything they just trigger Soulburst.  They're not incredibly bad in combat anymore either now because they're while they only have 1 attack, it does it's S5 AP-1 at D3 damage.  They also have Implacable so they can Fall Back out of combat and still shoot.  Once I saw what Ynnari D-scythes can do, I immediately went out and bought 2 boxes because man, it was just unreal flexibility.  Even their 5" movement seems like a scam because all their weapons are Assault and if you Advance with them, they can move on average ~8.5" and still fire with 8" range for an average threat range of 16.5".  For a weapon of this magnitude, that's incredible.

Other units I was pleased with:  My Ravagers and my Hemlock did some serious work, and my gunboats in general felt like they put out a good amount of damage.  My Trueborn died after my Venoms got put down, but overall I learned a lot about the new edition.  I'll tell you what though, I really liked the Wave Serpents in this edition.  The T7 is great, 13W with 16" range is also great, they can take 3x Shuriken Cannons for 9 shots at S6 pseudo-rending, and can advance 2D6 with Star Engines and Vectored Engines makes it so enemies shooting at you are at -1 to Hit.  The Serpent Shield is just icing on the cake, reducing every bit of damage you take and bursting for D3 mortal wounds whenever you need it to happen.

With that said, here's a new list that I've been working on:

2000
Ynnari Battalion - 6 CP

HQ:
Archon, Agonizer, Blaster, PGL = 76
Archon, Agonizer, Blaster, PGL = 76

TROOP:
7x Warriors, Blaster = 64
Raider, Dark Lance, Shock Prow = 116
180

5x Warriors, Blaster = 50
5x Warriors, Blaster = 50
Raider, Dark Lance, Shock Prow = 116
216

ELITE:
5x Wraithguard, D-Scythes = 225
Wave Serpent, VS Engines, 3x Shuriken = 163
388

5x Wraithguard, D-Scythes = 225
Wave Serpent, VS Engines, 3x Shuriken = 163
388

FLYER:
Hemlock Wraithfighter = 211

HEAVY:
Ravager, 3x Dark Lance = 155
Ravager, 3x Dark Lance = 155
Ravager, 3x Dark Lance = 155

The VS Engines stand for Vectored Star Engines, but that just means I put both of them on there.  Again, I'm trading less poisoned shots here because of the overall reduction of Warriors, but I'm making up for it with 18 S6 Shuriken shots that are bound to make a difference on more durable shooting platforms.

I can also change this around to add a Farseer for the Doom/Fortune and stick him in a Wave Serpent to be dropped off with the Wraithguard, but for now I think I'm going to try my luck with no additional psyker support.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

DE: Strength from Death

Some really nice art recently.

In my last article, I talked about how I'm going to re-purpose my list to make it more Ynnari.  Let's just say that I'm looking at this from the angle that excited to try quite a few things, some of the them very new to this edition.

The first one being that you can put multiple units inside a transport and that's going to shake things up a bit.  Having 2x squads of 5-man Warriors with Blasters inside a transport gives me greater sources of units to trigger Soulburst once something dies.  Blasters are still very good weapons to have when you're doing a lot of movement, and having 8/16 poison shots with 2x Blasters per Raider is still very respectable.  The extra units gives me more opportunities to Soulburst while keeping my overall firepower the same.

The next thing I want to talk about is the addition of the Hemlock Wraithfighter.  OK, so this thing might be one of the best flyers in the book.  It has pretty good durability for a Flyer, especially if you take the Reveal/Conceal power that allows it to give it a further -1 to Hit from ranged attacks.  It already has the Hard to Hit special rule so having Conceal on top of it is a very nice to have.  The big thing about this Flyer is its damage potential being 2D3 S10 AP-4 2 damage auto-hitting attacks.  You just need to be within 16" of this weapon and you're going to be rolling out some damage, end of story.  Even if you take damage and you start degrading in hull, you're still going to auto-hit with your weapons so it doesn't really matter.  The Hemlock can either throw out Smite or Conceal, but it can also Horrify if you so choose to start stacking leadership debuffs.  Combined with the Mindshock Pod, PGL and Horrify, you can impose a -3 leadership to a single target and that might be all the difference with the new morale system.

Speaking of PGL, let's talk about upgrades for a second.  There's two upgrades that I really like, and that's Shock Prows for 1 point and PGL for 3 points.  Shock Prows just gives you a single S6 -1 1 damage attack (or D3 when it charges) for 1 point and I think that's a pretty fair ask.  PGL is another great upgrade because it's readily available on almost every infantry unit including HQs, and it's a 18" range Assault D3 weapon that only needs to hit negatively affect the unit.  With how shooting works now, if you have multiple PGLs in a unit, you can literally spread the -1 Ld. love everywhere.  This means more units that can be affected by Mindshock, and more units will be afflicted with leadership penalties when testing for morale.  At 3 ppm and readily available on most units, I see these as a higher priority buy than something like the Blast Pistol or even the extra Splinter Cannon buy on the Venom.

When it comes to luxury upgrades, I'm really starting to see BP and SC as luxury.  Even PGL is luxury if you think about it, and so is Shock Prows.  I would only take these upgrades if I have no room for anything else.  The way I prioritize it is by looking at how much use I can get out of these upgrades.  How many times am I expected to use my Blast Pistol in my playstyle vs. the Splinter Cannon on the Venom?  I expect to use my SC much more certainly, so it would take priority over the BP.  What about SC compared to the PGL?  A single extra SC or Blaster upgrade can buy me 5 sets of PGL for example, so I would consider this a better upgrade overall if I'm playing the debuff leadership game.  Sometimes my OCD bleeds in a bit here because I roughly like my units to be pretty uniform.  As you can see from the list below, not having a Blaster on the 5-man unit of Warriors is literally driving me insane, but I just don't have the points for it!  I guess overall, that's not too bad because the 2x Archons riding in it is giving me 2x Blaster shots at a higher BS.

OK, then what do you think about taking Agonizers on everyone?  This is a more applicable upgrade sure, but it's also about how much value you're getting out of the upgrade.  Agonizers are not created equal even though they cost the same points on everything.  Taking an Agonizer on an Archon with 5 attacks that hit on 2s that comes stock with a 2++ Shadowfield is a lot different than shitty unit champion that dies like a bitch and hits on 3s.  This is difference in maximizing your upgrade potential and something that all players need to do if they're to squeeze maximum value out of their armies.

Anyways, here's the list updated list:

1999
Ynnari Battalion - 6 CP, 10 drops

HQ:
Archon, Agonizer, Blaster, PGL = 76
Archon, Agonizer, Blaster, PGL = 76

TROOP:
5x Warriors, PGL = 38
Raider, Dark Lance, Shock Prow = 116
154

5x Warriors, Blaster = 50
5x Warriors, Blaster = 50
Raider, Dark Lance, Shock Prow = 116
216

5x Warriors, Blaster = 50
5x Warriors, Blaster = 50
Raider, Dark Lance, Shock Prow = 116
216

ELITE:
5x Trueborn, 4x Blaster = 115
Venom, Splinter Cannon = 80
195

5x Trueborn, 4x Blaster = 115
Venom, Splinter Cannon = 80
195

5x Trueborn, 4x Blaster = 115
Venom, Splinter Cannon = 80
195

FLYER:
Hemlock Wraithfighter = 211

HEAVY:
Ravager, 3x Dark Lance = 155
Ravager, 3x Dark Lance = 155
Ravager, 3x Dark Lance = 155

The first Raider is literally a grenade boat, giving me 3 sources to spread out grenades all the while shooting with Blasters from 2+ to hit Archons.  Once the party starts and I need to get in close combat, the Archons with the Agonizers will hopefully go to town and do some work.  I made a lot of large-scale sacrifices here for the Hemlock, but I think the Hemlock is one of the best units that the Aeldari has to offer.  I think for now, I'm going to stay away from the Horrify and go with the Reveal/Conceal power instead.  The -2 to hit from all sources ranged is just too good to pass up on.

Analyzing overall firepower again, what has changed really?  Well.. less poisoned shots overall because of the cheaper Venoms and a few less Warriors.  No Dark Lances on the Warriors but increased potential for Soulburst with Blasterwars might be a bit of a lateral trade.  All in all, I have less long-ranged damage potential but more close-ranged potential, and I gain the Hemlock which gives me some serious auto-hitting 2D3 S10 AP-4 D2 firepower.  The leadership shenanigans is a great nice to have, but nothing you can realistically form your battleplan around.

Total numbers look something like:
12 Dark Lances
18 Blasters
2 Heavy D-Scythes
3 Splinter Cannons
3 Twin Splinter Rifles
24 Splinter Rifles

Thursday, June 8, 2017

DE: We are finally One

We are together again.

One of the things that I enjoy the most right now is looking at all of the options in the Aeldari faction and studying them for use in my Dark Eldar army.  This shouldn't be completely new to anyone who's familiar with allies in the last couple of editions, but the big standout here is that you can no longer do completely broken things with them.  Certain transports can only transport in-faction, and psyker spells or character auras only affect specific or otherwise, in-faction units.  I think this is a great thing because while we are now one faction, it still offers this individuality that makes each sub-faction unique and flavorful, all the while not making things too broken.

Don't get me wrong, there are still a couple of combos in here that I find rather interesting.  Things like the Hemlock's Mindshock + Horrify + PGL can make for some crazy leadership bombs, all the while getting even crazier if it's Turn 5 and you're playing Dark Eldar main and Power from pain is in full effect.  I'm sure combos like this exist throughout all the factions in the book currently, but these are often stars-aligned scenarios where everything must be just perfect in order for something big to happen.  This is the extent of something on the cheeky side, as GW put in specific keywords and rules to prevent further shenanigans.  Hell, even Guide can only work on Eldar units while Shadowfields can no longer be re-rolled for any reason.  I can't even put my Trueborn with Blasters into Starweavers because those seats are taken by Masque units only.  On one hand, my competitive side is a bit upset, but on the other I see some wonderfully thought-out balance while keeping sub-faction flavors in full bloom.

I'll tell you one thing though:  I really think Dark Eldar will benefit the most from being Ynnari.  There's just way too many instances where Strength from Death and out of sequence movement, shooting and fighting is so strong.  Dark Eldar units are also perfect for dying, and killing things with lethal efficiency, so in actuality they're probably the best sub-faction of Aeldari (it's going to take a while for this word to stick) to capitalize on triggering these events.  Small fragile units tend to die hastily, so even a unit of Blasterborn dying out of anguish will trigger another squad nearby to annihilate something.  Even someone like the Solitaire will get plenty of action out of this because he can possibly attack multiple times a turn.  At this point, you can basically assume that most of my DE army lists will be Ynnari.  They just make sense for me for many reasons:  The first being that I think the Eldar faction has finally come together and accepted their fate, and I can also use it as my reasoning for including seemingly random Aeldari units in my primarily DE army.  The fact that I think their flavor bonus is much more flexible and powerful than Battle Focus, Power from Pain and Rising Crescendo is just icing on the cake.

I don't think I've been this excited to play 40K since Dark Eldar got their book in 5th.  My first game will be early next week, and I'm busting out the Ynnari.  I'll keep you guys posted.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

8th Ed. 40K and Dark Eldar

Hell.. it's about time!

Man.. it's been a long time since I thought about Dark Eldar and 40K.  To give you guys an idea how long it took, last night I went through my entire garage frantically looking for them because I forgot where I put them.  After moving through a hundred or so boxes of random stuff, there they were, neatly tucked into various DE boxes remembering the distant glory days of 5th Ed.  Don't get me wrong, I've played the other editions of 40K, but after allies-mixing, Telepathy-driven, re-rollable invul save stacking deathstars started infesting the game, I knew it was time to take a break.  Let's not forget that Dark Eldar was basically the first book out in the new edition and they got the Tomb Kings treatment in terms of power-level and flavorless design.  Good thing that's all behind us now.

Can you believe it's been a year and a half since I made a post about Dark Eldar?  Seriously, take a look at this post back in Jan '16.  Since then, I've pretty much only played FFG games because I couldn't take GW seriously anymore.  First it was the Age of Sigmar stuff (when it was first released), and then it was all the 40K shenanigans that basically made me contemplate selling everything that I had GW-related.  The only thing I have now is my Dark Eldar, I just couldn't part with them just yet knowing that 8th Ed. 40K was around the corner.  Now that I've seen GW turn a new leaf time and time again, I knew it was time to get back into the game and see what the new edition can give me.  It's been a long time since I played 40K or anything that GW's made, but that hasn't made me soft in terms of army construction or list design.  No, no.. I think I've actually gotten a little better now I see things with fresh eyes in a new edition where every faction gets a complete reboot.  When was the last time GW rebooted every single army at the same time and balanced it around competitive play with the feedback from the game's most dedicated tournament players?  Never.  That alone has gets me pretty freaking excited.

Now that the preface crap is over and done with, let's take a look at what gets me excited about Dark Eldar in the new edition.  I'll just list out some of the stuff below, but keep in mind that if you follow me here that I have, and will always be a Kabal-only player.  I love Dark Eldar's ability to bring superior firepower through movement and that's exactly how I'm going to design my army lists.  Let me start with my "unit bucket"; which is essentially a list of units that I think I'll enjoy playing with and the pieces of what will eventually become my army.

Current bucket of stuff that caught my eye:
  • Archon, Agonizer, Blaster = 73
  • Succubus, Agonizer = 76
  • 5x Warriors, Blaster = 50
  • 10x Warriors, Blaster, Dark Lance = 105
  • 9x Wyches, Agonizer = 85
  • Raider, Dark Lance, Shock Prow = 116
  • Ravager, 3x Dark Lance = 155
  • Razorwing, 2x Dark Lance = 155
  • Venom, 2x SC = 95
  • 5x Trueborn, 4x Blaster = 115
  • Solitaire = 117
  • Crimson Hunter, 2x Bright Lance = 183
  • Hemlock Wraithfighter = 211

Keep in mind that in the last couple of days, I've been studying all of the units for all the factions.  There are some things in there that make me cringe, or standout as WOW!, but generally there's nothing where I'm like, holy hell this is completely and utterly broken.  There's a few strong synergies out there which is cool, but what's got me the most excited is that there's none of the shennigans that I saw in the previous editions.  It's almost like if you got competitive players together and said, GO BREAK OUR GAME, that they actually can.  Good, GW is learning, and that's a fantastic thing.

Rambling on:  I really like some of the costs here for the units that you get.  Archon with the Agonizer and the Blaster for example is a very nice buy for 73 points.  You get the same # of attacks now always, Agonizer is affordable and offers a bit of a punch, nothing crazy but wounding on 4+ on everything is still rock solid.  2+ to hit with a Blaster is also very nice, and he's probably my go-to HQ for shooty-based lists that takes advantage of a lot of blasters.  Succubus is also quite affordable, giving her a Agonizer to dual-wield with the Archite Glaive gives her flexibility in how she can fight targets.  Wyches also received a pretty decent buff, how hitting everything on 3+ with 8" move, and you can select the kind of drug you give to them to increase their killing potential (like +1 attack or strength).  Not to mention now they can keep things in combat if you roll decently.  With the price of the Agonizer being really cheap, I don't reason to not have one in every unit of Wyches.  Again, very happy with them.  When it comes to Trueborn, or Blasterborn the way I take them, they're still as powerful if not more powerful than they were before.  Whereas before a single Blaster had a chance to kill a Land Raider, this is no longer going to be the case.  However, Splinter weapons now have a chance to wound every vehicle on a 6+ and thus, increasing your overall lethality vs. vehicles in other departments.  As you can see with the setup that I run my Trueborn, I still believe that a healthy (or rather exaggerated) amount of Dark Lances is what's really worth paying for.  Just being to wound most things in the game on 2s, the most durable vehicles on 3s, and the mighty Wraithknight on 4s with -4 and D3 wounds per Blaster is worth every penny.

Taking names.. or was it souls?

When it comes to vehicles, you guys should know that every Kabal player runs his Dark Eldar vehicle heavy.  The one caveat here is that in the new edition vehicles and transports specifically changed drastically.  They are both more expensive and a tad bit more durable at the same time.  Most importantly, they are now more accurate and lethal on the move, and they can move even further than before.  Having Night Shields for example on all my Raiders and Ravagers is beautiful.  That innate 5+ Invulnerable is basically the reason I took Flickerfields on everything back in the day.  Being able to stop damage is incredibly important, especially now that you just can't claim cover saves on everything.  On the Venom, you have both the -1 to hit Flickers and Night Shields to reduce the amount of damage you have coming in.  Having T5 with 6W and a mediocre 4+ save is really kinda meh, but having the -1 hit modifier and 5+ invul will really help keep this thing alive.  On a minus point though, not having cover in the majority of cases will hurt, especially against heavier weaponry.

A few things to note here on the vehicles in general:  Due to their price, I'm unsure on a couple of things, especially the fliers.  I'm not entirely sure if they're worth it this edition, even if they're usually at -1 to hit and have an invul save in the case of the Razorwing and Voidraven.  Let me know what you guys think about this, I'd really like to hear your reasoning.  I do like that being in-faction with Eldar and Harlequins now, I can take the Crimson Hunter if I really want a flyer, but again, the cost is a little prohibitive.  I do find the Crimson Hunter to be a little better value than the Razorwing though, since having 2x Bright Lances and a Pulse Laser is no joke, especially if you move the unit right with Wings of Khaine.

Alright, now the moment you've all been waiting for.  What the hell have I been tinkering with in the last couple of days?  Well.. as a preface, let me just say that overall, I'm pretty satisfied with the new edition and how it fits into my playstyle.  DE can now move and shoot with a lot of heavy weapons very well, and the innate 5+ invul on all their vehicles gives me a lot of flexibility in how I engage the enemy.  I can sit back and enjoy some range advantage with my Dark Lances, or I can really move my Raiders and Ravagers into good firing positions, advance even, and let loose with heavy weapons with a slight accuracy debuff.  What really gets me excited is that you can now move further, fire at full BS with heavy weapons with your vehicles, while the guys inside can get really excited now that they're in rapid-fire or assault range as well.  Overall, the threat range of all your heaviest weapons have increased by a ton, and your overall shooting damage remains one of the highest in the game.  These combine together to give you incredible reach in both shooting and melee, which makes you probably the premiere alpha-strike faction in the game (as the Eldar Gods intended).

With that said, here's the list:

2000
Battalion Detachment - 6 CP

HQ:
Archon, Agonizer, Blaster, PGL = 76
Archon, Agonizer, Blaster, PGL = 76

TROOP:
8x Warriors, Blaster, Blast Pistol = 81
Raider, Dark Lance = 115
196

10x Warriors, Blaster, Dark Lance = 105
Raider, Dark Lance = 115
220

10x Warriors, Blaster, Dark Lance = 105
Raider, Dark Lance = 115
220

ELITE:
5x Trueborn, 4x Blaster = 115
Venom, 2x Splinter Cannon = 95
210

5x Trueborn, 4x Blaster = 115
Venom, 2x Splinter Cannon = 95
210

5x Trueborn, 4x Blaster = 115
Venom, 2x Splinter Cannon = 95
210

Solitaire = 117

HEAVY:
Ravager, 3x Dark Lance = 155
Ravager, 3x Dark Lance = 155
Ravager, 3x Dark Lance = 155

What you guys see right here is my classic Dark Eldar.  Go ahead and look at some of my posts dating back towards the early days of 5th and you'll see I'm pretty much playing the same way.  The only difference here is that the damage model has changed, vehicles went up in price for more survivalbility and application, and open-top vehicles are no joke in letting your guys rip while moving all across the battlefield.  Damage in general has spiked this edition so expect things to die a lot quicker than before.  This is both a blessing and a curse because while you're going to be doing a crap ton of damage to the enemy, he's going to be able to dish back the same amount to you.  Thankfully, you're a little more durable now than you ever were in the previous editions.

Raiders and Ravagers, these are a few of my favorite things.

First, let's look at the HQs choices.  I took two Archons that are exactly the same, but they're your basic Blastercons with PGLs and Agonizers.  Like I said previously, I don't really see a reason why you shouldn't take Agonizers on these guys because quite frankly, I don't like how the Huskblade has been represented.  The threat of ID isn't there anymore so why bother?  For 4 extra ppm for a better weapon IMO, why the hell not?  2+ to hit with Blasters is great and Shadowfields will take shots all day because they're a minimal investment for the points spent on them.  PGL because I have the points and it can be entertaining later on once Power from Pain kicks in full gear, and both of these guys will be riding shotgun in the Raider with 8 Warriors.  All in all, I've loaded up with Raider gunboats and gave them Dark Lances so they can play the ranged game while being portable lanceboats moving and shooting all the way.  I mean, being able to shoot open-top while moving with a heavy weapon only imposes a -1 hit on the dude inside.  Oh no!  Not 4+ to hit!  It's honestly a non-factor considering that 4+ is still a very solid way to deal out S8 -4 D6 damage shots, even on the move.  Rest of the gunboats need no introduction, being able to deal out both lance damage and Poisoned shots that are now capable of pinging vehicles to death.

Venoms are there carrying all the Blasterborn, complete with 4x Blasters per unit for maximum firepower.  The 2x Splinter Cannons is not as silly as before, but keep in mind that their fire range is still 36" and you can claim the same 12 Poisoned shots as before at 18".. which is conveniently your kill zone with Blasters as well.  Speaking of kill range, let's look at something really quick when it comes to overall firepower before we dig into the rest of the list.

Let's talk firepower really quick:
  • If you're not moving, you're going to get 9 Dark Lances from the Ravagers, 3 from each Raider, 2 from the guys inside two of them.  That's 14 Dark Lances at 3+ to hit at pretty freaking far range.  If you move let's say 14" with everyone for a combined threat range of 50", you will still have 12 Dark Lances at full BS and 2 firing at 4+ to hit.
  • The real fun begins once you realize that your Blasters join in on the action with the Venoms and Raiders pouncing on the enemy.  Venoms have 16" move, 18" from the Blasters for 34" threat range, Raiders with slightly lower at 32", all of which drastically increases the killing potential of your entire army many times over.  Sure, Blasters are not as powerful as Dark Lances, but it's the S8 AP-4 with D3 wounds that really matter.  It's still enough to eat MEQ alive, overkill on GEQ, and the sheer # of them hitting on 3s will melt vehicles.  If your entire army is within 18" of the enemy, you will throw out 16 Blasters, 2 hitting on 2s and the rest hitting on 3s, in addition to 14 Dark Lances.  That's 30 S8 AP-4 shots people, and that's not laughing matter (to the enemy that is).
  • Poison shooting is not as outrageous as last edition to missing Splinter Racks, but having 28" threat rapid-fire range compared to what, 18" as before is absolutely tremendous.  That means your alpha strike potential is much larger, and your ability to maintain a safe distance and whittle down the enemy with heavy weaponry, before jumping into his face to riddle him with Poison fire is greatly increased.

Lastly, I have the most flexible part of my list and the ultimate sign that I'm probably a casual player now:  I have a random Solitaire in my list because I have absolutely no CC components and I think this is one of the coolest models ever made.  For 117 points, he's actually not that bad.  The idea is for him to get into CC to support the dual-Archon team and to literally start punching through people, mainly MEQ or lower.  He pops his Blitz, comes flipping and dancing across the battlefield with 30" threat and piles in on whatever combat he feels like doing.  Otherwise, he just stays out of sight and hides behind some cover or something.

If I want, I can also cut a few things here and there (mainly the extra SC on the Venoms) and take a Crimson Hunter instead.  I get a little more anti-armor potential and my list turns purely shooty, and plus I get to play with my favorite air unit the game.  Again, a random casual idea but very fulfilling for me.  Hell, even the Hemlock Wraithfight is starting to look pretty freaking incredible (it actually is).  I might even convert this entire army into Ynnari so I can take advantage of Strength from Death on all of my shooty infantry units after they've been shot out of their vehicles.

Alright, this is what I have for now.  I'll probably end up spamming this blog for a while and let you guys know how the list does, how it evolves and what other kinds of things I can think of for DE.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

AoS: Time to add some more Tzaangors

Yes.. yes.. everything is proceeding as I have forseen!

The wheel keeps on spinning in my head on how I can keep improving the list.  A lot of players have come up and said that I'm lacking actual frontline troops and that Horrors are going to die as soon as they get touched.  Yes, that is true and I agree with them, so I'm going to add a huge ass unit of Tzaangors in there to compliment my forces and somehow make the entire list better in a number of ways.

Let's check out the new list:

1960

LORDS:
Lord of Change = 300
+Tzeentch's Firestorm
+General - Incorporeal Form (-1 to hit in CC)
+Phantasmal Weapons (+1 Rend to all melee)

Mounted Chaos Sorcerer = 140
+Shield of Fate

Tzaangor Shaman = 120
+Shield of Fate
+Fold Reality

Gaunt Summoner = 100
+Glimpse the Future
+Fold Reality

BATTLELINE:
30x Tzaangors = 540

10x Horrors = 140
+Bolt of Change

10x Horrors = 140
+Arcane Transformation

OTHER:
9x Tzaangor Skyfires = 480

Alright, looks like we're back with a 40 point bid again.  The only difference here is that I've dropped all my Burning Chariots and put in 30 Tzaangors into the mix.  The guys are going to look like 2 shield/2 great swords/1 mutant per 5, so that leaves me with 12/12/6 overall.  If I have the option to build a few more in shields, I think I would because this gives me a 4+/6++ with re-roll 1, 2 and 3s with the proper buffs (Mystic Shield, Shield of Fate).

On the surface, this doesn't really look like much, but the 30x Tzaangors gives me +60 wounds on top of a whole bunch of other crazy stuff.  Let's go down all of their crazy abilities to make sure we're all on the same page that this is actually a rock solid replacement to the Burning Chariots and that I'm not some kind of random crazy.  The first thing to note is that I make an additional attack for each model in the unit with its Savage Blade or Savage Greatblade for every 9 models in the unit (max to 3 per model).  This means that my unit at full capacity can throw out 5 attacks per dude wielding a Savage Blade, 6 from the Mutant or 4 from the Greatblade.  Not only that, but if I have any Arcanite Heroes within 9" at the start of the combat phase, I can turn all of their 4+ to wound into 3+.  This means that the Tzaangor Shaman and Gaunt Summoner are really great for keeping them within 9" of the unit.  Lastly, models with the Arcanite Shield can ignore damage entirely (including Mortal Wounds) on a roll of a 6.  With Shield of Fate, I will be re-rolling any failed 1-3s.  All in all, this is 60 wounds of hard hitting, really dangerous, self-sufficient units that can run and charge in the same turn with 6" speed.  The 5 Bravery is not the best thing in the world, but I'm not entirely sure if I'm going to be losing combat all that badly.  Lastly, to make things a little more ridiculous, the Icon Bearer also has a pretty fantastic ability.  At the start of each of my hero phases, take a dice for every Wizard (friend or foe) within 9" of the unit.  I can then pick an enemy unit within 18" and roll a dice so that the unit suffers a mortal wound for each roll of 4+.  See, that's not too bad.  It's free damage for me not really doing anything.

The one thing that I really like about this list is that I get to bring a Mounted Chaos Sorc again into the list.  I'm still debating how I want to actually build this model, but I might just put a ol' moonface on a Chaos Knight and call it a day.  Regardless, what makes the Chaos Sorc really impressive is that he automatically gives a unit Oracular Visions.  You can pick a unit in the hero phase and you just re-roll 1s for that unit, just like that.  He also has Daemonic Power which has a casting value of 5+ and the reason why you bring this dude in the first place.  you pick a unit within 18" and until the next hero phase, the unit can re-roll any 1s to hit, wound and save.  That is just a fantastic buff spell, probably one of the best in the entire game.  The 140 points makes him really affordable and Daemonic Power combined with a full unit of Tzaangor Skyfires is absolutely brutal.  You already do something like 6 Mortal Wounds per shooting phase from the Skyfires with the Shaman nearby, so when you can up their damage even more with 3s re-rolling 1s, the damage goes up even more.  This makes them one of the best units in the game for cracking armor and applying solid damage from insane threat ranges (16" move + 24" range).

Alright, well, I don't have much else to really change here.  Glimpse the Future is a really powerful spell that I want to play around with first, but I might not even need it if Arcane Suggestion might be better.  I'm going to have to play around with the magic some more, but Arcane Suggestion can really keep my Lord of Change safe in melee if I'm able to get off Incorporeal Form's -1 to hit with Drop Your Weapons -1 to hit and wound on a unit, or Phantasmal Weapons (additional -1 Rend to all melee) with Turn Around (-1 to save rolls for the unit).

Let me know what you think about this list.  I'm going to be placing an order by the end of the week.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

AoS: Bringing in some Skyfires

Hot, hot, hot!

Got another list here that I've been thinking about in the last couple of days.  Long story short:  I decided that I needed more wounds and staying power in the list because in the previous list, it was very hero-centric and pretty top heavy with both Kairos and the Lord of Change in one list.  So.. I did some digging around and decided to bring in both of what I would consider to be some of the best units in the new book.

First, the new list:

2000

LORDS:
Lord of Change = 300
+Tzeentch's Firestorm
+General - Incorporeal Form (-1 to hit in CC)
+Phantasmal Weapons (+1 Rend to all melee)

Tzaangor Shaman = 120
+Shield of Fate
+Fold Reality

Gaunt Summoner = 100
+Arcane Suggestion
+Fold Reality

Gaunt Summoner = 100
+Glimpse the Future
+Bolt of Change

BATTLELINE:
10x Horrors = 140
+Bolt of Change

10x Horrors = 140
+Unchecked Mutation

10x Horrors = 140
+Arcane Transformation

OTHER:
9x Tzaangor Skyfires = 480
3x Burning Chariots of Tz = 480

Since I dropped Kairos and a few other wizards in the list, my magic potency has dropped off a bit.  Right now, here's what I'm packing if I'm going for full arcane onslaught assuming everyone's happy: Tzeentch's Firestorm, Infernal Gateway, Bolt of Change, Unchecked Mutation, and Arcane Bolt.  It's definitely missing a few more d6 Mortal Wound stuff in there, but I sub that out with having Infernal Flames coming from the Gaunt Summoner.  In fact, Gaunt Summoner might be the most cost effective wizard in the game, or at least certainly up there.  he comes with an incredibly good spell vs. hordes, doing a mortal wound on 4+ to every model in a unit within 18", and he can also cast and dispel two spells a turn.  Having both the Mortal and Daemon keywords also allows him to cherry-pick a spell from both lores, giving him amazing spell diversity and making him a much better buff-bot than almost anyone else.

So.. I brought two of them to the party because otherwise, I would be stuck with a very awkward amount of points and having sit in the backfield casting buffs until its showtime is never really a bad thing.  Currently, I have the Arcane Suggestion sitting there but I can easily replace that with another Shield of Fate if I feel like my Tzaangor Shaman is going to get sniped.  I know that's why I like having redundant Fold Reality in there.  Shield of Fate is an amazing spell:  As long as I have 7+ Destiny Dice, I can cast the 5+ spell and give one of my units the ability to re-roll failed 1s, 2s and 3s.  This is freaking huge when combined with something like Mystic Shield on Tz units because this means they technically have a 4+ re-rollable before any Rends hit.

The Tzaangor Shaman is a great little guy to have flying around the backlines because he's primarily there to buff up your Skyfires with the +1 to hit.  This makes them hit on 3s, wound on 3s, with -1 Rend and d3 wounds each.  Any 6s to hit automatically become d3 Mortal Wounds which is pretty nice vs. the more heavily armored guys out there.  This turns into 5s when the Tzaangor Shaman is nearby.  Skyfires also compliment the shooting from the Burning Chariots really well because those guys are better vs. less-armored guys since the 3d3 Mortal Wounds gimmick from them only works if every chariot wounds and you pass on a 4+ for the test.  Not the most reliable, but it can still definitely get the job done.  The biggest thing to note about the Skyfires is that they have the Daemon keyword.  This means Fold Reality can bring them back in full models which is a great way to buff their staying power.  Unfortunately, I don't have Kairos there to make sure they don't roll a 1, but if that's the will of Tzeentch than who am I to question it?

Regardless, having both the Skyfires and Burning Chariots gives me a crap ton of wounds added onto the list.  I will really miss having the Blue Scribes to Boon every turn, as that basically makes my magic all but a surety.  Instead, I will just have to rely on the Lord of Change to pull his own weight, and hopefully the Skyfires and Burning Chariots will carry the day.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

AoS: Diving deep into Tz Daemons

I'm going to buy as many moonfaces as possible.

So now that I have the rules in my greedy little hands, I can really dive deeper into the Tzeentch Daemons army I'm trying to make to see if it's even viable.  This might seem like a lot of junk being spilled out of a frantic mind, but hear me out here.  I think just from looking at the book that Tz Daemons might be middle of the road in terms of power level but max awesome for fluffiness and versatility.  From what the book looks like so far, there's just a ton of cool things in there that I think players will be happy for a long time.  Now, this doesn't mean that every option is competitive, it's just me saying that the options to have fun is there.

Moving on, let's talk about this crazy Tz Daemons build I want to run:

Big birds & Co.
1960

Kairos Fateweaver = 340
+Tzeentch's Firestorm

Lord of Change = 300
+Bolt of Change
+General - Incorporeal Form (-1 to hit in CC)
+Phantasmal Weapons (+1 Rend to all weapons)

Ogroid Thaumaturge = 160
+Treacherous Bond

Chaos Sorcerer Lord = 140
+Glimpse the Future

Blue Scribes = 120
+Fold Reality

3x Burning Chariots of Tz = 480

10x Horrors = 140
+Arcane Transformation

10x Horrors = 140
+Unchecked Mutation

10x Horrors = 140
+Fold Reality

The first thing you'll notice right away is the fact that all my wizards can pick and choose another spell from either Lore of Change (daemons) or Lore of Fate (mortals).  After extensive study into the two trees, I decided to go with this for my current layout of magic diversity.  Before I go any further, let me first tell you what these spells do:
  • Tzeentch's Firestorm - 9+ to cast, pick a visible enemy unit within 18", roll 9 dice:  For each 6 that you roll the unit picked suffers d3 mortal wounds.
  • Bolt of Change - 8+ to cast, pick a visible enemy unit within 18", unit suffers d6 mortal wounds.
  • Treacherous Bond - 6+ to cast, pick a friendly unit within 18", until your next hero phase, as long as the bonded unit is within 9" of the caster, whenever the caster suffers an unsaved wound or mortal wound, on a 2+ the chosen unit suffers it instead.
  • Glimpse the Future - 7+ to cast, only wizard can attempt to cast this spell per turn, if successful, roll a dice and add it to your Destiny Dice pool.
  • Fold Reality - 7+ to cast, pick a visible friendly unit of Tz Daemons within 18" and roll a dice.  On a 2 or more, you can return that many slain models to the unit.  On a 1, the unit is wiped out!
  • Arcane Transformation - 7+ to cast, pick a friendly hero within 18" of the caster.  You can permanently increase that model's Move, Bravery or Attacks characteristics of one of its weapons by 1 once per battle.
  • Unchecked Mutation - 7+ to cast, pick a visible enemy unit within 18":  The unit suffers d3 mortal wounds, then roll a dice; on a roll of 5 or 6, the unit suffers another mortal wound and you roll another dice as above.

Some of these sound pretty tame, but most of these are actually pretty insane.  As you can see, I have Fold Reality twice in here because I think it has amazing synergy with Burning Chariots of Tz.  You probably noticed that I underlined models.  I did this because on a 2+, I can bring back 2 chariots from the dead, so I technically rez 12 wounds worth.  It gets slightly sillier:  I can put Treacherous Bond on someone like Kairos who knows all the spells from every wizard within 18", and I can basically have my chariots turn into 17 extra wounds for him just before Fold Reality brings more back.  In case I roll a 1, I always have Kairos there to bring turn the die if I'm really that unlucky.

Bolt of Change and Tz's Firestorm is just there for bigger mortal damage.  The same can be said about Unchecked Mutation, but the d3 + extra rolls are a little too inconsistent.  Regardless, it's still a better Arcane Bolt.  Glimpse the Future is a luxury spell, but one of the only ways in the book that I can choose to generate a free Destiny Dice.  I'm still debating this one as I also have Shield of Fate to test, but for now I think I'm alright with this.  Lastly, Arcane Transformation is also one of those luxury spells that I can cast just to buff up my bigger beaters like the Lord of Change, Kairos or the Ogroid.  I mean, if I'm just sitting back and I'm not in real range to do anything, why not you know?

The scary part of this list is not just the little cute tricks that it can do, but it's the crazy amount of magical offense that I can deliver within 18".  For example, in one single round of magical dominance:
  • Bolt of Change - D6 mortal wounds. (LoC)
  • Infernal Gateway - Roll 9 dice, on a 3+, deal a mortal wound. (LoC)
  • Gift of Change - D6 mortal wounds. (Kairos)
  • Tzeentch's Firestorm - Roll 9 dice, for each 6, deal D3 mortal wounds. (Kairos)
  • Fireblast - D6 mortal wounds. (Ogroid)
  • Arcane Bolt - D3 mortal wounds. (Horror)
  • Unchecked Mutation - D3 mortal wounds + possible more. (Horror)

What do I mean when I say magical dominance?  Well, if casting from the big birds, with Mastery of Magic, Beacon of Sorcery and Boon of Tzeentch up, I have a 99% chance to cast 7+ spells and 94% chance to cast 8/9+ spells.  Of course, dispels are a problem, but if my math is correct, you have a 52% chance to roll either a 5 or a 6 on 2 dice.  With Beacon of Sorcery from the Lord of Change, your opponent needs box cars to dispel you (so a 3% chance) if you have a 5, and if you roll a 6, you can't be stopped, period.  Even your little Pink Horrors can cast really reliably because of Locus of Conjuration giving them +1 to casting rolls on top of Beacon of Sorcery and Blue Scribes' re-rolls.  This army is literally the strongest magic force in the game right now in terms of reliability and arcane firepower.

There's a pretty big debate going on on the forums right now about whether or not Destiny Dice affects mortal wound results from spells like Bolt of Change.  Even though Destiny Dice says that it can directly affect both damage and wound rolls, this is still rather nebulous from a RAW perspective.  However, several sources have already stated that the designer of the rule himself have played with the DD changing mortal wounds on WarhammerTV, and that shows me that by RAI, this is how it's intended to be played.  This is definitely one of those things that I did not miss about GW games.  Regardless of the ruling, I'm fine with it either way as I always like to play with what's least troublesome for the purposes of gaming.

OK!  That pretty much sums it up for me.  We got some heroes, some chariots, and a lot of wizards and casting that can end up doing pretty nasty things or dying horribly.  Whatever it is, it's going to be fun building these models.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Age of Sigmar with Tz Daemons!

Honest to God, some of the best models I've ever seen!

I can't believe I'm doing this, really, but I think I'm going to get back into the Warhammer scene with Age of Sigmar.  For the longest time, I've stayed away from the hobby because I think the destruction of Warhammer Fantasy was the biggest slap in the face for long-time customers.  That hatred has died down since then and I think I'm going to revisit what's left of the Warhammer universe now that it's become more popular in my area; mainly because the General's Handbook has put points back into the game.

What better time is there to get back into the hobby now that they're releasing some brand new epic models for Daemons of Chaos?  This has been a serious long time coming, but I've wanted the big bird in plastic since I was little (yes, it's really been that long).  Now that most of the Tzeentch line will be available in plastic, I think I'm going to make the plunge and get an all-plastic, fluffy, yet semi-competitive list together for the new Disciples of Tzeentch.  It's only a matter of time now before they put out Slaanesh, but until then, Tz will have to do.  Gone are the days of Mat Ward's 7th Ed. interreptation of Daemons, here are the days of something more palatable instead of getting chewed out every time you put anything Daemons on the table.

Without further ado, here is my current list and buy order:

1960
Kairos Fateweaver = 340
Lord of Change = 300
Ogroid Thaumaturge = 160
Chaos Sorcerer Lord = 140
Blue Scribes = 120
3x Burning Chariots of Tz = 480
10x Horrors = 140
10x Horrors = 140
10x Horrors = 140

Despite not being in the hobby that long (2 days of exploratory investigation), I think I have a pretty good start here for a decently competitive list.  Having seen some tidbits online for what to expect in the new book, I think having two big birds is probably going to be the best solution in a lot of situations and what's better than having both Kairos and the Lord of Change in the same list.  Although it's a little expensive to have two of them, I think they're going to be staple pieces when it comes to doing solid magical damage, gaining supremacy during magic duels, and offer a solid piece beatstick should the need arise (and it will arise).  The combat abilities from the two Greater Daemons isn't the best in the world, but they're no slouches either.  When you take into consideration what is in the new book, you can cherry pick spells out of the Daemon and Mortal Lores of Tzneetch on top of the spells you already know.  There's no better time to take as many wizards as you can that can cast multiple spells on their turn, especially when destiny dice gets involved and both of your big guys have the Mastery of Magic special rule.

Moonface trolling is probably the best thing in the entire game.

Next up is the Ogoroid Thaumaturge, and he's just a really cost-effective beatstick that also comes with a d6 mortal wounds spell.  He doesn't have the best armor, but if your job is to get in there and smash some faces while doing some damage, I think he's a great buy for 160.  The Chaos Sorcerer Lord is probably the best since since sliced bread if you're to go with big units of something.  For me, the go-to right now is the Burning Chariots of Tz.  I think these things are one of the most cost-effective options to do damage in the entire book and here's why:  They're pretty fast at 14", they have 6 wounds a piece, you can take them in units which makes them a great target for spells, they have the same shooting as a Exalted Flamer, but they can stack their mortal wounds ability unlike the rest of the guys in the book because they're a per model basis.  This means that if you have 3 Burning Chariots that all do a damage to the target, the target takes 3d3 mortal wounds instead of just one test.  They can also be made Battleline from the Herald, but for now I'm going with this line up because the Chaos Sorcerer Lord has great buff abilities.  Re-rolling 1s all over the place is just.. very Tz-like!  He will be my buff bot for the most part.  Blue Scribes is also there to buff the magic prowess of the army with Boon of Tz and combined with the Lord of Change's Beacon of Sorcery Command, getting high-result spells off will be much easier.

Lastly, we have some Horrors which will be our mainstay core units.  Since they're daemon wizards and can learn other spells, they are able to cherry pick spells from the new lore.  This makes them one of the most effective units in the book, since they're core, is basically a 10-wound wizard that can cast things in the backline or drop big bombs, and can hop around and take objectives as needed.  The shooting is decent, but nothing to write home about.

That's all I have right now.  I'm both excited and nervous at the same time for getting back in the hobby, mainly because I don't know what I'm getting into.  On paper, I want to turn a new leaf and play something a little more laxed because I already have a competitive outlet in the form of SW Armada and X-Wing.  However, I don't want my list to under-perform and I know there's some crazy beardy stuff out there for AoS in tournament settings.  Wish me luck!

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Armada: Ackbar's revenge

I actually have this as a shirt.

As we get closer to the SoCal Regionals here, I'm start to evaluate an oldie but goldie:  My MC80 Ackbar list.  I think in the current meta, the Home One is a very powerful additions that might be overlooked.  In fact, this iteration of my famous giant fishstick works really well for a number of reasons.

First, the list:

IT'S NOT A TRAP!
Author: HERO

Faction: Rebel Alliance
Points: 388/400
Commander: Admiral Ackbar
Assault Objective: Advanced Gunnery
Defense Objective: Contested Outpost
Navigation Objective: Solar Corona
Activations: 4
Deployments: 7

[ flagship ] MC80 Command Cruiser (106 points)
-  Admiral Ackbar ( 38 points)
-  Home One ( 7 points)
-  Intel Officer ( 7 points)
-  Engine Techs ( 8 points)
-  Electronic Countermeasures ( 7 points)
-  XI7 Turbolasers ( 6 points)
-  Leading Shots ( 4 points)
= 183 total ship cost

Assault Frigate Mark II B (72 points)
-  Skilled First Officer ( 1 points)
-  Gunnery Team ( 7 points)
-  Electronic Countermeasures ( 7 points)
-  XI7 Turbolasers ( 6 points)
= 93 total ship cost

GR-75 Medium Transports (18 points)
-  Comms Net ( 2 points)
= 20 total ship cost

GR-75 Medium Transports (18 points)
-  Comms Net ( 2 points)
= 20 total ship cost

1 Tycho Celchu ( 16 points)
1 Green Squadron ( 12 points)
4 A-Wing Squadrons ( 44 points)

I'll break them down here:

  • Home One allows you to spread accuracies throughout your list.  There's only one real target where this goes to, which is the MKII AF, but this is good enough if the MKII is equipped the right way.  Having Ackbar's additional reds, a free accuracy and XI7s guarantees that whatever damage you throw out will be accurate and hit hard.  The MKII is by far the best choice for a second ship here:  It benefits from Home One the most and its a very durable ship that has access to Gunnery Teams.  This allows you to throw more damage on a multiple of targets and you can possibly drop multiple floaters per turn.
  • The MC80C itself is also a pretty strong ship with a good amount of shields, solid defenses with ECMs, and 3 blues to throw out in addition to Ackbar's 5 reds.  This makes it on-par with the ISD-II in terms of damage, but with possibly larger swings in the damage compartment at the cost of fewer accuracy chances.  This is fine by me because with Intel Offier, Home One herself will hit extremely hard.  The other choice here was the MC80A, but it's a significantly more expensive ship if you also add Reinforced Blast Doors.  Sure, it gives you more a larger sample with 6 reds and 2 blues, but this also cuts down the chances you'll roll an accuracy against flotillas if you manage to slash multiple targets.  Having an entire volley from the MC80 going to waste because of Scatter is a huge letdown.
  • Multiple Comms Net floaters for me are used for various reasons.  The first one is being an extra deployment and ship activation, but the second reason is that they can be used to further increase the accuracy of my two big ships by throwing out Conc Fire tokens repeatedly.  Since their job is to strictly out-activate the opponent and drawing them ever closer to red range, having the token boats just flying around as additional blockers is never a bad thing.  For example, first round queue for CF or a single Squadron on Home One to throw 5 the next round, second round continue to CF or engineering.  Either way, the idea here is that you're working in conjunction with the activation order of your ships and what commands they'll be using.  If you're planning to Nav spam, you probably won't need Nav tokens, and instead will want damage or minor healing.  If you're planning to heal, queue up Engineering on both because 6 engineering is much better than 4.  Of course, Concentrate Fire + the token will give you much stronger results and more flexibility, especially with Leading Shots on the MC80 or Home One's accuracy modifier.
  • Lastly, my squadron selection.  I've tried a number of things here for the last couple of months, from A-Wings, to YTs, to a mix of the two, from smaller numbers (4), to larger numbers (8), and this is basically what that evolved to today:  Which is 6 A-Wings, one of which being Tycho.  The reason why Tycho stays is because of his disruption range of 5 and being able to catch any bombers straying away to make plays.  He doesn't even need to attack, all he needs to do is hold up the enemy while my bigger ships does work on the opposing fleet.  The speed-5 As really gives me that first strike advantage, although even with 5 of them being flung at the enemy from the MC80C, I'm still only throwing out 15 dice worth of blues.  It's good, but it's nowhere as good as an alpha from Imperial equivalents backed by Howl.  Either way, the thought process here is that against lower squadron counts I will win easier and my ships are already equipped for anti-ship action.  Against medium squadrons, I might do OK but I will look for a faster anti-ship solution in terms of Conc Fire or repair commands.  If fighting against a heavy bomber presence, I will go for the tie up and try to end their support ships ASAP.  Depending on the amount of bombers there are, I might need heavy repair commands while utilizing my heavier ships in ramming actions against the support floaters.

Anyways, this is my current Ackbar list that I'm fiddling around with and what I'll most likely bring to Regionals this year.  I was thinking about dropping an A-Wing for Intel Officer on the AF, but I don't think it's quite worth it.  I would rather have the additional support, but I am able to fit in both IO on the AF and bring Shara Bey instead of a generic.  My total squadron count will drop down to 5, and I'll lose a deployment because of it though.  What do you guys think?

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Armada: The Empire Strikes Back

Chimaera was an ISD-II under the command of Grand Admiral Thrawn.

This is one of the Regionals lists that I've been pondering about over the last few weeks.  No joke, I'm very close to having a change of heart and possibly switching over to Imperials for the next couple of months.  The reason is actually quite simple for me:  There is a lot of people running squadrons in my area, a lot of people are running Rebels, and Imperials seem under-presented and thought of as weaker in most cases.

Having watched Rogue One a few times already and loving the hell out of it, I figure I'd bring back one of the most iconic ships of all time and use it as a mainstay in my list.  Yes, I'm talking about the Imperial Star Destroyer.  Although, I will be using the ISD-II in my list and not the I for reasons I'll mention later.

Without further ado, the list:

THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK
Author: HERO

Faction: Galactic Empire
Points: 385/400
Commander: Admiral Motti
Activations: 3
Drops: 6

Assault Objective: Most Wanted
Defense Objective: Contested Outpost
Navigation Objective: Minefields

[ flagship ] Imperial II-Class Star Destroyer (120 points)
-  Admiral Motti ( 24 points) 
-  Avenger ( 5 points) 
-  Agent Kallus ( 3 points) 
-  Gunnery Team ( 7 points) 
-  Electronic Countermeasures ( 7 points) 
-  XI7 Turbolasers ( 6 points) 
-  Leading Shots ( 4 points) 
= 176 total ship cost

Gladiator I-Class Star Destroyer (56 points)
-  Demolisher ( 10 points) 
-  Skilled First Officer ( 1 points) 
-  Ordnance Experts ( 4 points) 
-  Engine Techs ( 8 points) 
-  Assault Proton Torpedoes ( 5 points) 
= 84 total ship cost

Gozanti-class Cruiser (23 points)
-  Suppressor ( 4 points) 
-  Comms Net ( 2 points) 
= 29 total ship cost

1 Darth Vader ( 21 points) 
1 Dengar ( 20 points) 
1 "Howlrunner" ( 16 points) 
1 "Mauler" Mithel ( 15 points) 
3 TIE Fighter Squadrons ( 24 points) 

I'm going to break this list down, piece by piece before we bring it back together for the bigger picture.

First, let's examine the ISD-II and why I think this is one of the strongest ships in the current meta:
  • For one, the weapon armament that it has stock is very good vs. the flotilla-saturated meta:  Having 4 innate blues gives you a very high chance to roll accuracies and stopping a Scatter from happening.  All you need is 4 damage to kill in most cases, 5 vs. Bright Hope and most of the time, the ISD-II will have no problem one-shotting the floaters.
  • Second, the ship has 2 blue anti-squadron dice that it can throw out in combination with Gunnery Teams.  This allows you to either engage either two different ships (possibly wiping out two flotillas), or allowing you to focus on one ship while bringing Imperial justice on all the squadrons in front of you.  There are not many ships in the game that can reliably throw out huge damage on ships and deliver two dice blues worth of AA from a large area.  This simply does not exist in the game and having this ability is a huge boon.
  • Third, Imperials have access to Agent Kallus, which is one of the most cost-effective Officer upgrades in the game.  The ability to throw out an extra dice of any color as soon as you're able to engage in AA as long as you're shooting a named pilot is amazing.  Just think about how many big names are in the meta:  Biggs, Ketsu, Jan, Tycho, Dengar, Rhymer, Norra, the list goes on and on.  Throwing out a black and 2 blues is no joke when you're shooting from blue range.  AA gets around the likes of Escort and being able to spray down an entire Biggsball will be huge in the upcoming meta.
  • Forth, the ship's upgrade slots gives you some of the best titles and upgrades in the game.  Look at Leading Shots for example:  If the only thing you see with Leading Shots is the ability to allow your ship to re-roll a bunch of ISD-II frontal firepower, you're not seeing the big picture here.  You can also Leading Shots your way with Kallus onto named fighters to re-roll a bunch of whiffs.  Let's say you roll 2 blues and a black on Biggs and whiff with all 3.  You Leading Shots a blue to re-roll 2 dice and you might turn that into raw damage.  The same can be said about fishing out killing blows on squadrons with scatter.  Throw out 3 blues and fish for that accuracy if all you need left is to push 1 damage.
  • Fifth, look at Avenger.  If the only thing you can think of when reading this is your ability to push after your Demolisher hits or when Suppressor triggers, then you're sorely mistaken.  Avenger's effect also works on shooting with AA onto squadrons that have exhausted their tokens.  You send in your squadrons, do big damage, force a few Braces and Scatters, and then you spray the lot with Kallus-driven AA.  Now you can't Brace or Scatter on those units and you're just taking straight damage while the ISD-II tears through ships and squadrons at will.
  • Sixth, you put all this above into one ship and you have one of the best ships in the game vs. the current meta.  The way I currently have it configured is big, mean, and heavily loaded to take on squadrons and ships via XI7s.  This is the biggest difference that the ISD-II has over the ISD-I, and that's the ability to take Gunnery Teams and Kallus with 4 blues vs. ships and 2 blues vs. squadrons.  In a meta like this one, you want blues and you want flak.  No other ship in the game can do that; which makes the ISD-II very unique and powerful in the meta.

Now that the mainstay ship of the list has been presented, let's add the rest.  The Demolisher shouldn't really need an introduction:  It's still one of the best ships in the game, being able to deal insane amounts of damage to any ship in the game, despite suffering a bit from being scattered to death by flotillas and man-handled by Slicer Tools.  Regardless, it's still a very credible threat and being able to out-run and threaten MC30cs from a good distance puts in up there overall.  The biggest play from Demolisher is being able to deliver the good ol' triple-tap, forcing a Brace and then Avenger will finish the rest.  I don't think there's a single ship in the game that can take firepower of that magnitude.

Next on the list is Suppressor.  This little guy is amazing in the current meta.  Again, it's the smaller things in Armada that really makes so enjoyable for me as a player.  Suppressor is incredibly strong right now because of its innate ability to hurr hurr, suppress infuriating defense tokens from everything around it; namely Scatter and Brace.  Even if it parks its ass behind the ISD-II and blows itself up after ramming into its ass, I'll be fine with it as long as it shuts down all the defense tokens that I care about and letting Avenger tear them a new asshole.  Not that it really matters because once Avenger enters kill range of flotillas (and it will, because most people forget the ISDs are actually fast), 4 blues on natural attack will most certainty do work.  Activation advantage is only temporary if you're able to reliably kill multiple ships a turn.  The Comms Net is only there to feed my ISD with setup tokens, but it's the title that really matters and the reason for bringing him.

Lastly, we take a brief look at the squadron selection since it's pretty straight forward.  You have Vader who does the best squadron damage in the game and has Escort.  Escort pulls the aggro off of Howl, which means the rest of the TIE Fighters keep hitting hard.  The reason why I need them to hit hard is because of the one-two punch with big squadron dice, followed by Avenger AA.  This combination is seriously deadly and it cannot be underappreciated.  Dengar is there to provide a little wiggle room and more Mithel play, since Mithel's job is to get around damage distributors like Biggs and Gallant Haven by doing indirect damage.  The Counter + Howl + Swarm also makes attacking into the TIEball a bad trade.  The weakness to taking TIEs however, is their serious vulnerability to enemy AA as well.  Thankfully, their damage potential is high enough that they cannot be ignored and must be dealt with.

The biggest weakness I see in this list is the drops and activations not being up to par with today's "standards".  I see a lot of 4 activation, 8 drop lists out there so deployment will be a bit trickier than most.  At 385, it's not the best initiative bid although it is pretty decent.  Activation wise, it's good at 3, but it can surely do better if I had more.  However, this means that MSU ships that do high damage with higher activation than me will give me the biggest problems.  The reason for that is because squadrons are built for anti-squadron, I'm flying around in a huge target, and getting DP'd by two shrimps from both sides is not the way I want to go.  This is a bad matchup I'm willing to take considering that the list will be really strong against the more squadron-heavy lists that rely on squadrons to do damage, and the faster initiative with two anti-ship capitals will give me the upper hand in exchanges where they only have 1 heavy hitter/flanker like the MC30c.  The only thing I'm worried about is the Admonition at this point.

Alright, well there you have it.  I'm working on another variation of this list that subs out a few squadrons for a Raider-I, but I will need a few more games with this list before I commit.  Besides, I have another Ackbar list in the works and it's going to be a difficult choice for which one I'm going to bring to Regionals.