Friday, December 24, 2010

Happy Holidays

Merry Christmas
Happy Hanukkah
Joyous Kwanzaa
Enjoy the Feast of Saturnalia
Have some Festivus for the rest of us
Merry Platypus to you all
What ever you do, enjoy the holiday season. Now I’m off to watch the best X-mas movie ever, Die Hard. That’s right.  Bruce Willis saves his wife, hostages, defeats Professor Snape all on X-mas. Best X-mas movie ever!
Then after that hopefully I can squeeze in the best X-mas special, Invader Zim’s The Most Horrible Christmas.

Gir: I wants me a barrel of flies. I wants me two balls of glue to be my friends! And I wants to go dancing naked!
Young Prof. Membrane: Oh, boy! I asked Santa for twelve cases of Uranium 238. Yaaay!

(Prof. Membrane opens a present. Tube socks shoot out from the present and fill the room.)

Young Prof. Membrane: Nooo! Santa has let me down! I will turn my back on him and devote a portion of my life to destroying Santa!
Just two of my favorite quotes from this special, by two of my favorite characters!
YES MERRY PLATYPUS TO YOU ALL! (more Invader Zim Christmas) and see you all after the Holiday.

The Wracks

This is a unit I am very happy to see in the codex. It is also a unit I would run 3 squads of and would enjoy making models for, the Wracks. Well neither pic below is the Dark Eldar variety, but they were what Google gave me for images.
A not so scary set of torture racks

Torture Racks

For the cost of a dime we get a unit with WS, BS (why a BS skill?), tough, and initiative of 4. They have only one wound and one attack (but come with 2 close combat weapons) a 6+ save, leadership 8, and strength 3. They also have the standard power through pain and night vision. They can also run in squads of 3-10. So why do I like this unit? Well besides they are small Frankenstein monsters, they have a few fun rules.
First is altered physique, which gives them a pain token to start. So feel no pain is nice to start the game with. It helps off set the horrible 6+ save.
Next is the fact they come armed with two close combat weapons that are poisoned 4+. This is awesome and helps with their strength 3. Sure, they don’t get the cool re-roll poison against marines and higher toughness, but they also have a 50/50 chance to wound. That is better than needing 5’s, 6’s or not even being unable to wound due being 2x +1 tough vs. strength (or double tough vs. strength it depends). They, if they hit, have the potential to take down a lot of targets. I say potential, since everything will get armor saves.
What else can these guys get? Well they have the standar upgrade, the Acothyst. He costs as much as a standar Wrack to upgrade gives +1 attack and +1 leadership. For the low cost, why not take one? Any leadership bump is good, even if it is only from 8 to 9. Plus he gives the option to take special upgrade weapons. Sure he can take the usual suspects; the venom blade and agonize. Then there are the “arcane-ish” weapons. The first two justify the need for a ballistic skill, but why do Wracks, outside of the Acothyst, need a BS of 4?
Stinger Pistol which is a pistol that wounds on a 2+ is one shot and there you go. It is what it is.
The Hexrifle is interesting as it has a 36” range, sniper, poison and assault one. If it causes an unsaved wound, that model must take a wound test (roll under their base wound stat) or be removed from play. There are no saves of any kind that can stop this ability. This sounds fun, but it doesn’t ignore armor. It also does not take away a close combat weapon, so the Acothyst can still fight with his close combat weapon bonus. It is fun if it works, but do not put too much faith in it. I can see it being used to keep independent characters in squads and put some fear into multi-wound models with average to poor armor.
A Flesh Gauntlet has an awesome description of what it does. It causes extreme growth, unit the target basically outgrows their body and explodes in a maelstrom of gore! AWESOME! It a poison 4+ weapon and causes instant death regardless of toughness if it causes an unsaved wound. So it is much like the Hexrifle in that it will scare multi-wound models with an average to poor armor save.
The Scissorhand looks to be my favorite choice as it is poisoned at 3+. It also can be used along with close combat weapons meaning it gives an extra +1 attack. Mr. Acothyst would be running with 4 (5 on the charge) attacks that wound on 3+. I like this option.
Now we have the Electrocorrosive Whip which is a power weapon, but strength 3 ick. It does have the ability to ½ the targets strength if it causes an unsaved wound. This is nice. However, it only lasts that round and is coming from a strength 3 attack.
Last is the Mindphase Gauntlet. This thing does no real damage. Seriously it doesn’t. I does for every hit scored force the target to take both a leadership and a strength test (roll under both). If any of these fail, then the model may not attack further that round. Having to roll leadership and strength per hit scored is also nice, as eventually they will miss a roll and stop their assault. It is nice to keep people from attacking, but it lasts only that combat round and you need to have a higher initiative to really take advantage of this.
So the Acothyst (who names these things really) can take many options, but the favorite for me looks to be the Scissorhand for the 3+ poison and extra attack.
The squad itself can take only one weapon option, the Liquifer gun. One in five Wracks can carry this weapon, and it doesn’t replace a close combat weapon so they will not lose the extra close combat attack. This is strength 4 flamer with a variable AP and is as cheap costs as much as a Wrack or Acothyst, it is cheap.  If you have been following these reviews, then you know I dislike random and variable rolls. However, I’ll let it slide here. This weapon used to be only available to Haemonculi, and did the same thing. The variable AP is nice since ½ the time it will ignore power armor, which appears to be the prevalent armor in most gaming circles.  It also requires no ballistic skill roll. Which is another reason why, I wonder, do Wracks need a BS 4? Sure it is nice for the Acothyst if he wants a Hexrifle, but regular Joe Lunchbox Wrack could have a BS 1 and skill hit with his Liquifer. Maybe it would lower them a point or two thus making them too cheap? Who knows why?
These guys can also take the Raider or Venom for transport. I’ll get to the use of these things one day. Hopefully.
Last is the ability to be used as troops, if a Haemonculus is a HQ choice. Wait…cheap-o troops that come with feel no pain to start? Cheap-o troops (if you run them in squads of 3 but that to me is madness) that need to only a cheap-o HQ and that leaves open more points to spend on other units and stuff. Yes! I like this ability the best.
So if I run (and will if I ever play this army again) a unit of Wracks what would they be like? Well ten Wracks, Acothyst with Scissorhand, and two Liquifer Guns. I think two squads like this if not three or four with a Haemonculus or two leading them, giving them an extra pain token if in the squad, (Thank you furious charge) and more than likely half coming from a webway portal. Their multiple poison close combat attacks, feel no pain to start, possible AP 3, 2 or 1 flamers and modeling fun really make me like this unit.

ADDENDUM: After a look at my codex, the Liquifer Gun does replace a close combat weapon.  I apologize for this mistake. I still feel they are worth the cost and the loss of one poison attack, shouldn't hamstring a full squad of these guys.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Hello Mr. Soulgrinder!

After seeing this monster I think I might have to make me a Soulgrinder. That or I could turn this thing into a Greater Unclean One/ Kuglath the Plague Father. Either way I love the look of this thing, which is a Hellpit Abomination for Skaven. It is just ugly and awesome all in one.

A little removal of rat heads and an introduction of gun barrels, some chains, putty, little feet removal, add some mechanical bits,bobs, widgets.....and BANG! A horrid looking Soulgrinder.

Could also remove rat heads, little legs, add nurglings, some rust chains, open wounds, pus and a slime trail...BOOM! A Greater Unclean One/ Kuglath the Plague Father.

Credit where credit is due, this looks like great work from you Games Workshop! They really hit some thing out of the park: Baneblade, Stompa, Drop pods, Valkyrie, Trygon and now this beautiful thing.

Now that I've said that....get back to work on more 40K armies!

Wyches and Warriors wait we covered this already?

The next two elite entries will be real quick reviews, since I’ve pretty much already done them. Kabalite Trueborn and Hekatrix Bloodbrides are the elite versions of the wych and warrior troop choices. Why and how are they different…….well actually not very.
The Hekatrix Bloodbrides one will notice have the same Wych stat line except for +1 attack and +1 leadership. That is all. They also cost a paltry 3 points more than the standard Wych. They can run in squads of 3-10 and have the same basic pistol and close combat weapon, fleet, night vision, dodge 4+, combat drugs and power through pain.
They have the same wych weapons at the same costs, but they may take one for every three, instead of one in five. This is nice since you’ll want to run 9-10 in the squad anyway.
They also get the standard unit upgrade, a Syren, who only gives you +1 attack over the standard Bloodbride. She may also get the same weapon upgrades (agonize, venom blade, power weapon blast pistol) and phantasm launcher.
The squad may also take haywires (bad bad stay away from these and vehicles) for the same cost per model and plasma grenades for a point per model (go with the phantasm launcher it is a better bargin). They also have the same transport option in the Raider and Venom.
So why take Bloodbrides over Wyches? Well more attacks, better leadership and more wych weapon options are what the Bloodbrides bring to the table. However, you can only take 9-30 Bloodbrides where Wyches can get you 30-90 models and scoring troops. I guess if you like the Wych Cult aspect, then they are mandatory to fill that list with angry girl power. They also become a nice assault unit if you roll the right drugs and if you can get one if not two pain tokens on them.
There really is not much more to say about them that has not already been covered in the Wych review. They are that similar. I would even run exactly like Wych squads, just at 10 strong and with the added extra Razorflail or Impaler/Shardnet.
The Kabalite Trueborn are the elite choice of Kabalite Warriors. They are also very similar to their troop brothers. They run 2 points more than a Kabalite Warrior and that gives you +1 attack and +1 leadership. These are the only differences in the stat line between Kabalites and Trueborn. They do have a smaller squad size of 3-10, but have all the same rules: fleet, night vision and power through pain. They even come with the standard issued splinter rifle. They may purchase plasma and haywire grenades for each guy in the squad. I see this as a bad choice as I do not want my Trueborn in combat with vehicles or guys. I want them shooting stuff.
They get a few different weapon options. Any Trueborn can replace his splinter rifle for a splinter pistol and close combat weapon for free. This is an awful choice as these guys are not meant to be in the thick of hand-to-hand there are so many better choices for that role. They may also swap out their rifles for splinter carbines. Sure they lose range and rapid fire, but gain assault weapons and more shots.
They may also take the same special and heavy weapons as the Kabalite Warriors, except they can take more of them. They may take 0-4 shredders or blasters in the squad. This is not a one in so many may take, it is 0-4 total. So, the option to take a small squad with four blasters for armor or shredders (ewwww) for crowd control is completely viable.
Then they may take 0-2 heavy weapons being the dark lance and splinter cannon. This gives the ability to take a shadow of the former two dark lances in a squad of ten guys. Now it can be done in a squad of three. Sure they won’t last long, but they can scare people with two dark lances. The alternative is to add two splinter cannons for crowd control/lots o’ poisoned shots at range.  The cost of all these weapons are pretty much the exact same as they are for the Kabalites which is nice. All these guns give you the option to really make a threatening little ranged weapon squad. I think these will be the Sternguard of the Dark Eldar players. I foresee many many squads with four blasters and/or twin splinter cannons. I think you will also see small squads with dual dark lances in a Venom or Raider.
Yes, they may also take the same transport options of Venom and Raider.
Last is the option to get a unit upgrade, the Dracon, which gives you an extra attack and that is all. He also has the same weapon upgrades: blast pistol, venom blade, agonizer or power weapon. He may also purchase ghostplate armor and a phantasm launcher. These are just as bad as they are for the Kabalite squad leaders. These last two items are points spent better elsewhere. If you have spare points think about the venom blade on this guy. Having four attacks that wound on 2+ is nice as a last line of defense (I like agonizers power weapon ability, but I like weight of wounds better).
This unit is also like the Bloodbrides in its similarity to their troop counterpart. If you want a full Kabal these guys are the guys for you. If you want a lot of close combat troops then these guys can be built to open armor to help them. If you want small squads to fly up and drop out to unload four blasters at something, then they can do that as well. They can even be give close combat weapons and pistols to become an assault unit? Yeah look at how many Eldar Storm Guardian armies there are or close combat guard armies and you will see the futility of that choice. It is a choice though. Finally they will be much better if they get a pain token on them, much like the rest of the army. 
So there are the next two elite choices of the Dark Eldar. They are basically mirror images of their troop counterparts, with just a few subtle differences and options.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Mandrakes and Kheradruakh an Elite-ish review

Mandrakes were once the worst unit in the Dark Eldar codex. Then they got their new codex, and the Mandrake unit received a much needed revision in rules and models (as did the whole army I know). How do they fare now? What are they good for? Who is their special HQ character? Let us look and see.
not sure if he would be more useful for the Dark Eldar
 The Mandrakes have a descent exposition to get you interested. Then we look to the stats and abilities and this is where I scratch my head. Why? Well we start with mostly Astartes stats and cost ; WS 4, BS 4, S 4, not bad. We then hit toughness 3, standard for space elves. They have a nice initiative of 5 as well. They come with 2 base attacks, not bad at strength 4. Then there is the leadership of 8, not stellar, but on par with the army. Last is the 5+ invulnerable save, which is all they have. I cringe at this; since we all know I have zero faith in a 5+ save (playing demons taught me this). They fall into the marine point cost as well and can be run in squads of 3-10. So there are their stats, which aren’t awful, but then we look at their rules.
They may spend a few points get a unit upgrade that comes with +1 attack and +1 leadership, the Nightfiend. It is cheap enough that if one is running Mandrakes, they should upgrade for the leadership bump. These are assault guys and every little bit helps if you lose combat.
They have the standard night vision, power from pain and fleet like most of the Dark Eldar. We then pile on; stealth, infiltrate and move through cover. So this adds some tactical uses for them. Right? Last is their Baneblast ability. It is a shooting attack that is 18” range, strength 4, AP 4, Assault 2 with pinning. So, this is not an awful weapon/ability. Wait, the unit needs a pain token to use it. Here lies my problem with the Mandrake.
This unit needs a pain token to shoot and help survive close combat (much like the rest of the army I know). This is not easy to attain as their hand-to-hand attacks don’t ignore armor, and they can’t shoot units prior to assault to soften them. So wiping out a unit is no easy task for them. So, how do Mandrakes get a pain token?
Well a Heamonculus can be added to get the token he grants a unit. This does take away the Mandrake’s infiltrate/ scout and fleet abilities as the Heamonculus does not have these rules (hey, but the Heamonculus gets stealth so that is a bonus). This will hamstring the Mandrakes ability to get into combat faster and easier. I think they need to outflank/infiltrate to be effective. The Heamonculus is an option, but not a super great one.
So without the pain token they will suffer a bit, as will their assaults. The Mandrakes also have no grenades. This will hamper their initiative 5; the chance to strike first is huge for a toughness 3 and 5+ invulnerable save unit. Mandrakes would be idea for hitting backfield sitting heavy weapon teams, long fangs, lootas, war walkers, etc. However, the lack of grenades makes assaults against dug in units a bad choice for Mandrakes as the losses the can take from going at initiative 1 can potentially/ really hamper their assault (maybe the dice are with you and you hit the 5+ saves who knows?)
What is this unit for then? Well it has assault potential, just not against units in cover. It has a descent shooting ability (S 4, AP 4, Assault 2 and pinning), but it is not easy to unlock it.  They can get better with pain tokens, which they will have trouble getting. They have stealth which makes them better in cover verse shooting and sitting there for some reason. They can fleet and infiltrate/ outflank, which can help get them into position faster (unless your outflank roll is for the edge side).  It just looks like Mandrakes do not make much sense; much like they did last codex.
Mandrakes also have the problem of being Elite, which pits them against much better assault units, like Wracks, Grotesques, and Hekatrix Bloodbrides. The question is how or if players will use Mandrakes? I just see better choices in the Elite slot besides them, unfortunately just like the last codex.

There is also a Mandrake HQ choice! I might as well review him since it is Mandrake review day.

Kheradruakh is not this guy

Kheradruakh is the old edition Decapitator. He is a Mandrake with, once again, some descent exposition. He rolls in at 70 x 2 points (listing points is bad! G.W. will get me), which is middle ground for most special characters in the 5th edition 40K universe. Ok, so let us dive into this guy and see what he is and does.
He has a nice stat line with WS 6, BS 5, S 5, W 3, A 4, I 6 and Ld 9. Then we add the mostly army wide tough 3 and Mandrake 5+ invulnerable. So far he is not awful. He is a HQ so he might be able to join, help or do some cool unlocking ability for Mandrakes right? Wrong. He is a one man unit so he can not join his weird skinned brothers or any other unit. He also brings nothing to the table for Mandrakes either. It would have been nice to give Mandrakes a pain token if Kheradruakh is your HQ or some other silliness, but no.
Well, maybe he has some cool things he can do as a one man gang. He has the Mandrake abilities of; fleet, stealth, power from pain, move through cover, and baneblast. He also has shadestalker, hunter of heads and altered physique. He is also armed with the Decapitator. Wow these sound cool what are they?!
Shadestalker is much like the ability of Marbo and Deathleaper. He comes in from reserve and is placed anywhere on the board (1” away from models). This will definitely get him to the position you want, it is only a matter of when.
Hunter of Heads gives you preferred enemy against one independent character nominated by the Dark Eldar player. This can be good or bad depending on the character and if you want to attack him. Some independent characters are softer than others.
Altered Physique gives Kheradruakh a pain token to start the game. This is truly helpful as he starts with feel no pain and can fire off his baneblast.
Last is the Decapitator. It is power weapon that will cause instant death on a wound roll of 6 regardless of toughness. This means if the goes after a Wraithlord, he will kill it outright if you can roll a 6 to wound. This is not great, but for people that think rending is good, they will go crazy about this. The best part is that this is a strength 5 power weapon. The instant death is just an afterthought.
So his abilities help him a bit that is for sure. The problem lies with his deployment and toughness. Sure he can drop in where you want him, but it falls into the dice as to when your reserves appear. He also cannot do anything but shoot or run after appearing from the shadows (as his ability states). This leaves him open to a round of incoming fire before he can do anything cool. With the weapons most armies can bring to the field, I see Kheradruakh eating a melta gun, plasma gun, auto cannon or missile before he gets to do anything. Sure he has feel no pain, stealth and a 5+ invulnerable save but his toughness is where this fails him. He gets one roll to save vs. double tough and AP 1-2 (which most AP 1-2 will double tough him and wound on 2+) or he is gone. Heck even a descent sized squad of bolters can take this guy down as they will have an easier time wounding him. So he cannot easily weather any kind of ballistic assault and I imagine if he is used he will be shot to ribbons before he can get to his prey.
Then there is the problem of being an assault oriented guy, which he is do not let his shooting attack distract you, with no grenades. Just like his Mandrake brothers, he will waste his initiative on units in cover. I don’t care how cool he looks or his stats a one man toughness 3 unit going into cover and going at initiative 1 is a bad idea. I don’t care what his abilities are.  He is another ideal unit for hitting soft targets like the ones I listed for Mandrakes. He might be a cool headhunter of other one man HQ units like Sanquinor, Mephiston, the Swarmlord, and the like. However, I think he is not tough enough to take them down consistently. A lucky 6 to wound is all it takes, but you need a lucky 6 or Kheradruakh will fall to the other one man HQ units.
He also has the problem of competing with all the other HQ choices. I think most of them are better for an army than him, both in cost and use. So how could we fix Kheradruakh? Well, he could have just been an Elite choice. Why not? He seems to fit there instead of HQ. He could let you open the door to let Mandrakes as troops. Why not? They do not appear that overpowered. If they were open as troops and Kheradruakh was at the helm, it could be fun. They could have pulled the teeth from him a bit and just made him a Mandrake upgrade. Make him their Snikrot, Vulcha, Telion or numerous Imperial Guard leaders. If this was the case, maybe people would use him and Mandrakes more often. Sure they would have to tool him down a bit, but it would have made more sense than having him be a (what appears to me as a sub) HQ choice for the points associated. Hopefully, they get a kick’n model for him. That will at least get people excited and generate some sales.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Stop Voyger 1 before it is too late!

“Voyager 1 is nearing the edge of the solar system.
Since 2004, the unmanned probe has been exploring a region of space where the solar wind slows abruptly and crashes into the thin gas between stars.

NASA said recent readings show the solar wind has slowed to zero, meaning the spacecraft is getting ever closer to the solar system's edge.

It'll take about four more years before Voyager 1 completely exits the solar system and enters interstellar space.”  

The Associated Press
Copyright 2010 / All Rights Reserved

V'Ger is so sparkly, like X-mas!

So what does all this mean? Well that Star Trek the Motion Picture might be coming true, kind of true. Does anyone even remember that film? V’Ger was trolling around the glaxy causing problems. Star Fleet sends to Enterprise to check it out. Seems the probe Voyager 6; got damaged, ran amuck of some alien machine race, got fixed, kept learning, became sentient and having learned all it can, needs some help from the “creator” to finish stuff. Sounds awesome, well it isn’t the best , but without this movie they might not made Wrath of Khan (the good Star Trek movie). Anyway…..

Sure it was Voyager 6 in the movie and not our Voyager 1. Sure it hasn’t broke down or met an alien race of machines, but once it leaves the solar system it might. So hooray! We might one day be faced with our own V’Ger. Hopefully, Star Fleet will be in place by then to deal with it.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Troop choice 2 of 2

The second troop choice Dark Eldar have are the Wyches. They are the stabby option of the two troop choices. They were once elite and semi-expensive for Dark Eldar. Now they are core and only a mere point higher than Kabalite Warriors. Let us have a look at them shall we?

They run the same weapon skill, ballistic skill, strength, toughness and leadership as the warriors. They come with a better initiative 6 and a save that is better and worse, 6+ and 4+ invulnerable in combat. They are also armed with a splinter pistol and close combat weapon, giving them really a base of two attacks. They also have plasma grenades so cover won’t pull the teeth out of their assaults either. To think, all this for one point more than warriors! Not to bad, unless they are out side of combat and cover. They also have fleet, night vision, power through pain and combat drugs. The last two are the truly important rules. One pain token on Wyches is great, but get them two and they shine even brighter! There is nothing better than furious charge on an assault unit no is there. Plus strength 3 for assaults is awful, just for the record how many close combat guard and Eldar armies do you see? Proof enough?

Now back to combat drugs. These can make Wyches so much better or just make them better, even the blah result. These are rolled for pre-game. Yes rolled for as they are random. Yes random is bad, but the other option is paying points per squad for them, which would make sense but we aren’t here to make sense. They did write in nice fluff for why they are random, but that still doesn’t make it any better. So roll a D6 and see what we get……”rolling noise”

  1. Hypex- roll 3D6 and take highest on run/ fleet rolls.
  2. Serpentin- +1 weapon skill
  3. Grave Lotus- +1 strength
  4. Pain Bringer- re-roll wounds in close combat
  5. Adrenalight- +1 attack
  6. Splintermind- start with a pain token

As we can see, a roll of one is just a big old cup of fail. Well unless you are running squads on foot or out of a webway. It doesn’t really doesn’t make that a better roll. One is really the worst result here. All the other options are really descent for an assault unit. This is also a whole army roll, not unit to unit. That will make tracking of and playing drugged units easier.

So now let’s look at the squad. It can ran 5-15 in number, one in every five Wyches can take a special close combat weapon, and one can be upgraded to a Hekatrix (typical unit upgrade +1 attack +1 leadership). They seem pretty standard so far, but what are these super fun weapons they can take?

The Razorflails are two weapons that allow re-rolls to hit and wound. These are nice because any re-roll is a good re-roll. Plus it is hits and wounds so look for some damage out put from these.

The Impaler and Shardnet take away an attack for every model in base contact (to a minimum of one). This adds a nice level of protection to the squad. Get these next to multi-attack models or help out a bit if you happen to get charged. Not a bad weapon swap there.

Hydra Gauntlets replace your +1 attack with +D6 attacks. It seems like a watered down Mark of the Wulfen here. These seem cool, but getting random D6 strength 3 attacks isn’t cool. If you hope to roll Grave Lotus for your combat drug these look much better, but random chance is random chance. They also compete with the other two which look to be better options.

The squad can take haywire grenades per guy or girl. This gives them some help if they hit armor or are hit by a walker (the bane of most of this army’s non vehicles). I would not spend the extra points and hope other aspects of my force would deal or help remove walkers/ vehicles prior to the Wyches getting there.

The Hekatrix is the unit upgrade for this unit. It gives the standard +1 to leadership and +1 attack. They can also take the standard blast pistol, venom blade, power weapon and agonizer. The options are all descent again, especially if the combat drugs fall the right way. A 3+ to hit agonizer is much more likely to do damage. A venom blade is always nice at 2+ to wound. It is also better at 3+ to hit or strength 4, giving that nice re-roll on wounds that miss (if your strength is equal or more than the opponent’s toughness).

The blast pistol in this squad seems a better fit than with warriors. Wyches need to get close and open transports. They want to get into combat. So, a blast pistol can really help with this. I would spend the extra points to get this on the Hekatrix.

Last they can take a phantasm grenade launcher. It costs ½ as much as the warrior version and benefits the Wyches much, much better. Why not give the squad offensive and defensive grenades? This added with impaler/ net would make receiving a charge not that bad and infuriate your attacker. Oh all those missed extra charge attacks!

They can also take the obligatory Raider. This is both good and bad for the squad. They will be more maneuverable, but will fall victim to losses if the Raider blows up. It also gets them a dark lance to help crack armor prior to charging. Once again the Raider is a personal or play style choice.

I was never a user of Wyches. I didn’t like the cost, use and models. Now the models look pretty damn good. They also weapon options I like, razorflails. So, how would I use a Wych squad?  Like them out of a webway. Why? The main reason is safety. If they aren’t on the board they aren’t dying. Second is the first turn or two I’m trying to get armor open and soften up targets with shooting. Then the Wyches come through the webway to mop up. Yes this is theory, but it is how I would run them.

Squad size for me would be 12-15. I would add the Hekatrix with phantasm launcher and venom blade. Two would be armed with razorflails or three if I was running the full 15. Hopefully get a pain token or two and watch the assault potential grow.

A second squad would be 12-15 with a Hekatrix, agonizer and 2-3 impaler/shard nets. This squad could hit and hopefully tar pit units with the occasional 4+ power weapon wound and loss of attacks. Look for them to hit multi-attack squads as impaler/ nets have no real use on one attack units. Also with a single pain token they could do a good job tar pitting a unit (unless it is brimming over with power weapons).

So the Wyches are not a multipurpose unit, but they aren’t made to be. They are made to assault and depending on drug rolls and pain tokens, look to be pretty damn good at it.

Dark Eldar troops 1 of 2

My thoughts on the Dark Eldar troop choices here and what wonderful choices they are. We only have two and I think that is fine. That is a 100% increase from the previous codex (outside of wych cult silliness). I’ll be covering the Kabalite Warriors and Wyches. I know Wracks can be made troops, but they are essentially an elite unit and I’ll get to them in turn. I’ll start first with my old favorite choice.

Kabalite Warriors, the guardsmen of the Dark Eldar. They are quite a bargain for the stats they have. They are as skilled with ballistic and melee weapons as the Astartes, they are as fast as most Eldar aspects, but are only as strong, tough, brave and armored as Imperial Guardsmen. They also have the Dark Eldar rules of fleet, night vision and power through pain. The last rule being the best. A single pain token can add so much to these guys. You can also run as few as five dudes or as many as twenty.This gives you a nice variety of squad sizes to try. They also can run in Raiders for added mobility. So far they seem pretty descent. Let us look at their weapon load out.

They come armed with splinter rifles that have a nice 4+ poison attached to them, and have the standard 24” -12” rapid fire rules. This is a nice anti- everything save vehicle gun. Sure it gets no cool poison weapon re-roll like the close combat variety, but it can threaten anything that has a toughness value. It is also a huge boost compared to the previous strength 3 splinter rifles. Then there are the weapon upgrades they can take.

First is the shredder, which one warrior can take, but why? Sure it is a strength 6 blast with zero AP. It also has a 12” range so that isn’t stellar either. If the range was a bit farther it might be a nice addition. Strength 6 and blast will wound most models on 2+ and that is a nice little threat, the range makes it sub par. It is the cheapest weapon upgrade these guys can take.

Second is the blaster, the non-melta gun. Is a nice strength 8 AP 2 lance gun, but I find short range anti-tank bad on warriors. I think there are better anti-tank platforms out there besides the Kabalites. Yes it is lance, but unless you are getting super close to Landraiders or the front of Russ tanks, it really isn’t that great. A mostly 50%-50% to penetrate armor and at close range is not my idea of a good time. Then there are the gooey insides of the transport you blew open (hopefully) with the blaster. Warriors are not assault specialists, so don’t look for them to do much besides maybe die in the explosion or get beat down in the assault or following shooting phase. Wow, I spent a little more time here than I thought, but the intetrweb seems to like the blaster so I guess it was needed.

So call me crazy, but I wouldn’t bother taking this gun in the squad either. Why? Only one per squad is lame. You are just as likely to miss with it as you are to hit. Please don’t quote stats here. I am speaking from practical and years of experience. One shot to kill a tank or wound something usually misses or fails to wound, from my experiences. Why not let the squad take two blasters (or shredders) maximum?

Next is the first of two heavy weapon choices, the splinter cannon. This is another 4+ poison weapon, but it has range. It can both shoot as an assault weapon or a heavy. As an assault gun it cranks out 4 shots at 36” or as a heavy can do 6 at 36”. So it complements both the sit and shoot or move and shoot styles. It can also be taken by one in every ten models. It seems like a very viable option and cheap as chips.

Last is the dark lance. Oh the dark lance how you haven’t changed; strength 8, AP 2, 36” and lance. What isn’t known about you? You were once the greatest value in ten man warrior squads as they could field two of you. Well now it takes twenty guys to get two of these weapons and they run five points higher than before. Still twenty warriors and two dark lances isn’t super expensive game wise, just a bit unwieldy for the cover needed to keep them alive. I think the anti-tank that this can put out is nice, but the Ravager is, once again, a better, cheaper, and faster platform for this weapon.

Now we have the unit upgrade to Sybarite. It is cheap, gives you a +1 to leadership, and a guy with an extra attack. Leadership 8 is bad so if I can get to 9 with a few extra points I’m doing it. He can take the blast pistol, venom blade, power weapon, agonizer, and a close combat weapon and splinter pistol for weapons. The weapons are pick and choose, but the only real choices seem to be the venom blade and agonizer. The blast pistol is there for the people who want a 6” blaster. I don’t like the option, but many others do.

He can also grab ghostplate armor and a phantasm grenade launcher. These both seem like bad choices. Sure the armor will give your Sybarite some survivability at a point increase, but it really isn’t worth the cost of him and armor and weapons. The grenade launcher would help with assaults both for and against (it gives offensive and defensive grenades) however, there are better assault units and they can get these cheaper. Warriors are your shooty, not stabby choices.

Last is the option to transport warriors in a Raider. I’ll get to the Raider later, but for 65 points, armed with dark lance, fast, skimmer and open topped, it isn’t a bad transport. It is just added points to the squad and it will get shot down. It will also take Kabalites with it when it does. The transport option is purely a play style choice and not a bad one. It is there if you want, and it this will be discussed later.

So my ideal Kabalite squad would be……..? Well I would have to say at least one 20 man squad with two splinter cannons. This would be a nice back field objective sitter. Units outside of a transport and within 24” of these guys and units will crumble for the amount of fire they can put out, let alone the amount inside of 12". Hopefully, get a pain token on them (somehow) and they can stay around a bit longer than hoped.

A couple squads of 10-12 men with a splinter cannon, Sybarite and venom blade. These would be either moving to shoot where needed, or coming out of a webway portal. Why the venom blade? Well if I have to attack I would rather wound on a 2+ than hope for a 50%-50% agonizer. I tend to go for quantity over quality when it comes to wounding. It is also cheap and a squad like this needs to be cheap.

Last would be a ten man squad with a dark lance in a raider. This is a poor man’s more expensive Ravager. Yet, it scares marines with its two dark lances and movement ability.

So there are the Kabalite Warriors. They aren’t marines, but they shouldn’t be. They are effective, cheap and plentiful. They can be made to be anti-armor, anti-troop, and even anti-big gribbly. They are yet another multi-role unit in this army.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Summoned demons?

These are my counts as summoned demons, well the servo skulls are. The cyber hounds used to be attached to my techpriest/ chaos lord. Now I guess I can use them for summoned demons or marine stand-ins?

Anyhoo, a Mechanicus force needs some servo skulls and they work well as demons. The only real problem with them is the true line o' sight. They are a little small and some might say shenanigans to them when/ if it  comes to cover. This is a downside to true line o' sight, it hinders some creative modelling. If I ever get my Necrons out they will get all sorts of true line shenanigans, as about 1/2 of my warriors are in various stages of coming out of the ground.

So, here is another small part of my 1st Chaos force. Now back to work on Night Lords.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Dark Eldar fast attack thoughts


Dark Eldar fast attack choices are where we are today. They have made some descent progress in this force organization slot. Let us look at them.

The original Hellions. WOW what was Marvel thinking back then?

Hellions are up first and are no longer a 0-1 choice. Hell with a HQ choice they become troops making them potentially 0-9. That is madness, but someone will try it eventually.  Well what is left to say about Hellions? Well, nothing really. The internet has spoken and G.W.  has with descent models, barring bad hair on a few.

So yes new Hellions are descent. They have the stun claw item, which might be fun, but against the wrong Independent character will get them eaten alive in combat.
They have access to the standard unit upgrade and the weapons that come with them, venom blade, power weapon, agonizer, etc.  Seriously the interweb looks to love these guys and reviews can be found a lot of places about them. They are better than they were, but really that didn’t take too much to do.

So much cooler than the alternate 40K reavers
Next are the Reavers. This is another interweb super reviewed unit. They can move super turbo fast as we have all know for 6 months. This was the really 1st “leak” that everyone latched onto. I thumbed my nose at it. If the ability to turbo boost farther is your top seller then what is wrong here? I see they are now 5+ armor.  5+ armor is awful on a one wound 20+ point model.  They also are base strength 3 now. I liked bikes before. I ran a squad of seven and they were fun and a threat. They were also 4+ armor and strength 4. I hate to say it, but they were a survivable unit for the Dark Eldar. Their 3(4) toughness and 4+ armor made them a "tough" unit previously. They could also deliver a independent character on a bike, which is now not an option. Thank the gods I never finished my Archon on bike. I weep for all of you other players that now have them to use as……..????

Now they can go fast and cut up units they pass over/through, at strength 4 unless upgraded.  Another neat-o ability, but it is randomized hits and strength 4 with - AP. Sure you can dump points to make one guy, strength 4 with pinning or 6, but then you are looking at a 30-40+ point model that will eat it from a passing Rhino storm bolter. No thank you!

Yes they can deliver heat lances/blasters, but that is a double edge sword. Sure they can pop a transport or tank with it. Then what? They aren’t super good in assault, unless further upgraded for it, and die the following turn if left out in the open to the transports incoming potentially unloaded troops. That is if they even pop the transport with heat lances or blasters. Nothing is certain folks, we all know high strength, melta or AP 1 weapons that fail to penetrate or blow up a vehicle. These rolls have happened to us all.

Yes, I know their other rules and upgrades can make them better (or look better), but they are still too pricey for me to run in a descent squad.

So the old version of bikes was far superior to these. I’ll say it and stick to it. Take away the blade vein and turbo boost farther gimmick and nobody is excited for this unit. Yes, the new models for Reavers rock! They really do, but the stats and cost make them just a bad choice.  I will never be sold on using them.

A random Google image for the word scourge, looks more neat-o than a barbed whip.
Now Scourges intrigue me. They have moved these from the previous old heavy slot to fast. This is another smart G.W. move.  Getting them into fast attack will hopefully get these guys on the tables.
They run 20+ points and are jump packers, but this doesn’t phase me. Why? Well they come with a 4+ save, can grab cover easier, and can deep strike. All of these make for a little more survivability. Now if only there were current models for them.

They come with a shard carbine, which is a nice anti personnel gun, and 2 in every 5 can be upgraded to have dark lances, splinter cannons, haywire blasters, heat lance, shredders and a partridge in a pear tree. You get it, these guys can bring some descent firepower to the table. Their squad size is 3-10. This makes for a 3 man heat lance wielding  70+ point squad. Why? Cheap-o suicide squad. Ask Chaos players about this and you’ll get a talk about 3 man Terminators with 2-3 combi-meltas of around 100 points. 

A small squad of 3 is cheap, can drop in and hopefully melt that tank or transport so your Kabal can unless lots of poison at range. That is unless the 2 in 5 doesn’t mean one guy in a 3 or 4 man squad can’t carry one special gun. Mayhaps G.W. will fix this in a errata. Why would the min size be 3 and not allow a special gun? So until then, this is subject to rules interp., RAW, RAI and all the name calling and arguments reserved for that discussion. I'm looking at you internet forums.

Even still if G.W. doesn’t allow 1-3 or 4 to carry one special weapon, so be it. Five of these guys and one or two specials doesn’t make them a cost prohibitive unit. They can be built to drop in a threaten any target type: anti troop add splinter cannons or “gulp” shredders, armor problems, haywire guns (glance on 2-5, pen on 6 just try shooting next turn Mr. Tank), blaster, heat lances and dark lances? Well dark lances are cool, but there is a better platform for these.

There are also the obligatory Dark Eldar rules for them I won’t expound on and the unit upgrade guy which eats points and doesn’t look to help much.

Why more of the web isn’t seeing this gem of a unit is beyond me.  Scourges look to be super useful and hopefully more people will see it soon.

Last is the Beastmasters another unit I think is a diamond in the rough. It can be a cheap-o counter assaulter or a expensive front liner, your choice.

Beastman finally realizing the world can see his blue and furry underpants.

First is the squad, it is 1-5 Hellion-ish masters. One of which can be given the standard unit upgrade weapons. No real big thing here, but then you get to the beasts, which each master must take one choice.

Razorwings are where I’ll start since they are my least favorite. They are a 0-2 choice and are the mid range in cost of the three choices. They shine in the weapon skill, initiative and attack (5's) department. They also multiple wounds, have rending (which is meh) and are only strength 3 and armor 5+ or maybe 6+ either way not stellar. So they are a descent choice and can get a lot of attacks on the charge and some might actually rend. Not bad, but not my favorite.

Next is the Khymerae. These are pretty much the old version warp beasts. I liked and used the old warp beasts and these guys would probably show up again in my list. They are strength 4, initiative 6, 3 attacks, 1 wound and a 6+ save.  They are the cheapest of the three choices and you can have 0-5 per master. Why take them? Well they come with a 4+ invulnerable save. This isn’t the wych only combat 4+, it is all the time 4+. This makes them a little safe from incoming fire and combat. I have some faith in 4++.  Five of these and a master is fairly cheap for a  multiple attack unit at descent strength.  I like these and it might be fun to model, since there are no models now. Hmmmmmmm a running theme.

Last is the big guy, the Claw Fiend. He is a 0-1 choice and the most expensive of the three.  He rolls across the board with strength 5, toughness 5 wounds 4 and attacks of 4. So far not bad at all. Sure his armor is shite, but so are all these beasts. His toughness 5 and 4 wounds can mitigate the armor. Last is the special rule it has. For every wound lost, this guy gets an extra attack. So, on his last wound he’ll be throwing out 7 base attacks at strength 5. Yes please!  Plus the added bonus of making the beast master he is with toughness 5, thank you no majority take the highest rule.  Yes, he is comes at hefty cost and you only get one per master, but a full squad of five and five masters runs about the same as a land raider. This looks pricey and is, but the damage they can cause is pretty cool ( 20 strength 5 attacks, 20 toughness 5 wounds base) . Pull a squad out of a webway to get them there faster or run them across the board to get a few wounds on them thus making them better when they get to combat.  Pricey, but a lot of damage potential.

The downside to  all these is the poor leadership (making a lost combat bad bad bad), high armor (that is mostly army wide so you knew that going in), and no grenades (making cover assaults bad bad bad). So it is another Dark Eldar unit that probably won’t see much use since it isn’t Trueborn, Wracks or whatever the interweb says to take. I think the Beastmaster unit has a  great combat potential and can easily make it into lists. That is, if people want to use them and use them correctly. They aren’t game winners, but the right combination of these guys could help win you some games. plus you'll have to make, mod or proxy the beasts since G.W. doesn't and probably won't make models for them.

So there are my opinions of fast attack choices. I say look to the Scourges and Beastmasters to be the dark horses of this slot. The Hellions are usable for their abilities and option to become troops. Reavers just need to stay in the arena outside of a theme list or love of the models.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

no news is...

With the arrival of my 2nd Predator today I grow ever closer to a full 1000 points. Last night was the great trimming and filing of backpacks. Tonight I will get started on painting them and hopefully trimming /gluing my tank bits.
So without any cool Night Lord pictures, I thought I’d showcase a little more of my non-Iron Warriors army.  Look and behold! Rhino transports. Yes, nothing super fancy, but these are the rides for my guys.

We have an Adeptus Mechanicus Rhino with the textbook red color, wires, doo-dads and rough terrain modification (front facing chainsaws!).

Next to it is the gold standard marine Rhino. It matches the army color. The only thing different is the armament. They are interchangeable. I have made an ad-hoch comb- bolter and a counts as combi-flamer/ melta (depending on the mood when list building). I also have a spare hatch and a second combi- bolter that can be used on this rhino. It has a pintel mount for all seasons.

The marine rhino has some of the oil/ industrial sludge running from the view ports. I didn’t want to cover the vehicles like I did the marines with the dirt, grime, and oil residue appearance. The guys are super dirty due to a Chaos infused warp storm Mechanicus influenced outpost of stuff and things. I think the vehicles only barley need to reflect that. Just a little residue/ black wash here and there should do the trick. So there they are my two rolling coffins for my 1st Chaos force. Enjoy.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

what to add next?

With the light at the tunnels' end approaching, I am looking to build my 1000 point Night Lords to 1500 points. How am I going to do this and with what? I have roughly 998 points in my list as is so I have 502 left to spend.

Well I think I want more troops, since I like troops and they score in 2/3 of the regular games. I have assault squads already….so I think I’ll add a tactical squad. Yes I understand the tactical squad is usually the jack o all/ master of none, but something just pulls me to them. It always has. My first Astartes army usually ran 3-6 troop choices and that was back in the day. Come to think of it, most of my armies run at least three troop choices. I likey troops!

So a tactical squad with free flamer and missile launcher plus a power fist runs me around 205 points. Yes I know the hatred of the power fist and the loss of any furious charge initiative, if I have a priest nearby; but the threat to vehicles and big gribblies is why I take them. If I can dig up/ save a few points I’ll make it a thunder hammer for +5 points more.
I think that is my first choice; a full tactical squad with a flamer, missile launcher and power fist on foot. Yes on foot. Why? Well 1st to save a few points. I already have two rhino’s, bikes and fast tanks. I have my rapid response force. I need some cover or objective sitters. This is the first job of this squad.

Second a full tactical squad puts down nice amounts of fire within 12” to 24”. It can also throw a krak missile out a turn and a flamer is a nice pre charge attack. Throwing out shots mid field and helping pop transports (non land raider of course) so the assaulters can charge the gooey insides, is the second job of this squad.

Third they are a question mark to some opponents. They can be ignored by them if they are more concerned with the vehicles and bikes. They can be targeted early by long guns if the opponent thinks them an easy target, by not being in a vehicle. They will make many hardcores shrug and see them as a waste of points.  “A marine squad in cover and on foot is no real threat to me.” Well they can be all of these things. The next job of the squad is minor, but falls under the guise of misdirection.

Finally, I like them. I guess the idea of dudes with cool armor and guns, “standing tall before the man” is a descent concept. Blame it on the novels and video games, but marines always seem to have a squad or group that defies the odds, usually on foot, and helps win the day. That is the last job of this squad, to fill the concept or “fluff” role.

Wow, I really went long on why I’m adding a tactical squad. I still have 295-ish points to spend to get me to 1500.

With the extra points I have a few options to consider.  The first is two jump squads with a melta gun. I think at 7 men strong. These run around 146 points and fill the remaining points. They would be suicide squads, but they are a little large for that. They seem to look nice to deep strike close to armor and fire off a melta. Then my rhino assaulters do their job.  They also fill the role of Raptors that the Night Lords are big supporters. They can also be used for last minute jump and run to grab/ contest objectives. They are also another troop choice…YAHOOO!! So they could be a possibility.

Next is the Sternguard in a Rhino option. I really like the ammunition options for these guys. A 7 man squad in Rhino and a couple heavy flamers is what I’m looking at. The heavy flamers are there for drive by Rhino flamethrower fun! The 30” bolter shot for support is also a nice option. Their extra attack gives them some punch in close combat, not much, but some. The transport and guys run around 245-250 point-wise.  A descent option for sure.

My last choice is the gold standard Terminator squad. The look of these just scream use me. Tactical Dreadnought armor just looks neat-o. I think a squad of 6 with an upgrade to flamer, missile or assault cannon runs 250+ points. So why take plain old Terminators?

They can deep strike in to cause problems. They can also deep strike in and die to mishaps of big gun templates.  Either way they can’t be ignored once they hit the ground. The weapon upgrade will help with that. They can hurt armor with missiles or assault cannon shots. If I go the heavy flamer route then look for them to hit soft targets with promethium and storm bolters.

Yes they only have a 5+ + and I put zero faith in that, but the 2+ regular save is fine. I don’t mind losing a guy to a melta gun. I would miss 6 guys to a battle cannon shot. So, having a 2+ save is fine and if I make the 5+ + save then even better!

Yes, I know they are all armed with power fists and not shields and hammers, the must have weapon load out. Yes they go last, but the power weapon sarge going first usually helps. I can always attack without fists at just regular strength. This is situational, especially if they get the magic green juice (Black Rage) or have a medic (Sang. Priest) nearby. So charging furious Terminators is good. The power fist isn’t bad; it just isn’t hammer and shield good. Wait it is almost the same, the difference is the 3+ + save. That is it. So yes I am losing the shield 3 + + save, but gaining a storm bolter. I can live with that.

Next is the misdirection route. These guys will be ignored until they do something cool, or will eat all sorts of fire to get them gone. I like either option, as long as I can plan around it, or on the fly.

Finally is the look of the unit. Much like marines I like the Terminator. It just seems like they should be in a marine list, either good or bad. Making these look Night Lord-ish would be fun.  A mash-up of traitor and loyalist bits should do the job, just fine. The unit cost along with the tactical squad will run my army to 1500 points.

So now I just need to decide what to add. I have settled on the tactical squad for sure, and now I have to just pick from the other 3 choices…………….

Monday, December 6, 2010

WOW! 51!

The previous post puts up and over 50! I didn't think I'd make it this far. Thanx to all you faceless and nameless people out there that check this out. I started this for fun and now I actually have a small audience besides my companions. You all keep showing up and I'll keep on spouting off and showing pretty pictures.

small progress

Well it has started to happen, my painting and building is slowing. It started this past Friday working 3rd shift, moving snow after work, nap, light parade at night, sleep, move more snow, and then the start of X-masing up the house. I am still awaiting my predator from Chaos Orc Superstore and would rather make that then do arms and backpacks. This is a running problem with me and marines.
I got a total of one model built and painted.The sad news is that he is just a test for a possible veteran/ Sternguard unit. Here he is with his heavy flamer.

I'm not sure I really like the terminator arm as his arm it looks a little off. It is the Shoulder pad or lack of it. It gives him a weird look. Granted this was a test, so it might just be a stand in/ counts as for future games.

I do like the idea of a couple heavy flamers in a 6 or 7 man veteran/ Sternguard squad. So I might have to revisit this guy and make a better heavy flamer mod.