Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Sorry but we are experiencing

I am posting from parts unknown and not my regular base of operations. Having some computer issues and hope to be back soon.

In response.....

I posted last week about the lack of a 40K event @ Winter War 38. Now I think people got the wrong idea. I am/was trying to get someone to stand up and take some initiative. I think people have missed the point. I'd like to respond to one such person now.

A comment left on the post. My responses are in red.

As the owner of one of the "called out" game stores (Armored Gopher Games), let me clear up some things that you to not know.

1) There was a falling out between the Dragon's Table and the organizers of Winter War. He has not attended the convention since that time. Yelling at him will do you no good.

I am not yelling at store owners. I am talking to players. Most gamers are a tad lazy, like to procrastinate, or have others set things up for them. It is true look, just at most RPG's for instance. There are usually an abundance of gamers, but only a few people who run the games. This can be said for many other games. There are usually way too many gamers and not enough game masters.

This is why we have game conventions and not game master conventions is it not? Most of the gaming population is lazy when it comes to gaming. Why are there so many unpainted 40K armies out there? Think about it. It easy to buy and build. It takes some time to paint it all.
We are a lazy lot when it comes to gaming stuff.

I am simply trying to get someone who plays 40K to try and get a game going. There are ample players in the area, as I'm told, why should only 1 guy try and run a game?

2) PC Fortress in Danville shut its doors at the end of 2010.

I was not aware, but still that means there are gamers East of Champaign/ Urbana and they need a place to play, and who says they can't organize something. Get motivated Danville!

3) The gentleman who organizes our 40K league got promoted at work and will be working all of that weekend. He had submitted a 40K event and had to pull it due to this. We are already scrambling enough by attending the convention and running a Magic: the Gathering Pre-Release Tournament at the store on the same weekend. We have not had time to set anything up cover the original event. Translation: We thought we had it covered until real life stepped in.

That is fine, but why only him? Isn't there anyone else at your store that can run some games? There are several 40K players every Monday nite I'm told. Why must there be only one run a game/ tournament?

Finally... I don't believe I've ever met you. Have you ever stepped foot in my store? If so, remind me who you are. If not, I'd love to actually meet the man who's slagging me from behind a keyboard.

Honestly I have never stopped by your store.A few years ago I tried several times and it was never open. There maybe new leadership now and that is good for the store and people who play there.

I'm not slagging you! This is not a personal attack on "Gopher Dave." It is a call to get gamers, hell even just one gamer, motivated to do something. It isn't even an attack on your store. Read the post again. There is nothing bad about you or your store. Please show me one slanderous remark made against you or your store.

As for being a lazy gamer, you are going to work this weekend. So am I.

With the convention and the M:tG Tourney, I'll be making about $5,000 this weekend, and working over 36 hours.
Can you say the same?
Congratulations, I don't care, and that was completely not the point of the post. I don't need to know why you can't attend, but thanks for sharing.

I am not concerned with either of those things.You are busy. I never said you had to run a game. Read the post again. I'm calling out 40K gamers to get motivated. I never said anything about you having to run a game. There are 40K gamers play at your store correct? They also play in the other store and with in the area. I was "yelling" at them, and that was the point.

Think about it. Why must only 1 guy be able to run a game? I was hoping someone else would hear the call.

Sadly it seems nobody did and all I got was some store owner angry that I slighted him in some way.

There is a difference between motivation and personal attacks. I was doing the prior.

I was hoping for this...

"Hey Gopher Dave (or some other guy) I am interested in running a 40K game at Winter War. Can you help me with that?" says local gamer.

"Why sure! I think we can get something going. Better yet talk to (fill in blank) he has some ideas or wants to run a game."

"Gee thanks mister!" as local gamer runs to find (fill in blank name).

That scenario (or something like it) was what I was hoping for. It didn't happen.

Friday, January 21, 2011

"Fetch me another plaything. This one seems to have broken."

Our last non unique HQ is the Haemonculus, he is the support HQ. What he lacks in combat prowess he makes up for in wargear and a few abilities.

First the Haemonculus can be bought in groups of 1-3. So you could have 6 HQ in one Dark ELdar army.  While crazy and a points sink, it is possible. The standard Haemonculus comes in at ½ of a U.S. dollar.  They come with WS 4, BS 4, 3 strength, 4 toughness, 4 initiative, 2 attacks, 2 wounds, 8 leadership and a 6+ save. They come equipped with a close combat weapon, splinter pistol and what they and Orks call armor. So off the line, stat-wise, they are as fast and combat ready as most Dark Eldar.
One of the Haemonculi can also be upgraded to an Ancient. This gives a +1 bonus to WS, BS, attacks, wounds, initiative and leadership. This will cost an extra 30 points. Is it worth it to upgrade? It really depends on the plans you have for him.
They have the standard Power Through Pain and Night Vision rules. They do not have Fleet. This is big since whomever they are with will lose this rule, if they have it.  This is something to remember when assigning him a squad. He also has Altered Physique, like the Wracks and Grotesques and is the Lord of Covens.
Altered Physique grants him a pain token to start with. This rule already seems incredibly handy. Any unit he starts with, as long as they Power Through Pain, gets Feel No Pain. I do not think I need to explain the usefulness of starting the game with Feel No Pain on a unit do I?
The Lord of Covens allows Wracks to be used as troops and elites. This is another very useful rule. Wracks are fairly resilient and also cheap. A few squads of Wracks as troops and one can spend points on other fun and destructive items/ units. If they so wish.
Now the weapons are what we have learned to expect after running through some HQ units, elites and troops. They may purchase a venom blade, power weapon, agonize, flesh gauntlet, mindphase gauntlet, electrocorrosive whip, huskblade and stinger pistol (12” poison 2+ AP 5 pistol).
Then there is the list of arcane wargear. Now they may only take two pieces. There are also some items that are 1 per army.  This actually makes sense to avoid the repetition of the same useful and/or deadly items.
The first few items have been covered before, the Liquifer Gun, Scissorhand, Soultrap, and Hexrifle.  Now we get to the new stuff……

Winter War 38

Winter War 38 is just  a little over a week away. It is a little gaming convention in Champaign Illinois, http://www.winterwar.org/.

pew, pew,pew,pew,pew!!

I have posted about it prior and thought I would remind gamers again. That is if there are any illinois gamers reading this.

The good news is still it is a few days of gaming.

The bad news is there is still zero 40k events there. Heck there isn't even a Privateer or Warhammer Fantasy event. Sure there might not be much local interest in Fantasy or Warmachine/ Hordes, but I am told there is a 40K presence in Champaign/ Urbana. I believe there are two gamie stores that run 40K games. Why is neither one running a 40K event. Both places have gamers. Both places must have suitable terrain for multiple tables. Both places can drum up some sort of prize support. Why is neither place doing anything?

Heck, even Danville, down the road a tiny bit, has a 40K presence. Why are they not doing something 40K related? They run small events in their store and it maybe in a decrepit mall, but they have and do 40K stuff. They could have some sort prize support, which is needed for tournament winners/ placers. It is small and Danville is...well Danville, but they could be generating some sort of 40K event at Winter War.

Hell if I wasn't working and had the cash to buy G.W. stuff  to give away, and terrain for more than three tables; I'd run a damn 3 or 4 game tournament.

Where is the initiative people? Why are you wasting a chance like this? I'm calling out the Dragon's Table, the Armored Gopher, and Fortress Games. All of you have 40K players! Stop being the lazy gamers and get something going! You have 8 days! Prove that there is a gaming community and it just isn't in "your" store. Where (fill in name) is the best player and beats everyone with (fill in army). Take that to the street,or convention center as it were, and prove it.

Hell make it bragging rights for your store to have a champion and the other stores have none! Have some damn pride in how awesome your army looks on the tabletop and not just to the handful of people who see it every week! Meet some other players besides the regulars!

Get off your collected butts and get a game going! LETS KICK THIS PIG!!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Alternate models for......

I am always on the lookout for new models for non-existing and sometimes existing G.W. models. Since we play for grins it doesn't matter what we use. These are also for the non-converter or for easy conversions anyone can feel safe doing.

I know for tournaments it is way way different. I do think that if it is a suitable stand in and close to what the G.W. model would be, I say use it. Especially if it looks neat-o.

Take the two below. They are Reaper minis and make me think....Tzeentch Hearlds.

I know there will be Inquisitors again on the tabletop. This gentleman might just be one someday. The pistol is combi-esque and his hand could be a power fist, power weapon or some piece of new codex wargear. He looks very rouge trader-ish as well.

Could this be Lady Malys for the Dark Eldar? Possibly. I guess it is the fan and clothing that makes me think angry ex-concubine with a fan. Why would Vect tire of this?

The Necrosurgeon and Stitch Thralls. Well the surgeon is a simple Haemonculus and the thralls could be suitable pain tokens for the army.

Not sure if he is on a regular or larger base, but he looks like another Haemonculus stand-in. The hunched back and delightful looking tools are great.

Wracks for these guys. Duh!

Flamer of Tzeentch. I would paint it suitable fiery colors.

I might have found my Flesh Hounds for my Khorne demons. These are made for a game called EDEN and are lupines. They look pretty weird and not of this world.

A Herald of Khorne on Juggernaut. I am not really fond of the sword and would swap that out. The rest seems very Khorne-like.

Well if I ever want a  chaos lord in terminator armor, I'll probably just buy this guy. He looks the part doesn't he? Hell, a fe snips and bobs and you have a quasi-Horus. Throw a shield on him and have a wicked looking Lysander or suitable but angry Belial.

Probably not, but what if........

I was perusing http://natfka.blogspot.com/ or Faeit 212 little blog. Here are a giant crop of Grey Knight rumors. Sure they are recycled from Warseer; but hey he went, so I don't/won't have to. I thank him for that.

Thank You.

I read through them and some seem legit and others seem outlandish. It is common with the rumor mill that is always the next 40K codex.

Then I saw the release date....April 2nd. Wait.....could it be.....an elaborate ruse? Could this be a cruel April Fools Day joke? Probably not, but it isn't outside the realm of possibility. Yes, I think it would be a terrible P.R. move to entice the rabid gaming community and the internet wrath they would call down. However, if it is a joke, then what a performance!

Either way if it is a joke or a new codex come April 2nd I'll be fairly content.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Last heavy?

Here is my final Night Lord predator. It is of the autocannon and heavy bolter variety. It has your standard lightning and crazy blood written parchment. The other heavy bolter has more flayed skin hannging off it.
I went a little light on the chains on this tank as well. They feature prominently on the other vehicles I have.


The storm bolter upgrade is co-axial. I chopped up a Terminator storm bolter and shaved it down a bit. I cut the turrent aiming gizmo off and there you go. A co-axial storm bolter.

I also threw a piece of sheet styrene on the front to replace the standard rhino/predator build. I have a lot of old rhino bits and decided to add the old rhino front. It is a throwback or nod to the older 3rd edition marine tanks.

I added an old metal back standard from the Warhammer Fantasy Krell model. It is quite a suitable piece of flair for this tank and army. Don't you think?

Monday, January 17, 2011

Dark Eldar vs. combined Chaos

After a lot of Dark Eldar reviews, I guess it was time to play a game with them. My buddies called me up and we threw down a 1500 point game.  I packed up the Dark Eldar I have and away we went.
Now I didn’t build some super list or anything. I took units that I really wanted to try and some I know should work well.
HQ- Heamonculus- venom blade
HQ- Haemonculus- venom blade, webway portal, scissorhand
TROOP- Wrack x10 liquifer x2, aconthyst –scissorhand (played tonight by marines x2 flamers)
TROOP- Warrior x9 raider, sybarite, venom blade, blaster (haemon with webway here)
TROOP- Warrior x10 raider, sybarite, venom blade, splinter cannon
TROOP- Warrior x20 sybarite, splinter cannon x2
ELITE- Trueborn x6 dark lance x2
ELITE- Grotesques x5 aberration, flesh gauntlet, liquifer gun (haemon goes here) (played tonight by tryanid warriors with a deathspitter as liquifer gun)
HEAVY- Ravager, dark lance x3
HEAVY- Ravager, disintegrator x3
HEAVY- Ravager, disintegrator x3
I was up against a combined Chaos force of……
HQ-Abbadon (oh poop!)
HQ- Demon Prince, mark nurgle, warp time, wings
ELITE- Terminators x4 heavy flamer, combi-meltax2
ELITE-Terminators x4
TROOP- Plague Marines x7, melta x2, rhino
TROOP- Marines x10, icon chaos glory, plasma, flamer, rhino
TROOP- Marines x10, icon chaos glory, plasma, flamer, rhino
TROOP- Marines x10, icon chaos glory, plasma x2, rhino
These were two 750 point Chaos forces joined as one. It would be Ian the slave taker vs. Mike the warmaster and aspiring champion Lew. We rolled up spearhead deployment and my favorite……capture and control. I truly hate that mission. It mostly, and can easily, comes to an end in a big fat tie.

My Deployment

Chaos Deployment

It was atypical set-up for this game; both of us set our objective in the far corners.  We rolled for 1st turn, I lost, deployment started, I choose not to try and steal 1st turn and the game started.

All but one rhino plow ahead toward me, and pop smoke. The demon prince flies along with them.
The grotesques and wracks were placed in reserve pre-game. The ravagers zip over and throw dark lances into the lead rhino, it is shaken. The ravagers unload disintegrators into the prince. One wound gets through his toughness and invulnerable save.
moving and shooting the demon prince

Abbadon and four terminators arrive via deep strike. They try to land behind my flag. They scatter off the table…mishap chart…..and a roll of 1. The fickle Chaos gods have need of him elsewhere.
Other terminator squad lands close to where Abbadon was wanting to land.
The rhinos continue forward as does the demon prince.
The terminators unleash a heavy flamer make several warriors crispy.
Bottom of two and I roll my reserves and the wracks want to arrive. I wanted them out of the portal, but didn’t place it last turn. They walk on behind the terminator squad.
Raiders move, ravagers move.
I open fire again on shaken rhino, and 3 dark lances….shake it again.
A ravager opens fire on the demon prince and wounds it twice. The once 20 man warrior squad opens with 12 splinter cannon shots. The demon prince goes down.
Here come the liqiufer guns….and AP 5 and AP 6 are rolled…..well that wasn’t as productive. They both do a substantial amount of wounds, but only kill 1 terminator.
The trueborn fire at an incoming rhino to cause 2 hits and zero damage, not even a glance.
The other ravager doubles back to help with the incoming rhinos.
The wracks charge the terminators and throw out an impressive amount to attacks and quite a few wounds. One more terminator falls as they also pull down a wrack. Thankfully, they missed a bunch of their power weapon attacks. A tie so they all stay there.

Wracks arrive

Movement phase bottom turn 2

The constantly shaken marines get out to stop the fast moving raider headed toward their objective. The other rhinos move forward, one becomes immobilized in terrain.
The chaos marines unload plasma and bolters into the raider, I fail my flat out saves and it crashes and burns. I take 6 wounds, lose 5 to armor saves, but the haemonculus is in this raider. I get a couple back with feel no pain rolls.  A marine takes some burning raider wreckage to the face and his armor fails him.
The terminators continue the fight with the wracks. They do no wounds and then they fall to the high volume of 4+ poisoned attacks. They grab their pain token and consolidate 5 inches forward.
The grotesques arrive and I still hadn’t dropped the portal. I wanted that portal closer to the objective and was busying moving fast to get out and drop it.  They walk on with their haemonculus minder and head toward the approaching rhinos. It wasn’t actually a bad spot for them.
The ravagers move over to get closer shots at the far rhino.  The now raider-less squad, moves through cover toward the distant objective. The second raider zips by them to try and claim it first.  
The trueborn fire their dark lances at the still mobile rhino and explode it real good. A marine or two dies in the explosion.
The once 20 man opens their splinter cannons up on the marines on foot and drop a couple.
The wracks run to try and get in position to help with the approaching chaos marines. The grotesques do the same. The ravagers both open on the marines mid field, and only kill a couple. The raider-less squad nearby decides to rapid fire their splinter rifles into the remnants, and does no damage to them. 
Second turn of combat terminators are gone

Wracks charge terminators


The marines in the immobile rhino jump out and get moving forward. The squad nearest my objective closes and opens with plasma and bolters. A few more dark elder are gone from the shooting.
The ever shrinking marine squad on the other side of the board moves and unleashes shots on my other raider. I did move crazy fast to get saves. Those will help! Bolters and plasma guns open fire. On plasma gun over heats and kills the wielder. Several bolter shots get through the vehicle non-armor. The rapid firing remaining plasma gun also gets two hits. The damage is quite substantial, and the raider goes down. Wait going fast was supposed to help me not get shot down! Oh well. Three warriors die in the crash and the remaining members of the squad dust themselves off.
The wracks move through the terrain to get into flamer range…and don’t quite get there. The Grotesques get closer to the chaos marines and are still too far away to charge them.
The ravagers both dump shots into the remaining members of the farthest marine squad and they simply evaporate.
The trueborn open fire on the approaching marines and kill 1 with a dark lance.
The remaining large warrior squad dumps splinter rifle and cannon into the marines and force 14 saves on 6 guys…..and they all live.   
The dark lance ravager takes aim at the objective sitting rhino and scores 2 hits and neither do any damage.

The end of turn 4
The game doesn’t end. The remaining marines move forward. They flame the large warrior squad dropping them to 6 members remaining.
The marine squad following them continues their advance and they run to get closer.
The dark elder move and run to get near the chaos objective.
The wracks move to get within liquifer range and fire. They roll an AP 5 and AP 2. The AP five kills nobody. The AP kills only one marine.
The reaming warriors shoot into the distant marines and do no damage. The trueborn then fire at the same squad, and miss with their dark lances.
The grotesques advance and unleash their liquifer gun, and score an AP 5. They kill no marines. I guess the dark elder didn’t bring the proper concoction of chemicals for their liquifer guns this day.
The ravager fires 3 dark lances at the remaining objective rhino and it is shaken. The other ravagers fire and only get a single glance, which causes it to be stunned.
The grotesques reach combat. With the haemonculus attached they get furious charge and they begin to tear the marines apart. Well, the flesh gauntlet causes one wound and the remaining squad and haemonculus cause 8 more wounds. I must say the large amount of attacks they get when charging is stellar, too bad I rolled so poorly to wound.
Anyway the marine squad is killed. The wracks don’t make it out far enough out of cover to assault.
Bottom of turn 5 movement phase

Their objective

My objective

The game ends at the start of turn 6.
Thank the gods Abbadon didn’t land where he wanted to. Having him and more terminators in my backfield would have sucked. I also just couldn’t find time to drop the webway portal. I was moving too far to get out. I’ll look into placing it with a different unit next time. The grotesques mid-field and advancing toward the corner objective might have helped a bit. Hopefully it would have let one raider get closer to the corner.
If they wanted to these guys could have loaded themselves out with heavy bolters, autocannons or missile launchers and ruined my day early on. Thankfully they didn’t. However, they did enough damage where needed and helped keep the game in a big fat tie.
Also, not a single leadership save was failed all game. I know it is not impossible, but with dark elder and me it is semi-probable.
What was gleaned from this game?

web way portals might be great is you ever drop them for utilization.

Raiders are still so very frail and I think overpriced. I still would not pay for upgrades.

Ravagers are fun. Whatever armament you use is great. The 3 dark lances can be scary to vehicles. The 3 disitegrator cannons are great vs. marines and can sometimes supress rhinos.

Wracks x10 and Grotesques can put out a silly number of attacks on the charge.

Liquifier guns are fun and still a bit random, but well worth the points to take.

Splinter cannon x2 + 19 splinter rifles+ sybrite+ good times. I really like what this squad can do vs. non-vehilces. 12  splinter cannon shots if stationary is just sick! The +4 poison is a nice touch as well.

another Skaven conversion idea

A few weeks back the Hellpit Abomination showed up on the web. I immediately thought it would make a suitable Soulgrinder, with some cutting and pasting.

Now Ikit Claw has appeared and I am struck with another idea. This guy could be a Haemonculus.

I am thinking lose the head and replace it with on of the Wych shield/ visor head.  That would add a bit of a futuristic surgical strangeness.

The tail would be the next to go. If cutting and filing doesn't work, then I can easily add a spikey bit or bob to the end of it. You know, make it look like a mechandrite.

Will have to shave off some of the Skaven symbols.

Then the rat symbol on the back piece is gone. The piece can stay since it looks arcane and weird.

The pouches and robes are a nice touch. The wires, tubes, mechanical components, backpack vat/container and extra doo-dads are great.

The  spear/ glaive is great as a venom blade or what have you.

The claw arm can function as a scissor hand and liquifer gun. The nozzle, tubes, backpack vat and claws surrounding all this make me think.....crazy arm weapon/liquifer gun and scissor hand.

So will I do this? Probably not, but know you can. It would be a pretty simple conversion. It also fills the role of needed Haemonculus, since the old models for them just dodn't hold up. I never really thought they were great to begin with. I use a Cephalyx Mind Slave as my Haemonculus.

They work well and look the part. If you don't like the models now and are iffy on converting.

Friday, January 14, 2011

"Kiss me deadly" by Lita Ford comes to mind

The Succubus is the HQ choice for the Wych Cult in all of us. She, much like the Archon is both cheap in points and can be highly effective.
For only five points more than the cost of an Archon we get a lady with WS 8, BS 6, strength 3, toughness 3, wounds 3, initiative 8, attacks 4, leadership 9 and a 6+/ 4++ save. She comes with a close combat weapon, splinter pistol, combat drugs and plasma grenades. So, like the Archon she can get a re-roll on missed shooting thanks to the BS 6 (yes you need a 6 if you miss on the re-roll, but it is something). The weapon skill pretty much ensures she will always hit on 3+ in combat, mostly. The toughness and strength are typical and make her a bit vulnerable in combat, but the initiative and weapons can help with that.
She also has the gold standard Power Through Pain, Fleet, Night Vision, Combat Drugs and that wonderful 4++ invulnerable close combat Dodge save.
The Succubus does not have the extensive wargear section that the Archon has, but she has some options. Well she has mostly the same options as the Archon and most squads: Venom Blade, Power Weapon, Agonizer, Electrocorrsive Whip, and Blast Pistol. These can replace either or/ and the close combat weapon and splinter pistol. She may also replace both standard weapons with Hydra Knives, Shardnet and Implaler, or Razor Flails.
Last she can grab Haywire Grenades for a small cost, but do you really want her fighting vehicles? Yet, if you have spare points then these will be on her to fill the gap.
This HQ is not as versatile as the Archon. I only see one form for running her, close combat. Duh, like anyone thinks any different. Since 50% of the Combat Drugs will really help her, the weapons taken are sort of whatever you like.
I do think that swapping out for Wych weapons is a bad choice. These can be taken in squads and don’t truly help an Independent Character.  Sure, the Razorflails let you re-roll to hit and to wound, but I would rather equip my Succubus differently.
I would run her with a Blast Pistol to threaten some armor and crack open rhinos and such to assault what is inside. Then I would throw in...…wow a tough decision. Do I go with the wounding 2+ on a lot of attacking Venom Blade? Do I go with the Agonizer to always wound on 4+? Go for the trusty old Power Weapon? Well since we have no idea what Combat Drugs we are running with I would probably go with the Power Weapon. Sure it is strength 3 and I abhor this 99% of the time, but with drug rolls of 3, 4 and 5, the strength 3 is somewhat mitigated (+1 strength, re-roll to wound, +1 attack). Either she fights like at Astartes-like strength, gets beneficial re-rolls to wound or has so many attack, some have to wound.  Then there is the chance to (hopefully) get a couple Pain Tokens and then she is Furious Charging at strength 4 or 5 (drug roll  depending). So the standard boring old Power Weapon and Blast Pistol is what my Succubus would bring to battle. For the record this is only because of the Combat Drugs, I still believe strength 3 power weapons are a bad choice in a mostly Marine world.
As an alternative, I guess you could drop the pistol in hopes that something else will open vehicles. Then I would have her carry a Venom Blade and Power Weapon instead. This combo could be used against multiple threats. This combo can also benefit from the same Combat Drug rolls I stated just a paragraph ago.
She also needs a squad to run with, ideally Wyches since they complement each other so well. I could also see her bolstering Wracks or Grotesques. She can add much needed leadership to them and would gain their toughness (for shooting damage) and get a Pain Token to boot. Either way the Succubus is a fairly cost productive HQ if you want them cheap and stabby.

The Swiss Army Knife of the Dark Eldar, the Archon

Well we have covered pretty much the entire Dark Eldar codex. We now need someone to lead our forces.  I think I’ll hit the regular leaders before getting to the named and special leaders. The Acrhon and Succubus are where I’ll start.

I’ll get the easy stuff out of the way, they both thave Night Vision, Fleet and power Through Pain. Everyone and their sister know this and what they do. Heck even people that don’t play 40K have some idea that the Dark Eldar have these rules.
The Acrhon comes with a pretty nice set of stats: WS 7, BS 7, 3 strength, 3 toughness, 3 wounds, 4 attacks, initiative 7, leadership 10 and a 5+ save. He has a close combat weapon, splinter pistol and plasma grenades as well. All this will run you the cost of 4 chaos space marines. The WS and BS alone are great. Having a BS of 7 gives you the chance to re-roll if you miss. Sure you will need a 5 or 6 after the initial roll, but a re-roll on a miss shot is great. The WS also doubles up non marines and makes him tougher to hit in hand-to-hand for some armies. It also ensures he’ll be hitting on 3+ against most opponents. This along with his initiative 7 is just stellar. It is also really cheap.
He has many different weapons and gear options which can be used to make a shooter, a close combat monster, or cheap and reliable.
First he can swap his pistol and/ or close combat weapon for……a venom blade, power weapon, agonize, electrocorrosive whip, blast pistol or blaster. The first thing that him me was the blaster, not a pistol, but  a full on blaster. The other weapons are the typical flair. They run from the super cheap venom blade to the expensive and obscure electrocorrosive whip (the Electrocorrosive Whip is a power weapon, but strength 3. 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). One can easily pick their poison with weapons, and we will later on.
Then we get the wargear. Here are the armor variants, weapons and misc stuff that can make the Archon whatever he is or wants to be.
Ghostplate armor, which gives you a 4+ and a 6++ invulnerable save. Cheap, but I would pass. A 6++? Really? 
The Clone Field seems handy. It generates holograms or  images that confuse the enemy. Roll a D3 each round. This number is the number of clones the Archon has that round. If the Archon is hit, but before to wound rolls are made, the Archon can designate a clone to nullify the hit. Well not bad. It can really throw a curve ball at your opponent.
“Ok I have 3 clones and you hit me with a power weapon and two power fists. I’ll burn my clones before you roll to wound with those.” The Archon lives! Sure weight of attacks will bring him down, but still the ability to outright nullify hits is great.
The Shadow Field is the next in the realm of saves/armor. It gives the Archon a 2++ invulnerable save. However, before everyone starts with the cheers of “HOORAY!!” If you ever fail, roll a 1 it is burned out and gone for the game. From personal experience, it will happen. I don’t care for the math/ statistics. I have never made it through a game with my Shadow Field intact. Sure this was last codex, but it was the exact same wargear. If you need a 2++ to shrug off a big hit or multiple small hits, you will fail and the Shadow Field and soon you Archon is gone. Now it won’t always happen, and it can be great to ignore hits on a 2++. Just know that when you fail, the Archon will fall. He is toughness 3 and has only a  5+ regular save.  
By the way, you may only have either the Shadow Field or Clon Field, not both. Choose wisely.
He may also purchase combat drugs like the Wyches and Bloodbrides have.
He can also grab a webway portal, but there are others who are better for carrying this item.
Haywire Grenades are an option and cheap. I don’t really want my HQ up against vehicles. Some might take these because they have a few extra points left over.
The Phantasm Launcher is also available. It gives the full squad the Archon is attached to offensive and defensive grenades. I think this is a real must, since so many Dark Eldar units have zero grenade options. Especially the dedicated assault units seem lacking in grenades.
The Djinn Blade is the first of the more arcane pieces of gear. It is a power weapon that grants +2 extra attacks a round. Now these attacks are rolled separately. If a double is ever rolled then the blade rebels, and the Archon is hit with these two extra attacks. Now if you roll double misses does the Archon still get hit? It appears so. It is also base strength, but it is two extra attacks. A piece of gear for the gambler.
The Huskblade is another power weapon. It will cause Instant Death, regardless of toughness, on any unsaved wound. Well, being strength 3 hinders his weapon a bit. If your opponent is toughness 6 or more, then you will not even be able to wound him, let alone Instant Death him. Unless you have already used…..
The Soul Trap is the last arcane piece of gear. It comes into play if your Archon kills an Independent Character or Monstrous Creature. This can be no easy task to start. If it happens and he has the Soul Trap, he can choose to take a leadership test. If it is passed, then he automatically gains 2x strength. Well, now the Huskblade really shines! A strength 6 modified force weapon seems pretty sweet. It will also ensure nobody with more than one wound gets near the wielder.
So the Archon has some stellar stats and is cheap. How can he best be used? I see three ways.
1.       The Combat Beast- Combat Drugs, Agonizer, Venom Blade, Phantasm Launcher and Clone Field (or Shadow Field pick your favorite both are good here). The drugs are there for the potential of getting extra cool stuff, +1 WS, +1 strength, +1 attack etc. The Agonizer is there to help with tougher targets. The Venom Blade is for soft targets. The amount of 2+ wounds is nice if they haven’t the armor to mitigate. The Phantasm Launcher helps the squad he is in with combat/ cover if needed. The Clone Field is for taking away a single if not more incoming hits to the Archon.

2.       The Shooter- Blaster and then whatever wargear you want. He is primarily a shooter first. A  shooter first! He then runs with a squad of Trueborn that are armed with 4 Blasters. They should be in a transport of some kind. This Archon and squad are the mobile fire base, vehicle wrecking crew, big gribbly control, etc. the idea is to keep them shooting and out of combat. The guns they have and mobility is there to help get vehicles open/ monsters wounded for easier assaults be the remaining forces.

3.       Beowulf/ Buffy- A Huskblade, Soul Trap, Drugs and Shadow Field. This our monster slayer. The drugs give some buff (hope for +1 strength or +1 attack). The Huskblade gets the kill and then the Archon gets the strength boost. The Shadow Field hopefully keeps him alive long enough to get the benefit of the Soul Trap. The problem will be to reliably get the Independent Character/ Monster kill. If you do…look out here comes some trouble!

4.       Cheap Skate-A Venom Blade and Clone Field. This guy is cheap and can even be effective. The always wounding on 2+ Venom Blade is nice and the Clones help mitigate incoming damage. He is also super cheap. Just don’t throw him into the wrong situation. He is frugal in points and those points can be used for more army stuff.

Here is the Archon. I know there is more he can do and there are several builds out there. These four are how I would use one if not two of them. The joy of a cheap HQ is being able to take two for the same or differing roles.
Now bring on the Succubus!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Cirque du Soleil in Space, or the last elite Dark Eldar unit

The last of the elite Dark Eldar force is a very polarizing unit. Many people love them and it seems as many people have found a dislike for them. I think there is enough information out there that a review is not truly needed, but I’m going to cover them like I have everything else so far. They are the Harlequins.

A Harlequin I don't support

A Harlequin I do support

What do you get with these fighting actors? WS 5, BS 4, strength and toughness 3, 2 attacks, initiative 6, 1 wound, leadership 9 and a 5++ save. They are armed with a close combat weapon and pistol. They can be run in squads of 5-10 and run as many as two 9’s in cost.
They have Fleet, Flip Belts, Holosuits, and the Dance of Death as special rules. They have none of the Dark Eldar standard rules.
Flip Belts give them the ability to ignore difficult terrain for movement.
Holosuits give them their save of 5+ invulnerable. By now anyone reading this knows how I have zero faith in 5++. It is better than nothing that is for sure.
Dance of Death gives the unit Furious Charge and Hit and Run. The Furious Charge really helps these since strength 3 charges don’t worry that many armies.  Hit and Run can be good if you can run these guys into/ out of, to go back into a protracted combat, or to just jump out of combat if you need to get away.  A nice ability I have never seen used to its full potential.
They can take two fusion pistols per squad. These are 6” strength 8, AP 1, and melta pistols. They are nice to have in the current world of 40K parking lot battle. They may also swap out a close combat weapon for, man I hate saying this, a Harlequin’s Kiss. This gives their close combat attacks rending. Anyone in the squad can take one for a few points.
They can take three unit upgrades; the Death Jester, Troupe Master and Shadow Seer. I’ll start with the cheapest.
The Death Jester has the same stat line, but carries a Shrieker Cannon. This is a 24”, strength 6, AP 5, assault 3, pinning gun. It is not awful, just pinning might be the only thing more useless than a 6+ save. The model looks descent I have to give them that. He will run you +10 points.
The Troupe Master is the usual +1 attack and +1 leadership upgrade. He may also swap out his close combat weapon for a power weapon or Harlequin Kiss for free. That is all he brings to the table. The leadership can help, since these guys aren’t fearless and they can be run pretty easily, if the dice rolls go bad. He will run you +20 extra points.
Last is the Shadow Seer. He comes with Hallucinogen Grenades and a persistent psychic power, the Veil of Tears. Hallucinogen Grenades give the squad plasma grenades. This is huge since charging into cover will waste the initiative 6 they come with. The Veil of Tears is a persistent psychic power the forces the enemy to roll a modified Night Fight to see if they can spot the Harlequins. He opponent rolls 2D6x2 and this how many inches away they must be to shoot these guys. It helps keep the squad from being peppered with shots as the move across the board. It is very helpful, but very expensive. Upgrading to this guy will run you an extra 30 points. This will make him cost almost as much as three standard Harlequins. OUCH! However, is he needed? Well that depends. If you want this unit to be able to assault through cover, then yes. Sure the Flipbelts help move in and out of cover unrestricted, but they don’t help with assaulting in cover. However, with the webway portal, this guy might not be as necessary as he once was. They can just walk out of it and be there (if your placement is properly done) and have no need for a Veil of Tears to keep from being shot.
Then there is the next thing. These guys aren’t Dark Eldar. They do not have Power Through Pain. They will not be generating any Pain Tokens and reaping those benefits. Besides they already come with Furious Charge, so a second token does nothing for them. I can imagine the forums are screaming that they get to use Pain Tokens if a Haemonculus has joined them. Well, I am from the camp that thinks if you have no Power Through Pain, then you get no Pain Token benefit. I know this falls into the stupid writing on G.W.’s part. A single sentence for or against this is all that is needed. It is arguable on both sides to whether they get the benefit or not. A F.A.Q. will maybe one day clear it up, but until then….keep arguing for and against.
I guess if I was forced to run them, who knows why, I would run a squad of 8, two fusion pistols and a few….ick… 4 Harlequin Kisses to give them (hopefully) some rending. I would have them jumping out of a webway portal to ensure they didn’t get a lot shot at them, since I would rather have the guys instead of the Seer and some guys.
This last part is a little editorial (or some say ranting)
I just feel that this unit does not mesh well with this army. They can’t take a transport, not even Venom which was once their ride. They have no Farseer elfin magic to give them re-rolls to armor or damage, which really helps them. Until 100% confirmed, for sure, they have no ability to generate or use Pain Tokens (pick your camp and I have until I’m told otherwise). They are also competing with elite units that can assault as well or better for equal or lesser points. . I just don’t see the fit with the Dark Eldar and them. I think they got wedged into the codex due to the writer loving them or to sell their models; models that maybe didn’t sell well enough the first time? I know people scream “fluff!” However, when does G.W. care for fluff and unit usage? If they did the Astartes would be unstoppable, the Tyranids even more so and on and on. Fluff is no reason to put the Harlequins in this book. However, they are here and like them or hate them people will use them with their Dark Eldar.