Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Lord Tyrant Hexeris: Thoughts/Tips

I finally have some experience with Hexeris (at least enough to write SOMETHING about him).  He's certainly different than the other Skorne warlocks I've used, and with his epic version coming out, there's never been a better time to be excited about him!

Stats:
His stats aren't really amazing (or terrible) all around.  Average SPD, decent MAT, DEF, and ARM.  Having 17 damage boxes actually puts him slightly above average in Skorne, and he has a few ways to heal himself.  His FURY stat of 7 is really nice as well.  Overall, his stats are pretty average or slightly above average.

Attacks:
His only attack is Gulgata, a moderate P+S weapon with reach.  It has Beat Back, which is a nice ability that lets Hexeris move his opponent around some, either to push him into a more favorable position, or even to push him out of combat, if you'd like.  Also, it has Life Drinker- if he kills a living enemy model, he can heal d3 damage.

I don't find myself getting into combat much with Hexeris, but it's actually not that bad if you do.  P+S 14 will definitely get the job done, and with Beat Back to help move people out of combat if you'd like, Life Drinker will help keep him alive, and with Vampiric Reaving (look under Special Rules) he can really get a lot of Fury during his turn to be very effective.  Of course, you aren't going to have that happen too terribly often, but even though it rarely occurs it's a nice addition.

Feat:
Hexeris' feat is Dark Dominion.  When an enemy living or undead model is boxed while in his control area, you gain control of them, they become undead, they can move three inches, make an attack, and then are removed from play.  With luck, you can chain this through your opponent's army, getting a lot of value for a single death (although in practice, you're lucky to get even the one extra dead model per model you kill).  With luck, you can drop an opponent's warbeast with some of your attacks, and get a free warbeast attack (with no lost aspects) on another of an opponent's models.

As I 've said, with some luck, this becomes a TERRIFYING feat.  I mean, it can end a game sometimes.  Usually, you'll use it to kill models that are blocking charge lanes, or get a few extra points of damage on something that you're having a hard time killing.

Spells:
Death March: This spell tends to get used every game.  Extra MAT and Vengeance is really helpful in a generally melee oriented army.  You'll need the extra MAT often enough to make it worth using for that alone, but having the extra attacks from Vengeance, plus the extra movement can make even mediocre offensive units into something a lot scarier.  Throw it on something first turn, and move it to something else when the time comes.

Obliteration: AOE 4 POW 15 attack.  Decent damage and the AOE is nice, but at a cost of 4, you're not likely to cast it often during your games.  However, on the feat turn, sending one of these into a group of enemies can really get you started on the right foot.  I find I rarely cast this.

Psychic Vampire: This spell is incredibly helpful against some armies, and not nearly as useful against others.  However, even with the 'less useful' armies, it still might be nice to cast right away and upkeep it.  Whenever an enemy model casts a spell or uses an animus while in Hexeris' control area, they take a point of damage and Hexeris heals a point.  This spell will put a definite limit on the lifespan of several units, including Greylords, Battle Mages, Hex Hunters, and Druids.  It'll also chip away at those spell casting solos pretty quickly.  The healing is a nice bonus that could occasionally keep you in the game. 

Against warcasters and warlocks, it's not quite so strong, but how often do you find your opponent at 1 health after your turn?  Often enough that this can really be a powerful spell.

Soulfire: This is a pretty solid spell.  It's POW 12, but removes the boxed model from play if it kills it (effectively making it useless for your feat).  However, if you kill a living non-soulless model with the spell, you gain a fury (effectively making the spell only cost a single fury to cast!).  POW 12 is high enough to be deadly to most infantry, and with the extra fury you can get a lot of mileage out of this spell.

Soul Slave:  Two parts to this one- first, the warbeast you cast it on automatically passes threshold checks.  That's actually not so bad on its own, although with Paingivers and FURY 7 you're not going to be struggling horribly with managing it.  However, in addition to that, Hexeris can channel through the model this spell is on.  That's REALLY nice. 

Throw it on a Bronzeback, and none of your Titans needs to worry about Threshold checks.  Throw it on a Gladiator, slam something, and start casting at the knocked down models.

There are plenty of ways that this spell can be handy so it's probably good enough to say that you'll be throwing this on something from the very beginning and upkeeping it the entire time.

Special Rules:
Vampiric Reaving: Hexeris can reave fury from enemy warbeasts if he's closer than anyone else who could do the reaving.  Not only do you get extra fury, which is always really helpful for spell casting, healing, or holding for transferring, but you also deprive it from your opponent, who is going to be more restricted about doing those things next turn.  Of course, this ability means that you'll want to keep Hexeris up towards the front line a little, but with the abilities he has to help heal himself, having him just behind the front line isn't such a bad idea.

Synergies:
Cyclops Savage: Other than the benefits the Cyclops Savage gives to the other members of your army, there isn't really any major synergy between the two.  Perhaps making Soulfire more likely to hit would be nice, but there are probably better targets for Prescience.  Soul Slave isn't really that helpful on the Savage either.

Molik Karn: Since Karn is so good in every list, it makes sense that he would work so well with Hexeris.  Soul Slave is really nice for when Karn gets too far ahead.  You can very effectively extend your spell threat range.  The amount of pain Karn can dish out can really feed Hexeris' feat turn.  Hexeris' 14" control area gives Karn the ability to operate even further out.

Titan Cannoneer: I really like taking a Cannoneer with Hexeris for a few reasons.  First, the gun is very handy on the feat turn.  Shooting into low ARM infantry can really effectively clear them out.  Second, when you're in position to shoot the gun, you'll be in position to channel some offensive spells through (via Soul Slave).  The shooting + offensive spells can make for a moderately effective ranged threat.  Also, since Hexeris is likely to be fairly close to the front, Diminish is a very handy animus to have available.

Titan Gladiator: Another very strong choice for Hexeris.  Soul Slave allows you to put an arc node equivalent right in the midst of your opponent's army, where, after a Gladiator's slam, you should have some very vulnerable targets to drop an Obliteration or a Soulfire onto.  Using the Gladiator as any sort of wrecking ball for some spell attacks is pretty effective.

Paingiver Beast Handlers: Not really any major synergy, although you can run really beast heavy if you wanted, because Soul Slave removes the threat of frenzying from a beast.  Of course, you'll end up taking these guys in almost every list you can take anyway.

Praetorian Swordsmen: Death March on these guys is really nice.  They become MAT 8 with is really nice, and with Vengeance, they become quite a bit more threatening, especially to a nearby beast or jack.  Moving from two attacks to a potential three, in addition to the extra movement potentially provided by Vengeance (and Side-Step, of course), Hexeris can turn this unit into a huge pain in your opponent's army.  Certainly not a bad choice.

Agonizer: There's no special synergy with the Agonizer, but the extra durability that he could bring may be handy.  Two less damage from living models may be the difference between alive and dead with Hexeris, you never know.

Ancestral Guardian: Not any particular synergy, but reach and potential to have extra attacks can make the Ancestral Guardian an effective starter during a feat turn.

Tier Thoughts:
Hexeris' tier list is called the 'Kingdom of Shadow.'  It's a very non-restrictive list of models you can include, although to hit tier 4 you're required to take 2 units of Praetorian Swordsmen (giving them Advanced Deployment), Aptimus Marketh (who I'll review soon, and is an amazing choice), and at least two Cataphract units.  The benefits (Advance Deploy, Advance Move, and an extended deployment zone) are all geared to get you to grips with the enemy faster, and combined with Death March and some strong beasts, this could be a very effective combination of tools. 

Oh, and he gets to have all his upkeeps up on the first turn.  That's just fantastic of course.  I've heard about using a Soul Slaved Razor Worm to put a shot into your opponent's deployment zone Turn 1, but I haven't tried it yet, so I don't know exactly how helpful that is.

Since this list is fairly open, I'll try to get it on the table one of these days in the not too distant future.  Looks like it could be very effective.

Thoughts:
Overall, Hexeris is a fairly strong caster.  You don't see him taken in a lot of major tournaments, because he isn't as 'easy' as some of the other strong Skorne casters.  You'll want to take a strong melee-oriented army, with at least one good melee unit (even Swordsmen work here), and a beast that'll need to be up close.  All three of his upkeeps will probably be in play the entire game, leaving Hexeris enough focus for a solid Soulfire shot.  I think Aptimus Marketh is absolutely required to run Hexeris- the extra spell a turn can save you some focus (even if you're just recasting an upkeep so that Hexeris doesn't have to pay for it), and the occasional ability to upkeep spells can help Hexeris' fury go a long way. 

You'll probably end up playing fairly close to the action, so you'll need to make sure to have some protection as well as focus to leave on Hexeris in order to transfer damage.  He can heal himself, a couple of ways, which will extend his lifespan.  I've been able to fairly successfully run Hexeris as a backfield caster, but it can be a little tough if your Soul Slaved beast gets heavily engaged.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Skorne vs Khador, 35 pts, 9/23/11

No pictures sadly, but did at least get a game in against Rob.

My list:
Archdomina Makeda
* Basilisk Krea
* Molik Karn
* Titan Gladiator
Cataphract Arcuarii (Leader and 3 Grunts)
Paingiver Beast Handlers (Leader and 3 Grunts)
Praetorian Swordsmen (Leader and 5 Grunts)
* Praetorian Swordsmen Officer & Standard
Ancestral Guardian

Nothing really out of the ordinary here, in my opinion.  I'm trying to run the Arcuarii in every list for a bit to see how I like the feel of them.

Rob's list:
Supreme Kommandant Irusk
* Demolisher
Doom Reavers (Leader and 5 Grunts)
* Greylord Escort
Great Bears of Gallowswood
Kayazy Eliminators (Leader and Grunt)
Winter Guard Infantry (Leader and 9 Grunts)
* Winter Guard Infantry Officer & Standard
* 2 Winter Guard Infantry Rocketeers
Winter Guard Mortar Crew (Leader and Grunt)
Kovnik Jozef Grigorovich

Rob has had some success recently with this list against Ben (from Impact Hits).  He was certainly hoping to duplicate that success against me!

We rolled for scenario, and ended up with Overrun.  In this scenario there is a 36" x 8" rectangle in the middle of the table, and you are working on getting control points.  Pretty standard.

Rob won the roll-off, and elected to go second.  The control area had forest on both the left and the right sides, with not much terrain down the middle.  I deployed my Swordsmen with the Ancestral Guardian on the right, and everything else on the left.

My first turn was just a basic advance.  Most things ran, to get into position.  The Krea advanced and used it's animus, and most of the army on my left hunkered around it.  I threw Savagery on Makeda and Defender's Ward on the Gladiator.

Rob had his Winter Guard, the Demolisher, and the Kayazy Eliminators run on the right, staying just out of the control zone.  The Doom Reavers and Great Bears ran up on my left, with the Doom Reavers entering the control point forest.  Irusk cast Fire for Effect on the Mortar, which advances, and Tactical Supremacy on the Demolisher, which got a few extra bits of movement.

I run my Swordsmen into the woods on my left, trying to keep them safe and able to contest the control area should things go bad.  I move Makeda forward into the control area to get her control zone into place, pops her feat, and casts Carnage, while moving the Krea, Gladiator, and Arcuarii around her.  Molik Karn charges the single Doom Reaver he can see in the forest in the left, and after some side-steps and swings, kills 4 of the Doom Reavers.

Now we're fully engaged, and Rob starts the shooting off.  He starts with a Mortar shot at Makeda, but deviates well past her, killing two Paingiver Beast Handlers.  Rob spends a few minutes deciding whether to send the Demolisher charging into Makeda, but after some deliberation, realizes he's definitely out of range.  The Doom Reavers take chunks out of Molik Karn, and are helped by 2 of the Great Bears who move in to support.  They don't fully kill him though (almost!).  The Winter Guard move up, get into position, and try a CRA at Makeda, which ends up as a POW 18 attack.  The 9 damage is transferred to the Basilisk.  Irusk moves to the left, and pops his feat (not realizing he's pretty far out of range for certain of my guys).  The Demolisher decides to start shooting at Makeda, but the Krea's animus keeps her safe, and the scatters end up killing a Swordsmen.

After some quick checking, we find out that the only models of mine that the feat affected were about 3 Swordsmen, who don't need the extra distance to reach his Winter Guard.  Poor Rob was a bit displeased about this- he mentioned later that Irusk's positioning with the feat cost him the game (for what it's worth, I agree).

I start my third turn off by upkeeping Defender's Ward on the Gladiator, advancing Makeda pretty far, and once again casting Carnage.  Molik Karn goes on a rampage after getting healed some, killing all the Great Bears and Doom Reavers (poor tough rolls by Rob).  The Arcuarii kill 3 Winter Guard, which clears a path for my Gladiator to charge into the Demolisher, doing some moderate damage (my rolls here were pretty poor).  My Swordsmen end up killing another 3 of the Winter Guard. 

We're pretty tied up here, but I"m definitely winning the attrition war at this point.

Rob decides to go for a pretty ballsy move, and casts Artifice of Deviation on top of the Gladiator, allowing the Demolisher to charge through him into Makeda.  He first drops a Mortar on top of the Krea, but doesn't get a whole lot of damage out of it.  The Demolisher charges, but the rolls don't happen to go in Rob's favor, and the 2 attacks that end up hitting Makeda are transferred to the Basilisk, killing it.  The Winter Guard turn their attention to the pesky Swordsmen, and end up killing all but one. 

Fully stuck in, I hammer the Demolisher with the Arcuarii, and Makeda finishes it off (and casts Defender's Ward on herself).  Molik Karn gets healed up some, and slowly moves to rejoin the battle.  The Ancestral Guardian and the Gladiator kill almost all of the Winter Guard.  Rob is running really low on guys!

Rob again decides to go for broke.  The Mortar takes a shot at Makeda, hits, but can't do any damage.  Irusk Battle Lust's the Eliminators, who rush in, hoping for the best.  Unfortunately, none of their 4 attacks hits Makeda, and Rob decides to concede, tired of the ineptitude of his underlings.

So, another hard-fought win for the Skorne.  We talked a bit, and I just don't think the Demolisher works with Irusk.  I thought that maybe a Destroyer will be better, and Rob had some ideas himself.  He also thought about switching in Fenris for some more offensive punch.  I guess we'll see!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Been so busy!

Man, it feels like forever since I've posted here.

I've been busy, obviously- I'm starting to move to a new job, which requires skills and knowledge I have to learn before doing so.  That takes a lot of time.  My girlfriend is starting college, and her first classes are poorly taught, leaving me to help her out... that takes time.  I work two jobs... that takes time.

Mainly, there just isn't enough time to go around, and certainly none for blogging (or myself in general).

Well, I'm going to try to keep it up a little.  I HAVE played a few games in the intervening months, and I have stacks of battle reports to go through, but truthfully it's so daunting to sit out, right them up, and edit them that I may never get around to it.  Instead, I'll just make a few comments here about what's been going on for me the last few months (various things I haven't posted already, at least).

Warhammer Fantasy: All I've really done somewhat recently was play a single game of this against Frans.  I was using Dark Elves vs. his Skaven, 2500 points, I believe.  I tried to run a little stronger with magic and melee, and it was actually a decently close game, but I still lost.  I actually learned a LOT about Warhammer from this game though- for instance, I won't be taking any more small units.  They are just too easy to get points from.  They can't stand up to all the various things in the game, and it's not worth it anymore.  The new 'unkillable' lord is really as tough as he sounds, as well. 

I haven't purchased the Storm of Magic supplement yet.  I may or may not, I haven't decided.  It's too difficult to keep up with GW's pricing these days.

Warhammer 40K:  I've spent some time thinking about the background for my Chaos Space Marines, and even started to assemble some Berzerkers, but haven't progressed past that yet.  I'm really excited about Necron rumors, however.

Other GW games:  My Blood Bowl project has hit a bit of a snag, because my free time is so limited.  I will look at trying to use the updated Java Blood Bowl client to help speed me up here, however.  If I can save some time, I can still pull it off.

Warmachine/Hordes: I've done a decent amount here, but still pretty disappointing.  Let's cover a few things.

I've played quite a few games.  I played Nathan, Cryx vs. his Cygnar, and lost.  I played BK, Skorne vs. his Menoth, and lost (although the Titan Gladiator dropped two of his heavies in a turn, something he won't forget, I'm sure).  I've played Ben during lunch once or twice, and lost.  I've been playing Rob with intent to help him play Warmachine (especially his Khador) better, and won, but of course these were teaching games.  We've made some progress though- last night we played a quick game, 35 points, me running Master Tormentor Morghoul, and him running Karchev, and although I won, he was one or two rolls away from making it a MUCH closer game (as in, not rolling a 4 on three die for damage on Morghoul sort of rolling).  So, I'm getting some gaming in, but not much.

I've been assembling some, but not very quickly.  Finished a Necrotech for Cryx (you know, because I'll use it so much).  Finished my Arcuarii for Skorne.  Started on a unit of Venator Reivers.  I bought a few Retribution models, but I don't expect to start working on them soon.  Still haven't been painting. 

I'm really excited about Unbound, but I don't think I'll get many opportunities to play, since I'm the only person amongst my group of friends with 150 points (of Cryx).  However, I'm going to be working on my Cryx to have them available to play such a game should the chance arrive.

Warmachine Wrath came out, and it looks incredible.  Maybe I'll go over the choices, from my perspective, but maybe not, since it's not like you can't find those reviews elsewhere :).

Other games: I haven't been working on any of my other miniatures, sadly.  I'm really eager to work on Flames of War, even though I don't play it yet.  Same with Malifaux.  But I don't have time to play the games I have stuff for, it's hard to justify extra.

So yeah, that's where I've been.  I'll be trying to blog more, now that I've posted.  If I go back and manage to get some of the other battle reports up, great, if not I'm not going to sweat it too much.  Anyway, hope everyone is doing well out there!

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Lunchtime Hordes, 3/31/11

Ben and I played a quick game of Hordes during lunch, using 25 point armies, and with a few new things on both sides.

I ran:
Archdomina Makeda
- Basilisk Krea
- Molik Karn
Paingiver Beast Handlers (Leader and 3 Grunts)
Praetorian Swordsmen (Leader and 5 Grunts)
- Praetorian Swordsmen Officer & Standard
Swamp Gobber Bellows Crew (Leader and 1 Grunt)
Agonizer
Totem Hunter

I was eager to get my newly assembled Basilisk and Swamp Gobbers on the table, and they provide me a good amount of ranged defense, in case Ben ran with more shooting elements.

Ben, however, took:
Hoarluk Doomshaper
- Dire Troll Mauler
- Earthborn Dire Troll
- Mulg the Ancient

Ben obviously went for a rather direct approach to his army design, but that sure is a lot of 'beat-down' packed into 3 packages.

The first turn, Ben and I moved into position.  I put Savagery on Molik Karn and Defender's Ward onto my Swordsmen, Ben used Transmute for Mulg and the Mauler, giving them +2 ARM due to proximity to obstacles.

On the second turn, I started with the offense.  I used my Krea (on my left) to paralyze his Mauler, preventing it from charging.  I sent the Swordsmen up so that they were out of the Mauler's charge range, but still in Mulg's.  Molik Karn (on my far right) flew into Ben's Earthborn, but some bad rolls (an 8 on 4 dice) caused only minor damage.  Molik used Fate Weaver to get away, behind a Swamp Gobber cloud, to keep him safe.

Ben went on the offensive.  Mulg charged in, killing two Praetorians and a Swamp Gobber, before struggling with rolls to hit anything else.  The Earthborn trampled forward into the newly created void, and managed to land two swings onto Makeda, but she transferred one, and stayed alive.

With two heavy trolls in among my forces, my immediate goals were clear.  The Swordsmen surrounded Mulg, taking small amounts of damage off him, Makeda took some small chunks out of the Earthborn, and the Totem Hunter ran up to put some more damage on Mulg.  Then Molik Karn went into action.  Swing, side-step, swing, side-step dropped the Earthborn, and with the 5 Fury I had available (due to Affinity with Makeda), he finished off Mulg as well. 

Ben was left with only a single Dire Troll Mauler and Doomshaper, and briefly considered conceding.  Instead, he decided to take a shot for victory.  He moved up into the Swamp Gobber, and declared a double-handed throw (boosting to hit).  He chose Makeda as a target, again boosting to hit, and knocking her down.  A few Primal Rages later, Makeda was dead, and Ben was again victorious.

I made a few really dumb mistakes.  I forgot to use my feat on the turn I had planned to (prior to Mulg charging), which probably wouldn't have made a difference overall, but certainly would've been nice to help have more bodies.  I also cast Carnage at one point, and completely forgot that I had used it.  Those are silly mistakes that there's no excuse for.  I also really need to be more careful with the warlock.  Makeda could've side-stepped away easily, and been happily out of danger (she'd have been out of range for Primal Rage, at the least).  Overall though, the game was very close, and several times the overall momentum changed.  I have a few new toys I can use, and I phase them in, I should start seeing some improved results.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Trying to get more 40K stuff going on again

Well, I've been pretty lax the past year or so about getting my Warhammer 40k armies assembled and on the table, and given all the cool new things that have come out, as well as a strong desire to play Spec Ops: Killzone with some 40k minis, I'm going to have to rectify that.

Part of the problem with my 40k motivation has been that all of my armies are really out of date.  I have Necrons (the oldest un-updated codex) and Witch hunters (the next oldest), and I actually own a decent amount of Grey Knights (which are going to be the newest) but really can't afford to go buying the stuff I'd need to really play them.  That leaves my Chaos Space Marines which I own plenty of, but have never touched.

I'm going to try really hard to assemble and play these guys this year, as well as work hard to create a unique, background driven army for them.  I think 40k is one of those systems that really gains so much from the work the authors have done in fleshing out the background that it would be a waste to not to tap some of that when creating an army.  So for now, I'm going to work on more 'fluffy' armies for my Chaos guys.

I own mostly Khorne stuff, and frankly, I'd like to start with a Khorne-based army anyway, since I think it'll be the easiest to figure out how to play well, even if I don't get many wins.

Here's the list I'm going to work towards, at least to start (2000 points):

Kharn the Betrayer - 165
Chaos Dreadnought w/ Multi-Melta, Heavy Flamer - 105
Chaos Dreadnought w/ Multi-Melta, Heavy Flamer - 105
4 Terminators w/ Icon of Khorne, 3 Combi-Meltas, Lightning Claws - 175
8 Khorne Berzerkers w/ Personal Icon, Skull Champion w/ Power Fist, Rhino w/ Extra Armour - 263
8 Khorne Berzerkers w/ Personal Icon, Skull Champion w/ Power Fist, Rhino w/ Extra Armour - 263
8 Khorne Berzerkers w/ Personal Icon, Skull Champion w/ Power Fist - 213
Chaos Predator w/ Lascannon Sponsons - 130
Chaos Predator w/ Lascannon Sponsons - 130
Land Raider w/ Daemonic Possession - 240
8 Lesser Daemons - 104
8 Lesser Daemons - 104

1997 points

First off, I wanted to keep as many units at 8 models as possible, because that's Khorne's sacred number.

Kharn is such a great HQ choice that I couldn't imagine not including him (although I really was considering trying to fit a Chaos Lord with a Daemon Weapon in if I could have fit him).  He can help drop vehicles as well as eat through infantry.

The Khorne Berzerkers are pretty self explanatory.  I can't really have a Khorne list without Khorne-worshipping guys, can I?  The power fist is in there so that I won't be demolished every time I fight a walker, and the one squad on foot is actually going to be using the Land Raider.  Them + Kharn in the Land Raider should be a nasty start to my army's assault.  Obviously, the Icons are there to help make sure those Daemons land where I need them, as well as to help the Terminators.

The Dreadnoughts and Predators are there because I felt like I'd have a hard time with tanks otherwise.  I probably still will, but I didn't have many other good choices I felt.  Obliterators didn't feel very 'Khorney', and I considered running Defilers, but they didn't really fit the theme to me either (although I thought a Defiler with a ton of arms sure would).  I needed SOMETHING to try to tackle armor, and these seemed like good choices. 

The Lesser Daemons will help add some bodies to the army for a cheap price, and will help out during my assaults.

The Terminators... hmm... I was considering not using them, because they don't seem all that good, but they do give me a moderately mobile anti-tank option (they can pop a Land Raider before my first wave hits, I would think).  Giving them the Mark of Khorne is a bit of a waste of points, but again, the list just wouldn't really feel right otherwise.  I may put something else in, however.  I'm not sure.

Once I get an army list hashed out, I'm going to start working on the army, with a squad of Berzerkers first (so I can use them in Killzone).  As I do that, I'll work on the background for my army.

Any thoughts?

Monday, March 7, 2011

Molik Karn: Thoughts/Tips

Well, this article probably could just write itself, if it even needs to be written at all.  But for the sake of completeness, I'll have it up here anyway.  Molik Karn is considered our best beast, and some people consider it one of the best beasts in the game.  It's all about offense, and it does its just pretty dang well.

Stats:
To start, Karn has the best SPD of all Skorne heavies- he's as fast as the Skorne lights.  His STR is the same as other Cyclops, but he has a great MAT of 7.  His DEF/ARM is 13/18, which isn't terrible, but he's pretty frail given how much attention will be paid to him.  He has 28 health boxes, which isn't great, 8 CMD which is handy given one of his special rules, and has 4 FURY/10 THR which means you're going to be able to do a decent amount with him in a single activation.  He's the most expensive of the Skorne beasts (actually- of any Skorne model at this point), so given how fragile he is, he's not going to be showing up in every list.  It's dependent on whether you'll actually have a good use for him.

Attacks:
Karn's attacks are two P+S 13 Falchions.  They have Reach, which is extra handy given Karn's mobility, and Weapon Master.  Yes, a beast with Weapon Master.  Combined with the various ways Skorne can buff their beasts, this has some pretty scary potential. 

To top it all off, the Falchions can be used to Combo Strike as a special attack, giving you an option for a single P+S 18 attack with weapon master.  Sometimes it might be worth doing this, especially if you're doing some of his various tricks.  We'll look at that in a bit.

Animus:
His animus is Fate Walker.  After all friendly models have finished their activations, models who have had Fate Walker used on them (the animus has a range of Self) can make a full advance.  There are two uses for this- first, you can use it on your warlock to get him into either a better position, or a safer position.  Having the option to move after seeing how your turn has unfolded is a fantastic option.  Second would be to move Molik Karn.  Since this doesn't negate free strikes, you'll most likely use this after a Side Step, or when Karn is out by himself.  Getting him into position, or locking up the enemy warcaster/warlock, or getting Karn around incredibly fast are all options here- it's an animus that will see a good amount of use.

Special Rules:
Affinity [Makeda]- +1 FURY while in either Makeda's control area.  That's an AWESOME affinity.  5 FURY can come in handy so often.

Chieftain [Cyclops]- Friendly Cyclops within 8" of him become THR 10 instead of 8/9.  If you're running a few Cyclops, that's a HUGE help for leaving a fury or two on a beast.

Future Sight- Just like the Cyclops Savage, he can boost after rolling.  Great for making the most of his fury, and with MAT 7, you'll hit a lot of things anyway, so you can get a lot of mileage out of him.  Extra handy for his 'bullet' stuff.

Intuition- Stolen from the Cyclops Brute.  On a DEF 13 model, I just don't see this being used all that much.  Maybe if your opponent happens to hit with one of those inaccurate AOE attacks with a lucky roll.  Otherwise don't bother.

Side Step- If Karn hits with either his initial attacks or a Combo Strike, he can move 2" without fear of free strikes.  This is a big part of Karn's mobility.  He has some versatility here, since he can either use it once or twice (based off if he Combo Strikes or not), and there are a few uses.  It can be used to get him out of combat so that he can Fate Walker away.  It could also be used to reposition himself deeper into the enemy lines if he was going for the caster-kill, or some other really important target.

Synergies:
Archdomina Makeda:  Where to start?  The Affinity is the first thing to notice here.  Having five available fury can come in handy several times.  That's a great start already, but her spells make Karn even better.  Carnage is nice, but Karn doesn't really need it, but obviously won't complain if he benefits from it.  Defender's Ward and Savagery are the key spells here. 

With Defender's Ward, Molik Karn becomes DEF/ARM 15/20.  That's tough enough (combined with some healing) to be a front-line beast, and go toe-to-toe with other heavies.  Since he already has the offensive potential to scare heavies away, having the extra survivability, plus a high enough DEF for Intuition to be a noteworthy ability just makes him incredible.

Alternatively, Savagery can be used for the basic 'Molik Bullet/Missile'.  Savagery adds +5 SPD when making a full advance, and hey- Fate Walker allows Molik Karn to make a full advance.  That means Karn could advance (not charge!) into combat, and reach enemies that are 13" (6 SPD + 5 Savagery + 2 reach) away, Combo Strike (boosting to hit and for damage as needed due to Intuition), Side Step away 2", and retreat back using Fate Walker, ending your turn 15" (2 to start + 2 Side Step + 6 SPD + 5 Savagery) away from your target.  He's mauled, you're safe, and it's a great way to take chunks out of your opponent's army without too too much risk.  Obviously, you could also have him Side Step INTO the opponent's lines (multiple times if you don't Combo Strike) if that seems more important.  So long as he's within 12" of Makeda (her control area) it's a scary thing to consider.

In short, this is a great pairing, helped even more by other choices.

Master Tormentor Morghoul: Abuse is always nice for getting the extra threat range and damage into Molik's activation (he then charges for a 13" threat and can get 13" away), but the d3 damage may not always be worth taking, since Karn can be VERY fragile.  Admonition can be used to make up some of the difference in retreating distance though, keeping Molik Karn safe.  Not a terrible match, but really Morghoul is decent with any beast.  Morghoul gains some benefit from Fate Walker as well, but he doesn't have much fury to spare, usually.  He has plenty of mobility though, so the additional movement can be pretty nasty.

Cyclops Savage: Molik Karn already has Future Sight, so gains nothing from having a Savage around.  The Savage, however, moves from THR 8 to 10, which is a massive difference.  No longer will leaving 1-2 fury on the Savage be a cause of tremendous stress.

Titan Cannoneer: Well, Diminish can be nice for keeping Molik Karn alive, but it's so unlikely to be useful that I wouldn't consider it much help.  Molik's on a large base, so the Cannoneer will never fully cover him.

Titan Gladiator: A great inclusion with Molik Karn because of Rush.  The extra speed is always helpful, given Karn's abilities, but the addition of Pathfinder just makes it so much better.

Paingiver Beast Handlers: As with any beast, they help a lot.  Medicate will be nice, since a dead Molik Karn isn't killing anything, and Enrage is nice because Karn will heat even harder than before.  Nothing surprising here.

Praetorian Swordsmen: No synergies.

Agonizer: The Agonizer does a better job than the Cannoneer for helping provide a little protection for Molik Karn due to the extra range.  It's also a lot cheaper.

Ancestral Guardian: No synergies.

Tier Thoughts:
Molik Karn can be taken in either of the Makeda theme forces, and this will oftentimes be a great choice.  It's also required for eMakeda's Tier 4 list (getting extra speed on the first turn) and counts for the Tier 4 requirement for pMakeda's (extending your deployment zone).  You'll generally include him here anyway.

He can also be taken with Tyrant Xerxis' theme force, although including him won't provide much benefit aside from his normal abilities.  This isn't a bad inclusion either- Xerxis can make Karn hit terrifyingly hard.

Thoughts:
Overall, Molik Karn is a fantastic warbeast, although you shouldn't get into the habit of using him like other Skorne heavies.  He does hit as hard as or harder than the other choices, but he is not so tough.  He is capable of getting out of danger however, and this 'hit-and-run' style can really serve him well.  He's not a great match for all of the warlocks though (as we'll see when I finally move on to other warlocks), and since he's pricey, he's not an auto-include to your lists.  However, if you think you have a role for him, and the ability to support him some, you're going to love taking him.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Quick lunchtime battle report, and Skorne additions, finally

Ben and I had a quick lunchtime game of Hordes a bit over a week ago, so I figured I'd just put a quick post up, so that the blog has some signs of life.

I ran:
Lord Tyrant Hexeris
- Cyclops Savage
- Cyclops Savage
- Titan Gladiator
Paingiver Beast Handlers (Leader and 3 Grunts)
Praetorian Swordsmen (Leader and 5 Grunts)
- Praetorian Swordsmen Officer & Standard
Agonizer
Ancestral Guardian

I'm still trying to get the hang of Hexeris. I like the Titan Gladiator with him, the rest are just various things I'm trying with him.

Ben ran:
Chief Madrak Ironhide
- Troll Axer
- Troll Impaler
- Troll Impaler
Krielstone Bearer and 3 Stone Scribes
Trollkin Champions (Leader and 4 Grunts)
Stone Scribe Chronicler

This is Ben's normal list with Madrak, and has served him well in the past.

I'm not going to go into too much detail, but basically, I made a few mistakes, specifically with my activation order and fury management (I had the Gladiator cast Rush on himself instead of having Hexeris do it, despite him having the fury available) plus an instance of bad luck (that same turn, the Gladiator missed with EVERY attack against the Champions) on my feat turn, accomplishing nothing, and I ended up conceding.

I still don't know what to do with Hexeris. I really like him, but I think I need a few tools to get him working. Marketh seems to be a necessity, so I'll have to start with him, and figure it out from there. I need a better infantry unit to use Death March on- the Swordsmen really just aren't scary enough. Maybe some better ranged support will help too. I'll try some things out.

In other news, I was assembling some miniatures with some friends, so I'll finally have some new things to throw in my armies. I now have a Basilisk Krea, a unit of Swamp Gobbers, and a unit of Cataphract Arcuarii to start using. Some more variety will be nice, and with these I can run a fairly different playstyle.

I also assembled a few of my Malifaux miniatures. Hopefully I'll get the Neverborn crew finished assembly by the end of March- I still want to get them on the table, see how I like them.

Alright, that's it for now. Thanks for reading guys!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Tales of Battle #8 review/thoughts

For some reason, I'm on a magazine-reviewing kick.  I promise I'll have other articles up soon.

I recently received the latest issue of Tales of Battle magazine.  It's an independent magazine generally covering independent GTs and various other events concerning Fantasy miniatures.  Previous issues have really impressed me with their production quality and content, with very well done battle reports, army thoughts, and even allied army lists that could be fun to use.  One thing to note, however, is that Issue #7 came out over 6 months ago- it's been a LONG wait for this issue.

Let's take a look at the various inclusions in this issue.

First, the issue is 20 pages.  1 1/2 pages are ads.  Not a bad ratio, especially in a magazine that costs five dollars.

Coverage of Reaper Con.  The coverage of this was fairly mediocre, I thought.  I don't care how many females were at the event.  I don't need to read about Aliens invade ReaperCon.  Also, given that the issue came out in January, and the Con took place in May, it's a bit dated.  Tales of Battle runs a Reaper ad, however, so I assume they are one of the sponsors.  Maybe he didn't have a choice?

Review of Warhammer Ancients Battle 2.0.  Four pages.  This is mainly coverage of how the book and rules changed from the first edition of the game, as opposed to the basics about the system as a whole (which, seeing as how it's so similar to WFB is probably not necessary anyway).  The article does make the system sound fairly interesting, and since one of the biggest complaints about the current WFB system isn't present in historical games (magic), there may be some reason to take a look at the system.  Still, if you haven't played WAB, this article is going to be pretty uninteresting, even if you have interest in the system.

Interview with Marlon Subieta.  An interview with someone who has won a GT.  I find these interviews to be pretty interesting, it's nice to see how they think, get an opinion from them on strengths of various armies, and also to get a feel for how these people are.  This guy is a big elf player of all sorts, and loves Wood Elves, apparently with an army based off 2 Treemen.  Not a bad read.

8th Edition Observations.  A pretty good article covering the basics of how the new 8th edition rules have changed the game.  I'll point out, again, that the article is a bit too late (8th ed has been out for a while), but the thoughts are good, and if you're just NOW starting to play the new edition, it's probably a worthwhile read.  Takes up three pages, covering a lot of different points.

Painting Guide for a GameZone Chaos Hound.  Basically an article on how to paint a Chaos Hound with Reaper Paints.  It's not very long, but it also doesn't have enough interesting going on in it (various reds, ooooh) to make it something you'll be looking back to from time to time.

Battle Report- Daemons vs Vampire Counts.  At 6 pages, this is the longest article of the magazine, and is probably the best written piece in the whole thing.  Great coverage of the game, with a very close ending, and you get to read a lot about the players' thoughts about the game while it's going on (always a fun time, in my opinion). 

Overall, I found the issue a bit disappointing, compared to how good the last couple of issues have been, but for 5 dollars, we're not talking a huge waste here.  The Battle Report is the best article in the issue, but that's hardly a reason to pick it up.

I really want to support independent magazines- I think they add a lot to the hobby, and I want to see them succeed. Unfortunately, this issue just wasn't so good.  I'm hoping that the long delay probably screwed with it, and when Issue #9 comes out, I'm going to be able to write a review about how great it was.  Look for it, whenever the issue comes!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Non-collectible Monsterpocalypse?

According to PP's Monsterpocalypse news blog, Monsterpocalypse is going to move to a non-collectible format this year.  In addition, they will be re-releasing all of the old stuff so that people can assemble the armies they want.

That is VERY exciting news.  If that comes to pass, I may actually get some new miniatures, and finally get some more games in.  Rob's been eager to play, and I certainly would love to try some of the new and old stuff. 

Hopefully, look for more Monpoc stuff on this blog this year!  Of course, if you have no interest in it, then you can just ignore those posts :).

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

No Quarter 34 review/thoughts

Well, I finished reading/digesting the new issue of No Quarter, and since I haven't posted in a while, I figured I'd post what was in it, and my thoughts on the issue.

To start, there's a lot of Retribution stuff in the issue, starting with the cover.  Retribution is a fairly cool faction, and they do a lot of work to give players some fun things for players to think about, both with terrain, alternate color schemes, and tactics.

Alright, so let's go through the main things in the issue:

Strategic Academy: Minions.  Basic tactics and ideas for using the various Minion choices in the Hordes armies, as well as some thoughts on how to use the new warlocks.  Like all of the Strategic Academy articles, they are a good start for people looking for tactics, and I'm sure there's plenty of good information here for everyone.  That part on using Minions with Skorne isn't terribly amazing, but really, Skorne are so great it doesn't matter :).

Campaign Terrain.  This article covers a Cephalyx Slave Pit- a type of trench that may prevent grunts from actually dying when nearby, with the ability to rescue them.  I don't think that this really adds anything exciting to the game, truth be told, and I think it's the weakest of their terrain ideas to date.  I would've probably liked this a bit better had the picture shown some sort of conversion for the trench, to fit the theme (basically the Cephalyx capture injured bodies and drag them to these places to start their 'work' on them), instead it's a picture of a trench with Cephalyx standing in it.  Amazing.

Ranking Officers and Wrath model previews.  Rules for the new Ranking Officers that will come in Wrath.  There's rules for this type of unit attachment, as well as the rules for the Ogrun Assault Corps, Attendant Priest, Captain Jonas Murdoch, and Koldun Kapitan Valachev (no Cryx! :( ).  The Ranking Officers are a cool concept, and there's a lot of potential there, especially given the vast variety of Mercenary units out there.  I'm not really qualified to give much tactical advice here, however.  It's a brand new option for your armies though, that's extremely exciting.  As for the new units, the Ogrun Assault Corps has some serious potential, but it has a very limited selection of factions it'll work for.  CMA and CRA on a single unit is pretty fun sounding.  All three of the Ranking Officers are pretty awesome.  The abilities they'll give to their units are going to make for some VERY interesting combinations.  Assault (from Murdoch) is going to be an interesting option, and combined with the various Cygnar ranged attack enhancements could be VERY strong.

Tales from the Iron Kingdom: Prey.  This is story about a Totem Hunter hunting a group of Trollkin Champions.  Great story.  I thought it was pretty well written, and most importantly it moved quickly enough to be enjoyable.

Studio Secrets: Underpainting.  Now, this is a technique I've never heard of, but after reading the article, I'm 100% going to have to give it a shot.  Basically, you spray on 3 layers of primer, black to grey to white, and use extremely light paint on the top to take advantage of the highlighting caused by the primers.  The results (at least those shown in No Quarter) are fantastic, and it looks like it would be fairly fast to do, once it was practiced.  It's a VERY interesting technique, and I'm really excited about the idea.

Guts & Gears: Dawnguard.  Extra background and tactics for the Retribution's Dawnguard infantry units (the Invictors and Sentinels).  The tactics are probably a good read for Retribution players (I have no experience with or against them yet...) but the coolest part of the article for me was the variant paint scheme after the article- the Golden Guard.  They are painted to a darkened bronze color scheme, and frankly, it's so awesome looking that I almost went out and bought models for the army the day after seeing it.  Seriously- it's pretty sweet looking.

Forces of Distinction.  Two new theme forces for Warmachine armies- one for Captain Allister Caine, and one for Aleksandra Zerkova.  Regardless of the relative usefulness of these forces, I think the most important thing is that it looks like Privateer Press is going to be occasionally giving players new theme forces to go with their armies.  That means that maybe I'll see a nice Epic Asphyxious list that isn't based off of Cephalyx.

Caine's list is Trencher-based, which is different (and means that Caine's Elite Cadre ability is worthless here), but it has some interesting potential.  More mobility and protection for your models in the early going- plus extra free Trencher Commando Scattergunners.  It feels... a bit strange, since Caine doesn't have all that much to help out the trencher units, although they probably don't need it.  Maybe the intent is for Caine to do his assassination thing with as much protection as possible?

Zerkova's list actually looks pretty good.  First, you get to take Vanguard light jacks, and with the Tier 4 benefit, they'll actually be a point cheaper.  Greylords, Kayazy, Widowmakers, and get this- Gorman di Wulfe are allowed in the list.  That's a pretty interesting variety of choices here.  I'd love to see this in action, just to get an idea of how it would work on the table.

Modeling and Painting.  Battle Wounds and assembly help for Bethanyne and Belphagor.  Not of any interest to me, but I'm sure those are handy to plenty of people.

Power Progression: Retribution.  Handy if you're a new Retribution player.  Glad to see they are doing this for all the factions.

Terrain Building and The Gavyn Kyle Files.  Both were kind of 'meh' for me.  The terrain is for Retribution themed terrain, which is nice, but I don't think it's terribly exciting.  The Gavin Kyle Files were on Saxon Orrik, a very interesting character, but the article didn't really add anything to him that I hadn't heard already, so it was only of medium interest.

Finally, the concept art on the pack is of the Scavenger, the Battle Mechanik Officer (a Battle Mechanik in Man-o-War armor?  Hmm), and Constance Blaize.  Interesting looking stuff, but I'm more interested in seeing the models (the Scavenger model already looks cool!).

So, there you go.  I think it's another fantastic issue by Privateer Press, and if you haven't picked it up, you really should.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Recap of 2010 for this blog, and what to look forward to in 2011

Well, another year gone away, and a new one to look forward to.

I'm going to spare everyone a long post about how and why I failed probably all of my last year's resolutions; instead I'll look at what I managed to do last year, and what I hope to do this upcoming year.

To start, last year I played 19 games of Warmachine and Hordes, 7 games of Warhammer Fantasy, 2 games of Arcane Legions, 2 games of Space Hulk, 2 games of Warhammer 40K, and a game of Lord of the Rings.  That's not a terrible amount (almost 3 games a month), but I'm sure I could do better, and I plan to. 

I put up 101 posts last year, here on this blog.  I won't pretend that many of them were worth reading to the random person on the Internet, but there were a few articles that I think turned out well, in particular my Skorne and Dark Elf articles.  The posts resulted in 9,350 visits from 5,291 visitors... and that's just since April (when I started using Google Analytics).  The 5 most common searches, in order, that sent people to my blog were "Dark Elves in 8th" (in a variety of forms), "Boisterous Exhuberance", "Deneghra Tier List",
"No Quarter 31", and "Asphyxious Tier List".

I didn't really paint that much last year, although I did make progress in several areas, especially on my Cold One Knights and my Skorne stuff.  Nothing finished, but if I can focus on working on it, I just may get things completed this year.  I also assembled a bunch of models last year.  Not too terrible from that standpoint.

So, what's in store for 2011?  I'm not going to make hard resolutions, since my success rate with them has been... well, terrible.  The big goals this year will just be more of the same, but also more of the stuff I haven't been doing.  For instance, although working on my Warmachine/Hordes armies is a blast, and I enjoy playing them, they aren't the only game I love.  I really want to get more games of 40K in, especially with the Chaos Space Marine army I'm building (I also want to play a bunch of Killzone games).  I plan to play more Games Workshop games, in addition to giving Malifaux and probably Firestorm Armada a try this year.  In addition, the building and painting will definitely be happening in the background. 

Once again, I don't intend to proxy.  I got in the habit of proxying a little over the years since college, and I'm glad I forced myself out of it the past year.  We play with miniatures because it creates a visual experience we can't get with other boardgames.  Part of the joy of that visual experience is to provide the tools (models) that we are expected to provide for that game.  I don't plan on proxying again, if I can help it.

As for articles, I'm going to start working on my Skorne articles once again, and I may even throw out some Cryx ones.  I also have some basic designs for some posts on a miniature game based off a popular fantasy book series, just to keep me busy.  All of this and more coming in 2011 :).

Thanks for reading guys!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Local Competition December Results

Painting: Frans painted a ton of models this month, as you can see on his blog, so he won here.

Construction: Frans also did the most assembling of anyone, including a small conversion for his Plagueclaw Catapult.  Definitely a point here as well.

Blogging: And Frans wins the point here!  He's begun a series of articles on the Skaven army in Fantasy, as well as posted a ton of progress about his Skaven.  Great stuff!

Gaming: I get the point here, since no one played many games this month.

Totals, and final results:

Frans: 9 (3 Playing, 2 Construction, 3 Painting, 1 Blogging)
Steve (me): 7 (4 Blogging, 3 Gaming)
Ben: 4 (3 Painting, 1 Blogging)
BK: 2 (2 Construction)
Rob: 2 (2 Construction)
Nathan: 0

So, the final score has Frans as the winner.  CONGRATULATIONS MAN!  Not only does he get the joy of beating us all, but he made some good progress on his Skaven army as well.

For this upcoming year, we're not really sure what we'll do with this, or indeed if we'll have it at all.  I certainly hope so, but that's going to depend on interest :).

Accomplishments for December

Annnnd ended the year on a fairly un-productive note.

I did no painting this past month, and as you can tell from my blog I really didn't do a whole lot of blogging, and certainly nothing outstanding even so.

For Assembly, I finished the assembly of my Soulhunters, as well as assembled my Warwitch Siren and Rutger Shaw. 

With gaming, I played a single 35 point game of Warmachine, as well as played 2 games of Blood Bowl.

I'll have the final results of the local competition up soon!