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)
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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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
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!