Friday, July 30, 2010

News for week ending 7/30/10

Not much today.
  • Avalanche Press is taking orders for Second World War at Sea: Combined Fleet. Requires 6 other games to get the full use out of, but it includes 20 scenarios about American vs Japanese Naval actions.

Alright... looks to be it this week. Thanks for stopping by at least!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Warwitch Deneghra Tier 4 List

Well, the second of my three main Cryx casters is regular Deneghra (the last is the Witch Coven, who I'll get around to eventually).

Deneghra's tiered list is a little weird. Its very jack focused, which is not how I usually run her, but it gets some interesting advantages.
  • Extra Warwitch Sirens plus Advance Deployment on them. Everyone seems to love these girls. They are basically mini-Deneghras, and get Power Booster to help out with Jack efficiency, as well as an extra venom attack for killing infantry or going in for the assassination. This is already a pretty good start.
  • +1 on the starting roll for the game. You'll already have a lot of Advanced Deployment/Movement. Going first means you can be in your opponent's face really early.
  • Free bonejack! Of course, you'll have to take 4 bonejacks just to achieve this, but how can you turn down a free jack? I chose a Ripjaw, since it's the most expensive. Also, it'll fill a role we'll need some help with.
  • Advance Move on Helljacks. Moving my jacks 6" forward to start the game and increasing my chance to go first lets me get some great threat on my opponent early.

Pretty good advantages. Of course, that really will depend on what we can take to take advantage of it.

My list:

Warwitch Deneghra
- Nightwretch
- Nightwretch
- Nightwretch
- Ripjaw (free!)
- Stalker
- Seether
- Seether
- Skarlock Thrall
Mechanithralls (Leader and 9 Grunts)
Pistol Wraith
Pistol Wraith
Warwitch Siren
Warwitch Siren
Warwitch Siren
Warwitch Siren

That looks pretty unpleasant. Let's take a look at some of the pieces.

Deneghra: Well she has to be there, since this is her list. Deneghra is the starter box caster, and will probably get the most play for any new-ish Cryx player. Fortunately, she's fantastic. Her feat can both allow your assassination run to work flawlessly, as well as provide your models some protection (by reducing your opponent's attack stats). If things are bad temporarily, you can always just walk away (ignoring free strikes), and with Stealth she gets some protection from ranged attacks.

Her spells are FANTASTIC. Parasite and Crippling Grasp will cause you to debuff multiple units (and on her feat turn, it's going to be even worse!). Ghost Walk is going to get your tools into place safely. Scourge will get you a bunch of knockdowns, and Venom is your primary way of killing things (2 focus for a POW 10 spray? Awesome). With your debuff spells (and the feat, of course) even that POW 10 is going to be scary. She can't completely win on her own, but her spells are going to make anything you take better.

Light Jacks: I took 3 Nightwretches, a Stalker, and a Ripjaw, which is free. You are required to take 4 bonejacks to get that free bonejack, but even if it wasn't required I could see taking that many bonejacks with her anyway. You need those arc nodes to get spells into position, and here we have 4.

The Nightwretches provide some moderate short range shooting, but on a target that's been Crippling Grasp'd, you can actually put out some damage. Of course, their primary role is as an Arc Node.

The Ripjaw functions as an arc node as well, but it also can deal some damage to heavy jacks, which is something this list needs. It's free in the list, so it's definitely worth its points! It can also help lock an opponent in place, which combined with the Pistol Wraiths could come in handy to set up an attack lane.

The Stalker is interesting. It's not an arc node, but can ignore spell effects that add to my opponent's DEF or ARM. That's only things that add to it- so if I am debuffing the model, those will still count. This means that I can kill most things that have been Crippling Grasp'd. Pathfinder + Spd 7 will help it get there in time to matter.

Heavy Jacks: I chose two Seethers here for one reason: focus efficiency. Not only do they and charge for free, but they generate a focus point on their own! Deneghra has a good focus value, but she'll be pretty strained with all the spells she's going to need to get off, as well as having to put some focus on her jacks to get them into position. Anything that helps out is great. These guys qualify.

Chain Attacks: Grab & Smash is kind of cool too- beat something and then two-handed throw it? That's some pretty hefty disruption. There are certainly potentials there.

Units: Well, I included a single unit of Mechanithralls here. They don't have a main role they are designed to fill- they can function as a good anti-infantry unit, or deal some damage to jacks. Really they are there solely for numbers. They may kill a few things, and for their cost that's really all you can ask of them.

Bile Thralls were another allowed option, but going anti-infantry isn't a problem with this army anyway, I'm guessing.

Solos: 7 Solos in this army, so they had better be good!

The Skarlock doesn't require much explanation. He gives me a free spell a turn. Even another casting of Venom every turn can add up to something useful. He might also try to throw a Parasite on something prior to Deneghra's activation if something dangerous is in range.

The Pistol Wraiths, strangely, are there to handle heavy jacks. Shooting infantry can really come in handy (to get some tokens), but I'm mainly concerned with freezing enemy jacks in place with Chain Attack: Death Chill. Other than chipping away slowly at heavy jacks, I don't have a good way to kill them. With the Pistol Wraiths, I might not have to. They can either move or take their action. They can try to move into contact with some of my things to hold it in place, but then you can just Ghost Walk whatever it was out of there. If the jack doesn't have a ranged attack, they really don't have many ways to use them once I chill them (other than killing the Pistol Wraiths while they are vulnerable).

Finally, the Warwitch Sirens. They, as said, act as mini-Deneghras, plus give some more focus assistance. Power Booster is handy primarily early on, to give a focus to your Bonejacks so that they can move up into range. Some turns, they'll even give some focus for your jacks to use for something more useful. They will be great when your army meets the opposing army, because they can cast Venom. Every one will be using a spray template that not only will do some damage (with Deneghra's spells), but also will cause Corrosion if they hit. That's death for most infantry, and if you get lined up on your opponent's caster on the feat turn, it's going to be a scary thing. At 2 points apiece, you may as well take as many as you can.

Necrotechs were another allowed Solo, but I didn't see much point. The jacks should be pretty far up right away, and while picking up the wreck markers would be pretty helpful, I'm not sure the byproduct from that labor would pay off in time. I'm expecting to put the pressure on quick, keep it on for a few turns, and then go for the kill.

Anyway, there you have it. Should be a fun army to run, I'm guessing. Thoughts?

Dark Elves in 8th: Part 5: Rare

Small post, as we have limited selection, and there’s not really much to say.

Repeater Bolt Throwers: They do exactly what they did before- give Dark Elves some long range shooting threat. With the changes to how wounds are done to warmachines, however, they have become very vulnerable to any other form of shooting. Before, you could depend on the randomization of hits to provide the crew some protection. Now you'll have to hope your opponent doesn't roll a 6 to wound, because if he does, you lose a crew. These guys are very likely to bite it once your opponent has range to it. Still... you may want to take one or two, just so you have that ranged threat. Depends on your army, I suppose.

War Hydra: Last edition, this choice was so common that you would almost always see a player taking two. They were fast, breath weapons were awesome, and they could break units all by themselves.

Now... not so much. A single one might be helpful, but really they're only going to be useful for adding extra wounds to a combat. Basically, it'll function as another chariot. On the first turn it gets into combat (and assuming you haven't used the breath weapon) you'll be causing over 10 wounds to most troops. Combined with a ranked up unit to help combat steadfast, you'll have a good chance to break an opponent. Of course, after that the Hydra isn't quite so effective, but will still help stack up some wounds in combat.

In short, either one is somewhat useful, but neither are great. Given I'm running Black Guard mainly, I could see running either of these choices as support, but probably only one. Will have to work out the points to figure out exactly what.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Dark Elves in 8th, part 4: Special

Now into the meat of the army: Special choices. With the ability to spend up to 50% of your points here (and of course, a limit of 3 of any particular choice), you'll be able to get a lot out of these units.

Shades: Still a pretty good choice, but you probably aren't going to be seeing any 'Shade Deathstars' given the new rules. Skirmishers took a bit of a hit, so they've taken quite a hit in utility. However, Shades are still very cool because they are scouts, which will come in handy for both occasional scenarios and to explore 'Mysterious' terrain.

There's not too much point to take a ton of points here, or even huge units- units of 5 or so will generally be all you need. They can hunt down lone characters, take occasional shots at warmachines, and hopefully get on your opponent's nerves. Throwing an Assassin in here will allow you to get it up closer to your opponent's army where he can do some damage. For now, I'd probably skip out on giving them any upgrades, but that's going to be a matter of your regular opponents, as well as personal preference.

Witch Elves: Witch Elves are probably the most capable close combat troops that Dark Elves have. On the first turn of any combat, they should be able to out-kill anything else in the Dark Elf army. Unfortunately, with no armor save, they don't have the staying power necessary to really be useful. They'll be torn apart with shooting, but will do a bunch of wounds if they get into combat. They are a pretty good choice... unfortunately Dark Elves have a better one. If you are running with a LOT of Special troops, however, these girls make a great unit once you've maxed out on other things.

Har Ganeth Executioners: No point in taking them. Striking last means they'll have to survive in order to fight back. T3 and a 5+ armor save means it's not likely to happen. For a single point more per model, you can take a Black Guard, who is vastly superior. That means you aren't likely seeing these guys again. Even running them as a flanking unit doesn't work, since they are sooo easy to kill, and again will be going after whoever they charge.

Really a pity, since they are gorgeous models.

Cole One Knights: Hard to say what their role will be. They aren't breaking units on their own, and now you'll need at least 10 models (at 27 points apiece) to break ranks. That's not horrible, since they are durable (2+ armor save), meaning if they hit a flank they are likely to survive. They also do a pretty good amount of damage on the charge. They suffer from Stupidity, which hurts them a bit, since you can't 100% depend on them. I'm not really sure. I won't be taking them for a while at least, until I can think of a good use for them. I certainly will take them once or twice to see if I can find a place for them.

Cold One Chariot: Another choice where it's hard to say- I don't really know what the role for chariots will be in 8th. It seems that their best bet will be to hit a unit late in the game, to help break already depleted units. Chariots are obviously tougher to kill, since they got rid of the strength 7 auto-kill, and Dark Elf Chariots are among the toughest. With all the extra attacks coming at them, they may be LESS durable overall. Regardless, Dark Elf Chariots will no longer be charging units on their own- they need to join in with at least one infantry units to help break an opponent unit. Probably not going to be used in most lists, but definitely not useless.

Black Guard of Naggarond: The Witch King's personal enforcers and bodyguards are certainly going to see a lot of play. I'm definitely not the only person to think so, either.

Black Guard are FANTASTIC. Not very expensive, good weapon skill, initiative 6, multiple strength 4 attacks, and their special rules mean that they are going to be chopping up a lot of enemies every turn. Stubborn and Immune to Psychology mean that your Black Guard are going to be sticking around throughout the game. With a BSB nearby, they aren't likely to break from combat, no matter how badly it goes. With Warrior Elite, they'll be re-rolling their to-hit rolls every round, unlike other Dark Elves. That means that even with a less than desirable to-hit number (as a result of items, maybe), you're still going to be hitting plenty.

They can also take a 50 pt magic banner (and there are several great options), as well as give their champion a 25 pt magic item (also several good choices). These are going to be your primary units (in the Special slot). They are just great against any unit your opponent is going to be bringing into them. Take at least one unit. Heck, take two if you can. The link I posted even says you should take three! Each unit has a max of 20- you certainly want to make sure each unit is full, along with a full command. That's 295 pts + up to 75 total points of magic items. Really, just a great deal and a great buy. I'll be fielding them- you probably will too.

Alright, overview of the Special choices done. Short synopsis, again: take Black Guard. Next up is a brief post on Rare choices, then Magic Items, then Magic Lores, then what my army list will end up being.

News for week ending 7/23/10

  • Avalanche Press is splitting their Panzer Grenadier: Operation Citadel game into two games- Kursk: North Flank and Kursk: South Flank. Just means more supplements to buy to be a completist, I suppose. Panzer Grenadier: Workers and Peasants should also be available now-ish although I get VERY tired of reading 'Blessed Availableness' whenever I read any sort of press release by Avalanche. *sigh.
  • GMT Games has a new news update. A few notes, c3i #24 will be shipping soon, as will Germantown and Normandy '44. September sees 5 reprints coming out, and there are a bunch of games to look forward to before the end of the year.
  • Decision Games has shipped out World at War #13, covering the the Battle of Prochorovka. Looks to be a pretty good game. May pick it up if finances allow.

Looks to be it for this week. Have a good weekend!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Dark Elves in 8th, part 3: Core

Dark Elf core choices are overall pretty good, even in 8th, so you can't go too wrong with any.

Dark Elf Warriors: Good initiative and hatred, but not much else. However they are very inexpensive, so will likely be used as Sacrificial Dagger food for most Dark Elf armies. I would probably give them shields, even so, since they'll be slightly better at handling bow fire, but the other upgrades are likely not going to be used. Maybe a musician if you think you'll be moving, maybe a banner (for 6 points!) if you need it to have enough for Blood and Glory. You have the option of giving them a magic banner as well, but it's wasted on these guys. Take them if you want to run a Sacrificial Dagger, otherwise don't bother.

Dark Elf Repeater Crossbowmen: Same as last edition- lots of shots for a pretty good cost. 100 points nets you a 10-man unit of these, and since they can fire in two ranks, they aren't taking much space on your battle line. Not sure if I'd bother with shields most of the time, but if you need the points to get to the minimum core, it's a good way to spend them. Since you must have a certain amount of core, these guys make a pretty good choice, and they can do a really good job of causing some casualties on units as they advance towards you. As you'll need a certain amount of banners (to handle the Blood and Glory scenario) they may be a good place to put them as well (in this case, maybe give them shields). A musician may be handy since you don't want them running for long. I would probably skip out on a champion, however. A unit of 10 with a banner, a musician, and shields is a reasonable 125 points. Definitely take one or two units.

Black Ark Corsairs: I love corsairs. I remember putting them down during games against Sam (our Daemon player), and hearing him vocalize his hatred of them. They've always been very effective for me, and although they haven't really lost effectiveness, I think they've been overcome by units from the special slot (namely Black Guard). Their Slaver rule helps to run down units, but since other units are better for breaking opponents it's not likely to come up except as a supporting unit. Sadly, they just don't have much of a place anymore. Take Black Guard or Witch Elves instead.

Dark Riders: Still serve a similar, but reduced, role as in the previous edition. They are fast (and slightly faster because of their Vanguard move, as well as being allowed to take a Leadership test to march). They are still very maneuverable because they get free reforms. They no longer get the 360 degree line of sight for shooting, which is a minor loss, and now they aren't going to be breaking ranks since you'll need at least 10 to do so. I'll still end up taking a unit with crossbows and a musician, solely for harassment and occasionally hunting warmachines, fliers, or skirmishers. They are a great unit for going and getting behind my opponent for whatever purposes I need. They are still a fine choice, and for the same cost as crossbowmen, you get half the shots but a lot more mobility to them. In my case, they're also my only painted unit, so they'll have to be included ;).

Harpies: Our flying skirmisher unit, and formerly a staple of many Dark Elf armies. They don't count for our minimum core requirement, which hurts. I'm not sure they have much of a role anymore. March blocking is gone, so they aren't too handy for that (yeah, your opponent can fail a leadership test, but I don't consider that reliable enough a strategy to justify taking them). They aren't really any better for hunting down warmachines (Dark Riders and Shades can do it just as well). Skirmishers are a little weaker, since they actually have a facing as a unit. Shades are a bit more expensive, but they can do any role these guys can, and are more offensively potent. I don't see Harpies making many appearances in Dark Elf armies.

Assassins: Not really core, but they're listed in that section, so they get covered here. Assassins in the last edition were fantastic. They'd pop up, wipe out a rank of infantry, and would often turn the course of the combat all by their lonesome.

Now... that's not really going to work. Assassins are really going to be relegated to specific roles. I can think of two primary ones:

Character killer - Assassin w/ Extra Hand Weapon, Rune of Khaine, and Touch of Death (151 pts). You're looking at 5-7 attacks, always re-rolling to hit, and going first, and usually getting at least 1 killing blow result. That should do some damage. I'd also consider giving him Dark Venom to lose your Poisoned Attacks (since they can't KB) as well as REALLY take advantage of killing something in a challenge.

Scouting Assassin - Assassin w/ Manbane and Rending Stars (145 pts). Combined with a unit of shades, this will STILL provide a great amount of effective shooting.

I could see taking at least one, regardless. Probably the former, however.

So, with a 625 point minimum, what am I likely going with?

5 Dark Riders w/ musician, repeater crossbowmen - 117
10 Crossbowmen w/ standard bearer, musician - 115
10 Crossbowmen w/ standard bearer, musician - 115
10 Crossbowmen w/ musician - 105
25 Dark Elf Warriors w/ Shields - 175

Just enough. That gives us plenty of shooting, and plenty of bodies to power your spells!

Next up: Special!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Dark Elves in 8th, part 2: Heroes

Continuing with my Dark Elf thoughts, let's look at the Heroes available to a Dark Elf army, and see if they are going to be useful in 8th. Although we have 625 points to work with, we don't want to spend all our hero points, since we'll need to stock up on rank and file.

Malus Darkblade, Scion of Hag Graef: 275 points for a 3 attack close combat model isn't going to cut it. You'll need attacks to break through the extra infantry you're likely to see, and he really can't do it, even with his special rules. Really has no place in 8th.

Shadowblade, Master of Assassins: Well, a special character that might have a role. With the changes to guess weaponry (i.e. getting rid of it) having an easy way to drop war machines will be handy. Shadowblade can do it, for half your hero points. I'm not sure whether he'll be worth it, since he's only killing one per turn, but if your opponent happens to line them up, he'll wipe them out. Shades + Rending Star assassins probably do the role better, however. They are also cheaper, and more versatile. That means he's not making the cut.

Lokhir Fellheart, Captain of the Tower of Blessed Dread: Not terrible, but for 100+ points more than a regular master for the same stats and only a few special rules to offset the difference, I'm not terribly sure he's worth it. The Merciless Slaver rule really could cause him to make up the difference in points VERY quickly, and Daring Leap can help extend Lokhir's survivability (since he only has a 4+ save and regen) - send him to a corner of the unit to help reduce the number of attacks coming his way. The big key will be his ability to kill things. Extra attacks per opponent's ranks will be a help with a more infantry-centric game, but if it's just 2-3 extra attacks I'm not sure it'll make up the cost difference between him and another master. I'm going to try running him in a list from time to time to see how I like him before putting the final judgment on him. For now, I'm guessing he's out.

Sorceress: A Hero-level wizard may come in handy for support, since I think going fairly magic-strong is going to be the Dark Elf's key to success. 185 pts for a level 2 w/ a few magic items isn't too pricey, but before buying one, we really need to examine their role.

If you're going 'magic heavy', you're probably running two level 4s (even just one would give you enough offensive ability, however). They are likely to be casting the majority of your spells, as well as using up most of your Power Die. That means the regular Sorceress would really only be helpful for casting a supporting spell of some sort, since she'll have to do it with few dice (although with Power of Darkness, she may get some extra to cast some higher spells). Lore of Fire would be a good choice here, since the signature spell is able to be cast at three different levels to suit the amount of dice you have available. Lore of Death isn't a bad choice either. I don't know that I'd bother running her with any equipment in this case. Maybe a Dispel Scroll or the Seal of Ghrond.

If I wasn't going magic heavy (or if I didn't take a Lord level wizard), I could see running a pair of Sorceresses effectively. One with Sacrificial Dagger and the Pearl of Infinite Bleakness would get a moderate amount of magic off, and one with a Dispel Scroll and the Seal of Ghrond would provide defense. Without a level 4 you're really hoping to remove enemy casters early for either of these to be effective.

I think the best and most balanced bet (as in last edition) will be to run a level 4 and a level 2. I'd give the level 2 the Seal of Ghrond almost always (the extra dispel die is going to be vital), but I'm not sure what else. I will have to look at the magic items fully (in a later post).

Master: There are tons of options here, and you're going to likely be taking at least one. The Master's role is entirely item-dependent, so I'm going to wait until I get to items to cover him more completely (mainly because I need to think more about it). You will probably want a BSB, given its current rules; of course the setup (and whether he takes a magic banner) will take some thinking.

Death Hag: More specifically, the Cauldron of Blood. I don't see why you wouldn't take this thing. With all the infantry you will probably be fielding given the new rules, this can act as a huge enhancement. Killing Blow, +1 Attack, or a 5+ Ward Save are all useful abilities, and having some flexibility to switch between them, as well as combining them with various augments or hexes mean that Dark Elves can have fairly potent infantry. I wouldn't bother putting Gifts on the Death Hag, since I really only view her as being useful in the Cauldron. Putting her with a unit seems to be too risky since she doesn't have a save without spending 30 points, and she's far safer and more useful with the Cauldron. I'll be keeping the CoB in mind when I start examining the infantry units we can take as well.

Again, not much useful information here I'm sure (since so much of heroes is dependent on their equipment), but I promise we'll come back and look at ways to kit these guys out usefully.

Next will actually be Core choices. Spells and Equipment are only really handy once we know what the rest of our army will be (and knowing what it can't handle). Will have it posted as soon as I can.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Iron Lich Asphyxious Tier 4 List

So I REALLY love the theme lists in the Forces of Warmachine books. Not only do I love themed armies, but getting various bonuses for restricting your choices (as well as providing a reason to take some of these choices) is just too cool to pass up.

With that in mind, I'm going to start investigating them (as well as my 8th edition Dark Elves, which should continue on Monday), starting with my favorite Cryx caster, Iron Lich Asphyxious.
Let's take a quick look at the benefits of running him at Tier 4:
  • Mechanithrall units can advance deploy: Given that they get 2 attacks apiece, are fairly inexpensive, and Asphyxious's spells can make them terrifying to almost anything, having them get up the table faster (as well as getting some knowledge of where my opponent's threats are prior to setting them up) is extremely handy.
  • Cheaper Slayers and Corruptors: I've never used the Corruptor, but a decreased point cost may make it worth it. We'll see. I do love Slayers, however. Five point, fast heavies with 2 attacks backed up by a versatile caster? Very handy.
  • Free wreck markers: Because the list allows you to run the Cankerworm (who heals from wreck markers) and Necrotechs (who create things out of the wreck markers), starting the game with a bunch for no cost is very handy.
  • Faster warjacks on the first turn of the game: I will be running a bunch of Slayers, so letting them run 16 inches on my first turn is great.

This is the 50 point list I'd run, and I'll explain the pieces afterwards.

Iron Lich Asphyxious
- Cankerworm
- Deathripper
- Corruptor
- Slayer
- Slayer
- Slayer
- Skarlock Thrall
Mechanithralls (Leader and 9 Grunts)
- 2 Brute Thrall
Mechanithralls (Leader and 9 Grunts)
- 2 Brute Thrall
Necrosurgeon & 3 Stitch Thralls
Necrosurgeon & 3 Stitch Thralls
Machine Wraith
Machine Wraith
Necrotech & 1 Scrap Thrall
Necrotech & 1 Scrap Thrall
Necrotech & 1 Scrap Thrall

That's 4 heavy and 2 light wreck markers as well.

Asphyxious: Obviously, Iron Lich Asphyxious needs to be your warcaster for this army to be allowed. I'm fairly sure almost any army can be made around him, because he's so useful overall. He has a good debuff spell in Parasite, a good enhancing spell in Scything Touch, good direct damage with Hellfire, good crowd control with Breath of Corruption, and a handy utility spell in Teleport. His weapon is strong enough (combined with his spells) to put a serious beating on anything that gets too close to him, and on his feat turn he's going to spend 14 focus dealing some beatings.

Warjacks: Any non-character warjack is allowed in addition to the Cankerworm. That unfortunately leaves out the Deathjack, but it leaves more than enough choices for Asphyxious.

Obviously with the point reduction of Slayers, you'll want to take them. They are good melee jacks with 3 attacks to help clear out infantry, and potential to harm heavy jacks. Two open hands really come in handy from time to time too.

The Cankerworm is a requirement for the Theme List, and he's pretty cool- being able to take a weapon off of a wreck marker (once I destroy some of my opponent's jacks) is going to be a fun ability. Eating a wreck marker to heal is just an additional bonus.

The Corruptor is in there because he's a point cheaper than normal, and I can see him adding some utility. Burster will probably not get much use, but Distillation and Psycho Venom are going to be occasionally handy. RAT 5 will take some work to pull off hits though. Still, I can't think of a better army to actually run the model in.

The Deathripper is the only Arc Node I'm running (although the Corruptor can make temporary ones), which is very strange for my normal style. I think that with all the other things on the table, my opponent is going to be more focused on the scary things, and less focused on the arc node. And heck, if they want to take some shots at the arc node, that's fine too- just means the rest of my army is getting closer!

All these jacks, as I've noted, give me free wreck markers on the table to help power other parts of my army.

Units: Bane Thralls, Bile Thralls, Mechanithralls, and Necrosurgeons are allowed. As you can see, I only took Mechanithralls and some Necrosurgeons.

I'm not sure Bile Thralls really fit the theme of the army, and on top of that, I'm not sure there's much need for them. Yes, they're great for clearing out infantry, but I think I have enough tools to handle that. I'll re-evaluate after actually playing a game with the list though. Bane Thralls are one of my favorite units, but again, they don't have a role that I can't fill with something else. Also, neither of those two units gets a benefit from the theme list.

Mechanithralls are a great unit- they're so cheap! 2 attacks apiece give them a way to handle infantry, and their Combo Strike gives them an option against higher ARM models. Gaining Advance Deploy gets them up in the action faster (allowing them to keep up with the jacks). They gain additional help from the Necrosurgeons, who can potentially replenish the unit (as well as heal my caster). The Brute Thralls obviously add extra punch. 18 points for 32 models is a great deal- especially 32 models that will get my opponent's attention.

Solos: Moderate options here.

Bloat Thralls are one of the few Cryx artillery options, and hand us a way to deal with infantry, which may be a problem for this list, but I left them out for now. I think the list can handle infantry without their help. We will see.

I added two Machine Wraiths, not because I think they'll win me the game, but they are just so annoying to deal with sometimes. If I run against a jack-heavy army, I can hold two jacks down and force my opponent to waste focus getting them back, or force them to waste attacks damaging their own jacks to knock the Wraiths out. You can never tell what these guys are going to be able to screw over.

Necrotechs are a required part of the army, but are useful given the composition. Keeping my jacks healthy is a much needed skill given the number of jacks. Once the jacks are dead, spitting out a bunch of Scrap Thralls lets my jacks serve an extra purpose- those Scrap Thrall bombs add up! Starting with Wreck markers on the board means I can get Scrap Thralls out there early too.

Finally, there's a Skarlock. I take it in almost every army I'm allowed to.

Army Tactics: So I haven't played this yet, but I intend to shortly. This army has a bunch of models, plus the ability to create a few more. The jacks spearhead the assault, and should be able to either damage things in their way or disrupt my opponent's line. The Mechanithralls follow up, and swarm over my opponent's army, killing what they can. Everything else supports those waves. Asphyxious and the Skarlock support my front line with Scything Touch and Parasite (plus the occasional damage spell). The Necrotechs pick up a few wreck markers and send the Scrap Thralls forward (as well as repair jacks when they get to them). The Necrosurgeons keep the Mechanithrall units strong and heal Asphyxious from time to time. It should be a fairly durable army with a lot of threats.

I'll post some reports (and changes) once I get it in action.

Any thoughts?

News for week ending 7/16/10

  • Avalanche Press released Great War at Sea: US Navy Plan Scarlet. Primarily about WWI era battles involving Australia. You need 5 other products to enjoy all the scenarios though. Ouch.
  • Pacific Rim Publishing has finally begun to ship Across the Pacific! Once I go home, and double check their website, I'll make sure to add PRP's website to the list on the right.

So while I'm doing news, does anyone have a comment on what type of news they'd like to actually have included here (or not included?). For instance, Valley Games is publishing a reprint of Liberte, which isn't really a wargame. Do people want to know about things like that, or not? Also, there are occasional updates to games that may be relevant. For instance- Collins Epic Wargames released situations as well as recommended starting decks for Spearpoint 1943. Do you want updates that I see about those as well?

Thanks for reading, those who do :).

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Dark Elves in 8th, part 1: Lords

Well, 8th edition is out, and is available all over to those who want it. Part of the fun of a new edition is that if there are significant changes, it's almost like getting a new army book for every army! That means it's helpful to go through your armies and try to figure out what's worth taking, and what might (or might not) work in the new edition.

Doing this for Empire would be easier, I'm sure, but unfortunately it just seems so tempting to run Empire as a gun-line given the changes to templates and the elimination of guess weaponry. Although that's not really want I want to run (I prefer to stay fairly balanced), it's going to actually take some more experience with the army before I can really tell what works (hordes vs. ranks, different infantry types, etc).

Dark Elves are a little simpler. That means I need to put some thought into them. So I'm going to write a few articles going over my thoughts on all the Dark Elf choices, and really try to determine for myself what I will be trying to build towards and running. Maybe my thoughts will be helpful to someone, or even better, maybe someone will have some thoughts that they can give me to enhance my playing!

I'm going off the basis that 2500 points is going to be the standard. I don't know if that's true, but it seems likely, and it's a perfectly fine place to start.

Today, we start with Lord choices. There are two things to consider with the analysis. First, I haven't played with these yet, so it's all theory. Second, I'm going to go through the magic items and spells as separate posts. That means I won't have much to say about magic item load-out on my characters quite yet.

Malekith, the Witch King: Let's start with the big guy. First, since we only have 625 pts for lords, he's going to be the only one we can take if we run with him. On top of that, he's not going to be able to afford a mount. That means Malekith on foot. He is a fairly powerful magic user (level 4 w/ both an extra power and dispel die), but he's twice as expensive as your other wizard choices. Due to a lack of mount, he's limited to a 4+ armor save and a 2+ ward against non-magical attacks, both of which are terrible, given how easy it is to get magic weapons or attacks now. Unbreakable and the ability to quell panic around him are very handy, but hardly worth the cost. Leave him at home.

Morathi, the Hag Sorceress: A better (but still pricey) choice. Level 4 with knowledge of all the Dark Lore spells, plus an additional +1 on all her casting is going to get all those Dark Lore spells off every turn (if you have the dice, of course). Of course, so would a Supreme Sorceress, minus knowledge of all the spells. 2+ ward save against magic (4+ against everything else) is nice, and there's no point to taking the more expensive of her weapon choices. Being able to buy an additional Enchanted and Arcane Item is nice as well... but she's already expensive. Another choice that will be better off left at home.

Crone Hellebron, The Hag Queen: First off, using her on her Manticore is out. No save of any kind? No thanks. She's not terribly overpriced, and does get 6+d3 Strength 10 attacks at Initiative 9. That's very killy. Sadly, with all the new infantry rules it's not going to be enough. Stepping up + attacking in ranks means that she's going to kill a lot, but get murdered with her T3 and no save. Making Witch Elves core is pretty cool (if you plan on using Witch Elves), and putting her in the unit would probably be alright, since the unit would kill a LOT with all those attacks. Heck, you could throw a Cauldron of Blood behind her and give the unit and her a ward save. That's a lot of points spent to just make her useful though. She's great for killing monsters or cavalry, assuming they are lower initiative than her, but it's probably not useful enough to warrant her inclusion. She's too vulnerable, and costs too many points.

Dreadlord: This is our basic combat/leadership lord. Decent overall stats, and not too terribly costly. His usefulness will really depend on his magic items. There are now a TON of options.

One build I always used last edition was the 'unkillable' lord. Of course, I didn't go the full way (didn't take the regenerating armor) but now he can be made even better: Dreadlord w/ Heavy Armour, Shield, Sea Dragon Cloak, Cold One, Sword of Might, Dragonhelm, Pendant of Khaeleth, and Crown of Command. For 280 points, that's a 2+ armor save, a reverse ward save, and a 2+ ward save against flaming attacks (to counter the Lore of Metal). He's stubborn on Leadership 10, also. This is apparently a common build on, and its sole goal is to go after an opponent's block, and hold it up the entire game. If he's near a BSB, he's not likely to flee from losing combat, holding the block there even longer. I'll probably continue running this, since I loved it so much in 7th.

There are SO many different items and great combinations that it's hard to really know where to start. I'll try to cover things when I do magic items, but my likely Dreadlord build is there. Obviously his role changes, since he can't count on killing everything in contact with him, but he can make a fantastic assassin or do a fantastic job of delaying a part of the opponent's army.

Supreme Sorceress: Given how powerful the magic lores in the book are, and how important having a high level wizard is to competing in the magic phase, I think it would be a mistake to not take a Supreme Sorceress.

For 260 pts, you're getting a level 4 who has the potential to generate more power die through the Power of Darkness spell. Being limited to Fire, Metal, Shadow, or Death is hardly restrictive, as each of the lores has some significant benefits (and after I write about heroes, I'll try to decide what would be best to take her with). At her cost, you could easily run two, give them some upgrades, and have a very very effective magic phase.

Again, the choice of magic items is very flexible. The Pendant of Khaeleth (if I don't take my Dreadlord) is really helpful here, to protect her from miscasts. Combined with the Sacrificial Dagger, a single Supreme Sorceress can very effectively cause some serious damage. That would cost only 320 points, as well. For my purposes though, the Pendant is already taken, but the Sacrificial Dagger and the Pearl of Infinite Bleakness (common before) would only cost 310, and combined with a unit of Spearmen, would give me a fantastic magic phase. The Focus Familiar along with another item would be nice too, to get her out of the way and into some safety.

Again though, when I look at the magic items, I'll try to find some build ideas with her.

Not much help here, I realize, but I'd love to hear what lord builds people have been considering! Next I'll write about heroes, and after that our spell choices.

Friday, July 9, 2010

News for week ending 7/9/10:

Pretty quiet.

  • Avalanche Press is having a sale. Some OK deals there, if you're interested. Or just wait another couple of weeks until there's another sale :).
  • Lock N Load has begun shipping their House of Spirits game, and begun charging for World at War: Operation Garbo.
  • MMP's Advanced Squad Leader Rulebook is again back in stock!

Not really a whole lot going on, it seems. Sure to be busier coming up though!

I finally played a game though! Taught Frontline General: Spearpoint 1943 to a friend during lunch. Unfortunately, his die rolls were so bad that I ended up crushing him. A few more games before I start thinking too in depth about it. Thinking up some deck ideas already though :).

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Received Frontline General: Spearpoint 1943!

Well, I finally received my copy of Frontline General: Spearpoint 1943!

I've been looking forward to this ever since I received a demo of it at PrezCon, and now that I have it, I'm going to be trying to get it on the table as often as possible. Once I get the chance I'll try to put a review up on here, as well as getting this blog moving with some articles. I've finally started some unpacking, which means I'm almost back to a regular life (relatively, I mean).

Very excited!

Skorne Deck + No Quarter 31

I picked up both of these yesterday (along with the new Forces of Warmachine: Mercenaries book, but that's a topic for next post).

It's a very exciting time to play, that's for sure.

The Skorne deck is the easiest to start with: The cards are gorgeous, the warbeast circles are a bit bigger and easier to use, and the deck includes all of the minions that can work for Skorne (as I understand it, this is how all the decks are, so Trollbloods get a LOT of cards).

As I've said, I've never actually used my Skorne army, despite buying every model from the first book as they were coming out. No time like the present! If only I had the Hordes rules available so that I could see how (or if) they've changed the Fury/Frenzy/whatever rules. I can't wait to give these guys a try.

I will be posting my thoughts and my experiences with them as I get some play in. First up will be the starter box of Morghoul, 2 Cyclops Savage, and a Titan Gladiator. The hope is to play some small games during lunch with Ben as a starting point. After that, I'll be growing the point size as well as the variety of models I run.

No Quarter 31 is full of great information as well. Privateer Press has done a fantastic job with this magazine, and every issue from the first on has been worth picking up if you're into any of their games.

A few inclusions from NQ #31:
  • Rules for the Swamp Troll, Trollkin Skinner (for Trolls), Warpborn Skinwalkers, Wold Guardian (for Circle), Stinger (for Legion), Paingiver Task Master (for Skorne), Lord Carver, Gun Boar, War Hog, and Thrullg (for minions). I don't have the experience to comment on how good any of these are, but they are certainly all cool. The Gun Boar also has a rule called 'Bacon' that heals warbeasts when it dies. I'm not making that up. Thrullg is an interesting solo for my Skorne guys (he works for all the current Hordes factions), he's very anti-magic, but I don't know if I have many opponents who that's going to be useful against. Maybe Rob's Koldun Lord...
  • A long article on how to build a 'Jack Scrap Yard as a terrain piece. If only I had time to work on terrain, then I might be able to take a crack at some of these. They throw some very nice terrain articles in these No Quarters.
  • 7 pages of tactical advice for Circle armies. No idea if the tips are any good, but they are probably a great start for people who need a tactical primer.
  • Rules for the first Minion Pact (similar to a Mercenary Contract)! The Thornfall Alliance is a collection of various Farrow models, with the ability to Advance Deploy. If nothing else, it gives a way to use Lord Carver plus his toys.
  • Theme force articles for the Witch Coven of Garghast (which I think is a pretty basic article), as well as one for Void Seer Mordikaar.
  • A sneak peek at the Warmachine video game, tips for creating swamp bases, painting the Rhinodon and using it in game, and how to collect and build a Cygnar army from 25 to 100 points by buying as 'precise and cost-friendly' as possible.
Overall, there's a LOT of great articles in this issue, and if you don't have it, you should definitely pick it up.

One edit: there's not much point in doing a Forces of Warmachine: Mercenaries post. It's covered fantastically here. Since I don't own a Mercenary army, I doubt I have much to add :).

Friday, July 2, 2010

Whoo! I'm listed as a Playtester!

Very small thing, but really exciting for me.

I'm listed as a playtester in MMP's recent release: Out of the Attic #2. Right there at the very end of the playtesting credits is my name. I playtested 3 of the scenarios in the issue. It's a fantastic product, and if anyone plays ASL I'd recommend it, as it contains former tournament scenarios that aren't available in another publication. Definitely worth it.

Anyway, pretty exciting :).

News for week ending 7/2/10

  • Against the Odds is shipping (or soon to ship). Issue 29, including Buffalo Wings, a game about air combat during World War II over Finland. Looking forward to getting it.
  • Amarillo Design Bureau has a few new products as well- War & Peace for their Federation Commander game, adding the Vudar, the ISC, and the Andromedans. If only I got to play more! Module R12: Unusual Ships for Star Fleet Battles adds failed prototypes, plus interesting things like Seltorian Battlewagons. And finally, Captain's Log #41 which adds content for all their games. If only I had more time to play, I'd pick some of these up.

Looks to be all from this week. Still unpacking, so very little on the game front for me still, but inching closer to making this blog worth reading :)