Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Painting Progress for the month!

I actually did some painting, which is in itself a bit of a surprise.

Now, due to free time, I didn't paint a whole lot, but I found that now that I've decided to paint stuff up, even the 15-20 minutes I paint 2-3 times a week definitely gives me some progress!

Here are some pictures of my (small) progress:

Cyclops Savage:

They basically received two layers of GW Mechrite Red.

Titan Gladiator:

I started with two thin layers of Vallejo Bluegrey Pale (VMC 905). It dried a lot bluer than I thought it would, however.

I followed it up with a very light layer of GW Codex Grey, which seems to have done the trick. I've started painting the red on the Titan as well, but that will be finished by the end of the week (therefore next month).

Next step will be to get the rest of the basic colors in place on the models, then highlight up to Skorne Red as well as the various gold shades I need. The flags are going to take some work as well- I plan to try some blending on the Titan flag (mainly because I need the practice).

Also, I need to work on taking pictures. I know.

So, not amazing progress, but definitely a start!

Skorne vs Trollbloods, 15pts, 8/26/10

Well, another game vs. Ben, again at 15 points. Feeling confident, I wanted to try another warlock, Archdomina Makeda.

My list:
Archdomina Makeda
- Cyclops Savage
- Cyclops Savage
- Titan Gladiator
- Paingiver Beast Handlers (Leader and 3 Grunts)

Just about the same as my last list, just a different warlock

Ben's list:
Chief Madrak Ironhide
-Troll Axer
-Troll Impaler
Trollkin Champions (Leader and 4 Grunts)

VERY beast light, but those champions are hard to take down.

You can read a fairly similar account of the battle here as well, on Ben's blog.

Basically, terrain was our normal- carrot forest in the middle, impassable walls scattered around it. I sent my Cyclops around it, my Paingivers providing support, and my Gladiator and Morghoul pretty much right up the middle.

He took a shot at my Cyclops, and I stalled for a turn to try to get everything in position, but I impatiently charged on my second turn. A Cyclops into his Impaler, and the Titan into his Champions. I managed to deal almost no damage to either, although I did push a champion out of the way. In return, Madrak and the Impaler ganged up on the Cyclops, and the Champions pounded on the Titan.

My other Cyclops charged into combat as well, but I learned that rolling a 6 on two die just wasn't going to happen this game- I couldn't kill anything with my attacks for nearly an entire turn, and in the next turn, the Trolls finished off a Cyclops and a Titan.

I tried to buy some time by charging Makeda into the Champions, hoping to roll through them a little with some effective attacks, but again, I just didn't roll well enough to get the job done. Makeda was cut down, and the game ended with my first Hordes loss :(.

I did learn a few things, which is good. You always learn more after a loss than a win. I need 'real' infantry to make Makeda effective. I'm almost finished assembling my Praetorian Swordsmen, who will happily fill that role. I suspect I need other infantry as well. I don't need a second Savage. I either need a different beast, or something totally different. I'm not sure.

I also need to throw something extra at those Champions. I shouldn't be throwing models at them one at a time. A combined charge with the Gladiator and the Cyclops might have helped a lot. Need to be smarter about it.

Still, next week I'll have some new toys, hopefully they can help me out some.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Paingiver Beast Handlers: Thoughts/Tips

Beast Handlers are a vital component of the Skorne war machine. They are used to train and condition the beasts Skorne use in battle. On the tabletop, they are a necessary part of your army- healing, enhancing, and just making those warbeasts easier to handle for your warlocks.

For the most part, their stats aren't the reason you take these guys. They have SPD 6, which is perfect for keeping up with the Skorne beasts. Their DEF and ARM are very low, which means the unit has almost no survivability, but since you'll be tagging along with your beasts you can use them to provide screening for these guys. CMD 8 is a little concerning as well, since they are very fragile. It's not low enough to be in danger of constantly failing, but low enough to be worth noting. Finally, these guys are cheap. 3 points for a full unit (of 6!). That's a tremendous value!

Very low P+S, but it does have reach, and with Anatomical Precision it can still kill single-wound infantry. The Barbed Whip also has the Inflict Pain rule, allowing the handlers to place or remove a fury point on the target warbeast. That can be very handy for either starving your opponent of fury... or overloading his beasts with it.

Of course, if your beast handlers are in combat, you're probably doing something wrong. Their attacks are really a last resort.

Special Rules:
Anatomical Precision: Great for killing single-wound infantry, assuming you hit. Since these guys aren't likely to break ARM on their targets, this gives them the potential to chip away a point of damage apiece. Of course... they still shouldn't be in combat.

Beast Manipulation: The entire reason to take this unit. Each member of the unit can perform one of these, and each beast can be effected by one each turn.

- Condition: A friendly beast can have any number of fury put on it, or taken off it. This ability is key to keeping your beasts running efficiently. You can easily drop fury off of beasts to make it easier for your warlock to stop Frenzy, or even to give the beast some room to use Fury for its abilities on the opponent's turn (useful for the Cyclops Brute, for instance). I can't see much use for putting fury ON a friendly beast, but I've had to do it because I'm careless, so it's not wholly useless.

- Enrage: Another help on beast efficiency, it gives a bonus to STR as well as forces the beast to charge, slam, or trample on their next activation for free (which basically saves the beast another Fury). Pretty fantastic on some beasts once they get up close the opponent.

- Medicate: Heals a beast. Fairly useful throughout the game, both to keep your beasts alive after rounds of shooting, or to fix a critical aspect before charging in to unleash a beating.

Obviously, which of these is used depends wholly on circumstances. All are useful though, and will get plenty of use during the game.

Kind of a strange thing here, since the Beast Handlers are there solely to make your beasts better. That means they have very simple rules for synergies with beasts: They make them better!

Master Tormentor Morghoul: No real synergies. They do make Abuse better though- +4 STR is downright nasty. They can also heal the damage Morghoul's abilities cause.

Titan Gladiator: Enrage makes this thing scary. Add on another one of the STR boosts, and the Gladiator can wreck Khador heavies. Spirit and Mind are the most likely to be destroyed aspects, and the Handlers can keep them healthy.

Cyclops Savage: I find the most useful beast manipulation for the Cyclops is Medicate. Extra strength is nice, but P+S 15 isn't terribly scary. Healing these guys is always nice though, since they are handy to keep around.

Tier Thoughts:
They can be taken in all theme forces aside from Void Seer Mordikaar's and Supreme Aptimus Zaal's.

Master Tormentor Morghoul's theme list requires two units of them for one of the tiers, which causes heavy warbeasts to be cheaper.

These guys are absolutely worth taking in nearly every Skorne army. They make your beasts easier to run, and that makes the beasts better overall. They are also so inexpensive that it isn't a point sink to include them. They are extremely fragile, and will certainly draw the attention of your opponent, but that's just another way to help the beasts out, I would think. 100% take them in every army.

100th post!

Last post was my 100th post on this blog!

Blogs are kind of strange things, since so much of what is posted can be utterly worthless to so many of it's readers, but I appreciate everyone that comes by and takes a look at this page. I also appreciate the people who leave comments, either for me being right or wrong, because it's a reminder that someone is actually reading :).

Thanks guys!

Charles S. Roberts passes away

Obituary here.

He founded Avalon Hill, and is considered the Father of Wargaming.

Not much to say really, but a sad loss certainly.

Finally been working on miniatures!

For the first time in some time, I've finally been working on assembling some miniatures!

Here's the proof!

Not much, but it's certainly a start. The Paingivers are going to be really nice, to give me a way to manage the fury on my warbeasts. I'm not really sure how the Totem Hunter is going to fit into my army, or if there's a role I really need him for, but I have him, so may as well use him!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Cyclops Savage: Thoughts/Tips

The Cyclops Savage is the light beast given in the Skorne battle box. He is fairly average in almost all respects, but with an animus that alone makes him a valuable support piece that can fit into any army.

The stats, overall, are fairly unremarkable. Decent MAT and SPD, DEF and ARM seem pretty good for a light, but overall nothing all that really stands out as exceptional. 3/8 Fury/Threshold is pretty normal, from what I see out of light warbeasts.

Only one attack, with a P+S 13 Falchion. It does have reach, and it's strong enough to do damage to almost anything out there, but not much. Handy against infantry and lights though.

The key strength of the Cyclops Savage is his Animus, Prescience. It grants Future Sight, which lets the model choose to boost attack and damage rolls AFTER rolling. That's a very useful ability to keep your fury usage efficient. This is especially useful for beasts with shooting attacks, who may need a 7-8 to hit, and you want to use as little fury as possible. Roll, and if you miss by a little, boost after the roll. It can also be handy with damage- if you roll a 1 and a 2 with your initial damage roll, you're not likely to waste a fury point for a damage boost, especially if you're looking at high ARM targets. I find it less useful on close combat oriented beasts (if they haven't charged) because oftentimes you'll just prefer to spend the fury on another attack.

Overall, it's just such a handy tool that you will find plenty of times for it to come in handy. Also, it only costs a single fury to use, making it extremely easy to throw around.

Special Rules:
Future Sight: He has the same rules that his animus grants, and it's the same level of useful with him as it is on someone else.

Master Tormentor Morghoul: Abuse is alright for giving the Savage a good 13" threat range and lets him hit harder, but there are probably going to be better targets for the spell. Prescience doesn't really provide too much help to Morghoul, since you're likely better off spending fury for the two extra attacks, instead of either boosting to hit or boosting damage. The Savage's usefulness with Morghoul really depends more on what else is in the army.

Titan Gladiator: Prescience is very helpful on the Gladiator, who can use it to save fury on those slam power attacks. Generally, to kill big things, you'll want to slam it, Follow Up, then proceed to pound on the knocked down target. This revolves on that first attack hitting, but wanting to spend as little fury doing so as possible (so you can buy more attacks). Prescience definitely comes in handy there. Rush is okay on the Cyclops, but generally you'll have better things to do with it.

Paingiver Beast Handlers: I find the most useful beast manipulation for the Cyclops is Medicate. Extra strength is nice, but P+S 15 isn't terribly scary. Healing these guys is always nice though, since they are handy to keep around.

Tier Thoughts:
The Cyclops Savage can be taken in all of the theme forces but Dominar Rasheth's and Tyrant Xerxis'. Whether they make a good choice for the army is dependent more on what ELSE you take. They are very helpful with some choices, and fairly pointless with others.

The Cyclops is a good, reliable, cheap beast. It's pretty inexpensive at 5 points, and can provide a lot of support to the beasts in your army, or even your warlock from time to time. It's a great fit for armies with ranged attacks on their beasts, and even some of the melee beasts will enjoy having the Cyclops Savage around.

Book Review: Nemesis

I've recently finished the latest Horus Heresy novel by James Swallow (writer of Flight of the Eisenstein, another fantastic part of the series), Nemesis. It covers a plan by the Imperial assassin cults to send a team of assassins, one from each temple, to assassinate Horus. Of course, a plan is simultaneously put into motion by the traitors to send a vicious assassin to kill the Emperor.

I'll start out by saying that I really liked this book; it's a great addition to a great series. Sure, you know from the beginning that neither of the assassination plots succeed, but that's not really the point of the series. The main interest is seeing HOW it unfolds.

The assassins are covered very well, firstly because you get to see them in action. As the execution force is assembled, the group goes from location to location picking up assassins immediately after their previous missions have completed. Doing so, the reader gets to read about the missions while they are happening, to some effect. Sure, reading about a Vindicare sniping people isn't very interesting (and it's a little corny in the book), but reading about a Culexus (the anti-psyker) assassin in action from the Culexus' point of view was very interesting.

Also, you get to feel that the assassins are people, with real personalities (somewhat) and feelings and such, and you get to see how they interact with one another and how they view one another. They aren't portrayed as single-minded killers. It's especially interesting to read how the Eversor thinks when the focus is on him... ok, maybe one of them is a single-minded killer...

Finally, the book includes an operative from the Venenum and Vanus temples, who aren't really mentioned often in the 40K background otherwise; I think only in the Assassins codex from 3rd edition. They seem to be in there as plot devices, though, as opposed to being there for the necessity of their skills (although the Vanus obviously contributes quite a bit to the mission).

I don't have many complaints about the book, but there are two issues I have. First, I think the book jumps around too much, and not necessarily to the story's benefit. Generally, moving from one character's viewpoint to another can really help drive the story, but only if it's done for that goal. I don't feel that Nemesis is really written to fit with such a goal. There are two separate stories that are going on inside it, and although they are related, the jumping between the two probably should be done a little less frequently. Of course, that's my opinion, and I'm not a professional author.

The second one is very minor, and is more of a confusion than a complaint. There are two parts earlier in the book (one at the beginning, and one in the middle), where Horus could be involved, yet it seems like he's purposely kept apart from the action... then some of the characters directly interact with him at the end, and it really doesn't seem like there was a reason for it. It's probably solely because he wasn't really relevant to the story at that point, but it stuck out at me.

So there are a few things I want to also talk about, but of course, if you haven't read the book, you shouldn't read them. So stop reading if you only wanted a review!


The book gives a very clear hint that someone warned Horus about the assassination attempt, and even the First Chaplain is surprised that Horus was aware. There's some suggestion that it might be a spy in the Imperial Palace... but I think the implication is that the Chaos Gods are whispering directly to Horus. We know that when he assaults Terra, he's going to be significantly 'enhanced' by the Chaos Gods' gifts, so I suspect this is the start of them showing their favor to him. It certainly will make future dialogue/interactions with Horus more interesting.

The response from both the Emperor and Horus regarding assassins is one of the final parts of the book, but is very interesting. The Emperor declares a change from the Assassination clades to a more governed form (presumably the Officio Assassinorum), but defends the need to keep such a group because 'in the war to come, every weapon in the arsenal of the Imperium will be called to bear'. Horus, however, describes assassins as 'a tool of the weak'. I just found that rather fascinating- the noble Emperor using a backhanded means to try to end the war, with the traitorous Horus decrying a similar attempt by one of his allies.

I'm very excited to read the next books in the series- I can't wait!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Skorne vs Trollbloods, 15pts, 8/24/10

Played again vs. Ben, this time upping the game up to 15 points, or as close as possible with what we had available.

I ran:
Master Tormentor Morghoul
- Cyclops Savage
- Cyclops Savage
- Titan Gladiator
Paingiver Beast Handlers (Leader and 3 Grunts)

Basically, just added the Beast Handlers, who should enhance my beasts nicely.

Ben's List:
Chief Madrak Ironhide
- Troll Axer
- Troll Impaler
- Dire Troll Bomber

Addition of a Bomber to replace an Impaler.

Battlefield was slightly different than last game. The only terrain that mattered was a wall in the middle of the table slightly to the left of center, and another of those strange carrot forests about 6" to the right of center. Again, I'm beat-out by shooting, so I needed to get up there as quick as possible.

Ben began the game by moving up, trying to get into position to take some shots at me the next turn. I responded by advancing my Titan Gladiator by the wall, to keep it out of line of sight from some of his army, while drawing a bead on his bomber. The rest of the army moved towards the center.

The shooting began- the Bomber dropped a bomb right on top of one of my Cyclops, doing decent damage (he then forgot that the Bomber had a ROF 2 so he could've gotten that second shot). The Impaler took a shot at the Gladiator, I believe, but missed.

I responded by sending my Abused, Enraged (from the Paingivers) Titan 9" into his Bomber, slamming him hard, and proceeded to force for the extra attacks, killing it, and moving the Titan way out of my warlock's control area. I sent a Cyclops into his Axer, not really doing a whole lot. The other Cyclops, that took some damage from shooting, I moved up after healing him with the Paingivers.

Ben took a few swings at the engaged Cyclops with Madrak and the Axer, but failed to kill him (left with a single damage box!). The Impaler took a shot at the Titan, but didn't accomplish much. Not looking so good for Ben.

I advanced my Titan into his Impaler, beating on it, but not crippling it. The other Cyclops joined the battle, but combined the two Cyclops didn't really dent the hardy trolls facing them. The Paingivers provided some healing, and Morghoul bravely raced in against the Troll Axer, but I couldn't roll higher than a 6 often enough to do some damage.

Madrak started off Ben's next turn by popping his feat. Unfortunately, he didn't have good targets for it. The Axer killed the Cyclops facing him, and took a shot at the other one, which Madrak had already beaten badly. The Impaler scratched the Titan.

At this point, the Titan killed the Impaler, and I brought the Impaler down to a single damage box, and popped my feat. Ben realized that it was going to be an uphill battle here, and we were running out of time, conceded.

This game was actually very close, and really the concession was more about time than imminent defeat. I know I messed up the battle report of the last two turns (there was another turn thrown in there, but I think it was a lot of poor dice rolling), but the basic flow of the game is there.

We're still struggling to keep the games short, but hopefully that will come with a few more games of practice. Next time, I'll be trying a new warlock, and hopefully get an actual combat unit in on the action!

And I suspect games will continue to be close, as Ben is starting to figure out how to use his army.

8th Edition Empire, 2nd Attempt

Wizard Lord (lvl 4) w/ Rod of Power, Holy Relic (Lore of Life)
Captain w/ Pegasus, Lance, Full Plate Armor, Shield, Pistol, Dragon Helm
Captain (BSB) w/ Armour of Meteoric Iron, Wyrmslayer Sword
Battle Wizard (lvl 1) w/ Dispel Scroll (Lore of Shadow)
Warrior Priest w/ Relic Blade, Heavy Armor, Shield
Master Engineer
31 Halberdiers w/ Standard Bearer, Musician
-15 Swordsmen
30 Spearmen w/ Standard Bearer, Musician
- 15 Swordsmen
12 Knightly Order w/ Great Weapons, Full Command, Banner of Eternal Flame
30 Greatswords w/ Standard Bearer, Musician
- 15 Swordsmen
Great Cannon
Great Cannon
Helstorm Rocket Battery

Re-arranged things to get the Warrior Priest and the Engineer into the army, which should make me more effective overall (as per the advice I received). Also, the level 2 wizard really isn't going to do a whole lot, so he was turned down to a level 1, just so I can have the dispel scroll available. Overall, the core of the army stayed the same.

Let me know what you guys think!

Friday, August 27, 2010

News for week ending 8/27/10

  • Avalanche Press added two new preorders: Battles of 1866: Frontier Battles covering battles between Austria and Prussia during that period, and Infantry Attacks: Fall of Empires, covering Eastern Front World War I action.
  • Compass Games has acquired the rights to a new game called The War, another strategic level simulation of World War II. Although that's something that's been done to death, they are making it sound interesting. You can find out more here.
  • GMT Games published a news update. You can read it yourself, but one thing to note is that reprints of Here I Stand, Paths of Glory, Manoeuvre, Flying Colors, and Sword of Rome are scheduled to be published throughout next month.
  • Lock 'N Load added Heroes of the Faith to their preorder page. Covers battles in 1973 vs Israel and Syria along the Golan Heights.

Titan Gladiator: Thoughts/Tips

The first heavy beast that most Skorne players will get to use/experience, the Titan Gladiator is just about as un-subtle as they come. Strong, slow, tough, and with three attacks, he's designed to run forward and lay down a beating as soon as possible. Plus, he's really cool looking!

First off, he is extremely slow. He has the tools to help with that some, however. The rest of his stats are pretty normal for what a heavy beast/jack would be, although he has a DEF of 12 which is nice. 4 Fury/9 Threshold seem to be fairly normal as well. 30 Damage (12 Body) gives him some good durability.

He has three attacks, which is a great start. First are the Tusks, which are low POW, but add their POW to his STR when he makes slam and head butt power attacks (as you'll see from his rules, this is a helpful bonus). He also has two War Gauntlets, which are a nice P+S 16 attack that count as Open Fists, letting him do any of the Power Attacks. It's not very difficult to increase the STR of these attacks, so having three of them is really nice.

His animus is Rush, which increases the movement of a warbeast and gives it Pathfinder. Skorne don't have many ways to give their beasts Pathfinder or to otherwise negate terrain (I think one of the warlocks has Ghost Walk, but this isn't common). The extra movement is handy for the heavies, who are generally slow (with the animus, the titan is now charging/slamming 9" which is tolerable). Short range animus, and it only costs 2. I suspect melee-oriented armies are going to really want to make use of him.

Special Rules:
Bullheaded: Causes the Gladiator to slam instead of charge if he frenzies. This is pretty nice, because the Tusks give you additional power on it, and slamming can knock down models, which will be a huge help for the rest of your army.

Follow Up: If the Titan Gladiator slams a model, he moves up to the distance the model was slammed. Great if you have some spare focus for extra attacks on the now prone target, or if you just want to get some extra distance into your opponent's lines. If you move into another model, however, you stop. Still, that generally means you're moving up into your opponent's face.

Grand Slam: The Gladiator slams for free, and moves slammed models an additional 2 inches. Combined with all of his other slam-related special rules, you get the idea that the designers intended for him to be slamming. Combined with Follow Up, this really gets the Gladiator moving a lot during his activation if he gets that slam off.

Master Tormentor Morghoul: Abuse is a great spell to use on the Gladiator, as it makes his slams go farther, and hit harder. Even without the slams, that's two P+S 18s and a 17. That's going to hurt. Admonition can also help with the Gladiator's mobility. The Gladiator's animus helps beasts that Morghoul takes keep up with him, as well as giving them the Pathfinder they would need to keep moving with Morghoul. Not really a bad match, truth be told.

Cyclops Savage: Prescience is very helpful on the Gladiator, who can use it to save fury on those slam power attacks. Generally, to kill big things, you'll want to slam it, Follow Up, then proceed to pound on the knocked down target. This revolves on that first attack hitting, but wanting to spend as little fury doing so as possible (so you can buy more attacks). Prescience definitely comes in handy there. Rush is okay on the Cyclops, but generally you'll have better things to do with it.

Paingiver Beast Handlers: Enrage makes this thing scary. Add on another one of the STR boosts, and the Gladiator can wreck Khador heavies. Spirit and Mind are the most likely to be destroyed aspects, and the Handlers can keep them healthy.

Tier Thoughts:
Like I've said, still not a whole lot of experience with neither Skorne nor Hordes, so I won't have many thoughts here for some time.

At present, the Titan Gladiator can be taken in the theme list for Archdomina Makeda, Lord Tyrant Hexeris, Void Seer Mordikaar, Master Tormentor Morghoul, Lord Assassin Morghoul, Dominar Rasheth, Tyrant Xerxis, and Supreme Aptimus Zaal (currently everyone but Epic Makeda). He isn't specifically needed for any of the theme forces, but seems to be a good choice for Rasheth and Master Tormentor Morghoul.

He's the least expensive of the Titan warbeasts, and he operates as a very effective tank for your army. His animus fills a vital hole for Skorne, and he's capable of both providing some heavy hitting for your army, as well as assisting your army out in a support role (both for his animus and by clearing holes and knocking models down). A great fit for your Skorne army.

Dark Elves in 8th, Monster List

So, a common army for Dark Elves is one focused on their monsters. Unfortunately, I don't think such an army is all that effective n 8th, but I'm sure we could put together something that works.

Dreadlord w/ Manticore, Deathpiercer, Other Trickster's Shard, Pendant of Khaeleth, Dragonhelm, Heavy Armor, Sea Dragon Cloak, Shield
Sorceress (lvl 2) w/ Sacrificial Dagger, Pearl of Infinite Bleakness
Sorceress (lvl 2) w/ Focus Familiar, Lord of Death
Master (BSB) w/ Armor of Darkness, Relic Blade
35 Warriors w/ Standard, Musician, Shields
10 Crossbowmen w/ Standard, Musician, Shields
10 Crossbowmen w/ Standard, Musician, Shields
10 Crossbowmen w/ Standard, Musician, Shields
6 Harpies
Cold One Chariot
Cold One Chariot
20 Black Guard w/ Full Command, Banner of Eternal Flame, Crimson Death
War Hydra
War Hydra

Well, this is a 7th edition army ported over to 8th. However, I think it could work.

You have some decent mobility in this army, and the ability to threaten your opponent's backfield with the Manticore or the Harpies. There's some shooting, although not a very scary amount. There's some magic as well, with Death chosen as a lore because we'll need to go after enemy wizards as early as possible. The Wizard with lore of fire will put some wounds on things early.

The Black Guard is there to hold up a unit. Then hopefully one or more of my hammer units can get there to break the opposing unit. Combined, one or two of my hammers (the Chariots, Hydras, or Manticore) can do a lot of wounds. Of course, other than the Spearmen or Black Guard, there's no real way to get past Steadfast. I'll have to hope that magic can drop a rank or two, and that my wounds from combat can do enough damage.

I'll be giving this list a try as soon as I can. I want to make a list with 3 or more monsters work, so I'm going to try a few things. This is a good starting point though, I hope.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Skorne Thoughts: Master Tormentor Morghoul

Master Tormentor Morghoul is the Skorne starter box warlock. After running him, I think I have the hang of his basics, so I'm going to put some thoughts up and gradually go through the other Skorne choices as I try them out, to see if I can hit some of the combos. Hopefully I'll have some thoughts up that a new Skorne player could read and find some use in.

To start, his statline is pretty good. He's faster than almost anything in the Skorne army (with base speed, at least), which is nice because his spells have short range, and you'll need him to get to places to assassinate various things. MAT 8 means he's going to hit regularly, and DEF 17 means he's not going to be taking many hits in return. His CMD is only 8, however, which is pretty low. ARM 13 is also terrible- he's going to take a beating from blasts.

His only weapon is a pair of Rippers, a low P+S weapon which let you make two attacks for every fury you spend. That means base (with his 5 Fury) he can put out 12 attacks. Not too shabby. His weapon also has Inflict Pain, letting him add or remove fury from warbeasts that he hits. He'll be able to use that on his own beasts, if fury management is becoming difficult, but it's going to be handy from time to time to either overload the opponent's beasts with Fury, or starve the warlock by taking the frenzy off it. I'm not sure I'm going to get a whole lot of use out of that, but it's certainly worth keeping in mind.

His feat, Pain & Suffering, is certainly interesting. Against Warmachine, it will stop models from spending focus, which will actually make an opponent's caster HARDER to kill the turn after, since they'll be forced to camp the focus. Still, it does help shut a caster down, as well as makes opposing warjacks less effective. Against Hordes, it's even more effective. Enemy models can't be forced, which can cripple warlocks for a full turn as they struggle to find fury to leech. In addition, models can't have damage transferred to them, which could be a fatal ability to lose if the opposing warlock is in danger. With only 5 Fury, Morghoul doesn't exactly throw this ability over a large area, meaning he'll have to be up with his army to make full effect of this.

Abuse: I love this spell, and it fits him being a Paingiver nicely. For a small amount of damage, he makes a warbeast move faster and hit harder. Adding to the stats means that your beasts can run farther, and makes your beasts more effective for some of their power attacks as well. The spell has a short range, but that's not a big deal, since Morghoul will need to be up with his army near the front lines anyway.

Admonition: This spell will help keep models safe. If you are trying to protect a model from being charged or if a model is getting set up on, having this spell cast on the model can move it 3", which is far enough to get them out of melee range, as well as protects them from the free strike. It's not a great spell, but since it's an upkeep, it gains some utility. You could also have it on Morghoul himself to keep him out of danger.

Torment: It's a POW 12 offensive spell, but the additional effect is fantastic- a model damaged by this spell loses Tough, it can't be healed, and it can't transfer damage. That's a perfect spell to set up an assassination. Tough isn't terribly reliable, but negating it completely is a fairly noticeable loss. Ten inch range is far enough to keep Morghoul safe against most models, as well.

Special Rules:
Anatomical Precision: A great ability that hugely enhances Morghoul's lethality against living models. It's much better than some other similar abilities, like Penetrating Strike, because you get to see the result of the dice roll before it takes effect. With a P+S of 9, you're not likely to break higher ARM numbers, but the chance of rolling boxcars and being able to take that over having this go off just makes this warlock even nastier in close combat. Combined with Overtake, Morghoul can fairly reliably march through units.

Maltreatment: Deal a small amount of damage to a warbeast, and get another point of fury. This effectively gives Morghoul 6 Fury to work with during his turn, and can really help keep your Fury managed.

Overtake: Great for killing units. Combined with Anatomical Precision, you just need to hit. He's AMAZING at killing low DEF troops if they have one wound.

Perfect Balance: This ability helps his survivability a lot. Combined Ranged Attacks don't work against him, meaning most shooting is going to struggle to hit his DEF 17. He ignores free strikes, so he can move away from models that are actually scary to be in combat with. I don't think combined melee attacks are a huge concern, but it's nice to be able to ignore that as well. The free stand up is awesome as well, anything to save you a few fury points, since you don't have a whole lot to start with.

Sprint: Combined with Perfect Balance, this allows Morghoul to walk in, slaughter a unit of troops, and move and hide, away from danger. He's not very tough, so this could save his life.

Titan Gladiator: Abuse is a great spell to use on the Gladiator, as it makes his slams go farther, and hit harder. Even without the slams, that's two P+S 18s and a 17. That's going to hurt. Admonition can also help with the Gladiator's mobility. The Gladiator's animus helps beasts that Morghoul takes keep up with him, as well as giving them the Pathfinder they would need to keep moving with Morghoul. Not really a bad match, truth be told.

Cyclops Savage: Abuse is alright for giving the Savage a good 13" threat range and lets him hit harder, but there are probably going to be better targets for the spell. Prescience doesn't really provide too much help to Morghoul, since you're likely better off spending fury for the two extra attacks, instead of either boosting to hit or boosting damage. The Savage's usefulness with Morghoul really depends more on what else is in the army.

Paingiver Beast Handlers: No real synergies. They do make Abuse better though- +4 STR is downright nasty. They can also heal the damage Morghoul's abilities cause.

Tier Thoughts:
I will have to come back and flesh this out as well, after I have experience. His tier list focuses on Paingivers and Cataphract Arcuarii, plus fairly basic warbeasts. He allows your army to start closer to your opponent, and with the name 'Big Game Hunters' seem to be about pulling models close, and using your cheap warbeasts to pound them.

With 7 warbeast points, and a solid spell to work with warbeasts, he certainly feels like he could be a beast caster... unfortunately, with 5 Fury, this just isn't going to work.

With short ranges on his spells, and a bunch of abilities for wearing away at models he's in combat with, Morghoul is clearly meant to be up close to the front line, where he can act as an infantry/solo assassin. His feat can really hurt the opponent's caster/warlock, but he'll probably need his army to deal the killing blow. If your opponent has taken some damage, however, he's certainly capable of finishing the job. He's very mobile, and can certainly get to the pieces of the enemy army that he needs to, but he's not too tough, so will need to be careful.

Overall, a pretty basic warlock, with few tricks and fairly simple style.

Dark Elves in 8th, Shooting List

Alright, time for another Dark Elf army list. My last list was very close combat geared, depending on the power of the Black Guard to deliver my damage. This time, I'm going to focus more on the shooting part of the army.

The list:
Dreadlord w/ Heavy Armour, Shield, Sea Dragon Cloak, Cold One, Sword of Might, Dragonhelm, Pendant of Khaeleth, and Crown of Command
Supreme Sorceress (lvl 4) w/ Lifetaker, Darkstar Cloak, Lore of Shadows
Master (BSB) w/ Repeater Crossbow, Armour of Darkness, Pearl of Infinite Bleakness
5 Dark Riders w/ Musician, Repeater Crossbows
5 Dark Riders w/ Musician, Repeater Crossbows
10 Crossbowmen w/ Musician, Standard, Shields - 125
10 Crossbowmen w/ Musician, Standard, Shields - 125
21 Crossbowmen w/ Full Command, Shields - 256
5 Shades
- Assassin w/ Manbane, Rending Stars
5 Shades
- Assassin w/ Manbane, Rending Stars
2 Repeater Bolt Throwers

That's a fairly respectable amount of shooting, and the role of the shooting aspects of the list are fairly obvious. The other things may not be, however.

The Dreadlord's sole goal is to tie up a unit, or something scary. This army has a lot of shooting, but you're not going to be killing an opponent's army in a single turn. Units in the game overall seem to have gotten a bit faster in this edition, which means that your opponent could be on top of your army very early in the game. You need to worry about armies getting into close combat with you before you may have had a chance to wear them down with shooting. The Dreadlord will buy you some time.

The Hydras serve a similar role, but they are primarily there to break units after they have taken some shooting casualties. If a unit is down a few guys, a Hydra may be able to break it on its own. At the least, the shooting should (hopefully) mean there are fewer attacks coming back at you, which allows the Hydra can hold up a unit as well.

The Sorceress is taking Lore of Shadows. Every spell in the Lore, save Steed of Shadows, helps you out here. The signature spell will keep your opponent out of combat for longer (slowing them down). Enfeebling Foe will keep your crossbowmen alive longer should your opponent get into combat. The Withering will add to the effectiveness of your shooting. Penumbral Pendulum and Pit of Shades will add some extra damage. Okkam's Mindrazor will make even your lowly crossbowmen scary in close combat. Of course, you don't have a lot of magic defense in this list (which I may have to find a way to add), but I'll play a game or two beforehand. Hopefully I can put enough shooting out to buy me a win.

So there you have it. I'll revisit this list after trying it a game or two, and see if it really is at all effective. Anyone try anything similar?

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

First game of Hordes!

Well, Ben and I played our first game of Hordes last week to learn the rules, and to get a feel for the mechanics and our armies.

We played with the warpack armies, both to make it easy and because we are trying to make the game fit during our lunch break.

My army (11pts):
Master Tormentor Morghoul
-Cyclops Savage
-Cyclops Savage
-Titan Gladiator

Ben's army (10pts):
Chief Madrak Ironhide
-Troll Axer
-Troll Impaler
-Troll Impaler

I really had no idea how either of the armies worked, so this was going to be a great learning experience. Ben definitely had more shooting than I did (since I had none), but I held a slight edge in combat ability. Ben's battle report can be found here.

We didn't take pictures, mainly because we're trying to keep the games quick- when we can play longer, more involved games (on weekends or weeknights) I'll throw pictures on here.

We had to improvise on the terrain, so the center of our board was a 'carrot patch/forest' (a bag of carrots), and there were several other things, but they didn't factor into the game (since we had small armies).

I started the game, with the Titan dropping Rush on himself, then advancing through the carrot forest, followed by Morghoul. My Cyclops advanced around the carrots to set themselves up for some Abused/Rushed charges on the trolls.

Ben moved forward a bit, and both of his Impalers took shots at my Titan, damaging it. The Axer moved to block my Cyclops from threatening his warlock, and then Madrak moved a bit forward and cast Stranglehold on the Gladiator, holding it in place next turn.

I charged my Cyclopses (Cyclopi?) into his army- one into Madrak, one into his Axer, causing significant damage to the Axer (Madrak transferred damage from himself into the Axer), who lost his Body Aspect. Future Sight really adds to their reliability! Both Cyclops were Abused, but I forgot to add the strength bonus (which really wouldn't have mattered overall, I suspect). The Titan stayed put.

With significant effort, Madrak and the Axer combined to kill one of the Cyclops, after the Axer Regenerated some of his damage. The Impalers tried to shoot at the Gladiator again, with no success.

Turn 3 started with my Abusing my Titan (crippling my Spirit), and popping my feat, preventing Madrak from Leeching fury and forcing his beasts. Then I sent the Titan slamming into one of the Impalers (sending it 7"). The remaining Cyclops hit Madrak once or twice, doing some damage.

Ben took some swings at the Titan, almost killing him, and the Axer couldn't bring the other Cyclops down (some pretty poor rolling on his part).

I began turn 4 by sending Morghoul into Madrak, prepared to unleash the beating. 12 attacks later I had almost killed Madrak, then the Cyclops finished him off. One failed Tough roll later, game over!

I definitely like Skorne so far, but I haven't really gotten into them enough to get a feel for the faction. Next game should be more telling, since we'll be playing at 15 points, and actually have some variety. I'm quite looking forward to it!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Contact Information!

Hi! I have a new string of posts starting up tomorrow, with various tactical thoughts, battle reports, and painting/modeling updates.

Before then, however, I've added an email address on the right, below the 'About Me' block.

Feel free to send me comments, questions or suggestions. I'm hoping to add some new things to the blog, so if you have anything you'd like to see that isn't done well enough, please let me know!

Have a great week everyone!

Friday, August 20, 2010

News for week ending 8/20/10

  • MMP has a brand new website. Much improved. The pre-order numbers weren't able to be transferred though, so if you had pre-ordered a game with them, you'll need to do so again. I believe there are several new products there, but I can't really be sure. You'll just have to take a look yourself!
  • DDH Games has opened pre-orders up for The Battle of Gettysburg. This is the second game in a series, but there's not really a lot of information on how well people like either of the two games, so it's hard to say whether it's worth getting.
  • Decision Games shipped Strategy and Tactics Issue 264 a week or so ago (maybe a bit longer). Not sure how I missed it. It covers the battle of Shiloh.
  • Turning Point Simulations also updated their website. They aren't listed on this site, at least not until they come out with a game, but they are planning to release 21 games based of the 'Twenty Decisive Battles of the World'. There are some very interesting games there, but it really depends on the first one coming out to decide how successful they will be.
  • GMT Games is charging for Germantown 1777 and Dominant Species next week, and will be shipping soon after. If you're interested in either, you may want to get your pre-orders in now!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Witch Coven Tier 4 List

The Witch Coven are next on my run-through of some of the Tier 4 lists, and will be the last for a bit (since I'll need more experience with some of the other casters before I can say for sure how I'd run them... I may take a shot at regular Goreshade, however). Seeing as how I'm going to be running my Skorne more soon, it will have to wait.

The Coven are strange to play for a few reasons. First, there are three of them, which means you'll get three activations out of your caster, which is very handy for some things, like your upkeeps and other spell-casting opportunities. In addition, they have the Perfect Conjunction rule to let them cast a lot of spells (it makes all their spells cost only one or two focus apiece). They are a bit more difficult to use, but they are VERY effective as a warcaster.

First, a look at the advantages:
  • Extra Soulhunters and extra Warwitch Sirens. Combined with a later tier bonus, extra Soulhunters could be quite effective.
  • Soulhunters begin the game with a soul token! It's much easier to get more soul tokens once you have the first, so this is great.
  • You can re-deploy a model/unit. This isn't an overtly strong ability, but it's a nice-to-have. You can keep vital pieces out of danger, or put something closer to where it needs to be after seeing where your opponent has put his army.
  • Advance Deployment for Helljacks. Another nice-to-have, as you'll be able to get your Helljacks into the action much quicker.
So not amazing benefits, overall, but having any bonuses helps some if you can take advantage of them. Unfortunately... Soulhunters are very expensive, and don't really benefit from the Coven's spell list. Combined with Darragh, they are pretty cool, but they aren't going to be killing casters on their own (they're only really effective at killing infantry). That leaves us looking at the jacks in the army as our primary focus.

Army List:
The Witch Coven of Garlghast
The Withershadow Combine
Darragh Wrathe
Necrotech & 1 Scrap Thrall
Necrotech & 1 Scrap Thrall
Warwitch Siren
Warwitch Siren

The obvious focus here is on jacks, and getting them up and doing some damage. Hopefully, you'll be able to beat your way through your opponent's army before they can take too big a chunk out of you. With the Coven's spells- it's not even necessary to beat through them- you can walk through them!

Let's look at some of the parts of the army.

The Witch Coven of Garlghast: The girls can't do the job on their own, but will certainly make the job easier for your army.

Curse of Shadows, Veil of Mists, and Ghost Walk all help your jacks get into position, or at the least bypass models or terrain your opponent will have in front of your targets. You'll be using these spells a lot to get those jacks into and past your opponent. At 2 focus apiece (with Perfect Conjunction), they aren't going to strain the Coven's casting ability. The Withershadow Combine will make even that easier to swallow, since they can upkeep one of your spells for free.

Occultation will help keep your jacks alive as they move up. Throwing Stealth on the Deathjack will provide it some defense against ranged attacks.

Stygian Abyss is a fairly basic damage spell, and if the Coven have nothing else to do with their focus for a turn, this isn't a bad way to spend it. The critical Shadow Bind is probably the more helpful use of the spell, but POW 12s can still hurt if done enough.

Infernal Machine is the key enhancement that the Coven will provide, and since they'll have 3 activations, you can spread this around to every one of your heavy jacks every turn. Speed 8 and MAT 10 for all 3 of your warjacks is going to make your opponent very nervous every turn, especially with all the focus you'll have (since your jacks generate 4 on their own).

Warjacks: I chose two Seethers and the Deathjack. The Deathjack is an auto-include for most Cryx armies it seems, since he's very focus-efficient, and can even cast some of the warcaster's spells. With this build, all three of your warjacks get Advance Deployment, and all three can run/charge without taking focus from your caster. They are also all very scary in close combat, especially with Infernal Machine to make sure they hit. Use Occultation, Veil of Mists, and terrain to keep them protected, then Infernal Machine + Veil of Mists, Ghost Walk, and Curse of Shadows to destroy your opponent's army.

Two Defilers are also included, since the Coven badly need arc nodes- they are too fragile to ever be close to the army's front line. The spray attacks will help against infantry, since you don't have many ways to tear through them otherwise. Of course, RAT 5 isn't exactly tearing through infantry, but you could certainly hurt them.

Units: Unfortunately, the constraints of the tier requirements really take a lot of points, meaning you don't have the points for units. That's a shame, since your unit choices for this list are actually really good. Bane Knights really fit the theme, since they have Ghostly built in. They, as well as Blood Witches, are great for killing infantry, which you don't really have otherwise in this list.

Soulhunters are a theme of this list, and they are fantastic at killing infantry, but pretty poor at killing anything else. If this list were for 75 points, I would certainly include 2 units just to take advantage of the free soul tokens and Darragh Wrathe's ability to give them Incorporeal during their activations (again, a theme of this army). At 50 points, however, they are just too costly to fit! Of course, I don't see myself playing 75 points anytime soon :(.

The Withershadow Combine is another of those choices that seem to be an auto-include in Cryx armies. They have a lot of abilities, and if you play Cryx you're probably familiar with them. They may even create an extra Helljack or two with this list.

Solos: There were a decent selection of choices here, but only three made the cut.

Necrotechs are very cost effective, and provide some ability to keep your jacks up and running (as well as a way to benefit after killing your opponent's jacks). With two Necrotechs, all three of your jacks can repair throughout the game (assuming the Deathjack has living models to murder). Scrap thralls have some infantry killing ability as well, so certainly aren't a bad feature.
Pistol Wraiths are one of my favorite choices, but really don't add anything to the list. You can actually kill heavy warjacks, so freezing them doesn't really help. You'll want some infantry killing power, but these guys can't provide enough of it to justify their cost.

The Skarlock Thrall is another great choice, but I couldn't really see any spell that it would cast that I wouldn't be able to cast otherwise. It didn't really fit a need, so I skipped it.

The Warwitch Sirens are there to provide focus for your bonejacks to get them into position. You have an 18" control range with the Coven, so having your bonejacks far away is ideal- hopefully your opponent is far away from your caster, after all. They could also venom enemy infantry, which will come in handy (although if opponent infantry are that close, you're probably in trouble).

Darragh Wrathe is a necessity for tier 4, and although he has some nice abilities, the main benefit he adds to this army is likely to be either Beyond Death or Hellfire. If I had the points to take Soulhunters (which I would at higher points), his Leadership bonus is really fantastic, extending the places your Soulhunters can go. Throw him into a unit of infantry to kill one or two, and hinder the unit's damage potential.

Overall, the Witch Coven's theme list has some interesting potential, but I don't really see it fulfilled at 50 points, since you can't take advantage of the Soulhunters. At this level, I think this list will perform fine, although your only benefit is Advance Deployment on the warjacks, and a single re-deployment. Worth it? We'll see.

Friday, August 13, 2010

News for week ending 8/13/10

Back from Vegas! Here are the news items:
  • Lock N' Load Games added two new items to their P500 page. First up is World at War: Paris is Burning which adds the French to the mix. The French are looking solely to protect their homeland, and will be fighting both NATO and the Warsaw Pact forces in the game. Secondly, they've added Line of Fire #8, their in-house magazine. Scenarios and counters for all their games, which is a great deal if you are a fan of their products.
  • MMP's Operations Special Issue #3 is in print, and can be ordered off their website. Lots of great stuff in there, from the looks of it. They also have begun shipping of King Philip's War.

Again, I believe that's it! Have a great weekend!

8th Edition Empire

While I'm figuring out what the heck I'm going to do with my Dark Elves, I really should decide on how I'm going to run my Empire.

I don't really want to run pure (or even primarily) gun line if I can help it. I think it's very boring, and such an army doesn't take a whole lot of skill to play. What's the point if it's neither fun or challenging? Unfortunately, Empire DO need the use of some of their artillery. It's a major part of their army's capability and flavor. So I'll have to include some.

Here's the list I'm thinking about (for 2500 pts).

Wizard Lord (lvl 4) w/ Rod of Power, Holy Relic (Lore of Life)
Captain w/ Pegasus, Lance, Full Plate Armor, Shield, Pistol, Dragon Helm
Captain (BSB) w/ Armour of Meteoric Iron, Wyrmslayer Sword
Battle Wizard (lvl 2) w/ Dispel Scroll (Lore of Shadow)
32 Halberdiers w/ Standard Bearer, Musician
-15 Swordsmen
33 Spearmen w/ Standard Bearer, Musician
- 15 Swordsmen
12 Knightly Order w/ Great Weapons, Full Command, Banner of Eternal Flame
30 Greatswords w/ Standard Bearer, Musician
- 15 Swordsmen
Great Cannon
Great Cannon
Helstorm Rocket Battery
Helstorm Rocket Battery

This army competes competently in every phase of the game. For shooting, I'm still running 6 war machines, and am likely to get a lot of firepower out there. For combat, I have 3 good blocks with support, plus the Knights who may add some power to whatever fight they join. During the magic phase, I have two wizards who hopefully will support my army.

The Captain on Pegasus' primary goal will be killing war machines. Secondary task will be going after mages.

I have a few concerns with this list, primarily the low Leadership (8), but I'm hoping I can by. We'll have to see. A few games trying the list in the new edition will give me some insight on how this army should change.

Let me know what you think!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Dark Elves in 8th, Part 8: Black Guard List

To start off, I'll admit that the list is pretty much a copy of the one listed here. That's not because I copied it (although I did agree with the combination of items on the Black Guard, so I adjusted to match), but because it is good advice, and it's what I consider the best choices for a Dark Elf army, myself. With that said, Stelek is pretty much spot on.

Here's my army choice for 2500 pts. I don't own nearly enough Black Guard, but I'll build towards it, definitely.

Supreme Sorceress (level 4) w/ Sacrificial Dagger, Pendant of Khaeleth (Lore of Fire) - 320
Sorceress (level 2) w/ Focus Familiar, Pearl of Infinite Bleakness (Lore of Metal) - 185
Master (BSB) w/ Halberd, Blood Amour, Black Dragon Egg - 154
5 Dark Riders w/ Musician, Repeater Crossbows - 117
10 Dark Elf Crossbowmen w/ Standard Bearer, Musician - 115
10 Dark Elf Crossbowmen w/ Standard Bearer, Musician - 115
10 Dark Elf Crossbowmen w/ Standard Bearer, Musician - 115
30 Dark Elf Warriors w/ Shields - 210
Assassin w/ Extra Hand Weapon, Rune of Khaine, Touch of Death - 151
20 Black Guard w/ Full Command, Banner of Eternal Flame, Crimson Death - 330
20 Black Guard w/ Full Command, Sword of Might, Banner of Murder - 335
20 Black Guard w/ Full Command, Relic Blade, Razor Standard - 350

I think this is fairly standard. The BSB will hope in the middle-most Black Guard unit, and he'll keep those three units around for quite a bit. Both Sorceresses go into the Spearmen. The Assassin really can go in any of the Black Guard units. After trying the one scenario a few times, I may drop some upgrades from the crossbowmen (depends how many banners I'll actually need). We shall see.

You'll have a lot of overall capability in this list. 70 Crossbow shots, very offensive magic, and fantastic close combat ability combine to give you a very good shot to compete. Your opponent's army will take a lot of casualties coming in to fight you, and once they get there, your Black Guard are more than enough to handle the task of beating them back. Also, depending on the scenario, you can even be more aggressive. Those Black Guard can advance into your opponent's face to force them to deal with them on your terms.

I'll work on posting some other army lists I think will be effective in upcoming days, as well.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Dark Elves in 8th, Part 7: Lores of Magic

Dark Elves are a bit limited in which Lores they can take, but they get enough choices to make things interesting. First, however, we need to talk about the spell all Dark Elf wizards know.

Power of Darkness: This spell, and having all your wizards know it for free, is what makes Dark Elves so potent magically. You gain 2-4 Power Dice for a spell you are very likely to get off several times during the game. Your regular sorceresses can cast it on two dice with a low chance of failure, and your Sacrificial Dagger sorceress can do it with one, adding the extra if she rolls only a one or two. You can cast it throughout the magic phase to keep it going, well after your opponent has run out of dispel dice and spell defense. Even a poor Winds of Magic Roll can be somewhat mitigated by this. Also, with the FAQ, most of the negatives have been taken care of. You CAN attempt to cast spells you normally couldn't succeed on in order to get rid of the dice in the pool. It's a huge boon to your magic phase.

Lore of Dark Magic: This is the Dark Elf lore, and its primary benefit is going to be that all the spells are easier to cast because of the new magic rules. A level 4 wizard can cast even the hardest spell in the Lore on a 7+. However, the spells themselves really aren't good enough when compared to the other Lores you could choose. Also, with no Lore Attribute, you're missing out on the handy side benefits of the magic phase.

Chillwind is still a nice spell since it stops a unit from shooting, and the range is just right to be useful. Doombolt is a fairly basic magic missile, and Bladewind operates as another direct damage spell, with the ability to drop Champions as well. Lore of Fire is a better option, overall, if you're trying to go for damage, however. Word of Pain is handy because it can shut down a unit's shooting, and make them terrible in close combat. Soul Stealer is short ranged, and I've found it rarely to be useful enough to give too much consideration. Finally, Black Horror (our big spell) is difficult to find a role for, since its best against low Strength models... that we are generally alright with dealing with. I'm not sure there's any need to take the Dark Magic lore in the new edition... especially with the new toys you get from the other Lores!

Fire: The main purpose of this lore is causing damage. With two direct damage spells, two magic missiles, and an augment and hex spell that cause damage, it’s designed to put extra wounds on units that draw the wizard's attention. For your level 4, I actually think this is a good choice. The damage spells will take a few models off various units, allowing your Black Guard to handle them easily, and in addition, the non-damage spells are great.

Cascading Fire Cloak is probably the least useful of the spells in the lore, but will make rushing into combat against the unit a little dangerous for your opponent. Fulminating Flame Cage is a great way to kill a good amount of models, or freeze a unit in place (if they don't want to risk it). Flaming Sword of Rhuin will make your Black Guard even more dangerous in combat, or alternatively it will make your shooting more effective. Flame Storm is probably the weakest of the top level spells in the game, in my opinion, but even so, combined with the other spells in the Lore, you're going to kill a lot of models.

Metal: Lore of Metal makes a good choice, because it offers Dark Elves something they can sometimes have problems with: heavy armor. The Signature Spell does the majority of the damage in this regard, but there are a few other spells here that help out in various ways. Plague of Rust will permanently reduce an opponent's armor save, which combined with all your armor piercing is going to add up quick. The Enchanted Blades of Aiban isn't going to be that big a help to you, but an extra +1 to hit is rarely going to cause you to complain. Glittering Robe will make your units a little tougher to kill, which is a huge help with T3 and normally 5+ armor save. Transmutation of Lead will help you a little with breaking armor as well. I'm not that excite about Final Transmutation, but it can be pretty handy for occasionally tearing chunks out of a unit (if you're lucky).

I look at Lore of Metal as a good supplementary lore. I don’t think it's good to put on a level 4, but a level 2 may be well off taking this. Some of the spells are useless against some armies (like Daemons and Skaven). If you're facing one of those, you're going to have a lot of spells that just do nothing. Even so- having a wizard take it will probably help more often than not.

Shadow: I think the Lore Attribute is going to very rarely help you, which is a shame. The spells are pretty good all-around though. Not a useless spell among them, no matter what army you face (although Steed of Shadows is pretty weak).

Melkoth's Mystifying Miasma is one the weaker of the spells, but is certainly capable of providing benefit. Reducing WS is going to help against a lot of armies, reducing I or M will be useful against others. It's really going to depend on the army you face to determine which to use, of course. The Enfeebling Foe will be useful against almost every army, since it increases the survivability of your costly and fragile troops once they get into close combat. Watching an enemy need 6s to wound elves would be classic. The Withering will help a different way, by assisting your troops in killing foes. There's very few times that you'll find that spell pointless. Penumbral Pendulum is interesting, but I'm not sure how effective it is without giving it a shot. If your foes are coming to you, I could see it taking a toll on advancing troops. Pit of shades is fantastic, of course- you can use it combined with the Miasma to wipe out entire units. Okkamm's Mindrazor makes your units TERRIFYING. Strength 9 Black Guard? It’s another spell that will provide a lot of use. Just wait until an opponent is in combat with your crossbowmen enhanced by this.

This Lore makes a good choice for either a primary caster, or a secondary one. Some of the spells are a bit high on the casting values, however, so a level 2 may struggle to get them off.

Death: The Lore Attribute of this Lore partners well with Power of Darkness to keep your magic phase running longer. You won't get too too many dice with it, but even two or three dice are enough to get another spell off. Unfortunately, all but one of the spells that deals damage targets only a single enemy model (and not a unit), limiting the amount of wounds you're likely to cause. The spells here are short ranged, which Dark Elves can negate with the Focus Familiar. They are also great for sniping models out of units, which is actually pretty handy. I suspect the spells are too unreliable to see much use however. Purple Sun of Xereus is the big spell here, your level 4 has about a 90% chance of getting the spell, and it is very nasty, but the rest of your spells aren't going to be useful enough to make it worthwhile overall. I think this is probably the weakest choice for your Dark Elf sorceresses, but I may be willing to revise my opinion after a few games.

To start, I'm going to run my level 4 with Fire, and my level 2 with Metal. I will occasionally switch to Shadow on the level 4 to try it out though.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Dark Elves in 8th, Part 6: Magic Items (Magic Standards)

Finally, magic banners. Keep in mind, a few Dark Elf units can take them as well as the BSB: Warriors, Corsairs, Witch Elves, Executioners, Cold One Knights, and Black Guard.

Banner of Nagarythe
It has a nice ‘fluffy’ feel to it, but it's so expensive and hard to imagine it’s going to be any more useful in 8th than it was in 7th. That's to say, don't expect to see it.

Hydra Banner
I've always liked the Hydra Banner, but it doesn't provide any help for supporting attacks, and with models being able to step up and continue fighting, you don't need 5 or so extra attacks in the first round of combat- you need more attacks throughout the length of the entire combat. Not useful.

Rampager's Standard
You're going to be at the mercy of the charge rolls in 8th, but this is too many points to help fix that. In addition, there's not much benefit for charging except on Cold One Knights... but who is going to put a BSB in the Cold One Knight unit? There are better choices.

Wailing Banner
Having a banner in a unit that can cause either Fear or Terror may be nice, however, for the rare chance of it working (and the ability to ignore it from others), but I'd just go with the Fear banner Dark Elves have. I don’t see Fear/Terror being very potent in 8th, but doing it for cheap would be handy (as in one of the other banners).

Ranger's Standard
Strider is a handy ability, and it's likely to save the skin of some of your models occasionally, but for the points you're better off being cautious about your movement. I will probably give this one a try at some point, however, because there is likely to be more terrain on the board, and I'll want a way to take advantage of my opponent's reluctance to enter some. We'll see just how much this is actually worth it.

Razor Standard
Dark Elves get a much cheaper version of this banner in the Banner of Murder, but having a second unit with this ability could be very useful. You're able to give AP to multiple units of Black Guard, for instance. Armor Piercing is fantastic, especially for units like Black Guard. I'd really consider taking this.

Dread Banner
Although I don't think Fear is going to be all that useful, it may be handy from time to time to be immune to it, or at the least, to give your opponent a chance to be WS1. I don’t see it happening or helping that much over the course of your games, however, so I don't know that I would bother spending the points on it.

War Banner
Dark Elves (and most armies at the moment, I think) get this for only 25 points. I'm going to bet that you won't see this taken as often- your primary source of Combat Resolution is going to come from wounds, given both the amount of infantry on the table, as well as the amount of attacks you’re going to see from each side in a combat. I think you're going to be better off taking a banner that will either increase the amount of attacks you send out, or at least the quality of the attacks. Pass unless you really have need for more banners somewhere.

Standard of Slaughter
My thoughts on the above are still valid here, added with the fact that this is more expensive, and only useful if you get the charge. With charges being a bit more unreliable, this is probably not getting used again.

Standard of Hag Graef
This was a favorite banner for Dark Elf armies, especially for using on Black Guard since they could take it without buying a BSB. Since all combat is in Initiative order, it's hard to see much use. ASF + Higher Initiative gives you free rerolls for all rolls to hit... but your Black Guard are Initiative 6 and reroll all to hit rolls anyway, so you're only going to be taking it to deny ASF to other units (mainly High Elves). There's only a few more things your Black Guard are likely to face that this comes in handy- Wardancers, other Black Guard, Greater Daemons and Slaaneshi Daemons, and characters. Is it worth taking this banner solely as a counter to that? I'm thinking not- at least not on your Black Guard units.

If your BSB is taking it, there may be some point. There are a few options in this case. Executioners with ASF are actually pretty scary, but won't have enough attacks to be dangerous. A Death Hag BSB in a unit of Witch Elves is VERY scary, but will be very vulnerable to ranged attacks. Other than that, I'm not sure there's a role for the banner anymore. I don't like catering armies to handle specific things, and as this is a choice to handle such things, I'm not taking it.

Sea Serpent Standard
If you're taking a unit of Corsairs, you want to take this. Immunity to Psychology plus an extra attack really makes them a more effective unit.

Banner of Murder
This one will probably be in every army you take, somewhere. Even Spearmen with this are pretty dangerous. Armor Piercing is very nice ability, and with this you can get it on a unit for cheap.

Banner of Swiftness
Don't really see a need for this one. Dark Elf units are M5 or higher and going up to M6 really doesn't add all that much in the way of threat or utility.

Lichebone Pennant
I think you'll have an easier time getting MR from a Talisman, which can be taken by a few champions in a dark Elf army anyway. Otherwise, you'll have your characters able to provide the MR. Skip this.

Standard of Discipline
Not really much help in a Dark Elf army. Your Leadership is fine across the board, and Black Guard backed by a BSB aren't likely to break or fail any leadership tests. This is handier for other armies.

Banner of Cold Blood
This was useful for Cold One Knights to help combat Stupidity, but for now most of your combat units are likely to be Immune to Psychology, or at least have a high enough Leadership that your BSB reroll is going to keep them around. Another pass.

Banner of Eternal Flame
A Fantastic Banner. First, it causes fear in a lot of different things for cheap. Although I don’t think Fear is very useful overall, it's a nice side benefit. It negates Regeneration and deals extra damage to Flammable targets which is awesome. It also makes the unit AMAZING against buildings. It's also available at a very reasonable cost. I'd take it in every list.

Gleaming Pennant
Spend the points to get a BSB and ignore this. You're not going to have many units that are far away from your BSB with Dark Elves (given the units that can take banners). Any unit that would be off alone is probably well protected enough from Leadership tests, as well.

Scarecrow Banner
Fear, as I've said, is not going to be that big a deal these days, although it may be a nice ability from time to time. Causing Fear against a small subset of the models out there (even smaller than otherwise) is just not worth it. Take a better banner instead.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Dark Elves in 8th, Part 6: Magic Items (Enchanted Items)

Wizarding Hat
Why? I'm glad they included this item, simply 'because', but don't expect to see it used. Especially not by Dark Elves.

Fozzrik's Folding Fortress
Not really sure what to think of this. I'm not sure there's going to be many good uses for this, although for some crazy shooting army this might actually be a pretty good item choice. 100 points is hard to swallow though. You could use it to cut off some movement path, I suppose.

Arabyan Carpet
For the same cost, you can take a Dark Pegasus, which has its own advantages, and lets you take other magic items. Don't bother.

Sadly, just not so good anymore. Terror doesn't work as well these days, and since BSBs can let you re-roll the test, it may never work. Don't spend your points here.

Hydra's Teeth
Too many points to be useful. You'll need to spend those points on making your character more useful in combat if you're already in range to use this.

Crystal of Midnight
You're very likely to see a wizard of some sort out there, and since most wizards aren't Ld 10, this may actually be worth its points. It's a bit random though, as it removes a random spell if it even goes off. I'm going to say you're probably not going to use this, but might be a nice trick to throw in from time to time.

Crown of Command
I love this. Ld10 and Stubborn for your Dreadlord means he can go out on his own and cause some damage without fear of being run down by combat resolution. There are a lot of builds that this comes in handy for. It even makes running a Dreadlord on a Dragon potentially useful!

Black Dragon Egg
Given the new rules for breath weapons, this seems to be everyone's new favorite item. I'd recommend throwing it on a character on foot if you can fit it in. It's a decent amount of free hits at a high initiative. Combined with a combat with another monster in it, or the Armour of Blood, it's going to be very valuable.

Potion of Strength
This is the one from the Dark Elf book, which is 10 points more than the one in the BRB. Good bet, you'll choose the other one. However, this item gives you the benefit of choosing later on in the turn, AFTER you know that you're in combat already. Is that worth 10 points? Probably not.

Gem of Nightmares
With the changes to fear, I just don't see a point anymore. Don't waste your points.

Healing Potion
A handy item, but too costly to take in most armies. Your Dark Elves are not likely to lose wounds in small enough number to get a chance to use this.

The Guiding Eye
It's not an exciting ability, but if you really want to run a huge shooting block, it's certainly worth its points. There are some army builds I could see finding a place for it, but not many.

Feathertoe Toric
A pretty costly item for a benefit that isn't likely to come up much. Will be worthless in most games.

Ruby Ring of Ruin
I actually quite like this item. It's a good points value, and even though the rules for bound items have changed, it's a 2/3 chance to get a free spell off that can chip away at your opponent. If I have room for this, I will probably take it from time to time.

Terrifying Mask of Eee!
Like the Deathmask (but so much cheaper), it's just not worthwhile in this edition.

Potion of Strength
Cheaper version of the formerly Dark Elf-only item. There are a lot of times where the extra strength comes in handy, so I would suggest throwing it on a Dreadlord (with an extra attack item) if you think he's likely to get in combat. 5-6 Strength 7 attacks can put a hurting on big things.

Potion of Toughness
Although it makes your character harder to kill for a turn, you have better ways to accomplish that task. Don't take it.

The Other Trickster's Shard
Pretty nifty item, and worth taking on a hero character from time to time. Against Daemons it's going to be VERY frustrating.

Ironcurse Icon
Very inexpensive, but almost worthless. If you really have nothing better to spend the points on, you may as well take it.

Potion of Foolhardiness
Not much use- you have good ways to make yourself resistant to psychology for the game. Not a big concern for a Dark Elf player.

Potion of Speed
Dark Elf initiative is generally high enough that this item won't get the jump on any opponents. Not useful.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

On vacation!

I'm off to Vegas for a few days (my first time there), so I'll be away from the blog for a bit, but have no fear, I have the remainder of the Dark Elf posts coming up throughout next week!

My spare room is now fully unpacked. That means once I'm back, I'm going to be working hard on assembling/painting some miniatures. Looking forward to it!

Everyone have a good week!

Friday, August 6, 2010

News for week ending 8/6/10

  • Avalanche Press had a busy week. Polish Steel is now available... which could mean it's shipping or in production (they are never quite clear). A New Panzer Grenadier Supplement, Go For Broke (featuring some of America's toughest fighters in the later years of WWII) is available for order. Rome at War: Fading Legions is back in print, this time with cardstock maps.
  • L2 has begun shipping Grand Fleet! Many people have doubted it would ever happen, I'm lead to believe, so it's great to see L2 finally release something. Apparently, there's talk that they will be reprinting an old Avalon Hill game, but no word as to which game.
  • Operations Special Issue #3 is in print, and should be available after WBC. This should cover a variety of MMP's games, as well as include two IGS games. I'll have more information at some point.

Also, I received my issue of Against the Odds #29, including the game Buffalo Wings.

Going to Vegas next week! Also, I'm unpacked enough to start dreaming about playing games again. Every day I get closer to having a non-news post come up makes me more and more excited!

Dark Elves in 8th, Part 6: Magic Items (Arcane Items)

Although many of the Arcane Items are cool, its important to keep in mind that you're going to be a little limited due to only taking a sorceress or two in your army.

Book of Ashur
Not really going to help you much. Especially not for its points cost. Pretty poor item.

Black Staff
Not very good with the changes to bound spells. I guess you could use it to have a single sorceress cast Power of Darkness more than once (maybe?), but it's going to be easier to cast the spell yourself, and since you're pretty likely to get it off these days, this item is just a waste.

Feedback Scroll
You're paying a high amount of points to try to damage an opponent's wizard. I don't really think it's worth it- the points spent here are better spent on trying to get more offensive magic out of your own sorceresses, I think.

Scroll of Leeching
This scroll is kind of cool, but I don't think it's going to be powerful or useful enough to warrant its cost. You certainly won't be putting it on one of the 1-2 sorceresses you're taking.

Sivejir's Hex Scroll
Pretty funny, but another scroll that's just not worth taking. Players likely will be running higher level wizards to take advantage of the bonuses provided by their level, meaning you're not likely to see this work.

Power Scroll
I'm not sure. A lot of players are talking about running this on a cheap flyer, flying next to your opponent's lines, and then throwing every die you can at a spell for it to go off, hoping that the miscast causes additional damage to the unit near the wizard. I don't like it. It feels against the spirit of the game, but I bet people end up seeing that. I personally can't see myself using it, but if you're interested, do it on a Supreme Sorceress (on 7 die, this trick will always work) with the Pendant of Khaeleth. You'll get it off, and likely survive the miscast to go and cause havoc later on. There are a few ways to stop flying sorceresses before they can pull this off, but there are other ways to get it to work too. Of course, it's possible that it won't do enough damage to warrant trying this. Hard to say at the moment.

Wand of Jet
Not so good. Use the Sacrificial Dagger instead.

Forbidden Rod
Has a pretty good chance to kill any Dark Elf sorceresses that tries to use it. Dark Elves have their own ways to generate more dice as well. I would skip it.

Staff of Sorcery
Might be worth it, but I think Dark Elf magic users should be equipped more offensively. Especially higher level magic users, who are going to be more effective than a level 2 Sorceress with this item at dispelling spells.

Trickster's Shard
Not worth it. You want your spells to go off, not try to salvage something useful after it's been dispelled. Use your points to get a better item.

Focus Familiar
Still a great item. Some spells have very short ranges, and using this you can extend your ranges without having to try for the harder-to-cast versions of those spells. This is definitely a top 2 Arcane Item for Dark Elf players.

Darkstar Cloak
A free Power Die is actually handy since it's hard to say how many you're going to get each turn. Power of Darkness is the better alternative here, of course, but if you're running enough Sorceresses, you may as well take this. Probably not for normal sized games.

Sacrificial Dagger
I'm convinced this is going to make Dark Elves THE scary magic race. There's a few benefits- it's a free die to every spell that sorceress casts, for the cost of a single Dark Elf soldier per spell. You get to see your roll before choosing to use the item as well. That's key. You can make sure to successfully cast those 'off by one' spell rolls, you can be very efficient in casting Power of Darkness, and you can see your risk for Irresistible Force/Miscasts. It's just a great item made even better by the changes to the magic phase.

Earthing Rod
A onetime help on the miscast table. No thanks. Take some protection from the results instead.

Dispel Scroll
Only taking one hurts, but it's still helpful to take it since magic is SO powerful now. You never know when someone will roll a 20-something on a spell without IF, and this is your only protection. Worth taking.

Power Stone
Not necessary if you're a Dark Elf since the Sacrificial Dagger and Power of Darkness give you plenty of dice.

Tome of Furion
Not bad, but it's hurt by the fact that there are better magic items you could take.

Sceptre of Stability
First, it's Arcane, which is sad because you have better Arcane Items. Second, you have the Seal of Ghrond, which is more useful over the course of a game. I don't see much place for it.

Channeling Staff
Alright, 15 points to slightly increase the chance that ONE of your wizards generates a die through channeling. Don't take it.

Scroll of Shielding
This is actually pretty useful, but I don't think you're going to see it widely in Dark Elf lists because there are plenty of good Arcane Items here. Perhaps if you're running Sorceresses solely for defense, but it still wouldn't be the first item you take. Not likely to see use.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Dark Elves in 8th, Part 6: Magic Items (Talismans)

Black Amulet
This isn't a bad item, but is it really worth 25 more points than a Talisman of Preservation for a chance to do more wounds occasionally? I don't think so, personally.

Talisman of Preservation
For 5 points cheaper you can take the Pendant, which is usually better. However, this is always usable which is a nice feature at times. Certainly not a bad choice, especially if the Pendant is already being used.

Obsidian Lodestone
Pretty good, and probably going to be pretty standard for at least one character to take. 3 Null Talismans is the same points with the same effect, so you could protect two units from magic using this.

Ring of Darkness
It's only going to be useful with the Glittering Scales if you're going for that sort of build. Other than that, it doesn't provide that much help against shooting, and will only help you in close combat slightly.

Pendant of Khaeleth
A fantastic item, made even better because it's a great defense against suffering miscasts. I would expect to see this in every list for one of the characters.

Talisman of Endurance
Inferior to the Pendant and really not a good value for the protection it offers.

Obsidian Amulet
I don't really see much point of this, honestly. If you're going to get the protection from MR, why not get MR(3)? If you don't have the points, then I suppose this suffices.

Seal of Ghrond
A good choice in 8th edition, given how dispel dice are generated. You're going to love having an extra dispel die from time to time, and you aren't really paying all that much for it. Will find its way in a few lists. Since Magic Resistance changed to a ward save, you're going to need to find other ways to power your dispelling ability.

Pearl of Infinite Bleakness
If you have a Sorceress with the Sacrificial Dagger, you'll want to include this. Keeping the unit from running for whatever reason will be a huge help, especially later in the game when your greedy sacrificing is causing panic checks.

Ring of Hotek
They've changed this item so that it only affects wizards casting their spells within a specific range (instead of targeting). Overall, I think this change is better for the game, although this really hurts the utility of the item. Unless you are running the build that people occasionally tried in 7th (Master on a Dark Pegasus, Ring of Hotek, and Cloak of Hag Graef with a crossbow and lance), I don't think you're going to see this make any more appearances.

Taking this with the Armor of Darkness provides some pretty great protection for cheap. Of course, if you lose your armor save, you're screwed, but even an armor piercing weapon will still provide you enough of a chance to use this. I could see taking it from time to time.

Opal Amulet
I don't think this is going to be worth it. One-time protection just isn't going to cut it when you're going to see a lot more attacks coming at you.

Obsidian Trinket
If you're only looking at MR(1), it's probably not going to be worth it... for a character. On a unit it's kind of cool, but generally you're better off taking a weapon for that unit if you can.

Null Talisman
Just read what I wrote about the Obsidian Lodestone, Amulet, or Trinket to see what I think for this choice. Overall, you'll probably see it.

Talisman of Protection
A 6+ Ward for a character really isn't going to protect you much. Pass.

Seed of Rebirth
A 6+ Ward for a character that you can negate easily is going to help you even less.

Dragonbane Gem
A fantastic addition to your defensive load if you aren't already taking a Talisman. Partners very well with the Armour of Eternal Servitude.

Pidgeon Plucker Pendant
Oooooh, a very specialized 5+ ward save! Probably not much use in this edition. Utterly worthless against a lot of armies.

Even though it's 5 points, I don't see it ever getting used. You need better things if you want good protection.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Dark Elves in 8th, Part 6: Magic Items (Armour)

Onto Armor!

Armour of Living Death
You can turn your Dreadlord into T4! Oh wait, that's still pretty low. This is not the way to keep your Dreadlord alive. Especially for its points cost.

Armour of Destiny
Not bad... but you'll get more mileage out of running the Armour of Eternal Servitude with the Dragonbane Gem. If either of those are taken (and the Pendant of Khaeleth is already taken) THEN this becomes useful. Not a bad choice for throwing on a BSB however, since he's not likely to be the primary person to get the better items.

Trickster's Helm
It's a cool item, but for its cost I don't think it's going to be much help. Dark Elves are T3- you're going to be getting wounded so easily anyway that re-rolling isn't going to save you.

Armour of Silvered Steel
Take the Armour of Darkness instead. 20 points cheaper for a 1+ save. That's a ton better (and cheaper).

Armour of Fortune
It's not bad, but not great. 5+ isn't a high enough ward save to get excited about, but it's fine for its points. Given that you're not taking tons of characters, I would find better ways to equip them. Also, for non-flaming attacks, the Armour of Eternal Servitude is better.

Armour of Eternal Servitude
It's pretty fantastic, especially since you can combine it with the Dragonbane Gem to get good all-around protection, for a very reasonable cost.

Helm of Discord
This is kind of a cool item, honestly, but it's useless against some armies, and not really great against most. I bet there are armies out there that could make good use of it, but I don't think Dark Elves are one of them.

Glittering Scales
Unless you're trying one of the builds with the Ring of Darkness, this item isn't worth it. If you are trying one of those builds though, please let me know how it's working!

Shield of Ptolos
It's not very difficult for Dark Elf characters to get to 1+ armor save, or even to 2+. Designed for other armies.

Cloak of Hag Graef
This only helps if the character is on his own (or in a small enough unit), and if you're doing that, you're better off with the Pendant, or some other protection. No thanks.

Armour of Darkness
Still a great buy. 25 points nets you the best armor save you can get. Combined with the Pendant, you're VERY well protected. Makes a great item for your BSB, Dreadlord, or any combat hero.

Shield of Ghrond
Basically, you consider yourself to be Toughness 4. As I've said, that's really not enough protection, especially since you can't take other magic armour if you take it. Don't take it.

Better ways to get Magic Resistance. Don't take it.

Gambler's Armour
A 6+ ward save isn't worth spending 20 points on. Again, don't take it.

Blood Armour
This wasn’t a good item in 6th, but is not a terrible choice in 8th. Most people are saying that the Black Dragon Egg will work with this, and as far as I can tell, this works. That means this is a VERY easy way to get to a 1+ armor save. Coupled with a high Initiative as well as a halberd (a great choice for Dark Elves these days), you are going to get a great armor save for very cheap. Consider taking it.

I really like this, because it's a great counter for the Lore of Metal and pairs fantastically with the Pendant of Khaeleth. If you're trying to get good protection on your character, this is a good addition.

Enchanted Shield
If Dark Elves could pay 5 points for this, it would be great. Since they have to pay 15 for now, it's really not worth it. You can get a plain shield, and pick up the Dragonhelm for the same benefit, and a ward save against flaming attacks.

Charmed Shield
Not a good choice, even for its points. You aren't made much more survivable by having a single chance to ignore a hit.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Dark Elves in 8th, Part 6: Magic Items (Weapons)

Well, there are a lot of magic items in the new edition, so to save people from having to read one post with a wall of text, I'm going to break this up somewhat.

First, I'll start with weapons, and each category of magic weapons will follow.

One thing to keep in mind is that you have units that can take magic items: Black Guard and Cold One Knights. It's probably worth throwing a cheap item on them if you take either of those units, so that you can make them more effective (and give them a way to handle ethereal models).

Executioner's Axe
Always Strikes Last is a huge deal when you're a T3 model on foot. Being able to do multiple wounds is nice, but even if you're using the ASF banner so that you can strike at I8, you're still not likely to get many swings. This weapon is of course even less useful given all the infantry you'll likely see. Ditch it.

Giant Blade
Brings you up to S7, which is where you want to be to go after some of the big things in the game. A little costly, but it still leaves you enough points to take a magical armor (Armour of Eternal Servitude is a good choice) plus something small to give you some options. You can also take a mount, which can get you where you need to be.

Sword of Bloodshed
More attacks are going to be very handy in this edition. Combine with a Potion of Strength on your Dreadlord to really lay into big things. Of course, for 25 fewer points, you can take a Hydra Blade, which isn't reliable, but probably more cost effective. I likely won't be taking this.

Sword of Ruin/Obsidian Blade
I wouldn't bother with these, as you actually have fairly effective means of breaking through armor saves. Your KB assassins, Hydras, and Black Guard w/ AP attacks should do a fine enough job in that role.

Web of Shadows
Not worth it. 50 points to do a bunch of weak hits to a single model just isn't going to provide any benefit the army doesn't already have.

It's a fairly worthless item. It's only really helpful against characters (it's actually WORSE against single-wound units) or Monstrous anything, but it's not very likely to work against either. It's a lot of points for a slim chance to stop something from attacking.

Ogre Blade
Strength 6 is going to be very handy as well, but this is a pretty expensive way to go about it. For 15 points less, you can get the Crimson Death, which actually performs slightly better. Leave it out.

Sword of Strife
As good as the Hydra Blade for 5 points more. You'll probably take this over it, because it's more reliable, but if you need the 5 points for a combo or whatever, the Hydra Blade is a fine replacement.

This is mostly pointless, as you already re-roll to hit in the first round of combat. You're paying the points here for the chance to re-roll wounds. With S4, that's handy, but you're better off paying the points for more attacks usually, or more bodies in a unit.

Hydra Blade
This is cheap enough to stick on a hero with something else. It's great if you take a Potion of Strength, and it's random enough to be annoying at times, but overall it's a good value, and it's probably going to be very handy for a cheap hero when you're going against all those units.

Caledor's Bane
It probably won’t to see much use. It's better than a lance for a lot more points. Negating Scaly Skin is nice against certain armies, and worthless against others. You also have to be mounted to use it. Perhaps with some of the Dragon Lord builds it may come in handy, but that will take a few games to determine its utility.

Fencer's Blades
WS10 is interesting. Combined with the Ring of Darkness and Glittering Scales on your Dreadlord, you will make it very tough to hit you in close combat (as well as provide the unit with protection against shooting). They'll need to be WS 9 or 10 to hit your Dreadlord on anything but a 6. Of course, what role could he really fill? Who knows? I'd pass unless trying it out actually shows some merit.

Dagger of Hotek
Kind of pointless. If you're really concerned about getting ASF, you're better off taking the Banner of Hag Graef.

This is still pretty fantastic, especially now that the shots count as magical attacks. It's worth giving to your Sorceresses even. Put a Supreme Sorceress with this and the Guiding Eye (and maybe a Focus Familiar) in a unit of Crossbowmen (of decent size) and you'll have a fantastic shooting unit with a VERY impressive single turn of shooting at some point. Throw this in any list somewhere, just to take advantage of the easy magical shots.

Sword of Anti-Heroes
This will not be much use. Players are not going to be running multiple heroes in the same unit these days, and the benefits of meeting a single hero in unit are pretty light.

Crimson Death
Still fantastic. Your Dreadlord or Master can take this to strengthen up their attacks and still have plenty of points for other magic items (combines well with many of them). You could also put this on a Champion in a unit of Black Guard for three attacks that always re-roll to hit. Another Magic Weapon that will get a lot of play.

Still pretty effective, as Killing Blow is still really helpful, but I don't know if there's a good way to get a character wielding this delivered effectively. I'll give it a shot from time to time, however.

Whip of Agony
An inferior Crimson Death, but this lets you take a shield to be only S5. Armor Piercing means you're still doing a good job on breaking armor though. If you've already given the Crimson Death to someone, this is a fine choice.

Spellthieving Sword
The effect of this sword will so rarely be useful; I can't see ever spending the points on it.

Sword of Swift Slaying
Again, for the most part, you're better off taking the Banner of Hag Graef instead of this if you're so concerned about getting ASF. I don't really see much point, since you're pretty high Initiative to start, so this is another item that won't get much play.

Berserker Blade
Really not a bad choice. Our Sword of Battle is the same cost, so with this you gain Immune to Psychology with only a small drawback. There's potential here, especially for various 'hard to kill' lords (since he can ignore a lot of Psych effects).

Not bad, but you'll need to combine it with something to provide either ASF (Banner of Hag Graef) or protection (Pendant of Khaeleth) to get the most out of it. It's affordable though, and it's probably worth it if you can afford ASF or the protection.

Sword of Striking
I'd skip it. You have hatred to help with hitting, and there are not too many cases where you'll really need the +1.

Sword of Battle
We have to pay 20 points for this instead of the 15 that's listed in the BRB. I'd take the Berserker Sword instead.

Sword of Might
Another item that's cheaper in the BRB. Only worth taking if you badly need a magic weapon, but even so it's probably not worth it. Most times, take a Halberd instead.

Gold Sigil Sword
Moving from I7 or I8 to I10 isn't going to get you going ahead of many things in the game. Skip it.

Relic Sword
A fairly good item, but only really helpful against T6 or higher models. It's a cheap magic weapon, however, and you will need some magic weapons to handle ethereal models, so might be worth throwing on a character if you don’t have it covered otherwise.

Shrieking Blade
Eh, Fear isn't as good as it used to be, so I don't think it's worth taking.

Tormentor Sword
Cheap magic weapon, but Stupidity is not likely to provide much benefit, especially since you'll be in combat with the target anyway, which means they won't be testing for stupidity until either they've broken (and hopefully been run down), or you've broken (which is bad).

Warrior Bane
Don't bother. Better than the Tormentor Sword for cheap magic weapons, but I don't see it being useful enough to warrant inclusion. But only 5 points! If you need a magic weapon somewhere, this makes a good second choice (behind the Relic Sword).

Biting Blade
Dark Elves have to pay 10 points for this instead of 5. Sad. If you need a cheap magic weapon, this also can come in handy... but you're probably better off taking a slightly more expensive option.