Tuesday, December 28, 2010

...and it only took four months.

Like every Eldar player of low morals, I've conspired to field a three-man squadron of War Walkers, themselves wielding a six-strong arsenal of Scatter Lasers, all loitering next to a smirking Guide-seer. So it was generous (if not wise) for Necronoob and Synack to each buy me a Walker as a birthday gift. I already had one, and Zain60 compounded their error by giving me two spare Scatter Lasers and a fourth Walker- a 3rd-edition all-metal version, at that.

I haven't had time to build Zain's Walker, because it's taken me all the days between Labor Day and this one to finish the first three. I should have 2,000 points in time for the Mayan Apocalypse.  

But for now I'm content.  No more proxying tea-lights for the lithe war machines of an ancient race, even if blowing out candles to represent casualties would have made me smile.

So thanks to everyone - this unit is the manifestation of your generosity.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Squats! ...as Orks!

If you had a fully-realized collection of Warhammer 40K Squats sitting in front of you, what rules would use to represent them?

The first problem is that the Squat profile has no match in the current roster of 40K armies. Setting aside their low speed (they moved 3” per turn instead of the standard 4”), 2nd edition Squats were Toughness 4 and BS3 with armor 6. Their leadership was high, at 10.

Fifth Edition armies don’t cover this profile very well. Space Marines have T4 and a good Ld, but also a BS of 4 and, or course, armor 3. And the Witch Hunters are totally wrong, with their T3 and armor 3. Of our Imperial options, the Imperial Guard seem to be the closest fit. They have the right BS and armor, but the wrong Ld and toughness. The difference is huge – not only are you wounding the Squats more easily than you should, but they’re running away more easily.

...and these boys ain't runnin'.
You might forgive these shortfalls, owing to the Guard’s defensive mindset and heavy tanks. If the Guard don’t line up with the Squat profile, at least they match in function. Or do they? Any player of 2nd Edition Epic (the game called “Space Marine,”) will tell you that the Squats were a dauntingly aggressive force. They had their heavy vehicles – the infamous Land Train and their use of the Imperial Guard's Leviathan come to mind. But in this game they were an army of speed, with massive formations of bikes and trikes, and flyers in the form of fighters and dirigibles. Their heavy weapons were not typically on tanks, like the Guard, but on foot, in Thunderer squads where every man had a heavy weapon. There were no Leman Russ tanks, Chimeras, or Basilisks anywhere in the Squat arsenal, even in a game where such models existed and could have easily been co-opted for their use. Such a move would have made narrative sense (since the Squats were part of the Imperium with only a semi-autonomous government) and financial sense to GW (since they could have sold the existing Epic Imperial Guard tank range to the players of two armies). That these weapons were not used by the Squats means that GW saw them as something very different from the Guard.

So where is the nascent Squat army hiding, if not in the Guard codex or anywhere else in the Imperial stable? If we have to look outside the Imperium, then let’s turn the Heresy-meter to 11 and look at the Orks.

There are a few immediate problems with using the Ork Codex to represent Squats, so let’s address them first.

Orks, of course, have their abysmal BS of 2. Squats pride themselves on their gunnery, so this is a problem. Orks also have a Ld of 7, which hardly represents the steadfast Squats. And players generally consider Orks to be a close combat army. Despite their speed, this doesn’t line up with the Squat backstory.

But these problems have solutions – or at least some wrinkles that mitigate the issues.

Regarding the BS, it’s true that the Slugga Boy is a bad match. But a Shoota Boy is actually MORE accurate than BS3. Ten imaginary Squat riflemen with BS3 would land five hits. Ten Shoota Boys with their Str4 AP6 Assault2 shootas get 20 shots, 6.6 of which (1 in 3) hit. You can explain that accuracy through sheer volume of fire (as the Ork codex does), or perhaps as skilled gunners taking careful aim (as the Squats could). Orks have a Str4 gun instead of the Str3 lasguns the Squats used to carry, but remember that Squats always had the option to upgrade to a bolter. These “Squat bolters” are AP6 instead of the proper AP5, but they give that up in exchange for their higher “accuracy” mentioned above.

The Ork Ld of 7 is out of step with the traditional view of Squats, but this disregards the power of Mob Rule. Large Ork mobs are famously hard to stop. The Orks keep coming at you because they feel safe in numbers, but you could just as easily see this as stubborn Squats refusing to run in the face of danger.

Finally, can Squats work if they are using a close combat army? Fortunately, Orks don’t have to charge in, so neither do the Squats. Anyone who has faced a shooty Ork army, filled with Lootas and shoota boyz, can tell you that these armies work.

From here the correlations roll: Lootas become Thunderers, Koptas become Gyrocopters, warbuggies become trikes, (bikes stay bikes, nicely), The warboss is now a warlord, and his ever-present nobz become the Hearthguard. Put them in Mega-armor and viola!, you have exo-armor. Perhaps the Shokk Attak Gun becomes artillery, with the 2-wound Mek becoming a 2-man crew. Squats have plenty of techno-savvy, justifying the use of such varied Ork machines as dreads, kans, and stormboy jump-packs.

If I had some Squat models left, and if I wasn't already in possession of a sizable Ork force, I would be sorely tempted...

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Unclean One of Greatness

wtf - daemons? Well yeah I have had a thing for Papa Nurgle since the Lost and the Damned book came out (note - the other book, Slaves to Darkness, was awesome too). If I could find good copies for less than $60 a piece I think I'd buy them. So I have some daemon models and I decided to take a break from 'Nids to strip and repaint them.

After letting the big guy sit in Simple Green for a few days the paint came off very nicely and I was able to get started.

First, I coughed on him. I was very sick at the time and I figured Nurgle would bless the model if it had a contagion on it. Then the normal priming, painting, drybrushing, etc.

A few problems I see:
1) I forgot to darken the inside of his mouth... oops. I'll go back and do that.
2) He looks just like I think a GUO should look but the colors are all so light they seem to wash out on the front. On the back they have better contrast because the details are better and more varied. Looks better from the rear? Hmmm better not go too far down that path.

Oh well I'll deal with it because I don't want to go back and fiddle with it any more and like I said - he looks just like a GUO should to me.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

back to painting

Well not exactly my best effort but it's nice to get back to painting. It's so hard to find time these days with young kids. One day hopefully they'll be indoctrinated and will want to model too but until then I'll have to steal modeling time where I can. This latest batch is 4 warriors with deathspitters and scything talons and 1 warrior with a barbed strangler and scything talons. I'd like to find a way to get a 6th warrior in the unit but in the 1500 point army I'm aiming for the points are too scarce.

Deathspitters are incredibly versatile at S5 AP5 and with 3 shots apiece. AV10 has a lot to fear, and AV11 is in danger as well. It will be a good unit to outflank with once I can get a Hive Tyrant with the Hive Commander option.

Which brings me to... My next purchase is going to be a Hive Tyrant and some WHFB dragon wings. I plan on completely magnetizing the model including the wings in case I want to add some tyrant guards later and make him a walkrant instead of a flyrant.

Painting-wise my next project is 16 devil-gaunts. I already have them base coated so those should be done in just a couple of sessions.

If I can find the time.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Lining up a shot.

Already a veteran of two battles, my Fire Prism finally saw a paintbrush this week. Here's to hoping that a fully-painted tank has more luck in the field.

I originally considered a completely different color scheme, but after agonizing a bit, I stuck with the camo-like scheme used on the Wave Serpents and the War Walker. With three different Aspect Warriors in my force, the craftworld colors already felt a bit compromised. Painting the Prism a different color might have given me a confused-looking army. Instead I reversed the turret scheme to tan with green, and painted a few extra pieces (the vectored engines and the tabs around the intakes) tan, giving it a slightly lighter effect.

I was going to leave the barrel crystals transparent (as shown in the official shot here), but the glue frosted the interior of the large, two-part crystal in an ugly way, and I was forced to paint them. I'm happy with how it turned out, tho - the deep red makes a better contrast with the rest of the model, and the highlighting (ironically) makes them look more crystalline, in my opinion.

Zain60 disagrees with me, but I think the new Fire Prism model is an improvement over the old. The long, slender Prism Cannon is menacing but elegant, compared with the clunky, stubby crystal of the old model. And the vectored engines (the "floating" tan panels on the rear corners of the hull) give the tank more weight, as befits anything carrying such a massive gun.

Next up: Necronoob and Synack were each generous enough to give me a War Walker for my birthday, so two more Scatter Laser Walkers are next in the queue. With that done, I would actually be able to field the army I used against Zain60, without the egregious proxies!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Power of the Machine Spirit

I finally realize why, other than procrastination, it takes so long for me to get my army together. I can't let something go unpainted. And throwing a smidge of Boltgun Metal on it and gluing it in place just won't cut it. Nooo...You're covering all those details, and at the end of time C'thulhu will know you didn't paint the eagle on your tactical Marine breast plates.

The Power of the Machine Spirit needs a proper home, something the Emperor would even be proud of. Until we can get that, he'll have to settle for the best my meager painting skills can muster. I hope that a little extra attention to detail will lead to a little extra carnage on the battlefield.

Depending on how long it takes to get the rest ready for assembly, maybe I can work up some lighting on the inside.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Fratricide at 1,500 points: When Floating Tanks Attack!

My new friend zain60 (read his blog here) and I had our first game yesterday, a 1,500-point battle between rival Eldar craftworlds. It turns out we share a certain disdain for some of the scenarios in the Battle Missions book, and rather than risk wasting our afternoon on some contrived scenario, we went old-school. It was a straight-up battle for victory points with standard deployment rules - a four-by-six table with 12" deployment zones along long edges. The battlefield was fairly open ground interspersed with a few trees, hills, and ruins, as well as the ever-present (for us Knights) skull and Bridge to Nowhere.

I won the roll for selecting home turf, and chose the right side for its handy low hill for hiding my Fire Prism, and the three-story ruins as a firing point for my Pathfinders. I also won the roll for deployment order, and chose to deploy and move first - I wasn't looking forward to taking fire from two Prisms and a Guided gunboat Falcon before being able to respond.

12-oz Kingfishers were also deployed, in the name of Taste.

My deployment was straightforward. The Fire Prism sat behind its hill; the Fire Dragon Serpent was centrally placed behind the bridge, so that the Dragon's short-ranged guns could threaten anything on the board; the Dire Avenger Serpents filled in the gaps. I held my Scatter Laser War Walker squadron (with Ork Coptas as proxies - they're the same height) and a squad of six Striking Scorpions in reserve, ready to outflank when needed.

Here I thought I was being so very Eldar-y, with four floating tanks in a 1,500-point list. Zain showed me the true way of the Space Elves...

Six tanks! On my right (the near side in the photo above), a Fire Prism and an Avenger Wave Serpent sat behind trees. In the center he placed the second Fire Prism and the Falcon gunboat, complete with a Brightlance and a dedicated Guide-seer riding onboard. On my left, two more Wave Serpents, one carrying Storm Guardians with a Warlock, and the other carrying the ubiquitous Fire Dragons. Tucked in between these last two tanks was a six-man squad of Warp Spiders led by a Twin-Spinner Exarch.

Deployment ended with my Pathfinders. I changed plans at the last minute and placed them on the bridge rather than the ruined three-story building. Here they would have the same commanding view of the field, and could take first-turn shots at the only infantry targets on the board - Zain's Spiders.

Turn 1

The Avenger Wave Serpents rolled forward, even if they weren't sure what to shoot at with their Scatter Lasers. The Dragon Serpent driver was either feeling bold or had a wild disregard for his passengers, as he spun in the center of the field and told his charges to man-up and get out.

Good luck, fuckers!

The Pathfinders took aim and squeezed shots off at the Warp Spiders, killing two. The Fire Dragons and their ride let loose on the Falcon, but thanks to its Holo-field upgrade, they only managed to shake it. The Fire Prism hit the enemy Prism across from it, but failed to penetrate its armor. The remaining Serpents fired their Scatter Lasers ineffectively at the nearest tanks.

For his turn, Zain shifted to my left. The Stormies and the Dragons disembarked, and the Prism and Serpent on my right shifted slightly to see targets.

In the shooting phase, his Dragons blew the lasers off the nearby Avenger Serpent, and his central Prism wrecked the now-empty Dragon Serpent, presumably killing the errant driver (karma!). His central Fire Prism managed to shake my Prism, and a Brightlance Serpent blew the turret off the other Avenger Serpent.

There was no assault, but the Warp Spiders used their assault move to hide in the nearby cave.

There really were too many tanks.

Turn 2

Fortunately, the dice gods smiled on me, and both the Walkers and the Scorpions decided to join the battle from reserves on Turn 2. Furthermore, both units wandered in from my left side, where plenty of meaty targets awaited them. The Walkers came onto the far part of the left side, drawing a bead on the hiding Spiders. The Scorpions took stock of the situation and quickly decided to run a close combat clinic for the Storm Guardians.

The Dire Avengers in the Serpent on my left leaped out to fire into Zain's Fire Dragons. Sensing that there was no fight for Dire Avengers on the right side, where only a Serpent and a Prism lurked, the other Avenger Serpent shifted toward the center of the field. The Farseer broke off from his Fire Dragon guards, because he knows exactly what happens to Fire Dragons on Turn 2, and he wanted none of it.

Gunfire from the walkers killed two more Spiders, and the Scorpions' pistol-fire killed a few Guardians. My Fire Dragons in the center once again shook Zain's Falcon, preventing it from firing. The Fire Prism was shaken and couldn't fire, and the two surviving Serpents had both been neutered by Weapon Destroyed results. The Avengers and the Pathfinders both opened up on Zain's Fire Dragons, but despite all that firepower, they only managed to kill two.

Things went more smoothly in the Assault phase, where the Scorpions wiped out the Storm Guardians, and the Exarch used his Scorpion's Claw to destroy their Wave Serpent. Its detonation killed a Scorpion, but it was a small price to pay.

Hooray! Hmm...where's Steve?
On his turn, Zain's Dragons moved to face the encroaching Scorpions, while the remaining Warp Spiders and the Fire Prism prepared to make the Walker squadron pay dearly. His second Prism prepared to fire on my Prism again, and his Dragon Serpent shifted position to also fire at the Prism.

In the shooting phase, only one Scorpion bit the dust, and the Fire Prism managed to avoid being hit. The big losers of the turn were the War Walkers. Two were destroyed, and the third lost a Scatter Laser.

In the assault phase, the Warp Spiders moved back towards their nearby Fire Prism.

Turn 3

As the Scorpions menaced Zain's Fire Dragons and their Serpent, the last Walker lurched toward the two remaining Warp Spiders, killing one with its remaining laser. The central Dire Avengers re-boarded their weaponless Serpent and scooted away to safely reload, while my Fire Dragons moved closer to the perennially-shaken Falcon, firing at it and shaking it once again. The second Avenger Serpent shifted in the rear, bravely hiding from the looming Ynnead Fire Prisms.

In the Assault phase, my Fire Dragons reached the Falcon and finally finished it with their melta-bombs, leaving only a dazed Guide-seer in its place. The Scorpions charged into Zain's Fire Dragons and killed a few, winning the combat and running them down where they were trapped between a building and the hull of their tank. They consolidated to the wall of the nearby ruin.

In his turn, Zain's Dragon Serpent shifted back to face the last War Walker, stunning it with its Brightlances.  The last Warp Spider - the Exarch - moved to support his commander in the center of the table. Together they killed three, leaving only two men alive from the original squad of eight. One of Zain's Fire Prisms fired at the opposing Prism, shaking it. His second Prism and the Avenger Serpent both fired at the Pathfinders, but they were saved by their 2+ cover.

In the assault phase, Zain's Farseer charged into the two remaining Fire Dragons, but no wounds were dealt. His Spider Exarch moved into cover behind the large skull in the center of the board.

Turn 4

My Avenger Serpents shifted their positions to better take advantage of cover - with their turrets destroyed, and carrying only Dire Avengers, they were useless against Zain's remaining tanks. The War Walker had been stunned into inaction on the previous turn, the Fire Dragons were locked in close combat, and the Pathfinders, Farseer, and Fire Prism were perfectly content where they were. Only the Scorpions made an aggressive move, as they chased Zain's Dragon Serpent towards the table corner.

Having no other targets, the Pathfinders took aim at the Dragon Serpent's backside, and managed to shake it through the miracle of rending. In the assault phase, the Scorpions finally wrecked the same Serpent with their Exarch's powerfist. The Dragons and Zain's Farseer traded ineffective, limp-wristed slaps the way only irritated Eldar can.

For Zain's turn, his Avenger Serpent zoomed in to the center of the board, disgorging its Avengers to deal with the pesky Striking Scorpions. In the ensuing and inevitable Bladestorm, the poor Scorpions were killed to a man. The Spider Exarch moved forward and threatened my Farseer with his twin Death Spinners, but failed to wound.  The Fire Prisms had more luck, as they combined their firepower to blow the Prism Cannon off of my Fire Prism, rendering it near-useless.

Unsurprisingly, the Farseer and the Fire Dragons continued their pointless slap-fight. Rolling a d6, the Dice Gods decided that they were not satisfied with the slaughter, and dialed up another turn.

Turn 5

Sensing an opportunity to be useful, my central Avenger Serpent skidded to a halt in the center of the board and let its men out, to pounce on Zain's squad of exposed Avengers with their own Bladestorm. The Pathfinders also took aim, and together they killed all but three men. The second Avenger Serpent moved up, to be closer to the action in the event of a Turn 6.

The Assault phase was more of the same, with the Farseer and the Dragons still hurling insults at each other.

In response, Zain threw everything at my central Avengers. Between his remaining Avengers, the Spider Exarch, and both Fire Prisms, they were wiped out. (There really is no good way to pile out of a Serpent without begging your opponent to place a blast template over your head.) His Avenger Serpent again fired its Brightlance at the Pathfinders, but they again passed their generous 2+ cover save.

The Farseer and the Fire Dragons never did sort things out, and the game came to an end. Tallying up the points, Zain had scored 650 points, while I had 750. So, a marginal victory for my men.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Random Pictures

Here's some shots from our recent July 4th Battles, which included one 2,000 point game of Eldar and Tyranids vs Necrons, and some Kill Team missions.

2,000 points of Necrons

1,000 points of Eldar

1,000 points of Tyranids

 Eldar and Tyranid set up, in the middle

One part of the Necron army

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Fire the man at GW that names colors.

They're brighter than I was aiming for - it never occurred to me that Striking Scorpion Green would not be the base coat for Striking Scorpions. Snot Green is somehow the proper color - SS Green is the highlight. 


At any rate, I rescued them through the liberal use of Thraka Green wash. They're still brighter than the typical Scorpions, but that works for me - my Craftworld color is olive green, so this helps them stand out from the plebian Guardians.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Base coating and highlighting in one step

As anyone with small children knows... there is no time for modeling. Faster is better. So I come up with ways to speed up the painting process yet still (hopefully) achieve a good result. Otherwise I'd never get any models done.

This trick works for more 'organic' models. I don't mean models grown without pesticides, rather Tyranids or models without a lot of hard armor lines. I've never tried it on Space Marines and I'm not sure it would work with power armor.

First, prime with a light color - white or a light grey work best for me. See Lictor ----->

Next, take a dark color paint you would use as a base coat prior to highlighting with a lighter shade of the same color and water it down greatly. You could use a watered down ink if you want.

I highly recommend you use an acrylic paint flow release as well. This will help the paint get down into all the tiny details in the model. You can purchase flow release in many craft stores OR I have heard of people using dish soap. Proceed with caution on that one though... I've never tried it.

Finally, slather the whole model in this ink. Don't take too long, just make sure you get the whole thing. If you spend more than 2 or 3 minutes on the operation you are probably missing the point of this process. Speed! When I attack gaunts with this method I probably don't spend more than 30 seconds per gaunt.

The paint will pool in the recesses and lightly coat the high points, creating a nicely highlighted model. If you'd like a darker overall look, wait for the model to dry and repeat the wash. You can mass-coat gaunts very quickly with this technique yet it looks good on bigger models as well.

In this second picture you can see an almost-finished lictor with 2 coats of a purple wash.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Brother Thornicus

Brother Thornicus is the first finished (sorta) member of the most holy Thunderbirds chapter. His base needs flocking, but the rest of him is more or less complete.

Blessed with the Dreadnought armor, Bro'Thor is honored as "Paperweight of the Thunderbirds" after being destroyed in turn one of both of his battles. He takes the lickin' so his fellow Marines can stare into the face of fear and repent, for the end is nigh.

So he looks like he's lined with lipstick by some white trash Saturday night floozy. Yeah, it's my first time..go easy. Other than that, I'm somewhat happy with how it turned out. The base is Mechrite Red, with Blazing Orange for the highlight. I like the way it looks, but it's missing some depth. My research of other paint schemes has turned up an effect I really like: dry brushing the base coat over the primer (I used Chaos Black), leaving some of the black showing through in a fade effect. I'll try it on some troops, then possibly the Land Raider.

But for now, enjoy Brother Thor. Perhaps after I flock the base, I'll build a second base for him so he can lay on his side. He seems to excel in that.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Battle Report: Necrons vs Space Marines/Eldar, 2,400 points.

2,400 points of Necrons face an allied force of Eldar and Space Marines. Prior to the battle, D’Ork and Necronoob modified the Necron codex to make Necrons more competitive. The point cost for Warriors and Flayed Ones was reduced by 2 pts per model, and the Phase Out rule was suspended.

The Necrons...
HQ - Nightbringer
HQ - Lord w/ Destroyer Body and Res Orb
Troops - 13 Warriors
Troops - 13 Warriors
Elite - 8 Immortals (Mistake - Should have been 6)
Elite - 4 Pariahs
Elite - 10 Flayed Ones
Fast Attack - 5 Destroyers
Fast Attack - 3 Wraiths
Fast Attack - 3 Wraiths
Heavy Support - 3 Heavy Destroyers
Heavy Support - 1 Tomb Spider
Heavy Support - 1 Monolith
Total Points as deployed - 2455 Intended deployment value 2399 - Self reported army list mistake.

The Alliance
The Space Marines:
HQ - SM Captain outfitted as Terminator (Terminator armor, storm bolter, power sword)
Troops - 10-man Tactical Squad with 1 flamer, 1 missile launcher
Troops - 10-man Tactical Squad with 1 flamer, 1 missile launcher
Troops - 10-man Tactical Squad with 1 flamer, 1 missile launcher
Rhino transport for 1 Tactical Squad (Short Bus)
Elite - Terminator squad
Heavy Support - Dreadnought w/ Heavy Flamer, CCW w/storm bolter
Total for the Space Marine Army Points 990
The Eldar in the allied force totaled 1,400 points and included two Dire Avenger squads led by gun-slinging Exarchs in scatter laser-armed Serpents; eight Fire Dragons in a missile Serpent; five Pathfinders; six infiltrating Scorpions led by a Exarch with a Scorpion’s Claw (Power Fist); a scatter laser War Walker; and a Fire Prism, all led by a Farseer with the typical Guide/Doom tomfoolery.

Noting that one of the Necron missions and one of the SM missions are garbage, we chose two missions from the Necrons and Space Marine sections of the Battle Missions book and picked one by a roll of a D4 (yes we all played D&D, and if you know what a D4 was so did you, whether you’re willing to admit it or not). The mission selected was the Space Marine Surprise Assault mission. 

Necronoob set up first, with the Monolith in the center of the board, flanked by Warriors and the Nightbringer. The Immortals held down one short edge of the board backed up by the Heavy Destroyers. The other side of the board was anchored by the Pariahs and the Destroyers.
The allied Marine/Eldar force came in from the table edge on Turn 1, so there was no deployment for them.
Eager to silence their AP3 guns, the Striking Scorpions infiltrated behind a hill, 12 inches from the Pariahs. Necronoob countered by placing a wall of Flayed Ones between the Pariah and the Scorpions. D’Ork then placed his Pathfinders with a clear shot at the Nightbringer, and Necronoob finished by adding to the wall of Flayed Ones (Mistake! the Flayed Ones were supposed to be one unit due to force org chart issues, but they all ended up acting as one unit during the game anyway).

Turn 1: Alliance
Most of the Elven and Marine forces moved onto the eastern side of the board. This included the Fire Dragons, both Dire Avenger squads, the Farseer, twenty Space Marines and six Terminators, including the Captain. On the north side, the Dreadnought and the War Walker squared off against the Destroyers. In the south, the Necron Warriors were opposed by one Marine tactical squad and their Rhino, “The Short Bus” (proxied and shown below in all its glory). 

The Farseer Guided the Dire Avengers near him, and Doomed their Wraith+Destroyer Lord target.
The Shooting phase was a carnival of disappointment for the allies. The Fire Prism aimed for the Monolith and hit, but failed to even glance the thing with its strength 9 gun. The Dire Avengers laid into the Wraiths, but only knocked down two in each squad. The Fire Dragons did better, knocking down 5 Immortals, but the Space Marines nearby had no effect on the Immortals and downed only one of the Heavy Destroyers. The Wave Serpents missed most of their shots and knocked nothing down. The Dreadnought shot up two Destroyers, but the War Walker failed with all eight of its shots. The Pathfinders managed a single wound on the Nightbringer, irritating the 5-wound God. Then D’Ork realized that he forgot to even move the Striking Scorpions, compounding his bad luck with bad play. They ran for 2 inches, stepping back from the Flayed Ones in front of them.

Turn 1: Necrons
After taking a moment to collectively wipe their mechanical brows for their good luck, the WBB rolls started. One Destroyer and Heavy Destroyer both got back up, as did 3 of the 5 Immortals. One of the Wraiths attached to the Destroyer Lord got back up, but the other Wraith squad failed both WBB rolls.
Movement started with the single Wraith being drawn into the Monolith for a second attempt at WBB, which failed again. The lone Wraith then moved towards the Pathfinders. The Flayed Ones and Pariahs advanced toward the Striking Scorpions. The southern Warrior squad moved toward the Marines and their Rhino, and the northern Warriors took up shooting positions on the Eldar War Walker. The Destroyers saw an opportunity, and sped behind the Space Marine Dreadnought.  The Heavy Destroyers got down off of the bridge and advanced toward the Fire Prism. The Nightbringer slowly made his way towards the Space Marine line. The Destroyer Lord and his Wraiths moved towards the Dire Avengers and their Wave Serpent. The Immortals advanced toward the Fire Dragons.

The Destroyers started off the shooting by unloading on the Dreadnought. Twelve Str 6 shots later, a stunned, weaponless and immobilized stump of a Dread smoldered. The Warriors, seeing that impressive display, tried their hand at the Eldar Walker, but only managed to stun it. The Heavy Destroyers maintained their impeccable track record by missing the Fire Prism right in front of them (I guess I should be happy the rules don’t allow them to shoot each other...)  The remaining Immortals wounded five of the Fire Dragons. The Nightbringer fired at the short bus (Rhino) and it detonated, taking two Marines with it. The southern Warriors then opened up on the survivors, downing three more.  Last but not least, the Pariahs opened up on the Striking Scorpions, leaving just one standing.

In the assault phase, the lone Wraith attacked the Eldar Pathfinders, downing three and catching the remainder in a sweeping advance.  The Flayed Ones and Pariahs attempted to assault of the Scorpions and just make contact, wiping out the remaining Scorpion. They took a 4-inch consolidation move towards the now Rhino-less Space Marine squad. The Tomb Spider attacked the Fire Dragon Serpent, but failed to hit. The Immortals assaulted the remaining Fire Dragons, reducing them to two men and forcing them to flee, but the Immortals failed to capitalize on the sweeping advance. The Destroyer Lord attacked the Dire Avenger’s Wave Serpent, but failed to cause any damage.  The Wraiths attacked the Dire Avengers, killing two, but getting wiped out in return. The turn ended with kill points awarded to the alliance for the Wraiths, and to the Necrons for the Pathfinders and the Scorpions. No points were awarded for the Dreadnought as it was still technically alive, leaving the score 3 to 2.

Turn 2: Alliance
Feeling like they had just punched a brick wall, the allied forces had to decide what to do next. The Pathfinders and the Scorpions were gone, the Fire Dragons were running, the Dreadnought was ruined, and the War Walker was punch-drunk from 26 gauss shots. Both squads of Dire Avengers were in good shape, but they were busy reloading from their Turn 1 Bladestorms. The Marines were relatively intact, and could snap off some missile shots if they didn’t move. 

The northern Avengers re-embarked onto their Wave Serpent, which then redeployed beside the Fire Prism to get some turret shots off on the the Heavy Destroyers. The southern Avengers also re-embarked, and their Wave Serpent repositioned itself to face down the southern Necron Warrior squad, in what would turn out to be a unfortunate place to stop. What was left of the Dreadnought turned to face the Destroyers, in a feeble attempt to keep from being shot in the rear again. The Dragon Serpent rolled forward towards the Necron Warriors, attempting a tank shock, which failed. The Fire Prism stood its ground, facing off against the Heavy Destroyers that couldn’t hit the broad side of a battleship anyway. The Farseer advanced towards the Heavy Destroyers to clean up whatever the Fire Prism and the Serpent did not take out.

Things fell apart again in the shooting phase, where the combined firepower of the Fire Prism and the northern Wave Serpent produced a harmless firestorm of inaccuracy and incompetence. The southern Wave Serpent also managed to fail against the Tomb Spider, despite having four twin-linked Strength 6 shots going up against a 1-wound target. The bright spot was the Fire Dragons who fired over their shoulders while running from the Immortals, downing two. The Space Marines fared a little better as they made 1 Immortal and 3 Warriors fall.

In the assault phase, the Farseer charged the Heavy Destroyers. One Heavy Destroyer fell, but they passed their leadership check.

Turn 2: Necrons
The turn started again with WBB rolls. The Immortals and one Warrior failed, everyone else got back up. 

The movement phase started with the single Wraith charging into the closest Space Marine squad, followed by the Flayed Ones and the Pariah.  The Destroyer Lord headed towards the Heavy Destroyers still locked up with the Farseer. The southern Warriors moved to consolidate after the tank shock spread them out.  The Nightbringer slowly moved toward the Fire Dragon Wave Serpent and the Tomb Spider moved to join the Immortals preparing to assault the Space Marines. Finally, the Monolith moved to get a clear shot on the Terminators.

The first shots of the phase turned out to be the most interesting, as the southern Warriors unloaded on the Dire Avenger Wave Serpent, resulting in a loss of its weapon, but more importantly an immobilized result. Due to the placement of the hatch and the position of  the Serpent, the Dire Avengers could not disembark without leaving the playing surface and were destroyed. The Nightbringer took a shot at the rear armor of the Fire Dragon Wave Serpent, destroying a weapon. The Pariahs shot at the closest Space Marines, taking down 2. The walkers did not fair well this turn as the Destroyers put the dread out of its misery and the northern Warrior group fired on the War Walker, wrecking it. The Space Marines finally pay for their tightly grouped formation, as the Monolith dropped a pieplate on them, killing 4 tactical Marines and a Terminator. The lone tactical Marine decides he has better things to do and heads home. The Immortals fire at the Marines and kill 2, the Tomb Spider fires on the other half of the combat squad downing one.

Assault started with the lone Wraith engaging the remaining 3 Space Marines. The Marines lost one and failed to wound the Wraith. Next the Destroyer Lord joined the fight with the Farseer and resulted in the Farseer being destroyed. The Nightbringer missed the Fire Dragons’ Wave Serpent with his scythe. The Tomb Spider and its Scarabs headed into combat with one combat squad while the Immortals attacked the other. The Tomb Spider lost a scarab, but killed two Marines and the Immortals killed one Marine without any losses on their part. The Space Marines managed to pass all their morale checks.

At the end of the turn, one Wave Serpent was destroyed along with its Dire Avengers, one Serpent was disarmed, two combat squads had been routed, one full tactical squad had been reduced to 2 models, the Farseer was dead, the Dreadnought and the War Walker were destroyed, and the Fire Dragons were a 1/4 inch from leaving the table. Given the massive amount of casualties sustained and the points left on the board, the alliance conceded, ending the game on Turn 2 with a final kill points 12-2.
Honey, What is that in the rear view mirror?? Things are bad when the Nightbringer is behind you. Things are worse when there’s a Monolith behind him.
After action thoughts:
Necronoob: Apparently the dice gods felt sorry for royally screwing me in the July 4th game and were amused by my chasing of D’Ork with a folding chair (done in good fun and mostly to freak splinter fleet out when he got back from getting more beer). With very few exceptions, I did not fail a critical roll, and the Alliance suffered from storm trooper syndrome, which made me almost feel sorry for the way that I won (almost if I did not have such a poor overall record against D’Ork). I do not feel that my tactics were terribly well played or that my units choices were superior, just sometimes the dice land just right. I would have much preferred a longer drawn out and closer game.

The elimination of the phase out rule allowed me to play without continually counting units, which made the game more enjoyable. As it stands, phase out would not have been an issue, but I would never have free to have the monolith, nightbringer and the Pariah in the same game as over 600 pts of non-necron units would have made phase out way to easy. The point reductions we played with on the Flayed Ones and Warriors was nice, but I would like another game to really evaluate it. I have never fielded the Pariahs before, and they proved to be more effective than I had thought they would have been, but their slow speed really showed once their immediate targets were removed. Being able to transport them either using the Veil of Darkness or the Monolith would make them much more fearsome, as they were, they did provide a good distraction. The ultimate distraction in the game, the Nightbringer, never proved to be that much of a threat due to the spread out enemy units and his slow speed. I can see his potential when waded into a large line of troops though.

The Wave Serpent being immobilized with the hatch off the board was something I had not contemplated as being an issue before, as D’Ork mainly played Orks with open top vehicles. The Dire Avengers got a raw deal in this game as half of them died in that freak incident. Had they been able to exit the vehicle, they were primed for a point blank bladestorm that would have resulted in between 3 and 7 losses, after WBB and not including the Exarch’s attacks, (yes I have a spreadsheet for this, I am an engineer and cannot help it).  The remaining unit proved to be capable and tougher than expected, taking out two Wraiths that I thought would walk right through them. Even though its impact on the game was limited, I could see that the Eldar War Walker could prove to be very formidable unit in greater numbers. As D’Ork has a birthday coming up, I see this may be getting corrected soon, if it doesn’t happen before then. 

I have never played Space Marines, but the inability to move a squad and fire its main weapon seems to be a little counter intuitive for an assault force. Splitting into combat squads helped, but this could be a game-losing move in a kill point mission. The Terminators could have posed a very big problem had they used the turn one deep strike, but as played they did not have too much impact as I kept their targets limited. The Dreadnought and walker both suffered from being unsupported by additional units. Once stunned, they were easy to eliminate. Having other units in the area could have kept me from directing all my attention to a damaged unit, and may have allowed them to stick around a little longer.

D’Ork: Despite what Necro says, his deployment was excellent, especially considering that he had to deploy first, move second, and his enemy could come from any Direction. His coverage of Tomb Spider and Resurrection Orb was flawless, and he spread his high-value targets around nicely.
Conversely, our deployment was way too aggressive. As the man in charge of deploying the allied forces, this was my fault. Faced with the decision of either (1) piling on to one part of the Necron line and overrunning it, or (2) spreading out to tackle all the high-value targets, I chose (2). Our Turn 1 targets included the Destroyers, the Heavy Destroyers, the Monolith, the Nightbringer, the Pariahs, both Wraith squads, and the Destroyer Lord. Even with the best of dice rolls, that was never going to work. When we rolled badly and Necro started making armor saves left and right, we were immediately in trouble. Add in three bone-headed moves on my part (not moving the Scorpions, not using the Farseer powers on Turn 2, and sticking the Wave Serpent’s ass off the edge of the board), and I got what I deserved. Poor Synack was simply taken down with me.

In retrospect, we should have piled onto the western side of the board and hit those squads with everything. At least two allied squads should have been in range of the Tomb Spider to make sure it was taken out. The rest should have poured firepower onto the Wraith squad + Lord and the Heavy Destroyers. Any remaining firepower would have been spent on the Immortals. This.would have put Necro in a bad position, as his Orb and Spider would be gone and his anti-tank ability severely reduced, and his slower troops on the other side of the board wouldn’t be in play until Turn 2 or even 3.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

1,000 Points of Eldar, Finally on the Table

In late June I decided to ramp up my nascent Eldar collection and rapidly assemble 1,000 points of dainty Space Elves for the Annual Wasted Knights Fourth of July event. In true Mechdar fashion, I came up with the following list:

Farseer - Doom, Guide, Spirit Stone, Runes of Witnessing

7 Fire Dragons in a Wave Serpent with Twin Eldar Missile Launcher and Spirit Stones

8 Dire Avengers with a Bladestorm/Twin Catapult Exarch in a Wave Serpent with Twin Scatter Lasers and Spirit Stones

8 Dire Avengers with a Bladestorm/Twin Catapult Exarch in a Wave Serpent with Twin Scatter Lasers and Spirit Stones

5 Pathfinders

Tonight I finally finished that list - just 35 days late! I have proof!

The whole army - 998 points.

One of the Dire Avenger squads.

Fire Dragons.


The Farseer. This color (Shadow Grey) worked out very well, and
gives a nice ghostly effect.

One of the Wave Serpents. The blue stones
indicate that this tank carries Dire Avengers.

The Fire Dragons' Wave Serpent, with Twin EML.

It won't win any awards, but it's finished! Next up: Striking Scorpions.