Thursday 29 November 2018

EGGS Game 2 - Imperium vs Aeldari


Here's the second of my reports from the Element Games Grand Slam 2018 40k event that I attended with regular opponent John recently. I took this list. In case you don't want to follow the link, I took a mixed Imperium force with an Adeptus Mechanicus battalion and an Imperial Knight super heavy detachment.

HQ: Tech-priest Dominus, Tech-priest Enginseer
Troops: 5 Vanguard, 5 Rangers, 5 Plasma Destroyers
Elites: Cybernetica Datasmith
Heavy Support: 2 Phosphor blaster Kastelans, 2 Fist Kastelans

Lord of War: 2 Armiger Warglaives, Knight Valiant

I apologise for poor photos, lack of details and any mistakes that pop up over these reports. As usual I just took some pictures and am relying on my brain for the rest, and there was lots of stuff that went into my brain over the weekend.

Game 2 was against Tess and his Aeldari. We were on table 36, out of 40-something, which cheered me up a bit, suggesting plenty of people got tabled in round one! The pointy eared foe opposite me was less of a reason to cheer. A tough soup list that Tess confessed was dirty, he had just been on the receiving end of another scary Eldar list to get down to the bottom half for game 2. From memory, and please forgive that I do not know the space elves very well...

HQ: Yvraine, Farseer on jetbike
Troops: 3x5 Dire Avengers
Fast Attack: Shining Spears
Heavy Support: Dark Reapers

HQ: 2 Warlocks
Troops: 5 Dire Avengers, 2x5 Rangers
Transport: Wave Serpent

Black Heart
HQ: Archon
Heavy Support: 3 Disintegrator Ravagers

Can't remember how many were in some of the squads, but it was a sizable number of aspect warriors, a good range of psychic powers and synergies, and lots of mobility. It would also hit hard at range and in melee. I've not really played Eldar much at all in 8th, so I wasn't quite sure how this would go, only that if all the powers went off at the right times, I was probably in trouble!

The missions were Big Guns Never Tire and Deadlock.

We both deployed with many of our units out of line of sight or far away from the front lines, with the main exception of the Valiant that got plonked down front and center. I got first turn, and moved up to get some shots off. The punchy robots going around the wall following the Armiger. Some long range shots hit the Ravagers, plinking off a few wounds without doing any serious damage. I think I picked up some points for holding objectives, but did not achieve too much.

Tess moved the Serpent out after it had dropped off it's cargo. Dire Avengers moved to claim objectives and the Dark Reapers poked out from behind the blue wall to blast the Armiger/Robots. The Spears zoomed over to behind the wall, but a lackluster psychic phase meant the were unable to move again twice and get into position to charge, so opted to stay behind the wall instead. Combined fire from the Ravagers and Reapers killed off the Armiger at the top of the board and wounded one of the fist Kastelans. First blood and some points, but I got lucky enough to save me from Shining Spears for a turn.

Sensing this was my opportunity to put the pressure on, the Valiant went balls-to-the-wall, marching down the middle of the board and splitting fire over the Eldar lines. Armiger moved to try and clear Avengers off an objective in order to defend it, while the fist bots moved up to punch some more aspect warriors. Destroyers and the dakka bots opened up and downed a couple of damaged Ravagers, before the Valiant stripped some wounds of the Serpent and set fire to the Spears. I got a little unlucky and only killed 2 or 3 of them, leaving the unit still strong enough the threaten my gun line. The Armiger and Robots both failed to remove their respective Avengers.

The Eldar responded to the Imperial aggression with similar gusto. The Spears moved up and jumped over the servitors, finding themselves in range to blast my characters. Elsewhere the Rangers arrived in a far corner away from most of my forces. The Eldar psykers began casting their spells, but one of the Warlocks managed to get a perils that caused him to explode with enough force to kill off a couple of the Reapers and the other Warlock! Apparently the warp was very fickle today. Between the Reapers and the remaining Ravager, the punchy robots fell. Shooting and melee from the laser lances of the Shining Spears took out both of my Tech-priests, the Kataphrons and one of the phosphor bots. Ouch! The remaining robot was locked in the Protector protocols so would be unable to move away, denying me the chance to burn the Spears again. It did manage to take down a wounded Spear in combat though. I forget how I did it, but towards the end of the turn I used a stratagem that Tess tried to deny with Agents of Vect, but he rolled a one so failed and left himself with one command point.

Turn 3, and now all stratagems cost double! I'd managed to save four command points, so that would be two stratagems. Tess only had one left so he was effectively out. The Armiger rounded the corner to kill off the Avengers and defend the objective while ending up outside of line of sight. The Valiant did some flaming before moving in to kick those jetbikes! Across the board, my 5 Rangers marched up with the Chant of the Remorseless Fist ringing in their ears, and moved to engage the 10 Eldar Rangers. Good shooting dropped one of the units to 1 model, that they finished off in combat, but they were unable to drive their pointy eared equivalents off a defended objective. In combat the Valiant took out a few more spears, but left them outside of melee range, enabling them to charge back in.

Which they did in the Eldar turn, along with the Wave Serpent, after it got peppered by disintegrators and reaper launchers. Eventually the Dominus class was brought down to only a few wounds. 

With Machine Spirit Resurgent, the Valiant went off on a wounded rampage! It flamed the Reapers, harpooned the Ravager and kicked Yvraine in the face. In Tess's turn the Knight finally fell, and I used Noble Sacrifice to cause it to explode, killing off the last of the Reapers and wounding the remaining characters. It was glorious. In other news my Rangers won the battle of the Rangers, finishing off the Eldar in combat.

At this stage we were getting close to the end, in turn 5 and almost neck and neck on points. Then Tess drew Domination. With his remaining units and their mobility, he was able to score all 6 objectives and claim 5 maelstrom points, then the game ended and he also picked up all the Eternal War objectives. A big swing his way at the end gave him a solid victory. I think it was 15-5 in his favour.

This was a really fun game, and it felt like I was right in it until the end. I'd lost again, but I felt a lot better about it, and I was certainly not going to end up with 0 points! John had done better still, picking up a win against the Adepta Sororitas, having to kill Celestine twice!

Tuesday 27 November 2018

EGGS Game 1 - Imperium vs Chaos


Here's the first of my reports from the Element Games Grand Slam 2018 40k event that I attended with regular opponent John recently. I took this list. In case you don't want to follow the link, I took a mixed Imperium force with an Adeptus Mechanicus battalion and an Imperial Knight super heavy detachment.

HQ: Tech-priest Dominus, Tech-priest Enginseer
Troops: 5 Vanguard, 5 Rangers, 5 Plasma Destroyers
Elites: Cybernetica Datasmith
Heavy Support: 2 Phosphor blaster Kastelans, 2 Fist Kastelans

Lord of War: 2 Armiger Warglaives, Knight Valiant

I apologise for poor photos, lack of details and any mistakes that pop up over these reports. As usual I just took some pictures and am relying on my brain for the rest, and there was lots of stuff that went into my brain over the weekend.

My opponent for the first game was Jonathan, who had brought a mixed chaos force of Heretic Astartes, Thousand Sons and Daemons with lots of bodies. Off the top of my head, it was something like this:

Black Legion:
HQ: Abaddon, Exalted Champion, Sorcerer
Troops: 40 Cultists, 2x10 Cultists
Elites: 8 Berserkers, 3 Obliterators
Transport: Rhino

Thousand Sons:
HQ: Ahriman, Terminator Sorcerer, Daemon Prince
Troops: 30 Tzaangors, 2x10 Cultists

HQ: Herald of Slaanesh
Troops: 3 Nurgling swarms.

I definitely thought his list was more optimised than mine, and I've not really had much experience against this kind of army, so I wasn't expecting it to go well. Regardless, I didn't think it was a complete forgone conclusion. The missions running simultaneously were Scouring and Tactical Gambit.

Unsurprisingly I finished deployment first and ended up going first. I used my troops to screen out the back of my deployment zone from deep strikers, aware that Jonathan had placed several units in reserve and had the Dark Matter Crystal available to jump the Tzaangors into my lines. Line of sight was severely restricted and the chaos forces made good use of the cover available to force my shooting to target mostly cultists. The Armigers drew a bead on the Rhino full of 'zerkers but failed to destroy it, and the Valiant and robots killed some cultists.

In response, the Chaos forces moved up cautiously, keeping the reserves off the board and staying out of line of sight where possible. Then the crystal activated and the Tzaangors materialised 9 inches from one of the Armigers. A command re-roll was used to get them into combat, and the successfully tied down the Warglaive and the Rangers hiding in the ruin behind it.

In turn 2, I made my biggest mistake. I decided the Tzaangors had to be dealt with, and threw the punchy robots and my characters in to fight them. I also moved my shooty robots to get line of sight on the Rhino, which brought them close enough to be consolidated into. Very foolish of me! In hindsight, thanks to buffs from psychic powers and fearlessness from Abaddon, the Tzaangors were never going anywhere with the few attacks I could throw at them. I definitely should have moved everything that could the opposite direction, as far away from them as possible! Elsewhere the Valiant set fire to some cultists, but I assumed (correctly) that they would return shortly with Tide of Traitors. It also launched a missile at the Black Legion Sorcerer with Oathbreaker Guidance System, but apparently the missile hit a wall instead as the Sorcerer rolled a 6 for his save in cover.

Jonathan's turn 2 and the trap is sprung! Obliterators popped down to target the Valiant, the cultists faded away and turned up in the far corner of my deployment zone, the Berserkers got out and headed to all my units locked up in combat, and a series of sorcerers lined up to Smite the Valiant. Thanks to some stratagem use and some mediocre rolls, the Valiant came off lightly, but the 'zerkers hit like a truck and removed the fist robots, one of which exploded with Machine Spirit's Revenge. The Cultists failed their charge in to the Kataphron Destroyers, but they were ideally positioned to chase them down for the rest of the game, and with the dakka bots all tied up, I didn't really have anything to stop them.

My turn 3, and the Maelstrom cards looked interesting. Witch Hunter and Blood and Guts were in my hand, plus a possibly achievable objective, so I gambled for 3 points, with the Slaanesh Herald in sight of the Valiant. It lined up to blast the Obliterators, but that cheeky herald pulled out a relic gem that caused it to be unable to shoot! These Chaos guys have got some sweet loot! I opted to blast the Oblits with supercharged, Plasma Specialist Destroyers, but rolled poorly to only kill a single model, even doing 3 damage with each wound! The free Armiger tried to snipe the Terminator Sorcerer with it's thermal spear, but failed. Finally both Knights charged the Herald, and whiffed. To add insult to injury, the Herald killed the already injured Armiger and consolidation from the big Tzaangor fight claimed the objective I was trying to secure. This put me firmly on the back foot!

The rest of the game was mostly the story of Jonathan's forces wrapping up most of my army and slowly grinding it down. The Valiant stood firm against a charge from Abaddon and friends, who then ran away from it, in case it exploded, after his sword rebelled a couple of times. It eventually fell, I think after I finally stomped on that Herald, but by that point I was far, far behind on points. I managed to end turn 5 as time ran out with some models remaining on the board, but with the scored added up, a convincing victory for Chaos, and 20 tournament points to Jonathan, 0 to me.

It was a tough match, and I really needed my dice and my brain to give me some help. Sadly neither really stepped up, and I didn't manage to put up much of a fight. It was somewhat comforting to learn John had also lost badly, his Emperor's Children/Renegade Knights being tabled by an Aeldari list with four flyers.

Not a great start, but with 4 games left to play, my lofty goal of 'somewhere in the middle' was still achievable.

Wednesday 21 November 2018

Video Battle Report with SorcererDave - Tyranids vs Astra Militarum


Another game up on YouTube with SorcererDave! Part two of the Battle of Morgan's Reach narrative campaign. (Yes, it's definitely a thing now, there will be more!) As mentioned previously, I took a themed Tyranid force to face the Cadians in the ruins of a hive city. The game itself was, as my opponent put it, "epic in both the modern and literal sense of the word". It was a truly gripping, shortbread fueled 9 hours of my life. We both agreed, regardless of what happened and the narrative behind it, the game looked really cool, and as an added bonus/teaser, here are some pictures SorcererDave took with his vastly superior camera...

Of course, this is a second part in a narrative, so if you don't like spoilers, and you haven't seen the first one, go here! Also, just to note, this was filmed early in November, hence the poppy.

Anyway, hope you enjoy the video!

Saturday 17 November 2018

Redtoof’s guide to Tournament Preparation


Due to boring stuff like work and sleeping taking up all my time during the week, I decided to do my packing for Element Games' Element Games Grand Slam at Element Games early. I also thought I'd use it to make a little guide to tournament preparation, so here is exactly that.

Step 1: Find a tournament to go to. Buy the ticket. Sort out travel/accommodation as appropriate. Luckily I have already done all this, since the tickets have been sold out for ages.

Step 2: Read the rules pack. Especially the bits about army restrictions and list submission. If you are really into doing it properly, you might want to study the missions and scoring system in use, and apply that information to step 3. I had a good read through it, and largely ignored it for the purpose of writing my list. But at least I knew what I was ignoring!

Step 3: Write an army list. Ideally using miniatures you own and are painted - but if not, painting your army the night before is totally a thing. The list I'm taking can be found here, but as there is also a casual, friendly 1000 point tournament the night before the main event, I wrote two lists! Obviously I couldn't resist taking the new Orks again, so my other list looks something like this:

Snakebite Battalion - 999 points
Warboss, Powerklaw, Kombi-skorcha, Warlord trait: Brutal but Kunnin'
Weirdboy, Brogg's Buzzbomb
20 Ork Boyz, Shootas, 2 Big Shootas, Nob with Powerklaw
20 Ork Boyz, Shootas, 2 Big Shootas, Nob with Powerklaw
24 Ork Boyz, Choppas, 2 Rokkit launchas, Nob with Powerklaw
Heavy Support:

Step 4: Put that army in a box. I guess you could carry them in a bag, but that's probably inadvisable. I like to put all the models out in one place first so I can see them all together and make sure I've not missed anything. Boxes are available from the internet and from shops.

Step 5: Grab all the rest of the stuff you need and put it in a bag. You could use a box for this, but then you'd be carrying two boxes! The madness! Frequently the rules pack from Step 2 has a nice checklist for this. Some might say the existence of such lists renders this blog post almost entirely irrelevant. To that I say; "good point".

Anyway, my checklist is something like this: 
  • Army - see step 4.
  • Tickets for the event if it requires a physical copy
  • Rules for the game/army - I mostly use digital rules these days, so I sometimes put together a cheat sheet or take screenshots of the unit entries I'm using and put them in a convenient folder for easy access.
  • 2+ Copies of your army list - Your opponent might want to be able to reference it during a game if they are taking it more seriously than I do.
  • Any other rules or references you need - e.g. FAQs, Maelstrom cards etc.
  • Dice, Tape Measure, Objective markers/wound counters and other stuff you need for the game.
  • Pen and paper for making notes and filling out score sheets.
  • Superglue - essential, as evidenced when one of my Orks fell off his base getting out of his box.
  • Paracetamol. This is arguably the only useful bit of information in this article. A day playing 40K surrounded by other sweaty nerds will probably give you a headache.
  • On that note: bring some damn deodorant! Even if you are playing a Nurgle army!
  • If you are staying overnight. Bring some clothes, toiletries etc. And don't forget to shower!

Step 6: That's basically it. Now don't forget to turn up! (Especially if you were painting your army all night instead of sleeping...)

Tuesday 13 November 2018

Element Games Grand Slam - My List


As I may have mentioned previously, in a couple of weeks I will be attending the Element Games Grand Slam (or EGGS) 40k event, at, unsurprisingly, Element Games. I was seriously considering taking my Orks with a new Codex and a list similar to the one I wrote here, but I haven't really had a chance to get any games in with them yet, and I still haven't given the Valiant a go yet, so I've decided to go with an Adeptus Mechanicus and Imperial Knights alliance.

So here is the list I'll (probably) take with me. As with most of the lists I write, it's not really competitive, but it should have some 'teeth', as the TTT team would say. Even though it is a tournament, I will still stubbornly refuse to run anything other than Ryza and Taranis for my forces. With that in mind I've taken a few units that hopefully should take advantage of those traits and stratagems etc. I feel like the list is definitely lacking in bodies, but hopefully will make up for that by overloading the enemy with priority targets. I'll start with 11 command points, but I intend to spend one or two of them buffing the Valiant with a warlord trait and/or relic. I'd considered making it the warlord, but it will almost certainly die every game, and I like the option to pick a trait/relic that will help against the opponent. I'd like a few more command points, so hopefully I'll pick up a couple with Monitor Malevolus.

Ryza Battalion and Taranis Superheavy Detachment - 11 command points

Tech-priest Dominus: warlord trait: Monitor Malevolus; Weapon XCIX (replaces Volkite blaster); phosphor serpenta
Tech-priest Enginseer

5 Skitarii Rangers
5 Skitarii Vanguard: Enhanced Data-tether
5 Kataphron Destroyers: 5 plasma culverins, 5 phosphor blasters

Cybernetica Datasmith

Heavy Support
2 Kastelan Robots: 2× 2 heavy phosphor blasters; 2 heavy phosphor blasters
2 Kastelan Robots: 2 Kastelan fists; 2 heavy phosphor blasters

Lord of War
Knight Valiant: 4 shieldbreaker missiles & 1 twin siegebreaker cannon
1 Armiger Warglaive: meltagun
1 Armiger Warglaive: meltagun

As I said, I don't think this is a top tier list, though maybe a bit stronger than one might take for a friendly or narrative game. I don't really have any expectations of winning anything significant, but I'm aiming to come somewhere in the middle of the pack and, more importantly, have fun. That's the plan anyway, and if the games are a bust, at least there is a bar!

Tuesday 6 November 2018

Ork Codex thoughts and first army list


Da Kodex iz out ladz! WAAAGH!

So I got my claws on it. I like it. There is lots of information out there already on the Codex, so I'm not going to do a full rundown or anything, but I thought I'd post my initial impressions and some thoughts on a few of the things the internet has been talking about.

So firstly. Is it a good book? Yes, I think so. Is it hyper competitive? Probably not, but it certainly looks strong enough for me to bash some heads. Does it have everything I wanted in it? Erm... no.

Obviously the addition of Stratagems, Kulturs, Warlord traits etc instantly makes this a lot more interesting than the index, and points drops across most of the overpriced units was very appreciated, but there are definitely a few things that were not quite right for me. Things like Painboyz not interacting in with the Snakebite kultur, and the Goff warlord trait being a strictly worse version of a generic one are slight grievances. More notable is the still massively overcosted Stompa, and the relegation of many options to the index. I'm generally ok with index options as a means of allowing use of out of production minis and I don't believe they are going to be invalidated by GW anytime soon, but the fact is it is an inconvenience, and as tournaments start banning index options it might eventually be seen as a 'that guy' thing in friendly games.

All that said, I'm still happy with it. I like that my Snakebites have a useful trait, and that I can even give it to Nipper the Gargantuan Squiggoth via the use of the Supreme Command detachment to avoid the penalty for the Superheavy Auxiliary. And speaking of which, I've written up my first army list using the new codex, and it's all about getting the most out of the big squig:

Snakebite Battalion and Supreme Command, 9 command points, 1995 points.

Warboss, Powerklaw, Combi-shoota/skorcha, Attack squig, Brutal but Kunnin', Da Killa Klaw.
Weirdboy, Da Jump.
Weirdboy, Warpath.
Big Mek [index option], Kustom force field, Powerklaw.
Big Mek [index option], Kustom force field, Combi-shoota/skorcha.

25 Boyz, Powerklaw, 2 rokkit launchas.
25 Boyz, Powerklaw, 2 rokkit launchas.
20 Boyz, Shootas, Powerklaw, 2 rokkit launchas.
17 Boyz, Shootas, Powerklaw, Big shoota.

Nob with Waaagh! banner.
5 Burna Boyz.

Heavy Support:

Lord of War
Nipper the Gargantuan Squiggoth [Forgeworld], Killkannon, Big-zappa.

So, the plan is, 17 Boyz, the Boss, the Banner Nob and a Mek pile onto the Squiggoth, while the other Mek and the Burnas get in the Gorkanaut. Everything goes forward. Hopefully with two big scary targets one of them should reach the enemy along with a wave of Boyz. Krumpin' happens. Da Boyz win! Easy. Thanks to a recent forgeworld FAQ Nipper should get the benefit of the force field when the Mek is embarked, and as part of the Supreme Command detachment will get the Snakebite Kultur, which might keep him around a bit longer. It's also worth noting that as a Snakebite model, he will benefit from the effects of the WAAAGH! banner, which should make him significantly stompier!

I know it's not really a very fluffy list with those big meks, but I really want to keep my big stompies alive past turn 1, so I think it's a necessary evil. Aside from that I think it's got some teeth (and tusks), but I'm open to suggestions...