Friday 23 June 2023

10th Edition 40K - First Game, First Thoughts, Reflections on 9th and Blog Update


Apologies for the mouthful of a title, this one is going to be a bit of a disjointed collection of thoughts, but hey, here we are. Kicking off with my first game of the new 10th edition 40k: Orks vs Daemons!

This was a 1500 point game playing the standard Only War mission at the end of the free Core Rules. I was bringing the Orks, as is only right and proper for a first game, against Tony aka the Narrative Wargamer with his primarily Khorne based Chaos Daemons.

I took a mix of unit types, but keeping it fairly simple in terms of numbers of extra rules, with no enhancements. Three units of 20 choppa Boyz, two units each of three Killa Kans and Deff Koptas, a Battlewagon and a selection of characters: Weirdboy, Painboy, Warboss and Waaagh! Banner Nob (represented by the Goff Rokker!). The Boss and Banner went together with a unit in the Wagon.

The Daemons were a mix of infantry and big scary monsters. Two units of Bloodletters and a squad of Plaguebearers with a couple of support characters were backed up by a Skullcannon, a Daemon Prince, a Soulgrinder and the Bloodthirster.

Orks got turn one, surged forward to touch the middle objectives while leaving some Kans to guard the home one, did a bit of light shooting, and that was it, turn one of 10th edition completed!

Daemons responded in kind, leading to a couple of charges onto the objectives. Bloodletters cut into the 20 Boyz with Painboy, killing ten, but were stomped out by the return attacks. On the other flank the Soulgrinder went in to stomp a number of the Weirdboy's Boyz but took no damage in return.

Ork turn two meant WAAAGH! time, and the Weirdboy and friends sneakily jumped out of combat in order to charge the Skullcannon and take the daemon home objective! I'm pretty sure I didn't get Da Jump to work out this well for me in the entirety of 9th edition!

I plugged the gap they left with Killa Kans and the Warboss unit. Extra attack Kans punched some holes in the Soulgrinder before the WAAAGH!-boosted Warboss finished it off with nine strength eleven powerklaw attacks! Elsewhere the Painboy unit got a model back and then charged the Plaguebearers to ensure they didn't wander onto an objective - this mean the daemons were scoring no points on their turn!

The counter attack came in hot, with the angry Bloodthirster jumping over to mess with the Kans on my objective. The second Bloodletter squad turned around to go back for the Weirdboy/Boyz, and the Prince helped out the Plaguebearers. The big lad obviously did his thing, murdering the Kans and then killing a nearby Kopter with bonus mortal wounds, however the other two combats went a bit differently. 

Bloodletters cut down a load of Orks, but in the WAAAGH! turn the remainder fought back hard and killed the entire unit! This scrap would eventually result in the Skullcannon killing off the remaining Boyz and the weirdboy, and only just suriving the resulting deadly demise! The Daemon Prince had it go a bit differently - he used a big 14 attack sweep, but between the new 5+ save and 5+ Feel No Pain, he was unable to make a real dent in the Boyz, though was essentially immune to most of their attacks with a FNP of his own added to high toughness and 2+ save. At the end of the game the Plaguebearers were all gone but the Prince had still not managed to completely wipe the unit!

In turn three most of my remaining forces swarmed the Bloodthirster, including a second WAAAGH! being called for the Warboss/Banner unit. The 'thirster took his toll but eventually the Warboss smashed him down, leaving the daemons with not much, just the remnants in the ongoing combats around the objectives mentioned above. As a result Tony picked up his first victory point in turn four (as a Boyz mob failed battleshock) and the eventual score was, I think, 11-3 to da Boyz. WAAAGH!

So, my thoughts? Overall I really enjoyed it. It certainly felt like it will be a generally smoother and slightly quicker game once we've all learned the rules properly, and though there were a few weird rules interactions we weren't sure about, it seemed like a lot of the fiddly little details had been taken out. Simplified but not simple, as they say. My big takeaway however was that most of the units seemed to do more or less what they were supposed to, in a way that 9th tried to achieve but didn't quite. The big tough daemons took a lot of killing with T11, decent saves and loads of wounds. Rokkits were bouncing off them and buckets of dice from choppa attacks were only chipping off the odd wound occasionally. Similarly a mob of 20 Boyz with a character was a bit of a wall, taking a serious sustained effort to remove. Anti-elite Bloodletters were cutting down around 10 a time and then getting battered by the return attacks, and all the characters were adding powerful abilities. I could see myself running quite a lot of them!

Aside from the specifics of this game, I am excited to play more 10th and experiment with more stuff, though it's not all perfect. Balance is clearly going to be way off initially - and it always was going to be with a reset regardless of play testers, but I think the decision to 'power level' the points didn't help. I certainly don't hate it, it is nice and easy to just pay single costs for units, but I don't love it either. There's a lot of stuff that's just a no brainer, like the Deffrolla on the Battlewagon, that just hurts you for not modelling it that way (or alternatively encourages breaking WYSIWYG). I'm fairly confident that these sort of issues will be sorted in time though, through points updates and the full books.

Looking back over 9th edition, I can honestly say that I really enjoyed it, though it was clearly flawed. Once the complexity and power started ramping up it became very hard to keep up with and it clearly was not designed with the 'casual' player in mind. It had moments of actually being very well balanced and interesting from a veteran 40k player's perspective, but it must have been an absolute nightmare to have tried to get back into the game after a break of several years, only to come up against peak Drukhari or Tyranids and be wiped off the board in a slew of badly costed units and stacked special rules.

I think 9th had a bit of a reputation for being a tournament focused edition, but that's not strictly true. 9th brought is Crusade, and many, supplements with narrative rules - a lot of which I've spoken about at length! I'm glad GW decided to refine the Crusade format however, it seems like it will be much more balanced for random games between mismatched Crusades, and it also looks like the narrative element is kind of baked into the system a bit more. 

I feel like 9th will be remembered as a bad edition by many, but I think it was quietly important. This was the edition where GW decided to allow themselves to change decades-old rules and try to make units play like they are actually supposed to. Orks are supposed to be really hard to kill, so they got toughness 5 after having T4 since the early 90s. Same with regular (and chaos, eventually) marines getting two wounds, and multi-meltas having two shots, and Eldar covered head to toe in armour getting a 4+ save. So many changes to rules and stats that were almost set in stone before, so that the models in the game felt just a little bit more like they 'should' do. They didn't always get it right of course, but I think that will be the positive legacy of 9th, being carried forward into 10th and beyond.

Now, with all that said, for me personally the shift to 9th also signified a shift to not recording every battle on this blog. Some get summarised as part of a larger post, some just get posted to Instagram. I don't always have the time or energy to do big write ups anymore, and though I did beat myself up about 'missing' a few, it is ultimately something I've decided I'm perfectly happy with. As I've always said, this blog is mostly for my own benefit, so I make no apologies for not getting out content regularly or to a specific standard. So what this means for the future is... not a lot really. I will continue with sporadic posting with no intent to cover everything, just a general overview of what I've been up to. I hope that if you are reading this you will find it entirely reasonable on my part, but even if you don't, thanks for reading and please stay safe out there.

Thursday 22 June 2023

Lava Lizards Seraphon Project - Wave One


I've been pretty excited about 40k recently, with 10th edition around the corner, but I have also been quite excited about Age of Sigmar as well! In particular, the lizards. When the Seraphon launch box popped up, I got asked to paint it's contents, plus some extras, in exchange in part for most of another launch box - so of course I said yes! Painting lizards is fun, and I wanted my own new magic frog!

The brief I had for this lot was blue skin, and fire/lava themed - so I had a go at molten rock for their scaly backs and stone accessories. I like to think they are summoned from the ground like a mini volcanic eruption, or dropped from the sky on burning meteors. In any case, here's a selection of lizards, dinosaurs and frogs:

In reverse size order, here we start with the skirmishing Skinks. It turns out these were a good place to start painting because their scales are large with significant gaps between them so it was quite forgiving for trying to find the method that would look right. In the end I opted to paint the whole orange/red/yellow area after the blue skin, then heavily drybrush black over the scales. Orange for the crests was an obvious fit with the rest of the model and the base, and the rest of the model was largely single colours (gold, brown, earth) with Snakebite Leather contrast over it.

Next up, the core of the footsloggers, two units of the lovely new Saurus Warriors. I was really pleased with the molted rock effect on these guys, since the gaps between scales are narrower, but more pronounced, though it did end up giving them a much darker look overall. I think this will work well on the tabletop because they will allow the big cool stuff to really pop. Though in a bid to add a little more colour I did decide to use green as a bit of a spot colour for feathers etc.

Which leads neatly onto the Raptadon Hunters and Chargers - both of which are wildly more colourful than their slower moving companions. The green feathers from the previous units suggested there should be some green here, and it kind of went from there! I got a little bit carried away with these dinos, adding in sky blue for the spots at the ends of the crest, arm and tail feathers. With the chaff, objective holders and quick response units done, it was time for some command, and some heavy damage dealers...

Obviously the natural answer is a comet-summoning magic frog! Here is the new Slann Starmaster, which is an amazing kit, surprisingly with loads of options. You could easily have two very different looking Slann from the same kit, with even little details like the skink attendants being swapped for a lizard or a frog. I love the floating effect they went for here and there are so many fun little details - though sadly this does mean he takes a while to paint!

However, sometimes a magic frog isn't enough, and you need an even more magic, slightly less alive frog...

Yes, the last 'miniature' in this wave, it's Lord Kroak! A huge AoS centrepiece model, and as I understand it an absolute monster on the table, he's a fitting conclusion to this project - for now at least. I think of all the models, this is the one that the molten rock look really works the best on - there's a lot of detail that it highlights on his throne and the surrounding rings. That aside, it's another mini with loads of little fun details, like his bed of snakes and the little frog (painted green here) chilling at the back.

Anyway, thanks for reading, hope you enjoyed, and stay safe out there.

Thursday 15 June 2023

The Grim Invasion Continues - Ork Crusade Updates


Last time the Orks were out and about doing some krumpin in the Grim Dice Crusade league, Da Vipers got stuck in with limited success, but Boss Redtoof himself was proving to be a very tough cookie! Once again, here's a quick summary of the next three games...

Game four was against the sneaky Aeldari from the Ulthwe craftworld. They brought a selection of infantry units, plus a grav tank and a Wraithlord, led by a Farseer, who was attempting to complete a ritual...

Redtoof got seperated from the rest of the force and once again got stuck in, while most of the Boyz got caught in a crossfire between Guardians and Dire Avengers. The Squighog Boyz were once again able to hunt out the enemy warlord, but it wasn't quick enough to stop the ritual from being completed, earning the Aeldari a close win, with much blood shed on both sides.

Heading to game five it was time to escalate once again to 75 power. In part because I'm already going into 10th ed mode and I didn't really want to think too hard, and in part because I wanted to see 9th out with a bang, I decided to add Nipper the Gargantuan Squiggoth!

So with that decision made, of course I had my next game against an Imperial Guard gunline...

The Guard got turn one and took out both Squiggoths with relative ease. Ouch! Redtoof and his lads did get stuck in with the tanks, krumpin a few of them with the Tankbusta Bombz stratagem, but it was really decided on the first turn roll. Nipper did look splendid during deployment next to his son though!

Game six was a real krump-fest though, as the Vipers were taking on the World Eaters! Lots of choppa marine boyz with some Helbrutes for support. Mission involved taking each other's home objectives and burning them, so there was nothing for it but for both forces to go forward and meet in the middle!

In this game Nipper played a big part, smashing through a Rhino, goring one of the Helbrutes to death, nearly killing the other in melee (but for blood tithe points giving it a 6+ feel no pain) and between shooting and falling over, wiped out a unit of Eightbound! Elsewhere the Orks and World Eaters were trading units, but Redtoof had his sights set on the similarly buffed up Lord on Juggernaut. They went several rounds in a duel, shrugging off blows, before finally Redtoof fell (though in part due to an assist from a couple of Berzerkers, chaos cheating there clearly!) and the game was lost.

So three more games continuing the theme of smashing stuff up but lack of mission success, leaving me sitting at 1-5. Not that winning was ever the goal - though Redtoof has now died three times in this, in spite of how tough he got! Still, a lot of silly fun to round out the edition.

With tenth edition around the corner, I'm not sure if I'll be continuing with the league, so this very well might have been my last games of 9th. With that in mind I have had a lot of fun with this admittedly flawed edition, and at some point I'll do a bit of a retrospective/looking forward post, but suffice to say I am very excited to start playing 10th! In any case, thanks for reading, hope you enjoyed, and stay safe out there!