Saturday, July 31, 2010

July Painting Challenge Complete

10 Shoota Boyz with Nob and Big Shoota

I had to do some last minute rush painting in order to get my Shoota Boyz done in time for the 40kFC Painting Challenge for the month of July and I finished up with only hours to spare. Not my best work, but I still like how they turned out. Next month, Burna Boyz, but first I want to finish up my Blight Drone and Ogre Bulls to clean off my project list.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Fun with Papa Nurgle (Part 2)

In my previous post, I began talking about one of my most enjoyable armies to play, a Nurgle-themed Chaos Daemons army. I took a detailed look at the two Forge World units that I recently added to my army, the Nurgle Blight Drone and the Plague Hulk of Nurgle. This time I wanted to take a look at the standard Nurgle Daemon units from Codex Chaos Daemons.

Plaguebearers are the core troop choice for a Nurgle Daemon army. They are renown for their resiliency and they are the undisputed kings of objective squatting. With a Toughness of 5, 5+ Invulnerable Save, and Feel No Pain (FNP), they can be difficult to kill. They are also Fearless, so if you want to get rid of them, you will need to kill off the entire unit.

Plaguebearers have two distinct weaknesses. First and foremost, they are Slow & Purposeful and must take Difficult Terrain tests every time they move or assault. If you are not careful, they can be easily outmaneuvered or outran. Most enemy units will tactically retreat while firing at them and trying to stay out of assault range at the same time. Second, Plaguebearers have no ranged attacks. You can use this second weakness to help counteract the Slow & Purposeful by simply running them every turn you do not plan to assault.

In close combat, Plaguebearers are best at tying up enemy units but can be decent otherwise. They are I2 and will practically always strike last, which is usually not a problem as the enemy will find them hard to kill given their resiliency. Although they only have one attack, their poisoned Plagueswords allows them to always wound on a 4+, and thanks to their high Strength, they will frequently be re-rolling failed to wound rolls.

Personally, I prefer to run Plaguebearers in units of 15 models and with an Icon and no other upgrades.

Beasts of Nurgle
Stat-wise, Beasts are almost identical to Plaguebearers but with two significant differences. First, they have two wounds. With only a max unit size of seven models, this is important, especially since they do not suffer from Instant Death thanks to Eternal Warrior. Like Plaguebearers, Beasts too are T5, 5+ IS, FNP, and Fearless and are just as difficult to kill off.

Second, they have D6 Poisoned attacks. I know a lot of players look down on them for this, and while there will be occasions when you roll a 1 for their attacks, the times you roll 6 will make them worth taking. A unit of seven Beasts, on the assault, has the potential for between 14-49 attacks! Combined with poisoned attacks and a high strength allowing for re-rolling failed to wound rolls, they have the potential to mow through just about anything.

Like Plaguebearers, Beasts are also Slow and Purposeful.

I always take a max unit of seven Beasts and I like to use them as Shock Troops. In my experience, they work best against small, highly armored units, like Terminators, where their potential for lots of attacks can pay off. At the least, the Beasts can tie the unit up for a couple of turns.

Great Unclean One
IMO, the granddaddy of Greater Daemons. With a T6, 5 wounds, 4+ IS, and FNP, it will take a lot of firepower to bring this monster down. A GUO is pretty decent in close combat. With a high WS, Noxious Touch and a high strength, he will generally hit on a 3+ and will always wound on a 2+, almost always with re-rolls for failed To Wound rolls. As a Monstrous Creature, it ignores Armor Saves and rolls 2D6 for Armor Penetration. Keep an eye out for your opponent throwing a large block of expendable troops at it in an attempt to tie it up for as long as possible. If you know this could be coming, or you are going up against a Horde army, you may want to consider taking the Aura of Decay gift.

Like other Nurgle Daemons, the GUO also has the Slow & Purposeful universal rule, but as a Monstrous Creature, he rolls three dice to see how far he moves.

As for gifts it is allowed to take, Cloud of Flies (acts as both offensive and defensive grenades) is a must. I like to take Breath of Chaos as it extends the GUO's reach, but I will forgo it if I am short on points. Unholy Might (+1S) is not really needed because of Noxious Touch. Instrument of Chaos is a good way to spend 5 extra points you may have left over that you cannot put anywhere else.

I prefer to use the GUO as a shock troop and send it towards the biggest concentration of enemy units, or the biggest threat, in an attempt to draw as much firepower to it as possible. With some good dice rolling, it can withstand a lot of punishment before going down. Your opponent will be hard pressed to ignore it, and if they do ignore it, then the GUO will run amok their lines. I also find GUOs as the best way of dealing with enemy Dreadnoughts.

This is not a unit I find the need to use. Swarms, in general, are not that good in 5th edition. The over abundance of blast weapons that I find in the game would just kill them off way to quick. Also, they do not have FNP like other Nurgle daemons. I prefer to spend the points on more Plaguebearers.

Next time I will look at the non-Nurgle aligned units that I commonly use.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Fun with Papa Nurgle (Part 1)

Since acquiring a Nurgle Blight Drone, I have been playing my Nurgle Chaos Daemon army more. This is one of my most enjoyable armies to play even though I rarely win with it. When I first started playing it, I was lucky if I could get a draw. Now, with the addition of the Blight Drone and a (proxy) Plague Hulk of Nurgle, I think it is on its way to becoming a fairly competitive army. Here is my 2000 point list.
  • Great Unclean One @ 210 pts (Unholy Might, Cloud of Flies, Breath of Chaos)
  • Epidemius @ 110 pts
  • 7 Beasts of Nurgle @ 245 pts
  • 15 Plaguebearers of Nurgle @ 250 pts (Chaos Icon)
  • 15 Plaguebearers of Nurgle @ 250 pts (Chaos Icon)
  • 15 Plaguebearers of Nurgle @ 250 pts (Chaos Icon)
  • 1 Blight Drone @ 125 pts
  • 1 Daemon Prince of Chaos @ 195 pts (Iron Hide, Unholy Might, Mark of Nurgle, Cloud of Flies, Noxious Touch, Daemonic Gaze)
  • 1 Soul Grinder of Chaos @ 160 pts (Mawcannon - Phlegm)
  • 1 Plague Hulk of Nurgle @ 205 pts
Before the addition of the previously mentioned models, I would run this same basic army but I would use four units of 15 Plaguebearers. This army was slow and had very little ranged firepower. The Soulgrinder and the Daemon Prince (with Daemonic Gaze) were the only two models with ranged attacks. They were also the only models that were not Slow & Purposeful. Get rid of them and my army would crawl.

Let's take a closer look at these two new units.

The Nurgle Blight Drone is a Fast Skimmer with some decent firepower, but it is lightly armor (12/11/10). It costs a pretty penny (125 points) but is worth it. It's a Daemonic Engine and it does not suffer from Shaken or Stunned damage results (something I overlooked when I first used one). It is armed with a Mawcannon with Vomit (Template; S6; AP4; Assault 1) and Phlegm (36"; S8; AP3; Assault 1, Large Blast), and a Reaper Autocannon. It also treats all Destroyed-Wrecked damage results as Destroyed-Explodes, which can make enemies think twice before assaulting it. The trick to using one is having it survive the first round after it Deep Strikes in as it is a sitting duck for that turn. Also, as a follower of Nurgle, anything it kills counts towards Epidemius' Tallyman count.

The Plague Hulk of Nurgle is a modified Soulgrinder. It loses Fleet but gains Necrotic Fumes (grants 5+ cover save and counts as having both Offensive and Defensive Grenades) and is equipped with Smoke Launchers and, oddly enough, a Searchlight. It also loses the Mawcannon and Harvester cannon, but gains the Rot Cannon (36"; S6; AP3; Ordnance 1, 5" Blast, Rending) and Rancid Vomit (Template; S5; AP3; Poisoned (3+)). Plague Hulks are also followers of Nurgle and get to add their kills to the Tallyman count.

I will no longer have to proxy a Plague Hulk as the one I ordered was delivered just last night along with a second Blight Drone. Expensive as these models are, they are at least dual-purpose. They can be used in a Chaos Daemon army or a Chaos Space Marine army that contains at least one unit of Plague Marines. It is inspiring me to get a Death Guard army running, but it will have to wait until I can finish some other projects first.

Next up, a closer look at the other Nurgle Daemon units.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Ogre Kingdoms Growing Pains

As with any new army, you will go through growing pains for the first few games while you figure the army out and learn what it can and cannot do. There are also pains associated with learning a new edition of a game system, in this case, a new edition of WHFB. I am certainly going through both of these right now and I need to make sure I do not let the frustration get to me. It has been many a year since I last played WHFB, which was 5th Edition, and it is amazing how everything has come back to me so quickly. However I am finding that there is a lot I need to unlearn.

So far, I have played three games of WHFB with my Ogres (all resulting in a loss) over the past two weeks and here are some of the things I have learned about Ogres and how they work in 8th edition, at least for me.

  • Maneuverability - For some reason I have have some difficulty maneuvering my Ogre army. I am not sure if this has to do with the fact I am out of practice or that the large bases of the ogres make it more difficult. Maneuvering a horde unit (i.e. 50 Gnoblars) is tricky.
  • Bulls - A good solid core unit. I have started running them in units of eight and including a Butcher in their ranks. This gives me a good solid three rank unit thanks to the Monsterous Infantry Ranking rule. S6 impact hits on the Charge, 2 ranks attacking with 18 Armor Piercing attacks, and Stomp attacks at the end of combat have really given this unit a fantastic boost. Crushers (champions) for +20 points for a single extra attack is overpriced IMO. I think Standards and Bellowers are required though. I was running them with Ironfists, but most of the time I find myself not using them, so I think I will stop giving them to the unit and moving the points elsewhere.
  • Leadbelchers - An awesome unit. I have been running units of three models in a single rank, which could be contributing to my maneuvering problems. However, with the 8th Edition change that allows units to fire in two ranks, I am going to start running units of four models, 2 wide by 2 deep. This will increase the number of shots the unit can put out and make the unit easier to maneuver.
  • Gnoblars - The Horde rule really helps this unit tremendously and if they are within 12" of the general, they turn into a quagmire unit that can bog down practically any unit out there. However, once the general is gone or out of range, chances are they will run on their first Ld roll. A horde of Gnoblars has the ability to put out a whopping 40 shots a turn or when being charged. Although they will generally only hit on 6s and wound on 5s, the sheer quantity of shots should not be underestimated (something I learned from playing Orks).
  • Ogre Tyrant - I have been running my Tyrant with the Tenderizer (a greatweapon that causes D3 wounds per wound) and trying to use him as a character killer. I am beginning to think I should run him with two hand weapons instead, or with the new magic item from the rulebook that grants +2 attacks. This would give him 7 S5 attacks at I4. Not bad at all.
  • Scraplauncher - Altough I yet to try this unit, I really think I need to. Warmachines, in general, got a great boost in 8th edition as most people already know, but it seems this one improved more. Scraplaunchers are a stonethrower and a chariot rolled into one. The first boost they get which apply to all stonethrowers is being able to premeasure distance and place the template without guessing. Second, as a chariot they are no longer auto destroyed by S7 wounds. I must start including one, maybe two.

Friday, July 16, 2010

First Spearhead Game

For my Tuesday Night gaming this week, I got to play my first game of Spearhead. I decided to use the IA8 Dread Mob list as I am having a lot of fun playing Kan spam lately. It also allowed me to field my new Ork Meka Dread for its second game, as well as my Big Mek Stompa. This list was crazy because it contained a total of 19 Ork walkers and three Lifta Droppas. My list follows:

  • Outrider Spearhead - 60 pts
    • Kustom Meka-Dread w/Shunta & KFF - 280 pts
    • 3 Killa Kans w/Grotzookas - 135 pts
    • 3 Killa Kans w/Big Shootas - 120 pts
  • Tank Hunter Spearhead - 60 pts
    • Mega Dread w/Kill Kannon & Rokkit Launchas (x2) - 185 pts
    • 3 Killa Kans w/Rokkit Launchas - 150 pts
    • 3 Killa Kans w/Rokkit Launchas - 150 pts
  • Super Heavy Spearhead
    • Big Mek Stompa - 650 pts
  • Deff Dread w/Rokkit Launcha (x2) - 105 pts
  • Deff Dread w/Rokkit Launcha (x2) - 105 pts
  • Deff Dread w/Rokkit Launcha (x2) - 105 pts
  • Deff Dread w/Rokkit Launcha (x2) - 105 pts
  • Lifta Wagon w/Rokkit Launchas (x2), Deff Rollas, Armour Plates, and Red Paint Job - 280 pts
  • Lifta Wagon w/Rokkit Launchas (x2), Deff Rollas, Armour Plates, and Red Paint Job - 280 pts
  • Big Mek w/KFF - 85 pts
  • Big Mek w/KFF - 85 pts
  • 10 Spanna Boyz w/Shootas - 60 pts
I was going up against Imperial Guard, so I packed in quite a few Rokkit Launchas. I also took three KFF (two with the Big Meks and one on the Meka-Dread) for some added protection. I took the Outrider Spearhead with the Meka-Dread and two units of Killa Kans. That would allow me to allocate any Glancing or Penetrating hits that got through on my Meka-Dread to the the Kans instead. The Mega-Dread and two units of Kans got the Tank Hunter Spearhead (gives the units the Tank Hunter universal rule). My opponent brought two Super Heavy Formations (Baneblade and Stormlord) and since this was his first game as well, I let him play with them anyway since we were just trying out the rules.

We rolled the Lightning Strike mission and had to fight for three Objectives. The Deployment Zone was the one where you deploy in wedge shaped zone starting a 9" from the center of the table. I won the roll and decided to go last since we were fighting for objectives.

Even though I lost the game on Turn 5 with one Killa Kan just 2 inches away from contesting the center objective, the game was a lot of fun. Fighting the length of the table was weird and gave the game a different dimension. It also seemed to play pretty quick, probably because there were not as many infantry models to move. While playing, I still felt like I was playing 40k unlike APOC which does not feel the same. I am looking forward to playing more Spearhead.

Monday, July 12, 2010

WHFB Release Day

The new WHFB rulebook release day was this last Saturday and I spent most of the day hanging out at my FLGS flipping through and talking about the new rulebook. I was also able to get in my second game with my new Ogre army. It was a 1500 point game against Gargunki's Lizardmen. My list is as follows.

1500 Pts - Ogre Kingdoms
  • Tyrant (Armour of Destiny; The Tenderizer) - 300 pts
  • Butcher (Hand Weapon; Dispel Scroll) - 155 pts
  • 5 Ironguts (Standard Bearer; Great Weapon; Heavy Armour) - 260 pts
  • 8 Bulls (Bellower; Standard Bearer; Ogre Club; Ironfist) - 350 pts
  • 50 Gnoblar Fighters (Hand Weapon; Sharp Stuff) - 100 pts
  • 3 Leadbelchers (Leadbelcher Cannon; Light Armour) - 165 pts
  • 3 Leadbelchers (Leadbelcher Cannon; Light Armour) - 165 pts
There really is not much to report from this game. It went horribly for me due to one spell, The Purple Sun of Xereus from the Lore of Death. The Slann Mage-Priest got this spell off on turn 2 and just gutted my army. It was cast on the unit of Ironguts and moved right through my unit of Bulls. If you are not familiar with this spell, it uses the small round template and anything touched by it must pass an Initiative test or be slain outright with no saves of any kind. Against Ogres who are I2 and have multiple wounds, this spell is insanely good. I lost my Tyrant, four Ironguts, and six Bulls to this spell.

Slann Mage-Priests are the undiputed rulers of magic. On turn two when the Purple Sun spell was cast, the Slann had rolled 12 power dice. He also had the magic item that allows him to add one dice to every spell he casts. In addition, he is a level 4 wizard and gets +4 on all casting rolls. That is a lot a magic.

For the second game in a row, a cavalry unit charged a unit of Leadbelchers. A unit of five Saurus Cavalry charged them and lost three models after the Leadbelchers unloaded 24 strength 4 Armor Piercing shots, just like the Dragon Princes did in my first game. Small units of Leadbelchers appear to be great at protecting flanks.

After my WHFB game, I played a game of 40k with my Nurgle Daemons taking on Tau. We played the Seize Ground mission with four objectives and it ended in a draw. A well fought battle by my opponent.

It was a really good day of gaming goodness.

Friday, July 9, 2010

I Hate I2

Not exactly, but I am pretty sick of Initiative 2. I have been playing a bit more lately and it seems like my models are always striking at I2. I stopped and looked at my current armies. Practically all of them have core troops who fight at I2. For 40k, it is Orks, Nurgle Daemons, and Necrons. Imperial Guard is I3 which isn't much better. My new Ogre Kingdoms Fantasy army is base I2 as well. I even have a WHFB Dwarf army that I have tried selling multiple times and have recently considered trying out in 8th Edition, but it too is I2.

I did not set out to collect all I2 armies, it just worked out that way. So I got to thinking about why this is. What do all these I2 armies have in common and what does that fact that I have all these I2 armies say about me as a player?

The first, and biggest, thing that all my armies have in common, with the exception of Imperial Guard, is that they are all Toughness 4 and higher. It makes sense that tougher troops should strike last. It is good for game balance.

The second thing that sticks out is that they are all armies that are not particularly fast. Orks, of course, can be very fast, but I rarely use trukks, bikes, or deffkoptas and tend to favor battlewagons and walkers instead. Chaos Daemons, just like Orks, have the potential to be fast, but I favor Nurgle daemons who all have the 'Slow and Purposeful' rule. Necrons, despite having one of the best Fast Attack units in the game (Destroyers), are still a relatively slow army. Ogre Kingdoms, on the other hand, is one of the faster WHFB armies out there.

There is not really anything else that is common among all these armies that I can see. Orks and Guard are Horde armies, where the others are not. Necrons and Nurgle daemons are heavily armored (I count their 5+ invulnerable save and Feel No Pain the same as being heavily armored), where the others are lightly armored. Orks and Guard have lots of vehicle and daemons have powerful Monstrous Creatures.

Does this say that I prefer durability first and foremost in my armies, and that I am willing to sacrifice speed in favor of it? What do you think? Is there something else here I am not seeing?

Thursday, July 8, 2010

First 8th Edition WHFB Game

Tuesday night I got to play my first game of 8th Edition Fantasy with my brand new Ogre Kingdoms army. 4th edition was the version that I played quite a bit back in the day, and I played a fair amount of 5th edition. I hardly played any 6th or 7th edition. With such a long break and all the rumors about 8th edition, I was really looking forward to playing a game.

The game was 1000 points and my army included:
  • Bruiser with Brace of Handguns and Wyrdstone Talisman
  • Butcher with Dispel Scroll
  • 5 Bulls with Ironfists, Standard Bearer, and Bellower
  • 5 Ironguts with Standard Bearer and Bellower
  • 26 Gnoblars
  • 2 Leadbelchers
Technically my army was illegal because I was over 25% points with my characters, but I really wanted to try out a butcher. Butchers cannot be the army general, so I had to take a bruiser as well. My opponent let it slide.

My opponent was High Elves and his army consisted of:
  • Mage (Level 2)
  • Battle Standard Bearer
  • 20 Spearmen with full command
  • 15 Phoenix Guard with full command
  • 5 Dragon Princes
The game went pretty quick. On turn one, my Ogres went first and slowly advanced out onto the field. I rolled for my magic dice and got three and my opponent got 2 dispel dice. The Butcher cast Trollguts onto the Ironguts with Irresistible Force and his Miscast roll made him Frenzied. Then he successfully cast Bloodgruel on himself to attempt to regain wound, but it was dispelled. We were not sure if the Frenzied would prevent the Butcher from casting, but we just let him since it was just a practice game.

The High Elves also slowly advanced onto the battle field. The Mage cast a spell (do not remember which one) with Irresistible Force as well, but ended up killing himself and four Phoenix Guard.

On turn two, the Ogres were too far to risk charging, so they moved up closer. The Butcher tried casting Bloodgruel on himself, and for the third turn in a row, the first spell cast that turn was cast with Irresistible Force. The butcher rolled on the miscast table and he took 5 wounds and died.

On the High Elves turn two, the Phoenix Guard charged the Gnoblars and the Dragon Princes (foolishly) charged the Leadbelchers. Both units stood and shot with the Gnoblars failing to kill any Phoenix Guard with their Sharp Stuff, but the Leadbelchers unloaded 16 shots with their cannons at the Dragon Princes killing three. After the charge, the Dragon Princes did four wounds to the Leadbelchers killing one and wounding the other, and the last Leadbelcher cause two wounds which were both saved. The last Leadbelcher, despite being right next to the general, failed its leadership check and fled combat, getting run down by the last of the Dragon Princes.

The Gnoblars did not fair very well again the Phoenix Guard. The elves killed seven Gnoblars and the Gnoblars only managed to kill one Phoenix Guard. The Gnoblars lost combat, fled and were run down.

Turn three saw the Ogre Bulls and Ironguts charging the unit of High Elf Spearmen with the BSB. I foolishly forgot to do my Impact hits for the charge (won't be forgetting that again). The High Elves struck first (as they always do) and managed to kill one Bull and one Irongut. The Bulls and Ironguts killed 9 elves and one combat, but they did not break.

Turn three for the elves involved the Phoenix Guard and Dragon Princes preparing to charge the rear of the two remaining Ogre units. Meanwhile the battle between the HE Spearmen and the Orges (each unit lost one ogre) raged on with the Ogres winning combat again by two, but the elves held steadfast.

Turn four had no movement or magic for the Ogres, so it was right combat. The Ogres again lost a single ogre each and the remaining ogres killed all the spearmen and left the Ironguts alone in combat with the BSB. The Bulls reformed because they won combat and turned to face the charge of the Phoenix Guard.

Turn four for the elves saw the Dragon Princes attempting to charge the Iron guts from the rear and failed (he rolled double ones). The Phoenix Guard successfully charged the Bulls. They killed one ogre, and the Bulls lost combat and fled, but the PG did not pursue. The HE BSB issued a challenge to the Bruiser who accepted and the BSB failed to cause any wounds to the big guy thanks to the Wyrdstone and then was immediately killed by the Bruiser. The Ironguts reformed to attempt to assult the Dragon Princes next turn.

Turn five, the Ironguts charge the Dragon Princes and wiped them out without losing a single Irongut. Then they reformed for the ienvitable charge of the Phoenix Guard. Unfortunately, when the PG charged, the Ogres lost their Bellower which caused them to lose combat and flee.

Overall, I liked 8th edition. I really like the changes to charging and magic. Although I did not mention the Stomp attack that the ogres get in the battle report, it really helped the larger model units survive against the large small model units. I am looking forward to playing more.