Monday, November 28, 2011

Dark Eldar Invade Real Space at Winter War!

Over the weekend my local game stored held a small tournament (16 spots…but only 10 showed up since this is Calgary where Fantasy rules the roost). The one really neat thing about this tournament though is that it used the rules from the GW supplement “Spearhead”. I know most of you probably groaned when reading that but after playing a couple of test games and then this tournament I have to say it’s actually really fun. The thing I liked about it was the fact that it breathes some much needed life into an incredibly stale game since there are so many different types of Spearheads that drastically change the game and really make you think outside the box as both how you want to set your army up and planning on what could potentially come your way. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Spearhead I am just going to do a quick rundown for you:

- The game is played from short edge to short edge so the long board edges would be the sides you outflank from (if you can). This means that the range of your weapons really comes into play since you are using all 6 feet of the board
- The Force Org chart is changed so nothing is mandatory (so troops would be 0-6 for example). The main change is that ALL Tanks and Walkers can score in addition to your Troops section and any Spearheads that you take also can score (so my first opponent had something like 22 scoring units lol)
- The addition of Spearhead Formations. These fit outside the main Force Organization and normally are built towards Walkers or Tanks with some for troop transports and skimmers (18 in total). How they work is you have to take up to 3 Units of Tanks/Walkers for a specific Spearhead and they all have to be the same unit (so 3 Predators for example) but they don’t have to be armed the same (so you could have a “Dakka” Pred, a Lascannon Pred and a Pred with an Autocannon for example). You pay a certain amount of points ranging from 15 points to 90 points and it gives you special abilities like a 5+ invulnerable save or the ability to fire all their weapons once before the game starts, etc. As long as the units within the Spearhead stick with in 4” of each other they are also able to fire one more weapon then they would normally be allowed and they can fire that weapon at a different target if they want (so a Chimera could move 12” and still fire it’s multi laser, or move 6” and fire its multi laser at one target and heavy bolter at another for example).

With all that in mind it took me a while to decide on what type of army list I wanted to take for my Dark Eldar. When looking at the different Spearheads there seemed like a massive potential for some soul crushing Alpha Strikes if you didn’t win the first turn or depending on the Spearhead before the first turn lol. With all that in mind I decided to do a Hybrid reserve bomb army using a Web Way Portal and one of the dirtiest Spearheads, which is Mechanized Assault (choose 3 transports which outflank turn 1…along the long table edges…right in the middle of your opponents deployment zone with a web way portal). I also chose a Spearhead called “Skyfall” for my 3 Ravagers which allowed them to come in via Deep Strike and shoot all their Dark Lances against the side armor of anything they are shooting at regardless of facing to represent them shooting as they are landing. Here is the list I used:

HQ

Haemonculi - Web Way Portal

Elites

Trueborn (4) - 4 x Blasters

Troops

Wyches (10) - 2 x Hydra Gauntlets, Hekatrix w/ Agonizer, Haywire Grenades
Wyches (10) - 2 x Shardnets/Impalers, Hekatrix w/ Agonizer, Haywire Grenades

Fast Attack

Reaver Jetbikes (6) - 2 x Heat Lances
Scourges (5) - 2 x Haywire Blasters
Beastmasters (4) - 10 Khymera, 2 Razorwing Flocks, Clawed Fiend

Heavy Support

Talos - twin linked haywire blaster, chain flails, extra close combat weapon

Mechinsed Assault Spearhead

- 3 x Raiders w/ Flicker Fields (both wyches and trueborn with haemonculi in here)

Skyfall Spearhead

- 3 x Ravagers w/ Flicker Fields

So how the list works is everything gets held in reserve with the Wyches and Trueborn outflanking turn 1 into my enemies deployment zone for me to drop off the Web Way Portal. After that I now have the option of having stuff come out of the WWP in my enemies deployment zone or to come in via reserve or deep strike (in the case of the scourges) on my side if there are units there. I was a bit nervous going into a “Tank Tournament” with so little ranged anti tank (I have 238pts into a unit that is ONLY anti infantry in the form of the beast pack) and so few scoring units since Dark Eldar don’t have any “Tanks” or “Walkers”. My other big worry was how this army was going to fair with so little on the board turn 1 right in my enemies face while everything else in my army comes in piecemeal. There was a big chance that my stuff would get shot up in little chunks leaving me with nothing to retaliate. My hope was to win at least one game while having my mighty TALOS do something (in which case I would yell “TALOS!” in my best heavy metal rocker voice).

Game 1: Mechanized Guard

Le Sigh. So my biggest “nightmare army” is obviously my first opponent (and surprisingly the only army at the tourney where I didn’t give myself much chance lol). We actually joked before the game on how I was just going to flail all over his army while he just shoots me to bits. At least there was virtually no terrain on the board lol (again…le sigh). Even before the game started I knew what kind of up-hill battle this was going to be and decided that while I will probably lose I will try and take as much of the Imperial scum with me as I could.

The scenario was 5 objectives, one big one in the middle of the board with 4 others in the middle of each quarter. Every scenario for this tourney had a special rule and the special rule for this scenario was the middle objective was an alien weapon of unknown origin that shoots a massive laser (str 9, ap3) in a random direction at the start of each players turn. I figured that worked in my advantage since I only have open topped, low armor vehicles…wait…dammit! Here is Cory’s list (keep in mind I don’t know it exactly since I haven’t played the current Guard very much and when you are faced with a million chimeras it all looks the same lol):

Cory’s Army:

- 9 Chimeras with command squads and an infantry platoon
- The one infantry platoon forms into a blob squad with two auto cannon heavy weapon squads
- Mechanized Assault w/ 3 Chimeras w/ vets in them (2 melta squads, one flamer squad)
- 2 Basilisks

So when looking through that list he has 12 (yes 12) chimeras all with Multi Lasers and Heavy Bolters (so 36 shots of EACH a turn). It doesn’t really matter if I even blow up half of them in one turn because whatever I don’t kill will easily be able to shoot my tanks out of the sky…or so I thought. I managed to win the roll for first turn in which I gave it to Cory so he would effectively lose one turn of shooting while I would still have 5, so here it goes!

Highlights of the Game:

- I managed to get the side I wanted for outflanking which was RIGHT beside his massive Guard Blob which happened to be a huge piece of terrain to hide my stuff. Cory was smart and popped smoke on all his tanks to protect them from what I had incoming. My Trueborn managed to hit all 4 times and then penetrate all 4 times on his Command Squad’s Chimera (they had 4 flamers…do not want lol) and then he proceeded to make ALL FOUR cover saves lol. In fact he didn’t fail a single smoke cover save the entire first round which helped my cause immensely lol.
- I completely underestimated the durability of the massive guard blob squad. My Wyches charged in, did something like 25 wounds (he made almost half his saves on a 5+) and did quite a bit of damage back. In fact, after a couple turns he had whittled me down to the point where I just didn’t have the power to fight back and they managed to kill 20 wyches in close combat.
- Turn 2 my Skyfall Ravagers came in and changed the game to the point where Cory wouldn’t recover. Basically I managed to Stun/Weapon Destroy/Immoblise/Wreck 5 tanks on the turn they landed creating a complete pile up in the middle of the board making sure that almost anything that could fire back at me would give me a cover save. At the start of turn 3 I looked Cory in the eye and said “just so you know all 3 of my Ravagers WILL be here at the start of my turn”. He scoffed and got onto rolling. By the end of the turn taking an entire parking lot worth of shots which included 3 melta guns in melta range and a basilisk shell I lost a single Dark Lance from the squad. That’s it.
- The “Alien Artifact” blew up 3 of Cory’s tanks, while doing nothing to me lol. He just had SO MANY tanks in the middle of the board you just couldn’t draw a line out without blowing something up. My Talos got hit at the end of the game but I already had a pain token so I laughed it off.


Final Result: Victory! I ended up winning the game 2 objectives to 0 with a mad dash right at the end of the game (start of turn 5 he had 4 objectives and I had none with only 5 minutes to do my entire turn). I managed to contest the middle objective with my Jet Bikes and kill the squad of guard on the other with my Talos. My scourges came in turn 5 and wiped out another squad of guard on an objective in my deployment zone while both my remaining Ravagers turbo boosted to grab the two un-contested objectives. One thing I really enjoyed about this game is that Cory is a very smart player and really focused on the objectives. So many times in games I find people going after the stuff that doesn’t matter (aka not scoring units) but he kept his focus and went out of his way to remove any and all of the things I had that I could use to win the game (just 2 out of 9 scoring units of mine left at the end of the game). This was an incredibly hard game to win and to say I was surprised that I came out with a victory is an understatement.

Game 2: Salamanders

This game was against a fellow named Anthony Dalla Lanna and his Salamander list. Every since I got into the tournament scene here in Calgary Anthony is one of the people who basically win everything (mostly best general and overall) so I knew this was going to be a super tough game. I had two things working in my favor for this game. The first is that he didn’t have any spearheads at all and the second is before I saw what he brought I already knew exactly what was in the army since he has been using the same force since the 5th ed Space Marine book came out and to be honest his list hasn’t aged well (only two scoring units).

Our mission was a modified Kill Point mission where you also earned Kill Points for each unit of yours that were still functional in your opponents half of the table. This obviously is a MASSIVE advantage for me since my entire army will be coming out of his half of the table lol. This was the only mission that didn’t have any really crazy rules so it was just business as usual. As with the first game I won the roll off to see who goes first (which is massively important playing Anthony) and I made him go first.

Anthony’s Army:

Vulkan
7 Terminators + Land Raider Crusader
2 Tactical Squads (one combat squaded in a Razorback w/ a twin linked heavy bolter, the other in a drop pod with flamers and a multi melta)
2 Iron Clad Dreads in Drop Pods with Hunter killer Missiles
2 Vindicators

Highlights of the Game:

- First turn the Trueborn managed to blow up a Vindicator. On Anthony’s turn he deep struck his Ironclad right beside them flaming them with a heavy flamer (he figured he would just wipe them out not realizing the Haemonculi gave them a pain token). Two managed to live and they passed their panic test. The following turn (my turn 2) they blew up the Land Raider (got a “6” on the damage chart) and killed a Terminator in the explosion. 108pts well spent lol
- The start of his turn 2 he fired his Land Raider at my two turbo boosting Wyche Raiders and managed to blow them both up with a Multi Melta and Assault Cannon. Lost only 2 in the explosion (the other one was just wrecked) and they both managed to pass their pinning tests
- We talked for a minute about what happens when someone rolls “double 1’s “ when assaulting through cover as the rules state that you can’t be within 1” of an enemy if you aren’t in combat. So I said obviously the charge would fail. I then roll my difficult terrain roll for the Wyches assaulting his 5 man combat squad (I figured a quick pain token) and then of COURSE rolled “Double 1’s”. What are the freaking odds on that lol?
- My Beast pack showed up just in time and rushed his Terminator squad. They managed to kill 6 Terminators and broke Vulkan (who was escorted off the board by my Scourges that showed up the following turn). They were completely ace this game.


Final Result: Victory! I won the game 15kp to 5kp as I had my entire army in his half and I had earned more kill points then he did. Basically from turn 1 I had Anthony on the ropes and he was just playing the “reaction game”. The Web Way Portal in particular messed him up since he couldn’t get far enough away from it or surround it. Overall, like the first game, it was a really hard fought and more importantly fun game.

Game 3: Grey Knights

Grey Knights are an army I have only faced once and have heard complete horror stories about. There are a bunch of things that (in my mind) are totally broken in this book like Auto Cannon Dreadnoughts, Grenades and Paladins. Good thing to note that my opponent had all of those lol. What was even better was that his Autocannon Dreads were in a Spearhead which gave them Tank Hunter lol (so now they were each firing 4 x Str 9 twin linked shots against vehicles). Good times.

Our Mission was probably the strangest one of the day. It was 4 objectives, 3 minor, 1 major and the 3 minor are placed in one board half while the lone major objective was placed in the other (the minor ones are worth 1 each while the major is worth 3). The “weirdness” comes into play turn 4 since the 4 objectives are supposed to be fragments of an alien ship or something and you have to randomly roll to see if any of them explode (one explodes for a large blast of Str 10, ap1 while the other three do an EMP pulse which causes a glancing hit to anything within 6”).

My opponents name was John and he drove all the way from Grand Prairie to be there. The list was actually pretty fun to play against despite my earlier run down of the negative fun options of the GK army once you boil it down and he was a great opponent to play against. Here is his list:

John's Army:

Librarian (sanctuary and something else…he never used either so it didn’t matter lol)
Inquisitor w/ grenades (ugh)
Paladins (7 believe, all with halberds, 1 hammer, 2 psycannons)
3 x 10 Strike Squads w/ Rhinos, 1 demon hammer, 2 psycannons)
2 x “Psyfleman” Dreads (dual str 8 autocannons) w/ Tank Hunter Spear Head
(all squads had psy-bolts to make their storm bolters str 5)

Highlights of the game:

- This game for me was all about controlling the objectives by limiting my opponent’s movement since he was castling in a building in the corner of the board. I went out of my way to focus all of my anti tank firepower on his Rhinos and I managed to blow them all up early on in the game. This one thing decided the game.
- The rest of the game was about maiming his regular Grey Knights while either avoiding or distracting his Paladin squad.
- My Ravagers came available for deepstrike on turn 3 and scattered about 5” away from one of the objectives JUST in time to get “EMP’d” at the start of turn 4. Luckily only one Ravager was in range for that glancing hit…and un-luckily my opponent rolled a “6” on the damage chart wrecking it lol. What else was nice was to see the large Str 10, AP1 blast be RIGHT beside my unit of wyches that were near the middle objective. The best part of that is they made all their cover saves lol. Strange stuff.


Final Result: Victory! This game was won during deployment as I ended the game with 4 objectives to his 1. John never once tried to get to the other objectives and just camped his lone one (I think the farthest either of his Dreads moved was up or down one level). He also took all the “bait” I offered him like charging my beast pack into the middle of his army in an attempt to pull the Paladins off his home objective (which he did). John opted to leave his basically unstoppable Paladin squad on his home objective instead of moving them to the far objective in his half of the table which my Web Way Portal was sitting on. He just shot down a raider or two or tried to kill my scourges at range. John was a great guy to play against though and like the other games was really fun and I would happily play him any time as I voted him “best sport”.

Final Tournament Result: First Overall!

I managed to win all my games and had the highest marks for painting (don’t know how I did in sports but hopefully I wasn’t a massive douche lol). It felt like to me that nobody was prepared for the type of list I was bringing to this tournament since everyone else just had a stand up and fight type army. I was determined to play this game on my own terms and dictate the flow of the game (which is, as a player, typically how I win) and it worked perfectly.

Despite there being only 10 people at the tournament there still was quite a bit of fierce competition with some pretty tough lists. I think I am the only one who actually won all 3 games. The tournament was also run fairly smoothly with only a couple weird things on some scores and whatnot but it was all pretty minor. One thing that was nice and a big change from most 40k events you go to lately is how laid back the atmosphere for this one was. Even normally really competitive people were just letting thing slide and taking everything in stride (myself included).

As far as the special twist for the tournament (aka using Spearhead) I would have to say it was successful. The armies were all really fun to play against, lots of challenges and it really made you think outside the box and change how you approached the game. Kind of sucked that I was the only non-imperial player there (2 blood angles, 2 space wolves, 1 marine, 2 grey knights and myself) but alas due to GWs release schedule for 5th ed (6 imperial vs. 3 xenos) that is the climate we live in. I think it is really good to participate in this type of tournament every once in a while just to keep things fresh and for me it keeps me sharp. I am also REALLY pleased with the performance of this army as this was their first tournament and they haven’t disappointed. I hope you enjoyed the battle report and hopefully I can get more in (both tournaments and battle reports) and get them posted up on the site.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Now for Something Completely Different...

...A man with a tape recorder up his nose.

Now that my Dark Eldar army is almost complete (just have a second Razorwing and the Hellions left) I felt it was time for something new. These days I am finding 40k is getting incredibly stale mostly due to how the only armies you see any more are either Marines (mostly GKs now) and some Imperial Guard. I am just not feeling 40k like I used to and I am hoping that 6th edition (with maybe a massive Errata for the Nid Dex? :D) will change that. Since 6th ed isn't coming out till the summer of next year I figured I would really change things up and try something new...

...OGRES!

That's right, Warhammer Fantasy Ogres. For those of you who know me this is the first time I have done anything for Fantasy since 3rd edition (almost 20 years), so it is a big change for me. A friend of mine gave me the Ogre Army book, the IOB rule book and a box of ogres to get me started. I also managed to trade some stuff for an Ogre Battalion and a Thundertusk which is also really cool. My goal is to paint up 2500pts so I can get the feel of Warhammer Fantasy after being away from the game that long. I have finished up some test models and I finally hit something that I was really happy with. So here is my 3rd attempt at doing Ogres:









The first couple of tries I either really didn't like the skin colour (the first test model...way too much shadow grey) or I found I did too much "streaking" on the skin (similar style as my Tyranids brown colour). This one I pulled back how much I was doing with the skin and made the choice to do less as far as highlighting goes. I also plan to do a lot with extra details (its going to be an Ogre raiding party on Imperial lands, hence the shoulder shield) and scenic bases.

Let me know what you think and if there is anything you would change on this guy!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Lest we forget....

I just wanted to say thank you to all the Men and Women in uniform that have served their country over the years and paid the ultimate price for our freedom.  Their sacrifice will never be forgotten and I am eternally grateful.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

2 Moar!

Here is the latest 2 additions to team Purge-ery. Both standard CSM.

Monday, October 24, 2011

2' x 4' worth of Pink Nids.

So I finally got around to taking some pictures of my tyranid army(painted models only, I have 45-50% more that are still in progress) that I have been working on for the past 6-7 years. I apologize for vastness of the shots;I didn't have the time to do individual unit shots.
















edit: reread what I wrote; was a bit confusing before on the amount that is actually complete

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Beastmasters + Friends Finished!

After much procrastination on finishing my last two beastmasters I FINALLY have the squad done! I really like how it looks when set up on the table. I am thinking now that I have close to 3000pts painted it is time for break and to paint something new...just gotta figure out what that is :)









Tuesday, October 11, 2011

2 more Marines finished.

So this past week I had time to finish two marines rather than the normal one. They both aren't Purge Marines though, the second one is for a unit of mercenaries for the campaign me and my group of friends are currently playing in. (http://www.gvegames.com/imgdrop/Planetary_Empires.pdf if you are interested in the rules/running your own Campaign). The 'Merc' scheme is going to be done up as The Punishers; just as a fun little side project to work on my free hand. The Punisher isn't 100% done, still need to do some touch ups on the face tattoo and finish the browns and obviously the base.





Monday, October 10, 2011

Talos!

This weekend was suprisingly quiet at work being Thanksgiving weekend so I was able to get in some serious painting time in. I have my Hellion unit, the Baron and my last two Beastmasters to do up but I found I was getting a bit sick of "Wyche" units (as I just finished my last Wyche squad a couple weeks ago) and I wanted a change, so the Talos it is.

After seeing the model sprues for this figure (comes on 3 jam packed sprues) I was impressed with the overall look of it. Painting it just greatly increased my love for this model...to the point where I will be getting 2 more kits (1 more talos and a chronos) simply because of how much I loved painting this kit. So here it is!







Sunday, October 9, 2011

Warmachine BattleBox

Ghoulio once told me that Warmachine had very good mechanics as a game, and was on the whole more balanced than 40k owing to the fact that they release ALL factions at the same time (roughly). I'll add to that, that they might release the miniatures at different times, but they've already generated the stats and play tested it beforehand. They also tend not to make any of your figs "nerfed" with continuous updated codices.

That was last year, and ever since I was wondering "hmm, what IS this warmachine thingy"? Anyway my regular gaming group was interested in trying it. I read the rules and they seemed neat, so I bought the book and picked the "Protectorate of Menoth" as my faction owing to their having awesome looking "Warjacks".

The 'Jacks are basically steampowered, magic enhanced robot dreadnaughts that can do lots of damage to the infantry (and each other when buffed). That said infantry is also quite good. Menoth's advantages are they are good at denying the enemy magic, and having lots of melee buffs for their jacks and other troops. Cool stuff. Oh yes, and they are a super religious cult who loves to set stuff on fire. Awesome.

Anyway after a few games, I finally finished painting my initial battlebox. I do have several other figs to paint, but I figured I'd post the first 3 Jacks. They are from left to right, A Revenger Light Jack, a Crusader Heavy Jack, and a Repenter Light Jack. All of them are pretty sweet in combat, although the Repenter's only real claim to fame is that it has a flame thrower template weapon. Not bad, but you can do better I think with other Jacks or infantry (just wait till I finish my Deliverers. Hand held rocket launchers!). I'll have their warcaster controller guy finished soon, and then onto the only "autoinclude" of the army, The Choir of Menoth.




Friday, October 7, 2011

Dark Eldar Tactica: Web Way Portals!

Now that I have gone over the two main troop choices for the Dark Eldar army I figured it was time to go into depth for probably the most unique style of play for this or any army, and that is with the use of Web Way Portals.

Ever since the original Dark Eldar codex came out in 3rd Ed this style of play has always appealed me to the point where I actually made an Ulthwe Strike Force (which is virtually the same style of play as this army). I just love the idea of holding a large portion of you army back in reserves and having some specific points on the board that you can bring them in through all the while being able to act normally the turn they show up. Another really neat thing about this army is it allows you to use certain builds for squads that you wouldn’t really use anywhere else while other units completely come into their own. For this article I am going to cover how to set up your army in regards to deployment and the first couple turns of the game as well as what choices you can make to give this army a greater chance of success which include unit choices, unit options and how to get the most out of your choices.

The first thing we should talk about is what exactly is this style of play? This style of play is referring to a piece war gear that Archons and Haemonculi can purchase which basically creates an extra board edge in the shape of a 3” diameter template for you to use during the game to bring your models in from reserve. This style of play will typically have a very small amount of units start on the board (basically just enough to deploy the portal(s)) while everything else is held in reserve.

There are a few things of note to remember when using WWPs (Web Way Portals). First is you can’t deploy a portal when you are embarked in a transport which means your IC will have to get out pretty much on turn one to guarantee you get you are ready for your units to come in turn 2. The second point which kind of ties into the first point is no vehicle can use the WWP to enter play so this generally will limit you to how many vehicles you can or will want to use. The last point which is one of the biggest benefits to Dark Eldar players using this type of list is unlike the Tyranid Trygon Tunnel it doesn’t matter how you declare your units are coming in from reserve (as in Deep Strike, Out Flank, etc) you ALWAYS have the option of either going with their original reserve deployment OR bringing them through the portal. This is great for two reasons. First it gives you pretty much the ultimate flexibility in how you want to deploy your army as you don’t have to make that choice until you are literally deploying them on the board. So, if it is more beneficial to bring your units in on your own board edge to capture your home objective or if it is better to have them come through the portal so they can assault that turn, you get to decide. The second is you can never be “boxed in”. One of the main strategies to defending against this list is surrounding the portal so none of your models can come through it (like the same you would for models trapped in a vehicle). With the current form of the Portal this can never happen as you can just opt to come in from your own board edge, deep strike, etc. depending on the unit.

Web Way Portal Basics:

The main thing to think about is if you decide this is a play style that you would really like to use is make sure you have at least two portals. This is really important for a bunch of reasons. First off if you have only one WWP and quite a few units coming through you really run the risk of creating a serious “traffic jam” at the entry point as all those units are fighting for space to come out. The next problem about running only 1 portal is it becomes very easy to either avoid all together or defend against as your opponent can fairly easily just lock that portal down by surrounding it with a handful of units. The last main reason to have 2+ portals is it gives your army a bit of security if you happen to be going second since it gives you double the chance of having something still there by the time your turn comes around.

Deployment:

I am going to go over the 3 different main deployment types from the rule book with ways of getting the most out of your portals. The common focus for the 3 deployment types is “box in” your opponent and to leave them with as little wiggle room as possible all the while giving your units maximum effectiveness the turn they arrive from the portal.

Pitched Battle: With this type of deployment I typically place my two WWP units about 1/3 of the way along the deployment line (you want to set up right on the deployment line to be as far forward as possible). During your first turn you move both Raiders as far forward as possible and disembark the Haemonculi with his unit (for me its normally just a 5 man warrior squad with a blaster but Wracks work well too due to their durability) into cover if you can and deploy the WWP. This will place both portals up to 27” in from your own board edge which leaves only 21” to your opponents board edge and you have effectively boxed in the enemy. What I really like about this set up is it makes it so your opponent really can’t hide from your fast assault units (as Beastmasters and Hellions both have a minimum charge range of 19”).

Spearhead: There are many similarities with this set up as with pitched battle and like all 3 deployments the focus is making sure you box your enemy in as much as possible so your units coming out of that portal really hit home. I normally set up both of my Raiders/Venoms right on the edges of the 12” bubble in the middle (basically the shortest distances to their deployment zone) then on turn 1 I move as far forward as possible trying to block off as much of their movement as possible.

Dawn of War: This is the most unique and problematic of the 3 set ups, but with a bit of maneuvering it potentially is the best at removing the playing field for your opponent. The reason why this set up can potentially throw that monkey into your wrench is you can only have one of your WWPs starting on the board. This is the only set up where if I am going first I set up my transport away from the WWP squad to maximize how far back I push my opponent into their own deployment zone (hopefully making it so they just hold everything off of the board and walk on). On my turn one I turbo boost my second Raider towards the center line on the opposite side as my first web way portal. Turn 2 I move that second Raider into the most beneficial spot within 12” to maximize the “boxing in” effect that this army creates which greatly benefits my second wave of reserves.

Deploying for your Mission:

The last thing to consider when deploying your WWPs is which mission are you playing? If you are playing one of the objective missions like Seize Ground or Capture and Control you can do your best to try to have your WWPs in the middle of as many objectives as possible to help you control the game (it is can be much harder in Capture and Control just based off where your opponent places their objective)

Going Second:

Sometimes it just happens that you are going second with only a very small portion of your army on the field (and if you are me this happens A LOT lol). The only thing you should focus on is protecting your Web Way Portals. Literally nothing else matters. Here are a few things you can do try to limit the damage you take on the first turn.

1) Hide!: The biggest thing to strive for is trying to hide them with LOS blocking terrain or anything else you can find, even if it means setting up a bit back from the deployment line. One thing you can do to help yourself out with this is by taking Venoms instead of Raiders since they have such a smaller profile and are therefore easier to hide.

2) Alternate Deployment Options: Another really good option for deploying your Web Way Portal is putting your Haemonculi in a small 5 man unit of Harlequins with a Shadow Seer. Enemy units have to be within 24" just for a CHANCE to shoot this unit so having something like this could be very valuable in this type of list.

3) Target Saturation: Set up more units then you typically would on the board while holding just a couple choice units in the portal for later in the game. This way you aren't faced with just having two Raiders or Venoms for your opponent to shoot at while still keeping to the overall theme of your army.

4) Other Options: Other options you could consider to help with who goes first would be taking Characters that give you a much greater chance of getting the first turn like the Baron or Vect. Another way you could go would be to use all the alternate deployment options of the units in the Web Way Portal. So if you have things that can outflank (like Mandrakes) or Deep Strike (like Scourges) make sure they are using them in case your portals go "poof". The nice thing about this is if the portals are still alive then you are free to use them and if not then your game plan isn't hurt too much by their loss.

Unit Selection:

One of the best parts of playing this type of list is it allows you to take units that you would normally never really consider due to their lack of speed (a Talos typically doesn’t fit into a “Raider Rush” type list but is PERFECT for this list) or things that might be too frail to simply just walk across the board (like a 15 strong units of Wyches). The biggest thing to consider when selecting units for this type of army is “layering” the choices you have. What I mean by that is you want things with different speeds (so mixing up standard foot troops with Reavers and Hellions) as well as having some shooting elements come out of the portal. The reason for this partially ties into the “Traffic Jam” idea which is making sure you don’t bog down your deployment zone. The other reason for this is to have some elements that can pop transports so your fast close combat units have something to assault the turn they arrive. Here are some examples of different units that do work really well for this type of list.

Wyches: This style of play is the only time I would run them in a unit of 15. The great thing is it allows you to use this unit in a different fashion then 99% of the other times you would use them. You can use all your Wyche weapons and you can actually put out a decent amount of wounds so it no longer is just a “Tar Pit” unit and becomes a damage dealing unit. I would also really consider starting this unit with a Haemonculi so you are as durable as possible when coming out of that portal. The last thing to consider is taking Haywire Grenades since you don’t have many tanks and you need all the anti tank you can get.

Warriors: Other than having some small squads to help deploy this army this is a great place to use that big 20 man unit since it will give you a great, tough scoring unit as well as something that can appear and throw down a huge number of poison shots without having to get too close to the enemy. You can also take some smaller 10 man squads to camp your objectives and are set up on the board at the start of the game. I normally have them armed with Dark lances and Blasters to help soften up enemy tanks before your main force arrives.

Hellions + Baron: This unit is one of the single best units you could take for this list. It is fast, puts out huge firepower and is great in CC. The biggest thing though is for you to get the most out of it is you should always take the Baron for your one decent sized squad of 15 (so 14+ Helliarch armed with an Agonizer). He takes them from being an “okay” unit to being an incredible unit. The other really important thing about taking the Baron is he gives you that mighty "+1" to see who goes first and like most DE builds that is incredibly important (as it allows you to place your portals before you get shot to crap).

Beastmasters: The other main unit that I would include in virtually every WWP army that I played. In my mind there really is no “optimal” build for this unit and it is more based on personal preference. For me I like having a mix of a decent amount of Khymera with some Razorflocks and maybe a Clawed Fiend thrown in (this is only because I love the model lol). I personally feel that you need those str 4 Khymera attacks to help out with your str 3 Razorflock attacks (on average you will only get 1 rend per 2 bases of Razorflocks per round of combat…which isn’t great). Doing the mixed approach with some different multi wound creatures also helps with wound allocation, which is great.

Talos: Another creature MADE for this type of list. You can arm him however you like but I normally go for either a twin linked Heat Lance or Haywire Blaster, Chain Flails (a real must) and maybe a twin linked liquefier. I would target vehicles that are close by or throw him in other combats to help turn the tide in your favor.

Talos by Gareth - Easily one of my favorite painters on the net

Chronos: Like the Talos this is one of the best places for it and is a great option for this type of list. When taking the Chronos I would always go for both upgrades. It is still really cheap and gives you the chance to get 3 pain tokens per turn. If things go your way it can be a massive help in both survivability and offence as you can give some units enough pain tokens for Furious Charge (*cough…Talos…cough*).

Grotesques: Another unit that normally gets forgotten about that really comes into its own in this type of list. You can take them in decent size units and it gives you something with real toughness coming at your enemy. I normally set up my Aberration with Scissor Hands as it gives him 7 attacks on the charge (4 base, +2 for the scissor hands/extra CC weapon and +1 for the charge) and he re-rolls all wounds on anything T5 or 6 or lower (if he has furious charge) with a “to wound” roll of a 3+. One great addition to this unit if you know you are going to be facing a lot of Grey Knights is adding in Lady Malays with an extra Haemonculus. That way the whole unit is 100% immune to all of the GK’s tricks including Force Weapons and Hammer Hand and Malays will get Furious Charge to go along with her large number of power weapon attacks. Most standard Grey Knight units (except for Paladins of course) will fold faster than Superman on laundry day when getting assaulted by this.

Scourges: A great anti tank unit with some speed. The way I normally take them is a unit of 5 with either Haywire Blasters or Heat Lances (the Heat Lances I would only take in a WWP list as Reavers are a WAY better platform for those weapons). You can also make them 10 strong and go 4 blasters or go all anti troop with 4 splinter cannons. For me personally this army doesn’t need all that much help with anti infantry, especially in this list because of all your elite CC units. You really do need all the anti tank you can get.

Reavers: Along with Hellions and Beastmasters this is one of those units that I would always take in this list. Their speed and special abilities as well as their Heat Lances make them invaluable. I love being able to move out 12”, blow up a transport, then move out of the way to give your Beastmaster unit a direct line to assault the contents. I always run 6 with 2 Heat Lances as my standard set up but that isn’t by any means the only way to run them. Another way which is effective and super fun (especially if you are running two portals) is a max unit with 3 cluster caltrops so you can just criss-cross the board bladevaneing people to death. Doing 7d3 str 4 hits combined with 3d6 str 6 hits is a substantial amount of damage, especially when you consider you aren’t taking any hits in return and you are also giving yourself a 3+ cover save. If you do plan on this type of squad I would definitely invest in a squad leader as you want to protect this investment as much as possible.

Mandrakes: Yup. I have gone and done it. I have included Mandrakes! I personally think this is by far the best list to include this unit (if you are actually going to). The way I do it is take 10 plain Mandrakes for 150pts and include a Haemonculi with a Liquifier and maybe a CC weapon. Now you have a unit that has stealth, coming out of the portal with 20 Str 4, Ap4, pinning shots and is insanely tough if it is in cover. It will help support the rest of the units (fits into that “layering” effect I was talking about earlier) and is also fairly decent in close combat (with two pain tokens they are Str 5, init 6 on the charge, which is very decent). Now, understand I am not saying that this is the best choice in the book but I am all about finding uses for units that most people have disregarded.

This list of units is by no means the only units to run in this army. I just listed these as some examples of units, some of which you never really see in most lists unless you are trying to do something different. The best thing you can do is try out as many different types of units/unit combinations as you can and really find what fits your play-style the best. Regardless of what units you are going to be taking the biggest thing to keep in mind with this style of army is focus fire on one point of the board and keep your reserved units together. The main drawback for a WWP portal army is that your army is coming in piecemeal, especially since DE don’t have any way to modify the reserve roll. With that in mind if you focus on one flank (and having two portals gives you way more flexibility on where you want to go) you can do crippling damage to one flank (hopefully) and what you do have on the board will be able to support each other.

While playing a Web Way Portal army might not be the most competitive army choice in the world it is something that is very different from your standard Raider Rush/Venom Spam type army and can make for some seriously enjoyable games. I am finding more and more these days I am starting to focus on what is “fun” instead of what is “uber competitive” and trying to make that work in a tournament setting. I am hoping over the next couple months to get some more games in with some “unconventional” armies and I am going to do up some battle reports with a tournament at the end of November. If there is anything I missed in this article, anything you guys would like to add or anything you would like to see articles about please feel free to make requests in the comments section.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Dark Eldar Full Army Shots!

After much help from my friends Nathan and Teri I finally was able to get some decent shots of the army now that it is all finished. So without further adieu, here it is! (Warning! 8 Million Pics inbound!)