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:


Haemonculi - Web Way Portal


Trueborn (4) - 4 x Blasters


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:

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...


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.