Sunday, 25 November 2012

Skaven Sabotaged at Local Tournament!

Someone loaded my dice, I swear!


Seriously though, I finally got to compete in my first tournament with my Skaven. It was a great day. Ten players went along, payed $10 each and got three games with first and second place splitting the money in Games Workshop vouchers.

It was played at 1500 points, and there was a few different armies around. There was, however, a good 3 or 4 Warriors of Chaos armies. One of them was played by a guy who had only just started Fantasy about a week earlier, but he still did surprisingly well considering his experience. He placed 4th overall with a completely unpainted army.

Anyway, from what I could gather, you could score a maximum of 30 points for painting, something like 15 points for sportsmanship and... Uh... Well I honestly don't know about the games. I know that winning is good though, and that's what counts, right?

Let's get down to it. Here's the army list I brought along:
Lords - 240pts.
Grey Seer - 240pts.

Heroes - 169pts.
Warlock Engineer - Doomrocket - 45pts.
Chieftain - BSB, Storm Banner, Great Weapon - 124pts.

Core - 384pts.
20 Clanrats - Shields, Full Command - 110pts.
20 Clanrats - Shields, Full Command - 110pts.
40 Skavenslaves - Musician - 82pts.
40 Skavenslaves - Musician - 82pts.

Special - 407pts.
32 Plague Monks - Full Command, Plague Banner - 279pts.
8 Plague Censer Bearers - 128pts.

Rare - 300pts.
Doomwheel - 150pts.
Doomwheel - 150pts.

TOTAL - 1500pts.

So there were some issues with it that only really became apparent after playing in a tournament setting like this against a number of army lists that varied from what I'd previously faced, but we'll get into that more at the end. Unfortunately the army type didn't vary a whole bunch, as you might expect in a 3 game tournament, but I ended up facing Dwarfs, Warriors of Chaos and Warriors of Chaos again. Fortunately the WoC armies were pretty different from each other, so it's not such an issue.

Game 1: Skaven vs Dwarfs
Game one was a tough one for me honestly. I've only ever faced Dwarfs once with this specific army list and won that, although I've faced them plenty of other times at different points and whatnot and lost all of them. In short, I hate Dwarfs.

The game was Battleline. His army consisted of an Organ Gun, a Grudge Thrower, a Cannon, 40 Long Beards with Great Weapons joined by a Thane and another smaller unit of Warriors with Great Weapons joined by a Rune Priest.

Apologies in advance for my not-completely-painted army. I can't speak for everyone else, but as far as I can see they're trying!

Dwarf deployment.

Skaven deployment.

Unfortunately my significantly larger amount of guys and the initial placement of some Slaves seriously screwed over my deployment. I couldn't react properly and it was really going to be a tremendous effort for me to make it to him. I think a better deployment would've helped me far more in this game, but I really don't think I could do too much considering the size and number of my units.

Dwarfs got first turn.

The first couple of turns went as pretty much anyone could predict: I moved forward and he sat back and shot me. His Cannon smashed my Doomwheel and his Grudge Thrower did a number on my units. The Storm Banner didn't stop anything and then ended on my first turn. My magic also did nothing at all ever all game, so I won't even bother mentioning it anymore.

By the end of turn two we had this:

Notice the zero Dwarf casulties...

From there it was pretty downhill. There's no breaking those Warrior units and with one unit of Slaves gone, the other way too far away to do anything and a Doomwheel that would die next turn, leaving me with no real hard-hitting units, there wasn't a whole lot I could do. The Plague Monks even failed a 10" charge on the War Machines by an inch.

The rest of my army was pretty much just shot to bits, my Grey Seer and his Clanrats fled and failed their leadership 7 rally test twice to run off the table and the BSB's unit was massacred by the Long Beards.

Luckily my opponent was a decent guy though, but apparently has some reputation, seeing as when I told one of the other players that I lost he was all like "What, how did... Oh, you were facing Peter B."

I still need to work out how to beat those damn Dwarfs...

Game 2: Skaven vs Warriors of Chaos
This was the game against the new guy, and arguably the most enjoyable game I had all day. Unfortunately it was Dawn Attack, so deployment ended up getting seriously spastic...

His army was a unit of Mark of Tzeentch Shield Warriors, Mark of Khorne Shield Warriors (might have been Chosen?) and a unit of the new Juggernought-riding-guys, an Exalted Champion on a Juggernought and Festus with the Tzeentch Warriors.

He ended up having to deploy the Juggers and Khorne Warriors in the middle and the Tzeentch Warriors on his right flank.
Warriors of Chaos deployment.
 As you can see, my deployment was just a little but more spastic with all my units. From left to right we've got a unit of Slaves on my left flank (the guy out the front is where they're actually meant to be, but they'd have fallen over if I placed them that far forward on the hill), both Doomwheels had to be deployed in the middle (they were also the last things placed, leaving them with very little room) with the Grey Seer and Clanrats just behind them, followed by the other Slaves, Plague Censer Bearers and then the Plague Monks, Clanrats and BSB on the right flank.

My apologies for the blurry picture, I had to hold the camera above my head to get the shot.

Skaven deployment
 We both just moved forward with my Doomwheels moving away from each other so I didn't lose them to their own Zzzap!'s and the Slaves moving to tarpit some Warriors. I Dreaded 13th'd the unit of Khorne Warriors and then finished them off with a Doomwheel.

I did have a few unfortunate accidents though. Mainly the Doomrocket. I threw four dice at it, and ended up with three 1's, followed by another 1 on the Misfire chart. The result was, well, lots of dead Slaves. Meanwhile the other Slave unit failed their leadership 10 test, were out of range of my BSB who was on the other side of the board and exploded. The Doomwheel involved in that fight also fled, but luckily it was towards my opponents own table edge. I also tried to charge the Juggers with both my Plague Monks and Plague Censer Bearers. It would've gone a lot better if my Monks had made it so that my Censer Bearers actually lived to cause some damage, but alas the Monks moved up 3" while the Censer Bearers charged headlong into the beasts of Khorne...

On my second attempt to cast the Dreaded 13th I had Vorrik eat all 3 of his Warpstone Tokens, and rolled two ones with them as well as failing my attempt to cast, so he was down to one wound :sadface:

His Juggers overran into and then thoroughly mutilated my Plague Monks.

By the end of turn 2 we had this:

The Warriors in the top left are dead.

After this he did some wheeling with the Juggers and Warriors, I tried to do some manoeuvring with my Clanrats to get out of the path of those Knights-on-steroids. I charged the Warriors with my remaining Slaves as well as both of my Doomwheels. Unfortunately this didn't go quite as I was expecting, but oh well...
I honestly thought I had this one...

After that horrid combat ended, the Juggers massacred my BSB and co. and then my Grey Seer miscast Death Frenzy on 4 dice, rolled a 4 on the miscast table and then died horribly, taking 11 Clanrats with him and causing them to lose their shit and bail.

That's pretty much that. Those Khornate Super Knights are pretty insane.

Game 3: Skaven vs Warriors of Chaos (again)
The last game was that diagonal deployment one (I honestly have no idea what it's called) where you have to roll a die for every unit to see if it goes into reserves or not. My opponent deployed first and didn't have any issues with the reserves. I also wasn't having any troubles. That is, until I rolled for my Grey Seer...

His army consisted of 2 units of Warhounds, 2-3 WoC units, a unit of Knights, 2 Sorcerers and a couple of Spawn.

Seriously, of all models, not having my Lord on the table was slightly annoying, but what can you do?

My opponent decided to give me first turn. The Doomwheels killed both the Spawn and I moved everything else up in a way that would hopefully prevent him from making any charges I didn't want, i.e. I placed my Slaves about an inch or two from his Knights and my Plague Monks about the same distance from the Warhounds who were shielding a small unit of Warriors. I also totally forgot to fire my Doomrocket, even though that was exactly why I left that unit of Slaves so far back.

He cast Treason of Tzeentch on my Censer Bearers, which hurt a bit, but it wasn't too bad. The Knights caused my Slaves to explode, but then my Doomwheel pwned the Knights.

My other Doomwheel took on some Warriors and another unit of Hounds by itself for a turn or two before the Censer Bearers could make it. They then quickly finished the Hounds and caused the Warriors to flee, who then rallied and then turned back around, only to get flattened again and chased off the table. My Grey Seer also entered the field turn two, but didn't do a whole lot.

Plague Censer Bearers to the rescue!

His Khorne Warriors then did a number on my Plague Monks, but were positioned right near everything else in my army. He conceded at that point, as my Doomwheels were poised to cause serious damage and my Grey Seer had a couple of Warpstone Tokens to use for a Dreaded 13th.

The Plague Monks honestly did nothing all tournament.

So the last game was a victory to Skaven! Huzzah!
8th place overall out of 10, although it would've been 4th if my army was painted...

I'm not complaining though, seeing as it was my first Fantasy tournament. I'm just disappointed in myself for not getting off my ass and painting my army completely.

Anyway, I've been thinking about what went wrong, and there are a few things. First of all, the dice didn't entirely go my way, and Skaven are a very random army that rely on that a bit more than other armies on luck, however I'm not going to blame my losses on luck alone. If I were good enough I should've been able to play my way out of it.

The other issue was my inability to deal with enemies from a distance or get to them fast enough, which meant that Dwarfs were always going to cave my head in and taking on those Juggers was going to be a very difficult feat.

Deployment wasn't exactly fantastic, although in the first two games I don't really know how I could've changed that a whole lot, especially in the second game. I'll just have to work on that I guess.

Last of all, the Plague Monks take a huge chunk of points out of my army and their efforts really were quite pathetic. They're good for pushing a Plague Furnace (which hit like nothing else), but unless I'm taking a Furnace I don't think I'm going to bother with the Monks anymore.

So what to do? Well, I'm going to be trying out taking 2 Warp Lightning Cannons instead of 2 Doomwheels (or maybe even just one Doomwheel and the 2 Cannons...? We'll see) and I'm going to try pretty hard to get myself some Gutter Runners just to deal with those Dwarfs.

Some other things I've been contemplating are taking another Engineer at Level 2 with a Dispel Scroll, dropping the Grey Seer and taking my Warlord on Rat Ogre Bonebreaker with a 2+ rerollable save that causes S4 hits on the unit that causes the wound for every save passed. I used to play with him before I had my Grey Seer, and he was tremendous fun. Whether I actually use him in my next tournament or not is to be seen, but I'm definitely going to start using him again in some friendly games and see how he works out!

Does anyone else have any ideas? I was even thinking about a unit of Rat Ogres, or even just breaking out the Plague Furnace...

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Lightning Claw vs Power Sword

There's been endless debate since the release of the new Chaos Space Marines codex on whether one should take a Lightning Claw or Power Sword on their Aspiring Champions.


Now, first of all, why not any of the other Power Weapons? Well, the Power Axe may be AP2, but it strikes at Initiative 1, and on a guy who must issue Challenges, that's a very, very bad idea because he'll often be dead before he gets to strike. A Power Lance is really not that great for Chaos Space Marines because it only works on the charge, and you won't always be getting the charge. Plus, if you don't win in the first round, its effectiveness drops by a load. The last one is the Power Maul. Honestly, the Power Maul isn't all that bad, but I personally don't think it's such a great option on your Aspiring Champions because you won't be ignoring armour most of the time, so you'll probably die and your opponent won't.

That all said, Axes and Mauls are both great choices on Terminators in my opinion, but for now we're just focusing on your basic squad leader, whether he's in a Raptor squad, Chaos Space Marine squad, Noise Marine squad or whatever.

So, let's get down to the math!

We're going to assume your basic champ, so Initiative 4, WS4, 2 attacks and weapon + Pistol against a standard Space Marine opponent (since, let's face it, these are the most common opponents). We're also assuming you got the charge.

Lightning Claw
3 attacks, 1.5 hits, 0.75 wounds before re-rolls, another 0.375 after the re-rolls, coming to a total of 1.125 wounds at AP3, so a dead enemy Sergeant.

Power Sword
4 attacks, 2 hits, 1 wound, so one dead Sergeant.

Now the difference may seem pretty miniscule, but when it comes down to it, the Lightning Claw is far more reliable and will fairly consistently net you at least one wound, while the Power Sword, which may give you more chances to cause wounds, doesn't give you those re-rolls, so if you fail you're pretty much screwed.

But, just to make sure, let's see what happens against Terminators, T3 and T5 opponents.

Lightning Claw
3 attacks, 1.5 hits, 1.125 total wounds, coming to 0.1875 dead Terminators.

Power Sword
4 attacks, 2 hits, 1 wound, 0.1666... dead Terminators.

T3 Opponents (e.g. Eldar Exarch)
Lightning Claw
3 attacks, 1.5 hits, 1 wound before re-rolls, 0.333... with re-rolls, coming to 1.333... dead T3 unit champions.

Power Sword
4 attacks, 2 hits, 1.333... unsaved wounds.

T5 Opponents (e.g. Plague Champion)
Lightning Claw
3 attacks, 1.5 hits, 0.5 wounds before re-rolls, 0.333... with re-rolls, coming to 0.8333... dead T5 opponents.

Power Sword
4 attacks, 2 hits, 0.666... wounds caused.

Alright, so it's pretty clear the Lightning Claw is the superior offensive weapon, but since making this post it was brought to my attention by Zeruel13 over in this thread on MiniWarGaming that, as a defensive weapon, the Power Sword is actually better.

Here's a copy/paste of the math Zeruel provided:
Against MEQ (WS4/T4)Lightning Claw (with charge bonus) - 1.13 wounds caused (0.18 unsaved vs 2+ armour)
Lightning Claw (without charge bonus) - 0.75 wounds caused (0.12 unsaved vs 2+ armour)

Power Sword (with charge bonus) - 1 wound caused (.16 unsaved vs 2+ armour)
Power Sword (without charge bonus) - 0.75 wounds caused (0.12 unsaved vs 2+ armour)

Power Maul (with charge bonus) - 1.66 wounds caused (0.55 unsaved vs 3+ or 0.27 unsaved vs 2+ armour)
Power Maul (without charge bonus) - 1.25 wounds caused (0.41 unsaved vs 3+ or 0.2 unsaved vs 2+ armour)

Against GEQ (WS3/T3)Lightning Claw (with charge bonus) - 1.79 wounds caused
Lightning Claw (without charge bonus) - 1.19 wounds caused

Power Sword (with charge bonus) - 1.79 wounds caused
Power Sword (without charge bonus) - 1.34 wounds caused

Power Maul (with charge bonus) - 2.22 wounds caused
Power Maul (without charge bonus) - 1.67 wounds caused

Against EEQ (WS4/T3)Lightning Claw (with charge bonus) - 1.34 wounds caused
Lightning Claw (without charge bonus) - 0.89 wounds caused

Power Sword (with charge bonus) - 1.34 wounds caused
Power Sword (without charge bonus) - 1.05 wounds caused

Power Maul (with charge bonus) - 1.66 wounds caused
Power Maul (without charge bonus) - 1.25 wounds caused

Against Biker MEQ (WS4/T5)Lightning Claw (with charge bonus) - 0.83 wounds caused
Lightning Claw (without charge bonus) - 0.55 wounds caused

Power Sword (with charge bonus) - 0.66 wound caused
Power Sword (without charge bonus) - 0.5 wounds caused

Power Maul (with charge bonus) - 1.34 wounds caused (0.44 unsaved vs 3+)
Power Maul (without charge bonus) - 1 wound caused (0.33 unsaved vs 3+)

He's included the Power Maul as well, because Zeruel believes it's an equally viable option. Personally I disagree, but I guess that's a matter of opinion and what you face.

With Zeruel's information taken into account, I'll be taking Lightning Claws every time on units made for the charge (CCW Chaos Space Marines, Berzerkers, Raptors) while on units that are meant to be shooting a little more up close (anything with a Plasma Gun) then the Power Weapon is definitely going to be my weapon of choice. I still don't think I'll take either on my Noise Marines though, because I'd be taking the Doom Siren first and another 15 points on top of that is just too much for a shooty unit, especially one sitting back 24".
But, like, that's just my opinion man.

Which one are you going to take?

One More Week...

...until my 1500 Fantasy tournament with my Skaven. Unfortunately I've been getting a bit side-tracked with all my Chaos Space Marines and a little Wood Elves, and so have only really spent about an hour on my Plague Monks in the last week...

Seriously hoping for no Misfires!

Anyway, I think I'm going to be leaving my Plague Monks half done as they currently are and am going to get started on my Slaves. I know for sure that I'm definitely not going to get a very good score for my painting, but I'd at least like to get as much as I can!

So here's to hoping for the best, I guess!

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Chaos Space Marines: Checking Out the Raptor Sprue

After a couple of weeks of waiting, my Raptor kits finally arrived. So, naturally, as one does when they've been waiting for three weeks for something they so desperately yearn for, I thought I'd go make a pie, maybe browse MiniWarGaming, do some work on my vocals and do some study. With that all out of the way, it was finally time to sit down and see what's in the box...

So. Many. Bits.

So this is what we got in just one of the boxes. Only two sprues, but they were absolutely packed with bits. Let's have a closer look, shall we?

Legs, Jump Packs, bodies and mostly Warp Talon stuff.

More legs and Jump Packs, as well as all the bits you'll want for Raptors!

Both sprues are about as full as they could possibly be with stuff. The number of Lightning Claws that come in this box is brilliant! I think I have a good 18 of them to use after using one for my Raptor Champ and keeping one for my Lord out of two boxes of Raptors.

The other thing I was actually really impressed with was that while you still only get one of each special weapon (as with every GW kit ever), they actually give you two sets of arms to wield the special weapons with per kit, so that even if you only buy 5 you can still take a Meltagun and a Flamer without searching around for any spare bits or buying anything else. Not that taking 5 Raptors is a good idea though...

So what does that mean for me? It means I'm about half way in terms of Plasma + arms to a Plasma Chosen squad. Definitely stoked.

As for the bits themselves, everything looks fantastic. The detail and number of spiky bits are very chaotic. There's even teeth on the top of all the Jump Packs. There's so much customisation available in the Raptor box. It has to be the most enjoyable kit I've ever got my hands on.

Anyway, after a good 2-3 hours of work, I've got them this far:

Who needs Jump Packs when you've got skillz?

Or heads, for that matter...

I'm leaving the heads, Jump Packs and shoulder pads off them all until they've been painted, as well as the Meltaguns. I realised it'd be too hard to paint after making the mistake of sticking some on without thinking, but oh well, what can you do? And the armless guy is going to be the icon bearer. I'll be using the standard from the Slaanesh Helstriders (or whatever they're called... I think that's it?) which I'll mostly be buying so I can mount my Lord on a Steed of Slaanesh.

So that's it from me for now. If you have any excuse to run some Raptors, I'd definitely suggest it. They seem like they'll be a very good option on the tabletop too. Time will tell...

Friday, 9 November 2012

Noise Marine Parts All In

My Sonic Weapons and 25mm Ruins scenic bases from Back 2 Base-ix have finally arrived! Now I'm just waiting on 2 boxes of Raptors and everything I had ordered will be in and we can hopefully start getting a few 750-1000 point games in fairly soon.

Bases make (ノ^∇^)ノ "ALL OF THE DIFFERENCE...!"

The bases look very nice and have a good amount of detail on them, but they definitely weren't flawless. Either way, I'm not really complaining because the end result should be great - definitely much better than just basing my guys with sand/grass or whatever. I intend on using these scenic bases for most of my army, except maybe the Cultists and Raptors.

GW's really getting their shit together with Finecast

The other arms are still on the sprues. Despite being Finecast, the Sonic weapons really have very few issues. It just takes a little to clean them up with a hobby knife, but otherwise they were almost perfect. In the set I've opened so far, I've only found a couple of bubbles on the bottom of the wires on two of them, which is hardly much of an issue. The detail is fantastic and I really have no issues about ordering more for my second unit.

I've also changed my list up a reasonable amount since the first draft I posted, so here's what I'm aiming for now:
HQ - 165pts.
Chaos Lord - Mark of Slaanesh, Steed of Slaanesh, Lightning Claw, Power Fist, Sigil of Corruption - 165pts.

Troops - 749pts.
10 Noise Marines - 8 Sonic Blasters, Blastmaster, Icon of Excess - 264pts.
10 Noise Marines - 8 Sonic Blasters, Blastmaster, Icon of Excess - 264pts.
20 Cultists - 18 Autoguns, Flamer - 113pts.
20 Cultists - 18 Autoguns - 108pts.

Fast Attack - 506pts.
Heldrake - Baleflamer - 170pts.
3 Chaos Bikers - 2 Meltaguns - 90pts.
9 Raptors - 2 Meltaguns, Lightning Claw, Mark of Slaanesh, Icon of Excess - 246pts.

Heavy Support - 230pts.
5 Havocs - 4 Autocannons - 115pts.
5 Havocs - 4 Autocannons - 115pts.

Fortifications - 100pts.
Aegis Defence Line - Quad-gun - 100pts.

TOTAL - 1750pts.

C&C more than welcome!

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Wood Elves Finally Begun!

Too pretty not to start, right?

After months of wanting to get a Wood Elf army started, I decided I'd cement the decision and buy myself a box of Glade Guard, just so there's no backing out anymore. I've also got an entire 2400 MSU winter-themed list made up, so tell me what you think!

Capes will be painted and added separately.

And the list, just so you know what I'm building to:
Lords - 570pts.
Highborn - Wardancer Kindred, Blades of Loec, Stone of the Crystal Mere - 260pts.
Spellweaver - Level 4 Wizard, Lore of Beasts, Moonstone of the Hidden Ways, the Deepwood Sphere - 310pts.

Heroes - 287pts.
Noble - Battle Standard Bearer, Light Armour, Asyendi's Bane, Hail of Doom Arrow, Ironcurse Icon - 137pts.
Spellsinger - Level 2 Wizard, Calaingor's Stave - 150pts.

Core - 1069pts.
12 Glade Guard - Musician, Standard Bearer, Banner of Eternal Flame - 172pts.
10 Glade Guard - Musician, Standard Bearer - 138pts.
10 Glade Guard - Musician, Standard Bearer - 138pts.
10 Glade Guard - Musician, Standard Bearer - 138pts.
19 Eternal Guard - Musician, Standard Bearer, Razor Standard - 291pts.
8 Dryads - 96pts.
8 Dryads - 96pts.

Special - 133pts.
7 Wardancers - Musician - 133pts.

Rare - 340pts.
5 Waywatchers - 120pts.
5 Waywatchers - 120pts.
Great Eagle - 50pts.
Great Eagle - 50pts.

TOTAL - 2399pts.

So there we have it. The list is meant to be fairly competitive whilst sticking to the winter theme, hence the Eternal Guard and minimal Forest Spirits. It should be quite interesting to play once it's finally complete, especially being the complete opposite of everything I know about Fantasy with my Skaven.

All comments and criticism welcome!