Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Where have all the 40K Cowboys gone?

I was told the other day that no one would EVER go for the crazy deep strikes I do, nor engage in the sheer volume of tank shocking through terrain that I dare.  I always smile wryly when I hear comments like this and tell them "Just rolling in Vegas baby".  You don't live forever and really, how many chances are you going to get to win this ONE game?  Just this one right?  It's 4th Down and 2, and you're down 17 points...  You gotta' go for it.  So are you playing to win...or playing not to lose.

Cowboys play to win.

So where have all the Cowboys gone?  This careful, methodical lustreless form of 40K wherein all risks are minimized even at the expense of reward has me perplexed.  I cannot even begin to tell you how affected many games have been by the bold audacity to simply press the envelope and ally your fates with the dice.  I look at a situation where only ONE direction threatens me on a deepstrike and think:  "the odds are in my favor".  The listless accountant playing against me with the dull eyes and the joyless voice tells me "but you could scatter into me...".  Is he serious?  Lose the chance to charbroil an entire unit so that I won't lose a couple dudes?  HARDLY!  The Mishap table is now so generous that one MUST take the risk.

Now tactically, you don't turn yourself into a fool.  If you can't scatter without a 70% chance of hitting something bad in any direction, maybe you don't go there.  But strategically, you gotta' Cowboy up when theres' two hit markers on the dice and 83% blue skies around you!  Else why even have a deep striking unit?

Tank Shocking is another thing.  You now HAVE to roll a die for EACH separate piece of terrain you hit.  This increases the danger of such meneuvers dramatically, even with a Dozer Blade.  But what I see is that if I do not get to my attack point in time, I may get stranded or WORSE if I DON'T take a shot at it.  Getting a free morale check out of the enemy for moving to where you wanted to be anyways sounds pretty good to me.  The gains outweight the potential disaster and an immobilized tank is more likely to get shot dead than be lost to assault if you're trying to move forward anyways.  Go for it!  Breaking morale is a really large part of the 40K flavor.  Men and women run.  Self preservation does take over sometimes.  Force every advantage!

I sense a calculated austerity in players, especially hard core tourney ones, and I wish very much for adventurous opponents.  But perhaps I should not.  For if they were more adventurous, they would threaten me more.  And we don't want that do we? ;)

I'd like to hear the craziest or funnest risk you've taken in a 40K game.  Those are stories worth sharing.  Just reply with yours if you want (or dont if you don't).  Hopefully it's not a cricket fest out there.

Monday, November 26, 2012

40K Eldar in 6th Edition

I am curious as to how people are feeling about Eldar in 6th Edition.  The models have always been some of the coolest there are if you like the fuffy elf thing (and I do).  Unlike some 4th Edition Codex's, it still wins tournaments in the right hands!

6th Edition changed a LOT.  As a very shooty army, the Eldar benefitted from those changes.  Unlike Tau, which have a built in inability to fight fisticuffs, the Eldar actually can do so fairly well.  It is no wonder that many people find the Eldar a lot easier to use than Tau if they like that type of army.

Below I have included a few notes on the Eldar and what I have seen of them.  Please add your own observations to the comments!

Avatar:  The fearless bubble is a bigger deal now and the Avatar is already a fantastic threat.  That bubble means so much to an army like Eldar, especially when playing Guardian Heavy.  The Wailing Doom is more terrifying, Avatar immunities really stand out in the new meta and its hella hard to take down.  For the price, it really is tough to argue with its stature amongst 40K HQ's.

Precision shot (see my previous blog on that) has made the already good Pathfinders into very popular units as allies as well.  They have more punching power and range than their Guardian buddies; and they can take a beatting better.  Pathfinders have really risen from their position as the unit that "if you have the points left at the end" you'll take them.  The new Psyker powers make these scary.  Eldar players will find it a mistake to overload on them.  Still, 10 of them is a great investment.

The Eldar Jetbikes have also become a really fine choice as allies.  Their range and firepower is nice, but its their speed and what it can do for an army later in the game that propels them to a new and much more appreciated status.  The unit is solid in every way that matters.

Wraithguard were a popular "flavor" pick for some armies but I really dont think they were as good in 5th Edition.  In 6th Edition, where they are speedier and more able to benefit from psykers and characters, these sometime liabilities are now very powerful.  Their toughness and the addition of a 2+ armor character really makes them about as scary as they always should have been.  They can blast anything in the game to smithereens and still charge, they no longer need a transport and you can take them in larger numbers with confidence and if you take 10, as most know, they are now eligible to be a Troops choice.  Of all the Elites, these ones really shine a lot more and present a serious problem for the enemy indeed.

Heavy Support: 
Barrages are now more terrifying and the Night Spinner which was a "kinda cool" option, but hardly worth investing in other than for cool points but now it seems really good!  Sniping with Barrages is nice and slowing units down has taken on way more importance than it used to, making even a near hit highly valuable to the Eldar forces.

In fact that same reason has really upgraded my thoughts about both the Tempest Launcher and the D-Cannons.  Here again, these units were always quite valuable, but to see their efficacy now is to marvel.  In particular the D-Cannon is a devastating defensive weapon.  Though hampered by range, it's potential is frightening to any unit in 40K.  The sniping aspect, here again, just adds to the craziness.

Fast Attack:  Reliability in the role the unit has is the key word. 
This is still the weaker part of the codex, and Warp Spiders are still kings within its fold, and none of the reasons for that seemed to have changed.

However, I have to say that the Swooping Hawks are way more interesting with reserves always on a 3+.  That reduces the "tax" for using them well to just one Autarch and as anti-tank goes, they are very good at their job and able to get to the artillery batteries that can be so burdensome.  While the unit still suffers its main downside (SLIGHTLY overcost'd in nearly everyones opinion), no unit in the army can do it quite as reliably.  With Biomancy, you have the potential to make these units into a much stronger choice as well, reducing enemy toughness scores and if you have doom to go with it...  Even their blasters can matter.

I doubt seriously that most will take the Swooping Hawks, but they have grown synergistically in usefulness and of course are fairly aesthetically pleasing anyways.

In General:
The Eldar don't seem to have gotten weaker on any fronts.  The Howling Banshees got worse due to defensive fire but other than them, there really isn't a unit you can point to that suffered terribly.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

40K 6th Edition look at Sisters of Battle

EDIT:  short Battle report will be found in the comments section

6th Edition is really making it clear that you can't have all your eggs in one basket.  Monster deathstar units, while still scary and for good reason are no longer as practical as they were.

Below is the list I am now going to be using for 1850 tournament play.  In 2000 Point games, a small Seraphim unit is added.  Thoughts are welcome!

1 Saint Celestine

My deep Strike Element.  She can bolster a unit if need be or just tangle one up in a pinch as needed but her real value is objective stealing, Line Breaking and of course denying the enemy my Warlord point through the power of her resurrecton.

   1 Uriah Jacobus, Protector of the Faith

Stabilizing force for the army.  His abilities buff a unit considerably and turn them into at least a passing attempt at a melee threat, albeit only against middle of the road units.  His ability to re-roll the number of Faith Points each round is his primary vaue.  Still, when he is with the Sisters repentia he does make them unstoppable killing machines.

   7 Repentia Squad, + Mistress of Repentence

They trail behind the force as a counter attack unit.  They can knock out any tank or fortification they come across and are Fleet, meaning they dont strictly NEED a Rhino, though they can steal one to start the mission.  They begin the game as Fearless and with the Shield of Faith and Feel No Pain, they are not defenseless.

   9 Battle Sister Squad, + Flamer x2
      1 Sister Superior + Melta Bombs
      1 Rhino + Dozer Blade Hunter-killer Missile

   9 Battle Sister Squad + Flamer x2
      1 Sister Superior+ Melta Bomb
      1 Rhino + Dozer Blade + Hunter-killer Missile

   9 Battle Sister Squad + Flamer x2
      1 Sister Superior+ Melta Bombs

The addition of the Hunter Killer missile takes pressure off the unit once it disembarks, forces a little more decision making on the enemy.  The meltabomb on the sergeant means the unit can attack any target type and potentially survive the dreadnoughts of the world.  They are best on defense and are equipped with flamers to help them fill that role.  Typically will have them walk to objectives after the first wave of attacks has hit to soften the blow and so they aren't the "obvious" target anymore.  Their Acts of Faith make them better on defense as well.

Fast Attack: Dominion Squad
   9 Dominion Squad+ Simulacrum Imperialis + Meltagun x4
      1 Dominion Superior+ Melta Bombs
      1 Rhino + Searchlight + Dozer Blade + Hunter-killer Missile

Fast Attack: Dominion Squad
   9 Dominion Squad+ Simulacrum Imperialis + Flamer x4
      1 Dominion Superior+ Melta Bombs
      1 Rhino+ Searchlight + Dozer Blade + Hunter-killer Missile

Dominion will scout forward on missions we go first on and ourtflank in missions we do not.  That flexibility and the help of St. Celestine gives the army true mobility and threat range to all parts of the board and will make line breaking easier.  Also, they are Fast attack so in the Scourging Mission, taking objectives becomes much easier for this army.  That the units can twin link themselves and re-roll failed attempts to do so makes them a very potent offensive punch.

Heavy Support: Retributor Squad
   5 Retributor Squad + Simulacrum Imperialis + Heavy Flamer x4
      1 Retributor Superior + Melta Bombs
      1 Rhino + Dozer Blade + Hunter-killer Missile

These roaming vagabonds are a great counter-attack unit.  They shore up a flank so that the enemy cannot run away.  Armed with grenadesd and bombs as well as the infantry killing ability to Rend with their Heavy Flamers is pretty cool.  Even Vehicles can be downed by their powerful flame.  get them to a Tower and watch the place and people burn.  Uriah makes sure they don't miss.

   1 Exorcist

   1 Exorcist

Though I won a tournament recently without these beasts in the force, I have found in other games tha the reach of their gun is just a vital component to have.  Their unreliability is legendary however, and so I have decided to take two of them.  Together they should be able to down the enemy predator(s) or armored firebases so that the Sisters of Battle are on a more even footing against the foe.  There should be enough smaller tanks to protect them from Drop podding assassins and the like.  their very high point of fire (the top of the organ pipes) makes them ideal for avoiding intervening models and terrain as well and they do have the 6+ Shield of Faith save like all Sisters of Battle units do.

Points:  1850
Models:  66 Infantry + 7 Armor = 73 models
Units: 16