Sunday, July 27, 2014

Grey Knights in 7E, some brief notes before the 2014 codex

I can't explain exactly why.  Maybe it was that I played four different codex's in as many gaming days and had stuff scattered everywhere.  Maybe it was just realizing I hadn't in a while.  Whatever the cause I grabbed my Grey Knights and put them in my car just in case I needed an army, while I was on my way to play a different game (I've been messing around with a game called SAGA).  The Grey Knights found their way into the car and I ended up playing with them.

In my first game in some time, I won quite convincingly against a Chaos Space Marine, won against Dark Eldar (he conceded after one round but we stretched it out to two to see what would happen) and then had a bit longer game against Chaos Daemons + Chaos SpaceMarines.  All wins.  All convincing in the end, though the Chaos Daemons gave me a real run for my money.  Finally ran into a Daemon summoning Chaos Daemon army that boasted as many as 35 casting dice and lost in a nail biter.  Then won again in a 2v1 game against Tau and Space Marines.

This got me to thinking about the codex and its "reduced power level".  It appears all the screaming and crying and kicking over Grey Knights kind of died once 6E moved along.  Eldar made people forget all about the indignities meted out to them by Grey Knights just months before.  Pundits are saying the Grey Knight codex isn't what it once was but my question is, does it need to be?

Grey Knights are at worst middle of the pack in casting dice themselves and often better than that.  In the movement phase they can use both their normal means of mobility plus Grand Strategy from the Grey Knight GrandMaster as well as the Strategic Warlord Traits to help in that regard.  So they can be anywhere on the board if the missions call for mobility, albeit they do it a little unconventionally.  In the shooting phase, they dominate on any turn they don't have to move (and boy are they impressive then).  In melee, an army full of Power Weapons and Daemon Hammers is pretty hard to top, and though there aren't very many on the board, just one Purifier can make a real mess of things.

Their access to Assassins makes them equally potent.  The Vindicare is of course a well known quantity but the rarely seen Culexis in an army full of Combat Squad'd Psykers is absolutely terrifying from a Rhino.  You move the army up as one with the Culexis in the Rhino, with extra rhinos nearby in case the one he's in gets popped.  Then you fire his silly pistol.  With all those Psykers surrounding him.  It's...  amazing.

Grey Knights still have one of the most variable cast of characters in any codex.  They allow for a huge variety of different builds and while MANY of those are sadly under explored from what I've seen, it remains true.  Dual Combined Arms Detachments (CAD's) allow for an insane variety of combinations.  25 point inquisitors is positively stupid.   you REALLY cant find a better value buy in any codex, and while they don't wow you individually, again my question:  Do they need to?  5 attacks on the charge for 25 points even if they did nothing else, plus they come with 4+ armor, grenades, and cheap options that matter.  They represent an economical way to satisfy the slot if need be to allow for more of what you REALLY wanted to take without themselves sucking.

Purgations squads changed in 7E and are now ONLY advisable if you take the Incinerator options.  But the Incinerator option remains an insanely awesome deal.  You simply wont find a more devastating 100 points in 40K.  Getting it there is always the trick with template weapons, but 4 STR 6 AP 4 Flamers for 100 points that add a Psyker die to the pool is...  I mean there are no words for how good that is. But the Psycannon option no longer makes any sense when weighed against the Purifier option.  Simply put, if you're going to create a Purgation squad for its Psycannons, don't.  Make them Purifiers.  10 Purifiers can combat squad.  You get EXACTLY the utility you wanted from a Purgation squad but on a MUCH stronger chassis.

Facing an army that has 35 Psyker dice in a phase left even the Grey Knights overwhelmed.  There's just not enough good luck in the world against that.  But the Aegis ability that all the GK's come with allows them to re-roll 1's on their Deny the Witch rolls now (a fact I forgot when fighting for my life against Chaos Daemon spawning shenanigans) and Dreadnoughts provide a very important defense against getting over matched with offensive powers by allowing all the units within 12" to re-roll ALL their failed Deny the Witch Dice.  You cant stop the summoning.  Maybe once in a blue moon you will.  But as for being blasted by a flying Daemon Circus, the Dreadnoughts provide awesome support.  I won't forget that in future games and thought it blog worthy to bring it to the attention of those who are adjusting to the 7th Editions impact on Grey Knights.  Tournaments will contain chaos Daemons.  They are a thing.  So make sure you consider Dreadnoughts for more than just their firepower.

Dreadnoughts also know Sanctuary and Banishment powers.  Banishment nerfs the +1 invul from Cursed Earth that Daemons like to cast on themselves.  Meanwhile, Sanctuary makes the ones that can charge the Dreadnought and those he protects treat the ground within 12" of him as DANGEROUS Terrain!  This is a LOT of good support features for Dreadnoughts.  Consider that because of this, when a Dreadnought is nearby, you need not waste Dispel Dice when the enemy casts Cursed Earth.  Just wait til your turn and then cast Sanctuary and force them to waste their Dispel dice against it.  I'm a big fan of Dreadnoughts now in a Grey Knight force, especially now that Eldar/Iyanden as well as Chaos Daemons are such a big part of the competitive scene.

Anywho, just some notes to think about as you either face against the Grey Knights or fight AS the Grey Knights.  Good hunting.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Terror based Dark Eldar vs. Tyranids Battle Report

Blast from the past Repost of a cool Batrep I did a long time ago.  I've never reposted before but it became relevant recently and oh yeah, it's my blog and I do what I want.  =)


One of the first things I think about when I think Dark Eldar is the terror they bring with them.  To be killed by Dark Eldar is the better fate by far than to be one of the few "lucky" survivors of their raids.

Yet when the new Codex came out, people said that the army could not be built competitively around the ideal of terror.  I disagreed.  The Codex is chalk full of ways to attack one of the weakest stats in the game:  Leadership.  10 out of the 14 codex's present primarily non-fearless units.  So it stands to reason that an army built to attack this asset may be the most fearsome of all.

So I built a Dark Eldar Terror List and decided to see what it could do.  It is devoted to the very ideals of filling the yawning chasm of their internal emptiness against which only strong sensations and near nightmare can spare them from it's endless spiral.

My first opponent was one of the codex's not as affacted by that, so it was bad timing but a good test to put the army through.  Here was my list:

195 VoidRaven Bomber(FlickerField, 4 x Necrotoxin Missiles)
125 Talos Pain Engine (Extra CC Weapon, TL Liquefier Gun, TL Haywire Blaster)
125 Talos Pain Engine (Extra CC Weapon, TL Liquefier Gun, TL Haywire Blaster)

95 6 Wrack (Liquefier Gun, Acothyst With Hexrifle)
80 Raiders (ShockProw, Torment Grenade Launchers, FlickerField)
95 6 Wrack (Liquefier Gun, Acothyst With Hexrifle)
80 Raiders (ShockProw, Torment Grenade Launchers, FlickerField)
95 6 Wrack (Liquefier Gun, Acothyst With Hexrifle)
80 Raiders (ShockProw, Torment Grenade Launchers, FlickerField)
95 6 Wrack (Liquefier Gun, Acothyst With Hexrifle)
80 Raiders (ShockProw, Torment Grenade Launchers, FlickerField)
91 3 Reavers (1 x Grav Talons, 1 x Blasters)
159 9 Hellions (Helliarch with StunClaw)
145 9 Mandrakes (NightFiend)
145 9 Mandrakes (NightFiend)
180 Homonculae Ancient (HuskBlade, HexRifle, Webway Portal)
130 Homonculae Ancient (HuskBlade, HexRifle)

Quarter Deployment ,Kill Points.

Terrain from the Dark Eldar side of the Table.

In the DarK Eldar Deployment zone midboard was a church ruin and a forest dominating the right flank.  Near the very center of the board, closest to the Dark Eldar was an AV 13 building.  Opposite the ruined church in the Tyranid Quarter were ruined walls and a trenchline in the middle of the Tyranid deployment zone.  Another ruined church wall was in the center of the Tyranid long board edge.
Dark Eldar Deployed first and went first.  They Deployed the Raiders as near to the center of the board as was allowed, using the large AV 13 building for cover from the Hive guard or other Tyranid forces that might fire on them.    Reaver Jetbokes took solace behind the ruined church.  Ironic.  The rest went into reserves except for the Mandrakes which grouped up in the right quadrant in front of the Dark Eldar deployment Quadrant, near a ruined partial building.

The Tyranids spread their girth across the front of their deployment quadrant.  From right to left the Termagaunts spread out, and then left of them were the Ripper Swarms and Hormagaunts left of them.  Behind that line were, right to left, 2 Hive Guard, 4 Warriors, 2 more Hive Guard and 4 more Warriors to keep Synapse ranges, and 2 Biovores stood in an old munitions dump to the far rear corner.  The Tervigon sat behind a broken wall to take cover and spawn away from the midpoint of the enemy long board edge.   Gene Stealer deployed 24 inches up along the short board edge, behind a hill.  At the 36” line of the long board edge were clumped the large Gargoyle unit with its Parasite master, right near the Tervigon.  Spore Mines took up the center of the unused quadrants to cut off enemy movement but were essentially not a factor  in the game, exploding against Raider hulls at various points but doing nothing worth writing about.

The Dark Eldar moved their Raiders stealthily towards the open quadrant in front of them, keeping their distance except for the one with the Homonculae in it, which took to the center and dropped its deadly Webway Portal package off.  The Dark Lances fired and killed a couple of Warriors and the Mandrakes backed away slightly to set their trap for the gargoyles that were clumped up with the Parasite on the 36’ line of the long board edge.
The Tyranids ran forward while the vile Tervigon spat out 12 of its unholy Termagaunt primordial soup children.  The Hive Guard took aim and fired at the offending Raider that had produced the eerie glowing portals creator.  The Gene Stealers ran over the hill and flooded towards the AV 13 building like a mass of hungry ants.  Meanwhile the Yrmgarls waited patiently for their opportunity to strike.
The Reavers got hit HARD by the Biovores, killing four of them and leaving them pinned.
As predicted, the Gargoyles had alighted well within the dread Mandrakes range.  The Homonculae ancient sprang from his Raider and joined them, causing eldritch flames to lick up and down the arms of the avaricious Mandrakes and they unleashed that hunger upon the gargoyles with venomous joy, nearly cutting the Gargoyles in half.  The second unit of Mandrakes, still unaccompanied by a Homonculae positioned themselves and readied for the charge.  The Wracks themselves mounted up and moved to the rear corner of the board.
Meanwhile from seemingly nowhere, the VoidRaven Bomber Streaked from its position in the clouds and alighted in the forest on the right side (did not become immobilized), and unleashed four Necrotoxin missiles and its Void Lances, completely annihilating the largest of the Termagaunt squads that were taking up the middle of the Tyranid line.  Both Hive Guard units and the wounded warrior unit were hit as well and hurt badly.  The Talos waited patiently in the ether…
The Wracks with the Homonculae, now without a Raider to transport them, took a step back and towards their fellows near the forest to put distance between themselves and the ravening horde before them.  Little did they know what appetite lurked there…  The Homonculae detached to join the Mandrakes near the forest.
The other Wracks in their Raiders allowed the Raider Lances to blast away, the Acothysts taking their pot shots as well with their fear inducing HexRfiles from within the confines of the Raider.
The Reavers were pinned and could do nothing but take it in the face.
The Gargoyles angrily responded, with their Parasite Master egging them on to greater efforts.  They rushed forward and shot the Mandrakes to little effect, and then missed the charge by about an inch.
The Hormagaunts had made good time and were easily within reach of the enemy.  The rest of the Warriors advanced with the Hive Guard up the middle.  The Gene Stealers entered the AV 13 building giving them a considerable amount of protection as well as potentially significant free movement next round.  The Tervigon ejected 8 more of its spawn.  The Biovores dared not fire for fear of hitting too many of their own.
SUDDENLY, the Yrmgrals appeared in the forest and multi-assaulted not only the Reavers but the Homonculae led Mandrakes that had just fired down on the Gaunts seconds before.  Unfortunately, they badly underestimated their opponents, as the Reavers were on combat Drugs (+1 Attack) and the Ancient Homonculae was not to be trifled with.  The Yrmgals were vanquished all in one fell swoop!  An unexpected turn of events to be sure.
The Reaver Jetbikes Scythed their way across the night sky and cut into the Gaunts that the Tervigon had created, helping to tear them away for the Talos, but the swarm creatures were immune to the normal terror of self preservation that most would have fallen prey to.  The VoidRaven Bomber also blasted its engines to full throttle, placing itself next to the Tervigon just as the Two Talos lumbered from the fetid reaches of the etherium through the WebWay Portal and used their Liquefier Guns and Haywire Blasters to clear a path to the hive guard behind them.   The Raiders fired at the Gargoyles and gaunts, while one of the Wrack units flew alongside the VoidRaven bomber at the enemies long board edge.  Only one of the Talos could reach the Hive Guard but that was enough.  The Talos did its grisly work and smashed the Hive Guard to pieces.
The remaining Mandrakes dropped the Gargoyle unit that failed its charge to five fliers and their Parasite master as they waited for the inevitable charge, secure in their building position.
The Tyranid responded.  The GeneStealers tore the door frames of the AV13 building off in their lust to satiate their hunger and only Dark meat would suffice.  They rushed the central Mandrakes that were in the open with their fleet claws and the Mandrakes were simply overwhelmed without the help of their Homonculae master.  There was no terrain to slow the enemy down this time.  Their Eldritch flames flickered and died out.
The Tervigon popped its last spawn out, placenta and all, and shot some foul power at the Reavers, then charged and destroyed them.  The Gargoyles charged the Mandrakes in the building, losing horribly and leaving only a wounded parasite to fight on.  Once again the prowess of the Mandrakes was made clear to these mindless brutes.
The Rippers charged the Talos and poisoned it to death and all the other gaunt units charged the other Talos, but essentially were banging their head against a brick wall.  Even though one of the Gaunt units was within the Tervigons poisonous range, there weren’t enough of them to get through the tough armor of the Taos.
The Mandrakes  in the building finished off the Parasite with a dimissive slash across its throat, draining its blood into a cup for later inclusion in their libations, careful not to let a moment of its terror escape their attentions, and then rushed the field, eagerly attempting to get closer to the action.
The Rippers had to die and so the Wracks unloaded on them with Liquefier guns, HexRifles, Dark Lances and anything else they could throw at it until the unit was next to nothing.  The VoidRaven Bomber took it’s shots as well, wounding the Tervigon, but unable to drop its mine on the thing, as it had moved out of position when it attacked the Reavers the previous round {note:  this was played before the FAQ came out or I would have dropped it right on his head}.  All of this was punctuated by the charge of a unit of Wracks with the help of a Homonculae who attached itself to them.  With a Furious Charge, the Rippers vanished and the center of the board was much more manageable!
One unit of Wracks mounted up to avoid the next GeneStealer charge
That left the Genestealers pretty much alone with a gaunt unit to charge the remaining Wracks on the right near quadrant and that combat ended rather expectedly with Wracks dying horribly.  The Gaunts continued to flail against the tough Talos and it continued to batter their bodies against its own shell to get at the meaty insides as if to send a message to the far biovores that had been able to fire very little to this point for fear of hitting their own hordes.  With one last crack of a spine, the Talos finally tore one of the Gaunt units that were scratching at it to bits.
The Tervigon tried to attack the VoidRaven Bomber but it was of little use.  The thing was simply too fast for it to latch a claw onto it.
The Warriors inside the AV13 building burst out and tried to make their way towards the Talos combat, firing at the Wrack Raiders.

Round 5: 
The VoidRaven Bomber and other Raiders tried to finish the Tervigon, moving swiftly away from the only remaining free threat, the GeneStealers and scattering like leaves, then blasting away at it with Dark lances, wounding it again.  The Mandrakes also moved to fire on the Genestealers, and were able to put a serious dent in their numbers, cutting them in half from 18 inches out.  The Talos continued to cut and hack at the now powerless Gaunts that were simply too far from the Tervigon to benefit from the poisonous miasma it imbues its children with.  A unit of Wracks disembarked and used their Liquefier guns on the Tyranid Warriors that came out of the AV 13 building, then charged, tying the combat.
The Biovores were now presented with targets.  No friendly units were anywhere to cause problems and they blew a Raider out of the sky, but with nothing on the board but a nearly dead tervigon who took swings at the VoidRaven Bomber again, and the Genestealers who could reach no one, and the Warriors there was really nothing more to be done.  The Warriors fought the Wracks and Homonculae again and were beaten back again.  The Talos was as brutal as last round, crushing Gaunts under its feet.
The End.
Score 11-5, Advantage Dark Eldar.

Monday, July 14, 2014

7th Edition Tau

I'll be a monkey's uncle!  Here we are in 7E and every one's got an opinion.  I'm no different.

When you play Tau, you are going to be in a whole new world of rules soup.  Fundamentally there were some really really hard hits for Tau.  I know a few people who will shed no tears over that but I will submit to you that there's a lot that makes one reconsider lists.

Just briefly because I don't want this to turn entirely into just another rundown of 7E changes.  Lord knows there's enough of that.  Some worthy mentions should be made though.

In the Heavy Support slot, the Sniper Drone Squads no longer can pin the enemy.  With as many shots as they could unload, that is a bummer.  Daemonology has changed the world and almost necessitates a unit that can knock the summoners out early and often.  So I am wondering if, despite the loss of Pinning, Snipers might have become much more valued than before?  Its a give and take but if you play people who don't use Daemonology it feels like all give and no take.

A bigger bummer is Kroot who had the Sniper Rounds option cut in half in value by the same change, not that I used them anyways.  I know some of you did though.  Worse, the Kroot can now not charge on THEIR first turn when infiltrating, not even when going second!  This made the unit which is already not able to charge from outflank a real question mark again.  I remember thinking that they were utterly worthless when 6E came out after having loved them for so long.  The Tau Empire Codex brought them back to respectability.  7th edition has now clouded whether it is worth it once more.  Forcing Kroot to take TWO rounds of fire from the enemy before they can act is asking for a hell of a lot, even from an optimist like me.  Perhaps they make good reactor shielding still.

XV104 Battlesuits took a big hit on the Smash attack rule which now simply says you treat your attack kinda' like meltabombs, giving up all attacks for just one.  On the plus side, ALL attacks made by a model that has Smash are AP 2 so even normal ones are pretty darn good now and so Smash isn't as necessary.  But it's still a hit when you're talking vehicles.  The Onager Gauntlet gives you more than the XV104 Smash attack does.  Just saying.  If you thought they were a hairs breadth from taking LD checks in melee before, they are really in for it now.  Again, some people will be glad to see it, but it affected Tyranids and other armies also, which could have done without more nerfs.

The reality is that new opportunities opened up as well.  Supreme levels of mobility are rewarded in 7th Edition, especially in Maelstrom of War missions.  This will make battlefields and fights far more interesting than ever and in fact have for me.  Not only that but the vehicles that seemed so spendy before have now grown QUITE doughty.  Unlike some enemy vehicles, there aren't a lot of Tau who care if their Devilfish is forced to Snap Fire next round in order to dodge bullets.  That weapon is as likely to get blown of before it matters than to fire or do much that is useful unless there are a mass of them...  and whose making Devilfish Burst Cannons a "strategy"?  No one.

Night Fight was a non issue for Tau before.  Night Fighting is even tamer and easier to handle now for the few Tau units who didn't have Black Sun Filters, devaluing that war gear but not making it useless.

So as the changes have morphed the value of some units, I look to my shelves again for salvation and who will deliver me?

Who indeed.

Flamers took on a new aspect as they can now bake a unit inside an open topped vehicle.  It happens that Tau can take a lot of flamers.  Like 18.  Which is a lot.  This doesn't suck if you enjoy a more melee oriented Tau force.  Softening up the target is just what you'll need to do before charging in with Tau.

Screwing with enemy deployment got better.  The enemy Scouts that once could threaten your infiltrators now cannot in round 1.  So it gives you a chance to act without getting tied up and you can affect enemy deployment better for it.

Overall I'm pretty jazzed about the 7th Edition and how much it favors mobility.  Vehicles are tougher which makes Fire Warriors happy and the rules for being blown out of them are also VERY forgiving.  The Diamond formation of Devilfishes with a Fire Warrior vortex in the middle is totally viable and awesome now.  Better than Dark Eldar Raiders and thanks to Fire Warrior range, no less deadly.

Other thoughts?

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