Saturday, March 21, 2015

Tournament Results from our second ever Forever Knight Games Tournament!!!

We had a terrific time at the second ever tournament at Forever Knight Games whose generous prize support and terrific staff helped to make it the event it was.

All the prizes were raffled.  We gave away $300 in goodies and unbeknownst to the participants, everyone got 20% off of ALL their purchases today!  This marked the beginning of their new system to encourage new players (see them on facebook in the coming week for more details) to join and grow the hobby.

You simply can't do better than that, so a big thank you to them and without further ado, the awards were as follows:

Best Sportsman:  Michael Lee
Best Painted:  Matt DeMartino
3rd Place:  Chancy Rickey
2nd Place:  Peter Lovejoy
1st Place:  Alex Kuehn

Name Provided
Record (Battle Points)
Best Painted Votes
Favorite Opponent Votes
Alex Kuehn
White Scars
3-0 (28)
Peter Lovejoy
Space Wolf/SM/DA
2-1 (22)
Chancy Rickey
2-1 (20)
Matt Demartino
Sisters of Battle
2-1 (20)
Oseas Aduna
Chaos Space Marines
2-1 (14)
James Barrett
2-1 (13)
Andrew Vickery
Astra Militarum
2-1 (11)
Kachni Hernandez
1-2 (14)
Andrew Hanks
1-2 (13)
Michael Lee
Chaos Daemons
1-2 (11)
Dan Barringer
Chaos Space Marines
0-3 (4)
Jason Carr
Salamander Chapter
0-3 (4)

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Warhammer 40,000 Highlander lists against normal lists

The Highlander format for tournaments was envisioned as a way to mitigate spamming.

Spamming is said with such disdain by players when someone essentially takes the most powerful way a unit can be taken and duplicates it three times or more.  It is a source of dissatisfaction by many a gamer, because to put it bluntly it can make the game stilted in either direction.  Both players have at least the higher potential for games that aren't as fun.

Challenging One's Self

I embarked upon an effort to see how a Highlander Tau Empire list would fare against normal competition.  I thought it would be fun to see what would happen if I tried this "less than optimal" list against the worst enemies people could throw at me.  A sort of challenge to myself, as it were.

I've now played 10 games at 1850, three of those at tournament.  My List without getting too deep into it:

3 Broadsides (missiles)
6 FW in a Devilfish
10 Kroot with a hound
3 Crisis suits and a Shield Drone
5 Stealthsuits with Precision shot upgrade and two shield Drones
Shadowsun and her three Drones
Buffing Commander and two Marker Drones
4 Marker Drones

As you can see, I was allowed no more than one of anything in the codex (not even Devilfish's) and so you really are almost looking at the full compliment of what the codex offers.  at 2000 points I could have added a Hammerhead variant to complete the picture a little more but that's okay.

Thus far it lost to Chaos Daemons at the top table at its first showing, to a Blood Angel despite having controlled the game for most of the time (Damn you Commander Dante!) and it lost to a White Scars bike army (11-8 so not nearly as poor as you'd imagine it would do).  It has otherwise won and I can say that 7 out of 10 against solid tournament armies does not suck.

What This Proved To Me

More than anything what this proved to me is that the ideal of playing an army that is actually fun, and not tooled up, can be almost as effective as playing tooled up ones. And so if you think of it like a fulcrum, It seems to me that giving into your whims a little and playing a more balanced 'Codex" list might not only NOT cost you many games, but your enjoyment might actually go up.

I know that my opponents, to a man were nothing short of intrigued by the panoply of the Tau Empire I brought,  All of them enjoyed a game in which there was no clever {fill in the blank}-Star moniker attached.  There was nothing in the army that was over represented or was "spammy" and I think they enjoyed the challenge, win or lose more than they probably did against a more typical Tau force.

And if you care much for the enjoyment of opponents (not that this needs to be the goal, but you can still care about it) then perhaps an experiment like this one wouldn't hurt you.

My challenge to you is to form up a Highlander list you like, and play it against the battle hardened meta of your 40K universe.  See how you do over say ten games and report back to me if you don't mind how you progress with it.  I'd love to see the list you came up with and hear you regale us with tales of YOUR wins or losses using it.

Who knows.  Maybe everyone could win.

Friday, March 6, 2015

The Tau Empire- Missions are changing the units we use!

Here's a few of the highlights of the various power builds:

The Farsun Bomb:  Essentially a Swarm of Drones surrounding a crazy amount of firepower with the ability to target lock different targets.  Think of the Death Blossom attack from The Last Star Fighter. If you don't know that movie, stop reading, go watch it and come back when you have your geek card back.  This list came out almost right away, was the toast of the smugites (those who believe they've found the fountain of youth or something similarly momentous and have to get it on Youtube like yesterday to claim credit and proclaim their genius).

Triple Tide:  In reality this has been carried even to 5 Riptides in lists before 7th Edition allowed even more!  But the Triple Tide list is the one that is most familiar and our generic name for the type of list.  This list was accompanied often with Pathfinders to help them find their marks, and sometimes bubble wrapping Kroot with Sniper Rifles to help weaken the one thing a Riptide most definitely does not want to see nearby:  other Monstrous Creatures!

Buffmanders+ Missileside:  the ability to give every Drone BS 5, plus allowing everyone to re-roll misses and granting the Ignores Cover USR for the entire unit makes the damage output of this unit stupendous.  With the Velocity Tracker on board, this unit literally just takes almost anything out.  Two units of them may well completely stop an enemy advance.  The vulnerable units can even be shielded from Psychic attacks if you ally in the Farsight Riptide with its Talisman for anti-Psyker goodness.  Three units of these is around 900 points before you had the Commanders but it impressive and notably hard to approach or kill.

Fire Warrior Spam + Ethereal and Fireblades.  Multiple Detachments allow you an unlimited supply of Fireblades.  A Tau Fire Warrior unit that belts out 4 shots per figure is nothing short of amazing and Supporting Fire makes it a hedgehog that can annihilate a lot of assault threats before they move a muscle.  Added to this list is the important Marker Drone Swarm, which can, when added to a Buffmander, mean maybe 4 marker light hits on the incoming target before Overwatch...

Fish of Fury:  Dead for a while but now fully in effect again.  Jinking with Disruption pods has made these hulls extremely hearty and capable of delivering and protecting a large number of Fire Warriors who fight in many ways like the new Necrons can now.

These builds are the bedrock upon which Tau Empire tournament success has been achieved by various Generals.  All rely on the basic tenet that has always been the Tau Empire mantra:  don't hold ground.  Weaken the enemy, retreat to draw them in and finish crushing them.  This formula of attacking, fading and attacking again can be frustrating for those who never embraced speed as a weapon.  Obviously faster armies do deal better with the Tau empire if they gun line and we've said repeatedly not to gun line.

Now that Maelstrom is a part of the 40K landscape, and is included in Bay Are Open missions which are also used at the Las Vegas Open as well as others, you are seeing FAR more mobility options showing up in peoples armies.  Flying creatures and vehicles of all types have taken preeminence in the 40K universe.  So it makes sense that the power of the Tau Empire is now being curbed not by its codex NOR the other codex's.  The reason its power has been curbed is simply put, enemy Generals are finally forced by the missions to take more types of units than they ever did previously.

In other words, all of the things that we have preached in this blog and that have in some cases not been appreciated, are now suddenly being seen in a different light.  The missions have done what no amount of banging your head against a wall could have.  I could have explained all day the value of Stealthsuits and been met with nothing but resistance.  Now, people are recognizing the threat of Infiltrating Stealth+Shrouded fire hoses that can kill tanks and be where they need to be at games end to snag an objective from enemy control!  Suddenly their deployment options are being seen as more valuable.

Similarly, I have now seen some people catching on to the magic of Firesight Marksman, a unit I can say with surety based on my search for used Sniper Drones, wasnt being used.  It's not that no one read the codex.  It's that they didn't read ti with the same filter.

Even Pathfinders, long seen as marker light caddies are finally starting to be seen for the nasty sting they can bring and I've seen at least two Generals recently start to take my advice on their offensive capabilities instead of their support role.

I think this is good for the game, and its extending to many other codex's.  Unused and unboxed models are seeping into the meta and while they may still represent a relatively minute part of it, progress is progress.  Take it where you can get it.  I suspect more and more of these unsung units will pop up in games here and there, so be ready to face a meta that may include things as crazy as Stingwings some day!  I own 27 of them myself.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Warhammer 40,000: Necron Obelisk

I am impressed.

The Necron Obelisk as a Super Heavy is as burly to kill as an Imperial Knight, given it's better armor and the potential of Living Metal.  Its high vantage point, while making cover rather difficult to gain, gives it superb lines of sight and the actual girth of the Obelisk allows you to really force an enemy unit to have to circumnavigate quite far to get around it.

What almost everyone comments on is its very creative ability to ground gravitic types of units like Wave Serpents and Jet Bikes; or winged killers like the winged Nurgle Daemon Prince or the mighty Storm Raven.  Every one of these types of units and more must take a Dangerous Terrain test when moving within 18" range of the Obelisk even when they normally wouldn't worry about such things!   Over the course of the game, while it certainly is far from a guaranteed killing mechanism, it absolutely impacts enemy movement decisions and it happens on the enemy turn so it's all a bonus.  That can be a lot of terrain tests.  That can be a lot of suboptimal decisions made by the enemy.


You'd prefer it to be mid field and able to blast in all directions at the enemy.  It can then shift left or right, blocking enemy movement or just causing the gravitic and flying units a hell of a lot to think about as they move.  It fires twenty STR 7 Tesla shots a round so it's not just taking up space!  Deep striking it can put it right into the enemies way.

One issue that has caused some controversy is the orbs it fires.  Clearly they are spheres and are called that, mounted on the corners.  Arguments have erupted over its field if fire but for my money, its clear that they turn like a sphere and can hit anything the sphere, which has a canoptek "cats-eye" look to it, can "see".  That is  almost anything on the two ides it is mounted to.  It isn't a perfect 90 degrees o both sides but its really close.  Still be aware that someone is bound to try and argue this.

When you deploy it to start the game (going second) you might consider powering it down.  This can't be done if you take the Obelisk in a Living Tomb Formation, which is worthy of note.  You have to decide how you're going to want to use it before adding it to the list.  In powered down mode, that pretty much completely dissuades wiser enemies from firing at it for two rounds because it gains a 3+ invulnerable save and the enemy isn't going to be likely to be close enough for you to hit them anyways round 1.  It's like playing possum...  Dark Evil Possum style.  On the bottom of round two, you can power it up and commence termination protocols.  It cannot be powered down again once powered up.  If the enemy flyers come too close in round 2 though, they might get zapped as its anti-gravity pulse effect is still active even though it cannot fire its weapons.  Pretty much what it does is the same thing that happened in the Man of Steel movie where the thing lifts and then drops everything metallic!

Deep striking it precludes it from being able to just squat on an objective late in the game.  I'm guessing this problem was caught in play testing.  If you're playing the Emperors Will kind of a Mission, that thing could plant itself on an objective turn one and simply sit there screwing with flyers all day if you wanted it to!

Deep striking it without reserve manipulation is a potentially huge drain on productivity if it doesn't show up in turn 2, since the Obelisk is a hefty 300 points of your army.  The Living Tomb formation provides an answer.   The Obelisk is guaranteed to come in turn two, but MUST therefore Deepstrike and cannot power down during the game.  This seems like an incredible no-brainer if your tournament allows enough Detachments/Formations.  The Living Tomb guarantees it goes live and in position round two to do the maximum amount of good and the Living Tomb formation can take up to two Monoliths, though you need not actually do so.  What is cool though is that those particular Monliths don't scatter if within 12" of the obelisk.  Awesome.

What does it all mean?  Well it means you can slingshot a gigantic amount of your army from one side of the board to the other in turn two.  That's what it means!  Imagine stuffing a couple large units of Infantry in the farthest corner of the board and then waiting patiently for your ride.  then with reserve manipulation you bring in the Obelisk automatically and then the Monoliths (on 3+, re-rolling if you have a Comms Relay).  The Living Tomb Formation allows you another ability.  On the round that the Monoliths drop, each can pick up and eject an extra unit!!!  Whuuuuuuuuuuuuuu!  But yes!  It worked wonderfully in my three test games so far.  One minute I have nothing on the board and the next minute there are 30 or 40 Warriors a couple Monoliths and an Obelisk dead smack in front of the enemy.  Terrifying.  Now in my games there were mishaps and fun things like that to make it exciting, but once you practice a bit and get the hang of where best to deposit things etc...  the fun really begins.

Now there's a few more tactical notes I'll make here.

First is, that the girth of these Monoliths is so great that you really can  hide and spread out a great deal many of the Necron Infantry you're bringing in.  The firepower that the Monoliths and Obelisk begin dropping is eye catching and draws the attention of the enemy and thus protects your precious cargo.  This threat may perhaps even draw the enemy into unenviable charge attempts.  My suggestion is to pre-measure and make sure that you are more or less going to be just close enough to allow the contents to be within 18" of a desirable target when their next turn starts so they can walk up and rapid fire.  I feel this is going to take some practice to figure out where all those marks are for disembarking and landing and so on, but once you figure out  the geometry, your grand entrance will be awesome.

The second thing is to lead with the Obelisk.  The enemy will try to take it down and it will absorb a lot of abuse.  But the real reason is that it can Thunderblitz.  I have learned a deep respect for this.  Smashing everything that gets in its way is fun.  It also causes Fear which is fun.  Obviously not everyone is affected by this but hey if you can make someone hit on a higher number in close combat?  Yay!  More importantly, this added attention and ill advised charges will bunch the enemy up for you.  You know, with all those infantry and Monolith blasts and stuff to make them pay for it.

Thunderblitzing is also useful because it puts that exploding Obelisk nice and close to as many things as it can so if they are bold enough to charge it, well...  they may pay with their lives doing it.

The Obelisk also is Tesla.  That essentially makes up for any misses, with its 6's to hit becoming two additional hits.  The Tesla Spheres, if you angle it right and at the right distances, it can hit with up to three turned towards an enemy/  Ouch.  Its actually harder to pull off than you'd think and two spheres will be more often the case but still...  it's brutal.  But then it's 300 points so it ought to be right?

The Obelisk is a really fun model to play with and although Games Workshop seems to think that it should cost $160 (and I don't care who you are, that's a hell of a lot of money) it adds a great deal to the list.  I'd recommend its use.

Here is the list I have been testing ideas with, and it's won all three of its games.  More are to come.  Note that this list can easily be converted into a 2 Detachment force for those games in which that's all that's allowed; although, lets face it, the days of that limitation are numbered I'd say given how the Codex's are written now.  Also notice that the Obelisk can be added to the core of your already existing force REALLY easily and admiraly serves to update even this basic force here.

Mephrit Dynasty Resurgence Formation (Monolith heals D6 Warriors or D3 Immortals)

200         1 Monolith
130pts 10 Necron Warriors
130pts 10 Necron Warriors
85pts 5 Immortals
85pts 5 Immortals

Combined Arms Detachment

65pts 1 Cryptek
65pts 1 Cryptek
130pts 10  Necron Warriors
130pts 10  Necron Warriors

Combined Arms Detachment

115pts 1 Cryptek (Veil, Blinding Staff)
130pts 10  Necron Warriors
130pts 10Necron Warriors
104pts 8 Flayed ones

Living Tomb Formation

300 1 Obelisk
200 1 Monolith

1999 Points

Sunday, March 1, 2015

You Might Be a Wargamer...

If you can afford a new car with the money you spent on miniatures... You might be a war gamer.

If you've ever been told by your girlfriend that "it's the Land Raider or me".. You might be a war gamer.

If your worst nightmare is your wife selling your models for what you told her they cost...  you might be a gamer.

If your idea of a night out drinking involves a case of Mountain Dew...You might be a war gamer.

If the only thing keeping your table even is the stack of old army lists you put under one leg... You might be a war gamer.

If you know of nothing that says "I love you" more than getting your girlfriend a Crown Royal bag you emptied earlier... You might be a war gamer.

If your sense of time revolves around how much time is left in the round... You might be a war gamer.

If your family vacation consists of little plastic men, dice and an overpriced hotel room for your loved ones while you're busy... You might be a war gamer.

If you determine the color of your house by the chapter of your Marines... You might be a war gamer.

If your reason for not owning a home is explained in terms of the cost of Games Workshops rapid fire release schedule recently... You might be a war gamer... "Just can't afford it right now, the Codex's are coming too fast".

If the sense of irony is thick enough you could cut it with a knife when you're telling your children to clean up their toys... You might be a War gamer.

If the only serious writing you've done in the past ten years was to write a paragraph explaining why 27 Auto Cannons is "fluffy"... You might be a War gamer.

If your cousin Earl looks at you funny because he asked you to go to the Casino with him and you keep yelling "I'm going to cheat on this one"... You might be a Malifaux player.

If it's choice between eating on the kitchen table or finishing a paint job on one, and your wife sighs while grabbing the paint brushes... You might be a War gamer.

If your only circle of friends wears nothing but witty one liners on their shirts... You might be a war gamer.

If Uncle Benny always says "why I remember you when you owned just THREE armies.." as his way of waxing nostalgic... You might be a War gamer.

When you answer every invitation to social events like funerals for example, with "I'll see if there's a tournament that weekend"... You might be a war gamer.