Thursday, July 30, 2009

Minor Tweakage

As a nod to some of the FTW sentiment about blog-rolls, I've added a roll to the side. Take a look at the stuff; it's interesting stuff. I follow people.

I'm also somewhat amazed I managed to rate the 'command squad' section of FTW. Apparently I generate some traffic? SCORE. I should pat myself on the back, or something?

Instead, I'm going to keep doing what I do? Which is write stuff... I do intend to crank up some thoughts on Eldar melee choices, and I think I'll add a little side-device for tactic articles I've written.

Apparently, some of them are worth the looks? I don't think I'm The Last Word in tactics, but I think I'm capable of figuring out (and perhaps more importantly) communicating some decent ideas on what they can do.

I would like to get more batreps up; I just need to remember to bring the camera and take some notes. It's work enough to keep track of stuff, but hat's off to those who do and edit video batreps.

I am also pondering adding some stuff about Dark Heresy (as I have recently begin GMing a session for some of my buddies, including Jon) though on the other hand, I think that might dilute the blog a bit. Side note: consider hot-shot clips for las guns taking head-shots at people that have something like 15 wounds. Apparently 1d10+4 damage to the head ISN'T ENOUGH.

Likely, though, I'll just keep to tactics.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Brief News Update; Tau-storming

For my loyal followers (...such as they exist, at any rate). I am indeed alive, but have been somewhat thrashed by real life. Summer classes run for about...5 weeks? Save that you meet four hours a night, two nights a week. It's been a bit of a thrashing, but stuff's gotten done.

The Tau army continues a gradual buildup. I need to throw up photos of the Kroot, as they have been completed (well, minus 2 'hounds.') and based. The Hammerhead's still waiting on touch-up. The Broadsides are a little WIPpy at the moment, pending some components in a trade.

The army is still short some Crisis Suits, as I'm fielding three teams of three, the commander, and two broadsides. I've got one I might re-do, and the Broadsides are somewhat inspired by the good old Battletech Rifleman IIC. I've got the torso bulked up and a radar dish over the head, though it's borrowing some components from the Mechwarrior: Age of Destruction 'Ghost' battlemech. (It was the image I could find. Seriously. Please just kind of disregard the colors...) I'm a fan of the Ghost's bulky lower legs.

The Rifleman IIC is just cooler.My beef with the Broadside is that it just looks like an XV-8 with more guns. You still have the jet pack, you still have the spindly We're getting something that looks a little more impressive.
I'm still picking my brain on what I want my Crisis Suits to look like. Part of the reason I started Tau? Crisis suits. The look. I'm a big fan of Armored Core 4's (and the sequal, For Answer) Noblesse Oblige. It's the wings.

Of course, the question is how exactly do I pull off the wings? I'm toying with cutting off the jet pack, and making them look like they're thrusters. For those of you not so familiar with Armored Core, those 'wings' on Noblesse are actually massiv triple-barrel energy weapons. Not quite on the Crisis Suit, but if you really doubt the inherent badassery of the Noblesse? Take a look at it in the old AC4 trailer. I see Crisis Suits as moving like that, albeit slower. Mostly, it's the side-strafe booster action that makes me think of the jump-shoot-jump kind of thing.

The other thought for booster arrangement is the one on White Glint. You can take a look at White Glint in action here. I think I tried it in my prototype conversion, but didn't do the angles right and didn't get a secondary set of boosters on it.

Kroot pictures to come sooner or later. Oh, and the Piranha's pretty much painted. Just need to touch up the pilots, and they'll get posted up.

Monday, July 20, 2009


This is somewhat King Elessar's fault, mostly for making me think more about Vypers. I've also run them some lately, and been reasonably pleased with the results. That in mind, I think I'll break it down and do another evaluation of the unit, and/or Squadron of Vypers (because you can indeed slap 3 into the same force org slot.)

The Vyper Chassis
Naked, a Vyper is 45 points. It's a small AV10 all-around open-topped fast skimmer. Its gunner is apparently an Eldar civvy; it's got the almight BS3. It packs a chin-mounted twin-linked Shuriken Catapult, though I cannot for the life of me tell you why it does this. Perhaps it's to give the pilot some piece of mind, but he's at least got that canopy. The gunner's stuck with his butt in the wind (...somewhat literally, as you can see) and it's bound to be both thrilling and an incentive to buy plenty of underwear.
It's cheap, it's Fast, it's a skimmer. It can move 12" a turn and fire the main gun (...and if you're suicidally close, the secondary gun). It can move 6" and fire two main weapons, and we'll get to the part where it has two later on. It can also bust out a 24" move if you really need to reposition.
If you didn't notice already, it's AV10 open-topped. Bolters and other small arms are a legitimate threat. In short, Vypers die when the other guy gets a shot at them and decides he wants them to die. Hence the 'boom' part at the end of the title.
Vyper Weapon Options
Vypers have a turret mount, and you must slot something into the turret. You may also drop 10 points to upgrade the chin-mounted twin-linked shuriken catapult to a shuriken cannon (much like any other Eldar skimmer...). For the turret, then, we can use a shuriken cannon, a scatter laser, a star cannon, an Eldar missile launcher, or the good ol' Bright Lance.
I favor the scatter laser or shuriken cannon approach. With BS3, you want volume of shots so some stick. The turret-mounted shuriken cannon is a mere 5 points, and if you want another 12" of range and fourth shot, you get the Scatter Laser. The Star Cannon just doesn't do it for me, since there's this little thing called Cover.
The EML is kind of in the middle; it's so-so against armor and so-so against infantry since it has the S4 AP4 Pinning plasma shot.
The Bright Lance is frightening, but really wants Guide, and makes the base Vyper 75 points.
Kitting Out your Flying Death Trap
So, we know that the Vyper is swift, fragile, and carries a big gun (or two). The next question is, what do we do to it?
Theoretically, it can take the gamut of Eldar skimmer upgrades, like Star Engines, Holo-Fields, Vectored Engines, and Spirit Stones. Theoretically, you could throw all those on and make your Death Trap cost a lot more, but...why would you? Hell, Holo-Fields cost 35 on this thing! Bottom of the line for non-gun options?
None of them hange the fact that you are AV10 open-topped, and go away when someone shoots at you enough.
Now that we've got that out of the way, let's look at some configurations...
Double Shuriken Cannon (60 points)
You upgrade the chin gun to a shuriken cannon, and take one on the turret. It drops six S6 shots at 24", and has the speed to get there. You might spend the first turn getting into position, but past that you should be hosing down the enemy infantry or light transports with the guns. It provides you with a good bit of medium-strength gunfire for this, when your other guns are doing other things. Amazingly, it can also sustain a weapon-destroyed result and still be a threat.
Scatter Laser (60 points)
Same cost as the double-cannon model. I resist putting a cannon on the chin to minimize the cost, and to resist the urge to get to 24". Here, you stay further away from the enemy. Same basic mission as the double-cannon model, just longer range and fewer shots. I think these two are pretty interchangeable.
EML/Cannon (75 points)
This one is theoretically more versatile, as it can move 6" and pop off three S6 shots and a single S8 shot, or 12" for three S6 shots and the plasma missile. It can sustain the loss of a weapon, and remain a threat of sorts. If we're hunting armor, though, the EML is nasty vs. AV10/12, but not significanctly nastier vs. AV 10/11.
Why is that?
BS3 Missile Launcher vs. BS3 Shuriken Cannon
vs. AV10: ML pens 33% of the time; cannon gets a single pen 75% of the time
vs. AV11: ML pens 25% of the time, cannon pens once 25% of the time
AV12 is a glance-fest for the cannon, and the single missile pens it 16% of the time. The missile launcher can at least pen AV13, and might even damage AV14, but why bother? A Lance beats it out any day out of the week on the higher values, does the same at lower, and trades out the silly plasma missile.
Bright Lance (75 points)
We all know how fun bright lances are. So, why not field another one? Well, there are a few things I can see going wrong here. First, it's BS3. Not 100% reliable. Second, it's a bright lance on an AV10 open-topped platform.
I think if you're taking a Bright Lance on your vyper, you don't much love your vypers, because they are fragile and the Bright Lance has a slight psychological impact.
The Flying Death Trap in your army
Psychic Support
It goes without (much) saying that any gun in the Eldar army that isn't twin-linked could always benefit from a good bout of Guide from your friendly neighborhood Farseer. I think Guide is a pretty solid Farseer power anyway, so it has a place in your army. Pretty much anything other than Wave Serpents really benefit from it (since their Lance already has a re-roll). I consider Guide/Doom the Farseer powers for a mech army, and naturally Fortune/Doom go on the Jetbike Seer Council Seer, and he's a bit exclusive from the Vypers.
If, for some reason, you feel like turbo-boosting them, you could always benefit from Fortune on here, but that mostly just means someone will shoot something else. Or, if the Eldar player is using them to contest, the enemy STILL might pump enough shots in to do the trick, since it's still AV10 open-topped and small arms are fair game. (And, of course, we're ignoring the fact that the 'Last Turn' is not always the last turn, unless you know it is because of time constraints, or turn 7, etc.)
The Army
We know that the Farseer is your buddy, but that's just an Eldar truism. Vypers are mobile, and compliment a mechanized army.
They also compliment a mechanized army because as I've said, Vypers die pretty easily. There needs to be that natural saturation of armored targets. They are a compliment; they can be used as a screening unit in deployment, they can help crack transports, or they can get at the juicy bits in freshly-cracked transports.
In this capacity, I use them with the double-cannon or scatter laser model. 24" is probably enough; just commit to moving 'em into position. Additionally, if you're going full mech, you probably have 3-5+ Wave Serpents, all with lances. Shuriken-cannon Vypers give you some much-needed volume of fire, here.
I suppose in larger fights (IE: Apocalypse) where the Force Org chart isn't an issue as much, and the points are, the Bright Lance models are worth a bit more. More firepower if you want it. I don't have a lot of experience in Apocalypse, but it seems like the psychological impact of the Bright Lance and the fragility of the Vyper might be handy here.
Vypers in a Squad
Now, you can theoretically take up to three Vypers in a squad. It goes without saying that they should be equipped alike; they're shooting at the same thing, after all.
The squadron rules, as they are, essentially grant you extra armor; you can always move. However, you also lose the vehicle on an 'immobilized' roll. What does this mean to you?
Don't take Vyper squads unless you're attempting some kind of 'torrent of fire' army* and you really want a lot of Vypers. AV10 open-topped is just not squadron material in any normal sense. Why? Simple. The way weapons work. Weapons from S4-7 tend to be higher rate of fire, and often come in units. The perk of a squad is that you get to distribute the hits.
Spreading out the love is handy in, say, a two-tank Leman Russ squad. Most units other than Fire Dragons put one penetrating hit out at a time, and you can slap them all on one tank. IE: my buddy Jon brought a Pask-terminator (the one with the heavy 3 turret plasma cannon, plasma sponsons, and Pask for the re-rolls and such...) with a regular Russ. Guess where the damage went? (It was only worse for me when I'd brought Wraithguard......but that's a digression for another time.)
But, for Vypers? A single decent autocannon volley is fully capable of blowing away two Vypers. Take something like the Dakka Pred (Autocannon, 2 heavy bolters) and it can SHRED Vypers. +1 to the damage results and death on immobility means that you only need a 3+ to kill a Vyper in a squad if you penetrate it.
Bottom line? Don't take Vypers in squads unless you really want to maximize their numbers.
Summary on Vypers
Vypers are nasty, fast little boggarts. They benefit from maximizing the rate of fire, rather than potency as they are, of course, BS3. They are a fine compliment to a Serpent-heavy mechanized army, adding volume of fire to the quality of several twin-linked BS3 lances.
Or, the more succinct summary? A Vyper's life cycle in three parts is:
*I'm talking like massed war walkers/vypers for a crap-ton of S6 dakka, and then probably some fire dragons/avengers in serpents for scoring/tank busting. I do not have experience playing this type of list, but think it's got promise if you really want to invest in a ton of walkers/Vypers. (...though, if you go double-cannons on 9 vypers and double-scatter-lasers on 9 war walkers, you are looking at...well...126 S6 shots in a turn. Sure, it blows up easy, but if you bring the means to kill AV13/14, it's kind of nasty).

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Engage Brain before Playing, and newer Eldar thoughts

Well, I got a couple games in the other day, and learned some important things.

1) Have head in game.
I'm not sure what the hell happened, but I was just NOT thinking in terms of Eldar the other day. Maybe it's the part where I haven't picked them up in a month, and gave Daemons a chance? The Daemons are a different mindset, as I really do feel like they're more a 'fun' army. They ate an experimental Chaos Footslogger list, then kind of ran against Guard a couple times, and, well, I'll let you guess how Daemons do against mech guard. Hint: NOT VERY WELL.

The most comical moment was in the second round of the day, vs. Mech Chaos. Top of turn 2, I'd lost the gun on the fire prism (after it had flubbed its S9 AP2 small blast off the Obliterators...), and figured I'd just run it up into his face and annoy him with it. So, I grab a grav tank, move it 24" across the board...and promptly realize it's not the tank he wanted.

The dice were also comical; we had some swings both ways. Game one, I had 5 fire dragons take point-blank shots at a Vendetta, and...four missed. YAHTZEE! They had to meltabomb it to death. There was also the Autarch, who charged a lone Guardsman...and BOTH refused to wound the other. Not to be outdone, the Guardsman of Jon's army promptly forgot what meltaguns were for. Also, his experimental Deathstrike managed to scatter clear off the table.

It was...up to the dice, in the end, as his guys were just short of the objective, but what the hell. It was a bad game on my part.

Anyway, the more educational section of the blog.

On Falcons Again
I actually gave these guys a shot again. I configured them as 'Dakka Falcons', which is to say a turret Shuriken Cannon and an underslung Shuriken Cannon. They're about 130 points this way. No cargo.

I am pleased with the volume of fire this Falcon puts out. It's pretty much the Eldar version of the Heavy Bolter/Autocannon predator. It's just faster, one lower BS3, and the guns are all higher strength. However, with Guide it tends to be a bit more accurate. It is also mobile, as it IS a grav tank and all. 6" and pop everything, or 12" and pop one gun. The loadout makes it reasonable for hunting lighter armor, infantry, and monstrous creatures.

BS3 is one con. You can't kill what you can't hit. The other con is a bit of a list thing. Someone sees all those guns, and they KNOW that Wave Serpents are a pain? They might just break a Falcon in two because they can.

I think this is something I might very well use again. It's mobile firepower. It fits with a mobile list, and it's about 130 points.

The Vyper
I'd acquired, and recently painted, a pair of Vypers. I've magnetized (well, one came pretty well magnetized from Xardian) the guns and turret mounts, though so far I think I'm pretty sold on the double shuriken cannon version. It's 60 points, which puts it in the same neighborhood as the double scatter-laser War Walker.

It's cheap, it's swift, it has guns. It's suited to harassing infantry, transports, and the odd monstrous creature (...funny, it's the miracle of S6). It's got the speed to grab side-shots. At the cost, I don't think I mind too terribly much if the thing gets splattered.

And splattered, it will get. Open-topped AV10 is not what we call durable. The most spectacular death was when one ate a Battle Cannon round from the Defiler and simply ceased to exist. 24" range is a little short; a Scatter Laser would keep them safer, but costs more. (The scatter laser version gets four shots at 36" for the same cost) Also, they're kind of the weakest armor in the list, so I am not at all surprised when someone pays them a little attention to just remove them.

I think these little boggarts have a place in a swift, mechanized list. They're a cheap source of extra gunfire, and a fine Guide candidate. I've been taking them in single squads, and while that's not so hot for KP purposes, it means that the enemy's kind of got to think about the amount of firepower they really want to spend on 'em. I mean, it's not much, but if you're shooting them before you're shooting my AV12 grav tanks? I'm probably ok with that.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The Hammerhead and Vypers

Now, normally I think Tau tanks look pretty sweet as-is. It's part of the aesthetic that drew me to the Tau to begin with. Well, this Hammerhead came to me in a trade, albeit not in this form. The form was not pleasing to my eye, and included bits from a Skyray, and some other random stuff. So, I modded it up. The engines got repositioned, and I used the Skyray missile hangar-wing as a set of stubby winglets. Some of the inspiration comes from Descent 3's old Magnum, which is in the bottom left. This Hammerhead has some cleanup here and there, and the base is incomplete, but you get the idea. I'm reasonably satisfied with the rugged-looking paint job; the problem with committing to such vast expanses of a single color is making it look INTERESTING, and I think I pulled that off.
I'm also pretty happy with the way my Vypers came out. They're mottled in grays (fortress gray, space wolf gray, and skull white, actually) to match the same basic thing my Eldar have going on. Same goes for the gold canopies. I got both of these in a trade; one was fully magnetized and one was in the box. When I say 'fully magnetized', I mean the thing could be taken fully apart, the guns were magnetized, etc. I tweaked that one a bit, and instead of popping the whole front canopy assembly off, I just moved a magnet to the chin turret, and kept the gunner's turret magnetized as it was.
I think the two configs I'd run Vypers in are double shuriken cannon (Seen here) and catapult/scatter laser. Even if I don't end up changing loadouts often, I can still track damage readily.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Meditations on the Wraithlord

I don't believe I've actually blogged about this jolly fellow yet, so here goes.
The Wraithlord. It's big, it's burly, and it's tough. It's an Eldar heavy support choice, and instead of a graceful grav tank, it's a hefy monstrous creature.
It's also a damned spiffy sculpt. The one shown here isn't mine, but you get the idea. Without further ado...
The Wraithlord has several pros.
1) Durability
Toughness 8, three wounds, and a 3+ armor save. T8 means that S4 hits simply cannot wound it. Most monstrous creatures have four wounds, but they also tend to be T6. The T8 means that most S8 weapons that break the 3+ save need to see 4's to wound. Imperial plasma at S7 needs to see a 5+ to wound, and autocannons and the like need to put a decent amount of rounds to force saves on the Wraithlord.
Bottom line? T8 means the Wraithlord can absorb a good chunk of abuse.
2) Strength 10
If you end up in assault with the Wraithlord, S10 is short-hand for 'ruins your day.' If you are a vehicle and the Wraithlord hits you, then S10 + 2d6 usually sums up to 'penetrating hit.' It also tends to mean 'instant death' if you're a character. The only non-monstrous-creature that can stand up to a single smack from a Wraithlord is a Necron Lord w/ Destroyer body, just because his rules say he IS T6 with the body, as opposed to say the T4(6) that a Nurgle biker is.
3) Shooting Capability
The Wraithlord naturally mounts a pair of smaller weapons; it has two slots to fit either shuriken catapults or flamers. Translation: it mounts a pair of flamers. There's no point in ever mounting shuriken catapults. This is your Wraithlord's only built-in defense against getting bogged down by hoards of something like Termagants or Hormagaunts.
As a monstrous creature, a Wraithlord may fire two weapon systems. For those that actually consult BS to hit, the Wraithlord is BS4. Beyond the Fire Prism, it's actually the only place in the army to find BS4 heavy weapons. The most accurate weapons platform outside of the 'lord is the Wave Serpent's turret mount at twin-linked BS3 (...which actually beats BS4 with a 75% chance to hit vs. BS4's 66% chance)
The Wraithlord must take a single weapon, and may take a second heavy weapon. It can pick from any of the Eldar heavy weapons (Shuriken Cannon, Scatter Laser, Starcannon, Missile Launcher, Bright Lance) or the Wraithsword, which grants it re-rolls to hit in assault. If you really want, you can take duplicates of the ranged heavy weapon, but then that weapon is treated as a single twin-linked one. Hey, can you drop a lot for a twin-linked BS4 Bright lance! I wouldn't, though.
1) Wraithsight
At the beginning of the turn, you'd better have a psyker within 6", or a Spiritseer within 12" (Spiritseers are simply Warlocks with an upgrade). Otherwise, roll 1d6, and on a 1 the Wraithlord simply stands still, does nothing, and is automatically hit in assault.
Obviously, this is a major concern. Sure, it doesn't happen often, but it DOES mean the Wraithlord might do absolutely nothing when you really want the Wraithlord to contribute to the battle.
It ALSO means that people that can crank out large blasts can potentially threaten the Wraithlord and the attendant psyker.
2) Speed
The Wraithlord moves 6" a turn. Sure, as a monstrous creature it gets Move Through Cover, but that only does so much. It can of course Run, but it should have heavy weapons you're interested in firing.
Bottom line? Lords aren't really that fast.
3) Size
A Wraithlord is something like ~120mm tall. It is difficult to give a Wraithlord cover. A decent chunk of the ranged weapons that are worth shooting at the Wraithlord punch through the 3+ save (IE: Missiles, melta weapons, Rail Guns, Lances....).
If you want to give yourself a cover save, you're going to need a building, an Avatar, or a Grav tank to get cover. There's just a lot of Lord to cover. He's not as hard to obscure as, say, a Soul Grinder, but he's up there.
Oh, and you'll never get cover from a Vendetta. Ever. It'll smoke a Wraithlord in a turn, potentially.
4) Melee Skills
While the Wraithlord is S10 and ignores armor saves, it also has WS4, I4, and 2 base attacks. This means that the enemy can dump a large number of cheap targets into you, and promptly ignore you for the game.
It also means that a large squad with a powerfist can beat you down over a couple turns; you squish a couple of marines and then the champ punches you in the ankle, hard.
Bottom line? You have to be careful what the Wraithlord gets into assault with. Even against something like a Dreadnought, it's a dicey proposition. You have a couple chances to hit them and break them, and then they knock wounds off. S10 power weapons DO ruin your day.
The only way to augment your melee skill? Wraithsword. Get those re-rolls in assault, but you do forfeit a ranged weapon to do it. At least the sword looks snazzy.
Additionally, the big problem is that the Wraithlord is Fearless. If a Wraithlord is part of a multiple-unit combat, the enemy simply ignores the Wraithlord and beats up as many of the other units as possible. If you lose combat because of this, the Wraithlord is subject to 'No Retreat!' wounds, and the enemy inflicts free wounds on your T8 guy. Not so hot. Thus, I wouldn't necessarily always use him to bail you out.
Pro/Con Summary
The Wraithlord needs a psyker attendent. It is a decent gun platform, and resilient against a number of ranged weapons. It needs to be careful in assault, though, as its few attacks won't always fight off a determined enemy that brings a powerfist.
Employing the Wraithlord
1) Support
Per the 'con' section, we can tell that the Wraithlord needs a psyker nearby, and melee support.
Psyker Support
There are two ways to get this: Farseer, and Warlock.
The Farseer is a nigh-on obligatory HQ choice, and if you deploy it near the Wraithlord, it keeps the big lug honest. If you're keeping the Wraithlords near home, then something like a Farseer with Fortune in a unit of Rangers is certainly an option. Otherwise, a Farseer in a Wave Serpent (or Falcon) nearby is similarly an option.
The Warlock is your other option. Warlocks mean Guardians or Seer Councils. Well, not really Seer Councils, as those should be on jetbikes and shoved down your opponent's throat (and the Wraithlord just isn't going to pace that). The speed of the Wraithlord means it can pace Wraithguard, and the Wraithguard troop unit takes a Spiritseer. If you want to run a Guardian squad that sits on your home objective, then you can give them a Warlock with, say, Embolden and Spiritseer.
Melee Support
The Wraithlord does not have the speed to necessarily dictate who assaults it. You can either screen it, or if you're advancing it, you bring someone to bail it out. If you're going on foot, two options come to mind: the Avatar, and Harlequins.
Avatars are relatively cheap at 155 points, and pretty passable in melee. S6, WS10, I6, 6 attacks...yeah, he'll mess stuff up. He really benefits from Fortune with his 3+/4+ saves. He also adds another heavy target out there, which just helps Wraithlords. Good old 'rule of bringing multiple large targets.'
Harlequins are more expensive, but also more potent. They need to be taken in decent numbers (like, 7-9) and should be upgraded with Kisses and a Shadowseer. The Kisses are for lethality, and the Shadowseer is to keep them alive on foot. They'll benefit from Fortune and Doom support.
2) Wraithlord Loadout
In part, it depends on what the rest of your forces have. I always roll with two flamers; there's no point in shuriken catapults.
That aside, I've found myself favoring two combinations: EML/Scatter Laser, and EML/Bright Lance.
The EML/Scatter Laser can crank out a decent number of wounds on infantry and monstrous creatures alike. It can also hunt lighter armor. In close, it kicks out flamers into infantry.
The Bright Lance/EML is pretty dedicated to hunting armor. It throws out two S8 shots a turn, one of which is that ever-lovin' lance.
Dvering's suggested that in a 1,000pt game, a simple 2 flamer/Wraithsword lord is a solid loadout; 3 + an Avatar are about 455 (90 base + 10 for the Sword per lord, + 155 for the Avatar). I agree with him, though will point out that in 1,000, you don't necessarily have enough points for a balanced army. It's a LOT of T8 wounds to deal with, though, and unless they did something like bring Sternguard and their 'wound on 2+ ammo'...they're screwed unless they can outrun you. Still, I think once you get to a more reasonable size like 1,500, the Sword-Lord loses some of his draw.
3) Army Composition: Integrating the Wraithlord
Wraithlords are by nature slow. You can commit to something like Elfzilla, save that it's slow. Any way you look at it, to properly support a Wraithlord you are giving up speed. By its very nature, you can't just toss a Wraithlord into your build willy-nilly; the speed and the Wraithsight see to that.
If you're going to go pure foot, I'd go ahead and commit to triple Wraithlords and an Avatar and Farseer; this means soemthing like 700 points or so, and takes your heavy support and HQ slots up rather neatly. I won't conjecture that it's a good build or not, but you might be in for an uphill battle. A heap of T3 fellows isn't exactly durable, even with cover.
If you're going to partially mechanized, you still need to find a way in your list to leave psykers behind to 'tend' to them. Elfzilla/Wraithzilla neatly covers this with the Spiritseer in the Wraithguard. Other partial-mech builds are likely going to stick either a Farseer/Ranger in the back with them, or Guardian Defenders with a Spiritseer.
Wraithlords in Summary
Wraithlords are hefty gun platforms that, like most monstrous creatures, are more durable than they are killy. They are capable of ripping vehicles apart in assault, though can get bogged down by numerous troops and killed by some assault specialists anyways.
They are capable of putting out respectable ranged firepower at range, and dealing devastating damage with flamers up close.
However, they have special support requirements beyond the simple melee needs, and getting psykers near them is important.
Overall, they have some special needs in terms of build that make them more difficult to use than tanks, and they commit you to a slower, more durable detachment if not army as a whole.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Making Daemons 'work'

My most recent games have been with the Chaos Daemons, as I've wanted a break from Eldar.

The army's looked like:

3 Heralds of Tzeentch (Chariot, Bolt of Tzeentch, Master of Sorcery, Soul Devourer)

3 units of 5 Fiends of Slaanesh

4 units of 5 Plaguebeareres

2 units of 8 Bloodletters

3 Daemon Princes (Mark of Tzeentch, Bolt, Daemonic Gaze)

total: just under 1850

This is admittedly borrowed from Stelek and adapted to 1850.

What do I like about it?

The Fiends and Heralds put out a ludicrous amount of firepower. I like the multi-heralds, and admittedly they soak some serious abuse and tend to be good for hunting vehicles and infantry in the open.

The Plague Bearers are pretty solid for holding objectives. T5, a 5+ and Feel No Pain soak lots of abuse, especially when you go to ground in cover on objectives. Multiple units force the enemy to deal with it, and to split firepower (or combine it) to oust them.

The Daemon Princes and Bloodletters, I'm not as sold on. The Bloodletters are great, 'til there's no infantry for them to mulch. I mean, against a footslogging Chaos army, I annihilated one of his 3 large troops units with 'em. They blew away 9-10 guys on the charge (and this was like a 4-5 'letter squad) and the Fiends accounted for a couple.

But, dropping in vs. Guard? They're just not fast enough to get to grips with vehicles.

The Daemon Princes are great if the other guy's melta-heavy. If he's got just a lot of heavy weapons like autocannons and heavy bolters, then they're going to drop, as T5 and a 4+ just don't go far.

So, if we cut it to the Fiends, Plaguebearers and Heralds, we have a list that costs 1,110 points. We get options again, and have 2 troops, 3 fast attack, 3 heavy support, and 1/2 an HQ slot open.

We could concievably drop a Herald and fit a Greater Daemon in. I've a converted Fateweaver and Skarbrand sitting around I could use. Could always break that list out again and see how it rolls.

I've got Nurglings built, but am open to converting something else for the troops section.

Some thoughts...
I have a pair of Soul Grinders sitting around. Probably going to e-bay them, but there's always the option of just running them and not trying to convert up Daemon Princes. We'll be running them with at least one of the gun options, so we'll assume they cost 160 each. Soul Grinders are desirable as they are big, draw lots of fire, and nasty.

So, we go from 1,110 to 1,430. That leaves us 420 points to play with...I don't feel like buying a third Grinder, to be honest.

At this point, to be honest, I'm thinking about Furies a little. Furies have speed, and at least the strength to damage vehicles. Their statline is not exactly impressive, but their speed lets them pace the Fiends and such. Of course, their lethality leaves something to be desired...

I think going up to 3x6 Fiends is probably a good way to use some of those points; make those Fiends units a little harder to kill off. That costs me another 90 points, and puts me at 330 remaining. That's space enough to get a couple units.

I could go back to two units of 10 Bloodletters...but that doesn't really enarmor me.

I could go to two units of 11 Furies. I think I just might have to get that a shot, but I'm reasonably sure how that's going to turn out. If nothing else, I'll hope to use them to hold people in place for the Fiends.

The list, then, would look like:

Herald of Tzeentch
-Chariot, Bolt, Master of Sorcery, Soul Devourer

Herald of Tzeentch
-Chariot, Bolt, Master of Sorcery, Soul Devourer

Herald of Tzeentch
-Chariot, Bolt, Master of Sorcery, Soul Devourer

6 Fiends of Slaanesh

6 Fiends of Slaanesh

6 Fiends of Slaanesh

5 Plaguebearers

5 Plaguebearers

5 Plaguebearers

5 Plaguebearers

11 Furies

11 Furies

Soul Grinder w/ gun upgrade (not sure which type)

Soul Grinder w/ Gun Upgrade

total: 1850

Total units: 14; or 7/wave.

Opening Wave
2 Heralds, 2 Soul Grinders, 3 Fiends

Reserves: Herald, 4 Plaguebearers, 2 Furies

It's a thought...but it's daemons, and daemons just have some shortcomings.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

More Tzeentch Heralds, and even a Devilfish

Well, I was busy on the fourth of July, but here we go. I finished painting up the two converted Jetbike-chariot Tzeentch heralds. Flamer + Jetbikes + weapon bits + melee bits from Chaos Knights.
And a less well-lit shot. It conceals the part where the red herald's scythe didn't glue straight.

And, the first (and maybe only) Devilfish needed for the Tau. It's heavily drybrushed, and meant to look like it's beat-up and worn and been in the field a while. The snow hasn't been added to the base. You can also see the smart missile conversions; it's a Mechwarrior: Dark Age bit that I already have, and it beats bit-ordering the things.

I do think I'm going to cut the flying base down a bit to make it look like it's the lower flying base.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Herald of Tzeentch Completed

I've completed the Herald I hinted at a post or two ago. I like the way it's come out for the most part.
I'm also reasonably proud of the Tzeentch mark on the back. There was a lot of empty space on the back of the Destroyer body; at best it was kind of textured with the drybrushing and washing. At worst it was kind of 'bleh.' So, I pencilled in the symbol, then painted it, and BAM! Emeril-style, it looks better.
The base is a standard 60mm round, and the lava-bits are Squadron Green Putty. Gotta love that stuff for adding texture to bases. Then it's painted, and some GF9 ash waste flcok thrown into it when it's drying.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Deathwing Conversion sub-assembly 1, Daemon Teaser

Here, we see a side-by-side comparison of the old metal termies (left) and the new plastic ones (right). Note carefully that Mr. Metal Termie is short and squad, while the plastic one stands taller and looks even more menacing. (Yes, he's big enough that his storm bolter and powerfist still look cooler than the thunder hammer and storm shield the other dude has.) This is a problem for me, as I am using metal termies in my Deathwing-conversion project.

Why? Simple. I simply CANNOT sell my termies. It's not worth it. The Assault on Black each boxed set is a solid bargain, and as such you can order 5 plastic terminators on-sprue for $10-15 dollars. I just don't feel like handing off Termies for $2 a head. It seems like a waste of my time.

So, I'm going to do something even more time-consuming: invoke the almighty power of Counts-As, and make a Deathwing-themed army.

And THIS is how we solve the problem. The Terminator in the middle is a bizarre, unholy fusion of plastic and metal. How did he come to this terrible state? Simple. I temporarily relieved him of his arms, hacksawed him in half at the waste, and then inserted a cutting of 1mm thick plasticard. Note that it's not precise, but that's what green stuff (or, in my case, green-stuff robes) are for. Note how that even without the arms, he stands tall and proud. Soon, franken-fusion termie, you'll have arms again.

Behold, the beginning of the unholiness. Seven terminators relieved of arms, rent in twain, and then enhanced with plasticard. The work begins. Dramatic proof I'm serious about this Deathwing thing.
More proof I'm serious will involve mass-producing cloaks to go on them (taken from a casting of the Chaos Terminator Lord/Sorceror's kit) and mass-producing the FTW-style pre-heresy terminator shoulder pads.
And, the promised teaser: one of my heralds of Tzeentch. I had a necron destroyer laying around from that temporary-insanity phase where I tried to run a Necron army, and realized there's a difference between challenging yourself with a codex, and playing an army that's deficient. This guy needs a little more paint, but I'm pleased with how he's going. It fits into the Daemonforge theme I've got going on.