Monday, 31 August 2009

Strakens Mob

Club Night. Knew that the only people likely to turn up were Chris (nurgle marines) Rich (Tzeentch Chaos marines, or Tau) and possibly Stuart (Chaos or Grey Knights) so designing my army I suppose I had the possibility of power armour in mind. I didn't let it hold me that much though, as I still took a valkyrie with rocket pods (pretty useless against power armour) but it gave me a fast transport that could outflank.

Other than that I tried a Daemon hunters Inquisitor Lord (for the all areas phsyic hood) and access to a callidus assassin. I then took a Psyker Battle Squad - a rather lethal combination in mind. I took the ever indispensable Marbo. 1 full infantry platoon (command and 5 squads) The command had a few meltaguns and a chimera - the plan being a roving tank hunter. The squads each had a meltagun, with squad 1 also having a commisar and a vox, so the whole mob would get a boost should I feel the need to merge them. For example, for an annihalation mission. Usual Straken command squad, couple battle tanks and a hydra. vet squad with 3 meltaguns and demolitions to ride the valkyrie.

So anyway, on to the mission. Against Rich and his Tzeentch marines. Oh look, Annihalation. Oh look Dawn of War. Oh look, I'm going second. Lovely. :oS Not at ALL what I expected, honest!!!

Started well. Siezed the initiative. That then didn't achieve much. Couldn't see more than about 6 inches due to night fight. Oh well. I was in position for next time. He advanced on me. Just manouvering games so far.

Second turn. Looking good. my reserves arrive. Valkyrie drops the vets in front of the defiler. Lined up the melta shots. Marbo appeared in the wreckage of a crashed aquilla, with murder in his heart and a chaos lord and termy squad in demo charge range. And the Callidus appeared behind a squad of marines. The psykers upset the marines slightly. Put them at -9 to their Ld. Making that Str 8 against Ld flame template the Callidus has suddenly look a lot more nasty. ^ hit. 6 wounds. 5 5+ inv saves. Bugger. Fired a few more things to take them beyond the morale check stage. Which they had a 1 in 36 chance of passing. The callidus would then have been able to destroy them with a charge. I was tempted to battle cannon the squad, but felt that I'd done enough to achieve my objective, so fired on another squad. The shot scattered 8 inches back towards my assassin, killing her instantly. The squad broke and ran, but they lived to regather their wits. In Richs turn his dread evened the score - by fire frenzy killing a 120 point marine squad. But that more pressingly dangerous marine squad rallied and rejoined the fray. Marbo was beaten to death, and the daemon prince charged my mob of guard. Was unpleasantly surprised to find the guard run towards him with counter strike, for a whopping 28 attacks. 3 wounds, which he saved. Course now I had a squad that was stubborn (commissar) at ld 8, and if failed it would lose a sergeant then retest. Normally you'd then be testing on Ld7, but because the squads were merged, I had 5 sergeants I could execute before suffering an Ld penalty. These guys were in for the long haul. Meanwhile, the vets, having done little more than bunged the battle cannon of the now seriously pissed off defiler, grimly accepted their fate. And primed their melta bombs. The defiler didn't realise until too late that the crunchy morsals it was chewing on had some extra crunchy bits in their hands, and was wrecked. The vets, having lost 4 of their number, moved on to threaten the victorious terminators.

Turn 4 and my valkyrie was still miraculously active. Presumably because until his lesser daemons turned up, Rich recognised the thing as not much of a threat. The lesser daemons were having trouble getting from their plane of existance to ours, thanks to some outstanding though somewhat vague work by the officer of the fleet, whose communication with the fleet in orbit presumably disrupted warp space in the area, if the lack of daemonic activity was anything to go by. The terms took some more fire but weathered the storm thanks to their inv saves. The marine squad and the thousand sons took more casualties, but Richs inv saves were keeping him in the game. I couldn't score the kill points. Meanwhile, the marine squad my Callidus would have dispatched proved to be a thorn in my side, killing a leman russ, in addition to a chimera on the previous turn.

Turn 4 saw some comedy genius as a rhino decided to ram my chimera for lack of anything better to do. But it only moved 9 inches at the point of impact. So had a str of 5 against my armour 12. While I had 6 against his 11. End result. One immobilised Rhino. Straken got out of his chimera on his turn and went to exchange insurance details. Upon finding out the rhino lacked even third party cover, he ripped it to shreds. His mob, having eventually dragged down the daemon prince, tried to move out of range of the looming dreadnaught. The ever irritating Thorn squad killed a hydra, and I picked off a few more from each squad, butnot enough. I normally like to concentrate fire as much as possible, but the lay of the land forced my hand. Plus the only weapons with the range to choose their targets were all big templates, and the targets i was trying to bring down most were in among my lines. Eventually I finished off thorn squad, but at the cost of three kill points (4 if you include my assassin) and a lot of killing power, it felt too little too late.

Seeing the end of the game looming, and being behind by 7 points to 4 (not bad for a guard game i suppose) Straken decided to lead by example. He took his squad straight towards the nearest dread. Simultaneous attacks - the dread caused 3 instant killing blows. Straken had a 5+ inv - he made 2. he was dead. He did get his attacks in, though only hitting three times in 5 attacks ona 3+ was a little dissapointing. 2 penetrating hits though - weapon destroyed and stunned. Bugger. So it seems the dreadnaught squashed straken like a bug, but in doing so fouled up his powerfist. he really is a man of adamantium isn't he? Course, that left us with a difficult situation. A dread with barely any attacks, and me with none that could hurt it. Should have paid for hte Krak grenades, it was a measly 5 points, but who needs that I thought, Straken will rip apart any tank he assaults... Luckily the dread was killing one a turn at best, and my banner meant that I had +1 combat resolution. So neither side was going anywhere.

With the game slipping away from me we rolled and found it ended in a victory for RIch on turn 6, I believe the score was 7-5 at the time. We played turn 7 for shits and giggles. I got my psykers out of their battered chimera to target the squads assaulting them. With a lucky AP roll I could potentially get those terms, or at least finish off the wounded lord. I also needed to take out the free dread, and take out the chaos sorcerer. And then hold on and prey. Well the AP was a 4, so my psykers were dead in the water. The meltaguns penetrated and stunned the dread;. Not enough. And several lasguns and a chimera couldn't get the sorcerer. In reply he finished off the meltaguns, the chimera, and the psykers. Turn 7 end score, 10-5. That's more like a guard annihalation mission.

It was a good fun game, with some hilarious moments. The assassin getting pegged by the battle tank. The chaos dread decinding "no measly battle tank is gonna show me up, I'm gonna kill my troops too!" The rhino driver "yeah it looks harder, but we should still ram it, we're bound to win we're chaos we have spiky bits!" Or the look of confusion on the defilers... face? As the veteran he just ate gives him a serious case of indigestion. It was a funny game. I just wish I could stop rolling annihalation. Sigh.

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

The Perils of Plastics

For the last few weeks I've carried on fielding my Dark Elves. First I just wanted to try out a different army, then I had a game arranged against Rich, then last night we finally played that game after he didn't turn up the week before...

But anyway, a little more Dark Elf than I originally intended, but it has been fun. I like the army and the way it plays. I love the models, especially given most of my army is in plastic. For painting and modelling purposes, I always prefer plastic. It's easier to build, to convert, and tends to break and chip far less. However, from these games I have noticed a slight problem of my army. It's very basic.

I have plenty of core choices. And I have my beautiful Cold One Knights (special) plus a couple of (ammoyingly metal) bolt throwers (rare.) But in my game last night against Rich - well, games actually. But in the first game my entire army failed pretty much every morale check it was required to make and promptly fled the table. The only unit that held got their charge in, Rich made 7 out of 8 4+ wards, so only marginally lost the combat and held them in place for a sound thrashing once his supporting units got into the thick of things. It was all over so quickly we decided we had time for another game. Anyway, I digress. I noticed that he had 3 core choices. I had 7. And while my assassins can beef any core choice up and give it some fighting prowess, having to use my assassins to make those units combat worthy is a bit of a points sink. What I'd like would be a centre piece unit for the army. A special choice. I tried it last night with the Cold Ones, but being cavalry I don't like shackling them to the centre of my lines. Plus it means their additional speed is wasted.

Now there are a couple of options available to me. Executioners and Black Guard. Executioners have Killing Blow, Black Guard are stubborn, immune to pschology, and have more attacks. Either one of these would be good central units. I could vary it depending on the game. However, there's a problem. They're only available in metal models.

Now I have to admit, I think the models for both these units are in fact beautiful models. So it isn't a dislike of the models (apart from the inconvenience.) The trouble is that to assemble a unit of 20 or so, I'm looking at forking out about £45 per unit. That's a hell of an outlay for an untried unit.

Obviously I don't get all that much chance to play, 4 weeks on 4 off, so playtesting with proxied models is unlikely to be an option. Plus with plenty of forge world goodies catching my eye, plus those excellent new Demolisher and Hellhound kits available, I have plenty of other things calling on my attention. On the bright side, I barely touch the Tomb Kings and I've got practically everything I could want for the Empire so at least this is the only thing calling on my attention for fantasy. In 40k it's a lot harder - so many nice Guard things, plus the need to make my Orks into something resembling a workable army, and all those Stompa conversions I had in mind... I think the Stompas may have to wait. You can't get apocalypse bits without a core army for it to support. I had been thinking that my guard were pretty much done apart from anything I fancied for apoc - therefore I was free to start the Orks. Then they brought out the new codex. I'm not complaining mind, but now my basic guard army of 10,000 points looks perilously short of Valkyries, Vendettas, Devildogs, Banewolfs, punishers, executioners, hydras, medusas... and that's just vehicles, I haven't even gotten to the penal legions and psyker battle squads yet!

Gw. I love you. And hate you. Long may it continue. But please, please, get everything you do on plastic asap. Just do me a favour... make the new executioners and black guard plastics EXACTLY like the current metal ones... please? :oD I think I'm being a bit optimistic here.

Oh, and to finish, I don't know why I'm complaining about metals... I'm about to make a forge world order. Ooh the thrills of working in resin. Sigh.