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Friday, 10 April 2015

Thoughts on the upcoming new Eldar Craftworld codex

So the rumour is that the Eldar codex released at the end of 2012 is for the chop, destined to become obsolete bunch of pages that's only use will be as a door stop. 

Many argue that it was an overpowered codex that ushered in a shift in the balance of 40k. The centrepiece of this shift, the Wave Serpent enabled Eldar players to take a transport with enough fire support that the army's default tank, the Falcon became redundant. 

Key to the success of this vehicle was the Serpent shield. The option to use it in a defensive or offensive capacity is still a bone of contention amongst 40k player of the non Eldar persuasion. The 'ignores cover'  attribute was particularly painful for enemy vehicles, negating 'jink' saves just added to their fear factor. 

If the Wave Serpent was king of the transports then Wraithknight was its wing man. Its presence on the table normally serves as a distraction. These two still are the staple of my force. But I do not take them because they are formidable units. I take them because they enable the rest of the force to work. 

The biggest weakness of the Eldar is their toughness or lack thereof. Walking Eldar infantry across a battle field is a recipe for disaster. They will never make it into combat. All Eldar infantry has a range of 24 or less, outside of Dark Reapers. This means almost every other army can shoot the Eldar before being shot at. 

The Wraithknight acts as a bullet magnet and the Wave Serpent keeps all the little guys safe until it's time to deliver their payload. The Eldar get none of the cheese like the Necrons with their save and reanimation protocol or the Daemons with their invulnerable saves t. Space marines have infantry with a 2+ save and 5+ invulnerable save. If I take Wraithblades I can give them ghost axes and force shields and they will have 3+ armour and 4+ invuls. But they have no delivery method. No assault vehicle to charge from. 

The Howling Banshees were a once formidable unit. But the lack of a an assault vehicle means they are not fit for purpose anymore. And their aspect warrior kin Striking Scorpions suffer a similar fate of not quite as bad due to their better armour and stealth. 

Still I suspect the Eldar to be hit hard with nerfs. I think laser lock, the ability to twin link weapons after hitting with a scatter laser will go.
Wraith D-weapons are also likely for a hit. Some of the Eldar war gear such as the Ghosthelm, warp jump generators and the like will disappear. All the little rules that make the Eldar that little bit better will go that's my suspicion, but time will tell. 

Thursday, 29 January 2015

2015 and a new old army

So I've stripped my old Ultramarines of their paint, removed all their back packs and amputated any limbs that were once attached to a sprue. 

I've chosen a colour scheme, black, Khorne red, and Hawk turquoise. I've decided that they are an attempt to solve the flaws of the Blood Angels by merging their gene seed with that of a stable force, in this case the Imperial Fists. Hence their name will be the Blood Fists. 

The next conundrum to conquer along my path is which codex to use? The Blood Angels get some cool perks associated with their red thirst and black rage. Their faster vehicles are appealing and their models are amongst the best in the entire space marine range.  And then there is Death Company. Obviously if my Chapter doesn't suffer from the black rage then there can't be a Death Company. 

On the flip side of this argument is the standard codex astartes which I already own, and allows me to take the Legion of the Damned as elites, as opposed to allies. In an ideal world I would have done a soley legion army, but alas such a thing isn't an option under the current rules.   

So do you have any opinions that may clear or muddy the the water? If so please share. 

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Altansar Eldar Vs Ultramarines

 So this battle was a 2400 point skirmish between the Imperium's favourite sons, the Ultramarines and the the shadowy Eldar outcastes known as Altansar Eldar.

The scenario was the Emperors Will from the Eternal War missions. There was a mysterious objective located in the forest to the left of the map  and in the large building to the right , (two in total) worth three victory points each. Standard points for Line breaker,  Slay the Warlord, and First Blood.

The map was set out so that each corner had a building for use, one side was slightly elevated. I won the roll off and elected to go first. Matt of the Imperium failed to seize the initiative, which isn't surprising against the Eldar who are known for their dazzlingly fast attacks.

Led by Chief Librarian Tigurius the Ultramarines had a largely mechanised  force consisting of a Landraider, a Vindicator, two Predators, a Whirlwind, three Storm Talons, and a Storm Raven Gunship, a Centurion Devastator Squad, a Terminator Squad, a Tactical Squad,  and a Vanguard Veteran Squad accompanying Tigurius himself.

My main concern with this army was the Centurions and the Storm Talons and and Storm Raven Gunship. I knew that the Ultramarines would want to get behind my Wave Serpents to bring them down as soon as possible.
Facing off against this mass of ceramite and plasteel were an Eldar force led by Karandras and a band of Striking Scorpions in a Wave Serpent. A Wraith Guard squad in a Wave Serpent, another armed with D-Scythes in  Wave Serpent and a unit of Fire Dragons accompanied by Eldrad Ulthran and a Farseer.  In reserve lay a unit of Warp Spiders and a Wraith Knight with Sun Cannon and Scatter Shield.

I infiltrated my Striking Scorpion with their Wave Serpent directly into one of the buildings to claim the mysterious objective which turned out to earn me the Skyfire rule for models within three inches. This was a blessing as I had nothing in my army with anti-flyer capacity save for taking advantage of the twin linked ability of the Wave Serpent.
I moved up the Wraith Cannon Squad to claim the second mysterious objective which was nowhere near as beneficial as the Skyfire bonus. This time getting a reduced charge range for attackers.

I chose to leave my Wraith Knight in reserve, a decision I would regret later.

My Fire Prism's took two hull points off his Land Raider and stunned it, rendering it useless for a turn.

So the end result was a win for my forces. In convincing fashion the smurfs were put to the sword, the only failure was the inability to take down Tigurius. 

My Current Altansar Warhost

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Altansar Eldar (with Allies) Vs Eldar

In this skirmish the mission was 'The Relic' from the Eternal War set. The Relic was situated in the crossroads at the centre of the battlefield, and three victory points went to the player holding it at the end of the game.

 There was a building in each corner of the battle field, separated by a road and space craft debris.  One side of the map had a Fire Base and a ruined fort, the other, a Bastion and container depot.

Eldar List
Eldrad Ulthran
Five Dark Reapers (with Exarch and Star shot missiles)
Ten Dire Avengers (with Exarch and Shimmer Shield)
Ten Dire Avengers (with Exarch and Shimmer Shield)
Ten Striking Scorpions with Exarch
Two Fire Prisms
Six Swooping Hawks (with Exarch and Sun Rifle)

Altansar Eldar
Two Farseer's
One Spirit Seer
Four Warlocks
Five Dire Avengers in a Wave Serpent
Five Dire Avengers in a Wave Serpent
Five Fire Dragons in a Wave Serpent
Five Wraith Guard with D-Scythes in a Wave Serpent
Turn One
He won the roll off and elected to go first (I forgot to seize the initiative). He placed his Dark Reapers in the Bastion giving them a good view of the map, and used Eye on Distant Events to move his Fire Prism's to the flanks. He then set up his Dire Avengers in cover behind the Bastion and the container depot. He infiltrated his Scorpions into the ruined fort with the objective of using them to secure the relic. His attempts to guide his Fire Prism's were denied by my Altansar force's superior numbers, and everything else was out of range, or made jink saves to avoid being taken down by Reaper missiles.

 In my turn I sent the Wave Serpent that were on snapshots up the middle and parked them end to end over the relic, with the notion of using them as a barrier for my relic retrieval team of Fire Dragons, Dire Avengers, Farseer and Warlocks. The other two Wave Serpents positioned on the Fire Base and reigned down scatter laser and Shuriken cannon fire on the infiltrating Scorpions reducing them to three in number. One of the Snap shooting Wave Serpents managed to kill another, leaving them a two man squad.
Turn Two
Despite having the psychic dice tipped in my favour I was unable to dispel the five dice he used to cast Guide on his Dark Reapers, and two others on one of his Fire Prisms. The end result of this was one wrecked Wave Serpent from the Relic Retrieval Team (RRT) which gained the Eldar First Blood, and another Wave Serpent atop the Fire Base with a stunned crew and two lost hull points. This left my Fire Dragons, Exarch and a Warlock able to circle around the relic, claiming it for themselves. His Swooping Hawks arrived and hid in the corner of the map at my table edge, grenades ineffective against Wave Serpent armour. The cowering Dire Avengers hiding behind the Bastion decided that they should enter the fray and ran into combat.

 The other RRT Wave Serpent deployed its cargo of  Altansar Dire Avengers and Warlocks who used the wrecked RRT Wave Serpent as cover. The RRT Wave Serpent then picked up the Farseer and his Warlock buddies and high tailed it out of dodge. The stunned Wave Serpent crew made for the Dire Avengers in the container depot ,wildly missing with its weapons,  whilst praying that it would get close enough to deliver its deadly cargo of D-Scythe armed Wraith Guard. The airborne RRT Wave Serpent took cover behind the Fire Base, relic and Farseer safe within its confines. The Warlocks used Disruptor on the remaining Scorpions, wiping them out. Turn Three

The Eldar Dire Avenger squads moved up but were shy of the range needed to gun down their target of choice, the Fire Dragons.

The Dark Reapers took aim at the advancing Wave Serpent that was making a beeline for Eldrad and the Dire Avenger squad, and promptly wrecked it. It's Wraith cargo was forced to deploy early, but ultimately in range to use their deadly weapons.

The Fire Prisms took aim at Wave Serpents but failed to hit their targets.

The Swooping Hawks came out of hiding landed just next to the ruined fort with a clear line of sight on the Scorpion killing Warlock twins. They had positioned themselves anticipating fire from another source, believing that they wold be able to go to ground if necessary thus gaining a 3+ cover save. That plan was null and void when the Hawks dropped down beside them, the volume of fire reducing them to a pulp no invulnerable save could repel.

The Altansar Wraith Guard took full advantage of their awesome weapons scoring 21 (and several instant death dice) hits on Eldrad and his team. At the end of the shooting all that was left was space where they had once stood. It was a devastating example of the power of D-Scythes, and another victory point for the Altansar for Slay the Warlord, bringing their total to four points to the Eldar one.
The Wave Serpent on the Fire Base dropped its Dire Avengers, Farseer and Spirit Seer off and joined the RRT Serpent in order to protect it's rear armour from would-be deep strikers.

The Altansar Dire Avengers took aim at the Swooping Hawks and ripped their pretty wings to shreds and whittled them down until they were three, removing them as the only viable threat to the relic and it's Farseer Warlord custodian.

It was this turn where I was able to bring in the allies for my army. I had been contemplating taking Six Warp Spiders as a Fast Attack option, but six spiders, an Exarch, Powerblades and the Fast Shot Exarch brought the cost of the unit up to 154 points (or there about's).

I have Swooping Hawks but have never used them due to their frailty and relatively weak weapons. They were never truly in contention for a spot. My Wraith Knight is typically a must have but in order to bring Wave Serpent spam he was forsaken in this battle. So I brought the

Legion of the Damned!!!!!!!

For a five man squad with a Heavy and ranged weapon the cost was around 125 points. Now consider that they deep strike, have 3+ invulnerable saves, ignore cover and get a bonus on their deep strikes thats some value for money.  Plus they get all the standard Space Marine stuff like Krak and Frag grenades, rapid fire, better strength and toughness than Eldar it was almost a no brainer. 

My intention was to assault the Dark Reapers in the Bastion, but bad dice put my LOD on the ground in front of a Fire Prism. Plan B involved a krak grenade attack on the Heavy Support option, but my opponent conceded and the game was over. 

In conclusion the decision to take Wave Serpent spam was the difference between the two forces. But this time it was the Wave Serpent's primary function as Dedicated Transport which made it so useful. Being able to put the Wraith Guard in close range was integral to their success. And being able to move the relic to my own table edge against footdar essentially ended the game as my opponent faced a slow walk across the map which  they would have eventually been whittled down until none remained.  It was nice that the awesome fire power of the unit wasn't really utilised so much. In fact almost any dedicated transport would have done the job. Yay for Dedicated Transports!!

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

An unlikely alliance ?

The Altansar craft world was in the Eye of Terror for a thousand years and in that time it is reasonable to assume that it would have had to defend itself numerous times against all manner of vile creatures. 

Now if these Eldar were constantly fighting would it fair to assume that they would have attracted the attention of the chaos gods? Specifically Khorne and Tzeetch. 

After all the God of war that is Khorne surely must have been impressed with the survivability of the craft world. 

Factor in Khorne's hatred of Slaanesh and an Alliance with the Altansar Eldar makes perfect sense. 

And if it wasn't the Altansar ability to fight that allowed them to endure then the only plausible way that they survived must be magic which would have drawn the attention of Tzeetch. 

It is said that the Altansar craftworld lurks in the shadow of Terra and if so is this mere coincidence or by design. Could the changer of ways have some nefarious plan waiting to be actioned. It is easy to see how the other Eldar craftworlds might be suspicious. 

The only thing that doesn't quite fit is Maighan Ra's hatred of chaos. After all his home world was immersed in it for an age. On the flip side he wasn't with the Craftworld and therefore his thinking and form weren't influenced by it. 

What do you think? Is there substance to any of this? 

Monday, 29 September 2014

Is my army broken?

So as you may have guessed by now (if you havent I suggest you get a CT scan), I play with an Eldar army. This past week I played against a new player in my local club in a 2K point game. My list was as follows:

2x Warlocks

1x Wave Serpent with 5 Dire Avengers
2x Four Windrider Jetbikes with one shuriken cannon

1x Wave Serpent with four Striking Scorpions with an Exarch and Scorpion claw (five man team).
1x Wave Serpent with five Wraithguard with D-Scythes
1x Wave Serpent with five Fire Dragons with Exarch and Fast Shot exarch power (five man team).

Heavy Support:
1x Wraithknight with Scatter laser, Sun cannon, and Scatter shield
2x Fire Prism

I'm not entirely sure of his list but it included two Forge Fiends, a Helldrake, Chaos Space Marine Terminators, three Obliterators, around twenty Cultists, and at least two tactical Chaos Space Marine squads. 

Suffice to say it wasn't pretty. Especially for him. And for me it was too easy, verging on embarrassing. And I was taking it easy on him, whilst trying to remain competitive. 

The problem lies with the Wave Serpent. Everyone who plays 40K knows that the Eldar are a glass hammer army. Used incorrectly they die quickly. They don't do well in close combat (not since the nerfing of Mandiblasters, Banshee masks, Power blades and the lack of an assault transport). And of course anything not made of wraithbone has toughness 3. 

The Wave Serpent mitigates it all. The toughness three is covered up by keeping the troops in the tank until you need them to deliver their payload, the hull rating of twelve on front and sides making it tough to take down. And then when your opponent does get a penetrating shot it can be downgraded to a glance (provided you didn't shoot with the Serpent Shield_ on a 2+. Unlike the Rhino the Wave Serpent can put out up to fourteen shots (4 for scatter laser, 3 for shuriken cannon, and 2-7 if you use the Serpent Shield) some of which rend, some ignore cover, and some twin link everything! And it's a skimmer!So it gets jink saves! 

My opponent could not take mine down. I removed his forge fiends from play within two turns with guided Fire Prisms and his lack of deep striking or anti tank infantry was conspicuous in its absence. Bolter fire does not cut the mustard!Let alone wraithbone. 

That and his fixation with killing my Wraithknight were his downfall. Another thing which is potentially broken. 

I keep my Wraithknight out of trouble. I see it as a mid range Anti-Infantry Weapons platform. The Scatter laser is key here as twink linking effect it has for the Sun cannon is essential for maximum effect, especially when you roll as many bad dice as I do. Placing three blast markers with AP2 will ruin most infantry, regardless of what it is. My record so far for casualties caused in a single shooting turn is 16 (Imperial Guard).

Wraithguard with D-Sycthes delivered by Wave Serpent (what else would I use?) are also very dangerous. Template, ignore cover, AP2, instant death on a 6, D3 shots when being charged=carnage!

I haven't got myself a Jetbike Seer Council yet, I'm not sure its needed really. I've lost two games at my club since I've started using my Eldar and both of them were marred by rule issues. The first when my Wave Serpent taken out but a tank that can't take out a Wave Serpent. The second when I wasn't clear on the game objectives and secured four of them without realising that I only needed the ones on my tactical cards, which left me tactically screwed by the time i found out in turn four. 

This makes me wonder if I should be using something else because I'm not as good a player as my win/loss ratio would suggest? It's a bit like Formula One. If the car is good, then the driver is going to get decent results even if he is mediocre. That's how I feel about my army. Its a high powered machine with an adequate driver.