Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Photo Battle Report - Ulthwe Vs White Scars

It's been a while since I've gotten to play a game, in part because I had promised myself I couldn't get a game in until after I'd finished painting one of my units.  With them done I could finally get in a game.

The imperial forces were made up of two formations, the White Scars formation that allows them to disembark, shoot, and re-embark, and the flyer formation (in this case Ultramarines).

The My Ulthwe force is a Craftworld Warhost with a an attached Path of Heroes formation.  The Auxiliary Aspect host is Warp Spiders, Dire Avengers and Shining Spears and got the +1 BS.

there's a close up of my new Eldrad, but I should note, this is NOT a Seer Council.  He's simply attached to a Warlock Conclave through the Guardian Host.  (that Farseer is on a bike and is in the next picture).

This is a close up of my new Shining Spears unit.  They've got an Autarch and Farseer on bikes attached.  I pretty much built the army around this unit to give them a real test.  In this close up you can also see the Solitaire, which is really one of my favorite models.  He's also an absolute beast.

Of the last 7 games I've had in a row, 5 I lost the option to go first, and in the two I won the dice off I had the initiative seized.  This time I was happy to break the trend when I rolled the dice off.  Here you can see my set up after I scored 3 units getting to scout thanks to Eldrad's warlord trait.

This is what the White Scars looked like when they were deployed... moments before they seized the initiative from me, making it 8 games in a row that I've been forced to go second, and 3 games in a row on which I've been seized.  I have learned to hate that rule.

At the close of the first turn the White Scars had managed to only inflict a single wound on the Avatar in their first turn with all their shooting.  It's not that I rolled particularly well, but thanks to Shrouding in the Heroes' Path formation giving my Jester and Shadowseer a 2+ cover save, and my opponent's intensely bad luck hitting or wounding other targets I emerged almost totally unscathed.

My response was... lame.  The Avatar missed shooting a Land Raider at point blank range (despite a 2+ rerollable, something he's now done for the second game in a row), but the D cannons managed to take out the Land Raider Netting me first blood.  My combined shooting from the Shining Spears, Dire Avengers and WraithKnight managed to kill the honor guard that had been packed in the Raider leaving only the Character with a sword that inflicts ID on a 6 and his Librarian friend.

A close up of the Captain and his Librarian friend contemplating why they actually exited their sleep pods that morning.

At the top of Turn 2 the White Scars attempt to push forward in hopes of having a pincer attack on the fleet Ulthwe horde that is attempting to lance the center of his force.  The White Scars Warlord on this mission is a Captain on bike and while he called in to his air reserve he only heard static in response.  the Librarian tried casting spells, having one denied, and attracted the perils of the warp twice, once losing a wound and once becoming a super combat demigod.  Jink saves and more atrocious shooting rolls meant another sad shooting phase for the White Scars, only managing to kill the Vyper and a single Shining Spear, though they did put 2 wounds on the farseer and wraithknight and another wound on the Avatar.

2 Brave Marines taking on the Avatar and none of them suffering wounds in.

The bottom of Turn 2 hits and it's decisive.  The White Scars' left flank collapsed under the pressure of the Wraithknight bolstered by the firepower of the D-cannons, and 2 guardian squads slaughtering a rhino, All 10 marines from inside, and all the bikes on that flank save the attack bike.  The Warp Spiders arrived killing the devastator squad that had taken a good firing position near an objective.  Meanwhile the other 5 devastators that had advanced up the field were killed by a psychic shriek from the jetbike farseer who rolled up 3 6's for the shriek, only the second time I've done that since the first time I cast it in 6th edition.  The rhino that had held another tactical squad was blown up by the War Walker.  The spears then slammed into them driven by the rage of the Avatar.  The marines were slaughtered before they even had a chance to draw their combat knives, suffering a total of 26 ap 2/3 wounds.  Meanwhile, even though the warlocks ran in to support the Avatar in combat their assistance was necessary, because the Solitaire swept in like a blur and eliminated the Captain and Librarian.

The Center had broken and the Eldar had castled the center of the field.

The White Scars left flank had a regrouping attack bike, a rhino, with 5 marines and another 5 marines in the back field.

This is the end of the game, when we called it at the bottom of turn 3.  The Captain had made a gambit to turn the tide, if only the air support would arrive, the Eldar had no immediate way to respond, but alas, on the radio was nowt but static.  He pushed his squad at the Dire Avengers slamming in to the unit.  He hammered the Exarch with wrath causing a wound and then challenged the Exarch to a duel and the xenos accepted.  They circled each other but the captain struck while the Exarch was still recovering and attempting to find an open angle to get leverage with his power axe.  Thanks to a sweet set of invulnerable saves the Exarch tanked all but 1 wound, finally falling in combat.  No further wounds occurred.  From there the Eldar slaughtered any living marine.  The Wraithknight killed 5 marines that had been in a rhino.  The Warp Spiders killed 3 marines at the AA gun and the Solitaire Blitzed in and overkilled the last two.  Meanwhile the Jetbikes and Avatar slammed in to the White Scar Captain and his squad and they were slaughtered to a man.  The Captain's final breath was spent telling the air support to turn back as the day was lost.

The solitaire had taken Objective 2 from the White Scars, and with it the AA gun.  What mischief could he get up to with that?

The Avatar, Spears, and Dire Avengers obliterate the last of the White Scar's forces.

In the last turn I was able to pile on powers like enervate, jinx to seriously hinder the bike unit (enfeeble didn't work).  While the warlock council didn't actively do a lot of damage they threw out blessings and maledictions that either boosted my units (Guide for the D cannons) or hindered his (Jinx meant he couldn't really tank with the artificer armor on his Captain and had to Jink, reducing his shooting ability) in a way that really helped me control the game.  They weren't as in your face as I tend to use the full council, but they still made a massive impact.

I built the list around the spears, including keeping them within the Avatar's awesomeness bubble and attaching a dedicated Farseer for Prescience and Autarch for extra damage.  All in all it was probably overkill.  I really want to test them now by backing off how much I build around them.  For instance I think I can drop either the Autarch or the Avatar and still get quite a good showing from them.  That said the unit with support was insanely good, taking out units in ways that surprised my opponent.  The loss of access to Hit and Run does seem like a weird issue, almost like an oversight for the unit, and would actually make them much more viable for most players.  The ability to get a cover save without having to jink can make a heck of a difference during the shooting phase, especially if you're shooting at a vehicle with your star lance, hoping to get at the squishy insides.  Of course I need more practice with the unit to make sure I'm getting the most out of them, hopefully without over-investing my resources into making them complete ass kicking name takers.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Light Troupe

Another step towards completing a Masque.  Shaking off the rust to get these Harlequins up to snuff and a playable force on the table top has been a struggle for me, in part because my hands are far less steady compared to when I originally painted the single unit, but in part because it's a very daunting prospect to pick up a full army and suddenly need to paint them before I let myself use them on the table top.  Hopefully they'll be a bit of a surprise to my opponent the first time I crack down with them, but until then I'll labor away and try to pain them as well as I can with the goal of unleashing an unexpected challenge upon my foe.

This unit is filled with Harlequin Kisses, in part because when the unit was first introduced I converted the unit so every model, except the seer, jester, and master, had kisses.  I really felt that the whole unit (my only one in the army) should have the quintessential Harlequin weapon.  Now I've maintained a unit entirely featuring the weapon for the new rules.  Note that the Masque is Midnight Sorrow due to the fluff connection between that Masque and Ulthwe.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Harlequin Revamp Continues

My work to bend the Harlequins to the Masque of Midnight Sorrow has taken another step forward, with a full size troupe all painted / repainted.

Coming in near 300 pts despite having 3 ablative wound harlies shows how expensive the unit can get to do what you want it to do. Eventually I'll actually get my whole 1750 that's built all painted up. I'll probably play through that a few times before I figure out what I need from the extra Death Masque stuff.

For a while I thought I'd paint them up very quickly and have the first online battle rep that was all harlequins and all painted using Cegorach's Revenge. My laziness cost me and now that's been done, so I've still got to see my way through it. With the biggest unit done I feel a major step has been taken.

The death Jesters and Shadowseers will remain in unique raiments compared to the rest of the masque, denoting their special role. At this point I just need to paint up a second Shadowseer and I'll be able to start using the cast of players along with hero's path, which I think is the intent of the codex, to be built in pieces, slowly adding to an existing force. The formations are great at letting you try out a piece here and there as you go, with the big payoff being Cegorach's Revenge supporting an apocalypse force of Craftworlders. They are more likely to avoid being an early target on that type of field.

One step closer to fun.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Shining Spears Complete

I'm In April I'd finally started converting my Shining Spears and Biketarch, but my hatred for painting white and lack of time to paint meant I've been working on the unit slowly ever since.

I had promised myself I'd finish them before my next game and I've finally met that benchmark, despite really wanting to get a game in.

I may joke that the unit's primary weapon is harsh language, but I think they may be over criticised. I look forward to trying them out and seeing if I can figure out how to get the best from them.

I think the Autarch will be the lynchpin for me to make it work, but now that the celestial lance is useable again I may try it  in place of the standard laser lance to get AP2. It seems like nowadays every MEQ has 2+ armor saves. That said, if he doesn't do the job right the first time it's just a CCW, as opposed to the basic lances now, which are AP3 in subsequent rounds.

We'll see how it goes, but I can't wait to get back to the battlefield.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Jes Goodwin's Eldar Sketchbook

This last weekend was the "birthday" of my local GW, and they had this little baby available:

This may be my favorite GW book release since the 2nd edition Eldar book.

There aren't any Dark Eldar or Harlequins in the book, but most of the Craftworld units appear. The artwork runs from 1989 to 2013.

The notes themselves provide insights into how units were originally envisioned, such as a much beefier Hemlock load out, sporting a D-cannon in the place that eventually became the Mind Shock pod.

Not to mention the little inspirational touches that can be applied to your units for building background:

When flipping through the book the look and feel of the pages gives a sensation like you're flipping through his actual sketchbook, as if you could smudge the pencilling on the page.

In all it's a top notch product and I highly recommend it to anyone that has a chance to get one, and for most Eldar fans it will be an instant must have. I wouldn't be surprised to see it pop up on eBay for a king's ransom.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

New Eldrad

The New Eldrad hit this weekend and I picked him up as part of the Masque of Death. The Harlequins were enough to bump me to 2000 pts rather than the 1750 they sit at now. In addition I'll need to do a major rework of them to make them a more fluff appropriate force to join my craftworld.

On to my initial thoughts of new Eldrad:

This is a beautiful model. All together it's a similar size to current Eldrad models, but with the scenic base will be considerably taller for most players.  There is a sense of movement that is conveyed by the model that makes it feel dynamic despite a very similar pose to the original. I opted for the casting hand and spun the hand at the wrist because I prefer that to the hi-I'm-Eldrad-nice-to-meet-you angle. They've also added in the faux beard that has become standard for Farseers, which overall updates it nicely in line with the other models in the range.

The reason I have it in pieces is because I'm planning to paint it in sections, from the ground up, because I don't want to miss areas or leave ugly angles to it. I'm trying to avoid the punishment that can occur from too many hard to reach areas, especially since this is the feature character for Ulthwe.

This model will be a big seller, as it's a great base for a feature Farseer for any craftworld, and with a couple quick cuts the staff can be replaced with an ornate witchblade and the model won't really reveal that the staff is intended to be there. All in all a fantastic mode that I can't wait to paint.

Friday, August 5, 2016

Shining Spears part 1

Way back in 5th edition, when I had pretty much moved on to complete null deployment As the only real way Eldar had a chance to put up a fight (refusing to engage before turn 5) I had managed to maintain a pretty admirable unit of 5 Shining Spears and an Autarch and Farseer. They were fast and versatile enough I could get a lot out of them with other supporting units like jetbike guardians.

With 6th edition power weapons dropped to AP2. I had previously used the unit to take on small, high-value targets, but they were effectively retired despite a points drop. When I moved to Australia the models broke, and since I was never fully happy with their paint scheme I was in no hurry to repair them.

In 7th we got new bikes, but not new spears. They did get new rules, which I have found intriguing, and ultimately it drove me on a path to take all the spear bits I had and combine the old and new kits in to a sleek hybrid unit. So far I'm happy with the results:

5 more to go, and a revised Autarch and I'll be looking to test their newest incarnation on the table top again.