Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Aeldari Community Rules Update

After the changes in Chapter Approved, it put the Phantom in a more awkward spot.  It felt out of place at 2400 pts and still it can be easily obliterated by a Warhound.  In workshopping and tweaking one thing became readily apparent... the MACRO rule has to change.  For this purpose we've workshopped it to "Macro weapons are heavy weapons that may not fire overwatch.  In addition successful invulnerable saves must be rerolled against Macro Weapons."  This is for all weapons with the MACRO rule and the rule now scales appropriately rather than being absurdly good against Titanic units and useless against non-titanic weapons.

From there it became a matter of fine tuning units, which mostly only took minor changes and point adjustments to keep them in line with other titanic units.  The Phantom, however, still needed a lot of playtesting.   Even after the considerable number of changes I made the Phantom was, we were shocked to find, still bad.  Against an equal points force it was often in its last or next to last tier by the end of the first turn, regardless of which player went first.  It never survived the second turn.  After testing step by step we found the two major issues were 1) it took damage too quickly, and 2) the Macro Weapons didn't do enough damage, even against non-titanic units (why is a Leman Russ able to shrug off a D Bombard?).  Then we found what was really the sweet spot:

 
With the save already at 2+ and the T at 12, I was leaning to giving it a -1 to hit all the time, not just when it charged or assaulted, but at the suggestion of others tried T14, and to my surprise that small tweak seemed to slow things down a bit, keeping the Phantom in the second tier by the end of the first turn.  In addition the tweaked macro weapons (originally tested as "fires twice at the same target") made the primary weapons feel substantially dangerous, even moreso than the other solid weapons. 


Above: My favourite moment from playtesting.

With these changes it sits between the Reaver and Warlord and is pointed accordingly.

For those wanting an updated version the rules they can be found: HERE
Please note: Damage Tiers or on the fluff/image page.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Ulthwe Written Battle Report Double Header 1.5K/2K

I had a chance to play two times this week, which was good, because when I showed up for my first 2k game I had stupidly left a squad home, so we improvised down to a 1500 game.  My Ulthwe force was taking on Thousand Sons, a force I have taken on once before, but this time they would be without Magnus.

My force (note, because my force was altered at the last minute the Bonesinger was played as a Spiritseer):


His force (note the Rhino is standing in as a Predator for this list as his army is still being built and painted):


Getting to chose the deployment and which zone is mine I opted for Hammer and Anvil.  He deployed towards the front of his deployment zone and I deployed near the back.  With 6 objectives placed we would each choose three and roll to see which one was the objective that mattered a few turns in.  I had paid three CP to place two units of Guardians in reserve.



With deployment decided we rolled off and my opponent was going first.  Before his turn started my Rangers exited the webway:


From there the forces of Tzeentch marched forward, aggressively moving up the field, including teleporting Terminators directly in front of my lines, further back than they'd like to be due to my Rangers and a cheekily deployed Autarch in a small building.


Using Forewarning my Dark Reapers interrupted his turn to slay 4 of the terminators, substantially weakening their firepower.


The forces of Tzeentch had a mild psychic phase being out of range for most of their powers and failing to cast one power intended to buff the terminators.  Their combined firepower managed to slaughter the ranger squad and obliterate one of the Fire Prisms.



My foe had done some solid damage, and shocked me by taking out one of my prisms in a single shooting phase.  I moved some of my support units forward and brought in both squads of Guardians.  Many of my psychic units were beyond the range at which they could be denied, making them that much more threatening to my opponent.



I unleashed a series of Smites and doomed the terminators and guided the prism.  By the time my shooting was done the Terminators were obliterated, the Daemon Prince was at 2 wounds, a Predator had been destroyed, and a squad of Rubrics had been shredded by the rear squad of Guardians.  At this point my opponent conceded.  The destruction was too all consuming for his army to come back, especially since at that point I had total board control.  He didn't have the speed to combat my guardians in his back lines and saw no path to victory.




What I learned in this game is that without Magnus 1k Sons feel like they have a seriously steep hill to climb.  I don't know if they can really be played without him in a dedicated list and still be fun for that player.  It probably feels like he has to play a different game than everyone else.  Likely they would benefit greatly from detachments of Daemons to smooth out some of the rough areas for them and make them feel more balanced and capable.  I learned a lot more about the 1k Sons than I did my own force.

Game 2

The next day I had my full 2k version of the list, so everything is what you see is what you get, including the giant squad of 24 Storm Guardians!  I would be facing the Black Templar again!

My Ulthwe force:


Forces of the Black Templar:


 In this game we had to determine deployment before placing objectives, and two objectives were placed in the neutral zone (worth 2 VP at the end of the game each), and one in each deployment zone (worth 1 to the owning player and 4 to the opponent).

We randomly determined Hammer and Anvil as a set up, and I chose the same side as before on the identical board, with nearly identical setup.  My foe finished first and as before, got the first turn and I failed to Seize.  Apparently he had been Seized on in his last 6 games in a row.  I felt bad for him as that had happened to me around the end of last edition.  I had something like 13 or 14 games in a row where I either lost the first turn roll off and failed to Seize, or was Seized upon, and many of them were Seizes.

Deployment:





My Rangers arrived and took cover near a neutral marker.


My hope here was to weather his fire and snag the two neutral spots.  I hoped I could delay his approach by dropping units at his rear to threaten his Objective and holding up his army from getting to my Objective.  

He moved forward, but relatively conservatively where possible. It was not the brazen launch forward I had anticipated.  His Storm Talon (foolishly not pictured below) had moved to take the neutral objective near my storm guardians.  His firepower had managed to bring one of the Fire Prisms to just 6 wounds and killed 4 Dark Reapers and caused 7 wounds to the Storm Guardians and 2 Rangers.  Morale killed another 5 Guardians(I had rolled a 6 for the Dark Reaper Morale and rerolled to a 2, so I couldn't reroll the Guardian roll) knocking the unit down to half its starting size.  His terminators were still patiently waiting to Deep Strike.


I held my force almost entirely in place, including the units in reserve, except to shuffle the Hemlock to my right flank to take on the Storm Talon and bring some support forward.  The Bonesinger healed the wounded Fireprism 3 Wounds!  I doomed the Storm Talon and crashed it with a combination of psychic attacks, shooting from the Storm Guardians (thanks to Doom they managed to bring it down to 3 wounds), and the Hemlock.  This had relieved me of the worst of his anti infantry firepower that could target me.  then my other units managed to take down the empty Razorback that had been flanking the Land Raider and damage the Vindicator.




The Black Templar didn't move much, with only the Land Raider trundling forward and the Vindicator repositioning.  Otherwise their shooting was precise, but not enough to do the damage they wanted.  They managed to kill another Ranger, bring the other Fire Prism down to 6 wounds, and knock the Hemlock down to just 3 wounds. His Terminators remained in reserve.


I hoped to make a decisive blow against his forces, but had to remain patient.  I pushed the Hemlock at its maximum speed to face the Land Raider while the Guardians and Hawks waited in reserve.  I fired everything I could at the Land Raider, unleashing all of my combined firepower at it... and with it on just 6 wounds I fired the last of my Fire Prisms at it, the last unit that could do the job, and I had 5 Shots.  All hit.  All wounded.  He saved one.  I rolled my four dice and totalled... 5 wounds.  3 1-s and a 2 on my D3.  I burned a CP to reroll one of the 1's... and got another 1.  It sat on 1 wound, crippled, but doing its job.


He brought in his Terminators, out of line of sight to my right Prism and my reapers, but I didn't have any CP left anyway.  He was about to hit my backlines.  The Vindicator blasted the Hemlock out of the sky, burning his last CP to reroll his damage from 2 to 5, enough to knock it out of the sky.  A unit hopped out of the Raider and moved to the centre of the table.  His shooting then killed a couple Storm Guardians and another two rangers, but in assault his marines made it in to combat with the rangers wiping them out.  The Terminators failed their 9" charge to the Prism both times.  He felt concerned, but the centre of the table was his.



Now that his force had committed I pounced.  I moved Eldrad closer to the Terminators and repositioned one of the Prisms to face him.  I then brought in the Hawks and one units of Guardians to flank the rear of his force in a pincer move while the other squad bolstered the front of my army.  I doomed the Terminators and Guided one of the units of Guardians.  Eldrad alone was responsible for killing four Storm Shield terminators thanks to Executioner and Smite, putting a full 9 wounds into the squad.  The shooting phase was decisive as the two units of guardians destroyed a Vindicator, Land Raider and Two squads of tacticals.  The Swooping Hawks had killed one tactical marine with a grenade, and their wealth of shooting caused 5 wounds... and the squad proceeded to fail 3 more saves.  The prisms brought the Predator down to just a couple wounds.  With their forces completely surrounded, and their numbers thinned to just a a single squad and the now exposed leadership of the force the Black Templar conceded, evacuating the field.



What I learned:

My favourite use for Eldrad is as living artillery.  He excels at it, and the more I use him that way the more I want to be ultra aggressive with him.  I've never held onto my reserves that long before, especially with so many units being held, but since I was waiting for him to commit his forces, which I still think was the right play, I was letting him really determine when they came in.  The last thing i wanted was for him to respond to my mostly unarmoured units with a high volume of shooting unit that could chew right through them.  The Bonesinger was okay babysitting the tanks, and was the difference between them being able to fire on the full chart or below it, which was really handy.

My Warlock with Embolden/Horrify was useless.  It never did anything.  I was hoping characters would get close enough for Eldrad to surprise Mind War them after I embolden him and fly the Hemlock near them, but it never worked out, but sometimes that's what happens when you plan out how your army will function to certain threats at the army building stage.  No plan lasts beyond meeting the enemy.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Ulthwe vs Blood Angels Written 2K Battle Report

I took on a new Blood Angels force, and by new I mean, only just built and not painted.  Between this and time constraints I don't have a battle force picture of the Blood Angels.  They had Sanguinary Guard, 10 Death Company, Lamaretes, or whatever his name is, Mephiston, 2 Devestator Squads (one with heavy bolters and one with lascannons), a dreadnought and Storm Raven, and three Intercessor squads.

My Ulthwe force at 2k:



This was my first post-codex game to include a Wraithknight.  With two sizeable wraith squads as well I figured I could test the new Bonesinger by taking 2.

Mission: We were trying the new Eternal War mission with 6 progressive capture objective points and gives you an extra point for destroying units.  I got to choose the deployment zone and went for short edges, putting Swooping Hawks, Warp Spiders, and the 10 Wraithguard in Deep Strike.  The rangers were, as usual sneaking in from the webway.  

Deployment:

 

While my opponent was going first, I, luckily, stole the initiative.




I was aggressive in my movement, as you have to be when using a slow moving short range army.   10 Wraithguard dropped in range of a Storm Raven and when all their firing was  it sat on 3 wounds left.  I had hit 8 times, but only wounding 3 times and rolling poorly for my wounds left the blasted flyer on 3 wounds, and my wraithknight and warp spiders all failed to wound it with their shooting.  I did get off Quicken and Protect on my Axe guard and my rangers managed 3 mortal wounds on the Heavy Bolter squad and with the grenade mortal wound from the Swooping hawks managed to finish off the squad as the last man standing failed his 2+ armour save.  I used Fire and Fade to move the Wraithknight a second time after shooting to put pressure on my opponent and hopefully keep his army in his deployment zone.  I started off the game with 6 VPs, and had already burned through 4 of my 6 CP.

My opponent deployed everything and was happy to bring his still alive Storm Raven into hover mode and lay into my forces.  A lot of his shooting was used to work down my Wraithknight.  He did 13 wounds to it and I didn't make a single 5+ or 6+ for Ulthwe at this point.  As his dreadnought finished off the last of my Warp Spiders in combat and Sanguinary Guard launched into my Wraithguard his Death company charged my Wraithknight.


Mind you this was not a Death Company entirely tooled up.  There were 4 with Thunderhammers.  Those 4 managed to cause 9 wounds, all of which I failed to save, and then caused 27 wounds.  I Ulthwe ignored 2.  The WK was dead.  250 pts of models easily destroyed a 500 pt model without breaking a sweat.  They needed no assistance.  The shooting it took before hand was inconsequential.  Mind you the rest of the unit hadn't even had to roll.  The Bonesinger that was intended to support it and help it was useless and watched helplessly. He had 3 VP.




I tried to figure out a way to recover, and held to my plan, so I moved my guard out of combat and with 8 models left I split my shooting, 3 to finish off the raven, and 5 to kill the dread.  Meanwhile my Axe guard moved up the field.  



My shooting was awful.  While I did manage to down the Raven, finally, the other 5 left the dread sitting on 2 wounds. My Axe guard made it in to 1 squad of intercessors and slew them.  More importantly I had board control.  I was up at 12 VP, and all out of CP.


The marines moved to solidify their left flank and take out the last of my real firepower.


With startling efficiency the Wraithguard and Swooping Hawks were wiped out.  Less than half of the Ulthwe forces remained, while the Blood Angels had lost barely a quarter of their force.  Yet they only sat at 5 VP, having moved off the only board objective they had controlled.


My forces were reeling, and overpowered, but I could still sneak out a victory if I played smart.  A bonesinger managed to kill the dread with smite, while the combined efforts of Smite from a Spiritseer, and the Wraithaxe assault wiped out the other devastator squad.  I crept up to 20 VP.



The Blood Angels pushed to the center of the table, easily wiping out the rangers and both bonesingers.  They jumped to 9 VP, choosing to abandon a nearby objective for a position closer to my guardians holding my back line.


I had lost a huge portion of my army, but I thought I could put the game away if things went to plan.  I moved my Wraith axes in position to charge the two intercessor squads in the rear of my opponent's deployment zone, while one of my Spiritseers moved to retake an objective I had lost.  In a shameful display, my Axes failed their 6" charge by rolling snake eyes.  This left my Autarch totally in the open and out of position and my whole force vulnerable.  It was a horrifying moment because I could easily see how this roll would cost me the game, and now I was just a spectator to being tabled. I moved up to 24 VP.


My opponent used a stratagem to redeploy his Death Company to my back lines.  They were in all but mop-up mode, with characters splitting off.  Then my opponent made one great mistake.  He boasted to someone else about how he was about to easily get Warlord.  Firing two units of intercessors at my Autarch he only managed to cause 2 wounds.  I had shrugged off their mighty firepower.  Undeterred and pressing his advantage he moved on to the assault phase.  During the assault phase both units of intercessors charged my Autarch, while the sanguinary guard and Mephiston charged the Spiritseers.  The Stratagem to roll 3D6 on the charge allowed his deathguard to slam in to my rearmost unit of guardians, while two characters mutilated the other squad.  By the time he was done and morale was over both Spiritseers were easily slaughtered, one unit of guardians was wiped out, and 3 guardians remained on my rearmost point.  Yet my Autarch still lived on 2 wounds and had killed an intercessor.  He had leapt up to 15 VP.


I had to hope the game ended before I got tabled.  My only moves were to consolidate the three remaining guardians to hold their point at the back, and get my Wraithblades in to combat.  I didn't remove my Autarch, so I couldn't get overwatched.


They did their job well, killing both squads.  At the end of the turn I had 23 VP.


My opponent now had a choice, to play for board control, ignoring my survivors, and win on points if the game pushed to turn 7, or abandon points and try to chase me down and table me.  He opted to try to table me.  He repositioned his entire army and the only interaction of note was when one of his characters charged into my remaining guardian squad, only killing 2, leaving one guardian remaining.  His stretch up the field brought him up to 17 VP.  Fate favouring my opponent, the game continued.



I didn't have much left to do in my turn.  In an act of defiance against doom my guardian broke from assault to continue holding the objective (thanks obsec!) as my Autarch and Wraithblade bodyguards moved to another objective point.  I pushed to 25 VP.




The blood angels zoomed across the board ready to slam into my wraithguard as their standard bearer moved in to kill my last guardian.  



He smote down one of my wraithguard.  I pulled the closest model from the squad.  Suddenly my opponent noticed that made his charge more difficult.


Once again the dice gods punished his hubris for casting Smite, as Mephiston rolled a 4 on his charge, needing a 5.  Then, his Sanguinary guard also rolled a 4 on the charge, needing an 8.  He had 19 VP, but was certain he'd  wipe me out in another turn, with everything he had left.  The dice gods then abandoned him in full as the game ended, 26 - 19, with a close fought victory to Ulthwe.



Post game thoughts:

Wow, that was close!  Blood Angels are positively beastly.  They're the fastest marine faction I've played against, and their Red Thirst rule is probably the best of the individual marine chapter rules.  Nearly everything was wounding my units on 2+ or 3+, no matter how tough it was.  This will be a force to reckon with given their speed, toughness, and ferocity.

The Death Company are insanely point efficient for their damage output in combat.  The fact that they chewed through a Lord of War that cost twice their points without breaking a sweat is pure madness.

This was an odd game in that there are 6 moments that really stand out.  The first is when my dice went cold early for the Wraithguard.  A 400 pt unit that is usually reliable were in an ideal position and fell flat on their faces.  It happens, but hopefully not often.  In this case dragons would have been better as they would have been fewer points, but more likely to get the job done turn 2 with the additional chance of rolling higher damage.  Those failures early game cost me a lot and it was tough to recover from.  But my opponent's luck going cold right at the end of the game, finally failing charges for the first time all game ended up doing him in.

I learned that the Bonesinger seems not worth it, but I'll test it out in other builds.  They never had a chance to use their heal ability because I never had a wraith construct on fewer than full wounds.  It was either full wounds... or dead.  This meant all they ended up doing was holding objectives and at one point casting smite.  I was super disappointed.  But the model is pretty.

Those invul saves on the Wraith axes came in handy since I sped them up with quicken and used Protect.  One thing I forgot was that I wanted to spend a CP to get them to advance a full 6", since I'd get to go a total of 22" with Quicken (thanks to the FAQ for Nids we know with those type of powers we roll once for advance and use it both times).

The Wraithknight is actively bad.  It was as survivable as I could make it and never had a chance.  After actually using it, it might be as much as 150 pts overpriced.  It was hot garbage.  Total swill.  here's why... not only does it have to pay a ridiculous tax to have either no shield or titan killing weapon, or ridiculous tax to have those but not good guns, it's actively not fun to play with.  When you buy the basic package of a Knight it's still a force to be reckoned with because it comes with the invul and either two great long range weapons, or one great and one close combat weapon.  The knight either lacks firepower to match, or simply isn't as survivable, yet costs more.  Watching it get torn apart so easily actually made a very tight tense and fun game... less fun.  I'm not in any way interested in using the knight again, but I might give another load out a chance to see if it can change my mind at all.  Right now I feel like it just needs something to either distinguish it (like a 5+ ignore damage) from a knight, or  to be VASTLY cheaper than a knight.  I can deal with gamble units that can do real well, or real poorly but priced somewhere in between, because I know they're a gamble going in.  Right now it's just a poor unit that can only do well if your opponent is either unlucky or makes an unforced error.

My plan to keep my opponent bottled up while I took the board ultimately won me the game, but I felt like this game was easily winnable by my opponent.  He was still experimenting with his units, and so he was overkilling everything he went after.  He hasn't had enough experience with them yet to know how much damage output he can trust from them so he can just spread out and devour an opponent.  Even still if he hadn't made a few mental errors in regards to how he took objectives early he would have kept pace with the VP total in the early part of the game.  I felt like I learned a lot about Blood Angels in this game and much of it will shift how I play against them in the future.