Sunday, July 18, 2010

My Dreaded 'Plan B' - Warriors of Chaos

Cash Johnson yet again with another 8th Edition Warhammer Fantasy update. Upon further reading, I decided to come up with an alternate army list better suited to taking on "all comers." My original Warriors of Chaos list was a fluff theme based around the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse - four characters, four marks, nothing without a mount. With the new rules, however, the list carries with it several changes as I hope to bring this to the 'Ard Boyz in August if it works better than my greenskins (which wouldn't be hard at this point).

First up, the maximum 1+ Armour Save shaves down points on my Khorne Exalted Hero (no longer requires a shield) and Nurgle Exalted Hero (no point in taking an Enchanted Shield anymore) - they were on Juggernaut and Barded Warhorse respectively. It may not seem like a lot, but a combined 15 point reduction pays for other items of note later on.

Second, Thunderstomp strikes again with a Daemon Prince in the new list, as seen in the pic. Mark of Khorne, Diabolic Splendour, and Fury of the Blood God give him a 5+ Ward, 2+ Magic Ward, 5 Attacks + d6 Thunderstomp, Flight, and Terror/Fear at -1 Ld. For a meager 355 points, I get a Lord choice whose sole purpose is to destroy whatever happens to be in his way, plus the ability to actually survive whatever spells get thrown at him (which would probably be a lot since the new Lores are brutal).

Third, my Sorcerer of Tzeentch WAS on a Manticore so I would have a Flying, Terror model that could rip apart anything it got in combat with (Killing Blow is nothing to shake a stick at), but the Daemon Prince does a better job without risking a caster on a needless combat - 200 points dropped right there. Kept him Level 3, only I swapped out his old gear for Conjoined Homonculus and Power Familiar. This would give him +3 for his Caster Level, +1 from Mark of Tzeentch, and an additional +d3 from the Homonculus, meaning a minimum of +5 bonus on every spell he slings into the enemy, as well as 2d6+1 Power Dice per turn - as long as I don't Miscast, he will earn his points in any game. His last bit of bling also happens to be the Mask of Terror (I hate the new item name), and he gets thrown into a Tzeentch Warrior unit

Fourth, I previously ran two Slaanesh units: Exalted Hero in Chariot, and a second Slaanesh Chariot. Those were removed as I didn't have enough staying power in combat, seeing as how all my units were Cavalry, and horseback is expensive to do. Another 390 points managed to get shaved there as well, allowing me to take other units later on.

Fifth, the Khorne and Nurgle Exalted Heroes saw very few changes from how they were originally. Because of the 1+ Armour cap, I decided to kit him out with a new magic weapon, the Cleaver of Swift Slaying - at Initiative 6 with Frenzy and Always Strikes First, that gives him 5 Attacks with Re-Rolls against anything that isn't another Character with a -2 Armour Save on top of that. The other item is the Brass Collar of Khorne, granting him a total of 1+ Armour, 6+ Ward and 3+ Magic Ward (Collar + Juggernaut). As for Nurgle, the points I saved earlier allowed me to upgrade his weapon to a Filth Scythe (because why would Nurgle use a mace), meaning so long as he causes a single unsaved wound, he also causes Terror. On top of that, the Stream of Corruption gets used as well, owing to the fact that he MUST challenge, so an additional 2d6 hits could lead to some very interesting Overkill results (hooray Breath Weapons).

Sixth, my Core units are as follows: 7/7/6 Marauder Horsemen with Javelins and a Musician, 8 Khorne Marauder Horsemen with Flails and Standard, 7 Nurgle Marauder Horsemen with Light Armour/Shields and Full Command, as well as 19 Tzeentch Chaos Warriors with Full Command. This gives me four units with Vanguard Movement to cause damage early, a dedicated brick with a 6+ Ward to hide my Sorcerer Lord, and a nice unit to place my Nurgle Hero in.

Finally, my Special units saw several changes. There are 7 Nurgle Chosen with Chaos Armour, Hand Weapon, Shield, Halberd, and a Standard - 3+ Armour with either 6+ Parry or Strength 5, plus whatever I get from the Eye of the Gods roll at the start of game. Next we have 5 Khorne Knights with Champion and Standard, causing their Fear as usual, extra attack, blah blah - the Exalted Hero goes with them as well for additional fun. Upon removing the second Slaanesh unit, I decided I wanted more sawmill ability, so enter my 6 Chaos Ogres of Khorne. Using the same strategy as Ogre Kingdoms, these bad boys get a Standard, Heavy Armour and Great Weapons - front Rank gets 12 Attacks at Strength 6, back Rank gets 9 Attacks at Strength 6, plus 3 Stomp attacks at Strength 4. I expect to lose at least 2 of them before they even see combat, but Immune to Panic makes up for it - 15 Attacks with a -3 Armour Save, plus 3 more at a -1 means whatever they hit will take damage.

So how do I think this will fare in battle? Well, it's heavily armoured, though there are spells to get around that, but I can withstand enough shooting (even Drew's 80 Handjo... sorry, Handbows) to make it into combat. On top of that, this is geared for full on assault with JavCav and magic support, meaning once models start taking swings, I should be able to cause enough casualties to grind down or break units. Next we have the Vanguard push - though it loses its kick against shooty armies (which just about everyone is going to have now), I can sacrifice the JavCav to make sure the Khorne Marauders get their flails in, or at the very least tie up some of the shooting units on fodder. Another bonus for me is the Sorcerer Lord by himself, as his chance to actually FAIL casting a spell is only on a Natural 2 or 3 on 2d6 - even rolling double 2's means four of the six Tzeentch spells are cast. Finally, there's Psychology on my side this time - two units cause Terror, one has the potential to cause Terror, and three more cause Fear, with the Chosen having potential to cause Fear or Terror.

On a side note, I would like to see how Lizard, Daemon or VC players fare with the new rules, mainly because they held the cheese title for so long lately. Too bad they only come out of the woodwork when there's a tournament to spam - I guess I'll find out in August.

- Cash

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Goethe returns to the coast (first dark elves game 8th ed)

Dreadlord w/ halberd, armor of darkness and dawnstone
Supreme Sorceror w/ lvl 4, pendant of khaleth, screaming blade and dispel scroll

Death Hag w/ cauldron of blood
Death Hag w/ battle standard, standard of hag graef, dance of doom and cry of war
Sorceress w/ lvl 2, tome of furion and terrifying mask of eee!

Crossbowmen x12 w/ shields and musician
Crossbowmen x12 w/ shields and musician
Corsairs x20 w/ pair of handbows and musician
Corsairs x20 w/ full command
Corsairs x18 w/ full command and sea serpent standard

Witch Elves x12 w/ hag, cry of war and musician
Excutioners x12 w/ master and musician
Shades x7
Shades x6

Repeater Bolt Thrower x4

Level 4: Shadow - Melkoth's Mystifying Miasma, The Enfeebling Foe, The Withering and Pit of Shades
Level 2: Death - Aspect of the Dreadknight, The Caress of Laniph and The Purple Sun of Xereus

Orcs and Goblins:

Goblin Shaman w/ lvl 1 and dispel scroll
Goblin Shaman w/ lvl 1 and sneaky staff of stealing
Black Orc Warboss
Black Orc Warboss w/ battle standard
Savage Orc Warboss on Boar
Night Goblin Boss on Giant Squig

Orcs x30 w/ full command and extra hand weapon
Orcs x30 w/ full command and hand weapon/shield
Black Orcs x15 w/ full command
Black Orcs x15 w/ full command
Night Goblins x55 w/ spears full command and fanatics x3
Night Goblins x55 w/ hand weapon/shield full command and fanatics x3
Goblin Wolf Riders x10
Goblin Spider Riders x10
Boar boys x5
Stone Throwers x2

Turn: 1 -2
The Orc And Goblin army advanced straight into a wall of crossbows, I have to admit that the only moving I did first turn was to get my units into better firing positions and my combat units moved slightly so that if an enemy tried to charge they would hit into them first.

With much luck I knocked out one of the stone throwers before it even got a shot off due to the bolt throwers. I even forgot to move my shades that were skirting his deployment though they did manage to harass a unit of black orcs for awhile with their shooting.

Handbow corsairs moved up slightly to gain range to goblin wolf riders which with almost 80 shots they removed them all from the table.

Turn: 3-4
Night Goblins sent out fanatics which did a good amount of damage to executioners and corsairs on both flanks. A unit of night goblins felt brave enough to charge my frenzied corsairs on a hill I caused nine casualties to his 2 (i have to admit rolling four out of six saves helped me). Despite being stubborn and a re-roll from a nearby battle standard he broke and was run down (thank you slavers rule).

In doing so the frenzied corsairs managed to set up a nice flank charge on my turn versus the battle standard unit. They happily charged the flank and won combat handily sending the orcs packing (killing both unit and battle standard bearers) across their own lines panicking black orks and shaman.

Handbow corsairs managed to obliterate spider rider unit with shooting, when they were charged by the boar boys with attached savage orc warboss their luck was up. Between their shooting reaction and hand to hand they brought the unit down to the standard and hero.

Turn: 5-6
Due to forgetting magic phases or rolling really low on the winds of magic it was only towards the end of the game that I really started getting spells off. Pit of shades claimed 6-8? orcs from the general's unit, I even managed to get off The Withering on the general's unit right before my executioners charged. I didn't think much of it when the spell went off, but then it occurred to me I would need 2+ anyway.. It's a good thing I made that little mistake because when my Death Hag battle standard attacked I removed SIX orcs one for every attack (3 base, xhw, frenzy AND cauldron). Add that to attacking on the flank and though the orcs put up a good fight and killed the few remaining executioners.. the lone Death Hag ran the rest of them to the ground!

At this point the only thing that was doing anything in my opponent's army is the Savage Orc Boss on boar along with champion boar boy going through back line. Even that would of been silenced with no real threats left on the field so we called it a game.

What I lost:
Shades x6
Crossbowmen x12 w/ musician and shields
Repeater Bolt Thrower
Executioners x12 w/ musician and champ
Corsairs x20 w/ double handbows and musician
about 600-700pts

What he had left:
Night Goblins x32/50
Savage Orc Big Boss w/ boar
Boar boy champion
Black Orcs x8?
Orcs w/ shields x 12?/20

My Impressions:


-Firing in two ranks is great! I almost felt bad unloading double handbows into anything by simply walking into range and unleashing 80 shots. My regular crossbowmen got even more effective which is always a plus.

-No partials from templates is pretty devastating, a stone thrower managed to take a good chunk with just a glancing hit on both corsairs and executioners. Had it not destroyed itself it would of cause a HELL of a lot more trouble for me.

- the basic lores just got ten times more attractive than they have ever been, I have always been a fan of the shadow lore but now it just seems like a no brainer with the wide arrange of effects/debuffs it can do.

-Winds of magic does balance things out somewhat, so that no one gets absolutely steam rolled for not packing as many wizards as scroll caddies.

-Striking in initiative just makes my elves better so I guess I am biased, sure the enemy gets the "step up rule" which means unless you wipe out most of the unit you will receive attacks back.. But a smart player never fights fair and always aims for flank/rear attacks.. that could just be a dark elf saying though lol

-Random charges I believe are good, it makes the game more dynamic don't get me wrong I love the speed of my elves outdistancing my opponents and usually getting the charge on my opponents in past editions of warhammer. But I do have to admit it was fun NOT knowing if my enemy will fail his charge or not against my units. It's pretty easy to gauge distances especially after playing wargames for so many years that uncertainty brings a little "something" back.

-Battle Standard Bearers being VERY useful re-rolling just about any leadership test makes them invaluable... at the same time makes them a PRIME target for all enemies

- Frenzy isn't much a liability when you have high leadership and can avoid charging into things (say like a fanatic).

- Stepping up means you better have more models in your unit in order to survive a head to head charge. Because if you don't wipe out or severely damage the enemy you will still receive a healthy amount of attacks going against you.

-Though I haven't tested my fear/terror abilities yet I still stand firm by them, the ability to make an enemy WS 1. They changed the "to hit" charts slightly so that WS 1 models would hit WS 4 models on a 5+ making it less likely to take casualties if fear/terror pull through.

Other than that I eagerly await for my next game, I have always loved playing Warhammer Fantasy the only problem is that it isn't as popular as 40k. Now with an upcoming 'Ard Boyz for Fantasy and the new rulebook coming out it is the best time to get a few games in.


Friday, July 2, 2010

The Woes of Warhammer - Greenskins Lose Hard

Cash Johnson with a second in a series of Warhammer Fantasy 8th Edition posts. Last time I remarked on what I liked about the new rules in relation to my own greenskin horde - having actually played a large game (3000 pt 'Ard Boyz list). Unfortunately, training against Drew is a blessing and a curse in most instances; while I'm guaranteed a good challenge, it's still a hell of a challenge, and the 'Ard Boyz isn't exactly a fair fight to begin with. So what went right? What went wrong?

Well for starters, I totally forgot about the Vanguard deployment move, which would have gotten two units within a Turn 2 charge range right off the bat. Seeing as how it was the only rule I forgot that made any difference, I'm going to have to put that down as the biggest downfall. Then again, seeing as how, without an Errata or FAQ to tell us otherwise, Drew was able to Stand and Shoot with 72 handbow shots we may have to wait for an update for the rematch. XD

The twin Night Goblin Shamans also didn't work well, but that was more deployment than anything. Rather than trust them in the giant bricks, I left them on foot - both times I got magic missiles, so I felt it was better to place them where enemies were closer rather than get stuck with Animosity. They weren't as effective as I'd hoped, the scroll caddy dying on turn one, and the other constantly unable to score hits against Drew. The Staff of Sneaky Stealin', however, was the MVP item - a low roll round left Drew with 2 Power Dice to my 3 Dispels, and I had to teach him the new order of spell casting, resulting in my Dispel on a 15. The change here will most likely be upgrading from two gobbos to an Orc Shaman (or Great Shaman depending how points go).

As far as the Night Goblins themselves, they will stay. The only serious losses they sustained were due more to bad rolling than terrible armour or low Leadership - rolled an 11, then re-rolled another 11 from the BSB aura, fell back, and was eaten alive by Dark Elf Corsairs (stupid slavers). Better deployment would be the only change I make, as the meat shield has its uses.

The Boar Boyz and Savage Warboss did their job incredibly well, though. A 19" charge tore through a Corsair unit, turned around, survived a Reaper Bolt Thrower, charged that the next turn, killed the crew, overran into a Warrior unit, killed them, and would have charged into another Bolt Thrower crew if the game wasn't over. Not bad for 6 models (though the Boyz were taken down to just a Standard Bearer and Warboss). XD

The Boyz themselves also receive no changes, as they didn't really do much of anything bad to deserve punishment. A hole was broken in my right flank, and the Dark Elves poured into it as best they could. Change up deployment. That's about it - they're the heavier core of the army.

Black Orcs will receive a new change - take one less unit, bulk up the one unit to at least 20. Two units just wasn't effective at all, and only managed to take 12 casualties, chase Shades off the board, and then die to Bolt Thrower fire the next turn.

Another good option to keep will still be the Rock Lobbas - the crew receive Toughness 7, and no more partials has a greater statistic advantage. From now on, however, park them behind hills wherever possible.

As for the General and BSB, I'm going to have to see about throwing different Magic Items around, probably a Magic Standard on the BSB. The General will need something better, however, and I will have to look into what. Also, I'm not sure about where they were placed in the amy anyway. Dual Black Orc characters didn't need to Quell Animosity in the Boyz, but that doesn't mean they won't need it another time. Will have to experiment with these until I find something better.

In all, my battle plan and deployment was my biggest enemy, as well as that one fatal Leadership failure (twin 11's). Drew did excellent as always, though I think being able to double tap and Stand and Shoot may need an errata. Way too broken to be legal. While the ability to always fight in two ranks is a greater advantage for me, as well as always getting to swing back, it also means more elite enemy units can tear into my own units more effectively. Points will have to be reworked, units reformed, and Mk.2 will come about soon enough - thankfully I still have plenty of units that didn't get thrown in this time around. Maybe monsters, maybe shooting, maybe a warboss on wyvern. Good thing the 'Ard Boyz isn't for another 2 months.

- Cash

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Reaction to 8th Edition Fantasy - Greenskins

First post of the series by myself, Cash Johnson, focusing on the most successful Warhammer Fantasy army I own, Orcs & Goblins. Most of what I have seen on internet forums focuses on general aspects of the new rules set, and what is going to be the most prevalent combination of units/items/rules/etc to see in every army. Well that's fine if plastic men are the only way you feel good about yourself, but I play for sport and enjoyment - it's still a game after all. Therefore, I have ignored everything other people have said about what they plan to change to have the most broken armies and concentrate entirely on my own.

The start of my Fantasy greenskins was with the Battle for Skull Pass box set. While I liked the look of the Dwarfs, I have always been a huge fan of the Waaagh, plus the starter came with a sizable number of goblins and a plastic troll, which was more than I could say for the stunties. After that, came the large army box, which filled in the rest of the horde nicely. After that, many boxes of Orcs, Black Orcs, and Night Goblins, plus Fanatics and war machines.

Which brings me to my play style - the horde press. Create walls of infantry, put bigger stuff behind it and go. Since Animosity tends to ruin the best battle plans, I opt for the simple approach. March, release Fanatics, and grind down units as they come. So after reading the 8th Edition rules, I decided to not stray from this tried and true method. Some of my strategies improved drastically, and some of the options I never considered are now open to me. Surprisingly, very little of the new rules damage my army. And so, the reactions:

1. The Horde Rule - I already ran Night Goblin units in massive bricks, originally 46 and 50. Now both bricks are at 55 each, and one with spears - something about receiving a charge and getting 40 attacks back makes me all tingly.

2. Random Charges - Instead of a standard 8" charge, I'd get an average of 9-11", meaning opponents would have to fear my Fanatics and Animosity even more. Unexpected surges of movement can close the charge gaps quicker now with lucky rolling. On top of that, it allows me to coordinate the Waaagh better, seeing as how I will usually get an extra couple inches on a charge.

3. New Magic Rules - I never took Shamans unless I needed Dispel Dice. I relied on weight of attacks and cannon fodder to do the work for me, and didn't trust dice to choose my spells for me. Now that even a Lv 1 Shaman can cast a 10+ spell with ease, I figure on taking two Night Goblin Shamans in games, a total of 175 points for the pair. On top of that, the Staff of Sneaky Stealin' becomes the most valuable item I could have, since Power Dice are limited to dice rolls instead of stacked pools - the chance to get more Dispels than the enemy can use is another tingly feeling.

4. Indirect Fire - My Shooting phases always consisted of 4 Spear Chukkas, always. Hitting on 4's, wounding almost everything on 2's, and hitting across the table. I had killed a giant and a stegadon with them before the new rules for stone throwers came out. Now I will take the same 140 points and reinvest in two Rock Lobbas. Indirect Fire gives me two turns of twin boulders raining on the enemy as I march up, and probably stay parked out of sight in the process - in addition, there are no more partial hits, so hitting 6 is vastly improved over having to roll to wound 6 times.

5. New Cavalry Rules - Like Shamans, Cavalry were something I didn't bother with. They moved faster than the rest of the army, so they would always be vulnerable until the bulk of my horde reached the battle. However, thanks to Surestride, cav units become more lethal when used en masse - several units getting a 16-19" charge makes a combined Turn 2 push possible. On top of that, I own Spiders and Wolves, so the Vanguard movement at the start of the game GUARANTEES a Turn 2 assault. But the biggest improvement is the inclusion of the Boar Boy Big 'Unz, with Gork's Waaagh Banner - 7+3d6 (dropping lowest) plus another d6" increases the charge threat to 17-21" with a maximum of 25" for a third unit that can charge on Turn 2.

6. Premeasures - A warboss' new best friend, the ability to premeasure everything means Fanatic releases and Waaagh rolls are MUCH easier to coordinate. End of story.

7. Characters and Items - Because characters are based on points instead of slots, every unit could realistically take a Hero in addition to a Command Squad, each with a Magic Item geared towards whatever the unit needs. On top of that, Battle Standards become even more important in a low Ld army -ANY Ld-based test can be re-rolled within 12", and the number of magic banners available (and so cheap) can jack up the effectiveness of any unit.

8. Improved Giants - Thunderstomp. That's all - Thunderstomp.

9. Waaagh Miscast - With the dangers other armies have to face, I'm incredibly at ease with rolling a Miscast. On the main table, every roll is a tragedy waiting to happen. On my table, I just have to avoid rolling a 2-4 or 7 as a final result to skate around the worst. 36% is a much better risk than 100%.

1. Fanatic Control - While increased charge range is great, my Night Goblins can never charge before releasing their Fanatics. Before, my charge range was 8", which is where my Fanatics were released from anyway. Now, I have to make the decision to attempt a charge or release them and get charged - while Fanatics would be a great start of a two part combo, I'm not guaranteed to get them into contact with the enemy unit, meaning I would take 2d6 hits per Fanatic, possibly Panic from my own charge, and Flee just like that.

2. Monstrous Cavalry - My lucky gobbo cruise missile loses 2 wounds because of the new Unit Type rules. Night Goblin Boss on Giant Cave Squig is my great random unit, and so far I am the only person I know who owns one who can use it correctly (aim it at specific, easy targets, like solos or war machines). At 94 points, and a -4 Armour Save penalty (Sneaky Skewerer), it would usually last 2-3 turns before it was killed. Now with two less wounds, and the ability for units to get extra attacks in combat just by standing there, and the fact that trees no longer block LoS, he has to be mixed in with several units to make sure he gets where he needs to go.

These are just initial impressions - the actual performance on the table will be the test, though if I stick to the original plan of marching up under artillery fire, I should be just fine.

- Cash