Thursday, March 31, 2011

Avatars of War - Dwarf Beserkers

Dwarf Beserkers are available for pre order.
20 models in the unit, including full command, for €25 - compare that to GW's average of 16 plastic models including full command for €30.
The berserker's are also very customisable, which means they'll be more work to put together - but customisable is good in my book.

I ordered two sets, not for the free shipping or because I have plans for a slayer army, but because I want to support these guys. They make awesome figures, and it's got to be tough entering a market completely dominated by GW. GW even enforce only GW models in GW tourneys. I've never played in one myself, and that's why. I'm not going to start griping about GW because in my opinion they've done a fantastic job with 8th edition.

By the by, I never have any luck with slayers - they're like death magnets.
Yes I know they're supposed to seeking death in the fluff, but it'd be nice if they killed something first before dying themselves. They really need a ward save or something.

What's that? What about Mantic Dwarfs you say?
Well I played against a dwarf army with a warrior block of mantic dwarfs a few nights ago. They're a tad bigger in scale than the GW models, both in height and girth. I say a tad, but I found it to be quite noticeable.
Actually I hope that's not an issue with the Avatars of War ones...they do say 20mm bases on their site. Whereas I couldn't find any figure sizings listed on the Mantic site - though I'm sure they are there.

Having said all that, I wish I'd known about the Mantic Dwarf offers like Grafe's Iron Legion being such value for money, before I heavily invested in my GW minis.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Post Bastardcon 4 & the Battle Reports pile high

I haven't posted in a week. Been playing WFB, almost every day.
Last week:
  • 2000 vs Skaven, clan rat heavy (3 blocks of 50 clan rats) 
  • 2000 against another Dwarf Army
Bcon poster 4 for web
What could possibly describe gamers better
than a monkey knife fight?
Then last weekend I played in a small 2000 point tourney (BastardCon4) against:
  • Empire (grr steamtank grr)
  • High Elves
  • Beastmen
Now, before you get excited about another 'con' in Ireland, it's just a bunch of mates renting a function room and playing WFB. It's not rated. It's for bragging rights only. For fun. We try not to rule monger, but we like to at least try to do things right. The 'con' part is definitely self aggrandisement. :)

So, we finished off the tourney with a massive 16,000 point battle. Yes, you read that right.
4v4, 2000 points each. Good versus evil. Played a scenario (basically a modified battle for the pass with 3 watchtowers which must be defended) from the back of the rulebook, which put team evil at a disadvantage as it would take turns to get across the table to us. Their advantage was that any core unit completely wiped out or fled off the table could come back on from any table quarter edge that they dominated - reinforcements. One of the the most awesome moment I've seen in warhammer, was when the Chaos Dwarf Hellcannon (it's a fantastic earth shaker model) misfired, ripping apart any mind connected to the warp thereby causing all wizards on the entire table to miscast. Queue miniature detonations, wounds and worst case a wizard being sucked into the warp. Absolutely hilarious. And awesome.

After that weekend you'd think I'd have had enough, but no. I played another just yesterday evening against a different Dwarf army, at 2400 points.

So many battle reports so little time.
  • The Skaven one I should have lost, but boy did he have some bad luck.
  • The Dwarf one I got schooled. F minus. FAIL. Click.
  • The Empire is one I'll definitely want to do some analysis on, I lost it 11-9. 
  • The High Elves was an interesting one, we both had just lost a game and played very cagey - unwilling to commit to any long term relation ships, because let's face it. How could a high elf like you and a dwarf like me ever make it in this crazy crazy world? Wait, no. I mean we didn't commit any units for fear of rejection. Wait, no. For fear of losing the points.
  • The Beastmen: we rolled battle for the pass and played lengthways on the table, which obviously suited my WarMachines - even though I only had 3.  My WarMachines made mincemeat out of them. Anyone for beastmen kidney pie? With a side of crushed chariot?
    In fairness, my cannon was laser targeted, and I think the Grudge Thrower only missed once - so I was definitely lucky.
  • The second Dwarf match, well, I learned from the first. Hammerers are what you build your army around. I used a slightly modified list from what I took at the tourney last weekend, added some miners and a sprig of Anvil with the extra 400 points.
    I was worried starting off, facing off against two 35 strong blocks of GW warriors, and a block of 28 Hammerers. He had an Anvil, and an extra Grudge Thrower on me.
    Luckily my main blocks deployed (mostly) out of range of the GTs. It all came down to some hammerer on hammerer action, followed up by a triple charge of warriors (35), warrior(35), and miners(15) into the front & flank of my Hammerers.
    I thought I was royally goosed, but the superior stat line & horde formation of the Hammerers really saved me.
    Hitting on 3+, wounding on 2+ is a massive difference to hitting on 4+ and wounding on 3+.
    About 16 wounds to 6's worth of difference.
I have many photos which will wing their digital way to this blog soon.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

YATIMI8ED: Magic Resistance

Armour of +1 Magic Resistance
I totally haven't been paying attention to Magic Resistance.
In 7th ed it used to give you bonus dice to dispel spells targeted at the unit with the Magic Resistance.

Completely different in 8th Ed, and unfortunately less powerful as now it only helps against spells which deal damage and not against all spells. No help against de-buffs such as Lore of Shadow 'Withering' spell which reduces a stat to 1.
EDIT (22/03/11 16:35): 
It would help with spells like Lore of Shadow's 'Pit of Shades' which states that it is a direct damage spell.
PoShades explicitly states that no saves of any kind are allowed. Bad example. MR only helps with anything that causes hits or wounds on your models.

Magic Resistance p72
[paraphrasing] gives a ward save to the model against damage caused by spells. 
MR1 = 6+ ward save
MR2 = 5+ ward save
This is cumulative with any ward save the model already has, but only against damage caused by spells.
If a character with MR joins a unit, the unit benefits from the MR.

As a Dwarf player, how do you give a unit MR?
I think Oath Stones and Runes are the only way (assuming no named characters).
  • Oath Stones give you an MR(1)
  • Runic Standards: Rune of Sanctuary (15pts) give you an MR(1)
  • Runic Talismans: Rune of Warding (15pts) gives you an MR(1)
All of these are cumulative, though you won't be able to combine the Oath Stone and the Rune of Warding (see Oath Stone gotchas).

Do any of you build Magic Resistance into your army list?
If so do you find it useful? Worth the points?

Monday, March 21, 2011

Rune of Slowness

The Rune of Slowness.
In 7th, if you charged you struck first in combat - so getting the charge in was important. In this case your enemy missing a charge was pretty important.
In 8th, I want to get into combat. I'm happy if you charge me. I'm not going to hit first anyway with my crappy Dwarf initiative of 2, or with my Great Weapons. Fine, take your +1 CR for charging - you're giving me the chance to do damage in hand to gland combat all the sooner.

But then I got to thinking, where would this Rune actually be useful in 8th ed.
I'm going to say, with a caveat, gun line armies.

With the gun line you want the enemy to take as many turns of fire as possible, to maximise your bang for buck. If you're all spread out though, the enemy can still charge whatever unit takes their fancy.

The caveat I would say then, is it might only be useful with the castling gunline army (is there any other?).
Give it to an infantry block (or two? with multiples of the rune, you roll a die for each rune and choose the best result) and move the infantry block in front of your grudge throwers the turn before you expect a charge, making sure you block the line of sight / charge line to the GT's.
The GT's can still do indirect fire over your own blocks - except it's more likely to scatter.
If the RoSlowness works you might just squeeze off another turn of shooting against a unit or two.

The Rune of Challenge could also be useful here for redirecting chargers to your infantry block that would otherwise have been charging your lovely war machines. Unfortunately it feels like everyone and their mother is Immune to Psychology these days, making this Rune useless.
"Now go away, or I shall taunt you for a second time!"

Oath Stone gotchas

I like Oath Stones. To me, they're a core part of the Dwarf id - honour is a basic drive for them. It speaks to me of the Dwarven mindset too. You haul this heavy ass stone across hundreds of miles for a battle, you plonk it down and it's your line in the sand. A little piece of home... and boy you ain't moving away from it for nothing...well, maybe gold.

It occurs to me this could/should be a much bigger post discussing the various uses and merits of the Oath Stone - an Oath Stone Tactica if you will. I'll add it to the 'shit I should post about' list.

Right now though, I realise I got some of the rules wrong for Oath Stones in my last battle against the DE's (battle report here). I don't think it changed the outcome any, so don't get your knickers in a twist my lovely.

Basically, I had my Runesmith in the same infantry block as my BSB which was carrying an Oath Stone.

Oath Stones p28 Dwarf Army Book other character may join a Stonebearer unit

where the Stonebearer unit is the one the character with the Oath Stone is joining. You must nominate the Stonebearer unit at the start of the game.

Hatred & Eternal Hatred

Hatred p71 BRB: all misses during the first round of combat
...sometimes a model will hate a specific foe i.e. Hatred(Dwarfs)

which also means if you have Hatred without a specific foe, you hate everyone.

AFAIK  this was the same in 7th Edition.

Eternal Hatred p43 in 7th Ed Dark Elves Army Book:
...hates all opposing models...
...when fighting High Elves, Dark Elves may re-roll in every round of combat

I always assumed Eternal Hatred meant hatred, but you re-roll every round of combat against whomever you hate. It's Eternal dammit!
But no, Eternal Hatred means you hate everyone, and only get the re-rolls every round against High Elves.

Every gorram unit in the DE book has Eternal Hatred except for:
Cold Ones
Dark Pegasus
Dark Steed
Black Dragon

The DE book also states that Hatred also applies to mounts as long their riders are alive.

Mental note: Dwarves hate Greenskins.

Hatred is awesome. For instance, I hate spiders so I get to re-roll when trying to trap them in a glass.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Battle Report - vs Dark Elves

I played a game against the Dark Elves last Tuesday. I used a bizarre army list, with far too few units on the board - and far too many runes.

This is quite the lengthy read, so you'd best go fetch a cuppa before starting. Go on. I'll wait.

About that army list of mine.
I was experimenting:
  • taking a few horde units
  • trying out a Ranger horde
    (no throwing axes though, 6's to hit when standing and shooting is ridiculous)
  • trying out a Thane with RoBrotherhood & RoChallenge (for the craic loike)
  • seeing how good a Grudge Thrower is (I've not played much 8th ed, and not taken a stone thrower in donkeys years)
    • super cheesing it I took RoPenetrating for +1 STR, except I took 2, and a RoAccuracy for a grand total of 155pts for a single Grudge Thrower (wtf? is that normal for Dwarves in 8th Ed?)
    • not totally super cheesing it on the war machines front - only one Grudge Thrower :)
  • dusting off the Gyrocopter after singing it's praises

Emotionally the battle went like:
  1. [setup] I'm so totally fucked, why did I pick such an idiotic list
  2. [midway] I actually I might win this! Stick that in your Hydra and smoke it!
  3. [about turn 3] oh holy crap I should just concede now
I have to say, that I should have been beaten much earlier in the match. My opponent had some awful rolls for the first few turns, with under-performing magic phases, elves which couldn't shoot and worst of all - Hydras that didn't kill very much.

A quick disclaimer: I've probably mixed up the magic phase happenings a tad, like which sorceress cast what spell. Hopefully it's not wildly off the mark.

So, army lists!

MEngineer: GW, BoP, RoStone: 84 pts
Cannon: RoBurning + RoForging: 130 pts
Bolt Thrower: 45 pts
Grudge Thrower: RoAccuracy + RoPenetrating x2: 155 pts
Gyrocopter: 140 pts

28 Rangers: 323 pts, FC+GW+Rangers
Thane: GW, RoS, MRoChallenge, RoBrotherhood: 119 pts

Dwarf Lord: GW, Shieldbearers, RoIron x2, RoPreservation: 176 pts
31 Hammerers, Shield FC, MRoGrungni: 421 pts

Thane: BSB, Oath Stone 20, MRoGromril + RoIron x2: 110 pts
Runesmith: GW, Shield, MRoBalance 50 + RoSpellbreaking x1 25: 76 pts
28 Dwarf Warriors, FC, GW, Shield: 323 pts

Dark Elves
Lord on Dark Pegasus
2 units of Harpies [x5]
Blackguard [x22] with lvl 4 Supreme Sorceress (shadow magic)
Spearmen [x35ish] with lvl 2 Sorceress (shadow magic)
Cauldron of Blood
2x Repeater Crossbowmen [x16]
2x Hyrdas

We rolled Dawn Attack. Damn.
Dark Elves setup first, fully, rolling for each unit as required.
Dwarves then setup fully, rolling for each unit. Gah, 2 units on the left flank after already setting up the middle units. This is not how I wanted to set up.
I do however, get to place the warrior rangers without rolling - the scout rule means they don't have to roll. I choose to set them up on the left, as
a) it looks pretty nasty on the right with the Lord, Hydra, 2x Harpies and the Blackguard
b) I should be able to kill off the Repeater Crossbowmen if I can get into combat

Turn 1a: Dark Elves:
Dwarf Thane in the warrior rangers uses rune of challenge on the only legal target, the repeater crossbowmen. They flee rather than charge.
Stuff marches forward.
Magic phase, lvl4 sorceress casts (can't remember spell name) which if successful she gets D3+1 extra power dice. Success, 4 extra dice. Then casts Pit of Shadows (14+, place 3" template anywhere within 24", models must pass an initiative test to survive). Targets Hammerer unit. Runesmith uses RoSpellbreaking to dispell.
Cauldron is used to give the Blackguard 5+ ward saves.
Turn 1a (end of DE turn)
Turn 1a (end of DE turn)
Click the photo if you don't know which units are which. I've added notes showing this.

Turn 1b: Dwarves:
Advance! All three infantry blocks march forward.
Gyrocopter can't get anywhere interesting with 20", so it stays behind the Hammerer unit.
Cannon aims 6" short of the the Lord on the Pegasus, rolls 10" and lands smack on the Hydra. Rolls 6 for wounds \o/. Cannon has a RoBurning so no regen for you Mr.Hydra! Phew, lucky me.
Bolt thrower aims for Hydra, misses.
Grudge Thrower gets on target with scatter dice, and misfire with artillery dice. Master Engineer is 3" away, allowing the GT to reroll arty dice, it gets 4. Smacks down in the center of the Spearmen, at S5 it kills 19 out of 21 possible hits (21 is the max 20mm models a 3" template can cover).
I almost feel ashamed, but then I remember what the Pit of Shades could have done. I should have fired at the Blackguard but was put off by the 5+ ward save they had been given from the cauldron.
Turn 1b (end of Dwarf turn)
Turn 1b (end of Dwarf turn)

Turn 2a: Dark Elves:
Rallies the Repeater Crossbowmen.
Hydra charges warriors rangers.
Lord on Pegasus charges Grudge Thrower.
Harpies charge cannon.
Other units advance.
Magic (iirc) is a non event, with lousy power dice rolls & pretty much everything dispelled.
Hydra handlers have 6 attacks, Hydra has 7. Add in the Breath Weapon attack, and Thunderstomp and it's a silly number of attacks. Super fortunately the breath weapon did hardly any damage, all of the above attacks only resulted in 7 dead Dwarves. The Dwarves cause 3 wounds in retaliation.
Lord on Pegasus makes mincemeat of the GrudgeThrower crew (it nearly paid for itself killing those spearmen I suppose) and overruns into the Master Engineer.
The cannon crew hold out against the Harpies. They lose CR by 1, but hold with stubborn.
Turn 2a (end of DE turn)
Turn 2a (end of DE turn)

Turn 2b: Dwarves:
Warriors with BSB and Runesmith charge the Hydra.
Hammerers wheel and charge the Blackguard.
Gyro moves 10" alongside the Harpies.

BT has no good Flanks to shoot at, so takes a pot shot at the Cauldron & misses.
I forget to shoot the Gyros steam cannon. Dammit.

The two units wipe out the Hydra, but not before it directs it's attacks against the Runesmith killing him. Stupid me. Warriors use free reform.
The Dwarf Lord with the Hammerers challenges the lvl 4 sorceress. She declines moving to the back of the unit. I shouldn't have challenged her, I should have just directed attacks at her. Lesson learned.
The Hammerers kill 8 or so of the Blackguard. They kill 9 Hammerers. Damn 5+ ward save is really helping them here.
The DW Lord finishes off the Master Engineer, using free reform to turn and face the Hammerers. Uh oh.
The cannon crew kill two Harpies winning CR, but the Harpies hold.
Turn 2b (end of Dwarf turn)
Turn 2b (end of Dwarf turn)

This was the point where I started thinking that I might turn this around, the Hammerers should beat down the Blackguard taking out the lvl 4 sorceress and starting into the spearmen and the cauldron. Easy right? I think I forgot about that Lord.
But oh, it gets worse than just the little Lordy-o...

Turn 3a: Dark Elves:
Lord charges the rear of the Hammerers.
Harpies charge the Gyro.
Blackguard reform into wide unit to maximise their attacks.

Lvl 4 uses Pit of Shades on the Warriors & BSB unit. Man I hate that thing. It's almost as bad as the purple sun. Attempt to dispell the Pit with all dice, fail. The Pit scatters a little over the Ranger Warriors. The BSB and champion successfully roll their look out sirs - the Pit kills about 10 warriors and 3 or 4 rangers.
The rather painful realisation that without my Runesmith I'm down not 1 but 2 dispell dice. 1 for the Runesmith, and 1 for the MRoBalance he had.
The Dark Elf magic phase is definitely a lot stronger now.

The lvl4 sorceress casts 'The Withering' on the Hammerers, reducing their toughness by D3. Fortunately it only reduces by 1 point. Will it be enough?
The lvl 4 also casts Melkoth's Mystifying Miasma, which reduces the WS,BS,I or M of the target unit by D3. Casters choice which stat goes down. The spell reduces the WS of the Hammerers to 1.
Woe is me.

The Repeater Crossbowmen start to make pin cushions of the warrior rangers, and the warriors with the BSB - killing a few more models in each unit.

The Blackguard and Lord make mincemeat of the Hammerers with their reduced stat line - killing 22 Hammerers. /facepalm
A single hammerer survives along side the Dwarven Lord, meaning they still have Stubborn. They hold.
The Harpies do a single wound to the Gyro, it kills one Harpy. CR draw.

I should probably have just conceded the game at this point, but I'm stubborn, just like my army.
Turn 3a (end of DE turn)
Turn 3a (end of DE turn)

Turn 3b: Dwarves:
Rangers attempt to charge closest Repeater Crossbowmen. They stand and shoot killing a few more.
The Warriors also attempt to charge the same Repeater Crossbowmen. Both charges fail.

The Dwarf Lord gets killinated by the DE Lord (with reverse ward save).
The Gyro kills a few more Harpies.

Turn 4a: Dark Elves:
Harpies charge the Bolt Thrower.
Blackguard turn around and move towards remaining dwarf infantry units.
DE Lord lines up for a charge against the Gyro.
Cauldron gives the Harpies in combat with the Gyro the 5+ ward save. They fail to wound the Gyro, it doesn't kill any Harpies either.
The repeater crossbows take out more dwarf warriors.
Turn 3b + 4a (mid DE turn)
Turn 3b + 4a (mid DE turn)

Turn 4b: Dwarves:
Remaining infantry blocks charge the closest Repeater Crossbowmen. They get pincushioned, losing many.
Cannon dies in CC.
Gyro draws against the Harpies again.
Turn 4b (end of Dwarf turn)
Turn 4b (end of Dwarf turn)

Turn 5a: Dark Elves:
Finish off the Gyro, and kill even more dwarf warriors & rangers.
I finally concede. :|

Turn 5a (end of DE turn)
Turn 5a (end of DE turn)

I think the turning point was when the Dark Elves deftly made weaklings of my Hammerers, allowing them to wipe out 22(!) in CC in one turn.
Even if both the debuff spells had been dispelled, and the Hammerers had won the day (unlikely with the DE Lord rear charging in) I'm not sure it would have made any difference else where. The Gyro would still have lost, the warriors and rangers would still have been pincushioned over many failed charges.

Stuff I learned:
  1. Rules for flying things charging - they CAN charge over units as long as they have real line of sight to their intended target - which meant the Hammerers didn't block the charge to the Grudge Thrower.
  2. Shooting through forests is the same, as long as you have real line of sight you can fire.
  3. Flying is different now, the Gyrocopter cannot March and shoot (20" move), it may only Move and shoot = 10" move. It doesn't really say that anywhere in the dwarf book, but it sounds reasonable to me to be honest. I'm sure the Gyro will get FAQ'ed soon enough. I'm not sure about this though, the 1.2 FAQ I have says the Gyro's movement is 1". I have to go read up on Flying.
  4. In turn 2, notice the alignment the Lord took when charging the Grudge Thrower. Charging units no longer have to charge straight at their targets, they can choose the point of contact, and when aligning they line up to the defenders they end up with the facing they want for decent overruns.
  5. Specialist Weapons:
    When in close combat first round and choosing the weapon the unit will use, you must use the specialist weapon. In my case it was the warrior unit with shields and GW's. I had to use GW's as they were specialist, even though I wanted to use shields. I have to go find this in the rules too.
  6. Shooting:
    Perhaps an obvious one. When shooting with a ranged infantry unit, you do divide up the unit when rolling. If half are short range and half are long range, then roll separately.
    If some are in range, and some are not, then you only fire with the ones in range.
  7. Challenges:
    Don't challenge someone you think will refuse. Instead direct attacks at them.
  8. Reforming after combat happens immediately after the end of combat, even if it isn't your turn.
Shit I forgot:
  1. To actually fire the Gyro's steam cannon when lined up with the Harpies.
Shit I won't let happen again:
  1. Lore of Shadows - The Withering (Toughness reduced by D3)
  2. Lore of Shadows - Melkoth's Mystifying Miasma (WS of target unit reduced to 1)
  3. Runesmith in front rank (do they have to be in the front rank?)
  4. Challenging an enemy character, allowing them to refuse and leave combat by moving to the back.
Shit to change in the Army list:
  1. I've had more success with an Anvil army. The Anvil would also help with its 3 extra magic phase dispell dice, and the amount of failed charges I had. Admittedly they were a little long range.
  2. The rangers I'm just not sure about. Quarellers might have been better, they just couldn't get into combat after that Hydra.
  3. The RoBlood allowing the Thane to join the rangers, and his RoChallenge wasn't the greatest. Still I didn't use it effectively enough. I might give the RoC another shot, but probably not the RoBlood.
  4. The Gyro I didn't use very well at all. With it's move and shoot being limited to 10", it's not as useful. I still think it's good for hunting down fleeing units, there just wasn't the chance this battle.
  5. The Cannon with RoBurning is full of win.
  6. The Grudge Thrower with 2xRoPenetration (Str bonus) is awesome, but super expensive at 155pts.
    If I'm taking arty that expensive I'll probably start castling in a corner to protect it.

Well played Mr.Dark Elf sir. 
I'll be looking for a grudge match sooner or later.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Warhammer Invasion

I picked Warhammer Invasion up on a bit of a whim at lunch time, because I'd read this review. Sounds like fun to me.
It's actually scoring pretty high on the geek (mental note - check this before purchase next time).

I was hoping it would be a closed loop in terms of collectibles (i.e. not a CCG, but a one off purchase and you'll get the full set - like Dominion) - but it seems like you buy small expansion boxes of 40-60 cards which range from €10-€15, but these require the initial box set to play. So not a closed loop, but at least it's not tonnes of pot luck booster packs.

I must dig into the rules and bring Warhammer Invasion along to the next BastardCon.

Being back in the country, I also got to go pick up my Orcs and Goblins army book. I'm looking forward to savouring this hardback page by meaty page.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

a post of little import

Been away for the last two weeks. Random posting will resume shortly.