6th Edition 40k and Eldar: Part 1

My overall take on 6th edition has been positive. The rules seem to place more of an emphasis on short-to-medium range shooting which, incidentally, Eldar are good at. New goodies such as the rulebook psychic powers also complement Eldar well. Yes, we only get 2 of the 6 disciplines, but we have access to what I think is the most powerful one: Divination. Telepathy isn’t bad either. Anyways, this post isn’t going to be a review of 6th and what rules suck and which don’t, etc. The rules are the rules, and that’s that. What I will be discussing is the general effect of the new edition on the Eldar. In a future post I’ll discuss what some viable army builds are, and then in a third I’ll clear up any rules or gameplay issues that will affect the Eldar.

Psychic Powers

I must admit that at first I was not only skeptical, but pissed. We only get access to a third of the powers? But Eldar are supposed to be THE psychic powerhouse in the 40k universe. Then the rulebook hit, I looked at the rules and powers, and calmed down. Divination is great, and telepathy is nothing to sneeze at. Both of the primaris powers make the disciplines worth it by themselves. Divination is full of army buffs (by my count 4 of the 6 random powers are worth taking) and Telepathy gives some much needed psychic offense. Cannot wait to use Psychic Shriek on a unit of Orks.

As for psychic defense, Eldar are clearly superior to others. Runes of Warding are a must, as they are hands down the best psychic defense in the game. Add to that the fact that many of our units come with psykers we have a 33% chance of dispelling any psychic attacks on our units.

Oh, and Eldrad is a monster.

Allies

So, Dark Eldar and Tau as bros, and most of the Imperium as frenemies. I don’t know how I feel about that. I can understand Tau being bros, and get that the Imperium are monkeys that we won’t shoot on sight, but Dark Eldar? REALLY?! I’m fairly certain there’s some animosity there.

Anyways, those are our options for allies. I took a unit of Grey Knights as allies (it’s fluffy, I promise! My army’s fluff/background will be posted in a future post) not because I wanted to take Paladins (I don’t), but because I kit-bashed some models (Dark Angel veterans with Grey Knights) which, if I do say so myself, look kinda sweet and want to use them.

Keep in mind that if using Imperial allies, any Runes of Warding will adversely affect those allies.

General Game Mechanics

Nothing really to talk about here, as these affect everyone the same. I’d say that the overall movement speed of a FootDar list has been slowed down slightly in that we can no longer Move-Fleet-Assault, but oh well.

Forge World & The Horus Heresy: Why It’s A Bad Idea

The GW rumor mill is in full swing with all things 40k. 6th edition, flyers, GW actually advancing the story/time setting, Eldar in the starter set (that last one may be made up by yours truly).

Now that it’s been confirmed that June 23 will be the pre-release of 6e, and the actual release soon after, people are now talking about something that has been vehemently denied in the past: Forge World making Horus Heresy models and Imperial Armor books. People such as Reece from Frontline Gaming have talked about it, it’s been going around Dakka, and blogs such as Apocalypse 40k have discussed the possibility.

For some people this is a great idea. WHOOO! Primarchs! More power armor! … But what about those of us who don’t play with Space Marines (of any variation)? The HH was nothing but Imperial vs Ex-Imperial action. Oh, sure, the Emperor’s Children had a run in or two with the Eldar, but they weren’t important to the story. There are mentions of various xenos races being exterminated in the name of “compliance”, but there is little detail about that. At the heart of it, the HH was about Astartes fighting Astartes.

Thing is, the IA books are already Imperium vs. _____, WITHOUT FAIL. In some cases, it’s Imperium vs. Traitor Marines (looking at you, Mr. Huron). I get that many players use power armor, and I wouldn’t be surprised if a large portion of GW’s sales come from selling beakies. Having the IA books be Imperium vs. Xenos is a great way of satisfying both sides of the aisle. The Imperial fanboys get their fix, and the Xenos players don’t feel neglected. If the HH books (which are rumored to be similar but separate from the IA series) comes to fruition, those of us who couldn’t give any fucks about power armor get the shaft.

And what happens when we feel left out? Well, I can only speak for myself, but Privateer Press and Wyrd have some nice systems. I’m a huge fan of the 40k system, but playing with and ignored and out-dated codex gets tiring. Because of that, I am now seriously thinking about spending hobby money in pursuit of WM/H or maybe even Malifaux, Infinity, or more. And I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels that way.

Then there’s more practical aspects of gameplay. Sure, Heresy units would look cool, but they’re 10,000 years old. It would be patently unfair (and thus I can see GW doing this) to have HH units be the equivalent of, or god forbid superior to, units based in thee 41st millennium. Oh, sure, you’re contempt or dreadnaught looks great, but it’s antiquated technology. While the Imperium is a fan of that stuff, it stands to reason that a 10,000 year old piece of equipment shouldn’t stand up to newer weapons. It’s why you don’t see the US Army equipping its soldiers with leather armor and crossbows. I’d imagine that even the SM chapters have advanced technologically. A Dark Angel now should be trained and equipped better than his 10,000 year old counterpart.

And then there are the Primarchs. How are they going to be made to fit into a 40k game? According to the fluff, they were immeasurably superior to regular Space Marines in every single way. That can only lead to two things on the tabletop, neither options are good.

1. The Primarchs would be marginally better than a SM chapter master. Fanboys are disappointed because “they’re not tough (read: cheese) enough”.

2. They’re TOO powerful. The only way to kill a Primarch is to bring one yourself. Which is a problem for those of us who don’t play Marines.

How can GW/FW make everyone happy? It’s kinda simple: hire separate staff at FW to concentrate solely on HH units. They did it with Warhammer Forge, or whatever the fuck that’s called. That would enable FW to continue their IA books (which are fantastic) which will keep us Xenos players interested. It would also let HH fanboys get their fix.

As for the HH units on the tabletop, that’s also a simple fix. Don’t allow HH units in 40k games without opponents’ consent. Alternatively, create a separate system under the 40k umbrella (call it, I dunno, 30k?), where the units are comparably weaker than their counterparts in 40k. That way everyone is on an equal footing.

Basically, what I’m saying is, ignore the Xenos, and we’ll leave to do something else. There are ways for GW/fanboys to have their cake and eat it too.

June 9 Beltway Gamers Tournament

So today I went to my third tournament of 2012, and this was the biggest one yet points wise – 2000 to be exact. Before I talk about the tournament, and how well/poorly I did, here’s my list.

Eldrad 210
Avatar 155
Harlequins (10) Shadowseer, Death Jester, Kisses 252
Wraithguard (5) 175
Spiritseer Conceal 46
Dire Avengers (10) Exarch, Bladestorm 147
Dire Avengers (10) Exarch, Bladestorm 147
Guardians (10) Scatterlaser 95
Warlock Conceal 40
Guardians (16) Scatterlaser 144
Warlock Conceal 40
Warp Spiders (6) Exarch, Additional Death Spinner 149
War Walkers 2x Scatterlaser 120
War Walkers 2x EML 140
Wraithlord Bright Lance, Wraithsword 140
2000

What’s that, I hear you cry? No Night Spinners?! Not even one!?

Nope. Not one. I decided that I can’t do a “mostly” Footdar list with some mech elements. For me to get the best out of the army, I had to go full blown foot or mech. And given my horrible results with my mechanized lists in the past, I went with foot.

I changed out Maugan Ra to go with the Avatar for one simple reason: an Avatar with fortune is damned hard to kill. It’s also a great fire magnet, meaning that when things fire at the Avatar they aren’t firing at my squishier things. Plus the Forge World model is FANTASTIC, and I couldn’t resist using it. Ok, so that’s three reasons, but all are good.

I went with the Wraithguard instead of Fire Dragons because why not? I had the points, the models are pretty good, plus they’re MUCH more resilient. Always a good thing.

Anyways, a write up of my battles and some pics will be up in the next 24 hours. Here’s a teaser though: I didn’t place last!

Tinkering

So, up until today, my FootDar list has looked something like this: Farseer, Maugan Ra (yes, really), 7 harlequins, 6 fire dragons in a wave serpent (they still have feet!), 2×10 dire avengers, 10 guardians, 2×5 pathfinders, 2x night spinners, and 4dark reapers. My last two games have seen me replace the dark reapers with some war walkers. Jury is still out on that, because I like both.

Anyways, my new and improved(?) FootDar list looks like this, with an explanation behind each choice also revealed:

Eldrad – This is a no brainer in a 2k list. He’s just so good. Yes, he’s 210 points but he’s STILL undercosted.

Avatar – I loved Maugan Ra, he was a beast. However, the Avatar is a huge army buff. Literally, HUGE; I’m using my FW model.

Harlequins – I love the models, and they’re a great counter assault unit. They have a Death Jester to add some shooty. For 10 points and a bitchin’ model I couldn’t stay away.

Wraithguard – For these guys I’m trusting the interweb wisdom. I haven’t used these guys since 3d edition, but I have the models, so it’s worth a shot.

Pathfinders – The ultimate backfield objective squatters. 2+ cover save? Yes please.

Dire Avengers (2 units) – Kitted out with an Exarch, defend, and shimmershield these guys are my tarpits and first line of defense up close.

Guardians (3 units) – Guided scatter lasers. That is all.

War Walkers (1 squadron of 3) – More scatter lasers. Possibly on the flank.

Wraithlord – Long range anti-tank plus a decent close combat machine.

Night Spinner – Never leave home without one!

And now to test this list out…

Farseers, baby seals, and epic fails, oh my!

So we’re back from Berks Spring Assault 3, which was a LOT of fun. The Berks crew run a great event, and I’m definitely going back next year.

About 12 hours before we planned to arrive at the tournament, I decided that I wanted to try out a different approach to the Eldar. For the two months or so since I’ve gotten back into the 40k hobby, I’ve run Mechdar, to generally poor results, and felt like I should go in another direction. Seeing as I only have Eldar (and 5 Space Wolf terminators), I was kinda stuck with an Eldar army. But I like Eldar, so that’s ok.

Enter my take on FootDar: a Farseer, 7 Angry Death Clowns, Pathfinders, Guardians w/ EML and Dark reapers were all schlepping it. They were supported by a Night Spinner (more on this beauty later) and some Dire Avengers in a Wave Serpent for some fun late-game objective grabbing. Anyways, onto the missions.

Mission 1: Modified Seize Ground (3 objectives, one MUST be in the centre and worth double the victory points)

I played a horde Tyranid list with a Doom of Malantai. Luckily for me, he dies to massed shuriken catapult fire. Unluckily for me, I still suffer against a horde list, especially genestealers. The Night Spinner was brilliant again in limiting movement. I lost by a huge margin. That said, this was the most fun game I had all day, mostly due to the opponent.

Mission 2: Some crazy thing where you and an opponent trade models and then try to kill them.

Not gonna lie, this game was kinda crappy. My opponent looked like this. I tabled him by the end of turn 3. We were actually told by the TO to play another game because we still had another hour left in the round. We didn’t, I decided to have lunch instead. It put up more of a fight.

Notes: What Dark Reapers do to power armor should be criminal to the point of forcing them to register as sex offenders. Pathfinders in ruins are brilliant; that 2+ cover save is wonderful at soaking up lascannon fire. Night Spinner continued to do well, taking out three out of five assault marines (one more died next turn from dangerous terrain). One final note, the pathfinders took out a dreadnought. Yeah, you read that right.

Mission 3: Pillage (Loot counters were placed, and you get VPs for holding them)

This was against a small army of Orks. Small because TWO battle wagons and GHAZGHKULL eat up a lot of points at the 1,000 limit. This game was basically a version of everyone’s favorite “Roll Dice and Tie”. It was a draw, but in reality I got my butt kicked.

Notes: Night Spinner didn’t do too much in this one, but then there wasn’t much to shoot at. Angry Death Clowns finally met their match – nobz. Granted, I forgot that Gaz declared a WAAAGH! the turn I charged them.

Mission 4: Annihilation (double victory points for units wiped out).

I played a Grey Knights list that was this: Coteaz, Psyfleman Dread, three units of five terminators (one with Thawn). This was my first time ever playing GK, and having heard so much about how over powered they are I was worried. Anyways, I ended the game with 1800 victory points and only gave up 150. Soooo, about those Grey Knights…

Notes: First off, I need to point out that my opponent was rolling too many ones. In one round of shooting, TEN guardians killed 4 out 5 terminators in one squad (they went on to kill off the survivor in assault, losing one guardian in the process). The Angry Death Clowns then wiped out the other two squads in two consecutive turns. Coteaz got a fatal case of shuriken poisoning, and the game ended before I could take out the dread.

Lessons Learned 

I am becoming a huge fan of the Night Spinner. Cannot wait to assemble my second one and try it out in a larger game. ADCs are worth the points. Guardians are decidedly “meh”, but a cheap deckchair unit. Dark Reapers aren’t bad, but I’ll need to play test them more (because, you know, 4 games in 12 hours isn’t enough). Finally, I like how my take on FootDar works, and will probably go this route with my army.

The Epic Fail 

Berks Spring Assault 3 gave out awards for achievements (or mishaps) throughout the day. The first player who met one of the conditions (blow up one’s Dark Angel with a “Get’s Hot” incident, melt someone’s face with a melta gun, etc) got a prize. However, once a condition was met then that was taken off the board and no one else could claim the prize.

I won one such prize: take out a vehicle with a sniper rifle. My prize? EPIC FAIL TOKENS!

Long Term Planning

The NOVA Open is almost here! Well, not really, but I need to make myself think it is in order to get my painting done in a reasonable manner.

My goal is to get one unit/vehicle painted each week between now and the end of August. “Wait a minute, that’s too much time!” you may cry. If I was actually going to stick to that schedule then yes, I’d be done by the end of June. But I’ll be studying for the bar exam, plus a trip to the Olympics this summer, not to mention TAKING the bar exam, all between now and NOVA Open.

Given all that, odds are I probably won’t stick to that schedule.

Some Thoughts

I’ve played several 40k games over the past two months, and I’ve lost most of them. That said, I believe you learn a lot more from a loss than a win and this theory holds true. The biggest lesson learned is that I have no way of dealing with horde armies.

I’ve had three games against Tyranids and one against The Green Tide, and all have been resounding losses on my part. It’s a combination of me having very few weapons capable of putting a dent into large squads and fielding a small army.

However, I think I’ve managed to come up with a few tweaks that may help the army deal with large numbers of troops. First, cut back on my anti-MEQ (two Fire Dragon squads in 1,000 points may be a bit too much) and replace them with Dire Avengers. While the humble Dire Avenger isn’t that great by himself, a fully kitted out squad will throw out 40 S4, AP5 shots at BS4. I’m not one for math-hammer, but I think even a large Boyz squad will not appreciate being hit by that.

I can also free up points by dropping my Angry Death Clowns* from any battle less than 2,000 points. The current game format emphasizes shooting over close combat, so more shuriken will compensate for the lack of CC punch. Plus, three Troop choices is better than two.

And my final lesson, nay, revelation: Night Spinners are AMAZING. Twin-linked ordnance, S6, rending, pinning AND forces dangerous terrain tests for 115 points is nothing short of phenomenal. I got to like them enough to forget I have Fire Prisms (which are also good, but god damn do I love the Night Spinner).

And now back to painting some Menites.

*Harlequins

Tournament Today

So, I’m off to a 1,500 point tournament today at the Bowie, MD Battle Bunker. Here’s the list I’ll be taking:

 

Farseer Counts as Eldrad 210
     
Fire Dragons (7) Exarch 124
Wave Serpent Shuriken Cannon x2, Spirit Stone 110
     
Harlequins (5) Harlequin Kisses For All!, Troupe Master 126
     
Dire Avengers (10) Exarch, Bladestorm 147
Wave Serpent Shuriken Cannon x2, Spirit Stone, Shuriken Cannon 120
     
Dire Avengers (10) Exarch, Bladestorm 147
Wave Serpent Shuriken Cannon x2, Spirit Stone, Shuriken Cannon 120
     
Fire Prism   115
Fire Prism   115
     
Falcon Holofield, Spirit Stone, Shuriken Cannon 165
     
    1499

I don’t plan on winning, but this is my first step in preparing for the NOVA Open. Yes, I know NOVA Open is 2,000 points, but this is my first ever competitive GW event. Got to start somewhere, right?

 

And now I lay me down to sleep, I hope to Khaine my soul to keep. If I should die before I wake, I pray the Infinity Circuit my soul to keep. Because f*ck Slaanesh. Seriously.