Friday, December 10, 2010

No Local Store? No Problem

I've been playing Warhammer 40K since around 1992 or so... most marriages don'tlast as long as my love affair with this game. Now, for pretty much that entire period of time that has not been a FLGS around (the Gamers Sanctuary, long may she be remembered) is the only bump in that.

I often hear (Dice Like Thunder) or other podcasts that have great places to play.

I am not one of them.

I have my table, at my house, in my 40K room, which rocks, and I love it.

But it does not allow me to play other people in any semi-regular basis to test out lists against, which is sad. In addition, I tend to have to travel for tournaments, which is difficult when I am married/have my own business/and have bitten the stupid WOW crack again.

Recently we have started some local tournaments. We had one in a garage last month, and next month I will be hosting. We should have about 10 people or so with a little luck. A bunch of us throw toegether with table tops and terrain and have a good time.

Anyone out there in my shoes? What have you done to help the situation when you live this far away?

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Tau vs. Dark Eldar - Guide

So I am playing the hell out of my DE these days, but in the back of my mind (and in my heart) I am always thinking of Tau.
So, with that in mind, and Tau being one of the older codexs, how do you go about handling Dark Eldar, with Tau?
Well, I am not going to talk about a Tau build. I subscribe to the mono-build of Tau at the moment with a winning list having large amounts of crisis with plasma/missiles and broadsides and a few small squads to hold score. I am assuming that you are running this or a variant of it (I run a hammerhead or two often).
Now, let's get too it.
The first problem is initive, who won? If you won set up in mid area if possible. Dark Eldar like to take advantage of Nightshields and you need to be able to respond with your entire army. Make sure that all of your fire can cover everyone else. Don't have anyone set up too far forward (do NOT infilitrate your kroot up).
Now then, if you have gone first, then the dark eldar has a problem, he can deploy, and get shot, or reserve his entire army. I think the smart play, but if not, and he sets up, move around as necessary and down every transport that has any of the following units in it 1. Wytches 2. Any Elite (Incubi, Grotesques, Wracks). After this is done, go to the Ravagers and guns in round 2 if necessary. If you fail to destroy all the vehicles you will have transports in your face on round 2, you need to kill them, and then kill the occupants. Remember your smart missiles, they will just obliterate Dark Eldar. I don't advocate shooting the warriors at first, they actually have no chance against the kroot, so are no threat in HTH, which is where you will get crushed.
Once the raiders and ravagers are down, the game should be in hand.
Now, if they reserve you have a problem. In objective based games there will be a certain desire to mill around and get closer to the objectives on round 1 and 2. DO NOT DO THIS. If you move within 27 inches of his table edge, you are asking to get in HTH. You have only one thing you can do. Stay in the center at around 30 inches away from his side. On round 2 he will scream in with 1/2 of his stuff. Still, DO NOT move toward the objective. Just kill, wipe everything that came on the table out, any way you can. On round 4 more of this stuff will come in, do the same thing again. On round 5 you need to get to the stupid objective, move 5, run, whatever. If he has anything else that is coming, you jsut have to risk it. If it is just kill points, then you shouldn't be in any problem.
If the Dark Eldar go first you have a problem. More then likely you will have 4-6 raiders or vypers full of troops that are directly in front of your army and have taken some casulties. This is the point when it is time to effect a fighting withdrawal. You need to pick a flank, right or left, and start killing one side off. Don't distribute your firepower, you need to wipe transports, and then try and make a wall of kroot to block off getting multi assaulted. Transports are key, do that first, but once their transports are done, you need to start killing troops on one side so that you can keep moving as far away while slowly feeding units to the inevitable hth.
I'm unsure that a choice to go into reserve will be successful against DE, but depending on what they are playing it may be possible... in fact that may be a better strategy if forces to go second.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Dark Eldar - Results

I would say that my 3-5th games with them at the local tournament were promising. I see problems with the list (obviously) but am contrained by a desire to paint what I have and a lack of models, although I will discuss what I think needs to change below.

I played Space Marines, Space Marines and Blood Angels.

My first game, I went first and my Wytches were caught out in the open with two bad fleet rolls (1 and a 2) and were unable to make HTH in turn 1. One squad was destroyed, but the other was able to get the job done. The incubi and lord made it to hth and did as expected, murdering bikes, and marines equally by the end of the game, and killing all the troop choices. The Archon killed a librarian in round 2 (you will see a theme here)

My second opponent went first, so I reserved my entire army. I was able to come on and get immediately into hth in round 2, with the incubi and the lord sweeping up a flank and killing everything. By the end of the game he had killed another librarian as well. The incubi finally were destroyed by thunderhammers after killed in excess of 20+ marines.

My last game is the only one that caused me real problems as I ran face first into 3 blood angel devestator squads with 12 missiles, an obvious problem, but one that I had a hart time countering. It was a mess to be honest, but a blood battle. The archon killed Memphiston and another librarian in that game, and quite a bit of other units died, however I was not aggressive enough, fearing blood angel HTH (wrongly) on turn 1. It would be interesting to play again, but this time to be more aggressive.

I definitely see a need for much more anti-infantry shooting. I see two easy places for this in the codex, that being in Venoms with their 12 poisoned shots or by running a jet fighter and taking the standard missile load out. For reasons due to survivability, the venoms appeal to me more. I made a test list up that had another 4 venoms, but I think I need to reshuffle.

I also was not impressed with the blast pistol, which will be coming out of all of the lists from now on. That is 60 pts I can better spend somewhere else. I liked the wytches with haywires quite a bit, and liked the hydra gauntlets, but was underwhelemed with the shardnets and impailers. I believe that they are best against units they never ended up being in hth with.

The Shock Prow + multiple torment grenade launchers + Aethersails worked well, allowing me to put a -3 roll on devestator squad and escort them off the table.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Dark Eldar - Garage Wars

So this weekend I am heading to a local group to throw down with the Dark Eldar all day Saturday. The wife is in the midst of finals, so it's a good time for me to get out of the house.

Now then, let's talk about what I am taking. I am not pointing this up directly until I closer to the event, so it's going to be a few points off here and there. I want to mention the units, and what I want them to do/expect and play a few games this weekend. After all, all plans come to an end when they meet the enemey... or something like that.

The Marquis of Fall
Archon - Huskblade, Shadowfield, Phantasm Grenade Launchers, Soul Trap.
This fellow is my headhunter. While he won't be useful all the time, I have never run a beatstick character, and it fits the army I think. He can potentially be devestating in some games, and will be crap in others. I've done a head swap and a few other things on the model. I have some background about him in my mind, but this isn't the place for it quite yet.

Incubi of the Temple of the Black Son
8x Incubi, Raider w Aethersails and Torment Grenade Launchers
This is the Archon's ride. I've only use these fellows one game, and they were in reserve until round 4. Still, the threat of them was enough to keep my opponent from crossing within 24 inches of my board edge. I hope for them to be better next game. I'm considering breaking the squad up to two 5 man squads in Venoms... but then where will the Marquis go?

Kabalite Warriors of The Fall
(2)Kabalite Warriors x10, Blaster, Splinter Cannon. Raider w/Aethersails, Torment Grenade Launcher.
I am still playing with the weapon load outs. Now that I realize that the blast pistol is only 6 inch range, spending 30 pts to upgrade a sergeant upgrade to have it and a venom blade for both squads hurts me. I will be trying them without them this time. The aethersails have to do with getting somewhere when I want them to be.

Wytches of the Cult of the Broken Heart
(2) Wytch Squads x10, Heckarix, Agonizer, Blast Pistol, 2x Wytch Weapons, Raider, Aethersails, Torment Grenade Launcher, Shock Prow, Haywire Grenades
I've loved these girls in both games I've played them. I want to keep playtesting them and see how I like them. I know some people don't like the haywire grenades, but here is how I have seen it play out. A vehicles comes near me, even if it moved 12+, the ladies jump it and WILL generate a glancing hit, and have a decent chance of immobilizing or stunning it. If that happens next time, they will blow it up. Also, if they hit a vehicle in hth, and it hasn't moved, due to the way that haywire grenades generate results, it's fairly hard for them the PEN "6" and blow themselves up. Most likely they will wreck it or cause so many weapon destroyed immobilzied that it will just fall apart.

Scourages of the Black Dawn
(2) Scouragesx5 with 2x Haywire Grenade Launchers in it.
They shut down vehicle shooting, it's as simple as that. With 1-2 glances a turn they should prevent vehicles from shooting long enough for me to get the knife work done. They also are fairly cheap at 130 pts for the entire squad.

Ravagers of The Fall
3x Ravagers with 3x Darklance each, Flickerfield, Nightshield.
These need no explanation.

Actually I think all my vehicles have Nightshields, not just the Ravagers. I will point it up.
I think the list does well against any other HTH army, or short range army. If it is a long range army, then I have to close asap and try and get into hth. If they beat me in shooting and in HTH, then I don't know what to tell you.

Things to consider?
1. Wracked. Math says they are pretty good for kill troops. I'm willing to paint what I have and wait for models. I will try them out later.
2. I like the figher plane actually, but now isn't the time to test it.
3. I've tried the reavers and didn't like them, I will playtest later
4. Are 5xtrueborn and 4 blasters (60 pts in guns alone) worth it in a 65 pt (minimum with splinter cannon gun) really worth it? Is anyone having any luck with them?
5. What would DE MSU look like?

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Let's Talk About... Blast Pistols.

I played Tau for a long time, so when I got back into my Marines in 2008, I eagerly unpakced all of my old models and started painting. I was sure that a glorious paint job would make the models work well on the table.
I specifically had this limited edition Dark Angels sergeant with a chainsword and a plasma pistol. I cut his chainsword on and slapped a powerfist on him. He was the first sergeant that I painted. I then made my army, and scratched my head at his 15 pt plasma pistol, but then put him on the table.
During the game, he got into HTH, which of course made me realize I got no bonus attacks for the pistol, and then after I got out of hth, I killed myself shooting it. Needless to say, that particular model doesn't come out of the closen very often anymore. In fact, I am painting a new sergeant for the squad right now, he simply has a trusty combi-flamer.
In 40K, you seem to have a large amount of ubiquitus basic pistols, Shuriken Pistols, Bolt Pistols, Splinter Pistols, Sluggas, Pulse Pistol (yes, one model has the Tau pulse pistol, two points if you know the unit). These are standard, what you don't seem to see very often are the other 'upgrade' pistols that much.
The worst of the bunch seems to be the plasma pistol, it's cost, chance to kill you, and ability means that people simply don't take it. It also doesn't work with a P-fist. The fusion (inferno... whatever) pistols you see a little bit more, but not that often. Did you know harliquins can take them? Ever seen them do it? I don't see blood angels take them much easier.
All this has lead to no one taking pistols much anymore, they are an ignored option in general as the cost and range of the weapon means you often get one chance to shoot it, before you are engaged in HTH.
Well, saying that, lately I have been taking warrior squads in raiders, no biggie, right? Well a blaster is 15 pts with 18 inch range, str 8, ap 2 lance. A blast pistol is 12 inch range, same stats, and counts as a extra hth weapon. Plasma is one point lower and can kill you firing it. They are the same cost (15 pts). I'm not here to make any type of argument for the plasma pistol, it's crap.
But the blast pistol is probably going to be ignored because it is a pistol, people will overlook it. Every sergeat, every hq (just about) in the book can have a blast pistol... and I think DE like to be in HTH or near it to begin with. I wouldn't count the blast pistol out just yet.
How are you out there arming your Syberites/Heckatrix lately?
Syberites are getting blast pistols and venom blades for me, and Hecks are getting blast pistols and agonizers.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Dark Eldar - Test Model Day

I often ask my wife for her opinion about how I should paint an army.

I then generally ignore her. I don't do this in any contrarion sense of spite or anything so normal. I enjoy her opinion, but most of the armies that I have painted tend to be very... manly. Space Marines are a man's army (as manly as we can be while playing with plastic dolls that we name ourselves). My marines I wanted a split scheme and I had to deal with a Dark Angels pallet (Dark Green, Black, Bone and red highlights) and my tau I wanted to be a cityfight army (they are mixed light and dark greys, very WWII german).

My Dark Eldar however are a cross between insane super-villian and twisted dark fey. My wife is a energetic ball of lightning with a healthy dose of mescheveous glee thrown in. I've always thought that if she did play 40K, that Dark Eldar would be her army. So I am painting this army, according to my wife.

So of the models, I have airbrushed the dark purple on all of the Warriors, Wytches and my Archon. I've also darkened in some of the recesses.

Tonight I will take one lone wytch model and paint him up completely to make sure the scheme will work, but I feel confident. Here is how I am painting them.

Dark Eldar Armor
75% Liche Purple/25% chaos black mix. Base coat with airbrush
Make a light wash 5% chaos black, 5% Purple Glaze, 90 % water, put in the recess
Liche Purple, (watered down slightly, don't work with straight paint) on the highlights
Liche Purple 75%/Skull White25% Edge Highlights
Liche Purple 50%/Skull White 25% as a final Highlight

Instead of doing bronze or gold as the DE in the book are, I will be doing boltgun metal/chainmail/silver on these parts.

I will doing the GW directions in the last White Dwarf for the skin, so far it is an interesting skin tone, very palid, and skinny/gray. I will finish the model tonight and put him up tomorrow morning.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Dark Eldar Painting Plan

Each time I paint an army, I try and learn some new tricks that I can (hopefully) use later. The last army I painted was marines and I did a lot of weathering on the army. However, I don't believe that Dark Eldar should be weathered, they probably spend more time cleaning their armor, then they ever do fighting, and when they do appear, they come right out of the city to fight. It's like going to a party for them, and I'm sure they are going to want to be at their best.

So, this time I want to try and learn how to paint an army that usually takes me a year, in six months, because I would like to kick my tournament attendance to twice a year, as opposed to once a year. I'm looking at going to the GT in Dallas in April, or perhaps to the Kalm Before the Waaagh once it has a fixed date this year... and bringing the DE to one or both.

Now, to assist me, I will be picking a non complicted color scheme, and trying to work that color scheme up to a great level. My marines ended up being a split scheme, which is great, and unusual, but hard as hell to pull off.

So, first off, instead of doing a unit by unit as I did with my marines, I am doing the entire army as follows: Infantry, then Vehicles. About 50+ infantry at the moment, then focus on the 8 vehicles I want for my base army (5 raiders and 3 ravagers).

The infantry at this time are put together, based and base coated.

Step One: Over the next week I will pick a base color and use my airbrush to spray them that color.

Step Two: Go in with a darker wash and get in the recess of the armor of all the models.

Step Three: Highlight with straight Liche Purple (my base color is Liche purple and chaos black I think)

Step Three: Highlight with Liche Purple+ Something else... not sure what

Step Four: Highlight the very edges where armor meets with the second color

At this point I would figure that 60% of the model is finished. I'm not sure how I am going to handle the metal and other non purple parts, as I have not made a decision on any symbols etc.. on the army. I can tell you that I like the GW markings and intend on using those.

A few questions for anyone that reads this:

1. Do you think the Wytch Raiders would bear the symbol of their Wytch Cult? If so, would I then have an army of different marks, and would that take away from the army effect?

2. Are Incubi rather like Aspect Warriors, and the black with white helmets are their trademark look? If not, what if I painted them in inverse colors from the rest of the army. I haven't made a decision about my accent color yet, but they would be that color with purple as the accent color.