Monday, October 4, 2010

PAINting: Update

All pictures should expand if you click on them.

Not too long ago I was talking about my backlog and wanting to finish up the High Elfs I had so I could start on the Island of Blood models.

Specifically, the issue was the Silver Helms, a unit so bad it rivals the Forsaken for outright not just uselessness, but counter-productive to take.

Still, they had to be painted...and now, as you see here, they are.

I will never argue they are a spectacular looking unit...then again, I will never claim anything I paint is spectacular looking. A shaky hand and lack of skill see to that. But they are a unit that, circumstances permitting, I would not be embarrassed to put on the table.

I also decided to magnetize and base the Repeater Bolt Thrower (Eagle Claw).

I also made a base for what would be a 50-strong unit of Lothern Sea Guard. 35 shots per turn and a potential of 50 attacks...unlikely, but possible (51 if unit champ gets 2, do not remember at moment), albeit just S3, plus I think it is kind of a cool look with the mix of spears and bows.

I also painted a unit of Swordmasters from the Island of Blood. There is actually a difference between that unit and the ones above.
I went deeper into the color bank, using I think 9 different colors...though admittedly that includes 2 blues and 3 purples.

They fit well with the Dragon Princes, who I believe were the group I had previously invested the most time and energy in painting.

I also finished up the hero models.

So overall I think it is a decent looking army. Now the issue is putting together a list I actually want to play. I have been toying with a list that revolves around a Level 4 Life mage and a level 1 or 2 Beast mage. In theory, I could then end up with the center unit (the 50 lothern) rolling in with S4, T7...of course, that relies on the Winds of Magic being strong, my opponent being unable to stop anything and forgetting to dispel it on his own turn...
In other words, it is a BAD army list. But at the moment, it is the only one I can come up with...

And on the bright side, all the high-profile painting is done. Time to get a list built and get down to playing!

Monday, September 27, 2010

09/11/10 Battle Report 2500 pts Dark Elves vs. Skaven

09/11/10 Battle Report 2500 pts - Skaven vs. Dark Elves

Fixeddice and I wanted to get together since we haven't played each other for a while and agreed on 2500 points before hand. We rolled Scenario 6 for the battle in which 1 player starts out controlling The Watchtower in the center of the table with one garrisoned infantry unit and the other gets the first turn. From turn 4, at the end of each game turn a D6 is rolled and the game turn is added to the dice. As soon as it's 10 or greater, the game ends and the person controlling the tower, or closest to it wins the scenario.


For terrain for a total of 7 pieces and thanks to the Encampment of Destruction and the Settlement of Disorder that we rolled we ended up with a Mysterious Forest, and Acropolis of Heroes, a Bane Stone, a Wall, A regular building, a fence, a wizards tower, a watchtower, and a sorcerous portal. That added to Fixeddice's Fozziks folding tower, and the one from the scenario and we had a lot of terrain.

The armies were as follows.


Queek Headtaker
Plague Priest – lv. 2 on Furnace with Ruby ring of Ruin. Rolling for Spells got Pestilent Breath and Plague.
Warlock Engineer – lv. 2 with Crack's Call & Warplightning. Warp Condenser.

Warlock Engineer with Howling Warpgale & Warplightning. Warp Condenser

Plaguemonks x30 - Magic Banner of Under Empire. Musician & Standard Bearer
Plaguemonks x30 - Musician & Standard Bearer

Clanrats x 20 with Doom Flayer Weapon Team
Clanrats x 24 with Poison Wind Mortar
Clanrats x25 with Warp Fire Thrower

Jezzails x5
Slaves x20 with Slings


Rat Ogres x3 with Packmaster

Dark Elves (going mostly from memory here, so I'm sure I'm leaving something out)
Level 4 Wizard
2-3 Level 2 wizards.
Crossbowmen x 12
Crossbowmen x 30
Witch Elves x6
Witch Elves x6
Harpies x4
Cauldron of Blood
Dark Riders (?) x5
Cold One Knights x6

Fixeddice won the roll for control of the tower, placing 12 X-bowmen in there. So I put my 2 units of Plaguemonks in the center with the HPA on their left flank. I placed my General in the unit of Monks that had the Banner and my Plague Priest in the other unit of Monks. The Rat Ogres went on my Extreme left flank across from his bolt thrower which didn't have that great of a LoS due to all the towers. My Doom wheel went to my extreme Right flank across from the Sorcerous Portal. I garrisoned the unit of Clan Rats with the WFT in the Tower that was in My deployment zone along with a WLE and put the other 2 between the Furnace. Sticking my other WLE in the one with more models. The Jezzails were in the middle, mainly to take potshots at his Tower across the board that had his large unit of X-bowmen and his Lv. 4 wizard in it.

Start of Game

Skaven turn 1:
Since I get to go first, I charge my Queek-led unit of Plaguemonks with the banner into the Scenario Watchtower. They make the charge needing only to roll a 7. The close combat kills 8 of his guys, but he kills 4 of mine back. He loses the combat, but doesn't flee the bldg. Everything else just moves pretty much straight forward except the Jezzails, the garrisoned ClanRats and their WFT. The sorcerous portal goes off , sending a Fireball straight to the Doom wheel which takes a wound. Magic doesn't really happen as one WLE is out of range, one doesn't have LoS for the Warplightning and the Plague Priest had all his spells dispelled. Shooting is ok as my Doom wheel Zzzaps 2/5 of his fast cav guys off the table at S10!

Dark Elves turn 1:

His frenzied Witch Elvesx5 have to charge my Furnace as there is a slight chance they will make it as I'm *only* 15” away.. He didn't want to do that so tries to restrain, but fails. Luckily(?) he makes the charge. They die later in CC after killing 3 of my Plaguemonks pushing the Furnace. His magic is pretty successful getting of Final Transmutation on my Queek-led Plaguemonks, killing 4 of them. Flamestorm kills 12 of my Clan Rats, but due to his miscast he loses 2 magic levels on his level 2 wizard which brought up an issue that we couldn't find anything against it in the rules, in which he uses his level 0 wizard to channel power dice. Strange, but it didn't make much of a difference in the end. He had a lot of shooting going on – 50 shots at my HPA to wound it only twice (thanks to getting 4 Regeneration saves) and his Bolt thrower kills one Rat Ogre and puts a wound on the other, causing them to panic and flee. He moves his Dark Riders away from my DoomWheel, moving closer to the middle. (can't remember if it was from panic or not)

Skaven turn 2:
My Queek-led Monks charge The Watchtower again, easily getting across the 1” gap from the previous turn. Close combat kills the rest of his guys controlling The Watchtower and I gain control. I move my HPA into his other unit of Witch Elves and kill 2 with impact hits. The Doomwheel keeps heading toward his CoK, but doesn't reach them. I do kill a few from the zzzap! The HPA dies in combat, but 3 Rat Swarms emerge. My furnace unit charges his hydra and he ends up killing about 8 Monks and my Plague Priest thanks to his Breath Weapon. He easily wins the combat, but I'm unbreakable so I'm not going anywhere. I move my garrisoned unit of Clanrats with a Warlock Engineer out of the tower on my side and move toward the tower with all his X-bowmen in it. The Sorcerous portal buffs my Doomwheel with something that never was used, so I forget. I charge his Dark Riders with my ClanRats who took the Flamestorm earlier, I lose a few, but end up defeating them and they flee. My magic was pretty uneventful. I think I may have killed 2-3 of his garrisoned X-bowmen with Warp Lightning, but that's about it.

Dark Elves turn 2:
His cold Ones charge the Doomwheel. His Witchelves charge the swarms (killing them in CC and Combat Resolution and only losing 1 in the process.) and his harpies charge my Fleeing Rat Ogres. The Rat Ogres somehow dodge his charge as he rolls a massive 4. However Dangerous Terrain tests put two more wounds on the unit, killing off another Rat Ogre. He rallies his Dark Riders and the maneuver toward my Jezzails. His Magic (Transmutation again?) kills 8 of my Monks garrisoned in The Tower. Another 50 shots from his garrisoned X-bowmen into The Watchtower kills 1 more plaguemonk. The massive Hydra/Furnace battle continues as he kills a few more Monks.

Skaven Turn 3:
I move my clanrats closer toward his garrisoned X-bowmen. Due to my Doomwheel being closer to my other unit of Clanrats than any of his units, I end up killing off 3 more them. My magic does nothing in this phase. Same with shooting from my Poison Wind Globadier. Close combat sees my Furnace kill off more Plaguemonks than his Hydra thanks to a misfire. My Doom Flayer charges his Cold Ones in the flank, but dies before he gets to do anything, however, the Doom Wheel grinds them down and finishes them off, mostly due to the Sorcerous Portal as it buffs my Doomwheel again with Wyssans Wildform. Unfortunately, the Hydra kills off my Furnace after an epic battle.

Dark Elves Turn 3:
His Harpies charge my Jezzails who only end up losing 1, but that's enough for a panic test and they do. ...Panic that is. They flee through to the far side of the bldg. His magic was pretty good rolling a 20 on 5-6 dice for Transmutation, but luckily I was able to roll all my Dispel dice and pull a 22. The Sorcerous Portal on His turn buffs my Doom Wheel with Speed of Light. His Witch Elves who killed my HPA earlier, charge my Warpfire Thrower who Stands and Shoots arcing right over them and pulling up just short of hitting one of is mages. They were something like 9” away and I rolled a 10 for the distance the flame arcs.

Skaven Turn 4:
I rally my Ogres a mere 3-4 inches from the table edge. My Clanrats finally can charge his garrison He hits 17/19 shots and wounds 10. I however scoff at that and save 8 (picture only shows 7) of them needing 5+! Woo hoo! I doubt will never get as good a save roll ever again. He takes 2 wounds in Close Combat and doesn't wound back, tying the combat and holding on to that watchtower. Nothing else was in any position to do anything so I simply moved my surviving units closer to The Watchtower.

Dark Elves turn 4:
His fast cavalry runs down my fleeing Jezzails. He tries to cast a spell on my Doom Wheel but fails to meet the casting cost. His shooting puts a wound on my remaining Rat Ogre. His Magic kills 1 more monk holding The Watchtower leaving me with something like Queek and 4-5 Plaguemonks defending it. The turn ends and just as we prepare for turn 5, I roll the dice per the Scenario. I get a 6 and that added to turn 4 Totals 10 and ends the game with me controlling the tower. News of our victory squeaks and chitters it's way through the tunnels of the Skaven who celebrate joyously!

Neither of us expected that result. I was expecting to lose on the next turn as he was maneuvering a few units to mop up my monks defending The Tower. and I couldn't throw all that much at actually controlling it. We decide to play another turn and see how the game would have turned around and probably given him the win instead, and boy were we wrong. Between miscasting, losing a few dice rolls and all around bad luck, Fixeddice ended up being much worse off than before. Complete shock to both of us.

More Pics
The full gallery can be seen at

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Tavern Topic: 8th Edition

First off, thanks to Kuffeh for his efforts at building a series of viewpoints.

So let's address his questions one by one. First up, what has 8th done to my army?

It is no secret that my favorite units, without regard to edition, are Knights, powerful Wizards, and Dragons.

In 7th edition, I typically loaded up on Knights, took a scroll caddy and called it good. No matter how many points I spent on magic, my opponent could easily counteract it with a scroll caddy or, in some cases, a 50 point magic item.

I seldom took a dragon because it was too strong. Even the most basic tactical ability allowed a dragon to break huge units simply by attacking from the right direction, killing everything it touched, and thus wiping out huge units with little or no risk to itself.

So two of my three favorite things to use were seldom seen (though I occasionally broke them out, and always was disappointed.)

By contrast, core quickly became "take a unit of Marauder Horsemen for each core spot requirement and call it good." The fact that everyone had access to faster moving troops that could easily wipe out my front ranks, thus allowing no attack back, could ignore or eliminate armor saves and never need come in contact with them meant that Chaos Marauders and Chaos Warriors were arguably the worst troops available to any army in the game. It was all but impossible to build a 'competitive but fun to play against" list with them.

8th has changed everything.

First off, I now plan to take a wizard every game and know I will be able to actually get some spells cast successully. That is very exciting to me and has altered the fundamental make-up of my armies.

Second, the Warhammer community in general thinks cavalry is worthless now. I happen to disagree. Where as in 7th simply wiping out the front rank usually overcame any static combat resolution, in 8th sheer killing power is valuable. So having a unit that deals out 18+ WS5 S5 attacks at I5 is pretty sweet.

And packing them 2+ ranks in means they can take some punishment and still deal out a whipping.

In 7th, the points for a second rank were wasted. In 8th, they are nearly as valuable as the front rank.

Cavalry is no longer a "rampage over everything you come across without fear of reprisal" but instead a shock troop to finish off combats.

Furthermore, infantry has a place now. A horde of marauders is now a phenomenal investment, able to withstand a couple of big hits from template weapons/spells/hard combat units and deal back some damage of their own.

Now I find myself fielding multiple units of infantry, large blocks of Knights, and a heavy dose of Wiazards...a build I enjoy playing but would never consider in 7th because blew might chunks of hairy underarm monkey sweat.
Okay, so that answer bled into the second and third questions...but that is the beauty of 8th. In 7th, you could and often did lose games on the strategic level...simply building a list you thought might be fun was an auto-loss to anyone who put together a list that worked together.
In 8th, there is certainly a strategic level to building...but great additions to the rules such as Steadfast, Swift Reform, and removing casualties from the back rank mean the superior tactician generally is able to obtain favorable positions and when you do that, you frequently end up with victories.
I guess one other issue should be addressed. Not attacking first on the charge automatically and not being allowed to choose your weapon if you had two did make a major change to how I equip my troops.

Example: Chaos Warriors were something I routinely gave both a shield and a great weapon. Against low S, low T opponents I would use the shield. Against high T opponents...say dragons, ogres, etc., the Great Weapons made them formidable. It was very nice having a flexible troop.
In 8th, however...hand weapon and shield. Which becomes a little non-sensical since I started doing it specifically for the parry bonus since it gets very irritating having an army whose 'advantage" is its tremendous armor save only to not even get to attempt an armor save...and then giving them frenzy so they do not benefit from it anyway.
One member of our group often responds to that complaint about not getting armor saves by pointing to my respectable win-loss record...which completely misses the point. Having a toy but never being allowed to use it (and rarely being successful when you do get to use it) removes a lot of the fun.
It reminds me a bit of a wrestling-based card game I used to play. My goal in the games was to get off my "Trademark Finisher". I would rather get off my TMF and lose than not get it off and win. In fact, my all-time favorite game was one where I got off both TMFs first turn...only to lose the game to my opponent's second TMF.

It was not the win or loss that was seeing everyone get off "their move".
In Warhammer, it is often not winning or losing but what happens along the way. I have had more success with magic in 3 games of 8 than in all of 7th combined. Ironically, it has barely impacted the fact, I have taken more damage from one Skaven Plague that wiped out almost half my horde than I have dealt...but I do not care because I am getting some spells cast successfully.
By the same token, probably the most memorable 8th moment for me so far was when I threw everything I had at his H-pit Exalted on Juggernaut with 5 S7 attacks, a couple spells, my own H-cannon shot, my H-cannon blowing up, and finally my Shaggoth, killing it...and having it come back to life with 4 wounds, kill my Shaggoth and a nearby wizard.
Since Shaggy dies every time I put him on the table, that is expected...but it became memorable because of the secondary result.
And that, to me, is the thing...I have a relative idea of what my win-loss record was in 7th edition. In 8th, I have a better idea of the moments that were stupendously irresistable Purple Sun wounding nobody but my Wizard, the Abomination coming back, the one extra casualty that won a combat for me which in turn cost me my unit of Knights when his spell killed my BSB...taking a flank charge by hero-buffed Grail Knights and sending them off in full flight 4", but rolling a 3 for pursuit...
Those were the highlights by far.
So in conclusion to this rambling, oft off-topic bit, I have changed my army into, except for the mages, something that could be mistaken for an actual historical force of light troops, solid infantry, and shock cavalry.
It has definitely improved any troop that can deal out large numbers of quality attacks, de-emphasized "glass cannon" heroes, and brought magic back as a reliable, fun part of the game. Great job by Games Workshop.

Saturday, September 18, 2010


Lately I have been working on my backlog...mostly High Elfs I never bothered to paint in 7th edition because I was A) painting/basing/movement tray making for the Warriors of Chaos and B)not playing the High Elfs.

But on top of that...the unpainted models were either Silver Helms or spearmen/bowmen.

One thing they had in common in 7th was their value. Or, more properly, their complete lack of value...

The Silver Helms are comparable points wise to Dragon Helms...but in effectiveness, they are maybe half as good. Maybe. Probably not. So they were always a poor choice.

Spearmen would seldom if ever get to attack since so many 7th edition tactics relied on wiping out the front rank on the charge, thus rendering them impotent and a horrible choice....though the ASF rule helped.

But there were always better things to take like...well...NOT spearmen or Silver Helms.

In 8th, rule changes such as "remove casualties from the back rank", "Combat reform", "Volley Fire" and striking in Initiative Order all combine to make, in my opinion, Lothern Sea Guard a viable and potentially outstanding choice.

Take a horde block, for example...10 wide, 4 deep. They will be firing 30 shots a turn and striking with every possible attack in the first round of combat. No wasted manpower.

This provides them a flexibility unmatched in the Warhammer world. To be sure, they still struggle with traditional High Elf attack per model, low S, effectively no armor so super easy to kill. But that has always been an issue, so it is all good.

It made the task of painting them up quite reasonable. I actually painted up 50 in roughly a week. It was no big deal because I knew if I ever overcome my list building mental block, they will see the field so it was valuable effort.

I also wanted to complete my backlog before starting in on the dragon and on the models from the Island of Blood.

The problem complete the backlog, I also need to finish painting 9 or 10 Silver Helms.

And therein lies the rub. Painting Silver Helms stinks.

Not because it is hard...they are noticeably less detailed than the Chaos Knights, of which I have painted 20. They have mostly smooth, clean lines, but enough ribbons and so forth to give them some color and panache.

It stinks because I cannot conceive of a scenario in which I field them. They are not a core choice, they are inferior to every other choice in the High Elf list, and I cannot think of any other reason to take them.

So they sit there on the painting table. Staring at me. Mocking me. Insisting I paint them...but knowing I will not invest all that much effort because they are just going to be sitting on the shelf, never in play. They have a better chance of being fielded as Bretonnian Knights of the Realm than as Silver Helms.

Once I complete them, I have 4 or 5 miscellaneous heroes, then I can begin work on the box set. The models I really want to get to as they look pretty cool and like relative fun to paint.

But between me and that reality sits...well...useless models.

Worst part is, I could half-effort the stupid things and finish them in an evening and they would still be passable...block color the horse, splash a bit of blue and purple on them, maybe highlight a bit with copper and gold and they still have the standard color scheme.

It probably took as long to write this as it would have taken to finish painting them...but really, is there any doubt this was more valuable?