Thursday, 26 February 2015

Demon Summoning - What's the deal now?

Yeah, yeah - I'm 6th month's late on this..
I didn't like the concept when it first hit.
Felt it was
a) too time consuming
b) not smashy enough (I like to smash - that's what she said! self-snowmobile whoot!)

However - I have a heavily comped tournament (only a 40+ player one day bad boy to be fair...) coming up and I am trying to create competitive lists within its constraints.
As explored the other day, this rules out new Necrons (which I love), new Harlies (love - too new) and several other highly competitive builds (Nids for example).

I tried a Demon Summoning list last night at Sons of War. Had a great game vs CentStar - wracked up 18-10 on Maelstrom (it uses Maelstrom Missions only)..

After a little tweaking after thoughts, the list is:

Lord of Change - Lvl 3, 2 Greater Rewards
2 Heralds of Tz, Disc, Lvl 3, 1 Exalted
3 x 10 Tz Horrors
2 x 3 Nurglings
2 Demon Prince of Tz, Lvl 3, Wings, Armour (one with 2 Greater, one with 1 Greater/1 Exalted
9 Screamers

The idea is to grab sacrifice on the Nurglings first turn and get another couple of Heralds for the Council.
Comp is max 2 of the same unit (outside troops/inc. however transports e.g. max 2 wave serpents) and max 15 power dice to be generated per turn... so no 4 heralds or 3 Tz Princes

In testing - I focus on Sacrifice to generate another pair of Heralds on Discs.
These can turbo boost the turn they come in which means I have a great shot at maximising Maelstrom points and of course can join them to the Screamer Council in subsequent turns.
it also gives me a shot at grabbing any of the powers I don't get during the pre-game roll off for Psychic powers.
For example, I did NOT get Cursed Earth at the start of the game, but I did when I got my 3rd summoned Herald in turn 2...
I didn't actually use it...
I used the Nurgling Swarms in the first turn to put a wound onto in order to generate a Herald.

I of course stacked a load of dice on 4++ Divination power and talked this up as the "BIG" power to be getting off each turn to protect the council.
Of course it is... BUT, with Cursed Earth and Grimoire it's quite nice anyway..

it should be noted that another element of the comp is the limit to 2++ rerollable saves. They become the 2++/4++ reroll that is used by several tournaments. So actually, 3++/3++ is not all that bad...if I fail to get the 4++ or it gets stopped.

I only used "Summoning" three times and was stopped on one occasion - GK Cent Star has plenty of power dice too...

I did however, find summoning Screamers to be useful for the objective claiming/denial I mentioned with the Heralds. Their turbo boost can be wonderful to get to objectives.
They did give up a point once when my opponent drew the "Blood and Guts" card, gaining a point from killing a unit in CC.

I was very impressed with the board control, speed, objective claiming/denial and survivability of the list.

I was not impressed with the killing power. I found Flickering Fire to be..frankly, wank. Granted, I had mainly Dreadknights and Invisible CentStar to deal with ...so I just felt like killing stuff was fruitless - just put my units at risk and what not. I did kill his Strike Squads for easy "kill a psyker"/"kill a unit" points ... And I thought I could tie up the CentStar with the Screamer star of just summoned crap for a turn and pump all my denial dice into Gate. That'd keep them locked down and inactive...

As it was - I liked the way the Summoning/Mobile Demons worked for this game... I do wonder if I needed the fliers, but they were useful for Vector Strikes on Dreadknights and for drawing fire from the CentStar - he took two turns (over the game) to kill a Demon Prince ...

So thoughts please on Summoning Mobile Demons for a Maelstrom only tournament?
Think it's probably a really good shout, but damn...it needs some painting!!

Monday, 23 February 2015

Necrons, Harlequins and Bikes...and "COMP"

Hey folks - ended up with a longer break than intended - 4 weeks since last post!
Still I remember a post from Dethtron (remember Dethtron?) years ago about good blogging - never blog unless you have something interesting to say...

I tried CentStar quite a bit. It was solid and even deadly - but erratic at times and often a trap!
Admiral Ackbar was right...

So for my next tournament - a small, comped one-dayer in early March I am NOT going to be running it.

So what's the 'comp' - only 2 of the same unit (anything including the same dedicated transports (i.e. to stop Serpent spam))... so no Trip-tide, no Serpent spam.. There is also no Formations or dataslates like Belakor.
They also allow super heavies up to 550 points but no ranged D.
However, if the unit is a TROOP unit you may spam it as much as you like.. e.g. 6 units of Space Marines tacs, but only 2 rhino's, 2 razorbacks and 2 drop pods to transport them (if desired).

Issue for me? Yeah, "themes" allow spammed units - Ravenwing, full Drop Pod army, mono-god Demon list..are to be allowed.
Oh and IG Russes can be taken in 2 units in Heavy and one in Command - 9 Russes...fun.

Imperial Knights will be seen too.

Whilst this is good as we won't be seeing 3 Hive Tyrants (only single CAD, 1 Allied max 750 points, no self-allying outside of marines) or serpent spam, there is still plenty to go on - for example, in this format - Screamer Star could do very well... "mono-god" after all...

New Necrons are allowed - but not in Decurion and not in any of the newly designed formations. So you can take 9 Russes of any sort or Screamer Council, but you can't take a Destroyer Cult?
Poor design.
But you live with what you have and work to the best of your abilities... So I came up with this:

"Savage Scars" 1850
Primary: White Scars Space Marine
Allied: Champions of Fenris

Chapter Master - Artificer, Shield Eternal, Power Fist, Auspex, Bike
Khan on Moondrakken
Command Squad - bikes, 4 Grav guns, Apothecary
2 x 5 Bikes with combi Grav, 2 Grav Guns
2 x 5 Bikes with combi Melta, 2 Melta Guns
 
Wolf Guard Battle Leader, Runic Armour, Storm Shield, Power Fist, Thunderwolf, 2 Fenrisian Wolves
2 x Iron Priests-  Thunderwolf
8 Wolf Guard in Drop Pod, 8 Combi Meltas

The Champions of Fenris detachment has, in case unfamiliar, it's own FOC and does not change when allied unlike the Allied Detachment example given in the BRB. This allows for 1 HQ, 2 Elites to be the minimum, then a further 3 HQs and 6 Elites (plus other stuff) giving me the opportunity to create a decent death star :)

The idea is that the Wolves join Master, Khan and Command Squad for a scouting deathstar of awesomeness BUT without too crazy an investment in them detracting from the rest of the army.

I find that Inquisitors have decreased in their popularity and I'm hoping the same is present here.. if not, a scout and a 12" move in turn 1 should still deliver a pretty decent alpha strike. If there is no "counter-scouting", then this army delivers an absolutely crippling alpha strike...followed by a pretty bloody lethal second turn charge.

This format - 3 games over 1 day using only Maelstrom missions encourages a very ground based, mobile army that can grab as many points as possible in order to win.

This army is, naturally, a gamble - whilst I think I can take a first turn punch as well as give it, it is harder to recover - but we know bikes, even one or two in a unit, can score and be a real pain for the rest of the game. Given MSU style armies, I can split the deathstar into several components and just go for it.. It also gives me the potential to grab crazy pointed Maelstroms like "control every objective"...

Now, I did think about lots of other horrible armies: Nids with Demons for example -

2 x Hive Tyrant - Wings, E-grubs, 2 Brainleech Devs
Lictor
Lictor
Venomthrope
Mucolid Spore
Mucolid Spore
Mucolid Spore
Mucolid Spore
2 Hive Crones
Mawloc
 
Lord of Change - Lvl 3, Exalted, Greater
Min Nurglings
Tz Demon Prince, 3+, Wings, 2 Greater
(695 allied :) - under the 700 limit just!)

This gave me 6 fliers in a very restricted format - sure I could 5 with pure Nids, but I get some crazy demon summoning in here too...
BTW, the comp also is ONLY demons and Chaos can summon, no Eldar Anathlan Farseer shite. More comp...

It also gave me a couple of Lictors to drop in and a Portal Glyph plus summoning (Tz Heralds on Discs) for objective grabbing via Summoning and the 1 WC bad boy...
The spores are an interesting distraction, the Mawloc also allows for objective grabbing..

New Necrons:

Or I wanted to try the new Necrons desperately, but this is about the best I can do with the COMP confines:
 
Mephrit Dynasty
Command Barge - Phase Shifter, Warscythe, Res Orb, Solar Thermasite
Command Barge - Phase Shifter, Res Orb, Voidreaper
2 x 5 Immortals
15 Warriors
6 Wraiths - 6 Whip Coils
6 Tomb Blades - TL Gauss Blasters, Shield Vanes, Shadowlooms
9 Scarabs
3 Spyders
2 units of 3 Heavy Destroyers

Spyders move up first turn and generate 3 more Scarabs, this enables an incredibly likely first turn charge into anything that really threatens the Wraiths and the 2 Barges - the elimination process is supported by the Heavy Destoryers combining to try and take down something or weaken it before they charge, then they sweep in and make a mess of things.
Quite a few mobile elements to try and grab objectives too... which is the name of the game!

I may still run these pending playtesting this week - lists are due at the end of the week!

New Harlies:
Not allowed for this tourney - but they are my next project! The Necrons are an army that I have built and painted so no need for work there...just fun playing! Bikes are almost totally done..so time to really work on a new army.. this is my plan:
 
Harlequin Masque:
3 x 7 Harlies, 5 Kisses, 3 Neuro Disruptors
4 Lvl 2 Shadow seers
1 Death Jester
1 Solitaire
2 x 2 Sky Weavers
1 x 3 Void Weavers, Haywire
 
2 Lvl 3 Farseers, Bikes
2 x 3 EJB

1847 of fun..
I'll explain the idea (which is simple really) in a separate article

Let me know your thoughts on all of this shite!
Peace!


Thursday, 22 January 2015

CentStar - Can it cut the mustard?

It's a beast no doubt - but can it handle the current meta?
It's more popular in the States than in the UK but what does this cool ass army look like and can it handle the main contenders in the UK tourney scene?

This is an amazing looking army on the table top - it's compact but fields some truly epic Space Marine heroes.
Draigo - lost in the Warp and just displaying mad power to rip himself out of it and pimp slap peeps
Loth/Tiggy/Grey Knight lvl3 Librarian - epic psykers controlling the battlefield and levelling shit with JUST THEIR MINDS!
Then the massive Centurions, striding across the battlefield soaking fire from all directions, cloaked and shrouded (sometimes literally) in darkness so that they can deliver their payload of Righteous Anger to the enemies of Mankind.
Finally.. Dreadknights - powerful, sanctified Grey Knights smashing the living shit out of ANYTHING!

Shit doggy - it's so cool!

It's expensive - both financially and on the tabletop; if you are going to run this list, you need to run it for a while to ensure you have your money's worth! But why would you not??

There have been several articles recently detailing what the CentStar is all about.
Here is a link to one of them;
https://www.frontlinegaming.org/2015/01/20/anatomy-of-a-centurionstar/
This is an excellent article from Captain A of Frontline Gaming letting us know how the CentStar ticks and how to play against it as well. Balance is always nice.

But what does one run alongside the shooty deathstar?
Let's look:

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Of Thunderwolves and Knights


It’s been awhile since I last posted.
I’ve been active, socially, but not competitively with both 40k and X – Wing.
I find that playing both games allows me to maintain my enthusiasm for both systems. Over the last year I’ve been so busy with developing my career and with developing my home that I’ve struggled to get up the will to post or to attend tournaments; I’ve been knackered.
I’m now finding that as certain responsibilities at work, certain plans, come to fruition that I am once again thinking more and more about competitive game play – whether it be 40k or X-Wing.
So let’s look at 40k – Caledonian  2014 was my last tournament – I placed OK,  16th/17th from 116, and won Best Sportsman/Most Sporting. A pretty good result and left me feeling pretty good with my 40k. But then I knew I had a break coming… and a break I have had.
I've been reinspired by 2 things - 1 the multiple boxes of Thunderwolves I got at Christmas and Cally 2015 - which I, of course, totally regret not getting a ticket for. To be honest, I've been too busy...but still.. it has a great buzz about it and it's the first time I've missed it in years.

Thursday, 1 January 2015

Happy New Year! Whats on your table for 2015?

Happy New Year from the team here at SONS!

Its been a long time since I posted, quite possibly not posted at all in  2104, so I do plan to make a change to that in 2015. 2014 seemed to mark a move away from 40K for a lot of the SONS, 6th and 7th may well have left some players a bit burnt out.

But with that said, what are peoples gaming plans for 2015? What are you looking forward to? New releases, new games, new models?!

For me 2015 is going to bring hopefully still plenty of gaming, I recently quit World of Warcraft (again) after feeling like I've completed it (I finished off my PVP achievements, namely the Rated Battle Ground ones that I never had a chance to play due to quitting the game for a while). This just frees up so much time - though I have to say, unlike 2009 where I just didnt know where to look after having spent 10 to 12 hours a day on WoW, this time around I have a better idea.

While I was happy to quit the game, I was sad to leave behind (though I still talk to them regularly) the team that I found/made in the past year. It was in no small part thanks to them that I got to complete all the goals I had set out, and more than anything it was fun with them. In 2009 I felt like I left on top, but with a bitter taste in my mouth from the community and what "team mates" could be like, this time around, I leave happy that I could achieve somethings, but no where near the level of success as before, but somewhat disappointed that I do leave behind some great team mates that still want me to play.


TABLE TOP GAMES

Christmas saw my brother pick up X-Wing for me, so that will be my table top game of choice for this year. I'll be hitting up Atreides for sure to give me a crash course in competitive play, since I am unable to play any game without playing it "properly" (yes, to win, sue me!).

I've heard great things about this game. Whats great is for the first time my brother is actually quite hyped about a game as well. While like I say I might look at having more competitive tilted games with someone like Atreides, my bro has been looking at the collecting side of it, and having more casual based games with him is still very appealing.

As for building up to tournaments? I can't see this happening unfortunately, my "free time" is now completely gone, and I basically never have weekends to give up. More on this at the bottom! 

COMPUTER GAMES: ONLINE

While I quit WoW, and that would seem like I might be giving up online games, I just can't do it fully. A part of me needs to have some competitive online outlet. WoW is arguably going to be the game I'll be best at, but also with that comes larger expectations and I also know how much time it takes up. New games offer different challenges, and also mean I wont be so attached. Theres always going to be that itch for me, so this is what will scratch it for now:

Smash 4: Wii U -
I am adoring this game right now. I've had a thing for Smash Melee for a while now, but the new Smash game is more my street. Its a bit slower, its new so the learning curve is more reasonable (I.E less catch up).

I still have the 3DS Smash which I also enjoy.


Incidentally, one of the best documentaries on gaming/a game/players is this 8 part series on Smash Melee - its long, but so worth the watch. Melee has had a lot of drama around it with getting back on track, and this documentry had a huge part in the recent resurgence, and I'd argue it had a big factor in the reason why Smash 4 has been so successful. Melee is super fast paced and has a lot of mechanical skills which are hard to pick up, Smash 4 is a bit more accessible, a bit like Brawl was, but has been released with a lot of spot light on the Smash scene. Major teams have picked up Smash players in the past year, and this exposure has maybe had some influence as well.

I'll be hitting up Mario Kart soon on the Wii U (likely today) so if anyone here has them and fancies a hack around, just shout me here and we can sort out some games!

Counter Strike:GO
A small part of me wish I had played this more on its inception. I didn't like Source, and my first GS GO games felt a bit like that, but GO has a lot of features I really like with a better competitive method for "casual" players - with the ladder and reward system.

Its still as chock full with cheaters as it was in the original CS, but given I've been playing CS since 98 or so, its great fun to go back to something that is so deep rooted in my blood.

If they did a HD remake of Return to Castle Wolfenstein - oh lord my real life would be over.

COMPUTER GAMES: OFFLINE
One thing I've been getting better at in the past few months is single player games. From playing through the single player modes of Smash 4, to getting back into Final Fantasy. I've knocked up a bucket list of games I want to work through, both next gen and retro, and here are a few of them.


Old Games
  •  Final Fantasy VI
  • Final Fantasy VIII 
  • Final Fantasy X + X2
  • Chrono Trigger
  • Zelda: Twilight Princess
  • Zelda: Ocarina and Windwaker HD remakes (3DS and Wii U)
New(er) Games:
Bayonetta I and II
Xenoblade Chronicles X (when it comes out)

There is a fair few others, but those are the main focus right now.

Since Nintendo just targeted emulators and roms really hard, I get the feeling that the Wii U / Nintendo store is going to see some big name ports and remakes in the next year. Mario ports and remakes are likely going to be 3DS because its just free money (DS versions of Mario games are still clocking in at 30 quid). Nintendo just seem to know that the throw back market is there, given how their two popular games right now are Smash and Mario, both games with a long history.


Happy New Year, and whats everyones gaming plans for 2015?

Saturday, 11 October 2014

X-Wing - Getting Re-Inspired with Rebels


When I started playing X-Wing nine months ago I gravitated towards rebels.  Although I bought pretty much everything, I found Rebels more inspiring, easier to get my head round, and more forgiving on the table.  I went to my first tournament with the classic Golden Daggers.  For those of you not down with the build names, this consists of 2x Gold Squadron Y-Wings with Ion Cannon Turret and 2x Dagger Squadron B-Wings with Advanced Sensors (AS).  This was very strong prior to the release of Imperial Aces and all the wave 4 shininess, and I won with four wins out of four, including an incredibly tough final against four ion cannon Y-wings.  Then Imperial Aces came out and everyone started flying Imperials, and I started to lose.  A lot.  Since then I have struggled to get back into rebels. 

However, last week I finally found something to make me adore Rebels once again, and I think it's really, really good, so I wanted to share it with you guys.