Friday, August 31, 2012

Something from the heart: the golden hammer

The golden hammer

     Hello everyone. Edwin here and I wanted to talk about something both personal and important. Four years ago, when I was a young wargamer just starting out, I found an article on Bell of lost souls that talked about something that opened my eyes on the subject of army choice and really about choices period when it came to anything gaming. This one concept has many names. It has been called the Golden Hammer,  Maslow's hammer, and the Law of Instruments. For simplicities sake, we shall stick with the Law of Instruments for a name. When I first saw this idea, I decided to look more into it. The Bell of Lost Souls article said that the Law of Instruments was something that happened when we use a tool over and over again. We end up getting better with the things we use as well as find new ways to use the tools we use to answer more problems. Now this sounds like a really good thing and I will discuss this concept more, but that isn't what the Law of Instruments actually is. The Law of Instruments is actually what happens when we over rely on a familiar tool.  It is popularly phased as "If all you have is a hammer, than everything starts to look like a nail.".  This pertains heavily to internet wisdom. I will get into a great deal of depth with this in a second. These two concepts have interesting implications as well as have two entirely different meanings that are very important. I will than show how these two concepts can be applied to list building with my Rock Paper Necron list.
The original idea
       The article I read when I first started war gaming used the Law of Instruments in  a positive way. It said that the more we use a particular tool, the better we are with it. He then talked of ways that this was applicable. He talked about the things his Vindicators could do on a regular basis that was difficult because he had used them so much. He had no problem getting cover saves or hitting people at max range and simply just being awesome with them. He specialized in these units and because of it, they became more than other peoples Vindicators. This was a novel idea for me at the time. I had never seen anything past what was in front of me when I used them. It caused me to want to specialize in certain units and get better with them. I had thought that certain units could only be so good. I chose to specialize in big gun units. Something that dropped large templates and would usually remove entire units if done well.  On top of simple use, I specialized in the setting up of these powerful attacks. I have won games through the cunning application of these templates. To make it more than it is on paper, I soon began to specialize in placement in such a way that close range fighting with these elements would leave any units out of place in order to engage them. Before the new Necron codex, this worked by having the near indestructible monolith deepstrike behind an enemy army or inside an enemy army. You could deal with my twin monoliths, or you could fight the rest of my army. What I find myself specializing in that I use every single game is my twin doomsday arks. These two strength nine AP one Large Blast Tempaltes can destroy all before them. To make matters worse, the incredible range sees these two templates be able to reach corner to corner on a four by six table. This allows me to place them in such a way that if you get close, the rest of my army is far enough away that you will have difficulty reaching them. This is what I got from that Bell of Lost Souls article.  The Law of Instruments saw me surprising a lot of people and having a tactical advantage where before there was none. 

Internet Wisdom
     Upon further examination of the Law of Instruments, I found out that the concept was different than what was said in the Bell of Lost Souls article. While the article was a good thing, the actual concept is something bad. It is described as relying on one tool to much. It narrows your view of things and you would rather use this one tool to solve problems than actually use the right tool for the job. More things become nails when you give a child a hammer, but that doesn't mean that using a hammer would be the right choice. This one idea almost absolutely defines the functional of internet wisdom. With over twenty five hundred posts on Warseer, I am not new to internet wisdom for Warhammer . The number one complaint I hear about internet wisdom is that for people on the internet, they are always right and everyone else is wrong. Choices are clear cut and defined. There is no arguing with it because few things seem to be more than what they are on paper. Most of the time, the math defines all choices. My favorite example of this is the Annihilation Barges versus Doomsday Arks argument. When I first started using the Arks, I had built the list around the idea that I could control fire lanes with the Doomsday Arks. I needed range, high strength, low AP, and template to hit multiple units if I needed to. The Annihilation barge has none of that. The Doomsday Ark has all of that. I would post the list on Warseer and I would give an explanation of the function of the Arks. I would get tons of post that all sounded the same. Drop you Arks and take three Annihilation Barges. The idea behind the logic was that, on paper, three annihilation barges were better than the two doomsday arks. In a blank situation, they are right. When you take their function in the list , they become more than whats on paper. The idea of the Law of Instruments saw a narrowing of ideas. To make this worse, when the new edition came out, people have begun to cling to the same kind of ideas. They replaced the annihilation barge with Doom Scythes now.  As before, the Doom Scythes have their place, but they don't perform the function of the Doomsday Ark. 
The list
      Now it is time to discuss how this has affect my list writing. The section of the Law of Instruments where people narrow their view when given a familiar tool has caused me to want to look at everything. Even when it comes to units that are considered "useless", they can be used to serve a function. Because of this, I have used almost every single unit I can. The only unit in this current Necron codex is Flayed Ones, Tomb blades, and Spyders. I have proxied every unit and wanted to try every unit. I still want to try tomb blades honestly. This has helped me when it comes to the new edition. I have experience with each unit and I know what they can do to a degree. It has resulted in me not really feeling many of the dramatic changes that are sixth edition. I am in no way stuck in the 5th edition mind set and I really feel at home in this new environment where others may suffer from not being able to let go.  The good section of the Law of Instruments has seen me design lists to have more functionality rather than just numbers. You can spam a single choice, but unless you have functionality, you are gonna suffer in situations. I take my Doomsday Arks for fire lane suppression. I take Ghost arks with Warriors because, on top of being excellent anti tank, they are durable enough to survive and score. Even their transport reinforces this function. A lot of people bring troops that don't serve much function. Razorback spam sees troops that serve almost no functionality. My night scythes are transports that dump people off exactly where I need them to be. This causes my Death Marks can be dropped on a priority single target that needs to die. The Doom Scythe.... Ok, it has no needed function, I just like it. Something else in the list does it better faster, but the doom scythe is just fun. Its why I only run a single one. I love every choice I have taken, but when it comes to justifying them, they are more than "They don't die" or "They kill people". Units don't have to make their points back to be effective. Its why I run a solar pulse Cryptek. He has never once killed enough to make his points back, but he is worth it every single time.
Thinking man
     The point of this article is simple. If you run triple Annihilation barges, I don't want you to stop because of what I say. I want you to think about choices you make. What do you want out of everything. If something is fun, run it. It will become better and you will be a better player for it. If you want to get the most out of your army, you must look for functionality beyond AT, AI, and AA. You can look for more. I once saw a man do alot of damage with the "useless" Chaos Space Marine bike unit. Even had a Demon Weapon Chaos Lord on bike in there. He did things I was amazed to see. I have never seen a unit like it  before or since. Make your useless units heard and have fun. Everything isn't about numbers.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Future Vengeance

Howdy folks,

Warhammer 40,000: Dark Vengeance - Limited EditionFor those of you who haven't heard by now the new starter set for 40k will be released in the very near future (limited edition advance order). This new intro set features the Dark Angels and the forces of Chaos. Needless to say as a Dark Angle player from way back I am very pleased to see the first legion get some of the lime light this time rather than the Ultrasmurfs. I will hopefully be picking up the limited edition with the snazzy Interrogator Chaplin. I am also excited about the new cultists for Chaos. My old man and I started a Lost and the Damned army way back during the eye of Terror campaign and we have drawn further inspiration from the Blood Pact from Dan Abnett's Gaunt's Ghosts series of novels. So whenever I get the new set I thought I would do a sort of unboxing article and offer some thoughts on the new models and follow it up with an article about my Dark Angels army and some of the things I hope to see in a new Codex. As always cheers and happy gaming everyone!!

Space is getting to be a premium in the old Chaos box

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Forge world and me: an adventure into the unknown.

A needed talk
      So today, I want to talk about something that seems like a hot topic recently. I want to talk about the inclusion of forge world into the main stream elements of the game. They expand the elements available to everyone while allowing people to make more diversified choices instead of the numbers games that we see happen with the "Internet lists".  It also brings into the play several other lists that we wouldn't see. On top of all of this, it brings flyers and anti air things. It updates quite a few of the armies that suffer from their age. The potential of certain aspects of anything forge world is an interesting prospect that I want to talk about.  I also want to talk about the fears and things that scare people from my perspective as well as some friendly opinions from others I know. 

star trek reference
I ended up playing against forge world for the first time. (or so I thought) I brought my rock paper list against regular old space marines. It was a good game, but I was surprised with something. I find out that my opponent was bringing forge world. He warned me about a Mortis dreadnaught, but since it eats air craft for breakfast, I was actually curious to see what it would do so I didn't mind. He also decided to bring a Contemptor dreadnaught. Having never faced either and I was curious more than anything. I didn't make any objections. I than let them both live most of the game. My anti tank is enough to ensure that by turn 2, 4-6 vehicles are dead almost without exception so the two dreads could have died before they could really do anything of note. what I came to find was that the dreads didn't do a thing really that something equal to their points in the core set of the game couldn't do better short of one rare thing with the Mortis (sky firing flyers) . The Contempter was a joke. Looked amazing, but truly underperformed. If anything, it felt like they were a fun choice, but they couldn't deal with general things well. If they didn't find their niche of targets, you didn't get a good return from them.If they did find their niche target, pray they don't die (which seems to be happening faster now) before they reach their target. To make it worse, I find out that the dreads that he was bringing were really expensive. Neither dread made their points back. The closest one was the Contemptor dread killed a warrior squad. This task wasn't done by some awesome thing. He had two wrist mounted heavy flamers and got close. It wasn't anything magical. There was a moment of surprise in the game. when I finally did decide to kill them, the 5+ inv saves that the dreads had (which they pay a lot for) slowed their deaths. The same effect could have happened if you set each dread behind a knee high wall. 
Fear is the mind killer.

A bunch of people seem scared of forge world. A bunch of people view it as a pay to win thing because of the price of several forge world elements. One thing that scares people is issue of balance in forge world. Forge world hasn't been known for their incredible balance. Somethings costs are no where near they should be. While these are rare, they exist. Every time I hear this argument, I think of something in the core of 40k that is just as bad or if not worse. All I hear about is how cheap Vendetta/Valkyries are compared to everything. It is because of things like this that I think this fear is just something to add onto the fire that is the forge world debate. It doesn't offer much to either side, but it is still a valid point. The other side of the balance issue is that some units coffer extreme abilities. A Lucius pattern drop pod allows dreadnaughts to assault once you drop in. That is really intimidating for a first time. That kills almost any vehicle. After I got over that, I started thinking more. What does the same job for cheaper? 5 wolf guard in a drop pod with combi melta.No forge world and it yields better results. Once something doesn't surprise you, you really begin to fear it much less. The availibility of the rules hurts people often. People don't  have ready access to the rules. Few people have all the codex so this isn't much of an issue. You need the rules to play the model so that often will be the first time people see the actual rules. As long as you go over it with your opponent before you play, this wont be too bad. After all, you don't want to win a game because someone just doesn't know. Another fear people have is flyers in general. There is a quote from a movie that I love to use when something like this comes up. "Everyone can be super! and when everyone is super, no one will be"-syndrome. The point is, while marines and family get most of the loving, everyone gets a flyer of some sort or another and some sort of anti air. It truly is a win win for everyone. 
Additional opinions required
 I feel that while I have some opinion of all things forge world, I don't have enough experience to truly express a great opinion of the subject. It is this idea that has caused me to ask some of the more experience players I know about the subject. Here is what my friend the fluff bunny said. 

Corey from I've used the Defenders of Vraks list so many times that I often forget to use the IG's orders when running them as actual IG. And invariably forget till the last minute that my lascannon teams in the Vraks list aren't troops choices & so can't hold whatever objective that they're invariably sitting on/by. Most people generally can't tell the difference between the Vraks & IG lists, so they don't often notice that I'm using a FW army even if I told them beforehand (which I always do).

The IG Sabers are another favorite (and the new artillery rules in 6th will make them even better). One by itself was just amusing to me. Two and they became effective infantry killers (easy to think of them as: 12, 36" ranged, twin-linked bolter shots & now with skyfire!), and I generally get groans/complaints/dirty looks/flipped off when I mention I have a 3rd one one yet to assemble to complete the battery. 

Then there's the IG Cyclops (a.k.a.: '25 points of amusement' &  the 'Anti-Joel Device' after it blew up several of his ork bikers). When spotted 'hey. what's that little tank over there? ' is often spoken (an exact quote from Joel) and it becomes a very high priority target. Generally I have to try & hide it when deploying, and keep it hidden till the enemy gets close & them rush out to blow up amidst the enemy before getting shot to pieces. 

The Grot Spee (Grot Mega Tank) just suffers from the me rarely playing Orks because every other army is Space Wolves, and fearless saves were fucking stupid (and finally GW figured that out!). In game terms its fairly mediocre, however from an aesthetic point of view (amusing when you think of it) it is by far the best looking model in my entire collection! Just love that model!

So I do use them, however barring the mega tank, none really stand out of the crowd until you look closely at the individual minis.

The next opinion is from a friend of mine who is a hobby person.  He paints and builds things incredibly well and he is the guy who usually helps put my vehicles together (or often puts them together completely). He is the person who likes the fluff, but puts aspects of the hobby over game play aspects. This is just the basic idea of the conversation that we had, but you will get the idea.

 Bob from The idea of forge world being surprised on me is something I don't like.  There are a few problems with things from forge world. I have people stick to the "Ask permission" in order to use most forge world stuff. If people are willing to let me know what is coming and I can see the rules, I don't really have a problem. Even in a tournament setting, as long as I know what I am facing, I am usually fine with it. Hell, I may even buy something forge world of my own to bring. Expand my collection with something I can use more then when I just ask my opponent for OK.

     So I want to hear from other people. This is a community topic. I feel that forge world is slowly becoming an accepted and needed part of the game. It expands many elements that are often found lacking in many of the armies. While some things are ridiculous, there will be more benefit to allowing forge world than not. You can have fluffier lists, more hobby designed lists. It is an expansion for our already magnificent hobby. Sure people will abuse it, but with the inclusion of forge world, I think we will see that while you can abuse it, the answers for it are often available in forge world itself.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Make That 2 and a Half Cents

Howdy folks,

So I was rereading my post about 6th and I realized I have a few more things I would like to yammer about. These are some pretty big changes that I omitted, so my b. Without further adieu here is part 2 of my thoughts on 6th.

These don't exactly fall into either the Positive or Negative brackets for me so I will lump them into what I will call the "Meh" category.

Homer does the best Meh

Psychic Disciplines 

A student of divination perhaps?
So lets start with the introduction of the Lores of Magic, I mean Psychic Disciplines to the general rules of 40k. For those of you who remember Games Workshop did at one time have a set of Psychic Disciplines they published in White Dwarf in a section called "Chapter Approved". Chapter Approved had all sorts of awesome stuff in it like updated rules for old characters, new army lists, wargear and so on. And from time to time they would publish all of a years worth of articles in a collection book  (Shown below). My point being is that the concept of a "lores of magic" system for 40k isn't anything new. I think this is a perfectly reasonable addition to the game. In fact it benefits some armies a great deal. Take my beloved Dark Angels for example. In our codex we have a mighty two powers to choose from (three if you are Ezekiel). The addition of the option to take these new powers, and to mix and match from the different disciplines is a god send. For other armies it is very much a meh option. Space Marines, Space Wolves, Blood Angels, Grey Knights, and Chaos Space Marines to name a few all have perfectly good to holy crap awesome powers to choose from already to the lure isn't as strong for them. That is not to say that these new powers shouldn't be used by these armies, far from it. A little variety and tactical flexibility never hurt anyone. All of the disciplines have useful powers and limiting armies to specific disciplines helps to keep things a bit more balanced in terms of who can take what. The addition of mastery levels as the mechanism to determine who can use what powers and how often makes sense as well. I won't go into each of the individual disciplines or powers right now as that would be a lengthy and rather army specific topic so for now let us relegate the new powers to the overall Meh category.

P.S. Making you choose to either make a psychic attack or activate a fore weapon helps to balance out the killing machines that Grey Knights and Mephiston can be and adds a bit more of a tactical choice, which is never a bad thing in my book.

Differentiating Types of Close Combat Weapons and Changes to Power Weapons

This is perhaps one of the biggest changes to close combat and wargear upgrades to come around in a long time. As long as I have played power weapons meant kiss that nifty 2+ armor save goodbye and pray that the dice gods love you when making your invulnerable save (if you have one, if not sucks to be you). I have to admit I thought something like this would happen when the Grey Knights got all of those weapon specific bonuses when that book came out so differentiating all of the actual types of weapons a model has wasn't that big of a shock. What was a shock was how far they took the changes. I am sure a lot of people, myself included, are going to be going back into their collections to either drag out some model with a power maul or axe and either adding them into an army or doing some converting to change what that weapon is. I suppose you could consider this the natural extension of "what you see is what you get" but it could throw a bit of a wrench into some people's armies when that cool looking model no longer has a generic power weapon but something that hits at I 1 and adds +1 strength (axes I am looking at you). In fact my biggest complaint is the changes to power axes, making them unwieldy to be exact. A two handed axe I can see, but a one handed axe wielded by someone in power armor doesn't exactly strike me as something that the user would have a hard time swinging around (especially since it will slice through most targets), but I suppose that is a rather academic concern at this point. Also changing power fists to a x2 strength multiplier instead of a universal 10 is a definite game changer. It makes taking those chain fists (or can openers as I like to call them) a bit more of a must take in my book, at least taking a few of them to help with said can opening. Force Weapons got much the same treatment so I will lump them in with these changes and the overall Meh category. I think the main thing to come out of these changes will be a whole lot of model converting and a bit of rethinking on who gets what in regards to weapon upgrades. I will say that it was a good move to keep the rules that specific armies have for their special wargear or amending them to reflect the changes rather than just dumping them into a generic category

Deny the Witch and Psychic Hoods  

She turned me into a spawn! I got better.....
 God I just had to include this image in here. If you don't know where this scene comes from you need to get off your butt and watch Monty Python and the Holy Grail NOW!! I will wait. Did you go watch it? Good. Now as I was hinting at lets talk about this new mechanic of everyone being able to (possibly) resist getting turned into a Chaos Spawn or wished into the corn field of the 41st millennium. If you are trying to tell me that Joe Schmuck Guardsmen can possibly shrug off Fateweaver frying his poor little brain without at least a Sanctioned Psycher around to explode for him I would have laughed at you, in fact I still probably will. In lore terms this is a somewhat murky concept, in game terms it does tend to even out the playing field a bit in terms of having a chance at surviving whatever warp powered horror your opponent is trying to inflict upon you. Also changing the way psychic hoods work is a very mixed bag in my book. It is nice to have a chance of getting your attack through that pesky Librarian lurking around but at the same time that pesky Librarian became a bit less useful in providing protection. Am I advocating some sort of Power Dice/Dispel Dice system a la Fantasy? No. What am I advocating? Not sure truth be told. Other than having mixed feelings about these changes and not having a lot of play with this mechanic I can't really come down on this one way or the other. I like having a slim chance of not getting my units brains flayed but at the same time I don't think it is appropriate for every unit to have this.

P.S. these changes make the Space Wolves some of the best anti psykers in the game to my understanding. Khorne is surely not pleased with this. 


Okay chalk this one up to a nice idea on paper and hoping to sell more models but sure to be abused in real life. My biggest complaint about this new system? Eldar and Dark Eldar are battle borthers?!?! NO FREAKING WAY. It makes so bloody sense for these two armies to be best buddies, none at all. Also Tau and Space Marines? What happened to Purge the Alien and Kill the Xenos? Make them allies of convenience at best. I do like the idea of being able to incorporate models from more of your armies into a single force but I think this just sets itself up for abuse. Will I be using this system? Maybe. Will I fell morally clean taking a Grey Knight detachment with my Deathwing? Probably not.

Warlord Traits

Ugh. Okay out off all the stuff I have mentioned this falls the most firmly into the category of Meh for me. On the one hand it is a nice way of giving a bit of extra pull to your general if he or she rolls on a good skill. On the other hand a lot of the abilities are situational at best. Madival did a good breakdown of these traits so I won't go into them other than to say this, MEH.

Well I guess that about covers the rest of my rambling opinions on the new edition. As always feel free to comment and provide me feedback on what I say. Happy Gaming!!

Monday, August 13, 2012

My 2 cents on 6th

Hi folks! Today I would like to give my thoughts on the newest edition of Warhammer 40,000.
Warhammer 40,000: Rulebook

 I know Madival has already given his but I would like to through in a few thoughts of my own and take a broader scope in discussing some of the changes. It would be useful to point out at this point that I am very much a casual player in my mindset. So don't expect a deeply critical look at the new edition with such phrases as "meta game" and "min/max" and certainly no number crunching. I leave that to other people. So with out further adieu here are a few of my rambling impressions of 6th.

Positive changes: Alright so let us start out with what I like in the newest edition


Rapid Fire: This change needed to happen, period. Being able to move and still shoot the maximum range or twice at half just makes sense and makes most basic troop choices a bit more effective in battle.
Snap Shots:I have to say that I like this new rule a good bit (maybe because I managed to get a penetrating hit on a Predator with a lucky snap shot.......  nah). Being able to fire your non template heavy weapon with a penalty for moving is yet another change that should have happened years ago. I love not having a completely useless model in my advancing squads now (granted I don't roll many 6s as the video reports will show but still, good change!). I also like the image it conjurers of units doing a bit of spraying and praying while advancing from cover to cover (Guard I am looking at you). 
Hull Points: Another good addition in my not so expert opinion. Nothing is more frustrating than having your prized armored behemoth eating a krak missile or las cannon shot and promptly exploding (this can still happen but at least you have a bit more wiggle room when it comes to survival). This also makes a good deal of sense to me. A glancing hit takes a hull point out but you still live to fight another day. Penetrating hits are what they should be, a potentially deadly hit with the lost hull point and the always amusing (for someone) roll on the old damage table. I like the fact that it makes you choose between sinking all of your shots into that one unit or spreading out the love between several units when it comes to anti armor fire. 
Casualty Removal/ Wound Allocation: Did you or your opponent make the mistake of putting that high points/critical model up front and have it promptly die to incoming fire or cut bisected by a blade in combat? Good that means what should happen did happen. Now a good round of shooting or combat kills whoever is the closest to the action, as it should be (take that melta gun in the front rank!)
Secondary Objectives: I like these. Nothing makes you feel better than being rewarded for killing the first unit or bagging your opponents leader, especially if you are on the losing end of the table. I know Madival talks about people putting their Warlords (not fond of that new mechanic but more on that later) in the toughest unit they can ( a la the death star) to deny the opponent this objective but to me this only makes sense. With assault being the bread and butter of 40k, having a decked out melee killing machine is what most people will likely go for (with several notable exceptions ie Guard, Tau etc) and throwing said points heavy models/unit should come with the more dangerous risk of conceding more points if Jimmy the Guardsmen gets a good hit in and downs the billion point Chaos Lord in combat. Close combat is a risky business both in terms of reward and the price of failure. As for people making their Warlord nigh unkillable (Madival I am looking at you) that is a perfectly legitimate and viable strategy too. It is also all the more satisfying to kill said unkillable and be rewarded with points and a profound sense of satisfaction.
Overwatch: Long have I desired a charge reaction for 40k.  Making these snap shots is the perfect balance.
Grenades: Throwing grenades?!?! This is  MADNESS!!!! (Yes I am making a 300 reference and yes I realize how tired that is by now, but I couldn't help it) Actually if this was the only thing that got added to the entire edition I would have been a happy man. Seriously. Not having the ability to chunk a grenade has bothered me for all of the 11 years I have played 40k.

Negative changes: What I am less than fond of in the new edition

Random Charge Length: Okay I can understand this to a certain degree. It makes more sense to me in Fantasy, especially when adding the movement value to the charge range, but explain to me how a charge fails when the models are 3 inches apart? They are close enough to throw spit wads at each other for crying out loud! Expect me to suggest a house rule from me in casual games of charges being allowed within 2 to 3 inches no matter what if the units are in the open.
Mysterious Terrain: I hate this in Fantasy and I hate it in 40k now too. The times I have used this mechanic my opponent and I have forgotten about it (to both our detriments) so don't expect to see me use this willingly.
Flyers In General: Let me start off by saying that I use a flyer, the Storm Raven to be exact. I have also not played a game using the new flyer rules. Let me be clear on why I throw this in to the negative section, I don't like the fact that Flyers are in the core rules at all. Flying transports I can live with more so than dedicated fighters and/or bombers being a part of the core game. It just doesn't feel right to me. If you are wanting to partake in the aerial combat of the 41st millennium then may I suggest the rules and models Forge World produced a few years back in their Aeronautica Imperialis game system (Forge World Flyer Sytem).40k to me has always been about ground combat with infantry and armor slugging it out.

As you can see my positives out number the negatives for my thoughts on the new edition. Overall I would even go so far as to say this is my favorite edition of the game of Warhammer 40,000. It has a much more fun feel to it and the vast majority of the changes make sense to me and feel like positive changes to the game. So as always I will bid you all happy gaming until I next put up a post (which will be in the very near future)!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

good/bad Ideas for sixth edition: Of secondaries, warlords , and the meta

Thinking time

    Greetings everyone. It has been a while and I have gotten a few games of sixth edition in under my belt. There are a few things I really want to talk about. These topics are a result of both several games in this new edition all having the same trends and talking with lots of people who I know have done really well in 5th edition and know what they are talking about. I have gotten the chance to talk to people from new players, all the way to people who have been to the ard boyz national tournament.  As someone trying to get into the tournament scene more, these choices in topics are near and dear to my heart as I try to look for patterns that happen in my own games.  Chime in with anything you guys want to add. Think of this more as a discussion then me just talking at you.  With that being said, lets dig right in to the core of the matter with a topic I have been thinking about quite a bit. 
The importance of the good ole number 2
   In my slew of games, I have found that often being able to play the primary is important, but literally every game I have played has come down to secondary objectives. From my very first game, to the game I played last week, Every single sixth edition game has been decided for those seemingly added on aspects to every mission. It has gotten to the point that I have started to build army lists with the ability to play any of the primary objectives, but they specialize in completing the secondary objectives while denying them to my opponent.  Lets begin with a break down of each of them.
  • Slay the warlord!- This secondary is often the most difficult to achieve quite a bit of the time. With the new Look out sir! rule, it is difficult to shoot such characters out of a unit.To make matters worse, I have found that people either keep a tough unit with him or they deck the unit to the teeth. On top of all of this, people are bringing melee based characters. This makes it to where you have to have an equally tooled melee character in order to kill him. This makes this objective often the most risky in my eyes to obtain. Shooting still withers, assault kills. This is why that I personally have decided to not go for this objective and go about denying my opponent this one. my warlord will always have a 2+/3++ if I can help it. I wont risk putting him in melee often since I have started playing my necrons again.
  • First Blood!- This is the disaster of secondaries. Often going to the person who goes first. All you can do is steel yourself against the onslaught that is turn one and hope your units are as durable as they can be. Assault armies suffer from this objective because you need some form of potentially long range shooting in order to try and take this one.  For me, I take doomsday arks and primarily av 13 vehicles and solar pulse to try to reduce the reach.
  • Line breaker!- The easiest of the secondaries and potentially one of the worst ones to try and achieve. Nothing screams bad idea like running face first into where the enemy is. This secondary is a mobility check. Late game objective grab got a change. Now it is get within your opponents deployment zone fast enough to be there when the game ends, but not fast enough to get dead because you ran into your opponents kill zone. It really is a mobility check. If you can keep a vehicle alive to turn 4, you will find that this objective is easy to obtain. 

Warlord traits and you
    Its time to talk about the thing that is either the bane of people or their best friend.  The power of the warlord trait lies in that you don't have to actually pick which tree you are gonna take until deployment. This means you can pick and choose which trees has the most potential for you. This is both good and bad. It means that you must make a decision before play begins. The bad part is that more often than not, these trees are either stupid or simply really to good for some randomly generated power. No one can really plan for any of this stuff. Games can be won not through play, but a simple dice roll. It is something that we must familiarize ourselves with. Here is my break down of the three trees.
  • Command tree-The all around tree. This set of options is pretty good in general. certain options are rather pointless to some armies, but overall, its a good tree. Since the 12 inches for all of the traits extends from a transport your general is in, you are gonna want your general in some vehicle in order to make this as big as possible. With almost equal options for shooting armies as well as assault armies, this tree is the most all around of them. Intimidating presence can wreck people who need sarges for leadership especially for assault armies that get close. Target priority is really awesome for shooting armies. The only real option that isn't very good is the coordinated assault. 1 inch has won and lost me many a game, but every time that such a thing has happened, it is because of my play and not because I got unlucky. 
  • Personal tree-The gamblers tree. Some people don't feel that their warlords don't need to contribute past their own unit. This fact got reinforced with the addition of the personal tree. I hate to say it, this is the most luck dependent of all the trees. Slots one and two of this don't help many people. I most often see master of defense (counter attack in your deployment zone) is given to assault units that run out of their zone first thing. Master of offense is a tricky one. A lot of assault units already have Furious charge, so this is a tricky one. So far, I have only really seen this one rolled by orks (Go figure). The two good ones are legendary fighter and immovable object. Tenacity is OK, but since not a lot of personal geared warlords want to sit on objectives, this is kind of moot. The reason legendary fighter is awesome is because this makes the response to such characters who want to punch peoples face of rather difficult to deal with. You can't use melee characters to punch him back since it more often then not will result in victory points for your opponent.  Immovable object suffers from victory points for the same reason, you gain something for nothing. The other 4 options in this tree grant minor benefit while 4 and six are amazing for no reason.
  • Strategic tree- The awkward tree that looks good if in the right light on the third of July if its a warm evening... OK, this tree is the most situational of all. If you are playing on a city board, conqueror of cities is the most powerful trait in the game no matter if you are shooting or assaulting, its a win. Night attackers gives you the option to pick when night fight happens, but since often you want to claim first blood, you won't want to activate it if you go first and few armies can truly solve the night fight problem. Strategic genius is awesome if you are playing reserve armies. If not, you can weep at the missed potential. Same goes for divide and conquer. All of these require your warlord to be alive (except CoC), so if you want the effects, keep him safe. The last ability is the princeps of deceit which is only good if you go first. redeploying loses its charm when you just move someone to a spot you could have deployed them the first time. 
My meta
 What does all this boil down to? I have used what I seen over the course of my experiences with sixth to try and develop a list that will hurt the meta and let me play how I want to. I built a list that was designed to play any mission. After that, I wanted to play the secondaries. For warlord, I picked an incredibly sturdy warlord in nemesor zandrek. His 2+/3++ save and ability to help out the army without actually having to be in a risky position has allowed him to escape untouched for all of my games. On top of that, I have 2 death mark squads with harbingers of despair to try and kill any warlord squad as most of the personal tree (which I hate) sees its power last only as long as the warlord is alive and often coffers to his units as well. If you kill either, the powers are often useless.   First blood is often achieved through my pair of doomsday arks and ghost arks. If I go first, I have 2 long range killing pie plates to lay down the hurt. If I don't go first, I have a solar pulse and av 13 to try and survive. You can't count a jink save since you may not have first turn or a chance to move them. Line breaker is achieved through a combination of things from my vehicles trying to survive to my flyers coming in (of which I have 3). This also shows an interesting idea on how to deal with AA first as I think we will see an incredible amount in the coming 6th edition books. With 4 av 13 vehicles, you can safely target the anti air elements in someones list as they often don't have the power needed to hurt your av 13 vehicles. Then, once your flyers come in, you will find the enemy doesn't have the guns needed to hurt your flyers. All of this comes into a nice little total below 1750 points. The list looks like this.


Nemesor Zandrek

destruction tek solar pulse

Despair tek 

Despair tek


5 deathmarks with night scythe

5 deathmarks with night scythe


 9 warriors, ghost ark

 9 warriors ghost ark

10 warriors with night scythe


Doomsday ark

Doomsday ark

 Now it is important to note that I will have this finished by Friday, but I haven't got to test the list out in all its theory, but individual parts have been tested. Everything has worked wonders for me so far save the night scythes. I haven't gotten to use any of them as I just got them. It was the only real way to squeeze in anti air into the list that wasn't an annihilation barge (I hate them with a passion). Anyway, that's everything. Happy gaming everyone.