Rumours of my death have been greatly exaggerated

Hello everyone!

As you probably have noticed, I have not posted anything on the blog for well over a month now, so I thought it was time to get back onto the blogging train again. I do not want to go into the details too much, but I have had some health issues over the last couple of months that have made it fairly difficult for me to muster the enthusiasm to write anything on the blog or get any painting done. Fortunately, I now have a new doctor who has made a ton of tests and now prescribed me a plethora of vitamins, hormone pills and other good stuff and I am beginning to feel better than I have in a long while. So I am going to endeavour to get back into writing my blog in addition to overall improving my life and thus the life of my family too I hope.

But enough about me, this is a serious wargaming blog after all and you might want to know more about what I have done gaming-wise over the last few weeks. First of all, I have managed to paint a couple of miniatures, my Sicaran Battle Tank for my Blood Angels and Dynamo, a character warjack for my Cygnarans.

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The Sicaran is armed with no less than 3 Heavy Bolters and an Accelerator Cannon. This baby is the unholy lovechild of an Assault Cannon and an Autocannon, having the strength and range of an Autocannon, but the Rending USR from the Assault Cannon and boasting no less than 6 shots per round, twin-linked of course. Finally, it negates the Jink USR, so flyers and Eldar skimmers will die in droves when hit by the Accelerator Cannon.

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Dynamo is a character Warjack, so you can only ever field one per army. He is the latest invention by Sebastian Nemo and as such, he shares an affinity with all three versions of Nemo, letting Dynamo re-roll failed to hit rolls with his Firestorm Cannon when in Nemo’s control zone. Speaking of his gun, it has the Multi-Fire rule, so it can keep shooting at the same target or a target in 2” of the last target hit as long as it hits, up to a maximum of 4. At a respectable RAT of 6 and with Nemo’s re-rolls, that usually means that you can hit a heavy target four times per round. Similarly, if run by Kara Sloan, it benefits from the boosted shots her feat gives it, so it should also be able to score four hits with her too. In addition to its gun, it also rocks a Battle Spear, giving it Reach and Set Defense to hit people at range and go to a respectable DEF14 against charges and slams. More importantly however, both the Firestorm Cannon and the Battle Spear benefit from the Chain Reaction rule that gives a cumulative +1 bonus to each damage roll against the target for each hit (including the hit causing the damage roll) made by Dynamo against that target that round. So the first hit gets +1 to the damage roll, the second +2 and so forth. In my first game, it casually killed Behemoth, a Khador Heavy Warjack with ARM 21 and 36 damage boxes in a single round of combat.

It also has good synergies with some other casters. For instance, Lieutenant Allison Jakes can raise its DEF to 14 (16 against slams), which is extremely nimble for a Heavy Warjack and Lord General Coleman Stryker (Stryker on a horse or Horsey McHorselord) gives it the Assault rule, letting it shoot its charge target once, then beating it up in melee, with the shot counting as the first hit, thereby increasing the power of the subsequent melee attacks for free so to say. Stryker also has Iron Aggression, a spell that lets it charge for free and with boosted melee attack rolls, letting it spend all its focus on buying more attacks. Lord Commander Stryker (the one I have been playing heavily the last few months) on the other hands really likes Warjacks with Reach for his Positive Charge spell, so he might also find a place for Dynamo. Of course, Major Victoria Haley also makes him better, giving him a potential +4 movement with Temporal Acceleration and Telekinesis, as well as letting him engage targets without Reach, then using her feat to leave them unable to attack him, but it is Haley and as we know, everything is better with Haley.

I am still taking it easy as I wish to avoid a hobby burnout again, but my plan is to finally finish those blasted Sword Knights that have been sitting on my painting table for half a year now, then paint some more Daemon Engines for my Nurgle Marines, namely a second Maulerfiend, this time with Lasher Tendrils to combat all those Knights that keep popping up all over the place, and a Hell Talon fighter plane, a sleek killing machine rocking 6 Twin-Linked Rending S7 shots in addition to being able to re-roll all to wounds/penetrates against a Flyer or Flying Monstrous Creature nominated at the beginning of the game and having a rule that lets it ‘teleport’ a couple of inches at the beginning of each turn, so it can avoid overshooting a target. As I really, really dislike Flyers and especially Flying Hive Tyrants, this baby will be making an appearance in a lot of my Chaos lists henceforth. As usual, pictures will follow once it is painted.

Finally, on the gaming side, the last few weeks have been more productive, as I have played a lot of games in just about every system. At the end of last year, I tentatively joined a new gaming club in Luxembourg (mentioned before) and I have been trying to spread the good word and convert people to giving Warmahordes a go there, especially as a few of them already have some small forces or starter sets lying around. So far, I have run two demo afternoons there and I hope to run more and maybe once we have 4-6 players or interested people, we can start a grow league where people start off with a battle force set and then work their way to 35-50 points. Fingers crossed.

But when in Rome, do as the Romans do, so I also played some 40k there and even gave X-Wing a try. It is a fun game and I can see why it has gained so many fans in so short a time, but I feel that I have enough games and armies right now and it looks like a game that requires some time getting into, so I am not too keen on it right now. I have also made an appointment to play a game of Warhammer there, despite my reservations against the current state of Warhammer. Now, I had a game against Roland this week with my Chaos Warriors and it was fun, especially as he had me on the ropes before his Hierophant exploded, taking half his force with him and letting me nearly table him (he had 6 Archers that were about to be charged by a Sorcerer Lord on Disk left) and it was fun, but it was fun because we both tend to like the same kind of playing style and we both have a decent grasp on the rules (mine is decent, his is better), so we managed a game without too many rules issues, not because of the rules themselves. Right now, I feel that the Warhammer rules are in dire need of rework, especially in terms of balancing the different armies and so forth. By the way, Roland might post it on his blog, in which case I will post a link here.

As most people, I follow the current set of rumours about 9th Edition and I feel that the proposed changes, such as more points for big centrepiece models like Dragons, a smaller range of armies and maybe even a skirmish variant in addition to the battle variant might be what the game needs to rejuvenate its audience and also inspire fresh vigour into old players. However, I am wondering if I am really willing to take the plunge and invest myself into that new version, especially if I need to seriously retool my armies. For example, right now none of my armies have large monstrous mounts in them, apart from the Chaos Daemons which have a full set of Greater Daemons who fall into the same category I guess. Sure, the Dark Elves have a Hydra and a Kharybdis, but those cannot really go toe-to-toe against a Dragon. So if the game goes back to its ‘Herohammer’ roots of armies being built around a few heroes on monsters, I might just call it quits then. Still, at the moment I am on the fence and we’ll see what happens.

Beyond that, I have played a lot of Warmachine, or actually Hordes, as I have once again started a new army. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. In January and beginning of February, I faced off against Chris’s Cryx army with Cygnar and the Convergence and where Cygnar is starting to get the measure of the new undead threat thanks to its bucketload of magical shooting, the Convergence is still not working that great against him. Their playstyle still challenges me, especially Syntherion, as he likes fielding a lot of Warjacks, but they need to be close to each other to induct Focus over the Corollary or their Induction Nodes. However, they all also have medium or large bases, so they tend to cluster up and then block each other’s charge lanes. Ironically, I am still extremely happy with what the Internet calls the weakest Convergence caster, Aurora, as she fields only 3-4 Warjacks and can even reposition them with Apparition. Maybe it is just a matter of practice though.

I also tried out playing Nemo in my Cygnar army and even though I loved playing him, I have yet to get a grasp for his rules and spells. I love the remaining elements of the army, such as the Tactical Arcanist Corps to create smoke cover before switching to setting fire to the opponent and Dynamo in addition to my Stormclad, but somehow Nemo is the weakest link, as his defensive stats are just appallingly bad at DEF14, ARM14 and 14 damage boxes, so even if most heavy threats are contained or eliminated, he can be killed by regular troops or a light warjack. Again, more practice might be helpful.

The last weeks, however, I have converted to the Dark Side, starting a Hordes army, more specifically the Legion of Everblight. I had spent some time looking at different armies on the Internet as I was not sure on what to play, vacillating between Skorne, Circle and Legion, at some time I even considered a Farrow minion army (basically, Farrows are bipedal pigs, with larger pigs as their warbeasts). I then eliminated the Circle of Oroboros, as I am not a big fan of druids and werewolves and, more importantly, it felt like jumping on the bandwagon, as Circle is currently one of the most powerful armies due to Bradigus Thorle and his theme force. Fortunately, there was a recent erratum weakening Circle in general, as one of their favourite tactics was using multiple Shifting Stone units to teleport a model from one to the next until it got into melee with the enemy Warcaster to win the game. The new erratum forbids the same model to be teleported more than once per round, which is consistent with similar teleport effects. So my choice was down to Skorne or Legion. Skorne has cool aesthetics, being an army of samurai undead elves with giant elephants (Titans), in addition Makeda and the Exalted Court are a powerful Warcaster unit that can easily rip the heart of most enemy armies on the feat turn. However, their visual and playstyle is very similar to Khador, advancing as a wave of slow but heavy models that are extremely powerful once they eventually get there and the official paint scheme is red and gold like Khador’s. Moreover, Legion has a very appealing visual style, mixing corrupted elves with draconic warbeasts. Add the fact that the majority of warbeasts have biblical names such as Angelius, Seraph or Archangel and I was sold. So in the end, Skorne was out and Legion was in.

Luckily, I found a few good deals online that let me build the core of my army relatively fast and I was thus able to get started playing the army right away. And so far, it is 4-0 and thus still undefeated. Christian currently has a lot of spare time to paint, so he was able to paint the first 50 points army in only a few weeks and should be finished with the rest in a month or so, letting me field two 50 points with a degree of variety between the warbeasts and units included. Below are some of the models he has done so far.

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My first Warlock, Vayl, Consul of Everblight. She is a Fury 8 Warlock, so she is a potent spellcaster who can also control a lot of Warbeasts, which is Legion’s main strength. She also has 6 spells, including the powerful Purification, which cancels all upkeep spells, continuous effects such as Fire or Corrosion and animi in her control zone. She also has three buff upkeeps of her own, Refuge (like Aurora’s feat, it lets a model move after hitting an enemy with an attacks), Occultation (giving a model Stealth) and Admonition (letting a model move once if an enemy approaches to within 6″, thus saving her from melee assassinations). Finally, she has Obliteration, which drops a POW15 4″ template and Icy Grip, which drops a target unit’s DEF and stops them from running. All this is tied together by her feat that lets her cast all the spells on her card once for free during her feat turn. In general, that means Purification to cancel all upkeeps, then recasting Refuge for free on herself and Occultation on one of her beasts, then dropping a unit’s DEF with Icy Grip before dropping a free Obliteration followed by a second paid Obliteration. Then she moves thanks to Refuge, casts Admonition on herself for free (dropping Refuge) and then Refuge on an Angelius. Most armies don’t recover from that arcane hurricane. She also has a tremendous theme force that I will discuss below.

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Absylonia, Daughter of Everblight. My second caster. She is more of a support caster with most of her spells increasing the offensive output or defences of a Warbeast. She can also mutate and gain Flight, more Strength or Reach herself. Finally, one of her spells is called Playing God, which is an awesome name.

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6 Lesser Warbeasts. They each have 13 damage boxes and most stats are rather weak, but they only cost 2 points each and bring good animi to the army. The ones on top are Harriers, small flyers with the True Strike animus that lets them hit a model automatically, so they are perfect to fly over the frontline, then hit a fragile solo automatically and murder them.In the middle are two Shredders, the original lesser warbeast. They can go rabid to gain boosted attack and damage rolls to punch above their weight. Their animus is Tenacity, which adds +1 to a model’s DEF and ARM. It can use it on itself or make the heavy warbeasts in the army much tougher. As a Warlock also gets the animi of its warbeasts as spells, Vayl can hand out multiple Tenacities per turn to increase the survivabilty of her draconic beasts. The ones below are Stingers, who can either use a Spray ranged attack or hit enemies with their Stinger in melee. Like bees, using the stinger will hurt it, so it loses all the damage boxes in his body aspect, but it gains an additional damage dice in return, rolling 4d6+10 on the charge.

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The Lunchladies and the Pot, erm the Spawning Vessel. Every time a living model in the vicinity of the Vessel dies, the Servants drag it into the pot to gain a Corpse token. Once it has 3 tokens, it can spawn a lesser warbeast for free. The cool thing is that the lunchladies can hit each other to gain corpse tokens, so on the whole they mostly end up dragging themselves in the pot then spawn a Shredder or Harrier depending on what I need right now.

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Spell Martyr solos. They cost a point each and can be used by a Warlock to channel a spell through them, then they die. Not terribly sexy, but someone has to do the dirty jobs.

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Shepherd solos. They are the workhorses of the Legion, being able to heal a warbeast to make sure all its aspects are fully operational. Their second ability is even stronger, as they can condition a warbeast to remove all the Fury from it. This enables you to use all your beasts to the max, then avoid them frenzying by removing their Fury points before they can go berserk.

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Scythean heavy warbeast. A melee beast, not very subtle, but you sometimes need a blunt instrument to get the job done.

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Two Angelii warbeasts. Obviously, they fly. Their main melee attack is P+S14 with Armour Piercing, making them the bane of most medium- and large-based models, as they halve the targets base armour before dealing damage, so they punch very hard.

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Two Ravagores. They are heavy artillery beasts, dropping POW15 AOE3 templates 14″, which is long range in Warmachine. They can also set models hit on fire and their templates stay in play for a round, dealing 1 damage point to enemy models (and minions) moving through them. They can also share their animus to other beasts, letting them set their targets on fire instead. So they combine sheer firepower with board control, as they can block charge lanes after hitting the models currently in those lanes.

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A Seraph heavy warbeast. A support piece mostly that can place a model it moved past within 2″ of its current position. This can be used to extract models from melee, get a Ravagore into range without having to move so it keeps its aiming bonus or add 2″ to the threat range of the Scytheans or Angelii.

OK, that’s it for today. More on Vayl’s theme force next time.

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