Friday, October 26, 2007
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
Revisiting the topic of Specialization and Eldar, I give you a unit of Striking Scorpions.
One of only two aspects geared for melee combat, and even then specialized towards specific prey.
Thanks to their mandiblasters, the Striking Scorpions truly excel in the number of attacks they can generate in assault. While lacking the power weapons of their melee-sisters the Banshees, they do benefit from a very welcome +1 to Strength given from their Scorpion Chainswords.
These guys specialize in taking out high numbers with low armour (orks, Imperial Guard, gaunts, Dark Eldar, etc.).
On top of that awesomeness, they have a 3+ armour save, perfect for warding off those high number of attacks mob/swarms will likely through back at you.
Can anyone guess what it is about them that I like the most? Eh?
You can equip their Exarch with the ability to allow the entire unit to Infiltrate. That's the sweet spot.
Speaking of Exarchs...
Never satisfied with just one option, I made all three Exarch variants for my Striking Scorpions. The Chainsaber'd Exarch was a small conversion. He has the usual right handed Exarch Saber that comes with him (sword+claw has same sword) and the left hand was the arm from the Biting Blade, but with a normal Scorpion's sword attached (and cleaned up with a little Green Stuff). While reading through the entry, I found that the Chainsabers option comes with "gauntlet-mounted twin-linked Shuriken Pistols." Well damn. I fished some spare bits out of my bitz box for the two pistols, and Green Stuff'd a wrist-connection to look similar to what's on the Dire Avengers sprue for their Exarch. I think he came out looking pretty damn good.
You get a couple options here:
Scorpion Chainsword + Power Claw (shuriken catapult incorporated)
Similar to the Dire Avengers' Exarch choices, each one will gear you to excel in a differrent way.
When taking an Exarch with your Scorpion squad, you equip him in a manner to best suit the role you want your Scorpions to achieve. Also, each equipment set is better against different enemies. Low-med toughness and low-no armor? Chainsabers all the way. These guys allow you to reroll failed rolls to hit. Combine that with the twin-linked shuriken pistols and he greatly bolsters the effectiveness of the Scorpions. The Chainsabers set is great for low armor horde armies. Swarms of gaunts (even 'stealers, though you'll take heavy losses as well) mobs of Orks, Imperial Guard, Fire Warriors, other Eldar.
Sword+Claw. This is great against high armor enemies (though really, aim your Banshees at them), but because of the sword he becomes the best choice for versatility. He can do nearly anything, where the other two are a bit specialized. Something to be said for him also ... Gauntlet mounted Shuriken. He can fire that off and use the Claw same turn.
Facing high toughness, med-low armor? Biting Blade. This set sacrifices one attack compared to the others, but you get +1 Strength for each successive hit. Note that you already count as having a S4 due to the Blade itself. 1 hit? S5. Get 2 hits? They both hit at S6. Three hits? S7. Did you get all 4 hits when on the charge? You lucky sunuvabetch, that's 4 hits at S8. But, still no armor penetration.
This makes him viable against high Toughness enemies. Be careful, the rest of the Scorpions are still Strength 4 ... and won't be able to efficiently follow in what you're trying to accomplish with the Exarch's potential for 6 or more Strength. Those high Toughness models are better taken care of with firepower, like from Warp Spiders, or Wraithguard, or even the Rangers. Better to aim the Scorpions at a juicier target: mobs of cannon-fodder troops.
Thursday, October 18, 2007
EDIT: I've revisited the Autarch, as well as making a minor adjustment to his equipment. See more about that here.
According to the fluff, these individuals represent the ideal Eldar. The pinnacle of what an Eldar can hope to be/achieve. I find this ultimately sad, given that he's nothing like the rest of the Eldar. The vast majority is deemed "not good enough."
Autarchs are said to have walked every path, and when he felt he mastered it, mustered the strength to turn from that path and take another. While most Eldar are currently walking one path or another, a good amount remain "lost" on these paths; becoming obsessed with a path to the point that it becomes an addiction is a very real danger to them. These lost addicts are better referred to as "Exarchs." Or, in the case of one specific path, "Farseers." While the Eldar society does find these individuals extremely useful (in that they gain in power along their path more than a normal Eldar would, and remain to teach Eldar currently traveling that path) they pity them. For the Eldar, life itself is a constant trial. They strive endlessly to keep themselves from descending back into the very depravity that brought about the birth of She Who Thirsts, and simultaneously heralded the decline of their species. Exarchs are a step away from Dark Eldar in the minds of the normal Eldar populace.
Autarchs are their antithesis. Where an Exarch is specialized to the extreme, having a kind of tunnel-vision view of life, an Autarch has had the wisdom to learn from all paths and take this learning with him through life. He combines his knowledge to make him a stronger individual as a whole. Because of this, the Eldar populace views him with awe, and gives a lot of weight to his words. Naturally, Autarchs take up leadership roles in their craftworlds, so that they can benefit from his more holistic view on life.
Having travelled every path, only an Autarch understands the role each Aspect plays on the battlefield, and this is represented in his special rule. Rolls for reserves benefit from a +1 while he's on the battlefield, allowing you to perform much craftier maneuvres with relative stability.
Following this description of what an Autarch is, I decided to equip mine with the equipment to enable him to join and help nearly any Aspect I field. I say nearly, because all is impossible. So I decided to weed out a few that would hinder his ability to assist the rest.
If I equipped him with a Reaper Launcher, his role would be shifted backwards, away from enemy lines. This would hinder his ability to bolster a front line by distance alone, so that was out. I decided, rather, to focus on the mid to close range Aspects so he could easily move between them.
Close Combat: Mandiblasters and a Power Weapon. The other option was a Scorpion Chainsword and Banshee mask. While highly tempting, I disregarded the Chainsword (and its +1 S) because it would specialize him more between Scorpions and Banshees. Scorpions are about high number of attacks against low armoured foes(the high S helps, but it's really about # of attacks) and the Banshees are about killing mid to heavy armoured foes. By giving him the chainsword/mask, he'd be a hell of a help to the Scorpions, but not so much to the Banshees ... the lack of an Armour-ignoring weapon decreases his effectiveness in their role. If I give him the Mandiblasters and a Power Weapon, now he has the high attacks to fit in with Scorpions, AND the ability to ignore armour like the Banshees. This was my reasoning behind this choice.
Mobility: Jetbike, Swooping Hawk Jetpack, Warp Spider Generator.
To be honest, the only reason to take a Swooping Hawk pack over the other two is if you intend on having him join the Hawks and benefit from 'Skyleap.' The Warp Generator does the same thing, with the addition of allowing him an additional move during assault if he's not assaulting. I guess people just like the flashiness of the wings, because I see this taken more than any other choice. I chose the Generator because it was simple and effective, while also giving me more options that the other two don't allow. Taking the Jetbike will hinder my ability to join other squads, adding my strength to theirs ... unless you have jetbike squads.
Gun: Shuriken Pistol, Reaper Launcher, Fusion Blaster
Ok, I'm gonna stop right there. I know there are more, but Fusion Blaster is all you need to hear. Adding the mobility from your previous choice, you would now be able to quickly take down that pesky tank that your Dragons would take another turn (maybe) getting to. Being that it's an assault weapon, it's also a nearly guaranteed kill before a charge. It's just too awesome to say 'no' to.
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
Monday, October 15, 2007
Tyranids VS Eldar
It was a small game, my opponent (playing Eldar) had only played once before, so this was a kind of glorified "training session." I'm not going to allow that to keep me from over-dramatizing it, however.
In response to my placement of the Genestealers, my opponent put down a squad of 5 Rangers, and a Farseer equipped with Singing Spear, Runes of Witnessing, Eldritch Storm and Doom.
And in response to my HQ and gaunts, here are the Dire Avengers and an Autarch.
10 Dire Avengers, Exarch with Power Weapon and Shimmershield.
Autarch equipped with Warp Jump Generator, Mandiblasters, Power Weapon, and Fusion Gun.
Tyranids won the roll for who goes first, yet I decided to allow the Eldar first move.
With a glance to their left, the mighty Tyranid Warriors could see the scuttling forms of the Genestealers, settling into position. The bipeds had lined themselves up nicely just on the otherside of an old ruins; the designated location for the Capillary Tower.
They could feel the consciousness of Blood-Maw, several hundred kilometers away, fighting the larger fight. He urged patience; allow the prey to close in before making your[our] intentions obvious.
Shifting uneasily, the Hormagaunt brood remained still. Their eagerness was palpable, but the Hive Mind had provided the Warriors with the means to control them telepathically.
My opponent moved the Dire Avengers towards the ruins, simultaneously attaching the Autarch to their ranks. The Rangers and Farseer similarly joined up, and advanced towards the Genestealers (big mistake).
Sensing that the time was ripe, the Warriors urged the gaunts forward. Seeing this, the Genestealers also leapt into action. It was a slow start, but the prize was right in front of them. 6 little figures out in the open.
What you see above is what happens when you roll a 1 on a Fleet of Claw move. urgh.
Termagaunts and Warriors moved straight towards the ruins and the Hormagaunts, despite getting a nice Fleet roll of 5, stopped short just in front of the jungle-terrain. I didn't want to get them too close to the Dire Avengers.
With the Genestealers in sight, my opponent has the Ranger group sit still with their Heavy Weapons. The Dire Avengers move towards the ruins again, and declare shooting ... failing due to them being so far out of range.
The Rangers fire away, killing off three Genestealers.
Termagaunts and Warriors advance to intercept at the ruins, Hormagaunts make another 5 on their Fleet roll and advance through the jungle terrain. Gotta love that Move Through Cover rule that applies to all Tyranids.
The warriors fire off their weapons, but to no avail. Sadly, with a BS of 2 this will be a common thing. Both Deathspitters miss and the Barbed Strangler fails to cause any casualties. 4+ armour saves FTW?
Assault phase. Ah, look at it now. Hormagaunts assault 12". Mmm, lovely. The strategy so far is working perfectly. My Hormagaunts have successfully engaged them in melee, just outside of the ruins ... and will likely hold them there long enough for the Warriors to catch up.
My Genestealers made a very welcomed roll of 6 on their Fleet of Claw move. Add to that a 6" charge, and they've successfully assaulted the Rangers.
I must say I severely underestimated the Dire Avengers ... and forgot that their Initiative is better than the Hormagaunts, meaning that they got first strike, killing 3 of my gaunts. My attack was lessened, due to the Avengers' Defend ability, and the Hormagaunts failed to cause any casualties.
This was a problem for me. My Hormagaunts lost this round of combat and were out of Synapse range to boot! Thankfully a leadership roll of 3 saved my ass.
As far as the Genestealers, they massacred the Rangers and Farseer in one round! Way to go, Rending Claws!
My opponent, being locked in close combat, scores a single casualty on the Hormagaunts, and suffer one casualty on their Dire Avengers.
Termagaunts take up their planned position within the ruins, securing the objective so long as the Eldar don't break free too soon.
With a sudden rush of adrenaline, the Warriors bound forwards at a suprising velocity. The bipeds were unaware of their fast approach until it was too late. (I gave my Warriors 'Leaping' which gives them a 12" assault move) They could feel Blood-Maw's approval, and at that moment sensed that the Genestealers had joined their battle, having finished up their targets ahead of schedule. The final moments approached.
With a great roar they threw themselves at the more prominent biped, knowing that the Genestealers would make quick work of the lessers.
Another couple Hormagaunts lost, but no matter. The larger battle was almost over. The Warriors could taste the victory already. Only two of the bipeds remained. Both ferocious warriors in their own rights, but we have numbers on our side.
The bulkier biped was slippery, and avoided most of the clumsy Tyranid attacks. He held a flashing green blade that made short work of one of the Warriors. The remaining two could feel a twang of disappointment from Blood-Maw through the Hive-connect. Anger welling up, their attacks became more furious even as they heard the peals of victory from the Genestealers; their target was down.
The slippery one's resolve was astonishing. Despite being gravely outnumbered he remained steadfast in his attack, but the Will of Hive Fleet Harbinger is insurmountable. The formidable biped was crushed by the claws and talons of inevitability.
A surging sensation of satisfaction rang clear over the Hive-connect. Blood-Maw could now focus his attentions elsewhere, knowing the construction of the Capillary Towers would be completed. The Warriors set about relaying the Hive Mind's instructions to the lessers, cooling down from the battle that just ended. Their blood was still hot from battle, and somehow ... despite utterly crushing his body, they felt that they hadn't seen the last of that particularly tenacious biped. A greenish stone attached to his breastplate glinted at them ... almost mockingly.
There you have it. Game ended after only 4 turns, Tyranids coming out on top with a Victorious Slaughter! The game was really fun, and both my opponent and I have learned some things from this particular match.
Things my opponent learned:
"Hormagaunts really move fast. Wow."
"OK, Genestealers are officially on my shit-list. You just wait for next time."
Things I've learned:
Dire Avengers can stave off an assault better than I thought they could. A good thing to remember when I next play Eldar.
Hormagaunts, even when bio-morphed up, still rely on numbers to really cause damage. I'm happy I already made plans to have two broods of 16.
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
Wednesday, October 3, 2007
Everything in an Eldar army must have a role. A precise role. Unlike some other armies, the Eldar army list consists of a wide selection of Specialists. Each unit has specialized in (mostly) one thing only. A good tactician can use this to their advantage and perform some very masterful maneuvers with astonishing results. An amateur could easily lose faith in them and give up.
It is very important to know what role each unit fills, and adhere to that. I cannot stress this enough. With a Space Marine army, you have much much more leeway. Even a devastator squad can hold their own in close combat... they're still Space Marines. That Strength 4, Toughness 4, Weapon Skill 4, and Power Armour help a great deal.
Space Marines are made to be flexible, to be able to adjust to changes in battle conditions.
Not so much with the Eldar. You have to be careful, calculating, and precise. Wrong or hasty moves can lead to disaster, leaving not much room for mistakes.
This being said, the Dire Avengers tend to be the most flexible group depending on how you equip your Exarch.
On to the Dire Avengers...
Dire Avengers have these nifty extended barrel Shuriken Catapults, which change the range from 12" to 18". This is great, as it allows you to play a 'cat and mouse' game with your opponent. Shooting at near maximum range, constantly retreating slightly just to keep them from charging... At Assault 2, this can be very effective. With 'Bladestorm' this is way way effective. Bladestorm adds another shot to the weapon's characteristics, making it Assault 3.
Given their weaponry and Exarch Powers (Detailed Below), Dire Avengers in 5th Edition make for awesome Objective holders/capturers. As far as objectives go, aim them towards capturing the mid-field and Enemy Deployment Zone objectives. You have other Troops units with longer range weaponry at your disposal to better hold the Objectives in your own DZ.
Exarchs are serious business, and must also be chosen carefully. Think of the role that the unit is to fill, and choose the equipment that will best help enhance that role. The choice you make in equipping your Exarch will drastically change the effectiveness and role of the Dire Avengers
On to the Exarchs:
There are three main options of equipment:
Shuriken Pistol/Diresword -10 pts
Power Weapon/Shimmer Shield -15 pts
Dual-Shuriken Catapults -5 pts
Each option changes the role of the Dire Avengers.
By taking the Shuriken Pistol/Diresword combo you expect to use the Dire Avengers in a dual role (Shooting and Assault), preferrably against characters or other models with more than one Wound so you can instant-kill them. To be honest, despite that I love the idea of an Exarch with a Diresword because it's so picturesque ... the rest of the unit isn't equipped to assault, they're basically just padding to buy your Exarch time to finish the job. Too bad they don't offer the Shimmer Shield with the Diresword.
By taking the Power Weapon/Shimmer Shield combo you expect to use the Dire Avengers in another dual role: Shooting and Stalling. The Shimmer Shield protects the whole unit in melee! Especially if you equip your Exarch with the Defend power (another 15 pts), your Dire Avengers have suddenly become very surviveable; perfect for tying up an enemy unit that may have been making an attempt at a softer target. This kind of strategy works well when you have a combat oriented group waiting just behind the main lines playing 'cleanup' *coughBansheescough*. This is the strategy I hope to employ; using them for their primary shooting role, but giving them the capability to intercept and hold a tricksy enemy unit for my Banshees to come clean up.
By taking the dual-Shuriken Catapults, you limit your Dire Avengers to ONLY a shooting role. This one was the most tempting for me. An Exarch with dual-Shuriken Catapults counts as having one Assault 4 Catapult. Assault 4! Imagine Bladestorm with that(+15 pts)! That would be 5 shots just from HIM! Equipping an Exarch this way is a very viable and recommended option, just keep them out of melee at all costs! Play the 'cat and mouse' game until your opponent is defeated. This game is possible with your 18" range Catapults, but note that it is NOT possible with the normal Guardians' Catapults. Range on those is 12". That's the magic number: 12. With a 12" range if you can shoot them, they can assault you next turn. 6" move + 6" assault. Dire Avengers are the only Troops Option that can play this tactic outside of Jetbikes; use it to your advantage!
All in all, for only 12 points/model, Dire Avengers are really awesome in an Eldar army. The only thing cheaper would be straight-up Guardians, and the difference is great.
Tuesday, October 2, 2007
Rangers. I've said before that I love me some Infiltrate and I mean it. I'm taking two 5-man squads of Rangers as two of my Troops choices.
Not only do they infiltrate, but like some of my Dark Angels Scouts, they have sniper weapons.
Always hit on a 2+, always wound on a 4+. In addition, they cause 'pinning.'
Incase you're new to 40k, Pinning occurs whenever my Rangers cause a wound with those sniper weapons. Every time you're wounded, you make a leadership test. If it's failed, your unit is "pinned," unable to move or shoot in their next turn. They've effectively thrown themselves to the ground, unaware of where the shots are coming from.
With two of these squads, I can shoot at and hopefully pin TWO enemy units; something I could not do with one squad of 10. These guys do not have the strict regimentation of the Dark Angels, so there's no 'Combat Squads' rule to help me out here. Everything with the Eldar must be precise, clean, and with clear purpose. All else is waste. As it should be.
Monday, October 1, 2007
Pistols and Chainswords with Jump-packs. There's really not much else to say about these guys.