Thursday, 27 September 2012

Lores of Magic: The Lore of Vampires

Magic used to define the Vampire Counts army in much the same way as it did the Tomb Kings. The primary difficulties an opponent faced was the prowess of the Vampire characters, and the fact that the generally modestly powerful units could regain lost models (or even grow beyond their starting size), spring up from nowhere, and charge in the magic phase. 

Things have been shaken up a bit under the latest Vampire Counts book, including the loss of the ability to charge using Vanhel's Danse Macabre (continuing the trend we have seen across all new magic lores under 8th edition). The book has seen a number of new units added, many of which fight well enough that they don't necessarily need magical assistance to get the job done. 

So then, the army has reduced its reliance on magic (assuming the player builds his army list correctly). What does this mean for the new Lore of Vampires? Let's take a look.

Monday, 24 September 2012

By the power of technology!

Axemaster is approaching (it's now about 3.5 weeks away), and this time I managed to settle on an army list well in advance. One of the things I need to assemble and paint as part of this army list is an Arch Lector on a War Altar. I've had plans to build one of these for a long time, however it has taken until now for me to actually act on those plans.

Recently I seem to have developed a nasty habit of making things harder work than they need to be. I have overlooked things like the normal Demigryph models and instead converted my own, opting for theme and style over practicality. The War Altar continues this theme - there is a perfectly adequate plastic kit available nowadays, but of course that would have been too simple. Besides, I don't yet have any Sigmarite priests in my army - they all worship Ulric. Another conversion was the order of the day.
The War Altar as sold by Games Workshop
After a lot of fiddling and dithering, my plan is to use a number of parts from the official War Altar kit, but the end result will be quite different. For instance, I will not have horses pulling my Altar. Nor will the statue at the back be a Griffon. I don't really fancy the small house and ridiculously elevated position of the Arch Lector, either. So really, I will be using the chassis and that's about it.

I have started work on this project, although I don't yet have any pictures of my work in progress. As I was assembling it however, I ran into a problem. My statue needed to be elevated well above the chassis of the Altar, and I couldn't work out how best to do this. I also wanted to leave a central section of the chassis visible, as I had carved off a couple of the Sigmarite symbols and replaced them with wolf heads - I didn't want that to be wasted effort. So I needed a plinth, but it couldn't just be square. At painting night I was making resolutions to build the thing out of plastic bases before covering them with greenstuff and trying to make them look like a construction of wood and metal when Pete (one of the painting night regulars) said, "I could print you one."

This offer may not make much sense without a little bit of context. Recently Pete bought one of those fancy newfangled 3D printers you may have read about. Actually, he bought all the bits to make one, and then set about the laborious task of assembling the thing from a confusing jumble of wires and bits of metal and plastic. Once this was done (and it didn't happen overnight), he set about trying to calibrate the thing so that it would actually make what he wanted, rather than a strange, blobby, slant-wise version of it. This involved battling printing speeds, different temperatures, extrusion rates, and other things that I may or may not be making up. Eventually though, this is what he ended up with:
Pete's 3D printer waves its magic wand and creates something out of (almost) nothing

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Lores of Magic: The Lore of Hashut

By now I would imagine that most of you would have come into contact with the Tamurkhan: The Throne of Chaos book. For anyone who has not, it contains a lot of story and rules for many of the weird Chaos monsters that Forgeworld are well known for. It also includes a full, stand-alone Chaos Dwarf army list called the Legion of Azgorh.

Chaos Dwarf sorcerers can use the Lores of Fire, Metal and Death. The lord-level Sorcerer-Prophets have another option, however. They can use the Lore of Hashut, which is included with the army list. Many people probably only have a vague idea of what this Lore does, so I thought it might be interesting to take a closer look.

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Adding a little more character

As part of my preparation for Book of Grudges, I had a small amount of painting to do. I knew I wouldn't have that much time to work on things (turns out the jet-lag got to me a bit too, which made things harder), so I planned my list to require fairly minimal effort. In the end I needed to paint 4 infantry characters - 2 Light Wizards, a Witch Hunter and a General of the Empire. However I had a few different plans for what I wanted to use for Light Wizards, and ended up painting an extra one whilst I was at it. This is how they all turned out. There are one or two small things I need to do to them - an extreme highlight on some gold and eyes for those that need them - but they're basically done.
My General of the Empire. I have realised that I probably need a lot more General/Captain models on foot for all my infantry units, so this guy is the first step toward that.

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Book of Grudges 2012 Aftermath - Day 2

This is the second and final part of my report for Book of Grudges 2012. You can find part 1 here.

So day 1 had gone remarkably well, and I arrived at the start of day 2 prepared to duke it out for the lead with the current frontrunner, Aaron Graham. However, someone else had other plans. Enter: Hieu Lam!
Dazzled by Hieu's charismatic posing, I was unable to take a steady photo...

Round 4: Battle for the Pass

Hieu Lam - Skaven

Warlord - Fellblade, shield
Grey Seer - Talisman of Preservation
Warlord (General) - 5+ ward save 
Chieftain - Battle Standard, Shrieking Blade, Dragonhelm, 5+ ward
Warlock Engineer - Doomrocket
Warlock Engineer (Level 1) - Dispel Scroll
30 Slaves - musician
30 Slaves - musician
28 Clanrats - full command
30 Stormvermin - full command, Storm Banner, Warpfire Thrower
7 Gutter Runners - poison, slings
10 Rat Ogres
Warp Lightning Cannon 
Hellpit Abomination

Comp score: 3 (I think)

Hieu grudged me in last year's Book of Grudges and the game ended up pretty one-sided when his Skaven lined up 12" away from my army and got rolled by my all-cavalry Empire. Having decided he hated me forever as a result of this (I think he told me a few times during the game), I was somewhat surprised when he figured he'd have another go at me, this time halfway through the tournament...
The table for round 4 looked something like this, with me on the left and Hieu on the right.  We were separated by the 2 central columns on the grid.
The scenario was Battle for the Pass, so we would be playing lengthways down the table. The terrain looked something like the rough map above. I deployed on the left, and Hieu's Skaven were on the right. I put my Demigryphs at the bottom of the line, then had the main Halberdier block, the detachment, and the Steam Tank in the forest. The Volley Gun deployed just off the hill behind the Demigryphs, whilst the Cannon was on the hill behind the Crossbowmen and wizards.

Hieu deployed his Stormvermin on the bottom of the line, led by his crazy Fellblade-wielding nutter of a Warlord and the BSB. Next to them was a Slave regiment with both Warlocks in the unit. Behind them was the Warp Lightning Cannon. Next to the Slaves (and off the hill, I think) was the large Rat Ogre unit, 3 models wide. Next to them was the Hellpit Abomination, sitting a bit back from the line of deployment. The other Slave unit led by the Grey Seer sat behind the forest, and next to them was the Clanrat unit with the Warlord who was leading the army. The Gutter Runners scouted behind my lines, just over 12" away from the Cannon, near the ruined building.
The Empire battle line.

Monday, 10 September 2012

Book of Grudges 2012 Aftermath - Day 1

Well it's Monday morning (actually, Tuesday by the time I am posting this) and I am starting to recover from another weekend of gaming. Book of Grudges was run at the usual Hampton club venue, and managed to attract some 54 players, which makes it the largest Warhammer tournament in Victoria for a couple of years.

BoG is not your average tournament - it is all about the grudging. For the uninitiated, grudge matches are really just a case of one player challenging another, and this taking the place of what would otherwise be a random or seeded match. Many tournaments allow grudges in the first round, so people can line each other up before the event and duke it out rather than playing a random opponent (before the swiss chess system has kicked in). BoG goes further, allowing players to grudge each other for the first 2 rounds, with everyone else playing random opponents. Even after this, at the start of each round, anyone sitting in a position that is a multiple of 5 (so 5th, 10, 15th, etc) can issue grudges throughout the tournament up until the final round, where people finally have to play people at their own level. 

The upshot of this is that results can be rather odd in BoG. Normally players and armies find their own level before the end of the event, but with so many interruptions and potentially uneven match-ups, it's possible for a player to get through until the very last round before actually having to play someone on a similar score. So long as you embrace the event it's really not a problem, but BoG is definitely an unusual beast prone to throwing up some surprising results.
My 2400pt Empire army for Book of Grudges 2012

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Lores of Magic: The Lore of Nehekhara

Two posts in one day?? Well, I promised some time ago to review this Lore, so it's now well overdue. Let's have a look and see what the Lore of Nehekhara has to offer...

In the previous army book, Tomb King magic used to be the defining characteristic of the army. It behaved differently from other Lores of Magic and could be largely unstoppable if the player built his army right. It allowed Tomb King units to charge with impunity in the magic phase, and completely changed the dynamic of the game. Those times are past, however. The new book contains a Lore that is more in keeping with the game as a whole, and most notably it does away with the magic charges (which are now all but extinct in 8th edition).

What does it do?

The Lore Attribute of the Lore of Nehekhara is The Restless Dead. Units affected by augment spells from the Lore immediately regain D3+1 lost wounds, in addition to whatever effect the spell has. The Restless Dead is now the only way for Tomb King units to regain lost wounds or models. This is both a good and a bad thing. The upside is that you no longer need to dedicate some of your magic specifically to raising stuff back, as it happens anyway as a side-effect of your other spells. In effect you get two spells for the price of one. There is no one spell that your opponent can plan to block in order to prevent your raising - so long as you still have an augment spell remaining, you still have a chance to raise.

The downside to the raising being restricted to the Lore Attribute is that there is no way for you to make a concerted effort to save an endangered unit. No matter whether the spell is boosted or not, the affected units will only ever regain D3+1 wounds. The other downsides are the limitations I have not yet mentioned. Animated Constructs may only ever regain a single wound per phase from The Restless Dead - regardless of how many augment spells may be flung their way. This is a very harsh limitation, and means that choices like Ushabti are slightly less appealing. One wound per turn will never compensate for a concerted amount of punishment from the enemy. Furthermore, characters and their mounts will never regain wounds from this spell. So you can't heal Tomb King characters. This is a significant disadvantage compared to Vampire Counts (the other life-challenged army out there), who are still able to prop up their characters.

Preparing for Book of Grudges

Another weekend, another tournament. Only a week and a half after we flew back into the country, Book of Grudges is on. I really enjoyed the event last year (the first year it was run), so I was delighted when I heard that I would be able to make it this time around - I was kind of assuming it would occur whilst I was overseas. This year it's being held at the regular HGC venue, after Realm of Legends shifted stores and no longer had the room required. So it's nice and local for me, so there were really no excuses.

Unfortunately army lists were due whilst we were still travelling, and I found it difficult to find the time to really give my army much thought. I knew that I wanted something different from what I was using at the ETC - specifically, I wanted to include some infantry. Unfortunately I knew I wouldn't have much time for painting before the tournament, so I couldn't do anything too interesting. I tried making a couple of lists, but in the end this was what I settled for.

Book of Grudges Empire army list

General of the Empire
     General; Full Plate Armor
     Talisman of Preservation
     Crown of Command
     Enchanted Shield
     Shrieking Blade

Captain of the Empire on Pegasus
     Full Plate Armor; Shield; Battle Standard
     Talisman of Endurance
     Biting Blade

Wizard Lord of the Light Order
     Magic Level 4; Lore of Light
     White Cloak of Ulric
     Dispel Scroll

Battle Wizard of the Light Order
     Magic Level 1; Lore of Light

Warrior Priest
     Great Weapon, Armour of Meteoric Iron

Witch Hunter
     Brace of Pistols; Light Armour

Master Engineer

50 Halberdiers
     Halberd; Light Armour; Standard; Musician; Sergeant

     Detachment of 25 Halberdiers
          Halberd; Light Armour

17 Crossbowmen

5 Demigryph Knights
     Barding; Lance; Shield; Standard; Musician

Great Cannon

Helblaster Volley Gun

Steam Tank

Sunday, 2 September 2012

The ETC - Day 3

This post covers the third and final day of my experiences at the ETC 2012, in Gorzow Wielkopolski. You can read about day 1 and day 2 from my previous posts.

And finally we get to day 3. My last chance to improve my personal tally, and maybe even get a win under my belt. Better late than never (although at this point, "never" was still a distinct possibility)...

Once again, in my wife's absence I failed pretty abysmally to remember to take photos, but I've included what I got.

Round 5: Team Russia

Aleksandr Patutkin, Empire 

Arch Lector on War Altar: general, heavy armor, Warriors Bane, Enchanted Shield, Talisman of Preservation
Wizard Lord: lvl 4, beasts, Fencer Blades, White Cloak of Ulric, Ironcurse Icon
Battle Wizard: lvl 1, beasts, Dispel Scroll
Captain of the Empire on Barded Warhorse: BSB, full plate armor, great weapon, Dragonhelm, Crown of Command, Luckstone 
11 Knights of the Inner Circle: FCG, lance, shield 
39 Halberdiers*: FCG 
*Detachment: 5 Archer 
Great Cannon 
Great Cannon 
27 Flagellants: Prophet of Doom 
Luminark of Hysh 
Steam Tank

My score for this army: Unfavourable

We started day 3 with a match against Team Russia, who had managed to place third in the previous year's ETC. Presumably they were not doing so well this time around if they were down playing us after 4 rounds. The players sported wonderful fluffy Russian hats, so were of course to be envied for that if nothing else...
Team Russia deliberate during the pairings