Enter the clowns!

Harlequins

I mentioned last year that I’d built some Harlequins, and have finally decided to do something with them, thanks in part to the announcement that they’ll soon be getting a Codex! I’ve had some kits hanging about for an age, as I’d initially thought about adding in some of these chaps to my Dark Eldar force when I was originally building it, but haven’t really done much of anything. Well, until now! So let’s catch up with what I’m up to at the minute…

The idea I’m having is to slip them into the 2000-point list that I set out back in this post, shuffling about some of the Wych Cult portion of the list to accommodate a small Patrol detachment. So I’m getting fewer command points for this build, but I think it might be worth it to start experimenting with the Murder Clowns, and see how they play etc…

I’ve not given a tremendous amount of thought to the actual viability of having these guys join the fray, it’s more about seeing what they can do. The Troupe build is basically from the original six clowns that I built for Shadow War, so hasn’t really been thought of in terms of 8th Edition. I’ve added in a Starweaver for transport, and the good thing about building it that way is you get an additional miniature in the shape of the Voidweaver gunner, so I’ve built him as a separate Troupe Master to avoid having to use one of the regular Players. Finally, I’ve added in a Shadowseer, because I have pretty much never played in the Psychic Phase, and wanted to see what all the fun was about. Adding in a second HQ allowed me to bring the list to 2000 points, exactly, rather than using the leftover points to add more Wyches or else buy a Skyweaver kit. So I need to get myself a Shadowseer, then I can look at actually painting these minis up!

Something that I do like about the Harlequins is the fact they seem to encourage a loud colour scheme, so while I’d started to do muted purples/blues/greens, I’m thinking about making them a lot more, well, loud and vibrant. I’m going to try to resist the pink and orange that popped in my head earlier this weekend, for now anyway…

I’m probably going to revert back to my initial 2000 point Drukhari build once the Harlequin codex comes out, and I can think about a bigger build (or leaving them off, altogether), so it doesn’t replace my thoughts there…

Building a Tau army: Support Systems

So, one of the things I wanted to achieve with this post was to share the fruits of my labours in researching what all of the various bits and bobs are that you find in the various Tau kits. Having spent many a long and drawn-out hour trying to discover what part represents a certain support system, for example, I thought I’d try to pull all of that together here, both for my own future reference, and also in the hope that it might help any budding Commander out there!

Speaking of which, let’s start with the Commander kit, which has all manner of bits that you can use to kit out not only the warlord for your army, but also any Crisis Suits that you want to field, and even some of the bigger stuff like Ghostkeels and Broadsides. It’s definitely worth getting hold of at least one Commander, not least because he’s actually a really awesome model, but because of this cross-pollenation that you can have.

Tau support systems 1

As far as the support systems go, however, we get three of them in this kit, along with an older piece that is still around, just no longer classed as a support system. From left to right, then, we’ve got the Shield Generator, the Target Lock, the Velocity Tracker, and Positional Relay. That last is now a 2CP stratagem. These bits are numbered 66, 48, 50 & 51, and 49.

The Crisis Suit set is another of these amazing bits box kits that has almost everything you could want to kit out all manner of battlesuits with cool stuff. The price is, of course, a bit silly, but fortunately Tau have one of the most useful Start Collecting boxes in so far as, for an extra fiver, you get a 10-man troop choice, and an HQ choice. Why Crisis Suits are on sale for £45 when they’re also in the Start Collecting box for £50 is beyond me, but there we go! As there are three of them in the box, you get almost everything in triplicate, though the support systems are more of a general mix. You do get three Shield Generators, and two Target Locks (part 74 on the sprue), along with this small array of other interesting stuff:

Tau support systems 2

From left to right again, we have a Counterfire Defence System, an Early Warning Override, and a Multi Tracker. The Multi Tracker is a single part (73), whereas the other two are made up of the stalk-piece, and the face-piece. There are two stalks (part 75), and the pieces to make one Early Warning Override (part 76), one Counterfire Defence System (part 77), or one Velocity Tracker (part 78, not pictured).

We’ve now seen six of the eight support systems, so where are the other two?

The Ghostkeel is up next, which has a couple more bits and bobs that are useful for keeping hold of! (Of course, you should never actually get rid of any bits once you’ve built a kit, but that’s a whole other story…)

In addition to having parts for an Early Warning Override (parts 72 & 73 on the sprue), the Ghostkeel is one of only two miniatures in the plastic Tau range that has the Drone Controller bit, which is the little bulb-and-antenna you can see on its left arm in the picture above. The other kit is the Stealth Suits, which you can just about make out on top of this chap:

Which leaves us with the final piece of support system tech, the Advanced Targeting System. Well, that doesn’t actually have a bit for it in the range, and while I’ve seen some people use leftover XV8 heads with an antenna glued on, others will argue that it’s more software than hardware anyway, so would be hardwired into the suit itself. For those of us who like to go for a little more modelling fun, though, I suppose you could use anything with antennae stuck onto it to make it look the part!

So there you have it, the list of Tau Support Systems that are on offer from the plastic range. It’s worth pointing out that you can also get these bits in the Broadside and Riptide kits, and while I don’t have one personally, I think the Stormsurge also has a couple of things in there.

My first game with Tau

Hey everybody!
It’s time once more for a games day blog! Well, it has been some time. I wanted to talk about my experiences with playing Tau for the first time a couple of weeks ago, and my thoughts on both building the models and building my army. So I’m going to ramble for a bit about Tau – sit back, and enjoy!

My 1000-point list was, I think you’ll agree, slightly odd-looking. Well, that’s because I don’t know what I’m doing with Tau, and the list was built very much along the lines of, let’s throw some stuff together and see what happens. I was playing with Bork’an Sept rules, adding 6 extra inches to rapid fire and heavy weapons, with the Seeker of Perfection warlord trait, which adds 1 to the wound roll for each hit of 6+. Finally, I was using the Puretide Engram Neurochip relic to gain a command point on a d6 roll of 6 when an opponent uses a stratagem. Nice!

I have to be honest, though – I’m not sure how I did in that game! I think I managed to get the hang of certain things, and I could definitely see how the army wants to play after a couple of rounds, but I don’t really know if I won or lost. I was playing my usual opponent Robin, though this time he was playing Inquisition rather than Orks, which was a turn up for the books!

We played Burn & Pillage from the Open War cards, and the Twist we drew was Double or Nothing, drawing two extra cards: Acid Rain (yay) and Meeting Battle, which divides the armies into three (each), and one of these chunks is brought on each round. That was useful as it allowed me to bring on my army in small doses and get used to it that way.

The game went fairly okay, I think. I’d set up in the middle, and brought on the Pathfinders and Pirhana first. The Pirhana was quite useful as a melee tool, something I didn’t think I’d do with Tau. The Pathfinders probably could have been used better, but I suppose I was just getting used to them! I then brought on the Breachers, the Ethereal and the Devilfish (which had the Strike Team inside – not the Breachers! Whoops!) For the third deployment, I brought on my Commander and the Crisis Suits.

I think my main take-away from the game was that Marker Drones are very useful, but the Pathfinders are a much cheaper source of Markerlights, so I should use them to light up the field each turn, rather than worrying about saving their pulse carbine shots instead. I couldn’t quite get my head round to the idea that the bodies should be doing something useful, while the drones should be left to paint targets on everything. That clearly isn’t the way to go!

I like the idea of a gun-line, but I was a bit all over the place during this game due to the nature of the Open War cards. I think for my next game with them, I’d like to deploy as an actual gunline, and use some Fireblade support to get an extra shot off. Indeed, I want to look heavily into supporting the idea of a Tau gunline force, and have been tinkering a great deal with my list over the last few weeks.

The Coldstar Commander is something of an all-star, really, though I feel like I used him badly. The ability to advance 40″ across the field is actually really good, but I wasn’t making nearly as much of it as I should have been. He’s modelled with a Target Lock, as well, so there’s no excuse not to be dashing about and firing that high-output burst cannon all over the place. Definitely one to use again in the future, that!

The Crisis Suits are an iconic part of the army, for me, and I really want them there at the centre of all things. However, I once again did barely anything with them – I think the accompanying drones did more damage than these guys when it came to the battle! I think the fact they were the single most-expensive unit in the army made me a little over-cautious, and I ended up doing very little with them. So I think I need to re-evaluate my options for the future, there!

Overall, though, while people have been saying the codex isn’t as good as that of Necrons or Drukhari, I’m not that familiar yet with the army to feel that it is particularly bad. But I can say that my list was a bit too all over the place for comfort, and I’ve been weighing up a few options for alternative (and bigger) builds for the future. At the minute, then, this is what I’m looking down the barrel of:

I’m currently thinking a lot about playing larger-scale games, as I haven’t really explored anywhere above the 1000-point level in 8th Edition yet. So I’m going to be building towards 2000-points, but wanted to get there slowly. I’ve got most of this list actually built up anyway, and have recently picked up some more Crisis Suits in a second Start Collecting box so that I can really round things out. While I haven’t organised it as such in the above list, I have three detachments within this list, granting me a total 8 command points to use throughout the game – a very small Battalion, a fairly small Outrider, and the real meat of the force contained within the Vanguard, which itself covers more than half the total points.

I like this list because it feels like it puts the battlesuits at the centre of things, rather than the troops. The Pathfinders are there for Markerlights, mainly, though as there is the potential for redundancy here, especially since there are also six Marker Drones in the list, having the pulse carbines will be useful as well. The thought is that the Warriors will form a gunline, with the Fireblades peppered among them alongside the Pulse Accelerator Drones, which will fly off at the start of the battle to aid the pulse rifles of the Fire Warriors.

While I’m on the topic, I really like building Tau armies that use Fireblades as a cheap utility HQ, freeing up another HQ slot for a fancy Commander that can go off and do his own thing.

I freely admit that I may have been seduced into including the Broadside simply because he looks amazing. The heavy rail rifle reminds me of a longer-ranged dark lance, and I so often whiff on the damage rolls and end up getting just one point of damage that I’m invariably wary of such things now. However, the Bork’an Sept Stratagem does allow for a re-roll on random damage like this, so I suppose that will be useful!

The Ghostkeel, so far as I’m concerned, is a bit of a distraction carnifex, and I’m not particularly fussed as to what happens to it. 200 points is an expensive distraction, for sure, but it is a very pretty model, so I’m sure it’ll draw a lot of attention. Keeping the drones around will give any shooting attacks -2 to hit, so it could very possibly just walk (fly?) up the table and threaten virtually anything, firing six shots from the Cyclic Ion Raker from 30 inches away, and the Target Lock will allow for it to keep moving and firing that heavy weapon with no penalty. Add in another two shots from the fusion blasters, and it should take a lot of the heat off the other stuff I’m bringing!

I feel like I’ve been on a bit of a pendulum swing for 8th Edition so far, from building armies without a tremendous amount of thought for the CPs, to agonising over how I can get that third Battalion in there for the additional points. I think the Drukhari codex has seen the apex of the CP struggle, and I’m now getting a lot more conservative again – or, I should say, I’m back to building the kind of armies that I want to build, and not adding in an entire Spearhead detachment just because I want to add in a single Broadside. Anyway!

8 command points should be a fine number, especially if I’m sticking with the Puretide Engram Neurochip. There aren’t a tremendous amount of stratagems that I find myself wanting to use, after all. While in my first game, I didn’t use a lot of them because I was concentrating on getting the units to do what they’re supposed to do, I think on the whole there are some fairly underwhelming stratagems contained within the book, which I guess might be where a lot of folks are coming from with thinking it underpowered. There are a small handful of stratagems that I can see myself using, such as Repulsor Impact Field or Uplinked Markerlight, but on the whole I find them really quite situational, and also very specific as to the units they affect.

Maybe having underpowered stratagems is a way of balancing some of the tremendous firepower that the Tau can bring to bear in a battle.

At any rate, those are my rambling thoughts after my first game with the Tau!

Catching up with Marvel Star Wars comics

It’s been a while since I last caught up with the Star Wars comics – almost a year, in fact! If you read that linked blog, then you might know the reason for this delay – I’ve been so unimpressed with the ongoing series and its overall lack of meaningful content to the Saga, that I’d effectively given up. Sure, I’ve still been collecting these things monthly, but I just couldn’t bring myself to want to read anything more. However, after feeling a bit at a loss for reading material, and realising just how many comics I have to catch up on, I’ve made a return to the new canon, starting with the Darth Vader series…

When we last caught up with the Dark Lord, it was in the crossover event Vader Down. Almost worryingly, it’s been two years since I read these earlier comics! Just where does the time go?! Anyway. After those events, which saw Doctor Aphra captured by the Rebels and Vader assigned Inspector Thanoth as a liaison with Tagge, Vader is dispatched to the mining world Shu-Torun to resolve some industrial difficulties. Seems a bit weird, sending Vader for such a thing, but then we get a lot of this sort of thing, where the premise is never what it seems, or is merely a backdrop to a wider storyline. The mining conflict on the planet, where several ore barons have rebelled against the Empire’s demand for nigh-impossible quotas, almost becomes a backdrop to seeing Vader in conflict with Doctor Cylo from the earlier issues in the series. I thought it was interesting at first how he seems to be working much better with the various adepts Cylo has created, though that soon dissolves as the twins Morit and Aiolin try to defeat him, and end up seemingly killing each other instead.

The book ends with Thanoth sending a message to Vader, letting him know Aphra has been discovered. While the storyline itself was very much a throwaway one to my mind, it does feel like we might be returning to the wheels-within-wheels that characterised the second arc and Vader Down, which can only be a good thing!

End of Games is the final storyline in the Vader ongoing series, and brings all of the various plot threads nicely together. Vader concludes his vengeance against Cylo, who we learn was responsible for creating the suit that keeps the Dark Lord alive. Cylo almost shuts Vader down, but through the Force, everybody’s favourite bad guy manages to win the day. Triple Zero and Beetee, having recovered Doctor Aphra after her escape from the Rebels, bring her to the Executor, where she basically tells the Emperor everything that Vader has been up to in a bid to win his protection. Far from being annoyed at his apprentice, however, Palpatine applauds Vader’s cunning, and in turn, Vader pushes Aphra out of an airlock. Does she survive? Well, the Aphra ongoing series would be kinda redundant if she didn’t, now, wouldn’t it? Though I think it’s nice that that series was initially untitled in the solicitations in order to keep the suspense.

End of Games is quite a huge finale to the series, and I think it certainly rounds everything off really nicely – while I have found them a little uneven at times, I think overall the Vader series has been really very good – and the art has been just incredible!

I wish I could say I enjoy the Star Wars ongoing series, however! Yoda’s Secret War kinda picks up after Vader Down, in that we start off with Threepio being held by the Empire and boring them all with his incessant jabbering about nothing. Luke is, understandably, distraught at one of his friends being held captive, and decides to just head straight off to rescue him. Along the way, he once more turns to the journal of Obi-Wan, and reads about one of Yoda’s escapades on a world where all the kids are at war, and the adults have retreated inside a mountain that happens to be alive.

Look, this story is very weird, and I think the overall point of it is something to do with not judging things on their first appearance, or something. You know, because Obi-Wan left the journal more to help instruct Luke in the ways of the Force than as a series of bedtime stories about the days of yore. I must say, though, while the ongoing series has just been a letdown for me so far, the Obi-Wan journals have been particularly disappointing, as I don’t feel they really add anything to the story, such as that is.

I think this is becoming a serious issue for me now, that Marvel’s Star Wars comics have consistently failed to provide any kind of proper, cohesive narrative beyond a need to fill another slot in the solicitations every month. We’re not getting anything that is actually important to the storyline, and it’s just driving me nuts wading through these books in the hope that maybe, just maybe, there may be something worth reading. Dark Horse tried to forge a kind of ongoing series in their Empire comic that told significant storylines such as the Grand Moff Trachta plot against the Emperor, or the very human drama of Luke’s reunion with Tank, to say nothing of the Darklighter story arc. And while that series did have odd patches that didn’t feel like they were really more than just throwaway stories, overall the series felt like it was a meaningful part of the Star Wars canon. Seriously, Darklighter is an incredible piece of storytelling, and I can recommend it to anyone. So far, Marvel has just failed to deliver on anything that is anywhere near the same level, and I’m wondering if it’s even worth carrying on with these books now. When you compare something like The Wrong Side of the War to Last Flight of the Harbinger, I’m frankly disgusted the Story Group has let it pass! But I’ve ranted about this before, after all…

That’s a lot of emotive language, for sure, but I just can’t get past the fact that these new stories we’re getting are just meaningless in the wider scope of the Star Wars lore, and I’m just tired of having throwaway story after throwaway story. We need something better, damn it!

After the Vader series had finished, Doctor Aphra clearly made it out alive as she gets her own ongoing series, which is kinda nice to think that a completely new, non-movie character gets this treatment. I’d found her a somewhat difficult character to get my head around, as it’s almost like Han Solo teams up with Darth Vader, it just felt so unlikely, somehow. But through his ongoing series, we learn that Vader really just sees her as a means to an end, in building up his own powerbase away from the Emperor. In a lot of ways, then, it’s a continuation of Vader’s association with the galactic underbelly that had been seen back with the bounty hunters in Empire.

Aphra, the first arc in the series, picks up after End of Games as we follow the doctor on a quest to restore her doctorate credentials after her estranged father has called them into question. He persuades her to help him on a quest to uncover the existence of the Ordu Aspectu sect of the Jedi from thousands of years past. The adventure takes them to Yavin IV, where the Imperials are still sifting through the Rebel base under the command of Captain Tolvan, an interesting new Imperial character who I’m hoping becomes more of a feature, as we really need anchor points in these comics, and this would be a great way to do that!

Aphra and her father eventually find the ruins of the Ordu Aspectu citadel, confirming their existence, but find more than they’d bargained for in the survival of one of the leaders, Rur, in a crystal (that, for some reason, is never referred to as a holocron, but I get the impression it basically is that).

The first arc is heavily influenced by Indiana Jones, from the estranged father, to the double cross at the beginning, right to the ending where the Rur crystal is deposited in a warehouse for safe keeping not unlike the lost Ark. Somehow, though, it doesn’t overly detract from the story, and it was nice to return to Yavin and see what’s up there, so I have high hopes for this series!

This blog is kinda getting long now – not helped by my rambling rant earlier! – so I’ll end it here with the second crossover event, The Screaming Citadel.

Much like Vader Down, we get a standalone issue that introduces the series, followed by alternate books from the ongoing series and its new partner, the Doctor Aphra ongoing series. Aphra teams up with Luke in an attempt to open the Rur crystal, which obviously she didn’t really deposit in that warehouse at the end of her own series. It’s interesting to see Luke quite desperate to follow the Jedi path that Obi-Wan firmly placed him on, but the fact he seemingly never gets very far is a little dull now. I know we can’t have Luke very Jedi-like before Empire, but I think if that must be the case, then they should stop doing these things and instead focus on making him the war hero that he seems to be when we see him as the leader of Rogue Squadron.

Anyway! Aphra and Luke head to Ktath’atn, whose Queen famously grants favours once a year, provided they’re interesting. It turns out the Queen is something of a vampire, and longs to feed on Jedi. Learning of what’s happened, Leia, Han and Sana all head off after them, where we learn that Sana and Aphra have had some kind of relationship in the past. Hm. After some attempts to implant parasites in Luke and Han (who actually does end up infected), the Queen is defeated and Aphra makes it out with her activated Rur crystal. The storyline ends with the Queen’s body being discovered by relic hunters, and the parasite infection continuing…

While it wasn’t as interesting a storyline as Vader Down, it’s still nice to see the characters from the two series crossing over like this every so often. I’m even finding myself warming to Sana this time around, which is a turn-up for the books! The fact that Aphra is here confirmed as gay was an interesting touch, something that first cropped up towards the end of the Aphra storyline, with her attraction to Captain Tolvan. While it has previously felt like Disney has been forcing the issue that there are gay characters in the Star Wars universe now, I think there’s a very good case that Aphra, of all the new characters we’ve seen, needs her sexuality confirmed if they’re to continue playing up the Indiana Jones line.

I thought it was interesting that Triple Zero gives Leia almost a lesson in morality when he calls into question her use of Han and Luke as tools. We’ve previously seen Leia almost as the head of a spec-ops team, but we’ve not had a great deal out of her character-wise so far. It also fits entirely with her persona at this point in the movies, and really gels with how she is in Echo Base.

The story reminded me a lot of the Vector crossover event from Dark Horse, with its emphasis on parasite infestations and Jedi from the distant past. Whether that was intentional or not, who knows, but it is interesting to see potential antecedents for the stories like this.

I can’t talk about these comics without mentioning the artwork, either. This is more often evident in the crossover titles, where the respective teams handle their own issues, leading to two distinct art styles that can often be quite jarring. I much prefer the ongoing series art from Salvador Larroca, who is responsible for most of the Vader series as well – there is a beautiful realism to the art that reminds me of my favourite Star Wars artist Tsuneo Sanda, and I just adore it!

Anyway, there will be a lot of issues from the Star Wars ongoing series to catch up with next, so hopefully there will be something more interesting to read next time I write one of these blogs…!

Drukhari thoughts…

Hey everybody!
I’m still massively enjoying the new Drukhari codex at the minute, and have been excitedly planning out the list that I want to really concentrate on for the next while. After giving it some thought, I’ve decided to go in something of a different direction to my usual builds, thinking it might be good to break out of the established pattern and go for something new. So I thought I’d write up some of my thoughts for you all, along with presenting the list itself! Grab a cuppa, and let’s take a look!

So it’s a 2000-point list that is staying away from the Raiding Force idea of multiple patrol detachments, primarily because, after having given it some thought, I’ve decided against falling into that trap of The New and The Shiny. Sure, it’s nice that we get a really unique and flavourful rule like this, but I think it has an allure that is distracting from the main focus of what this army needs. I don’t believe we need to go for a whole mass of Command Points, as the army is going to work quite well with the basic stuff you get from a couple of Battalions. The list above will still net me ten CPs, only one off the list I presented at the weekend that was trying to go for all of that Raiding Force stuff. I do believe that we need to stick to a much more focused build when assembling a Drukhari army.

But that’s not to say that we can’t mix it up a bit and have some fun…

The Kabalite part of this that makes up the first Battalion is almost unchanged from the weekend’s list, merely juggling the Warriors about a little in order to make better use of having the Raiders now equipped with Splinter Racks. I don’t throw an awful lot of 6s, but I think the sheer weight of fire that the Raiders will be throwing out should allow for at least a couple of exploding dice here… I’m otherwise keeping things as they were, with the Court and Archons in a Venom, all three squads of Kabalites in Raiders, and a Ravager in the back to punch out some (hopefully!) decent firepower.

Dark Eldar Wyches

Where things get different, however, is that I’ve foregone the Coven builds of my usual lists in favour of Wych Cult stuff! I’ve said it before, I’ve not played a lot of Cult stuff to know what I’m doing or, well, anything, really, so this is going to be quite the learning curve. Let’s get down to some particulars.

I’m still taking Kabal of the Obsidian Rose, allowing me to gain those 6 extra inches on my weapons, which will hopefully allow me to keep things at bay while I move my Cult models into position, maybe allowing for some extra time to properly threat-assess the situation. For my Cult, I’m going with Cult of the Cursed Blade, which gives me +1 strength and ensures I only lose one model to failed morale tests. Cursed Blade also have the nice Concealed Booby Traps stratagem that dishes out mortal wounds to charging enemies. It’s a little situational, as it requires the Cursed Blade unit to be in terrain, but it’s so thematic that I just love it! They also have the relic that allows your Succubus to blow up, which is another wonderfully thematic idea!

Now, I’m actually thinking of not using the Alliance of Agony stratagem to dish out an additional Warlord Trait to a Succubus, as much as I do enjoy the Treacherous Deceiver trait. There are a lot of flying Wych Cult units in this list, and so I can see myself wanting to use Eviscerating Fly-by as often as possible; it only costs one CP, but I also think Hyperstimm Backlash is going to be another popular one for me, and so having these Wych Cult units in my force is opening up more doors!

I’m excited to use Hellions in a big way, as I’ve only used them once previously, and I don’t think I really did well with them. In particular, I think the hit and run ability should be something that is pretty much abused for all its worth, falling back to allow the unit tangled up with them to be shot at, then charging back into any survivors. I’ve had some success with Reavers in the past, although again, I think I’m not using them particularly well. For the moment, I’m not bothering with either cluster caltrops or a grav talon, although I have lots of the jetbikes modeled with both. I think I might be tweaking this list for some time once I get playing it, so there’s always more opportunity to add in specific bits. Each of those only costs 3 points, as well, so it’s not going to be exceptionally difficult to fiddle.

I’m most excited to be including Incubi, however! Now, it’s true, these aren’t the official Incubi models, but rather Wildwood Rangers that I’ve barely done any work to make them into Incubi. I’ve still got five more to build, though, so I’m thinking I might do a bit more to incorporate them into the Drukhari feel. At 160 points for ten, they are quite expensive, but then they’re a big blob of elite warriors, so it’s probably to be expected. I’m incorporating them into the Wych Cult side of the army simply because they too are melee-orientated, but as Blades for Hire, it doesn’t really matter where they go, I suppose.

As an aside, I’m also weighing up the option of swapping out the Incubi for Mandrakes – I’ve been giving it some vague thought, and I’m currently planning to convert up some Namarti Thralls once they’re released in a little under two weeks’ time, having not been entirely satisfied with my use of Sylvaneth Tree-Revenants. I think these blind chaps might prove to be very atmospheric, and I’m sure I can paint them to blend in to the rest of my force quite nicely! And both Mandrakes and Incubi weigh in at the same points cost for ten, so it’s easy to swap them around as required!

So there you have it, my current plans for my Dark Eldar / Drukhari army post-Codex. While I have the Kabalite side painted up and ready as it stands, I think I’m still quite a way off having the Wych Cult side ready. I know for sure I still have some “Incubi” to build, and likely some Wyches, too. At least I have a bit of a focus now, however, so I’m hoping that will help me to get moving with painting up some units ready to have some games!

Next week, I’ll be moving back to the Tau, and updating you all with my progress there – stay tuned!

The Ered Mithrin cycle

Hey everybody!
It’s been a while since I’ve done a game day blog, but it’s Tuesday, and there’s some really cool games news been announced, so I thought I’d write a little something talking about my favourite game, Lord of the Rings LCG!

The Wilds of Rhovanion was announced what feels like ages ago now (well it was four months back), and I was beginning to wonder just what the plan was for Lord of the Rings these days. Well, it looks like we’re still in for some wonderful content going forward, thanks to yesterday’s announcement of the eighth cycle for the game.

Journeying through Middle Earth on the eve of winter ticks a lot of boxes for me, make no mistake. Winter-themed fantasy is always a plus, and this particular quest is putting me in mind of the classic The Redhorn Gate, so I’m really chuffed!

The adventure pack seems to involve searching for a drake, to prevent any calamity falling the Haradrim tribe we’re trying to relocate. It sounds a bit odd, but I love it all the same – the focus is on something a lot more heroic, in many ways, without being all about the big boss fights. The weather is an important part of the quest, which I really like, as it’s something that has been talked about in years gone by in terms of adding weather cards to current quests to help mix things up. So that should be a nice addition!

As always, the art is beautiful, and we’ve got a real sense of LotR history here in getting Grimbeorn the Old as a hero! We last saw him in Conflict at the Carrock as an objective-ally card, so it’s really cool to get the big man as a hero to play in other scenarios now, as well! His ability is also really good, allowing him to attack back when he defends an attack. It’s always made sense to me that characters should be able to do both, as they’d be both defending and attacking as part of the same action, surely? Splitting these up has always really detracted from the game for me, but there we go.

I’m really happy to be seeing some more announcements for this game, and I’m looking forward to getting into the Wilderlands soon!

 

So much new goodness!

I mean, these Idoneth Deepkin miniatures look incredible. I was keen as all hell to get myself some Daughters of Khaine, but the incredible weirdness of these deep-sea elves has just got me, man!!

Namarti Thralls Idoneth Deepkin

They’re amazing!! I’d been planning to get some for either Wyches or Incubi for my Dark Eldar, but now I think I might just get some for their own sake! I am utterly captivated!

Alpharius

And finally, it’s the big daddy of the Alpha Legion himself! Absolutely no surprise whatsoever after the rumour engine from back in the day, but even so, it’s real nice to see the full model at last.

I am so looking forward to seeing the full model kits for the new Deepkin, and I think I may actually find myself getting Alpharius to head up my Alpha Legion

So much good stuff coming out of Games Workshop right now!!!

The Drukhari Codex

Hey everybody!
It’s time I shared some ramblings with you all about my first impressions of the new Drukhari Codex that came out this weekend, after taking delivery of it a couple of days early…

The excitement is still real, I must say!

I’ve talked about some of the initial thoughts I’ve had about the new rules back when the previews were coming out from the community site, but I must say, when confronted with a book full of the blighters, it does make army building somewhat convoluted to try and make the most of it all. There are, of course, three distinct traits within the book, for Kabal, Cult and Coven. There are ten distinct “chapter tactics” on offer, each with their attendant warlord traits and stratagems, and trying to get everything to work the way that you want can be something of a nightmare, to say the least.

One of the goofiest things that the new Codex gives us is the opportunity to gain a ridiculous amount of command points for fielding a ridiculous number of Patrol detachments – 1 HQ, 1 troop choice mandatory. The idea, of course, is to represent a number of different raiding parties joining together to invade realspace and get some slaves, and while part of me likes the idea of having a table full of troops to just spam, I’m not entirely sure it’s the way I want to build my army.

Of course, it hasn’t stopped me from going with a trio of Patrols in my debut list from the Codex! This build gives me 11 command points, and I’ve been toying with the thought of scrapping it to get a Brigade going on for 12. But the way that the Obsessions work, it’s going to be really difficult to get an interesting and diverse list running. Which is one of the interesting things with this book – it gives us so much choice, but what kind of choice is it, really? If you want to get the benefit of command points to use on the plethora of stratagems (and there are some really interesting ones across four pages of the book), you’re almost forced into using the Raiding Force rule and getting multiple patrols. Which I suppose is fine, if you don’t mind only having a maximum of two elites, fast attack, etc.

I’ve not given it a tremendous amount of thought yet, but I’m currently thinking it might do just as well to run two battalions, one for the kabal and one for the coven, either leaving the cult out of it totally, or perhaps using the outrider detachment for some reavers… Well, anyway!

Obviously, I’m going for Kabal of the Obsidian Rose, as it’s the colour scheme I’ve been using since I started this army last year. The archon I built as Aestra Khromys is now technically illegal, as Archons can no longer take phantasm grenade launchers, but never mind! It’s her I plan to have riding around in a Venom with her Court as part of the Battalion. Obsidian Rose gets to add 6″ range to all Assault, Heavy and Rapid Fire weapons, which is so very handy for Drukhari, who want to keep everybody at range after all!

For the Coven, I’m using Coven of Twelve, who gain +1 AP to all melee weapons. I’ve decided to go with the Alliance of Agony stratagem for a start, and give the Haemonculus from the spearhead detachment the Scarlet Epicurean warlord trait. I kind of want all of my haemonculi in melee, so giving him something that reduces damage dealt to him should be useful. The warlord of the actual army, Aestra up there, gets Deathly Perfectionist, which increases the damage dealt by her weapons. For the relic, well it’s nothing less than the Armour of Misery!

While I said earlier that there are a lot of stratagems in this book, but part of that is due to the amount of distinct flavours of Drukhari you can have. The actual number of stratagems that I feel I will definitely be using is surprisingly low, just 4, all of them costing just 1CP each. Which is another reason for wondering whether I need to straightjacket my build into the Raiding Force in order to gain all the additional points!

I’ve only scratched the surface of this book, it’s really blown me away with how immersive in Dark Eldar lore it goes. I’m not lamenting the loss of Trueborn or Archons with blasters, and will certainly not be delving back into the Index for those datasheets, as I think we have plenty of exciting material to be going along with right here. I’m eagerly awaiting my first game with the new Codex, after which I’m sure I’ll be coming back here with more practical thoughts on how it plays.

For now, though, suffice it to say that I’m super excited at the fact my main army finally has its book!!

Oh my goodness!

Well, this has arrived! I’ve been faffing about this afternoon with points costs and my new list, but prepare for some more in-depth thoughts on this book by the weekend!!

I’m so excited right now!!

Saying goodbye to the Index…

Hey everybody,
With less than a week until the Drukhari codex is here, I thought I’d take a look back at my time with the Index during 8th edition, and have a sort of general ramble about what I like about the army. Without a doubt, Drukhari are my favourite 40k army to play, from that very first game against Blood Angels, even through playing against a horde of Orks. They’re just fun. Necrons will always be my first love, of course, but Drukhari are my favourite!

The overwhelming thing that I like most about the Drukhari has got to be the variety of flavours you get when you pick this force. Natively, you get three very distinct factions within the overall army: Kabals, Wych Cults, and Haemonculus Covens, which service your need for speed and bullets, up-close murder, and genetic experimentation, respectively. In addition, there are various strands of mercenaries available, such as Scourges and Incubi. Due to the way keywords work in 8th, however, we also share the Aeldari keyword with Craftworlds and Harlequins, allowing for a blend of different stuff in the same list, as well as Ynnari being a similar, though more stringent mix of the same.

I’ve only ever been tempted by Harlequins, as they seem to share some traits with their dark cousins. There’s something about the Craftworlds that puts me off, and Ynnari just feels far too cheesy to even start thinking about them. That said, plenty of people like to mix and match their detachments in order to plug holes that the Drukhari inherently have (mainly psyker support) and there’s nothing wrong with having your fun as you like it. For me, I tend to prefer to try and work around things like this within the scope of the force, relishing the handicaps as part of the theme. Throughout 8th edition, I’ve stuck quite closely to the same mix of Kabals and Covens, with varying degrees of Wych Cults peppered through. It’s done me quite well up to now, and is what I’m going to be rambling about here today!

My armies have always been Kabal-centric, as I started this journey with the Start Collecting box back in the day, but the core of Kabalite Warriors can provide a really cheap start for your force. My first squad of ten Warriors was armed pretty basic, just using a splinter pistol/agoniser for the Sybarite, and a splinter cannon for one of my dudes – and that comes to just 89 points for a ten-man squad. Of course, throwing in a Raider to move them about is where things tend to get expensive, but even so, Drukhari armies can tend to be full of people if you go for quite a bare-bones approach, allowing for ablative wounds aplenty.

Warriors with Dark Lances are something I’ve tended to shy away from. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve built some for the hell of it, but it makes me itch having a 20-point weapon on a 1 wound, 7-point model. I’ve always found it more expedient to mount dark lances on Raiders, to make them Assault weapons as opposed to Heavy weapons, and be done with.

Furthermore, 8th edition has seen a great need for weight of fire, and dark lances are Heavy 1. Splinter cannons, the other heavy weapon in the Warrior build, are Rapid Fire 3, giving you 6 shots when in rapid fire range, rather than 1 shot total. Sure, the dark lance feels like a proper heavy weapon, but I think the chance of whiffing with a dark lance is just too much for its cost.

Trueborn aren’t something I’ve taken often, though I do like the loadout of a five man squad in a Venom, with two splinter cannons and two blasters. Arming all four with blasters, and giving the Dracon a blast pistol, was quickly decided as “the best” strategy for these guys, and Blasterborn was quite the thing in the early days. I even built some myself, feeling the pressure get to me! But the rumours have pretty much confirmed that Kabalite Trueborn are no longer a thing, instead providing more upgrade options for basic Warriors. I find that interesting, as it was always a facet of the army that I quite enjoyed – while they don’t technically have a kit, I don’t really see it as that different to the fact that Lychguard are technically built out of the Triarch Praetorian kit; the only difference here is that the Kabalite Warriors box doesn’t tell you it can also be built as Trueborn. (The basic squad loadout for Trueborn is with splinter rifles, so I don’t see why they should be penalised for not including four blasters in there).

Vehicles are quite the necessary part of this army, and Raiders don’t really come too cheaply for the Warriors. The cheapest Raider is 115 points, and only has one weapon (though it is open-topped, so all ten of its occupants can also fire out of it during the shooting phase, so there is that…) The heavy support option is the Ravager, which I always enjoy the look of, but sadly have never had a great deal of luck with. A mobile gun platform that will set you back 155 points at its cheapest load-out, the greatest successes I’ve had with Ravagers have been using them as a distraction, which isn’t entirely what they should be used for! Three dark lances are not to be sniffed at, though I prefer the more expensive option of three disintegrator cannons, so that I can fire 9 shots rather than 3 – it does hike the cost up to 185, however…

For me, I think I’ll always be a fan of the Venom. It can only transport 5 models rather than 10, but I love the sleek little craft with their splinter cannons, zipping around the field and shrugging off a lot of fire due to their Flickerfields. A Venom with two splinter cannons is as expensive as a Raider before the weapons, however, but as a transport for my Archon and selected members of his Court, I do like it.

Speaking of the Archons, I’ve forever been unimpressed with this model, and indeed have often seen it as a tax for taking a battleforged army. The one time I had him do anything, he did kill an Ork warboss, so I suppose he’s not all bad, but mainly I tend to just forget about him and concentrate on the main event, the Warriors and other bits… The Court is something that I have rarely used, and can’t really offer too much of an opinion on. I only have the Lhamaean painted, and have included her more as ablative wounds for the Archon, should it ever come to that. I think I’d like to try and play the Archon more as a melee option, generally, and so surrounding him with a Court might be an interesting possibility. Stay tuned for that one, then!

Let’s move on to Wych Cults, though!

I’ve not really had a great deal of use for these, as I have been playing a lot of melee-heavy armies so far in 8th, and Wyches are just not a good option for that. For sure, they’re touted as the close combat specialists of the Drukhari, but they’re a unit that you want to use to tie up other units that don’t want to be in close combat with you. Necron Immortals, for example, are pretty useless in melee, and want to be out shooting you with tesla. Charge them with Wyches, and they’re pretty much taken out of the fight, no matter what else happens. Against a unit that also wants to be in melee, however, they’re really quite bad at T3.

This is, I suppose, where Combat Drugs come into the mix. Getting to choose your unit’s drug for the game is handy, for sure, but the basic Wyches could definitely use some ability that gives them more than one. But I digress. I’ve had better success with Reavers, giving them Adrenalight for three attacks each. The only problem, however, is that Reavers are massively over-costed for what they can do. At a base 90 points for a squad of three, you want to think carefully about upgrading them in any way, and unfortunately, my own squad of them runs to 120 due to adding in a heat lance and cluster caltrops. They are a much better option for getting into close combat, however, and despite their speed, that’s really where they want to be – I guess the speed is only there to get them into combat so much sooner!

All Wych Cult units want to be in melee to some degree, of course, but the Reavers and the Hellions are probably the two that are best placed to do so. Reavers have a lot of tricks that really point to what they want to do, and to some extent the same is true of Hellions. A base squad of Hellions is 95 points, but if you stick Adrenalight on them, you’re making twelve attacks on a five wound unit, rather than ten attacks on a six wound unit. Weight of fire would suggest the Hellions are the way to go, but people always seem intent on ignoring the skyboard-flying gangers! I’ve only used them once, but their Hit and Run rule, allowing them to fall back and charge in the same turn, is really something to bear in mind when using these guys.

The leader of these Cults is, of course, the Succubus, a model that I really like the look of, but have never found to be all that useful due to (a) not running Wych Cult-heavy lists, and (b) the fact she can’t really keep up with those Wych Cult units I do run, without buying her a Venom. At 72 points, she’s a little on the expensive side for an HQ that I don’t get a lot of use out of, so I tend to treat her quite carefully overall.

Finally, let’s take a look at the Covens!

These chaps are something I’d initially not expected to be adding to my army, as I wanted a Kabal/Cult list, but I quickly changed my mind when I built my first box of Wracks. This kit single-handedly convinced me that I needed some Coven action in my life, and I quickly added a number of the other Haemonculus units to my army. The two pain/parasite engines are beautiful, for all that they’re quite disgusting, and the whole look of these guys is just so alien and other-worldly, I love the effect of seeing them amid the regular Kabalite force as something of a freakish centrepiece!

Coven units want to be in close combat as well, though I feel they provide a much more well-rounded section to the list that they stand on their own much better. All Kabalites want to do is shoot; Wyches try to shoot and punch, but they end up lacking the firepower to do the former, while being too weak at the latter. Covens, on the other hand, have an interesting array of guns for Wracks, as well as the Talos that can act as something of a gun platform, while all the units are also really quite good in melee.

The Haemonculus is a really good choice of HQ, and can be customised to your tastes much better, it feels, than an Archon or Succubus. He is also the only answer to psykers in the entire army, bringing a Crucible of Malediction that allows him to dish out mortal wounds to nearby psykers once per battle. It’s not great, but it’s all we’ve got! As a side note, it’s a shame that the Cronos doesn’t have something similar, but there we are.

Wracks are the melee unit that don’t care if the enemy also wants to be in there with them. With both a Haemonculus and Cronos nearby, they have T5 and are re-rolling wounds in the fight phase, as well as healing lost wounds. It’s handy that both the Haemonculus and Cronos also don’t mind being in close combat, so that they don’t need to hang so far back…

I like fielding big units of Wracks, though it is worth noting that a unit of 10 costs 110 points before you start adding in their fancy guns. The ossefactor has often been thought of as the best, due to the range and mortal wounds it gives out, though I do like the Hexrifle for picking off characters. For 11 points, it has the potential to snipe characters for two wounds, though it is a Heavy weapon on a slow-moving unit, so there is that to consider.

The Talos is a great model to add some potent firepower to your Covens detachment, though he does tend to rack up those points really quickly. Unupgraded, he’s 126 points, but if you start giving him fancy stuff, he can get as high as 172 if you give him two heat lances and the twin liquifier gun. My own, preferred load-out has been for two haywire blasters, as I like the mortal wounds aspect (and I built him during 7th edition, when haywire was all the rage!)

Without a doubt, I’ve had some of the most fun games of 8th edition fielding a blend of Kabal and Coven, and so to close here, I thought I’d share my go-to army list with you all, with the Index points costs while we’re on the eve of the new Codex. I think I’ll revisit this once I have the book in hand, and will doubtless be rambling some more with my thoughts on building an army with the Codex!