Age of Sigmar, the return

Hey everybody!
After trying to resist for so long, I think I’m once more getting myself into the fantasy setting of Age of Sigmar, having very recently sold off pretty much all of my fantasy projects in order to focus solely on 40k. Oh, will I ever learn?! I’d been hooked in when the Beastmen previews were going up last month, that Herdstone looked just too good to pass up! So after collecting up a small force of goat-people, I’ve been doing a bit of research into the whole thing, and have recently really fallen into the Mortal Realms once again!

I suppose there’s just something that really speaks to me on a very blunt level when it comes to the fantasy miniatures from GW. Of course, plenty of the minis that were around back when I was getting into the whole thing have since left the range, as they bring out better and better sculpts. Several times, I’ve found myself thinking about getting a Slaanesh daemons army, and have come very close to both Daughters of Khaine and Idoneth Deepkin. My current love of Beastmen, however, has since been supplemented with a real fascination with the Nighthaunt range, and I’ve been busily building and painting a small force of these ghosts in order to try out the new edition.

These spectral guys are just fantastic, and while I have previously built up some of those spirit hosts and done precisely nothing with them, I think now is the time to really get into the swing of things with this army. I’m still definitely feeling that hobby goodness that comes from having a new project to enjoy, at any rate, so I’m excited to share some progress with you all here on this very blog!

But that isn’t to say that I’m abandoning 40k – far from it! I’ve recently been re-evaluating my whole gaming situation, and have tried to get rid of a lot of things that I own but no longer get any enjoyment from. Included in this, of course, have been several Warhammer kits for armies that I either already have a model saturation for, or else I have fancied building but have just never managed to get anywhere with them. Space Marines is a chief casualty there, as it happens. I do still want to get my small Novamarines force off the ground, of course, but I think I can get by without thousands of the blighters waiting in the wings…

Dark Eldar, Necrons and Tau will forever be a big part of my collections, but I have been dramatically thinning down everything else that has been hanging about.

Kill Team Expansions

Warhammer 40,000 Kill Team

Hey everybody!
So the Kill Team train has been going pretty much full speed since the game dropped over the summer, and in addition to the main box and the first major expansion, we’ve seen a whole ton of re-packaged models alongside this, comprising, to date, four waves of models. I’ve picked up a couple of these things now, so thought I’d come here today and ramble for a bit about my thoughts on the way Kill Team is moving so far.

Warhammer 40,000 Kill Team

As you can see, I’ve picked up some of these boxes that most fit along with existing armies that I have – I’m going to get the Necrons box at some point as well, for sure! I suppose I’ve been looking at KT almost in the opposite way to perhaps how GW wants me to look at it, and building teams out of existing armies that I own, rather than going for models that I’ve always wanted to paint just a couple of, and then sliding into a full-blown army. But I suppose I’ll get to that point a bit more shortly…

Warhammer 40,000 Kill Team

Each of these boxes includes a plastic infantry squad, a plastic terrain piece (or pieces), and the necessary rules bumph that allows you to use the plastic in your games. So in the above photo, we have a Drukhari infantry squad, which happens to be Wyches, alongside some Deathworld Forest terrain, and all of the tactics cards, squad cards, and tokens that we’d need to use these folks. There are also two mission cards included that make use of the terrain – notably, they tend to include a requirement for more terrain than comes in the box – and a little booklet that has some fluff and a few photos of the fully built and painted kill team.

Interestingly, the Drukhari kill team that they suggest you build – The Slicing Noose – is only 86 points in matched play. The T’au team is 94 points, and the Scions team 58 points. I find this interesting that the suggested teams don’t aim to maximise the 100-points available, though I suppose something like a five-man Scions team could never be very points-effective, given the costs of the units you can make with just one box of Scions. And it’s something that has been there since the core box, where the Ad Mech and Genestealer Cultist teams were not exactly points-efficient.

This brings me on to a minor tangent that I’ve mentioned before, of course,  but I’m still bemused to see mentioned around the internets. A lot of people seem to be genuinely baffled as to why GW are releasing the kill teams that they are – why not include more variety in the models? It’s been very clear since the core rules box came out that the “official” Kill Teams are comprised from single kits that are already available for 40k, so we won’t see a proper mix of units if you can’t make that unit from the whole kit supplied – I suppose in the case of the Necrons box, it got a bit confusing because there were Deathmarks and Immortals in the team. But enough of this rant!

Warhammer 40,000 Kill Team

The boxes are, I think, pretty decent in terms of value for money. At MSRP, you’re getting a five or ten-man squad, all of their rules, plus some terrain, for a lot less than it would cost to get these things separately. The above Tempestus Scions box costs £30, and you get roughly £51-worth of models (I say roughly, because the Munitorum Containers box contains three sprues of containers, while you only get two of them here). There is a lot of value to be had by getting these things, and I’m really excited to see these sorts of products being made.

There have been a few issues of course, notably the coloured plastic they use for the infantry feels somehow softer than the plastic of the regular kits, and the Scions in particular have some really terrible mould lines.

Warhammer 40,000 Kill Team

Re-packaged kits aren’t the only expansions to come for the game, of course – Rogue Trader landed last month while I was on honeymoon, and I managed to finally pick it up a couple of weeks ago. The set contains a whole load of new models – 33 of them, to be precise, along with some small-scale terrain that is mainly in the form of bulkhead doors and the odd treasure chest. I suppose the biggest thing about this is the fact that it happened at all, and brought the Rogue Trader, an iconic character class from the very earliest days of 40k, into the game with new models.

The expansion is pretty much what I think a lot of us were expecting from the off for Kill Team expansions, if I’m honest. The main rule book includes the rules for fielding regular troops that we can already purchase, whereas this box is full of all-new stuff that we’ve never seen before. I suppose I was hoping for something a bit like Shadespire, where we get new bands of miniatures that come with everything we need to play them – whereas we get everything we need to play with pre-existing sculpts. It’s a weird situation because, for the most part, we’re buying these expansion boxes in order to get the tactics cards and (perhaps) the scenarios to try. There are doubtless people who will benefit from these boxes who have not got the models either, for sure, but it does feel a bit weird when it comes to established players. I guess there’s an assumption that established players will be invested enough that buying five or ten more guys for an existing army is no big deal if they also want the tactics cards and scenarios. But I’m no business expert!

So are the tactics cards worth shelling out £37.50 for? Let’s take a look at the Drukhari box again. In the core book, there are four tactics available, which play into the theme of the army being lightning-fast, as well as being vicious reavers from outer space. The box gives us six more tactics that can be used by Drukhari teams in any warzone, and one that is specific to there being an Eldritch Ruin on the game board. More on this in a bit.

The six new tactics are a surprising bunch – two of them are specifically for Wyches (only one actually says it, Bloodied Grace, though there is the Hyperstimm tactic that affects any unit with the Combat Drugs ability – so, only Wyches). There are three more tactics that play into that lightning-fast theme of the force, and one that buffs Power from Pain, which both Wyches and Kabalite Warriors have access to. They’re a good mix, for sure, and they definitely give you some nice options that could potentially keep your guys alive, but I’m not sure if I would pay a premium to get them. Of course, the argument has already been made that you’re basically getting most of the terrain and all of the accompanying paper stuff for free when you buy these boxes, but that isn’t the only way we should be looking at these things, after all.

I think a lot of the Kill Team experience boils down to just that – the experience. We’ve seen GW selling us this sort of thing before when they have major new army releases, where we have to get the exclusive codex and the dice and all the fancy stuff. The fact that Kill Team comes with so much more gubbins than we’re used to in regular 40k is perhaps making this more obvious, as we have the faction-specific cards and tokens as well in these boxes. It’s in this respect, I think, that Kill Team comes very close to Shadespire, as we have the opportunity to make that sort of statement with our collections – we want to play Kill Team using our faction-specific cards and dice and tokens and all the rest of it, because we are that faction. It’s a really interesting way of selling these sorts of games, to me, because I am so often sucked-in to this whole experience! I’ve been collecting everything for Necromunda since day one, so have all of the gang-specific stuff even for those gangs I have no interest in playing! I just want that experience (and of course, I am a completionist).

Something I’ve talked about previously on my blog is the possibility that GW will do another round of these sort of repackaged kill team expansion boxes, where they give us more of our chosen faction’s options – for instance, I could totally see another Drukhari box with Kabalite Warriors, or T’au box with Pathfinders, and because I’m heavily-invested in both of these armies at this point, I would most likely buy them as well. It’s a really quite effective way they have of making money off something that basically already exists – that is, the miniatures. Not to discount the length of time that goes into designing a ruleset here, of course…

This post has been really long and quite rambling, so I’m going to draw it to a close now. Suffice it to say, I feel both excited about how much we’re seeing to support Kill Team, while at the same maintaining a decent cynicism about the whole repackaged theme that GW have got going on here. I really hope that we can see more unique products for Kill Team in the future, once the initial flurry of releases is over and each faction has had their kill team specific box. They don’t have to be particularly huge expansions like the Rogue Trader box, either, but just unique sculpts for existing bands of minis. Maybe that’s how we’ll eventually get new models such as new Chaos Space Marines, or plastic Flayed Ones. I’m really hopeful that Kill Team: Inquisitor will turn out to be a thing, and I would love to see similar styles of releases in the future, with specific warbands pitted against one another.

Kill Team Commanders

Before I do close this blog, however, I feel that I have to mention this bad boy. Up for pre-order this weekend, there’s a significant part of me that feels like this is getting a bit out of control. Gone is the idea of having a small team of five or ten models – games are now running to 200 points, and being led by such luminaries as a Genestealer Patriarch, or a Necron Overlord. What, now?! What happened to the small-scale skirmish?! I mean, for sure, it’s entirely plausible that kill teams can be led by these HQ choices – you can come up with all manner of fluff such as the big guy is out with his elite bodyguard cadre, or whatever, but as many people have already said, where is this going to end? Is the next thing going to be vehicles? Will I end up being able to bring an Annihilation Barge?

I’m a huge hypocrite, for I’ve already pre-ordered the book anyway, but there is a part of me that is just bemused by how this game line is progressing, cannibalising regular 40k as it goes…

New games!

Hey everybody!
I feel like it’s been a while since I really thought about playing board games and the like, though my recent foray into Middle Earth has gotten me thinking a lot more about the breadth of other games out there in the wild, so it was with no small amount of excitement that I read the news of the next deluxe expansion for the Arkham Horror LCG, The Circle Undone!

Arkham Horror LCG The Circle Undone

I haven’t played nearly as much of this game as I’d have liked by now – indeed, despite buying the expansions as they have come out, I’ve never yet made it beyond playing the core set! Since that time, of course, the deluxe expansions for this game have taken us all over the world, currently alighting in Mesoamerica, but it feels quite exciting to me that with this deluxe box the game will be returning to the city where it all began.

The box comes with a prologue scenario, where you play as specific characters and try to find out some clues that presumably help with the main scenarios of the box. This does sound pretty awesome, as I’m always a huge fan of alternative ways to play like this. Having a sort of prescriptive introduction sounds like it’s a narrative player’s dream, so I’m all for it!

I’m definitely feeling excited by this, and I’m thinking about breaking back into the game with a couple of the decks that I’ve had built for well over a year at this point. I mean, it would be a victory for me to just get to the Dunwich expansion, and see something new for the game!

Arkham Horror LCG

Arkham Horror is one of my all-time favourite games, for sure, and I really do love the board game version like an old friend. The card game has a completely different feel, for sure, but it’s not something that I don’t like – the reason why I’ve not gotten round to playing the game nearly as much as I feel I should is simply one of time. I’ve devoted so much of my time to Warhammer 40k over the past year, in addition to all of the real-life stuff that’s been going on, that I just haven’t had the time to sit down and enjoy a game as I once did.

It’s certainly a difficult game when playing solo (I tried to get my wife into it a few weeks back, but even though it’s a co-op game, it didn’t go down as well as Lord of the Rings or Elder Sign). I think this might be another reason why I’ve neglected it somewhat, but the fact that I was moving house and getting everything packed up during the first cycle has sort of put me back a little bit on getting into the game. I did recently take a look through all of the material that I have for the game, more in an attempt to try and organise it all, but I’ve still not yet played with any of the expansions – something that I really think it’s time that I changed!

You just know that any blog that I write cannot go without mention of Games Workshop! When Warhammer Underworlds first came out last autumn with Shadespire, I wasn’t particularly interested in it, as I was trying to focus more on 40k and wasn’t paying any attention to the fantasy stuff. As time went on, I did like seeing some of the models for these warbands, and I did go so far as to buy the Fyreslayers because I love the scenic bases in that kit, though I have since sold that on and stuff. However, the new season of the game, Nightvault, has brought out another slew of amazing-looking miniatures, particularly for the Nighthaunt range, and I’m now considering buying into it. One of my regular gaming buddies does actually have a set of Shadespire, so I’m thinking about giving it a go before I dive on in, but I have been particularly taken by the sculpts of these flying ghost-people, especially their leader, the Briar Queen.

The Nighthaunt range does look amazing, but I had been trying to resist the fantasy stuff during AoS2, and so hadn’t got anything for it. Now, however, I’m already building a Beasts of Chaos army, so I can see the slippery slope of getting back into fantasy is occurring, and I have been considering getting a few ghosts to try my hand at painting…

For now, I’m trying to keep my slide into AoS a slow one, so as not to overwhelm myself with too many models. I don’t really know what I’m doing with the game overall, yet, either – though that’ll be the subject for another blog, I think…

Soul Wars

Hey everybody!
So it’s probably escaped nobody’s notice that last week, Games Workshop announced the second edition of Warhammer: Age of Sigmar. I have to say, I really didn’t see that one coming, though I suppose I’ve been so focused on 40k for so long now, I’ve not really been paying much attention to anything going on in the Mortal Realms, so there is that…

I’ve only played AoS twice, back in 2016 I think it was, so I’m not really all that invested in the storyline or anything. But it seems that Nagash has grown tired of Sigmar stealing the souls he sees as rightly his in order to forge and re-forge his Stormcast Eternals, so the lord of the dead launches his grand offensive against the god-king of Azyr. Or something like that. It all sounds a bit like the End Times from back in the day, when the Nagash model first came out and wowed us all with its majesty!

Well, they’ve obviously built on that majesty, and created a whole range of stuff that looks simply fantastic. We’ve already had a lot of this stuff previewed back during Warhammer Fest, and I am still mightily impressed with it now as I was back then! I suppose I don’t really have the excuse to buy into the Fantasy world once again, having thrown so much of myself into 40k of late, but I think it’s going to be tough to resist such beautiful models for long!!

There is definitely something about Warhammer Fantasy that keeps drawing me back whenever I think I might have made an escape. I suppose, being the first contact I really had with Games Workshop, it will always hold that special place for me, and I think I’ll always have an interest in the world, even if I never get round to playing a game with these models.

At £95, I just can’t really justify spending the money on a box of awesomeness right now, even if it is so damn awesome. But who knows whether I’ll make it back to fighting in the Mortal Realms once more…?

Let’s pause for a minute…

Wow. Just, wow.

As you probably know, if you’ve been keeping up with my blog for any amount of time, I’m a big fan of Warhammer 40k, and really enjoy what’s been happening with all the new stuff right now. But I feel a bit like there’s almost too much coming at me right now, that I can barely keep up with it all and contain my excitement! Let’s recap, first of all.

Kill Team was announced at the GAMA Trade Show, as an updated version of the skirmish game, and I was extremely excited. I love the idea of small-scale games, and I’m really intrigued as to what they mean with making it a fully supported and distinct game system. Should be a lot of fun, not least because it will also be coming along with more terrain, which is always good!

Overall, very much looking forward to getting some of this in my life!

At the same time, we also had House Van Saar announced as the fourth gang coming out for Necromunda, and I was also incredibly excited by the look of these guys. I do love the biker aesthetic of House Orlock, as I’ve mentioned on this blog already, but there’s something about Van Saar that I can’t quite put my finger on. What I do know is, I’m going to be getting these chaps, too!

I think I’m pretty much dedicated to following Necromunda for all of the new gangs, as I’m just really in love with the feel and the look of them all. But yeah, there’s something I can’t quite put my finger on about this gang that is making me really intrigued to try them out.

So that’s another resounding success!

While they were also announced at GAMA, we had to wait until Adepticon this week for the reveal of the next faction for Age of Sigmar, the Idoneth Deepkin. And my goodness me, what a reveal it was!

This video, and stills from it, seemed to take over my facebook feed for 24 hours straight, it was quite amazing! While they’re not the Fishmen we’ve been waiting for all these years, the Deepkin take as their basis the Black Ark Corsairs subfaction of Dark Elves from the World-That-Was, and they really go to town with it! GW’s miniatures have improved so dramatically since the Corsairs were a thing, and it really shows with these guys.

I’ve not played Age of Sigmar since 2016, and I believe it’s come a long way since then. While I haven’t really kept up with it, there have been numerous things coming out that have really got me wanting to invest in the game system, not least of which the Daughters of Khaine release that came out recently. I think the new-style fantasy miniatures from GW are just stunning, and while it is a subjective thing, I do think that anyone who says these things look terrible is just being ridiculous. However, my heart does truly belong to 40k, so I doubt I’ll be buying into a fantasy army (despite having made some purchases of late…)

But it won’t stop me getting some of these Deepkin to convert for my Dark Eldar…!

I’m still pretty excited for these guys, anyway!

Of course, lots of other tidbits have come out of Adepticon, such as the next three Codexes after Drukhari (rumoured to be out on 7 or 14 April), news of some huge Knight that mocks the idea of this being a miniatures game, an Age of Sigmar CCG, and of course, the confirmation that plastic Sisters of Battle will be coming out in 2019.

Of course, I’ve been feeling pretty burnt-out on the Sisters rumours for quite some time now, so even despite this news, I’ll still believe it when I see it. However, it’s nice to see the community feedback finally taken seriously on this point! And no doubt, when they come out, I’ll want an army of them like most other people!

Along with all of this, we have the Forgebane game coming out tomorrow, and the Necron Codex is due over the Easter weekend. I’ve already been excitedly starting a Tau army, which is once more vying with my Necrons for my attention. To say nothing of adding yet more miniatures to my Dark Eldar, which I’ll doubtless be in the mood for in another couple of weeks when their Codex comes out!

All of this stuff has got me feeling a little bit like I’m on some kind of hobby treadmill, and I’m in actual danger of falling off!

See, like many folks, I have a whole load of hobby projects that I’d like to get on with, but it’s getting to the point where I’m not sure where to begin with tackling it all. Off the top of my head, and in no particular order, I have:
– get on with painting the Tau that I’ve been building up recently;
– get moving with painting/re-painting my Necrons in Thokt Dynasty colours;
– finish painting all of those half-complete Dark Eldar models;
– paint the Orlock and Escher gangers for Necromunda;
– also think about building and painting the Goliath gangers;
– think about the terrain for Necromunda;
– paint all of that Sector Mechanicus terrain I built last summer;
– carry on with the AdMech/Tempestus Scions army;
– finish painting up those Deathwatch miniatures;
– finish painting up those Novamarines, too;
– finish building and paint the Thousand Sons and Death Guard models;
– make a more serious effort with painting the Genestealer Cultists;
– decide if I want to have all of those Tyranid models, as well…

I’m sure there’s plenty more on the agenda that I’m just not thinking about right now!

First-world problems, for sure, but I think I’m in danger of getting into some kind of hobby overload once more, and I think I need to take a step away and almost move all the half-complete projects to the side while I concentrate on just one! I had a real issue when trying to paint the Genestealer Cultists that I discussed in my Tau blog here, in that I felt like I was out of practice with painting in general. I still haven’t yet made any concerted effort to remedy this, but until I do, I’m not feeling confident enough to get moving on things like the Deathwatch, Thousand Sons, or Necromunda minis. I need to focus on a much smaller array of stuff, and in fact I think I need to actually fully paint up a single unit to get my head back in the game, as it were!

Something that is increasingly difficult with all of this wonderful new stuff coming out left and right!

But looking at it from the opposite side: what a glorious time to be in this hobby!!

It’s the GAMA Trade Show 2018!

Hey everybody!
So the GAMA trade show has happened, and there is a lot of exciting stuff going on that has, well, gotten me quite excited! I thought I’d do a quick round-up as per usual, and see what’s caught my eye this year!

It’s really cool to see something that isn’t kickstarter-related coming from Flying Frog right now, and while you do have to kinda squint to see them, there are two expansions coming for Fortune and Glory – Lair of the Spider Queen (much like the Crimson Hand expansion, adding in a new vile organization) and Temples and Treasures, which apparently has more generic villains as well as, unsurprisingly, rules specific to the Temples. Should be good!

Still waiting for more expansions for A Touch of Evil, of course, though I do still enjoy that game regardless, so…

There’s some news that the next big box expansion for Marvel Legendary will be Hulk-based, which I have to say doesn’t really inspire me with any great interest, as he’s not what I’d call a favourite…

I’ve not seen anything from Fantasy Flight this year, which is weird, but the big news for me right now is, you guessed it, from Games Workshop!

Yes! Kill Team is coming back! I do enjoy skirmish games, and so having this updated for 8th Edition is great! I’m guessing that there will be a starter-style box similar to that for 7th, with Genestealer Cults vs AdMech! And of course, the exciting thing here is the new terrain that will be accompanying the release. As if Sector Mechanicus wasn’t glorious enough! Very excited for this…

… as I’m also very excited for House Van Saar! While I do love the Orlock aesthetic the most out of the now-four gangs we’ve seen, I think there’s something quite creepy about these guys, and I will definitely be picking up a box. Well, I’ve already told myself I’m committed to picking up all of the Necromunda releases, anyway, but even so! These guys look really interesting, and I’m looking forward to adding them to my roster.

And, of course, Codex Fish-People looks like it should be amazing!

Tau investigations, part one

Hey everybody!
Following my previous blog, where I very excitedly talked about the decision to start a Tau army, I’ve been reading up a few things about the space communists as I try to get to grips with the units. As with starting any new project like this, the thing that always baffles me most is just what the army is trying to do. I’m not a fantastic strategist, and so don’t always immediately see the synergies among units. It takes a while of reading around things for me to form a plan, and then that becomes the basis of which I can change and adapt as required. Waffle aside, though, I’ve been reading the article series on the Community website that talks about each of the Sept specific traits from the upcoming codex, as well as talking about specific units and what they do now. So I thought I’d talk about that here, and give some vague preliminary thoughts on what I’m going to be doing!

Coming first, of course, we have the T’au Sept itself. I should start talking about T’au, but as with my Dark Eldar, I think I’m too used to the older names. I’ll try, anyway!

I think everybody is referring to these things as Chapter Tactics, basically you pick a theme for your army – be it Space Marine Chapters, Necron Dynasties, or T’au Septs – and you receive an army-wide effect. The tenet of the T’au Sept allows all models from the T’au Sept to fire Overwatch on 5+. I think this is possibly the only thing that affects Overwatch in the game, and it sounds fabulous – just the thing Tau models need, given that they’re primarily a stand-and-shoot army, so end up being charged a lot.

Meanwhile, Bork’an Sept get to add 6″ to the maximum range of any rapid fire and heavy weapons they’re armed with. Pulse Rifles, Rail Rifles, Plasma Rifles – all of these things are rapid fire weapons. Oh, and Markerlights are heavy weapons. Markerlights at 42″? Well, why not! Furthermore, Bork’an have a specific stratagem that allows them to re-roll one dice when determining a random number of attacks, such as the heavy D6 of a Railgun with submunitions. Very nice when you manage to roll a 1!

While most T’au armies don’t want to find themselves fighting in close quarters, the Farsight Enclaves aren’t quite so bothered. I mean, sure, they’re still mainly a ranged force, Farsight himself quite likes getting up-close and personal with his Dawn Blade. Their tenet allows you to re-roll wound rolls of 1 against enemies within 6″, so either during Overwatch or else from Pistol weapons in close combat. Oh, and what was that about the Dawn Blade, it has increased from a mere Strength 5 to Strength 8! Crikey!

Dal’yth Sept is all about being sneaky, and they have the hilarious tenet of being able to claim the benefit of cover, even if they’re out in the open, provided they did not move in any way during their turn. Considering you’ll likely rarely be moving when going for the T’au gunline strategy, this could be very useful – as the article says, it gives Fire Warriors a 3+ save out in the open, which is nothing but useful! Perhaps not something to plan the army around, of course, but a Strike Team that wants to get within rapid fire range is going to be getting perhaps a little too close to the enemy anyway.

Vior’la Sept, the white one you see on the new box art, can treat rapid fire weapons as assault weapons, and do not suffer the -1 penalty for advancing and firing assault weapons. Now, most of the T’au arsenal is assault weaponry, it seems, so this can be incredibly useful for getting away from a steadily advancing force. Fantastic stuff!

As well as all the Sept Tenets, we have had a look at some of the changes from Index to Codex, and while I have no experience of using the Index, it does seem that the Codex has made everything so much better, overall.

Let’s get things straight from the top: a lot of folks are pretty miffed about the change to Commanders. Basically, you can now take only one Commander per detachment, and I think that’s absolutely fine. There was a thing called Commander Spam (ingenious, I know), about which this blog post goes into detail for the Index. While I love the toolbox-HQ, I don’t think I would ever want to take more than one, anyway. I plan on sticking a Cadre Fireblade in there for a second HQ slot if I want that Battalion detachment, or a pair of Fireblades for the Brigade (if I ever get there!) They have some interesting options available, these Commanders, and I think the limit is sensible if GW doesn’t want things getting too out-of-hand.

As they say in the preview, the Coldstar Commander has been much improved by being able to take a wider array of weapons than in the Index. Previously, you’d get a missile pod and burst cannon, and you’d like it. Now, he can take up to four weapons like his Enforcer counterpart, which is quite exciting as he retains the 20″ movement and 20″ advance. Given that the Vior’la tenet can allow him to advance without penalty, he’ll be zipping all over the battlefield with impunity! Hopefully…

I really like the sound of what Riptides can do. Weight of fire seems to be quite important so far in 8th, and adding 4 shots to the heavy burst cannon feels like a nice improvement. Taking a mortal wound from the Nova Reactor in order to add a further six shots feels really nice – and for one command point, you can use the Branched Nova Charge strategem to charge 2D6″ as well, either lining your Riptide up perfectly for the next turn, or else getting him out of harm’s way when you need it most! Oh, but don’t forget, a Bork’an Riptide will be firing that heavy burst cannon at 42″ anyway…

Longstrike, the tank commander of the T’au, is really quite useful in that the Hammerhead Gunship he is poking out of treats enemy models as having +1 Markerlights on them than they actually have. Markerlights are quite the T’au thing, I suppose, in that a model equipped with them can choose to shoot them instead of any other weapon for its turn, allowing another friendly unit to gain some sort of bonus depending on how many Markerlights are on that unit. Markerlight effects are cumulative, and I think the magic number is 5, so only having to shoot 4 times and freeing up another model for another task is quite useful!

The Wall of Mirrors stratagem is an interesting addition that allows you to redeploy Stealth Battlesuits from near a Ghostkeel Suit anywhere else on the board. I can’t quite decide if it would be good to get the Stealth Suits close to the enemy, drop their homing beacon down (which is only destroyed if the enemy moves within 9″ of it, not if it is placed within 9″), then getting something out of a manta hold much closer to the enemy. Everything that goes in a manta hold to begin with (Crisis Suits and Commanders) doesn’t really want to be in melee… I suppose if your Stealth Suits have taken Markerlights, then it would allow you to move them into a better position to fire them? Hm.

All in all, I’m very excited for the new T’au codex, and have been busily building up my army ready to try it out as soon as I can. I’ll be back soon enough with my thoughts on my first army list and, hopefully, reports of how they have fared on the tabletop!