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So time to get this blog going again. I've been spending a lot of time recently thinking about what's needed to build a competitive army list. These ideas are for any method of playing not comp specific.
1. A damage dealer
Every list needs something that can be relied upon to go out there and kill enemy war scrolls - this can be a big monster, a killer combat unit, warp fire throwers, anything that can deal consistent damage.
2. Better make that at least two damage dealers.
Redundancy is your friend. They are going to have big scary things as well - you'd better have a back up for when yours dies.
3. Scoring units
What this looks like depends on what comp system/scenario you are playing. If it's a mix you'd better include some of each sorry needed. After all you can't win if you can't score. These can double with later options but best not do so with your damage dealers - you don't want to have to hold them back to score. Ideally these will also be very survivable.
4. Screening units
Since you've got war scrolls that can kill or cripple enemy scrolls on the charge, you can bet your opponent has as well!! In order to make sure you get the charge in you need units to hide behind to keep your big guys safe.
5. Movement tricks
In many of the scenarios you need to be able to cross the battlefield very quickly in order to claim objectives. Summoning, fast flying units, cavalry all fill this role.
6. Ranged threat
Some form of ranged threat is needed in order help pick out protected synergy characters. This most commonly takes the form of missile attacks, but spells and other abilities can serve the same use.
These are just my thoughts, what do you all think? Did I miss anything?
Later I will post a death list based on these principles as an example.
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Ok so many moons ago, there were some awesome dwarf models called doomseekers. Longbeards will remember them fondly I am sure. Well they had been sat gathering dust on my shelf for far too long, and when I saw the Hearthguard bezerkers, I thought maybe I had found a use for them. So my project began.
I kit bashed some Vulkite Bezerkers along with the spares from my Auric Hearthguard to fill out the unit into 10 models. They actually fitted in pretty well, no noticeable scale issues.
I wanted a leader for my army and the Magmadroth is such a nice model I couldn't help myself, so a Runefather joined their ranks. The kit is really good as I was also able to make a Rinesmiter and Runeson as well.
Slowly I built up a reasonable force adding 2 units of Vulkite Bezerkers, and 1 of each of the remaining characters, Grimwrath Bezerker, Runemaster and Battlesmith. The quality and detail in these kits is amazing and i would recommend them to anyone. Finally I wanted some variety so I added some converted prosecutors. Simple head and weapon swaps made them easy to blend in, plus I had loads from various starter set swaps I had done when AOS was released.
My army was really taking shape now, I just needed soem bases, and as you can see from the pictures, I chose an ice theme to contrast the orange slayers. I got these from darkarts, they are actually lava bases, but painted with an ice effect they work pretty well I think
So thats my Fyreslayers, they kept me busy for 3 months, around 100 SCGT pool choices. How have they done on the battlefield? Well in true slayer fashion they have died with honour! Sometimes in victory, sometimes in defeat, I will pop back and write a batrep for a game soon so you can see them in action
Finally laid the rest of the floor and it's looking great! It really finishes of the 'Is this a shed or a sauna?' look.
Also got the electrics in the shed finished. They just need to be hooked up to the house, which will be done while I'm away at Warhammer Fest.
Welcome to the second part of our list-tech series, wherein I explore the dark apertures of a mind so insidious, even the Lords of Chaos can’t come up with lists as broken as his. I refer of course to the mystical augur we know only as ‘Jim’.
Jim comes up with thematic, non-legacy lists that we haven’t yet seen from the international tournament scene, or at least are not as prominent as we feel they could be.
Last time we looked at a badass, Dragon-Riding ‘A(e)lfa Strike’ list. You can check out that post here.
This week, Jim gives us something far more sinister. Kneel, mortals, before Archaon Rotbringer.
The Destroyer of Worlds is blessed by all the Dark Gods, often taking on their different aspects - including Nurgle.
Archaon has been seen on the tournament circuit, but seldom, if ever, gets to a podium. Despite his intimidating stats, he is quite unwieldy, and can get taken out more often than is appropriate for a Destroyer of Worlds.
This list will work probably better with small Archaon, but our goal is to find ways to make non-legacy warscroll lists viable. We think this is a great way to get value out of big Archaon.
The basis for this combo is Archaon’s ability to trigger the Command Abilities for all Chaos Heroes nearby, and the fact that the effects of abilities can stack.
It should be noted here that some tournaments add a house rule that stops abilities from stacking, so if you are looking at running this list, check the Player's Pack well beforehand!
- Archaon - 700
- Festus the Leechlord - 120
- Harbinger of Decay - 140
- Harbinger of Decay - 140
- Harbinger of Decay - 140
- Harbinger of Decay - 140
Chaos Marauders (x10) - 60
- Mark of Nurgle
- Putrid Blightkings (x5) - 180
Chaos Warriors (x10) - 180
- Mark of Nurgle
- Chaos Warshrine - 200
Number of models: 32
TOTAL POINTS: 2,000
As a unit-heavy list, you have 10 deployments, and are unlikely to get the choice of first turn. This leaves you vulnerable to turn one alpha strikes, so deploy cautiously when up against alpha-strike lists by bubble-wrapping your heroes with the Marauders.
Let’s crack straight into Command Abilities. Archaon’s Warlord Without Equal ability allows all other units in the army to immediately use their own command abilities. In order:
- Harbinger of Decay uses Morbid Vigour, allowing each model within 7” to ignore wounds and mortal wounds on a roll of a 5 or 6.
- A second Harbinger of Decay uses Morbid Vigour, allowing each model to within 7” to ignore wounds and mortal wounds on a roll of a 5 or 6.
- A third Harbinger of Decay uses Morbid Vigour, allowing each model within 7” to ignore wounds and mortal wounds on a roll of a 5 or 6.
- A fourth Harbinger of Decay uses Morbid Vigour, allowing each model within 7” to ignore wounds and mortal wounds on a roll of a 5 or 6.
Let us pause here to explain how this works. In AOS, there is no such thing as a ‘Ward Save’. Listed above are four separate abilities, each of which lets each model within range ignore all wounds suffered (after saves) on a 5 or 6.
For example; Archaon is within 7” of all four Harbingers. Say he gets hit by an arrow, and fails his 2+ armour save (he has Mystic Shield on of course). Now he has four more chances to ignore the wound on a roll of 5 or 6 - once for each Morbid Vigour ability in affect.
This means that after Archaon fails an armour save, 19%, or roughly one-in-five wounds are actually going through. Effectively you would have to inflict 100 wounds to him to take him down. If you do factor in his save, which even up against -2 rend is a 4+ with Mystic Shield - that is 200 wounds he can statistically absorb. Plus he gets the extra save against mortal wounds thanks to the Chaos Runeshield.
The rotten cherry on top of this disease-ridden combo is the Chaos Warshrine, adding an extra save on a six thanks to Protection of the Dark Gods.
The Chaos Warshrine could then activate, allowing all units within 16" to re-roll failed Wound rolls with the Favour of Nurgle.
Festus can then heal D3 wounds on one of your models with his Delightful Brews, Splendid Restoratives.
The Putrid Blightkings can also heal nearby units D3 wounds with their Virulent Discharge.
If you need to make Archaon invulnerable, Mystic Shield goes on him.
Festus' Curse of the Leper is a nice debuff that can make key heavily armoured opposing units softer and softer. This combos very well with the Putrid Blightkings, who need the extra help with their lack of rend.
If you want to make the most of the protection combos, you need to keep your units pretty tightly grouped within range of the Harbingers. This is a disadvantage for when you have to divide your force for objective play, so you could divide the Harbingers between a few smaller pods if required.
Marauders are a fantastic ‘chaff unit as they have Move 6, and can be very fast on the retreat, allowing you to block charges and then move on to contest objectives. As mentioned, they will not die in a hurry.
None to speak of!
There isn’t much to say here. The synergy of the list is that the Nurgle units will not die. All units benefit from the combat buff from the Warshrine, but again it's the protective synergies that are taking you the distance.
This is a bit more of an expensive army to put together using the correct models. Archaon is the single most expensive model in the game at the moment (though if you can obtain the small version that might be an option), and the Harbingers are Finecast direct order only models. You can get around this by maybe converting some Chaos Knights. As is, however, the RRP is £321.50, and you will have 10 Marauders and 6 Chaos Warriors left over from their boxes.
This list could work well with a variety of Nurgle units. Epidemius is a great choice - hide him in your backlines somewhere. You could drop a few Harbingers for some more mobile troops like Plague Drones if the confined nature of deployment is too restricting. The Glottkin could be useful to double the amount of wounds the Marauder chaff can take to 100. You can even run the small Archaon if you want to be even cheesier than Jim - as long as he can trigger the Harbingers, you’re golden. Or at least a sickly shade of green (it’s Nurgle after all).
The list would scale very well up to Warhost sized games.
Once the heroes start dying, your synergies fall apart. The good news is, this is very hard to achieve.
Tactical flexibility is a big issue. To maximse the synergy, your units must all be in close proximity, relinquishing a lot of battlefield control. One way around this is to split your army into two pods, sending two Harbingers with each.
A well-timed Hand of Dust or Curse of Years will also bring tears to your eyes.
On the Table
Jim and I had a game play-testing this list. My army consisted of:
- Nagash - 900
- Wight King with Black Axe - 120
- 5 Black Knights x 120
- 20 Skeleton Warriors with Sword and Shield - 160
- 20 Skeleton Warriors with Spear and Shield - 160
- 20 Skeleton Warriors with Spear and Shield - 160
- 20 Grave Guard with Great Blades - 320
- Legion of Death Battalion - 60
We played the Blood and Glory battleplan. It ended up being a poor example of how the Rotbringer army could play. Jim moved Archaon too far out of reach of the buffs. He charged some skeletons and fluffed all his dice rolls. I retreated my skeletons onto his objective, and charged him with my Grave Guard. Over the next few turns I was able to take him down, as he did not have the benefit of the Harbinger buffs. Plus his dice luck failed.
I almost won the game, but missed a run roll with Nagash which would have allowed me to claim all four objectives. As a result, Nagash wasn’t involved in the game at all. Jim stayed in the game somehow, using his marauders and Harbingers to sneak through my army lines with canny use of retreats and piling in, and was able to snatch all four objectives by turn 5. An incredibly exciting and tactical game, which I’m still buzzing about, but not one that shows off the main synergies of Archaon Rotbringer!
I am always keen to hear from anyone who has tried this! Please let me know your thoughts in the posts below. Can you think of any other counters? Would you be keen on giving the army a try?
Last weekend was the first big Warhammer Age of Sigmar event at the home of Warhammer! It was also live streamed on Twitch, me and @Ben played in round two, I'm sure he will be along to tell you all how it went 😉
I used the Knights of Azyr, a small model army but I have played it a lot and hoped to do well, four wind and a painting nomination put me 5th overall.
Lover the weekend I played ten games and learned so much about my list even after so many practice games. It still hates the mortal wound armies.
Here is my army laid out over the weekend.
I was also keen to add more to the background of my Stormhost after the event, enjoy.
And so once again it fell to Lord-Celestant Matthias Hammerstrike of the Knights Azyr, one of the first founding Stormhosts first cast into the mortal realms at the beginning of the Age of Sigmar. The responsibilities of leadership were great on Matthias, greater that even he could have imagined. He knew it would be difficult and that many a soul would need to be reforged once it was over. But the Warlords had to be overcome, Sigmar had asked for it to be so.
This was not Matthias first charge into the Mortal Realms, and by now he was a veteran of many a campaign. It was the Knights of Azyr that kept the Celestial Compass from the hands of the Three Eyed King deep in the heart of Gyran, and who had fought alongside the Hammers of Sigmar to drive back Khul and secure the Brimstone Pernintula.
With him strode the hulking frame of Lord-Castellant Roth Lightbourne, a huge man, even for a Stormcast Eternal. Long ago Roth had been the beloved leader of his people until the coming of Chaos, he saved as many as he could but he was just a man. Until Sigmar intervened saving Rathe and guiding him on a new path. Many a time Roth had been sound counsel to Matthias offering sage advice or a strong blade when necessary.
Alongside the Chamber Command fought the Hevavanhost Extremis Chamber with units from both the Lightning and Thunderwave Echelon amongst the ranks. Long range support came in the form of units from Justicar Conclave the Heavenbolt Congress, the air will be filled with the light from hundreds of celestial arrows.
Onwards the Knights of Azry pushed not knowing who their first foe would be...
It was the crazed followers of GorkaMorka that first they faced, the unorganised rabble threw themselves forward into range of the Heavenbolt Congress, one unit at a time they were destroyed but still that came. Chained Mangler Squigs came bounding forward with no thought other that destruction in there mind, awful creatures made worse for the Moonclan fungus brew that are forced to consume, each sip sending them more and more wild and crazy.
They were no match for the Sigmerite plate worn by the Thunderwave Echelon, with barely a scratch they emerged, all that remained of the Squigs were discarded chains and a foul smell in the air. Before the Knights of Azyr could savour the victory a dark cloud was visible of the horizon.
The air grew hot as the Legion approached, a tingle of magic could also be felt seeping through the very ground that the twisted enemy approached on. As the Stormhost formed a battle line, harsh metal creations could be seen approaching, barely containing the daemons bound within.
Then without warning the very ground in front of Matthias erupted with a Bailwind Vortex shimmering with magical energy. Landing atop of the vortex came the leathery wings of Drazaroth the Ashen, his entire bode aflame with a fire that seemed to have a mind of its own.
The Stormcast fought bravely but the fire and the magic were too much even for them, many a soul would hear the ringing of the Anvil of Apotheosis that night.
One defeat cannot stop the army of order not with right on its side and Sigmerite armour on its back.
Tuesday I did some painting of the maw crusha and brutes since I knew I'd be busy in a few days so I'd have to work on them during the week. Tried the yellow over white primer, four coats in I really don't like the coverage of yriel yellow.
Wednesday small d1 (for my flgs) trials of ironjawz. Well I thought the fyreslayers were hurt in wound based keyword restricted games, well ironjawz are almost unplayable. Severely disappointed in that. Megaboss needs six units of ironjawz for his waagh bonus which puts you in so many wounds that I'd use maw crusha over him. That's an issue. Second issue is no shooting with only having average saves.
So when I got home I played against my fyreslayer and then against my seraphon d1 list. Fyreslayers were handed an easy victory due to all the shooting attacks they have. I even gave ironjawz sudden death. I think the game lasted 2 or 2.5 rounds.
Against seraphon it wasn't even a game. They didn't even live to see a combat round ouch. Overall I have to say they were more than disappointing. I will need to look for other destruction units to see if I missed any buffs. Otherwise table then and hope match play fixes them
Regular opponent Tom came over for a game of Age of Sigmar. With the new Realmgate Wars book release, All-Gates, we decided to take a stab at one of the battleplan, Through the Breach.
Tom had bought 2000 points of Dark Aelves (points from the new Handbook), and as I hadn't seen any leaks of the points myself we decided in true Age of Sigmar style to 'eye' roughly an equal force of Khorne.
- Wrath of Khorne Bloodthirster (General)
- 20 Bloodletters
- 3 Bloodcrushers
- 5 Flesh Hounds of Khorne
- Mighty Lord of Khorne
- Lord of Khorne on Jugganaut
- 20 Bloodreavers
- 10 Bloodwarriors
- 3 Skullcrushers
- Cauldron of Blood (General)
- 30 Witch Aelves
- 10 Doomfire Warlocks
- 20 Executioners
- 20 Darkshards
- 5 Drakespawn Knights
ScenarioThe objective is for the attacker (the army that breached the wall), must have at least 3 units in the defenders deployment zone by the end of turn 6. The defenders win a major Victory if they can prevent this.The breaching side must set up within the small deployment area, any models that cannot can come on at the end of any subsequent movement phase.The breachers all get +1 to their Bravery, to symbolise their increased moral after breaching the wall, however they all get -1" movement to show their efforts have been exhausting.The defenders can re-roll all attack dice, to recreate the effect that they have become desperate to defend their home.
I'm not going to write a huge battle report, but summarise some major points and share some of the photos.
I was easily able to get the 3 units in to the defenders deployment zone by the end of Turn 4. In fact, I would have tabled Tom as he only had the Blood Cauldron left.This is a fun scenario but really requires the defender to have a lot of units. You will struggle to defend if you have small elite squads.
SummaryI'm not going to write a huge battle report, but summarise some major points and share some of the photos.I'm really enjoying playing with the Bloodreavers. Yes, they aren't very resilient but that are great fun! Large numbers, added with the Warshrine and the Bloodsecrator makes them very hard hitting and gives them at least some kind of save (6+ ignore damage from the Warshrine). I am painting up another 20 of them to use and will look at adding a squad of 5 Wrathmongers to give them yet another attack.My Blood Warriors didn't survive a single combat phase, but did exactly what was required of them. I threw them into the very scary Witch Aelf squad on my turn and picked them first to attack. When they inevitably died they got to attack again. They also managed a to make a few saves, and deal mortal wounds back. If you include battleshock phase, they killed 23 Witch Aelves, that were buffed and had a 5+ ward save from the Blood Cauldron.The great thing about Khorne is their ability to shut down the magic phase. There are plenty of units that can unbind and a few that even get bonuses to the unbind roll. Flesh Hounds get +1 and the Wrath of Khorne Bloodthirster gets a +2 to unbind roll. I was able to deny the Doomfire Warlocks on many occasions.My Skullcrushers got bogged down by the Aelves easily, they really do need to be charging all the time to make use of the Mortal wounds. The Bloodcrushers were terrible, the 1 attack only from the Bloodletter on the top is a big let down, they barely did any damage. I can't see myself bringing them to tournament games.Dark Aelf Executioners were very good, sixes to hit explode in to 2 Mortal Wounds, they easily made short work of the 20 Bloodreavers and 20 Bloodletters I threw at them. Tom ran them in a group of 20, which is probably the way to go, they have a 4+ save and only 1 wound, running a sorceress behind them to give them Mystical Shield is a good idea too.I've played against the Witch Aelves before, and in large number they hit very hard with the Blood Cauldron nearby. In my last game against Tom they dealt a lot of damage to my Daemonettes, Keeper of Secrets and Soul Grinder before I could remove them.
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Time for another character for my chaos army. This one nicely blurs the line between sorcerer and beastman,,,
The Ogroid Thaumaturge! Mainstay of The Silver Tower and Tzeentch Arcanites (he wouldn't look bad as the magic support in a Warherd army either...)
I was quite happy with the wet blending on his skin, although I could quite happily never have to paint another one of his eldritch sigils.
I'm not sure how I feel about his 'looking over the shoulder' pose. It's nice to have a different sculpt to 'looking straight ahead', but there doesn't seem to be a single, best angle to view him from (hence all the photos), and I think he works best in three-dimensions.
He's off to command a mixed Chaos force in a five-game tournament this weekend, so I hope his sigils are fully-charged!
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(Year) End Times
And what an incredible year it's been too. Such an exciting time to be in the hobby with surprises around every corner to excite & inspire.
I started the year with a now failed hobby goal to attend 12 events over the course of the year, beginning well after attending three between January - March. Then life got in the way and implemented a six month gap onto my hobby ambition. Oh well, resolutions & all that!
Something I'm immensely proud of achieving this year though was the creation of the Hammerers, officially. I've wanted to run a gaming club no matter how modest for a long time, and can now look back on this year knowing that the dream was finally made a reality. The club has not only given me fantastic motivation to get hobby projects & terrain completed, but I've met a great group of guys to enjoy Age of Sigmar with. Miniature wargaming is expensive, & having a place where I get to game regularly gives me a sense of value for money in addition to the enjoyment and escapism from a stressful job.
Looking back, we've been very lucky at the club to be able to enjoy a huge amount of new product & involvement from Games Workshop. A month after the club started our regular games'nights, the General's Handbook was released. The matched play element of the Handbook really helped to boost attendance as players were able to discuss & decide on points limitations for their games through our Facebook page, fighting over a cleverly designed set of challenging battleplans. Personally, the Handbook was by far my best purchase of 2016, & we are hoping to explore the many other features and various campaigns it contains in the new year.
Another enriching experience for the club was the global Season of War campaign, which really helped get everyone immersed into Age of Sigmar. Not only did it inspire the Hammerers to ramp up their painting projects, we also hosted a huge battle on the last week of the campaign where all the chaos gods were represented, as well as the Stormcast, Ironjaws & even Nagash!
The recent release of blood bowl will also make a grand appearance at the club soon, and work has begun on our first ever league. There's also some discussions about a ladder campaign for Age of Sigmar too.
One thing I am sure we will all be doing more of in 2017 is attending events, in as larger number as possible. The narrative events held at warhammer world at the start of the year were a great introduction into the rich story of the new universe, and we also had a fantastic time at the South Coast Grand Tournament - the largest, and definitely the friendliest independent event I personally have ever attended. We were really proud to be at an event that went on to form the backbone of the General's Handbook.
We also attended the Honour & Glory event held by Solent Wargames. A one day matched play tournament that was won by our very own Hammerer Chris Goldsworthy & his devoted of Sigmar!
Our last attended event of the year was the incredible Blood & Glory. Timed perfectly, the tournament really showcased the journey Age of Sigmar has been on throughout the year, and really showed off the competitive element of matched play spectacularly. This was the first event I'd attended that all the top players were involved with having missed out on the Warlords & Facehammer GT events earlier in the year. I learnt a lot about how to play the game that weekend!
Games Workshop have been much more involved in the hobby community this year too, live streaming events, creating community pages & even a TV show! I was made up to see Rob Symes become the face of Warhammer TV after watching such a genuinely nice guy take home the SCGT & deliver one of the most hilarious podcast shows I think I'll ever hear! It really well demonstrates Games Workshops efforts to reconnect with us.
The Grand Alliance community page also had a huge impact on membership for the club, in particular through their ingenious world map of clubs & players. I meet & talk to new players, returning rage quitters & die hard Warhammer fans constantly, growing not only our player base but also inter-club events too. The forum section also helps to iron out any rules questions that come up on club nights.
Now, at the end of the year thanks to the various events & club nights, I've achieved a Warhost of Death, Warhost of Flesh Eater Courts, a Battlehost of Nurgle & a Vanguard of Seraphon all fully painted! Think that's the most I've ever painted in a year!
A fantastic journey in such a small amount of time. We are all very excited at the club for 2017 & all the new hobby it will bring, and I feel very fortunate to start the year with a well attended club to further pursue my passion for campaigns & narratives with.
If your local, or attending an organised event in 2017, or even from another gaming club, get in touch. We are always looking for new players to battle against & often travel to get games in between club nights.
Happy new year!
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Recently, my hobby time has been taken up with painting models for other people. While this has been great for my bank balance, it has sapped a little of the enthusiasm I had previously for painting my own models from the Warhammer Quest game. I have been stuck on painting the Tzaangors for about a week and a half now - they sit beside me as I write this, daring me to continue their progress. So too does the Fyreslayer, standing atop his pedestal, naked save for a coat of Barbarian Flesh spray, a single wash of Flesh Wash ink and a stern expression of distaste.
And this situation can only get worse. I start a new job on Monday, plus I have three new commissions about to come in (all for models from the Frostgrave range) so this means once again, all my spare hobby time will be going into other people's models. I can feel the heated glare coming from my To-Paint pile really starting to heat up now.
Still left to paint are:
- Tenebrael Shard
- 6 Tzaangors
- Gaunt Summoner
- 8 Familiars
- Ogroid Thaumaturge
- 8 Grot Scuttlings
- 2 Skaven Deathrunners
But I'm not worried. This is giving me a chance to embrace the new approach and actually stick to my plan of not buying more models until these are all painted to a basic gaming standard (block colours, shade wash, simple basing). Meanwhile I can finish reading the Silver Tower novel (see my upcoming post about my AOS reading plan) and peruse through the Grand Alliance Chaos book while waiting patiently for the General's Handbook to be released.
As for gaming - I'll be playing some Quest later today with my fiancee as we start a brand new campaign from the start now we have gotten to grips with the rules. I'm also hoping to start some regular gaming over at Warhammer World in the coming months, forcing myself to get out into the Realm-world and become more active in my old age. This will probably start with the upcoming AOS weekend in August - for which I have already bought my ticket.
I'm even going to enter my first ever Golden Demon competition. I don't expect to win or even place, but I do expect tp ush myself into doing something I've never done before and the success will be in achieving that simple goal.
So the Changer Of Ways has truly had an effect on me, and the patience of the Silver Tower will be rewarded. In time.
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So I thought that I would open this blog by sharing my recently-rebased Tomb Kings. I have not purchased any models directly for Age of Sigmar yet, instead doc using on rebasing my existing collections. With the new Grand Alliance books, I'm feeling keen on the idea of adding selected units from other factions to my 8th ed armies in order to make a cosmopolitan force for the new game.
The pictures (hopefully they show up correctly) represent about two thirds of my total collection for Death. I still have to rebase my Scorpion, Bone Giant, and some ninety infantry of various kinds, but this lot is more than enough to be getting on with I think!
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Foolishly, with only two hobby evenings to go until Blood and Glory, I've decided to make some new terrain!
I bought an old copy of the Mouse Trap board game a while back, knowing I probably didn't have time to get it assembled and painted in time as well as finishing my army to a decent standard.
I was right, but I'm going for it anyway.
Sorry for the rubbish photos. I'll take some better ones when I finish them tomorrow (fingers crossed!).
So month 2 comes to a close, and we've had our first casualty! Jon has dropped out, realising he would not be able to complete the second month in a row, and having lost all motivation (despite our group
bullyingmotivating him senseless) he has invoked the £50 buy out clause in order to avoid all further fines. He has assured us he will try and get SOME painting done, but we will have to see!
Gordrakk, Fist of Gork
So here he is! Finished, based, completed. No fine for me this month! Apologies for the photography, I am terrible at it.
I am really happy with how he turned out. I'm certainly not the best painter, and this guy certainly came with his challenges. The base for me is the real game changer here. My old basing scheme was very flat and boring, and was done with the painted model already glued to the base, meaning I was limited to what I could do without messing up my model. Having the base and model done separately gave me more options with the base, and I could add the rocks and have it a little more interesting.
I had exactly the same issues with Troll Slayer orange on Gordrakk as I did on the Maw-Krusha, so future models will not feature it as it's just a pain to use! I really like how the black on his shoulders turned out, as it was a way of painting black I hadnt used before, but I will continue to use it on the rest of the army as the challenge moves forwards.
As promised in my last post, here is a list of all the paints used to paint this model, in case you like certain parts of the scheme and want to try them yourself. All colours are GW colours.
Format - Area - Base, Wash (if used), Layer, Highlight (if used)
Underbelly & Wings - Death World Forest, Athonian Camoshade, Nurgling Green, Ogryn Camo
Darker Flesh - Castellan Green, Agrax Earthshade, Loren Forest, Straken Green
Teeth & Spines - Rakarth Flesh, Seraphim Sepia, Ushabti Bone
Silver Metal - Leadbelcher, Nuln Oil, Ironbreaker, Runefang Steel
Leather Straps - Rhinox Hide, Gorthor Brown
Orange Armour - Troll Slayer Orange, Fuegan Orange, Fire Dragon Bright, Runefang Steel (Weathering/Chipping)
Gordrakk, Fist of Gork
Flesh - Warboss Green, Athonian Camoshade, Warboss Green, Skarsnik Green
Orange Armour - Jokaero Orange, Fuegan Orange, Troll Slayer Orange, Fire Dragon Bright, Runefang Steel (Weathering/Chipping)
Black Armour - Stegadon Scale Green, Nuln Oil, Skavenblight Dinge, Dawnstone, Runefang Steel (Weathering/Chipping)
Teeth & Bone - Rakarth Flesh, Seraphim Sepia, Ushabti Bone
Silver Metal - Leadbelcher, Nuln Oil, Ironbreaker, Runefang Steel
Dark Leather Straps - Rhinox Hide, Agrax Earthshade, Gorthor Brown
Light leather Straps - Zandri Dust, Agrax Eartheshade, Ushabti Bone
Wood - Dryad Bark, Agrax Earthshade, Gorthor Brown
Main body of base - Agrellan Earth, Agrax Earthshade, Karak Stone, Screaming Skull, White Scar
Rocks - Karak Stone, Screaming Skull, White Scar
Flock - Citadel Dead Grass
So there we have it, month 2 finished, 700 points of beast, which means I'm not behind in the overall challenge from doing nothing in month 1!
Next months commitment is 5 Brutes and a Weirdnob Shaman, giving me 1000pts of painted Ironjawz by the end of September!
Thanks for reading
Lets preface with this: I don't know what I'm talking about. I never played a single game of AoS. I only read the rules, read some warscrolls, did some faulty math in my head. It's probably all just a pile of throggoth dung. On a rare chance it's not, it's probably been said by a million people before, but I haven't read it, so I'm claiming it genuine. I'm a troggoth, that's what I do. If by any weird occurrence of fate you misread my ramblings and somehow get any useful information from it, please remember that this is a discussion on a competitive level, and in your casual games you should let your opponent balance your now superior skill with a few extra Nagashes.
If a wargame is to be any good, it has to have some rock-paper-scissors business going on. In the core of it, a unit has to be more effective against some enemies than others - that's what stimulates tactical play. Otherwise it's all just "throw your dice and see who wins". In a typical wargame, you would have something like "cavalry beats archers, archers beat infantry, infantry beats cavalry" or whatnot. You know, something that makes actual sense. Not in AoS.
AoS came out, and what was immediately apparent, is that (Rend discarded), a unit's strength is not at all relative to the opponent - the hit and wound rolls are not affected by what you are targeting at all!!! Probably a huge part of why people think it's a simplistic game with no real thinking involved. I mean, if the point values of whatever comp you're using are proper, a unit can stand against any other unit of the same value and have roughly 50% chance of wiping them out before they get wiped out in turn. So let's pile up our models in the middle of the table, and let a hundred dice rolls decide who the superior commander is... Obviously, there are other stats that come into play (movement being the most evident one), but when push comes to shove, it's all about those combat rolls.
So is AoS really a game deprived of any tactical thinking? Far from it. The rock-paper-scissors dance is just hidden on a different level. Let's have a look, but before that, let's establish some basic terms.
DPM - average damage per model. It's basically the number of attacks, times chance to hit, times chance to wound, times damage. Abilities like "reroll 1 to hit" also taken into account.
DPP - average damage per point. In short, DPM divided by the point value of a model, in whatever comp you are using.
WPD - average number of wounds taken by the unit per single damage point. Basically chance to save, with abilities like "reroll saves of 1" taken into account.
EWPM - effective wounds per model. WPD times number of wounds.
EWPU - effective wounds per unit. EWPM times number of models in unit.
EWPP - effective wounds per point. EWPM divided by the point value of a model, in whatever comp you are using.
The Scissors, or "I will hurt you plenty":
Consider Bloodreavers (warscroll for reference). No save, 1 attack, DPM of around 0.25 depending on equipment. Those guys are so pathetic, their point value in your comp probably oscillates around zero. The only interesting thing here is the ability that gives them an extra attack when within 12" of a TOTEM. But now... since those guys are worth next to nothing in your comp, let's make an experiment and take lots of them. I mean like 3 units, 20 models each. And let's find that TOTEM. Since we want to be fluffy even when we're melting faces at a tournament, let's take the Bloodsecrator (sorry can't find warscroll links for the starter set models) dude. And behold - his special ability can give our Bloodreavers another attack - that's triple their original weak-****** DPM, and we're nowhere near done. Now let's look at batallions - there's one there that fits our 3 units of Bloodreavers nicely, and, with the Bloodpriest and Bloodstoker included, it will give our fellas another attack. Now let's add a general - Aspiring Champion for his command ability and another attack. It's 5 attacks per model at this point (500% of the original DPM), and we can still improve on this by getting a few Wrathmongers to stand behind our dudes and give them another +1 attack. Or, you can expand your army to the whole Grand Alliance: Chaos, and look for what other (now overpowered) buffs you can give them, but let's stop here for now.
We've just created an army that has 3 units of very cheap (in your comp) models, that with proper positioning will get 5 attacks each. Since the models have relatively small bases (and bodies for those purists out there who actually measure model to model), you can get large amounts of them into their 1" range - if you get all 20 of them into range, you're getting around 25 damage from them (20 models times their now buffed to 1.25 DPM). That's enough to wipe out a unit of comparable EWPU in one turn of combat. In 2 turns of combat, they take down Nagash. And that's just one of the 3 cheap-****** units we got there, with plenty of points left for more exciting stuff.
That's the scissors of AoS, stacking buffs that increase DPM on a unit until it can wipe virtually anything that stands in their path in one combat turn. To create a force like this, you're looking for abilities that increase number of attacks, chance to hit / wound, give rerolls, give extra damage etc, and you are looking for models that are either relatively small (size/base wise) and cheap in your comp, or for models that play especially well with your available buffs (like units that have 1 attack but good hit/wound rolls and more than 1 damage per attack - those play very well with the +attack buffs).
So, with a force like this, you've already won AoS. Or did you?
The Rock, or "Give me everything you've got":
Well... how do you counter a unit that can make 100+ attack rolls? It's quite simple really, you just make them meaningless. Consider Concussors (warscroll). 3+ save, and a reroll of 1's. Give them Arcane Shield, or the buff from Lord Castellant, and their WPD soars up to ("down to" actually, but you get my drift) 0.027(7). It means that only every 1 in 36 damage will actually cause a wound. It means that the 20 Bloodreaver scissor with their 5 attacks each will only score an average of 0,69 wounds per combat phase. That means they need like 6 combat phases to even kill 1 model (and remember they only need 2 to kill Nagash himself). Slap another +1 to save roll on them, an they become immune. Rock crushes scissors.
Now this seems quite simple, as we only have one unit (quite expensive in your comp probably, but w/e), and one hero. We do, however, have to take into account the wildcard of Rend (even the Bloodreavers have a weapon option that will give them 1 point), and be aware that most armor buffs will target a specific unit, while DPM buffs often target multiple. So, preparing a solid rock, that can hold around 3 enemy scissor units might be a serious investment in points. But then... watching your enemy roll 100 dice not to score a single wound - priceless.
For a solid rock setup, you're looking for warscrolls that have good save roll, and... well... Wizards. Be on a lookout for any battalions and heroes that can otherwise increase your armor save roll, or give rerolls. "Ward" saves (additional save rolls you can make apart from the normal one) also help. Remember, that here the number of models is not really important. If you manage to get in combat with the unit you want to block, and they cannot kill you, you've already eliminated them from the fight unless they can get 2 turns in a row (they need to retreat to disengage, and need another turn to charge something else, without you charging them again). Having the threat neutralized, it's a simple matter of scoring enough wounds to get them out of the game - in case of Bloodreavers, just breathe in their direction and they will topple by the score, in other cases you can pepper them with arrows, or just choose rock units that have decent attack capability of their own.
By now, you probably know where this is going...
The Paper, or "Resistance is futile":
Ok, I failed at that one. How do you kill that which cannot die? In AoS the answer is quite simple - mortal wounds. Now I admit, I didn't do much research here and I'm kinda guessing what can be done. You're looking for units that reliably deal mortal wounds, or units that have a certain chance of dealing mortal wounds that can be increased. One example I can give you is Retributors (warscroll) - they deal mortal wounds on a hit roll of 6+ - give them a buff or 2 to hit roll, like the one Lord-Celestant (warscroll) provides, and see the rock crumble. 5 Retributors with +1 to hit roll will, on average, deal 6.66 mortal wounds per combat phase - that's not even counting the Starsoul Mace and extra attack from Prime.
Problem here is, warscrolls that can deal mortal wounds will be quite expensive in any comp, and while those mortal wounds are excellent against the 2+/reroll rock dudes, they are kinda worthless against the zerg rush of Bloodreavers - the "mortal" on the wounds is meaningless when there's no save to be bypassed. Thrus, scissors will cut through paper.
So what's this all about really:
In AoS, if the comp you're using is anywhere near balanced, units of similar value will be similar in power against each other, no matter the actual statline - this is a natural consequence of non-relative rolls that AoS introduced. To gain advantage at the list building stage, you need to consider how some battalions / units can reinforce others, and find the most effective combinations. For that, you need to consider what unit a particular buff will be most effective on. Just to give you a few examples:
- +attack buffs are most effective on units that have good hit/wound rolls and high damage. On top of that, they are most effective on units that have low attack stat (+1 attack on a 1 attack unit will double it's combat effectiveness, while on a unit with 2 attacks - only increase it by 50%). Furthermore, units with multiple weapons will benefit more, as it's usually +1 attack to each weapon used.
- +hit and + wound roll buffs are most effective on units with weak rolls - if a unit hits on 6+, giving them +1 to roll will double their damage potential, while on a unit that hits on 3+ - only increase it by 25%
- "reroll 1's" buffs are most effective on units with good rolls (a unit with 2+ save will improve it's WPD from 0.16(6) to 0,027(7) - that's 600% improvement!).
And so on, and so forth. On top of that, stacking buffs is usually more effective than spreading them over several units.
Does that mean that for your army to be relevant, you have to fall into one of the above categories? No. It can be only part of your army. Or you can ignore it altogether, and instead focus on thwarting your enemy's setup. Remember that you are committing points to one of those schemes. Your enemy spends those same points on either his own scheme, or just extra bodies. If your scheme is countered, the extra commitment in points is wasted (minus what the enemy spent on his counter) - immediately putting you at a disadvantage.
The advantage that can be gained by combining buffs is so significant, however, that I can imagine highly competitive games revolving entirely around creating and countering those combinations. A successful list will be able to shift from one scheme to another, and effectively counter enemy's scheme - by putting rocks in the way of scissors, eliminating relevant heroes early on, etc. The more I look into it, the more I see there's actually a game under all those pretzels. Took me long enough...
What's to take from this:
1. You create advantage, when put buffs on units that benefit from them in a significant way. I gave examples of how Scissors, Rock and Paper combinations can be created, but it's likely there's also a Lizard and a Spock somewhere in there - I just can't see it yet.
2. An army that will exploit the first point will almost uniformly be stronger than an army that doesn't.
3. Different areas of buffing will counter each other.
4. There are other ways to counter buffs, but that's a topic for another post entirely. I'll leave you with "hunter-seeker units".
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So after 24 hours straight rain I managed to undercoat some Stormvermin.
After staring at my paint collection for what seemed liked hours I finally came up with a colour scheme.
I think it works well but of course I know that there is much room for improvement.
I went for a purple base to try and make a contrast between the base and the green, do you think it works?
Please give me your C&C so I can improve my painting and I'll be back with more when I've finished the first 10.
So I'm posting my first list ahead of my first proper game next Saturday. We are using the SCGT pack from the heelanhammer podcast website using 150 pool points and fielding just 100 of them on the day. Here's my list it's not what I will settle on but it's mostly limited by what models I have at the moment.
Gordak fist of Gork 22
Orruk Ardboyz (20) 16
Ale guzzler Gargant (3) 27
Sourbreath Troggoth (6) 20
Rockgut Troggoth (3) 10
Fellwater Troggoth (6) 20
Arachnarok spidershrine (15)
Arachnarok with Flinger (13)
Orruk weirdnob shamon (5)
its going up against Archeon and his Chaos minions. On the day we will be rolling to see which mission out of the 6 we are playing.
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Last year was great. I painted up a full army, I attended my first and second tournament ever. GW decided to ditch the old persona and began the great process of renewal. My commission painting company grew in clients and painters, all in all things are good.
I played more games last year than the past three, but still not nearly enough (there's never enough gaming).
After my last tournament I was a little burned out. I cant stress enough I really enjoyed the events I went to and will definitely will be looking to attend some events again in 2017. Matched play is a great way to play and for many fellow gamers/hobbyists it covers all their needs. for me though I found I enjoyed the events and the social aspect of meeting new people, but there's still a little bit missing.
I'm a creative person. I love coming up with and reading the background and stories, and really just solely playing matched play games for me is limiting what I want to achieve with my gaming.
So new year has come and with it a new project. My goal for the year to come is to definitely start exploring the narrative side of the game. I've recruited and reforged a few anti Aos friends to do a simple slow grow path to glory/1000pts. in the next few weeks i'm going to attempt a small campaign write up, and hopefully fingers crossed my friends will stay focused enough to get some games in.
My first project for the year is Sylvaneth. I did technically start this last year, but you can forgive me for having a little break. I wanted to push the standard of this project to something as high as I could without it becoming too detailed and unobtainable. I have been quite strict in what I plan to paint so not to get distracted or overwhelmed.
My project is as follows
20 dryads two x ten with slightly different schemes
five Tree Revenants
Three Kurnoth Hunters
Four Sylvaneth wyldwoods
As always many thanks for reading, comments and questions are always welcome.
until next time.
Now for some pics of what I've completed already.
So, the news about the Silver Tower boxed game officially came out today and I couldn't be happier. I was just about to endeavour on creating a game that used floor tiles with AoS when the news hit a few weeks ago. What gets me so excited about the game aren't the wonderful models, the ability to add your own hero (more on that in next week's entry), or even playing the game with friends and loved ones as intended. The excitement comes from the ease of which one could make this into a solo-variant of Age of Sigmar.
Yes, I did just say "solo" and "Age of Sigmar" in one go. You see, dear reader, I don't get to game with others and I find it nice that there will be an easy option for a few tweaks that will allow me to use my painted soldiers in battle once more. (I do get to play games with my wife but we stay clear of wargaming, no matter how light it is.) Yes, I know that there are several different ways sans-Silver Tower that allow my armies to fight it out and I use them quite often but, to be honest, this game release is a great kick in the backside to get the ball rolling with grander plans.
And now I know what this blog is about.
In other news, I was unable to pick up my Flesh-eater Courts King What's-his-name's Court box today from the local game store an hour away so I can't comment as to its splendour but I can say that I'm still very excited about it!
Until next week, my droogies. Have a great rest of the weekend!
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So, as of today - I am unemployed... Redundancy at work had left me without a job and, although I have a couple of interviews upcoming (an especially exciting one tomorrow!) it has still hit me hard - subsequently I have only got 5 models completed and to an OK standard, my heart really wasn't in it...
Moving forwards, I want to get a bit of a force going, so will probably work on the next 5 shield and hammer dudes next to get them out the way.
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With AoS and particularity now with Skirmish coming out I feel that more dense terrain on the table = a more visual, tactical and thematic game.
I'd go as far as to say the current (May 2017) GW offerings are pretty terrible for positioning units entirely within them to take advantage of the bonus save. The wild wood for example whilst large enough to place a unit within, actually doing so is so fiddly because of the trees branches that hook onto everything, (especially Dryads ironically).
So with these things in mind I've started working on a set of naturalistic terrain that I can use for both AoS and 40k which is based around the idea of where sand stone columns have formed over thousands of years where rivers have carved away softer parts of the rock. This sort of thing is seen across the globe in deserty/canyony areas but is quite bizarre looking and should fit the AoS aesthetic well, (could be any realm). This is my attempt at that...
These formations were carved from insulation foam with a hot foam cutter rod type thingy with a twisting motion, then I gave them a good sanding with a flailing sanding drill attachment to make them nice and smooth. I glued these to 6mm MDF bases with the smallest gaps about large enough for a 32mm based model to pass through (there are several areas where 60mm based dreadnought sized models can go). Then using fine surface wall filler (NOT flexible filler) the rock formations were blended into the bases and a bit of surface undulation added here and there. Then I sealed them with several coats of thinned PVA adding a bit of sand to the mix to get a bit of extra texture and durability in there.
To make the terrain visually more interesting I wanted to use Agrellan Earth to give the dried cracked river bed look and to add a different texture to the terrain. I imagined that in this region the water still comes and goes through these formations and dries out. Eventually I'd like to complete a whole table that has a small central river remaining that has shrunk back leaving pools that have dried out as the water has drained away.
The terrain was painted mostly with a mix of household emulsion (tester pots from Wilkos, UK) that I colour matched (by eye) to Agrellean Earth. I roughly painted some dark grey onto the areas where I wanted a strong cracked earth effect, before applying lots of Agrellean Earth (not cheap ) and allowing to dry.
I used a thinned down Agrax Earthshade to add definition to some of the grooves in the rock formations before giving the whole lot a light drybrush and adding tufts to finish off the pieces.
I have lots of skulls that I plan to dot around here and there to give the terrain a GW feel but overall whilst they were time consuming and not cheap to make I'm quite pleased with how they've turned out and plan to steadily make more.
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