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Finally all the bits and pieces arrived in order for me to be able to make the base, pictured right, for my dragon ogre shaggoth! Every time I sit down to build/hobby/paint I push myself to try something new and to surpass all my previous work (this is a serious curse sometimes). So looking at the bases I made for my brayheard, pictured left which I made a blog post on previously, I decided the main thing I wasn't 100% happy with was the way things felt like they were stuck on top (probably due to the fact everything was stuck on top) and the base lacked depth like it would in the real world.
So my solution to the problem was to start by going down into the base itself to add a layer of depth. I started with a standard 60mm citadel base and took my dremmel tool with a drill bit to in to it. I carved away until only a small amount around the rim was left.
A piece of 0.5mm plasticard was glued to the bottom using plastic glue then cut and sanded until flush and seamless with the edge of the base.
Using cork I filled in the base with the rocks and glued on several of the dark rune ruin slabs, made with the greenstuff textured rolling pin and super sculpey, to create the desecrated ruin look I was going for. After this I placed a few skulls (because it wouldn't be Warhammer without them) and a bone. Baking soda, sand and ballast was used to create the dirt around the base.
I base coated in a dark brown.
A gquick bit of paint later and it was starting to take shape. I wanted the dirt and rocks to meld naturally together so both where given an initial wash of Agrax Earthshade both after the base coats of grey and brown, and then after there final dry brush highlights to bring the colours together. However the rune slabs needed to stand apart slightly so a Nuln Oil wash was used as well as a starker dry brush highlight. The edge was given a pure black colour as I feel it frames bases most crisply.
Finally several bits of Mordheim Turf was added for a bit of greenery spot colour and a few mini dead leaves to give the impression that the scene is from a forest or a wooded area.
A few shots with the mini on the base.
Overall I was really pleased with the result, the depth of the base is not shown really well in my photos but it looks so much more natural than previous attempts. In the future I would like to play around with simple water effects and maybe add a greater variety of foliage, possibly adding roots and things.
Thanks for reading, sorry for the poor pics, hope you enjoyed! Any C&C is welcome!!
Just a quick update today. Some more work has been done on the Orruks, but none of it is interesting or photogenic... it is just sticking together the bodies of 5 brutes and continuing to greenstuff the shoulders back onto the Boss. Maybe sometime I'll get the sculpting part done to a stage that makes it clearer. At some point I need to sort out better photos too
While the greenstuff is drying, I did a bit more painting; mostly going back and revisiting the Questor and mini horrors to neaten them up a bit.
The mini horrors had the whites toned down a bit with some yellow and orange washes. I also added some greeny eyes so they can now see where they are going.
The Questor had a few tweaks following some suggestions in an earlier post. Thanks guys, it does look better with the gold in the helmet
Lastly was taking the Pink horror form the base coat stage through to completion. Rather than the bright bright pinks normally associated with Horrors, I decided to go for a purple-ish and green scheme to show a constant state of change in the horror
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So I've always had a bit of a soft spot for Khornate Chaos Warriors as they always had some really badass looking models but I'd always managed to resist buying into them, until now. With the arrival of Silver Tower came the perfect excuse to pickup one of the meanest looking dudes of recent times...
Slaughterpriest with Hackblade and Wrath-hammer
I've always shied away from blood effects but as I've decided not to use a traditional red colour scheme on this model it seemed like the perfect opportunity to have a go at some. This model is still work in progress and I'd love to hear any feedback or suggestions regarding the paintjob/colour choices. I still need to highlight the skin and I intend to add a load more BLOOD FOR THE BLOOD GOD splattered around but just wanted to get everything else right before I do so. I'm a little worried there might be a bit too much of the greenyblue on the model or maybe it's too bright a blue, (I could make it darker). I'm considering some freehand on the cloth (maybe just a line or some Skaveny triangle pattern) but I'm not sure. I wanted the brass to be kinda a realistic looking pale and greeny looking. I could add some Nihilakh Oxide or just a bit more black to it, but again I'm not sure.
I am pretty excited about Bloodbound at the moment, I do have the other Slaughterpriest from the WHQ Mighty Heros expansion and I also have the AoS starter set models so I'd may do a small army in the same colourscheme.
Thanks for looking.
I haven't been doing a lot of painting lately, mainly just frustrated from hitting my head against the wall with my last job owing me money and some family worries, and organising travelling back to the UK, and fighting a shop who I think are a scam (a geeky shop, hence my WordPressblog post to warn anyone who might like their products, to be careful. My WordPress blog is for Age of Sigmar and Warhammer 40K, but it can also be for all types of geekiness (but there is one rule with my models, I will only post models that are complete; regardless of a lil update or tweak later on).
Anyhow the point of this post..
Before I even knew about Age of Sigmar, my boyfriend was introducing me to Warhammer 40K (Dark Eldar 'drools'), and he was suggesting to me some great models to start building an army.
One thing that put me off Warhammer 40K to really dig my heels into itz was always having to juggle points (it has pro's and con's),. You can't 'just' have a model from that group that you like and use them, you have to really think about it.
Plus you have to calculate the weapons etc. on the model, which is difficult to know potentially a decent weapon to a ****** one, and (something I see being a problem personally when) choosing between a great weapon, but the one you prefer isnt the better option etc. (all of this probably sounds worse from memory, it probably isn't that much of a big deal).
Following from there, there is something that I forgot how much I enjoyed doing (and keeps me very quiet and focused)...
For example I bravely took a note book, and began making a (as perfect as possible) layout for a quick reference of my models, to get to them easily, rather than sifting through a huge book (or app, which the layout isn't quite to my tastes but great for when your on the go, like if your on the bus and want to explore some new models that might be great to have in your Khorne., Chaos etc. army.
To be honest, I am probably not the first to make quick lil charts (I'll let mine be available for all. But currently I'm making them with my army in mind, but I'm going to try and make my charts, and quick lists for as many models, rules and so on, as possible, and for Warhammer 40K).
I really like the idea (as my memory Is TERRIBLE) of being able to print an interchangeable booklet (folder + plastic wallets = perfect BUT something a bit smaller preferably).
The idea (and again books are difficult for me, because of hating how the neatness might be ruined because of changing my mind of the styles, and layouts) of having a reference book that has the models you are going to USE in a game specifically (rather than ALL of them) seems more practical, its neat, practical and aesthetically pleasing, easier from for your eyes to jump faster to the information you want, without scanning past the information that's uneccessary, so all in all it seems like a great idea to make an organised list.
I think my main bit of pain, is if you want to reorder/ add/ change the page order.
I personally like them in their groups.
Having an order of priority of which units are closer to the front page and being able to change it later.
Especially if your new (or again having a bad memory like me) for remembering rules, and abilities, as it can be a bit annoying fiddling with the app or going through a huge book.
I bookmarked all the pages of the models I have and that I use to play for my Chaos book but (those books are too nice to use any type of adhesive to stick them on), I would lose the bookmarks etc.
Plus doing a nice handwritten notebook, and a version I can modify easily and add to, on the computer as well, can be wonderful creatively. It helps you to see what models you need, if you have any weaknesses, whilst I also find that it helps to see the abilities or spells that you (definitely ME, ME, ME!) might be forgetting, that could be detrimental to the final results of a game.
I'm looking forward to showing you whats soon to come, if it helps than fantastic!
Since my last entry, my chaos army came to a standstill for several weeks due to exams. Now that I've finished my exams I have been able to get my hands on a Silver Tower box and I love the overall look of all the models. My main aim is to use the Tzeentch models to represent the Tzeentchian part of my force. So far I have been painting the cultists and the horrors, in addition to working on my remaining Blightkings, Bloab and Varanguard. Here's some work in progress shots of these models, most of which are almost complete. I cannot wait to begin working on the Tzaangor, the Ogroid and the Gaunt Summoner himself. To keep a trend within my entire force I have also decided to paint the armour on all my models black, in a similar way to Archaon's to show how they are all under his command, while still loyal to their own god.
The second and final AoS game of the weekend (we moved on to X-Wing after that) continued the story from the Pre-Emptive Strike scenario
The newly-arrived Bloodthirster relived Morghur of command (considering he'd made such a mess of stopping the invasion) and gathered all the chaos beasts together to stop the Stormcasts from breaking out of their foothold.
There were a lot more Stormcast to content with than the first scenario, and a Celestant-Prime waiting in the heavens (actually that tower) to lend reinforcement. Fortunately, now there was one greater daemon on the table, Morghur had his eyes on summoning another...
The scenario was Breakthrough, and the full report is here: http://woffboot.blogspot.co.uk/2016/05/woffboot-x-stormcast-vs-chaos-alliance.html
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So we're getting to crunch time. I got a pair of practice games in at my club last Thursday, Stormcast vs Stormcast. My takeaways from this was that positioning is super important and mortal wounds are the primary way to take down Stormcast. Having no real way to negate that, I suppose killing their mortal wound units is the only option. Best defense is a good offense and so on and so on. Lost game one when I didn't kill my opponent's Celestant with his whippy cloak, won game two when I used my whippy cloak and Relictor to kill his Celestant before he got to combat. I also used my prosecutors to tie down His Knight Azyros to avoid the mortal wound bomb.Hopefully I can remember this on Saturday.
As for progress, I had a marathon session Friday and got the base armor color on all the remaining models, finished my first five Liberators and got basing material on the last five judicators. I followed that up by doing five more liberators today. Here's the finished models.
So here's the total of what I've got left to paint before Saturday, minus the Liberators.
I feel I've hit a stride with these. Now that the colors are chosen and the methods of achieving them are understood, progress is moving forward at an excellent clip. I could see having my entire collection done in two weeks. Granted, All I have left after these is a Celestant on Dracoth, a Heraldor, three Retributors and three Prosecutors. I will attempt to take pictures of my games to do a full battle report. Stay tuned for more.
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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.
After spending most of my hobby time on Warseer and seeing the grand alliance as a far more positive environment to grow as a hobbiest I have decided to move my blog here. I have quite a large army painted already and I intend on posting my updates and pictures of my battles here as my forces grow.
I am really proud of my army as it has grown over the past nine months. I intend on getting more Stormcast eternals, a Sylvaneth army, and perhaps some other factions depending on how I feel about future releases. I began this army as a Warrior Chamber of the Astral Templars stormhost but recently I have been contemplating making up my own stormhost with its own unique characteristics and history.
Here are a bunch of pictures from my old posts on the Tale of Painters over on Warseer
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I am laboring to bring my new Flesh-Eater Courts Army to the tabletop. This will be the first army I am doing specifically for Age of Sigmar, and the first army I will be doing from scratch and entirely by myself.
I picked up the King Vlagorescu's Ghoulish Host bundle, along with two more boxes of Crypt Ghouls and three more boxes of Crypt Flayers, and finally two Abhorrent Ghoul King models on foot that I traded for on Bartertown since you cannot pick them up separately.
I have pretty much gotten through assembly and primed them with GW Sand colored primer. I forget the actual name... Zamesi? No matter! I still have some Ghouls to do, but I have plenty on hand :-)
I'm still not 100% sure about the paint scheme, but it will probably be something vaguely like the studio theme, but not as stark. These Mordants are like deranged cannibals, I think they should have a bit more... life to them than the typical Undead :-p
I also use YouTube for occasional discussion, hobby progress and battle reports. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCcc4DbUHob8x5vlS4DBgpKQ
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The First Steps
The tower seemed to glisten on the horizon. Was it possible Old Mags had never ventured this far south and the group had stumbled across a new landmark? There had certainly been no mention of it in the tales he used to tell once too much fire-wine had been drunk back at the clan. There was a rising murmur from the group at his back as they too saw the broken-topped citadel, silhouetted against the monotonous horizon of the southlands, like the hand of a drowning man reaching towards the sky as he slips beneath the waters, never to surface again. The murmur spoke of hope, of a chance for survival. Stot thanked Sen, the Protector God, for answering their prayers and turned to his bedraggled group.
He surveyed the wretched gang of survivors, all that was left of his clan. They wearily rested on the hafts of spears, or slumped on the ground and shared what little water remained amongst themselves. It had been a long day, fighting and latterly running for their lives. The last few stragglers caught up with the group, chivvied along by Cathis, one of the women who had fought their way out of the chaos last night alongside him and was quickly becoming the one person in the group Stot knew he could rely on.
“Cathis, look! We might find shelter there. If we can out-pace the Orruks before Tah consumes the sun, casting the world into darkness, we might be able to hide.” She approached, the weariness he felt showing in her face. Cathis peered into the distance as she stood next to him. “Is it… shining?” she asked, her expression of hope turning to confusion and concern.
Stot looked over his shoulder at the group of his blood-kin and their first-chosen. How the best warriors amongst his clan could be reduced to such a sorry state was almost unimaginable. More than half carried wounds of a sort, some which would likely be fatal over the weeks to come. If they could survive that long. Truly they had lost Sen’s blessing. But perhaps He had given them once last chance - a chance to survive and prove themselves to Him again.
“Clan-kin! We must not rest for long, the Orruks will reach us soon. We must seek shelter before Tah takes the light from us and the darkness comes.” He drew a deep breath and summoned the courage for the last stretch across the barren southlands.
“We must reach the silver tower!”
A Rough Draft
I painted up a very rough colour scheme test for my Tzeentch army last night, as well as a test base. It’s only single colour and wash, with no additional highlights, as I was just testing the colour scheme rather than completing a “test model”.
The model itself is an old Ungor I received in an eBay lot. It’s got horrendous mould lines on its legs, but I’ll be sure to clean the rest of them up before painting next time. I used Scale 75 Adriatic Blue for the skin, followed by a Army Painter Dark Tone ink wash, mixed up with a bit of Vallejo Glaze Medium so the wash didn’t overpower the blue. Metallics are purely Retributor Gold followed by a black wash, but I’ll look to try and change some of the colour of these by adding a purple glaze, hopefully that’ll make the armour look a bit more “Tzeentchy”.
The base is the piece I’m not sure about. Whilst the guide for black marble by @MengelMiniatures is excellent, I’m not 100% sure I want to spend all that time on 100 bases. My other option is to go for something a bit lighter, to make it look like sandstone flagstones rather than black marble. Less exciting, but certainly more conducive to me remaining sane. Does that base look any good? What else could I do to improve them?
Let me know what you think! Stay tuned to find out what happens to the motley gang of humans as they venture towards the Silver Tower!
I've decided to do a charity raffle army, so here are the Khorne. This army has won a few painting awards as well as other painting nominations at other events. The army comes in at 149 SCGT points. Ticket details not yet sorted, but will be done asap. Here's the charity the proceeds will be going towards https://www.justgiving.com/lucy-buckingham24 . RRP on whole army comes to around £500.
Thankss for looking, and be sure to get yourself a ticket.
The Seraphon have a bunch of angry tree friends to fight along side them. The Sylvaneth are suffering from this unnatural winter created by the vile Skaven and awakened to reclaim their home within the realm of Life again. I'm not sure yet how large this force is going to be yet. Dryads, with a Branchwraith, a Treelord and probably a Treelord Ancient.
I used the winter scheme from the How to Paint Citadel Miniatures Dryads book. It's ridiculously easy and fast to paint and the result looks very good! She was done in 3 hours or so.
Looking forward to paint the rest of the lot and I wonder how this scheme will translate on the Fey Sylvaneth!
Those rumoured Sylvaneth releases can't come soon enough methinks!
Today is a double whammy. Intro post as well as some actual content!
So here are my Stormcast Eternals. they aren't much but they are mine. I painted them in a very typical paint scheme, never having used metallic gold before I thought it would be a good opportunity to mess around with some new colours.
I learned a lot from working on these models. It gave me a chance to practice edge highlighting in a way that was pretty forgiving. I also got to expand my colour selection and work on building bright colours up from dark ones. I still have to finish their basing (shade and dry brush), the prosecutors still need some gold highlights and Ionous needs about an hour or two of work, but they are done enough to post. I have two more figures at the moment base coated that I will get to eventually, I also have the Bloodborn side of the starter box to work on, and my special new project...
The first Drakespawn Knight. Bit of a test really. I really like the old skool look of these cold one riders, so I really wanted to give them more of a dungeon-punk vibe. I swapped the slender lance and elegant shield for something a little more gnarly looking. Feel like it fits the rag-tag band of raider which I have in my head.
I might add add a few more bits and bobs to make them more barbaric looking, what do you reckon?
i still ill have a bit of tidying up to do. Smoothing out the GS, mould lines and such.
Excuse the messy desk
Since the Battle for Skull Pass I've always wanted to do a spider themed army. When the Arachnaroks came on the scene spiders became a lot more viable but animosity was crippling to the small bands of five spider riders, who would head for the hills after a couple of casualties. In AOS that all changed and the Spiderfang Venom Mob presented a temptation beyond what I could bare!
For the Spiderfang formation each unit gives buffs to other units making it possible for the spider riders, in ideal circumstances, to dish out mortal wounds on a 4+ hit! There is shooting but with hitting and wounding on 5's you'll be rolling a lot of dice to bring anything half decent down. The Aracknarok spiders make the smaller spider riders immune to battle shock with 8'' making them a real 'tar pit', something they normally wound not be on leadership 4 (with the banner they are leadership 6 if NOT in combat!!!! Typical fickle gobos!) While the army cannot fly, it does ignore any terrain when moving. Everything in the army moves at 8' so nothings getting let behind.
My three aracknaroks, two with flingers and one with a Shaman, are the center piece visually of the army in three different colours. The leader of the army is the Bigboss on the Gigantic Spider.
I will do a more detail write up up anyone is interested but for now I'll just show a few photos. Whole army took me three days to convert (spider riders), build (big boys) and paint (everything) so bare this in mind when criticizing the paintwork. There will be some tufts added when I next go to a show.
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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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 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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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.
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.
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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