Thursday, September 1, 2011

Quiet in gaming world...

My oldest son started Pop Warner Football in August. He's 7, and I think he's starting to regret the is a lot of work! His practices are every weekday from 6-8pm. Yikes! I've had almost no time for gaming, but have managed to get some Vassal time in.

I've been very lacks at taking screenshots for battle reports, mainly due to me playing very late and over multiple days (on Vassal you can save a game in-situ and return to it later...a God-send for working parents that struggle to find time for toys!). I joined the "3++ Is The New Black" Vassal 40k Ladder League, where I've been tweaking my Dark Eldar list to try to find something that plays profoundly different from Venom/Lance/Blaster spam but still be effective.

Well, I've managed to find the different, but so far it hasn't been effective. :) Mainly I attribute that to my own shortcomings...compounded by not starting games until nearly 10pm when I'm already three-quarters asleep! Seriously, I make some flat out STUPID mistakes when playing late at night!!

Well, in my quest for something a bit different, I've embraced the use of the Baron and a big blob of Hellions. I got in touch with Xaereth at the blog "Delusions of Grandeur" and had a bit of back and forth on the list, and have settled in to the following:

-Baron Sathonyx Malagant
-7 Incubi; Raider: Flickerfield, Enhanced Aethersails
-3 Wracks; Venom: Splinter Cannon Upgrade
-5 Warriors with 1 Blaster; Venom: Splinter Cannon Upgrade
-5 Warriors with 1 Blaster; Venom: Splinter Cannon Upgrade
-5 Warriors with 1 Blaster; Venom: Splinter Cannon Upgrade
-19 Hellions including Helliarch with Agonizer
-6 Reavers with 2 Heat Lances
-6 Reavers with 2 Heat Lances
-6 Reavers with 2 Heat Lances

-3 Ravagers with Lances and Flickerfields

It's really a substantial difference from what I'm used to having. I'm struggling to make it work...I get individual parts to work great, but fail to keep it all together.

The Baron brings a lot to the table. While he's a bit weaker than an Archon, he's actually cheaper than an Archon with the same equivalent wargear (PGL and Shadowfield are 50 points total, making an Archon 115...Baron's only 105). On top of those things, he gives the +1 on the who-goes-first die. Priceless there...if my stat-math is right, that takes it from going first half the time to two-thirds. And what he does for Hellions is pretty significant too...troops, stealth, re-roll dangerous terrain, re-roll hit & run I test AND distance.

The Haemonculous is there just for pain point shenanigans and to make Wracks troops. He starts with the Hellions, leaving them his Pain Point on turn 1. This gives them FNP. When combined with their stealth cover save, this makes them pretty hard to hurt.

The Wracks are a cheap scoring unit in a Venom...dakka dakka...and they provide the second pain point for the swaparoo...the Baron starts with the Wracks, then leaves taking their Pain with him to join the Hellions, who already have one Pain from the Haemonculous...voila: instant Furious Charge! These guys tend to attract a lot of attention for some reason. I think folks assume that since they started with a pain point they must be mean? I don't know...shoot em up, I'm happy of these are shot at instead of something else!

The Incubi folks keep trying to talk me out of, but I've yet to be disappointed. See, I know what they'll do if they get in to melee with an MEQ unit...even assault terminators will crumble. My opponents do too. So, these guys are almost always the primary target. Folks bombard them with every gun they have to try to kill them. These are guns that could be shooting at my Reavers or Hellions...and I'd much rather they survive! I'd love to have some way to get a pain point on these guys to start with, but I don't see a way to make that would really make getting rid of them hard! But as it is, they MUST be shot at, and it basically trades their 200'ish points to save the 600'ish points of hellions and reavers. And ya know, there have been a few games where they weren't made a priority, and even against non-MEQ they just flat out beat stuff up! They look dead-sexy, too...I don't see getting rid of them :) Moreover, the Aethersails lets me deploy them behind the venoms, reavers, and hellions...or terrain, preferably...for a cover save, and be able to flat-out across the table to force engagement when/where I want. Cool!

3 minimum Warrior units with Blasters and Venoms. I tend to keep them together, thinking of them as a mini-Ravager with a million Splinter shots. Folks don't like Venoms, so these things tend to go down quick, even with Covers. I need to get better at keeping them "less dangrous" looking until the Hellions and Reavers can shut down some firepower.

The Reavers are a big change for me. I'm used to having two min squads that I use more for disruption than anything. Now they're being forced to pick up the load as the primary vehicle killers. I have 10 Lances and 3 Blasters still...but I'm used to having ~25 total. These guys are where I'm really struggling with learning-curve. I keep getting them too far forward, letting them get assaulted before they get to do their job killing tanks. Why do I trade Blasters for these? My math says it takes 13.5 Lance shots to kill (wreck or explode) an AV12+ vehicle...but it takes just over 5 Heat Lance shots to do the same. So a Heat Lance...when it can get in position to the same as having about 2.5 regular Lances. Add in the ability to either jetbike-assault-move 6" backwards to get in to cover and hopefully prevent being assaulted, and the ability to charge in and kill whatever fell out of the transport they just blew up, and these guys seem to have a lot more value than a bunch of Raiders holding warriors in the backfield. Add in their 36" turbo move, blade-vane attacks, and ability to provide cover to things behind them when moving in the assault phase (they're big enough to obscure Venoms, I think!), and the value is pretty clear. Two squads might even gang up on a Long Fang or Dev squad with good chance of success...not counting drug, 36 attacks, 18 hits, 6 wounds, 2 unsaved...4 attacks back, 2 hits, 1 wound, I win by one and hopefully finish them off during their next turn. Any of the drugs except #1 will help in this regard. But, the trick is me learning to not waste them too early!

The Ravagers are ubiquitous. They're such a value it's hard for me to imagine using anything else in my Heavy slots. Although...I do have this idea of three Talos coming out of a WWP...but that's another list entirely! :) 9 Lances moving fast with saves...can't go wrong here. I'd like to have points to put shcok-prows on them to push folks off objectives late games, but can't scrape them up. There job is more suppression (stun-locking) now, as I have the Reavers and Hellions to kill vehicles...yes, Hellions to kill vehicles!

And my giant herd of 20 Hellions. These guys are a blast to play, though more finesse than the brute force I'm used to using. I want my Lance shots to stun/immobilize stuff so these guys can swoop in and hit with their three S5 attacks each...on rear armour, that's pretty dangerous! Factor in some drugs that might give them S6 or 4 attacks, and watch out! I want these guys to multi-charge, getting several guys on several vehicles, and getting tied up with a nice non-kill unit that I won't wipe out in one turn (ie pretty much anything with power armour and no power weapons!). They're swinging S5 at I7 on the charge, have 5+/FNP to keep most of them standing, and can hit & run away to come back next turn. Taht's the theory, anyway. What I consistently do is either kill things outright and get shot A LOT (though they typically do great taking out vehicles and squads alike), or get tied up with things that beat them up too badly (ie too many power weapons!). Their Fleet has me running them to get in assault pretty often, though I've got to practice using their shooting more...that's 40 shots at 18" range...more than 3 Venoms worth of shooting. Those shots should drop 4 MEQ, then on the assault the 54 S5 attacks at I7 should wipe out the the Agonizer and Baron's attacks thrown in to make up for the bad dice :)

So I bought all this stuff...the wife has no idea how much money I just spent, and I sincerely hope she doesn't find out! I've begun assembly of Baron Malagant's Flying Circus, and painting will begin this weekend. I know, I haven't finished my Hordes stuff yet, but I have a tight schedule.

See, I really like going to tournaments. And I haven't been to one in a long time...not since last winter. So, I'm going to the Battle for Salvation in White Plains (about 45 mins drive). I expect the competition will be pretty strong, as it was my last few times there. Last time I managed 4th out of about 50, I think, and won a cool GF9 template gizmo...hopefully I can do as well this year!

My hope is that this DE list is "quirky" enough that most folks won't know what to expect. I don't think folks will see the Reavers for what they are...anti-vehicle and infantry mop-up. I don't think the folks will see the Hellions for what they are...anti-vehicl and infantry mop-up. We'll see if I can pull it off, but it will take lots of practice! Sadly, games are harder and harder to get at the store, as Bobby's football practice keeps me away half the time, and all the other tournament competitive guys seem to have gone and found real lives...damn them and their women! So, I forsee more painful Vassal games and lots of begging from Eric and Sean to play. Perhaps I'll find a smaller local tourney to try?

Who knows? Maybe I'll get no practice games and show up cold and get beat...I don't really care, I just want to do something different and have some fun with my Kabal! :)

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