Building A Warhammer 40,000 Apocalypse Army



The apocalypse is looming…

What to bring to the game…

Let’s talk about building a Warhammer 40,000 Apocalypse army specifically for the rules of the game. Most players will just take their regular Warhammer 40K army and bump it up by X number of points to bring it to 2500-3000 points (usual per player points) and call it a day. You can do this, but I really feel one is then missing out on the opportunity an apoc game can bring. This is your chance to move beyond the limitations of codex, allies, and the constraints of 6th edition. This is your chance to build and play some interesting combos, field some super heavies if you have them, or run some apocalypse formations.

As much as each apocalypse game is different at the gaming club I play events are usually around ten players on each side at 2000-2500 points per player. To give you an idea on how big this can be…



So what are the Eldar going to bring to this game?

Besides the personal challenge to Warmaster Black Matt I personally want to focus on some key units on the table and really push what they can do, in addition to setting the personal goal of not losing a single drop of Eldar blood in such a massive battle- let the mon-kei sacrifice themselves…

The key to this is going to be running multiple farseers to support each model group on the table- taking advantage of no force org chart means I can do this! The first farseer will have fortune, guide and stones, and the second will have the same powers + 2 and stones that will be swapped out for the psychic cards with invisibility being the key to making this work.

Both have runes of warding and witnessing- runes of warding are broken in apoc as they effect the entire other side of the table. For this game I’m taking them to help my team due to the lack of models, but normally I wouldn’t take them in an apoc game since it could spoil other players fun in trying to get off psychic powers etc.

My army build is going to be one of support- plinking away at the incoming forces with its core being two weapon support platforms and a unit of pathfinders. First two groups are a shadow weaver platform for the range and a vibro cannon for the ability to hit multiple units along the way- perfect for a packed apoc battle field. To them we add a conceal warlock to 100% get the 2+ cover save (invis + fortune) and the two farseers.

For these two units positioning is key and I might have to be out in the open to get the best lane of fire so that is why I’m bringing my own cover. If I can get cover then I hate to say it, the warlock peeks out front to take the incoming shots, not that I’m planning to lose a single model.

Third group is again two farseers, same plan only with ten pathfinders which will be a ton of fun to play with the range and elevation. I can’t infiltrate them, but why would I want to do that? I just need a nice slightly elevated bit of terrain on my side of the table with a field of view to the center and I’m in business picking out IC’s and sniping flying monstrous creatures. The fortune farseer is also going to be a big help throwing up guide when I need sixes to hit- plus they are AP 1 with the ranger rifles- boom!

And finally the fourth group I’m brining is swooping hawks with a skyleap exarch to drop templates on the table each turn along with being a delivery system for my Autarch in the last turn to issue a challenge to Black Matt’s chaos lord…

So based on the idea of bringing the most un-killable “units” along with having some range to reach out and kill the opposing sides that is about as hard as I can bring based on models. Also keeping track of only four units on the table makes managing them much easier so the day can be more social over pushing around hundreds of models just because I can. I’ll leave that to BC James and his Tyranids…

Upcoming Apocalypse Game & Calling Out The Warmaster Black Matt…





It’s been a while since I’ve played an Apocalypse sized game, probably over a year if I really think back, so I’m double excited that the Battle for Salvation gaming club is hosting one on Saturday November 3rd 2012. Theme is Imperial vs. Chaos and I expect this to be the launch of a new black crusade with the advent of the new chaos codex.

Lots of chaos players have been waiting for this day…

Sides are taking shape, but where will Fritz cast his lot?

Chaos?

Loyalist?

Eldar.

Honor demands it.

2500 points per player and no force org means I can play Eldar as they were meant to be played and can get around the limitations of a 4th edition codex without having to rely on allies. I don’t know about you, but Fritz will never ally with the mon-kei, such is my pride that I would sooner join ranks with my dark kin.

But this game is also about personal glory…

…and revenge.



The farseers of the craftworld have cast the runes and divined the warp and they see the rise of a new chaos warlord, one who would bring ruin to thousands of planetary systems and forge worlds in the Imperium, which normally would not even warrant a single tear from the seers, but their runes also point to the potential loss of a craftworld which is beyond the unthinkable. A few thousand Eldar are not worth billions of the mon-kei…

Tasked by the seers I will be leading my Autarch on the table with the personal agenda of finding this new warlord and putting him to the sword before he can rise to power.

And who commands this pawn of chaos?

The Warmaster Black Matt.

Warmaster, I’m calling you out, will you accept my challenge?

Will you meet my Autarch on the field of battle with your chaos lord and accept my challenge to one on one combat?


Glory awaits...

Runebound Board Game Review



Nothing related to 40K, so indulge me as I write about one of my favorite board games- easily in my top five up there with Space Hulk and Battletech…

RUNEBOUND!

I’m a sucker for D&D like RPGs so anything that can deliver that fix in a single setting with no requirement to run the game as a DM is good. Runebound also has the fun of leveling up, collecting gold and loot, and tackling an epic story line.



Unlike a dungeon crawl the setting takes place over land with colored encounter tokes scattered on the board representing challenges your hero can take on- green are the easiest, yellow harder, purple insane, and red are the end bosses. You land on a space, draw a card and resolve it. Cards can be the obvious RPG monster encounter, or an event that changes the realm, buried treasure, a quest to undertake, etc. There is a good mix of both which helps creates the atmosphere of the game as an actual world over just rolling dice and hacking monsters.



And speaking of dice, there is an interesting mechanic for that- you roll a set of dice coded to the squares on the map- roads, rivers, forests, mountains, and open plains, and then move your hero blending both where you want to go and where you can go.

Also scattered about the board are various cities where you can hire additional characters, buy magic items, heal up, and sell your loot. There is a huge magic item/market deck which fills each city each time a character enters which creates a nice variety for each game.



For the base game (there are many expansions) the main story has the heroes trying to defeat the dragon lords- long dead from the dragon wars, an ambitious necromancer is trying to resurrect them, and awaken the ruler of the dragon lords Margrath who the players must ultimately defeat. Given the additional encounter quests, monsters to fight, stuff to buy, and the main quest you can literally get a dozens of hours of play before you start to see some repetition, which is then easily supplemented by buying the quest pack cards which change the main quest for $8-$10 bucks a pop.

One of the main complaints about the game is the time it takes to play and the “down time” between each player turn, but I feel like this is really short sighted and missing the point of the game.

From a wargame perspective we are used to PvP- there may be a “story” to the game, but for the game itself two players are going head to head to see who wins. Period. In Runebound, while there are PvP mechanics, to keep everybody happy, they are not encouraged.

RB is more about watching a story unfold from both the perspective of your hero and the other players in the game- I actually find the game relaxing as I get to sit back after my turn and watch the other players read and interact with the challenge cards and encounters seeing if they would make the same decisions I would.

The 40K Tipping Point


I would perhaps be lying to you if I said winning my 40K games wasn’t important- we all like to win with our toy soldiers, but as you progress in the hobby other aspects of the game become just as or more important, painting, narratives, collecting- this is a natural part of the hobby and is one of the things that prevents gaming burnout.

For privacy reasons I perhaps can’t name names, but I need to give props and some respect to a fellow gamer at the club since we are talking about the hobby…

When you start out in 40K in a club environment there is a huge learning curve, and in many ways it is a harder place to thrive then playing in the basement with your friends. In a basement gaming group all of you are at the same level and grow/learn together, while in a club the new player to the hobby get’s to roll their dice against all types of characters- fluff bunnies, hobbyists, casual players, WAAC players, etc.

It can be a very tough environment despite being a game…

So we have player C. at the club, a good guy, fun to play against, but he isn’t the best player in the club, and he regularly goes up against some of the best and most ruthless bastards among us, at times myself included.

Games were “fun”, and my Saim-Hann slaughtered him with little effort, but he kept on playing and playing, taking the beatings with a smile, and never turning down a game with me.

Is it fun shooting fish in a barrel?

Then one day, something bizarre happened, my Saim-Hann lost, completely routed, and blasted off the table- and I couldn’t even blame it on the dice.

C.’s first win against me, and he couldn’t have been happier- and I through my best at him.

Over the next few months I continued to beat him, but the games got closer and closer…

…and then the losses against him started creeping in…

…till six edition right now where my Eldar just can’t seem to beat his Space Wolves- he’s undefeated against me!

C. has arrived, and is now one of the more formidable players in the club.

So besides saying good job C. there is a progression in the hobby here- there are times you take beating after beating and feel like you are not progressing in the hobby from a win/tactical point of view, but you are, you just don’t know it.

Have the tenacity to keep playing, and playing against good opponents and at some point you will reach that 40K tipping point and start winning more games then you lose- eventually taking down those self appointed top dogs in the club like myself.

I’m proud of you C. for what it’s worth.

Battleforce Recon Lists II: Stepping Up The Power Level



In my last post we looked at building a 500 point battleforce recon list from a conservative level, following a template of unit criteria that I like to use…

…so now let’s throw that all to the wind, and be a bit more aggressive. Maybe it is the call of the avatar that I feel?

What’s the one unit in the Eldar codex that kills things dead no matter what?

Power armored infantry…dead.

Monstrous creatures…dead.

Walkers…dead.

Terminators…dead.

Vehicles…dead.

Well, you get the idea.

Fire Dragons!

Let’s build a 500 point battleforce recon list around them. Of course we start with ten strong- ten fusion guns and melta bombs, and then add an exarch with a pike and crack shot. I don’t mind spending the extra points (exarch tax) for wargear which should be standard on a “sarge”, but the extra range and ability to ignore cover is huge even for only one shot.

These guys are going to be the wedge we drive forward so naturally again we want farseer support with fortune, but compromises have to be made, so no runes of warding or mindwar. I can live without the mindwar, but runes hurt…

For troops it’s guardians since 150+ point were blown on the dragons- two guardian groups with EML’s for krak or templates- again on hangs back and shoots and the other moves forward in support of the dragons and to capture objectives they sweep clear.

And then a shadow weaver again for the points, range, and template support.

10 melta guns

2 krak missils

3 templates

And lots of shuriken shots.

Warhammer Battleforce Recon Lists


How much Eldar trickery can we squeeze into a 500 point list for Battleforce Recon- the skirmish based mission in the back of the big rule book next to the narrative missions? Well, we first have to start with an HQ choice and two troops and then from there fill out the rest of the list with the toys to get the job done.

For the majestic Eldar this is a challenge, since unlike the mon-kei we struggle with our troop choices since they aren’t cheap- essentially it is a compromise between effective but expensive dire avengers or rangers (pathfinders are out at 500 points) or guardians at around 100 points a pop who you pray will hold the line.



500 points to make it happen…

…so let’s look at my standard 500 point list, how it has evolved, and what the driving force is behind it.

HQ begins with a farseer of course, since she brings two important things to the table- psychic support via fortune and runes of warding. In smaller point games psychic powers scale up in power with what they can kill and how they affect the game, so naturally we want to use this, and shut down our opponents use at the same time.

Consider how deadly a rune priest could be, or even a generic librarian…

Runes of warding help shut that down, with the deny the witch roll as a second layer of defense- 1 in 6 odds are pretty good, but not for a first layer.

We then add fortune which will later boost our dire avengers which will operate much like a seer council in larger games, and finally mind war to take out pesky HQ choices and for opportunities that might come up in the game.

Troops then start with a group of dire avengers, ten strong, which join the farseer and get fortune thrown up on them- a 50/50 armor save with the re-roll or cover save re-rolls as needed which boosts their staying power considerably.

The pattern here is that I’m also trying to spend around 100 points on each unit to get some decent numbers on the table, which we are now going to break with including a wraithlord- which has a reason, and not just because I love the model.



Much like psychic power make a difference in smaller games, monstrous creatures can potentially have a huge impact, and while wraithlords are again expensive compared to other MC models in other codexes, T8 in a smaller game, combined with multi-wounds can be a real threat.

Since we are multi-tasking with each unit, the WL has a star cannon to bypass marines and other MC’s along with a sword so it can re-roll the assaults- it will be moving, shooting, and assaulting alongside the dire avengers.

For our second troop choice we then have to go on the cheap- guardians, and they take a missile launcher in support so they can option between the krak and frag…excuse me plasma….missiles. Tactically they are going to sit on a far objective and at least have range to shoot in support of the advancing dire avengers and wraithlord, and if a unit outflanks or somehow closes with them, then they spray and pray with the shuriken catapults and then charge.

The last element in our list, and one where Eldar actually beat most of the other books is with a shadow weaver support battery for 30 (!) points. Durable, range, and a template means each turn it is doing something, and template weapons, like psychic powers, make a huge difference in smaller point games where their potential wound multipliers add a ton of potential to the table.

The army builder template I like to follow is basically….

Do you have a psyker or psychic support?

Do you have a monstrous creature?

Do you have template support?

…what can you build in your codex to take advantage of this?

Xeno Aegis Defense Line Options?




So now that purchasable terrain is officially part of 40K are you considering taking any in your list? Does it actually add value to your army or is more of a cool gaming options?

At a few recent events I have of course been seeing lots of Aegis Defense line and I have to say in 2000+ points games these seem like a no brainer. Cover that you get to place plus a gun emplacement- why not? Non power armor armies love it.

I’ve definitely included a set in my WIP 6th edition army, not so much for the gun, which while I am taking it to shoot not so much at flyers but rather flying monstrous creature spam which is the new spam of 40K, but rather for the 4+ cover wall which I really need to help make my list work.

My 6th army is Imperial based so I had it easy- just go out and but the Aegis kit, but what about my Eldar or even Tyranids as I’ll still be playing them, so no worries!

I’ve been checking out some other blogs for ideas and the two best that I have seen so far- for both Tyranids and Eldar are:

Defense line? Yes or No? What army are you playing?



Awesome ideas! Check them out:


40K 6th Edition: What Point Level?



What point level is 40K best played at? Many might complain that there is no “official” set point level which balances the game, although we could argue that it was set at 1500 points, but in not setting an point level Games Workshop has allowed gamers to enjoy any level of models in the game.

For the most part when tends to drive the point level played is the supported tournament scene in the area since that tends to drive the organization of the hobby. When I started playing 40K hardcore in 3rd edition 1500 points was the gold standard, then GW organized their Gran Tournaments and bumped it up to 1750 which seemed so radical at the time, then came 1850, 2000, and now 2500 points- think Necron flying circus is bad now, imagine it at 2500 points!

Some guys wanted more toys on the table without having to make any army decisions, they wanted tanks, and tactical, and HQ, and anti-tank, and fast attack, while others wanted to allow army builds that could handle all the elements of the game to truly have a competitive gaming environment so tournament losses were because you lost the game though bumbling tactics over poor unit choices or just being outclassed. 40K 5th edition really drove this to the point of only facing mono-builds of Space Marines and Grey Knights in every tournament and every table.


 
It’s no secret that I’m a fan of smaller games, almost skirmish levels, and 6th edition has really rewarded me, especially with Dark Vengeance. I’ve really been liking 500-1000 point games more than ever. I used to like them (read in 5th edition) because I could get in 3-4 games a night at the club, and tactically had to make choices with what to bring to the table- couldn’t have my cake and eat it also. Well now in 6th with the narrative system I’m loving it even more- less units on the table mean mysterious objectives and mysterious terrain really make a difference and but a spin on the units that encounter it, rather than just being washed over or even ignored since there are hundreds of more models on the table. I just find it easier to get into the narrative feel with less on the table, visually it is also nicer.

So what have you guys been seeing in your groups- how has the change in rules and narrative aspects of the game changed things? Are you playing at less points? The same? More?

What point levels are the tournaments in your area?

How has 6th shaped them?

40K 6th Edition: The Rise Of Plasma?


If you have been playing 40K for any amount of time you realize that as much as the units found in the game change, the basic weapons don’t change that much- and it is in this lack of change that we get weapon cycles as GW rewrites the core rules from addition to addition.

Anybody remember the assault cannon spam lists of mid to late 4th edition? When rending was done on the hit and these things spit out a couple of shots all hitting on a 3+ they were the thing to spam, and boy did marines spam them…

…and then fifth rolled around and vehicle became unkillable , rending switched to the wound roll, and melta was the answer to anything- leading to the rise of melta on any model that could carry it.

There was a time plasma was the bomb, and I believe that time has come back around full circle. I’m starting to see it’s rise in my local gaming area and on the tournament scene. Fortunately I’ve always loved plasma on the tabletop, and I’m even more tickled that the DA boys in Dark Vengeance carry it as it will be a source of cheap plasma for my new marine chapter as the sets hit ebay for cheap.



“But plasma will overheat and kill you!”

This is what I hear all the time from many players which is what keeps them from dismissing plasma wholesale.

SO?

Sure the gun will overheat from time to time, and even kill a dude if you fail that 3+ armor save, but if you take enough plasma in your list it will even out over time and won’t impact the game by spreading the rolls over the dice.

We don’t get upset when a single melta-gun misses? Why? Because we have dozens of them in the list.

Plasma is the magic bullet of 40K. Plasma is awesome for bypassing all the perks that space marine have- good toughness, armor saves, etc.

It wounds most things on a 2+ and on the few higher toughness models it will also get through at least half of the time. No armors saves allowed means models are removed on the wound, or have to rely on cover- which can be useful as a tactic in itself.

Taking mass plasma both in rapid fire and template form forces your opponent to perhaps stick to cover more and more, trying to go for the 5+ cover save over just getting vaped in the open. Use that and objective placement to give yourself an edge in the game.

If you are playing marines it comes in both rapid fire and template form for more variety, and compared to many of the other special weapons it is pretty cheap in points.

The only place I would say NO to plasma is on a sergeant with a power fist- too much risk for the conservative general, but on a chain sword sarge- hand out the plasma!

With the switch to hull points, plasma will strip and kill anything other than a land raider so you also have your anti-tank built in right there.

Why wouldn’t one take mass plasma spam if you were playing space marines and could get it on the cheap with 3+ plasma type weapons in each unit?

Is this the rise of plasma?

Will we all be bitching about how spammy plasma has become a year from now?

And tell my WHY chaos space marines don't have access to plasma cannons?

Eldar Guardian Tactics: Send In The Guardians!


Continuing our thread on understanding Eldar we now turn our attention to the humble guardian….

Round up the farmers, artisans, poets, and writers, issue them a shuriken catapult and give one of them the remote control for the weapons platform and send them off to war. Anybody with a lick of talent was lucky to join one of the aspects, so really guardians are essentially conscripts.

I often state that you can’t play Eldar like Space Marines, and while this might seem an obvious statement to make, really understanding it is what will make or break your success with the army.

Many of the players in 40K play space marines and are used to fighting space marines, they are used to T4 and actual armor saves on their troops. Used to cheap wargear, choice of both special weapons and heavy weapons in their tactical squads, and the ability to use special rules like chapter traits, etc. Tactical squads = troops and Guardians = troops are not equal.

Space marines are used to their troop choices actually being effective on the table, troops that can hold their own against most things in the game and stand a chance of beating it or at least putting some serious hurt on it. Eldar guardians are not like this, they can’t go head to head with other troop choices in the game…

As troop choices they, along with rangers, and dire avengers are your troop choices, and despite their shortcomings are an important part in your list- actually necessary to make Eldar work.

Sure you can take dire avengers, which while still suffering with T3 and a 4+ save at least give you some options with the exarch and wargear, and actually they are pretty good- but they are EXPENSIVE for what they do, and to successfully leverage Eldar on the table you need a good chunk of points to field the various aspects if you want to win- you need cheap troops so you can get all the other “stuff” you need into your list.

Rangers and dire avengers should be included, but your core troop choices, the guys sitting on your back objectives, and taking center mid field stuff once the way is clear are the guardians.

So how do you make them work?

Simple, they don’t work alone, and much like everything Eldar, the aspect warriors and their correct application in terms of when and where to strike win the day and take the field.

Deployment.

My guardians take the field on my back field objectives- spread out so my opponent can’t catch all of them in a sweeping advance or multiple assaults. Center to this are my aspect warriors who are waiting to see which guardian group they need to support.

Guardian weapon platforms shoot at targets in support of my advancing seer council, and as my opponent’s models come in to kill the guardians either through shooting or assault that is when I take a moment to look and ask- ok what is heading towards the guardians, tactical marines, terminators, jacked up assault marines, etc. so what aspect can counter them- that is aspect I send to engage the incoming unit.

Now Eldar are an old codex, very old, and marines continue to get more and more jacked up, so often the aspects just weaken the incoming units, the days of easily killing base marines with aspects are long past, BUT now they are taken down enough in strength and numbers that the guardians can take them on and win.

THAT is how you use guardians and assure the “win”- tag team with the aspects and then send in the guardians!