Sunday, June 29, 2014

I Have No Idea



I've been getting a lot of folks asking me how I feel about the Ork codex so far.  I've only read it and not played a thing.  My initial reactions are that I am very confused.  I am honestly not sure how I'm supposed to use this book.  I'm assuming the answer is "However you please," of course, but that's not really good enough for me.

WAAGH! Drillteef is a Brainboy-Heavy force which uses lots of vehicles and dabbles in Warp manipulation and tactical legerdemain.  I think this Codex is going to do a lot for my army from a fluff perspective.  I believe I can use this Codex to build an army which very closely reflects what WAAGH! Drillteef would look on the battlefield.

Multiple Combined Arms Detachments or Self-Allying


I think the new Ork Codex is a pretty good example of why we should be allowing players to take multiple Combined Arms Detachments or, in lieu of that, simply allowing them to ally with themselves. I think these lists should really shine when you allow them to put more HQs in the squads to make them more survivable when they start taking these horrible Mob Rule checks.



Brainboy HQs


I love what I can do with Meks now.  Truly, this is my favorite part of the book.  Only in my wildest dreams did I think I'd be able to pick up extra Meks to distribute throughout the army.  This allows me to truly make WAAGH! Drillteef into the Mek-led force I've always wanted it to be.  From a storytelling perspective, this is a huge win for me.

Being able to move the Painboy from unit to unit is a great boon.  I'm excited that Mad Doc Drillteef will have some cool assistants to help him fix up da Boyz during a battle.   I can't wait to try a list which brings Mad Doc, two Painboys, and a Big Mek along with four Meks in two detachments.  I'm thinking this will help mitigate a lot of issues with Leadership, staying power, and flexibility in the average Ork list.

Dedicated Transports


The inclusion of Dedicated Transports for units of Burnas, Lootaz, Tankbustas, and Flash Gitz is a huge improvement.  You no longer need to bring Battlewagons from the Heavy slot to protect them from an alpha strike.  Also, really, shouldn't these units, above all others, be able to rig together a vehicle of their own?



Trukks are Fast Attack


It might be advisable to bring an extra Trukk or two to the battle if you're finding yourself not using your Fast Attack slots.  It might be nice to leave them in reserve and use them to hunker down in later in the game.

Buggies Seem Awesome


At the low-low price of 125 points, you can add a squad of 5 Rokkit buggies to your army.  I dunno about you folks, but this seems like quite the steal.  They have pretty good range and have the added bonus of being a wall of dangerous terrain if they're wrecked by small arms fire.  They can also fairly reasonably shoot down a flyer with 5 twin-linked Strength 8 shots.  At 125 points and 10 hull points, and with that maneuverability, I'll take that over a Psyfleman Dread any day of the week.

Some Obvious Winners


I think Mek Gunz and Meganobz will be some very popular choices.  Mek Gunz are going to be really nice for plugging holes in a list.  If you're finding yourself unable to deal with a specific kind of unit, the Mek Gunz have a solution for it sitting on the backfield with Toughness 7.



As for Meganobz, they simply do not care about the Mob Rule table.  Their 7 Leadership was always a pretty bad detriment to them and now at least they have a chance of staying in the fight.  Meganobz are the one unit that Mob Rule actually improves.


Additionally, I'm going to be turning into quite the Ork Hipster.  I've taken Mad Doc in almost every game for the past 3-4 years.  Now that he's one of the cool kids on the block, I'm not going to be alone and I will not hesitate to point every opponent who balks my use of him to this Blog to set the record straight!

Mob Rule and Boyz


I'm not sure what to say at this point.  Below 10 models, it gives you hope, but losing fearless while not receiving a points adjustment does give me pause.  I have concerns.  I must say that the very concept of 30 Boyz having to take a Leadership check for anything (and this is just real talk here, so please bear with me), well, it kind of pisses me off.  I can't imagine a giant Mob of Boyz caring one whit about the scary Chaos Space Marines they are assaulting.  I can't imagine them caring at all about the 8 Boyz lost in shooting... they've still got 22 others!

I'm very leary about taking things just to mitigate the table.  A Stompa or Gazghkull would do wonders for this, but do I really want to bring a Lord of War to every battle?  I don't think so.  I'm going to, instead, be looking for ways of using deployment, unit composition, challenges, and wargear to mitigate these issues.

Possible Game-Changer


Mad Doc has both Feel No Pain and also Feel No Pain 6+ for no reason. I sent GW a question about this and if Cybork Bodies gets upgraded to a +1 FNP instead of a 6+, this could be a pretty nice game-changer for some units.

Well


I need to play the Codex for a few weeks in order to really give an assessment.  I'm sure I'll find things to enjoy. I hope it's fun!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Loopy Paints Unto Others - Space Marines (Brown)



I've completed another commission for Frontline Gaming.  For this one, the customer chose a brown scheme using the Ravenwing iconography for a generic chapter or chapter of his own devising.  This was a LEVEL 1 commission which means just one highlight.

This was the first time I'd ever done Edge Highlighting which is the preferred method for doing this level of commission.  I know it may seem strange that someone doing commission work hasn't done edge highlighting, but it's just not my preferred method.  I prefer to wet blend everything or just do blocked highlights over darker colors and washes.

The first go-around they looked terrible.  I tried really hard to keep the edge highlights thin and vague, but instead they came out kind of sloppy.  Because of that, I had to spend an additional 4 hours on making the highlight heavier and more pronounced.  The good thing is, I know what I'm doing now and won't make the same mistake again; therefore an army like this will take less time.  In all 40 hours isn't terrible, but I think I can cut it down to 35 without sacrificing quality (which, of course, is the most important thing).

Edge highlighting on the Dreadnought before and after fixing it.  I honestly think it looks pretty great especially considering it's a Level 1 job.
My favorite model is the Captain.  He was painted at a Level 2 standard and I wanted to keep him for myself!  I truly hope the client enjoys fielding these models in battle!




I'm looking forward to my next commission.  Thanks to Wendy who's been taking on extra responsibilities so that I may work at this new part-time job!


Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Orks With Hammerhand and Other Feats of High (WAAGH!) Magic




The title comes with apologies to White Wolf Publishing.

I attended a team tournament at Dirty Goblin Games this past weekend.  With a thousand points each, I brought my Star Eagles with six combat squads in Drop Pods and two Librarians.  My buddy, Skip, brought some of my Orks which were basically a Green Tide list with two Warpheads.




I was very keen to use the new Psychic Phase to see how it was in practice and Skip was acquiescent. So, we each had 4 Warp Charges plus whatever the die rolled.  The rules for that tournament were such that each player could only use his own Warp Charges, but could share the ones rolled on the die.

Some hullabaloo has been made of summoning Daemons and of how Orks have lost their wacky table of powers.  I'm not really going to speak to this very much because I, personally, find Sanctic Daemonology to be a very strong and fun Ork choice at least until we get our new codex.

Note that I am not blind to the fact that the danger of invoking a perils on any double can be quite daunting, but in all honesty, as Ork players, we should be used to our models vaporizing themselves into piles of ash and/or goo by now.

Let's take a look at the list of powers, shall we?

Banishment


The Primaris Power, while not particularly Orky, may end up being a workhorse of many psychic armies.  Even when you must take it in games where there are no enemy Daemons, there is a distinct possibility that some will be summoned throughout the game.  Keep this one handy because it's quite possible you will not have enough dispel dice to stop every successful summon.  Also, I can imagine it'll taste real good to use this on some of the meaner units in the game.  At 3 Warp Charges and negate-able by improved denial, you might still be better off with a buff of some kind.  FAQed to Warp Charge 1! =A=

Gate of Infinity


Hey, look! We still have 'Ere We Go!  Use this as you would have used 'Ere We Go in the past. Teleport scoring units onto objectives, or zoink 30-man Shoota Boyz squads over to the enemy and fill them with holes, or even teleport out of an impossible combat.  Whatever's your poison.

Hammerhand


So, here's the thing.  Hammerhand on a squad of Boyz is so rad I can't even articulate the feeling it gives me.  During the tournament, John's Orks slogged through so many enemies, including the likes of Dreadnoughts and Forgefiends with sickening ease.  Think of the things this allows Orks to handle that we previously couldn't without a klaw.  And the klaw!  A nob swings at Strength 10 whether he's assaulting or not!  Also imagine how much this power helps mitigate the negatives of a disordered charge.  We can multi-assault vehicles again!

Sanctuary


With this power, Orks with Cybork Bodies or a Kustom Forcefield (at least from a Morkanaut... we'll see when the new Codex drops) will have a 4++ save.  This is a really nice bonus for boyz trying to slog across the field.  Just make sure to Place the Boyz who must be outside the KFF in the wake of the KFF because you want the ones with the 4++ to take the first hits.

Also, more Daemon protection isn't a bad thing.

Purge Soul


This is almost exactly the same thing as Zogwort's Curse except the enemy doesn't get cool Squig model to play with and, sadly, Saint Celestine and Necrons can come back from it.  It's also probably more useful because you can use it against any model you like, including that jerkface with the flamer or a single model trying to run and hide and isn't in the unit you want to assault that turn.

Cleansing Flame


Give the enemy a taste of their own medicine!  Of all the other powers, this is probably the least Orky. That's fine.  It may help you even things out in a close combat which is going poorly for you.

Vortex of Doom


If I have to tell you why I consider this power Orky, then I think you need your head examined.  It creates a vortex of power which jumps around the battlefield eatin' gits left and right with impunity. Pure Orky joy made manifest.  The power also adds a lot to the Ork arsenal and creates quite a stir when you toss it into an enemy unit just before you assault it!

But... Dispel!


Yeah, well, it happens.  It doesn't happen a lot.  Be smart with your casting.  Play up the spells you don't want as badly.  Play down the ones you want the most.

But... Armies with 36 Warp Charges!


Yeah, well, that's what DreadSock is for.

Anecdotal Evidence isn't Proof Positive, but There's Pudding to be Had


Though we did emerge the victors, this was, of course, just one tournament.  We'll see how it pans out in the future.  I will be interested to see how it works for them when not allied with 1000 points of in-your-face drop pod Space Marines.   Also, things may be quite different when those two Warpheads have to help cover a full list instead of just half a list.



At any rate, I had a blast watching as the Orks tore through enemies with glee.  Sanctic Daemonology is VERY Orky and it isn't chock full of Dispel bait the way Malefic is.

I can't wait to see what we get in the Orks codex!


Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Tears of Joy: Challenges and Precision Shots


One of the most frustrating things about 6th Edition for Orks was the way Challenges worked.  Every once in a while, we could use it to our advantage, of course, by sacrificing a Nob or Mekboy in order to keep a unit alive for a turn, but at the end of the day a Challenge usually meant a dead Ork with no hope of retaliation.  Indeed, even if you packed two Power Klaws in the unit, the second Klaw was likely to be doubled out by Strength 10 precision strikes.

My friends, ring out the church bells and strike up the band because those days are over.

Challenges vs One Model


While reading through my 7th Edition book (painfully slowly due to being busy and passing out after reading two pages), I came across this:

Whilst the challenge is ongoing, other models locked in the combat can only allocate Wounds to the models involved in the challenge after all other enemy models that are locked in that combat (if any) have been removed as casualties, even if the models fighting in a challenge are the closest models.

What this means is that if you are fighting a single Monstrous Creature Character which challenges you, no longer are you just going to lose two power Klaws, then die.  Instead, you actually get a chance to get un-stuck from the son of a bitch.  

This doesn't stop two players from deciding to go ahead and do a single combat for thematic purposes, but this makes way more sense for the fluff of most of the armies in the game.  We aren't all honorable do-gooders!

Precision Shots for Characters


I thought this was nice and all, but it still wasn't stopping precision shots from taking out Power Klaws in a denied challenge.  This was the real deal, here.  Being able to deny a challenge and still bring a Klaw to bear would be a true joy.

I was listening to the Overlords Podcast today and they mentioned something about Characters losing natural Precision Shots.  My brain said "Ha-whaaat?", so I poured through my rulebook.

Nothing.  Nowhere to be found.  Indeed, there's a "Characters and Shooting" section which simply states that Characters are treated like other models in the Shooting Phase, but usually have a higher Ballistics Skill.  I'm assuming that the authors added this as almost a pre-clarification on the topic.

My joy was swelling at this point and I just had to do an article on it!

Some Other Notes


Please also note that, now, you can't duck out of a challenge by having your Character unengaged anymore.  I often left my Klaw 10" away from the unit I was charging in the hopes that he'd be too far to be Challenged, but close enough to swing.  Now the language is clear that any "Locked" model may accept a challenge.

Just like in 5th, you must try to pile your character into base contact.  I'm pretty sure this was omitted in 6th.  Now you'll have to use the same shenanigans you did before to keep your Characters safe, but this is very manageable by handling the Movement Phase with intelligence. 

I hope that brightens some Orky spirits out there.  It's not great, but it sure is good and I, for one, am very pleased at this turn of events.  It is not only more fair and probably a lot more fun, but also a lot more thematic.

It's a win for everyone.

Except stupid Monstrous Creature Characters, of course, but no tears are being shed on this side of the keyboard, I'll tell you that much.




Allying With Yourself: a Plea

Image credit: Will Elliot


I would like to make a plea to the TOs out there to have a really hard think about opening the Allied Detachment to the same codex as the Combined Arms Detachment.  I find the arguments against this change to be very weak indeed.

Please note that this argument is only intended to be directed at events which ban multiple Combined Arms detachments.

The Genie's Already Out of the Bottle.


Iyanden, Farsight, and the other supplements already allow some armies to ally with themselves.  I agree that this quid-pro-quo argument is a bit of a fallacy, but in this case I think it truly doesn't hurt balance across the game as a whole to allow other armies to do it.  Eldar and Tau are already very, very good.  The Worst is already out there.  Adding options for older or non-supplement codices is probably going to do nothing but give the marginalized armies more of a fighting chance.  Adding an HQ to Daemons is hardly worse than they've already got and it does seem that some kind of nerf is coming down the pipe for that particular abuse anyways.

Specific abuses should be dealt with specifically whenever possible.

Formations Add AN Option, not Options


I think relying on past and future Formations for balance is fine, but not for variety.  I don't want to run the same army as the next guy.  Besides, not all armies have this option.

Rules Purity is Not a Worthwhile Goal in This Context


The argument for rules purity doesn't pass the smell test for me.  We're already making changes to the rules on a very fundamental level.

Don't get me wrong; I believe very strongly in changing the rules to meet your needs as a player and community.  GW has even stated on many occasions that they expect players to change or make up rules to meet their own needs.

So, if we're making changes for the purpose of game balance, why would we unnecessarily hinder some armies for the sake of rules purity?  It just doesn't make any sense to me.  I'm not being aggressively and intentionally obtuse here... I am genuinely confused by this position.

Again, it is a fallacy to say, "well we're making change x, so we may as well make change y". However, my point is to give some under-performing armies the same considerations that are afforded the newer and more powerful armies.

We Needed it, We Got It, and Now We're Losing It


It felt really good to see that GW had noticed that some armies needed a little extra in light of the new Supplements and Formations, in a way allowing us to develop our own "formations", just without crazy special rules.  It feels a little shitty to have that yanked away.

By allowing armies to ally with themselves, TOs wouldn't be giving them something they weren't intended to have, they'd be returning something to them, in a SMALL part, which they'd had in the first place.

Thanks for your time.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Background - Warboss Wagonkrumpa and Big Boss Thudguts





Originally posted in 2013, but has been updated.

This article continues my series on the background of WAAGH! Drillteef. This article focuses on the first Warboss to join the WAAGH!, Warboss Wagonkrumpa. The model was originally just a regular Blackreach Warboss, but after a while I decided to convert him up and add some character. I also added a Battlepouch and used him as an objective marker in the Adepticon Team Tournament. Old Wagonkrumpa doesn't see the table very much anymore due to how much my mega-armored Warboss brings to the table, but he's still one of my favorite characters in the army. Thudguts is more of a secondary character and his story mainly hinges on his jealousy of Wagonkrumpa.

In Drillteef's early days, before his ambition grew into a WAAGH! of his own, he met a jovial Warboss named Wagonkrumpa from a Speed Freakz splinter clan which had joined WAAGH! Grok. Wagonkrumpa was an odd Ork. He was often soft-spoken and friendly. He rarely thumped his Boyz when they angered him... or, more oddly, they didn't seem to anger him at all. They still fought amongst themselves, of course, and Wagonkrumpa did quite enjoy their violent antics.

There were still several occasions where an upstart Nob tried to take advantage of this strange behavior and usurp Wagonkrumpa. This was generally a bad idea as Wagonkrumpa was still da biggest lad in the warband and had a way of knocking the head off anyone who attempted to take his position. Still, the low mortality rate among his Boyz meant that Wagonkrumpa began to cultivate a lot of Nobz in his ranks. These Nobz became known as Da Krumpin' Squad, over twenty Orks strong and a terrible force to be reckoned with on the battlefield.

Many Boyz flocked to Wagonkrumpa's banner including a large number of Brainboyz, for although they still feared the wrath of the Nobz, at least they didn't have to suffer a wholesale slaughter by some half-witted Warboss who got sparked off every time you made him feel stupid. Besides, Wagonkrumpa was quite a trig fellow. He was cunning, for sure. Some Orks mistakenly interpreted cunning for cowardice and joviality for weakness. Whether true or not, few had the gall to upset such a large number of Nobs and Mekboyz.





A great deal of time passed before Drillteef actually witnessed Wagonkrumpa in action. Of course, he'd heard rumors of the Warboss's combat prowess and brutality towards the enemy, but even the forward-thinking Doc Drillteef had a hard time believing that such a soft-spoken Ork could command the respect and provide the example needed to win campaigns. Drillteef actually expected Wagonkrumpa's chief mek, Big Mek Skar 'Ead to be pulling the Warboss's strings.

Their first battle together was against a small Tau world on the fringes of WAAGH! Grok's southern border systems. On the first hot afternoon on this world, they spotted a Tau cadre on maneuvers in the distance.  Wagonkrumpa ordered his trukks and wagons full speed ahead, hooking to the left and the Boyz on foot to veer off to the right.

When the smell of exhaust filled the air and the sight of all those Tau skimmers filled his vision, Wagonkrumpa snapped.  In a blind frenzy, he launched himself out of his Battlewagon, Da Fat Pig, and tore through Devilfish after Devilfish.  Oil, gubbinz, and gore soon littered the battlefield.  Meanwhile, the Tau tried to fall back but found their left flank full of Orks and were quickly cut down.




Drillteef grinned with approval and decided he was going to use Wagonkrumpa in his WAAGH! no matter how many teef he had to knock out of his boyz heads to pay for it.


As it turned out, the number of actual teef required was zero. When they first negotiated their alliance, the only thing Wagonkrumpa demanded was a hefty cut of the salvage when the spoils of war were divided. Doc Drillteef agreed without hesitation. With the number of Meks and other Brainboyz under the Warboss, Drillteef knew that they would be a source of powerful discoveries. Know-wots were sometimes the key to victory as much as cunning tactics and brute force.



When the time came for Drillteef to take over the WAAGH! from Grok, Wagonkrumpa and his Krumpin' Squad stood beside the Doc. Without him, WAAGH! Drillteef would probably have never been a reality and the rest of the bosses know it.



During one of WAAGH! Drillteef's early campaigns against some nameless Imperial Guard unit lost in the Eastern Fringe, Boss Thudguts made a move against Wagonkrumpa.  Big Boss Thudguts is a typical Ork Warboss. He is big, ugly, nasty, and greedy. He was attracted to WAAGH! Drillteef in the early years after hearing that Mad Doc was consolidating power and wealth in the area and had been winning campaigns against the Beakies and other 'umies.  

Although they were not prone to the avarice of the Death Skulls, his camp was a rather wealthy one. Most of his Boyz either packed Shootas or 'Eavy Armor. One squad even owned Deffguns and he had his own bright-red Battlewagon, the Orktimus. It wasn't enough for him, though. He was jealous of Wagonkrumpa and all the favors he seemed to get from the Doc. He wanted to be able to build things and equip his Boyz without having to beg the strange Warboss or his right-hand-Ork, the self-important Big Mek Skar 'Ead.

One day, his temper eventually spilled over and he led his men into Wagonkrumpa's territory at sunset. The upstart boss charged his 'Ardboyz into the brainboy camps. Although the night lit up with Burnas and Kustom Mega Blastas, the camps were demolished and the Brainboyz were abducted.  

Wagonkrumpa was quite surprised by this and his Nobz were infuriated that such a thing could happen right under their noses. Wagonkrumpa forbade his Nobz from retaliating. He jumped in The Fat Pig himself and drove into Thudguts' camps where he politely asked for his Brainboyz back. Thudguts bellowed a laugh at that and proclaimed that he'd won them "Fair 'n square!" and suggested that Wagonkrumpa should crawl back to Mad Doc and ask him for some new Mekboyz.  

Thudguts' Kaptins had a good laugh at that.

Wagonkrumpa displayed no emotional reaction whatsoever. He thought on it for a moment, then calmly went back to Drillteef and asked for some new Mekboyz.



Enraged, Mad Doc stomped down to Thudguts' camps where he found several of Wagonkrumpa's disobedient (yet loyal) Nobs gathered outside ready to crack some skulls. The sea of Ork parted as the Doc waded through them towards Thudguts. "Oi, boss!" was all he got out before Mad Doc smashed the Ork's head off with a clean swing of his power klaw.

"Dread 'im!" he ordered the caged Mekboyz before he dragged the Boss's body away. Thudguts' Boyz watched on in horror over the next three hours as their boss's head was integrated with an empty Deff Dread smaller than a Killa Kan! He was enraged when he awoke, but Big Mek Skar 'Ead had cunningly built in a power cut-off for the Dread's legs. No matter how hard he tried, Thudguts couldn't reach anyone to clobber them.  

They all had a good laugh at that.

Thudguts spent the rest of the campaign in that Dread body, but Mad Doc eventually gave him his body back (along with a few inconspicuous cybork implants). After that, Wagonkrumpa's camps were protected by an electric barricade system, but it wasn't necessary. Threats of death are one thing, but humiliation in front of all is another thing entirely!