January 28, 2010

I am taking the Dragon Mage

Been trawling the forums for past few days posting army lists and reading discussion after discussion, and have come to the conclusion that as far as the Dragon Mage goes its a model you take if you want too regardless of its effectiveness. I want to take it, so I am.

Current modification of proposed army list for NATCON is:

Archmage Lvl 4 (w. Spears)
- Jewel, Scroll x2
Dragon Mage Lvl 2
- Wand, Ring of Fury
BSB (w. DP's)
- Barded Steed, DP Kit, Helm of Fortune, Sword of Might, Gem of Courage
Spears x20
- FC, Banner of Arcane Protection
Archers x10
White Lions x15
- FC, Lion Standard
Dragon Princes x7
- FC, War Banner, Amulet of Light
Shadow Warriors x5

TOTAL 2,243 9PD 5DD

January 26, 2010

First WHFB tournament of 2010

Have made the decision (with my wifes support of course) that the three-day NATCON 2010 over the Easter weekend will be my first tournament of the year, and the first in which I will play my new look High Elves.

Tournament information
  • 2,250 pts, no special characters, no DoW
  • 8 games over 3 days
  • Scoring - Generalship 50%, Sportsmanship 12.5%, Composition 25%, Presentation 12.5%
  • Weblink

The tricky thing now is coming up with a 2,250pt army list that (a) works and (b) contains every unit that I like. Of the two requirements (a) isn't a problem, building a workable HE list is easier than it seems, it is (b) that is causing the problems, e.g., I love my Phoenix Guard think they look great, think they work well but now I have White Lions. So do I take both or only one, if only one which one, if both then where do I find the 300pts from in my existing list what gets left out. And then theres the other units I have to decide between. Options I would like to include are (a) two units of Spears (b) a big unit or two units of Shadow Warriors (c) the standard unit of DP's and (d) a couple of Eagles and (e) a couple of units of Swordmasters

While High Elves have a lot of special options the problem is they have too many, what do you take. Do you take units that look pretty so your army looks nice, or take units that work and leave some pretty ones at home?!? So far this list looks the best in draft form, although it will require play testing to see if it works.

NATCON 2010 v1
Archmage Lvl 4 (w. Phoenix Guard or White Lions)
w. Folraiths Robe, Jewel of Dusk
BSB (w. Spears)
w. Barded Steed, Dragon Armour, Shield, Gem of Courage, Helm of Fortune, Sword of Might
Mage Lvl 2
w. Silver Wand, Scrolls x2
Spears x20
w. FC
Seaguard x12
w. Shields, Musician
White Lions x15
w. FC, Lion Standard, Skiensilver
Phoenix Guard x17
w. FC, War Banner
Swordmasters x8
Dragon Princes x6
w. Standard, Banner of Ellyrion
Great Eagle

TOTAL 2,250 - 9PD 5DD

Seaguard take place of archers in shooting phase and add useful combat component to guard bolt-throwers. Dragon Princes without MU or Champion are a risk but Ellyrion makes them very useful in terms of movement. Twin Eagles would be great, but one is sufficient with Ellyrion equipped DP's providing support. Battle line becomes very strong with inclusion of PG and WL. War Banner on PG is means they are definately not moving, WL banner gives them IFT and Stubborn so they become very good central unit. Only weakness here is lack of protection on BSB who at 1+ rerollable is still vulnerable. But Archmage with High Magic should help here. Placement of characters in units becomes critical. One option is White Lions with Archmage on a flank somewhere. BSB has to go with Spears to beef up that unit, other mage with whoever is left.

Then of course there is always the desire to take a Dragon Mage which I havent seen at a tournament yet, maybe because he is 400pts of flying VP. But we could run with something like this

Archmage Lvl 4
w. Jewel of Dusk, Folraiths Robe, Scrolls x2
Dragon Mage Lvl 2
w. Silver Wand, Ring of Fury
w. Barded Steed, Helm of Fortune, Guardian Phoenix, Lance, Shield, Longbow
Spears x20
w. FC
Spears x20
w. FC
White Lions x15
w. FC, Lion Banner, Skiensilver
Dragon Princes x6
w. FC, War Banner, Gem of Courage
Great Eagle

TOTAL 2,248 PD 9PD 5DD

Nauticans in Depth: The Magic Phase

Part 3 of my analysis of the Nautican Army Book this time an examination of the magic phase. For comparison purposes I am using my High Elves as the primary point of reference for this analysis.

Nautican Spellcasters
There are three spellcasting characters in the Nautican army, spellcasters defined as characters able to carry Arcane items, they are:
  • Mermaids - Level 3 and 4 mages
  • Sirens - Level 1 and 2 mages
  • Coastal Hermit - Unique
One other character the 425pt Lord choice the Guardian of Time helps strengthen the magic phase, adding 1PD and 1DD to mages within 12" of him during the magic phase but is unable to cast himself.

The Archmages of the Nautican army. Taken at Level 3 for 205pts or Level 4 for 240pts they include the usual 100pt limit on magical items available to most Lord level mages. They also come with two special rules that make them interesting and difficult characters to field:
  • Oceans Grace - minimises their risk of suffering a miscast, although the rules here are a bit unclear as to whether it allows them to ignore the result of the miscast or the miscast altogether, i.e, to ignore or any damage or to cast spells regardless.
  • The requirement to field them either alone or in units of Trident Guard.
The scroll caddies of the Nautican magical armoury, weaker than Mermaids and with a different set of special rules. Gone is Oceans Grace and the need to field them alone or in Trident Guard. Added instead is their ability to add +1CR to any unit who they are in the front rank of. That and enemies must take a leadership test at -1 to hit them in close combat (a reflection of Sirens mythical ability to enchant their victims).

Coastal Hermit
Is a unique Hero level character who while he cannot cast spells from any Lore does possess a Bound item as part of his standard equipment. This 'Staff of Summoning' casts at Power Level 4 and offers three options to the Nautican magical armory:
  • Snatch and Soar - where a giant albatross flies down and takes away a single enemy model, presumably to feed on or drop in the ocean.
  • Call Gulls - think of the movie the birds and you'll get the idea.
  • Coastal Mists - a protective spell helping friendly units against missile fire.
Spell Lores
Both mermaids and Sirens can choose spells from the Lores of Light, Life and Heavens offering them a solid range of spell options but preventing them from taking the truly nasty spells found in the Lores of Death, Shadow & Fire for example. This is a reflection of the story behind the Nautican army and is a good fit with the characters background.

The other option available to Nautican Sirens & Mermaids is Aqua Lore. Aqua Lore is the army specific Lore available to Nauticans, in the same way that Ogres have Gut Magic and High Elves High Magic etc. It offers a range of spells similar in nature to those of other Lores but with a flavour distinctly Nautican and is a more defensive orientated Lore. Its six standard spells are:
  1. Waterblast (5+) - basic offensive spell, not very powerful but still useful.
  2. Symbol of Southern Oceans (6+) - defensive spell helping move characters out of harms way
  3. Sea Surge (8+) - moves a friendly unit during magic phase allowing early charge
  4. Dead Seas of Time (8+) - defensive spell this time aimed at weakening enemy, probably under priced for what it does as the effect is permanent.
  5. Summon Elemental (9+, RIP) - does as its name suggests
  6. Tidal Wave (13+) - the big nasty spell of the Lore, summon a crushing wave that rampages through enemy units doing a lot of damage.
Key Nautican magical items
Like all races the Nauticans have a range of magical items available to them many of which help buff up the magic phase and the casting abilities of Mermaids and Sirens, some others allow non-casting characters to take magical items. There are also the usual array of protective items giving units and characters MR1 etc. Perhaps the primary Nautican strength in this area is the range of Bound items available to them which would serve to draw out an enemies DD and Dispel Scrolls, but also to help win battles. However, the wide array of Bound items is counter balanced by their fragility - most have special rules making them single use, or draining them on a 1D6 roll of 1 or 2 making them unusable thereafter. None are especially strong, e.g., there is no Nautican equivalent of the HE Ring of Fury which for 40pts allows any HE character to cast a RNG 24" magic missile doing 2D6 S4 hits. Among the more interesting items are:
  • Surface Rod of Divination - Adds +2 to all casting attempts.
  • Chrystal Chime - 1 use only, prevents enemy Mages from casting if they fail l/ship tests.
  • Muses Harp - bound item operates like Vahals Dance Macabre
  • Gift of Whale Song - 1 use only, allows a Mage to transfer one spell they know to another e.g., your Level 2 rolls a good spell, your Level 4 doesn't so transfer it over the Level 2 loses it permanently the Level 4 gains it
  • Knowledge of Shoal Strength - allows Mages to share PD
Nautican casters offer a range of options similar to other races and are perhaps fit in the mid-rung of army spell casting ability. The Mermaid is a particularly resilient character at T4 and L9 and a solid choice for army general, but she and the Siren are limited to M4. Mermaids also suffer from having to be fielded alone or in units of Trident Guard. While Trident Guard are an outstanding unit, and a must take for ALL Nautican lists, Mermaids and Sirens suffer further in that (unlike High Elves for example) there are NO protective magical items available to them, e.g., nothing to grant them a WS or AS.

Of the unique abilities on offer 'Oceans Grace' is fantastic but its rules need some clarification because you could interpret it in a way that makes miscasts impossible. Enchanting dream is also a good ability but is counter balanced by its placement on a T3 character who cannot take armour or any WS/AS granting magical item.

A good range of bound items really help strengthen the magic phase, and they seem to serve a similar purpose as those of the Vampire Counts largely focusing on denial of movement and initiative to the enemy and restricting your opponents tactical options. Most of these items though are single use, or could become useless after a single application.

Recommended Item Selections
Two items I would regard as mandatory picks for any Nautican General taking a magic focused army would be:
  • Chrystal Chime - @30pts this is an extremely cheap version of the High Elves Vortex Shard but not as wide reaching in its effect. But still the ability to stop any enemy mage from casting spells if they fail a leadership test at -1 is extremely useful.
  • Knowledge of Shoal Strength - In any army running a Mermaid and a Siren this would be a mandatory item for the Siren. Simply put it allows Mages to share PD. This would mean your Lvl 2 Siren could give both of its PD to your Level 4 Mermaid, giving that Mermaid a total of 8PD to play with in the magic phase (2 army, 4 for Lvl 4, 2 for Siren). Add in the Surface Rod of Divination which adds +2 to all casting attempts and you have an incredibly powerful Mage (albeit one that is easy to kill).
Overall, Nauticans look good in the magic phase not too powerful, not too weak about mid-range as I suggest. In play-testing I have used Sirens and found them solid character builds and useful casters. The key is to look at Sirens as supporting casters whose goal is to limit enemy options, and Mermaids as your offensive weapons - a role Sirens are not that suited for.

Next analysis - the Trident Guard

January 22, 2010

WHFB Battle Report: HE vs. Dwarfs @ 1850pts

Renewal of an Old Grudge

Balthinal of House Tifwing surveyed the open ground in front of him with a worried brow. Ahead in the distance he could he see the massed ranks of Dwarven infantry, their battle standards raised, ready and waiting for him. Around him his regiments of Spears stood stoically, quiet and unmoving awaiting his command. The Dwarf force looked too small to his mind, too small by far given the reports of the carnage it can be causing along his Lords lands these past weeks.

It was Balthinal's Lord,
Gloringwe of House Tholos, that worried him the most. Untried in battle his deployment of their meager forces seemed misplaced to Balthinal. The positioning of himself with the Dragon Princes of Caledor out on the left flank seemed wise but sending the White Lions out far to the right was a calculated gamble. Balthinal could only hope it would pay off.

Shadow Warrior scouts had already reported the woods to their right clear of any Dwarven Rangers but the large woods to the Elven armies front left were an unknown factor. Balthanial worried about the flank of his lieges unit and his own if the Dragon Princes were exposed to missle fire from woods they could not enter.

Behind him the silence was broken by the scrap of steel on steel as a member of one of two units of Swordmasters of Hoeth sharpened his blade, the other unit was positioned behind the Dragon Princes and his Lord. Unable to see them beyond the crest of the small hill to his left Balthinal could only hope they and his Lord were equally ready to move. Sitting high in his saddle he looked left and right and called the order for the advance - two regiments of Spears another small regiment of Swordmasters moved forward at his command. While behind him on either flank Bolt-Thrower crews loaded their weapons.

Looking forward he saw the Dwarven battle line react to his order with a slight readjustment of but nothing else... strange he had expected more... it was only when a large bolt skewered a Spear to his right and the sound of gunfire accompanied yet more Spearmen falling to the ground that he realised what the Dwarfs had been waiting for.

Thunderers and Dwarven artillery on their right flank exposed in the open a perfect target for the White Lions and Shadow Warriors deployed there. Perhaps his Lord had gotten things right after all....

Deploying first the Dwarven general placed his two units of Warriors/Longbeards in the center of the field directly opposite Balthaniels Spears. Slayers moved to the Dwarven Thanes right while hidden in the forest, were as Balthaniel suspected, a unit of Crossbow equipped Rangers. Off to the left (the Elven right flank) another small unit of Warriors watched over the Thunderers and 2 Bolt-Throwers that constituted the Dwarven armies main missile component. Yet it was not only the Rangers the forest hid from the Elves. Behind it, its rotors turning slowly in the morning air, a Gyrocopter sat ready to reap airborne havoc on the Elven infantry.

Turns 1 - 2
The Elven battle line moved first marching forward to meet the Dwarven infantry. Balthaniel was relived to see his liege Lord move out into the open on his left, Dragon Princes deployed in line abreast either side of him. Their positioning meant they were in the perfect position to charge across the front of his Spear regiments. That is of course if Dwarven missile fire didn't continue to decimate his Spears first. Yet more bullets and bolts tore into the ranks of the 1st Spears next to him, but as he moved the rate of fire dropped as to Balthaniels right Shadow Warriors began shooting Dwarven Thunderers down. Above his head a strange whirring noise was now heard and a Dwarven Gyrocopter suddenly flew into sight . Moving between him and his Lords Dragon Prince unit it opened fire on the Elven Bolt-Thrower behind him. Failing to do any damage it appeared ready to turn back for more when the Dragon Princes led by Lord
Gloringwe charged it. Startled by this turn of events the Gyrocopter pilot attempted to flee but lost control when he flew straight into Balthaniels Spear Regiment crashing and exploding in a ball of flame.

Turns 3 - 4
A mighty cheer went up from the Elves to either side of Balthaniel as the Gyrocopter burned. It was followed by an even mightier roar as
Gloringwe's accompanying musician sounded the charge and the entire Elven battle line rushed headlong at the Dwarven infantry to their front. Spears meet Dwarven Axes & Shields, Lances & Horses meet naked Slayers and blood was spilled as both sides fought tooth and claw for the opening advantage. But disaster struck as the Dwarven infantry proved too strong for the Spear Elves under Balthaniels command. Despite multiple attacks from the massed ranks of Elven infantry more dead Elves littered the battlefield than Dwarfs. Dwarven Thanes began to cut a swath through the Spear regiment and when the 1st Spears Champion fell they fled and were butchered as they ran by the victorious Dwarves. Only the Dwarfs impact into the flank of the Swordmasters behind Balthaniel stopped them advancing further to his rear.

Bathaniels own regiment was equally hard pressed but remained resolute under his leadership. His liege Lord had butchered the Dwarven Slayers but was now assailed by Dwarven Rangers who had charged his flank from the woods on their left. Outnumbered his regiment continued to fight. Then shock took over as to his left his liege Lord
Gloringwe joined in one-on-one combat with the Dwarven General an act he had not thought in his Lords nature. Yet it was an act that was to prove the undoing of the Elven battle line. All around him Elves watched in dismay as their Generals weapons bounced off the Dwarven Thane, and finally they too broke and ran.

Only on the Elven right was success achieved as the White Lions chased a unit of Dwarven warriors from the field and then charged into what was left of the Thunderers. Shadow Warriors continued to shower the Dwarven artillery with arrows and mercifully the retreating Elven infantry, and Dragon Princes were unmolested by Dwarven missile fire.

Turns 5 - 6
With the Dwarven infantry unable to maintain their pursuit Balthaniel and
Gloringwe together rallied their troops and turned ready to face the oncoming Dwarfs. But Balthaniel rallied only to look in horror as the Dwarven Warriors who had destroyed the 1st Spears charged his flank. With Elves dying all around him Bathaniel fought a futile duel with the Dwarven Thane leading the charge before he too was cut down. Seeing his vassal cut down Gloringwe screamed in anguish and launched another charge. With his infantry dead all around him only he, his Dragon Princes and a single unit of Swordmasters stood firm on this part of the battlefield. Waving his sword high he led both units straight at the Dwarven Generals unit to their front. This time Elven steel proved too strong for the Dwarfs. Where Spears had failed to score wounds the Great Blades of the Elves of Hoeth, and the Lances of those from Caledor tore through Dwarven armour like tissue. Gloringwe smiled in grim satisfaction as it became the turn of the Dwarven general to look on in fright, his warriors dying in droves around him Gloringwe expected him to turn and run (as himself had done). But it was not to be, insanely, despite grievous losses the Dwarven ranks held and the battle continued....

Battles End

With that final charge by the Swordmasters and the Dragon Princes the battle had swung slightly in favour of the Elven army. The White Lions had destroyed the Dwarven Bolt-Throwers and their accompanying Warriors and Thunderers but two full regiments of Elven Spears had been lost. As night fell on the battlefield both armies withdraw and tallied their dead. A bloody draw was all either side could take from the battle, and with the death of Balthaniel the Elves had cause for yet another grudge against their bearded foe. This would not be the last time
Gloringwe would see his Dwarven counterpart on this field.

Well for our first games in a long time, for Adam since September last year, and me probably October/November at Skitterleap this was an interesting game. After a full year of tournament play last year we knew the rules etc inside out, but after such a long break found ourselves forgetting so much it became rather comical to see us trawling through the rulebook looking for answers.

Elven Spears proved surprisingly resolute but ultimately too weak to defend themselves against the stronger tougher Dwarfs.

The Swordmasters worked well and were deployed as usual directly behind my main units in single ranks of 8. Usually I leave them there to take the overrun of any enemy unit or to advance around the flanks if my guys hold. They also tend to scare people away from my other units flanks. But this time poor movement prevented me from doing this, and only one of two units got into battle and then only in Turn 5 were it killed a lot of Dwarfs.

Dragon Princes were good as always, but again I charged them into battle too soon. Units of 7 are nice, but somewhat unwieldy, 5 is better for positioning purposes.

The White Lions were great they just chopped through everything, would have been fun to have had them in the middle of my battle line between the Spears. But I wanted them to take out the Bolt-Throwers etc.

Shadow Warriors are great - love these guys.

Final result was about 1000pts each - Adam got my BSB and the 2 Spear Regiment standards, I balanced that out with 2 table quarters and finished I think 95 pts up. Not a bad result for our first game in such a long time. There will definitely be a rematch.

January 21, 2010

1st Warhammer game of the year

Been a while since my last game, and this will be my first with High Elves in even longer, but it should be fun. Will be matched up against a fellow Dwarf player 'Adam' at 1850pts. Should be an interesting game particularly as I have been able to build a one-off rather than all-comers list for the match. Final list for battle is:

w. Barded Steed, Dragon Armour, Shield, Helm of Fortune, Sword of Might
w. Barded Steed, Dragon Armour, Enchanted Shield, Lance, Reaver Bow
Spears x20
w. FC, War Banner
Spears x20
w. FC
White Lions x15
w. FC, Skiensilver
Swordmasters x8
Swordmasters x8
Dragon Princes x7
w. Champion
Shadow Warriors x8

TOTAL 1,842 pts

Opted in this case for two heroes as I wanted to spend more pts on infantry. No-magic either, as frankly its a waste of time against Dwarfs and no Phoenix Guard which is unusual for me as I love that unit. Two units of Spears will be fun as they will be wounding on 5's but averages should go with me here. Hopefully Shadow Warriors and Dragon Princes can get rid of any Warmachines. Was trying to slot a Dragon Mage in but thought I would leave him out as Adam loves his Warmachines.

Battle Report up tomorrow

Warmachine Prime Mk2 rulebook is here

Great delivery from the postman yesterday my beautiful copy of the new Warmachine Prime Mk2 rulebook and a complete faction card deck for the Protectorate of Menoth arrived from Maelstrom games in the UK.

The book is absolutely stunning cannot say enough about it. Layout etc are a step above anything you get in other gaming systems, including Warhammer. GW could take a huge lesson from Privateer Press here in how to present core rule sets in a clear, concise and understandable format.

The faction deck was also fantastic. Full cards for every unit, warcaster, solo and warjack with most coming in multiples, e.g., 4 Redeemer cards, 4 Revenger cards, 2 for Reclaimers but with some strange inconsistencies, e.g., only 1 unit card for Knights Exemplar and 1 Choir when in large games you might field 2 or 3 of each unit.

After reading through them I have decided (that once the budget looks better) I will most definately be buying at least four of the new plastic warjack kits so I can make up a couple of Vanquishers and a couple of Templars. If I work the assembly right what I want to do is build them so I can interchange the arms and swap between each model between games.

Game play is also going to see the High Reclaimer come out more often especially the Epic version who I must have failed to see in earlier rulebooks. Think the Reclaimer leading an army of Zealots, Deliverers, Exemplars and accompanied by a horde of Vanquishers and Templars.

Also released recently is this picture of the latest Exemplar unit the Incinerators

January 20, 2010

Nauticans in Depth: The Movement Phase

This post continues my analysis of v4 of Sigmars Nautican Army Book by looking at the Nautican army phase by phase beginning with Movement. Overall, the Nautican army offers some interesting options in this phase and has some solid strengths. However, it also suffers from a serious weaknesses in relation to other armies. These on the whole balance it out more and require the Nautican general to think carefully about his options. Nauticans seem to be an army based on synergy - units working best in combination rather than one built around 1-2 stand out performers.

Basic advantages
  • Average movement of 4" for majority of troops.
  • Rare units have movement 6"
  • Cheap core choice flying unit (Manta Rays).
  • Solid character mounts inc. Chariot & Great White Shark.
  • Spellcasters can use 'Eternal Wave' to gain flying movement.
  • Crest Riders can make single 20" wave charge per game.
  • Four units: Wavebreakers, Sandgangers, Crabs & Aqualops gain +6" deployment.
  • Magic item Compass Banner eliminates all movement penalties.
  • Magic item Eversail Banner adds +d6" to charge range & pursuit range
Basic Disadvantages
  • No cavalry of any kind.
  • Only one flying unit.
  • No scouts.
  • Character mounts limited in terms of ability to select them.
  • Spellcaster wave movement is good but balanced by weakness of spellcasters.
  • Key units notably Trident Guard are only movement 4"
  • Magic banners (Compass & Eversail) can only be taken by Trident Guard.
  • Only skirmisher unit in army cannot advance deploy.
In comparison to a number of existing armies such as Dark Elves, High Elves, Wood Elves, Bretonnians, Empire and even Orcs & Goblins Nauticans suffer seriously from a lack of fast moving cavalry units and flyers. Yes they have a good (and cheap) core flying unit but this is the only real fast mover.

The key to effective control of the movement phase is the use of the forward deploying Wavebreakers and Sandgangers. The Sandgangers especially should feature prominently in any Nautican list. The ability to put cheap(ish) core unbreakable units on the table 6" in is invaluable. The Wavebreakers too are effective infantry and along with the Crabs & Aqualops you have four very good (but not overly strong) units you can use to great effect.

Nautican skirmishers too are incredibly effective at least at delaying any enemy advance. Very cheap you can field them in good numbers, but their 16" range blowpipes rely on them being able to get in close. Spread them out on the flanks and to the rear and you can march the majority of your army forward while the cheaper Sprats guard your flanks.

Of the units on offer the Crest Riders perhaps are the most interesting. Limited in numbers, you can usually only take 1 unit in a standard game, maybe 2 if you are playing more than 2000pts their single 20" charge would be devastating. Deploying them last you would seriously require your opponent to think about what he/she was going to do with their army. They would in most games I suspect become a magnet for the opening enemy attacks. Deploying on the edge of your army would allow them to charge 20" across the front of your main battle line effectively into the flank of anyone who was to their front.

All up the Nautican movement phase is solid. Next I will examine Nautican Magic.

January 18, 2010

Nautican in Depth: Wavebreaker Unit Analysis

I have been reviewing Sigmars Nautican Army book in more detail this week and comparing it to my existing Warhammer armies (Dwarfs, High Elves, Vampires) to see how it stacks up. First unit to face the comparison were the Wavebreakers the primary core infantry unit of the Nautican army.

For this comparison I am looking at standard units of 20 troops with Full Command and the most basic of equipment options across all four of my current armies.

Points comparison
For a unit of 20 with full command and no additional equipment
  1. Wavebreakers - 125 pts
  2. VC Skeletons - 180 pts
  3. Dwarf Warriors - 185 pts
  4. HE Spears - 205 pts
Of the four armies Wavebreakers are by far the cheapest when you look at their base point cost. However, points are not the only issue of importance. What exactly do you get for those points?

If we pitted the front ranks of each unit against each other we would get.
  1. Wavebreakers - Handweapon & no armour = No AS & 6 attacks at WS3 S4
  2. VC Skeletons - Handweapon & light armour = 6+ AS & 6 attacks at WS2 S3
  3. Dwarf Warriors - Handweapon & heavy armour = 5+ AS & 6 attacks at WS4 S3
  4. HE Spears - Handweapon, Spears, shields & light armour = 6+ AS & 11-16 attacks at WS4 S3 or 4+AS and 6 attacks at WS4 S3
Going simply by points I can field 3 units of 20 Wavebreakers with full command for approximately the same points cost as two similar units of Skeletons, Warriors or Spears. Of the four armies though they are the only one that does not come with armour as standard. However, adding this armour doesn't increase the cost of Wavebreakers substantially and still makes them cheaper.

Additional equipment options
Other options are available for the first three units though upping the points cost and adjusting their relative merits.

  1. Wavebreakers w. Clam Shield - 5+AS/4+ AS in HtH or Shield - 6+/5+ can also take Spears allowing rank attack option similar to High Elves but they will lose any armour. A single unit of Wavebreakers can also take Scalemail granting 6+ AS and making any enemy attack roll at -1 to hit.
  2. VC Skeletons can take Spears
  3. Dwarf Warriors can add Great Weapons.
Points comparison with equipment options
For Wavebreakers to survive they will need armour and the best option available to them is the Clam Shield which grants a 5+ AS for 2pts per model. Leaving off the Spear option, this would adjust their points comparison to:

  1. Wavebreakers - 165 pts --> 5+/4+ AS
  2. VC Skeletons - 180 pts
  3. Dwarf Warriors - 185 pts
  4. HE Spears - 205 pts
Still 40pts cheaper than any of the other three races for the same number of infantry and gives them a better AS in close combat with the exception of HE Spears who use handweapons (and honestly who does that).

What do you get for the points: fighting in combat
Assuming the average core infantry solider is WS4 for most armies and T3 the Wavebreakers again compare well to the other three armies when looking at your typical 'to hit' and 'to wound' rolls.
  1. Wavebreakers - WS3 S4 --> Hit on 5's and wound on 3's.
  2. Skeletons - WS2 S3 --> Hit on 6's and wound on 4's.
  3. Warriors - WS4 S3 --> Hit on 4's and wound on 4's
  4. HE Spears - WS4 S3 --> Hit on 4's and wound on 4's
In straight out averages Wavebreakers are less likely to hit you but more likely to do damage. Given that only 1 Wavebreaker unit can take armour, you would most likely field them with Shields forgoing any spears and losing your rank attack bonus. With the Clam Shield granting them a 4+ AS in HtH combat they again stack up favourably to the other units.

What about leadership?
After this stuff leadership becomes important. Elves and Dwarfs are base Ld9, Skeletons Ld3 and Wavebreakers Ld7. Skeletons low leadership is offset by their ability to be raised and the fact that they cause Fear.

Any other options?
A single Wavebreaker unit can carry a 25pt magical standard, common sense would dictate you give this to the Scalemail equipped unit. In this they are similiar to HE who can equip a single core unit with a 25pt standard, have an advantage over Dwarfs who have to upgrade to Longbeards (at 3pts a model) to gain a runic banner, but less well off than VC who can give every Skeleton unit a banner. The Nautican special rules also give Wavebreakers the ability to deploy 6" further into the deployment zone than the three other armies, though how useful this would be is debatable.

Final summary
So, looking at the analysis a unit of 20 models with Full Command, and comparable armour options see the Wavebreakers come out cheaper than Dwarf Warriors, HE Spears and VC Skeletons. They will find it harder to hit people than Elves or Dwarfs but when they do so are more likely to do damage. But if they fail to do that damage they are less resolute than the other three armies and more likely to run (as my play testing has shown).

How would you field Wavebreakers?
In most lists I have put together for Nauticans and those I have used I took at most 2 units of Wavebreakers. Either two units with Clam Shields and Handweapons or a single uber-unit with Scalemail, Clam Shields and a magic banner. Given that lower points cost 3-4 units may be a way to go, but like the High Elves where the majority of armies take only a single Spear unit, you are better off taking the minimum and going with Special options.

The uber-Wavebreaker unit though is quite a formidable option and is incredibly cheap if you equip it out to the max:

Wavebreakers x20 @ 230pts
w. Full Command, Scalemail, Clam Shields, Healing Salt Spray Banner

AS 4+/3+ HtH, Enemy at -1 to hit, Unit loses 1 less wound and restores a single model to its ranks in combat before calculation of CR

Paint stripping with Dettol

After trawling the web I decided to try using Dettol to strip the paint off my (large) collection of badly painted plastic miniatures. The process for its use is pretty simple but, as I found out, it is very important that you follow the steps.

1. Use Brown Dettol - there is some other stuff apparently (green I think) that doesn't work
2. Soak figures overnight
3. Scrub with Toothbrush soaked in Dettol - important here that you keep rinsing the brush and the figure in Dettol the whole time
4. Resoak and scrub again
5. Rinse and clean once all paint is off in "SOAPY" water - have to emphasise the soapy part. Rinsing in hot water only (and cold) will result in the paint hardening on the model in clumps. This will require you to resoak it and scrub it again. The rinse phase is important as any residual Dettol/paint left on the figure will disrupt the undercoat you apply later.

The results were pretty good if somewhat mixed in terms of the quality of my scrubbing abilities. Couple of recommendations:

- While Dettol is nice and clean and non-toxic it makes a hell of a mess and stains things so scrub etc somewhere sensible, not in the kitchen like I did (or at least not while your wife is home).
- Wear rubber gloves. Dettol dries out your skin quite rapidly and I found that after 10-15minutes my hands were shriveled up and surprisingly sensitive after soaking in Dettol for that length of time.

Let the figures dry overnight again and if you have to re-soak them and scrub them again in Dettol to remove any last traces of paint.

I am also not quite sure if I used the Dettol in the most efficient way possible. To strip 30 figures I used an entire 350ml bottle of the stuff. Next time I might try diluting it a little to see what happens.

January 15, 2010

OMG its the Menoth Faction book cover!!!

All I can say is WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Guide to Stumpy Links

PhotobucketMy main Warhammer forum hangout. Great community of players from all around the world. Covers everything from army selection, painting & modelling, rules queries, battle reports etc.

PhotobucketHub site for Warhammer Blog fans put together and run by Kuffeh, Noeste and Elzar whose great blogs I have been following for a while now.

Bell of Lost Souls, Warhammer & Wargames News
The best place to go for up to date news about Wargaming in general covers everything including: WHFB, 40k, Warmachine, Hordes, LoTR and much more. The Bell of Lost Souls Blog network is also a great way to see who is doing what in the online community.

PhotobucketPrinciple forum for Australian and New Zealand Wargamers.

PhotobucketThe online bible for Warhammer Fantasy Dwarf players. Everything you could possibly want to know about Dwarfs you can find here. Every tournament army list I have ever used got its approval on here first.

PhotobucketThe Bugmans Brewery for High Elf players this site has been running for a very very long time. The amount of information on here is staggering particularly in relation to army fluff, tactics etc.

PhotobucketIf you want an *ahem* grown up perspective on Warhammer then maybe this is, or maybe it isnt, the best place to go. The original Warhammer podcast based in Australia and a regular haven for the best Warhammer players in Australasia.

PhotobucketThe free French online map builder I use when putting together my Warhammer battle reports.

PhotobucketThe best place to buy your Wargaming miniatures and other items. Amazing prices 15-20% cheaper than RRP. Regular specials and best of all FREE POSTAGE ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD. I have saved as much as 50% of the cost of some miniatures when ordering from here. Postage to New Zealand is also quick taking around 7-9 days on average. They stock EVERYTHING for EVERYTHING

PhotobucketGreat Australian retailer that I sometimes use in place of Maelstrom for particular items. Their range isn't as large as Maelstrom but they have great prices and best of all absolutely outstanding customer service.

PhotobucketNew Zealand's answer to Ebay, started by a teenager who several years later sold it for... NZ$780 million... I spent a fortune on here when I first started playing Warhammer.

January 11, 2010

Nautican Army Book released

Great way to start the new year Sigmar has finished the army book for his fantastic alternate Warhammer Fantasy army the Nauticans. For those of you who haven't heard about or followed these guys I strongly suggest you check them out at the following blogs:

The army book can be downloaded here

Basically they are a seaborne army a bit like underwater Lizardmen/Elves with lots AND I MEAN LOTS of unique units/abilities and a great back story etc. I play tested a number of Nautican army lists using some of the old rule sets and found it to be a great army to play. Its well balanced, offers good options in magic, melee and ranged attacks and allows you to play a range of strategies.

You can read my Nautican battle reports at:
The Army book is great - fantastic fluff, good links to suitable miniatures to building your army and nice art work through out.

January 8, 2010

WIP - High Elf White Lions: Command Group

Nearing completion on the Command Group for my High Elf White Lion Regiment. Principle areas still in need of completion are: Elves Hair & Skin, touch ups on armour and leather, grey highlighting on white robes, bronze/gold highlighting on some areas, jewels on various places and snow basing.

The Lion Cloaks have been left deliberately dark. I know that in reality Lions have much lighter coats but I have chosen a darker theme for the hides as (1) it fits better with the overall dark look of the army, and (2) I simply dont have a decent enough range of brownish paints to get a nice look.

Painting process for the lighter parts of the Lion Cloaks was:
- Base coat GW Scorched Brown
- 2nd Coat GW Bestial Brown
- 3rd Coat GW Vomit Brown
- 4th Coat GW Bleached Bone to foot pads, end of claws and inside of eyes & ears
- 5th Coat GW Skull White to tips of claws & eyeballs
- 6th Coat GW Chaos Black to nose, edges of various areas such as ears
- 7th Coat Sepia Wash

I've put some the images together in collages this time around - just click on them to get the bigger size. All up I am pretty happy with the overall look as it fits in well with the rest of my new themed High Elf Army.

Now I have the basic scheme down the rest of the Regiment shouldn't be too hard to finish. Then its onto the remaining units in my new look High Elf army which are....

January 7, 2010

Battle Report: Menoth vs. Khador @ 35pts

My first game of Warmachine since... wait for it... June 2009 [Read Battle Report] so a very long time indeed. What happens when you concentrate on Warhammer and get involved in the tournament scene so much. Still it was great to get back into playing it again, have been itching to do so since the Mk2 play test rules came out. Keen on a lot more games over coming months.

Match was against one of Toshi's many themed Khador lists after some second guessing I went with the following list for the battle:

- Epic Feora
- Hierophant
- Crusader
- Crusader
- Reckoner (Bonded)
- Temple Flameguard (10) + UA
- Daughters of Flame
- Choir (4)
- Paladin Order of Wall

Pictures are off my phone so quality not that great. As Toshi already wrote up a nice battle report on his blog I wont go into great detail here.

Heavy jacks went up the middle where with the Daughters of Flame they wiped out the Great Beards but not before the Jacks took some heavy damage. Khador missle fire and magic was quite brutal before the Juggernaut moves in and nearly, but not quite, finishes off my Jacks. I manage to deal a lot of damage to it in return, but then my Paladin fails to deal a killing blow and the mechanics coming and heal it up. With the Juggernaut now back near full strength and my Jacks damaged its not looking good.

Game ends by agreement when all of my units save Feora and the Heirphant are wiped out. Overall a fun game and a nice one after such a long time away from Warmachine. Still remembered a lot of things which was good. Couple of rule changes for Mk2 made things very interesting particularly the changes to Spray attacks - ignoring cover, concealment and melee, the removal of screening (which I was still playing for) and the changes to LOS all mean you really have to adjust your tactics.

If I played the game again I would keep my Jacks in B2B with the Choir etc doing the same directly behind them. Daughters would have gone behind the Flameguard and advanced with them. Other than that it was a nice game that I could have won had the Paladin killed the Juggernaut.

January 6, 2010

Latest Menoth releases: its good to be holy

Privateer Press announced the impending release of two more Protectorate units/solos recently, and they look awesome. My Mark 2 rulebook should be in the post from Maelstrom Games this week, and the Faction Cards are on pre-order both with a nice 15% summer sale discount.

With one of the latest units being an Exemplar unit (with a Medium base I think) an Exemplar themed army is looking like it will be a nightmare for most opponents. Think about the problems the following combos will cause you
- Epic Kreoss
- Exemplar Bastions
- Knights Exemplar
- Exemplar Errants
- Exemplar Vengars
- High Exemplar Gravus
- Exemplar Seneschals
- Exemplar Incinerators
- Rhoven & Exemplar Honor Guard

Epric Kreoss & Gravus's abilities mean that this entire army is (subject to certain constraints) immune to Continuous effects and can't be knocked down. Going to be SOOOO much fun playing this type of list.

First up are the Exemplar Incinerators
Not much detail on these guys, but a Unit of 5 on Medium bases whose job (according to the limited fluff) is to run ahead of the Bastions and clear the way kind of points to a tough combo of the existing Exemplar rules. Maybe: Fire causing magic weapons, Bond of Brotherhood & Aegis or some inherent ability similar to the anti-knockdown bonus granted by Gravus.

Then we have this nasty looking solo - possibly one of the best sculpts I have seen in a while, the model looks amazing which fits in well with an equally nasty sounding name...

...Vice Scrutator Vindictus

From the fluff he appears to be a further buff to the Zealots and possibly the Reclaimer. With two weapons including a chain type one in his left hand I would assume he is a melee monster, and the fluff also suggests some abilities in relation to unit/solo conversions similar to Severius.

January 5, 2010

How to: Painting the Redeemer, Deliverers & Exemplars

Had a very nice comment from Itchy about my Redeemer model and realised that I haven't been providing any details on how I am painting each of my recently completed models , so here goes...

Important note I only use GW and Citadel Foundation Paints

The Redeemer Light Warjack
There are four primary colour areas on this model: white, purple, iron and brass each with its own set of layers.
Painting the White Areas
The white areas follow a standard process I use on all models whether Warmachine or Warhammer using alternating layers of:
- Citadel Adeptus Battle Grey
- GW Fortress Grey
- GW Space Wolves Grey
- GW Skull White

The Skull White layer goes on in thinner layers than the Grey and I take my time building it up. With the Grey undercoat the overall effect is much better than simply painting the model straight white. Depending upon how deep I want the colour to be I either use light or dark grey to highlight the edges between different areas.

For models I want to give a dirty look to I go over the White areas with Sepia Wash, as I did with my Choir of Menoth models. They also got some Green and Mud Wash around the bottom of the robes to try and give a dragged across the ground look.

Runic Writing
The runes and cross painted on the white areas were all done free hand use a fine brush that I only use for small details like that. Letters and cross began with thinned down Space Wolves Grey as it provides a nice shadow effect and because it is an easy colour to paint over. Cross used Scab Red then Blood Red on top. The runes were just a bunch of random swishes, dots and lines. I do have the official Menoth font for MS Word but didn't try to use it this time.

The Purple areas
Only two colours required here Citadel Hormagaunt Purple as the base coat then GW Liche Purple over the top. Thinned Hormagaunt Purple was then added to random areas. Finally I added a thin layer of Purple Wash.

The Metallic areas
For the duller areas its the same process I use for armour on infantry models
- Basecoat of GW Boltgun Metal
- Wash with Badab Black
- Highlight with GW Chainmail
- Highlight with Mithril Silver
- Wash with Black again and again

Brass/Shiny areas used
- Base coat GW BoltGun Metal
- Wash with Badab Black
- Highlight with GW Dwarf Bronze (awesome) colour
- Wash again and again with Badab Black
- Highlight raised areas with Chestnut Ink

*Special Note on Chestnut Ink* - This is now out of production colour produced by GW. It is absolutely amazing for highlighting and washing gold/brass/bronze areas. Unfortunately I now only have one nearly empty pot of it left and have not been able to find a suitable alternative.

Areas at end of Redeemers rocket and various vent areas also got thin layers of Scab Red followed by lots of washing with Red Ink and Badab Black.

Knights Exemplar & Deliverer Sunburst Crew
Finished the Knights with the addition of the arms, shields and shoulder guards. Shoulder guard and shield colours caused me a few headaches as the original all metallic scheme didn't really work.

I finally ended up doing a quick Hormagaunt Purple and Black colouring over all of them which actually turned out pretty good.

The only areas in need of extra work on both of these units were the leather areas, the swords and some touch ups on the Deliverers sashes.

Painting Leather
Simple process for these areas. Base coat of GW Scorched Brown, highlights of GW Snakebite Leather and washed with GW Flesh Wash. Sadly Flesh Wash is no longer available but you can also use Mud Wash or Sepia Wash to get the same effect.

Painting Sashes
Base coat of Hormagaunt Purple again. GW Chaos Black in the recesses, GW Liche Purple to edges of recesses and finally Hormagaunt Purple on raised areas. Badab Black Wash also used to deepen overall effect.

Painting the Golden Crosses
Several layers here. GW Mithril Silver base coat, GW Shining Gold next followed by GW Burnished Gold and finally Chestnut Ink to wash it down. GW Chaos Black used as a highlighter.

Army List - Warmachine Mk2 @ 35 pts

Playing my first games of Warmachine Mark 2 against Toshi tonight, will be going with an Exemplar themed army. Will require me to borrow a model off Toshi to proxy as Gravus (as mine wont arrive for a bit) and it offers some awesome possibilities. Kreoss's epic cadre rule gives every Exemplar unit/model 'Aegis' and Gravus adds further abilities. Crusaders at 6pts are also now the most cost effective warjacks in the Menoth army which is why I want a couple more.

Exemplar @35pts

Juviah Rhoven & Bodyguard
Knights Exemplar (6)
Knights Exemplar (6)
Exemplar Seneschal
Exemplar Seneschal
High Exemplar Gravus
Choir of Menoth (4)

Of course I could also go with the following list which is much different...

Feoras Firey Jacks @ 35pts

Temple Flameguard (10) + Unit attachment
Choir of Menoth (4)

Five Warjack's at 35pts is pretty nasty and the Flameguard offer Feora some great protection.

Completed - Redeemer Light Warjack

The Redeemer has been sitting around for months unpainted so it was nice to get it out of the way. Took me a couple of hours on Sunday night. I still have trouble painting warjacks not sure why.

WIP - High Elf White Lions

First pics of my White Lion regiment. So far I have completed the basing with the exception of two models which I will finish pinning once painting is complete. Undercoated all of them using GW Chaos Black and have started work on the command group. Going for a basic white/purple look but with darker shading and highlights. Lion cloaks are going to be difficult colour wise but I have found some guides for painting Roman Legionary Standard Bearers lion cloaks which have proved very helpful.

Should have them finished by end of month. Painting and gaming time will be limited over the next year as I have finally enrolled in my PhD and have to start work on my initial proposal.