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Warhammer Fantasy Strategy & Tactics / Skaven vs Dark Elves Narrative Batrep
« on: September 11, 2012, 04:12:56 PM »
First a few notes:

This is my first narrative batrep, and indeed my first bit of properly written fluff, so it's no professional quality...

Grey Seer Vorikk is obsessed with poetry and thinks he's the greatest poet to ever walk the Old World, but he's absolutely terrible at it, hence the bad poems and whatnot.

I still need names for my Chieftain and Plague Priest.

The Warpfire Throwers didn't do anything this game, so they're mentioned only once (I believe).

Lists:
Dark Elves:
Lords – 320pts.
Supreme Sorceress – Level 4, Lore of Shadow, Pendant of Khaleth, Sacrificial Dagger (Melkoth’s Mystifying Miasma, The Withering, Penumbral Pendulum, Pit of Shades) – 320pts.

Heroes – 150pts.
Sorceress – Level 2, Lore of Death, Tome of Furion (irrelevant) – 150pts.

Core – 400pts.
30 Warriors – Shields, Full Command, Banner of Murder – 250pts.
14 Repeater Crossbowmen – Standard – 150pts.

Special – 417pts.
5 Cold One Knights – Musician, Standard Bearer – 174pts.
14 Black Guards – Musician, Standard, Razor Standard – 243pts.

Rare – 200pts.
2 Reaper Bolt Throwers – 200pts.

TOTAL – 1487pts.

Skaven:
Lords – 240pts.
Grey Seer Vorikk – 240pts. (Wither, Skitterleap, Howling Warpgale, the Dreaded 13th)

Heroes – 271pts.
Chieftain – Battle Standard Bearer, Storm Banner, Halberd – 122pts.
Warlock Engineer Fitz – Doomrocket – 45pts.
Plague Priest – Flail – 104pts. (Plague)

Core – 401pts.
24 Clanrats – Full Command, Shields, Warpfire Thrower – 198pts.
20 Clanrats – Full Command, Shields, Warpfire Thrower – 180pts.
5 Giant Rats, Packmaster – 23pts.

Special – 285pts.
35 Plague Monks – Standard Bearer, Plague Banner – 285pts.

Rare – 300pts.
Doomwheel – 150pts.
Doomwheel – 150pts.

TOTAL – 1497pts.

The Battle:
‘My own-personal Warpstone supply-supply,
These stupid Elf-things it is behind,
If they just move-moved out of my way,
I wouldn’t have to kill-kill them all this day.’

-   Grey Seer Vorikk

Vorikk would never speak of how, but he had his own ways of gathering information. He’d been informed of a significant amount of Warpstone that a contingent of Dark Elves had come across whilst mining a mountain only 49,576 paws to the east and he wasn’t about to let those dirty Elf-things steal his Warpstone. He had great plans for the rock (well, they were actually Warlock Engineer Fitz’s plans, but Vorikk wasn’t about to let him take credit for such genius).

The Elves had been using human slaves from a nearby settlement to mine the unstable rock. Vorikk was annoyed that his human contacts hadn’t informed him of the Elves coming. They would be punished for this slight, but first the Elves had to be taken care of.

***

As Vorikk’s horde marched to meet the foe he could see that they were already awaiting him. Perhaps scouts had spotted his unsubtle approach or some vile magic had been used. Or perhaps he was being double-crossed. He’d have to interrogate his Clan Eshin representatives to make sure. You can never be too careful with these things.

Either way, the battle would take place here, on the outskirts of a small town. The Elves must have taken them all as slaves, because the place was devoid of human life.

‘Into position we will march,
For now-now the battle shalt start!’ the Grey Seer squeaked in his most poetic of tones, and the Skaven instantly began skittering into place as the foul-looking Elf-things did the same. They‘re too dark, thought Vorikk, no wonder their poetry’s not as good as mine, they clearly lack any inspiration.

Vorikk floated next to Fitz, the more sane (if such a word could even be used) and creative of the pair of Warlock Engineers in his service, allowing the Engineer a place in his personal meat shield of Clanrats. The fanatical horde of Plague Monks marched up to his right, barely restraining themselves from charging forward at the wall of spears directly opposite them, desperately wishing to spread the love of the Great Horned One. The Chieftain moved to the right of these fanatics, his standard of storm-calling held high while his bodyguard of Clanrats gave suspicious glances to the Warpfire Thrower weapon team stood next to them.

As the last of the Dark Elves moved into place and the Skaven’s Doomwheels rolled up to the flanks, Vorikk urged his horde onwards to destroy these defilers of his rock. The great wheels of doom lost no momentum as they spun towards the enemy Cold One Knights and Black Guard, eager to show these funny smelling man-thing-like beings how wonderful their creations are while the Plague Monks marched feverishly towards the enemy.

Vorikk led his unit forward towards a building with foul intent written upon his features as he devoured a pair of Warpstone Tokens and unleashed all the power of the Great Horned One upon the enemy’s Crossbowmen and lesser mage. The rush of power was far too much for even the greatest effort the Elf-things could possibly muster and the unit writhed and twisted as they were all transformed into ratmen. The incredible surge of magic through the Seer’s veins caused him to black out for a couple of seconds, and when he came to he realised he was laughing maniacally, not of his own accord, and stopped himself.

Still a little dazed, he couldn’t remember what had just happened, but did notice 15 Skaven wearing purple up ahead, already behind enemy lines. Vorikk thought to himself that these rats must have infiltrated the enemy army and pretended to be Elves so they could attack the enemy unawares. What a genius tactic! Whoever came up with that incredible idea would be rewarded handsomely for keeping their jaw clenched and letting him take the credit. ‘Was that you?’ he quizzed Fitz, but received only a quizzical glance in return. ‘Never mind.’

Three bolts of lightning arced out and struck some of the Clanrats in Vorikk’s unit. The Grey Seer turned his head to see that it was one of the Doomwheels as surviving Clanrats cursed and squeaked at the machine, and by the sounds of it, the same thing had happened to his Chieftain’s unit as well. Ah well, that’s what they’re here for, he thought, turning back to see the Dark Elves now marching to meet the Skaven.

The foolish, or perhaps just arrogant, Dark Elf Black Guard thought they could take on a Doomwheel and charged the Skaven machination as the Cold One Knights attempted to do the same to the other Doomwheel, but perhaps they were the more intelligent of the enemy units and decided that it wasn’t such a great idea and stopped short.

Meanwhile, the Warriors had nudged their way forward, remaining defensive and ready to receive any charges as the Supreme Sorceress infected the minds of the Plague Monks and Priest with confusing spells and chants as Vorikk was still far too confused to make a decent attempt at stopping the enemy mages power.

A hail of bolts rained from a Reaper Bolt Thrower, but the literal hail called upon by the Chieftain proved to be the more powerful, only a couple of bolts finding a home in the half-rotted flesh of the Plague Monks. The other turned its sights towards the Doomwheel soon sure to run down the Cold One Knights, and despite the storm managed to hit home with a single sizeable bolt, but the rugged design of the Doomwheel meant that only minor damage was sustained.

The Black Guard soon learnt of their mistake as the Doomwheel grinded down its foe, two of the Elves getting caught beneath the wheel and crushed to death with a horrid squelching sound as they were ground into the mud. Blood sprayed out behind the Doomwheel and what were once two Elves was now nothing more than a red stain. Despite the fate their comrades had received, the Black Guard stood strong and attacked the Doomwheel, but their foolishness was further proven as halberds bounced off the solid exterior of the wheel. The Engineer driving the thing was too caught up cackling condescendingly at the Elves to even bother attacking and left the work to three of the rats who managed to chew their way through the leg of another Elf, who fell forward smashing his face against the still spinning wheel and was rapidly drawn under to the same fate as those before him.

The other Doomwheel set its sights on the Cold One Knights and slammed straight into their front, annihilating every last one of them with a combination of mass and lightning bolts before they even had a chance to retaliate.

Likewise, the Plague Monks decided it would be a great time to let the elves of darkness feel the loving embrace of the Great Horned Rat, but a weird fog clouded their minds, distracting and confusing them, leaving the unfortunate elves without any kind of love.

Vorikk skittered his way inside the building with his meat-shield and inventor-engineer. While Vorikk was busy looking for shiny objects to take, Fitz found a nice window through which he aimed his rocket of joy at the Dark Elf Warriors below, blowing a few of them into mouth-sized chunks and raining flesh upon their fellows, but the elves seemed to care not.

More Black Guard fell beneath the grinding wheels of the Doomwheel and continued to fail in any of their attempts to hurt the thing, the engineer inside laughing with ecstatic joy as intestines squelched underneath in the mud created by the Chieftain’s storm.

The rat pack, not aware of the Plague Brethren’s befuddlement, charged headlong at the Elves, halting only paws away from the spearmen. The pack halted as the Packmaster awaited the Monks’ charge, but after a few moments of nothing happening, he risked looking away from the enemy for a quick look over his shoulder to see where they were, and was more than a little annoyed to find them slowly lurching forward with confused looks upon their features.

The extra-sneaky infiltrating rats move towards the rear of the elf spearmen while more Black Guard fall to the first Doomwheel and the other rolls towards the enemy Bolt Throwers, but its own lightning proves to be barely powerful enough to slave, let alone a machine.

Taking advantage of their current distraction, the spearmen hack apart the Giant Rats and their Packmaster before charging headlong into the confused Clan Pestilens representatives and confusing them further with mind-boggling power.

The Chieftain saw the flank of the enemy open and directed his mildly faithful Clanrats into these foolish warriors. The stealthy 15 attempted to hit the rear, but the distance was mighty to say the least and they soon realised the fighting was much too far for them to reach.

The Black Guard finally fell before the unyielding might of the now gore-splattered Doomwheel while its counterpart continued on its roll, coming just short of the enemy Bolt Throwers before its lightning arced out and once again proved to be nowhere near powerful enough to cause so much as a burn mark.

“Look at what I found, so perfect and round!” squeaked Vorikk. Fitz scuttled over and looked at what Vorikk had held in his paw.

“It appears to be some kind of circular object!” replied Fitz, “I wonder if it explodes. It would fit perfectly into the end of my Doomrocket…”

Vorikk and Fitz remained peering at the child’s play-thing, not paying much attention to all the commotion going on just outside the building.

“Face me, dirty-dirty elf hag! Step-step forward and let me introduce my blade-blade to your face-face!” squealed the Clanrat’s Claw Leader. The elf witch obliged and leapt towards him. Before the arrogant Skaven could even strike a blow, the elf slipped her blade through his throat, ending his life almost instantly.

The elves on the side of the unit retaliated in aggression towards the Clanrats that had hit them unawares, slaying a few of the ratmen, but not before the Chieftain had culled a few elves of his own. The rest of the elves that could reach thrust their spears towards the mind-weakened Monks at their front, destroying a few with surprising ease for an elf.

The Monks and their Priest were rather enraged by this absolute rejection of the wisdom of their rat-god, and retaliated in rage, slaughtering countless elves along with the few the Clanrats could actually manage to hit. The immense losses were too much for the elves and they began to turn and run the other way, but their hesitance in leaving the still-condescending sorceress proved to be their end as rats swarmed over them, tearing all they could catch limb-from-limb and devouring what they could.

The Bolt Throwers figured taking on an entire army would prove to be slightly difficult, so they turned the other way, not bothering to pack up their machines as the matter of a Doomwheel only an arm’s length away proved to be more pressing.


2
Warhammer Fantasy Strategy & Tactics / ETC
« on: September 03, 2012, 09:34:50 PM »
I don't understand the hype behind the ETC, and honestly tournaments like this just make me angry. I don't even understand how you could butcher the game to such an extent and still call it "Warhammer".

Some of the rule changes are annoying, others just don't make sense and then there are some that are borderline moronic.

For example...
Quote
- Characters will get “look out sir” versus the following spells that automatically kill models or automatically remove an entire regiment: Dwellers Below, Final Transmutation, Dreaded 13th, Infernal Gateway 11-12 effect. Normal requirements for lookout sir apply.
What? Why? It doesn't even make sense. Who's going to jump in and push your character out of the way when every single guy is turning into a rat? There's no way to dodge a spell like that. If someone ran over and shoved the mage, he'd probably just fall over, and then continue to turn into a rat.

And Infernal Gateway. Really? Tell me who's going to dive in front of that one.

Anyway, I'll leave my rant there for now. For anyone who wanted to delve a little deeper into this idiocy, here you go.

3
Warhammer Fantasy Strategy & Tactics / MSU in Fantasy
« on: August 31, 2012, 03:05:53 PM »
I'm sure almost everyone is well aware that big blocks of guys is considered the most competitive way to play Fantasy, with MSU being frowned upon as not viable, but I really think MSU has some serious potential.

There are some armies where MSU obviously wouldn't work, like Skaven, Orcs and Goblins or Vampire Counts (I don't think it'd even be possible to MSU Zombies), but there are other armies that I think could be run quite effectively with a MSU list like Warriors of Chaos and any of the Elves, especially Wood Elves.

I haven't played an MSU army yet, so this is all just theory and what I've read, but I will be starting up an MSU Wood Elves army after my Skaven are mostly painted and I feel I've got a reasonable Chaos Space Marines army after the book hits.

Anyway, from what I know, MSU does have a few key advantages:
  • Throws opponents off their game because it's almost never run
  • When something dies, it doesn't matter because it was cheap enough not to care about anyway
  • You have the upper hand in deployment with a huge number of unit drops, potentially making the opponent deploy a certain way before you deploy the more important elements of your army to counter this
  • Movement is a hugely important part of the game, and a MSU army has the upper hand here as well

But then there are some obvious disadvantages...
  • Your units will never win a 1v1 fight
  • MSU is much harder to play well
  • If you mess up your movement and/or your deployment, you'll almost definitely lose
  • The Dreaded 13th Spell will have a field day on any unit with a character in it

I'm sure there's more, but I can't think of any.

The basic rules of MSU
  • Keep your units cheap (less than 200 is best, 200 is pushing it), you don't want your enemy to be able to target a specific unit to get huge Victory Points
  • Don't spend points on unnessecary upgrades - unit champions often fall under this point in MSU
  • You want to keep your characters cheap as well, often no more than a unit unless you can really justify their cost
  • You want around 15 unit drops minimum
  • Synergy is key

And one more that I thought deserved a bit more explanation:

Redundancy is key
By this I don't mean spamming the same unit over and over, though this does effectively do the same thing, but just that you need lots of units able to do the same job. If one dies, you've still got plenty more units capable of doing the same thing.

So, I'll give you a quick example of my MSU Wood Elf army list and how it would (in theory) work:
Lords - 594pts.
Highborn - Altar Kindred, Additional Hand Weapon, Light Armour, Enchanted Shield, Bow of Loren, Stone of the Crystal Mere, Arcane Bodkins - 284pts.
Spellweaver - Level 4 Wizard, Lore of Beasts, Moonstone of the Hidden Ways, the Deepwood Sphere - 310pts.

Heroes - 150pts.
Spellsinger - Level 2 Wizard, Calaingor's Stave - 150pts.

Core - 1180pts.
16 Glade Guard - Musician, Standard Bearer, Banner of Eternal Flame - 220pts.
10 Glade Guard - Musician, Standard Bearer - 138pts.
10 Glade Guard - Musician, Standard Bearer - 138pts.
10 Glade Guard - Musician, Standard Bearer - 138pts.
5 Glade Riders - Musician - 129pts.
5 Glade Riders - Musician - 129pts.
8 Dryads - 96pts.
8 Dryads - 96pts.
8 Dryads - 96pts.

Special - 133pts.
7 Wardancers - Musician - 133pts.

Rare - 340pts.
5 Waywatchers - 120pts.
5 Waywatchers - 120pts.
Great Eagle - 50pts.
Great Eagle - 50pts.

TOTAL - 2397pts.

As you can probably tell, I've broken a few of the guidelines myself, but for good reason.

The first thing is the Highborn. He's the second most expensive thing up there, and he's a single model. However, being a Wood Elves army, I'm normally going to struggle against knights and other heavily armoured units, and the Waywatchers simply aren't enough to handle such units on there own. The Highborn can tear apart most heavily armoured units with 5 shots ignoring armour a turn, and with movement 9 he'll never be caught. He also has considerable defense against ranged attacks and can handle himself in combat to a reasonable standard.

The second is the Spellweaver. She's the only thing more expensive than the Lord, but she has some insane synergy and her magic items give me an even greater control over the board. She starts with the Wardancers and will stick back near the free wood that I get as a Wood Elves player, before using the Moonstone to teleport to whatever forest on the board I think I need to get to, hopefully behind or on the flank of the enemy. The board control comes not just from this teleport, but also from the Deepwood Sphere. Causing S5 hits on any model in the same forest as her, combined with being able to teleport to any forest on the table, should create a very large area that the enemy will flat-out avoid, and if they don't avoid it, well, they're going to have a lot of dead models very soon.

She has the Lore of Beasts because it synergises better with MSU Wood Elves than the Lore of Life. Amber Spear gives the army some much needed anti-knight/chariot/war machine firepower, Wyssans Wild Form is the best signature spell in the game and can turn Dryads from a powerful combat unit into an absolute death machine and the Curse of Anraheir, guess what, gives me even more control over the movement phase! As well as helping every unit in combat with that particular target.

The last rule I've broken is taking the 16 Glade Guard, but that Flaming Banner would be wasted on a smaller unit and it would be very difficult trying to kill Hellpits and Hydras.

As for the rest of the army:
The Spellsinger
The Spellsinger is there to move forests around, synergising nicely with my Spellweaver and her unit, giving me greater control over the board. Being able to move forests repeatedly in the same turn is also even more helpful. He's a Level 2 because there are some nice spells in the Lore of Athel Loren that I'd be hard-pressed not taking if I rolled them up, especially stuff like the Call of the Hunt and Blessing or Ariel, so the Level 2 is so I can have these nice spells and still get the synergy I need.

Glade Guard
The reason for the Banners is because I build my lists for all situations, and I don't want to be auto-losing Blood and Glory.

Glade Riders
They're here for a bit more redundancy, and because they also bring some great value to the list. They're not the most competitive choice, but they have plenty of uses and I'm not about to pass that up.

They help make the Eagles redundant in just about every role. They can hunt war machines, get in the way, be sacrificed for the purpose of the rest of my army and flank/rear charge if I feel I need it, as well as being able to move 18" and still fire their Long Bows without any penalty.

Dryads
They can be used as very, very painful speed-humps for the Glade Guard or, preferabely, they can be used to multi-assault an enemy and destroy the unit in a matter of a turn or two.

Wardancers
They're used as slightly more flexible Dryads, able to deal a lot of damage, take it back or hit an otherwise faster enemy even faster depending on the dance chosen, and they should almost always get a rear or flank charge thanks to the Moonstone.

Waywatchers
They're used for killing knights and other heavily armoured models, or lone characters with their Killing Blow shots.

Great Eagles
I don't think I really need to explain this choice.

The deployment phase
So, with this army, you could begin by placing a unit of Glade Guard (maybe two, if you really want to), a Great Eagle, some Glade Riders and maybe even a unit of Dryads in one corner, forcing your opponent to deploy 4-5 units already in response to this very small chunk of your army, and then place everything else all the way on the other side of the board. The opponent can then either continue deploying where they were, making it harder for them to get to combat with you, or they can split their forces, allowing the bulk of your force to focus down a relatively small amount of theres.

That's just one example of taking advantage of the deployment phase to make victory a bit easier on yourself.

That's about all I can think of for now, but I'll leave you with some links of people who've actually tried MSU with considerable success. These threads are aimed at specific armies, but the principles still apply to everyone. They can explain everything better than I can.

In order of usefulness (in my opinion):
More Wood Elves MSU tactics
High Elves and general MSU principles (principles about a third of the way down the page)
More High Elves
Empire MSU
Tips and tricks for Great Eagle use

The last 4 links were posted by the OP in the first one.

4
Warhammer Fantasy Army Lists / 2400pts. Skaven Tournament List
« on: August 30, 2012, 02:03:12 AM »
Lords - 285pts.
Grey Seer - Talisman of Preservation - 285pts.

Heroes - 481pts.
Chieftain - BSB, Storm Banner, Halberd - 122pts.
Plague Priest - Level 2 Wizard, Plague Furnace, Flail, Dispel Scroll - 314pts.
Warlock Engineer - 45pts.

Core - 723pts.
20 Clanrats - Full Command, Shields, Warpfire Thrower - 180pts.
20 Clanrats - Full Command, Shields, Warpfire Thrower - 180pts.
20 Clanrats - Full Command, Shields, Warpfire Thrower - 180pts.
40 Skavenslaves - 80pts.
40 Skavenslaves - 80pts.
5 Giant Rats, 1 Packmaster - 23pts.

Special - 428pts.
35 Plague Monks - Full Command, Plague Banner - 300pts.
8 Plague Censer Bearers - 128pts.

Rare - 480pts.
Doomwheel - 150pts.
Doomwheel - 150pts.
Warp Lightning Cannon - 90pts.
Warp Lightning Cannon - 90pts.

TOTAL - 2397pts.

So first thing's first, don't just come along, quote my post and write "gutter runners" like you're the almighty lord of critiquing lists and don't have time to write anything half-decent or think about what might be going on with the list.

That said, I am considering 6 Gutter Runners in place of the Plague Censer Bearers and then adding another Rat Dart. My only problem is that they seem boring, the Censer Bearers do huge damage and Doomwheels are very capable of taking War Machines if needed. I know it nerfs the list slightly not to take them, but I want to run something fun while I win...

Basically, the units of 20 rats keep back a bit, bait and flee so the Warpfire Throwers can hit and the unit not carrying a character can be sacrificed as needed for the other two units that will be carrying the Grey Seer and BSB if needed.

Advice welcome, provided it's more than just the name of a unit out of my Army Book.

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