Friday, March 10, 2017

40K Friday: Traitor Legions

I'm a little late to the party on this one but better late than never, right? In case you were taking your time on this one like I was the short version is this: It's great, and if you're playing a chaos marine army in 40K you should seriously consider it. Since I'm trying to finish up my Iron Warriors -as much as any 40K army can be "finished"- I'm glad I picked it up now  as it changed the direction of my army somewhat.

So why is it worth getting?

  1. It complies the information from multiple other chaos marine supplement type books (mainly Black Legion and Wrath of Magnus) so if you never bothered to pick those up - like me - then it saves you some money. Having it all in one book is nice even if you have the others too. 
  2. It's mostly crunch, not fluff. If you've ever seen the Iyanden codex you'll understand why this matters. Each legion gets about a page of backstory and then we jump right into army lists and special rules. 
  3. It does give more flavor to each of the legions, through a mix of new formations, special rules and access changes. For example, Iron Warriors have Feel No Pain on a 6+, can't include units with marks of any specific power, and can take obliterators as troops. You can argue about whether all of these things fit with their back story but it is a unique mix of rules that no one else has. 
  4. It does make the Chaos Marines more competitive. There's nothing equivalent to scatter laser jetbikes in here, or wraithknights in my opinion, but it is still an upgrade to what we've been working with the past few years. Just having some formations beyond the basic CAD is pretty refreshing. There are still a lot of things to explore when it comes to tournament power combos but if you just want to make a strong list centered around a particular legion with some rules to reflect their composition and philosophy it's a notable step up right away.
I'm in the middle of building out an Iron Warriors army and I have a Plague Marine force as well. Both were originally designed around the traditional CAD. Both started out as ad-hoc forces as some unit caught my fancy and was added to the horde. Over time I developed a philosophy with each one and started a more guided approach to acquisitions. The goal was to fill out a CAD and maybe have some units allocated to a second CAD for bigger fights. 

With Traitor Legions this changes. My IW's are mostly straight-up chaos marine squads. This makes them a perfect fit for the new Chaos Warband formation:
  • Chaos Lord (rides with the Chosen)
  • Chaos Sorcerer (on a bike in my case)
  • Unit of Chosen (in a Rhino)
  • 2-4 squads of CSM's (in Rhinos)
  • CSM Biker squad
  • 1-2 Havoc Squads
Now this is all stuff I already have and plan to use already. These guys all get objective secured (from the formation) and have Veterans of the Long War and  6+ FNP (from the IW rules)

There are a lot of other interesting formations in the book. Many of them require a warpsmith and I do have one, but I'm going to go with the good old CAD for the second part of the force. This lets me bring the rest of the units I have. It also gives me objective secured Obliterators which is an interesting new wrinkle.
  • HQ: Daemon Prince and/or Warpsmith
  • Elites: Helbrute
  • Troops: 2+ Obliterators
  • Fast Attack: Heldrake, Chaos Spawn
  • Heavy Support: Predator
The final element of the army is the Helbrute Mayhem Pack. This is one of the downloadable dataslates that consists of 3 individual helbrutes that deep strike in simultaneously. This is an awesome mix of surprise, effectiveness, and hilarity as at least one always seems to do something unexpected. Who needs drop pods? The loyalist scum are weak! Our dreads drop in with no protection at all!

One further option: Moving the Daemon Prince to a "Lord of the Legion" element and the chaos spawn to a "Spawn" element I can take the "Iron Warriors Grand Company" decurion and get Stubborn on those units and the Chaos Warband. 

So, if you've been frustrated playing Chaos Marines in 40K for the last few years, or if you would just like some more options as far as building your army, take a look at this one. I think you will be pleasantly surprised. It's not the return of the 3.5 Codex but it is closer to that kind of book than anything we've seen since. 

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

First Game of Frostgrave

After talking about Frostgrave as an RPG a while back and looking at the miniatures game even farther back I figured we really ought to play the damn thing. So, over the weekend, Blaster and I did just that. It was just the two of us and we just played the "standard game" from the book, not any particular scenario.

Table-wise they recommend a 3' x 3' area, so we flipped over our X-wing mat and started dropping ruined city parts on it. It's not all that pretty but this is a "prototype" after all.

I took an elementalist because I figured getting a feel for the blasting wizard would give me a solid baseline. Blaster took a necromancer because he was in a zombie kind of mood. We both took apprentices because it makes a ton of sense. Soldier-wise I took a barbarian, a ranger, an archer, two thugs, and a war hound. Blaster went templar, infantryman, 2 archers, 2 thugs, and a war hound. He managed to summon a zombie before the fight while I failed to craft a construct.

We set up our forces and commenced to fightin'.The goal is to hurt the opposition and steal away as many treasure tokens as possible. With 2 players we had six of those on the table.

I quickly discovered that it's very important to keep soldiers close to your wizard and apprentice. First, they provide cover! Second, the sequence of play is wizard + up to 3 soldiers within 3 inches of him, then Apprentice + up to 3 soldiers within 3 inches of him, then your leftover soldiers. It really sucks when you realize all of your heavy hitters have moved off on their own so you're activating just your wizard, then just your apprentice, then all of your other guys while your opponent is moving the full 4 guys each time.

Now you can't always do this. Somebody needs to go retrieve that treasure token on the bridge and it's not going to be my wizard ... hey Thug Bob, why don't you run out there real quick and grab it for us, ok? That means Thug Bob may get to move in the last segment next turn, but it keeps the wizard safe.

Man Down!

My wizard performed pretty well when it came to blasting things. In one memorable moment I lighting bolted an archer right off the top of a monument for the first kill of the game. I was not doing real well on the recovering treasure side of things so I ran my apprentice up to the nearest one and discovered dogs are pretty fast. I also discovered that even dogs can roll really well and he took out my apprentice in one round.

It does take a little getting used to how fragile things are. Figures have hit points which might make you think they're going to take a few hits to kill - maybe, maybe not.

  • Combat is a d20 + your Fight bonus which is typically a zero to a +4. This is an opposed check, high roll wins. 
  • Damage is whatever you rolled, minus the losers Armor number, which is typically 10. You then subtract that damage from the targets Health, which is also going to be around 10. 
As you can see, a d20 + a few, minus an armor number around 10 vs. a health of around 10 means a high roll can kill in one shot. There's also no mitigation from a high initial roll, so if I lose a fight 21 to 19 and I have 10 armor and 10 health I am dead - just as dead as if I had rolled a 3. I don't think it's a huge problem but it did require an expectations adjustment from me after seeing it in action. 

In then end we came out about even. Blaster had more treasure but I had done more damage. He did much better in the gold department but when we rolled for character status after the game several of his soldiers will be sitting out the next game. All of my soldiers came thru OK but my apprentice will be out next time so that will be a challenge. 

We played 5 turns in about an hour and a half and that's with building our warbands, choosing spells,  and fumbling around learning the rules for the first time. I'm pretty sure a regular game will be less than an hour assuming you don't have to pick your forces all over again.

We had a lot of fun and he was already talking about "next time" as we wrapped up so I think it's a winner. I'll post more when we play again.