Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Nagash - Sticker Shock?

We've seen the models - and they are beautiful.


However I wonder if there is going to be some serious sticker shock from NZ consumers when they see the price of the models.


Nagash, Supreme Lord of the Undead will cost NZ$175. That's pretty expensive.


But how does it compare to other countries. Below is a list of other GW RRP and in brackets the NZ$ conversion.


UK GBP 65 (NZ128)
EURO 85 (NZ134)
USD 105 (NZ125)
CAD 130 (NZ141)
AUD 150 (NZ166)


So it looks like NZ consumers are getting the highest price - recently that was generally the preserve of our Australian cousins). And this seems to reverse some recent moves to normalise the price.


Perhaps GW has decided that NZ doesn't need the Supreme Lord of the Undead - we are already living in the End Times.

ETC Match-up Analysis

Posted below is some analysis undertaken by an ETC "analyst" that looks at the results of specific matchups at this year's ETC.

While it doesn't differentiate between different list build - and appreciate that the total data points are 768 - it does give some insight into how certain matchups played out.

An entry has only been included where the matchup occurred at least 5 times.

Some points I noted:
  • Dark Elves, High Elves and Daemons were very strong across the field
  • Dark Elves had no "bad" matchups whereas DoC struggled versus Lizards and High Elves vs. Dark Elves (this last one was important given they are the two most prevalent armies)
  • Skaven and Empire have higher good matchups than most - but that matchup process is important
  • WoC and Woodies were general underperformers (more surprised by the latter than the former)

My Skaven Adventures at the ETC

So I spent the last fortnight travelling to and from and participating in ETC 2015.

I intend to do a series of posts over the next week or so on my experiences and thoughts coming out of the event - especially re Team NZ. Today I thought I'd start with my own playing performance (and get that out of the way).


My list was as follows:

Grey Seer - Screaming Bell, Skalm, Earthing Rod, Dragonbane Gem

Chieftain - BSB, Shield
Assassin - Weeping Blade, Potion of Strength
Engineer - Level 2, Doomrocket, Condenser
Engineer - Level 1, Dispel Scroll, Ruby Ring
Engineer - Potion of Foolhardiness

39 Stormvermin - Full Command, Storm Banner
3 x 39 Slaves - Pawleader, Muso
2x 2 Rat Swarms

2x 5 Gutter Runners - Poison, Slings

2x Doomwheel
Plagueclaw Catapult
Warp Lightning Cannon

To say I have some familiarity with the Screaming Bell list is a bit of an understatement. I had played the list for about 18 months before I applied for ETC (with some forays into DoC  to get variety). Once selected it meant the next 12 months of Screaming Bell (enormous fun for all my regular opponents).

Leading into the event I played three ETC warmup events - Horned Rat VII, Wrath & Ruin and Panzershreck. In the first I suffered a 5-15 loss after blowing up my Bell but other than that I didn't give away points. I managed to win W&R and Panzershreck by winning 9 out of 11 games and drawing 2. In the process I learned that the nemesis - apart from three dicing the bell - is Life magic. I did manage to secure two draws vs. Empire Life armies which to me are the devil.

I'd like to thank the locals who did play me so I could try things out....it really helped.

When it came to matchups I had one set of "reds", the ten armies with Level 4 Life and minimal "orange" - generally Empire, Lore of Hashut Chaos Dwarfs and the Swedish Wood Elves. Other than that I fancied I could generally hold points. I saw my role in the team as a blocker trying to take the enemy hard hitters - Dark Elves, Daemons, Woodies (wrongly it seems) and (as a back up) High Elves. I didn't expect to be given the chance to play Lizards, WoC, ethereal VC etc.

Warm Up Games

We played warmups vs. Serbia and Singapore. In my game vs. Serbia I fought out a 10-10 vs. their Daemons (4 VPs my way), while against Singapore Dark Elves (Flying Circus) it was also 10-10 (3 VPs). Both were hard games which blew away some of the cobwebs.

ETC

Round 1 I was drawn vs. Scotland (Rob Ritchie - who is a lovely bloke). In the end we fought out a 10-10 (about 70 points my way) with me removing two blocks but leaving 4 warmachines on 1 wound. I cast 13th for the only time on the weekend and removed 16 Hammerers. I'd argue it should have been 12-8 my way but Rob would similarly argue the same if I hadn't got the spell off.

In the second round I played Oystein Berg (Norway) who had a Chaos Dwarf list. I fancied the matchup if he didn't castle - he placed everything into a 16" corner square. I could rush him but he had Death/Hellcannon, Deathshriekers, Magma Cannon and Iron Daemon...so I saw a steady bleed of points. I deployed in the other half with important stuff outside his range. 10-10. We then played a game with me rushing him...10-10.

The 3rd round saw me matched up vs. Sebastian Berg (Switzerland) and his Daemons. He hid his LoC behind the hill and baselined the rest. I managed to get a unit of Plague Drones, Beast of Nurgle and pressured his Horrors and Plaguebearers. He didn't want to come out and play and so it petered out to 12-8.

Our grudge round saw me up against Mick Ferraro (Australia) and his High Elves. He had a White Lion BotWD buss which he deployed away from me. I deployed in corner then began the push forward. He sacrificed his two units of Silver Helms to extricate his Frostheart and by start of Turn 3 I was about 300 points up. It petered out again and we called a 12-8.

Fifth round saw me up against the Czech Daemon player. He had a similar list to the Swiss DoC but crucially rolled up 2+ armour save on his LoC. This removed the threat of my Gutter Runners and the Doomwheels. As long as he hid it from WLC it was safe. This he did and he held the rest of his army back. He had Final Trans and Searing Doom, as well as Blue Fire so rushing him was risky - I could see my Doomwheels giving up a bracket early. Final Trans always scares me (thanks Tom)....so after deployment we agreed a 10-10 (as an aside this suited me as it freed me up to act as Captain).

The final round saw me drawn against the Finnish HE player. Here he was all-mounted with a Silver Helm bus that included 6 characters. He pressured me early but I was able to delay him and started working on the two smaller SH units. My hope was to get Deafening Peals off once or twice to remove the warmachines. Unfortunately that only happened once (Turn 4) and I only got 1 - typically I should get between 2-3. There was one bit of play I was quite proud of in this came, I combat reformed a Slave Block facing a single SH, 19 wide preventing his bus going around it. Into the last turn I had dragged the game back to a 10-10 when my opponent made a very strange combat reform putting his bus into one long line. I then had two opportunities - to try for the magical charge into flank hoping he'd fail Break Test and/or Cracks Call down the line. I need a 5 to get in on the charge which was only about a 16% chance....against that I had the opportunity (25%) to Deafening Peal off the warmachines. I rolled Scorch. However I still had Cracks Call - my 5 Dice plus Level 4 vs. his 4 Dice and now Level 1. It had the potential to go through 10 models - six characters and 4 SHs. Each character was a bracket on a roll of a 6 and one SH was worth 170 points (also on a 6). Unfortunately he dispelled it.....I still don't want to do the maths :-(. The game was 10-10

Thoughts

So in the end I went 2-4-0 scoring 64 points.

Looking at my matchups - using the ETC average for the matchup - my baseline was 53.3.  The sample size is small but it gives you an idea on performance.


Scoring 10.7 points more than I "should" makes me feel happier about my performance. I know through the event I felt under enormous pressure to contribute both as a captain and as a player. Certainly in the matchups for a lot of armies Dave Meachen's DoC and my Skaven were the first line of defence. This generally made my conservative buttons kick in, possibly more than they could have.

Apart from hitting the 13th against Rob I didn't feel I had a huge amount of luck at the event. Deafening Peals was generally underwhelming in its results and the Storm Banner never stayed up more than one opponent turn. If these had been a little bit more in my favour I suspect I could have squeezed another 5-6 points out of my result. However the important thing was that - apart from the speed of the SH bus in the last round - I never really felt under pressure of losing a lot of points. The army holds points well and if you play tight, it makes things very difficult for opponents.

About three months ago I changed out a Hell Pit Abomination plus 65 points for two Doomwheels. That was the correct decision as I think I would have struggled to protect its points, while the Doomwheels have more projection (and importantly scare the shit out of most Elves).

Overall it was a very interesting experience. I was mentally and physically shattered at the end - 48 hours door to door to get there. One thing that became blatantly clear is that acting as a Playing Captain is a very difficult road to travel. I'd never combine the roles in the future.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Citadel Hobby Knife 1 - Jack 0

Jack was down this weekend before heading off to the States for Uni.

While making toast and getting ready to disappear out the door to see family, he decided it would be a good idea to remove his painted Caudron Avatar from its painting base.

It wasn't.

He managed to slice into his palm severing a nerve and doing damage to his muscle.

So instead of flying back to Auckland this morning, he found himself in surgery at Hutt Hospital having the damage repaired.


So kids, hobby tip - don't multi-task with Citadel Craft Knives.

Nagash - The End Times

The new Nagash models have been sighted in a copy of Warhammer Visions. These are truly fantastic models and I certainly can see me getting pretty much all of them.

Feast your eyes people.





Looking at them I get a real "Alien vs Predator" feel. There seems a strong Tyranid influence.

Next is Arkhan the Black. Again simply stunning.



I love this next model. Looks like a new unit.



The new Spirit Hosts fit with the Hexwraith, Mortis Engine models released in 2012.




A new Manfred van Karstein




Looks like a Khemri/Lahmian crossover character.


I think these will sell very very well

2015 ETC Selection Process


Since the end of the ETC I have been asked about ETC selection process for 2015. Thought I go through what was discussed by the team in the hours after. This fits with previous process but establishes a slightly different timeframe.
Part of the reason for this was so members of this year's team could have a period of time to reflect on whether they wanted to be in the 2015 mix.

The first stage is that the 2014 team elects a Captain for 2015 from available applicants. It is my intention to call for nominations for 2015 Captain on 1 October and to close the application window on 15 October. The team will then vote to determine the preferred applicant. Essentially there are nine votes – including James Milner (2014 Coach). In the event of a draw, and to get early resolution, I’ll have a casting vote. This will be finalised no later than 22 October.

The incoming Captain will then establish a selection panel of his choosing. In the past it has included past captains and players. My recommendation is that the panel include at least one person who does not intend attending 2015 ETC (to provide wider perspective). The selection criteria will be established by the panel. This year I stated upfront what the panel was looking for in applicants.

Applicants for the 2015 will then be opened and any interested player will be able to apply. The only criteria from ETC is that a minimum of 4 players hold NZ passports. This year we aimed to provide a team that blended experience with a reflection of the NZ tournament community.

I would expect that the whole process would be completed by mid-November giving a nine month lead-in for preparation.

As an aside people have asked what they can do to get on the team. The following are my own thoughts based on my prep and what I saw and experienced this year.

  • It is a nine month commitment to ETC
  • You can never prepare enough. Select a race you want to play and use it relentlessly.
  • For this to be meaningful I believe you need to fit your army to ETC restrictions. So if you are playing “Swedish” take an ETC army that fits those restrictions. Essentially, playing an army that is significantly harder than that allowed for the race at ETC is of lesser relevance than practice with ETC army.
  • Clubbing baby seals maybe (is) fun, but of less relevance than your results versus other “good” players. For instance, the English selection process ignores rankings and focuses on how you have done versus other ETC players. I think this is a solid practice.
  • Be a team player…individual egos need to be shelved. So if you are focussed on your own individual goals rather than team placing, then I contend you are less useful to your captain.

Hopefully this year’s event, the coverage etc will whet the appetite of people to apply for 2015. This year we had 16 applicants. It would be great to have that choice again. If you want to discuss further I’m happy to answer any questions and provide my view.
Appreciate if this post could be linked to any relevant forums in NZ and Oz by a regular user of those sites

Updated FOB-Lite Comp

Having read the thread yesterday seeking comment, here are my proposed changes to FOB-Lite Comp. I have marked up deletions and additions:

MAGIC DICE

Power Dice usage is limited to 12 in any one Magic Phase.
Night Goblin Mushroom D6 do not count as "power dice" as per their Army book.
Chaos Dwarfs’ Chalice may not be used mid-spell.

LIST RESTRICTIONS
  • No single non character unit in the army may be over 500 points
  • No triple of the same warmachine except for Elven Bolt Throwers/O&G Spear Chukkas where you may take up to 4
  • Max  4 units with the ‘Fly’ or 'Hover' special rule (a max of 3 may be characters)
  • BSBs in older books are assumed to have mundane weapons as per core troops
  • “Fozzrik’s Folding Fortress” may not be taken.
Race Specific Restrictions:
Skaven
  • Hell Pit Abominations and Warp Lighting Cannons are 0-1 unit selection per army.
  • A Screaming Bell or Plague Furnace may only be placed in a unit containing no more than 50 models.
  • Warlock Engineers are 0 – 3 models per army.
Tomb Kings
  • Khalida is restricted to unit with 40 shots
Daemons of Chaos
  • Beasts of Nurgle restricted to maximum of 6 in list with Epidemius
  • Skullcannon 0-1 unit selection per army (unless either Bloodthirster or Herald of Khorne and a unit of Bloodletters taken)
Ogres
  • Ironblaster 0 – 1 unit selection per army
  • You may take a max of two of either Dispel Scroll, Runemaw or Hellheart, not both
    Chaos Dwarfs
    • Magma Cannons are 0 – 1 choice
    Warriors of Chaos
    • Crown of Command may not be taken on model with Third Eye of Tzeentch

    Monday, August 18, 2014

    FOB NZ Rankings - WHFB Updated for CTA

    The rankings have been updated to reflect the results of the weekend's CTA WHFB event won by Jeff Kent with Dark Elves. Also impacting is the rolling out of Nerdycon 2013.


    Really the big news in these rankings is the performance of Dark Elves. In June I wrote a blogpost on Army Rankings and Dark Elves were in 9th Place. Fast forward two months and the juggernaut has hit the road....Dark Elves are now up to 2nd Place. This represents a major decamp into Dark elves over the past few months whereby they are getting contributions into their overall ranking from a variety of sources. Come the end of the year I'm picking that the Icon won't be residing with a player in 28th Place.


    Individually, Jeff enters the Top 10  while McCrae Louden consolidates his place (looking at Army Rankings it appears he is the only Dwarf player with any skill :-)   ).


    Switching to Masters Mode, we now see the Masters field starting to coalesce. Anyone from 210 points can pretty much book their accommodation and personally I believe 205 will get you in.


    The events still to go are Crack's Call, Tauranga Open, Guardcon and Skitterleap. Crack's Call and Tauranga will likely attract mid-teens, with Guardcon and Skitterleap in mid-20s.

    FOB-Lite Comp - Comment Sought from Locals

    Ok, I'm back.


    I've got shedloads of content to post over the next little while but I want to get some input from you guys first.


    FOB-Lite Comp is the permissive system that I use at a lot of my events. It needs an update.


    Over the last 12 months we have seen a lot of new books released and that has seen layers of comp removed from the system. I have as much as possible tried to leave new books uncomped while old books have progressively had their comp "revised".


    Looking at recent meta trends there is now a little bit of a disconnect and I suspect that certain books are better than others.


    There are various ways to address this:


    1. Remove further layers of comp from the existing system


    For instance, should there be restrictions on Ironblasters, Skullcannons, Warp Lightning Cannons when there are no restrictions on items such as RBTs (Elves can and do take four - other races limited to one "cannon") or on Empire (two Stanks, two Cannons).


    There are no restrictions on Stanks, Frosties but there are on HPAs.


    Are these "restricted" items controlled by Rare allocation e.g. You could take 2x HPA but that would restrict you to a single other Rare choice. You could take two Skullcannons but that limits the number of Plague Drones.


    Some things shouldn't change - limit on Skaven engineers, shot cap with Khalida, BoN with Epidemis - but have these other restrictions been surpassed.


    2. Write layers of new comp for other armies


    Here, for example, it would be to allow two Stanks but prohibit other cannons. Or allow Banner of the World dragon but restrict Frost Phoenix.


    For Dark Elves, it would need to be more elaborate. A restriction on lists purely constructed via all the "good items" e.g. Peg Riders, RXB Dark Rider Core, Max Warlocks, death magic etc. The ETC tried this and while it worked to an extent it was complicated and not all embracing.


    Wood Elves would like require a shot gap - especially on Trueflight arrows - and potentially limits on Wild Riders.


    3. Some middle ground


    My major concern is that I am keen to keep the system simple and permissive. As a TO I don't like telling people they can't bring their toys.


    So locals go at it.....what needs to be done to update FOB-Lite Comp. I want your input. I don't promise it will be implemented but it will be read and considered.


    Remember, you can't please all the people, all the time - but let's be positive and try to get something workable.




    Note: This doesn't apply to NZTC where ETC comp will be used.

    Thursday, August 14, 2014

    Campaigns


    Most campaigns I have been in have been about "running an empire". Players expand their territory until they run into opposition either from another player, hostile natives or random event.The key feature of campaigns is that people have one army list for their whole empire, they then divide it to do different missions. How you divide your army affects what units are available to deal with the opposition. So this means your army composition can vary significantly from the standard one off games. That's most of the fun about a campaign game. However in Warhammer campaigns, the campaign doesn't seem to matter and people just get together to fight standard battles.


    Questions then
    Why are warhammer campaigns different to other campaigns?
    Would warhammer players participate in a campaign where they had to manage their units to form armies?
    Would a series of smaller battles made up of task forces where they wouldn't be guaranteed to have a Lvl4, general and BSB in every game?

    Can you organise an empire? Would you want to try? There's gold in them their hills.