Monday, June 27, 2016

WSS "Winter" Army Lists Released

The lists for Warlords Super series "Winter" are available for download here

Breakdown is as follows:

  • Elves x 3
  • Goblins x2
  • Ogres x 2
  • Empire of Dust
  • Twilight Kin
  • Undead
  • Dwarfs
  • Abyssal Dwarfs
One Goblin and the Undead have brought Allies. 

All the lists are in the 10-13 drop range, except for the two Goblins who have 18 and 22 drops (God help us!!!)

Weekend Hobby Update

No gaming this weekend. I had a game lined up versus Lliam's Empire of Dust but I was informed that I'd rather help my in-laws organise their garage.

However all was not doom and gloom. Lists for this weekend's tournament were due and I have been checking them. Only error in those received was that someone forgot that you can't give Living Legends Artifacts. I'm still waiting for two lists - hurry up Higgins and Ryan Lister.

Received a package of new filament for the 3D printer last week and have been printing off a new building over the weekend. Hopefully I'll have some pictures up tomorrow. These are some of the biggest prints I've done so keen to see how they fall.

Last week was my last at work and things got quiet as I'd transitioned most work over to people in the last month - amazing what a motivated departee can achieve. I had free time so spent it converting all my Winterdale files into Gcode so they are ready to print. Amazing how much the Printable Scenery Kickstarters gave you.

Also snapped up a Trade Me bargain on some NIB Morghasts - the start of a Night Stalkers army. And with Brexit pushing the NZD to 52 pence I bought a Forgeworld Morghoul - a model I've wanted ever since I saw it first.

Finally I've continued reading War of the Roses histories. I'm now about eight books in for 2016 and starting to get a real feel for the period. The big problem is resisting buying figures until I get through the backlog. I'm lucky in that I've got a local who has available painting slots I can contract. This means my Herd will see tables this year.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Mantic's New Empire of Dust

Mantic are about to release their new Empire of Dust models and they have got GMM Studios' Brandon Palmer to paint it.

Brandon has done a fantastic job bringing the army to life - pun intended - and rather than post all the photos (some 51 here) I'll direct you to his site

With GW having withdrawn their Tomb King, I am sure these are going to be very popular. Not only because of the price point but also because in a lot of cases they are a marked improvement on what was the GW equivalent (especially core archers and spear).

Monday, June 20, 2016

Weekend Hobby Update

Over the weekend I fired up the 3-D printer and printed off some battlement sections from the Winterdale castle. The intention here is for a friend to make some multi bases for his new KoW army. The piece I printed was the biggest piece I've done to date. The footprint is 180mm by 80mm which means it takes about 5 hours to print.

Other than that I was very quiet on the hobby front. I've got plenty ready to go but it is pushing the "Start" button. I'm hoping with finishing up in my current role this Friday that I should be able to get in 2-3 hours per day.

Friday, June 17, 2016

The Importance of Meta

One of the things I like most about Kings of War is that there are generally no bad choices in an army list. I think that the author and the Rules Committee have done a great job in balancing items. We might have small quibbles that a certain unit/item may be overpriced or underpriced but balance is one area where KoW gets a big tick.

This means that there are very few "must have" items and even fewer items that have no utility. There are no net lists that are all conquering regardless of jurisdiction. The reason for this is tactics and meta.

I'll deal with the second first. Some people had the word "meta", thinking it overused and mis understood. While not everybody who uses it necessarily understand, more than any game I've played KoW is affected by "meta". What do I mean by "meta"? Effectively the factors that influence your playing environment. These will generally be - in no particular order:

  • Points size
  • Player skill
  • Number of opponents
  • Opponents' army choices
  • Terrain density and variety
  • Scenario conditions
  • Frequency of interaction

The first couple are self-explanatory. Player skill is the most significant factor and needs to be considered in terms of average skill level and top player skill level. The higher the average skill level the better your chances to learn and the quick you get up the learning curve. The top dog skill level puts a cap on progress after which any gains are likely to be incremental.


Certain armies and unit choices can be more influential at different points' levels. For instance certain heavy hitters can dominate at lower points levels where army size does give the opponent capacity to soak up damage and retaliate.


The number of opponents is important too. Two or three people playing continually against one another will push the meta down a narrow avenue that is probably unique to those gamers. This is because they will react to one another's changes and adjustments will reflect those opponents. The term "big fish in small pond" describes the situation of a limited opponent pool We used to call them mudskippers. Introduce a new - similarly skilled - opponent and you run the risk of a "Black Swan" event (a situation that they had never envisaged). The rise of the Internet has seen the prevalence of Black Swan events diminish.


[I had a practical demonstration of "Black Swan" when I played 40k. While I was on holiday in the UK in 2005, I played in heat of the GW UKGT. In the second round I was drawn against an Italian player Simone Di Tomasu who had won the previous two UKGT (2003 & 2004). I was using my Emperor's Children army and had won 5 GW GTs with them in Australia and NZ. The setup was very different to what Simone had seen before as UK CSM armies were all based around Iron Warriors. I inflicted his first UK loss in 2.5 years - not due to player skill (though I'd obviously say it had some impact) but because it was a new and different challenge to what he was used to.]


Linked to the above are your opponents' army choices. At the outset of KoW v2 here in NZ the default option for a lot of players was the archer horde, sometimes multiple. This tended to define our local meta. People needed to adapt so we saw the rise of fast survivable individuals that could shut them down. As a Ratkin player I didn't have access to that option - without Allies - and so I adapted by splitting my Slave screen from Hordes to Regiments. This gave target saturation while decreasing the reward for my opponent. Over time we saw less reliance on Archer Hordes and now my armies have swung back to mixed in their Slave unit size.


Terrain density and variety is also important. Initially we played on WHFB tables. This saw fast Hordes with thunderous charge see a rise. As we increased density Caterpillar became the go to item as while terrain had increased the variety hadn't. In time more obstacles were introduced and this has shifted things again.


During 8th Ed WHFB we tended to play the full gambit of scenarios while the UK for instance only played Pitched Battle when you introduce scenarios with a variety of victory conditions then you shape armies - in effect it becomes its own form of comp where it rewards armies that can perform a multitude of functions. We tend to roll up scenario so Kill is in operation only 1/6 games. Needing to have the necessary tools to accomplish the various victory conditions you play will also affect your meta.


Finally there is the regularity of interaction. If your group only meets once a quarter for competition it will like evolve slower than a group that has a tournament a month. With my interaction you get greater fine tuning - assuming gamers are motivated and not laser - in both list and tactics.


Personally I love KoW because I believe it really rewards thought - be that in unit choice or tactics you employ. This is driven by the meta and the more this changes the more rewarding the playing experience for me. That doesn't necessarily mean you have to change everything all the time, rather it means you should take opportunities to try different units and situations - especially to play new people and army setups.


For me the most rewarding way to react to a changing meta is through evolution of tactics - as opposed to changing your army wholesale. I like to determine how I can play better with the choices dealt to address changing circumstances. I'll touch on this more next week.



WSS "Winter" - 2nd July - Final Call for Registrations

This is the final call for registrations for WSS "Winter" Kings of War tournament to be held on 2nd July at Warlords, Khandallah.

There are two weeks until the event and lists are due in next weekend.

If you are looking to attend can you please let me know. The Players pack can be downloaded from the Events Calendar tab on the top banner of this site.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Mierce Raven Arrives

Just over a year after due date my Kickstarter Raven arrived from Mierce.

As expected it is a very nice sculpt that fitted together easily.

Minimal filling was required - mainly around the wing joints.

I also filled in the saddle hole as I intend using it in my Herd army.

Looking forward to getting it painted up in the next couple of months.


Four Legs Good....Two Legs Better!

And in the best traditions of George Orwell:

"It’s back! From September, White Dwarf is returning as a monthly magazine and it’s bigger and better than ever before!

That’s right, from September White Dwarf will be back as a glossy 156-page, A4 monthly magazine with all the news, features and pictorials you know and love and a whole chunk of new stuff you never imagined. News, Golden Demon, Battle Reports, Painting Masterclasses, Designers’ Notes, exclusive games, new rules and more! And, of course, gorgeous photographs of the best miniatures in the world.

The first issue is out on Friday 2 September and comes with our most amazing cover mount ever – a special gift to you to celebrate the glorious return of monthly White Dwarf."

I love the "whole chunk of new stuff you never imagined".

You mean all the things White Dwarf used to have until it was turned into an advertising platform.

To quote the ghosts of past announcements with the cynicism it deserves:

This is GREAT NEWS!!!!! (tm)

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Ratkin - My Current List

Over the last month or two, I have made a few changes to my 2000 point Ratkin list. This is partly driven by performance and partly by wanting some variety.

This has seen the Mutant Rat-Fiend drop out, along with the Hackpaws and a Weapons Team. None of them were "under-performers" as such but I've been looking to adapt to the local scene as well as try out different units.

I found that the MRF was insufficient as a hammer by himself and I was therefore having to commit other units in support. More and more this was my Daemonspawn and it was taking him away from other roles I wanted him to perform. The Hackpaws are a good unit but their low Nerve makes them vulnerable. Generally I was finding them underemployed as I needed to hold them back. In the end a Slave Regiment was better use of points when points got tight. The Weapons Team? Well it was just dropped for points reasons.

Here is my current list:

  • Slave Regiment x3
  • Slave Horde
  • Blight Horde
  • Shock Troops Horde with Fire Oil
  • Brute Horde
  • Weapons Team with Storm of Lead x2
  • Death Engine with Vile Sorcery x2
  • Swarm Crier
  • Warlock with Bane Chant and Inspiring Talisman
  • Daemonspawn with Fly

So you can see that I spend little on Magic Artifacts, trying to squeeze as much into the list as possible. I need three non-irregular Hordes to give me the necessary unlocks I require.


I'm finding that the Death Engines can fill a dual role that I wasn't getting from the MRF. As well as being better defensively and being able to hold their own in Melee, they can also contribute to the cause with shooting attacks. At present I remain unconvinced by the Brutes and as per my previous blog post, I'm considering subbing in another non-irregular Horde option such as Spear Warriors or Warriors. If it was the Warrior option that would also free up 30 points (the Spear Warriors being a straight swap). That 30 points could potentially pay for an item like the Scrying Gem.


I'm finding the list very flexible and well suited to the Rulebook scenarios. Part of this is the mutual support provided by units as well as the fact that it moves as a battleline.


Any thoughts appreciated

Monday, June 13, 2016

FOB NZ Rankings - Warhammer 40k Updated for Maelstrom IX

The rankings have been updated for Maelstrom IX run over the weekend in Wellington.

The tournament attracted 32 players with quite a few names from the past as well as some WHFB refugees.

Ratkin - The 185 Point Horde Question

Since the release of Uncharted Empires, Ratkin have had a Horde of Brutes in the army. This unit costs 185 points and acts as an unlock for other units. Sometimes I have paid an additional 15 points to buy the Brew of Haste (though latterly this has gone by the wayside due to points pressure).

However I have been underwhelmed by the Brutes on-table effectiveness and are considering alternatives.

First, let's have a look at the stats for Brutes:
  • Me 4+, De 4+, Move 6", Attacks 18, Nerve 13/16
  • Brutal
  • Fury
  • Regen 5+
  • Crushing Strength 2
  • Frontage 120mm
  • Rallying
The biggest weakness that the Brutes have is in relation to their Nerve. I find it doesn't take much to start pressuring the "Wavered" button and while they have "Fury" and Regen (5+) to counter this, the Brutes are constantly disappointing. With Me and De of 4 I find that they are very subject to the vagaries of the dice and the lower Nerve makes them susceptible to "disappointment.

Rallying helps. In reality if you keep them in the middle of your line they should be 15/18 - but that puts a tactical limitation on their role. Overall they suddenly become support rather than frontline troops and at 185 points that seems expensive.

So what are the alternatives?

Well the first is a Horde of Warriors:
  • Me 5+, De 4+, Move 6", Attacks 25, Nerve 19/21
  • Frontage 200mm
  • Rallying
  • +30 Points
These guys are vanilla flavoured vanilla. You get a block that is De 4 and 200mm wide but is unlikely to damage much. It is an anvil that is difficult to break in a turn but won't do much damage. It does however free up 30 points while still unlocking other units. Generally you can expect to do 8 hits which means that with no modifiers it will be a slog. however they can likely hold a frontline position and seem safer than Brutes on a flank.

The second are the Horde of Spear Warriors:
  • Me 5+, De 4+, Move 6", Attacks 30, Nerve 19/21
  • Frontage 200mm
  • Rallying
  • Phalanx
So for an extra 30 points over Warriors you get 5 extra attacks and Phalanx (removes Thunderous Charge). The points are equivalent to the Brute Horde. Phalanx is nice as it reduces reliance on Difficult Terrain and also neutralises an enemy's Pathfinder ability (the Caterpillar being one of the more common Magic Items used). The question therefore becomes whether 5 extra attacks (probably 2 hits) and Phalanx is worth 30 points. The extra attacks are likely worth one extra wound at best.

With Rallying the Warriors (both options are likely Nerve 21/23) are very respectable defensively and can be screened by Slaves (same height). The difference in frontage - 120mm vs. 200mm - is interesting as there are benefits to both depending on the situation. In the role of a defensive unit the wider frontage can be an asset in occupying space but can disadvantage you in the case of multiple charges. With the Warriors you can spend the 30 points on the Brew of Strength increasing their offensive capacity but I think their Me 5+ makes it a bit inefficient. You can also give them Helm of Confidence (Reroll a Rout) or Chant of Hate (Vicious) but I am unconvinced in terms of utility.

My Thoughts:

Overall I am erring towards the Spear Warriors as a potentially more flexible tactical option. If needed it can be Bane Chanted should the situation present itself. I am going to be trying all three of the options out in coming weeks.

What are other people's thoughts? 

Weekend Hobby Update

So I've spent most of the last three days moving my in-laws into their new home. That has really put the kibosh on much hobby.

However Maelstrom IX was on this weekend organised and run by my mate, Hagen. I supplied tables and cloths plus three tables of terrain for the event. Local ex-WHFB gamers, Sam Whitt and Jeff Kent were playing in the event and crashed at mine on Saturday night which meant we went out for a nice Thai meal and a few beers. Looking at the results it looks like neither of them bothered the scorers, both finishing in the both third.

Speaking of results, I worry about the competitiveness of the local 40k tournament scene when a guy who hasn't rolled a dice in anger for six years can pick up an army he has never played - Necrons - and steer it into 2nd place in a 32 man field. Well done to Jason Isaac on the result but hang your head in shame regular 40k players.

I did manage to get a game in early Sunday before heading out to the in-laws. Neil came across from Masterton and brought his Goblin army with him - comprising 22 units!!! We managed to get our horde on in Kill and Pillage with the Ratkin getting 4 of the 5 objectives with the fifth contested, as well as being ahead on VPs. The game went to the wire though with Neil having 22secs left and me 15secs. We were both lucky there was no seventh turn.

I was really impressed by Neil's Mawbeasts. They appear very good value for their points with Me 3+ and Vicious. In the Ratkin I am losing patience with my Brute Horde and I may look to replace with a Horde of Spear Warriors at the same point.

The more I play KoW, the more I am enjoying the game. The real win for me is the time you don't spend on rules issues. This leaves time to focus on tactics rather than interpreting rules. A lot of our locals are building new armies which will increase the challenge on offer.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Battle Report - Ratkin v. Varangur in Pillage

After playing Ryan, I had a second game against Sam and his Varangur. Again we used the CoK tweaks and we rolled up five objective items.

On my right there were two objectives and I deployed the Blight, a Slave regiment and the Swarm-Crier to look after them. My Daemonspawn sat behind the impassable terrain , at least getting the benefit of cover. Opposite were a Fallen horde, some Wolves and a mounted hero.

In the centre I had my Engines, more Slaves, Brutes, shock Troops and Weapons Teams. They were faced by two Magnus Conclaves, mounted SoK regiment, a horde of Direfangs and a Devourer.


Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Weekend Hobby Update

After spending Saturday putting up curtain tracks at my in-laws new house, I got Sunday for gaming.

I managed to get in a couple of games using the new CoK Tournament Tweaks and must say that they did improve the game. The first game was against Ryan's Undead (battle report is up) and the second versus Sam's Varangur (report to come).

In addition to these games I managed to continued to work on my Herd. I know a lot of people don't like Citadel "Liquid Green Stuff" but I find it great. Using it I was able to quickly fill in any cracks in my 30 resin wolves. It dries fast and last evening I was able to clean up any excess very quickly. With resin it is far faster than traditional GS for hairline gaps.

I also worked on putting my Mantic Centaurs together. Personally I am not a fan of these models. While the sculpts are a great improvement on Mantic's previous figures, they have made some strange production decisions. The first is that they have created a multipart model that is more reminiscent of a plastic model. This makes it very fiddly to put together. I'm not sure why they have gone with so many pieces. Secondly, the metal is very soft. I worry a little bit about the long term survivability of the legs. That said the Centaurs are far nicer than the GW models - or in fact any other of same genre that I've seen - but beware they are a bitch to put together and not for beginners.

Yesterday I took the Sarissa mdf bases I have bought for the army and gave them all a magnetic bottom. This will let me carry the army on the metal trays that I use to store figures.

Speaking of basing, picked up cork sheeting and then scoured the garden for bits of rock, twig etc so I can start on my first bases for The herd. Looking to base some Pestigors I painted 5-6 years ago but never used.

WSS Tournament Pack Change

After playing a few games with the CoK Tournament Tweaks, I am confident that they improve the game sufficiently that I'm happy to use them in events I organise.

With that in mind they will be used at WSS "Winter" and I hope that Call to Arms also picks them up.

Here's a reminder of the tweaks:

Unit Entry Changes

Cursed Pharaoh – This unit has Defence 5 not 6. The points value remains the same.
Ahmunite Pharaoh– This unit has Defence 5 not 6. The points value remains the same.

Special Rules

Note the amendments to the following special rule: Fly

The unit can move over anything (blocking terrain, enemy units, friendly units when charging, etc.), but still cannot land on top of them. The unit does not suffer hindered charges for moving over difficult terrain or obstacles, unless it ends the move within or touching them. The unit also has the Nimble special rule.
While Disordered, units lose Fly. Note that this also means they lose the Nimble that Fly provides too, unless they have it by another means (such as Individuals).

Army Selection

Within your main force, you cannot select the same unit entry of type War Engine, Hero or Monster more than 3 times. For example, in a goblin army, you could take a maximum of 3 War Trombones and a maximum of 3 Wiz heroes. You could still then take up to 3 Biggits of course.


If you include allies, you cannot select the same allied unit entry of type War Engine, Hero (all types) or Monster more than once. For example, in a goblin allied contingent, you could take a maximum of 1 War Trombone and a maximum of 1 Wiz hero.
In addition, magic artefacts cannot be given to any allied units you take.


Invade! and Dominate!
In games using the Invade! and Dominate! scenarios, only count half the points value of units with the Individual special rule and/or War Engines that are in the defined scoring area at the end of the

While carrying one or more loot counters, units cannot use the Fly or Nimble special rules.

War Engines cannot capture/control objectives in this scenario

Monday, June 6, 2016

Battle Report - Undead vs. Ratkin in Invade

Yeaterday Ryan came around for a game and we thought we would try out the Tournament Tweaks that were included in the CoK tournament pack. We rolled up "Invade" and the key change here is that individuals only count for half points if they get into the opposing half.

Neither of us had Allies nor did we break any replication rules. Ryan had two units of Wraiths while I had the Daemonspawn with wings. Those were the only flyers.

The Ratkin setup - Slaves, Brutes and more slaves, backed up by Weapons Teams, Daemonspawn, Death Engines and Shock Troops. On far flank are the Blight and Slaves supported by a Swarm-crier.

The Undead have Ghouls, two Wraith units, a mounted vamp, legion of Zombies, Liche, cavalry, wrym revanent , werewolves and ghouls and mounted vamp on the far side.

Ryan won the roll for first turn and gave it to me. The Rats move forward and start with a couple of Lightning bolts doing minimal damage.