Breakdown is as follows:
- Elves x 3
- Goblins x2
- Ogres x 2
- Empire of Dust
- Twilight Kin
- Abyssal Dwarfs
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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:
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
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.
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.
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.