Tom’s How to Paint: Glow Effects

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Hey guys, back again! Hopefully people enjoyed the last one (here) – people in the club chat certainly seemed to.

So much so that they started getting ideas above their station and making requests… So this one is going out for Toby, who can’t make things glow.

Object Source Lighting (or OSL) can be pretty intimidating, but (as with everything I’m planning on talking about on here) there are some simple ways to get a good looking tabletop version without having to be Mike McVey (luckily for me).

The first and most important rule for good looking, easy OSL is: Have a dark or medium base colour.
It’s very, very hard to make glow effects look good and sell themselves on light colours – this is because anything emitting light should be the brightest point on the model (in general). Just look at a lightbulb somewhere nearby and see how the light on the ceiling or wall around it ebbs away – this is even more pronounced with a coloured light.

So, having started with a nice medium or dark background, and knowing that the centre of the glow is going to be the brightest point, it follows that the glow should gently fade between those two extremes. To make this happen easily we’re going to use a Glaze Medium – this is basically paint that has no colour in it, adding transparency to the colour you mix it with. This makes it a lot easier to get a fade effect across a surface, as well as helping your highlight layers blend together.

So, I’m going to demonstrate three kinds of glow effects on a ‘spare’ Wold Wrath shoulder given to me by the good Dr. Norbert (this one is pretty flimsy in places so he got PP to replace it).

The processes in this technique have some pretty lengthly drying times, so be sure to let the previous layers dry completely before moving on to the next one – there’s nothing worse than having to start again because your final mixed in with the previous one and everything getting messed up…

0. Basecoated

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Here we have the three areas I’ll be working on, with the area finished. It’s much easier to do glows as the last element to the model, as the glow will ‘overlay’ everything else anyway, so I suggest finishing everything else first. If you’re specifically interested, I’ve broken down the colours and techniques I used on the stonework at the end of the article.

From left to right, we have a single glowing line across a plain area, a set of recessed runes, and a glowing gem (or other magical thingamabob).

1. White-out

Glows-Combined2

From here, thin down pure white (I use Vallejo Model Colour White) quite a lot (you want it to easily flow into the areas that will be glowing). Then, run a brush carefully(ish) through the line and/or runes, or around the glowing object.
Don’t worry too much if you go over the edges a little, this will help with the next step, just try and keep it close to the edges of the rune and not too overpowering (just whick  excess away with your brush or wipe it with your finger).

2. Main glow

Glows-Combined3

Grab a bright colour that you’d like your glow to be (in this case, I went for GW Moot Green), and mix it roughly 40/30/30 paint/glaze medium/water so you have a thin mixture that should have quite a bit of transparency to it.
Then for the line and rune, just run it roughly down the recess itself, and generously around the edges. Where you have a large area with nothing else glowing around it (as on the left), feather the glow colour out to help the blend.
For the glowing object, do something similar – paint around the object, feathering outwards – the more area you cover, the ‘brighter’ the object it. Where you’re hitting a raised area, treat it like you might a regular highlight, just extend the glow a little more to sell it (as you can see on the edges to the sides and below the gem).

3. Highlight

Glows-Combined4

The next layer helps make the glow pop. Pick or mix a highlight colour (I used GW Yriel Yellow), and mix it to roughly the same consistency as before (including the Glaze Medium). Repeat the process as above, but keep the highlight colour closer in to the recesses/object – on the object, keep the highlights on the edges to help it pop.

4. White-in

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The final step in most of these glows is a final pop highlight of white – make the mix even waterier (roughly 30/30/40 paint/glaze medium/water) so it runs down into the recess even if you mess up and splodge outside.
If some paint sticks on a flat surface, whick it up with your brush or wipe it off with your finger.
For the object, keep the white right in next to the source itself.

5. Final touches

Glows-Combined6

This is mostly finished, but you can take the opportunity to look at the model and see if you’d like to adjust anything before calling it done.
In this case, I thought the gem didn’t look sufficiently glow-y to be making as much light as it obviously is, so I grabbed my GW Moot Green and glazed a little around the edges, then added a coat of GW ‘Ard Coat (gloss varnish) to help the light pop.

 

 

 

 

So, there we go, all done! This is a pretty quick and dirty technique, but the fundamentals should see you through even if you want to go for a more advanced paint job.

 

Recipes

Stonework:
Basecoat VMC Grey Green
Sponge highlight Vallejo Game Colour Cold Grey
Sponge highlight 50/50 VGC Cold Grey/VMC Off White
Shade GW Nuln Oil
Edge highlight VMC Off White

Glow:
Wash VMC White / VMC Glaze Medium
Wash GW Moot Green / VMC Glaze Medium
Wash (less) GW Yriel Yellow / VMC Glaze Medium
Wash(even less) VMC White / VMC Glaze Medium


Posted in Painting & Modeling

Relight my Fire: Fire Eaters

So, this week I wanted to have a little talk about the great little package that is both flexible and powerful; Fire Eaters were released in Mk2 and saw a lot of play initially. However, in the recent transition to Mk3 and the prevalence of theme forces in many people eyes the cost to field the Fire Eaters was outweighed by the benefits of the theme forces. The fact that there were no theme forces where you could play them only compounded the lack of Fire Eaters in lists since release of Power of Dhunia and Band of Heroes. Well all that’s is about change, in a couple of months we will not only have one theme force to play them in but two.1438549637865

Kriel Company and Storm of the North I think both offer benefits the Fire Eaters in different ways, due to different advantages and disadvantages that this unique, flavorful and well design unit possess. I want to look first at what makes them the premier skirmish unit in trolls.

Advantages – With Advanced Deploy and Speed 6 the unit can counter deploy and threaten large areas of the board from deployment. Many lists that run a jamming type screen do so hoping to rely on the high Def or protective rules like Stealth to protect them on the approach and mean that they take a much greater investment in resource to deal with than their points value. This means that the bulk of the army is delivered through either the jam succeeding or the opponent devoting so much resource to removing them that there is little left to prevent the rest of the army arriving unhindered. When under the effects of Continuous Fire the Fire Eaters benefit from their unique rule Fire’s Fury which grants boosted attack and damage rolls meaning that even Def 14/15 troops are hit on 8/9’s. These boosted attack rolls are what makes them so dangerous to the opponent’s troops, the fact that it comes in a spray 6” is what enables them to decimate opposing infantry. Assault and boosted damage are what enables them to threaten and put damage into high Arm targets.

Fire Eaters

The Assault rule and the fact that they are basically getting two attacks each means extra Fire Eater can do on average 10 points of damage to a Arm 18 heavy. Its this combination of rules that mean Fire Eaters pose a very real and versatile threat that opponents cannot ignore. The 15” threat of the boosted sprays means they either have to give ground or try and tempt you into a disadvantageous charge/assault.
The fact that their ranged attacks are sprays further combos with their already fearsome threat. In lists its often useful to bring different tools or at least have a plan for different commonly asked questions. For example, AoE’s are great for dealing with very high Def models as the scatter doesn’t need to hit. Sprays are effective as they ignore the common defensive benefits of concealment, cover and stealth. Although in this case they only gain an additional 1” of threat versus Stealth models’ due to usually needing to be within 5” to not auto miss the 6” is a great tool for clipping multiple models and really force multiplying the value of the boosted attack and damage rolls.
Each model also has five wounds and Steady when on Fire which is strong on the occasions when the opponent can’t quite kill them or they tough and are stood next turn ready to be disengaged so they can Assault off further into the juicy models hiding further behind the front line.
Their Def 13 also works great in pushing them into the range of needing to boost to hit them if your shooting or using magic to try and deal with them, greater pushing the expenditure vs reward divide wider.

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Disadvantages – So for me there are two biggest disadvantages that must be accounted for when looking to include Fire Eaters in a list. First is the lack of Pathfinder, you can take them without it but you will soon learn when playing a skill opponent that they use the lack of pathfinder on the Fire Eaters along with terrain to manage where you can go and cut down the threat range of them making them much less able to bully the board. If you don’t take a way to give them Pathfinder it also means that you can’t benefit from defensive terrain (except clouds) without reducing your offensive output, as you can’t charge over walls and lose half your distance if moving through Difficult ground.

Secondly you need a way to light them on Fire, meaning that usually you need to bring a limited number of models that enable you to do this without relying on Crit effects. Currently the best option outside of Warlocks is the Pyre troll or better yet another Fire Eater. Previously when the Pyre troll have much more utility and served his Warlock better he was a solid choice. However, in Mk3 I find it rarely the better choice to take one over another unit of Fire Eaters if you can. The trick with either is to position the lighter within walk range of the Fire Eaters to want to light up. They will need to be in a triangle position and clumped so that either the Fire Eater spray will catch all three or if using the Pyre troll the missed attack can’t deviate far enough to not light them all on Fire. The advantage of the Pyre troll technique is that when he misses the target the blast damage is mathematically impossible to damage the Fire Eaters because of the Fire’s Fury rule and the timing. The Continuous effect is applied on Hit and then they benefit from the +5 Arm vs Fire attacks for the Damage roll.
In the future, we will be able to light them up using the Hooch Hauler which I fear further relegates the Pyre troll but we will see. There is another method using one of the models in the unit to light up the others through Assaulting something along a line to catch them in the rear before they perform their Assault and Charge attacks. This method is useful to have in the tool box but means you are usually giving up some output and can leave you getting reduced value from the unit.

Hearthgut-Hooch-Hauler
Tricks and things to watch for – So once you’ve burn down an opponents world a few times they will soon learn to adapt to the Fire Eaters.
Things to watch out for:
• In order to threaten the application of Continuous Fire to the trio and send them off Assaulting lots of juice targets you need to position the unit very close together. Be mindful if your opponent has AoE’s, Sprays or Slam abilities or spells, as you can easily lose a unit before they get to rule the game.

• Check which models your opponent has that are immune to Fire. This great reduces the biggest threat of the Fire Eaters so make sure that you AD them properly and focus them of the models they can deal with.

• Sometimes if you are looking to make the most out of the Fire Eaters and send them into the opponent as fire and forget missiles careful not to use the Combat Warding Stone effect otherwise you’ll have just undone your work lighting them up.

• After the turn you light them on Fire doing expect them to be there the next turn. If your opponent doesn’t deal with them there’s the chance that they die to the Fire if it doesn’t go out. If it doesn’t they lose a lot in terms of output.

• Many opponents with run to jam them, this is tricky but can work in your favour. If you have a unit positioned to advance and spray of the first unit not only will you unjam the unit but you’ll also hopefully light them on Fire at the same time. If you don’t have another unit you can give an Advance order and use the medium base unit members to block LoS to the pyg who can then walk away, spray the other models in the unit catching the jamming model but more importantly lighting the front medium based models on Fire. Fire’s Fury applies to all attack and damage rolls and isn’t restricted to ranged attacks.

• Sometimes don’t feel the need to lead with the Fire Eaters. If your opponent has a good way to deal with them or out threats them, let the rest of our army move pass them and create a situation where you can use them as a second or even third wave when the volume of threats mean that they keep allocate the resource required or are force to apply that resource elsewhere.

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I think we are going to see lots of the Fire Eaters back in Storm of the North as coupled with the Ambush units in the theme they create an aggressive army that leaves very little space on the board where they are not threaten. In Kriel Company you get the +1 to go first which dependent on the matchup enables to pick board edge or first to further steal board space.


Posted in #FireEaters, #northkin, General Strategy/Tactics, Trollbloods

The Cross Gaming Club has a new home! Plus a Khador battle report

By Norbert Brunhuber, aka Dr_Norbert

Horse1

Welcome to the new home of the Cross Gaming Club – the Horse & Stables pub!  Conveniently located right next to the Lambeth North Tube station, or just a 10 minute walk from Waterloo, we are grateful to have found another home for our club right in the heart of London.

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The pub has an extensive food menu and being a freehouse, has loads of interesting beers on tap.  There is even a bar upstairs for us.

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The room is even more spacious than we had at our old location, with great lighting and aircon.  There’s room for 6 miniatures games to go on at once.

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And on top of that room for 2 boardgames to happen at the same time.  All in all a great move for us.  We game on Wednesdays starting at 6 pm with a second session that starts around 8:30 pm.  There is no charge for your first visit.  After that it’s £3 per session unless you are a member where it is £2 per session after a one time £20 membership fee.  We do ask that you purchase your dinner and have a couple of drinks in the pub if you can, as we do have a minimum spend each night.

If you wish to schedule a game with us, please post in our Challenges Forum, or else on our Facebook page.

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I was excited to attend the inaugural session and get a game of Warmachine in with my buddy Jaden, so let’s get on to the battle report!

Vlad 1 vs. Maelok – Recon II

Continuing my list practice for the WTC (and actually Iron Moot coming up soon), I stuck with my current list pair of Vlad 1 and Strakov 2.  Jaden was bringing Maelok along with a Blackhide Wrastler and Blind Walker, the Sacral Vault, Pendrake, a Witch Doc Croc, Totem Hunter, and 3 units of the improved Gatormen Posse, thanks to the theme list.  Based on that I didn’t want to take my Strakov 2 list which is filled with juicy infantry for his army to kill.  So it went to Vlad 1 to get on the field.  My Vlad 1 list is in the Winter Guard theme with 3 units of Rifle Corps + Rockets and 5 jacks.  I decided to try out my modification of this list which switches a Juggernaut for a Marauder and then adds an Artillery Kapitan.

Jaden elected to go first.  Here is how we unpacked our armies on the top of Turn 2.  The white piece of terrain in the middle of the board is a cloud.  The cork terrain on the back right is rubble.  The Devastator on the right is actually a proxy for an additional Marauder.

Jaden1

I decided to lead with my jacks and keep the infantry back because they were going to get slaughtered by his infantry and he didn’t have much shooting back, aside from the notable exception of the Sacral Vault.  That model had to be priority target number 1 before it got protected by the feat since I have next to no magical weapons.  I used 3 jacks on the right to protect some of the infantry as well.

I’m still learning a bit about the nuances of SR2017 and can tell you a key mistake I made already in this game.  That was not running the Artillery Kapitan over to the right so he could get on my flag as soon as scoring started.  He doesn’t help my artillery enough in this matchup to contribute much in that way, but he is my added solo element to the list specifically to score on flags as necessary.  I’ve learned that you have to use “defensive scoring” on your own zones/flags right away in SR2017 as it can matter later on in the tiebreakers.

After weathering some attacks by Jaden, I feated and put boundless charge on one of my Marauders.  That one went long into the Blind Walker leaving him on one box (a recurrent theme in this game) whilst the other Marauder went into the Sacral Vault killing it.  The other jacks ran left to block the advance of that set of posse and the Wrastler.  Here’s what the bottom of Turn 2 looked like:

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Jaden’s counterpunch was quite good.  Whilst the 2 jacks on the left were still alive, they were severely crippled.  He was also able to clear out one of my forward jacks as well and put some damage on the 2nd one.  He ran up his solo to start scoring on his flag and also put a gator on my flag to prevent me from scoring there.  Finally he feated to make everyone incorporeal.  He threatened Vlad by getting the Totem Hunter up the middle of the board.  Top of Turn 3 looked like this:

Jaden3

I didn’t take a picture of the next turn because not much happened, since I couldn’t get through the incorporeal.  Vlad walked up and killed the Totem Hunter.  My objective gave magic weapons to the Marauder and it went right to clear off the gator on my flag.

Jaden made quick work off of my remaining jacks on the left and tried to kill the jack next to the Blind Walker, but it didn’t quite do it.  It was clear now that I should try to end this game with a ranged assassination since Maelok was no longer protected.  This is when I made a major rookie mistake.  Not having played Hordes in a while, I went ahead and cleared off the nearly dead Blind Walker with my crippled Marauder.  Big mistake, because Maelok promptly reaved the fury and went from 1 camp to 4 camp.  Argh!  I put a lot of S&P shots into him but they were all shunted off into the Wrastler.

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With that, Jaden closed in and it became a matter of who could score more points in the little time that both of us had left on the clocks.  This is where an odd situation happened that could be important for SR2017 going forward.  I thought I could clock him out, but as it turns out we each only had 32 seconds left on the clock left and with the 15 second rule, I would be forced to ship the clock over to him two more times which meant that we would go to Turn 7 and the game immediately end.  This was significant because he was up on CPs over me and whilst he didn’t have the 5 more needed to win, his majority over me meant that tiebreaks at Turn 7 would give him the win.  Realising this, I just conceded the game over to Jaden.  Here’s what the final table state looked like:

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Really important game for me for two reasons.  First was to brush off that Hordes mechanic when it comes to assassination runs.  Second was the peculiarities about scoring, Turn 7, and Deathclock in SR2017.  Had I had my solo flag scoring right from the start, I may have had more CPs than Jaden at Turn 7.  Important lessons and a great game to cap off our first evening at our new venue.  If you are in central London on a Wednesday, please do join us!

 

 

 

 


Posted in Battle Report, Khador

When the going gets Tough: Trollkin Champions

I come to write this in eager anticipation of the latest CID changes coming online and tournament legal. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the community integrated development program, Privateer Press has adopted a new approach to play-testing new models and reviewing old ones. In the latest cycle, the new Trollkin Northkin models were tested and seem like they will be a breath of fresh air to troll players. Those new models however won’t be available until they are released, which is likely around November/December time. But included in the cycle were many older Trollkin models; one of which were the Trollkin Champions.

Champions
To best explain my excitement of what the new changes mean (if they stay the same) I need to explain my perception of the meta and the Trollkin faction since Mk3. In the transition Trollbloods lost one of its main play styles, infantry heavy backed by a selection of utility lights, but mainly maxing out the army with a mix of single and multi-wound infantry. Now there are a number of reasons why this playstyle had died off in the past year; firstly, the reduction in cost of warjacks, their increased output via Power Up, the changes to Animi targeting of the lights in faction from Range to Self and finally the reduction of the one of the more powerful Trollkin infantry casters Grissel 1. Coupled with these there were also many anti infantry choices added to factions enabling them to very effectively clear infantry.

Trollkin-Champions_Nstor-Ossandn-&-Andrea-Uderzo

So why has any of the above changed? Well let’s look at the changes proposed in the CID for the Champions. There is a decrease in points, granted it’s only a 1-point reduction but this does allow more models to be taken which means more attacks to throw at the enemy. Secondly, they are hopefully adding Sanguine Bond, this allows the damage suffered by a single champion can be spread around the unit to maximise the number left standing at the end of the opponents turn. The Sanguine bond also puts the Champions out of the danger range of low Pow shooting. At dice of -7 from a military rifle, even with a spike the Sanguine Bond prevents the need to make a Tough check and will force the opponent to dictate great Pow weapons to deal with them. When you take the Champions with the Champion Hero they gain Retaliatory Strike, this combined with Defensive Line mean you have the ability (if the models are in Base to Base) to spread damage with Sanguine Bond, leaving the model alive and triggering the Retaliatory Strike as long as the attacking model is within 1”. Finally, the last change is that they have increased the Strength of the Champions so they are now P + S 12 base. This is very important as its now in the range that enables the Champions to kill heavies, and with a combination of buffs kill multiple heavies.

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So how do I play them? Well the problem with Champions and admittedly this hasn’t changed in the CID is that they still threaten via a Charge a mere 9”. The problem that this poses is that you are going to have to find a way to deliver them (or not ;)) . They are couple of ways in which to do this

  1. Use them as a second counter punch unit behind your front line. Position the Champions anywhere up to 9” behind your front line. Ask your opponent if they come in to kill your front unit do they want to take the Champion charges.
  2.  If the threat to the Champions comes from Ranged attacks you can support them with a unit of Warders to Shield Guard them from the higher Pow shots that come into them.
  3. Use a defensive buff or feat to deliver them. A couple of great synergies that are a great fit with the Champions are – Gunnbjorn’s Feat has it prevents Ranged Attacks, his Rock Wall to give Cover to some of the unit and prevent non-Pathfinder unit/models. Borka 1, Arcane Ward pushes them to Def 14 to Ranged who can’t be targeted by Magic attacks and Def 16 in Melee. Calandra, Starcrossed is a Def buff against all attacks. Grissel 2, has Deflection to raise their Def to 14 vs Magic and Ranged attacks. Horgle 2, has Invoilable Resolve to increase the Arm to 20. Jarl, Feat can hide them and remove the increased threat range advantage most opponents will have, Quicken increases their Def against Ranged and Magic. Madrak 1 (CID version) gives them a universal Def buff against everything, his Feat is also very strong in healing all the multiple wound models you want to take with him and prevent charges against them. Madrak 3, Feat enables 4+ tough. Ragnor, has Earths Sanctuary to give individual models +4 Def against Ranged and Magic. Kolgrima, has clouds to hide them..
  4. The final strategy is to present them as a front line but with one of the defensive buffs above on them to increase their Def to levels that the odds of the opponent’s infantry hitting them in Melee makes it so that they need to commit a Heavy to do the job.

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The reasons I think that the Trollblood multi wound infantry is going to make a comeback is that the combination of the above; reduction of points, ability to spread damage through Sanguine Bond, Retaliatory Strike triggering (when in BtB) 33% of the time due to Tough and Steady giving a strike back gaining more value from the Champion and the increase in the P + S to 12 (13 or 14 under stone or in Northkin) is massive to creating situations when the points investment required to remove the Champions, means that the Champions can favorably trade with Heavies.
Offensively charging Champions now do:Charging Ps 13 (assuming a hit) does 8 damage to a Arm 19 Heavy, the second attack does 5 damage. This means that three Champions will reliably remove an Arm 19 heavy.

Three Champions cost 10 points which is equivalent to the budget heavies available to the warmachine faction, and much cheaper than the Hordes budget heavies which are around 12 points. These heavies are usually only 1” Reach meaning things like Retaliatory Strike can Trigger but also allows you to position so that the model can only reach one model to attack it, the next turn the Champions can charge in Retaliation and wreck or cripple the jack/beast. The other important number that comes up is the Def 14+, even Mat 7 Jacks/Beasts need too boost to hit and then dependent on if there aren’t other models available to attack, you can either let the Champion die to waste allocated Focus or go for the Tough to Ret Strike back.

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I think the casters that support the Champions the best are the ones that either help deliver them so any one of the casters above but also the ones that can either increase the threat range or damage output. The best ones do the two or three of the above.
I think the casters to try the new Champions are Borka 1, Madrak 1/2/3, Kolgrima 1, Horgle 2, Grissel 1 & 2 and maybe Jarl. I am looking to try them in them Storm of the North as I think that the Northkin Elder “Stone Cold” ability is huge and pushing them into the realm of two Champions removing Heavies, the Theme benefit of the Snow Drifts gives Concealment on the way into Melee, and the new Ambushing units could create an interesting situation that serves as a distraction. The Band of Heroes theme grants the +2” deployment meaning you can be closer to the enemy and gives access to the Stone Scribe Chronicler and Fennblades Screen.

I feel very exicted to get the new models on the table and for all the options we have in the new models coming out but also the old stable that have been given a new lease of life, good job PP.


Posted in Trollbloods

To what extent does the metagame police itself?

“In the beginning … Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep”

Oh no, it’s just Old Wormwoods feat turn. For those who read my last article I took us back to the dark days of Body and Soul, today I will be touching more generally on the metagame.

For those of you who didn’t play at the beginning of Mk3, Wurmwood’s feat was something that you had to either prepare for, or you flat lost. Unlike today where his command range becomes a forest for a turn, it was control area.

Now it’s interesting to note that this wasn’t a major change from MK2, but more crucially eyeless sight was changed, meaning that Legion no longer ignored the feat completely. Secondly, whilst pathfinder was helpful, unless you had line of sight, you still couldn’t charge.

So, unsurprisingly, after a fair amount of Wormwoods ravaging the tournament scene people started playing casters with mage sight, or Severius2 to hard counter Wormwood.

Now, if you assumed that Wormwood was only powerful because of his feat, we would have expected to see a decrease in his popularity. I don’t have the stats to back this up, so you’ll have to take my word for it, but Wormwood remained strong until PP nerfed his feat, taking it to the friendly form it is today.

I take from this two points:

  1. Players will adapt to a threat.
  2. A caster cannot rely on one facet of its skill set to see play.

Meaning, Wormwood continued to see play because even versus hard counters to its feat, it still had an armour debuff and helmouth. (I could write a whole article on helmouth, people have!)

So the point that I’m coming to (Ed: FINALLY), is that there is such a thing as being too powerful. To further illustrate my point I would like to consider stealth, as in the USR.

 

 

Stealth doesn’t say, -2 to hit, or -1 power, or -2 range- it says you miss.

Now, if you were a self-respecting gun line, you are asking yourself the questions, how do I deal with an armour skew, how do I deal with Cloud walls, how do I deal with stealth. If stealth said -1 to hit, you probably wouldn’t divert any resource into countering it as an ability, or any further than you would want to deal with high def in the first place.

However, because stealth says you don’t get to play, the result is that the only gun lines that are going to be played are the ones that don’t really care about it.

The range of not caring varies, and if you compare Caine 3, to Kara Sloan, mage sight definitely comes off worse (at dealing with stealth), but the important thing to consider is that both casters have a means of dealing with it, as does Lylyth3 and some other noteworthy examples.

I am not advocating for any change, but I would humbly question whether stealth would actually be a more powerful ability if it was only +2 def, instead of flat out missing, as you would actually be able to use the ability into the matchups where you need it?

On this note, It will be interesting to observe whether the addition of Grymkin with their universal stealth arcana will lead to an increase in popularity in the Kara Sloans of the world.

Imagine a world or a game, where you could take control of an entire unit before walking them off a zone, and then force their unit to group itself as tightly as possible into a blast shaped formation, before assaulting whatever was left with some form of angry berserkers, sounds pretty good- and I am sure if a game had allowed such an ability it would have been played… But when people make the jump from that world to this, with whatever assortment of green and yellow rings, or wardrobe that they see fit- I often note them trying to recreate similar combo’s.

WMH is home to thousands of powerful synergies, and combo’s are a key part of the game, but if I haven’t lost the reader, my words of advice are that to invest a list so heavily upon one concept is leaving you open to being hard countered. Metagames are small unforgiving places, and LGFS’s more so, maul your friend severely with a list that does one thing, next time you play he may have brought a counter.

When you choose a caster, do so for more than a feat and ask yourself the question what do I do when this tool doesn’t work…

Finally, never be afraid to play what you know and dark horsing in WMH is as viable as any tier 1 caster, if you put in the work. My only warning, would to be to not create a list too similar to a popular list but slightly different, if it risks you being hard countered inadvertently be tools meant for the tier 1 matchup.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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1++++++++++++++—*963.720


Posted in Uncategorised

Tom’s How to Paint: Battle Damage

Hey, let’s start with an introduction – I’m Tom, and I like painting. I’m by no means an expert, but I am an enthusiast.
I paint things relatively quickly, to play with, and hopefully in these articles I can show you some of the thought-processes and techniques I use to make my models pop on the tabletop.

Centurion

As a starting point, let’s talk about some Cygnar, using this Centurion as an example:

I wanted my Cygnar to look beaten up, dug-in and under siege – when I started the army, Cygnar had been on the losing end of several wars (in the fiction), and while I wanted to keep the good-guy boys-in-blue scheme, I wanted to show that they hadn’t had it easy recently.

I always try and start an army with a concept or thought in mind, as it makes it easier to answer any questions that might arise while painting – what is this made of? What colour should their boots be? etc etc…

So, having decided I wanted them to be the ‘good guys’ and sticking with a relatively default scheme, how do I show that they’re having a bad time?
I decided that the army should be stuck in a trench war that was impossible to win – barbed wire, smashed ‘jacks, broken boards and sucking mud underfoot, wear-and-tear evident on anything that could be worn or torn.
They were the good guys, and I didn’t fancy much converting for an entire army, so things would be pretty much out of the box, but they should look battered.
For a warjack, that mean a lot of scratched paintwork and dented metal.

This is relatively easy to achieve with a technique called Trompe-l’œil, and here is a step-by-step to show you how (albeit applied to some bases rather than a warjack).

1. Prime and base coat

Damage4

For these bases I painted the metals at the same time as the ‘armour’, but on a larger model I’d suggest painting elements separately (I find that if I base coat everything then shade everything I get into a slump because the model looks boring and terrible and I don’t want to keep going).

Anyway, these were primed black, the silver metals painted with a mix of GW Leadbelcher and Ironbreaker (Leadbelcher for coverage and Ironbreaker to brighten it up a bit), the brass painted GW Balthasar Gold, and the turquoise painted with a mix of GW Waaagh! Flesh and Vallejo Model Colour (VMC) Turquoise.

 

2. Shade down

Damage6

Everything was washed with GW Nuln Oil, then anything that needed it (the grate in particular) was filled in or blacklined with VMC Black. Nothing too fancy, just quick and simple.

3. Highlight

Damage8

Now we start having a bit more fun. The ‘armour’ is highlighted with VMC Turquoise using a technique known as feathering or two brush blending – here’s Dallas Kemp from PP showing you how he does it. I do basically the same thing but use one brush, quickly cleaning it in water between applying the paint and blending it across the surface.
On a model, keep the bright element of the highlights towards the vertical top of each element – on these bases I picked a side of the base and called that the ‘top’, preferring to put this where it was going to look best (on the base to the right, for example, I kept the highlight at the top edge of the steps rather than the bottom edge as this would look really weird).

The silver is highlighted with GW Stormhost Silver using random slashes – I keep the brush moving from side-to-side while following the edges of the raised elements to get a jagged feel.

4. Apply damage highlight

Damage9

Now things get even more fun – we’ve got a nice, clean-ish surface and we get to smash it up!
I grabbed VMC Blue Green and dabbed a piece of sponge (I use blister pack sponge as it has a nice close texture and there is never a lack of it) in it, then dabbed the sponge on tissue paper until barely any shows up (the same way you would when drybrushing).
Then dab the sponge on the armour plates, concentrating on areas most likely to be chipped/scraped/damaged – mostly any raised edges (the stairs on the right are a good example).
Once you have a good rough texture, grab a small brush and use the same paint (VMC Blue Green in this case) and paint some small straight lines at random, concentrating on the same areas.

This should look pretty good, but to really make the damage pop, we need to give it some depth.

5. Apply damage shade

Damage10

To finish the damage off, we need to shade it down. On a more fancy piece we might be a bit more subtle, but for army painting we need to make it pop from a few feet away.

Grab your preferred black paint (VMC Black in my case) and using the same thin brush, follow the scratches you highlighted, ‘above’ the highlight, making it look like the highlight is on the bottom edge of the scratch – something like this:

Light coming from above
Scratch (in black)==============
Highlight _________________________

Repeat this on the sponged areas by dotting black splurges anywhere the highlight is quite heavy/solid. Again, the stepped base on the right is a good example of this.

 

So, that’s the technique, let’s look again at the Centurion:

Centurion

Because this model is pretty big, I decided to skip the sponging and go for lots of small brushwork scratches instead – concentrating on the front of the model and it’s shield (you can’t really see from the photo, but anywhere that would commonly be protected by the shield I left pretty much intact).
I also tried to vary the size and direction of the scratches to make sense for how the armour plates work – where the shield is curved I tried to make the scratches follow the curve, but where the armour is flatter I tried to keep the lines straighter.

The chips are always the brightest highlight on any area that has them – the black armour has grey highlights, but nothing is ever brighter than the scratches.

If we were intending to finish this model to a higher standard, we might go back and add extra detail to the scratch highlights – some of the larger ones on the black could use some point highlights on them to help them pop a bit, while some of the blue highlights should probably be a little more subtle in comparison to the armour they’re against.

 

This technique should work with pretty much all colours (though it will be trickier to use on black and white as you have a harder time shading and highlighting), but if you’re particularly keen to follow the exact recipe for the bases I did, here they are:

Recipes:

Armour:
GW Waaagh! Flesh + VMC Turquoise (50/50)
GW Nuln Oil wash
VMC Turquoise highlight (feathered/blended)
VMC Blue Green chipping
VMC Black damage

Silvers:
GW Leadbelcher + GW Ironbreaker (50/50)
GW Nuln Oil wash
GW Stormhost Silver highlight

Bronze:
GW Balthasar Gold
GW Nuln Oil wash
GW Balthasar Gold + GW Stormhost Silver (40/60) highlight
GW Stormhost Silver highlight


Posted in Painting & Modeling

Winter is Coming

So as a solely Trollblood player I was very excited by the release and development of the Northkin Community Integrated Development (CID) cycle currently being run by PP. I’ve felt that the advent of mark 3 hasn’t been as kind to Trolls as some of the other (mostly warmachine) factions. Privateer Press acknowledge this to a degree that some factions hadn’t been given as much attention as others, Skorne being the prime example and they got a full rework in March. However, I don’t want this to be a moan about the state of Trolls, I want to concentrate on a new model(s) and in the next part models with a new lease of life due to the small but key changes that have been added in the recently CID.

So the new models that will be coming to the tabletops in October/November time with any luck. I’m basing this on the fact that the models have been designed as seen in the Lock & Load and that the previous CID cycle, Cygnar Trenchers had the models on display at Lock & Load. I could of course be wrong but I hope I’m not.

The model that most captured my imagination is:

Kolgrima-Stonetruth

Kolgrima Stonetruth, Winter Witch: Kolgrima is an ice witch from the frozen north. Her spells and abilities should focus on hexes, wards, witchcraft, and a more feral style of magic. She should be elemental in nature. She is not a combat character and should have a weak attack.

Kolgrima brings something new to trolls that is very powerful and different. Except for Jarl’s feat, Swamp Gobber clouds (which can be removed as they need to be in them) and the Northkin Shaman we have never had an ability to block LoS. Kolgrima brings in her interesting spell list;

Freezing Mist – Place a 3˝ AOE cloud effect completely within the spellcaster’s control range. While in the AOE, models without Immunity: Cold suffer –2 to their attack rolls. The AOE remains in play for one round.

Since Mk1 Trolls have always had to try and get across the table with enough models to try and leverage an advantage out of our melee based force. PP spend many casters trying different approaches to achieving this and on reflection it’s not that surprising that we have ended up with a Warlock who accomplishes this goal through blocking LoS. Blocking Los is very powerful but like most strategies in the game there is counter play that once your opponent is aware of makes it more difficult. One of these tactics is to walk into the clouds and shoot, or Trample in to buy attacks. This is when Freezing Mists really shines, it gives a -2 to Attack rolls for models within the cloud which is a pseudo +2 Def, once you stack this with the likelihood that they had to Trample into the cloud to get to your model and/or are a warrior model and so have only one attack this forces the Jacks/Warbeasts to boost to hit if they don’t want to risk 7’s which significantly reduces the chances of them ever killing a Troll heavy. Another way to abuse the clouds is to put them under a models’ base that either wants to Aim or is in melee already. If it moves it loses the ability to Aim and if it moves away from your model you get a free strike. The trick to getting the most out of this spell will be to recognize where the enemy will want/need to be and either block LoS and/or subject them to the -2 to Attack rolls as well. Very strong spell, with lots of uses.

Cursed Fate – Target model/unit suffers –2 DEF. When a damage roll resulting from a direct hit fails to exceed the ARM of an affected model, the model suffers 1 damage point. Cursed Fate lasts for one turn.

It’s basically Affliction but not an upkeep and has a better range (10”). This is also something new to trolls and something that is going to be very useful in answered a difficult question that I feel is starting to be asked by the meta. With Themes being the way that PP want the competitive game to be played and there currently being only a handful at best for most factions there is a sub type that is emerging that trolls have a difficult time answering. This sub type is massed, high Arm, high damage output infantry; currently the popular ones are Strakov 2 and Iron Fangs at very high Arm, Helena and Arm 22 Sentinels and the new Cryx Theme force which has Arm 20 banes. Usually high volume of attacks from infantry would be a reasonable answer but currently the strongest way to play trolls is as a beast brick in some form. Playing a beast brick into a mass of weapon masters is not something you’ll enjoy. This spell turns on all the small arms fire available, be that pygs (bushwhackers or Lookouts), Highwaymen, Scatter gunners, sprays from the Fire Eaters or Frost Hammers from Northkin Shamans. It also drops the defense to allow the massed troop attacks to hit more reliably, or to increase the odds of an assassination. Overall useful and new.
Hunter’s Mark – Friendly models can charge or make a slam power attack against target enemy model hit by Hunter’s Mark without being forced or spending focus. A friendly model charging an enemy model hit by Hunter’s Mark gains +2˝ of movement. Hunter’s Mark lasts for one turn.

Trolls have had access to Hunter’s Mark for a while in the form of Lanyssa Ryssyl. Traditionally you want to push your threat with Hunter’s Mark over your opponents. This forces them to play differently to avoid you starting a favorable heavy trade. The free charge increases the damage potential of Warbeasts by giving you an additional attack and this is for all Warbeasts wanting to charge the target so can fix the math if you’re looking at taking on a larger, higher boxed model like a huge base. The reason it’s pretty good in Trolls is that most of our models are based around being Alpha’d then countering and relying on our resilience once the battle lines have met; the extra +2” on a charge is huge when changing this dynamic for our infantry. Finally, with it being target Enemy, it also means that you can Rage the Beast you want to send in and get around the Rush Rage conundrum. Solid spell that is good for Beasts and Warrior models.

Winter’s Tide – Winter’s Tide causes cold damage. On a critical hit, the model hit becomes stationary for one round unless it has Immunity: Cold.

So here we have her damage spell. Very strong 10” spray that causes Crit Stationary. Strong as it’s a spray and so gets around lots of the defensive benefits in the game, concealment, cover and stealth. Pow 12 is reasonable and with her Dark Power – This model gains an additional die on magic attack and magic attack damage rolls. Discard the lowest die in each roll. Pretty reliable in terms of hitting and damaging high Def and Arm 18.

Then there is her Feat;

Feat: Snowblind Enemy models currently in Kolgrima’s control range are pushed 2˝ directly away from Kolgrima in the order you choose. While in Kolgima’s control range, enemy models lose Eyeless Sight and Flight and cannot make ranged attacks. Snowblind lasts for one round.

19894710_10209421557435231_3121150276229589482_n

Personally, I find it underwhelming, I should caveat this by saying I haven’t played this new version yet (previously caused Blind after models finished activation, quite confusing and odd). A push 2” is ok and will help with Scenario plays, it also gives you more time behind the cloud wall to force where the battle will be fought. The no Ranged attacks whilst in the 14” (16” with the Arcane Repeater ability on the Runebearer) further pushes and punishes ranged heavy lists that need to commit to the zones otherwise they lose on scenario. Between the Freezing Mist cloud wall and the Feat, she’ll scare lots of people into their more melee focused list which is a useful card to have up your sleeve. There is the final part of the Feat which is just a middle finger to Legion and that’s about it. Having written this maybe it’s not so bad.
Other abilities she brings of note is Arcane Vortex, which one her Feat turn means she’s very hard to kill and gives some protection to models around her and against casters who rely on debuffs to gain an advantage.

List building with her seems quite varied, I think you can go either troop heavy and try and use the Freezing Mists to deliver them or beast heavy and try the occasional Hunters Mark or Curse Fate to kill things. I’d be cautious about taking a Huge base with her as it seems that this is bypassing one of her strongest abilities in blocking LoS.

My experience of playing her is that she’s very different to most other Troll casters in that you are dictating where and what fights through placement of the clouds, although I think if I were to pick on she’s most like it would be Calandra. Both have the passive soft control of defensive increases through Freezing Mist, Star Crossed and Bullet Dodger. Calandra is a better assassin and has other tricks but I found when playing they felt quite similar. I have also found that unfortunately you can’t really take advantage of Kolgrima’s targeted spells as she’s quite vulnerable if you move her into range to use one. I find this a real shame, it seems lots of the Troll community have also found that she could really benefit from a Channel ability either through a Beast in her battlegroup via an upkeep spell like Soul Slave or another once per turn channeling ability or perhaps range amplifier as this would benefit the Hunters mark and Curse Fate but not the Spray. She’s also lacking an Upkeep which seems odd as shes one of three Northkin Warlocks and she doesnt benefit from the Theme benefit, i really like the idea of Mist Walker on her and feel it synergies with her both in rules and thematically. Without the change to find a way for her to Channel or extend the range of her non-Freezing mist spells I worry that although powerful you’ll just cast 3 Freezing Mists a turn and camp 1, which is sadly boring when she could be such an interesting and dynamic caster that with practice and time could give troll players something quite compelling in game.
Here are a couple of sample lists that ive tried and enjoyed playing.

images

(Kolgrima 1) Kolgrima Stonetruth, Winter Witch [+28]
– Dire Troll Mauler [15]
– Earthborn Dire Troll [14]
– Trollkin Runebearer [4]
Fell Caller Hero [0(5)]
Gremlin Swarm [3]
Northkin Shaman [4]
Northkin Shaman [4]
Valka Curseborn, Chieftain of the North [0(6)]
Krielstone Bearer & Stone Scribes (min) [6]
Northkin Bear Handle & Battle Bears [9]
Northkin Bear Handle & Battle Bears [9]
Trollkin champions(max) [15]
Trollkin Champions (max) [15]
– Skaldi Bonehammer [5]

And

(Kolgrima 1) Kolgrima Stonetruth, Winter Witch (CID) [+28]
– Dire Troll Mauler [15]
– Earthborn Dire Troll (CID) [14]
– Earthborn Dire Troll (CID) [14]
– Troll Basher (CID) [8]
– Trollkin Runebearer [4]
Northkin Shaman [0(4)]
Northkin Shaman [0(4)]
Krielstone Bearer & Stone Scribes (min) [6]
– Northkin Elder (CID) [4]
Northkin Bear Handle & Battle Bears (CID) [9]
Northkin Fire Eaters [7]
Northkin Fire Eaters [7]
Northkin Raiders (CID) (max) [15]

Next time I want to look at the other Northkin models. Thanks for reading and as always comments appreciated.


Posted in Trollbloods

Dr_Norbert’s Guide to Fast Painted Models

By Norbert Brunhuber, aka Dr_Norbert

Iron Moot and the WTC are on hand and that means the pressure is on to get fully painted!  Here you can see what I’m up against:

IMG_5374

This is the method I’ve developed to try and get decent tabletop-standing paint jobs on my miniatures in as quick a time as possible.  

Model Prep

  1. Clean the model pieces and bases of flash and mould lines.
  2. Dry fit the pieces and decide which parts will need pins. I highly recommend using an electric screwdriver with a drill bit chuck (*not* a Dremel) to easily drill the holes.  At each join, drill a hole on one side.  Wet that side and then apply a little flat disc of Blue Tack and dry fit the pieces together again.  The piece that was wet should then be pulled away from the Blue Tack leaving it stick to the undrilled side.  Drill a hole on the other side of the join using the nipple formed in the Blue Tack.  Dry fit the join with a pin to ensure the holes were lined up correctly and adjust with more drilling as necessary.
  3. Scrub all of the pieces and bases in dish washing soap and warm water using an old toothbrush.  Rinse well and let dry.  This step isn’t necessary for models made from hard plastic.
  4. Assemble the model with superglue.  For tiny joins, you can put superglue on either side of the join and then put a small ball of green stuff on one piece and then squeeze the pieces together.  The green stuff will hold the join together initially and also strengthen the join once cured dry.  Be sure to scrape off/mould any excessive green stuff that gets squeezed out of the join.  For hard plastic you’ll be using special plastic glue which melts the pieces of plastic together quickly, so you generally won’t need the green stuff.
  5. Once the glue has dried, use green stuff to fill in any gaps in the joins.
  6. Decide if you need to cover the slot in the base depending on how you will affix the model to the base.  If so, cut a narrow strip of masking tape and cover up the slot.  Cut holes in the tape where you will insert the model’s base tabs.
  7. If the bases have smooth surfaces, use a hobby knife to cut a shallow criss-cross pattern on the base to create extra surface area.
  8. Glue the model to the base with superglue and let dry.
  9. Dilute some white glue with water in a 50:50 proportion (still thick but runny).  Apply the glue to the base around the model with an old brush.  Dip the model into a pot of black hobby sand of mixed sizes and allow a pile of sand to cover the entire base.  Let dry.
  10. Dump off the excess sand and tap the model base with a brush handle to get rid of any loose sand.
  11. Dilute some white glue with water in a 25:75 proportion (quite thin glue).  Apply the glue to the top of the hobby sand and let dry.  This helps keep the sand firmly affixed to the base.
  12. Spray the models with black hobby primer.  Or use a coloured primer from Army Painter to colour the model with the predominate colour of your paint job.


Painting

  1. Take some time to decide on your overall paint scheme.  Use notes to write down each part of the model that needs paint and decide which colour paint to use on each piece along with the highlight colour you want on each part.  By having a guide decided in advance, it will be easier to keep moving the painting along.  Choose shades of colour that are about 2 shades lighter than you want the final model to have.
  2. Start painting on the basecoats starting with the least accessible areas and working your way out on the model’s pieces.
  3. Now start to apply the highlight colours on the basecoat.  This is the step that requires the most artistry and will improve as you practice the technique.  You want to apply highlights sparingly but it will look garish because of the brighter colour.  This will change by the end of the process.
    1. For areas that have distinct ridges, like the folds of a cloak, paint a line of the highlight along the ridge.
    2. For wide areas that have lots of texture on them (like scales), use a drybrushing technique to apply the highlight.
    3. The trickiest area type is wide areas that are flat (like armour plates).  In these areas, apply the highlight colour in a small spot and then use a clean brush that is quite wet to help spread the paint around until it becomes a “cloud” of the shade in the entire area.  Repeat the process but spreading the paint around less and less as you approach the area on the patch that should see the most light and thus have the strongest highlight.  This shouldn’t take more than 2-3 applications.  You are not trying to layer on the paint properly; rather give a suggestion of the highlight.


Dipping

  1. I recommend using Army Painter’s dip in the “Strong Tone” for most surfaces.  I use their “Dark Tone” (ie, black) for large areas of silver metal and sometimes for strongly gray paint schemes.
  2. Shake up the dip strongly in the tin.
  3. Use a large paint brush (eg, size 3 or 4 round) dedicated to just for the dipping process and dip it into the tin.  The amount of dip in the brush should be quite heavy but not excessively dripping off.
  4. Brush the dip on the model starting on the top parts of the model.  Apply it moderately heavy all the way down to bottom parts of the model.
  5. Let the model stand for a short while (about 3 minutes).  Doing multiple models in a chain is helpful here as the first will be ready once you finished the last model.
  6. Pop any air bubbles persisting on the model by applying a dry brush tip to them.  Wick away any excessively pooling of dip on the model by applying a dry brush tip to them.  Wipe the brush on a paper towel to clean the brush of dip and continue wicking off any other areas.
  7. Allow the model to dry a full 24 hours.  Too soon and the dip will still be tacky.
  8. Wipe the inside rim of the dip tin and the rim of its lid with a paper towel to remove excess and then firmly close the tin.  Clean the brush in white spirits as the dip is not water soluble.
  9. Once fully dry, spray the models with Testor’s Dull Cote to remove the shininess from the model.


Basing

  1. Paint any parts of the hobby sand black that have colour on them from the painting process.
  2. Dilute a dark brown paint with water to a 25:75 proportion and paint it all over the base.  The goal is to have the brown colour go into all the crevices in the sand.
  3. Drybrush on a brown colour to the sand avoiding the areas heavily shaded by the model’s profile.  Drybrush on a lighter brown colour in areas less shaded by the model’s profile.
  4. Finish by drybrushing on a beige colour just on the tips of the sand in the areas not shaded at all by the model’s profile.
  5. Paint on LOS arc marks on either side of the base.  I use a widget sold for the purpose of guiding where to put the marks on exactly in the right spots.
  6. Apply some blobs of superglue to key open areas on the sand and then apply some static grass (I use grass from GaleForce 9) in a pile on the glue.
  7. After the glue has dried, use a brush handle to knock off the excess grass.

And you are done!  Enjoy your fully painted and tabletop ready model.  Here are some photo of one of my recently completed paint jobs:

P1070533P1070534

P1070535


Posted in Painting & Modeling

Scenario is dead, long live scenario

 

Hello, my name is Ben and I play across Cross, Dark Sphere and RAW among other clubs. On fora, I’m likely to be writing under Pentagon, or the ‘Real Pentagon’ if some imposter had already taken it…

I would like to take this opportunity to consider victory conditions, and SR17.

I have spoken to many people who have told me, ‘I don’t like where they’re taking scenario, scenario is dead. PP wants assassination, mindless battle, a less skillful game etc. etc’

 

The golden age of Scenario Victories

Now if you look at the golden age of scenario victories, the primary offender was Wraith Witch Deneghra under Body and Soul. For those readers (ed. You have readers?)- Not familiar, the general principle of Body and Soul was that you were able to start the game with pursuit on their biggest jack or unit etc. If they moved said unit, you triggered pursuit, this allowed you to move Deneghra forwards. This then enabled you to move her forwards in your turn catching their caster with your feat. At the time, her feat inflicted shadow bind on every model within her control area, resulting in the enemy caster being unable to move, this inevitably resulted in them kill boxing themselves and leaving you free to score pretty much uncontended.

It was pretty reliable for the Body and Soul player to have effectively won without rolling any dice.
Generally, the idea behind a so called ‘Scenario list’ is a powerful feat; Haley 2’s is possibly the best example, though I have experimented with Vindictus and others, plentiful Advance Deploy units, and a means of slowing down or speeding up there/your units. Without wishing to teach anyone to suck eggs, the idea is that you run your advance deploy units onto the zones so that they can’t get onto them to contest. You feat them, effectively buying yourself a turn, and you win on scenario when they cannot physically contest.

Now if we look at why these might be strategies that vehemently engage players. There is a feeling of skillful play, I have been able to negate your army and not rely on dice to do it. I have sacrificed units to win overall, etc. etc. It is relatively kind on the clock as you don’t need to make many attack roles, among other reasons why it was/is popular.

 

Why does Scenario exist?

In other popular wargames, it is not unknown for a player to take lots of guns and castle up in a corner. Whilst shooting is an integral part of the game, its noteworthy that the ranges in WMH are vastly shorter than equivalent in the most obvious rival game. However, scenario is significant because it forces players to engage and fight for the middle. If you deploy in the corner that’s great, but you’re going to kill box yourself and lose on scenario.

These are tools, the important thing is not that we all love kill box, it is that players are forced to interact with each other. Ironically, the so called scenario lists are somewhat defeating the purpose of the scenario’s original purpose, to force players to interact, by seeking to win by marginalizing any interaction between armies.

If Privateer Press said tomorrow, we’re abolishing Kill Box- our reaction as a community shouldn’t be, OH I REALLY LOVED KILL BOX, our response should be, what measures are you taking to  stop some casters hiding 3 inches on from their board edge.

I am reminded of an urban myth of a children’s writer whose child was criticized at school for analysis on a story which their father had written. The father then wrote to the teacher to say what the author had actually meant. I mean to say, I feel that the community has evolved the role of scenario from a tool, to make armies engage, to a blown out of proportion demand that people should be able to have an army full of push effects, control feats and advance deploy units.

 

SR2017

Whilst previously a player needs to score 5 points to win, the new requirement is that they must have 6 MORE than their opponent. It has been strongly suggested, that this will be lowered to 5, so the important point is that it is now more than.

The second major consideration is that where previously you only had 1-2 zones to score on, 3-4 is more common. This means that trying to jam an opponent out of all scoring opportunities is difficult. Whilst previously, you could score 5 and let them score 1-2, now this would not be sufficient to win as you must now get to 7.

Accordingly, I sympathize with the players who are claiming that scenario, as defined in the last 700 words, is dead. Equally, I think that, that is no bad thing.

The new zones, in my humble opinion, has led to players fighting over the whole board, whilst previously refused flank strategies have always been powerful, the fighting predominantly happened over a 4 inch diameter of a flag which was the objective point, up for grabs. Now, in nearly all games that I have played, there has been a mini battle over each zone as players split up their armies and seek to conquer the board. Giving a much needed boost to going second.

A pattern that has emerged in some games, is that player A wins one zone, player B wins another and players have not got the resource to go on the offensive again, which leads to the inevitable can you contest their zone etc. This was commonly scene in SR16 with the two zones mission. However, with the introduction of a 7 turn time limit, this is not necessarily a problem. If one player is on 8 and the other 6, you don’t have to wait for a clock to run out, as with armies severely depleted, 7 turns is not unduly long.

However, the 7 turn cap doesn’t seem inappropriate, as truthfully how many games last that long normally? Accordingly, I feel that we have a strong compromise, a turn cap that is there when needed, but not imposing otherwise.

Players will still win on scenario, I have won 80% of my victories through scenario. Whilst players have criticized that you can only score on scenario when you have battered the enemy army so much they can’t stop you, that is entirely the point. By making this change, we now have a scenario system that serves the game, as a mercy kill mechanic, to stop players who have obviously won having to chase down an enemy caster camping 7 in a corner forest somewhere…

We have a game which is fought over the whole board, made better by the excellent increases of terrain (another topic on its own).

So it for these reasons, that as far as Victory Conditions go, (I will not comment at this time on other major changes to the game), I feel that the game is at its healthiest it has ever been, and if the price of this is that some players cannot win the game without their opponent being able to play- then so be it.


Posted in Uncategorised

Who’s the Alpha?

Who’s the Alpha, part 1

Something that I’ve wanted to write about for a while is threat ranges. A topic that I think is relevant and useful to newer players and the more experienced equally.

What do I mean by “Who’s the Alpha?”. What I try to do when I’m approaching a game, from list selection and at multiple times during the game is identify who has the threat advantage. In basic terms this is easily achieved by measuring a model’s charge distance, factoring in rough terrain to see what my opponent can attack in melee with his models. You can also measure a model’s ranged/magic threat range by measuring where it can shoot to. This is all quite simple, basic game play and I’m sure most of you reading this are already doing these things. What I’ve found useful to think about and what I’ve found improves my gameplay however is to not only do this during deployment when seeing how far you can run but during most turns.

Now threat is something that is not fixed: spells, abilities and feats can extend threat so it’s important to be aware of these factors when making your calculations. The different types of threat need to be considered differently, for example a high ranged threat is that much more difficult to respond to as unlike melee threat there is often less opportunity to retaliate. The trick in matchups is to first establish who has the bigger threat range and so who will be able to initiate exchanges. Once you’ve done this you can start to think about how you’re going to approach the game.

If you’re going to be giving the ranged alpha strike you’re likely in a strong
position. You know that your opponent will have to do something in order to not lose by having all their models slowly (or quickly) whittled down. Scenario plays an important part in the game in forcing the engagement in the centre of the table and this is something that the player with a ranged alpha needs to be aware of. You usually don’t want to be too close to the enemy as otherwise you are giving up your advantage but you can’t totally neglect to commit models to zones or flags otherwise you’ll lose on scenario. You need to manage your targets and maintain the advantage that your list build has given you.
Now as a troll player it’s rare that you have a ranged alpha on your opponent and so it’s very important that you realise this and start learning to play a game when you are going to get alpha’d first and then know how to come back from this.

Firstly, terrain is very important, in most cases if you’re trying to get to the enemy in melee you can use line of sight blocking terrain to remove the opportunity of being shot and defensive terrain to reduce the likelihood of them hitting your models.

Spacing of your models and which models you offer to your opponent can also ensure that they are making tough choices over which models they attack and which they leave. Working out which models will be killed by which attacks from your opponent is also a great way to mitigate the advantage of a greater ranged threat. For example, if the ranged attacks are high value (i.e. high damage output) then present models with low arm models in high volume, increasing your chances of delivering them. If the threat is from AoEs then use a blast gauge to space your models so that there isn’t an advantage gained from an AoE hitting lots of your models. If the threat is from sprays try to position in a way that doesn’t allow the template to catch multiple models.

If the opponent has a high volume of low quality attacks then leading with models with high arm will reduce the value of their pieces. Often the volume of attacks of a ranged attack based army will be significantly less than those of a melee army due to the restrictions of Rate of Fire (RoF). Appreciating at the list building stage that your opponent is likely to be shooting you enables to plan for this and either develop a plan considering the above points or including models in your army to reduce the effectiveness of shooting against you. In the case of trolls, adding the Stone Scribe Chronicler for Tale of Mists, or a Northkin Shaman for the Freak Storm 3” cloud to block LoS.

Knowing the abilities of your models is also key to making sure you make the most of them. Fennblades are a common unit in trolls and a great way to get the most out of them is to offer a few Fennblades to be shot in order to trigger their Vengeance rule. The skill lies in threatening enough with the models you offer up so that the bait is taken while not giving so many models away that you lose your advantage.

Running and jamming is also a strategy that you can employ to counter the advantage of guns. Apart from the odd exception (Gunfighter, Gun Platform etc) you can’t make ranged attacks whilst engaged, so engaging models that want to shoot while positioning other models to get the charge on them the next turn can be very effective. You are giving up models to deliver others and this is the game you are playing if you are running a melee vs a ranged list. Be careful and make sure that there is not a trivial way in which the enemy can clear those jamming models though otherwise you are just giving up models for free.

If the scenario is live (i.e. you can realistically win the game through scoring CPs) then you can use this to your advantage to force the enemy to come into your threat ranges. It’s an important lesson and skill to know that you don’t always have to move forward, moving back out of threat range moves that model’s impact on the game , if it can’t bring its guns to bear. In my experience if you’re facing a ranged alpha it’s nearly always a good idea to go first (if you can) to steal table position and pressure scenario. If you have a feat that protects you in some way either by reducing the effectiveness of shooting by reducing damage, restricting LoS or otherwise then learning when to get the most of the feat is a very valuable skill to learn.

I hope that this first part was useful in terms of determining which player has the threat range advantage at different points in the game, and how you need to keep thinking about this and adjusting accordingly as if you get it wrong you’ll almost certainly lose (no pressure!). In the next part I plan to write about melee alphas.

Thank you for reading and as always please feel free to comment, share etc.


Posted in General Strategy/Tactics