Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Temple Guard, or Where the Hell is My Shield?

Fantasy is definitely my game. I started out 40K style, but the past is where its at. My most recent army has been the Lizardmen, which are almost done with my habit of building armies. The first box of models I got for them were the Temple Guard. I love these guys. They look great, have cool weapons, and can be taken to almost be impossible to get off the board. I even did custom bases for them (I hate basing, by the way).

The ideal way to run a block of these fancy lads is to stick a Slann in there. With the new changes on line of sight for magic missiles and direct damage, he should be able to float up and fire even if he's in combat. This also makes the unit Stubborn on a 9. Cold-blooded will keep most lizards in place but on a Ld of 9, they aren't going anywhere. 

There are two other ways of making this unit stick: make the Slann the BSB, or throw in Chakax. The Slann BSB just makes that Stubborn 9 extra safe. Chakax is a pricey hero at 335 points but he makes the unit Unbreakable. Plus he's a challenge machine. Even assassins have to reveal themselves early and would strike last against him. Anything High Elf related is going to get chewed up because he's WS 5 with 4 attacks. His great weapon makes him strike at STR 7 and gets to re-roll the first round if he misses you.

The great issue is that unit is a ton of points. It usually ends up in the neighborhood of 1200 points with all your Lord, half your Hero, and a good chunk of Special choices. The worst part is the shields on the TG's only apply outside of combat. I hate that. Weapons that require two-hands means he just drops the shield as soon as combat starts. Sure a 3+ against shooting is nice, but most times you need the better save in combat rather than the shooting phase. Shooting is usually -1 or -2 to armor, which on 4+ Saurus warrior could be trouble but its not terrible. With TG's, I'd rather have the 4+ against shooting and 3+ in combat, and here's why:

The typical Saurus Warrior is around 12 points (depending on whether spears are taken). They got a 4+ armor and the parry save (a 6+ ward) in close combat. Temple Guard are 16 points, but only get a 4+ in close combat with no parry save. Weapon skill a little higher, and the bonus from the halberd. Those extra points get sunk into the special passive abilities with the Slann. Both units are equally tough, strong, fast, and same number of attacks. The TG's upgrades are really expensive after you start adding in enough to make them work. Without support, a 4+ armor elite unit isn't going to decimate other elite units. They'll stick but with a lot of your points into that unit, it's hard to get those linebreakers in the list too. 

So a 20 block of Saurus with full command is at least 100 points cheaper than an effective TG block. That extra 100 points is a skink unit or a terradon squad waiting in the wings. 

With Lizardmen being hearty and elite, you gotta find ways to save points. I'm going to have a few test games with the solo Slann. Next up, I'm going to run through the new lores with the hypnotoad. 

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

8th and the Open

NoVA Open is going down on August 14th. I ran across the announcement by accident on whiskey40k's blog a while back. Now, I'm by no means the ultimate tournament player. What's great about tournament play is the level of play you are working at. I love playing the garbage games in the shop and just fooling around with a crazy list where winning isn't the goal. The big part of what I like about WFB is the insane happenings that go on the battlefield. The win is nice, but if you lose because two of your own comets came down and wiped out half the board including most of your stuff? That's awesome.

Tournament play has its place. When there's something on the line, it can bring out the best and the worst in people. The best being a fun game with a competitive army where you get to see two players really show that they know how to play. The worst is a mix between people who don't know what they are doing, and people who get insane with rule-lawyering and suck the fun out of the game. Unfortunately, with the new edition, I think there's going to be a fair lot of both of those types. New rules means

The NoVA Open is going to be 8th Edition. I've been trying to get as many games in as possible so I can really learn the rules and tricks you can pull with the system. Part of the barrier to get into the new edition is to forget a lot of the implied rules from 7th. Like the charging system, ordering of charges, skirmisher units, etc. Everything is different. I got 6 games in over the long weekend at the local shop and a few more last weekend. I played my lizards and my opponent played skaven. We used the new book at 2000-2500 points. Here's a run down of what we gleaned from the new system:

Fat Christ, are they quick! Games that would normally take 2 to 3 hours to complete for 7th edition zip by in about an hour and a half. If you run with the new special terrain, it takes a little longer but not by much. Units might be bigger but with magic and your own units being bigger, models will fly off the board.

Gotcha now! Charges are 2D6 plus movement. Slow units just got fast, and fast units got insane. Plus depending on how you choose your charge reactions can make a big difference in who's getting down run by what.

Reach out and touch someone. Combat and charging are still huge aspects of the game, but you really have to find a way to get at someone before they're on top of you. Magic and shooting are the two easiest ways. Even though you don't even really need a caster in 8th to protect yourself, its really hard to say "no" to the new magic lores. Without balance, armies fall apart quickly.

Oh the humanity! There's a lot of ways to die in the new edition. Your well-painted, favorite unit can, and will be, trashed in more than one game. Units get more attacks, magic just being sick, even the terrain wants you dead.

All in all, I've been pleased with the changes with 8th. I didn't think that it would revamp everything like it has. I love to see old models come out again now that their useful. Its also bringing in a new flock of players into the Fantasy side of the shop. New players means new tactics. That's another great thing about tournament level play: you get to see stuff go down that you might not have ever thought of running. I think the Open is really going to help me amp my game as well as crash course into the deeper parts of the new book.

Now all I have to do is paint up the massive number of models I'll need for the Open. Awesome.