Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Fighting Meta with Magic - Lores of the Slann

Part Two: It takes two to Party! (Dual Slann)

So, clearly single party frogs really do party in the jungle (which is indeed, massive…. Yes, I know….).

The negatives to the solitary path are, however, numerous. And opponents have an annoying habit of adapting to thwart the awesomeness that is a list built around a single uber character. It’s really annoying, but they rarely even apologise for it. It’s no fun at all if your opponents suddenly all have lists designed at killing an expensive frog (doubtlessly later served in a rich garlic sauce), effectively winning the game at a stroke.

And even if your opponents are proper gentlemen and do not go out of their way to inconvenience you, they can, in their thoughtless ignorance, bring a list that is all but immune to your magical charms. Be it an immune to panic list where all their characters are protected with high MR/Wards (forgetting to take into account you were bringing Death magic and this is going to be no fun at all), or with endless large blocks of heavily armoured combat monsters and characters who shrug off the awesomeness of a Light-buffed skink ninjas. Or you could, perfectly naturally, find yourself constantly falling asleep whilst using Life magic. These are all real dangers.

So, how to salvage fun out of the quagmire of uncertainty? The answer is simple - double down on frogs!

Sometimes even a Slann needs a friend...

Despite the misgivings of (interestingly often colonial) players who dismiss the concept citing issues with:

  • Cost: 2 Slann will set you back a minimum of 575 points (once one is a BSB)
  • Weak: In a 2400pt game the two Slann are limited to one Discipline each (one can have two if you want no items and no Slann BSB) and very few magic items
  • Inefficiency: With an average winds of magic dice you don’t have enough power to make use of the 8 spells (minimum) you have access to every turn.
  • Skinks: You could get 55 skinks for the cost of a Slann. Ok, no one makes this argument, but it’s probably the best one ;-)

Putting all these petty grumbles aside (let’s pretend for now that none of them are valid), the advantages of two Slann over the party variety are clear:

  • Cheaper: The loss of one Slann is not a crushing blow. Miscasts become less scary.
  • Sphere of influence: The lizardmen army works best within the 12” bubbles of Inspiring Presence or Hold Your Ground (they don’t normally need both). Two Slann allow you to split those responsibilities between the frogs, and allows the army to spread out.
  • Flexibility: As ever so subtly alluded to above, one Slann means committing to one magic lore, two allows you to do, well, two things. It gives you a better toolbox to deal with situations as they arise.

So… without any (further!) ado, what are the best options for the Dual Slann setup? Its like asking which is your favourite child – you may have one, but it’s considered rather impolite to actually say it out loud, so we should really look at the options:

A) Best of Both Worlds: Light/Death

This has, for the longest time during the journey of 8th edition WFB, been the go-to load out for the Dual Slann lizard list.

The synergies are clear. Lizardmen combat units are on the weak side of “meh” (the technical term for combat units with WS3/2 and no rerolls). With light magic even the overcosted bumbling dolt of the army, the Saurus Warrior, can become great (in the right circumstances). This is even truer (and was pretty damn true to begin with) of the Skrox units, as these not only bring S6, speed and immunity to stomp, but also extremely cheap steadfast-breaking. These two, when combined with light magic, are the bane of WS4 and lower. The ease of casting for Speed of Light and Pha’s Protection means that, if magically unopposed, it is very easy to make opponents need 6s to hit you.

As mentioned in Part 1, Light magic has significant weaknesses. It does not grab character/high value points at range, and struggles to draw out scrolls (making it hard to commit late game). Enter Death.

Death does one thing exceptionally well – draw out scrolls. The other thing it does decently (every three games or so) is kill characters. Oh, and there is always purple sun. And never, EVER, forget of the fun you can have with Doom and Darkness and Salamanders.

The general strategy when using both is then simple:

Early game Death picks on wizards/high value targets and draws out scroll/picks up points. Army engages at mid-range as normal, weakening the opposition’s combat blocks. Mid/late game, with your opponent coming at you chasing you mobile elements, you launch the counter attack – your combat blocks engage and light magic is used to smash apart the weakened opponents. In the crucial turn of combat Death magic is useful to draw out the first few dispel dice, before the ever so cheap speed of light, phas’s, etc are forced through.

Brutally simple.

This set up is in many ways the single easiest way to get by the usual Lizardmen issue of not being able to get the big wins, as it combines Death magic with the ability to engage in the mid/end game.

What now then, is it time to weep at having conquered all the known worlds?

Alas, no – this build does not work against everything, and some would say the meta changes of the last 8/6 months have gotten more and more unkind to it.

Death Magic. As awesome as it is in many ways, there are some drawbacks. The Spirit Leech FAQ recently released means that targets of the snipe can use Inspiring presence for their leadership. This is a massive defensive boost for some of the high priority targets for the spell – high value low leadership units such as the Terrorgheist. Add in the fact that the Death-averse can protect a lot of their points with MR and wards, and Death magic becomes even more inconsistent than ever before. Death magic is also age-inducingly unreliable.

Combat is a dangerous place. Something that is actually very good at fighting is going to be inconvenienced by Lizardmen combat units with Light buffs, not devastated. The rise of Warriors of Chaos and army-wide WS5 really limits its potential. It can still work, but becomes a massive gamble. And, if your opponent is also limiting the effectiveness of Death (see above) it makes it harder to draw out the scroll when you need to ahead of crucial combat phases.

Nowhere to hide. Committing 25% or so of your force into combat units leaves fewer places for your mighty and brave Slann to hide. Facing someone with a significant shooting and/or magic missile component to their force can leave you facing strong pressure on your frog farm. This is less the case if using Saurus instead of Skrox (you at least get a look out sir in Saurus), but that encourages you to use them as a bunker and not actually engage, undoing the whole point of this exercise.

Forcing the issue. This combo, to do what it is built to do, relies on committing to combat at some point. This is risky. Combat is the most devastating phase of the game, and it is here where a minor swing in luck can turn the result on its head. A shooting phase goes bad you don’t kill enough. A combat phase goes bad and you lose your 300pt combat unit, and potentially the game. The fact that combat for this army relies on utilising the ever-unreliable winds of magic makes this doubly risky.

A typical Death/Light list is often built along the lines of (very roughly, comp, style, points and meta dependant):

Slann – Light Magic, Focus of Mystery, Dispel Scroll
Slann – Death Magic, Focused Rumination, Battle Standard

Skink Priest – Cube of Darkness
Mounted Scar Veteran
Mounted Scar Veteran

24 Skinks + 3 Kroxigor
24 Skinks + 3 Kroxigor
14 Skinks
14 Skinks
10 Skink Skirmishers
10 Skink Skirmishers
10 Skink Skirmishers

5 Chameleons
5 Chameleons
3 Terradons
3 Terradons


To be continued.....

See also:

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

The Trinkets of Itza - Notable gimmicks of the Warhammer world, Part 1:

The world of WFB, especially in its internet incarnation, is frankly obsessed with the “optimal” - lists, units, loadouts, combos, whatever, as long as you can take as much of that as possible. Not as much as our 40k cousins (if we have to admit some sort of kinship with them) of course, who take the art of the “optimal” to a gloriously fascinating degree.

This notion, whilst perhaps mathematically, scientifically and even possibly religiously (people have all sorts of religions after all) sound, is clearly firstly flawed and ultimately boring. It is not really helped by people generally being unable to agree on what constitutes “optimal” in the first place

Putting all that tedious, sensible and ultimately accounting-inspired (you have to wonder about things when you are being inspired by accounting) logic to one side, there is brilliant fun in concocting a plan around things that won’t work half the time, won’t do that much when they do work a third of the time, but in that remaining 1/6th of the time it not only wins you a game, but also leaves you and your opponent a story to tell for years to come.

This notion was rather well summed up in the famous old Heelanhammer “Who takes a Frostblade?!” incredulity. Dan plays dozens if not hundreds of games a year, but he will always remember the Vampire Lord who charged out of a unit and one-shotted a Stegadon.

What is a gimmick?

Some are very well known, and reliable enough to have lists built around them. The Ogre Kingdoms Death Slaughtermaster + Greedyfist + Hex Scroll backed up by Poison & Sniping Maneaters is utterly, brilliantly, brutal (depending on the FAQ/Errata ruling). The potential damage is so vast that to an extent it works as long as you opponent reacts to its presence – even if it does nothing. Some are as simple as Terrifying Mask of Eee! on a Goblin Big Boss trying to terror flanking units off with long range charges.
The dividing line between “gimmick” and “different” is a blurred one at best. To be noteworthy I posit that it would have to be significantly unusual, highly situational and/or unexpected.

Not all “gimmicks” (what a terrible word, but we’ll go with it) are spectacular or memorable, and most are unreliable - but I thought I would use this series to explore some of my personal favourites:

The “David vs Goliath”

This was concept was born from the ashes of a combination of the terror left in the wake of the rise of the WoC Daemon Prince, and the direction of most UK comp packs. How is an army built around peppering the opponent with S3 shooting supposed to deal with the new unkillable Behemoth ™ (the term, I have decided this instant, actually encompasses not only Daemon Princes, but other nigh-on unkillable characters that operate by themselves – such as WoC lords on Disc) of the tournament scene? Hmmm what’s that I hear… sounds like a violin… only much, much smaller….

One of the best (some would (incorrectly) say only) ways for a Lizardmen player to take out one of these heavily armoured-yet-immune-to-metal-magic, flying, magic-wielding and/or self-healing Behemoths ™ is with using the fickle powers of magic. Death Magic and Banehead has the power to really threaten – two wounds and dead Behemoth ™ is a real worry for the WoC player.

Unfortunately here, as is so often the case when we are trying to get our fun on, the long nose of comp pokes in. It is extremely common to ban the combination of Death Magic and Banehead. Sigh.

What hope is there now?
Cometh the time, cometh the lizard:

Skink Priest, level 2, Plaque of Tepok, Bane Head

3 spells to get a shot at either of the 2 s6 magic missiles (or even a lazer guided comet if the punk is indeed feeling lucky). All of a sudden the Behemoth ™ (talk about over using a term!) is in real danger wherever he can be seen. And you can throw all your dice at this little ninja’s spells – at around 130pts it really doesn’t matter if he dies. If you are lucky you may even kill the prince with the lore attribute, at which point gloating is required (believe it’s in one of the FAQs- probably the Skaven one, who knows what’s in there?!).

This little combo works well against any list that has characters strolling around on their own – Disc-riding BSBs are a good target (tough to get a wound through, but you only need one!). Issue here is that for all the coolness, it is just S6 – worth a shot though!

“Dancing with the mage in the mirror”

This little blighter was something I was a big fan of at the certain stage in the meta when a lot of armies had little to no BS shooting to deal with chaff (some still don’t of course), and then the Light Council was at its height.

Often the best way to deal with Terradons (being skirmishers and mobile enough to make BS shooting on them awkward) is to hit them with magic missiles for easy points. Despite what some crazy dark parts of the internet will tell you, Terradons are great. So great, in fact, you don’t really want them to die. Would be fun if your opponent wasted time trying though.

Skink Chief, Terradon, Shield of the Mirrored Pool, Blowpipe (because why not)

Sitting pretty in a unit of Terradons of any size (though the target is juicier the bigger the unit), this unit should safely attracts incoming magical fire, giving your opponent a nice bloodied nose in the bargain.

The effectiveness of the aforementioned bloody nose does depend on the interpretation of the rules of the shield – it states that on a 2+ the magic missile is reflected and hits the casting wizard. Whether it actually hits the wizard, or the unit he is in, is a source of contention.
Either way hitting your opponent with their own magic is never a bad thing – you never know, it could be an Archlector on a War Altar in the midst of a light council. Targeting that Terradon unit could easily be the last thing the he ever does.

Is this a good idea? Of course not – the skink chief costs more than a unit of Terradons! But damn its fun! This baby also works (in a less fun way) in a Scar Vet in a unit of Cold One Riders.

Wrath of the Hippy

A lovely little combo brought to us from everyone’s favourite tree lovers. Favourite here in the “I hope they get a lovely new book soon” and “oh, look over there, a Wood Elf player at the event” sense – no one ever wants to play against them. There, I’ve said it. I know, I know, rich coming from a Lizardmen player, but its still true!

Their bizarrely costed book does have a few hidden/unnoticed-because-no-one-has-read-it treasures. One that won’t be new to players who remember the days prior to Tree Elves becoming endangered, but is a personal favourite of mine is:

Spellweaver, Moonstone of the Hidden Ways, Deepwood Sphere

The execution here is brilliantly simple. Your opponent, probably trying to be clever and looking to block one of your units teleporting into a wood in their deployment zone (this is pretty much the one thing that people know about Wood Elves. That, and the fact their BSB does not get to keep his bow….). Out steps your brave Spellweaver who teleports by itself into the gap just small enough for it left in the woods (hopefully behind the unit) and then BAM! S5 hits everywhere, much carnage and maybe even some ragequitting…. Maybe…

The ideal here is that positioning and timing keeps the spellweaver safe whilst doing the damage – holding a unit in woods witch conga’d Dryads just adds to the hatred you will earn!

Reliable? Nope! Sensible? Nope! Likely to win you a game? Nope! Likely to be the cause of stories that will be remembered for years? You bet!

To be continued….

Monday, 20 May 2013

This Fortnight in WFB Podcasting 6 May - 19 May

A brief look at and shout out to the top 5 Warhammer Fantasy Podcasts over the past fortnight, as well as a few that just missed the cut. I also highlight my pick of the Bad Dice Daily shows.

1 - The Black Sun XLI  

SCGT tournament recap

A fantastic episode by the problem children of the Warhammer scene. Something for all their fans here – recaps of wild nights (including, amongst much else: golden showers, searching for Viagra in vomit and the South Coast Friendly Fight Club) and a detailed run through of their games and results – big shout out to Scott “The Boss” for his 4th place (I am officially claiming partial credit for allowing him to submarine a massive win in his game 5!).
This sort of in-depth tournament recap is something that the UK WFB podcasts have really disappointed on/stopped doing over the past year or so, so extra credit to the boys for this.
Easy choice in the end for top episode of this period.

2 - The Bad Dice 104

SCGT vs Adepticon

Coverage of Mark and Gareth’s experience at SCGT, and the full crew at Adepticon. Very good (and hopefully last, there have been a lot!) review of their experiences at ACon. The boys were treated like kings, and clearly loved their time there. I know I am not the only one eyeing up a trip over there following their experiences.
The SCGT coverage was good – covering the gaming and social side, though maybe suffered a bit both from Ben’s absence (understandable as it was) and the comparisons to ACon. The amount of things the hosts had experienced between SCGT and recording probably did not help. The cast by all accounts put out some top class Youtube coverage, so maybe the lighter content on this episode made sense – its just a pity if you don’t have easy access to video streaming – maybe they could be released as vodcasts?
This episode included a very interesting discussion on painting standards both sides of the Atlantic, and everyone’s favourite segment – Gareth’s Query Corner. Overall, another good episode from the granddaddies of the WFB scene!

3 - Heelanhammer 85

High Elf-centric chat

Supported once again by Simon-of-Hoeth, there is some interesting High Elf talk, including their initial thoughts and ideas on interesting colour schemes (if you like painting discussion on podcasts, which I personally dont– given that though, it was good). We’ll ignore the butchering of the High Elf fluff though J
One of the best segments in the re-launched podcast, “Oi Muppet”, was great yet again – this time covering pre-measuring and the things people sometimes fail to do with this tool. Something for everyone to keep in mind. It was a pity that (for obvious reasons) Dan was not too keen to discuss his games at Russhammer in too much detail – he has a fantastic way of describing games when he gets going. This podcast is industry-leading in its sound and production quality, and the segment format is a refreshing change and always worth a listen – if you are not particularly keen on any given topic, it won’t eat up too much of your time before they move on. You get the impression Dan and Wayne are enjoying themselves broadcasting live from Heelanwood studios – long may it continue!

4 - Garagehammer 72

Warmachines and Adepticon recap

In the least shocking development in years, this podcast also includes some thoughts on the new High Elves J  – I for one am really looking forward to their army book review! In this episode they give a full recap of their Adepticon games – always good to be reminded of the crazy scenarios they use! Big shout out to host David here – the step up in performance from last year is really impressive.  Finally the hosts also discuss an interesting topic – what are their top 5 rated Warmachines? I personally love this sort of discussion, which led to some interesting online debate – the sign of a good episode in my opinion. As ever this was an eminently listenable ‘cast.

5 - Pointhammer

The Boys do the UK – Part 2

Final installment of the boy’s trip to these rain-sodden isles. Good recaps of their games at the South Coast Grand Tournament, as well as the social side around it. Was good to hear they had a chance to get to London and Nottingham – though pity Johnny failed in his seemingly epic quest for shoes! Another thoroughly entertaining podcast from these guys – was great to get insight from Americans being exposed to the UK scene, and their views on everything from painting to comp.  Hope they had a good time over here!

Other notable mentions this fortnight:

Jaded Gamercast 126

High Elf lists

Our whisky-drinking hosts this time tackle High Elf list building. I find it fascination when different gaming cultures (or metas) rate different things, and as such love listening to list discussion when I disagree with vast swathes of that is said. Not everyone does though, so go in to this one with an open mind. Overall though, the hosts are as listenable as ever, another good show.

Chumphammer 15

Random chat

Another enjoyable rambling mess of an episode! The lads covered their initial thoughts on the High Elves – am keeping an eye out for their review of them. This episode was mostly rather random chat – covering upcoming events, a look at how to use greenstuff, some comp discussion and Dale’s utter failure to land a sponsor.

Pick of The Bad Dice Daily:

Each fortnight I will pick out two or three of the 10 Bad Dice Daily podcasts that really stood out for me – I thought they may be best in their own section, otherwise on a good week it could skew everything J Ben does a fantastic job keeping the content coming at such a high level – it is now a regular part of my morning commute.

1 - BDD 248 – Magic Numbers

One of the very best BDD in a while. This was a fascinating look at the magic numbers that come up over and over in the game – often obvious and yet unnoticed.

2 - BDD 245 – WWCD High Elves

Always a fun BDD subject, this time dealing with the question everyone wanted to know – what to do with HEs? Think Ben’s streak of calling (or repeating, depends who you ask J ) the early trend (or “net list” if you are being negative) will end with this one though

3 - BDD 244 – Q&A Session

Another of my favourite topics done by BDD is when Ben deals with questions sent in by listeners. Another good one here, dealing with hot button topics including such as how DoC could possibly deal with Banner of the World Dragon-wielding HEs and the stacking of the Frostheart Phoenix’s aura. 

As ever, if there is any podcast you think should be in the list, or any others that I should listen to let me know – either on here, of twitter me on @Raffazza

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Oxyotl Report 

4: The Hammer of Asuryan

Sometimes, normally when the weather is being, well, British, and the working week drags ever onward the soul of a true gamer yearns for one thing above all else…

A bus.

There is something visceral, cinematic, manly even, about getting together the hardest, toughest brick and mercilessly ruining your opponents, before settling back with a nice cold drink and listening to the lamentations of their women.

Sure, the smart, thoughtful player will have a nicely balanced list, tuned to deal with all possible opponents - nothing spectacular, but with practice and ability he will go to the very top. But the Warhammer Jock (to force in a US TV high school cliché) gets to smash stuff up over and over, until he comes up against something bigger and stronger, leaving his dreams of ETC fame and riches in ruins and him working the night shift at the local Taco Bell. But damn, the life was good while it lasted!
So… I clearly watch too much TV.

Buses (the mounted, faster, better looking brother of the Death Star) are a part of the game. Their popularity waxes and wanes, but you will see them. Having used them a lot in my VC days, they are often harder to use than you would think, and tend to have some staggeringly horrendous match ups (I will always remember each and every time my Vampire Lord got killing blowed by some annoying, stuck-up infantryman).

The art of Bussing, as I may explore at a later date, is massively reliant on two things. Firstly, knowing what your bus can take on. Most importantly though, it is about anticipating what your opponent will do to stop and delay you. We all, after all, know how to chaff up a bus. Taking this into account, the rest of the army has to make sure you can bring your (hopefully) overwhelming force on your opponent’s juiciest targets – this means controlling, and winning, the chaff war.

So, the question arises, can the Asur bus it up?

The Fist:
  • Prince, Barded Elven Steed, Dragon Armour, Enchanted Shield, Luckstone, Giant Blade. S7 provides the real punch for the unit.
  • Archmage lvl4, Elven Steed, Book of Hoeth, Crown of Command – High Magic. Hides in the second rank, keeping everyone stubborn and improving ward saves whilst machine gunning spells.
  • Noble BSB, Barded Elven Steed, Dragon Armour, Shield, Dragonhelm, Golden Crown of Altrazar, Khaine’s Ring of Fury
  • Noble, Barded Elven Steed, Dragon Armour, Shield, Star Lance
  • Noble, Barded Elven Steed, Dragon Armour, Shield, Sword of Anti-Heroes
  • Mage, Elven Steed, Dispel Scroll – Beasts/Death/High
 Chaff-clearance brigade:
  • 5 Silver Helms, Shields, Musician, Champion
  • 5 Silver Helms, Shields, Musician
  • 5 Ellyrion Reavers, Musician
  • 5 Ellyrion Reavers, Musician
  • 5 Ellyrion Reavers, Musician
  • 5 Ellyrion Reavers, Musician
The Bodies:
  • 12 Dragon Princes of Caledor, Musician, Champion, Standard. Banner of the World Dragon
 Air Support:
  • Frostheart Phoenix

The list, despite its incredible beauty and astounding subtlety, probably does not need too much explanation J

The 6 small units of cavalry focus on clearing the field of chaff/redirectors. Some will break away to start threatening warmachines if possible, forcing your opponent to deal with them. With ASF rerolls and S4/5 on the charge, these should win that war. If necessary they will double flee/sacrifice themselves to isolate dangerous parts of the opponent’s army.

The characters form up in the Dragon Prince unit to form a brick that has a 2+ ward vs anything magical, and a 2+ armour and 6+ ward (initially) against anything else. The Book Archmage and Ring will allow you to spam magic – magic missiles to clear chaff/weaken opponents, drain magic to remove debuffs/buffs etc. Boosted Walk Between Worlds is a potential game winner with this list, and there are plenty of other options. With every spell, the units ward save improves. With the low casting value of High Magic and the Book, on averages you will have enough dice to cast all 4 spells. Assuming 2 get through everyone is on a 4+ ward..

The second mage provides a scroll, but also has some options in the magic phase. He could keep high magic, helping the units ward saves that much more (and having access to the nice 4d6 MM), or go with Beasts (either roll savage beasts, or buff the unit with Wildform), or perhaps Death. I would be tempted by Beasts or High personally. With the Banner of the World Dragon’s ward vs magical attacks, the unit is safe from the damage caused by miscasts – allowing you to big dice as needed.

In the perfect world the Frostheart tags into the Bus combat on the corner, the ASL and -1 S it gives making the bus even more survivable. It can also clearly operate by itself, and is another highly mobile high impact unit your opponent must deal with – a key component to a successful bus list.

Is this the most devastating Bus on the scene? Most assuredly not, but it does kick out one hell of a slap. Against a lot of armies it will simply devastate, and, at a pinch, it’s up there with the most survivable, and is the fastest.

Is it the best list? Is it fun to face? Is it fun to use?
Maybe not, but that has never stopped a bus player before J

Probably going to sign off from the High Elves for a while now – believe those new Daemons need to be properly scouted out.

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Oxyotl Report 

3: High Elves… Dwarf Style!

Beware lest you become that which you hate

Obviously depends what we mean by “Dwarf” – are High Elves short, fat, bearded, incapable of moving and with only one phase of the game? No, they are whimsical, prancing, long haired and wear lovely white dresses. They can, however, also take to the field in a soul sapping display of firepower.

Over the games I have had with and against High Elves with the new book, one thing has become apparent: against the current Meta (as fluid a concept as that is at present given the rapid release of new books we are experiencing) they can pull some impressive gunline fun (“fun” in this context is a loosely defined term – it is believed Dwarfs have no word for this concept).

Working Meta Assumption:
Low model count shock troop armies are currently very popular (as seen with WoC) and Monstrous Cavalry remain the work horses of four of four of the most popular armies (Empire, Tomb Kings, WoC, Ogres). Vampires are making extensive use of double Terrorgheist, either supporting a hard hitting fast cavalry hammer, or a ponderous and safe infantry deathstar. Daemon Princes, Disc characters, Greater Daemons and the like remain popular. Against such things, mid to high strength attacks that ignore armour and cause multiple wounds without the risk of being hit back are obviously a Good Thing.

Not all armies will have this. There will always be paper that beats a gunline rock (thank the gods!).

The Guns of Lothern

This list is built upon a solid (or at the very least single-minded) foundation. The Rare section shapes it, and is the first to be locked in.


Repeater Bolt Thrower
Repeater Bolt Thrower
Repeater Bolt Thrower
Repeater Bolt Thrower
15 Sisters of Averlorn
Great Eagle
Great Eagle

This provides you with not only 4 RBTs (which are now exceptional value) but also a contingent of Sisters. These, despite their shorter range and lack of mobility (seriously no idea why they are not allowed musicians) provide a great way to remove regen from Hydras/Chimeras/Trolls/Ogre units etc. as well as providing a nice source of magical attacks. The armour piercing vs. evil armies is a nice bonus too.
The great eagles are there to do what they do. Keep out of the way early on before flying out to block movement, buying the gunline further turns of shooting. An obvious 100pts to spend.


Lothern Skycutter with Bolt Thrower
Lothern Skycutter with Bolt Thrower
Lothern Skycutter with Bolt Thrower

I was not convinced by these when I first read the book. But having faced them now they are actually very useful. A 10” shooting platform not only allows you to try out for flank shots and the like, but also allows aspects of your army to spread out, limiting the risk of a rush list getting to you. It’s easy to forget they are also a flying chariot – whilst roving around taking pot shots they can also threaten large areas of the board and attack exposed units/war machines if they are not dealt with early on.


15 archers: musician
15 archers: musician
15 archers: musician
5 Reavers
5 Reavers

There is some flexibility here – but the general gist would be something like this. Three archer units keep up a constant stream of fire whilst the Reavers do basically the same thing as the Eagles - keep out of the way until they can use their Fast Cav speed to buy extra shooting turns – either with double flee fun, or by sacrificing themselves for the cause. Spears and ASF does mean that against light infantry and the like they can also do some damage if required.

The Flavour:

There are several ways to finish off this gunline to try and get the maximum Dwarf+ experience.

1 - You can bring in more high strength firepower - :

Alith Anar – have bolt thrower, will travel. The Shadow King’s BS7 Quick to Fire bolt thrower is beautifully handy.

Archmage lvl4 with Book of Hoeth – Magic Lore one of: Heavens, Metal, Death. Key here is you want to force your opponent to have to react to your ranged damage. Combined with the BoH you can force several spells off – it becomes a question of taste. Metal will help in heavy armour situations, but I would be tempted by Heavens or Death – probably death. Snipes can target the hard to get character points, Soulblight helps with shooting, even Doom & Darkness is great, with the amount of shooting in this list you will cause panic tests.

Noble, BSB with Reaver Bow and Potion of Strength. A combo you will see everywhere. 3 S5 magical shots per turn are always good. Upping it to S8 is just beautiful.

Mage lvl1 with Dispel Scroll and Ring of Fury – Magic Lore: Metal or Fire. Quite cheap, can throw out magical punishment.

2 - Or alternatively you can bring the now-fluff-choice, everyone's favourite ugly twin:

Teclis  - probably with: fireball/flaming sword, enchanted blades/searing doom, amber spear, comet, purple sun/snipe, withering/Mindrazor, dwellers, shems/banishment. Ol’man Teclis provides a nice toolbox to really get the most out of your Dwarf experience. Because of his utility (and his very own scroll), I would probably go character light with him – with just the ever reliable -

Noble, BSB with Reaver Bow and Potion of Strength to keep him company.

Fewer characters leaves more points to spend – to finish this off would bring in:

5 shadow warriors
5 shadow warriors
5 shadow warriors

Three units of shadow warriors not only bring in further BS5 shooting, they allow you to react to your opponents deployment, provide decent chaff, and can threaten war machines/weak bunkers when your opponent has to commit to coming to you.

In summary, High Elves can give the bitter, abandoned “why have we not got an army book” Dwarf player everything their heart desires, and more. Sure, High Elves have got magic and, well, movement, but when the horror of these concepts recede they can actually be quite fun. The one thing missing from the true Dwarf experience is not being able to aim “10” from the back of the general’s base” every turn – this is truly sad, but you can take the equivalent  - it’s called Death Magic.

In short, if you want to go Dwarf, go Elf.

This article may, or may not, be the brainchild of, or fully or partly funded by, the International Warhammer Association to Ban Dwarfs from the Game. All complaints should be made immediately to someone who cares a lot. :)

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

This Fortnight in WFB Podcasting 

21 April - 5 May

Each fortnight I will write up a brief review of the WFB podcasts that have been released, highlighting my personal top 5 casts of the timeframe, and other that have just missed the cut.
In this first instalment I also outline some of my more general views on some of the podcasts

1 - The Dwellers Below

High Elf review!

These boys have wasted no time in letting us know their detailed thoughts on the newest army book to hit the scene. Well thought out, unrushed (another word for long!), this is a comprehensive look that I doubt any other cast will match. With their usual blend of colonial humour and chat, this podcast has really gone from strength to strength – coupled with the chemistry between the hosts (the show really benefits from having a large number of informed contributors) and great radio voices (a much underrated part of a podcast!), this cast has quickly risen to the level of Podhammer at its very heyday (if not better – though that is probably heresy).
Despite some of the weird views of the game (and an unhealthy love of Treemen) and their love of the strangest comp system out there, this has definitely risen to the top of the “must listen” list of WFB podcasts.

2 - Garagehammer

The Adepticon Experience

David and Chris are back with a colourful review of their time at Adepticon – including some brilliant input from well known people on the scene – including Ben, Mark and Gareth from The Bad Dice Podcast.
Far less Warhammer content than we are used to from this pillar of WFB podcasts, it was nonetheless great to see the culmination of the journey that took them to this event – we have followed their list and army preparation for so long it was great to get payoff. It seems like everyone had a good time. Pity they did not explore the sports scoring controversy in a bit more death, but I appreciate they are personal friends of the TO and therefore can understand the focusing on the (more prevalent) positive aspects.
Down through no fault of their own – Adepticon has had a lot of post event coverage, and understood why they covered it too. Just lacking in other content.
This podcast has grown incredibly since its release. An unique, uncomplicated (in the best possible way) look at Warhammer in the American MidWest, this is a show with fantastic production quality from two guys (and great regular contributors) who clearly love the game. Their army reviews in particular are always worth a listen – they cover things in… considerable detail!
Sure, they get some things wrong, and they disagree with the views of those in the UK on many things, but this has become a must-listen for anyone who appreciates passionate people talking about the hobby we all love first and foremost, as opposed to focusing on the cutting edge of tournament gaming.  

3 - The Black Sun

Russ Veal on Warriors of Chaos

A podcast very different to their norm! Russ “The Face” Veal is back on the airwaves, this time talking to Chris (and a very quiet Dom) about the SCGT warm up event they were all at, and the new Warriors of Chaos book. A lovely and detailed discussion, this did lack the more… vulgar… aspects of their usual podcast. On a personal level it was all the better for it.
It is always fantastic to listen to top players discuss armies they are passionate about, and a lot of players could learn a lot from this discussion. The discussion did lack a good finale – Russ’s understandable dislike of feeding the ‘internet net lists’ did prevent him from nailing his colours to a mast re lists, which is often the most interesting take away from the views of elite gamers (and the schadenfreude of them being wrong in the long term).
A very popular podcast with an unique blend of drunken ramblings, vulgar segments, bad music and (surprisingly) in depth tournament reviews, this show is brought to us by four of the biggest personalities on the UK tournament scene. Worth a listen if nothing (at all!) offends you.

4 - Pointhammer

The Boys do the UK – Part 1

The first part of Pointhammer’s chronological review of their trip to the rain-swept shores of the UK and their attendance at the South Coast Grand Tournament. Great to hear their views on the culture shock that is their trip to the old country.
As smooth and fun as ever, Johnny and Rodge run through their experiences, from the terrible reality of English food to a detailed look at their games on the Friday and (Jonny’s rude awakening on) Saturday. Sounds like Johnny had a terrible game - sucks he travelled all the way here to experience that!
These chaps were one of the highlights of the SCGT, and their painting (and tattoos) is utterly incredible!
The comparisons to The Black Sun are obvious, but this is generally a far more polished version. Some fantastic talk from some exceptional hobbyists. Well worth listening out for.

5 - Bad Dice Daily

Adepticon Feedback

Ben’s detailed feedback on aspects of Adepticon that got the forums all worked up was definitely worth a listen from someone who suffered from the sports scores… ‘situation’ at the event.
Bad Dice Daily has become a (if not THE) pillar of WFB media content. Worth a listen every day – even when the topic is not of interest, it is well informed, short, and to the point.

Also of note – fantastic episodes that did not quite make the cut into the Top Five for this fortnight:


Wayne Flips His Lid

The returning titan of UK podcasting, Dan and Wayne released yet another polished show. With their tightly structured segments, they definitely offer something different to the norm. This time they looked at some of the New High Elf models, followed by a lengthy hobby-related chat (primarily display boards and paint brushes). Professionally made by experienced podcasters.
Personally this episode was a bit of a let down due to the lack of SCGT coverage. Compared to the amount of coverage coming out of Adepticon the SCGT post event coverage across podcasts has been poor to date, and it would have been very interesting to get the organiser’s views on it. I also miss the detailed game-related coverage that used to be the hallmark of Heelanhammer back in the day, but appreciate the hobby side is what a lot of people look for from podcasts.
Regardless, this is without doubt one of the best podcasts in the hobby – one to keep an eye on.

Jaded Gamercast

High Elf Review

This week Nathan and Long get into it with High Elves. Their fantastically blunt, grumpy and drink-fuelled views on GW and their games are always worth a listen. Fantastically well-informed by their long service to their hobby, their most recent episodes have really raised the bar on the quality of the show. Their views on the game, comp as a whole and alcoholic beverages may be puzzling to the UK listener, but that does not in any way detract from the show.
Covering all of GW’s games, and a range of alternatives on occasion, this show provides a more in-depth view on the wider hobby – as seen by their fascinating discussion on the future of GW in a recent episode – is this frantic release schedule we are seeing a sign the company is looking to sell itself? Only time will tell.

Bad Dice Daily

Top 5 Adepticon Experiences

Ben’s thoughts on Adepitcon as an event was a beautifully succinct summary outlining exactly why so many of us want to fly over there as soon as we can. One of the stand out Bad Dice Daily’s of this period.



The boys go over their Adepticon experiences – clearly much (too much?) fun was had – and Dale had some great success on the tables. Clearly there is something wrong with Warhammer in the US!
This show took a few episodes to really kick off, but now their unique fusion of UK and North American Warhammer viewpoints makes their discussions fascinating – though you cant help thinking Dale is corrupting the Canadian scene… Loud, obnoxious, crude and vulgar, yet with a certain cute charm, this show has quickly risen to the top of my VulgarFantasy (tm) listening list. Hope they keep up their continued improvement to the show!



Another Adepticon review, this one, as well as containing entertaining review of the host’s time at the event, had a very interesting interview with Ronnie from Mantic Games inclusing a good rundown of their events at the Con, as well as what is coming out later in the year for their game system. Another solid production from the Ohiohammer chaps.

If there is any podcast you think should be in the list, or any others that I should listen to let me know – either on here, of twitter me on @Raffazza