Sunday, 16 September 2018

Death Battletome: Nighthaunt Review


Hello everyone,

Firstly, apologies for the delay with this review, I've had a family illness recently which has delayed me finishing the review for sometime now, with some normality restored I will be hopefully doing more reviews soon starting with the malign sorcery release.




Now I am sure a lot of people already have the book in their hands by now, but I'm just going to share my thoughts on the book with you as I have done with most of the other battletomes.

First of all if you haven't seen the models then they are stunning and up there as one of my favourite AoS releases so far.

Lets have a look at the background and artwork first though.


Background & Artwork




There is again some beautiful artwork in this book so if you're someone who collects the books for this reason or for the background, then I think this is probably the best battletome they've done to date.




I do really like GW's take on the Nighthaunts, they are definitely now portrayed as a dark faction. This is of course how they should be seen, but it's good to see this realised in the background and artwork.

The paragraph above really caught my eye as it's Nighthaunt in a nutshell!




Another excellent piece of artwork, which again really brings the dark and gritty image of the Nighthaunt to life.

Scary stuff for my Dispossessed to face!




The first four paragraphs of this page are very cool to read through. It explains how those doors creaking open, those eerie noises at night or those spectral lights shining across the swamp are all just the residual will of evil spirits left to haunt the places they resided. Nothing compared to the power of the actual spirits themselves though!




Finally after the background on how the Nighthaunt came to be, there is the usual history of the faction in a timeline.


The Models 

I think the models in the new range are spectacular, the image below gives a good overview of some of the best.




I really wasn't expecting GW to extend the range as much as they have done, but i'm not complaining!




Lady Olynder is just a brilliant centre piece model, the way she has been sculpted to look as though she is flying is excellent.

I'm sure we'll be finding a use for her in our campaign, which will feature the Nighthaunt quite heavily.




Next the Bladeghiest Revenants have to be my favourite elite models. The poses are dynamic and individualistic so really stand out for me.

Finally the Black Coach... What an incredible model!




Definitely one of the best models we've had in recent years and one I'd like to have a go at painting well one day. Alas I still need to finish my Dispossessed army!

The only downside I think is the length of the model in comparison to the base, as it definitely extends off of the front and rear of the base! So from a gaming point of view this could be an issue.

So with that segue we'll head straight into the gaming part of this review...

Gaming

Although I have not played with or against this army yet, from reading through the book I can safely say this is a very good faction and can compete in pretty much every area other than perhaps shooting. Which as always with Death comes mostly from their magic or screams from banshees and terrorgeists.

Nighthaunt definitely seem to be an army with a key emphasis on support characters and summoning which I will try demonstrate as we go through the way the army works.


Allegiance Abilities

Battle Traits

First of all, the army has a lot of battle traits at its disposal which are abilities that effect the whole army and there's five in total!




There are of course the ones we have already been used to seeing before this book such as the traits above.

However, there is also Feed on Terror which allows a Hero to heal a wound if an enemy unit fails a battleshock test and another ability which means an unmodified charge roll of 10+ will allow your unit to attack immediately after charging!

This will not affect it fighting in the following combat phase either. It is situational but definitely an ability which could swing the fight in your favour if you pull it off.

Command Ability

As far as faction command abilities go, I think this one is very good.



The deployment problems you can cause your opponent with this one is great. By setting up a menacing unit on one side of the board you could cause your opponent to redeploy in order to face the threat, only to use this and teleport them across the board!

It also fits the theme for a ghost based army.


Command Traits 

Now for the abilities you can give your general.




Being able to minus one from hit rolls of missle attacks against your general would definitely be a good option, as one of the Nighthaunt weaknesses is not having many tough characters with a lot of wounds.

Also making him more of a summoning support character could also be very useful, returning D3 models means you're guaranteed to bring one spirit host base back. Powerful if you roll that five or six!


Spell Lores 

With a whole host of spells available now, multiple spell casting heroes are a must in a Nighthaunt army.




Shademist would be very useful if you're using a unit to defend an objective. Having a 4+ unmodified save and subracting 1 from enemy wound rolls would make a unit pretty tough to break down in numbers.

Also healing wounds on Heroes that all have quite low wounds characteristics could prove pivotal in some games.

I think the Nighthaunt spells are not the most powerful spells we have seen but they certainly fit the support character and area of effect theme to the army.


Artefacts of Power

Now for the most interesting section as there is some strong items in here. I would be looking at taking a battalion in the army in order to have access to two artefacts.

Weapons Of The Damned



In the right situation Slitter could be very effective. Being able to effectively snipe a particular model in a unit, like a banner bearer, unit champion or a star soul mace wielding Stormcast could be amazing.

It wouldn't be difficult to roll above a two to kill a 2 wound model for example.

I believe I am also right in saying that with the new rules regarding model coherency, that if a unit of 8 models were strung out in a line, killing the middle model would then leave four on one side and three on the other. Therefore if the three models are out of coherency with the four models then the three models would be slain!

This would definitely make people think twice about spreading units out in long lines, something I personally don't really like to see, although I understand why it is done competitively.


Relics Of The Underworlds

There are also some alternative artefacts, which again have rules in which you could build your armies strategies around.




The Pendant of the Fell Wind could be great for adding movement to a highly mobile force, where as the Dreadbolt Ring helps increase the mortal wound output of a Hero and could make the difference when you need to just inflict a few extra wounds. Tie that into an army that focuses on forcing battle shock tests will mean this artefact could see a lot of use.

The Midnight Tome also should be popular as it can turn hero into a wizard too.


Warscroll Battalions

There seem to be some great battalions for the Nighthaunt. One that particularly caught my eye was the Chainguard Battalion.




At 120 points its pretty cheap, uses battleline choices and with only taking up three units its quite flexible to fit into a list.

Chainrasps are an excellent battleline unit and I think an auto include in any Nighthaunt army. Using the artefacts we talked about earlier you can create quite a defensive unit. With a 4+ unmodifiable save, a 6+ Deathless Spirit save and then -1 to enemy wound rolls, they won't be the easy to kill. Especially with this battalion giving you the chance to return D6 models to the unit. 

But we'll talk a bit more about Chainrasps in the warscroll section next...


Warscrolls

In an effort to reduce the amount of photos on here I'll just talk about why I really like the Chainrasps. Their warscroll is of course available on the app.

With a two attacks on 4's and 4's and rerolling wound rolls of one if there are more than 10 of them in a unit, the Chainrasps have to be the best battleline unit in the game at just 80 points per 10 models.

Don't forget they're also bravery 10, summonable and have that ignoring rend save roll to top it all off!

I'd expect to see them go up in points for next years generals handbook.

So if that's not enough there's also some great character options.




Lady Olynder has to be my favourite mortarch, she has a beautiful model and she's no slouch in the game too!

As you can see, she is on the weak side in terms of wounds but her Grave Sands ability is excellent and can heal D6 wounds once per battle! If that is not needed then she can also use it to kill off a stubborn 6 wound hero!

Also you can see how good that block of chainrasps is getting now with the effects from the artefacts above, her Grieve Stricken spell and her command ability No Rest For The Wicked.

She's an excellent support character if you can keep her safe!

With that in mind there are two other support characters that also stand out for me.

The Spirit Torment who grants rerolls to hit of one if they are wholly within 12 inches of this model and the Guardian of Souls who is a wizard but also allows you to add one to wound rolls within 12!

We'll attempt to pull all of the support character shenanigans together in the conclusion.

Next the Black Coach...




As you can see it has a fair amount of attacks with not only great rend but also good damage too. At a 14 inch move and 12 wounds its pretty tough and fast.

With its abilities ramping up in possibly two turns you've got some great options for bringing more summonable units back from your dead pile or inflicting a lot of mortal wounds!

Points  

Points wise I think the Nighthaunt are looking good at the moment. With such a cheap battleline option I think you can get a lot of bang for your buck with this army.




Hero wise Lady Olynder seems very affordable at 240 and the black coach at 280 seems pretty good too.

I think the Spirit Torment at 120 and the Guardian of Souls at 140 are both great options for adding in a few extra heroes. Especially the Guardian of souls as he doubles up as a wizard.


Conclusion

So it is with out a doubt a great book and a beautiful range of models, which has possibly been my favourite so far other than the Ironjawz models. I do think they'll have a specific play style with low point battleline and a few elite units benefiting from the huge amount of buffs available from a vast array of hero options.

Battleline units of Chainrasps and Spirit Hosts seem like the ideal choice as they can be buffed so heavily.

I think its just easier to list all of these possible buffs!

- The spell - Shademist can subtract 1 to wound rolls made against a selected unit.
- The relic - Pendent of the Fell Wind can add 3 inches to move characteristics of units within 12 inches.
- The battalion - Chainguard can return D6 slain models to a unit of Chainrasps if the Spectural Lure spell has already been successfully cast upon them. That's two D6 of slain models returning to the unit! Powerful!

For buffs that can effect a Chainrasp units offensive abilities you have...

- The Chainrasp ability - Chilling Horde allows you to re roll wound rolls of one for a unit with 10 or more models.
- The Spirit of Torments - Nagash's Binding - Allows you to re roll hit rolls of one while within 12"
- The Guardian of Souls - Nightmare Lantern - Then allows you to add 1 to wound rolls while within 12"

I'm sure I have missed bits as well!

So for me two units of 30 or even 40 Chainrasps at just 240 or 280 seems a like an absolute bargain. Especially when the summoning is factored in, they make terrific offensive/defensive objective holders. I'd have a unit of 6 Spirit Hosts to round of the battleline.

The only thing they lack is rend, which is where the beautiful looking Bladegheist Revenants and Myrmourn Banshees come into play with their -1 and -2 rend.

Overall this army will have a lot of finesse to it, using the buffs effectively and keeping valuable heroes safe will be key. Although there's always a Vampire Lord on Zombie Dragon that could be allied in for something tough and durable hero wise.

Nighthaunt are now defintiely a competitive army that will get a tonne of support like the Stormcast and Khorne did, but as always my one negative is the growing gap between older and newer armies. Although there is hope for the Dispossessed as the Beasts of Chaos Battletome has now been announced! Something like this combined battletome for the Dispossessed and Free peoples please GW!

Thanks again for reading,

Aveinus Kaane

Thursday, 13 September 2018

Space Wolf Codex Review

Hello all

Recently we have been issued a review copy of 8th Ed Codex Space Wolves for review. 

So I have been a massive fan of the Space Wolves since RTB01 & 1st Ed Space Hulk. Leman Russ has always been my hero too, the one I grew up reading about (forget Optimus Prime, The Hulk or Bat Man, Leman was the man). So I am always a bit protective over how he is portrayed in the 30k or 40k universe, but luckily he is more often than not a total legend in the Novels. 
The Vlka Fenryka are also the last thing on my bucket list of things to do before I die, and fortunately they are well under way. So you could say; I am a fan. 

I was always a bit wary of the Primaris Marines and how they would get inducted into the Space Wolf Chapter, and I sincerely imagined that they would have been turned away. I do think reading a novel regarding their integration would aid this and I sincerely hope they do it in the near future. I am not against Primaris Marines joining the Rout, as I think they are wearing possibly the best looking Power armour ever produced, and game as Marines should feel. 




Background. 
There is a few brief paragraphs in the codex with enough information to tell how they were integrated into the Space Wolves Chapter upon delivery by Roboute Guilliman, as well as references of them being recruited from Fenrisian stock. It’s pleasing enough, that should I start 40k Space Wolves again I can imagine doing them almost primarily Primaris. Apart from that, the Background is pretty much the same from the previous Codex since 1994, with a few bits regarding their involvement in the Indomitus Crusade and 13th Black Crusade. The Great Companies are all the same as the previous book (with Sven Bloodhowl missing though). Ragnar is described as comparatively young, compared to the other Wolf Lords, though he must be getting a bit long in the fang now. Bran Redmaw, still unreleased from FW, but it does state that he is often seen leading packs of Wulfen and sometimes succumbs to the Canis Helix itself in the heat of Battle (soooo if Russ does come back there is hope he will have the option to go from Primarch to Wulfen-Primarch, and return at will). The Grimbloods are still my favourite Great Company, and it’s good to see he is ticking on. 
As with previous Codex there has been information on Successor Chapters, but not in this book. Yes we all know the Wolf Brothers were wiped from existence, but their is another which has been mentioned in Dark Imperium (A Primaris successor Chapter) called Wolfspear from the Ultima Founding. I was hoping to find information in this book regarding them, but sadly I have not. I do hope that when they are fleshed out, that they are Vlka Fenryka / 6th Legion Grey. 
There is a very good 4 page timeline of the Space Wolves from the Horus Heresy to Saga of the Maledictum, once more it leaves the potential rediscovery of Russ at 1 minute to midnight. 






The Primaris contingent do look great in Space Wolf colours, especially when the new upgrade pack is used. 



Bjorn can be fielded with a choice of ballistic weaponry from the Helfrost cannon to the classic Assault cannon. To be honest, I would have like it if his chassis had been replaced with a Redemptor Dreadnought. He is a good buff to Units within 6” of him where they can re-roll hit rolls of 1. 



Ragnar is accompanied by Svangir and Ulfgir. They have a BS for some reason compared to the Fenrisian Wolves (not sure why). He is pretty useful in a scrappy frontline with his heroic intervention boost. 



Their are 6 different options for designing your own Wolf Lord, including Primaris Wolf Lord and Wolf Lord in Gravis Armour. For some reason they cannot get their hands on Frost Melee Weaponry like the standard Wolf Lord, even though they do have options for Power Swords. That is a bit of anomaly. But, as it looks like there has not been any new Wolf Lords for a long time, I guess if we are following fluff this doesn’t matter. 

The same can be said for the Wolf Guard and Primaris Battle Leader.



The Blood Claws are still a deadly troop choice, especially with Beserk Charge, but best to take a Wolf Guard Pack Leader or they must charge an enemy in it’s charge phase of possible to do so. 

Intercessors are just Intercessors. They don’t feel like they are the new and upgraded Grey Hunter of old. Fair enough they would be running around with 3 attack dice as standard if they did, but I feel they should have been made to feel like the new Grey Hunters, even if it meant upping the points. 

Long Fangs have a higher Leadership than Hellblasters which is odd as they are their inevitable replacements. It may be down to them just arriving and not currently being Long Fangs themselves yet. 

Unfortunately the Stormfang Gunship cannot transport Primaris either. I understand this with many other vehicles, as it is a push to move the older Astarte’s vehicles towards retirement so new chassis and vehicles can be released for the Primaris range, but it is a shame that some Chapter specific models like this would not be purchased by me if I was wanting to field a Primaris only force.

Relics of the Fang. 
I was hoping this would be the place to go to put some bespoke or Storied Weapons into the paws of the Primaris Wolf Lords etc. Unfortunately they state that they are replacements for the Frost Sword (Krakenbone Sword) and Frost Axe (Black Death). They are both great weapons too. 
The Armour of Russ: well in general I have a bit of a bee in my bonnet about this. Unless I want my Wolf Lord to be walking round in what I can only describe as a 5 year old wearing his Dad’s clothes, I think this should be left back in the Aett where Russ can collect it when he is good and ready for Wolftime. 

Warlord Traits. 
Thankfully GW were awesome off the gate in replacing the Warlord Traits. The ones in the book are already obsolete. Saga of the Warrior Born with Ragnar and retinue will be very deadly now and will force your opponent to do some tactical charging or dissuade him completely from assaulting your Blackmaned Wolf Lord. 
Whilst Beastslayer will be great for Logan when he finally catches up with Angron again as it pluses 1 to each to wound Roll. 

My summary. 
It’s a good Codex and does what it says on the tin. You can field all of the units that have been introduced in the past, including The Trickster and Wulfen Dreadnoughts. 
If you want to build a force which feels fully Fenrisian, it may be worth leaving the Primaris out entirely, as they could be painted in bright red with a Blood Angel symbol on the side and they would feel just as Fenrisian to me (ruleset-wise). 
For me, I was hoping this release would have seen Primaris Grey Hunters and Primaris Blood Claws at the least. It does disappoint me that there is no typical Fenrisian Savagery to these troop choices even though they have “embraced the culture”. 
I have never been a fan of Frost Weapons as they just seem so Marvel, but it is a bit odd not to see them hanging from a Primaris’ belt loop considering the regard in which they are held.
It feels like it is more of a placeholder/transitional Codex as it deals with Primaris coming in to the Chapter, but they have not totally meshed in yet. Looking forward to the next one. 

Kaelo Rylanus 

Sunday, 2 September 2018

Adeptus Titanicus Warlord!

Hi all!

As I said in the Adeptus Titanicus review post, we were lucky enough to receive a Warlord Titan to review too. 

Assembly:
I assembled the model in around 2 hours. The kit goes together beautifully. The instructions are super clear and it shows you which parts to optionally leave off so that they can be painted separately.

The Titan isnt quite finished yet but here are some recent WIP pictures for this Legio Atarus Warlord:























I will put up a guide for how the Titan was painted in a couple of days :)

I hope you like it.

Kaelo

Friday, 31 August 2018

Adeptus Titanicus Review

Hello everyone!


We have been lucky enough to receive a review copy of the Adeptus Titanicus ruleset and a Warlord titan! The first thing I want to state is that, in my opinion, AT is a very, very good game and my only real gripe with the product is more about what it isn’t instead of what it is. It is a complex, tactical game with beautiful models and great terrain. It is a game with which you will be able to replay some of your favourite Titan battles from a compelling background set during the Horus Heresy. You could pick it up and play against a friend with some chips and dips and have a great time. But, unfortunately for me, it isn’t Epic. If you are a fan of Titans, robot vs robot or you have already purchased AT then there is probably no need for you to read on lol.





So, let us start by discussing the rulebook. As with all Games Workshop and Forge World publications, the quality is exceptional. Every page is full of rules, battle plans, fluff and artwork. 



If you know very little about the Horus Heresy, then it gives you a taste without overwhelming you too much. For everyone else, its more of an expanded knowledge style of writing. There are battle plans for a few of the bigger Titan battles like Calth and the Battle for Magma City. The rules are well written and explained with nice pictures to help where needed.





The game itself is played over various phases that make up the entire battle. It’s worth mentioning at this point that Adeptus Titanicus features an alternating action structure, where after initiative is decided the player who wins gets to choose whether they go first or second. The first phase is the Strategy Phase, and this is where both players roll off for initiative and the victor can enact various orders like get a free shooting activation in lieu of movement, or a more efficient repair protocol allowing you to vent your plasma generators. These skills and strategies can make or break your game and you have to really think hard about how it will affect the rest of your turn. There is no point shooting in the movement phase if your opponent has the opportunity to move out of your firing arc. Once both players have chosen their orders (or not) then it is time to head to the movement phase. 



As befits these mighty engines of war, the movement phase is clunky without feeling heavy and awkward. Please bare in mind that I have only played with Warlord titans at this point. I really enjoyed the movement in the game as each pivot or inch you move can be countered if you don’t plan effectively. Players can choose to move their engine at a higher speed, but this results in a roll on the plasma reactor table which can mean that the engine can become closer to overheating. Once the first player completes the move for their selected engine, we switch over to the opponent and they get a chance to move with an engine. Both players take it in turns until all engines have completed a move. 


The next phase is for damage control. You have two goals in this phase, the first of which is to get your Servitor Clades to repair damage already sustained to your engine. This is done by rolling a number of D6 depending on how many clades you have (the bigger the engine the more you have) and allocating these to various repair work with 4+ being the target number. A 5 or 6 could be used to restore a void shield (6 if they have all blown) or a 4+ can be used to vent the reactor. This leads us to the second stage. While it is important to repair damage, it is nigh on essential to vent the reactor. In my first game I took no damage but still lost because my reactor blew due to poor engine management. Its this tactical depth that really separates it from different games as it creates choices that can make or break the game without shooting or combat!





So now you have repaired and cooled your reactor its time to set the sky on fire like its New Year’s Eve in the combat phase. The Warlords that we have used so far were equipped with dual Belicosas and an Apocalypse missile launcher. As with the tactical depth in previous stages, the same is true here. The player with initiative chooses their engine and unleashes on the chosen target. It is very important to choose which weapons that you shoot with first as more powerful single shot weapons are less effective at removing void shields than slightly weaker multi-shot weapons. In this example, I would choose to shoot with my missile launcher first. It has 10 shoots and it can strip back void shields faster than a servitor’s knickers in a cigar club. Once the shields are down you can throw your two Belicosa shots at the target and they can cause some serious damage. Again, it is worth mentioning that, unlike the apocalypse missile launcher, the Belicosa shots require a roll on the plasma reactor table which can mean anything from 0-4 heat being generated (when you get to 8, I believe, you roll on the reactor damage chart and you will most likely blow or lose a limb lol) or the machines spirit being roused with hilarious consequences. Angles of shooting are important with it being easier to damage from behind and you can also opt to target specific areas of a titan at a cost to the ballistic skill roll (+2). Once the first player has completed their shooting with an engine then the players alternate again until all engines have shot or done hand to hand (something I haven’t had a chance to do yet).




Finally, there is the end phase where players go through any engines and there may be enforced actions that take place here. For example, an engine may have damage to his leg and make have a pivot action that they need to make.




Overall, the game feels balanced so far but that may be because I have only played Warlord vs Warlord with exact same loadouts. I have won a game and lost a game. From my experiences so far, I feel as though the game can be won or lost more in the strategy phase than anywhere else, which is great because it really feels like choices matter. Movement hasn’t felt like it mattered (probably because it was a 1 vs 1 on a 2’ x 2’ tile with no terrain and the Warlord only has a 4” move unless you push the reactors) quite as much but once other engines are released I am sure that will change. I do worry about longevity of the game due to lack of factions however and I feel that it is a poor decision to keep it to just titans. I am not a big fan of tournaments at the best of times but, with such little variety in engines currently, we know of 4 only, I can see almost everyone taking Warlord spam. I don’t see many other engine types doing much damage against them unless they find a way to get behind them. Of course, with such long range the Warlords could sit with their backs into a corner, hurling out abuse like a drunken relative at a Christmas party (you know which one!) and not care about objectives. Still, this criticism could be levelled at any game and is more about the opponent than the mechanics of the game.



My only other negative about the game is more of a preference for my style of tabletop gaming. I like to have strong narrative tying my games together and not just rehash old battles. For me, Titans are not a compelling, characterful construct. I get it that you have different personalities in Princeps and rivalries between Legios and houses but that just isn’t enough for me personally. AT is lacking something between its legs and that is infantry. Forge World have said that they aren’t going smaller than a knight and for me that takes this game from a must-have to a ‘wait and see’. I will be buying a maniple to play against my friends at Battle Bunnies, but I don’t know how much game time they will see and that’s a shame because it really is a great game. I hope that the game progresses and other races and infantry are added (this is a far better scale for the Horus Heresy than 28mm) as I think I would spend a lot more time playing it then.

My final thought is this: The game is a fun, tactical and a welcome addition to Games Workshops other systems. I look forward to having a painted Legio Praesagius Maniple which will probably feature on Battle Bunnies as part of the Calth campaign. I also look forward to sitting down with a beer and playing a few standalone games on a Friday evening. 

Thanks for reading my review, if you have any thoughts or comments please write below. I try to respond to all messages. 

Stay fluffy

Kaelo