Thursday, July 5, 2018

Northeast Armageddon Tournament - NEAT XI

NEAT XI is finally over and what a great time it was.  Not sure if it was the cold drugs I was on or the allergy nose spray sending off good vibes but I had a good overall weekend playing games and being social.  Five games of Epic and one game of Warmaster made for a great weekend of gaming.  Thanks to NEAT organizer Dave for running the event and the Time Machine in Manchester Connecticut for hosting.  This year there were lots of prizes for everyone and I snagged a gift certificate from Onslaught Miniatures (ie more Sisters are being recruited to hunt down the heretics and eradicate them with flame and misery). 

There were four down from PA and two from NJ and 3 of those attended their first NEAT and I must say they will most certainly be back next year (well one of them has the trophy so they need to come back with it and defend it). 

This year I took my Sisters of Battle (version 1.2).  I got to play 5 games over three days and played against Imperial Fists, 2 x Cadian, Speed Freaks, Orks.  The Sisters did okay against each of their opponents who were skilled and have been playing for a while, basically no easy match.  I’ll present some highlights of each match from the Saturday tournament and roughly how the units did in the game and what worked and didn’t work.  I’ll have some pictures also of each battle from Saturday.  Though more tournament pictures can be found here:

My List:
6 Sisters, 2 Celestians, Palantine, Canoness (BTS)
6 Retributors
6 Retributors w/Rhinos
6 Immolotars
5 Exorcists w/1 Hunter
6 Penitent Engines
6 Penitent Engines
6 Seraphim w/ Living Saint
6 Repentia w/mistress and 4 Immolator Justices
2 Lightning Strike Aircraft
2 Lightning Strike Aircraft
3 Castigator Knights

Game 1 vs Imperial Fists:
This was an unusual game in that IF were dug in and did not move much and I had to advance to get into range to get the enemy out of the bunkers and take some objectives.  I should have played more aggressive early in the game but some failed activations on Penitent engines and aircraft hindered a lot of that.  The highlight of the game was the beat down of two Fellblades in two separate assaults in turn 2.  One Fellblade went down to the Penitent Engines in CC (they must have heard the buzz saws).  The other was a fire fight with the Retributors and support from Immolators.  This cleared the biggest hurdles for me.  The other thing is I forgot Marines are 2BM suppression during my initial shots from aircraft.  After the Fellblades went down my AT shots were limited to targets, it became a matter of pressing the units to contest and capture objectives.  I was too spread out to maneuver and failed initiatives checks for my other penitent engine meant they were doing nothing the whole battle.  The low point of the game was the Knights getting beat by Scouts and support units in a firefight (very embarrassing).  In the end it was a 1-0 win due to time running out.  I got T&H

Penitent Engines rock great distraction unit plus fearless really helps.
Living Saint not sure, cool idea, limited use for unit placement.

Game 2 vs. Cadians
Saturdays game was the second game against Cadians.  I played Friday night against the same opponent and was more reserved in my strategy as was he since we didn’t know much about each other’s army.  On Saturday when we got matched I knew I had to be more aggressive and make him react to my moves.  This game was more about making counter moves and never allowing the other to really let their battle plan play out.  We both jockeyed for position.  He was aggressive with his Leviathan, 2xStorm ?(troop transport) and 2xValkryies while his artillery sat on the baseline shelling out barrages.

I attacked my right flank with 2x Penitent engines and immolators and the left flank with 2x retributors and knights.  Normally its turn three that I teleport my Seraphim but in order to be aggressive and disrupt his baseline engines and contest Blitz objectives (manticores, death strikes, hydra) I teleported in turn 2 to start CC with the units.  This worked out well and he reacted by bringing some Valkyries over to lend a hand.  I sent in my one unit of flyers to take out the AA (again to be aggressive).  I managed to break one hydra unit.  The Death Strikes were able to take out 2 knights.  The highlight of the game was my turn three assault on his leviathan with troops inside by Repentia sisters and Immolotars along with support from three other units (knights, 2xretributors).  The leviathan crumbled from damage and the troops inside were destroyed through CC resolution.  This gave me BTS but he had T&H.  The game ended in a 1-1 tie due to time.

Penitent Engines survived the whole game and were targeted a lot but did their work.
Repentia Sisters with their extra attack MW is nasty, love them.
Knights good deterrent did some damage, not sold on them yet.

Game 3 vs. Speed Freaks
I don’t like playing against Orks just too many of them and speed freaks are fast.  This game was unusual in that both of us had to advance and double to fight.  Orks needed to double to get a bonus to their initiative and Sisters needed to advance to get into the fight.  The game was fun and tense.  Orks move forward I shoot them, there was no need to move too far and I would let the orks come to me and try to lure them into Firefights.  My right flank was weak and got run over by end of turn two and by turn three my BTS got eliminated.  I was able to take my left flank and move to the center units.  Turn three I was able to assault his big Ork formation (BTS) I used Repentia, 2x Retributors, Penitent and Knight Legions to wipe out his BTS, however the orks had the right flanks and two objectives on my half.  Most of the second half of turn 2 and beginning of turn three I must have failed like 4 activations in a row.  We called the game due to time Orks won 2-1 (BTS and T&H vs. BTS).

Poor planning and poor dice rolls contributed to the loss.
Repentia and Retributors as support is a nasty combo.

Overall the tournament was fun and getting to use the Sisters of Battle for five games over the weekend really allowed me to see the benefits.

Combined assaults are nasty especially with Retributors as support and Repentia or Penitents as the main assault.  They should be able to wipe out large formations with ease.
Penitent Engines awesome as garrisons, attract a lot of fire and attention and fulfill multiple purposes of extracting infantry from cover and assault AV/WE as needed. (rinse and repeat)
Repentia sisters with Immolators is so nasty, soften up with MW fire than assault next turn.  Should make someone think twice about messing with your Sister(s).

Great tournament, good turnout and even better opponents. 

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Warmaster Dark Elves

A little something different but sticking to the theme Small Scale Big Wars.  This is a Warmaster Dark Elf army.  I collected the miniatures many years ago and they have been sitting in a box ever since.  With a plan to bring Warmaster to NEAT (Northeast Armageddon Tournament in CT) I wanted to get them all pretty and table ready.  I chose to go with bright colours so they stand out on the table and only a few colours to keep the army unified and looking as a cohesive force on the table.  I have about 2000 points in total.  Missing from the pictures are the characters, Witch Elves and another Hydra.  They are in the painting queue.

Monday, June 4, 2018

Sisters of Battle (v1.2) vs. Knights Legion

I have played against Knights before with my Eldar and Empeors children and had some success.  With this Sisters list I wanted to try out the living saint and Storm troopers.  I was hesitant on the storm troopers due to cost of transport options for basically close range troopers with poor saves compared to the sisters.  Though 200 points is cheap for a unit in this list.  The living saint is a new addition and supposed to be a mini demon type of character with no DC, a single base attack plus extra rules and extra attacks for CC and FF.  The only problem is can only be on Battle Sisters or Choir units.  The best option would be Choirs since they can teleport together with the Living saint getting in CC and the Seraphim would be FF.

Sisters of Battle:

Mission, Celestian, Canoness, Rhino
Exorcist, Hunter
Choir, living saint
Repentia, Rhinos
Purgeance (immolators)
Coven, Rhinos
Inq. Storm Troopers, Valkyries
Lighting Strike
Lightning Strike
Knights Castigator

Knight Legion:
Lancers 4
Crusades/Castillian, 4
Baron 1
Senechal 1
Paladins 4
Paladins 3
Errants 4
Wardens 3
AA gun, transport
Infantry squad

Setup I spread across the board (from left to right):
Penitent, Knights Castigator, Exorcist, Coven, BattleSisters, Repentia, Penitent, Purgeance, Inq Storm troopers (in reserve both lightning strikers, choir (w/Living saint).
Lancers, Crus/Castillian, Errants, Warden, Infantry, AA, Paladins, Paladins

The plan was to take out the Lancer formation on my left then sweep around and try to get into cross fire range, this way his Knight shields would be useless and he would have a hard time making saves at 5/5 instead of 4/5, plus it would negate any macro attacks.  On my right I wanted to use the barrage from the Valkyries to soften up some paladins and then charge into them with my penitent engines (MW power saws, zzzzz).   The rest of the units to provide close support fire fights except for the repentias as they would move and the assault into CC any knight formation that got to close as their +1EA/MW would hurt.  The only issue would be that the infantry were AP attacks, the immolators AP attacks.  I had to use my AT attacks wisely to limit damage and chose the left flank for my initial targets.

Turn 1
Sisters won initiative and I sent in my Lightning strike to take out the lancers (2BM, 1 damage).  He advanced the C/C unit and took out three Exorcists (broke them), I sent in another lightning strike on the lancers (2BM, 1 Damage).  On the right he advanced the paladins and took out a Valkryie (now that unit is slowed), I advanced my Castigator knights and finally broke the lancers who retreated.  He advanced his Errants and fired at my Penitent engines all saved.  On the left we had Errants close to Penitent engines and Castigators close to Errants for turn two.  On the right I advanced the Immolators and the Inq. Storm stroopers.  The Coven dashed across the board close to his blitz.  This more to draw fire from his C/C unit and try to get into cross fire plus to give -1 rally check to the lancers who were hiding behind hills..  The repentia sisters advanced as the did battle sisters but stayed behind the hill so they could not be targeted by knights on turn one.  For the rally checks my units rallied and removed blast markers, while his lancers failed to rally.

Turn 2
Sisters won initiative again.  This was were my plan to take the left flank was to work.  Castigors charge the errants they lose and break (no model loses on either side, being fearless they run around the woods), I retained and tried to take them out with the Penitent engines, they lose(lost a two stands and also fearless) follow the Castigators.  Not quite what I had in mind but the Errants had lots of blast markers and were close to breaking.  I sent in my Lightning strikes and the Exorcists to eventually take out the errants.  On the right it was tick tack shots hear and their nobody had the balls to get in close, the knights slow walked across the board taking pot shots at the Valkyries.  So far no Knight units were on my half of the table.  As I had more activations left, I loaded my repentia sisters into their rhinos and moved close to some paladins for next turn charge.  My coven unit was shot and broken by the C/C unit and retreated to the enemy board edge outside 30cm range of enemy.  I moved my Battle sisters forward close to the C/C unit to get into range with Celestian sister andnd for next turn crossfire.  My units rallied or removed blast markers except for the coven unit.  His lancer unit rallied.

Turn 3
Sisters won initiative again.  My goal was to prevent enemy from getting across the board and try to take blitz.   I doubled my castigor knights behind the C/C unit and fired at them claiming cross fire with the Battle sisters(couple blast markers), I retained and then advanced and fired my celestians at them (more blast markers not broken but heavily suppressed).  Paladins in the center advanced and fired at my penitents on the right, taking out two.  My repentia sisters loaded in their rhinos charged the paladins, they won the combat and destroyed the knights but they themselves also broke due to blast markers and fled back to their board edge.   The immolators broke due to fire from the paladins on the right.  The Choir and living saint which teleported at the start of the turn near the blitz charged the Lancers and broke them in combat (this was the actual first activation of turn 3 for the Sisters).  I still had fighters and several units left to cause some damage and possibly break knights on my half of the board.  Both lightning strikes, penitent engines and immolators all failed to activate.  These AT shots were crucial to getting an objective but no luck. 

We called the game cause it was late and we were hungry. Nobody had any objectives at this point.

I knew this game would be tough due to lack of more AT shots, long range firepower.  I had to isolate units to break and destroy them.  It took both lightning strike formations and castigators to take out the lancer unit.  Also I had to take a flank then start getting knights into crossfire.  The left flank went down but the C/C formation was not budging and did not allow me to advance to the center and right flanks.  The right flank was a mess of units who really had no firepower to take down knights. The center had my infantry units who held up pretty well and contained the center for a little while but could never make my push. 

The living saint was okay, its really a poor demon version.  The extra attacks are nice and the special abilities are good but she has limited use in Battle sister formations, works okay with seraphims.  Its almost a no brainer to take it for 50 points for a Choir unit.  But I would like it to be a DC model with abilities that can be independent or with a unit.(ie like a demon prince)

The Castigator knights are cool and do provide the AT shot, however they are 5+.  The tempest warblade is excellent.  I would leave the knights for now as they are.

The Inquisitorial Storm troopers in this battle did nothing, valkryies never got to use their disrupt bombs, infantry is weak no long range support.  I take it Valkyries are skimmers (did not notice that in the list notes).  Hard to justify 150 for 4 that has limited role especially for fragile troops it carries, poor armour save.  This battle was not the best way to judge their effectiveness so I will try them in a later list.

I was able to fit 12 formations with the new list and had points to spare.

The more I play I see several redundant options to take.  Such as purgeance units, exorcists units, choir units, Battle sisters unit, penitent units, lightning strikes and knights.  You can really design a list around any of the core choices from all repentia and choir to all sisters and retributors.  Lots of choices and you can really make a focused list if you want.

Some photos: