Saturday, January 21, 2012

In Flames... TONIGHT at Emo's!

My ultimate favorite band, In Flames, is playing tonight at Emo's in Austin.  Event starts at 6:30.  For those of you not lucky enough to live in Austin, here's a full list of their tour dates.

The concert was amazing!  They played one of my favorites (Delight and Angers).  Rockin good time.  Some pictures below.
Anders saying goodnight after a stellar performance

In Flames playing "Where the Dead Ships Dwell"

Friday, January 20, 2012

Necron FAQ is available!

My reactions to the recent Necron FAQ.

  • Ever-living does indeed allow you a Reanimation Protocol role if a unit is wiped out.  Glad they cleared that up...
  • GW confirmed the near uselessness of the Dispersion Shield.
  • Whip Coils are weakened a bit since they occur before any other initiative boosting items.  This one small clarification removes them as the answer-all for Necron assault.
  • Canoptek Spiders can still spit out Scarabs even if locked in CC.  Nice...
  • We got the Death Ray question answered..  Of course we all already knew the answer GW would give.
  • The ability for an Overlord to use his Sweep Attack and then assault has been confirmed.  Not that we would want our Overlord getting into assault.  F'ing I2!
  • Interesting that GW defined the firing arc for the Gauss Flayer Array but not the Gauss Flux Arc.
  • Mindshackle Scarabs can be used against a unit of one..  Sweet!
  • I'm really surprised that the facing of Arc'ed Tesla hits are resolved using the position of the shooter.  That makes no sense at all.
  • Veil of Darkness can be used to arrive from reserve.  This will be really nice if the 6e rumors concerning Deep Strike are true.
  • Solar Pulse is confirmed to cease Imotekh's storm.
  • The Cryptek chronometron can be used to reroll Imotekh's Night Fighting roll.  Eat it IG!
  • Royal Court members can benefit from Hunters from Hyperspace, however that unit can only Deep Strike if it has that rule.  Lame!
  • GW confirmed that only the optional war gear of the Crypteks needs to be unique to a Royal Court.
  • Score!  You can attach one model from each Royal Court to the same unit.

FAQ can be found here.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Warhammer 40k 6th edition rulebook leak and the possible impacts to Necrons

The net is abuzz with rumors of a W40k 6e rulebook leak.  Take with a heaping spoonful of salt.

So what does this mean for Necrons?  I have only scanned the document as I don't even know if it is real and I certainly don't want to spend much time on it.  Below I explore the good, bad, and mixed impacts to Necrons.

Shooting after Assault
0b010 Scarabs (Mixed)
The biggest change to shooting is that it now happens after assault.  This is H-U-G-E because units that want to pepper their target prior to assaulting will not be able to do so.  For Necrons, I don't see this as a disadvantage.  This also goes hand-in-hand with an Overwatch ability.  Unlike the version in Space Hulk it allows a shot at the enemy during their phase.

0b011 Scarabs (Not Bad)
There is a new attribute called Evade that essentially bases shooting difficulty on size and movement (among other factors).  This essentially makes it fairly easy to shoot at large vehicles and potentially harder to hit smaller, more agile targets.  From a Necron point of view, this could be a good thing.  Why?  Because Necrons are generally better than middle of the road shooters and have several units that can may be able to advantage of the Jink rule.

Cover Saves
0b100 Scarabs (Very Good)
Cover saves seem a little bit less friendly in these rules.  This is good news for any shooty army.  Rules also seem to imply that cover is calculated on a model-by-model basis.  This would make it impossible for units to get a unit-wide cover save by getting >50% of its models in cover.

Preferred Enemy
0b101 Scarabs (Great!)
Preferred Enemy now affects shooting!  Welcome back, Destroyers!  2+ on shooting..  Ohhh yeah!

Swarms and Templates
0b001 Scarab (Not Good)
Templates now cause Instant Death against Swarms.  This is slightly different in that Scarabs would receive an additional wound only if they failed the save on the first.  Generally, I think this is a bad thing but Scarabs were already weak against templates.

Close Combat Tables
0b010 Scarabs (Mixed)
Close combat to hit rolls are certainly more cut throat; penalizing the unskilled a bit more.  From a Necron "middle of the road" point of view this doesn't have much impact.

Sweeping Advances
0b010 Scarabs (Could Be Better)
I was hoping to see Sweeping Advance removed from the 6e rules but that does not appear to be the case.  Instead, Necrons have a better chance of fighting off a sweeping advance since it is a straight up 5+ if you lose a Morale check in combat and have a lower Initiative score.  This is a 1/3 chance of survival.  I see this as good an bad.  Consider a I3 unit that is rolling to sweep an I2 unit.  In the 5e rules the I2 unit would have a 10/36 chance of survival.  It only gets worse for the I2 unit as the opponents Initiative goes up.  Given this, it's a slight advantage for Necrons, but its unlikely to change a Necron player's strategy.

0b001 Scarabs (Not Good)
Another change that could impact Necrons in a negative way is another kind of sweep.  It is called Surrounded and causes destruction of the unit when Broken (falling back) units are within 12" of a enemy models.  Ouch.

0b101 Scarabs (Fingers Crossed)
There is a comment on page 117 that the term "Heavy" refers to a Super-heavy with only one structure point.  Could this imply that the Monolith gets a -3 on the vehicle damage table in 6th edition?  This could make up for the Living Metal travesty...  It also gives a multi-targeting (6) which could really make its weapons much more fierce!  (Crosses fingers)  Seriously, if GW does this for Necrons I will might consider toning down my hatred of the new Necron codex.

0b001 Scarab (Not Good)
While we're on the subject, the vehicle damage table no longer gives an advantage for AP1 except for nullifying the Tank bonus.  I'd say this hurts other races more than it does Necrons but it isn't a huge advantage.  With nearly all of IG vehicles with the Tank advantage, they are going to be a problem for nearly everyone without a lot of AP1 weapons.

Damage upgrades
0b011 Scarabs (Good)
Another interesting change is that multiple damaged rolls of the same type can get upgraded to the next level.  For example, if a vehicle that is already Immobilized gets Immobilized again, then it is bumped to the next level becoming Wrecked.  This also works with Weapon Destroyed, but takes a bit longer (i.e. no more weapons to destroy).  This makes Living Metal a [wee] bit more valuable and enemy vehicles more fragile.

0b010 Scarabs (Mixed)
Blasts now do full damage to vehicles regardless of where the center is, but they are severely penalized on the damage table (-3).  This is really not a huge impact to Necrons given their lack of high ST templates.  Wash..

0b101 Scarabs (Great!)
Flyers are always EV6 which could be a real boon for Necrons.  This means that BS4 would need a 6 to hit them!  AV11 Scythes are looking better and better.

Critical Hits
0b011 Scarabs (Good)
Critical hits represent a massive blow to a unit such as the explosion of a vehicle.  Wounds from these hits are automatic and only allow invulnerable saves and our favorite save... Reanimation Protocols.  This rule seems to show up everywhere.  For example, it could make transports a bit more risky since an explosion causes a critical hit to embarked models on a roll of 1.  Since Necrons seem to have a better resistance to this than everyone else and it has the possibility of impacting transports, I gave it three Scarabs.

Deep Strike
0b101 Scarabs (Great!)
Deep Strike is really improved in this version.  Units ignore scatter if they teleport 18" or more away from an enemy unit.  That's a VERY nice reprieve for the 36" square Monolith and pretty awesome for all other Necron Deep Strike units.  Think of DS'ing a Doom Scythe.

0b001 Scarab (Could Be Bad)
Ramming seems a LOT more deadly in this version (causing Critical Hits) and I see nothing that gives Skimmers the advantage that they had before...  Great news for Orks, but a bit scary for Necrons.

Flat Out
0b001 Scarab (Scary)
Now this is really scary.. From the rules it sounds like a unit of say... Genestealers can move up to three times their move during the Move/Assault phase even if not assaulting?  Hmm..  This could be a bit of a misunderstanding.

Multi-Targeting & Stationary Units
0b100 Scarabs (Hmmmm)
This is a really amazing change but also very confusing.  It deserves more than the cursory check that I gave it.  It allows units to take more than one shooting actions.  One of them is divide fire.  They can also shoot multiple times.  Stationary units gain the advantage of doubling their fire..  Wow!  Can anyone say, "Tesla"?  I'm wanting to give this five Scarabs but I'm just not sure.

In general, there are several things that I really like about these rules.
  1. Consolidation of vehicle damage (and rules in general) across the board (i.e. for regular and Apocalypse games)
  2. Units can now be immobilized and stunned.  I'm not sure how this will play out but it is interesting to say the least.
  3. Tactical retreats; Robbing opponents of victory points offers a new tactical options.
  4. Though it could be unbalancing, I generally like Evade; larger and stationary objects should be easier to hit.
  5. Bidding process to starting the game adds a lot of flavor.

So, do I think these rules are legit?  Probably not.  I think these are either the result of a fan with far too much time on his hands or a very early draft from GW.  I don't know why GW would be doing page layouts (picture blocks) so early.  That said, it is interesting that the document appears to have been produced prior to the Necron release and seems to jive so well with it.  We'll see...

Real or not real, here's a shout out to its author: "Nice work!!!"

Obviously there are things I missed so your responses are welcome.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Alternate rules for Necron Doomsday Cannon

As you know if you have ready my blog, I'm not exactly happy with the Doomsday Cannon.  Not only does it fail to live up to its name but it doesn't have a very clear role in most armies.  Don't let the AP1 fool you, it lacks 'ordinance' so you don't get the extra die roll on armor penetration.  It can be useful as an anti-elite weapon, but is arguably less effective than the Medusa (ST10, AP2), albeit only 36" range.  The AP2 on the Medusa still ignores FNP but the ST10 allows instakills for baddies like an Ork Warboss.  The Medusa weighs in at 135 points whilst the Doomsday Ark breaks the scale at 175.

In true GW spirit, the November 2011 issue of White Dwarf had this to say about the Doomsday Cannon.
In aspect, the Doomsday Ark appears deceptively fragile; its structure is skeletal and lacks the armor plates of more conventional battle vehicles.  But to obsess on this apparent fragility is to overlook the Doomsday Ark's true purpose and potential.  It is not a battle tank, intended to sit in the midst of a battle line, to give and receive punishing blows.  Rather, the Doomsday Ark is nothing less than  an enormous self-propelled doomsday cannon - a weapon that can win a battle with but a single shot.  The cannon itself is a wonder of super-technology, easily eclipsing the primitive energy weapons of the Imperium.  Even fired at low power the doomsday cannon is a fearsome weapon; when firing at full effect, its searing energy beams burn brighter than any kind of plasma weapon.
Well GW, I think you missed the mark a little.  Though the Doomsday Cannon boasts incredible range (72"), it definitely falls short of "eclipsing the primitive energy weapons of the Imperium".
In the same issue of White Dwarf, Mat Ward adds insult to injury in a story told by Tom Walton, one of the Citadel designers.
On the Doomsday Ark ... there is an enormous energy source mounted beneath the main barrel to power the primary weapon.  In fact, when Mat first saw the sheer size of the doomsday cannon I was designing, he decided to make its rules even more powerful!
Soo, did Mat consume too much Bugman's Ale and forget to make those rule changes? ...Or perhaps the first version was no better than a typical battle cannon.  Only the Bugman knows for sure.

So what should the rules look like for the Doomsday Cannon?  I've been thinking about this for some time and although I would not expect any players to adopt these as house rules (nor am I likely to find anyone that allows me to use these for myself), it is fun to dream.

Doomsday Cannon MkII
Heavy-5, Tesla, Arc
Doomsday Cannon MkIII
     Combat Speed




Heavy-1, Large Blast, Null-space
Heavy-1, Blast, Null-space
Doomsday Cannon MkIV
     Combat Speed




Heavy-1, Large Blast, Dissonance
Heavy-1, Blast, Dissonance

In the MkII variant, I explored of a true Tesla horror.  Though it moves away from Blast, it makes up for it with 5 shots of ST10 Tesla goodness with the ability to Arc..  Damn nasty.  Damn fun!  It is probably a bit much to ask for ST10, but I thought it would be very useful (even with AP-) against vehicles if there was a chance of an Arc.

In the MkIII variant, I improved the ST to 10 and increased the AP of the combat speed firing version.  In addition, I added "null-space" to the weapon type.  This gun really lives up to the "super-technology" comment made by GW.  Null-space weapons do the same level of damage to vehicles regardless of where the blast marker lands.  For example, if the blast template drifts such that the center is no longer over the tank, it still does full damage as the null-space technology affects the entire blast range equally (unlike primitive explosive/blast weaponry).

In the MkIV variant, I simply replaced Null-space with Dissoance (which offers Entropic Strike) but otherwise it's similar to MkIII.  This allows the gun to "soften" tanks as they fire.  Small change, but very deadly.  If you miss your mark a little, no problem since it will strip some of the armor away each time.  In this way, it acts like the Harp of Dissonance.

I honestly think that any of these variations would be a nice addition to the 6e version of the Necron codex.. allowing the Doomsday Cannon to truly live up to its name.