Thursday, May 14, 2015

It finally came in!!!

  If you've been keeping up with me or my other poorly-maintained blog, you'll know that I'm a fan of Superman and DC comics (and really just comics in general).  That love of comics has spread over into games and I've been picking up a bunch of those over the last few years.  My collection has some Heroclix (and every Superman I can get my hands on), Cryptozoic's Deck-building Game, and even some dabbling in Knight Models and their fantastic miniatures.  But the biggest collection I have is Dice Masters, by Wizkids.

  The first set to come out, which I ignored despite many of my buddies getting into it, was the Avengers vs. X-men (AvX).  After falling into that game and mentioning it on my blog (you can read it here), I found myself scrambling to pick up everything for it and the soon-released Uncanny X-men (UCM).  As excited was I was with having over 250 dice and more than 100 cards for each set, these were Marvel and I was sad that my favorite characters from DC weren't done.

  Then I got word that Wizkids was finally going to release a DC set and I started piling up money.  It was supposed to be released at the end of January, then February, then March.  After my wife got annoyed and spent that money on more important things (apparently we have to pay for the lights), and I admittedly gave up because I'm tired of Wizkids pulling this stuff.

  And then I got the call- it finally came in!  So I begged and begged and begged the wife to get some money and ran out to buy almost a full case- that's $150 worth of cards and dice!  But I got them.  And let me tell you, I'm not sad.

  First off, the dice are really neat.  I especially like my Superman dice because of the beautiful, almost pearlescent blue color.  Batman's die is really, really yellow (and black, of course).  And this set doesn't depend on the clear dice like UCM did.  I don't mind them, but I want the easier-to-read dice for most of the collection...

  The cards are the same quality, but they use mostly New 52 artwork (that's the redone universe where Supes doesn't wear his underwear on the outside), which I love!  It isn't completely New 52, so it's nice to be able to glimpse some of the old artwork as well.  But overall, the cards aren't any different to the last two sets.

  What is cool is the evolution of the rules.  The first set is the first, so there's nothing really there other than the basics.  In that set, direct damage and 'spamming' was the order of the day (see Gambit and the various Sidekick-summoners).  The second set made affiliations and Action Dice really important, allowing 'team-ups' and with characters making Action Dice easier to buy and use.  Keep in mind that there is also a Yu-gi-oh and Dungeons and Dragons version of the game, so there's some other effects that I don't know about.  But now we have this set, which makes the old Thrown Car ability a special Trait (Overcrush).  In addition, there are so many cards in this set that are 'busters' for the others, including characters that can't be hurt in certain phases and characters that 'filter out' sidekicks and lower level heroes/villains.  Affiliation is even more important in this set than the UCM one, but it's not based on the 'team-up' format like that one.  Overall, it's cool to see how more rules and effects get added with each edition.

  I haven't had the opportunity to actually play with these cards yet, but my comic shop is running a tournament on the 23rd.  The prize is a cheaper Superman, which is not something I can pass up.  If I can't go for whatever reason, I'll have to wheel and deal to get that card.  But playing is more fun, so I'll just have to make sure I go.  Now to get one of my buddies to be my 'practice' victim...

  Let me know if you've gotten into the game yet and why you dig it.  If you haven't checked it out and have some questions, let me know.  Happy Gaming!

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

The not-so-old is new again!

  Sorry it took awhile- my course load for this session seems to be a bit heavy.  So please forgive me if I don't post with my expected regularity for a while.  All that aside, let's get to the post!

  I broke down today.  One of my buddies called me up with his copy of the Eldar codex (now known as Codex Craftworlds) and serenaded me with all the new rules.  I started to fidget, put my shoes on, and let him go so I could buy mine.  In a masterful stroke of promotion, my buddy caused my willpower to completely crumble and forced me to spend money I didn't want to.  Yet...

  Now it's my turn to shamelessly promote this book.  As y'all should remember from my last post, I'm not happy about how quickly this one was released.  I'm not like the rest of the blogosphere and believe that the world is ending because of this book- I don't play like that!  You will never see me with 12 Wraithknights (or more than 1, for that matter) or 3 units of Windriders all decked out with Scatter Lasers and Shuricannons.  You will see me with Guardians, though.  Because I like Eldar.

  The first thing to note is that the book is very thick.  It was promoted to be as thick as the Space Marine codex, which it is.  And, it's in full color from start to finish.  But let's talk about how thick that book is- IT'S A LIE!!!

  You see, there are two different formats for the codices right now.  The 'older' books give the pictures and unit descriptions in the first 1/3, then a gallery in the middle, then the army list and options for the final third.  The 'newer' books actually show the unit pictures and descriptions on the same page as the army list entries.  This is where the Eldar codex gets weird.  The first 1/3 of the book is the old picture-and-description format, then the gallery, then the final 1/3 is the picture-and-description-and-army list information format.  That's right- this book repeats every unit twice and uses both the old AND new format for codices!!!  When you repeat everything twice, it tends to add some pages and make the book thicker.  So while this book is much thicker than the previous one, it's both unnecessary and a lie.  Take out the first set of unit descriptions and I promise this book is no bigger than the old one.

  That's really the only complaint I have with this codex.  Now let's get to the good stuff.  

  First off, we all know that Eldar are awesome, so I'm not going to touch the 'fluff' part of the book.  Plus, it's the same stuff that we're used to- Eldar were once great, then they got full of themselves, now they have to use necromancy and downright genocide to stay alive.  Yep, got it.  But let's look at the 'game' stuff:

  The Phoenix Lords and all the Aspect Warriors no longer have the special skills to buy.  In fact, most of those skills (Night Fight, Crack Shot, invuln in CC) were made into standard special rules for the units!  I'm sad that my Avatar can no longer take Fast Shot, but I can't complain when my Reaper Exarch comes with it base.
  Speaking of Phoenix Lords- anyone notice that Baharroth no longer has an invuln save?  That's right!  Now only Asurman has it!  I know that seems weird, but Baharroth was arguably the best PL in the last book just because of that invuln.  Now it's arguable again.  Yay!

  See how the Autarch now has access to a Fusion Pistol?  I'm pissed.  I converted my own with a Fusion Gun, only to have a better option in the new(er) book.  Oh well, I should have expected it.  Just like Grav-guns in my Ultrasmurfs...

  Notice how the Farseer is now standard Psyker Level 3?  That's right!!!  I can finally out-dice my Chaos buddy!!!  It should be noted that the Farseer is still the only level that has access to the Runes of Fate.

  Speaking of the Runes of Fate- Mind War now has a disadvantage to the target on a tie- something that is so important considering most things have a Ld 10 that are any good in this game.  So it's nice that the all-too-feared power actually include something for those 'good' models to fear.  Also, Eldritch Storm?  I mean, you need Apocalypse templates to use this power!!!  That is both awesome and scary, especially considering what that power can do.

  The Warlock Conclave (sticking with the Psykers section) is really unique.  At first, I was unhappy that this became a Brotherhood of Psykers.  I have some GK and I've found that the 'brotherhood' rule actually hurts more than helps (think about it- I have 5 psykers in each unit, but I get a massive ONE whole die with them and count as Psyker Level 1.  That doesn't seem right).  But the Conclave resolves that by 1)counting Psyker Level as higher based on more models (up to Level 3) and 2)allowing each model to generate Power Dice.  That's right, my 5-man Conclave counts as a Level 2 Psyker AND generates 5 power dice!  Yessir!!!

  The Spiritseer's Spirit Mark rule was made easier.  What makes it so deadly is the fact that the wraith-portion of the Eldar army aren't stuck shooting at a single chosen target that just happens to glow because their daddy POINTED at someone.  Now, they can fire on anyone nearby their daddy because they all glow!  It's not game-breaking, but it does rule.

  And speaking of the wraith-portion part of the army- let's talk about the single most controversial topic since the release of the book: Wraithguard and the Wraithknight's D-Cannons.  Apparently, this is the end of the world and everyone should quit 40k because of it.  However, many of you will remember my rant about how 'D' weapons were nerfed in 7th edition.  As a very astute poster on another blogsite posted- "It's no different that being hit with a meltagun or plasma gun for most things."  He's not wrong.  Anything with an invuln save thinks that 'D' weapons are cute, and anyone with a single wound doesn't even notice the reality-ripping effect of the weapons.  I don't have a problem with all the 'D' weapons, but then I also play for FUN.  We'll discuss that more later.  Just know that those original Str10 AP2 guns now cause multi-wounds.  That's the change.  Oooooh.

  Windriders have been the other main topic of discussion since this book was released.  Every single bike in that squad can be upgraded to carry Scatter Lasers or ShuriCannons for 10 points.  That means that a BS4, T4, Sv3+ model with a 12" move and three or four Str6 shots only costs 27 points.  27 points!!!  Points efficiency is the problem here.  That points cost would be fine for the 'one-in-three' upgrade format of the past, but is way too cheezy for the fact that everyone can have them.  But I don't write the rules, so...  I will admit that I would take the ShuriCannons because I want to take advantage of the formation rule (Shred once per game).  Although Scatter Lasers are awesome, Rending is better.  

  There's no more Pathfinders.  Darn.  Because paying that many points to get more Rending opportunities never really mattered.  Not since 3rd edition, anyway.  Speaking of missed opportunities, I was mad about the points cost of the Eldar Missile Launcher in last edition.  This book suffered the same problem (they are three times as expensive as a Starcannon!).  But there's a silver lining here- all Eldar Missile Launchers have the Skyfire missiles now!  That's right, Eldar are now the 2nd best anti-aircraft army in the game, behind only the cow-people.

  Aspect Warriors are even more awesome now!!!  Dire Avengers can Overwatch at BS2 or gain Stubborn (and Counterattack) in a turn.  Striking Scorpions have good Mandiblasters again and can start off with a 4+ cover save.  Fire Dragons have a +3 on the chart to see if they've destroyed a vehicle.  Reapers get to reroll shots against fast things (Zooming, Swooping, Turbo-boosting, and Flat-out movers).  Shining Spears now have an amazing cover save when they move.  But the best changes were the Warp Spiders, with their ability to 'jump away' from being shot at, and Howling Banshees, who cannot be Overwatched.  It must be noted that the Banshee mask no longer reduces Initiative, but I'm thinking that it's a BIT better now.  I might actually have to start using Banshees!

  Most of the Eldar vehicles can now be squadroned.  That seems to be a theme carrying into the future, but really it's rumour and conjecture at this point.  What is ridiculous though is that those squadrons can combine fire and become more effective (remember the old Fire Prism formation?) or Deep Strike (Falcons have a use!!!).  The Serpent Shield on the Wave Serpent was 'nerfed' by making it better (2d6 vs d6+1 hits) but 'One Use Only'.  That made me happy because I forgot to use that shooting attack anyway.  What makes me even happier is the return of the good Holo-field.  Too many times did my vehicles get wrecked for no other reason than I didn't have the first turn.  I can't move so I couldn't use any of my cove saves (jink isn't that effective on its own AND I can't shoot back, defeating the purpose of bringing a vehicle!).  Now, I can buy an upgrade and actually have my tin-foil tanks survive long enough to use them!  Yay!!!

  Finally, we get to the Lords of War- the Avatar and the Wraithknight.  For the WK, it's been turned into a Gargantuan Creature.  This comes with a great deal of special rules, including not being able to Overwatch, but moving fast and firing all weapons at different targets.  Add some Feel No Pain and Stomp and we have a true monster.  I'm really geeked because my buddy's Kroot Snipers won't be able to kill me in one round (without some miraculous dice-rolling, of course).  The Avatar, on the other hand, is even more awesome.  Nothing really changed about him except...  He gives a 12" bubble of Rage, Furious Charge, and Fearless to his army!  Remember how much better those Howling Banshees are?  Add a screen of BS2 Overwatching Dire Avengers and a unit or two of Banshees near the glowing lava-statue and you have a helluva mean group!  Seriously, Banshees plus the Avatar equals AWESOME!

  The best (and worst) part of the codex is the Formations.  While the Necron codex introduced the idea of Formation armies rather than CAD lists, and the Daemonkin codex carried that over in style, this book really brings it 'home'.  The Formations, starting with the Guardianhosts, are exactly how the Eldar appear in the fluff.  With the exception of Biel-Tan, Eldar Craftworlds have thousands of Guardians that are dedicated to battle WITH the Aspect Warriors.  Being a supporter of the 'ol Guardian Defender since the 90's, I'm happy to see GW force people to actually use Guardians again.  But here's the bad part of the Formation-focus- there are no limits!!!  Allowing the jetbike-heavy crowd to continue to use their jetbikes while also allowing people to use 12 Wraithknights doesn't seem to be a very strong limit.  That being said, only the 'cheezy' gamers our there would take advantage of this while the rest of us (the 'fluffy' gamers) are happy that we can get some special abilities for using the models that we have.  Unfortunately, the Formations also require some purchases for people as most of us don't have Artillery pieces.  But hey, GW's gotta make money somehow, right?  So with the bad comes far more good.  Go Formations!!!

  Okay, I think I've covered almost everything important.  The Artifact section is pretty good, mostly unchanged.  The points cost of a few things went down (the Crimson Hunter by a pretty big number) and some things were cleaned up.  But otherwise, there you have it!

  Let me know what you think of the Craftworld codex and, please, keep the whining about 'D' weapons down.  I think this book is awesome for other reasons.  What do y'all think?