June 17, 2011

Lock and Load Tomorrow!

by Nate Birkholz

I am not bringing my laptop, so I won’t be updating the blog (more play time!), but Privateer Press is going to be liveblogging at the following link:


I am very excited to get my butt handed to me by a bunch of people I’ve never met before. See you there!

June 13, 2011

Miniature Monday: Reform Candidate

by Nate Birkholz

Nuala the Huntress, Unit Attachment for the Tharn Bloodtrackers, is an expert in pointy objects and their application in conflict resolution. This is an admirably well-sculpted model: when she was first introduced, some people were complaining that she is almost Warcaster-detailed. Still, as a character model, I feel it is entirely appropriate. I’ve not seen another Privateer model with a sculpted pedestal built in, either. I used Miliput to match the ground from her pedestal, and added a log and extended the vines to the edge of the base.

If you can see her, you are probably already dead.

Not the kind of girl you bring home to Mother...unless Mother is a homicidal maniac.

Nuala (or Nualar, if you are from the land down under by way of the great white north) is not really an auto-include, but that’s what I appreciate about her: she brings utility to the table, but the Bloodtrackers are strong enough all by themselves that she nuances their effectiveness rather than validates their existence. Her signature ability, of course, is Reform, letting the Bloodtrackers make an extra bit of move at the end of their activations. I seem to have trouble remembering this ability at key moments, trying to get through those mid-game turns where everything is in combat and there are a lot of rules and effects to remember. Quick Work is nice enough, allowing the Bloodtrackers to make a ranged attack after killing a model with a melee attack, but I am hesitant to charge into melee with the unit since they do much better at range where their mobility and Stealth are most effective.

Quick, while she's distracted!

You won't be in her rear arc much, if you know what I mean...

I am considering painting the entire Bloodtrackers unit rather slowly. I have one extra Bloodtracker I picked up at some point, and can actually paint them one at a time since I don’t have to remove them from heavy rotation to paint them that way. That of course may lead to some variation in their appearance, but with ten models in the full unit, all with lots of little details, I am not keen on going without a cornerstone infantry unit for the month and a half it might take me to paint them all.

June 6, 2011

Lock and Load and Lists and Limits

by Nate Birkholz

I’ll be heading out to Lock and Load in a few weeks, and I’m trying to limit the models I bring along, since I can of course only carry one bag full of suspicious little bits of metal onto the plane. I’m focusing on eKrueger and Baldur lists, since I have been playing them the most, lately, even though I tend to struggle with Baldur on the table. It’s relatively easy to be prepared to field eKaya since I am bringing all my beasts by default, and I will probably also bring Kromac along since I need to bring along some of the models in the foam tray in which he lives.

I have my usual 35-point lists, but for Lock and Load, I’m actually anticipating seeing a lot of 50-point games, so I specifically am preparing 50-point lists. I already have a planned 50-point game against a Tier 4 Vyros list, as well.

Flight Plan

Let’s start with everyone’s favorite solar-powered Sect machine, Krueger the Stormlord:

Army Name: Stormy Whether?
50+5 points, 26 models

  • Krueger the Stormlord  +5 points
    • Megalith  11 points
    • Pureblood Warpwolf  9 points
    • Warpwolf Stalker  10 points
  • Druids of Orboros  7 points
    • Druid of Orboros Overseer  2 points
  • 10 Tharn Bloodtrackers  8 points
    • Nuala The Huntress  2 points
  • Shifting Stones  2 points
  • Lord of the Feast  4 points
Pew pew pew!!

Lighting to the left, lightning to the right.

The druids and eKrueger go together like shag carpet and 1974, and for months I have been augmenting Krueger’s ability to abuse opponents’ field position by bringing along the Druids for their extreme fishing skills. The virago swarm — the Bloodtrackers and Nuala — I haven’t used with eKrueger before. I run them often with Kromac, however, and one of the best things about them is that they are reasonably self-sufficient. Krueger’s Storm Wall spell can help shore up the vulnerability to AOEs of both the Druids and the Bloodtrackers by giving a good chance of directing AoE deviations away from them, as well, with their high defense. Shifting stones and Das Feastmeister round out the list. I considered a Feral instead of the Stalker to get the Shifting Stones UA, but the Stalker has a sword large enough to be suspiciously compensatory, you know, and can chew up infantry just as well as cracking hard targets.

Variation: I may at the last minute replace the lovely experts in pointy things with my favorite Krueger bodyguard — the Gnarlhorn Satyr — as well as a Druid Wilder for fury management.

Rock Concert

Next, we move on to a man voted by his high school class as most likely to be shot to pieces by a blighted elf (prophetic!):

Army Name: Baldur Bash
50+6 points, 31 models

  • Baldur the Stonecleaver  +6 points
    •  Megalith  11 points
    • Wold Guardian  9 points
    • Woldwarden  9 points
  • Druids of Orboros  7 points
    • Druid of Orboros Overseer  2 points
  • Sentry Stone & Mannikins  3 points
  • Shifting Stones  2 points
    • Stone Keeper  1 point
  • 10 Tharn Bloodtrackers  8 points
    • Nuala The Huntress  2 points
  • Blackclad Wayfarer  2 points
That sword... Compensation?

Speaking of compensating with your sword...

One thing that is immediately apparent, here, is that I have the same Units in this list as in the previous: The Druids and the Bloodtrackers with UAs. In this list, the Druids are more the Unit that is required to be self-sufficient and the Bloodtrackers instead get direct support from the strength boost of Stone Skin. Both units yet again benefit from AOE protection (or Blast Damage protection, at least) via Solid Ground. A weakness is the fact that the list has neither of the more murderous solos — The Lord of the Feast and the Tharn Ravager White Mane — either of which I normally bend backwardsish to fit into every list.

Variation: I could reduce the ‘Warden to a Wyrd and take the Lord of the Feast, I guess. Depends on how much infantry I see.

Brick Wall

Now in some situations, I may need a reliable tar pit (cough, that Vyros Theme Force game, cough), and in that case I am planning on the following alternative if I can get the second box of Skinwalkers assembled:

Army Name: Baldur’s Hard Place
50+6 points, 26 models

  • Baldur the Stonecleaver  +6 points
    •  Megalith  11 points
    • Wold Guardian  9 points
    • Woldwarden  9 points
  • Druids of Orboros  7 points
    • Druid of Orboros Overseer  2 points
  • Sentry Stone & Mannikins  3 points
  • Shifting Stones  2 points
    • Stone Keeper  1 point
  • 5 Warpborn Skinwalkers  8 points
  • Blackclad Wayfarer  2 points
  • Reeve Hunter  2 points
Wolf + Man + Axe + = RAWR

Maybe he should have had a smile molded into his helmet, instead.

I haven’t used the Skinwalkers previously, but several players have been reporting success with them of late, and are finding them survivable under normal circumstances, much less under the influence of Stone Skin. They are notorious for having low damage output for Heavy Infantry, but in this instance they are indeed intended to be the Immovable Object in the equation.

The Reeve Hunter is a less than inspiring inclusion, I’m afraid. I’d really rather not pick up a second unit of Shifting Stones, nor do I want a second Blackclad, though both would be of some use, here. I hope we will be getting more 2-point Minions later this year, the lack of Warmachine’s excellent Mercenary choices really hinders Hordes’ options at times.

Variation: I considered dropping the Druid UA and the Reeve Hunter in favor of the Lord of the Feast, or the Shifting Stone UA and the Reeve Hunter for a Whitemane,  but I think those UAs are useful, here. I guess I’d lean more to the Whitemane option.

He'd play Legion.

Wow, that 15 minutes went fast.


None of these is a hugely competitive list. In my experience, at least, competitive lists are often focused around some key strategy/tactic/trick/what have you, and the list is designed to execute that key sequence while surviving x number of counters thrown out by your opponent. My above lists are general all-comers lists designed to give me a few options and be fun to play. Whatever I field at Lock and Load, I’m attending for a chance to to play, not necessarily to win. I’m not even entered in any of the tournaments, and just intend to play casually in the Iron Arena. I doubt I’ll ever be successfully competitive, I’m much more of a hobbyist, and that’s fine by me.

May 30, 2011

So Angry It Hurts!!

by Nate Birkholz

What is the Gorax?
And why is it here?
And why is it angry and Primaled, I fear?
And ready to frenzy wherever it goes?
That old Mohsar still lives here.
Ask him. He knows.

No mother loves THAT face.Do you need, like a belt?While he's distracted, let's move along.(With deepest apologies to Dr. Seuss.)

April 11, 2011

Miniature Monday: Wealth of Stealth

by Nate Birkholz

In a quick update for  Miniature Monday, I have recently finished The Lord of the Feast and a Dwarf Thief model for the new Pathfinder campaign at work, both models representing stealthy characters of different sorts.

The Lord of the Feast came together very well. I wish I had built a little more contrast into the color scheme, but it does make the hair really pop.

Look, kittens! I love kittens. And the flesh of my enemies.

I wish I had built a little more contrast into the color scheme, but it does make the hair really pop.

You don't have him for dinner...

My Dwarf Thief is a nice Reaper mini, and I made a point of trying to paint him quickly for a change, all in all about 4 hours or so.

I steal everything, basically, but especially mustache wax.

While the photos are a little washed out, the blonde beard was probably not the best choice, both because I am not good at Blonde yet, but also because it fades into the skin tone a bit.

Thieves's Guild, not Lollipop Guild. Come over here and make that joke.

I intend to try painting the entire Druids of Orboros unit this weekend, so I used this as a dress rehearsal for the cloaks. It came out too light, so I’ll go darker for the druids.

This week, I’m working on Nuala the Huntress.

March 28, 2011

Miniature Monday: Don’t Go Into the Woods

by Nate Birkholz

Circle Orboros represents the red in tooth, red in claw side of nature to be sure, and I am currently working on two of the more emblematic figures that embody this: Wurmwood, Tree of Fate and The Lord of the Feast. (Circle Orboros makes up for its lack of titular preposition by liberally applying them elsewhere.)

Wurmwood, Tree of RAWR!!!!!

Wurmwood is relatively straightforward to paint, though it has a lot of detail. The photo washes out the skulls around the base–the shading is much darker in person, but I will still need to deepen the shadows in the eye sockets. Painting all the ropes was getting fussy and I surrendered partway through the day. I have yet to field Cassius and Wurmwood, but am looking forward to the day I feel advanced enough to take on the challenge.

Om nom nom nom nom nom nom nom nom nom nom nom nom...

While Circle Orboros doesn’t have anything I’d call as much of a “crutch” or auto-include as the Choir or the Deathjack, The Lord of the Feast comes close, “bloody” close (har!).  I specifically started painting him to remove him from my battle bag and try something else with the four points. I’m still having trouble with the skin, drybrushing didn’t work out the way I wanted it to. I need to do a little more glazing and highlighting, the shading ended up too heavy-handed.