[WIP] Unclear Picture, Intention To Reverse Team

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Rizzle
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[WIP] Unclear Picture, Intention To Reverse Team

Post#1 » Apr 10 2017 11:16

Like a few others on the orbital, Shadow War was exactly the thing I needed to bring me out of a hobby hiatus. The team I'm working on are my first project in 2 years and I'm really enjoying the smaller scale to focus my efforts.

The kill team are the 'incident resolution' group of my overall cadre. For a lark I ran that through the Living Tau Xenolexiconon on this site. Combining kaara (picture) and da (darkness/abscence of light) gives a reasonable analogue to 'incident', j'cha is roughly a plan to reverse something and Fire Cast doctrine has a 6-12 strong unit organised as a la'rua (team).

Putting all that together I get Da'kaara J’Cha La'rua, or literally the Unclear Picture, Intention To Reverse Team. I'm pretty sure I watched that Saturday morning cartoon!

On to the models.
Shas'ui Driftstalker features the only notable conversion - he's pinched Longstrike's arm! I like to imagine it being a rugged and fucntional bionic replacement for a limb lost on a previous tour of duty but really it's just because I love the Longstrike model.
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Group shot after construction, guide coat and Altioc Blue fatigues:
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I'm modelling my cadets with the antenna and left arm of the Fire Warrior Strike/Breacher kit without the iconic guard. In fiction, I imagine that part of being promoted to full Pathfinder status involves earning the left arm pauldron :smile:
A close up on one of my two cadets and the leader, in context:
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I'm slowly chewing through the armour and gun details on the individuals. Or rather, I'm continuing to pay for my rash decision 15 years ago to use white armour plates on my cadre. Here's Drifstalker ready for clean up/details/basing:
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Finally, a pair of drone shots. The model on the left was painted in 2015 and is the only model 'borrowed' from my exisiting collection:
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I cleaned up the drones ready for unit markings this morning - pictures to follow! I'm really happy with how well a crisply painted drone lifts the look of the whole team.

My intention is to use the same unit markings and heavy snow bases as my core Cadre, not least so that when I get around to repainting my 2006-era metal Pathfinders they can swap in for 'fully equipped' veterans mid-campaign. That also means I can counts-as in Special Operatives very easily - I used one of these chaps as a Stealth Team Shas'Ui with fusion blaster, for example:
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And that's it for now! My goal is to carve out time between work and my marvellous 8 month old to get these guys ready for the store campaign on Friday. That gives me the scraps of 4 days to work with...

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Panzer
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Re: [WIP] Unclear Picture, Intention To Reverse Team

Post#2 » Apr 10 2017 11:59

Haha can't believe how similar your and my Leader look. :D You'll see once I opened my own WIP thread. ;)

I like your color scheme! Are you going to give them a nice ice/snow themed base as well since they're all wearing snow camo and everything? I'm a sucker for snow themed bases.
....okay just read that you are going to do just that. :P

Your winged Firewarrior look really nice as well. Would make for great Vespid count-as!

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Tael
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Re: [WIP] Unclear Picture, Intention To Reverse Team

Post#3 » Apr 10 2017 05:25

Wow.. serious progression :D

Liking your thoughts and interesting reading of the Lexicon - solid idea.

Agree on the painted drone effect, that chunk of bold surface area really brings home the colour scheme quickly.

Quality stuff, hopefully both our modelling/painting shall see success reversing incidents ;)

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Re: [WIP] Unclear Picture, Intention To Reverse Team

Post#4 » Apr 11 2017 04:51

Panzer: Thank you! My first stab at a colour scheme tried to riff more closely to a Star Wars Stormtroope. Getting that pattern to look good on Crisis and vehicle armour lead me to develop the 3-tone pattern loosely based on Swedish M90 camoflage.

What you see here is that style coming full circle - this is the infantry scheme that better matches my Crisis and vehicle armour. It's the little things, like using the same storm blue tone on the fatigues that 'pops' on the armour. Once this team is done I'll organise my existing cadre into a proper project log at they are woefully incomplete right now.

The winged Fire Warriors are indeed my counts-as Vespid! I love the fiction and rules for them, but the available models are painfully static. I built them for the ATT 'Confusion' Challenge in 2015 using a kit bash of Pathfinder, Strike and Stealth Team parts with Longstrike's XV02 suit as the Sting Wing. If I were to add to them I'd use the tasty tasty pulse blasters in place of the modified carbines, though.


Tael: Progress has definitely been helped by having a sharp deadline! I'm really keen to get this team table ready by Friday. I'm also hoping to have better luck Advance-ing than I did in our practise games. By the end of those missions Shas'Ui Driftstalker benefited from +1 S and +1 A ;)

It's really odd to be building and painting up Pathfinders without markerlights, too!

Speaking of progress, I've managed to get 3 of the infantry ready for squad markings and snow basing now. 3.5 to go! (eep)

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Last edited by Rizzle on Apr 17 2017 05:08, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: [WIP] Unclear Picture, Intention To Reverse Team

Post#5 » Apr 13 2017 12:13

Very crisp and I have to say, always admire folks who go with White. Looking forward to your feedback on how the competition goes man; all the effort; lets get some pulse rounds down range :D

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Re: [WIP] Unclear Picture, Intention To Reverse Team

Post#6 » Apr 13 2017 07:18

Edging perilously close to table-ready completion! Aside from lathering on thick snow, there are 2 not-quite-white troopers to finish before I can focus on tidying up & further sharpening.
The squad markings have a haphazard pattern but are unique to each model. I'd quite like to repaint a few of them once the whole unit is sorted. Any opinions on giving shoulder markings to the helmet-less leader?

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The bases are trimmed in Shadow Grey - I really like how it 'pops' against hard white and blue tones. It's no longer in the GW paint range, but that is a problem I can ignore for half a pot.

As for the games, my intention is to see how things go trying to grab 1-2 Guerrilla skills early before shifting to the Shooting/Stealth lists. For kit, I'm hoping to grab full sets of markerlights and pistols ready for action. If I'm lucky/foolish enough to get Scavenge after game one for that +50pt to Recruit/Rearm I'm going to be very reckless with the recon drone :D

I'm not sure Scavenge isn't a trap, but the thought of getting pulse pistols on the team that much earlier is very appealing. Hopefully I'll be able to give the idea a thumbs up or down soon.

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Re: [WIP] Unclear Picture, Intention To Reverse Team

Post#7 » Apr 13 2017 08:15

Fair thoughts on the game strategy. As for your leader, he has a whopping big aerial you could decorate? :D Rather that then a small shoulder detail easily missed :)

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Re: [WIP] Unclear Picture, Intention To Reverse Team

Post#8 » Apr 13 2017 08:58

going for scavenger sounds like a good plan. Being reckless with the recon drone, well it does have the same range as our carbines, but it is a bit tougher and better save. I wish the kit came with two recon drones so I could get a second one, but the pistols are really only useful in melee which we should be trying to avoid at all costs. I agree on the stealth skills, they might help us out a lot.

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Re: [WIP] Unclear Picture, Intention To Reverse Team

Post#9 » Apr 14 2017 04:49

The Recon Drone also hits a lot worse though.
Having faced AM yesterday with my CSM and seeing how easily they can hit even things in cover with their BS4 while having access to Misc gear that gives +1BS and reduces cover by 1 makes me re-think really hard how good BS3 or BS2 is in SW:A.
What good does it to you to have 2d3 shots (4 on average) if you hit only on 5s/6s/7s when the enemy hits you on 3s/4s/5s (depending on WS and cover). One hit is enough to pin you and having more shots doesn't matter if you can't shoot. On top of that you have only 18" range while the enemy most likely has 24" or more range.
I don't think the Recon Drone is as devastating as it at first sounds but I still take one with me for raid missions. Drones only have I2 in SW:A as well but at least it has the Scanning Array were you can re-roll the d6 to determine the spotting distance.

What the Recon Drone does really good is stopping an enemy in his tracks when he wants to assault one of your guys though.

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Re: [WIP] Unclear Picture, Intention To Reverse Team

Post#10 » Apr 15 2017 06:21

The store campaign has begun! Whilst it was billed as an event by the local GW, it turned to be less organised than that implied. Rather than having a table dedicated to Shadow Warmageddon and a rough schedule, we were expected to find time/space to fit in the games as we could.

Which is a pity!
It does mean I got a little more time to paint, but there was only time for 2 games. Still, I got to play with the team and had fun doing so.

Here's a gratuitous glamour shot with the team. This is not a recommended formation!
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Game One: I got very lucky here.

The Raid as the attacker, with 6 of my team lining up against 2 defenders. Between the available cover, markerlights and the extra range of a pulse accelerator I was able to line up uncontestable shots on the bunker entrance and destroyed it in the first turn. To be clear, that was lucky - I was expecting to be dug in for 3 turns to get the job done.
I suspect the trick with this mission in general is deciding whether to hit the objective & run, or down all the patrol team with superior positioning and hope for a failed Bottle test. Sneaking around with 18" guns vs I4 is uncomfortable, though.

Shas'Ui Driftstalker being commandery
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Cadet Seven, whose markerlight let the magic happen
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Cadet Six thought she'd be safe here. The bolter round to the chest on evac taught her otherwise, though it turns out What Didn't Kill Her Made Her Stronger...
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Game Two: A much tighter scuffle, this time on the Scavengers! mission with 6 loot counters.

Facing down 5 scouts in camo gear with red dots, photo visors and telescopic sights is a little scary, but small model count elite kill teams look like a fair match up for the Pathfinders. My foe was able to reach most of the board with a Marksman sniper and a heavy bolter chap but my firepower dominated the midfield where the loot sat.

The Scout Sargeant Inflitrated up to high ground in the centre to contest the loot but I was able to get the first turn. In brief, my 3 drones made a play to grab half the loot and bug out but where overwatched and shot down to pinned/down but hung on thanks to their relative durability. The brave Sargeant could have used Dive to run and hide to extract 2 loot counters fairly safely. Instead he chose to apply pressure to my drones; his reward was a swift Out of Action from Thumper's ion rifle.
After taking Down another loot-grabber, a failed bottle check at Ld8 (thanks to the loss of their Leader) the field was mine.

The heavy firepower of the scout team
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As an aside, I'm ambivalent on the use of stylised/scenic bases here; I like the effect in general, and we agreed to be reasonable about cover, treating them as though they weren't raised 1-2". It does make it harder to judge the firing lines 'at a glance', an issue compounded by the monotone grey.

Lots of Hiding and skulking for good covering fire...
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Finally, some notes on how the metagame bits went for those that might like to know.
Spoiler!
As I likely won't be able to play many games in this campaign, I chose not to go for skills in the Guerrilla table.
A lot of the strength of those skills is in giving a team tools or consistency over several matches.
Instead, when my Leader rolled a skillup I picked the Shooting table. Given the choice of Ammo Hound, an ability that you can 'beat' by buying a second carbine for 30 points, and Gunslinger I chose the latter. Not my preferred choice for the Leader, but it gives him a better chance of pinning on Supporting Fire, among other things.

His Advance from the second game brought either +M or +I. Move is tempting, but the default Leader aura allows
friendlies within 6" to use that I3 for pinning tests as long as he is on his feet.

Finally, the Recon Drone discovered that What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Stronger... and aggreed to reroll results of 5-9 as they have no skill table access. So now I have a W2, just as the Fio intended.

I came away with 5 promethium caches to my name, too. Given that I won't be able to play enough games to contest the leaderboard, I may go all-out and purchase more kit and a special operative going forward.


No conclusion yet as there's too much to dwell on. When is it right to press forward? Am I using Hiding effectively?

Two things I have learned, though!
First, it is generally worth declaring every model that can Hide as hidden in the movement phase, even if you plan to shoot. Twice I was lucky enough to kill the target with my first shot leaving the team with no option to shoot. The only cost to this plan is that should you want someone to draw fire you can't voluntarily "unhide" without something to shoot.
Second, it's a lot easier to play the game with good, clear tokens indicating statuses - to the point I'll be marking opponents' models even if they are comfortable not doing so. I found it hard enough keeping the action of the mere 15 models on the board, it matters so much precisely where they are and their state that tracking it entirely in memory is going to lead to mistakes.

Finally, I have said elsewhere that I believe the Tau list is relatively under-powered. I still believe that, but I do appreciate better now that improving it could really hurt elite lists.

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Tael
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Re: [WIP] Unclear Picture, Intention To Reverse Team

Post#11 » Apr 15 2017 10:37

So now I have a W2, just as the Fio intended.

Yess..yesss my pretty. Muhaha ahem..

Interesting observations - the hidden idea especially, essentially choosing when to engage.

As for hurting Elite lists, you mean that suddenly having seven tau running around with simple upgrades could be slight overkill?

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Re: [WIP] Unclear Picture, Intention To Reverse Team

Post#12 » Apr 15 2017 02:27

Tael wrote:As for hurting Elite lists, you mean that suddenly having seven tau running around with simple upgrades could be slight overkill?


Pretty much! It all boils down to the pulse carbine having a stat line at the level of a 'light' Special Weapon.

Lets say you add some conditional but readily available access to BS4 to the list and do a little back-of-the-envelope calculation. We'll take a solitary pulse accelerator drone to counter camo cloaks, and assume one of the gang is using a markerlight perhaps with photo-visors to taste. After a little tense (and hopefully exciting!) infiltration work, scampering from cover to cover and hiding where possible, we have 7-8 shots, making ~5 hits, ~4 wounds, 3-4 injury rolls.

Broadly speaking, those numbers would hold for anything from a guardsman in flak armour right up to power armour - basically, everyone who isn't a Harlequin. This is a relatively fair-to-poor volume of fire against larger teams but against the elite that's truly punishing.

Now, Scouts have easy/conditional access to BS5 from either close range boltguns or red dot sights (or, of course, both!). This is tempered some what in the early to mid campaign by their smaller numbers. If they bring a bigger gun they can be as few as 5, if they bring fewer toys they might start at 6-7.

This is why I reckon the designers were reserved with Tau. Push them too hard and they could easily dominate. Take away the power of the pulse weaponry and they don't "feel" like Tau. I'll share my thoughts on small changes in a separate thread as they don't quite belong in discourse of Shadow War proper.

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Panzer
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Re: [WIP] Unclear Picture, Intention To Reverse Team

Post#13 » Apr 15 2017 05:41

Rizzle wrote:
Tael wrote:As for hurting Elite lists, you mean that suddenly having seven tau running around with simple upgrades could be slight overkill?


Pretty much! It all boils down to the pulse carbine having a stat line at the level of a 'light' Special Weapon.

Lets say you add some conditional but readily available access to BS4 to the list and do a little back-of-the-envelope calculation. We'll take a solitary pulse accelerator drone to counter camo cloaks, and assume one of the gang is using a markerlight perhaps with photo-visors to taste. After a little tense (and hopefully exciting!) infiltration work, scampering from cover to cover and hiding where possible, we have 7-8 shots, making ~5 hits, ~4 wounds, 3-4 injury rolls.

Broadly speaking, those numbers would hold for anything from a guardsman in flak armour right up to power armour - basically, everyone who isn't a Harlequin. This is a relatively fair-to-poor volume of fire against larger teams but against the elite that's truly punishing.

Now, Scouts have easy/conditional access to BS5 from either close range boltguns or red dot sights (or, of course, both!). This is tempered some what in the early to mid campaign by their smaller numbers. If they bring a bigger gun they can be as few as 5, if they bring fewer toys they might start at 6-7.

This is why I reckon the designers were reserved with Tau. Push them too hard and they could easily dominate. Take away the power of the pulse weaponry and they don't "feel" like Tau. I'll share my thoughts on small changes in a separate thread as they don't quite belong in discourse of Shadow War proper.

Your math is a bit off though. Photo-Visor reduces cover by 1, so even if you ignore the complete cover via Markerlight (which is kinda redundant) you'd still hit only 50% of your shots. So if you have 7-8 shots it would be 3.5-4 hits, 2-2.5 wounds, etc. ;)

Also yes Pulse Carbines ARE devastating. The problem we have though is getting in range and if we are in range to hit. Markerlights are great and everythng but ultimately it's the same thing as having BS5 vs targets in hard cover or BS4 vs targets in soft cover and nothing against targets who aren't even in cover. While natural BS5/4 would also work against running modificators etc.
So we'd always be at a disadvantage against shooty lists who can push their team to BS4/5 as easily as AM/SM/CSM while having more range than we do. Even with a Pulse Accelerator Drone they just need to buy a cheap 5p Camo gear to outrange us again with their basic weapons. Especially against Marines our Carbines aren't more killy than their Bolter in a vs scenario and while AM weapons aren't as deadly they can just pin us for days with their numbers.

I never doubted Carbines are strong, the problem is delivering them.

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Re: [WIP] Unclear Picture, Intention To Reverse Team

Post#14 » Apr 15 2017 06:00

Panzer wrote:Your math is a bit off though. Photo-Visor reduces cover by 1, so even if you ignore the complete cover via Markerlight (which is kinda redundant) you'd still hit only 50% of your shots. So if you have 7-8 shots it would be 3.5-4 hits, 2-2.5 wounds, etc. ;)


Apologies if this wasn't clear. I meant that I was assuming we could obtain BS4 conditionally and arguing that adding this to the current Pathfinder Kill Team would make it perilously close to a hard counter to (non-Harlequin) elite armies. I am assuming that elite implies low body count, but by the late campaign a well developed team wouldn't fear this theoretical BS4 Pathfinder team overly much.
One Pathfinder allocated to markerlighting (plus some number of photo-visors) covers hitting one target cleanly (plus being able to hit others without using a full fighter's shooting just for marker support). Call it a 'median fair case' for an idealised battlefield :smile:

I fully agree with you that the more troubling element is range, with a slice of range+survivability thrown in.Pulse Accelerator Drones costing a whole warm body against the limit of 10 stings in the context of camo cloaks.

I'm neatening up my proposed tweaks for a friendly campaign to bring them to a suitable standard for the Experimental Rules Forum, but here's one idea as a preview: What if markerlights negated the benefit of camo gear, in addition to their usual effect?
It's a costly way to ignore a cheap upgrade, and it's an upgrade that disproportionately hurts Pathfinders - they are the midrange shooty list, with a single long range weapon and no extreme range weapons.

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Re: [WIP] Unclear Picture, Intention To Reverse Team

Post#15 » Apr 16 2017 02:58

Rizzle wrote:
Panzer wrote:Your math is a bit off though. Photo-Visor reduces cover by 1, so even if you ignore the complete cover via Markerlight (which is kinda redundant) you'd still hit only 50% of your shots. So if you have 7-8 shots it would be 3.5-4 hits, 2-2.5 wounds, etc. ;)


Apologies if this wasn't clear. I meant that I was assuming we could obtain BS4 conditionally and arguing that adding this to the current Pathfinder Kill Team would make it perilously close to a hard counter to (non-Harlequin) elite armies. I am assuming that elite implies low body count, but by the late campaign a well developed team wouldn't fear this theoretical BS4 Pathfinder team overly much.
One Pathfinder allocated to markerlighting (plus some number of photo-visors) covers hitting one target cleanly (plus being able to hit others without using a full fighter's shooting just for marker support). Call it a 'median fair case' for an idealised battlefield :smile:

I fully agree with you that the more troubling element is range, with a slice of range+survivability thrown in.Pulse Accelerator Drones costing a whole warm body against the limit of 10 stings in the context of camo cloaks.

I'm neatening up my proposed tweaks for a friendly campaign to bring them to a suitable standard for the Experimental Rules Forum, but here's one idea as a preview: What if markerlights negated the benefit of camo gear, in addition to their usual effect?
It's a costly way to ignore a cheap upgrade, and it's an upgrade that disproportionately hurts Pathfinders - they are the midrange shooty list, with a single long range weapon and no extreme range weapons.


I see. My bad. :D

Dunno. I think I'd just give Pathfinders access to Pulse Rifles and Combat Armor. Change the Carbine profile so you get +1 to hit at short range and maybe the Pulse Rifle -1 at short range so both have their place in a team, re-name Pathfinder to Fire Caste Warrior so it can represent both, Strike Teams and Pathfinder.
That's all I'd change tbh. I'd love seeing Sustained Fire on Carbines but I think that might be a bit much for a basic weapon with S5 Mod -2.

For some additional flavor maybe add Pulse Blaster for VERY short range very deadly shooting, but I think the Ion Rifle kinda covers that already.

Another Idea would be to give the Carbine some kind of grenade launcher profile. The fluff says Pathfinder shoot Photon grenades at their target with their Carbines to shoot them down easier. So maybe giving Photon grenades a large blast profile that does no damage (but getting hit means getting pinned) and the Carbine the ability to shoot those grenades at 18" instead of shooting regularly. For some upgrade cost of course.

The Pulse Blaster and the Carbine/Grenade Launcher are two things that would be fluffy and kinda helpful but definitely not needed though imo. Just to give us some more options.

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Re: [WIP] Unclear Picture, Intention To Reverse Team

Post#16 » Apr 17 2017 05:22

Progress has been stalled somewhat over the Easter weekend. My new goal is to get the team fully cleaned up and based ready for Wednesday evening games.

I really struggled to pick out individuals via the unique helmet markings so I've added a base 4 tally mark to their rear armour plate. I'm aiming for something subtle enough to not look 'functional' whilst still clear enough to read whilst on the table.

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From left to right I have Shas'Ui Driftstalker, Specialist Thumper, All Day, Double Down, Quickstep, Cadet Six and Cadet Seven.

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And with Cadet Seven finished.

I've stripped the unique helmet markings of and am experimenting with a squad mark:

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Tael
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Re: [WIP] Unclear Picture, Intention To Reverse Team

Post#17 » Apr 17 2017 08:13

Hey that's a clever idea - liking the reverse chest marking for unique members and the helm having overall unit marking.

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Re: [WIP] Unclear Picture, Intention To Reverse Team

Post#18 » May 17 2017 04:29

Righto!

After a jolly little break I've finally found time to photograph the completed team. Or rather, the team so far, as I now need another few models in the same style to fill out to 10+3 :D

First, the canny Por'vre directing the session arranged for some 'action' shots.
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Looks like the team forgot to shake the snow of their boots...

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This marks my first unit painted after a long break from the hobby. I'd be very interested in any comments or criticism as I am thinking of using this style across all my infantry. It's relatively quick to paint and has a 'cartoonish' look that appeals to me.

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