Friday, July 15, 2011

Oh Greatswords and The Eternal Winter Waaagh

The Eternal Winter WaaaghAt the most recent Warhammer Fantasy tournament at the local game shop, I managed to claim the title of Best General. I feel like this particular tournament win is a personal achievement for myself. Now I have been to a variety of different tournaments in several cities with various different pts limits. I usually manage to climb my way to the top of ladder, but normally I only ever make it to a 4th or 3rd place spot. But this time around I have claimed the BG spot and at the local club no less, but thats not all. This time around our local shop has given out personal trophys hand made by a local player(Ian) in addition to other cash prizes.

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Each Position(Best Overall, General, Painted) recieved a trophy with an identical design. Ian, is a machinest meaning he was able to cut these trophys from metal and added magnetic face plates for the hammers and title. Each trophy was hand painted by Jason Richards a local Golden Demon winner and he just put a simple but shinny colour scheme on the trophy.


Oh Greatswords  

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The other part of the prize was an in store gift certificate, which was pretty sweet, but was restricted to Warhammer only products. Now there was tons of choices for me to choose from: I could have bought more stormvermin to fully flesh out the unit. I could have bought any of the new skaven kits (Hellpit, Cannon, Starter kit etc..) But what I decided to do was to instead buy something that I would normally never buy and I picked up 2 greatsword boxes(One free and the other was discounted).
I have always loved the idea behind greatswords, both on the table top and in the fluff. The concept of the empire having professional soldiers that are the best of the best and worked their way up through the ranks, has always been a favorite theme of mine. So why haven't I bought the greatswords until now? You'd think someone who recites fluff would have bought these years ago. I reality though wanting to use greatswords and actually purchasing them has always been quite a challenge up till now.

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Let me start with alittle exposition. During 7th edition greatswords were an alright unit, but usually their pts cost compared to that of any of the empire core troops was significantly higher with little gain. Swordsmen, Spearmen, and Halberdiers at their most expensive are 6pts. A greatsword is 10pts. For that cost it was always better to get the unbreakable crazy guys for the same points. Sure they would die, but at least you knew that for at least a couple turns they could hold a unit in place. Although greatswords had stubborn, it was pretty useless against overwhelming fear opponents and you would have needed to invest in other methods to keep the unit in one piece, typically with a warrior priest carrying the icon of magnus. The other real problem I had with this unit is that their killing potential was significantly less against most opponents if they didn't get the charge. You usually only got six attacks, and most of the time the enemy could kill off a couple and this unit would be an expensive pincushin. If thats all this unit was good for why not take swordsmen instead, at least they are cheaper and are just as durable?

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To make matters worse for the greatswords, the models at the time were metal(.... :p) and costed $25 for 5....no thanks, I'll buy 10 swordsmen for that price, oh and their plastic. So for a while I never even considered them; then the newest plastic kit arrived and to say the least it was in plastic and is a very detailed kit, but instead of buying 5 metal models for $25, you could buy 10 plastic models for $50 ish? Sure they are now plastic, but isn't that the same issue? So for obvious reasons it was still 7th so I never really cared about the kit.

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But then 8th came along and totally revolutionized the empire army. Sure the artillary are still the most flashy part of it, but suddenly now your seeing Halberdiers!!! I thought it would take at least another book to make that unit useful. On that same point, greatswords needed to be looked at again, finally the unit performs the way they should, playing bag pipes and smacking around other infantry. Through the Step-up rules and additional attacks, a large unit can really grind out the enemy and make up for being 10pts.

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Now the issue of the plastic kits price, this unfortunately is unavoidable so using the prize money I bought the kit, and frankly I couldn't have been more wrong about it. As I was putting the models together I quickly realized that there is a great deal of extra heads, Swords and body armour. With 2 kits of greatswords I had enough parts and bits to covert at least 20 models. So a day later I went to the store and bought the always useful milita kit(Which also had 5 greatswords) and I was able to create 41 greatsword models. It would appear that GW was ahead of the game, knowing that people would convert models with cheaper kits and provided a significant amount of bits to actually allow someone to create a reasonable amount of greatswords. one greatswords kit combined with the milita kit can create 30 unique greatswords. After converting these models, I still have extra parts and swords...not too shabby.

Till Next Time

Adam Tremblay

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