Friday, March 11, 2011

For Whom the Bell Tolls

The first model I bought for my skaven army was actually a Screaming Bell. I put it together and then let it stand there on the shelf, not sure whether or not it was even usable. I've been searching the web for reports on it's competitiveness ( is the even a word? ), but the result are vey inconclusive. The majority of people who has played it vows its crap and a little bit of people have an unhealthy love for it. So what do you make of that?

Anyway, I couldn't keep myself from painting yesterday and picked out my bell. Sitting there I realized I got to have it in my army - its just that cool. Nothing like a big ass construct to match the seers ego. I almost have it finished, though I thought I would try to justify its place in my army. After all you pay 200 points to stick your lvl.4 on a perch for all cannons to see.

So what does it do? And what consequenses does it have for building the rest of your list?

I'll start with the negatives. You actually pay 200 points to lock your seer in place in an unit and making him vulnerable for cannon fire etc. Even if you don't face cannons, if you just hang back with your seer and survive you'll not have justified the points. You'll have to use the bells all small quirks.

As for the positives.You actually get a 4up ward save and magic resistance 2. It means you are invulnerable to that pesky death magic. You also get a 18" leadership bubble which you may boost with a hiding bsb with standard of discipline to a formidable ld.8 - not that bad. Then of course you get to ring the bell. This is hard to value in points as you cannot count on getting what you want in the right time. Though a brief breakdown of what its most likely to do on 3 dice:

  • Cast the Scorch spell on a level of 5. -- This is huge. Such a good spell for free. The opponent would very much like to dispel it with two dice to not run out of power.
  • d3 st4 on every enemy within 24" and lets you attack with all the models in the bells unit in cc. -- This is ok, but situational, depending on what you face. Warriors will laugh att your puny attempt of harm.
  • d3 wounds on everything with t7 or more and destroy buildings on 4+. -- This is great! It serves as an additional defence against cannons and it hinders an enemy life wizard from casting +4 toughness around. If he do, whatch him be obliterated ( if your lucky )
  • Semi-probable are: Reroll ld within 24" and gaining extra attacks, move etc
All in all, there are good things there. A problem is that the first ring is only on one dice and is likely to move your unit d6". It could also be used to make some sneaky charges.

Let's continue. I categorize the next boon into the unit breaker category. Impact hits and huge footprint. 30 clanrats and the bell 5 wide is 11 ranks deep. A charge with the bell will very likely remove enemies steadfast. Try a combi-charge with some rat-ogres for some unit breaking action and to get fewer enemies attacking the seer.

The bell also is unbreakable. Though all it is good for is if you are about to receive a charge that could kill the seer, you can reform them your flank/rear and lose combat - reform from defeat and counter charge with rat ogres for example. You really need to minimize the turn spent in cc.

The bell also lets you see in 360 degrees. Great for when you turn up your flank, you can still see everything.

Now for the most important thing - the rest of your list. You need to have the bell in mind designing your list or else it will fare badly.

First up: Anti shooting in the form of gutter runners and storm banner. I also count the Hellpit to this category as tha main reason for getting one of those would be to draw fire from the grey seer.

Including the storm banner makes me reconsider warpfire throwers instead of ratling guns. As with storm banner you never really needs to fire until turn 3 - when the storm should have ceased.

You also need combat hitters. Hammer units. Though they only need to be small to bounce up that combat res, and with superior ranks you should break the enemy. These ar mainly to save your tarpitting units, but mainly to save the bell unit if stuck in combat. I will use 2 man ratogre units for this task as they are vicious.

Okok. Well hhow dou you equip your seer?

I'll go with skalm and power stone. Skalm for healing back wounds, which will be needed after both miscasts, warpstone tokens and combat. Power stone is for getting those extra power dice when you need it. I will go with rather plague heavy magic, as they have the best in-combat spells which is crucial ie wither and poison. Deathfrenzy is also a viable option. So when you are locked in combat you can bring your magic might to bear and get out. There's much magic to be feared, plague/13th/skitterleaping doomlock, so I'll count on getting out the opponents scroll early on and being able to gear up when needed.

So all in all I think clever use of the bell would pay off. Though by no means it would be as easy as just buy a souped up warlord for 200 points and point him at the enemy...

This will be interesting.

1 comment:

  1. "Though by no means it would be as easy as just buy a souped up warlord for 200 points and point him at the enemy..."

    Nothing's ever that easy. You wouldn't believe how many times I've had Queek Headtaker either shot out from under me or else summarily obliterated when his unit broke.