Weekly update: A battle report of sorts and some pictures of shiny models

In this installment of our more or less weekly series on how to lose friends and alienate people, I am going to tell you about a game I had last Friday, as well as showing you some miniatures I have not painted, which might be a good thing for the miniatures.

Having spent the last two weeks in teacher training workshops that were rather dull or helping people register for courses, which was dull as well, I finally had an afternoon off last Friday and my wife, being the loveliest of loveliest she is, told me that I should grab my toys and go play with my friends, so of course I did what every loyal husband should do and did what I was told to do.

I played a game against Simon Elsen, who some of you might know or at least have heard of before. In fact, his miniatures have graced the pages of White Dwarf Daily or whatever the website is called these days and he might even have been featured in GW’s porn mag, Warhammer Visions (I have heard that publication will end in December, if so good riddance). And he won Armies on Parade 2013 in Germany with his Necron display, the Return of the Gods. But enough with the name-dropping and star-fucking for today.

We decided to play 2.000 points using Maelstrom of War missions. I can’t remember the name of the mission, though I think it has something to do with escalation or escalating or something of the sort. It is the one where you draw one objective card in turn 1, two in 2, three in 3 and so forth. You get the picture.

I played my Dark Eldar, as it would be my last opportunity to roll with them before the new codex comes out this weekend, although that one too seems to be a bit of a letdown. My list looked like this:

 

Combined Arms detachment with 2 Primary Detachments

 

The Baron von und zu Sathonyx (Because you might as well play with all the advantages you have if you play Dark Eldar. We will miss him)

14 Hellions: Helliarch with Venom Blade (Combat Drugs where +1 Strength)

1 Haemonculus: Warlord (-1 to enemy reserve rolls), Liquifier, Scissorhands (Joins the Hellions to give them a Pain Token during deployment, then immediately leaves the unit to hide somewhere, donating the token to them)

1 Haemonculus: Liquifier, Scissorhands

4 Incubi: Venom with 2 Splinter Cannons

1 Haemonculus: Liquifier, Scissorhands

4 Incubi: Venom with 2 Splinter Cannons

5 Kabalite Warriors, Venom with 2 Splinter Cannons

5 Kabalite Warriors, Venom with 2 Splinter Cannons, Blaster

5 Kabalite Warriors, Venom with 2 Splinter Cannons, Blaster

5 Kabalite Warriors, Venom with 2 Splinter Cannons, Blaster

10 Wracks: Acothyst with Scissorhands, Raider

Ravager with 3 Dark Lances

Ravager with 3 Dark Lances

Ravager with 3 Disintegrators

Razorwing with Splinter Cannon and 2 Dark Lances, 4 Monoscythe Missiles (the starter ones)

 

He played a Tyranid Primary Detachment with a Bioblast Node Detachment on the side.

His army contained:

Hive Tyrant: Twin-Linked Devourers with Brainleech Ammo, Electroshock Grubs, Wings, Warlord (one extra objective card in turn 1)

Hive Tyrant: Twin-Linked Devourers with Brainleech Ammo, Electroshock Grubs, Wings

Malanthrope

Malanthrope (the cheesy git, his entire army had a 2+ cover save in turn 1 as they all hid in ruins)

3 Ripper Swarms

3 Ripper Swarms

3 Ripper Swarms

Exocrine

Mawloc

3 Biovores

 

Bioblast Node (the formation where every unit in synapse range of the Warriors gains a re-roll of all 1s to wound I think. Maybe also 1s to hit, but all his guns were twin-linked anyway)

3 Tyranid Warriors: Venom Cannon, 2 Deathspitters and some Lash Whips & Boneswords

1 Carnifex: 2 Twin-Linked Devourers with Brainleech Ammo

1 Carnifex: 2 Twin-Linked Devourers with Brainleech Ammo

1 Carnifex: 2 Twin-Linked Devourers with Brainleech Ammo

1 Tyrannofex: Acid Spray, Electroshock Grubs

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Yup, the guy can paint.

 

In other words, he had ALL the monstrous creatures and they all had a 2+ cover save whereas I had ALL the poison.

We both wanted Night-fighting, although I initially said I was not sure I wanted it, then I remembered that my whole army was immune to it. It has been a while since I last played my Dark Eldar it would appear. So as we both wanted it, we decided to get it automatically. He won the roll to deploy first, but decided he did not want to start and rather be the last one to score. He had also won the roll to choose deployment zones and had chosen the one on the right as it had two large ruins, one on either side of that table edge. He also chose not to Seize the Initiative for that reason.

Deployment from the Dark Eldar side, I deployed the Hellions centrally and the Venoms around them, with the two Incubi Venoms on the flanks to threaten a scissor move. Another deployment shotAnd one more.

My deployment in 3 shaky pictures

As you can see from the pictures, I deployed spread out across the entire table, reasoning that my entire force had a minimum speed of 12 and if necessary an 18” flat-out move to redeploy. I wanted to keep anything he placed on the left (his right) busy by only setting up a token force of 2 Venoms full of dudes and a Venoms full of Incubi on that flank with a Ravager behind them, reasoning that I could back away to the centre with my Venoms whilst still peppering him with Splinter fire. The Ravager would hang back and fire 3 Lance shots at whoever got out of that ruin first. In the meantime, my remaining force would assault the right ruin and overwhelm the forces there, then maybe swing left and try to take out some more guys in a crossfire. I knew that apart from his two flyers and his Rippers who were in reserves, he had no unit that could move more than 6” in the movement phase, so I would try to play to that advantage to keep the majority of his guys out of the game as long as possible.

I forgot to make pictures of his deployment, but he deployed as expected, putting the 3 Warriors and 3 Carnifexes on the left with a Malanthrope and a Hive Tyrant, so on the flank I wanted to avoid. The ruin I wanted to assault contained his second Tyrant and Malanthrope, as well as his Biovores, Tyrannofex and Exocrine. The Mawloc and the Rippers would deep-strike in. This not only confirmed my expectations, but he actually set up his forces in a way that meant that his rapid-firing Carnifexes, which would be the most dangerous for me due to the sheer mass of fire they could generate, would be on the flank I could avoid the easiest. Of course, I could have tried the same manoeuvre if he had inverted his deployment, but that would have been more difficult to execute as my Hellions were committed to the right and would have had some difficulties redeploying without being drowned in Devourer fire.

 

Turn 1: Dark Eldar

As intended, I surged forward on the right and managed to get two Ravagers and three Venoms in range of the Exocrine, as well as the majority of the Hellions. On the left, I decided to back away slowly, but still keeping at least the Venoms in Splinter Cannon range of the centre-most Carnifex. We decided that he could do the old ‘toe in cover for cover save’ move as neither of us had a rulebook at hand (yes, children, let this be a warning, always bring your rulebook, even if you go to a game store). Turns out that nowadays you have to be actually obscured unless it is a forest. Luckily, the rules decided to punish him for that and brothers got got. In fact, I managed to kill both the Exocrine on the right and the Carnifex on the left by sheer virtue of throwing so many poisoned shots at them that 1s were bound to happen and happen they did. He rolled a metric fuckton of 1s to be honest, but I believe that if we had played with the correct cover rules for ruins, i.e. you actually have to be behind a wall and not just scratching the base of the ruin with the back of your base, he would have lost both creatures on average dice anyway. My objective for the round was ‘Psychological Warfare’ and he unfortunately had a non-fearless unit in the biovores, so I could not replace it for free (we house-ruled that if you cannot fulfil a card’s mission because the enemy army does not contain a target, you get to replace it for free) and had to wait until the end of the turn.

2014-09-26 13.40.162014-09-26 13.47.10

2014-09-26 13.40.26

My right surging forward. No, that Incubi wasn’t kicked out of the transport, he is just a marker that the unit is in there.

Turn 1: Tyranids

His two Tyrants took off and flew towards me, whilst the rest of his army stayed in cover. His psychic phase was not too spectacular, he managed to give two units Feel No Pain, but I cancelled the second Catalyst and I had enough targets that I could just ignore the ones with Feel No Pain and shot other ones. He also failed to hit with a Warp Lance. In his shooting phase, we again should have read the rulebook, as we both thought that weapons with Haywire could both roll for their normal attack and Haywire against vehicles. Honestly, that had never come up before for me as vehicles usually don’t care that much about an S5 hit, at least Eldar ones don’t. Turns out that this is very good against Dark Eldar vehicles and he managed to glance 5 of my vehicles with the two Haywire flamers.  For the rest, his fire was disappointing as his Biovores dropped off target and would have only been able to charge the Hellions who would have murdered them with their overwatch and him still rolling poorly and me above average for my cover saves thanks to Night-Fighting. He also only managed to score one objective point for sitting on one objective.

2014-09-26 13.47.05

His left flank sticking to the ruin apart from a dive-bombing Tyrant.

2014-09-26 13.47.22

The same on the right.

 

Turn 2: Dark Eldar

My Razorwing came in and zoomed in on the Flyrant on the right who did not have FNP. I managed to drop it to one wound, then failed to hit it with the 2 Ravagers and 2 Venoms. My Hellions shot the Tyrannofex some more, then charged in and managed to drop it to one wound, thanks to having a ton of S5 attacks.  Nobody shot the two Spore Mines, in hindsight I should have let one of the Venoms do that. The Incubi’s Venom gets closer to the building to charge the Biovores. Someone finishes off that Malanthrope after it had taken one wound last round. I guess I must have split fire here. Killing the Malanthrope was important as it could have given the Flyrant a 2+ Jink if necessary.

On the left, I backed away further, whilst pouring more fire into his lines. Unfortunately, he rolled better now and I failed to do much damage, only scoring one wound on the Flyrant and one on a Carnifex. It was to be expected though as most of his stuff still had a 2+ cover save. I picked up an objective point for my Warlord hiding in a ruin on objective 2.

 2014-09-26 14.20.45

2014-09-26 14.20.48

Razorwing coming in to shoot the Tyrant. Also, my Hellions engage the Tyrannofex.

Turn 2: Tyranids

His reserves turned up apart from one Ripper Swarm, one deepstruck in the far left corner on the opposite side of the building my guys were hiding behind, close to objective 3. His other Swarms landed on top of the central building next to objective 6. His Mawloc wanted to hit 3 of my vehicles in the centre, but scattered off.

2014-09-26 14.20.42

And a Mawloc pops up, missing my vehicles who were feeling really uncomfortable for a minute there.

On the left, my last vehicles dropped and my last two surviving Incubi ran away like the big girl’s blouses they are.

2014-09-26 14.20.40

The Tyrant continues to lay the smackdown on my vehicles.

The Spore Mines charge my Hellions who survive and then kill the Tyrannofex before turning to the centre to attack the rear of the left flank. The right is now officially mine as the Biovores will be charged by the Incubi and Haemonculus and the Flyrant is the only model left on that flank. The Flyrant has flown over the small ruin and killed the Wrack’s Raider as well as glancing the Ravager with Lances twice.  

Turn 3: Dark Eldar

The Incubi get out and run into the ruins to charge the Biovores and take objective one the Biovores sit on. Unfortunately, they fail to wound and tie combat. I move to contest objective 6 and swing around to shoot the right Flyrant with my Ravagers and Venoms. of them manage to hit him.

The Hellions shoot two wounds off a Carnifex, then charge it, but the Baron eats the only overwatch hit and promptly dies to Instant Death. Yay! They manage to drop it to one wound, but are rather exposed now as there are still 3 Tyranid Warriors ready to charge them. I really relied on the Baron making a 2+ save here. He died, as he is wont to do.

On the left, I continue to hide and try to delay as long as possible. My shooting causes a couple of wounds on the remaining Carnifex, but don’t kill him. Of course, if the Hellions had caused that last wound, they would have been golden to consolidate into the ruin, then jump out again and take out another monster or the Warriors. I guess they wanted to tell me that I have to come to terms with them no longer being viable once the Baron is gone.

In the centre, the Wracks charge the Mawloc and wound it a couple of times. It then fails its Hit and Run check, though that was bound to happen as it is only Ini 3 and so will fail the test half the time.

2014-09-26 15.03.30

The Incubi attack the Biovores, the Ravagers turn around to hit the Tyrant and one Venom drops on the building to contest the objective on top.

Turn 3: Tyranids

My left flank collapses as the Hellions are murdered by the Tyranid Warriors and Carnifex and the other Carnifex and Swarms take out the last Warriors holding that flank. On the central building the Rippers and the right Flyrant (who flew up there) take out the contesting Warriors and Venoms as I still can’t make a 5+ Invulnerable. The other Flyrant tries to kill my Warlord, but the cover save and FNP leave him on one wound. 3 Ripper Swarm burst out of the ground next to him, but he is not too bothered.

I kill off the Biovores and the Mawloc, so not all is doom and gloom at this stage.

2014-09-26 15.03.25

The Mawloc is still encircled and going down under the Wrack’s poisoned attacks.

2014-09-26 15.03.21

Falling back from the Carnifexes.

Turn 4: Dark Eldar

We realise that Simon has to leave soon (he told me beforehand, so it was all fair and square and we should have played faster early on) so we rush this turn and have to call it a day at the end. I try to put up more resistance on the left, but fail to do much. The bottom Flyrant is killed and my Warlord charges the Ripper Swarms after flaming one to death. He kills another one and the last one fails to hurt him. The Incubi saddle up again to fly to the centre, killing a Tyranid Warrior with Splinter fire. For the rest, I try to shoot what I can, but still fail to do much to the last Flyrant as my Razorwing is not on the table and I have no other access to Skyfire (I hate that about the Dark Eldar).

I take a couple more objectives and it is 5-4 in my favour at this stage, though he can also gain Linebreaker easily enough with the second Flyrant and probably will draw at least one ‘Secure Objective X’ he can fulfil next turn.

Turn 4: Tyranids

The Flyrant lands in my deployment zone and he takes an objective. The Haemonculus kills the last Swarm, so no Warlord for him.

2014-09-26 15.03.28

The last Ripper Swarm and my Warlord duking it out.

The final result after turn 4 is 6-5 in his favour, so a narrow win.

I am not sure how the game would have continued next turn. I could have mustered a counter attack with the Wracks to take out one of the Carnifexes on that side and had a decent bid to kill off the last two Tyranid Warriors with the Incubi and Haemonculus. I also still had one Venom left to contest the central objective without the Rippers being able to hurt me back. With the Razorwing coming back in, I also had good odds of killing the last Flyrant and bag Slay the Warlord with Kingslayer in my hand to net another 3 VPs. The two surviving Ravagers could have lent fire support to either of those assaults.

On the other hand, he still had those last three Monstrous Creatures that each had 12 twin-linked S6 shots or better, so my light troops and vehicles would have suffered too. I guess my greater mobility would have helped me in a 5- or 6-turn game. But if you agree to a time limit, you should plan accordingly. I relied a lot on the Hellions and although they managed to take out the Tyrannofex and survive the Spore Mine blast, I should not have expected them to kill the Carnifex, though losing the Baron there was a heavy blow.

The final lesson is: I NEED TO READ MY RULEBOOK AGAIN AND ACTUALLY BRING IT ALONG!

As I played a lot of Warmachine over the summer, I still think too much in terms of 6th Edition rules and both the ruins as area terrain issue and the haywire causing two hits thing affected the game in a major fashion.

And now to something completely different to finish, some pictures of miniatures painted by Chris: Greygore Boomhowler and Co.

2014-09-28 15.23.14

Greygore himself. The troll, the myth, the legend. No wonder no lady can resist him with a kilt like that.

2014-09-28 15.23.04  2014-09-28 15.23.17

His merry band of miscreants. They are amazing tarpits in a Caine list, being Tough on a 4+ thanks to Greygore’s Fell Call ability. If I add Captain Jonas Murdoch, they can even shoot someone with their blunderbusses whilst charging. Not that they hit a lot, but what they hit is going down.

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