Two Beginners and some old hats - a Tale of Four Gamers

So we got together this weekend for some gaming - myself, one of my usual opponents, and two new guys we met recently who really wanted to join us. We've been sticking to small games, so we set up two side-by-side 1500 pt. games. My friend and I each took on one of the new players.

Both games were random scenarios, both ended up being fairly standard: normal deployment, Night Fighting, D6+1 Objectives, and Mysterious Objectives plus bonus Objectives.
We've been short on terrain for many of our games, but this time we wound up with a glut, for some very crowded, close-quarters happy tables.

I play Eldar, my friend plays Tau. I ended up facing the new guy who plays Space Wolves, while my Tau friend took on the new Salamanders player (loved seeing Salamanders on the table!)

At first scratch, they both had very good, balanced lists. My opponent brought (roughly):

Njal Storm caller
10x Grey Hunters (Plasma Gun, +some heavy weapon)
5x Long Fangs (Plasma Cannon, 2x Heavy Bolters, Multi-Melta)
Lone Wolf (2x Fenrisian Wolves)
Assault Marines (8x?)
Land Raider (2x Lascannon Sponsons, twin-linked Assault Cannon)
Assault Terminators (5x, Battle Leader, Thunder Hammers/Storm Shields)

Here was my list:

(Thanks to Lucious over at

Farseer  (Jetbike, Spear, MoTLG, Stone of Anath'Lan)
Avatar  (Fast Shot)
Dire Avengers (10x, Exarch w/Power Weapon + Shimmershield)
Dire Avengers (10x)
Guardian Jetbikes (9x, 3x Cannons)
Warp Spiders (9x)
Wraithlord  (Scatter Laser, Bright Lance)
Dark Reapers (5x, Starshot Missiles)
Wave Serpent  (Scatter Lasers, Holofields, Cannon)

Now, I was going to do a detailed Battle Report, but my opponent was new, we spent a lot of time going over rules, and I'm not entirely sure his list was legal. Because of that, I'll stick to highlights and a few notes.
First, when playing someone who needs occasional (or regular) reminders of the rules, it's much easier to forget your own rules. I forgot Battle Focus on both my Avatar and Warp Spiders. For shame...

Top performers of my army: 
1.) Warp Spiders (and how!) with their incredible speed and disturbing amount of firepower. They were good in the last edition, but now with the chance to have their shots ignore armor? Brutal. Not to mention they can now jump in the Assault Phase (Being Jet Pack infantry) without the danger of losing a member to the Warp.
2.) Jetbike Farseer. I'm constantly amazed at how gnarly this guy can be. I usually roll him with all Telepathy powers, and the amount of havoc those powers cause is amazing. I can never help but laugh maniacally as entire units are pinned or assaulting themselves.

The Jetbikes, Dire Avengers, Dark Reapers and Wave Serpent all deserve some notice too, they were solid, if unspectacular. I will say I missed my Bright Lance platforms a lot (taking Dire Avengers vs. Guardians) but it's worth noting that a normal Guardian save can be negated by even basic bolters. My opponent deep-struck his assault marines behind my Avengers, and took out a few with bolt pistols. I did get saves, but I failed most of them. Anything with Shuriken weapons is pure gold!
I want to try swapping my Wraithlord for the Crimson Hunter. I'm mostly using him for the Bright Lance, and I'm not getting the points or utility out of it. Might as well get four two Bright Lances and a Pulse Laser for the same points. I'll also switch back to Guardians - it's fluffier, I get my Lances and Warlocks, and I still get all that Bladestorm. I also want to try Eldrad with a small Seer council, but I might not be able to do that in such small games.

Things I had the most trouble with:
2.) Land Raider. I wrote this list expecting to face Tau, I was not prepared for AV 14 (never make a list that can't handle a Land Raider somehow). I still have the Wraithlord, Avatar, and Starshots on my Reapers, but in the end it was the Farseers Singing Spear that did the only 1 HP of damage the Land Raider took the whole time. This was a place where my opponent really did well, he drove the Land Raider up, keeping it mostly in cover or out of LoS, until he was able to assault me right of the bat with the squad of...
1.) Terminators. I hate Terminators.

Like this beauty, courtesy of

It can't be said enough, there is nothing in the game tougher to deal with that well-used Thunder Hammer/Storm Shield Terminators. Backed up by a Land Raider, or Deep Striking into your lines, nothing ruins a player's day (especially a squishy army like Eldar) like Terminators getting dropped in your face.
With a 2+ save, a 3++ save, and S8 AP2 attacks...  Well, they made a mess of my poor Avatar (although he killed two) and my Wraithlord (with no Invulnerable Save whatsoever, these guys are much more fragile than they should be, even at Toughness 8). They also survived the game (the Battle Leader, less one wound, and with only one surviving companion), along with the Land Raider, while all of the other Wolves of Fenris were buried.

I got lucky, my opponent was a newbie, so while he did a stellar job with these guys, he wasted them on my Avatar, Wraithlord, and Dark Reapers - leaving my three squads of troops to take three objectives. In the end our game was 9 to 2 in my favor. I held three Objectives, he got Slay the Warlord and Line Breaker.
While my opponent used some units very well, his target priority was less than great, and he was clearly unprepared for what my army could do (he's mostly only played other Space Marines before). He made some rookie mistakes too, such as leaving his Grey Hunters and Lone Wolf in the open (in front of Dark Reapers...), and not taking more transports. Had he had a Rhino and/or Razorback, I would have had a lot more trouble there.   

In the other game, Tau vs. Salamanders, things went similarly. The Salamanders player took a lot of Tactical Marines, but no transports. They are a potential point sink, but Rhinos are still the bread and butter of Marine infantry.
The Tau won, handily, losing only a single Battle Suit and a handful of Fire Warriors. He was able to keep the Salamanders pinned and hiding most of the game, and harassed them with Battle Suit squads to keep them occupied. Tau are a tough nut to crack, but especially so for Marines on foot trying to cross a no-man's-land.
Highlights from that game - the Tau got a lucky shot off and instant-killed Vulkan He'Stan in one shot, while an Ironclad Dreadnought took nearly four turns worth of fire from a Broadside Team before being brought down by Crisis Suits from behind.

Fortunately, our new Space Marines were still very happy for the games, and are eager to come back for another crack at it next time!