This picture is pure distraction, ignore it ;)
What's up folks! NoName1 here with another short, picture-heavy battle report - this time, vs. my most vicious nemesis: TAU.
I have a long and unfortunate history of getting mashed to a pulp by Tau, and so when the 1k League Pairings in my local Escalation League popped up, I swore ferociously.
Right off the bat, I knew two things:
1.) Tau cut me to ribbons in any deployment
2.) Round 3 is guaranteed Long-Table.
Long table against *Tau.* Dear god.
So, I put my thinking cap on to mash out the most brutal anti-Tau list I could cram into 1000 points. Fortunately, since I've been collecting parts for the Wraithhost Formation (three units of Wraithguard, a Wraithknight, Wraithlord, Spiritseer) I had some new cheese to spray on any list. Here's what I came up with:
Farseer (Warlord, Spear)
3x Jetbikes (Scatter Lasers)
3x Jetbikes (Shuriken Cannons)
5x Wraithguard (Wraithcannons)
5x Wraithguard (D-Scythes)
2x Wave Serpents (Bright Lances, Holofields, Star Engines)
Wraithguard, fluffed with two Telepathy-capable Psykers, and the fastest, most durable transports I could make fit in 1k. I always said I'd never take Scatterbikes, but, well, I ran out of Shuriken Cannons. I mixed in the Wraithcannons and D-Scythes mostly because all D-scythes is much more points-heavy, but also because I like to run proper, non-Scythe D-weapons, for that shot at instant removal with the 6.
The Serpents have Bright Lances mostly because I have them modeled that way, but it won't hurt in case he turtles in Transports. The Star Engines give them the extra 6" when moving Flat-Out, and the Holofields are to (hopefully) make sure they get there. The Seers perform double-duty, both being Telepathy capable, I planned to stash them in the Wraithguard units and drop Psychic Shriek all over those squishy Tau. The Farseer goes with the D-Scythes, and the Spiritseer goes with the Wraithcannons, where I might actually get some use out of that Spirit Mark.
**Please forgive my proxies/bare plastic, I make a point of fielding WYSIWYG, painted armies, but this round I just didn't have the time to get there. My Wraithguard with D-Scythes are bare plastic, while the Wraithcannons are represented by Wraithblades wielding axes.
We set our day, met at the battlefield, and here's what he brought:
Etheral (Crap! That Ld. boost makes them much tougher vs. my Shrieks)
10x Fire Warriors
10x Fire Warriors (Uh-oh...)
1x Devilfish (base)
3x Broadsides (many missiles)
2x Skyrays (Well... Shit!)
That many Fire Warriors is good and bad - while they're no threat to my Transports, that's a lot of Dakka to unload on my hapless Wraithguard. But, they are Shriekable - only it was going to be an uphill battle with the Ethereal as backup.
The Missilesides, I was expecting, and the Ritpide. I expected to be able to get close, as for the most part, they're not very good against armor at range. Or at least, not good enough to take out a Wave Serpent in one round.
I expected more Broadsides, and maybe a second Riptide, and was most worried about a Hammerhead or two. However, my relief quickly faded when I was informed that Skyrays can come with six Missiles they can fire all at once (if they don't move). That much S8, especially with the TL Markerlights they come with, was the perfect counter to my Serpent Rush. I was sweating a bit at that point, but then we rolled for Warlord Traits (for the life of me, I don't remember what his was...)
I rolled my Trait, we rolled for Table Sides, Deploy First/Go First, and Psychic Powers.
Not only did I get Psychic Shriek, but the Spiritseer got Invisibility (plus Terrify), and I rolled the "D3 units gain Scout" Warlord Trait, AND I got first turn! Bam!
The Farseer also took two Runes of Fate powers, and I rolled Fortune (sweeeeet!) and Mind War, which I kept in case of Riptides - and because Guide is pretty useless on a unit of Flamers.
Here was Deployment:
I benefited a lot from the 24" Deployment Zones, and there's plenty of terrain to keep my Serpents largely in cover in case I get Seized on (assuming he doesn't Ignore Cover all day long). With a 34" total move (12" + 18" Flat Out + 6" for Star Engines) I'll get to him turn 1 as long as I'm not dead already.
The Serpent on the left is the Scythes/Farseer, the one on the right is the Cannons/Spiritseer. The upper right bikes are Scatterbikes, and my Cannonbikes are just out of frame on the bottom left. Note the poker chip Objective Markers in opposite corners, each is an end-game 3 pt Objective.
The Scythes are going for those Fire Warriors, while the Cannons are off to pincer/take care of the Skyrays ASAP.
Another shot of my Deployment, those Serpents already halfway up-field with Scout. Gloriously, he did not Seize. First turn to me!
Night Fighting was not in effect, which could be better since while I won't be shooting, he will be - but he mostly ignores Night Fighting anyway, so it works out.
Here's a closer shot of his deployment. Spreading out, but keeping like-with-like, and squaring off the center Firing Lane with his Riptide and Broadsides. That Devilfish has a Pulse Carbine wielding unit of Fire Warriors, and the Ethereal is by himself behind those boxes, providing quality moral support as they're wont to do.
I was grateful here that he'd kept the Fire Warriors together, a unit of those had a good chance of winning a toe-to-toe firefight with my Wraithcannons, so it would have severely limited where I could risk them had he put a unit, for example, in the crater behind those Skyrays. As it was, it was very easy to pick which side my cannons would go for and which my Flamers would go for.
This is my normal move, with both the bikes and Serpents racing up-field. I rolled a 3 for my D3 units getting Scout, so both Serpents were able to benefit. Looking at the distances though, they really could have done almost as well with Star Engines or Scout, but I still thought it was good to hedge my bets.
Here's Serpent 1, blocking the Devilfish and in range to unload D-Scythe horrors next turn. That Devilfish is loaded with Pulse Carbine Fire Warriors.
And Serpent 2, close enough to the edge to deny a Rear Armor shot, but right up in everybody's business. The Scatterbikes are only in range of the Skyrays and can't hurt AV 13, so that's my turn!
He let's loose - since there wasn't much moving for him to do, he just went straight to shooting. The first Skyray's full volley of missiles did some damage, but wasn't enough to bring the Serpent down. So he was forced to fire both Skyrays at the same Transport, although he was rewarded by actually bringing it down in the end (First Blood to Tau). It did it's job well, but I was quietly hoping to get one more move and some shooting out of it...
The rest of his shooting focused almost entirely on my other Serpent, but it Jinked and took only a single Hull Point in damage. He didn't have a lot of heavy anti-armor, but the volume of S6/S7 shots he could put out was still, frankly, alarming.
He did scoot his Devilfish back to block me from getting to his Ethereal, and deployed the unit of Fire Warriors that had been in it. Fortunately, they didn't have a shot on my Serpent's rear armor.
The picture above is from the bottom of my Turn 2. The Serpent inched up, my D-Scythes deployed, my Bikes inched forward, and my Wraithcannons moved up. I had lost two Wraithcannons to shooting after they emergency disembarked, but for the most part he focused on killing my other stuff, so they were left relatively alone for the game.
The Psychic Phase set the underwhelming Psychic tone for the rest of the game - I failed Fortune, Invisibility, and Shriek once, although I did get the second Shriek off on the Broadsides, they rolled under and took no wounds. And that was actually the most successful Psychic Phase I had all game. D'oh.
Shooting went slightly better, my Scythes evaporated the Pulse Carbine Fire Warriors, the Wraithcannons took out a Skyray handily, and my Scatterbikes sniped off two Drones from the Broadsides unit. My surviving Serpent snap-shot at the Riptide, with predictable results.
At this point, it was looking... Pretty good for me, having lost only a Serpent so far. But my frankly, embarrassing Psychic Phase hurt. I'd been counting on the extra oomph from the Seers to do more damage so my ten models didn't get chewed up by attrition.
This next turn was the test, the bottom of Turn 2, when I'd sprung my aces and hit as hard as I could. I was still facing a Riptide, three Missilesides, a Devilfish, and ten Fire Warriors in Rapid-Fire range with easy access to the Ethereal's extra-shot-generating Invocation of the Elements. Well, and a Skyray, but it had Jinked and was facing down a full unit of Wraithcannons.
I crossed my fingers, and prayed to the dice gods-
Woo! I surivived!
The above picture is from my following turn, Turn 3. The sheer durability of my Wraithguard (and poor eyesight of Fire Warriors) carried the day. My Farseer tanked a half a dozen wounds, heroically sacrificing himself (and giving up Warlord) to preserve some D-Scythes, who promptly evaporated the second Fire Warrior unit, down to two models. My Scatterbikes continued to plink away at the Broadsides, and my Wraithcannons utterly failed to do anything at all to jinky McJinkerson the invincible Skyray - although it did Jink, making it essentially a paperweight for yet another turn. The Cannonbikes, at long last in firing range, shot at, and did nothing to, the Riptide.
In his Turn 3, his remaining shooting took out two more D-Scythes, and then one singe Drone made it in to the *most epic combat evaaaaaaaar!*
Note the Ethereal's spear poking out from behind the crates back there.
My remaining "Wraithcannons" looking suitably heroic, and far more dynamic than their molasses-dripping movement.
...And this kept going. Forever. Neither one able to hit the other, and the Drone saving the one lucky wound it was dealt.
But, note the Ethereal's blade is now gone, because the Wave Serpent, mercifully un-jinked for once in the game, one-shot him with a Bright Lance. Because that's what anti tank weapons are for... ? Slay the Warlord to Eldar.
At this point, Scatterbikes and D-Cannons have finished off the Broadsides without taking any casualties, my Cannonbikes were dropped by exactly two hits, and exactly two wounds, inflicted by those last Fire Warriors, both of which I failed to save.
I'm still standing on a Wave Serpent (with 1 HP), my locked-up D-Scythe, 3x Wraithcannons with a Spiritseer, and two Scatterbikes. He's rocking the Riptide, two Fire Warriors, the Jinking Skyray, and the Devilfish.
Here's a pulled-back shot of Turn 5 - at this point, he's holding his home Objective (with that dang Skyray that still won't die!), while I'm sitting on Linebreaker safely, and neither of us has my home Objective.
Right here, at the bottom of 5, I have Linebreaker, Slay the Warlord (+1 extra because it was an Ethereal, oh Tau) while he has Slay the Warlord, First Blood, and one Objective. So at the end of Turn 5, he was winning 3-5.
However, right after this picture was taken, the Riptide Nova-Charged for a 4d6 Thrust move, gunning for my Objective, betting on a Turn 6.
And we rolled for it, it was a 5. On to Turn 6!
Here's the full battlefield on Turn 6 - I *finally* nailed that Skyray and am now holding his Objective, while my Scatterbikes are running hard for my Objective, and his Riptide is hoping for a really good Nova-Thrust-Move.
End of Turn 6, I have his Objective, changing our score to 6-2 in my favor.
We rolled again, here of course I was hoping for the game to end!!
...But, no, on to Turn 7.
The Riptide made that spectacular Thrust Move in Turn 6, setting him nose-to-nose with my Objective Secured Scatterbikes. He killed one bike in shooting and the second in Assault, with his Consolidate move taking him right on top of the Objective. He was close enough to be holding that Objective.
Here's the final table, with each of us holding the others' Objective, and him finally getting Linebreaker, with my two points for the Ethereal negating First Blood, give us a 6-6 Tie.
Eldar- Linebreaker (1), Slay the Warlord (1) (+1), Objective (3)
Tau- Linebreaker (1), Slay the Warlord (1), First Blood (1), Objective (3)
All in all, I felt really good about this game. My opponent was super nice, and despite playing the hated Tau, he didn't do anything cheesy or anything that felt unfair. He made skillful decisions during the game, and ultimately played to the Objectives. His awful shooting rolls were made up for by some positively heroic rolls by the Drone that tied up my D-Scythes and the Skyray that held off my Wraithcannons for three turns.
It felt like the kind of game that should end in a tie, neither of us was disappointed in the outcome.
For my part, I felt I could have done better. In large part that came down to rolls, had even one or two more of those Psychic Powers actually gone off, I would have done much, much better. And had I taken down that Skyray earlier, I could possibly have done-in the Riptide early game.
...Or, I could have gotten shot off the table Turn 1 had he rolled hot dice. I played by the seat of my pants with a super low model-count army, and it paid off, but it just as easily could not have. This was my first time playing heavy on Wraithguard units, and I was very impressed by their durability, and damage potential. But it was an object lesson in how slow they are on foot, and that it is possible for a single tank to hold up an entire unit of Wraithcannons for multiple turns, that was an absolute shock.
Again though, I haven't usually played Wraithguard or D-weapons. And frankly I felt really guilty when I showed my opponent my list. That's another reason I was pleased with how the game went - it wasn't a rout on either side.
I'll blame my bad rolls on the incomplete painting ;)
I came out of this one recharged and ready for Round 4!