Hey folks! Just back in for a quick - long awaited - battle report on my local League game tonight. This is an Escalation League where each round has different missions/restrictions and each successive round has a 250 point higher point limit, starting at 500 pts, ending (eventually) at 1850.
Now, a little background, round 1 I knew I was facing Tyranids, and a particularly skilled player. So I loaded up on fast armor (Wave Serpents) and all the Rending I could fit in 500 pts - that is, Shuriken Cannons on both Wave Serpents, 11x Dire Avengers (in two units) and four Shuriken Cannon Jetbikes. In Round 1, an HQ was optional, so the total was 501, but my worthy opponent was an absolute sport about it and agreed the day before the game that that was ok.
And I lost. Bad. I'd loaded up on Rending and been ready to unload it on those hapless Monstrous Creatures, but I failed to take into account how fast he could get to me, and (more importantly) that the mission was heavy on Night Fighting, guaranteed on Turn 1 and higher-than-normal odds for the first three Turns. With thick cover and Stealth for the first few turns, all that Rending didn't ignore anywhere near as much armor as I'd hoped, and boy did I ever miss my Farseer in that game for all those re-rolls. Despite my speed an overwhelming firepower, the Tyranid swarm was victorious in that game, easily catching and crushing my Wave Serpents and flaming my infantry away with a Tyrannofex's Torrent weapon.
The lesson there was to mind your surroundings, shoulda' listened, Batman!
Now, Round 2 - now 750 pts, HQ's are required, and I'm facing Imperial Guard (Astra Militarum) for the first time ever. As such, in a small game, I expected Infantry with Heavy Weapons, I expected Wyverns to counter my Jetbikes, and I expected maybe a tank or two. But also, Linebreaker was worth 2 pts this round, the Avatar was allowed, and I could take Formations - so I busily made an Aspect Host Formation and squeezed points in around it. Here's what I came up with:
Eldar CAD, 749 pts.
Warlock (Singing Spear) *HQ
Avatar (Warlord) LoW
Jetbikes (2x "3x, 1x Shuriken Cannon") *Troops
4x Dark Reapers (Exarch, Starshots)
4x Shining Spears (Exarch, Star Lance)
5x Striking Scorpions (Exarch, Claw)
I'm not proud of that Warlock, but at 750, I was going for minimum HQ/Troops, and aside from the Cannons/Spear, that was it. I knew I wanted to Reapers, and I was hoping to put them in a spot to take down any Wyvern units from across the board. I also wanted Striking Scorpions as a backfield threat unit, and a little extra guarantee that I would get Linebreaker. The Shining Spears were a late, night-before list-tweak. Originally I had five Fire Dragons with an Exarch, but without any form of transport I expected them to be easy (easier) prey than the rest of the army, and I expected to be facing at least one infantry blob and thought my Dragons would be eaten alive by small-arms fire. The Spears are faster, a little tougher, and still very potent in a lot of situations.
The Avatar I brought because I like him a lot, and figured at 750 pts, there would be less to threaten him and he would prove to be far more dangerous.
Than, I saw this:
The promised Wyverns are there, and that's two Veteran blobs in those Chimeras, with a single Lascannon in each, and heavy-bolters on the tanks themselves. Those Leman Russes back there are a Tank Commander in a Punisher and a normal Leman Russ, both with two Heavy Bolter sponsons. See in the picture where I Infiltrated my Scorpions. They could have hid out of LoS, but here I was hoping to threaten/distract the Wyverns.
I got first turn, and the D3 units gain Scout, from the Eldar Codex. I rolled a 1, and so I just gave the Avatar Scout.
Now, I knew I was in trouble. I had to get in there and mix it up FAST or I was going to get shot to pieces. But I also knew that any one of my units, if they get into combat, would have a better than good chance of taken out what they hit. So I went for it, roaring all the way:
Top of Turn 1, I advanced with the Avatar (Scout & Run), the Shining Spears, the Scorpions, and a unit of Jetbikes. I also moved the Reapers to get LoS on the Wyvern unit. Then I turbo-boosted the other Jetbike unit to camp out behind that wall.
I still feel good about this move - I was at my strongest, I had Initiative, and only one or two of those units had to survive to start slugging away. I knew I was going to get shot at, a *lot,* and it was going to happen whether I tried to avoid it and got picked off, or rushed in and made it clear that he had to kill everything, or everything was going to come knocking. I even stayed largely out of cover, to try to get closer, because the only thing he had that ignored my armor was the Lascannons, and my armor was better than cover in every other case.
End of Turn 2.
As you can see in exhibit A above, I underestimated the sheer volume of fire. Between the Chimeras, their passengers, the Wyverns and the Punisher (yikes that's a lot of shots...) especially with the Preferred Enemy granted by his Warlord, the only thing left standing was the Avatar, down to four wounds remaining.
As icing on the cake, one of my bikes failed Dangerous Terrain on his Jetbike move. He then failed his save, and the unit broke and ran. But it's ok, they rallied later.
My Reapers, gloriously left standing unscathed, let fly.
I was particularly proud of that, I expected the Reapers to be the first to face the Wyverns' wrath, especially as the biggest anti-light-armor in the list.
But, luckily, they lived to drop one of the Wyverns, with some unlucky cover saves on the IG side.
This picture (above) is the top of Turn 2. I took down the Wyvern, and my Avatar moved 6" to get closer to that Tank Commander, unconcerned about the rest. He fired off the Wailing Doom for a melta shot, but whiffed.
He then whiffed his 11" Charge Range and sat there like a sitting duck.
IG turn - I'd had my chance to save the Avatar, he had to get into combat and take something out, or he was toast without so much as scratching someone's paint. In this round he took a beating, 20 shots from the punisher, plus 6 heavy bolter shots from the four sponsons, Heavy Bolters, Lasgun Arrays, and Lascannon shots from the Chimeras. He took an absolute beating, but survived with a single solitary would!
In his previous turn, he'd moved the tanks back, so I moved up again to close the distance. Again, I fired off a melta, and rolled for charge range. I needed 8. I failed first, and then followed up (re-rolling for Fleet) and got 7. Arg!
Surviving one turn solo in the open like that was a miracle, even with some meat-shield flunkies. But surviving three turns? Absurd!
And, doomed to fail. No way that weren't going to hit home for *one* wound.
I couldn't take pictures of this part, too sad!
This Scenario also had two Home Objectives, two on each side. With my forces cleared out, those Russes came in to take mine from me, while Chimeras held home.
But, they underestimated the resolve of the Reapers!
My camping Jetbikes are jumping in and out of LoS, plinking away at that closest Chimera, just to do something. The Veterans are unimpressed.
A little fly-by-peptalk, nice work Shayne!
Long story short, we went to Turn 7. And by the end of it, that lead Leman Russ was toast, but the Punisher polished off my Reapers without breaking a sweat, leaving me with my two live Jetbikes on the far side of the table, granting Linebreaker.
All in all, it was a really great game against a super awesome opponent, but I found myself outmatched. Had the Avatar made either of those charges (either of them! Come on, man!), and I only needed one success out of four rolls (two re-rolled for Fleet), he would have obliterated the Tank Commander, and then it would have been a game. Losing him was a bad blow to my list, and I never recovered from it.
...Well, especially since most of my other units were already dead ;)
This is one of the sad stories of playing a dice game, sometimes those gambles don't pay off. In hindsight, with my list vs. his list, I probably would do exactly the same thing if I had to play the same game again.
I also squeezed in a second quick game, because the first was over so quickly ;)
Some sweet Pleaguebearers. with a Herald on a custom Palanqin of Nurgle.
And some Bloodletters. Those poor benighted souls had a tough time in this game. I beat the Demons handily...
So, that's that! Back to the list drawing board for 1000 pts (good range!)