Sometimes it comes down to a single wound!
Hey folks! Time for Round 4 - 1250 pts, Objectives, Vanguard Strike, and my opponent: Tyranids.
Modified Scouring - Vanguard Strike, Night Fighting, Linebreaker, Warlord, First Blood
Six Objectives: Two worth 2 pts and game end, two worth 3, one worth 1 pt that was a Skyfire Nexus in addition to any other result rolled (a second Skyfire result would grant Interceptor), and one worth 4 pts that was Sabotaged as well as mysterious (it could be Sabotaged twice).
Players took turns placing Objectives face-down, and they were flipped up after Scout moves.
Also, Fast Attack units gained Objective Secured, but were worth 1 VP each to your opponent if destroyed.
Coming out of Round 3 with a skin-of-my-teeth draw, I wanted a win. When I got the matchup for of Tyranids, I rubbed my wicked little Eldar hands together, knowing that although it wouldn't be easy, I had all the tools to handle 'Nids!
...Then I found out my opponent was getting tactical help/advice from some of the truly vicious list-builders in the shop, and started to sweat a little. So, I re-tooled my list with some extra sharp, if risky, teeth:
HQ - Spiritseer
Troops - 3x Shuriken Cannon Bikes
Troops - 3x Scatter Laser Bikes
Elites - Wraithguard (D-scythes, Wave Serpent with TL Bright Lance)
Heavy Support - Dark Reapers (4x, Starshots, 1x Exarch)
Seer Council Formation
Farseer Skyrunner - (Jetbike, Shard of Anaris) *Warlord
Farseer Skyrunner - (Jetbike, Singing Spear)
Warlock Conclave - (5x, Jetbikes, Singing Spears)
That Seer Council clocks in at 545 points, nearly half of my army. I was betting the my opponent was trusting Shadow in the Warp to deter me from using Psykers, so I doubled-down, bringing a whopping 13 Warp Charge to the fight.
The Dark Reapers I brought for AA, knowing there would be a Flyrant or two. I also confirmed first that they could hide out on the second floor of a ruin, so as not to just be Mawloc bait.
The Spiritseer is a cheap HQ, that adds a little extra Warp Charge and Runes of Battle to buff the Wraithguard, if they survive past first turn. And on that note, I was betting on the D-Scythe Wraithguard doing some major damage, but more than anything being so panic-inducing that they'd draw fire long enough for my Seer Council to juice up!
As usual, I felt a little bad bringing D-scythes, and even worse for running a Seer Council, because it smacks of cheese. But, I was expecting the worst Tyranids had to offer, so I stuck with it.
Then the day of the game came up...
And here was the list I was facing (forgive omissions :/)
HQ - Flyrant (Devourers w/Brainleech Worms) *Warlord
Troops - Mucolid Spore
Troops - Mucolid Spore
Troops - Genestealers (10x)
Heavy Support - Mawloc
Elites - Zoanthrope
Elites - Zoanthrope
Astra Militarum Allies
HQ - Tank Commander Pask (In a unit of 2x Leman Russ Punishers)
Troops - Veteran Squad
Heavy Support - Wyvern unit (3x)
Imperial Guard Allies? 3x Wyverns?! #$%@!
Fortunately, I'd been preparing for MC spam, so I had plenty of heavier guns - but I was still smarting from my last match with a Punisher, and this time there were *two,* plus PASK.
But, we rolled with it. Right off the bat, my opponent got Pick Sides, then rolled a 6 for Deploy First/Go First, I rolled no Night-Fighting, and the BRB Strategic Warlord Trait that gives three units Infiltrate. Yikes.
On my end though, I rolled the D3 units gain Scout Eldar Warlord Trait (three games in a row!), and got (among less important results) Protect/Jinx (+1/-1 Armor Save) for the Spiritseer, Psychic Shriek and Invisibility on one Farseer, and Fortune, Guide, and Eldritch Storm for my Warlord Farseer. Boo yah, everything's comin' up aces!
I failed to seize, and rolled a 1 for units with Scout. Here's pre-Scout Deployment:
He placed that upper-left piece of terrain, and I blithely missed during setup that it was the perfect size and shape to hide an entire unit of Wyverns. Completely. Well... Shit.
I deployed all of my bikes back, trying not to look too suspicious as I placed my Seer Council. As an extra guarantee the my Seer Council wouldn't be the first to get hammered, I put my Wave Serpent full of Wraithguard up close and personal!
...Then that Flyrant infiltrated right up his tailpipe. Ruh-roh. I need that to soak at least a little fire or it's completely wasted, and the Flyrant will eat it for breakfast if I can't stop it. Those Guardians in the upper right are the Veterans, while the Mucolids and Mawloc are in reserve, and the Genestealers are Outflanking.
I kept most of my units back, with firing lanes from the Reapers open to be ready as soon as a Wyvern poked it's hull out, while the Jetbikes were ready to swoop in and take Objectives whenever the opportunity arose.
With my Scout move, I scooted up the board and - literally - covered my ass. I tried to make a tempting target and get in position to unload Distort-flaming hell next turn.
I quietly congratulated myself on my brilliant strategy when that Flyrant came gunning straight for my Serpent, but wasn't able to get a rear-armor shot.
Then the Punishers opened up.
Now, I knew those cannons rocked 20 shots each, but I also knew they were Strength 5, and blissfully assumed my Wave Serpent could wave its tail in their faces with impunity. I watched in growing horror as, not only did my opponent helpfully inform me that Pask gave his tank Rending, but then passed casting the Tank Hunter order. A little hot rolling saw me jinking desperately in the face of no less that *ten* glances. Needless to say, my Serpent was dropped (First blood to "Tyranids") and shooting from the Flyrant and Wyverns chainsawed through them. Some ice-cold saves on my part left me with only two Wraithguard still standing when the dust settled.
At the rate the game started, I thought I was going to get smoked. That was a rough start, and I hadn't dealt a scratch!
In my Turn 1, my Seer Council passed both Invisibility and Fortune, and Guide on the Dark Reapers. They then moved and went Flat-Out to rocket up the table and get scary (I made a mistake here by not casting Conceal from the Warlocks). In shooting, I was torn. My Reapers had a clean shot at Pask's side-armor, but I'd brought them as a counter to the Flyrant which was a harder target, and hiding behind a wall for a 4+ Cover.
In the end, I shot them at the Flyrant, and in a stroke of both good an bad luck, did a single wound with their S8 missiles, and it failed it's Grounding check, and took a second wound (!)
Sadly, I wasn't able to flame it because it was the same turn. So I consoled myself by raining death on those Veterans (that sounded bad...) and shaving off five of them.
In Turn 2 (above), the Mawloc, Mucolids, and Genestealers arrived. The Mucolids aren't placed yet, but they scattered right behind my Seer Council. In another stroke of luck, the Mawloc missed my Seer Council and scattered in exactly the direction I wanted to go! The Genestealers Outlanked right between my Jetbikes and Reapers, positioning themselves to assault any of the three units if any of them lived.
Here I had another stroke of good luck, the Flyrant pivoted and flew (returning to Swooping mode) towards the middle of the table. Then during the Psychic Phase, he cast Warp Lance and rolled Perils (!!), then proceeded to take a Wound, Ground, and take another wound from being Grounded, killing it and netting me Warlord!
...In return, the Punishers shuffled forward a bit, and even hitting only of Snap Shots and with a re-rollable save, Rending and sheer volume of shots shaved off three Warlocks. Ouch.
On the other hand, note the complete lack of Genestealers. They were gone so fast, they never even made it into a picture! Shame, poor 'Stealers, they're one of my favorite units in theory, but in practice, yuck.
This game was brutal. The above is a shot just after my Turn 2. My much-depleted Seer Council and Wraithguard made short work of the Mawloc, although with the numbers of shots my Seers missed in shooting and CC, it was danged close!
On to Turn 3-
Here my army's durability did an about-face, with my Seers tanking the Punishers and my Wraithguard tanking the Wyverns, with some super-hot rolling on my part to take zero casualties. This is a turn that could easily have gone the other way, but really went in my favor.
The above was the Top of 3, the tanks inching up for that round of shooting - and getting a little too close to those Scythes!
Bottom of 3 saw my forces inced up, my Wraithguard dropping one Punisher and stripping one HP from Pask, while my Seer Council looking menacing as they failed their charge range my last Warlock cast Conceal.
The picture above is from the top of Turn 4, using the Barrage rules on those Wyverns, the Astra Militarum were able to scatter some blasts from my Wraithguard and hit my Seer Council *14 times* The Wraithguard weathered it, and the Seer Council did admirable, losing the Warlock and taking one Wound off of the Farseer. That Farseer tried to Look-out-sir for the Warlock, but failed. Pask also failed to punch through the re-rollable 2+ Jink on my Seers.
In my following turn, my last Wraithguard made it to Pask and wiped his last two HP, while my Farseers dashed up the field to threaten the Wyverns. Being Invisible, the poor Wyverns had no way to stop them, and tried to get away while picking my back-field Jetbikes off of Objectives.
My Jetbikes duked it out with the Veterans holding the Objective in that ruin, and eventually attritioned them out.
In the next few turns, my bikes also sniped out the two Zoanthropes, and the Reapers took out a Mucolid.
I skipped some pictures - the below is the Top of 6:
That was a great moment, the Wyverns did a solid 8 Wounds to my Jetbikes holding that raised Objective, but in a moment of pure heroism, they made all of their saves!
...Although immediately afterward, the Objective blew up, killed one of them and forced a Leadership Check. They proceeded to fail that check and run off the table.
Well played, guys :P
After that, it was a bit of a foregone conclusion. My Farseers chased the Wyverns into the open, and my Reapers obliterated them from across the table. The above is the last survivor of the Tyranid/AM army. The final shot of the game was that Wraithguard, the sole survivor, D-flaming that Mucolid and rolling a 2, doing nothing.
At first we were saying that preserved Linebreaker, but then realized Mucolids are non-scoring. But it did mean the 'Nids/Guard weren't tabled!
I came out of the game holding three Objectives, worth 3, 3, and 2 respectively. I also had Linebreaker and Slay the Warlord, for a 10 to 1 victory. I win!
I felt good and bad about this one, I brought cheese and felt guilty, but then I saw *Guard* allied with Tyranids (?!) which I know is pretty "normal" in competitive settings, but being a self-described Fluff Bunny, is the kind of list construction that drives me up the wall.
Also, staring down the barrels of two Punishers and three Wyverns made me feel more like an underdog than the guy with the unfairly massive stick, and pulling out a win despite the devastating fire I took in the process felt really, really good in the end.
I've been working on my playing, and I think I both played this one well (enough) and built a solid list. Even preparing to face Tyranids, I had all the tools I needed to tackle IG tanks as well. I made some mistakes (not casting Conceal like it was going out of style being the main one) and had some godawful rolls, but my tactics/list were enough to make up for it with some truly great moments to match the bad ones.
Also, if I were to have it all to do over again, I think I would do nearly the same thing. Although, had I known I was facing Wyverns, I would have brought my Night Spinner to show them who's really boss!
Looking forward to my next game! The next and final round is 1750 (or is it 1850?) and at long last, I can run a Wraithhost!!