40k: Eldar vs. Dark Eldar (1500 pts) - The Wraithhost walks!

 Hey folks!
 Another exciting post for you today - it was Round 5 of our local Escalation League, and despite being half-dead from the stresses of real life, I brought my dice to the table!
 Once in a while, you get tired of losing. You see the look on that one guy's face when he pours cheese allllll over the table until there's nothing to your game but the sharp tangy scent of the latest and greatest spray-on victory.

 And then, you snap. You bring your own can of cheese, wiz! And then that happens to be the game where you play against the guy who didn't bring any of his own cheese to the table. Quite suddenly you feel like a jerk, and you should!

 I say all this because of things like, for example, the Eldar Wraithhost Formation. Yes, the one thing Eldar needed was a Formation that lets you field nothing but D-weapons, that's exactly what the army was missing...
 In short, it requires that you take three Wraithguard and/or Wraithblade units, a Spiritseer, Wraithknight, and Wraithlord. In return, all of those Wraith units gain Battle Focus, and re-roll all to-hit rolls when within 18" of the Spiritseer.

 Here was the list:

 Wraithhost Formation
 Spiritseer, Runes of Battle (Warlord)
 5x Wraithguard (Cannons)
 Wave Serpent (Bright Lance)
 5x Wraithguard (D-Scythes)
 Wave Serpent (Bright Lance)
 5x Wraithblades (Axes/Shields)
 Wraithknight (Suncannon/Shield, 2x Scatter Lasers)
 Wraithlord (Glaive, 2x Flamers, 2x Scatter Lasers)

 Just to make it more fair, I tacked on some bikes:

 Eldar CAD
 3x Eldar Jetbikes (Shuriken Cannons)
 3x Eldar Jetbikes (Scatter Lasers)

 Oh, there are ways to beat it, sure. It's still slow-ish, very low model count, and vulnerable to long-range fire. But I mean, really? It's *good,* really good, not something you can take on with a more classic Take-All-Comers list easily. Even Skyhammer Spam would have trouble taking on this much raw damage output. And Superheavies or Deathstars? This Formation is tailor-made to drop them. Even taking Wraithblades, it's nasty.

 Here was my opponent's (approximate) list:

 Dark Eldar CAD
 Archon (Webway Portal - and stuff - Warlord)
 5x Trueborn (4x Blasters, 1x Splinter Cannon)
 5x Trueborn (4x Blasters, 1x Splinter Cannon)
 5x Trueborn (4x Blasters, 1x Splinter Cannon)
 10x Kaballite Warriors (1x Splinter Cannon)
 Raider (Splinter Racks, shield thing)
 10x Kaballite Warriors (1x Splinter Cannon)
 Raider (Splinter Racks, shield thing)

 Haemonculus Corpsethief Claw Formation
 Haemonculus (Webway portal, and stuff)

 I mean, it's a sound list. Somewhere between Venom Spam, MSU, and Deathstar, it's quick, it's flexible, it's got plenty of Anti-Armor with all those Blasters. And the poisoned weapons make a huge difference against Wraithguards' T6. And in combat, that Corpsethief could easily take on any of my units, if it can get there.
 However, it's not MSU enough to weather my Scatterbikes/Wraithlord/Wraithknight, and really has no counter to my GC Wraithknight at all. It is MSU enough to take some D hits without suffering too much though, so he *could* whittle me down and win on Objectives.

 We played Vanguard Strike (we mistakenly rolled for Deployment, it was supposed to be default Dawn of War, oops). The scenario was Kill Points, with four Objectives: two single-point, one in each Deployment Zone and two two-point, in no-man's-land. Also, each Warlord got three Warlord Traits, but each one had to be from a different table. My Spiritseer got two different Traits that granted Move Through Cover, and Fate's Messenger on the Eldar Traits, re-rolling Saving Throws of 1. Not bad! The Archon got two Traits that were inconsequential, and one granting his unit re-rolls to hit in shooting (yikes!)

 This scenario also replaced First Blood with something else, that granted an extra VP for holding two or more Objectives.

 The photo above is of Dark Eldar Turn 1. He kept his skimmers mostly back, relying on cover and waiting on his Reserves. I deployed keeping my firing lanes open, and spread out a little bit, but stayed close enough that no one unit could be picked off by the Portaling Reserves.
 I actually left the rear armor of my Wave Serpents open intentionally, counting on it to be a tempting target, and the toughness of the Wraithguard to survive the likely destruction of their "wheels." Exposing them like that was bait for the Deep Striking units, I wanted them back in my lines where my Wraith units could converge on them pincer-style and cut them off from their army.

 In Turn 1, his units took some pot-shots, the nearest Trueborn/Venom unloading everything on my Wraithblades (also according to plan, although they can be devastating, Wraithblades usually do their best work as bullet bait). Hilariously, the Blasters did nothing, but before I had a chance to celebrate, the Splinter Cannons dropped three Wraithblades to 1's on saves :P
 In return fire, I took out that Venom with my Wraithknight's Scatter Lasers, and a lucky shot from my Wave Serpents took out the closest Raider, leaving the Warriors inside on foot.

 We also identified three of the four Objectives, and ALL of them were "Sabotaged" (crap!)

 In Turn 2, things got interesting. Bother Webway Portal units came in, predictably, and dropped in right behind my lines - exactly where they should be. Even though I set it up as a trap, it was still the best place for them to be to mess me up.
 That's the Archon's Raider full of Trueborn on the right, and the Corpsethief center. It might have been more successful to put both units right next to my Serpent for a little extra oomph, and to focus down the unit inside, because those are my D-flamers. Or, he could have deployed both units farther back, to avoid being in range of those Wraith-flamers. As it was, he rolled incredibly unluckily against my Jinking serpent, and failed to wreck the vehicle - although he did stun it. Ouch. To make matters worse, my Warlock also weathered the shots from the Corpsethief, shockingly not failing a single one of his 4++ saves (!!)
 In my turn, my Wraithguard all moved back. The normal Wraithguard getting the 6" move on the Serpent before disembarking, then using Battle Focus to run, while the Wraith-flamers just disembarked, and then Battle Focused for a 10" total move. The Flamers were, after Battle Focus, in range to light up the Archon's unit, abusing the Open-Topped D6-hits per Template to erase the entire unit from existence. The Wraithlord, Warlock, Scatter Bikes and Wraithguard then turned and unloaded on the Corpsethief, destroying it as well (although it was closer than I'd anticipated!)
 In that last barrage, the Wraithguard, Wraithlord and Wraithknight were all within 18" of the Spiritseer, and that re-roll to-hit made an already devastating volley crushing.

This picture above is from before the Archon was placed, showing the whole table at the top of 2

 In Turn 3, he'd lost his Warlord, his Corpsethief, and more than two-thirds of his army to combined fire. As a consolation, my Warlock blew up to a Sabotaged Objective roll immediately after facing down the Corpsethief, and my Wraithknight failed a 6" Charge on the last surviving Blasterborn from that unit on Turn 1, and then taking a Wound in Overwatch to that same plucky DE Blasteborn.

 Turn 3 was more or less the end, over the next few turns, he did take out both units of Bikes, as well as finishing off one of my Wave Serpents, and the Wraithblades. It total, netting him around five Kill Points, and he also had his own home Objective, for a total of Six points at game end on Turn 5.
 I'd killed his entire army except for two units of Warriors hiding in buildings, and I held the other three Objectives, as well as getting Linebreaker from my Knight, Slay the Warlord, and that bonus Objective for holding a bunch of Objectives. My total score was around 14.

 In the end, 14 - 6 isn't a total rout. He had a decent list and he played it well, aside from some bad dice he didn't make any major mistakes in play. I was happy that he scored a fair number of points, because he earned it.
 For my part, it was awesome to see a Wraithhost on the table, but I was more embarrassed than proud, because it was a nasty, nasty list that used an arguably overpowered Formation of super-powerful units. Sure it's not unbeatable, but it's not nice either, and it definitely isn't easy to beat. Paired with a Battlehost, with all Wraith units not only running, but running 6" every time without a roll, is crazy.

 I'll probably still field things like this in a competitive setting, but I'm not as proud of it as I was with my own hair-brained TAC lists of yore.
 Ah well, that's what I get for playing a Tournament in this day and age, right?

 Big shout-out to my opponent, he was really great, and I'm always happy to play against him. A sentiment that's helped a lot by his *spectacular* taste in nerd-pun mashup shirts :D