NoName1 here with the current Escalation League Round 2! 750 points - and since I finished Round 1 with a perfect score (!!), in Round 2 I faced a ringer. A ringer leading an army that I, much to my shame, have long been weak against.
The grunty, runty, punty, rolly-polly Greenskins - in all their aimless fury. They should be easy prey for the skilled warriors and sleek warmachines of the mighty Eldar!
But. Round 2, we're at 750 points (not so bad) on a 4'x4' table (good god...)
Here are the lists:
Eldar CAD - 749 pts.
3x Jetbikes (Shuriken Cannons)
4x Jetbikes (Scatter Lasers)
5x Wraithguard (D-Scythes)
Wave Serpent (Shuriken Cannon, TL Shuriken Cannon Turret)
Vyper (Shuriken Cannon, Scatter Laser Turret)
Now, I was expecting to be assaulted. So I went for smaller, faster, tougher units that should be able to scatter, speed apart, and generally frustrate an Orkish tide as I whittled them down and kept them from Objectives. The D-Scythes were the brutal weapon of last resort, to be protected as much as possible and unleashed on the hardest targets possible.
I debated keeping the Night Spinner in, but wound up going with it for the anti-blob potential, especially remembering that Torrent secondary firing mode, which would come in handy when the Greenskins came close. It wasn't a bad idea, but I also forgot my beautifully painted Night Spinner at home, so seeing that in the list was an "oh crap!" moment, and I had to proxy with another Wave Serpent, that I fortunately did have on hand. Ruh-roh, that's bad luck right there...
The Vyper also seemed like a risky choice, but with high damage output at a very low cost and high speed, I decided to risk it.
But, well, I did say my opponent was a Ringer - he brought this:
Ork CAD - 749 pts. APPROXIMATE
Warboss (Da Lucky Stikk, Cybork Body... Etc)
10x Grots, Runtherd
10x Slugga Boyz, Nob, Claw
Battlewagon (3x Big Shootas)
That's... A lot of guns. Tankbustas?? Lootas are worrisome, but that he brought *both* Lootas and Tankbustas is pretty nasty. I'd been banking a lot on the speed and durability of my tanks to last me into the late-game and be putting out damage the whole time, I wasn't prepared for that much dakka!
The scenario was a fun one:
- Four Mysterious Objectives, worth 3 pts each at the end of the game
- Linebreaker (worth 2 pts)
- First Blood (awarded for killing non-Troops only)
- Slay the Warlord
**Each Warlord gets to roll 2 different traits and keep both
I got Psychic Shriek (Duh, but sweet!) and Enhance/Drain (meh) for Powers, and rolled on Command Traits for my Spiritseer, getting #2 and #5, meaning all of his units within 12" would use their lowest Ld. rather than their highest, and my friendly units within 12" re-rolled 1's to-hit in shooting. Not too shabby!
I don't remember what he got, sadly, I'm not sure it came into play.
Roll-offs for Terrain, Table Sides, and Deploy first/Go first went to me (hooray!) and I chose to Deploy/Go first. I also took the side with good LOS blocking terrain, and let him take the more crowded side, hoping it would gum up his Battlewagon, at least a little.
Here's my deployment. The Night Spinner is as far out of LOS as possible, hoping not to have to Jink and become a floating Paperweight. Other than that, I kept to cover in case of a Seize, but stayed spread out and mobile, so he couldn't easily box me into the corner.
These were our respective cheerleaders for this game :) The Spirit of Eldrad is here to make sure everything goes... Just As Planned.
Here's Ork deployment, seeing that gunline made my heart sink. Those Grots are on an Objective, the Tankbustas and Warboss are in the Battlewagon, and the Sluggaz are in the Trukk.
Looking at this, I have the speed and damage output to kill that, fairly easily. And it doesn't outnumber me as badly as I expected - but it does outrange, or match my range, and force Jink much more easily than I'd expected, that was going to be a huge problem. I needed to put a dent in those vulnerable units right off the bat, and try to reduce the heat I'd be suffering for the rest of the game, so I steeled myself for Turn 1.
And he rolled to Seize:
They say to always prepare to be seized on, but no matter how well you prepare, it sure does suck!
Let's see how this goes
Trukk up, Wagon huffing and puffing (both pass Dangerous Terrain)
He's gunning for me hard, like a good Warboss, but also a little hesitant, because I do boast a ton of firepower that'll ignore his T-shirts, and he as to watch me to keep me in range.
The Lootas shoot at my 4-man bike unit, the Battlewagon shoots at my 3-man unit, while the Tankbustas take a stab at my Wave Serpent. The bikes had better armor than any of those guns' AP, and the Wave Serpent was mostly behind Ruins for the Tankbustas, so I didn't have to Jink (thankfully).
He did two wounds to each Bike unit (gotta love Ork Ballistic Skill!) and a single Penetrating Hit to my Serpent. Well, that wasn't so bad!
...Or was it. I failed *all four* saves on the bikes, both of which then failed their Leadership and ran off the table. The Pen on the Serpent I failed to save, but did successfully convert to a Glance using the Serpent Shield. Double, Triple mega F%@#$. Turns like this are why I prefer to go first! Yikes!
The loss of both Bike units isn't the end of the world, but it is bad. It's nearly half of the mid-range shooting in my army, and all of my ObSec. But possibly worst of all, those units both should have been able to weather far more fire than that (I mean, four saves? Come on :P) and still be around at least as harrassment/objective grabbers, them folding instantly like that boded ill for the children of Asuryan...
The balance between going first and going second is a funny one - if you use a lot of Reserves (Drop Pods especially, of course) and/or want the last shot at any Objectives, it's often strategically "better" to go second. But that's a sacrifice, since giving up the Alpha means you're almost certainly going to lose units without them doing anything. If your army is fairly fragile or you have a lot of critical units that need to do damage before they die, it's better (I think) to get first turn whenever possible. And this Turn 1 is a shining example of why.
The picture above was the beginning of my Turn 1. My Serpent backed up, just a little, so it could still shoot the Trukk but not be in easy charge range. My Vyper moved up to try to scare those Grots off the Objective. My Night Spinner took a shot at the Trukk. The Grots went to ground like little green snot champions, and rolled hot, taking only two casualties.
The Night Spinner landed a direct hit, but rolled a 3 for damage, doing nothing. I then turned to the Wave Serpent, confident in my TL and Underslung Shuriken Cannon's ability to take down a Trukk, hopefully giving me at least one shot (if only the Serpent Shield) at the Boyz within.
Sadly, the Trukk proved quite resilient, so in the end I only pulled off wrecking it with all my Serpent's guns. It was still a win, cutting 6" off the Boyz potential move, but was it enough... ?
In hindsight, I probably should have held off on the Nightspinner's shot to either hit the disembarked Boyz or taken another stab at the Grots. Oh well!
My vastly reduced army, defiant even in the face of insurmountable odds! So far, three units dead, and all of them Troops. No First Blood yet!
Aaaaand it's only Turn 2. Yikes!
Turn 2: The Turn of the WAAAAAGH!
Warboss WAAAGHs, Boyz move up, Battlewagon moves a little closer and the Boss' Burny Bustas' pile out - it's game time now. For all the marbles.
First thing out of the gate, the Lootas roll hot, scoring two Penetrating Hits and two Glances to the Serpent, I fail three of the four Cover saves (...) and my Wraithguard are forced to disembark. Concerned about the tide of Assaults coming in, I deployed back, which may have been a mistake, but I'll never know now.
The Wave Serpent was the Transport for my Wraithguard, making it an Elite unit, and it granted the Orks First Blood here.
Shooting from the Tankbustas' inflicts two AP2 wounds on my Wraithguard, I fail two 4+ Cover Saves (.....) The Vyper takes the Battlewagon's three Big Shootas and doesn't make it to the other side. Unfortunate, but that part at least was predictable.
"Stand fast, ghost warriors! Though the battle looks grim, the day is not lost! For the Craftworld..."
The Boyz roll to charge, having Run to get closer (gotta love that WAAAGH! right?)
But unlike the tides of shooting (and making any saves at all), Boyz assaulting? That I was ready for!
My D-Scythe Overwatch was predictably brutal, melting a full five Boyz and their Nob (who failed one of two Look Out Sir rolls). With their number pushed back, the Boyz charge is pushed back, not being able to make the distance anymore. Thank goodness for small victories!
I got even luckier here too, the Tankbustas' were out of Charge range, having shot rather than run, so they had no choice but to wait for my return fire!
In my turn, I passed Psychic Shriek, but it was denied. I consoled myself with Enhance on my Wraithguard, just in case. I also got some use out of the Nightspinner Torrent mode, moving up to nuke that unit of Tankbustas! A solid hit gave me five dead Tankbustas' - nothing to be ashamed of, but is even that enough... ?
Here I felt the lack of Battle Focus on those Wraithguard. They were too far back to get into shooting range of the Warboss' unit or the Battlewagon, I just barely ran far enough to make it behind the Night Spinner for relative cover.
In the Orks turn, I don't offer a lot of targets to shoot at. What guns able to shoot kill the Wraithguard and the Nightspinner - the Wraithguard took four Wounds and made one save, the Nightspinner took three Glancing Hits and made no saves.
Why, dice? Why?? Are you this mad at me for not using the right Nightspinner model? Come on, guys! Give me something!
At this point, I had five witnesses, shaking their heads in awe, as one die after another rolled exactly 1 under what I needed to save... Well, anything!
Turn 4, my turn, with nothing left standing but my Spiritseer. It doesn't look good, folks...
Passed Psychic Shriek, and skull-popped all the Tankbustas', plus hit the Warboss down to 1 Wound!
Then, because why not? The Spiritseer took aim for one final shot on the Warboss. a 2+ to hit served me well, and with his Toughness I needed a 6 to deal that fatal wound.
And I did! YES! Woohoo I got Slay the Warlord!!
The board on that fateful, final Turn 5. The Boyz, Grots and Lootas each holding an Objective (and Linebreaker) and my lone HQ hiding in a metaphorical bush. The Battlewagon shuffled just enough to get a look at the Spiritseer's leg, and despite some truly atrocious to-hit rolls, three Wounds went through.
With my Spiritseer's 4+ and two Wounds, I knuckled under and prepared to not give up Warlord, and to run for that Objective on my turn!
Well shucks :/ par for this course. We'll have a stern talk when we get home, dice!
At the end of the day, I was shot off the table. By *Orks.*
That many Lootas would have given me trouble in the best of times, but the Tankbustas' were a fascinating choice, and really sealed my defeat. Even without my bad rolls and getting seized on, those guys really did some work, and offered the critical short-range anti-tank to keep my heavier units in place and away from the Lootas. The Grots were Grots and did what Grots do, tying my score by their little green selves, and the Boyz did what they do, took some hits, and held some ground.
The Warboss, the big scary? He did his part. WAAAGHt more can you ask for? ;)
Eldar: Slay the Warlord (1) - 1
Orks: Slay the Warlord (1), First Blood (1) Linebreaker (2), 3x Objectives (9) - 13
I must say though, that game was a blast, I've never had so much fun losing! My opponent was a really great player, and someone I've wanted to get a game in with for ages, so this was a great chance. Not to mention, our game was over in an hour, which is nuts!
Top notch Sportsmanship on both of our sides, and my proud painting work, means that even a loss isn't a total loss. Can't wait to see what 1000 points throws at me!