Due to an unfortunate hospitalisation for the captain of the Space Marine contingent, the 4000 point royal rumble was downsized to a more manageable 2k game between my Eldar and Chard’s Imperial Guard. We used the same lists we had intended to use for the big game, so no spanky crimson hunter or cheesy mantarch for me. I used a few of my less-favoured units this time out, namely the Avatar (who I’ve not found to be terribly cost efficient in general) and striking scorpions (who as you’ll see only confirmed their place in my bad books…
My List Consisted of:
Striking Scorpions with Exarch x 6
Fire Dragons x 5
Rangers x 6
3 units of 10 Guardians
2 units of 3 Jetbikes
Warp Spiders x 5
Swooping Hawks x 6
Wraithlord with Scatter Laser and Bright Lance
War Walkers x 3 with Scatter Lasers
Wave Serpents x 2 with Scatter Lasers, Shuriken Cannons and Holofields
Chard fielded roughly:
Command Squad5 or 6 10-man Guard squads
3 veteran squads with assorted demo packs, flamers, shotguns etc
Leman Russ Punisher
Possibly 1 or 2 other bits and bobs, but I think that’s the bulk of it.
We set up the boards as below. Still need to work on our scenery collection but I think it’s a decent looking board if you use a little imagination. Slightly contrary to the standard rules, we set up terrain, rolled for the mission (Crusade) and deployed objectives before rolling for table sides. We ended up with 3 objectives and Vanguard Strike…
Chard won the roll off and chose to go second. I deployed my wave serpents in some cover, spread out my guardians, war walkers and wraithlord along the length of my deployment zone, kept the avatar at the front with some scorpions in cover close by, and infiltrated the rangers onto the central towers. I left the hawks at the back ready to skyleap on turn one, leaving the spiders and jetbikes in reserve.
With much of his army off the board in vendettas, Chard set up most of his squads in cover, with his tanks ready to plough down his right flank towards the unattended objective and a hellhound or two poised on his left flank, as below:
Incidentally, the lolseer rolled up the odd mix of dominate, doom and psychic shriek. In a first for me I would be tackling this one without a single ‘guide’ to be seen…
Eldar Turn 1:
The hawks jump off the board, while wave serpents shuffle around to better see the oncoming tanks on the left flank, and open up with serpent shields to strip a hull point off the nearest hellhound – a little less than I’d hoped for but I figure with the vendettas off the board until turn two the serpents would be safe enough to use their shields for now. The avatar stomps off towards the same group of tanks, the scorpions continue to bravely hide out of sight, while at the top of the board the warwalkers single-handedly blitz the squad of guardsmen camped on the IG home objective, earning me first blood! Otherwise shooting was fairly ineffective, though the rangers did snipe the astropath, denying the IG their +1 reserve bonus. Sadly (for me) Chard had rolled the re-roll reserves warlord trait from the strategy table, so this wasn’t as key as it might have been otherwise.
IG Turn 1:
The tanks on Chard’s right flank rumble forwards, with the hellhound doing some damage to the nearest guardian squad. The leman russ opens up on the wave serpents but fails to penetrate, while at the top end of the board the hellhound and massed volleys from the guardmen whittle down the guardian squad closest to them. A lot of fire went into the lolseer, who merrily absorbed every shot thanks to his re-rollable 2+ cover cheese.
Eldar Turn 2:
The hawks, spiders and jetbikes all come in on time. Unfortunately the spiders mishap (as they do in every game – hence why I rarely play fewer than 2 squads). We rolled the ‘hilarious’ result on the table, and Chard chose to place them in the bottom corner of my deployment zone – just out of frame in the pic. Fortunately, what with them being spiders, I thought they’d still have half a chance of contributing regardless. The hawks jump into the opposite board corner, behind the massed guardsmen whom they proceed to blast away at with grenade packs and lasblasters, while the jetbikes just come on and line up for some objective pestering. Elsewhere the empty serpent moves up onto the hill with the unattended objective, again both serpents using their shields to finish off the right flank hellhound. In the centre the wraithlord begins the slow plod towards the punisher, lancing off a hull point after the lolseer dooms it. The warwalkers line up opposite the left flank hellhound’s side armour (which I soon found out was AV12 anyway…) and manage to strip a couple of hull points. In the centre the avatar begins his rapid cartwheel of death amongst the tanks, melting the leman russ with a couple of blasts from the wailing doom.
IG Turn 2:
Two vendettas steam onto the board! Happily Marbo is busy elsewhere which makes me happy. A combination of vendetta fire and the punisher down two of my war walkers, while the various guard units make short work of the hawks. The second vendetta knocks two wounds off the avatar, and my guardians on the right flank are finished off by the barely-alive hellhound.
Eldar Turn 3:
Wave serpents move up to pump some fire into the closest vendetta, netting a hull point and velocity locked result. I figure I can write that one off for the next couple of turns but foolishly forget to move my objective-holding jetbikes out of his air space. The avatar bursts the closest chimera, finishing the last of the tanks on that flank, and a couple of guardsmen bite the dust in the ensuing explosion. On the other side of the board the lone war walker bounds behind the hellhound and finishes it off with a volley to its rear armour. The warp spiders begin a long slog across the table (except for the one who couldn’t be bothered and threw himself into the warp for good measure). The lolseer’s psychic tomfoolery gets denied for what seems the first of many times, but continues to draw masses of fire away from everyone else, so he’s still proving useful, while the scorpions finally show themselves, edging towards the IG home objective…
IG Turn 3:
The velocity locked vendetta zooms toward the bottom objective and wipes out two of the jetbikes (the third breaks and never recovers). The final vendetta comes in from reserve and drops off a demo squad near the avatar, but they scatter out of demo charge range and I breath a sigh of relief. Atoning for his earlier weakness, the avatar also shrugs off the vendettas’s lascannon fire. The black vendetta drops to hover mode and drops off some flamer-laden veterans, then puts a wound on the wraithlord. Marbo pops up behind the warp spiders, lobbing his demo charge. This too scatters, but into the nearby guardians, blasting two of them apart. Somebody mean knocks a hull point off the final warwalker, while the black vendetta’s veterans wipe out the striking scorpions (several times over) with flamer and shotgun fire. That’s what I get for trying to make the useless buggers work! Marbo charges the warp spiders, clearly underestimating the aspect warriors as he takes a wound and deals out none in return! I fail their hit & run check but hope they can repeat the feat next turn…
Eldar Turn 4:
The avatar and wave serpents swoop up the flank, beginning to close the trap on the Imperial Guard. Scouts continue a decent run of wounding and pinning (a mechanic I have always forgotten to use up until now) by taking out the sergeant from the guard squad in the backfield and forcing them to ground. The avatar comfortably obliterates the demo charge squad on his jaunt up the table, while elsewhere there’s mostly a bit of jostling of position and fairly low key shooting. That is except for the black vendetta being taken out, a kill which again goes to the wave serpents. The warp spiders also excel themselves by finishing off the dreaded Marbo!
IG Turn 4:
Both remaining vendettas zoom off the board, one after dropping more veterans near the uncontested third objective. The table now looks a bit eldar-heavy! Other than a few potshots the main focus was on the company command squad who charged the lolseer, the commander managing to put a wound on him in a challenge! Needless to say the lolseer hit & ran (not that he did much hitting). Sadly, in other news, the warp spiders are mown down by a hail of lasgun and autocannon fire.
Eldar Turn 5:
The wave serpents volte-face and begin to pile shots into the guardsmen around the third objective. One squad is wiped out but I can’t shift the second even with support from my guardians’ heavy weapons. The rangers bail out of the tower, desperate to bolster the IG home objective, while the avatar and disembarking fire dragons begin to mop up the surviving guardsmen entrenched on their home turf, including the commander. 1 more VP for me! The lone war walker also helps, while the surviving jetbike squad bravely contest the IG objective once it becomes clear the rangers won’t make it there in the next turn or two. Off camera, the wraithlord demolishes the leman russ punisher with his hammer of wrath impact, saving me the old ‘to smash or not to smash’ dilemma.
IG Turn 5:
Everything was hanging in the balance on this turn! By now I had one objective, slay the warlord, first blood and linebreaker, while Chard’s returning vendettas killed off the jetbikes to net him two objectives, so unless something drastic happened we were looking at a draw if the game ended after this turn. With nothing else to do for it we rolled the dice – 5, and the game continues. For once that happened at the right time!
Eldar Turn 6:
It was all downhill from here for the IG – I couldn’t get anyone near the third objective, though the wave serpents cleared it of guardsmen, so it was just a matter of smothering the IG home objective and holding tight. The fire dragons, avatar and war walker finished off the last remaining guardsmen save one lone refugee from the command squad, while everyone else milled around waiting for the after party.
IG Turn 6: By now there was really nothing for Chard to do. I think he took a couple of pot shots with his vendettas and finished off my poor final war walker, but there was no way to make a meaningful difference to the game, so we decided to call it there.
Eldar: 6 (1 objective, first blood, slay the warlord, linebreaker)
Imperial Guard: 0 (though only just reduced from 6)
There was some good work put in from the avatar for a change, easily making back his points in trashed tanks. War walkers as ever mowed through more or less anything they looked at, but as usual did not survive long afterwards. Scouts proved handy, spiders proved they can dish it out in close combat in a pinch and hawks reminded me not to dump them too close to entrenched enemy lines. The wave serpents were probably the men of the match, and I’m now 100% on board with the idea that painted minis play better. On Chard’s part his hellhounds were probably his MVPs, and I foresee many more of them turning up in the near future (I am reliably informed that he has placed an order, so the bat reps featuring chardboard tanks should begin to peeter out. He did a stirling job of playing to objectives in the late game, and I’m not sure how I’d have played it differently.
But I’d certainly welcome any thoughts/advice from any veterans out there!