You may have read elsewhere about the Summer Skirmish at Maelstrom this weekend. Matt and I have been down and it's been great fun so far. The tournament features 13 games (yes 13) over 1.5 days and all games are at 500pts and are 40 minutes long. I've been a traitor to the cause and taken Dark Eldar instead of my usual SW, simply because I fancied a change and at this points limit it wouldn't mean many models. After very limited play testing I came up with:
500pts of Dark Eldar
10 Wyches (Razorflails & Shardnet ) w/ Hekatrix (Venom Blade)
10 Wyches (Razorflails) w/ Hekatrix (Power Weapon)
5 Hellions w/ Helliarch (Power Weapon)
2 Raiders w/ Flickerfields
Literally as soon as I got there I realised I should've brought a Ravager but since I've barely used DE before I never thought of it. Pretty obvious really but ah well. The other things missing are agonisers. It's worth ditching some other upgrades (and even a wych or two) to get them in since wounding on 5s against most things really is a struggle.
Anyway onto battle reports from Day One (I took my camera but never actually took it out of my bag so no pics I'm afraid).
Pool 1 Game 1 - DE vs Tau
Even though I got first turn I deployed in cover, good thing really since my opponent managed to Seize! That was really the turning point. One of my raiders got wrecked straight away meaning the wyches would have a long slog. The other raider advanced but missed with it's dark lance. The hellions made their way up the board only to be gunned down before doing any damage. The other raider fell pretty soon after leaving just my wyches who managed to take out two squads of fire warriors before meeting their fate. First game, first loss.
Pool 1 Game 2 - DE vs SW
I found myself up against Mick from Claws & Fists with his Space Wolves. In short my dark lances failed to down his rifleman dread and I couldn't destroy his razorbacks either. One wych squad didn't manage to take down 5 grey hunters (which was pretty unlucky). The hellions hit his long fangs and unfortunately did so in one phase leaving them in the open to get shot to pieces. With both raiders falling and wyches hiding in cover with no targets it was pretty obvious that this was another loss.
Pool 1 Game 3 - DE vs Necrons
With no chance of coming 1st/2nd (and advancing to a higher pool) I simply had to save face by beating the undead robots. It had been ruled that Phase Out would be ignored in this tournament so I'd have to do it the old fashioned way. Shooting from the hellions dealt with one of the destroyers but the return fire finished the hellions. One raider was immobilised but the other lived on. One squad of wyches multicharged the tomb spyder and warriors whilst the other took on the destroyers. After a long slog of combats I eventually used the raiders to shoot down the tomb spider that fled and finished off the destroyers with a sweeping advance. Unfortunately I could only claim half points for the warriors but that was academic. First win with Dark Eldar then!
Pool 2 Game 1 - DE vs CSM
My opponent only had havocs (with flamers/meltas) and a CSM squad both in rhinos. The havocs took down one raider but only after pulling up right in front of it. Shooting from my whole army and a charge from two lots of wyches were enough to kill them off. The CSM in the other rhino gave me a scare though since even in combat with all of my army they held their own with a good number of saves. I eventually had one wych squad running and one at half strength but I'd brought the CSM to half too so I claimed a narrow victory of about 80 VPs.
Pool 2 Game 2 - DE vs Tyranids
Another Claws & Fists game, this time Graham and his tyranids. He immobilised one raider with his zoanthropes and his infiltrated genestealers advanced. After softening them up with poisoned shooting I finally got a first turn charge, which I'd hoped for all day, slamming into both his 'stealers and his raveners. My 4+ save won the day and despite heavy losses the wyches beat the genestealers and the other squad comfortably dealt with the raveners. With only the zoanthropes to deal with the wyches had no problem securing my first tabling. Things are looking up!
Pool 2 Game 3 - DE vs Orks
Yet another Claws & Fists bloke in the form of Andy Lane. He seized the initiative and, luckily for me, game straight at me. A combination of shooting and charges from both hellions and wyches killed off one mob of boyz whilst the other wych squad dealt with the other mob and big mek. The deff dread flamed then charged the other wyches finishing them off but not before I'd managed to get the rest of my army clear of it. After 10 dark lance shots (which I missed half off) the dread was only immobilised so Andy just held on.
Pool 3 Game 1 - DE vs BA
Having moved up in the world after 4 straight wins I was feeling a lot more confident. However, my first game in the new pool soon changed that! If ever there was a case for having a ravager this was it. I lost one raider to a multi-melta shot from his land speeder with the wyches then trying to slog it on foot. The other raider failed to destroy either of his razorbacks which made my pay for the failure by incinerating my wyches with twin-linked heavy flamers. The hellions made their way towards the devastators but failed a morale test just before they got there and then fled the board. The other raider soon fell and the flamers made the wyches inside nice and crispy. If ever there was a rock vs scissors encounter this was it! Tabled 0-500!
Pool 3 Game 2 - DE vs GK
Things didn't go much better in this game either. My opponent had the GK list that seems to be flavour of the month at the moment. Psybacks and psyflemans were everywhere in this tournament. With the GK getting the first turn my raiders didn't last long. It didn't help that I failed more than my share of flickerfields saves but it was still inevitable. My wyches charged 5 strikers and somehow managed to lose the combat and were chased down and shot to death. The other wyches made it into combat with the other strike squad but met a similar fate (this is why you need agonisers!). With no de-mech ability my hellions were soon gunned down too. The only thing stopping me getting another 500-0 tabling was that the psyfleman immobilised itself in turn 1!
Pool 3 Game 3 - DE vs Eldar
With the loser of this game being relegated to the Golden Spoon competition I almost wanted to lose this one. I didn't fancy my changes in the Trophy competition but we'd have to see what happened. I got first turn but could only blow the turret off his fire prism. The combination of twin-linked scatter laser and shuriken cannon from his wave serpents easily dealt with my raiders who missed with their dark lances again! The dire avengers got out and gunned down the wyches who were stranded in the open. Not quite a 500-0 but not far off again!
So as we go into day two and the knock-out stages I'm facing Tau in the first round of the Golden Spoon. Given my inability to shoot down transports I don't fancy my chances. With the exception of the CSM the only opponents I've beaten are on foot. The sheer number of mechanised armies at this thing meant that without a ravager I simply didn't have enough anti-tank fire power. Poisoned shooting is great for everything except bloody vehicles!
Anyway, I'm still in with a chance of winning something, albeit the booby prize, but to do so I need three wins on the trot. Can't say I can see that happening!