Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Battle Report: Blog Wars 2 Game One vs Eldar

As I've mentioned on the results post I did a little better than last time placing 9th out of 22 whereas last time I was 23rd out of 26! I have to say that the battles at had at BW2 were some of the best I've had in a long time at a tournament. I'll explain why each battle was good after each report but I learnt a lot from this tournament and really enjoyed playing my list. For anyone who want's a recap I posted it here.

The first mission was essentially Annihilation and Pitched Battle deployment with the "commander" (nominated SC) being worth 2 points. I found myself facing Frank Marsh's Eldar again (you might remember I played him at the End Times and Matt has a longer history with him). Frank's force included two special characters in the form of Eldrad and Yriel. Frank's a very experienced tournament player so I knew I'd have my work cut out to take victory and even if I pulled it off I knew he'd make it a painful process!

Frank's list included the aforementioned Eldrad and Yriel mounted up in a wave serpent with a squad of warlocks. These were supported by a trio of guardian jetbikes, a squad of guardian defenders, storm guardians in another wave serpent, dire avengers in a wave serpent and then 9 war walkers with a mix of scatter lasers and missile launchers. The list has a staggering amount of firepower which can easily torrent away most squads and with Eldrad beefing them up with his powers I'd need to get my rune priest into range for some psychic defense.

When Frank won the roll off I knew my long fangs would be suffering and sure enough, after a single turn they'd been reduced from 10 to 1 lonely missile launcher. One of my rhinos also fell victim to a torrent of Eldritch fire. With no chance of winning a shooting war I had no choice but to close on Frank's lines as fast as possible. I slammed the drop pod in behind one of the war walker squads. Arjac and his grey hunters made light work of one of the walkers, stunned a second and ripped a scatter laser from the third. Elsewhere my lone long fang missed his target. The grey hunter pack that found itself without a transport advanced and I optimistically fired off it's melta at a nearby wave serpent hoping to find it in range. It was, and with some jammy rolling I was able to blow it up killing a couple of storm guardians must most importantly dropping them in front of my rune priest's rhino.

Frank tried to get off a couple of Fortune's and a Doom and, whilst I cancelled both of the former, the latter got through on Arjac. Yriel hopped out of the back of the wave serpent and made his way towards Arjac's doomed squad. Yriel used his Eye to take down all the grey hunters around Arjac but vengeance was swift when Arjac smashed him with a hammer blow. The wave serpent then headed off in the direction of the rune priest and dropped off it's warlocks who made short work of the rhino with their singing spears. Luckily only a couple of the grey hunters fell victim to the storm guardians flamers and destructor.

I dropped in the land speeder and incinerated half of the guardian defenders who sadly held their nerve with a roll of 8! Arjac tossed aside Yriel's corpse and went to work on the remaining war walkers, wrecking them with ease. The rune priest's squad got out and charged the storm guardians cutting them all down apart from their warlock who made his invulnerable save. The lone long fang hit his target this time and with further jammy rolling he blew up the dire avengers wave serpent. This left the occupants as easy prey for the wolf lord who didn't need any help from his squad to cut them all down.

The Arjac's triumph was short lived as he managed to fail a couple of 2+ saves after weight of fire from the war walkers. Eldrad disembarked from the wave serpent and he and the warlocks charged into combat with the rune priest. Luckily the rune priest cancelled all of the farseer's powers this turn so there'd be no Fortune. The grey hunters dispatched most of the warlocks leaving Eldrad with a single companion. The guardians stunned the land speeder and the war walkers started to hammer the thunderwolves. The last long fang finally met his end after failing a single armour save caused by the wave serpent in front of his nose.

The thunderlord split off from his escort and charged into one squad of war walkers with the TWC charging another. This would mean I'd have a lot less fire coming my way. Over the next couple of turns the remaining grey hunters killed off more of the guardian defenders who went to ground only to be finished off by the land speeder a turn later. The thunderwolves took a long time dealing with the war walkers with some frustrating damage table rolls. At the end of turn four the lord was still battling a sole walker and the TWC had finished off theirs thanks to the S10 fist.

Frank smashed his wave serpent into my drop pod and managed to wreck it for a cheap kill point. Unfortunately I forgot that the wave serpent should also have taken a hit but nevermind. It was still anyone's game at this point but I'd need to kill Eldrad to try and secure victory. Despite a measly number of attacks he was making short work of my grey hunters and finished off my rune priest too. The thunderwolves headed over to help out and left Eldrad standing alone. With Fortune they'd have their work cut out to bring him down. I was pretty confident that in turn 6 they'd finish him off thanks to the fist and my thunderlord would finally win out against the war walkers. Sadly turn 6 never came.

After an extremely bloodly game (mostly in the first 3 turns), Frank had a war walker, wave serpent, 3 jetbikes and Eldrad remaining. This gave me 9 KPs. I had the thunderwolves (all with 1 wound), thunderlord (on 2 wounds), land speeder and one pack of grey hunters left giving Frank 10 KPs and a narrow 1TP victory. When we totted up the VPs it turned out I'd won a TP by a margin of 43 points!

Conclusion
I've got to thank Frank for one of the best battles of 40K I've had in a long time. The first few turns were devastating to both armies. I was very lucky to destroy both of the wave serpents with a single S8 shot not to mention blowing both up. I feel like I played this game well though and mostly made the right decisions at the right times.

There were a couple of big mistakes though. In the turn when Eldrad's fortune had been cancelled I had the choice of charging him with grey hunters but chose instead to rapid fire the guardian defenders forcing them to go to ground and saving the land speeder. However, as Frank pointed out at the time, I really should've charged Eldrad whilst he just had a 3+ save and no re-roll. This might've saved the rune priest and/or some of his grey hunters and given me a KP lead. The storm guardians might've failed to destroy the land speeder anyway and they'd have been easily dealt with by the grey hunters anyway.

The other mistake was a simple one, forgetting that the wave serpent should've suffered a hit when ramming might've been crucial. It caused an S10 hit on my drop pod which I think means it should've taken an S9 one. I can't say I've done much ramming so I'm not that familiar with the mechanic. Even if I hadn't killed it I might've stopped it moving making it an easier target for my TWC when they finished their walkers off.

You could argue that dropping the drop pod so close to Yriel was a mistake and it certainly meant Arjac was easy to kill when he found himself very alone. However, it cost Yriel his life and didn't spare the war walkers. If it hadn't been those grey hunters he'd have found another target for him and if they hadn't been doomed 3 would've survived.

Overall I think I was lucky that Frank underestimated my thunderwolves and only started shooting them on turn 3. This allowed them to get to the war walkers at near full strength. However, you could argue that then my long fangs would've been alive to be taking down his wave serpents and those pesky bikes.

Tomorrow I'll post up my second battle against John Holland's Space Wolves.

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