Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Blog Wars 3 - Game 1 - Webway DE vs. Iron Hands

Despite it being a random draw I somehow found myself facing Jamie and his Iron Hands. He's got quite a lot of vehicles in there and I simply don't have much anti-tank in my list... at all! So we were all set up for a tough game.

For anyone wanting a reminder of the dual webway list I was fielding you can find it here. As per the scenarios we'd be playing Pitched Battle with the Annihilation mission. The difference being that the commander SC was worth 2 points (Cassius for Jamie and Baron for me).

Jamie was fielding Chaplain Cassius with a master of the forge and some assault terminators in a land raider. These were joined by 3 tactical squads (2 in rhinos, 1 on foot), a small bike squad with attack bike, a predator and a whirlwind. As with most Dark Eldar lists I've got a much better chance if I get first turn. Fortunately that's what I got and I deployed by two venoms where I wanted them. The thing I like about this list is that you don't show your hand too early. There's very little on the board for the first turn so your opponent doesn't know what to expect. From turn 2 onwards everything appears right in his face (hopefully) and it has the desired effect of shock and awe.

Jamie responded by deploying his footbound tactical squad in the centre in cover with a rhino on either side of the terrain. The bikes were tucked in behind one of the rhinos with the land raider far over on his left flank, whirlwind round the back and predator on the other flank. I rolled a 4 for my combat drugs giving me a re-roll to wound - nice! I was convinced Jamie was going to seize so I breathed a sigh of relief when he didn't. The two venoms pushed forward and dropped off their passengers. The two haemonculi did their only job and dropped the webways. One squad of trueborn penetrated the front armour of the predator but could only stun it whilst the other squad immobilised one of the rhinos.  The venoms fired at the bikes and the tactical squad in cover killing a biker and a couple of marines.

At this point I have no option but to sit and watch my opponent give everything he's got to destroy the venoms and their newly disembarked cargo. Unfortunately for Jamie he didn't manage to take out either venom thanks to some poor luck on his part and a jammy flickerfield save on mine. Each trueborn squad lost two members and both haemonculi took a wound despite FNP saves absorbing most of the damage.

I've got 9 units to come on through the webways and even though it's 50:50 chance of getting what I want I've hopefully put enough redundancy in there so that I at least get something useful in turn 2. In this case I got the wracks, both reavers and the talos. The wracks moved on and into one of the venoms along with the haemo. The venom then moved them in the direction of the tactical squad to attempt to assault them next time with their Furious Charge (thanks to 2 pain tokens). One lot of reavers headed in the direction of the land raider hoping to find themselves within 9" the other used their bladevanes on the tactical squad, killing a handful of marines. Finally, the talos moved in the direction of the other rhino taking a shot with it's heat lance as it went. What it failed to do with shooting it managed with it's fists, blowing up the rhino and killing a marine in the process.

The shooting was underwhelming. The reavers found themselves just out of half range, the venoms killed a few more troops but crucially the trueborn failed to crack open the other rhino or stop the predator shooting.
Jamie responded by taking down the wrack's newly acquired venom and cutting down all but one of the reavers. The talos was shot to pieces by the predator and the bikes whilst the other reavers took a couple of casualties from the tactical squad turning around to rapid fire at them.

In the next turn I got Baron and his hellions and one squad of wyches who set up ready to assault the occupants of the immobilised rhino should I be able to crack it open with shooting. When that plan failed the wyches were forced to charge in on the rhino and wreck it with their haywires. Baron had more success charging the tactical squad that had rapid fired the reavers killing a decent number. The reavers meanwhile blasted away and hit the bikes with some bladevane attacks. The wracks moved towards the other tactical squad in cover but snake eyes on the charge roll meant they sat impotently. The lonely reaver on my right struck lucky and blew up the land raider with his heat lance before ducking behind cover in the hopes of getting a shot at the whirlwind next turn.

With the tactical squad in cover having little left they couldn't do much damage to the wrack and elected to shoot down the remaining venom instead. The bikes now joined in on the hellion combat but despite losing some of his squad Baron was able to hit and run and get clear of the melee but not before making the tactical squad run from the board. The wracks took a hit from the whirlwind which killed one wrack and took the haemonculus' remaining wound. Cassius and the MotF moved in the direction of the wych squad and solo reaver that were nicely clustered around the rhino wreck and their flamers killed all but the hekatrix.

The remaining units now emerged from the portal. Both squads of wyches headed in direction of the command squad and the cronos moved towards the remaining full strength tactical squad hoping to hit it with it's spirit vortex. The hellions went in the direction of this squad and I hoped with help from the hekatrix they'd be able to kill them off quickly and keep away from the terminators. Brilliantly the spirit vortex scattered off the squad and straight on top of the hekatrix killing her! Nice one!

Baron was able to bring down the entire tactical squad with help from his hellions. The reavers tried to bring down the predator from nearby cover but without success. The wracks finally got to charge what was left of the tactical squad and finally brought them down. A quick tot up of the scores showed Jamie had a slight advantage of a couple of KPs. I'd need to take out a few more of his units without losing a single one of mine. The MoTF split off from cassius and went after one of the wych squads. The attack bike went after the trueborn and killed off the haemonculi in combat with shooting but couldn't finish the job in combat.

The next turn was crucial for me. I lined myself up to either shoot down the predator or have Baron charge it to finish the job. The wyches would need to kill off the MoTF. The wracks played keep away with the terminators knowing they'd have no chance even with Furious Charge. The unengaged wyches swung across to kill off the attack bike before it finished off the trueborn. All three units did their job, Baron killed the predator, the wyches got the attack bike and the other wyches finished off the MoTF.

What followed was a turn 5 where Jamie tried to chase me down and get his terminators into combat with something and failing. The whirlwind tried to kill off one of the two solo trueborn but scattered off. In turn 6 I moved my units even further away (cowardly I know) and hoped I could hold on to my slim 9-8 lead. It wasn't to be as right at the end of turn 6 (and as it turned out the game) the whirlwind finally hit it's mark and took out one of the trueborn to draw things level. That gave us 10pts each and a 200pt advantage to me in kill points.

Jamie was the first to acknowledge that he should've kept his army away from mine a little better. The speed of the bikes couldn't let them pop a venom without much danger and the long range of the predator should've kept it safe. Knowing I didn't have much I could've done against the terminators I was quite pleased when Jamie was cautious with them allowing me to deal with the rest of his army before they waded in.

The trueborn were as underwhelming as usual with an immobilised rhino their only achievement. The reavers were incredibly lucky to kill the land raider with a single shot but otherwise didn't add much. I was stupid with the wracks who could've moved close to the marines and been able to charge. The venoms were reasonably effective and helped me deal with the higher toughness of the bikes. It's shame the talos got taken down so early without having chance to get it's teeth into the tactical squad.

The runaway stars of the show were the hellions. They took down two tactical squads and even when on his own Baron was able to bring down the predator by taking advantage of his S7 (thanks to those two tactical squads). I've never had them do so well in a game and it think it was obviously down to the fact that they came straight out of the webway and into combat.

Overall it was an excellent game that came right down to the wire. As Andy Pattison observed that's probably the first and last time that a whirlwind played a crucial role in a tournament game!

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