Thursday, June 07, 2012

Blog Wars - Game 3 - Webway DE vs. Space Wolves

In the final game of the tournament I found myself in the rather unexpected position of being on table 3. My opponent would be none other than Frank Marsh. Over the past year or so Matt and I have played Frank on various occasions. The last time I played him was at Blog Wars 2 where my Space Wolves were held to a draw by some last minute KP grabbing from Frank including ramming my drop pod with a wave serpent! Frank has a pretty decent tournament record and seems to always place pretty near the top. I knew this was going to be a tough game and having webway Dark Eldar wasn't going to make it any easier.

The final game would be Seize Ground with 5 fixed objectives and Dawn of War deployment. I was relieved to see Frank looking confused as he read my army list. Sure enough he said that he hadn't played Dark Eldar much and certainly wasn't familiar with webways. Frank's list consisted of a rune priest and a large grey hunter pack in a rhino, a wolf priest on a bike with a squad of swiftclaw bikers, a small grey hunter pack in a razorback, Arjac Rockfist and 8 grey hunters in a drop pod, two lone wolves and two packs of long fangs (one with a razorback).

In my previous two games I'd won the roll offs easily even without Baron's +1. For this game however it really came in handy with Frank rolling a 2 and me rolling a 1(2) followed by a 4 and a 3(4) and then finally I won the third roll off. Electing to go first I stuck one of my venoms in a ruined building with only the haemonculus on board (as the trueborn are elites and can't be deployed in DoW). I'd then bring on my second venom with trueborn this time on the first turn. Frank deployed a rhino near the centre with the rune priest and a squad of grey hunters inside. This time I rolled +1 WS on my combat drugs.

Unfortunately for me Frank stole the initiative and slammed Arjac's drop pod right next to the otherwise hidden venom. The rest of his army advanced on towards the middle with his long fangs running into positions on each flank. Arjac and his grey hunters made short work of the venom but the haemonculus was hidden from the rest of his army so would get to deploy his webway. In my first turn I dropped both webways down and then the trueborn managed a lucky shot to explode the rune priest's rhino. The venom fired at the bikes killing one and wounding the attack bike.

Frank used his bikers and Arjac to easily cut down the two haemonculi but luckily for me the combination of cover and FNP kept all the trueborn alive. The bikers moved further into the middle but could only immobilise the remaining venom. In my turn 2 I had another successful set of reserve rolls getting everything but a squad of wyches and the cronos. The reavers turbo-boosted out of the portals and used their bladevanes to strike at the long fangs. Thanks to some jammy rolls on my part and some poor armour saves from Frank each squad was reduced to a single missile launcher. The immobilised venom easily finished off one of the lonely long fangs.

The hellions came out and charged into the rune priest's squad and by some miracle they were able to kill off a large number of them. The talos and one squad of wyches set up to charge the bikes but a combination of fire from the trueborn, wyches and talos meant only the wolf priest and one biker remained. This mean the wyches were out of charge range but the talos easily finished off the priest and swiftclaw but took a wound in the process. The other wych squad charged into Arjac's grey hunters but with help from their wolf standard their counter attack won the combat and forced the wyches to flee. The wracks simply ran on from the board edge and hugged an objective.

The lone wolves charged into the hellions in order to try and save the grey hunters. The hellions forced the grey hunters to run but one of the lone wolves struck Baron with his chainfist. Baron's shadow field caused the first blow to miss but the second ripped through the field and he was hacked to pieces (failing it on the second roll sucks!). The hellions broke from the combat and pursued the fleeing grey hunters. Arjac and co. rapid fired the second squad of wyches and severely thinned them out. One of the razorbacks took a pot shot at the wracks in cover and killed one but they held their nerve. The smaller grey hunter pack jumped out and rapid fired the reavers killing a couple off.

In my third turn the cronos and another squad of wyches appeared. The cronos incinerated some of Arjac's squad and the wyches then charged in and were able to finish the job. The lone wolves were cut down by a combination of shots from all directions. The long fangs weren't far behind them with bladevane attacks causing serious hurt. To be honest the next few turns all merged into one so I'll sum up what happened but not necessarily in the correct order.

The reavers moved in on the razorback and gunned it down with their heat lances, protecting the wracks (who'd moved deeper into cover to be completely hidden anyway). The hellions shepherded the rune priest's squad from the board and then turned their attention to the smaller grey hunter pack. By some minor miracle they were able to hold on in the combat long enough to force the grey hunters to run again.

At this stage Frank didn't have much hope of victory but I needed to table him if I wanted to finish in the top three. The cronos moved over and with help from the wyches was able to destroy the drop pod. That left the razorback on my left hand side but it took a combination of trueborn fire, haywire grenades and a lonely hellion charging it to bring it down the hard way (weapon destroyed, immobilised, wrecked) and that sealed the game at the end of turn 6. This gave me the maximum 25 points and saw me leapfrog Matt and Steve Henderson and take 2nd place.

Shortly after I remembered that I hadn't deployed my second squad of trueborn (as I'd forgotten they weren't in the venom). That almost certainly would've meant the razorback would've gone down a lot sooner!

It's a shame I can't remember it better (it is Thursday now and I've slept a lot since then) but suffice to say it was an amazing game for my Dark Eldar. There's no doubt I was very lucky. I think Frank got a bit sick of me saying "they never do that well" about each unit in turn. Seriously though, the hellions managed to take down a squad of grey hunters, the reavers claimed the best part of a long fang pack each and then took down a razorback. The talos finished off the bikers and the trueborn took out a rhino with their first shots of the game! When you're rolling well any army can feel unstoppable.

The other significant factor in this victory was that Frank had no idea about Dark Eldar and webway. If he had then all he'd have needed to do was keep his army on the back line and gun me down as I tried to get close. This would've almost certainly resulted in the opposite result. To be perfectly honest this is true of all three of the games. When I tested the list against Matt his first reaction was to try and close in on the portals and either surround them or deal with my army piecemeal. When this failed he resorted to sitting back a lot more and hence I didn't win many games with them in practice!

When your army relies on your opponent to make a mistake to win it's always going to be limited. Don't get me wrong I thoroughly enjoyed all 3 games but I don't think I'd take it to a tournament again. It definitely lacks anti-tank fire and I was lucky to kill the vehicles that I did. One thing I certainly love is your opponent's face when over half of your army appears in their face on turn 2, seemingly from out of nowhere!

Thanks to all of my opponents for three excellent games. For those of you who've been asking about Blog Wars 4, I should be posting about it tomorrow or Saturday so keep your eyes on the blog for that.


  1. Great report.

    It's a shame about your conclusion that you wouldn't take it to a tournament again. Couldn't you squeese a bit more anti tank in, eg. 3rd squad of trueborn coming out of the webway (say 7 with 3 or 4 blasters), having a talos with a twin-linked heat lance rather than the cronos ?

    Talking of the cronos, what did you think of it's performance, would a talos have been better ?

    Hopefully 6th edition will make vehicles less popular allowing the webway type list to do better.


    1. Well I think I was maybe a little quick to dismiss it. The main thing is I wanted my deployment to just be the two venoms to keep my options open and my opponent guessing. Otherwise I'd put ravagers in.

      With some tweaks it could have more anti-tank but the trouble is that you can't guarantee it will emerge at the right time.

      The list has one talos and one cronos. The cronos can be great as there's often troops for you to hit and chuck out pain tokens. Only trouble is they're slow so if your opponent has sense he can keep away.

    2. I think with the less anti tank it may be better to ensure as much as possible that every unit has a chance of killing tanks, eg. talos with heat lance rather than cronos, and some fast assault troops (can't remember so you have hellions or beastmasters?).

      I would also advise a big wych (say 12-15) unit with an attached 3rd haemonoculus, so they have Feel No Pain before they kill an enemy unit, particularly if you lose the cronos. I bet the cronos is good if there are infantry to shoot near the portal, but in those games the opponent is playing into your hands, where as when the game is harder because the opponent knows to stay away the talos with it's heat lance or blaster plus better combat power would better.

      You battle reports have made me look at a different style of list I could try out. I may try keeping my razorwing jetfighter to come on from reserve though. Thanks for the inspiration.


    3. That's what I tried to do. I have 2 squads of reavers with heat lances for when there are no bladevane targets. The hellions can CC a vehicle if necessary. The wyches have haywires too. It's ranged anti tank I lack so reserved ravagers might be an option.

      Talos is better than the cronos but I liked having both. Only problem with putting haemos with etched is they lose Fleet unless u split them off and steal the pain token. Ultimately neither talos or cronos are that good but its hard to resist them in a webway list.

      I'm glad I've inspired you to try other things. I get bored of seeing the standard net list over and over. I'm looking forward to 6th shaking things up.

  2. Check the rules on deployment in a dedicated transport the IC didn't purchase. If the trueborn bought the Venom,the hami and deploy with them in it. If the trueborn don't start in it, no one can be in it.

    Make sure you have a troop choice that the Hami can deploy with for the DoW scenarios.


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