Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Double Trouble - My Battle Reports

Right folks, I'm determined to keep my battle reports brief for a change. I love the WD style reports that Michael over at St Andrews Wargaming puts out but I don't have the time for diagrams so mine always end up too wordy whilst I try to describe what happened where and when. Here's my list and then straight into the battle reports:

750pts of Dark Eldar
Archon w/ shadowfield, agoniser, armour of misery in Venom
2x 5 Kabalite Warriors in Venoms
5 Reavers w/ cluster caltrops
2x 5 Scourges with 4 haywire blasters

In all three games there were concurrent missions of Blood Points and Tactical Objectives (using the custom DT deck).

Game One - Dark Eldar/Dark Eldar vs. Eldar/Legiones Astartes (SW)
I was thrilled to be paired up with Nathaniel Gibbs for some double Dark Eldar action. Mind you, I felt pretty inferior compared to the stunningly converted and painted half of our army belonging to Nathaniel. One day I'll have a beautiful army, one day. Nathaniel had two venoms of his own (although his kabalites had a blaster), a beast pack, sucubbus with grotesques in a raider, some mandrakes and a talos. A nice combination of units between us. Dan Evans' Space Wolves consisted of a squadron of jetbikes, two rhinos with tactical squads and a landspeeder. Danny Evison's Eldar had an Autarch on jetbike, 2x 3 SL windriders, a crimson hunter, two hornets and a warp hunter.

We got the first turn and knew that we needed to prioritise the Eldar both because of their speed but also because the tanks would tear our vehicles a new one pretty easily. I tried to position my scourges so that they covered most of the board but sadly there was a piece of terrain that Danny managed to hide pretty much his entire army in or behind. That meant we had to pick on Dan's marines which we did with surprising effect. The first volley from the DE took out all of the jetbikes and wounded the Autarch, destroyed one rhino and immobilised the other! Much better than we'd hoped but a shame the Autarch limped on.

The response wasn't as brutal as we'd expected either. Danny hugged the terrain and never really unleashed the firepower on our army. That meant we kept 3 of the 5 venoms for a good while. We drew some decent tactical objective cards but also both of the cards referring to our opponents' objective which was swarmed with Eldar! The talos was forced to stay on the objective in our corner to get the bonus points for controlling for two turns so ended up dying in that spot to the Eldar fire. I really think they focused on it too early when it wasn't that much of a threat with a single haywire shot.

Hiding the Archon on the last turn made the VP game much closer!
Meanwhile we'd drawn a Take the Point card for the objective next to the remaining rhino. We decided to throw everything we had at it to score the points. The rhino was contesting the objective so we'd need to shift it to allow our Reavers to control it. The remaining scourges failed to do any damage so we were left with a last ditch single dark lance from the grotesques' raider. Miraculously it blew it up! The venoms then went to work killing just enough of the occupants to clear the objective.

Danny insisted on targeting the scourges to protect his vehicles rather than target the reavers and try to save the tactical squad. The combined DE army then charged into the marines with a single scourge taking all of the overwatch fire and surviving with a double six for 6+ FNP! That left just Danny's half of the army pretty much unscathed (minus the Autarch who I forgot to say had killed himself on dangerous terrain in turn one!). Dan just had his speeder left.

We ran out of time at the end of turn 4 with a surprisingly large amount of DE left on the table. We took a 14-13 VP win but had a narrow 888-945 loss on BPs.

Game Two - DE/Space Marines (IH) vs. Daemons/Khorne Daemonkin
My partner for this game was Matt Calow with his beautiful 3D printed creations including custom dozer blades for his vindicators and a conversion beamer for his techmarine on a bike. Matt was running an Armoured Task Force with 3 vinidicators, 2 separate predators and a techmarine. We were facing James Maynard's Khorne consisting of blood hounds, cultists, lord on a juggernaut and a heldrake. His partner Matthew Grimes was fielding a summoning force of Tzeentch Daemons with a lord of change, herald, pink horrors and a couple of burning chariots. I knew from checking the lists that his force was geared up to summon a chariot every turn so the lord of change would be a priority target.

Sadly, we didn't get the first turn so their army advanced and summoned a third chariot. The chariots torrented into my venoms killing the Archon who failed his first shadowfield save and destroying a couple of the venoms. In response the remaining DE forces managed to take the lord of change down to a single wound despite it swooping. In fact, he'd have been destroyed were it not for the Warp Storm granting him a +1 to his invulnerable save! Elsewhere the vindicators unleashed their ginormous blast but it scattered meaning that only one of the two chariots it was targeting was destroyed.

The chariot was quickly replaced in their next turn. We were fortunate that the Heldrake didn't appear but it was little consolation as the chariots made short work of my army. The rule allowing template weapons to cause D6 wounds to occupants of open-topped vehicles is retarded. Sure it makes sense from a realism perspective but the armies it screws over (Orks and Dark Eldar) were hardly overpowered before it was introduced. I digress.

The lord of change somehow clung on with a single wound left meaning not only would he keep on replacing the chariots but also that we didn't score the kill a psyker card we'd held onto in vain. Ultimately we couldn't deal with the Tzeentch half of the army. I felt a bit sorry for James because his Khorne barely got a look in. They were quietly scoring VPs by claiming objectives but basically Matthew's chariots and lord of change did most of the killing. We ended up having to sacrifice the techmarine (who was our final remaining model) in combat to end the game and prevent any more VPs being scored. We should've conceded I suppose but that felt a poor way to end the game. Ironically if we had, Matthew wouldn't have won the Master Tactician award as he scored 2-3 more VPs on that final turn.

A crushing 1500-395 and 23-4 loss on both objectives.

Game Three - DE/Dark Angels vs. Tau/Space Marines
I felt like I'd been pretty lucky again with my partner in this game. Dave Weston's DA army had a decent core of fast units and some ranged firepower. He was fielding a techmarine, scout squad, tac squad in rhino, tac squad on foot, assault marines, two ravenwing units and a devastator squad. On the opposite side of the table (well sort of, thanks to the deployment) were Matthew Spencer's Tau consisting of the Optimised Stealth Cadre with three Ghostkeels and Luke Fogg's Space Marines with a librarian on bike, scouts in a LS storm, 2x3 bikers, 5 tactical marines and grav centurions in a pod.

The final game required the combined armies to split in two and deploy in opposite corners to each other. In hindsight I'm not sure this was the best deployment but it certainly made for a different game. I felt a little ganged up on in the corner as the Tau were shooting me, centurions podded in next to me and landspeeder headed over too! I was busy taking casualties to the centurions and looked up to see that somehow Dave had lost all of his Ravenwing already. I'm not sure what happened there!

Anyway, we really struggled to achieve anything between us. I was forced to sacrifice the Reavers cheaply for an objective again but otherwise barely left my corner as I had to deal with the centurions, scouts and stealth suits that came my way. The standout highlight was the Archon taking on some scouts, stealth suits and the centurions on solo in combat having already lost his Shadowfield (first bloody roll again!). Thanks to his armour of misery he just needed to win the combat to have a decent chance of making stuff run from the table. He killed a scout and stealth suit and cause the centurions to break. Miraculously they got away (they rolled a 6 and I rolled a 1 for sweeping) but sadly didn't quite run off the table.

I quickly lost the rest of my force and Dave wasn't faring much better as the Tau closed in. The game ended with a 7-16 and 371-1300 loss. We'd been frustrated not to score more VPs but a combination of badly timed cards and objective secured scouts messed with our plans!

I may not have had a particularly successful day but I certainly enjoyed it regardless. Playing with 9 different people was great fun. I've always loved doubles events (as I'm sure you know) and getting to play with and against some interesting combinations of armies and people was brilliant.

The interaction between newly paired up teams was interesting. Some worked better than others. I was pretty lucky with my partners though as we seemed to be on the same page generally speaking. My best game was definitely the surprisingly close double DE game. I really thought we were going to have nothing left by the end of turn two. We were pretty lucky with our rolls but I really think Danny was too cautious with his Eldar. My Scourges may be capable of stripping hull points pretty easily but with Jink and plenty of cover he really wasn't in much danger. That meant poor Dan was hung out to dry a little.

As ever when playing Dark Eldar, not having turn one in two out of three games really hurt. DE rely on that big alpha strike to take out some of the big hitters in the opposing army. If we'd gone first I think the lord of change would've been gone, especially since he wouldn't have had the 4++ save from the warp storm table. We wouldn't have struggled to take the chariots down after that and could've picked off the other daemons as they advanced. Having first turn in the final game would've helped but I'm not sure it'd have made much difference. We might've been lucky and killed 1-2 of the ghostkeels but the centurions would've still been a big problem.

Anyway, I'm already looking forward to the next one and slightly regretting my decision to only run one a year. Who knows, I might cave....

Come back in a couple of days to give me your feedback on the event so that, whenever the next one it is, it'll be better.


  1. Sounds like three very fun games Alex, especially the first one. It's always good when a game you think is going to go really badly actually ends up being very close.

    I'm not sure how telling it is that the only two Chaos Daemon players took the top two spots at Double Trouble. The ability to summon several additional units at 750 pts puts them at a big advantage I think (especially if they are burning chariots). In fact, in my game against Dan's Daemons, it was the Daemon Prince that did it for us. A Nurgle Daemon prince with Iron Arm and a 2+ cover save was practically untouchable in our game and we did not put a single wound on it.

    I would be loathe to start banning things outright, but at 750 pts, summoning additional units and toughness 8 or higher units are incredibly powerful and we really struggled to deal with them at the low points limit for each army.

    1. I too wouldn't want to just start banning things outright (although I did with Invisibility). I don't particularly like summoning as a mechanic but I try to avoid my personal feelings having too much influence on the event pack.

      It's interesting that you, and others, feel that the games were pretty small. I didn't think of them as being much smaller than BW games although 350pts is a decent chunk. In the context of a 1,500pt army I don't think it's too much but I'll see how people feel and go from there.

    2. I think it was small in terms of own army selection. I actually prefer 1500 pts in a standard game of 40k.

      The difference, I think, is only choosing half of the 1500 pts, so not having the tools to deal with a lot of eventualities. If your partner has an army that complements yours, it works well. If not, you can struggle in games. That's not to say I would change the randomness of the pairings. That was one of the fun and unusual events of the game.

      As to the points below about summoning allowing more than the two unit limit from the rules pack, I agree with that. If that limit was not in place, I probably would have gone with a lot more trukk boyz mobs in my army, in which case I think the Daemon armies and Daemon prince wouldn't have been such an issue.

  2. I really enjoyed our game, and I am pleased you did too. It was a good laugh having a chat and rolling dice, and miraculously surviving all game and getting the scores we did. I loved the whole event and am looking forward to the next a lot.

    I got to agree with Mike about the summoning. It is a really big advantage at that point limit. I don't know what the solution is to that, but it is something I have never liked anyway, but it is quite frustrating to play against sometimes, and can have a huge impact on games at smaller points levels

    1. I have to agree on the daemon summoning, it breaks two core rules of the tournament; the points limit and the limit on two of any given unit. For example in my game against daemons there were essentially four chariot units used in a game.

      There is no easy solution, you could limit it to the two unit maximum in army selection maybe? So if you've selected two units of plague bearers you wouldn't be able to summon them.

      The other option is if GW give force commanders an equivalent 'call for reinforcements' rule where they can bring in extra squads, in the same way as AOS. But to me that would just compound the whole problem.

    2. @NafNaf Really pleased you enjoyed the event. I was worried the randomness wouldn't work out but I think it did in the end.

      @Xachariel I have to say I hadn't thought about it exceeding the two of a given unit restriction. That's a good point. I'll add summoning to the DT feedback discussion post (scheduled for Thursday). I've a couple of suggestions for sorting it but would love to hear more from you guys on it.

  3. Well now I just feel bad.

    Firstly I hope the nine guys a played with/against each enjoyed their games, I would hate to think my list caused them to have a crappy experience. And on top of that, thank you again Alex for another fantastic event.

    Secondly, as much as I don't really want to defend summoning (take summoning and give me back my old horrors!) I feel as if I should at least say something:

    I got really freaking lucky.

    So for anyone who didn't know my list, absolutely everything depends on the lord of change. He's 290pts of my entire psychic offense and even then he doesn't have anything other than his 5++ save.
    Chariots were the big distraction/shooty things, but die really really easily and are only effective vs MEQ and vehicles.

    It just so happens I played against 5 marine armies and 1 dark eldar. None of which had any anti flyer.

    Even then, my first game agaisnt Steve Horne and Kai-Uwe, two marine players without anti flyer. They were never really able to trouble my LoC, but that was a very close match! Heck Dave and I only managed to score enough points to win that match because they each failed every warpflame test, this lost them 2 units during a crucial turn, both on objectives.

    Game two, as Alex has said, he nearly killed my LoC in one round of shooting! What he forgot to add to that was he had made an error during deployment, forgetting my chariots had a torrent flamer and deployed too close. (I should have gone through my list anyway despite your insistance that you knew it)
    There were many many things that went either well for James and I or poorly for Alex and Matt during that game.

    In my third game against Martin and Rob (space wolves and white scars), again both marines with no anti flyer. But that didn't really matter as Robs Mechanicum were awesome. Holding the space wolves pretty much single handidly (I killed some scouts and 1 or 2 assault marines) while taking out 1/3 of Robs bikes and his thunderfire in 1 really lucky shot (failing 2x 3+ cover saves, come on!)
    I'd also like to mention khan, more than once, charged his command squad through flaming overwatch, over a piece of ramped terrain and killed my chariots rider with hammers of wrath. Pretty freaking cool image if I do say so myself.

    Obviously the most a lot of people see are the scores, joint 1st on victory points and 2nd on blood points, so yeah, the list that summoned chariots must be broken if it did so well! Unfortunately I don't have a blog to share my battle reports so you guys can see otherwise.

    I think in the end, I came up against armies my list is good against, had a lot of luck and was partnered up with some great players (Dave, James & Rob).
    If even one of those incredibly lucky moments hadn't gone my way, I'd have finished top 5 or 10.

    But ofcourse, those are just my thoughts.

    1. That was more text than I expected.

    2. Yeah, it's a little unfair to keep ganging up on you Daemon players. It is hard to make conclusions on the strength of an army thanks to random partners and how much they contributed to each victory.

      I think you knew you had a pretty strong army for the tournament (you took a lot of stick on the Friday night for your cheese fest chariot army), but I guess most people thought they took strong armies to the tournament.

  4. I think quite a few people brought horrific Lists in 750pts, Matts only gets attention because he did really well with it. It had fair weaknesses (twin Flyrants would have mauled him...) but luckily he never came across any of them.

    Over the course of the day, to name a few lists I saw:

    Grav Cents in Pod W/ Grav Bikers (Your favorite unit is dying turn 1)
    Twin Nemesis Dreadknights (<- Even managed to table me in two turns..)
    Eldar Warp Hunter (D weapons...) and Hornets
    Nurgle Monstrous Deamons (Relied on Biomancy rather than summoning)
    3 Tau Ghostkeels (Hope you brought ignores cover...)

    Even I took Quad Launchers which can be frankly horrific if I roll even mildly average against the right targets...

    I don't want to disrespect anyone who took those lists, of course its a tournament you want to at least put up something with a bit of bite. But I wouldn't have been particularly happy facing any of them in such a low points level.

    I think it is just a symptom of this tournament format that people will have units/tactics in their list that all comers cannot deal with easily. You cannot fit in that many counters in 750 pts, and if both you and your ally have nothing to answer with, it is only going to go one way.

    That all said Matt won the last Blog Wars. (With Chaos Space Marines as well!) So i think a little credit needs to go to the fact that he is pretty damn good at this 40k Malarky.


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