Thursday, 31 March 2011

Dark Eldar vs Tyranids Battle Report


After a bit of a nightmare fortnight I have come out of the other side in one piece (barely).

On the gaming front it looks like the number of attendees at my local GW’s games night has mushroomed.  Last week they only had 3 tables being used, but last Tuesday all 5 tables were being used with people waiting, so I wasn’t able to get a game with my Tau, but it does mean that as I approach the dates of my upcoming May tournaments I may be able to get 3 games a week; Tuesday at the local GW, Thursday at the local club, and the weekend against my mates.  I’ve got a bit rusty recently, and starting playing a new race, means I could do with the a lot of extra practice.

On another note I have now paid for my 2nd tournament of the year, which happens to be 8 days after the first, so I now have 2 one-day tournaments in May (ASMOH in Basingstoke & Rapid Strike in Reading).

Now onto the main event, the Dark Eldar vs Tyranid battle report.  I went through the deployments in my last post, but I’ll go through everything again here.

We rolled up the draw mission (ie. one objective each) with dawn of war deplyment.  My mate placed his in the centre of his deployment zone about 5” from the board edge.  I placed mine on the top level of a building in the bottom left hand corner of the board.  My thinking that my fragile Dark Eldar could not just sit and defend an objective because they are not good at wars of attrition, and it made any speed advantage I had completely useless.  Instead I would hope to use my objective as a lure allowing me to concentrate my force on the other flank allowing me to capture his, and hopefully at least contest my objective.

To recap here are our lists:

Dark Eldar List

Haemonculus - 65
Venom Blade, Liquifier Gun

3 Trueborn with 3 Blasters - 81
in Venom with 2 Splinter Cannons - 65

3 Trueborn with 3 Blasters - 81
in Venom with 2 Splinter Cannons - 65

10 Wracks with 2 Liquifier Guns - 120
in Raider with Dark Lance - 60

10 Wyches with Hekatrix with Venom Blade - 115
in Raider with Dark Lance - 60

9 Wyches with Hekatrix with Agoniser - 120
in Raider with Dark Lance - 60

10 Wyches with Hekatrix with Agoniser - 130
in Raider with Dark Lance - 60

5 Wracks - 50
in Venom with 2 Splinter Cannons - 65

5 Beastmasters - 234
accompanied by 7 Krymeras & 6 Razorwing Flocks

Ravager with 3 Dark Lances - 105

Ravager with 3 Dark Lances - 105

Ravager with 3 Dark Lances - 105

Totals: 1746 Pts, 79 Models (including 10 vehicles), 13 Dark Lances, 6 Splinter Cannons & 6 Blasters

Tyranid List

Tyranid Prime with Twin Boneswords & Scything Talons

2 Zoanthropes (accompanied by Prime)

3 Hive Guard

3 Hive Guard

Tervigon with Poison & Furious Charge (mainly because termigants nearby get it)

Tervigon with Poison & Furious Charge

10 Termigants

15 Termigants

18 Hormagaunts with Poison & Furious Charge

5 Ravenors with Scything Talons & Rending Claws

5 Tyranid Strikes with Twin Boneswords, Scything Talons & Furious Charge

18 Gargoyles with Poison & Furious Charge

My mate took turn 1, and deployed two tervigons in two sections of ruined buildings in the centre of the board, everything else would come on turn 1.  Wanting to see where the Tyranids deployed before committing myself I deployed nothing with everything set to arrive on turn one.

Tyranid Turn 1

The Tyranids deployed 2 tervigons in the two ruins in the middle of the board, and everything else came on turn one.  The tervigons spawned and 18 (yes a triple 6) and 14 termagants which moved slightly into my half of the board.  Here are are pictures after the tyranid turn 1 showing where everything was after their turn 1:

Strikes Hiding on the left next to the Hormagaunts
Next are Hive Guard and Gargoyles,
with Zoanthropes accompanied by Prime in the middle,
and the second unit of Hive Guard
At the back in the middle are 2 unit of termagants on the Tyranid objective
2 Tervigons in the building, and in front of them are 34 spawned gants
Behind the building are 5 ravenors

Dark Eldar Turn 1

Seeing a hive guard unit on the left hand flank (opposite the objective I had placed in my near left hand corner) I decided to deploy heavily on the right hand flank hoping to overpower and threaten the tyranid objective (hopefully capturing it) while trying to contest my own objective with a late game flat out move from a venom.

However I was concerned with the large number of gaunts on my side of the battlefield.  They could move forwards and start shooting down raiders.  I didn’t have the firepower to wipe them out but I could kill them in combat (particularly as I had rolled +1 attack for the combat drugs for my three wych units).  Trying to stay out of range of the gaunts would put hamper my army going forwards.

Here's a pic of my central position and my right flank:
Between the buildings in front of all the vehicles are my proxied beastmaster unit;
Rippers as Razorwing Flocks, and Tau Drones as Beastmasters

Trying to learn from the mistakes of my last game (where I played too cautiously) I decided to give it a go and charge the termagants.  To wych squads went straight forwards towards the gants, disembarked ready to fleet and charge.  The beastmaster unit got a good fleet roll so was in position to support wyches against the largest gant unit.  Everything else entered on the right half of the board with everything aimed at the tervigons.

Shooting downed one of the tervigons (even though it had a cover save) which was helped by me remembering to reroll night fighting this game.  The tervigon dying exploded some of the gants from the large unit.  Good casualty removal meant that a poor fleet and charge into cover roll might stop the wyches and beastmaster from charging.

A few spare lance shots tried to instant kill a ravenors but the distance was too far.

An average fleet and charge into cover roll saw one wych squad and the beastmaster unit charge the large gaunt squad on the right, and another wych squad charge the gant unit to the left.  Combat was swift and one sided with both gant units slaughtered.  Typically the beastmaster unit picked up the pain token from their combat.

A nice start put I still faced the counter attack from the tervigon and ravenors, and those hive guard would be getting close soon.

Tyranid Turn 2

The hormagaunts and tyranid strikes moved forwards towards my objective.  My mate was a bit concerned about exposing the strikes to (instant killing) lances.  The gargoyles advanced on the wyches in the middle (one ones furthest left of my army).  The tervigon and ravenors advanced to put them within charge range of the wyches and beastmaster unit.

It always happens, so here comes my big mistake...

I could see from the positioning that it looked like the tervigon was going to charge the wyches and the ravenors were going to charge the beastmaster unit.  The wyches took some shots (I can’t remember where from, probably the advancing zoanthropes 24” blast shot).  Now I thought the wyches could take the tervigon, after all it only had a few attacks, the wyches had an agoniser and +1 attack.  Therefore I thought I may as well go to ground to save a few wyches (to give the agoniser more ablative wounds and therefore time to kill the tervigon).  When the tervigon charged I would only have to pass a ld9 test.

My obvious mistake was forgetting to take into account my mate changing his plans based on my decision.  As the wyches had gone to ground they could be killed later by the huge squad of gargoyles that was about to kill the left hand wych squad.  Therefore the tervigon decided to help the ravenors with the beastmaster unit – opps.

Although the beastmasters absorbed a lot of attacks, they lost combat and their poor leadership didn’t give them much chance of passing the morale test.  Luckily their high initiative allowed them to escape.  The ravenors consolidated back into cover, and the tervigon (who wouldn’t have been able to get a cover save, as he couldn’t move far enough to conceal 50%) moved forwards, luckily not far enough stay within 6” of the beastmaster unit to disallow them a rally test.

The gaygoyles also overwhelmed the left hand wych squad after taking a good number of casualties from 5 wyches that were left after the gaygoyles shot them before charging.

Dark Eldar Turn 2

My mistake with the wyches in the middle left them a sitting duck for the gargoyles that had just killed the left hand.  Both units hive guard would now start being in range of my army.  I’d learnt my lesson from the last game [posted here] and knew that retreating back to try and stay out of range would just pin me in, not necessary protect all my units and prevent me from getting to objectives by the end of the game.

With this in mind I decided to advance forwards and slightly to the right (hoping to keep most of my army out of range of the left hand hive guard).

The wyches with the haemoculus moved only slightly forwards and left ready to counter attack the gargoyles after they finished with the wyches who had gone to ground.  The beastmaster unit rallied and also got ready for the counter attack.

All ravagers, venoms & trueborn took positions to do as much damage as possible.  First target was the ravenors and tervigon.  The tervigon went down fast without a cover save or feel no pain from lance shots.  A few more splinter cannons and blasters finally took out the ravenors, leaving 2 venoms to drop one of the hive guard.

Tyranid Turn 3

With ravagers left the strikes on the left flank was still a bit hesitant of coming across to the right, so decided to ensure the hormagaunts would take my objective in the bottom left hand ruin, by being a nasty counter to anything heading that way.

The rest of the tyranid army advanced forwards angled towards my right flank, apart from the two units of starting gants sitting on the tyranid objective (well one was about 6” to the left of the objective so I couldn’t take them both out at once).

One hive guard unit was only in range of an empty raider (from one of the dead wych squads), so blew it up.  The other unit blew up a ravager, and the zoanthropes only killed a few wyches who were about to be charged by gargoyles.

Combat was again swift with the gargoyles killing the wyches who had gone to ground, taking a few more casualties.

Dark Eldar Turn 3

With tyranid strikes and hormagaunts about to to reach the ruin on the left flank with my objective I had to get to the tyranid objective. I still had quite a bit of firepower so I had to push on.  However my forward movement was still a bit conservative (probably a sign of playing Tau all last year).

My last remaining wych unit with the haemonoculus moved forward on their raider and disembarked ready for a charge on the gargoyles.  They would be supported by the remainder of the beastmaster unit.

The large units of wracks on their raider advanced on the right flank to the mid table line (knowing their double flaming would clear the enemy objective of gants if the raider stayed alive).  With hindsight I should have gone flat out to the objective but wanted an extra dark lance shot at hive guard.  Sometimes you just have to ignore the chance that small arms fire (in this case fleshborers) will down the raider for other weapons (eg, hive guard) to kill the occupants.

My firing dropped one hive guard unit to 1 and the other to 2 due to good tyranid cover and armour saves.  However combat went my way, with the wyches charging the gargoyles, and the beastmaster able to multi charge the tyranid prime with zoantropes and charge the gaygoyles to link up the two combats, hopefully causing the prime and zoanthropes to take multiple fearless saves at the end of combat.

Being able to put 2 razorwings against the tyranid prime and hounds against the zoanthropes and gaygoyles, the combat was brutal.  After taking a few casualties from the gaygoyles, zoanthrope and prime against the beastmaster unit, i put a wound on the prime, a wound on the zoantropes and wiped out the gargoyles (there were about 11 or 12 left.  In a display of bad dice the zoantropes lost their remaining 3 wounds to no retreat, and the prime lost another wound leaving it on one left.

Tyranid Turn 4

The strikes and hormagaunts reached the bottom of the building in the bottom left corner (they had been getting poor run rolls all game, and were tempted to move slightly rightward on one turn).

The remaining hive guard prioritised the wrack raider as the wracks were posed to clear out the tyranid objective.

The unit of 1 hive guard was not able to kill the wracks raider.  However it’s luck didn’t hold when the second unit blew it to bits and to make matters worse pinned the wracks.  [Note that I didn’t roll a 9 for the test, so a squad leader would have made no difference]

With both hiveguard forced to fire at the wrack raider, and the majority of the remaining tyranid forces around my objective on the far left hand flank there was no-one left to support the tyranid prime, who died in combat against the beastmaster unit, giving the beastmasters themselves their 3rd pain token.

Dark Eldar Turn 4

The trueborn who were still alive in the middle of the board (due to being less of a target than other units), moved forward to target the squad of 2 hive guard.  I honestly can’t remember what the ravagers and trueborn venom did, probably killed a few termagants.

The wracks were pinned so couldn’t move towards the objective, however a venom could turboboost towards the objective and found a place just within 3” that was more than an 1” away from any termagant to contest.

The wyches and moved forwards towards the unit of 2 hive guard, while the beastmasters moved towards the unit of 1.

To try and do something about my objective I moved the venom with the small wrack unit within 24” of my objective (which was sitting on the 2nd floor of a ruin).  To stop the strikes from being able to fly forwards and attack the venom, the wyches raider flew in between so that the strikes would not be able to get to the venom.  A cheeky lance shot tried to instand kill a strike but it made it’s cover save.

The reason this might have worked is because if the hormagants rolled badly they might only get up to the first floow, allowing the venom to move 24” to the top floor (and hope the venom didn’t crash).

Onto shooting and one trueborn unit did one wound to the unit of 2 trueborn, then the second unit hit and wounded with all three to take the remaining wounds.  It was then I noticed another mistake, not counting on the trueborn killing the unit of two hive guard I had not separated the haemonoculus from the wyches, which meant that they were out of charge range of the other hive guard unit because they couldn’t fleet and assault.

In the combat phase the beastmasters killed the hive guard effortlessly and looked menacingly at the termagants on the tyranid objective.

Tyranid Turn Five

To counter my venom flat move to contest, my opponent instead made the strikes fly up to the second floor, as they wouldn’t be slowed by differcult terrain.  He also made all of his dangerous terrain tests.  Then the hormagaunts got up to the second floor (directly underneath the objective and well within 3”).

The only thing left was for the termagants to shoot down the contesting venom and brace themselves for a beastmaster charge in the dark elder turn (if they wyches had been able to charge the single hiveguard they would have been in range to charge the termagants on the objective).

Dark Eldar Turn 5

Now a special treat, absolutely unbelievable mistakes on my part.  Now the game is 2-0 to the tyranids at the moment.  Getting carried away (maybe aided by alcohol, and the fact i was winning multiple close combats – other the last 2 years playing Tau it never happened) I somehow got it into my head that I had to try and contest the tyranid objective.  However if I did I would still lose 1-0, so what I should have done was play as normal and hope for a turn 6.

The only units in range to contest the tyranid objective in the movement phase was the 2 ravagers.  So I went flat out with one to land on top of the venom wreckage, and promptly crashed.  Never fear, if a mistake is worth doing why not do it again, so i went flat out with the other one, and promptly that crashed as well.

Correct course of action would have been to move with all vehicles (and trueborn) towards the strikes and fire everything at them.  If the strikes died the hormagaunts would be outside synapse range and have to move towards the closest enemy (off the objective).

Apart from that the wracks and wyches moved and ran towards the tyranid objective, but were out of range, while the beastmaster unit charged and slaughtered the termagants sitting on the objective.

With 2 troop units inches away from claiming the tyranid objective the game ended with a roll of a 1 for random game length.

Here’s a picture of my objective swarmed by tyranids, and the tyranid objective (that was mine in all but name):

The picture also showed that one hive guard was still alive in the cente,
so I must have misremembered some part of the end of the battle.
It also shows how being too cautious left my scoring units too far away from their target.

Thoughts on the Game

All the units performed well, but then tyranids with their monstrous creatures make the dark elder weapons look good.  However I did notice how splinter cannons are no assault cannon or scatter laser against hordes (in this case mobs of gaunts and gargoyles).  To kill mobs I’ll have to coordinate my close combat strikes.

Also I still feel I’m playing too cautiously.  I started this game off well, but then spent too long whittling the enemy down, meaning I ran out of time to capture the tyranid objective.

The Beastmaster performance showed their greatest strengths and their greatest weakness.  In turn 2 they showed their weaknesses when they were counter charged by ravenors.  Although the razorwings with their multiple wounds and the khymera’s 4+ inv save meant that the units still had lots of fighting strength left, losing combat meant that they were easily going to run away when they start on ld8.  Just losing by 3 means a ld5 morale test.  Next their speed is a liability when they run because in other circumstances they could have run straight off the board with a 3D6 fall back move.  Lastly ld8 is less than ideal to try and rally, especially when another 3D6 run move is very likely to see the unit run off the board.

Luckily for me the beastmasters rallied and got to show what they could do, killing gargoyles, zoanthropes, a tyranid prime, hive guard and termagaunts by the bucket load.  The mixture of multiple str 4 attacks, and loads of str 3 rending attacks means they can take on most opponents.

However they should be good in combat when you consider their weaknesses and their 234 point price tag.  However use them well and they can cause havoc.  I think overall I think they could be better than the 8 man incubi squad in a raider that they replaced.  The incubi have an obvious “hit me” sign on them, downing the raider (not hard at all) really hits their mobility, and even a 3+ save will not stop incoming fire seriously damaging their effectiveness.  A 5 model ravenor unit counter charge would completely maul the effectiveness of an incubi squad, but the number of wounds in the beastmaster unit (42) means that they still had some bite left (abiet after having to pass a risky rally test).

So the learning point for me is to try to be less cautious, and get stuck into close combat.  Not just ploughing into the middle of the enemy, but picking on a flank of the enemy.  After all after the first kill wyches should have feel no pain and have consolidated into cover or behind their raider giving them two 4+ saves against firepower that isn’t str 6+ or AP1or2.

As always feedback is always welcome.

And lastly my Tau are being a very well travelled (but not used) army.  Two weeks running I carried by army on the one and an half hour each way trip to work and back, but stuff has popped up at work meaning I couldn’t leave early enough to get back to my local GW in time to get a game at their gaming night.

On the other hand the number and quality of armies at the shop is much improved.  There was a couple of competitive marine armies using assault terminators in land raiders (one in a vulkan army, the other with a chaplain), two space wolf lists (one with a thunderwolf character accompanied by loads of hounds, the other mech with some drop pods), a mech guard army & a mech blood angels to name but a few.  A nice varied list of armies was down there which is just what I need to play against to improve.


1 comment:

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