Monday, 25 April 2011

Dark Eldar 1250 Battle - More ASMOH practice

Picture of my right hand side of the board after my turn 1 (blue gems are objectives)

Out of the blue a got a call from my mate with the Nids army I played before (battle report here). He said he was popping down for the weekend to see his brother and wanted to get some more practice for our upcoming tournament (A Small Matter of Honour).

One the call he said either 1250 or 1750 point games were fine, so I thought it was a good chance to try out my full Dark Eldar list, however when I turned up he said he’d only bought his 1250 list due to having to transport it on the train, especially with his newly converted Tyranid Strike models.

The Tyranid Strike models are converted from the old zoanthrope body, the very old tyranid hive tyrant head, and two sets of gargoyle wings. It looks very bug like and I’ll try to get him to send me some pictures so I can post some up (unfortunately I forgot to take any pictures of them).

So after having rushing to finish converting and undercoating all the models for my 1750 list I had to leave the new ravager and a venom in the case. My list was:

Haemonculus with Venom Blade, Liquifier Gun - 65
3 Trueborn with 3 Blasters in Venom with 2 Splinter Cannons – 146
3 Trueborn with 3 Blasters in Venom with 2 Splinter Cannons – 146
10 Wracks with 2 Liquifier Guns in Raider with Dark Lance - 180
9 Wyches with Hekatrix with Agoniser in Raider with Dark Lance – 180
10 Wyches with Hekatrix with Agoniser in Raider with Dark Lance - 190
3 Wracks in Venom with 2 Splinter Cannons - 95
Ravager with 3 Dark Lances - 105
Ravager with 3 Dark Lances - 105

Totals: 1212 Pts, 47 Models (including 8 vehicles), 9 Dark Lances, 6 Splinter Cannons & 6 Blasters

I was roughly facing:

Tyranid Prime with Deathspitter, Bonesword & Lashwhip
3 Hive Guard
3 Hive Guard
12 Termagants
15 Hormagaunts with Poisoned & Furious Charge
8 Genestealers
5 Ravenors
4 Strikes with Boneswords and (maybe?) Furious Charge

Rather than a full battle report I'll quickly go through the first few turns, and then focus on specific events of interest.

The mission was multiple objectives and Dawn of War. I choose to go first, deployed nothing with everything coming on turn one. My mate debated on deploying the tervigon, prime and termagants, but sesible decided to keep them off with everything apart from the genestealers (outflanking), ravenors (deepstriking) and strikes (deepstriking) coming on turn one.

Knowing the hive guard only had a 24” range, I knew I could be aggressive, so everything moved on but stayed at least 6” away from the centre of the board. The tyranids moved on, with the tervigon and hive guard staying behind a building. The prime joined one of the hive guard units that could be seen through a doorway in the ruin. With hindsight running the hive guard and using termagants as cover would have been better as it would allow the hive guard to reach a good mid board position earlier.

Without the threat of the strikes, raveners or genestealers I decided to soften the tyranids up, while allowing them no response by moving everything back 6” to ensure the hive guard would still be out of range next turn. Fire power reduced the prime to 1 wound and the unit of hive guard he was with to 1 model.

After the tyranids moved forwards (and was still out of range) I was able to reduce the other unit to 1 model as well. With the tyranid anti-tank firepower crippled so early I really had the game in the bag. The first of two nails in the coffin was my mate being too cautious. His strikes and ravenors deepstriked in cover out of assault range, plus he outflanked the genestealers on the left flank to capture an objective, when it probably would have been better to outflank the other side to help with a key combat and then threaten the side with the more objectives. The other nail in the coffin was a single unit of wyches performing well on the right flank, ending the game sitting on an objective with 4 pain tokens.

What I thought cost my mate the game
  • My army just works very well against nids, the only improvement I would like is to add a razorwing jetfighter instead of one of the ravagers. The 4 large templates would be a godsend against some of the troublesome gaunt broods.
  • My mate delayed a lot of his army, genestealers outflanking, ravenors and strikes deepstriking, leaving pretty straight forward target priority decisions
  • He was too cautious about losing the strikes and ravenors, leading to both of them dying. If both had moved out at the same time, one may have survived to reach combat, leaving it too long meant I crippled one on turn 4 meaning if the other moved out on turn 5 it would have been all alone
  • Thinking too early of capturing objectives, and concentrating on the wrong ones. The genestealer outflanked on the side with an objective they could easily get in cover, but ignored the other side where they could have helped out with a key combat on the side where the majority of the objectives were.

What worked well for the Dark Eldar
  • being aggressive after the two turns of softening up the tyranids
  • focusing firing, first on the hive guard and then on the combat threats of the ravenors and strikes
  • looking out for opportunities (charging into hormagaunts with the attached prime not being able to assist, see later)
  • the small wrack squad did not draw much firepower, one splinter cannon was knocked off when they were shot at once by a single hive guard, but they ended up in their venom taking an objective at the end of the game. However the small wrack unit needs to be tested against an army which can't have all it's anti-tank shot away in two turns (eg. most armies have anti-tank spread across many units).

Points of Interest

Objective Placement: Never, Never assume you'll be playing on the side your standing on when you place the objectives. 

In the picture above you may be able to see 2 of the 5 objectives (which were represented by blue gems). To make it easier to see on the small picture (clcking on it shows a bigger picture) I have put red crosses where the objectives are.  They are all on the ground level.  As well as the two visable blue gem objectives another one was on the left hand side of the ruin on the bottom left hand corner of the picture. A further one was in the crater that you just see above the ruin at the top middle of the picture. These 4 objectives were close together and meant that the winner of the game would be the one who controlled this area. The last objective was in the far top right hand corner of the map.

Normally I'll take second turn, but with the objectives placed as they were, when I won the roll off I choose to go first so I could take the side with the more objectives.  Having first turn on a side with easier to get objctives gave me a significant advantage.  If my mate had placed his objectives more neutral, ensuring both sides were even getting choice of table sides would have been less significant.

Killing Characters Without Wounding Them: After seeing this done against a thunderwolf lord at my local GW, when I saw an opportunity I went for it. This tactic is based on looking for characters that are more than 6” away from the edge of their unit. In the thunderwolf lord example he was at the front of a large unit of fenrisian wolves. Two units of genestealers outflanked and charged the big unit. The lord could not make it into base contact, and the genestealers slaughtered the wolves, causing the thunderwolf lord to take 14 no retreat saves and die.

My example was caused when the tyranid prime (after being reduced to one wound while being with hiveguard for one shooting phase) joined the back of a 15 strong hormagaunt unit (well more then 6” from the front of the unit). My wyches were in charge range so went for it. However when doing this tactic you have to be careful.

I couldn't shoot at the unit at all, because careful casualty removal would mean I would have to charge deeper into the unit which might allow the prime to reach base to base contact after I charged. There was a termagants unit right next to the hormagaunt unit, giving the hormagaunts a small 4 model frontage. I could not shoot at the termagants either, because killing those would mean my mate could take off models to leave a gap at the side of the hormagaunt unit meaning that I would probably have to charge models in the second or third rank of hormagaunts, again allowing the tyranid prime to make base to base contact after I charged.

Sitting In Cover Sometimes Only Delays the Inevitable: In this battle the tyranids were too cautious after having the hive guard crippled so early. The ravenors deepstriked off the the left of the map picture above in a ruin. This allowed me to concentrate the half my army on finishing off the hive guard, leaving plenty of str 8 firepower to go at the ravenors while only leaving a venom in their assault range. After a load of cover saves the ravenors were untouched. When the Strikes deepstriked the following turn the tyranids should have been move aggressive, but instead decided to deeptrike the strikes in the same ruin as ravenors. In my following turn the ravenors did have the same luck with their cover saves and were reduced one a single model.

If instead the ravenors had advanced, at the same time the strikes deepstriked in a more aggressive position. I may still have nearly killed one of the units, but then the remainder and the other untouched unit would have been able to charge directly into the area holding all the objectives.

Unit of the Match

Wyches who bravely charged hormagaunts with attached prime. After appalling dice they were counter charged by termagaunts and the prime made it into combat, then on the third round of combat (with only three wyches remaining) they only lost one model to the tyrant (but not before that wych killed a termagant).  The other two survived the hormagaunt and termagants attacks (they had been reduced to initiative 1 by the prime's lash whip), allowing one to kill the last hormagaunt, the hexatrix to take the last wound from the prime, and then they ran down the termagants as they broke. They even lived to capture the bottom right hand objective, positively gleaming from the 4 pain tokens they had.

What I did badly

It's had to say when the game went so well, however I did think that I didn’t coordinate my assault on the right flank as well as a could. The wyches were left to go it alone against the hormagaunts because they were the only unit within range. Even though I was constrained by the many craters that meant I was worried about crashing my raiders on, if the large wrack unit had been able to help the wyches, they would have charged the termagants at the same time and linked up the two combats. Even with the poor wych result the wracks would have really tipped the balance in my favour, allowing me to win the combat very convincingly rather than just well (leaving the wyches outnumbered, and really lucky to survive).  The combat would probably have ended in a single combat phase with any survivers dying to no retreat saves.

The Walk of Shame

The Haemoculus. After leaving the wyches as they assaulted the hormagaunts he decided to take on 10 termagants. He started by flaming 6 of them with his liquifier gun, and the charged the remaining four. After killing 1 for no return wounds, another died to no retreat leaving only 2. These two plucky termagants then both hit, both wounded, and I failed both saves (no Feel No Pain, as I had left the pain token with the wyches), and the Haemoculus dropped dead with a look of disbelief on his face :(

And with that I leave you with the Haemoculus hoping his master doesn't being him back to ridicule him eternally, and as the tournament countdown clock slowly ticks away the time, it's now less than 5 days until I must submit my lists for the tournament.

Next post will probably be about my experiences of playing at a GW store, and an outing for my new Tau list. My next Dark Eldar game should be the middle of this week, where I hope to be facing Marines.


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