Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Eldar Victory

I finally got in another win with my Eldar. Part of my victory was due to learning more about using the maneuverability of the army, but I think the bigger factors were upping the points to 1500 and playing something other than chaos and nidzilla tyranids.

The game was against Robert's Imperial Guard. The table had less terrain than I usually play with. This was a conscious decision on our part in an acknowledgment that we usually play with terrain heavy tables at the store. Three hills, two buildings and a central crater were all that was on the table. We rolled up a Capture and Control mission using Pitched Battle, and Robert won the roll to go first.

He set up six vehicles on the table. Three pairs of two, each pair consisting of a Russ and a Chimera. The tanks on the end had a battle cannon/lascannon combo, while the central tank had a demolisher cannon/lascannon combo. The Chimeras all had multilasers and heavy flamers. His right flank Chimera had a psyker squad, the central had his company command squad armed with plasma, and the left flank a veteran squad armed with plasma. He held two penal legion squads in reserve, along with a Vendetta carrying another plasma armed veteran squad, and Marbo. His objective had been placed behind a building on his left flank.

I was tempted to keep some stuff in reserve, but without an Autarch in the list I decided it wasn't worth it. Instead, I lined up my vehicles across the board, keeping them spaced out enough that a scattered template wouldn't just scatter onto another vehicle. I believe my order, from left to right, was Wave Serpent with Storm Guardians, Wave Serpent with Storm Guardians and Farseer, Wave Serpent with Fire Dragons, Fire Prism, Fire Prism, Wave Serpent with Fire Dragons, Fire Prism. All my Wave Serpents were armed with bright lances and shuriken catapults.

I won't try to do a turn by turn battle report, instead I'll try to hit some of the highlights. First turn shooting by the IG did some minor damage, but didn't blow up any vehicles. I think I lost a bright lance off of a Wave Serpent, and that was about it. This was one of my biggest worries during the game. A lucky round of shooting could have crippled me at this point thanks to the relatively open table, instead I was able to put my plans into motion on my part of the turn.

I moved my fire dragon transports toward the tanks in his center and right flank and disembarked them. They then blew up both tanks with concentrated melta fire. The ones in the center had no problem, but I got a bit lucky with the ones on the flank as I only got three shots and they were just within range, but my usually crappy penetration rolls evened themselves out a bit by getting a destroyed result. My Fire Prism fire was largely ineffective, something that would become a pattern for most of the game, although they still did their job by attracting fire.

Turn two saw all of his reserves arrive except for Marbo. One penal legion squad was able to charge my Fire Dragons on the flank, while his shooting started to take a toll on my vehicles. I don't remember what went when, but I gradually lost most of my Wave Serpent weapons, and by the end of the game all but one was either wrecked or immobilized. Fortunately, I never had one blow up while troops were still inside. He unloaded his command squad to take some shots at me, but failed to do anything.

The melee with the penal legion and the Fire Dragons would end up lasting until turn 4 or 5 due to the 3+ armor save of the Exarch and no armor ignoring weapons in the penal legion squad. I couldn't decide whether or not this was a good or a bad thing as I had several opportunities to drop a template on the penal legion if they hadn't have been stuck in melee.

On my part of turn two I moved my Wave Serpent with my Farseer up to his command squad, disembarked, and wiped him out with concentrated fire from flamers and shuriken pistols. At some point I got a template on the other penal legion squad by tracing line of sight through an open doorway, but I don't remember if it was turn two or three. I didn't destroy the squad, but did knock it down to only four or five models. Unfortunately, the one remaining tank on that side of the table prevented me from exploiting the damage.

The events of turns three, four and five are a bit jumbled. On turn three I re-embarked the survivors of my storm guardian squad with my Farseer (they had been shot up by his Chimera on his turn). This was the first time I'd re-embarked a squad during a game. I then rammed the Chimera that had shot up my Storm Guardians with a weaponless Wave Serpent, destroying the Chimera. That Wave Serpent would then be immobilized by him on his turn.

By turn five he had dismounted all but his psykers, who had killed themselves with a Perils of the Warp on turn four leaving only their handler in the Chimera. I had broken one of his Chimera mounted veteran squad with a tank shock and then moved the Wave Serpent that did the shock close enough to contest his objective, although it immobilized itself due to a dangerous terrain check in the process. He had immobilized the Wave Serpent carrying my other Storm Guardian squad by disembarking his veteran squad from his Vendetta. My Storm Guardians then disembarked and wiped out the veterans with a little help from Doom and Guide from my Farseer that was close enough to help out. Meanwhile the Vendetta managed to get itself immobilized as well, from either a Fire Prism or my last remaining bright lance, I can't remember which. My Storm Guardians had to run around the front of the grounded Vendetta to try to get to my objective to control it (the Vendetta was too far away to contest). I also moved the Wave Serpent containing the remains of my other Storm Guardians and the Farseer to control the objective, just in case the first squad of Storm Guardians didn't roll high enough on their run roll to make it (which did indeed turn out to be the case).

The game then ended with me controlling one objective and contesting another. I would have found it difficult, but not impossible, to win if the game had continued. My Storm Guardians in the open would have taken some fire from the grounded Vendetta and the heavy flamer of the psyker's Chimera, but were spread out enough that they probably wouldn't have been hurt too badly. If he'd cleared his objective by destroying my immobilized Wave Serpent, I'm not sure how I'd be able to contest it again, so a draw would have been the likely outcome if the game ended on turn six unless I managed to get a shot at his penal legion squad on his objective and knock them off it, a possibility since I still had one Fire Prism left, but a long shot.

I think the odds would have shifted back to my favor on turn seven as long as my Storm Guardians survived, as I'd probably be able to get that long range shot with my Fire Prism and I don't think I'd have too much difficulty keeping Marbo and his penal legion squad from contesting my objective. Still, it would have been close no matter what.

Going back to my original claims about why I won, the 1500 point level lets me put in my Fire Dragons, which gives me an all but guaranteed kill on a vehicle if I can get them in range. That let me eliminate two out of three of his tanks on turn one. The bright lances and fire prisms are supposed to give me vehicle killing power, but it never seems to be very reliable. The other factor was playing against an army with units that weren't quite so tough. My Storm Guardians kicked butt against units without a 4+ armor save, completely wiping them out in one turn of shooting.

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