Monday, January 27, 2014

Depression Sets In #3: Battle Report vs. Marines + Tau

Howdy folks! After about three weeks without playing, I finally got a game in last weekend with the current iteration of my list! I took lots of pictures, and will be happy to describe what happened in detail after the break!

For those of you who don't know - I have been trying to find a way to make my Dark Eldar work in 6th, and have (against all my inclinations) slowly been dragged into playing as Eldar. It's depressing not to be able to make Dark Eldar work the way I want them to, hence the title of this series of posts.


Alright, here's the list I decided to try:

Adam Tricola's BeastStar 1750 Points

Eldar (Primary):

Farseer w/ Jetbike, Spirit Stones, Warlord <-- b="">went with Guardians
Farseer w/ Jetbike, Shard of Anaris

20x Guardians w/ 2x Bright Lances // Wave Serpent w/ TL Scatter Laser
5x Dire Avengers // Wave Serpent w/ TL Scatter Laser
3x Jetbikes
3x Jetbikes

7x Warp Spiders

Wraithknight (stock)

Dark Eldar (Allies):

Baron Sathonyx

10x Warriors w/ Splinter Cannon

Beast Pack w/ 5x Masters, 9x Khymerae, 6x Razorwings

Here's a picture of what I used - the Immortals are Warp Spiders, Dreadknight = Wraithknight, and the Terminators are either Khymerae (Halberds) or Razorwings (Hammers). Baron is riding the Green hoverboard (or whatever they're called)

My Opponent's List, 1750 Points (Space Marines Primary w/ Tau Allies):

Space Marines (Iron Hands) (Primary):

Chapter Master w/ Terminator Armor, Shield Eternal, Auspex, Power Fist

5x Tactical Marines w/ Plasma Gun, Combi-Plas // Rhino
5x Tactical Marines w/ Plasma Cannon

3x Centurions w/ Grav, Hurricane Bolters (inside Land Raider)
Thunderfire Cannon
Land Raider Spartan

Tau Farsight Enclave (Allies):

Cadre Fireblade

6x Fire Warriors
3x Crisis Suits w/ 2x Burst Cannons (each), 1 Drone (not sure which type)

Riptide w/ Ion Accelerator, SMS, Early Warning Override, Earth Caste Pilot

Tetra (has 2x TL Markerlights, 2x TL Pulse Rifles)


He's nearly 100% WYSIWYG - Centurions on the right, Crisis guys on the left. My opponent makes ridiculous (and awesome) counts-as armies, and the green Tau in the back are simply borrowed models. He's likely going to take this army to LVO.

These guys are pretty cool - apparently Forgeworld. He's using them as Centurions.

Hooray for my proxies! Warp Spiders and Wraithknight FTW!!



StoneSeer (Warlord): Re-roll Reserves, Fortune, Guide, Prescience
ShardSeer: Doom, Forewarning, Prescience


Chapter Master (Warlord): Warlord is Scoring


LVO-style: Big Guns Never Tire (worth 4 points), and Relic (3 points), First Blood, Linebreaker, Slay the Warlord each worth 1 point

Deployment: Vanguard Strike

Initiative: We rolled off, and my opponent won the roll, giving me first turn

Pre-game Thoughts:

First off, I hate the Spartan. It's a Forgeworld tank that has the following: AV14, Passenger Capacity: 20, Ceramite Plate, 4x TL-Las Cannons (2 separate weapons), TL Heavy Flamer. Also hate the Tetra, who gives him two TL Markerlights for 35 points.

CJ has been my age-old litmus test to see if a list of mine will work at a major event. He's kind of a fluff bunny, though has had some great successes at GTs over the years as well, with his Custodes (sp?) army being showcased a couple different times on BoLS and Spikeybits. My only criticism of his list-building is that he often lets his love for certain models force him into a list that isn't as cutting-edge as I'd personally prefer. For example, his Chapter Master w/ Terminator Armor - he purchased his CM Terminator armor because that's what his model has on it. That said, CJ is a great player, and this list has given my own Marines an extremely difficult time in the past.

On to the actual plan for this battle.

CJ's list has a lot of great tools: I will be unable to deal with his Land Raider in any way other than the "ignore it" or "get lucky with my two units that can hurt it" route. The Centurions will be able to kill any of my units besides the Beasts in about one turn. The Riptide can intercept my reserves. He's got a deceptive number of shots coming from his army, and lots of markerlight support.

He's also given me a first turn, which means that in an objective-dominated mission, he'll have the final say on who holds objectives. He also has 7 scoring units because of the Big Guns objective, and his Thunderfire Cannon can really make my life frustrating.

My plan was to grab the Relic with my Jetbikes and run away with it, while making him shoot at the Beasts. I was lucky and spiked BOTH Fortune and Forewarning, making my BeastStar pretty tough to kill, provided I get the rolls I need. If the Beasts can get to CJ quickly enough, they can tie up vital units and kill his supporting units.

The Guardians will just sit on the Relic and the objective behind the hill that I placed and use Battle Focus to shoot things they need to. You'll see in a minute our objective placements. Thunderfire and Riptide will make it necessary to spread things out.

My thoughts were that if CJ does not seize, my Beasts will likely be invincible with their 4++ re-rollable save.  Little did I know what kind of punch CJ's army packs at close range, and what poor/sloppy deployment can do to an army like mine...

My Deployment - notice that I decided to deploy the Spiders instead of reserve them, out of fear from his Riptide. I put one squad of Bikes in reserves, and one within 12" of the Relic. Dark Eldar Warriors are mis-deployed on the far right, where there are zero objectives nearby.

CJ's Deployment. His TFC, Tetra, Skyray, Land Raider, and Riptide are all hunkered in the corner, while his Plasma Cannon Marines and Firewarriors + Cadre Fireblade are hunkered on an objective to the far right. Note that his objectives are on both of the pieces of terrain in this picture.
CJ kept his Suits and a squad of Marines in their Rhino in reserve.

Overview of the battlefield. Objectives on my side are behind the hill and in that little copse of trees in my own deployment zone. Note how grossly misdeployed the BeastStar is - should have swapped their deployment with the Guardians', as CJ was much more likely to hunker down exactly the way he did.
**CJ decided not to attempt to seize the initiative.

BeastStar Turn 1:

I cast Forewarning and Fortune on the Beasts, as I would the rest of the game unless otherwise noted. Guide went onto the Wraithknight and Prescience on the Serpent who would not be in range with its Scatter Lasers, as well as the Guardians.

The Beasts moved toward CJ's lines, and ran. Guardians spread out, and the DE Warriors (who should have just been reserved) shuffled downward to guard my two objectives. Jetbikes grabbed the Relic.

In shooting, I managed to kill every single Marine from the Plasma squad, netting me First Blood. Lances and Wraith Cannons combined to put a single wound on his Riptide.

Warp Spiders are Wraithknight are extremely out of position - you can see the Spiders on the far right piece of terrain with the Fire Warriors.
Oh, there they are! They're fast, but wow they're out of position!
Marines Turn 1:

CJ's Turn 1 came with a vengeance. His Riptide moved out of the way, and the Spartan moved up 6", disembarked the Centurions, and got ready to kill me.

His Centurions split fire, killing most of my Spiders and killing my hapless Wraithknight as well. Skyray, Riptide, and Land Raider combined to kill my rightmost Wave Serpent (pinning the Dire Avengers inside), and the Fire Warriors killed my remaining Spiders. His TFC killed a couple guardians, and the BeastStar failed *a ton* of 4++ rerollable saves (I believe a total of 20 dice), netting him half of my Khymerae and a few wounds on Razorwings and Masters.

In one turn, CJ killed over 500 points of my army!!

Very effective turn for the Marines. Yikes. Already, I was re-thinking the BeastStar...

I didn't think he'd do nearly as much damage as he did. Beasts were out of position - they would not get a charge in next turn either. At least the Relic was in my possession...
BeastStar Turn 2:

I cast my powers and shuffled the Dark Eldar Warriors back further and into terrain. Guardians stayed spread out, but kept 30" away from his Fire Warriors on the right. Beasts ran forward, shifting the Masters toward the front to keep my Khymeraes alive.

Shooting didn't do much for me. I believe I succeeded in doing absolutely nothing to CJ's army this turn, other than obliterating his annoying Tetra. The Jetbikes decided that the Relic was close enough, and turboed over to the corner of my board, afraid of his TFC.

I kept the Guardians close-ish to his Centurions for a reason - I didn't want them to get back into their Raider and plow their way over to my suddenly weak backfield when they had a target to mess with. I was beginning to play better, despite my extremely sloppy start.

Marines Turn 2:

Both of CJ's reserves came in, and he positioned the Suits and Marines in such a way as to keep me from charging both squads with the Beasts. His Skyray (missiles expended) lurched over to keep me from getting to his TFC in my own turn, and spread his Centurions far enough away from the Skyray as to keep me from multi-assaulting into them. He also kept them within 6" of his Fire Warriors for overwatch shenanigans.

Fluff bunny though he may be, CJ is a very good player. He recognized the amount of damage the Beasts would do to his lines if left unchecked. He prepared to shoot everything he had into the Beasts...

He's got a lot of shooting. Can he kill my BeastStar?
He shot everything but the Centurions into the Beasts, and I rolled *really poorly* once again. He was able to remove all of my terminator proxies, and then some!

But... the BeastStar still lived, and were in position to actually do something next turn!
The Centurions also managed to kill 4-5 Guardians, who passed their leadership check.

Will my depleted BeastStar be able to do enough damage to CJ's army?

BeastStar Turn 3:

I wanted to kill his Suits, but also knew I needed to get into CJ's lines as quickly as possible. As such, I decided to try killing the Suits with my other backfield units. To this effect, the Guardians moved upward, and the Warriors shuffled around to get most of the squad in range, and Wave Serpent also shifted that direction and out of LOS of his Spartan.

Note that I kept my StoneSeer in LOS and range of the Beasts to be able to cast 24" Fortune.

Shooting commenced, and I was able to wipe out his Crisis unit with Warriors, Guardians, and Serpent.

In combat, the Beasts charged in (they had failed their Prescience earlier somehow?) and managed to kill the Skyray and whiff vs. the Rhino. Learning my lesson from a previous game, a Master challenged, and the Marine Sergeant had to accept. The remaining 4 Marines were wiped out, and the Sergeant tried to run, but I caught him easily.

No more suits, Skyray, or 4 marines! Dire Avengers got out of their crater and onto the terrain where the objective was. Bikes were all in at this point, and my backfield is feeling a bit more secure!

One question - after moving the Beasts 3" toward the ongoing combat vs. the Sergeant, would my Beasts attacking the Rhino have to also move 3" away from the Rhino, as the Rhino was their original target and was yet unscathed? We treated it as *not* having to, though in hindsight, we may have had to? Let me know, haha!
Marines Turn 3:

CJ realized his folly in not getting his Centurions into the Spartan last turn, and rectified that situation, but left his Master out to try and charge the Beasts.

His shooting did very little to me, and after the Master failed his 9" charge, the Challengers whiffed (should have tried heroic intervention!), Beasts Hit and Ran toward the center of the table, to re-up on their Fortune (needed 24" range).

Chapter Master was disgruntled that the Beasts got so close after he failed the charge! Also, Rhino got immobilized, as CJ was unable to move the thing due to pivoting/tank-shocking the unit there. Probably made no difference in the long-term.
BeastStar Turn 4:

The game was getting to the end stages, and I was unsure as to how to proceed. While the Riptide + Master looked enticing, they would do little during the end-game in comparison to the Thunderfire, who could plausibly hold an objective while hammering my own troops off of theirs. I did NOT want to be in position to lose the game for going after units I would not likely kill in a turn of combat (or 4 for that matter).

As such, the Beasts ran toward the TFC and the slightly-dazed Marine Sergeant, while the rest of my army shuffled over to shoot at the Riptide and get in position to deal with Centurions next turn.

Shooting netted me the Riptide - he had failed a Nova-charge at some point in the game, and the Bright Lances + Wave Serpent managed to finish him off. Whew!

Beasts multi-assaulted the TFC and Marine Sergeant, again challenging with a Master so as to avoid his shooting. TFC died immediately, and the Sergeant again survived. haha, awesome!

At this point, the Spartan is full-strength, the Master is at full-strength, and the Centurions are at full-strength. Note that my bikes are turboing around to get my Linebreaker/be able to contest whatever objectives I wanted to by Turn 6.

Picture of the Beasts having their way with the hated TFC?
Marines Turn 4:

Suddenly a bit desperate, CJ got his Centurions out of the Spartan and decided to kill my blocking Wave Serpent, while his Master (who I suddenly realized was scoring) moved up to challenge the Beasts.

Centurions rolled *terribly* and failed to hurt the Serpent, while the Spartan shot some Las Cannons at the Bike Squads to try and make them break. One Bike died, but neither unit broke. This was IMO a great move by CJ. If the bikes broke, they would have to spend a full Turn 5 trying to regroup, taking them out of the picture for a vital Turn 5.

The Centurions then charged the Serpent, and CJ again got unlucky, causing only a hull point of damage. Chapter Master failed his 7" charge through terrain.

Beasts again failed to kill the Sergeant (again, forgot to Heroic Intervention) and hit & ran away.

Wave Serpent is still alive and ready to move/shoot next turn!

Beast are diminished in number, but can survive pretty well now that most of CJ's army can't shoot them.
BeastStar Turn 5:

I cast Doom on his Centurions, and he denies the Witch (he denied 2/3 of my maledictions this game on a natural 6+!), and am in range for Fortune. My backfield shuffles up to blast the Centurions, and Beasts get ready to charge his Chapter Master and Sergeant (so the Sergeant doesn't leak back to his corner to score).

Shooting obliterated the Centurions, despite CJ rolling a *ton* of his 6+ FNP for Iron Hands! The Beasts challenge the Sergeant, who again accepts, and the rest of the squad puts two wounds on his Master, for none in return.

A blurry final picture! The black blur is the Chapter Master, and the Sergeant is stuck again with the Beast Master in their (not-so-deadly) game-enduring combat.

At this point:

CJ has a Spartan who is in range of my Guardians, the Beasts have his Chapter Master pinned down, likely to die next turn, and his Fire Warriors (while on an objective) are not capable of doing enough damage to anything nearby to actually matter.

CJ tries one last desperate gambit - his Spartan drives 12" toward the guardians to attempt to TL Heavy-flamer them off the center objective!

Instead, he fails his dangerous terrain roll and shakes my hand, conceding the game.

Results: Win for the BeastStar!!

I had:

-8 points on the primary (2 objectives, 2 HS kills) and CJ had 4 (1 objective, 1 HS kill) (for 4 mission points)
-The Relic (for 3 mission points)
- Linebreaker, First Blood, and (who knows?) Slay the Warlord if I rolled decently.

So, 9 or 10 to 0.

Much better than I expected given my sloppy start and awful rolling for saves on the BeastStar.

Post-game thoughts:

CJ played the game well, and benefited from my poor rolls on saves. I thought I would lose the game through sloppy play, having lost nearly 1/3 of my army in his opening volley! However, the true power of the BeastStar came to bear in this game: namely, that he had to shoot at them if he wanted to win the game.

Once the Beasts were nearby, the rest of my army was for the most part ignored while the Beasts ran rampant. The backfield scoring I had was crazy - I had a lot of shots, and the hill we used for blocking line of sight terrain really helped me!

If I can use my Spiders and Wraithknight better in the future (more conservative play, which is usually the way I play anyways), I should be able to do even better.

CJ's list and play were solid, though not really game-breaking. He played it well (he's had a bunch of games of practice at this point!), though perhaps he should have been a bit more aggressive with his Centurions and Chapter Master, once he saw where my Beasts were going. I doubt the Guardians + bikes + Serpent + Warriors + Dire Avengers could have done too much to that squad if CJ had decided to go full-aggro on me.

That being said, I wouldn't have been surprised if they had wrecked them over a couple turns too. Just depends. Guardians put out such a disgusting number of shots, after all!

Thanks for reading, I hope you enjoyed it! I'm happy my list is starting to actually take shape! As you may have noticed, the Avengers and Guardians were painted. Now just need to paint my Derp Snakes (counts-as Warp Spiders), a few more Beasts, a Wraithknight, and some bases, and I'll be good to go!

Let me know what you think, I'm interested to see your opinions!

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