Monday, June 30, 2014

Tyranids, Flyers, and Tactical Objectives.

The Tyranid advance, some of those are a defense line.
Well, three more games in since last I posted. First, a battle with Stormcaller's Tyranids. Then a duel with the Marines Errant using the new Tactical Objectives. I played a multi-player game also, but it went until 5am and I actually don't remember who won. The fog of war hung heavy over that battle. Though, I can say the Psychic phase is odd when playing with 4 players.

It had been some time since I'd played against the bugs. I also had never played against a flying monstrous creature. In this game Stormy brought 4. Two Tyrants and two Harpies. Considering I have no skyfire weapons in my list, this doesn't bode well for Antaries. I have to hand it to Stormcaller, this list was very tough. The four flying baddies pressed the attack while his ground forces moved forward relatively unharmed. The creature who creates free gaunts outflanked while the one that burrows up did so. Basically my guns were rendered useless by flyers I could barely hit, a creature who burrows up from anywhere it likes, and a couple outflanking units.

I was forced to try tactics I barely used before, like firing the Wave Serpent shield at the flyers. This actually worked a bit taking 2 wounds off a Harpy turn 1. The bugs' Tyrants had twinlinked guns that fired a high volume of a strength high enough to glance Serpents to death. One lost 2 hull points turn 1.

The creature who arrived via tunnel killed 5 Dire Avengers turn 2. Anyone who questions giving Dire Avengers the +5 invulnerable save need only look at my last two reports to see it's value. The avengers are the backbone of my Eldar armies, that means they see every kind of nasty the enemy has.

Turn 3 saw the Dire Avengers lay waste to most of the outflanking gaunts as well as ones being pumped out. And the Avatar meet a group in the middle of the battle field. But, the Nids third turn included a Tyrant destroying a Wave Serpent and eliminating the Striking Scorpions. Eldar were dying faster then important bugs. This is a pretty bad omen for an Eldar player.

The Avatar stalls on these gaunts.
Turn 4 Eldar shooting managed to kill both Tyrants but this ends up being too little to late. In this game, much like my first in 7th edition, flyers killed way more Eldar then anything else. The game went 6 turns with the Tyranids taking it in convincing fashion. Congrats to Stormcaller, I was defeated soundly. The list was tough and the tactics sound. We have played many times over the years and I had gotten the better of him lately. I'm sure he enjoyed the win.

What did I learn?

I'm actually 4 games in to 7th Edition, flyers are a problem for me. My list building needs to include more air support. I have a Nightwing and a Crimson Hunter sits in it's box. While hobbywise, I'm loving Night Lords (Ave Dominus Nox!), very soon I will have to slot time to building that kit. My Night Lords will get a Heldrake also.

I had a thought, am I an old crusty player? Unwilling to change? Has the game moved to where I have to embrace flyers in 40k games?

I think so.
Would a Hunter and Nightwing have helped against this?

My list I joked, is force org legal in 3rd edition. Every list I have played is force org legal in 3rd edition let alone 7th. The Tyranids had 4 HQ in that game, using the 7th edition detachment rules. I think I have to look at my lists embracing this new system of picking your force. Now, I love playing with troops, and I don't see that changing in my Eldar, most of my units are Dire Avengers and Guardians. I am going to experiment with the detachment system and see what I come up with though.

Tactical Objectives

I had a chance to play with the T.O. cards, my friend and his Marines Errant came to play this weekend. I must say I found it a lot of fun. Both of us drew cards that did not apply to our game or were simply impossible to achieve, but we found no fault in that. The cards produced a dynamic and ever shifting game that we both enjoyed. Now GW, how about you print more so I can buy a set. It's too much paper work to play with using the book. Cards... print more..

You must hold objectives to gain cards, but the cards determine which objectives score points each turn. You also can discard one each turn. Use this to get rid of ones you can't complete. Our game went 12-9 Antaries. After all the years I've played I really appreciate a new way to spice up a game.

Sunday, June 1, 2014


Well a couple things happened when I played my friend Mike and his Word Bearers on Saturday. First, I played my first game in 7th edition. Second, my Eldar suffered their first defeat with their new codex. I'll start this report with a disclosure. When I do a battle report, I take a small notebook to write down the key moments of each turn, this time I didn't. Maybe I'm getting old, but it's hard to remember the action completely a day later! Also, while I have the new 7th edition tome, Mike does not. To get him to agree to a game in 7th I offered that I would guide him through the rules and changes. This further distracted me from any accurate notes on the turn by turn action of the game. So, unlike other battle reports I've posted on this blog, this one will be more a general summary.

Full disclosure- I became aware of at least one thing we did wrong. Perils of the Warp are caused on any double dice rolled when a player uses Demonology powers. We only did it on 6's as per the rules of most psychic disciplines. Eh, first try with new rules some mistakes will be made.

Word Bearer deployment
Mike's Word Bearers list consisted of 2 Sorcerers, 3 Troops of Marines plus 2 Rhinos , A Terminator guard for his Warlord, a Forgefiend, 2 Maulerfiends, 2 Heldrakes.

Antaries came to the table with 1 Farseer, 2 Warlocks, 1 Spiritseer, 2 Dire Avengers plus Wave Serpents, 2 Guardian Squads, 1 Nightwing, 1 squad of Dark Reapers, 1 Fire Prism, and 7 Warpspiders.

I don't have the Tactical Objectives card set yet (they were sold out when I purchased my rulebook) so we rolled on the basic mission table. After dice rolls, Dawn of War deployment and the Crusade mission would be the game we played. I often find keeping it simple for the first time with new rules is a wise idea. Word Bearers would deploy first and per the rules they would choose to have the first turn also. We rolled 4
Eldar deployment
objectives that would be worth 3 victory points each. Also in play were the First Blood, Slay the Warlord, and Line Breaker. The mission also had a Night fight roll which was achieved. Turn 1 would be fought at night.

Unable to seize I was happy my Eldar largely deployed in cover. That, combined with the Steath each unit receives meant Eldar casualties on the first turn were fairly minimal. Only a few Guardians were pulled due to Forgefiend fire.
A look at the battlefield post deployment
In our first ever Psychic phase, it became clear to me that I was best served saving my deny dice for summoning powers. That said, rolling 6's is a requirement to deny summons. Something I would sorely lack all game long. It mostly seemed I was one 6 short on most rolls, unfortunate. Side note on terrain- we simply called our tree bases Twisted Corpse from the rule book. So in a way there are rules for forests.

The Eldar first turn was eventful enough to produce First Blood. Plus peck some wounds off the Maulerfiends I knew I would eventually have to face. The Word Bearer turn 2 saw the arrival of the 2 Heldrakes. Ugh. My Eldar, especially the Guardians, rely on cover saves. Two ap3 flamer templates falling on Dark Reapers and Artisans and Craftsmen did not feel good. I really have grown to dislike Heldrakes. Even after their FAQ, they fly on the table so you can't stop their initial attack. Then they lay a template that ignores cover, is ap3, and does not scatter.

Death awaits the Eldar with nasty big, pointy teeth.
Undaunted I kept with my battle plan, My big guns tend to focus on taking out transports and units that move at speeds beyond 6in basic movement. My infantry Eldar pepper the ground forces with Shuriken fire, using Battle Focus to out maneuver the slower enemy. I've noticed something already in 7th edition and that is the damage table for vehicles. The changing of the table means its much harder to "one shot" any vehicle on the table. This hurts me. And anything ap3 or higher, cannot "one shot" because Explodes! is now 7.

Summoning was starting to take it's toll. The psychic phase was basically each force doing what it wanted, I don't remember too many spells denied. I think one per side was nullified. I took two Perils of the Warp, using the Ghosthelm on one. (The other I had no charge dice left to use)

The tactical problem with summoned units is they take up resources to deal with. Especially when a Blood Thirster shows up. I faced Bloodletters, 6 Bloodcrushers, and the Blood Thirster. Lucky for me two units had a Deepstrike mishap. Sadly both were only put back in reserve. I would forget that later in the game as they came on the board edge where Warpspiders were lurking. I'm not crying that Summoning is broken. Not at all, and never after just one game. It sure is something new to deal with. Lets be honest, the game becomes 1850 (non summoner) vs. ? for the summoner. I don't know point costs of Daemons but I'd gather I faced around +500pts. in that game. Some may say the answer is "you can summon too" well... they aren't Eldar players. Or they aren't real Eldar players. I love the storyline GW has created around the game. I've read plenty of the books. Eldar won't even travel by warp. (If you want to read about the one time they did, read Farseer by William King) Never.NEVER will Antaries Eldar summon the foul creatures of the warp.

Not a good position for the Fire Prism.
For the first time in a long time. Something found a Fire Prism in HtH. This was partially my stupidity for not moving it earlier and partially because weapons needed to be allocated to killing daemons, a Maulerfiend crushed the Fire Prism. I did have one great success in this game, Witch staff and blades vs. Mauler and Forgefiends. I killed two that way, not bad.
The Spiritseer takes the Mauler down to 1 hull point.

The Farseer dispatches the last of the Bloodletters.
As the game went on the Eldar forces started to wither away. Chaos was losing models too but not at the same rate and they were constantly being reinforced. I knew by the end of turn 4 that things were starting to look bad. I hoped for a roll that would end the game early. I still had second player turn which was always helps in an objective game. Plus, my force was well built with four troop choices.
By turn five, the Heldrakes still reined fire down on Antaries forces. Word Bearers controlled the objective in the ruins. The Forgefiend controlled one of the objectives near the center of the table. The far left was uncontrolled, and the far right in Antaries hands. This game was still anyone's for the taking.

The Word Bearers made a mistake and though they could have secured the far left objective, they did not as the Word Bearer Warlord and his Terminators moved against Eldar forces instead. This left me an opening and while the Eldar Warlord Farseer took down the Forgefiend with the help of a Warlock, I move my last Warpspider into the Chaos deployment zone. I have the far right objective. Game ends now its 8 to 3 Antaries. Nope, I'd rolled 1's and 2's plenty but not when I needed one.

Dire Avengers hold the objective barely...
Turn six meant Word Bearers had another turn to remove the Eldar from the objectives they held. Antaries lost one, but in my turn I secured one from the Terminators. Again if the game ends, Eldar win it 7 to 3. Nope... We decided to end the game despite the impending turn 7. Word Bearer victory. My hats off to Mike, he played a good game with a tough list.

The game took about 5 hours, longer then normal but I'd account plenty of that to new rulesitis. Several things we needed to look up and we missed the doubles on perils for Deamonology powers. My charge dice actually outnumbered his but I just couldn't get the 6's needed. In the future I think focusing more resources on killing the Sorcerers to stop the tide of daemons. Also I'll consider giving a Farseer Sanctic powers. Heldrakes? maybe more Dire Avengers and less Guardians because of the invulnerable saves over cover. Maybe my Nightwing will have better luck.