So, this was my first game with Eldar in entirely too long (from what I can remember, this is the first since the “new” codex was released), and it was also my first game against Cole. It was certainly a learning experience for me though (and in some ways, to Cole, since he obviously hasn’t played much against Eldar forces).
Let me start by saying that Cole has a really solid 1500pt list that he’s been playing for a while. This is because he’s too lazy to paint anything else! He kept insisting that he painted a valkyrie, but I didn’t believe ‘em. 😛 His list is based around a ton of infantry with heavy weapons (23 total heavies in his force), with the core of those being three Inquisitors w/ mystics and shooty warriors. It makes for a particularly nasty combination against deep-strikers, but it also proved to be devastating against a standard army, as you’ll see below.
I’m still not used to the battle-rep, so I kept finding myself forgetting to document what was happening in the game. As a result, the bat-rep is a loose approximation of what happened. Everything mentioned in the write-up really did happen, but I’m a little fuzzy on the order…
The DH’s deployed their massive gun-line stretched across his deployment zone, preferring the Western half of the board. He deployed his DH lord (with force weapon) and grey knights in front of everything (presumably as counter-assault troops). Little did he know my plan of losing all of my hand to hand troops by the 2nd turn…
Being naïve about distance and shooty (or maybe just being completely oblivious to just how many heavy weapons he had), I deployed units with 4+ cover save in the open and right up front. I’d originally tried to sneak my infiltrators (of which I had 2 squads of rangers and one of scorpions) nearby to shock into the side of his army, but it just wasn’t possible. Instead, I deployed them into cover nearby and hoped for the best.
During deployment, my Dark Reapers were spooked by his assassin and ran off their hill. Silly elves…
Turn 1: Daemonhunters
I HAVE OFFICIALLY CAVED TO THE DEMANDS OF THE PUBLIC!
Oddly enough, it was without the public even requesting this. Originally I had started this section with a metaphor for rape, but figured someone would likely get offended. I guess I’m not as unfeeling as I’d like to believe. Whatever the case, this was a nasty turn for me…
The first turn, very little movement affected the lines of the Inquisition, preferring instead to unload their weapons, full-bear, on the pointy ears. During the first shooting phase, I lost one Vyper (despite having holo-fields AND spirit stones), a squad of rangers, a squad of banshees, half my warp spiders, and a couple of scorpions. Granted, the rangers and banshees hadn’t technically been defeated, but they were both under half strength and running, so I plucked them off the table, just the same. Fully ¼ of my army died before I had a chance to do anything. It was certainly not a good day for the Craftworld.
Turn 1: Eldar
I think I was still in shock, and that’s what caused me to play poorly. I moved the reapers up, moved the Autarch to the hill nearby. The scorpions and warp spiders pressed the west flank, while the dire avengers & fire dragons cowered behind the hill. I had a woefully uneventful shooting phase: only being able to fire the wraithlord’s starcannon, my 2nd squad of rangers, and the missle-launcher armed Vyper. I managed to annoy two of his Inquisitorial squads, but not enough to make much difference.
Turn 2: Daemonhunters
During this turn, I lost the remainder of my scorpions (though it had started to look like I was going to be able to save the Exarch, but his GK grandmaster put a stop to that rather quickly). I also lost some warp spiders, and I believe this is the part of our story where Cole started loathing the resiliency of both wraithlords and vypers. With all of his heavies, he did a single wound to the wraithlord, but he didn’t manage to impact my vypers.
The Callidus did show up, but was fairly uneventful. Despite having 9 chances to wound my eldar behind the hill, she only killed one. After the ensuing charge, she took one warrior with her, and then died to shuriken overdose. At this point, Cole was baffled that “basically every model in my army is Iniative5”. Clearly he hasn’t played against a lot of Eldar….
Turn 2: Eldar
My tactical options were starting to become glaringly obvious at this point: hide behind a rock and hope the bad man goes away. I managed to pin a special weapon squad, thin out some more servitors from two of his three retinues, and hide more models behind the hill. Aside from that, I used my warp spiders as a method of quickly delivering the Daemonhunters some more soulstones to desecrate.
Turn 3: Daemonhunters
By this time, the shooting phases were becoming less devastating. Surely, this was partially because I’d become numb to all of the souls being lost in the warp, but I think mostly it’s because I only had a handful of models that were in line of site. The DH force managed to stop a viper from shooting, killed a warpsider (or maybe it was a ranger), and little more than that. In the meantime, his counter assault squads started pushing towards my objective.
Turn 3: Eldar
More of the same: Shooting at Inquisitors and doing halfway decently at that. I also charged my warp spider(s) into his Western flank. Granted, I only had one or two spiders left, but inquisitors are notoriously bad at hand-to-hand, so why not? This would tie him up for a few turns at least.
Turn 4: Daemonhunters
Lots of more dead elves: The Dark reapers get shot, and fail their break test, the rangers lose some more of their members. Close combat is another standstill…
Despite what it shows in the drawing, he advanced with his grey knights, and shot up my viper pretty badly. It had it’s gun ripped off, so my only hope was to sneak it in to contest an objective—but it would have to live through another shooting phase to do this…
Turn 4: Eldar
Despite thinking I had completely lost this game two turns ago, I realized that I stood a chance to actually win this next turn, but that all hinged on my Vyper. Looking back at the drawing, something went wonky earlier on. At this point, my Vyper should be behind the hill in the NW corner of the map, hiding and vowing to Slaanesh that if she’ll save him for just one more round, he’ll gladly give her his immortal soul..
In order to keep him alive, I used my rangers to charge the nearby special weapon squad. I just couldn’t let those melta-guns get up close and personal with my only unit to contest with. That combat turned out to be in the guardsmen’s favor, but I passed my morale test and hung on to fight into their turn.
On the other flank, my wraithlord contemplated shooting the nearby melta-gunners, but instead opted to kill another GK, figuring if they got into close combat, that would be game unless I could dispatch them quickly.
Turn 5: Daemonhunters
As stated before, my hopes for victory were in the hands of the Vyper. The inquisitor on that side of the board rolled a weapon-destroyed and I thought it was all over, but after looking it up, it had a pair of shuriken catapults to save it from crashing. Maybe Slaanesh would get their souls afterall?
Everything else beared down on me. His Grey Knights smote my Autarch (silly me, I only saw that he had a 4+ invulnerable, and ignored completely that he comes with 3+ armor as well). After taking shots from his entire army for 2-3 turns, the wraithlord finally caved under pressure. More heavy weapons tore apart my dark reapers, and they routed off the board.
Meanwhile, in the assault phase, my rangers routed (and summarily ran down) their foes, and the warp spider died to a lucky blow to the Inquisitor. Now that I think about it, that portion must’ve happened in my turn, because his Inquisitor did shoot at my Vyper…
Turn 5: Eldar
So, my vyper was able to park on the objective to contest it—but, as luck would have it, the game didn’t end. In the meantime, my rangers charged his inquisitor, and did absolutely nothing.
In the meantime, my hill-homies started doing formations. People watching the game thought I was just messing around, but I did have reason for moving them. I wanted to put guardians in front, so they’d have to be shot first, and wanted to protect the fire dragons from any harm. Additionally, I tried to back all of the models off so that they wouldn’t be in charge range next turn…
Turn 6: Daemonhunters
Every gun in the army fired at the Vyper, but it was the last shot from his Inquisitor lord that finally took it down. This game was full of these sort of “skin-of-our-teeth” rolls. It does make for a closer and more exiting game.
The only model he got close enough to assault with was the Grandmaster. He turned the corner of the hill and opted not to shoot (so I didn’t remove the models he could charge). That turned out to be a good idea for him, because he was 6” away from the closest model. Unfortunately, the crest of the hill was in the way, so he had to roll difficult terrain and failed to get the needed distance.
Turn 6: Eldar
I had hoped last turn to slay the Inquisitors with my mighty assault-rangers ™, so they had a chance to run to contest the objective, but no such luck. Since he had a firm hold on his own objective, I’d have to settle for a tie. The only way to do that was to shoot down his GK master, but that’s why God invented fire dragons, right?
Wrong. Of the four shots, two missed, and both hits rolled 1’s to wound. I caused one shooting wound from the guardians though, and then charged in with both the guardians and the fire dragons. It turns out that my I6 Dire Avenger exarch w/ power sword was able to score two 6’s to wound and take him out before he could strike back.
One more roll sealed the game as a tie. There would be no turn 7…
We couldn’t let it end there! We still had two deadly assault-rangers locked in mortal combat with an Inquisitor. We continued fighting, missing, making armor saves, etc. until turn 10, wherein his mon-keigh slew both of my rangers in a single combat phase. And like that, the battle was officially over.
What I’ve learned:
- I need to know my rules better. It turns out that I cheated on my cover saves. I read the ranger entry where it talked about getting a +2 cover save, but that’s only valid if you pay 5pts to upgrade them to pathfinders. As such, I should’ve only had 3+ cover saves. I’m sure this is why karma was punishing me with such an immense amount of 1’s…Likewise, I let my Autarch die without taking any 3+ armor saves. He likely would’ve lived and could’ve potentially turned the tables in the game. Sure, that last part isn’t likely, but it is possible!
- Wraithlords aren’t worth shooting at. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. The same thing goes for Carnifexes, Hive Tyrants with bodyguards, C’tan, and any other huge, nasty, and slow moving target. They’re designed to take a ton of abuse, so unless you have absolutely nothing else to do with your abuse, I’d suggest you point it elsewhere.
- Pathfinders are ridiculous. Assuming you can actually roll a 2+ save that is. Actually, even if you can’t, they’re nuts. If you take a squad of 5x pathfinders and plunk them down into cover on an objective, they can go to ground and receive a 1+ cover save. Egads, that’s nasty.
- Don’t lose sight of the objective. Cole was destroying my army, and were it not for “the hill” in my deployment zone, he would’ve tabled me several turns earlier. His force was harder than mine, and I dare say he should’ve won that game. The problem was he didn’t start advancing soon enough to capture my table quarters.
- Eldar are just as viable as ever. Dark reapers, and fire dragons are still amazing, wraithlords and vypers are solid choices, and now pathfinders are ridiculous. Between them, I can see what I need to do in order to make an Exodite army. Oh yeah, by the way, I’m going to sell off most (if not all) of my eldar and convert me up some Exodites… They just look too cool!