Tonight’s opponent was named Kris. I met him a few weeks ago at the regular gaming club, but haven’t been able to pin him down to a game until tonight. As soon as I met him though, I knew he was the kind of friendly gamer that would be fun to play against, so I started screwing around and gave him the nickname “Sacrificial Kris.” I had no idea how apropos the name would prove to be…
We rolled up Annihilation with long table edges (like my last battle), and again, I won the die roll. The table was setup as a dense urban city-fight, but that seemed to cut down on my long range shots, and maneuverability. Since I really didn’t know what to do, I figured I’d let him go first and then react.
Kris didn’t have a lot to deploy. In fact, the only models that were placed on the board before I got to deploy were a land raider and a rhino behind it. After I deployed my massive force (consisting of 2x falcons, 1x wraithlord, & 1x Wave Serpent, we deployed our infiltrators into various buildings. I opted to put my dire avenger transport up front, since they were more expendable than the dragons in the back falcon. The wave serpent contained a squad of wraithguard, with Yriel and a warlock—to combat wraithsight). I was sure to park them within 12” of the wraithlord so that he’d get his first turn unphased.
With Lysander on his side, Kris fortified a central building for his scouts, which (coupled with their camo cloaks) gave them a whopping 2+ cover save. I wasn’t terribly impressed as my pathfinders naturally got 2+ cover saves in their buildings—which would lead to quite a few turns of uneventful fire between the two.
Relictors Turn 1:
Kris moved his tanks up, and started the first volley of scout vs. scout action. Of course, his scouts did nothing, but you can’t blame them for trying, right?
In the meantime, his sternguard dropped in to try to nuke one of my falcons in Southwest corner of the map. I believe he came with 3x combi-meltas, 3x combi-plasmas, and a real plasma, and he shot his load at the closest falcon. The end result: The vehicle was shaken. Oh man, do I love Spirit Stones & Holo-fields.
KPs: 0 to 0
Biel-Tan Turn 1:
I contemplated evacuating that side of the board and leaving his uber unit high and dry, but then re-evaluated. I had 5x wraith cannons, 2x singing spears, 1x pulse laser, 1x scatter laser, 6x fusion guns, 1x twin-linked bright lance, and a squad full of dire avengers nearby. Would that be enough to take out the squad? Well, I gave it a shot.
It turns out that it wasn’t enough. Unfortunately the sternguard got cover saves against the wraithguard & their friends, and it was enough to leave Lysander & a single marine left. I didn’t like the looks of that, since Lysander seems to have about every special rule ever made attributed to him. Unfortunately for Kris, the one rule he doesn’t have is “Fearless,” and when it came time to roll for a break-test, he rolled box-cars. To add insult to injury, the squad only ran 5 inches, which began his slow retreat off the board.
I also took the liberty of shooting the drop pod with my wave serpent, wrecking it on a glancing hit (rolled a “6” -2 for glancing and +1 for open top).
On the Eastern front, the wraithlord missed harmlessly with his bright lance, but managed to score a glancing hit to immobilize the Land Raider redeemer at exactly 24” away from him. My pathfinders returned fire at the marine novices, but failed to score an unsaved wound…
KPs: 0 to 1
Relictors Turn 2:
Lysander screams bloody murder into his comlink.and runs in fear of the pointy-eared menace. Unfortunately, his bolter-drill didn’t save him as he fled off the board, since the nearby tanks were all AV12.
On the other half of the board, the rhino plowed through a nearby ruin and passed it’s difficult terrain test. The redeemer shot what would really be it’s last shots at the wraithlord, failing to hit with the multi-melta, and failing to wound with the assault cannons. From here on in, I’d back off an inch if I wanted to tango with that tank.
Pedro Cantor emerged from the side of the raider along with a close combat bodyguard, and cursed the fact that land raiders don’t have fire points with which to call orbital strikes from. After several cell-phone reception oriented jokes (including the obligatory
“can you hear me now?”), Kris passed the dice without scoring a wound, but not before whiffing with his scout squad first.
KPs: 0 to 1
Biel Tan Turn 2:
Like a scene from the keystone cops, everyone got back into their buggies and scrambled around the board. The Dire Avengers were tasked with escorting Lysander to his final resting place, and they sidled up their falcon nearby. With their help, the other falcon and wave serpent all opened fire on the nearby rhino to vaporize it. This did bring up a curious rule that I’d looked into earlier this week.
Despite his vehicle being almost completely obscured by nearby buildings, I was able to shoot his rhino without it receiving a cover save. This is because of the way the rule was written (page #62 of the tiny rulebook):
“At least 50% of the facing of the vehicle that is being targeted needs to be hidden by intervening terrain or models…”
We mocked up the rhino into approximately the position it was in when I fired for the below photo. Unfortunately, the rhino was turned more in this shot, so it’s iffy at best, but with a little imagination, you can see what I’m talking about.
For the sake of this rule, imagine the rhino turned about 20 degrees counter clockwise. At this point, there’s no doubt that you’re firing at the vehicle’s front facing. With the way the rule reads, despite being able to see much of the vehicle at all, it would not receive a cover save for being obscured.
There’s a good write-up of the rule and examples on Jawaballs blog. Check it out.
Elsewhere on turn 2, the Pathfinders teach the marine snipers how to shoot. Consistently I’d hit and wound with about twice as many shots as Kris wound in our exchange. This was the first (and only) time either of us would do unsaved wounds to each other. He wound up failing a single save from each group of snipers, and had to make two pinning tests (which he did successfully). The wraithlord would take pot-shots at the land raider, hoping to crack it, but he never again did anymore more than stun it.
KPs: 0 to 2
Relictors Turn 3:
With all of his vehicles either destroyed or immobilized, Kris started shambling towards me like the walking dead. Although, instead of chanting “brains” he kept praying to kill a single Eldar model (of which he’d not yet been successful).
This wasn’t his turn to do it either. More whiffs from his snipers (what do you expect—they’re amateurs pitted against the 300 year old sniping masters that are Biel-Tan’s pathfinders), and nothing from the nearby tactical squad (who had no clear LoS to anything). Meanwhile, the terminator squad lead by Cantor advanced uneasily into the rubble. We attributed their difficult terrain test of a “2” and their run of a “1” to them defecating at the sound of Lysander crying like a little girl: “What the hell is going on over there to make Lysander cry, sarge?…”
KPs: 0 to 4
Biel-Tan Turn 3:
At this point, Kris’ tactical squad was his best chance of actually achieving his moral victory of achieving a wound, and I wasn’t about to let that happen without a fight. As a result, I turned all weapons to bear on them. Though I killed four, and forced them to take two pinning tests and a break tests, they stood stalwart against my onslaught.
<Cue the suspenseful music>
KPs: 0 to 4
Relictors Turn 4:
Much to Kris’ dismay, I pulled another rule out of my arse that staved off a surefire kill. Before the game, I had about 30 minutes to sit around, so I opted to read through the rulebook about vehicles. Somehow, I stumbled into the section on “ruins” and it came in handy.
My pathfinders were in a building 4 stories high, spread between floors 3 & 4. Kris brought his models up and tried to flame me; however, due to the rules on page #85 of the tiny rulebook, he wasn’t able to flame me. That rule states
“When targeting a unit in a ruin, template weapons may only affect models under the template on a single level. This can be on the same level as the firer, or one level higher or lower.”
Because of that, I got to make my cover saves, and (surprise), made every one.
KPs: 0 to 4
Biel-Tan Turn 4:
The marines couldn’t be allowed to live one more turn, or they’d surely kill a ranger of mine—but I fell back on another option. The nearby falcon ejected it’s cargo of Dire Avengers (who ran behind a nearby building), and parked near the ruin containing the pathfinders with it’s access point up against the wall. Since the path finders ignore difficult terrain when moving, they were able to run down the building and hop inside the safety of the tank. I’ve never seen (or considered) such a leap-frogging tactic with tanks before, and wonder if it really can be viable… Has anyone else done this sort of thing before?
Anywho, the other falcon & serpent made more dead marines, as I focused in on the tactical squad. Since his Terminators were assault only, and were in difficult terrain some distance away, they were safe to ignore. His scouts with their 2+ cover saves were wasted shots, and though the land raider was going to be hard to kill, the wraithlord kept plugging away at it…
KPs: 0 to 4
Relictors Turn 5:
The brave tactic squad charged with melta-bombs & krak grenades in hand—but failed to roll the required 6’s to hit my skimmer. The rest of the chaos-tainted marines hid in the shadows of his reinforced ruin…
KPs: 0 to 4
Biel-Tan Turn 5:
It was about this time Kris spoke up and mentioned “Hey, I forgot to use my orbital bombardment.” Knowing nothing good could come out of that, I ran all of my infantry into buildings. Since the bombardment is a barrage weapon, it can’t strike the sub-levels of a building (mini-rulebook, page #85), so the only thing Kris would have to shoot at would be my tanks. With spirit stones & holo-fields, they should be able to stand up to such abuse…
With little else to do, I turned the last two tactical marines into paste and watched as theg game went on to turn 6.
KPs: 0 to 5
Relictors Turn 6:
True to form, Cantor called down an orbital bombardment on one of my falcons. Despite missing, it manged to deviate slightly enough to still hit the tank he was aiming at (rolling a 4 for distance). With a penetrating hit, the best the Imperium could muster was a “crew shaken” result…
Something about that shot seemed to have inspired the terminators to come out of hiding as they ran at the nearby wraithlord. Of course, they were too far away to actually make it to him this turn though, but there was a chance the game could extend to turn 7. And then maybe, just maybe, Kris could actually score a wound on one of my models!
KPs: 0 to 5
Biel-Tan Turn 6:
The momentum of the battle was certainly changing, and the recent devastation affected the control of my wraithlord, who chose this turn to go stupid. Luckily, after a few uneventful hits from my tanks on his raider, the game ended.
KPs: 0 to 5
What I’ve Learned:
- Reading the rules when you have some downtime is great. I took 30 minutes to thumb through the book before the game, and came up with three different rules that helped me because of it. Who knew this game was so complex?
- Eldar Mech is great—but mostly because I was able to pick apart Kris’ units one-by-one. Had he deployed his drop pod closer to the rest of his force on the first turn (or had Lysander not broken like a coward), who knows how different things would’ve played out.
- I don’t know how Eldar units work. Since I was trying desperately to avoid taking any casualties, I wasn’t able to try out tactics for Wraithguard, or Yriel (the dreaded “Yriel Bomb”) that I’ve heard about. I’ll likely have to play this list again.
- Kris is an awesome sportsman. There aren’t many players that can go an entire game without doing a single wound to the enemy, yet still have a big smile on their face. I’d play him every day of the week if given the chance.
- Last, but not least, all of those countless hours playing Mortal Kombat on the Sega when I was little weren’t in vain. Sure, I’m never going to shoot lightning like Raiden, or breath fire like Scorpion, but I did learn one transferable skill: