My army was decidedly weak against armored targets, having really only three Zoanthropes (across two squads) and the assault of Monstrous Creatures to count on in order to violate tanks. As luck would have it, my volunteer victim for the night was Eric, the Eldar player. Though Eric and I both have multiple armies, fate would pit our second game together as a rematch of our first: Tyranids vs. Eldar.
- 2x Zoanthropes
- 1x Zoanthropes
- 1x Venomthrope
- 2x Tervigons (as troops w/ onslaught)
- 18x Termagants
- 19x Termagants
- 5x Spore Mines
- 5x Spore Mines
- 5x Spore Mines
- 1x Trygon Prime (with regen)
- 1x Farseer on Jetbike
- 10x Banshees in a serpent
- 10x Dragons in a serpent
- 10x Dragons in a serpent
- 10x Dire Avengers in a serpent (w/ Exarch)
- 3x jetbikes
- 3x jetbikes (with shuriken cannon)
- 4x Dark Reapers
Since it took me almost a month to write-up this battle report, I don’t remember upgrades and wargear very well, but I believe his farseer was fairly well decked out, as was his DA exarch. If I recall correctly, the rest of his list was pretty well stock.
I dreaded seeing four tanks on his side (and fast moving ones at that), but we made a go of it, just the same. In rolling up mission type, we had two objectives to fight over, with board quarter deployment. I’d won first turn (and kept it to see how my spore mines would fair).
Prior to real deployment, I deep struck my mines into the building ruins in the Northwest corner of the board. Since I knew this was going to be a good area for him to hide in with cover, I wanted to deny him the opportunity. Each of the three squads struck nearby (though I was careful not to pile them in too close together, to avoid them blowing each other up). It’s important to note that this the last game I played with the German translation of the codex, so we weren’t 100% clear on how to play some of the units. Case in point, for this game, the translation read that the mines deep struck before the game and moved as one during my turn—though it’s clear now that they move individually. So, for the purposes of this game, the mines didn’t do a whole lot, but in future games, they should cause much more havoc.
Since I was only allowed to setup one HQ and two troops, I chose to deploy the Swarmlord (who would be worthless, unless he could get close to the enemy), a Tervigon (to grant the Swarmlord FNP) and a screening unit of ‘gants. The rest of my units were held in reserve.
The Eldar force deployed the two squads of jetbikes around the spore mines, and opted not to deploy the HQ.
Turn 1: Tyranids
With no long range weapons, and so little on the board, there wasn’t much for me to do. My Tervigon pooped out a squad of 13 termagants, which Erik wasn’t very fond of. My spore mines drifted around hopelessly as a single mass that were doomed to explode by a single shuriken catapult shot… Certainly what I’d call an uneventful first turn.
Turn 1: Eldar
Seeing my lackluster first turn, and lacking any real imagination of his own, Eric copied my moves. Ok, really there wasn’t much for him to do at this point, so he did the only thing possible: fired off both of his squads into my toughness 1 spore mines which caused a chain reaction of detonation—clearing that side of the board for him to play on.
Turn 2: Tyranids
For my first turn’s reinforcements, I received my other Tervigon, my Trygon, and a single Zoanthrope. The Tervigon and Zoanthrope came up the center of the board, and my two tervs crapped out another two squads totaling 25 gaunts (with neither rolling doubles yet). By this point, it was clear that this could get ridiculous.
The Trygon erupted amongst the spore mine corpses, near the jetbikes and opened fire on a nearby squad. It was only enough to cause a single unsaved wound, but that was luckily enough to break the unit. The other unit would soon cry “no joy” and move quickly away from the newly unearthed foe…
Turn 2: Eldar
The broken jetbikes were too close to my Trygon to rally, so they fled off the table. True to form, the other jetbikes moved away from my Trygon, but as to why they only moved 12”,I’ll never know.
The Howling banshees, always the first to arrive in any battle, weren’t going to disappoint this game They showed up with the Farseer in the Northeast corner. Oh, that Farseer, what a party pooper he was, with his runes of warding. As long as he was on the table, I was forced to roll an extra die for my psychic tests… and with psychics being the only real way I was going to fight his vehicles, it was not a pretty sight.
No real damage had been done by the Eldar at this point, but then again, they had only about 1/3 of their force on the board.
Turn 3: Tyranids
For reserves this turn, I could count on my Venomthrope, and another squad of ‘gaunts. Add these to the 11 gaunts I’d pooped out from a single Tervigon, and I was starting to amass a fairly sizable horde. My northern Tervigon opted not to deploy any more ‘gaunts simply because I was running out of models and I wanted to spread them around the board.
At this point, I had determined that my goal was to put a Tervigon and several squads of gaunts on each objective, deploying in such a manner that he couldn’t push me off them. Of course, the tanks could be problematic in that regard, but the Zoanthropes would take care of them… well, if they ever showed up!
In line with that plan, I was fanning out my units to take advantage of the benefits granted by the Tervigons (who were consistently casting FNP on themselves and/or the Swarmlord), and who all received cover saves from nearby swarms of gaunts. I was right where I wanted to be.
The Trygon finished off the jetbikes with his containment spines, and then twiddled his thumbs(er… I mean spines) as he waited for more prey…
Turn 3: Eldar
Unfortunately for the Trygon, the pretty that arrived had other plans. The Eldar force rolled in with two ten-man squads of fire dragons, each in it’s own serpent. They made short work of the regenerating beast before he ever had a chance to really accomplish anything, but then again, 20 melta-guns will do that to a bug.
Towards the middle of the board, 10 brave dire avengers also jumped out of their transport and unloaded into a nearby squad of gaunts, killing quite a few. Though, the act was mostly ignored, since we could easily make more… The squad of Dark Reapers also made it’s way onto the board, but with their heavy weapons they could do little more than watch the carnage unfold.
(I do have to apologize because at this point in doing the battle report, I screwed up the Eldar movement, and instead of going back and redoing the entire battle, I figured it was easier just to post the pictures of the game. They tell the story fairly well anyway).
Turn 4: Tyranids
Finally, my Zoanthropes arrived (though it would still be a few turns before they were in range to do anything). My forces also managed to engage in the sweet solace of hand-to-hand. Granted, they were only termagants, but they’d tie up the enemy forces long enough for the rest of my bugs to get into the thick of it…
The Dire Avengers who had been so foolhardy as to jump out of the vehicles were charged first. Sadly, the attacks of the gants proved inadequate against such hardened warriors, and we lost combat (but stayed true, due to synapse). On the Eastern flank, the Farseer who had been too foolish to seek cover himself took the brunt of a charging gaunt squad as well, but again, they could not wound the normally frail Eldar.
Turn 4: Eldar
Those pointy-eared aliens that could escape to the confines of their grav tanks did, while the Howling Banshees came to the aid of their troubled leader. In both contests, the termagants were horribly defeated, but at least in the case of the Dire Avengers, several stayed around long enough to tie up the enemy warriors.
Meanwhile, the Farseer’s psychic powers kept wounding my units who dared try to summon the might of the hive mind…
Turn 5: Tyranids
Already on turn 5, and I hadn’t managed to even scratch a single grav tank. This wasn’t looking good. At least I had three Zoanthropes all in range to crush vehicles this turn, along with some shots from Tervigons.
It was highly unlikely that I was going to hurt them all, so I focused fire on the tank to the East. I planned to set up a series of Monstrous Creature speedbumps between the Western tanks and my objective. This would ensure that he couldn’t simply tank shock my units off the objective, and I’d be able to at least hold one objective. Since the only surviving troops he had left were the Dire Avengers, and they were about to be Tervigon fodder… I was happy with this new strategy.
Unfortunately, I wound up doing more damage to myself (due to the Farseer’s runes) than I did to his tanks in the shooting phase. Again, all of the vehicles escaped unharmed… A stray shot did manage to punk the Banshees then, who ran towards their table edge: screaming like girls.
In the Assault phase I was moderately more successful, squishing space elves with the fury that only a monstrous creature can muster.
Turn 5: Eldar
It became clear to Eric that there was no way for him to win this game anymore. With his last couple of troops in a hopelessly outclassed combat, the gears of “Ok, how do I tank shock the bugs off the objectives” flitted into his mind.
His tanks, tired of my Tervigons and their never ending presents (I had made roughly 50 extra ‘gants so far), directed fire at the creatures, wounding them horribly, but not felling the creature outright.
The Banshees rallied, and pushed towards the objective, taking out hapless termagants along the way…
Turn 6: Tyranids
Sadly, the game hadn’t yet ended, and there was still a chance to pop open the Eastern-most grav tank, almost ensuring me the victory. Sadly, instead of tank’s paper exterior, the mind of a nearby Zoanthrope popped. Again, the tank escaped relatively unscathed.
The final Dire Avenger had fallen in combat, and I begun setting up a wall of MC’s that would have to be tank shocked if an Western tank wanted to contest my objective…
Turn 6: Eldar
With my complete ineptitude in punching armor, his units decided to stay inside his tanks for the most part. The only exception was a squad of fire dragons who’d clearly had enough of the Tervigon. They popped out and fired their volley through the spines of the nearby Venomthrope, but were only able to take it down to it’s last wound.
All of the other grav tanks were smart enough to jump around the board, and make use of cover where they could. Despite the fact that I hadn’t managed to get lucky so far (as if luck is needed when firing Zoanthropes at anything), he wasn’t taking any chances….
Turn 7: Tyranids
What’s wrong with this equation?
3 Zoanthropes + 7 Turns = 0 damage to 4 tanks.
Again, I could do nothing to stop his tanks, and at this point it was inevitable what the outcome would be… we did play the final turn out, and everything that exited a tank perished. Unfortunately, my inability to hurt his tanks cost me the win.
Final outcome: Draw game. I had scoring units near each objective, that were either tank shocked off of, or simply contested by his invulnerable flying tanks.
What I’ve Learned:
- Eldar Tanks are pain. Their mobility, and survivability are clearly the strength behind mechanized Eldar lists. Yeah, Dragons are awesome, but unkillable tanks are … well… more awesome.
- Tervigons are fun! Tons of little scoring units are absolutely overwhelming for an opponent. When faced with a swarm army, a Biel-Tan war-host doesn’t have a lot of options. He was outnumbered to begin with, but during the course of the game, I made over 60 extra wounds worth of models. There was just no way for him to contend with that.
- Tyranids still need some anti-armor. Throughout the variations of the game, they’ve lacked super powerful shooting units but it’s balanced by the fact that all of the MC’s crush tanks in assault. However, against highly mobile skimmers, the abundance of MC’s isn’t enough on it’s own. A good list will need at least three distinct methods of cracking open tanks, and mine really only had two squads of Zoanthropes (who rolled poorly throughout the game).
- Eldar farseers and their runes are unbelievably powerful. Though the internet has known this for a long time, it’s just plain nasty. Forcing all opponent’s rolls to be on 3d6 means that the average die roll isn’t only a failure, it’s likely a peril’s of the warp test as well. And the range? Unlimited! Are you kidding me?!