This week, we had games in the garage again, and four people showed (including me). Rather than separate out to two different tables, we all combined forces in a single 4k point game. Cole chose Derek as his ally based upon the fact that Derek brought GK models to my house. His goal was never to play with them, but to pull them out if he was going to play against Cole to gauge his response. Still, Cole’s rationality was that if Derek owned Grey Knights, he might be a pretty cool guy. I was ok with it, as Derek has a history of losing games and anything that could handicap Cole’s force weapon extravaganza, I was ok with it.
In hindsight, I don’t think Derek turned out to be a handicap for the game. It really felt like he did fairly well throughout the entire battle. If one of the four of us was to be the weakest link, it could be argued that was me. >.<
- Vulkan He’Stan
- Ironclad w/ H.Flamer, Meltagun, & Hunter Killer (in drop pod with Deathwind)
- Dreadnought w/ Multi-Melta, Heavy Flamer, & Extra Armor (in drop pod with Deathwind)
- Dreadnought w/ Multi-Melta, Heavy flamer, & Extra Armor
- 10x Tactical Marines w/ M.Melta, Flamer, & Pfist
- 5x Scouts w/ Sniper Rifles
- 5x Scouts w/ CCWs, inc. Sarge w/ Pfist & Combiflamer
- Fast Attack:
- Landspeeder Storm w/ Heavy Flamer
- Attack Bike w/ Multi-Melta
- Attack Bike w/ Multi-Melta
- Heavy Support:
- 10x Devastors w/ 4x Heavy Bolters
- 10x Devastors w/ 2x Multimeltas & 2x H. Plasma
- Vindicator w/ Stormbolter, Hunter Killer, Siege Shield, & Extra Armor
- Aegis Defense Line w/ Quad-gun
I’ll admit that I engineered this list to beat Cole. Last week, he’d come over along with Brandon and Derek and we separated out and played some games. Since Cole played against Brandon last week, I presumed that meant he’d either be playing against Derek or I this week, and since I dread facing GK’s, I wanted to play with an HQ that had Eternal Warrior.
When I described this to Brandon, he immediately pointed out that Vulkan doesn’t actually have that rule. While he’s right in that, I didn’t like the Eternal Warrior options (seriously, what kind of Ultramarine army actually runs Calgar—or as Brandon has affectionally dubbed him: Mittens?). So, I started of by using Vulkan and then adding in various units with Melta/Flame weapons. By 1115 points in, I had added pretty much everything I could’ve wanted, and then started throwing crap in the list that may or may not have fit the theme (vindy, more scouts, HB Devs, etc.)
Now that I look at it, I also find it interesting that I almost maxed out my FoC (except for 1x HQ & 3x Troops). Wow, 2k points is huge.
Tau Force (Brandon)
- Commander w/ Plasma Rifle, Sensor Suits, Controle Node, Engram Neurochip
- 3x Crisis Suits w/ 2x Missile Pods
- 3x Crisis Suits w/ 2x Fusion Blasters
- 5x Stealth Suits w/ Burst Cannons & Targeting Systems
- 12x Fire Warriors
- 12x Fire Warriors
- 12x Fire Warriors
- Fast Attack:
- 10x Gun Drones
- 7x Pathfinders w/ Markerlights & 1x Railrifle
- 7x Pathfinders w/ Markerlights & 1x Railrifle
- Heavy Support:
- Hammerhead w/ Longstrike, Railgun, & Smart Missiles
- 3x Broadsides w/ Shield drones, Heavy Rail Rifles & Smart Missiles
- Sky Ray w/ Disruption Pods, 6x Seeker Missiles, & Burst Cannon
Brandon ran a mystical force of Tau that seemed to have relatively few models, but an insane amount of dice rolling. His list wasn’t all that much different from Jeff’s of last week, and I didn’t have to play against it, so I didn’t bother learning exactly how it worked.
Grey Knights Force (Cole)
- Grand master Mordrak w/ 5 ghost knights
- Gk librarian (level 3) w/ Thunderhammer & 2x Servo Skulls
- Gk techmarine w/ Psycotroke, Blind & Rad grenades,
- 5x Gk terminators w/ Psycannon
- 10x Strike Team w/ Psybolt ammo, 2 psycannons, Hammer
- 10x Purgation Team w/ Psybolt ammo, Hammer, 4x psysilencer
- Heavy Support:
- Land raider
- Land raider crusader w/ Psybolt ammo, Storm bolter, Multi melta
I’m guessing I have this list documented somewhat wrong. Cole was goodly enough to email me a copy of his list, but he didn’t tell me which ones are from which slot in the FoC, so I guessed. My biggest question mark would be on the Ghost Knights (which I’m guessing are elites?). He also had some means of giving one of his squads the ability to score (which seems to have been the other GK Terminators). This is another list that I don’t know all that much about–other than I’m terrified to face it. An entire army of models with force weapons? What was GW thinking?!
Eldar Force (Derek)
- Illic Nightspear
- 10x Striking Scorpions w/ Exarch (Chainsabers & Crushing Blow)
- 5x Fire Dragons in Wave Serpent (Starcannons, Ghostwalk Matrix, Spirit Stones, Holofields, Star Engines, Vectored Engines)
- 5x Warp Spiders w/ Exarch (Spinnerette Rifle & Fastshot)
- 5x Dire Avengers w/ Exarch (power weapon & shimmershield)
- 10x Guardian Defenders w/ Brightlance
- 10x Guardian Defenders w/ Brightlance
- Heavy Support:
- 10x Dark Reapers w/ Starshot Missles & Exarch (Fastshot)
- NightSpinner w/ Spirit Stones, Holofields, Ghostwalk Matrix & Vectored Engines
Having been my first encounter with the new Eldar codex, there was a lot to learn from this list. It contained many things that Derek is notorious for using (Scorpions & Warp Spiders), and some new stuff. In typical Derek fashion there were a ton of proxies and random units thrown in. He’s not a power gamer, so the list could probably have been stronger, but it seemed to hold it’s own fairly well. That means that either Derek did unusually well at picking units, or the power level of the entire ‘dex raised up (I’m guessing the latter).
Mission & Deployment:
We rolled up a fairly standard long-table edge deployment w/ five objectives. Another friend (Joe Eichhorn) came over to watch and he setup the terrain for us. I let Brandon choose our side (I wasn’t terribly fond of the choice, but figured I could live with it), and we deployed. Brandon went for the middle of the board so as to keep all of his units within super-Tau-overwatch distance of each other. As a result, he benefited the most from my Aegis Defense Line (more on this later), and I was pushed mostly to the right flank.
Derek and Cole were humorous during their deployment, as Cole spent 20 minutes or so fretting about the Hammerhead. I was amused that such a terrifying army would be petrified of a single tank (which ironically did nothing the entire game). He did deploy heavily in that flank and then coaxed Derek to sent up his Scorpions (which apparently have haywire grenades) and a squad of Warp Spiders there to deal with the tank.
They deployed infiltrators first (including two servo skulls they forgot to set up), and opted to do so in a fairly neutral board area. Cole remarked that since I couldn’t infiltrate or scout move within 12” of those, that they were the perfect counter that was my landspeeder storm. Why does everyone knock that unit so much?
The other guys failed to seize the initiative, so we took first turn (after I scout moved into the middle of the board). We rolled up night-fight on the first turn (which also happened to be my Warlord Trait), and started firing.
Turn 1: Bloo Tau
I had lined up the bulk of my army directly across from Derek (or rather, he lined up against me), which wasn’t a great move really for either of us. With 24” between us, many of Derek’s weapons were useless against me (12-18” range), and almost all of my weapons were useless against him (many were 24” with a few at 36”). And, given that it was night fight, and Derek was in a Forest with an objective that gave +1 cover saves, with Illic NightSpear, he had a 2+ cover save on his Dark Reapers—which made them awful hard to kill.
So, my long range shooting was ineffective; however, my landspeeder storm and Ironclad both dropped down and nuked the better part of two squads (both of which passed their break tests). Sadly, I’d forgotten that Vulkan should’ve helped me by twin-linking the flamers. Doh! Still, it caused some havoc on his lines. Elsewhere, I accomplished very little, nor did Brandon do too much damage, mostly due to Night Fight…
Turn 1: Grey Elves
The return fire was about as effective as my initial shots were. Anything long range effectively did nothing (although the NightSpinner did take out a couple of pathfinders & immobilized my Vindicator). Where he did score was that he’d firedragon’d my Ironclad into oblivion and unloaded everything else into the Landspeeder Storm to blow it up and kill 4/5 of the crew (maybe this is why people say Storms are bad?). So, the only thing I had threatening his edge of the board was a Drop Pod (completely with deathwind—as I always do—though later I found out that Derek thought it was just a stormbolter), and a scout sarge (who, unfortunately, was pinned).
The rest of their shooting was minimal at best. Derek acted discouraged because everything in our army “seemed to have a 2+ cover save,” but I reminded him that was what we faced against night fight in the previous turn.
Meanwhile, Mordrac and his “Ghost Termies” (as people at the table were referring to them) deep struck on Turn 1 at the far end of the board. Previously, I was goaded for placing half of my devastator squad on the second tier of a ruin that had no clear line of sight to the enemy deployment zone. This is precisely why they went there. I had originally wanted to give them a better shot, but with the Tau taking up my Aegis line, there just wasn’t many other options. I figured this perch would give me a vantage point to see people on either side of that building, and would help thin out anything that tried to get to our lines. They didn’t do much the entire game (killing no more than 3-5 Warp Spiders/Grey Knights), but they did dissuade Cole from deep striking terminators into the heart of our forces, so I think they did fairly well.
Turn 2: Bloo Tau
With the night lifted, we were able to do some more damage. None of our reserves came in (and none of them would until turn 4, when they were all automatic (which I had forgotten, and ironically still rolled a 1 for reserves).
My shots were relatively quick (and ineffective). I reminded Derek that deathwind launchers can still be nasty (which prompted the pod’s destruction on the following turn), but only managed to clip the guardians. By the way, Derek was rolling great at his break tests: consistently managing to make those tests all night. I think the only exception was during turn one with his Scorpions (who broke to some Tau shooting).
My various multi-meltas managed to do a couple of hull points to the crusader, but nothing more. I also managed to charge his warpspiders with an attack bike, but he was able to use withdrawal to escape and kill the attack bike with shooting next turn.
Elsewhere, the Tau opened fire on all sorts of things. It really became quite a process for Brandon to kill stuff, but they died fairly consistently. He had some rule that if he didn’t move/shoot his leader (ethereal?) he could do two things army wide. I forget what they were, but both seemed really good: reroll misses and ignore terrain? That wasn’t it, but it seemed equally ridiculous. Still, he’s a trustworthy chap, so we all watched him incessantly roll & reroll dice throughout the night. My shooting phases tended to be rather quick, but his seemed to last 3-4x as long each time. The good news was that he seemed to actually be killing some stuff (which I seemed pretty bad at doing…)
Turn 2: Grey Elves
Derek killed most anything that was nearby with some exacting rolls. He did just enough wounds to the scout sergeant to kill him; just enough wounds to the attack bike to make him fail his last save; just enough hull points to take out the drop pod, etc. Derek’s nightspinner kept raining death on our masses of huddled infantry, and was consistently getting nearly it’s points back with every shot. I’m guessing if he could nominate an MVP for him, that would be it (or maybe the Fire Dragons…).
The only bright side I had going for me was that his “Avatar” (did that look like a classic style “Screamer Killer” Carnifex to you? Fooled you, it was actually an Avatar). Anywho, that Eldar immortal charged headfirst into the slime-filled river with my attack bike and managed to a whopping 1 wound.
The sad part was that he refused to smash me (but that would give me half as many attacks!), so the bike lived through the turn.
Meanwhile, Mordrac and company exploded the Hammerhead and pushed into our flank…
Turn 3: Bloo Tau
My pride and joy of this turn was that little attack bike that could. Derek had changed his mind about smash attacks, but he missed with two of them, and then failed to wound with the third—allowing me to strike back, and actually sneak through an unsaved wound to punk the Eldar’s deity. Pshaw.
The Eldar on my flank had started to thin out considerably, mostly thanks to Brandon’s markerlights and their effect on neutralizing the cover saves of the Dark Reapers. Each turn, he would thin out a couple of more reapers. His stealth suits were also doing quite a job and killing the better part of a squad per turn. By this time, they had charged a squad of fire dragons and would seemingly be tied up for the rest of the game.
Well, that would be the case if Vulkan didn’t make it to the battle…
Turn 3: Grey Elves
The crusader unloaded it’s combat squad (and Techmarine) and opted to charge my Heavy Bolter Devastators because Tau can apparently do their crazy super-overwatch even when allies are being charged nearby, and this would’ve minimized the number of models that could fire at them. Sadly, Cole’s techmarine missed with his preceeding master-crafted plasma pistol, then immediately rolled an overheat. That was followed by a fatal meltdown in his 2+ armor save, and ruined the entire charge. Of the five remaining models, four died to overwatch, leaving one force weapon against the might of 10 devastators (only 7 of which got to attack back). Still, it was enough for a dead Grey Knight.
Mordrac kept crushing that flank (he would eventually do so single-handedly, robbing us of two objectives by the end of the game. We would throw shots into them, but he used the Ironbark forest and his ability to make new Terminators throughout the game to keep his squad alive.
Turn 4: Bloo Tau
As foreshadowed in the previous turn, Vulkan hit the fire dragons and practically single-handedly, destroyed the squad. We also managed to kill the Crusader, but otherwise, we were just cleaning up small pods of Eldar/Guardians across the board and/or dying to Mordrac whenever someone got too close to him.
One interesting round of shooting into the Dark Reapers made for some spectacular luck on Brandon’s part. He’d done exactly enough wounds to the squad to have Derek fail the armor saves for every reaper, and left just enough wounds (3) for Illic. The trouble there is that the shots were all ignoring cover (again, thanks to markerlights), and were AP5, so that left one more elf carcass in the trees.
Being the fourth turn, our reserves did come on automatically, so that allowed us to both deep strike near Cole’s objective and nuke his landraider (and the squad inside—who told me that I’d put my Plasma Cannons in the wrong place?), leaving them holding zero objectives.
Turn 4: Grey Elves
Derek changed his tactics and started to bug out. Though he was pretty much systematically killing anything I put in front of him, the Tau shooting was causing him too much pain, so he started shifting towards the middle of the board, away from his starting objective.
Cole pressed forward with his flank, but unfortunately, almost none of the units would be able to actually accomplish anything. Those that did get close enough generally died to walls of shots, but most were lucky enough to be slower moving and never had to worry about it. He did change tactics and diverted a large squad of terminators towards my new drop pod and Dreadnought, killing the ‘nought easily. I’d forgotten to fire my pod for the rest of the game as well (or maybe I didn’t care to, as it couldn’t possibly make much of a difference). By this time, we were certainly past midnight, and I kept suggesting we end things.
Still, we pushed on, and Derek started focusing on trying to pull my scouts off the objective near our deployment zone. Surprisingly, he was able to muster a fair bit of shots/wounds that ignored cover saves—but only two of them hit home.
Turn 5: Bloo Tau
My scouts, not liking this “ignore cover” crap, scurried back inside the walls (but not farther than 3” from the objective), and Vulkan’s cronies barely managed to snag the objective previously held by the reapers (they rolled a pitiful “2” for their move distance, but made up for it by rolling a 5 for their run—which was the exact number they needed to snag the objective). Elsewhere, there was much killing, but ultimately none of it was going to matter. Cole managed to push my Devastators off another objective and to secure one with his Terminators, but as their turn started, I rolled to end the game (it was pushing 1:30 by then), and was ecstatic to see that the game was over.
When the smoke cleared, I was holding one objective with my Scouts, and Vulkan held another. For the other team, they only had one scoring unit alive (the Terminators) which were holding an objective.
What I Learned:
I suspect this will be a rather lengthy summary here for a few reasons: New armies faced, new experiences, silly mistakes, etc. As a result, most of these are probably exclusively for my benefit and I’m guessing most people already know these (as I should’ve). So, let’s get into it:
- Vulkan twin-links. At least in the beginning, I was completely oblivious to this fact. Yes, I purchased him, and specifically added a lot of melta/flame weapons to benefit, but I wasn’t using them. It was only after Brandon pointed out how absurd it was that I started taking advantage.
- My devastator sergeant should have been with the plasma cannons. In essence, this was an extension of the problem listed above: not thinking about how Vulkans rules applied. Since the other half of the devs were armed with Multi-meltas (And could be re-rolled), I should’ve placed the sarge with the plasma cannons to make them a little more accurate.
- Tau are annoying. I’m not sure if it’s all tau, but after seeing Jeff and Brandon play them, I’m guessing it is. The sheer amount of dice they can throw down is absurd. And the fact that he’d roll 20 dice, reroll misses, ignore cover, roll them again, etc. Meant it took a long time to play against. They also proved to be quite deadly (at least I assume they were, as I certainly wasn’t doing all that much damage to my opponents).
- Aegis Defense Lines. These are both good and annoying. Giving that cover save to me was helpful against the reapers, but otherwise I don’t think it did that much—it did help Brandon tremendously though. Cole seemed a bit miffed at times because Brandon would take the cover save despite not being immediately behind it. I’m sort of on the fence on this, but would love to know the actual rule. How close do you need to be to the Aegis to take a cover save from it? Likewise, how far does the opponent have to be on the other side of it to not get a cover save?
- I have a temper. I know this. It’s something I’ve been working on since my 20’s, and I’m getting better, but I have a long way to go on this. This came up because Brandon was messing around with my Vulkan, in such a way that he looked like he was trying to break it, and then succeeded. He shook it around, and dropped it on the ground, resulting in some chips in the paint and snapping his head off. I’m not sure that “yell” is the right word, but a stream of explicatives came out of my mouth for a while after and my tone of voice got much more loud and stern (so yelling wouldn’t be an inaccurate description). Tact is something I still need to work on. Luckily, it didn’t seem to have any long term impact on the game or the fun of the participants. I’ve apologized directly to Brandon, and everyone else present for the awkward moment.
- Don’t screw around with other people’s models. That’s something else to be taken from the incident above. These things are really works of art, so goofing around with peoples models should be a strict no-no. For people you don’t know, I’d say a strict habit of asking before touching is a great idea. Of course, for regulars to the gaming group, that isn’t necessary, but you should still treat them very kindly. It took a lot of time and effort to paint up these models, and I have anger management issues…
- Eldar got good. For the record, I always liked Eldar, and thought they were still good (Even if they weren’t hyper competitive), but they’re pretty disgusting in parts. I couldn’t believe that they made Reapers better (we used to have a house rule where I wasn’t allowed to run more than one squad, and no more than 3 in that squad) because of their ability to destroy power armor. Plus, now it seems just about every aspect has power armor (did Dragons really need a 3+?). In addition, army wide rules like run&shoot help them tremendously. I might have to finish converting up my Exodites…
- Guiness Beer have ping pong balls in them. No, it has no direct bearing to 40k, but Cole did have a beer that made noises when it was shaken. When he’d left, I confirmed it still made noise and saw what looked to be a ping-pong ball inside. Come to find out, this is what’s known as “a widget” and is used in the canning process. See for yourself over at Wikipedia.