Another week, and another game (that makes two in a row-despite the curious gap in blog posts on the subject). This week, Danny showed up with his Eldar, and I threw down with some more bugs:
Danny’s Iyanden Eldar
- Farseer w/ Singing Spear
- 2x Spirit Seer; 1 w/ Guardian Helm, 1w/ Wraithforge Stone
- 10x Striking Scorpions w/ Exarch w/ Scorpion’s Claw and Crushing Blow
- 8x Wraithguard
- 8x Wraithguard
- 8x Wraithblades w/ Ghost Axe and Force Shields
- 10x Rangers
- 10x Rangers
- Heavy Support:
- Wraithlord w/ 2 Brightlances, Ghostglaive (Warlord)
- 8 Reapers w/ Starshot Missiles, Exarch w/ Eldar Missile Launcher
I don’t have much experience with the new Eldar codex (in fact, it was just the one game), but I at least played Eldar pretty extensively in 3rd & 4th edition, as well as against it a fair bit (back when Derek used to play). So, I had a pretty good idea what the army did. Granted, some things have changed: lots of 3+ armor saves; better BS on guardians & such; wraithguard are toughness 6; etc. By and large though, I could look at a unit and pretty much figure out what it was.
I also don’t have much (read: any) experience playing against Danny, despite knowing him for a few years now. He’s largely known as a competitive sort, and is a highly skilled player. I’m not exactly sure why we’ve never played, though I suspect that at least some part of my subconscious must’ve associated his tournament success with the “WAAC” term. He must’ve picked up on that vibe because when it turned out that it was just going to be us showing up, his reply was “I promise to bring something soft – I’ve been bringing more casual armies as of late. I’ll even throw the game if you want to make the blog more interesting. Haha”
I got a kick out of that.
Anywho, this is apparently a fluffy Eldar army, and is lacking the stuff that I keep hearing complaints about on the internet. Knowing Eldar, I wasn’t thrilled with the Wraithlord (my strategy was going to be to ignore it), or the reapers (so many bad memories of them slaughtering marines)…
Hive Fleet Proteus
- Flyrant w/ Heavy Venom Cannon & Toxin Sacs (Paroxysm & Onslaught)
- 1x Venomthrope
- 1x Zoanthrope (Paroxysm)
- 1x Zoanthrope (Psychic Scream)
- 20x Hormagaunts
- 20x Hormagaunts
- 30x Termagants w/ Spinefists
- Tervigon w/ Cluster Spines, Adrenal Glands, & Toxin Sacs (Dominion)
- Fast Attack:
- 6x Raveners w/ Rending Claws
- 6x Shrikes w/ Rending Claws
- 13x Gargoyles
- Heavy Support:
- Trygon Prime w/ Toxin Sacs
- Tyrannofex w/ Toxin Sacs & Adrenal Glands
- Biovore x3
I didn’t really have a strategy when building this army. After my last game where everything went horribly awry, I knew that I needed a change, but it wasn’t clear as to what that was, so why not change everything?
I started with a Flyrant (which is apparently a very popular choice), and added hormagaunts (because I generally trash-talk them), and then a Tervigon and the required Termagants to make her a troop choice (not exactly sure why, since I had an open HQ slot). Then I debated a bit on whether raveners or shrikes were really better (why not try both?), and then added a Trygon for synapse. I threw in a Tyrannofex because Ghoulio (from Legio Minimus) recommended him so highly (though technically speaking, I wound up replacing the torrent gun with fleshborer hive, but Danny corrected me before the game and let me switch it back).
Most of the other stuff was in the “afterthought” category. I needed more synapse, wanted to try a venomthrope, and biovores did so great last time, so why not try them again?
The army doesn’t really have a focus, other than it’s relatively fast moving. But I figured that trying lots of different units was a good way to mix things up and learn the strengths and weaknesses of the codex as a whole.
Mission & Deployment
I setup the board with various buildings, a river, and a few painted statues (man, I need to paint up more terrain), and we rolled up Kill Points (oh boy) with long board edges for deployment. With 14 available kill points, I wasn’t thrilled with the mission, especially considering Danny was only fielding 8 (or 10, if his warlocks count for KP’s, but I’m guessing they don’t?). We also rolled up night-fight to start the game.
I deployed first, and had some semblance of a plan: smaller bugs up front, bigger bugs in huddled mass near the Venomthrope, each trying to stay in cover when possible. The Flyrant was misdeployed (I put him down on the table, and didn’t think of where he’d go, but told Danny I was done before I thought it over). In hindsight, I’m not unhappy with where he started though, as that movement+run gave him so much flexibility–somewhere towards the middle was probably the right play.
Danny’s deployment was to keep his shooting units in elevated positions to either side and to leave his wraithguard in the middle. He wound up infiltrating the scorpions and rangers, but wasn’t happy with his options, so they mostly followed suit in his own deployment zone (though the scorpions did manage to creep up a couple of inches).
My warlord trait granted me Stealth: Ruins and Move through cover, while his… well, I don’t rightfully recall. I do remember he wasn’t terribly impressed with it, but he did say it could come in useful in certain circumstances.
He seized initiative and we started playing…
Turn 1: Eldar
There wasn’t all that much in the way of movement for this turn. I recall that he brought his warlord out and fired at the Flyrant (along with a squad of rangers), but the veil of darkness proved to be shield enough. The rest of his units in range (of which, there weren’t that many), opened fire on the gargoyles, who–despite only having a 5+ cover save) manage to thwart off eight of the possible thirteen wounds.
There were no assaults though, so he passed the turn. With only five gargoyles lost for his turn, I was happy with the outcome.
Turn 1: Hive Fleet Proteus
Everything in the list surged forward, and almost everything ran. The exceptions to that were the lone Zoanthrope (who shot harmlessly at some Wraithguard), the biovores (who advanced and shot), and the Flyrant (who didn’t have need to run, so he took a pot shot at a few rangers). Naturally, the Tyrannofex ran, but he also was able to shoot (thanks to onslaught) and he took three striking scorpions out (so much for 3+ armor saves).
Between the flyrant and managed to take out a ranger each, and that was pretty much my turn. The best part was that despite only firing three small units, I was able to take out as many models as Danny did, and I was able to get most everything in charge range for next turn.
Despite my thoughts on the codex and the fact that we were playing with Kill Points, I was cautiously optimistic at this point.
Turn 2: Eldar
Danny moved forward with several of his units, throwing some decent firepower into the Tyrannofex (who survived with the help of the Venomthrope’s aura). He did manage to kill off the Gargoyles, shooting them with rangers/wraithlords and then charging them with the latter. This earned him first blood.
He also took out a Tyranid warrior with his reapers (who wanted to target the Venomthrope, but they just couldn’t see him), and then charged those warriors with his Scorpions. Elsewhere, he charged the hormagaunts with his close-assault wraithguard (whatever they’re called).
Sadly, we never got to see either of those assaults in action because Danny had made plans with his better half, and we ran up against his time limit. He was really apologetic, but these things happen. We were both sad to see the game end there, but what can you do?
Technically, he was ahead (first blood), but he’d almost twice as many turns as I, so it doesn’t seem right to call it a loss. It doesn’t really seem right to call it a draw either, but it certainly wasn’t clear as to what the outcome would be. I was happy with how the game was progressing though: my units had proven relatively durable (or lucky), and I was holding my own. This was a pleasant shift from what happened last game, so I’m hopeful I can duplicate this sort of play in the future.
What I Learned:
I’m reluctant to draw any real conclusions about the game, seeing as it was really short of three player turns. I’d like to say that Tyrannofex was better than I thought, as was the venomthrope and the hormagaunts, but there wasn’t really enough time to say things like that. Some lessons/thoughts that I can take away are:
- Set expectations for time. Danny showed up with one expectation of how long the evening was to last, and I had another. Though it was nobody’s fault, it could’ve been resolved in advance with a little more communication. I could’ve told him in advance how long these games typically take, he could’ve told me about his hard time constraint, etc.
- Do Gargoyles blind? Ok, this isn’t so much something I learned, but rather a lingering question. The real question is in the wording of the “blind” USR (RB-35). “Any unit hit by a model or weapon with this special rule must immediately take an Initiative test…” So, does the unit take a test for each successful hit, or do they test once per attacking squad regardless of how many hits? We played the former, but I’m thinking that GW would most likely FAQ the latter…
- Barrage vs. Stealth. Barrage says “to determine whether a unit wounded by a Barrage weapon is allowed a cover save … always assume the shot is coming from the center of the blast.” (RB-35) Both Stealth and Shrouded say that models count their cover saves as X points better than normal. So, if you fire a barrage weapon into area terrain against models with Stealth/Shrouded, do they get to use their increased cover save? What if they’re only gaining Stealth/Shrouded because of night fight? I think we might have played this wrong too–because if the “shot was coming from the center of the blast,” they wouldn’t have been 12″+ away, and shouldn’t benefit from the USR. Thoughts?