This week, a few new faces showed up to Friday Night Games, including a guy named Sean, who’s relatively new to 40k in general, but is apparently a quick study. Sean has never faced Tyranids, so he was offered up as a sacrifice to Hive Fleet Behemoth by Sam, and Sean graciously agreed (well, at least to a game).
Shawn’s Eldar Craftworld
- 5x Rangers
- 3x Jetbikes w/ 1x Shuriken Catapult
- 5x Wraithguard w/ D-Scythe in Wave Serpent (Brightlances)
- 5x Wraithguard w/ wraithcannon in Wave Serpent (Scatterlasers)
- Heavy Support:
- Fire Prism
When I told him that I took pictures of everything and wrote-up battle reports on my blog, he opted to bow out in favor of me playing against a painted army, which I got a kick out of. The truth though, is that if I only played against painted models, I’d be getting very few games in.
His list gave me some flashbacks to my “game” against Danny from a while back. Danny included a few more aspect warriors, and lacked the big models/vehicles, but otherwise, this was similar. His list was clearly designed to destroy vehicles and large targets, which wasn’t good for my monstrous creatures. He didn’t have a whole lot of answers to deal with swarm armies though, so there was a potential weakness I could exploit. In total, he had a very low model count and had lots of high strength, low AP weaponry, with a good deal of mobility.
Hive Fleet Proteus
- Flyrant w/ Brainleech, Toxin Sacs, & Adrenal Glands (Paroxysm & The Horror)
- 2x Zoanthropes (Warp Blast & Catalyst)
- 1x Zoanthrope (Warp Blast & Catalyst)
- 2x Hive Guard
- 16x Hormagaunts
- 15x Hormagaunts
- 3x Ripper Swarms
- 3x Ripper Swarms
- 3x Ripper Swarms
- 3x Ripper Swarms
- Fast Attack:
- 4x Shrikes w/ Adrenal Glands & Rending Claws
- Heavy Support:
- 2x Biovores
- 2x Vengeance Weapon Batteries w/ Battle cannons & 3x Wall Segments
I came <this close> to actually playing my Ultramarines for this game, but Calgar was too expensive at 1500 points, and my second thought was to use Tigirius, but I got confused by his options, so I threw up my hands and went back to the ‘Nidz. Besides, there were plenty of options and questions I had about the Tyranids, so why not switch back?
I opted to go with a very shooty list. I started with the flyrant (after she’d done so commendably in my first game), and then added the hive guard, and the three different heavy support shooty options. For troops, I went with Hormagaunts based upon their performance back in my “game” against Danny (was that really all the way back in March?). I then threw in the rippers because I heard they now can score in 7th edition, and rounded things out by throwing in some synapse (because I had only purchased a whopping 1 model with synapse at that point).
Mission & Deployment:
We rolled up the Maelstrom of War table and got (2) Contact Lost (the one where you generate missions based upon how many objectives you control each turn). I won the dice for setup/turn order and opted to place my models on the far side of the table so that I could have models in the tall building for LoS purposes. I think the mentality wasn’t so much that I’d have the LoS (my only long range option was biovores, and they have indirect fire), but it would be to deny Shawn the ability to do so–but his list wasn’t build that way anyway. He only had snipers and tanks/the wraithknight for long range shooting and, of those, only the snipers would’ve made any difference.
I had put my vengeance weapon batteries just outside of my deployment zone where they should have clear line of sight to most of the board. They were also relatively close together, in the center of the table, so that neither of them would be out of range.
Shawn’s deployment was simply, as he only had three tanks, a wraighknight, a couple of jetbikes and a squad of rangers to deploy. He didn’t specify that he was infiltrating his rangers, but in hindsight, that must’ve been what he did, because they were too far forward to have been in his initial deployment zone. Everything else went in the back of his zone for the most part and in the open (presumably to give him some maneuverability). The wraithknight hid inside the ruin (I’m guessing for the enhanced cover save).
I opted to go first knowing that he was out of range, but hoping I could creep up and blast the tanks before they got a chance to move), but Shawn’s dice thought better of it and he seized the initiative.
Turn 1: Eldar
He started off on top of two objectives (where I was only on one–mistakenly thinking that my fortification would could as scoring another one), and he started off to an early advantage. Both his prism and his brightlance opened fire on a vengeance weapon battery and scored a lucky hit, stripping an armor point and (more importantly) the battle cannon off the fortification: effectively rendering it useless for the rest of the game.
His jetbikes screamed across the table, moving 12″, then turbo-boosting another 36″ and then running 2d6″ extra. It appears that this was an oversight of the rules. I thought it sounded awful good, and he was pretty close (so they move far faster than I would’ve expected), but not quite that fast. The rules Eldar Jetbikes in the 7th edition rulebook say that they can turbo-boost up to 36″ (normal jetbikes can only turbo-boost 24″) and they can move another 2d6″ in assault, but only if they do not turbo-boost. That little extra move was enough to let him grab an objective on his turn and score some points. It was in good faith though, so I’ll make sure he’s aware of that for future games.
Otherwise, the rest of his stuff took pot shots at my other units. As a result, he really thinned out a unit of hormagaunts and some rippers, but most of the other units survived relatively unscathed.
VP Total: Eldar: 1 vs. Tyranids: 0
Turn 1: Tyranids
On my turn, things were relatively uneventful. I managed to fire off a few shots from various sources and stripped a couple of hull points off several tanks, but didn’t kill anything in the shooting phase.
During my psychic phase, I was able to put up a few copies of Catalyst, but was unsuccessful trying to use my Warp Blasts. I did also score my first Perils of the Warp (the first that I’ve seen in 7th edition). Sadly, I succeeded the ensuing leadership check so it literally had no downside. Practically speaking, it almost seems like there’s no risk to psychics anymore.
In the assault phase, the elder jetbikes met a grizzly fate. Between a squad of hormagaunts and a squad of shrikes, the three Eldar craftworlders didn’t stand a chance. I’d say they put up a fight, and they might have even killed a ‘gaunt or two, but it was all in vain. Though I wasn’t able to score any objectives, I was able to move forward so that I was within scoring range for three of them and I did earn first blood. My models then consolidated behind the cover of the barricades surrounding one of my fortifications.
VP Total: Eldar: 1 vs. Tyranids: 0+1
Turn 2: Eldar
Due to an oversight in the previous turn, Shawn had positioned his units so that he wasn’t within scoring range of any objectives (technically speaking, he did leave the jetbikes within range of an objective, but they weren’t much help at that point). Because of that, he wasn’t able to draw any more objectives this turn, which left him at a disadvantage.
He aimed the fire prism at my other weapon battery, but whiffed again like last turn. True to form, his bright-lance armed wave serpent also fired at the same target and, again, ripped off the battle cannon and stripped off some armor points. He would then proceed to ignore the neutered fortification for the rest of the game.
That really tied up the bulk of his shooting: leaving only the Wraithknight, some snipers, and a scatter laser to pick off a few stray models around the table, but doing no other real damage.
VP Total: Eldar: 1 vs. Tyranids: 0+1
Turn 2: Tyranids
On my turn, I was able to advance my Shrikes into the ruins behind the rangers, and would eventually be able to charge them and wipe them off the objective. Meanwhile, my Hive Tyrant kept flying around and stripping hull points off random vehicles–enough so to wreck Eldrad’s transport and allowed them to pour out into the a nearby wood.
This gave me an opportunity to charge into them with a squad of hormagaunts to hopefully tie them up until my big bugs could make it to combat. Sadly, that wasn’t a well thought-out plan. Charging into a squad full of crazy high strength, low AP flamers, didn’t turn out to be intelligent at all. After the flamers had unloaded, I had only two hormagaunts that were far outside of charge range (far enough that I wouldn’t have to roll a 13″ charge somehow). The photo to the right was staged to show how badly that charge turned out to me, but realistically, those ‘gaunts were nowhere near that wood.
VP Total: Eldar: 1 vs. Tyranids: 2+1
Turn 3: Eldar
Up to this point, Shawn had really only killed off stray ripper swarms and hormagaunts, but had left my monstrous creatures largely unscathed. Since he had plucked an objective requiring him to kill a monstrous creature, he refocused efforts. There was some debate as to which of the creatures was the easiest to kill, but ultimately he’d gone for the one that was more difficult (both had Feel no Pain up, but the Exocrine had cover from the Tyrannofex). Clearly though, the Exocrine was the bigger threat to him.
After a very successful psychic phase, I he managed to cast Doom on the living artillery piece, and guide on another squad. Between all of his firepower, he was only able to muster three wounds though, which was great news for me.
The other interesting twist in the game was when Eldrad managed to roll a Perils of the Warp (my second in one game), and then rolled up the result wherein he would die instantly if he failed a leadership check. Not only that, he would start causing AP2 wounds with no cover saves to his squad. To top it off, he was within 12″ of my Flyrant so he’d been reduced to leadership 7. So there was about a 40% chance to ruin his day: killing off both Eldrad and a significant portion of his wraithguard.
Sadly for me, he’d managed to make the leadership check (rolling exactly a 7). Pratically speaking, it’s probably better that he’d past the test because the game would pretty much have been over at that point had he failed. It did make for great drama though–I’m not sure why I didn’t get a photo of that…
VP Total: Eldar: 2 vs. Tyranids: 2+1
Turn 3: Tyranids
I did manage to finally put a couple of charges into Eldrad’s squad. My first charge was lead by my other squad of hormagaunts (the previous squad that was down to just two models opted to hang back and wound up scoring an objective for me). The second squad met a similar fate to the original squad, getting horribly thinned out by the Eldar weaponry, but the good news is that the took the brunt of the damage, allowing the Tyrannofex and Shrikes to charge in without casualties.
Otherwise, the Flyrant flew around the board and kept stripping hull points. This turn, she spent chasing the Fire Prism around–she didn’t kill it, but she did force it to jink, which would prevent it from shooting it’s blasts next turn (naturally, we’d both wind up forgetting this, and allowed it to fire anyway).
VP Total: Eldar: 2 vs. Tyranids: 5+1
Turn 4: Eldar
By this point, things seemed relatively decided in my favor. He hadn’t very many unit s to begin with, and they were starting to get thinned out. Besides, he played a very shooty army, and it was already in assault with Tyranids–which didn’t bode well.
Shawn wasn’t one to give up though, and we debated about what his best move was. He had an objective card that would score him D3 objectives if he was to hold three objectives on his turn. Sadly, there wasn’t much hope in accomplishing that. He had one easily, and could move to take another, but the only other within range was surrounded by Hormagaunts. The only way to grab that was to tank shock them with a wave serpent, and then blast away the surrounding gaunts and rippers to score that objective.
So that’s what he decided to do. The plan fell apart quickly, starting with the tank shock. He wasn’t able to move the tank in such a way to clear off all of the ‘gaunts from the objective, and since he was forced to snapshot, he wasn’t able to muster enough damage to take out the last two that were contesting, which meant a change of plans.
The other interesting twist was that during his psychic phase, Eldrad managed to get off Force, and then went toe-to-toe with the Tyrannofex. With the activated ability, he swung and wound up hitting with only one of his attacks, and somehow managed to fail to wound on his 2+ roll. To make him feel better, I rolled my armor save and managed to fail that too. That was immediately followed with cries of “Why would you roll that?!?!?” I didn’t mean to taunt the poor fellow…
In shooting, his bad luck continued, rolling a complete whiff from his other distort-weapons firing at my Exocrine.
On the other end of the table, his wraithknight was forced to clear my ‘gaunts off the objective (to score at least one of his points), and managed to fail to wound either of them in shooting (thank heavens for cover saves), and when it came to charge, he barely made the assault–rolling only a 4. But his strength ten attacks proved to be too much for my little buddies, so I conceded that objective to him.
VP Total: Eldar: 5 vs. Tyranids: 5+1
Turn 4: Tyranids
As if having sympathy paints, my Exocrine fired back at the wraithguard and completely whiffed all of his shots too. The sad part is, I actually held him still that turn so he was firing at BS4, and I still missed every shot.
Fortunately, I did manage to kill off the tank-shocking wave serpent with some pot shots from the Hive Guard, which allowed my rippers to score another point (along with some other objective that I can’t properly recall).
The protracted combat against Eldar kept going on, but I was content because it meant they weren’t shooting me and I was winning the fight.
Elsewhere, my Rippers were out of synapse and proceeded to fail their instinctive behavior test. The good news was that they didn’t simply devour each other, and instead opted to charge the nearest target. The bad news? That target was a Wraighknight.
I guess they were enraged by the way their Hormagaunt brethren were man-handled by that monster during the previous turn, but they managed to take no casualties during the charge in, and only one of them died in combat (hard to believe he’d only rolled a single wound, eh?). While they were out of synapse at the beginning of the turn, the charge had put them back in synapse range though, so the managed to be fearless and lock him in combat.
So I guess he bad rolls were pretty prevalent throughout the entirety of turn 4…
VP Total: Eldar: 5 vs. Tyranids: 7+1
Turn 5: Eldar
Eldrad and his boys were looking pretty bleak, and I think the only vehicle that was alive was the Prism. That left only it and three wraithguard to shoot things, and we moved into assault. Granted, in the psychic phase, Eldrad was putting up Force every turn, but against the 2+ armor save of the ‘fex, that proved to be futile.
The good news is that the Wraighknight was able to muster two wounds on my swarms (had he not, I would’ve mocked him relentlessly) and scored another objective.
VP Total: Eldar: 7 vs. Tyranids: 7+1
Turn 5: Tyranids
What proved to be the final turn of the game made for a great shift in point totals. Though it hadn’t seemed like it while playing, we were actually fairly close throughout the game (the score was practically tied going into my last turn).
That would all change at the drop of a hat though. I wound up defeating Eldrad in combat, which gave me Slay the Warlord and another D3 (rolled a 3) VP for another objective. I also had another D3 objective I was sitting on that turn, that I rolled another 3 for, and I pulled out a third objective card as well. In total, I managed to rack up seven points that turn, plus extras for Slaying the Warlord and Linebreaker, turning was was a pretty even game into a major blowout.
I’ve thought about about whether there are balance issues there, and I’m not sure. I was only able to get so many objective cards because I had been playing to take and hold objectives throughout the game. Granted, I got lucky with the cards I had, but had I gotten three bad cards, I would’ve still earned Slay the Warlord and Linebreaker for two more points. Granted, 2 is a far cry from 9, but even relatively bad objectives, I could’ve expected to earn a couple of points.
So yeah, they did give a major point swing at the end of the game, but I like that idea. It allows a player that seems fairly hopeless to come back at the end and still have a fighting chance.
VP Total: Eldar: 7 vs. Tyranids: 14+3
What I Learned:
- Vengeance Weapons battery placement. I put one of these buildings right up near another building that was an obvious place to deploy. This meant that it was going to be forced to fire at any troops inside, who would then get at least a 4+ cover save. That probably wasn’t a great idea. I should consider this when deploying next time. Also, AV14 is really tough to crack for most armies, but not against Eldar. Oh well…
- (Eldar) Jetbikes are pretty damn quick. 12″ move + 36″ turboboost (or an optional 2d6″ ‘assault’ move) makes for some pretty flexible objective grabbing units. I really didn’t expect that–and it’s probably something I should look out for in future games.
- I really need ways to keep track of things. A while back I had posted about making some effect marker buttons, and I really need those. If I had them, we probably wouldn’t’ have forgotten that his vehicles had jinked and were forced to fire snapshots. I also really need to get a deck of objective cards for myself (I had toyed with making buttons for those as well, but let’s face it, cards are easier to shuffle.