King of the Hill
Introduction <> Battle #1 <> Battle #2 <> Battle #3 <> Battle #4 <> Battle #5 <> Battle #6 <> Conclusion
This, our latest campaign, will pit several armies from the most recent codices against each other to provide some sort of comparison on how well they perform. In our first battle, the Dusk Raiders (using Codex: Chaos Space Marines) thrashed the Fighting Tigers of Veda (Codex: Space Marines, Ultramarines Tactics). Our second fight matched the same FToV against an old nemesis using Codex: Tyranids. For the third fight, we’d see how my (proxied) Nids did against Pat’s new-and-improved Eldar.
The Eldar arrayed for battle
Warhost Lotus Storm of Impossible Contemplation (2000 points) by Patrick Eibel
I have split my Eldar into three distinct lists. For this battle, I decided to bring the “Footdar” army list. That means no vehicles and lots of shooty goodness. Here is what I brought:
The concept here is pretty simple. Shoot the Lizards. And then shoot them some more. Big blobby Guardian squads would discourage assaults and dish out serious firepower. Rangers will hopefully be effective targeting Synapse creatures. Everything else brings multi-shot pain. If Kenton manages to get into close combat, I will be royally screwed.
Kurindans (2000 points) by Kenton Kilgore
I’ve recently split up my overly-large collection of “40K Lizardmen” into two lists that use the rules from Codex: Tyranids. Thinking that speed would be my best ally against the Eldar, I brought the following:
There’s no way my poseur Tyranids are going to win a shootout with Eldar, so my thought was to get up in his face ASAP. With this list, I’m experimenting with Tyranid Warriors and with keeping biomorphs to a minimum to add more bodies. Let’s see how that pans out.
Following the rules of the campaign, we played this game at my house, because I had won the previous one. Our table was 4' x 6', with a mix of trees, some ruins, and a river going across the board. We rolled randomly for mission and deployment, coming up with The Relic and Hammer & Anvil Deployment, with Night Fighting on Turn 1 only.
Rolling for Warlord Traits out of our respective codices, I came up with Nature’s Bane (wooded terrain within 12" of my Warlord was Dangerous for Pat), and he got Mark of the Incomparable Hunter.
As Pat had set up the table (he showed up early), we diced for sides, and I won the right to deploy and go first. Attempting to stack my Venomthropes’ protection, I put Troglodyte Rampage #1 (Hormagaunts) in a thin line at the edge of my deployment zone; then !Klrt and the Trogs on Dracosaurs (Tyranid Prime and Warriors) lined behind them; then the Venosaurians (Venomthropes); then the Megasaurs (Trygons), and the Pterodans (Harpies) starting on the board behind them. Trog Rampage #2 started off in a column on my right flank, in Synapse range of the Warriors.
By deploying this way, Trog Rampage #1 enjoyed a 5+ cover save, and everyone behind them had a 3+, with them screening the Warriors, who screened the Venomthropes and Trygons, etc. The first turn Night Fighting would add +2 to each save, so 3+ for the scrubs in front, 2+ for everyone behind them (Trog Rampage #2 wasn’t covered, but I wasn’t pressed about them).
Pat put his Aegis Line about halfway back in his deployment zone, with all his Guardian Squads and heavy weapon batteries behind it, the Avatar manning the quad cannon. Both units of Dark Reapers went into hilly wooded section behind the Guardians; a squad of Rangers went in a wooded area on Pat’s right, and the other in some ruins on his left. The Warp Spiders waited in reserves.
Being no dummies, the Eldar decided it would be best to deploy in another ZIP code
Pat successfully stole the initiative, and we were on our way.
With the Night Fighting rules in effect (and with one of his Warlocks frying himself with a botched Psyker test), Pat’s Shooting Phase was not what he had hoped it would be. Shuriken cannons from the Guardians dropped a Warrior, but the Trogs on Dracosaurs sloughed off several hits from Rangers (including 5 Precision Shots on !Klrt) and 3 Wounds from the quad cannon. The Dark Reapers took out three Hormagaunts.
As they would for the rest of the game, the Kurindans surged forward, most of them eschewing shooting for running. One Harpy fired its heavy venom cannon at the Rangers in the ruins, killing one of them.
Hoping to stem the tide of Purple People Eaters (and their pals, the Big Green Machine), the Warp Spiders Deep Struck behind Troglodyte Rampage 2, and the Blue Guardians moved up to hopefully have more in firing range. Warlocks unShrouded Trog Rampage 1 (rude!), while Shrouding their Guardians.
"Oh. Hi." Warp Spiders drop in behind the Troglodytes of Rampage #2
Firing from the Warp Spiders took down eight Hormagaunts from Rampage 2, Dark Reapers killed eight more, and Rangers dropped three. D-Cannon blasts took out two Trog Warriors on Dracosaurs, and the Rangers in the woods took 2 Wounds off one. Shooting from Guardians and the Avatar killed 11 Hormagaunts from the now-unShrouded Rampage 1.
Swooping into the skies, the Harpies targeting the Avatar with their breath weapons (heavy venom cannons), wounding him. I forgot to fire the Hydrasaurs/Hive Guard—DUMB!
By 1"—one frickin’ frackin’ inch—Trog Rampage 1 failed a charge again the closest Guardians. The second bunch of Hormies charged the Rangers in the ruins, killing two and losing three of their own in the melee; as they were in Synapse range, they stayed in the fight.
“Larry”—one of my Megasaur/Trygons—charged the Warp Spiders, though I forgot to fire his bio-electric pulse in the Shooting Phase (DUMB! DUMB! DUMB!). The Spiders’ Overwatch fire hit Lawrence three times, wounded him twice, and he failed both saves, despite needing a 3+. Nevertheless, Larry killed four of them, and they fell back 12".
Understandably verklempt at being charged by a mountain of green aggression, the Warp Spiders got their act together and regrouped, as the Blue Guardians wisely pulled back from the Purple Tide. Warlocks negated the Venomthropes’ Shrouding for Trog Rampage 1, the Warriors, and one Pterodan/Harpy.
The Avatar fired on a Harpy, wounding it twice, whereupon it Dove. Warp Spiders knocked a Wound off a Warrior, Guardians killed one, and knocked Wounds off two others, while D-Cannons killed another. The other D-Cannon unit sniped !Klrt, killing my Tyranid Prime and two nearby Hormagaunts. Guardians killed six more Hormies. Dark Reapers fired at “JoJo,” another of my Megasaur/Trygons, knocking a Wound off him, but the wooded Rangers weren’t able to hurt him.
In the Assault Phase, the Hormagaunts of Trog Rampage 2 killed a Ranger and lost one of their own. On my turn, Pterodan/Harpies flew over the Guardians, dropping spore cysts, killing 11 from two squads, as well as one Dark Reaper who was caught in the blast. The Hive Guards fired at the D-Cannons, to no avail. JoJo’s “breath weapon” (bio-electric pulse) knocked a Wound off one D-Cannon, and then he charged and killed them.
Similarly, Larry shot the Warp Spiders, killing two, then charged and wiped them out. The Trogs on Dracs/Tyranid Warriors failed their charge against the Purple Guardians and their annoying starcannons, and for their troubles, they lost a Wound to Overwatch.
The Hormies of Trog Rampage 1 attempted to charge a Blue Guardians squad and got gunned down by Overwatch. In the Assault Phase, the Rangers in the ruins killed the last Hormie of Trog Rampage 2.
At the start of Pat’s turn, the Avatar moved up to engage JoJo, who threatened the Eldar line. Two squads of Guardians—Purple and Blue—advanced to better firing positions on “Bob,” the last of my Trygons. Rangers fired on Larry and Bob, to no avail. More successful were the Guardians, who knocked three Wounds off Bob. The Avatar fired the Wailing Doom at JoJo, taking a Wound off him, and then the Purple Guardians with the starcannons finished him off.
Reapers knocked a Wound off Bob, and then the Blue Guardians assaulted him (losing two to Overwatch shooting from Bob’s bio-electricity). The Warlock and his witchblade whiffed, but the Guardians struck down Bob before he could brutalize them.
Yeah, I just lost a Trygon to Guardians—IN THE ASSAULT PHASE.
On my turn, I had the Warriors claim the Relic (remember that?) while my Harpies went into Glide mode as they fired, killing two Dark Reapers and six Guardians from the Purple squad with scatter lasers. The Hive Guard dropped a Dark Reaper from the other unit.
Larry, my last Trygon, charged the remainder of the Rangers in the ruins, losing a Wound to Overwatch, but killing four of them. They broke, were caught, and Larry messily devoured them. One Harpy charged a unit of Dark Reapers, losing two Wounds to Overwatch and another in the fight, but killing a Reaper and—most importantly—tying them up.
Another Pterodan charged the Purple Guardians with the scatter lasers, losing 1 Wound to Overwatch but killing two and also keeping them busy. The third Harpy bricked its Instinctive Behavior test and was unable to charge.
Elsewhere, my Venosaurians (Venomthropes, dontcha know) charged the Blue Guardians, suffering a Wound from Overwatch but killing six and losing one of their own. The Guardians fell back 4"…
…and then regrouped. Rangers fired on the Venomthropes, killing one and wounding another, and the Blue Guardians finished off the last one with a volley. The unengaged Dark Reapers shot the likewise unengaged Harpy, knocking four Wounds off it. The Purple Guardians and their starcannons took out my last Trygon, Larry.
Blue Guardians get ready to blast the Venomthropes (those fat green guys in the floating bone stone chairs)
In the Assault Phase, one Harpy killed a Dark Reaper, and the scrap continued. The other engaged Harpy killed a Guardian, then was struck down by the Warlock and the Guardians. Yeah, I just lost another Monstrous Creature to a slapfight with Guardians.
Hoping to stem the oncoming Eldar, the Hive Guard fired on the Blue Guardians, killing all of one. The unengaged Harpy fired on the Purple Guardians, killing three, and then charged: Overwatch killed him. The Hydrasaurs/Hive Guard charged the Blues, losing one to Overwatch (of course), and killing one more Twinkie.
If the game were to end now, I would win. Pat rolled the Loyal Green Die ™ to see if the game would continue, and…
…and of course the game went on—why wouldn’t it? Unengaged Guardians, Dark Reapers, and Rangers fired on the Warriors, dropping three, including the Trog holding the Relic. The Avatar charged the Hive Guard, killing them. The Harpy won its hand-to-hand fight against the Dark Reapers.
On my turn, the Warriors picked up the fallen Relic, and the Harpy flew over the Purple Guardians, killing six with a spore mine cyst. If the game were to end now, I would win. Pat rolled the Loyal Green Die ™ and…
…and of course the game went on, because Pat was destined to win this game. Guardians shot dead the lone Warrior carrying the Relic, and the game was over.
Guardians seal the win for Pat
Eldar: 2 (Slay the Warlord, First Blood)
Kurindans: 1 (Linebreaker)
Post-Game Analysis by Patrick Eibel
To say that this game could have gone either way is an understatement. Had the game ended after Turn 5 or 6, the Pointy-heads would have lost. Aside from some timely dice rolls, I did make some good strategic choices. First, I was more aggressive with my Guardians and the Avatar. In a previous battle against Dvergar (proxied Orks,) I paid the price for sitting back too long and lost the game by being overrun. Second, I was mindful of taking out his Synapse- and Monstrous Creatures. Third, I did not forget the mission. Had Kenton held onto the Relic, I would have been a distant loser. I was very impressed with Kenton’s handling of the Tyranids. He played well enough to beat the Eldar, but couldn’t beat the Loyal Green Die tm.
Post-Game Analysis by Kenton Kilgore
Coming into this game, I knew that playing an assault army against a shooty army would be an uphill climb, given the gun-happy 6e rules. When we rolled up the Hammer & Anvil deployment, I knew my job just got much harder. And Pat’s force was perfectly tuned to take out mine, with Warlocks negating my Venomthropes, the lack of vehicles giving my Hive Guard not much to shoot at, and the massively-improved Guardians finishing off anything that got too close. Let me get this straight: Guardians now have BS 4; they move, run, AND shoot; they fire extra shots; their guns can Rend; AND they got cheaper?
My experiment with the layered protection of the Venomthropes might work against other armies, but against this one, I should have just put the Trygons and Harpies up front, followed by the Hormagaunts, then the Warriors, Thropes, and Hive Guard. My big hitters would either have gotten to the Eldar lines sooner, or would have been gunned down quicker: I can't decide which would be more likely, because I currently have a bad attitude about the Bugs.
One can argue that with the deployment, the pro-gun rules, the extended turns, and my mistakes, it was a game I was destined to lose. And one might be right. But having seen how the Nids performed in this game and the previous one, I’m convinced that they’re a second-tier army at best. More about that in our conclusion to the campaign.
King of the Hill
Introduction <> Battle #1 <> Battle #2 <> Battle #3 <> Battle #4 <> Battle #5 <> Battle #6 <> Conclusion
Posted April 2014