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Events and Battle Reports

Take The Coneheads Bowling*: Rogue Trader Tournament, 01/2007  by Patrick Eibel
*(With apologies to Camper Van Beethoven)

Patrick EibelAt the end of January, my local gaming store held a Rogue Trader Tournament, and I decided that I would dust off some Eldar and attend.  I have long given up any hope of actually winning a tournament, but I do think they are great opportunities for testing out army selection and tactics versus a variety of quality opponents.  Hopefully you will find my thoughts on how I prepared and played at the tournament useful should you ever decide to “go bowling.”

Army Selection
I prepared the following list of 2,000 points based on the figures I had available and could have fully painted in time for the tournament (not that it was required, but I wanted the army to look nice):

  • Eldrad Ulthran (210 points)
  • Nine Striking Scorpions plus Exarch with biting blade and Shadowstrike (197 points)
  • Five Wraithguard (175 points)
  • Spiritsinger with Conceal and shining spear (49 points)
  • Twelve Guardians with star cannon platform (121 points)
  • Twelve Guardians with bright lance platform (126 points) 
  • Twelve Guardians with bright lance platform (126 points)
  • Ten Rangers (190 points)
  • Nine Dire Avengers plus Exarch with power weapon, shimmershield, and Bladestorm (162 points)
  • Nine Warp Spider plus Exarch with second deathspinner and Withdraw (252 points)
  • Five Dark Reapers (175 points)
  • Four Dark Reapers plus Exarch with missile launcher, Fast Shot (217 points)
So, how did I arrive at this list?  I actually put a lot of thought into what to bring, and even sought advice from the folks at the Millenium Gate.  Army selection can be very critical during a tournament because you do not want to find yourself ill-equipped for an enemy you don’t expect (i.e. concentrating on fighting Marines and finding yourself facing Tyranids). 

First, I made one blanket decision that would guide many of my choices.  I was concerned about Reserve rolls and Escalation, so I really wanted not to bring any vehicles, bikes, or monstrous creatures.  This meant no Avatar, Jetbikes, Shining Spears, Vypers, War Walkers, Wraith Lords, or Wave Serpents.

Looking at the HQ choices, I could have gone with just a regular Farseer, but I knew that Eldrad’s Divination ability could be very handy in a tournament setting, not to mention his ability to use Guide or Doom twice in a round.

When constructing an army, I like to consider three things: how to take out tanks, how to take out infantry, and how to handle assault.  My next choices would address these conditions. 

For taking out tanks, I took two squads of Guardians with a bright lance.  The bright lance has a good range and at Strength 8 is about as good as the Eldar get at piercing armor.  I also planned to use the Dark Reapers Exarch to snipe at tanks, as his superior Ballistic Skill would provide some accuracy.  To support in the tank hunting role, I planned to use the Wraithguard when they got into range and the Rangers (though they really are not all that good at it). 

I anticipated that I would be facing mostly Marine armies (either Chaos or Loyalist), or at the very least the other armies with 3+ Armor saves (Sisters of Battle and Necrons), because these are very popular at the store I play at.  To take out heavily armored troops, I brought two squads of Dark Reapers, a squad of Guardians with a starcannon, a squad of Dire Avengers with the Bladestorm power, and a squad of Rangers. Obviously, some units are already doing double duty, but I believe that the more flexibility you can build into a unit’s function on the board, the more effective they will be. 

Finally, to deal with assaults, I brought some Striking Scorpions (Strength 4 and superior armor make them one of the best units in the codex), with the Wraithguard (Toughness 6 helps) and Warp Spiders (superior mobility and Withdraw) serving as backup. 

I want to mention that I did not bring Harlequins, even though I had some very nicely-painted ones available.  I had played two games recently in which the Harlies were wiped out before even reaching assault, and I felt that their lack of armor (as any Chaos player with Daemons will tell you, a 5+ invulnerable save does not do squat against massed firepower) was too much of a liability for the points.


Above: Pat's Eldar army for the Rogue Trader Tournament. Click on the thumbnail for a close-up view

Battle #1: "Unplanned Assault"
My first opponent was Jon Izer with his “vanilla” Marines, although with their very distinctive black and orange color scheme everyone was calling them the Halloween Marines.  His force had the following: 

  • Tooled up Chaplain with jump pack;
  • Five 5-man Tactical Squads with heavy weapons and infiltrate (two lascannons, two plasma cannons, missile launcher);
  • Assault Squad;
  • Whirlwind;
  • Predator Destructor; and,
  • Devastator Squad with heavy bolters.
"Unplanned Assault" is a mission in which you mark off an 18" wide no-man’s-land that runs diagonally across the middle of the board.  As with most tournaments, there was not much terrain on the board: some ruined houses and some hills.  Each player starts with Troop selections and Infiltrators on the board.  The other major point is that you roll halfway through the mission to determine the objective. So, on Turn 3 we rolled and got Board Quarters. 

What a bad way to start: I was facing Marines and my best Marine killing unit, the Dark Reapers, were in reserve, AND since all his Troop selection had Infiltrators, I was outgunned from the start.  The Guardians were just not good enough shots to keep up with the more skillful Marines, and the Dark Reapers did not come on until Turn 3, so they were useless for half the game. 

In the end, I controlled my quarter, he controlled two quarters and one was contested (barely, as all I had was the survivors from the Warp Spiders left in the quarter).  A close game and fun, other than having the mission throw me a curve ball.

Battle #2: "Battle In The Eye Of Terror"
I have attended tournaments for several years, and had met a very nice fellow named Keith Gatchaian several times before.  He is a fan of the Jungle and a super nice guy, and I was happy that we would finally get to play a game.

I was slightly less happy when I saw his impressive Blood Angel army (Blood Angel 5th Company – The Exiled).  Keith brought: 

  • Reclusiarch with mantle, death mask, master crafted weapon;
  • Epistolary Librarian with Fury of the Ancients, jump pack, and an Honor Guard with jump packs;
  • Three Tactical Squads with lascannons and plasma guns (two squads were in Rhinos);
  • Two Land Speeder Tornadoes (assault cannon, heavy bolter);
  • Two Whirlwinds; and,
  • Devastator Squad with four heavy bolters.
"Battle in the Eye of Terror" has 12" deployment zones across the long edge, and I when I won for board side, I quickly grabbed the only bunker.  The mission also has a freaky Deep Strike option where you may re-deploy one model at the start of your turn, but neither Keith nor I ever used it. 

I did use Eldrad’s re-deploy power to move three units around, which put a squad of Dark Reapers within line of sight of his Death Company that were hiding behind some trees.  I had a clear firing lane around the scenery and, since I went first, I was able to knock out half of the company on the first turn. 

Having a firebase with a unit of Dark Reapers and the Rangers in the bunker really paid off, as I was able to knock out one of the Rhinos, a Whirlwind, and a Land Speeder in the first couple of rounds.  In fact, this battle was the reverse of the last one, in that my shooting forces effectively crippled Keith’s movement and whittled away at his army until there were only two squads left on the board.  A solid victory for the Eldar, and a great game against one of the nicest people I have ever played against.  I hope our next game is not so long in coming.

Dark Reapers
Above: The Dark Reapers, the MVPs (Most Valuable Players) of the game against Keith

Battle #3: "Triangulate The Perimeter"
The final battle was against Reece Gordon and his army of the Lost and the Damned.  I had heard about the army from a player in a previous battle that day and knew they were speedy and nasty.  The army had:

  • Aspiring Champion with power fist;
  • Three units of Traitors with icons;
  • Unit of Kroot mercenary snipers;
  • Two units of Mutants with the mutation that lets them move like Beasts;
  • Furies;
  • Flamers (really beautifully painted); and 
  • Bloodletters.
"Triangulate the Perimeter" was another mission that used the 18" stripe across the middle of the board, and I once again was able to grab the bunker.  The mission also awarded bonus points for getting your messengers into the board quarters (I misunderstood this to mean corners).  In the early rounds, I had excellent shooting and took out two Traitor units and nearly all of one of the Mutant squads.  It was not to be enough, however, as the other Mutant unit was able to summon the Daemons and just tear through my right flank.  I thought the game was done for, but in the end I eked out a tie on points.  He managed to get all three of his messengers in scoring position because he realized that it was quarters, not corners.  Two of mine fell in their attempt to reach the back corner, but still a close and competitive game that really challenges you to use your army well.


Above: Pat's Eldar take on the Lost and the Damned (and their Daemons) in the third game

Conclusion
While I didn’t win the tournament, I was very happy I attended.  All of the players I faced were friendly and knowledgeable and did not have cheesy, tricked-out armies.  The Eldar performed quite well, and I would use the force again, although I might try and find points for an Avatar. 

In the end I met some new people, played some great games of 40K, and had a wonderful time: what more could you want?


Above: Pat's Dire Avengers take cover in the first game




Related Pages
Other Rogue Trader Tournaments
 
 

Posted March 2007. Used with permission.
 

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Other Pages:
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