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Events and Battle Reports

Test Driving the New Rules: Dvergar vs. Eldar & Allies  by Kenton Kilgore and Patrick Eibel
Having gotten our feeelthy meeeeeets on the new 40K rulebook, Pat and I thought we’d put it through its paces with a 2000-point battle between my Dvergar (Space Dwarves using Codex: Orks) and his Eldar.  Ready for some 6e brutality?  Off we go, then!

Dvergar Steeljacks (1995 points)  by Kenton Kilgore
My proxied Ork army is a meched-up, smashmouth, unsubtle force inspired by my favorite American football team, the Pittsburgh Steelers.  There’s no cunning strategy involved with the Dvergar: they just line up, come straight at you, and either crush your guys under their steel boots or get destroyed in the attempt.  I brought:

  • The Black Warspar (counts as Warboss) w/ helm of obedience (counts as bosspole), spearpoint armor (counts as ‘eavy armor), power shield (counts as cybork body), and heavy electro-combat weapon (counts as power klaw)
    Marauders Squad Black (count as Nobz).  Living Ancestor (counts as Painboy), plus 9 Marauders (Nobz) in spearpoint armor (counts as ‘eavy armor).  Eight have heavy combat weapons (count as big choppas); one has heavy electro-combat weapon (counts as power klaw) and terror flag (counts as Waaagh! banner)
  • Dvergar Crawler (counts as Battlewagon) for Marauders Squad Black.  Equipped with armor plates, self-repair systems (count as grot riggers), razor prow (counts as deff rolla), and mine cannon (counts as big shoota) 
  • Marauders Squad Gold, as above
  • Dvergar Crawler, as above, for Marauders Squad Gold
  • Dvergar Regulars (count as Ork Boyz).  Two Regulars with mine cannons (count as big shootas), 18 with mine guns (count as shootas)
  • Dvergar Crawler, as above, for Regulars Squad Gold
  • Steel Troopers (count as ‘Ard Boyz).  One is a Troop Commander (counts as Nob) with heavy electro-combat weapon (counts as power klaw), plus 19 with sidearms and combat weapons (count as sluggas and choppas)
  • Dvergar Crawler, as above, for Steel Troopers
  • Flametongues (count as 11 Burna Boyz)
  • Dvergar Crawler, as above, for Flametongues

I viewed this game as an experiment, and my army was going to be the control: they would not avail themselves of Allies, psykers (with their new powers), flyers, fortifications, or any other hoopiness that 6th Edition had brought.  Instead, they would answer the question of whether a 5e army could still compete under the new rules, or would I have to drastically re-think it to keep it viable. 


From left to right: Regulars (Shoota Boyz); Warspar (Warboss) and Flametongues (Burna Boyz); Marauders Squad Black (Nobz); 
Steel Troopers ('Ard Boyz); Marauders Squad Gold (Nobz).  Behind them are Dvergar Crawlers (Battlewagons)

Lotus Storm of Impossible Contemplation & Allies (1995 points)  by Patrick Eibel
Since Kenton was running the “control group” in our experiment, it fell to me to field a force that would explore as many of the new rules as possible.  At least that was my goal when I put together the list.  I brought:

  • Farseer with singing spear, runes of witnessing, and Guide.  I opted to take a very basic Farseer to save on points, but to keep the Guide power so I would be sure to be able to boost my shooty Guardians.
  • The Avatar.  I took the Avatar for several reasons: 1) he would make the Eldar around him Fearless; 2) he benefits from the Monstrous Creature and character rules; 3) he is really nasty in close combat, unlike the rest of my force; and 4) it’s a really sweet model.
  • Eldar Rangers.  I brought ten Rangers to try out the new sniper rules.
  • Dire Avengers.  I brought ten Dire Avengers with an Exarch with Bladestorm and a power weapon.  Dire Avengers are a great all-purpose unit.
  • Three Guardian Squads.  Each squad has 12 Guardians with shuriken catapults, two Guardians with a support weapon (2 Eldar missile launchers, 1 scatter laser), and a Warlock with Enhance. Warlocks are 0 level psykers, so don’t get to swap out their power.
  • Eldar Jetbike Squad.  The new rules for Eldar Jetbikes are pretty cool, so I had to take a squad of 9 led by a Warlock with Enhance.  I choice Enhance for my Warlocks because I knew the Orks would eventually get into close combat with my guys and I wanted to be able to strike first and inflict some damage.
  • Vyper with a scatter laser.  I had some points to spend at the end, and a four-shot gun seemed like a sound investment.
  • War Walker with scatter laser and shuriken cannon.  Armed for gunning down Orks.
  • War Walker with brightlance and Eldar missile launcher.  Armed for tankhunting.
  • Allied Imperial Guard: 
    • Primaris Psyker with one Pyromancy Power.  Even though the Eldar were bringing several psykers, none of them were trading out there powers, so I brought this guy to try out the Psyker system (and he is a cheap HQ.) 
    • Priest.  He makes a unit he is with better in assault, which I would need versus Orks, and he doesn’t use up an HQ slot.
    • Veteran Squad with a Sergeant with a power weapon, three flamers, and the Grenadiers upgrade (carapace armor.)  I use my Kasrkin Stormtroopers for these guys because they look cool, they are Troops instead of Elites, and you can get three special weapons.
    • Vendetta Gunship. If you are going to try out the new rules, somebody has to bring a flyer.
  • Fortifications: Aegis Defence Line.  Since the bulk of my force was a static, shooty mob, I thought I should guarantee them some cover. 

I really liked the list I put together, as it would offer the opportunity to try a lot of stuff out.  My basic idea was to have a shooty element and a fast element.  The shooty guys would thin out the Orks and grab close objectives, while the fast guys would wreak havoc in the back of the board. Since Eldar and Guard are Allies of Convenience, I had no problem letting the Imperials fly around on their own. 


Guardians and Rangers on the left of the Avatr, Jetbikes, War Wlakers, and Dire Avengers on the right.  The Aegis Line and Allies are in the back

Setting Up   by Kenton Kilgore
We played at Pat’s house, on a 4' x 6' board with terrain that Pat had set up before my arrival.  We rolled randomly for side, which Pat won.  I nominated my Warspar as my Warlord and announced that he would be taking a Strategic Asset: rolling randomly, I came up with “Night Attacker.”  Pat chose the Farseer as his Warlord and chose the Command Trait category: he rolled up “The Dust of a Thousand Worlds,” which gave Move Through Cover for units within 12" of his commander.

We rolled for mission and came up with The Scouring; deployment turned out to be Dawn of War.  We then placed the objectives as instructed under the write-up for The Scouring.  One objective (worth 4 points) went on the landing pad just outside my deployment zone; one (worth 3 points) went atop a bastion just outside Pat’s zone; the other was on a bridge near the center of the board.  The objectives for 2 points each went onto a little power-station thingy in the left side of my zone, and some rocks on Pat’s side of the board, respectively.  The 1-point counter went among some ruins on Pat’s side of the board, on my right. 

Because Pat had won the roll of what table side he had wanted, he set up first, placing his Aegis Defense Line on his right flank and putting two squads of Guardians, the Farseer, and the Avatar behind it.  Next to them were another Guardian Squad and both War Walkers.  On his left flank, he placed his Dire Avengers.  He infiltrated his Rangers atop the bastion (holding an objective) and kept everything else in Reserve.

I put the Crawler (Battle Wagon) loaded with Regulars (Shoota Boyz) on my right, behind the landing pad.  The Crawler with the Steel Troopers (‘Ard Boyz) deployed to the Shoota Boyz’s left, to move up and seize the bridge.  I put the Warspar (Warboss) with the Flametongues (Burna Boyz) together and put all three remaining Crawlers (with the Warboss/Burna Boyz and both Nobz Mobs) on my left, to barrel up the field and rip Pat’s wimpy little Eldar into moist, Twinkie-flavored shreds.

As I had the Night Fight Warlord ability, those rules would take effect at the start of the game and last through Turn 1.  I rolled to Seize the Initiative and succeeded.  And with that, the brutality began.


Turn 1.  The Steel Troopers (center) take the bridge, while the Regulars (right) move under the landing pad.  For ease of play, I put the models on top of the landing pad

Turn 1  by Kenton Kilgore
All of my meched-up units rumbled forward, the Steel Troopers leapt out of their tank to take the bridge and the Regulars disembarked and moved under the landing pad (each having only rumbled six inches forward).  On Pat’s turn, the Farseer casted Guide on one of the War Walkers, and suffered a double “1” on the dice.



Dvergar Crawlers with Marauders and Flametongues (center) rush the Eldar line

While the missile launchers of the Guardians did what they do best—“miss”—the Guided War Walker’s launcher and brightlance effortlessly sliced through the front of one Crawler, exploding it (“6” on the Vehicle Damage Table) and causing one of the Gold Squad Marauders aboard to take a Wound.  The other War Walker fired on the ersatz Nobz, finishing off the wounded fellow.  The Rangers rained on them as well, getting a Precision Shot on the Painboy and making him take a Wound.  The squad failed its Pin check (rolled a “10,” needed a “9” or lower) and they hit the dirt.

At the other end of the battle, the Dire Avengers moved up and unloaded a Bladestorm on the Regulars, but thanks to intervening cover, only three of my guys died.

Turn 2
The two surviving Crawlers on my left screeched to a halt in front of the Eldar Guardians huddled behind the Aegis wall, and the Warspar, Flametongues, and Black Marauders jumped out.  To draw sniper fire off them, the Steel Troopers ran out into the open, right in front of the tower that the Rangers were perched atop.  Tramping forward, the Regulars returned fire on the Avengers, but whiffed as stunty little folks with grubby hands and BS 2 are wont to do. 

 
Dvergar Regulars (who are actually underneath the landing pad) fire on the Dire Avengers

The Flametongues unlimbered their burnas on one of the Guardian squads behind the wall, incinerating them and leaving only the squad’s Warlock and the attached Farseer.  I rolled to see if my guys were in Assault range, and they were, even with the penalty for having to go through difficult terrain (i.e., over the Aegis wall).  Overwatch from the Warlock and the Farseer did exactly skadoosh, and my Dvergar made the acquaintance of the pointy-ears.

 
The Flametongues and the Warspar (with red beard) moments before dropping lots of templates on the blue-armored Guardians behind the wall

The Farseer challenged the Warspar, who, of course, accepted.  Striking first, the Farseer wounded the Warspar, but the Mallet O’ Understanding (read: power klaw) of the Dvergar leader was too much for the Farseer to withstand.  Likewise, the Warlock swung first against the swarming Flametongues, and after he missed, they stamped him into the dust.

 
The Warspar (Warboss) and the Flametongues (Burna Boyz) trounce the Farseer and the Warlock, but there's still the Avatar to deal with next turn....

Not far away, the Black Marauders announced a charge on the Blue Guardian squad on Pat’s right flank, and Overwatch fire took down one proxied Nob.  Then the survivors charged and the Guardians who had not been engaged Piled In and attacked, one of them slapping a Wound on one of my fighters.  The Warlock challenged the Marauder with the power klaw, taking a Wound off him.  After patiently enduring all this, my guys hacked down the Warlock and all but 4 Guardians.  The Eldars’ nerve broke and they successfully extricated themselves from the fight, falling back towards their board edge.  The surviving Dvergar took cover for the inevitable Eldar Shooty-Shoot Revenge Phase.

First, however, the Vendetta and its passengers, the Veteran Troopers and military advisors, came on the board from Reserves, rocketing across the table towards the landing pad, under which my Regulars still skulked. 

 
Look!  It's the non-dangerous end of a Vendetta

The Guardians that had survived the Marauders’ attacks regrouped (under the generous new rules for doing so) and fired at the Flametongues, who successfully hugged cover.  The Walker that had taken out the Crawler on Turn 1 vaporized a Black Marauder with its brightlance.  The Purple Guardians (who had watched the Guardians to their right get barbecued by the Flametongues) opened up on the poseur Burna Boyz, killing four, and the other War Walker (kitted out for anti-infantry) took down three more. 

 
Pat's Rangers are way too smart to be distracted by the Steel Troopers (proxied 'Ard Boyz)

Not falling for the Steel Troopers’ amateurish “Hey! Look at us!” bit, the Rangers also fired on the Burnas, killing one and forcing a Pin test, which they passed.  The Vendetta’s lascannons struck a glancing blow to the Regulars’ Crawler, and Pat was dismayed to learn that Battlewagons have 4 Hull Points. 

 
The Avatar makes short work of the Space Dwarf leader.  Get it?  Short work?  I'm here all week folks: try the veal

The Avatar challenged the Warspar, but because Giant Volcano Elf had to step over the Aegis line to reach my Redheaded Stumpy, they struck blows at the same time.  The Warspar suffered some wretched “to hit” rolls but knocked a Wound off the Avatar, then was simultaneously hacked to pieces and lit on fire.  Because that’s what the Avatar does.  Stupidly, my Flametongues kept their nerve and stuck around to fight next turn.

Turn 3
Because mine is a brutal army that uses brutal tactics, I tank shocked with some of my Crawlers, killing some Guardians with the razor prows (e.g. deff rollas) and destroying a War Walker.  The resulting explosion of the Walker also took out two of my Flametongues and the Black Marauder with the heavy electro-combat weapon (power klaw)—the new “remove-closest-model” for casualties can really bite one in the posterior. 

In any event, the surviving Black Marauders boarded the Crawler that had not tank shocked, and the Gold Marauders—no longer pinned—took the objective among the rocks.  My Regulars gunned down two Dire Avengers, and the Steel Troopers shot dead a Ranger.  In the Assault Phase, the Avatar hacked down the last of the Flametongues, to no one’s great surprise.


Do Eldar Jetbike engines whine?  I know I certainly did before Pat's Shooting Phase was over

At the start of Pat’s turn, the Jetbikes and Vyper came on from Reserves.  The Vendetta went into Hover mode and the Veterans leapt from it, advancing on the Regulars.  The Bikes, Vyper, and Rangers combined their fire on my Steel Troopers, taking out 10 of them and pinning them: “YOI!  The Veterans—with their three flamers—and the Dire Avengers opened up on the Regulars, killing 11 of them: “DOUBLE YOI!”  The two surviving Shoota Boyz fell back 8".

 
When it came time to determine how many Veterans could see the Regualrs, I put them under the landing pad.  It didn't help much.  

The Jetbikes needed a “12” to Assault the ersatz ‘Ard Boyz they had been shooting at, and, to be expected, they did not make the roll.  The Avatar, however, charged the Crawler (Battle Wagon) that the Black Marauders (Nobz) had just boarded, getting two penetrating hits.  The vehicle exploded, pinning the Nobz.

 
Now the Avatar is just showing off....

Turn 4
A nearby Crawler attempted to tank shock the Veterans and ram the Vendetta: while some Imperial goons went *squish* under the deff rolla razor prow, the flyer survived the impact when I rolled poorly to damage it.  Another Crawler slammed into the Avatar, knocking a Wound off him.  My guys were rapidly wilting.

On Pat’s turn, the Vendetta zoomed away and the Vyper fired at the rear of the Crawler that had tried to take out the flyer.  BOOM went the transport—another penetrating hit and another “Destroyed” result, and I was starting to wonder if I had fielded burly Battlewagons or weedy Dark Eldar Raiders.  The Veterans (who lost two guys when the nearby Crawler went up like a Roman candle) fired at the Steel Troopers, but the ‘Ard Boyz’ armor held.  However, the Steelers lost three to the verdamnt  Rangers.  Finally, the Jetbikes fired on the back of another Crawler, taking two hull points off it and stunning the crew.

 
The Dvergar are running out of vehicles, and I'm running out of pithy captions for these photos...

In the Assault Phase, the Avatar charged the pinned Black Marauders whose ride he had destroyed in the previous turn.  The Nobz were struck by Fear (a new special rule that Monstrous Creatures have), but as they needed 5+ to hit the Avatar in close combat anyway (thanks to his WS 10), it wasn’t as big a deal as I thought it would be.  Striking first against the Flaming Elf God (because he was charging into the crater their tank had left), the Marauders slapped a Wound on him.  One of them took one himself from the return swing.

 
Veterans and Steel Troopers ('Ard Boyz) converge on an objective

Turn 5
My sole viable Crawler tank shocked Pat’s other War Walker, glancing it.  The Steel Troopers moved onto the bridge where a 3-point objective was, and I declared a charge against the Veterans, who were at the other end of the bridge.  Overwatch from the Vets pasted one Trooper, and I rolled for my Assault range.  Needing a 7+ on 2d6, I rolled a “6.”  Moo.  In the corner of the table, the Avatar killed a Nob and the Marauders put an end to his noise by chopping him down.

 
Steel Troopers fail their charge, and now they're dead men dwarves walking

The Vets fired on the Steel Troopers, killing two, and the Jetbikes polished them off with a fusillade of shuriken catapults.  The rammed War Walker fired on the Crawler all up in its grill, doing a glancing blow.  The Vendetta unleashed its lascannons at the Black Marauders, evaporating one.  We rolled Pat’s Loyal Green Die ™ to see if the game would end, and mercifully, it did.

 

Victory Points, Eldar & Allies: 9
Victory Points, Dvergar: 4
Winner: Eldar & Allies

 

Post-Game Analysis  by Patrick Eibel
The game was a lot of fun.  In fact, the rules changes really made the game more interesting than any recent game I played at the end of 5th Edition. 

I will discuss my thoughts about the rules below, so I will focus on how the game played here.  The army performed pretty much as I intended, although I am not sure if the Aegis Defense Line was worth the points as the Orks had charged past it rather quickly.  My star players were the Avatar, who brought some much needed close combat punch, and the allied Veterans unit, who brought three flamers.  Honorable mention goes to the surviving Guardian squad who made it all the way to the end of the fight.

In this game, I found some things did not meet my preconceived notions.  The flyer, supposedly a game breaker, really did not do much other than deliver its passengers.  Vehicles in general were more survivable that I thought given hull points and glancing hits.  The random assault distance was not as big a factor as I thought as I think there was only one failed charge.  Overall, I was really pleased with how the army performed and I am excited to play another game.

 

Post-Game Analysis  by Kenton Kilgore
My undoing in this game was that I was much too overconfident in my army’s ability to wreck Pat’s army, survive his shooting, and reach objectives.  I had no business in attacking his right flank, with all the Guardians and the Avatar, when the closest objective to them was worth a mere two points.  Pat didn’t fall for my feint with the ‘Ard Boyz, and I should have gotten my Shoota Boyz up onto the landing pad and in cover instead of trying to show off and gun down the Dire Avengers.  Also, I should have left one unit of Nobz at home and taken more Shoota Boyz for some numbers.  Some crummy dice rolls didn’t help, either, but those are to be expected.     

6e Rule Analysis  by Patrick Eibel
Some rule changes actually exceeded my expectations.  Challenges were very cool and really added a cinematic feel as characters beat on each other.  Rapid Fire weapons being able to fire at long range even after a move kept units from standing around doing nothing.  Allies have generated strong feelings across the Internet, but in this battle, I felt they added an interesting twist and gave the Eldar some much-needed template weapons. 

I was worried that the rules would be cumbersome and difficult to assimilate. However, this battle took about as long as our usual games, and things moved faster as we learned the rules.  In general, I liked how most of the rules changes affected the game.  The hardest thing to deal with was remembering to remove the closest dudes (and figuring out which figure that was.)  I have played every edition of the game, so I often get rules confused.  I was happy to have a friendly opponent who was willing to take the time to get the rule right.  

I think 6th Edition will give the game a much-needed shot in the arm.  Is there potential for the rules to be abused?  Sure, but that existed before. 

 

6e Rule Analysis  by Kenton Kilgore
Going into this game, I was on the fence on how I felt about the new rules.  I had liked 5th Edition’s simplicity, and I worried that 6th Edition was introducing a lot of time-consuming stuff that would drag us all back to the Bad Old Days of 2nd Edition.  After actually playing, I am now a big fan of the new game.  Though I got my butt kicked, that was mostly because of my arrogance: I think my 5e-style Dvergar are still viable, and I don’t plan on any big changes for them.  

“What about Flyers?  What about Allies?”  Well, what about them?  Maybe I’ll change my mind after playing more games, but I wasn’t torqued about either of them.  Pat’s Vendetta pretty much was just a delivery vehicle, and while the Veteran Squad and their flamers were bad news, it wasn’t like they won the battle all by themselves.  I do wish we had been able to do more testing on Psychic rules: maybe next time.  Also, we forgot to do the Mysterious Objectives thing, which would have added another dimension to the game. 

I’ve read that a lot of competitive players are unhappy with the new rules, and I can see why: the new version seems to move away from “competitive” play and much more towards “casual” gaming.  As for me, the new version has really stoked my interest in the game, and I’m eagerly looking forward to the next Counter Offensive in August. 


Posted  August 2012
 

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