Continuing my quest to play against as many 40kOnline forumites as I possibly can, last night it was my privilage to get a game against the illustrious Killersquid.
Killersquid is my first non-Brit, and if not for his efforts to visit Bristol while on study leave in Italy from his native Canada then this would not have been possible.
It was totally worth the 15 minute drive into the city centre!
Squid had brought 1500 points worth of Blood Angels Sanguinary Guard, led by Dante and the Sanguinor.
This was the ultimate travel army, being a miserly 22 models strong, with a full 1/3 of the points tied up in the 2 HQ choices.
Three units of Guard with a couple of attached priests, and a three man unit of bolt gun death company rounded out the list.
At first glance the list looks woefully short on bodies, but I was lucky enough to watch Squid have a warmup game against the Store manager's bug swarm, and after a turn or two of watching the Angels shred Nid gribblies while everything bounced off their 2+ save and FNP for a 7-0 killpoint win, I was suitably cautious about our matchup.
3 Death Company
3x 5 Sanguinary Guard
I brought the usual semi-mech Eldar with a few chops and changes to bring it down to 1500 from my usual 1750.
There was no place for Banshees, but I thought I'd give Mindwar a chance over Fortune for a change.
Farseer (Doom + Mindwar)
6 Dragons (Falcon)
10 Bladestorm Avengers (Serpent)
11 tri-flamer Stormies (Serpent)
2 War Walkers
We rolled home bases and pitched battle deployment, while Squid won first turn but opted to give it to me in favour of a full deep strike.
I castled my Skimmers in a corner near my objective and muttered some choice one-liners about "Descent of Angels" while deploying the rest of my army in reserve.
Nothing happened at all. Nothing. Go straight to turn 2.
Despite opting to not use the Autarch's bonus I rolled in ALL of my reserves.
I chose to bring them all in to castle along with the Serpents and waited for the Angels to arrive. The Skimmers all turboed to get a cover save.
Squid on the other hand rolled only a single unit of Guard, which he opted to land in cover near the centre of the board. He had nothing with any range to touch me.
Some slight maneuvering allowed me to draw a bead on the single squad with almost the entire army. The Warp Spiders hopped forwards with the Autarch in support. After pulse lasers, missile launchers, scatter lasers and a full squad of deathspinner fire plus the Autarch's fusion gun, a paltry 2 Marines had died. Damn but they're tough.
On Killersquid's turn he got two more squads to come in; the death company and Dante with his unit of Guard.
Dante's unit don't scatter so he was able to place them very precisely in a gap next to my war walkers. The Death Company on the other hand were less fortunate, and even with descent of angels managed to scatter onto one of my squads causing a mishap - though only to go back into reserve.
The other unit of Guard hopped forward to be within charge range of the Spider squad, dropping one with plasma fire on the way in. Meanwhile Dante's squad trashed the war walkers with three precise fusion pistol shots causing them to both explode.
In assault the Marines were outclassed by the whirling power blades of the Autarch and his Exarch, and while one or two survived they were pulled down by the remainder of the Spider squad in due course.
The Farseer turned his attention on Dante's squad and Doomed the target. Meanwhile almsot the entire army turned it's guns upon them. Foolishly however, I forgot about my Fire Dragons and left them aboard their Falcon.
They took a full bladestorm, a fusillade of tank fire and the added weight of the jetbikes, but only a couple went down. Looking to buy some time I charged the bikes into assault with them and hoped that one would survive...
...they didn't, and in Squid's turn he wasted no time following up into the now vulnerable Avenger squad, even as the Death Company reappeared on my left flank along with Sanguinor, and the final Squad of Sanguinary Guard dropped into the backfield to secure their own objective..
The Spiders again jumped forwards and unloaded their spinner fire into the face of the Sanguinor.
They were deadly accurate, and with almost everything hitting and almost all the hits wounding I watched Squid take the saves with baited breath. Up popped 4 1s, and the one-man wrecking ball hit the dirt before he even got to take a swing!
A single krak missile knocked off one of the Death Company as well, and though I was tightly pinned in a corner, the tide of the battle had definitely shifted.
Dante's squad finished off the Avengers though, and now looked set to cause untold damage in the middle of my firing line.
In Squid's turn Dante's squad chose to go hunting Warp Spiders while the Death Company started beating their crazed fists against the armoured hull of the Storm Guardian's Serpent.
Once again the Spiders found themselves caught in melee, and once again the flashing blades of the Autarch and Exarch surprised their foe, cutting down all of Dante's squad and leaving him facing the Eldar alone.
The Eldar now had clear numerical advantage but had been drawn into a close range scrap in their own back yard, and had been tugged rather out of position by the sheer resilience and combat power of the Blood Angels.
The Angels were going to easily hold their own objective and currently had the remnants of several units contesting the Eldar base.
The guns of the Eldar skimmers failed to make a mark on the marauding Angels, and with the combat between Dante and the Spiders still in the balance the Fire Dragons still declined to present themselves as a target lest they become pinned in melee on the Eldar objective.
Dante finally fell to the Autarch in close combat, though the Eldar general himself had been reduced to a single wound.
The Blood Angel response was limited, with the two remaining Death Company getting close to the objective and two other Sanguinery Guard backing them up and hoping that the game would end.
But it didn't.
With the final turn being played out I could comfortably take the draw; a combination of fusion guns, missile launchers, and the Mindwar of the Farseer, clearing all remaining Marines from the Eldar side of the board. There was even an attempt to take some long range shots at the Guard squad holed up on their own objective in an attempt to drive them off it in the dying light, but the range and cover proved too great.
Another tough game against an all jump pack Blood Angel force was fought out to a draw.
In the end we had both made some mistakes that probably cost either of us the win. Squid singled out the Farseer as the greatest threat in my army and placed the Sanguinor curse on him. On hindsight, it was my Autarch who caused him the most grief, accounting for a squad and a half of guard as well as Dante, whilst being in the thick of things where the reduced stats would have been more telling.
On the other hand, if I'd bothered to get the Dragons out of their ride in turn 4 then Dante and his squad probably wouldn't have survived to cause the Autarch any grief in the first place, and my avengers and jetbikes would have survived to contest the Blood Angel objective.
Ahh, the 20/20 vision of hindsight...
I shall console myself with the knowledge that I only lost about a third of my force, while Squid's army was down to a single 250 point squad by the end.
The fact that it was only his second ever game with this army clearly isn't even worth mentioning at this point, other than to spare a thought for poor Irisado, who gets to face him on the weekend.
It was great to meet the Squid, and hopefully we'll get to see him in Bristol at the end of March before he disappears off back to Canada.