1500 Deathwatch Vs Craftworld Eldar: The ScouringBrother Hadrian kicked the Eldar Guardian in the chest hard enough to crush its ribcage while his chainsword bit through the helm of another, spattering the battle-scarred ruins with xeno blood. Beside him, Brother Corto, the Black Shield, was back-to-back with Watch Sergeant Harrold of the Space Wolves,their storm shields deflecting the bladed rain of the Aeldari grav tanks as they strafed their position. Harrold was roaring at the burred forms of the Wave Serpents, "C'mon, you sons of rock slugs! Is that all you've got!"
"Harrold!" Hadrian said, squeezing a burst from his storm bolter that cut down another two Guardians as they leapt at him from cover. "Don't tempt them! I know for certain that is *not* all they've got!"
Corto turned and swung his thunder hammer just as a fifth Guardian vaulted over a pile of rubble. The blazing head of his weapon connected mid-torso, and the xeno warrior blew up and flew away all at once. "What now?"
Harrold grinned, his mouth full of blood. "We wait until those gutter-dwelling eels swing by for another pass in their hover tank, we leap from that pillar there, land atop it, and knock it out of the sky."
"Or we stay here and keep low and deny the enemy this fortification," Hadrian countered. "Your damned Fenrisian pride is going to get us all killed for nothing."
"Spoken like a true son of Macragge." Harrold spat blood on an Aeldari corpse. "For once in your life, think of the glory, Hadrian. Think of the songs they'll sing!"
The air whined with the sound of bladed shuriken being fired at them from long range. It was soon drowned out by the screech of the grav tanks engines. They were coming. Harrold and Hadrian looked at Corto. "Well," asked Hadrian, "what do you think? Come, man, the battle is as good as won whether we sally forth or not!"
Corto shouldered his thunderhammer and planted his feet. "Don't care much for glory. Don't know much about strategy. I do know those xeno weasels killed Julian and crushed Amaral's legs. So I say we owe them."
Harrold laughed and slapped Corto on the shoulder. The stoic Black Shield didn't seem to notice, his eyes fixed on the blue-white streak of the Aeldari grav engines as they approached.
Hadrian sighed. Outvoted. Again. He pulled a krak grenade from his harness. "If we're going to do this, let's do it right. On three."
"One..." said Harrold.
"Two..." said Corto.
Hadrian pulled the pin. "Three..."
Had the opportunity to play the Eldar with my Deathwatch the other day. Here are the lists:Deathwatch BattalionHQ
Watch Master (Warlord: Lord of Secret Knowledge)
Watch Captain w/Jump Pack, Relic Blade, Stormbolter (Bane Bolts of Eryxia)Troops
Primaris Kill Team w/5x Intercessors w/Auto Bolt Rifle, Aux Grenade Launcher, 3x Hellblasters w/Plasma Incinerators
Primaris Kill Team w/2x Aggressors (Boltstorm Gauntlets), 5x Intercessors w/Auto Bolt Rifle (Sergeant w/Power Fist)
Veteran Kill Team w/3x Stormbolter/Chainsword, Vet Sergeant w/Thunderhammer, Storm Shield, Black Shield w/Thunderhammer, Storm ShieldElites
Venerable Dreadnought w/Missile Launcher, Twin LascannonFast Attack
3 Inceptors w/Plasma ExterminatorsTransport
Razorback w/Twin Lascannon, HK Missile
Razorback w/Twin Lascannon, HK MissileFlyer
Corvus Blackstar w/Twin Assault Cannons, Blackstar Rockets, Hurricane Bolter, Infernum Halo LauncherUlthwe BattalionHQ
Farseer Skyrunner w/Doom, Guide, Singing Spear (Warlord: Seer of the Shifting Vector)
Spiritseer w/Enhance/Restrain, Kurnos's BowTroops
6 Fire Dragons (w/Exarch)
5 WraithguardFast Attack
8 Warp Spiders w/Exarch (Powerblades)Transports
Wave Serpent w/Twin Shuricannons, Shuricannon
Wave Serpent w/Twin Shuricannons, Shuricannon
Wave Serpent w/Twin Shuricannons, Shuricannon
Wave Serpent w/Twin Shuricannons, ShuricannonMission, Terrain, and Deployment
I set up a cityfight board for this game, though we wouldn't be using Cities of Death rules in particular--just a regular matched play game. The board had a ton of terrain, but for simplicity's sake, I'll focus on the main ruins. There was a 1-floor ruin in the north, just west of board center. there was a 2-floor ruin at about board center, immediately adjacent to some defensive redoubts. There was a four-story double ruin in the center/east half of the board and a 3-story ruin in the south/center. Just west of that south/center ruin was a defunct Imperial bunker with a watchtower, and a tiny ruin in the SW corner. There was a power station and a trench network in the SE corner, and then a variety of buildings and craters and walls and rubble and so on scattered about.
The mission was the Scouring, and objectives wound up in the northern ruin, in the redoubts at board center, on the top floor of the 4-story ruin, in the SE trench network, atop the southern ruin, and in the tiny SE ruin.
My opponent chose deployment and would almost certainly be going first, as I had more units to place. We got Vanguard Strike as the deployment, which meant the NE and SW corners were up for grabs (and, by the by, I think it's pretty stupid you can't just pick any
corner to deploy in by the new rules). My opponent picked the northeast corner, which suited me fine, as I would be closest to more objectives than he would. His four Wave Serpents deployed in a half-moon formation at about the center of his deployment zone, full of Guardians and Fire Dragons and Wraithguard, with the Farseer taking up the rear. The Rangers and the Warp Spiders would be wandering the Webway until called for.
In my deployment, the Inceptors and the Watch Captain would drop in on their jetpacks later. Meanwhile, the Venerable Dreadnought claimed the SW ruin and its objective for its own. The main crux of my force deployed around the old Imperial bunker. The Hellblaster Kill Team went atop the bunker while the Aggressor Kill Team went just to its east. The Watch Master deployed just in front of the bunker but just a little bit behind the two Razorbacks. The Blackstar, filled with an angry bunch of veterans, deployed just behind the Razorbacks. I selected Dominatus Tactics to help me against his tough elites.
After deployment, we rolled for the Primary Objective and the Objective Nobody Wants. The Primary wound up beneath my Venerable Dread's feet, which sounds
great until you realize his target priority just went way, waaay up and he was probably as good as dead. The terrible objective was left atop the 4-story ruin, so nobody was ever going to bother with it the whole game.
DeploymentDeathwatch Deployment ZoneDreadnought Marked for Death!Oh great...Wave Serpents...Turn 1
I try to Seize the Initiative and fail. The Eldar begin by zooming their hyper-fast grav tanks westwards. They don't have a lot in the way of long-range antitank and I'm a little to far for them to shoot my infantry, so they focus fire on the Blackstar and strip off 5 wounds and do precious little else.
Top of Turn 1Getting closer, but not *too* close!
In my half of the turn, I try Dirty Trick Number 4: I fly my Blackstar straight over his army and land it just behind his farseer in order to drill him with all of my weapons. Despite the fact that I showered that jerk with 21 s6 shots and 12 s4 shots, all I did was take off 4 wounds and the Farseer was still kicking. The Aggressor Kill Team advanced just enough to get my guns into range and nothing else moved. All my shooting was devoted to taking down Wave Serpents. I had hoped to knock the lead Serpent out of the sky (the one full of Fire Dragons) and, with any remaining firepower, damage the next one (full of Wraithguard), but those damned Serpent Shields (plus the Lighting Fast Reflexes Stratagem) foiled my every attempt. Even though I shot the damned transport with six lascannons and three krak missiles and two krak grenades and three plasma incinerators (all with re-rolls to hit!) all I managed was taking nine wounds off that lead serpent. Ugh. The Eldar advance would continue unabated and still with psychic leadership. Not good.
Bottom of Turn 1Surprise!Turn 2
In my opponent's second turn, his serpents shifted west yet again. One of them got close enough for the Venerable Dread to try the Intercepting Volley Stratagem and nailed the serpent with two hits with the lascannons, of which only one wounded, of which it did 2 wounds. Which was then reduced to one stupid wound
by that blasted Shield. Sigh. Anyway, the lead one disembarked its cargo of Fire Dragons, who hopped, skipped, and jumped their way into melta range of my Venerable Dread and proceeded to blast it off the map and then, using a stratagem, did ninja flips over a nearby wall to hide themselves from reprisal.
Meanwhile, the Farseer Doomed my poor Aggressor Kill Team and the Wave Serpents opened up with everything they had, killing six of the seven guys and leaving only one Aggressor left. I burned two CP for Insane Bravery to keep that guy around--one never knew when a single Aggressor would come in handy.
Top of Turn 2The Dragons survey the damage done from safety
This isn't going so well in these first few turns. I feel like my antitank in unable to do much of anything to the triple-protected Wave Serpents and my infantry are not in position. Or are
My opponent has left a team of Deathwatch Veterans in his backfield aboard their still largely-operational flyer. I had generally assumed
he would have disembarked his Wraithguard to shoot the plane down, especially given how close it had come to assassinating his Warlord. But he didn't. Well, it was time to teach him how unwise it was to leave unscathed Marine units running around your lines. I disembarked my vets and moved them very close to the back end of the two guardian wave serpents and also very close to the Farseer.
The plan this turn went like this: (1) focus antitank firepower on the wave serpent closest to my vets and hopefully kill it. (2) Drop the Inceptors in position to wipe out/cripple the disembarked guardians from that transport (3) charge the vets at the next guardian serpent AND the Farseer, hopefully dropping that Serpent, too (4) use Honor Your Brothers to fight again and kill off the newly disembarked guardians *and* finish off the Farseer. This was an ambitious plan, but not one beyond the bounds of reason. It could very well work.
So, here's how it went: My attempts to down that first guardian Wave Serpent took more than anticipated. The lascannons again failed me and I needed the inceptor firepower to down it, as well as the Hellblasters (the inceptors dropped behind the ruins in the north; the Watch Captain was nearby, lending re-roll support). Okay, so that meant amending my plans somewhat--the Vets charged the newly disembarked guardians and the Farseer, wiping the guardians out with ease but totally failing to kill the Farseer, who still had 1 wound left. I then consolidated into the second wave serpent and used Honor Your Brothers to try *again* to kill the Farseer and failed *again.* The thunderhammers choked against the second wave serpent, doing only 6 wounds. On the bright side, the Watch Captain made it into combat with those initial guardians (helping to cull them) and was now in pretty good position to support further assaults, assuming I survived the next round (which seemed like a slim proposition).
Meanwhile, the Corvus Blackstar switched into hover mode and jetted sideways to get LOS to the Fire Dragons. It strafed them and killed four of the six. My remaining aggressor advanced into the central ruin, hunkering down in cover and biding his time. The Hellblaster Kill Team contributed what firepower it could downfield, waiting for its moment to move forward.
Bottom of Turn 2Death to Xenos!"See the Orange Hats? SHOOT THEM!"This picture is blurry because the Inceptors just dropped from S-P-A-C-E!Turn 3
In the top of turn 3, I reminded my opponent that he needed to bring on his reserves this turn or they would count as destroyed. I'm pointing that out because he totally
forgot to bring on his reserves that turn and by the time he remembered it was the assault phase. Even then, I let him dice for bringing them on out of sequence (4+ he got them, 3 or less and they were lost) and he rolled a 3. So, that worked out for me, big time.
But I was not
out of the woods, not by a damned sight. Convinced that he needed to get his backfield in order before he could keep pounding my firebase, he switched directions. He set it up like this: the Fire Dragons trotted up from the bottom of the board, aided by the hastening powers of the Spiritseer, to get in short range of the Blackstar, which they tried to take down. Unfortunately, they only scored 5 wounds, forcing one wave serpent to fire at it and blow its shield in order to finally take it down. The next stage was to be the Guardians wiping out the Inceptors all by themselves, but the Inceptors proved surprisingly durable losing only two of their number to the guardians and forcing the other two Wave Serpents to combine firepower to kill the last Inceptor. This left the Wraithguard and Spiritseer, who had both disembarked, to take on the Vets (the farseer had flown out of combat). The Wraithguard leveled their Wraithcannons and...killed one guy, their shots bouncing off the storm shields of the vets lead duo. Well, okay okay--then what about assault? Well, the Wraithguard did not really know who they were messing with there. The Watch Captain got a heroic intervention into combat and the thunderhammers did their work. When the dust cleared, I'd killed 3 wraithguard to no losses on my part.
I was still holding on. By my fingernails, but still.
Top of Turn 3Setting me up for a beating.The Wraithguard are about to make the worst mistake of their un-lives.Ahh, the sweet smell of powdered wraithbone...
In the bottom of turn 3, the vets crushed the remaining Wraithguard (though they lost 1 guy to the spiritseer) and the Watch Captain slew the Spiritseer in single combat and the four of them consolidated into the northern ruins, claiming a crucial cover save. Seeing the Xeno forces thusly preoccupied with my brave (insane?) Vets, I advanced the Aggressor into the central redoubt to claim the center objective and the Hellblaster kill team also advanced towards the center. The Aggressor focused firepower on the guardians in the northern ruins, killing 4 of them and making another two run for their lives while the Hellblaster team shot their auto-bolters at the Fire Dragons, wiping them out. The Razorbacks finally managed a kill by shooting down the tank they had started shooting at during turn 1 (!) and now had its shields down like a chump.
Bottom of Turn 3Hey! Xeno-scum! We've come to kick ass and chew bubblegum, and we can do both at the SAME TIME!Turn 4
Okay, get this: in this turn, everything (everything) shoots at the three vets in the ruins. The Farseer Dooms them and guides one of the damaged Wave Serpents. These vets have three (3) wounds between them. They are eating 18 Shuricannon shots, 14 shuriken catapults, and a singing spear.
I lose nobody. Nothing. Nada. Those three guys sit there and shrug it all off like rain. Oh my. Oh my, my, my.
Top of Turn 4
In the bottom of 4, the Aeldari are at bay. The Watch Captain jets over the ruins and shoots the farseer dead with a Bane Bolt of Eryxia. The three vets leave a frag grenade behind as a "gift" to the guardians in the ruins and, between that, the stormbolter, and the Aggressor churning out double firepower, the Guardians cease to exist. The Vets then charge the closest Wave Serpent and do a god-awful number of wounds to it with thunderhammers, killing it instantly.
In the south, one Razorback advances over to claim the Superior Objective. They other shoots with his lascannons and does beslubber-all, as usual. The Hellblaster Kill Team, backed up by the Watch Captain, move to claim the central objective.
Bottom of Turn 4Get that last grav-tank, boys!
At the end of this turn, my opponent concedes. He's only got the one Wave Serpent left. Final Score
Eldar: 1Post Mortem
There's little point crowing about this victory, cool though it was. My opponent forgot
two whole units, one of which (Warp Spiders) would have probably been enough to get him over the edge. But then again, who knows--I still had a fair amount left on the board. Nevertheless, the thing that changed this whole game was the fact that he left my Veteran Kill Team alone in his backfield, and I made him pay for that overconfidence, over and over again. That one five-man squad accounted for two wave serpents, five wraithguard, around 12 guardians, and ate up a god-awful amount of firepower for their size. I got lucky with them in a number of ways, but that was something to see.
My army showed more resilience than I thought it would this game, but part of that is because my opponent didn't ever use his mortal wound output. He fired off only one shield and never used Smite once the whole game. My expensive, low-wound count units *cannot* sustain mortal wounds much at all, so his reluctance to use them was a major benefit for me. Ultimately, I don't expect to have another game this good against the Eldar in a while - I got really, really lucky.
Oh, and can we talk about Wave Serpents? JE-SUS! Those bastards, especially combined with Ulthwe or Spirit Stones or what-not, do NOT want to go down. They are nasty, nasty tanks and I don't look forward to facing them all the time.
Anyway, this was a blast of a game. Thanks for reading and thanks, as always, to my opponent!