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Tactics to the Test [Broken HTML]

Submitted By: Date: December 24, 2007, 12:00:00 AM Views: 1921
Summary: <p class="subheader1">Reason, purpose and method</p> <p class="body">For a while I have been reading a lot of both general and specific Eldar tactics on the net. Most of these texts have been decent, only a few bad or misleading but also only a few really good – that is of course really good as compared to what I personally expect from a text on tactics. </p>

<p class="body">The problem with most of the texts I have been reading is that they are too detailed, as in dealing with too limited specifics, and thus too simple. An example of this is the huge amount of unit run-throughs. Fire Dragons are good tankbusters etc. Or the texts are too general, being only rules of thumbs without explanations of how to carry them out. Examples are the lists of golden rules such as: Have a plan. Have a back up plan. Do not loose sight of the objective etc. </p>

<p class="body">These are in my opinion okay. Not bad. You can improve your game by reading these texts, but only a small bit. What I would like to try, is to take this text down the middle. Actually describe general tactics but combining the tactics with thoughts on how to work them with certain units. </p>

<p class="body">I will try to realize this by outlining the tactics I want my army to be able to perform. Describe how I expect my army to be able to perform these tactics. And finally bring the army to a local tournament involving five battles in five weeks, and document on how the tactics unfold and the units perform battle by battle. This kind of empirical data will hopefully teach me a lot whether I win or loose.

I am not trying to write some definitive work on tactics. I am merely trying to examine certain tactics and ways to perform them. Lots of other tactics could give better result and even other performances of the same tactics could give better result. Also I must state that English is far from my native language, so bear with me in this respect. The text is likely to end up being quit long, so I hope you will stick with it patiently. Once you have read it, I would be most please to hear any comment you would like to make on the presented ideas!!</p>

<p class="body">Thanks to the Iacta alea est gaming club and to moc065, TheEldarguy, Arcas and Raven Nevermore of Eldar Online</p>


<p class="subheader1">Tactics</p>
<p class="body">Some people differentiate between tactics and strategies often with good reason. As I am trying to merge both here, I shall simply refer to my ideas or actions on the battlefield as tactics. </p>

<p class="body">When deciding on the tactics you want your army to be able to perform you must take into account said army’s strengths and weaknesses. When doing this I consider four aspects, here in random order: Movement, Shooting, Close combat and Resilience. In my opinion the Elders excel at movement and shooting, while they are weak in CC and resilience. Eldars have lots of fast skimmers and jetbikes available to them. The skimmers counting both shooting and transport. Also elders have lots of fleeting unit as well as Swooping Hawks and spiders. None or few other races can compete with the Eldar here. Starcannons, brightlances, fusion guns, reaper launcher, distort cannons the list of decent Eldar shooting grows long. Admittedly other races such as IG and Tau might do the job even better, but they are also more static. The Eldar has decent cc units. The main problems with these specialists are that they are fragile and dependent on transportation (Howling Banshees, scorpions) or downright slow (Avatar, Wraithlord). Transportation and assaulting has grown trickier in the latest edition and speed is crucial to any assault army. The Eldar can deliver some resilience; some might even say a whole lot. And as you will see resilience matters a good deal in the described tactic. Still the Eldar do not compare to the everywhere present marines or the Necrons in this respect. </p>

<p class="body">My conclusion is that I must use a tactic that takes advantage of movement and shooting while compensating for cc and resilience. This is far from trying to do everything at ones, as taking advantage of your strengths is very different from compensating for your weaknesses.</p>

<p class="body">When deciding tactics I consider one more aspect besides strength and weakness of my army and that is flexibility. This army and the presented tactics are to be tested in a tournament, so it must be able to take all comers. I must be able to handle different opponents, be they cc or shooting orientated, fast or slow. Hence my tactics must be flexible. On another note I find this to be a whole lot more fun than merely being able to one thing, like sit back and shoot or rush towards the nearest opponent. (I am aware that both of these tactics are much more complicated than I present them. No offense meant. I just prefer a wider range of possibilities.)</p>

<p class="body">The tactics that I shall use here all has more or less the same setup allowing me to know (mostly) what I am up against before deciding on one of three possible ways to play my opponent. I shall refer to these three main choices of action as the Pincher, the Concentration of firepower and the Flank attack. </p>

<p class="body">As mentioned the tactics all involve the same setup, which I shall start by describing. The setup requires an anchor. Anchor refers to a number of units that are characterized by being resilient and possessing long range firepower. It should also include a little cc ability, a little swarm handling ability and very important some scare factor. The scare factor is a long range firepower that the enemy will try to avoid. The anchor goes in the middle of your deployment. The scare factors purpose is to make your opponent more likely to split his forces on two sides, as you do not want all of his army in one place. The anchor can be rather static; a little movement will suffice here. </p>

<p class="body">Besides the anchor I will use two wings. These wings are similar in function. They primarily need to be shooty and fast. They also need to incorporate some cc ability and since I would like to be able to shoot for all six turns, some resilience would be preferred. Again this seems to include all four mentioned aspects, but be aware that they are prioritized. The wings set up on each side of the anchor. Each of the three parts of the army should be around the same point cost. </p>

<p class="subheader1">The Pincher</p>
<p class="body">The Pincher is applied to cc orientated armies which I expect to come rushing at me. It takes two different, yet very similar forms, depending on the opponent assault. If the enemy comes rushing down the middle, I simply pull my anchor back a bit and close the wings in on each side of the approaching enemy, so as to allow me to apply the force of both wings and the anchor at exactly the same time. Obviously I will be shooting at the enemy as it closes in. </p>

<p class="body">Most likely the assaulting enemy will not be racing towards the middle of my forces but towards a flank. Still my objective is the same: To hit the enemy with all three parts of my force at the same time, getting some shoots in before I do. When the enemy rushes towards a flank, that is one of my wings, this wing will fall back a little. My anchor will turn against the incoming enemy possibly nearing it a bit. The second wing will be rushing towards the rushed wing, so as to catch the enemy just as if it had rushed towards the middle of my forces. In this case the required speed of the second wing is likely to reduce the shooting I can deliver on the incoming enemy, but I will prioritize the timing of my three units above getting a few extra shots off.</p>

<p class="subheader1">The Concentration of Firepower</p>
<p class="body">The Concentration of Firepower I will apply to static shooty enemies, which are likely to outshoot me due to not spending points on mobility, but which also include a serious threat in counterassault units. The Alaitoc supplemented with Wraithlords is a likely opponent in this category. </p>

<p class="body">I move one wing to the other, so I concentrate my firepower on one side of the battlefield, hopefully making me able to outgun my enemy. I shall not waste time while moving my wing. I will prioritize getting my fire concentrated, not caring that I loose the ability to get a few extra shoots off, which would be possible if I moved slower.</p>

<p class="body">Which wing to move? Unless the mission being played favors controlling one side of the battlefield over another, I shall simply concentrate my firepower on that side, where my enemy’s firepower is at its weakest, as to leave as much of his army as possible without targets and thus useless. </p>

<p class="subheader1">The Flank Attack</p>
<p class="body">The Flank Attack will be the way to go against strictly firepower armies. First I shall move to concentrate my wings on one side of the battlefield as described above in the concentration of firepower. In the Flank Attack I will proceed by rushing both wings forward and springing an assault on my opponents flank.</p>

<p class="body">The choice of flank should in this case, again missions set aside, depend upon the enemies cc abilities, hitting him where this is weakest. (Notice the importance of anchors scare factor in both the two later tactics.)</p>
<p class="subheader1">The Units</p>
<p class="body">Now I will take a look at which units I believe will perform well as anchor and wing. </p>

<p class="body">The scare factor of the anchor has to be some kind of powerful long ranged shooting unit. I would go with Dark Reapers; they used to be widely feared by most armies until the lack of screening made them to pricy. However this does not concern me, as they do not have to live trough the game to split the enemy’s army in two during deployment. An alternative scare factor unit could be the vibro cannon. It is not all that dangerous, but some players are unfamiliar with it, and its description: being able to damage all units is shoots trough and glance all vehicles, sounds intimidating. </p>

<p class="body">The other units of the anchor were supposed to be resilient, shooty and incorporate a little cc ability. The Wraithlord stands out as an excellent unit in this regard. Also huge squads of Guardian Defenders with weapon platforms can do the trick, trading cc ability for anti swarm shooting. Rangers are another possibility as long as the anchor does not end up too static. The Rangers ability to slow down parts of an approaching enemy will support the splitting effect, causing the enemy’s units to arrive peace meal. Warwalkers too are a decent example of lots of firepower with little mobility; unfortunately Warwalkers are too fragile to be used as part of the anchor in my opinion. </p>

<p class="body">The wings should be characterized by being fast and shooty, incorporating a little cc. The obvious choice is the Falcon. Depending on its cargo in can deliver some cc, and equipped with holofield and spiritstone it is also very resilient giving me more turns to shoot with it.</p>

<p class="body">Waveserpent is also a reasonable choice focusing more on cc ability than shooting power, also very fast. Fire prism and vipers too are both fast and shooty, both lacking cc ability however. </p>

<p class="body">Aside from vehicles the Eldars “jump pack” units, spiders and Swooping Hawks are good wing units, both fast, and both able to include shooting and cc.</p>

<p class="body">To go inside any transport Fire Dragons, Howling Banshees and Striking Scorpions are the good choices. Fire Dragons though not a cc unit, qualifies due to the new disembarking rules favoring short range powerful shooting units, that does not expose themselves or their transport to massed enemy fire before hitting the enemy. Storm Guardians could also go inside the transport, two flamers, haywire grenades, a warlock with destructor and Witchblade and this unit is a threat to everything.</p>

<p class="body">No wing (or anchor for that matter) should ever consist of a single unit or two units functioning as one, such as a unit inside a Falcon. This will be too vulnerable, leaving it without support. </p>

<p class="subheader1">The Army List</p>
<p class="body">The tournament in which I will be testing my tactics is 1600 points of standard force organization. There are added some restrictions on doublets outside troop choices and on the number of heavy- and power weapons. I will not go into these restrictions or into a point by point analysis of my army list. I will present the army list I have come up with and comment on some of the choices. I should add that missions play a bigger part than victory points in the tournament, and that the missions are secret until the week they are being played.</p>

<p class="body">The list is a Biel-Tan army because I find it best capable of suiting my needs, but it is by no means a prerequisite. The main reason for choosing Biel-tan is that it allows me to put a Falcon in each of my wings, a Wraithlord in the anchor and use Dark Reapers as scare factor. All this could also be achieved with an Iyanden list; however Iyanden is too slow to match the tactics described above. The list is as follows:</p>

<p class="subheader">HQ</p>
<p class="body">Farseer, Runes of Witnessing, Fortune, Mind War, Ghosthelm, shuriken pistol, cc weapon</p>

<p class="subheader">TROOPS</p>
<p class="body">4 Dark Reapers

5 Fire Dragons

6 Fire Dragons

10 Howling Banshees including Exarch with executioner, acrobatic

Waveserpent, spiritstone, brightlance</p>

<p class="subheader">ELITE</p>
<p class="body">14 Guardian Defenders including scatter laser, warlock, embolden</p>

<p class="subheader">FAST</p>
<p class="body">5 Swooping Hawks, exarch, web of skulls, sustained attack</p>

<p class="subheader">HEAVY</p>
<p class="body">Falcon, spirit stone, holofield, shuriken cannon, starcannon

Falcon, spirit stone, holofield, shuriken cannon, starcannon

Wraithlord, brightlance, 2 flamers</p>

<p class="body">The anchor is made up by the Farseer, the Wraithlord, the Guardian Defenders and the Dark Reapers.

A Falcon goes in each wing, one supported by the Waveserpent carrying the Howling Banshees, the other by the Swooping Hawks.</p>

<p class="body">The Farseer will often be seen with guide, but I think I need the added resilience of fortune more than guide, the list being fairly shooty already. The Farseers main task is to fortune the Dark Reapers keeping this tempting target alive a little longer, hopefully attracting shooting away from my Falcons, which are more essential to my tactics. Mind War is chosen to be a threat to enemy commanders that might play an important role in some missions. For the same reason one of the fire dragon squads are only five allowing the Farseer to enter one of the Falcons, if I should have to go commander hunting. </p>

<p class="body">I have left out the scary reaper exarch with fastshot and missile launcher simply because he is expensive and I expect the Dark Reapers to get killed by enemy shooting. The Dark Reapers will dictate the exact spot of my anchor, since I need some cover to stick them in. Cover is of course good for the resilience of every anchor unit, and in the new rules plenty enough to secure that I can still deploy the anchor in the center of my deployment zone. </p>

<p class="body">The Fire Dragons are an unusual assault choice, but as mentioned they excel in disembarking and shooting. This makes them an easy target afterwards hopefully making the enemy ignore the cc supporting Howling Banshees and Swooping Hawks to concentrate on the Fire Dragons, allowing the cc units to charge the next turn. Also the Fire Dragons supplement the lacking strength of my cc units with the powerful fusion guns. </p>

<p class="body">The Waveserpent is often seen with CTM allowing it to do now-you-see-me-now-you-don’t shooting. This is very dependent on cover and in these tactics it is much more important to position the serpent right than to get those few extra shots off. Hence I have stuck with only the spirit stone. </p>

<p class="body">Embolden on the warlock is another rare choice, at least at my local store. The purpose is to make the guardians hang in there, getting more shots off. Destructor is only good for one turn, they are not supposed to be cc fighting which means no go to enhance, and I hope for cover making conceal obsolete.</p>

<p class="body">The fast choices of Biel-tan are very limited (but required due to local restrictions). The Swooping Hawks have a great advantage in deep striking. Against some opponents you will need them on the table from the beginning taking advantage of their shooting; in others deep striking allows you to position them quickly on the flank where you need them. This is nice as they are slower to reposition than the Waveserpent in the other wing. </p>

<p class="body">The rest of the army list speaks for itself with regards to the tactics described above. The list has tendencies towards marine killer weapons, but this is often worthwhile in tournaments, marines being the most played army, at least in my area.</p>

<p class="body">It is time to see how the army and tactics fare.</p>

<p class="subheader1">Battle no.1</p>
<p class="body">In the first match I went up against a Nurgle army, played by a nice guy with whom I am fairly equal. The mission was a quarter mission. Controlling one quarter more than the opponent would mean a small victory, two quarters a big victory. The Nurgle army comprised roughly of four Chaos Rhinos with marines armed with plasma guns and powerfists. One of the squads seemed tooled up a bit carrying a banner. A unit of Nurgle Plaguebearers to be summoned. A mean looking Demon Prince with wings, 3 wounds, 2+ save and tooled up for cc. A Dreadnought and a Chaos Predator both with twin linked lascannons.</p>

<p class="subheader1">Setup</p>
<p class="body">The Nurgle played won the first die roll and placed me in the one quarter without size 3 terrain. That left me to put my Wraithlord up front pushing him a few inches back. No unit could be deployed within 24 of an enemy unit. I followed my setup outlined above, keeping the Swooping Hawks in reserve, since their shooting would be of little worth against Nurgles toughness 5. My opponent put his four Rhinos on the left flank and kept the Dreadnought and the Predator back in the middle of his deployment zone, trying to get them into cover. </p>

<p class="subheader1">Turn 1+2+3</p>
<p class="body">My opponent split his Rhinos having two go for my left flank and two for the center of my lines, moving on each side of an area terrain in the middle of the table. The Demon Prince went between these to fractions. His Dreadnought and his Predator stayed back targeting my Wraithlord.</p>

<p class="body">I had my Wraithlord and guardians fall back towards my Dark Reapers and Farseer positioned further back, putting distance between my anchor and the oncoming Rhinos. The Falcon on my right wing flew left combining its firepower with the left wing and the anchor. (Apart from the Wraithlord which took potshots at the tank. Doing nothing except not contributing to the combined fire. A mistake.) The Waveserpent on the left wing went further left to position the Howling Banshees. I choose to concentrate on the units charging my left, as they were the closest and I would have more time targeting the units charging the anchor.</p>
<p class="body">My first turn took down the winged Demon Prince separating his two flanks and did a little damage to the units on my left. On my second turn I went all the way disembarking the Fire Dragons, and followed up charging with the Howling Banshees on turn three, when he was busy being scared by the Fire Dragons. I had a lot of bad luck with both the Falcons, the Fire Dragons and the Howling Banshees making it all look like a lost cause. Still my concentration of force pulled trough more or less annihilating his flank in third turn. </p>

<p class="subheader1">Turn 4+5</p>
<p class="body">Around here the rest of the Nurgle force reached my anchor. So I charge my Wraithlord forward hoping to slow him down, which I did not. A little math would have told me that. Still it pulled his charge a bit to my right buying me some time. I put down my Swooping Hawks in my anchor and pushed them forward too, adding to their resilience by fortuning them instead of the Dark Reapers. I circled the two wings further left giving me some good shooting at his charging units, making the task easier for the Swooping Hawks.</p>

<p class="body">The combined shooting and assault grinded his charge to a halt, leaving none of his units able to claim quarters.</p>

<p class="subheader1">Turn 6</p>
<p class="body">My wings took down the Dreadnought, and damaged the Predator, allowing me to contest 3 quarters and none for my opponent.</p>

<p class="subheader1">Conclusions</p>
<p class="body">I won a big victory. And I did it by almost sticking to my tactic. By almost I mean the tactic would have required me to set down the Swooping Hawks on my left flank. However this correction came from my opponent charging my lines two places. The dividing of his forces was welcome, but unlikely in most assault armies. (Or so I think.) My scare factor did not work. My opponent parted his forces to suit the terrain and the Dark Reapers were no threat to his Rhinos. Still this is probably most difficult against assault armies.
The resilience of the anchor worked fine though not put to any hard test. The movement of the wings worked wonders. The Howling Banshees supplemented the Falcons successfully. </p>

<p class="body">I actually experienced problems with sticking to my tactic. I was more than once tempted to pull my Falcons out and go hunting for his vehicles at the back. Good thing I resisted. </p>
<p class="subheader1">Battle no.2</p>
<p class="body">Another quarters setup. This one with a rigger in the middle of each quarter. Attacker wins by rigging the three riggers outside the Guardian Defenders deployment or the one in the Guardian Defenders deployment, the defender wins if the attacker has rigged no more than one rigger and not the one in the defender deployment zone. I got to play defender. </p>

<p class="body">My opponent was a far better player than me; however he was playing a Ravenwing army, which is a challenge in itself. His army consisted of Ravenwing Space Marine Bikes, Attackbikes, Master of the Ravenwing and some character. His weapons was mainly meltas and heavy bolters also a few powerfists. </p>

<p class="subheader1">Setup</p>
<p class="body">I got to deploy the first unit being defender. I used my Wraithlord to push his army a few inches back, and then sat up according to plan. I kept the Swooping Hawks in reserve again, as Ravenwing means lot of toughness 5 models, and the Swooping Hawks shooting would not help much compared to the advantage of a later deployment.</p>

<p class="body">My opponent concentrated all his forces in the middle of his deployment, obviously to make him able to go which way he wanted.</p>

<p class="subheader1">Turn 1+2</p>
<p class="body">My opponent went for an all out attack, trying to catch me by surprise and rig the rigger in my deployment zone. He turbo-boosted everything to my right flank in round one, shot and assaulted on turn two.</p>

<p class="body">I drew my left wing Falcon to the right, and positioned my Waveserpent so that the Howling Banshees would be able to counterattack, should he go for my anchor, which he did.</p>

<p class="subheader1">Turn 3+4</p>
<p class="body">Assisted by the Fire Dragons from the right flank, the Howling Banshees and both Falcon, my anchor held the line, and the Ravenwing Bikes retreated to go for the other three riggers instead.</p>

<p class="body">I followed the retreat with both wings and also pushed the anchor to my right and forward.</p>

<p class="subheader1">Turn 5+6</p>
<p class="body">Having pushed my opponent to the right of the table I moved my Falcons to the center of the board, to avoid his very fast army to go all the way around me. I also put the Swooping Hawks down in the center to support the Falcons in containing the enemy. The Falcons managed this fine, so I started pushing the Swooping Hawks and my anchor towards the down right corner of the table catching and annihilating the rest of his force there.</p>

<p class="subheader1">Conclusion</p>
<p class="body">Another victory. This opponent was very very fast, still my wings proved able to reposition quick enough to be ready for the threat. The anchor stood its test of resilience. And the mobility of my wings made it easy to hunt down the remainder of the enemy once he was on the run. </p>

<p class="body">My opponent had a limited amount of firepower likely to hurt my skimmers and he had few models, so I stood a decent chance of winning before the game started, still my opponent was cunning, and my army proved flexible enough to handle this.</p>
<p class="subheader1">Battle no.3</p>
<p class="body">The goal of this mission was to dominate four bands spread out at the length of the battlefield, with the deployment zones being opposed triangles 24 inches apart. My opponent was a skillful player who excels at making the very most of his army list, getting most hits with highest strength and the like. He played a Tyranid army along these lines: Two Carnifexes with venom cannons and barbed stranglers, tough 7, +2 save, 5 wounds. Hive Tyrant, winged, venom cannon, devourer, Warp Field, two times six Tyranid Warriors tooled up for shooting, 2 times 8 Genestealers with carapace, three cheap Gaunt squads, and a Spore Mine for a fast choice.</p>

<p class="subheader1">Setup</p>
<p class="body">I got to choose deployment zone and opted for the only one with a forest (size 3) so as to deprive my opponent of free shots at my not yet moved Falcons. This meant I had to fold in my wings behind my anchor instead of my usual spread out setup. The Swooping Hawks was deployed from start, as their shooting could matter against the Tyranids bad saving throws. I put the Farseer in with the five Fire Dragons hoping to mind war one of his monstrous creatures that could pose problems for me.</p>

<p class="body">My opponent setup along the front as close to me as possible. A Carnifex on each flank, the left one (my left) supplemented by Warriors and Genestealers, the other by the Hive Tyrant. A squad of Warriors and Genestealers in the middle, and the Gaunts spread out along the front. </p>

<p class="subheader1">Turn 1+2</p>
<p class="body">I figured the enemy’s Warriors and Genestealers was most important and easiest to take down, so I moved both wings to my left flank. Positioned the Waveserpent behind the Swooping Hawks, to have the Howling Banshees support them. My wings and anchor fired primarily at the warriors and stealers. </p>

<p class="body">My opponent moved on either flank, going to the left with most of the middle troops. Unfortunately he took one of my Falcons down, and prevented the other one from shooting. </p>

<p class="subheader1">Turn 3+4</p>
<p class="body">As expected my opponent charged my Swooping Hawks with his Genestealers, despite my cover and exarch I failed to hurt them as they took down the Swooping Hawks, however my Howling Banshees charged in killing the stealers and pushed forward on my left flank.</p>

<p class="body">My advance was only supported by some shooting from my anchor, the Dark Reapers had already taken severe loses, and my living Falcon was kept from shooting until it too crashed taken down by my opponents single Spore Mine. Before it went down I unloaded the Fire Dragons and Farseer trying to take down the Fex on my left, which the Howling Banshees would not be able to hurt. I failed, put a least his dealings with this squad meant that his warriors ended up in reach of my Howling Banshees.</p>

<p class="subheader1">Turn 5+6</p>
<p class="body">The Howling Banshees finished off the Warriors having made it far forward, but ended up engaged with the Carnifex, that slowly took them down.</p>

<p class="body">My opponent went for my anchor, and though my Guardian Defenders made a fair killing they could not resist the last three Genestealers who finished them off, while his Monstrous Creatures shoot down my Wraithlord.</p>

<p class="subheader1">Conclusion</p>
<p class="body">I was defeated – big time. I managed to kill enough of the Tyranids to win a few points, but nevertheless it was a big loss.

So what went wrong? Several things. My coward setup for once. By selecting the triangle with the forest I left my anchor with +5 instead of the also available +4 cover save. Had I chosen otherwise I would also had forced one of his flanks into +5 cover instead of getting +4 for both. After all the line of sight blocking of the forest was good for only one of the games six rounds. Bad call!

The Mind War proved futile, I had probably made better use of the Farseer fortuning my Wraithlord adding resilience to my anchor.

I considered moving my anchor further back and to the left, but the short reach of the shuriken catapults could easily have resulted in the Genestealers charging them in bigger numbers.</p>

<p class="body">The huge amount of venom cannons (and plenty of luck) took down my Falcons, and with them most of my battle plan. My success is heavily depended on the continuing support of these units. However I do not se other obviously more resilient choices. Another note here is the fact, that the venom cannons do not mind my vehicles being skimmers as they can only inflict glancing hits.

I lacked ability to take down the high toughness critters. Possibly a squad of Rangers would come in handy here. Perhaps I should reconsider adding these to my anchor. </p>
<p class="subheader1">Battle no.4</p>
<p class="body">This mission was a first for me. The objective was quarters, plus the fact that you got an extra quarter for taking out all your opponents HQ choices. The setup was 12 inches along the wide side of the board. </p>

<p class="body">I was up against a Witch Hunter army, played by a guy with whom I am fairly equal. His army had two Exorcists. A squad of Seraphims. Sisters Repentia. Three Rhinos with Sisters of Battle in them and an Immolator with a meltagun equipped squad. Of the HQ choices one joined the Sisters Repentia and the other was an individual character equipped with jump pack and power weapon. </p>

<p class="subheader1">Setup</p>
<p class="body">There was a very large size 2 ruin in the middle of the battlefield complete blocking the sight of my Dark Reapers, should I set them up as usual. Instead I put them in a ruin on my right flank. The Waveserpent on the left. Swooping Hawks in reserve and everything else according to plan. </p>

<p class="body">The Witch Hunters hid the Exorcist behind a wood on my right. Setup most everything else near that right wood, except for a single Rhino and passengers on my left flank, and the Seraphims behind some terrain in the middle.</p>

<p class="subheader1">Turn 1+2</p>
<p class="body">I got to start. Moved my right wing Falcon left, and let go the fire. The Dark Reapers targeted some sister left outside their rides everything else shot at the Rhinos to halt the oncoming charge. It was miserable. One Battle Sister died and all tanks kept functional. And so the enemy approached, the jump packers going to my right. </p>

<p class="body">Next turn remedied the shooting errors. I halted the advance most effectively. Using the left wing Fire Dragons to pop the lone Rhino. Moving the right wing Falcon further left, readying it to support the other Fire Dragon squad in eliminating the left Rhinos cargo next turn.</p>

<p class="subheader1">Turn 3+4</p>
<p class="body">I put down his small right (my left) flank. And circled further with the Falcons to get some better (non covered) shots at his now slower advancing flank on my right. </p>

<p class="body">The Swooping Hawks arrived and I put them down near my anchor. The enemy reached the Dark Reapers and killed them, and took down one of my Falcon.</p>

<p class="body">My Waveserpent stayed near the Falcons and the middle of the board taking single shots at the Exorcists together with the Wraithlord. Only late in the game did I manage to take out one of their guns.

My shooting was wearing down the enemy reducing his squads.</p>

<p class="subheader1">Turn 5+6</p>
<p class="body">The Witch Hunters were now spread out thin on my right. I moved my anchor forward shooting. And charged my Swooping Hawks into the melta-squad, positioning the Waveserpent so the Howling Banshees could counterassault the next turn.</p>

<p class="body">The surviving Falcon went back to the anchor unloading the Fire Dragons and supporting the anchors fire. The passengers of the burned out Falcon huddled for cover hoping to claim quarter. </p>

<p class="body">My opponent threw in support to the charged melta equipped squad and tried to outgun my anchor with his worn down front troops. </p>

<p class="body">The Swooping Hawks were hurt badly, so was the Fire Dragons supporting my anchor. But the Guardian Defenders pulled through killing his front troopers, and the Howling Banshees cleared everything else. </p>

<p class="body">When the smoke settled his two Exorcists could claim the quarters on his half of the board, but both were contested by my hidden Fire Dragons and the Howling Banshees, plus the living Falcon I had pushed forward at the last minute. The quarters on my half was claimed by the Wraithlord and the guardians. Victory was mine – big time :)</p>

<p class="subheader1">Conclusion</p>
<p class="body">Everything went to plan. My quick wings managed to take down his very weak flank in time to be back to support the anchor in a pinching maneuver before the enemy wave hit. The wings supported the anchor nicely. The loss of a single Falcon should be expected. The sacrificing of the Dark Reapers turned out fine, as it pulled my enemy to my right baring him for the collective charge of both wings and my anchor. Admittedly I had the necessary luck as my opponent was clever enough to try to take down my serpent, as I positioned it for the final supporting Howling Banshee charge. </p>

<p class="body">Again, however, I must conclude that my Dark Reapers did not supply the effect of breaking up the enemy into several camps in the setup, but again this could be expected against an oncoming army. And their role was as much, as against the Nurgle army, tank stopping as troop killing. Not what I intended, but perhaps more successful than would be expected. Anyway, things worked out fine. </p>
<p class="subheader1">Battle no.5</p>
<p class="body">The last mission of the in-store tournament was a counter mission. The deployment zones were 12 inches in along each side of the table. The counters being positioned 8 inches in from each of the short table lengths, one rather close to each deployment zone; 6 inches I think it was. To claim a counter you would have to have two scoring units within 6 inches of it, without the opponent having any.</p>

<p class="body">Due to an unfortunately no-show I got to face a new player instead of my swiss drawn opponent. My new opponent played an Imperial Guard army, however his inexperienced showed therein that he had absolutely no counterattack units. He had several heavy weapons teams, two Leman Rushes, a Basilisk, a Chimera with a melta armed squad and 6 Sentinels.</p>

<p class="subheader1">Setup</p>
<p class="body">In the middle of the table a large size 3 area terrain was placed, so once again I had to change my setup accordingly. What I did was to take my anchor and one of my Falcons to my right, where the counter closest to my deployment zone was. The other wing, including the Howling Banshees went to my left. The Swooping Hawks were in reserve; I figured I would need their close combat more than their shooting a hence had no reason to expose them to fire on their way across the table. </p>

<p class="body">My opponent set up a few squads on my right, even fewer in the middle and all of his tanks and most of his men on my left, near the counter close to his deployment zone. </p>

<p class="subheader1">Round 1+2</p>
<p class="body">My opponent marched his Sentinels and Chimera forward shooting mainly, but not exclusively, at my anchor. In return I pulled my right wing to the left, where it together with the left wing, halted the Chimera and destroyed a squad of Sentinels. I also pushed my anchor forward and destroyed the other Sentinel squad. </p>

<p class="body">I then pursued my attack on the left flank with both wings, however the Imperial Guards many heavy weapons kept my Falcons from firing. To attract some heavy weapons fire I pushed the Wraithlord forward on the right flank. </p>

<p class="subheader1">Turn 3+4</p>
<p class="body">My opponent managed to wipe out my anchor with the exception of the Wraithlord. As I disembarked the Fire Dragons to shoot the Basilisk, which they managed, they too got shot to pieces. My Waveserpent also took a dive on an immobilized roll, but most of the Howling Banshees survived. The Swooping Hawks arrived, and I put them down next to the banshees, out of sight from most of his army, due to the destroyed Waveserpent.</p>

<p class="body">Then things went really fast. My Wraithlord reached his squads. He had no chance of hurting it in close combat, so they died fast due to fail leadership and low initiative. </p>

<p class="body">My Falcons got behind his Leman Rushes destroying both. The Howling Banshees and Swooping Hawks reached his forces on my left flank.</p>

<p class="subheader1">Turn 5+6</p>
<p class="body">As mentioned my opponent was entirely without counterattack possibilities, so my close combat troops and Wraithlord destroyed all that was left of his army claiming the counter near his lines. My Falcons flew back to my side of the table claiming the counter there. </p>

<p class="subheader1">Conclusion</p>
<p class="body">It was a certain victory. However, it was not without some faults. </p>

<p class="body">My Howling Banshees had taken some losses before charging, and had they meet with more opposition, they might not had stayed a scoring unit, in which case I could not have claimed the counter. </p>

<p class="body">I was too eager to use the Fire Dragons. Against Space Marines with lower numbers I can count on them to attract the fire away from the Howling Banshees waiting to charge, but the Imperial Guard has plenty of fire to take them out with a rather small amount of its collective fire. The Fire Dragons should have stayed inside the Falcons until most of the enemy units were engaged in close combat. This error added to the problem of nearly lacking scoring units to claim the counters. </p>

<p class="body">The terrain caused a set back. Without being able to place my anchor in the middle I lacked its fire support to help the assault of my wings.</p>

<p class="body">On the whole my army is not equipped to outshoot so numerous an enemy, so getting into close combat becomes very important. On that note I am considering trading in the Dark Reapers for a squad of Warp Spiders. Warp Spiders could fulfill the transport stopping role that the Dark Reapers have been doing, when necessary, and in fights like this one they could add to the chances of getting into close combat fighting, joining the wings instead of the anchor. </p>
<p class="subheader1">Test result</p>
<p class="body">I finished in second place, which is a completely satisfying result. The Tyranid player who beat me in battle number four won the tournament. </p>

<p class="body">That set aside how did the tactics, and the army I chose to act them out, do?</p>

<p class="body">First of I never got to test the Concentration of Firepower tactic, and the Flank Attack was only used once against an inexperienced player, which can be said to question the reliability of the results. Still the tactics did not falter. The wings proved very flexible in their movement being able to coordinate any attacks together, with or without the anchor, with great timing. The anchor proved resilient enough for its purposes except when faced with a very shooty army. </p>

<p class="body">The tactics worked out in a way I could only hope for. </p>

<p class="body">My choice of army on the other hand could to with a few touch ups. As a whole the units did very well, but a few errors showed them selves. </p>

<p class="body">Most obviously the Dark Reapers did not supply the needed scare factor affect, also did they act more as transport stopping unit than as an infantry killer.</p>

<p class="body">My shooting was flawed therein that I had troubles dealing with high toughness creatures. Perhaps some Rangers in the anchor should be reconsidered. </p>

<p class="body">The close combat squads in the wings were fragile. This was not a problem, when counter assaulting worn down enemies, but it proved risky when applying the Flank Attack tactic. More resilience herein could be attained by Striking Scorpions or perhaps as suggested above by Warp Spiders.</p>

<p class="body">The psychic power Mind War turned out a failure. Fortune on the other hand added resilience to the anchor. Perhaps the same resilience could be attained by trading the Farseer in for an Avatar. I certainly would add close combat ability to the anchor. This change should go with the possible changes of the Dark Reapers as they are the ones to suffer most from the lack of fortune.

There is still a lot work to be done perfecting this approach to the Eldar army, however I believe I have shown how to take advantage of the Eldars main advantages: speed and firepower.</p>

<p class="body">Thanks for staying with to the end. I myself have learned a lot from writing this, and I hope you have learned a little from reading it. Please comment on whatever I have said herein, as discussion, I believe, is the best way to improve ones game – next to actually playing ;) Post on the forum or send me a private message if you want to ensure my response. </p>
<p class="subheader1">Aftermath</p>
<p class="body">After the tournament I arranged a game with a static shooting army. It was an Alaitoc army backed by two Wraithlords and a full squad of Striking Scorpions as counterassault. His army was fairly spread out and I moved one of my wings as described in the concentrated firepower tactics. After that it was mere shootout, with me winning a small victory. Quit good, but some points could be made about this tactic. First off I think it will often result in draws or small wins, as only some of the army is put to use and close combat is avoided. Secondly it will often be a better idea to look for the weak spot to launch the flank attack tactic. Few opponents will field static firepower with too much counterassault to deal with. Still the concentration of firepower is a valid tactic against these rare armies. </p>

<p class="body">On a future perspective I plan to experiment a bit with my anchor. Should I reach some interesting conclusions on this I will be sure to put it into writing – that is if this article produce a discussion of use. </p>

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