Earlier this week I played a guy called Ross at our club (Leicester sabres) for the first time. He had a lovely looking Eldar army, and I took my howling griffons. I didn't have as many bikes as I thought I would, partly because I don't own as many painted bikes as I thought I did!
My army consisted of:
Librarian: Psyker (Mastery Level 2); combi-grav; Space Marine bike 120
2 Space Marine Bikers: 2× grav-gun; + 1 Biker Sergeant (combi-grav; melta bombs) 108
4 Scouts: + 1 Scout Sergeant 55
• Land Speeder Storm: multi-melta 50
9 Tactical Marines: meltagun; lascannon; + 1 Space Marine Sergeant (combi-melta) 180
3 Space Marine Bikers: 2× grav-gun; + 1 Biker Sergeant (combi-grav; melta bombs) 129
9 Sternguard Veterans: 2× combi-melta; 2× combi-plasma; + 1 Veteran Sergeant (lightning claw) 275
• Drop Pod 35
Drop Pod 35
Drop Pod 35
2 Devastator Centurions: 2× grav-cannon and grav-amp; + 1 Centurion Sergeant (grav-cannon and grav-amp; omniscope) 250
1 Thunderfire Cannon: + 1 Techmarine Gunner 100
Inquisitor Coteaz 100
Inquisitorial Henchmen Warband
• Acolyte 4
• Acolyte 4
• Acolyte 4
• Death Cult Assassin 15
Not completely optimised, partly due to the lack of bikes but also due to my wanting to try the acolytes. I could even put them in a drop pod if I wanted to! Great for siezing objectives. Especially in a hammer and anvil set up. But we played kill points. And Ross had two wraightknights. So they weren't a lot of use!
A rough breakdown of Ross' list (I think) was as follows:
- Farseer on a jetbike
- 2x small squads of jet bikes each with a warlock
- 2x 3 man jetbike squad without a warlock
- 3 hornets.
- 2 wraightknights
So pretty min maxed. He got a bunch of psychic powers (including guide and eldritch storm) and I got psychic shriek for both, with the Coteaz getting preseince and the librarian getting forewarning (4+ inv) to round things out. I went into the game reasonably confident. It wasn't going to be easy, but at least it wasn't to difficult!
I was lucky enough to get first turn, and with a drop pod army took it! Ross had mainly castled on to one side and I decided that I had to grab first strike, a wraithtknight and something else in the first turn. So I went after his castle with my sternguard and centurions. And actually did reasonably well!
All three of the units of jetbikes (including the farseer one) on this side of the Board failed thier moral check following my alpha strike. However, he rolled his flee numbers the right way around and they all stayed on the table. I killed a hornet and got this wraightknight down to one wound.
In Ross' first turn he used the wraith knights to "D" off my grav centurions despite thier 4++ and the rest of his army took a big bite out of the sternguard and the bikes who were with the librarian. I was also then charged by both wraightknights (one into a squad of bikes, and one into some sternguard). For the record "charged by both wraightknights" is not a experience I'm looking to repeat in the near future. However, to my glee the squad of four bikes (read, "my right flank") held a wraithtknight and that flank up for 3 successive combat phases. For thems that don't know what that looks like, here's a quick picture:
In my turn two I used what grav I had left to drop the other wraightknight and try and add further pressure onto where I was pushing in his deployment zone. I killed some more jetbikes, and thunderfire cannoned the life out of the farseer/warlock/jetbike. My drop pod with added acolytes turned up and stayed out the way. Literally nothing for them to do.
In his turn two Ross was beginning to consolidate and push back. My scouts got pinned down and then killed by the farseer, and the hornets continued to do nasty things. My inability to finish of the farseer and warlock was beginning to cost me dearly.
Over turns 3&4 I didn't actually score a kill point, whilst the purple Eldar continued chipping away st my forces. I made a bad call with my librarian, forgetting that I was withdrawing to leave the scouts to die so that I could have a go at the other wraightknight. I doubt it would have affected the result but it did mean they were in range of both hornets and able be brought down by them at the bottom of turn 3.
Despite my thunderfire cannon being great value for money and a constant threat, my back line very quickly collapsed when the other wraightknight got in there. This a shot of the wraightknight charging into what remained of my flank:
And this one combat phase after the previous shot.
This one tactical marine was pretty much all I had left by the bitter end :( poor guy. Oh, plus a 1 hull point left on a drop pod. The game ended as follows:
Me: 5 kill points and first strike.
Ross: 10 kill points, slay the warlord and line breaker
After game thoughts
I didn't make a few key decisions in the early game that could have helped me in the longer term. The hornets were much nastier than I thought they'd be for example. I also probably should have put the tactical squad in a drop pod and suicided after one of the hornets on turn 1. Tbh that's all my sternguard ended up doing.
Ross was a real pleasure to play against, I was worried I might be bringing to powerful an army but I think we were quite balanced on paper. We both hadn't played in a while and I think myself I particular was a little rusty.
Army list changes
I think overall I'll need to go back to the drawing board and make this list a bit leaner if I'm going to use it again. Add more bikes maybe, or strip stuff out so I can put wyverns in. We will see!