Honestly I had my ass handed to me and I just don't think that I could ever suffer a bigger defeat. ? Now I was just going to play against other Imperial forces, because lets face it, Xenos players just don't even bother to show up at tournaments.. Right? Right?
Enter Clay McCarty's beautifully painted and converted Kabal of the Crystal Spider! One of the few Xeno players at the tournament, Clay managed to surprise everyone with an astonishing aesthetics and a brutal virulent Dark Eldar list! Clay's army had a lot of bright colors - greens and sweet-looking purple were all over the place. His Venoms were all converted and looked very, very different due to some minor conversions and different painted patterns! Not to mention that every model was on a scenic base, even his fully built-from-scratch Razorwing was on one and it was atteched to it with a metal screw! Check a picture I took of his army during one of the first turns of our game and see for yourself:
|Clay McCarty's Kabal of the Crystal Spider|
Yet, just because his army was painted beautifully it didn't mean that his list was inferior. On the contrary, Clay ran a !@#$%^& scary-ass ultra-shooty list. Literally there were hundreds of tiny poisonous splinters every turn, a bunch of tiny but vicious Venoms with small, but deadly cargoes. Oh, and a 20-man Hellion blob lead by THE Baron. :-O
This was my first game against the new Dark Eldar to boot as well..
I knew what I had to do in theory, but was I going to be able to pull it off in practice?
We'll see if good ole Skarvald the Troll-faced had it in him after the jump..
..starting with the mission itself!
Cry Havoc!This mission follows all the normal rules for games of Warhammer 40,000 as outlined in the Organizing a Battle chapter of the Warhammer 40,000 rulebook (e.g, Ending the Game [p. 90], Seize the Initiative! [p.92], Mission Special Rules [pp.94-95], etc.), except as already noted in your tournament rules packed and described below.
Deployment:Right. So the game began. From the beginning I'm warning you, though - it is kind of a blurrrr...
This mission employs the Spearhead deployment. (See p. 93 of the Warhammer 40,000 rulebook.)
Primary Objective (4 points)
Vital Tech: Follow the Seize Ground standard mission rules defined on p. 91 of the Warhammer 40,000 rulebook, except that you must employ 3 objective markers. One objective marker must be places in the exact center of each non-deployment table quarter, and one objective must be placed in the exact center of the table.
Secondary Objective (3 points)
Salughter: Accumulate at least 750 Victory Points. Employ the Victory Points rules from p. 300 of the Warhammer 40,000 rulebook Reference.
Tertiary Objective (2 points)
Overrun: Have more Victory Points' worth of units - including at least one Scoring Unit in your opponent's deployment zone than your opponent has in your own deployment zone. (Not your opponent's deployment table quarter, your opponent's deployment zone!) A majortiy of a unit must be within the zone to count. A player has as many Victory Points worth of units in their opponent's deployment zone as their opponent - but without any Scoring Units - has successfully contested this Objective.
I believe that Clay got the first turn, thanks to the Baron's +1 on the roll, but I believe that he let me have the first turn anyways. This meant that I got to pick my preferred side, but he was probably going to reserve most of his units anyways and deny me a plethora of targets for my Long Fangs.
A big LoS-blocking terrain piece was in the middle, allowing me to hide a Rhino behind it until the later parts of the game, where its cargo would be able to disembark on the objective. Similarly the building provided cover for my other Rhinos which were in position to react and support each other.
I reserved my Thunderwolves, because I knew that they would be a primary target.
Clay fielded a few of his vehicles and then put the rest in reserve, hoping to cover my flanks with his superior speed.
My Turn 1:
With more firepower, Troops choices and just options than me, Clay was going to be a problem. I wasn't going to be able to hide for long so I had to... take the fight to him. Most of his units were 5 models or less, Toughness 3. A few well-executed multi-assaults with my durable Grey Hunters were going to be painful.
I reserved two Rhinos for the objectives and the other two moved full speed ahead, popping smoke.
My Long Fangs managed to destroy a vehicle and I believe his Homunculus with dudes had to disembark.
Clay's Turn 1:
What he had on the table started to shoot at me. Some Venoms, some Ravagers.. Not sure if they destroyed too much, but I do remember that my opponent was very unlucky with his Dark Lances. Too many misses and too many 1's and 2's rolled to penetrate my Rhinos.. Majority of his poisonous shots are directed towards my Long Fangs and a few bite the dust..
My Turn 2:
Skarvald and the Thunderwolf Cavalry arrive on my right side and move full speed ahead ready to meet their doom. My Grey Hunters at this point start moving forward with one group in particular choosing to give Assaulting the Homunuculs' squad a shot.. so naturally they don't shoot, because their target was in difficult terrain. A Rhino with Grey Hunters that was stunned kicked out the Grey Hunters and they decided to multi-assault two units of 5 Kabalite Warriors which by then had their Venoms blown to smithereens by my Long Fangs. Ah, the joys of Split Fire.. Living Lightning is of course crippling and shooting down vehicles as always.. Vindicator actually managed to hit something, but Clay made all his cover saves.. The multi-assault was a yes, but the one against the HQ was a no.. ;(
Clay's Turn 2:
.. in which things got painful. Most of Clays units come in, especially the Baron and his Hellions and the Razorwing. And some extra Venoms. The Razorwing then unleashed 4 Monosythe templates on my Thunderwolves and killed 3 with some help of many, many Venoms. Poison is yet another Wolfsbane... Only Skarvald and the Thunder hammer guy were left. The Homunculus unleashed the Shattershard on my Grey Hunters (the ones who failed to charge him) and I lost a lot of them due to failed checks.. The Helions then shot my Thunderwolves, but had lots of misses and failed to wound rolls.. = Only Skarvald is left.. with 1 or 2 wounds. More shots were then directed towards the victorious Grey Hunters to the left, killing a few.
My Turn 3:
The Baron had to go! No way was I going to let this bastard fly around with a 3+ Cover save on his Hellions and no way was I going to let him get a Pain Token! Soo.. Skarvald joined the wounded Grey Hunter squad. They were going to be buffer-wounds for his 7 S6 power attacks, assuming he survived long enough to swing agaisnt the higher Initiative of the Hellions (THEY ARE I6!!). I was very tempted to dedicate some firepower to the blob, but besides a few frag missiles I decided to continue shooting at the nasty Venoms which were obliterating my Long Fangs one by one. A medium-strength unit of Grey Hunters lead by the Rune Priest were in the middle of the board and this time managed to assault the Homunculus' unit. The Long Fangs brought down the Razorwing and a Venom!
Skarvald's unit managed to assault the Hellion through difficult terrain with a lucky roll, which was good. I positioned the Wolf Lord in the front lines - where the Baron and a lot of Hellions HAD to dedicate their attacks on him. Hopefully he was going to survive their S4 attacks.
And he did. With only one wound left Skarvald remained in play after 20-something attacks failed to bring him down.. and he avenged his Thunderwolves by slaying 4 Hellions. The use of the Wolf Banner by the Grey Hunters also meant no casualties and a few lucky wounds on my side. The Baron failed his Ld check and was then either caught or he fled off the table!
Fresh reserves were added to to the game and was now time for Clay's Dark Eldar to respond to my invasion of his turf. At least two Venoms came into play and moved 12'' going after the middle objective and out of LoS of my Long Fangs. It was obvious that he was now thinking of the objectives and now HE had to move me off the middle AND the objective in the bottom left quarter. Both Rhinos with Grey Hunters were still undamaged, so were his Dark Lances going to do the trick?
His shooting had to be very careful, though, because I was now all over the table and even though my two Grey Hunter packs in his deployment zone were small he couldn't ignore them, which is why he dedicated a lot of firepower in dealing with them. With so many poisonous shots and some miscellaneous lances, blasters, etc. managed to kill Skavald and his Grey Hunters but not after rolling many, many saves!
One thing that I started noticing was how quickly the Dark Eldar firepower was diminishing throughout the game - with his only assault-dedicated unit gone and with all of his firebases so squishy, Clay was starting to lose steam.... but Throne did is still hurt like hell every time his Venoms opened fire.. My middle Rune Priest squad also got shot a lot but it managed to stay.. which was nice.
My Turn 4
I looked at the time. We still had enough time for a few more turns, so I decided to wait on disembarking my Troops at the center objective. You see, I wanted to get the jump on him with my Grey Hunters and I was hoping to be able to multi-assault his small squads once they disembarked. And if they didn't, I was going to force them to..
One of the best thing to happen to me during the tournament involved my Rune Priest, though. The poor guy was left all by himself in the middle of the board, close to 5 Kabalite Warriors, with only a single wound left. So he summoned Living Lightning, rollined exactly five hits, hit with all of them, wound with all of them and melted all 5 Warriors!
The Long Fangs were then just taking pot shots and stunning and/or destroying vehicles with their Missile Launchers. I think I brought down a Ravager and stunned another? With the game coming to a close I couldn't risk allowing him to move flat out with his vehicles just to contest the vital objectives.
Clay's Turn 4
Clay moved his two Venoms on the middle objective! Other vehicles that could move did so, but at this point all of our options were limited. His remaining firepower shot at the single Long Fang, who kept on making all of his saves. Then he tried to mess with my middle Rhino (no point in messing with the one in the corner - it was going nowhere..) but all of his weaponry did was scratch my paint. ;P Yay for AV11 metal boxes!
My Turn 5
This was going to be the last turn..
Time to disembark and face the music! My Grey Hunters rolled awesomely for their moving through difficult terrain check and it took them mere seconds to climb up the stairs. The poison-green Venoms were sitting there... waiting. ;D
The lonely Long Fang could see one of the Venoms and his single missile launcher managed to wreck it!
The other Long Fangs made the other vehicle explode as well.. I think. My Grey Hunters then didn't bother with using their pistol and with a loud "FOR RUSS AND THE ALLFATHER" they charged into both squads of Kabalite Warriors, Wolf Banner raised high! The outcome was pretty obvious - the higher Initiative of the Dark Eldar was not enough to match the wrath of the Space Wolves - with only a third of the attacks, no power weapons and low S and T they were killed to the "man".
Clay's Turn 5
Clay spent the last turn shooting at me with what was left of his army, but he just didn't have the momentum required to move a bunch of mad Grey Hunters off the objectives, which is really what was going to win me the game. Dark Eldar shooting, while great, is just not enough. There are no units that are pretty much "guaranteed" to completely obliterate power-armored units. No way to spam low AP, except maybe for Liquifier Guns, which are random. They are AMAZING at making you roll many, many armor saves, but they still have to dedicate multiple units in order to be efficient.
I managed to win my game against Clay by securing both the Primary and Secondary mission (which he also managed to score). It was a hard-earned victory, though. There were many assaults that were basically "Do or Die" and in a couple of cases I needed to roll really high for difficult terrain checks, which were always made (except the first one.. <_<). Losing Skarvald's unit so early in the game was also painful but it was to be expected - He wasn't going to come to me, so I just used the Thunderwolves as a fire-magnet.. and it worked, I guess. Skarvald surviving through 20-some Hellion attacks with a single wound left was definitely a game-changer as well, winning me the most important assault of the game.
My first game against Dark Eldar went slightly better than I was expecting, I guess. I knew what was going to happen in theory and did my best to pay attention of his units throughout the game. It was all about good positioning, I suppose and eventually it meant that he had to come to me for those objectives, rather than my Troops having to chase after his faster vehicles.
Clay was a great opponent as well and it was a pleasure facing such an amazing-looking army. I really wish I had taken more pictures, so sorry for the wall of text this time, guys. If any of you took pictures of Clay's Dark Eldar, please send them forward, because this article needs more prettyness, lol.
And now.. for something completely different!