Thursday, January 15, 2015

Alladin's Bat-Rep #2 - 1500pts Tyranids vs Eldar

Last weekend I had a rematch with the Eldar. I felt that I learned a lot from my spanking last time, and was determined to prevent a repeat...

...Let's just start by saying I was schooled once again.

This time we played at his place, he had a decent table with an Imperial Sector kit and some hills.

Terrain Placement:
We placed terrain similar to last game, except the bigger LOS blocking pieces were on the flanks near the centre, with a larger hill in the middle. A few other hills and smaller buildings were then distributed on either side.

We played Maelstrom, this time Mission 3, "Tactical Escalation." The deployment was therefore Hammer & Anvil, which had me a bit nervous. We rolled for night-fighting,

Army Lists:
The lists were almost identical to the first game (see first post HERE) except I added a Venomthrope, gave my Carnifex fleet, and grouped the 3 Zoans into two units of 1 & 2. To fit these changes into my list, I shaved a few Hormagaunts and tweaked a few other smaller things that didn't work well for me.

My opponent added a Farseer to his Autarch Jetbike unit to combat my Psykic advantage last turn, and replaced his Warp Spiders with an additional unit of 2 War Walkers. He also replaced his Fire Dragons with Striking Scorpions.

Warlord Traits:
I rolled on the Strategic table and got a seemingly decent Warlord trait - one that allowed me to infiltrate up to 3 units. However, the terrain was deployed in such a way to deny me any decent infiltration opportunities.

He rolled on the tactical table (being a smart guy) and got the trait that allowed him to get an extra objective on his first turn.

Objective Placement:
I COMPLETELY messed up Objective placement, and it ended up placing more objectives on his half than mine (3 on his half, 2 centred, and 1 on mine). Not sure what the hell I was thinking.

Psychic Powers:
For Psychic Powers, I had 5 rolls for 4 Psyker units. I rolled Onslaught twice (not terrible for Hammer and Anvil) and The Horror THREE "@&!ing times. THREE.

He had 6 rolls for 2 psykers, and got both Invisibility AND Psychic Shriek (plus some other lame ones).

My opponent won the roll and decided to deploy first. He kept his units back out of range and fairly well covered.

For my deployment, I placed my Fex, Malanthrope and 2 Zoan unit in the middle, with my 2 Hormagaunt units as a shield. The Termigant blob was behind them, minded by a single Zoan. My Tervigon was on one side behind a ruin, and my Mawloc and Flyrant were on the other flank trying to hide behind another ruin. I made another bonehead move by not reserving my Mawloc AGAIN.  I did use him as a shield for my Flyrant on Turn 1, but still. My gargoyles and Crone were reserved.

Turn 1:
He played conservative, kept his units hidden, and managed to cast Invisibility on one Wave Serpent, feeling bold, he plunked this Serpent on the middle hill. He also managed to shed 3 wounds off my Mawloc, which was better than targeting my Flyrant. He also cut up a handful of Hormagaunts.

On my first turn, I ran my vanguard up towards his units, my Tyrant straight into the ruins, and my Tervigon on the other side of the tall ruin in the back of the picture. My Tervigon made 13 babies. My Termigants blob moved up a bit too, toward the Tervigon.

Psychic Phase was a waste, I cast Onslaught on my spawned Termigants.

Shooting. Pretty useless. All in, I think I managed to take 1 HP off a Wave Serpent from my Flyrant, getting a "Crew Shaken" result. I forgot it was night fighting, so my shots were near useless.

I won't even bother listing the VP totals, they got out of hand quickly.

Turn 2:
The Eldar moves like the lithe bastards that they are. Invisibility was cast on his unit of 2 Walkers up near the Tervigon.

His shooting was once again mild. I think he shaved 2 wounds off my Flyrant but I saved my grounding test. Some more Hormagaunts blew up, and perhaps some damage to my Fex. Finally, he blew up my unit of two Zoans, severing the Synaptic link between for my Fex, Hormies and Malanthrope.

I believe he then made his biggest mistake by charging my Terv with his two Walkers. It was like watching two kittens trying to fight to the death by to cuddling each other. Sad.

However, he still managed some decent VPs by getting good cards, like "manifesting 3+ powers for D3 points" and rolling well to get 3 VPs consistently.

On my turn, one unit of Hormies ate itself for 6 wounds, the other got Rage, my Fex somehow passed his Leadership test, and my Malanthrope fell back 11 inches.

My reserve rolls were good again, and both my Crone and Gargoyle unit came in. I positioned my Gargoyles in the lower ruin, and my Crone in the far corner of my zone, to Swoop up to the tall ruin. I kept running up my vanguard to try and get assaulting.

Psychic phase, who needs a psychic phase?

In the Shooting Phase, I managed to reduce his unit of Walkers by 3 HP, killing 1 and immobilising another thanks to my Flyrant. My Crone launched some Tentaclids into the Wave Serpent, to no effect, and my Carnifex popped open the damaged Wave Serpent somehow.

I assaulted his Striking Scorpions with my Hormies, killing 4, but he killed more of my guys so they fell back (not in synapse), luckily he did not make his sweeping advance.

I think I managed 3 VPs, total now being something like 9-4 for him.

Turn 3:
This is where it all came apart. Like more so than usual.

He moved. Then he Psychic Shreik-ed my  Flyrant for massive damage, aka SPLAT.

His Swooping Hawks touched down behind my units and tried to snipe my last Zoanthrope. He forgot that he has a 3++ so nothing really happened there. Shooting deleted my Fex pretty fast. The rest of my units were not really in range for him so that was the gist of his Turn.

My Movement Phase straightforward. My Crone raked across his Jetbikes as it flew off the board into Ongoing Reserves, removing one bike as a casualty. My Mawloc Terror'd over his 2 Walkers, since his other units were either too close to the board edge or not juicy enough. After scatter, I did get a hit, but both were undone by poor rolls and I periled. He decided to place the Mawloc on the center hill, in perfect range for a great round of target practice next turn. My Termigant blob reared back around to go after his Swooping Hawks. If anything, I was determined to give someone the wrath of my 50+ shots between the Devourers and Fleshborers.

Psychic Phase was useless.

Shooting was essentially me taking revenge on his poor Swooping Hawks. Let's just say they did not survive.

At the end of this turn, the VPs were something like 12-4.

Turn 4:
We ended the game after his Psychic Phase. He Shrieked my Mawloc into oblivion, and at the start of his Shooting Phase I was left with 1 Zoan, 30 Termigants, a Tervigon in mortal combat with a Walker, a few spawned Termigants, and a Crone that would show up on my board edge and be essentially useless.

He still had a Wraithknight, Wave Serpent, 2 War Walkers (+1 in combat), his Jetbike/Autarch squad, and his Dire Avengers. He was up 13-4 on VPs, and would have likely sniped my Zoan and most of my Termigant blob by the end of this turn.

Another crushing defeat at the hands of the Eldar.

Final Thoughts:

I realize my list isn't really a competitive list, and while his isn't excessively cheesy either, it really highlights the disparity between the two books. Eldar can dish out a surprising amount of pain, while taking a fair bit themselves with all their jinking and invulnerable saves. Additionally, they are generally way more mobile than I can ever hope to achieve without either going for a full flying circus or full Tyrannocyte army.

Synapse really really takes the fun out of our army. I know it's been said for a while now, but requiring a babysitter for all of my hordes (and even, ideally, our MCs) is a real pain. My opponent didn't even take the smart route and focus on removing my Synapse first. He wasted shots on a Mawloc and Hormagaunt blob the first round. I had two bad Leadership rolls over the last two games which prevented my Crone from shooting at anything that turn because it wanted to assault. Really? It CAN'T assault that turn. What a smart rule.

At this stage in the game, I am no Tactical Genius. In fact, quite the opposite. I do not really "play the mission" because, with my list at least, it is quite difficult to contest objectives in his end when I am foot slogging the bulk of my troops. I also will be hard pressed to get points for controlling more objectives than he does, as my synapse web is just too weak and my two Swooping Flyers don't count. Finally, he always seems to get cards that offer VPs for killing Flyers and Psykers, which I have an abundance of relative to him.

I feel the only way I could win is by adding another Flyrant, maxing out on Tyrannocytes, and podding/Alpha striking his stupid Serpents/War Walkers to the ground. The sad thing is, he could easily double his Serpent total in a 1500 pt list, and then I am not even sure my strategy would be enough. Looking at his list, he has 5-6 units who can potentially "delete" any one of my units with a good round of rolls. I have 2, and they both carry Brainleech Devourers. The Crone and Mawloc have been disappointing, which I should have been expecting.

The next two kits I will buy are a Tyrannocyte for my Fex, and a second Flyrant. I am also considering a Malanthrope + Adrenal Tyrannofex charging up the middle. Finally, I know they are almost universily panned, but I may try to use a Trygon Prime as another source of rear armour shooting, possibly providing Synapse support for my stupid Carnifex. This would give me 3 Brainleech Platforms, some disruptive shooting from the Tyrannocyte, another 12 shots + Miasma Cannon from the Prime, and then some Eshock Grubs and Acid Spray coming up from my side of the table. I may experiment with the Harpy, but with his lack of large troop blobs, I likely would be smarter to place those points elsewhere somehow, as the Crone's 4 Tentaclids just don't butter my bread.

Anyway, that's enough rambling. In the meantime I will keep re-tooling my list and try to figure out a way to catch him, or at least not lose by such a big disparity.


  1. Some things:

    1) Thanks for the photos, helps immensely!
    2) Remember you have shadows of the warp! It directly effects enemy psykers, and COMBINES with horror. Shadows is -3 to psyker LD (for all LD and morale tests) and horror is an additional -2 for the pinning check!
    3) The psyhic shriek is a "witchfire" attack. You have to roll to hit with it. He'd need a 6 to hit the flyrant if it was swooping.

    4) Be nicer to yourself. Wave serpents are horribly overpowered currently. Just keep practicing and playing!

    1. 1) I will definitely try and get more photos in future games, I am still trying to wrap my head around the rules.

      2) I do need to remember Shadow in the Warp, but I don't think there was every any time that one of his units needed to take a leadership test.

      3) You are correct - to be honest I don't remember exactly how it went down (he may have shot my Flyrant and Shrieked my Carnifex, or I may have forgotten about the Skyfire business.

      4) I know, I know... I am generally a self-deprecating kind of guy, I realize there is a huge learning curve and I am still eager to get lots more games in (and likely get whooped lots more times)!

    2. #2 comes to play if he perils, you cast horror on him, assault him, force a morale check (on any unit with a psyker). It's a powerful ability that everyone forgets!

    3. The next time I roll "The Horror" three times I will keep that in mind. :P

      But honestly, you bring up a good point, I think I was within 12" of his Psyker unit with my Tyrant, I could have cast The Horror. Not sure if it would have turned the tide on the game per se, but I think I need to stop thinking about winning via big moves and concentrate on making many smaller, smarter moves.

    4. Key things I've learned playing 40k (which may or may not help you, I'm non competitive!).

      1) Deployment is very important, armies like nids have huge advantages here.
      2) Movement is key in this edition
      3) You can make an enemy unit useless without killing it! (pin it, block its movement, prevent it from charging a target with bubble wrap, hold it in CC the entire game)

    5. All good points, which I need to focus on going forward. I have definitely felt the pain of 1&2, and still need to learn to best use the 3rd piece of advice... Tweaking my list may help some, will see what I come up with!