So, after topping up my water bottle and seeing how my friends were getting along we all gathered around to see who we were to be playing next. From looking at the leaderboards i could see i was to be playing someone called Lex. I approached our table and sat down waiting for my opponent, it was at this time that another player at the next table told me Lex's army would be quite hard.
Remember my list can be found in this post: 5 Dragons Tournament - Battle Missions.
Once Lex arrived i knew this would be a great game, he seemed in a cheery mood and seemed to be a nice guy and we got to talking about our armies and our previous games. I got slightly worried when i glimpsed a Vindicator in his case (I really don't like those!) but was assured it was only for larger games and as this was only a 1500 point tournament he wasn't using it, it was simply in the case.
So the dig blue die was rolled again, and the mission was to be a slave raid! We rolled off to see who would be playing as the Dark Eldar player, as it turns out i won this roll and decided to go first.
In a slave raid the Dark Eldar player must deploy first, further than 9" from his table edge, upto the centre line. Meaning i was going to be pushed forwards towards the Space Wolves. The opponent then does the same, so we could start the game literally face to face with our models. Not an excitng prospect at all! On the plus side it would give me a little room to pull back and get away, but with the Wolves starting 12" closer than usual it might not make all the difference.
As an additional twist the mission used a kind of altered KP score. Each player would recive a slave token for every unit they destroyed, provided they had a unit within 18" of the last model removed. Each player was also awarded a token whenever they won a round of combat. In addition, HQ choices were worth D6 tokens. Looking at the mission it favours a close combat orientated force, or at least, a short range fire orientated force.
So, on with the show! Here's Lex's list to the best of my recollection, followed by deployment.
Rune Priest: Chooser of the slain, tempests wrath, murderous hurricane
Rune Priest: tempests wrath, JoTWW
8 Grey Hunters: Meltagun, standard, wolf guard with power fist
Rhino: Extra armour
8 Grey Hunters: Meltagun, standard, wolf guard with power fist
Rhino: Extra armour
6 Grey Hunters: Meltagun
Rhino: Extra armour
3 Thunderwolf Cavalry: 1 with storm shield, 1 with thunder hammer, 1 normal
5 Long Fangs: 4 Missile launchers
Razorback: Extra armour, TL assault cannon
6 Long Fangs: 3 Heavy bolters, 2 Lascannons
Razorback: Extra armour, Las/Plas
The objective marker is Lex's chooser of the slain.
I won the roll-off to play as Dark Eldar so i began by setting up my Dark Reapers behind the treeline in the southeast, just in the area terrain but out of LOS from most angles if you took into account the hill in the east.
After that i deployed Eldrads serpent (this time he was riding with the Fire Dragons) on the far east, accompanied by the Wraithlord. A serpent holding a unit of Dire Avengers went on the western edge of the southeastern treeline, while the Walkers positioned themselves behind that serpent for a cover save. On the eastern side of my deployment zone i had deployed a sizable chunk of my forces. Over to the west, i deployed two serpents, one with Fire Dragons and one with Dire Avengers. The GJB unit was held in reserve.
The overall image i was conveying was that my main force in the east would pull back, while the two serpents over to the west would swing around in support, which is what i was expecting to happen, i was not expecting the deployment Lex laid out.
After considering deploying opposite my firebase, almost within arms reach, Lex decided to cut off my flanking forces and deployed all of his army in the northwest corner. Both units of long fangs would have LoS to those 2 serpents, even with the trees in the way, and even if i boosted away, i wouldn't get out of range.
The rhinos and razorbacks were deployed in a way that would grant them cover from any fire coming from my eastern forces while the TWC (represented here by bikers) were taking the forward position, i assume in preperation to eat the occupants of my flanking serpents. The central Long Fang unit had an attached Priest, the unit had good LoS to most of the field through the treeline.
With deployment finished, Eldrad used his Divination.
With Divination i rolled a 5, meaning i got to re-deploy 4 units. With Divination you should always plan to move 2, anything over that is a bonus, planning for 3 and leaving a unit out to get mauled could be very bad. If Lex had chosen to deploy in the northeast i believe i would have re-deployed Eldrads serpent, along with the reapers over towards the west as a first choice, then moved the Walkers and Wraithlord over, the lone serpent would have had to boost away to re-join my forces.
Given that Lex chose the northwest corner, my choice was cut down to two options.
First option: Alpha strike! Deploying the fire dragon units in such a way as to disembark and move up on his stationary rhino wall in the first turn and multi-charge for the melta bomb plants. I should be able to take out his TWC with my massed S6 shooting, or at least open up enough holes for the Dragon units to get through. The Wraithlord could also be re-deployed to get a first turn charge off on the ML Long Fangs. If Lex lost his mobility and a unit of Long Fangs in the first turn the game would be practically over while my skimmers flew just out of reach and brought down his infantry. This would however, cripple me if i lost the first turn. Possibly loosing the Lord, and both Fire Dragon units right away, along with 2 serpents.
Second option: Re-deploy the 2 Serpents that are on the western flank to join up with all my other units and hide like little pointy-eared sissy girls.
I went with option 2.
I also retained first turn. So onwards with the S6 shooting!
The Wraithlord was guided, as were the reapers. Eldrads serpent was fortuned just in case.
The Walkers and the DA serpent on cover save duty remained stationary while the other 3 serpents and the Wraithlord moved around to bring their scatter lasers to bear.
I opened up with the reapers, landing 4 hits on the ML Long Fang unit, killing 4 of them (Crackshot re-rolls really help). I then began pumping scatter laser fire into the remaining Long Fang and attached Priest, bringing them down. With my remaining shots i managed to kill off the standard TWC model.
The forward wave serpent (DA) was just in range to claim D6+1 slave tokens from the death of the Long Fangs and Priest, which also meant that the TWC were most likely in charge range given a lucky run move.
Lex's turn 1
The 2 remaining TWC pushed forwards, directly towards the DA serpent at the front. The 3 Rhinos and a Razorback manoeuvred around the treeline, the forward 2 popping smoke while the rear two claimed cover from the vehicles in front. The las/plas Razorback moved slightly north in order to line up a shot on one of my serpents.
The Long Fangs at the back and the las/plas Razorback either missed, or failed to penetrate my serpents. All looked good! Until the TWC rolled a 6 for running and the assault phase started. The first TWC model swung and failed to hit. The second however, with the thunder hammer, landed two hits and immobilised my poor serpent, aswell as knocking off its scatter laser. Turn 1 and already one serpent effectivly out of the game.
Onto my turn 2
Eldrad fortuned his serpent, guided the Wraithlord and doomed the TWC that were, in all honesty, far to close for my liking! My bikes decided not to show up this turn.
The DA unit in the immobilised serpent bailed out and moved back into the woods in the southeast corner, I was expecting the serpent to die next turn, so best to bail out now and pull back. The 3 mobile serpents and the Walkers all backed up a little while the Wraithlord remained where he was, the wrecked serpent giving him something to lurk behind.
The DA and the Walkers opened up on the TWC, the DA gaining some revenge by bringing one down, while the Walkers (who still havn't learnt how to shoot, 6 hits out of 16 again!) managed to bring down the other! With that threat out of the way, the serpents and Wraithlord began firing at the Rhino that housed the other Rune Priest (although i didn't know it at the time, just happened to be the one i chose) Several scatter lasers later and the rhino was a wreck and 2 wolves were dead. The reapers opened up on the now disembarked unit and managed to hit one wolf, who died.
Onto Lex's turn 2
Lex's turn 2 began with the two rhinos coming around the southern edge of the central forest advancing right for me. The Grey Hunter unit that was now on foot moved right towards my downed serpent, which i wish i could have moved back. The two razorbacks moved 6" and got in a position to fire.
The assault cannon opened up on the downed serpent, causing no damage. The lascannon from the other razorback and attempted to knock Eldrads ride out of the sky, but again caused no damage. The lascannons from the Long Fangs at the rear attempted to hit on of the eastern wave serpents but founf they were about an inch out of range.
The assault phase started and the Grey Hunter unit measured to the downed serpent. They were in assault range by the shortest of hairs and piled in towards it. As expected, with auto hitting krak grenades my serpent quickly became a wreck! Points to Lex!
With yet another unit getting too close it was my turn 3
*Shakes fist at Rune Priest* Eldrad only managed to get one power off! Luckily it was to doom the unit with the Rune Priest in! But my bikes didn't turn up.
My movement phase was short. With everything sitting pretty far back i decided to stay where i was. The Dires might end up getting charged soon but i wanted the LoD to the Rune Priest with them to add some firepower to his demise. The Wraithlord was the only model to move, and he strode out of Wraithsight range towards the Priests unit.
I began the shooting phase with the 3 scatter lasers on the serpents trying to bring down the forward rhino, they eventually managed to wreck it. The Reapers opened up on the disembarked unit but scattered horribly! Landing the tempest shots into the rock formation. The Walkers picked up the slack and gunned down 3 of the Grey Hunters with some "precision" lasers (again, shame about the hits, 7 this time) The Wraithlord fired off his flamers and managed to bring down two marines, Lex made quite alot of saves! After that the Dires opened up on the Lords target unit, if i could kill a few more the Lord should be able to finish the unit off in combat after a turn or two of combat and not be killed off by the power fist within the unit. The Dires, true to form, scored 9 out of 10 hits and with doom, 7 wounds! Lex made all his saves (Darn!) Looks like Wraithy is in trouble...
Well he'd moved up in preperation for the assault so theres no holding back now!!! The Wraithlord charges in and thoroughly smashes up the Rune Priest, so another D6 slave tokens would be heading my way. Although while Wraithy wasn't looking the powerfist wielding marine managed to sneak behind him and cause a wound! Without any other combat units to speak off, Wraithy was on his own from here on in.
On with Lex's turn 3!
Lex's turn began with his newly disembarked Grey hunters moving towards the Dires in the woods. The razorbacks again moved about, the lascannon armed razorback hunkering down in cover while the assault cannon armed razorback moved up and recieved cover from the remaining rhino, who popped smoke.
The razorbacks fired at the Fire Dragons serpent, exploding it, and killing a Dragon while the Grey Hunters charged right into the Dires, making their required 6 for difficult terrrain! The Dires were all wiped out without causing any damage. Meanwhile Wraithy managed to kill off two more Grey Hunters, leaving the power fist marine, who missed this turn.
Onto turn 4, more marines are getting closer!
With the Rune Priests gone Eldrad could cast without worry. He fortuned his own serpent, guided the Fire Dragons and doomed the Grey Hunters now lurking in my wooded area. My bikes also came on this turn!
Eldrads serpent moved 19" towards my own board edge, while the reapers backed up. The GJB unit moved on in the far southeast corner while the Dragons moved out of their crater and towards the Grey Hunters.
The Dragons opened up first, felling 3 of the marines in the treeline, while the bikes managed to bring down one more. The Walkers were pointing their direction aswell... so i fired all 16 shots at the lone GH in the woods, hitting 5 times (seriously now guys...) but managing to kill him off. Overkill? Possibly... but i dont want any marines charging into my Reapers (again). The last DA serpent fired off at the last Rhino, wrecking it, 6 marines piled out near to Wraithy, who by the way missed his attacks in combat and took another wound!
Lex's turn 4
The lascannon Razorback moves up again to take pot-shots at serpents. The other Razorback moves around the Wrech of the rhino. The newly disembarked GH squad makes a dash towards my Fire Dragons (I'm starting to see a picture here, kill a rhino, automatically loose a unit. Thank God Lex only had 3 rhinoes...).
Lex's shooting did nothing this turn, but Wraithy was brought down by the power fist! He'd managed to stay alive for 19 turns so far this tournament! Oh... and the GH charged and killed all the Fire Dragons without any losses but Shhhhh!
Onto my turn 5
After the strange and unexplainable disappearance *wink* of my Fire Dragon unit i disembarked the other (Guided) unit from Eldrads serpent and took aim at the (Doomed) GH unit that was mysteriously standing where my old Fire Dragons used to be (Strange that). The GJB unit moves around a little while the remaining DA unit got out to help kill the lone power fist marine.
The reapers opened up along with the FD unit and killed off 5 of the GH's. The (Guided) Walkers fired at the the last one, scoring 14 hits (before guide, what? they choose to hit now?) killing the last marine. The Dire unit picked off the lone power fist marine while the serpents shook the assault cannon razorback.
Lex's turn 5
With nothing better to do the assault cannon razorback tank shocked the Dire Avengers, who ran away! But not off the board. The other razorback managed to immobilise the empty serpent.
In my turn 6 i managed to rally the Dires and wreck the assault cannon razorback with the nearby Fire Dragons.
In Lex's turn 6 his razorback hit my serpent but i made my cover save.
The game then ended.
After we finished we tallied up out scores. Lex has scored an impressive 12 slave tokens while i had 11, but i did however kill two of his HQ choices, so gained an additional 2D6, putting me up to 18.
That was in my opinion the best game of the tournament, we were quite evenly matched and this was the only game where both me and the opponent seemed to be having fun, laughing, and pointing out how bad our rolling was. We both made mistakes, and readily admitted them once the game had ended. Lex should have remembered Eldrads divination ability, or at least deployed something in reserves to come on my right flank while I should have been paying more attention to exactly how far away i was to his rhinos with my infantry and moved back just an inch or two. But i'll admit, i took the lead early on in slave tokens and it made me sloppy, and Lex took full advantage of that, pushed my defensive line and made me fight for the win. Kudoes to Lex! All in all a great game and i'm looking forward to a re-match with (hopefully) some standard missions.
So after winning 3 games i was on 45/45 points. With the painting scores yet to be announced i could do very well, or very bad. My painting skills are good, not great, and i can't paint fast so i was missing some detailing and highlights. There were however some nice armies around so i'd have to wait and see how i placed. After each game we were calculating victory points earnt aswell, so in the event of a tie, we deferred to those, currently i was sitting on 4,131 out of a possible 4,500 so at least those were looking good.
I'll post the results, as well as the finishing places of my opponents and friends who attended in a seperate post.
Would you, either as the SW player or the Eldar player, deployed and played this mission differently? Is there any way you can think of that would sway the battle in a significant way?