Thursday, May 15, 2014

Warhammer 40k 6th Edition: Ave Atque Vale!

In an ironic twist of fate, my third game of 6th edition 40k will likely be my last!  A new edition arrives in about 10 days.  With the new gaming room fully operational, I invited over my gaming buddy of 12 years the Consul to play a game before the change.  He brought his favorites this time: the Eldar! 

Those who know me know that I hate the Eldar with a passion. It started when I first played 40k during the Rogue Trader era as youth.  The boy who taught me how to play also routinely spanked my Chaos Marines with his Eldritch Raiders led by Prince Yriel.  Well, many of the veterans of the long war against Eldar are still in my Black Legion Army, thirsting for revenge!  

As the Consul was my guest, we chose a mission from the amazing Altar of War mission book (60 plus missions!) from the Eldar section.  We chose The Scything Blow, a mission that allows the Eldar to attack from the flanks with units held in reserve, and even charge with them.  The enemy player starts in possession of two objectives, the Eldar only one.  Each is worth 3s VP at the end of the game to the side that holds them.  Also available are the Slay the Warlord and First Blood VPs.  I used sci-fi projectors as the objectives, so we can imagine these represent some psychic beacons Abaddon is trying to seize for a dark ritual, and the Eldar are trying to stop him before he summons a demonic host to assist him!  Forge that narrative, gentlemen!

We played 1850 point armies.  The Consul took Saim-Hann Eldar, and I took Black Legion Chaos Space Marines.

Saim-Hann List:
Farseer on bike (tricked out to 3+ Re-rollable cover save and 4+ invulnerable save!)
Spiritseer w/ 5 wraithguard in wave serpent
8 banshees w/ exarch and wave serpent
2 units of 3 wild riders (bike troops)
2 fire prism tanks
1 unit of 8 rangers
1 unit of three d-cannons
2 units of 6 warp spiders
1 unit of 5 swooping hawks

Black Legion List:
Abaddon the Despoiler and 6 elite Bringers of Despair terminators
3x10-man CSM black legionnaire squads (2 heavy bolter, 1 missile launcher)
5 bikers (mark of nurgle gives toughness 6!)
Predator tank
3 Obliterators

There are a lot of photos so I will keep the commentary rolling with the pictures.By the way I can't decide if the pics are better with flash or without so the color varies.  Let me know what you think.

Oh and I think I used what 40k players might consider a lot of terrain in setting up the destroyed city.  We wanted lots of LOS blocking and density so I think I hit it just about right. 

The Consul sets up his troops in the genteel comfort of my dedicated game room.  Ahhh....

 Eldar deployment: Fire Prisms on point.

Does it look better without flash?

 Black Legion left with newly painted Maulerfiend and some very old school Chaos marines,

Black Legion right flank and center.  Everyone is hiding because I play too much Infinity to leave models in LOS when I am going second!

The Eldar right flank.

Turn One: Eldar advance, but have no shooting thanks to all that LOS blocking terrain. 

 Chaos advance and the bikes shoot a few warp spiders...

...while the Maulerfiend advances rapidly to threaten the left flank.  

Die Warp Spiders pew pew!!

Another nice shot of the Maulerfiend, who is hungry for tanks.

 Turn two: the Eldar reserves arrive.  Yes all of them.  And all of them on this flank except the Swooping Hawks.

 Warp Spiders deep strike in as well!

Swooping Hawks appear and aim their grenades at the Maulerfiend!

 But their haywire grenade only causes a glancing hit!

On my right teh bikes are completely wiped out!  Ouch and First Blood VP to the Consul!

And then a Fire Prism one-shots my Predator with some Epic Eldar crystal power.

Chaos turn two: Only Abaddon and his retinue arrives from reserve? Can he save the flank?

Look at their grimdark visages! Who can stand against them?

The Maulerfiend does what he does and runs through the woods unhindered in search of a tasty morsel known as a battle tank.  

Hi!  Are you a cherry-flavored tank?

Abaddon smashes the Wave Serpent to bits! An unpainted model briefly disgraces my army as realize I have a 6th terminator in my list.  

The Maulerfiend destroys the Fire Prism with a resounding blow from its Magma Cutter.  Yes only that one weapon hit!  But it was enough.

The Black Legion Veterans slaughter the Swooping Hawks with fire and sword, only their leader remains locked in a challege with the Aspiring champion.

 Eldar turn 3: The Consul tries to surround the Terminators, but curiously does not bring teh guns of the Wraithguard to bear.  To be fair, I had deprived the Consul of any food for a few hours and he was dizzy with hunger at this point.  Yay strategy!

Meanwhile his bikes redeploy to the center and his Fire Prism lines up a shot on Chompy the Maulerfiend.

Guided by the Farseer, the Fire Prism destroys the demonic engine in two shots, first immobilizing it and then finishing it.

The Howling Banshees charge the Terminators after only one is felled by Eldar shooting.  The banshee leader dies on the Talon of Horus in single combat...

...while the rest fall prey to the Bringers of Despair!

The Chaos champion slays the Swooping Hawk Exarch in single combat.  The Chaos gods reward him with nothing!  Abaddon gained an Icy Aura for his victory.

 Chaos Turn 3:  Again the Heldrake and Obliterators fail to show.  Abaddon and the Bringers of Despair (catchy!) charge into and utterly annihilate the Wraithguard unit!  See they are not there...not even a picture of the combat survived!  Meanwhile Chaos Marine shooting eliminates one Warp Spider unit and sends another packing to the rear of the board.

Eldar turn 4:  The tanks make a laager in the center of the field.  Several marines are disintegrated by the Fire Prism, while little else happens.  

Chaos turn 4:  Heldrake does as Heldrake pleases, flaming almost all the members of the D-cannon battery who have been taking a smoke break the whole game.  Now they are really smoking.  His vector strike fails to affect the Fire Prism on the flight over, however.

 The Obliterators arrive and inform the Rangers that, yes, while it's true they have a 3+ cover save due to the terrain, their special rules, and the mysterious objective's effect, heavy flamers just don't care.  The Rangers perish to the last pointy-eared ninja sniper.  

The Consul contemplates fire-retardant clothing options for his troops.

Abaddon and his elite homies are left hanging out to dry as the Consul has completely abandoned that section of the board.  The Consul had finished lunch, and his restored blood sugar levels resulted in the perfect tactic for preventing 500-odd points of whup-ass from affecting the game!

Here we see the very clever redeployment of the bike troops to threaten that rather thinly held objective on my left. Hurrah for calzone!

 Eldar Turn 5: Consul sends the Fire Prism to deal with the Obliterators.  The Fire Prism misses its shots.  We both then realize that although they have done a fine job of clearing the objective for me, they cannot claim it as they are not a scoring unit!

The Farseer, jetbikes, and a Wave Serpent fill the air with shuriken and heavy laser fire, leaving just the Chaos marine champion alive to contest the objective. 

Having failed to kill any of the Obliterators with Eldar shooting, the Consul orders the jetbikes to charge!

Predictably the Obliterators defeat the bikers with ease. Yummy soulstones!

Disdaining the dangerous terrain test caused by charging into ruins, the Farseeer charges the champion and skewers him with his Singing Spear.  Singing Spear also does birthday parties.  The Eldar take the objective on my left!

The Obliterators focus twin-linked melta gun fire on the Fire Prism, which despite its' name is not immune to actual fire.  It explodes!

Abaddon and company advance and wipe out some Warp Spiders for no apparent reason.  Blood for the blood god!  And the rest of them, too.  Or something. The central Chaos Marine unit, which has dithered most of the game away hiding in some big craters, runs out to try to shoot the bikers but fail to do any damage.  Nice work, men.  

Heldrake also chips in but his baleflamer only kills one biker.  They pass their morale test and hold the objective.  At the end of turn 5 we roll a dice, with another turn coming on a 3+, but it comes up a 2!  Game over!

With the game ending at this pint, the Consul and I both have 3 VPS for holding one objective each. The third objective is occupied by my Obliterators, but they cannot hold it as they are not troops choices but rather heavy support!  The Consul has 1 VP from First Blood, and so the Eldar win the game, 4 VPs to 3!

Result:  Saim-Hann win 4-3.

Conclusion: That was a very enjoyable game.  The scenario is flavorful in that it gives the Eldar some powerful maneuverability, but balances that by giving the enemy player two objectives to start with.  It is incumbent on the Eldar to execute a flank attack successfully to win.  The Consul managed to do that, but not on the flank where most of his troops arrived.  Abaddon and his retinue put paid to two units and a tank, saving my right flank.  But the Consul cannily redeployed to take the other objective away from me.   A major mistake on my part was not using the 10-man squad in the center to either bolster that left flank or make a run for the objective on the Consul's side of the board.  I forgot that his troops could move so fast and that my Obliterators could not hold the objective that they cleared!  So a well-deserved win to the Consul!

And a fond farewell to 40k 6th edition.  I hardly knew ye.  Word is the new edition will not be radically different in the basic rules areas but will change the psychic phase, add other scenario victory conditions, and also add new options for how to field your armies.  I am cautiously optimistic that this will continue the trend of GW making the game fantastic for casual players but will likely continue to leave tourney players wishing for a tighter rules set.  We will see in about 10 days!  

Well, as Abaddon would say: let the galaxy burn!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Rescue Mission on Nexus Psi

Hi all-

My friend Jormungandr came up with a smashing battle report for Deadzone and I thought I would host it on my blog.  Unfortunately I cannot get it into the Blogger editor in any reasonable format.  So in the alternative I am hosting it on Google drive as a public document.  I hope you enjoy it.  All credit to Jormungandr and nice work, buddy!

Deadzone VIP Extraction Report