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 1500pt battle vs Craftworld Eldar

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Creeping Darkness
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PostSubject: 1500pt battle vs Craftworld Eldar   Sun Jan 11 2015, 00:55

I snuck in a game in December against some Ulthwe craftworlders. It's been a little while until I could find time to write it up, so please excuse any lapses of memory. The game was 1500 pts a side, and we each took a single CAD.

The lists:

Ulthwe
------

Spiritseer

10 Dire Avengers with exarch
Wave Serpent - scatter lasers

10 Dire Avengers with exarch
Wave Serpent - scatter lasers

6 Guardian Jetbikes with 2 shuri cannons

Crimson Hunter

3 Vypers with scatter lasers and shuri cannons

Wraithknight with heavy wraithcannon and scatter lasers

Fire Prism
====

Dark Eldar
----------

Succubus with archite glaive, armour of misery

5 Incubi with Klaivex
Venom with 2 splinter cannons

5 Trueborn with 2 blasters
Venom with 2 splinter cannons

8 Wyches with razorflail, hekatrix with agoniser
Raider

8 Wyches with shardnet, hekatrix with agoniser
Raider

8 Warriors with blaster
Raider with dark lance

8 Warriors with blaster
Raider with dark lance

6 Reavers, with 2 heat lances and 2 blasters

Razorwing

Ravager with 3 dark lances
====

Pre-game setup
--------------

We played Maelstrom mission 3, Cleanse and Control or something similar sounding vaguely like housework. 3 Tactical objectives per player per turn, and diagonal deployment zones.

The Eldar won the first turn and elected to deploy first. The Spirit Seer rolled on Telepathy, and received Invisibility and Domination plus the primaris for free. I rolled Hypex on the drugs table, which is continuing a fine tradition of filling the token 'useless' spot on the combat drugs table. Warlord tratis were useless on both sides.

====

Deployment
----------



Ulthwe deployed together in their chosen north west corner. The Wraithknight sat on objective 6, and the jetbikes snuck down the southern flank to allow for a quick advance to the dark eldar table edge if required. This corner has a commanding view of most objectives, which suited me as I intended my army to be kicking heads in the Ulthwe corner rather than my own.

Scared by the Eldar guns, and keen to test out our deep strike capability (I never ran the Duke), I left most of my army in reserve. The reavers and ravager were the only units to deploy, but one of the warrior raiders elected to enter normal reserve rather than deep strike. I find coming on from the table edge particularly useful in the diagonal deployment scenarios.

My plan, when my reserves became available, was to strike both behind and in front of my enemy, exposing him to rear armour shots and pinning him to his corner.

Ulthwe decided to go first, and the Dark Eldar declined to seize.


Ulthwe Turn 1
-------------

Maelstrom objectives: Behind Enemy Lines, Obj 6, something else



The jetbikes and some dire avengers in a wave serpent boosted south to claim the behind enemy lines objective, but sadly the extra effort to gain d3 victory points was rewarded with a '1'.

The fire prism immobilised the ravager, then the wraithknight finished it off to claim first blood. Jinking was ineffective.

The vypers and other wave serpent moved to gain a line of sight on the reavers that I had attempted to hide, and successfully killed two despite their jinking. This left me in the awkward position of having to pass a Ld 8 check or lose by tabling. Clearly, I had put too much in reserve, but luckily I passed the check.


Dark Eldar Turn 1
-----------------

Maelstrom Objectives: Obj 2, Obj 3, Obj 4



The reavers boosted north and hid behind the other building. Since I would have a chance to bring on reserves next turn I was less worried about them being wiped, though obviously not keen to throw them away, which is what I rather thought might happen if I attempted to claim one of my objective cards.

====
Turn 1 VPs: Ulthwe 3, Dark Eldar 0.


Ulthwe Turn 2
-------------

Maelstrom Objectives: Obj 1, Obj 2, Demolitions



Without too many enemies to attack, the eldar rearranged to claim their objectives. The crimson hunter came in and executed a tightly angled turn to target the reavers, killing one. Man I wish razorwings had vector dancer.

The jetbikes and southerly wave serpent rejoined the rest of the army, but then, in a moment of madness, the spiritseer leapt out of his Wave Serpent and attempted to turn himself invisible. Failing in his attempt, he looked rather exposed.

Naturally enough Demolitions was discarded for a Maelstrom card that was actually achievable.

Dark Eldar Turn 2
-----------------

Maelstrom Objectives: Obj 2, Obj 3, Obj 4



I may have forgotten to discard objective cards last turn, but that was ok, because it was time to bring in the reinforcements!

Well, some of them, anyway. The ride-on warriors emerged from the south western corner, targeting the wave serpent 1 which declined to jink and suffered the loss of a hull point. The trueborn in their venom struck in the northwest corner, scattering slightly but still in range of the fire prism. Although the vehicle jinked, the trueborn failed to even force a save. Their venom had one of its guns obscured by the rock, but fired the other at the wraithknight, causing a wound.

Some wyches struck near the river in the north, scattering slightly, and fired their pistols at the lone spiritseer and causing a wound. The disintegrator unfortunately had been taken out of arc by the scatter and had no target.

The razorwing spurned its airborne nemesis and caught the jetbikes with monoscythe missiles and disintegrators, killing three after they jinked.

Finally, the reavers charged the vypers and showed off their cluster caltrops, dramatically exploding two of the flimsy craft and taking a hull point from the last.

Not a bad turn, although with incubi, another set of warriors and the wyches attached to the warlord still to come, I was hopeful next turn would be better. Also, I had neglected to score any victory points, again. Oops. I would have to act fast next turn, before the gap became insurmountable; I discarded Obj 2 in the hope of drawing something easier to achieve.

====
Turn 2 VPs: Ulthwe 5, Dark Eldar 0.


Ulthwe Turn 3
-------------

Maelstrom objectives: Obj 1, Obj 3, Supremacy



Now that the Dark Eldar had deigned to grace the field, battle was joined in earnest.

The Wraithknight turned its attention to the raider full of wyches that had just entered the centre of the Eldar lines, and the jinking Fire Prism moved to snap fire a shot in support. However, they were unable to bring down the furiously jinking vehicle. The Dire avengers who had disembarked from the Northern wave serpent, hoping to extirpate the wyches after they were debarked, had to settle for knocking a hull point off the transport instead. The jinking raider resolutely stayed alive, a new experience for me! Meanwhile their wave serpent had moved to attack the surviving reavers after their demonstration of efficiency last turn, while the surviving vyper got the hell out of Dodge, but at the end of the fireworks one reaver was stil left.

The Spiritseer, perhaps regretting his life choices, attempted to turn himself invisible once more as he started running to the distant dire avengers for support. Unfortunately for him, while he successfully cast this turn, he also succumbed to Perils of the Warp, presumably ensuring that hi corpse would be very hard to find while bequeathing the easiest slay the warlord point I had ever received.

Meanwhile, the western wave serpent backed up, claiming objective 1 and exploding the warrior's raider in the south western corner, which showed markedly lower resilience than its northern friend. Three warriors died, but the remainder passed morale and pinning.

Naturally, the crimson hunter targeted the razorwing, and causing an immobilisation and a further hull point damage after jink saves; the razorwing passed it's crash and burn test and would live for another attack run.

The Ulthwe jetbikes boosted into the centre of the table, claiming objective 3, and enabling the Eldar to claim Supremacy. The d3, once again, returned '1', but I was slipping further and further behind. I would need a good turn to get back in the fight.


Dark Eldar Turn 3
-----------------

Maelstrom Objectives: Obj 3, Obj 4, Demolitions



My warlord continued to refuse to arrive, perhaps planning to be fashionably late. The Incubi arrived, dropping to a position where they could menace three objectives, shoot the wraithknight, and lend close combat support next turn. The other squad of warriors attempted to drop nearby to down the remaining vyper, but scattered into it instead and mishapped, going back into reserves.

The warriors in the south west (K2 on the map) struck forward towards objective 4, but would fall short this turn. The blaster popped off a shot at the wave serpent but missed. The trueborn continued to harrass the fire prism, inflicting a hull point this time despite the vehicle continuing to jink. I was quite happy for it to spend all of its time jinking. Both venoms targeted the Wraithknight, knocking off a wound or two.

The wyches in the north (Wy2) disembarked and attacked the dire avengers. Their 'softening up' fire killed half of the squad, a single plasma grenade accounting for three, and the remainder fled the field. As I had wanted to assault them, I rather churlishly expressed my disappointment with this turn of events, whereupon my opponent advised me to want into one hand and defecate into the other and see which one filled up first. Justly reproached, I moved on to assaulting the Ulthwe jetbikes with the surviving Reaver. I would have preferred to attack the Wave Serpent with his cluster caltrops, but I could not access his rear armour, and felt S6 vs AV12 not worth pursuing. The reaver survived overwatch and killed a bike with his caltrops, but then whiffed his attacks and was ignominiously punched to death by the remaining two Ulthwe bikes. Oh the shame. Worse, I had not succeeded in capturing the objective they sat on.

And of course, the razorwing boosted off the board to menace the Eldar again in turn 4.

I discarded Demolitions, and started to feel distinctly uneasy about the lopsided victory point count.

====
Turn 3 VPs: Ulthwe 8, Dark Eldar 1


Ulthwe Turn 4
-------------

Maelstrom objectives: Obj 6, Overwhelming firepower, Kingslayer?



It was the fire prism's turn to concede that its current location was untenable, and boosted to the other side of the wyches, not far from objective 2. It was plain that these wyches were not expected to survive the turn; the remaining squad of dire avengers (DA2) had disembarked, and had revenge in their eyes, while the Wraithknight made sure of the raider. He ultimately blew it up in assault, while the dire avengers somehow left a single pock marked wych alive thanks to quite decent feel no pain rolls.

The wave serpent that had recently disembarked the avengers scuttled over to claim objective 6, and destroyed the trueborn's venom while it was there. The Crimson hunter, vyper, wave serpent (WS2) and jetbikes removed the incubi's venom, and knocked off one or two of the incubi for good measure. The jetbikes then used their assault move to get behind the trees.

Another d3 maelstrom points secured for Ulthwe, another '1'. I was thankful for small mercies.


Dark Eldar Turn 4
-----------------

Maelstrom objectives: Obj 3, Obj 4, Supremacy



My warlord and her wyches finally tore themselves away from their mirrors and arrived at the field. I tried to strike them onto objective 1, and though they missed they were just in range to claim it. Yay pointy raiders. After toying with boosting across the field, they instead used their disintegrator to vaporise one of the two remaining bikes. The last man fled, and since he would only rally through insane courage, would flee the field.

The other squad of Kabalites also made their presence known, striking into the midground and immobilising the fire prism (there is a mistake in the map, the prism should be pointing downwards). The last wych charged the prism in the assault phase, trying to take its last hull point with her furious charge, but failed.

The razorwing swooped in for another pass, and though I could have tried to inflict some payback on the crimson hunter, I couldn't resist the clumped dire avengers. Two missiles, two disintegrators, fourteen wounds and some very good saves later, half of the squad was dead. Amazingly, not only did the remainder flee, they rolled high enough to quit the field of battle altogether. Cowardly dire avengers were, apparently, common in Ulthwe.

The other warriors (K2) successfully claimed objective 4, the Incubi inflicted a spectacular explosion on the remaining vyoer, actually killing another of their number. Oops, overkill guys. The trueborn were able to wreck the eastern wave serpent (WS1).

I finally scored myself some points, claiming objective 4, and supremacy for... 1. Fair's fair I suppose. This was a great turn for thinning the Ulthwe resistance, but it was clear I was running out of time. I discarded objective 3, hoping for something better.

====
Turn 4 VPs: Ulthwe 10, Dark Eldar 3


Ulthwe Turn 5
-------------

Maelstrom objectives: Big game hunter, kingslayer?, something else



Weakened by the cowardly flight of their last infantry, Ulthwe suddenly had only four active units. These, however, were still able to put out the hurt. The immobilised fire prism had finally stopped jinking and blew the warrior's raider out of the sky, and the surviving wave serpent killed all of the survivors of the crash. Ouch.

Meanwhile, the crimson hunter shot down the razorwing, and the wraithknight used its scatter lasers to reduce the last wych to a bloody smear.

The Eldar didn't accrue too mamy points this turn, but they had quite possibly done enough.


Dark Eldar Turn 5
-----------------

Maelstrom objectives: Obj 5, Obj 6, something useless



Why so many objectives to capture? There are only 12 in the Dark Eldar deck... I don't think I shuffled it very well. Anyway, with the wave serpent wrecked the trueborn were able to claim objective 6, so they did so. The incubi considered going after objective 5, but I felt that at this stage I was a better chance to win by tabling than objectives, so charged the Wave Serpent. Sadly they were unable to repeat their success against the vyper, not even damaging it.

My warlord and wyches boosted across the board this turn, hoping to survive to defeat one of the three units near them in turn 6.

Would there be another turn? Yes, there would.

====
Turn 5 VPs: Ulthwe 11, Dark Eldar 4


Ulthwe Turn 6
-------------

Maelstrom objectives: Obj 5, Kingslayer?, something else



The Eldar successfully downed the warlord's raider, and managed to kill a couple of wyches into the bargain, but there were still 5 or 6 plus the warlord to deal with.

The crimson hunter targeted the trueborn, killing all but onem and the wave serpent claimed another objective point while moving awway from the incubi.


Dark Eldar Turn 6
-----------------

Maelstrom Obj: Obj 5, two others



The surviving trueborn tried to shoot down the hunter to no avail, and the incubi attacked the wave serpent with an identical lack of success.

However, my warlord finally made it into the fray, with her wyches charging the wraithknight. With the benefit of furious charge and the archite glaive she would be able to wound the beast, and promptly rolled two 6s to finish it before the hekatrix had even swung her agoniser. They spread out a little with their consolidation move, wary of the fire prism.

With that, the game ended; both sides claimed linebreaker.

====
Final VPs: Ulthwe 13, Dark Eldar 5.


+++++++
Result: Dark Eldar defeated!
+++++++

Post-game analysis:
-------------------
Clearly, I made some mistakes in this game, from deploying too much in reserve to not paying enough regard to objectives. The combination of these two mistakes, particularly, allowed my opponent to skip out to an unassailable early lead. When my army did arrive, largely piecemeal, I was forced to focus on destroying the enemy to keep my limited forces operational, which meant I fell even further behind on VPs as the Ulthwe army had the flexibility, borne by their ascendancy, to do both at the same time.

I was not unhappy with the list, however, and it did well in a follow up game that I hope to report at some stage.

Key lessons learned:
-- Maelstrom objectives cannot be ignored until the end of game like regular objectives, and will not necessarily even out in the wash
-- The advantages of reserve and deep strike need to be carefully assessed against the drawbacks of allowing the enemy the initiative early, and the prospect of being defeated in detail

Thanks for reading, if you've made it this far, and please feel free to post any further lessons or comments that can be drawn from the game!
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Sigmaril
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PostSubject: Re: 1500pt battle vs Craftworld Eldar   Sun Jan 11 2015, 02:29

I absolutely love the maps you made. How did you do that? Smile
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PostSubject: Re: 1500pt battle vs Craftworld Eldar   Mon Jan 12 2015, 10:54

Battle Chronicler! It's a great program. There's a sticky in the Realspace raids forum that'll tell you all about it Smile
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PostSubject: Re: 1500pt battle vs Craftworld Eldar   Mon Jan 12 2015, 17:12

Great maps and brilliantly written! The spiritseer killing himself invisibly really tickled me.

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PostSubject: Re: 1500pt battle vs Craftworld Eldar   Tue Jan 13 2015, 12:49

Thanks for putting up this report, it sure does take a long time but it's appreciated!

Looks like you already know what you could've done better. I too have found putting too many units in reserve more of a hindrance than a boon, although my experience is clearly limited.

Also, it was nice to see some wyches in action!

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PostSubject: Re: 1500pt battle vs Craftworld Eldar   Tue Jan 13 2015, 13:22

Reserve really is a double edge sword - yes it keeps stuff safe but you really do run the risk of not getting important stuff on the table early. Put too much in reserve and as you discovered, you can really hamper your own success in the early turns, too little and you could get crippled by a nasty alpha strike. Similarly if you put the wrong units in reserve then you can leave an unhealthy number of points off the table for a long time.

I generally work on the following basis, adapted for individual games and opposing armies.

If you don't have Talos etc to provide tough board presence, have at least 4 units (at 1850pts) on the table, preferably in heavy cover.

Deep strike only the units that are short ranged (gunboats for <12" shooting, heat lances scourges etc) and as you pointed out, don't be afraid to keep one or two units back to come on from your own board edge - they can really save your bacon sometimes. Assault units work just as well being hidden on turn 1 and boosting through the shooting phase for a turn 2 assault - as you discovered, bad rolls for an assaulting unit for deep strike can mean you only get 1 turn to affect the game.

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PostSubject: Re: 1500pt battle vs Craftworld Eldar   Tue Jan 13 2015, 21:15

Thanks for the comments all!

@thesaltedwound the spiritseer's invisible death will no doubt live on in our group's infamy Smile

@BlackCadian I still like 'em. It turns out Wraithknights don't like agonisers, and plasma grenades can sometimes be quite nifty in the shooting phase. That said it helps. When the enemy keeps rolling 12s for leadership, and when you're hard up on their edge one bad roll is all you need.

@The_Burning_Eye sage advice. The short range shooty units really do seem to benefit from Derp Strike much more than assault units, since they get to act when they arrive. As happy as I am to see us get another deployment option, I can't help but think that it might be a false economy - spared the immediate pain of taking the alpha strike in the chin, but at the cost of losing the initiative, and never fielding the full army.

Oh well, more practice required Smile
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PostSubject: Re: 1500pt battle vs Craftworld Eldar   Tue Jan 13 2015, 22:30

It's like anything I guess, good in moderation (except plastic crack of course, you need as much of that as possible). For some units it works, for others it's a bit of a trap and only practice will tell you which is which.

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