I'm just gonna jump right in, my TAC list is here
I opted for heavy reserves on this occasion – I was seriously considering putting all my lances on the table on turn 1, but figured in the end that it might be sensible to keep them out of harms way in the early stages. This may have been a mistake…
My deployment basically revolved around two key points. First was making that that as much as possible was in cover in case my opponent stole the initiative. Second was having as many anti tanks shots as I reasonably could on turn 1. The ravager deployed behind LOS blocking terrain, Talos unit was in cover and the Scourges were in a ruin. The only models that didn’t have a natural cover save were the reavers, but they were placed on the board edge so that any scatter would likely see the template either miss or scatter off the table.
My opponent left his command tanks behind the aegis line, and infantry squads supporting the wyverns. The veterans took up position in a ruined building (missed that off the map)
Turn 1 the Talos and Scourges moved forwards, though were still out of range of the command tanks, so only the Ravager opened fire on the autocannon variant, scoring a penetrating hit that was saved by the aegis line. The reavers opened fire on the infantry squad in front of them (wyverns were out of melta range) killing five, though they passed their morale check.
In response, the command tanks barged over the aegis line, with infantry units moving forwards also, and one of the solitary wyverns pulling into the aegis line park.
The wyverns opened fire on the reavers, killing them all, and the rest of my opponent’s fire (including Pask’s punisher) killed 1 Talos, and took a wound off the second.
Turn 2 and my reserves started arriving – the Succubus and grotesques (R3) dropped from their webway portal behind the ruined building, The Shrike (TS) arrived on the right flank to support the Talos against the veteran squad, and the Vanishing Death also took aim at the tank park in the centre of the board.
A storm of fire opened up on the centre of the board, and when the smoke cleared, Pask’s punisher was a fizzing wreck, and a hull point had been removed from the Exterminator. The Razorwing also opened fire on the wyvern next to the veteran squad, hoping that the dark lances would hurt it and scattering missiles would cause a few casualties on the adjacent squad. Of course, the missiles ended up being pretty accurate and only caused on wound, while the dark lances either failed to hit or to pen.
Guard turn 2 and the Succubus’ raider went down, whilst 2 hull points on The Shrike and one on the Vanishing Death, and the Wyverns once again proved their worth taking out 4 of the Scourges. Both vendettas arrived this turn
Turn 3. The Buzzard arrived and in an uncharacteristic display on confidence, I placed it within scatter range of the edge of the board. Thankfully it scattered in the right direction. Having jinked last turn, The Vanishing Death surged forward, putting itself right into the path of the first Vendetta, though failed to hit with its snap shot dark lances. The Shrike also failed to do any damage, and the ravager was ineffective again (1 hit, no damage). The sole remaining Talos failed to hit anything, despite being twin linked, and the lone scourge failed his morale check and kept running, missing with his snap shot as he ran (ironically, having failed the morale check for ‘all on your own’, I then rolled a double one for his fall back move – don’t you just love dice games???) Other fire took out five men from the rear infantry squad and 3 from the veteran squad.
In the combat phase, the grotesques and succubus charged the leman russ and wrecked it, causing two hull points on its rear armour.
The Shrike fell this turn, after a special weapon squad had toasted two of its passengers. The Buzzard also took fire, losing two hull points and jinking, and wyvern fire killed a single grotesque.
Turn 4 and things were getting stretched. The succubus split from the grotesques and finished off the guard squad in the ruins, though the grots failed their charge against the other infantry squad (by one inch!). Combined fire from the Vanishing Death and the Ravager finally killed a wyvern, and the Scourge kept running.
The ravager finally came crashing down in flames, as a single lascannon shot the penetrated the ruins it was hiding in and caused a catastrophic explosion. The second vendetta manoeuvred to get a shot at the succubus and though it failed to find a good angle, the infantry squad that had avoided the charge of the grotesques in the last turn launched a krak grenade through the window to instant kill her. The Wyverns once again launched a nightmare barrage, causing 16 wounds on Daryth’s Death Dealers in front of the veteran squad, though a combination of armour and feel no pain saved 8 of those, leaving two alive. Heavy flamer fire from the wyvern at the back of the board finally laid The Buzzard to rest, and caused a second casualty amongst Kraxis’ Viper on board.
Turn 5. The Scourge became fearless and therefore automatically rallied this turn, though failed to hit with its snap shot again. With no shooting as my units positioned themselves for charges, the Grotesques ruined the vendetta that had been hovering around the ruined building, Kraxis’ Vipers made it into combat with the infantry squad at the back of the board, and Dar’yth’s Death Dealers charged the platoon command squad that had dropped onto the ruin (not showing on the map for some reason). Overwatch fire from their meltas killed one and the second fell to the squad’s attacks.
In what turned out to be the final turn of the game, the command squad moved towards the solitary scourges, a melta shot vapourising him, and the second vendetta positioned itself to block an easy route for the grotesques to pursue. The wyverns again poured fire into the grots and managed to remove one, leaving two wound models left. The combat between Kraxis’ Vipers and the infantry squad ended, as Kraxis Vipers ran down the much slower guardsmen.
With that, the game ended, a 5-2 victory going to the Astra Militarum.
So what lessons did I learn here? Well first and foremost, if I’m going first, having lances on the table is important. The ability of the Dark Eldar transports to deep strike is huge, but against an army with this much armour I needed to start killing them early. There was plenty of cover to take advantage of to give me 3+ saves (night fighting was on in the first turn) and I should have had the courage of my convictions.
Second, don’t separate off your warlord from her T5 3W bodyguards. Yes, she wiped the guard squad that she charged, but I coughed up a victory point for the honour of killing four guardsmen in combat.
Third, Talos are tough, but they are very slow. I can’t think of many two model units that could shrug off all the fire from Pask’s squadron (20 shots from punisher cannon, 9 from heavy bolters and 3 from a heavy stubber and a Leman Russ Exterminator, autocannon 4 shots, 1 multi melta and a lascannon) for only suffering 4 wounds.
Fourth, Focus fire is also important. On my turn 2 I managed to wreck Pask’s punisher and take a hull point off the Exterminator, but after that I split my fire too much between the available targets and ended up not doing enough damage to any of them.
Finally, I need to start rolling more averages! My Ravager has, yet again, proved that its gunners are possibly the worst in all of Commorragh, with only a single penetrating hit in the game, which was saved by the aegis line.
Turn 3 really hurt me, with 4 normal lance shots, a twin linked haywire blaster and 3 snap firing lances I’d have expected to do at least a little bit of damage to some tanks, but everything either missed completely or failed to penetrate, meaning my depleted resources were up against it in the following turns.
It’s not all doom and gloom though (at least not yet), the grotesques did me more than proud, taking out nearly 350pts worth of units for only a 140pt investment (I’m not counting the Succubus or their Raider here of course) and all in all I think the list performed pretty well – the four wyverns were always going to cause me problems with all those re-rolls and I should almost certainly have reserved the bikes until I’d whittled them down a bit.
Plenty to learn, but I don’t think I need to change the list just yet.