So like many of the other patrons of the Dark City, I played my first game of 8th edition last Saturday and figured I'd pitch everyone the results! Admittedly I was pretty skeptical about just how good the Dark Eldar (drukhari, ugh) would perform in this edition, and like many others was concerned about just how much tactical depth would be left in the game. But I'll get to all of that at the end.
First, the armies!
The Adeptus Mechanicus
(Non-battleforged Army, as we were just wanting to test the mechanics for our first game)
HQ: 1x Tech-Priest Dominus w/ Eradication Ray, Macrostubber, and a Ominssian Axe
Troops: 5x squads of 5 Skitarii Vanguard, with each squad having an Arc Rifle
Elites: 1x Cybernetica Datasmith
Heavy Support: 2x Kastellan Robots w/ 3 phosphor blasters each Anndd...
1x Onager Dunecrawler w/ Icarus Array
1x Onager Dunecrawler w/ Neutron laser
All in all, 1002pts, power level 54
The Kabal of the Splintered Keel!
(Once again, not a battle-forged army)
HQ: 1x Archon w/ blast pistol, agoniser, and phantasm grenade launcher
Troops: 6x squads of 5 kabalite warriors w/ 1 blaster in each squad and phantasm grenade launchers and agonisers on every Sybarite.
Transports: 3x Raiders w/ dark lances ; 1x venom w/ twin Splinter Cannons
Heavy Support: 1x Ravager w/ triple dark lances
Sitting at 1018pts and powerlevel 64
For mission, we just decided to go with "Only War" on a 4x4 table with a few decent LOS blocking terrain pieces and some ruins for cover. Rather than deploy as suggested with each side putting down one unit at a time, we just had a roll off and deployed. (In hind sight, this was probably a mistake)
Before heading into the shop, I'd read up on some of the rules and understood that you now had to dismount from vehicles in the movement phase, giving you a little 3" free move followed by your normal movement. I decided to try and use this to my advantage. I deployed centrally, right on the 12" line with all of my boats dress right dress with the venom carrying my archon in the center, and the ravager on the far left to cover a large sector of fire.
I have to admit, being able to throw multiple squads into a Raider now is absolutely awesome. And as such, all of my Kabalites were teamed up.
My friend deployed fairly conservatively with a long line of infantry, providing a screen for the dunecrawlers, and robots which were neatly tucked into one corner of the board. Almost everything was in range to be buffed by the Dominus, giving him a significant advantage.
Because my opponent had the lower power rating, he was supposed to decide who went first, but with how we'd deployed, we decided to just go for a roll-off (which he won anyway).
Starting off the first game turn, my friend advanced his infantry screen forwards, closing the gap in hopes to get his rad-carbines 18" away from my transports to fire (thankfully I was just barely out of range from them.) During the shooting phase he started laying into my Ravager like there was no tomorrow. Which as a note, that damn Icarus Array puts out an amazing amount of firepower, all of which hit on 2+'s against targets with Fly. Furthermore, because he was less than 6" away from his Dominus, he was able to re-roll 1's to hit, making it almost guaranteed. Almost his entire army dumped shots into the ravager, forcing me to roll 5+ invuln saves (which I surprisingly made a good amount of). But alas, in the end the Ravager still couldn't take the heat and went down, ironically exploding and causing a mortal wound to one of my Raiders. Meanwhile a sneaky little squad of Vanguard had advanced behind the centrally placed terrain and managed to pop off a few shots at one of my Raiders, managing to knock off almost 6 combined with the mortal wounds it had suffered.
Right away I was impressed with just how durable the Ravager had been, but knew that I had to knock out that Icarus array as soon as possible. As planned I dismounted two raiders full of Kabalites 3" on the left flank to meet the Vanguards head on and then shuffled them another 7" forwards for their move, closing the gap and trying to get range on the Icarus array with my blasters. The Venom with my archon meanwhile jumped forwards, getting into prime position to charge an unfortunate squad of Vanguards hiding behind the centrally placed terrain. Likewise my Raider occupying the right flank went straight for the sneaky Vanguards who had maneuvered around to that side, prepping for the charge and also getting some line of sight on the enemy vehicles.
Sadly due to how injured one of my Raider's was, it's shooting wasn't very effective. But I managed to plink 6 wounds off of the Icarus array, dropping it down to half it's health. My blasters meanwhile split their fire, some trying to hit the Icarus array, others managing to kill one Kastellan robot. But then the real glory began.. The Phantasm Grenade launchers. Boy, these things are great. While it's tough to actually wound something with them (I actually did wound a robot with one, making for some good laughs), that -1 leadership is nasty. Knowing that I already had them at a -1, I decided to split my fire into the vanguards, and try to chip away at each squad as much as I could to at least inflict one or two wounds (which I succeeded at through massed splinter fire).
During the charge-phase meanwhile, my Venom charged a single squad of Vanguards, just as my Raider on the right flank charged a similar squad near them. I really liked the -1 rend on the bladevanes, and the fact that our vehicles hit on 4's in close combat (which is fantastic, considering a lot of other vehicles I've seen are hitting on 5's and 6's).
The morale phase was the real killer for the Ad-Mech, with being only leadership 7 base, that -1 from the phantasm grenade launchers (which shot at every squad), and the fact that almost every squad lost 1-2 guys, really hurt them. He lost 4-5 models just from morale alone.
I'm telling you, the phantasm grenade launchers are worth their weight in gold.End of turn 1 pictureThe deadpile at the end of turn 1
My opponent immediately began with his Dominus' "Master of Machines" rule, allowing him to heal his injured Icarus Array dunecrawler for a whopping 3 wounds, essentially halving the damage I did to it. He then moved his robots and datasmith up, trying to get them into close-combat with the venom which held my Archon. Once more his firepower was awesome, my already wounded Raider got pummeled with another barrage of shots, bringing it down to a single wound, whereas another Raider took a Neutron laser shot along with a handful of Phosphor Blaster rounds, taking it down to 5 or so wounds and limiting it's capabilities further.
In his assault phase his datasmith and robot charged into my venom, which was still engaged with a few remaining Vanguards. Thankfully the robot was armed with ranged weapons, and thus in close combat had no real close combat strength (unlike in 7th ed where even base it was AP2) However, the powerfist on the Datasmith caused a tally of wounds to the venom, bringing it to critical levels.
For my movement, I dismounted my archon from the Venom, which in all likelihood was going to be a burning pile of wreckage when that powerfist swung again. Not wanting to risk the possibility of suffering a mortal wound from the venom exploding, I maneuvered my Archon away from the fight, and instead closed on the enemy Dominus. (I wasn't having none of that repair shenanigans). My kabalites meanwhile pressed forwards, closing in, but keeping their distance from the venom so as not to get blasted if the worse might happen. On the right flank my Raider had finished off the remaining vanguards it had charged, and pressed the attack from that side, closing in on my opponent from all angles.
Once again those phantasm grenade launchers did some work, with each enemy vanguard squad getting struck once more by a hail of them and dropping their leadership. The raider's dark-lances all shot at the Icarus array, managing to drop it's wounds by a few, and the Blaster's on the Kabalites managed to chip it down a few more.
In close combat, my Archon charged the enemy Dominus along with a squad of kabalites (not having to charge what you shot at is really phenomenal), whereas two of my raiders charged into the two Dunecrawlers.
Anndd.. this is where the real cluster-frak began. I'll admit that it is pretty cool being able to pick which unit you want to fight with first, and each player alternating back and forth til all combat is done. But damn does it get messy. By this point almost everything on the table was in close combat, and it was all in a fairly small, less than 18"x18" area. We didn't have tokens or counters to keep track of the combat, and thus got a little confused in the process. But it certainly did open some interesting options.
One thing I was able to use to my advantage, was a Kabalite squad engaged with a lone Vanguard, who was fairly close to one of the Kastellan Robots. I knew that I could consolidate 3" after the combat once the vanguard was dead, and potentially keep the combot locked in combat, and thus prevent him from blasting me away with those 3 phosphor blasters. So that was pretty neaty, but it was really damn messy.
Turn 2 final picture
Turn 3 / Final
In the end we managed to do a fair amount of damage to each other, although at the end of the game it just became a close-combat cluster-frak. Which by the way.. turn 3 on PFP gives you +1 to hit rolls in close-combat, making our units particularly lethal. Considering how many agonisers I had across my army, having a 2+ to hit was absolutely amazing as I still needed 6's to wound the remaining dunecrawler and robot. Furthermore, the blast-pistol really held it's own on my archon. It actually felt pretty useful, and I'm definitely going to try fielding it some more.
Apologies for cutting it short, but I figure this is long-winded enough as is. But hey, have some pictures.
- I was pleasantly surprised at the tactical depth available in the game still.
- I thoroughly enjoyed the fact that all units can split-fire now, letting you get the most out of those special weapons.
- I love how cheap it is to field Kabalites and actually give them decent upgrades that now are worth taking.
- The Phantasm Grenade launcher is a must have. It's 3 points for an extra d3 shots at strength 1, that can now wound anything, and reduce the enemy leadership. Plus.. it's an assault weapon, not a grenade, so you can fire it in addition to your splinter rifle/pistol
- Raiders and Ravagers have way more durability than I thought.
- Dark Lances performed pretty well, and were surprisingly cheaper than disintegrators, which was a bit of a bummer, but hey.
- Blasters only doing D3 wounds felt a little weak, but I still love them.
- Where initially I thought that us only having a 14" move on raiders would be awful, I now feel like it's not too bad. I'm still salty that Land Speeder storms move 18" and that Eldar Wave Serpents go 16", but I'll deal.
- Having that fly keyword really is great, being able to bounce out of close combat whenever you want and then shoot your opponent is fantastic.
- Considering how cheap archons are, I'm not even mad that they only get a +1LD bubble
- The fact that we actually have Sybarites with LD8 stock is pretty amazing, I never lost a single model during the morale phase.
- Multiple squads on a transport is pure win. I can't wait to throw 3 squads of trueborn and an Archon onto my Tantalus. (assuming it still has a wonky transport capacity of 16) ; Plus.. dear god, can you imagine what that thing's going to do in close-combat? I would love to see the Tantalus doing mortal wounds on the charge or something similar.
- Despite all my initial skepticism towards 8th edition, I feel like it's not bad, I might even be willing to say that I really like it, hell I might even love it. The rules are simple as can be and written pretty clear and concisely. And hopefully it'll keep the rules-lawyering to a minimum.
Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed!