Episode 74: You Know What's Fun to Play Against? Anything but Space Marines

Missed my previous posts? Check them out below!


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Once again I have neglected my Battle Report duties as I've been testing my new list. I did play two games prior to this one, one was a complete stomp in my favor and one was a tie. I really wanted to write up the tie but I didn't take enough pictures as we played on a weekday and my FLGS closes pretty early outside of summer hours. The game should have been an easy win for me but I made a lot of mistakes with positioning, target selection, and so on which led to a draw, very close to a loss for me. On a positive note it is fun to see myself getting better with this new style of list and I think it's opening my eyes more to the game as a whole.

Sometime soon I'm going to push out an article on list iteration as I think that's something that doesn't get talked about enough. List building is a big part of 40K, same as any wargame, but generally someone will make a list and then I don't see them know where to go from there. That's where various forums come into play so people can get feedback but I see a lot of misunderstanding on how to both give and receive feedback about armies. Hopefully that's something that will be useful, I'll be using my own Imperium list as an example.

For the game today I was against someone I haven't played before, Matt, and his Eldar/Ynaari hybrid. I was very excited to play against the new Ynaari because they're a bit of a mystery after the FAQ, taking some of the heavier nerfs that Games Workshop dished out. Matt will also be attending the upcoming GT that's happening in my area, which I would love to go to but unfortunately will likely be unable to get the models for. It seems like every time there's a local major event I'm either already stuck into some other event or there was a major shakeup in the game and I'm trying to get my army back together. Ugh. Anyways onto the lists!



Imperium

Battalion - Blood Angels

 Captain w/ Jump Pack, Thunder Hammer, Storm Shield (The Angel's Wings)
Captain on Bike w/ Thunder Hammer, Storm Shield
Captain on Bike w/ Thunder Hammer, Storm Shield

7 Vanguard Veterans Jump Packs, 2 Plasma Pistols (Each) [Proxied]
5 Death Company w/ Jump Packs, 4 Power Fists, 5 Chainswords, 1 Boltgun
5 Death Company w/ Jump Packs, 4 Power Fists, 5 Chainswords, 1 Boltgun

5 Primaris Intercessors w/ Auxillary Grenade Launcher, Sergeant w/ Chainsword [Proxied]
5 Scouts w/ Bolt Pistol and Combat Knife, Sergeant w/ Boltgun and Chainsword [Proxied]
5 Scouts w/ Bolt Pistol and Combat Knife, Sergeant w/ Boltgun and Chainsword [Proxied]


Battalion - Catachans

Colonel "Iron Claw" Straken
Primaris Psyker w/ Psychic Maelstrom, Terrifying Visions

Astropath w/ Laspistol, Psychic Maelstrom

Infantry Squad w/ Mortar, Sergeant w/ Chainsword
Infantry Squad w/ Mortar, Sergeant w/ Chainsword
Infantry Squad w/ Mortar, Sergeant w/ Chainsword
Infantry Squad w/ Mortar, Sergeant w/ Chainsword
Infantry Squad w/ Mortar, Sergeant w/ Chainsword
Infantry Squad w/ Mortar, Sergeant w/ Chainsword


Battalion - Catachans

Company Commander w/ Boltgun, Power Sword
Company Commander w/ Boltgun, Power Sword, Karov's Aquila [Warlord w/ Grand Strategist]

Sergeant Harker
Ministorum Priest w/ Boltgun, Chainsword

Infantry Squad w/ Mortar, Sergeant w/ Chainsword
Infantry Squad w/ Mortar, Sergeant w/ Chainsword
Infantry Squad w/ Mortar, Sergeant w/ Chainsword
Infantry Squad w/ Mortar, Sergeant w/ Chainsword
Infantry Squad w/ Mortar, Sergeant w/ Chainsword
Infantry Squad w/ Mortar, Sergeant w/ Chainsword


Aeldari

Battalion - Ynaari

Yvraine w/ Word of the Phoenix, Gaze of Ynnead [Warlord w/ Tenacious Survivor]
Autarch Skyrunner w/ Banshee Mask, Laser Lance [Alaitoc]
Warlock w/ Jinx [Alaitoc]

20 Guardians w/ 2 Scatter Lasers [Alaitoc]
5 Rangers [Alaitoc]
5 Rangers [Alaitoc]

9 Shining Spears (Exarch w/ Star Lance) [Saim-Hann]


Battalion - Alaitoc

Farseer w/ Guide and Doom
Warlock w/ Quicken
Warlock w/ Protect

10 Guardian Defenders
10 Guardian Defenders
10 Guardian Defenders

Wave Serpent w/ Vectored Engines, Spirit Stones
Wave Serpent w/ Vectored Engines
Wave Serpent w/ Vectored Engines
Wave Serpent w/ Vectored Engines

Auxillary Support Detachment - Cabal of the Black Heart

Ravager w/ 3 Disintegrator Cannon

NOTE
The Auxillary Support Detachment is in because Matt thought it unlocked Stratagems and he hadn't been told otherwise when posting the list around. We found that this is not the case and he will be revising the list.



Mission and Deployment
ITC Mission #1
Vanguard Strike

Imperium Secondary Objectives
Recon, Big Game Hunter, The Reaper

Aeldari Secondary Objectives
Recon, Headhunter, Old School


As is very typical with my tables I placed two sizeable pieces that break up LoS in the center with a further medium piece in each quarter and two small pieces along the center-line. I'll say it over and over that it's important to break up LoS as much as you can for more interesting games and it's good to have some Cover available as models move up. This incentivizes movement which makes for a much more entertaining and balanced game experience.

Seeing Matt's list he had very easy Secondaries to pick and honestly was giving me a lot of choice. My army isn't very good at Old School in a lot of matchups so I decided to leave that one alone, I also wanted to forego Headhunter and focus on getting better at Recon. Normally Headhunter would be the better pick in this game because there's not a lot to stand between me and the Characters but I'm still learning and getting down muscle memory.

Matt played into what I changed the list to do which is make Death By a Thousand Cuts less of an automatic selection while not leaving much else. Headhunter will be popular against me but I think in most games I can keep the Guard Characters safe while something like Recon plays into what my army wants to do, fight and use Rapid Fire.

Deployment went pretty much as I expected with me deploying all the Guardsmen on the line (as much as I could at least) with the Bike Captains also forward. My Warlord hid in some ruins on my home Objective along with the Psykers and Primaris Marines. I didn't want any exposure to Rangers until I can thin them out as Guard Characters are very squishy, this does prevent me from getting into Deny the Witch rang but since there are no Dark Reapers it's not that big of a deal. All the rest of the Blood Angels went into Reserves although I should have kept the Jump Pack Captain on the table for Turn 1 shenanigans.

Matt deployed a bit back from the line with all the Characters and small Guardian units in Wave Serpents, leaving one empty. The big Guardian unit went into Deep Strike via Stratagem while the Ravager hid in the back. Once I'd see all of Matt's Deployments I put my Scouts in the top-left Objective (my perspective) and the center-right. Finally the Rangers went on the extreme right flank (my perspective) and the top-center.

I ended up winning the roll to go first and took it since Matt's list is not far off what I expect from Ynaari in Tournaments and I want to see what damage I can do. Matt was unable to Seize and away we went!








Pre-Game Thoughts

 With the emphasis in Matt's list being speed I think this is a very positive matchup for me, high movement models are horribly countered by Deep Strike. He's also going with the non-Reserve Shining Spear package, which I don't think is worth running, but it will Charge me on Turn 1 if it wants to and there's not much I can do about that. Fortunately Shining Spears are extremely squishy even with Protect so removing them should be no problem.

The Rangers are a higher priority for me this game than they usually are because of all my Guard Characters, unfortunately Matt wasn't too brazen with them so I can't go for an early Advance and shoot with the Guardsmen or something along those lines. Top priority are the Wave Serpents because of their Mortal Wound output (very bad for the Captains) and getting them down opens up the Guardians to my Guardsmen. Overall I don't much care about the Psykers, they don't have many powerful units to synergize with once the game gets going.

Going first is certainly a big boon as my army is almost unstoppable compared to Matt's on Objectives within this Mission. That means I can get Turn 2 earlier for my Deep Strike and also move up the board before I start taking some shots.

As for mistakes I did make a few which I chalk up to still learning the army. I should have used Death Visions of Sanguinius on all three Captains as this is a very Vehicle heavy list and the extra attack on the Charge is huge for being able to drop Wave Serpents. I also should have deployed the Jump Pack Captain as I stated, worst case he just moves up but I can gauge if I need to suicide him in to take out a Wave Serpent. I think if there were Reapers in the list I would do that but in this game there isn't a juicy enough target.



Turn 1 - Imperium

 True to my plan I Advanced with nearly everything, moving all the Guardsmen and support Characters up except the Psykers and Warlord. My Bike Captains moved up a bit so as not to expose themselves to shooting and early Serpent Shield assassinations. The Primaris Marines and left Scouts moved onto the Objectives a bit more but otherwise stayed back.

In the Shooting Phase I used Move, Move, Move on four units in the front to push forward more, giving me Recon and control over the center of the board. My left Bike Captain sniped out a Ranger but otherwise everyone had Advanced or had no range/line of sight to anything. With that I passed the turn, scoring for holding an Objective but not for killing anything. I also picked up a Recon point.

Score
2-0 for Imperium






Aeldari - Turn 1

 Matt was quick to Advance all his Wave Serpents, getting in my face just as much as I was getting in his. The right unit of Rangers also Advanced, moving away from my Guardsmen and more towards the top-right. All of the Psykers had disembarked and moved forward a bit, Yvraine also Advanced up but held the rear of the army. The Shining Spears also Advanced, using Warriors of the Raging Winds to be able to Charge later. As I remarked to Matt, that was an LVO winning move. Finally the big Guardian unit came down, getting as much line of sight on my forward Scouts as possible.

The Psychic Phase saw Protect and Quicken used on the Shining Spears, running them on top of the leftmost large building. Word of the Phoenix went onto the large Guardian unit (via a Command Re-roll), allowing them to kill a few Scouts and Guardsmen. Matt then put Guide on the same unit, calling out his order of operations error as he did so.

Shooting saw the Scouts get leveled by the Guardians shooting normally while the Shining Spears sniped a few shots down from the building, although most of them couldn't see anything. I also lost two Guard units to the Wave Serpents/Ravager and some miscellaneous Guardian shots, overall I took about the damage I expected to take.

A Charge goes out from the Shining Spears, having multiple targets to declare that they can't fail thanks to the FAQ clarification. I shot one down with Overwatch but the Spears get into melee with Harker, my Company Commander, the Priest, and three Guardsmen units. In Combat I lose all the Characters as Matt focuses them down and I don't really make any Invulnerable Saves to try for a Command/Grand Strategist re-roll. Straken punches one of the Shining Spears off his bike while the Guardsmen all bounce off the 2+ Saves.

Matt scores for Kill, Kill More, and Hold but I get Hold More. He also netted three Characters which makes maxing out Headhunter all but certain, Recon also goes up on the board thanks to the Shining Spears and Rangers.

End of Round Thoughts

 Well I got sloppy with my positioning of the Characters which allowed Matt to go in and nab a bunch of them. In a way this benefited me as they're now far from him and all but certain to die next turn, Matt only went for that Charge because of how many Characters he could grab. If I was going for a bait I think I'd offer up the Commander and the Priest but I just made an error and left them open. Certainly something to keep an eye out for in the future!

Overall the turn went as I expected. The Wave Serpents did minimal damage, as they should, although Matt could have positioned the Autarch to give out re-rolls. I was also puzzled by the Ranger movement, the Guardsmen that were threatening them got removed as I expected and they could have contributed onto Straken or something. I did think it was a smart play to move the Wave Serpents up, obviously Matt pays for Vectored Engines but if they stayed back I can Charge them pretty easily with Death Company still and then pile into all kinds of stuff. This way he preserves the backfield at worst.

Score
8-3 for Aeldari









Imperium - Turn 2

 Once again all the Guardsmen moved up but didn't Advance this time, hoping to act as Overwatch buffers. My left Bike Captain zoomed up on the Rangers while his counter-part cushioned himself between two Wave Serpents. The Primaris Marines and Psykers left the comfort of their ruins as I expect the Rangers to be less of an issue after this turn and I need some Mortal Wounds on the Shining Spears. After some consideration I Fall Back with everything that the Shining Spears are tying up. Finally I bring all the Reserves in with the Vanguard Veterans and Captain dropping near the Shining Spears, one Death Company unit on the building in the right-center and another Death Company unit along the bottom-right.

In the Psychic Phase I cast Psychic Maelstrom on the Shining Spears, only doing one wound even after a Command re-roll to cast it and a Grand Strategist re-roll for damage. (This is illegal but I didn't know until I looked it up later). Smite finished off the damage Spear, leaving me a bit nervous about my damage output.

For Shooting I forgot to do Orders but didn't take it back despite Matt allowing me to do so, I try to never take back mistakes as it builds bad habits. All the Vanguard Veterans unloaded, Overcharged, into the Shining Spears which killed all of them except the Exarch (through a Command re-roll on Saves) while I suffered no losses thanks to the Captain. Shots from the Primaris Marines, Captain, and Straken brought the Exarch down to one wound. Lasguns and Mortars killed 8 Guardians through some poor rolls, no Harker, and no Orders.

For Charges I put a Guardsmen unit into two Wave Serpents, losing a guy from Overwatch. I failed Charges with the Vanguard Vets, the Captain, and the Primaris Marines into the Exarch but lost nothing from Overwatch. Each Death Company unit got onto a Wave Serpent while avoiding Overwatch due to being on top of the building and getting into something that was already tied up. Finally both Bike Captains Charge into Rangers and a Wave Serpent respectively.

In Combat I managed to kill only 2 Rangers with the Captain while the Guardsmen bounced off. My other Captain used Red Rampage to remove his Wave Serpent while the one near the bottom of the board took 6 Wounds. Finally between first attacks (which were not in Captain range) and Honor the Chapter I was able to blow up the other Wave Serpent. Three Guardians across two units died from falling out and I was able to tie up both units with the Captain and the Death Company. My Guardsmen also managed to tag the large Guardian unit via Pile In but I only lost two from their attacks.

In Morale the Exarch fled ever after a Command re-roll as did four Guardians from the larger unit. For scoring I picked up two Big Game Hunters, Recon, and Kill/Hold.

Score
8-8 Tied













Aledari - Turn 2

 Working with a lot fewer models now Matt started the Fall Back train, getting out with all the Guardians who are tied up except with the Guardsmen while the Rangers moved out as well. Both Wave Serpents moved away didn't/couldn't Advance after the last Guardian unit hopped out. The Ravager came forward a bit along with the Character contingent, the Autarch staying on the right side.

Smite range out from all the Characters, bringing my left Bike Captain to two wounds and killing a few Death Company. Guide also went on the undamaged Guardians but Doom failed through a Ghosthelm re-roll. Shooting went by pretty fast as the Bike Captain died to the Wave Serpent and Guardians while all the Death Company went down to the Ravager and some miscellaneous shots as well as Serpent Shields.

The Autarch Charged my Guardsmen while everyone else stayed put. In Combat I lost all but the Sergeant from the Guardsmen unit but did nothing back. I then used Insane Bravery on the Sergeant to keep him around as this gave me Kill More.

For scoring I got Kill More and Hold More while Matt picked up Kill, Hold, and maxed out Headhunter.

End of Round Thoughts

 So far my plan is working perfectly and next turn I should be able to start nailing down some of the last threats such as the Ravager and Wave Serpents. With all the Guardians out and my Guardsmen so close I can negate a lot of the Alaitoc Trait and should be able to get rid of those units as well.

Matt made a mistake not using Insane Bravery on the Spear Exarch during my turn, which he noted, as that would have allowed it to run and hide. I also should have done a better job with Pile In/Consolidation for my Death Company, I often forget they get to do both again with Honor the Chapter. While I don't think I could have surrounded any Guardians to preserve the unit it's still a good habit to get into and makes it difficult to prevent a unit being tied up in certain situations.

Score
11-10 for Aeldari






Imperium - Turn 3

 Once again all my Guardsmen moved up while the Psykers Advanced. The Primaris Marines also moved up, leaving one guy on my Objective, while the Scouts held still. The remaining Bike Captain zoomed into the thick of things and the Jump Pack Captain used Upon Wings of Fire, ultimately redeploying in the backfield to threaten Yvraine and the Farseer. My Vanguard Veterans also moved left to finish off the damaged Wave Serpent.

Psychic Maelstrom went very hot, doing 5 wounds to the Wave Serpent while a Smite left it with one left. For Shooting I did First Rank Fire, Second Rank Fire on my front units via Straken, removing almost all the Guardians when the Guardsmen had finished. The Wave Serpent then got finished off with normal Plasma shots.

For Charges my Bike Captain made it into the Ravager undamaged while the other Captain got into Yvraine. At this point Matt conceded the game.





Post-Game Thoughts

 I think I made a few errors at the end of the game as Matt had been talking about calling it. I should have put both Captains into Vehicles in order to limit the amount of running away that the Eldar can do, although with Upon Wings of Fire my Vanguard Veterans could have likely brought the Wave Serpent down on Turn 4, or at least damaged it. Yvraine was of no use to me as her powers are now useless and she's basically a Smite bot, I've just always wanted to kill her!

Looking the game over I don't know much of what Matt could have done differently on a macro level. Getting stuck in with the Shining Spears was probably the only big mistake, he did get points out of it but those could have been better used to hunt the Vanguard Veterans or something. If that's what it came down to I can easily block for them though, Matt just didn't have the firepower to chew through my Guardsmen.

I played pretty well, definitely made some positioning mistakes that cost me here and there with the Shining Spear Charge being the big one. Overall my army movement and target selection was on point and I knew what I had to do to win. This was the first game I moved the Guardsmen up as aggressively as I could and I think that's going to be the usual playstyle, it's very hard to most armies to deal with that many bodies running at them and tying things up. Absorbing Overwatch and denying shooting also really helps my Blood Angels live longer.

As far as lists go, I'm not sure what to do with Ynaari. Dark Reapers are VERY expensive now, you're looking over 500 Points for a max unit and two mins which doesn't even factor in Yvraine, a Farseer, 1-3 Warlocks, and two Wave Serpents, most of which is mandatory. That's well into 1100-1200 Points just for that! I really don't like the Guardians, they just die too easily and don't do enough work, I'd probably stick with Rangers as they live through a good amount of attacks and can be placed on Objectives. Running one big unit of Reapers and one big unit of Shining Spears seems very viable, I'd probably go with ~6 though. Ynaari is feeling a bit dead though, they just meltdown if almost any Psychic Power doesn't go through when you look at the cost of their big units. They'll certainly be around but I'd be surprised to see them at the top tables regularly, at least for the moment.

My list performed very well now that I started playing it correctly, imagine that. I really like the smaller Death Company units compared to one big one, it lets me hit in more areas which is what the army needs. Giving them all Chainswords also makes the units multi-purpose so I'll never be left out in the cold. The Vanguard Veterans were a surprise hit, I took them because when you do the math versus points they're better against standard Vehicle/Monster profiles than anything Guard can buy, including Lascannon Heavy Weapon Teams (which are awful). They work so incredibly well with Blood Angels because you can re-deploy them to negate their 12" range, it's easy to get Captains around them (in my list) and they get Chapter Tactics which makes them viable in melee.

For revisions I'm still considering if the Priest is worth it and also looking at the Blood Angel Battalion. Having +1/+2 Attacks matters in some matchups for the Guardsmen but I don't know if those are common enough to warrant the cost and the extra Character/Deployment. I was testing a unit of Bullgryn, who are amazing but don't work well in my list, which made him a lot better but now he might get side-lined. For Troops the Primaris Marines are supposed to be durable backline Objective holders that can also melee it up when they need to, Scouts on the other hand are for getting on the hard to grab Objectives while also being able to get into melee when needed. I don't think I'd ever put them as close as I could to my opponent, it's too risky, but the option is nice. So far I think the split I have works well.

I have another game on Friday this week so I'm hoping to get a few less proxies and get another test game in. I'm getting near a finished product at this point and I honestly think this type of build is Tier 1 as far as competition goes, the only known thing that I feel bad against is triple Necron Vault. However anyone who thinks that list isn't getting nerfed in November and wants to spend the money on it can be my guest. Anyways thanks for reading and I will be back soon with another game.
 

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