This past Tuesday, June 22, fellow Conscript MFraser came over to try out his new Space Marine army.
It was the first opportunity he's had to play with all the units he wanted. His army was a straight Codex: Space Marines mechanized force, consisting of (IIRC):
Bike-mounted Librarian (riding with...)
Bike Squad w/ 2 x Melta Guns and a Multimelta Attack Bike (the attack bike was converted to look like one of those two-wheels-in-front trikes you see driving around)
Tactical Squad w/ ML and Flamer, Sgt. w/ PF, mounted in a Rhino APC
Tactical Squad w/ Lascannon and Plasma Gun, Sgt. w/ PF, mounted in a Rhino APC
Tactical Squad w/ Multimelta and Melta Gun, Sgt. w/ PF, mounted in a Rhino APC
Dreadnought w/ Multimelta and DCCW
Dreadnought w/ TL-Lascannon and ML
Predator w/ Autocannon and 2xHB
All in all, balanced and very mobile. If he Combat squads his 10-man Tac squads, Mike will have 6 scoring units.
I ran with the latest incarnation of my Mechdar, which I've been playing for a few months now.
Farseer - Fortune; Doom; Eldar Jetbike; Runes of Warding; Singing Spear
Autarch - Eldar Jetbike; Banshee Mask; Laser Lance; Fusion Gun
6 x Dire Avengers - in Wave Serpent w/ TL EML
5 x Dire Avengers - in Wave Serpent w/ TL Bright Lances
5 x Fire Dragons - in Wave Serpent w/ TL Shuriken Cannons
5 x Fire Dragons - in Wave Serpent w/ Shuricannon and TL Shuriken Cannons
3 x Vyper jetbikes - each w/ Scatter Laser and Shuriken Cannon
5 x Warp Spiders - including Exarch with dual Death Spinners
Fire Prism grav tank
The small Avenger squads are the newest wrinkle, since I used to run full 10-man squads. Note that there's no close combat capability beyond the Autarch's lance. I miss my Howling Banshees, but the army now has a lot of close and medium range firepower. For example, the Vypers throw out 12 to 21 S6 shots at up to 36" a turn, and can be used for late game skimmer-wall or objective-contesting hi-jinks. I still use the Spiders because, (1) they're beautiful models, and (2) they can deep strike and lay down S6 anywhere on the table. There's also some long-range shooting capability that may make an opponent think a little about their moves.
Scenario: Seize Ground - we had 4 objectives (two crates, a dug-in Pathfinder, and a Ghostwarrior) spread across the center and eastern half of the table. Whoever controlled the most objectives with scoring units (i.e. Troops) at the end of the game would win.
Deployment: Dawn of War - I won the roll and decided to go second and played the Reserves Denial ploy, putting everything in reserve, with the Warp Spiders teleporting in. Mike kept one Tac squad mounted up in reserve. He Combat squadded the others, and placed a ML team in the northeast corner, and a Lascannon team in the woods north of the abandoned heavy artillery piece.
At the top of the first turn, Mike's forces (except the lone Tac squad in reserve) came on the table. See photo below, looking east, with Mike's forces on the left, northern, table edge .
From west to east, there's the Predator, the bikes, a Rhino with a Combat Squad on board, the Lascannon/ML Dread, the Lascannon team, the Multi-melta Dread, the ML team, and another Rhino with a Combat Squad aboard.
Top of the second turn, Mike's reserve unit came on in the northwest corner. He advanced the Predator in the middle, with the bikes behind, and the other Combat Squad in a Rhino advanced south into the northeast table quarter.
I decided to use the Autarch's "+1" for Eldar reserves rolls. Everything came on except the Vypers and the Warp Spiders. I pushed the two Fire Dragon Serpents flat out in the centre and the west, to gain cover saves. The Avenger Serpents came on in the southwest corner, protected by terrain. The Prism came on centrally, to pot shot the Marine centre. The Farseer and Autarch came on in the southeast corner, hiding behind a hill. Fire from the Serpents immobilized and stunned the Predator.
Top of third turn, Mike pulled back the bikes, to respond to my deep thrust with the Fire Dragons. He moved up the western Rhino to support the Predator. Concentrated Marine firepower shook the Serpent in the centre and pulled off its turret, but it was still free to move.
The Spiders decided to show up in the bottom of the third turn, dropping beside the big artillery piece. The Farseer Fortuned the Autarch, who sped off 24" towards the easternmost Rhino. I advanced one Dragon Serpent to the west of the Predator, moving up the EML Serpent in support. In the centre, the other Dragon Serpent advanced and disembarked their infantry. The Brightlance Serpent moved east.
Eldar shooting pulled the turret off the Predator. I targeted the centre Rhino (not the Dreadnought walker) with the Dragons , to keep those scoring Troops deep in their deployment zone - the Rhino blew up, but the Marines survived to hunker down in the crater left by the Rhino's passing. The Fire Prism killed a couple of the Lascannon team with a focused shot. The Spiders merely shook the 2-gun Dreadnought (blast that "Extra Armour").
Top of the fourth, the eastern Rhino-mounted Combat squad dismounted to shoot up the Autarch, who received a wound. The Librarian contemplated casting a power, but the presence of the Runes of Warding dissuaded him. The bikes moved up and concentrated fire wiped out the dismounted Dragons . To the west, the other Dragon boat went down to melta fire from the mounted Tac squad, firing out of their Rhino, but 4 Dragons survived.
The Eldar responded by a general advance, including the Vypers (which finally showed up). The Serpent of the now-dead Dragons shifted east a little, to both contest the objective and free up space for the Warp Spiders to move up. The Farseer moved up in support of the Autarch. The Autarch moved over the combat squad, to set up an assault from their rear. The Spiders jumped towards the Lascannon guys. The surviving Fire Dragons ran toward the western Rhino and the Predator, which were both immobile, to assault them (at the time, I thought auto hitting two stationary vehicles would be better than firing at one). The EML Serpent moved up in support, contesting the northwest objective (hopefully this would draw some heat off the centre and east). The Brightlance Serpent moved flat out east, towards the objective (the Ghostwarrior) in the southeast table quarter.
Eldar firepower killed three of the Combat squad in the wreckage and one Lascannon squad guy. The Autarch killed three Marines with her lance, and then survived the Sgt.'s power fist. Four Meltabombs merely shook the Rhino and pulled a weapon off the Predator.
Time to switch dice.
Top of the fifth turn, the Marines to the west dismounted by the objective there and opened up on the Fire Dragons, killing three of them. One Dragon was left, but his morale held. The Combat squad survivors in the wreck moved into the woods, to get near the other objective and the Lascannon guy. The bikes moved west and wrecked the EML Serpent, but some Avengers survived. A Dreadnought wrecked the other contesting Wave Serpent. A missile managed to shoot the turret off the Fire Prism. The lone close combat was inconclusive (lots of 1's and 2's rolled).
Bottom of the fifth, the Fire Prism moved flat out behind the wrecked skimmer, to create a wall pinching off the eastern objectives from the bikes. The other Wave Serpent moved flat out northeast to claim the Ghostwarrior objective and threaten the Pathfinder objective. The last Fire Dragon on the table finally destroyed the Predator. The Farseer moved up behind the Multimelta Dread destroying it with her Singing Spear. The Warp Spiders moved up near the woods, contesting the objective there, and then shot at and wiped out the two remaining members of the Combat squad.
Each side held one objective; Mike rolled for random game length, but the game continued.
Top of the sixth turn, the bikes roared back east and shot up the Spiders, leaving only the Exarch alive. The ML team in the northeast fired at and downed the Farseer. The Tac squad moved into woods by the the objective, and gunned down the last Dragon.
In the Assault phase, the power fist sergeant fighting the Autarch finally died. The Lascannon guy was over 3 inches from the nearest objective, so Mike moved him into assault with the Spider Exarch; if that Marine survived, that would claim another objective. The Bikes assaulted the Exarch, too. The Exarch (Initiative 6!) concentrated all his attacks on the Lascannon guy, killing him with a punch to the throat; as the Eldar war priest started kicking the Marine corpse, the Librarian stuck a Force Sword in the Exarch's kidney, sending him into eternity...
Bottom of the sixth turn, and the Eldar had to get busy. The Vypers moved flat out towards the northwest objective, contesting it. The last Avenger Serpent moved back south, using the hull of the Fire Prism as cover, and still claiming the southernmost objective. The Autarch finally killed the last Marine she was in combat with, and consolidated towards the ML team.
The score was one objective to nothing in favour of the Eldar, but the random game length roll decreed a seventh and final turn.
Everything the Marines had that could bear opened up on the Vypers, leaving a lone Vyper contesting that objective.
The ML team opened up on the Autarch, wounding her, but she remained stoic.
We didn't need to play out the bottom of the seventh turn, since the score remained Eldar-1, Marines-0.
Result: Eldar Victory
This was an exciting and tense game. The Eldar game plan was to keep the Marines bottled up in the northern half of the board, and to try and claim or contest objectives in the end game. Accurate Space Marine shooting and an extended game length made the outcome less than certain, with the outcome riding on the results of a series of single die rolls.
Thanks a lot Mike; I look forward to our next game!