Sunday, September 5, 2010

Fighting Withdrawal

The lack of supplies and reinforcements has pushed the Defending forces into a corner. They must make a fighting withdrawal to the starport while the Attacker attempts to cut them off and finish them.

Wednesday night I missed the big Bug/Guard dustup, since I was scheduled to play a game with MarioR. We played one of the preview scenarios from Mechani-Kon2 , another local tournament coming up on September 18, put on by AlexB and ThurstonH. Of the three example scenarios, one will be present at the event, so they are a good introduction to the types of missions we will face.

I ran with my Eldar Swordwind. Mario played his Ultramarines, led by Sicarius.

Defender: Hold your ground as long as possible before falling back, escape with as much of your forces intact as possible.

Attacker: Prevent the enemy from falling back, do as much damage to the enemy as possible.

This is a difficult scenario. Six turns in length. The defenders gain VPs only for (1) proximity to objectives calculated at the end of each turn, and (2) for units which withdraw of the table, but only on or after the 4th turn. The attacker gains VPs for proximity to objectives and defender units destroyed/damaged.

We rolled off and the Eldar would defend.

Rats. Nothing in reserve, and all the Eldar skimmers immobile at the start of the game.

Per the scenario rules, I drew an imaginary diagonal line from the northwest to southeast table corners. Three objectives were set up in the southwest half.

I deployed the Dragons and Spiders well forward, to push back the Marine deployment. My plan would be to use the Fire Dragons and Warp Spiders to distract and delay the Space Marines, using the Vypers as a second line of support, also shielding the vulnerable rear armour of the lead Serpents from Deep Strikers. The HQ's hid behind some woods to the south, ready to move up in support of the centre. The Night Spinner and Dire Avengers would lurk in the southwest corner, gaining VPs for the objectives there and shooting at targets of opportunity.


I left a bit of a gap between the Farseer/Autarch duo and the Dragon Serpents. If the Space Marine Dreadnought in its drop pod came down there, it would get a lot of melta love.


Mario combat squadded a unit of Marines, deploying half in some ruins to the north, with a missile launcher. The remainder embarked in their Razorback fighting vehicle, a little closer to the centre of the table.


The Ultramarines started off by dropping their Dreadnought just in front of the objective in the centre of the table. Mario thought about a drop behind the Eldar lines, but gleaned my melta-laden intent. Marine fire killed some Warp Spiders.

In response, the two Dragon Serpents moved up in tandem. One moved Flat Out beside the Dreadnought, capstonong the move of the second Serpent, and blocking movement/fire by the Razorback. The second Dragon Serpent moved up behind and deplyed its Fire Dragons, who blew up the Dreadnought.

The Farseer Fortuned the Autarch and herself, and moved up in support of the Dragons. The Vyper squadron and surviving Warp Spiders moved up and shot up the Combat Squad in the ruins, killing three, including a Missile Launcher dude.

The two Avenger Serpents moved up to the second objective to gain its VPs, but failed to destroy the drop pod with their fire.

The Night Spinner dropped a large blast on the Razorback, failing to damage it, but forcing a Difficult Terrain test the next time it moved.

For their second jump, the Spider Exarch and one Spider jumped back beside the lead Serpent, helping to contest the central objective.


Next turn, the Space Marines received from reserve an Assault Squad led by a Chaplain, and an outflanking Tactical Squad. The jump troops came in from the north. The outflankers rolled and came in from the east, exactly the worst place they could since they would have to move the length of the table to get into the action.

The Razorback declined to move. Instead, the Combat Squad inside the Razorback disembarked to assault the dismounted Fire Dragons. Marine fire pulled the turret off a Wave Serpent. The Fire Dragons lost a man in close combat but their morale held.

The second Fire Dragon unit dismounted. The two lead Wave Serpents pulled back, supported by the Vypers. The Night Spinner also enmeshed the Assualt Squad in monofilament wire. Eldar fire destroyed the Razorback and killed almost half of the Assault Squad.

In the Assault Phase the Autarch assaulted the Combat Squad locked with the Dragons, but only killed one. The Dragons lost another member, leaving a drawn combat.



The Marines then received from reserve an Attack Bike squadron, coming in from the north, Siccarius, who moved up behind them, and a Thunderfire Cannon, which moved on in the northeast corner. Getting revenge for the Razorback, Marine fire wiped out a Dragon Squad; the other Dragon Squad was wiped out in close combat. The Autarch fell back south.

In the bottom of the turn the Autarch rallied and joined the Farseer. They ended up taking cover behind some woods with their second move.


Concentrated Eldar fire wiped out the remains of the Combat Squad from the ruins, and reduced the Assault Squad to just the Chaplain and one jump trooper.


In the fourth turn, the Thunderfire Cannon opened up on the Vypers with a barrage that wiped out the entire unit. Ouch! That's the first time I've lost all three Vypers in a single game. Concentrated melta fire from the Attack Bikes and some lucky close combat rolls destroyed both Fire Dragon Wave Serpents. The Spiders were reduced to just the Autarch.

In just half a turn the game had turned around. With the start of their fourth turn, the Eldar could now start pulling forces off the table. My quandry was in trying to decide what, if anything, to leave behind to further slow down the Marine onslaught. The Eldar had or would gain 350 VPs for objectives, the lone Spider couldn't get off the table this turn, and the Night Spinner was pretty safe in the corner.

The Eldar chose the better part of valour. The Farseer Doomed the Assault Squad and withdrew off the table with the Autarch, followed by both Dire Avenger Wave Serpents. The Night Spinner killed a couple more of the remaining Combat Squad.


The Spider Exarch moved up and gunned down both the Chaplain and the last jump trooper. The Exarch didn't make a second jump, contesting the central objective with his last act of defiance, denying the Marines 50 VPs.


The game's last two turns proceded quickly. The Exarch fell to the guns of the Marines and the Attack Bikes surged forward to control objectives. The Night Spinner withdrew off the table as Mario's Marines consolidated their hold on the three objectives.

At the end of the game, the Eldar had managed to save over half their force for 793 VPs and gained another 350 VPs for objectives, totaling 1143 VPs. However, the Marines themselves gained 300 VPs for objectives, plus the 707 pts worth of units the Eldar lost. 1143-1007=136, shy of the 150 point spread required for a win.

Result = Draw

This was a tense and exciting game. The end was unclear until the final tallies were made.

I liked how each side had some radically different goals. Trying to hold onto objectives added an interesting twist to the proceedings.


MFraser said...

Did Sicarius have any impact at all? I've considered using him in an army list.

DaveV said...

Sicarius and his ability is somewhat random in their impact.

In this game, if the outflanking squad had come onto the western table edge, that could have really screwed up the Eldar defense. Obvious targets would be the Night Spinner and the westernmost objective.

That outflanking ability also gains greater dimension if the outflaking unit is in a Rhino. Consider a full squad armed with a melta gun. That potentially projects power two feet into the centre of the table (move distance plus range of the assault weapon), from either table edge. Your opponent either has to deal with it, so you control their deployment, or ignores it, which will cost him if you (as Sicarius) roll well when deploying from reserve.