Sunday 15 October 2017

Power from Paint: Octoberfest Report

The Cult of the Sand Viper went to war, and did not fare the better for it! The meagre tally of slaves taken in battle has displeased the Archon, but the Dark Eldar are now much wiser to the modern ways of waging war and will be better prepared for next time!

Welcome back to the Vault; its time for the post Octoberfest pictures and thoughts.

The Archon's two aims: Look good, not get killed and give away "Slay the Warlord"
8th Ed 40K has really rejuvenated the player base and Octoberfest saw 28 keen players arrive to wage war with tiny plastic space men.

The tournament would see each player taking part in 4 games, with random pairings for the first round and then subsequent pairings made using the "Swiss Pairs" method, matching players with equal tournament scorings so far. Tournament points were awarded for game results (Win/Loss/Draw) and a tally of Victory Points (points scored in game) recorded to differentiate between players on the same tournament scores.

These aren't blow by blow BatReps, just some of the high and low points and some of the things I learnt along the way.

Game 1: Nurgle Daemons: Retrieval Mission

Round 1 sees me facing against John's Nurgle Daemon army in a fairly straight forward 4 objectives grab game:

Daemons; thousands of them!
 This is a really clever list: It has two big bricks of plague bearer troops (27 and 28 models) who are an utter pain to shift (-1 to hit whilst the unit is over 20 in size, 5+ invuln, 5+ feel no pain).  It's then supported by a bunch of characters who are either providing army buffs, or are pretty killy in their own right.  

And you can't target them with shooting because of the plague bearer screen. So the tactic will be to kill the screen from one flank and pick off the characters as they become "visible" on that side.

It's hard going but it starts to work:

Trying to avoid these gribblies in assault where they will bash my poor skimmers to pieces I box myself in the corner to give another round of shooting and start on the second brick.

Again these are starting to thin out quite nicely:

Alas the game goes to time with the Nurgle Daemons sitting on the 4 Objectives and the Dark Eldar still waiting the opportunity to jump out the contest them. Doh! Loss to the Cult of the Sand Viper.

On a related note, Kanan's Dark Angels are having a similarly bad time with Nurgle Daemons on the table next door! Nurgle doing well will be a theme for the day, but more on that later.

Yes, that Terminator is pretty well done for!

Game 2: The Scouring: Harlequins
My round 2 opponent is Caesar and his force of Eldar Harlequins in a 6 objective mission. Both of us have fast moving forces, but where my list is based around shooting, the Harlequins are more assault focused. Stand back and shoot again then (but remember to grab objectives in the late game)!

The mission has long table deployment; I set up back field to make use of the longer range of my guns and to maximise the distance the Space Clowns have to travel to get into a rumble with my units.

The Harlequins deploy making use of the cover available:

I get first turn and ram the Voidraven bomber straight down into the Harlies deployment zone, dropping the Voidmine onto a unit of Harlequins on foot.

I then promptly lose the flyer as it is assaulted by various skimmers and jet bikes. I really need to learn to be more patient with the beast!  I return the favour by blowing a transport up and starting to apply pressure on the Harlequin forces closest to my table edge.

As the game progresses my forces move onto the objectives, and whilst the Harlequin troops and bikers are starting to become depleted there are some scary HQ types looking to cause a rumpus. They gracefully advance towards the mid field objective.

Whilst having to brave a fleet of skimmers bristling with firepower.

Whilst my forces hold onto the closest objective the remaining skimmer full of Harlequins advances on the top objective, clearing the Ravager who was sitting on it!

In the final reckoning the Dark Eldar hold 3 objectives, whilst the Harlequins hold 2. We roll for which objectives are major and minor; with the Harlies holding both. A win for the Dark Eldar.

Game 3: The Relics; Imperial Guard
Round 3 is a rematch from Mayhem as I face off against Ziad's Imperial Guard who I had played at Mayhem earlier in the year. The mission is a First Founding favourite; where there are three relics (movable objectives) in play as opposed to the normal one.

Ziad is playing a list well suited to this mission; lots of infantry backed up by the usual support characters, drop troops and a myriad of armour (Leman Russes, Manticore and Wyvern artillery pieces). The Guard have also been blessed by the Emperor with a new Codex so there are also a whole load of new stratagems and relics to learn about the hard way. Gulp; going to be a tough game!

Again, back field deployment to make the most of the line of sight blocking cover

Whilst the Guard forces make a fine castle on the opposite side of the table.

Once again I receive the first turn; I deploy my AT units fairly aggressively; trying to knock out the Manticore as that can hit my hidden units, and one of the Russes. The Voidraven again goes deep into the guard back line, taking out an infantry squad for first blood and allowing me to draw the dark scythes onto a Russ.

I want to take out some of the forward infantry squads to force the line to have to advance to the middle for the Relics.

Things do not go according to plan; the Manticore is left with 2 or 3 wounds, and the Russ is barely scratched.  The conscripts make an advance on the central relic, whilst the Voidraven is shot down by Russ battle cannons! (They fire twice a turn now; they are really strong!)

The Venoms spring from cover and start whittling down the Conscripts squad. The guard make great use of a new Stratagem which grants a +1 to armour rolls (and stacks with cover)! And although they take a lot of casualties, a motivational bolt shot to the back of Private Perkins skull by the Commissar keeps them suitably in line.

 The conscripts take the central relic, and the guard AT fire drops the Venoms to the left. The warriors on board are conveniently dumped onto the left side relic (almost as if I had planned that)!  We are approaching time, and it's looking like neck and neck VP wise with both of holding a relic and myself just ahead on First Blood.  Alas the Deep Striking troops had dropped in near my Kabalites, and a cheeky 10" charge from the Stormtroopers following by a vicious beating meant the poor space pixies had to hand over their lunch money, sorry relic to the Imperial's finest bullies. Loss to the Dark Eldar!

Game 4: Cleanse and Capture (Maelstrom): Imperial Guard
Round 4 sees me on the same table, but playing against a different Guard list. I'm getting a horrible feeling of deja vue! Ian is playing a list with a mix of infantry squads, some Russes, a Wyvern, all backed up by a nasty Baneblade variant.

Ian is also using a fantastic combo of Warlord Trait and Relic that allows him to potentially gain Command Points whenever a player uses one!

I've seen how nasty the Russes are so I'm determined to deal with the one on my left. The Ravagers form up a firing squad and the Void Raven flies up to use it's Dark Scythes. The Venoms all advance to make grabs on objectives out the field for better positioning later game.

The Dark Eldar shooting fails utterly! I take a couple of wounds off the Russ, but that's it. None of the Dark Lances wound at all!!! To make matters worse, the guard return fire takes down both of the Dark Lance Ravagers. That'll be most of my AT gone then.

However we are playing a Maelstrom mission (so scoring tactical cards each turn) so I'll play to the cards, ignore the tanks as best I can and avoid getting tabled. Alas I didn't remember to take too many action shots during the game as this was very engrossing, but I did get some pics of the Guard deployment.

The cards were more favourable to myself than my opponent and in the final reckoning the Guard needed to roll a 3 on a D3 VP card to tie the game! Guess what came up; yep, unlucky for me 3, and thus we ended the game on equal points. Draw for the Dark Eldar!

So a just out of the relegation zone 20th or so place for me, plus an honourable mention in the Painting awards! More importantly four cracking games against great opponents.

Top 3 spots were taken by Death Guard forces! There's obviously a lot of strength in the new Nurgley Marine codex. Whilst I didn't play against any of the other Codex forces I'm particularly impressed with the Guard book; it is strong but didn't feel overpowered. I'm looking forward to the Dark Eldar getting similar treatment!  I think there is a bit of a gap between those factions with their own books and the index forces, but as the new codexes are released this should diminish.

I think Dark Eldar are competitive; I just need to learn to play them better (more often), and remember to bring real Dark Lances, not the crappy fake ones used in training. The Voidraven performed a lot better in game 4 where it survived the match, and caused a decent amount of damage to my opponents infantry (TLDR; pick the targets more carefully, it's not that great at AT it turns out).

Thanks for reading, roll on Mayhem 18!

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