Saturday, August 3, 2013

Eldar versus Chaos Marines

Eldar Howling Banshee

A friendly game of 40k down at the Battle Zone this afternoon. I am still getting used to the Eldar codex, so I apologized to my opponent for taking so long to look things up (which happened frequently). It wasn't the stats that I couldn't remember, it was the xenos wargear that kept me checking to verify. It was a learning lesson for me, for sure.
The photo above is one my Howling Banshees, circa mid-90's. I am borrowing my friend's 2nd edition Eldar army and adding to it to make it 6th edition compatible, and it hasn't been too difficult. Here are a few more pics before I talk about the battle:

Eldar Swooping Hawk

Eldar Swooping Hawk (back)

Eldar Striking Scoprions

Eldar Dire Avenger

Not too shabby? Actually, some of these models (especially the Swooping Hawk above) really grab people's attention. I hope to the rest of the army justice. Something to consider about these old paint jobs . . . these were all accomplished by "craft paint" from Wal-mart. The hobby business has come a long way since then, especially with the internet. Every advanced tool a gamer could want is available with just a few clicks away, or through order at the local game store. This was not so 15 years ago, at least not in Central Florida.

Now the battle . . . this is not a battle report. I didn't take notes or snap too many photos. I just wanted to point out a couple of things.

First, my army list was 1,350 points from Codex: Eldar and 500 points from the Dark Eldar codex.
  • Farseer with both Rune upgrades
  • Spirit Seer
  • 5 Howling Banshees with Exarch
  • 5 Striking Scorpions with Exarch and Scorpion Claw
  • 8 Swooping Hawks with Exarch and sun rifle
  • 5 Dire Avengers with Exarch
  • 10 Dire Avengers with Exarch
  • 5 Wraithguard with wraithcannons
  • 5 Wraithguard with D-scythes AND Wave Serpent w/ TL scatter lasers, shuriken cannon, and holofield. 
  • Archon with venom blade
  • 5 Kabalite Warriors w/ Blaster in Raider w/ Dark Lance
  • 5 Kabalite Warriors w/ Blaster in Raider w/ Dark Lance
  • 3 Reaver Jetbikes w/ Blaster
  • Ravager w/ 3 Dark Lances
I felt like I had a lot of units at 1,850. I don't have enough vehicles with my Eldar, so I opted to bring some Dark Eldar allies and get some more anti-tank in the army. My goal is to bring some more heavy hitters in the future, at least 2 more wave serpents, a flyer, and maybe a wraithknight or fire prism grav-tank.

My opponent ran Typhus as his warlord, a big unit of plague zombies, a big unit of CSM marines, then Plague Marines, a land raider, havocs, 3 obliterators, and a hell drake. I wont lie, his army was intimidating with the number of heavy weapons and bolters he had pointed in my direction. 

So what did I learn? First, the Eldar take a lot of book keeping. I bought the Eldar psychic powers deck and this has been very useful because I can just put the powers at the edge of my table and then place the card as its cast next to the unit. You don't know how many times I would have forgotten about a blessing or maladiction if I hadn't placed the card very near the unit in question!

Another thing is learned is that the Eldar's speed really lets you control the flow of battle. Having 4 fast skimmer on the board, reaver jet bikes, and swooping hawks really let me put models where I wanted them to be. A note: I deployed all my Raiders as empty and kept the troops scuttling around the board near my objective (Emperor's Will) to take pot shots and reinforce my line. Keeping them separate effectively doubled the unit count and presented too many targets for my opponent to shoot them all in one phase.

Even the Eldar are on foot were fast. Notice that I only had 1 transport for the Eldar, but I was still able to shift into and out of cover, and even bring reinforcements where they were needed in my deployment area to defend my objective. In fact, my unit of Howling Banshees (with the Farseer attached . . . I know, what?) were effectively out of position for the first 3 turns, but wound up tying up Typhus in assault for the last 3 turns (and saving a lot of Eldar from a needless death).

How did 5 Banshees and a Farseer tie up Typhus? Well, it all has to do with Challenges. First, he had to challenge when he assaulted me and I gladly accepted with my Exarch. I WISH that I'd had Disarming Strike on him like I did earlier, but I had removed it to save points. Typhus used his Destroyer Hive instead of attacking and only two banshees due to some low rolls. Still, with a Leadership of 10 from Farseer, I stayed on an 8. Since my banshee in the challenge didn't die, it rolled over to the next turn... Typhus killed the banshee Exarch, but I still only lost the combat by 1 and stayed in with a modified Leadership of 9.

On my next turn, he challenged again and my Farseer decided to step back; Typhus killed the remaining 2 banshees, but the Farseer made is invulnerable saves to stay alive and, at -2 leadership, made his roll to stay in the fight. The next turn, he and Typhus traded blows and with my invulnerable, I stayed a live for my phase, only finally to be cut down in my opponent's last go.

So there's a lesson here. With a high leadership unit with multiple characters, it can take a lot of turns to chew through a squad! If I could have given that Exarch the disarm skill and then an invulnerable, I might have had the unit alive at the end of the game. MY big mistake, however, was getting the Farseer stuck in there as it put my Warlord at a lot of risk and gave my opponent Slay the Warlord at the end. However, as my Farseer only had Blessing and Maladictions in his list, it didn't hurt his ability to cast, and as he didn't accept a challenge until he was the last alive, he didn't have many wounds allocated to him through multiple rounds of combat. Finally, it was his leadership of 10 that allowed me to stay in the fight longer than I should have. So there you have it.

So how about some snapshots of the battle?

Plague Marines (sorry about the flash!)

Psychic cards in action... BTW those Wraithguard re-roll misses now and have 2+ armor save!

The killing fields... Plague Marines versus Wraithguard.

My Tron inspired Dark Eldar.

Dang, Plague Zombies...

So did I win or lose? Okay, I won. I was able to synergize a few units from turns 4-6 to contest my opponent's objective, while I successfully defended my own. I sacrificed my blog of swooping hawks to distract his CSM's from killing my last 3 striking scorpions (pictured above in a fight with plague zombies), which were able to assault the next turn, and survive long enough to turbo-boost my reaver jetbikes to contest his objective on turn 6.

If he hadn't of shot at the swooping hawks (which he had to), my striking scorpions couldn't have assaulted (which they were lucky to survive the turn... thank you scorpion claw), which would have allowed him to shoot my reavers as they zoomed in to contest.

Haven't people been telling you that Eldar are a finesse army? :)

A couple of closing thought. I hate my own Heldrake. Yes, I let him borrow my model and I was now (for the first time) on the receiving end of that bale flamer. Holy cow, that is a scary unit. If you don't have a dedicated anti-flyer unit (which I didn't) then just be prepared to roll over and die. I only killed it because my opponent dropped it into hover mode so it could keep frying the troops sitting on my objective. Even with hitting it on normal BS, it still took 5 of myf units shooting at it to inflict 3 hull points... twin-linked scatter lasers, 5 D-scythes (hoping for Distorts and getting them!), a blaster, 3 dark lances from a Ravager, and a dark lance from a raider. That thing just kept making that Daemon 5+ save!
The Heldrake that Will Not Die! Night Lords conversion.
On the counter point, D-scythes just eat marines. Even plague marines. Nuff said.

That about does it. Any questions? Any comments? I'd love to hear from the community your thought on Eldar, Heldrakes, and when the two meet in the darkened alley behind the Chinese restaurant.

If you haven't read my in-depth New Eldar Codex Review, you can click the link below... At 10 parts, I really went into detail about the rules, powers, units, and everything.
 Thanks for reading. Murphy Out!

1 comment:

  1. Excellent article! I also used to play eldar in the 2nd edition and have the same models. They were unstoppable. I've never really used them much since, but am keen to start using them again. I like the idea of having a few dark eldar allies. This would be important as I'm a doubles tournament player. How do you think they will do in 7th (6.5!) Ed??