Monday, February 18, 2013

Darkness Falls...

Don't mess with the boys in blue...
Calgar strode across the lava field, the massive Armor of Antilochus allowing him to easily step over the veins of lava that criss-crossed the blackened landscape.  His thundering steps slowed to a stop, and he lifted his gaze towards the skies.  Volcanic ash formed low-hanging clouds that partially obscured the jagged outcroppings of rock that jutted from the earth.  It was no wonder that the Dark Eldar were utilizing this area as a base of operations for conducting their raids across the planet.  The lightning raids were almost always over before the defenders could react in force, and at best the Ultramarines were only able to destroy the stragglers who lingered too long in the search of extra plunder.  Calgar hoped that by striking at the heart of the Dark Eldar force, he could engage them on his own terms and finally deliver a crushing blow...

Duke Sliscus observed the Ultramarine advance from his Venom high in the ash clouds and laughed at their hubris.  For such a slow, ponderous adversary to think themselves capable of "ambushing" the Dark Eldar was the height of folly.  With a contemptous wave of his hand, he motioned for the real ambush to begin...

The sky darkened and turned black as if the very sun had been blotted out.  The unmistakable scream of Dark Eldar engines roaring to life pierced the darkness.  Calgar bellowed across the din, "Defense Pattern Delta!  Engage searchlights and prepare for contact!" With the composure developed from a thousand battles, he calmly toggled his comm-link, to call forth the two dreadnoughts who had been armed for this exact contingency.  "Brother Agnathio, Brother Ultracius it is time." 

GK/SM vs Dark Eldar(Written by Bob-from the best of his memory)
Bob vs Ned

Army Lists – 2000 pts

GK/SM (2000)
Captain Coteaz (Foreboding and Prescience)
Librarian with Null Zone/Avenger

10 GKSS (PA Honor Guard) x 10 with Psycannon x2 and Psyback with SL
5 GKSS (PA Honor Guard) x 10 with Psycannon and Psyback with SL
5 GKSS (PA Honor Guard) x 10 with Psycannon and Psyback with SL
Tactical Squad with Flamer/ML and Rhino with DB
Tactical Squad with Flamer/ML and Rhino with DB

Fast Atack
Stormraven with MM, AC, HBs, and Psybolts
Heavy Support
Dread Calgar with Heavy Incinerator

Aegis Line with Quad Gun
Dark Eldar (2100)
Duke Sliscus
Haemonculus x2

5 Trueborn (with Splinter Cannons) in Venom
4 Incubi in Venom

9 Wyches in Raider
9 Wyches in Raider
5 Wracks in Venom
10ish Warriors with Splinter Cannon

Fast Attack
8 Reavers with Heat Lances
8 Reavesrs with Heat Lances
3 Beastmaster with Khymeras and Razorwings

Heavy Support

Aegis Defense Line with Quad Gun

All the vehicles had nightshields (-6 range for all shooting attacks)

Bob received 3 rolls for USRs (Dreadknight received FNP)
Ned received 100 point advantage for having two manufactorums
Mission + Deployment
Purge the Alien (KPs)
Dark Eldar Warlord Trait was Nightfighting
Marine Warlord Trait was reroll reserves
Dark Eldar won the roll to go first
Combat Drugs gave rerolls to wound in CC

Game Summary
Initial Thoughts
I (Bob) was really worried about this matchup.  DE are extremely fast and hit very, very hard.  With Nightfight, Nightshields, and first turn, I would be at an extreme disadvantage in a shooting match.  And about the time the lights came back on, the Beastpack, Wyches, and/or Reavers would be hitting my lines.  However, every unit in my army is capable of knocking the paper airplanes from the sky and KPs favored me much more than him.
Deployment (Was too dark for pictures)
The board had a very large LOS blocker in the middle, so Ned evenly split his forces between the corners.  He placed a Ravager and Raider in each corner with the Venoms more towards the center.  The Trueborn manned the Quad Gun while the Haemonculi went with Wyches.  The Duke went with  the Incubi.  The Reavers remained in reserve.  Ned was careful to provide cover to everything in case of a sieze.
With the mission being KPs, I mostly turtled behind the Aegis Line.  I tried to keep the Dreads out of LOS from as much as possible and pushed Dread Calgar front and center so he could try to flame the Beastpack.  I kept my vehicles out in front and behind scraps of cover so they could spotlight if they survived.  I placed a Razor and Rhino on each side of my firebase.  One combat squad of Tactical Marines manned the Quad Gun towards my right while a full Tactical Squad took up position in a set of ruins. on my left.  I failed to sieze.

Turn 1
Ned moved all of his vehicles forward to unleash his torrent of shooting.  The Beastpack moved forward to I had Dread Calgar about one inch too far forward and he just barely went to down to torrents of splinter fire, even with FNP.  1 KP and First Blood.  However, due to some extremely hot cover saves on my part, all of his lances and Quad Gun bounced off of my Rhinos/Razors.

While losing Calgars incinerator was a huge blow, the fact that I was able to keep all of my spotlights mobile was huge.  I pushed them as far forward as possible to get spotlight range on both Ravagers.  One Psyback immobilized itself on the Aegis Line well out of range of anything.  The Dread on the right side was able to take his Ravager while the one on the left was only able to take a lance off.  I think the Quad Gun took a lance off the Raider on the right.  Captain Coteaz cast Prescience and Foreboding on the 10 man PA Honorguard and marched forward.  He would cast the powers every turn, only failing Prescience once (to no real effect). 

GK VPs: 2
DE VPs: 2

Turn 2
Ned's Reavers both came in but the Razorwing did not.  He boosted one squad down my left side and would drop bombs on the Tactical Squad in the ruins, killing a couple.  The other squad boosted down my right side to set up future attacks.  His remaining three lances bounced off my armor again.  His Venoms didn't do too much and might have killed a couple of Marines.  The Beastpack moved forward to set up charges in future turns.

Even with rerolls, the Stormraven did not come in.  The left Dread finished off the remaining Ravager while the left Dread torched the Venom containing the Incubi and the Duke.  The PA Honor Guard on the left moved to support the Tactical Squad facing off against the Reavers.  A combination of bolters, flamers, and the immobilized Psyback finished them off.  The PA Honor Guard on the right (with the help of Null Zone) wiped out most of the Beastpack.  The Quad Gun got lucky and was able to pop the Duke, gaining me the Warlord point.

GK VPs: 6
DE VPs: 2

Turn 3
Once again, the Razorwing did not come in.  Ned's dice were REALLY hating him.  The surving Reavers moved towards my firebase on the right.  The Incubi moved south towards my units while the Lance-less Raider on the right edged closer with its cargo of Wyches.  His remaining shooting stripped 2 HPs from the far right Psyback but otherwise did nothing.  The Beastpack charged a Rhino but didn't do anything.

The Stormraven came in and moved up to strafe the Raider hiding in the back on the left.  The MM exploded the Raider and pinned the Wyches inside.  It also used Power of the Machine spirit to immobilize the Trueborn's empty Venom with the Assault Cannon.  The left Dread took shots at Ned's Quad Gun and stripped a wound.  My Quad Gun and right Dread threw shots at the Reavers, killing a couple.  Captain Coteaz's PA Honor Guard moved right to shoot the Reavers while the other PA Squad finished off the Beast Pack.  Unfortunately, I bungled my shot order and was not able to finish off the last couple of Reavers due to part of the PA Honor Guard being out of range. 

GK VPs: 8
DE VPs: 2

Turn 4
The Razorwing came in and lit up Captain Coteaz's squad, killing 2-3.  For some reason I completely forgot to take my Interceptor shots.  The surviving Wyche Raider dropped them off and they charged the small squad of PA Honor Guard on the right.  The Incubi attempted to charge Captain Coteaz's squad, but the combination of Foreboding and Prescience (not to mention Ned's terrible dice) saw all four die before they could get close.  In the other combat, my Justicar challenged the Haemonculus and neither one did anything.  The Wyches destroyed the rest of the squad before they could strike.  However, the Justicar passed his morale.

The Stormraven made a slight turn and lined up to shoot the immobilized Venom and the Wrack Venom which had been flitting around taking pot shots.  Both of them exploded.  The Wracks got out unaffected.  The Quad Gun took a gun off of the Razorwing, but otherwise did nothing.  The lone, surviving Reaver continued to shrug off everything I threw at it.  Captain Coteaz and friends charged into the Wyche combat.  Coteaz attempted to enter the challenge but failed.  The rest of the squad killed three Wyches, but lost one of their own.  The Wyches stuck.

GK VPs: 10
DE VPs: 3 (Linebreaker from this point forward)

Turn 5
Shooting saw him pop the far right Psyback with the surviving Reaver.  The Quad Gun blew the Stormraven out of the sky.  The Razorwing killed four of the unengagegd PA Honor Guard on the far left and reduced the squad to a lone survivor.  The Wyches in the north (who had been pinned) left behind their Haemonculus and managed to get off an extremely long charge and exploded the Rhino containing a combat squad and Librarian.  The Space Marines were not hurt or pinned.  Coteaz managed to intervene for the Justicar and pulped the Haemonculus.  The Justicar, was immediately killed by the Wyches however.  The other Justicar popped his head off trying to cast Hammerhand.  Tie combat. 

Mid-turn update!
GK VPs: 11
DE VPs: 7 (HUGE turn)

I needed to put the game away before things started to get away from me.  The lone PA Honor Guard hopped in a Razorback for protection.  The left Dread popped the lonely Haemonculus while the Quad Gun finally finished off the Razorwing.  I might have also finished off the surviving Raider, but I cannot remember.  The Libby, Combat Squad, and Psyback were ready to unload into the remainder of the unenaged Wyche Squad.  We basically called it at this point, as it would be almost impossible for him to get enough points to overcome the deficit.

Final Score:
Bob: 13
Ned: 7

Winner Highlight
My highlight was probably pulling off the heroic intervention.  That or using Foreboding/Prescience to wipe out the Incubi. 

Final thoughts
I got a little sloppy towards the end of the game and almost let things get away from me.  I deviated from my battle plan and spread out way too much.  My units were not properly supporting each other, and I had a couple of squads on my left flank not really contributing and just hanging out and waiting to get shot.  I also let several units get charged when I didn't have to.  There was no reason for the PA Honor Guard to be within charge range of the Wyches, the same way the Rhino on the left should have stayed out of charge range of the other Wyche squad.  Two minor positioning tweaks would have saved several KPs.  I also should have done more to silence Ned's Quad Gun to keep my Stormraven safe.  It was a costly (255 points) lesson.

On the other hand, I think Ned should have been more aggressive.  Throw the Wyches and Beastpacks at me, and I have to focus on taking them down instead of the paper airplanes.  Also, I think he underestimated the threat of the Dreads.  It didn't matter too much in this game as his lances were unable to do much to even Razors/Rhinos, but the Dreads have to be the first thing to die.  If left alone, each of them can kill a DE vehicle a turn.  However, had this been an objective game, I think it would have been quite a bit different as I would not have been able to hang back and shoot as much.  Overall, Ned played a heck of a game, but the mission and dice really hurt hamstrung him.
The Duke had not been prepared for the ferocity of the Ultramarine firepower, and the initial wave of assault craft had been shredded as they had emerged from the cloud banks.  Even so, the Dark Eldar had still managed to knock Calgar from the fight and almost completely encircle the Ultramarine position.  A straffing run by Razorwing fighters blasted a hole in the Ultramarine defenses seconds before a Wych cult had charged into the opening.  The Wyches butchered an isolated squad of Marines and threatened to collapse the flank of the overextended defenses.  As all seemed lost, a cry of "For Ultramar!" bellowed from the darkness.  Captain Coteaz and five Honor Guard burst from the ash cloud and slammed into the Wyches in a thundering charge.  The momentum of their assault carried Coteaz through the melee until he faced the disfigured Dark Eldar leader.  Coteaz brought his Thunderhammer around in a wide arc and felled the grotesque creature with a single crushing blow.  The death of the Haemonculus broke the Dark Eldar's will to fight and sent the battered remnants of Duke Sliscus's kabal retreating into the darkness.  With the Dark Eldar at least temporarily scattered, the Ultramarines could now turn their attention to the mystery of the cursed relic that lay somewhere on Angamar...

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