Friday, October 30, 2009

17 October 2009 FRAGtoberfest Tournament (Game 2)

Opponent: Pete/Pierre (Mechanized Eldar) Mechanization is the way to go in 5th edition, and Eldar vehicles remain just as difficult to knock down as before. Pete’s mechanized Eldar list was designed to sit back and sting people to death, with occasional swooping disembarks (courtesy of Fire Dragons or Dire Avengers) to shred exposed units, and a late-game rush to grab objectives. This was going to be a serious challenge for me, and no mistake.

Army: (2000 pts)
  • 1x Farseer with Spear, 2x runes, and DOOM
  • 1x Autarch with fusion gun
  • 1x10, and 1x9 Fire Dragons, with Crackshot Exarch w/Flamer
    Both in Wave Serpents with twin Shuricannons and Spirit Stones
  • 2x10 Dire Avengers, with Bladestorm Exarchs with twin Shuricats
    Both in Wave Serpents with twin Shuricannons and Spirit Stones
  • 1x10 Eldar Pathfinders
  • 3x Fire Prisms with Holofields and Spirit Stones
Mission: “King of the Hill” Tournament Scenario: modified Dawn of War set-up (most of army automatically in reserve, and reserve rolls starting on Turn1), with a single objective in the middle of the table. Secondary objective: get at least one unit into the enemy deployment zone.

Terrain: Large elevated rocky ridge in the middle of my table edge, extending toward objective; and a half-dozen scattered ice crystal formations providing cover but virtually no LOS-blocking around the table. Otherwise a completely open killing field…gleep.

What happened?
Pete won the roll-off to set up, so I chose to start with two “sacrificial” Troops choices on the table, near the objective, and nothing else. After Pete infiltrated his Eldar Pathfinders into a nearby crystal formation, I stole the initiative (!) and the game began.

My first turn saw most of my army show up right away: both units of Hornsuits (B-Sides), two more units of Brave (Fire Warriors), and a unit of Ranger (Crisis) Suits. I had been hoping to Deep-strike them behind Eldar vehicles, but straight up the middle works fine, too, I suppose. This proved excellent for me, and less so for Pete – he had to come onto the board into the teeth of my formidable firepower.

I made the second turn even more exciting by flanking with two units of Scouts (Pathfinders), right into the rear arcs of two of his Fire Prisms. Pete did a lot of swearing, as this bit of good luck on my part rather badly crippled his firepower right from the very start. Deep-striking Ranger (Crisis) suits also blocked up the door to his Autarch’s ride very nicely, forcing the Autarch and his bodyguard of Dire Avengers to perform an Emergency Disembarkation when their Wave Serpent was downed, where they would sit quite uselessly for a turn or two.

My exuberant willingness to sacrifice my Troops choices, however, began to swing the tide toward the Eldar. By the end of the third turn, Pete had lost both his Fire Dragon squads, as well as nearly all of the unit of Autarch and Dire Avengers, but I had lost three of my Troops choices (with a fourth still off the table in Reserve), as well as a unit of Scouts (Pathfinders) and Rangers (Crisis Suits). I was badly hurting the Eldar, but having difficulty crippling his transports – and after a lucky Fire Prism shot forced a unit of my Hornsuits (Broadsides) to test Morale, and fail and run off the board, it looked like I wasn’t going to be able to drop his vehicles fast enough.

In the end, despite the carnage inflicted, Pete simply had more mobility left – with five units clustered on the objective (not including three still entirely-alive transports), while I had just two near enough to contest, and not nearly enough firepower left to drop those darn Eldar tanks. Mechanized Eldar for the (very) decisive win!

Turning the Tables.
There were three things I did in this game that were problematic, and which done differently may have had an effect on how things turned out. First, I essentially sacrificed a unit of Crisis Suits (and their mobility AND vehicle-killing firepower!), in exchange for the chance of auto-pinning (via Emergency Disembarkation) several of Pete’s units in Wave Serpents. In previous editions, the auto-kill of a unit (or two) from blocking the hatch would have made the trade worth it, I think, but in this case, there was no point. I would have been better served Deep Striking my Crisis Suits into the rear arc of those Wave Serpents – but much further back.

Secondly, I chose to use my Pathfinders as flankers, instead of moving them on from my table edge from Reserve. True, they were able to hurt Pete’s Fire Prisms when they came on from the flank, but that was a combination of Pete forgetting that I was flanking them, and good luck on their part. They would have been better off being relatively safe on my table edge, making it easier for me to kill Pete’s tanks (by negating his vehicles’ cover saves), instead of being isolated on his lines and getting munched by his reserving units.

Finally, I simply did not pay attention to the mission objectives until very late in the game – playing instead as if it was a straightforward “sweep the table of enemy units” kind of mission. As a result, I sacrificed too many units, and particularly some of my mobile units, for what was undoubtedly insufficient return on investment.

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