Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Monday Night 40k!

This is what Monday nights should be about - dice rolling, nice models, friendly people, friendly store, new friends, and old friends.

I've been due to roll dice at JB's Alexandria Bookstore for a month now. But due to various commitments, and the fact that it was Ramadhan, I had to cancel planned gaming visits a few times. Until last night, whence the stars and planets aligned, and my renegade Alaitoc Windriders found themselves upon the bloody fields of Alexandria.

Still, to make sure that the game won't be rushed, we played an Eternal War mission: The Scouring, on a Vanguard Strike deployment. The Alaitoc Windrider Warhost is actually, rules-wise, a CAD with an attached Aspect Warrior Host formation. This is the 2nd iteration of the list, the first I tried out a couple of months back against some Tyranids. Not much changes, just some tweaking. And here's the 1843pt list:

Farseer Lahnn - jetbike, singing spear, Spirit Stone of Anath'lan

3 Jetbikes - all with scatter lasers
3 Jetbikes - all with scatter lasers
3 Jetbikes - all with shuriken cannon
3 Jetbikes - all with shuriken cannon
3 Jetbikes - 2 with shuriken cannon
3 Jetbikes - 2 with shuriken cannon

6 Swooping Hawks - exarch with Hawk's Talon
Hemlock Wraithfighter

Fire Prism
Fire Prism

8 Warp Spiders - exarch with twin-linked deathspinner
8 Dark Reapers - with starshot missiles
5 Fire Dragons - in a Wave Serpent with twin-linked bright lances and shuriken cannon

My opponent is John, with his Ultramarines. He had a couple of formations in there, including the one that gives free transports, and the one that deepstrikes all the drop pods of the formation in turn 1, and I really don't recall what they are called, but his list is something like:

Chaplain (Warlord)
5-man Tactical Squad (w meltagun) in Razorback with twin-linked lascannons
10-man Tactical Squad (w missile launcher & flamer), split into 2 combat squads, with Razorback with twin-linked lascannons
Bike Squad with 3 bikes and an Attack Bike with multimelta
5-man Devastator Squad (w 4 lascannons) with Razorback with twin-linked lascannons
Venerable Dreadnought in Drop Pod
5-man Tactical Squad with 2 flamers, in Drop Pod with Deathwind Launcher
5-man Tactical Squad with 2 meltaguns, in Drop Pod with Deathwind Launcher
5-man Tactical Squad with 2 meltaguns, in Drop Pod 
Captain in terminator armor
5 Terminators, with 1 assault cannon
Land Speeder Typhoon

The Ultramarines got to choose table side, but I won the roll for deployment and started first.

Turn 1 Highlights
Since John won the roll for table side, the mon-keigh Devastators set up shop in the tallest building on the battlefield, while my Dark Reapers looked on enviously, and had to make do with an abandoned trench line that commanded a reasonable firing field, even if not the best.

I had deployed to make full use of the cover afforded by the ruins, and planned a main thrust up my left flank. The entire army, except for the Dark Reapers and the Wave Serpent, deployed on the left flank.

When battle commenced, the Warhost advanced cautiously (around 12") and proceeded to open fire on the marines occupying the first ruin in mon-keigh territory. The bike squad was cut to ribbons, the Razorback lost 2 hull points and its lascannon, while both forward combat squads were reduced to half-strength or less.

The Dark Reapers unleashed a hail of S5 AP3 missiles (that's 17 shots at BS5) at their Devastator counterparts. The mon-keigh was smart to Go To Ground, and only the sergeant was lost in the deluge of high explosives.

The mon-keigh struck back aggressively. Drop Pods roared down in front of the Dark Reapers position, and the grim Aspect Warriors received the attention of intense bolter fire, flamers, stormbolters and Deathwind missile strikes. Even with Fortune, 5 Dark Reapers perished.

Two more Combat Squads from the Drop Pods opened fire at point-blank range with their meltaguns on the Fire Dragons' Wave Serpent, but thanks to jinking and the serpent shield, the transport survived the assault with 1 hull point to spare.

On the left flank, a missile launcher, the Devastator's Razorback and a snap-firing Devastor managed to severely damage a Fire Prism, knocking off 2 hull points, shaking the crew and immobilizing it.

The Venerable Dreadnought took on the front-most Jetbike squad, killing 2 Windriders.

Turn 2 Highlights
One of the best things about Eldar is its amazing speed and manouverability. And it was easy for the Warhost to pull back almost the entire army to deal with the drop pod assault.

Swooping Hawks landed near the offending mon-keigh, grenade packs covering the marines in a lot of noise and dust, and nothing else. The Hemlock decided to not turn up from reserves this turn - wraiths!

Starting with Farseer Lahnn's Psychic Shriek, the culling of the mon-keigh warriors began in earnest. While he didn't roll very high, it was enough to put down 2 marines. I see his Psychic Shriek abilities as a progression from his early days as Mind War specialist (pest?), hence his nickname Brain Smelter.

The combined firepower of the Swooping Hawks, Warp Spiders, Jetbikes, Fire Prism, Dark Reapers and the Fire Dragons and their snap-firing Wave Serpent wiped out all the drop pod squads, as well as both Deathwind-equipped drop pods. One of them blowing up and taking 2 Fire Dragons with it.

While all this glorious death was going on, 4 Jetbikes skimmed over the Venerable Dreadnought, turned on a pin, an unloaded shuriken death into the rear armor of the dreadnought, and it exploded in a spectacular display of fire and steel. On the far left, the immobilized Fire Prism got a lucky snap-firing shot into the Razorback opposite it, wrecking the mon-keigh vehicle.

Then with Battle Focus and jump moves, the Alaitoc Warhost resumed their advance up the left flank, such is Eldar manouverability!

The rest of the Ultramarines reserves arrived. The Captain and his Terminator squad teleporting to face the lead elements of xenos, their firepower, combined with the surviving combat squads deployed at the start of the battle, wiping out the lead Jetbike squad. The Devastators could only aquire one target, the immobilized Fire Prism, and put it out of its misery with a well-laid lascannon volley.

The deep-striking Land Speeder Typhoon killed a further 2 Jetbikes with its heavy bolter and frag missiles. Twin-linked lascannons of the Devastator's Razorback took aim at the Warp Spiders, who immediately flicker-jumped. However, the mon-keigh could still see one Warp Spider, who failed his cover save and was subsequently vaporized,

On the right flank, the Ultramarines Chaplain and his Tactical squad advanced in their Razorback, disembarking and shooting at the nearest lone Jetbike, to no effect.

Turn 3 Highlights
The Hemlock finally deigned to arrive, streaking low over the mon-keigh chaplain's head and making an impossible 90 degree turn near the Devastator's position. The Hemlock's Psychic Shriek reduced the Devastator squad to one man, who was forced to fall back. This is the first time I saw first-hand how deadly is the combination of the Mindshock Pod and Psychic Shriek.

Continuing their relentless advance up the left flank, the Alaitoc Warhost focused their fire on the Captain and his Terminators. Psychic Shriek attacks, scatter lasers, shuriken cannon, deathspinners, focused blast prism cannon shots drenched the mon-keigh in a deluge of Eldar munitions, and the Terminators were easily wiped out.

Scatter lasers also destroyed the Devastator's Razorback, wrecking it in a single deadly volley. The Hemlock is not done with her death and destruction, and her double Heavy D-Scythes easily obliterated the Land Speeder Typhoon.

On the right flank, advancing Dark Reapers and the Wave Serpent opened fire on the Chaplain and his squad, killing only 3, thanks to good cover (I just realized I was shooting the Wave Serpent at BS4. It should really be BS5 as it's part of the Aspect Warrior Host).

With only a handful of warriors left, the mon-keigh shot back with whatever was left, but could not make a mark. The Ultramarines then decided that discretion is the better part of valour, and conceded the battlefield.

This Alaitoc Windrider Warhost is fast! It was easy to concentrate firepower on chosen targets, switching back and forth between flanks and always gaining localized superiority. It helped tremendously that the Ultramarines arrived piecemeal and their units were never able to link up and lend mutual support to each other.

As it turned out, the battle was one-sided. The only survivors from the Ultramarines' force was the Chaplain, 7 marines, 2 drop pods and a Razorback. The Eldar only lost 2 units (a Fire Prism and 1 Jetbike squad).

It remains to be seen how this army would do against a Knight- or Land Raider-heavy enemy, as the Warhost is short on heavy anti-tank weaponry with only 2 Prism cannons, 1 twin-linked Bright Lance, 5 Fusion guns, and 2 Heavy D-Scythes at its disposal.

At any rate, it was real fun, and I look forward to the next session of furious dice-rolling. Now to finish painting the Hemlock, 6 additional Jetbikes, 2 additional Warp Spiders and 3 additional Dark Reapers. And the terrain pieces too.

Thanks John for a great game, and Quake for great banter from a fellow Eldar!

Keep them dice rolling!


  1. Mindshock pod does not work with psychic shriek!