Expanding into Formations

This Saturday I decided to run my first Tyranid formation. I ran a soft list, very swarmy, and added the Skytyrant Swam formation. This formation is a Hive Tyrant, which has to take the wings biomorph, and two units of Gargoyles. This means you can run it with 20 to 60 Gargoyles.

There are a few good things that come with this formation. First, the Hive Tyrant adds 6 inches to its synapse range. Not that I would ever do this, but if you give it the Norm Crown, and manage to get dominion off, this would give you a Hive Tyrant with a 30 inch synapse range. Second, the Hive Tyrant can also take Look Out, Sir rolls, and pass them on a 2+. This means that you now have 20 or more extra wounds on the Tyrant. Third, the only way this formation gives up kill points is if the entire formation is completely destroyed. Finally, the formation just looks cool. A swarm of Gargoyles surrounding a massive Hive Tyrant with wings just looks amazing.

Now, having said all of that, I am not sold on this formation. Sure, I ran it with 30 Gargoyles, giving the Tyrant 30 extra wounds, but these wounds are T3 with armour saves of 6. So bolters, while would wound the Tyrant on 6’s, causes wounds on this unit on 3s. And those wounds do not get armour saves. Also, due to the way the special rules read, the Hive Tyrant cannot fly. This obviously makes sense when Hive Tyrant is with the Gargoyles, but it also true when all of the Gargoyles are destroyed. The rule reads “The Hive Tyrant cannot leave the unit during the battle and can only use the Gliding Flight mode.”

Will I run this formation again? Of course, it is fun, and like I said, it looks really cool when they are all painted up. I may even get another 10 gargoyles for another 10 wounds. But this formation is not a game changer.

Last Stand of the Iron Hands – Shorereaper’s perspective

So, in honor of Severus leaving us, I challenged him to a game of my own design as our final outing. I wanted his Iron Hands (and any allies he chose) to face my Tyranids in an epic battle. He knew what the mission was, and he knew approximately what was going to be in my list.

As I covered in an earlier blog, the deployment was hammer and anvil, with very little terrain in the center of the board. On his tableside, there was a Wall of Martyr Defense Line, some Defense Emplacements, and a Firestorm Redoubt with Quad Icarus Lascannons, at not cost to him, but he did get their special rules.

My list consisted of the following:

Swarmlord
3 Tyrant Guard
Hive Tyrant
30 Termagants
30 Hormagaunts
9 Warriors
30 Gargoyles (almost fully painted too!)
9 Raveners w/ Rending Claws
Venomthrope
Pyrovore
Carnifex
Scythed Hierodule

Severus will write about his list in a blog about his perspective.

My deployment was pretty standard. I knew that my fast units had to close the gaps quickly, so they were the front line. The Gargoyles were on my left flank, the Hormagaunts were deployed next to them. The Raveners I placed on the right flank, knowing they were going to move more towards the center. The Swarmlord was in the center, giving me fantastic coverage with his synapse. The Venomthrope, Termagants, and warriors made up the rest of the right flank. Supporting the left flank was the Carnifex and the Hive Tyrant. The rules of the game required the Hierodule to be kept in reserve until turn 2. For My psychic powers, the Hive Tyrant and the Swarmlord had Warp Blast, Paroxysm, and Dominion. The Swarmlord also had Psychic Scream. Yes, I somehow managed get get all of the same powers.

Here is the wall of Nids

Here is the wall of Nids

Wings!

Wings!

8 Setup Nids

Turn 1 –

My Turn 1 was pretty basic. Move forward. Everything moved forward as fast as they could. In the psychic phase, I got off Dominion and didn’t even try for anything else. In the shooting phase, I ran everything forward. I wanted to close the gap. The only way I could pull this win off was if I could get engaged in combat quickly.

10 Turn 1 Nids

Severus’s turn, in short, was shoot shoot shoot. He took out a few gargoyles, a lot of Hormaguants, and most of my Raveners.

Turn 2 –

Again, the movement phase was easy, hauling forward as fast as I can. I found myself with a lot fewer Raveners and Hormaguants, and the Gargoyles were reduced as well. The Hierodule, entering the field of battle, started his movement up the center of the table. His 12-inch movement, and double run, really allowed him to cover a lot of ground.

I got my Gargoyles in position to shoot at the Skitarii, and placed my Ravener and Hormaguants in a position to charge some tactical marines. The Gargoyles killed three of the Skitarii (my first kills) in the shooting phase, but they were about to be taught a lesson about overwatch. In the psychic phase, the Swarmlord managed to get the Warp Lance off and destroyed the Vindicator’s gun.

I charged the guants into the tac squad so they could take the overwatch, and they were actually shot out of charge range. The Ravener then charged in and proceeded to kill one Tac Marine. The Gargoyles declared a long charge, and seven of them proceeded to die to overwatch. Not a very successful turn two.

11 End Nid Turn 1

Severus used hit turn to shoot more of my units, and charged the Carnifex with some of his Skitarii. It did not go well. The Carnifex killed one model and Skitarii caused a few wounds.

Turn 3 –

And here is where the excitement started happening. The hierodule closed the gap again. The Hive Tyrant and the remaining Hormaguants put themselves into a position to support the carnifex, who was now locked in mortal combat with a Skitarii unit and had one wound remaining. Warriors and Termagants continued to rush forward, now starting to get off some shots. The remaing Gargoyled actually went behind enemy lines (where I proceeded to forget about them). In the psychic phase I managed to blowup the Land Raider with a well placed warp lance from the Hive Tyrant.

12 End Nid Turn 1

While nothing noteworthy happened in the shooting phase, the Hierodule finally got into shooting range and killed three more marines, then ran forward another three inches.

20 Turn 3

In the assault phase, the Swarmlord and the Pyrovore charged the Vindicator, and proceeded to knock one hull point off of it. The Ravener finally won his close combat, and consolidated in front of the Redoubt. The Hive Tyrant and Guants managed to save the Carnifex from death.

In Severus’s turn, he charged the Hive Tyrant with Terminators, and killed it. He Killed the Carnifex (finally). And he finally wiped the Gargoyles off the board.

Turn 4 –

And now we come to the end of the game. The Tyrant? Dead. The Carnifex? Dead. The Hormaguants? Mostly Dead.

The Swarmlord and Pyrovore moved forward again, putting them in position to charge some Sternguard. The Knight failed a charge on the Hierodule in Severus’s turn, so I moved him closer so I could get off the charge. I wanted this battle to be epic. I used the Swarmlord to give the Hierodule Preferred Enemy.

22 Swarmlord

The Pyrovore killed a marine, and the Warriors and Gants killed a few others in the shooting phase. That was about all I had left to shoot with. I charged the Swarmlord and the Pyrovore into the Sternguard and charged the Hierodule into the Imperial Knight. Really, nothing exceptional happed in the combat with the Swarmlord/Pyrovore… well, other than they two of them managed to kill one marine. But the Knight/Hierodule was going to be exciting. The Knight, with his D attack, managed to knock the hierodule down to one wound. The Hierodule, with preferred enemy and S10 hits (9 of them! 7 Base, 2nd Close Combat Weapon, and the charge) obliterated that Knight. When the Knight exploded, he exploded big. The apoc template then scattered onto the Swarmlord, killing him (and taking Severus’s chance at killing the Swarmlord away again).

We all know what is about to happen.

We all know what is about to happen.

Too bad the Hierodule took a grenade to the face in Severus’s next turn. After that, with as few unit as I had left, I had to concede.

It was a fun and epic way for our last game to play out. Oh, and my record against Seth was 15 Wins, 19 Losses, and 1 Tie. Yes, I kept track.

Last Stand of the Nurse Sharks

It is a little late, but last Saturday I got my first chance to test my “Last Stand” scenario. And even though I lost, I had fun, and I learned some things to make the next game a little more even.

First, as you can see from the pic below, my army had an interesting fight ahead of them. I had to march my Tyranids across a No-Mans Land with very little cover. My opponent, fielding Sisters of Battle and Carcharodons, had an open field of fire. I actually wrote his list, so I should have known that I was in for a rough day.

That two feet of no terrain looked bigger in person

That two feet of no terrain looked bigger in person

And it really was a rough day. I gave him a unit of two thunderfire cannons, and they removed a swarm unit a turn. Sure, they just went into ongoing reserves, but they would just die again.

The Hierodule came on the board on turn three, like my rules stated, but that just didn’t give me enough time to do anything with him. He was only really productive in turn 5, and that just was not enough time.

So, the game ended up with the Nurse Sharks holding the line. The Nids, throwing themselves against the line…. And just dying in no mans lands. But it was fun.

Below are some further pictures….

I deployed on the 2 foot line, keeping my fastest units to the front. I wanted to get them to the enemy quickly.

I deployed on the 2 foot line, keeping my fastest units to the front. I wanted to get them to the enemy quickly.

Sisters hiding (smartly) in the trenches.

Sisters hiding (smartly) in the trenches.

A better picture of the Nurse Shark deployment. Tyberos "commanding" from behind the trenches.

A better picture of the Nurse Shark deployment. Tyberos “commanding” from behind the trenches.

Warriors and Raveners moving forwards. Raveners would be put into ongoing reserves at the end of my opponent's turn.

Warriors and Raveners moving forwards. Raveners would be put into ongoing reserves at the end of my opponent’s turn.

Here the lines are starting to separate. Faster units pulling away.

Here the lines are starting to separate. Faster units pulling away.

Sisters in the trenches (their right flank). In the distance you can see the Hierodule which took on the left flank... just before the game ended.

Sisters in the trenches (their right flank). In the distance you can see the Hierodule which took on the left flank… just before the game ended.

 

Last Stand of the *Insert Imperial Army Here*

Quite a few weeks ago, when I found out that our brother Severus was leaving the state of Maryland to move to the state of insanity, I mean… Alabama, I challenged him to a mission I dubbed “The Last Stand of the Iron Hands”. I thought that this would be a fun and final way for our two armies to meet. Thinking we had more time, he challenged me to have my army fully painted. Now that he is leaving a month early, I fear that my part of the agreement will not be fulfilled.

It also happened that I described this mission to another player from our group, and he liked the idea. So I challenged him as well, except now it is the Sisters of Battles and the Carcharodons (which happen to be mine) facing my Tyranids. I decided to run this game earlier, before facing off against Severus, thinking it would be a great test for the scenario. I wrote up a list, with two CADs, and one I though would be able to put us a fight against my Tyranid list.

Now, why do I bring this up? Well, it looks like I will be getting both games in this coming weekend (the one against Severus may take place the following week). I would like opinions on this mission. Both opponents know what they will be facing, at least in the basic terms. And the Sisters have troops that I believe can fight what I have planned.

The mission has Hammer and Anvil deployment, meaning my bugs will have to march across the table while taking fire from the Imperials. There will be a “no man’s land” in the middle of the table, with no terrain for me to take cover in. Cover in my deployment zone will be sparse. On the imperial side, there will be some Walls of Martyrs Imperial Defence Lines, some Emplacements, and a Redoubt or two. And the Imperial player gets these at no additional cost. My army will have the Scythed Hierodule in it, which will only come onto the table on turn three. Also, any unit that has been completely destroyed by my opponent goes into ongoing reserves, and enters the board from my table edge.

Not to make it look like I am giving myself too easy of a mission, I have put a limit on the amount of flyers I can take. As in, I am not taking any. Both sides are taking 2500 points in their lists.

Now, what is my goal? I have to table my opponent, of course. I have to march across the table, taking fire, and hoping that I can get close enough to kill every last one of those tasty imperials. If I can table them by Turn 5, it is a win for me. If I table them in Turn 6, the result is a tie. If they last till turn 7, it is a win for them. This part of the game may require some changes

Of course, the main goal will be to have fun. I have the Scythed Hierodule, they have all of the cover. Hopefully it will balance out in the end. There can even be some fluff, the Sisters, protecting the Emperor’s faithful, called for help. While trying to save the citizens and the wounded, and giving them time to evacuate, the Sharks show up to give them aid. There alliance can even be called “Nurse Sharks”…

I know that I am probably the only one who laughed at that.

nurse-shark-hd-5-free

The Long Fight

Every now and then, Severus and I feel the need to cause mass death and destruction. We challenge each other to a battle of the swarms. He puts up his Orks up against my Tyranids. This past weekend was another one of those long battles. He brought tons of orks including 6 HQs and a lot of boys (and only one tank). I brought 188 models including the Swarmlord, a Hive Tyrant, Tyrant Guard, 9 warriors, 9 Raveners, a Pyrovore, 2 Biovores, 60 Termaguants, 40 Genestealers, 30 Gargoyles (who didn’t last long) and 30 Hormaguants.

Knowing this was going to be a fun blood bath, I decided to deploy everything onto the table. I didn’t even infiltrate the Genestealers. Gargoyles were on the left flank with the Warriors. Hormaguants, Biovores, Raveners, and the Hive Tyrant were on the right flank. Genestealers, Hormaguants, and the Swarmlord were the center of my army. Oh, and the Pyrovore was there with them in his first appearance.

I had no goal except to charge in and kill or be killed. Well, it turns out that it is fairly easy to be killed. Gargoyles killed a Deffkopta, and so did the Raveners, but from that point on, it was just a slow death.

The following are some photos of the action. You can just see the models being slowly pulled off the board.

1 Orks After Scout

Severus deployed his Orks in a similar way. Just get them on the board. He scouted his Deffkopta forward, and braced for the on coming tide.

2 Most of the orks

My view of what I would be facing.

2 Orks 1

And as you can see, some of these were members of the grey tide.

3 Genestealers

Some genestealers, preparing for the run forward.

4 Greenstealer

What do you get when on genestealer eats too many Orks? A greenstealer.

5 Orcs in the distance

Time to skitter forward.

6 Hive Tyrant

Filling up the right flank was a Hive Tyrant, making sure that none of the Raveners decided to fall to their instincts.

7 Close Combat 1

Not much later in the game, a close combat. One ravener and a few Hormaguants just couldn’t stand up to the clubbing that they received.

8 Pyrovore leading the charge

The Pyrovore, bravely moving forward. In this game, I have to admit that he did pretty good. Wasn’t an all-star, but he did take out a few models. And Pyrovores are considered terrible…

9 Orks Close the flank

Ork boys, having defeated the gargoyles, are seining in to slaughter some Warriors. I wish I could say it went well, but it really didn’t. Two units charged those warriors, and they didn’t last a turn of close combat.

10 Broodlords perspective

The Broodlord and his crew slowly moving up the edge. Someone had to try and save the Swarmlord.

11 Ignore the Pyrovore

This was one of the most entertaining points in the game. Two almost full units of boys decided to charge the Swarmlord. So they went around the Pyrovore. The wanted the Swarmlord.

12 And the beating begins

And now it started becoming a quagmire. Two units of boys charging in, and the Pyrovore with nothing to do. Shame I didn’t have “Supporting Fire”.

13 Ork Close combat

14 And the roll

This is going to hurt.

15 What is going on here

And the Orks are thinned out… but so are the Gaunts and the Genestealers.

16 Close combat 2

And finally the Flash Gits show up for some close combat. From here, it just went down hill. Severus slowly picked off the Genestealers, the Guants, and the Guard. In turn 6, the Swarmlord had one wound left. Then I dumped all of my psychic dice into Catalyst, knowing I would need Feel No Pain. And I periled. The Swarmlord took himself out of the game, causing me to be tabled.

Five hours. Lots of Death. A loss. Now that was a fun game.

Unit Review – Raveners

This past weekend, I got a game in with my Tyranids against the Iron Hands with a Skitarii ally. It was a close game; the Tyranids pulling out a one point win. But the all-star unit in the game (on my side at least) was a full brood of Raveners. This unit of nine took out a unit of 10 Vanguard Skitarii, two 10-man squads of tactical marines, and took out the majority of a third before the game ended. I actually run the Raveners because they are fun, not because they are competitive, plus I like the way they look. I have been told that they are the second best unit in my army (after the Flyrant), and while I do not agree with that, I do not think they are terrible by any means.

Raveners

Each Ravener costs 30 points and has the following STAT line:
WS5 BS3 S4 T4 W3 I5 A3 Ld6 Sv5+

How I run my Raveners is very basic; the full brood of nine with rending claws and no other upgrades. While I obviously have the option of making them shooty, their low ballistic skill does not seem to make them a viable shooty option. And since they come with fleet and basically ignore terrain, I prefer to get them into my opponent’s face as quickly as possible, not having ranged weapons means that I either run them or hold off and charge them. Their weapon skill and initiative, while not at the level of Genestealers, is still above a lot of other units.

So, what does a unit of nine bring? 45 attacks on the charge, 27 wounds, 5-up armour saves (ok, not great there), and a unit that cannot be ignored. They have deep strike and fleet, but are one of the few units that cannot get upgrades like adrenal glands or toxin sacs (which I may not take anyway).

Raveners 2

As much as I love them, I admit that they are not unbeatable. In the first game where in that I played the fully painted brood, they were turned into mist in the top of the first turn (Giving up first blood). My opponent, playing Tau, hit them with marker lights, removed their cover saves and then upped the BS of a R’Varna. The R’Varna then hit the raveners 36 times and caused 29 unsavable wounds. That full unit just disappeared from the board. It should also be noted that S8 attacks can wipe an entire model off the board with one hit. The 5-up armour save means most weapons (in my experience) will just cut right through them. So, yes, there are some down sides to this unit.

How do I counter all of this? Well, with their 12-inch move and fleet, I try to terrain hop until I can get them into close combat. I also use their 12-inch move to cycle unwounded models to the front of the line so that when I finally can get them into close combat, I still have close to the full brood. It also helps if you can get them feel no pain. Any extra chance to save a wound is a plus, and in yesterday’s game, I made an obscene amount to feel no pain rolls (as well as rending rolls, I may have to have my dice weighed).

Is there a better option? Yes. A Shrike Brood can bring the same movement, a synapse range, fearless, for the same points cost. That’s just one option that is viable. For the amount of points I drop into this unit, there are plenty of more competitive units I can add into my lists.

Swarm Confession

I play a swarm army. And by that, I mean that I play the Tyranids. However, the name is probably the closest I come to actually playing a swarm army. The only really swarmy units I take are 30 Termagants to free up the Tervigon as a troop choice and a full brood of Raveners (9, yea, really swarmy). I run Flying Hive Tyrants, the Swarmlord (with his Tyrant Guard), Carnifexes, Crones, and on and on with Monstrous Creatures. So, if I am being honest with myself, I do not actually run a swarm army. I was pondering on why, and there are three real reasons that I am not running swarmy.

1. Movement Phase – I hate moving so many models. I have played games where I had over one hundred models out on the board. The set up and the movement phase in turn one can take forever. Not only do I not enjoy taking that much time (I am old and it is tiring) but I also feel bad for my opponent, who is usually playing space marines with drop pods, so their setup takes 10 minutes, tops! I have even sent people out for smoke breaks while I set up and move. Now, I will admit that later turns do tend to go faster, but that’s only because most of my army is back into storage. And that actually adds to it, the clean up time takes forever unless I pack up as my models die.

2. Painted Units – I love the look of a fully painted army on the table. It does look amazing. And currently I have just over 30 Termagants that are fully painted, those 9 Raveners, 9 Warriors, and a lot of those Monstrous Creatures I just mentioned. If pressed, I could field a 2500-point army fully painted, it just will not be swarmy.

I am working on fixing that. I decided to work on some Rippers and Hormagants         because I want to go back to swarmy. But painting the swarm is so tedious. You paint one MC, and you have a complete unit. You paint one Termagant, and you have 29 more to go if you want the full unit.

Swarmy

It’s a little daunting. And again, I am old.

3. Competitiveness – Ok, I will admit to a little streak of competitiveness in my blood. I am not saying that my list is unbeatable, but running a lot of MCs is really competitive. I can tone it down, and will run unpainted units to do so, but when I want to be even slightly competitive, I will drop a lot of monstrous and flying monstrous creatures into my list.

And when you combine all three reasons, I end up running a non-swarmy list. To fix this, I am working on small models to make my lists swarmier. I am working on Rippers, Hormagaunts, Termagants, and even Gargoyles. I will ask my opponent if he minds me having long movement phases (and if he doesn’t want to face MCs, he will have to agree).

As for the competitiveness, I will find a way to make swarms work with how I like to play. But mostly, I will have fun even in my losses, which I should be used to by now. I will run two units of Termagaunts, a unit of Hormagants, and a full unit of Gargoyles, all fully painted. Those three combined is 120 models, which should qualify as swarmy.

A Distant Third

This weekend was an eventful one for my Tyranids and me. First, I got my first game in against the new Eldar codex, but I will get into that more in a later post. The bigger event was a tournament on Sunday at Critical Hit. While many of my friends have been play testing their lists for the last month, I wrote mine this week (play testing a variant once). It was an 1850-point tournament and I wanted to bring something competitive. I used the Hive Fleet Detachment from the Shield of Baal book. This is the list that I brought:

  • Hive Tyrant w/ Wings and 2 TL Devourers w/ Brainleech worms (230 pts)
  • Hive Tyrant w/ Wings and 2 TL Devourers w/ Brainleech worms (230 pts)
  • Hive Tyrant w/ Wings and 2 TL Devourers w/ Brainleech worms (230 pts)
  • Ripper Swarm w/ Deep Strike (45 pts)
  • Ripper Swarm w/ Deep Strike (45 pts)
  • Ripper Swarm w/ Deep Strike (45 pts)
  • Venomethrope (45 pts)
  • 5 Zoanthropes, Neurothrope, Tyrannocyte (400 pts)
  • Hive Crone w/ Stinger Salvo (165 pts)
  • Hive Crone w/ Stinger Salvo (165 pts)
  • 2 Biovores (80 pts)
  • Exocrine (170 pts)

The plan was to protect the rippers by keeping them in reserve. I could deploy the flyers in cover (if I was able) and keep the Venomthrope close in order to increase their cover save while they were on the ground, hopefully keeping them from having to jink. I felt that this was a fairly competitive list and I hoped I would have a decent showing.

Round one was against another Tyranid player. In his list was a Barbed Hierodule, 3 Flying HT’s, the Swarmlord, Rippers, a Malanthrope, and a few other units. The mission was the Relic with Hammer and Anvil deployment. My opponent deployed first and we had some fun Nid on Nid action. It really was a close game, his warlord trait (reducing my reserve rolls by 1) kept my Zoanthrope brood out of the game till turn four. He had the barbed Hierodule jump on the relic and just pick off units left and right. I did kill the Malantrope, the Swarmlord, a ripper swarm, a flying HT, and knocked down the Hierodule down to one wound. However, I couldn’t knock the relic out of the Dule’s grasp and he took the win. It was a fun game even if it was Nid on Nid action. I felt that my list had a decent showing, and I may have even been able to pull out a victory if I did a few things differently. However, I didn’t do those things, and round one ended in a loss.

Round two paired my bugs up against two Imperial Knights and the Iron Hands. My opponent brought two Thunderfire cannons, a Chapter Master, a Psyker, Tactical Squads, and some Scouts for his Iron Hands. The mission was Crusade (with 4 objectives) with Vanguard Strike deployment. My opponent really didn’t have much to handle my massive air attack, so he just wanted to put up a fight and have a fun game. Sadly, I am not sure he did. I surprisingly had an easy time with the knights. A flying HT and my Zoanthropes took down one Knight and the two Crones and another flying HT took down the other thanks to some great rolling, and this all happened in turn two. My Tactics were to ignore the Thunderfire Cannons, since they really couldn’t hurt much of my army, and pick off everything else. By turn three, the game was pretty much over and he conceded the game. I actually felt guilty, even in a tournament setting, I prefer have close games.

After that win, I found myself paired up against Salamanders in round three with Dawn of War deployment and the Scouring mission (all objectives worth 3 points). My opponent brought a drop pod assault with 2 more Thunderfire cannons, an assault squad, the Forgefather, a Sternguard squad, and a lot of Tactical Squads and Devastator squads. He won the deployment roll, and immediately went after my warlord with his Sternguards. And after 20 shots, and many hits, he knocked my warlord down to one wound, barely missing out on first blood and slay the warlord in turn one. He did end up killing the warlord, the biovores, the venomthrope, and a hive crone. I, however, managed to just pick off everything he had that could wound me (ignoring the Thunderfire cannons again). I did struggle getting my Zoanthrops out from reserves again, but this time thanks to just some poor rolling. However, while I couldn’t get my Zoanthropes onto the table, the rest of my rolling was incredible, much like the rest of the tournament. After a few turns, my opponent conceded, so I picked up my second win of the tournament (again feeling guilty because of how badly it went for him).

Thanks to kill points, I manage to slip into third place in the standings out of 8 players. The list performed about as I expected, if not a little better than I expected. I got to face three opponents I normally do not play, so I consider that a win as well. However, I must give a shout-out to Severus and A-Bomb for finishing first and second, as well as a thank you to my opponents for three great games.

Weekend in Review – Shorereaper

A “massive” snowstorm hit on Saturday, but before it did, I managed to get my first game in with my Dark Eldar. It wasn’t a large game, only 1300 points, but it was a good place to start. My list, basically everything I have assembled, consisted of an Archon, a Succubus, Bloodbrides in a Raider, Warriors in a Raider, Warriors in a Venom, 16 warriors on foot, 6 reavers, and 2 Ravengers with dark lances. Of course, I had upgrades with these each of these units as well.

I ended up facing a lot of Chimeras. And I mean a lot of them. Of course, there were some troops in them as well, but all I can remember were the tanks. And even though I had a lot of Dark Lances, I had a very hard time dealing with these tanks thanks to some unfortunate rolling. It didn’t help that he kept me jinking (just good tactics on my opponents part) or that he seemed to have no issues bringing down my Raveners.

In the end, I won the game. My opponent had First Blood (destroyed the Venom in turn 1), Slay the Warlord, and Line breaker while I had Slay the Warlord, Line Breaker, and all three objectives. I honestly believe that if the game went one more turn, or if my opponent played slightly differently, he would have easily taken the game. Still, with this being my first outing with the Dark Eldar, it was a success. And I don’t only mean that I won the game, I also learned some stuff. I may shift my 2K list from what I planned, but I may not. One game is not enough to judge.

I got a second game in this weekend with my Tyranids against Severus and his green tide. I changed my list up a little bit, adding in the Trygon Prime and a full Hive Guard brood while taking out the Swarmlord and his Guard. Of course, my favorite unit of Raveners made another appearance, this time without their rending claws and fully painted for a change.

To say this game went bad for Severus would be an understatement. He conceded in turn three. On my side, I lost a unit of Genestealers, the Raveners, a Carnifex, some Termagants (including some that I spawned), the Tervigon (which killed off some of those Termagants), and the Venomthrope. So, while I did lose a lot, nearly everything on his list was off the board except a painboy and the remains of his unit, some boys, and one ork with a claw that did a lot of damage to my MCs. His Flashgits (with his Warlord) failed a leadership test in turn two and ran right off the board. That gave me slay the warlord.

So, while the game went very well for me, I hate winning like that. I hate crushing wins. I would prefer to lose a close competitive game than have my opponent concede that early. Hell, I would almost prefer a crushing loss to a crushing win.

So, while I did have two successful games this weekend (with the latest snowstorm of the century sandwiched in between), I didn’t enjoy the bigger victory. And while I believe that my Nid list was less competitive than my usual list, I think I may need to tone it down even more for certain games.

Duel with the Dule

Hey all, Shorereaper here, and I am going to give you my perspective on the the game I had against Severus this past weekend.

As you can see from the previous post, my list was very Monstrous Creature heavy, and very much deployed on the front line. I knew I had to get most of my units into close combat, and I new they would take a lot of firepower trying to cross the battlefield. For my psychic powers, I managed to get Catalyst (feel no pain) on the Swarmlord, as well as the Horror and Psychic Scream. The Hive Tyrant got Psychic Scream and Onslaught. Of course, all four psykers got Dominion, meaning I would have two to four synapse creatures at any given time. Getting ready for the game, I felt that my best chance was to go first and get in the Tau’s face as quickly as possible. Luckily for me, I managed to seize the initiative.

Turn 1 –
This was a relatively short turn for me. Everything my army moved forward, and moved forward fast. I was going to play this game aggressively and I decided to ignore the Stealth Suits coming up on my rear flank. The Hive Crone and the FHT took to the air and immediately got into firing range.

Left Flank closes the gap.

Left Flank closes the gap.

In the shooting phase, the template from the crone took out a few fire warriors in one unit. The Hierodule, with its 12-inch move, was able to barely get into range and managed to cause a wound on the Broadsides. Of course, I ran the Hierodule after that, thanks to its agility special rule. The FHT shot at the unit of Fire Warriors with the Etheral, and killed him. Everything else just ran forward, or in the Swarmlord’s case, lumbered forward at a slow walk. The Exocrine also fired its large blast weapon, picking off a few drones.

Left Flank move up fast.

Left Flank move up fast.

Then came the pain. Severus unloaded into the Hierodule and a few of the other monsters that were trying to close the distance. The Stealth Suits and Vespids picked off a few Genestealers on the one flank. The Hierodule took three wounds, and the flying HT was brought down to just one wound. I forgot how much firepower the Tau could bring to bear in that first turn.

Here come the Nids

Here come the Nids

As I am sure Severus will say in his blog, he decided to charge his Vespids into my Genestealers. I figured this was going to go well for me. And while it did, it didn’t go as well as I hoped. While my Genestealers did kill the majority of the Vespid, and they managed to kill one Genestealer, they stayed locked in combat thanks to an amazing roll of snake eyes.

Turn 2 –

My turn two movement was exactly the same as my turn one. March forward and pressure the enemy. The FHT flew behind the Hammerhead while the Crone swept to the right. The Dule and the Dimachaeron moved in close to the left flank (again, from my perspective). The Exocrine stayed put this time, meaning I would be able to use the slightly better Ballistic Skill.

Turn 2 b

In the psychic phase, like most of the game, I managed to get off catalyst, giving the Swarmlord unit and one other unit feel no pain. I also used some dice to give most of my creatures a better synapse range (including the Broodlords).

It begins

It begins

In the shooting phase, the Crone weakened another fire warrior unit, the FHT took down the Hammerhead, and the Exocrine took out some drones (and may have cause a wound to the broadside unit). Again, all of the other units ran to close the gap on the Tau.

In this assault phase, I thought I would start to significantly crush the Tau. The Raveners charged the 4 Tetras hoping to reduce the number of markerlights that could be brought against me. The Hierodule charged the R’varna. Well, the Hierodule tried to charge R’varna. I failed to successfully make the five-inch charge that was needed. The Raveners took down two tetras, and the Genestealers finally killed off the Vespids, which opened them up to shooting in Severus’s turn.

Raveners cause the destruction of two Tetras

Raveners cause the destruction of two Tetras

Again, my units had to deal with more shooting. This time Severus brought the Hive Crone down to one wound, shot more Genestealers, and only caused one wound to the Hierodule. Severus did manage to kill off the Venomethrope and one Hive Guard with the Y’vahna, and then fled far enough away that I would not be able to charge it in my turn.

Hierodule leading the charge. After the failed charge.

Hierodule leading the charge. After the failed charge.

Turn 3 –

As with all of my movement phases, the Tyranids kept charging forward, except for the Exocrine. I shifted the Hierodule for a slightly better shooting and charging position, and the left flank Genestealers closed in on one unit another unit of Firewarriors. The Crone and the FHT, both with one wound each, flew off the board to safety. The Raveners continued to pursue the Tetras.

One Hive Guard Making sure the rear is clear.

One Hive Guard Making sure the rear is clear.

In my shooting phase, the Exocrine fired at the Y’vahra, and cause one wound. The Hierodule toasted all but one Fire Warrior in one unit and caused some wounds to the Broadside unit. Most units, of course, ran forwad.

Hierodule preparing to assault the R'varna

Hierodule preparing to assault the R’varna

This is where the heavy assaulting started. The Raveners charged the Tetras again, the Genestealers and the Dimachaeron charged the larger unit of Firewarriors, and the Hierodule charged the one Firewarrior he didn’t kill (talk about overkill). The Raveners didn’t kill anything. The Genestealers and the Dimachaeron (on the left flank) managed to kill their firewarriors, and of course, the Hierodule killed off the one Firewarrior.

Here comes the Dimachaeron

Here comes the Dimachaeron

After my turn, Severus managed to kill the Exocrine and even more Genestealers. He also knocked the Hierodule down to one wound. I will say this now, that Hierodule can take a lot of firepower.

Turn 4 –

By turn four, the Tau were beginning to be cornered. I moved the Swarmlord into position to charge the Y’vahra. The Crone and the FHT moved into position to also shoot the Y’vahra. The Hierodule and the Dimachaeron moved into position to charge the R’varna. I was also finally frustrated with those Stealth Suits and moved the Broodlord into position to charge them. Sadly, that Broodlord was the only model left in that unit.

The last two Raveners preparing for another attack.

The last two Raveners preparing for another attack.

In the assault phase (nothing happened in my shooting phase), the Swarmlord managed to kill the Y’vahra. The Dimachaeron and the Hierodule killed the R’varna, and the Broodlord took out the unit of Stealthsuits. However, the Raveners tried to assault the Riptide, and were finally killed off.

Dimachaeron prepared for his next assault.

Dimachaeron prepared for his next assault.

And then it finally happened. After three full turns of being shot at, the Hierodule could no longer stand up to Tau firepower. The last wound was finally knocked off. I am left feeling that my first game with the Hierodule was successful, even if he didn’t make it to the end of the game. The FHT also was finally taken off the board.
Turn 5 –

With almost no available shooting left from my army, I just tried to shoot two tentaclids at a unit of firewarriors, killing off one. This being my final turn (unknown to me at that time), I charged the Dimachaeron into the broadsides and the other Broodlord into the remaining tetras. I did successfully kill one tetra (losing a Genestealer in the resulting explosion) and finally finished off the Broadsides.

In what turned out to be Severus’s final turn, he killed off the Dimachaeron with a lot of firepower. I still had the Swarmlord (and two of his guard), two Broodlords (but no Genestealers), and the Hive Crone.

So, throughout the game, I left my right flank soft and exposed, but thanks to a lucky scatter from Severus, the flank never collapsed. The left flank hit hard and fast, which seemed to work in my favor for this game.

Turn 4 c

So, the Tyranids managed to pull out a victory under the stated conditions. I had some MCs left on the table. And even when we broke it down by the modified victory points, my Tyranids managed to take home the victory. Although I believe I had an advantage with the Hierodule, it was still a very close game.

Set up 1