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Thursday, December 8, 2011

Summer Horizon Battle Report: Game 2 - Grey Knights vs Mech Eldar

Game 2 was against Jason C who was using Eldar - the mech variant. His list consisted of Eldrad, 2x Fire Dragons in Shuriken Serpents, 3xlarge Avengers in Scatter Serpents and 2x Prisms with a host of upgrades. Not a bad list within the constrains of the Eldar codex but you could fit in another two Serpent hulls at 1750 relatively easily but Jason went for the upgraded Prisms and larger Avenger squads. With most of my firepower being S7 rending and S8 I don't actually care that much about the Eldar shenanigians. My S7 guns still pen on 6 so I don't need rending and my S8 guns aren't being nerfed any. The main advatange Jason has is mobility and range - outside of the Dragon Serpents he can run around like a loon and shoot me more than I can shoot him so my Psyfledreads are majorly important. Countering this though is the Eldar ability to suppress them reliably with Runes of Warding...however, there aren't any high strength mobile guns other than the Fire Dragons or Prisms which means my Dreadnoughts should be safe.

So with this in mind, it's time to start the game! It's five objectives with four placed (one starts in the centre) and I win the roll-off to place first. With the superior mobility of Eldar and the increased effectiveness of their guns at range, I want to clump the objectives up as much as possible limiting the Eldar tanks' ability to zoom around the battlefield holding and contesting objectives. In the end three of the objectives are placed on the left side of the field all relatively close together, one which starts in the centre and another on the right. I win the roll-off to go first and choose the bottom left corner (Spearhead deployment) giving me quick access to four objectives and forcing the Eldar to come to me and bring my guns into range.

Quick comments about the terrain as I didn't make any last time - it was lacking. The TO has acknowledged this and will aim for better next time.


I had two objectives in my deployable area which I placed my Psybacks with the small Acolytes upon. The Passbacks them deployed in front of them - it was highly unlikely that I would be shooting with them first turn so it was all about putting them in a good position for moving up on T1. The Terminators deployed on the right of my deployment which would allow them to move into midfield and kick any Avengers which got out of their transports. One Psyfledread deployed with the army and the other two deployed at the back on an elevated piece of terrain. This was a poor move as if Jason deployed on his board edge, they wouldn't be able to shoot. Woops! These really should have been deployed as part of the army so there was no way Jason could have deployed out of range from them.

Jason's deployment was a mistake as well though. Although he deployed defensively so my passbacks were out of range, he didn't deploy far enough back so my rear Dreadnoughts were out of range. Otherwise he layered his units with the Prisms in front and the Serpents behind with both Fire Dragons looking to push up to my left flank.

Grey Knights Turn 1

Jason tried to seize but failed (go Coteaz) so the damage was on! The Passbacks all moved forward to put claim on three-four of the five objectives. The Terminators moved laterally to try and bring one of the Prisms in range and that was about it. The Dreadnoughts + Terminators were all in range (often by a single inch) which caused untold trouble for the Eldar without Fortune and minimal cover. Both of the Prisms lost their main gun - Holo-fields, you are so useful. Eldrad's Serpent was immobilsed and one of the Fire Dragon Serpents exploded, killing two. This was all because the Eldar were deployed several inches too far forward. The Terminators with 24" guns in Spearhead should have been no where near anything. The Dreadnoughts I deployed at the top of the Castle terrain should have been out of range and then I would have only had the Psybacks (S6) and one Dreadnought to damage the Eldar army with.

Deployment mistakes are costly...

Eldar Turn 1

With two of the Eldar tanks gone in terms of mobility and both Prisms main guns gone, Jason is in a pickle. The Grey Knights have moved into midfield and will hold it barring some excellent dice from Jason’s S6 firepower so he can only really rely on the Fire Dragons to crack open tanks – one of which has been put on foot. He still has his mobility advantage and he does still have quite a bit of S6 firepower and enough Dire Avengers to waste even the Terminators should they focus fire.

Unfortunately Jason splits his army up. This means all my guns are in range and doesn’t lose me any firepower at all. Moving Serpents are pretty hard to down, especially with Fortune up (both Avenger Serpents have Fortune) but if all of the remaining tanks had moved in one direction (say away from the Terminators so they couldn’t engage in the fight next turn), my firepower would have been limited.

Jason’s shooting (the Immobilised Serpent) then Wrecks a Passback forcing six Acolytes to bail out. With everything else having moved quickly, they are under no immediate threat.

Grey Knights Turn 2

My turn doesn’t really require much thought unfortunately. I continue positioning my army to control the four objectives grouped together by spreading my vehicles out. This also ensures I can engage all of the Eldar targets with no firepower lost. The disembarked Acolytes attempt to move in front of the Razorbacks which have moved onto the top left objectives to form a bubble-wrap layer but fail with a poor run roll (unlikely to have affected anything regardless). The Purifiers up in that area jump out as well to punish the Fire Dragons if they get popped out or otherwise provide more S7 shooting.

One of the Dreadnoughts from the castle ruins hops down to have more movement options and engage Avenger units in combat if necessary (away from objectives) whilst the Terminator unit moves further into midfield to pressure any disembarked Dire Avengers.

Shooting happens and the combined fire of Psyfledreads is able to punch through a Fortuned Serpent and wreck it whilst Fortuned cover and basic cover stop nearly everything else. The remaining Dragon Serpent is shaken and the Fire Dragons on foot suffer no deaths despite some firepower thrown their way.

Eldar Turn 2

Another tank lost and more of the Eldar army is stranded on the wrong side of the board and since the army has been split up, it’s hard for it to support itself. The Prisms + Serpent with the Dragons on the left move up to cause some disruption with tank shocks and hiding for late-game contesting whilst the Dragons hop out to blast a tank to bits. The mobile Avenger Serpent on the left moves up and dumps the Avengers in front of the Terminators in an attempt to kill them. This is a downright odd move. The Avengers aren’t maximising their 18” range so are within assault range next turn and the rest of the Avengers aren’t supporting them (i.e. they can be dealt with easily). The lack of firepower (one Avenger squad, no Doom) also means the Terminators are unlikely to take damage. 

Instead of this, the Avenger Serpent should have moved behind the circular ruins to limit some LoS to it (or at the minimum, generate cover) and fire its Scatter Lasers (which it did anyway). This gives the other Avenger squads time to move up and hit the GKT with all three Avenger squads rather than one at a time.

Eldar shooting does a bit more damage this turn. The Fire Dragons explode the Psyback with the Acolytes (killing one and pinning them) whilst the S6 firepower of the Scatter Lasers stuns and knocks off the weapon of the passback protecting the Purifiers. The Avengers kill a Terminator and wound the Terminator Inquisitor.

Grey Knights Turn 3

With some over-extended Dire Avengers, exposed Fire Dragons x2 and a Serpent without cover all in front of me, I have some tantalising shooting choices without being overwhelmed. My parking lot shuffles around again to clear fire lanes whilst still sitting on those objectives. The damaged Passback takes a risk and casts Fortitude and is safe to move in front of the pinned Acolytes. The Purifiers hot foot it up to the Fire Dragons and prepare to assault them whilst the other Purifiers hop out, allowing the disembarked Acolytes to jump into their ride and protect themselves (and their scoring ability). The Terminators inch up to blast away at the exposed Avengers.

Shooting sees the Dragon serpent shaken again whilst the remaining Avenger Serpent is wrecked. Good cover saves sees the three-man Fire Dragon squad still standing with one member whilst the Terminators all but decimate the exposed Avenger unit leaving only a couple alive who have hit the dirt for better cover.

The Purifiers assault the other Dragon squad, kill two and force them to flee. They don't quite make the table edge and the Purifiers consolidate after them to escort them off the board.

Eldar Turn 3

Both of the Prisms + Dragon Serpent zoom around my backlines in an attempt to stay alive and annoying me with objective contests. The remaining Avenger squads both move up and run to try and support their pointy eared brethern. The lone Fire Dragon moves up to shoot the Terminators whilst amazingly the other Fire Dragons fall back 2" and thus stay on the table.

Shooting sees little damage as the fleeing Fire Dragons kill one Purifier and the lone Fire Dragon kills one Terminator. That's it.

Grey Knights Turn 4

The Terminators move up again in an effort to engage the new Avenger squad in range. The Dreadnoughts move around for betting firing angles whilst the top left Purifiers move towards the Fire Dragons to ensure they will continue fleeing even if they fail to kill them with shooting. The other Purifiers stay still for eight S7 shots. Everything else shuffles around onto objectives.

Shooting sees both of the Fire Prisms in my backline dropped with the Dragon Serpent shaken again. The weakened Avenger squad is shot off the board whilst the lone Fire Dragon dies and the Purifiers are able to eliminate two of the three Fire Dragons in the top left (they flee off the board). 

In the assault phase the Terminators are just able to reach the other Avenger squad (once again over-extended) and smack them around in combat. However, due to Shimmershield and Defend, they don’t wipe the unit which passes its Ld locking the Terminators in combat. No shooting + Doom at them I’m afraid.

Eldar Turn 4

The remaining Serpent zooms around the behind the ruins the Dreadnoughts have been using whilst Eldard's Avenger squad strecthes itself out to hold the objective whilst trying to gain cover. The other Avenger squad dies during the assault phase to the GKT.

Grey Knight Turn 5

The game at this point is pretty much over so we look to finish things quickly. Both Dreadnoughts move around the ruins in my deployment zone to ensure LoS and charging possibilities against the Serpent. They shoot it down and immobilised it (aka Wreck). The Terminators move up towards the Dire Avengers and everything else shuffles so they are in range of the Avenger unit as well and opens fire. Half the Avengers die and the GKT finish them off in combat with only Eldrad alive. However, two of the Terminators were dragged down and Eldrad flees but not off the table. GKT consolidate after him.

Eldar Turn 5

Eldrad tries to Mind War Coteaz to death and fails but kills the final GKT to get some potential Victory Points. 

Grey Knight Turn 6 

The Inquisitor kills the immobilised Serpent in combat whilst Coteaz escorts Eldrad off the table.


End result is a 20-0 victory for the Grey Knights who held four objectives with the Eldar only killing around 400-500 VP. So..analysis.
I deployed poorly – my Dreadnoughts should have been within the army to ensure Jason couldn’t have deployed out of range. Jason then deployed even worse my not deploying out of range of them when he could and should have. Whilst I don’t think the game outcome would have been different (the Eldar list just didn’t have enough dakka to reliably drop all my tanks, let alone impugn upon the Dreadnoughts which would cause the most damage), the game wouldn’t have been as one-sided and there was always the chance the dice could have helped Jason out. Fortuned Serpents have a nasty habit of not dying for example.

Beyond the poor deployment choices though, the Eldar army should never have really split up. With the mobility advantage and to a certain extent, range advantage over the Psycannon based guns, the Eldar army gave all my guns targets by splitting in two and allowed me to deal with each Avenger unit one by one with a single unit rather than all at once. If the army had stayed together (use the virtually useless Prisms with Holo-fields as movable cover) and the Avengers had supported each other with mass firepower, the Eldar army would have taken a bigger role in the game.

And here’s the lesson in this (sorry Jason ^^), poor deployment can lose you games. Poor movement can lose you games. Both were evident here, with poor deployment on both sides. If I had lost this game it would have been all down to that as my initial shooting would have been vastly less effective when it needed to be its most effective as Fortune was not available. 

Anyway, good game to Jason. Was nice and quick so we got a nice long lunch break and time to walk around and check out the other games! Advantages of tabling your opponent and winning 20-0…

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