This weekend was Battlefield Birmingham 14, the latest event in a bi-annual series run by one of the UK’s best TOs.
BB13 six months ago was my very first event, and I turned up with a relatively fluffy Biel-Tan aspect warrior brigade. Here’s what i took this time:
ARMY FACTIONS: Aeldari
TOTAL COMMAND POINTS: 9 (10 from army + detachments, 1 spent on “Treasures of the Craftworlds”)
TOTAL ARMY POINTS: 2000pts
Outrider Detachment, Kabal of the Black Heart [352pts] +0CP
HQ1:Archon (70pts) – – Husk Blade (6pts), Splinter pistol (0pts) – [76pts]
WARLORD (Labyrinthine Cunning)
RELIC (free) – The Parasite’s Kiss
FA1: 5 Scourges (60pts), Solarite (0pts), 4 Haywire Blaster (32pts), 1 Shardcarbine (Solarite) (0pts) – [92pts]
FA2: 5 Scourges (60pts), Solarite (0pts), 4 Haywire Blaster (32pts), 1 Shardcarbine (Solarite) (0pts) – [92pts]
FA3: 5 Scourges (60pts), Solarite (0pts), 4 Haywire Blaster (32pts), 1 Shardcarbine (Solarite) (0pts) – [92pts]
Battalion Detachment, Craftworld Mara-Nai (Alaitoc trait) [1102pts] +5CP
HQ1: Autarch Skyrunner (95pts), Laser Lance (8pts), Twin Shuriken Catapult (5pts) [108pts]
HQ2: Farseer (110pts), Witchblade (0pts), [110pts]
POWERS – Guide, Doom
RELIC (via Strategem) – Faolchu’s Wing
Troop1: 6 Dire Avengers (48pts), Exarch (0pts), 6 Avenger Shuriken catapults (24pts), Additional Avenger Shuriken Catapult (Exarch) (4pts) – [76pts]
Troop2: 10 Guardian Defenders (80pts), 1 Heavy Weapon Platform (5pts), 1 Shuriken Cannon (10pts) – [95pts]
Troop3: 5 Rangers (60pts) – [60pts]
Flyer1: Crimson Hunter Exarch (135pts), 2 Bright Lances (40pts) – [175pts]
Flyer2: Hemlock Wraithfighter (200pts), Spirit Stones (10pts) – [210pts]
POWER – Jinx
DT1: Wave Serpent (107pts), Twin Shuriken Cannon (17pts), Shuriken Cannon (10pts) – [134pts]
DT2: Wave Serpent (107pts), Twin Shuriken Cannon (17pts), Shuriken Cannon (10pts) – [134pts]
Spearhead Detachment, Craftworld Mara-Nai (Alaitoc trait) [546pts] +1CP
HQ1: Spiritseer (65pts) – [65pts]
POWER – Jinx/Protect
HS1: Fire Prism (155pts), Shuriken Cannon (10pts), Crystal Targeting Matrix (5pts) – [170pts]
HS2: Fire Prism (155pts), Shuriken Cannon (10pts), Crystal Targeting Matrix (5pts) – [170pts]
HS3: 4 Dark Reapers (48pts), Exarch (0pts), 3 Reaper Launchers (66pts), 1 Tempest Launcher (Exarch) (27pts) – [141pts]
I think we can reasonably assert that I’m a worse person than I was 6 months ago.
I arrived at the venue nice and early and congregated with Corrode and his team, where my poor elves felt very out of place
I was firmly hoping to play against lots of armies like those around me – the scourges are in the list to provide a reliable “second strike” against a Castellan if it manages to blow up too much of my other stuff, and Alaitoc is a decent defence against knights, unless they start high-rolling. I’ve played a similar list before and found it just a little lacking in anti-tank, and hoped the tweaks would improve it a lot. In addition, S4 AP-1 on the haywire is actually alright against plenty of valid targets, so it felt like the “cost” of including the Scourges was quite low. However, I also hadn’t played a game with the list before the event, and was painfully aware that I was a bit out of practice with Eldar, at least partially because I’d spent the last 2 weeks rush painting 15 scourges rather than playing.
I’m going to try and keep these a bit more brief than normal, do a quick run through of the overall “narrative” of the battle rather than a complete blow-by-blow then covering learning points, because I write way too much normally and brevity is the soul of both wit and consistently putting things up on here.
Round 1 – Ynnari
Uh oh. My opponent had a spectacularly vicious list, featuring Yvraine in an Ynnari battalion with three units of rangers, 2×8 Spears and 8 reapers, then an ulthwe supreme command with Eldrad, some psykers and a Wave Serpent, then the standard Black Heart Spearhead with disintegrator ravagers. He put one unit of spears in reserve, I did what worked out well as a general strategy with the scourges, putting one unit behind a LOS blocker and 2 in deep strike, giving me some first strike capability if I went first, and a backup plan if I didn’t.
Mission was “Big Guns Never Tire” plus the default “Draw 3” Maelstrom.
There’s not much to the right at this point, after this was taken and he lost first turn, he Phantasmed those spears way over to the right flank.
I went first and had what was in most ways an absolutely cracking turn, but had two things in it that sowed the seeds of my destruction. The very, very good was that thanks to the scourges, I was able to pop the wave serpent turn 1 and waste 6/8 dark reapers right off the bat, significantly reducing the ranged threat to my army. However, I made one mistake and had one bit of bad luck, both of which would come back to bite me.
The mistake was putting the Crimson Hunter into my opponent’s deployment zone – this scored me the “Behind Enemy Lines” card, but would let him profitably drop his deep striking spears and actually do something turn 1, whereas if i’d kept it out of his zone then it would almost certainly have survived his first. This mission is generally quite low scoring, and that level of commitment was not worth a point. The other bad thing was that I linked fire at the shining spears on the board, and a mixture of a low roll from me and high rolls on his invulns lead to only one dying (average is about 3).
These two things cost me bad on his turn – his second spear squad dropped in and, with my Crimson hunter getting Doom cast on it, managed to damn near kill it outright with just suriken fire, after which it was easily popped down by a few other things. Over on the other side of the board, his 7 remaining spears between a soulburst and normal shooting managed to get six lance hits on my Hemlock – and made all six wound rolls to (again combined with some light tapping from elsewhere) blow it out of the sky. they also got a charge into my wave serpent with guardians and completely wrapped it, but I was lucky enough that it limped through. I’d had a great first turn, but his had been fantastic considering, and we thus had ourselves a game.
From there, we had a really intense back and forth. The game was fantastic fun – given we both knew each other’s armies really well and clearly had the same mindset, it was a brilliant experience. Unfortunately, on both turns 2 and 3 key components of my army whiffed a little bit, and this eventually snowballed into a loss. On turn 2, my two remaining scourge squads deeply underwhelmed against a ravager, while on turn 3 my army achieved damn near nothing – I had two fire prisms up and failed to even down a 3 wound ravager, and my Autarch with all his shooting and melee failed to kill Yvraine after she started the turn on 3 wounds. I did wipe the first spear squad on turn 2, so again not a total disaster, but had to use firepower I would rather have used on the second squad to tidy up the scourges failures. Meanwhile, he got the full set of buffs off on the remaining spear unit and they went Full Ynnari, bounding around the battlefield killing everything in their path. It looked like the game was over on turn 4, but then my hero guardian defenders finished off the limping ravager with a plasma grenade – and it promptly exploded, killing Yvraine and putting a bunch of his psykers on low wounds. From there it became a desperate race to see if I could salvage some points by holding his spears up enough to not get tabled. I was helped my this by my spiritseer, who stayed in combat with Eldrad for two solid turns, both of them trying and failing to waste the other with smites and bouncing their weapons ineffectually off each others’ helmets. Unfortunately, it wasn’t to be – my last few infantry just failed to put down his dark reaper exarch on turn 4, and the double taps from his gun wiped them all out, then on his final turn he was able to pull down my last serpent, while the spears popped back over a hill, Eldrad dodge rolled out of combat, and my poor hero spiritseer got wasted in a hail of Shurikens.
I was a bit sad to lose, but his list was horrendous and I felt the dice had been a bit against me.
If your opponent has nasties in deep strike, don’t put your fliers in their deployment zone turn 1 you dolt.
Round 2 – Tyranids
Nooooo. I hate Tyranids. I am cursed against them. I am something like 1-3 against them in time playing and it’s always for the same reason – their Neurothropes roll absurdly high on psychic tests and Hive Tyrants run super hot on Invulns. Nids are pretty good against Eldar anyway – Shadow in the Warp is a serious pain, and the Hive Cronos strategem completely monstrous.
Match was “The Scouring” + “Contact Lost”
He had a Behemoth Battalion with two flyrants, a whole buncha gaunts, a Neurothrope and some rippers, then a Cronos Spearhead with a Neurothrope, Malanthrope, 2×3 Biovores, Hive Guard and some more Gaunts, then a GSC supreme command with two Magi, a primus and 10 newly buffed Aberrants. He hilariously wrong footed me by just saying up front “yeah I’ve got 9 units in deep strike, so can you do your first 9 drops”.
The table had incredibly dense LOS blockers, so though I got first turn it was at least partially muted. It was still pretty great – between them, my planes put 5/6 hive guard out of commission, and given that my fire prisms had no better targets, I killed 20-something gaunts as well. My opponent looked pretty punch-drunk after this (another excellent guy to play against) but still fucking went for it. I’d also made another mistake – I dropped in two squads of scourges on each of my flanks to ward of GSC deep strikes, but didn’t walk my Archon back a few inches once the scourges had that objective because I’m apparently really dumb sometimes.
In keeping with the theme of things so far, my opponent’s turn 1 was pretty spectacular – both Flyrants dropped in, and I’d (this time not as an out-and-out mistake given the Hive Guard needed to die, but still risky) left the hemlock near enough his Zone for him to be able to go for a charge. His Aberrants also managed to pop up 9″ away from my Archon and Scourges, at which point I realised my mistake and reminded myself to hold vect points for a possible re-roll on the charge.
In his Psychic phase, Neurothropes super smited both my planes, the hemlock for 4 (3 after FNP) and the Crimson Hunter for 6.
Not like this.
His biovores scattered a bunch of spore mines around, and then his Flyrant went into the Hemlock. His Aberrants rolled a natural 11 on their charge (obviously) and went into my warlord, and I learnt about new Aberrants. 60. Fucking. Attacks. (after factoring in a psychic buff anyway). My warlord failed his very first shadow field save and died horribly.
Better news elsewhere though – the Hemlock lived through Flyrant attacks, allowing it to scoot off to live another day.
My turn 2 was pretty alright – now that there were spore mines everywhere I had to use AOV to force doom through the Cronos strategem onto a Flyrant, but did pull it off once I’d done that. While it rolled decently on its saves, I was just able to put it down, while my prisms blew away enough Aberrants that they no longer threatened it. He still had an alarming number of GSC characters on that flank though, and my third, emergency scourge squad totally fucked it trying to kill one. Meanwhile, my Crimson Hunter announced that it was very hurt by the whole super smite thing, and proceeded to roll useless 3s to hit for the rest of the game. Thanks Crimson Hunter.
Nonetheless this wasn’t over – I had depleted a lot of his stuff, but he still had enough to keep the hurting going and did some good damage back, but on paper it didn’t look like it should be enough, and all that needed to happen on turn 3 was his second Flyrant dying and I could lock things up, and it had already taken a few points of incidental damage.
I couldn’t stop Cronos on the doom this time, but hoped for at least some successful smites or a Jinx on the Flyrant. No such luck.
Not like this.
Then I put five mid profile fire prism wounds and 3 Hemlock wounds into it
It made 7/8 invulns.
Not like thiiiissssssssss.
That turned out to be it – I did kill it the turn after, but having to spend another whole turn of firepower on it after that, and some good saves elsewhere to keep a bunch of things alive on 1 wound meant he just had too many little objective grabbing units compared to me (something that had been telling all game thanks to Contact Lost). I didn’t get tabled and probably had significantly more points alive at the end, but without being able to lock up a bunch of EOG objectives he won convincingly on points.
I hate Tyranids so goddamn much.
Don’t assume Vect will stop a 9″ deep strike charge – screen your damn warlord.
Round 3 – Space Marines + Custodes
He had a Shield Captain Supreme Command, then a bunch of scouts, devestators, razorbacks and two FW things – a Whirlwind Scorpius and a Leviathan.
Mission was kill confirmed + scorched earth.
I deployed out of Shield Captain range, while he built an incredible castle behind a wall, with the devestators primed to shoot if he got first turn and the Leviathan acting as a line guard, ready to blow away any of my units came close. Deploying his devestators out of the razorbacks sounds incredibly risky, but he told me after the game that his calculation was that he had no chance of beating my list if I got first turn, so set up assuming he would (honestly – probably a correct calculation).
He was rewarded for this by, in fact, going first. His Lasdevs and Scorpius promptly cold-cocked one of my wave Serpents out of existence, and put 6 wounds on the visible fire prism.
On my turn, I blew away the screen of scouts around his shield captains, having Jinxed and Doomed one, and tried to put it down once it was the closest model, but failed. Still, on the far side of the board a Razorback got blasted away, and having assessed them as the biggest threat I could reliably murder, the prisms put away a squad of devs in revenge for turn 1.
Unfortunately, the rest of the game was a bit damp and I don’t think my opponent had a great time of it, already being a bit sad about how is marines were performing (another good guy though – I had a nice chat with him the next day). My saves were extremely spicy, and while he did a good bit of damage again in shooting (putting the second WS down and wasting pretty much all of the guardians inside), my farseer and autarch both survived SC charges.
This let me crack back with some smite firepower the next turn and put (I believe) two shield captains in the morgue there and then, while the prisms did for the second devestator squad. More importantly, over on the far side of the board, the moment had finally come.
My Scourges checked in and straight up murdered the Scorpius, lobbing some MWs onto the Leviathan as well for good measure. Between this and events elsewhere, I locked the game up pretty much there – there was no way he was ever going to take me off the board, the Leviathan had to go after the Hemlock while it could, leaving the 11-ish scourges free to mostly solo it (with a little help from a Crimson Hunter) the next turn, and my opponent conceded on turn 4.
While I was undeniably extremely lucky for a good part of the game, my opponent did get some decent fortune on turn 1, and overall this game cheered me up a bit – especially as the Scourges were absolutely instrumental to the win. I was still a bit sad to be only 1-2 though – I felt my list was good, and in both games 1 and 2 (especially 2) I ran pretty bad.
Join me later in the week where I go through the fun and games of day 2.