Tournament Report – LWG Winter Warfare – Part 1


Good news readers – I escaped the nightmare webway that is the Westfield carpark, despite the best efforts of its dread guardians, so you get to find out how my new and improved Eldar list did at the LWG open. We previewed the event, including details of my list, here, so today we’ll head straight into the games, covering for each:

  • The Competition – Details of my opponent’s army
  • The Mission – Details of mission and deployment
  • The Plan – how I aimed to play out the game and target priorities.
  • The Summary – how the game played out at a high level
  • The Takeaways – points of interest and things I learnt from the game
  • The Score – my score after the game.

On with the show!

Round 1 – Chaos Horde Soup

The Competition

Army List - Click to expand

++ Battalion - Mixed Heretic Astartes ++
40 Alpha Legion Cultists
40 Black Legion Cultists
10 Black Legion Cultists

++ Battalion - Thousand Sons ++
Exalted Sorceror (Helm)
10 Cultists
10 Cultists
29 Tzaangors
Tzaangor Shaman (Dark Matter Crystal)
5 Scarab Occult Terminators

++ Battalion - Mixed Daemons ++
Herald of Slaanesh
Khorne Winged Daemon Prince (Relic Axe)
3 Nurgling Bases
10 Brimstones
10 Brimstones

Ouch, that’s a nasty way to start a weekend. This list gets access to a lot of the nastiest things Chaos has, pulling in a Tzaangor bomb, huge blobs of fearless cultists, Ahriman and the nastiest Daemon prince in the warp. One of my earliest brutal losses was to an Abaddon/Cultist list, which was largely the game that introduced me to the idea that just maybe a Biel Tan brigade wasn’t going to cut it in the cutthroat world of serious events, so I’ve had a wary fear of chaos horde armies since (only increased by getting crushed by Plaguebearers at Blood and Glory), and this sets off all of the alarm bells.

I’ve got a lot more anti-horde in my list than I used to, but this is still a lot of stuff, and I honestly turned up for the day (pairings went up the night before) expecting to have to deal with a R1 loss, although I did, as we’ll see in a second, have a plan.

Also. No vehicles. Welcome back Haywire Scourges. Sigh.

The Mission

ITC Mission 1 – Seize Ground. (6 objectives, bonus for holding or contesting 5).

Not really the mission I want, as he obviously has a lot of board control. Luckily, this was pulled back for me by us rolling up Vanguard Strike deployment, which was exactly what I did want (the plan I’d worked up could function on any non-long edge deployment, but Vanguard was easily the best).

The Plan

So what is this so called plan. Well, while the Scourges were looking like a bit of dead weight (though could at least drop onto objectives profitably) the Night Spinners had an early chance to justify their existence. While he has a lot of nasty blocks, he also has a decent number of small units that should be vulnerable to the Night Spinners and the Starcannon Crimson Hunter working together. He also has very few things that can kill a plane (as long as I stay out of Prince/Psychic Range) and the only thing that will totally screw me is if I let him drop the Tzaangor bomb on me, or play hard into Tide of Traitors.

With that in mind, my plan was to chuck as many vulnerable units into deep strike as possible, then deploy in a nice tight corner behind a wall of planes. On my first turn, with correct positioning, two of them can effectively swap position, while the third can be replaced by the wave Serpent, which can tank the Tzaangor bomb with appropriate application of strategems. If I then win the roll and make him go first, he should have no way of killing a unit turn 1, allowing me to grab “kill more” by picking off a small squad with my long ranged fire. Assuming he’s moved a bit of stuff forward, I maybe lose one unit turn 2, and should still be able to “kill more” as I bring things in. I can also hopefully stop him building up too much of a lead on hold more. Ideally, I keep castled up as much as possible till the DMC gets blown or I manage to snipe the Shaman with a plane, after which we can fan out and mop up.

If I go first things are substantially harder, but the strategy remains the same – play it cool and deny kills, and hope that adds up to outweighing the “hold more” which I probably can’t stop him getting in that scenario. I would also use Phantasm to reposition one of my planes so that after swapping the other two it could come forward to complete the wall, and to move my night spinners so that they were both in comfortable range of a single soft.

My Secondaries

  • Recon
  • Reaper
  • Marked for Death (Alpha Cultists, Tzaangors, Daemon Prince, Terminators)

His Secondaries

  • Old School (any remaining doubts about the turn 1 denial plan were put to bed at this point_
  • Butcher’s Bill
  • Recon

The Summary

The planes went down as planned, while he (sensibly) put as much of his vulnerable stuff as he could into the various forms of Deep Strike he had access to.

Sneaky, sneaky elves

The Chaos Horde (our units on top of buildings are representing things in transports/deep strike).

I got the +1 and won what was, if we’re honest, the most important roll of the game, and gave him the first turn. He brought the Alpha legion cultists shuffling forward to grab objectives and set up to do things on turn 2 (but not bringing them all the way into close range to let me get an early strike on them), but as planned had no real tools to allow him to kill a unit, and ended the turn without scoring First Strike.

I responded largely as planned, bringing the Hemlock forwards to touch its nose into his quarter (he had carefully denied me any place to land it that wasn’t in strike range for the DP, but I was willing to make him take the Overwatch and hope “Lightning Fast” pulled me through), and swapping the two CH’s to nose into the other two quarters and completing the wall with a Wave Serpent. The Night Spinners and Crimson Hunters just about managed to kill a small squad between them, while a few Shurikens and splinter shots started the long process of depleting the alpha cultists. An unexciting first turn but extremely successful for the Eldar.

This is the no Tzaangors club – population, 0 Tzaangors.

In his turn, his Nurglings came in to hold a fifth objective while his Alpha cultists glomped onto several more, and his Scarab Occults came in to try and waste some of my infantry, but found themselves ambushed by “Forewarned” on a Guided Night Spinner, which shredded two of them. He did manage a kill this turn, as his Daemon Prince was able to charge the Hemlock (living on 2W after the overwatch) and brutally trash it. He also got the bonus.

With turn 2’s arrival, however, I was now able to bring in my guardian bomb and plan to take one of his cultist blobs off the board. A doom, Jinx and hail of shurikens later and off they went (thanks to the casualties they’d taken last turn), while I’d made sure to screen out my bomb so that the Tzaangors couldn’t take easy revenge. I also picked off the rest of the Scarabs, though after some embarrassing rolls the Night Spinners and one squad of Scourges failed to finish off the Nurgling bases (despite them being practically ideal targets). Still, 2 kills was all I needed, and I took “Kill More” again, and actually managed to hold him off “Hold More” for a second turn, thanks to the Venom having shot up the left flank to position itself for if the Cultists died, with the Wracks shambling after to later secure it and screen out drop zones.

On his turn 3, he made the calculation that he needed to stop my scourges doing what they were threatening to and getting me “Hold More” the next turn, and used the DMC to send his Exalted Sorceror of to stop them. He was immediately rewarded by blowing the entire squad away with a super Smite. The rest of his drops came in too, his last cultists to shore up that same objective, and the brimstones to try and charge my Venom. His other big cultist blob started moving up, and in the shooting phase went for a mix of targets, doing some damage but not really enough.

Cultists on the move

His charge phase was deeply mixed – his brimstones made the critical charge to get him on the bonus again, and his cultists managed to wrap and trap a dire avenger squad, but his Daemon prince died on overwatch while trying to take out the second CH, with me spending 5CP to stop him using a command reroll on a failed save via Vect and a re-roll of my own.

That was probably the “game over” moment, as keeping the extra plane alive gave me enough material to assure a win. It flew over and wasted a sorcerer, as I’d gradually picked off all his screening with the Spinners, while the Kabalites and their venom made short work of the Brimstones to take the objective back. Given I didn’t really have any other premium targets, I also threw as much stuff as possible into melee with the cultists after dooming them to see if I could stop them Tiding (he’d regained a CP with the Helm of Third Eye the last turn). I made a creditable attempt, but some still made it through (which i’d planned for by screening my back lines).

On his turn they duly tides back, with Abaddon stomping over to murder some stuff in the board centre, and otherwise him largely consolidating his position on objectives. He got a few shots off on my Farseer with the cultists (I hadn’t pushed quite as close to the board edge as I should have) but did minimal damage, and while he did make the long charge to wrap my wracks, i’d saved 2CP for Black Cornucopians. Between my seers having “Fly” and the wracks pulling out, the Cultists were left wide open where I could easily kill enough for Morale to do the rest as long as I put Abaddon down in the middle, which i duly did. We quickly played out the fifth turn, as the only roll that mattered was whether he could warp time onto an objective without getting denied, which I duly stop, and we called it as it was time.

The Takeaways

We did the plan and it worked! I was very please with how this played out, as several of my new units “did their thing”, most notably the Night Spinners. After this match I’m basically permanently sold on these in ITC – they let me play a completely different and vastly more successful game than would have been possible without them, as they let me be vastly more cautious against the Tzaangor bomb without having to sacrifice killing a few units.

The only mistake I made, and I’ll definitely keep this in mind for the future (especially as I messed it up at least once more) was that I need to more carefully measure screening once I’m in the late game and things are a bit depleted – I tend to think “it doesn’t matter if there’s a spare inch, a whole squad can’t fit there” but with something like cultists if you leave a continuous whole inch they can snake round the board.

Other than that though, a brilliant start to the event.

The Score

Primary: 15-11

Secondary: 11-8 (I missed MFD on the Tzaangors given they largely stayed home).

Total: 26-19

Match Score: 1-0

Round 2 – Drukari

The Competition

Army List - Click to expand

++ Battalion - Prophets of Flesh ++
Haemoculus (Vexator Mask)
3x5 Wracks
2x3 Talos
6 Grotesques

++ Spearhead - Black Heart ++
Archon (Living Muse)
3x Ravager

++ Supreme Command - Mixed Craftworld - Windrider Host ++
Autarch w/ Novalance, Fusion Gun, Banshee Mask (Saim Hann)
Farseer Skyrunner (Biel Tan)
Warlock Skyrunner (Biel Tan)

The Mission

ITC Mission 2 – Cut to the Heart

Would definitely prefer “seize ground” here. Annoyingly, there was also a building that wasn’t totally enclosed but was mostly that touched the centre, and he was able to put his objective at the far end then hide wracks in it holding both, with only a small entry I could shoot into. At least I can hold him off the bonus unless things go very badly.

The Plan

Nooo not already. The Talos Curse comes to claim me. Sigh. The Grotesques are an interestingly different angle, and on balance probably less of a problem for me than “more Talos” would be, but equally the Autarch is a very nasty threat (which I’ll admit now I somewhat underestimated, having never had one go “full index” on me before).

This should still be beatable, though, but like all eldar offs, there’s inevitably going to be some of it that comes down to luck. Ideally I aim to bait one Talos squad to break off, stagger them hitting my main lines and then take them out on turns 2 and 3 with the guardian bomb and backing fire from other units.

I probably aim to pick off the Ravager and Razorwing before going after the Talos – they’re vulnerable to both Crimson Hunters and Night Spinners, and if the Razorwing comes to play my Autarch can potentially trash it in melee.

One bright spot here is that the deep striking harassment units I have should put in serious work – the Venom can drop in and put down ~3 wracks on average dice, with the remainder then very vulnerable to a charge, and the Scourges can pop in, put a few mortals on a ravager then threaten the back line too.

I probably do take the first turn it it’s offered here simply because straight up trashing two whole ravagers is a realistic goal, and I’m almost never going to get “hold more” unless I’m wildly ahead anyway.

My Secondaries

  • Recon
  • Marked for Death (Ravagers + Plane)
  • Big Game Hunter

His Secondaries

  • Big Game Hunter
  • Butcher’s Bill
  • Recon

The Summary

After the AGM, the “No Tzaangors Club” has rebranded to the “No Talos” club.

The Talos seem unhappy about this.

He went first, and with some quite good dice, managed to blow apart a Night Spinner through Lightning Fast with some extremely good hit and wound rolls from a Ravager.

I responded with a pretty cracking first turn though, trashing the Razorwing, a Ravager and killing his Warlock, comfortably taking “Kill More”.

Unfortunately from the second turn onwards this game was a near complete wash. His second turn was good – his Autarch darted in and murdered one plane, and I *think* the Ravagers managed to put paid to another.

My army responded to this by spending the rest of the game whiffing completely, largely because his armour saves were outrageously good. I did manage to land Jinx and Doom on a Talos squad, but between my Guardian bomb and a lot of other firepower only managed to put two down. Elsewhere, a lot of my stuff whiffed, most notably the Scourges only managing a tiny number of MWs on a Ravager, and the Venom and passengers taking out only a single Wrack.

Sadly, this was basically the story of the rest of the game. Turn 3 was slightly more modest – in a display of good luck, when the remaining Talos from the first squad came after my guardians they took out 3 of its wounds on overwatch, tanked all of its hits by just losing the grav platform and actually managed to punch it to death in the fight phase like a bunch of absolute weapons. Unfortunately, elsewhere he managed to get a charge in with his deep striking Grotesques to grab the bonus and engage my Archon. While I did put some decent hurt on his army in my turn, my only way out to win the game was for my harassing units to finish the job on the things they were hunting, and his Wracks just Would. Not. Die. I put a truly astounding number of wounds into the three little squads he had over the game and never managed to finish them all off, and this just kept denying me both holds and kills when I really needed them.

In the end we wrapped up with a not totally humiliating but still solid win for him.

The Takeaways

This was a bit soul destroying, honestly, as I really am starting to believe I’m cursed against Prophets of Flesh – I genuinely can’t remember a game I’ve played against them where the 4++ rolls haven’t been just outrageously good, and I really felt like there was almost nothing I could have done here given that. If his backfield screen had collapsed when it should have done and freed up my units “on schedule” I think I could have made a play for at least a draw here – flip a couple of the turns that are down on my scoresheet as him having hold more and bonus (which would have potentially been doable), and give me a kill on turn 4 when i preposterously killed 3 wracks with something like 13 wounds thrown into them and the score would be level – and that’s not even allowing for killing a few more Talos and the Scourges not barely even scratching a Ravager on the turn they dropped.

The only real mistakes I made was letting the Grotesques get in – I think I could have screened them out a bit better by moving the Night Spinner and sucking up a turn of reduced accuracy – and underestimating the Autarch, which was largely from just not seeing that build (using the windrider host was clever, as it let him be “pseudo” Ynnari at the cost of a few CP). Neither of these would have changed my fate with the dice as they were, however.

The Score

Primary: 8-16

Secondary: 10-11

Total: 18-27

Match Score: 1-1

Round 3 – Imperial Guard

The Competition

Army List - Click to expand

++ Battalion - Cadian - Emperor's Fist ++
Pask (Battle Cannon)
Tank Commander (Relic Cannon)

3x Infantry Squad

Mortar Squad

Scout Sentinel

Punisher Russ

3x Chimera

++ Patrol - Tempestus Scions - Tempestus Drop Force ++

Melta Command Squad

Scion Squad


++ Super Heavy Aux - Cadian ++

Some interesting stuff going on here, but an extremely good matchup – being able to completely “no sell” the Shadowsword shooting at one of my planes with Lightning Fast means that he’s very short of good ways to interact with me, and I can quickly prioritise the few things that pose a genuine threat to them. Should, on paper, be my game to lose.

The Mission

ITC Mission 3 – Nexus Control

Good for me – he has limited board coverage and most of his stuff has to hide back from my vehicles or get charged and lose vital shooting. Getting bonus early and keeping it is a reasonable goal.

The Plan

Interestingly enough, the highest priority target for me here is actually the Valkyrie and the Scions inside. My opponent here was somewhat unlucky in that I’d run into the drop force specialist detachment at a local RTT and nearly thrown a game by badly underestimating it, and thus knew what that setup could do if left unaccounted for. It’s also the “softest” priority targets – the other things I want dead are Pask and the Tank Commander, who will both die a bit harder by dint of T8 and (presumably) hiding at the back.

If I go first this should be a wash – I can trivially waste the Valkyrie, and maybe put some hurt on some other stuff as well. Next turn, i move on to clearing out Tank Commanders and Pask, before starting to think about the Shadowsword – I really think i am just better off leaving it alone and blowing up everything else before moving on to it.

If I go second and he has an absolutely cracking round of shooting then maybe this is a game, but the odds are heavily against him through Alaitoc and Prepared Positions.

My Secondaries

  • Recon
  • Marked for Death (Pask, Tank Com, Shadowsword, Valkyrie)
  • Big Game Hunter

His Secondaries

  • Big Game Hunter
  • Butcher’s Bill
  • Old School

The Summary

I went first, and the game played out pretty much exactly as above.

I forgot to take a setup photo, this is towards the end of my turn 1.

As soon as I went first things looked rough for him, and I’d also apparently imported at least some of my opponent’s luck from the previous game (or my dice were feeling abashed) because other than the slightly embarrassing moment where two night spinners killed a single Mortar base between them, my dice were red hot, with lots of hits and clutch 6s throughout.

The Valkyrie went down turn 1, and after I used “Vect” on his attempt to use “Overlapping Fields of Fire” on a CH on his turn I effectively guaranteed all my planes lived, freeing them up to jet round the field continuing to murder everything. To add insult to injury, my scourges profiled the Shadowsword the first time they shot at it while my other stuff was mopping up other targets thanks to a fantastic set of rolls.

I think this is my turn 2, and that really sums up how this game went.

We ended with a tabling on turn 5.

The Takeaways

Sadly this was a horrendous mismatch – my army is practically tailor made to take this sort of list apart, and it didn’t really get to show off some of the things it could do – I like the mobility it has for ITC, and the drop force veterans are a legit nasty surprise to throw at someone.

It is a really sad indictment on how warping the Knight codex is on the environment that the Shadowsword, once the darling of the early metagame, now looks like a joke compared to equivalently priced Knight Crusaders, and one does maybe hope that upcoming FAQs/changes have some sort of bone to throw to non-knight/primarch LOWs (or massive nerfs to knights, as a filthy elf player I’m not fussed either way).

The Score

Primary: 26-6

Secondary: 12-2

Total: 38-8

Match Score: 2-1

Day 1 Wrap Up

Could have gone better, could have gone worse. I was very sad about the R2 loss because of how inevitable it felt, but equally very happy that I’d pulled a good win from a tough matchup in round 1. In addition, going on to win big in round 3 meant that a 3rd place finish was just about feasible with a good run on day 2, so there was still lots to play for.

Tune back in tomorrow to find out how that went!