Friday, February 7, 2014

Battle Report: Mechdar vs. Night Lords

I changed my list and have done more work to try and get this Night Lords list in shape.  There were bumps along the way, as I learned that Mechdar are an issue and their cover saves a pain in my rear.  Without an answer to that problem, I knew a melee oriented list would always be somewhat of a mismatch that only superior Generalship could overcome.  Having to bring an absolute "A game" every game isn't easy though and so I looked to improve the list over and over again.  Small things at first and then big things.

Chaos doesn't have Tyrant Guard that are dirt cheap and that can just rip through those shields and Holo-Fields.  Chaos doesn't have much in the way of answers to the Eldar shielding at all and the more of it there is, the less we like it.  So round after painful round they tear into you, as many as 14 Twin linked shots per round at STR 6 and 7 for a very economical cost.  It's unholy how much three of those things can project, let alone 4-5 and their ability to keep doing it is remarkable.  You just gotta' silence them, no matter the cost. Plus anything that can silence THEM will also prove useful against all armored opponents.  So really, looking to the Black Legion Dex (which I will blog on very shortly) makes sense for the Night Lords.

Without further ado since this is long already, I will present you with a battle report here which shows you where I am with the list.  keep in mind that this list has morphed a fair amount and has not won every game during the process.  However, it has won more and more as time has gone on (which is what you want to see if you're a mad scientist sort like me) and my comfort level with a heavily melee army in 6E grows.

Mission was Speartip Strike from the Black Legion Codex  (Kill Points, Dawn of War Deployment.  2 points per HQ/Elite.  Slay Warlord = 5 points!  Units protecting Warlord get the Zealot Rule)

My list, roughly:

4 x 5 Chaos Marines
Chaos Lord (Gift of Mutation was +1 Str)
Chaos Sorcerer (Biomancy:  Endurance, Gift of Mutation:  Feel no Pain, Warlord Trait: Hatred SM)
14 Nurgle Raptors (Champion got +1 STR to his shooting weapon.  whoopee)
14 Nurgle Raptors (Champion was unworthy to receive his Gift of Mutation)

His list, roughly:

Crimson Hunter
2 x Prisms
10 Dire Avengers
10 Guardians
5 Jetbikes
Eldrad the Awesome
Karandras...the atomic bomb
3 x Wave Serpents
10? Warp Spiders
10 Striking Scorpions

Initial thoughts going in:

Mechdar is feared for a reason.  Night Fight was only going to benefit him, since he has massive bonus's for cover saves and my initial long range stuff would have its AP nullified in importance.  I also knew he could redeploy at will and so spending a lot of time on that issue, for me, would be wasted time.  i had to put everything in the middle, as far forward as it would go and cut off damaging output from his soon to be infiltrating Scorpions and the beast that is Karandras.  I decided to leave my right flank open to cut off the left flank from giving his infiltrators an easy path.  By doing so, I had plenty of room on the right to head towards once his infiltrate was done.  I knew his Warp Spiders would try to take me on the right, but I felt that was to my advantage if I used my Deep Strikers correctly.  So I decided I would deep strike all four Nurgle Droppings (Mutilators and Obliterators), and the Raptors (always scary).  I ensconced my HQ's in Rhinos to protect them, hoping Night Fight would keep me alive just long enough.

Nathan shad hoped to be able to try and charge me in the first round if he went second and in any event to close to danger close position in round 1.  His plan, since the Warlord was worth so many points, was to use his endless stream of Twin-linked, STR 6 and 7 shots to kill my Rhino wall and expose the HQ's to Karandras (or just MORE STR 6 and 7 tank shots for that matter).  With the volume of shots his tanks can produce and the power of Eldrad the awesome, he would simply roll dice into my face, strand me and pick me off at leisure, comfortable in the knowledge that his Warp Spiders could whallop any of my tiny units, my Rhinos and really, anything whatsoever in the force.  Once the HQ's were in the open, his Crimson Hunter and his Warp Spiders were sure to kill them no matter where they went (except maybe the AV 13 building in the middle).  He deployed his Prisms on top of a three story Ruin which put them far out of reach of being hurt by a lions share of my stuff since mine is a melee force.  It would be a long hike up and then if they got there, he'd just alight them to the ground for yet another round of safety.  Smart.

And so we began.

Turn 1

I seized the initiative.  Whut!  The Chaos Lord unleashed the Eye of Night, killing an as yet unmoved Wave Serpent (out poured the Dire Avengers) and also stunned the Guardian Wave Serpent(2hull points).
Defiler killed just one infiltrating scorpion on my left.  Awesome start for my 200+ point giant.
Rhinos ran to center.  Sorceror was in one, Chaos Lord in another.  Two empty.  A bunker in the middle, AV 13, awaited us next round.

The Mechdar fired a torrent as usual, but Night Fight and having one Wave Serpent stunned allowed the rhinos to cling to life.  One Wave Serpent in reserve.  No serious damage in the end to either side and his dire avengers went to a ruin in a corner to protect Eldrad where he had redeployed at start of game so that his powers could be shared with his allies.  Saving the Warlords is all important in this mission, so the Dire Avengers became Zealots as per the mission rules.

So Turn One ended with a single dead wave Serpent and a bunch of scorpions on the chaos Marines left doorstep, protected by Karandras the awesome.  The Rhinos were pretty beat up and feeling their 10,000 year service time.

Turn 2

Mishaps for both Obliterators.  D'oh.  Bad luck.  Back to the warp they went.  Raptors alight in far left corner to hunt Eldrad and scatter but not disastrously, but they flubbed their shooting, almost nothing to show for it.  Three chaos marine units come in on my left board edge to harass the Scorpions, opening fire and killing 5 Squishyscorps dead (math).  I think Karandras took a wound.  Defiler tried to kill scorpions but was unmotivated apparently and killed one.  Again.  Effectively we ended no threats whatsoever.  Turn two was pretty ineffective.  Chaos lord hid in rhino and sorcerer shot his combi-melta from the building in the board center.  I think he hit a serpent but it survived.  Chaos Mutilators were Deep Struck in.  One was to my right to ready for Warp Spiders coming in and the other was there to push towards the enemy tanks from behind a convenient wall in their usual creepy way.

Eldar Crimson Hunter came in with the WarpSpiders and his extra Wave Serpent.  After what amounted to two pretty preliminary turns for me with still only one kill, the first real bloodshed began.  Scorpions wiped a marine squad, Spiders and Crimson Hunter blew up a Rhino and the Defiler (sigh, it's a Crimson Hunter, what can ya' do?) respectively.  Ruh roh.  Eldrad and Dire avengers shot EIGHT Nurgle raptors dead.  Ouch.  Eldritch storm for the win.  Bad round for Chaos!  Eldrad charged and killed the  Raptor champion.  Avengers killed another.  Raptors lost combat but stood, much weakened and really having been able to do nothing but absorb fire (though in this capacity, they do excel).

I needed to rally from the fusillade.

Turn 3 

More Chaos Raptors drop into Eldrads building to say hello and they drop way below the sight horizon of the Prisms above them.  Mutilators close in, one from behind its wall and the other from the right side building, now that the Warp Spiders decided to go for other targets.  Obliterator lands and glances a serpent.  The rhino on my left closes in on Eldrads position to play its Dirge Casters  next round.  The Chaos Lord and Chaos Sorcerer continue to hide out while chaos marines in my left corner shot scorpions but AGAIN fail to kill them even with a nice volume of shots.  Two of the three units charged and got swept and the 4th chaos marine that walked on to help now faced an angry looking phoenix lord.  Hmm...  that did not go well.  More good news.  Worse was that the darn Exarch was with him still too and Scorpion Claws are too awesome for words too....  The combat in the far left ruin went on and eldrad cut up another raptor.  Tie combat.  Down to 5 RAPTORS!  Grinding and milling them down, but they again stood their ground, unable to break free and wreak havoc on the Prisms above them.

Eldar guardians got out and shot the first Obliterator to pieces, Karandras slew another marine squad.  Nom nom nom, that was four KP's just from him alone pretty much.  Eldar were now coming into full effect.  The Crimson Hunter fired on the building the Sorcerer was in and wounded him but he had the It Will Not Die and also the Feel no Pain rules on it so he was hanging in there.  Jetbikes appeared from the board edge to help drop the Obliterator but were now exposed.  Warp Spiders killed the Chaos Lords Rhino, forcing him to hide in a building with Karandras closing in...  The Chaos Lord and Chaos Sorcerer were dearly trying to avoid getting into Karandras and his fellow Exarchs claws.

Turn 4

A Chaos Rhino tank shocked the Eldar Jetbikes off of the board.  A Mutilators reached it's target and tore the nearest Wave Serpoent to pieces while the other tried to jump up and get to the Fire Prisms perched way up on the ruins.
The Obliterator, lost in the warp, found his bearing and landed in time to TL Flamer 9 of the 10 Guardians that killed its brother, but the lone survivor shrugged his shoulders and stood firm.
Meanwhile the Raptors that Deep Struck in the turn before joined the fray finally and tore apart the Dire Avengers, killing five just with the Hammer of Wrath and then swept Eldrad away.  they consolidated away from the far corner they had been in along with the two surviving Raptors from the first unit that had been blasted by eldrad.  They headed for the doors in preparation perhaps to head upstairs if necessary to kill the two Fire Prisms alighting up on the upper floor that were battering at the AV 13 building my Sorcerer was hiding in.  Really shoulda given him a bodyguard to take the wounds!

The Chaos Heldrake also came in this turn (sigh, sometimes he comes in when ya want and sometimes...) and vector struck the Warp Spiders killing two and then burninated three of them with its DaemonForge ability.  With nothing else to do, the Chaos Lord finished the last Warp Spider dead with a bolter.

At this stage I had already gotten First Blood, Slay the Warlord, and killed 1 HQ, 2 troops, an elite, a Fast Attack, 2 Serpents, Linebreaker = 16.
He had killed the Defiler, 4 troops, 2 Rhino, an Obliterator and had Line Breaker also = 9.

So we aren't so far apart but he needs to kill my leader and he's running out of time.  Killing my leader was a 7 point swing possibility and would free him up to kill other things as well.  Still in the game!

So on his turn the Crimson Hunter damaged the building the Sorcerer is in and wounds him (but It Will Not Die and Feel No Pain make the Sorcerer a tough nut).  The two Prisms, Karandras, A Guardian and the Crimson Hunter were now the bulk of what he had left.  Karandras chased after the Chaos Lord and fired on him, wounding him, since Karandras's claws had sawed through all the twisted Chaos Marines he could find.  The last Wave Serpent took and shot the Obliterator and caused a wound.  A lone Guardian fired two shots and killed the Obliterator!  His revenge complete, he sang the song of his people.  Guardians had killed both Obliterators!
A prism immobilized itself trying to get off the top of the building while the other alighted down to put distance between itself and the Mutilator that was trying to climb up to kill it.

Turn 5

A Chaos Rhino Tank Shocked the Guardian off the board.  The Mutilator destroyed the Scorpions Wave Serpent.  No more Wave Serpents.
The Heldrake Vector Striked the immobilized Prism up top of the ruin and killed it as it flew off the board.
The two Raptors remaining (one with a meltagun) from Eldrads beatdown plus two Mutilator( who gave up any stair climbing mission) couldn't combine to kill the other Prism that had alighted on the charge!  Embarrassing.  REAL bad rolls again, but thoughout the game the dice hadn't been great for me in totality.
The Fresh Raptor unit jumped out front of the Prism and ganked karandras with Bolt pistols to take his last wound and kill his Exarch buddy.  4 points!  Never got to charge him.
The Two Chaos Champions basically just stayed away from Karandras and the Crimson Hunter as best they could.  They knew the Crimson Hunter was a problem so the Chaos Lord let loose his Combimelta but failed to kill it.

On the Eldar turn, the Crimson Hunter did more damage to the Chaos Sorcerers "bastion", but it didn't kill him.
The prism went down to ongoing combat.  That left the Eldar with their Crimson Hunter in the sky and burning wreckage everywhere.  Bravely he fought on, trying to kill my Warlord and very nearly succeeded AGAIN.  The Psyker power from Biomancy played huge in this game for me.  I may seriously have to reconsider how often I choose Biomancy.  There really is a lot you can do with it even though it's not a "damage dealing" kind of Discipline.

Turn 6

The Crimson Hunter was torn from the skies by the claws of a Heldrake coming in from ongoing reserve.  It wasn't much risk to have put him there in turn 5 because of the score.  Completing the tabling was the Heldrakes honour.

Big points in the game:

Seizing allowed me, even with Night Fight, to draw First Blood.  There wasn't much High priority stuff to strand in my force but had he gone first, he would have gotten first blood from me instead.  As it was the Rhinos got beat up even with Night Fight and one more Wave Serpent would have at least finished one of the Rhinos.  Seizing forced him to plan B.  Obviously that's true for anyone that gets it seized, but it was noteworthy.  Characters like Coteaz and especially Asdrubiel Vect do it to people all the time, but not often Night Lords.

Another big thing was the Deep Strikes.  I made some pretty dangerous ones, scattered in almost ALL cases, courting disaster.  But like a boss the more important ones didn't mishap (for once), though I did mishap both Obliterators.  Had that not happened to my li'l Nurgle droppings, I'd have had a really good shot at killing his Wave Serpents sooner.  The Deep Strikes when they went awry didn't get me killed so I can't actually complain.

The army was able to fully express its potential in this game and it was maybe the second game I can really say that it really did.  It has suffered terribly from mishaps.  As I play more, I am growing more and more confident in calculating when I really NEED to take those high risk jumps with this force.  I will admit that I have a very cavalier attitude when it comes to risk.  I enjoy the game a lot more when super cool things happen than when there is no moment of drama.  I take unnecessary risks and if there is one thing that has always marked my style, it's my extreme risk tolerance.  I want to win worse than I care about losing.

The third biggee was Tank shocks.   Last two games have featured prominent displays of what grinding people under treads does to enemy morale.  And as I always tell people (who will listen), morale is the best stat in the game to attack.  i took out two Eldar units with one Chaos Rhino.

Saturating the enemy and forcing them to box from a corner is very effective and this army really benefits from compacting the enemy position.

Other Eldar Blog posts:
Outflanking fun with Eldar


Eldar Flyers


Prince Yriel

Muh Warp Spiders

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