Saturday, October 6, 2007


Game: Warhammer 40,000 4th edition
Opponent: Gary

Following my drubbing in the last game I decided to put together a completely different army; one that might actually work! Out went the small number of tough models and in came a raft of smaller, cheaper models. I flooded the board with 54 Marines and some supporting Daemons, as well as the Predator. I was getting fairly close to maxing out the force organisation chart which is usually tricky with Marines! In order to do that I had to drop each unit down to six models, even the Thousand Sons. It was a shame I didn't have any Slaaneshi units in the army. My opponent stuck with the same Dark Eldar list as it had done very well for him first time around.

We initially rolled up another Seek and Destroy mission but decided to re-roll rather than play the same mission twice. The second roll came up Take and Hold at Alpha level. Some players seem to think that Alpha missions are for beginners or somehow boring, but I strongly disagree. Including Alpha missions along with Gamma and Omega missions ensures that one-trick pony armies that rely entirely on special rules don't get their own way all the time. Anything that encourages players to include a wide range of units and tactics has to be a good thing. I wish that Alpha missions would be included in the Grand Tournaments. I feel sure that we would start to see a wider variety of army lists.

Anyway, enough of the rant and on to the game.

: Take and Hold
Level: Alpha
First turn: Dark Eldar

Chaos Space Marines

  • Lieutenant on Bike, Lightning Claw
  • 6 Thousand Sons
  • 6 Raptors, two flamers
  • 6 Furies
  • 6 Marines, meltagun, heavy bolter
  • 6 Marines, plasma gun, heavy bolter
  • 6 Marines, plasma gun, heavy bolter
  • 6 Marines, plasma gun, autocannon
  • 6 Marines, flamer, autocannon
  • 6 Marines, meltagun, missile launcher
  • 5 Possessed with daemonic talons
  • Predator, twin lascannon, 2 Heavy Bolters
Dark Eldar
  • 10 Warriors, 2 Dark Lances
  • 10 Warriors, 2 Dark Lances
  • 8 Wyches, Raider
  • 8 Wyches, Raider
  • 8 Wyches, Raider
  • Ravager, Night Shield
  • Ravager, Night Shield
  • Talos
  • Warp Beasts
  • Archon
  • Drachite
Terrain and Deployment
Gary hadn't changed the set-up from our last battle. The table had two distinct types of terrain. On my right flank I had some bunkers and ruined buildings surrounded by low walls and barricades. We classified this as area three terrain to give Gary a sporting chance. In the middle and on my left there were two large woods which we called area level three, and lots and lots of scattered rock columns which were impassable.

Due to the mission I began with the majority of my units in a central position, behind the wood which had to be taken. I had the Raptors out wide left and the Thousand Sons anchoring my right. The Dark Eldar favoured my left flank, taking as much cover as they could from the woods and rocky columns. We both knew that if Chaos won first turn it would be an extremely difficult game for the Dark Eldar as I would be able to shoot down the Raiders while they were stationary.

The Game
Gary won first turn, much to his relief. He brought most of his force up behind the central wood with a Wych squad zooming up each flank. His shooting was poor - my Predator shrugged off several Dark Lance shots only becoming immobilised, while just 3 marines died.

I pushed the possessed toward the middle wood and the Raptors behind the wood on my left. The Thousand Sons came up to bring the wyches near the objective into sight. My shooting was also sub-par - I destroyed a Ravager and killed a few wyches.

The Dark Eldar launched their assault. The wyches on my right hit the Thousand Sons but the automatons held. The depleted wyches in the middle got to the possessed and wiped out the entire squad. The warp beasts bounded past them to attack a marine unit. In an appalling show of dice the squad caused no wounds and took three in return. The survivors broke and fled. The third wych squad got tangled up in the woods and failed to contact the Raptors.

The Raptors flamed the wyches out of existence. Combined small arms fire obliterated the wyches in the centre and the last wych squad was overwhelmed in combat when I pitched two more units of marines into the fight. I had beaten off the first wave.

Now the second wave arrived. The combat on the right had left my units slightly exposed which meant the Archon could reach them. The Drachite sprinted through the woods and tied up a squad in the centre.

I summoned my Furies but they deviated 10" away from the action. That meant I had to throw the biker lord into the Drachite, but she slaughtered him. The Archon finished off the first squad of marines then charged the second. The Drachite fluffed her attacks meaning she was stuck in combat when the Furies arrived. They ripped her to pieces. The two marine survivors moved out to intercept the Archon and slow her down. Together with the Furies they prevented her from getting anywhere near the objective.

My predator finally succumbed to a dark lance shot. The Thousand Sons had pushed on up the right flank and were trading fire with a warrior squad. The warriors were taken down below half strength but so were the Thousand Sons.

On the left, my Raptors had jumped over the wood and incinerated the other warrior squad. Three Raptors died to ravager fire and the survivors jumped back behind the wood.

We took stock.

Gary had that ravager and the talos near the objective. I had one marine squad and the Raptors to contest the objective but both were down to half strength. Any casualties and they wouldn't be scoring.

I had to zoom the Raptors out into the open to get near the objective. The ravager killed one and took them to non-scoring status. I had manged to work a squad up the left into the woods and their fire shot the ravager out of the sky. One scoring unit left on each side.

I shot everything I could at the talos, but despite getting loads of lucky sixes, Gary saved all but one of them. My last shots of the game were with my final scoring squad. If the plasma gunner took a wound off the talos and survived I would win the game. If I failed to wound the talos and the plasma gun killed its firer I would lose the game. Otherwise it would be a draw.

I hit the talos and the other shot overheated. My shot wounded the talos...and the overheat killed the marine!

Just for fun I threw the last two Raptors into combat with the talos and destroyed it.

Fantastic game.

Result: Draw

  • Chaos - Predator (soaking up four turns of dark lance fire)
  • Dark Eldar - Archon (killed 14 marines)
Turning point
That last plasma gun shot. Games don't come any closer.

Learning points
  • Alpha level games are surprisingly tactical. Armies lose all their special deployment rules and the mission becomes even more vital.
  • Multiple small units work better against the Dark Eldar than single expensive models or units.
  • The biker lieutenant is pants against Dark Eldar heroes. He just gets blatted before he has a chance to swing. If I'm going to persevere with him I need to spend a lot more points to toughen him up. Otherwise it would be better to just take a cheap leader and use him against other parts of the Dark Eldar army.

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