page id: 190 Battle Report IX (Take and Hold): Matt's Tallaran Imperial Guard tries to hold back the forces of Ken's Eldar Exodites. By Ken Lacy

Destruction in the Desert

Turn 3: The Storm Guardians, led by their Avatar, rush into assault with the hapless Russ and a nearby Sentinel (the Avatar personally picks on the Sentinel). The Vyper plays mean and rushes at top speed to a position just "behind" the fleeing unit of Guardsmen, in their fall-back path, and the Wraithlord jumps on another Sentinel and some poor infantry after taking out the Basilisk with a single well-aimed shot from its Brightlance! Not everything does as well for the Exodites as their Wraithlord, however -- the Shining Spear exarch misses his third shot in a row (!), while the Wraithguard, at literally point-blank range, fail to harm the Tallarn Hellhound. Close combat (except for the Wraithlord, who handily crushes his Sentinel foe and kills a half-dozen nearby Guardsmen in the resulting explosion) is similarly dismal, with the Avatar, living remnant of an Eldar God(dess) itself, unable to land a SINGLE blow on a ramshackle mon-keigh Sentinel! The Storm Guardians blow virtually every last weapon off the Russ, but fail to destroy it, and the Farseer and Jetbikes are finally overwhelmed by sheer weight of numbers and dragged down.

The Guard take advantage of the sudden relief on their right flank to consolidate their position; the Russ backs away from contact with the haywire-grenade-wielding Storm Guardians, while units on the right flank reposition and, in a hail of Inferno flames, heavy bolter fire, and rapid-firing lasgun shots, drop every last one of the Wraithguard! Close combat is decidedly on the side of the Exodites, however, with the Avatar handily blowing up the last of the Sentinels (killing a handful of nearby Guardians in the process, oops), and the Wraithlord dropping several more guardsmen in combat; the last few stubbornly stick around, however. Then, in an inexplicable and surprising move, the Avatar and accompanying Guardians advance after the retreating tank, moving away from both the objective, and the far "softer" infantry targets that surround it!

Turn 4: The Avatar and Guardians catch up with the Leman Russ and tear it apart in the assault this turn (although they lose all but two of their number to the resulting explosion). Meanwhile, the Shining Spears, having enjoyed no success so far, abandon their sniping and move toward the objective; the Exarch again managing to miss his target with his Brightlance! The Vyper manages to pop open a Chimera via its tissue-paper-thin rear armor, and then the Wraithlord completes the turn with a decisive victory over its guardsman opponents, forcing them to flee from the board; it chooses not to pursue, but rather consolidates onto (or, more properly, into) the oasis-objective.

When their fleeing squad of Guardsmen (running away since the 2nd turn of the game, when they were hit by a Destructor) are finally crossfired by the Vyper, the Tallarn Guard find themselves left with only half their army intact. Essentially just Command HQ, a Command squad, two infantry squads (including a disembarked Armored Fist), two Chimeras, and a Hellhound still face the enemy. They choose to remain stationary, and open fire with a wealth of AP3, 2, and 1 weapons at the Wraithlord in the oasis (with a single burst of Heavy Bolter fire directed at the Vyper from the Hellhound, dropping it in the process). Miraculously, despite the superb shooting of the Tallarn Guardsmen, due to the excellent cover afforded to the partially-submerged Wraithlord, the Exodite unit survives!

Note from Ken: Turnabout for the excellent armor saves Matt was rolling in close-combat against my poor Farseer, I say. He managed to inflict approximately seven armor-piercing wounds on my Wraithlord, but I saved all but one with nothing but 5+ cover saves! I was praying for the game to end at that point, but it continued, and so...


Turn 5: Facing the threat of a similar barrage of fire the following turn, the Wraithlord lumbers out of the Oasis toward the Tallarn, while the Avatar and two remaining Guardians rush at top speed back to the objective! The Shining Spears rush the nearest Guard unit, the lesser-ranking Command squad, and tear it apart with shooting and assault, while the Wraithlord lays two flamer shots on the two last Infantry squads, virtually wiping them out! It then turns and assaults the nearby Command HQ, directing all its powerful attacks at the leading Inquisitor -- who manages to deflect every single attack by virtue of his Rosarius! The Shining Spears, having wiped out their opponents, make a desperate advance onto the objective, hoping to hold it against fire from the remaining vehicles and few guardsmen on the table!

But it is not to be. Although one Chimera is too far away, and one immobilizes itself attempting to reach the oasis, the Hellhound successfully reaches the objective, and the Shining Spears, and Infernos them a good distance back. The Wraithlord manages to turn the Inquisitor into a fine paste in the assault phase, but it is too late -- the battle is over, and the Hellhound is without a doubt the closest unit to the oasis... The forces of the Imperium have won!

Ken's Post-Game Thoughts: AUGH! So close, and yet so far! Now that I think back, I made quite a number of mistakes, any one of which could have swung the game in my favor! Without a doubt, the biggest was my decision to move my Avatar and Guardians AWAY from the objective, to chase a tank that had virtually no offensive capability remaining! With their offensive clout, they could definitely have turned the game around for me. And the hasty miscalculation in points! I could have brought another Vyper, and then what could I have done! A second Vyper with Starcannon could have helped to drop some of those Chimeras Matt had wandering around -- or maybe that incredibly annoying Hellhound that won the game for the Guard... And my Shining Spear Exarch -- 210 points of pure, unadulterated uselessness! With a Ballistic Skill of 5, I had no business failing to hit with that Brightlance in EVERY turn of the game but one!

But most of all, I let myself get intimidated by the large numbers of models Matt had remaining in the last two turns. I don't have any doubt that my decision to move my Wraithlord was a sound one -- he singlehandedly took two squads out of commission in the final turn of the game, and tied up the most fearsome Guard assault unit as well, but without anything to really back him up, Matt was able to sneak his Hellhound onto the Objective for the victory! For want of an Avatar and some Guardians....

In the end, it was sheer carnage, though -- Matt had (at the end of the game) 2 half-strength squads, one Command HQ (stuck in an unwinnable combat with a Wraithlord), 3 Chimerae (one immobilized) and a Hellhound, against my Wraithlord (with one wound remaining -- the Inquisitor managed to inflict one in close combat before dying), two of my three Shining Spears, and an Avatar (with 2 Guardians in tow). Had the game continued, it would probably have been an Exodite victory, although a few lucky rolls either way could have swung it. My decision to attack at night really took away Matt's massed firepower and range advantage, and kept the game winnable for me. Sadly, my lousy shooting, combined with my appallingly bad tactical decisions, meant that despite several good shots at a victory, the "V" went to the Tallarns. Next, time, my pretties, next time!

Matt's post game thoughts: My FIRST victory over evil Ken and his baffling lizard Eldar army. And a satisfying one, at that. Just goes to show- remember victory conditions! While Ken was off chasing a lame Leman Russ with no weapons, I held the middle ground and waited for the right opportunity. When it presented itself, I was right there for the taking!

My three best units in the game were the command squad, which managed to overwhelm Ken's ´┐Żbikes' in hth, the Hellhound, which sowed fear, destruction and confusion on my right flank (and won the game with a last minute swoop to the osasis), and most importantly, the Leman Russ! If I hadn't enticed Ken to chase it off with 2 of his best units, he'd have certainly won the game. It single handedly took his Avatar out of the game (via his chase) and took out an assault squad in it's last explosive death throw. If those 2 units had gone to the center, they could have coordinated attacks with his dead-hard Wraithlord, which by itself was pretty ineffective in hth (if indestructable).

The Tallarn metal and guts combination served me well, with the tanks being enough of a distraction to Ken that he went soft on my infantry. I've found it's the foot sloggers who finish off the enemy- the sheer weight of numbers is always enough to take on any elite hth units coming my way- to the surprise of my opponent. My tanks did well in shooting besides, with the Chimarae and Hellhound whittling down Ken's force from the getgo. Special recognition should go to my destroyed Executioner, which took out a sneaky Wave Serpent (with all the eldar goodie upgrades) with a single glancing hit!

It was a great game, all told, and one of the most fun I've played with my arch nemesis. Hey Ken- wanna take on my Chaos Dwarves for the next report? Hahn?

Created by: system. Last Modification: Monday 26 of January, 2009 03:31:33 PM EST by ZiggyQubert.

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