This is getting to be a grudge match. Once again we built army lists under the cloak of secrecy, and we decided to, for the first time use the Open War cards. We had no idea what the deployment or objective would be.
Rather than simply draw the top card I figured it was most fair to shuffle the Open War deck and let my opponent choose the cards:
I won the dice off for choosing deployment and I chose the flanks, but with the prize at the centre of the board I would have to be aggressive, as he'd be starting in control of the marker with a gunline set up I'd have to be careful about my approach, especially with a mostly infantry assault army. So we set up our armies.
With an orbital battle raging above and debris showering the field there was one piece of smoking wreckage the Eldar sought to claim, but to do so would have to overtake an imperial tank column flanked by an infantry escort. Winning the roll off the Eldar sprang into action.
The Eldar moved up aggressively, appearing as if out of thin air. While the Farseer Doomed a Hell Hound he was unable to hold on to the power of the warp enough to engage in a mind war with a commander. The Spirit Seer Quickened the Wraithlord allowing it to get in better position. The shooting phase was powerful as more than half of the guardsmen had been felled by shuriken fire, as a Hellhound exploded under the combined firepower of an Avatar and a Black Guardian squad. The resulting explosion rent holes in two Leman Russes and shrapnel tore into more infantry and a commander. All while the Fire Dragons turned one of the Manticores into slag. All while Rangers had assassinated an Imperial Support officer in the group of ordnance tanks.
The assault phase started less than spectacularly as the Shining Spears, Autarch, Avatar, and Scorpions all failing their charges. However the Falcon made its charge against the Hellhound and the Fire Dragons charged the Manticore. Then the Wraithlord made it in to a small group of guardsmen while the Howling Banshees swept into a heavy weapons team and the conscripts. The conscripts needed to burn 2 CP to avoid further casualties during morale.
The Imperial Guard were no doubt reeling. They had to strike hard and strike smart. They pulled away from the Eldar, but this limited their firepower. What was left managed to cripple the Falcon, slay half the Fire Dragons, kill roughly a third of the Shining Spears, and knock down more than half the Wraithlord's wounds. Close combat saw the last of the conscripts fall under the blades of the banshees, but one weapon team held the banshees in place.
To start off the turn one piece of debris came hurtling down from the sky and landed on the heavy weapon team on its last wound that was facing off against the banshees. this allowed the banshees to move closer and spread across the Imperial line, ready to shock the Imperial tank crews.
The second Hell Hound was blown up with the firepower of the Falcon, Fire Dragons, Striking Scorpions and half the Dire Avenger squad. Thanks to Doom the Combined firepower of Ulthwe slew Pask and a Leman Russ. The Aeldari took the objective Pask had been covering as they closed in on assaults with the Avatar opting only to charge the further tank (a miscalculation on my part) and failed both chances at a 9" charge. Thanks to Endurance the Shining Spears levelled another Leman Russ. By the end of the turn the Astra Militarum only had a damaged Leman Russ tied up in combat with a Wraithlord, Wave Serpent, and Banshees, a commander wrapped up with banshees, and a damaged Manticore in combat with the Striking Scorpions. At this point my opponent conceded.
Once again I used the Stratagems aggressively. Out of 7 starting CP I had burned through 7 by the half way point of the second turn with one remaining (I got my CP back for placing guardians in the webway). I paired up Supreme Disdain with Endurance on the Shining Spears in turn 2, and the unit shocked me by slaying an undamaged Leman Russ on their own. Between the three additional attacks I generated, all of which hit, and the 3 additional wounds I was able to cause thanks to wounding on a 4+ instead of a 5+ they did 14 wounds to it. this is on top of their general resilience, often being able to rely on their 4+ invul against some of the more potent weaponry the guard could muster.
This game was fun almost purely because my opponent was awesome and we both understood the mission and deployment was totally random. In its own way it was refreshing to get to try something that was very different. That said, this game could have been even more one sided. I failed many charges in the first turn which could have punished the Imperial tank line even further, but if my opponent had gotten the chance to go first, I'm not certain it would have changed the outcome of the game, so much as delayed it.
It was interesting playing a mostly assault list, but I'm not sure I learned with how much the mission, deployment, and Damage rolls favoured me this game. Having used a falcon I can honestly say I'd have preferred having a wave serpent for about 2 points more. It just provided no argument to be taken in the future, but at least I can say I gave it a fair shake.
Having tested a number of builds, and most of the stratagems I can say that I'm developing particular favourites including Supreme Disdain as a surprise Stratagem that I actively plan for in my movement phase. The CP economy is such a huge part of the game now, and Craftworlds have outstanding stratagems, which is good considering how they usually struggle to get CP at the start of the game. For instance, Discipline of the Black Guardians is good for getting those catapults hitting on a 2+, but is really handy for getting the Bright Lances back to a 3+ to hit when they deep strike.
At a turn and a half with the game clearly all over but the shouting it seems like the game has been heavily sped up to reflect the quick speed of skirmish games. Outside of the Ynnari madness of 7th edition I don't think I've played games with this type of lethality since the dark days of 5th edition and facing Leaf Blower lists, but now it's just about every game.