With our armies set we rolled up a mission wherein we generate one tactical objective for each objective point we control. Our set up was short table edges, one that both my opponent and I thought gave each of us the advantage. Him for his range and me for my speed.
With our forces deployed we rolled off for first turn. The Eldar won the roll off with a 7. The Guard failed to seize, spent a CP and failed again. Then failed to regenerate the point. The sentinels scouted forward. The Eldar were off and running, and the Rangers stepped into position at the front of the left flank with a dominating view of the field.
Both Wave Serpents emptied as Dire Avengers rushed out from them, surrounding the Autarch and Farseer, and supported by their wave serpents. The Ulthwe airforce agressively swept in and the formation was, on its face, similar to the way Imperial forces tend to castle. On the Aeldari left flank, near the rangers the Warp Spiders apparated just as the Striking Scorpions appeared from the shadows.
The forward Commissar was horrified by a Hemlock as the other Hemlock failed to Jinx the Bane Blade. The Farseer Doomed the Bane Blade, then melted the brain of the commissar in a Mind War before I played the stratagem to cast an extra power, taking 3 wounds off the Sentinel.
The shooting phase opened up with the Rangers executing the Imperial Guard commander, netting me Warlord and First Blood, and robbing the Astra Militarum of their ability to generate CP throughout the game. This was followed by punishing firepower being levied against the Bane Blade in the form of all 5 flyers. As the Crimson Hunter Exarch, the last hope of the Aeldari forces to quiet the Imperial Behemoth rained down its high powered heavy laser weaponry the tank exploded in spectacular fashion, causing heavy damage to two nearby imperial tanks, killing a handful of guardsmen, and even causing some debris to strike a hemlock that flew too close. The Warp Spiders slew the untouched Sentinel while Wave Serpents felled another. the Dire Avengers, bolstered by the stratagem to reroll 1's on the wound roll cut through a heavy weapon team and a unit of guardsmen. The Scorpions charged in to the guardsmen who were taking cover in a nearby shattered building, some being cut down in overwatch, but with the stratagem to create additional hits on a to hit of 6, and their bonus to hit in cover, they managed to cripple the unit down to a single model by the end of morale. At the end of the first turn nearly a third of the Imperial forces had been dispatched.
The Imperial forces were shaken. The loss of the Bane Blade was demoralising, but they intended to take vengeance. The Hell Hounds pushed forward as everything else fired away with every available gun. One unit of Dire Avengers was wiped out from sustained Wyvern fire, while the Manticores dropped the Crimson Hunter Exarch to 2 wounds. A Hell Hound and guardsmen punished the scorpions until only the Exarch and a single disciple remained. The other Hell Hound decimated the Warp Spiders causing horrific casualties.
Ulthwe's forces had sustained major casualties, but were looking to press their advantage. A new priority order was issued to capture objective marker 3, one that was under the control of Cadia. The Dire Avengers moved forward to put down more of Cadia's infantry while the air force swept in to lay the tanks low. Another infantry unit fell to shuriken fire and the Wyvern that was previously damaged by the Bane Blade was finally destroyed, but otherwise the firepower of the Eldar was massively ineffective. The Scorpion Exarch made it in to combat, but did not generate enough damage to force the unit to flee in fear leaving him trapped in a circle of bodies.
The guardsmen felt hope, having a chance to steal the day. A commander and Commissar locked themselves in combat with the Scorpion Exarch, shrugging off the damage of his powered claw while the Warp Spiders were wiped out and ranger unit was reduced to half its original size. The remaining Dire Avengers had their ranks dropped to 6, but in a surprising mark of resilience the Crimson Hunter Exarch survived the firepower levelled against it with a single wound left!
The swarming Aeldari airforce would not let this chance pass. They moved in, swarming the Imperial lines, gunning for the kill.
I'd apologize for another "short" battle report, but really that just seems to be the way 8th is played. Short, brutal games. I think I pretty much won this game on the first turn, with the destruction of the Bane Blade. I had a lot go right for me, but the most important part was that Doom went off, which was enormous, considering how often I needed it with the shooting from the Hunters. Once it was dealt with the -1 to hit nearly everything in my army was also causing real headaches for my opponent.
This was the first game in which the Scorpions did well for me. I think they need further testing for me to complete my opinion of them. They're not as instantly loveable as Banshees, but they may earn my respect over time.
The Dire Avengers were okay... but i just think Guardians are a better fit for my play style. The Hemlocks weren't super crazy, though their negative bubble actually played a solid role in the game, especially with Mind War on the first turn. I'm finding that power is incredibly useful against guard with the Aggressive use of farseers.
Crimson Hunters finally rolled well on the damage rolls this game, which is part of the only reason I actually cracked open the Bane Blade on turn 1.
Warp spiders were not particularly impressive, but they did kill what they shot at on turn 1, so I'll try them out a little bit more to see if they click. Overall I felt they just didn't synergise well outside of also being hard to hit.
After the game wrapped up and my opponent conceded I convinced him to set everything up the way we had it at the start of the game and that we could play through a shooting phase so he could test the things he wanted to test (and roll some dice and blow some of my stuff up). I think it helped improve his mood, but had the benefit of letting me learn more about what his units can do, and let him experiment with some of his toys. If you have a quick game like this and you're certain that getting first turn caused a huge swing and your opponent got curb-stomped, don't be afraid to take the extra step in being a good sport and a friend and give them a chance to really... play with their toys. you can actually learn quite a lot, plus you can start to workshop how you would have responded if that first turn dice roll had gone a different way. In our gaming I saw that if he had that turn as a first turn I wouldn't have been able to get my Farseer in position to cast Doom on the BaneBlade, meaning that even if I had otherwise made the same, or virtually the same moves I would not have gotten the Bane Blade more than half way through its wounds... nevertheless killed it. Just something to keep in mind for your future games.