The forces of Ulthwe:
Once again, we had no idea what the other would bring when we built our lists. I let my opponent choose the mission (one of the new ones from Chapter Approved, in this case Race to the Finish). He also won the role to choose deployment style and despite my +1 he won the roll to go first. I had a gut feeling he was going to get to go first, so I deployed very defensively, and I spent 3 CP to put both of my 20 man defender squads into the webway. I kept all my psykers together (conclave, spiritseer and Eldrad) in the Wave Serpent, and imagined different options for how to play my first turn. I even took Will of Asuryan to test out how it plays supporting a large block of guardians and see maybe my misgivings about it were unfounded. He took Doom and Mind War with it. The Spiritseer had Conceal and the Conclave took Protect/Jinx and Quicken/Restrain.
With my opponent going first I brought my rangers in at a hidden spot to attract his speedy bike units as a road bump.
At the start of his turn he brought two bike units with Captains and spent CP to let one of his units advance and fire (and charge if they wanted). They shot up the Rangers and by the time they were done the unit only had two models left. The Guardian squad in the street absorbed almost all his other fire bringing them down to just a single model. In the moral phase the last guardian fled the field and one of my two rangers returned to the webway. My opponent scored First Blood and Fulfilled one tactical objective by killing that unit, while one of his bike squads, and a Captain was hugging objective 5, ready to defend it and claim points in my turn.
For my turn I was told to take one of my opponent's rear objectives (which I ignored) had to cast psychic powers (and 3 would get me D3 points) and then clear the center of the board. The board was already clear at 6", but to get 12" clear I'd have to take out the bike unit close to my bikes. I moved nearly all my units forward except the D-cannons, and only brought one of my Guardian squads in from the Webway. The War Walkers came in at the corner behind the imperial forces and they played their intercept power and killed one of the two War Walkers. By the end of my turn, using the Seer Council stratagem, and Discipline of the Black Guardians, and rerolls, I was down to 0 command points (I gained one back thanks to the Autarchs so spent 8 in total). With all my shooting I'd eliminated the two forward bike squads and captains, and a squad of Heavy Bolters and tied up a couple flamers that had shrugged off most my shooting. The Conclave and Eldrad both put 4 mortal wounds on the unit of bikers trying to defend Objective 5, wiping out 4 in the psychic phase. Another highlight was using the Guardian Bright Lances against one of the Captains, and after getting one shot through I rolled a 2 for wounds... then spent a CP, got a 6, and vaporised him (this was the CP I'd gotten back). I got 2 VP for my psychic shenanigans, and 1 for clearing the center of the board.
My opponent wasn't entirely shaken, but he was continuing his aggressive play. He put some wounds on the Wave Serpent, cut the warlocks down by 2, destroyed a weapon platform and shot the bikes down to a single model. This was one of the worst turns I've had defensively in that the Warlocks were -1 to hit thanks to conceal, and had 3+ invuls and I failed pretty much every 3+ I had to make and didn't make a single Ulthwe save in this turn. My opponent had a a moment of worry in that he assaulted Eldrad, but not the conclave, because he didn't want to assault the conclave at all (given that they wound on a 2+). He failed the charge, spent a CP to reroll one die and rolled the same number.
I felt good about this turn because I was in good position. I moved my Guardians up and brought in my last unit in my opponent's back field. I moved my D cannons forward to be in range of the last unit of bikes and supported them with the Autarch. I moved my Wave Serpent forward to charge the heavy weapon squad. The conclave spread out to give them charge options. The psychic phase started with the Conclave laying 5 wounds on the bikes. I was thrilled. Then they failed to cast Protect and Jinx, and Eldrad failed to cast Doom, and Mind War, but did cause one wound with Smite. The Spiritseer's Conceal was Denied. The psychic phase was upsetting, but I moved on to the shooting phase... which felt worse. The War Walker rolled 12 shots for its Plasma Missiles, but on a 3+ to hit I only managed 3 hits, and 1 wound which was saved. My D-cannons did the same thing this turn they had done the last... made one shot each. Usually they do well for me, but at this point I was uncharacteristically disappointed with them. My new guardian squad shot up the lascannon devastator squad... causing 1 casualty. As a highlight they did shoot the Speeder out of the sky. My shooting did eventually do just enough to kill off the bikes and their Captain, which allowed my Warlocks to charge in to the guardsmen nearby, wiping out the unit, but wrapping around the commander. I did score another VP top go to 4 thanks to Linebreaker.
My opponent was out of fast units, but was going to try take down my Wave Serpent in combat. He moved his back line LT and Captain to help take it down, and managed to kill off another platform and a few Storm Guardians. By the end of the turn the Wave Serpent survived on a single wound, but he was struggling with the volume of infantry marching at him, in part because they weren't coming from a single direction, they were all around him and he didn't have great lines of sight. With the VP score so close he was hoping to get a few more points, but instead I gained 2VP by defending an objective near my deployment zone. Also, his commander fell freeing up my Conclave.
I moved in for the kill. I flew the Serpent away to hold an objective, blasted apart all three remaining devastator squads with psychic powers and shuriken fire and D-cannons (again getting 1 shot each), and after successfully casting Protect AND Jinx and Smite (6 Mortal Wounds from the Conclave wiping out the Missile squad) on his warlord I wiped him out in combat, circumventing that pesky Storm Shield. By the end of the turn there were only a handful of models left on the table and I was standing at 8 VP to 2.
With the game well in hand I agreed to let my opponent play out his 4th turn to see if he could score one of his objective cards (either wounding one of my characters with one of his, or destroying a unit). If he could kill a character with his it would swing him up to 6 VP. Unfortunately his captain couldn't finish the job and my opponent conceded.
I wasn't thrilled with the War Walkers, but that's one part them being unlucky, and one part me probably not using them well. I'll give them more chances to see if there's another way in which they really capture my affection. The Conclave continues to perform well when substantially supported. At the very least I love the look of surprise when a passerby sees the unit tearing through a force and is clearly confused. Also, I rolled outstanding for their Mortal Wounds this game rolling a 4, 5, & 6 respectively.
Again I find the psychic phase to be very unreliable, and failing everything in Turn 2 could easily have cost me the game had I been a bit out of position. I'm happy this wasn't the first game I ever had with the D-cannons. Every time they rolled 1 shot and never caused more than 2 wounds with a shot, yet my overall experience with them is that they are well worth it and this game was a fluke.
I don't know much about the Storm squad yet, as they weren't great for the set up, but they did put out a nice amount of firepower and for their price I am happy to try them out a few more times, even bumping the squad up to a full 24.
I don't regret spending the 3 CP for the two large guardian squads. Bringing one in late totally caught my foe off guard because he had been thinking my entire force was deployed, which caused him to move up his speeder, the thing that had been blocking me deploying where I wanted. Players get so used to a full force Alpha Strike that holding an extra unit back a turn can reinforce weak areas and swing things in your favour with good position.
Will of Asuryan never was cast. Not once. I don't think I'll take it at all unless MAYBE I'm playing against Nid, Tzeentch, or GK in order to get the +1 to deny. Kind of disappointing. At this point I think maybe it should be addressed, even at 5 WC it just isn't appealing. Maybe +2 to deny or extend the fearless range to 12" or even 9".