The grudge match was back in full effect! Well, not entirely. My opponent wasn't certain he was going to play this week, and ended up throwing together his list at the last minute. He figured he'd be able to both surprise me and test a few things out. I, on the other hand, determined to get a second shot at testing out my last list used the same force I had previously used against the Black Templar.
My opponent surprised me by leaving Gulliman home, instead bringing in a Knight.
Seeing my opponent's force got me to switch out Enhance to Jinx/Protect.
We opted for the Open War cards again.
The Marines had a +1 to go first with such a small force, but the mission gave me a real chance to win the game if I played aggressive, but smart.
During set up my opponent opted to use his Ambush option to bring his Primaris Redemptor tank carrying a small unit of Primaris marines and a Primaris character.
I failed to seize the initiative and my rangers appeared in the corner, hopefully to pull my foe's attention.
The Ultramarines sped across the table. I prepared for the worst. They blasted a Vyper out of the air, stripped 3 wounds off a D-cannon, put a few wounds on the Wave Serpent, and after an accidental misplay of the hurricane bolters fired off too many shots, and in doing so reduced the Rangers by 6 models. Thanks to a lucky roll of 2 on the Morale a single ranger survived. In all the shooting had not been quite as devastating as it could have been.
The Ulthwe counter punch was swift, bringing in all reserves and disembarking all my units to maximise lethality against the Knight and gain as many points as I could.
Thanks to Jinx and Doom, and 9 Mortal wounds piled up between the Hawks and psychic attacks it took a little over half my shooting to kill the Knight (the Guardian Squad alone put up 14 wounds!) Almost all of the rest of my fire was poured into the Storm Raven, which survived the turn with 3 wounds! The most heart breaking part is that after burning my prism Stratagem shooting at the Raven, the second prism hit 3 out of 5 times, and failed to wound all three times despite wounding on 3's with rerolls! As for the Knight collapsing... it exploded killing the Warlock, putting 2 wounds on the Spiritseer, and 5 wounds on Eldrad (it caused 6 wounds, he failed all 6 5+ rolls, and I burned a CP to stick a 5 on a reroll) and wiped out 6 Dire Avengers (and put 6 wounds on a Storm Talon). The Hawks managed to drop a couple scouts through sheer volume of shots.
The Imperial firebase shifted, attempting to castle up as the Redemptor arrived. With the raven seriously damaged its firepower was unreliable it dropped off its passengers and hurried away. It combined with the Redemptor to kill off 3 striking scorpions, and the wounded D-cannon. All other fire brought the Wave Serpent down to just 4 wounds.
The disembarked marines charged into Karandras and the Scorpions.
With some poor rolls they hadn't inflicted a single casualty. Then the scorpions fought back, as I played supreme disdain. Since the unit was in cover and Karandras was nearby the scorpions generated 12 additional attacks (generating 2 on each 5+). Then Karandras stepped forward to crush the Librarian's skull with this power claw. At the end of the turn the Sergeant remained, surrounded by Scorpions.
The Aeldari shifted around, the Wave Serpent firing off its shield to knock the Storm Raven from the sky (burning a CP to reroll 1 mortal wound to 3). The Aeldari shooting finished off the two Storm Talons and cracked open the Redemptor, thanks in large part to some excellent shooting by the Prism that had misfired so poorly in the first turn. By the end of the shooting phase only 3 Snipers and the Primaris marines remained of the Imperial forces.
The Scorpions, after shooting the Sergeant to death with their pistols attempted to charge the Primaris marines, losing 2 to overwatch and failing the charge. Karandras made the charge.
After killing one and wounding another the lack of his disciples proved his undoing, seeing him torn asunder by the Lieutenant.
The battle irrevocably lost the marines sought to make the Aeldari pay for their victory. Sniper fire finally took down Eldrad's final wound, while the primaris marines killed the Avenger Exarch and surrounded the Spiritseer.
The Hawks managed to kill another Sniper while the rest of the Ulthwe warhost closed in on the Primaris marines...
...and killed them to a man. The Lieutenant shrugged off 5 D-cannon wounds with his 3+ invul, but was finally laid low by the massed firepower of the guardians.
Once again the Autarch proved his value, netting me 4 CP over the course of the game. Considering his rerolls to 1's only came in to play once the entire game it's definitely his CP generation that makes me take him every game. I continue to use CP aggressively having used all 7 of my starting CP by the end of the first battle round (webway strike, -1 to hit for the Wave Serpent, Linked fire for the prisms, Seer council, Discipline of the Black Guardians, and a reroll for the MW damage on the knight from Eldrad's Smite).
Jinx made a huge difference on the knight, because on two of the large damage output shots that hit him would have been saved on 5's without it, not to mention a number of the Shuriken fire shots. In fact Jinx and Doom in the first turn being paired up on the Knight are probably the only reason it didn't survive the first turn.
The D-cannons are still getting a lot of work done for me and I really recommend giving them a try. The Vypers are a neat little unit. They're not overly expensive, can put out a solid amount of firepower, but aren't a huge draw for your opponent's attention, and are more resilient than one might initially think. Karandras plus Scorpions plus Supreme Disdain is a wacky combination and can make them surprisingly potent in combat.
If you're planning on playing Open War I'd strongly suggest building a well-rounded list that's flexible, because those seem to have the best chance at winning and will really test your tactical acumen.