Thursday, November 30, 2017

Ulthwe Vs Ultramarines: Written 2K Battle Report (Pre-CA)

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.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Flying Mote: Complete

back when I was working on my Vampire I had a lot of spare Acrylic rod, so I thought about how I could finally complete a Flying Mote I had dreamed of adding to my Aeldari table as terrain for some time. I started working on the Mote over a year ago and put it aside. There were moments I almost abandoned it because I worried I wasn't going to do it right, but now I convinced myself to work on it and I'm very happy with the results!

The starting place:

From the top down there's a craft "coaster", a large styrofoam cone with three small foam cones attached with toothpicks, pva, and wall patching putty. I drilled through the large cone to fit large clear acrylic rod. At the bottom of the base I glued two thick foam discs together and drilled through the centre to fit the rod. I used putty to strengthen the fit of the rod and hold it steady. Once dried I glued that to a Dinner Plate sized craft coaster. I then chipped away at the foam to get it most of the way to the shape I wanted, carved some lines in the cones like areas eroded from rain, and then lathered it all with PVA glue. Once dried I was able to spray primer it without it eating the foam. After that it's all about painting it to taste, and adding some of my basing kit stuff to taste. I looked up images of "flying motes" to get some visual inspiration for the painting. Here's the final product:

I was incredibly happy with this piece, and I think it should be fun to have a piece of terrain that realistically only Fly units can get up to it during a game (or a unit like Reivers with their grappling hooks). 

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Ulthwe Vs Black Templars Written 2K Battle Report

Playing another 2k list I had some ideas about what I wanted to try out.  First up were the Vypers in a formation of 3.  In the past I thought they were an underrated unit and really like the idea that 3 of them gets them an extra bit of speed.  I also had a plan for my psykers.  Giving the Spiritseer Quicken and the Warlock Enhance I was hoping to get the Scorpions in combat turn 1 in range of Karandras, play Supreme Disdain, and generate 2 extra attacks on a 5+, or 4+ if in cover (three for the Exarch).

This list used more units appearing as reserves than any prior list I've used.  With Karandras, Scorpions, Rangers, Guardians, and Swooping Hawks all appearing after set up.  The Hawks were a last moment decision during list building because I was out of HQ slots and had just over 60 pts to spend.  The psykers were all embarked with the 9 Dire Avengers in the Wave Serpent.

My opponent forgot his Maelstrom cards so we opted to set up the game using the Open War deck.  We pulled up the Double or Nothing Twist and got 0 Twists.  The biggest shock to me was that my opponent's 2K list was only 66 Power, compared to mine which was 106.  I think it's the first time I've played a game with a greater power discrepancy than 10 pts.  I feel like his list would absolutely wallop other 66 Power lists, but it meant he definitely got the Ruse.  After drawing the objective card we set up our four objectives before drawing deployment.

I got to choose the deployment zones, but with fewer units and the +1 to go first the Black Templar had the first turn and Ulthwe braced for the worst.

I chose to set my rangers up and two of my three Ranger units to draw fire.  My hope was that he would spend most of his opening firepower on those units and I'd still have two of my D-cannons left standing while he disembarked his infantry to stymie my forces.  Instead he kept almost all of his units embarked.  But he did take the bait with shooting, managing to kill both visible D-cannons and the Rangers.  He made a mental error and forgot to move his dreadnought because it was so far away from his other units.  this meant at the end of his turn he had only had one Victory Point.

For my Turn I brought all of my reserves on as my forces set up a blockade of infantry.  The Hawks caused two Mortal Wounds to the Land Raider.  I had high hopes to pull off a devastating first turn.  I played the Seer Council stratagem to get the warlock and Eldrad a +1 to cast.  They managed to cast Enhance on the Scorpions and Doom on the land Raider.  Things were all going to plan, but the Spiritseer failed to cast Quicken, leaving my Scorpions in a bit of a lurch.  I either had to hope the Land Raider survived and my scorpions rolled well, or my opponent got aggressive and deployed forward if I blew it up.  My opening salvo was two wounds from the D-cannons on the Land Raider.  I was excited at the opportunity to do some real damage to it right up front... but my opponent rolled two 6's to nullify the shooting.  I used the Linked Fire from the Prisms to do much of the damage to the Raider, in large part thanks to Doom.  The big surprise was the Vypers putting 5 wounds on it!  It then took nearly my entire army shooting to actually kill the thing, but I did finally chew through it (though I popped it before the initial Prism got to fire).  With the survivors deployed behind the vehicle the Scorpions had no chance to get into combat. But I did get two Victory Points.

My opponent moved his Dreadnought up to take the objective and put some firepower into the pesky Vypers.  He brought his terminators down to reinforce his front lines and using Forewarning my Dire Avengers let loose, killing one of the Hammernators despite those pesky shields.  He opened fire upon my forces, but only managed to put one wound on a Weapon Platform, kill a Swooping hawk, kill a Vyper and slaughter 5 of my Scorpions, and strip my Wave Serpent down to 5 wounds.  As the Hammernators charged the Dire Avengers the Overwatch fire felled another terminator, but he spent a command point on the reroll and got him to survive through the 3+ invul.  Another squad got wrapped in to the Avengers and the Warlock and Eldrad Heroically intervened.  My opponent wiped the Dire Avengers down to just the Exarch.  His other marines advanced to get into a better gunline position and so they couldn't assault.  He gained another two Victory Points putting him at 3.  I rolled a 6 on the Scorpions morale check, so even with the Swooping Hawk Exarch's bonus to leadership I was down to 3 models in the unit.  The Avenger Exarch, however, rolled a 1 on his morale, and after losing 8 models the +1 from the Hawk Exarch meant he actually stayed on the field!

At this point I changed my plan for the scorpions.  I wanted them to hang back with Karandras to be a secondary capture unit for the VP near them.  The salvo of psychic shenanigans knocked the terminators down to just a single model.  Eldrad got off Doom and Smite, but failed Executioner at the start of the turn.  The Vypers and Guardians laid a heavy toll on the Templar.  The Vindicator was finally destroyed leaving the objective open, and my Wave Serpent, despite half its hit points being lost was next to the marine character that gifts rerolling failed wounds and fired off its shield with its 3 shuriken cannons to kill him without assistance.  my rearguard Prism moved from its hiding spot and did some damage to the Dreadnought that was holding an objective knocking it down to 2 HP.  Because of the time we upped our play speed a little bit from here on out.  I was now up to 4 VP.

The Black Templar were reeling, but not done.  They destroyed another Vyper and brought the last one to 1 wound.  With horrible damage rolls they managed to take a total of 3 wounds off one of the Prisms.  They also got their Champion in to combat, killing the Warlock.  With other desperation charges being used to kill the Wave Serpent it moved the Black Templar out of position on one of the objectives and meant my opponent was at 4 VP.

This was the turn I wanted to go for the kill.  I killed the Champion and Terminator with Psychic powers as the Dire Avenger Exarch moved up to claim an Objective from the Black Templar.  The Predator shrugged off the D-cannon fire with a 6 to save (it was in cover), once again robbing me of that damage.  The Vyper scooted over to the objective the Dreadnought was holding and it combined with the Fire Prism to take off the last few wounds.  The Dread didn't explode, instead just falling dormant, and that means it didn't kill my Vyper, so I took the point as my Scorpions moved back to hold the Objective the Vyper previously had.  The Guardians started to punish the tanks nearby, but didn't kill either.  The Avenger Exarch looked to shoot the last tactical marine in front of him, but managed to miss with all four shots in a shameful display.  But I was in command of the table at this point and went up to 8 VP.

The Black Templar had suffered and were fighting back out of rage more than strategy, their hatred overwhelming their logic.  In the shooting phase they managed to kill two more Swooping hawks, and destroy one of the Guardian weapon platforms, and then, their greatest success, was when they destroyed one of the Fire Prisms.  The lone tactical marine who was valiantly facing an Exarch fired, but missed in his haste.

He was then killed by Overwatch fire.  A Marshall attempted to make a charge at 5" into the guardians, but even with a reroll he failed (rolling a 3 both times).  A Razorback did make it in to combat with the guardians at least draining them of firepower for the next turn.  The Templar were held tight at 4 VP.

In the following turn the Guardians backed away from the Razorback, as the Prism destroyed it.  The Exarch killed his foe to take the objective and with the combination of psychic might and the D-cannon the Predator was torn asunder.  The Eldar held uncontested control of the field as the remaining Black Templar forces retreated in haste.  Ulthwe had 12 VP at this point.

I was unable to test the Scorpions as I had planned, but I learned that Vypers are a fair more resilient than I anticipated and I look forward to using them again.  Also, the Swooping Hawks performed better for me than they had in the index version.  I quite liked them, even against a foe that I needed to roll a 5+ to wound.  They were a thorn in the side of the marines and well worth the small investment of points.  The D-cannons were somewhat diminished by the lucky rolls of my opponent, on saves, but I'm keen to use them again.

This was a refreshing game in that the outcome wasn't determined mostly by who went first.  In fact, if my opponent hadn't rolled so many 1's during one of the Fight phases it likely would have been a different outcome overall.  This army was flexible, and Ulthwe continues to be resilient, frustrating opponents when I roll 6's.  I haven't decided 100% yet, but I may retry this same list again to see if I can pull off that layered trick with the Striking Scorpions.