Hi everyone, Michael here with game 4 of my visit to the Caledonian Revolution tournament. For more battle reports, reviews and analyses, check out the Tactics Corner.
The first game of day 2 of Caledonian Revolution 2017 saw my Deathwatch take on Jonathan’s Craftword Eldar army.
Game 4 used the Relic as the Eternal War mission, with Spoils of War as the maelstrom mission (3 cards per turn, you can steal your opponent’s “Secure Objective X” cards). In a modification to the Relic, you scored 8 points for holding the Relic at the end of the game or 4 points if you controlled it (had the most models within 3″) and no-one held it. The deployment map was Hammer and Anvil.
My army consisted of:
- Watch Master- Guardian Spear (W)
- Watch Captain- Jump Pack, Xenophase Blade, Bolt Pistol (W)
- Kill Team 1- Sergeant with Power Sword, Black Shield with Power Sword, 3 Veterans, 2 Frag Cannons, Vanguard Veteran with Pair Lightning Claws, Deathwatch Biker with Teleport Homer (KT1)
- Kill Team 2- 5 Veterans with 2 Frag Cannons and 2 Shotguns (KT2)
- Kill Team 3- 5 Veterans with Meltagun, 3 Combi-meltas (KT3)
- Kill Team 4- 5 Veterans with 5 Stalker Pattern Boltguns (KT4)
- Kill Team 5- 5 Veterans, Terminator with Power Fist, Storm Bolter and Cyclone Missile Launcher (KT5)
- Rhino- Storm Bolter (R1)
- Rhino- Storm Bolter (R2)
- 5 Vanguard Veterans- 2 pairs Lightning Claws, 2 Heavy Thunder Hammers (VV)
- 4 Bikers- Teleport Homer, Power Axe, Power Maul, 2 Power Swords (DB1)
- 4 Bikers- Teleport Homer, Power Maul, 3 Power Swords (DB2)
- Corvus Blackstar- Twin Assault Cannon, 2 Stormstrike Missiles, Hurricane Bolter, Auspex Array (CB)
6 Command Points
My warlord was the Watch Master, who took the Legendary Fighter warlord trait.
Jonathan’s army consisted of:
- Autarch Skyrunner- Twin Shuriken catapult, Laser Lance, Banshee Mask (A)
- Farseer- Witchblades, Shuriken Pistol (F)
- Spiritseer- Witch Staff, Shuriken Pistol (S)
- 5 Rangers- Ranger Longrifles (R)
- 10 Dire Avengers- Exarch (DA1)
- 10 Dire Avengers- Exarch (DA2)
- 5 Fire Dragons- Exarch, Fusion Guns, Meltabombs (FD1)
- 5 Fire Dragons- Exarch, Fusion Guns, Meltabombs (FD2)
- 5 Dark Reapers- Exarch (DR1)
- 5 Dark Reapers- Exarch (DR2)
- Wave Serpent- Twin Shuriken Cannon, Shuriken Catapult (WS)
- Wave Serpent- Twin Shuriken Cannon, Shuriken Catapult (WS)
- Wave Serpent- Twin Shuriken Cannon, Shuriken Catapult (WS)
- 5 Shining Spears- Exarch, 4 Laser Lances, Star Lance, Twin Shuriken Catapults (SS)
6 Command Points
Jonathan’s army featured plenty of anti-tank firepower to take out my vehicles or cause my Marines a serious problem. I knew from my first game how powerful the Dark Reapers could be, so would try and neutralise them quite quickly. The Wave Serpents were also an unknown quantity to me in 8th edition. They were incredibly good and durable in 6th and 7th, so I would be interested to see how they performed in the game.
I won the roll to place objectives. We deployed the objectives as shown below:
Jonathan chose his deployment side. I was set to deploy the first unit. After checking Jonathan’s list, I saw that he had 8 deployment drops. If I set up normally, I would have 9 drops and would most likely lose the first turn. After thinking for a few minutes, I decided that if I put the Watch Captain in the Corvus Blackstar and deployed the Watch Master in one of the Rhinos, I could also get down to 8 drops and could choose to go first. The deployment order was as follows:
- Vanguard Veterans (reserve)
- Rangers (reserve)
- Kill Team 5 (Cyclone Missile)
- Wave Serpent on his left (Dire Avengers and Spiritseer)
- Kill Team 4 (Stalkers)
- Wave Serpent on right (Dire Avengers and Farseer)
- Deathwatch Bikers (RHS)
- Dark Reapers (RHS)
- Deathwatch Bikers (LHS)
- Shining Spears
- Rhino 2 (Frag Cannon team)
- Rhino (Meltagun team and Watch Master)
- Wave Serpent in middle (two units of Fire Dragons)
- Corvus Blackstar
- Dark Reapers (LHS)
I decided to deploy most of the army as far forward as possible. One of the Rhinos, the Corvus Blackstar and both units of Bikers went on the edge of my deployment zone, ready to advance. The Stalker Marines went on the right flank, ready to move into the crater and grab the objective. The Kill Team with the Terminator went in the ruins on the left flank, holding the objective. The Rhino containing the Watch Master and Meltagun squad went in cover and out of line of sight, in case I got seized on. My plan was to rush forward and grab the objective with the Watch Captain, using the other units to shield him as he fell back behind the ruins to my left. I could hold the Watch Master in reserve until it was time for them to strike. The Vanguard Veterans would be sent to eliminate on of the Dark Reaper squads and hopefully steal some backfield objectives in Jonathan’s deployment zone.
Jonathan set up the three Wave Serpents to advance, holding back the Shining Spears slightly and making good use of the long range of the Dark Reapers. He then deployed the Rangers in the ruins to my right. This was unexpected and I would need to deal with them quickly. My plan relied on the Eldar being unable to target the Captain holding the Relic without eliminating the squads in between first, and the Rangers could mess this up.
I chose to go first and Jonathan failed to seize.
TURN 1- DEATHWATCH
In turn 1, I drew Witch Hunter (kill an enemy psyker), Assassinate (kill an enemy character) and Defend Objective 5 (hold for 2 turns). It would have been difficult to draw a worse set of cards for my first round.
Most of the Deathwatch army advanced. The squad in the Corvus disembarked, the Watch Captain surging forward to grab the Relic, while the squad moved to shield him. The Bikers joined them in their advance, while on the right flank, the Rhino advanced and used its Smoke Launchers. One Bike squad moved towards the Rangers to try and deal with the threat behind their lines. The Vanguard Veterans arrived from deep strike, landing behind the Dark Reapers in the ruins to my left flank.
The Kill Team in the centre opened fire on the Wave Serpent in front of them with their Frag Cannons, pounding the enemy vehicle with solid shells. The Cannons hit and wounded three times, but only took three wounds thanks to the Serpent Shield. The rest of the squad fired their Bolters, wounding three times with the Vengeance shells. The Watch Captain fired his Bolt Pistol. wounding the vehicle once.
The Corvus Blackstar fired at the same vehicle. The Stormstrike missiles hit once, but failed to wound. I used a Command re-roll, but failed to wound once more. The central Bike squad fired at the Wave Serpent, wounding it once more.
The other unit of Bikers fired at the Rangers, using their Vengeance Bolts to negate the cover of the Eldar. The squad’s fire rang true, eliminating the squad.
The Terminator fired his Cyclone Missile at the Wave Serpent on the left flank, wounding it twice, but the vehicle passed both its armour saves.
In the charge phase, the Corvus Blackstar, Kill Team and Bikers assaulted the Wave Serpent. The Vanguard Veterans assaulted the Dark Reapers, losing two of their number to overwatch fire. I had to use another Command Point re-roll to make the charge.
In the assault phase, the three squads struck at the Wave Serpent, finally destroying the enemy vehicle. One of the Fire Dragons perished as they disembarked, the Deathwatch consolidating to engage with the newly emerged Warriors.
The Vanguard Veterans struck at the Dark Reapers. The Sergeant with the Lightning Claws hit and wounded three times, but Jonathan passed all three 5+ saves. The Heavy Thunder Hammers attacked, hitting and wounding twice. Jonathan again passed one of his 6+ saves, so only one Dark Reaper died. The Reapers attacked back, but caused no damage. That was not the way that combat was supposed to go!
At the end of my turn, I scored no objectives and discarded Witch Hunter. I also scored two kill points and First Blood.
TURN 1- ELDAR
In turn 1, Jonathan drew Supremacy (hold 3 objectives), Behind Enemy Lines (have a unit in opponent’s deployment zone) and Secure Objective 3.
The Fire Dragons fell back from the Deathwatch, as the surviving Wave Serpents and Singing Spears moved up to engage. Both squads of Dire Avengers disembarked and advanced on the Watch Captain and the Rhino, supported by the Farseer on one flank and the Spiritseer on the other. The Autarch moved to support the Dark Reapers on the right flank, as the second unit of Dark Reapers moved around the abandoned church to target the Deathwatch.
In the psychic phase, the Farseer attempted to Doom the Bikers. He failed the initial roll, but used his Farseer’s ability to re-roll and pass. He then attempted to Smite the Corvus Blackstar, but rolled a double 1 and perilled. He used a Command re-roll to pass, putting three wounds on the Deathwatch Flyer. The Spiritseer attempted to Conceal the Dire Avengers, but perilled on a double 1 once more, suffering two wounds in the process.
The Dark Reapers targeted the Rhino in front of them, wounding it twice, but the armour blocked one of the shots. The Dire Avengers fired at the Kill Team in the crater, doing 13 wounds (4 of which were rending) and killing three of the squad.
The Shining Spears targeted the Bikers in front of them, killing three with their Lances and finishing off the survivor with their shuriken fire. The unit of Dire Avengers were forced to fire at Kill Team 1 (they were closer than the Captain), but were able to wipe out the unit with their firepower.
The Wave Serpent fired its shield at the Watch Captain, taking two wounds from him. The Autarch fired on the Corvus Blackstar, taking three wounds from it. The nearby Wave Serpent also fired at the Corvus, but was unable to harm it.
The Wave Serpent assaulted the Corvus Blackstar, quickly followed by the Shining Spears. The Autarch assaulted the Vanguard Veterans.
The Spears struck at the Corvus Blackstar, wounding it once and causing two damage. The Wave Serpent failed to do any hits, as did the Corvus.
The Autarch attacked the Vanguard Veterans, easily wiping out the squad.
At the end of his turn, Jonathan scored Objective 3 and Supremacy, as well as 3 kill points.
- Deathwatch- 0 Maelstrom points, 2 Kill Points
- Eldar- 3 Maelstrom points, 3 Kill Points
TURN 2- DEATHWATCH
This turn, I drew Domination (hold all the objectives), to go with Assassinate and Defend Objective 5. My luck with the cards continued.
The Deathwatch Bikers moved up to support the Watch Captain, as he retreated with the Relic. The Kill Team disembarked from their Rhino to target the Dire Avengers, as the Corvus Blackstar moved to support. As the flyer passed over the shining spears, it dropped its bomb payload, but failed to do any damage. The other Rhino moved around the ruins to enter the fight.
The Rhino fired at the Dire Avengers, killing one. The Stalker Kill Team killed another with their volley. The Corvus Blackstar fired its Assault Cannon and Hurricane Bolters at the Dire Avengers, killing 5 of the squad. Its rockets failed to hit the Wave Serpent (I was hitting on 5’s now thanks to damage and moving). The Kill Team fired their Frag Cannons at the Shining Spears, causing 5 wounds and killing two of the squad.
The Bikers fired at the Dire Avengers in front of them, killing three of the squad. The Terminator fired two Krak missiles at the Shining Spears, but both shots missed (the Terminator had been on abysmal form the whole tournament). The rest of the squad fired their Bolters at the Dire Avengers, killing another two.
In the charge phase, the Rhino assaulted the Dire Avengers. The Kill Team assaulted the Spiritseer and Dire Avengers. I considered finishing off the second squad of Avengers with the Bikers, but this would have left the Captain exposed, so I decided against it.
The Kill Team struck the Spiritseer, killing him with their attacks. The rest of the squad attacked the Dire Avengers, but failed to do any harm. The Eldar struck back, wounding three times, but failing to get past the Deathwatch armour.
In the morale phase, Jonathan used two Command Points to pass the morale test for the central unit of Dire Avengers. The other squad of Dire Avengers lost a member of their squad to morale.
At the end of my turn, I scored Assassinate and discarded Domination. I also scored one kill point.
TURN 2- ELDAR
This turn, Jonathan drew Defend Objective 3 and Defend Objective 6, to go with Behind Enemy Lines.
The Autarch moved up to support the Craftworld units as they moved to surround the Deathwatch. One unit of Fire Dragons embarked in the nearby Wave Serpent and it moved up towards the Bikers. The other Wave Serpent moved behind the Bikers to target the Captain. The second unit of Fire Dragons advanced, running to try and get in range of the Rhino. On the left flank, the two surviving Dire Avengers fell back from combat towards objective 6.
The Farseer attempted to Doom the Bikers, but failed, even with the Farseer’s re-roll. He succeeded in casting Guide on the Dire Avengers in front of him.
The Autarch fired on the Bikers, killing one with his Spear and one with his Shuriken Catapult. The Shining Spears fired a single Lance at the Bikers, but failed to hit. Jonathan used a Command re-roll to hit and wound one of the Bikers. The Wave Serpent fired at the Bikers, killing one of the squad. The other Wave Serpent was forced to fire at the Bikers, killing the last member of the squad.
The Dire Avengers on the left flank fired at the Kill Team in the crater, killing one of them.
The Fire Dragons fired at the Rhino, wounding twice and doing 8 damage. The Dark Reapers on the right split their fire between the Rhino and the Corvus Blackstar on the opposite side of the battlefield. The Reapers succeeded in destroying the Rhino, but failed to wound the flyer. The other unit of Dark Reapers fired at the Kill Team in front of them, killing two of the squad.
The Wave Serpent charged the Watch Captain, but failed to do any damage. In reply, the Watch Captain managed to put two wounds on the Skimmer.
At the end of his turn, Jonathan scored Behind Enemy Lines and discarded Defend Objective 6. He also scored two kill points.
- Deathwatch- 1 Maelstrom points, 3 Kill Points
- Eldar- 4 Maelstrom points, 5 Kill Points
Jonathan was starting to build up a solid lead, while also decimating much of my army. I had put all my efforts into capturing the Relic early on, hopefully this strategy would pay off.
TURN 3- DEATHWATCH
This turn, I drew Behind Enemy Lines and Secure Objective 2, as well as having Defend Objective 5.
The Watch Captain managed to retreat behind the cover of the forest with the Relic. The Watch Master and Kill Team from the Rhino moved up on the Eldar, hoping to buy him some time. The Corvus Blackstar moved to target the Wave Serpent that had been harassing the Watch Captain, while the second Rhino and Kill Team moved up on the Dark Reapers.
The Kill Team fired their Meltaguns at the Wave Serpent. I used one command point re-roll to score four wounds and destroyed the enemy vehicle. One of the Fire Dragons perished as they emerged from the wreck. The Sergeant in the squad fired his Bolter at the other unit of Fire Dragons, killing one.
The Watch Master fired at the Autarch, wounding him once.
The Corvus Blackstar fired at the Shining Spears, killing one of the squad. It then fired its Stormstrike missiles at the Wave Serpent, hitting and wounding once, but Jonathan passed his 6+ save!
The Terminator fired his Cyclone Missile Launcher at the Wave Serpent, hitting and wounding, but only doing a single point of damage with the Krak missile (I should have saved the re-roll for that!). The squad fired their Bolters at the Fire Dragons, killing two of the squad.
The Kill Team on the right flank fired their Frag Cannons at the Dark Reapers, eliminating the squad with the powerful weapons. The Stalker Marine fired at the Dire Avengers, killing one. The Rhino fired at the Dire Avenger, hitting twice, but failing to wound with either of the shots.
The Watch Master and Kill Team assaulted the Autarch. The Watch Master attacked the Eldar Warlord, wounding him 5 times. Jonathan then passed four of his 4+ invulnerable saves! I did 2 damage with the attack, decided to risk a Command point re-roll and did only one damage in the end. The Autarch then struck, thanks to his Banshee mask, but failed to harm the kill team. The Deathwatch then struck, wounding the Autarch 5 times, but he passed all his saves and survived.
The warlord had survived after some amazing saving throws from Jonathan!
At the end of my turn, I scored Behind Enemy lines and two kill points.
TURN 3- ELDAR
This turn, Jonathan drew Secure Objective 1, Defend Objective 6 and Defend Objective 3.
The Autarch fell back from combat, moving towards objective 6. The Wave Serpent flew over the cover to target the Watch Captain, as the Fire Dragon and Shining Spears went to support, both advancing to get in range.
In the psychic phase, the Farseer cast Doom on the Corvus Blackstar. He then cast Smite on the Kill Team, killing 2 of the squad.
The Dire Avenger on the left fired at the Stalker Marine in the crater, but failed to wound. The Autarch fired at him, killing him and finishing off the squad.
The Fire Dragon fired at the Corvus Blackstar, wounding once and doing one damage. The Shining Spear fired at the Watch Captain, wounding him once, but failing to get past his Iron Halo. The Wave Serpent fired at the Captain, wounding four times, but I made all my armour saves (fortunately!).
The Dark Reapers split their fire between the Corvus and the Kill Team in the centre, killing off the Kill Team and taking the flyer down to one wound. The Dire Avengers fired at the Corvus Blackstar and were able to blow it up.
At the end of his turn, Jonathan scored Objective 1, Objective 6 and Defend Objective 3, as well as my Objective 2, along with 3 kill points.
- Deathwatch- 2 Maelstrom points, 5 Kill Points
- Eldar- 9 Maelstrom points, 8 Kill Points
Things were starting to look decidedly one-sided at this point. I would need to see if I could survive the game.
TURN 4- DEATHWATCH
This turn, I drew Psychological Warfare, Secure Objective 2 and Defend Objective 5.
The Watch Captain moved the Relic to the safety of the ruins, while the Kill Team above moved to ground level to support. The Watch Master went to challenge the Farseer, as the other Kill Team and Rhino moved to help.
In the shooting phase, the Kill Team fired their Frag Cannons at the Fire Dragons, managing a great 17 wounds and wiping them out. The Watch Master fired at the Farseer, but failed to do any damage.
The Kill Team in the ruins fired at the Shining Spear Exarch, wounding him 6 times, but failing to get past his armour. The Rhino fired at the Dire Avenger Exarch, wounding him once.
The Watch Master then charged the Farseer, doing 3 wounds with his Guardian Spear. Once again, Jonathan’s made some great invulnerable saves, blocking two of the shots. Fortunately, I still managed to do 3 damage with the one that got through. The Farseer was unable to harm the Watch Master in reply.
At the end of my turn, I scored Defend Objective 5 and discarded Psychological Warfare. I also scored a kill point.
TURN 4- ELDAR
This turn, Jonathan drew Secure Objective 2, Secure Objective 2 and Domination. This was going to be brutal. He could easily score both his Objective 2 cards and my own this turn.
The Farseer fell back from combat, as the Autarch moved up on the Kill Team. The Shining Spear and Wave Serpent moved to attack the squads holding the Relic.
The Farseer cast Smite on the Watch Master, taking one wound from him. He then cast Doom on the Rhino.
The Autarch fired at the Kill Team in front of him, killing the last three members of the squad. The Dark Reapers fired at the Rhino, but somehow failed to do any damage.
The Fire Dragon fired at the Kill Team, slaying one of the squad. The Guardians also fired at them, killing two, while the Wave Serpent killed another one.
The Shining Spear Exarch fired at the Watch Captain, finally killing him.
The Shining Spear Exarch charged the Kill Team. One of the Krak Missiles from the Terminator hit him on overwatch, killing him as he advanced. The Wave Serpent charged the Kill Team. Amazingly, the Krak missile hit once more, taking 6 wounds from the vehicle (where were all these 6’s earlier in the game?).
The Wave Serpent was unable to damage the squad, while the Terminator took another three wounds from it with his Power Fist.
At the end of his turn, Jonathan scored Objective 2 three times and got 2 kill points.
- Deathwatch- 4 Maelstrom points, 7 Kill Points
- Eldar- 12 Maelstrom points, 10 Kill Points
TURN 5- DEATHWATCH
This turn, I drew Defend Objective 3, Supremacy and Kingslayer.
The Rhino moved into cover, while the Watch Master moved up on the Farseer once more.
The Rhino fired at the Dire Avenger Exarch, wounding him once, but his armour saved him. The Watch Master managed to put a wound on the Farseer.
The Watch Master then assaulted the Farseer, this time cutting him down in combat.
In the combat between the Terminator and Wave Serpent, the Deathwatch Terminator was able to blow up the vehicle with his Power Fist. The resulting explosion wounded the Terminator and killed the nearby Fire Dragon as well. The Terminator consolidated onto the Relic.
At the end of my turn, I scored Supremacy and three kill points.
TURN 5- ELDAR
This turn, Jonathan drew Domination, Psychological Warfare and Secure Objective 4.
The Autarch moved up on the Rhino, while the Dire Avengers advanced to get into sight of the Terminator.
The Autarch fired at the Rhino, taking three wound and leaving it on 4. The Dark Reapers fired at the Watch Master, wounding him four times.
The Guardians fired at the lone Terminator and managed to kill him.
The Autarch then assaulted the Rhino and destroyed the vehicle.
At the end of his turn, Jonathan scored two kill points.
- Deathwatch- 6 Maelstrom points, 10 Kill Points
- Eldar- 12 Maelstrom points, 12 Kill Points
We rolled to see if the game ended and it did. The final scores were:
Deathwatch- 6 Maelstrom, 10 Kill Points, First Blood = 17 points
Eldar- 12 Maelstrom, 12 Kill Points, Linebreaker = 25 points.
A win for the Eldar. Jonathan scored 14 tournament points to my 6 tournament points.
Even though I lost that game, it was a lot of fun and my favourite of the tournament. Jonathan was a blast to play against (I think he even went on to win Most Sporting at the event).
We had a good laugh at Jonathan’s seeming inability to fail an invulnerable save. Seriously, I should have killed the Autarch and Farseer twice over with my attacks, but he kept making those 4+ saves! He was also a good sport as I railed against my bad dice rolls and his great dice rolls as the game went on.
He definitely had a change in his luck as the game went on. In the first turn, Jonathan simply could not pass a 3+ save on his Wave Serpent, as I managed to strip about 5 wounds off with Bolter shots. He more than made up for it at the end of the turn with the combat.
I think that overall my plan worked well. Rushing the Relic was my best option, I feel. Otherwise, Jonathan would have easily grabbed it and been able to hide it amongst his more numerous troops. I also think that going after the Dark Reapers with the Vanguard Veterans was a good idea, I was just unfortunate that it did not pan out. The Vanguards should have decimated the Reapers in combat. However, some great overwatch fire saw two of the unit cut down before they could attack. In addition, when your opponent passes three out of three 5+ saves and one out of two 6+ saves in a single combat, there is nothing you can do about it. The dice are simply not with you.
In hindsight, I may have held back the Vanguard Veterans to go after the Wave Serpent harassing the Watch Captain or go after the Shining Spears (those guys were brutal!). As it was, they were a bit waste, killing only a single Dark Reaper.
Another poor unit was the Terminator with the Cyclone Missile Launcher. Seriously, this guy was the biggest waste of 100 points in my whole list. Even though he has two shots, I would be very surprised if he hit even 50% of the time. The lack of anti-tank weapons in the army (other than the Meltagun squad) showed in this game, as I was unable to take out the Wave Serpents in a timely fashion. The only saving grace of the Terminator was the hilarity of him gunning down the Shining Spear Exarch and taking 6 wounds from the Wave Serpent from overwatch fire.
So, a really fun game, but a loss would see me relegated to the lower tables in my next game.
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