A Comedy of Errors: My non-GT Winning List

This weekend I mounted up my Eldar and traveled down to the magic of the MACE gaming convention in Charlotte, North Carolina.

This was put on by Jordan and Dean from Field of Fire Gaming. It was a smoothly run event in the middle of a very friendly con, that had a lot to offer outside of the GT. I will certainly be returning next year. After much workshopping and (delusional) thinking, I settled on this list:

Craftworld Battalion: +4 shuriken/ignore cover

  • Farseer Skyrunner
  • Warlock Skyrunner
  • Farseer
  • 20 Guardian Defenders with 2 Shuriken Cannons
  • 20 Guardian Defenders with 2 Shuriken Cannons
  • 5 Rangers

Craftworld Spearhead: Ignore cover/Free hit and wound reroll

  • Avatar of Khaine
  • Spiritseer
  • 8 Wraithguard with D-Cannons
  • Nightspinner
  • Nightspinner
  • Shadowweaver

Harlequin Supreme Command: Frozen Stars

  • Shadowseer (Warlord)
  • Troupe Master with Harlequins Kiss and Fusion Pistol
  • Troupe Master with Harlequins Kiss and Fusion Pistol
  • Solitaire (Free Relic: Cegorach’s Rose)
The Boys getting all pampered for the trip

What did I like about this list? Just about everything outside of those Wraithguard. Looking at this Marine meta, I was searching for a tough screening unit that had high ap and damage. They seemed like a decent pick, and in spite of my friends staring at me with confused expressions, I went ahead and ran them for 5 games. Never again. You will find out why in the rest of this article and the sequel. 

That being said, there is a lot I like about this list. Guardians with 16-inch Shuriken are amazing. The increased threat range lets them utilize Fire and Fade much more effectively. It lets them avoid auspex scans from Marines. The further away they can be from the enemy, the better. And the Frozen Stars Supreme Command! These guys were awesome! With -1 to wound from the Shadowseer, they don’t get scooped immediately by Eliminators. They are also super punchy with the +1 attack Masque trait and have tons of tricks that make them absolutely worth it.

Ignores cover Nightspinners are also a great unit. These guys are super handy in ITC. They can sit in two table quarters and score recon points, kill Eliminators that would otherwise murder my characters, and give me that little bit of punch I need to pick up ITC kills in the early game.

Honorable mention—The Avatar of Khaine: This dude is a beast. He keeps my elves fearless, cuts fools in half, and I love the new paint job I gave him. 

Game 1– Michael’s  Imperial Knights

Search and Destroy/ ITC Mission 1

Valhallan Battalion

  • Company Commander
  • Company Commander
  • 10 Guardsman
  • 10 Guardsman
  • 9 Guardsman 1 mortar

Graia Battalion

  • Tech Priest Enginseer
  • Tech Priest Enginseer
  • 5 Rangers
  • 5 Rangers
  • 5 Rangers

House Raven Super Heavy Detachment

Knight Castellan (Plasma Decimator, Volcano Lance, 2x Siegebreaker cannons, 2x Shieldbreaker Missile) Ion Bulwark, Cawls Wrath

Knight Crusader ( Heavy Stubber, Ironstorm Missile Pod, Thermal Cannon, Avenger Gatling Cannon. Heavy Flamer)

Knight Crusader ( Heavy Stubber, Ironstorm Missile Pod, Rapid-Fire Battle Cannon, Avenger Gatling Cannon. Heavy Flamer)

Ahhh—triple Knights. And a Castellan to boot! I selected Titanslayer, Kingslayer on his Crusader with Thermal Cannon, and Groundcontrol. He selected Old Skool, Gangbusters (another reason Wraithguard unit was a bad call) and Headhunter.

In deployment, I tried to hide the best I could. I also wanted enough screen on the table in case his Knights rushed me turn 1. I deployed both Guardian squads. In retrospect, this was a bad idea. In every game, I can only deepstrike two of my three main units (the Guardian blobs and the Wraithguard) because of how the Eldar deepstrike stratagems work. Most of the time I want to deploy a Guardian squad instead of Wraithguard. The Guardians are so much more durable, fast, and hard-hitting.

Once I saw his Knights drop deep in his deployment zone and outside of turn 1 charge range, I should have deepstruck the second squad. I had enough drops to suss out where his Knights would be. So, he went first and I chose to Phantasm to hide my front Guardian squad (which I used to screen my whole deployment zone) inside the Nova L, and move my Nightspinners out of LOS from his Castellan. This also proved to be a mistake, because I moved them into the range of the other two Knights. In Michael’s turn one he moved his Castellan up the right side of the board, and both of his Crusaders to the mid-board, where they were able to blow up both of my Nightspinners. I was trying to get out of the Castellan’s line of sight with my Phantasm move, but I should have just left them where they were.

Deployment

In my turn, I jumped my Guardians out of the Nova L and into range to shoot one of his Knights that had moved into the mid-board. I took off six wounds and fire and faded into the ruin with a little grin, feeling clever as an elf can. But this is also the turn I placed my Farseer, my only Farseer who knew Doom, too close to my Guardian squad screen on the side of the L where a charge was viable.

So on his turn, a Crusader ran up and squished my Farseer. He was able to swing on the Farseer through my Guardian screen, because the Farseer was base to base with a Guardian and the Guardian’s bases are less than an inch wide. He was also able to pick up my second Guardian squad. I had moved out of the back ruin. I didn’t pop Celestial Shield on them because the front squad was screening my characters, so he ended up taking out some key units in my army on turn two. I really should have left them in the box, because with their increased range and by using the automatic 6” advance strat on them, I could have gotten that unit into his more aggressive Knight pretty quickly. From here, the game devolved pretty quickly.

My beloved Avatar’s epic fail

I had one Knight in my lines, one Knight looming in the mid-board, and the Castellan running up the right side. I knew I had to kill both Knights this turn or it was going to be curtains for the pointy ear boys. I set myself up to smite the Knight deep in my lines and charge him with the Avatar, blast the other Knight with my remaining Guardian unit, and drop my Wraithguard on him.

Game over

I also flung my Solitaire into his deployment zone to clear Guardsman off objectives, with the idea to Quicken my Guardians to get off some tri-tips. I did a lackluster amount of smites to one Knight but did 15 wounds to the one in the middle of the table with the Wraithguard and the Guardians. Without killing it, however, it was guaranteed to use the top bracket strat to be unaffected by the damage I inflicted. In the assault phase, the game ended for me. My Avatar rushed in to cut the Knight in half—got 5 hits and!… zero wounds. That left him standing there, spinning around in fury like Leatherface at the end of Texas Chainsaw Massacre. After that gaff, I eked out a few more points but ended up getting tabled turn 6. I really went wrong here with that Farseer mistake, not deepstriking my second Guardian unit, and picking Ground Control. In a game you expect to be close, it’s risky to pick that secondary because it can’t help you keep the score close throughout the game. It’s also bad in a GT in this scenario, because even if you lose you want to get as many points as possible, and in a game where you get tabled, you can’t then score any Groundcontrol points.

The Solitaire was the last to die.

Final score 36-15

Game 2—Dave’s Orks

ITC Mission 2/Hammer and Anvil

Dave’s List

Bad Moons Battalion (Dread Waaagh!)

  • Big Mek (Index) Big Choppa, Grot Oiler, Kustom Force Field
  • Big Mek W/Shokk Attack Gun ( Da Best Armor Teef Can Buy, Da Souped Up Shokka, Grot Oiler, Warlord)
  • 10x Gretchin
  • 10x Gretchin
  • 10x Gretchin
  • 14x Tankbustas w/ 6x Bomb Squig and 11x Rokkit Launcha, 3x Tankhammer
  • 3x Chinork w/ 2x Rattler Kannon, 2x Big Shoota 2x Bigbomm

Goffs Battalion

  • Ork Boss Buzzgob
  • Warboss
  • 10x Boyz
  • 10x Boyz
  • 10x Boyz

DeathSkulls Battalion

  • 2x Wierdboy
  • 2×10 Gretchin
  • 11 Gretchin
  • 2×4 Mek Gunz (4 Smasha)
  • 4x Mek Gunz (3 Traktor Kannon, 1x Smasha Gun
Kromm!!!

WAAAAGH!

This was a rip-roaring nail-biter of a game. Dave’s take on Orks is different from the traditional 90 Boyz green tide swarm of brawny bodies. Instead, Dave uses his incredible Chinork models and some Tankbustas, backed up by those nasty Mek Gunz. Dave’s army was absolutely gorgeous, especially those Chinorks and his converted Primork Warboss, the almighty KROMM!

Dave picked Recon, Gangubusters, (damn Wraithguard) and Behind Enemy Lines. I selected Headhunter, Engineers (Rangers and Shadowweavers), and marked his 3 Chinorks and Tankbustas for Death. Since we rolled up an even mission, and Dave won the roll, he told me to deploy and go first. I dropped my Guardians and Wraithguard in the Webway (does anyone ever wonder what it’s like in there? Are they just floating around…?) and tucked my Guardians into the NOVA L in front of all my characters, as per usual. My Nightspinner sat in the backfield and my engineer squads occupied each of the back ruins. In my infinite wisdom, I put my Rangers on a side of the table near no objectives, with the rationale that they would screen, and nothing would be able to get into my backfield to kill off my Shadowweaver that was sitting on my back objective. More on that later.

Dave’s deployment

I had the choice to play the first turn cagey, or to YOLO my Guardians up the board and blast some of Dave’s Mek Guns that he deployed on his front line. I had a notion of using Quicken on the Guardians to try and get a turn 1 wrap and trap off on a Mek Gun, but decided against it. I figured it would be simpler to use Matchless Agility (auto 6” advance and quite possibly the most useful Craftworld Stratagem) to get some guaranteed shots and smites off on the Mek Gunz since they were the units in his army that could pick up my Nightspinners. The cagey option was to hide in the L and move my Nighspinner around that same L and get out of LOS of half of his Mek Gunz and that terrifying Shokk Attack gun. This was the conservative and probably more intelligent play. But, I am also a guy playing with 8 Wraithguard, so YOLO it was. 

Once more, into the breach dear friends!

The result of the YOLO was a couple of dead Mek Gunz, and all my characters poised in the middle of the board on the side with all of Dave’s characters, so I felt ok about the move. I picked up a kill and some board control–then the Shokk Attack Gun struck. 

To kick off his turn, Dave killed a Nightspinner with Mek Gunz. Cool. That’s expected. Then that Crazy Ork of his popped off and killed like 15 Guardians through a 4++ invuln and a 5+ Fortune save. He rolled the big 11 on strength (so d3 mortal wounds in addition to other damage, and then 11 shots, and my elves vanished quicker than the morality of their ancestors before the Fall.

 I didn’t figure on a few Mek Gunz and the Shokk Attack Guin hitting that hard–but it was ok. My reserves were poised to drop and strike, and my characters were set to dig into his backfield and take his objective from turn 3 onward. Then, the Shokk Attack Gun struck again. In my turn.

I wanted to kill that Big Mek. Another turn of that thing going bananas on my Guardians was unacceptable. I positioned my Solitaire next to my Shadowseer for a Twilight Pathways cast (which would allow the Solitaire to move again. I chose this over a Blitz, because the Mek was a bit too far to rely on two dice added to his movement for a blitz (a 7 inch move on average of two dice), the odds were better just rolling a 6 on two dice with a cp reroll and getting a 12 inch movement with an advance. 

The little Solitaire that couldn’t

Elsewhere, I screened out my backfield so his Tankbustas and Chinorks can’t just drop back there and start going to town on my backfield. At the end of movement, I dropped in my second Guardian Squad to rescreen my characters and push deeper into Dave’s lines. In my psychic phase, everything goes great. I successfully cast +2 to charge on my Guardians, Twilight Pathways goes off without a CP reroll needed, and I smite a Mek Gun to death. I’m smiling. I’m bursting with joy.

The shooting phase is about the same, I pick up more Mek Gunz, but leave one in range of my Guardians for a nice 7” re-rollable charge. Then, the charge phase happened. And here is a note from Dave:

*tears*

Yup. He smoked my little guy in overwatch. I mournfully removed the Solitaire from the table and started to tilt a little bit, I won’t lie. The Solitaire is super useful against Orks; he shreds their characters and Boyz alike, and losing him on a lucky overwatch roll filled my soul with bone-chilling despair. The game got closer and closer from there. My Guardians made their charge and wrapped a Mek Gun, preventing Dave from shooting any of my stuff in his turn. While my Solitaire was dead, the game wasn’t over.

In Dave’s turn 2, I discovered I was terrible at screening. He was able to drop a Chinork in my backfield, with the closest model being my Farseer on foot. That was a real blunder on my part. Not only did I lose my Farseer, I now had to contend with the 10 Boyz inside the Chinork. They would leap out and kill my only engineer on my backfield objective on his next turn, and start to score the bonus point every turn moving forward. 

The Chinork prepares to snipe my Farseer

From there, the game got really, really grindy. I was killing more, Dave was holding more. I was tri-tipping all over the board. I used my characters, my Guardians, my blood, my sweat, and my tears. A cool trick with characters is to have them charge a character that is next to a weeny squad like some Gretchin. Pop the enemy character with your own, mightiest character, and then use the pile in and consolidation moves of your characters (it only works if you have three) to tri-tip the nearby weenies and keep your heroes safe from harm.

My Wraithguard dropped in and killed a Chinork, then got obliterated by his surviving Mek Gunz on the other side of the table. I tried to hide them as best I could, but time was also becoming a factor and I needed to make my decisions more quickly.

Aren’t those Chinorks amazing?

The match turned into killing things with my characters as quickly as I could, but I could not outstrip Dave of that bonus point. Dave’s Tankbustas also rushed the middle of the board after nuking my final Nightspinner. The Boyz were closing in from all angles, and I sent my Farseer to the middle to try to Smite and Executioner the Tankbustas into oblivion, but it didn’t happen quickly enough. I did not have an answer for Dave taking my backfield, because while I was in his deployment zone, he still had too much obsec on his objective for me to kill effectively and take it from him. After an epic game, I took a 1 point loss.

I killed his Painboy with these three, and tri-tipped the Gretchin

Final Score 25-24

After the close game with Dave, I was a little disappointed in myself. This was the worst I had done at a tournament in a while, and it totally blew up my chances for a finish near the top. I hadn’t expected to win the tournament, but my goal of making the top 5 was dashed after the Orks came out on top. That being said, Dave was a great opponent and played a principled, tactical game, and outplayed me on the objectives. Hats off to Warboss Kromm for a great game.

Game 3–Will’s Ultramarines

ITC Mission 3/Spearhead Assault

Wills List

Ultramarines Battalion

Sergeant Chronos in a Predator ( 4x Lascannon)

Techmarine

3×10 Intercessors with Bolt Rifles

5x Scouts

Primaris Ancient with the Standard of the Emperor Ascendent 

Redemptor Dreadnought

Relic Sicaran Venerator Tank Destroyer

2x Predator (4x Lascannon)

Ultramarines Super Heavy Auxiliary

Roboute Guilliman

Will was a great opponent. He was super enthusiastic about the game. He was there with his Dad, which was great to see in the hobby. We chatted afterward about his hard work mowing lawns to buy models. His army was fully painted in the classic Ultramarine scheme, and it was very cleanly done. In my sad boi state post-Orks, I didn’t snap nearly as many pics of this game. It was also a super crunchy one, and I was intently staring at the table with a furrowed brow the whole time.

While thinking about secondaries, I realized that Will didn’t have any indirect fire and I figured I could hide small units behind the NOVA L, since the objective was somewhat behind it. I picked Engineers (Rangers and Support Platform) Big Game Hunter, and Recon. Will picked Butcher’s Bill, The Reaper, and he Marked both of my Nightspinners, the Wraithguard, and a Guardian blob for Death.

In the deployment phase, Will split his army, putting all of his tanks, one Intercessor squad and a Redemptor on one side of the board, and the rest of his Intercessors, Guilliman, and his Sicaran Venerator on the other side. I deepstruck the Wraithguard and the Guardian Squad he Marked for Death, and deployed one blob along with all my characters jammed as tightly as I could in the L. I deployed my Nightspinners behind the two corner ruins in my Deployment zone and prepared for a flurry of Lascannon shots. 

The boys in blue

Will took the first turn and moved his vehicles down the right side of the table, while cautiously moving his Intercessors up on the left to threaten the right side objective. In his shooting phase, he roasted one of my Nightspinners with a Predator, but could not see the other. My Guardians were too tightly packed to draw sight on, so Will wrapped up a quick turn one with a kill and a hold. 

In my turn, I rushed my army deeper into the L to avoid being shot and advanced my Guardians out of the terrain piece to draw a bead on one of his Intercessor squads. I set myself up to Fire and Fade back inside the L after throwing those little Shuriken discs at the big blue Ultraboys. The 16” range on the Guardians makes using Fire and Fade much, much easier. I cast Doom and Jinx on the squad and killed all but 3 before the Guardians hightailed it back into the ruin. All my characters were poised to leap out when necessary, and while Will would go up on points this turn, I felt good about my board position. 

Doing what Eldar do best

Will didn’t get to do much in Turn 2. My entire army was in the L, and all he was able to do was pick off my final Nightspinner with his Sicaran Venerator. After another lighting quick turn from the Ultramarines, I began my own turn 2.

This turn I dropped all my reserves (The Guardians and the Wraithguard) on his tanks and sprang my Guardians hiding in the L out to deal with some more of his Intercessors. The Guardians I brought from reserve were well hidden in a ruin, and out of line of sight of most of his army. I planned to use Celestial Shield on them when the Lascannons from his surviving tanks were brought to bear on the squad.  I also moved my characters down toward the armor-heavy side of the board to lend some smites to my firepower. I cast Doom and Jinx on a Predator, smote away a few intercessors on the armor side of the board, and buffed my Wraithguard with Fortune.

My shooting phase was a mixed bag. The Guardians destroyed the debuffed Predator, but the Wraithguard failed to kill his Redemptor. This is also where I started making some sloppy tactical decisions. Instead of using Fire and Fade to hide my Guardians behind the L, as I had in my previous turn, I used it to move them forward to swarm the objective and grab a Hold More point. I also charged my second Guardian Squad that had deepstruck into his remaining Intercessors on the armored side of the board and took some heavy losses in the ensuing combat phase.

Wrapping and trapping Marines is very tough with the extra attacks they get from Shock Assault. In Wills’s turn, he dropped the hammer. Between his Intercessors shooting and their close combat, they obliterated all the Guardians I had on the table, save a couple on the side of the board with all of his tanks. My only opening was how close Guilliman ended up to my own characters. By charging him down the line of Guardians that I had in the middle of the board, he ended up in very close proximity to all of my Psykers. At the end of Will’s turn, I was basically down to 5 Guardians, 4 Wraithguard, 5 Rangers, and all of my characters. I started to sweat a little bit. I knew that I had Guilliman in my grasp, and if I could smite him to death in the psychic phase, I could kill him for good in the shooting phase.

That is exactly what I did. I moved all of my Psykers closer to the Primarch and sent my Wraithguard toward the two remaining Predators to try and eliminate one of them. Killing Guilliman worked. I brought him down for good in the shooting phase. I needed to pick up more kills and get into a table quarter with one of my characters, so I used the Avatar and the Solitaire to charge a unit of Intercessors that were right behind Guilliman. I killed the Marines and grabbed a Recon point. This did leave both of those characters in full view of his Sicaran Venerator, though. Yikes.

The aftermath of the battle.

I had eliminated a lot of Will’s threats and still had the last 4 Wraithguard screening my characters. He was unable to kill all of them with his army, so my Characters were all unscathed going into my Turn 5. The Solitaire even survived a Sicaran Venerator to the face! She needed to make up for getting blasted by Dave’s Shokk attack gun anyway…

After that, I was able to clean up the rest of Will’s units with my smites and fusion pistols, and grab a bonus point on turn 6. I kept a unit of Rangers hidden in one of the Ls so Will wouldn’t be able to shoot my characters with the Sicaran Venerator. The characters did their work from there, and I pulled out a cagey victory.  

Final score–29/21

Tune in to the show next week, where I cover my misadventures on day two. The Solitaire has another fantastic day!

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4 Responses to “A Comedy of Errors: My non-GT Winning List”

  1. Engelshaeubchen November 22, 2019 11:48 pm #

    really nice report with cool pictures. While drinking a cup of coffee I could really hear the battle noise.
    Thank you!

  2. Eldraddy November 23, 2019 11:25 am #

    Thanks so much!

  3. Charlie November 23, 2019 1:15 pm #

    Thanks for sharing. I was out of town and unable to attend. I saw a lot of photos Dean posted and wish I could have been able to attend. Kudos for running an uncommon Aeldari list; win or lose, it makes for fun and challenging games.

    • Eldraddy November 25, 2019 6:01 am #

      Thanks man! It was a great tournament

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