Thursday, 7 May 2015

Battle Report 2- 1500pts White Scars vs Harlequins

Last Thursday night I ventured over the river to attend Elysium wargames, a club that meets in Dundee. I played a 1500 point game with a very nice guy called Pete. I brought my White Scars (to test out my blog wars list) and Pete was playing with Harlequins. I’ve never played Harlequins before, but if they were anything like Eldar, I knew I was in for a tough fight.

Arrayed for battle.
As we were playing on a 4’x4’ board, we decided on 1500 pts. I took my blog wars army, but dropped Khan, the scouts in the Landspeeder Storm and the Stormtalon to get to the agreed points level. We agreed to play purge the alien (i.e. just kill one another).

My army consisted of:
Chapter Master on bike- power fist, artificer armour, Shield Eternal, Auspex (CM)
5 Bikers- 2 x grav gun, sergeant with meltabombs (B1)
5 Bikers- 2 x grav gun, sergeant with meltabombs (B2)
5 Bikers- 2 x meltaguns, sergeant with meltabombs (B2)
10 tactical marines- Flamer, sergeant with meltabombs, Rhino (TS2 and R2)
10 tactical marines- Grav gun, sergeant with meltabombs, Rhino (TS1 and R1)
2 Attack bikes- Multimeltas (AB1 and AB2)
10 Sternguard Veterans- 3 combi-meltas, sergeant with meltabombs. (SV and DP)

My warlord got the counter attack trait (from personal traits) and I had no psykers.

Pete was running (I think, I’m not too familiar with harlequins):
3 squads of harlequins led by troupe masters (HT1, HT2 and HT3)
A Voidweaver (V)
A Starweaver (S4)
6 Harlequin skyweavers (S3)
Shadowseer (S1)
Solitaire (S2)
Death Jester (DJ)

His warlord trait was 6’s to wound caused instant death. He had a number of psychic powers from his two psykers; Dance of Shadows, Veil of Tears, Shards of Light and the one that’s like Mind war were the ones I could remember.

Pete’s army is a work in progress, but if the half-finished skimmer is anything to go by, it is going to be stunning when it is finished!

Half-finished, but very impressive Voidweaver.
Pete won the roll off to deploy and go first. He spread his forces out across the small side. The main troupe deployed in the centre, with the skyweavers to their right and the smaller troupe to the right behind some cover. The Starweaver (with harlequins inside) deployed to the left. On the right flank, the Voidweaver and Soltaire hid behind some ruins, while the Deathjester deployed in the ruins with a good field of fire over the battlefield.

The Harlequins ready to pounce.
I deployed in a sort of refused flank (very hard to do on such a small board). The chapter master led one of the grav gun bike squads, deploying behind the central ruin. The two Rhinos were behind him, trying to stay out of line of sight, with an attack bike sheltering behind one of them. The meltagun squad deployed behind another ruin on the right flank, joined by the other attack bike. The final bike squad deployed in the open, opposite the harlequin skyweavers.

The White Scars prepare to advance.
Battlefield Deployment.
I failed to seize the initiative, so the harlequins took the first turn.

Harlequins turn 1.

On the left flank, the harlequin unit and Starweaver advanced, the transport unit leaping out to advance on the hidden Rhinos. In the centre, the main harlequin unit also advanced, with the skyweavers keeping them company. The Voidweaver and Soltaire broke cover, quickly advancing on the white scars bikers.

Skyweavers advanced, supported by the Voidweaver.
In the psychic phase, Void of Tears was cast on the main harlequin unit (which I let through). Pete attempted to cast Dance of Shadows on the Skyweavers, but was unable to muster enough warp charge to succeed.

In the shooting phase, the Voidweaver fired at the middle bike unit. Despite causing 4 wounds, all were saved by the Jinking bikers. The Skyweavers then showed the crew of the skimmer how it was done, killing all but one of the bikers. The lone grav gun wielding biker kept his nerve and passed his morale check. The two harlequin units on the left flank ran forward, eager to get in to the fray.

White Scars Turn 1.
With a scream of descent thrusters, the drop pod smashed into the middle of the Harlequin lines, landing between the skyweavers and large troupe in the middle. The Sternguard emerged and took up position behind the lines. The bike squads gunned their engines and advanced on the enemy. In the middle, one Rhino advanced, the tactical marines with the grav gun advanced onto the ruins on the edge of the deployment zone. The other rhino surged towards the left flank, popping smoke to shelter its advance.

The Sternguard arrive.

Led by the Chapter Master, the bikers advance.
The squad led by the chapter master fired at the skyweavers, causing 4 unsaved wounds and killing 2 bikes. The attack bike on the right fired at the Voidweaver, its multimelta making short work of the thin armour, causing the vehicle to explode. The meltagun bike squad fired at the approaching Soltaire, their bolters causing 5 wounds, all but one of which was saved.

The Skyweavers come under attack.
With some threats neutralised, attention was turned towards the large Harlequin troupe in the centre. The drop pod began the barrage, the deathwind missile launcher scored a hit, catching all the troupe under its large blast. Five mangled eldar bodies were observed as the smoke cleared. The tactical squad in the ruins and Sternguard veterans added their firepower to the carnage, wiping out the rest of the squad and killing the enemy warlord in the process.

The massed firepower wipes out the first Harlequin troupe.
In the assault phase, the chapter master attempted to lead his unit in an attack on the skyweavers, but was foiled, possibly by eldar trickery (I managed to fail a 4” charge on the skyweavers right in front of my chapter master).

Harlequins Turn 2.
Despite the devastation wrought on their ranks, the harlequins continued to advance on their foe. The Soltaire moved towards the meltagun bike squad, the skyweavers squared off against the chapter master’s squad and on the right flank, one squad of harlequins advanced on the newly emerged rhino, while the other moved towards the recently arrived Sternguard veterans.

A Harlequin Troupe advance on the Rhino.....

...while the Soltaire leaps towards the bikers.
The Shadowseer cast Shards of Light on the tactical squad in the ruins. Despite causing 7 hits, no wounds were caused and the unit passed their blind test.

The troupe advancing on the rhino fired their melta pistols at the tank, two of their shots found their mark through the smokescreen to penetrate the vehicle. The Starweaver finished the job, wrecking the rhino and causing the enclosed tactical squad to pile out into the path of the approaching harlequins. The skyweavers targeted the Chapter Master’s squad with their massed firepower. Despite causing 5 wounds, all were saved on the Master’s 2+ armour save. The Death Jester added his firepower to the squad, but their armour could not be breached.

Unable to cause the damage they needed with their firepower, the skyweavers assaulted the bike squad. Their mighty charge killed all four remaining bikers and managed to wound the Chapter master twice. He struck back, killing two skyweavers outright. Despite losing the assault, the Chapter master passed his morale check and succeeded in leaving the assault thanks to his Hit and Run ability.

The harlequin troupe on the right charged the tactical squad from the wrecked rhino. Two lithe dancers were slain as they advance, their brethren venting their fury on the squad, slaying 6 of their number for no losses (I missed with all four attacks back). The tactical marines failed their morale check, but And They Shall Know No Fear stopped them from being wiped out.

Assaulted as they spill out of their ruined transport.
The second Harlequin squad assaulted the Sternguard. Unfortunately, the well-drilled veterans were able to cut down two of their number from overwatch fire. The eldar killed three of the veterans, but were then all cut down in reply.

The Troupe charge. The Sternguard are so confident in their abilities, they don't even have guns.
The Soltaire assaulted the bike squad facing him, killing 3 of the marines with his Caress of Death. The marines could not land a blow on the swirling madness before them, they tried to strategically retreat from the combat, but were caught and locked in by the supernatural killer.
The Soltaire attacks.

White Scars Turn 2.
The wounded chapter master and attack bikes advanced on the skyweavers, their firepower only causing one wound on the jetbikes. The Sternguard veterans advanced on the Death Jester, their mighty Dragonfire bolts (ignores cover) slaying the merciless killer. The grav gun biker raced across the battle line to engage the Starweaver, but was unable to penetrate its armour.

The Chapter Master readies himself for the attack.
The lone biker advances on the Starweaver.
In the centre of their lines, the tactical squad in the ruins fired at the Starweaver, causing three glancing hits which were all saved by the skimmer’s invulnerable save.

The Chapter master gunned his engines and assaulted the remaining skyweavers. The jetbikes made their overwatch shots, scoring one hit and one wound on the advancing warrior. I rolled for his 2+ save and the die came up a 1, the Chapter master was down to one wound. The pesky eldar got to strike first, getting several hits and rolling one 6 to wound. I again rolled my 2+ armour save. The die came up with a 1 again! The Chapter Master was slain before getting a chance to strike!

The Mighty Chapter Master, easily slain by the Skyweavers.
The Soltaire attacking the bikes must have been so stunned by this development that he failed to cause any wounds on the bikers. He then managed to Hit and Run from the combat.
The other Harlequin squad had no such problems, wiping out the remaining marines from the tactical squad and advancing on the tactical marines currently occupying the ruin.

Harlequins Turn 3.
The Soltaire and remaining harlequins advanced on the tactical squad in the ruins. On the right flank, the Starweaver advanced on the remaining Sternguard veterans, while the two remaining skyweavers moved towards the remaining meltagun bikers.

The surviving Harlequins advance on the tactical squad on one flank....

...while the Soltaire advaces on the other flank.
In the psychic phase, the Shadowseer cast Shards of Light on the tactical marines, which I was unable to stop. Rolling 3D6 for the hits, the dice came up three 6’s! Despite this fortunate roll, only one unsaved wound was caused, but the unit was blinded by the barrage.

The harlequins with the melta pistols fired at the tactical marines, killing two. The skyweavers fired at the remaining bikers in the meltagun squad, causing four wounds. The wounds were, however, saved by the jinking of the riders. The Starweaver succeeded in killing one of the Sternguard.

The harlequins and Soltaire assaulted the tactical marines, one of the eldar being cut down by overwatch fire. The assaulting squads killed three of the marines for no losses. The marines failed their morale check, so were locked into the combat. The skyweavers assaulted the bikers, slaying both of them, one to the hammer of wrath attacks.

White Scars Turn 3.
The attack bikes moved into position behind the skyweavers as the Sternguard turned to face the attacking Starweaver as the remaining grav gun biker advanced on its flank.

In the shooting phase, the attack bikes wiped out the skyweavers, while the Sternguard took a hull point from the skyweaver.

The eldar skimmer was finished off when the White Scars biker assaulted it, its hammer of wrath attack finishing it off.

The lone biker finishes off the Starweaver.
In the assault phase, the marines in the ruins found their spirit, killing two harlequins, leaving only the Sprirtseer alive, while two of the battle brothers were slain, drawing the combat. The Soltaire attempted to disengage from the combat, but was unable to escape the White Scars warriors (Pete rolled a 6 for the initiative test for Hit and Run). The Shadowseer was able to successfully disengage and moved towards the centre of the battlefield.

Harlequins Turn 4.
The Sternguard await the attack.
With only the Shadowseer mobile, he advanced on the Sternguard veterans that had wreaked havoc on their army. Casting shards of light on the veterans, three were slain by the psychic fury, while also being blinded by the attack.

Assaulted the three survivors, the psyker took a wound to overwatch. Venting his fury, all survivors were slain (I failed all three 3+ saves from the Shadowseer, so could not attack back). In the ruins, the Soltaire killed another marine, the survivors could not cause any damage in return, but held their nerve. The Soltaire finally managed to disengage from the combat, seeking a new foe.

Where did the Sternguard go? They were there a second ago......
White Scars Turn 4.
The drop pod, which had been dormant for much of the battle, fired at the Shadowseer. The missile blast landed directly on target, slaying the enemy psyker.

With the Soltaire as the only enemy on the battlefield, all other shooting was aimed in his direction. Despite multiple hits and wounds against the lone warrior, only one wound got past his invulnerable save, leaving him on a single wound. The lone surviving biker assaulted the Soltaire in an attempt to finish him off, but was easily cut down.

The lone biker fails to slay the Soltaire.
Harlequins Turn 5.
With only one model left, Pete decided to assault the nearby Rhino (maybe he had a grudge against it). He managed to cause two hull points worth of damage, enough to damage the vehicle, but not to destroy it. With that, a very short turn was over.

White Scars Turn 5.
The rhino backed away from the rampaging Soltaire. All remaining guns in the White Scars army aimed at the lone eldar. The killing blow finally came from one of the attack bikes. The battle was over, the Harlequins were utterly destroyed, but the toll had been a heavy one for the Imperium’s fighters, as only 5 models remained (the damaged rhino, a lone tactical marine, two attack bikes and the drop pod).

All remaining guns train on the wounded Soltaire.
Thanks to Pete for a fantastic game that was full of plenty of good and bad luck for both sides.

After my first turn, we both thought the game was essentially over. I had taken out Pete’s main Harlequin squad, his warlord, a lot of the bikes and the Voidweaver for very few losses in return. However, Pete persevered and we managed to salvage a very close and enjoyable game that was a lot of fun to play.

Lessons that I learnt from the battle:

1.    I am quite happy with how the army performed. I have a lot of mobility with the various bikes and Rhino units, this should make getting to and dealing with threats when they are identified a lot easier. It will be especially useful in any Maelstrom type missions where speed and mobility are key.

2.    I never remember Hammer of Wrath attacks on the bikes (especially since White Scars get to use them at strength 5). If it wasn’t for Pete remember to use his, I doubt I would have made any for the entire game. This is something I will need to work on.

3.    I forgot to use the Chapter Master’s orbital bombardment. It might have done quite a bit of damage to the skyweavers on the first turn and limited their ability to wipe out the bike squad on the second turn.

4.    The Chapter Master is a powerful unit. Eternal warrior granted by the Shield Eternal, along with the 3+ invulnerable saved me a lot during this game, especially with all the instant death attacks the Harlequins can bring to bear. Even though he is very strong, he is not invincible as can be seen above. Even 2+ saves can fail a lot of the time.

5.    My army has a lot of anti-tank. With the attack bikes, meltaguns in the bike squads and a liberal sprinkling of melta bombs in each unit, I should be well equipped to deal with any enemy armour.

6.    Grav guns work well against some foes, not so well against others. A lot of the time, I was needing 6’s to wound thanks to the Harlequins lack of an armour save. Also, needing a 6 for glancing vehicles does not make them a reliable tank hunter (at least not in the numbers I am fielding).

7.    I think the Harlequins are a tough army to play (as well as to face). The lack of armour and only a 5+ invulnerable on most of the units means that they die quite easily to bolter fire. I was also able to cause at least a couple of casualties to overwatch fire each assault. However, when they do finally assault, they will quickly mess up any marines they contact. I was hard pressed to match up to them in combat once the blades started swinging. If it wasn’t for “And they shall know no fear”, many of my units would have been wiped out a lot sooner as I was routinely losing combat by several points.

8.    The Sternguard performed very well in this game (for once). The special issue ammunition can help them deal with many threats. I normally stick to the 2+ poisoned ammo, but got to use another in this game. The Ignores cover bolts were useful for killing the Death Jester as he only had his 5+ invulnerable to rely on rather than a 4+ cover save. I need to play marines at some point to see how the AP3 ammo handles them. 

I will hopefully get more practice games in over the next month, which will help me to remember to use the special rules I keep forgetting. Hope you enjoyed the report if you made it this far. Any comments on the battle or tactics suggestions, let me know.


  1. Love the battle report as I also play white scars. What did you use to create the illustrations?

    1. Glad you enjoyed it, they certainly are a fun army to use. Plenty of mobility and firepower to back it up.
      The illustrations were made using a program called Battle Chronicler ( available for free online. It takes a little bit of practice to get used to, but I think it looks good. Wouldn't mind a few more 40k terrain options on it though.
      What's your regular white scars army like? Bike and mobility heavy like mine?

  2. Nice report! Cool white scars as well. Love the maps... reminds me of old school white dwarf battle reports!

    1. Thanks Phil. I think the maps give a nice overview of what is happening in the turn. It can sometimes be difficult to get a picture of the battle from the text alone and a few pictures of in-game action.
      I do like the white scars colour scheme, it is quite striking when you see it on the board. I wanted to get an army painted up to use them, rather than just saying "see these ravenwing, they're actually white scars now".

  3. Yeah, I have to say I really loved the maps aswell! Kudos for the effort! In my experience with sternguard, I agree that poison 2+ is my go to all the time. In some cases, even against marines. But that is perhaps more by mistake! Really great read, looking forwards to seeing the army at blog wars :) will have to make sure I say hi!

    1. Thanks for your comment. I'm still figuring out the Sternguard as they were a recent addition to the army. They tend to arrive first turn, take care of a threat (with varying degrees of success) and then get wiped out in the next turn. Quite a big points loss, so it all depends what they are able to take out.
      I'm glad you like the maps, I think they give a good perspective of the battle that you sometimes can't get from the text. I've got another report that will be posted on Thursday.
      Looking forward to blog wars, will be nice to meet people who's hobby efforts I have been reading about for a long time.