This week's battle report features an 1800 pts match up between Seb's Orks and James' Dark Eldar. Last weeks battle report first of a fantasy game is followed up by another first this week- a battle report that I didn't actually play in! Let me explain.......
Seb and James are both taking part in the Medusa IV campaign that I have been running.
Seb's rise to power in the campaign started off a little shaky. His Orks were initially unable to secure a victory for much of the first turn of the campaign and when they did, despite only needing a 3+ on 2D6 to secure his tile, he managed to roll snake eyes for his capture roll after his first victory.
After the Warboss gave his lieutenants a stern talking to (and cleaned up the resulting mess), the Orks started going from victory to victory. The Mekboyz in the Ork camp have not been resting on their wins and have been busy building crude Ork Manufactorums to supply the greenskin hordes with weapons and armour. Seb was initially joined by Euan in the great Waaagh, but Euan unfortunately had to drop out and leave Seb to fight for the glory of Gork and Mork on his own (claims of bullying and name calling from Seb towards Euan on who was the "bestest Ork" have yet to be independently corroborated). With each victory, Seb's Orks have slowly been making their way south, looking for a good scrap........
James has had even better success in the campaign, racking up a string of victories each and every turn. The cunning Dark Eldar even managed to pilfer an abandoned Guard Command Bastion to help with their raiding parties and have constructed several power plants to keep the lights on during a long nights torturing session. Like any good Dark Eldar Archon, James has not ventured too far from his starting territory, merely expanding his dominion and awaiting the slaves and other such playthings to be brought back to him.
Despite using what is commonly regarded as two of the weakest Codices currently available, both players have managed to build substantial empires, coming out amongst the current leading players in the campaign (alongside Shaun's Tau and Allan's White Scars).
James' and Seb's forces have clashed several times during the course of the campaign. These scraps have been limited to raiding parties and are always bloody affairs. With each victory, Seb has been making a bee-line towards the Dark Eldar settlement and there has been much trash talk exchanged between the players.
When Seb was finally in position to launch an assault directly on the Dark Eldar territory, I knew that I would have to record this battle to see what took place.
With his two Manufactorums, Seb has the numerical advantage, gaining an additional 150 pts to spend on his army (which he threatened to spend entirely on Grots!). James, however, has the speed advantage. His two power plants gives him a +2 bonus to choosing deployment zone and getting the first turn. If this does not work, his Command Bastion gives him +1 to seize the initiative.
This promised to be an interesting match up. It will be nice to watch the game as a completely impartial observer, merely recording what is going on and waiting to see if the poncy Eldar get a rightful beating by the masterful Orks. Impartial, as I said.
James' army consisted of:
Archon (A, with K3)
Haemonculus (H, with W)
10 Kabalite Warriors (K1) in Raider (R2)
10 Kabalite Warriors (K2) in Raider (R3)
9 Kabalite Warriors (K3) in Raider (R1)
9 Wyches (W) in Raider (R4)
5 Mandrakes (M)
4 Reaver Jetbikers (Rea)
8 Scourges (S)
Razorwing Jetfighter (RJ1)
Razorwing Jetfighter (RJ2)
His Warlord trait gave him Hatred, while the Combat Drugs gave him Splintermind (+1 Ld).
Seb's army consisted of:
Great Waaagh! Detachment
Big Mek- Mega Force Field, Grot Oiler (in Stompa)
Mek- Kustom mega blasta, Grot Oiler (in Stompa)
Deff Dread- 2 Power claws, 2 Scorchas (DD1)
Deff Dread- 2 Power claws, 2 Scorchas (DD2)
3 Killa Kans- Big Shootas (KK1)
Runtherd and 10 Grots (G1)
Runtherd and 10 Grots (G2)
5 Tankbustas (T)
Kustom Stompa- Bursta Cannon (D weapon), Deff Cannon, Flame Belcha, Death Arsenal, 3 Supa Rokkits, Supa Gatling Gun (S)
Combined Arms Detachment
Big Mek- Shokk Attack Gun, Da Fixer Upperz, Grot Oiler (with G4)
Runtherd and 10 Grots (G3)
Runtherd and 10 Grots (G4)
Deff Dread- 3 Power Claws, Scorcha (DD2)
3 Killa Kans- Rokkits (KK2)
3 Killa Kans- Grotzookas (KK3)
Seb's warlord trait have him Night Attacker.
"Why this detachment? - I recently build a Kustom Stompa according to the Forgeworld rules, mostly with the idea of having a reliable counterpart when facing my long-term Eldar rival Armel, who likes to field his Wraithknight. It was mainly my impatience to use it and see it in action why I decided to bring it to this game. I found that the rest of my walkers would fit nicely to it. All yellow, all kans. I chose a Great Waaagh! detachment, mainly to have access to the 4++ super force field and added a combined arms detachment to get more heavy slots for my walkers. The rest were gretchin. I also expected a greater spread of armour-breaking attacks on the minor walkers which would distract from shooting at the stompa. I was pretty aware that the Dark Eldar are really good in taking out vehicles - not to mention their high manoeuvrability when attacking rear armour. This is why I wanted to protect the stompa as well as I could, as it made up half of my army in points. I took the risk of choosing a detachment which wasn’t very versatile and relied mostly on the performance of the stompa, which could be a neck breaker depending on the mission we play."
This could be an interesting match up. Seb has gone for a walker-heavy force, backed up with a Stompa absolutely bursting with firepower. Whether James has enough Dark Lances and Haywire weaponry would remain to be seen.
Rolling for the mission, the boys got Emperor's Will. Both players deployed their objective deep in their lines; if the enemy wanted it, they would have to come and get it.
James won the roll for deployment (without even needing his +2 provided by the Power Plants) and chose to go first.
He deployed his Raiders with the Wyches and Kabalite warriors to the left of his deployment zone, with the other Raider to the right (the Archon's Raider would be deep striking). The Ravager went in the centre next to the objective, backed up by the Scourges and Reaver Jetbikes.
Seb then countered with most of his walker army in cover to avoid the worst of the Dark Lances. The Stompa went to the left of the centre, backed up by two units of Killa Kans and one of the Deff Dreads. The other flank had the last unit of Kans and another Dread, guarding the objective. One of the Deff Dreads was able to use the formation's tellyporta to deep strike in to battle. The infantry units of the grots and Tankbustas deployed in cover and out of Line of Sight of the Dark Eldar lines. A unit of Grots, the Mek and the two Big Meks went in the Stompa.
|Deployment. The objectives are represented by the grey shields.|
James then deployed his Infiltrating Mandrakes, decided to use them to support his own battle lines.
Seb failed to seize the initiative and James took the first turn.
TURN 1- DARK ELDAR
The Scourges launched themselves into the air, coming down to land closer to the Stompa. The Dark Eldar skimmers repositioned themselves to better target the Stompa.
The Ravager opened fire on the Stompa, one of its Dark Lances getting through the Mek's force field to strip a hull point from it. The Scourges fired their Haywire blasters at the massive construct, along with Dark Lances from two nearby Raiders, but no squad could get through the Big Mek's protection.
The final Raider fired at the Killa Kans on the left, but failed to hit them.
Not a great first turn for James. The combined fire of the Dark Eldar on the Stompa had caused a single hull point damage.
TURN 1- ORKS
Led by the Stompa, the Ork walkers advanced on the Dark Eldar lines.
The Stompa began the shooting phase by firing its Flame Belcher at the Scourges, killing three of them. The Supa Gatling fired at the Raider in front of hit, hitting with 4 of its 11 shots. Three of the shots penetrated the light armour of the Eldar skimmer and one made it past the Jinking of the pilot. Seb managed to roll a 6 on the penetrating hit and the Raider exploded (thanks to it being open-topped). The Supa Gatling fired again at the squad that had just disembarked, killing one of the squad. The Ork gunners had apparently got too excited and expended the ammunition of the supa gatling at the first opportunity (Seb rolled a double for the second shot and could not fire again during the game).
|The cover saves many of the Kabalites from destruction at the hands of the Stompa.|
The Stompa then fired its Bursta cannon at the Ravager, but the shot scattered onto the nearby Raider. Fortunately, the shot failed to harm the skimmer. Continuing its onslaught, the Stompa fired the Death Arsenal at the Ravager, penetrating it 4 times and blowing the Eldar vehicle to smithereens. Finally, one supa rokkit launched at the Kabalite warriors on Ork left flank, killing two.
The Killa Kans fired their Grotzookas at the Scourges, killing one of the squad. The rest of the walkers ran forward in the shooting phase, eager to close with the enemy forces.
TURN 2- DARK ELDAR
The Ork shooting had blown up two of the Dark Eldar skimmers and caused a few casualties, but was not as catastrophic as it could have been.
Given the lack of success against the Stompa last turn, the Archon ordered his forces to switch targets to the more fragile elements of the Ork army. The Archon's Raider arrived from reserve, deep striking into the Ork lines near the objective, it's descent supported by a Razorwing attack fighter that also arrived from reserve.
The Reavers left the safety of the ruins, using their great speed to rush the Ork right flank, while the remaining Raiders and Scourges moved up to engage the foe.
The Razorwing fired at the unit of Killa Kans in front of it. Its two Shattershard missiles struck their target, destroying two of the enemy walkers. The Dark Lances of the flyer fired at the remaining Kan, but were unable to damage it. A nearby Raider fired at the sole survivor of the unit and managed to blow it up, wiping them out.
The Archon's Raider fired its Disintegrator at the Deff Dread in front of it, hitting twice, but failing to damage the Ork machine. The Archon then fired his lance pistol at the rear armour of the walker. The lancing beam cut through the armour easily and penetrated its power core, blowing up the Deff Dread. The explosion slew one of the grots sheltering in the nearby ruins.
On the other flank, the Scourges fired at the Grotzooka-weilding Killa Kans. Their haywire weapons blew up one of the grot walkers and stunning a second. The firepower was too much for the Kans and the rest of the unit became shaken.
A slightly better turn for the Dark Eldar, they had taken out a few of the Ork walkers, but the Stompa was very much functional and on the move for targets.
TURN 2- ORKS
The Big Mek with the Shokk Attack Gun and the unit of grots disembarked from the Stompa, moving to the nearby ruins (Seb thought that the Stompa conferred Relentless to his Big Mek, which is why he was embarked in the first place). The massive walker then turned to face the newly arrived reserves of the Dark Eldar. The remaining Kans and Deff Dread moved up in its shadow.
The Stompa fired its Death Arsenal at the Razorwing. Despite its Jinking, the gunners managed to penetrate and immobilise the flyer, locking its trajectory on path. The Deffgun fired in support to try and finish it off, but its one glancing hit was saved by the jinking flyer.
The Stompa then turned its attention to the ground units. The Bursta cannon fired at the Raider in front of it. The shot scattered off target though, creating a huge crater, but unfortunately no damage to the Dark Eldar. The Orks launched a Supa Rokkit at the Raider, but this too scattered and caused no damage. The Deff cannon fired at the Jetbikes, but once again, the poor Ork shooting resulted in the shot scattering off target.
The Big Shoota Kans fired at the Scourges, hitting them three times and wounding them once (Seb managed a double 1 to wound). Unfortunately for the Grots, the armour of the Scourges saved them from harm.
With that, the Ork turn was over. A pretty poor round of shooting for Seb. His big guns had all scattered off target and caused no harm, while his Grotzookas were unable to fire. He had also completely forgotten about his Tankbustas in the ruins (one of the perils of hiding the unit so well!).
TURN 3- DARK ELDAR
The second Razorwing arrived on the battlefield, gliding in to join the first as they manoeuvred towards the Stompa. The Scourges moved to the Eldar right flank, as the Mandrakes climbed to the roof of the ruins they were sheltering in.
In the Ork lines, the Reaver Jetbikes advanced into the ruins to target the Tankbustas.
The newly arrived Razorwing loosed its missiles at the Big Shoota Killa Kans, scoring two glancing hits and two penetrating hits. The first Kan was easily wrecked, but the second was saved by the cover provided by the bulk of the Stompa. It fired its Lances at the Kan, but despite hitting twice, it was unable to penetrate the armour of the Grot walker. The firepower was enough to make the grot pilots cower in fear and they were shaken once again. The other flyer snap fired at the Deff Dread, but was unable to hit it.
The Scourges fired their Haywire blasters at the Deff Dread, striping two hull points from the vehicle. The Mandrakes fired at the grots in the centre, wounding them 9 times. Some great cover saves saw only three of the grots die to the barrage of fire. The nearby Kabalite squad in the Raider targeted the grots too, killing one more. Their Raider transport took a shot at the Stompa, but failed to do any damage.
In the Ork deployment zone, the Archon's Raider fired at the nearby Grots, killing the Runtherd and 7 of the squad. Amazingly, the grots passed their morale check and held firm.
The Jetbikes fired at the Tankbustas, killing one with their splinter fire before charging into the squad in the assault phase. The Ork tank hunters managed to hit one of the charging reavers with their overwatch fire, but then failed to wound on a 2+ (they wanted to kill them in combat anyway). The Orks struck first, killing one of the jetbike riders, who then slew an Ork in retaliation, resulting in a drawn combat.
|The combat becomes a stalemate.|
TURN 3- ORKS
The Killa Kans and Deff Dread continued to advance on the Dark Eldar, while the Stompa moved to engage the Archon's unit. The unit of grots on the left flank moved towards the rear of the Stompa.
The Stompa opened fire on the Archon's Raider, its Flame Belcher hitting the skimmer and immobilising it, killing one Kabalite in the unit as it fired. The Death Arsenal fired at the Raider, finally wrecking the vehicle.
The Stompa then fired the cannon at the further away Raider, hitting the skimmer, but the Jinking pilot saved it from damage. The Burst Cannon fired at the Kabalites in front of it, killing two of the squad (James managed to pass 6 of his cover saves). The nearby Grots units fired at the Archon's squad, but they failed to cause any damage.
The two units of Kans fired at the Scourges. The Big Shoota squad failed to hit the squad and the Grotzookas killed one of the unit. The Deff Dread ran forward towards the ruins.
The Big Mek finally fired his Shokk Attack Gun at the Mandrakes. As he pulled the trigger, there was a loud bang, a pop and the Big Mek imploded in a shower of gore (Seb managed to roll a double 1 for the strength of his first shot, resulting in the death of the Big Mek).
In the assault phase, the Reaver Jetbikes killed one of the Tankbustas for no loss in return. The Orks passed their morale check and the Jetbikes hit and ran out of combat.
TURN 4- DARK ELDAR
The two Razorwing flyers moved past the Stompa towards the centre of the table, while the Scourges moved up on the Killa Kans. The Raiders repositioned themselves to target the greenskin enemy. In the Ork deployment zone, the Archon led his squad towards the troublesome grots, while the Reaver Jetbikes moved to engage the Tankbustas once again.
The squad in the Raider fired at the grots in the centre of the board, killing three, while their transport fired its Dark Lance at the Stompa, penetrating it, but once again the Big Mek's Force Field saved it from harm. The Mandrakes fired at the grots, wiping the unit out.
The Scourges fired their Haywire blasters at the Killa Kans in front of them, but missed with both shots. The Razorwing decided to support the Scourges, loosing two missiles at the Grotzooka Killa Kans that struck on target and obliterated the Kan unit.
The second flyer fired a missile at the Grots at the rear of the Stompa. The missile struck true and the entire squad was easily annihilated.
The Jetbikes fired at the Tankbustas, killing one with their splinter rifles, then assaulted the unit, their Hammer of Wrath attacks sufficient to finish off the last member of the squad.
The Archon led his unit in an assault against the Grots in the ruins. They made the charge with no loss to overwatch fire. The Archon issued a challenge to the Runtherd, easily ripping the Ork apart as he lumbered forward to accept. The Archon and his squad continued to butcher another 4 of the grots for no loss in return. The grots failed their morale check and fled, but were easily caught and cut down by the faster Dark Eldar warriors.
TURN 4- ORKS
The Mekboyz in the Ork reserves finally got their tellyporta working after supplying a liberal kicking to the machine and the Deff Dread appeared in a flash of lightning. The unreliable machine was obviously being especially temperamental, as the Deff Dread scattered the full 12" from his intended location, ending up behind one of the Eldar Raiders. The other Dread continued his slow advance on the Kabalite warriors, while the surviving Killa Kans moved towards the Scourges. Finally, the Stompa moved towards the Archon and his surviving warriors, while the 3 remaining Grots climbed the ruins to take on the Reaver Jetbikes.
The newly arrived Deff Dread fired at the Raider in front of it, stripping 2 hull points from the vehicle and roasting 5 of the Wyches inside it.
The Stompa fired its Flamebelcha at the Kabalites, killing all but the Archon. The Death Arsenal, Deffgun, Deff Cannon and Bursta Cannon fired at the Archon, but could not get past his Shadowfield save (that Archon was taking a lot of punishment!). It then fired its Supa Rokkit at the Reavers, killing one of the unit.
The Mek in the Stompa attempted to fire his Kustom Mega blasta at the Archon. At the last moment, the firing hatch slammed shut, the blasta energy bounced back towards the Mek and fried him where he stood (Seb managed to overheat when firing the Blasta and the Mek died in the blast).
The Grots fired at the Reavers in front of them, but failed to hit with any of their shots. The Kans fired their Big Shootas at the Scourges, killing one, while the Deff Dread fired its Scorcha at the Mandrakes, killing another.
|The lone Archon holds the objective.|
The Dark Eldar units passed their morale tests and began their next turn.
TURN 5- DARK ELDAR
The Jetbikes moved towards the Ork left flank, turboboosting away from the Stompa and leaving the Grots in their wake (the puny greenskins were not worthy of the attention of the Dark Eldar warriors). One Razorwing left the airspace, while the other moved towards the Stompa. The Raiders moved to engage the Deff Dread that had arrived.
The Dark Eldar units in the ruins fired at the Deff Dread in front of them, the Haywire Blaster taking the last hull point and wrecking the Dread. The Raider fired at the other Deff Dread, but missed and failed to damage it.
The other Raider fired at the Killa Kans, immobilising one with its Dark Lance. The Razorwing fired its Lances at the Stompa, glancing it once, but the Force Field blocked the damage.
TURN 5- ORKS
The Stompa advanced on the Archon, while the Deff Dread moved to engage the Raider with the Wyches.
The Stompa levelled its entire arsenal at the Archon. The roar of frustration of the Ork gunners could be heard across the battlefield as the Archon's shadowfield saved blow after blow. The Killa Kans fired at the last scourge, wiping out the squad.
The Deff Dread fired its two Scorchas at the Raider, wrecking the transport and killing the rest of the Wyches inside, leaving only the Haemonculus alive. The Dread charged the Haemonculus, easily crushing the Dark Eldar warrior.
The Stompa charged the Archon. Its attacks struck at the Dark Eldar warlord, but each hit bounced off his shadowfield. The warmachine's pilot had enough of the impudent enemy warrior and crushed him beneath its massive foot, completely obliterating the Archon (Seb rolled a 6 on the Stomp table, wiping out the Archon and not giving the Shadowfield a chance to once again save James' warlord).
|This seems like a fair fight.....|
TURN 6- DARK ELDAR
One Razorwing advanced on the remaining Grots, while the second Razorwing re-appeared to engage the Deff Dread. The Mandrakes and Kabalites moved to secure the objective, while the Jetbikes continued their move towards the left Ork flank, sheltering in the cover of the ruins.
The Razorwing fired its last missile at the Deff Dread, hitting but failing to damage. The lances were equally ineffective at damaging the Ork walker. The other Razorwing fired at the Grots, wiping the unit out.
The squad in the Raider fired at the Killa Kans, wrecking one of the Grot walkers, while the Lance of the Raider missed its target.
TURN 6- ORKS
The final Killa Kan moved towards the enemy Raider, while the Deff Dread moved to secure Linebreaker for the Orks.
The Kan fired its Big Shoota at the Raider, glancing it once. The Stompa fired its Death Arsenal at the Jetbikes, wounding them three times. James failed all his Jink saves and the unit was destroyed.
With that, the game was over.
Dark Eldar- 3 (one objective)
Orks- 6 (one objective and 3 secondary)
A win for the Orks! Seb rolled for his capture roll and managed to secure the territory from the Dark Eldar.
That was a hell of a tense game and it could have gone either way at the end. In all honesty, when I first saw Seb's and James' army lists, I thought that this would be a total blow out for Seb. I wasn't sure that James' force would have enough firepower and durability to survive the game for long. In the end though, it turned out to be an interesting match up that with a few different dice rolls, could have gone the other way.
There were a few dark mutterings from James when Seb pulled out the Stompa and his mood did not improve after the first turn. James threw much of the firepower from his army at the Stompa and only managed a single hull point damage (it didn't help that Seb seemed incapable of failing a Force Field save throughout the game). Seb's first turn then took out the Ravager and forced several of the Raiders to Jink, further diminishing James' firepower.
I think that James' tactic of ignoring the Stompa from turn 2 onwards was wise. It could put out a lot of firepower, but he was not really able to touch it. Had it not been for the Force Field, I think James may have had a chance to take it out in shooting or combat. He was much better focusing on the other walkers and grots to take them out.
Not that Seb had it all his own way, he had some poor luck during the game with the Big Mek and Mek blowing themselves up and having a terrible shooting phase with the Stompa in the second turn.
That Archon though. His Shadowfield potentially could have won him the game. James' Archon took two full turns of shooting from the Stompa in the face and came out unschathed. It took the Stompa charging him and a lucky 6 on the Stomp table to finish off the Archon (by denying his Invulnerable save). I think had he survived, he might have held his own to contest the Ork objective at the end of the game and win it for the Dark Eldar. Unfortunately, this was not the case and he was crushed beneath the boots of the Stompa.
Overall, I enjoyed the game. It was interesting to see the tactical challenges from an outside perspective. I look forward to seeing a rematch between the two players, where hopefully we can persuade Seb to leave the Stompa and some of the walkers at home and put more greenskins on the table.
"Most of my Walkers didn’t make it across the board and at one point I realised that losing everything else would make it difficult to hold two objectives. So, the stompa turned around and went back to his endangered objective, while I hoped that some kans would make it to the other side. James positioned his Raiders in a way which minimised the numbers of attacks the stompa could dish out. And again, I witnessed a tactical master at work. In the end it was all about an invincible Stompa against an almost invincible Archon with a 2++ save contesting my objective. The roll of a 6 on the stomp table was, of course, pure luck, which saved my ass of being outwitted by a very kunnin Dark Eldar."
Thanks to Seb and James for a great game to watch. I look forward to the rematch!