Thursday, 6 September 2018

Battle Report 165- Deathwatch/Astra Militarum vs Aeldari

This week's battle report sees my Deathwatch and Astra Militarum force take on Doug's Aeldari in an Eternal War mission. 

This game was actually fought a couple of months ago when I was preparing for the Warhammer World GT. It sort of got lost in the shuffle between writing up the tournament battle reports and finishing the army for the event. 

We were playing the Retrieval Eternal War mission. This is the standard game with 4 objectives that are scored at the end of the game. 

My army consisted of: 
Battalion Detachment (Deathwatch)
Watch Master- Tome of Ectoclades, Guardian Spear
Watch Captain- Jump Pack, Storm Shield, Thunder Hammer
10 Veterans- 10 Storm Bolters, 2 Storm Shields, Chainswords
10 Intercessors Bolt Rifles, Bolt Pistols
5 Veterans- 2 Frag Cannons, 3 Bolters, 3 Chainswords
Rhino- 2 Storm Bolters
5 Veterans- 2 Frag Cannons, 3 Bolters, 3 Chainswords
Razorback- Twin Lascannon, Storm Bolter
4 Bikers and Vanguard Veteran- Twin Bolters, Chainswords, Storm Shield

Battalion Detachment (Astra Militarum, Cadian)
Company Commander- Laspistol, Chainsword, Kurov's Aquila, Grand Strategist Warlord Trait
Company Commander- Laspistol, Chainsword
Primaris Psyker- Force Stave, Psychic Barrier, Nightshroud
Infantry Squad- Lasguns, Lascannon
Infantry Squad- Lasguns, Lascannon
Infantry Squad- Lasguns, Lascannon
20 Conscripts
Wyvern- Quad Mortar Launcher, Heavy Bolter

This was a work in progress army before I changed it up for the tournament. As you can see, the core of the army was pretty much the same. The Deathwatch provide the mobile force and hard hitters, while the Guard provide a good firebase. I added the Wyvern to target units that were out of line of sight of most of my forces. 
I went for a couple of units with Frag Cannons in transports. These were to get close to the enemy army and cause some devastation with their firepower. 

Doug's army consisted of:
Battalion Detachment (Aeldari - Drukhari, Kabal of the Black Heart)
Archon-Labyrinthine Cunning, Splinter pistol, Venom Blade, Writ of the Living Muse
Archon-Splinter pistol, Venom Blade
5 Kabalite Warriors- Blaster, Splinter Rifles
5 Kabalite Warriors- Blaster, Splinter Rifles
5 Kabalite Warriors- Blaster, Splinter Rifles
Ravager- 3 Disintegrator cannons
Ravager- 3 Disintegrator cannons
Ravager- 3 Disintegrator cannons
Razorwing Jetfighter- Twin splinter rifle, 2 Dark Lances
Razorwing Jetfighter- Twin splinter rifle, 2 Dark Lances
Raider- Disintegrator Cannon
Raider- Disintegrator Cannon

Battalion Detachment (Aeldari, Alaitoc)
Farseer Skyrunner- Shuriken Pistol, Twin Shuriken Catapult, Witchblade
Warlock Skyrunner- Shuriken Pistol, Twin Shuriken Catapult, Witchblade
5 Rangers
5 Rangers
5 Rangers

Outrider Detachment (Aeldari, Drukhari) 
Succubus- Archite Glaive, Splinter pistol
3 Reavers
3 Reavers 
5 Scourges- 4 Shredders, Solarite with Shardcarbine

A mix of fast and hard to hit Aeldari units. Aeldari are a tough prospect for the Deathwatch. The negative penalties to hit and invulnerable saves are very powerful against my units, as they negate many of the bonuses in my army. 

For the eternal war mission, we set up the objectives as shown below: 

We then deployed our forces, using Dawn of War deployment.

I put the bulk of my army on the right flank. I had a secure firebase of Infantry Squads, backed up by the Company Commanders and the Wyvern, along with the two Deathwatch vehicles on the right. I put the Biker and Vanguard Veteran squad on the left flank, ready to move up on the enemy units. The Conscripts deployed along my lines, ready to block enemy fire or advance into it. 

My two large Deathwatch squads, the Watch Master and Watch Captain went in reserve. 

In reply, Doug put his three Ravagers on his right flank, out of range of my Lascannons. This would allow him to stay safe if I got first turn, then move up and fire in his own turn. The Flyer went behind them. 

The centre was held by a unit of Reavers and two Raiders. On the left, he put one flyer and a unit of Reavers. The three units of Rangers were deployed across the board, allowing them to block off space for my teleporting units coming in later in the game. 

Doug could use his mobility to quickly re-deploy and go after my units and the objectives at the end of the game, so this would be a tough match up. 

I won the roll off for first turn and Doug failed to seize the initiative. I decided to go first. Even though going second may help for grabbing the objectives, I think it was better to strike decisively with the Deathwatch on the first turn and do as much damage as possible. 


The unit in the Razorback disembarked, moving towards the Rangers in the building in front of them, while the Rhino moved up towards the enemy lines. On the other side of the battlefield, the Bikers and Vanguard Veteran moved up on the Rangers on the other flank. The Conscripts moved up on the enemy units in the centre. 

The Bikers opened fire on the Rangers. Doug used the Pathfinder stratagem to boost their defensive capabilities, so only one fell to the Bolter fire. On the right flank, the Deathwatch Veterans fired their Frag Cannons at the Rangers, obliterating the squad. 

The Razorback fired on the Raider, Doug using Lightning Fast Reflexes to once more boost the defence of the Eldar. I scored one hit and wound, but the Raider made its save. 

The Guardsmen were ordered to fire their Lascannons at the Raider. One squad managed a single hit and wound, rolling a 2 for damage. The other squad hit and wounded with the Lascannon, but the Raider made its 5+ invulnerable save once more. 

The Wyvern fired at the Raider with the aid of the Arial Spotter stratagem, but only managed 5 shots and one hit! The single hit failed to wound. 

The Conscripts were ordered to increase their fire (First Rank Fire, Second Rank Fire) at the Raider, managing to wound it twice. 

In the charge phase, the Bikers assaulted the Rangers on the left flank. The Conscripts attempted a 6" charge on the Rangers in the centre. I rolled a four and a 1, using a command point re-roll and got another 1! I lost a few of the squad to overwatch fire. 

The Bikers struck at the Rangers, wounding them 7 times, only three getting through their armour and leaving one alive. I surrounded the Ranger to stop him from falling back in Doug's turn. 

In the morale phase, the lone Ranger died, along with two more conscripts. My Bikers were now vulnerable to the enemy firepower. I scored First Blood on turn 1. 


One unit of Reavers moved up on the Deathwatch Bikers, while the two Flyers converged in the centre of the battlefield. The Succubus moved into the centre to support the Rangers, while the Ravagers spread out on the backline. 

In the psychic phase, the Farseer cast Jinx on the Deathwatch Bikers and Doom on the Bikers. The Aeldari cast Executioner on the Bikers, causing 6 mortal wounds and killing three Bikers. He used a stratagem to cast another psychic power, casting Smite and causing one mortal wound. 

The Reavers opened fire on the Deathwatch Bikers, causing five wounds and wiping out the squad. 

The Razorwing Jetfighter fired at the Rhino, causing five wounds with the Dark Lance. The other Jetfighter fired at the Rhino. The Dark Lances both hit and wounded, but Doug rolled a double 1 for the damage! The Splinter Rifle caused another wound. 

The Damaged Raider fired at the Rhino, hitting twice but failing to wound. One of the Ravagers fired at the Rhino, destroying it. Two of the squad inside perished, but I used a command point re-roll to save one Marine. 

The second Raider fired at the Deathwatch Veterans from the Rhino, killing one more. Another Ravager opened fire, killing two of the Deathwatch. 

In the charge phase, the Succubus assaulted the Conscripts, taking one wound in overwatch. The Wych struck at the squad in a fury of blades, killing 5 of the Conscripts. In the morale phase, two more Conscripts perished. I was able to remove the casualties to pull the Conscripts out of combat.


On the right flank, the lone Veteran advanced on the Reavers, while the second Kill Team moved up towards the objective. The Conscripts moved up on the Rangers in the centre of the battlefield. 

I decided not to bring in any reserves on this turn. I wanted to leave them for later in the game to try and grab the objectives. In the psychic phase, the Primaris Psyker cast Psychic Barrier on the Wyvern. 

The Conscripts opened fire on the Succubus with First Rank Fire, Second Rank Fire, killing her in a hail of Lasgun fire. 

The lone Deathwatch Veteran fired his Frag Cannon at the Reavers, killing two of the squad. The other squad fired their Frag Cannons at the wounded Raider, taking it down to a single wound. 

One Infantry Squad fired its Lascannon at the Ravager, hitting and doing 3 damage. Doug made two of his 6+ saves and the vehicle took a single wound. The second Infantry Squad added its firepower, hitting but rolling a 2 to wound. I used a command point re-roll, rolling another 2! The third Lascannon hit and wounded, but Doug made his invulnerable save! This was not my round of shooting. The Wyvern added its firepower, hitting and wounding three times, but Doug made all three 5+ saves. 

The Razorback fired at the Ravager, hitting and wounding it twice. It took 9 damage and destroyed it. The skimmer blew up, but Doug used a command point re-roll to prevent it from exploding. 

In the charge phase, the Conscripts assaulted the Rangers, killing two of them in the rush. The Aeldari failed to do any damage to the Conscripts. 

A good second turn for me. I had managed to take down one of the Rangers and cause some damage to the enemy army. I was in a good position, with some reserves ready to come in later. 


A unit of Kabalites moved up on the Conscripts, accompanied by an Archon and the Aeldari psykers. The Jetfighters moved along in front of the Astra Militarum lines. The unit of Reavers moved towards the centre of the battlefield. 

The Farseer cast Doom on the Frag Cannon Kill Team, then cast Smite on the Conscripts, killing three of the squad.

The Razorwing fired at the Razorback, putting 5 wounds on the vehicle with one command point re-roll. The second Flyer fired at the Razorback, destroying it and blowing it up. The explosion killed two of the Infantry Squad and wounded the Company Commander three times. 

The Kabalite squad in one of the Raiders fired at the lone Frag Cannon Marine, wounding him three times, but I passed all my saves. The second Kabalite squad added their firepower and were finally able to kill him. 

The wounded Raider fired at the Kill Team, slaying two of the squad. The other Raider added its firepower, killing two more of the squad. 

A Ravager fired at the Wyvern, hitting and wounding, but only causing two wounds. Another Ravager fired at the Infantry Squad, killing five of them. 

In the charge phase, the Kabalites, Archon, Warlock and Farseer charged the Conscripts. The Archon killed four of the squads, while the rest of the Aeldari managed to kill three more. The attacks back killed one of the Rangers. 

In the morale phase, the Conscripts were wiped out. I tried to use the Insane Bravery stratagem to keep the Lascannon from the Infantry Squad alive, but Doug used Agents of Vect to block it and the squad perished. 
I rolled morale for the lone Veteran, rolling a 6. I used my ATSKNF re-roll and got another 6, losing the Veteran. I rolled yet another 6 for the morale on another Infantry Squad and one fled. Damn! Out of 5 morale test, I rolled four 6's in a single turn. 

At the end of turn 2, my army had been pretty much devastated, but I still had my reserves to come in and cause some damage. 


The Guard lines stayed in place to make the most of their firepower. At the end of the turn, I brought in the reserves. One Captain landed next to the Archon, hoping to take out the enemy warlord. The rest of the reserves came in on the right flank, landing near the enemy Reavers. 

The Primaris Psyker cast Smite, taking three mortal wounds from the nearest Jetfighter.

On the left flank, the Storm Bolter Kill Team split their fire between the Reavers and Kabalite Warriors. The hail of Bolter fire annihilated the enemy Jetbikes in a single volley. The further away Kabalite warriors took 9 wounds, but only 3 of the warriors fell.

The Intercessors opened fire on the Ravager, using a Doctrine, but Doug used Agents of Vect to block the stratagem. Doug also used Lightning Fast Reflexes on the skimmer to make it harder to hit. The Primaris Marines managed to take 6 wounds from it with their Kraken Bolts, while the Tempest Shells took a further two wounds from the enemy vehicle.

The Infantry Squad opened fire on a Ravager, managing to take a great 6 wounds from it with its Lascannon with a command point re-roll. The Squad's Lasguns fired up at the nearby flyer, putting a single wound on it. The other squad fired their Lascannon at the same Ravager, hitting but failing to wound.

The Wyvern fired at a Ravager with the help of Ariel Spotter, wounding it four times and destroying it with its shell fire.

In the charge phase, the Watch Captain attempted to assault the enemy Archon, making it in to combat with a command point re-roll.

He struck at the enemy warlord, getting three hits with one command point re-roll and two wounds. The Archon failed his second Shadowfield save and took three wounds. The Archon struck back, causing three wounds, two of which got past the Captain's Iron Halo.

I decided to use the Honour the Chapter stratagem on the Captain to fight again. He scored four hits with his Thunder Hammer, but only a single wound! Fortunately, it was enough to kill the Archon, giving me Slay the Warlord.


The lone Reaver Jetbike moved away from the  Deathwatch Captain towards the objective, the two Jetfighters moving to support him. The wounded enemy Skimmers moved away from the Deathwatch, trying to get out of rapid fire range of the newly arrived reserves. The Farseer and Warlock moved up on the enemy Kill Team.

At the end of the phase, Doug brought the Scourges down beside the Storm Bolter Kill Team. I used the Auspex Scan stratagem, but Doug was able to block it with Agents of Vect on a 6, meaning I lost the command points anyway.

However, I was then able to use the Deathwatch stratagem Intercepting Volley to target the Scourges with the Kill Team. This was a neat trick, as the two stratagems could be used in the same turn, with Agents of Vect only allowing him to block one.

Doug then used a couple of stratagems of his own to counter this. He played Lightning Fast Reflexes and another stratagem that gave him +1 to his save. The Storm Bolter Kill Team were hitting on 5+, but still managed to kill three of the Scourges.

In the psychic phase, the Warlock cast Jinx on the Storm Bolter Kill Team, using a his last command point on a stratagem to get +1 to the casting. However, the Warlock failed to manifest the power. He then cast Executioner on the Kill Team, periling with the psyker, but using his free re-roll to pass and kill two of the Kill Team.

In the shooting phase, the Scourges opened fire on the Storm Bolter Kill Team, wounding them four times and killing two. The Warlock and Kabalite Warrors added their firepower, but failed to do any damage.

The Raider and two Ravagers opened fire on the Intercessors, but only managed to kill one of the squad. The Ranger fired at the Watch Master, managing to do a mortal wound with his single shot.

On the other side of the battlefield, the Reaver fired at the Watch Captain, but failed to do any damage. The Razorwing Jetfighter fired at the Wyvern and Infantry Squad, doing two wounds on the enemy vehicle and killing one Guardsman.

The other Flyer opened fire at the same targets, destroying the Wyvern and killing three Guardsmen.

In the morale phase, all three units passed their tests and went on fighting.

At the end of turn 3, things were still looking in the balance. The wounded enemy Skimmers were diminished in capacity, but could still move to grab the objectives. The Deathwatch reserves had done well, but were now out of position to threaten many of the objectives on the field.


The Watch Captain moved up on the Reaver Jetbike. On the other side of the field, the Kill Team moved up on the Warlock, while the Intercessors moved up on the enemy vehicles.

In the psychic phase, the Primaris Psyker cast Smite, putting one wound on a flyer. Both Infantry Squad then fired their Lascannons at the flyer, but both failed to hit, even with the re-roll to hit orders.

The Intercessors fired at the Raider, using a Doctrine to give them +1 to hit. I scored 11 hits with their Bolt Rifles, but only managed two wounds, despite wounding on a 4+!

The Storm Bolter Kill Team fired at the Kabalite Warriors and Warlock. The Kabalites took 7 wounds, but Doug made all his 4+ armour saves! The Warlock took 9 wounds and perished.

The Watch Master fired at the Ravager, doing two wounds, but it made both its invulnerable saves once more.

In the charge phase, the Kill Team assaulted the Farseer, while the Deathwatch Captain charged the Ravager.

The Kill Team struck at the Farseer, hitting him five times and doing a single wound. The Farseer cut down one Veteran in reply. The Captain easily killed the last Reaver Jetbike with his Thunder Hammer.


The Farseer fell back from combat towards the Watch Master, while the Scourges moved up on the Kill Team he was in combat with. Two squads of Kabalites disembarked from the transports and moved up on the Intercessors. On the other side, the Jetfighters moved towards their deployment zone to target the enemy Captain.

In the psychic phase, the Farseer cast Smite, doing a mortal wound on the Watch Master. He then tried to cast Executioner, but failed, even with his re-roll.

In the shooting phase, the Farseer fired at the Watch Master, wounding him twice. I failed both 2+ armour saves and the Watch Master was now in trouble!

The Scourges opened fire on the Storm Bolter Kill Team, slaying one. The Ravager fired at the Watch Master, who now was on a single wound. He was wounded, but I made my invulnerable save.

The Raider fired on the Intercessors, killing one. The Ravager added its firepower, killing another two. The Kabalite Warriors fired at the Intercessors, killing one with a Blaster and one with Splinter fire.
The second Kabalite Squad added their firepower, wounding them twice. I rolled another double 1 for my saves and the squad was slain.

One Jetfigher fired on the Watch Captain. All the Dark Lances and Missiles failed to hit, but the Splinter Rifles managed a great three wounds on him. The second Flyer added its firepower, killing the Captain.

In the charge phase, the two squads of Kabalite Warriors assaulted the Watch Master. The Drukhari forces struck at the enemy character, wounding him four times, but I made all my armour saves for once.
The Watch Master struck back, hitting four times, but rolling four 2's to wound and doing no damage!

The Aeldari had struck back at the Imperial forces hard in this turn, decimating the Intercessors and Kill Team, as well as almost killing the Watch Master.


The Company Commander and Primaris Psyker moved up to secure the objective, while the Storm Bolter Kill Team moved up on the Kabalite Warriors. One of the Infantry Squads advanced to secure an objective.

In the psychic phase, the Primaris psyker cast Psychic Shield on the Infantry Squad holding the objective.

The Storm Bolter Kill Team fired at the Kabalite Warriors, only killing one after some horrendous rolling, but also killing the last Ranger. The Infantry Squad fired its Lascannon at the Ravager, hitting and wounding, but Doug made his invulnerable save once more! The amount of 5+ invulnerable saves he had made this game was incredible.

In the charge phase, the Kill Team assaulted the Kabalite Warriors. The Deathwatch struck, killing three of the squad.

The Watch Master then attacked the Drukhari he was in combat with, killing three. The Kabalite Warriors struck back, doing a single wound on the Watch Master. I failed my 2+ save and the Watch Master perished.


The last Archon moved up on the Infantry squad holding the objective, while the Kabalite Warriors and Scourges moved up on the Kill Team. The Raider moved up on the Infantry Squad in my deployment zone.

The Farseer cast Smite, killing one of the Kill Team, while Executioner finished off the squad.

The two Razorwings fired at the Infantry Squad, killing two of them. The Raider fired at the squad, killing three more.

In the charge phase, the Archon assaulted the Infantry Squad holding the objective, easily dispatching them in combat.

We rolled to see if the game wound end, and it did.

Deathwatch- 2 objectives, First Blood, Slay the Warlord= 8
Aeldari- 2 objectives, Linebreaker= 7
End of the game. 

A narrow win for the Deathwatch!

That was incredibly close, thanks to Doug for another great game!

Had the game gone on to turn 6, I would have most likely been tabled, as I had very little left. Doug played very well in blocking the places for my Deathwatch reserves to arrive in the game, using his fast moving units to block off board space and protect his skimmers from my firepower.

The combination of Aeldari and Drukhari units and stratagems is very powerful. Agents of Vect is one of the best stratagems in the game, able to shut down an opponent's key stratagem and potentially turn the tide of the game. It is expensive at 3CP, but well worth it.

Lightning Fast Reflexes is also an incredibly good stratagem, especially when you can combine it with further minuses to hit for the Aeldari.

Doug also had some brilliant rolling for his invulnerable saves. My Lascannons kept hitting and wounding, but were deflected when hitting his skimmers most of the time. This made it very frustrating to try and finish them off.

As you can see, I made a number of changes to the army for the grand tournament based on my experiences. I added some additional anti-tank firepower and lost the Wyvern, as I had enough anti-infantry firepower, but could use some additional tank-hunting power.

I think for my next batch of tournaments, I might take a look at a Dark Angels and Deathwatch force. These two armies might compliment one another nicely on the tabletop. 


  1. Nice job pulling out the win there! I thought that one was an Aeldar victory for sure. Definitely another where the dice hated you, but a great example of how to stay in the fight even when your luck is all going the wrong way.

    Using Intercepting Volley on the Scourges after Agents of Vect canceled Auspex Scan was great. Always nice when you can have a backup for something like that!

    1. Also, the Drukhari are as bad with Units starting with 'R' as the Leman Russ variants are with entries starting with 'E'.

    2. Cheers WestRider. It is a nice trick the Deathwatch can use with the dual stratagems against Aeldari.

  2. Sweet batrep! Unfortunately the true kin lost, but only narrowly. The army you faced was pretty optimized, and from what I can tell also well piloted, so it was indeed a good test for your tournament. Congrats on the win, and thanks for sharing!