Tuesday 11 December 2018

40k Grand Slam Tournament Game 2- Dark Angels/Deathwatch vs Ynnari

After a big win on game 1, my second game of the tournament saw me taking to one of the top tables to face Mikey from Hellstorm Wargaming and his Ynnari force. 

The joint missions were Big Guns Never Tire for the Eternal War and Deadlock for the maelstrom of war mission, with Search and Destroy deployment. 

My army consisted of:
Battalion Detachment (Dark Angels)
Azrael (Az)
Primaris Lieutenant- Master-crafted Auto Bolt Rifle, Eye of the Unseen (Relic) (L)
Primaris Ancient- Bolt Rifle (An)
5 Intercessors- Bolt Rifles (I)
5 Scouts- Bolters (S1)
5 Scouts- Heavy Bolter, Bolters (S2)
5 Devastators- Heavy Bolter, Armorium Cherub (D)
10 Hellblasters- Plasma Incinerators (H)
Darkshroud- Heavy Bolter (DS)

Battalion Detachment (Deathwatch)
Watch Master- Guardian Spear (W)
Watch Captain- Jump Pack, Thunder Hammer, Storm Shield, Bolt Pistol (WC)
10 Intercessors- Bolt Rifles, Bolt Pistols (DI)
10 Veterans- 10 Storm Bolters, 2 Storm Shields, 8 Chainswords (DV1)
6 Veterans- 2 Missile Launchers, 4 Stalker Bolters (DV2)

Auxiliary Detachment
Culexus Assassin (CA)

Mikey's army consisted of:
Battalion Detachment (Ynnari)
Yvraine- Tenacious Survivor (warlord trait), Word of the Phoenix, Ancestors Grace (Y)
Eldrad Ulthran- Guide, Doom, Fortune (E)
Spiritseer- Biel Tan, Spirit Stones of Anathalan, Quicken/Restrain (S)
10 Guardian Defenders- Alaitoc (G1)
10 Guardian Defenders- Ulthwe (G2)
10 Guardian Defenders- Ulthwe (G3)
9 Dark Reapers- Exarch, Tempest Launcher, Alaitoc (DR)
8 Shining Spears- Exarch, Laser Lance, Saim-Hann (SS)

Battalion Detachment (Alaitoc)
Warlock- Witchblade, Protect/Jinx (W1)
Warlock- Witchblade, Protect/Jinx (W2)
5 Rangers (R1)
5 Rangers (R2)
5 Rangers (R3)
Hemlock Wraithfighter- Spirit Stones, Protect/Jinx (H)
Wave Serpent- Twin Shuriken Cannon, Shuriken Cannon, Spirit Stones (WS1)
Wave Serpent- Twin Shuriken Cannon, Shuriken Cannon, Spirit Stones (WS2)

A lot of Aeldari trickery to face once more. The Ynnari are incredibly strong, with the Dark Reapers and Shining Spears being very powerful units to get extra shots, charges, etc with the Soulburst ability. Not only that, but the Alaitoc contingent were very difficult to fire at thanks to multiple negative modifiers to hit.

The objectives were set in the game as shown below:

For deployment, I put a unit of Deathwatch Veterans at the back of the deployment zone on an objective, with the Intercessors and Devastators on either side as well. The Hellblasters and Dark Angels characters went to the front, accompanied by the Assassin and Watch Captain. I wanted him to be able to go after the Flyer right away, so put him on the board.

I put both Scout units on either flank, hidden in the ruins out of line of sight near the objectives. I put my three Deathwatch units in the Teleportarium.

Mikey put his flyer at the back of his deployment zone, with the bulk of the army set up towards the back of his deployment zone. With such mobility, there was no need to deploy forward. The Rangers deployed further forward in cover to target my forces. He then put two units of Guardians in reserve using a stratagem.

I lost the roll off for first turn and failed to seize the initiative. Mikey took the first turn.

In his first turn, Mikey drew Hold the Line, Hidden Path (clear enemy units from within 12" of objective 1), Master Runes (cast a psychic power), Master the Warp, Defend Objective 4 and Assassinate. Not a bad draw of cards for him, as he would probably get full points for the psychic power cards.

The Wraithfighter moved up towards the Hellblasters, as the Shining Spears also moved up on the enemy army, advancing and using the Saim-Hann stratagem to allow them to still charge. A unit of Guardians and the warlocks disembarked from the two transports, which then moved to better positions. The Dark Reapers disembarked from the other transport, moving to target the enemy army.

The psychic phase began. The Farseer cast Guide on the Shining Spears, followed by Fortune. The Wraithfighter cast Jinx on the Hellblasters, despite the -2 to cast from the Assassin, while the Warlock cast Protect on the Shining Spears. The Spiritseer cast Quicken on the Spears, but failed to manifest the power, even with a re-roll. Finally, the Yvraine cast Ancestors Grace on the Dark Reapers, then cast Word of the Phoenix on the Shining Spears, allowing them to move up on the Hellblasters once more.

The two squads of Rangers opened fire on Azrael, but failed to do any damage. The Shining Spears opened fire on the Hellblasters and Devastators, killing two Devastators and one Primaris Marine. The Wave Serpent fired at the Hellblasters, but failed to do any damage.

The Dark Reapers opened fire on the Darkshroud and Hellblasters, turning its Tempest Launcher on the Scouts in the ruins. The Launcher killed four Scouts, while the rest of the Dark Reapers obliterated the Darkshroud. Four Hellblasters were also slain. Three got to fire back at the Shining Spears thanks to the Ancient, but did no damage. The Reapers used the Fire and Fade stratagem to move back into cover. The Wraithfighter fired on the Intercessors, killing two.

The Shining Spears assaulted the Hellblasters and Devastators. The squad only got three hits in overwatch, the overcharged Plasma weaponry killing one Shining Spear for the loss of one Hellblaster.

In the fight phase, the Shining Spears killed four Hellblasters and two Devastators for no loss in return.

In the morale phase, one more Hellblaster and Intercessor fled.

At the end of the turn, Mike scored Master the Warp (2 pts), Master Runes (2 pts) and first blood.

In my first turn, I drew Kingslayer, Secure Objective 3, Defend Objective 6, Domination, Scour the Skies and Behind Enemy Lines. I spent 2 command points to discard Domination and drew Defend Objective 1.

The Watch Captain moved up on the enemy flyer, while the rest of the characters moved up on the Shining Spears.

In the shooting phase, the Assassin fired at the Wraithfighter, but missed with all three shots. Azrael fired his Plasma Gun at the Flyer, wounding it, but he made his 6+ save.

The Deathwatch fired their Stalker Bolters at the flyer, doing one wound on it. Both Krak Missiles hit the flyer, but both failed to wound. I used a command point re-roll, but failed to wound once more.

A horrendous round of shooting for the remainder of my army.

In the charge phase, the Watch Captain assaulted the Wraithfighter, taking two wounds from overwatch, but they bounced off his Storm Shield. The rest of the Characters assaulted the Shining Spears. Mike spent 2CP on Lightning Fast reflexes on the Shining Spears.

Azrael struck at the Shining Spears, killing two of the squad. Mike then spent another 2CP to interrupt and attack with the Spears, killing one Devastator.

The rest of the Dark Angels attacked the Shining Spears, but failed to do any damage.

The Watch Captain struck at the Wraithfighter, using the +1 to wound stratagem. He managed to do 7 wounds on the flyer. I used the stratagem to fight again, killing the flyer. If I didn't take it out, it could devastate my units, so it was worth the CP to take it out. The flyer exploded, causing three mortal wounds on the Watch Captain.

At the end of my turn, I scored Secure Objective 3 and Scour the Skies. I discarded Kingslayer. Mike got a bonus point for killing a Heavy Support choice (the Devastators).

Ynnari- 6 + 2KP
Dark Angels/Deathwatch- 2 + 1KP

A pretty horrendous first turn for me. My Hellblasters had been effectively neutralised and the rest of my firepower had done nothing to the enemy army. I failed to take out the Shining Spears (not surprising with all their buffs), so they were free to do a lot of harm to me in the following turn.

For me, the game was effectively over at this point, pretty much as I expected on seeing the army I was playing. I had little firepower or combat ability to take on the rest of the force, with the Shining Spears and Dark Reapers able to take out much of my force with ease.

In his second turn, Mike had Khaine's Wrath (make a charge), Assassinate, Hold the Line, Hidden Path (objective 1) and Defend Objective 4.

The Shining Spears fell back from combat, moving towards the Watch Captain. The rest of the Aeldari forces moved into position to target the enemy army. At the end of the phase, a unit of Guardians arrived, landing near the Deathwatch Veterans.

In the psychic phase, a Warlock cast Protect on the Shining Spears, but failed to manifest the power, even with a command point re-roll. The Farseer cast Guide on the Dark Reapers, but failed, even with the Farseer's re-roll. He then cast Fortune on the Shining Spears. The Yvraine then cast Ancestor's Grace on the Dark Reapers, but failed to cast Word of the Phoenix on the Dark Reapers. He then cast Quicken on the Shining Spears, allowing them to move up on the Deathwatch Veterans. Not the most successful psychic phase for the Aeldari.

The Rangers fired on the Watch Captain, taking one wound from him and leaving him on a single wound. The Dark Reapers fired at the lone Scout and Hellblasters. The Tempest Launcher got 12 shots, but not a single wound against the Scout. Mike used a command point re-roll to get one wound and the Scout was slain. The rest of the Squad easily finished off the Hellblasters.

The Guardians fired at the Deathwatch Veteran, using the Discipline of the Black Guardians stratagem and killing two of the squad. The Shining Spears fired at the Intercessors, killing the last two.

He used the Soulburst to fire on the Deathwatch Veterans, causing 13 wounds with the Shuriken rounds, but not felling a single Veteran after some great saves from me. The Laser Lances managed to kill one of the squad.

In the charge phase, the Black Guardians managed a 10" charge on the Deathwatch Veterans. The Guardians struck down one Veteran for the loss of one Guardian.

At the end of the turn, Mikey scored Hold the Line and Khaine's Wrath, as well as a bonus point for killing the Hellblasters. He discarded Defend Objective 4. I also scored Defend Objective 6.

Another good turn for Mike. A great charge from the Guardians meant he had denied me scoring Defend Objective 1.

In my second turn, I had Secure Objective 1, Secure Objective 5, Defend Objective 1, Assassinate and Behind Enemy Lines.

The Watch Captain moved off to get into the enemy deployment zone, while the Dark Angels characters adn the Assassin moved up on the Shining Spears. The Deathwatch Veterans fell back from combat.

At the end of the phase, I brought in a unit of Storm Bolter Veterans next to the Black Guardians. The Intercessors and Watch Master landed in the enemy deployment zone, being sure to get out of line of sight of the Dark Reapers. The intercept-type stratagem would have allowed them to devastate the unit if they could see them.

In the shooting phase, the Storm Bolter Veterans fired on the Shining Spears with their Hellfire Bolts, putting 20 wounds on them. Only four got through their armour and Fortune saves, after Mike rolled succeeded with about 50% of his Fortune saves, killing two of the Shining Spears.

The Characters fired on the Shining Spears, but did no damage after another great round of Fortune Saves.

The Intercessors opened fire on the Guardians protecting the Aeldari characters. Mike used Celestial Shield, but the Deathwatch still managed to kill 8 of the squad. The Watch Master was able to finish off the squad of Guardians.

In the charge phase, the Deathwatch Veterans charged the Black Guardians, making it in with my last command point re-roll. Azrael, the Assassin and Ancient charged the Shining Spears, while the Deathwatch Intercessors managed to charge the Wave Serpent.

Azrael struck at the Shining Spears, killing two and wounding one. The Assassin followed up, killing one more and leaving the Exarch on two wounds. After some horrendous rolling, the Deathwatch Veterans only managed 8 wounds on the Guardians, killing 5.

The Intercessors took two wounds from the Wave Serpent, the vehicle killing one in reply! The rest of the Aeldari attacks did no damage.

In the morale phase, the Guardians fled, as did the Shining Spears Exarch.

At the end of my turn, I scored Behind Enemy Lines (2 pts), Secure Objective 1 and Secure Objective 5. I discarded Assassinate.

Ynnari- 9 + 5KP
Dark Angels/Deathwatch- 8 + 4KP

A good turn had seen my take out the Shining Spears and claw back some victory points in the process.

In his third turn, Mike had Hidden Path (objective 1), Secure Objective 2, Behind Enemy Lines and Assassinate.

The Wave Serpent and Dark Reapers moved up on the Watch Captain. The other Wave Serpent fell back from combat with the Deathwatch. The last unit of Guardians arrived, landing to shield the exposed Ynnari characters.

In the psychic phase, the Farseer cast Smite, killing the Watch Captain. One Warlock cast Protect on the Dark Reapers, then Jink on the Intercessors with the other. Another Smite killed one Intercessor, but the Farseer failed to cast Doom on them, even with his free re-roll. The Yvraine cast Ancestors Grace on the Guardians, then word of the Phoenix on the Dark Reapers. They opened fire on the Scouts and Deathwatch Intercessors, killing two Scouts and wiping out the Intercessors.

In the shooting phase, the Wave Serpent fired at the Scouts, wounding them 3 times. I failed all three 4+ saves and the squad perished. The Dark Reapers fired at the Watch Master, killing him. The Tempest Launcher fired at the Assassin, getting 12 shots once more and wounding him 6 times (the Dark Reapers hit the Assassin on a 3+), three of which got past his save.

The Rangers fired at the Culexus, wounding him once more. Another unit of Rangers fired at him, doing one wound with 1 CP re-roll, but I made my save.

At the end of his turn, Mike scored Assassinate and Secure Objective 2. He discarded Hidden Path. I also scored Defend Objective 1.

In my third turn, I had Secure Objective 4, Defend Objective 3, Hold the Line and Overwhelming Firepower.

The Assassin advanced 6" onto the objective, while the Deathwatch Veterans and Azrael moved up on the enemy forces.

The Storm Bolter Veterans fired on the Guardians, killing 8 of the squad. Azrael managed to kill one of the squad. The Ancient tried to kill the last member of the squad, but failed to hit, even with re-rolls from Azrael.

The Deathwatch fired their Frag Missiles at a unit of Rangers, but did no damage. The last Guardian fled in the morale phase.

At the end of my turn, I scored Secure Objective 4 and Hold the Line. I discarded Defend Objective 3.

Ynnari- 11 + 9KP
Dark Angels/Deathwatch- 12 + 5KP

I had managed to go ahead in points for the first time, but had precious few units left to threaten the bulk of the Aeldari army.

In his fourth turn, Mike had Legacy of Sorrow (kill a character), Secure Objective 3 and Behind Enemy Lines.

The Dark Reapers moved up on the rock formation to target the enemy forces.

In the psychic phase, the Warlock cast Protect on the Dark Reapers, while the other cast Jinx on the Lieutenant. The Farseer then cast Guide on the Dark Reapers, followed by Fortune on the Dark Reapers and Doom on the Deathwatch Veterans. Yvraine tried to cast Word of the Phoenix on the Dark Reapers, but failed to manifest the power.

The Dark Reapers fired their Tempest Launcher at the Assassin, killing him. The rest of the Squad fired at the Deathwatch Veterans, wounding them 13 times. For the second game in a row, both Storm Shields failed to block the first two wounds, so the unit perished.

The Rangers fired at the Lieutenant, taking two wounds from him. The Wave Serpent fired at the Lieutenant, taking one wound with its Shuriken weapons and killing him with the shield attacks.

The other Wave Serpent fired at the Ancient, taking two wounds from him. The other two units of Rangers fired at the Ancient, killing him.

At the end of his turn, Mike scored Legacy of Sorrow and discarded Secure Objective 3.

In my fourth turn, I had Overwhelming Firepower, Big Game  Hunter and Witch Hunter.

Azrael moved up on the Rangers. The Deathwatch Veterans fired their Missile Launchers at the Wave Serpent, doing four wounds on it. Azrael fired at the Rangers, killing two with his Plasma Gun. He attempted to charge the squad, but failed to make the distance.

At the end of my turn, I scored no points and discarded Big Game Hunter.

Ynnari- 12 + 12KP
Dark Angels/Deathwatch- 12 + 5KP

In his fifth turn, Mike had Area Denial and Behind Enemy Lines.

The Aeldari moved to mop up the remaining enemy forces on the battlefield.

In the psychic phase, Azrael was hit with a super-Smite, taking three wounds from him. The Farseer cast Guide on the Dark Reapers and Doom on Azrael. The Spiritseer cast Smite, taking two more wounds from Azrael. A Warlock cast Protect on the Dark Reapers, while the other failed to cast Jinx on Azrael. The Yvraine then cast Word of the Phoenix on the Dark Reapers, allowing them to kill Azrael.

In the shooting phase, the Wave Serpent fired on the Deathwatch Veterans, killing them.

At the end of his turn, Mike scored Area Denial (2 pts) and Behind Enemy Lines.

Ynnari- 15 +15KP
Dark Angels/Deathwatch- 12 + 5KP
End of the game.

A decisive win for the Ynnari.

Thanks to Mike for a fun game. I don't think the result was in any doubt after looking at both the army lists.

Given the power of the Ynnari army, and getting the first turn, there was little I could do in this game. I played on as long as I could and actually managed to score a fair few points, but the loss was inevitable, in my opinion.

The psychic powers of Mike's army were very good in combination with his units and really boosted the damage effectiveness of the army. For me, the Aeldari psychic powers are downright broken, being incredibly powerful for an already very strong army.

Doom is simply too good. Full re-rolls to wound against an enemy unit is incredibly strong. What I think makes this even more powerful is that it is not limited to only Eldar units. Most psychic powers specify a single "Faction" that can benefit from the ability. However, Doom has no such rule allowing full re-rolls from Aeldari, Drukhari, Ynnari and Harlequins.

Guide is incredibly strong, as is protect/Jinx. Most other psychic powers/abilities/stratagems that boost saves have been amended to only work on Armour saves. Protect/Jinx is somehow exempt from such rules, giving units +1 invulnerable save and -1 invulnerable save, respectively.

I have gone against boosted shining spears before and they are simply too good to take down. The fully boosted unit gets a 2+ armour save, 3+ invulnerable save against shooting, a 5+ FNP save and full re-rolls to hit. With a targeted enemy unit getting full re-rolls to wound against them, as well as -1 to armour and invulnerable saves in most cases, they will go through most enemy units with ease.

I thought I might have a chance when Quicken failed on the Shining Spears. This would not have allowed them to charge the Hellblasters or fire their laser lances at them in his first turn. However, the army has redundancy with the Word of the Phoenix psychic power, giving the squad two chances to get a second move and charge the enemy army.

The Soul Burst ability is also too strong for units such as Dark Reapers and Shining Spears to benefit from shooting twice.

Anyway, that's enough complaining! I don't think getting first turn would have made much difference to the game. Mikey had deployed his Shining Spears out of range of the Hellblasters, so I wouldn't have been able to do much damage to them in my first turn of shooting. Equally, the Rangers and Flyer would have been at -2 to hit in my first turn, so little chance of doing much damage there.

Had this been a maelstrom game, the battle would have been a lot closer. However, Mikey probably would have focused more on the objectives if this was the case. In this game, he could simply work on tabling my army to get the full points in the mission. His Ynnari army is very strong, and ably commanded, so it was a quick game anyway, as it was.

With one win and one loss, I was keen to see how I would end up for my final game of the day. 


  1. You put up a brave fight against overwhelming odds, and was even ahead in the maelstrom at one point, but you're right hammer blow was done in the first turn with the buffed shining spears charging hellblasters and devs. This allowed the Dark reapers to keep firing (twice) every turn.

    Not sure how my army would have a hope either. The shining spears are so fast with a soulburst and stratagem fueled 44" move before they charge its hard to screen important units.

    All we can hope is that they keep domninating the meta, and GW finally takes action in the next Big FAQ, however its not like Ynarri haven't been doing this since the Craftworld codex came out, and the next Big FAQ is a long way away, and doesn't help anyone having to face them between now and then.

    What gets me, is that Mike's list could be even nastier. He's gone for 6 troop choices for 2 battalions to get 13 command points, but Eldar don't really need as many, and going 1 battalion, and 2 of the 1 point detachments giving him 10 command points would have allowed him to swap some of the troops for even more hard hitting units, eg. a 2nd shining spear squad, additional Alaitoc Dark Reapers, another wave serpent, putting the Hemlock in an Air Wing, what ever he fancies.

    1. Cheers Rathstar! Yeah, I tried to keep in it with the maelstrom score, but once you factored in kill points and eternal war, it wasn't even close.
      Some of the info on the new chapter approved missions has me excited that tabling is now no longer an auto-win.

  2. Old school battle report -with maps! That took some work and the results are Totally awesome!

    1. Thanks Neverness! They do take some work, but I am very happy with the results.

  3. Meant to post this before and missed it,

    Basically to begin to begin to Ynnari they need to:

    Remove Aeldari as a key word for battleforged (Similar to Imperium)
    No detachment can be Ynnari without having a Ynnari special character in it
    You cannot play craftworld specifc stratagems on Ynnari unit.

    From what i have seen that would help a fair bit (but wouldnt fix it all).

    1. Some good suggestions. Yeah, there are very few abilities/stratagems that cover "Imperium", so even with mixed armies, there is more limited synergy than with the Aeldari, which can almost use everything between the armies.

  4. Thats my experience, I think that Ynnari should continue to exist, but there certainly needs to be some tweaks, i'd even go as far as to say that you can't have a Ynnari detachment unless you include units from more that one of the Codicies... most of what I see is pure Craftworlds + a special character that is required.

  5. Yikes, a tough match up in game two. Aeldari live up to the fluff but that doesn't make it fun in a tournament game where more balance would allow fairer outcomes. You get full marks in my book for taking DA/Deathwatch to a tournament in the first place. Play on!

    1. Haha, cheers Dave! In hindsight it might have been foolish. Should have lost my first game to get down to my level in the mid-tier!

  6. Thanks for the report dude, that's a nasty match up for sure, you did very well against an army that on paper looks like it has an answer for nearly everything. I am with you on the psychic powers, in my opinion they often mean an Aeldari army has very few weaknesses which mean it is really tough to bring a balanced force and do well against them. Just my two cents but I feel if an army is able to cover its weak points as effectively as Aeldari can with the psychic buffs and debuffs it takes some of the fun out of facing them as you are up against it from the start. Good on you for playing through though, really enjoying the reports as always :)

    1. Cheers Carl! Yeah, it helps to shore up a lot of their weaknesses with psychic buffs on the force. If I could have got my Assassin in closer to mess up the psychic buffs, I may have been able to hold out for longer.

  7. Yeah, this kind of highlights a couple of the issues I have with 40K these days.

    First is just the raw power level. When it's this high, even if it's theoretically balanced, things get incredibly swingy, and even a handful of rolls going one way or another can change the whole course of the game.

    Secondly, there are too many options for "non-interactive" play. Stuff like those Shining Spears that are almost invulnerable when they get their buffs up. In some ways it's better, because at least there's no longer stuff like ScreamerStar or BarkBarkStar around, but there are still a significant number of builds that can all too easily get to the point where what the other player does is basically irrelevant.

    The second is something that tends to arise in high level play of pretty much any game, because good players try to minimize both randomness and the potential for the opponent to mess with their game plan, but it can be controlled to a degree by the designers. Magic ended up there in 2008 or so, I think, and they've been working hard to keep that sort of thing under control since then, make sure that players have meaningful options as much as possible.

    1. Agreed, the redundancy in the list was insane, able to cope with most bad rolls with ease.

  8. great report as usual

    ouch, that was a bit of a hammering, or was it???

    was the combination of missions the issue. in maelstrom you were pretty close, would it have been closer without the KP?

    if it was just KP would it have been different? i think not. unfortunately you hit an army designed to kill stuff and do it well.

    it was a well thought out army and the player has though sod it, if it kills stuff i win. the missions have allowed that and therefore you have got armies that do it and do it well.

    i'm not convinced by these "top lists" if they didnt know the missions in advance and the missions were pure GW (not ITC or mixing EW with Malestrom).

    i dont think that eldar list is "overpowered". it is very good and has very few weaknesses, but relies on dice rolls (powers) and stratgems (limited by CPs).

    if you had a psyker you could have null zoned his Spears and then shot them with hellblasters, as one option.

    sometime we hit an army that is perfectly suited to a mission/setup and we are not, doenst mean there is no balance or something is over/under powered

    1. After hearing about the new Chapter Approved missions, I am quite hopeful. It seems that balanced lists and not just killing everything could be in for a big return to the game.