Okay. I am back to civilisation! I ended up going a disappointing 5-3 and finishing 21st out of 130 odd players. Good but not my usual standard. Let’s look quickly at the last two games (games 1-3 and games 4-6 are recapped here) before looking at the list and experience as a whole. We will then have lots of battle reports with another tournament in 4 weeks…
Game 7 – was against Nurgle + Knights basically (two knights, Morty, Daemon Prince, Lord of Contagion and Typhus). I went first and was able to just kill Morty with my last shot and I then killed the 27 wound Knight with my last melee attack the next turn. This game was then very similar to Game 1 where I was able to pick apart the big units one by one and start scooting ahead on ITC points. My opponent played more aggressively which meant I lost more and if I had not dropped Morty on the last shot, I could have lost a bigger chunk of stuff. As it was, game was overly pretty quickly and I had another two hour lunch break…
Game 8 – was against Tyranids with a lot of combat power and the exact list I did not want to see (I was hoping for the Sisters list as I did not want to player Eldar for a 4th time). Unfortunately Jaime ended up playing the top five Eldar players so he had a rather mono-tournament. I deployed quite poorly which was compounded by Jaime seizing on me and the game was basically over from there as he was able to get both Genestealers into my mid-base and destroy the Wave Serpent, Dark Reapers and Wraithguard – straight line assaults without bubble-wrap is a stupid mistake and something that I was having issue with throughout the tournament with my list because of a) mistakes and b) mistakes. We wrapped up quickly and both of us worked together on his assault as he knew what he wanted to do but we were both mentally exhumed. Was a fun game and great opponent despite the smashing.
My losses in Games 2 and 4 were avoidable though I am not sure I could have won against Jaime’s list – I just did not have the anti-infantry or counter assault power. The game could certainly have been closer but my anti-infantry is just not there in the list. So let’s look at the list in detail then.
Autarch – I liked this guy, he was my best combat clearer but his ability to target characters when used did dick all (my flyers were better Snipers) and he often needed to move away so the re-roll 1’s aura was not seen as much. I think I would rather he become a unit of Shining Spears (see Banshees where this becomes a pattern). That being said, the extra Command Points was clutch in some games and I did hold him back rather than be aggressive which I may do otherwise with Spears but I was generally out of CP by Turn 2/3 regardless.
Farseer / Warlock – both of these guys were what you expect, psychic support and utility which they did. Quicken on many things is ace though WC7 is a pain. I never used the Seer Council Stratagem so I would try and find the extra points for a Spiritseer or Conclave to double distance cast if necessary.
Banshees – I was deeply disappointed with the Banshees and perhaps I was using them too passively (certainly so in the Eldar mirror match I lost) but their durability against anything who can actually swing a stick (even at -2 as well) was near non-existent. This was even when I was using them in practice games so while I never played a gunline type Imperial army where this unit would be a great disrupter and thus did not have their ideal opponent, I would again much rather have had Shining Spears. They just require so much support to actually chew through things. Small units of 5 I might consider to get free charges and avoid overwatch from for the Spears but that’s about it.
Wraithguard – The scare factor of these was amazing against my opponents while their damage was less so (everyone also thought they were D2 which would make them near autoincludes). While each model does an average of two wounds per shot, their shorter range made them have far less impact. While “another squad of reapers” can be the response to anything, they are certainly more durable and surprisingly poke a punch on combat. Their best use is a deterrent, particularly on the combat side, though smart opponents can figure there way around this by either assaulting other units or assaulting outside of 8″.
Dire Avengers – I actually wanted more of these guys as I felt they could have been a good aggressive unit in a Wave Serpent to push up against enemy infantry *cough Dark reapers cough* that the Wraithguard had a near 10″ disadvantage against. They otherwise were another space filler.
Rangers – The amount of plinks these guys did to drop the final wound off a big model was pretty high and like the Hemlock below, allowed for much better efficiency for the army. They were also my only real blockers and this left them dying often and early but there were not enough bodies to really stunt charges or deep strikes.
Dark Reapers – they were of course the star of the show and prepare for them to be rebalanced quickly. Ignoring all negative modifiers to hit is too good for their points so they either need to go up in points or simply ignore the move and shoot penalty rather than all modifiers. They were target number 1 for my enemy and I did a relatively poor job of consistently protecting them across the tournament which directly led to two of my losses. I was also surprised to see so many players at the tournament using their big missiles when using any combination of Doom (i.e. Guide or no Guide).
Wave Serpents – Were very surprisingly durable, even without Stones; at 13 Wounds and Serpent Shield they are a tough nut to crack but also having an effective 3D3 Mortal wounds available in a pinch is super valuable. I did not use them aggressively enough overall, launching only a few assaults and often splitting my Banshees and Wraithguard up when they should have ideally been supporting each other.
Crimson Hunters – I was suitably impressed with the Crimson Hunters given the tournament was my first outing with them and not double Hemlock; particularly in the Eldar mirror matches. So many things have Fly in the game currently that their ability to re-roll wounds is like a little Doom here and there though as they degrade, they are certainly less useful. I would definitely consider maintaining them in ongoing lists.
Hemlock – As usual, the Hemlock was great. He brought the utility of an extra denial, an extra psychic power (normally Jinx) and some strong autohitting damage which usually finished off hard to kill models to allow my efficiency to remain high. I still would like double Hemlocks but Hemlock + 2x CHE gives an extra valuable CP so I’m happy in this regard. CHE are also more reliable against infantry if there are fewer monster / vehicle targets. It did make the Hemlock the first fighter to be shot off the board more often than not though, easy way to spend 2 CP and give him an effective -3 to hit.
Eldar are obviously quite strong currently with their ability to stack negative to hit modifiers and do very well against a wide variety of opponents. Interestingly at Cancon they seemed to struggle against Tyranids though this did not appear to be the case at LVO (not sure what Nid lists were run). I know my list would have struggled with lots of big infantry squads (see round 8) but there were very few lists in the top 20 that featured large durable unit blocks (lots of MSU though). I will be tweaking the list over the coming two weeks to prepare for Clash (where I used to run 3++con) and may consider adding Yvarine and Ynnari to the Reapers (which I was initially loathe to do but the double shooting Reapers will definitely outweigh the utility of the Autarch) and grab some Ynnari Spears (sounding familiar?).
The tournament was great fun though not sure if I can physically and mentally manage three straight days of wargaming. Thankfully two of my games were over very quickly so I got to check out the gaming stalls, purchase a few things and have a chat with a lot of people.
Will try and get the bat reps ASAP to review mistakes and prepare for the next one in four weeks :).