I went to my local store on Sunday for their monthly tourney. Unfortunately, for whatever reason, only one other person showed up, so the tournament was off. Since we were there, we decided to go ahead and play a 1,000 point game as planned, but with no time limit, which was nice as I had bought the new Eldar codex when I walked in and was learning the rules on the fly. My opponent, Rick, was a great sport and didn't complain when I grabbed my book dozens of times each turn.
I decided to bring a combined DE and Eldar force. I opted to make the Eldar the primary detachment, in large part because I wanted a chance to use the new Eldar Warlord Traits, and because the Farseer is Ld 10 while the Haemonculus is Ld8. My List was:
Farseer: Warlord Trait - Eye on Distant Events (never used it - forgot), Guide, Doom, Fortune
Warlock: Conceal (rolled embolden, opted for Primaris)
10 Guardian Defenders: Eldar Missile Launcher
5 Dire Avengers: Exarch
2 x 10 Warriors: Splinter Cannon, Raider with Night Shields
Falcon: Scatter Laser, Holo Fields
Ravager: Night Shields
The combined forces prepare for battle
Hive Tyrant: Wings, TL Brain Leach Devourer, Lashwhip and Bonesword, Iron Arm and Hemorrhage
Doom of Malan'tai: Mycetic Spore
2 Hive Guard
2 x 10 Termagants: Devourers, Toxin Sacs, Adrenal Glands
Rolling for mission and deployment, we got Emperor's Will and Vanguard Strike deployment. I was still in Tournament mode (where in timed games, I want second turn) and won the roll for who deploys first and deferred. Woops!
Rick deployed his objectives in the graveyard/ruins and surrounded it with one squad of devilgants. The Hive Guard and Zoanthrope deployed just in front of them, while the Flyrant and second squad of devilgants went to his left. The Trygon held down the right flank.
I wanted to keep as much distance as I could between me and his Flyrant before I could get the benefit of the skimmer jink save, so I deployed all four vehicles in the rearmost corner. The Guardians, accompanied by the Farseer, Warlock, and Haemonculus all hunkered on the objective behind the ruined tower.
Fairly uneventful turn; his Flyrant moves up the minimum, with devilgants in tow, and the Trygon moves up on the other flank. The little shooting he gets off bounces, and a spore mine from the biovore scatters off the table.
Bottom of Turn 1:
I cast Doom on the Flyrant, as well as Guide on the Guardians. I roll double 1s and spend my third warp charge to ignore it. The Warlock casts Conceal and the Guardians are happy. I move them up, shoot at the Flyrant along with everything else just about, cause 1 wound, don't ground him, and then run back behind the tower. The Falcon and one Raider on my left couldn't draw a bead on the Flyrant and instead managed to score two wounds on the Trygon.
Top of Turn 2:
The Trygon, Flyrant, and Devilgants continue moving up. The devilgants run, keeping pace with the Flyrant while the Trygon stumbles and only runs 1". The Doom drops dangerously close to the edge and pops out. His soul-sucking only ends up killing 1 Guardian (cover saves on that power helped, even if it doesn't make sense). The Doom then cast cataclysm and manage to only kill a single additional guardian, taking two wounds in the process. Fire from the rest of the Tyranids kills a single guardian as well.
Bottom of Turn 2:
The Raiders continue around the flanks while the Guardians and Falcon move out of range of the Doom and his pod. All of my combined shooting manages to do a single wound on the Trygon, with the Flyrant escaping a hail of fire unscathed.
Rick's turn started poorly with the Tyrant taking a Perils of the Warp wound when trying to cast Iron Arm. The Doom moved up to get back within 6" of the Guardians while the Flyrant passed overhead. The Trygon meanwhile diverted for the flanking Raider. In the shooting phase, the Guardians passed their leadership on 3D6 and then made all but one save from the combined fire of the Hive Tyrant and Devilgants, as well as another cataclysm, which dealt 2 more wounds to the Doom. The Trygon shot the Dark Lance of the Raider and then assaulted it, easily swatting it out of the air, but only wrecking it, so the Warriors on board jumped out behind.
Bottom of Turn 3:
Everything shuffled around in preparation for the shooting phase. I didn't shuffle the Guardians far enough away from the Doom, but they passed their leadership check again. In revenge for the scare, they proceeded to shoot the Doom to pieces. The Warriors on the left shot down the Trygon with little problem, surprisingly, while the other Warriors killed six of the ten devilgants moving up on the Guardians. What little shooting remained, including the disembarked Dire Avengers, went for the Hive Tyrant, who took a single wound but refused to fall from the sky.
Top of Turn 4:
The Flyrant got Iron Arm off, but rolled a 1 for the third time, only taking him to Strength and Toughness 7. The movement started with a spore mine scattering directly onto the Guardians, hitting every single one of them, but only managing to kill one thanks to Conceal and Fortune. In the interest of saving his Flyrant from further fire, he vector striked off the board, hitting the Falcon but failing to do damage. Though it's not on the map, the Hive Guard took a pot shot at the Haemonculus, their only target, and killed him with ease. The remaining devilgants moved up but didn't manage to kill any guardians, and then saved me the trouble of shooting them next turn by charging. One was cut down by overwatch, two more by the Farseer and Warlock. The single wound dealt by the guardians was saved on a 6, and then the guardians returned the favor, making a 5+ save. The lone gaunt, out of synapse, promptly ran and was chased down by the Guardians.
Bottom of Turn 4:
The Dire Avengers re-embarked on the Falcon, which moved up, careful to stay outside of 24" of the Hive Guard. Everything else shuffled slightly, and then took a couple pot shots, wounding the Mycetic Spore and one of the Hive Guard. Otherwise, it was a pretty uneventful turn, though I did forget to cast psychic powers.
The Flyrant swooped back onto the board, vector striking the Warriors by the river and killing a couple. They attracted the majority of the Tyranid shooting this turn and dropped a few more, but passed their morale check on an 8.
Bottom of Turn 5:
The Falcon moved forward and the Dire Avengers disembarked once again. The remaining raider swooped up around the corner, hoping to either go Full Out to the objective or prepare for an attack run next turn. Once again I forgot to cast Blessings, and at this point in the game, had no excuse to keep forgetting. Fortunately there wasn't much of anything left that could hit the Guardians. Fire from most of the army finally brought down the Flyrant with a Dark Lance from the Ravager. Unfortunately, the fire from everywhere wasn't working so the Raider and Splinter Cannon tried to help bring down the Warlord, meaning they would have to wait until next turn, if they survived, to make a run for contesting the objective; if there was a next turn. The Guardians then turned and vaporized the big spore pod behind them.
We rolled to see if the game ended, but it would continue!
Top of Turn 6:
He didn't have much left, and had no plans to abandon his bunker. The Hive Guard stunned and immobilized the Raider, then, forgetting the night shields, he was just in range with some of his devilgants, who managed about 5 glances and forced the embarked warriors out of the wreckage. The Zoanthrope tried to Warp Lance the Falcon, but missed.
Bottom of Turn 6:
With no troops able to get close to the objective, my goal for the turn was to remove synapse and try to get the termagants to run. I moved up where possible and the Ravager promptly sniped out the Zoanthrope with its three Dark Lances. Now all I had to do was cause three wounds on the termagants to force a morale check. Fire from the Falcon killed one, while the Dire Avengers and Warriors caused five wounds, all of which made their cover saves. Drat. In hindsight I should have moved the Guardians onto the tower and fired a Plasma missile in there, but I didn't. Roll for the game to continue came up low, and with that the game ended in a draw. I had Slay the Warlord and one objective to his First Blood and one objective.
I was extremely impressed with the Guardians. They took a lot of fire for the first half of the game and ended the game over half strength. Conceal in ruins make them very tough to get out, and their mobility allows them to dart into position to get the best line of fire, and then duck back away. I think I was a little conservative with the rest of the army, particularly the Warriors in Raiders. I probably should have jammed them up the middle to cause havoc while the rest of the army stayed back, allowing the Dire Avengers to pounce on a more beleaguered objective holder late game. I also probably should have ignored the Flyrant. It's pretty shameful that I gave up First Blood in Turn 3. If I had fired on the Zoanthrope early on, that was an easy victory point and could have made the Hive Guard, Biovores, and Termagants hunker down more and be more liable to run away from a good barrage. Concentrating fire on the Trygon also could have taken it down earlier, before it did the little damage it managed.
I think I out-thought myself with the Tyranids in that I kept expecting them to be used how I would have used them. I saw opportunities Rick either didn't see or chose not to take, which meant I was playing myself rather than reading my opponent. For example, his Flyrant only had a single devourer, and so put out less fire and less damage. He also stuck to the air rather than engaging the guardians and Farseer in combat, which I was expecting him to.
Thoughts on the New Eldar:
I completely forgot about my Warlord Trait, which would have given me Stealth for one round of opponent shooting. I'm not sure it would have played a major role. The Conceal/Guide/Fortune combo I had going was pretty impressive, even though Fortune is 2 Warp Charge. The Scatter Laser on the Falcon was well worth it, making the Pulse Laser twin linked every time I got a hit with the Scatter Laser - and with 4 shots at BS4, that's pretty likely. War Walkers with a Scatter Laser combined with another gun could be pretty scary - and they still get the Run and Shoot special ability. I may be in the minority, but I like the new codex, and am looking forward to playing with them some more.