Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Khorne Campaigns: World Eaters vs. Saim-Hann Eldar

After one game with the angry red marines I was feeling pretty good about the army but the second battalion with minimal CSM squads and cultists just felt kind of boring. So I reorganized for more fun stuff and took on Blaster's Eldar Flying Circus:

++ Battalion Detachment +3CP (Chaos - Chaos Space Marines) [59 PL, 1086pts] ++

+ Flyer +

Heldrake [10 PL, 185pts]: Baleflamer, Heldrake claws, Mark of Khorne

Legion: World Eaters

+ Dedicated Transport +

Chaos Rhino [4 PL, 74pts]: Combi-bolter, Combi-bolter, Mark of Khorne

Chaos Rhino [4 PL, 74pts]: Combi-bolter, Combi-bolter, Mark of Khorne

Chaos Rhino [4 PL, 74pts]: Combi-bolter, Combi-bolter, Mark of Khorne

+ HQ +

Dark Apostle [5 PL, 76pts]: Bolt pistol, Mark of Khorne, Power maul, The Black Mace

Exalted Champion [5 PL, 75pts]: Bolt pistol, Mark of Khorne, Power axe

+ Troops +

Khorne Berzerkers [9 PL, 176pts]: Icon of Wrath
. Berzerker Champion: Plasma pistol, Power fist
. 5x Chainsword and Chainaxe: 5x Chainaxe
. Chainsword and plasma pistol: Chainsword, Plasma pistol
. Chainsword and plasma pistol: Chainsword, Plasma pistol

Khorne Berzerkers [9 PL, 176pts]: Icon of Wrath
. Berzerker Champion: Plasma pistol, Power fist
. 5x Chainsword and Chainaxe: 5x Chainaxe
. Chainsword and plasma pistol: Chainsword, Plasma pistol
. Chainsword and plasma pistol: Chainsword, Plasma pistol

Khorne Berzerkers [9 PL, 176pts]: Icon of Wrath
. Berzerker Champion: Plasma pistol, Power fist
. 5x Chainsword and Chainaxe: 5x Chainaxe
. Chainsword and plasma pistol: Chainsword, Plasma pistol
. Chainsword and plasma pistol: Chainsword, Plasma pistol

++ Vanguard Detachment +1CP (Chaos - Chaos Space Marines) [48 PL, 914pts] ++

Legion: World Eaters

+ Heavy Support +

Defiler [11 PL, 189pts]: Mark of Khorne, Reaper autocannon, Twin heavy flamer

+ HQ +

Chaos Lord on Juggernaut of Khorne [7 PL, 147pts]: Axe of Blind Fury, Bladed horn on Juggernaut of Khorne, Plasma pistol, Power axe

Daemon Prince with Wings [9 PL, 180pts]: Daemonic axe, Khorne

+ Elites +

Helbrute [7 PL, 142pts]: Helbrute fist, Helbrute plasma cannon, Mark of Khorne

Helbrute [7 PL, 126pts]: Mark of Khorne
. Helbrute fist: Combi-bolter
. Helbrute fist: Combi-bolter

Helbrute [7 PL, 130pts]: Mark of Khorne, Power scourge, Reaper autocannon

++ Total: [107 PL, 2000pts] ++

The core is the same but I wanted something to get in the enemy's face Turn 1 to distract them from the Rhinos - so I brought in a Heldrake. The Helbrutes and Defiler all have the same movement rate as the Juggerlord so I thought that would make a fun battlegroup to send up the board as a compliment to the zerks.

Blaster's List was:

  • The usual two squads of scatterbikes + jetbike farseer + jetbike warlock 
  • 3 squads of guardians + a bright lance platform for each
  • A wave serpent full of wraithguard
  • A squad of dark reapers
  • A wraithlord
  • A squad of warp spiders
  • A squad of swooping hawks
  • A fire prism

We tried out the new Chapter Approved mission "Dominate and Destroy" - I really like it on paper. 
  • Place six objectives. At the end of each players turn control of each objective is worth 1 VP
  • Kill points: 1 VP for each enemy unit destroyed 
  • Also: Slay the Warlord, Linebreaker, First Blood
Right there you cover all the basic elements of various 40K missions without weirdly specific rules or fiddling with cards. That said, my army was not really built with a mission like this in mind.

 He got to pick deployment type and deployment zone but I managed to win first turn. Objectives were one in each woods, one in that square of ruins near the top of the picture, and one by the fallen stompa. 

My army is on the left, his is on the right.

World Eaters Turn 1

Now my army's basic operating principle is "Rush forward". Specifically the rhinos move + advance + pop smoke and prepare to unload and charge on Turn Two, The Heldrake is there to make a turn 1 charge, and I always envisioned the helbrutes and defiler charging up with the Juggerlord and the daemon prince helping out as needed. I quickly realized this was going to be bad as that meant I had nothing to hold objectives. With one in my backfield and three in the midfield I had no great unit to sit on them. 

Wishing I had decided to go with the 11 point 48" range havoc launcher instead of the 34 point 8" range twin heavy flamer I decided to keep the defiler back on my home objective. The battle canon and reaper cannon had the range to hurt things and he as nasty enough up close any deep-striking eldar would be in for a lot of pain.  The daemon prince stayed back too just in case I needed to deal with two threats - Blaster had a warp spider squad and a swooping hawk squad in reserve so this was a possibility. I burned 3 CP's on the defiler's shooting and did about 3 wounds to the fire prism. Underwhelmed.

The heldrake shot forward, flamed the jetbike squad, then charged into the guardians and the wave serpent - which was his real target. This is where his limitations became apparent. He's plenty tough, especially for a flying type thing, and while 4 attacks is pretty good, he's only WS 4+. That means only 2 of those are going to hit and considering he's unlikely to have character re-roll support that's not really super-impressive. He does get a +1 to hit flyers and considering how many of those the Eldar have it is a nice benefit but is it enough? The jury is still out.

The biggest issues I found as I wrapped up turn 1 was that a) while I was on 4 objectives I wasn't sure how I was going to hold them and b) I hadn't killed anything. Losing the long range tac squads and the missile havoc squad meant I had very little long range shooting.

Eldar Turn 1
  • Everything close to it opened up on the heldrake and obliterated it. This is going to make further evaluation of his offensive capabilities very difficult.
  • The fire prism and one guardian bright lance detonated the plasma helbrute - literally, as he exploded and did mortal wounds to the autocannon helbrute and 3 more to the juggerlord.
  • He managed to kill one rhino too but I only lost one marine on the bailout.
  • Lesosn 1 - Dark Reapers and their always-hit-on-3's do not care about your smoke launchers
  • Lesson 2 - Unchecked Eldar psychic phases are unpleasant for the opponent
He charged in his wraithlord and it killed a couple of zerks - then they struck back and killed it, though it did take both of their attacks to do it. The champ with the powerfist did most of the work here but it was a team effort. 

At the end of turn 1 his 2 objectives + kill points had him ahead of me.

World Eaters Turn 2

  • Most of the army advanced because I was just not close enough to charge.
  • I kept the autocannon brute back somewhat so he stayed in front of the juggerlord as I tried to squeeze out some more objective VPs.
  • The puncher-brute was not close enough for a charge so he advanced
  • The defiler didn't do much
  • I reached for a Turn 2 charge with one berzerker squad and it failed. 
  • The second squad got out and prepped for a counter-charge next turn
  • The third squad stayed in their rhinos as I decided to sit on another objective as nothing was even close to in-range. 
So turn 2 I accomplished very little even though I did get 4 more VP's from objectives. My rhinos were being used to hold objectives instead of charging in and absorbing overwatch. I just was not killing anything and I knew that was going to be a problem on his turn as I was in range of pretty much his entire army now. Blaster made the unusual for him play of not moving up with any of his units other than the wave serpent and it left me hanging out in no-man's land waiting to get blasted by the full firepower of the Eldar. 

Eldar Turn 2
It was a massacre.
  • He blew up the puncher-brute
  • He gunned down the damaged zerker squad and the dark apostle
  • He blew up another rhino and then killed the squad inside - scytheguard are nasty
So I conceded once that second squad died. I had a damaged helbrute and a half-dead juggerlord at one end, One full zerker squad and one almost-dead rhino at the other, and one daemon prince and one defiler in my backfield. Nothing was working and the only thing the zerks were in a position to charge on the next turn was the d-scythe wraithguard which was a suicide run. 

So what went wrong? Part of it was the army design, part of it was the mission. 

  •  I still like the core but even berzerkers need fire support. A BS 4+ defiler is not sufficient fire support. I have a unit of rogue trader missile havocs that was originally headed for my Death Guard army. Since the DG no longer get havocs they will probably convert to Khorne. 
  • I like the defiler even though it has a split personality being sort of OK at shooting and OK at fighting. I think it's going to have more impact up close so he and the Juggerlord may become better battle brothers.
  • I like Helbrutes but I think 3 is probably too many. More on them in another post. 
  • The Heldrake sort of performed like I had hoped though I had hoped he might survive to Turn 2. I am wondering if using two might make a big difference, especially in keeping fire off of my rhinos and helping one or both of them live to see a second turn. The problem with running them up on a gunline is that the long ranged guns can still shoot my rhinos because he had a thousand 12" range shuriken catapult shots to pour into them. Have to think about this one. 
  • Juggerlord vs. Daemon Prince - I like both and I think both have a role even if I did not use them very effectively this battle. Just for enemy target priority obfuscation it might make more sense to take two of one instead of one of each. Again, need to think on it more/
  • We mostly play Maelstrom missions here. Objectives are a thing with those missions, but there are a bunch of other things in there too and it's fairly rare that you will be asked to spend multiple turns sitting on an objective. This army is fairly mobile, but it's not really meant to sit in one place for long. 
  • Kill points are a little rough here. Sending an assault army into the teeth of a gunline is pretty much guaranteed to put you behind on kill points fast. Ideally you make it up late in the game but if you never get there...
  • I was thinking Maelstrom when I built this list and I should have stuck with that instead of changing it up right before we played. Realizing I needed to sit on objectives really threw off my game plan to the point I had melee units like the daemon prince hiding in the back. 
The Future

I already have another list figured out for a rematch with Blaster but I am wondering if 3 squads/rhinos is enough? Maybe I should go to 4? I could just double up that first battalion and go with 6 squads and 4 leaders. That would leave about 200 points, enough to keep the defiler or the heldrake in the force. I think a line of 3 rhinos, a defiler, and 3 more rhinos would look pretty good. Sure, there's no fire support there but it's an awful lot of stuff to have to kill before it crashes into your lines. 

Anyway I will be posting another report after our next fight. Blood for the Blood God!

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