Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Conclave of Har Game Report: Second Edition. Space Marines Vs Eldar.

It's no secret that we love Second Edition Warhammer 40,000 here at the Conclave. Not only is it the edition that Lee and I commenced the hobby with, it is also in our opinion, the best most cinematic and narrative edition of the game. Indeed the Conclave of Har is the home of the Second Edition Revival Project though work on that has stalled somewhat due to a number of factors, not least that the latest version of 40K has incorporated a lot of elements of Second Edition itself, rendering our work somewhat diminished in the grand scheme of things. Maybe 8th will offer a better opportunity.

So for now we just squeeze some 2E games in where we can, and our 'Day of 40K' offered us such an opportunity. Originally Lee suggested 1500 points but I remember all too well how long Second Edition could take to play at even moderate points levels and cut that down to 1000pts. Now I had planned to take a Genestealer Cult even though they were unpainted as it would be something a little different, however a number of problems which are ably documented in the Kill Team report HERE meant that I fell back on my standard army, Space Marines. 

Problem is you really do not get many Space Marines for 1000 points. Even a fully kitted out Tactical Squad will run you 350 on its own. However back in the day the Force Organisation Chart didn't exist and your army selection was instead based upon percentages with 25% as a minimum from Squads  and up to 50% for each of the other departments. 

So it was that I saw myself with the opportunity to field an army much like I used to back in the day, I'm sure Lee will be able to tell you with varying amounts of fondness of facing my three Dreadnought Ultramarine army with plenty of sniper scouts on the side. (He has a beard now but it was bigger in those days - Lee).

Therefore my Emperors Blades army was as follows: One Codicier (Lee was taking Eldar so I would need some kind of Psychic counter) a full Tactical Squad sans heavy weapon, which I would split into two Combat Squads, a Whirlwind for artillery support and Two dreadnoughts. I felt a pang of guilt at this selection but in all honesty Lee's second Edition Eldar builds could be pretty brutal and I'd likely need the extra firepower. In addition I selected some protective wargear for my Codicier opting for an Aegis Suit and Psychic Hood so that I would be better protected against his Psychic Powers.

My Space Marine Army: The Emperor's Blades

My force was equally strained in what it could fit. I would have more Eldar than Allen had Marines but they can still be expensive, particularly as I couldn't leave Aspect Warriors out of my force. Lucky for him my tanks are in the display cabinet at the office. My force was too small to include a Farseer so I took a Warlock Champion who is a level two psyker. My hope was that Librarians were costly enough that if Allen included one then it would just be a Lexicanium so it would be easier to dispel his casts but as it turned out he took a psyker of equal level so ho hum. 

The Warlock was not my leader though, that honour went to a Banshee Exarch. In second edition Exarchs were purchased as toughness 4 2 wound characters who were given the armaments of their temple and purchased additional Exarch powers. Mine was a Banshee with an Executioner and a conversion field for a bit of extra protection. Her powers were Fighting Fury, which gave her an extra and War Shout which meant she caused Fear. She would be accompanied by a unit of four Howling Banshees.

How I loathed this book back in the day....

The bulk of my army was made up of two squads of Guardians all armed with Shuriken Catapults. Each of these weapons as a range of 24", one sustained fire dice at S4 -2 armour save per shot, Space Marine Killers! When we were playing this as teenagers I had a hell of a time getting enough models together for a squad, now I was only using a fraction of my available models.

For a bit of fast moving harassment I took a unit of five Warp Spiders which at 205pts basic was the most expensive unit in my force. For support I took a Warwalker with two missile launchers and a Vyper with a Shuriken Cannon and Scatter Laser.

In second edition each player could have a separate mission, this was something we definitely like and greatly miss even if GW tried to reincorporate them with the tactical objective cards in seventh. In this instance Lee had the mission Witch hunt. His objective was to kill or at least wound my Codicier. I had Engage and Destroy, this was a simple kill mission, take out as many units as I could and get extra victory points for obliterating entire squads and vehicles.

I decided to go period specific with the terrain so we used the Necromunda scenery from our Kill Team game and the powerstation from the Storm of Vengeance campaign pack.

Now second edition had Strategy Cards as well, cards that you would keep in hand and use at opportune moments during the game to try to gain the upper hand. We actually completely forgot to use them during the game but I originally drew Virus Outbreak which Lee and I refuse to use as it is utterly broken and can cripple the opponents army making for a dull game (the designers even gave instructions via White Dwarf to tear it up and throw it away - Lee). My redraw was the moderately useful Minefield but as I saw we neglected to use them in any instance. 

So with that it was time to start the game, we deployed and I went first.

Turn 1

It turned out however, that I couldn't see any of Lee's army, the cowardly xenos lurking out of sight. This being the case I put pretty much the entire army into Overwatch. This wasn't the Overwatch that you have now that just enables you to take a snap shot at a charging enemy this was a proper delaying of your shooting till the opponent moved into line of sight, you would get a minus modifier to your shot but it was still often useful. Tokens were placed and my army bade it's time. All except the Whirlwind, which took an Indirect Fire shot at Lee's Guardians, the Scatter and Artillery Dice came up a hit and 5 Guardians were blown into little pieces by missiles. 

As there had been no movement and precious little shooting and nothing had charged into combat it was the Psychic Phase (Psychics were done at the end of the turn in 2E) The Warp swelled and a Total of 11 cards were shared out with myself getting the extra as it was my turn. However, my powers were not such that I could really use at the time and I settled for engaging Lee in a Psychic Duel, he passed the challenge though (we rolled the same after modifiers) and retained all his powers. I stored a card in my Force Staff and It was Lee's turn.

Where are all these Eldar then? 

I'm no dummy. Last game we played with these armies I lost a Dreadnought to Space Marine fire in turn one before I had even moved a unit so yes, everyone was in hiding which allowed me to begin the first turn of this game relatively unscathed. Most of my units ran as anyone who was going to pass in front of Allen's overwatching units needed to get the additional -1 to hit for moving over 10" where possible. Regardless, I managed to get past all that out of sequence firing in good shape. 

My Warwalker wanted to take out a dreadnought so fired both of its missile launchers but failed to penetrate. Checking the weapon stats it wasn't going to be easy with D6+D10+8. I would need some pretty good rolls, having two shots and some psychic back up should help. My Vyper hoped to make a better show of things zooming up to Allen's Whirlwind which I knew was going to give me no end of headaches but disaster! My thinking had been stuck in seventh edition and shots at the rear of a Whirlwind with a Shuriken Cannon and Scatter Laser could do nothing, the best armour penetration I would be able to do was only D6+D4+5! Oh for a lascannon. I decided to shoot up some marines instead but because I had moved so fast the modifiers on my to hit dice meant I hit nothing but air. 

I hoped to have a more successful psychic phase but with only 5 cards split between the two of us the chances weren't good. To top it all my attempt to cast Guide on the Warwalker failed as Allen played the Daemonic Attack card but thankfully the Warlock survived!

Turn 2

I had no charges to declare (2E combat was done in Combat phase but you HAD to have declared and charged in in the movement phase) and I didn't really need to move so It was straight to shooting. My Twin Lascannon Dreadnought tried to take down Lee's War Walker as this was the only thing that had any real anti-armour weapons (rub it in already-Lee). I hit and on rolling for location hit the right weapon. I easily beat the armour and one of the missile launchers was destroyed. The Plasma Dread shot too but hit the Eldar Pilot himself and with a 2+ invulnerable Power Field save the alien escaped harm (Wubalubadubdub!-Lee). 

The combat squad had more luck though and took out the Howling Banshees heading towards my Librarian. With no overwatch modifier the Astartes rapid firing Boltguns made short work of the Eldar Combat troops. The other Combat Squad went on Overwatch as there were Warp Spiders on the prowl on the left flank. The Whirlwind failed to hit, Indirect fire was always more inaccurate. At least I didn't roll a misfire on the artillery dice so nothing went wrong with the launcher. 

In the Psychic Phase I was able to cast Salamander and a flickering tongue of fire shot out 5D6 directly in front of my Librarian and took a wound off the Howling Banshee Exarch, the only survivor from her squad.

My luck has to run out soon as that Whirlwind can cause major havoc for Eldar but there was nothing I can do about it as none of my units bar the Warwalker had anything that could even scratch it and that was on the opposite side of the board. And my Banshees man, son of a bitch! 

Still, got me some Warp Spiders and they jumped over to the Marine squad my Vyper had failed to hit. Their 3+ armour meant they took no casualties from the overwatch fire as they were moving out of cover and more than 10" thanks to their jump generators. Laying down multiple flame templates each marine even partially under the template had to take an initiative test, if they passed then they leapt out of the way of the monofilament cloud in time but if not then they were ensnared and took an automatic wound with a -2 save which left three piles of minced Marine. I jumped out of there but lost a Warp Spider in the process. Sad face.

My Warwalker only had one missile launcher but this hit the dread, the +1 to hit for a large target coupled with my targeters helped but I couldn't penetrate the armour. Bad news for Allen though as I had some guardians in range of his Marines. More specifically I was in range of his Codicier who was the target of my mission card. Sure he had terminator armour but force enough 5+ saves on two dice added together and he'll drop sooner or later. Didn't happen this turn though.

I did manage to get another shot off at the dread with the Warwalker thanks to Guide but that armour must be made out of Nokia 3310s cause that stuff didn't break.

At the mid game point (2E games only lasted 4 turns) I definitely had the advantage, slight though it may be. Obliterating the Howling Banshees (The Exarch was an Independent Character and not part of the unit) afforded me extra points due to my mission and gave me the lead. However, there was still much to play for and a good amount of Eldar to continue to be a thorn in my side. The Warp Spiders in particular were a problem and I had to keep them away from my Codicier...

At the midpoint the Marine right flank looks very strong whilst the jumping Warp Spiders harry the left. 

Turn 3

Movement was once again minimal from the Marines, the Combat squad on the right took down a couple of Guardians, meaning Lee would have to take break tests. The Las Dread hit and penetrated the War Walkers Leg Armour but could only stagger the construct causing it to crash into the power station but causing no additional damage. The Plasma Dread took out another two guardians on the left side and the reduced combat squad, being unable to target the Warp Spiders finished off the squad. The Whirlwind fired at the Spiders but once again scattered off target. 

The Psychic phase saw a mighty 11 cards dealt out but there was nothing for me to cast so I just saved a force card for next turn. 

It was time to hunker down and trade fire with the Marines with my Shuriken Catapults so I moved them into some ruins. The Vyper when psyker hunting as I wanted those mission points as the Space Marines weren''t being cool and headbutting my missiles and such. The Warp Spiders went into mince some more marines but they all dodge the fire and to top it off I lost two Spiders on the jump back which gave a victory point to Allen for 50% squad casualties.

By this point I had given up on blowing up the dread so targeted some marines and popped one to lie down next to the one the Guardians had shredded so that meant a break test. The Vyper disappointingly failed to hurt the Codicier which meant I was running out of options.

By the last turn the Marines are in the ascendancy...

Turn 4

I started my last turn passing my break test and then by declaring a charge on the War walker with my Plasma Dread. If I couldn't shoot it down I'd tear it apart with my Power Fist! My Codicier moved into cover heedless of Lee's taunts, no point in taking chances. The reduced combat squads positioned themselves to finish off the Guardians. 

Shooting saw the Whirlwind miss AGAIN! Sigh, a 25% percent success rate was not going to please the chapter master...  Still at least the Tactical Marines went some way to restoring chapter honour, finishing off the Guardians. Robbed of their target the other Combat Squad shot down the Banshee Exarch. Finally the Lascannon Dread shot down the Vyper by killing both of the crew, the Jetbike crashing to the ground in a heap of wreckage. 

The combat between the Dread and Warwalker saw the dread hit the War Walker 7 times (in 2E you both rolled a dice for each of your attacks and added your weapon skill plus modifiers comparing scores with the difference being landed in hits-) Despite this, all I could do was rip off the other missile launcher, If I'd hit the pilot I would have crushed him as his armour save was only good against weapons fire. 

 Despite 12 cards in the Psychic phase nothing was cast. 

I passed all my break tests so started to move. I had nothing to lose by trying to get out of combat with that dread so made a disengage move, Allen took his free hit and smashed it to pieces. It was going to die anyway. I was damned if I was just going to let that Codicier bugger off woundless but I had nothing in range so decided to knock off his mates instead.

The Guardians took down a single marine and the Warp Spiders also killed a marine. My Warlock hurled his Singing Spear at the dread but only managed to give it a gammy knee. Time to pin my hopes on the psychic phase.

I had enough cards to cast Executioner, sending an astral version of myself to fight a round of combat for each power card I expended but Allen reflected it back at me ending the game. Poop.

A quick totaling of the points revealed the Marines to be victors by 13 points to 3. Glory for the Emperor's Blades!

I'II shall not quickly forget that if I want to bust armour that I need to bring lascannons to the party. That or I need to get my dread with D-cannon built again. Eldar used to have to walk and run everywhere and that was the problem here as Allen could stay entrenched. Some Hawks may have helped, dropping a few krak grenades on the marines may have had a noticable effect. Still, I'll be bringing a Falcon or Fire Prism next time.

That game was loads of fun if a little one sided. Lee just couldn't cope with my Armour and he was actually really lucky that my Whirlwind was only 25% accurate. (They are a bit hit or miss but against Eldar if they do strike true they will wreak absolute carnage)

Also, Lee's rolls for his Psychic Phase certainly didn't help. Whilst I was consistently rolling double figures in my turn Lee was rolling much lower giving him much less to work with, the few powers he did get off I didn't have too much trouble countering.

That said, his War Walker was a pain in my Ceramite plated neck, Whilst I had the firepower to take it  out I just couldn't hit the right BIT of it and I honestly thought it was going to escape entirely unscathed, thankfully Lee walked off and gave me the free hits to finally wreck it.

I'm also really lucky that Lee killed three of his own Warp Spiders for me as I was having a horrible time against them. They are monstrously hard and therefore monstrously expensive. They could have caused me real problems and decimated my infrantry.

Ultimately though it was Lee's failure to take out my Codicier that cost him. It wasn't for lack of trying though I think I would have used the Vyper a little more aggressively. Losing the Banshees so early was a big blow for him too and maybe a different Aspect Warrior unit with more fire power would have been a better option.

After the 2E game we squeezed in a game of 7th. This also was a win for the marines (bigger army) but it was MUCH closer with only one point in it as Lee's excellent Chaos army gave me a run for my money.

The Seventh Ed game was significantly Larger. 

I even had to use a few partially painted figures!

1 comment:

  1. Good commentary. Need to get an art template to draw maps of battles.