Another Unyielding (vanilla) / Dark Angels vs Eldar / Tau megamatch. Different tau player, and this time we went to 3700pts per side. Different tau player meant no riptides, but the eldar list included 2 wraithknights. So. What did I take home from this battle?
Wraithknights – Yikes. Did they really need 6 wounds, on top of everything else? It feels like the last two battles have come down to me having a librarian with nullzone. Unfortunately, he’s just not beefy enough to make use of the force axe against monstrous creatures, which means I may have to consider using might of the ancients in some cases… the Wraithknight being one of these. What ended up killing the wraithknights, you ask? The first one died to a combination of contemptor dreadnoughts and deathwing terminators, and took several turns (Dark Angels had some rough luck with the dice, though). The second died to what remained of my assault terminators after killing an Avatar and taking a couple rounds of massed fire; 1 terminator librarian, 1 terminator chaplain, and 1 th/ss terminator. The thunder hammer landed most of the six wounds, with the chaplain handling backup. The librarian hit a lot, but couldn’t wound. All three survived, though.
Tau – man they shoot a lot, and is it just me or are they throwing around a lot of AP? I felt like I was making a lot of cover saves, considering I’m a space marine army. 3+ just doesn’t seem to mean as much anymore. As to shot quantity…
Overwatch – I get the concept behind the ballistic skill 1 thing, but it really punishes ballistic skill. Consider the tau. They suck at shooting, but the offset is that they have a high power bullet hose. A unit of tau shooting might fire 40 high strength shots, but at least 2/3 can be expected to miss. So 10 guys will land maybe 13 hits. A unit of space marines rapid firing bolters might fire 20 shots, but they land 2/3 of the shots, for about 13 hits. Pretty even if you ignore the strength and effectiveness of the individual guns.
Now put the same groups into an overwatch situation. Both drop to 1/6 hit chance, or 7 and 3 respectively. The better you are at shooting, the bigger the penalty imposed by a static (ballistic skill) adjustment. At the same time twinlinking grows even more powerful, since the army designed to have it (to offset their inability to hit the broad side of a barn) now doubles their odds and the army that generally doesn’t need it (nor have it as a common option, and why would they, since they can shoot?) is stuck hitting on 6’s.
That was longer than intended, but assaulting feels really crippled in 6th so far.
Land Raiders – These are fast becoming the must-have unit. Everything else is just too fragile. Armour12 doesn’t mean much any more, with all the high-strength stuff flying about.
Dark Angels – I feel kind of bad for my friend that plays Dark Angels. A lot of his options just aren’t competitive, and he’s finding that the only way not to get slaughtered is to field deathwing terminators and 2-3 land raiders every time. Which is effective and competitive, but is only one army list. Not a whole lot of room to get fun and creative.
I figure the part that sucks the most is that he can’t even really hope for improvement; he just got a new codex, so now he’s just going to suffer increasingly under codex creep for the next few to several years.
For those wondering how the battle went? Space marines beat xenos, but it was super close. How did I do?
Tactical Squad A: sat on an objective behind my comrade’s aegis defense line. Were eventually wiped out by a deepstriking tau drone commander, but managed to kill the drones. Destroyed.
Tactical Squad B: crossed the field of battle in a land raider, hopped out onto an objective, and were gunned down by broadsides over the course of a couple turns. Killed the broadside teams drones in return. Destroyed.
Plasma Devastators: wounded some stuff from behind the aforementioned aegis while camped on a second objective (heavies were scoring), wipes out by the aforementioned tau commander. Destroyed.
Land Raider: hauled the infantry while popping 2x eldar tanks, finishing off a fusion stealth suit, and killing that tau commander. Eventually immobilised by dangerous terrain, it continued to fire upon a hammerhead, finishing the game 1/8 of an inch out of scoring position with all of its hull points. Survived; viable threat.
Assault Ironclad: dropped in next to a tau stealth team, almost annihilated it, then drew almost all of the heavy fire for for the rest of the first turn. Destroyed.
Terminator Assault Squad (including attached HQs): Deployed via dedicated Crusader. Killed eldar Avatar, four lightning claws and thunder hammer lost in following turn to enemy fire. Re embarked, later disembarked to kill eldar Wraithknight. 1x th/ss, 1x chaplain, 1x librarian remaining. Survived.
Crusader: Carried Terminator Assault Squad, wounded eldar Avatar, annihilated kroot reserves, caused a variety of other minor wounds. Survived.
All told, survivability was decently high. Game went full length; otherwise Tactical B would have survived holding an additional objective. I think I need a third thunder hammer for those monstrous creatures; lightning claws are great for smaller stuff but suffer against the big guys. The Ironclad is expensive for a unit that rarely survives to turn 2, but I think its worth it for the ability to drop in and take out 1 unit of my choice. Especially given the amount of fire it draws away from other targets. Plus, on the rare chance it survives multiple turns, the thing’s a murder machine.
Oh, fun fact! Played on a Realm of Battle board today. Nice but weird. Why does it appear to be a candy coated skull planet? Like, completely full of skulls? Strange. Also, crazy slippery; models were sliding all over the place if we weren’t careful placing them. We assume painting will fix that.
Well, that was way longer than I expected it to be. Probably won’t play next week, so maybe I’ll finally post about something else.