Fire & Ice 1850 Tournament Report, Round 3: Eldar v. Blood Ravens (Space Marines)

March 20, 2014

Coming off of a convincing win in the second round (and a solid, though Eldar trickery-style come from behind win in the first round), I expected to sit down across from either a Deldar army or a Screamerstar (there was one of each and they were wrecking face). Instead, I face almost a full company (almost 100!) of Blood Ravens. My opponent brought a well painted army, running Imperial Fist Chapter Tactics, that stuck to the basics: Three drop pods, two with assault marines sans jump packs, one with tactical marines and a chapter master in artificer armor with the shield eternal and a power hammer. 5 units of tactical marines and two units of devastators (3 missile/1 las in one and 3 las/1 missile in the other). Bolter Drill and Tank Hunters are solid buffs.

The board featured a giant hill that we ruled impassible on three sides and difficult terrain on the slope (but open on top). Round three was a mystery mission; out of 6 possible missions, you drew a card (a Magic the Gathering card, no less) and were assigned the mission that corresponded with the ‘type’ of card it was (swamp, desert, whatever, I don’t play MtG). My opponent won the right to choose table sides, but I won first turn and deferred to him. I did so because my mission was to kill his warlord. That’s it–no secondary. Either I successfully slay the warlord or I lose (maybe draw if I can figure out what his mission is). With his chapter master in a drop pod, I crossed my fingers that he’d want to get him on the table as soon as possible to start swinging that hammer and enjoying his 2+/3++.

  • Primary (ONLY) Mission: Slay the Warlord. Opponent gets 2 VP if you fail to complete your mission. Note that other missions with objective markers (Emperor’s Will, Crusade) were potentially in play as well.
  • Bonus Points: Correctly guess opponent’s mission
  • Deployment: Dawn of War
  • Warlord Trait: Entirely forgettable
  • Night Fighting: Yes
  • First Turn: No (I deferred)
  • Length of Game: 3 turns (Two hours is TOO SHORT again; both my opponent and I were surprised when the warning was called as we had not dithered at all.)
  • Result: Loss…then Win (it’s a funny story)

Setting up ~70 space marines does take a while, particularly when they’re in, ‘anti-template’ formation!

My opponent's deployment.

My opponent’s deployment. Holy Space Marines Batman!

I counter-deployed a bit, but not enough, as I left two vehicles in range and LoS of his devastators rather than just one. On turn one that didn’t matter too much though, as Night-Fighting was in effect. I held my spiders and jet bikes in reserves and deployed my Wraith Knight to the right to hold that flank and smack anything that tried to cross the open terrain in the middle.

My deployment. Ducks in a row?

My deployment. Ducks in a row?

Turn One Highlights: My opponent drops in his Chapter Master and a unit of assault marines. The assault marines end up on the hill. All the tac squads run. I think a melta gun glances my fire prism but I otherwise make it out of turn one relatively unharmed. My return fire is great. If this were any other mission than Slay the Warlord, I’d have the game half in the bag. I get Misfortune on his Chapter Master’s unit, killing 8, but don’t get enough wounds back to where he is to force him to take any saves. My wave serpents in the middle kill 6 space marines from the assault squad. My Wraith Knight shoots at a nearby tac squad, but as my opponent deployed (and is moving) in ‘anti-template’ formation, I only get two or three instead of my (usual) 8 or more.

End of Game Turn One.

End of Game Turn One.

Turn Two Highlights: My opponent’s other drop pod comes in and he puts it by the wraith knight. He tries to get his assault marines down the hill. His chapter master separates from the tac squad (they were WAY out of coherency after last rounds losses anyway) and heads toward a nice, juicy, fire prism. Through a teeny-tiny gap, three of his devastators can see my wave serpent in the left corner…and blow it up. I had shot the shield on turn one thinking I was out of los. I lose a dire avenger in the explosion, but they pass their pinning test. The tac marines shoot down three or four. The other group of devastators immobilize my other wave serpent. His assault marines (the few that are left) make their charge against my Scythe Guard serpent, and blow it up. That makes for an awkward moment (‘Thank you for getting us out of our vehicle, now here’s some Distortion’). His chapter master rushes up on the fire prism and blows it up.

On my part of the turn, the spiders come in and I try to get close to a devastator squad (suicide mission and probably mis-used again), but they mishap and end up stuck way in the right corner. I also get a unit of jet bikes on. I get misfortune on the chapter master (despite a 5+ deny the witch). Between the spiders, jet bikes and an assault from the Wraith Knight, the space marine unit on the right side is destroyed (the knight had to charge them as well to wipe up the last 3). The Scythe Guard get 16 ‘hits’ on the assault squad and destroy them easily. I thought about sending them after the chapter master, but they were in difficult terrain and even with a good roll they wouldn’t be able to line up correctly to drop templates on him without overlapping my own models. The remaining prism backs up a bit, draws a bead on the chapter master, fires up the S9 AP1 Lance, and misses. Who made that man a gunner?

After the end of Game Turn Two, during the movement phase at the top of Game Turn Three.

After the end of Game Turn Two, during the movement phase at the top of Game Turn Three.

Turn Three Highlights: My opponent continues to spread his army all across the board. He’s holding almost every objective and satisfying almost all the possible mission requirements. He doesn’t have enough units in my DZ and he hasn’t killed my warlord yet (hasn’t wasted any shots on him either). He moves up on my left and shoots down the remaining avengers cowering in the crater left by their serpent. His chapter master lines up an easy charge against my remaining prism. My remaining Wave Serpent is immobilized. His chapter master blows up another prism (Hammer Time?).

It comes down, for me, to whether or not I can kill his chapter master–who is proving vastly more resilient than I thought he would be (particularly after two turns with Misfortune on him). He has two wounds left. I won’t be able to hide my intentions, so I’m sure my opponent will guess what my mission was. I move everything to within inches of his chapter master (Jet Bikes, Scytheguard, Lolseer, etc.). I also bring the Wraith Knight over just because. Did I mention that he finally Denied the Witch? Yep. I roll up my shooting attacks and he just makes save after save (another set of dice I’d like to take a look at–can’t roll 1’s!). The last thing I have to shoot at him before the assault phase is my Wraith Knight. The Scatter Laser gets two hits. I end up hitting my Lolseer with one of the templates (who cares, I have a rerollable cover save) and get three hits on the chapter master, but only wound with 2 of them. I make him take the Invulnerable saves first, and he makes them. I’m starting to sweat because I’m going to have to send everything into close combat, through difficult terrain (he’s standing in a Fire Prism’s crater), and I’m unlikely to put two unsaved wounds on him. Looks like I’m going to lose.

Then he makes his saves against the two wounds from the Scatter Laser and rolls Snake Eyes! The chapter master goes down! My luck changes on the very last two saves he has to make. The game ends (time) and we guess each other’s mission. He guesses mine (duh) but I’m wrong about his (his was Slay the Warlord also!). We count up points and he beats me 4 to 3. Ah well.

Other than the red jet bikes at the bottom of the screen and the fire prism at the top, this is everything that shot at the Blood Ravens Chapter Master. All hail the Scatter Laser!

Other than the red jet bikes at the bottom of the screen and the fire prism at the top, this is everything that shot at the Blood Ravens Chapter Master.

Then my son (love that kid!) comes over and says, “Hey, you know you get 2 bonus Victory Points if your opponent doesn’t fulfill their mission, right?” No, no I did not know that. My opponent and I recheck the mission description and, sure enough, I win 5 to 4. We laugh (we laughed a lot throughout the game) at the absurdity.

I tie for first place with 89/90 possible points (weird scoring system, trust me), but I take second on tiebreaks (for the second time in a year). Ah well.

Final side note: My son (who is 12) got paired against another Noise Marine player and fought him to a draw, going 2-0-1 for the day. Not bad for his first ‘big’ tournament.

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