Monday, 7 December 2009

BATREP: Waylaying the Saim Hann

The Kochi 'Waylayers' in all their glory "Come and get me, pointy!"

THE HYPE: Thanks to everyone who voted ... here's the payoff. Obviously I must talk some sense sometimes, as 50% of you voted me as a marginal victory - clearly you've never attempted this yourselves... well done 1 person.

THE OBJECTIVE: Defeat the Seer Council (and attached Saim Hann) without resorting to 'special' units or tricks (Inquisitors, Psychic Hoods, Psyker Battle Choirs or Assassins)... this was gonna be an old fashioned, high casualty, grudgematch.

THE 'KOCHI TURTLE', basically use a wall of Chimeras as a defense screen to stop the Warlock's 'Destructor' killing my tarpit and then tarpit or roughrider them into tarpit...

THE CONTENDERS: Great example of quantity over quality, the list provides lots of dedicated high AP firepower that'll suppression fire the opponent to death and force LOTS of 1's and 2's.

Kochi 'Waylayers' -1500pts

NB: All Chimeras are armed with Multilaser, Heavy Bolter and Heavy Stubber
  • HQ: Command Squad with Regimental Banner, Vox-caster, Heavy Bolter in Chimera.
  • Troops: Platoon #1: Command with 2 Sniper Rifles and a Heavy Bolter in Chimera.
  • 3 Infantry Squads with 3 Autocannons, Commissar and vox.
  • Troops: Platoon #2: Command with 1 Sniper Rifle, 1 Grenade Launcher and a Heavy Bolter in Chimera.
  • 3 Infantry Squads with 3 Lascannons, Commissar and vox
  • Additional Chimera
  • Fast Attack: Rough Riders [5]
  • Fast Attack: Rough Riders [5]
  • Fast Attack: Banewolf, extra armour, heavy bolter, heavy stubber, smoke
  • Heavy Support: Leman Russ Battle Tank, 3 Heavy Bolters
  • Heavy Support: Basilisk, Heavy Bolter.
THE OPPONENT: Ant's Saim Hann force was back, upgraded and ultimately nasty. With lots of rerolls all round and some serious firepower, they were a force to be reckoned with.
Ant's Saim Hann Force 'the Fat Bottomed Ladies'
  • Seer Council on Jetbikes, Farseer Bob (Doom, Fortune, Mindwar, Runes of Witnessing, spirit stones), 5 Warlocks (4 destructor, 1 Enhance), 2 with Singing Spears.
  • 4 x 6 man jetbikes squads (2 Shuriken Cannons)
  • 3 Vypers (twin shuriken cannons)
  • Fire Prism, Holofields
  • Falcon Grav Tank, Scatter Laser, Holofields


With the cunning plan in the back of my mind I decided on the best approach. By building myself across one whole corner I could comfortably turtle up and wait for the subsequent Seer Council charge. Hopefully, by luck or judgement, I could catch the seercouncil with either a roughrider charge and subsequently tarpit them. This would then free up the rest of the army to punish the enemy.

The Eldar cower at the rear, out of sight and all that...

I held the banewolf in reserve, it could enter from my nearside edge - and hopefully drop in behind the seer council - offering a serious 'scare factor' to my opponent. With it's 18" move and smoke it could also prove a durable opponent.

The Eldar largely deployed at the back of their area in cover or out of sight. A squad of six jetbikes reserved as did the three vypers ... thoretically denying me some easy kill points.


Ant chews on some chips and burger while considering how to circumvent my cunning plan

The Guard line moved little and started pinging away at the Eldar in range. The basilisk missed entirely (a first turn 50% kill chance on the seercouncil lost!) , but the massed firepower of the Leman Russ and the oblique angles autocannon uberunit and Command Chimera blew great holes in the 'painted' Eldar jetbike vanguard unit. Spreading out to the side with a 'Chug gunship' was proving useful because it meant I could get multiple eyeball on a unit and grind it down. Despite the pounding down to 2 men the Eldar unit held.

Ant's completed Saim Hann unit - stunning and about to be chewed out with low grade firepower...

The Eldar flitted forwards and managed very little. The Giant Crystal tank managed to kill 2 men after scattering ... and the Seer Council loomed. Largely the jetbike squads all 'turbo boosted' to avoid further casualties - which I'd planned for...

First Turn 0-0

TURN 2: 'Not yet you fool!'

My reserved BaneWolf turned up and I was given a difficult choice. Do I go for 18" and pop smoke, or do I go 12" and get a turn of shooting at the seercouncil? Psychologically, I wasn't convinced that Ant would consider the Banewolf a serious enough threat - so I decided to make it a more 'tempting' target - while keeping my options open.

Moving on 12", the banewolf unleased heavy bolter, heavy stubber and chemcannon on the SeerCouncil - provoking 1 death in return. It would hopefully force Ant to deal with the banewolf and buy my guard another turn or so of dakka dakka.

The banewolf successfully buys more time for the rest of the army...

The rest of the army opened up on my opponent. Remembering the 'master of ordinance' I launched his indirect attack and suddenly discovered that he was even less effective than the Basilisk (which didn't hit anything either)... The Leman Russ showed its worth though, with the line of tanks pivotting and offering some serious punishment to the two squads in show. Both units were pounded down to half strength. Surprisingly, both units held for the moment - although for the look on Ant's face, they'd be retreating shortly.

The combined firepower of targetted uber units and Leman Russ led dakka clears the view for the Guardsmen as the whole Eldar army flanks to the right...

The Lascannons also targetted the Fire Prism and managed a stunned result - no moving or shooting for you!

Ant rolled for the arrival of one of his reserves and got one Vyper. It hovered onto the board, but was out of range of most targets, it decided to hunker down behind a bunker. The Seer Council bit the bullet and leapt back to engage the Banewolf, this forced them back into the corner but did offer them a rear shot. They took it and one hit became and penetrating hit and a wrecked result - I cursed those tricksy dice! The seercouncil used their assault move to move back towards the Kochi defenders.

Despite a 24" a turn move, the distraction of the BaneWolf manages to hold the opponent at arms length...

The Fire Prism couldn't move, but the falcon could. It moved forwards and took some pot shots at the 'isolated' chimera, to no avail. The other jetbike squadrons also moved into attack range for the first turn and went to work with their shuriken cannons. Despite some valiant shooting, nothing was doing and they slunk back behind cover.

Saim Hann operate the complex shielding device of highly advanced technology ... or hide behind big thing.

Second Turn: 1-0 to the Saim Hann

TURN 2: "Concentrate fire power on those damn Eldar Seer Council!"

I spotted a couple of opportunities and weighing up the alternatives I went for it. I broke the tank line and redirected several tanks forwards to draw a bead on the Seer Council. Despite myself I wanted to cause as many wounds on them as possible. Not losing sight of the objective, this also allowed me to unleash the rough riders and charge them into combat with the remaining two jetbikes in the centre.

The Seercouncil takes a pummelling and despite losing a further two members, just keeps rolling

The lascannons had also spotted the lone vyper, and a quick burst of 'bring it down' later and one smoking vyper littered the scene, breaking the score even. Intending to further my lead I pumped serious firepower into the other visible jetbike crew while the command chug and other rough rider squad then moved quickly towards his 'hideout' for the remaining jetbikes.

The Kochi break ranks and go pointy-huntin'

The combined fire of 40 odd lasgun shots and 6 autocannon caused 9 wounds on the jetbikes. Defying the odds, Ant saved every roll. The Leman Russ bowled in landing some serious firepower on the now limping Seer Council, killing two council (thank you uber dakka!) and also killing a single jetbiker under the template. The other jetbike crew broke!

Finally, a bit of lucky shooting proved too much for the Fire Prism, as the Basilisk blew off its crystal ... nice!

I was 2-1 up!

In Ant's turn ... he rolled for reserves and got all his remaining. Two vypers and the remaining two jetbikes targetted the victorious roughriders in the centre and gunned them down with shuriken shards. The other jetbike squad swarmed onto the board and downed the other small group of roughriders. The Prism Cannon in the centre hid away as the Falcon tried (and failed) to kill another chimera.

The Seer Council moved within range and threw at the infantry command HQ Chimera in the 'exposed' position. The tank exploded, killing all but one inhabitant. The lieutenant then had a hissy fit and fled the field - sacrificing 2 killpoints.

Despite the whispering of Spence ... another Eldar player and 'adviser to the king' throughout the game, Ant wisely retreated his Seer Council to just outside assault range.

Wholesale execution of horse's is mean, but a very effective way of racking up killpoints...

In one turn Ant had racked up an impressive 4 killpoints.

Turn 3: 5-2 to the Eldar.

TURN 4: "Baby, baby hold together!"

Now comes the second mistake of the game ... I'd opened my trap too early and now my side armours were exposed. If I couldn't hit the Eldar hard and even the score, he'd be in-amongst me.

I decided to move my autocannon uber-unit. They rolled a 2, they move 2", only 4 men were within the 12" rapid fire rule ... I buggered up. Using 'FRFSRF' while stationary would have garnered me in excess of 40 flashlight shots plus 6 autocannon. Plus I would have been over 6" into the terrain forcing the Eldar some difficult terrain tests. As it was I'd sacrificed range, hitting power and a charge... doh!

The uber-mistake with my uber-unit was like a hit in the gut. It something to take a blow, its another to walk onto the contact... the few lasgun shots pattered harmlessly on their fortune. I think what provoked this was the realisation that the Farseer COULD actually mindwar my commissar and effectively remove 'stubborn' from the tarpit. The resulting carnage would be devastating ... in realisation of this I panicked.

The other Eldar were slightly less lucky. The Leman Russ and Basilisk opened up on the 'surprise' Eldar unit killing all but one, the remainder man held but was pinned. The rest of the army successfully picked off two Vypers, but my error cost me dear as I sacrificed valuable shooting at a Seercouncil that should have been rapidfire toast.

Ant gloats over his destructor templates ... they hurt a lot! Note the crater too, there lay two killpoints ... sniff sniff!

With a roar of ethereal jetbike gases (yes, as you ask, jetbikes are powered on Ethereal!) ... the Eldar plowed in. Ant used fortune and Doom on my boys - which was a mistake as the mindwar would have been so more efficient. It did mean that 16 destructor hits became kills and my unit was down to a few men, 3 sergeants and a commissar. In close combat the 'luck' turned the I survived fairly well, losing a few men - but they held. The Seer Council were tarpitted - despite my best attempts otherwise.

In the Eldar turn, they mainly limped away and hid ... except one - the falcon moved across and put two penetrating hits on another Chimera - wrecking it...

Final Turn 4 Score: 6:5 to the Saim Hann.


At this point we decided to call it a day as I have children and can't keep coming home at midnight ... however the game was certainly in the balance. If we'd played out turn five, I could have certainly killed one more jetbike and had a good chance of killing the Falcon in the open.

The Seercouncil would have won the following combat and then consolidated, but with good movement I could have avoided their worst. It's even odds whether I could have landed a blow on the Fire Prism or the hiding jetbikers to gain two more points. If we'd gone to turn 6 or 7 then the Eldar would have have only a single unit on the board with only three men ... tough.

My mistake with breaking the turtle lines and risking my roughriders was a big one, only overshadowed by my blunder with moving the autocannon uber unit. The combined fire of the uber unit had a statistical chance of downing one more Eldar. The torrent of fire would also have given me the opportunity to go after the Farseer ... offering me further opportunities.

Overall, I'm both pleased a dissapointed. My Early play was solid, with the Banewolf suckering the seer council and the castle holding well. My ambition to 'mop up' killpoints made me vulnerable and my mistake at the crunchpoint proved too much.

Saying that, the tactic deployed worked pretty well - and better with the deployment (which was pure luck), with the Eldar Seer council forced to choose a single tank or approach in front of serious guns. Each gunship provides a 45% chance of a single kill, and the amount of dice bouncing around could make any Eldar player nervous.

The addition of the Leman Russ was also brilliant, as the battle cannon proved itself a very versatile tool. The Basilisk was less useful, a single shot which constantly missed and failed to really threaten the opponent. Many times the Bassie was actually worse than useless. Was it better than the mortars ... 6 mortars versus one Earthshaker round - well it should be simple, but its not - plus you can feed mortar teams to the seercouncil to buy time - you can't do that with a Basilisk.

The master of Ordinance proved even less engaging - he was demonstrably useless and missed everything... an experiment proved, I think.


So on reflection, I'd consider dropping the bassie and MoO (appropriate) for another banewolf. I would also consider combining the two rough rider crews into one 10 man unit. Another consideration would be to bring a three man autocannon, missile launcher or heavy bolter squad in replacement, these guys could occupy the 'spare' chimera and chuck out lots more shots. This is actually a tactic I may consider in future as a HWT+Chimera could give out a mind-boggling 15 shots at S5-6...

I'd also drop heavy stubbers and sniper rifles ... the grenade launcher has a much better chance of wounding point for point against T4 3+ opponents. It lacks the range (just), but also give you flexibility in compensating the cost of moving your chimera.

I hope you all enjoyed.