Copyright Armandeo64 - check him out.
Mark C agreed to a match-up. As a mighty Guard player, he's been fielding other armies recently (and now owns even more armies than I!) He'd recently taken up using the old Eldar codex with a lot of focus on the Dire Avengers. As the 'local' Guardsman, he relished the chance to take on Guardsmen with his DA.
I haven't shot down any Eldar in quite a while (since Devilin quit 40k, in fact!), and subsequently I relished the chance to hurt dem pointy ear'd bastards...
Catachan List - 1750pts.
Straken's Command HQ with 2 Melta guns, Regimental Banner, Medic, Nork Deddog and a Chug (Chimera)
Infantry Platoon - HQ with Powerfist, 4 Grenade Launchers and a Chug. 4 squads with Missile Launchers, Flamers and Power Weapons and a Commissar with a power weapon. 10 Mortars and 2 Autocannons.
Harker's Veterans with Autocannon, 3 Sniper Rifles and Demolitions.
5 Rough Riders
2 Hellhounds with Heavy Bolters, Heavy Stubbers, smoke and extra armour.
Tactics: The Missile Launchers and Autocannons would start cracking open Wave Serpents as the Mortars could decimate the enemy. The use of grenade launchers, flamers and hellhounds highlight my XP of lance technology. Trying to build in some speed was also a priority.
Dire Avengers Eldar List
Dire Avenger Phoenix Lord
3 Dire Avenger units of 11, all with Exarch.
1 ten man Striking Scorpion Unit
3 Wave Serpents, one with Bright lance and most with Missile Launchers
1 Vyper with Missile Launcher
3 Fire Prisms
Mission and Deployment: Dawn of war and Annihilation really benefited the Eldar as I couldn't deploy my Ratlings, Mortars or anything useful. The Guard Horde massed up in cover , Straken held the board centre in his Chug and the Veterans when to cover on the right flank. The Eldar stayed in their two Wave Serpent way off on the right.
Unit by unit Game Synopsis
My shooting fail to kill any tanks, but neither did his. The Veterans assaulted a turbo'd Wave Serpent, got a kill point and were then chop'd up by the Phoenix Lord, Exarch and cronnies. I'd forgotten how filth these top level Eldar are. Straken attempted a melta shot on the Scorpion WaveSerpent, forgot he had orders and fluffed the shooting. A Dire Avenger unit then killed all the 'non-heroes' in the unit. Nork and Straken looked exposed. The Fire Prisms entered and shot a turret off Straken's Chug - the bloody cheek.
In my turn I shook the viper and turned missiles on the Pheonix Lord's squad, killing a couple. The Rough Riders and Straken/Nork charged the Scorpion WaveSerpent hoping in vain to pop it with a Plasma Pistol. This didn't happen and the Rough Riders wasted their lances, Straken and Nork fluffed their attacks and the tank dumped 10 Striking Scorpions, who chewed into the two units. The Rough Riders died badly (they really are designed for fighting Marines), while Straken and Nork formed a solid front. The combo of a majority T5 and all the 3+ and 4+ plus FNP kept the Scorpions at bay. In return both warriors were rolling 4+'s and 2 up on 8 attacks to kill. Nork kept them at bay while Straken went to work. And in two turns the Scorpions died.
Meanwhile, the Dire Avengers on the right flank all bebarked and shot up my horde as the Phoenix Lord and Cronies charged in. Then the Lord realised his mistake as four power weapon wielding sergeants and a commissar jumped on the bastards. Even with a 'defence' skill reducing the attacks to 10, I consistently killed them. Until only the Phoenix Lord was left, and he finally got dragged down in turn 5.
Meanwhile the 'supporting' WaveSerpent and Dire Avengers met Mr. Marbo. His Demolition charge destroyed the transport and killed a few, while a hellhound torched all but the Exarch and 2 Avengers. The Avengers then tried to shoot and combat this 'easy' kill point. Only for Marbo to make his 5 up, kill the two cronies and rout the Exarch. Kudos.
The foot slogging avengers spotted the mortars finally setting up and went to ground, right next to Straken's Chug which heavy flame'd them, supported by a exuberant hellhound. The ratlings killed the Exarch.
The Autocannon team setup up and killed the Vyper and then shook and destroyed one vehicle after another. So much so that little could shoot or attack. At the end of turn five, Mark had one Dire Avenger unit (pre-flaming death), 3 Fire Prisms and a Wave Serpent. By the end he had a single Fire Prism (shaken).
I'd lost 2 killpoints, he'd lost everything bar one skimmer.
Looking back I think Mark did have the toolkit to take me apart. I was very very lucky and he failed to destroy a single vehicle all game. That said, all the vehicles I'd bought were cheap. By focusing his attacks on my 'horde' and Hellhounds, I got away with an awful lot. Additionally, Mark was a good sport, charging his Scorpions in to Straken, when really I should have been gunned down in ignomy. As a 'unit' Marbo and Straken are lethal as one provides the durability while the other just kills stuff, however for future I'd focus on taking just a couple of meltaguns along - as all the bodies around these two are just cannon fodder.
Marbo surviving was a turn up, and he played a blinder. If mark had concentrated his S9 blast on the HWT's, killpoints would have racked up. The ratlings would have been chow down for any of his units, while the Scorpions could have chewed up the horde nicely, although I doubt they would have survived a couple of turned against so many power weapons. The problem was that outside a vehicle, the hellhounds were death to any dire avenger - so he couldn't get out until the tanks were neutered. But he didn't have to neuter them with destruction.
On discussion after the game, I suggested that Star-Engines would have given him more options and we agreed that he was probably in too much of a Space Marine headset to play the Eldar to their strengths. All in all I liked Mark's army, but it needed to play more tactically and use its speed to manage the engagement. After all, he could easily have tripped me into one flank, have boosted to the other side, focussed all his firepower on the other flank and chalked up five killpoints, re-embarked and then come hard at the HWT's netting him easy points.
The guard codex does have a lot of advantages though, when even a fluffy list (does anything with Marbo in it count) can make some stupid mistakes and pull off a near massacre. A very forgiving codex, and not a fair reflection on Mark's list or use of it.