My gaming group played a massive Apoc game this weekend. 15,000 pts of Eldar VS 15,000 pts of Space Marines and Sisters of Battle.

Army Lists

The Eldar team planned to have one player who brought all of the heavy hitters and the other two players (myself and bob) would bring all of the smaller things like the troops and aspect warriors, needed to score the objectives and take the enemy off of theirs.

The Imperium team decided to go with a similar tactic. There was one Space Marine player (you may know him as Land Raider guy) who brought mostly heavies with a few land raiders and troops as well as a Blood Angel and a Sisters player that brought most of the infantry and regular 40k vehicles.

House Rules

We typically play Apocalypse with a few house rules. I will have to make a post about all the house rules we use and why we use them but for now here is the short list.

  • No wrecks. In apocalypse there are too many things to keep track of with vehicles: are they alive, dead, immobilized etc. So to make things a little easier if the vehicle is dead remove it.
  • Limit certain stratagems. We don’t allow strategic redeployment, flank march, and any asset that removes or adds objectives.
  • Have an even amount of super heavies and D-weapons on the field. Super heavies and d-weapons especially are under priced and need to be balanced per side. In this game the Imperium side did have fewer Super Heavies / D-weapons and it was evident by how many more vehicles the Eldar side destroyed.

Photos

Conclusion

In the end the Eldar won at the bottom of turn 4. They held 1 objective and contested the other 5.

Players Remarks

Gerry

From the start, I felt like the game was going to be tough.  The Eldar had as many tanks and transports as the Imperium side, and with the phantom, revenant, and a super heavy tank to face off against their force was very intimidating.  I felt it was very winnable though, as we had 9 land raiders, a warhound, and 4 super heavy tanks to support our forces.   Things started out rocky with our low bidding time- I don’t think I placed my armor in optimal positions as I was rushing to get everything on the board in 4 minutes! The jammers asset made that even more of a challenge.  But I was convinced that getting the first turn was critical- that took away the advantage of the Eldar titan holofields and gave us a chance to knock out some of their hard hitting armor.  From the beginning I was bound and determined to take down the phantom- and I think that cost my team the game.  I got caught up in taking out key units- not taking or holding objectives.  In hindsight- I would have used my D weapons to take down fire prisms and transports- rather than using all my D weapons and the majority of my lascannons on hitting the phantom.  I also had a lot of poor vehicle damage rolls- lots of stunning and weapons destroyed.  In the first turn I don’t think I took out a single tank- which was both some poor judgement on targets and some bad rolls.  But I didn’t really lose anything in the first turn either.

Things got more interesting in turn 2.  The dark angels dropped in and took out a shield generator asset, which really hurt the Eldar morale and gave us some vulnerable targets to soften up.  The phantom continued to take a lot of hits- and was stunned and damaged by the end of the shooting phase.  It still hadn’t been able to move- but was still very much a threat.  The no mans land on the left side of the board became a huge mass of immobilized vehicles and skirmishes as troops came pouring out.  The right hand side was dominated by the sunstorm squad and fire dragons in falcons.  Once again though, lots of fire was exchanged, but not a lot of units were destroyed.

By turn three things were looking pretty dire for the Imperium.  While lots of Eldar troops and vehicles were damaged, their holofields and spirit stones kept the bulk of their armor intact and they had plenty to troops still in cover or in transports.  Attrition was starting to work in favor of the Eldar.  The phantom finally went down, but by this point, many of their transports were still untouched and contesting objectives.

By turn 4 all objectives were either contested or in Eldar hands- and while the Imperium had a long shot of going for a draw- it was getting late and the game was ended on a die roll.

My favorite moments:

  • A squad of terminators faces of again the avatar of war and takes him down after 2 turns of combat.
  • Chronos is a beast in a terminus ultra.  Hiding between two buildings, he manages to unleash 3 turns of massive lascannon fire and did a lot of damage to the phantom.  The terminus was popped quickly on the bottom of turn 3, but Chronos jumps out and goes after a transport on foot.
  • Marneus and a combat squad are blown out of a land raider promethius, in the middle of no man’s land, they run without cover to the revenant.  The squad falls, but Marneus reaches the titan and almost single handedly takes it down.

My least favorite moments:

  • Eldar air superiority.  With no flyers of our own, the Eldar own the skies and punish us from above.  Good luck hitting a flying from the ground!  They shredded our troops and created plenty of mayhem across our lines.
  • My super heavy contingent was less than stellar.  The warhound misses most of its shots and is blown up in turn 2.  The super heavy tanks manage to cripple a few things and wipe out a few small units of eldar troops, but fail to impress overall. (the previous apoc game I played had the baneblade and shadowsword as MVPs.)
  • Forgetting rules!  With 6000 points you have a lot of rules and units to remember.  I tend to favor lots of expensive armor over masses of troops because its easier to keep everything straight- but I have yet to have a big game where I don’t forget an important rule or a special ability goes unused.  After 7 hours of gaming it gets tough, even with less stuff on the board!

Overall, I really enjoyed the game.  There were some really memorable moments on both sides- and the size and scope of the game was pretty epic!  This was my second game played with flyers, and I think that both D weapons and flyers really need to be balanced for fairness on both sides- which means I guess I am going to need to pick up a flyer or two now!  But after all the effort that goes into a big game like this, I am looking forward to some small 1000 point games that can be played in an hour, instead of a full day.

Jeff

I enjoyed it.  I was a little disappointed that once again we didn’t get to finish a full 6 turns but i suppose that was because so many troops were brought to the table.  Personally next time i really want to take a few steps back, play with a lot less points (maybe 2,000 per person, 6 players, 12,000 total) and actually take the time to pay attention to strategies and know that the full game will be played out.  I feel like so many of the big games have been played like this:

Turns 1-4
Mindset 1: Just destroy whatever you can randomly
Around turn 4 or 5 we decide to quit instead of playing the full game out so the mind set then changes to:
Mindset 2: Find out where all my troops are and get them to objectives as quickly as possible.

I’d rather play a smaller game, and or a different themed game than objectives so we could get a full 6 rounds in and have a constant strategy throughout.  Personally I don’t think it is whoever brings the biggest model or teh coolest army list that wins, but the person running the best strategy, and that gets lost in these huge games as there is just plain too much to try and pay attention to.

I was surprised by how much fire the Phantom Titan took and how long it lasted considering it never even got the opportunity to move.  Once it was completely immobilized with no weapons left and 3 structure points left, they still kept firing at it.  Granted, i could try and repair it next turn but that shuts me down for a full turn and i still could get fired at some more.  Personally I think that their strategy of dedicating 8-12 different heavy support and tanks to shooting at the one titan every turn was the other teams downfall.  Granted the titan has some devastating weapons but only two of them so it can only target 2 things a turn, where they fired numerous things at the titan that could have taken out numerous other targets.  If we had more of our troops transports and regular units destroyed, it would have been a different game.

I enjoyed the face off battle between the Phantom and the War Hound.  Although I think it reached its inevitable outcome, you have to hand it to that spunky, “little” War Hound.  I’ve seen that thing get blown up in every single game it has ever played, but it still keeps coming back, it still commands attention when on the field, and it still is a tactically sound choice.  Perhaps I should take some of my own advice in that I should have left the War Hound alone, and targeted some of their three super heavy tanks more. (All but one survived, and one had never even been damaged.)

I was most impressed by the fliers.  I had read up on their rules and the specific fliers i was using, but i was not aware there were new stat sheets for them in the Imperial Armor books.  The new versions were even more devastating as they pretty much flew around the board shooting at whatever they wanted without having to worry about any return fire.  Use of fliers in an Apoc game should definitely be announced before hand and the opposite team should either bring their own fliers or anti-aircraft equipped weapons to the game.

Over all a fun game.  I think the Eldar’s speed and versatility won the day.  For an army that is not very tough and often has a hard time going toe to toe with marines, it was good to see a solid win based on using their advantages effectively.

Patrick

I really enjoyed the game. If I had to pick one thing that I think turned the battle in the Eldar’s favor it is that the Imperial side dedicated massive amounts of firepower towards the titans and didn’t focus on the horde of Eldar skimmers. When there is an army of skimmers with troops inside you can’t wait until the last turn to decide to shoot at them. I didn’t fire one weapon at a super heavy tank all game. I focused on transports to limit the enemies options. To contrast this I think that the other team had a very static force. Sure lots of troops were in transports but your devastators don’t have the options they do in a regular 4′ by 6′ board.  In a 15,000 pt game you should be able to afford some variety. I only saw one drop pod and two squads deep striking. Imagine what a squad of combi melta sternguard in a drop pod could do to an Eldar titan turn 1.

Combine a misdirection of fire with unbalanced forces and that gave the Eldar more of an edge. The Eldar super heavies (with their small D template weapons) are geared towards taking out vehicles where the Imperial super heavies which were mostly baneblade variants were designed to slaughter troops.  If you like the super heavies that blow the snot out of troops make sure you get the regular stuff to blow up the transports. To illustrate my point the baneblade with the giant plasma cannon kept shooting at the wave serpents for most of the game. I don’t think it caused any damage.

Apocalypse units are unbalanced and you need to make sure each team has the same amount of super awesome stuff. I do think that the D-weapons and flyers need to be balanced. The Eldar had more of both and that certainly helped them achieve victory. But I am not sure if the flyers caused any more damage than a bane blade would. The flyers were lucky enough to fight against a walking sister’s army.

I think the imperials did OK with what they had. Their super heavies did not work well against a fully mechanized Eldar force.  I have to say I really enjoyed playing against them, the three different imperial forces working together made it a really fun game. I especially liked that the Sisters player took all 4 assassins and used each one well.

And finally I have to curse the thunder hammer storm shield termies that crushed my fortuned avatar.

Dark Angels 5th Company

Turn 1 Empire of Man

We decided that it was very important to go first to deny the Eldar player their movement cover save for the titans. In the end this caused us to bid much lower then what I was comfortable going with. I think we had four minutes to set up. Another big kick in the crouch was Patrick choosing to go with jammers and we could not deploy as strategically as we could have and I ended up not combat squading out four of my five tactical squads so that they could shoot at the transports. We also went with the Sisters of Battle (without transports) walking into the game. This first turn went poorly. The Eldar decided to go with a shield generator which was a good choice and that gave them a save from most of our attacks. The three D attacks did nothing to the Titans. In all not much happened first turn for the Human’s shooting. Most of the units deployed at the start by the Eldar were vehicles, scouts, harlequins, and wraith lords. I had a deep striking death company dreadnought with lightning claws. I decided that the only viable target was the harlequins even though they have an invulnerable save. The drop pod landed close enough to target and I assaulted and killed three. Bob missed his leadership and was promptly wiped out.

Turn 1 Eldar

The skimmers rapidly moved around as they do. The biggest event this turn was the Warhound disappearing. It went down to the large titan’s shooting. It took a few other units’ shooting to drop most or all of the shields. The other super heavy was hit with D template or templates and lost two of the three structure points. It was at this point that I decided there was no way we could win this game. We had half the number of D strength weapons and we were down to one with one structure point left. The other side had six. To me it was either focus on the large vehicles with multiple D templates and work your way down the scale on nasty vehicles and ignore the troops and light transports or Ignore the D weapons and try to blow up the light and hard to destroy transports while our ability to do that was being removed by the D weapons. I chose to go after the D weapons and I think that if we went a full six rounds it would have been the correct choice. We also had it in mind to go the full six rounds at this point. I was quite pleased at the large amounts of shooting at the death company dreadnought that ended in its immobilization.

Turn 2

I started out by sacrificing an assault squad to destroy the shield generator and deploying Astorath with a unit of Sanguinary Guard and a Sanguinary Priest. Shooting went a lot better this turn and the large Titan was unable to shoot the next turn. The Eldar fliers came in this turn and I was pleased at what was targeted of my units. Half of a devastator squad with lascannons was targeted instead of my transports as I was concerned. The sergeant with the signum and the bullet shield squaddies died along with the sergeant from another squad. I didn’t have to do a leadership because of the blood rage made that unit fearless. This turn also saw the end of our D weapons. Astorath’s unit was shot at and he was the only one left alive. The small titan and a large unit of guardians charged into hand-to-hand with Astorath. The titan missed and Astorath killed five guardians. They missed their leadership and were on the edge of the table so they either died or ran off. I don’t remember if we rolled to see what happened.

Turn 3

Astorath went after another unit of guardians and was assisted by an assassin. The large titan had repaired the turn before and was a large target again. The fliers shot at my lascannon guys again and I think they died. Other than that not much happened on my front. The Eldar moved and I tried to as well. Oh, I also hid my other unit of assault marines by an objective in our deployment zone that had nothing holding it. I think this is when the war walkers entered the middle of the table.

Turn 4

The large Titan goes down and Marneus Calgar takes down the middle sized titan in hand-to-hand. I try to take out the small one and whiffs because the titan got its movement save in hand-to-hand. With the titans mostly out of the way the main part of our stuff goes after trying to stop the Eldar from contesting or holding. I was hoping for another turn. In the end there are too many vehicles and we don’t go anther turn.

Assessment

I would say the teams were not balanced. The flyers were annoying but could be ignored for the most part. I really think that D weapons have to be balanced. Not only do they have to be balanced but the things that cause it have to be balanced. Basically the difficulty of removing the D weapons has to be the same. The only superheavies that we had were mainly anti troop against a vehicle based army. I also think that going in you should have a set number of rounds or at least a plan on how many rounds. That does change the tactics used in play. I also think that removing a vehicle when it is destroyed is good for removing clutter, but if you have vehicles you should bring paper cutouts to represent the wrecked vehicle and a cut out crater for a blown up vehicle. The cover that both give is kind of important and the fact that driving through that area calls for a difficult terrain test or you might end up with some immobilized vehicles adding to blocked off driving areas.

Asset

Supreme Command – I was not planning on using this one, but after talking with my teammates went with this. I used a small building that was unfortunately forgotten as terrain by the other side. I say unfortunately because during their shooting they kept forgetting, but during my shooting I would should and point out that I was using my Supreme command with tank hunters. This was my trying to remind without having to tell the other team to shoot at it during their shooting phase. It gave my four lascannon and four heavy bolter devastators tank hunter. It came in useful shooting at the large titan and the war walkers.

MVP

  1. The Death Company Dreadnought
  2. Astorath
  3. At one point a Rhino transporting a tactical squad was blown up and all but the sergeant with a power weapon died. This squad also had the fearless and furious charge. The sergeant ended up charging a squad of rangers and killing them in hand-to-hand.

Tye

I will say that I dont think I enjoyed the game while I was playing it.  After a little time and reflective thought though, the game was alright.

The Good:

  • I really liked how well the assassins played.  They really performed their funtion well.
  • I think the strategy I took was interesting (relentless and rage while not in my own deployment).  Multimeltas that move and shoot, sweet
  • I think that if we had played 6 turns my army coming in as reserves would have been a good strategy

The Bad:

  • Having most of your enemy in transports meant that I didnt have very many targets for most of my army.
  • I think that only playing 4 turns, my army walking in as reserves was a bad thing.

The Ugly:

  • I particularly was upset by the flyers.  I can’t say that I didn’t know they were going to be there, Jeff said at the previous game that he wanted to play them.
  • The flyers could each take out a unit of my troops each turn.
  • I really wasnt aware of how much fire was being directed at the eldar titan. If I had been I would have asked for some of it to be directed at some transports to give me targets.

The Wrapup:

  • I think that if we had played out two more turns that the outcome of the game probably would have been different.
  • I also think that with all the Eldar mobility, maybe we should have gone second, so that we could actually have a chance at the end of the game.  We would have been able to clear objectives, or move troops into a position to contest.