We rolled up mission and deployment, getting the Scouring and Hammer and Anvil. Luckily, it was 1000 points and a 4x4 table, so the deployment turned out no different than the standard 12". To finish it all off, we apparently chose to fight just before sunrise, so Night Fight was in full effect for turn 1. He won the deployment roll and chose to let me deploy and go first.
9 Dire Avengers with Exarch wielding Diresword
10 Dire Avengers with Exarch wielding Shimmershield and Power Sword
5 Warp Spiders with Exarch wielding Power Blades and twin-linked Death Spinnners
10 Swooping Hawks with Exarch with Hawk's Talon
5 Dark Reapers with Exarch with Missile Launcher and Fast Shot
His army (remember, not my list, so not 100% certain)
Warsmith with Power Axe
Daemon Prince of Khorne with Power Armour, Wings, and Black Mace
6 Chosen with Power Fist, Lightning Claw pair, Power Axe, and Power Maul
Helbrute wielding Multi-melta
10 Cultists with Flamer and Champion
10 Cultists with Heavy Stubber and Champion wielding Shotgun
10 Chaos Marines with Meltagun and Flamer, and Champion wielding Power Fist and Plasma Pistol
I deployed my Dark Reapers into some ruins on the Southwest corner of the battlefield, and deployed a unit of Dire Avengers near the building as support. The Rangers hid in the shadows of the trees in the center, taking full advantage of their ability to infiltrate. The smaller unit of Dire Avengers, led by the Spiritseer, set up behind a stone wall on the southeast corner of the field, overlooking an old building that they knew was going to be a shield for the enemy. Finally, the Warp Spiders deployed behind the ruins where the Reapers were located, planning on warp-jumping forward and killing whatever came through that flank. It was obvious that the western side of the battlefield was the focus for the aliens. The Spiritseer had ordered the Swooping Hawks to remain hidden until the 'right time', leaving them in reserve.
My buddy deployed his mechanical Daemon Prince and Helbrute to the northeast side, behind the very building that the Eldar knew was going to be an issue. Cultists took up the eastern flank of the northern hill that the balance of Chaos Marines deployed on top of. The Chosen, guarding their Warsmith, deployed to the western side of the hill. Finally, the other unit of Cultists deployed in the northwest behind a crystal forest.
There were also a number of objectives strewn about the battlefield, but they mattered little for these two forces at the moment. Hatred and bitter enmity were the motivating factors of this battle.
Battle is met!
Following the lead of the Daemon Prince, the Helbrute advanced behind the building and began the process of dividing the enemy force and bearing down on the Rangers. Luckily, he was still out of range to charge, but fired and killed one with his Multi-melta. Even the trees weren't enough protection against that kind of power. The Marines advanced slowly and fired at the closest Dire Avengers, wiping out four of the their number with accurate Bolter-fire. Under the distraction of the firepower, the Cultists to the east advanced behind the Helbrute and the Warsmith wisely moved to join the Cultists behind the crystal forest.
With all objectives held being counted, the score at the end of Turn 1 was Eldar 3 (First Blood and 2-point objective) and Chaos 6 (6 points worth of objectives).
The sun finally peaked over the horizon, bathing light on a close-range battle. With the sun at their back, the Swooping Hawks fell from the sky and landed directly behind the northern hill, dropping their Grenade Pack onto the Chaos Marines and firing at them with gusto, but only dropped four. The Dark Reapers sighed with exasperation and fired at the Marines, killing the rest of the squad and cursed the Hawks for not doing it themselves. The Rangers fired at the advancing Cultists and pinned them down, finally showing that they do know how to use their rifles. The defensively-placed Dire Avengers fired at the now-visible Daemon Prince and took two wounds from him, but were exhausted from having to manoeuvre to get whatever shots they could. The other Dire Avenger unit moved back toward the Eldar battleline, confident that they could hold objectives and protect the Reapers against whatever counter-attack that would come that way. Finally, the Warp Spiders warp-jumped successfully behind the crystal forest and unleased monofilament-fire into the Cultists, killing all but three and the Warsmith. Sensing definite victory, they charged straight in before the wires had even hit the ground. The Exarch swung his Power Blades with immense skill, but the Cultists were very adept at ducking and avoided any damage. The rest of the Spiders killed two of the Cultists, and then the Warsmith casually strode into combat and killed all the Eldar except the Exarch. Definite victory was not definite.
The Daemon Prince advanced to within spitting range of the Dire Avengers and stood there laughing as the xenos peppered him with massive amounts of shurikens. Lucky enough to cause a single wound, the Avengers stood in horror a moment later as the monster strode into combat and bellowed a challenge to the Exarch. It took less than a second for the leader to be dispatched, and then the Black Mace weapon did its job as five more Eldar fell to emanating waves of lethal Chaos power. The Spiritseer and remaining Dire Avengers had seen enough and chose to flee from the battlefield. The eastern flank now belonged to Chaos. Meanwhile, the Warsmith challenged the Spider Exarch and was stabbed once, but it wasn't enough as he easily cut the xenos down. The Warp Spiders were now gone. The Eldar feared greatly at this point. Luckily, the Chaos Marines had abandoned most of their objectives for the slaughter.
The score at the end of Turn 2 was Eldar with 1 (First Blood) and Chaos with 4 (2-point objective, Slay the Warlord, and Fast Attack unit killed)
The Eldar had to make some headway quickly. The Swooping Hawks, embarrassed at their attempt to kill the marines, flew over the woods and swiftly assaulted the Helbrute. Some well-placed Haywire grenades brought the monstrous construct down. Gladly, the Rangers nodded in thanks to the sky borne warriors, and then fired at the Daemon Prince now advancing on their position. Again, they failed to draw an accurate bead on the beast and failed to cause any damage. The remaining unit of Dire Avengers advanced back to their former position, claimed an objective, and fired at the Warsmith and his accompanying Cultist. Only the Cultist died. It was enough to make the Warsmith lose his nerve and flee, but he thought better of it and turned around at the last moment. The Dark Reapers took aim at the recovering Cultists in the east and easily wiped them out. The Eldar finally felt safe, leaving only a Daemon Prince and the Warsmith standing from the enemy force.
The Warsmith, bleeding from a wound received in combat with the Warp Spiders, decided to wisely duck out of sight behind the crystals and just let the Daemon Prince handle the rest. The Daemon Prince, happy to oblige, charged at the Rangers in the woods. Not a single sniper round could hit him and he barreled into the treeline. The Rangers, taking advantage of their cover, primed up their Plasma Grenades and threw them at the looming monster. All the luck of Khaila Mensha Khaine went into that desperate action, and one found a weakness in his armour, dropping the monster. The xenos celebrated loudly, while the Warsmith bitterly accepted his defeat and quit the battlefield. It was a glorious day for the Eldar.
The final score, as the game was called, was Eldar 5 (First Blood and 4 points of objectives) and Chaos 2 (Slay the Warlord and Fast Attack unit killed).
With that battle, it was nice to see how the new codex works. Although luck was clearly on my side (had that Daemon Prince not died to a lucky grenade, the battle could have gone a lot worse), the Eldar showed me some good stuff. The most powerful thing I saw was the 'Battle Focus' rule. This allows for most of the Eldar units to run AND shoot at full BS. And this can be done in any order. My Dire Avengers took full advantage of this as I ran and then shot at the Daemon Prince and Marines, and later again as I shot and then ran away to keep the enemy out of range. It was nice to see how fast this army could be. Everything else is just cool, but that particular rule can be really frustrating to most opponents. As an Eldar player, I gotta say I love it. When I fight against them, I'm sure I'll cry like a baby.
My buddy really enjoyed his battle, despite losing. He wants to drop the Cultists and get more Marines, mostly for 'fluff' reasons. I assured him that it's a good idea but Cultists can be really useful. Funny enough, he played against a Chaos Marine army on Saturday with this force and stomped it into the ground. So his 'out of the box' army definitely has some potential. I fear for when he grows it some more and I have to try to beat it then. Luck isn't consistent...
Until next time, Happy Gaming!