As I mentioned back when I talked about Plague Purge and all the good things I like about it, me and XenonMage had a chance to play recently while she was in town visiting, and as part of that we ran the “Obolis Incursion” mission from Plague Purge, which we decided by random dice roll. The objective of the game was not only to try and control objectives, but to try and claim the objective markers in your opponent’s deployment zone. And because the game was across a horizontally-long rather than vertically-long playing field, the Tyranids would have less ground to cross in order to get to the bright, juicy, multicolored M&Ms that are my Eldar’s spirit stones. There was also a sort of “Linebreaker” endgame objective where extra points were scored for units wholly in the opponent’s deployment zone.
As seems to happen any time I go up against the Tyranids, it quickly turned into a one-sided fight – but that doesn’t discourage me. If anything, I’m happy with how the game turned out because even though I had to work my backside off for it, I made it to the end of Turn 3, and if I hadn’t conceded there we would have gone into Turn 4. That makes it one of the longest games I’ve had with XenonMage and I think was a very well-earned Turn 3. There were definitely instances where mistakes were made, and dice were unkind – and I’m still salty about the Broodlord getting both its saving throws against D6 Fusion Gun wounds – but overall I think it was one of the better games we’ve had and makes me excited for the next time we get to run these armies against each other.
There were a few units I brought to the table that definitely performed well and who I look forward to continuing to run. Storm Guardians, who I always kind of used to bemoan before I started using them, are still a fantastic ace-in-the-hole unit, if for no other reason than their modestly low cost and the heavy weapons shots that they can put into their opponents. I’m planning on running a second squad of them in this Crusade army soon. The other cornerstone unit this game – and the first time I’ve gotten to use this on a tabletop – was my Autarch, Matthias, who has definitely earned a makeover when I get some spare time. He turned out to be a surprisingly robust unit on the tabletop and it’s really nice to have a non-Psyker character with an Invuln save. (Looking at you, Jain Zar.)
I blame neither the dice nor the natural Darwinian supremacy of XenonMage’s Tyranids for my latest loss playing 40K, and I think I may have come to the root of the problem with my games: Deployment. This game definitely worked better in terms of putting up a buffer via Wraithlords for the Tyranids to chew through so that nearby Troops and Elites can line up a shot, but bad deployment in the center of the board is what I think ultimately caused this all to come unglued. I had two HQs in a place where not only could they be Smited if XenonMage was clever with movement, but also where the HQ characters could be charged directly without giving my Dire Avengers any opportunity to use their (very nice) Overwatch abilities.
The final score – and I could be remembering this wrong since I write this about a week after the game wrapped up – was 75 – 0 for the Tyranids. Did I score any points or secondary objectives? No, not aside from the Reaper secondary objective, which my Autarch gloriously claimed by taking down a single group of Genestealers. Tyranids continue to be what unravels this army, especially in close quarters, and while I’m still without a complete fix for that, I’m happy with how this game played out and I definitely feel like I’m getting better at handling them. My goals for my next game are improving my deployment, and…ALSO remembering that the Bladestorm ability on my Dire Avengers exists.