Just before the launch of the new Aeldari codex, I had the chance to get together with KinpatsuSamurai for the first game of Warhammer 40K that I’ve been able to play in ages. Rather than using any of the leaked rules from the new codex, I wanted to go in and just do one last “hurrah” to the 8th edition rules for my favorite faction – and it was an unmitigated disaster, for the space elves. The game itself was a lot of fun though, and KinpatsuSamurai has just totally outdone himself with respect to the table that he’s put together in his hobby room.
We faced off across a wide table with three objective markers on each side, since we were playing the “Ransack” mission from Matched Play. The setting was Imperial ruins with an enormous stairwell along the side of the table nearest the wall. This will be important, later. KinpatsuSamurai deployed his Krieg army and brought some brand new toys to the game – the biggest tank I’ve seen in his collection to date, a trio of proxy scout walkers that looked incredible, and an artillery piece using Forgeworld rules that has so much range that he could probably be using it to shoot into other people’s games, on other people’s tables, from here.
My own army consisted of a Storm Guardian squad, a squad of Howling Banshees, and an Autarch, Farseer, and Spiritseer as HQ’s. My Wraithguard were placed into reserve via Webway Strike. This was also the first game where I got to run my new Shining Spears, and…unfortunately it’s probably the “retirement” game for my Dire Avengers, since in 9th edition they’re no longer in the Troops slot and fighting with a lot of other contenders over the coveted Elite slot now. (They’ll still see lots of play in my Crusade with XenonMage, though, both because they’re plot-relevant and because we find our 40K games are at their best, most fun, and most swingy when it’s Calvinball with dice.)
So, what went wrong? In a word, and this isn’t the first time this has come up, deployment. I took a gamble by moving my elves into a more offensive, aggressive position to try and force him off of objectives early in the game, and when he got first turn it bit me pretty hard in the rear. The Wraithguard arrived in the second turn and tore a swath through his riders, and the walkers, but by this point my HQs and troops were pretty decimated, save for one squad of Dire Avengers parked on an objective. I managed to knock out his mortar troops when a guardsman failed their check for morale, but outside of that this ended up being a pretty one-sided game.
There was a new problem, however, that I’m going to have to watch for in the future. Remember in The Wrath of Khan when Spock notices Khan was stuck in “two-dimensional thinking,” flying the Reliant through that nebula? I got stuck in the exact same trap. The stairwell and having to account for verticality in my movement with Banshees and other units is a new problem for me, and one I’ll have to look out for. It wasn’t all bad, though – the Wraithguard and Shining Spears both really shone, and I think once I start gearing up for the new 9th Edition codex I’m going to have to find a spot for both of these in my army.