Friday, 27 May 2016

Dusk Knights v Eldar - after action report


Greetings all,
last night I had my first decent sized game with my Dusk Knights (they've only played a 500pt intro before) - and they ended up facing Eldar, nothing like jumping in at the deep end eh?



So first up, this isn't going to be a full blown battle report, I didn't take photos or notes since I was proxying quite a bit of stuff, this is more thoughts on the list and how it worked.

It was a 1500pt game, and my list looked something like this - it certainly wan't optimal, but I built it using the same principles as those I espoused in my article on leveraging the factions specific detachments earlier this week.

Gladius Strike Force

Battle Demi-Company

Captain, Cataphractii Armour, Shield Eternal, Combi-melta, Auspex, Melta Bombs
Tactical squad - 5 guys in a pod with flamer
Tactical squad - 5 guys with heavy bolter
Tactical squad - 5 guys with grav cannon
Landspeeder squadron - 3 Land speeders, two with assault cannons and 1 with heavy flamer
Devastator squad - 5 guys in a pod with 4 grav cannons

1st Company Taskforce

3 scout squads - each 5 guys with sniper rifles

Oathsworn detachment

Knight Warden, gatling cannon, thunderstrike gauntlet, ironstorm rocket pod and heavy stubber

My opponent brought the craftworld detachment, from memory it included

Wraithknight (obvs) with two heavy wraithcannons and two scatter lasers
Farseer
Warlock
3 squads of 4 scatter laser jetbikes
2 squads of 5 striking scorpions
3 squads of dire avengers, two of seven and one of 8
8 howling banshees

We rolled up the maelstrom mission where you can score each others objective cards, and having won the roll off I chose to deploy first. I kept the landspeeders back with both pods, deploying the knight slightly hidden in the centre of my line. Scouts infiltrated into various ruins, and the two tactical squads deployed in ruins too.

My opponent reserved his wraithknight, presumably because he was threatened by the grav devastators, the farseer and one unit of dire avengers. I chose to go second, reasoning that I could then decide what to target with my devastators rather than being forced to potentially bring them on before my opponent's reserves. If I needed to target the wraithknight with them then I could react, assuming he passed his reserve rolls.

Turn 1 the scatter bikes shot mainly at my scouts, wiping out one squad despite me having a 2+ cover save, and killing one from the second squad, also killing Brother Lope from the grav tactical squad.

In response, the flamer tactical squad smashed down into his deployment zone and killed two scatter bikes, whilst the snipers killed one from a second squad. The heavy bolter shot at the dire avengers in the centre of his deployment zone.

All his reserves arrived on turn two, the dire avengers wiping out the flamer tactical squad, but crucially the heavy wraithcannons failed to damage Sire Gabriel. My grav devastators arrived, unleashing a veritable storm of fire into the farseer's squad, killing him, the warlock and the whole bike squad, whilst the knight took a wound off the wraithknight with its cannon, before charging the dire avengers and crushing/stomping them into oblivion. the landspeeders also arrived, wiping out the dire avengers on my right flank.

The eldar hit back, banshees and scorpions charging into the grav devs and killing them all over three combat turns, whilst the wraithknight charged the knight. with its own D-weapon in combat, it still managed to put two hull points on the big guy, who whiffed all three of his attacks in return (disaster!). the scatter bikes and scorpions destroyed all the landspeeders (yes, I failed 5 out of 6 jink saves) but that left the scorpions stranded in the open.

This turn I'd need to hit back again, I'd done quite a bit of damage and was ahead on points, but two of my three key units (devs and speeders) were gone. I took down one of the remaining jetbikes units, and did a fair bit to the scorpions too, but the key part was this time Sire Gabriel managed a single (1, out of the 6 attacks so far) hit in combat. Thankfully, the dice roll for the gauntlet came up a '6' and the wraithknight went down.

My opponent aimed the last scatter jetbike at his rear armour, taking a single hull point, but at that point decided he would concede - there was nothing left that could prevent Sire Gabriel from controlling the field and basically deleting the remaining units at will.

Conclusions

Ok so what did I learn about the list?

Well the knight is seriously fun to use, I know its firepower could be increased but I think I love the idea of the thunderstrike gauntlet just a little bit too much, so that's staying (plus without it there was no way I was taking down the wraithknight). I won't use it in all my games by any means (for reasons to follow) but it was certainly a worthy addition.

The landspeeder squadron is good, but fragile - I was pretty gung-ho with them to be honest, deep striking them in amongst quite a few units and I'd probably have been better served bringing them from normal reserve. At this level, I could probably use the points from dropping the unit size too, even if that does mean losing 6" on their flat out move.

I like the captain, the shield eternal will help to avoid having them targeted too much by psychic powers, even if my rolling for his saves was utterly dire this game. He really needs a combat weapon though, I gave him the combi melta in this game but I think given the firepower the rest of the squad kicks out it's probably not necessary, and he's better served by being able to punch things properly if they get tied up.

The list also felt pretty static - I'm used to playing with very manoeuvrable armies (DE, marine bikes, Tau suits) so only having two units capable of moving more than 6" without running felt weird. I could compensate for it by bringing more pods certainly, but that means dropping something else from the list. The heavy flamer landspeeder seems an ideal target for that, and possibly the missile launcher from the top of the knight. That would limit its firepower certainly, but would allow me to get two more drop pods, which would mean that the only unit i need to place during the deployment phase would be the knight himself, and I quite like that idea.

I went with Imperial Fists Chapter Tactics this game, but I think because the list uses the gladius strike force those tactics are a little lost - the devastator and tactical doctrines allow me to match or better the bolter re-rolls on 3 turns, plus also allowing those re-rolls on other weapon types too. Tank Hunters is a nice benefit, but by taking the Grav Cannons I wouldn't get that benefit anyway, and the grav amp provides them with an alternative instead.

Soooo, dropping a landspeeder and the ironstorm pod means I get 80pts to play with. That'll get me two more drop pods, and I can put the Auspex back on the Captain for -1 cover against their target.

Now I just need to decide on Chapter Tactics. If I'm not taking IF, I'm left with Iron Hands, Black Templars, Ultramarines, Raven Guard, Salamanders or White Scars. Ultramarines would make sense, giving me more access to doctrines, Black Templars would help me combat psykers and make the list a bit more mobile, Raven Guard would make them even tougher to hurt in the first round, Salamanders would only really benefit one small unit, and White Scars would give me hit and run. Iron Hands as always benefits the majority of the army, but in a way that my dice aren't likely to make much of.

Any thoughts? At the moment I'm actually leaning a little towards Black Templars (it also fits nicely with the knightly fluff and background I've written as the chapter being a former Black Templars crusade force).