Posts Tagged ‘Dark Eldar’

As long-term readers may have surmised, I am not a particularly capable wargamer: I seem to lack the killer instinct when it comes to putting a list together – I always end up with something fun and varied and characterful rather than relentlessly effective on the table. What success I occasionally manage to grab is mainly a result of my one and only gaming virtue, which is the ability to step back and think in terms of mission objectives and tactics rather than simply going all out to cause carnage. This faculty hardly ever deserts me, and it keeps me in games I should probably otherwise lose.

Today I met somebody else who plays the same way. I’d watched this guy play before on a number of occasions and actually played him in a WOTR team game; I knew he would be a tough opponent, especially today. We were playing a 2000 point 40K game with his Dark Eldar against my Blood Angels.

I’d had to scramble to get 2K together, and the result was a moderately vehicle-heavy and antitank-light army, which was a concern seeing that the Dark Eldar army consisted of two Ravagers, three (or possibly four) Raider skiffs, a Venom, a large Scourge unit and some Reavers: very mobile and exceptionally shooty against vehicles and armoured troops.

Well, the Dark Eldar retained the initiative and began with a display of the cagey tactics they would employ throughout: staying out of sight, on their transports, and sniping from long range. This initially didn’t do much damage and I ploughed forward hopefully. However, it soon became apparent that the Dark Eldar vehicles were not as fragile as they looked. The wargear built into the skiffs neutralised the melta weapons the Blood Angels were toting and gave them additional cover saves from my (very limited) heavy weapons fire. Even after a direct hit from the Whirlwind, at the end of my first turn the Dark Eldar bodycount consisted of two dead Scourges and naught else.

Things ground on in similar style for turn after turn, with the Dark Eldar refusing to engage and the Blood Angels gradually being whittled down by splinter cannons and disintegrator fire, the vehicles being blown up one by one. The Blood Angels experienced a brief false dawn as Mephiston wiped out the Reavers on the charge and the Death Company destroyed the Venom and hacked down the elite troops on board, but the Captain and his escort only managed to draw against some Warriors and were counter-charged and slaughtered by Incubi.

Eventually the Blood Angel advance broke down as I simply ran out of troops. The Dark Eldar prepared for a massive assault on the Death Company (who had been pulled away from the table centre) but focussed their fire against the combat squad holding an objective. Sheer volume of fire wiped out the squad and completed the destruction of my objective-holding capability, at which point I offered my resignation, even though there were potentially more than two full game turns left to go. I couldn’t win and my opponent knew that very well; it would have been slightly fatuous to continue.

Well, no excuses: I knew the army wouldn’t have enough bodies to be effective at 2000 points and was too reliant on points-sink units. I’d been warned to take anti-tank gear, which was good advice: just wish I’d managed to get more painted. Not having a clue about the capabilities of the current Dark Eldar list I was always heading into dark territory for this game.

And looking back I suppose I was unlucky with quite a few dice rolls, but even so this was an alarmingly frustrating experience: the army felt like it had had its teeth pulled and was unable to land a telling blow, except on a single occasion when the Dark Eldar made a mistake and left the Reavers too close to Mephiston.

You can’t control the dice; it wouldn’t be much of a game if you could. You can fix and rebuild army lists at will and at leisure. What really depresses me about this game is the fact that I couldn’t keep my frustration from influencing my manner around the table, probably most notably in the way it concluded. I mean, losing is occasionally unavoidable, but doing so gracelessly is always unforgivable.

I don’t know. Long step back and good hard talking-to-self required, I think. Maybe there are away-from-table issues contributing to this lapse in behaviour. Must try harder in every department, I think. Still: sigh…

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