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The escalation league continued with a surprisingly packed house. I got to meet El Cheezus, but it was so busy he wasn't able to get a game in.

This game was against my traditional Tau foe, except this time with eldar.

1850 pts.

Seer Council of Doom
Farseer with doom, fortune
6 warlocks (4 destructors, 2 emboldens)
Everything on a jetbike with witchblades

jetbike squad with shuricannons
- warlock with destructor, witchblade

jetbike squad with shuricannons
- warlock with destructor, witchblade

Autarch on a jetbike
Shining spears!

Falcon with fire dragons
Wave serpent with dire avengers
- defend, shimmer shield, blade storm

THE DEFENDER: If I can't get there walking, it's not worth going
1850 pts.

I used list 5-1850-c, same as last time. Straken, Al'Rahem, ogryn, hydras, power blobs. You know the drill.

The mission was Capture and Control. The deployment was Pitched Battle. My opponent won the roll to go first.

At deployment, the field looked like this:

The objectives were in the top center and lower right.

Taking one look at his list, it was obvious that my hydras weren't going to be doing anything this game. Also, I really wanted to keep his seer council as far away from my objective as possible. Thus, I threw down three juicy targets for his witchblades so that I could bait him over and then snare him with a power blob, hopefully trapping him in the extreme left of the field for most of the game. As for everything else, I was planning on a big push up the right which would be joined by Rhamael. If I could get in my opponent's face quickly enough, I might well be able to push him off of his objective like in game 6.

That said, I knew that in this game I'd have to play against the murder hole (12"-18"), and the last thing I'd want to do is go first and get 12" away from him so that he could easily charge me, or just shoot me out in the open. As such, I opt not to seize the initiative.


Raust Melios Carissander - Commissar, Theleos Group

Having gutted my enemies so handily, marshal Clinton's forces had trudged over my bleeding body in a breakthrough into the city itself. While I was busy summarily executing my medicae personnel for not healing me fast enough, the illustrious marshal once again showed his shrewd knack for being a cowardly idiot by allowing his attack to get bogged down in city streets. Next time I set eyes on him, I am seriously going to summarily execute him to death.

Once I was strong enough to murder my way out of the hospital I rejoined marshal Melchoir's group. The marshal himself had been out of commission for a few days as well, after he single-handedly took the outer perimeter in our last attack, with my supremely competent help, of course. Now that we were back on the line, forces of Him Whose Bureaucracy Is Most Blessed could finally get a move on, rather than squatting around with their heads between their knees.

My group was assigned to capture a stand of ruined buildings near a park that would hold down the flank of Clinton's advance. The march through the park was uneventful, but just as we approached our objective, I heard over the micro-vox: witches! Flying on their mechanized broomsticks!

My rage boiled. Not only had our foes dared oppose us, but they even had the nerve of attacking before I had made it onto the field!

My opponent begins the game by playing it unfortunately cool. Instead of just turboboosting 24" with everything, or generally charging in, he jumps his jetbikes just a little bit forward (except for the shining spears, who fly way over to the right).

Light shooting causes me to loose a couple of guardsmen and my ogryn get lightly dinged. Once done, he uses his jetbike move to fall back to just under 18". This is already shaping up to be a tough game.

After this point, the field looked like this:

Having refused to commit his forces, I'm now stuck. I obviously can't just charge out into the open or my dudes will get eaten alive on the top of two. As such, I mostly just reposition my forces slightly. He's got to engage my forces sooner or later, and I've just got to make sure that I'm in a good position. Even if he doesn't, I've still got to wait for Rhamael to show up before I can seriously press the attack myself.

Shooting sees me open up with some ripper guns, taking down a shining spear while I FRF a handful of lasguns at them dragging down another.

Two hydras throw down on the wave serpent, wrecking it while the third shoots at the fortuned seer council and predictably does nothing.

After this point, the field looked like this:


My opponent sees my reluctance to just blunder into his trap and decides that now was the time. He commits his forces, and commits them hard. While the seer council flies over towards my hydras, pretty much the entire rest of his army bears down on my right side:

Shooting begins against my ogryn. The fire dragons who flopped out kill an ogryn. The falcon surprisingly aces another, while just two shuricannons drop a third and finish off the last wound on the fourth. Then two more suricannons with a couple catapults drops a fifth!

Unfortunately, these losses remove my ogryn as a source of cover for my infantry blob behind, which he immediately bladestorms. I go to ground, but astonishingly 30 shots kills 18 guardsmen!

Assault sees his shining spears viciously gut the last ogryn, while the seer council triple charges my hydras wrecking one and exploding the other two, catching my nearby blob with some shrapnel.

After this point, the field looked like this:

With a single round of phenominal shooting, a third of my points just vanished in a single go. To boot, his forces are still basically unscathed. With very little left on the field, I already go into "go for a draw" (if not "avoid a wipe") mode.

I know I've only got one chance, and that's to commit whatever I have left to try and get him to play my game. Thank the Emperor, I roll up Rhamael, and he comes in from reserves!

The air in front of me exploded in a shower of glass and light as witchdisk launchers sprayed their cursed shrapnel into the air. As I ran forward toward the hedge, my view of the battle was lost. The panicked screams of guardsmen gurgling up blood and broken glass before retching it onto the ground signaled that this battle was finally starting to get serious.

I ordered my men forward as I astonishingly took the field. Glory would be mine. Death by pistol whip and raw hatred would be theirs.

I send Rhamael along with a squad on the top side to catch the dire avengers while Raust comes in from below. I really wanted Raust to be able to get into the thick of it this turn, but that huge building blocked the way. Instead, I'll have to settle with putting a blob on my objective in cover.

Meanwhile, I commit all the rest of my forces...

On the left, I spring my trap on the seer council. 3 flamers douse the squad, and one of them perishes in the flames. On the right, shooting is pretty sparse, as I don't want to be left out of close combat, especially give that Rhamael was only able to fleet the squad going after the avengers a measly 1". The only exception is my PCS who throws 3 meltaguns down on the shining spears, killing 2, and leaving them with just the exarch and the autarch.

I then instigate a mass charge. On the left, the blob attacks the seer council. 12 rerollable power weapon attacks along with a bunch of bayonets attack the exarch, while a hedge of bayonets and a power fist goes after the warlock bikers. Unfortunately, instead of nearly killing the farseer and the rest of the council in a single go, my opponent's rerollable 4++ saves decide to behave like his shooting last turn. Of the plethora of wounds, only two saves are eventually failed. To top it off, the blob fails morale, and the commissar has to get a little trigger happy to keep order.

Meanwhile, in the center, Melchoir charges in only to see half of his jetbikes take down a guardsman apiece. In return, Melchoir SERIOUSLY flubs his attacks, only putting down a single jetbike. The astropath helps out by killing one, but is then drug down by a fearless test.

Just to the right, the autarch and exarch decide to take a page from Melchoir, and only manage a single armor save against the horrifically mangled center blob (which had gotten back in the fight thanks to an order), which I pass. My commissar takes down the exarch with his power weapon, and the autarch decides to hit and run it 16" away.

On the far right, Rhamael's other blob makes it into the fray with the avengers:

Another cloud of rerollable power weapons and bayonets go down, but defend noticeably dampens the damage (its effects being multiplied by the number of models throwing attacks thrown against them). While a few go down to failed armor saves, it's the 5+ invul saves that really kills my damage this charge.

Regardless of the awful luck, my counter-attack still went off, and it stuck. Now instead of a beehive of eldar anger right on my objective, the space looks much more peaceful.

After this point, the field looked like this:


My opponent's attack was blunted, but not yet beaten. Unfortunately, for him, it is now most definitely stuck. His falcon and fire dragons decide to creep forward while the other jetbike squad continues to twitch on his objective.

Shooting is rather sparse with the fire dragons all hitting my original right side blob wiping them away (my poor attempts at going to ground once again fail me). The rest is just some shuricannon fire that I fail to make a single cover save against.

In assault, the seer council kills more of my guardsmen. I retaliate back with a shower of power weapon and power fist attacks. While rolling to wound, something very strange happened. I rolled the dice (as in rolled them, not dropped them - they actually bounced on the table), and one of them decided not to obey the laws of gravity:

No, this was not an action shot... That's how the dice actually landed. Needless to say, with that kind of rolling, the very scant few wounds were easily bounced off of rerollable invul saves with only one being drug down by a regular chainsword.

Meanwhile Melchoir again unloaded on the bikers. He threw down three hits... and got two 1's to wound.

On the right, I throw down many more attacks, and seriously flub the to-wound rolls with my third squad in a row. The eviscerator hit once, but also rolled a 1. This turn, I rolled more 1's to wound than all other numbers combined...

After this point, the field looked like this:

Like my opponent, I don't have much left lying around that isn't engaged in close combat. Raust's blob makes it square on the objective while Rhamael's squad makes its second turn of terrible difficult terrain/run rolls to edge a little closer.

Shooting sees a "bring it down!" on my melta PCS. 3 twin linked meltaguns put down 2 glances on the falcon. The holofields sees one of the glances reduced to a stunned result while the other, with the help of some good rolling for a change and AP1 manages to immobilize it. At least now I won't have to deal with turn 5 skimmer shenanigans.

In close combat, the seer council keeps thinning the blob. More power weapon and power fist attacks land, but yet AGAIN my opponent makes all of his rerollable 4++'s. As if that wasn't enough, more power weapon and power fist attacks land on the avengers, and they pass ALL of their non-rerollable 5++'s! A bayonet wound sticks through a batch of passed armor saves, but the commissar needs to blast one of my sergeants to keep the blob in the fight.

And the autarch finishes off Melchoir.

After this point, the field looked like this:


Now that he's finally punched through my center, my opponent makes a last-ditch assault against my objective.

Shooting sees him open up on my blob with a pair of shuricats and 4 shuricannons. Almost every shot hits. Every shot wounds. I fail... every... single... 4+... cover save...

In close combat, his seer council throws down 5 wounds on my power blob. I fail every single armor save. The PCS breaks and runs and is caught in a sweeping advance...

Then his autarch charged into Raust:

No sooner had I made it onto the battlefield then my men suddenly began to violently burst out in gore. One by one they popped like bugs on a windshield as gossamer strands of glass flicked through the air. I had never been this close to this type of sorcery. From a distance, you can only hear the sounds of the guns but when you're surrounded by the munitions flying all around you, the rounds almost sound like crickets.

As my men pulpified around me in a shower of razors, I turned toward the hedge, to see where this fire was even coming from. It was just then that one of the foul warlocks flew over the bushes on his evil steed and crashed straight into combat. I would have none of this. With a flick of my wrist, my power weapon answered the summons.

The autarch put down a terrible number of guardsmen with his power weapon. In return, the priest's eviscerator throws down two hits, but both of them bounce off his 4+ invul save. Raust thows down another wound, which is ALSO stopped by the 4++. Just for good measure, the autarch also passes the lone armor save I force on him.

Meanwhile, my fanatically poor rolling against his avengers continues. This time, my opponent finally fails a couple of armor saves, but the 5+ invuls that are pretending like they're 2+ invuls stop yet another couple of power weapon hits. It comes down to just the exarch vs. the priest. I REALLY need the last avenger dead so that I can charge in next turn instead of just sitting around and getting chewed apart by shuriken fire. The priest rolls his one attack and hits... and rolls a 1 to wound...

After this point, the field looked like this:

By this point, I'm getting pretty desperate. My two blobs are caught up against an endless stream of passed invul saves while my opponent still has forces that can just saunter onto my objective.

Playing what is currently the last card in my hand, I shoot Rhamael at the fire dragons. The melta guns do unkind things to the aspect warriors. Even Rhamael's plasma pistol scored a kill.

Then, with no other choice, I multi-assault the dragons and the jetbikes:

The warlock's witchblade puts down 1 from Rhamael's squad while the rest of the eldar put down a very lackluster effort, killing only one more. EVERY SINGLE ATTACK from Rhamael's squad missed. Rhamael's 4 attacks saw two hits and no wounds. I just BARELY pass my leadership test.

Now that it's to my opponent's advantage, the right side blob gets several power attacks through the avenger exarch's 5++.

Meanwhile, the autarch puts down a couple more wounds, while bouncing another eviscerator hit off of his 4++. At least Raust got a solid stab in, and he followed it up with failed an armor save from a dude flamer-whipping him.

After this point, the field looked like this:


Statistically, my power blob should have easily beaten his seer council within a couple turns of close combat. As luck would have it, his seer council won the combat with only moderate casualties. Thankfully, proper planning on my part had stranded the council on the opposite end of the board. As this would be his only hope for contesting my objective, the jet bikers turbo-boost it towards the right side of the field.

In shooting, my opponent finally has only an average shooting phase, putting down some wounds on the top blob, but I actually manage to pass a couple cover saves this time.

In close combat, the autarch continues his insane hitting and wounding streak, cutting down the blob to just raust and his priest. The priest is finally able to get an eviscerator attack through the autarch's invul save, putting him down.

Meanwhile, the Rhamael close combat devolved into a wet noodle fight with both sides only managing to put a single armor save on each other, which we both passed.

After this point, the field looked like this:

At this point, I'm stuck. I've only got 1 power blob left, and I have two things that it needs to do. On the one hand, if I bail out Rhamael and wipe the bikes/dragons then I have two squads that can handle the seer council when they arrive next turn. Or, I could wind up stuck in close combat for an extra turn, allowing the seer council to not just contest, but claim my objective - something which might be preventable if I move my power blob in to block.

In the end, I decide on the Rhamael option:

While my opponent inflicts some damage, 15 rerollable power weapon attacks and 3 rerollable power fist attacks actually manage to do their job this time, wiping out the few remnants of my opponent's center forces. The troops gather together to make their last stand on my objective:

With my opponent's last remaining mobile unit bearing down on me, luck finally decides to cut me a break. My opponent rolls to continue and flips a 2.


Both players controlled their original objectives for a draw.

- I can scarcely think of a list that an opponent could put down that would be harder for me to fight against with my list. With MSM, his jetbikes could always get into shuriken range while simultaneously always preventing me from getting the assault in the turn after (a true parthian shot situation if ever there was one). Add to this the fact that my opponent's twin-linked shots needed 3's to wound and ignored armor while I needed 5's to wound against his 3+ armor, and the fact that I'd get half the number of shots he did, if I was ever in range at all, seems like an afterthought. Add onto this the fact that my opponent could have placed 100% of his forces into the fray early on and could have just turbo-boosted back onto his objective as the game ended and my forces could have been dead in an awful hurry with basically no recourse.

On top of all this, we add that he put down a huge number of S6 shots which are basically custom-made to take down my ogryn, while having an entire army made up of 3+ armor made my hydras worthless. The only trump card I had was my massive load of power attacks, but given that practically everything had an invul save, I was even short-suited in my one real strength. That the invul saves were nearly either always rerollable or attached to a -1 A penalty was just insult to injury.

That said, against a list that is basically perfectly suited to beat mine, and with some really wretched luck, I still pulled off a draw, which is nothing to be unsatisfied with. I guess I'll just have to file it in my growing "what if luck had been what statistics predicted?" folder.

- I'm starting to fade on my liking of Straken. The character I assume really shines when you throw two power blobs and him at something simultaneously, but so far I've yet to have that happen. Against the good opponents I'm fighting, the ideal situation has wound up being far from what I'm actually getting. Even in prime circumstances, the +I isn't really all that helpful, and the +S for a single turn isn't what's really doing the damage anyways (it's the turn after turn of attrition). Really, all I've seen of him so far has made him look like nothing more than a space marine sergeant with a power fist. Hardly seems worth the 90 points. Obviously I'll still keep him around for awhile to give him a fair trial, but it's not looking terribly likely that his presence will continue long into the future.

- On the other hand, I'm still tentatively hopeful about the ogryn. If the dice would have rolled how statistics predicted, when he shot basically his whole army at my ogryn, I should have had 3 left standing. This would have given cover to my power blob, which would have taken 6 casualties rather than 18. With an extra entire power blob in the fight, I could have fairly easily pulled a win out of this, I think. Once again, it's not the ogryn, but the ogryn suffering from bad luck that's causing lackluster performance. I look to seeing them be much more useful once their luck normalizes.

MVP: This award goes to Rhamael, whose timely rescue of a huge friggin pile of angry guardsmen was the only thing that salvaged the day.

Hero of the Game: Despite being horrifically gunned down to a bloody paste, and seeing all of the lumbering ogryn meet a gristly end, my poor center blob decided to buck up and charge a bunch of shining spears. That takes some serious guts. Also, props to Rhamael for his epic late-game charge.

From the other side of the hedge, I could hear the shrieks of more cursed jetbike engine whining. With lightening speed, I could hear the witches hack and cut down the soldiers on the other side of the shrubbery.

It was at this point that the true cause for the soldiers' failure was made apparent - a lack of morale. Because the priests had failed to inspire their men, I turned and pumped my bolt pistol into the nearest priest's back. I unloaded my clip, but several shots bounced off the rosarius field. Only a single hit managed to wound the filthy heretic. My ammunition spent, I was forced to strangle him to death with my bare hands to finish the summary execution.

As the priest choked his last, I noticed that an eerie calm had come over the battlefield. Letting the twitching corpse thud to the ground, I carefully got up and peered through the bushes. Before me lie a blood soaked field bloated with casualties; dozens of soft moans and cries for help wafted gently on the wind. The enemy was nowhere to be seen.

Yet again, I had single-handedly driven away my enemies while all the rest of the cowards just lay around on the battlefield.

With our advance temporarily stalled, I relieved myself of my position on the field to go find a second wave to send in.

I eagerly await my next assignment. In faith,

-Raust Melios Carissander, Imperial Commissar