I had the chance this past weekend to test out the Footdar against the Sons of Fenris this past weekend. CVinton had his 13th company out to play. I wanted to see how the new, old, approach I am taking with the Eldar would work against the best power armored codex currently out there.
CVinton brought a list that basically was a version of the Nova Con winner. 5 Grey Hunter Packs with Plasma, 2 Long Fang Packs loaded with Missile Launchers, a Huge blob squad of Imperial Guardsman with a Priest in it and Njal Stormcaller to round out the list. Now before you point out the obvious and declare the list invalid, we both didn’t know that Ministorum Priests are not valid HQ choices for the HQ spot anymore. It is not a big deal as The Avatar of Khaine made quick work of the blob squad after Njal's head exploded thanks to Eldrads Runes of Warding. I would also like to point out how retarded it is putting Njal into a 50 man blob squad with biomancy powers and divination powers at his disposal. There will be great lamentations by Eldar players worldwide when and if they change Runes of Warding. They are still by far the best psychic defense in the game seconded of course by the Rune trinkets the Space Puppies wave rudely in your direction.
I digress though. So with my first two games with the Footdar list the main problem was a lack of long range punch. I had a larger than needed Jetbike squad and a good sized squad of Warp Spiders wrecking havoc in the back field while the Night Spinner provided some long range support, while the Fire Prisms laid waste to hard targets. My foot units advanced across the board without pause thanks to the Avatar. I had to advance right into the teeth of my enemy to really bring a devastating amount of fire to bear. This of course meant casualties were very high. I could not kill infantry in large number unless I was close which means usually only one turn of shooting before the whole battle field is one big melee. I mean if I was a space marine or whatever I would want to be in close combat with Guardians who have a 50/50 chance of hitting and them a 30% chance of actually wounding. Why would I stand in front of them and get hit with massed shuriken fire?
The latest iteration of the list removed the bike squad and the night spinner and added a squadron of War walkers armed with just scatter lasers. This unit generally shreds infantry units by sheer volume of fire. They stayed close to Eldrad for a handy Guide every turn. I also added a squad of Pathfinders. The list actually performed very well given the horde of power armored Mon-Keigh that were surging towards me. Njal was stalled by my psychic wall and Once I was within 24 inches he denied me my Fortune on more than one occasion. It was very lucky and a pretty clutch moment when his head exploded trying to hamper the Avatar. This caused the blob squad to break much easier and stripped away the They Shall Know No Fear Rule from them. The Priest was also dead from a challenge so I cut down 38 guardsman with a roll of a 6 on my initiative test. This lead to the Avatar charging headlong towards the Space Wolf objective the following turn whit the Fire Prisms and Pathfinders punished the whittled down Grey Hunter packs in his way. I had swung the game from a hopeless battle to a real chance of a solid win. Alas a surviving Long Fang scored a solid hit and took the Avatars last wound from him. It was sad as he had a real solid chance of charging into the Grey Hunter pack holding the objective. They had been already hit by the Warp Spiders and pounded by the Fire Prisms.
So I lost, but it was a loss that I felt confident after. I had made a couple tactical errors, but all in all it just came down to how the dice rolled. In the post game CVinton and I discussed the game and the different situations. As much as I like my big units of Guardians, for fluff reasons, I think I may have to cull them in favor of some different troop choices. Pathfinders are always great objective holders for me. They stayed rooted like a tick and usually your opponent has to hit them with close combat troops and / or template weapons to really get them out of their nest. Switching to more stationary troop choices like this does mean another unit will become basically a big points sink. The Avatar is great to escort your units across the table. I rely on the Avatar to keep my Guardians fighting. With an 8 leadership and a Warlock with a leadership of 8 you can fail easy leadership tests more frequently than you would like. The re-roll you can get from Embolden is nice, but it denies you the nice out in the open cover save that the Conceal power gives.
So If I reduce or take out the Guardians completely I am left with Pathfinders who will be spread out and in cover and Aspect warriors, who although can benefit form the Avatars presence do not really need it. The 2nd HQ slot can now be freed up to add in a second Farseer or Phoenix Lord, who can take on the roll of an Avatar for the Aspect squad he or she is a part of.
More pathfinders also help solve the ranged problem even more. In fact thanks to a better ballistic skill, Doom and the new way sniper weapons work, I can really dissect the opposing force. My play style must be more refined. I use to be a very precision player, but it would seem I have started down a path that has play style akin to an ork charging into close combat. Maybe its time to play the range game and shift gears a bit. I have always been fascinated by the Ranger heavy Armies of Alaitoc.
I will continue to develop the Guardian Foot list, but I think I am going to fully explore the path of the Outcast a bit and see how Ranger and Pathfinder forces fair.
Until Next time..............
Blood Runs, Anger Rises, Death Wakes, War Calls!!!!!!!!!!!!