I had deployed across the board, concentrating most of my offensive firepower on either flanks – the right being held by my BTS Tank Company, while the Reg HQ and 2 SHT companies were ready to push onto the objectives on the left of the board. The two cunning Eldar generals had also deployed fairly loosely, although there did seem to be more offensive weight on the left hand flank with a couple of lurking Engines of Vaul backing up some Aspect warriors. Thier maneuverability and speed meant that I could really only deploy in a generic way rather than in anticipation of thier battle plan.
On the Eldar right flank, they had garrisoned some rangers quite far forward in the buildings, screening off a group of Wraithguard upgraded Guardians, Guardians in Wave Serpents, and some Night Spinners.
On my right flank, I had placed my Tank Company, hoping that thier long range and resilience would pay off over the more open terrain on this side of the board.
Backing the Tank Company up, I had placed an Infantry Company with Griffon support, hoping to move them up into the cover of the central buildings. I realise that this unit pick is a bit strange, but I had the points left over for the griffon upgrade and have quite liked them when I have used them in the Lost and the Damned list in the past.
The Eldar left flank seemed to me to have most of thier heavy-hitters – Revenant titans, Voidspinner, Scorpion, Aspects in Wave Serpents… They had also garrisoned thier second formation of Rangers in some forward buildings. Facing off against them on my side of the table was the Stormhammer Company, the Baneblade Company and my Regimental HQ with Demolishers.
The game began with the tricksy Eldar winning the activation roll (typical!) and the team quickly decided to place a formation of Nightwings on CAP hoping to dissaude me from using my air power. In retaliation, I placed one of my Tbolt flights on CAP. I was quite low on AA in this game with only 3 Hydras on the ground, so needed to try and protect my formations from the lethal Nightwings. The Guardian formation on the left flank then moved up to sieze the Genatorium building, snuggling thier heavy weapons into cover.
I doubled my Infantry Company with Griffons forward, just managing to reach the safety of the buildings in the centre of the board, and fired on the garrisoned Ranger formation opposite. No kills, but a blast marker had been laid. We then began to utilise some of the artillery on the board with the Eldar Voidspinner hoping to suppress some of my Basilisks by laying two blast markers down on them. In return I activated one of my Manticore formations to sustain fire on the Guardian formation on the extreme right flank that had not yet had the chance to move up into cover – 7 BM laid and 2 dead Guardians showed the Eldar the meaning of Imperial firepower! First blood to the Imperials.
Andy then choose to bring forward some of his Falcons, shooting at the Griffon Infantry Company, before scooting away. The pulse weapons easily picked out the few armoured targets in the formation, destroying two of the three Griffons. Hoping to deal with the looming Phantom titan, or at least put a BM down on it, I try to activate one of my Shadowswords. I fail, and stupidly decide to use my re-roll. I must remind myself to never use a re-roll this early in the turn ever again! The Shadowsword advances, only to find I had forgotten to measure the range. In a much more impressive display, Ben’s Scorpion pops up and blows away most of my left hand Rough Rider formation – killing 3 and breaking them. I try to activate my unblastmarkered Basilisk formation to fire on Ben’s Night Spinners out on the right flank, and fail the activation roll (instantly making me regret having used it for such a stupid move before!). They still fire but only lay a BM. Ben then activates the Night Spinners – possibly sensing my desire to stop them firing – and they fire on the Griffon Company, killing none but using thier Disrupt to lay two BM. I advance one of my Shadowswords to have another pop at the Phantom Titan, but unfortunately the gunners are confused by the shifting holofields. Hoping to hit the Shadowsword now that it is exposed, Andy tries to activate his second Falcon formation, but fails, instead moving them into the centre of the board. Seeing as the Phantom has resisted two Shadowswords already, I advance the last one and snipe at one of the Revenant Titans on the left flank – success! The Volcano cannon catches the flimsy Eldar titan, doing 2DC of damage and suppressing one of the them for this turn.
Possibly a little bit annoyed at my Shadowswords taking potshots at thier titans with impunity, the eldar generals sought to leverage thier air superiority, bringing in a fliht of Nightwings to hit the Shadowsword that had just damaged the Revenant titans. Nightwings tend to do horrible, horrible things to the unshielded SHT of the Imperial Guard with thier Lance weaponry! I chose to intercept with the Thunderbolts I had placed on CAP, and was in turn intercepted by the Eldar Nightwing CAP. In the end the Nightwings showed just why they are the undisputable king of the interceptors, killing both Thunderbolts while loosing only one of thier own.
Andy then moves up his Phantom Titan to try and blow away at least of the terribly annoying Shadowsword, but in a display of poor dice rolling only manages to lay a BM.
Hoping to do something with my Marauders now that the Eldar interceptors have both activated, I send my Marauder bombers on a ground attack on the Guardian formation previously fired at by my Manticore battery. With the blastmarkers they already had from that hammering, the Guardians break just from coming under fire and then lose one stand of Guardians. I have said it before but Marauders really, really, really suck. The eldar players then nudge forward thier left flank Ranger formation into cover in the forward buildings and in return I use my central formation of Rough Riders to ZoC the Phantom Titan – I really do not want it to be able to sustain into my Tank Company next turn. Perhaps reminded of his hatred for my Rough Rider formations, Ben activates his Aspects in Wave Serpents on the left flank, moving them up ready for a turn 2 engage, shooting at the broken Rough Riders on the way, killing one.
I then respond by advancing my Regimental HQ with an attached Demolisher Squadron up to the edge of the river and take a few potshots at the only thing really in range – the Rangers who have just moved to occupy the buildings across the river – killing 2 stands. Andy then brings across his Aspects in Wave Serpents from thier position in the centre of the Eldar deployment, laying a BM on my Reg HQ, and setting them up for a neat turn 2 engage. In return I activate the Baneblade Company tucked behind the Reg HQ, advance and blow one of the Wave Serpents up, killing an occupying stand of Scorpions. Seeing this, the two Eldar Autarchs march across the untouched Guardians in Wave Serpents from the extreme right flank across the board. At this point it looks as if this building engagement in potentia taking shape in the bottom left hand corner of the board will be critical to the overal game. Hoping to forestall it slightly, I activate my Stormhammer Company to advance and fire on Ben’s Aspect Warriors in Wave Serpents that moved up close to the start of the turn. The Snub-Battlecannons excel themselves at this short range and blow up all four of the Wave Serpents, killing 5 / 8 of the Aspect Warriors inside, and blunting the threat posed by them. Seeking to shore up the suddenly less secure engagement, Ben advances his Revenant titans hoping they will ditch the BM they picked up from the earlier Shadowsword fire.
Dragging attention back to the centre of the board, I scoot my Stormtroopers into one of the buildings close to the Phantom titan, using the Valkyrie rocket pods to lay lots of blastmarkers on the clustered Falcon formations in the centre of the board, breaking one. Their are two reasons for this move – 1) the Falcons are a major threat to my armoured formations and are in a good advanced central position for the second turn 2) hopefully in any engagement erupting around the titan in the next turn the Stroopers decent AT will be useful.
Ben then regroups the nearby Rangers while I bring in my only remaining set of Thunderbolts to hit Andy’s Aspects threatening my left flank, doing relatively well. Having now out activated the opposing Eldar I place my remaining Manticore battery on Overwatch hoping to use it to blunt the impending assault. I know this is a bit of a waste to not use the +1 for the sustain but it is a tactic I have found very useful – catching the clumped, lightly armoured, Eldar as sooon as they step outside thier vehicles.
It is at this point that I run into a good turn of luck. I advance the Leman Russ company on the right flank across the river and fire the battlecannons at the Phantom Titan – 2 DC damage and knocking down the Holofields means that I can then activate the Deathstrike missiles that have been lurking unnoticed nearby. They activate and fire, hitting the now easily-targettable Eldar titan engulfing it in a titantic explosion! 5 DC damage down and the Phantom keels over much to the probable shock off the nearby Storm Troopers.
With that, Turn 1 comes to an end. The game still hangs in the balance, with the Imperials seeming to be winning on the right flank while the Eldar are massing thier forces for a brutal engagement on the left flank.
Everything to play for!