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Battle Report 11 - Fire and Steel

Tyranids vs. Saim-Hann Cheesemasters [Just kidding!]

Composed by Michael J. Casavant (Hive Fleet Phage) and Travis Burgess (Saim-Hann Eldar)


  • Date - 21OCT2001
  • Points - 1500
  • Scenario - Rescue
  • Hive Fleet Phage, Tyranid Army List played by Michael J. Casavant]
  • Eldar Craftworld - Saim-Hann Cheesemasters [played by Travis Burgess]
  • Result - Victory for Tyranids
    • Losses - Phage: Everything except for Gargoyles, Genestealers x 2 broods, 1/2 Lysogaunt brood and two half-strength Spinegaunt broods.
    • Losses - Saim-Hann: 2 Wave Serpents, 3 Vypers, and 1/2 unit of Striking Scorpions.
  • Grand Tournament Scale (Victory Points Difference) - N/A.
    • 0-299 Victory Points = Draw - neither side holds the upper hand.
    • 300-599 Victory Points = Minor Victory - You have won the battle, but only just!
    • 600-1,199 Victory Points = Solid Victory - You have decisively defeated your foe!
    • 1,200+ Victory Points = Massacre - You have ruthlessly crushed your foes!



Travis wanted to try out a Saim-Hann army. I ran screaming rather than consider playing it, but my desire to play overcame my sensibilities and I played him anyway. Thank goodness for the mission objectives! In defense of Travis, this army could legally have been even worse. This army is an excellent demonstration of the potentially unbalanced capability of the Eldar Starcannon. I won, but only by decent tactics and a LOT OF BLIND LUCK.

Nota Bene: The goal of Travis's play test was to refine the army so that it is balanced. I respect and appreciate that Travis is striving to make a more balanced army than the list requires.


Naming convention: The food that have faced Hive Fleet Phage have named the Hive Tyrants that continue to plague them. The one that trudges forward implacably with an escort of Tyrant Guard they call "Thunder." The swift winged beast that races across the battlefield and shatters bodies and vehicles alike has been dubbed "Lightning." They have also named the Carnifex engine of destruction, "Mjolnir."

Choice of board edge went to the Tyranids. I chose the edge that seemed to have the most cover and was closest to some objectives.


The Battle

Note: Travis contributed a good deal of fluff to this report. His additions are in italicized white text.

The strike force had entered the Hosteen Sector and located an lush unpopulated world. On planetfall, they quickly determined that many others had visited the planet before and been destroyed by an array of automated planetary defense systems. And now they were the ones in peril; the alien defense systems had armed.

The ancient planetary defense weapons were large enough for a Wave Serpent to park in them. The Saim-Hann technicians determined that there was a countdown in progress and if they could not secure an alien transponder, they would be the foe when the thunder rained down from the ancient guns. Entil'Za Nevael ordered elements of White Star Fleet 101 to find and seize a transponder before it was too late. Hive Fleet Phage had entered orbit, and if the Wildriders could acquire the transponder before the systems activated, they could watch the alien menace purged from the skies by the ancient weapons. Farseer Shar'adn and his forces were ordered to locate and retrieve the transponder from the surface. As they narrowed in on the location, they found something else moving into the position. Tyranids! They gunned their engines and prayed to our ancestors for strength...

Choice of the first turn went to Tyranids. Tyranids chose to go first.

Shar'adn lead the Vypers and wave serpents from his Jetbike It felt good to be flying in a natural atmosphere, even if it was tainted by Tyranid. He contacted the rangers that had sent word of the transponder and uploaded the coordinates. It was in a forested area 700 miles west. He changed course and lead the squadrons in. They would arrive in 2.5 hours. Unfortunately, the Tyranid of Hive Fleet Phage where much closer. The Vypers were faster so he decided to send them ahead to secure the area.

The Vypers arrived as the lead elements of the Tyranid were closing in on the transponder. They opened fire blowing a dozen Spinegaunts to gobbets. As one brood withdrew into cover, another unearthed the transponder. "Damn the luck," Shar'adn spat as he lead the remainder of his forces into range. The Tyranid had already occupied the area and were swarming around the transponder.

End of turn 2. I have overturned two objectives counters. The one no the right, with all of the Gaunts clustered about, is the objective!
Notice the tiny units I have...they weren't like that until the SH army's Vypers started firing! The firepower of those Vypers is staggering.

Vypers and wave serpents fired into the churning mass, but though their fire was withering, it was not enough. Shar'adn decided to press the attack, lashing out with his psychic attacks, blasting the skittering broods of aliens. As a wave serpent with striking scorpions was moving into position, the Tyranid began to return fire destroying a Vyper, the tank, and wounding several of the hardy soldiers that once rode within.

End of turn 3. Biovores did nothing useful this round, which was disappointing.. I managed to blow up the Wave Serpent carrying the Striking Scorpions with Thunder. That was a very good thing for the bugs. Lightning was handed the objective and he pulled back to the trees. Gaunts huddled around to complicate the ability of the Eldar to take it back. The mighty Ripper Swarms advanced on the remaining Wave Serpent, which was empty, having disgorged its Dark Reapers earlier.

Shar'adn ordered his rangers and reapers to take positions and begin laying covering fire. He saw the Hive Tyrants emerging from the squirming masses, on with wings and the other protected by some Mon'kae-like monstrosities. He knew these were the key to defeating the swarm and ordered the Vypers to destroy them.

Two volleys later they lay wounded and out of action, but the Biovores and Carnifex returned fire taking down more Vypers The other Vypers answered cutting a swath though the swarms and killing a Biovore.

Penultimate Move, turn 6. Everything has pulled back towards the objective and my back corner, except for the forward unit of Spinegaunts, which have tied up the Farseer and wounded him. The Carnifex is almost dead, the Hive Mind is gone, and there's a tank floating towards the bugs...

Shar'adn was rapidly running out of time and the Tyranid strengthened their foothold, large bio-titans were closing in and he would be forced to retreat soon.

In a last attempt to get to the transponder, he ordered the second wave serpent to fly through the broods and cut them down. The pilot skillfully bore down on the creatures, sending them scattering like ninepins. The two tyrant guards frustrated by their failure to protect their master struck out, but to no avail, splattering on the front glacious armor. The driver saw the transponder and, to his doom, veered toward it. A brood of Genestealers leapt form the trees. Threewere smashed on the armor, but two were inhaled by the tank's slow-trans engines. Razor sharp and diamond hard, their claws perforated the engines and tank plowed into the fetid ground. There was no hope for the crew....

Shar'adn spat a curse and ordered an evacuation for his support elements.

The Wave Serpent swept in. The Lysogaunts (one holding the objective) remember the mission, the echoes of the Hive Mind emanating from the Hivenode, and they do not skitter away like animals. The Lysogaunt with the objective hops past his big brothers, the Genestealers. The Gargoyles also manage to keep control of their instincts and glide out of the path of the vehicle, looking forward to the chance to attack the rear of the vehicle with their deadly Fleshborers and caustic bio-plasma.

NOTE: Travis offered me the chance to do Death or Glory close combat attacks with my bugs. The rules do not allow this. He offered, it sounded cool, so I accepted. Do not expect your opponent to do the same and frankly, you should probably hop out of the way anyway.

The Tyrant Guard hiss in defiance and slash at the vehicle, the claws bounce off the hardened alloy shell and they are crushed under its mighty weight. Five Genestealers also hold their ground, knowing that the glowing box will preserve their Queen. They tear at the tank and the metal yields beneath their ultra sharp claws, shredding the engines and sending it crashing and flaming to the ground, mere meters from the lone Lysogaunt holding the objective.

Weapons fire rained down from the SH army, defiant and enraged at their fate. Their shots went wide and did not manage to kill enough bugs.

Phage's spawn had been identified as friend to the planetary defense systems. The Saim-Hann would die by the burning energy of the planetary defenses. Live by the sword...


The box stopped blinking shortly after the Wave Serpent and the Chief could hear the screams of his space fleet crew as the mighty cannons unleashed the ancient blind fury of a dead race's weapons on them. Meanwhile, the Tyranids melted back into the terrain of the land. This was their home too, now.

Travis is an excellent sportsman and has an amazing grasp of the rules. He also generous to a fault as opponents go.

Lessons Learned

  • Read the Victory Conditions! This was my first Rescue mission. I can't believe I did not read them thoroughly. I had in my mind that I just had to grab the objective and leave the board. Hence the crafty hand-off to my flying Hive Tyrant. Boy, was I disappointed to find out I was wrong.

Tactics Developed

Run away! Seriously, this was my first Rescue mission. The only tactics I used were:

  • Uncover objectives as fast as possible.
  • Once the objective is in possession, fall back away from the enemy and bring in the other units for support, fodder, and protection.
  • Tank shock - this was a problem for me. On the fly, I made a good choice in having the gaunt with the objective hop past the Genestealers so they could have a shot with Death or Glory.
  • Vypers - use Poison Spore Mines as much as possible! I used Bio-Acid at first, trying to take down the Wave Serpent with the Striking Scorpions, but that was a foolish and wasteful choice.

With lots of Starcannons facing you, it is important to take advantage of the fact that weapons can shoot into trees, but not through them.

Rules Questions & Clarifications

  • We had agreed that vehicles should not be able to pick up an objective. So far, I have heard no objections from people on that one, but I should continue to check.
  • Tank Shock - we handled this with the vehicle smashing into one unit at a time. I probably should have asked for Travis to declare the intended final position first, since that is how it would normally be done.
  • NOTE: Travis offered me the chance to do Death or Glory close combat attacks with my bugs. The rules do not allow this. He offered, it sounded cool, so I accepted. Do not expect your opponent to do the same and frankly, you should probably hop out of the way anyway.