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Battle Report 38 - Breaking the Chain

Tyranids vs. Biel-Tan Eldar

Composed by Michael J. Casavant (Hive Fleet Phage)


  • Date - 04APR2003
  • Points - 1900
  • Scenario - Reign of Terror (Custom Scenario)
  • Hive Fleet Phage, Tyranid Army List [played by Michael J. Casavant]
  • Biel-Tan Eldar [played by Ric Li]
  • Results - We had unrelated objectives; Minor Victory for Eldar
    • Hive Fleet Phage
      • Get the enemy HQ - not accomplished (physically impossible)
      • Take ground - two quarters held at end of the game, none contested.
    • Biel-Tan Eldar
      • Get vehicles off the other side of the board - not accomplished/attempted.
      • VPs for his surviving troops 1631 (out of 1867)



This is my third battle in the Midnight Comics GW League's Spring 2003 40k League.

Scenario: this was a custom mission called Reign of Terror. Because of other campaign dynamics, I would definitely be the Attacker.

  • FOC Attacker (Tyranids) - 1-2 HQ, 0-2 Elite, 0-2 Fast Attack, 3-5 Troops, 0-2 Heavy Support
  • FOC Defender (Eldar) - 1-2 HQ, 1-3 Elite, 1-3 Fast Attack, 3-6 Troops, 0-3 Heavy Support

The scenario was setup with a 4'x6' board as usual, but we set up on the short edges, 6" in from the edge. Yes, that's right, 60" apart.

What does this mean (for my non-40k playing friends)? For those unitiated into this game, it means I will probably lose. :) The game is generally built around opponents having armies about 30" apart. In this game, we are 60" apart and the game may end as early as turn 5. If I roll a "6" on a d6 for my Fleet of Claw moves, 1/4 of my army might make it to his army by turn 5. However, that is unlikely and it is more likely that it will take 7 turns to reach him. That alone is not so bad. However, my opponent can afford to sit and shoot because he has good firepower and his objective is simply to survive, so it's in his best interest to hang back as much as possible. I cannot. I have an assault army, which means I am effective at close combat but not shooting. Ric has a shooty army, which means he has lots of effective firepower; his list is a little less shooty than it could be, but that sacrifice is made for some of the most potent assault units in the game. What this means is that if Ric sits and shoots, he will probably be fine. My objectives encourage me to run at him by the most direct line possible, which means little/no cover. Only a a few units can move fast enough to reach his army by turn 5/6, and that will force them to leave the others behind. This means that Ric will be faced with small pockets of bugs that he should be able to gun down or defeat in close combat without endangering himself. So, we both expected Ric to win, and he did.

Ah well, custom scenarios are interesting, but they are not playtested and things like this happen.

About my opponent - Ric was great. He was sympathetic before, during, and after the battle. He moved, fired, and rolled dice quickly, so the game did not drag out. He probably complained more about the slant of the mission in his favor than I did. Truly a great opponent that made the impending loss a lot more fun. It really helped me laugh and smile as I was gunned down mercilessly. :)

Oh, and one more thing, templates of death and destruction are raining down on the battlefield to reflect a shattered moon. Good thing I don't have a huge army spread out over the battlefield...oh wait, I do! :)

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".

The Battle

Turn 0

NOTE: Objectives were hidden from the opponent, so neither of us knew what the others' objective was...

The lithe figure moved swiftly and gracefully to a position a few meters in front of the Farseer and genuflected with a flourish. "M'lord, the orders have been given. We are to penetrate the lines of the Beast and connect with other elements to turn the tide of the implacable foe's advance."

"Bah!" The retort that emanated from the Farseer's fluted battle helm had an eerie ethereal sound.

The kneeling man glanced up, "M'lord! The orders were very specific."

"Orders given by those safely positioned behind us carry little weight."

"But M'lord..."

"Enough. Look at the tac crystals." The Farseer waved a hand over an array of green crystals and a three-dimensional map of the battlefield south of them shimmered into existence.

"These creatures, here and here will readily disable our heaviest vehicles, and these are a viable threat to our more lightly armed vehicles or the flank armor of our tanks. To follow those orders would be folly. No, we will make a stand and fell as much of the foe as possible."

The man kneeling was visibly distressed, he hissed, "M'lord, the chain of command..."

"Do not lecture me. This discussion is over. File your complaints, raise your objections, but this day we stand and fight. The obtuse and overly complex machinations of our superiors will wait." The contempt in the Farseer's voice carried through the helmet's speaker. "Our numbers dwindle and the mon'keigh and Tau can fill the belly of the Beast in our place. We will feed the Beast only pain and death this day. We are done talking."

The Farseer then tilted his head back and pulled a floating drone closer.

"Let it be noted, that the Commander is acting under protest."

The Farseer then looked back to the kneeling man. "There Commander, you have been absolved from blame, in accordance with the canons of command of our forces. It is on my head. Now, ready your men and advance to the first position. I will follow fast behind you. Take a Guardian squad, Falcon, mobile Scorpions, a Wraithlord, and two units of Dark Reapers. The specific units choices are up to you."

The kneeling man strained the words through his teeth, his frustration a red mask on his face, "Yes M'lord. It will be done."


Commander V'layen watched from the Falcon's monitors as his forces took position. A distant darkness moved on the horizon. They had come. A shower of rocks fell near a ridge, creating a blockage that the beasts would have to maneuver around.

Starting Forces
Eldar: Wraithlord, Striking Scorpions in Wave Serpent, Falcon, both Dark Reapers squads, and Guardian squad.
Tyranids: Thunder & Guard, Mjolnir, both broods of Spinegaunts, and the Tyranid Warriors brood.

The beasts advanced. V'layen snapped orders over the comm unit and his men responded with precision and skill. They were not yet in optimal range, but they held fast.

Turn 2, Eldar Reserves - Fire Dragon, Farseer, Vyper

The Farseer had arrived, strolling onto the field. A fiery rain of molten rock crashed to the earth just in front of Thunder, missing the beast narrowly. Luck seemed to be on their side.

"Visions of glory cloud the ancient mind."

"Sir?" queried the driver of V'Layen's tank.

"Nothing. Pay attention, they come! Weapons officer, fire at will!"

Turn 2, Tyranid reserves - Lightning, Lysogaunts, Hormagaunts.

Behind the scampering horde came two smaller hordes of the leaping Gaunts and the winged horror Lightning. V'Layen knew that this beast was one of many clones of the genetic matter that his troops called Lightning, but the folk loric power of the idea of a monstrous beast that rises from death to fight another battle was far harder to kill than the beast itself.

Turn 3, Eldar reserves - Howling Banshees in Wave Serpent, Avatar of Khaine

Some cannon fire erupted, signaling that a few of the Gaunts had finally stumbled into weapons range. Rocks rained down to the ground only dozens of meters south of the mounted Striking Scorpions.

Turn 3, Tyranid reserves - (12-model) Gargoyle brood

A unit of the winged beasts, Gargoyles, could be seen briefly as they disappeared behind the cover of rocks.

Turn 4, Eldar reserves - Striking Scorpions on foot

The final elements had arrived. The force was complete. The creatures continued to advance and started to fall in greater numbers to weapons fire. Rocks rained down near the beasts, but narrowly missed them.

Turn 4, Tyranid reserves - (8-model) Gargoyle brood

One of the units of Spinegaunts raced forward in a suicidal assault against the Wraithlord while the rest of the creatures trudged over the fallen bodies of their fellow beasts.

Start of turn 5
The really bad shooting is just beginning. All but 2 of the 56 Gaunts running up the left side to try and attack the HQ (objective #1) will be gunned down before they can reach the Eldar. The Eldar have basically set up a refused flank, and there's more ground to cover.
One unit of Spinegaunts has begun to annoy the Wraithlord, but in the next phase will be assaulted by Striking Scorpions and Howling Banshees.

Turn 5

Both units of Striking Scorpions advanced to the Spinegaunts, but only one reached the combat with the Wraithlord so far. They were supported by the unit of Howling Banshees. A huge chunk of rock fell to the ground and rolled through a unti of Spinegaunts which skittered out of harm's way with remarkable agility [they made a Leadership test].

The bulk of the remaining beasts advanced into the mouths of cannons, littering the field with their bodies.

Lightning and a brood of Gargoyles joined the battle with the Wraithlord, as well as the Lysogaunts.

Turn 6

The bodies of beasts fell by the dozen and still they came. Except for Thunder and the Warriors. They held back for some reason beyond ken. A thunderous hail of rocks fell far from the battle.

The Commander thought out loud, "Odd, tactical data suggests they will follow behind their wave of fodder. Why do they hold back? Is there a purpose?"

Turn 7

The creatures fighting the Wraithlord, Scorpions, and Banshees had finally fallen. The command to fall back to the rally point had been given. Ice crystals pounded harmlessly into barren rock, evaporating into a vile-looking mist, but nothing was close enough to encounter its effects.

The Farseer could be heard over the comm, "Victory is ours! Fall back to the rally point!"

The driver spoke, "Commander, what troubles you?"

V'layen answered, "We disregarded our orders and have left the beast one step closer to us. I fear we have only the illusion of victory."


"Ah, don't listen to me. This conflict is wearing on me. Let us return to headquarters and celebrate our victory!"

The driver was not convinced by the Commander's smile, but answered in kind as he spun the Falcon around and pushed the throttle crystals forward, exclaiming "Hurrah!"