Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Skimmer moving fast FTW!

I have reached a point where my army list for tournaments (1850) has come together nicely and I am now doing minor tweaking to refine it. The new list seems effective, at least as effective as Eldar can be.I still feel my list represents a Biel Tan craftworld army in more than just the Green, White, and black I have painted my models. Furthermore, the last couple games I played have ended as a win or a draw more often than a loss. Adding to that, my recent losses have also been very close as well.

Some may believe I am starting this blog post prepared to sing the praises of my army list focusing on how great the eldar skimmers are. I imagine this has a lot to do with the title along with a general mind-set of players toward any article talking about tournament lists. This is not true however, as the subject is mildly sarcastic, while accurate.

Let me say that even with my skills a player improving and my list reaching an "optimized" point, I am feeling less and less satisfied with how my games end. Lets not talk about losses, as with each of my recent losses I have been fairly successful in identifying my own mistakes and how they contributed to the loss. Also lets not misconstrue my loss of satisfaction with not having fun in my games, overall my games have been very enjoyable. I guess this is a good place in the article to make some very specific points to lay a foundation of understanding!
  1. First and most important, I have truly enjoyed all my recent games. I will speak about sportsmanship in the future, but suffice it to say I have found myself able to greatly enjoy my games regardless of outcome. I do believe this is a large component of good sportsmanship.
  2. Second, I am able to identify where I am, as a player, improving. This is a very satisfying feeling and I am happy with my personal progress.
  3. Third, I still love my Eldar! I see no likelihood of putting them away in exchange for the "Sexy newness" that is Tyranids! My Tyranids will re-emerge eventually but I do not believe it will be any time soon.
So what is it, you may ask, that has made me less satisfied with my wins and draws? I think the best way to explain is to discuss, at a high level, how my recent games have gone. Perhaps this will also help with some future tactics discussion.

The Beginning
Typically at deployment I look at my opponents list and make some key decisions. My Autarch joins my spiders (he has the jump pack), my Farseer joins a squad (typically a Dire Avenger squad). Then I deploy my spiders to deepstrike-reserve, my rangers to reserve (unless there is a building in my deployment zone with an objective), and make a quick decision about the remainder of the army. Typically I have begun the first turn with 4 grav-tanks on the table (2 prisms, 2 serpents with DA) and I am about 50% on keeping the Dragons + Serpent in reserve or putting them on the table.

The Game
Next we typically have 4 turns of solid gaming, where the Eldar are zipping around the board and shooting at the enemy. The enemy is pushing forward and trying to come to grips with the eldar. All of you reading know the type of game, a typical game that is. This part of the game has ups and downs and is very satisfying overall.

The Conclusion
Then we have Turn 4 and 5. Starting at turn 4 I have to check and make sure I am on track for my objectives at the end of the game. In objective based missions this entails making sure I can get to the opponents held objectives before the end of turn 5, along with getting a scoring unit on my own objective. Where things have gone well, I am looking to sit my DA's in their wave serpents on 2 objectives and then contest anything else. This thought includes looking at "cool moves" like tank shocking over other vehicles (I am a skimmer so can ignore intervening terrain), and/or ramming enemy vehicles that are holding objectives. Then on turn 5 the "Eldar Grav Tank" machine kicks into gear and I zip into position to hold or contest objectives across the board. After this is successful, I sit and wait for the game to end, doing what I can to hold my places.

The conclusion is the part that I am starting to find un-satisfying. Regardless of how well the game has gone, or how epic the battle has been (close combat or shooting), at the end of the game it comes down to:
"Am I within 24 inches of the objectives to tank shock onto it?"

Really? This is what my army comes down to? I certainly do not feel like this lives up to
"We bring only death, and leave only carrion. It is a mesage even a Human can understand."
It certainly does not seem to fit:
"...their abilities combining in a symphony of destruction that is far greater than the sum of its parts."
I cannot call my feeling dissatisfaction, as this is not completely accurate. Its more in line with less-satisfaction with how the game ends. The game seems split into 2 sections for me. These sections consist of the following:

All the epic game play that happens in
deployment and the first 4 turns of the game

and then

The last 2 turns where very little of that epic stuff mattered, but,
I get to move fast and park my tanks on your objectives.

I think some of this comes from the Eldar codex starting to show its age against the new codex coming out. I also believe some of this is a mis-match between the overall rules of 40K 5th edition and the rules in the 4th edition Eldar Codex. I am confident it will improve. I am also looking forward to the new Battle Missions book as I hope it introduces some mission types I have not considered. However, when it comes to tournaments and pick-up games, I think this is the nature of the game and I will need to accept it if I am to stay competitive.

For the time being, I am going to keep getting games in and building the rest of the Dead Tau Project army. I have not done much painting in January, at least not for the DTP. Now that February is upon us, I need to get my nose back to the grindstone, so to speak.
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