With a copy of the Warhammer 40k 8th Edition rules in hand, I got a game in that pitted my Craftworlders against some Tyranids.
Once again, since I had relatively little idea as to what would be decent, I ended up with quite the array of models. I wanted to give rangers, with their new character sniping potential, a shot and give the banshees a second chance. Having not taken them in quite some time, I also wanted to run shining spears and guardians to see how the new edition was treating them.
- Farseer + Singing Spear with Guide/Doom
- Warlock with Conceal/Reveal
- Warlock with Embolden/Horrify
- Guardian Defenders (x10) + Bright Lance Heavy Weapon Platform
- Dire Avengers (x4) + Exarch with Shimmersheild and Power Glaive
- Rangers (x5)
- Rangers (x5)
- Windriders + Scatter Lasers (x3)
- Howling Banshees (x4) + Exarch with Mirrorswords
- Shining Spears (x2) + Exarch with Star Lance
- Warp Spiders (x4) + Exarch with Powerblades and Spinneret Rifle
My opponent, when she set up on the board, had a strangely small army for Tyranids. We went with a rather low power level cap – 50 – but I was expecting a bit more of a bug tide.
- Hormaguants (x20) – 10 with upgraded guns
- Genestealers – approximately 10-15
The terrain ended up decently heavy, with a scattering of ice crystals here and there as well as a number of ruined buildings blocking line of sight. A ruin was approximately in the middle of the board, one tower was in the right-hand quarter of my deployment zone, and another tower was in the left-hand quarter of my deployment zone.
I set up a squad of rangers in each of the towers, the guardians blocking the door to one while the dire avengers and banshees blocked the other. A warlock accompanied each of the blocking groups, and the farseer stood about in the middle, surrounded by the windriders and warp spiders. The shining spears got set up on the far right edge of the table to make a run for the monsters in the backfield.
My opponent set up her Tervigon behind her gaunts right in the front center of her deployment zone; while the genestealers, broodlord, and swarm lord were on the far left.
I ended up going first, although that amounted generally to her moving up. I managed to kill a few of the gaunts with the rangers’ and windriders’ firepower, but they came back immediately after as the rest of her army moved up. The Tervigon’s ability to just make 10 more gaunts every turn (up to original squad caps of course) ended up being rather frustrating, although this could have been a little more mitigated if I had realized the thing had more than 10 wounds earlier (exempting it from the protection afforded to character models).
Turn two had me start to whittle down the gaunts a little more since I got the warp spiders and Dire Avengers within range as well. Unfortunely, that left them within answer range, and after shooting most of the spiders to death, the guants charged. This ended up being a bit of a blessing in disguise since the charge was relatively long and brought the gaunts out of the Tervigon’s area buff. To keep the gaunts locked through my turn, I had my Farseer Heroically Intervene although I let my Howling Banshees soak a charge from the genestealers. They did some damage but were more used as a distraction to keep the genestealers fighting through their next turn.
Third turn my Farseer fell back to set up the guardians and Dire Avengers for shooting the gaunts off the board, and the shining spears made their charge to drop the Tervigon to one wound. The genestealers answered by killing what remained of my banshees, and the swarmlord advanced towards the closest blob of Eldar. (I really cannot remember of he charged something; it might have been the Warlock that had been hanging out with the Banshees but did not go to back them up.) Meanwhile, the tervigon killed one shining spear before they could finish her off.
Turn 4 saw the Eldar converge upon the swarmlord and genestealers, leaving only the Broodlord. Tyranids seceded at that point.
My biggest take away from the game is that psychic powers are incredibly random and no longer something that can be relied upon. Rolling two random dice and just hoping they total to whatever your casting value or higher is, well, really finicky. Denying is also really finicky, and is now relegated to only Psykers and units that specifically say they can deny. It all came down to brute forcing everything and having multiple Psykers spread out over the board to make sure I was at least always rolling to try to deny.
On the other hand, Farseers are now quite a lot better at casting than most other races. Rerolling that key power that you really want to go off is pretty cool, and rerolling a deny is pretty cool too.
All in all, I was quite impressed with the buff to the shining spears. They really need their Exarch to take down high toughness models if they are in a small squad, but they did really well as a precision scalpel to remove monstrous creature type models. In this game, I held them back for too long. With their superior movement, they would have done great getting behind the tervigon, either distracting half of the Tyranids if the gaunts had turned back to address the threat or quickly separating the Tervigon from the gaunts.
I am still not super impressed with the howling banshees, but they did make an alright screening unit to soak charges that the rest of my army would want to avoid.
Rangers are overall alright, but they did not really have a chance to shine in this game. I imagine that they would have done really well if they had line of sight on the Broodlord, but against units they could not put out the amount of firepower I wanted. On the other hand, I was really impressed with my guardians. Cover modifying their armor is going to be a great boon to them, and keeping them hidden until they can pop out and bathe things in Shuriken was effective, especially since I could leave their heavy weapon poking out.
I am loving the Shining Spears in 8th. I think this is their best version so far. I run a full 9 (including Exarch) and combining that speed with the lances – they’re quite devastating.
I haven’t tried my Banshees yet, but they’ll be up soon.