Battalion - Hive Fleet Leviathan
HQ1: The Swarmlord
HQ2: Tyranid Prime - Deathspitter, Boneswords, Unchecked Ferocity, Adaptive Neural Lobe
HQ3: Neurothrope - WARLORD: Swarm Leader, Strategic Adaptation [Alpha Leader Beast], Catalyst
TR1: 10 Hormagaunts
TR2: 3 Rippers
TR3: 30 Termagants, x30 Devourers
TR4: 18 Genestealers
TR5: 5 Warriors, Deathspitters, Lashwhips and Boneswords, Bioweapon Bond
EL1: 6 Hive Guard, 6 Impaler Cannons
EL2: 6 Zoanthropes, Psychic Scream, Synaptic Channelling
Battalion - Custom Craftworld, Expert Crafters, Wrath of the Dead
Autarch - Warlord: Ambush of Blades
Farseer - Doom, Fortune, Focus Will, Relic: Faoluchu's Wing
Warlock Skyrunner - Ghostwalk, Protect/Jinx
5x Dire Avengers
5x Dire Avengers
19x Guardian Defenders
5x Wraithblades - Ghostswords
5x Wraithblades - Ghost Axe and Forceshield
Vyper - Bright Lance
Vyper - Bright Lance
Wraithlord - 2x Aeldari Missle Launcher, Ghostglaive
Wraithlord - 2x Aeldari Missle Launcher, Ghostglaive
Wraithseer - Fateful Divergence, Empower/Enervate, D-Cannon
Wave Serpent - 3x Shuriken Cannon, Spirit Stones
Wave Serpent - 3x Shuriken Cannon, Spirit Stones
The Craftworlds are coming out again. I'm using a list I’ve had reasonable success with over the last year or so. Craftworlds aren’t in a great place and are leaning HEAVILY on the custom Craftworld Trait of Expert Crafters. I’ve knocked this up a step and taken Wrath of the Dead for my 2nd trait so all my Wraiths get just about every re-roll they can. It raises the reliability of my Wraithguard with Cannons so much they actually almost become good.
I’ve gone for the Warlord Trait on the Autarch to help refund some CP for me. Making the Warlock on Bike the Warlord and giving him Seer of the Shifting Vector is probably better but I wanted to try the CP regen with Path of Command and Ambush of Blades on the Autarch in this game.
Liam’s brought a hard Tyranids list, but as Craftworlds, on a “hammer and anvil” deployment I should be able to outmanoeuvre those deadly Hive Guard so I can pick what Liam can shoot at. With T8 Wraithlords/seers and T7 -1 damage Wave Serpents, my force is a lot tankier than it initially looks and should be able to hold out. I’d rather have two units of Axe and Shield Wraithblades but I’ve been holding off building any more until the new book finally on the horizon out so we’ve got one of each option. The Swords are an okay blender into Gaunts, Rippers and Warriors but the Axes are more versatile into his bigger monsters.
I’ve gone with Engage on all Fronts (an Eldar special) Warp Ritual, I’ve got three pretty hard to kill Psykers and with Focus Will and Seer Council I should have an okay time at doing this, especially with the Warlock. Finally, I’ve taken Raise Banners, with three Objectives near the deployment zone it should be pretty easy to rack some points up on that one. My plan this game is to be very manoeuvrable and force Liam away from my side of the board so I'm hoping I can rack up some early points on these.
I’ve been wanting to get as much practice as possible with the brand new Hive Fleet Leviathan rules, so I’ve brought them along again for another battle report. The list itself is pretty standard, without having to resort to Hive Guard spam, and brings back my all time favourite Tyranid unit… the Genestealers! I used to run 60+ of these guys back in 8th edition, so bringing them again does put a smile on my face.
James has brought his Craftworlds out today, and I already know not to underestimate these guys. Despite also not having a 9th edition codex, the amount of rerolls they get with Expert Crafters is truly absurd and can really make a difference in the game. And with how tanky his Wave Serpents and Wraithlords are, I’m really interested to see how this game goes!
I've gone for Engage on all Fronts, as my list is fast enough to be able to score this every turn, along with ROD and To the Last. ROD is a regular pick for me, with Hormagaunts and Lictors being able to easily score it, but To the Last is a new pick for me that I'm not used to taking. This game though, the three picks are the Zoanthropes, the Hive Guard and the Dimachaeron. The former two should be able to survive this game, but I am expecting to lose the Dimachaeron at around turn 2-3, so I'm hoping to score 10 on this secondary.
THE MISSION AND THE BOARD
Grand Tournament 2021 Pack
11. Retrieval Mission
So James’ turn 1 firepower is decent, and I know most of it is going to go into the Dimachaeron. Because it has 18 wounds, there’s no way I’m really going to be able to hide it, so I’ve simply done what I can to hide the rest of the list. The Hive Guard are nicely tucked into a corner, with the Zoanthropes on the mirrored side. Most of my HQs are bundled in the middle ready to dispense their buffs, and the big blob of 30 Devilgaunts is sat front and centre of my deployment zone.
Liam's Tyranids are frustratingly difficult to deploy against, knowing I have Phantasm in my pocket I put the Wraithseer on the bottom flank knowing Liam's going to put his Hive Guard in one of two buildings. So either I'll move him or he'll be out of range. The rest of my army I've deployed more than 36" away from Liam's deployment line. Knowing he has Hive Guard it ensures if he gets turn 1 he wont decimate a unit hidden behind a building straight away, I've got the movement and range to almost choose what he can shoot them at turns 1-2 so I'm feeling quietly confident.
So thanks to the new Leviathan warlord trait Strategic Adaptation, I am able to re-deploy two of my units before the first battle round begins. I immediately put the 30 Devilgaunts into Strategic Reserves for free, and shuffle around my Genestealers slightly to help mitigate James’ turn 1 damage output. James also has his own redeploys to perform, so let’s see what he does.
After Liam's moved his stuff I pop Phantasm stratagem and move the Wraithseer, Farseer and Wave Serpent right up on the middle. This should help me get an early Warp Ritual, put some pressure on Liam and buff up my Wraithseer to help Tank the first volleys from the Hive Guard. His T8, 5++ 5+++ might let him survive, but its swingy with those damage D3 weapons of the Hive Guard.
I get the first turn and cautiously move the force diagonally away from the Hive Guard with the Wave Serpent and Wraithseer taking point.
I start my psychic phase with a Seer Council stratagem, the Farseer puts Fortune onto the Wraithseer to help him deflect some of the No LoS fire he’s likely to receive next turn. He also then puts a Focus Will onto the Warlock. The Warlock throws out a Protect on the Dire Avengers, it’s unlikely to do much but at least it’ll help.
I throw every heavy weapon I’ve got into the Dimachaeron and Liam takes a mighty 9 wounds… Not at all what I was expecting with my 3 shots from the D-Cannon, 2x Brightlances, 4x Aeldari Missile Launchers and 3x Shuriken Cannons. Turns out no matter how many re-roll’s you’ve got sometimes they just pass too many 5++ saves!
Not going to lie, James had an incredibly unlucky turn 1. His rerolls just didn’t give him the reliability that he needed, and I passed a few too many 5++ saves for him to enjoy. So straight into my Command Phase, I use Bioweapon Bond on the Hive Guard for +1 to hit, I use Unchecked Ferocity from the Tyranid Prime onto the Dimachaeron, and I use Synaptic Channeling on the Zoanthropes themselves. I also put the Swarm Leader rerolls onto the Genestealers, although I think I’m going to hold them back this turn ready to charge the infantry inside those transports next turn.
The Dimachaeron moves up, and the Zoanthropes and Rippers leave the safety of the ruins to blast apart the Wave Serpent with their smites. The Hormagaunts that were in the centre of my deployment zone move sideways, and the Warriors with the Hive Guard perform ROD in the bottom right corner of the battlefield. Otherwise, the bulk of my force stays in my deployment zone, ready to prepare for a slaughter in turn 2. Normally I would move my Warriors up, but I know that he still has a 20 blob of Guardians in reserve, so I keep them hidden to keep my Hive Guard safe.
Onto the Psychic phase, and it’s relatively successful. The Zoanthropes Smite and Psychic Scream into the Wave Serpent, and the Swarmlord casts Onslaught on the Dimachaeron. I attempt to cast Catalyst, but unfortunately James is successful in denying the power.
Shooting phase, and it goes about as well as you can expect when you bring Hive Guard. Their first volley fires into the Wave Serpent and just utterly demolishes it. James goes to roll for his casualties on emergency disembark, and my heart breaks for him, as he loses 3 out of 5 of his Wraithblades… luck is just not on James’ side today. With the Swarmlord’s Hive Commander ability, the Dimachaeron jumps right up next to the Wraithseer, and I spend 2cp on Single Minded Annihilation and fire into the Wraithseer, bringing it down to a single wound remaining.
Into the charge phase, and the Dimachaeron smashes into the Wraithseer and manages to bring it down effortlessly. I’ve really managed to do a lot of damage in this first turn, so let’s see how James responds!
End of Battle Round Score
Craftworld Eldar: 3
Liam’s turn one… how brutal. Rolling 3 1’s on my Wraithblades losing a staggering 120 points… You rarely have an occasion like this happen but when it does it doesn’t half feel brutal. My remaining Wraithblades limp towards the Rippers by the pipes. Even two Wraithblades might do some work against them. Not exactly the trade I was looking for but this is what we’re working with.
My Farseer pops out behind the two Wraithlords and the Dire Avengers advance back onto the objective. With Battle Focus they can shoot the Dimachaeron if needed. I also fly the Vypers back and keep them, the Wraithlords and my remaining Wave Serpent well out of range of the Hive Guard. Finally I bring down the large 19 man Guardian Squad ready to shoot the Zoanthropes or Genestealers depending on how my Psychic goes. I really debated on whether keeping the Warlock out for Warp Ritual would be doable but decided I really need the Jinx this turn.
With another Seer Council Stratagem I manage to get Doom (on the Zoanthropes) and Fortune (on the 2 Wraithblades) off but Liam stops the Jinx from the Warlock even with a re-roll from the Seer of the Sifting Vector Warlord Trait. This inevitably meant that my Guardians fail to do anything more than kill 2 Zoanthropes. I’m quickly remembering how good Tyranids are at denying here. I do manage, with the Vypers, two Wraithlords and Wave Serpent manage to kill the Dimachaeron. This guy has been incredibly tough to kill! My Wraithblades fail to charge the Rippers but it wasn't that critical a charge anyway.
Not a great 2nd turn, but it sometimes swings that way.
OK so as expected, I lost the Dimachaeron and luckily I only lost 2 Zoanthropes from the Guardians thanks to denying Jinx. All in all, I’m feeling pretty confident moving into turn 2. I start by putting Bioweapon Bond onto the Hive Guard, Unchecked Ferocity on the Genestealers as well as Swarm Leader, and I put Psychic Channelling back onto the Zoanthropes.
Movement is pretty standard, the Genestealers move up ready to charge into those Guardians, and the Prime moves up behind them. The Warriors also move up out of the building; now that James has deployed all his deepstrikes, I can afford to move up onto the midfield objectives. The Hormagaunts also move and perform ROD in the top right corner of the board.
Psychic phase is pretty standard, and the smite from the Zoanthropes manages to kill one of the remaining Wraithblades. Catalyst is successful on the Genestealers, otherwise nothing else important happens. Straight into the shooting phase, and the Hive Guard fire their shots into the remaining Wraithblade, wiping the squad. The Warriors also fire their Deathspitters into the Guardians, thinning out the squad so the Genestealers can gain as much movement as possible from Hive Commander.
After moving the Genestealers again, we charge into the Guardians and wipe the rest of the squad. I immediately spend 1cp on Overrun, advancing onto the midfield objective in the bottom left corner of the board to also score Engage. Back to James!
End of Battle Round Score
Craftworld Eldar: 16
Still trying to keep away from those Hive Guard as best as I can I shove my fast units, the Wave Serpent and Vypers to the top of the board to once again try to take those Zoanthropes out. My Wraithlord saunter over to the Genestealers and Rippers respectively and my last unit of Dire Avengers remains steadfast on the back objective. My Warlock pops into the middle to try the Warp Ritual again. I bring down my Wraithguard under the ruin to get some shots out on the Zoanthropes, not an amazing target for them to be honest but if Liam's rolls poorly they can quickly pick up a few.
The psychic phase was…not good… Liam stops the Warp Ritual, stops Doom and I fail Fortune. The shadow in the warp is huge - I failed Fortune despite rolling a 7 because of it. I’m massively regretting Warp Ritual now, with only 2 more turns to get any more points on it. It's becoming a faint possibility that I’ll get 12 points on it. Its been a while since I’ve used Psychic against Tyranids and this game is a great example of why Tyranids are so good against Pyskers.
My shooting phase is equally disappointing - my Wraithgaurd rolls three 2’s to hit, do wound twice but against Zoanthropes I need all 5 here as they effortlessly pass their 3++ saves. Again, despite the Autarch re-rolls and Wrath of the Dead re-rolls, it's just not enough for these guys, My Wave Serpent shoots into them and only his Serpent Shield manages to get 2 wounds off. My Warlock fires into the Rippers and pops the Fire and Fade Stratagem and hides back in the ruin. The one positive part of this phase was my Wraithlord and Dire Avengers do manage to take a nice big chunk out of the Genestealers out.
The charge and fight phases are all about tying up Liam's stuff as my Vyper and Wave serpent fly into the Zoanthropes - they do no damage but at least now Liam has to put his Psychic into them if he doesn't want to fall back. Let's see if he can capitalise on my poor turn 3.
James has really started to put the pressure on: tying up my Zoanthropes is more annoying than it may seem! I put Bioweapon Bond onto the Hive Guard again, Unchecked Ferocity onto the Swarmlord, and Psychic Channeling onto the Neurothrope.
Movement phase, and I elect to fall back with the Zoanthropes. Losing out on their psychic is a shame, but I can’t afford to stay locked in combat when I really want to shoot that Falcon. The Genestealers move themselves right into James’ deployment zone, preparing for a charge on the Dire Avengers. The Swarmlord moves up preparing himself to double move and charge, and I also bring in the Lictor and the Devilgaunts with him, spending 1cp on Pheremone Trail. The Psychic phase is pretty uneventful, so we’ll go straight into the Shooting Phase.
The Devilgaunts prepare to unleash all 90 of their shots into the Falcon and they achieve… absolutely nothing. Seriously, I didn’t do a single wound to it. A combination of bad luck on my rolls and James passing all of his saves meant my Devilgaunts are now just sitting in the middle of the board doing nothing. On the bright side, the Hive Guard pick up the slack and manage to bring down the Falcon, and James loses a Wraithblade in the process. The Swarmlord also moves himself up ready for a charge on the Vyper.
Straight into the charge and fight phases, and the Swarmlord successfully makes the charge. However, thanks to having not enough CP to spend on rerolls, he totally fluffs his attacks and doesn’t even manage to kill the Vyper! Luckily the Genestealers manage to pull their weight and kill the Dire Avengers, but not without casualties; with a combination of Overwatch and fighting back, I’m down to 9 Genestealers remaining.
End of Battle Round Score
Craftworld Eldar: 30
So I need something big to recover this game now. I got super lucky with the Wave Serpent and Liam's Gaunts bouncing off of him, freeing up my Wraithguard from the Hive Guard menace who were forced to finish him off. Similarly, the Swarmlord failing to kill the Vyper was… unexpected to say the least!
Pushing the Wraithblades down the top and the Wraithguard up ready to pounce on the Swarmlord, I mirror with the Wraithlord who looms closer to the Gaunts. The Warlock also pops out ready to try what will be his last Warp Ritual most likely.
Unfortunately it’s not to be as Liam once again denies the Warp Ritual secondary, I do however get Doom off onto the Swarmlord and Fortune off onto the Wraithblades. The Wraithguard open up the shooting and manages to get 4 wounds through on the Swarmlord, he passes 3 saves and takes 3 damage for his troubles! Elsewhere the two Wraithlord and Warlock plink off a few of the Gaunts.
The charge phase comes up and its game time on the Swarmlord, as I put no less then ⅔ of my remaining forces into him. The top Wraithlord makes his charge onto the Genestealers but the central one fails his despite a Command Re-Roll. I do kill the Swarmlord and a few of the Genestealers and tie up Liams Zoanthropes again.
So there’s a whole big mess of combat in the top right corner of the board, and the Genestealers have been reduced to a single model remaining after morale. I put Psychic Channelling onto the Zoanthropes and Bioweapon Bond onto the Hive Guard. I also put Swarm Leader rerolls onto the Devilgaunts, who I feel will perform a LOT better than last turn!
The Genestealer falls back from the Wraithlord, as he is obsec so still controls the objective in James’ deployment. The Zoanthropes I elect to keep in combat though to try and smite their way out. The Prime and the Warriors move up to take the objective, and we move into the Psychic phase.
After some incredible smites from my Zoanthropes and Neurothrope, I manage to totally break free from combat! My Hive Guard and Devilgaunts are now free to shoot whomever they please, and both of them manage to wipe out the remaining Wraithguard and the Farseer. I have nothing to charge though, so my turn ends rather swiftly and it goes back to James.
End of Battle Round Score
Craftworld Eldar: 38
This was the nail in the preverbally coffin as Liam Smites and Psychic Screams the Wraithblades out of the way allowing him to rain death on all my characters. At the top of Turn 5 I am left with a measly Autarch, two Vypers and two Wraithlords.
Knowing I’ve lost, I go to maximise my points and try my best to decrease Liam’s the best I can. With this in mind I throw everything I can into Liams Zoanthropes once again to try down that 2nd set of 5 points for To The Last. Alas, it was not meant to be as the final one of the squad floats away…
There’s not really much left to do at this point. Since I went second, I’m pretty much guaranteed to score maximum on my Primary this game. I score some last points for Engage and the battle ends in a victory to the Tyranids!
End of Game
End of Game Score
Craftworld Eldar: 56
Post Game Thoughts
Well that was actually a lot closer than I had thought. Losing 4 of my Wraithblades to transport exploding was… painful to go through. Losing effectively 160pts on ⅙ dice rolls isn’t expected but I can confidently say it's unlikely to happen again for any time soon! I think if I’d have made a few more charges on turns 2-3 then I may have been able to challenge Liams backfield objectives a lot earlier.
I made a couple of critical errors in secondary picks, with the Swarmlord's movement, the Overrun stratagem and Genestealers innate high movement I should've expected them to fly out into my side of the board to knock my Banners off and Warp Ritual into Tyranids was just a bad pick. Unfortunately Liam’s army is a hard one to pick and without a faction Secondary to lean on there are never easy choices for Aeldari to go outside of Battlefield Supremacy ones.
With this in mind, I definitely felt like I gave Liam a little bit of a game. Those Hive Guard though, so frustrating to deal with even despite my fast movement! However, I always enjoy playing my Iyanden and I’m really excited for the new book.
Man, what a game. James’ luck was just non-existant throughout this game, as proven by rolling three out of five 1s for his Wraithblades dying in a transport. He still managed to put up a good fight though! Almost losing all of my Zoanthropes, and losing the Swarmlord and the Dimachaeron are both big blows to my list, and he really maximised his damage output wherever he could.
If I had to look at my own list again though, I’m just not sold that the Devilgaunts are worth it. Don’t get me wrong, I can imagine a lot of games where their damage output is awesome, but because they take up such a massive footprint of the board and require a Lictor to bring them in, you’re sacrificing your potential at scoring ROD to bring in those Devilgaunts, as most competent players will be able to screen out such a large unit from their quarters of the board. And as shown, they still have the potential to just totally whiff when they arrive. I’ll continue to think about them, but as of yet, I’m not totally sold.
As always, the Hive Guard performed admirably and easily carried the game for me. I love these guys, but they are in desperate need of a point increase; they just swing a game far too much, and there’s so little the opponent can do to stop them.
But anyways, big thanks to James for a great game, and with Crusher Stampede arriving, I’m very excited to be trying out their new rules. Thanks for reading!