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Caledonian Deathwatch Network

Clash of Alba Review and GT Final List

As I explained in my last post, I wasn’t planning to take Blood Angels to the GT final. A combination of Agents of Vect, and the FAQ changes to reserves made the army, in my view unplayable. HOWEVER, I’ve just heard from GW that they will not be implementing the Reserves part of the FAQ at the GT.

This should make me happy, but it actually makes me more irritated. For god’s sake, if you issue an FAQ to balance the game and make it more fun for everybody, at least use it at your premier event!! This makes the decision even more difficult – do I take BA, and play an army I’ll never play again, or do I take Harlies and play an army I’m woefully out of practice with (as demonstrated by my performance at a small RTT this weekend). 

After a deal of nerd rage, and hair tearing, I’ve decided to go with Harlies. I love the army the models, and the “razor edge” they play on – teetering between disaster and success. So Harlies it is.

And speaking about “out of practice”, I had a very poor showing with my Harlies at Clash of Alba at the weekend, going 1-3. It really showed me what a glass hammer the army is, and how it rewards clever play ….. which was sadly lacking at the weekend!.

The list I took on day one was

Troupe Master, Caress, Fusion Pistol

Troupe Master, Caress, Fusion Pistol

5 Players, 3 Fusion Pistols, 4 Caresses

5 Players, 3 Fusion Pistols, 4 Caresses

5 Players, 3 Fusion Pistols, 4 Caresses

5 Players, 3 Fusion Pistols, 4 Caresses

5 Players, 3 Fusion Pistols, 4 Caresses


Starweaver x 5


Trueborn, 4 Shredders

Trueborn, 4 Shredders

Trueborn, 4 Shredders

Venom, x3

On day 2 I took a slightly different list (with consent of the TO, and no objection from the players at the event), essentially swapping our the Trueborn and Venoms, for 3 Ravagers with Disintegrators, and a Venom for the Archon.

Game 1 was against Tau Riptide Spam (5 of them from memory), all armed with Heavy Burst Cannons and Velocity Trackers. I knew I was playing this list the day before, and had spent some time trying to work out how I was going to beat it …. coming to the conclusion that I wasn’t!! The only thing I really have to threaten the Riptides were Fusion Pistols, but getting within 6” of them was going to be a challenge with all that fire power. When we got to the table there was a lot of los blocking terrain, and I had the opting to hiding and scoring objectives, which might have turned out better. But that wasn’t the point of the exercise ….. could I charge the gun line and do damage?

Well the easy answer to that was “no”. I did some damage with the Shredders, and got a few Players into combat, but they did very little damage. Lesson learned ….. I can not charge 5 Riptides and hope to survive!!

Game 2 was against a Guilliman Gunline, Bobby G, banner guy that allows dead guys to fight again, Custodes guy that gave them all a 5++, 2 units of 10 Hellblasters, and 2 units of 5 Agressors. Now again, the terrrain was good, and I could have hid and scored objectives and stayed away from his guns, but I wanted to see if I could break the castle, so I tried to assault it.

Long story short – I hugely underestimated Agressors!  I had done some quick maths to work out the chances of them killing Starweavers, and liked what I saw. But what I didn’t realise was that they shoot twice if they didn’t move…..! And allowing them to shoot when they die …. so irritating. Combine this with the horrendous over watch they lay down (they killed a Starweaver on full wound…in overwatch!), and it didn’t end well.

However, knowing what I now know, I think I would have a better chance of taking the gunline if I played it again. If I had committed the Venoms and Shredders to killing Agressors first, while staying more than 21” away from the Agressors with my Starweavers and whittling them down with shuriken cannons, and then sending in the solitaire to assassinate the banner guy, before assaulting, things might have turned out differently. Still, live and learn.

I also used Agents of Vect for the first time in this game, stopping my opponent interrupting in the assault phase. I had never thought about this as a key strategem to cancel with AofV, but it is. Big multi assaults with multiple Troupe’s into multiple targets is a problem when your opponent interrupts. I always expected to lose a Troupe before they get to swing, which is a big loss for such an elite army. It’s particularly important when you’re fighting hordes e.g. orks, genesteelers, bloodletters etc – i.e. big blocks of assault units that I need to assault with multiple Troupes. They can usually survive one Troupe’s attack, and then interrupt, killing that Troupe, and any other Troupes I’ve sent in. It makes taking out a big block of choppy models a challenge. However, if I can stop the interrupt, all my Troupe’s can swing, making taking out hordes much easier.

Makes me wonder whether I need to take as much torrent of fire!!

And on that note …. I asked the TO whether he would mind if I changed my list overnight, and posted on the event facebook page to see if any of my potential opponents objected, they didn’t, so I swapped out the Shredders for Ravagers to see how that would work.

Game 4 was against Dark Angles – essentially a Azrael Gunline with 15 Hellblasters, the banner guy, and a librarian. However, he had a couple of the new baby knights and 2 Dark Talons as well. Long story short, I was able to kill the Knights, and the Dark Talons in one (moderately lucky) turn of shooting, and then assault the gunline and wipe it.

The Ravagers were just amazing. I’ve “poo pooed” re-rolls of 1 in the past, but they were fantastic this game.

Game 5 was ironically against a very similar Dark Angels gunline, but instead of Knights he had a couple of skimmers (the character one and the one that give him -1 to hit), and 3 Custodes Shield Captains. I was more worried about this one as I wan’t sure how I’d deal with the Shield Captains. However I needn’t have worried about that – the Ravagers (with a little help from some Fusion Pistols) disposed of them nicely (although one did make 11 of 12, 4+ invulnerable saves in assault with a unit of Harlies!!). However I made 2 huge mistakes.

First, I didn’t realise that you could over charge plasma guns AND use the DA Strat to give them +1 damage. Starweaver really dont like plasma guns that do a straight 3 damage. If I had know this, I would have waited a little longer and whittled the Hellblasters down with Ravagers, before sending in the Harlies. Second, …… I forget to cancel the Strategem with Agents of Vect!!

Ah well, lessons learned.

Take aways?

  • Agents of Vect (when you remember it!) is amazing.
  • Ravagers were good before, and are even better now.
  • Re-rolls of 1 to hit and 1 to wound on Ravagers is much better than I thought it would be.
  • Charging gunline with Harlies is doable, but requires very carefully thought and planning.

My final list for the GT still needs a little more thought, but I suspect it will be very similar to the list I took on day 2.

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