Mostly, the 'epic fail' talks about the dice today. I pulled off a win against Jon's Traitor Guard today with the Mech Eldar v2.5 (and the edit was dropping the Storm Guardian Serpent's Lance for an EML, then giving the foot-Seer Runes of Witnessing to bring it to 1850 even).
The comedy was generally in the dice today, though Jon's bad luck started when he knocked his Vendetta off the table (and promptly broke it. At least it was all clean breaks.) during setup. It was cringe-worthy, but I'm glad it wasn't ME doing the breaking, as I'd be forced by guilt and courtesy to do something to compensate, and...I don't have a ton of money.
So, I managed to get first turn again as usual after we rolled up Kill Points and Spearhead.
Jon's list involved something like:
Company Command in Chimera (Astropath, Lascannon HW team, ML/HF Chimera)
1 Chimera-vet squads (triple-melta)
1 Chimera-vet squad w/ Harker (outflankalicious)
1 Vet Squad w/ Lascannon, grenade launchers, camo cloaks
Vet squad w/ 2 melta, 1 heavy flamer
-Command w/ flamers in Chimera
-2 Infantry Squads w/ autocannon teams, and one vox-caster)
-heavy weapon team w/ mortars
2 Devil Dogs (as seperate, one w/ HF, one w/ MM)
Vendetta w/ HB Sponsons
2 Russes (w/ hull heavy flamers)
So, I got first, and grabbed cover. He realized his DZ had crap for cover, so...he threw it all in reserve. Admittedly, this is kind of a 'wtf?' moment, since I'm used to inflicting it on others. So, I maneuver on my first turn, then spend turn two turbo-boosting everything, and fortuning the wave serpents with the dragons in them.
His reserves start the dice fail-fest when the platoon refuses to engage (...until turn 4.). He gets a vet-chimera, the russes, Harker's boys, a Devil Dog, and the Vendetta. He stuns the Fire Prism, and knocks the missile launcher off the burny guardians.
I threaten him with the Fire Dragon serpent (Turbo Boost + Fortune = 4+ re-rollable save versus your hits for Supah Doopa Durable Serpent!) and he responds by moving a squad into place to deny me 6" shots on the Russ, and then...shoots the thing with three meltas, and I promptly flub two of the fortuned cover saves. The Serpent explodes with the first shots pumped into it. FAIL SERPENT.
He whittles the fire Dragons down to two guys who break...and then next turn, they blow up the chimera-vet's ride.
His other Vendetta-vets (...whose ride has been summarily immobilized and lost a lascannon after eating 4 twin-linked S8 shots and 14 twin-linked S6 shots from Falcons) epic-fail to kill the stunned Fire Prism at point-blank with 2 meltas, and Harker's boys have to do it for them. Good job, guys.
His dice-fail contiues with his infantry-borne weapons failing to do a thing.
I unload 5 fire dragons into his other Devil Dog, and...stun it. Their Wave Serpent promptly blows it up with a single lance shot, then I realize I made a dumb mistake and watch his platoon command chimera show up and burn the dragons down.
On the other hand, the last two dragons nuked a Vet Chimera on their own. Four vets died, they flubbed a morale check, ran back, regrouped, and failed to play a role in the game. The other highlight was a damaged Wave Serpent blasting his Platoon Command, exploding it, and taking the command squad out in the resulting inferno.
By the end of the game, the score was 5-4, me.
Fire Prism, Wave Serpent, 2 Fire Dragon squads
2 Chimeras, Rambo, Devil Dog, Company Command.
And, of course, the result of the roll for more turns? 1. (this is far from the only one we saw; he had a set of four 1's when he cranked twin-linked autocannon shots into an immobilized Wave Serpent). On the other hand, Rambo ended up in assault with my Jetbikes, and I had to smack 7 wounds on him to freaking kill him. It took a couple turns; he actually got a damned Hit and Run off. On the flip side, his demo charge did precisely dick, but he's freaking annoying.
When we did it VP, though, he had 1300ish remaining to my 1039, which would be a solid win for him. It goes to show you that VP might be a bit more accurate of a score-keeper. Of course, I'd lost 75 points to a Farseer periling himself, and he had another 75ish points tied up in ONE VET that refused to run.
Thoughts on the new stuff I tried
I...have to re-think holo-fields. They saved my Falcons when massed meltaguns would've seen them dead a few times over, and in turn they saved their Dire Avengers from gruesome death. Holo-fields are worth it. I've updated my Grav Tank Primer to reflect this change of heart.
The whole 'battle cannon' thing made me nervous about the bikes, but the number of lances and fire dragons kind of kept the Russes nervous in their turn. Still, 3 shuriken cannons isn't a bad heap of shots, even if they tend to FAIL at killing things. In retrospect, I think I flubbed on the number of shots, but it works out as Jon blanked on the heavy bolters on his Vendetta. Still, the bikers impressed me this time. I'll have to give 'em another shot and see how they do.
The Storm Guardians...didn't get a good set of shots, but that's in part getting used to playing them.
The list is a change-up for me, but I think I liked some of the changes.
On the Guard Stuff
Outflanking stuff's annoying, and outflanking melta gives me a little pause, but it's more of a distraction than a necessarily reliable tactic. Outflanking Vendettas are a pain, but that's just truth.
Rambo is...interesting. He jumps out, says 'boo!' and whips a demo charge. Thing is, after that he's not necessarily a high-priority target BUT he can still harass/annoy you, and tie up non-assault-oriented units reasonably well. With luck, at least. Failing that, he screams something about a melta-bomb, and you probably ought to shoot him anyway.