The Tyranid Swarm Encroaches!

This is from the viewpoint of the Eldar, hence there isn’t that much detailed coverage of what happened to the Imperial Guard. We were largely separate, so I didn’t catch what was going on on his side of the board. He did, however, get rather victimised by the Tyranid forces as my units were incredibly hard to kill.

Also, of course the writing favours my Eldar. It’s from their perspective and they didn’t exactly perform poorly.

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Having contacted the Imperial Guard, Farseer Lireia led a small strike force of Aspect Warriors to the battlefield. The Imperial Guard had already rolled their tanks up and had taken position in a far building, their infantry forming ranks beneath banners. Lireia bit her lip, this was not the force that she had anticipated, though it would have to suffice. She could feel the presence of the Hive Mind closing in. Casting her gaze to the distance, she could see wave upon wave of Tyranid organisms. She looked over at the human forces briefly. They seemed to be preparing to move, though the Tyranids surged forwards, advancing in waves. Clambering back into her Wave Serpent transport, she prepared to give her orders.

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So, the mission was the Scouring, we deployed terrain and objectives accordingly, before deploying our forces accordingly. We won the roll off and decided to go second, not seizing the initiative. The Tyranid forces consisted of two 1500pts lists, as did our army, deploying well over 100 Termagants with Venomthrope cover saves and a good amount of synapse from the walking hive tyrant, which rolled the synaptic linchpin warlord trait, a few Zoanthrope broods and Warriors. They kept large amounts of their army in reserve, flying monstrous creatures mostly, as well as deep striking rippers. Multiple Biovores were deployed in cover with a commanding view of the battlefield.

On our side we had three Wave Serpents and three War Walkers deployed in the far corner, with the Imperial Guard forces, consisting of a small infantry platoon and a squad of veterans, spread across the table, a Leman Russ Vanquisher next to my vehicles and a battle tank on the other side of the board, flanking a Command Squad led by none other than Creed. The Dire Avengers stayed in the Wave Serpents with Swooping Hawks and Warp Spiders, led by Autarch Thalinia, also in reserve.

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The Tyranid horde swept forwards out of the forests, opening up with Biovores, stranglethorn cannons and a few venom cannons, catching Guardsmen in the open and sending a handful of their numbers in deadly bio-acid. Farseer Lireia’s strike force remained untouched and so she moved her Wave Serpents forwards, giving them instructions on which organisms to fire upon first. With a heavy jolt, the three vehicles fired their weapons forwards, though the combined firepower did little, a lot less than she had predicted. The thunder of guns from the human lines blew Gaunts into small pieces, though many of the larger beasts remained untouched.

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Just before the first turn, a large brood of Lictors burst out of a forest near the Guard lines, firing into the Platoon Command squad. The rest of the horde moved up, keeping synapse fields overlapping with the Hive Tyrant in the middle. Their shooting opened up, killing a handful of guardsmen and causing a wound to the lascannon heavy weapons team. Largely a successful turn for the Eldar and Imperial Guard, but we both knew that it would only get worse the closer they got.

The Eldar and Imperial Guard lines opened up, killing a Venomthrope and stripping a wound off the other with discharged serpent shields. The War Walkers opened up with scatter lasers, the Guard with heavy ordnance and lasguns, though it was largely ineffective, killing some Gaunts, but not much more.

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The Tyranid guns spoke again, largely leaving the Eldar force alone once more, though Lireia felt a the psychic reverberations of death echo from the other side of the battlefield. The guns spoke out, Tyranid creatures charged headlong into squads of humans, silencing large portions of the Imperial battle lines as a Mawloc burst through the ground.

“This is Asurmen’s Wrath,” came a voice over the Wave Serpent’s communications, “our transport has been destroyed and we are proceeding out of the wreckage.” Lireia cursed under her breath, this was not what she needed. She heard spore mines landing nearby, as well as multiple sounds of Tyranid bio weapons nearby. The Dire Avengers of Asurmen’s Wrath reduced in number significantly.

“Fire again, target priority of the Hive Guard,” Lireia called to her forces, spurring the Wave Serpents into movement again, the guns of the Eldar lines returning into the Tyranids, though the sound of Imperial firepower was significantly lower. She felt the presence of Thalinia arrive with the Warp Spiders, as well as the Swooping Hawks dropping in behind the Tyranid lines. The thunder of grenades, the light patter of laser fire slamming into the Tyranid lines, wiping out two of the Zoanthropes, both Hive Guard and all bar one lone Tyranid Warrior. Lireia smiled to herself, though it would not last.

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Second turn was devastating for the Imperial Guard forces. Although the Storm Troopers, Valkyrie and Sentinel came in, they lost almost all of their infantry, minus Creed’s Command Squad. The Tyranid reserves were stifled by the Officer of the Fleet, though enough appeared to wipe out most of the Imperial Guard infantry, sparing all bar four men from the second infantry squad next to the Vanquisher. One of the Wave Serpents was downed by three penetrating hits from cover-ignoring Hive Guard, following in half of the unit dying to Biovore and Termagant fire.

In the Imperial and Eldar turn, all of our reserves came in. Warp Spiders moved on from the board edge and the Swooping Hawks deep struck. Storm Troopers deep struck and took three wounds from the Exocrene, though other than that, there was not much damage done. The Swooping Hawks took two wounds from the Warriors and killed a few Gaunts with the grenade pack, before opening up with lasblaster fire, killing all apart from the last Warrior in the squad. The Warp Spiders hit some more Gaunts, though their cover save kept many alive. Combined fire from the remaining Wave Serpents and the War Walkers removed the Hive Guard and a Zoanthrope brood from the board.

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Without the humans to keep the Tyranids distracted, they turned their attentions upon the Eldar. Flying monstrous creatures dropped from the skies overhead and the horde shifted towards the small Eldar force. The organisms opened up again, spore mines largely exploding over the hulls of the Wave Serpents, though Lireia could feel the presence of the Swooping Hawks disappearing. Thalinia and her Warp Spiders came under heavy fire from the descending creatures, felling about half of their number, though the Eldar lines stood against the bombardment.

The Imperial elite were not so lucky. The humans who dropped in via grav-chute were surrounded and systematically wiped out by the Tyranid horde, the battle tank near their commanding officer was torn open by a winged Hive Tyrant and the Sentinel was brought down by a Tyranid Warrior ambush. Lireia felt the Imperial resolve waver, sending pangs of doubt through her mind as well. A handful of Eldar Aspect Warriors stood against around five times their number and her current position was being encroached upon.

“Khaine guide you, brothers and sisters,” she called to the War Walker operators and the Dire Avengers of Asurmen’s Wrath who remained near the wreckage of their transport, collecting up the soul stones of the fallen as they fired. They knew what had to be done.

The two remaining Wave Serpents flew over the encroaching Tyranid horde, Warp Spiders teleporting shortly behind them, landing behind in an opening as the Swooping Hawks darted back to the skies. Their guns chattered, clipping one of the Biovore creatures, though otherwise little was done. The War Walkers covered the remaining Dire Avengers, hurling bolts of laser energy into the Biovores, wounding them further though they yet remained. The Imperial air support fired upon the encroaching Termagants, though the mist emitted by the remaining Venomthrope obscured their presence before the plasma sponsons of the Vanquisher tank turned it into a fleshy mess on the floor. Lireia enacted her final gambit to try and win the field.

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Turn three hurt again, the Imperials being reduced to a single tank, a single flyer and a Command Squad. Half of the Swooping Hawks and Warp Spiders were blown away by the combination of Biovores, Termagants and a flying Hive Tyrant. The Eldar initiated a counter attack, sending most of their remaining units over the Tyranids, moving all their tanks flat out and using the Warp Spiders’ mobility get behind them. Very little damage was done by either side, so things mostly just moved up and shifted position. The Tyranids started swamping the objectives with the many remaining Gaunts and the Eldar moved up for a round of shooting the following turn.

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Lireia felt her forces dwindling as yet more fire erupted from the Tyranid lines. The Mawloc beast claimed another Warp Spider as it burrowed beneath them, though thankfully, Autarch Thalinia teleported out of the way. Expecting repercussions, she steeled herself, but the Mawloc did not emerge, burrowing back around to an empty part of the battlefield. She sighed with relief, though her relief was short lived as she felt the last of the Warp Spiders being brought down by Tyranid shooting, as well as her sister’s pain. She felt the Wave Serpent to her right shake, but the fire glanced off the serpent shield that enveloped the hull, though her thoughts were momentarily distracted by the pain of her sister. The flame of the Autarch’s life flickered, though remained. Her vision was clouded, but she called out to her remaining forces.

“Walkers. I want the Tyrant dead,” she called, turning to the Dire Avengers who sat within the Wave Serpent with her. Before she could speak, the door opened and Autarch Thalinia barrelled in, fastening herself in place before resting her head against the wraithbone interior. She dripped fine streams of crimson blood down the seat, her chest moved up and down at an accelerated rate. Lireia paused momentarily, though she did not have the time to check on her sister’s wounds. “Everyone, out!” she yelled, tossing her runes about her, specks of blue orbiting her as she reached into her reserves, guiding her forces through complex divinations as the Swooping Hawks returned, dropping grenades once more upon the smaller Tyranid beasts and finishing off a wounded Biovore that skulked in the forest.

The line of Aspect Warriors sprinted out of both tanks, surrounding a small, manageable portion of the Tyranid horde. The guns of the Wave Serpents covered their advance towards the vulnerable creatures at the rear of the Tyranid force, felling the Exocrene with discharges of serpent shield energy, scatter lasers, bright lances and shuriken fire. Farseer Lireia attempted to throw the Hive Tyrant off balance, casting the runes about her and arcing psychic power around towards it, though it seemed largely unaffected by her efforts; her concentration was hard pressed through incessant whispers in her mind. The Hive Tyrant roared in defiance, turning to face her. She had foreseen her death here. She readied her singing spear and prepared to face her fate as the Dire Avengers around her systematically destroyed the Zoanthropes, Biovores and Tyranid Warriors that held their position near the back. The Hive Tyrant remained standing, taking a powerful stride towards her position.

With no warning, an eruption of laser fire slammed into the Hive Tyrant from across the battlefield. The War Walkers had turned their guns and fired at the behemoth, blasting apart its carapace and spraying ichor across the trees that stood next to it. It roared defiantly, before crumpling, a steaming cadaver leaning against the base of a tree.

Lireia smiled, though she could see the devastation. The Imperials had lost all of their foot troops apart from the commander and were cutting their losses, retreating their remaining units. She would not needlessly throw the lives of her Aspect Warriors away fighting a losing battle. The Tyranid horde still encroached upon her position en masse, though she had bought her forces time. A large group of Termagants behind her seemed hesitant with the lack of synapse creatures nearby and her vision was clearer once again.

“Skylance, gather the soulstones of the lost and depart to the skies. The rest of you, back into the transports! We cannot control this battlefield alone,” she called to her forces, running them back to their transports. In the few seconds in which the Termagant creatures wandered aimlessly, the Swooping Hawks flew over to where the Warp Spiders had fallen, sweeping up their soul stones before departing to the skies. The War Walkers covered the lone remaining Dire Avenger on the other side of the battlefield as he did the same, hopping onto the leg support of the nearest War Walker once he was done. As quickly as they had emerged, the Eldar strike force had retreated, abandoning the battlefield to the horror of the Tyranid swarm.

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We conceded at the end of turn four. There was not very much left on the board for my ally and large chunks of the Tyranid force remained at large. I made one final push against the Tyranids and managed to slay one of their warlords through stupid amounts of scatter laser fire power, as well as large chunks of synapse coverage and Biovores (those things are a pain!). We weathered the Tyranid shooting well, though he lost the last two Guardsmen who, to their credit, stood their ground to the bitter end, surrounded by Ripper swarms, a flying Hive Tyrant, about twenty eight Termagants and a Hive Crone. Truly warriors worthy of the Emperor!

The Tyranids played well and played to their strengths, pushing numbers over our positions and just overwhelming us with a sheer volume of bodies. I felt really bad for the Imperial Guard player, as the Tyranids massively surged his position early, leaving him with very few forces to use in the later game. The Biovores, in my opinion, were the unit of the match for their side, accounting for heavy Guardsman losses as well as a relatively large amount of Eldar losses (though relative is the operative term, having not lost too many models as they all remained in transports until the final turn). For our side, I’m calling it on the War Walkers. Those three models can put up a nasty number of wounds, even mustering enough fire power to kill a Hive Tyrant in one volley. I would recommend them to any Eldar player, those two scatter lasers are punishing to infantry and monstrous creatures alike! Special mention goes out to the Storm Troopers though, casting aside their fear of death and dropping right into the heart of the Tyranid lines to put three wounds on the Exocrene was quite the sight to behold. They then put a wound on a Warrior when overwatching, but were overwhelmed as expected. A good, enjoyable game though; I will write up some more later (as in, fluff bits to cover what happened after the Eldar retreated) but that’s all for now.

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