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Right now my favourite unit in the Tyranid army just has to be the lowly gaunt. It's simply amazing what one can do with 16 Spinegaunts. . .
In my last game my opponent decided for some reason to put his Archon in a 200 pt retinue of foot-slogging Incubi (with two Splinter Cannon armed Warriors). After the game he reflected that his army was probably the worst he had ever made. Every other unit in his army sacrificed numbers simply so that retinue could exist. The Archon would have been more useful alone on a Skyboard and the retinue should have been paired with the Dracon.
Before we started he had commented on how my own number has seemed low. This was not the case at all. . . I had 80 models in my troops! He had four small Warrior squads, two Taloses, a Scourge Squad, two small Wych squads, his retinue, and a Dracon. All throughout deployment I had been worried that more would be coming. Perhaps a squad of jetbikes or something deepstriking later. That wasn't the case, though. I didn't realize just how much that retinue had cost.
Anyway, on my left flank I pretty much had nothing. There was a Spinegaunt brood of 16, a Ravener, and a Zoanthrope. Facing them on the Dark Eldar side was a Talos, a 10 man squad of Warriors and that retinue: 6 Incubi with a Master, two Splinter Cannon Warriors, and the Archon. My Tyrant was further towards the centre of my formation and my Genestealers were on the far right flank, facing down the Wyches directly across. Needless to say, my left flank was worrying me.
The Talos moved up closer by the second turn. My Zoanthrope did nothing, as usual. . . It and its two broodmates further to the right were the only models that could reliably wound a Talos in shooting -- assuming they hit, which they didn't. In fact, the Zoanthrope on my right flank zapped its own brain and missed. The centre Zoanthrope had already been wounded by Dark Lances and then finished itself off, fortunately dealing one wound to the other Talos. The Zoanthrope that needed to damage the Talos I was worried about missed entirely.
Those failures left me with only my Ravener to deal with a monster that could chew through my troops. On the second turn it charged right up and with ripped two wounds into the Talos. It attacked back: one attack, no hits. My Ravener survived. In the DE turn the retinue charged the Ravener. I had no expectation that the Ravener would survive. There were two models in that retinue, the Lord and the Incubi Master, that had a better initiative. A charging DE lord is indeed a frightening thing, but in this game he must have tripped on a pebble or something because he manged to deal no wounds at all. The Incubi Master was similarily useless. That left my Ravener with the opportunity that it never expected. I rolled one six and it finished off the Talos, before dying to remaining Incubi.
The retinue couldn't get far with its consolidation move and it was totally exposed. In my turn, I found my Spinegaunt squad in firing range with all of its models. Two had been killed by the Talos' fire, but fourteen could still prove useful. They targetted the closest enemy target: the retinue. I managed to deal six wounds, slightly better than average. All his went to the Incubi, who failed five saves and ran. That entire ~350 point squad ran and didn't stop. They left the table after being shot at by an 80 point brood of throw-aways.
That victory set the tone for the rest of the game. Virtually every single time my opponent was forced to take a morale test, he failed and the unit ran. A Wych squad, two Warrior squads. One other Warrior squad had been killed by charging Hormagaunts earlier and other faced my now-veteran brood of Spinegaunts. The latter squad eventually ran after two turns of fire, though not before dropping the Spinegaunts' numbers down to six models. The only exception to all this running was his Scourge squad. It never ran, even when only one lonely model was left. Oh, and his Dracon overdosed on drugs and died without doing anything.
Near end I was left with my Tyrant brood, two Zoanthropes, a squad of Genestealers, some Hormagaunts, my Biovores, and those six remaining Spinegaunts. At this point I screwed up royally. I was rushing into my turn and entirely forgot to move before firing. Those Hormagaunts I had left were in combat with a Talos and some Wyches had consolidated into their rear. The Genestealers, which could have finished off the Talos and at least done damage to the Wyches, couldn't make it into assault. After shooting was over, only one Genestealer stood and the Hormagaunts were dead. At this point I shift everything towards the centre and left flank, abandoning the right as the Talos and consolidated backward.
Things started to pick up a bit, after that disaster. At this point those Spinegaunts I keep mentioning had forced a Warrior squad to flee, leaving just one. Eventually that squad also fled to Spinefist fire. All that was left on the Dark Eldar side was a single Scourge, a Talos, and a squad of Wyches. I cast Catalyst on my wounded Zoanthrope and charged it into the Wyches. It took a wound and failed its save, by due to Catalyst was able to kill one Wych. The Wyches consolidated towards my Tyrant and on the DE turn both the Wyches and the Talos were able to assault my Tyrant Brood. The Talos received one wound from a Guard, but also killed that Guard. The Wyches were entirely ineffectual against my Tyrant, but in return lost nothing. The Talos piled in toward my remaining Guard.
This was the turn where I won. The Wyches once again did nothing against my Tyrant and took no damage in return. The Talos died to a Rending hit from the Guard. It was the Spinegaunts -- the six remaining Spinegaunts from the squad that forced a retinue and two Warrior squads to flee -- that assaulted and killed the rest of the Wyches.
Buy yourself some DE, and stick their armor to those gaunts. They deserve it.
Hive Fleet Furi Kuri 32/21/4
Tomb Kings: 8/5/2
Im in ur Halo, killin ur covernantz