New Tyranid Codex vs My New Eldar

(This is clipped from the Game Summit Forums)

Tonight I played my first game against the new Tyranids with Matt Varnish (aka Dennis Campbell). This was my return to 40k after playing for what's at least six months and maybe longer, and my first run-in with 5th ed Tyranids. I'm also trying out a new Eldar list, which is as follows:

The List
• (2x) Farseer (w/Fortune)
7 Warlocks (5 w/Destructor, 1 w/Enhance, 1 w/Embolden)
Wave Serpent (w/Eldar Missile Launchers, Star Engines)
• (2x) 10 Storm Guardians (w/Flamer x2)
Warlock (w/Enhance)
Wave Serpent (w/Eldar Missile Launchers, Star Engines)
• (2x) 3 War Walkers (w/Scatter Lasers)
Points: 1750

What happened: I shoved four Wave Serpents right into the Tyranid deployment zone on turn one. With the Walkers in reserve, the army was mostly Witchblades and Flamers. I wanted them to get to work as quickly as I could. What ensued was a very tangled mess on MV's side of the table where Eldar were hacking and slashing their way through handfuls of Nids every turn, but the Nids (particularly the monstrous creatures) were really hitting very hard. As MV will corroborate, it looked as if there was absolutely no hope in hell for an Eldar win by the end of turn 2: It was a slow grind against the masses of Guants (with more being pooped out by his MCs), Wave Serpents were getting wrecked, War Walkers being eaten by Genestealers and the first Seer Council to touch down was mostly torn up. As three squads of Genestealers were outflanking as my army was gradually being expended, I really thought that was it.

The two things that really turned the tide were my second War Walker squad arriving and the second Seer Council killing the Tervagon. This created a ripple effect that caused an epic 34 wounds on the surrounding Gaunt squads, pretty much clearing them out. To the flank, the War Walkers were unleashing hell and, combined with one lucky Wave Serpent, managed to clear the flank either with massed fire or by tank-shocking units off the table. Make no mistake: This was pure luck, but luck is part of how the game flows.

There was some wrestling for the victory after that, but the struggle was much easier for me than it had been for the previous four turns or so. I really do believe that I broke the Tyranids' back with the execution of the Tervagon and the ridiculously lucky breaking of two Genestealer squads.

Against the current generation of 5th-ed books, the Warlock-heavy Eldar army is the only build I consider to be reasonably viable if your luck is average. I chose not to put the Warlocks on Jetbikes and, after this game, I stand by that decision. Getting Flamers and Witchblades deep into the fray by turn 2 requires Star Engines and Wave Serpents. I also stand by the Storm Guardians: Their respectable CC skills and Flamers managed to keep a crazy number of Gaunts under control. Also, anyone who tells you that War Walkers aren't that great has no idea what they're talking about; not only did they perform brilliantly in this game, but they are consistently brilliant in every game. I've never regretted taking them.

I would have made sure to find the points for Runes of Warding somehow. With the Tyranid psychic powers being as formidable as they are, I could have really put a much-needed speed bump in their way. I will also be considering ways to somehow increase the scoring units; I'm not sure how yet, as there's no fat in this list to trim off, but I felt the pressure in the last two turns. I may experiment with Destructor on the Warlocks who accompany the Guardians instead of Enhance, as there were several times when having one more Flamer would have helped a lot. On the other hand, Enhance also gave them that WS4 edge which helped put a lot of Gaunts in their place, so I'm undecided about which would be better. I would also like to say that Embolden is very valuable, as the Shadows of the Warp did harass my Farseers and re-rolling my failed tests came very much in handy.

Bottom Line
It was a fair but lucky win for me. While Lady Luck took a steaming dump on some of my rolls for the first half of the game, she decided to share the pain with Dennis for the second half. I wouldn't count on this game unfolding the same way a second time.

For me, the Warlock-heavy army is really my ticket to survival in 5th ed, but I'm still very tentative because of the insane point cost of the two 7-Warlock units (Seer Council + Transport crests about 450 points). But, because there's no fat in the list, it's hard to find a place to trim something out... and, with this particular army, if you try to shave anything off any of the units you may as well just remove it and start new.

This is pretty close to an army that I can fall in love with again. Ever since my experiments with Ulthwe Strike Force and Iyanden in 3rd ed, I haven't found a concept that really grabbed me. This Warlock-licious list might just get me back into playing more often, as it gives me some confidence against the current generation of codices without being insanely overpowered.

I think a video battle report is coming soon, and MV can probably points you in the direction for that.