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Category: Battlefleet Gothic

Battlefleet Gothic Ireland: Braycon

It turns out that Graham painted some of the models in the BFG Armada rulebook.

As tournaments go, this one was excellent fun. No stress, no rushing, just a chilled out day of gaming. Despite half the players dropping out in the final few days with excuses ranging from the feeble “I have a thing” to the far more impressive “I’ve started coughing up blood”, the determined survivors got to play in Ireland’s first Battlefleet Gothic tournament.

After a pleasant night in Dicey’s (required to prepare me for the noise and confusion of miniature space combat), I woke up early, grabbed a plucky Eldar pirate captain from Maynooth and headed to Bray. The venue was the Methodist Church Hall, which bore a certain resemblance to the average Imperial Navy cruiser. The players shuffled around for a few minutes, looking at each other’s toys and the battlefields.

Round 1
I focused heavily on nova cannons with the smaller, 750 point, fleet bringing two Dominators. They were backed by two Tyrant class cruisers. This proved a touch unwise as Eldar holo-fields laugh at nova cannons.

 My first game was a small-scale battle against Graham’s Craftworld Eldar. This was a cagey, close run affair that saw no ships destroyed but a handful crippled. I managed to corner his fleet briefly and deal some damage, he pulled off a close-range bomber strike which did awful things to its target.

 
With the game on a knife-edge, both players disengaged and planned their next strike. Unfortunately for the Imperials, disengaging just left the Eldar with an easy path into my rear arc.

Had he managed to get those bombers into the air again, it would have gone very badly for me. But his luck was poor and by the time he had re-armed, we had reached turn eight. My rational caution and his damnable cowardice saw us score very few VPs and creep into the bottom of the table.

Elsewhere, Tau and Imperials clashed in what appeared to be a head-on collision. The Imperials triumphed, as is right and proper.

 The Eldar Corsairs suffered a mauling at the hands of their Dark cousins who used their lightning speed to good effect to catch the hapless good guys off-guard.

Round 2

Another game, another new fleet. This time, it was the Tau. After my experiences with the one successful Eldar bomber strike, I was quite terrified by the number of launch bays I faced and used nova cannons to suppress his carriers. His deflector shields protected him during the initial clashes and my dispersed fleet didn’t really inflict enough harm at range.

Shots were exchanged, bombers were shot out of the sky and his escorts proved to be awesome. I know that the Tau aren’t exactly veteran of space combat but the Warden class is a great design. Our fleets managed one good pass before the game ended and we counted our losses. I had lost one ship, he had lost a less expensive vessel and taken some damage. Victory to the blueskins.

Elsewhere, it was civil war as Craftworld and Corsair Eldar fleets met, with the pirates losing out.

The Dark Eldar and the more effective Imperial fleet fought it out with the pointy-eared gits tasting Imperial justice.

We all popped off for a leisurely lunch at the Porterhouse before returning for the last two rounds. The fleets now scaled up to something akin to normal Gothic with each player bringing 1500 points of vessels and a transport flotilla with 120 points of upgrades.

Round 3

Ah, the Dark Eldar. This game reminded me why I adore BFG, it’s just so fluffy. The Dark Eldar used their speed and mimic engines to sneak three raiding parties aboard my battleship in the first turn, taking out its steering, setting it alight and killing my commanders.

 
The mission involved delivering invasion transports to the target planet. The Dark Eldar took full advantage of the chaos and snuck their transports into the shadow of the planet. My tranports lurked nearby, unwilling to advance into range of the raiders.

Suicidal strikes by his escorts kept my fleet at bay until his landings had been completed. The cost was high but it did completely stall the advance.

His cruisers had taken the longer route and appeared behind my fleet. Bombers took to the air (space) and my crews could only watch their approach and brace for impact. After the initial strike, the enemy switched back to Impaler-borne raiding parties.

The rain of assault boats continued throughout the game but they are a little too eager as the raiders constantly hit the wrong targets, taking out prow/dorsal weapons control or lighting fires when their own ships are being raked by the starboard weapons. I put it down to the heroic crews defending critical sectors of their ships.

But he gets close enough to maul my transports and vanishes, having taken some surprise hits from the plucky rearguard. A close run game but the damage inflicted on the Dark Eldar outweighed the bonus points for his successful landing.

The Tau and Eldar fly straight at each other with amusing consequences. See below.

The Craftworld Eldar narrowly lose to the Imperial Navy as they get run down like roadkill.

My favourite shot. An Eldar battleship is destroyed and its core detonates with the largest possible explosion radius. The first picture is John measuring the extent of the explosion. The second is what remains of his fleet afterwards.

Round 4

The last round was against my oldest adversary, John’s Eldar Corsairs. My Retribution class battleship enjoys this match up.

The early clashes go my way as a brave strike against the Retribution fails to cripple it (very unlucky dice) and things continue along those lines. The Eldar are harried, hunted and smashed on my right as they are trapped in open space.

It all going well, with his escorts being forced into the open and wiped out. After the initial firefight, he used the asteroid fields on my right to bypass the guns of the fleet with his largest ships. His battered capital ships move against my transport flotilla with surprising results, they deal damage but some transports survive. An honourable mention goes to the Q-ship which delivered the final blow to his battleship as it closed in. Unfortunately, the crew of the up-gunned transport did not live to receive their giant medals.

The Dark Eldar do terrible things to the Tau. The transports are shredded and much of the fleet lost. Elsewhere on the battlefield, the surviving Tau ships chase off one cruiser and hide.

Conclusion 
While the organiser was disappointed by the drop-out rate, I’ll argue he can be pleased with the result. The event ran, the fleets were pretty and the players had a fantastic time. In my own case, I got to play three completely new fleets for the very first time. Now, if we can avoid any Necron players finding out about the next one, we’ll all be very happy.
 
Name Fleet Game 1 VPs Game 2  VPs Game 3 VPs Game 4 VPs Total VPs
Graham Craftworld Eldar 55 547 880 2100 3582
Ugo Tau Protection Fleet 250 220 1650 475 2595
Padraic Imperial Navy 80 152 795 1201 2228
Conor Dark Eldar 257 0 519 1348 2124
Lloyd Imperial Navy 445 245 940 0 1630
John Eldar Corsairs 170 160 150 215 695

And with a venue like that, there should be a next one. There were also rumours of a Blood Bowl or Epic event in the future. As a massive fan of both, I’m ecstatic.

Battlefleet Gothic Tournament Lists

Morning.

As previously mentioned, Ireland’s first Battlefleet Gothic tournament will be held in Bray this October. I’m very happy to see an actual Specialist Game tournament in Ireland. The organisers had space for twelve players and they have gotten their twelve with a minimum of effort. Amusingly, that makes it bigger than the famous BFG tournament held every year at Adepticon.

As part of our new “other wargames” campaign, we’re sending three Warheads to this event. Or to be more accurate, two fully fledged Warheads and a body servant called John. Or Mary.  Honestly, who can keep track of the help? But with no prior experience to draw on, our lust for victory is sending us haywire.

It’s generally acknowledged that winning requires good list design and we’re operating in the void of zero match-day experience here. Yes, yes, we know that the battles themselves are only a portion of the overall score and the tournament boasts a strong “soft” scoring element. But still… good list design demands information. How can we find tournament lists to base our theories on? The best place to start is Adepticon. The Irish tournament seems to be following their lead with a very, very similar rules set. Let’s look at the strongest finishers from the 2012 tournament.

Space Marines
Venerable Battle Barge,
3 Strike Cruisers w/ extra shield
3 Strike Cruisers w/ extra shield and extra bombardment swap

When we strip away all soft scores and examine the actual battle results, this list finishes well ahead of the rest. What do we see? A list playing to its strengths. They’re all large ships with good armour and upgraded shields. He has bet heavily on light to moderate enemy lances and trusted in his armour. He’ll need it because he has to close to make best use of his bombardment cannons.

Really, it’s Wargaming 101, build in redundancy and focus on enhancing your strengths. His ships simply go for a stand-up fight. You will notice the lack of escorts. That’s because most escorts are terrible.

Craftworld Eldar

Flame of Asuryan
Dragonship with Weapon Battery and Launch Bay
3 Wraithships with Lances and Launch Bays
3 Shadowhunters w/ Weapon Batteries
3 Shadowhunters w/ Phantom Lances
This list falls behind the Space Marines in raw battle scores but is still well clear of the chasing pack. Some will not be familiar with this new fleet list, which is distinct from the traditional Eldar pirate lists. The Craftworld Eldar have slightly stronger armour on their ships but the main strength is the ability to customise their ships as they wish. This player has gone for an even mix of weapon batteries and lances to threaten all ship classes.

You might think he’s skimped on defensive air power but this is deceptive. The Shadowhunters have special rules which boost his anti-ordnance ability. Like the pirates, it’s all about using asteroid fields and gas clouds to choose his battles, launching strikes against isolated elements of the enemy fleet.

Chaos 
Despoiler, 
2 Devastation
Acheron
2 Murder, 
3 Iconoclasts

This falls well behind the two previous lists in battle scores. The Chaos player has focused on one thing, long-range (60cm) lances. There are some launch bays and weapons batteries mixed in but this is clearly a stand-off list. It could run into serious difficulty against a holofield-equipped opponent but will murder slow, heavily armoured fleets. In theory.

I’m guessing he didn’t draw the Space Marine list above as it would have been an interesting match-up. The flaw here is that all the long range firepower comes at a cost. The list can’t output enough shots to win a short range duel. If a canny opponent can use celestial phenomena to close without crippling losses, he’s goosed.

Imperial Navy

Emperor
2 Vengeance
2 Lunar w/Nova Cannon
2 Endurance light cruisers

This list finished similarly to the Chaos list above. A quick glance shows it to be an all-round force, based on some of the best classes in the Imperial fleet registry. The Emperor is a solid, all-round battleship that finds it way into most fleets. The Vengeance grand cruisers support it by adding some long range firepower. The dual nova cannons give the fleet even more reach.

The list designer has attempted to patch the weakness of the Imperial Navy at long range firefights with some success. The price is less actual hulls on the table and less potency at close range.

Tyranids
Hive Ship w/ 2 Prow Pyroacids and 3 Side Launch Bays
Hive Ship w/ 2 Prow Bioplasma + 2 Side Bioplasma + 1 Side Launch Bays
8 Bio-drones
6 Pyro-drones
8 Feeder-Vanguards
6 Claw-Kraken
4 Pyro-Kraken w/ 1 Feeder-Kraken

After all those stand-off fighters, someone has gone with the blunt club approach. This list came close to the Chaos and Imperials in battle scores. A single brawling Hiveship and one stand-off Hiveship form the heart of a true swarm fleet. The Feeder Vanguard are designed to swarm into the enemy fleet and provide targeting buffs. The rest of the escorts are balanced between close, medium and stand-off combatants.

This player is going to have a lot of fun. His list is solid and has every threat vector imaginable, from boarding actions out to 45cm pyro-acid batteries. His main vulnerability is the amount of VPs given up by those swarms of escorts as they inevitably explode into goo.

Back to the local scene, the fleet composition of the Irish tournament is as follows. It’s a mixed bag although the various forms of Eldar are probably happy to see no Necron players. We’re also lacking Tyranid and Ork players this time out. The classic fleets make a strong showing with six Imperial and Traitor fleets.

(3) Chaos

(3) Imperial Navy 
(1) Craftworld Eldar
(1) Eldar Pirates
(1) Dark Eldar
(1) Tau
(1) Space Marines
(1) Space Wolves
The key issue, as I see it, is to strike the correct balance between lance and battery type weapons. The former are strong against heavily armoured ships and the latter are best against average and lightly armoured ships. With five heavily armoured lists and seven lighter lists, it appears that weapon batteries might be the slightly better option. The players will have to weigh the benefits of an all-rounder force against focusing on one element and hoping Lady Luck is kind.

Personally, I’m going with an all-rounder force while maintaining my “no escorts, ever” policy.

Irish Wargaming Tournaments Update: 12/08/12

Ireland is a cold, dark, unwelcoming place for non-GW wargames. The tournament scene is held in a death grip by the twin monoliths of 40K and Fantasy. Every convention features one or both, with mere lip service being paid to other systems. So it has been, so shall it be.

But there are some green shoots appearing. Tournament organisers are beginning to run events focused solely on one non-mainstream system and in other cases, allotting reasonable amounts of time and space in their events to such systems.

The massive rise of Warmahordes over the last year has played a large part in this. Infinity saw more play due to the evangelism and hard work of Quozl. Flames of War is beginning to take hold in the North and a certain southern club. We’ve even been informed of Malifaux and Battlefleet Gothic tournaments running later in the year. I thought it would be nice to look at some upcoming tournaments.


 August Assault
26 August 2012
Gamer’s World, Dublin

Ireland’s longest running series of Warmahordes events continues into August. It’s a 35 point tournament played with the Steamroller 2012 rulespack. The main draw is the guarantee of a good player count as it’s a firmly established event.

Click here for more details.

 The Irish Open
 8/9 September 2012
Ormonde Hotel, Kilkenny

The first Irish Open, timetabled for the Saturday, is shaping up to be quite interesting. With players from Leinster, Munster and Connacht attending, there’s going to be an interesting mix of meta-games. It’s also following the European standard by bumping the points limit from 35 to 42 points.

There’s also some manner of doubles event on the second day for those who like teamwork and sharing. Dirty communists. Only sixteen spaces for the Open (of which three remain) so consider preregistering.

Click here for more details.

 Round 5
13 October 2012
Gamer’s World, Dublin

Quozl has announced the 5th round of the 2012 All-Ireland Infinity Cup. This is the latest event in his successful bid to establish Infinity as a regular tournament game. For anyone waiting to take the plunge, I played in the 2nd round with no prior experience and had a blast. It’s an excellent game system and the cost of assembling an army is low.

This event is a 300 points/6 SWC tournament which is an average sized game of Infinity. I also must warn that there’s only ten spaces available so if interested, you should move quickly.

Check here for full details.

 Winter in Minsk
 10/11 November 2012
 Ballymena, Antrim

Now to a popular choice in these parts, Flames of War. This is actually Ireland’s first Flames of War tournament and it’s looking good. Expect a reasonable crowd, including yours truly. It’s quite standard in format, following the traditional 1750 points and Late War setting.

With the Plastic Soldier Company making the buy-in cost for an army extremely low, it’s worth considering. With UK attendees, a strong Northern FoW presence and a big chunk of the Warheads attending, I think it’s going to go pretty well.

Click here for full details.
 

 N.W.G.
31 August 2012
Grand Hotel, Wicklow

I’ll have to admit that I know nothing of Malifaux. I’ve heard it’s big in Cork and I know that the models are very pretty (just google Death Marshals). Since it’s running on a Friday as part of a larger convention and the sign-up sheet is looking healthy, this is your best chance to get some competitive play against shiny new opponents.

Click here for full details.

Braycon BFG Championship
7 October 2012
Bray

And finally, a very very rare event. There’s a Battlefleet Gothic tournament on in Bray this October and the organisers do expect it to fill quickly. We’ve got three players from the small burb of Maynooth alone, so if you’ve got a fleet lying around, this is your chance to dust them off.

The organisers are using the 2010 BFG FAQ which made some beneficial changes to the core rules. With two 750 point and two 1,500 point battles, we’re looking at smallish to average sized fleets.

EDIT: This tournament is now full.

Click here for more details.

If we’ve missed any upcoming events, let us know.

Battlefleet Gothic 2010 FAQ

If you’ve waded through our archives, you might notice that I’ve got a real fondness for the Specialist Game range and Battlefleet Gothic. The joys of spending four turns carefully maneuvering your fleet into position for that glorious moment where you storm into the heart of the enemy formation, firing double broadsides is hard to explain. Rest assured, it’s iconic and awesome.

The key reason for the longevity of the Specialist Games (despite a lack of love from the overlords) is the sense of ownership amongst the fans. This all grew from a period in which GW collaborated with the fans to refine and improve their rule sets. The 2002 Annual provided the inspiration for a lot of what followed. This level of cooperation gradually died as the likes of Andy Chambers left and the main drivers of the game systems within the company drifted away. The last joint product was the 2007 Battlefleet Gothic FAQ. But the fan committees still kept chugging away, producing multiple edition of the Blood Living Rulebooks among others.

For those of you still playing Battlefleet Gothic, there’s a little known FAQ which follows the 2007 FAQ. The survivors of the old Battlefleet Gothic rules group have produced an excellent 2010 FAQ which really cleans up some issues and generally improves the game. It can be found here.

As a brief taster, I’ll run through some of the changes from the box rules and their impact on the game.The goal of both FAQs was to move the game away from the carrier-fest it had become and back towards the Broadsides in Space game we all liked.


Ordnance
The 2007 FAQ revised the ordnance weapons rules and this continues into the 2010 version. the change is simple, ordnance does not run out. But to counteract the ability to spam bombers and fighters, you may only have as many squadrons in the air as you have launch bays in your fleet. This is calculated on a fleet wide basis, not by individual ship. This means that if you have functioning carriers, you have air (space?) cover.

The fighters/bombers/etc are represented by square markers and must take up as little space as possible. This eliminates the ability to fill vast amounts of board spaces with a handful of tiny, tiny ships. Likewise, torpedoes are three wide to prevent unholy seas of torpedoes from forming. This also reduces the amount of scrabbling in the box to find the right sized torpedo marker.

The torpedo volleys can now only be split when the total strength is seven or higher, to prevent people from using single torpedos to remove fighters on CAP and so on. They also cannot be split into more than two waves.

Massing Turrets
You can combine turrets which means ships can band together to create better AA screens. But the flipside is that the blast damage is more likely affect several ships. You can make the cost/benefit calculations yourself.

Brace For Impact
They resolved a key omission in the regular rules. If you fail a Brace for Impact roll against one strike, you can still attempt it against further attacks. This prevents the phenomenon where the only ship to fail to brace magically began to receive all the incoming fire.

Blast Markers
The blast markers have also been changed. Rather than being placed by the opposing player to best suit his needs, they are placed on the base and count as impacting on anything touching that base. An elegant solution that better represents the chewed up bit of space around a shielded target under fire.

Nova Cannons
Some of you may remember this guy from old-school Warhammer Fantasy, the player whose ability to judge distances was so developed that cannons became sniper rifles. In Battlefleet Gothic, even a poor player (over two or more turns) could fire one ranging shot, remember the measurement and easily drop nova cannon shots on the enemy from then on. To prevent this, they are no longer a guess range weapon, they scatter like blast weapons.

Celestial Phenomenon
Solar flares only happen once per game. Rejoice, put-upon Eldar players. Similarly, only one radiation burst can occur in a given turn. If more than one of the above is rolled during set-up, you still roll that number of dice each turn but only one success is counted.

Imperial Navy
The points cost of the Apocalypse battleship, Retribution battleship, Oberon battleship, Overlord battlecruiser, Armageddon battlecruiser, Endeavor light cruiser, Endurance light cruiser and Defiant light cruiser are reduced. The Emperor battleship bucks the trend by taking a slight points increase.

No more than two each of the Endurance and Defiant classes can be taken in a list.

Space Marines
Bombardment cannons now fire at the same time as weapons batteries and are resolved simultaneously. This lets you use the weapon batteries to strip shields before pounding their hulls with the more destructive cannons. It also means that the blast markers produced by the shield impacts don’t interfere with the cannons.

Chaos
The points cost of the Retaliator grand cruiser and Styx heavy cruiser have been reduced. Simple balancing changes here.

Eldar
The points cost of the Hellebore and Aconite frigates are dropped. The Craftworld Eldar hero also sees his points cost slashed and some new rules added. The Craftworld Eldar generally seem to benefit from the new rules.

Dark Eldar
The Torture cruiser sees a major points hike and the mimic engines get a major debuff. This is clearly intended to prevent the Dark Eldar tactic of remaining cloaked and spraying torpedoes everywhere. They are now revealed as hostile when their ordnance hits the enemy. This is a very good thing.

Orks
All ork ships can now buy additional turrets to give them a fighting chance against bombers. The Deathdeala, Slamblasta and Kroolboy battleships can now carry torpedo bommas. The Hammer battle kroozer also gets the upgrade.

The Savage gunship, Ravager attack ship and Onslaught attack ship see their points cost drop and the Grunt assault ship is added to the fleet list. It’s a modification of the Brute class intended as a boarding vessel.

Necrons
The interaction between Brace For Impact and the Necron reactive hull is detailed. In essence, Necron players cannot claim both the reactive hull and BFI save simultaneously.

Surprisingly, no points increase for the Necrons. They remain one of the more powerful fleets and the bane of Eldar players.

Tyranids
In a bid to prevent hiveship spam lists, Tyranids fleets must now buy a certain amount of escorts, at least six for each hiveship. These can be bought in addition to the original 6-12 escorts per hiveship. This stacks well with the new rules allowing a percentage of escorts to act as sacrificial fire ships.

Tyranid ordnance gain an exemptions to the new ordance rules, they can have twice as many squadrons in play as they have launch bays.

Tau
The Merchant class starship gets a discount. Kroot warspheres now lose boarding strength as bits are blown off the vessel.

There’s also a few new fleets in the 2010 compendium which we’ll review at a later date. Just to be clear, this post was just a taster, there are plenty of changes not documented above.

Battlefleet Gothic Battle Report: The Morlock Station

The Morlock Raid
The Imperial victory at Cryvan was followed by a period of relative calm. Fleet intelligence posits that this lull reflected internal disputes amongst the Eldar pirates after their initial setback. It was expected that once these leadership issues had been resolved, there would be an increase in shipping losses which would indicate an renewal of the piracy campaign. Chillingly, in parallel with the expected rise in attacks, there were confirmed reports of additional, unknown Eldar warbands transiting into the region. The newly founded Cryvan Command suspected that a major attack was imminent and ordered the bolstering of garrison fleets at all critical stations.

The Morlock Station, orbiting a terra-compatible planetoid in the Morlock Sound, was the primary supply point for patrols into the Cryvan Expanse. The surrounding asteroid fields and gas clouds greatly complicate space travel in the near vicinity which made a full colony unviable. However, these same factors, in conjunction with its location, made it an excellent fleet facility. The only viable approach to the station was quite open but was, in turn, overlooked by the massed guns of the station and its outlying defence systems.

The Eldar warband involved in this action remain largely unknown but clearly shared some common characteristics with the original Cryvan raiders. The core of the fleet was a Void Stalker battleship and a pair of Shadow and Eclipse cruisers. Three distinct escort types are present, a pair of Hellebores, four Nightshades and five Hemlocks. Some of these individual craft have been confirmed to be amongst those which fled the Battle of Cryvan.

The Imperial defenders could thank the Emperor that their commanders had recently modified standing orders in the region. The station was protected by a permanent garrison of a Tyrant and a Dictator cruiser. In reponse to the increased threat, Cryvan Command had ordered that one patrol group remain with the station at all times. This meant that the standard garrison had been joined by two Tyrant and a Dictator cruiser. This brought the total to five capital ships.

The outlying defences were built into the asteroid fields to complicate enemy auspex locks and provide an additional measure of protection and concealment. The space station itself dominated the main approach, with an orbital weapons platform and orbital defence laser platform on its right flank.
The opposite flank saw an orbital weapons platform and orbital defence laser platform protecting an orbital dock. The latter facility, in conjunction with the space station, could put eight squadrons of attack craft into the void. This was an unusual configuration as a single station would normally be considered to provide sufficient fighter cover. The construction of the orbital dock was intended as a secondary command centre in the event of the destruction of the main station.

The first inkling of danger was the arrival of unknown contacts on the edge of the sensor net. Brief contacts had been made in previous weeks but the scale of the incursion indicated a major attack was underway. A distress signal was sent by the duty astropath and the crews roused to action.
Klackons rang out across the Imperial cruisers as thousands of ratings scurried to man the gun batteries and fire up plasma containment units. It’s a testament to the size of the vessels that several crew were killed and injured in various accidents during this process.

The Nightshades closed in and launched a combined wave of torpedos at the right-hand flanking laser station. The Eldar could only have intended to eliminate the Morlock Station and force Imperial patrols to stage from Cryvan itself.
Two large swarms of Darkstar fighters converged on the station to suppress the squadrons of attack craft in its hangers. Although Eldar capital ships are delicately built, their fighters are quite resilent.

With their deadly payloads in the air, the Eldar moved back out of the Imperial threat range.

The Imperial response was traditional, using massive firepower to compensate for a lack of finesse. The orbital platforms opened up at long range, destroying all the torpedoes on their approach.

A wave of Darkstar fighters also found themselves in the wrong part of space and were shattered by a well-aimed volley of large-calibre rounds. The odds of any particular barrage detonating amongst the Darkstars was low but the weight of fire available did compensate for this.

The Imperial reponse was faster than average, Starhawk bombers roared forward with Fury interceptors sprinting to cover the lumbering attack craft.

As the Imperials scrambled to react to the first strike, the pirates had reloaded and prepared for another run.
Again, their tactics were cautious as they halted at extreme range to fire torpedoes and launch attack craft. The experience at Cryvan had left them wary of Imperial firepower at any range. Imperial analysts believe this strategy to have been gravely flawed.

A dogfight ensued in the central approach as Imperial Furies duelled with Eldar Darkstars. The Eldar shredded their counterparts in the unequal fight and moved on.

The Imperial ships had lumbered forward, forming into a tight formation to discourage any direct aggression.
Once more, the Eldar fell back. Again, their commanders clearly underestimated the ability of the garrison to destroy torpedoes and bombers in flight.
With their interceptors outclassed, the Imperial moved to a more scattershot approach, Starhawk bombers being launched in smaller waves of single squadrons.

The sheer weight of Starhawk bombers was deemed likely to overwhelm the Eldar’s ability to shoot them down.

Four squadrons of bombers swept past the gas cloud, in a bid to keep the Nightshades out of torpedo range. They did not expect to close on the fast escorts, merely to force them back.

Another four squadrons closed on the main fleet, however, their intent was on destruction rather than deterrence. The enemy capital ships were almost within range.

The reponse was brutal. Eldar Darkstar fighters managed to annihilate most of the first bomber wave. Their pilots revelled in the target rich enviroment, emptying their cannons but the second wave was sweeping by. Eldar fighters racing home found themselves interspersed with Imperial bombers on attack runs.

The Eldar registered the Imperial target. The bombers were clearly bearing down on their overworked Eclipse cruiser. To protect their main source of fighter cover, the fleet reformed to screen the key assets.

With the Imperial attack craft dominating the approaches, the Eldar fleet were herded into a close formation and away from the station.

The defending ships, increasingly confident, began moving into the outer reaches to allow the timely deployment of new bomber waves. It was clear that continuing, unrelenting pressure would undermine the enemy’s nerve. The fleet split to prevent the pirates from moving along the flanks of the station, the regular garrison broke sunward and the retasked patrol took the opposite path.

After suffering massive losses, three bomber squadrons managed to engage the enemy, catching the tail end of the enemy formation. The pilots make their runs against the escorts, targeting a Hellebore and two Nightshades.

But the attack proves entirely fruitless as the Eldar holofields disperse all of the ordnance, filling this area of space with shrapnel. The surviving Starhawk pilots, both relieved to have survived and disappointed by their failure, disperse and flee towards their home docks.

The larger fleet element moved to prevent an advance against the station on a new axis and complete the encirclement. With bombers swarming past their fighter screens, operating in the knowledge that any single bomb could cause devastation, the Eldar fleet begins to show some hesitation.
Some captain attempted to retake the initative and the Hellebores moved through the residue of the bombing raids. One is unlucky enough to trigger some stray ordnance and the resulting explosion tears it apart.

Disaster follows disaster as the Tyrants manage to clip the Shadow cruiser with their long-range batteries. The volley results in secondary explosions and the cruiser appeared crippled, it movements slowed considerably.

With the events of the earlier battles still fresh in their memories, some Eldar crews have little stomach for what is likely to develop into a fleet engagement. With first blood to the mon-keigh, echoes of that defeat begin to resonate. The Nightshade squadron are the first to crack, breaking away from combat and disappearing into the void.

With the departure of the veteran crews, the fresher Eldar crews take their cue and turn away from the station, scattering into open space. Their failure to inflict any substantial damage was demoralising and preceded another lull in pirate operations. Any Imperial pursuit was deemed futile.

With the threat past, the station staff breath a sigh of relief. This shifts to shock as the proximity alarms go off. At last moment, near disaster. One Eldar torpedo had passed unnoticed through the defence grid and closed on an orbital weapons platform. The operators watch pale-faced as it approaches inexorably and barely misses a weapons platform.


The Imperial fleets prowled in the outer system, some captains felt frustrated by the lack of major combat while others rued the loss of hundreds of flight crew. But the personnel of Morlock Station and Cryvan Command thanked the Emperor for their unexpected victory.

Battlefleet Gothic Battle Report: Eldar vs Imperial


The First Battle of Cryvan

The Imperial planet Cryvan was an isolated, industrialised world. Its location on the edge of the Cryvan Expanse and position in a region cluttered with stellar phenomenon left it ignored by the tides of galactic conflict. Its orbital manufactoriums produced some advanced auspex systems but as a whole, its production did not justify anything more than a token defence force.
As is often the case, this left them hopelessly unprepared when the aliens struck. An Eldar warband of unprecedented size shattered their system defence networks and swept their stations from the sky. An full invasion was prevented by the strength of the PDF which, using the products of domestic industry, had successfully held near-space against the invaders. The pirates imposed a blockade and began probing the remaining defences to identify weak points. The desperate defenders called on the sector fleet to assist.

The Imperial force dispatched to break the blockade was composed of all available ships in the 3rd Reserve Fleet. The name is misleading in that these were not untested ships, the crews had been blooded in earlier conflicts in M40.993 and M40. 997. These missions had included clashes with the Eldar. Admiral Caid’s flagship had survived two major fleet engagements against the xeno in the last campaign.In the centre of the fleet, the Bellerophon, Retribution-class battleship. On its rear starboard quarter, the Righteous Zeal, Overlord-class battlecruiser. On its rear port quarter, the Faith, Mars-class battlecruiser. The orange vessel was the Furious, a Dominator-class cruiser. And from the left of the pict, a squadron of three Tyrant-class cruisers, two Dictator cruisers and two Lunar cruisers.
A rare pict of the entire bandit force. In a bid to undermine morale, their advance on the system defence stations was contemptuously direct. Fleet Intelligence suggests that the fleet is composed of distinct two pirate warbands. The Burning Stars have operated in the region for decade and Prince Jari’s Void Stalker battleship, Thunderchild, can be seen in the centre of the fleet. The Hammers of Vaul under Lord Harohn are also spotted as his personal Eclipse-class carrier can be seen to its rear (in blue). Two Shadow cruisers can be seen, in white and blue. From the six o’clock position clock-wise, multiple squadrons of escorts. They consist of three Hemlocks, three Aconites, three Aconites, two Hellebores, three Nightshades, three Aconites, three Hemlocks, three Nightshades, three Hellebores.
The battle began with the Imperial fleet succeeding in that rarest of achievements, catching the Eldar unawares. They broke from the gas clouds and asteroids, intending to move into open space and eliminate the smaller element of the bandit force before the larger element could intervene.
The Thunderchild and her fleet were conducting patrols nearby. The reports of an Imperial counter-attack came as a complete surprise and caught them out of position.
The smaller pirate warband was orbiting the planet, launching strikes against Imperial ground installations and attempting to crack the net of defences thrown into low orbit.
Lord Harohn, commander of the smaller fleet, realised that an engagement around Cryvan itself would be the end of him. He moved to mirror his counterpart and they began a classic pincer movement.
Prince Jari, overall commander, was rightly hesitant to drive straight into the Imperial flank and risk those broadsides. His ships began to using an nearby asteroid field to screen their approach into the rear of the enemy taskforce.
Although surprised, Eldar helmsmen and gunnery teams remain unmatched, they reacted quickly and carefully. The Imperial advance had to be delayed or diverted to buy time, a split second decision was made and several waves of torpedoes were launched into the path of the Retribution class battleship.
Admiral Caid and his captains were rocked by the speed of the Eldar. They launched fighters to engage the torpedoes but far too late. The Bellerophon attempted to evade but it proved too unwieldly to adjust course quickly. Four torpedos crashed into its port batteries causing minor damage.
With the Eldar withdrawing after the torpedo strike, the Imperials found their guns out of range. The Furious fired its nova cannon into the heart of Harohn’s fleet, causing no damage. But the near miss buffeted several ships and alarmed the bandits. They closed on the distinctive vessel in a bid to destroy it and regain the range advantage.
The Overlord class battle-cruiser had proven deadly against similar pirates in the past. Its long range guns would lay down enough fire to scare any class of Eldar vessel and it is hoped its presence would deter strikes on the Furious.
However, the Eldar were as brave as they were malicious. Three squadrons swept into combat range. Their massed lance fire and torpedoes left the Furious on the verge of breaking apart. With no hope of continuing the fight, it cartwheeled towards the gas cloud and shut down all engines in a successful bid to disengage from the battle.
Prince Jari continued to race against time as his fleet charged into position. The Imperial rearguard began to look increasingly outmatched. But the asteroid field acted to hide the danger.
Having driven off the Furious, Prince Harohn’s ships pulled back out of range to limit the Imperial response.
Although the Eldar remained outside the range of the cruisers, the Imperial battleship and battlecruisers laid down huge swathes of fire at extreme range. The Eldar evade most of the incoming rounds but lucky shots blasted two escorts into kindling.
Admiral Caid ordered all fighters to form a screen behind the fleet. This veteran of several clashes with the Eldar knew that the disappearance of the larger enemy fleet would undoubtedly precede an ambush or surprise attack. The fighters awaited whatever threat the Eldar could bring to bear.
Prince Harohn’s fleet diverted crews to damage control in a bid to prevent the smaller Imperial ordance from crippling their vessels, but this reduced their firepower as the crew were diverted from the gunnery and targeting stations.
Prince Harohn ordered his Eclipse to disengage and withdraw. His command crew protested the loss of dozens of veteran pilots currently on attack runs. Coollectively, they had over ten millennia of combat experience. Harohn is rumoured to have stated “It only makes my sacrifice of their lives all the more noble.”
Rounding the asteroid field, Prince Jari, faces a wall of Imperial Thunderbolts. His favoured tactics, massed torpedoes into the enemy rear, will be ineffective against this tactic. The fighters will simply detonate the volleys as they close. Adapting quickly, he moves his fleet across the Imperial stern to attempt to link up with the abandoned crews and extract those escort squadrons from their predicament.
One ship, the infamous Overlord battlecruiser, blocks the escape route and several Eldar squadrons target it. The Righteous Zeal takes several hits but damage crews contain the fires and make patchwork repairs. Its guns continue to prevent a breakout.
Having failed to break the blockade and seeing his erstwhile ally quit the field, Prince Jari decided that the day was lost. Seeking to preserve his own fleet, he ordered his ships to turn and evade contact.
With their enemy abandoned by all allies, the Imperials closed into firing range and prepared to deliver the final blow. The gas cloud provided some cover but would not impede the upcoming storm of fire.
Abandoned and outnumbered, the Eldar pilots prove their true calibre. Their ships roll through massed clouds of incoming rounds with minimal losses as they press their engines to the limit. Non-critical systems are smashed as they push their craft beyond even the limits of wraithbone.
Taking advantage of a relative lull in fire, they made a final bid to destroy the Righteous Zeal and ease their escape. But the battle damage has taken its toll on the small craft and their guns fail to reap their expected harvest of Imperial lives.
To rejoin Jari’s fleet, they have to brave the full broadsides of the Imperial fleets. Praying to their fickle false gods, the Eldar choose to run ahead of the Imperial ships and attempt to outpace their vengeance.
Jari’s fleet rounded the asteroid belt in the exact inverse of their earlier lunge and made for open space.
Like a shark into a shoal of fish, the Overlords lunged through its prey, bringing both broadsides to bear at point-blank range.
The remaining squadrons suffer heavy losses and only a trio of ships succeed in escaping the guns of the Imperium, scattering into the outer reaches of the system.
With the Imperial fleet broadcasting their victory, the Furious engages its remaining plasma drive and limps into formation as the fleet stations itself above Cryvan.
Prince Harohn’s fleet gathered in a nearby asteroid field to conduct repairs and re-arm. As survivors straggled in, tales of his callousness provoked a near-mutiny.
Prince Jari declared the region lost to the lesser races and departed for safer hunting grounds.

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