I’ve been playing DE/E since the game came out and I have never really felt like playing any other faction tbh(a 1-day affair with Eldar/DE doesnt count!). I went into this tournament trying a build with Calamity. I thought the card had potential and I really wanted to see if I could get off a few fun combos as Coliseum Fighters have been a staple of mine from Day One.
R1: Tree Monkey - Eldar/Tau
I opened really solid after a mulligan. Archon’s Palace on turn 1 worked incredibly well(although I missed its trigger a few times). A survivalist, Void Pirate and Rogue Trader led to early card advantage and after 3 turns of winning 2-3 command struggles while denying him on the others, he was too far behind to keep up. I went after an Atrox Prime(planet 3 or 4 in the line-up, can’t remember) really aggressively to wear down is larger units. Archon’s Terror + Coliseum Fighters won me 2 clutch battles and 2 Kabalite Strike Forces at a climactic battle won me the game as so many of his units were already heavily damaged from Atrox Prime’s effect.
R2: Lucas - Chaos/Ork
I got down-paired in this game. Luke is a VERY new player so this game wasn’t too difficult. He could have had the game by planet 4 if he had more experience and knowledge of how some of the synergy in his deck works. Instead, I won command at 1/1 planets while blocking him off at 2/0 and 0/2 planets with weenies or Archon’s Palace. He was afraid of losing his hand to the infamous DE Choke so he tried to play as many playable cards he could each turn. Combined with actually being able to choke him down, he rarely had the options he needed when he did draw them. By planet 5 I had ~25 cards in my hand and the field was pretty flooded with Khymera tokens. I hope he figures out his deck and this game soon because our meta needs a little more Chaos...
R3: Johnny - Space Marine/Tau
The game was interesting as Johnny is also a very new player but SM/T is probably my worst matchup. Johnny played really well and pushed my deck really aggressively; he tried hunting down my warlord with the strategy that if his inexperience meant he probably couldn't win tactically, he could possibly snipe a late win with big units if he bloodies my warlord early. He did well to match me play-by-play in command struggles and while I had a slight advantage in card draw, he had the resource advantage. However, he just couldn't get to my warlord early on and gave up some key battles that let me trigger battle effects that let me out maneuver him until a climactic battle and a clutch Archon’s Terror won me the game.
R4: Josh - Astra Militarum/Ork
I mulligan into an even worse hand; I had just 2 units with command icons(Kith’s Khymeramasters and Incubus Warrior) and 2 Archon’s Palaces as well. Josh went ahead of me on both draw and resources, though only slightly(thank you Archon’s Palace!). I went after Carnath and Barlus really aggressively to balance out my lack of command presence. Luckily I pulled 2 Preemptive Barrages with a Razor of Murderwings and Barlus on the same turn. We were winning planets back and forth until planet 5. He had initiative and a 3Atk/?HP Ork unit at the first planet already and I had no units there at all. Also, it had a symbol colour neither of us needed(we both had red/blue I believe). I waited until he was low on resources that round to drop a Murderwing on the first planet and followed it up with an Archon’s Terror(in Combat Phase) to take it cheaply. The next turn time was called and I won with 5 symbols from 3 planets vs his 4 symbols from 3 planets. Really close game.
Finals: Angelo Dark Eldar/Eldar
I did not have alot of practice in this matchup and Angelo was playing a fairly different build than mine. He took command struggles consecutively turn after turn. I was playing with about 4 cards in hand per turn vs his 15+. There were very few resource heavy planets and we both cancelled each other out on these as much as we could. This worked in my favour(slightly) as he could not afford to make the most of his card advantage. I took the first planet(a tri-symbol) and the next two planets in line were bi-symbols (red/blue and blue/green I believe). He played around me, taking advantage of his options to trigger the battle abilities of almost any planet he chose to give him a tactical advantage on top of his card advantage. However, I started bunkering down into planet 4 after taking planet 2 easily with another cheap Archon’s Terror play. At the battle of the fourth planet I had the unit advantage as I set up Syren Zythlex there the turn before. Also, I played a Twisted Laboratory as my last card that turn(once he was low on resources as well). It helped nullify a Baleful Mandrake and after 2 rounds of combat exchanges and about 6 shields from him(I had none) I was able to take the planet for game.
In the end, Calamity was used once and I broke even with my opponent on that play. Archon’s Palace however was invaluable. I ran it as a 2-of but as I will be cutting Calamity, I may run a playset in the future. However, the real MVP of my deck was Archon’s Terror. It gave me cheap wins at planets I didn’t have initiative or even the right to win. Coliseum Fighters were almost always live and I usually held them back for recycling Archon’s Terror. Also, I've found that from my playstyle, I rarely have more than 5 resources a turn. My deck is cheap and I find that Dark Eldar work best under pressure; rarely having the luxury of resources to play most of my hand, choosing which 2-3 I played per turn was a major decision each turn. For anyone wanting to play this faction: take risks. Lots of them. Show your opponent you are willing to gamble your warlord, key symbols and even major units in order to progress your position.
It was a fun 10 or 11 person tourney held at Dogs of War Gaming in Palm Bay, Florida. Was great to see people coming in from Miami and such to play. Can’t wait for next month’s tourney!