Monday, December 27, 2010

I played a game? I played a game!

I got in my first game in far too long on Thursday, a re-engagement with 40k.  EV fielded a very nice Plague Marine army, while I dusted off the Blood Angels.  I went with the BAs mostly because I've had a hankering for them lately, but also because my Orks are not assembled enough to field a viable army.  I've been poking around the internets trying to get a handle on how 40k plays now.  I'm trying to avoid just copying a list off said internets as I don't think that really helps you learn.  While you might win your game, just following the instructions on the box doesn't really teach you anything, and as a result you don't grow as a player.  So I'm taking what I "learn" from these various sources and trying it out for myself.  At least that's the plan so far.

With that context set, my list was a bit of a mongrel.  Back in 3rd edition I ran mechanized Blood Angels, so I'm both familiar with the concept and wanting to try something different.  I ran mech back then because I couldn't do a jump pack list, so my only real option to do a fast, combat-oriented army was to stock up on tactical squads in rhinos.  In this brave new-to-me world of Blood Angels with assault squads as troops, the paradigm has changed and the door is open to run a different kind of list.  However, I lack the minis to run an all jump pack list, hence the mongrel list that I ended up with.  It's a mix of jumpers, mech, and fire support.  No detailed lists for this because of the nature of wargear in 40k, but also because this isn't a full-on battle report in the manner that I usually do them.  "Army lists" and more after the break.

Librarian w/ Jump Pack, Shield of Sanguinius, Blood Lance
2 x Sanguinary Priests, 1 w/ Jump Pack
10 x Assault Marines w/ Meltagun, Plasma Pistol, Power Fist
10 x Assault Marines w/2 Plasma Pistols, Power Fist
10 x Jumpless Assault Marines w/ Meltagun, Flamer, Thunder Hammer, Storm Shield, Rhino w/ Extra Armor
10 x Jumpless Assault Marines w/ Meltagun, Flamer, Power Fist, Rhino w/ Extra Armor
10 x Tactical Marines w/ Lascannon, Plasmagun, Power Weapon, Rhino w/ Extra Armor
5 x Devastator Marines w/ 4 Missile Launchers, Heavy Bolter Razorback w/ Extra Armor

The idea was to use the tac squad to hold objectives, put a SP (who stays in the box) in the razorback with the devastators (who get out at a good position), then put the librarian in one jump squad and the other SP in the other jump squad.  I wanted to hit in two waves or assault troops, but wasn't too sure who would get there first.  I had run lists something like this in 3rd edition, so I had a decent idea of how it would work.

EV ran something like this.  I don't know particulars, so it's a ballpark thing.
2 x Daemon Princes
3 x Plague Marines in Rhinos
1 Plague Marine squad on foot
3 x Vindicators

As you'll see in a moment, and can probably deduce from the Plague Marine nature, EV set up a gun line of sorts and waited for me to come to him.  His nicely painted marines put mine to shame, which may have affected the outcome.  I'll remedy that situation, hopefully in the not-so-distant future.

Things started bad for me.  I brought the tac squad to hold objectives, and we ended up with the good old fashioned "set up in opposite corners and come out swinging" mission, which meant there were no objectives to hold.  I should have taken a shot of the whole table, but the one below is a good representation.  I had a hill in my deployment zone that had decent fields of fire, so I set my devastators up there and let the SP ride around in style by himself.  I sent the tac squad north to engage one of EV's flanks and sent all the assault troops to hit the other flank.  This was probably a mistake in retrospect as I sent my troops the long way, and across open ground.  In my defense, I did try to screen the jumpers with the transports, but left gaps between the vehicles that the Vindicators could fire through.  One of many lessons for next time.

You can see my plan in action here.  Turn 2ish.
 Things unraveled quickly for me.  The tac squad rhino got mired on terrain (that I could have easily driven around), my drive-by meltagun shots didn't do much, and my assault marines never really got a charge off and were butchered by daemon princes.  I didn't make any headway against the Plague Marines.  As noted, my transport screen was ineffective and resulted in multiple pie plates dropping on my jumpers.  The result was that my desired two waves of attackers was more like 4 trickles of "attackers," who were easily picked off by those (literally) damned princes. 

What is left of my once-proud sons of Sanguinius.
The result was a near-perfect victory for EV.  I made a tactical error, as noted above, and got caught out by a couple mechanics.  The most notable one was that I had managed to misremember the to-wound chart.  I thought it worked like the to-hit chart, where equal numbers require 4s, higher/lower require 3s or 5s respectively, and doubled numbers require 2s and 6s.  That's awfully confusing when I look at it, but it makes plenty of sense to me.  Turns out it works differently, with each step of difference cranking the roll needed.  To put this in plainer terms, my troops needed 6s to wound the daemon princes (who I believe were toughness 6) instead of the 5s I thought they would have.  I also needed 5s to wound the Plague Marines, but I had expected that.  This meant that my regular troopers struggled to wound, and when they did the wounds were generally saved.  My power fists did a lot of missing, and my libby's force sword was ineffective against the daemon princes thanks to their Eternal Warrior.

My casualties mid-game.
I also had an issue with the assault squad in the second picture, who hopped out of their rhino and shot at the Vindicator with the intention of then assaulting it as well as the Plague Marines on the hill.  They blew up the Vindicator, which was nice, but then couldn't assault it, which wasn't nice.  Since they had shot the Vindicator, they couldn't assault a different squad, so they just waited to be cut down like their brothers.  At least they didn't have to wait long.  There were also some growing pains with the new cover system, but I think I got a handle on it quickly enough.  There were certainly learning opportunities all over the place.

EV's losses, plus a rhino and vindicator (not shown).
In the end, my lack of charging doomed my troops.  My various mis-steps didn't help either, but it was good to get a game of 40k in for the first time in years.  The devastators, which I included based on internet reviews, were the stars of my side, for what that was worth.  As such, they'll probably see more table time in the future.  I'm working on a list now that drops the transports for more jumpers and devastators, but it requires some extra pieces.  I think I'll substitute in jump packs on some of the foot assaulters to make a third jump squad, which should help.  I already started digging for more missile launchers and managed another 4 of them, so I'll have another devastator squad for next time as well.  I'm trying to tune the list to fit in as many bodies as I can, while still equipping them enough to get the job done.  I'm also trying to do that without simply copy/pasting a list, and I'm doing it by hand as I don't have Army Builder anymore and I can't find a free one online like Forward Kommander.  I'll need to add another Sanguinary Priest, hopefully as part of an honor guard, and find some special weapons (meltas, fists, that sort of thing), but I think I have the basic pieces already and will just need to massage them into place.  I don't really like the spammy lists that I find everywhere I look, so I'm going to try and build in a little personality, but we'll see how that turns out.  In the meantime, it was nice to get a game in, even if it was a horrific defeat.  I guess I owe EV a couple after all those Uncharted Seas games.

1 comment:

  1. You can feel free to use my copy of Army Builder while you're over here. I can save the files to a flash memory stick in pdf format, so you can just print them up when you get home.

    As far as the game went, you're right about trying to go on an end run against me, especially since you took the long way to get to me. Just rush the closest thing to you next time, and annihilate that. The results will be much more favorable. Another thing- don't let me charge you. As you found out, Plague Marines are more resilient Assault Marines. You have speed where I have toughness, utilize that.

    I'm sure you'll pose quite a threat to me once you've grasped Blood Angel tactics. Also, now that Christmas is over, I'm one Land Raider Crusader away from finishing my Deathwing army, so we'll see how our loyalists do against each other (hopefully in a few weeks).