|Am I on the horse this time?|
Last week I was determined to beat EV's Plague Marines. I had a plan going in: shoot stuff. Shoot it a lot. I was hoping my Devs would take down a Daemon Prince, or at least give it a real good wounding, before it could hide in melee. I knew EV would hide them behind his Rhinos, so I formulated a target priority for the Devs: Daemon Prince > Rhino > Plague Marine > Obliterator. If the assault marines could create a hole in the Rhino screen then I could potentially send 8 missiles into a Prince, plus any remaining melta, which should accomplish my shooting goals. I wanted to send something after the Obliterators as well. Ideally this would be the Sanguinary Guard as they should breeze through a pair of Oblits, possible even two pair. This would also keep the Guard away from the Princes and Plague Marines so they could come in later to clean squads up. I also wanted to try Unleash Rage instead of Blood Lance on my Librarian and put him in an assault squad so he'd have more bodies around him for Unleash Rage. I hoped the rerolls would counter the natural resilience of the Plague Marines so that an assault squad could finally kill one of them. I made no changes to my list and planned around EV doing the same, which he did. I won't reproduce them, but I will put in a handy link to the last battle report. We alternated setting out terrain again and ended up with a table like this:
EV put most of his units in the middle, splitting a pair of Oblits and a Rhino to the side. I thought about going with the refused flank and loading everything on the side of the Oblits, but with no cover or elevation for my Devs it didn't look so great. Instead I just spread out to avoid templates and had a sort of zone idea for the game. I wanted to keep the field of fire for my Devs as clear of my own troops as possible, with the very hard to see yellow-shaded area being my prime real estate. The Guard and one squad would go up the right to deal with the Oblits while the rest of the army moved up and tried to stay out of each other's way. With set-up complete, I tried to seize the initiative and failed.
|The plan that didn't work.|
|Middle of turn 2.|
|End of turn 2.|
|Middle of turn 3.|
|End of turn 3.|
|Middle of turn 4.|
|End of turn 4.|
This is probably the worst game of 40k I've played, and certainly the worst since starting back up. I thought I had a carefully laid plan in turn 1, but lack of shooting prowess combined with forgetting the Princes could fly meant that the game was all one big melee in the middle. The assault marines and Plague Marines are two tough customers, which results in long combats like this. Things should have resolved quicker because of all the power fists involved, but in the end all the basic troops did was tie each other down so the hammers could sweep them aside. EV's two hammers (Princes) beat my one (Sanguinary Guard), and the rest is history. At least my Psychic Hood worked in this game, which probably saved my Guard from being wiped out when they charged the brown Prince. The Devs were effective(ish) when they got the chance to shoot, taking out a Rhino and putting a wound on a Prince, but the lone round of shooting before the melee cranked up wasn't nearly enough to get anything substantial done. The Sanguinary Guard were the lone bright spot here. They work wonders when they can charge something that doesn't have power weapons, or doesn't have many and goes slower, but they're fragile enough that they only get a charge or two a game before shooting and attrition wear them out.
If I learned nothing else from this game, I learned that assault marines just don't work against Plague Marines, at least not as the main attacking force. It's hard to believe that I can cut through Deathwing terminators with relative ease but can't do anything against Plague Marines, but the results are convincing. The B&C has provided a few ideas for immediate use, like Warp Time not affecting armor saves and Blight Grenades not working when the unit is already in combat, but not having the CSM book I'll have to check EV's. While the lack of armor save re-rolls would be helpful, as is the idea of pinning a squad in place and then piling on, I don't think either one or both of these will turn the tide. I've said before that I'm convinced I have the tools in my list as it is to beat Plague Marines, but I think I've changed my mind. Changes are afoot, though what exact kinds I have yet to decide on. Power weapon spam via either DC or VV is an option, as is meching up, and plasma will be as effective as melta against Rhinos while cutting off FNP and regular armor saves. Reluctant as I am to change my list to counter EV's, the basic premise of my list (horde of assault marines) is countered very well by Plague Marines, so I can either adapt or continue trying to put the square peg in the round hole. This sounds a little weird even to me considering this is the best result I've had against the Plague Marines yet, but this high-water mark is well short of the goal.