Tuesday, July 24, 2012

What's a battle report? Blood Angels vs Space Wolves

Like this, but not really. 
Spurred on by EV's recent battle report, I decided to get back on the horse and do one of my own.  It's only been...four months since my last full blown battle report.  Let's see if I remember how these things work.

I'm skipping the usual army listings in favor of a more abstract, descriptive approach.  I ran the mech/jumper hybrid list that I've settled on recently.  It has a pair of assault squads for troops, a Death Company filled Land Raider, a pair of Predators, a Vindicator, and a Multimelta Attack Bike.  Oh, and Mephiston.  I wanted to field some Scouts, since I haven't put them on the table in a decade, but got sucked into the TV last night instead of writing up an army list.  EV ran my list through Army Builder after our last game and came up 90 points short, so I took another Sanguinary Priest to fill the gap.  When I make up that Scout list I'll double check my math and see who was wrong, me or Army Builder.

EV took Terminator Njal out for his maiden voyage, along with his Terminator buddies in a LR Crusader (as detailed here), along with three Razorbacks and one Rhino full of Grey Hunters, two Long Fang packs, and one (slightly tardy) unit of Thunderwolves.  The Njal-star sucked up a lot of points, which meant less bodies across the table than usual, but with Storm Shields on those bodies I didn't feel much better about my chances.  That said I think our closest fights are vampires vs werewolves (even if my most hated single model is Njal, Terminator armored or not) and both our lists featured expensive units in expensive transports.  I don't think I've faced TH/SS Terminators too often before and was eager to see how the Internet darlings perform on the table.

Objectives circled for your convenience.
We did the usual pre-game rolls and came up with "regular" deployment and the objective scenario (with three objectives).  Setting up the terrain was a bit odd for me as I wasn't 100% sure what my list had in it, though I was reasonably certain I didn't have any Devastators.  Instead of pushing the town cluster on one side of the board, I just plunked things down here and there.  The result was less thematic, but perhaps more balanced than our recent matches.  The objectives ended up in decent positions, meaning they weren't all located in our deployment zones.  While I get the in-game reason for doing so, it strikes me as a bit of a dick move and doesn't really encourage, or even allow for, fighting over the objectives.  It's very possible the rules explicitly forbid putting objectives in deployment zones, but you get my drift.

Initial setup.
I won the roll to deploy first and took that initiative.  In retrospect this was perhaps the most crucial roll of the game as it nerfs Njal, thanks to GW's...wise ruling on how his storms work, but that didn't occur to me at the time.  My initial deployment followed the usual mech/jumper strategy: hide the infantry behind the boxes.  After that I wanted to push hard on the two objectives on the left, which I thought were close enough to hold with a single strung-out squad, while contesting the right objective in the closing turns, or even making a play for it as well if the situation agreed.  EV appeared to have similar thoughts as he did a 2:1 split with his transports while sandwiching his Long Fangs in between.  For once the Long Fangs didn't concern me too much.  The Predators and Land Raider have high enough AV (on their fronts at least) to make Krak missiles a minor threat.  They could still do a number on my infantry, but I hoped to keep them behind the boxes long enough to deliver them into melee.

Turn 1

EV failed to seize the initiative, so I rocketed off towards glory.  My initial shooting was more successful than I'd hoped for.  The Land Raider was stunned (with no extra armor), which was a great result.  One Razorback got blown up, taking half of the squad inside out as well, and the Baal picked off a single Long Fang.


Working backwards here, my movement was all about closing the gap and keeping my infantry shielded.  Having a Sanguinary Priest attached to each assault squad was a nice experience.  I didn't have to bunch all my mens up and could send them in different directions without losing Feel No Pain, so I split them around the central ruin with the intention of leading with the left squad and using the right squad as a second wave that could, potentially, be redirected towards the right objective if I managed to have the best possible result and sweep away EV's center with the Death Company and left assault squad.  And Mephiston of course, can't forget him.  Keeping the Land Raider pinned down and de-meching one squad was a good start towards dealing with the center, but there would be plenty more work to do.

Blood Angels turn one

EV's return fire was less crippling than expected.  Perhaps I'm still reeling from my latest encounter with the Dark Eldar, but when I came out of EV's turn down one Predator and the other shaken I counted myself lucky.

One down, one kicked in the Baals, but infantry intact.

EV pushed his mobile transports forward, but there wasn't a whole lot going on in his first turn aside from that.

Space Wolves turn one.

Turn 2

With most of my forces in tact, I started off by sending in the melta bike, which destroyed another Razorback.  This left it facing down a meltagun or two in return, but that's a trade I was fine with to reduce EV to one functional Razorback.

Suicide melta doing its job.

In the center, things continued to go well for me.  Njal took a wound from Perils of the Warp when he tried to generate a cover save, then the assault squad blew up another Razorback, taking EV down to zero.  To make things better, or perhaps worse, Mephiston cleaned up the Grey Hunters that were de-meched in turn one, which took out some foes but left him out in the open to be shot at.

Not pictured: the contents of the second Razorback.

The rest of the army continued to advance.  I lost a few jumpers to Njal's anti-jumpers spell, but not too many.  The Baal zoomed up and popped smoke since it couldn't shot while the Vindicator tried to blow up the Land Raider and failed.  The Land Raider soaked up a lot of fire but emerged unscathed, which was troubling.  Meanwhile the "reserve" assault squad took cover behind the central ruins, waiting to see where they would be needed.  Confidence was pretty high in the red corner.

Blood Angels turn two.

EV's reprisal against the Attack Bike was swift as he gunned it down with Grey Hunters doing a drive-by from their Rhino.  He followed up with the previously dismounted Grey Hunters blowing off the Assault Cannon turret on the Baal, then taking out a Heavy Bolter in the ensuing assault.  They were none too pleased about losing their ride.

Kicked in the Baals.

In the center, EV sat and shot with the Crusader.  This was a head-scratcher for me as I was certain I was about to lose my assault squad to a hail of Thunder Hammers, but I guess he didn't want to launch an assault and then take a charge from the Death Company in the next turn.  All his shooting whittled down the assault squad a bit, but left them at better than half strength and with a thirst for revenge in the coming turn.

The center heats up.
The Long Fangs Immobilized the Vindicator while the drive-by Grey Hunters continued to advance on the right objective.  Things were looking pretty good for me at this point.  Njal and co were sitting pretty in their box, waiting for me to come and cut it open with a meltagun.  All the Razorbacks were down, and if I could take out the Crusader my own Land Raider would be more or less invincible.  I had yet to deploy the Death Company, an ace up my sleeve that could easily turn a flank or complete the rout of the Space Wolves' center.  On the down side, my fire support Predators had been reduced to a single Heavy Bolter, my Vindicator was stuck where it was (but it was stuck in a target-rich environment and still had its gun), and the right objective was firmly in the hands/paws of the Space Wolves.  All told I was happy with how things stood.

Space Wolves turn two.

Turn 3

As often happens, I got caught up in gaming and neglected pictures.  The gist is that I popped open the Crusader, then got a lucky drift with the Vindicator to end my shooting phase with Njal and one bodyguard left standing.  EV's dice left him high and dry in my shooting phase as I shut down Njal's psychic powers with Mephiston's hood, then his Storm Shields refused to work and Wolf Guard dropped like flies.  I stumbled a bit by shooting at Njal with Mephiston's plasma pistol, which kept him from assaulting, but other than that things went as well as I could have hoped for.

At the start of the assault phase.
The ensuing assault phase was more of the same.  I had deployed the Death Company with the intention of double assaulting the Grey Hunters and Wolf Guard, but when things turned out as they did I redirected them into the Grey Hunters.  The combat in the crater was never really in question as there was no good chance that three Grey Hunters would survive a Death Company charge, but the fight between Njal and the assault squad was a bigger question mark.  EV's dice decided to stay on vacation and allow Njal to get swept away by the red tide.  My biggest concern then was to block up charge lanes to Mephiston as EV had remembered his Thunderwolves and I wanted him free to smash whatever faces needed smashing.

And then there were none.
Elsewhere on the battlefield, my reserve assault squad took care of the Grey Hunters that gave the business to my Baal, then consolidated behind said Baal to shield themselves from the ensuing missile barrage.  Brutal turn for the Wolves overall.

Blood Angels turn three.

Turn 4

Yep, more missed photos.  We pick up the action at the end of the Blood Angel assault phase in turn four.  The Thunderwolves showed up in turn three and assaulted the Death Company.  They took out a few DC, but were still sitting there for Mephiston to join the party.  I remembered Transfixing Gaze this time around, along with his actual spell list, and while we weren't entirely certain how it worked, the net result was that he chopped up some wolves.  The Death Company were whittled down to two maniacs, plus the Chaplain, while the assault squad wiped out a Long Fang squad and set up to take down the other one.

Another assault phase.
Meanwhile I'd hidden the Baal behind a building to take cover, where it managed to gun down a Long Fang.  The reserve assault squad blew up the lone remaining Space Wolf transport but managed to lose the ensuing assault, thanks in part to sending in four marines to fight against ten.  They held their nerve though and kept fighting.

Blood Angels turn four.
The Space Wolves turn didn't have a lot going on.  The only shooting was the handful of Long Fangs, who didn't accomplish anything of note.  The assault phase saw the demise of the Thunderwolves as Mephiston started sucking souls like a pro.  Down to a single scoring unit and a trio of snacks holding missile launchers, EV conceded.

This game started off good for me on the first turn and only got better.  The loss of the Predators early on was the only real adversity I faced, but the Vindicator finally showed up and covered the bases for them.  For once the Death Company didn't do a whole lot.  They served more as a threat than an actual menace, but considering that threat kept Njal in his box on turn two instead of assaulting (at least I think so) they were still effective.  Njal + TH/SS Wolf Guard is a scary, albeit expensive, proposition, so keeping all 800+ points of them restricted to psychic power duty was a big win for me.

Since EV's disillusionment with Warmahordes and my resolution to take 40k at its word and treat it as a beer & pretzels excuse to throw dice, I've been having a lot more fun with the boys in red.  Increased comfort with the system surely plays a role, but I think most of the reason is that I can get my competitive fix with a system that's built for it (Warmahordes) and just have fun with 40k.  Of course that leads to the desire for new toys, or more precisely the desire to field that Stormraven I finally got, but since I'm (probably) going to paint the interior of the cockpit(s) I don't think I'd be able to assemble it enough to be recognizable without having to stop to paint.  Since all my painting (and assembly) time is spoken for clear through September, I'll just have to make do with what I have.  There's a silver lining though: by the time I'm done gluing and painting Legion the 6th edition box should be out, which is the unofficial switch over to 6th for EV and I.  I've been soaking up the new information and meta changes that 6th has brought and I'm eager to give it a whirl.  Multiple types of power weapons?  Even more deadly Death Company?  Units that aren't Long Fangs being able to split fire?  Firing a heavy bolter on the move?  What's not to like?  The worst part of the switchover is likely to be dividing up box sets since EV plays both Chaos and Dark Angels (or at least Deathwing) and I'd like to add both (eventually).  Then there's allies to consider which will likely break my resolve about painting all marines as Blood Angels and allow me to paint up some or all of the non-ornate, new BA kit marines as Crimson Fists, or Sons of Medusa, or Novamarines, or some other monster of my own creation.  Plus there's Dust Warfare on the horizon.  So much gaming, so little time...

1 comment:

  1. Yeah, this one wasn't so hot for me. I was on my back foot from the get-go, and I should have taken the fight to you a bit more.

    As far as why I didn't send the Terminators into the Assault Squad, you were exactly right. There was no way I was going to subject my 600+ point squad to a charge from them, as no matter what my saves may have been there was no way they were going to walk away from the inevitable hail of attacks coming their direction.

    Assuming my Miniature Market order doesn't arrive tomorrow (and it's not scheduled to until Thursday) I'll be refocusing my attention back onto my Dark Eldar, and I'm afraid you'll have to take on my "normal" list next time. It may turn out that I'll kite you the whole game, but now that you have mobility to match my own I'm pretty sure it'll be an entirely different ordeal.

    Any way, congrats on a solid and well deserved win. Now get back to work, those Everblight minis won't paint themselves!