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Posts Tagged ‘Wins (jammy)’

For the first time in a while I managed to carve out some space in my schedule to actually play some 40K, and for the first time ever it was against someone who actually reads this blog. I was a bit worried that this would put me at an automatic disadvantage (surely all those wails of ‘I don’t have enough anti-tank’ and declarations that ‘the army relies too heavily on Mephiston killing everything in sight’ couldn’t have gone unnoticed) but then circumstances dictated my taking an all-infantry force anyway and it was nice to have an excuse before we even started playing.

The prospect of playing mechanised Eldar was not an appealing one but my opponent put that back to our second game and started off by rolling out his Necrons. A fairly standard army, it seemed to me: lots of destroyers and a monolith. The mission turned out to be the Necrons ambushing the Blood Angels. As the prospect of getting into assaults with Necrons was something I was very happy about, I wasn’t too worried, but my opponent clearly was and deployed extremely cautiously, obviously hoping to gun and run me while shielding his warriors.

I got the first turn and not much happened apart from the Devastators obliterating an entire Scarab swarm and nearly everything else swooping towards the enemy. On his first turn my opponent showed he’d been doing his homework by targeting Mephiston with his Heavy Destroyers and sticking three wounds on him. Hmmm! Elsewhere the Tactical Squad took a battering but that was all in terms of shooting, and this was largely due to the Necron Lord and an Immortal squad teleporting across the table to outflank me.

This proved to be a bad move as the Immortals were now in view of the plasma cannons of the Devastator squad, and also in assault range of the Captain and his retinue. Needless to say they did not survive the turn. Elsewhere the Death Company ran up to the monolith, bashed it with their thunder hammer and immobilised it (they were now effectively immobilised themselves due to the Rage rule, unless they could destroy it), while Mephiston engaged the Heavy Destroyers. My plan was to try and avoid killing all of them on the charge (not necessarily easy with the Lord of Death!) which would hopefully keep Mephiston safely locked in combat for the next Necron shooting phase. The good news was that one did indeed survive, but the bad news was that he actually stuck a wound on Mephiston leaving him with only one left.

Not much happened on the second Necron turn beyond the Destroyers shooting fairly ineffectually at the Captain’s squad and Mephiston finishing off the Heavy Destroyers (the Necron Warrior reserves refused to show up). On the third Blood Angel turn the Death Company managed to smash the monolith and Mephiston charged and wiped out the regular Destroyers, and at this point (6-0 down on kill points and with only two Necron Warrior squads and a Tomb Spider left to work with) the Necrons conceded the game. I think more aggressive deployment and play might have given them a better chance, but then again I think getting the first turn makes a big difference in this mission.

Anyway – no more Mr Nice Guy and out came a mechanised Eldar army, with three Wave Serpents, three War Walkers, a Falcon, a Night Spinner, lots of Dire Avengers, Fire Dragons, Scorpions, and Eldrad in it. Oh dear. We ended up playing a objective-based mission with most of our armies starting off the board. Eldrad’s Stones of Warding really promised to peg Mephiston’s psychic powers back and limit his abilities.

And for the first couple of turns the Blood Angels took a real pounding, the Death Company staggering forward towards Eldrad’s Wave Serpent, one of the combat squads being all but obliterated. My counterfire and mobility were both extremely limited. The game was going as I’d feared it might.

Then, we had a remarkable twist of fortunes. My reserves turned up. I decided my only chance was to deep strike the Sanguinary Guard deep into the Eldar deployment zone so they could shoot at the rear of their vehicles – but they scattered off the board, causing a mishap which let my opponent deploy them. Apologising for doing so (which touched me, rather), my opponent popped them down in front of the Fire Dragons, where they were sitting ducks. I deep struck the Captain’s squad down in roughly the same place safely (my opponent declared this was ‘ballsy’ until I reminded him of the Descent of Angels rule).

Anyway, that turn the Captain and his squad managed to wreck one of the Wave Serpents and the Death Company assaulted and destroyed another, really limiting the Eldar mobility on that side of the table. On the next Eldar turn my opponent took solace from his losses (and the non-appearance of his large squad of Striking Scorpions from reserve) by opening up on the Guard with the Fire Dragons’ melta-guns. Five shots, three hits… but no wounds! Somehow it was all starting to go right for the Blood Angels.

On my next turn Mephiston risked Wings of Sanguinius, got away with it and wiped out the Fire Dragons on the charge. The Death Company assaulted the War Walkers and destroyed them all. The Captain and his squad moved up behind the Night Spinner and destroyed that in the shooting phase as well.

The Eldar were taking massive casualties but still in the game, and the arrival of the Striking Scorpions only made that more obvious. Luckily they were fractionally out of assault range of the Captain’s squad. Elsewhere Eldrad assaulted and wiped out the surviving Death Company and the Falcon containing a squad of Dire Avengers positioned itself to claim an objective in my table half.

We were both running out of Troops choices and time. On my next turn the Guard shot at and then assaulted and wiped out Eldrad and his squad, while the Captain’s squad and the Attack Bike did the same to another Dire Avenger unit. Mephiston began a long and infuriating cat-and-mouse pursuit of a damaged Wave Serpent threatening to contest an objective held by my combat squad.

At the end of turn five, despite everything, the Eldar were ahead, holding one objective while contesting another. Luckily the dice went my way and we played on into turn six. On that turn I was able to wipe out the Dire Avengers doing the holding and move an Assault Squad up to contest with the Falcon, making the game a draw (Mephiston proved unable to get rid of the annoying Wave Serpent on the other side of the table). But the dice favoured me again and we were into a final turn…

The Guard assaulted and wiped out the Striking Scorpions (a fitting conclusion to a spectacularly good performance from them, easily their most impressive for me), while the last surviving Assault Squad member finally managed to stick his power fist through the back of the Falcon and bring it down, giving me an objective outright. With only one unit left in his army and two objectives under Blood Angel control, my opponent accepted defeat. But it had been an incredibly close and unpredictable game and I fully appreciate how very lucky I was to win. A lot of fun, as well, of course.

Not for the first time, though, I find no lessons in victory. The first game did see a couple of units doing absolutely nothing to impact on the game, and yet I scored a fairly easy win. In the second game, I think pretty much everything played its part in helping me scrape a very lucky win – changing anything in the army would have changed the course of the game. And I’m quite happy with the result I got!

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Ahhh, there’s nothing quite like the first time you play with a new army. I think I’m right in saying that I remember my debut outing with nearly all the dozen or so forces I’ve put together over the last 12 years. Some of them were happier than others; today I will recall with particular fondness, mainly because I didn’t really expect to play.

 

 

It’s been a quiet week so I was hoping to blitz my way through painting a respectably-sized Blood Angels strike force. Had I just stuck to a few characters and some basic marines (everything red but the helmets – and even most of those are red) I think I could easily have managed it. However I decided to break things up by having a go at the Sanguinary Guard (models I was really looking forward to painting) and they turned out to be ridiculously detailed and demanding. I arrived at the store expecting only to do a little twiddly painting and talk about how I shaded the angel wings.

However, a little mental arithmetic told me that if I included my unfinished Tactical Marines in my force, the grand total came very close to 1000 points. (Pen-and-paper arithmetic’s just told me that a) the army came to 945 points and b) was technically illegal: one infernus pistol too many, given the squad size. Oops.) With this in mind I arranged a quick game against some passing Space Wolves.

We ended up playing a Capture and Control mission with the two objectives in opposite table corners. I set up first and combat squadded my Tactical Marines: one element sat on my objective, the other deployed in cover opposite the Wolves’ one. The Death Company deployed very aggressively with a view to assaulting the enemy objective. My commander, his Assault Squad, and the Sanguinary Guard (yes, in a 1000 point game. Sorry) stayed in reserve. The Space Wolves popped one Grey Hunters pack down on their objective, another on a building opposite mine (looking back this was a fairly symmetrical battleline, mostly), and infiltrated some Wolf Scouts deep in my own territory threatening the objective from the start. A big Blood Claws squad went into reserve.

I kept the initiative and just moved the Death Company forward, not quite managing to run them into assault range this turn. My shooting should have been desultory but the Space Wolves only passed one armour save in the first two turns and the squad on the building suffered from the two TC squads’ bolter fire (the plasma guns were just out of range all game and the missile launcher missed every shot it took). The Space Wolves shot at the Death Company with everything in range and – ho ho – only managed to kill two. The Scouts forgot to do anything, which was agreeable.

On turn two the Sanguinary Guard dropped in to support the Death Company and the Commander and his squad did the same to challenge the Scouts. In retrospect this was a silly mistake as I think I could’ve moved them on normally and then got to assault as well as shoot with them. Anyway the three-strong Death Company assaulted the six or seven Wolves guarding their objective and caused slightly ridiculous amounts of damage, the combat concluding with a lone Death Company trooper grappling with a Space Wolf with a power fist.

The Space Wolf reserves outflanked and came on close to the objective in my own corner, while the unit on the building started redeploying (it was clear we were both slightly out of range of each other’s tactical units and my opponent cracked first). The ongoing combat saw both warriors magnificently cock up their attacks and it ground on. The Wolf Scouts assaulted the Commander and his Assault Squad, killed a couple, lost the combat anyway and fled off the table.

Back on my turn, one of my own Tactical squads started heading for the enemy objective. I commented at this point that we seemed to be heading for a draw… The Commander and Squad assaulted the Blood Claws and got horribly mauled with only the Commander left standing. On the other hand the Death Company trooper finally managed to off his partner and consolidated towards the Wolves who’d just climbed down off the building, Sanguinary Guard close behind.

The Blood Claws dragged down the Commander and headed for the objective, though they needed to kill the Tactical Squad guarding it to hold it. The surviving Grey Hunters gunned down a Sanguinary Guard before being slaughtered by the raving vampiric lunatic who continued to show just why the Death Company are so called, who took down three – four elite Sanguinary Guards just managed to kill the remaining two between them. Hmm.

I ran my tactical squad up to the enemy objective while everything else headed back towards my own corner. The Blood Claws assaulted the Tactical Squad on guard and wiped them out on the charge, and the dice came up for the end of the game. I held the Space Wolf objective… but while the Space Wolf youngbloods were sitting on the Blood Angel objective, the Sanguinary Guard were (by half an inch) close enough to contest it. V for victory (and a number of other words best not said around Blood Angels…)!

Hmm, well, a fun and close game, and the obvious modifications the list is crying out for are more heavy weapons and rhinos. Luckily both are on the way. To make room for these I think we will not be seeing the Sanguinary Guard again at this game size; gorgeous though the models are they simply didn’t pay for themselves on this occasion. I would also very much like to stick a few more Death Company in the list – their spectacular performance this game may have been a fluke, but I’m by no means convinced of this.

First priority, though, is to stick backpacks and guns on all the Tactical Marines. Killing Space Wolves with long-range shots from guys who were visibly totally unarmed was slightly embarrassing, but I think I’ll get over it.

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I was updating a chum about my wargaming activities the other day when I realised that the last bona fide win that I could recall (excluding games against someone just learning the rules, for example, or games abandoned midway through as my opponent had to go home for his tea) must have been at the GW store in Ikebukuro in Autumn of 2007. A bit of a downer I think you’ll agree.

Well, anyway, for reasons which now seem oddly vague to me I decided to put the Chaos Warrior army I’ve been nibbling away at on hold and try something completely new; to wit, the War of the Ring system. It’s surprisingly easy to knock up 500 points for this if you go fairly elite (which is what I did), and so the other day I trotted down to GW Oxford to see how the system actually played.

I ended up playing BJ, the manager, who apparently has a very good record with his Moria army. Possibly wishing to avoid an Evil-on-Evil clash he wheeled out the beginnings of a Gondor force, consisting of a few knights, a medium-sized infantry formation, some archers and a trebuchet. I had the Mordor force (army’s too strong a word for it at the moment) I’ve been working on, which is currently a small Morannon Orc unit and two mid-sized Morgul Knight formations, all commanded by the Dark Marshal (who would obviously be ruling the magic department).

The actual objective of the game was to control a wood in the table centre but this game was clearly going to be decided by a big scrap rather than clever manoeuvering. I got priority, went first, and started chucking stuff across the table towards the Gondor battleline, aiming the Orcs for the wood and aiming to blow away the infantry with a big Knight charge. In doing so I brilliantly left the Orc flank open for a devastating cavalry charge from the Gondor cavalry.

However… probability was throwing major wobblies all afternoon. The Dark Marshal killed a knight as part of his duel with the Gondor Captain, and while the knights hammered the Orcs extremely flukey dice meant I killed three more, wiping out two-thirds of the unit. Another flukey 6 meant the Orcs were steadfast and the heroic fight the Captain had called was a genuine contest. The second round saw yet more Orcs slaughtered but all the Gondorian cavalry was dead at its conclusion. The Orcs were down to a measly single company and effectively out of the game.

The next turn I was obliged to charge the Gondor archers to avoid them enfilading the Knights turn after turn, leaving the job of engaging the infantry to a single unit led by the Dark Marshal. Despite bombarding them with every nasty spell I could muster the infantry refused to fail their terror test and stood up pretty well to the cavalry charge. The other Knights flank charged the archers and wiped them out in a single round (which was rather annoying as I’d called a heroic combat).

BJ’s horrific luck continued as his trebuchet shot at the Knights who’d just slaughtered his archers, scoring five hits but only one wound (and thus leaving them utterly unscathed). While they repositioned to charge the trebuchet the infantry and Knights fought again. Being new to the game I’d neglected to jump the Nazgul into the larger unit and he was in dire peril of dying should BJ manage to kill one more Knight and reduce the unit to a single model – but, naturally, he was one 6 short of the kill he needed. Looking on the bright side for him, the Knight charge on the trebuchet stalled.

I decided to ignore the trebuchet and wheeled the bigger Knight formation round to flank the infantry, jumping the Nazgul into it at the same time. The trebuchet shot at the Orcs (the Knights were either too close or obscured) but, naturally, missed completely. Spending the Knight Commander’s last Might point got me a heroic charge in on the infantry which pinned them so the other Knights also got a lovely +6 charge bonus (BJ still refused to fail a Terror test, but I suppose I can hardly begrudge him that). Suffice to say that the infantry was routed by the combined charge and BJ threw the towel in (having comported himself with much grace throughout – much better than I would’ve done, I suspect).

So, what lessons to be learnt? Mr Kasparov wisely suggests that it’s much harder to learn from victory than defeat, but it’s pretty clear from this game that while cavalry can be devastating, it’s also rather fragile. Even vaguely average dice rolls would have seen me crushed – but that’s immaterial at this point.

Anyway – I think I need more Morannon Orcs as the current formation is a bit weedy. Not leaving my flanks wide open as I rush forward would be useful too. Not leaving the Nazgul in an understrength unit that’s about to get thumped would also be advisable. (I hung around to watch the start of another game, this time between Easterlings and Rohan, and got to see Khamul do his thing against the Rohan archery. I think I may have employed the wrong Ringwraith in my army.)

Next time I will no doubt get my just deserts, and get whacked off the table. But until then it’s just nice to have finally scraped another win, no matter what it was due to.

 

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