Monday, June 11, 2012

A Midsummer's Apocalypse Dream

Defense in Depth
This past Sunday the lads got together at our store, Fantasy Books & Games in Fairview Heights, IL, and held one of our semi-annual Apocalypse games.  Organized by Brandon, the store manager, we have every resource at the store's disposal available to use.  Previous games have seen every flavor of formation, wonky deathstar units, super heavy vehicles, and gargantuan monstrous creatures.  We enjoy our frequent leagues and open play weeks, but these Apoc games, and the craziness that they inspire, are a real treat for us.

The occasion for this battle was for the recreation of the Battle for Helsreach Hive during the third battle of Armageddon.  There were three tables.  The largest, which was three tables put together that represented the outskirts of the hive.  A wooded table (Ork Deployment area), a "no man's land" of trenchworks, and a city board.  The trench board and city board were the Space Marine deployment areas.  Additionally, there was a board representing a space hulk and another board that was a defense laser.  Loyalists controlled the laser, which was able to fire on either the Hulk, or the main board.  Orks controlled the Hulk, which was able to fire upon the defense laser board or the main board.

Main Board, Marine Side

Main Board, Ork Side

Defense Laser Board ("laser" command is on the far end of the board)
Space Hulk Board.  Bombardment Cannon control is the 4 rooms in the middle
Like every one of our games, we had plenty of shenanigans on the tabletop.  We had three stompas, one skullhamma tank, 11 Ork planes, 2 mega dreads, and plenty of boys, trukks, wagons, etc.  The space marine players mainly brought regular units, but they brought a lot of them.  Seriously, a lot.  This was a "bring everything you own" type of game, and we were quite surprised to realize that the marine players had just over twice as many points on the main board as the Ork players did.  I don't consider the game a "win" for the marine players, even though they had control of more objectives.  Rather, I give the game to the Orks, who accomplished so much with half as many points of models.  It was truly an awe inspiring performance.

Ork-Eye View

Two Ironclads & Bray'arth Ashmantle drop in to say "hello"

Want to learn the rules for the new Ork Planes?  Play with a dozen of them.

Bray'arth fell to this Mega-Dread, but he took out a Super Heavy Rocket Launcher
& survived the resulting explosion prior to it.
It was a great time with many memorable moments that were discussed over beers afterwards.  And that, my friends, is why you play the game.

Which takes me to the after game party.  The group of guys that I play with try to celebrate each other's birthdays when we can.  We try to pool together and buy the guy something that he may not have bought on his own, typically something from forgeworld.  This time around, it was my birthday that was celebrated.  And I am truly humbled and blessed to report that this was the gift I was given:

As if that's not more than enough, they got me Salamander chapter doors as well

I don't have the means to express my thanks.  I play with a fantastic group of guys, and I hope I can show them the gratitude that they deserve.  So to Brandon, and the rest of you, thank you so much.

Friday, June 8, 2012

BANG!!!! Bang? Yes, BANG!!!!!!

Okay, I was prepping an old Vindicare assassin for this weekend's Apoc game. There was an unusually excessive amount of flash on this model, and while clipping it I noticed that one of the GW sculptors or casters had immortalized an inspired moment:

Part of me REALLY wants to paint it up like that. Anyone else ever notice this?

Edit: fixed picture

Tactically Hybridized: Local League game 5 of 5

Ever wonder how hard it is to find a suitable picture for these posts?

Well, last night was it.  The final game of the local league where I was featuring unique (to me) lists for each game.  Try something different, test some new (to me) theories, etc.  All in all, it was exactly what I needed. I had awesome opponents the whole time, and I played a pretty diverse set of opponents: Necrons (win), Eldar (draw), Space Marines (win), Tau (win), & Dark Eldar (win).

Go here for week 1s results (No Chapter for Old Men)
Go here for week 2s results (Tactically Maximized)
Go here for week 3s results (Two Headed Monster)
Go here for week 4s results (Netlist Extreme)
All lists can be found here
A better battle report than this one will be can be found here.

We had Capture & Control with Pitched Battle deployment.  He won the roll to go first, and I failed to seize the initiative.  Everything was laid out on the table, with no reserves.  It was going to be a game to see who could outshoot/outlast the other guy.  These games with only two total objectives are real easy to earn a draw on, so aggressive play was required.

He had two of the Dark Eldar flier things.  I recommend that you go the Grendal's blog Xenos for the Win to see what they actually were.  All that I know is that they had some dark lance weapons and a bunch of missiles.  He also had some of their blasphemous transports.  One held some angry assault ladies, while the other two held warrior squads in them.  Finally, he had a miniature transport thing with some close combat guys in it.  It had a poison weapon  on it, and they had power swords.

He deployed at the 12" line and then rushed everything forward.  That memo on aggression?  I appeared that he received it.

My list was adapted from something that Chambers asked me to try out.  It had five tactical squads with a variety of heavy weapons and razorback transports.  This was supported with two Autocannon/Heavy Bolter Predator tanks, two Twin Linked Autocannon Dreadnoughts, and a Multi-melta/Heavy Flamer Speeder.

I tried to deploy in combat squads in cover, but didn't want to crowd that clump of trees since I new he had a bunch of large blast templates.  I would try to push forward as much as possible, but his shooting early on had something to add to that plan.

Here is the "filthy xenos' eye view"

End of round 1/start of round 2
At the end of his first turn, I had a "what just happened to me" look on my face.  He shot me with a lot of stuff.  Some of it was lance weaponry, some of it was poison, some of it were one shot missiles, he did a lot of moving about prior to that.  I'll readily admit that I was a bit confused by his tricksy xenos ways.  There's a reason the Emperor has no truck with these types.  It does us good to remember that.  Anyway, he beat up a few combat squads, and one even fled off the table.  The Heavy Bolter was blown off Vulkan's razorback.  I did a few things to him, but not much.

Start of turn 3
At the end of the second turn, he had busted up three of my five Razorbacks, the Land Speeder, and was about to lay into a few more of my combat squads with his scourges and warriors.  I had removed his two close combat units, basically solidifying my left flank allowing me to roll towards the right.  My Predators and  Dreadnoughts would spend the remainder of the game shooting at a 10 man warrior squad that was on his objective.  He went to ground for the next three turns, and it took me every bit of three turns to kill that squad.  Yes, (4) Twin Linked Autocannons, (2) Autocannons, and (4) Heavy Bolters took three turns to kill 10 guys with a 3+ cover save (they went to ground).  A razorback from my left would add its fire as well for the last two turns.  My combat squads visible in the picture above would win an assault with his scourges (only because his "sergeant" missed all of his attacks with his power weapon over several turns) and move up to take out the other raider and warrior squad.

At the end of turn 5, I had tabled him.  At turn three, I was asking myself "Why is he dying?  I thought that was my job."  He had a scary amount of firepower on turn one and two, but after that...not so much.  His squads were decent in close combat, but when fighting power armored marines, he relied on his squad leaders and their power weapons.  I'll admit he had terrible rolling when it came to those guys, and it made a difference.  I also credit the large volume of fire that came out of my Dakka Preds and Riflemen Dreadnoughts.  He tried to shoot them up early in the game, but to no effect.  Those four units shot down all of his large threats relatively early in the game which allowed me greater access to control his objective by the end of turn 5.

Grendal is a great guy.  He may not remember, but he was one of the first people I played when I got to this store.  It was a 500 point game, that I spent a majority of running away from his Orks.  You may not realize this, but you can buy a crap ton of Orks for 500 points.  In any event, I'm glad he was my last opponent of the league.  I had fun with my list tryouts, and I somehow managed to go 4-0-1 on the league.  We don't know final results yet, but I may actually have won this thing!  Which is to say, I get pseudo bragging rights for about three weeks until the next league starts up.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Netlist Extreme: Local League game 4 of 5

Last night we played out the 4th game of our 5 week league.  As you know by now, I vowed to play a different list each week (within the same codex was our only limitation) that departed fairly significantly from my normal play style.  My goals were to mix it up a bit, have a lot of fun, and practice using my tactical squads in a way that doesn't suck.

Breakdown of all lists can be found here.
Week 1 results: "No Chapter For Old Men" found here.
Week 2 results: "Tactically Maximized" found here.
Week 3 results: "2-Headed Monster" found here.

This week we had Spearhead deployment with Seize Ground (5 objectives).  I won the roll to place the first objective and kept up a trend of keeping all the objectives fairly close to one another.  I also won the roll to go first, but I deferred, allowing my opponent to chose his deployment zone and go first.

My "netlist" was unabashedly stolen from Danny Internets and his blog Bald and Screaming a long time ago when I first started playing Space Marines.  I knew I would be playing Salamanders, and it was a Vulkan list, so I thought I would copy it into my spreadsheet of lists I like and I'd eventually get around to building it.  It required 5 Land Speeders, 2 Vindicators, and 3 Drop Pods.  At the time I swiped the list, I only had 1 vindicator.  It would take me years to get the remaining models before I could play the list.  In fact, my last two drop pods were given over to me last night after being mostly assembled.  Since they were "in the shop" I was using some loaner drop pods from the Crimson Fist dealership on the corner.  If anyone knows or ever sees Danny thank him for posting the list, and apologize for me that I can't link back to the original source (if you can't find a list on the net it still a netlist?)  Essentially I had:

6 TH/SS Terminators
2 MM/HF Land Speeders
2 MM/HF Land Speeders
1 MM/HF Land Speeder
2 x Vindicators
3 x Tactical Squads w/meltaguns, multi-meltas, combi-meltas, etc. in Drop Pods

My opponent was a filthy Xenos lover who played a suit heavy Tau list.  His list to the best of my knowledge was:

Commander Farsight with a crew of suits w/missile launchers
3 x 3 suits with missile launchers
3 Broadsides
3 x 10 Fire Warriors
4 Pathfinders with transport

Tau deployment + 1st turn & my 1st turn arrival of 2 pods
With Spearhead deployment, the Tau player was pretty bunched up.  He made some push towards my board edge (empty devilfish, fire warrior squad, & Farsight with crew) as well as pushing a squad of fire warriors and the railhead to his left to capture the farthest objective.  The rest of his lads were right there for me to drop on.  I dropped Vulkan with a squad as well as my librarian with a squad.  Each tactical squad broke up into combat squads upon arrival.  My hope was to give the Tau a lot of different targets to shoot and hope he didn't focus fire.  My librarian failed his test, and avenger didn't go off.  I didn't even get mad this time.  That's how common this had become.  One combat squad targeted the fire warriors on the objective in the trees.  The other targeted the suits closest to the blue pod.  Both of the squads out of the green pod targeted the broadsides.  Blue pod inflicted light casualties, but enough for leadership tests, which were all passed.  I did enough wounds on the broadsides to force a test there as well, and they failed!  So I had that going for me moving forward.

aftermath of my turn 2
His turn 2 gave him the opportunity to take revenge on my Salamanders for their rude arrival.  He contintued moving towards my board edge with a few of his units, but otherwise stayed put.  His shooting killed all but the Sgt. in one combat squad and all but the meltagunner in the other.  He also put a wound on my librarian.  He didn't shoot at either of the green pod combat squads, instead opting to target their drop pod.  My reserves were very kind to me this turn with a vindicator, squadron of speeders, and the terminators coming in.  Terminators used the blue pod's teleport homer and ran towards a group of suits.  Vindicator and speeders drove on right next to the fire warriors and suits that were creeping up on my edge.  Between shooting and assaults, I cleared the Tau from the objectives they were near (except the one outside the frame to the right, they would own that all game), and eliminated a set of suits with the vindicator.  This turn was devastating for the Tau.  His game plan was disrupted by my arrival within his lines, and a got very lucky with my reserves.  He lost a lot of his capability, while I lost the majority of two combat squads.

turn 3-ish
 At this point, he has his HQ & retinue with another set of suits on that side of the table.  On the other, he has a fire warrior squad on an objective with a railhead & squad of suits in support.  He runs his suits away from my terminators (who would fight nothing all game, a first for me) and shoots my speeders out of the sky in retaliation from using their heavy flamers on the squad of fire warriors previously occupying those trees.  He kills the sole surviving member of a combat squad by the blue pod and kills both my librarian and meltagunner with shooting as well.

end game
Turn 3 saw all but a single speeder come in from reserve.  The vindicators each killed a squad of suits (one with Farsight in it).  The remaining tactical squad dropped on an objective and split into combat squads.  One held the objective they landed on while the other made its way to the objective on the hill.  At this point he had enough firepower to deny me the objective by the blue pod but he couldn't ever take any more than the one his only scoring unit was currently holding.  To prevent him from shooting at my combat squads, however, I threw a bunch of delicious looking units at him so he would shoot at them instead of my scoring units.  Vulkan met his fate to a missile in this manner.  At the end of turn 5, we rolled for a 6th turn and got it.  We decided to call it there, however, since the game was clearly in hand at this point.

This list was quirky, and certainly something I've never played around with.  I'm very timid with my tactical squads, especially when they're in combat squads.  When given a choice (and a transport) I often baby them.  Dropping them down in drop pods, however, forces the issue.  I was impressed with their performance even though they died in droves.  Chambers is always singing the praises of them, but he always rolls well, so I hadn't seen their use until last night.  My vindicators also cleaned house by clearing out 3 squads of suits and Farsight.  I readily admit that I was lucky with my reserves, and I had already removed the broadsides by the time they showed up.  Although 240 points of terminators never saw the angry side of assault, it was clear that they made him nervous (as they should have).  I think they did a fine job of contributing to the chaos that this list brought to my opponent's game plan.

It was a fun game, my opponent was fantastic.  He's a new player trying to learn as much as he can about the game and his army, during a time of known transition for us.  I wish I had a fraction of the good grace and demeanor that he showed during what was a pretty solid beat down for him.  I learned a little about my new list, but I was truly humbled by his classiness.  It would be an honor to play him again.