Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Forget Everything for the Win? Last Win of the Old SM Codex

I must have killed a lot of brain cells in my trip to Ireland.  It seems that in the past 3 or 4 weeks I must have forgotten everything, including how to read or just pay attention.  What follows is from a friendly Sunday rain-day game at my FLGS, where, since neither my opponent or I had the chance to go to Nova, we decided to play one of the missions at random.  Here is the battle report for the last game I’d play before the NEW space marine codex would come out.

Battle Report
1750 Points
3rd Company ultramarines vs Dark Angels Deathwing
Nova 2013 Mission #4 – 5 objectives, table quarters, and other mission parameters, Vanguard Deployment

Captain Fabian was very concerned.  Having been called to the sector to protect an Administratum team investigation of an abandoned shrine world near the Ultramar sector, all had been quiet until the appearance of a Dark Angels strike cruiser.  Reports had already been received from other nearby sectors of the appearance of this Strike Cruiser, from which a certain Deathwing attack was likely to follow.  The Dark Angels force never contacted any of the Imperial forces it encountered – just the same pattern of drop, attack, disappear.  Fabian placed his Ultramarines on alert, with orders to be prepared to immediately attack any Dark Angel forces.  All attempts to contact the Dark Angels craft went unanswered. 
OPFOR (from memory.  Supposedly 1750 points, but I could not duplicate it in AB)
Dark Angels Commander Belial, Terminator Armor
Dark Angels Librarian, Force Sword, CMG?
Dark Angels Command Squad, 5, 1 CML
Dark Angels Terminator Squad Alpha, 10, 2 CML, 5 TH/SS
Dark Angels Terminator Squad Alpha, 10, 2 CML, 5 TH/SS

(so, 17 Dark Angel Deathwing Terminators, etc.)

My opponent selected the list above out of his love for Deathwing.  He had no idea (nor did I) that we’d be playing a Nova-style, 5 objective game when he determined this force.  Having two, unsplittable troop choices was certainly going to be a handicap.  I tried to duplicate his list from memory, but without notes or his list, I could not.  I think I’m missing something here, or he was about 110 pints short…

3rd Company Ultramarines
Captain Fabian (aka Kantor Counts As, PF, Dorn Bolter, Stubborn, Inspiring) [Note – since re-introducing Kantor to my games I’d forgotten his orbital bombardment)
1st Company Sternguard Squad Alpha, 10, 2 CMG, 2 MG, LC, drop pod
1st Company Sternguard Squad Beta, 10, 2 CPG, PG, HF, PAxe, drop pod
Tactical Squad Ovatius, 10, ML, FL, drop pod
Tactical Squad Theta, 5, las-plas razorback
Landspeeder Squadron Hexus prime, 2 landspeeder typhoons (HB/TML) [note, not paying attention to my list, I only brought and used 1, not both, nerfing me 90 points]
Landspeeder Squadron Hexus secundus, 1 landspeeder (MM/HF)
Storm Talon (SHM, TLAC)
Contemptor Mortis Titus, 2xKheres ACs, skyfire/interceptor

36 marines plus vehicles, a mix of weaponry including some AP1/AP2, rending, etc.

(so out of the above, I really only played 1660 points….and did not use a bombardment worth maybe another 30 points)

One of the first comments from my opponent was that this 1750 list would lose some points on the Standish Standoff comp score rubric (I think it would score maybe a 50 out of 80, but the final rubric is not set.  Besides, I’m not going to create a Standoff list until trying out the new codex LOL!)  Note that with Kantor, my Sternguard are scoring, and I can combat squad on deployment to create as many as 7 scoring units. 

Battlefield Assessment and Overall Pre-Game Strategy
The Battlefield was a mix of open fields, woods, and ruins.  See the battle sketch further down.

The objectives are placed in the table center, and then in the center of each table quarter.  More or less due to terrain placement (which occurred before knowing the mission), four of the 5 objectives were placed in ruins (2) or woods (2).  The objective in the Dark Angel deployment zone was out in the open.  The Dark Angels chose their deployment quarter.

I won the roll for first turn, and deferred to the Dark Angels. The reason for this was since we were playing for objectives, I’d want to go second on the last turn, to recover or react to any objective issues and have a better chance to maintain the win.  My opponent determined to deploy in the upper right corner of the table, I’d be deploying in the lower left corner. 
Strategically, my intent was to spread out and capture three of the objectives – upper left, lower left, and center.  This would also get me two of the table quarters.  I'd not planned to enter the lower right quarter, and certainly not the upper right. 

My opponent deployed Deathwing Terminator Squad Alpha at the upper right objective.  Terminator Squad Beta, Terminator Librarian,  and the Command Squad/HQ units were held in reserves ("secretly" to drop on turn 1). 

The 3rd Company Typhoon (I forgot as noted above to read my own list…and deployed just 1 of 2), the Razorback-transported combat squad, and the Contemptor Mortis were deployed behind terrain at a location I selected as sheltered from Turn 1 Deathwing missile hits, in a tight group near the lower left objective. 

OPFOR’s Strategy
My opponent’s strategy was revealed at the beginning of turn 1.  The Deathwing reserves would drop in on turn 1 and work to destroy the deployed 3rd Company units at the lower left objective, while the deployed terminators would move forward for long-range support.  The plan was for the terminator reserved units to survive turn 1 and be in assault turn 2 on….no pain, no gain. 

Turn 1
The two Dark Angel reserved units teleport onto the battlefield immediately behind the Contemptor Mortis.  The unit of 10 Deathwing Terminators (Squad Beta) and Librarian apparently drop in and do not need to roll to scatter.  The command squad terminators with Belial (according to my opponent) still must roll to scatter, and mishap off the table edge.  He rolls a 2 on the table; I get to place the command squad and Belial off into the upper right table corner as far away as possible.  Squad Alpha moves forward 6 inches towards my deployment zone, but remain w/in three inches of their objective. 

At this point we should have rolled for mysterious objectives, and guess what…yes, we forgot to do that and neglected it for the entire game.  Seriously.  It probably would have added some fun to the next few turns…I can only imagine what it was like at NOVA when the same thing apparently ALSO HAPPENED.

Sidebar – I’m getting to be a proponent of giving verbal briefing of scenario requirements for major tournaments, to make sure the missions/scenarios are played as intended….

At the end of the movement phase, the Contemptor spins around 180 degrees to face the terminators, and intercepts them.  12 dice, 11 hit, 7 wound, 1 failed save.

In the shooting phase, Beta makes its LD roll for split fire.  The two CML terminators fire into the rear of the razorback (4 missile dice, IIRR he did NOT also roll 4 dice for the Storm Bolters, which also seems to be a common error I make when I use the same CML models) – the Razorback explodes giving my opponent first blood.  The other 7 terminators and the Librarian (CMG?) shoot the Typhoon Landspeeder, but fail to damage it (1 rolled to hit for the CMG, no sixes for S on the SB shots).  Ultramarines Squad Theta is now standing in a crater, but is not pinned. 

My turn 1, I have two pods to deploy via drop pod assault. 

First I take a deep breath.  And have to rethink my strategy.  I decide in game to eliminate Squad Beta first, before going back on mission for the objectives. 

Both Sternguard Pods are selected for the assault; Fabian (aka Kantor) will accompany the meltagun squad.  The plasma/flamer armed drop pod slams down where intended, and all 10 sternguard deploy to face the Deathwing.  The second pod scatters into my combat squad, so stops there, and I decide to combat squad my 10 sternguard with Fabian accompanying the sergeant and his half (with CMGs). 

I then move my units (landpseeder, Contemptor, and 5 tac marines) to provide better fire lanes on the Terminators. 

I literally shoot everything I have into the terminators.  Even the drop pods snap firing their storm bolters. 

Smoke clears, and there are still three terminators and the 2-wound Librarian standing. 

Turn 2
The Dark Angels in the upper right continue to advance.  The terminators in the lower left advance a bit, split fire between Kantor’s squad and the nearby Landspeeder Typhoon, but do no damage.  They then roll dice to assault Kantor’s squad…and roll too low to make the charge range.  The other tactical dreadnought squad fires on the drop pod in view, and wreck it. 

On my turn, I begin to send one sternguard combat squad to go after the upper left objective.  Everything else stays put.  The MM/HF Landspeeder comes on board, but the other two units remain in reserves.  In shooting, it takes every dice I have again to take down the remaining terminators in my deployment zone, those guys are as tough as nails!

Turn 3
The dark angels are down to two units, about 16 terminators.  They keep advancing.  The shooting phase is brief, and I have not lost anything. 

On my turn, the Stormtalon comes in, but the last remaining tactical squad Ovatius remains in its pod in reserves. 

I begin moving my assets to head towards the table center.  Most of my firepower is short range, so I’m running units rather than shooting.

The Stormtalon fires and takes down a single terminator. 

Right now I’m controlling two table quarters and 2 objectives; my opponent controls one objective and one table quarter.  He also has first blood…

Turn 4
The Dark Angels fire everything possible into my stormtalon (4 CML krak missiles), and HF/MM Speeder (2 CML krak missiles).  The stormtalon jinx’s for safety, but the HF/MM speeder loses a hull point.

On my turn, the tactical squad arrives from reserves, and its drop pod slams down at the ruins by the lower right objective.  The tactical squad dismounts, and looks to shoot up the tactical terminators before them.  Kantor and his combat squad are getting close to the center objective. 

In shooting, just 1 terminator is removed from the tactical terminator squad, and the stormtalon takes down a command terminator. My opponent is down to a total of 12 models remaining or so.

Turn 5 and Turn 6
My opponent’s command squad opens up on the stormtalon and drops it from the sky.  The tactical terminators split fire, and wreck the HF/MM speeder, plus removing three marines from squad Ovatius!  Squad Ovatius breaks and runs not quite toward the table edge, but out of assault range. 

On my turn, Squad Ovatius rallies, and heads into the ruins to claim the lower right objective.  The Contemptor and Typhoon, in addition to the larger sternguard squad and Kantor’s squad are all in range of the tactical terminators.  After shooting, the tactical terminators are removed from the game.  The game continues into turn 6.

At the end, my opponent was tabled, and I held 3 objectives, 3 table quarters, warlord, and linebreaker. 

Win for the Ultramarines. My casualties amounted to about 5 marines from Squad Ovatius, the Stormtalon, razorback, drop pod, and the HF/MM Landspeeder.  The Dark Angels lost everything. 
Its a Wrap!
After all that, not much to say.  My opponent had a lot invested in those terminators, and we ended up with a discussion of what he could have done better.  Mostly, he could have chosen totally different strategic goals and the tactics to accomplish them.  One alternative would have been to start the game with all terminators deployed (or drop them in his deployment zone and at the ruins in the lower right (another objective), and then use his commander, librarian, and command terminators to hold the center, or the upper left table quarter (at the end).  With my mostly short-ranged firepower, I’d have had to either drop down where he had the advantage, or work had to travel there.  Things could have been totally different.  Regardless, dropping 11 terminators in my backfield allowed me to eliminate them before focusing on his other units.  Also, his librarian could have been used to better effect.  Overall, I wish we’d had time, it would have been fun for a reverse game where we just swapped armies to see if I could have done better as the Dark Angel player.  Maybe the next time I know he’ll play dark Angels, I’ll bring Cypher!

I’m now looking forward to re-developing my favorite lists enhanced for the new codex!  Look for a battle report on my first game maybe next week!


1 comment:

  1. Hey, I'll post a comment....played my first game with the new codex and it suffered from a hand written scibble of a list and not being prepared. I won't go into the details as a blog post, but I used a nice Tigurius led force, Ultramarines! At the end of turn 5 O had a narrow victory, but we went to Turn 6...and then I lost. After the game, I realizes I'd played 230 points short...goes to show what happens when you write a list late at night during a football game marathon and beer fest...My opponent told me not to include the game as a loss in my stats, but sorry, I have to punish myself for the gross mistake. My opponent played Tyranids. It was an awesome game BUT had I brought the 10-man assault squad with dual flamers, etc., who knows what could have happened...I have a 3-game 1750 tournament this weekend...will HOPE to do a better job and have some good blog fodder late next week.