Monday, March 30, 2015

Sometimes a Plan Just Comes Together

The Dreadnought was flying. Zooming over the terrain.  It was not an unpleasant experience for the dreadnought.  Except for always being fully enraged, almost felt normal and comforting to the dreadnought.  On one subconscious level, the dreadnought knew it always seemed to start this way.  Like a reoccurring dream.  Flying.  Then falling.  Then all the rage.  Then the killing.  Then a moment of blackness before the flying sensation began again.  The dreadnought clicked its talons open and closed, as servos whirred.  Impatient in its rage, the dreadnought observed the ground coming closer, and the sounds of battle below.

1650 Points, Maelstrom Mission #4
5th Company Blood Angels vs White Scars

This would be my third game vs this opponent.  He, similar to me, had been slowly mutating his army lists to better and better variations.  In this case, his White Scars Army would be a normal CAD (troops with objective secured), led by a Chapter Master on a bike (hammer), epistolary librarian on a bike (staff), thirty or so bikes/attack bikes  in combat squads where possible (power fists, melta guns, MM ABs), a tri-las predator, and a Knight (thermal cannon).  Everything would be T5+, and S5 on the charge, able to ignore terrain effects on bike movement.

I used the same list as my last 1650 game.

We had diagonal corner deployments - I won the roll to choose corners.  He setup first, and was going first.  He'd setup to get his knight at a location that could fire down the  center of the table, to advance up between all of the objectives as needed.  I setup with as much behind cover as possible, except for a tasty tempting razorback.  Frankly, I was baiting him to head towards my right flank.

My Stormraven, DC Dread, and 5 DC marines, and demi-assault squad in a pod are in reserves.  My warlord trait (on the re-roll) gave my Warlord +1I (which was wasted, as he had a power axe)...My opponent had a warlord that allowed him an extra mission card on turn 1 (or somesuch).

Here we are in turn 1.  6 objective cards each.  We played that the wrecked Aquila Lander could be an objective per the BRB, so one of his combat squads zoomed out to see, finding nothing of note.  In the mean time, his other units are heading towards objectives to score points. 

Overall, the razorback was placed to be near the objective, as the assault squad was going to be heading toward the upper right flank.   

Here in this view, his bikes were zooming toward an objective, looking to score a point at a location where my Baal Predator was providing overwatch. 

His Knight before it began to move up.  As part of my strategy, I was hoping to ignore it.  

In the center, his Chapter Master, Librarian, and their accompanying bikers began to flood out from behind cover to head towards my right flank.  Things were going to get interesting....

His librarian had passed a stealth bubble spell on turn 1 (from telepathy?) to keep a bunch of bikers and his predator with good cover saves.   

Here we are right before his assault phase in Turn 2.  You can see how I podded in my assault squad on turn 1 - He'd lost a few bikes from a few units on turn 1, as I'd lost a few assault marines and a few hull points (and lost a wound to perils on my epistolary!).   He now looking to pull off an assault at five different locations.   I'm about to lose a bunch of stuff. 

Here we are now at the end of turn 2...The far razorback was lost in assault (first blood), my demi-assault squad was down to just two marines, my predator was down to a single hull point, and I'm getting beat up.  At this moment I was losing probably about 6 to 2.  But my counter-assault with mu own assault squad was either paying off or making things worse! I'd lost my Librarian (in a challenge to his sergeant), but his wounded Chapter Master and librarian were all that was left of his own assault element (I'd popped a few in shooting to soften them up, and killed the rest, with overflow wounds going on his 2+/3++ CM! 

This picture is where things began to turn around for me in Turn 3...the Stormraven went into hover mode, spun around to shoot at other bikers.  The DC dread dropped off to go after the predator, while the DC dropped in to go after the CM...

Somebody won't make it out of here alive....  At I5, the DC marine with the power sword went first...4 lucky hits, 4 lucky wounds, one failed save, and the CM was gone.  None of my other marines had anything to was overkill...  In consolidation I got some good rolls to spread out a bit before the Thermal Cannon could fire...and it did...

Here we are at the end of Turn 5.  In turn 4, the Stormraven had zoomed out to near objective 1 (back to flying), but on turn 5, I'd gotten a card to get a point for Objective 3...with the game so close, I decided to go back into hover mode and claim the point.  Shooting at the Knight was foiled by the shield saves.  I was 2 points ahead at the end of turn 5...but then the game went to turn 6....

At the end of turn 6, my opponent was down to just the the Mission, we are both down to just drawing one card a turn...the game is still within 2 points...

Another view right before my opponent began turn 6.  He is about to shoot at and then assault the Stormraven.  The Knight is his only unit - it kills off the Stormraven in assault.  At the bottom of Turn 6 I shuffled around a bit with the DC, dreadnought, and assault squad/sanguinary priest, hoping to get points sometime.  We ended turn 6 with the game just a point different and the dice made us go to turn 7...

Here we are in the middle of Turn 7.  With the Stormraven gone, the Knight began moving toward objective 6 (he had a card that would earn him a point if he popped the dread).   He fired on and missed the dreadnought, and was too far for an assault.  On my turn, there was no changes in the cards, but I was less than 18 inches from his Knight!  I have Magna-Grapples that allow a re-roll for the charge distance!  I'm S10, with rage!  Lets go! (elsewhere I was set to get a point for linebreaker).

Sadly, even with a reroll, the charge failed.  The dreadnought was not able to fullfill its dream.  

Here is the final score at the end of turn 7.  Blood Angels 16.  White Scars 14.  

It was a hard fought game on both sides.  I can probably tic off a few mistakes.  I never suspected it would get to turn 7.  In this game, my dice had gone cold again- rolling too many 1's!  So I did what was needed.  I changed dice.  It seemed to be better.  Or at least it felt better.  

Overall, look for my librarian model to be swapped out for one with a force sword.  The Axe is just too bad for use.  Frankly I hate that the BAs have access to all sorts of initiative buffs, but those buffs cannot overcome the initiative 1 assigned to power fists, thunder hammers, or power axes.  I think a Sanguinary priest will also get retrofitted to a power sword.  At least with those elements (and ability to swing at initiative (or boosted initiative), they stand to do better in most situations (the Sanguinary may also be able to use that fancy relic blade too!).  I'm also going to use/try biomancy next game.  It has many of the same effects as the BA spells, but possibly better! 

I hope you are enjoying these reports and find them useful in your own games.  


Wednesday, March 25, 2015

It Just Ain't Worth It

I was just sitting here, eating some sour grapes, and looking at a pad of paper...

(actually, Google "riptide" and look at the images.  Its interesting what comes up for images when you Google about anything...)

I was qualitatively looking at what it would take to drop / pop / wreck / kill a Tau Riptide (earth caste, 3++ save engaged), just to see for myself on paper what it would have taken from my last game, to drop one in a single shooting turn 2...if everything was within 24 inches of the beastie...on a perfect summer day at the beach of some alien world...

(I love the guys who run Frontline Gaming BTW, they have a great podcast, and they are IMHO running the best 40K related events in the western US - above is a photo of a Riptde from their website - they have a painting business on the side)

My paper and pencil analysis shows that IF I had a Riptide with its Nova Reactor shield up, and Earth Caste upgrades, to be a 3++/5+ beast, it would have taken the combined firepower of two Baal Predators (2 TLAssC, 6 HBs), a Stormraven (TLMM, TLLC, 2 MLs), 2 Assault Melta Pod Squads (4 MGs, 2 BPs, 4 Bolters, etc) and their two Pods (2 SBs), and a DC Dreadnought (MG, SB), for a total of 8 units of firepower - in order to maybe get 6 unsaved wounds on it!

So, in conclusion for today's Riptide Academy: 

When the 3++ shield us up...with a 5+ FNP...and your opponent is rolling lucky...just fuggitabout it.  

Go and send all that firepower elsewhere.

Go and shoot up anything else with lesser saves...

Now, if he fails to get the Nova Reactor shield'd need maybe a combination of 3 units to do it...which might be worth it.  But that is your call for a different day...

Friday, March 20, 2015

Luck be a Lady Tonight...

Captain Sendini and Librarian Epistolary Angelus of the Blood Angels 5th Company "Daemonbanes" were disappointed and their ire was beginning to show.  Things were not going well, and it was difficult to pinpoint the source.  5th Company had found through some trick of fate, that every encounter and every battle was not going in any form of positive way.  Captain Sendini could see the feeling creeping into every element of the Company.  They were...unlucky...

OK, I think I've lost the last 4 games in a row.  Critical review of the games would show that there are a combination of factors at play here - it is ski season (still) and I'm not getting any time into the table top; I'm still experimenting with the Blood Angels and trying things out to see how far I can push the game play; I make mistakes often based on bad information or information held back; everyone else's armies are also changing seemingly weekly; and my dice have gone bad, or so it seems.

In reality, the Blood Angels are a tough army to play.  They don't have things like Centurion Stars, or Biker Swarms, or FMCs.  They are pretty straightforward - defeat the enemy face to face with bolter, chainsword, and melta.  And they can only do this if you make no mistakes.  Seriously.  No mistakes. But, I'd still say that I'm carrying around an aura of bad luck.  And my opponents can feel it too, and see it right before their eyes.

Last night, the owner of the FLGS actually came by as he does every week around the shop. This time he paused..." that a new army?  Where is one...?"  It was almost as if he had not seen the Blood Angels I've been playing since the beginning of the year...or the purchases of red paint, cards, and codex.  For a minute or two, the reality of it flooded my mind. Are people that tagged to the Army they play?  Do you remember when the internet was showing pictures comparing dogs to their owners?  Is it that way with game armies too? Am I supposed to  Is there something functionally wrong with my attempt to be red that is causing a fundamental change in the universe?  Is this the butterfly effect?

Well, the heck with that all.  I should just stay oblivious to the impact of me switching to Blood Angels and just keep moving forward.  I can be blue some other day.

1850 Points - Maelstrom Mission #1
Opfor: TAU

OK, this was another one of those games where I show up with three lists, and my opponent wants a different point value.  I'll tell you now, I added 100 points to an existing 1750 list, then on the fly tweaked it to create a functional change.  What I did actually, in retrospect, was break the FOC, not that it really mattered.

Librarian Epistolary Angelus would be the warlord.  He rolled up on the BA traits and got the 12-inch fearless bubble.  For spells, rolling from the BA Sanguinary Discipline, he had Force, the Primary, Fear the Darkness, and XXX.  Overall, not bad, but not the greatest.

Keeping with my last few battle reports, I'll let the pictures tell the story while i make comments on what was going on.  There are gaps in the story line, as I was at times too busy clenching my jaw over the dice rolls I was experiencing.

Here is my force for the game.  See the error?  It was a last second add-in just to get in another 100 points.

Here is the Opfor.  The skimmer includes the character to make it BS5, and everything is upgraded to make them as tough as possible and AP-3 or better to the max.

Just after deployment.  I got to choose the corner.  My opponent won the roll to deploy and go first.  I rolled a 1 on the seize attempt. There is a unit of stealth suits hidden from view who will soon pop onto the top of the building on my lower right.

Getting ready to rock and roll.

After Tau turn 1.  I lost a rhino, and a razorback was shaken.  Score is 0-1.  

Here it is in the middle of turn 2.  The Tau tank had been on the other side of my assault melta unit.  They had actually arrived turn 1, and the Tau vehicle either jinked away the meltagun shots or I rolled 1s.  The other unit in the middle was from the Rhino.  I think it was a mistake here (they had to disembark when the Rhino was wrecked. On my turn they had moved 6 inches and then made a long 10-inch charge, able to just reach the suits that had stayed forward in order to shoot up my lines.  I thought I was luck for a moment, until my opponent announced that the suit leader (later disclosed as his warlord) had an AP3 weapon and was WS4, T4...and he challenged my axe-wielding sergeant and popped him.    In the photo, my opponent is measuring how his Xenos mercenaries would jump forward with their AP3 rifles to take down my suicide melta squad...

And then his reserve units arrived.  A character and suits.  I thought the named character was the warlord...side story - around turn 3 or 4, my DC dread actually charged the named character (when he had a choice between that and the "real" warlord) and killed this guy - It was a combined assault with the surviving DC (who never got to swing) - because I wanted the warlord points...I'd eventually correct the problem on turn 5 when the last surviving DC (power fist) killed the actual warlord after it had collected 2 points off objective 3.

Meanwhile, this was going on at the far right...another side story - on my following turn from this picture, the demi-Tac squad got out of the Razorback (which was shaken) and they prepared to fire on the walker.  In that psychic phase, I cast fear of the darkness on the walker and it broke and ran 3D6 back to within a half inch of the table edge.  That put it out of charge range of the RAS/librarian by an inch.  That walker was a PIMA until it miraculously died in the bottom of turn 7 by the last shot from my razorback.  Until then, for every shot, he'd make nearly every re-roll of his shield save.

Here we are at the middle of turn 2.  I lost a razorback, some assault troops, and was hoping at this point I could turn this mess around.   I'd lined up my two Baal preds to shoot at the suits, supported by the other dismounted demi-tac squad, plus the other drop pod melta squad which had deviated off Objective s, back 11 inches towards my own lines.  Out of all of that firepower (2 TLAC, 4 HBs, 1 flamer, 6 bolters, 2 melta guns, and two pistols) he'd lost just two suits, making nearly all of his saves.  After all of the carnage, the game was still tied or within +/-1 or 2 points.  

Just a close up...sort of.  After taking losses in turns 1 and 2, the RAS, SP, and Libby would jump on top of the building to wipe out the stealth suit team.

Here we are around the middle of turn 4. I'd stopped taking pictures.  I was depressed.  The Tau walker kept powering up his Nova reactor for a 3++ rerollable save with some sort of upgrade, and I could not kill it.  Between that and the flyer, he was making hash out of my marines.  My flyer had gone to hover mode in order to allow the DC to drop out and charge the "false warlord" and had moved to keep shooting at the walker.    

There it is, hanging out back at his lines hoping to survive.  Effin' walker.

End of turn 7.  I think on turn 7 I'd drawn the card that said I'd need to control every objective.

Yep. A Pyrrhic Victory.  Effin' walker.

Score at the end.  I'd lost by one single point.  At this time I had just the razorback and two drop pods.  My opponent only had his skimmer tank and flyer.  It all really ended badly for me in Turn 6 when (1) my DC sergeant was charging (with rage and +1 attacks) at the skimmer tank (a 2-inch charge range in the open), and the flechette launcher got one hit and I rolled a 1, 2 for saves; and then the librarian was hit twice by the flyer and I rolled 1, 1 for saves.  All within 30 seconds.  The librarian had not been wounded to that point, but the Sanguinary was gone from the Walker shooting at them (I blew all of the FNP saves). Effin Walker.  

So yeah, its been like 4 losses so far in a row.  Just a bad month of gaming I suppose.

OK - end of the riddle - in the beginning I said there was an error.  The error was creating a separate RAS squad with rhino - for 100 points (they had a power axe).  That would have made them the 4th Fast Attack unit...originally I'd just added the 5 guys to Pod #1, but then, not thinking,  created the fourth yeah, stuff happens when you are not prepared for a last minute change.

All for now, Happy War Gaming - may may Luck be a Lady for Your Night!


Thursday, March 12, 2015

Eye Candy

Had a great game last night (finally...damn you cold!!!) against Thor from Creative Twilight.  Overall, it was fun to get a game in for the first time in a few weeks.  On the positive side, maybe the cold / sinus infection is coming to an end.  On the negative side, as my health gets better, my dice get colder!

I did not collect enough info mentally for a battle report, but  did get some pictures!  Here they are so I can get them off my i-phone!

Here is a shot of the force I used last night.  1750 points.  Maelstrom mission #5.  I only had to proxy a flamestorm cannon turret as a twin linked assault cannon turret, and a flamer and a meltagun.  If you look really close you can see the death company are getting painted....

Here is a shot during turn 1.  I had a maelstrom card for Objective 2, and really wanted to pop a rhino for a point.  I popped the rhino (it was a bad trade...the warlord was pissed that I'd wrecked his ride...), but the drop pod whiffed in killing one I held onto the card for later...

Here is my deployment area around the beginning of turn 2. I was collectiing points for having 3 objectives...and these Bloodletters all dropped in to distract me while his other units were to try and move closer.     

Here we are late in the game.  Thor's warlord is trying to convince two surviving death company to "join him".  They said OK, then he killed them with his claw. 

Score at the end of turn 5 when the game ended.  I lost by two points in a game that really could have gone either way.  It was a lot of fun, even if the dice were rolling badly.  It gave me three learning experiences - (1) if it has lasher tendrils, the assault will go badly. (2) if it has defensive grenades, the assault will go badly.  (3) Sometimes its better to just shoot the predator than the Rhino.  

More eye candy to Share!  here are three shots of a very nicely painted Knight.  And the theme is really cool.  AIRBORNE!

All for now.  Spring is coming!  Anyone have any Mephiston Red GW paint?  Local store ran out....