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.  



  1. Just an FYI, White Scars are not S5 on the charge. They resolve their Hammer of Wrath hits at S5, but their melee attacks are still S4 base. Only Kor'sarro Khan gets S5 on the charge due to Furious Charge, but it doesn't confer to his unit, and certainly not the army as a whole.