Friday, August 26, 2016

Apparently not...

1850 Point Game - Maelstrom #5 vs Tau

OK, pictures...

So, like this Wednesday, at Crossroad Games, I won the lucky dice roll (we use dice to pair up players on our Wednesday "club night")...I was paired up to play vs Tau.  I'd put the player as top tier, and the match-up could have been written right out of the Mont' Ka campaign.

My army (I know, you were expecting something different) was basically (I'd made a new list, forgot it, so did this more or less from memory - it should be pretty close but I don't know if I forget something meaningful):

Emperor's Wrath Artillery Company:
Company command with HF, officer of Ordnance, vox, Chimera
BERP the Enginseer

Company commander (warlord), plasma guns, astropath, vox, Chimera
Veteran (grenadier) squad, plasma, Chimera
Veteran (grenadier) squad, plasma, Chimera
Veteran (grenadier) squad, plasma, vox, Taurox
LR Demolisher
LR Punisher

My warlord trait was lead by example, where my Warlord and his unit would score 1+ for objectives.
The Astropath had Psychic Scream and IIRR Domination (target unit has to roll leadership before doing anything).

My opponent had a great Tau list that was everything you could want to take in a rockem' sockem list:

Optimized Stealth Cadre (OSC)
Retaliation Cadre (RC)
Everything Tau is optimized for weaponry, wargear boosts, etc.

The Tau determined what deployment zone they wanted, and also deployed first, went first.

The interesting thing about the Tau list, is that they start the game with just the Optimized Stealth cadre on the table. Only 2 drones with the GhostKeel. The strategy is that they take it to Turn 2, where the entire Tau force arrives from deep strike reserves on Turn 2.  The Tau commander (only character) and his bodyguard of 9 or so suits, can pretty much split fire at everything, and not scatter on the drop.  Special rules have the Tau weapons always hitting vehicles on rear armor.  Extra bonuses pretty much twin link everything, give extra cover boosts, reroll 1's, armorbane, get a pretty good picture of it.

I did not really know that at the beginning of the game.

I did not reserve anything.  Probably should have.

Overall, the game was a close deal through turn 4 when the game was called for time.

I lost, like 12-9 or so, but at the end of the game I only really had one veteran squad still in play.

Turn 1 - the Tau OSC came up the center, and focused on my Russ's, taking the demolisher to 1 hull point. In response, I used my vox network to twin link the artillery, and put it all down on the stealth suits.  Failed orders to pin or ignore cover.  Even with twin linking, scattering was my foe, and although I caused over 10 wounds, only three stealth suits from the two comingled units were removed.

Rules conundrum:  The Tau player claimed that a piece of special rule or wargear in the OSC meant that if the stealth suits were within 6 inches of the Ghostkeel, that their cover save would be doubled from units firing more than 12-inches away.  He wanted to double down his cover saves to a 2+.  I argued that it would not work from artillery barrage, since the direction of damage was from the center of the blast templates, not the distance of the artillery piece. It went in circles until we decided to dice it off and I lost.  Stealth suits benefited from the doubled 2+ cover, and that cost me a lot. I did get domination on the Ghostkeel, which was about the only thing awesome for the turn.

Turn 2, the entire tau RC arrive, and pretty much none scatter to any bad position.  The tau commander and his suit group plop in from of the artillery company,  The other units go after the CAD.  By the end of the turn, I'd lost 3 chimeras, the manticore, basilisk, and demolisher, and banewolf all to Tau special rear-armor seeking munitions. In response, I shot up and killed off a few of the smaller suit units from the RC.

Turn 3, more of the same, I lost the remaining chimeras, Taurox, wyvern, punisher, warlord, commander, astropath, etc.  I scored some points with what I had left.  BERP tried to assault the RC commander and unit for wrecking all of the vehicles under his care - he was dropped by the overwatch fire.      

Turn 4, Tau move up and consolidate to hunt down the remaining enemy units.  I get some shots off, but I'm pretty much down to a squad of survivors in the Tau deployment zone.

Overall, it was an interesting game, and if I'd had time, I'd have wanted to try it again but with holding all of my tanks and artillery in reserves, or with the artillery in a corner, bubble wrapped by dismounted veterans.  That way, on turn 2, my reserves could have come in and reacted to the Tau force in a more meaningful way.  On the other hand, our Wednesday night crowd are not really in the mode of "Beats lab" where we can stop a game, rewind, and try stuff out to see what works or not.  I may go ahead and optimize this list further and try it again next week.  I find I'm getting better with orders.  And yes, the Warlord trait helped me grab an extra point in the game...

The biggest damage came from all the Tau munitions going right to my rear armor with no cover saves allowed.

Overall, failing on ignores cover orders on turn 1 was sad and a bit of a game changer.  Also, I need a penitential moment with my codex, as I need to confirm stuff on giving orders.

First game using a Taurox. I have one built with the twin linked autocannon and twin linked storm bolter turret (apparently it does not come with a heavy stubber!). It was able to zome ahead to get me an objective, but quickly died to tau fire.  The squad inside lasted a while there till they were killed off.

I think since the veterans have all been killed off enough in the last year I ought to go to just bare-bones infantry, not veterans, and give each sergeant a power axe...that might have been good this game, the AP2 would have been a better tool in a charge into one unit of suits.  

All for now!




Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Did I learn Anything?


This might be the last post of my 2015-2016 gaming year (long time readers know I go from August 15 to August 15, aligned with the old Ard' Boyz' cycle).  Deliberately, I spent maybe the first third of the gaming year playing Blood Angels, and the remaining two thirds playing Astra Militarum.

The gaming year, compared to last year, was a disaster.  Look at the record - over in the right margin of the screen.   7 Wins 5 draws 20 Losses.

Almost the opposite of last year - where I played Ultramarines with a splash of Blood Angels.

Now, arguably, my experience may not be too different from the other Astra Militarum (Imperial Guard) players out there.  Overall, did I learn anything?


Am I ready to give up on playing the Astra Militarum?  Meh, maybe not yet.  I am a glutton for punishment!

So - here is my last game of the year in pictures with comments:


1850 Points, Astra Militarum vs Demons and Zombies

The 555th Regiment, still much reduced, returned to the front lines.  Rumors swirled of the dead walking, demons ever present, and the taint of chaos bringing ruin everywhere.

We were playing Maestrom Mission #1, or so.  Corner deployment zones, objectives, 3 cards max per turn.  I was playing my new variant, where the CAD's company commander had an Astropath as an advisor, and the Artillery company commander had a master of ordnance.  The Astropath shows promise - with the primaris of Psychic Shriek. My CAD company commander was the warlord, and he had the Zealot (Cadian) warlord trait.   In turn 1, the AM moved forward, looking to whittle down the enemy with the firepower of both companies.  The enemy lost several Khorne dogs and some zombies, but again, this demon led army is very resilient.

In the psychic phase of the Demon Turn 1 the Keeper of Secrets summons another blob of plague zombies.  and the entire mass keeps shuffling forward.

BERP, the Enginseer of the Artillery Company needs more experience.  Never ever stand at the back end of a missile launching artillery piece...considering the demons had no real shooting weapons, I have no idea what BERP is hiding from...

By turn 3, the AM front lines were breached.  Remannat (soon wiped out) Khorne Dogs (and Herald) assaulted the AM left.  The Keeper in the center.  Zombies to the right.  Overall, the Demons were doing great on objective cards.  The AM was vapor locked with cards it could not score on.

Soon, the CAD company commander was gone.  So were the Khorne Dogs, and some other demon units.  But the mobility of the AM was gutted.

When you are a zombie, you just keep shuffling forward...

Eventually, due to store hours, the game was called.   Zombies win, 15 to 5.  

Overall, it was a fun game.  This is not the first time the 555th have run into a Demon horde army.  It is always a great challenge to see if you can wreck them before they wreck you.

Overall, some takeaways:

1. Once the demon player deployed, the AM should have worked turn 1 to redeploy towards the left and focused everything on the Khorne Dogs first - instead, the target priorities were spread all over the place.  The Khorne Dogs are a key linchpin of this army - they - and the Herald, need to get removed first.  

2. The Astropath periled again, second game in a row.  Not a big deal.  In this game he tried to put wounds on the Keeper - did not work.  If I'd concentrated on the dogs, I'd have faired better in the points exchange.

3.  One of the guys I work with - a Marine turned Geotechnical Engineer - used to play AM.  He suggests that spending points on Veterans is a waste.  He wants me to instead try a IG Platoon, regular squads, mechanized, and use the saved points for something else (like more Wyverns), or at least convert from Grenadiers to demolition specialists.  Hmmmm....

4.  Change the warlord to the AM Artillery commander and roll on the strategic table instead.

5.  Practice more.

So, what thoughts do you have?

Even in this game, I though about starting totally dismounted, just to have more lascarbines and laspistols shooting at the blob leading edges. I probably would still have run into problems with board control and actually wounding the horde. IIRR the demon player had four sources or so for spells - his favorite being cursed earth - to make his army even tougher, and he had the grimouire (sp) on the Keeper, making things even nastier.  I was outclassed in warp charges like 13:1.

All for now.  And remember, comments are always appreciated.